29 January, 2010

Isn't it nice...

...when you *think* you are going to have the day from hell, and it actually turns out to be merely "slightly pants"...followed (for bonus points) by hearing that a large cash sum is on the way thanks to the company doing much better this last year than anticipated... ;)

Roll on the entire long weekend, to be spent catching up with what's going in in the world of nappies and puréed vegetables and dreaming of sunnier climes... ;)

28 January, 2010

Escaping Canary Wharf when the Jubliee line is down

Jubilee Line Closure #3
Oh man have I got it sussed now...what *should* have been a complete disaster (earlier in the week) when I arrived, hissing through gritted teeth, at the firmly gated entrance to the Jubilee line (great job once again there TFL) I turned tail (billowing cloak of annoyance fluttering angrily behind me) heading quickly to the DLR at Heron Quays (as I would normally do), where men in HVJs were blocking two of the entrances (no doubt some futile attempt to stop overcrowding on the tiny platform), however, when I bypassed them (finding an unguarded stairway), I found it wasn't going to be that easy...there were no trains headed to Bank, which was unusual...prompting the sudden recall that one end of the DLR is closed for engineering works (and has been since Christmas), including my intended interim destination...a frantic 30 seconds of panic (and visions of begrudgingly curling up under my desk in the office) later I formulated (what I hoped was) a cunning plan...

Back last year, when a fire on the Jubilee line had seen me stranded at the O2 (a less cunning plan that ended in an unwelcome collision of flame, freezing rain and considerable delay), my only option had been to try and get a bus to Greenwich (which worked...albeit eventually)...I realised, if I could get the DLR in the opposite direction to normal, I might be able to connect to the mainline and get to London Bridge on a train from south of the river...

Fifteen minutes (and one almost empty Lewisham train) later I was on a Cannon Street train pulling into London Bridge, missing my normal train home by exactly one minute...but now I know the route and quite how quiet the route was, even in a TFL crisis, if it weren't for adding another possible point of failure into my journey I would almost be tempted to try doing it instead of crushing onto the tube every day...

Not bad, it's only taken two-and-a-half years to work this new rat-run out... ;)

27 January, 2010

It's all just guesswork...

So Thomas has stopped sleeping through the night...We've tried putting it down to many things, reflux (tried Baby Gaviscon before bed - no dice), his stinky cold(s) which he has had since before Christmas (tried baby Karvol and he's getting better from his latest one now, still no dice), being extra hungry thanks to a growth spurt (but they should only last a few days and this has been going on for almost two weeks now)...Just being extra hungry? Maybe...but his mushed up food portions have been increased exponentially, and he's being fed until he looses interest...Teething starting? Well, his cheeks are quite red and hot, but there's no sign on any toothy pegs on his little gums quite yet...getting cold in the night time (nope, his room is definitely the warmest in the house)...The latest thing is worrying that we are filling his little tummy up with mushy food and he isn't getting enough of his primary source of fat and nutrients - his mum's milk...

It reached the point on the weekend, where we were just staring at each other, both at a complete loss as to what to do...his little routine that we were so comfortable with has simply dematerialised...nothing that our application of logic and "cause and effect" style attempts to "fix" the situation has worked and here we are facing the reality that there isn't anything left to do apart from just deal with it...and frankly that is very annoying...I like to live in a world where every problem has a solution, even if it's difficult to track down, but I'm rapidly starting to realise that bringing up a baby is just not going to work like that, the best advice in the world (in this case) is just conjecture, and really? No-one actually knows the answer, not the health visitors, not the doctors, not the NCT, not our friends and relatives, not the people at work who've had kids before and (horribly for someone with an analytical mind) least of all - me...

There isn't going to be a sleepsthrough=0 buried in a baby registry entry somewhere that I can find and change to 1...

26 January, 2010

Very far from home...

Rainy Redhill #2
Had a bit of an atypical journey home yesterday after work, everything went perfectly normally (enjoying reading the latest Dexter novel - which, incidentally, seems to have been heavily influenced by the TV show and become some sort of off-white comedy - oh well) until I yomped off the train with all the other drones of the thousand yard stare and trotted down the stairs to wait for my bus at Redhill bus station...

It was drizzling a little bit, so I didn't get my book or PSP out for fear of spoiling them (especially as the former had been lent to me by Surrey County Council), so my eyes were wandering a little bit more than usual...settling from time to time on a bench companion of mine who (and I have no idea really why) I started to become concerned about...after a few minutes feeling unsettled I just couldn't help myself asking her if she was okay and was everything alright? Her response (which didn't make any sense at all and prompted me to ask her to repeat herself several times) just made matters worse...when I had jumbled her words around in my mind a few times, trying to pluck some sense from them, two words did sort of seem to mean something..."Did you say 'key worker'?" I asked her (frowning slightly), and she replied "Yes, lost"..."You've lost your key worker?" I attempted to clarify..."yes, lost key worker" she replied...

Uh oh...

In five minutes flat (as she was freezing cold and seemed to have absolutely no idea where she was) I had managed to negotiate us into the little tea room attached to the bus station (for the drivers) and had got a conductor calling an ambulance and some officers of the law (one of which should know what to do), and had got her a drink sorted from the drivers tea machine...the ambulance arrived first...the paramedic went through the same sort of process I had initially, then checked her over medically, somehow (with clever use of medical profession cant our friend was familiar with) managed to get the name of her care home out of her and got on the radio...

Turns out (when the detective work had been completed) that she had been with her key worker on a little trip out earlier in the day in Bermondsey (that's London Bridge way!) near her care home, when they had fallen suddenly ill and had lost track of her...somehow, she had managed to make her way, unaccompanied, all the way to Redhill in the intervening hours (most likely, it was concluded, on a bus (or succession of buses), as barriers would most likely have thwarted her progress on the railway and some buses you can board without showing a ticket)...so when the police arrived, all they had to do was give her a lift back home to London... ;)

What an adventure, just lucky I spotted her and saved her from whatever may have befallen her in the early hours in lovely Redhill town centre...

25 January, 2010

New Washing machine and cooker repaired

Oh bliss, oh rapture...! After what seems like an eternity living in the dark ages, everything (pretty much), seems to be working again in the house...believe it or not, as of a couple of weeks ago, not only were we completely snowed in, but both our washing machine and our main oven decided to simultaniously give up the ghost...! Normally (well, previously normally I guess), this wouldn't have been so much of an issue, but with all of the clothing (albeit tiny clothing) that Thomas manages to get dirty (in one way or another), even one single week's worth of washing seems to now fill about 6 large Tesco "Bag for Life" containers... <:0

To get us through this unhappy predicament, a procession of sticky bagfulls has been greatfully paraded to our neighbours (while the snow was impassable for 4 wheeled vehicles), and thence to various relatives, until, thanks to an incredibly welcome donation from my folks, and a careful bit of negotiation by Flyingpops and her folks we finally got our new machine delivered last week, and it was fitted by Flyingpops' dad on Saturday morning to great sighs of relief (and many, many washloads of muslins and bibs)... ;)
Fitting the Washing Machine
To top things off, he then pulled the back off the oven and successfully fitted a new heating element, thus saving us roughly £500 buying a new oven, so yesterday (to celebrate) we had a lovely dinner of heavily peppered roast beef and roast potatoes...thanks Pops!
Fixing the Oven
(Of course Thomas was lots of help)... ;)

22 January, 2010

Baby Led Weaning

Thomas in his High Chair
So over the Christmas break we started Thomas off on some actual real food (yes, already!)...we actually began the whole thing a little early, current advice is to begin the weaning process at six months of age (of which we are still a little shy, even now)...the reason for this is threefold and logical, one - the automatic response to chew and swallow (rather than just suck) takes a while to appear (and not much eating is going to take place without that), two - the digestive system needs to mature to the point where it can actually handle anything other than milk, and three (most critically, and I have no idea why no-one explained this to me before) up until about six months of age the barrier between stomach and blood stream is permeable in order to help nutrients, fats and antibodies pass quickly into their most useful position...the bad thing that *may* happen if, before the stomach wall is sealed, you feed your little one some food, is that a little bit of (for example) mashed up pear, manages to get straight into the blood, where the aforementioned antibodies all scream "Attack!" and the body then accidentally develops an allergy as a result...

Between Christmas and New Year, poor little Thomas was diagnosed with a bit of reflux (the sphincter at the top of the stomach isn't very good at staying closed in the early days, and acid can escape into the throat - which is rather painful judging by how much and how angrily it made him cry), so the health visitor we saw recommended we try a him on a little bit of baby rice mixed with some milk from his mummy, this didn't actually help the reflux very much (although that is another story altogether), but it did demonstrate that he was more than ready to start to eat...

So we spent a happy afternoon steaming and mashing up a selection of vegetables (sweet potato, carrots, brocolli, etc.) and poaching some pears, whizzed each individual ingredient into a pulp with the hand blender (although don't try that trick with white potato, it just turns to glue) and then packed it into ice cube trays and stored it all in the freezer...since then he has absolutely wolfed down every single thing we have given him, even to the point where he bursts into tears when his little bowl is empty (which is very sweet)...however, if what we learned at our most recent NCT weaning class is to be believed, we have perhaps been making a little too much work for ourselves...

Current thinking, apparently, is to allow the baby to lead the whole process of weaning, rather than it be driven by parent alone...children should be given exactly what the parents are eating (although not if it is a low fat or diet food - as around 50% of the child's energy comes from fat in the first few years) and if this sounds messy, then it is certainly going to be - if we are eating shepherds pie (for example) we should make it without additional salt and then just dump it in front of Thomas for him to play with (and hopefully eat some of - rather than just put it all over himself, the floor and the walls)...so, if we are feeling brave, once we run out of mashed up butternut squash (etc.), Thomas is going to be joining Mummy and Daddy for dinner...

Watch this space (and wish us, and our upholstery, luck)...

21 January, 2010

Babies and High Heel Shoes!

Having pondered for weeks on end, I have finally pushed myself and had an evening out, without Fink or Thomas (the first time since Thomas was born). It was fairly low key, a couple of drinks in Reigate with my fellow mummy friends, but a very big milestone for me. I have to confess I went through a wave of emotions, feeling redundant as Fink and Nanny bathed Thomas before I left, to nervousness (would he go down OK?). I kept my phone on the table all night, watching for texts and glancing at the photo of Thomas in my screensaver, but everything was OK. It was a fantastic night... I laughed lots, had 2 glasses of wine and finally let my hair down!

My evening out has made me sit and reflect on the things I’ve taken for granted for years. I really was quite frivolous before becoming a mummy and now appreciate the life I had before (not that I would want to go back). I have to confess, I’ve missed snippets of the old me. My clothes are now all about practicality for feeding/walking/inevitable sick patches, hair usually tied back as Thomas likes to pull it and time is precious, so I barely apply make up, let alone relax in a bubble bath with a book. Last night that all changed as I had the luxury of time to get ready for my night out. It was amazing, I had a super long bubble bath, washed hair that was blow dried and then straightened, make up carefully applied and clothes chosen that didn’t have to be discreet for feeding. I even got out my high heel boots, handbag, and perfume! (the joke being I used to run around London in these boots and could barely walk at all in them!)

When I looked in the mirror last night, there was a completely different person looking back. A touch of the old flyingpops , with the maturity of motherhood and whilst I wouldn’t change being a mummy for the world, it certainly is nice once in a while to let your hair down and enjoy just being me.

12 January, 2010

Baby Thomas' first Christmas

What an incredible first Christmas for Thomas, absolutely surrounded by friends and family, showered with lovely presents (especially by his mum), so here are just a very few (of the millions of) pictures we took (to share some of the magic with you) -
Foot painting
Getting some of the presents ready, which involved ceramic paint, Thomas' foot, a lot of very tickly brushes and many, many smudged footprints...
Thomas' First Christmas
A visit to Christmas Tree Land at Priory Farm in Nutfield, despite the fact that we already had our (still alive) tree from last year (now about twice the size) back in from the garden...(rather a good investment)!
The living room at Christmas
Thomas' First Christmas
Thomas *loved* the decorations, suddenly the boring old living room was alive with exciting new electrically powered/choking objects to try and hit and place in his mouth...
Thomas' First Christmas
Being good at Christingle (while watching out for cocktail sticks and accidental headbutts)...
Thomas' First Christmas
Trying out his Christmas hat... ;)
Thomas' First Christmas
Wrapped up warm in the car seat...
Thomas' First Christmas
Stocking full on Christmas morning...
Thomas' First Christmas
Thomas' First Christmas
Thomas' First Christmas
...and gifts under the tree aplenty!
Thomas' First Christmas
Even more impressive when all the wrapping was off... ;)
Thomas' First Christmas
Loads more pictures here (including lots of family ones, which some of you have been asking for)... ;)
Christmas Hanging Basket
Happy New Year everyone!

11 January, 2010

Baby Swimming Class

Water Baby Class 1
So one of the things that we thought was terribly important to give to Baby Thomas was that he should (as soon as possible) be comfortable in the water (as far as we could facilitate it), and (when he is ready himself) that he be happy to learn to swim - so - with great thanks to my folks (who paid for it as his early Christmas present), back at the end of November (at around four months old) we started him on his baby swimming classes...
Mexico #114
The reason we decided this would be a good idea was simply because, on our honeymoon in Mexico, on about our second day lazing by the impossibly vast and (almost) private pools (thanks to cunningly travelling just outside US college break and UK half-term, saving ourselves a *packet*), we were both shocked into flying from our sunbeds to try and rescue a small girl who had apparently just gleefully fled her folks and flung herself to certain death from the side of the pool (as her parents sauntered a hundred feet behind, chatting to each other and quite unconcerned)...as I staggered to the edge of the pool I saw the little one giggling and clinging onto the edge, kicking her feet and smiling, her parents approached calmly slinging towels onto sunbeds, cooing to her as to how clever she was and then lowering themselves into the water next to her...their subsequent explanation as to how she came to have this level of skill (to answer our gaping mouths), when children two-three years older are frequently reported in tragic circumstances having been found floating face down in the next door neighbours 6 inch deep fish pond - ended in a vow to make *sure* any child of ours had similar lessons...

Although, I have to say, it's a little harrowing to actually see (and not much better even the third or fourth time you are witness) when your little boy is plunged (by either tutor, spouse or your own hand) beneath the water to come up gasping for air... <:S Baby Swimming
The rest of the secrets of the class I am bound by contract to keep silent about, but when I read in the paper a few weeks ago about a kid who fell into a swollen river as his frantic family looked on, and proceeded to just calmly swim to the edge as he had been taught to do from the age of two weeks old, you know it couldn't possibly make any more sense...

08 January, 2010

Whitebushes Big Freeze

I know, I know, I've been very naughty with the blogging...promise I'll get back into the swing of things soon, it's just been a super chaotic re-boot to the annus (if you will forgive my Latin)... ;)

Last few days we have been completely snowed in, had over a foot of snow, just a couple of shots here, this was at about 8pm on Tuesday when it all started -
Surrey Snow
- basically, this level of snow didn't stop for 24 hours, when we got up the next morning it was to hear that Surrey and Sussex had run out of grit (not that they ever get as far as our estate anyway) -
The Big Freeze
- and that all buses, yes -*all* buses were cancelled in both counties-, Gatwick airport was closed (14 inches of snow) and East Surrey Hospital had cancelled all appointments and non-essential operations, so it's been a couple of days working from home -
The Big Freeze
- as official advice from Surrey police had come on the radio saying not to leave the house unless it was "a matter of life and death"...
The Big Freeze
...still, on our one little walk out yesterday lunchtime to assess conditions it does appear that *someone* has been making good use of all the snow... ;)

Wish me luck with getting home tonight! Brrr!

Oh and more pictures here if you like this sort of thing... ;)