Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Yes But Will There Be Wine??

I never really understood motherhood before now. My brother-in-law called it ‘The Conspiracy of Parenthood.’ It’s been said that it’s like a big club that you think you know the membership rules for. You join and discover actually that it’s nothing LIKE what you thought. And there’s a baby-shaped bouncer on the door and you can’t get out.

I’ll never cease to be grateful for the fact that the other clubmembers that I have met so far, though, are FABULOUS…


The Boy and I signed up to antenatal classes for the information only. He spends so long seeing ill children in hospitals for work that his version of normal is COMPLETELY skewed. I was not going to rely on his interpretation of ‘regular deliveries’ to manage our own. The teacher started the first session by saying ‘I know you’re all here to make friends but I hope you find some of the information I have to give useful nonetheless’…I remember feeling that the coincidence of similar-timed pregnancies does not make the basis for a true and lasting friendship. Or, the more crude way I put it at the time ‘Just because we all had sex that month doesn’t mean that we have to get along’.

How wrong can I have been??

I also recall a visit from my husband’s brother and his young family a month before Tilly arrived. I was brought various accoutrements that had been found useful when their, now 2 year old, son was first on the scene. I happily dismissed the breastpumps and birthing balls with a naivety that makes me cringe now. The flippancy must have been rather amusing (or galling) to witness. I admire my sister-in-law for biting her tongue and not beating me over the head with my innocence. These days, the Boy and I can barely get started on a glass of wine with an un-babied friend before we are disgorging all manner of vivid trivia of ‘generic leakage’ and divulging all the secrets of the club to the blissfully ignorant non-members.

The horror, excitement, trauma and worry of the experiences that we have shared have allowed me to form friendships that I don’t doubt will last longer than one of Tilly’s nocturnal feeding sessions. And that’s saying something.

I’m honoured to become a member and join the ranks of uninitiated, unknowing and uninformed, surviving the daily assault courses of decisions, debacles and delights that motherhood seems to be.

NCT class 020

In my last few weeks in the office, I was asked a few times what I would do with my ‘time off’. I joked that I might put the baby in a drawer and go travelling. I have so far managed to get dressed of a morning but frankly, leaving the house is a right of passage each and every day.

And so I will never cease to be grateful for the new found friends. With cake. And wine. And many and varied shoulders to cry on. The tears are by no means limited to the babies. But neither are the gurgles and the occasional glimmers of laughter to come.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Granny Rules

With her fearless attachment to the sewing machine and a mean quilting technique, this granny seems unstoppable…

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Following on from the triumph of the hot pink hot hat, a fruity frock and floral dungarees for the latest gal about town.

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In amongst mini-sewing, Mum has finished and delivered the Double Wedding Ring quilt as the wedding present for the Boy and I. It is made from scraps of the wedding fabric as well as other historic/vintage printed cottons in shades of blues and creams. The piecing took about seven months and the quilting about five. My mum’s arthritis almost seemed to want to scupper the whole plan but she battled through and we are over the MOON with it.

I wonder how it feels to be permanently creating heirlooms? Must be quite an honour…

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Busy fingers = happy mummy

Some finally finished little projects that I have finally got round to finally sewing up, finally pressing, finally putting on buttons and finally photographing…

No mean feat to get all stages in place so without further ado…

Taken from the lovely book at the Mother in Law’s house

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Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino Stripey frock for Tils…


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Teddy for soon to arrive neice/nephew – will add eyes and coloured accessories when I know the sex of the baby…

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And finally, denim ticking pinafore frock for Tilly with her first encounter with rickrack from a mummy-design… Poor thing – the first in what promises to be a long and arduous relationship with mummy’s creations!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

There are no words

And so instead, there is a link.

Dear Zachary

And fourteen days left to watch it on iPlayer.

I am rarely affected this catastrophically by a documentary film: it is usually books that take the floor from beneath my feet.

I cannot say more than: Watch it. Watch it now. And then attempt to hope for one moment that anyone you know thinks a single percent of you what this family thought of him.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


One of the first questions we get asked when we tell people we have a three month old baby is ‘And how are you getting on with a routine?’ followed by ‘Does she sleep through the night?’


At first I intended to shoot to kill on hearing either of those utterances: the fact that I am partaking in adult conversation while caring for something whose age I can count in hours and days should be impressive enough. We can barely see straight without clockwatching for a thing that has no concept of nocturnal or otherwise…


Now, though, we are getting there. The move into the nursery seems to have coincided with a degree of regularity of a form: bath and a splash, baby massage and tummy time, milk and sleep. AT 7PM. And she will then sleep until midnight. And then again until 5ish, with milk requirements in those gaps.


What this means though is that we get an evening back.

P1030084And to that end, I’ve been enjoying, nay WALLOWING in, the splendour of adulthood and FREETIME (of course once the nonsense of laundry, cleaning, dinner, washing up and general muslin collecting has taken place)…

And I’ve been crafting…


Pics of projects to come… For now, back to the needles…

Friday, March 19, 2010

One Crafty Little So-and-So

So it’s now becoming family folklore that I may have made marzipan from scratch when my firstborn daughter was only 10 days old. Apparently that’s not normal.


I have, since then, been making and baking a little but have only just this week involved Tilly in a crafty project for both of us.

I had a block of Das in my stash, saved to try a Christmas tree ornament project (the link for which I of course cannot now find) in December: I was entirely prepared for her to be late and had stockpiled crafts, baking and general holiday merriment for the period after her due date. Arriving 3 hours early, she obviously put paid to all that…

My theory was going to be to create a footprint in clay for posterity…

Unfortunately, the clay was so firm that this would only have worked successfully if we were able to impale her foot on a wooden spike and then force THAT into the clay. 8 - 10 March 2010 - 3 months old

That idea was abandoned, but as this was the test run for a group coffee/craft session I’d promised my other babied-chums for the next day, the Boy and I got our thinking hats on.

We found this helpful little blog and got making some salt dough.

Great success!

The following day we got the other babies crafting and had a splendid time.

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Although I have now got myself ‘a reputation’… Any suggestions for crafty projects for new mums greatly appreciated… I’m debating having a ‘make your own face mask’ sesh….??

That or ‘drink your own wine’…

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dedicated Follower of Fashion

Granny’s been sewing…


If Mummy had to wear ridiculous hats when she was a baby, you can be darned sure that someone else is going to have to, too.


At least until I throw an almighty fit and DEMAND it get TAKEN OFF MY HEAD.


Seriously, a girl’s got a reputation to uphold.

Granny – we’ll wait until the sun comes out, then we can claim the ensemble as channelling Pucci Spring Summer 2010

Floppy brims, neon brights, saturated colour…


We are so there.

Right on Target

Excuse me taking liberties with the title to this post…

I just had to be on Target with the blog this time.

The shop which, according to my FABULOUS California chum is called, alternately, TarGHETTO, TarGIT and Tarzjay depending on which area of any given city it is located in, has joined forces with that bastion of the British ditsy print, to hand us these rather wonderful pieces of GORGEOUSNESS.

On the plus side, the cotton frocks, baby rompers and OH MY GOD the BIKES are amazing.

Baby Romper $9.99

Melamine Tumblers $19.99 for 8

Piggy Bank $9.99

Tiered Romper with MATCHING HAT!!! $9.99

On the down side, I’m a bit sad about the excessive use of polyester in the maxi frocks and pretty boho tops.

And of course my living in the UK doesn’t help matters.

I shall *sigh* and *daydream* and THANK my little sister for maxxing out her credit card from her bijoux city apartment in Washington DC on my behalf.


Saturday, March 06, 2010

Chocolate with chocolate on chocolate

Baby weight?? What baby weight…??

Chocolate pudding….


with Chocolate macaroons on the side…P1020807

All was scrummy and I enjoyed serving up in wedding china ‘breakfast cups’ with the macaroons on the saucer. However, one comment: the macaroons didn’t spread in cooking, so what looked like beautifully smooth and elegant cookies in the photos came out more like moonrocks in actuality. Bit disappointing but as my mother would say, we forced them through our parched lips. Tasted rather fabulous too!

PS Note the makings of a good post-baby dinner party in the upper image: chocolate dessert, wine and baby monitor. Brilliant.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Cribs and Crankiness Volume 2

I think it speaks wonders that when I finally got around to clicking on ‘publish’ yesterday after 8 hours of to-ing and fro-ing to get the post done (Tilly’s strong point is her consistency of interruptions…), the title no longer represented the post.

I had grand plans to describe the fabulous nursery that Tilly now graces up to three times per day (oh joy of joys, the napping is getting there…)

I also intended to talk you through the last few days of unadulterated HELL and extol the virtues of routine and repetition, a lesson I have learnt to my cost. Unfortunately my brain is so very addled that I forgot the second half…

So here goes…


It’s probably fair to acknowledge that the last few days have been partly selfinflicted (read: not saying NO to things) and partly Tilly inflicted. The Boy has had a gruelling series of night shifts and by Sunday I took her out the house to go to supermarket to let him try to get some rest. I fed her thinking I then had a four hour window until the next feed, but she was going through a growth spurt and had the audacity to not tell me... The shortened version involves a crying baby, a frazzled mummy, a pothole and a front left tire.

There is an ominous pfpfppfpfpfp noise as I approach the next roundabout. A pull over into a busstop reveals I’m driving on metal… I manhandle a SCREAMING baby out the car with diaper bag and stagger into the garage (thankfully only a couple minutes away) with both of us in tears. The poor mechanic didn’t know what to make of the scene… Tilly, meanwhile, is frenzied and feeding off my anxiety (I only passed my driving test a month before she was born so this was my first major ‘incident’… not fun.)

By Monday she's addled and out of sorts for most of the day with her finally relenting at 7pm and going to sleep. An emergency meeting is called of a committee I am on so I think I can sneak her out and she'll stay asleep. Will she fig. God love her, she’s all cooey and lovely for THREE HOURS with the other mummies there, then irritable for the whole of Tuesday as she didn't get enough sleep.

By the time the Boy woke up from his last post-nightshift doze yesterday afternoon I was a husk of a broken mummy, snappy, unpleasant and generally dazed by the world. I was sent to bed at 9pm  for 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

DSCF4717 What the last few days has taught me is that I really need to learn to work around her more - my theory that she'll just sleep if she needs to sleep is COBBLERS. I’m told it’s a sign of intelligence and curiosity… either way, she just gets herself worked up and then won’t sleep and then we're in a vicious cycle. Relenting to her rhythms allows her the space to nap, play, gripe and giggle as required without my manhandling her from one coffee morning to another without a ‘bye your leave’…

Oh well. Live and learn. So far I’m still a mummy and a wife and have not yet sold her to the lowest bidder or been served with divorce papers so I’m doing ok.

I think.

Cribs and crankiness

Matilda Molly Anne has now moved on to her Big Girl Bed having grown out of her deliciously lovely antique Moses Basket after only 13 weeks. Granny’s hard work was greatly appreciated but sadly Tills is now too much of a litte porker to lie daintily in amongst the embroiderie anglais.

Up until now the second bedroom was part changing table and part guest room, with a double bed for the various visitors we have hosted over the last few months.

P1020330It is now home to her ever-increasing collection of soft toys as well as the various nappies/wipes/ointments/unctions etc. They were getting lost on her changing table and so we finally bit the bullet.

The Boy donned electric drill and did the MANLY thing.


And now the nursery is a thing of beauty… Let me take you on a mini-tour…P1000077

Wall Stickers from Fun to See dotted over the fireplace decorate the mantlepiece. As the house is rented these are perfect: suitably gender neutral, removable and repositionable as well as having a variety of patterns = gingham, spots and stars – to keep Mummy happy!



Crib has now been put up and is beautifully adorned with dollies, cushions and patchwork quilt from Mummy and Granny, Grandma and many and various friends and families.


And meanwhile, surrounded by all this FABULOUSNESS, my daughter remain tranfixed by her own fist.