Wednesday, December 31, 2008


We were out at dinner last night for New Year with some friends who have just had their second baby. Much of the conversation turned to how hard it is looking after a new baby. The lack of sleep, the hungry baby who wants to feed every 2 hours, the constant crying. My friend, S, was sure that it had never been this bad with her first child - now an adorable three year old girl.

I reminded her that it had been equally tough and she had just forgotten how bad it was. She was adamant that I was wrong, it had been easier with her first.

Now, looking back on it, I don't remember being it too bad either. So much so that I am even contemplating having another child - something I swore I would never do. Thankfully, however, I have this blog to remind me just how awful it was and, therefore, I am going to wait a year or two more before embarking on the whole exercise again.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Climb every mountain

On our final day in Tokyo we decided to walk up what had been billed as a friend of A's as a "buggy friendly" hill about 1 hour outside Tokyo. We had borrowed a buggy from some friends (long story involving family ineptitude at the airport regarding our baggage) and so set off up the hill, after a derogatory comment towards the cable car station.

800 vertical metres and a 3.8 km hike later, including inclines so steep I had to use my full weight to push the buggy, some unsealed gravel paths with steep drops to one side, and getting utterly lost around a shrine and adding an extra hour to our walk, we were wondering whether our version of "buggy friendly" was a bit different.

It transpires that we should have got the cable car up and then taken the almost flat path around the top. However, we all felt very virtuous and got the most amazing views of Mount Fuji for our trouble.

And got the cable car back down.

Full time mother

My friend A, is only just going back to full time work after almost 8 years looking after her two boys. They are delightful boys - clever, engaged, polite. I look at them and realise that bringing up ones children is a very important and rewarding task. I, therefore, am now revisiting my own situation and wondering whether working full time is really the best thing for Eve. More anon.

Not my religion

As it was her first Christmas, I wanted Eve to go to Church. My friend in Tokyo, A, had found a local English protestant church which was holding a children's carol concert on Christmas Eve. As a newcomer to Tokyo, A had not been before, but it seemed nice enough so along we went. It seemed a little formal when we arrived (the ushers had name badges), but we found some seats at the back and I found the readings in the pew bible so A's elder son could read along. Eve was her merry little self and she and I trundled along at the back while she said hello to people and generally was chatty and smiley.

As I was wandering past the main door during one trundle, one of the ushers came up to me and suggested I take Eve to the nursery. I said that I thought this was a children's service and so her chatting happily and walking around wouldn't be a problem. I was told that it would have to be quiet for the Pastor's sermon and prayers so it may be best if I went to the nursery.

I was utterly shocked. I have been going to church all my life and can think of very few that would ask a child to leave in any situation, let alone from a service billed as one for children. I am proud of Eve and how engaged she is in her surroundings (how much better that than sitting mute), and I am careful that she never makes a nuisance and is always accompanied by me so I can stop her more friendly excesses. She was not causing a problem, was barely audible above the other babies crying, and was merely being friendly.

With hindsight I wish I had some pithy comment and could have quoted him from the many biblical passages that would have made good retorts. However, I could merely mumble and say I had thought it was a children's service and leave.

It upsets me now to think of it. Partly because I didn't get to share a religious Christmas with my daughter, but also because I hold my faith very dear and spend a lot of time defending organised religion. Behaviour like this makes me wonder how other people must see churches.

So here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody's having fun

We have just had Eve's first Christmas, and it has been lovely. We spent it with friends, and their two small boys (5 and 7) in Tokyo. I cooked Turkey, we unwrapped lots of presents, the adults got a bit tiddly and played charades (the Boy does a great impression of a bunny - sadly he was trying to mime a train at the time). I missed my family horribly, and it was rather sad to be able to hear Eve's cousins in the background when we called. However, for our little Hong Kong family, we did well.

Eve got tons of presents, of course, and now has more toys than she knows what to do with. True to form, she found the boxes and wrapping paper more interesting than the contents, and she spent the whole week trying to snatch decorations of the Christmas tree. She even ate mushed up Christmas dinner - turkey, potatoes, carrots and cabbage. I declined, on her behalf, the sprouts.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Theology for beginners

One of the presents I have bought for Eve is a little kids book of bible stories. It is very amusing how the quite difficult and often violent stories of the bible have been adapted for children. Adam and Eve, for example, ate from the forbidden tree and God told them off. Noah built an ark with lots of nice animals inside, although no mention is made of the massacre of the human race. Jericho was a nice town that Joshua decided to enter with his nice band of smiling trumpeters. You get the idea.

The funniest one, however, is the story of Daniel in the lions den. The picture accompanying the story is of Daniel playing with a few rather cute looking lion cubs in a cave. I can't help but feel the purpose of the story has got a bit lost!

Merry Christmas everyone

I always have very fond memories of Christmas from my childhood. Lots of family traditions evolved as we grew up.

For example, each year a huge box full of the various decorations that we had accumulated over the years would come out of the loft and my sister and I would be allowed to run loose and decorate the house. The whole house was subject to our creativity and tinsel would hang over every picture, glass balls hang from the mirrors, and the tree would be erected (we had a very good and expensive fake one, my mother being allergic to real pine needles) and we would cover it. Only when I hit my mid teens did the concept of taste and colour coordination kick in, but by that time my Dad had acquired a set of singing Christmas lights for the dining room and all hope was lost.

Mum and Dad invite the children from their church or neighbours to decorate the house now, and the result is similarly haphazard.

We also had a lovely habit of getting presents that were designated as "Christmas tree presents". These were lots of little presents that would be given out after Christmas lunch. They were usually small things that Mum had picked up over the course of the year (Mum, quite unbelievably would start her next year's Christmas shopping at the January sales). My Aunt C was especially good at this as she had lots of local end-of-line shops stocked by the surrounding factories where she lived and we would end up with bags of silly things.

It had nothing to do with the quality of the gift, but the fun in opening it and laughing at what was inside.

This is something I am bringing to my little family this year and in addition to a big present for Eve, I have spent the past couple of weeks picking up lots of little gifts for her to open over the course of the day. They range from a colour book I picked up for under a pound (in HK dollar terms) to a cute little push along car that beeps. Just like my Mum, I am opportunistic in my purchasing and the Boy is starting to wonder what will appear next.

Therefore, I will be bringing an old tradition to my new family this Christmas.

Postscript for my family: I tried, and failed, to find a Lego santa and his sleigh

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I think I'm turning Japanese

No sooner are we back from one holiday than we are off on another, this time to Tokyo for Christmas. I rather romantically want to show Eve snow and a very close friend and her two boys moved there from HK this year and Christmas is nothing if not about the kids (said with a Smashy and Nicey drawl).

I been to Tokyo many, many times for work and for pleasure but it dawned on me today that I have absolutely no idea what to do with a baby, she not being very into sushi or karaoke. So I emailed some Japanese friends to ask them and one suggested this place

It is a measure of how much my life, and trips to cool cities like Tokyo, has changed that I find myself thinking this looks rather fun!


4 hours in the world's smallest departure lounge delayed in a storm, missing our connection and spending the night in a cheap airport hotel which smelt, followed by a 3am start.

Eve took this all a lot better than myself and her father did and was remarkably good humoured throughout.

Summer holiday

We have survived, and mainly loved, our first holiday as parents. However, nothing had quite prepared me for how different it would be to holidays gone by.

Firstly, the sheer amount of stuff that one has to take with a baby. I seemed to pack 3 bikinis and a toothbrush, the other 35kg of luggage were for Eve. Aside from the stockpile of nappies, tins of formula, spare jars of food just in case, sterilising tablets for the bottles, changes upon changes of clothes, and Calpol, I also had an entire bag (shaped like a penguin with a squeaky beak) of toys and amusements taken with me. If only I had known that an empty coke bottle filled with pebbles stolen from the nice water feature at the pool would have been so popular I wouldn't have bothered. Anyway, we took more luggage than when we used to go diving and took all our diving gear.

Secondly, your evening ends at 7.30. We stayed in places with terraces so we could put Eve to bed and then sit happily and listen to the lapping of the waves and read a good book while supping a nice bottle of something. All this is lovely, but as you hear the youngsters partying in the next bay one does feel rather old.

Finally, you don't do anything just as a couple. We both went diving, but because someone had to look after Eve we went diving separately at different times. Whenever Eve was awake we were a trio, and a fun trio it was too.

However, I think this was one of my most enjoyable holidays ever (excluding the couple of days when Eve and I were rather ill). I discovered the joys of chasing crabs in the surf, will always remember Eve's grin when she saw a starfish for the first time, danced around an empty dance floor like a loon with my daughter, and discovered that Eve likes to eat sand.

We also invented an entirely new game involving a pool table, balls, cues and a crawling baby. It is imaginatively named Baby Pool and the frison of excitement is enhanced by not only whether your carefully potted balls will be taken out again but also whether the baby is chewing on the cue ball when it comes to your turn. She is rather adept at shoving the number 8 in a pocket when she gets bored, thereby ending the game.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The boys are back in town

I have finally stopped breastfeeding. Eve dropped her late night feed a few weeks ago, was getting a bit bored with the morning one and the physical effort required to row around the island, not to mention the dehydration, meant that on Monday this week I just didn't have enough milk. By Tuesday Eve had firmly decided that she is now too old for boobies and rejected them.

I thought it would be the other way around, that I would have to wean her off. I expected protest and tears. Instead I have happy smiles as she moves onto something new and more fun, like walking for example.

I thought I would miss the closeness, but I don't, and I like being able to get the Boy to do bedtime once or twice a week while I pour myself a glass of wine or go for a run.

Of the three of us, however, the Boy is most overjoyed. When I told him that I had stopped feeding his immediate reply was "Great, now I get MY boobies back". It would appear that my body has never really been my own.

We're all going on a summer holiday

Since Eve was born we have not had a family holiday. We went to the Olympics with some friends (and a few hundred thousand other people) and also back to see the family in the UK but have not really had a proper family holiday with just the three of us.

The Boy and I, working in finance as we do, have had a stressful few months and are looking forward to a well deserved break for 2 weeks. We had treated ourselves to Business Class flights, one week in a boutique hotel in the hills and one week in a beachfront villa. Leaving this Saturday, tomorrow.

Except these lovely retreats are both in Thailand and we would have had to fly via Bangkok Airport (currently occupied by a few thousand protesters) and there is a very real possibility that there will be a military coup while we are there. The Boy and I are pretty well versed with the somewhat precarious political situation in most of our holiday destinations but even we had to draw the line somewhere.

So, we are off to the Philippines for 2 weeks now.

This didn't stop the boy from spending breakfast this morning trying to teach Eve to duck every time he shouted "grenade".

Monday, November 24, 2008

Closing the circle

Casting my eye back over my blog I realised that I have never written about how I found out I was pregnant. Yesterday the story came full circle, so now seems an apt time to tell it.

I have always wanted to do something that is physically challenging (as if being pregnant isn't challenging enough). I toyed with the idea of rowing the Atlantic (too far and I get seasick), running a marathon (too dull and my knees wouldn't take it) but nothing had grabbed me. That is until a very good friend of mine, D, sent me an email about a crew who were going to paddle an outrigger canoe from Singapore to the equator. As he put in his email, I am one of the few people fit enough and mad enough to be able to do it. I was keen. I had discussed getting the time off with my boss, the Boy wasn't overly chuffed but understood why I wanted to do it and said I could go, I could afford it. I had told sufficient numbers of people I was going to do it, which is my sure fire way of making sure I don't back out. I just had to pay the deposit on Monday morning.

The Boy and I had been trying, a bit half heartedly, to get pregnant. I had come off the pill two months previously but that was about the extent of our efforts. I woke up on the Monday and thought it would be a terrible shame to pay the deposit and find out I was pregnant. So, preparing myself to pop back onto the pill until after the trip, I took a pregnancy test we had lying about in the bathroom from a false alarm a couple of years ago just in case. I didn't entertain the possibility I actually could be.

About 9 months later along came Eve.

I have always felt a bit short changed about the timing. The trip was, by all accounts and photos, amazing and I didn't get to undertake my mad challenge.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday I spent just shy of 5 hours of my life in a double scull with an incredibly good rower and all round top lass, A. We rowed the whole way around Hong Kong Island in the aptly named Around the Island Race - which happens once a year. To say we were ill prepared for this would be an understatement. Our training had all been for the 2k sprint the previous week and A had only been in an ocean rowing boat twice before, one on a one hour training row with me 2 weeks ago and once for a 15 min paddle. We had only thought about doing it at all 3 weeks ago and in our ignorance decided it would be fun to do. This is one of the toughest rowing races there is and we had done, well, no real training for it.

We rowed through one of the busiest harbours in the world (and nearly got hit by a jet powered ferry), surfed up and down 6 ft swells, and A was seasick for about an hour. However one looks at it, the whole thing was insanely stupid. I got out of the boat swearing I would never do it again.

However, today, although I can't really sit down and still have no intention of doing it again, I feel insanely proud. Firstly, proud of A for managing to push through the sea sickness - although I may have mentioned that she merely felt like I did for about 6 months of pregnancy. Proud that we did it with such good humour, in fact proud that we did it at all. Proud that we broke, nay, smashed the previous record for a boat of our class.

But I am most proud that I did this only 10 months after having a baby.

I also don't feel at all bad at missing the paddle trip anymore.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Don't drink the water, don't breath the air, and for goodness sake don't wheel your child forwards in a buggy

Yet another incredibly stupid study designed to make parents feel guilty, this time one about whether the way a child faces in a buggy can stunt their development here

This, in the same country where a 17 month old's torture and tragic death at the hands of the adults who cared for him was largely ignored by the authorities. I wouldn't recommend reading anything about it, it made me cry, but in case you want to here

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

All that glitters

I was racing at the weekend, the biggest race of the season and one for which I fought hard to regain my pre-pregnancy fitness to be able to do.

It was a very tough race. We came second (claiming two national crew scalps in the process - tee hee).

As I came back from my medal ceremony, I saw that Eve was playing with the medal of a friend of mine who won a bronze. I wandered up to them both whereupon Eve grabbed my medal from around my neck, looked at the two for a moment, and then promptly discarded the bronze.

James, James, Morrison, Morrison

One of the delightful things about Eve getting older is that I can just have much more fun with her, see things through her eyes and hear things through her ears. It is like seeing your own childhood again but this time truly appreciating it.

Growing up I had a bit of a thing about seals. I'm not sure why, I didn't see one until I was about 8, but the first toy I recall having when I was a child was a fluffy seal who I called Sammy. I still have him, and he currently sits on the shelf in Eve's room (although I jealously guard him and don't allow her to play with him). My parents have bought Eve her own fluffy seal, about the same size as Sammy. She loves to play with it. He (for seals are always male, don't you know) is not brought down for her to play with unless she specifically requests for him, and when she does she dotes on him and carries him around with her as if he is her dearest friend.

Another wonderful moment is when, each night, I read to Eve. Sensibly she hated the dreaded Alice in Wonderland, but my parents bought her a copy of "When we were very young", my favourite poetry book when I was little. I remember most of the poems, the purchase itself was prompted by my parents and I trying to remember the words of the poem beginning "The king asked the queen and the queen asked the dairy maid, could I have some butter for the royal slice of bread". However, in returning to the book as an adult, I am also coming across long forgotten verses and memories. Tonight I rediscovered the title of this post. A fantastic little poem about the dangers of letting ones mother go off on her own.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A tragedy unfolding

The most horrific thing about any war is that innocents die through no fault except being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is no reason for any child to die of malnutrition in a world where there is such excess. The below photo journal was heart wrenching for me to read.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The spare in the boot

Of the many things I disliked about being pregnant, the horror of what my body turned into is the one that continues to haunt me. It was not so much that it did things it shouldn't, after all I was carrying another life and I had fully expected to increase in girth etc, but it was more that with each day I could see my previously fit and relatively firm self turning into a whale. I had a deep seated fear about turning into a whale (those who know me will know why and to whom I refer), and it scared the hell out of me that I would never manage to fit normal clothes again and how much work it would take to come even close.

I am, therefore, rather proud that I have snapped back into shape (although my friend S, mother of 3, told me I would). It has been relatively easy - but then I am back to full rowing training so 5 sessions of exercise a week probably wouldn't seem easy to many people - and I am rather pleased with myself. Except for one thing.

I have a fold of skin around my middle that will not shift. It sits there wobbling at me menacingly, mocking me, falling out over the top of low sling jeans. However hard I train, however many yoga sessions I do, however little I eat (although I am porking a bit at the moment), it is still there and laughing at me.

I saw my friend P a couple of weeks ago, who has a son the same age as Eve. She too looks great but also has the same bit around her middle (although hers is considerably smaller than mine). She is seriously considering liposuction. At the time I mocked her, but the more I look (and, more importantly, look at my non-baby friends who lack this little delight) the more I think it might not be such a stupid idea.

Home alone

Due to a change of job, general cut backs and the odd few billion of write downs at the bank where Yummy Mummy works I have had the first year in my entire professional career where I have not had to travel. Ever since starting on a career of clip boards and living rooms with groups of strangers asking them their opinion on things, I have spent a fair few nights away from home. Before she was even born, Eve had been to some 7 different countries. I fully expected to be doing the same this year. However, in the last year, I have not travelled at all.

This, combined with breastfeeding and having a job which is a bit more flexible than the Boy's so I can leave work to get home in time for bath time, means that I have put Eve to bed every single night since she was born. This is not entirely bad for 10 months.

Until last night.

I will be rowing in one week at the HK national championships. This year I have worked especially hard to get fit again, and am back to pre-pregnancy form and possibly even stronger. One of the boats I will be rowing in is for a bit of a giggle, and includes my doubles partner, her daughter and her daughter's friend. How fitting, then, that the first night when Eve has not had Mummy to put her to bed I was spending a very lovely evening rowing with a fine example of a mother daughter relationship.

Did I miss putting Eve to bed? Not at the time, but tonight I couldn't wait to get out of work and come home for a cuddle, playing with the ducks in the bath, and reading a couple of my favourite poems to Eve before tucking her into bed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Eve is ten months old today. Amongst the thoughts through my head this morning was the one that she has now been "out" longer than she was "in". And thank goodness for that!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Diamonds are a girl's best friend

There are two things that the Boy doesn't like about me (well, there are probably others but he is too nice to say). One is that I snore, like a walrus in mating season if the truth be known. The other is that I have something of an obsession with shoes and jewelry. I say it is an obsession, you show me a woman who claims not to have a shoe fetish and have a liking for shiny things and I will show you a man (and not a gay man at that). However, I freely admit and have expressed on this blog that very little makes me happier than handing over my credit card to the lovely people at Jimmy Choo.

As Eve gets older she is turning into a little girl. She now cuddles her dolly and gets very upset if anyone takes it off her, Yooni the pink unicorn is back in favour, and one of the other nannies gave her a toy buggy which she loves to push around. She also loves playing with my shoes. She will happily open our wardrobe, a new trick learnt this week, and pull out my shoes. She holds them in her little hands, exploring their laces and spikey heels and pretty colours. She will then, like her Mummy, discard any she is bored with and turn to the happiness of a new pair.

She also adores my necklaces and positively leaps with excitement when I come home and crawls over to me and grabs whatever I have hanging around my neck. I generally end up taking it off and just giving it to her - I suspect Tiffany did not make it's necklaces to withstand 11kg of baby hanging from them.

I rather like that my little girl is turning into, well, a little girl.

She also snores like a train. I am also, in my own sweet way, proud of this too.

U turn? You turn if you want to, this lady's not for turning

Eve is now becoming quite proficient at walking. She can stumble unaided with a fair degree of balance 6 or 7 paces. She still has to concentrate really hard, and not get too excited and run (whereupon she falls on her bottom), but she is getting much better.

However, my darling daughter has not quite mastered the art of turning around. If she wants to go in a different direction her top half moves but her feet, sadly, remain stationary and so she topples over. She always looks a little disgruntled about this, not helped by her Mummy promptly laughing at her.

Postscript: apologies for the title of this post, but it did seem to rather fit the content

Friday, October 24, 2008

Collective responsibility

There is something about being a mother that means any cases of cruelty or neglect of children make me feel physically sick. I was always horrified before I had Eve, but now it hits me in the pit of my stomach. I feel the parental bond, the vulnerability of a baby, and all the possibility of the future life of a person so acutely now that I simply can't understand how anyone can do anything but nurture a child.

My mum used to be a magistrate in one of the more deprived boroughs in London and sat on the family bench for many years. During this time she saw some of the most horrific cases of child neglect that one could imagine. It was her responsibility, and those of her fellow magistrates, to decide when things had got so bad that for the safety of the child it would be better off apart from its parents. Occasionally she was called at short notice to issue an emergency care order (sorry Mum if I recall the terminology incorrectly) because something so awful was going on that the child had to be immediately removed from their home and she would need to very rapidly review the case and make a decision. She never told us anything about the cases she saw, but I can only imagine how hard it must have been seeing what people can do to their children. At least she could make a difference and I like to think that there are some adults out there who are alive and healthy because of decisions my mother made that kept them safe. She would then come home to her two daughters and our safe and loving family life - I don't know how she switched off.

Reading the BBC online news tonight there was a story of a 16 month old girl whose father had put her over his knee and beat her so hard that he broke her spine and she died as a result. When the paramedics arrived they found her lying just in a nappy on a bit of plastic at the entrance to the living room. She was, the report said, seriously dehydrated, malnourished and covered in bruises and breaks from previous beatings.

I cannot understand how anyone could do this to any child, how anyone could do this to something so obviously defenceless and small.

And I am appalled that there must have been people, doctors (her mother was 12 weeks pregnant again), neighbours, friends, who must of seen the signs and done nothing to protect this small person.

Without wanting to sound sanctimonious, every child is so incredibly precious that it made me cry when I read the story.


Eve is now mobile. She can walk, well, stumble, a few paces unaided.

However, she wants to bypass walking, clearly it can't get her where she wants to be fast enough, so she tries to run most of the time and ends up flat on her bottom.

The cat is now exclusively staying on high surfaces until Eve goes to bed.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

One year on

A year ago I won the antenatal double sculls at our rowing club's members only regatta. I good friend gamely agreed to row with me and we won this class of one.

A year later I rowed in an altogether different crew, with A who is a brilliant sculler, and we won the open double sculls.

One year ago I was 6 months pregnant. Shit.


I think I have mentioned before but when I was an Uni I worked in my long holidays as a nanny to two twin girls from when they were 5 until they were 8, H and C. H and C are lovely. They were my bridesmaids and we still keep in touch. They are my youngest, and probably most photographed, friends on Facebook. I am immensely proud of both of them as they are down to earth, intelligent and very well rounded girls. They are also blond, thin and pretty.

H and C have just started University and I found myself yesterday looking at photos of them during freshers week at their respective UK universities. I found this an odd experience. Firstly, it was a bit like looking at photos of my freshers week. The girls have all made lots of effort to look good and seem to be wearing the same types of cocktail dresses as I did, the boys look too young to be there and desperate for a shag, and everyone looks a bit drunk. It looks fun.

Then I realised that when I was in their position they were 5 years old. What must feel like a lifetime ago to the twins (who on earth remembers anything from when they were 5?!) seems like yesterday to me. I will be 49 when Eve is in the same position - and it seems frighteningly too soon.

Independent woman

Last night, for the first time, Eve slept in her own room. It has been a long time coming. In part this is because of sheer laziness on the part of the Boy and myself. When we bought our flat in HK we did not have a baby and didn't seriously think we would have one, so knocked out the second bedroom and opened it up onto the whole flat for extra space. Meaning we only had one bedroom left. Oops.

So it has meant that we have had to sort of rebuild a wall, get blackout and sound proofing curtains so that Eve isn't woken up by us having dinner. It has taken ages, but finally we are ready.

Also, however, there was an emotional reason for me. I like that the first thing Eve sees when she wakes up is her parents, that I can hear her snuffle overnight (and sometimes snore - she gets that from me).

But, now she is sleeping through reliably (yey for controlled crying) I had run out of reasons to keep her with us so yesterday, after a couple of trial runs for nap time, we popped her into her own room at night.

Of course she was fine. I seem to be raising a pretty bomb proof child and it probably helped that she went to bed later than usual so was really tired. I, on the other hand, sobbed my heart out looking at the space where her cot had been in our room. I freely admit this is not rational, she was only in the next room, but it seemed like such a milestone - my baby is growing up.

On the positive side it now means that I get my bedroom back for the types of things that bedrooms are supposed to be for. See my previous post.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Indecent proposal

WARNING - Mum, you probably don't want to read this.

A couple of nights ago I had gone to bed before the Boy. In the dark I grabbed Eve out of her cot and fixed her on for her quick bedtime snack and I dozed off.

Five minutes later the Boy came to bed and whispered in my ear "fancy a shag" whereupon I asked whether he would rather wait until after our daughter had stopped sucking at my boob.

I think he may have thrown up. I, however, giggled quite loudly.


After the pregnancy guilt (don't drink, don't smoke, don't swear, don't drink the water, or eat the food, and for goodness sake don't have sex - it's what got you into this mess), and then the new Mum guilt (must breastfeed, don't leave your baby to cry, do leave your baby to cry, have a routine, don't feed solids too early, too late) you then get the safety guilt.

Once Eve started moving under her own steam we dashed out to get all manner of protecting safety gadgets for the flat. We have those funny plastic covers for the plugs, little soft plastic things for the corners of our cupboards that are built into the wall to carefully end at baby head height, and things to stop Eve opening the kitchen cupboard where the bleach is kept. Once we had bought the safety items the Boy and I spent one Sunday morning while Eve was napping fixing them to everything.

The first issue was that I managed to break the one on the kitchen cupboard. No sooner had the Boy spent ages fiddling with it to get it in the right place - think about it, you are fixing something in a cupboard than only really fits when the cupboard is closed - than I went to get out a bin liner and snapped the whole thing off. I tried to fix it, but gave up after about 3 minutes and the broken safety gadget now sits on our kitchen window sill until we either put it back on or throw it away.

The plug sockets are still in, but I always forget to put them back in after we have used the plugs.

The best, however, are the corner covers. Eve thinks they are a brilliant thing, and rips them off and plays with them. She loves how they stick to her fingers and she finds it hilarious. However, being a good Mummy I take them off her each time and fix them back on.

Tonight, when I was getting ready for Eve's bath I watched her pull off the corner protector, drop it under the cupboard whereupon she reached under the cupboard to get it, hitting her head on the corner in the process. She didn't seem in the least bit bothered so the corner protector is now on the floor waiting for Eve to come and play with it.

Monday, October 6, 2008


After all the hassle of breastfeeding to start with, now Eve is 9 months I find that I am still giving up my boobs for feeding. It is now just twice a day, and it is pure laziness (the feeds come first thing in the morning and before she goes to sleep) that it is simply easier to breastfeed still. If the truth be known, it also means I get a nice little nap or lie in while she feeds too.

I had always said that once Eve became mobile I would stop feeding. She is mobile now, very mobile, and happily crawls over to me if she is in bed and thinks nothing of grabbing and helping herself. Yes, it is a bit strange, but in the great scheme of what me and my body have been through this doesn't even make the top ten.

I also said I would stop when Eve got teeth, but now she has 4 through it hasn't really changed how she eats and there is no nibbling.

Except Eve has a bit of a sniffle at the moment. Well, like most children she has a sniffle all the time. Tonight I was lying down, feeding her, in a nice dark room and gradually drifting off to sleep. When Eve sneezed. Think about what you do when you sneeze. You bite down.

I screamed and, to her credit, she was not diverted from the task at hand and stayed latched on (nothing, but nothing, comes between my daughter and her food). I, however, was in a lot of pain. I muttered ow, ow a lot and Eve kept on sucking away happily. At which point all sorts of horrible thoughts went through my head. What was the damage? Was I bleeding? Was Eve actually drinking blood mixed in with her milk? Would I find in later life she would join some odd vampire cult in Slough? Had any part of me ended up somewhat detached?

Admittedly I could have just stopped her drinking and checked, but such is my maternal instinct to keep feeding my child, and possibly because I was still a bit sleepy, it didn't occur to me.

Finally she finished. I popped her in the cot, and stared down in the light of the bathroom to find no major damage done.

What I am wondering now is whether this could be the final nail in the breastfeeding coffin.


Eve is sleeping through - 4 nights now. Controlled crying was miserable but seems to be working. I am finally getting some sleep - it only took 9 months!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


A prime example of the women at my church came last Sunday. We are all learning songs for an upcoming children's service (which I can't make because I am racing). All the children, some 50 or so, left the service for practice. Eve, being neither able to sing nor dance not play a musical instrument sat at the front with me and stared in wide-eyed amazement at what was happening before her, as did I but for quite different reasons.

The practice was led by what I can only describe as supermom on speed. She was heavily pregnant and wearing a floaty outfit and dangly earrings befitting of someone in a commune in the 1970s. She had a constant smile, knew all the children by name (I have never seen her in church before so goodness knows how), and was a perky, happy, smiley bundle of energy singing "Father Abraham had many sons" at the top of her voice with gay abandon. I can't quite pinpoint why I found her so scary, maybe it was the sheer American perkiness of her, or that I couldn't understand why anyone that heavily pregnant was jumping up and down so much. But she was, quite simply, frightening.

Every so often I would look around me to wonder whether I was the only one fearing for her sanity, and my safety. However, all the other parents seemed to think this was perfectly normal. When she started to do a mock crucifix impression during one song I almost fled for the door. But, like a good and god fearing parent, I sat there with Eve on my lap, sang the songs, did the actions, and taught Eve to clap.

She was accompanied, as befitting of such a situation, by a man playing an accordion.

God squad

I have always been something of a church goer. I grew up attending a lovely church in London, where we all knew each other and it was a wonderful environment for kids. I graduated through Sunday school, Brownies, Guides, until I ended up one of a merry team who helped during the service serving at the alter. Once my contemperaneous alter boys and girls had all gone to Uni, we would all come back and help at the Christmas midnight mass each year after a trip to the pub!

On a more personal note, religion has played a very strong guiding hand in my life - and religion of the encouraging you to think for yourself variety - and has given me a framework by which I try to live my life. My parents never expected me to follow it, but opened up the experience to me so I could choose for myself.

It has been, therefore, very important to me that Eve should also be welcomed into this community and have the opportunity to experience this for herself. It was very important to me that she be baptised (and has carefully selected godparents too), and that she attends church. Therefore, each Sunday her heathen father goes rowing or to the gym and I take Eve to church.

The church I go to is very much a family church with lots of children. When I first took Eve, M (the vicar) at the end of the notices during the service took a moment to introduce Eve to everyone and welcome her. There are so many children that the Sunday school has three classes divided by age. As well as the church side, this is the only opportunity I get to be around Eve and lots of other children on a regular basis and she loves it. She even has a couple of little friends, both boys who are a few months older and she loves to play with.

However, I am not altogether comfortable at the church. It is becoming, and maybe it was before but without a child I never noticed, a window into the expat wife scene in HK. Most of the women there (with some noticable exceptions of a couple of my pre-baby friends who happen to go) are the traditional expat wives. The de-rigeur number of children is 3 and they don't work.

I have not really managed to make friends. I am viewed with some suspicion for a number of reasons. Firstly, I only have one child, secondly I work, and thirdly I go on my own and usually don't wear my wedding ring so everyone seems to think I am a single mum. I am sure that, over time, I will make friends and Eve enjoys it so that is reason enough to keep going. But I do find myself longing for my church at home.

Sleep, perchance to dream

After 3 nights of controlled crying I am very surprised at the results. Each night (and in writing this I know I am tempting fate) Eve has been gradually less and less vocal, and last night she only woke up for food. Well, she woke up at other points too but has now learnt to settle herself without intervention from us.

When she does wake up for food, it is very obvious as there is immediate shouting. The other night, when I left to go to the bathroom before feeding her she screamed the place down. It went like this:

Mummy, I am awake and I am hungry...Hello Mummy, nice to see you, I am hungry...Hold on, my food is leaving the room. Come back!...Oi, I am here. Come back I WANT FOOD(the Boy stumbles to the cot to soothe her)...Get the hell off me and do something useful and go and get my food provider back here

My little daughter. Knows what she wants and how to get it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Controlled crying #2

It is 3pm. It is Eve's nap time. She has had some milk and should be asleep. She is crying.

She never cries when she goes down for her afternoon nap. I can't help feeling this may have something to do with the whole controlled crying thing last night. And feel horribly guilty for it. Resolve is so easily shaken.

Happiness in black

Last week I went to a local outlet shop and bought myself some lovely black Armani trousers. They fit like a glove, I feel thin and sexy and happy wearing them.

It's amazing how much a pair of good fitting designer trousers make you happy when you have spent a year looking and feeling like a walrus.

Controlled crying

After a very tough week at work (it's not been a good week to be a banker) my tolerance of Eve's night waking has reached its limits. After the rather nice, but never to be repeated, middle of the night drive on Monday I have decided to take matters in hand.

After scouring the internet and baby books for ideas, the Boy and I have come across something called controlled crying. The theory is thus. A baby needs to learn to settle themselves to sleep. If they won't sleep, and it is time for them to sleep, let them cry for 5 minutes and then go back to settle them. Then increase the interval between going to settle them by 5 minutes each time. They will eventually go to sleep.

From what I can see from the internet, controlled crying is a bit like Gina Ford and breastfeeding - you either love it or hate it. As many studies as you can find saying it is horrific and will emotionally scar your child, there are as many saying that it increases independence and fosters good sleep habits for later life. As with anything to do with your child, you are damned if you do and damned if you don't, or do, or don't...

At 4am last night the Boy and I were not at our most rational. We were both incredibly tired, had not had a great evening involving that sort of intra-couple sniping that extreme exhaustion and stress tends to bring. So, this time when Eve would not go to sleep, we ignored her. I don't quite know how we made the decision to do this, only that as I looked at the Boy and said "If we start this we have to be consistent, it could take a couple of weeks" and he nodded in the darkness we both decided to give it a whirl.

Within half an hour Eve was asleep.

However, this half hour was horribly hard. The Boy put in ear plugs, I tried to muffle the crying by covering my head with the pillow. We held hands at one point and I wanted to cry. It was horrible. I felt like such a nasty, evil mother.

But, it worked. I am not counting my chickens and expect a return to the 2 hour wail of Monday, but I at least feel we are now heading down a path and at the end of it might be a whole nights sleep.

Road trip

Eve seems to have a constant snuffle at the moment. I am not sure whether it is a cold, the pollution, teething, or all three but she is not a happy bunny. As with all snuffles it gets worse at night, just when she needs to be able to suck her thumb or suck my boob. Therefore, nights have become a bit tougher (not that she slept very well anyway!).

On Monday, after two hours of sustained screaming I did something I always thought I wouldn't, I put Eve into the car to drive her to sleep. She was so desperately tired, but couldn't sleep, and had reached such a state of hysterics that we couldn't calm her down. I just needed something to tip her over the edge into sleep.

So at 1am, bleary eyed (her and me), we popped into the car and I circumnavigated Hong Kong island. Eve fell asleep after about 15 minutes, and I got to see HK when it is at is most beautiful. Quiet, unlit, and barely anything on the road.

After an hour we were back, I fed Eve, and she slept happily through until the morning.

I don't want to do it again, and I was a zombie at work the next day, but it was a lovely time to see the city I now call home.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Secrets and lies

I had lunch today with some of my mummy friends and their babes. We've not managed to meet up for a month or so, all of us having been hit by summer travel. It is lovely to see how the little ones have changed, and particularly their very distinct characters. Eve is by far the most active, attention seeking, and talkative of the bunch. And the most stroppy when she doesn't get what she wants.

As a group we have not succumbed to the competitive mother syndrome lots of people do. We all have very different backgrounds and circumstances, and the two things that tie us are that we all have babies about the same age and that we all went back to work. In fact, quite the opposite, we have been hugely supportive of each other and very accepting of different ways of doing things.

Having not seen each other for ages, today we caught up and to start with all was wonderful and positive. But after a glass of wine a few little secrets came out. J still has to rock her babe to sleep each night and now he is 9kg she wishes she could stop. D, who has the most laid back and happy little boy I know, can't get him interested in food most mealtimes so caves in and gives him puddings, which he loves. At each secret revealed we all nodded sagely, offered advice (which has in almost all instances already been tried anyway) and then smiled and took another glug of the wine.

And my secret? Eve doesn't sleep. She is a dreadful sleeper and is still fed at least once over night (we have tried so many times to drop it but she is a glutton), and often ends up cuddled up next to me in our bed.

The iron lady

I once read that Maggie Thatcher only needed 4 hours of sleep a night. This she seems to have in common with my daughter at the moment who would rather stand up, crawl, chat, cry, or simply demand mummy cuddles rather than sleep.

I rather hope this is the only thing they have in common.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Keep on running

Today I went for a run. This is the first time since the speed waddle for the Macau race that I have been running.

I probably didn't pick the best time. 5pm, on a searingly hot summer day, and down and up a rather steep hill. I didn't go very far, or fast. But, for 30 minutes in the evening sun I plodded one foot in front of the other, my favourite running music blaring into my ears, and realised that this was the last hurdle. I am now doing everything I did pre-baby. It only took 8 months, but I am really proud, if a little achey, tonight.

Stand up and be counted

No sooner has Eve perfected the art of crawling, which she does all the time, at speed, than she is moving onto the next development and is showing more and more interest in walking. This is good, ultimately if we want our daughter to win a gold medal at tennis/athletics/rowing/swimming/cycling (delete as required) then we need her to master the fundamental skill of upright walking as soon as possible. However, this in-between stage is not quite what I expected.

Scenario 1 - All is quiet chez Yummy Mummy and Eve is happily playing on the floor with her toys, and inching towards an increasingly terrorised cat. Yummy Mummy pops to the loo for no more than 2 minutes to find that Eve has, in this short time, crawled over to the shelf where we have the CDs (which she knows she is not allowed to touch), has pulled herself up to standing and is merrily chewing on a John Lennon CD. So now everything at the height of 1 foot or less, that being roughly Eve's height at the moment, is now under threat of damage.

Scenario 2 - 3am and Eve has woken up. In her pre-standing state she would suck her thumb and pop back to sleep. But now she decides to take the opportunity, as she has nothing else in her diary for this precise moment, to crawl over to the side of her cot, and pull herself up to standing and start gnawing on the side of her cot.

Both these scenarios would be rather cute except they both end in the same way. You can see the thought process as it happens.

"I'm standing up, whey hey, look at me, I am really clever. Wobble. No, I'm OK, still holding on. Wow the world looks good from up here. Wobble. Clever me, I've got that wobble thing sorted out now. Yipeee. OK, what now? I need to sit down again. Shit, how do I do that? Um, oh dear. Hello? Anyone there? Mummy? MUMMY? MUMMY HELP ME!!!"

So I get up, bleary eyed, or with my skirt round my ankles and grab my clever little girl and pop her back onto her bottom. At which point the whole things starts again.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It's a rich man's world

Every year I take an intern over the summer, sometimes two. As part of our client relationship building effort this is always a child or other relative of one of our biggest clients. This gives me a rare insight into what children with huge amounts of money are really like and, on the whole, it has been a lovely experience. E, my first intern, had a very strict allowance from her parents and despite being at Uni in the US didn't have a car because she couldn't afford one. Her parents wanted her to get real work experience and she would do anything we gave her. She even came back for more, and the following year I found her a place at the Boys company. So lovely was she that the Christmas after her internship she came along with lots of my colleagues for a big meal on Christmas Eve at our place.

My other interns have all also been lovely. Humble, willing to do anything, and grateful for the opportunity to work in a real environment. Most will go to work in the family business and so this will be the only entry-level job they ever do and it is a valuable experience (as much as anything else they learn the critical lesson that if you want to get anything done then you are super nice to the secretaries).

My intern this year, J, has been very different. Whenever he has wanted to do anything in life his Daddy's money has paid for it. He learnt to tango in Argentina, he has done taster courses in Philosophy and Psychology at the best schools (he is doing his proper degree at one of the UK's best universities). He is widely read.

However, while he happily throws out concepts and labels, he has little or no idea of what practically they mean because he has never lived in the real world. Anything he has wanted has come to him very easily.

Which resulted, when I took him through his projects for the next 4 weeks in him turning his nose up at one as "not sufficiently stimulating". This was like a red rag to a bull to Yummy Mummy and did not start things off on a good foot. I asked him whether he wanted to do a real job, that contributed to the business or just get a name on his CV. He rather sheepishly said the former.

The sad thing is that he is a nice guy. He is funny, is open to interesting debates, and happy to be challenged. He is very clever and is genuinely interested in new ideas and theories he has not heard of. I am happily pointing out the reality of a working environment, making him do things, challenging his assumptions and generally treating him like I would a new graduate. However, he can't get over the bullshit that comes from everyone in his life pandering to him since he was born.

As one of my colleagues said after a lunch with him, I am glad I am not rich if that is what happens to your children.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


For the past couple of weeks we have introduced story time after bath time for Eve. I say we, I mean me because it was becoming patently obvious that she was finding it harder to settle after her bath time and milk and I thought adding a bit of interaction might work. It did.

Anyway, we have been given quite a large number of books from people for Eve. Some have taken us back to when we were young (my parents bought her "When we were very young" which was my first poetry book as a child and I can still recite many of them), or are our own books (we have lots that the Boy had when he was younger). Some were bought new, one of which was Alice in Wonderland.

I have never read any of the Alice books. Even by the time I got to primary school I had my fill of people asking if I was named after the books (NO, my parents have more sense than that) so had something of a hatred for them. I have a vague memory of my Mum reading it with me before school once she went back to work as part of mother/daughter bonding. I don't think we read much of it as I can't remember anything except the croquet and cheshire cat - and only because everyone knows about them.

However, willing to be persuaded that I have missed some sort of literary masterpiece, for Eve's first book I selected it to read. If nothing else it would be new to me.

I am about one quarter in and everything I had originally thought about the book is true. Not only is it utter gibberish, but it is really quite scary in parts - and not in the good way of Brothers Grim tales. I find myself skipping huge sections because it is just nonsense, and boring nonsense at that.

For the last couple of nights Eve has shown similar disgust for the book. Trying to hit it out of my hands and crying. Failing that she tries to eat it in an attempt to find one redeeming feature.

It is only a matter of time before I move onto Winnie the Pooh.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Perpetual motion

After an afternoon of watching her first ever Olympics in person, Eve was quite tired and slept rather well.

The next morning we got up, had the usual messy carnage at breakfast, I went to get dressed and while in the bedroom the Boy screamed. Eve had crawled for the first time ever.

Inspired by the athletic feats she had seen the previous day off she went.

Oh shit, the flat is oh so not very prepared for mobility.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Lost in translation #2

After our first day at the rowing I was hanging around while the Boy was fulfilling his need to buy various Olympic items of kit when two middle-aged Chinese ladies came up to talk to Eve. They were two of the cleaners for the venue and were happily chatting away in Chinese while Eve gurgled and smiled at them (she is turning into a real little socialite). My Chinese is non existent but, via the method of sign, I managed to figure out they were asking her age and held up 7 fingers. In return, in sign language, they expressed how healthy and strong she looked. I nodded and smiled. Then, one of the ladies, without a moments hesitation poked me in my nipple and looked up at me questioningly. I took this to mean that she wanted to know whether I was breastfeeding, to which I nodded. They smiled and nodded knowingly in return.

To anyone who read this a bit too quickly, yes, she poked me in my nipple.

Sometimes I forget that the concept of personal space isn't quite the same in China.

Mother's pride

Of course Eve, at her first Olympics, couldn't sit with the unwashed masses so the family found ourselves with tickets to the family and friends stand - where, as the name suggests, the athletes, their family, friends and rowers from various national associations (like ourselves) sat. It was lovely to be amongst people with a similar passion for rowing.

At one point Eve was doing her usual bouncing when a lovely American lady behind me said "She looks just like my daughter did, great strong legs". We got chatting about babies, breastfeeding (what else?!), and motherhood. She told me how watching Eve was like seeing her own daughter at that age, full of energy and always wanting to be moving. Her pride and love for her daughter was so evident that I found it really touching that not only did she share this with me, but also that she saw the same thing in me and my daughter.

Her daughter went on, the next day, to win a gold medal in the women's eights race.

Flags of our mothers

The Boy, Eve and I are just back from an amazing 4 days in Beijing at the Olympics. Everything you may have read or seen about how incredible the Olympics are in China is true, and more. It is a different city to the one I used to travel to for work 3 years ago, and the pace of change is quite incredible. I could write a long blog entry on the subject, but the blog is about Mummy-hood so I will refrain.

Eve had a lovely time. Being blue eyed and very smiley works wonders in China and everywhere we went Eve was the centre of attention and lapped it up. In Tiannamen square we got a China flag from a passing policeman who was handing them out to children (I kid you not - nationalism is the order of the day at the moment) and stuck it into Eve's carry rucksack thingy. This seemed to make her the most popular attraction in the square. The Forbidden City, Mao's mausoleum both had nothing on the appeal of a small bouncy, rather overheated blue-eyed child holding a China flag. The Boy had to ask one man to stop following us and taking photos, a few people asked if they could, and I am pretty sure Eve will be in some local newspaper or some such grinning like a loon and holding a China flag.

Not content with showing support for the land of her birth, by the time we had got to the rowing finals Eve had swapped for a GB flag (thanks to the Boy's rather boozy night out). We strolled into the venue, flag in hand, only to find she had grabbed the attention of the super yummy GB rower Ed Coode and even got a smile from the glorious multiple gold medal winning Matthew Pinsent.

While the Boy has always maintained that when he is out with Eve she acts as a chick magnet for pretty young Chinese girls I feel she works the same wonders for her Mummy on some seriously talented olympic rowers.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Eve slept through for the first time last night. 10.5 hours of sleep with no feeding required. The Boy slept through too.

I, however, woke at the normal feed time and lay awake for 2 hours expecting Eve to wake up and want to feed.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Helping hands

There are many things that are much easier in Hong Kong, but none hits you as a parent like having cheap, experienced, full time childcare. It is a sad fact of economics that thousands of women from South East Asia can make much more money working as housekeepers, nannies and carers for the elderly in Hong Kong or Singapore than they could make at home even in professional jobs. Hence H, our nanny, who has a university degree, lives in our home with us for less than half of what it costs my sister to put my niece in nursery.

The conditions for these women in Hong Kong are often very tough. Contractually they have to work 24 hours a day, 6 days a week for a pittance. The government stipulates that they live in with a family, but we are only legally obliged to provide a private sleeping area and in many instances this amounts to a curtain in the corner of the living room or a child's bedroom.

Aside from the conditions and appaling treatment some "helpers" get at the hands of employers and the government, I find the role they perform in many families to be quite odd related to the children. There seems to be a culture here of giving the child to the helper even when the parents are not at work. I find this wholesale outsourcing of parenting very odd and rather worrying.

For example, yesterday the Boy and I were out shopping. Shopping for the Boy is a tedious exercise as he hates making decisions and will never compromise on anything. Between the two of us we negotiated 3 hours of shopping centres, with the buggy. However, a surprising number of families had their helper in tow. Sometimes the helper was carrying the child, sometimes carrying the bags, sometimes just pushing the empty buggy behind the couple and their child. This posed the question "why?". What is so difficult about taking your own child shopping and carrying your own bags?

Then, in the evening at our pool we took Eve swimming. We were the only couple with a baby who did not have their helper with them as well. One couple brought their baby and helper with them - that is 3 adults to take one baby swimming. In one case only the helper was there with the child (it was a Saturday).

When I talk to H, our nanny, she is really surprised that we do so much for Eve - in her former jobs she has variously slept in the baby's room to do overnight feeds, taken the children swimming at weekends, and even gone on holiday to look after the children. It would be easy to think this is a Chinese culture thing until I recall two English couples I know who think nothing of giving their baby to a helper for the weekend so they can play golf or go on a junk for the day.

I just don't understand the concept of having a child and then not spending time with them. Aside from building a healthy relationship with your child, it is simply fun doing things with Eve. I try hard not to judge the choices of others, but this is something I can't help but do in these instances.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lost in translation

H, our nanny, is a lovely lady from the Philippines. She has excellent English, although with a strong American/Spanish accent. So good is her English that I often forget that she is not a native speaker.

Yesterday, after breakfast, I dressed Eve in a cute denim skirt and vest combo. The Boy had gone to work early so I left Eve with H while I had a shower. Once out and dressed I walked back into the room to find H playing with a very happy Eve who was jumping up and down. H was laughing with her shouting "look at you, you look so sexy".

To H, the term "sexy" means the same as "pretty" and she really didn't think there was anything odd in calling a 7 month old baby girl sexy.

I must have looked horribly shocked, and spent the next 5 minutes explaining to H why it was an utterly inappropriate term to use.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Baby bull shark

Anyone who knows me knows that I have something of an odd obsession with sharks. I am one of the few people I know who actively wants to dive with them, especially the big variety. Possibly one of the high points of my life was diving with a full size grey reef shark (not big, but kind of chunky) hunting around me. The Boy was a little apprehensive, I wanted to go closer. I also once spent stupid amounts of time and money sitting on a bit of rock at 25 metres waiting to see one of the rarest sharks in the world, and the most beautiful, threshers.

Anyway, I have a bit of a thing about sharks.

My favourite shark is by far the bull shark. It is an amazing creature, perfectly adapted for its environment. It can swim in fresh and salt water and move seamlessly from one to the other. It will eat anything, and explore everything as if it could be eaten. It is the biggest killer of humans, not because it likes them, but because it uses its mouth to explore everything in its environment - with a huge number of nerve endings in its mouth. It is a bit fat and doesn't really have a neck.

Did I mention that it puts everything in its mouth and will eat anything.

For more, go to you tube and look up the Nat Geo piece on bull sharks or the one for Dive Magazine (type bull shark)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Gold medal mummies

Today I did my first race since I had Eve. It was in a double scull, racing over 2000m, and in stinking hot sun. I had been having a complete panic all week about it because I have not done anything resembling the type of effort required for a rowing race for well over a year and wasn't sure whether I would humiliate myself or even survive the course.

So, it was with some pride that myself and my doubles partner for the day, J, won rather convincingly. It was as we picked up our medals that we realised not only were we a fair few years older than our opposition, but also both had children.

When I got home Eve spent ages looking at the shiny gold medal, rolling it over in her hands and, almost unheard of, didn't try to shove it straight in her mouth. The Boy thinks this is a good sign for her (i.e. his) hopes for the 2024 Olympics.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

So last season

There is no consumer category quite so exploitative and laden with embedded branding guilt as that for baby. I can think of no other category (except, perhaps, healthcare) where every single marketing message is tinged with the underlying message of "this will make your baby happier/safer/more clever/walk earlier/sleep better and if you don't buy it then they will become a drug addled prostitute and die in a gutter and it will all be YOUR fault". In almost all other categories messages are carefully regulated precisely to stop people being conned or guilted into buying things but if for baby then it seems perfectly acceptable.

However, it is only once you have had a baby for a few months and become hardened to all of this that you realise how much crap you have or could have bought for your child. For example, we have lots of lovely toys for Eve (less than most of my friends have for their babies, however, so much so that I often feel we are depriving her), but her favourite two toys are an empty water bottle and the cat.

We did, however, feel that we had to purchase some of the childhood essentials and, when Eve was about 4 weeks old, we purchased a mobile.

Mobiles are referred to in all the baby books, you are supposed to put them on to help your baby to go to sleep. Being modern and, as we like to think of ourselves, trendy parents we refused to get anything too brightly coloured or noisy and went for muted natural tones and fibres with a nice gentle tune with a pseudo-classical lilt. It was such a "design" piece that the animals looked quite creepy, and the zebra only had one eye. And, yes, it was a bit more expensive than the plastic ones.

The mobile has not, however, been quite the worthwhile sleep-inducing investment we hoped it would be.

Phase 1 (4-8 weeks) - the music seemed to wake Eve up so we didn't use it
Phase 2 - (2-3 months) - this was the wind-down scream phase so we used to use the mobile as a distraction technique (my mum discovered this one), but it only worked twice and then Eve went back to screaming to get to sleep and the movement of the mobile seemed to make her worse
Phase 3 (4-5 months) - Eve used to wake up in the middle of the night and talk to it, or try to grab and eat it

Then, this week, came the final straw. At 5am I awoke to hear a thud, thud noise coming from Eve's cot. Upon closer inspection Eve had managed to get the mobile down and was happily whacking it against the side of the cot as if to say "I never liked this bloody thing hanging over my cot and, aha, I have finally got rid of it!".

Top tip to new parents, don't bother with a mobile.

Buffet #2

We have reached a new level of self service with Eve - yesterday while we were playing she reached out and grabbed my top. This is not unusual, but what was unusual was that she then pulled it up and, mouth open, lurched at my boob.

Thank goodness she has yet to do this in public.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


One of the things the baby books warn you about is when your baby becomes mobile. This causes all sorts of problems, they start hitting things, munching their ways through wires, sticking their fingers in sockets, and pulling expensive sacred family heirlooms off shelves. Another issue is that they tend to move in their sleep and end up wedged in all sorts of place they can't get out of. Eve manages this with remarkable regularity, and at least once over night I end up having to move her back down the cot from where she is wedged and bashing her head. She has perfected the ability to go backwards, and it is only a matter of time before she figures out forwards locomotion.

One somewhat more unexpected event, however, occurred last night. At about 5am Eve woke up and decided she was hungry. As usual, I ignored her (we are trying to wean her of feeding at night) but after her insistence got to a sufficiently loud and continuous stage I decided to bring her into bed with me. Rather than feed her, I first tried to settle her by cuddling her (again, part of weaning her off night feeds is to try to get her back to sleep without food). I was lying on my side cuddling Eve in front of me, when she put in all her effort and squirmed around to face me. I turned her round, and she did the same thing again. On the third time I finally realised that each time she was also lunging at my boob with her mouth. With her increased mobility Eve seems to now think my chest is some sort of self-service buffet to be accessed at will.

Another nail in the coffin of breastfeeding me thinks.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The flight from hell

Flying with a baby was altogether a new experience and, I must admit, not anything like as bad as I thought it would be.

Being British, and acutely aware of what other people think of me, the thing I was most worried about were the hard stares from my fellow passengers as Eve went into the inevitable meltdown. I am used to her screaming from time to time, others are not. Therefore, how people were going to react was my main concern.

The people I encountered on the flights can be grouped roughly into 3 groups.

The first, although I am willing to admit this may be airline specific, were the cabin crew. Never having travelled with a baby before, I had no idea how accommodating the crew are. We boarded first, the crew on both legs made sure we were settled before tending to anyone else. They chatted to Eve, helped me with bags, and every time Eve cried at least two members of crew checked whether there was anything they could do. During one of the, mercifully rare, meltdowns (Eve only cried on take off and landing and was a delight for the rest of the flight) a crew member came up to be and asked if I was OK. I mumbled apologetically that Eve was tired and just needed to sleep, to which they replied "Yes, but are YOU OK?". They made the whole thing much less stressful.

The second group are grandparents and those traveling with children themselves. They will cluck and coo, played with Eve and look on sympathetically whenever Eve cried or was being difficult.

The final group are the middle aged men, almost exclusively businessmen in ill fitting clothing and using their blackberries until the last possible moment, who look upon you with horror and disgust as they realise there is a baby on their plane, in their business class. As I entered the lounge I could see people look up from their copies of the FT and start to pray I was on a different flight. One man in the lounge at HK actually had the audacity to say, after cooing over how cute Eve was being, that he hoped she was at a different end of the plane to him.

Thankfully Eve was a delight for most of the flight, and there were few of the last group of people around. I didn't have to drug Eve to get her to sleep (although I had Calpol and Piriton in my bag just in case), and she slept, played and ate well.

So, my top tips for travelling with a 6 month old would be the following:
Travel business class. I know this is impossibly expensive but having the flat bed for Eve to sleep on with me, the foot stall to use to feed her, and the huge chair to turn into a playpen for her to potter around on made the flight much more bearable than if she had been sitting on me for 14 hours.
Use Air New Zealand if you are going from HK to the UK. Brilliant in every possible way, I couldn't fault them.
Take a day flight if going to the UK. It was an awful lot easier just keeping Eve up a few hours and then slotting into her normal routine and she was much more bearable on the plane because she was awake and could eat and play.

And finally...
If anyone, anyone, glares at you then get out a boob and start breastfeeding - they will most certainly look the other way.

Jet lag

I hate jet lag. I get it really badly, always have. As a result of being able to fall asleep rather easily, I have always found it particularly difficult to get over jet lag because I have a tendency to fall asleep at the drop of a hat, wherever I happen to be (once I fell asleep as pillion on a motorbike going 90mph down a motorway - I really can sleep anywhere).

However, on the most recent trip the ease with which Eve and I slotted into the difference timezone was really rather surprising, and delightful. She even slept through a couple of nights (or would have done had we not been doing our best to freeze her to death which she, quite rightly, objected vocally to).

Which has made the return leg all the more difficult. Trying to explain to me, a grown adult, why you might be awake at midnight for three hours is hard enough, explaining it to a 6 month old baby who just wants to play is altogether a new challenge.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Everything but the kitchen sink

Over the years of business travel I have become very adept at packing quickly and efficiently. Perhaps by the simple trade off between sleep and packing on dark mornings to get early flights, I can now pack for a week in under 10 minutes. The Boy, conversely, takes an hour to pack for an overnight trip, but I have become increasingly efficient.

Today, during a 10 minute slot between conference calls I laid out all the things I will need for the trip home, with Eve sitting on the bed and advising me on which shoes I should take. All my stuff is now ready to be packed into our suitcase.

So, now I turn to Eve's packing. She is only just 8kg and won't even have her own seat on the plane so surely it can't be that hard? Oh, that was a very silly thing for me to think!

Aside from the thousands of changes of clothes, bibs and pjs, I also have to think about wipes, nappies, nappy bags, nappy cream, her favourite toys, her two rubber ducks for bath time, books, little blankie things she holds while she sleeps (if we forgot those I would cry, as would she), baby calpol in case she get ears pain on the flight, bottles, utensils, three meals for the flight (apple, pumpkin and pear - her favourites). Don't even get me started on the travel cot and associated bedding.

I now have visions of the Boy and I turning up at check-in only to find we have remembered everything but have forgotten Eve.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hell at 30,000 feet

Imagine the scene. You have had a tough week at work and are due to fly back to the UK after some particularly difficult meetings. You are looking forward to lying back in your big spacious business class seat and shutting out the world.

Or, you have saved up all year for a trip of a lifetime for your honeymoon and are looking forward to some discrete smooching with your loved one on a long flight over some chilled champagne.

Just as you settle down in your big flat-bed seat a slightly frazzled couple get on the flight with a 6 month old baby who is clearly very awake, very happy, and very chatty. She won't sleep very well in her bassinet because it is not dark or quiet enough, so will cry until she exhausts herself to sleep.

Oh yes, people are going to hate us.

What a difference a year makes

In 2 days time I depart for the UK to spend a week at home with the families. It will be quite different from any other trip because this time all the siblings (the Boy's and mine) have children. I am looking forward to meeting my new nephews (who are both now 9 months old), and seeing my other nephew and niece and how much they have changed in a year. Of course it will be the first time Eve has met any family other than my parents and it will be a great time for all involved.

The trip is, however, a micro example of how much my life has changed in a year.

In previous years it would involve at least 2 days drinking Pimms at Henley in the posh bit (can't do it with children under 12 so that is out for a few years). I would usually go shopping for clothes that actually fit me, and the Boy would do a pub crawl. I would take in the Tate, normally with my Mum and Dad, and revel in the quiet of my favourite pieces - like coming to see old friends. We would at least once spend an evening in a nice restaurant and get slowly drunk.

This time we will be picnics and swimming and pottering around some of London's markets. I expect we will be in bed at 10 every night, exhausted.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The smallest member of our family

When I was pregnant, one of the things that a number of people told us we might need to worry about was how our cat would react to having a baby in the house. Apparently, cats can get jealous, change behaviour, and even sleep on the nice warm bundle that you have helpfully provided for them, thereby inadvertently suffocating your new creation. Some people were worried that our cat would take to attacking the baby, others (my Mum notably, who loves our cat, possibly more than me) were worried that our cat would feel neglected and whether it would be fair on her.

The Boy and I were a bit worried about this before Eve came along. Our poor cat has not had an easy life. She was a rescue cat from the UK originally, who got run over when she was about 5, got carted out here to Hong Kong with us to be cooped up in a flat all day (whereupon she started to pull out her own fur). She has had a few medical problems, and a sister she hated, who then died when I was about 6 months pregnant. Then H moved in a month later so everything had been very disruptive for her.

There seemed not much we could do about it. We didn't want to give away the cat, or the baby, and other than a cat net for the cot (something akin to a mossie net that wouldn't stop anything but the least curious cat anyway) we were just going to have to wait and see.

Our cat's response to Eve has been one of indifference. She has ignored the cot completely, only once come over to see Eve while I was feeding her in bed one day, sniffed her, and turned away to resume washing her bottom. In the last couple of weeks, however, she is showing a bit more interest.

She has noticed that Eve is now eating proper food and has rightly realised that at some point Eve will start to eat things that she also likes to eat and has been observing with noticeable glee as Eve throws things on the floor and on her table. Suddenly the cat is a fixture at Eve's meal times. But this is still about the only interest she shows.

Eve, however, feels very differently about our cat - she adores her. We have provided a moving toy for her and the cat beats the pink unicorn, monkey or even the squeaky chicken in the hierarchy of things Eve likes to play with. Eve has quickly realised that her current habit of bashing the table or floor until whatever she wants comes to her has no impact on the cat so is now copying me and holding out her hand (unusually quietly for her) and waiting for the cat to come to her. Sometimes she gets a bit too excited and lurches in the direction of the cat, but largely she is quite good.

The cat, however, is not so keen and will only occasionally bless Eve with the chance of touching her silky soft fur (as the cat thinks of the whole interaction).

Last night, however, Eve was beside herself with enthusiasm for stroking the cat and after following the cat around the flat for a few minutes, the cat finally condescended to letting Eve close enough to touch her. Whereupon Eve reached out, got a nice firm grip on her ear and pulled.

The cat, to her credit, did not hiss or bite or scratch but merely pulled her ear away and looked up at me with a look on the face that clearly conveyed "I told you so, now don't let that thing near me again", and sauntered off.

The cat is now viewing Eve's increased mobility with horror and now generally spends her time on elevated surfaces.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Daily dilemma

Things have been a bit unsettled lately at the bank where Yummy Mummy works and I need to make a few decisions. For starters, my boss is no longer going to be my boss and I will be reporting into someone who I don't know that well, already has a close knit team and, by her own admission, doesn't really know what I do. The job itself will be changing, but nobody seems to know what it will morph into (I am angling for a cute puppy but I suspect it will morph into something altogether less fun). I also have had a couple of other interesting opportunities land on my plate, all of which have got me thinking.

So, earlier this week I had a chat with my mentor. As a result of the leadership fast track thingy I am on at the bank, I get a mentor and mine is the head of our Hong Kong business. She is an amazing woman, straightforward, caring and brilliant at her job. We talked about possible career directions for me, what my aims were and the usual blurb. And then she told me that I would need to think seriously about what I was giving up with Eve before making my next move. This surprised me somewhat, surely she should be persuading me to follow the fast track and make the bank lots of money.

She has two children and so I asked her advice and how she handled it. She then, quite honestly, told me of some of the regrets she has about not being able to spend more time with her children, of not making all the school events, of them being in bed before she got home. She told me of an incident when her son, aged 10, had asked her why she was never there to teach him to bake cakes like his aunty was with his cousins. Her son is now 18 and, by her own admission, it is too late for her to get the time back now.

Her advice to me was thus: if I decide to pursue a career (and she thinks I have a very promising one at the bank, which is nice of her to say), then I need to realise what I will be giving up with Eve, accept this as the necessary compromise I will be making and make sure I will not regret it. If I do that and make an active and considered choice, and remind myself of this choice if I miss a sports day or bath time because I am travelling, then it is possible to be a working Mum.

This was possibly the single most useful advice anyone has ever given me, and has got me thinking hard about what I want my future to be.

More to follow.


Eve's first tooth has come through, the second is chasing rapidly.

I don't think I will be breast feeding for much longer.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Eve by name, Eve by nature

We started Eve on solids a couple of weeks ago. She was munching through more milk than ever and waking up more at night so the time had come to see how she did on solids.

I will leave the precise details to the Boy, who will tell the carrot debacle yesterday far better than I ever could, however all is going well and she seems to rather like the mush that Mummy prepares for her (being of Italian stock I insist on making all her food becase it has been indoctrinated into me that the way in which one shows love for your family is by feeding them).

Of course, being my daughter, Eve is a bit picky and while she will happily eat most things, she has definite preferences. She is not too keen on banana (and it does funny things to her insides so I can quite understand why), pear and papaya are nice but not favourites. The favourite by far is apple. She managed to munch her way today through all of the apple mush I had made for her (which was made up of 3 baked apples). At one point she tried to climb into the bowl and shouted at me when I stopped her and insisted that nice girls used their spoon. Apple is the only reliable hit of everything we have tried. Which is odd, because it's a bit sour compared to the other things she has tried.

And then it dawned on me. If you give the girl a snake and a gullible man then the scene is set for one of the greatest female protagonists in history.

Good things come in threes

1. Eve is happily gobbling any food we can put before her and drinking a bit less milk as a result. No sign of improvement on sleep as yet, but we live in hope of dropping the 3am feed soon.
2. I bought a gorgeous, sexy DVF skirt today which made me look thin. Wheeeeeeee, finally.
3. I got quite tiddly tonight on 2 glasses of wine at a work meeting. It makes me a cheap date but also very happy

All in all, a very good Friday.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

More celeb bollocks

Angelina Jolie quoted on the BBC website:

"Movie star Angelina Jolie says being pregnant is "great for the sex life". The actress, who is expecting twins with partner Brad Pitt, says the couple have become "a lot more creative" in bed since she gained her baby bump. "As a woman you're just so round and full," she told Entertainment Weekly magazine in the US, "so you have fun"."

As a woman you feel fat, tired, have heartburn, boobs the size of mountains and about as hard. Let's not forget needing the loo every 30 minutes and being unable to get out of a chair. I admit the lure of Brad Pitt may mean you make a bit more effort (like put on nice knickers) but in the last month of my pregnancy you could have had Sean Bean, Daniel Craig and Christian Bale tied up, naked, with a nice bottle of champagne on ice and I still would have preferred sleep and a bit of a cuddle.

I am filing this one along with the "my body miraculously just sprung back into shape after I had my baby" rubbish.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Which bit of that did you not understand?

A few years ago, when I was annoyed at the fact that the Boy never seemed to hear what I said - or at least never took it in - I spent one weekend counting how many times the Boy actually heard what I said and how many times I had to repeat myself. After this small experiment, I found that he only hears about two thirds of what I say. After speaking to a number of other married friends, the ability to phase out the voice frequency of ones wife is quite a common skill.

Now we have Eve, and I am primary caregiver and spend more time with her, I find myself often telling the Boy crucial things about Eve (he would argue that I nag). The same two thirds principle applies, so often something quite crucial about Eve gets missed. It annoys me that I have to say things over and over again.

However, today Eve decided, in a more effective fashion than I ever could, to ensure that the Boy always listens to me regarding Eve in the future. We were playing at home and the Boy decided that he would "fly" Eve (lie on his back and hold her in the air - it makes her giggle lots). I advised, quite firmly, that as Eve had just fed he shouldn't play flying because it presses on her tummy and she would be sick.

The Boy looked at Eve with a look on his face that said "silly Mummy, she just wants to ruin our fun". He lay back, picked up Eve, where upon she smiled and threw up on his face (and in his ears) making it look like he had just been hit in the face with a large custard pie.

As he wiped the baby vomit of himself I found myself, with some satisfaction, uttering "I told you so".

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Rice facial

We thought we would try Eve on some semi-solids today, as a precursor to weaning. So I mixed some leftover breast milk with baby rice to make a watery, wallpaper paste-like, goo for Eve. We popped her into her high chair at breakfast with us.

The first issue was with the high chair. Eve chose to loll backwards, as if having a TV dinner in front of a rather good film, instead of sitting upright. The Boy was tasked with coming up with a way that we could make her sit up straight, so wedged a towel behind her, but then had to strap her in, making Eve look a little like a fighter pilot about to head off on a new mission. However, the stage (or rather, the tray) was set.

First she tried to eat the bowl itself. However, a cunning inventor had clearly come to the realisation that babies put everything into their mouths and put a sucker adapter on the bottom so it could stick in place on her tray. Aha, foiled that one. Then she decided that the spoon was ideal to chew to ease her teething, cue a bit of a battle with Mummy to extract the spoon long enough to put some food on it.

Finally, the spoon, with baby goo on it, made it's way into Eve's mouth. Where she promptly started to chew the spoon again and all of the baby rice went down her front. We tried again, same effect. On the third attempt Eve, clearly entranced with this new fun game, grabbed the spoon and tipped the whole lot over her face. And smiled.

By now the bib, and Eve's top were soaked, she had baby rice all over her face, I had it all over me, and the Boy was laughing from behind the video camera at both of us.

And then, because she is our daughter, she figured out that this was food and when I next put the spoon near her mouth she grabbed it and sucked off all the baby rice. And kept sucking, getting more and more annoyed that unlike my boob, it didn't automatically replenish with food once she swallowed. She got a bit angry, shouted at the spoon and me, and after another small battle gave me the spoon long enough to get more baby rice into it before she grabbed it and sucked at it again. This scenario was repeated a few more times until she finally figured out that she had to wait a bit between mouthfuls so alternated between sucking the spoon and sucking her thumb (which was covered in baby rice so another food source by this point).

I don't think much went in, but she seemed to take to food like, well, I do. A success I think!

Come on baby, do the locomotion

Having just managed to return to near normality after the disruption of Eve's cold, and got back to only one feed at night, along comes another challenge to screw it all up.

Eve has been rolling around for a few weeks now. It is the only way she has of moving, and she happily trundles her way across the floor to grab a toy, or chase the light, or the cat (who still moves much faster, but is looking increasingly worried about the latest turn of events). However, it takes a lot of effort on Eve's part to do this so it is usually reserved for when she really needs it.

Except now she is stronger, and rolling is easier, she has started to move at night. A lot.

Every couple of hours when she wakes from her deep sleep into a lighter one, she rolls around her cot. Last night she did a full 180 so her head was at the bottom of her cot, she rolled into the bars, onto her tummy, over her toys. She woke me up at one point shouting because she had one arm and one leg through the bars of her cot, flailing, and was banging her head against them trying to get free. Her favourite seems to be ending up on her front, wedged next to the bars, hanging onto one bar with her hand and wailing at me to help her move - she looks altogether like someone trying to escape the Scrubs.

Sadly she reliably wakes herself up doing this every couple of hours, when Yummy Mummy, bleary eyed, wanders over to the cot, moves her into the middle, and shoves her thumb in her mouth.

I know I should rejoice in her new found skills, but I am not sure whether I preferred it when she wanted food, at least that had a purpose.

How life has changed

Yesterday was the dragon boat festival, marked by lots of dragon boat races in Hong Kong and parties that go with them. The biggest (races and party) is at a normally quiet beach on the South side of the Island. Pretty much every year since I came to HK I have gone. Boats pumping out loud music line the side of the course, races run every few minutes, and lots of fun and partying is had. For the last 2 years I have been part of a fantastic team of men and women who, traditionally, do rather well at the races and have a good time to boot. This year I took the decision that with Eve and rowing and being back at work I didn't want to spend the time training again at weekends so opted out.

Instead, I spent yesterday pottering around Central and buying some baby rice, having lunch in a nice cafe with the Boy and Eve, then I spent 2 hours in the afternoon lying with Eve on her play mat mucking around, making her giggle, and copying her movements - to her obvious delight. In the evening we had a lovely bathtime, with Eve jumping and splashing and shouting with glee at the top of her voice.

This morning, I find out that the men's team actually won the event (well done boys), and I admit I felt a tinge of regret at not having been there to celebrate with the teams, many of whom I consider very close friends. However, I think that despite not having a hangover, and not dancing in the streets or on the boat, and not soaking in the intoxicating team spirit that exists, I think I may have enjoyed my day yesterday just a little bit more than I would have done at the races.

How ones life changes.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

What kind of breast would madam like today?

Eve has just turned 5 months and we are rolling rapidly towards 6 months when things all change. At 6 months babies have another large growth spurt, get more mobile and (if you listen to the WHO) move onto solids.

I have found over the past 5 months that my attitude to breastfeeding changes all the time. There are times, usually when I am trying to fit in expressing milk at work around all the other things I have to do, that I wish I had never bothered. There are times that I panic that my milk is running out (usually by Friday I am lucky if I manage to express a full feed full during the day), and look up at the unopened tin of formula in our kitchen expecting to have to open it. Now I am back at work I get increasingly annoyed that I always have to wake up to feed Eve overnight and still go to work the next day while the Boy sleeps through. So, there are lots of reasons why breastfeeding really pisses me off.

However, on balance I am so glad I did it. Aside from all the health benefits to Eve, it is just usually much easier. No need to take bottles or worry about heating or whether we have enough formula when, as she has a lot over the last week, been eating variable amounts and at odd times because she is ill. If she is with me and we get stuck in traffic or something takes a bit longer than we thought, we have no issues because I can, and have, feed her in the car if I need to (although not while it was moving!). Even at night, Eve wakes up for her feed, I attach her while lying down and fall asleep until she finishes - all in the dark. No faffing with heating or mixing.

But, most of all, I have loved the closeness that it brings. She now has a habit of gazing up at me while she munches away and it is a lovely time, just the two of us. I also find it amazing, and something of which I am increasingly proud, that this fat little happy bundle has been entirely sustained by me. She has, quite literally, got her fat thighs from me.

So, it is with some regret that I realise that in one months time I will feed her less, that over the next few months she will move more and more onto solids. While many people I know have breastfed well into the first year, I have a bit of a personal icky thing about breastfeeding someone who is mobile, so I suspect I will stop in a couple of months. I had thought, many months back when breastfeeding was so time consuming and hard, that this would make me happy. I can, after all, start running again. But, surprisingly, it makes me very sad that I will stop.

Although the mummy daughter time will be replaced with me clearing up whatever food she throws on the floor, at the cat, and in my face.

Lest you forget

For the last week Eve has been waking up 3 or 4 times a night. This has nearly killed me and the Boy (mainly me, as the Boy has managed to develop the ability to sleep through quite a lot), and has led to such delightful comments from Yummy Mummy as "If I smothered her do you think that would help her sleep?" (do not panic, it was meant flippantly) and "You are not hungry, you are just tired and pissed off so suck your thumb and go back to sleep darling".

It has also had the effect of reminding me just how much hard work a newborn is. How on earth did we do it for so long? I have uttered the words "never again" quite a lot in the past few days.

Of course now Eve is better, as delightful as ever, feeding normally again and we have just come back from a lovely afternoon shopping with her. As is the way with motherhood, I have almost forgotten the past week.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Cough, splutter, snort

Having a little baby is hard work, having a little baby with a stinking cold who can't sleep is awful. Apparently children get, on average, 8 colds a year. Oh goody.

And to add insult to injury, I have caught it now too.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

And another one...

My cousin had his baby yesterday, a little Boy (or rather his wife did). The majority of my friends and family at the moment are either pregnant, have just had a baby, or are trying for one. Is it something in the air or have I simply got to an age where this is just what people decide to do?

Silence is golden

In addition to her fever, and eye infection, Eve has caught a cold (the more observant will now realise she has reached her quota of 3). The cold brings with it lots of snot and a little cough-cum-vomit. As a result of the latter, Eve has now lost her voice. So now I have a child who is really grumpy, but whose scream comes out as a rasping hack, making her even more pissed off that she can't express her anger. The sad thing for her is that, although she feels awful and wants us all to know about it, the Boy and I just keep giggling at her because she sounds so silly. Bad us.