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!