Monday, August 31, 2009

Toys for the big girls

As we get older we never quite grow out of toys. For me, dolls and cuddly toys have been replaced by a love of shoes, handbags and horses. The Boy has numerous sports-related gadgets (in many cases a few of the same thing but in slightly updated models). At the weekend I got my new toy, a large Ducati motorbike. I have ridden motorbikes ever since the Boy got sick of having to drag me everywhere on his one when we lived in London. My interest goes back even further to my first proper boyfriend who was an utter dick in every way except that he got a motorbike as soon as we turned 16. I have been rather sensible in my motorbike choice until recently when I sold my sensible, small-ish Honda and changed for a sleek, black, 800cc Monster (the brand name, but somewhat apt). I love it.

So does Eve. She thinks it is the coolest thing and loves to gaze at it in wonder, with a slight smile on her face somewhat similar to mine. She doesn't want to sit on it, the noise and size scares her a little bit (if the truth be known it scares me too), but she is fascinated. When I was riding it home at the weekend, Eve was in the car with the Boy and sat repeating over and over "Mummy, moma (her word for motorbike), vroom" and smiling. Now every time she sees a motorbike she says "Mummy, vroom".

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Calling all working Mummies

I have a bit of a dilemma. Yummy Mummy has been very, very lucky since I became a Mummy and I have the most amazingly flexible working arrangement with my boss. I work from home when I can, leave at 6 if I am in the office, and have responsibility and a nice salary to boot. It is a nice job, although not what I imagined I would be doing, but a good team nonetheless. At the moment I don't have any obvious career path within the team, however.

Last week I was approached to find out if I would be interested in applying for what, pre-Eve, would have been my ideal job. It is working for a team I know well and find very interesting. It would get me closer to the business and our clients, which has been one of my complaints about my current job because it moves me further away from where the actual business gets done. I really like the person who would be my boss, it would be a great career move. I only have a limited window before my old contacts and reputation from my pre-Eve job run out and make it difficult for me to make the move at all.

It would also see an end to working from home, would mean longer hours and seeing less of Eve. When I met the person who is currently doing the job yesterday to discuss it I was so excited about the chance that I had made my decision to go for it. But when I sat at lunchtime today singing "if you're happy and you know it" with Eve I made it back the other way.

I also realise that I can't work like this forever, in any other job I would probably have to change how I work, that Eve will go to nursery in about 6 months and I will then stop working from home, or do half days rather than full days here.

I can't help feeling that this is one of those crucial life-changing decisions. If I say no then I will always wonder what I could have had as a career had I made the choice. If I say yes then I will always wonder what I have missed with Eve. It is, quite simply, the choice between having a career and having a job.

I can already pre-empt all the comments about being able to get back into the career later etc, and I realise how fortunate I am to even have this decision to make. So many women don't. However, knowing that doesn't make it any easier.

I have the formal interview tomorrow and then I will either have to make a decision or not. I can't help wishing they would turn me down so I don't have to make the decision at all.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Along with being thrown out of a pub and out of a church, Eve can now add a library to her list of places she has been ejected from (although we didn't actually get thrown out) .

If we had been in the main part, where anyone was reading, then I might have felt a bit less aggrieved about it. However, we were standing in the atrium by the lifts (the cause of the shouts of happiness from Eve as she watched them go up and down) when the security guard came over and, pointedly looking directly at Eve, told us to be quiet.

I felt like asking him if he fancied trying to keep her quiet. I had been giving myself a pat on the back because I had managed to get her to stay stationary while the Boy returned our books. Silent AND still would be too much to expect.

I felt like a naughty child being told off and wandered off muttering "what does Mr Quiet do?" to Eve to persuade her to lower her volume.


Broodiness is not something I ever experienced before I had Eve. Although much loved now she is here, I had never been one of these people who just had to have a child. I have lots of friends who were, so I understand the concept, but it just never happened to me. I got drunk, got pregnant, had a baby and became a Mum. The whole planning and desire bit rather passed me by. I thought of broodiness in the same way as I do about people with allergies. I know that they are real, but I just don't have them. I am too strong and healthy (and selfish and stubborn) to succumb to that.

So it is with some fear that I am starting to realise that I might be coming down with it and, the more horrifying thought, that it might be catching. I have 2 friends with relatively new babies, a couple who are pregnant, and a similar number who are actively trying. As Eve was bouncing up and down on the sofa and trying to pull the cat's tail today, I couldn't help thinking that she would make a great older sister. In fact, it would do her a lot of good. Maybe those nights and breastfeeding weren't so bad, and it is not as if it goes on forever, and it must be easier the second time round. Surely?

As a result I find myself being a little less careful about taking my pill than I was last time I was on it. And there is still a jar of unopened folic acid in the cupboard that I could start to take just in case.

Or maybe, like allergies and other illnesses, my immunity will kick in, the illness will pass and I will get better again.

Pets not to buy your children

A delightful short piece from David Attenborough on the one pet you might want to avoid buying your children.

One bite or two

While I pat myself on the back for raising a confident, independent little girl, sometimes confidence can go a bit too far. I came home yesterday to pick Eve up from the playground to find out from our nanny that she had bitten one of her friends who wouldn't share a toy with her. This comes on the back of Eve pushing other children at the pool at the weekend. This new aggression is an unwelcome piece of toddlerhood that I had hoped would pass us by.

I must admit, however, that I am a bit stuck as to what to do about it. I have done all the sensible things, told her it hurts, said no, removed her to another place when she does it. However, she still does it. A glimmer of hope comes, however, in that the has bitten the Boy a few times but only me and her nanny once. H and I have little patience with such behaviour whereas Daddy is not quite so firm. Clearly consequences and discipline are the name of the game.

Which leads me onto the second dilemma. Managing a set of 3 carers, all of whom have to have the same consistent approach. H is a bit too soft on Eve, being more used to Chinese families where the children are rarely disciplined by the help. After a quick chat yesterday, H and I have agreed that if Eve pushes then she gets one more chance and then gets taken home. Biting and she goes home straight away. If she snatches then we take whatever she has snatched away and we do a time out. So far so good.

The Boy, however, needs a bit more work. He doesn't understand the need for consistency. Hence a stupid argument at the weekend. We were at the pool. The baby pool has shade, but the big pool has not. The Boy told Eve that if she wanted to play in the big pool then she would have to wear her hat. After we had removed her from the big pool 3 times (she refused to wear her hat) the Boy gave in saying "well she has a lot of sun tan lotion on". I then spent the better part of 10 minutes explaining child psychology 101 and that if you set a rule then you HAVE to stick to it. In a huff I advised him to pick his rules more carefully next time.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Grin from ear to ear

One of the oddest things about being a Mummy is you forget that you were once an attractive and desirable human being and maybe, just maybe, could be again. Maybe it is the few months of leaking boobs, looking like a whale, or (as is the case today) my classy look being somewhat spoiled by finding bits of green paint on various parts of my body and clothes that I didn't manage to wash off after Eve and I did a rather vigorous session of painting this morning. Anyway, I rarely feel like the sexy, sultry woman I once thought I was. And that's fine. I suppose.

Anyway, I was exchanging emails with one of the rowing boys yesterday, ostensibly because he is looking for a job in banking and had been training with the Boy earlier this week who had suggested he have a chat to me. After general chit chat, he wrote the following.

I have been single for far far to long. My requirements. They have to be half as good looking as you and I would be a very happy man

BIG, BIG grin from Yummy Mummy

Monday, August 3, 2009

Quiet as a mouse

Amongst other delights this weekend, we took Eve to the library. I am rapidly becoming a huge fan of our library, mainly because I don't have to read the same books over and over, but also because Eve can happily run riot in all the space and come to relatively little harm. As always, however, I am left wondering why Eve seems so different from other children.

When we got to the library we had a quick stop first in the cafe. The Boy had not eaten since our vast breakfast, it was early evening, so I needed to fortify him with cheesecake. As we were sitting down, I jealously looked at the other Chinese children. They were sitting quietly, reading their books or just, well, sitting quietly. Eve decided to run around like a loon, eating pieces of lemon I had given her, climbing onto chairs, chatting to other people, climbing onto a concrete plinth and shouting at the top of her voice. All the while the nice quiet Chinese children were being very well behaved while their parents looked upon my little show with horror.

A similar thing happened on Sunday in the playground where the Boy and I had taken Eve. The little chinese girl, who is the same age as Eve, was playing nice and quietly while Eve was swinging from the bars, stealing toys from other children and generally being, well, Eve. I found myself apologising more than once as she pushed past another, quieter, child on the way to the slide. I reprimanded her when she snatched or pushed, but she is a toddler and doesn't quite understand the concept of sharing yet.

I can't figure out why Eve never sits still and is always climbing or chatting or making mischief while all the other children just sit demurely and do as they are told. I am clearly doing something very, very wrong in this respect. Maybe she lacks discipline, although we hardly let her run riot at home. Much as I tell myself I am raising a confident, inquisitive little girl, I would also like to occasionally have a nice little girl who sits still and doesn't throw her food or herself on the floor.

Where did it all go?

It is Monday and as usual on a Monday I am left wondering what on earth I did with all the time I must have had before I had a child. This was a rare weekend because I wasn't rowing (the river was closed) and so I was looking forward to a nice relaxing couple of days.

My relaxing weekend went thus. On Saturday we started the day going out for breakfast, then a swim, then to the truly excellent Museum of Coastal Defence, then motorbike shopping, back home for a quick ergo session, then off the indoor play area, finished off with a little light zoo building using lego. Then I cooked supper for the Boy. Sunday started off with a 6.5km run with Eve in the buggy and, well, didn't get any less active for the rest of the day.

I loved every moment of it, but I could really do with a weekend now.