Monday, 7 January 2013

John boy Walton

I've been shocked into writing this blog, a new year will do that to you, its like a sharp slap in the face as you enter January and you realise what you've let slip, and although my expanding waist line is high up there on the list of things that needs addressing (damn those after eight mints) my blog being abandoned for so long was the thing that made me feel most ashamed, i had let slip the diary of my daughters 2nd year, bizarrely it's been the last 6 months that I've really found my stride with this motherhood malarkey, it took me a year, but now that my little Mucker can walk and talk things have become a darn sight easier, don't get me wrong we still have our moments, we had 2 solid weeks of cough induced vomiting in December which was trying, and we are yet to enjoy the holy grail that is sleeping from 7am till 7pm but now that she can communicate using her daily expanding vocabulary, walk to her chosen destination (inside the house, I'm not that cruel) and generally let me know what's bothering her its all started to feel much more of a breeze, not to mention much more like living in a comedy sketch, I promise not to bore you with cute anecdotes, I save them up for her grandparents, but I have to say that this kid is funny, now, she is the only toddler I have ever lived with so I have no comparison, i can only guess that they're all funny at this age, but what shocks me is that it's taken me 30 years to learn among other things, how some people tick, what have I been doing for the past 28 and a half years if my 18 month old daughter has already learnt the art of favouritism, playing people off against one another and how to wrap both of my parents around her little finger already? This little girl is a pint size diva, a whirlwind with no inhibitions and absoloutly no fear, I said when she was born I was going to try and avoid passing my irrational fear of everything (spiders/the dark/big dogs/roller coasters) onto her, and it seems up to now we have succeeded, she has also inherited her daddy's  love of music, she doesn't like to dance alone though, it's all or nothing, when there's just a couple of us it's quite liberating, dancing around the living room shaking our polka dot maracas and  beating on the plastic drum. but guests are not exempt, no body wants to say no to a baby, especially a bossy toddler who holds your little finger chanting dance, dance, dance.....

When she was first born i kept a baby book, listing her first words and funny little ways, this is also something I've let fall by the wayside, and now it seems their are too many to keep up with but I think for her sake I should try and note down a few, my memory is more goldfish that elephant already.....the funniest ones will be the easiest to remember, such as her premature hypochondriac tendencies (she likes to show anyone who will look her 1cm x 1cm patch of baby eczema on her arm) her declaration that everyone, including herself is funny, she initially pronounced it with an A but luckily that corrected its self quite quickly, a frequent one is her self professed healing powers (any body who has a cut or a graze gets kissed and declared "all better") and her finely tuned school yard insults (everybody no matter how fragrant, stinks or is pooey accompanied by the obligatory waft of the hand, something we started to encourage her cooperation during nappy changing but now regret) something's she does will only apply seasonally, such as gaining an affection for the egg shaped baby Jesus in our wooden nativity, so much so she left teeth marks, but my current favourite is the roll call, each time she learns a new name, a family member, friend or even a neighbour, they get added to the roll, and each night our house turns into an episode of the waltons as she wishes out loud night night to as many of them as her tired little brain will allow.....funny but not so much when she does it at 3am!!!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

How long is too long?

It's been so long since my last blog I actually felt a bit of a fraud writing one, since my last confession we've clocked up several milestones, my beautiful little monster has celebrated her first birthday (we had a little tea party with a squidgy chocolate cake made by nana and played pass the parcel to jazz versions of humpty dumpty whilst tearing off dozens of layers of newspaper methodically wrapped by grandad, which was possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen) Her nanas bought her a pink trike, which comes complete with a little phone attached, there is no mistaking the start of her Liverpool accent when you hear her shout hiiiiiiiieeeeeeeer into the receiver! 

We also ventured on our first family holiday abroad,  which excess baggage aside went without a hitch, just remind me never to go on a flight longer than 4hrs until  she is a little older, her overtired screams whilst boarding the plane home made us feel like the family from hell, they only lasted until the plane took off, when I swear the other passengers breathed a collective sigh of relief, but while my long limbed child slept very comfortably stretched across her own seat plus half of ours, and I can sleep on a washing line, plus had commandeered all of the remaining scarves and blankets plus Tilly's travel pillow, her daddy attempted to get some shut eye, shivering from the aircon and to my amusement attempting to use a minature ooopsydaisy doll as a pillow, only for his little princess would he make such sacrifices!

In the past couple of months I've seen my little baba morph into a little girl before my eyes, her inquisitive nature both fascinates and makes me howl with laughter, her new favourite words are what's a? (what's that?) and who's a? (who is that?) and nothing and no one is safe from the finger (she points at everyone, which I know is bad manners but isn't it a little early to introduce social etiquette?) Her total lack of inhibition is hysterical, quick finger up the nose at a party, why not? Quick scratch while at the dinner table? don't mind if I do. Place a little fat hand on the thigh of a fellow airplane passenger? Lift one bum cheek in public to allow bottom burps to escape noisily? Lie spread eagled under a holiday makers breakfast table? Peer down nanas sweaters and woooooooooo with approval, all perfectly acceptable in Tillys world. 

At 13 months old she hasn't plucked up the courage to let go of my finger when walking, and walking is all she wants to do, I now walk permanently hunched over and very very slowly, any weight loss from chasing her crawling at the speed of light has come to an abrupt end,  we take long strolls together around the kitchen, down the garden and to and from the living room, I relish every minute as I know it won't be long before I have to force her to hold mummys hand!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

And she's off......

The madness has begun. My little monster is mobile, she has upped her game from being a human rolling pin to crawling across the room at torpedo speed, stopping only to drag, pull and chew things in her path. The poor mite will be sick to death of hearing her name, it's all I ever hear myself say, Tilly Tilly as she heads precariously towards the tiled fireplace, tills, Tilly monster, don't pull that, Tilly tillllllly please don't eat mummy's grazia, gnaw on daddy's shoes or bite the door stop. That's another thing, she likes to taste test everything,and I mean everything, shoes, table legs, cables and she has a particular penchant for lint, the child has a hawk eye, she can spot a fleck of unidentified matter at ten paces, I wonder if perhaps I watched too much CSI while I was pregnant, she is a human microscope, better still she can pick up these bits despite them being invisible to the naked eye and guide them into her mouth.
We have made the usual vain attempts at Tilly proofing the house, plug socket covers, sponge clips on interior doors to stop them closing on little fingers (which every single time i leave the house forget are there and find myself getting frustrated when I can't get the damn door to shut) The stair gate has to be my favourite new piece of kit, it narrows the possible square footage she can cover, and to be fair the new found independence is good for her, she was showing signs of being a little clingy and tearful if I was out of sight which I now realise was more likely to have been boredom and a touch of jealousy at my ability to drift from room to room with ease. another plus point to her being so active is that she tires herself out and is more than happy, you could even say grateful to be put down for her naps, off she goes to the land of nod still wearing her baby knee pads (bought by a friend purely for our own entertainment) no doubt dreaming about what how many DVDs she can pull out in one go, what tight space she can get wedged in and cry to be rescued and her new favourite what lightweight, unsteady item of furniture can she use to drag her self into the standing position while her legs do a darn good Elvis little bear gryls is keeping me busy

Friday, 2 March 2012

Desperate measures

8 months, 8 months old and my baby girl has gone from being a baby to being a little Girl, an animated, interactive miniature person with a mouth full of teeth and an iron will. I can't believe the new baby stage passes so quickly. She is clapping hands, lip smacking in an attempt to blow kisses, along with the obligatory hair pulling and perhaps more original, teeth grinding.

She is now finally in her own room, This selfish new mum wanted her near me while she slept, my excuse was seeing to her when she woke was quicker and easier if she was in the same room, but alas I realised it was time. There were tears the first night (mine) and again the second nights (hers) I even relented and put my wriggling, coo-ing gro bag wearing early riser in our bed, which resulted in me sleeping horizontally on the end like an old dog, such is my fear of suffocating her. Do all babies take up so much room? Do they not understand the art of spooning to conserve space? Tilly doesn't, she prefers the star fish position, ensuring maximum mattress coverage for her and minimum parental comfort, this co - sleeping is not for me , unless we forsake all other bedroom furniture and replace it with a room sided mattress and several duvets.

It's amazing what you will do to encourage them to sleep, last week after a particularly eventful day which resulted in Tilly wanting virtually no sleep and thus buzzing with tiredness we were driving home and bam off she went into the land of nod, a peaceful nap which I had no intention of disturbing, on arrival on our driveway I left the engine running, radio on and sat there, unsure of how long she would sleep for I made myself comfortable, seat reclined, iPad out. This may sound crackers but moving her inside would have definitely have woken her, it was only when the boyfriend brought me a cup of tea out and i considered the possibility of catching up on some zzzz's myself, I knew I was on rocky ground. But this wasn't the point i realised I had descended in parental psychosis, this came earlier. On a recent day trip we (baby, boyfriend and I) were sat in traffic, baby has the patience of her father which in metric terms converts to absolutely none and on this particular occasion she was being very vocal about it, screaming at the top of her lungs to be exact, so her dad and I decided to divert her attantion by launching into a competitive animal noise sparring match, back and forth we went baaaaaaaaaa, hissssssss, rooooooooooooaaaaaah, chirp chirp, chirp chirp. The point being no one animal could be repeated (I have to give him credit his mooooooooooooooo was pretty impressive, very life like) clearly we were amusing her selves more than we were amusing Tilly as it took a few minutes to even notice that Tilly had completely stopped crying and was gazing out of the window, probably pretending she didnt know us.

I am now facing the challenge of returning to work. Getting ready for a trip to the shops takes planning for me, getting ready for work with Tilly in tow is going to take military precision. I have takes steps to prepare myself, a very kind friend accepted my request for a written run down of her morning itinerary, she has 2 children and a full time Job, so i was very grateful, she has better things to do. I almost broke into a sweat when I read it, mornings are never going to be the same again. I found myself feeling sorry for Victoria Beckham last week when the media were giving her a hard time about looking tired, she is a working mother with a young baby after all, and apparently she doesn't have a nanny, which is refreshing to hear. But what she must have is someone to watch baby Harper while she gets dressed and has hair, nails and make-up done before she faces the day, plus she doesn't have to clean her own house, and it's unlikely she cooks her own food...and that is worth a dozen nannies!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Verucca Salt

I read recently about "little emperor syndrome" where parents cross the line from loving and attentive to over indulging their offspring causing the child to become the ruler of the parent or the l' enfant roi - the child king. When Tilly is in her car seat, stroking the seatbelt pulled across her and gazing out of the window I often think how regal she looks, more so because when we go out as a family I am relegated to the back seat like a naughty kid (am thinking of getting myself a Nintendo DS to complete my look) while she rides shot-gun with daddy, for 2 reasons, she cries when she is in the back (she dislikes being in the car sear at the best of times, but the back seat causes her to wail like a wounded animal and we cant have that can we.....) and the other being her daddy prefers it that way, he likes his little princess where he can see and chat to her, can you hear alarm bells ringing or is it the sound of me building a rod for my own back? Am i a car journey away from having to walk two steps behind my master ? 
Some of the examples given were allowing your child to dither over their choice of sweets in a shop whilst a queue forms behind you or rearranging your plans so your little cherub can go to a school friends birthday party, can such things really encourage narcissism as the article suggested? I regularly dither over my choice of meal in a restaurant,  is this a deep rooted way of making people wait for my almighty decision ? Or simply my inability to be decisive when food is involved?? And as for waiting in line for a few more moments while a 5 year old decides if he wants a milky bar or a fudge (milky bar, every time) the issue seems to be with the adult and their lack of patience, no? 
But then I remembered the words of my recent blog where I said I would arrange for Tilly to "listen to Nessun dorma whilst bathing in ass'milk If it made her happy " oh dear, I may rue the day I thought that way, is my style of parenting going to result in me raising a little Verruca Salt? 
No home made dinners for you tonight little one,  Bread & gruel only, can't have you getting above your station.....

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


My failed attempt at breast feeding left my inner earth mother feeling a little bruised, when the time came to wean my little darling, I felt i could achieve redemption by feeding her only home cooked mush, no jar, sachets or pre packed purées would pass her lips.
So i set to work  furiously peeling, chopping, steaming, pureeing and freezing dozens of cubes of mushed fruit & vegetables in several variations, pea, mint & potato, sweet potato & broccoli, apple & raspberry, roasted plum. One dessert recipe suggested fresh cherries, I love cherries so was keen to see if my little offspring had inherited my tastebuds, so there I am washing, de-stoning, chopping and stewing them ready for the food processor, managing to get tiny splashes of deep purple juice all over the white walls in my cherry fuelled frenzy, this whole process was laborious, cherry skin is surprisingly tough and my risk assessment of the possibility of Tilly choking on the skin was at least a 6 on a scale of 1 - 10 (frighteningly high don't  you agree?) so I ploughed on until all that remained was a smooth pulp. There I am pleased as punch with my culinary masterpiece when the boyfriend joined me for the final stage, pouring into freezer pots, he had foreseen something I hadnt and couldn't resist the spectacle. After half an hour (ok, 20 mins) of graft I had managed to make just 3/4 of a cube of cherry dessert, not even enough for a full serving, not even scraping the remnants from the blender with a spatula could make up the difference, boyfriend was amused, i was demoralised and washed up in a huff, i could have coped with this minor set back had it not come on the same day as I attempted home made oatcakes, which instead of gnawing contentedly on, Tilly bashed full force on the table as if to demonstrate just how inedible they were.....

These hiccups havent put me off creating culinary baby food masterpieces, quite the opposite, I enjoy leafing through Tillys recipe books more so than my own these days, and delight in seeing her experience new tastes, but I have to admit defeat in one area, desserts. The purist in me gave way to the much stronger element to my personality...laziness. I have committed what seems to be a cardinal sin in the world of Annabel Carmel, feeding my precious little monster petit filous, which opened the flood gates and led to rice pudding and finally last week I caved and bought a weeks worth of desserts in a jar (organic, I'm not an animal!) i am interspersing them with fresh fruit, but the damage is done, I am no longer worthy of the title Betty Crocker, I feel guilty, but not enough to go back, mains are still of the home made variety which eases the pangs, and confessing to you makes me feel lighter of heart, but i worry, am I one step away from feeding her takeaways and fizzy pop?

Monday, 23 January 2012

Show me the Mercury

Hot, cold, warm, cool, chilly or toasty , I am not fussy, it's all about the numbers for me, I am unabashadly obsessed with the temperature, the source of this daily complusion i have put down to the introduction of a thermometer to our bedroom.
With the arrival of our little baba came a little baba monitor, complete with digital temperature gauge, from the moment I switched it on, it became what they call my idee fixe, a fascination with the digits before me, knowing the exact room conditions to the nearest degrees celsius is my new party trick, I also like to announce it when I get into my car, which luckily also has a Temperature sensor, it's the last thing I check before I go to sleep and the first thing I check if my baby wakes up.

As all mums will know babies are particular little creatures, they need to be not too hot, not too cold to be comfortable and sleep well, not to mention the safety aspect, so I am happy if the double figures show me anywhere between 17 and 20 at bedtime, anything below that and I am deeply troubled, I fear my little girl maybe nesh like her mummy, her sleeping patterns of late have been akin to that of a new born, frequent waking, random yelping and general restlessness, it has been a trying time, i was under the impression at the ripe old age of 7 months she would be achieving the holy grail they call "sleeping through" so along with testing the hunger theory, cold had to be a contributing factor. As anyone who had experienced baby induced sleep deprivation will sympathise with, you would do anything to try and coax/encourage your little one to sleep for a solid 8 hrs, if Tilly wanted to listen to Nessus dorma whilst bathing in ass' milk I would arrange it in a jiffy, if it helped her sleep from 7pm - 7am!

My fear now is that my protege may already picked up my interest for all things measured by mercury, my distaste for luke warm tea is mirrored by her turning her button nose up at milk any cooler than room temperature, and likewise her puree, to be fair I wouldn't eat cold vegetable mush, so warming it is the least I can do, it's like master chef in our kitchen each mealtime, her taking a mouthful of food, me waiting pensively for the verdict.....usually indicated by a wrinkled nose or a gurn, both of which I ignore and continue to feed her regardless, but you can't blame the kid for trying!