Saturday, 27 February 2010

Picture post: a bloody eye, a long rat's tail and a skiing penguin

Ms. Moon asked for a belly picture, and who can refuse Ms. Moon anything? Not me in any case.

It was taken last week, while we were on holiday. And yes, my wardrobe gets rather girly when I'm pregnant. (I am not obsessed with my iPhone.)

Here's another photo for you: the carnaval dessert in the hotel.

(I am not obsessed with my iPhone.)

While I'm doing a picture post, I also have one of a penguin teaching my son to ski

and of my son imitating that penguin

My mother took those two photos - I tried on my iPhone, but the camera is shit. (I am not obsessed with my iPhone.)

I would show you another photo of the Bumba, but Babes euthanised it last week without warning me, so I couldn't take a picture of its crumpled state (it was still high in the sky). The Bumba is obviously angry with us now: I have a spot on my back which is rapidly developing its own ecosystem, and last week's snow has melted to reveal a fresh pile of cat poo. The Bumba is not pleased and is cruel in his punishments.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Yay second trimester!

On the plus side:
  • Future baby. (Obviously.)
  • More energy.
  • Little kicks!
  • Nesting. (= Future tidier house.)
  • Little kicks!
  • Better appetite, not so much vomiting. No more vomiting blood. (I hope.)
  • Little kicks!
  • More positive thinking.
  • Little kicks!
On the slightly-less-plus side:
  • Nesting. (= Presently godawful house. I tidy by pulling everything into the middle of the room and sorting it into piles. After I've made the piles, I lose interest.)
  • Better appetite. As if these hips need that. I did so well losing that weight, dammit.
  • Stomach acid overload.
  • Still no hair dye, but I'm about to crack. Marie came out fine, and I had my hair done a couple of times with her.
  • The ITCHINESS! Oh, bloody hell, the itchiness. My belly, my boobs, my back - the damn itchiness!!!
I'm off to moisturise.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

In awe of the boy

Five year old Jack has a sore stomach. I tell him he should rest on the sofa for an hour. He can't sleep, but is very patient. Near the end of the hour, he asks me how much longer. I absentmindedly tell him seven minutes.

Exactly seven minutes later, he says "Surely I can stop resting now." When I ask him how he knows, he tells me, as if it's obvious, that he counted "One Mississipi, two Mississipi, ... all the way to sixty; seven times."

That boy takes my breath away.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Birthday trouble, birthday fun

I had the best day. Officially I turned 33 today, but hardly any mention was made of this fact. Instead, Babes took the day off, and we celebrated his 33rd birthday. (For he's a jolly good fellow!) I also sent a Facebook message to my darling cousin to congratulate him on his birthday. Then tonight, I phoned my sister (not An) to wish her a happy 29th. Oh yes, and a sweet day it was.

I will tell you why this made me so happy -

For the first three years of my life, I had a birthday all to myself. I don't remember any of those days. Then, for my fourth birthday, my parents kindly provided me with a baby sister. Which - great, you know. Only couldn't they have waited a day, or got in there a couple of days early? (She was induced.) From then on, my birthdays were spent in the shadow of my (lovely, blameless, entitled) younger sibling. One year (my family tire of this story, but I will keep telling it as long as I live), a whole lot of relatives visited our house with presents for my younger sister. That year, I got

- wait for it -


one pack of blank cassette tapes! Yeah baby - good times. I hated my birthday. Always.

Anyway. We moved to Scotland and one day at school I started inviting some people to my 17th birthday party. They, however, objected because one of their friends (not new to the school, so obviously more of a priority) had his birthday on the same day. "No problem," I proclaimed. "Bring him along!" The day arrived, we had some booze, next thing you know I'm married to this bloke. D'oh! Just when I escaped the joint-birthdays-with-sister I went and picked up someone else who came with the same inconvenience.

Three years ago, I finally saw the light. I simply moved my birthday to the 23rd of March. The benefits are multifold! I get to ignore my birthday completely, while giving Babes the birthday he deserves. I don't have to acknowledge my new age. I can gracefully wish my little sister happy birthday. (We're celebrating her at the weekend.) And, AND, a-a-and... next month, I get to have a birthday all to myself, which really isn't a birthday, so I don't have to mourn the passing of time or get scared of the grim reaper's approach. I just get to have the birthday I always wanted, without all the pressures of an actual birthday. Genius or what?

(*** Oh, and I have my very first ever guest post up at Be gay about it! ***)

Monday, 22 February 2010

Pictures, chaos, invitation

So I cracked. Metropolitan Mum asked me to reveal the contents of my bag. I haven't done these tag-things before, but this one was so timely coming as it does just after our holiday, I could not resist. (Also, she's lovely.) (And I got a chance to waste a whole lot of time playing around with Flickr. (No, I'm still not impressed.)) I'm so glad I took out the nappies and children's hats and scarves yesterday. I have now made a promise to myself not to just stick all this stuff back in. Especially not the manky old tampons. Or the dirty tissue. Or the old receipts.

There's a scene in that movie where that woman who reminds me a bit of my mother goes to visit a Parisian madam for an interview and she has to open her handbag (that description would be enough for Babes, but just for you I will ask him what it's called - I'll add it in later). She opens it and it is wonderfully clean and tidy and the madam is happy because otherwise she probably wouldn't have done the interview. I want my handbag to be like that. In fact, I want my life to be like that. All dust-free and functional. Pretty as well, but tidy and clever. Minus the prostitution. My second trimester and the energy which will no doubt arrive any day now (really, it should feel free to arrive ANY day now) will be dedicated to transforming this pigsty into a haven for actual people. As opposed to vermin. One lives in hope. (And is delusional.)

Now, without any further ado: the dreaded reveal of the contents of my handbag. The captions came out a bit small, but if you click on the picture they will be bigger.


- No need to be embarrassed yet.


- Well, I do carry around the storage unit.

- Useful on holiday.

- Not so useful due to bad fit and non-use.

- The frame? Just because I can.
- The lollipops aren't mine, and I swear I'm not sponsored by any chocolate manufacturer.

- Mostly crap.

- My stomach acid is having a party in my oesophagus, hence the Maalox. (Any helpful tips to remedy this happily received. I spent most of my two previous pregnancies "sleeping" half sitting up.) The loose pregnancy vitamin tablet I should probably dispose of.

- Some of this is not for immediate use.

Now I suppose I'm meant to tag people, but I'm always a bit disappointed when I'm not tagged by other bloggers (even though I never do memes - I'm needy like that) so I will just tag everyone. I'm feeling very nosy today, so I'd love to see what lives in your bags (especially Ms. Moon's, Michelle's and Gaelikaa's, but that's not a tag, just an invitation). I think this could make a good vlog as well, for those who are so inclined - you know who you are.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

This way to the freak show

So pedicures - fine but not really my thing. The girl said herself that I didn't really need one because my feet were fine. I didn't like the filing or the machine that took off dry skin (I got very jittery then), but it was a wasted hour and I quite like wasted hours. They're the best kind. Also, I got to practise my German and I always enjoy that.

Anyway, after my pedicure, my amazingly lovely left foot looks even more amazingly lovely. I've always thought I would make quite a good foot model. You can judge for yourself:

The only shame is that foot models are probably hired for the beauty of both their feet. I'm guessing there's not too much call for left-foot-only models. Which brings me to the small problem of my freakish Addams family right foot:

Maybe I could do a before and after for foot surgery, if they flip one of the photos. Ha! Finally a solution to the shameful waste of my gorgeous yet hidden left foot. If only this could provide me with some extra income to pay for the orthopedic shoes I will no doubt need if I wear high heels for another decade.

To finish off this pedicure post, here is the pair of them again, after treatment:

The beauty and the beast. All dressed up for dinner.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Sulking in the most unreasonable way

So I'm in Austria on our yearly family skiing holiday, only it seems to have been decided by a general vote that I'm not allowed to ski because "it would probably be safe but I'd never forgive myself if I fell and the baby was hurt." Whatever.

Everyone else also keeps consuming alcohol by the bucketload, while I have my sparkling water. Yesterday, I went cra-zy and had a fresh orange juice. There's decadence for you.

I'm trying very hard not to sulk, because that would be ungrateful and childish. I do have a week's holiday in a hotel. Also, I suppose I could just decide to go up anyway but I haven't. After all, I've been through a few failed pregnancies and they're not fun.

However, skiing is my all-time favourite hobby, and everyone else keeps coming down the mountain with stories of sunshine, wonderful runs and perfect snow. The bastards. The slopes are so tantalisingly close. (I keep wondering if maybe I couldn't join them just for a couple of runs later in the week.)

Anyhoo - I'm trying to find pleasure in other things:
  • Hotel living. Because obviously.
  • Family meals.
  • Time to have the occasional nap. (We have a granny here who doesn't like to ski, but does like her granddaughter.)
  • Lunches in the sun on the hotel terrace.
  • I'm getting a pedicure tomorrow. (I've never had one, so I hope I won't hate having some stranger touch my feet. I also hope she doesn't recoil in horror at the state of my heels.)
  • I may get to go to the hairdresser.
  • The hotel has "natural" products in the bathroom, or at least paraben-free and with natural oils. (I know I'm clutching at straws here.)
    I even have pictures to illustrate. (Yes, I have that much time on my hands.)



Nah, I'm still sulking. (Privately, invisibly, quietly - and a bit more loudly to you lot.)

(Yes, I know I'm being obnoxious.)
(And that I've used too many brackets.)

Friday, 12 February 2010

One musketeer, one evil demi-god

Carnaval at Casa de Mwa:

And The Bumba approved.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Sweet relief

Meghan yesterday reminded me that I hadn't talked about poo in a while, and she is right. Luckily, tonight the perfect blog topic presented itself to me.

Babes finally saw the light today. When he saw the thick carpet of snow covering our part of the world this morning, he cleverly decided that for once he would not go and join the queues and spend half his day in the car. He worked from home.

He was here all day, intermittently watching the children, and yet I could not poo until he'd "officially" finished his working day and was definitely downstairs watching them. I think this should be added to the medical textbooks. "Safe toilet syndrome" should include those occasions when you can't pop your pellet because you're not sure your kids are 100% safe.

Right, date night here I come.

(BTW, thank you so much all of you for making me feel all happy yesterday. I was having a bad day, and you all made it so much better.)

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Oooh, isn't my navel pretty?

So I've found out what's wrong with my blog. Tonight, I made myself a chocolate spread and banana sandwich, and I arranged the slices of banana in a regular three-by-four grid. The slice in the left-most position of the bottom row of banana slices was considerably thinner than the other slices, so I added another slice on top to compensate. I did not remove the thin slice and substitute a thicker one - no, I doubled it up, thereby completely destroying the beauty, regularity, symmetry and perfection of my sandwich through sheer laziness and lack of attention to detail. And that is what is wrong with my blog, and why I have lost a quarter of my readers (20!) in the last couple of months. That, and my incessant whining about winter. And the fact that I took a two week break. And morning sickness. And my absence from Twitter. And the lack of gay porn mentions. And maybe the fact that most of those lovely lovely readers have lives (how inconsiderate), are sick or simply have better stuff to do.

(Hey regular and loyal readers, I love you and appreciate you more than you know. Please don't think I like these other people better. I just have some nerd-girl issues. Not so popular girl in school discovers internet audience, now can't get enough of the virtual love - that kind of nerd-girl issue.)

I have a five step plan to remedy this problem:
  1. More attention to detail. No virtual banana slice will be doubled up.
  2. More posts like yesterday's. (Yes, I can see you lurking at the back. You didn't watch my movie, did you? It's not too late. I spent hours!)
  3. No more morning sickness.
  4. More gay porn references.
  5. I'm going to gather up all my courage and ask very politely if I might be considered for the Tots100 index of the UK's top 100 parent blogs. I know I'm not British, so they will no doubt refuse me. Even if they don't, I probably won't make it into the top 100. But I shall try. I have some arguments against me (I'm not British), but I also have some in my favour. I was, after all, British Mummy Blogger of the Week as elected by Potty Mummy one week. I also have British children and a British husband. I have two British degrees, am an English teacher and an Anglophile. Oh, and I don't fit into any other category of blogger. So. I've decided to go for it.
Look, people, I know this is all very unimportant compared to, say, the problems in Haiti or Iraq, or what you had for breakfast (Porridge, really? - Gross!), or global warming. But hey, this blog is what's keeping me (relatively) sane in this time of child-rearing and bottom-wiping, so I obsess about it sometimes. Any hints for more (desirable) traffic gratefully accepted. (By desirable traffic I mean lovely people I'd want to interact with. I'm not listing my blog on a porn site or anything.)

Monday, 8 February 2010

Your daycare sucks: a new movie by a desperate mother

Last night, I lay awake until four worrying about Marie's creche and their latest stunt. On Thursday night, Marie got a fever, and in compliance with their "24 hours fever-free" policy, I already sent them an e-mail saying she wouldn't be coming in the next morning. The next day, I got a very brief message back, saying they would be requiring a doctor's note. Now, officially this is in the contract, but they normally only enforce this on the second or third day, or - presumably - with people they don't trust to tell the truth. (Taking the day off, you pay the full day's fee, but in case of illness you don't - the benefits of a state-run system.)

All night, I fantasised and worried about what I was going to tell the woman who sent me the email. I have now made a movie, summarising all the elements I expected to come up in the conversation:

Of course, what actually happened was that the woman saw me coming and went to hide in her office. I was too chicken to go knock on the door. I then miraculously got to see Marie's childminder for once and only managed to say "We're going away next week, so she won't be in." D'oh! Maybe I'll do better next time.

Update: Just got back from the creche. Had a very awkward conversation with the supervisor in which I tried to tackle some of my concerns. I managed to mention I was pregnant and she did not seem too happy that we would not be enrolling our newest addition. I did get a firm end date on Marie's contract, so now all concerned know that we have just under four months to go. I just have to remember Marie loves going there. And breathe...

Friday, 5 February 2010

I also don't like contagious people

We had another three hour choir rehearsal tonight. I managed to sing, even though I didn't have all my breath back yet, and during the first half I had to sit down most of the time because my blood pressure was so low. Or my blood sugar. I'm still not sure how you're meant to feel the difference. Both make me dizzy and weak. I suppose you can tell by which remedy works best.

The same girl stood behind me, with the same cough as last Sunday. Instead of stressing about this for three hours again, I turned around and asked her if she could please not cough on me this time. I asked her nicely, stressing that my dirt phobia is my problem, not hers, but all the same, could she cough off to the side (there was no one standing to her left - I wonder why). Her first reply? "Don't worry, it's viral." Que? This girl is about eighteen. I had to strenuously insist that viruses can in fact be spread through coughs. She thought only bacteria could "because viruses live longer." Yeah - "Que?" once more.

I felt a little bad afterwards, because she was very friendly to me all evening after that. She bloody well should have been, though, because the singer next to me had also been sick all week, and obviously this silly teenager had caused both illnesses, through sheer ignorance of viral transmission methods. Obviously. Definitely. Scientifically. I would have made a good plague stopping official in the Middle Ages.

Maybe I should go to sleep now.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

And another thing...

  • ... can you believe that I forgot to mention, in my description of my Monday from hell, that throughout the car journeys and walks to and from the car park it was snowing and raining heavily, with a gusty wind? Okay, I will let go of that one now.
  • I need something more in my life just now. Tonight, I was deliriously happy because Babes was coming home early so that I could take his new car in to get winter tyres. I was skipping and jumping because I would get half an hour in the garage waiting room to read my book - on my own, in peace. Yeah. Sad.
    They were done after about twenty minutes, and I complained to the guy at the desk that they were faster than they had said. I don't think they often get complaints about that.
  • I was very happy today because Marie wanted cuddles. Lots of them. From me! Turns out she has a fever. Dammit. But I will enjoy it while it lasts. And I will doubly appreciate my short breather at the garage, because this means Friday creche is cancelled - again.
  • My Reader has 137 posts in it. For all I know, Xbox's baby may be here already. But I had a temperature last night - again - so I have to go to bed early. Tomorrow is the dressed rehearsal for our choir's big concert on Saturday and I will not, cannot, must not miss it.
  • I have two secrets which I have hesitated to reveal on this blog, because I'm afraid a lot of readers will turn against me. One of the them is that I really didn't like the Harry Potter books or The Da Vinci Code. (I'm an intellectual snob.) The other is that I have two cats and I don't like them either. (I have a dirt phobia which extends to all pets.) Now you know the worst about me, you can either unsubscribe or tell me: Stieg Larsson - should I?

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


Still sick.
See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The build-up which led to me being reduced to tears by a lovely woman about quarter past six last night

So, yesterday, a reconstruction - as promised in yesterday's teaser.
(Times are approximate. I am not a neurotic who only remembers the exact time of everything. I am a neurotic who feels the need to clarify this point.)
  • 4.30am: "Woke up" with a streaming nose. (Is it technically waking up if you've only dozed?) Couldn't get back to sleep.
  • 6am: Babes gets called out to work.
  • 7.45am: I realise the children are not willing to cooperate this morning.

  • 8.30am: Drop Jack at school. (The bell is ringing.)
  • 8.31am: Realise we left Jack's schoolbag at home. Pack him back into the car. (So glad Monday is our car morning.)
  • 8.34am: Back at home.
  • 8.38am: Back at school, with schoolbag.

  • 8.55am: Driving to creche, I slip on the ice, skid off the road. Manage to stop before hitting the fence or plunging in the pond.
  • 9am: At creche.
  • 9.08am: Slip on ice some more.

  • 9.30am: Back at home. Nose still leaking dangerously, feeling shitty.
  • 11am: Go back to sleep.
  • 2pm: Am woken up by phone. Think "Fuck this, the phone doesn't own me."
  • 2.10pm: Still awake, wondering who phoned. Refuse to check. The phone doesn't own me, you see. Watch daytime TV. (I'm officially sick by now.)

  • 2.50pm: Check phone. Was our family doctor. Panic. (Belgian doctors NEVER phone you. EVER.) Phone doctor.
  • 2.51pm: Secretary picks up, says doctor has left the office, other associate is on the phone. Please phone back.
  • 2.52pm: Panic some more. Who's been in an accident? Am I dying? (You know, the usual.)
  • 2.55pm: Get associate doctor on the phone. She knows nothing. Manage to get mobile number of other doctor.
  • 2.56pm: Other doctor picks up, tells me to wait while she puts on seatbelt.
  • 2.57pm: She was only phoning to check if my thyroid was ok, and what the plan was to check it again. Not funny!
  • 2.58pm: Okay, a bit funny, and kind of lovely really that she cares.

  • 3.40pm: Pick up Jack, hurry to pick up Marie bacause of hospital appointment.
  • 4.05pm: Picking up Marie, notice she has red stuff in her hair. Also looks like there is a bump. Am told to wait for explanation.
  • 4.15pm: Woman responsible deigns to grace us with her presence. Is all red paint.

  • 4.40pm: Doctor's appointment for Marie in hospital.
  • 4.48pm: We arrive in the car park of the hospital.
  • 4.50pm: Get number for hospital registration. Up one flight of stairs to pediatrics.
  • 4.52pm: Tell pediatrics I'm there. Down same flight of stairs to registration.
  • 4.54pm: Back up same flight of stairs.

  • 4.55pm: In waiting room. With two bored, tired and hungry children who are not interested in the biscuits I brought. Fun!
  • 5.30pm: Doctor's appointment. Doctor is puzzled as to why I'm there. Am told gently but clearly to go home and come back when something is actually wrong with her.
  • 5.45pm: Doctor asks for money. Realise I have no money.
  • 5.50pm: Going back down stairs to get cash at machine.
  • 5.55pm: Take lift back up. (Yes, I know it was about time.)
  • 5.58pm: Accidentally spill contents of handbag all over doctor's secretary's office. Very embarrassing because of:
    1. 4 packets of biscuits
    2. 5 lollipops
    3. 4 boxes of tictacs
    4. 2 chocolate bars
    5. bottle of water
    6. pack of playing cards
    7. balloon
    8. deodorant
    9. chap stick
    10. three random receipts
    11. 2 nappies
    12. 1 bag of wet wipes
    13. 2 wallets
    14. set of keys
    15. 2 packs of tissues
    16. 2 dirty tissues
    Have conversation with secretary about this being "one of these days."

  • 6pm: Get children back down in the lift. Do the coat and jumper dance.
  • 6.10pm: Children strapped in car. Lollipops handed out. Decide to do frozen pizzas for tea. This day has gone on long enough.

  • 6.11pm: Realise I haven't got a valid ticket to drive out of the hospital parking lot. Curse. A lot.
  • 6.14pm: At the desk, explaining that I don't have a parking ticket - could the woman please give me one.
  • 6.15pm: Woman informs me that parking tickets are no longer free for patients. Realise I left all my money in the car. Dissolve in floods of tears. Get many strange looks. Apologise to staring crowd, explaining "I'm just having one of these days."
  • 6.16pm: Lovely desk woman comes running after me while I'm going out of the revolving door, waving a parking ticket.

  • 6.17pm: Poor Jack tells me very solemly that when we get home, I should go lie down on the sofa. Realise my error. Have conversation about parents being human, and me in particular being sick as well as tired. He doesn't seem too traumatised. We both laugh. Marie completely oblivious. Isn't it amazing how a two year old's world is all about them?
  • 6.40pm: Get home, put oven on, go to get pizza. There is NO pizza. Babes phones to say he'll be late.
I shall spare you the rest of the day. Babes luckily did get home to put them in bed, and I got a temperature and just a touch of a bad mood.

Today I am still sick, but I gave myself permission to lounge on the sofa, reading stories to Marie and doing this together:

And how bad can a day be when you do that? (I love that the paper is from a box of Godiva chocolates. If you look closely, you can see the gold letters.)

Monday, 1 February 2010

Just a teaser because I'm a sneezer

Yesterday, I got coughed on repeatedly by various people and of course now I am sick.

Tomorrow I will tell you exactly why I had a little mental breakdown tonight. Just after I get some sleep and I stop shivering.

Goodnight, my darlings and may you all have health.