Friday, 29 October 2010

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana

My children are all grown up this week.
  • Jack (6) went off to a fairytale camp with his class. They had to take their own luggage up the stairs and had a fairytale ball. 
  • I explained to Marie (2 1/2) last week that tantrums don't get her anywhere. I saw her thinking about this, and since then she has just stopped having them. I was amazed, and very very grateful. I was so grateful I promised her a birthday party with friends as well as one with the family. She earned it. 
  • And Charlie, at two and a half months - I swear earlier today he was playing with a cuddly bunny. He pushed it up to his face, loved the softness of it against his cheeks and tried to chew it. The cutest thing you ever saw. Really. Ever. He also laughs when you tickle him now and brings his hands up to his face when he's lost his dummy. Once every ten times or so he manages to get it back in.
Isn't it funny how all children reach those milestones, but every time one of your own does it seems like they're the cleverest child the world ever witnessed? Only in the case of my children of course they objectively are. Like - really.

As if it's not going fast enough, Babes threw me a shocker this week. We were picking out our new dryer and I was going to get a 6 kg one, but he wanted the 7 kg one. His argument: "We'll still have it in ten years' time, and then Jack will be 16, Marie 13 and Charlie 10. Just think of the size of those clothes." It's a shame he didn't think of the size of the heart attack that would give me. Ten years ago, we had been married for a year already. Ten years is nothing! My babies are growing so fast! It makes me want to grab them and look at their faces, just to preserve the moment - which is impossible, of course.

The speed at which time is racing by is scary, but it has caused me to stop and be in the moment more. I'm teaching Marie to play Uno (the card game), which is lots of fun except for the crying when she loses. We've all spent a lot of time sitting on the mat building Playmobil playgrounds for the dinosaurs to destroy. I also take a few minutes when I can just to tickle and stroke Charlie's face, which makes him giggle sometimes, and other times he just lies back and basks in it. After all, that's what I remember fondly from my childhood: being tickled, playing connect four and Uno with my family, and building Playmobil cities with my cousins. The housework can wait.

Actually, the housework won't have to wait too much longer because I have scandalously (for a "housewife") found a cleaner! Hooray! A young polish girl who cleans for a good friend of mine was looking for more work, and she's going to be cleaning our house as well. The extra child benefit we get for Charlie should cover the half day a week she will be spending here. This makes me rather deliriously happy.

Another thing that makes me happy is that we're planning quite a few trips away with friends, and all of them were my idea. I dared to ask them and they didn't run screaming for the hills. This is major progress for me. Just daring to ask them instead of secretly wishing it and then never doing anything about it. There were no embarrassing silences, no excuses, no avoiding the topic. I'm feeling rather proud of myself.

Tonight is the start of the Autumn holidays and I am very much looking forward to the week with my children. I'm sure there will be times when I will be needing a beer or a sleep. In fact, I am fully expecting to despair by Monday night, but I am determined to enjoy them while they are so small and adorable. I want to walk in parks, play games, get dirty - that kind of thing. And I won't worry about the house too much, because after the holidays someone else wants to clean it!

Who is the luckiest woman in the world? That would be me.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Hair shirt

The last few nights, I've had so little sleep I am starting to fall apart at the seams. When Charlie's up during the day, he likes to be stimulated all the time. He's happy as long as he's eating, being walked in the buggy (standing still not allowed), being changed, played with - or watching TV. In order to stop him from screaming his head off in anger, I will therefore let him watch the TV while I'm putting on a wash, or trying to have some breakfast - that kind of thing. I just can't take the screaming.

Anyway - I had an icky feeling about letting a baby watch TV, so I googled it and sure enough "experts" say that watching TV is bad for under twos because they don't learn to focus as much, and - get this - because their alert time is being wasted by not having interactive communication. I would like those experts to come and prepare our dinner and do the washing while I spend all of Charlie's alert time on interactive communication, thank you very much. I was beating myself up about this when I realised that
  1. he only watches TV for about half an hour a day
  2. my other two were just the same and don't seem all that impaired
  3. I'd decided to stop beating myself up about everything.
That's right. The self-hatred and self-doubt has to stop. I'm not all that bad. In fact, I'm probably, on average, no worse than most of the other people in the world. Sure, I could do with some improvement here and there, but in essence I'm fine. So there. I have to quit criticizing myself all the bloody time. I tell other people this, so it's time I took my own advice.

I saw myself sitting there, googling "baby watching TV" and also "breastfeeding green tea," looking for more ways I might be doing badly that I figured I may as well wear a hair shirt (not really - figuratively) and be done with it. Which led me to google "hair shirt" (as you do) and the results were really quite interesting - especially this one entry entitled "buy hair shirt." It is a Catholic site, with quite a heavy leaning to the Opus Dei movement. I just assumed it would be some kind of S&M thing, but no - the forums (yes, forums) are full of discussions on how to use self-flagellation in order to come closer to God. Ah yes. Makes for very interesting reading. I say it's all Catholic, but the pen names chosen by the participants in the discussions do include "Blue Tit" and "JohnTheUndone." Maybe they are cases of "accidental pervert," a bit like accidental penis.

The choice of gear you can buy on this site is astounding. I didn't know there was much demand for hair shirts and cilice belts. The overwhelming impression I was left with, though, was that the proprietors of this site know full well that most of their sales will be to, let's say, "non-Catholics." Or Catholics with a hobby. But then that may just be my dirty mind. Or it could be the effect of their disclaimer
These Cilice belts are intended as collector's items for display purposes only. Cilice belts have the potential to inflict discomfort and/or harm to the individual if used and it is the individual (purchaser or user) that must accept responsibility for any harm inflicted.
I love a good contradiction. Also, they sell whipping devices which have a decidedly unCatholic look about them - I'm not sure what multi-chain whips are called, not being either an Opus Dei self-punisher or an S&M practitioner, but they call them "cord disciplines" - available to ship worldwide in discreet packaging. Good to know if I'm ever in need of one.

This is their advice to beginners:
The use of the cilice belt or hairshirt must not be undertaken lightly, it is essential that people seek spiritual guidance and instruction before using one. When used within a structured and disciplined prayer life and under the direction of a Parish Priest or spiritual advisor it can be used as an aid to worship. Any such penance performed in a spirit of pride and not humility will surely block us off from God.
Yes, let's not use whips in a spirit of pride. That just won't do.

Who are these people who go around hurting themselves for religious purposes? I'm wondering if I know anyone who does this. Perhaps the postwoman or my son's gym teacher have a cilice belt on under their trousers. Who knows? This is a Catholic country after all.

A nice detail: the full length and half length chains featured are made "by Italian nuns." Either this is true, in which case I wonder if those nuns know why all of a sudden their convent got so much richer as the internet gains in popularity. Can nuns knowingly provide perverts with chains? And if it's not true, then I imagine some Opus Dei granny (perhaps one of our monarchy, who have been rumored to have such leanings) sitting in her bedroom, putting on her penance belt on a dreary Friday, thinking it came from an Italian convent, when really it was sent from a sex shop in Milton Keynes. (It's a British site.)

I will leave you with the beautiful tagline at the top of Cilice, the go-to site for hair shirts and penance apparel:
how luminous is darkness
Quite.
(The site's proprietor - pervert or religious; most likely both - strikes me as rather poetic.)
(Haha - strikes me... get it?)


(Yes, I realise I have just reviewed a site which sells hair shirts and other penance equipment. It was an accident. I really only wanted to ask if anyone has any ideas on how to make a baby sleep better. This was more entertaining, though - in a creepy kind of way. I dread to think what kind of traffic this will generate.)

Monday, 25 October 2010

Holy sister, evil sister

My already delightful sister An, may she always point in the right direction, has recently completed a major life change. She has decided to live more mindfully and more in keeping with her principles, and she is doing it well. She has given up eating meat, has sold her car and acquired a bus pass and a bike. She is decorating most of her new house with second-hand and reclaimed materials and furniture. She has found a bio hairdresser. She even gave up her TV. I am completely in awe. Where most of us would choose the path of least resistance, she is choosing to do the responsible thing for herself, her family and our planet. Go, An!

However - the change was rather sudden. Sure, she had been moving slowly in the same direction over the last few years, but the car/bike/meat/bio-hair/TV thing pretty much all happened in the same few weeks. This left me wondering what had brought this change about.

Last week, I finally worked it out: we have a family carbon footprint which the universe is balancing most rigourously. European countries are bartering carbon emissions as we speak, the more industrial nations paying the others so they can pollute more. In exactly the same way, some environmental god (Bumba, is it you?) is punishing An each time I hurt the environment a little more.


It makes perfect sense: An's major life change came about just as I pushed out another terribly energy-consuming baby. She is being made to compensate for our extra loads of washing, the one degree I upped the thermostat, the baby baths and the nappy waste. She is our black sheep of Kyoto.

I finally realised that this was going on last week. No sooner had I got a phonecall from An to say she'd strayed from the ideologically pure line and got a TV and a brand new, shop-bought sofa, our tumble dryer broke. The balance had been upset very briefly at one end, but restored at ours immediately after. The universe means business.

The universe also educates to alleviate our suffering. I have since learned that even in our harsh colder seasons, it is possible to live without a dryer. I have rediscovered the drying rack, have tapped the limitless potential of our many radiators, and have come to a new appreciation of our heated towel rails. Being environmental doesn't kill you. Really.

However - and this is the terrible thing: I like my towels soft, my baby's clothes non-crunchy. Also, I don't like spending half my day playing musical radiators with our dish towels. So - I have sneakily gone and ordered another dryer which will be delivered on Thursday.

The problem: I know something has to give. The family carbon footprint will get too large and another energy drain will have to be eliminated. If not, the gods will pick their own punishment and then I just hope it's not our washing machine or my car. So - in order for us to keep our scandalous lifestyle with two cars, a washer and dryer, and the glorious glorious central heating, I need to come up with a plan to eliminate some of our family carbon emissions - by Thursday.

The most likely candidate for an extra reduction would probably be An's household. She obviously cares most about our planet and is easily influenced in this area. I've considered phoning her up to make her feel guilty about the impact of her leather shoes, her continued use of milk, her liking for a good restaurant meal. But that would probably be bad karma and come to bite me in the arse in a huge way.

Maybe I'll just leave it and see. My brother's car may break down. My mother's kettle may malfunction. My other sister doesn't really need heating, right?

On Thursday, I may just unplug my laptop for the day, just to be safe. A broken kettle I could cope with. Broken internet not so much.

Friday, 22 October 2010

A tooth for every child

I went to see a dentist today. Bad mistake.

It had been a while, I will admit, but not that long.

The verdict:
  • one cavity
  • four fillings in need of replacement
  • one crown needed.
I'm still shaking. This will be a season of dentistry.

I thought breastfeeding would get me off the hook for a bit, but apparently it's "urgent" and "not a problem."

Feel free to commiserate. I'm feeling rather sorry for myself.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Three places

  • I've just come back from the local hospital where I went to visit a newborn and his mother. It felt strange being back there so soon after giving birth to Charlie, and nearly three years after having Marie in the same place. I was rushed there when I had my ectopic pregnancy and got an operation. My grandmother died there. My sister (not An) has been admitted there too many times. I took her to the ER once myself. I have taken both Jack and Marie into that ER. I took Babes there when he put a wine glass through his hand. (He hadn't even drunk any yet.) Marie was X-rayed there. Jack spent the night once, had his eyes tested another time and had his verrucas removed. I broke down at the front desk once over a parking ticket. I could go on for a while. (Reading that back, I just realised that's ridiculous. We have only lived here for five years. That is too many trips to hospital. Life, eh?)
    That place is so important to me and my family. Some of our most beautiful moments have happened there, but also some of the scariest, the saddest, the most annoying. Major crises play out there. It's where we have welcomed our youngest and said goodbye to our eldest.
    It's a powerful place. People go there to give birth, to get better, to die. Others go there to witness the births, the illnesses, the deaths. It is an awesome and scary place, but also comforting and healing. Tonight, I could feel its history and importance when I walked the corridors.
  • I was a bit stupid: before we went to the amazing place above, we first stopped by the portal of hell with the golden arches. The golden arches fool me into thinking it will be comfort food heaven each time. I should really remember that it's crappy food hell. I now have McGurgle, hiccups and a crampy baby (the Coke with ice cubes hypnotises me). I'm not so clever.
  • Babes wants to put the WiFi in our house back on. I don't want him to. He thinks I'm very unreasonable as we have nine WiFi networks beaming into our living room all the time. I think that's a good reason not to add another one closer by. We have a small baby here, you know. Small babies are fragile and should not be subjected to scary waves all the time.
    Yeah, yeah, I know I'm being irrational, but this is my home. I think if we lived in a forest, surrounded by trees and clean air and no nine WiFi networks, I probably wouldn't mind it as much. As it is, I want to make our house a little haven of purity in a sea of concrete and foul air and scary beams.
    I have convinced myself that all the beams of cordless phones, mobiles, baby monitors (all of which I use) and WiFi must surely be very unhealthy to people. Of course if I break my neck falling over one of the many many wires lying all around this place tomorrow, that will be my just and suitably ironic punishment.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

It's all good

Autumn is here and it's serious about its work. It's dark outside and the sky seems to be falling down. Everything is wet and cold. In this kind of weather, I love to sit between the pillows of the sofa and read a book, clutching a cup of tea. The internet is another favourite. It helps that my laptop screen is lit up. I crave the light of summer. The closest I have to it is my computer.

I have been having trouble with inspiration. I always find it easy to write about what annoys me but that gives completely the wrong picture about my life. Most of my days give me joy, are happy. The little niggly worries and irritations are so minor compared to the happiness brought by a new baby, a growing toddler, a schoolboy discovering the joy of reading. And yet I find it difficult to write about the good stuff. It feels like tempting fate, bragging, being overconfident.

But today I can't sit here and complain about anything. Stormy weather is raging all around me, but I am warm and dry this side of the window. My baby is napping cosily, wrapped up in the warm hood of his jumper and his sister's pink blanket. I have hot tea to drink and warm posts to read. Soon, I will go outside and get blasted by the wind and the stormy rain to go and pick up the children from school. I will take them shopping for some things they need: a new winter coat, some boots. My mother will come along which will make them all very happy.

I have everything I need, everything I want, and more. My life feels like that rain outside my window: plentiful, raging, intense. I am thankful today.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Random

  • Someone I know is going to see "some tennis thing in Switzerland. Some guy called Fed something." She's going to see Federer play in his hometown of Basel. Business VIP tickets are wasted on the overprivileged.
  • I keep waking up scared, dreaming of burglars and murderers in the house. In my breathless adrenaline rush I imagine I'm hearing things downstairs. Gorgeous, brave Babes actually gets up each time to check no one is in the house and the doors are locked, without even being asked. He is the best husband in the world.
  • My wonderful sister An, may her trains run on time, does the best pea on a fork imitation in the world ever. She should be a world hit on YouTube.

Little school-related rants

  • I'm fed up with people driving twice the speed limit around the childrens' school. We cross at three different zebra crossings several times a day, and maybe one in four drivers bother to stop for us. The others fly by and make me fear for our lives. The idiots are not just young guys in big cars and busty girls on their mobiles. There are plenty of parents who drop their children off and then fly past nearly mowing my children down. This is in the centre of town, in a 30 (kmph) zone.
    Jack and Marie now both say "there's another idiot" or "a lot of idiots about today." Woops.
  • When did primary school teachers get the right to give parents homework every night? I'm doubtful already about the value of tons of homework for a six year old, but to expect me to join in and help him as well? That is plain ridiculous. As if he doesn't sit still for long enough every day, and as if I don't have other things to do. Really!
    My parents were never expected to spend their evenings doing homework with their children. Who made them the boss of me? It means that we hardly have any time left to play or do fun things at night.
    It would also help if so much of it wasn't pointless. Tonight, Jack had to read a text out loud three times. WTF people? It was dull enough the first time. Why not give him a text three times as long? I let Babes take the bullet on this one.
  • Oh, and please stop organising parent-teacher evenings this term. One is plenty. Two is overzealous. Three is ridiculous. Now stop.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Gay Porn part VII

You've probably all been following the antics of Bumba and Bumbalu as well as Bob Lady and Little Princess in the tabloids. (For new readers, you can get acquainted with our good friends by clicking the links above, which will also get you caught up with their fascinating story so far.)


Bumba and Bumbalu were last spotted on "I'm a D-list celebrity, watch me eat cockroaches and vomit, the sequel" which pretty much shows how low they have sunk. Bob Lady and Little Princess have gone the other way. After we achieved world-wide critical and popular acclaim together with our lesbian remake of A Fish Called Wanda (The New York Times called it "edgy and emotional"), they decided to go arthouse all the way and have since made five movies which went straight to DVD. They are bravely ignoring the crisis, but then that's easy for some who can live off their daddy's trust funds. I'm just saying.


I'm afraid I don't have a trust fund, so I'm always on the lookout for new stars to put in the movies I have planned, until both sets of artistes come crawling back to me, as they no doubt will. Bumba and Bumbalu are going to wake up one day soon and realise they never had it so good as they did with me, before their descent into debauchery and infamy. Also, when Bob Lady and Little Princess finally run out money they will stop thinking of "commercial" as a dirty word.

Anyway, I recently received in the mail a very interesting package of photos showing movie scenes replayed by undead actors. It appears that the success of the series True Blood has sparked off a bit of a revolution with the zombies of this world. They thought that if humans were so willing to embrace an entirely fictional breed like vampires just because they're on TV, maybe a genuine death-challenged minority race like zombies could achieve acceptance in the real world by playing in mainstream movies.

The Federation of United Zombies for a Better Understanding in the Media (FUZBUM) have spent their entire propaganda budget for this year on a drive to get their best actors into one of my movies. Their promotional package is designed specifically to entice me to employ them, while at the same time dispelling some common misconceptions about zombies.

They have obviously studied my work well, because they sent me photos of gay actors reenacting existing movies only. Actually, I'm not sure the actors themselves are gay, but they are presenting themselves as such. So much the better, I suppose, as surely that's what we're hoping to achieve in the end: the sexuality of the actor becomes a non-issue, and it's the story we concentrate on.

The first image is not exactly going against mainstream opinion, showing zombies as tough guys:

Jurassic Park

Interestingly, they chose to be pictured with another ancient life form which is often portrayed in movies, but which has so far not been shown to actually exist. Nice little nod at cinematographic conventions there, showing a sense of humour about the shock we all experienced when Arnold Schwarzenegger was first outed as a zombie.

The next photo shows a fact which is very important to the zombie world at large, and the members of FUZBUM in particular, namely that zombies can do boring. Yes, they don't always have to be running around scaring people, making gargling sounds, or killing innocents. They can be as boring as an actuary. Or at least pretend to be that boring, because no one could be as boring as an actuary without actually being an actuary. (I think FUZBUM should watch out here, because they are perpetuating another age-old prejudice - against actuaries - which may end up harming rather than helping their case.)

About Schmidt

Then FUZBUM cunningly tackled two prejudices in one image, presumably in order to save money. The economic crisis affects even the undead. The following scene from Pretty Woman is designed to show that zombies are capable of showing affection, as well as bathing. The members of the zombie community I have since met all smelled of roses and lavender which I must admit I hadn't expected myself.

88 inches of therapy

And finally, just to show their range, the zombies tackled a famous science fiction scene. I personally think they could have made a little more effort with their costumes and set, but we get the point: zombies can go intergalactic, too.

Luke, I am your father

After seeing these pictures, I decided to meet with the actors and I was honestly very impressed with their acting abilities. However, I don't think I will be shooting a film with them. I'm having terrible trouble getting funding - Hollywood is always a few steps behind society when it comes to broadening its mind. Apart from that, I find it slightly troubling that their rider demands fresh young virgins for lunch at least every other day.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Bill!

I wanna do real bad things with you.

---

Maybe I don't want him that bad. When asked to provide a link, I chose the intro to the programme instead of a picture of his head. I think that says it all. Or maybe it's just the proof that the intro is GENIUS. (It is.)

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

It just feels wrong

It just feels wrong
  • to stick a needle in a two month old child. But I let the child-doctor do it. Polio is nasty. So are tetanus and the four other bugs in there. I'm convinced.
  • to stick two needles in a two month old child. I didn't let the child-doctor do it. He was not too pleased. I wasn't all that pleased he suggested it in the first place. But I'm also convinced that pneumococcus can be very nasty. So I will go back at a later date.
    Two injections in a row for a tiny baby? WTF people!
    (I have met a nurse who reckons I shouldn't be giving him this one at all. Any arguments either way out there? Do they give this one to babies where you live?)
  • to vaccinate (orally) for the rota-virus on top of the other seven illnesses. We're not getting this one at all. The child-doctor was not too pleased. He tried to scare me into doing it anyway. I asked him: is this very dangerous? He replied um no. Very convincing.
  • to let the child-doctor loose in the free baby clinic. I would have liked him to have at least one of the following:
    1. experience
    2. people skills
    3. empathy
    All three may be too much to ask.
  • that the standard advice to new mothers is now to have all these vaccinations at the same time, at two months old. No discussion, no options offered. So many would never dare question the doctor.
  • that the powers that be try to get all mothers and babies to attend their free clinics but then they staff them so erratically. They have as many experienced doctors with a passion for their profession as inexperienced doctors desperate for the money.
    When I told the nurse never to give me an appointment with that child-doctor again, she agreed scarily fast. She obviously didn't need to ask why.
---

Just so we're clear: I am getting Charlie vaccinated for at least ten diseases. He's getting the six-in-one and three-in-one, not single doses. He's getting measles, mumps and rubella. The whole lot. It's only the rota vaccination I have trouble with. I am in no way saying that vaccination is bad or I'm not getting him vaccinated.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

I get you Michelle

I dreamed that the Obamas came to have dinner with us, in a large summery garden with picnic tables and fairy lights. It was so exciting. I had a long conversation with Michelle about how she was dealing with giving up her job, and what she was doing instead now. She seemed to imply that Barack just didn't get how she was feeling, which I found very recognisable. We had a little moment there. Barack was just as charming as I imagined. I so love these people.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Bless me, reader, for I have sinned

  • Poor Marie was off school with sore ears and a bad cough, and I was sitting hugging her counting the seconds until Babes got back so I could go and hide upstairs. Bad, bad mother. And yet - I hugged her. And gave her medicine. And spoiled her rotten.
  • I had a beer - straight after breastfeeding for minimum effect on my milk, but on an empty stomach for maximum effect on my despair. Bad, bad mother. And yet - I didn't have a second one.
  • Charlie was being difficult, probably because our routine was interrupted. He now likes his two walks in the pram every day - one in the morning, one in the afternoon. No walk makes mama and baby cranky. I plugged in his dummy and begged him to sleep because I didn't want to entertain him. Bad, bad mother. And yet - when he didn't want to sleep I breastfed him until he was happier.
  • When Jack came home from school, he was tired and didn't want to do his homework on his own. I told him he had to do it all on his own because I had too much work already with the other two children. Bad, bad mother. And yet - he did it on his own and saw that he could do it fine. Seemed to enjoy it, too.
  • And then I ate two whole packs of biscuits my mum bought for the children. Bad, bad mother. No "and yet" about it. Just bad.
---

I can't stop worrying about an article I read yesterday. It stated the obvious fact that there is no such thing as absolute anonymity online, and that anything you write can and will be used against you at a later date. It gave the example of someone saying they were not happy on Facebook, which then made them lose out in a job interview because they were seen as an unstable person. Obviously, that ship has sailed for me, but I still can't shake the feeling that I'm awfully vulnerable just by publishing this kind of thing. Am I just some kind of masochistic exhibitionist, or is there real value in sharing the bad days as well as the good? I obviously believe the latter, but it's something I'm struggling with at the moment.

I'm also reading a book about networks of friends, and how they influence all of us. The authors say that depression and happiness are infectious, and one depressed person can infect many people in their cirle of friends, as can a happy person. I've been worrying about this as well. I'd be quite happy to be the person spreading the joy in an online network, but if my sad vibes affect you all, that would suck baboon testicles. Luckily the authors say that the effect is strongest on people who live geographically close to each other, and almost negligible on people who live further away. In which case we're FINE.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

I want, I want, I want

I'm in the mood for shopping. I have been for about a month now. I thought I had lost the inclination. It must be hormonal. When I was pregnant, I wasn't interested in shopping at all. Now I seem to "need" so many things. Of course I don't. I don't like this - I feel I should downsize, get rid of stuff, not accumulate more. But the shops are so full of lovely things...

This is what I want just now:
  • Warm winter boots without heels. I watched "Embarrassing illnesses" the other day (always a bad idea for a hypochondriac) and now I'm worried about what my wonky foot will look - and feel - like in thirty years' time if I keep wearing heels every day.


    Woops - those have heels. But aren't they pretty?

    I should get these instead:


    but they don't have them in my size any more! Bummer.

    Ah! How about these?


    Pretty! And hardly a heel at all.


    These are what I would have wanted when I was still at secondary school. Very Sisters of Mercy. They still make my heart beat faster. But surely I couldn't?

  • A new sunglasses case - simple, black.


  • I also want a silly luxury: there's this cool machine all the mamas at the school gates have: it steams and purees babyfood, all in the same machine. I want one. I know I don't need one - I have saucepans and a mixer. But it looks so pretty, and it would save me doing so much washing up, and it would be fun to make stuff for Charlie. Also - the killer argument - steaming is so much healthier than boiling! I crave it.


    In fact, I need it. No, I don't. Yes, I do. No, I don't. Yes, I do. (It's behind you! (Sigh.))

And all this on the day when I got Babes this online:


He's been desperate for one of these for a while. I read about it on ourprivateblog today. She made a video and everything, demonstrating its wonderfulness. It's on sale at Amazon UK - a huge kitchen robot and it's a steal! I went straight there and bought it. I have one very happy husband now, so I may get some new winter boots... The downside is that I will become humongous because he will no doubt bake something lovely every day. The hardship!

Do you get shopping phases? How do you stop them? I really thought I had outgrown this. And tell me: which boots should I get?

(I am not sponsored by anyone. Just in case you thought I'd gone over to the dark side. Not that it's the dark side. I mean, I would be jumping up and down with joy if I got sent a free kitchen robot. So sponsored blogs hurray! And Darth Vader rules! Yeah. So I'm rambling.)

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

My world today: a list of firsts

  • After watching a documentary about hotdogs last week, I swore never to eat another one. I think I lasted about one day. Luckily, our ones have real natural intestine! Which is ever so nice of the manufacturers to mention. Thank you, Germany!


    (First time I've noticed that.)
  • I shuddered when confronted with fresh crab/surimi salad (with egg) which claims to be edible for a full ten days. I should have gone with my gut feeling. Which would have avoided today's gut feeling. My gut is not feeling too good. It was only three days into the ten! And yet, three days is a lot for a boiled egg or a piece of seafood. No matter what my supermarket claims.
    (Yes, I know we had already established my supermarket is evil. I'm not a fast learner.)
    (First time being sick because of surimi egg salad.)
  • I found this in my sofa. Under my bum. It crawled really fast!


    I caught it in a glass and threw it outside. When I could breathe again.


    (First time I ever found a caterpillar under my bum.)
  • Jack's first wobbly tooth has made me wobble twice already today. It caught us both by surprise and so did the "something in my eye." It's the worst cliche of all, but they do grow up so fast.
    Me: Do you think the Tooth Fairy will come then?
    Jack: The boys in my class got together and think that the parents do that. The girls aren't sure yet.
    Yeah - so we don't get to do the song and dance even once. Ah well. I do wonder if he has twigged about Sinterklaas (our Santa) at the same time. I secretly hope not, but I think this is the price you pay for moving your child up a year in school: prematurely lost innocence.
  • Marie drew a person! I'm ever so proud.


  • Charlie and I had a proper conversation today. Well, I talked and he smiled, looked at me expectantly and squealed/aahed at the required times. It's a shame conversations with older humans can never be quite that satisfying.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Temple of the clown god, Chinese brothel

Babes finally gave me the pictures! So here's what we did last weekend.

Saturday, we visited the temple of the Clown God, The Bumba.


These are about six metres high. They greet the worshipers from afar.


The high priest, with talking bird.

On Sunday, we ate at a Chinese restaurant.

Our Chinese restaurant.


Speciality at Ho's Garden: Fukien Mie. You can't make this stuff up.

(With apologies for crappy phone pictures. Blame Babes.)

Rejoining the world

Charlie has settled into the world. He is happy to lie in his buggy. We are down to five, sometimes six feeds a day. He still likes to suck a lot, but will take a dummy so we're not permanently attached hand-to-face anymore. Sometimes I have a small case of "Be careful what you wish for" when he prefers to lie in his bouncy chair and doesn't want to be cuddled too much but I realise I'm just being difficult now. He lights up when he sees my face and will stare at his daddy and siblings with wonder and awe.

To recap: baby sorted.

Now that I have woken up from my baby-daze, I find that the world has moved on without me and I have to get back on board. And you know me: I always have a plan. And here is today's:
  • There will be no more sleeping on the sofa for either Babes or me. In fact, maybe we should have a conversation tonight which is not about the children or who will swap the washing.
    (I can see how people end up divorcing when they have little children. It's too easy to lead separate lives. Luckily I have a plan!)
  • I should find a minute to go to the hairdressers so I look less like a hag.
  • I should probably check if my finger has returned to a reasonable size and if my wedding ring will fit again.
  • Next time friends go out and invite me along, I must make an effort to get out of the house instead of dozing in the sofa.
  • I should hunt An down and make her have lunch with me. (Yes, An, I will hunt you down!)
  • I should stray from my repertoire of "three easy meals for the hurried mother." (Soup & toast, spaghetti, pizza.)
  • This house needs to look less like a tip and more like a sanctuary.
All that and rest my painful stomach, of course. Rejoining the world is hard work.

Friday, 1 October 2010

I still miss Spike

True Blood has come to Belgium. Next, we may get running water and paved roads. I'm already in love with the theme song. "I want to do bad things with you." Oh yeah.

So people - is this soft porn which I will get bored of after a couple of episodes, or is this Buffy for grown-ups and will I be gutted when it's finished?