Monday, 31 August 2009

This Life

Last week I left a comment on Facebook about how wrong it seemed to be a) recording Coronation Street and b) experiencing sadness over the liaison between Emily and Ramsey that never reached full-flower, thanks to bitter old Norris’ refusal to accept his estranged brother. My cousin came back with an observation about how much I’d changed.

I sit guilty before you.

Life is just so, erm, different these days.

I never imagined that I’d move back to Weston-super-Mare after 20 years of living in some rather exciting (and some rather dull, it has to be said) places. I never dreamed that I’d be spending my days in sandals/walking boots and cut off shorts/jeans and anorak, traipsing up and down hills, getting soaking wet, squelching mud between my toes, telling anyone who is willing to read my ramblings – yes, that’s you – about my love of this town and of my gorgeous little girl.

Who’d have thought that I would never again scan Saturday Guardian’s ‘The Guide’ for interesting (and often expensive) things to entertain myself with and I’d stop going to the pub at least 3 times a week. Indeed, who’d have believed that I’d have almost entirely knocked alcohol on the head (that’s almost – whenever I do go there it just doesn’t work and I turn into a twat of massive proportions). Isn’t it ridiculous that I can no longer bear festivals and live concerts? Don’t you think it’s a little odd that I rarely go abroad anymore and don’t even want to?

Where did that irrepressible Night Owl go and who is this woman who just wants to crawl into bed at 9pm every evening? Why, when My Girl stays over at my Mum and Dad’s do I not think, “Where can I go tonight?” but “Brilliant! Now I can have an early night AND get a lie-in!”

No-one told me that I’d become a trampoline and a slide in my own home or a witch and an aeroplane up the woods. They didn’t explain that I would be baking cakes at 9 in the morning (yes, still packet mix) or dancing along with the Milkshake girls before my first cup of tea of the day.

I didn’t think that I’d be living round the corner from my wonderful parents and that I would be lodged on the same beautiful hill that I spent my entire teenage life in.

No warning that those boys would be so refreshingly replaced by Sexy Older Man.

I couldn’t have known that I would look forward to watching XFactor or Britain’s Got Talent on a Saturday night (!!!) or that I would find it nearly impossible to finish reading a book. Any book!!

But this I will say – I have ALWAYS been a Corrie Head :-0

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Size

They are your whole world but sometimes they can appear so small:




Saturday, 29 August 2009

PINK Sky At Night ...

The sky was doing some really interesting things yesterday. In fact, I've been loosing track with the RainSunRainSun WarmCoolWarmCool bi-polarity of the weather all week and have been carrying an even fuller bag than usual to facilitate the sun-screen/hat AND waterproofs/extra layers.

Yesterday, the wind was high and we sat at the Cafe of the Old Town Quarry, My Girl with a cold ice-lolly and me with a hot cup of tea, watching the shadows of the clouds pass over the Limestone, making fast-changing pattterns on the surface of the rock. The gusts pushed us home: we went with it, screaming and holding hands all the way and, when we got here, we read a poem called "The Wind" and watched a RazzleDazzle rhyme on the same subject via the CBeebies Web Page.

When she was asleep the sky turned PINK! She would have been thrilled but of course I didn't wake her. We both know when to stop!

Friday, 28 August 2009

Hilary. Again.

You know about Hilary, don't you - boy, short black hair, 3 years old, always there, invisible? He's still very much around and, although He can be quite naughty (He spills things, He mashes banana into places it shouldn't be mashed into, He turns the music up very loudly), I've welcomed Him into the house and I haven't perceived Him to be anyone I should be concerned about.

The other day, My Girl was adding her colourful markings to our bath with her new bath crayons (thanks to a couple of twitter friends for alerting me to the absolute mess these can make when used away from the tub - especially by someone as inventive/invented as Hilary - never fear, they are outta reach when not being used in the proper manner) and she asked me to write her name, then my name, then the names of those close to her. Like this:



She was the brains behind this, her own Family Tree, I was simply the executor following orders. A few details, however, grabbed my attention:

  1. Her second Grandad, who she calls Grampa, made it onto her bath list of important people, right down there at the bottom. He is also invisible. But 'My Other Mummy' - yes, the imaginary one - wasn't important enough to make the Tree, which lifts my heart. 'My Other Mummy' has a PINK computer and PINK toilet roll and My Girl sometimes prefers that Mummy's company to this one's. No words of comfort, please: I'm SO over it!

  2. Her cousin, Joel, has been pushed right over to one side of the Tree (the left hand side) - he's the same age as her and they only see each other every couple of months or so because my brother and his family live in the East Midlands. They play together and they fight: he's the only person who seemingly lashes out on her for no reason - though I'm sure he does have his reasons and, underneath, she is fully aware of what these are and pushes all the right buttons. Anyway, in this Bath Life, he is somewhat alienated from the rest of her loving family!

  3. Hilary is, or was, there - you can no longer see Him because His name has been nigh on erased due to the pure practicalities of having to use the bath to wash off all that Weston Woods' mud from her delightful little body most every day. He had pride of place above everyone else on the very top of the bath, the ledge if you like. He is Overseer, He is God, He is her sub-conscious ....? Sexy Older Man pointed out that Hilary could well represent My Girl's absent Father and I was shocked to realise that this had never even occurred to me, that her innocent invisible friend is a substitute for someone deeply important to her whom she has never met. Am I in denial? Am I deluding myself that she is OK just with me? Am I failing her? Is she being deprived of something that not I nor anyone else except that one person can give her?

And how long will we need Hilary for?


Thursday, 27 August 2009

No-one I Think is in My Tree

In Grove Park, up a larch, wet and looking slightly concerned.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Boycott

“I thought we could go to Asda,” my mum says. ”Dad will have Celeste for a while.”

“Great,” I agree. My car is still off the road, which hasn’t been much of a problem at all really as most things are within easy reach of here but I do take Mum up on these offers every couple of weeks so that I can stock up on food and thus avoid the shops for most of the rest of the fortnight. Not much of a shopper, you see – I prefer spending my time up the woods or cosy at home. “See you at 2:30.”

As soon as we get a foot in my parents’ house, My Girl whips off her jacket, eager to tell Grandad her news.

Dandad,” she looks at him with adoring yet conspiratorial eyes. “I got a bike!”

“A bike? What colour is it?”

“PINK!” She is all squeals of delight and he is all ‘wows.’

We leave them to their Worship Fest and head to the shops. Here I must warn you – there is a rant coming! A rant of supermarket proportions!!

Initially, the trip goes well enough – we pop into Lidl for all those goodies that they do so well and so cheaply and then we go to Next to spend an almost forgotten birthday gift card of Celeste’s (I buy her a bright red waterproof for the woods: perfect!) and then we battle to get into the Car Park at Asda. The road is extremely busy but there are loads of spaces.

Shopping done – easy job, it’s pretty quiet in here.

And then:

It takes us 20 – TWENTY – minutes to get out the car out of the bay. WHY? Well, Waitrose has just opened next door. I love Waitrose; I used to shop in there in another life, in another town … BUT neither Asda or Waitrose has considered the logistics of having two superstores bang next to each other – there is no extra lane for the traffic and no additional exit (they could do with 2 more exits at the very least – one for each supermarket!). It's pandemonium.

The Parking Patrol Staff are, it seems, mostly responsible for the chaos – they let one car out of our bay in 10 minutes!! Left to their own devices, I’m sure drivers would sort it out much better for themselves – most of us have road respect. The sun’s out and there’s limited air. But there is food!! I open a massive bag of Tortilla Chips and eat them until my mouth is so dry that I can chew no more (opening the wine does cross my mind!).

Not moving! Not moving!

The couple in front of us pull into a space, usher out their two young daughters, grab their carrier bags from the boot and inform us that they’re walking home and will come back and get the car tonight, when the rush has died down. How nuts is that?!

We eventually exit the car park and crawl onto the road of the retail park, when we still have to fight our way out on the main road, which is Traffic Light City, incurring more delays!

But actually, rather than be annoyed at the lack of planning and our collective need to feed ourselves continually, my main thought is “Look at all these cars! THIS HAS TO STOP!”

Maybe I won’t bother with the expense of getting my battered old Fiesta through its MOT, taxing it and insuring it – I could just walk into town twice a week and buy my produce there? After all, this town won’t miss another car!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Good Morning Weston-super-Mare

It promises to be a fine one:



This Morning Up Weston Woods

The view was obscured by the rain and clouds - can you see the sea?

This is where The Gruffalo lives

I love you

It was very, very dark in places but we weren't scared!



Saturday, 22 August 2009

Two's Company

I LOVE SLEEPOVERS!!

My cousin's little girl, S., stayed over last night. The two of them were so excited to see each other and they must've completley worn themselves out playing together all day because they were asleep ten minutes after they laid their heads on the pillows. All I heard was My Girl blowing her yellow recorder (I put a swift stop to that nonsense - Spoil Sport Mum!) and then she started making fake snoring sounds, which I'm sure she thought we're hilarious (yeah, well, they raised a chuckle from me too, especially seeing as they were soon replaced by less audible asleep noises).

They slept right through and have now been awake for two hours playing happily, despite the three year age gap, while I've been able to drink tea and watch BBC Breakfast without anyone trying to turn me into a slide or a trampoline.

I'm sure this is all just novelty though, right?

Friday, 21 August 2009

A Calm Approach

This morning I found myself tired, grumpy and not at one with my role as mother/father/chef/playmate/ police officer/teacher/bum wiper etc. A later night than I would ever recommend any mother have (Midnight: buzzing on coffee and nicotine, no less) and a few hours of disturbed sleep had left me irritable and impatient with my Angel. I snapped, I shouted and, I'm ashamed to say, I swore - bad, bad behaviour and not the sort of conduct that I want my daughter to witness and, worse, emulate.

Way back when I was pregnant, I bought (and started reading) Sarah Napthali's "Buddhism for Mothers: a Calm Approach to Caring for yourself and your children."

I think it's time to finish it!

Night night xx

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=tl3vxxH-mH8C&dq=buddism+mothers+napthali&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&ei=b96OSt_WBODajQeK4L38DQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Bathroom Art

I got Lestie a packet of 10 ELC bath crayons and, I must say, it's the best £4 I've ever spent!

I left them on the bath, next to her squirting water animals, forgetting that she might spot them whilst on the loo. So, four hours before I even think about getting her clean for bed, the bath resembles an installation from Tate Modern. She's been constructing her masterpiece for about 45 minutes now and is currently IN the bath, tongue out, drawing shapes and squiggles with delight :-)




And, yes, I've already checked - it does wash off!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Delirium

She's standing behind the rocking chair when she says, "I'm sorry."

"What are you sorry for, Lest?" I ask.

"This," she replies and pulls the rocking chair towards her, deliberately banging herself on the head with it.

!!!!

What's all that about?

Tiredness? Sun-stroke?

Or maybe vertigo from going on this earlier?


Tuesday, 18 August 2009

It Might as Well Rain Until September

I don't know how everyone else with children feels but these summer holidays are excruciatingly long. My Girl has only been going to pre-school for 3 mornings a week for the past couple of terms but what a difference it has made to both of our lives - she gets that all important interaction with her peers and I get ....

Time. Rest. Exercise. Jeremy Kyle. More opportunity to twitter and blog.

She's just turned 3 so from September she'll be enjoying five mornings a week at Funny Bunnies (gratis, thanks to our wonderful State) and I'll have time to rest or exercise or watch JK or lose myself in cyberspace!

I didn't write a post yesterday but I DID GET THROUGH THE DAY so that's something, isn't it?

Energy Girl isn't in any way a difficult child but, well, she is 3 - that's enough. And she's always there, following me around with a recorder in her mouth or spraying water at me or pulling me up to dance. She is so beautiful, such a delight, so exciting, so involved, so loving but still always there.

We go out a lot: we have to, otherwise we'd both get wound up with each other. Yesterday we had to go to the dentist's so, beforehand, I thought we'd enjoy an hour at Ashcombe Park, which is opposite our Healthy Teeth Man (dishy, young dentist said that she had 'lovely teeth', which she's been telling everyone about. Mine aren't lovely and they need a little work - BOO!). She lapped up her PINK lolly in the park and had a good go on the extremely busy swings, slide and roundabout (another thing, I much prefer these places when everyone else is at school. Selfish? Maybe).

After our check-up, we popped into a corner shop to get some bread and she completely lost it:

"I want a lolly."

"No, you had a lolly in the park."

"But I WANT a lolly."

"No."

"But I'm hungry."

"That's good. It's good that you're hungry because it's nearly dinner-time."

"I don't want dinner. I want a lolly!!!"

Tantrum Time.

We left the shop without a lolly but with loads of attitude and floods of tears and me trying to ignore the whole big strop. Like I said, I got through it and so did she but .... roll on September!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Wheels on Fire

Last night at about 1:15 am, some loser drove a van through the narrow paths of the woods, crashed it into the railings at the top of the steps, just above our house, and then set it on fire ...???



The firemen came to put it out!! That's the most exciting Saturday night I've had for ages!!

Saturday, 15 August 2009

"When I Grow Up I'm Going to Be ..."

"Can A. come out to play?" I plead into the intercom.

"Sure. I'll just get her ready and she'll be down in a mo," says her Mum.

The thing is, I crave some of my own *space* but Single Child needs a whole lot more stimulation: she's even worn out ever-patient Hilary (The One Who Can't be Seen), dragging the poor invisible boy out of bed to play at Christ knows what hour. I've lasted an everlasting morning and it's gone noon already but I would really rather have some help today. Oh, I know it's my job and mostly I love being a mum but I don't relish being teacher, trampoline or extra-fit dancer for another five hours until The Man-of the-Moment, Mr Maker, starts prancing around and making wondrous artifacts on CBeebies at 5.25.

Five minutes later, A., pushes open the heavy door and says to me solemnly:

"I have to have my ..."

"A-law-a" enthuses Celeste (Alawa isn't her real name but Lestie can't get to grips with so many vowels all in one place). A. ignores her.

"Becky, I have to ...."

"A-law-a," Lestie nods and smiles in excitement. "Do you want to play wif my ..."

A. interrupts her with a dirty look and an articulate "Celeste, I am talking to yer mom." Now, A. is over a year older than My Girl, whose impatient eagerness sometimes drives her up the wall. I know exactly how she feels.

"Mommy says I can come and play after I eat me toast," A. informs me and she leaves poor Lestie looking bewildered and a little hurt.

"A. will be down again soon," I promise.

About 20 minutes later, the two of them are pulling out every doll and every teddy from the toy box and every item of clothing from the dressing up trunk. It is bliss. For a while. They mould things out of play dough, they fight over the play dough scissors. They fight over half and apple, even though I cut a whole one in two - one half each. They fight over a table and chair. AGHH!

A. is the third youngest of six children so she's perfectly used to sharing everything but Celeste still doesn't quite get it and snatches whatever A. picks up out of her hands. Then my own child gets ratty so I put her on the yellow chill-out chair, where she can think about the consequences of her behaviour and just bloody well calm down! After a hissy-fit (sorry, Mrs Bill Clinton, I so couldn't resist that one), they get along famously and giggle and chase each other around and dress up.

"Can we do some cutting?"

This is a good idea: we've got loads of paper and two pairs of child-safe scissors so what's the worst that could happen? They sit happily cutting out shapes, leaving a whole lot of mess on the floor. Their attention is starting to wander, however, and in my attempt to teach them about tidying up after themselves, so as to save me from being a skivvy for the rest of my maternal life (oh, shit! That's forever, isn't it?), I give them a box in which to put all the loose cuttings and I encounter no backlash whatsoever. Hey, I'm getting rather good at this!

Several minutes later, Celeste brings the box over to me. It's full of small pieces of yellow paper and ...

"Look, Mummy, A-law-a's hair."

OMG! What the ...? And sure enough there are slithers of fine, blond hair in the box, on the floor and loose against A.'s head, every clump thick enough to tie a ribbon around and store in a memory box. Uncharitably, my first thought is "Thank fuck it's not Celeste's hair!" and my second is "Which one of these two darling little girls did this? A. or C.?"

It turns out that A. cut off her own tresses "by accident." Oh yeah, so why is she also holding a doll's hairbrush in her hand? She starts to cry. I give her a hug and tell her not to worry but she mustn't cut her own hair in future. Celeste starts to cry. Why?!?

We walk A. home to explain the impromptu haircut to her parents. Thankfully, they're both completely unperturbed - they've got 6 kids for goodness sake, they've seen it all.

And anyway, although I don't mention it to A., she's done rather a good job.

Friday, 14 August 2009

9:20 am

Following on from yesterday's post, where I employed measures to get My Girl out of my bed and into hers (to much fuss and many tears), what do you think happened next?

Did she repeat the pattern last night? Did she insist on sleeping with Mummy? Did she riddle me with guilt for not caving in and letting her kick my bones in her slumber?

No. She didn't make ONE visit!!

Now, as a rule, even if she does sleep right through from 6:30pm to 6:30am, she'll then wake me for a cuddle, a PINK beaker of milk and a biscuit and an early morning viewing of CBeebies. It's part of the routine, it's how we embark on a new day.

Last night saw me early to bed with a book because I was shattered after too little sleep in my role of SuperNanny the night before. We both came to after the birds this morning and I could hear Celeste chatting away to herself in her own room. "She sounds happy enough, I'll leave her to it" I thought and dozed off again.

My eyes pinged open a little later, completely refreshed, like I'd actually had enough sleep! Enough sleep!? When does that ever happen when there's a toddler in the house? I could still hear her merry chit-chat and, being ready to get up, I actually went into her room first!

"Hi Lestie?"

"Mummy!!!"

"You OK?"

"Yes Mummy, I play in my room wif Hilary" (Hilary is her invisible friend). "I's a big girl. I stay in my bed all night!" She's really happy with herself and, it must be said, I'm pretty chuffed too.

I go to make a cup of tea. My God! It's nearly half past nine! What a turn around. Reckon it'll last?

Thursday, 13 August 2009

2 am

She wants to get into my bed and sleep with me. Much as I love the sound of her breathing next to me and the feel of her little arms around my neck, this cannot happen because after an hour or so, she'll be laying diagonally across my mattress, her precious feet exploring my whole body with kicks. Then, in the morning, I'll be red eyed from lack of sleep and she'll miss out on The Fun because I'll be too exhausted to play with her or walk up and down these hills. Then we'll niggle at each other for much of the day - one bored, the other in a haze.

I carry her back to her own bed.

"I want to go."

"You want to go where?"

"To Mummy's bed." She's crying. I kiss her, I stroke her and I explain that she can see me in the morning and then I leave her.

She sneaks in again, I take her back to her room.

And again. And again. I discipline her the SuperNanny way and say nothing, communicating to her my strength in pure determination and will. She is a very good match, reluctant to concede. This continues, her cries turning into screams.

I have to see this through.

And then, suddenly, she stops resisting and remains in her own space. The protests, however, continue through great big, excruciating sobs. After a while, her pleas become less audible and less convinced as tiredness overtakes My Girl's beautiful, sturdy body:

"I want my Mummy. I want my Mummy. I want my Mummy. Come on Mummy. Come on. Come on. Mummy Come on. I want you Mummy. I want you for ages. I want you for ages. Come on Mummy. I want my Mummy. Come on, come on. It's not fair. I want you Mummy. I want you. Come on Mummy. Mummy. Come on. Come on. Come on ...."

Silence from the other room. No peace in my head.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Baby Love

"I want to take my baby to the woods," she pleads.

"You can take baby but you have to carry him all the time. Mummy's not carrying him. OK?"

"OK."

"Are you sure you want to carry baby? He can wait here if he wants to."

"I take him."

"You have to carry him, Celeste. All the way!" I reiterate.

"I take him."

Up we go.

To start with, our woodland walk is much less fun than it usually is: I'm not in the mood for doing very much at all today and Celeste is concentrating on not dropping her baby. She watches her step and, in her studiousness, she isn't noticing the bugs or the blackberries. At the Water Tower, I let her choose which path we will take next. She picks the one I know will be littered with muddy puddles and I think she knows this too.

I roll her jeans up. She finds a big puddle, jumps and laughs and jumps again. She washes naked baby in the puddle.

"There you go, baby. You all clean now," she tells him with authority and love. He WAS clean before he went in to the quagmire but now he is splattered in brown.

"You come in, Mummy." Ah, WhatTheHell! I glide through the rain water in my sandals and shorts. She jumps and splashes me until my legs are the colour of tree bark. Lovely. I begin to jump too and we dirty each other. This is more like it.

"I want a wee-wee."

Good. "Let's go home." She offers no resistance.


She runs on a little way ahead, carefree, unencumbered. Hold on a minute, why am I holding muddy naked baby? I thought we had an agreement! How did she manage that? Knowing I need more than ever these days to stick to my word, I ask her to take over babysitting duties.

"No, you hold him Mummy."

"Lestie, if you don't carry baby, I'll leave him here in the woods and the foxes will eat him."

"NOooooo."

Was that a bit harsh?

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Weston Donkey

I'm laden with two carrier bags full of fruit, milk, bread and lovely, fabulous chocolate and I've got my swimming bag on my back (I didn't get to the pool but that's another story - one I'm not going to tell you. Let's just say it was fun. Adult fun, nudgenudgewinkwink). She's holding her brand new PINK skipping rope, her brand new Piggle Wiggle and her 2-week old Gruffalo book - I know, how spoilt is that? Whoops.

"Hold my hand, Mummy."

What? Why don't you just sit on my head?

She didn't! Thankfully.


Anyhow, our new Weston Mercury Blog is now live on their website. It's all about the Teddy Bears' Mudbath up Weston Woods. Any comments are very welcome:
http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/cs/blogs/weston-super-mum/archive/2009/08/10/1793798.aspx

Monday, 10 August 2009

Dawn Chorus

She wakes up at Silly O'clock and climbs into my bed.
"I want CBeeebies on."

"Go back to bed Celeste, CBeebies isn't on yet. It's still night-time."

"It's NOT night-time." There is a kind of light outside, it's true, but the dimness notifies some part of my desperately-wanting-to-get-back-to-a-semi-conscious-state brain that the Night Creatures are only just going back into hiding. I can hear no birds, no sign of life outside of this bed. "CBeebies!"

I'll have to get tough.

"It's not on yet. Go back to your own bed Celeste or go to sleep here. You choose. But be quiet and leave Mummy alone. Mummy's still asleep because it's night-time" I know it's a little unfair, she was out for the count by seven o'clock last night and we're at least 10 hours on. She tries to be still and sleepy but it's not working for her.

"Tickle me on my arms." This I do because this I can manage, while being able to remain prostrate with eyes mostly closed, still snug, just about . "And on my legs. and here and here." Sigh.

We hide from the Monsters, cheek to cheek, under the covers.

"It's OK, Mummy. It's a friendly monster. It's the birthday monster."

"But it's not my birthday," I say. I want more cuddles, I don't want to leave this space. We cuddle.

"I want CBeebies on." Putting the telly on means that she'll sit and enjoy The Tweenies (I still don't know how even a three-year old gets anything positive out of that bunch of excruciatingly annoying, squealing Fuckwits), permitting me to hide my head to doze as she goes through the CBeebies early morning schedule of BBC Signature Music-Tikkabilla-Fimbles-The Tweenies. I give in.

"OK, let's see if it's on yet."

It is and it has been for an hour (the grey day outside had convinced me that it was much earlier. Or I'd convinced myself!)

The Tweenies spew too bright colours out onto our TV screen. I turn over and close my eyes tight. Bella starts to screech a too high-too fast-too soon song. I wrap the quilt around my head, blocking out all sound.

OK, so maybe it is time to get up!

Friday, 7 August 2009

Today in Photos


Through Weston Woods

Past Birnbeck Pier

Down the Steps by The Captain's Cabin

On the Rocks @ Anchor Head

On the Beach @ Marine Lake

Thursday, 6 August 2009

When one Door Closes ...

It's all so quiet now. An hour ago we were at loggerheads. She was screaming, crying and throwing herself on the floor because ...

She wanted to shut herself in her bedroom.

Our doors are very heavy fire doors that take tremendous strength to open. Little fingers can get caught and, oh, I don't have to explain it to you, do I? You know what I mean. And anyway, once you've said 'No,' there's no reneging, is there?

"I-want-to-close-my-bedroom-door," she sobs.

"No." I say.

"But-I-want-it-to-close."

"I said 'No!'"

"I close it!"

"Why do you want to close it, Celeste?"

"I-want-it-closed!" She hasn't got a hold of the 'why' question yet, which I should be grateful for because when she has, there'll be no let up. Although, once the relentless questioning years begin, at least I'll have Google.

I show her Barbie's arm, which I accidentally caught in the window when shutting it yesterday - she's got a rather nasty scar. Oops.

"That's what happens when you get your arm shut in the door. Do you want to have an arm like Barbie?"

"No," a shake of the head.

"OK, so leave the door open, please."

"But I want to close my bedroom door."

For fuck's sake!!

"No."

She lets out a great big piercing scream.

"Right, sit on the Chill-Out Chair and calm down." But the Chill-Out Chair is in the open-doored bedroom.

"I-want-to-close-my-bedroom-door." And the strop continues.

Just ignore her till she's screamed herself bored.

A few moments/minutes/hours later, she appears at the front room door.

"I want my Mummy."

Aw, come here.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Photo Shoot

"Look at that rain," she said. "It's big and fat and crying."

We gave in to the British Summer yet again so its been another day at home, which has consisted of making misshapen fairy cakes hanging over their paper cases like an unfit bloke (but tasting gooood, like ...), dancing to Bjork and Artic Monkeys and taking photos of each other.

Model Girl thought she was in some sort of studio photographic session and kept striking professional looking poses with a PINK blanket.

Here's one of each: we're both improving, don't you think?



Monday, 3 August 2009

BOGOF

She's sitting there and I get up to do us some beans on toast.

"Mummy, show me your boobies."

I give her a flash of my bra-clad beauties. She gives me a smile.

"I like your boobies."

"Aw, thanks Lest!"

"Where did you buy your boobies?"

Ha! A shop for little people? A joke shop? Primark?

Play Time

I grew up on an estate in Central London: a clean, community-spirited estate that housed hundreds of families, which meant a ready made army of other kids to play with at any given daylight hour. It was pretty safe - open balconies skirted the flats offering a vista of the playground and the football pitch below (much of this has since given way to a car park. In the 1970s there were considerably fewer motors and if your family owned one, it was usually in the form of a black cab). We used to shout up to Mum and Dad for money when the ice-cream van came (well everyone else did; we weren't allowed, we had to go up and ask for it), played British Bulldog and Tin-Can Alley Man and made up dance routines to Bucks Fizz songs. During the evening, there was a youth club that ran from 6-8. It was furnished with everything a child could want, down to a VCR, a pool table and a tuck shop. There was always something to do, someone to do it with.

'If I ever have kids,' I used to say. 'I'll move back to London.'

But those rose-tinted spectacles made the world look murky brown before she was even born. London? You must be mad! In fact, for the first 16 months of my baby's life, we lived in the East Midlands in a small village with two pubs and a church. I knew I couldn't have sustained living there for any longer (I would have gone insane) and the pull to the West was irresistible. Weston has a population about 90 times the size of that village but it's way off being a city. From where I sit, it's semi-rural, it's woodland, it's beach, it's peaceful - 30% of the cars that come up our road are driven by learner-drivers and their instructors - all of the houses are spread out and set back into the hill so that I know who the people in the house to the right of me are but that's about it - in short, it's the opposite to where I grew up.

So, thank Goodness that our flat is in a block of six and that the couple upstairs have that brood of children, some of whom she plays with outside where I can still see them.

And right now, they're driving me bloody mad!!