Sunday, 22 September 2013

Lost a limb?

I'm back from my first weekend away from O and C and him indoors in 2 years. Can that be right? Seems a long time. Did I miss the little darlings? Of course. But mainly I enjoyed my freedom. These were particular highlights:

- read the Sunday papers cover to cover
- had a conversation without breaking off halfway through to deal with children (fighting, or getting into trouble)
- had a lie in till 9am
- steamed in 5 different types of steam, waxed, Jacuzzied & generally had spa treatments, hmmm, spa treatments 

Edinburgh is beautiful. Especially on a non-winter's day when you don't need gloves & ski suit to get outside. The streets are wide, the buildings grand (if grey), and it's overlooked by a castle. Tourist heaven.

Returning to the nest, I noticed the little ones had missed me - manifested in bad behaviour which wore off after half a day. In conclusion, the weekend away is an essential luxury in the name of sanity and not something I'll be leaving for another 2 years.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Not even fair weather campers

From August 2013 (but only just getting around to publishing it in Septemer):

Less than favourable forecasts have forced us to reconsider a camping weekend.

Not that we were committed to camping in the first place. Rather cowardly, we had said we'd meet our camping friends then leave for four permanent walls and a roof while they 'enjoyed' a night under canvas.

In the end, we turned out to be even fairer than fair weather campers. What does that makes us? Non-campers, I guess.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Sleep clock

The Gro Clock arrived today. It shows a sun for 'you can get out of bed', a star with eyes shut for 'stay in bed & don't even think about going downstairs and playing with the matches / keys / my purse'.

Night 1: I read the 'why is pig so grumpy' book which neatly explains why sleep is good. So far, going according to plan. 

Set the clock so it's 'sunshine time' at 7am (and cross fingers).

But wait, what's this? The 3 year old boy can turn on the 'sunshine' at the press of a button. And both 3 year olds love it so much they fight over it, occasionally unplugging it.

Two flaws in the plan. It's now so late that the flaws cannot be addressed. In fact, one flaw is so fundamental the parent needs to re-think the plan (or at least read the instructions). The plan is not going to work if 'sunshine' is something that can be summoned at 9.30pm - or 3.20am, 4.15am or 5.23am. 

Defeated parent slopes off to bed with no glimmer of hope for sleep tonight.

Night 2: It can only be an improvement, I like to think.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Sunday off

Look what happens when you get a Sunday off. 

Biscuits and laughter courtesy of my sister Yoyo. 

Thank you for giving us the first day off in 3 years (without plans to see anyone, do anything or go anywhere). 

It was amazing. Still in shock at how generous you are.

We love you xxxx

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

We are (nearly) 3

We are planning a 3rd birthday party. Hard to believe it's been 3 whole years but the diary doesn't lie.

Which prompts some reflection... what, I wonder, have learned in those 3 precious years?

1. Mummy is not the chilled out, laid back person she thought she was BC (Before Children).
2. If Caitlin screams at Mummy, Mummy will, at some point, scream back. Oh dear.
3. Oscar is 'Superman', sometimes 'Spiderman', occasionally 'Tree Fu Tom', and every so often, 'Buzz Lightyear'. Ideally with a towel hooked over his head which drags along the floor, adding to the endless washing - which, incidentally, is also added to by a haphazard approach to potty training. One day it's nappies, the next it's pants & sticker charts, no wonder we're not making swift or steady progress. 
4. Caitlin is 'The Dude'. Note: the above 2 points refer to self-appointed titles.
5. Sleep deprivation is a ruthlessly effective form of torture, able to turn a docile dormouse into a child-eating lion/lioness.
6. Oscar & Caitlin are best friends.
7. Oscar & Caitlin can be worst enemies who intentionally pick fights with each other.
8. Caitlin's favourite colour is pink. Mummy's is not. There's a compromise in there somewhere.
9. Children's entertainers are an expensive necessity... £80 for not entertaining 15 three year olds for 1 hour? Priceless!
10. Mummy's memory has been eaten by moths - she tried to book her one weekend away without the rest of the Family on the 3rd birthday which has been mentioned daily for the past 3 months. Moth balls.

For anyone intending to come to the 3rd birthday party, don't worry, I've started making lists. Lots of lists. Now I need a list listing the whereabouts of the lists.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Dream puppets

I've been waiting 2 and a half years (yup, since Oscar and Caitlin were born) to take them to our local theatre, Lyric Hammersmith, which puts on some excellent productions for youngsters. Finally, that day arrived - today.

As this beautiful picture shows, Arthur's Dream Boat by Long Nose Puppets is a stunning show. The puppets they create are gorgeous. But what this picture doesn't convey is the timing, the soundtrack, Arthur's endearing accent, his mother's hands and the expressive way they moved, in short, the sheer magic of the play - for that, you need to go and see it.

We loved it so much we bought the soundtrack and listened to it as soon as we got home - the 'Tipperty Tapperty' track which tells of the digital age, sung to the rythmic tapping of a keyboard - "no grandma, it's not just a phase" - is so true yet so clever.

I especially appreciated the 'meet the puppets' session at the end - where all the audience got to interact with the puppets (Arthur and a fish) and their 'hidden' operators. After inital fears of 'they're going to be mobbed' as the under-5s descended proved unfounded, it was a wonderful experience. Truly memorable. Even if O & C are too young to remember it hopefully this post (coupled with the soundtrack) will act as a reminder.

That wasn't my only local theatre experience - two outings in one weekend; unprecented! 'Money, the Game Show' at the Bush Theatre, a superb Shepherd's Bush institution, was also very good, though one for the adults - an education on the sub prime mortgage instigated financial crisis, dressed up in an entertaining enough 'game show' format.

There were fun and games with members of the audience called on to take part. Our 'team' had two especially talented people - a lady who could make a four leaf clover out of her tongue, seriously; and a guy who was especially good at blowing up balloons against the clock, a talent I'm sure he'd never really known about until that night. I'd have paid good money just to see him. I'm not sure if it was the determination to win, the knowing side glances to his team, or peculiar lip licking mannerisms, but whatever it was, it was pure comedy genius!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Save our Sleep

A mere few weeks ago we enjoyed sleep-filled nights, a glorious 12 hours from 8pm-8am. I (somewhat naively) thought that was it. At least for the next few years. Oh how foolish I feel now. Now that we're getting a mere 9.30pm-7am, or at worst 10pm-6am, with 2 or 3 wakings during the night.

All of a sudden 'Save our Sleep' is all I can think about.

A week before Christmas we had the perfect storm - a combination of no more soo-soos (soothers) at night (finally!), an ability to climb out of their cots and open doors, as well as an inability to fully comprehend just how bad lack of sleep is has led to a severe lack of a solid 6 hours. It's literally torture.

I'm prepared to throw money at the problem (£230 is the going rate, apparently) but the man in 'His' camp isn't, hmmm.

This lack of sleep does make you realise that you're not the only one going around like a zombie. Gradually, it dawns on you that it's highly likely half your work colleagues are only partially awake while doing their jobs too.

Despite this, I (and said work colleagues) have managed to publish an events guide for London in 2013 which gives me a great sense of achievement. Luckily, readers won't know the Christmas eve panic proof reading that went into this... unless they read this blog, of course.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

1 - 1 - 2013

2013 got off to a s**t start, very literally, as Oscar's nappy had somehow managed to release itself - and its unsavoury contents - all over his pyjamas and duvet covet. Not ideal when you've got to bed at 3am the night before and your head is pounding. But I can't complain. Him indoors was confined to our flat while I was out celebrating New Year's Eve - giving 2013 an enthusiastic welcome.

A very happy, civilised Christmas 2012 was spent at Grandpa's house in Dorset and on Boxing Day we were on our way to Grandma Bentley's in Cardiff.

We managed to avoid scenes of manic present opening - I had dreaded witnessing a frenzy of abandoned gifts barely acknowledged while their ungrateful recipients moved onto the next unwrapping. The children are more civilised than I thought.

Thank you to all our nearest and dearest for the gorgeous gifts - books a-plenty (Room on the Broom now joining other favourites creating a current top three of The Gruffalo and We're Going on a Bear Hunt), Brio train tracks (love), Lego (most played with toy of 2012), cosy winter PJs, Peppa Pig laptop and TV as well as pots for the first teeth.

We're getting lots of proper sentences now which is so lovely. But I do also love the mispronounciations including:

mecime - medicine
yee yee - raisins (no relation)
I'll add more as I remember / hear them

Mis-singing of nursery rhymes is also quite a common theme. The one about 'Tommy Thumb', somebody Small, which Oscar loves to sing to himself had me baffled for weeks. I had no idea what he was going on about. Grandma enlightened me.

Happy 2013. Hope to write more regularly this year

Summer 2012

We had an amazing summer in 2012 and I want to make a note of it so the children, reading this when they're 18, can say "we were there!"

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee - we saw the boats and had a street party. The Olympics - we saw the flame (twice) as it relay-ed around London; the second time it rowed past us on the Gloriana, a wonderful sight. And we (Mummy and Daddy) saw Team GB winning dressage gold at Greenwich. Olympic fever really caught hold across the country, even the cynics were silenced.

With the Paralympics coming to an end this weekend it's a good time to summarise what's been going on the past few months.

Oscar and Caitlin turned two. Grandma and Tony came to London to help celebrate, treating the birthday boy and girl to ice cream - which they'd only had a handful of times in their short lives.

We had holidays in Ireland and Wales - I fell in love with Tenby, a picturesque seaside town in Pembrokeshire which, fortunately for us, felt more like Spain than south west Wales due to the heatwave (in an otherwise wet summer) which was baking the sand while we were there.

I'm only getting around to posting this on 1st January 2013 so it all feels like a distant memory today. The babies are already 2 and a half now and things that were preoccupying us a mere 6 months ago have been overtaken by a list of new issues. Prime among these are trying (in a very long, drawn out sort of way) to buy a house. Second on the list is the new (lack of) bedtime routine which involves our terrible two staying up until 9.30pm (gone are the days of asleep at 7, sadly). Speaking of which, Caitlin is screaming in a 'tired newborn' way right now, gotta go.