Tuesday, 31 March 2009

It all started with a black poo

If I tell you that Scarlett has been ill again, I bet you won't believe me.

We headed off to London after swimming on Friday to see the very lovely Harriet and Skye. We walked to Balham and had a coffee (oh how Yummy Mummy in concept but Slummy Mummy in practice as I tried to push a buggy one-handed) and then put the girls in the bath. They just had soo much fun together.
Saturday morning there was a very foul-smelling black-as-night poo in Scarlett's nappy for Harriet and I to ponder (as only first time mothers can). We headed to Richmond for a walk (not Kew as we needed shops to dive into if the rains came) with both girls a little grumpy doing tag-team crying, especially on the way home.
When I put Scarlett in the bath she was covered in bright red spots! Chicken Pox! Surely ...
By the morning (at which point Harriet and Skye were full of colds and Harriet had spent much of the night plotting what she could and couldn't do with a baby within the chicken pox incubation period) there were no spots...
We headed home but no sooner had we got home than Scarlett started to cry and get hot. Unfortunately, as I walked through the door, I was hit by the putrid smell of pus or poo or something I couldn't quite name (thank goodness). Within a few minutes I found a caked collar on Matisse so with Scarlett screaming (and screaming) in her high chair I bathed the offending canine before realising that the smell was also on his bed, our sofa, our bed and the carpet at the top of the stairs.
I was a Mother on the Edge and I suspect it is no surprise then that all my good intentions to be calmer, more organised and generally a better person collapsed around my ears with a loud thud. Once Scarlett was fed and in bed, I cried and cried. I thought about getting someone to come and sit in the house so that I could go out. I even thought very dark thoughts (about myself) that I cannot repeat.
When Dan came home from work I had washed everything that smelled bad and we were all a little calmer. Using thought processes that Holmes and Watson would have been proud of we worked out that our elderly (aggressive) cat had been caught short on Saturday night and Matisse had rolled in it. He had then hopped onto the sofa and our bed, for good measure. Not thinking that Matisse was involved he was overlooked in the clear-up and the cat took the full blame (if he noticed).
If only my mood was so easy to solve.

Today is a better day. Scarlett is really smiley and has kept Dan amused all day. I have been at work and have been calm and happier. I have made plans so that I have something in my diary for every day that I am not working. I have eaten lots of sweet food.
I have tried to remember that how I feel is normal.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

All moaning is cancelled

I'm sick and tired of feeling sick (Scarlett) and tired (me). Scarlett's gummy eye became a really nasty cold so we have had another difficult few days. It has dawned on me that the last time she was truly relaxed and happy for a full day was on 6 March. Poor thing.

Anyway we are heading off to the Big Smoke tomorrow to see Harriet, under the heading A Change Is As Good As A Rest. We're hoping to go to Kew Gardens on Saturday; although this maybe a bit ambitious as the weather is truly inclement. We have had blazing sun, heavy rain, thunder and hail over the last 36 hours and the next few days are said to be "unsettled".

I'm suffering from a lack of creativity that I am hoping to recapture sometime soon. The latest issue of the The Knitter arrived this morning, I have found some beautiful wool at the Natural Fibre Company and some jumpers I want to make on a website called Needled (although not sure they are designed for women with convex post-baby tummies?) but I just can't get carried away with it all. Could it be a consequence of the slightly trying time I have had lately or that I know I can't afford any wool this month?

[I've typed this listening to Jon Allen - In your Light, if you haven't yet heard it on Radio 2 then click here, it's beautiful.]

Sunday, 22 March 2009

What is Mother's Day?

It is Mother's Day. I am grateful, thankful and pleased to have had a lovely family lunch at Mum's, but I am confused by the assumption that mothers should 'take it easy' on Mother's Day. By midday I had made the tea, fed Scarlett (by bottle; I reclaimed ownership of my breasts yesterday morning), tidied away all the toys (twice), fed the rabbits, hoovered the bedroom (as well as several receipts from Dan's side of the bed and a dressing gown cord), wrapped presents, called Dan's Mum and entertained Scarlett. It's not Dan's fault - I had a lovely card and he gave Scarlett breakfast (twice, more on that later) before going to work but if I had played the Mother's Day Card (and lay on the bed reading a book, which is what I really wanted to do) then we would have been in chaos, which would have caused me stress and isn't that counter-productive?

With Scarlett coming down with something else nasty (gummy eye) she has been very clingy so as I sit here now I am not sure that it was a truly great day. However, having heard that Jade Goody died in the early hours of this morning I will try my best to be thankful for my life and remember that tomorrow is another day.

Philly and I took off to Southwold yesterday with Scarlett in tow (asleep on the way, happy at the beach, screaming all the way home) to get some air and pick up a plate from Thea's . I had a truly peaceful moment sitting at a cafe on the beach feeling the cool sea air on my face with a warm cup of tea in my hands.

So .. to the eating .. Scarlett's super appetite has virtually ground to a halt. A spoon does not have a hope of entering her mouth (unless it has yoghurt on it), any purees are spat back via a blown raspberry and mealtimes are becoming a battle ground. Knowing stress is totally the wrong approach I have tried to walk away and tell myself that it really isn't a problem (in the grand scheme of things) that on top of EVERYTHING ELSE the home-made broccoli and potato cheesy mash is now on the floor.
We then found (by accident, rather than any form of super-parenting know-how) that Scarlett just wants to feed herself.

Her calorie intake is at an all-time low, I am trying to remember to forget that eating lots of toast can't be OK, mealtimes are taking three times as long as before and I can't describe the mess.
More chaos.

Yesterday morning I had a nice long digging session up at the allotment. I am going to get a gardener's tan (a strip above the waist of your jeans where your trousers droop and your top rides up) if the weather carries on like this.

Here is something we have grown with very little effort. I just wish we could remember if this was the garlic or the onion bed!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

How it is to be a mother

In yesterday's Times there was an article on the conspiracy of silence about motherhood. Much of it wasn't new (to me anyway) but the newsreader Mary Nightingale had written the following that Dan read to me as I tried to dry my hair, put on make up (one-handed), amuse Scarlett, finish my cold tea and check my watch (at which point I realised I was late for work).
"If only I'd realised that no matter how hard I battled, I would lose control of my life. Before I had children I think I believed that, with a little discipline and organisation, I could be in charge. I couldn't grasp that motherhood isn't like that - you can't schedule croup or projectile vomiting [insert viral infection and FOUR top teeth]. You just have to go with it. I fought that randomness for a while but I've admitted defeat."

Sometimes the sense of chaos, the terrible feelings of guilt and the loss of me-time overwhelms me. I'm not sure how to get to the point of admitting defeat and what that would entail so I battle on.

The current topic for debate is who is going to work on what days. I thought we had got closer to the perfect arrangement when we (or was it me?) suggested not working on Tuesdays so we could have a family day. There has now been a Dan-Shaped Spanner thrown in the works by him suggesting he would prefer to work Tuesdays but not Saturdays. This is all well and good but how am I going to work enough hours to contribute just under half of the bills account?
Let alone have some money for me. I really am a bit bored of 'looking after the pennies so that the pounds look after themselves' (Where are the pounds? Down the pub?).
I had a moment today with a piece of paper and a pen so I drew a timetable of our week - who is working when, what jobs need to be done on what days and where Scarlett is supposed to be.
You see what I mean about control!

Add into the mix my realisation that all my clothes are shapeless/tired/out of fashion/holey (Dan and Scarlett bought me 7 pairs of socks yesterday, oh and some lovely pink tulips) and you can kind of guess where my head is right now.

On a brighter note, I used my piggy bank savings (and a cheque that I hope won't bounce) for a leg wax and facial which was a wonderful use of a sunny afternoon. I have also discovered an amusing podcast by a woman who goes by the name of She-Knits so whilst Dan was nursing the start of Man Flu and Scarlett was asleep I postponed the chaos to listen to my iPod and eat a fried egg on a piece of toast with a token sprinkling of salad leaves.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Normal service is resumed

How long we waited to see this little face again. This was taken Friday morning, just fifteen hours after her second trip to the doctors to have a torso rash diagnosed as part of a viral infection.
So followed a period of intense packing, housework and washing. We then headed off to North Norfolk for our weekend retreat with family and friends ...

We are now home, feeling refreshed although tired (I didn't sleep well and Dan drank a little too much wine) and I have just so much to catch up on.

Monday, 9 March 2009

My baby is poorly

The world is turning, but our life is standing still.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

I'll never be a yummy mummy in a Boden skirt

Have I mentioned that Scarlett has stopped sleeping during the day?
Did we appreciate the time, precious time, that we had when she slept twice between the hours of 7am and 6pm? Did we truly appreciate how different our lives would be once she became mobile and so aware of the world around her?
In a bid to get some work done in time for this afternoon's meeting I tried putting her to bed with a bottle of formula, barricading her in a corner of my bedroom using my body as the final side of the square whilst using my bed as a desk and also sitting her on my lap playing with a Nectar card whilst I sent some e mails.
Whilst contained in her makeshift playpen, the best distraction was a catalogue that came with my Red magazine. As you can see, I certainly won't be treating myself to a Boden skirt anyday soon.

After a slightly stressful trip to Tesco's petrol station yesterday (I confused the pay-at-the-pump, three times, so had to pay at the kiosk which held up the man behind me and then I slipped on some petrol, or something, as I got back to the car which left me clinging onto the roof of my car whilst my legs went the opposite way like Bambi on ice) it dawned on me that we don't seem to get any clubcard vouchers, nor Nectar points. How exciting to find out that all I had to do was give them our new address (we moved October 2007) and we have enough points to get £40 of Pizza Express vouchers and we have £15 to spend in Sainsbury's.

Soooooooo exciting.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Time with friends is really important

Coffee with a friend on Sunday morning gave me a now unusual opportunity to talk about myself for a while (mind you, isn't this a chance to talk about myself?). The combination of too much caffeine and opening my heart led to an hours frantic hoovering, tears sitting at the top of the stairs, a long walk on a grey afternoon and more digging at the allotment. When I got home I was so tired I couldn't talk and, as I wasn't even sure what I wanted to say, I went quiet for a while.
Being such a noisy beast this caused much consternation for my beloved husband so last night I tried to articulate my need to have some time with him and Scarlett, just pottering around and doing stuff. All of this handing her over and both working as much as possible to make ends meet was not how we intended to parent, or live.
So my coffee with a friend (and some really nice muffins) led to a good chat and a plan was made to have a day a month as a family.

At the gym last night I ran for ten minutes. Running and I have a love-hate relationship. I love to think I could run a marathon but when I am running I hate it so until I say I can run 5 miles on the road, don't take this too seriously - but please raise a glass to the strength of my pelvic floor.

Today I realised just how long you can manage (and still function beautifully) on a bowl of stewed apple for breakfast. I didn't even feel hunger until 1.30 .... 1.30!!!!