ailbhe: (Default)

Title: How Children Fail

Author: John Holt

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0140135561

I haven't finished this yet, but so far it's eye-opening. Like What Mothers Do, it articulates stuff I already felt to be true, and it does it clearly. A lot of my difficulties as an adult are easy to see in terms of methods of learning and being taught and surviving school, and I am - again - massively, immensely, technicolouredly grateful to my mother for managing to encourage independent, questioning thought anyway, in spite of, well, everything she had going against her.

This book is going to be a useful reread even before Linnea is school-age, because I'm going to need to be reminded of it for myself as well as for dealing with her and with other people's opinions of how we're raising her.

(She seems socially fairly well adapted, so far, though she does have a faulty ranking system - breastmilk is better than bananas, and better than banana muffins, but not as good as Maya Gold chocolate, damn her.)

ailbhe: (books)

Title: School is not compulsory (The essential introduction to home-based education)

Editor: Education Otherwise

Publisher: Education Otherwise

ISBN: 0952170337

A useful guide from the UK's primary home education organisation, lots of useful tips about the law etc rather than suggestions for actually doing it (though some of those too). Definitely useful to get again when Linnea is "school age" - ie the first school start date after her fifth birthday, which I think is 01 September 2009. She'll be 5 years and 4 months then, so they'll start teaching her to count to ten and learn her ABCs. I can't see that, somehow. It seems very unlikely.

New word: Pwing (swing) and now she pronounces horse correctly, H and all (English R, but never mind). She's working on teeth, mouth, and flower, too, but not there yet. And she has a word for breastmilk - Thass. I have no idea where it came from - perhaps "Oh, that's what you want, is it?!"

(Home education: get up, tidy house, wash dishes, cook dinner - you've done "domestic science" and probably maths. Go shopping - maths and reading comprehension and all sorts. These books are really changing the way I look at my day. It's very funny to suddenly think "... and that's geography!" when I've looked up a train timetable or something.)

ailbhe: (sleep)

Linnea is asleep, and for those of you keeping tabs on how well I'm nourishing my baby, she has had no bananas today (Yes, we have no bananas, we have no bananas today!) Those of you going "Huh?" will be interested to note that I was recently offered unsolicited advice here and I paid it the heed I usually do unsolicited advice - that is to say, I was indignant and infuriated at first, because I started to think "Wow, have I been feeding her too many bananas? What if she DIES in the NIGHT? someone's grandmother did, so my BABY might too! Onoes! Bananas KILL!" and then I recovered and was all like y'know "WHAT a drive-by mommying like WOW."

Only in English. Pardon me, I have no idea why I came over all funny, it could be because...

The baby is asleep! She went to sleep on her way home from the playground after dinner, at about 20:10, and stayed asleep when Rob laid her in her cot (fully clothed, we do NOT disturb sleeping babies in this house, though we do remove trailing bits of string and sharp knives). We are ecstatic. And a bit shocked.

I am scrumptious! It's like yummy, only refers to actual flavour as judged by infant. Today, Linnea wanted a lot of feeding, so I must be particularly tasty.

I wore my fabulous red shoes. I sloshed a bit of polish on them before going out because I let them get horribly worn down once before and I don't want to do that again. I should probably clean them properly with a leather-cleaner, then polish them again, but oof, the effort, no.

Still to come: proposed writing projects (oh, the irony!) and the desexualisation of mothers and why I am particularly annoyed by it.

Linnea just woke crying. Looks like that was a delayed afternoon nap, not a bedtime.

ailbhe: (morning)

Linnea had been mimicing me saying "Now," for a few days. Today she used it in context.

She finished her morning feed and got out of bed while I lay there croaking (I have a pending and impending cold). She toddled over to the bookcase, selected a book (Marcus Aurelius' Meditations, as it happens) and climbed back onto the bed.

She sat down, laid the book on her lap, said "Now!" in a satisfied way, and started to read.

She is also proficient in the use of the word "Wassat?" although I deplore her glo'al stop.

I also went to John Lewis accompanied by a friend to buy Linnea a bed. The one we got does not appear to be on the John Lewis website, but it's a wooden-framed single bed with a matching "cabin" bed, and the two can be put together to make a bunk bed. So we're sorted for beds for the forseeable future. I chose a good child's mattress after checking a few and listening carefully to the sales-guy's explanation of why small children shouldn't use an adult's very firm mattress (it made a lot of sense and tied in to what I know of cot mattress design) and then I chose a winter duvet for myself and Rob and a light duvet for Linnea and single bedding for Linnea including waterproof mattress protectors and ooph.

My friend and I had a lovely lunch and met some other friends and got invited to drop in for coffee and also dropped in on Becky in the games shop and stuff like that.

And - wonder of wonders - Linnea napped for 40 minutes, ending at 15:10. And she can open the front door now.

ailbhe: (sleep)

Linnea woke us scremaing again last night. The first time woke me and Rob; he brought her into our bed and I'm not at all sure she woke up. The other times I know she didn't wake - and nor did he - and she cried out and wriggled and would not be consoled.

It's very sad, but she woke bright-eyed and bushy-tailed so it can't be that bad for her.

Today she went down for her nap at 2-ish and is still asleep now. I've decided that messing around with her sleep times causes more trouble than it's worth so I'm not doing it any more. I am going to reread The No Cry Sleep Solution and work on a better going-to-sleep routine, since the one we've got is complicated and exhausting.

And I'm going to buy her a bed, because putting her down into the cot is difficult for everyone. It's a long way down indeed. So what bed, and from where, and how do I choose a mattress? She should have a very firm one, I think, since her cot mattress is very firm and she sleeps well on floors.

ailbhe: (Default)

I am off-duty. Linnea is covered in coloured pens, her eardrums are probably never going ot recover from Fred Astaire putting on his top hat, white tie and tails at dance-loudness, her dinner cane to a halt when I realised that I was begging her through sobs to sit down, she has mostly eaten bananas today, but she is still alive, and so am I.

Pop quiz: When you see a mother screaming for her child because she is terrified that the child is in danger, do you:

  1. Get out of the way?
  2. Try to rescue the child?
  3. Wait until it's over and offer sympathy?
  4. Laugh at her as she dashes past you to rescue the child?
Does your answer alter if it is partially your fault that the child is perceived to be in danger?

We went to the new corner shop and bought bananas. Linnea insisted on carrying them home, which was fine by me but got us some funny looks.

I bought her an Early Learning Centre portable tabletop easel. I'm going to bring it to the hospital, for a start, next time we have to go. It's much better than the easel we had already and fastens up into a case with space for paper, pens etc. And coloured chalk.

Days like today don't happen very often. Today I was so stressed that I walked past a ladybird without pointing it out to her.

However, today we also had breakfast together, with a couple of stuffed toys and a lot of giggles. We had a great game of hanging out the washing. We woke smiling. We had some fun playing in the Early Learning Centre. We had a lot of fun buying bananas. We danced to a Fred Astaire CD (Linnea is frustrated by her inability to kick in time to the music; balance is tricky). We played wrapping each other up in towels, and the teddy played too.

Linnea played a complicated game of rhythms on the way into town. She clenched her fists up by her jaw and shook them, then clapped. There was a pattern but I didn't dare stop the buggy and pay attention for fear of stopping the game by accident.

H&M have some great colours at the moment, very strong with bags of contrast. I have a long-sleeved orange tshirt for days when it's too cold to wear my short-sleeved one. I must remember to check out H&M 13yo fashions again, as they are huge and the shirts etc will easily fit me. The arms will be a bit long, but then, Linnea's shirts' arms are probably too long for me.

Rob came home, changed and dressed Linnea, and left again to buy me chocolate. I am drinking lemon, ginger and clove tea. I also ordered the week's groceries. Query: Does anyone, when purchasing eating apples, think "I need about so much by weight" rather than "I need about 6 apples this week"? Because I always eat my apples by the appley unit, not by weight. But I have to order them by weight, and I still have no idea how much an apple weighs. Nor a banana, for that matter.

Linnea ate cold potato and bombay mix for lunch (with the peanuts removed, because I still care that much). She could have had apple juice if she hadn't chewed the straw up before we pierced the packet with it.

She recognises the word "muffin".

ailbhe: (mammy)

Linnea went to bed at about 10:30 pm last night, and she and I had awful nightmares. At least, I know mine were awful, and hers sounded terrible. We both have a headcold. Anyway, the result was that she woke up in a Terrible Twos mood, and it took all my momliness to cure her. So now Rob has taken her to the park on his lunchbreak, which will help a lot, and enabled me to get the lunch in the oven and the dinner in the slow-cooker and have a cup of tea.

I cured the tantrum, by the way, by dancing around the library to "I don't give a damn about my reputation" from the Shrek soundtrack, with a Thomas the Tank Engine football between my knees. Maternal Love truly is unconditional.

Last night I also made flapjacks, because I've been eating pretty badly - using chocolate to cover for the fact that I'm tired all the time - and I need sweet snack foods with actual food value. I need the sweet because I am self-medicating my depression with junk food. I'm also going to the dentist at the end of the month, when I may revise the current plan. Flapjacks and banana muffins, so far. I must dig out the recipe for American-style biscuits using rice milk instead of buttermilk; it's in my bookmarks somewhere. I can do quite a surprising amount of baking in ten minutes after Linnea has gone to sleep, or while Rob is reading her a story.

In further "Yes, Prime Minister" news: I absolutely adore Bernard and I want to take him home and keep him.

And we're going to hire some Fimbles DVDs from Amazon, just to see how we like 'em. I'd hate to buy one I wasn't enormously keen on.

ailbhe: (crawling)

That's something my father-in-law often says, as he stretches out on a pathetically deflated beanbag in front of Saturday lunchtime TV. But round these here parts, it is all go.

That was the week that was )

Saturday 13 August

Saturday was yesterday. We were all exhausted. But we did a lot anyway )

I started the day, as I do most Sundays, by staying in bed and listening to The Archers.And then we got busy )

We're going to try to get her to bed before 9 pm today. Wish us luck.

ailbhe: (daddy)

Rob came home and Linnea was calmer and happier than she has been all week - spending the day in front of the telly was a good idea, for her; I may be frazzled and wired and exhausted, but she's rested and revitalised and cheerful.

And she made Daddy take her for a walk - no, a carry - at 9:30 at night. Because, you know, it was important. We tried to fob her off and have her make do with the back garden, but no, she insisted on being taken down the street and around the block.

But then she came home, had a nice breastfeed, and went up on Rob's shoulder to bed just like she should.

So now we're going to watch some Yes, Prime Minister and I will, once again, get to shout repeatedly, "Omigod IloveBernard Omigod IwishIworkedwithim Omigod" and so on. The attention to detail is something I have often woshed for.

Only now, you know, I don't work. I sing the Roly Mo song almost obsessively, but I don't work. I can change a nappy while playing pat-a-cake, but I don't work. I'm so tired I had to ask Rob whether I had actually received a nasty letter from La Leche League demanding the return of a borrowed book, or only dreamt it (I'd dreamt it) and I have checked my online journal to see whether my exam under anaesthetic was already over or not (it was). I begin to wonder whether my employer would mind if I got signed off sick on exhaustion-induced stress leave. I think we would.

I really need to sort out some way of getting a graphic for the tshirt I want - you know, the one that goes -

If I was a

Stay-At-Home-Mom

you couldn't read this tshirt

Please tell me if that didn't work, because this whole font-tag thing is beyond me, I'm a stylesheet girl usually, only I'm, you know, TIRED.

ailbhe: (bigbed)

She's ill, and she's sleeping, and I've drugged her up good. She's refusing to eat all her usual food. She's snotty, and whingy, and restless, and weak; she's tiring, and loathsome - she's been like this all week.

I'm thinking of drinking; I'm trying some wine. If that doesn't work, I'll try whiskey next time... I've tried tea and coffee, and chocolate and cake, but I can see now that it's drink it'll take.

ailbhe: (Default)

I've made banana muffins to a recipe a friend had on her fridge: 100g butter-substitute, 200g soft brown sugar, 350g self-raising flour, 2 eggs, 4-5 bananas. Bake at 170C / 325F / mark 3 for 40 minutes for muffins, about an hour for cake. I think I might like to add some baking powder next time as they are pretty doughy, but then, I tend to find muffins doughier than I like.

So now, am I a good mother for making homemade muffins, or a bad mother for eating them all, or an even worse mother for giving my daughter sugary food for breakfast? Because she's not getting this much sugar in the afternoon, no matter what.

She likes the tie-dyed scarf I wear to keep my hair out of my eyes (I have wisps) and kept trying to put it on herself. But it fell off. So I retied one of them to fit her, and she is now delighted to look at herself in the mirror and be Just Like Me. Where's my leather biker jacket?!

(Which reminds me, I need to return that jacket to its owner, because it's too heavy for me to wear every again. I think - or at least, until Linnea doesn't need to be picked up ever again).

I need to decide whether or not to continue feeling guilty when I allow Linnea to drink sugary stuff like apple juice. So far, I figure that as long as she eats too, to stimulate saliva production, it doesn't matter... But what do I know?

ailbhe: (family)

This morning, I got up, had a quick bath, got dressed, did my hair, had breakfast, cleared the table, took the melons out of the washing machine, chopped the vegetables for dinner, and put some fish broth to defrost.

I also answered a cry for help from someone running in her sleep to the nearest cuddle; she woke just enough to find me in the next room and fell straight back asleep on my shoulder. She napped, in total, for three hours today. Either she's about to grow or she has a sleep deficit as well as us.

When she's in bed this evening I hope to rearrange the pantry and make banana bread muffin things. I have a banana bread recipe; I'm just going to abuse it until it's dairy-free and muffin-shaped. Because I have a feeling that someone I know will just adore banana muffins, and I have a bunch of blackening bananas.

My favourite children's TV programme is no longer on on weekdays. We never watch TV at the weekend, so this is a bit disappointing. When I resort to TV I prefer it to be something I like to watch. How much TV is too much? 8 hours a day? 12? I think it's only on for 13 hours a day anyway. Perhaps I need more channels.

Tomorrow is library day and playground day, we hope. There's Rhyme Time at the library and then a choice of playgrounds. Rob has taken to bringing her to the park around the corner after dinner, too, which is nice. He has a lovely video of a couple of boys playing football with her - very polished-looking dribbling of the ball up to the toddler's feet, then, they hold it steady for her and stand back. It's incredibly sweet.

I'm developing the kind of relationship with the camping shop guys that I associate with the barmen at the local pub, if I'd ever had a "local" pub. I go in, they chat, I chat, we make jokes, friendly banter... I think I spend too much time looking for gadgets. But camping shops are the best place to get small versions of everyday stuff! And I'm going to get a proper rucksack. We tried all the ladies' ones and they are all too long in the back for me, so they've ordered in a shorter one for me to try. They were so sure the one in the shop would fit - they carefully positioned the supports over my hips, tightened all the straps, stood back, and said "So, how's that?"

"Shouldn't the straps be touching my shoulders?"

With the waistband properly tightened, the rigid back of the rucksack kept the straps a good inch and a half above my actual shoulders. It's possible to carry a rucksack like that - I've done it - but it's no fun. And we really hope to go camping again this autumn.

ailbhe: (couple)

Today, at least for Rob, the day started wetly. He first woke at about 5:30 to discover that I had been unable to brave the furnace that is our bedroom this weather, and came down to find me sleeping peacefully on the sofa in the dining room, where it was a mere 20C. So he woke me (hah. More on that later).

He next woke at about 8:30. The head of our bed is next to the windows, and Linnea often wakes before we do (see also: parenthood) and stands on our pillows to spy on the neighbours. This morning she performed one of her less endearing tricks, which is to sit heavily on our sleeping heads. She sat wetly on Rob's.

He woke with the speed one might assume, and found that there was also a puddle on his pillow. Leaky nappy. By the time I surfaced, dry-mouthed and croaking, he'd laundered his pillow and hung it on the line to dry. And recovered from the shock, more or less.

Ahahahahahahaha!

It's too hot to go out. We were going to go swimming but it's too hot to walk there. We were going to go to Mothercare but it's too hot to walk there. We are going to collect some Freecycle curtains but that's going to wait until later afternoon because it's too hot.

In cuteness news, Linnea plays a good game of hide and seek, and gives generous kisses. None of the three of us are eating very much, but we're sure she's not dehydrated. We have incontrovertible proof, in fact.

And she likes the little crunchy stick bits in Bombay Mix. The spicy ones. Who'da thunk it?

Also, someone has suggested that this could use some music, and I think she may be right. Any suggestions?

And if anyone ever wanted to draw me an illustration for any of the pomes, I'd be interested in that, too. Not sure how I'd show them but we'd think of something. I'm seriously considering making up little booklets and sending them to people as gifts.

ailbhe: (Default)

Today was very, very hot. Linnea spent about an hour in the morning in the paddling pool, wearing a long-legged long-sleeved swimsuit with SPF40, and then we sat indoors and watched haan... maine bhi pyaar kiya which was great fun and nicely used up the hottest hours of the day. Then we went to buy some groceries and Linnea played in the pool again and we ate very little and sweated very much.

The other day, Mustard the cat snuzzled Linnea's knees, and suffered the little children to stroke unto him. We were impressed.

It's down to 25C indoors and out now, so the windows are open at last. Whew. Linnea is sleeping naked except for a nappy.

Linnea

Jun. 17th, 2005 05:00 pm
ailbhe: (footprint)

I love Linnea so much sometimes I want to cry, or be sick, or explode. She's the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. She's the best gift I've ever been given. She's the most fascinating person I've ever met. She's the biggest challenge I've ever had to live up to. She's the hardest work I've ever done - and I'm not talking about the birth, I'm talking about every day.

I always knew I wanted to be a mother - a stay-at-home mother, probably one who wrote on the side. I've been sure of it since I was 14. But I never knew how much it would suit me - how straightforward and natural it would seem, how simple the decisions are. It's easy - all I have to do is what I want, which is always to put what Linnea needs first, above everything and everyone, all the time.

Of course it's much bigger than I expected it to be. Of course I didn't really understand or believe how enormous it would be. Because it's huge.

I am glad now that I didn't know I had a miscarriage when I was 18. I thought it was a heavy, late period. Now that I've been pregnant "for real" I know it wasn't - I know how it feels to be pregnant now.

But I cannot be sorry that Linnea is my first baby. She's so wonderful, and I have the opportunity to be with her exactly as I always wanted to be with my babies. I couldn't have had that at 18.

Kiss

Jun. 17th, 2005 04:57 pm
ailbhe: (Default)
Little kisses so sincerely
Pressed on those she loves most dearly
With a little, rock-hard skull
Behind the kiss so soft and full.

Little smacking kisses planted
Where they're sure to be most wanted
Loud and loving in your ear
Though your skin is nowhere near.

Little kisses full of loving
Placed by babies full of shoving
In her eagerness to love us
She blows kisses high above us.

Little raining kisses falling
Little kiss-kiss noises calling
Little baby girls come crawling
For the biggest kisses back.

[Edit: This should have been posted in [livejournal.com profile] lnc - it has been now.]
ailbhe: (happy)

Linnea has been asleep just over an hour now. We went swimming this morning -

Start again. I overslept this morning, because somebody woke up for a feed shortly after two, and enjoyed it so much that she more or less didn't stop. I can sleep through it, but it's still a bit tiring. So when Rob left the house at 08:00 (Oh, it's lovely that he stays so late now!) he locked her in our bedoom with me, so that I could doze while she tore up books, ate laundry, and knocked down supporting walls. Eventually I got up and went downstairs.

I managed to get us both dressed, brush some of her teeth, brush all of my teeth, wash both faces, prep dinner and get it into the slow cooker, assemble the swimming kit, take the cositoes off the line and hang it in front of a gas fire to dry, wash the dishes, and tidy the three downstairs rooms. And in passing I wiped the cat-prints off the back door because I had a wet cloth.

Then we went swimming. Linnea adored it and is swimming more and more on her own - she doesn't mind the sinking part, but hates the fact that she can't surface at will. I keep having to lunge after her and grab her swimsuit (togs, we called them when I was a kid - no-one had a swimsuit, we all had swimming togs) because she pushes off against my stomach and paddles like crazy. She's a bit slower in water than on land, thankfully. Very quick at peeing though, during the All-Berkshire Junior Changing-Rooms-Chase Championships.

She almost fell asleep during her lunch at the pool so I got her clothes on and took her into town. She fell asleep on the way. I've caught up with livejournal, ordered some slit-eye sewing-machine needles for a friend of my mother's, and had my own lunch. My headache - have I already mentioned the headache? I've had it since I woke - is almost gone. If it's not totally gone by the time I get to Boots, I'll buy paracetemol there.

We're bringing disposable nappies all the way to Aran with us because it's easier than trying to buy them while we're there. This is a car's car's car's car's world. By the time Linnea is 5, we'll be the only people in the developed world who don't have a car through choice.. or, worse, we'll have caved in and got one. Icould weep.

Only, you know, the baby's asleep, so I'm going to drink another cup of tea that hasn't gone cold yet, and read some online cartoons. Greetings to you all from The Biscuit Tin Cafe. That's not a great link but I can't be bothered to look harder.

ailbhe: (Default)

Today I put Linnea to sleep in her buggy in front of the television.

Put the phone down! It's not that bad! Don't dial just yet (but the number is 0808 800 5000). She was very, very tired. And running around like a mad thing. She ran all over the house, and all over the garden, lying down and closing her eyes for up to three seconds at a time, before getting up to run around some more. She just didn't want to be awake and still - she wanted to be asleep. So I sat her in front of the TV until "still" was an option, then strapped her safely into the buggy so that she could fall asleep, er, safely.

She's going to meet a lot of strangers in quick succession after her Daddy goes away, this holiday. I hope it's ok. It could be up to 8 adults and four children, all told. I shall just have to hang on to my resolve not to let any of them hold her until she is willing to be held, unlike last time we brought her to Ireland, when I felt under considerable pressure to show her to be a "sociable" baby. She is sociable, mind you. Much more so than I am.

Yesterday she spoke to my mother on the phone. Mum said "Hiya!" and Linnea said "Hiya!" back. All melt.

She brushes her teeth morning and night; we say "Come and brush your teeth," and she leads the way to the bathroom, carries her step to the sink, climbs up on it, and demands a toothbrush. A parent has to be quick on the draw to get her teeth brushed before the toothbrush is wrenched from weak parental grasp by determined baby fingers.

Running naked around the garden cures mild nappy rash and is very cute cute cute cute cute BOOM.

ailbhe: (footprint)

I was lying in bed last night, thinking about our trip to Aran, and suddenly I thought of Dun Aengus and immediately I saw Linnea running gleefully to the edge of the cliff and over. And over and over. Over and over and over and over, through the air... I didn't see her hit the sea.

It took me some time to get over this. I almost shouted. It was real enough to me that I wanted to jump after her. I have vetoes any trips to the Dun while we're on Aran because I feel sick to the pit of my stomach at the thought.

Logically, I know that this is at least partially the remnants of the PTSD, surfacing because of the book on c-sections I'm reading.

I've never been to Aran and not to the Dun before, I think. But I'm not going this time.

I'm also going to start writing a birth plan soon, to see if that helps me deal with the c-section idea any better. I have my consultation on Tuesday to see about rectocele repair. Hopefully the surgery will be shortly after the holiday is over.

Urgh. I'm grateful for so many unpleasant things, when I think about it.

ailbhe: (baby)

La Leche League

I went to my first meeting today. It was very pleasant, but I was the only one there when I arrived with a toddler. The others were all about 7 months. I felt pretty conspicuous. Luckily the fact of its being LLL made me comfortable enough - but having had no breastfeeding problems made me an outsider again.

We did a little exercise designed to show how small a proportion of our children's lives is actually spent in intensive parenting, which was pretty nice. And a bit about our hopes for our children, which made me uncomfortable, because that's a bit close to having plans. Some people were perfectly comfortable saying "I hope she has children because I want to be a grandmother" or "I hope he gets some kind of professional qualification because I want him to be able to look himself in the mirror and be independent" which makes me... nervous.

I met a woman who is tandem nursing! She loves it! I knew it wasn't all drudgery. And I met a woman whose baby vomited blood. I had no problems. My god. No problems at all.

The La Leche Library was there - I borrowed a book about Caesarean births with a foreword by Sheila Kitzinger. It's interesting - it does cover my situation, but the book is copyright 1991, so a bit out of date in some ways. I read it over lunch, after Linnea went to sleep. Of course I cried.

Lunch

I left the meeting late due to near-terminal disorganisation on my part, and so Linnea's lunch was late. We had to get a bus back into town, and that meant folding the buggy and having her on my lap, along with the nappy bag and the lunchbox. OK, fine. Initially she got a lot of compliments on being well-behaved (when we get on a bus with a folded buggy, she sits on the floor, because generally the driver doesn't wait for us to get safely settled before moving off) and quiet, so when she got fussy later it was kindly tolerated. She fell asleep, briefly, on my shoulder, and when we got off the bus, someone helped us off with the buggy. Then I had to unfold it, so I had to stand her on the path.

She threw a minor tantrum at being put down and hit her head on the footpath. There's a graze, now. I unfolded the buggy, put all the bags on the ground, and picked her up and soothed her. Then I held her on my knee and unpacked the lunchbox and fed her grapes until she was calmer. I got some funny looks from people who overheard me saying "It's ok, darling, we can have lunch right here if you want to, I'm sorry," but for some reason I wasn't bothered the way I usually am - I was able to smile back at them without grim determination. Perhaps hunger is good for serenity, or perhaps I'm just more confident in my parenting decisions.

I got her as far as Cafe Iguana and walked in. There were a few non-folding chairs so I nabbed them. The staff were great - one girl came up to me and asked if I needed a highchair ("No, she'll kick it over, but can I have a glass of water with a straw for her?") and then they left us alone until I had settled Linnea calmly and had a chance to breathe. Then they took my order. They know exactly what's in their food so I was able to have leek and potato soup, sorbet, and tea. Linnea shared the soup. Then she got up for a wander around the cafe, where she was well-received by everyone, and then she grizzled and went into the buggy. And then I paced her to sleep.

The Tot Seat got a lot of positive comments, too.

I read my book, discovered I'd left my phone numbers leaflet and Linnea's sippy cup in the LLL meeting, and got a bus to clinic.

Language

By the time I was 15 months old, I had 100 words. Linnea is almost 14 months old, and, like most babies her age, has almost no words recognisable by the average man on the number 38 to Clapham, or whatever the bus is. But certain of my family have asked me more than once how her verbal development is coming along (the first such question was when she was 9 months old) and I've been getting nervous.

So I went to the health visitor who was lovely. It's Esme! She's back! She's not leaving until September! I am so pleased. We like Esme. She likes us. And she told me that next time they ask I can say that most 18 month old babies have between 6 and 20 words, but not all, and it's not a matter for concern if they don't. I feel better armed with information. Otherwise I'd have to kill anyone who put my baby down, and that's counterproductive, from a close maternal bond point of view.

The holiday has been sorted out - Rob and I get ten days with my mother in serene bliss, then he goes away and I get a succession of visitors, including people I want to see, people I don't mind seeing, and unknown quantities I'm slightly afraid of. Then I get about three days to recuperate in the warm and welcoming home if a kindred spirit, which will be...

Wonderful.

April 2017

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