Sunday, 30 October 2011


An open letter to Ikea: -
First of all, I have to admit that I do - on balance - like you. You are cheap but not as tatty as MFI used to be. I like the air of calm Sweedish-ness and I really like the meatballs in the cafeteria. I like all your ingenious storage ideas and believe me I am tempted by one of those massive bookshelf thingies that take up an entire wall. I'd have enough room to store probably 1/3 of my CD collection and a fair number of my books, not to mention a lot of my kick-knacks. To be fair, to store all of my CDs, DVDs and books I'd need units like that covering every wall in my house and then another house to store the computer games, but now I'm getting carried away. Most of my CD collection is still in boxes in the garage and I'll probably toss most of them when we move house. Does anyone want some 90's and 2000's indie slash rock music that wasn't really very popular at the time and is now on an out-dated format? I think I've got a Travis record in there somewhere and possibly still some Supergrass. I can remember really liking the records at the time but now I probably couldn't name a single track on them. Oh well, I suspect the local charity shop is going to end up with a large stack of unwanted music.
Back to the subject I started with, my trip to Ikea.
I like the fact the furniture is cheap, but actually quite good quality. I like the way everything has funny names. I saw a lamp-shade called "Stig". Alas it was not white, had nothing to do with cars and it did not know two incorrect facts about ducks. Pity.
There are some things I think need a little work. It's tough getting a buggy round Ikea, the designated path they make you follow has slightly raised edges and my buggy wheels kept sticking on it. I didn't want to shove down the middle as others needed room too, but I did keep getting stuck on the edge.
Also, why have you not got round to building one in my town? We keep getting told it might happen, but it never does and this means that every time I want to go and look at cheap stylish furniture it's over an hours drive, hardly a quick trip for a bit of a browse. Please get on with it and build your store, I believe there are some buildings free near the Savacentre, opposite Dunelm Mill.
Finally, why do the instructions in your flat-pack furniture make the job look a lot harder than it actually is? Our table instructions looked remarkably similar to the manual that came with the Lego Imperial Star Destroyer (biggest Lego kit you could get, many many little pieces and finished it was about a metre long) and implied a level of knowledge and skill only seen at degree level mechanics. Actually it was quite easy, I managed to attach the legs myself and I'm not a very mechanical person at all. It's a nice table, it looks good in my room.
And so, I am signing off. I suspect it will be some time before I visit you again although I might peruse your website and sigh at all your nice things. Andy can sleep easy for now, I wont be making our house look like a set from Wallander any time soon.

Monday, 24 October 2011


We're getting a lot of "oops" moments now. Joseph has found his feet all right, he's just not sure what to do with them all of the time! He's all right when holding on and can even manage to balance when simply leaning on something and using his hands to do something else (usually making a grab for something he shouldn't have) but actually standing up unaided is still a skill that is yet to develop.
The problem is, Joseph sometimes seems to forget. Andy noticed this recently, when extracting something from Josephs little mitts, he was so concentrating on rescuing the item from Joseph that he initially didn't realise that he had in fact removed Josephs prop. He stood there for a moment and then toppled over in a true David Jason style.
Just before we went on holiday the last time he managed to nut a chair leg, so in many of the pictures he has a pink line on his forehead. Yesterday, whilst visiting Granny and Granddad he slipped and cracked his head quite hard on a solid item of furniture and developed quite a large pink lump on his head, which was in addition to the bruises from pulling a chair over onto himself earlier in the day. I watch him and I watch him and in the split second I look the other way....
Given the sheer number of times that boy has managed to clonk his noggin on hard objects, it's a wonder he has any feeling left! I hope he gets his sense of balance soon, it's getting a bit worrying!
Still, at least his top front teeth are coming through now and he no longer looks like a little baby vampire. We've had a bit of grizzling this time, but it's not been too bad. Instead we've had lakes of drool and rivers of snot to contend with, not a welcoming sight when he comes shimmying down the furniture to say hello to you by rubbing his face on your knee. That boy has left puddles big enough to irrigate a paddy field.
Still, his teeth will come through in time and I'm hoping he grows out of the habit of regularly trying to give himself a concussion. We've not had to go to A&E yet with him and I hope it's a long time before we have to - or never, but he is a little boy so I have to be realistic! At some point the inevitable little piece of lego is going to make a trip into a nostril or ear canal that will require professional help to remove.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Ten and a Half Months

Well, the birthday party is booked for 10th December.
We decided to get in early with that, what with the time of year we didn't want to leave it late and find that we had nowhere to hold it!
First things first, I've already made some big cake decisions - deal with the important things first! The problem I have is that I prefer sponge cake and Andy much prefers fruit cake. I have a solution in mind, watch this space and I will report on how my trial cake goes! The main thing I am worried about is that I have never used fondant icing before and I'm not totally sure on how it works when sticking it to a round cake. I will have a lot of fun finding out, of that I am sure!
We're going for an animal theme, it's a good excuse to get the littl'uns to have a go at dressing up. I'm thinking of dressing Joseph as a lion, I think he'll look cute with a main and a tail! The problem is that not everyone likes the idea of costumes and of the few costume parties I have been to, some people make a lot of effort and some people don't and each side thinks the other is silly. Still, perhaps as it's little kids people might be more prepared to have a go, I'm not expecting any of the adults to dress up!
You can get an awful lot of party equipment now. It would seem the days of just having a couple of balloons stuck to the wall and a few streamers are long gone. You can get whole packs of stuff that follow a theme: - banners, plates and cups, goody bags, big foil balloons with helium, specially themed music and the list goes on. The problem with all of this is the increasing cost, we're going to try and follow a theme as far as our budget will allow but there are limits. I've also heard stories about parents handing out goody bags that have contents far in excess of the piece of cake and a few sweeties that I remember as a child. Well, if people coming to Josephs party want more than cake in a bag then they'll just have to be disappointed.
Then, just as my plans were becoming settled we discovered that you can get lots of party themed stuff based on the Gruffalo, Andys favourite bedtime story. Well, plans are still being discussed and no doubt there will be a lot of cake being made in my kitchen as we trial a few ideas. Perhaps I'll share some of it, perhaps....
Joseph doesn't seem at all bothered, he's spent part of the morning trying to eat my hairbrush and is now attempting to play with my CD cleaning kit. Given the contents, I'd better go and rescue one from the other.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

New Skills

Oh the times they are a-changing...
Don't really know why I said that, I can't stand Bob Dylan. Still, Joseph has been making some big strides this week (and then falling over, he he!) in what he can now do on his own.
I've been trying to make him use a sippy cup for some time, but had given up due to his complete lack of interest. I wasn't sure if he simply didn't like any other fluid than milk or whether he found the change in liquid delivery too different to cope with.
Well, remembering a tip from a while ago I tried again, this time laying him on his back with the cup. It took a dew goes, but suddenly he was sucking away at the spout and has managed to have small amounts of drink out of the cup. Tadaah!
Also this week....
He was rolling around on the floor after his morning bottle of milk and he got hold of the bottle, I let him do this quite regularly as he likes to play with them. He got himself sat up and started sucking on the teat. Nothing came out of course, the bottle was pretty much empty and he was holding it at completely the wrong angle even if it wasn't. It gave me inspiration and for his next bottle I tried the same trick, I laid him flat on his back and gave him his bottle. It worked a treat, he just lay there sucking on it until it was empty, clever boy!
This has left me with something of a quandary. If he feeds himself his own milk then I get an extra 45mins to an hour each day that I'm not spending stuck on the sofa and I also get three short patches when he's happily glued to the spot and I can relax. On the other hand, that's the three longest cuddles I get now and the only time he'll sit on my lap without getting squirmy very quickly. I suspect then that there are days when I will be stressed and tired and he will feed himself and days where I will want cuddles and he wont. At least he's still so young that when he has a bump a Mummy cuddle is the only remedy!
Finger feeding is going rather well, a new favourite is turning out to be eggy-bread, an old holiday treat of my childhood and the first thing Joseph has eaten where half of it didn't end up squashed up and on the floor. The only problem with it is that it's quite high in fat so I don't want to do it too often. Joseph has also decided that anything on Andys plate is fair game and will often insist on having a taste, which is fine if Andy happens to be eating porridge, but not if it's Thai green curry!
And in less than two months our little one turns one. Plans are afoot.....

Monday, 10 October 2011

Little Swimmer

Bath times have had their ups and downs. Initially, as I believe with almost all babies, they were a thing of horror. I was taking my vulnerable little newborn and unceremoniously dunking him in a container of water with the inevitable result of much screaming. Still, it really doesn't take much to end up with a newborn screaming, just changing his nappy could do it.
Suddenly he learned to smile and bath time began to be fun. By now bath time was Daddy's job and I would often find myself sat downstairs wondering what was going on, whether between all the splashing and giggling any bathing was actually taking place. I often wondered if any of the bath water would actually still be in the bath by the end of it all.
If I had to take over bath duties, usually because Daddy's back was playing up, it never seemed to be as fun, Joseph preferred Daddy and that was that.
Well, I've been on holiday again. Yes, again. It was an accidental holiday, I was never supposed to be going originally, my Mum and Dad had invited my brother, his wife and their son but they couldn't make it so rather than waste the spare room in the cottage I was invited.
Poor Andy couldn't make it due to the fact that all his annual leave was used up so Joseph and I went without him, poor chap. I was envisioning him pining away and spending a week curled up mournfully in the dark subsisting on takeaway kebabs, but actually he  managed quite well and even had a rather nice home made fish pie waiting when we got back. I bought him some whisky and some hand made fudge, you can't go much wrong with that.
But back to the subject in hand - baby vs water. The cottage had an indoor pool available for use in an outbuilding and as we were currently the only holiday makers on the site (in October that's hardly surprising) we had full unrestricted access.
My last proper swimming experience was at senior school, quite a long time ago now. I did have a bit of a dip in the sea at Weymouth this year, but it hardly counted and it was too cold to really enjoy it.
This pool was warm, small enough to not be scary and wasn't over chlorinated and it really surprised me how quickly I felt at home in the water, the ability to swim appears to be something not easily forgotten.
The pool had a small area on one side that was warmer than the rest and had the option of Jacuzzi bubbles. So, one morning with Joseph in his special swimming nappies and wearing a cheap baby wetsuit I found in Tescos I prepared him for a dunking. I was rather nervous, I had bathed him the day before and he had screamed from start to finish.
He screamed and screamed and screamed. I braved the experience again two days later and we discovered that if I bounced him on my knee and Grandma pulled enough silly faces at him then he forgot where he was long enough to not hate it.
On the third and last occasion we realised that the seating area around the Jacuzzi was just the right height for him to stand on and hold onto the side and he at last began to enjoy himself, even splashing the water. My heart did skip a beat when he managed to sidle up to the button for activating the bubbles, but he couldn't press it hard enough. The thought of what his reaction would have been if he had......!
I'll miss the pool, it was rather nice. I'm not sure Joseph will cope with time in a public swimming pool yet, he didn't like it when I tried floating him on his back, he screamed and lifted his legs fully out of the water which made it quite hard to keep hold of him. Well, we'll see. If an opportunity comes up then I'll take advantage of it, but for now I'll just look forward to the new coffee mornings starting this week at my church for Mums of littl'uns. I believe cake might be in the offing....