Archive for July, 2010

BabyD loves Toy Story. He loves Woody, he loves Rex and he especially loves Buzz Lightyear. So when I saw that our local cinema was screening Toy Story 3 at a special mother and baby session, for children under the age of three, I thought great, he’ll love it, let’s go.

It wasn’t his first trip to the cinema. I’d previously been to Bringing in Baby screenings at a cinema in town, but the last time we did that he was about six months old and happy to sit on my knee, feeding and sleeping. Now he is almost two and is happier running around, talking incessantly. But he loves Buzz so much, I thought, surely he’ll be transfixed throughout.

Not so. Our first error was getting to our seats ten minutes before the allotted start time. He was reasonably patient; luckily we had been to the library beforehand so I had a stack of new library books to keep him diverted. The first few minutes of adverts went brilliantly: he was indeed transfixed and I even tweeted that I had high hopes for the rest of the film. Sadly, my hopes were dashed. By half way through the trailers he was getting twitchy and when the film finally started (after half an hour of trailers and ads – what were they thinking?!) he was diverted for ten minutes or so.

His behaviour then descended (understandably, as he is, remember, not yet two years old) to climbing, whinging and asking to get past. Luckily the aisles were narrow enough that my strategically placed legs were enough to stop him rampaging past the sleeping three-year-old a few seats down. He got through drinks, various snacks and back to the books. A particularly garish one with plenty of flaps held his attention reasonably well in the semi-darkness. There was more climbing, then just as I attached the little one to my breast, BabyD started whimpering ‘stuck, stuck’. He had stood near the back of his chair and (this being a cinema) the seat had flipped up, wedging his feet down the back. I managed to retrieve him, minus one shoe, which I was unable to locate until the end credits.

Despite all of this, I was able to catch some of the film, which was marvellous. The quality of the animation compared to 15 years ago is simply astounding. Scenes are rich and detailed, which adds to the pace and authenticity. There is much to entertain hardcore fans, often with lines repeated verbatim from earlier movies (presumably to raise a smile in parents who have been subjected to them often enough to learn the dialogue by heart). Woody is the real star of the show; the perfect animation of his flailing, gangly limbs makes him utterly charming and hilariously funny.

The best moment for me was undoubtedly the last scene of the film. It was just beautiful and full of joy. It finally grabbed BabyD’s attention too and with him sat on one knee and BabyC sat on the other, I admit I shed a few tears thinking of all the wonderful playtime my boys have ahead of them, and of the day when they’ll grow up and leave home, learning to leave childish things behind.

I can’t wait for the DVD so that husband and I can watch it together and share plenty laughs and I few tears over a glass of wine or two. And my next trip to the cinema with BabyD and BabyC will probably be some time around 2014.


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1) Toddlers are temperamental and deliberately contrary. Take one to the Botanic Gardens with a group of friends and he will constantly try to run off, with only the briefest of backward glances to flash a cheeky smile. Take him again by himself and he will refuse to run around or smile much at all, constantly want to hold your hand and ask to go home every ten minutes.

2) Eating grapes with insufficient chewing may cause vomiting (in particular, vomiting of a partly-digested lunch and several barely-chewed grapes).

3) It is possible to remove a toddler’s vomit-covered clothes and clean vomit from Buzz Lightyear with the minimum of fuss, all with a sleeping three-month old strapped to your chest.

4) Simply substituting most of the strawberries with raspberries in the Stawberry Loaf recipe will not make a Strawberry and Raspberry Loaf. Raspberries are wetter than strawberries. It will make a flat, very dense, gooey brick that is distantly related to fruit loaf, but is definitely not a loaf itself. Still tastes good though.

5) Everyone needs more sleep when they have a cold.

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The Thrupenny Bits Breastfeeding Pillow is one of the best bits of baby kit I’ve come across. I only wish I had found it sooner: I bought a Widgey pillow during my first pregnancy and while that has been great to use at home, a Thrupenny Bits pillow could have done the same job and more.

The crucial design point of this pillow is that it is so lightweight, which makes it extremely portable. The polystyrene filling is robust but light as a feather. The straps can be tied at any length, so it attaches comfortably to both my slim single and my enormous twin pushchairs. It could easily be carried over the shoulder too (although I’ve never done this, as pillow plus handbag plus baby in a sling would probably be too much bulk!).

Another (minor) plus point that puts this pillow ahead of other similar products is that it can be converted into a bag by removing the filling, once you have finished breastfeeding for good. Realistically, I’m unlikely to ever use this as a handbag/fashion bag. I bought the plain cord version at £29. If I’d bought this way back when I was on full pay, I may well have gone for the larger, £55 version, which comes in more appealing fabrics. However, even in the nicest of fabrics, you can’t get round the fact that it’ll be a slouchy, unstructured bag (which might be in fashion when I finally finish feeding!) and that the strap has to be tied in a fairly bulky knot at the top. Having said that, it will make a decent nappy bag, perhaps to keep in the car with spare clothes/snacks etc for the boys.

In my opinion, the Thrupenny Bits pillow is the best breastfeeding pillow on the market: it’s attractive (with grown-up fabrics rather than babyish prints), it’s supportive and above all, it’s totally portable.

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Poo – the update

I thought I had better post an update to this one, just in case you were wondering and fretting about whether BabyC had produced the much-anticipated Big Poo. I’m pleased to announce that he did.

BabyD and I were eating our lunch of beans on toast in the kitchen and suddenly from the living room I heard the telltale gurgling squelch. His nappy contained (happily, it was all contained, if only just) a fascinatingly vast amount of poo for one so tiny, and much of it was semi-solid. He is obviously well up to the task of digesting breast milk. I’m so proud of him.

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I am waiting for a giant poo from BabyC. I am well prepared: spare vest and sleepsuit in the changing bag (or rather, in the freebie cotton rucksack that passes for a changing bag in my haphazard world); nappy always tightly secured and carefully checked for any tucked-in edges that may cause unnecessary leakage, should the poo ever appear.

Yesterday he didn’t poo at all. The day before that he did a tiny insubstantial poo, really more of a watery essence of poo – an eau de poo, perhaps. The day before that, nothing. He certainly seems to take a lot of milk: his size continues to increase at an alarming rate and he feeds regularly throughout the day and night. He’s his usual cheery, smiling self, not showing any signs of discomfort.

Each morning I hurriedly change his bulging overnight nappy as soon as he wakes, reasoning that a totally fresh and unsullied nappy will be essential to contain the poo explosion that’s surely about to follow. But nothing appears. He simply gurgles away and does lots and lots of wee. Maybe tomorrow will be the day…

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Yesterday I took a trip to Whitby: a northern costal resort somewhat past it’s glory days, renowned as the home of Dracula. I met up with a friend who was celebrating her 27th birthday with a weekend camping, along with her fiance and some friends of theirs – a lovely couple who are as yet unmarried and childless, but had brought their gorgeous and well-behaved dog, and a just-turned-30 who, despite her relationship status as officially ‘single’, has been entwined in an affair of sorts with an attached colleague for the past two years and more.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had a really great time. Since I became pregnant with BabyD in the final weeks of 2007, I’d found that I’d lost touch with my friends a little. Their meetings mostly centred around big nights out, drinking, dancing and staying out until the last club closed. Being pregnant, having a young baby and getting pregnant again before he was a year old has meant that I’ve had neither the stamina, the spare cash nor the free time to keep up.

But now that I’ve had my second child, I’ve found my friends moving on and catching up with where I’m at. Saturday’s birthday girl is getting married next summer and I hope will have children soon after that. The nights out are slowly being replaced by days on the beach or in the park. Hot topics of conversation used to be who’s been shagging who, who’s bitching about the other and how to get very drunk without spending very much money. Now the crucial questions are whether or not to have a wedding list (birthday girl is not having one; we are free to simply choose something she would like – what a novel concept!), how to discipline a boundary-pushing two-year-old and what colour to have the ‘feature wall’ behind the fireplace.

I love it. These topics have been the important things in my life for a while now, and as we’ve all got older, they’ve become important to my friends too. The common ground is returning. The only problem: in a couple of years, when my children are old enough to stay over at Granny’s together and I’m finally ready for a wild night out, they’ll probably all be heavily pregnant, sitting at home resting their weary swollen ankles and sipping a cup of Ovaltine. Maybe the best times will be after we turn forty.

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I have just spent the past hour or more searching the world wide web for grey t-shirts for my husband. He is 29, and is very aware of his upcoming 30th, although it is still almost ten months away. We had the following conversation last week:

Him: “I think I’m going to streamline my wardrobe, wear the same thing all the time. Grey t-shirts and blue jeans – the ‘Steve Jobs look'”. (He is a big Apple devotee.)

Me: “You mean the Simon Cowell look?”

Him: “Does Simon Cowell wear the same thing every day? Ok, then it’s a Simon Cowell look too. The look for people who have better things to do than think about what to wear every day. I’ve realised that all my t-shirts with ‘stuff’ on make me look like A and M [his brothers], and they both dress like they’re trying to look young.”

This is fine by me – I don’t really mind what he wears as long as he looks like a functioning member of society – although personally I don’t see anything wrong with a) thinking about what to wear every day (and enjoying it very much) and b) trying to look young (within reason).

This morning we had another conversation – he asked me very nicely and politely whether I could please prioritise his t-shirts when doing the laundry, as his office is currently too hot for shirts or long-sleeved t-shirts, and his collection of t-shirts does not last very long. Of course I took this as a personal slight against my level of laundry completion and overall housework success and general domestic goddess-ness and told him to piss off.

Yet here I am surfing the net for grey t-shirts – a harder job then I first thought (given our limited budget). I’ve ordered one from Lands’ End (on the premise that if he wants to dress like an old person, he will have to start shopping at old people’s shops) and three in various styles from Uniqlo. I shall see what he thinks before ordering more of the same or continuing the search – updates to follow.

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