Tuesday, 30 August 2011

That Sunday night feeling

Today I had that Sunday-night feeling for the first time in 9 months.

It swept over me like a tidal wave, starting at my feet and heading rapidly up my body, making me feel sick to my stomach. I had it even though it's Tuesday and I don't even have work tomorrow (just a bit of mopping and a trip to Nom Nom Cupcakery).

What caused this tsunami? The news that tomorrow is my son's last day in his current room in nursery, next week he starts pre-school proper. Which means he's leaving the people who've cared for him since he was 8 months old, 4 days a week, all year round except for family holidays.

Problem is, I'm going to miss them more than he will. And he's only moving to the room next door.

And this move also means I'm coming to the end of my maternity leave, meticulously timed to coincide with him starting pre-school. Cue the Sunday-night feeling.

What it's made me realise is that there are 5 stages to maternity leave and they are:

Stage 1 - counting down the weeks til you finish work and start maternity leave

Stage 2 - start of actual maternity leave and suffering from major fear of missing out (FOMO) and wishing you were back in the office (and daily internet shopping, especially babes with babies!)

Stage 3 - BLISS! Loving your baby and the new routine, loving the holiday feeling, loving the new tan, loving the cakes and coffee

Stage 4 - the return of the Sunday-night feeling as you count down the weeks to the end of the maternity leave

Stage 5 - back in work and wishing you were still on maternity leave, occasionally fooling yourself that getting pregnant AGAIN would be easier than work.

I'm at Stage 4 right now. Just over 4 weeks left to go til baby Eve also gets dumped in nursery for more than half her week. *sick feeling just returned*

On the upside, I'll be getting my morning coffee from Nero once again, having lots of laughs with the great bunch of people with whom I share an office AND my children get to make new friends.

Win. Win. Then why can't I shift this sinking feeling? (pass me the wine someone....)

This post is dedicated to Cheryle, Lucy, Frankie and Amy in Rising 3s at the amazing Treetops Children Centre in Dursley

picture shows the beautiful outside space at Treetops.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Politicians I'd like to....

The men have got MILF and we've even had DILF - but personally I'm into my PILFs..... read my post on In the Powder Room - The global spot that women rock.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Why isn't it cool to like Beyonce?

It may not be cool to like Beyonce, but surely you agree she's a decent role model for our daughters? See my post on In the Powder Room

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Allowed List – Who’s on yours?

I just watched a clip of Jake Gyllenhaal promoting his new film and just as I was thinking ‘I definitely would….’ I remembered a conversation I had with one of my girlfriends. Who, for the sake of this blog, shall remain nameless. (but she has the same name as me…and used to live next door….)

Anyway, she was about to go and see Take That. Trying to hide my jealousy I dismissed it with a curt ‘what, you mean the ROBBIE show?’ – and her response? “Yes! I know! Brilliant! And he’s definitely on my allowed list.”

The allowed list? She’s married with two kids and it’s a very stable relationship. But after ten years or so of looking at the same guy, you have to allow each other the odd fantasy to keep things alive – and this is where the allowed list comes in.

It’s not simply a list of people you’d shag sleep with. It’s a list that’s been approved by your partner, possibly for two reasons. 1) it ain’t ever gonna happen! 2) if the opportunity for a one night stand did arise, they're not really going to blame you for taking it.

And both men and women are allowed to have one.

There are unwritten rules (the men are supposed to just guess these, we don’t share them in advance). FRIENDS are not allowed on the allowed list. No way. Nada. No chance. No one we know, no one he knows, at home, work and certainly not at the school gate. Mention of a friend could seriously affect his chances of staying in this relationship.

CELEBRITIES are preferred. A list in particular. Hopefully already happily married and without a record of infidelity. Preferably living overseas and likely to never walk down your street in a million years.

So she’s got Robbie and her husband approves. I’d definitely have Jake Gyllenhaal (see picture), oh and Noah Wyle (Carter from ER), and Rob Lowe. These have all been approved by my husband (well I tried to discuss it and he just grunted and turned the volume up on the TV – sounds like a yes to me).

But it doesn’t quite work that way for the blokes. You see we choose our allowed list and they get to agree it. But they can’t choose theirs. Oh no. We choose it for them. That’s how it works, that’s the game.

I’ve given my husband Kylie Minogue, I mean if he wants to leave me for her, I would completely understand. I might even be pleased if it meant me and Kylie could finally be BFFs! He did also mention some sporty type whilst watching the athletics, but she’s gone off the list. Too fit. Not famous enough. (I mean, when did he start liking sporty women?)

Then I asked my friend who’s on her husband’s allowed list. I mean, he’s pretty good looking, and you never know it might be me *ahem* someone I know. “Oh, he can have the old woman who serves behind the counter in the co-op” she replies straight faced, with not a hint of irony.

So the allowed list – who’s on yours?

Monday, 8 August 2011

The Name Game

For me, the most stressful part of having children, was naming them. Yep, it caused me more worry than pregnancy, birth, lack of sleep and empty bank accounts.

Everything else is short-lived, the pain of birth, the sleep-free first weeks. But a name lasts forever. And for a child born these days, it’s likely to be with them for 100 years (and thus feature in a telegram from the Queen, unless of course we’re a republic by then)

I envy anyone who has the confidence and self-assurance to just pick a name, stick with it and not worry about what it means and what ‘people will think’. (I think this state of mind is reserved solely for celebrities.)

When you’re naming a child, there’s a lot to consider. You can’t just give them the name you want, because this isn’t about you, it’s about shaping somebody else’s life. Or am I the only fool who feels the weight of this responsibility so heavily that it kept me awake at night?

So this is what you do. You find a name, picture your child with it, then hit it with the checklist. The ultimate naming test:
• First search the name on the Office for National Statistics’ database – they even do regional breakdowns, so a common name in the north, might be rare and unusual in the south.
• Apply the celeb test. Have any celebs got this name and do I like them? Have they used it for their kids, and, how do I feel about that?
• Next you think about all the people you’ve met with that name, are they fat/thin, weak/strong, happy/sad, funny/serious, successful/disastrous. I know everyone does this test.
• Is it easy for a child to spell? (three letters, should be a doddle) and can other people spell it (already having a problem with Huw here in the Shire)
• Can people pronounce it?
• Does it go with their surname? (who thought Neville Neville was a good idea??)
• Is it easy to make fun of? Will their initials spell anything rude or mean something else? (CIA, DIC…..)

I also found some great advice online…..which I was kind of following anyway, that you should apply the three golden rules of brand-naming to children’s names:
1. don’t tell people what you are thinking of calling your baby.
2. Choose a name for your target audience as opposed to yourself.
3. Wait till you meet the baby before you choose the name. In the corporate world it would be like naming a company before you know what personality you want to give it.

So I did all of this and thought I’d stick with my original favourite ‘Huw’ – love the name, strong, short, welsh. But even then, the system wasn’t fool proof.

Huw isn’t that easy to spell for a boy growing up in England and I’ve since found out, really hard for other kids to pronounce (Cue, Phew, You, Who). It can also cause major confusion in conversation…. ‘That’s Huw… who me? No Huw…who me?’ (Just ask my cousin Maree)

Anyway, I’ve got two kids, they’ve both got names *relief* but I’m STILL worrying. People call Huw ‘Phew’ and Eve ‘Evie’. Neither of them appears on the list of the names most likely to get into Oxbridge. Oh and every successful female in Hollywood I read about now seems to be called Jennifer – Aniston, Alba, Garner, Lopez. So cross famous actor out too. Damn.

So if you are pregnant and still can’t decide on your name….you might just want to read this article....
picture shows print of Eve's name, bought at one fine day

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The funny side of falling over

I fall over – a lot. And it’s mostly when I’m sober. At the weekend, I managed to get my own boot lace shut in my front door and went tumbling forward. It would have been funny, only for the 6 month old baby strapped to my front. Baby was fine, so it turned out funny in the end and left me with yet another bruise.

But why do I fall so much? I’m not dyspraxic (my mother-in-law is an expert and shortly after meeting me, made me perform a series of tests). I have no other disabilities that I’m aware of. I’m just clumsy.

My husband thinks differently, he says I’m careless, I fail to risk assess properly (huh?) and like life in general, I just plunge right in. It doesn’t help that my spatial awareness* is non-existent. My head thinks I’m a size 8, so when I try to squeeze my post-baby size 16 arse through a small space suitable only for posh spice – it ain’t happening.

But there is something really funny about seeing someone fall over. With this is mind I put an appeal out to friends for their falling over stories. I’m going to publish them on this blog – but one of the responses shone through so I’m posting this one first. Read it, picture it in your mind and I'm sure you'll go to bed laughing, just as I did. Read it here.

If you’ve got a funny, sad, outrageous, crazy falling over story to share, let me know – or simply add a comment.

Falling with style - a grieving wife's tuck and roll

This post is dedicated to Geoff, who would have found this story really, really amusing 

I was 21 and it was just after my Dad died. Mum and I both couldn't drive so I asked my boyfriend if he would take us both to the lake at the local park because I wanted to put some flowers under the monkey trees. When Dad was diagnosed with cancer and had a lot on his mind, that’s where he used to go and think. He had done since he was a child.

So we turn up, all three of us in my other half’s black boy-racer car, holding flowers and looking very sombre. The weather was dull and wet, but it did eventually stop raining. Not that we were worried because my Mum - as stylish as ever – looked the part in her long cream Mac. We headed for the trees on the other side of the lake.

To get there we all started walking down the grassy hill. Well, me and the boyfriend started walking.....unfortunately the newly wet grass got the better of Mum and she began to skid, rapidly picking up speed as she headed downhill. Flowers still in hand, a little lady-like screaming as she glided down the bank, the concrete path circling the lake was her final destination. She landed with a beautiful little tuck and roll. A posh lady walking her dog around the lake simply stepped over my Mum and carried on walking! Her dignity was kind-of intact, but the long cream mac? Ruined!

Dad would have been watching and I am sure wetting himself laughing, as I still am, ten years on. But sometimes I think to myself......did he push her??

Thanks to my hilarious cousin BW for this post.

Monday, 1 August 2011

If you really love books - pass them on

Books have always been a big part of my life, in an escapist 'I need to get away from real life' way.

I used to keep all the books I read but I soon realised that you run out of shelf space; that books need dusting; that they never started any intelligent conversations and that the thing I most enjoyed was sharing them with other people.

So I stopped hoarding and I started passing them on. And just like handing your children over, or sharing a favourite item of clothing, it pains me everytime I give one away. But then I love it if someone else loves it, even better if they come back and talk to me about it.

The really good ones I remember, others I forget about until I see them in book lists or on other people's shelves.
You should join me. If you really love books, pass them on.