Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Thou shalt not covet thy daughter's doll

My daughter - my only daughter - was 1 this week.

Her carers at nursery have been telling me for the last month 'she wants a doll'. Apparently she is very maternal and screams when her dolls are taken away.

I thought she just liked cars and stress balls.

Anyway, if I was going to buy her a doll it was going to be special. So I got her a beautifully put together, quirky, completely delicious Moulin Roty ragdoll. Here she is:


But she’s 1 and you shouldn’t take toys from a baby.

But I think she really does prefer the stress ball.

 *puts doll in inside pocket of work coat and runs off*

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

It's not like on TV

The problem with getting older is you realise more and more that life just isn’t like what you see on the TV.
Take Rugby. I’ve watched more rugby on the TV than I have seen in real life. I watch the players, I note the moves, I plan my Wednesday session.
I go on the rugby field, I become the player. I AM the player.

After tonight's training

Only I’m not.
The coach describes the drill, I take it in (keen as mustard me), only the disaster that occurs the other end isn’t what I’ve seen on TV or what I’ve planned in my head.
And why can't I stay clean for once?

In local government speak, I’m just not achieving the right 'outcomes'.
The same would happen if I ever went on Strictly Come Dancing.
In head – Ola Jordan.
In reality – Ann Widdecombe.
(and don’t get me started on Masterchef and my high-speed chopping of veg)
I’m going to give up watching TV, it’s making me set unrealistic expectations. As my Uncle Bill (RIP) would have said, “it’ll end in tears”
But I live in Hope.
(and die in Caergwrle)

Sunday, 15 January 2012

A Mother first

“When a woman has a baby, she is a Mother first and a wife second. A man will always be a husband first and a father second.”
Oprah Winfrey said this about 18 years ago. Despite my status as a fully-paid up, grant maintained (those were the days) layabout student, it stuck with me. Filed away for future use to put to the test in my mid-thirties.
What she was talking about was how women’s priorities change when they have a baby and more importantly how the men in their lives react. Some feel total rejection, some view it as everything they’ve ever wished for.
My own experience has proved this theory right. My children are my number 1 priority, whether I like it or not. This has nothing to do with being an earth mother; I am not a stay-at-home Mum, doing craft, teaching foraging skills and making play clothes from curtains. But I have bumped my husband down the pecking order to sit proudly at number 3. He gets fed last these days.
But what about him? Does he put me or the kids first? It’s a tough one, he idolises the children, but it seems to me that he also knows I’m the one he needs to keep sweet. Because he loves those kids so much, it makes sense to keep their mother happy.
And I think that’s what Oprah meant when she said a man will always be a husband first. It’s not that he loves me more than his children, it’s more that he values my role in being their mother SO much, that he will put me first. Well that’s my theory anyway.
That particular episode of Oprah dealt with the men who felt rejected. They’d been number one in her life until that baby was born.  I’ve seen this happen and it’s a shock, who knew a baby could have such an impact on the male ego?  I think even the strongest man must feel a twinge of envy, or longing for their old life together, when they see the way a mother looks at her child.
And sometimes us women don’t help. A letter in this Saturday’s Times magazine talks about ‘martyr mothers’, it says:
“if you ask them how they are, they recount an exhausting list of after-school activities, domestic chores, play dates and doctor’s appointments…..their personal identity sucked into some horrible child-centric vortex”
Recognise yourself in there? I do *cringes and takes another gulp of wine* This particular man said he just didn’t find his wife attractive anymore and couldn’t view her as a ‘sexual being’. This is serious stuff. How do you get down and dirty with the woman who is also the mother of your child?
So for all our complaints as women (and mother martyrs in particular) I think we need to spare a thought for the men. Just a thought mind, don’t dwell too much on it.
If you are a husband and father reading this, no matter how bad you are feeling about being pushed down the pecking order, you’re still not at the bottom. There are four people in my family and when it comes to priorities, who sits at number 4?
You guessed it. I always get the burnt toast.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Don't judge a book by its cover - obem

Never is this more true than when watching Channel 4’s brilliant fly-on-the-wall documentary, One Born Every Minute #obem
You see the couples at the start and despite yourself you judge them and slap on a label. Closely followed by a prediction of how the birth will go and how they'll treat that child for the next 18 years. Not out loud of course, but I’m pretty sure it flashes through most people’s heads.
Then begins the slow reveal, over the course of the next hour, you slowly begin to change your mind. That’s the best thing about OBEM, things are never quite what they seem.
Take tonight’s episode (4 January 2012). Meet Kurt. Baseball cap wearing, gangsta strutting, iPhone touting youth. With a Yorkshire accent to boot (best thing about him). He doesn’t look particularly interested in his girlfriend or his unborn child, thank God she’s got her mum with her.
Until the labour starts. Turns out he’s got a wise head on those Stone Island branded shoulders. An earlier abortion is his biggest regret, but it has, he says, taught him about life.  Regular phone calls to update his Mum and Dad reveal a vulnerable side and someone who’s obviously part of a close and loving family. 
Many men you see on OBEM are silent spare parts when it comes to the crucial pushing stage, preferring to crack jokes or hang around the ‘fanoir’ with a digital camera. Not Kurt. He turns into personal trainer extraordinaire, counting, breathing, reassuring.
But things go wrong for this young couple and as he’s sent outside in favour of having Mum as the birth partner, he’s left to ponder the fate of his unborn son alone in the smoking shelter. He’s angry, abusive and thumps walls, causing twitter to go into judgemental overdrive. But even through the anger, he still has time to say ‘alright luv’ with a smile to one of the staff.
So he might be a chav, a scally, a no hope youth bringing up more youths with no hope, or whatever epithet or judgement you want to slap on this poor kid. But he’s a caring, loving, passionate Dad who couldn’t be at his son’s birth and for a minute there, looked as though he might not get to see his son alive.
All’s well that ends well. The baby gasped for air (eventually) and the midwives had a cup of tea. Another brilliant episode, reminding me you can never judge a book by its cover.
I'm off to douche my willy welcomer.

Monday, 2 January 2012

My year in blogs 2011

It’s not been a bad year for blogging. I blog here, I’ve been lucky enough to blog on In the Powder Room and I’ve also had the odd guest post on We Love Local Gov .
Here are some UleyGirl highlights. Or if you don't like mine, then go to one of my recommended blog list on the right.... must be something good there surely??
By far my favourite post of the year wasn’t written by me at all, it was a guest post from my cousin about falling over. Written from the heart, about a comedy moment just after the death of her father, a lovely lovely man who died far too young. Luckily he left behind five crazy daughters and a crazy wife. Read her tuck-and-roll story here.
The conversation I had with my husband about what to do if we get burgled still makes me laugh out loud.
Most ‘me-too’
Everyone seemed to be able to relate to this, which makes me wonder how anyone can ever be famous?
I should be on Dragon’s Den and it’s still the most useful item in my wardrobe…. The Ladybib
But the two posts about my family got the best response. If you haven’t met her, read about my 84 year old gran Peggy Patch here.
And if you want to know how a 5 year old (and his Mum) deal with epilepsy, this is my take.
Oh, and here's that Jake Gyllenhaal picture again :)
That’s all folks, here’s to 2012.