Sunday 28 November 2010


This was a conversation between me and Betty, at 3am the other night:

Betty:  Mummy, tomorrow I would really like to go on a picnic with you, Daddy, and Dolly, and Alfie and Rachel [her friends], to the desert.

Me: That sounds lovely my darling, now go to sleep.

Betty:  So can we go on a picnic to the desert tomorrow Mummy?

Me:  No.  Go to sleep.

Betty:  Why No?

Me:  Because the desert is a very very very very long way away in a very far away country.

Betty:  But mummy I really don't mind sitting in the car for a long time to get there.  I was a good girl in the car all the way to London...

Me:  London is just down the road, the desert is a very long way away.

Betty:  But I love the desert.  What is it made out of?

Me:  Sand.

Betty:  What is sand made out of?

Me:  Rocks

Betty:  You said the moon was made from rocks the other day.  Why is everything made from rocks Mummy?

Me:  It's not.

Betty:  Are there rocks in the desert?

Me:  No.

Betty:  But you said that sand was made from rocks?  And that the desert was made from sand.

Me:  Yes.

Betty:  Do you like rocks Mummy?

Me:  Not particularly

Betty:  So you don't like sand then, and going to the beach?

Me:  I didn't say that.  Go to sleep.

Betty:  And you don't like the beautiful moon?

Me:  Yes I do like the moon.

Betty:  But you don't like rocks.  Have you changed your mind?

Me:  Yes, I love rocks.

Betty:  I love rocks too.  Can we go on a picnic to the desert tomorrow Mummy?

Thursday 18 November 2010

Betty is four today!

For her birthday post last year I wrote about Betty's disappearing babyness. Well it's all gone now and I no longer look at her and cling to any remaining baby traits she might have. Instead I look at her and think 'Is she really only four?'

She knows every little road, T-junction, house, bend, within a 50 mile radius of our house. If I accidentally take a wrong turn, I don't know, say 35 miles away, whilst visiting her great grandmother, she is on it, before I am. 'Mummy stop the car, and turn around, you have got us lost again.'

She often points out to Tom or me, that what we are wearing 'looks terrible'. She then rifles through our wardrobe, tutting and shaking her head, and picks out a better contender to go with Tom's brown trousers, or my purple skirt. And the scary thing is she is always right.

She is obsessed with tights. If she is being naughty, I use the 'if you don't stop doing that you will not be allowed to wear tights tomorrow' line, and it works a treat, every time.

She loves to build dens, or rather 'nests' out of cushions and blankets and bean bags and chairs or whatever else she can find. I'm almost certain that she was either a bird in a former life (the way she pieces soft furnishings together is quite extraordinary) or she will become a builder in adulthood.

She now goes to ballet lessons and absolutely loves it. Before her first lesson I told her that she had to do what the ballet teacher told her, and that way she would become a ballerina. Betty told me 'But mummy, what can the teacher show me that I don't already know?'

She loves to write out all the letters of the alphabet, and can write her own name unaided, and she will often nag me to get out her writing books so that she can practice. Her artwork is also pretty mindblowing, as is her dancing and singing and sense of rhythm. (Yes, I am blowing my own daughter's trumpet, but it's her birthday, so I'm allowed.)

Tom and I visited the school that she will be attending next year, and met with the head teacher. We were introduced to her future teacher and shown her classroom. The words 'Betty' and 'school' make me want to shout 'NOOOOO' and sob into my pillow.

Betty is growing up unnervingly fast.

Happy Birthday my darling, gorgeous, funny girl - I hope your day is filled with fun and happiness. And I hope your hedgehog cake, party, and presents, all live up to your expectations.

Your mummy and your daddy and your little sister all love you very very much.

Thursday 11 November 2010

Pregnant v Fat

We had friends staying for the weekend, and we took them to the pub on Sunday for lunch.  Tom and I had an utterly relaxing and indulgent couple of hours, eating lovely food, drinking wine, and actually managing a proper conversation, without being interrupted every two seconds by children who seem to take exception to us doing just that.  Meanwhile our friends chased Betty and Dolly round and round the pub.  It was wonderful.

As we all walked through the bar to leave, feeling happy and full, I bumped into an old school friend.   We had a chat about her children and then I pointed out my children, who were both now perched up on bar stools.  She said 'And you're expecting again I see, how exciting!'  'No I am not pregnant, I am just fat' I retorted.  However, she obviously thought I was having a laugh, and then said 'Oh come on, when's the little baby gonna pop out?'  I then found myself desperately and rather pathetically trying to convince her that I was not up the duff.  

Having finally convinced her, she tried to remedy the situation and asked how old Dolly was.  I told her 18 months.  'Oh well, there you go, Dolly is still very young, which is why you haven't lost the baby weight yet' she said.  I felt there was nowhere left to go with this conversation, so I grabbed my children and walked out, rejoining Tom and our friends in the carpark. 

I have written before about being mistaken for a labouring lady by a midwife (A MIDWIFE!!) on the maternity ward, whilst I was being a birthing partner to my friend a few months ago.  It is actually really rather crushing, that you are so fat you could feasibly be about to give birth.

Yesterday I bought some of those shaping knickers that come all the way up to your bra.  I wore them today and my mum remarked: 'it is a definite improvement, you no longer look pregnant, just fat'.

Monday 1 November 2010

Gone are the days...

You are 25 years old, and you have a day job from 9am til 5.30pm.  You get home at 6pm and you don't have to do anything if you don't want to - you can just sit and stare at the walls if you want.  Or you can read a book, watch TV, chat on the phone to friends, have a nap on the sofa, or sit and listen to your 80s records whilst eating crisp sandwiches. 

Your flat is tidy because it is only you and your flatmate who live there and you don't really have that much stuff that could cause a mess.  Your flat is relatively clean - you clean about once a week (ok, maybe once a fortnight) but you are two women and women are generally pretty clean. 

If you fancy a sandwich or a bowl of cereal or a Chinese takeaway for supper that's what you have.  In the mornings when you are bleary eyed you just have yourself to feed, and sometimes you even skip breakfast and grab a croissant on the way to work.  While at work you have your lunchbreak, which means you get a whole hour to go shopping or sit in a cafe with friends.

You go to bed at night, fairly confident that you will get a full night's sleep, only to be woken by the alarm clock at 7am.

Fast forward five years.  You are married to a man, and you quickly realise that men (in your experience) are untidy and a bit dirty.  Empty drinking glasses are left all around the house, as are dirty socks.  Shavings are left all around the sink, and hair in the bath, and the toilet starts to take on a life of its own.  The area around the cooker and the kitchen sink becomes a bit sticky, and crumbs litter the surfaces.  Books, bits of paper, and garden tools are scattered around the house.  And your laundry doubles. 

OK, so things have changed a little bit, your house isn't as tidy and clean as it once was, but a little bit of extra cleaning does the job.  You still go out to work, have your lunch hour, come home, and your time is still yours and your husband's. 

Fast forward another five years.  You have two children, and as with men, you quickly realise that children are untidy and dirty, a hundred-fold.  Your husband now looks like a saint.  You also quickly realise that if you want to stay on top of things and run an efficient household, and one that you are not ashamed to invite guests into, you have to learn the art of serious multi-tasking.  You also learn that you can never ever stop with the tidying, and the cleaning.

You find yourself cooking, hoovering, making playdough, doing the laundry, washing up, wiping bottoms and clearing away lego, simultaneously.  Gone are the days when you can just simply walk through a room, without having to stop and wipe peanut butter off the floor, or pick up some plastic fruit, or remove wee from a potty, or put the sofa cushions back in their rightful place.  Gone are the days of skipping breakfasts, indulgent lunchbreaks, and peaceful evenings/nights.  Gone are the days of silence, and sitting and staring at the walls. 

But am I complaining? NO WAY.  And would I ever want to change it?  NEVER.