Oh, go on then…..

January 15, 2012 at 7:46 am | Posted in family, friends, motherhood, Waterstone's, work | Leave a comment
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Ladies and gents, roll up, roll up: yes, it’s that time of year again.  The time when we decide we need to lose three stone, or stop robbing cheese or graphic novels (you know who you are), or give up crack for Lent.  Don’t make me say the R-word – here are mine:

1) Be a better mum. Patience, time, and most of all, love.

2) Go to Italy, for god’s sake.  It’s ridiculous I haven’t been there yet.

3)  Get an AM job in the next year. It will happen.

4) Get in touch with people I’ve not seen in christ knows how long.

5) Give up the cancer sticks.

That’s all.

One is the loneliest number

June 8, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Posted in debate, family, motherhood, Uncategorized, women | 2 Comments
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Does this baby look lonely to you? Does he????

It’s a strange fact of parenthood that you exchange all ownership of your life for this strange beast called a baby (it doesn’t make sense initially that even your pregnancy will result in a baby, let alone the idea that that baby will be a child, and that child will be an adult…………..).  Bizarre that somehing so biologically related to you can seem like a hostile takeover of your single life at times of nostalgia.  But more on that topic later.

What I mean is, as soon as you are pregnant, everything you do will be judged in relation to how it affects your baby.  I kid you not, the foul look bestowed on me by one person when I dared to ask for a glass of wine haunts me still.  Others warned me not to stress myself out, because it might ‘affect the baby’.  Frankly, that had the same effect as ‘calm down’ usually does on me: to abbreviate for the sense of decency, FOAD was my mental response.  A lot of people have this hippy idea that every pregnant woman should mellow and ‘glow’ in preparation for her new earth mother persona.  Because becoming a mother means surrendering all traces of your former personality, right?  Hmmm………..

The latest I’ve experienced is the ‘When how are you having another?’ question.  Jeez, because being pregnant was such a blast that I want to do it again six months after giving birth?  Erm, no.  It seems that society expects you to fill this 2.4 child ideal, either out of some crazed old-fashioned Tory attempt to keep Britain traditional, or because the person in question has fulfilled their family quota and now expects you to go through the same ‘joy’. 

Let me explain the root of my ranting: as a quasi only child, my half brother and half sisters being eleven, twelve and sixteen years older than me, I spent quite a lot of time alone as a child.  Obviously I had friends, but I treasured the time I spent alone for the independence it taught me and opportunity to develop my imagination.  Not to mention the chance to cycle around the garages for ages with my parrot on the handlebars.  In no way did I ever feel I’d missed out; let’s face it, unless you live in the Gobi desert, you are going to go to school/brownies/ultimate frisbee and meet your peers.

So please: don’t think me selfish, or call me so, as some idiot man did last week.   I think it would be more selfish to have another child to satisfy other people’s opinions.

Rant over.  You can take out your earplugs now.

P.S. The title is an Aimee Mann song and yes, I’m being ironic.

I came, I saw, I decorated

May 3, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Posted in cake, family, motherhood, party, women | Leave a comment
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Last Wednesday, I started my niece’s 16th birthday cake.  I spent all of Thursday doing it, baked one of the cakes Friday morning and finished the icing Saturday morning before work.  This was the result:

I am not the world’s best icer; you are not going to walk in on me creating homemade tulips out of sugarpaste I’ve coloured myself anytime soon.  So what I would say to any of you women out there, mothers or not, who don’t exactly have time on your hands, is this: listen to the god of ready-to-roll.  Because making a cake doesn’t have to be a competitive sport.  It just has to look presentable when it comes to eating it.

I am insane…………..

April 28, 2010 at 7:35 am | Posted in books, cake, motherhood | 1 Comment
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So mad I wear coats on my head. But only on Swedish islands.

…………..because I am trying, this week, to look after my son, finish an article, read three books, work full-time and bake my niece her 16th birthday cake.  Not just any cake, my friends, but a towering creation designed to feed the five thousand.  Or 40 ravenous, and possibly slightly intoxicated, teenagers, anyway.

Please tell me how I am supposed to eat, wash and smoke once I’ve done all that?

Impatience is a virtue

April 17, 2010 at 8:49 am | Posted in motherhood, relationships | 3 Comments
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Mammoth multitasking ability, check.  Introduction of books from day one (or thereabouts) so that child becomes as literate as early as possible, check.  Clean home of which Kim and Aggie would be proud, check.  Patient mummy?  Yeah.  You’re funny.

It’s fair to say that the so-called virtue of being patient has never graced me with its presence.  Yes, I can be patient when I really have to (oops, sentence ending in a preposition – bad ungrammatical mummy).  It wouldn’t have been fair to tell the elderly residents in the home in which I used to work (better, but a rather unwieldy construction) to upgrade their snail-like pace to that of a meerkat, say.  Oh yes, I can be remarkably patient when I want to be  – that’s the benefit of being a contrary Libran.  But, in general, patience tends to pop its head round the door, ask if it can stop for tea, and then leave immediately when I give it the look.  If any film character epitomised my inability to wait, it would surely be Miranda in The Devil Wears Prada.  ‘By all means, move at a glacial pace.  You know how that thrills me.’  What a line, dear reader.

‘Get to the point’, my friend Fiona would say.  Well, what I really mean is that, for all its bad press, a little impatience can be a good thing.  For example, if I didn’t sometimes (ok, all the time), lose my perpetually lost rag with Asher, I doubt if he would ever do the washing up (sorry love, but you know you need my influence).  And if I didn’t sometimes overtake the impossibly slow drivers on the A256, I would never get anywhere – literally.  So the real reason for my impatience is high standards.  If I stopped nagging or trying to be Lewis Hamilton (my dad’s nickname for me), I would stop caring.

Indeed, I prefer to save my very small reserve of patience for the new man in my life – baby Jude.  For those of you unacquainted with the lad, he is about 50cm long, has blue eyes, resembles an infant Phil Mitchell in the hair stakes and is incredibly chilled out.  Seriously.  I’ve never known a baby who only cries when he wants something and smiles at me every time I get him up in the morning (sadly, I don’t always return the gesture).  Jude is as helpless as those lovely ladies and gents I used to look after, and doesn’t ask for much, and so it would be totally unfair for me to be impatient with him.  That’s not to say that I haven’t found motherhood ever frustrating, or overwhelming, or, dare I say, a little boring (feeding isn’t exactly the most thrilling thing in the world).  But I would be telling a giant, Pinocchio-style fib if I said that I didn’t spend most of the time being fascinated by my little lad and the new things he learns every day, and going into his room each night to watch him sleep, his hands above his head as if he is saying, ‘Don’t shoot!’.

Ok, my nickname is Croccy for a reason.  I am never going to be earth mother.  Yet each day, I become a little more patient with Jude.  And a little bit more frustrated with the socks on the floor.  That’s just me.

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