j4: (orange)
Img had her 2(ish)-year health visitor checkup on Monday, to make sure that her walking/talking/thinking etc is all basically on the right track for her age. I'd tried to explain what we were doing on the way there ("we're going to see some nurses who want to check if you can walk and talk and run around and kick a ball and things like that"), so when the health visitor started explaining to me that they wanted to check if she could walk, talk etc, Img chipped in with "and kick a ball!" which made it look rather as though I'd been coaching her for the test... On the other hand, it did usefully prove to them that she can do the requisite "put two words together" (I was hoping she'd say "Imi put two words together!" but as it was she just chattered away in her normal delightful manner, pointing out everything she could see on the toys and posters ("a cuckoo clock! a tulip and a butterfly! a book about I Want My Potty!") and narrating everything she was doing ("Imi running about! Imi running to her mummy again!") so they quickly got the idea that yes, tick, talking is just fine. (The form we had to fill in actually said "My child talks like other children of the same age" [yes/no] and I wanted to say "No, my child talks much better than most other children of the same age", but I knew that wasn't what they meant because NONE OF THE DAMN QUESTIONS SAY WHAT THEY MEAN so you have to fill it in as if you're a normal person who doesn't realise that words mean things.)

sleep and feeding and rage )
j4: (toddler)
Happy New Year! One of my New Year's Resolutions (about which more in a later post) was to post here more often, so here I am. As I said in my LJ Christmas card, the reason I haven't posted more often is that Img is taking up most of my 'spare' time; so it's probably time I did an update on how she's getting on...

altered Img )

On the whole, she's adorable but exhausting (she basically never stops moving or talking while she's awake, and often doesn't stop either while she's asleep). Of course it's impossible to tell what she'll be like when she's older, but early indications suggest that she's going to be small, stubborn, opinionated, and good with words -- no real surprises there given her parents. ;-)

Anyway, there's lots more I could say about Img, but I've probably already written twice as much as anybody except me is interested in reading! I haven't included photos here, to save your friends-list from baby-photo-spam, but there are loads of pics on Flickr if you want to see what she looks like. (My favourites include an unusually contemplative pose and a photo of her trying ice-cream for the first time.)
j4: (kissmass)
Merry Christmas everyone! I haven't posted for a long time because somehow I never seem to have time to write anything longer than 140 characters. Here's what's been taking up all my time:



Hope you're all having as much fun as she is. :-)
j4: (southpark)
This article advert on Netmums made me so furious I had to have a rant here. Let's take it line by line:

Sometimes it’s hard work just looking at celebrities on the red carpet.


Wow, if that's your idea of hard work, you need to get out more. Tell you what, we'll start gently: I'll do the celeb-watching for you while you come over here & do the hoovering*. If that doesn't blow your mind, you can help me assemble some flat-pack furniture**.

* I haven't actually done the hoovering since about 2001.
** The flat-pack wardrobe has actually already been assembled with gratefully-received help from [livejournal.com profile] invisiblechoir. But there may be more to come!

The glitz, the glamour, the hair, the dresses…followed by the comparisons, the feelings of inadequacy, the despair when we look in the mirror and see ourselves - an ‘ordinary’ mum.


Well, speak for yourself. I see the "glitz" and think it's a bit tacky, to be honest. But if you enjoy looking at celebrities, then that's fine... but it doesn't sound like you do enjoy it all that much, if it makes you feel inadequate and despairing. Maybe you shouldn't watch it? I mean, I'm not saying there's necessarily a correlation here, but when I look in the mirror, I don't feel the need to compare myself to celebrities, & I don't feel inadequacy or despair (though I'm no stranger to either feeling in other contexts!). I don't even see "an ordinary mum": I just see myself. I know I'm not "just a mum", and I also know (after not quite a year of being a mum) that there's no "just" about being a mum.

But Netmums and My Special K think that behind every ‘ordinary’ mum is an extraordinary woman and so My Special K have devised a personalised slimming plan to help you look amazing for that special event, party or holiday that you have coming up.


I don't get it. Is this extraordinary woman behind me so tiny that you won't be able to see her unless I lose weight? If she's so extraordinary, why doesn't she just say "Excuse me, can I get past?" and come and stand in front of me? If the extraordinary woman is me, why do I need a personalised slimming plan? If I'm that great, then why do you think there should be less of me? If I'm so great, why don't I carry on being the extraordinary woman I am? And since when did "amazing" mean "thin"? And even if it did, how do you know I'm not already thin? I mean, at the moment (not that it's any of your business) I'm 5'1" and approximately a size 10. Could you clarify at exactly what point I'm supposed to feel despair for not looking like "celebrities"? Also, which celebrities am I supposed to want to look like? I mean, I'd have to grow an extra eight inches in height to look like most models, and I don't think even Special K (the world's most joyless breakfast cereal) can help me there.

If you look closely many of those same celebrities that we put on an unachievable pedestal are actually just ordinary mums too.


Oh. So remind me, why am I supposed to be emulating them with your special slimming plan? I thought being an "ordinary mum" was what I was trying to avoid by eating the cereals of self-loathing. (And less of the "we" there. I don't put celebrities on a pedestal.)

Yes they’ve been preened and primed for the red carpet event you see them at, but do you think they look like that when their toddler jumps on their head at 5am?


Well, no. But then I'm not looking in the mirror when my baby jumps on my head at 5am, and I look better in the day than I do at 5am too. I'm losing track of how this comparison is meant to work.

So don’t despair,


I wasn't before I started reading this. Now I am actually starting to despair, but not for the reasons you think I am.

first step is to sign up to My Special K’s fantastic personalised slimming plan and then let’s investigate how those celebrities do it and what can we learn from them.


Look, I'm not a scientist, but I reckon you've got those steps the wrong way round. If we want to look like celebrities, why not investigate how they do it first and then see if we can do the same? Hint: they spend shitloads of money on their looks and/or have armies of people to do their hair, their makeup, their nails, their clothes. They almost certainly don't eat Special K. I reckon if you gave me a million pounds to spend on all that stuff I could make myself look like a celebrity without any additional help from a cereal that tastes like cardboard.

1. Making the most of your assets

Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have hair like Penelope Cruz, or lips like Gwen Stefani? Ever noticed how celebrities always draw attention to their best feature? Whilst Penelope Cruz can most often be seen cruising the red carpet with shining, flowing locks, Gwen Stefani is rarely seen without her signature flash of red lipstick. So whether it’s your eyes or your thighs, identify your best asset and learn to make a feature of it.


My best features... well, that's a tricky one. Off the top of my head, in no particular order, I'd rate: my capacity for love; my writing; my musicality; the speed with which I learn new things. I find it hard to define some of the things I'm good at but they're definitely there. I've made a feature of these things by spending my time doing things other than staring in the mirror feeling miserable because I don't look like a celebrity.

Also, I'm now wondering how Penelope Cruz would cruz (ha!) the red carpet without her shining, flowing locks. I guess she could shave it all off and then her hair could come along later in a different Rolls-Royce and someone could roll it along the red carpet on its own. Or she could wear a very big hat.

There's also the possibility that e.g. Gwen Stefani's signature flash of red lipstick functions a bit like Clark Kent's glasses in reverse, i.e. when you see her without her signature flash of red lipstick you don't realise it's Gwen Stefani, so in fact you do see her without it all the time, but you don't see her without it. She might be standing right next to you RIGHT NOW. (Made you look.)

2. Work those curves

Quite often when we become mothers our bodies change and we don’t know how to dress our new curves. Take note of the likes of Kate Winslet, Salma Hayek, Jennifer Hudson and Holly Willoughby and embrace your curves. There’s nothing sexy about hiding under a black sack. Buy a dress (red is always good!) that clings to all the right places, add a plunging neckline and a little attitude and you’ll be red carpet ready in no time.


Hang on, a minute ago we weren't supposed to have curves, we were supposed to be slimming! Now we're supposed to be working our curves! Make your mind up, guys!

Also, I think there's some middle ground between "hiding under a black sack" and wearing a figure-hugging red dress with a plunging neckline, and it's the middle ground in which most of us live most of the time (thank goodness, otherwise every party would be like a version of The Matrix in which the teenage boy who made the woman in the red dress had been allowed to design all the female characters, and they'd all come at you like the excellent bit in the otherwise-appalling second Matrix movie where the army of Agent Smiths (Agents Smith?) attacks Neo, and you'd have to fight them off with super-fast bullet-time karate moves, BLAM! KAPOW! ... and that would get tiring after a while).

And furthermore, a) red is not always good, e.g. if you have red hair; and b) I bet there are people out there who think hiding under a black sack is pretty sexy, because of rule 34.

3. Never underestimate good underwear


I'm losing the will to live here, but let's go on:

Celebrities know the power of good underwear. You’d be hard pushed to find a celebrity that doesn’t love Spanx. Jennifer Garner, Jessica Alba and Brooke Shields have all publically declared their love of spanx and Kim Kardashian even stated that ‘Spanx are my best friend!’


I thought they were supposed to work their curves, not use corsetry to get rid of them? (Also, if we're going to wear the bodyshapers anyway, why bother with the cardboard-only slimming diet?) Also, I already have a best friend, and she's way more interesting than a pair of control pants (also way more interesting than Kim Kardashian).

It doesn’t stop at the bottom half though.


Underwear usually doesn't, unless you're a waitress in a topless bar.

A good bra is essential and can take pounds off your silhouette. Make sure you get a fitting done before parting with your money though – figures show that approx. 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size – and you can be sure it’s not the celebrities!


OK, this advice is fine. Get a bra that fits. It's more likely to take pounds off your bank balance than off your silhouette, but it will also help prevent boobache and backache, and that's got to be a good thing.

4. Time to make-up

Of course whilst celebrities have their own army of stylists, hairdressers and make-up artists the rest of us have to make do with our own talents on that special night. So why not learn a few extra tricks of the trade? If you’re not confident in the art of make-up go to someone who is and ask for a little help. You may be lucky enough to have a friend who could give you a quick lesson, but if not head to the cosmetic floor at one of the big department stores and ask for some assistance. The women working there are normally only too happy to help, especially on the quieter mid-week mornings, and purchasing their goods is not a requirement.


And I guess this advice is fine if you want to do the makeup thing. (I've always made do with my own talents on any "special night", and I've, ahem, never had any complaints about my talents.) Just so long as you know that the tangerine-faced No. 7 ladies in Boots aren't actually going to make you look like Kate Winslet.

Win a makeover for you and a friend!

Netmums are also delighted to launch our fabulous ‘Nominate a Mum’ competition. Perhaps you have a friend or family member who has lost their confidence since becoming a Mum?


Oh, Netmums. With inspirational advice like this article, how could any mum lose her confidence?
j4: (imogen)
Imogen turned 11 months the other day, so it's about time I did an update for anyone who's interested (& for my own record, though I'm keeping notes on paper here too).

BABY! Or should that be... PROTO-TODDLER? )

It seems impossible that she's nearly a year old already, and that she's basically a small person rather than a helpless little animal. I am absolutely in love with her and the only thing that's still not great is the sleep -- and even that I think I can probably cope with for a bit longer, not least because I'd be really sad not to have her sleeping next to me any more, because I am A BIG SOFTY and I want to be able to kiss her on the head all the time. ♥
j4: (bicycle)
Over a month ago, [livejournal.com profile] barnacle very kindly lent us his car ([livejournal.com profile] hatmandu's trusty old friend Hrududu) so that we could try to drive to Cambridge to deliver a moses basket to [livejournal.com profile] rmc28 and to look at cargo bikes (and to say hello to all you tabs over there!).

The first attempt was stymied by, ahem, us not actually having the key for the car's petrol cap (& [livejournal.com profile] barnacle and the key being about 100 miles away at the time); the second attempt was called off due to predicted snow; the third was quarantined off by Img's chicken pox; and the fourth was prevented by Img's "mystery virus" (fever, non-blanching rash, trip to hospital for blood tests, kept in overnight for observation, ugh -- fortunately didn't turn out to be anything alarming). We did use the car to get to the hospital, and were very grateful to have that convenience; but on the way back it started violently overheating & pouring steam out of the bonnet and, on eventual inspection by Mr RAC, was pronounced to have blown its head gasket.

Given that our attempts to use a car at all seem to be fairly comprehensively cursed and our time will be much more limited once we both go back to work, I think we're going to abandon (or rather postpone until further notice) the attempt to come over to Cambridge in the near future; we don't really need to try out the extra bikes (in fact the nice man at the Bristol bike shop says he has another model we could try, & we can get there slightly more easily), and we're hoping to find someone else who's going from Oxford to Cambridge who could deliver the moses basket for us -- one friend says they're almost certainly going to Cambridge in the next couple of months, but if any of the rest of you could volunteer something more definite, I'd be very grateful! ([livejournal.com profile] rmc28, if this is all too vague & you'd rather get something definite by some other means, please let me know).

It will be a shame not to come and see you all, but hopefully we'll be able to do a general visit for fun later in the year by train (though it's still difficult to do as a day-trip, & it's hard to stay over anywhere while Img sleeps so badly...).

Separate post coming up later about the State of the Baby!
j4: (imogen)
Update: yes, it is chicken pox. Ho hum. I guess at least we're getting it out of the way early, and at least it manifested itself before we visited pregnant friends, friends with small babies, etc.

Img now has loads of spots -- new ones seem to be appearing almost as I watch, & she even has spots on her fingers, poor mite -- and is a bit whiny and grouchy, though it doesn't seem to be preventing her from getting on with learning to crawl.

The coming week is going to be a bit of a trial as I won't be able to do any of the things I normally do to get through the week -- things which involve going to children's centres or cafés or on buses or into shops, and I don't want to spread the germs around any more than absolutely necessary (and any more than I already have done). I predict a lot of Long Walks. Let's just hope there's no more snow. :-/
j4: (angry)
Gahhh I give up. We are not going to make it to Cambridge today because at some point in the night baby's "mystery temperature" was replaced by "mystery rash" (which looks to me like it might actually be chicken pox). :-( :-(

We've got an appointment with the out-of-hours doctor at 10:20, and I fear that by the time we actually get seen it will be far too late to try to get to Cambridge for lunch, even if the doctor can absolutely guarantee that the rash is something mild and non-contagious (e.g. her eczema flaring up weirdly).

Also, the roads are apparently still icy. :-( And it's MINUS TEN DEGREES out there! Stay indoors, dudes!

Seriously, though, GAHHHHHHHH.
j4: (badgers)
Hello Cambridge!

1. We have the use of a functioning car (and we now have all the relevant keys for it too).

2. The snow has mostly gone here, and no more snow is forecast either here or in Cambridge.

3. The mystery temperature that baby developed last night seems to have gone down (she is still in a foul mood, but from the constant whining and copious dribbling I suspect imminent TEETH rather than anything contagious).

Consequently I think we're actually going to try to make that trip TOMORROW ie Saturday 11th February.

The plan remains the same as the first time: we'll aim to get to the Carlton Arms at around 12:30 for lunch; after lunch we'll head towards Hope Street Yard to try out bikes (hopefully with [livejournal.com profile] claerwen too!).

We will be bringing a Moses basket for [livejournal.com profile] rmc28. If anybody wants us to ferry anything (within reason!) from Cambridge to Oxford, we will have space in the car on the way back, as we won't be buying a cargo bike on the day (or rather if we do we'll be asking them to deliver it for us).

I will post to my journal before 10am tomorrow if we're not going to travel after all because of snow/baby/etc; if you don't see anything, assume we're going to get there. Unless there's been an alien invasion or a terrorist attack or something, in which case, RUN FOR THE HILLS*.

* Warning: Cambridge may not contain any actual hills
j4: (roads)
I'm afraid despite last week's promise we're not going to make it to Cambridge today. Given that SNOW is forecast for later today in both Cambridge and Oxford, it really doesn't seem sensible to try to get to Cambridge and back and risk being stranded somewhere en route. :-(

I am really starting to feel like this trip is cursed! The person who told me off for using a car will doubtless be cackling with gleeful schadenfreude. Nonetheless, we will try again NEXT SATURDAY (11th), weather and transport permitting...

ETA: I have sent a txt to the people who originally said they'd come along for whom I have mobile numbers, viz.: [livejournal.com profile] rmc28, [livejournal.com profile] lnr, [livejournal.com profile] ewx, [livejournal.com profile] juggzy, [livejournal.com profile] claerwen and [livejournal.com profile] fivemack.

I do not have mobile numbers for [livejournal.com profile] ghoti or [livejournal.com profile] uitlander, so if anybody thinks they're likely to be making a special trip to see us, could they let them know? (Confusing pronouns, sorry!)

BTW I appear to have three mobile numbers for [livejournal.com profile] fivemack -- I picked the one that I believe to be the most recent, but sorry if I picked the wrong one! :-(
j4: (roads)
Due to car-related fail I'm afraid we haven't managed to get out of Oxford so we won't be in Cambridge today. :-( Really sorry, folks. Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] rmc28 for (hopefully) passing on the message -- hope nobody had a wasted journey.

HOWEVER: all being well we will try again NEXT SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4TH! Aiming for same time and same place otherwise. Hope people can make it then instead.
j4: (blade)
I tweeted about this last night but it's so rage-inducing that I think I might have to post about it too. Here's the text of the latest email from Bounty (these are weekly emails for "Your baby at n weeks", but after about the first 10 weeks they stopped being about baby's development and started being about why you need to start waxing your legs again... OK, so you can probably guess I'm not the target market for this stuff anyway, but here goes):


Eat, drink and be merry

This week, we're focussing on food.

You

We're talking about both you and your baby's tummies. So first, here are some superb tips on how you can get a yummy mummy tummy.

Your baby

We've got some great advice on how you can help your baby to eat sensibly and enjoy their food. But if your baby's refusing food, or eating less, the chances are that everything is absolutely fine and there's no need to be frustrated.

Your baby's first teeth are either here or well on the way. Which is perfect timing for their developing taste for lumpier food.


So we start with "Eat, drink and be merry" (yes, I know this is just a sub-editor's autocomplete tic from "Eat", but still: let's be happy about food), but immediately go on to "how you can get a yummy mummy tummy": that is, obsess about your figure. Bit of a contradiction here, maybe? OK, so they don't actually mention the d-word, but let's face it, if you tell people their figure is all wrong, they're likely to think about dieting.

Having tried to make mums feel bad about their figures, they then remind them that they're supposed to help their baby "eat sensibly" and "enjoy their food". Now, this may be a bit of a radical suggestion, but: maybe one way to help your baby eat sensibly and enjoy their food would be to eat sensibly yourself, enjoy your food yourself, and generally model sensible behaviour?

Now, in fairness to Bounty I should point out that while in my opinion they clearly imply dieting, they don't actually say anything about it: the "yummy mummy tummy" article is actually about muscle-toning exercises. So that's OK then, surely? I mean, doing your pelvic floor exercises is sensible, right? (At least, if you don't want to spend the rest of your life doing a little wee every time you cough, sneeze or laugh.) So here's the beginning of the article:


Exercise for new mums

Size zero A list mums may be all over the front pages, but in real life your tummy might not spring back to its pre-baby state easily.

However, the good news is you can get trim and toned without getting a personal trainer or going under the knife.

Fortunately, nature can be kind as well as miraculous, and your muscles will regain a lot of their tautness naturally, especially after your first baby and if you’re reasonably fit and a healthy weight. However, for the rest of us, a bit more effort may be required.

Targeted exercise is the only way to de-flab your abs without resorting to surgery (and better for you all round, not to mention a lot less painful and non-invasive).


There's a lot of subtle linguistic sleight of hand going on here, a sliding and eliding of subjects that I'm strugging to put my finger on. Let's see if I can pull it apart a bit.

So, we start off by invoking the "Size zero A list mums" and then pretending we're not talking about them at all; we're talking about "real life", where you can "get trim and toned without getting a personal trainer or going under the knife". These are things that the celeb mums might do, but because we've stopped talking about them by this time and started talking about "real life", they're presented as realistic options that "you" would have thought of already -- that is, options that you should have thought of already, because your body is All Wrong -- had Bounty not come along and told you the real solution.

Then we're told that "nature can be kind as well as miraculous, and your muscles will regain a lot of their tautness naturally" -- two references to nature, to make it clear that this is all nice stuff they're talking about -- "especially after your first baby and if you’re reasonably fit and a healthy weight. However, for the rest of us" -- because most of you aren't fit enough! And you're TOO FAT! -- "a bit more effort may be required." Just a bit more effort, that's all. What kind of lazy person wouldn't put in just a bit more effort (that's more than 'doing nothing because miraculous Mother Nature will sort it all out', I guess?) to look good?

"Targeted exercise is the only way to de-flab your abs without resorting to surgery (and better for you all round, not to mention a lot less painful and non-invasive)". Silly you for thinking about surgery! You were thinking about surgery, weren't you, because you're THAT UGLY. What? You hadn't even considered surgery? Oh dear. Well, don't worry, dear, you don't really need surgery. You just need to do "targeted exercise". That's not targeted at getting you healthy and active again, it's targeted at giving you a flat tummy. The sort of flat tummy that 17-year-old girls WHO HAVEN'T HAD BABIES have.

So it's a funny definition of "good news" they're using here: as far as I can work out the "good news" is that you need to be "trim and toned" (why?), you need to "de-flab your abs" (why?), but it's OK, you don't need to have surgery (surgery! for fuck's sake!) to get there. Well, hurrah! Break out the bunting!

Even worse, look at the comments on that article: people are going to Bounty for medical advice:


"Whens the best time to start doing sit ups after giving birth? I'm confused because my family and friends are telling me different things! One told me you can do sit ups more or less straight away and another told me not until six months as your stomach muscle don't recover from pregnancy till then. Any one got any tips? xx"

"how do i tone my belly after having an emergency c section...? Or atually when can i start toning after an emergency c section? I had my baby son 13 weeks ago. Please advise needed........ xx"

"Anyone got advice on how soon after the birth I can return to running and / or circuit training? I ran up to 12 weeks pregnant and did body pump and walked for up to an hour right up to the birth. I have had episiotomy and stiches which seem to be healing well. I am also breastfeeding."


It's frankly terrifying that people are trusting Bounty -- who exist solely to sell shitloads of plastic tat to mums by making them feel guilty, by making them feel that if they don't buy all the plastic tat then they JUST DON'T LOVE THEIR BABIES ENOUGH -- with questions like these, rather than asking e.g. the NHS. Ask your health visitor, ask your doctor; even ask your mum or your friends -- at least if they're wrong they'll probably be innocently wrong rather than trying to sell you dieting aids or exercise equipment.

You might well ask me "why did you sign up for these emails then, you silly moo?" Yes, you might well ask. I signed up with Bounty for the packs of freebies and the special offers, because I STUPIDLY FORGOT that free stuff which wastes your time and makes you angry is NOT ACTUALLY FREE. While we're on the subject of those freebie packs, let's remember that Bounty have somehow wangled it so that Important Government Information on how to claim your Child Benefit is stuffed in the pack of advertising and marketing samples that they give you when you're IN HOSPITAL, ie probably still woozy from being stuffed full of drugs and confused from being SHUNTED AROUND LIKE A PIECE OF MEAT, and therefore not in the best frame of mind to go through a bagful of rubbish and filter out the Important Government Information; but obviously it's as important for women to be aggressively marketed at by the makers of unsustainable disposable rubbish as it is for them to collect the benefits to which they're entitled. Yes.

Oh, the Bounty freeby pack also included a can of DIET COKE. I thought this was nothing do with mums/babies but now I realise OH WAIT they mean you can have caffeine again but YOU'RE FAT! GO ON A DIET EVEN THOUGH YOU JUST GAVE BIRTH 2 HOURS AGO!

If I'd seen this stuff before giving birth I'd have pushed that baby out in 10 minutes flat, with no drugs except RAGE.

Sorry about all the CAPITAL LETTERS. I blame coffee, lack of sleep, and Caitlin Moran.
j4: (badgers)
Hello Cambridge!

All being well, we will be in Cambridge THIS SATURDAY ie 28th January. There are two purposes to the trip: 1) try out more bikes at The School Run Centre, and 2) say hello to as many people as possible in a short space of time.

We'll be getting there in time for lunch>, and I'm thinking it would make sense to go to The Carlton Arms because I know it's nice & they don't mind kids & you lot all know where it is & can hopefully get there. I reckon we should be able get there by about 12:30, which will give us time to have lunch, talk to people, & still be able to get to Hope Street Yard to the bike shop & try bikes out before it gets dark.

Please comment here if you think you're likely to be able to join us (& let me know if you want me to keep in touch with you by txt if we're going to be late etc). Also, please let me know if there's some reason why we shouldn't go to the Carlton (e.g. fire, flood, plagues of frogs) or if you can think of somewhere equally lovely & reasonably baby-friendly (with parking!) nearer Hope Street Yard.

[livejournal.com profile] rmc28, did you say you wanted our spare moses basket? If so, we can bring it.

[livejournal.com profile] claerwen, did you say we could park at yours for Hope Street Yard? Would be very grateful if so -- I can't work out from the bike shop's website if there is any parking nearby otherwise...
j4: (imogen)
In the interests of recording the positive stuff (as well as all the sleep-related wailing that those of you who follow me on Twitter will have seen):

* Img slept for a four-hour stretch at the beginning of the night on both Monday night & Tuesday night (and each time went back to sleep fairly easily after that waking and the subsequent wakings)! Four hours' sleep in one go! Two nights running! I was feeling almost human! (Though last night was another scratchy one, bah.)

* She can now crawl backwards a bit (and roll a lot). :-) She seems to be very close to crawling forwards -- she gets her legs in the right positions and everything, and occasionally even seems to lurch forwards a bit, but she's not quite got it coordinated yet. She can also stand up if she's holding on to furniture, and 'walk' if I hold her hands -- she really seems to enjoy that, and tries to stand/walk at every available opportunity; I guess she may yet skip crawling altogether!

* She seems to be picking up bits of baby sign language (we are trying to do some of this, & I'm going to Sing & Sign classes with her): she makes the 'milk' sign occasionally (though a bit randomly, not always sure it means what it looks like it means) and she has twice now made the 'more' sign when it's been cold-ish & I've been changing her (I guess this could mean 'more clothes'? -- she stops when she's got all her clothes on, anyway!). This seems like quite a complicated concept so I suspect it may just be coincidence, but at least I know she can definitely do the necessary hand-movements.

* She is 'talking' ALL THE TIME. Currently it's "na na NA NA NA na na na na na NA NA na na NA NA NA" (which is lovely right up to the point where it gets a bit wearing...) but we have also had entire days of "da da da da da", the occasional "ma ma ma", and several days of nothing but blowing raspberries. Occasionally we get much more complicated bits of syllables, so much so that it feels like she's said a real sentence and I've just not quite heard it clearly.

* She managed without me (with [livejournal.com profile] addedentry) fairly happily for a whole working day last Thursday when I went into work for one of my 'Keeping In Touch days' (for the annual Staff Day -- a chance to catch up with what everybody's doing -- and a team meeting; no proper work as such but it was really good to feel like I was starting to get involved again).

* She is eating EVERYTHING. Food is ace, isn't it? [livejournal.com profile] addedentry points out that it's amazing that she knows what is food & what isn't, given that food comes in so many weird and wonderful forms. (OK, she does chew things that aren't food as well, like books and clothes and my fingers and, well, anything.) She can pick up tiny things like blueberries and peas now, and if she's hungry she'll pick up every last crumb or grain off the plate.

* She can give me a kiss! If I say "big kiss" and give her a kiss, then say "kiss for mummy?" she kisses me on the cheek! Well... she sort of opens her mouth and tries to eat the side of my face. It's unbelievably cute, anyway. :-D

* She is ASLEEP RIGHT NOW in her buggy having her MORNING NAP and I have both hands free. \o/
j4: (bicycle)
Some of you will remember that I was talking about the possibility of getting a bakfiets-style bike, and looked at ONE WEIRD OLD BIKE FOR A MOM, and having determined that that was a rubbish bike, resolved to look at some non-rubbish bikes instead.

Bikes! )

Input welcome, particularly from people who have experience of riding cargo bikes and/or taking children on bikes.

PLEASE NOTE: if you comment to tell me that you think cycling is evil and dangerous and I shouldn't even consider taking an infant on a bike, I will delete your comment, and may block you from further comments. I'm not interested in rehashing that particular argument; I have considered the risks and come to the conclusion that they're acceptable in return for the benefits. There is no such thing as a risk-free activity. Please respect my right as an adult to make my own risk assessments within the limits of the law. Your statutory rights are not affected.
j4: (badgers)
Happy new year, friendslist! I'm sorry I completely failed to do an LJ Christmas card this year. I didn't even manage to use my LJ Christmas icon. Here's a belated Christmas photo (yes, I know it's after Twelfth Night):

Santa's Little Helper

I'm sorry I've also failed to send 'thank you' notes to all the people who gave us lovely presents. I will say a big THANK YOU now & I will try to email you all soon.

We spent Christmas itself and a couple of days either side with my parents in Leicestershire (including a day trip up to Bramhall to see my grandma), and then spent a few days after Christmas with [livejournal.com profile] addedentry's parents in Bristol. Img was mostly fairly well-behaved but was obviously getting more and more twitchy with all the new places and people and changes to her routine (such as it is -- we're not very good at routines at the best of times) so we were glad to get back to Oxford just before New Year. We didn't exactly stay up to see the New Year in, but Img did wake us up at about 12:05 (possibly having been woken up herself by the fireworks outside). Seemed a bit daft saying "Happy New Year" to someone who hadn't even been alive a whole year yet, but she didn't mind.

Obviously Img didn't really know about Christmas, either, but she seemed to enjoy trying to eat lots of wrapping paper or rip it to shreds; she also got some lovely new toys which she obviously likes -- the bright-coloured stacking cups are fun to knock over (and bang against each other), and she also seemed surprisingly keen on a big floppy doll (I didn't think they got into dolls until later). She also enjoyed the food at Christmas, which may have played a part in the fact that she managed to gain 2lb between mid-November and January. :-)

I don't have any New Year's resolutions this year; there are things I'd like to do before I go back to work in March, and things I'd like to do at some point this year, and things I'd like to do some day in the future; but at the moment I'm really just concentrating on surviving from day to day (or maybe week to week). I'm still finding it really difficult (as anybody who follows me on Twitter will know) because of the sleep -- or rather the lack of it -- and while I think some things will get easier, other things will surely get harder to make up for it. I can't remember if I made resolutions last year either, but I don't want to look back at them because I suspect I won't have succeeded in any of them. I did, however, manage to keep reading lots of books, which is practically the only resolution I've kept for long enough for it to become a habit.

I hope you all had lovely Christmases and I hope 2012 is shaping up well for you so far.
j4: (goth)
So I'm not doing NaBloPoMo, obviously, because I can't guarantee getting enough time free to shower every day, let alone blog every day. However in the spirit of trying to make it a month of writing, I started a NEW BLOG (because hey! I don't have enough half-finished projects!) which now has enough posts that I can just about bear to link to it.

The new blog is here and (as those of you who watch my flickr stream -- weirdos! -- will probably already have figured out) it's about PINK and BLUE or rather how everything is stupidly gender-stereotypically colour-coordinated (plus more general mockery of gender-stereotyping in toys, gifts etc). I don't promise to update it all that regularly, though depressingly there's enough material that I could probably update it a hundred times a day & not run out.

... So, yeah. Blog. Not much to shout about but there you go.

In other news, daughter is slightly bigger and I am slightly tireder. (If I don't manage to post anything else for the next decade or so, this summary will probably stay reasonably accurate!)
j4: (southpark)
This comment on a parenting web forum is an example of one of the reasons why I avoid parenting web forums:
"hi ya i had this with my lo she 9 months and she been theething like made i asked my h/v and she said stop all fresh juice only give her diluted juice but must be suger free, dont purt any her foumla milk in her foods only fresh milk and dont give her so much paracentmol coz that could cause it too
and i done so and its worked its better all round now which is nice."

It's not that I think being able to write is necessarily correlated with quality of parenting; it's just that I find it hard to wade through posts with lousy spelling and no punctuation. It slows down my reading and that frustrates me - especially when time is such a scarce resource.

I say "parenting", there, but I don't think I've ever seen a man make a post (or comment) on a baby/child forum; they're always pitched at "mums", and to read some of them you'd think "dads" were a different species entirely. That's another reason why I mostly avoid parenting web forums: I am sick and tired of the "lol men just wudnt understnad" attitude. My daughter has two parents. OK, there is currently one thing that only I can do for her (since [livejournal.com profile] addedentry steadfastly refuses to lactate) -- and at the moment I'm just spending more time with her than he is, because that's the way our jobs worked out -- but everything else is as much an issue for him as it is for me.

The other reason why I mostly avoid parenting web forums is the fact that they're nearly always anti-science, anti-evidence, anti-knowledge: they're an arena where perceived experience ("well it worked for me") trumps everything, and so-called experts are not to be trusted because they're always changing their minds (that is, they change their guidelines on best practice in response to new research... shocking behaviour!). I know that there are some areas of parenting where science can't give you the answers; I know that there are areas where there probably isn't enough research to be able to pronounce definitively. But there are also lots of areas -- particularly in medicine -- where there is considerable knowledge, and I'd rather talk to a health professional than ask a randomly chosen person on the internet what their opinion is. That's not to say that health professionals are infallible, or even that different health visitors, GPs etc will offer the same advice. But even if I accepted that experience trumped everything, I'd rather go to someone who has experience of dealing with thousands of children, not just one or two!

Anyway, time to stop ranting before Img wakes up. :-)

ETA: Since everybody seems to be namechecking mumsnet, I should in fairness point out that the example comment above is not from mumsnet!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

j4: (imogen)
We're long overdue a proper update here, aren't we?

This got very long. Tl;dr = we're still not dead )

Phew, sorry for rambling on at such length. Apologies in advance if I'm slow to reply to comments -- it's rare that I get both hands free to type, & commenting via the iPhone LJ app involves clumsy one-finger-stabby-stabby typing, so I am a bit rubbish at commenting. (I'm also a bit rubbish at reading other people's journals, sorry. Feel free to use the comments here to tell me things about you that you think I should know & might have missed.)
j4: (bicycle)
A quick update on the bike: I went to look at it last night. There was more rust than was obvious from the photos on the bits of metal holding the box on to the bike; and the brakes weren't very good, though may have just needed tightening somehow -- they were hub brakes, despite what [livejournal.com profile] htfb thought from the photo (the thing that looks like a brake is actually an immobiliser lock). Hub gears too, at least, I couldn't see any external gear-like-stuff. Overall, there was just too much "would probably need a bit of fixing" about it, though.

Also, I did have a go at riding it, and, yikes, that would need a lot of practice. It actually felt more unsettling than the trick bicycle with backwards steering that I tried to ride in Dublin (pay a couple of euros to try riding, win 10 euros if you can cycle across the line about 3 yards away... nobody manages more than about 2 feet) -- everything seemed to pivot in the wrong places, and I felt like I was going to fall off any minute. Terrifying!

So, no, I won't be bidding on it, but it was interesting to have a (very brief) go at riding it. I think I will try to get to Cambridge at some point & talk to the Hope St bike folk (and say hello to all you nice people in Cambridge!) but that probably won't be for another month at least.

Thanks again to everyone who offered advice!

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