Thursday, 25 August 2011

More words

I just love the Bat's increasing vocabulary. She's using more words regularly and unprompted - hello when her dad comes in the door, bye when he leaves, blech when she's done a poo (hilarious!), shoe, ears, baby, banana, woof, watch, teeth, yay - but also mimicking just about everything I say, even if she doesn't go on to repeat the word later. So we've recently had birds, trousers, clever, food, plum, poppers (she goes "pop, pop, pop" as I do up her vest after nappy changes, which is ADORABLE) and lots more. The other day she was cruising round the room singing "Oh no! Oh no!" The latest is bum, which is very popular. And this morning I tried her with a bit of Italian and French - she admitted to being bella, and pointed to her pieds.

Oh, and apparently seagulls say woof, or rather "voof" in a slightly Germanic way. Who knew?

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

First steps!

Sorry for making two posts one after the other, but I think this deserves a special mention. Bat has taken her first unaided steps! She's been doing more and more independent standing lately, and yesterday she just let go of the coffee table and shuffled the five steps over to the TV. I'm as pleased as punch.

At almost 17 months, she's taken her time with this - she's always been that way with gross motor stuff, though. She was at the very late end of normal for rolling and crawling. To be honest, I think she's just more interested in dissecting a minute piece of carpet fluff or playing peekaboo. I can't wait for her to be walking consistently, just because I think it'll open up more activities for her to do outdoors. Of course, it will also mean getting her measured for some proper shoes... there goes another lump of Child Benefit! :D

Thanks for that, subconscious

I had a very weird and vivid dream - you know the kind that bleeds over into the rest of your day, and you keep half-forgetting that it was just a dream? That kind. I won't take you through the whole plot, because hearing about someone else's dream in detail is completely mind-numbing. But the basic premise was that I'd decided to parent a baby together with another couple, who were the baby's birth parents. We were all supposed to be equally responsible for the baby, but I never seemed to get any say in what happened to him. In the end I decided to leave the family and let the others get on with it by themselves. It's gone noon, I've been up for hours and I still feel upset about abandoning that little boy. Argh.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The ultimate instant comfort food

I don't think I'd ever bought tinned apples before Bat was born. I didn't think they would be that great. When we started her on solids, though, I was on the look-out for things that I could blitz with my hand-held blender and turn straight into puree without any cooking and cooling. Tinned fruit in juice was a popular option and we ended up trying the tinned apple. Turns out it's actually quite nice, though freshly stewed is nicer. Anyway, now I go off with them myself in times of need and turn them into instant comfort.

1. Fill a mug about halfway with tinned apple slices, not too much juice (or a bowl, obviously - I just like eating out of mugs!)
2. Microwave for a minute or so, just until heated through
3. Add a good pinch of cinnamon and a teaspoon of sugar, stir to coat all the apple
4. Add a splash of cream or a spoonful of vanilla ice cream (I am not in a position to judge you for having both)

I have also chopped them up and used them in a cake, which worked quite well.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Trying new things

I've been making jewellery for most of this year, and selling it online. You can see my stuff here, in my Folksy shop. (I don't want this blog to turn into one long advert for my jewellery, because that's no fun to read and not at all what the blog is meant to be about - plus I end up holding back on things I want to say, in case people don't want to buy jewellery from a swearing ranting loon. But I figure one link is allowed.)

Anyway, I've been in a bit of rut with it, not making anything and not selling much either. So on Thursday I decided to apply for a pitch at the Harbourside Market in Bristol. I found out I'd got in on Friday, took my stuff down on Saturday and had a go at running a market stall. We spent Friday evening rushing around to buy a table and some stuff I could use for artistic draping of jewellery. I ended up with a couple of cork boards propped up on an empty wine bottle and a multipack of tinned tuna, plus a basket that I usually keep my spice jars in and a double bedsheet folded in half to make a table cloth. I also bought some pretty little butterfly cut-outs to decorate the cork boards with, but people just kept looking disappointed when they realised they weren't brooches, so I've enterprisingly ordered some brooch backs to glue on them for next time.

Aaaaand...I sold one pair of earrings for a whopping £7.50. Nothing else. But I'm not disappointed - I mean, of course I had grandiose dreams about being a huge success, but this was mostly about getting my feet wet and having a go. It was a horrible rainy day and nobody sold very much. I've got lots of ideas for how to improve my stall and I've just ordered some proper display stands. The idea this week is to make lots more stock, and I'm going back this coming Saturday. Cross your fingers for me!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011


Bat has learnt how to say "no". Not just the concept (which she's been expressing very effectively for months already, believe me) but the word. I think we just managed our first proper conversation held all in words:

Me - Aren't you going to eat up your tasty crusts?
Bat - No!
Me - Oh, all right then. What would you like to eat now?
Bat - Marmer.
Me - A banana? [holds up banana]
Bat - Yeah yeah yeah!

It sounds like such a little thing but I'm actually quite excited.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Everything's good except for the bad stuff

Sorry for the week of silence. Since Monday I've mostly been slumped in front of the computer, reading about the riots and getting steadily more depressed by both the violence and the kneejerk reactions on each side of the political spectrum. I don't really drink much any more, but if I did I'd have taken a drink every time some pontificating muppet said "Bring back National Service" or "Take away their benefits!" The petition to take away rioters' benefits is making me crazy - we shouldn't need to make up special, new, extra-nasty punishments for these people, and in any case I think it's horrifying to create punishments that can only apply to the poorest rioters. The hand wringing about "see what happens when you take away the kids' youth centre" is just as far wide of the mark (though I do worry about the Sure Start cuts, because I think we need to be there for kids from the beginning if anything is going to change). If someone is so detached from their community that they can cheerfully smash it up, there's more wrong than just having nothing to do in the summer. I believe the ConDems are doing serious harm with their spending cuts, but social inequality in this country goes way beyond the current austerity measures.

ANYWAY. I'm trying to avoid thinking about this because it's getting me down, so end rant and move on.

I went out for a meal and drinks with some of my mummy friends on Saturday night, and really enjoyed myself (despite the cheeky bugger who, hearing that we were a group of mums, asked me whether I'd had my baby yet. I know I'm fat but I do not look pregnant!). I hardly ever go out in the evening and I don't think I'd realised how much I was missing it. I had three whole beers! Talk about living it up. I delighted the Spanish bartender by drinking Mahou, a lager made in Madrid. It wasn't entirely my kind of beer, but nice enough. I almost dropped out at an early stage, because the bar we were in was too noisy for a proper conversation, but we moved on and ended up sitting outside having a great chat. A taxi home turns out to cost around £18, which I certainly can't afford every week but is less expensive than I feared. Hoping to do it again soon.

Batgran is coming up this weekend (sorry Mum, I can't resist), which will be nice. We need to do some serious tidying today and tomorrow so that we can make her up a bed on the living room floor, since Bat now has the second bedroom. Characteristically, I'm ignoring the tidying and thinking instead about what I might make us for dinner on Saturday night. It's all right though, Owl will be home soon and I can make him do it! Though I've now dreamt two nights in a row that he's planning to leave me, so perhaps I shouldn't - maybe my subconscious is telling me that I'm a rubbish wife.

In other news, I'm trying to get back into fiction writing, with a short story and a longer project in the works (I can't say the word "novel" at this point, I've only just started and it feels like tempting fate). The short story is about a luxury wallpaper designer who casts spells on her distinguished clients, and it's shaping up OK. I've also registered on that OU course I was wailing about a few weeks ago - Batgran very generously stumped up half the course fees so I can do it after all. It's a creative writing course, it starts in October and I'm excited already.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

I will never be a yummy mummy

I had this idea that for the month of August I would wear something nice (or at least not pyjamas) every day and do a weekly photo round-up on the blog. Well, it's the 3rd today and I've already failed spectacularly - I can't find the charger for the camera batteries, and I spent yesterday in jeans and the oversized stripy nightshirt that I'm wearing in the picture to your right. Today I wore a proper top with my jeans, but only because we were going out (to an IKEA crayfish party, of all things).

I've been quite lucky in that my dress size didn't change drastically with pregnancy. In fact I shrank while pregnant, not counting the bump, and then shrank more during the first weeks of breastfeeding. When the constant breastfeeding eased up a bit, the weight started to come back and I've resettled at precisely the same weight as when I got pregnant two years ago. Not exactly the same shape - some bum and thigh have relocated to stomach and, unfortunately, boob. Which might not sound all that unfortunate, but I'm now a GG cup and it's getting difficult to find bras that fit. Some of my old clothes have had to be discarded because I've changed shape, but lots of them still fit me. I have lots of lovely things, I just don't bother wearing them any more. Sigh.

Before I start talking about body image and clothes, I should probably say that I'm fat (not oh-dear-I-can't-button-my-size-12s-I'm-so-fat, but proper size 22/24 fat) and into body acceptance for many personal reasons that I won't go into here. I don't regard being fat as a major problem in my life, I don't think it's inherently ugly or some kind of moral failing, and I don't go in for euphemisms like chunky or *gag* fluffy (I had no idea that was a word anyone used until a year or so ago. I mean, WTF?). Just so we're clear. :)

Anyway, being fat does make it trickier to find nice clothes that fit. As a student I couldn't afford much, and my self-esteem was kind of shot besides, so I wore lots of jeans and shapeless tops until they were bobbly and ragged. When I got my first proper, full-time job I went a bit crazy on eBay and tried out lots of different new styles to see if I liked them. Skirts! Dresses! Things that aren't black! A few years on, I now have tons of things to choose from and the task before me is to whittle them down to what I'll actually wear and enjoy. That's the idea behind dressing up for a month - to try things out, see what I still like wearing and hopefully give myself a confidence boost as well. Er. Maybe September?

Monday, 1 August 2011

Children's menu? What children's menu?

We've been seriously blessed with a baby who eats whatever we put in front of her. Currently the Bat is having some falafel, herby focaccia and red pepper hummus left over from Owl's and my supper last night. Yesterday Owl was feeding her bits of marinated olives, which even I don't like. She loves dark chocolate, will cheerfully eat liquorice and enjoys stinky cheeses that I run a mile from (only ones that are safe for her to eat, obviously). The one thing that really bothers her is too much chilli, but even a little bit of that seems to be all right. Oh, and she once turned her nose up at a Brussels sprout. That's it.

I daresay she'll learn to be picky at some point, even if it's not until she gets the idea from other kids at school, but for now I'm just enjoying it! We can take her to any family-friendly restaurant and order her a starter or just let her share our food, knowing that she'll like pretty much all of it. We don't give her rare meat, raw eggs or blue cheeses, we don't overdo the sweet stuff and we pay attention to her salt intake, but that's about it for limitations. Owl is very proud of his cheese-eating daughter.