About Me

My photo
I am a first-time Mum to daughter, Lily, born December 2010 and am currently home on maternity leave. Also living in the Zoo with Lily and me is my partner Kai, the Jessie-dog and the Tippy-cat

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Lily Earns Her Wings

We survived!  Not just yesterday's shenanigans, but the last week of utter chaos.  And finally, I am sitting in my sister's spare room, in Montreal, having not lost anything important in transit (including my sanity), having not spent too much money (except for buying a car on Sunday), and having not slept too much in the last 48 hours (my little Lilypops has now decided to start waking again in the night - boo).

Originally, Lily and I were not going to Canada... my sister and little nephew were going to come to us.  I love my sister dearly, but we joke that she wimped out.  Something about flying with a 3 year old being stressful, was her excuse.  So yesterday at half 2 in the afternoon, Lily and I boarded AC flight 865 from Heathrow to Montreal.  I can't harass Stephie that much for not coming to see us as she did pay for our flight.

I don't enjoy flying.  For me, its a bit like making a long trip on a glorified bus... except with free booze! To say I was anxious about flying with 12 week old Lily, was a bit of an understatement.  Control freaks (like me) don't like the unknown!!!!  I wasn't stressed about the flying part, I just wanted to be in control of how it was going to go, which on a plane full to the tits (only one empty seat on the whole freakin plane) of scientist on their way to some conference in Montreal, is next to impossible.  I just wanted to get my own way!  I wanted Lily to sleep when she was supposed to.  I wanted to be able to walk the aisles when I wanted to. I wanted to be able to get to the loo when I wanted to (there is something uncomfortable about a stream of people cueing for the toilet and blocking is aisles... they have nowhere to look and they feel like they need to talk to you).   None of which were really going to happen.

I lost the plot and had a mini-meltdown at the boarding gate.  The desk crew must has thought I was a nutter.  I already felt claustrophobic (the thought of fussing a screaming Lily for 7 and a half hours, with every Tom, Dick and Harry staring at me and whispering to the person beside them 'Jeeze, what a rubbish Mum.  You'd think she could get her baby to stop screaming') just tipped me over the edge a little - I was already teetering, anyhow.  But like everyone had said, the flight crew were lovely.  They let me on the plane early so I could stash all my junk and get organized - mentally and physically.

Lily cried for the first 3 hours (which really is nothing compared to some of her colic marathons).  She did pause for a little break, right when the meal arrived.  She snoozed in the Sky-cot just until the flight attendant took my empty tray away.  The sling came is so handy, as I  would expect that I sent the better part of 5 hours walking, bouncing, swaying and singing with the little lady in the gap just in front of row 34.  I cant remember how may times I did 'The Ant go matching"  or "Little Green Frog Song".  I reckon it was more for my benefit than hers, as it made me feel like I was actually doing something useful.

She was shattered, and finally did have a proper sleep, and I was able to put her in the sky-cot for an hour and a half.  I still, however, didn't manage to watch a film or anything, as I was afraid (irrationally) that with the headphones in, I wouldn't hear her (like that was ever going to happen...) and then everyone else would, and then start the whole 'Look at the Rubbish Mum' stares again.  So instead, I popped one headphone in and listened to music on my phone.  Wouldn't you know it, Just as I was starting to feel like I was under control, Here Comes the Sun by Nina Simone came on (the song Lily was born to), and I start crying again.  Bloody wimp!!!

The rest of the flight was pretty uneventful.  Lily cried, I paced...  and in the end we all arrived in one piece.

Everything was going so well.  The pram arrived up front after being gate checked, and we were off through the terminal, expecting to breeze through Customs and Immigration and be on my way... Ummm, NOPE!.  I'd like to retrospectively give the Immigration agent, who so thoughtfully decided to mark my card with some secret code that forced me to be summoned into Customs 'search and destroy' centre, the big V!!!  THANKS!!!!!  I think the Customs agent couldn't quite figure it out either and took pity on me (obviously knackered, pushing pram in front of me, and dragging a huge wheelie suitcase behind), and just looked at my passports, thought of asking me to get Lily out of the pram, then thought better of it, and then let me go.

We had made it! Phew!

Im really looking forward to the next two weeks.  I haven't been home in 2 1/2 years.  My parents arrived last night.  Its my nephews 3rd birthday today.  Kai arrives next week too.  So much to do, so many places to go.  I can't wait!!

Lily has earned her first pair of flight wings (a little sticker for her memory book) and her first trip to Canada has now officially begun.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Another Year Older... Another Year Wiser... I hope!

Monday was my birthday.  It was a big one, for me. A real turning point.  I can no longer claim I'm in my early 30s, but rather am starting to creep toward 40.  I'm not stressed about 'getting old', as I think this year is going to be ace; full of so many first and new experiences... and really, instead of feeling 35 years OLD, I feel 35 years YOUNG - after all its my first year as a Mum! (ok, a bit dorky, I know)

This birthday really crept up on me  Not hard to believe really, as Ive been a little distracted lately.  Life with Lily is pretty good these days, and my social calendar is more full now than ever before (I am certainly not looking forward to the coffee and cake withdrawal I'll get when I go back to work).  So when Kai asked what I wanted to do to celebrate the big day, I fell back on the old, trusty standby: Dinner and a Movie. 

I'm am very lucky to have great friends, most of whom already have kids.  I enlisted the babysitting services of two of my girlfriends, curled my hair (I cant remember how long its been since I dared wear my hair down... Lily loves to pull it) and got dressed up.. Well, maybe not dressed up, but the clothes were clean, and didn't have puke on the shoulder or dummies in every pocket.  Babysitters arrived at 5, in time to get the run down on 'the routine' (there were the obligatory digs from the girls, harassing me about how anal I am about routine.... BUT IT WORKS!!!) with time to spare for cuddles before bath, bottle and bed. 

This was the first time we were leaving Lily.  I thought I was going to feel uneasy about it, about someone else putting her to bed (I love bedtime.  I love the cuddles.  I love how she smells after her bath) but I didn't.  I felt calm.  I felt excited at the thought of going on a 'date'.  I felt relaxed (whats the worst that was going to happen... she'd kick off and not go to bed well.  My friends wouldn't judge me or think I was a rubbish Mum because my baby cried).... and then the guilt kicked in.  I FELT GUILTY FOR NOT FEELING GUILTY!  How daft is that?  

Kai and I had a good chuckle about it, and then the feeling passed.  The film was brilliant (we saw The King's Speech), and even Mr 'This is going to be stupid' laughed in all the right places.  I cried on and off throughout the movie... and with Lily almost 3 months old now, I am struggling to blame the tears on hormones.  I guess I'm just a sappy sod.  We had a meal after and even managed to talk briefly about something other than Lily.  It wasn't the raucous night out that birthdays used to be, and we were home by 11, and I loved every minute of it! 

I can only guess that this year will be full of many 'firsts': many hugs and kisses, lots of laughter and giggles, and probably a few tears too.  We'll be broke, the house will permanently look like a bomb has gone off, and if the washing machine breaks, we'll be stuffed!!!  But, as long as I can start my day with a nice cuppa tea in my new mug that Lily gave me (which has her picture on it..), I know I'll be fine. 

Bring it on, 35!  I'm ready!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Its A Dog's LIfe. Welcome Barley and Hopps

My house is a zoo!  Between the pets, the hubby and the baby, the house is rarely clean or dog hair free for longer than an hour, there is always laundry drying somewhere, and all the best napping spots are very much occupied on a first-come-first-served basis.  And I love it!!!

I've had my cat (Tippycat) since university.  I went out for groceries and came home with a kitten instead.  My room mate didn't let me go shopping unescorted for the next two years!  Tippy came with me when I moved to England from Canada.  She is an old fart now (I think she is 13 year old) but is still the friendliest cat I know.

My collie, Jessie and I found each other when we both needed it most.  Her owners were retired farmers, and they loved her to bits.  However, after a lifetime of being tied to the farm, in their retirement, they bought a second home abroad, and began spending more and more time away.  Jessie would stay with friends, and I'm sure was spoilt rotten, but Shelagh and David knew she needed a permanent home.  I had recently been through some tough times, and found myself in a new home without a dog.  Our paths crossed, and the rest is history. 

My sister is a special friend to the dogworld.  She and her husband have always opened their homes to the dogs that no one else wanted - the rescue dog.  They have nursed their dogs back to health, taught them then manners that they lacked, and made them a part of a family.  Unfortunately rescue dogs have had a hard life, and both Dozer and Bart, each in their own time, went to doggy-heaven before their time, but not before having lived a very very happy second chapter to their lived.  My sister, brother-in-law, and my little nephew have missed hearing the pitter-patter of little doggy feet since Bart died this autumn, but today that emptiness will be filled.

Barley and Hopps, the James Bay rescue pups arrive today.  Stephie has been religiously reading and watching 'The Dog Whisperer' and is primed and ready for the challenge of raising two very young Lab-x pups.  My 3 year old nephew is also so excited.  He keeps talking about 'my pups',  and has being painting pictures and putting a collar and lead on his stuffed toys and parading them around the house.

I can only imagine how hard it was to lose two very special members of the family, first Dozer, then Bart.  I hope that the arrival of the puppies today is the first step to filing the gap they left behind.

Today begins the nights of broken sleep, the surprise puddles, and the destruction of every stuffed toy they can get their little paws on.  Stephie, I am so happy for you.  You are going to do great with these pups.  John is going to love growing up with 'his' puppies.  And if Courtney is lucky, maybe he'll be able to train them to do something useful... like bring him a beer (who needs slippers. That's what central heating is for) when he gets home from work.  Stephie, welcome to the 'Living in the Zoo' club

So to everyone who reads this blog, I dedicate today to our four-legged family members.  Give them a big cuddle today and remind them just how special they are and how much you love them....

So, my floors might be covered in dog hair.  My couch might have a big dog-shaped imprint right in the middle of two cushions.  There might be tennis balls under every chair and the remains of stuffed toys may be dying a slow death out on our patio... But I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Welcome Barley and Hopps to your new home.  I know you will be happy and loved.

Lily and Jessie chillin together xo

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Baby Gaga icecream? Would you eat it?

A friend gave me a very strange 'heads-up' this morning on a news item that caught her attention... all the way over in Canada.  A  fancy-pantsy boutique ice cream parlour in London has launched a new 'extreme' ice cream flavour called Baby Gaga... it's organic, it's expensive (£15/scoop), and it's made with human breast milk!.

Here are the bbc news clips:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-12566827 (Feb 24th 2011)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12614673 (1 March 2011)

So it was launched last week, and the council has already stopped its sale and is running lab tests on it.  Personally, I'm not so worried about the health and hygiene issues (if that stressed me out, I'd have to vacuum more), but I cant get the image of the lactating Mum sitting in the storage cupboard in the back of the shop, hooked up to one of those double breast pump, out of my mind.

I'm sure the milk donors are paid for their contribution (which, if like me, your maternity pay packet this month was a bit of a shock, the extra cash would be most welcome), and I guess if you've got it flowing, you might as well use it to fund something great like new shoes or more coffee mornings.  So while us bottle feeding Mums are enjoying wearing our nice little underwire frilly bras and don't give the absorbency value of our t-shirts a second thought, you breastfeeding mums now have something much more profitable  to enjoy.

Will it catch on? I don't know.  Would I eat it? Hmmmmm, not sure.  Would you?

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Motherhood Lesson #8

Motherhood Lesson #8: Meeting for coffee is never just coffee and it's never just an hour.... Unfortunately this revelation is directly linked to the realisation that there also comes a point when you must admit that the escalating readout on the scales cannot be blamed on the baby..... But can I still blame Starbucks?

On a more serious note, as a non-breastfeeding Mum, I no longer have the freedom to roam unrestrained up and down the junk food aisle at the grocery store.  In my heart, I knew the day was going to come when I had to sort out my bad habits, but i just didn't think it would be this soon!

In the early days of being home with Lily, I had no idea when I was going to get a shower, let alone eat a proper meal.  I grabbed anything I could make and eat one handed.  This included drinking more coffee than normal as I hadn't managed to find a way to squish the teabag one handed without burning my fingers. Also, as if preparing for Armageddon, when I did make something, like a toasted bagel, I loaded it sky-high with as many cheesy and buttery calories I could... just in case there wasn't to be another opportunity to eat for the rest of the day (or week, or month, or year)

But 10 weeks on, I can no longer claim it's still early days.  I can no longer blame the chaos on Lily.  She runs pretty much to schedule, so now it's time stop eating the junk.   But in someways, that's still easier said than done as most of my daytime meals still need to be eaten one-handed...

So, my faithful readers, I ask for your help.  Let's try to come up with a list of nice, somewhat healthy meals that can still be eaten one-handed (i.e. no knife AND fork required)...and there is only so much fusilli pasta I can face.