Thursday, November 29, 2007

SKINNY AT LAST

Playing about with some festive nonsense given to me be an equally pregnant work colleague today (thanks Julie!) - isn't it nice to be skinny again? ;-) Go on give it a go!

NEARLY THERE


Baby clothes
Originally uploaded by
viralbus
I actually made it to the cake this time! Or maybe the fact that they brought the cake forward to meet me might actually have helped - time will tell. Basically, I was meant to finish up to have Léon on Friday the 30th of September 2005 but woke up a couple of hours after going to bed on the Wednesday night, in labour and had him the day before I was due to receive my cake, and presents. I guess they were so scared of a repeat, they had the cake and presents today, despite the fact that I am still meant to be around until tomorrow at 1pm! As we speak (10-41pm on the 29th, I have not yet gone into labour - I feel positively overdue suddenly!) Don't tell me I am even going to manage to work my last day, tidy my desk and do my dishes - how depressing...time to go looking for the raspberry leaf tea?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

TELLY BASTARD!


Ghetto blaster!
Originally uploaded by PhylB

Léon came into the dining room tonight having found this old ghetto blaster in a box that was still to be unpacked. He asked what it was and we replied a ghetto blaster. He thought seriously a moment, then wandered away happily muttering telly bastard to himself over and over!

Note to self: must speak more clearly in future...

DON'T YOU JUST ADMIRE THE NHS?

You probably remember my vanishing blood tests from last month... I ended up wandering around anaemic for 6 weeks because of some blood tests lost in the post. Now the hospital has actually only wanted to see me twice in the last 25 weeks - something I find fairly surprising given I'm 8 weeks off 40, but there you go. The first time they took and lost blood tests, at 28 weeks pregnant. The second time they saw me at 34 weeks they sent away urine samples because they suspected several problems - they'd found protein, sugar and nitrites they wanted to investigate. I was to phone my GP a week later. A week later he'd received nothing, 2 weeks later, he'd received nothing. He told me to ring the hospital, who told me to ring the GP. Today - as I reach the beginning of the 39th week I get a letter from the hospital saying my urine had been untestable and telling me to go have it repeated at my GP's surgery next week and that I'd get the results the following week - quite frankly - what is the point in that if I have 2 weeks left to go and Léon was nearly 3 weeks early? I will be ignoring their letter - I'll just leave them to test the baby herself whenever she pops out...

Monday, November 26, 2007

BEBO, FACEBOOK AND SOCIAL NETWORKING

Marcel and his pals are all majorly into Bebo these days. As far as I know you are meant to be 15 to be able to get a Bebo account, but just as us 80s kids sat reading Just 17 at the tender age of 13, today's kids want to be 15 at 10, so are creating pretend dates of birth to get on to Bebo.
I have a Facebook account myself, though I don't use it much, but Bebo is definitely aimed at a much younger audience, I feel - it's bright, it's messy, it's noisy and trendy - in short it makes me feel old. I mentioned Facebook to Marcel and he looked blank - I logged in to show him it. He looked for 2 minutes and concluded - oh Facebook is a tidy boring Bebo for adults! I actually find it quite strange Bebo is pretending to be enforcing a 15 limit, given Marcel and many of his school friends have not only uploaded photos, showing they are really just little kids, they have created groups like 'Kirkhill primary' group - primary? A sure giveaway you aren't 15 if you go to primary school, no?!
Anyway, as is to be expected - the Bebo pages are full of little kids trying to sound all grown up using pseudo swear words etc. I figured my best bet, instead of heavyhandedly banning its use, was a bit of supervising, and threatening to check up and actually creating a Bebo account of my own, linking it to Marcel's so I would be notified of any updates he makes, and logging onto it periodically. At first it seemed to gain me some 'cool' Brownie points - a mum with a Bebo account! Within 2 hours of creation, I'd had an email from his 11 year old friend Kristian asking me to be his 'friend'! Sweet! By the time Marcel got in from school, however, I think the cool factor was wearing thinner - he asked me to log in so he could create a profile for me, complete with photo and a background of red roses chosen by Charlotte - I think my bare bones Bebo was starting to embarrass them. By tomorrow they'll have attached some dodgy Youtube clips, a gif or two of Homer Simpson farting or burping and no doubt some stick dogs shagging!
I have to conclude I am way too old for Bebo, I can just about cope with Facebook, but am really more of a Bloggy Flickrer myself, sorry!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

ASDA PRICE

I am less than impressed today by ASDA's deal of the week. Have a look at this bottle. Any 2 for £2. Great... except that I only bought one and it cost me... 98p. It doesn't take a mathematical genius to work that one out, does it?!

MORE ABOUT THE ENGLAND MATCH

You really couldn't fail to win after a start to the night like this, could you? :-)

DANISH DRESS SENSE

This morning Thomas had stuck on Kaj and Andrea for Pudge - a programme he remembered from his own childhood (in particular because Charlotte had kindly zapped the episode of In the Night Garden he had asked to watch because she didn't like the 'Pontipines'). Léon was happy to watch this but I must admit I nearly fell over crying with laughter when I saw the bloke's 70s dress sense - in fact the spotty shirt and yellow hand-knitted tanktop were so appalling, I swear it took me at least 10 minutes to even notice the rather fetching hairdo and beard that accompained the clothing!

Friday, November 23, 2007

PETROL PRICES


petrol prices
Originally uploaded by Yak Climb Eat Sleep Repeat
Am starting to think I should be looking even more at baby Fiats than I was yesterday, though I doubt they have 7 seats. I drive a car with a bloody 80 litre fuel tank on a part time salary. At this inflation rate, I will soon have to pick it up on my back and carry it!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

ISN'T THE NEW FIAT 500 CUTE?

You know very well that these days I am definitely a big car driver - anything with fewer than 7 seats feels positively claustrophobic. But back in the late 80s when I went to live in Italy as a student, I positively fell in love with the old Fiat 500, and made sure the first car I ever bought was a baby Fiat. Today I doubt my large family would fit in a Fiat 500, but if I had to get something wee and cute just for me alone, I would have to consider this. I even hear it just won cutest tiny car of the year!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

:-)

Tee hee hee!

A HOPELESS ATTEMPT AT DYEING

Given we have minus no money, I thought a cheaper way to end up with curtains that fitted Marcel's bedroom was to dye the hideous brown things left by the previous owner, since they definitely don't go with the red walls, rather than to splash out on new curtains. Dye itself was a tenner but still better than curtains. On Sunday I read all the instructions carefully and put curtain number one and box of dye number one in my washing machine. As the cycle started, I could see almost nothing for black dye - great - just the effect I was looking for. When we returned, however, from a trip to the flat on Sunday evening all the dye had beautifully coloured the cream lining black, leaving the American tan curtains completely unchanged :-\ I now have two tan curtains, one with a cream lining, one with a greyish black lining and they still don't go in the room. Ho hum.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

FOOD MARKETS


Aix market
Originally uploaded by PhylB
Thomas and I were discussing food markets the other day after seeing footage of Gordon Ramsay going round a market in Paris looking for fresh ingredients. Having spent many years in France, on and off, there is nothing quite like a French food market, not just for fresh and mouthwatering ingredients but also as a photographer's dream. Bursts of colour juxtaposed - truly beautiful, wonderfully tasty and exquisitely aromatic. We found the same in the huge food market in Riga (Latvia) last autumn too. The pomegranates were amazing. Then in the summer, Thomas took the kids and I to a north African market in Denmark. Again mile after mile of fruit, vegetables, and spices by the bucket load.
Why are we the poor men of Europe as always? Why do we in Britain put up with 2 and a half aisles in the local Tesco or nothing? If there was one thing I could import into Glasgow because it is severely lacking - it has to be the fresh food markets.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

GERRY WAS WRONG!

I met an old mate in the pub last night. He predicted I'd go into labour at 7pm tonight. Why? Well, he said that when Scotland beat Italy the whole country jumping and dancing at once would cause such huge vibrations that it'd start my labour. Looks like you were wrong, Gerry :-( No jumping happening here!

...1 hour later - why oh why are England always so bloody hoachy?

CRUNCH DAY


Crunch day
Originally uploaded by PhylB
This van seems fairly typical of Glasgow this weekend, if you look closely at the graffiti on the back of the van! Today, Scotland is playing Italy to try to qualify for a major tournament for the first time in a decade. Yesterday the whole country, all the way down to Pudge was meant to attend work, school, nursery decked out in a Scotland football strip. Last night Thomas and I went to the pub for Elspeth (a work colleague)'s leaving do and in the 5 minutes we walked up Saltmarket, 2 bright pink limos passed us with teenage girls hanging out the windows singing 'Flower of Scotland' at the top of their lungs! The atmosphere is great. I hope that the team's effort will mirror the fever in the country. Apparently if we win, we qualify, if we lose we are out, if we draw, the whole thing depends on the other results in the group and is out of our hands. Call me a cynic, but I'm going to bet on a draw where the other results put us out. Scotland is famous for that.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

HOW MUCH LOWER?

Already I can't walk the length of the office without feeling her head rubbing off the inside of my pelvis. I dreamt the other night she'd a hand hanging out and could actually wave to passers-by. Surely she's way too low to spend 29 more days in there? Maybe giving 30 November as my date for starting maternity leave was unnecessarily optimistic... I think I was going on the opinion that she'd have to stay in there that long to give me time to finish my work in the office, to sell the flat and move the stuff here, to pick up the books from storage, etc but I'm not sure pregnancy works quite like that...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

10 ISN'T WHAT IT WAS WHEN I WAS 10


Gordon Ramsay at Claridges
Originally uploaded by Catfunt
I definitely think kids are getting older quicker. When I was 10 I vaguely remember pretending to be one of Charlie's Angels and running around with a toy pistol solving bogus mysteries. Today Marcel and his schoolmate Robert were sitting in my living room discussing the new cookery series with Gordon Ramsay. They were discussing the immaturity of last night's restaurant owner, Rachel thirty-something, how she was a spoilt brat and how they wouldn't have helped bail her out financially, had they been her father! Amazing!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

CLEVER PUDGY MAN


in a tube
Originally uploaded by PhylB
Tonight Léon managed his potty for the first time ever! He was so sweet. We've been asking him to sit on it and get used to it now for a good 2 or 3 months every night before his bath. Tonight we asked him to sit on it while running the bath and went into the kitchen. Léon came running in naked and then took us through. Suddenly he looked rather apprehensive. When Thomas and I started shrieking, he looked positively scared but as he listened and realized we were telling him how clever and grown-up etc he was, a broad smile suddenly came across his face. Thomas gave him a wine gum worm as a treat and he spent 15 minutes chewing on it repeating to himself in several languages quite how clever he was!

INFLATION IS RUNNING AT 50% IN THE UK!


September 05
Originally uploaded by stacya
Well, I for one am looking forward to my annual meeting with my boss this year to ask for a rise. Why? Well, usually a pitiful 2.5% or similar is on the table, and they cite inflation rates as the reason. I always find this crippling, given nursery (and everything else in my life) seems to run at nearer 5% so year after year I get a virtual pay cut. This year I will be going in armed with my IKEA receipt from this afternoon. About 3 weeks ago I bought Léon IKEA's kids' meatballs at £1 for 5, today however the same 5 meatballs seem to cost £1.50. Now I know IKEA is cheap to start with, a real bargain, but I don't see why that gives them the right to increase the prices by 50%. If inflation is truly running around 2.5%, then I am quite happy for IKEA to increase the price of my baby's meatballs by 5p every 2 years, no more, no less.

SPOOKY

Telepathy seems to be alive and well and living in Newton Mearns!

Friday, November 09, 2007

CREAMOLA FOAM

Pregnancy is so strange. I woke up at 3am and felt a sudden urge to blog Creamola Foam! My granny used to buy Derek and I it as a treat on Friday evenings when I was 7 or 8 years old and I suddenly remembered how much I loved it. Of course thinking back on it, it was probably an unhealthy mix of sugar and acid of some sort that these days would be expected to kill a child at 100 paces but I would love to taste it once more just to confirm that theory. But apparently they no longer make it :-(

CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME

This carpal tunnel syndrome is really starting to bite now. It is always worst first thing in the morning because of the way you hold your wrists when you sleep. At 3am I got up to go to the loo and when I returned fajita man (as I call him) had wrapped himself in the duvet. I tried to pull it back off him but had no strength left in my arms to pull it. Nor could I grasp the material, so I had to waken him up to get my portion back. Then this morning I couldn't hold my pants to get them on - how humiliating is pregnancy?! And finally holding the steering wheel and pulling the gear stick was also on the edge of my ability. So I am reluctantly digging out my splints to wear to bed tonight - ho hum. It is funny - I last had it badly when I was pregnant with Marcel but I vividly remember that even by 12 hours after birth, the fuzzy finger syndrome was starting to subside...phew! (D-day -4 weeks and 6 days and counting.)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

THE UK IS MAD!

I just don't get where the UK is going... I know this probably sounds a bit contradictory, given I am just a few weeks short of 40 myself, and am 8 months pregnant, but I think that taking that as what we should all be striving for is quite crazy. I defintely felt in my 20s in the UK that it was wholly unacceptable for someone with a university education to strive to become a mother before 30 at the very earliest. At 30 you were considered an overly maternal weirdo but it was just about ok, though the subtext was always that you should wait till 35 to 40 to start a family.
This is madness.
I had Marcel at 29, and Lots just 4 weeks before I turned 32. I felt it was just about right. I had had time for uni, time to backpack round Europe till my heart was content, time to work a bit and buy my first flat and I was young enough to cope with the sleepless nights, working full time for years on end on broken sleep.
I had Léon just before I turned 38. The pregnancy was harder. My hips hurt more, I was tireder, everything just a little slower. This time round the same is true. I lie awake in pain from my hips night after night and feel exhausted trying to work a 21 hour week.
What I am trying to say is that I have tried pregnancy at 30 and at 40 and your body is definitely better suited to it at 30. You conceive quicker too. You have fewer complications, fewer miscarriages. You give birth to babies who in general stand a much better chance of still having grandparents into their young adulthood. Why is this so frowned upon here? Why am I less of a woman if I put babies before career? I've tried both and I know for sure which is the more important job. Ironically, over my years in industry I have watched a succession of real career women work hard till their late 30s, try to squeeze in a late baby and then realize that is what they preferred all along. And those are the lucky ones - the ones who didn't leave it too late. More and more in the UK with stagnant wages but ever-rising nursery costs people turn to their parents for childcare but how does that work? It is bad enough with this generation, our 20-something parents are becoming grandparents mid-60s and yet many are expecting those 60-somethings to babysit 7 hours a day for up to 5 years per grandchild, but imagine our kids also wait to 40 - will I be expected to babysit Léon's or the new baby's kids daily from 80-85, if I am alive and not yet senile? Crazy! But if costs keep rising there will be no alternative. Currently you generally need two salaries to pay a mortgage, and yet each child costs you £600-£700 a month in nursery fees for 4 years minimum. I calculated once that I had laid out £60K on childcare by the time Charlotte started school at 5. Something needs to change.
I firmly believe we should stop pressurizing women to wait. I'd happily have started having kids around 26 but felt society would frown on me for squandering my education if I did. I think my kids are happier for knowing their grandparents and hope my grandchildren will too. I am not saying never have a kid at 40. If you only meet Mr Right at 40, of course have a kid at 40 but if you marry Mr Right at 25, why wait 15 years for nothing? It is just wrong.

BOYS


On the school run
Originally uploaded by PhylB
Yesterday I had all 4 kids, ie mine plus their cousin Gordy. It was interesting now both Gordy and Pudge are hitting the more expressive twos. In general most of the afternoon was spent playing with cars, and hugging but occasionally we had little outburst of temper, territorial behaviour and even bullying.
The temper was usually marked by Gordy doing something Léon disapproved of, Léon screaming Bad boy Gordy and Gordy then pushing Léon, though of course two seconds later they were back hugging and snogging as always.
The
territorial bits seemed to involve them both wanting the red Ikea chair, but again that was resolved by distraction, thanks to Charlotte.
The bullying, however, was unexpected and quite amusing. I put them both in the car along with Marcel at 4 O'clock to go get Charlotte who was attending gym club. As Gordy is the younger, I put him in Léon's usual seat and Léon in the age 1-4 booster with back that I usually reserve for the over 3s. First, Léon teased Gordy: Nénaw (that's what he calls himself) big boy seat, Gordy baby seat. Gordy didn't bat an eyelid. Then Léon tried: Gordy no touch Nénaw's jacket, again Gordy just stared at him, so he upped the ante with and Gordy no touch Nénaw's big boy seat!.
Kids! Why is it we teach them to talk?!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

BABY NOELLE?


New Year's 2003
Originally uploaded by joshbousel

Well today turned out to be interesting. I had an ante-natal at the hospital instead of my usual GP one. Last time I was at the hospital around 8 weeks ago, I asked whether there was anything special about the way they were going to treat me given my age. At the time they said that the only consequence of being so old was that they would not let me go past my date and have me in on my due date with a view to induction.

Today I saw the other consultant and nonchalantly mentioned to her that I saw little need to book an appointment that day as she had just told me the baby was much further down in my pelvis than she'd have expected for 35 weeks. She said her policy was quite different on induction and told me that if she was the one who saw me the week I was due, she would only induce birth if there were signs of placental breakdown. She went on to say that if both the baby and I were well, she would wait the normal 10 days and then induce me. I laughed and mentioned that 10 days meant December 24, so assumed she'd reconsider. She didn't see any need and booked me in for 12 midday on December 24. I mean this is kid 4 and I have never got to a due date yet, so doubt I should be worried but on the off chance the different genetic makeup does delay labour, wouldn't that be ironic? The only heathen in the family would manage to provide a grandchild for the ministerial family on Christmas night - hahaha! If she'd been a boy, should we have called her Jesus?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

KIDS ARE GROWING UP TOO FAST


06-10 240
Originally uploaded by PhylB
What seems like about 3 weeks ago last Tuesday, Marcel was this cute, pudgy faced 5 year old obsessed with dinosaurs and constantly running around in a Power Rangers suit. Yesterday morning however he announced he thought it was about time he got a BlackBerry! I was stunned he'd even heard of BlackBerries - what does he think he is? A bloody company director or what? I mean he's only 10! What next?

A380


A380 over Sydney Harbour
Originally uploaded by tilly_dog
Damn! Spoil sports - that was what I was most looking forward to ;-)