Sunday, 29 April 2012

Let sleeping toddlers lie...

It's been a very busy weekend. The start of my weekend was a half-day's holiday I booked on Friday. Unfortunately not for a relaxing min-spa break, but for a meeting with my son's nursery regarding his behaviour (biting, hitting and hair-pulling).

Ever since I was invited to the meeting I have been dreading it. I was afraid that they would judge me and think I was an unfit mother for 'letting' him behave this way. How can I possibly provide all the attention, care and learning he needs as just one person? I do regularly question myself and my ability, however, on reflection I think that's just a normal thing for a parent. You worry from the day they are born if they are too hot, too cold, hungry, thirsty, need the toilet. That nurturing instinct continues on into their adulthood. Before I went for a run this morning - after I explained to my mum the difference between 'camel-toe' and 'moose-knuckle', and why I therefore wear jogging bottoms and not leggings - my mum still reminds me to put on a coat to go out in the rain, and I still answer her back like a stroppy teenager.

The bottom line is that I do wonder if I'll be enough for my son. He's an intelligent child and picks up things astonishingly quickly. My worry is that he might be getting bored at nursery. I discovered that he is very well behaved when the staff spend one-to-one time with him. The little girl that he bites and fights with is in fact his 'girlfriend' with whom he spends most of his time. Apparently she gives as good as she gets, and even at this age it is clear they have a passionate relationship.  The nursery decided it would be best to give them a trial separation. As my son has already had enough changes to deal with this year they decided that his girlfriend would be the one to move rooms.  They tried this for the first time on Friday and he was a little sad and asked where she was. His behaviour, however, vastly improved on that day.

The nursery also suggested that I try to get him to sleep longer, ignore the bad behaviour (as long as he's not in danger) and spend more time with him praising his good behaviour. Well, I tried this on Friday and I felt like I had a different child! He was much more attentive, agreeable and didn't snap or lash out. Friday night was a different story though.

My night began when the Friday-night-bottle of red I bought (Mummy's special juice) rolled off the kitchen worktop and smashed on the kitchen floor. Luckily the bottle was still inside the carrier bag so the glass was contained but the liquid quickly spread across the floor. I stood their for a moment, stunned, trying to think about what to do about the quickly spreading stain-in-a-bottle. The first things I saw were two yellow towels which I quickly threw onto the wine. No sooner had they hit the floor and soaked up some wine that I remembered I have a mop.

So after mopping up the wine and putting the towels in the washing machine I nipped back to the supermarket to re-stock and came back to a house which smelt like a brewery. We were then ready to begin the bedtime routine:

After his 2nd birthday party, asleep in his tea.
If only it were this easy every day.
- Bath
- Story with cup of milk
- Brush teeth and toilet
- Tuck into bed and sing a song (normally 'Horsey, horsey, don't you stop)
- Fight with him until he finally goes to sleep

At 9.45pm my glass of wine was still sat waiting for me in the kitchen. I was close to either screaming at the top of my lungs or having a good blub so I had to leave his room, shut the door and let him cry it out for five minutes. I went back upstairs (by this point he was clearly exhausted) and tucked him in again. He passed out instantly and snored like a baby walrus.

Tonight was a different story, and I think we're both getting the hang of the new bedtime routine. I tucked him in, sat with my back facing him for a few minutes and then said I had to do something down stairs. I reassured him that I would be back to check on him in a couple of minutes but that he must stay in bed. I left a few times, each time a little longer. He refused to stay in bed a couple of times so I just put him straight back in without talking to him and left the room again.

The last time I left him was for 20 minutes and he didn't make a peep (apart from a bit of singing) so after I went in to check on him one last time he passed out quickly! I'm so pleased that we have progression. I haven't been able to leave him on his own to sleep for about 7 months. I just need to stick at it religiously for the next couple of weeks and hope we both get the hang of it.

Finally, a quick update on the online dating front: I just got asked for "regular naughty fun"....., you're OK thanks. If you check my profile I don't think it actually says that's what I'm looking for, or anything of the kind. Anywhere.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Could there be a date on the horizon?

I gave my son his first sticker yesterday for being a good boy. He cheered himself; it was very cute. Then he regressed back to his Neanderthal ways of peeing on the carpet, running around with his pants off - Wilbur flapping in the wind - and throwing a water-soaked flannel out of the bath repeatedly drenching my feet, the floor, the towels and my patience.

When he was tucked up in bed I could finally have some 'me' time. I've been flirting a bit with some hotties online over the last couple of evenings, and I feel that there could be hope yet:
The Sea Monster - (Because of his screen name) A 42 year-old from Fleet who works in the telecommunications industry. He looks pretty great for his age, has similar interests, and actually types in sentences without calling me 'babe'. He's just asked me for my number...

The Party Animal - A 33 year-old with limited hair who sounds like he used to be a bit of a raver back in the day, and he is very funny. He draws caricatures at weddings and is due to study Arabic full time from September. I'm a bit concerned that he might be a bit 'hyper' for me though.
Tall, Dark and very Handsome - Another 33 year old who is an Indian and Trinadadian mix who thinks I look Italian (I don't think he's ever been to Italy). He's probably the better looking of the bunch. He's more of an effort to talk to as his messages are quite short. I really have to put in a concious effort to keep the conversation going.

The Local - He lives about five minutes around the corner from me. I'd save money on petrol in these hard economic times.

Finally, despite my rant in a previous post ('All the same fish?') about 'The Poser Date', I caved in and emailed one such man. Despite having muscle bulging model-poses in all his photos it was pretty clear that he was fed up with having people ask 'is that really you in your photos?'

 He was beautiful and I told him so:

"Erm....bit intimidated by your obvious beauty but I'd thought I'd say hi! I'm sorry to hear you're fed up of the same old comments but please, give a girl a break when there's a pretty big elephant in the room! (I promise that no pun was intended there.)"

He hasn't replied.

Another email I received was from a very sweet 49 year-old. His screen name included the number 69 in it (which threw me). His email ver batum said:

"hi how are you a lady like you is a gift to a man and what you say i quit true when you are in a relationship it is done by both people and you share thing and you become best of friends both to me must help around the house to do the things i hope to hear from you soon"

Once I had paused for breath, and clambered out of the void that his punctuation had obviously fallen into, I had to check out the rest of his profile. He had the cutest profile picture (on it's side because he'd not worked out how to rotate before he uploaded it). The picture looked like it was taken on a shingle beach and he was standing, feet together, arms by his side with a sweet smile, a cardigan and lofas. He had written his profile like a love letter. It was beautiful and made me feel a little teary. My favourite line was:

"Only the most special things in my world get to come inside my heart and stay."

I could have blubbed. Well, I had to email him back. So I politely told him I didn't think I was what he was looking for and something inside me felt the need to write "God bless, and good luck in your search". I'm not really a religious person but he looked like these words of encouragement would give him a pick-me-up and he very nicely replied with the same. Funny how saying that kind of thing makes you feel warm and fuzzy. Is this what compassion feels like?

It is really difficult to know what to think of these men and who to make more of an effort with. What if I miss 'The One' because I'm concentrating on emailing someone else? I'm not in a rush to find anyone, so I will just take things a day at a time. Is it OK to flirt with a couple of guys just to make yourself feel good? Or does that constitute as leading them on? Surely guys do it to girls all the time?

The other important factor that plays in the back of my mind is whether each guy would be a potential role model for my son. I'm not looking for an Insta-Dad but it would help if they wanted to play a role in his life one day.

I had the meeting with the nursery about my son's behaviour today and I will provide an update in tomorrow's post of their findings and my assigned 'tasks' in order to help nip it in the bud. I was still fighting with him to go to sleep at 10pm tonight so we definitely haven't started off our new routine on a positive note!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

All the same fish?

Tea tonight: Two slices of seeded Hovis (toasted) followed by Silverskin Pickled Onions. It's too late to cook after putting my son to bed and I enjoy the combination. It means I can dedicate half an hour of shopping for men on the internet.

My son gets more romantic action than me at the moment. Every morning when I drop him at nursery his ‘girlfriend’ bounds over to say hello and gives him a cuddle. He tries to avoid her by hiding behind my legs until she grabs him by the hand and pulls him out to play. I'm told he has a couple of girls with whom he’s a favourite, and he often sits next to them at lunchtime with his arm around them. I know he’s going to be a heart-breaker when he’s older, but I don’t need to worry just yet.

His 'girlfriend' has the right idea with taking control. In the world today the way we communicate and the hectic stress of our everyday lives has turned people to internet dating in order to fit in with their schedule and have more of a selection of partners. My choice to go online was partly encouragement from friends, and due to my height the choices of men I meet in every day life are limited.

I've come to realise that there are certain categories of profiles which guys fit into on these sites.  The main types consist of the following:
The Decent Date
This man normally has a screen name of ‘Decentguyxoxo’ or something similar. In fact, they are the men who are most likely to be a complete contradiction of that.

The Funny Date
These profiles are normally witty and well written. I enjoy reading them. They make me feel pressured to put more effort in when emailing him in a bid to convince him that I am as funny as he is. Sometimes he'll step over the line and put a joke in there that's derogatory to women just because he thinks he's being clever. There's no place for that on a dating website Funny Guy.

The Desperate Date
This guy will - after one or two messages - thrust his email address and/or phone number at you, and ask to request you on Facebook. These men will ask you out on a date immediately without knowing so much as your name.

The One-off Date

The profile picture will be him, topless, taking a photo of himself in front of the mirror. He’ll start his emails with, “Hey Sexy/Beautiful/Baby, You’re stunning/hot/looking for me.” There won’t be a lot of depth to his profile, and he’ll probably only have written one sentence because his limited vocabulary prevents him from expanding any further.

The Poser Date
Similar to that of the One-off date but all his photos will be him and his muscles. This man will be flexing them in various positions or bulging out of a t-shirt. He'll wear sunglasses in at least one (if not all) of his photos. An email I received from one prime example said, “These muscles can b all yrs…all u gota do is ask!” Thank you. I'll bear that in mind.

The Angry Date
I feel nothing but sympathy for this guy. He’s obviously had a bad experience with internet dating (or just women in general). His introductory line will say, "Is there anyone normal on here?!" His profile is written purely in capitals, and he'll clearly be in a mad rampage about how the website is rubbish and not to contact him if your're a weirdo:


Wow! Who’s got issues???!

The Unoriginal Date
This man's profile goes a little something like this:

"I am a down to earth, easy going and caring guy looking for a normal girl. I enjoy going out with friends but I am just as comfortable cuddling on the sofa with a DVD. I like lazy Sundays and want someone to travel the world with....Blaaaah blaaaah blaaaaaaaaaaaaah...."

Someone put me out of my misery and shoot me now before I die of boredom.

Finally, The Perfect Date
I've not found this profile yet so I cannot comment.

As well as the types of profiles there are certain obligatory photo styles and poses which always seem to appear:
  • The skiing shot – even if they’ve only skied once back when they were 18 years old
  • Shot in front of the mirror – taken with their mobile phone
  • Shot with a group of friends – “Look! People like me!”
  • Shot from ten years ago – “I’ve got less hair now, and I’m not as slim”
  • Shot with a really beautiful girl at a wedding – “She’s my sister”….of course!
  • Shot with dog – “Look I’m sensitive”
  • Shot sleeping – “Look I’m cute”
  • Shot sleeping, cuddled up with dog – “Look I’m sensitive and cute”
The challenge was to try to make my profile clever and interesting without conforming to the norm. A small excerpt:

"What makes me unique is my height, my long legs, my big hair and out of all the other girls on here I can actually park my own car. I'm kidding, that last one is a load of rubbish."

Apart from getting my profile right I also had the dilema of whether to mention my little boy. I decided that it's best to be up front from the start because I'd rather not waste my time with someone and then find out they are kid-a-phobic! I did mention, "rest assured, I'm not looking for an instant family or financial support", for the people who might want to tar me with a certain brush.

I've had quite a few emails the last few days; one of which is a Butler in the Buff who I recognised as such instantly from the photo of his peachy behind in the trade-mark apron (those who know me well know I'm partial to these lovelies).

Will I finally get to go out on a date with the man of my dreams? The websites reckon that it takes an  average of 7 dates in order to find 'The One'. Just one date will do me fine for now. As long as he's not a weirdo.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Toddler bedtimes, moonlit cramps and Rhesus Monkies

I used to brag about how, from the age of 2.5 months, my little boy would sleep for 12 hours through the night. To be fair I would put it down to his sheer size (he was 9lb 2oz at birth) and he could hold a large belly-full to sustain him all night. As far as new parents go, we had it pretty good.

Something happened when he hit 18 months. It was like a time-bomb had gone off and he decided that not only would he refuse to go to sleep but he would wake up like clock work at 3am and demand he sleep in Mummy's bed.

Now, as bad habits go, the habits at bedtime have to be the most important to get right because failing in that department means sleep deprivation for all parties involved for months if not years. For parents this means poor work performance, deliriousness, strained relationships, communicating in a series of short and long grunts like a kind of sleep-deprived Morse Code and worst of all, unsightly black bags under the eyes.
For the child/ren it means poor development, moodiness, strops and tantrums. Now this is very much a chicken and egg scenario because my son's behaviour morphed into that of a small Rhesus Monkey at pretty much the same time as the sleep troubles started.  The question to ask is did he suddenly realise that maybe he is missing out when he goes to bed or did his tiredness drive him down a slippery slope to act up at any available moment?

On a bad night I can still be loosing a battle to get him to bed at 11.30pm! I've tried leaving him (he gets out of bed), sitting with him (he gets out of bed), sitting in the doorway and creeping out inch by inch (but when he realises he can no longer see me he gets out of bed). The only thing that seems to work consistently is lying down with him and pretending to be asleep myself. I have woken up many-a-time at 10.30pm with a crick in my neck after dozing off beside him!

Seven months of having to do this pretty much on a daily basis has really taken it's toll. Eight times out of ten he will still find some excuse to get out of bed again before going to sleep. His favourite is saying he needs a poo because he knows I won't question it! My days of cleaning that off the sheets are hopefully behind me (no pun intended).

Tonight he managed to drop off at 8.20pm. There was the usual fuss of needing the toilet three times before settling, wanting to put his hat on, kicking his covers off and loosing his comforter, Douggie. He puts Douggie over his face and I then have to listen to his breathing to steady and become deeper (sometimes he snores). Tonight when he had fell asleep I was pretty thrilled considering the time and, as you can imagine, I crept out of his bed as slowly as possible, holding my breath so as not to wake him.

Now, I went for a run straight after work today and my muscles in my legs and bum are still pretty battered from the weekend's exercising. I twisted my leg in an attempt to make my stealthy escape from his bed and an almighty bought of cramp set in on the back of my left thigh. I stood there, one leg still up on the bed in a funny position, teetering over him, mouth wide, silently screaming!! I couldn't move from the pain. All I could do is hover there and try to stop myself from falling on top of him. After about 30 seconds of rubbing said muscle I successfully limped away. Despite the agony, as bedtimes go I would still say that was a rather successful one.

One point to Team Mum; nil to Team Toddler.

The Weigh-In...

Just a short entry to track my Weight Watchers progress.

Yesterday morning was my weigh-in for my first week of Weight Watchers. Before my morning shower I took off all items of clothing (including a hair band I was wearing) to ensure it was as accurate as possible. I looked down and took a step onto the scales.

I normally wear glasses (or contacts) and first thing in the morning I walk around without any aids to my vision so I'm very blurry-eyed. When the number first flickered up on the digital scales I had to blink, squint and crouch down in order to confirm what I had read. Believe it or not, I've shed 5lbs in a week! I was amazed.

I am now well and truly hooked. I measure everything that passes my lips and log it on my points tracker. I'll be going for another run after work even if it's raining (which it probably will be).

I took a photo of myself yesterday (to add to my profile on the dating sites) and I can definitely see that facially I look thinner! I'm pleased that it's working so well and look forward to loosing the next 5lbs!

I welcome any feedback on any of my posts and would love to read any comments.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Swearing toddlers and 'Bang Tidy'

I've been invited, no wait, summoned by my son's nursery to attend a meeting with the Manager and Deputy Manager regarding his behaviour. This in itself is pretty humiliating because I have no control over how he behaves at nursery and if he's anything like he is at home I know he can be a little Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. It's exhausting and it's very difficult to know how to handle him.

Is he just an average two year-old throwing tantrums when he doesn't get his own way? His favourite behavioural faux pas at the moment are to hit, bite, scratch, pull hair, throw toys, push and apparently yesterday he said the 'f' word!


I would like to add at this point that I'm pretty certain he didn't copy any of those from me!

To add to my humilation I told the staff at nursery this morning to watch for his swearing and they were horrified, "We can't have the other children repeating that!" Yes, I know. That's why I told you. Apparantly, he runs around the room at nursery shouting, "BANG TIDY!" For those who don't know who Keith Lemon is just know it's not something a toddler should be saying. I'll admit, it was funny at first, but thanks to someone I know and their text alert noise, that phrase is very well fixed into my son's limited vocabulary.

Other toddler behaviour which I am still becoming accustomed to is bottom scratching, 'Wilbur' tugging, drinking bath water and urinating standing up (he's really not ready). A prime example of this was earlier this evening as I was running his bath he stood next to me, peered into the bath and peed on my leg like a dog. They say that with behaviour like this you should distract them with something else rather than draw attention to it. I'm getting very good at saying, "Let's see what toys we can find to play with", through gritted teeth.

One of the nursery staff last week suggested I start a sticker reward chart for him. At the weekend I bought some yellow card, stickers and some glitter glue. Tonight I have realised how surprisingly difficult it is to draw a star using glitter glue and I never thought I would be drawing around a (badly drawn) picture of a toilet with a silver glitter pen.
My masterpiece - The Reward Chart
Still, I think it looks pretty effective. I've decided he must collect stickers either by being a good boy for the day or by asking for the toilet in time. When he has five in either row I will read him one of the new books I have bought him.

He loves books and he loves it even more when I put on silly voices (yes, it has to be done) so I really don't know which of us will be more excited about him achieving a sticker. Probably me.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Pyjama Boy, Cat Lady and Internet Dating

Driving home from shopping in town today I noticed two things simultaneously which made me chuckle. The first was a guy about to cross the road in front of me wearing his pyjamas which were two inches too short for him. He was also wearing what looked like moccasins. Had he just randomly been kicked out of his house by a disgruntled (ex) girlfriend or was he returning home after some covert mission to track down the person who had obviously stolen all of his clothes?

Cat Lady and Pyjama Boy
The reason I had stopped to let him pass (apart from taking a photo) was the second amusing thing. The lady driving the car in front of me was about 150 years old, driving approximately 2 miles an hour and breaking at any leaf that blew across the road. OK so I may be slightly exaggerating but you get the idea.

Apart from her terrible driving, the other thing that made her interesting were all the cat stickers in the back window of her car urging people to 'Break for cats' (I'm sure that's illegal) and other cheesy cat sympathiser-type things. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against cats but somehow I instantly felt sorry for her. What's her story? She's obviously a lady with about 9 cats (3 of which are pregnant) and she spends her days feeding them, brushing them and cleaning out kitty litter.  My first reaction was, "Please don't let that be me one day".

I think this is a fear that many single women have. I am very judgemental of myself and feel that guys will look at me, see I have a son and instantly judge me for having 'baggage'. Then when my son is old enough and leaves home I won't be attractive enough to pull anyone and I'll have to get a cat, which will turn into four cats, which will turn in fifteen cats and someone will find me dead one day covered in cat pee and Whiskas.

About a month ago I decided to try and take a hold of my own destiny when it comes to dating. I really can't take a chance on meeting a guy out and about. Firstly, I don't get out much, and secondly, the kind of guy you meet drunk and in a club is usually just after a one-nighter.  Would I want more than that anyway from an encounter that was based purely on lust?

I paid to join an internet dating site for 3 months to give it a try. I know lots of friends of friends who have tried it and are now happily married so, why not? The first month has been interesting. I've been invited out on a few dates but whether it's location or just the guys themselves I have always found an excuse not to bother. I've had the odd weirdos who upon emailing me for the first time have said things like, "What's your boob size?", "You're f*****g me tomorrow", "Do you have Skype?" and a short Glaswegian told me, "I'm small but perfectly formed."

As I didn't feel I was really getting anywhere and the site seemed to be more focussed around people in London I joined one of the free dating sites yesterday too. Well, there are instantly more hotties available and I've already had some nice emails from some nice looking fellas who are tall (I'm 6' 1") and actually live near me! The drawback, however, is that with the larger volumes of people come the larger volumes of weirdos.  I have already had an invitation to join a threesome.

We'll see how this new site goes over the next few days and you never know, maybe Pyjama Boy will be a member....

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The run...

I'm told that exercise releases endorphins, gets the blood pumping and the heart working. People become addicted to fitness because of the way it makes them feel and it gears them up for the day.

I was very sporty at school and in my early twenties I played for a basketball team in the Wessex Ladies League. However, following the realisation that I just didn't have the stamina any more I quit, and I have not really done any regular exercise since.

I got up at 8.30am this morning (yes, that's a lie-in) and decided I would go for a run around a local lake and wildlife preservation area. My first dilemma was that I didn't really know what to wear.  Luckily, I have trainers which I've had for years but as I haven't worn them they are still in great condition. What to wear on the rest of my body? It seems that leggings are popular with runners but not really an attractive look for me with my thighs. I know I'm not going on a date but what if I bump into a hot guy also running and I can pretend we share an interest so that he'll fall in love with me?

Ok, so I am getting ahead of myself a bit. I must admit though, I did put on a bit of mascara and blush, just in case. I made sure I had my iPod, phone and a sporty-looking jacket with pockets. I also realised I would need water but they only receptacle I could find at home was my son's sports bottle with a cartoon car picture on it. So I filled it up and took it with me.

I'm really pleased with myself. The run was hard work and I had to dodge muddy puddles and geese but I ran continuously for 30 mins around a 3k stretch of the lake. The weather was beautiful and I felt really invigorated. There was also a hotty who passed me running in the opposite direction who smiled and said, "Morning".

Definitely a great start to the day and 7 points added to my Weight Watchers allowance!

They had the right idea.

Friday, 20 April 2012

My date: A rich, velvety Spaniard with a long elegant finish

This is my first weekend for a couple of weeks that I have free of parenting duties. One word: Bliss.

People may not understand how I can bear to be without my little one for a couple of days, but I can do with the break! Don't get me wrong, of course I will miss him over the next couple of days but one of the bonuses of being a single parent is that you can have weekends of peace when you need to recharge your batteries and get your life in order.

 First things first, the bottle of Rioja is open and is being joyfully sipped. But not too much, because Weight Watchers slap an uncomfortable 9 points on 2 large glasses of wine which is 25% of my daily points allowance!

So I sit and muse about how I will spend this amazing free time. I am not restricted by bedtimes, mealtimes or toilet training. I can come and go as I please and I can stay in bed until 11am if I really want to. But I won't. Because my automatic body-clock will not allow me to sleep past 8am after 2 years of training. I will fill my days and make sure that I get the things done that are near impossible when trying to battle with my son. Little children think they're just being helpful by pouring their juice on the kitchen floor and mopping it up with the tea towel, or aggressively dusting the TV, or trying to wipe their own bottom and in turn spreading more poop around the bathroom, "But aren't I a big boy Mummy?"
Helping to wash-up

Whilst you want to scream or run (classic fight or flight) all you can do is patiently except that they don't think they're doing anything wrong and too be fair, yes it's an inconvenience, but he's not being nasty or endangering himself. Patience is a new found skill I have been forced to learn. I step back, evaluate whether it's actually something naughty or whether it's my tiredness, my hunger or my impatience before I make any snap decisions on how to handle his behaviour.

I plan to take full advantage of the weekend.  I will clean, iron, do a bit of shopping, go for a run, see a couple of friends, catch up on TV and just relax. All the tasks I could do without thinking before I was a Mum. The time I have away from my son will make me appreciate him even more when he comes back on Sunday night. I will give him a big squeeze and a kiss on his little chubby cheek.  We'll cuddle up on the sofa before bath-time and then the weekly routine starts again.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Shake the baby weight

On the long list of things to get back on track following having a baby next to social life and wardrobe is fitness and weight loss.

As an emergency C-Section patient I really hadn't researched the implications of this massive surgery before it happened and so I was very unprepared for the aftermath.  The guidelines from doctors to take it very carefully for 6 weeks turned into 2 years and here I am today feeling like a lazy fat lump with a scar and a fat belly flap.

Now, as a mum of a toddler, we all know full well that I am anything but lazy. I don't have time to be lazy. Far from it. But the problem is that I flit from here to there making sure that my son has what he needs at the correct times and without too much kicking and screaming to really think about what I'm shoving into my mouth or what exercise I'm getting. The difficulty being, of course, that when I am not working I am looking after my son (apart from the occasional weekend).  How do I have time to exercise. I don't. Well, at least I haven't been.

Zumba for the Wii
This is not without the best intentions.  I bought a Zumba game for the Wii with the belt that straps around your middle. Quite amusing. However, rather than dancing along with me (which I thought he would do) my son wanted to be picked up and clung onto my leg.  I had to stop for fear of accidentally launching him across the room with an over zealous wiggle.

So I've taken a different direction.  After trying to be concious of my weight after Christmas I managed to loose 6lbs and then got stuck and couldn't loose any more. I've never tried Weight Watchers so a couple of days ago I thought I'd give it ago. Already, I've lost 3lbs in two days so although I have to eat mostly rabbit food things are going pretty well. My daily points allowance is do-able and I'll see how it goes over the next week.  I've not got the boy this weekend so I plan to go for a run around a lake I live near both on Saturday and Sunday and see how I get on.

I think the biggest motivator for me is looking back at old pictures of my beautifully toned stomach and I'm determined to get that back again!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The 'Family' car

When I first became single my Mum was kind enough to let me borrow her car for a couple of weeks to get me to and from work.  Those two weeks turned into months and there I was, six months later, still driving around in her's! Life simply got in the way.

I have scrimped and saved (which wasn't easy over Christmas) and got together the money to get a car which is slightly better than a banger. Before having my son I would probably have gone for a nippy little convertible or something similar that was nice to look at, but having a child changes your 'must haves' when it comes to a car.  I had to find a car with Isofix points for the car seat, something economical, a big enough boot for the buggy and a convertible was out of the question because it would potentially mean his head would be squashed if we rolled in a crash. I found a Renault Megane in Portsmouth under the classified's on eBay at the lower end of my budget with really low mileage and only one previous owner (who was disabled and didn't drive around a great deal).

I went for a test drive a couple of weekends ago and it was quite nippy and near-immaculate condition. I took the trip last night to Winchester to pick up my mum and then on down to Portsmouth straight after work.  We picked up the car and drove to Fratton Train Station to switch my stuff out of the boot of her car into my new car (now nick-named 'Big Bottomed Betty Boop' or 'Betty' for short' because everyone names their car, right?) I got in the car, put the card in the slot (no key), pressed the 'Start/Stop' button and the engine fired up briefly and then died.  Great.  At this point it was 7.30pm, it was cold out (I hadn't brought a coat with me) and I was concious that I needed to get back home to relieve the babysitter.

After calling the owner of the garage I'd bought the car from and then in turn the mechanic (who couldn't come out because he was at home alone with his 3 year-old, who was in bed) they managed to get hold of Luke. Luke was the garage owner's son and the mechanic's step-son. Interesting dynamics if you ask me. I'm sure Christmases were interesting at their house.

Anyway, Luke taught me the 'knack' of getting the car to start with a few revs of the engine. He followed me to the petrol station to make sure I didn't get stranded and I headed on home. I got in the door at 10pm, ate some coleslaw and a couple of slices of Parma ham for my dinner and quickly checked my social networking sites before getting into bed.

All last night I struggled to sleep.  My son usually wakes up at least once in the night and he doesn't even have to cry now, I instinctively know when he's up. For ease (and I know I will struggle later) I bring him into the bed next to me.  However, for the first time in months he didn't wake up until 5.30am so I lay awake in anticipation of him waking for much of the night.  Suffice to say, I was pretty exhausted this morning.

Upon leaving the house in the usual blurry-eyed flurry and in my haste I forgot my make-up bag. Now, I wouldn't say I was vain, but I am now certainly of an age (pushing thirty) when I should at least put eye-liner and mascara on before leaving the house.  The realisation that I had left it behind when I was already stuck in traffic fighting to get to nursery hit me and I knew there was no way I could go home and get it.  When I finally got to work, I asked every girl and nobody seemed to have even mascara with them.  Note to self: have a back-up make-up kit in the office for these occasions.

I needed make-up so I thought I'd pop home at lunch time.  At that time of the day it should only really take me 20 mins max each way.  However, as I drove out of my business park over the humps in the road my rear view mirror dropped off it's clip and swung down in front of me by the wires. I jumped out of my seat and swore loudly. After trying to fix it back onto it's clip I started the journey down the motorway but only made myself feel sick from the wobbly mirror and distorted vision in my rear view.

When I got home I managed to fix it and, fingers crossed, little Betty doesn't have any more problems. I rely on her to get to work and without her I'm screwed!

On a positive note, I joined Weight Watchers today. As a working mum eating can be sporadic and my aim was to try to control my eating habits so I could feel healthier, fitter and happier. I had my son by emergency c-section and through that and pregnancy itself my body has changed in ways I wasn't expecting. Hats off to those women who embrace the changes but I'm not one of those, so tomorrow I'll talk about dieting and why I feel I need to do it.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Single Mother

A mum looses all selfishness the day her child is born,
You might see it sometimes but the old person has gone,
And if she’s single they’ll be even less of a glimmer,
She’ll be exhausted, over-worked and wishing she was slimmer.

Reliant on only her, she wonders if anyone else will care as much,
A broken promise will be there for you, that’s it, so tough!
Get up, the drop-off, the job, the pick-up,
The washing, the ironing, the bedtime, the cleaning sick up.

There’s the whining, the whinging, the screaming, the biting,
The scratching, the tantrums, the hitting, the fighting.

But she’ll teach him to style his hair,
To wee standing up, to chase off the nightmares,
She’ll be there when he first catches a ball,
She’ll be there to see it all.

He’ll run to her when he’s hurt his knee,
He’ll come to her when he’s in need,
And when he’s older and feeling alone,
It’s Mum he’ll hug to feel at home.

When the time comes for her to leave,
She would like to think that he’ll believe,
She helped him grow into what he’s become,
When he’s older and strong, with a child of his own.

He’ll know that she did everything she could,
To teach him to act like a proper man should,
And he’ll remember what she went through back then,
And that she would do it all again.