Thursday, 31 May 2012

Have you ever woken up with food in your bed?

Marmite on toast is the worst, I'm told. This is according to a friend whom - following drunken nights out and the obligatory post-alcohol-junk-food-binge - would wake up with various food-stuffs in her bed. Normally stuck to her face. Quite a few years ago I woke up on a train at the last stop in Oxford (an hour past my destination) with the dripping remains of a Big Mac on my chin and a partial burger bun in my lap. As there were no other trains until 5am I had to share a taxi with two strangers who had made the same mistake.

When I ordered the Chinese last Friday night out (I'm sorry Weight Watchers)  I was very conscious about politely asking the cab driver if I could take it in the taxi, sealed. I then waited patiently until I got back to my friend's flat, and ate the food in a civilised manner, from a plate, with a cup of tea, before climbing into bed. This resulted in clean bedding in the morning, and no sticky-face or food-in-the-eye incidents.

I can no longer handle my Mojitos
I have definitely become more aware of my behaviour and my party habits as I've grown. Although I can still dance on a night out like a loon (whether I've been drinking or not) I have definitely got to a point whereby I just cannot keep up with the young 'whipper-snappers' who can party all night. I also find myself yearning for a DVD followed by a hot bath. Being ten years my junior, my sister relishes the chance to tell me how old I'm getting.

It's funny how your outlook on life changes as you mature into a fully fledged adult and how things fall into perspective. Things that would upset me before are now minor blips that I brush off. I felt a lot of rage towards the incompetent employee of a well known toiletries retailer the other day. However, as I left the store, got in the car, and drove further away I became more calm and realised that what I was annoyed about was completely insignificant.

As I've learnt and grown I've realised if you want something to happen, you have to make it so. I am now entering the next stage of my life, and I know that compromises will have to be made in order to adapt. I am enjoying the prospect of the unknown and look forward to the fun good times and the challenging bad times.
Pile of clothes for ironing
Conquering 'Clothes Mountain'

My ethos for the last few years has been 'improvise, adapt and overcome'. This has now been extended to 'out with the old, in with the new'. I am thoroughly looking forward to the prospect of what lies ahead and this new idea applies to every aspect of my life. I've actually had a pretty productive few days whereby I've cleaned the house from top to bottom, de-cluttered, cleared out seven sacks worth of old clothes (yes, seven), and mowed and strimmed the lawn (for the first time in my life). This spurt of productiveness has been topped off tonight with a mountain of ironing which I'm slowly climbing. This cleansing process is really invigorating. I feel that after a difficult year I am back in control of my destiny and I am focussed on what I want and who I want to be.

I have been talking to the Sweet Swede daily, and the Sea Monster ever other day. My first date with the Sea Monster will be this weekend followed by my second date with the Swede. I think it's pretty clear that I really like the Swede (I'm pretty sure the feeling's mutual) but I don't want to jump in with both feet quite yet until I'm absolutely sure.  It's been great to meet new people and to go back to being the social butterfly I always was. I felt like I'd been ripped from my prior existence and put into someone else's life for a time.

I hope that being a happy Mummy will mean that my son is in turn happier so that his behaviour improves even more. He's already mastered the bedtime routine and the biting and hitting has reduced dramatically. I'm looking forward to enjoying watching him grow, and to see how his personality develops as we step into the unknown together.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Toddlers and their Tall Tales.

My son is responding really well to the new sleep regime. Last night at bedtime he fell asleep almost immediately as I left the room. It's really encouraging because it means I have more time for myself to eat, catch up on some ironing and find out what TV I've missed.

Whilst there's still room for improvement with his bedtime routine I'm pleased at our progress. The hope was that with improved sleep would come improved behaviour. However, his general behaviour is still 'monkey-like' at times and I feel that it may be something I need to accept for the foreseeable future. I haven't been able to reward him with a sticker for good behaviour at nursery for about a week because he's still hitting and biting. The trigger for him is that if another child tries to take a toy that he is playing with he lashes out instead of sharing. In this instance, the nursery staff remove him from the situation and he has to set next to one of the staff on the window seat for a few minutes. He doesn't like the idea of his play being interrupted, and the nursery feel the message is starting to sink in. However, they also say that if particular staff are sat with him he takes it as an opportunity to try to cuddle them as a way of having some one to one attention. Their response is to try not to respond or look at him. I am therefore not 100% sure of it's effectiveness as a learning tool in his case.

When I went to pick him up from nursery today, as usual, my son was really casual about my arrival, and he didn't run over for a hug. Instead he casually sipped on a beaker of water and let his friends flock to me instead. They're a very cute bunch of two year-olds. Lets face it, what else are you at that age, but cute? I always crouch down to have a little chat because I find their conversations fascinating. They stroke my cheek, and if I'm wearing tights they'll stroke those too because of the strange texture. They all start to talk at once to me. One little girl rolled her leggings up and pointed at her knees. Another opened her mouth wide and pointed at her teeth. The little boy who always takes my car keys from me told me again that I had a blue Renault Megane. Apparently, he knows all the makes, models and colours of all the parent's cars. I definitely approve of him hanging out with my son with his obvious brain-like-a-sponge!

What was different about tonight and the usual gaggle of toddlers (all simultaneously lifting up their t-shirts to show me their belly buttons) is that they were all saying they wanted to come home with me in my car to my son's house. I said that unfortunately I didn't have the space. But it turns out that even a two year old can spin a tall tale. Every single child was under the impression that my son lived at Peppa Pig's house and that's why all the children wanted to come home with me. I have absolutely no idea how that rumour started, but I see I'll have to watch the little fibster to see what else he comes out with! It's incredible how through miscommunication and a lot of imagination they have these amazing conversations with each other in their own little worlds. Hence, why I find it so fascinating so sit amongst them and just listen to what they have to say, in order to be transported directly into the mind of a two year-old.

Now the hot weather has arrived it's made him a little restless tonight. Bedtime was a bit shaky. He did the normal routine of weeing on the kitchen floor so I took him calmly upstairs for a bath. His new trick is that whilst he's drinking his milk, he'll get a whole mouthlful and then spit it out in a big fountain over himself, his bed and his pyjamas. I have to change everything.

Now, it's peaceful on the home front. I can hear my neighbour through the walls still struggling with her 3 year old, who wants another story. I'm grateful that I can hang the washing out on the line ready for tomorrow's brilliant sushine, do some ironing and eat some low fat ice cream with my favourite chocolate fudge crunch creams smashed into it.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

First date with the Sweet Swede, a green larva and a stiff neck

Looking up 'bottle green larva' on Google images whilst eating Spaghetti Bolognese was, in hindsight, not a good idea!

As I was strolling around the lake on a first date today with the Sweet Swede I spotted a very fat shiny bottle green grub crawling along the path in front. We stopped to have a brief look before continuing on. Now I'm home I thought I would see if I could find out what species it was. Unfortunately I can't find it. So either we stumbled upon an unknown species or it wasn't a larva at all.

The date went well, I thought. We got lost a few times and ended up in the middle of nowhere, but I think that added to the uniqueness of the occasion. He was the perfect gentleman and very sweet (in-keeping with his code name). When we met, the first thing I noticed were his eyes. They looked like the type that could burrow deep into your soul and read what you were thinking. We had the slightly awkward and unsure moment of whether to kiss on the cheek and hug. I suppose the key is to go in with conviction, which I did, and luckily he reciprocated. It was a really nice hug. I probably could have stayed there a bit longer.

As we walked, he kept finding things to trip over which was the source of my constant amusement. I think he tripped a total of 5 or 6 times. His comment was, "It only happens when I'm looking at you" - ten out of ten for smoothness. We walked next to each other but not too close. There were a couple of occasions whereby we had to move next to each other in order to navigate around people or go through gates, and the tension was pretty high. He put his hand out and brushed my back as if to stop me falling at one point which made me a little tingly.

I pulled a muscle in my neck a few days ago but I still have difficulty turning my head more than about 45 degrees to the right. Very nicely, he offered to walk on my left so I could still keep eye contact with those amazing eyes of his.

We talked about my son. He is obviously the most important part of my life. However I tried not to mention him too much at this early stage as not to scare him off, but I don't think he was phased. I was pleased that he seemed so comfortable, and I had mentioned him before so it's not like it was shocking new information. I feel I may have over-shared on the details of his birth though. We'll put that down to nerves.

I nearly didn't make it to the date in the first place. I changed my clothes a few times before I finally had to go with what I had on as I only had five minutes to get there. I also lost my make up bag and had to hunt for it. I was starting to think of things I could use as a substitute for eyeliner when I finally found it in my bedroom. Phew!

Tonight when I got home I couldn't finish my dinner. Was it excitement, reduced appetite from dieting or the graphic images of larvae online?

Speaking of worms, I got my son some worm medicine as recommended by a friend (just in case they were the cause of his bottom itching) and some cream for the itch just in case it was just dryness. He seems to be responding well to the cream. He has gone down to sleep OK this evening without too much interference from me so I'm pleased he is finally getting more sleep. However, he bit four children at nursery on Friday so I am very concerned about the repercussions.

We'll see what nursery have to say to me on Monday. But right now, I'm feeling warm and fuzzy with the anticipation of whether the Sweet Swede would like to see me again. Another hug like the goodbye hug he gave me would be incredible.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Nutritionally challenged

The less you want to think about something (or someone) the more you seem to think about it/them. Today I am obsessing over two things. Firstly, the Sweet Swede has been at the forefront of my thoughts after he asked me out this weekend. Once again, I can hardly contain my excitement. I just hope I'm not setting myself up for a fall and have another complete flop of a first date!

The second obsession at the moment for me is food. Trying to stick to Weight Watchers religiously is like trying to lick my own elbow. I have been fortunate (or unfortunate for my diet) to have a rather full social calender over the last few weeks, and alcohol and rich food are high in Weight Watchers points. I pigged out at lunch time on a jacket potato with lots of cheese and four slices of Parma Ham. Mmmmm. Just typing it makes me drool.

One of my main motivators which keeps me on the straight and narrow is dating. My pictures on my online dating profile all paint me in the best light. I just need to make sure that the image in the flesh meets expectations.

After finally making a concious decision to loose the baby weight I feel that I have made excellent progress in terms of reconditioning the way my brain thinks about food.

I could murder a burger
I do feel hungry quite a lot of the time, but because you're allowed to eat food you shouldn't in moderation then the temptation to binge is reduced significantly. There are times when I just forget to eat (I blame parenthood for that). The weight is dropping off me at an alarming rate. I hit my 5% today and have set my goal now to 10%. Last year I lost 2 stone over the course of the year, and the plan is to loose some more a lot quicker. I tried to avoid having my photo taken when I was at my biggest, which is a shame because it's rare to find a photo with my son and I in his baby years. Certainly when I had just had him I refused to have my photo taken because I felt like a whale.

I blame a combination of factors for my weight gain. First and foremost was pregnancy. However, I was heavier before I got pregnant than I am now. I could then also blame stress, tiredness, alcohol (I used to drink a lot of beer) and just lifestyle in general. It sometimes looks like the easier option to order a takeaway or eat junk when you don't have the energy to make anything yourself. Especially when you have a young demanding (normal) child. You put his needs first and worry about yours second.

I had a prawn and salmon salad for tea which my son tried. He had a little of each component: prawns, salmon, lettuce, tomato, raw red onion, cucumber and lemon. He used the cucumber purely as a spoon for the pot of mayonnaise which came with it. Everything else he tried he spat out in disapproval, but funnily, kept going back for more raw onion.

I'm definitely on the straight and narrow now. My clothes are getting too big for me and the chubby stomach has almost gone completely. I've lost 4.5cm from my waist since I started 4 weeks ago. I can see how people who do Weight Watchers maintain the weight loss because it definitely makes you more conscious of what you are putting in your mouth.

I'm not completely naive to think it's right for everybody. Some people are so comfortable in their own skin that they don't need to adjust something that works for them, and I admire that. All I know is that I was skinny at school, I hit my early twenties and my metabolism became dormant. My infatuation for food stayed constant, my activity declined and my waistline (and jowls) inflated.

The prospect for me potentially meeting a guy and getting to that awkward moment when I might have to show flesh terrifies me. You can't help but feel damaged after having a child, and I don't think anything can ever prepare you for the different body you end up with. You've lived with your body for years, and already made your peace with it through those awkward puberty years. You know what it's supposed to look like, and having a baby changes it in ways where it will never be the same again. To a degree, I can learn to embrace these changes, and I know that there are certain things I will have to live with. However, equally, there are other things which I can control.

This could be the little confidence booster I need to make that step as and when an intimate moment arrives.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Toddler mischief and a failed first date

Two things: Firstly, my son's bedtime has improved dramatically, and secondly, I'm just 2lbs off my 5% weight loss through Weight Watchers!

Hoorah! It's a good start to the week after an action-packed weekend.

Last night my son was acting out so I tried to pay him as much positive attention as possible to detract from his monkey-behaviour. His mischief mostly involved liquids of some kind. He knocked my drink over first, trying to drink it (of course). Then, he found a water bottle I had just bought, unscrewed it (I didn't even realise he had the dexterity) and emptied the entire contents onto the carpet under the dining table. He peed on the floor three times (right next to his potty). When he was in the bath he threw his soaking flannel and a jug full of water out of the bath. Finally he dragged my towel off the back of the bathroom door and took it in the bath with him.

Where was I? I hear you ask. I was there, trying to react calmly to his lightening speed, blink-and-you'll-miss-it behaviour. On the plus side, his behaviour at bedtime the last couple of nights has been incredible. He stayed in his bed last night and I had to wake him up this morning at 7.30am! I finally have my bed to myself.

Saturday day time was spent shopping with a friend, mostly for some confidence-boosting underwear. We went into Ann Summers where we were subjected to a rather aggressive and uncomfortable sales pitch from an over enthusiastic sales person who knew far too many of the products intimately. That evening was a great opportunity to catch up with some old friends at the 30th birthday of a friend I haven't seen for about 4/5 years. She was just as stunning as she was when I last saw her and hadn't aged a bit!

The night ended with my (other) friend - whom I was staying with for the weekend - falling asleep on the landing. I had to pick her up to drag her into bed, fully clothed. She fought me saying, "I AM in bed." I'm pretty sure the carpet fluff stuck to your face says otherwise.

What's happened to chivalry?
My date on Sunday was a disaster. I'd been texting The Gentle Giant all week and getting quite excited about the long-awaited first date. Unfortunately, I was setting myself up for a fall! Firstly, I discovered that he was German and I couldn't understand a word he was saying. I should have listened to my mum who told me to speak to him on the phone before agreeing to meet, in case he had a weird voice. She actually put on a really high-pitched squeaky voice, "What if he talks like this", but I think that not being able to understand him falls into the same sort of category.

I sat across the table from him and could smell is aweful breath and Eau de Man-Sweat. He picked his nose in front of me and burped. Girls take a lot of effort planning outfits and make up etc. It took me a couple of days to make sure I was completely happy with my aesthetic choices before the date. He didn't even say how nice I looked! Surely that's just polite?

My date spent the whole two hours talking about himself. The only time he found out anything about me was when I offered the information in amongst his anecdotes. I know all his friends names, where they went on holiday and the history of how they know each other. I know about his family, his car and that he doesn't see the point of gay marriage. After making my excuses for half an hour we said our goodbyes, and I haven't spoken to him since. I don't think my hangover helped the situation as I was pretty sure I kept doing the 'nodding dog' whilst trying to listen to him drone on.

I must share an email I received from a guy who originally put a very nice looking photo of 'himself' on the online dating website. It then transpired that the picture wasn't him at all and that he was older, heavier and a different race! Please bear this dishonesty in mind when reading his email to me (I felt I must include the whole thing). See how many contradictions you can spot throughout:

My name is [name] i saw your profile and became interested in you,i just read your profile and you are open and I can say I have never read a profile of that honesty and so full of positivity.It was refreshing,i hop you like the depth of my email,i have chose to reveal so much about my self to you.Honestly is very important to me as i believe you cannot build trust without it.that is all real and im being true to myself and to you.i live in South London and work in the City.I have been on here since june and been on two dates one she was a definate no no and the second she was onlyinterested in one thing which was ashame for here as she seemed to be a nice women,so goes to show how wrong one can be.None the less i am ever the optimistic and still believve"she"is out there somewhere,i just need to find her.ijust read your profile You have taken my breath away and Iam left speechless and trust that does not happen too often.So where have you been hiding yourself?if you read my profile your see that i m looking for my better im single now have been for the past year.which makes it that much harder to write this message.sure your understand where im at.i really need to get off this site and i only hope u will b the one to break this spell i would like to hear much about you.I am looking for a long term relationship,but looking to take things slow,as not long come out of a relationship.From reading your profile I see we are maybe searching for the same thing.why would someone as beautiful as you be in need of using a dating site,has the world gone crazy.i read your profille im really impressed.andi would love to chat a little and get to know a little bit about you,so if you fancy a chat get bk to is really difficult to find a women with all of those qualities.I have no preconceptions about you,who you are or what you looking forward to meeting you and finding out about you.Discovery can be a lot of fun:)iwould like to talk to you!iwant to know your rather be penniless but with you around that mean the is in the inside and u certainly have got all that.if u are who u say you are than my search stops right now.i have been searchin on here for a one week and no-one has been suitable.i have been a very patient man,they say all good things comes to those who wait and i think mine has finally come .everything i want in a woman is in you.i hope this is all for real because a woman like u is hard to find.I must say that you realy got my kind with a good-heart,I do wear my heart on my sleeve and do express how I feel about certain viewpoints.Iam a man who just wants to love U and be loved by U.To share my life with U as well as share and participate in your life.I am looking for that emotional connection with U.I was born and raised by my mother and my grandmother.They both instilled as well as ingrained in me to be there for emotionally for that special someone thats you right now. A lot of man do not or was never taught to have that intimacy with a women. A lot of women think intimacy is ONLY sex, I certainly don't, was NOT raised to be like that. Intimacy ,for me,issharing those feeling, thoughts, emotions, making and spending quality time with you.[phone number].i will also like to know you more, i want you to send a Message to my Email Address so that i will give you my picture for you to know whom i am. Here is my Email Address [email address] i have good reason for contacting you which i will tell you latter,ibelieve we can move from here.iwant to bee your good friend.have realy take the time you to paint a picture of my self for you.By doing so,ihave already set my self apart from the rest.

Oh dear.

What do I reply to that?! One half of me says, "Bless him, just a lost soul in need of some love". The other side of me is nervous that any kind of response will make him assume there is a glimmer of hope and that I am interested in him. Probably best to leave it?

I did have a phone call from the Sea Monster and he seems like a pretty nice guy. He told me a horror story of a date he had with a Lithuanian girl who (on the second date) brought along a list of things she wanted him to buy her. Included on the list was a laptop, HD TV and a Nissan Duke. She had also asked how big his house was, and whether it was big enough for her parents to come over to live in.

I also had a chat with the Sweet Swede again tonight and we've agreed to meet up at the weekend. It seems that my fear that I might be a bit weird for him were quashed tonight when I realised that he is potentially just the same (in a good way, of course). Again, trying not to get too excited. I do not feel as nervous about dates any more after popping the proverbial date 'cherry' with the Gentle Giant. I am actually quite looking forward to just chatting and having a laugh. I just hope the weather's nice so that we can go for a walk around the lake. Only five sleeps to go....

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Two full time jobs and the Gentle Giant

There is nothing more infectious than a child's giggle.

The hardest thing is trying to keep a straight face when my son giggles and he knows he's being a little monkey. After I put him to bed tonight and went downstairs he jumped out of bed, and his little (big for his age) feet thudded along the landing to the stair gate. I only had to tell him sternly once to get back into bed and he ran back to his room giggling, and then....silence. He is definitely responding to the new bedtime routine! It's such a huge relief to know that I won't have to sit up with him late into the night. I can start to get some decent sleep and the rest of our lives will be unaffected by exhaustion.

I work full time. It's a pretty hectic role day-to-day but I enjoy it and the company knows how to treat it's staff like adults, which is a rarity.  When I pick my son up from nursery and find out what great fun he's been having and what new words he's learnt it's really difficult not to resent myself for not being able to spend that time with him instead of at work.

Don't get me wrong, the nursery is superb and my boy loves the staff and spending time there. However, there will always be a little pang of guilt in the back of my mind that I am leaving him to be cared for by someone else. I am not sure if this feeling is my internal motherly instinct, or a subconscious fear of being judged by those who believe the mother should be at home with the children (a rather out-dated view, I feel).

The truth is, in order to keep up with the world and the fact that everything costs money, even when I wasn't single I went back to work. I was with my son for 9 months and I wouldn't have changed that time for the world. However, towards the end of that period I was starting to miss interacting with adults. I felt I could define myself as being more than a mum. I felt that I was missing out on career developments, and that I would get left behind if I didn't get back into the rat race.

So here I am, juggling. I know that I am not the first, nor will I be the last. I only have one child and I cannot imagine how incredibly challenging it must be for those with more than one. I know a few single parents and many inspirational woman in the same situation as me including two very strong single mothers I know very well. They were superb role-models for me growing up, and they are both strong, confident women who seem un-phased by most things. They both work for themselves, and both are now happily re-married. Yes it's a stressful situation and yes, sometimes it feels that the world can be against you and that you're being attacked from all angles. However, I know (and have seen) that any difficult situation is only temporary and there's always a way to move forward.

Talking of picking things up and moulding the pieces into something new; I've finally been asked out on a date. It's been four years since I've been on one and so it's even more terrifying than the telephone call I had with the Sweet Swede. What do I wear? I don't want to have too much cleavage because we're supposed to be playing pool...but then, I don't want to disappoint either. Do I wear my hair down? Do I wear contacts or glasses? Do I wear minimalist make up or vamp it up? What if we don't get on? Should I have an excuse ready in case I want to leave? What if he tries anything....?

The date is on Sunday. The guy is 'The Gentle Giant'. A 6'6" guy who's cute and built like a freight train. I'll make sure to give my whereabouts to a couple of girlfriends. I kind of like the idea that he could probably pick me up with one arm. It definitely appeals to know he could if he wanted to! Typically, I've got a spot developing on my right cheek. So I will be sticking to a very strict cleansing routine over the next few days in order to ensure I'm fresh-faced for Sunday.

They say you need to go on dates with 7 guys on average through online dating to find a match. I don't know if I could handle the anticipation 6 more times so lets hope I don't fluff it this time around!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Sweet Swede, The Sea Monster and The Lance Corporal

Last night my boy was in a foul mood. He had a tantrum in the bath (which was a first). I had to try to hang onto his slippery body to prevent him from drowning in his rage. All because he's a very independent little boy and wanted to wash his own hair and Mummy got in the way. I'll know for next time.

At bedtime I persisted with leaving him for a few minutes at a time. I went back in to check on him for a third time at 8.15pm and he was fast asleep! This is indeed a record and has proven that the new sleep regime is working. I hope that with persistance over the next week or so I'll be able to leave him once and he'll drop right off. It feels good to have your hard work pay off.

Earlier in the day, I called 'The Sweet Swede' from the online dating site to which I'm subscribed. I had to take a few big breaths, try to not sound flustered and count to three in order to pluck up the courage to press the call button. I felt at ease almost immediately. There were a few awkward moments where we tried to talk over the top of each other but no uncomfortable silences. I'm glad I wrote out a list of questions though otherwise my mind would have gone blank. He was very honest and open, and discussed his views on marriage, living together and foot rubs. It was great to talk to him and I feel there is something mysterious about him. Why does he have the views he does on these things? Was there a pivotal point that formed these opinions or was it just him evolving?

He's said he'll call me for another chat. I do need to speak to him some more because I'm starting to wonder if he'll appreciate my quirky sense of humour and my (occasional) untidiness. He finds Facebook intrusive and so I can see that if we ever become anything I'd better not let him read my blog!

It is, however, the day of the hat trick. There must be something in the water this Bank Holiday. Despite not hearing from 'The Sea Monster' for a week he got back in touch yesterday and apologised. He said he'll ring me in the week. Also another online dater, 'The Lance Corporal', has been in contact and promises to call.

We'll see how it goes. I'm not pinning my hopes on any of them, although it's difficult not to imagine what life would be like five years down the line. I could be visiting Sweden, relocating to Fleet or missing my man who's been posted to a war zone. For now it's just nice to have the confidence boost and some options. It's good to discover that people can find you attractive, and that they want to spend time with you.

Monday, 7 May 2012

The Sweet Swede

OK, so I don't want to get over-excited quite yet but I really can't help it!

It's quite an incredible feeling when someone you think you might like thinks they might like you too. That's the feeling I got this morning when I logged onto my online dating account and found an email from a guy I've been talking to with his number and a request for me to call him.

So I've emailed him to say that I'll call him mid-afternoon. That time is quickly approaching and although we've been emailing essays to each other over the last couple of weeks this phone call could change the whole dynamics of the relationship we have. You build up preconceived ideas of looks, voice and mannerisms. I know that my ideas are probably completely wrong so I need to be prepared to have an open mind. However, we seem to have similar interests, ideas and values. I find him interesting and intellectually on my level which is a bonus. And, to top it off, he's fairly easy on the eye.

I am preparing some questions so there are no uncomfortable silences. I know that sounds a bit like an interview but, that's essentially what I'm doing, right?

The downside (or perhaps upside) is that he lives about an hour and a half's drive away. Anyway, I'm not looking for marriage immediately or anything heavy. Just someone to hang out with on my weekends off from parental responsibilities would be nice, so it could be ideal to get away to another part of the country.

I'm jumping ahead. Let's see what the telephone call brings this afternoon. Maybe he's my 'knight in shining armour'; maybe he's not.

Four tequilas, an eyeball vodka shot and a wedding

Weddings are beautiful.

They are a great opportunity to share some laughs with the people who are closest to you. The greatest thing about a family wedding is that as people these days live further away from each other it's great to pick up comfortably where we left off. On top of that it's so amazing to bear witness to two people who have found each other, and have their own love story to tell.

My son and I travelled to Kent on Saturday morning. As any parent will tell you, a trip with a child includes packing everything for every eventuality. To stay overnight means you end up with a car-full.

The drive took an hour and a half and my son slept which was perfect. I don't have a lot of experience with the M25. I was hoping the signs upon joining the motorway would indicate whether I was joining clockwise or anti-clockwise. Instead you can either go toward Heathrow or Gatwick. After a few detours I finally found the area and the church. I actually got us both changed in the service station not far from the venue, and came out of the baby changing room wearing my glamorous hot pink dress with my dirty pastel pink Converse trainers. Funnily enough, I did get a few sideways glances as we left the services!

We arrived at the church and had to follow a line of parked cars right to the very top of the hill to find a space. At this point it was ten minutes until the service started, and I still had to change my shoes, readjust the fake eyelashes on my right eye, put my jewellery on, put the buggy up and make sure that my toddler had some toys to amuse him in the church. Luckily my mum arrived at the same time and an extra pair of hands is invaluable at times like these. She pushed my little boy in the buggy down the hill whilst I, after slipping on my heels (with a nice sock mark on my leg) tottered down quickly behind her, arm in arm with my sister, trying to apply lip gloss without stabbing my teeth with the wand. We then reached the bottom of the hill and the gateway to the church which was a beautiful traditional English village church. My sister and I stopped to compose ourselves for a photo, and then proceeded to fight for footing on the cobblestones leading up to the church.

My little boy was fairly well behaved in the service, and was kept amused by the books I had brought along. My first eye injury of the day was sustained by a rather generous tug he gave one book when trying to remove it from his bag. Luckily, I resisted the initial instinct to swear (a new skill I have aquired since my boy has turned into a parrot, and of course, I was in church).

Following the ceremony I had the perfect opportunity to scope out the talent whilst waiting to get the 'confetti shot' of the beautiful bride and groom. There were a couple of guys of whom I made a mental note to pursue later on. In my wandering 'what if' trance my son ran off and skidded in a pile of wet and muddy moss!

The wedding breakfast was lovely. There were a couple of rowdy tables, but everyone seemed to have a great time. My son was up and running around throughout the meal and I spent most of the time running after him (and I'm sure, flashing my underwear every time I got up)! He also threw a book at another guest. How embarrassing.

When the music started, my son ran around the dance floor on his own pretending to be a horse. As the night wore on and more alcohol was consumed I rocked him to sleep in his buggy before perching him in a quiet room with some non-drinking (responsible) adults.

I had a great evening chatting to random people, drinking, dancing and singing like a loon. There was a big basket of flip flops next to the dance floor to which I gratefully rummaged through and found my size. One of the guests - in an over enthusiastic dance move - knocked my glass of vodka and coke which sloshed up into my right eye. It burned.

My mum and my sister were probably close contenders for the top spot of drunkenness. My sister couldn't understand why her boyfriend wasn't answering his phone at 2.00am and was sure it was because he fancied me more than her (I've never met him). My mum was jabbering gobbledy gook and failing miserably to keep up with the topic of conversation. Of course, both of them were adament they weren't drunk. So I was back on the babysitting duties, trying to force a pint of water down my sister's neck.

When one of the fit guys finally came to speak to me I was in no fit state to hold a conversation. I thought it best to ignore and avoid him instead of making a bigger idiot of myself. I did, however, get drooled over by a rather mature inebriated chap, and politely declined the opportunity for some light groping on the dance floor with him.

My right eye took a third beating of the night when one of my little cousins opened a door on it. I did, however, stay upright. I also thought it was a great idea to have a puff on a cigar. It wasn't.

After finding a goblet behind the closed bar with which to put my final red wine of the evening (I can't even imagine how many Weight Watchers points I've used) I went up to bed.  My mum was in bed with my son and I rolled into the room to join them at around 3am when I sent her back to her own room. I poked around in my eye (the forth right-eye injury) and retrieved my contact lenses and my fake eyelashes before removing my dress. I say I removed my dress because I must have, but I don't remember it!

In the morning I woke up with a start when a lady ran down the hall shouting 'Bob!!' at the top of her lungs. I got out of bed and surveyed the damage. My right eye was red raw and my dress had a red wine stain on it. I stood in front of the of the shower cubicle, perplexed. Despite pulling and pushing the levers I could not work out how to turn it on!! I had no signal on my mobile so I had to ring reception to ask how to ring my mum's room. She sent my sister to help navigate the shower and then took my key card with her. These key cards need to be in the slot in the wall in order for the electrcity to work. So there I was, in the shower, my son with his trousers around his ankles asking for a poo in the pitch black.

All-in-all it was a great night, although I am still feeling it now. My sore toe is in fact a blister which covers the complete underside of my little toe. No wonder it hurt!

Through all the pain and the near blindness in my right eye it was a perfect day. The bridesmaids looked stunning, as did the mother of the bride and the whole wedding was timeless and classically beautiful. I'm sure the bride and groom have fantastic memories to hold on to to mark the beginning of their long and happy life together!

Best wishes x
The first dance

Thursday, 3 May 2012

The undesirable habits of a toddler

I'm exhausted.

Last night my son woke approximately eight times. I was persistent with leaving him to go back to sleep on his own, however, after the eighth time at about 3am my eyes burned so badly from tiredness that I caved in and brought him into my room. Alas, this was not the 'easy option' I had wished for in those sleep deprived moments. He proceeded to shout out the names of the nursery staff and lash out in his sleep, which, resulted in me receiving a foot in my face and a suspect bruise on one of my ribs that I discovered this morning.

The 'I'm up to monkey-business' face
Tonight couldn't come quick enough and I am thoroughly looking forward to my head finding my pillow in the not-so-distant future. He's had a busy day at nursery painting, so I hope he will go to sleep tonight and stay asleep (so far, so good).

Earlier, I caught my son shoving the pointy end of a 'Mr Potato Head' piece up his nose. I'm not sure if he was digging for treasure or just generally testing for resistance, but nevertheless that particular piece was removed from temptation pretty swiftly. To be fair, my son does seem to get allergies and have a runny nose quite often so there's often an abundance of fluid up there. He's recently discovered that he's interested in the flavour and takes pleasure in showing me each prize as he discovers it. I quickly and calmly remove the offender with a tissue and try to distract him with a toy or a photo of himself.

Another habit he has started recently is bottom scratching to the point of bleeding. This is very distressing for me but doesn't seem to bother him one bit! If he's naked (which he often is as he seems to prefer walking around as nature intended) and my back is turned for a split second, the chances are he'll be having a good scratch. Now, I'm not sure if he's just generally got very sensitive skin around there, he's got worms, he's not getting his bottom cleaned properly at nursery or whether in fact it's just another interesting orifice to explore to attempt to satisfy his insatiable curiosity. I always make sure I spread the Sudocrem on thickly to try to help it heel after washing him with an emollient.

How much food can I get over me
before Mummy reacts?
As well as things that he finds to do to his own body, he'll also constantly explore and test the world around him (namely me). His current favourite past time is dropping various objects into my drinks. I've had pens, Mr Patoato Head's ear, a small ball, a leaf and the plug to my iPod charger (yes, not too happy about that one) to name but a few. I used to freak out about this but as I'm supposed to be toning down my reactions I have put in a concious effort to calmly remove the object and the drink out of harms way.

Penchant for
 gold sling-backs
A warning to all those parents-to-be: You can child-proof your house but they will always find something you never thought of. My boy likes to get into the fridge and smash the eggs on the kitchen floor. He likes to take my heels off the shoe rack and parade around the living room in them (especially the gold ones). He thoroughly enjoys reaching up onto the kitchen work surface to grab anything in reach. He's the height of a 3 year-old and so he has a lot more exploration scope than the average 2 year-old should have. He's like a genetically modified  toddler who is super speedy, super intelligent with a cracking sense of humour. He is not unlike a mini-tornado due to the trail of destruction he leaves in his wake.

I am lucky in that he never really got into using a pacifier or sucking his thumb. So those are two challenges I won't have to face.  However, he does have a comforter at bedtime so I'll have to decide when it's time to wean him off that. I'll be the bad person but I know that it'll be for the best. He's doing well with bed times and has been going off to sleep without me in the room recently. I have also been paying him lots more positive attention including complimenting him on his politeness and manners. I have noticed that he doesn't follow me around as much. I feel he is more confident that if I leave the room, I will come back to him.

A tantrum. Just because.
We are going to my cousins wedding this weekend. It'll be interesting to see how he interacts with the other children there, and whether his general behaviour has improved. I just hope he refrains from having a tantrum during the ceremony or removing his clothes and tugging on himself!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Foot fetishists and fibbers

I had a mega hot man message me via one of the internet dating websites to which I'm subscribed. Sceptical of his sheer awesomeness I wrote a little note to him which said, "Hi how was your weekend?" He replied with another photo. This time it was a real picture of himself. He was 20 years older, 20 inches more round and 20 times uglier.

It really goes to show that despite thinking people would be more inclined to be honest and upfront on a dating website, in fact, the opposite is true. I found one particular profile and instantly recognised all four of his profile pictures as being that of the actor who played the new Superman in the movie. I spoiled his fun by reporting him to the website administrators.
You really never can tell with these websites. People could have old photos, or tell you what they want to hear. I know men can do that even face-to-face too but via the websites they can hide behind their computers, scratching themselves in their underwear, and tell you they look good in a pair of Speedos - who does though, really? - I don't see the point of wasting people's time by being untruthful. Perhaps these fabricators are so lonely they need to feel wanted. If a girl responds to an email in that moment the guy gets the feeling that someone cares. Even if it is because they have put a bronzed muscle-bulging picture of the Davidoff model in place of their own.

Now I realise I must sound incredibly shallow, and you're right, it's not all about looks. However, surely there needs to be some sort of initial chemical reaction in order to build a foundation on? Guys aren't just dishonest about what they look like. I'm sure they're dishonest about their personality traits too.

I think the key with these sites is to use your discretion. I received two emails today from men who had very different ages, locations and interests, however, their profile description was almost identical. Had one found the other and preferred the way it portrayed him more than the sad truth? I have confronted both of them so we'll have to see which one tries to wiggle their way out of that one!
Lick these

Eugh! I've just been asked if my feet are size 8 or bigger because, "I like licking feet". Seriously!?!?!? Straight in with that? Wow. So there is upfront honesty on these sites after all. Now I'm not sure which I prefer; the closet cases or the loons who come right out and say it!

On a positive note, my toddler's behaviour is vastly improving. I received an email from the manager of the nursery today to say how good he had been. She had responded to my email to her regarding my son's underpants:

There have been a couple of occasions recently whereby [my son] has soiled himself. When this occurs the soiled pants (still with contents) are wrapped in a nappy bag and put in his nursery bag for me to deal with at home.

Do you think it’s possible to either:
a. Empty the contents of the soiled pants in the toilet before bagging them?; or
b. Throwing the pants in the bin? (I can buy more)
It’s quite nasty at 10pm at night when I remember to empty his bag and find a squelchy pair of pants in there. All I do is throw them away so you have my permission to do the same with pants that have a large amount of ‘content’.
Many thanks.

My toddler fell asleep in the car on the way back from nursery. He was a poor exhausted little boy, and I couldn't wake him. He wouldn't even budge when I put his bedtime pull-ups on, so I put him straight to bed at 6.20pm this evening. He didn't have a sleep today, and he was obviously shattered so I hope he sleeps through the night. Probably wishful thinking.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Power-walking, disappearing undies and exhilarating microwaving

I ran through a similar stretch of
 path but when I hit this particular
 part  I turned around to find another
 route because I'd forgotten my snorkel.
Before implementing the 'stay-in-your-bed-and-I'll-check-on-you-in-a-minute' routine (which I've been successfully doing for the past few nights with my toddler) I had the chance to go for a run around the local lake, which was great. The sun was out for the first time in a few days, although a few of the paths were flooded. Running through the water was strangely exhilarating until I realised I would have to wash my trainers when I got home.

I over-took (what I can only assume was) a couple. They had obviously been running for a while as he was clearly exhausted. His arms were too heavy for him, and he was doing a ridiculous ape-type run with his arms down by his sides (which, surely just makes it more difficult to run?) She was wearing rather tight cropped trousers and a rather tight - perhaps painfully so - pair of knickers underneath. As I passed them I suddenly became very aware of my own behind which suddenly felt very jiggly and I wondered if I, like her, had four bottom cheeks squeezed into my trousers. I also wondered whether my behind, again like hers, had also munched a third of my trouser fabric and was well on its way to desert. This was incentive enough for me to pick up the pace and move quickly out of site to run in peace without feeling eyes on me. I felt sorry that her significant other hadn't said, "Love, I think maybe you should reconsider your underwear choice."

Guys seem to think that girls just want to hear that they look good. Far from it. I'd rather a guy told me I looked ridiculous/fat/over-dressed/under-dressed than for me to go out in public and laughed at/pitied/ridiculed.

I turned a corner and wafted yet another cloud of gnats out of my face just as 'Baby Got Back' started playing on my iPod. Now normally, I would just rap along quite happily as I ran. However, the timing couldn't have been more perfect, because a small lady was ahead of me power-walking to the very same beat of the song. This was a bottom-concious woman. She had strategically tied a jacket around her waist in order to detract from the exsentuated bottom shake you get from power-walking. In fact, her attempts of disguise only drew attention to the moving target. Again, another burst of speed to over-take her was needed with a strong will not to giggle as I passed.
A family of the Queen's own.
I wonder if their babies sleep OK?

As I ran, I thought about my current running outfit, and wondered if I would ever take the plunge and buy that tight-fitting stuff that toned and professional athletes wear. I think for the safety of the general public - and the old folk with the weak tickers who walk their dogs around the lake - it's probably best I don't.

I've come home and eaten a low fat microwave meal. It was one of those which says 'cook for 3 minutes, then agitate and cook for 3 more minutes. What? If you look up 'agitate' in a thesaurus you get the following alternate suggestions:

- Disturb
- Trouble
- Excite
- Rouse
- Disconcert
- Toss around

If there were any of the above going on it would be a much more exciting evening. They've even tried to make microwaving exhilarating now. What'll be next? - Exacerbate the eggs before adding them to the pan?

Who'd have thought that every day tasks could be so much fun?!