Saturday, 29 June 2013

Swollen bellies and bumps (3)

It was a month before Esme's third birthday and before my baby was due. It was a scorching hot July day, the sort we rarely see. I was having a little party for Esme as I wasn't sure, if on her actual day, I might be giving birth.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Swollen bellies and bumps (2)

It was a beautiful bright red dress that had done the rounds for many a pregnant friend, and now, it was my turn. I was well into my nine months, and wearing it well.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Swollen bellies and bumps (1)

"My bump is huge. People want to touch it. People do. Why is it that complete strangers, have no qualms in placing their hands upon the swollen belly of a mum to be... when they don't even bloody well know you? Madness. My bump is so huge, perhaps they think it comes with an unspoken invite? Yet, if I turn around, you would never know I was up the duff. Look, if one more person has a feel, I may have to start walking backwards?!"

If, as a pregnant woman, you too, carried heavily, you will probably know exactly what I'm on about here... many people simply cannot resist the urge to lay their hands upon your baby bump. 

A fine example is the complete stranger in the checkout queue; usually a little old lady, who actually believes it is her God given right to touch your pregnant self. 

They nonchalantly glance at you, and then they clock your bump, and then they light up. Suddenly they're beside you, talking to you, asking all manner of frank questions; 'When are you due?', 'Is it your first?', 'How are you feeling?', (out of my comfort zone now). At the same time, they just cannot help themselves... (one hand), the gentle pat, the prod, the smooth, and (both hands), the squeeze, and sometimes, Lord help me, even the push. 

It's difficult to say get off isn't it? I would carry on as normal, perhaps trying to busy myself with the shop in the process. Only then, would they maybe sense that actually this wasn't their cargo to coo over and I wasn't a mother to smother. 

Having been reminded in the previous (pregnancy diary) post of how big my baby bump became, I've since remembered two tales that now need to be told. One involves an awkward grandpa lunge and grab, and the other involves the delightful matter of poo! See, said I had a lot of poo stories. I just have to write them down.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Even more down to earth with a bump (11)

Continuing my record of Sofia Faith's pregnancy

I began this week of pregnancy in a tent for two nights. Interesting! Honestly I was fine - but the day we packed the camp up, we also flew to Spain. 

Not doing things by half ever; we arrived at Alicante airport at midnight. I had a slight moment when I saw the car rental company's child seat, but decided to ignore the fact that it looked like something my mum had once strapped me in almost forty years earlier. 

I let the tension fall away once Esme fell asleep. All at once we were on the open road, and Simon and I were holding hands, heading to our apartment aware of a whole ten days of being out of reach. My idea of bliss.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Questioning the (inherent) art of procrastination...

Did I always procrastinate? Bloody hell yes. And I believe I became incredibly creative in doing so.

As the youngest teen child of three, also expected to help out with the dinner/dishes and other such duties, I would usually manage to have something else to do. Such as have a friend telephone at that  time.

And then, prior to homework and piano practise, I'd apply make-up. Not that I had any, but my sister did... 

Silent Sunday (3)

Friday, 21 June 2013

Musings of a 4YO

E: Mummy, shhh! Do you want to know a secret?

M: Of course. What's that then?

E: Shhh, don't tell anyone. My Granny is a pirate.

M: Does Granny know?

Thursday, 20 June 2013

And they all lived happily ever after

A few weeks ago I took part in a blog hop for Emma Day. Today this post serves as a reminder that she may have been reunited with her three babies, but that she is still fighting thyroid cancer. I'm still thinking of her, as are many in the blogging sphere. 

I wrote this prose inspired by her bright spirit for as far as I can tell, with regards to how Emma has viewed living with cancer, she has only ever looked forward. This is the very thought I started with... 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013


Food from Arabia. In particular, Lebanon. 

An Arabian night - & other such silly sessions

Question is, are we all just a little bit mad? Or are we simply parents of small kids, that clearly don't get out that often?! Either way, I don't care. It's such great fun!

We have a great group of friends that we've made through having our children (see there are perks), and as the years have gone on, they've become closer. Especially since our babies all begun school together. Anyway, back in the Autumn last year, one of the couples took it upon themselves to invite the others for dinner - it was to turn into a themed evening that was to snowball into a bi-monthly event. 

Now I'll be the first to admit, that when they suggested Mexican, I oohed and aahed at the prospect of such tasty food. But when they then asked us to adopt the local costume too, I thought that a little bit strange. 

Monday, 17 June 2013

I'm NOT going to Britmums live!

But it would appear that the rest of the entire blogging community that is the writing parenthood, is.

Am I jealous? No. Envious. Yes. That's it, envious.

I didn't get my arse in gear quick enough. No. I didn't realise, until it was too late. And now, I'm all about the wishing. Which is never good.

Even more down to earth with a bump (10)

Continuing my record of Sofia Faith's pregnancy

Well it had to happen. And if it was going to happen? It had to happen on a Friday the 13th.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Musings of a 4YO

E: Happy Father's day Daddy!
D: Thank you Esme.
(Daddy opens present. Esme muses).

E: Is it Mother's day next?
D: Not for a while.
(Esme muses some more).

E: Is there a little girl's day?

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Word gets around

A creative site for travel reviews is now up and running. And it's alive and kicking. And what's more, you can check out my latest travel words there! Picked up I may add, from the editor after he saw a previous travel post of mine on this very blog. (Remember that pool of puke?!). 
So if you plan on visiting anywhere, please visit the site. It's lush. And very helpful. In an advanced social media sort of way... Triptease 
p.s. If you think you may detect a little bit of a blow my own trumpet/toot my own horn vibe, yep, you'd be right. I'm pretty excited about this. For me, the blend of creative writing and travel is exactly what I'm all about. Perhaps, if this is a style of travel writing you also love, you could get in touch with Triptease and put your own travel tales about for others to share as well.

Toilet talk of a 4YO

So Esme (my gregarious 4YO), comes falling into my room, still groggy with doze, and whispers,

E: Mummy, I am absolutely starving for the toilet.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Tonight I am borrowing from a post I've read over at the lovely blog White Feathers and so much moreThe author, (do you know I don't know her name - she is the blogging friend who sees white feathers), is soon coming to a crossroads. Her children will both be at school and she feels there must be a change. But she is not sure what she wants to do. Or rather be. If you go and visit her blog and read her post, 'What will you be when you grow up?' you will see what I mean! Anyway, this was my response, which I felt was a very LIFE AS IT IS sort of post, all of its own, and with White Feathers permission, I am duplicating. Thank you dear! 

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Feral child no.2 & her new found water fountain

The most fabulous thing just dawned on Sofia Faith while in the tub... that if she doesn't actually drink the bath water, she can propel it at her sister instead - by squirting it via the gap between her front teeth. Oh my feral child number two. 

Monday, 10 June 2013

To recap: Nursery nursing, snot & job satisfaction

Week two of training as a nursery nurse in a special needs nursery, and for some reason this little one had taken to me. Probably because Downs syndrome children are so full of affection. She had a bad cold, the sort where permanent train tracks of snot conjoin nose and mouth. Her glasses were skewed; barely on. Her knotted hair wild. Her smile massive. She was deaf. But as I hammered on the floor in front of the tunnel that she motored through, she felt the vibration. She looked up at me. Her smile enlarged. The gap between us closed. She reached me. She threw herself upon me. Laughing. Hugging. Holding me close. She pulled her head back to look into my eyes. To check I laughed too. As she did so, the spaghetti string of snot, stretched out bridging the two of us. Her world, her silent world, was loud, noisy and full to the brim with happiness. I remember thinking, I don't know if I'll ever find this level of job satisfaction again. I'm not sure I ever did.

FOOTNOTE: I wanted to add that I since found an amazing level of job satisfaction. Clearly I am totally happy with my LIFE AS IT IS as mum and with the writing/creative work I am able to do. With every blank page that becomes written and worked up, I am fulfilled. But, the point that I was trying to make above, is that the sort of satisfaction that particular scene gave me as a 17-year-old trainee, remains untouchable. It always will. It was a one-off moment in my life. 

What if... it had been a Downs syndrome baby?

I've just found out a friend, who is 19 weeks pregnant, has received much anticipated great news. Her amnio result is negative. She was given a 1: 22 chance of her baby having Downs syndrome. 

It has been a period of waiting ever since she found out she was pregnant. After waiting for her 12 week scan, with complete intrepidation that there maybe more than one baby (she was on Clomid), she then had to wait the further time frame for the amnio due to the high risk, and then had to wait over a week for the result. 

She has handled it all brilliantly given the situation. Knowing she would have chosen to abort if it had been Downs was a conversation we had. No matter what degree of severity, she would have chosen to take drugs to stimulate labour and terminate the pregnancy; the baby. A much longed for sibling of an about to turn five-year-old sister. 

I could only imagine the internal battle my friend was having - her head saying don't connect with this baby - it may not be for keeps. Her heart telling her not to listen to such nonsense, to bond with the babe within. And with all her motherly might. 

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Even more down to earth with a bump (8)

Continuing my record of Sofia Faith's pregnancy

My body is telling me to slow down: I've been trying; it's so frustrating... but having done a couple of walks and had that bleed recently I'm reluctant to carry on running around quite as I was. 

I needed reassuring so I asked the midwife to listen in on the baby’s heartbeat as it concerns me that I’m not feeling any movement yet. (I felt Esme at 16 weeks). It was great to hear it. It is always so much more emotive to me; hearing rather than seeing. 

The midwife told me to stop worrying, to carry on as normal, and to try and enjoy this pregnancy. I smiled at her. I knew she got it. That I wouldn't probably ever stop worrying enough to enjoy this pregnancy.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Poets, posts & peonies

As I write this, I smell the beautiful peonies Simon gave me on our anniversary, wafting. The fragrance is sweet. Gorgeous. 

As are we. Again. That sounds odd right? I'll explain... 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Old before her time?

M: Esme darl, go and get your glasses on, they're on the side in the kitchen.

E: What did you say Mummy? My hearing is going...

Monday, 3 June 2013

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

Emma's post is not only about cheering her up. It is also about promoting her JustGiving page race for life in aid of Cancer Research UK. Yep, amazing huh? This lady is planning to raise funds for Cancer Research UK by running The Race For Life - in only a matter of weeks. Now that is inspiring!


Shoulder to Shoulder to Day

It is weird, blogging on behalf of someone I do not know. And for that matter, with a whole load of people I do not know. But what's not weird, is that we have all been touched by this woman's story, and have all shared a wish to help make what she is going though, a little bit easier.

Emma Day, who blogs at  Crazy with Twins, is a 27-year-old mum of twins (age 1) and Bunny (age 7). She is fighting cancer for the second time. Over the last couple of weeks she has been isolated in hospital for radiation treatment, and then isolated at home, due to emitting harmful radiation from her body.

The good news is that those radiation levels have dissipated far quicker than the docs predicted, and so she's now out of isolation, reunited with her family, able to cuddle and comfort her children once more.

On a bid to help Emma, the blogging community (I'm really rather new to all this, but there's quite a family it would appear), continue to stand in support, passing a digital baton of cheer between them, hosting a blog hop called Shoulder to Shoulder to Day.

Me and Karen over at themadhouseofcatsandbabies(do go and take a look at her amusing story), are co-hosting the hop today and spreading the positive vibes, as well as raising awareness on Emma's behalf about Maggie's Cancer Centres and The Race For Life (which she is running soon). Emma is also hoping to find a sponsor to buy an iPad for the iodine room at the Cheltenham General Hospital. If you can help, please get in touch! 

For now though, a poem for Emma. 
ps. Still rooting for you kiddo!


Do a jig in the rain, and sing to a star. 
You're out. Prison's over. Don't stay so far. 

As if! We all know, you can't wait to get near. 
Leave behind all the pain, desperation and fear.

Now you can; you are able to have and to hold.
A fresh new beginning is about to unfold.

A process to go through, perhaps that may be,
But it won't last long, they remember, you see.

You are mum, you are lifeline, unbroken will.
And they loved you before, and they love you still.

Smile, laugh, even cry, but do not weep.
Your children, these memories, they will not keep.

Your babies, your daughters, your husband: All yours.
As the whirl slows down, you can take time to pause.

Blow bubbles, paint rainbows, hum lullabies too.
Keep your family tight, squeeze them in close to you.

Play dollies, but do it with real ones instead.
Pat them, stroke them, and then kiss their head.

Get up early, sleep late, climb into a cot.
Be smug, be delirious, for lose you have not.

So jig in the rain, and sing to a star. 
You're out. It's over. Enjoy where you are. 

© Emma Oliver

Sunday, 2 June 2013

top to trunk to root - tangled up in love


'Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is.

Love is not breathless, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just 'being in love' which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when 'being in love' has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.

May your roots grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms fall from your branches, you find out that you are one tree, and not two.'

Louis de Bernieres

Saturday, 1 June 2013


1) Make sure your praise is genuine and meaningful.

2) Praise effort as well as achievement.

3) Use positivity, praise and hugs to reinforce good behaviour, and do your  best to ignore less desirable behaviour.

4) Use distraction e.g. when your child is too boisterous, lead them into a quiet activity.

5) Keep in mind that toddlers will gradually understand how you want them to behave.

6) Do not laugh at bad behaviour; try to lead by example. 

7) Remember to criticise the action, rather than the child.

8) Try to pre-empt a negative situation coming and turn it on its head.

9) If you say or do something you regret, explain that you did not mean it and say you are sorry with a cuddle. 

10) Consistency is key.

Taken from the article Positive Parenting and the Power of Praise which if you'd like to read, is available as a full feature in the Autumn 2013 issue of Baby London Magazine.

Bringing career skills to parenting?

Blogger Judith, over at Secrets of the Sandpit, has written a post about what she is teaching her children, and the teaching skills she's brought with her from her career. 

Thought-provoking or what at 6am?! Here are those thoughts...

I'm really lucky as I trained as a nursery nurse straight from school, then worked with countless children for twenty years before going back to do journalism at Uni as a mature student. I bring all the tricks of the nannying trade with me, along with the greatest of all, which links in with journalism's feature writing - storytelling. 

Training as a Nursery Nurse, completing a child psychology Diploma, and, Nannying, all gave me a built in understanding of children's behaviour, what to expect overall, and a whole host of tips for an 'easier' life as a parent. Except of course that as mum, thanks to a shared strong bond, you have to deal with guilt, and emotions I never knew existed as Nanny.

In her post, interestingly, Judith raises the importance of praising our kids. I've recently written a three-page feature on this subject for the Autumn 2013 issue of Baby London, and my blog is where it began... I will of course link the article to LIFE AS IT IS at the time the mag is out, but wanted to say that we should never under-estimate how praising our children, encourages them to be happy, confident and independent little people.

In my next post I want to share my top ten tips to positive parenting, taken from the article Positive Parenting and the Power of Praise which if you'd like to read, is available as a full feature in the Autumn 2013 issue of Baby London Magazine.