Wednesday, December 19

One Month of Wilf


Dear Wilf,
You have been with us for a month already. Apart from about three nights of screaming and burping and farting a lot, you are incredibly easy going - this is probably because you're either attached to a boob or being held or carried for most of the day.

You've uncurled from your froggy newborn scrunchiness, have put on two whole pounds already and I can see some lush squidgy podginess developing on your thighs. You have developed a rather unattractive case of baby acne and have lost most of your hair, so you just have a bit at the back and sides. This, combined with your unruly eyebrows, make you look a bit like my dad.

When you open your eyes they are big and the darkest navy blue. You've just started to make some cute coo-ing noises and I think I can see the start of some lovely baby smiles. You have enormous feet and you smell milky and sweet.

You've been on quite a lot of outings so far - to the beach, two parties, St Fagan's, out for coffee, softplay, the cinema, a reindeer parade, bouncy castles, Gwen's christmas concert, Santa's Toy Mine - and you have slept though the lot. But as you're a winter baby, you've also spent quite a lot of time snuggled up indoors while we eat stollen and watch Muppet Christmas Carol. 

It's hard to be the mama and the photographer in the house, so I've hardly taken any pictures of you yet. So promise to stay squidgy for a few more weeks please and I'll be on the case.

Love, Mama
x

How Wilf Got Here

Woah, had forgotten how crazily bonkersly busy having a newborn is. Then add two other smalls and Christmas into the mix, and it takes a whole month before I can even sit down to reflect on Wilf's birth.

It all kicked off on the early hours of Friday morning when I had some leaking waters. There were no contractions though, so I carried on with my day and hoped things would get started. It wasn't until I went to bed that evening that I started to feel contractions, with the odd one waking me up.

Odd fact: all three of my labours started on a Friday and all three of my children were born on a Saturday (and so was I).

When I woke on Saturday, I knew the baby would be coming that day, so I shipped the girls off to my mum and dad's, promising them I'd produce their baby brother ASAP so they could come home and cwtch him. I'd originally thought they might be around when he was born, but when it all started happening, I realised I needed them out of the house before my head could engage and my labour could really start. Sure enough, as soon as they left, contractions picked up.  Bizarrely, despite having done it twice before and religiously doing my Natal Hypnotherapy, I felt a bit scared of what was going to happen - what if it all went a bit Pete Tong this time round?
 
They left late morning, and with the house so quiet and tidy, Dave and I felt a bit lost. It was the most beautiful sunny day, but I didn't feel like leaving the house to go for a walk. Instead, I baked my traditional 'in labour' cake (Nutella and cinnamon - delish), played a few games of Boggle (a bit strange as not something we ever usually do, ever) and watched The Hour on iPlayer.

I'd called the midwives earlier to let them know things were starting, and they rang halfway through The Hour to see how I was getting on. Realised I'd had counted seven contractions in the half an hour that I'd been watching, so they said they'd come over and see how I was getting on.

A lovely midwife called June arrived at about half four. She wanted to examine me but I declined and said I'd rather just get on with it, but asked her to stay as I felt things were moving on. I was bouncing on my birthing ball, chatting away, but having to concentrate on the contractions. Soon, I'd stopped chatting altogether and was in my own little zone leaning over the birthing ball. Then I was groaning, feeling a little bit like pushing and absolutely boiling hot.

Surely, it wasn't going be long until we met our baby boy? Despite me showing all the signs that I was about to give birth, the midwife said she really needed to examine me now so that she could call the second midwife to come over.  I agreed, but really wish I hadn't when she announced that I was only 3cm dilated. 3cm?? That could not possibly be true. The contractions were coming one after another, were lasting at least a minute and were really strong. I was so deflated by this information (the very reason that I really hadn't wanted a countdown of my progress) and I kept saying to Dave that I couldn't possibly keep this up for hours on end. I felt like crying.

Turns out this was the classic self-doubt phase, and next thing I know, the full-on contractions have stopped and my body was starting to push the baby out. 3cm? Pah!

Midwife number two arrived just in time for the main event, with me greeting her on all fours with my bottom in the air waiting for the next contraction. I've never really experienced the pushing phase before as both girls literally took two pushes to come out. This time, I had to do a lot of hard work. But wowsers, what amazingly satisfying hard work and, within about 20 minutes, Wilf arrived on our stripy rug in the lounge. It was 7.32pm.

As with the girls' births, there were no tears from me - I just couldn't stop smiling. I cwtched Wilf and sniffed his gorgeous tobacco-ey newborn scent, while we waited for the placenta to deliver. Once this was done (and in the freezer for future planting in the garden!), we all had tea in the lounge, while midwife number 2 showed me her cake decorating portfolio on her iPhone. Gotta love a home birth.

We named him Wilfred Thomas Winter Shepherd. Thomas after my grandad, and Winter because the morning after he arrived, we woke to beautiful sunshine and the first frosts of the season. Gwen and Molly came back from Nanna and Bampa's house that morning and were absolutely thrilled with their new brother/toy. They haven't stop kissing him since. Nor have we.



Monday, November 19

Welcome to the world Wilf



Here's our new baby Wilf. He popped out onto our lounge floor on Saturday 17th November at 7.32pm. He is just lovely.

So far he likes sleeping, cwtches and boobs, but he's not too keen on being put in his moses basket and sleeves. He has a quivering bottom lip when he cries and a smelly belly button.

We are all smitten.


Wednesday, November 14

Revamped

There's nothing like spending your maternity leave sitting around in coffee shops sipping lattes and daydreaming about names for you new arrival... which is the complete opposite of what I've been up to. In some kind of extreme nesting frenzy, we have completely revamped the downstairs of the house.

In the lounge, we've repainted, laid a new floor and - the best bit of all - we've had a wood burner installed. It's amazing. The best money we have ever spent and perfect for cosying up for the winter with our new arrival.


The fire place from the lounge is in the dining room, it's all been painted antique white (a huge difference as it's quite a dark room on a gloomy day). I picked up a dresser for £40 in a charity shop and revamped it, and I sprayed and re-covered the dining room chairs.


I've also decluttered the entire house - so satisfying, but bloomin' hard work and makes me never want any more 'stuff' to enter the house (especially those small bits of plastic tat you get on the front of CBeebies magazine).

So now, baby boy, we are all ready for you. Just let mama have a few days rest before you come though, please.

Tuesday, November 13

Catching up: Half Term


Woah, what a way to start maternity leave! Straight into half term with an inset day on the Friday and then a week of fun and frolics with the little croutons.

The village's best-dressed witchlets
We won 'Best Dressed Family' at the village hall Halloween party, and were presented with this enormous stand of Halloween cupcakes.


We did spooky crafts at St Fagan's art cart (and, of course, ate hot fresh cheesy buns from the bakery), went to Techniquest for the first time, met the Goldlions in the park, had a Halloween and sparklers party with the neighbours, went to the beach (of course), had lunch with great grandma (89 years old and still makes the best crinkle-cut chips in Wales).

The serious business of St Fagan's cheesy buns
 It was so nice to have Gwen home from school for a week. Bring on Christmas! 
Halloween part 2

Tuesday, November 6

38 Weeks

Tool box? Check. Painting clothes? Check. 38-week bump? Check.
Am I really having a baby in two weeks? There is not a baby grow or a nappy or a sling in sight yet. And I'd forgotten all about breast pads and enormous sanitary towels and all those sorts of delights. Some serious list writing (and shopping) is in order.

Meanwhile, I have taken nesting to the extreme by completely revamping the lounge and dining room, and spent the entire weekend up a ladder with a paint roller in my hand (Dave did all the crouchy, crevicey bits, as SPD and painting skirtings is not a good combo).

And after a hard day's DIY, we went out on a last-time-for-a-while date night.
My midwife came yesterday, and has given us instructions on what to do if she doesn't get here on time (cwtch the baby in a towel until help arrives), and says that she is looking forward to a nice slice of my home-made carrot cake afterwards (we all had home-made cake at 3am after Moll's birth - midwife number 2 arrived after the birth, had tea and cake, then went back home to bed).

I've been doing a lot of watching of home birth diaries, reading Ina May Gaskin and listening to Natal Hypnotherapy on the iPod. So my mind is ready, even if everything else is slightly chaotic. Just stay in there a tiny bit longer please, baby boy child.

Monday, October 22

A Visit from the Tooth Fairy


It was a very big day in our house yesterday, as Gwen lost her first tooth. In true Gwen style, it wasn't without drama, and involved screams from the bathroom and lots of blood. Once she'd got over the initial shock, she was super-excited about the tooth fairy coming to visit, and even more excited about showing her friends at school her new gappy grin.


She wrote a lovely note for the fairy, and added a little silver crown, a bead and, of course her tooth (thank goodness I had managed to do number 3 from the birthday list).


In the morning, her tooth fairy - Mabel - had left her a shiny £1 coin and a little note on sparkly paper in teeny tiny writing.

Wednesday, October 17

Haiku

I had the most blissful start to the day today. It was shopping day, so there was limited food in the house, so I packed myself a makeshift breakfast of a slice of home-made lemon cake, some fresh coffee in my posh Bodum travel mug and headed for the train station. I got on the train, the autumn sunshine beaming through the window, got out my feast and a book of poetry and enjoyed 20 idyllic minutes of travelling. I was so inspired and elated, I scribbled down a quick haiku.

In the autumn sun
Lemon cake, coffee and poetry
As the train trundles

Rubbish, I know, but it was a truly magical moment. I think all days should start with cake, coffee and sunshine.

Thursday, October 11

List 12/52 Things to Look Forward to With a Newborn

Yay for babies in slings with funny hats!

  • Friends visiting and bringing food
  • Eating home-made cake every single day - and still losing weight (hurrah for breastfeeding!)
  • Discovering some DVD box sets to watch during those marathon evening feeds (any recommendations?)
  • Wearing him in a wrap sling
  • Buying him a selection of hats with ears
  • Stroking his furry ears and shoulders
  • Running my fingers down his tiny spine
  • Sweet milky breath
  • Funny little snuffly truffly noises
  • Photographing tiny feet
  • An excuse to hibernate for a few weeks
  • Snuzzling and snuggling and generally getting blissed out on baby

Sunday, October 7

37 Things


37 - yikes!

I do love a nice birthday list. Of course, I never do all all the things on it, but it's good to have a plan, even if it is a little ambitious.

OK, so here goes - a bit late as my birthday was in August (I woke up in Tenby to a rainbow outside the bedroom window, and we had a beach barbeque and cake on my favourite beach).

1. Have a baby! DONE!
2. Get a bike - preferably a bubble gum pink one. DONE - BUT IT'S A SUNSHINY YELLOW ONE.
3. Make Gwen a tooth fairy bag. DONE!
4. Take beautiful newborn pictures of Baby 3.
5. Make a photobook of Gwen's first five years. DONE!
6. Climb Pen-y-Fan (this has been on my list for years and years).
7. Make our lounge cosy, cosy, cosy. DONE!
8. Write a monthly blog for Baby 3's first year. DONE!
9. Try 10 new cake recipes. DONE!
10. Take a print making class.
11. Do Race for Life with Gwen.
12. Revamp and de-damp the bathroom. DONE!
13. Applique t-shirts for the children.
14. Learn five more ukulele songs.
15. Get fit!
16. Take Mam to Pettigrew Tea Rooms. DONE!
17. Go camping with friends.
18. Complete a photo-a-day project for a whole month. DONE - FOR ALMOST A YEAR!
19. Continue with 52 lists.
20. Buy some art on Etsy.
21. Make some postcards of my photographs.
22. Draw something (maybe go to a life-drawing class?).
23. Take a creative writing class.
24. Buy some waterproof trousers (seven years of dog walking and I don't own a pair - madness) DONE!
25. Go to The Pot cafe. DONE!
26. Go to an Ethical Chef Supper Club.
27. Fill a jar with 'Magical Thinking'.
28. Do something fab for Dave's 40th (eek!). DONE!
29. Try sea kayaking.
30. Own an iPhone (and start Instagram-ing). DONE!
31. Start a veggie kids food blog.
32. Buy a yellow wool winter coat. DONE!
33. Have a party for my neighbours. DONE!
34. Go to the Harrogate baths. DONE!
35. Save up for a Kitchen Aid.
36. Grow things to eat (this year was a disaster).
37. Buy nice underwear.

And here are 36 Things, 35 Things and lots of other birthday lists.

Thursday, October 4

In the Kitchen


I hang out a lot in my little kitchen. It's small. It's often messy. There's paint peeling off the walls. It'd never make an interiors magazine in a million years, but I like it in there.

In the mornings, I sometimes go downstairs while everyone's asleep, creeping around barefoot on the cold tiles in the half-light, making a pot of coffee, getting lunches and my head together for the day ahead while the dog pads about at my feet.

Then everyone's awake and downstairs and the whole place is filled with chatter and action and stuff. There's apple juice and cereal bowls, lost hair brushes and missing shoes, drawings of princesses and snacks for school. The dog wants to go out for a wee and a bark at a squirrel. Someone wants a different radio station on. The coffee's gone cold.

The kitchen's buzzing with activity on the weekends. But it's relaxed activity on our schedule. No one has to rush anywhere. There are a lot more cups of tea. Endless snacks for busy children. Dropping the dog a little bit of cheese. And there is cooking, so much cooking, preparing food that sustains and nourishes and comforts and makes us happy. Breakfasts of boily eggs and banana pancakes, lunches of sandwiches and soups. And for dinner, pizzas and pastas, curries and casseroles, salads and stews. Sometimes, there are friends and chat and even more food, which makes it all the more happier a place.

On Saturdays, I bake with the children. We bash up biscuits and chocolate with spoons to make the noisiest cheesecake in the world. We squidge bananas with our fingers and transform it into our favourite loaf cake. The girls make messy, messy cupcakes with pink sparkly sprinkles piled high on top. We all like licking the spoons. And the bowl. 

The kitchen is where we play music and we dance and sing our hearts out. Life's a Happy Song from The Muppets, Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Forget You by Cee Lo Green, Defying Gravity from Wicked. There's not an awful lot of space for dancing, but we do it anyway.

In the evenings, the music's a bit softer. Perhaps one of the Bens (Folds, Howard or Kweller). A little glass of red on the go, while I take time over a creamy risotto, some crispy home-made pizzas or a full-on Indian feast. Sometimes the mister shares some crisps and dips and we chat while I cook.

I like sitting up on the kitchen counter and chatting while something cooks. I've done it since I was a kid. I feel at my most comfortable in the kitchen. More relaxed and able to talk while there's other stuff going on. It's not as intense, I suppose.

In my dreams, our kitchen is bigger and tidier (and a lot cleaner), with a flagstone floor and a huge farmhouse table in the middle. But it's still got the same mix of people and food and love. Because really, that's what makes it home.

Sunday, September 23

32 Weeks


The bad bits
The SPD is, quite literally, crippling. I can only hobble about v-e-r-y slowly, and have borrowed a walking stick and grabber off my 89-year-old Nan. Some days it's OK, others it's absolute agony, with me literally crawling to the bathroom across the landing in tears. I miss long walks with the dog. I miss being able to turn over in bed. I miss being able to run around with the girls.

The good bits
  • I can feel arms and hands and elbows and knees poking out. Sometimes, if I put my hand firmly on the belly, I feel a hand rubbing against my hand as if boy baby is sussing me out. It's the best feeling in the world.
  • I've got that lovely pregnancy glowy skin and shiny hair. Or so my lovely girl friends were gushing when they came over on Friday night (maybe they were just being kind).
  • I weighed myself this morning and I've only put on 12 lbs (yay!).
  • Despite my one-large-bottle-a-week Gaviscon habit in previous pregnancies, this time I'm fairly heartburn free. 
  •  I've started listening to my Natal Hypnotherapy CD and I'm really excited about the birth. After two such amazing ones, I was feeling twitchy about this one, but a few sessions of visualisation and re-reading of Spiritual Midwifery and I'm feeling all kind of 'I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR!'. Bring it on, cervix!

My plan for the next few weeks involves lots of looking after myself and boy baby, with swimming and zillions of veggies and lots of relaxation. And sorting out the mountains of baby clothes that lovely friends have passed on to us. Oh, and getting builders in then completely redecorating the dining room and lounge (nesting, anyone?).


Monday, September 17

The Summer


A bit late, but we had a delightful and delovely summer. Getting back into the swing of school and work and September is proving to be a big struggle. The words homeschooling have been mentioned quite a lot - everyone is so much happier when we are just doing our own thing. Ho hum.

So, some highlights from the summer 2012. 

We went to the Dinefwr Literature Festival. We did some wild camping. It rained a lot, then the sun came out. I liked Gruff Rhys. Dave liked Josie Long. Gwen liked Emmy the Great. Molly did a poo in the gardens of the manor house and I had to carry it around in my bag.

Gwen eating her own-made pizza at Dinefwr
 We spent every possible sunny day at the beach. Best beach moment was taking an afternoon off work and heading to Ogmore for a BBQ and a paddle, staying on the beach until the sun went down.

Moll in the rock pools at Ogmore


We ate way too many ice creams. Gwen towards the end of the school hols: "Some people just have ice cream as a treat, but we have it every single day!". (Oh dear, back on track with impeccable child nutrition now, obvs.)

Chilling out by the river in York


We had a week in Yorkshire visiting the cousins.



And a week in Tenby, including some crazy hay fights and lots of splashing in the sea. Gwen learnt to boogie board!



Here hoping for one of those Indian summers, and lots more outdoor adventures before cosying up season begins.

Sunday, September 9

Weekending

I keep avoiding posting here because I think I have nothing interesting to say and no nice photographs to post. But then I remember how much I enjoy this blog as a record of our family life, so I'm just going to blog about what we've been up to, because it's so easy to forget the small stuff.

This weekend, we have decluttered like mad. The girls have moved in to one bedroom together to make room for their baby brother, and I have been sorting out the piles and piles of children's' clothes that lurk around our house. I had a little cry when I bagged a load up to give to a neighbour, knowing that we probably won't be having any more baby girls in the future.

Saturday was our village fete, which was sociable and lots of fun. We got busy in the morning making a big batch of Malted Chocolate Cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book.


The sun shone all afternoon and there were pony rides, face painting, fancy dress, lots of cakes (mine were a sell out!), a coconut shy, tug of war, races, happy children, lovely neighbours and friends - we are lucky to live here.



Sunday, more decluttering and a lovely trip with the family Goldlion to the St Fagan's Food Festival, which was bonkersly busy, although you wouldn't guess it from this photo of our girls hanging out on the gate (DISCLAIMER: My children insisted on choosing their own outfits, hence the summer dress/winter boots combo on Moll and the lovely but way too big hand-me-downs on Gwen - they also left the house with about 20 hair bobbles each going up their arms).

Friday, August 24

List 12/52 The Simple Things

I generally loathe magazines, especially ones aimed at women (and this is from someone who almost worked on one of them - phew, VERY lucky escape).

Anyway, delighted to find this new one - seems it was written just for me. All about baking and foraging and thriftiness and nature and generally appreciating the small stuff. Can't wait until the first issue arrives through my door (delivered by officially the friendliest postman in the world).


And so, in honour of this beautiful thing - a list of my favourite simple pleasures.

  • Lying in bed and listening to the birds tweeting (which I am actually doing right now as the little croutons are at granny's house)
  • Freshly brewed coffee and an almond croissant (also about to have this too)
  • A stolen quiet moment with a book and a cuppa
  • Listening to my children's chatter
  • Blackberry picking - hurrah, it's almost crumble season!
  • Browsing in book shops
  • Swimming
  • Digging the earth and crumbling it between my fingers
  • Real ale in front of a real fire
  • Cutting the first slice of a home-made cake
  • Sofa. Children. Husband. Dog. Popcorn. Film
  • Sitting in the dark of the cinema waiting for a film to start
  • Playing my yellow ukulele (badly)
  • The snuggly, fuzzy, sweet milkiness of a newborn baby
  • Watching my dog bound through long grass
  • Reading inspiring blogs and poems and books
  • The 'aaaaah' factor of getting into clean bed sheets
  • The beach. Always the beach


Friday, August 10

Jude and Tim Got Married

My sister-in-law married her partner Tim last month. I was the official photographer - eek, what a responsibility! It was a pretty hectic day, involving lots of rushing about, changing lenses, organising people - plus I was a guest as well. 

As I'm quite socially awkward and terrible at small talk, it suited me to hide behind my camera all day. But wedding photographers, you have a tough job - I salute you (and maybe begin to undersand why you charge so much money!).

 Here are a few of the photos from the day. 





Tree Shadows



I sat under this tree one lunchtime this week - look at the lovely shadows. Ain't nature brilliant?

Thursday, August 9

25 weeks

Hello baby boy,
Here you are in my tummy, which is rather bumpalicious now. People are beginning to notice that I'm actually with child and not just a bit fat. Some really kind people even offer me their seats on the train.

According to the baby book I've got for your sisters, you are about the size of a pineapple (without the spiky bits, surely?).

Gwen and Molly do a lot of putting their heads on my belly and shouting at you "HELLO  BABY - I AM YOUR MUMMY!". Not strictly true, but I'm sure you really will have three people mothering you when you join us earthside.

Gwen wants to hold you as soon as you come out and is going to teach you how to walk and talk, and Molly is looking forward to feeding you some mushed up banana. They are both excited about seeing you fling food at the walls when you're a bit bigger (and Blod is very excited about an extra person to drop crumbs on the floor).

I am really looking forward to wearing you in a sling and kissing your fuzzy head. Daddy Dave is looking forward to blowing raspberries on your belly, but hopes that you don't expect him to know a lot about sport.

You will probably be our last baby (sob!) so I'm embracing every little kick, wiggle and hiccup from you inside my belly.

I can't wait to meet you, little boy baby!

Love,
Mam
x

Wednesday, August 1

Happy Yorkshire Day

Takeaway Betty's at Harlow Carr
I just found out that today is not only the beginning of my birthday month (yay!), but it is also Yorkshire Day. Being married to a Yorkshireman (albeit a very posh one from Harrogate), I consider myself approximately 1/117th Yorkshirewoman. And if I my heart wasn't in Wales, I would be heading North as a very lovely alternative.

And so, a list of my favourite Yorkshire things to do and places to see:
  • The RHS Harlow Carr Gardens (it even has an outdoor Betty's kiosk for the obligatory Earl Grey and carrot cake)
  • York - love, love, love York, its abundance of cosy pubs, cobbly streets, higgledy piggledy buildings and Raffi's Spice Box
Cosy pubs in York

  • Harrogate - The Valley Gardens, the amazing Victorian Baths that are council-run and therefore quite cheap,  lots of charity shops for mooching
  • Brimham Rocks - bonkers rock formation (slightly hair-raising experience with small children who run off, then shout 'Look at me, mam!' from the top of a 20 foot rock)
  • Hebden Bridge - quirky, hippy, lovely town
  • Skipton, with its market-town vibe and lovely canal
Skipton canal boats

We're heading there in a couple of weeks to stay at the inlaws lovely cottage in the Dales for a week (a holiday home whenever we want it - how lucky are we?), and I'm hoping to add these to my list too:
  • The National Media Museum in Bradford
  • The Yorkshire Sculpture Park
  • Robin Hood's Bay (or the coast in general)

Monday, July 30

Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dogs Tails



So, our new baby is going to be a boy baby. How very exciting.

Gwen wants to call him Jack-May. Molly wants to call him Mazzy. He probably won't be called either.

My friend was saying how lovely it'll be to have this little muddy person with cuts and bruises on his chubby little knees. I've got two of those already.

And me? I'm fantasising about my little floppy-haired boy child wearing lots of stripes and being really cwtchy. I just have one question - what do you do with willies?

The Pox

Oh, the pox. I've gotten away with it for over five years, but over the last few weeks, the pox has struck. First Moll, who just got a few spots, then carried on regardless being her own bonkersly energetic self.

Forgot all about it for two weeks, until Friday morning. I'd packed a picnic, text my friend to say we'd meet her in the park at half ten, then we sat down for a late breakfast. Gwen said she had a sore eye and a spot on her mouth. They both looked a bit poxy. I lifted up her top and there were a handful of blistery spots. Oh dear.

We counted the spots - there were 17 of them. She seemed quite chirpy. I thought it was another mild case. 

That night we camped in the garden - we had everything out ready to go camping this week, so thought we'd do it at home instead. It was like proper camping. We ate Pot Noodles for tea (or Pop Noodles, as Moll calls them). We went for a walk in the woods and the girls played in the stream. They stayed up late and we drank hot chocolate outside the tent in our PJs.

(At six months pregnant, camping involves getting out of the cosy tent every hour to have a wee (and treading on a slug - IN MY BARE FEET!). I had air mattress malfunction and had to go inside at 2am and retrieve Gwen's mattress from her bed to sleep on.  It wasn't the best night's sleep.)

By Saturday AM, Gwen was a lot less chipper and had about a million more spots. By lunchtime, she has a fever and looked like a plague victim. Every time she looked in the mirror or saw a glimpse of her bare arms or legs, she burst into tears. On Sunday, she wept almost all day long. Poor Snail.

Today, no crying, a bit of energy back but still very, very spotty. So on this lovely sunny weekend, I've been trapped at home with one sick floppy child and one child who's a bit like a puppy that needs to be exercised for at least two hours a day or else they start gnawing on the table legs and doing laps of the dining room (she actually does this).

So, there have been a lot of 'activities' - I'm all about nature and free play, mixed with a bit of organised crafty stuff. This was non-stop action to keep both parties entertained, all within the confines of our own four walls. Phew. This is what we've been up to:
  • Made Blod a birthday cake (Happy 7th Birthday Blodders!) out of tuna, leftover spaghetti, eggs, flour and garlic. Topped with cheese, baked in oven, stuck candles in it and had a dog birthday party. 



  • Did watercolour paintings of the seaside to imagine what our first pox-free day out might be like.
  • Collected eggs from next door's chickens, then made them into two carrot cakes - one for us, one for them.
  • Made masks, so she could hide her spots (spurred on by a very Gwen-like dramatic outburst of tears and wailing of "Whenever I look at myself in the mirror, I feel sick").

  • Read almost all 189 pages of Enid Blyton's The Faraway Tree out loud - and I am almost hoarse.
  • Washed all the teddies and hung them out on the line to dry.
  • Played on Garage Band and made up a song sampling the word 'bottom' quite a lot.
  • Took about a squillion photographs of ourselves in PhotoBooth on the iPad.
  • Watched Cats and Dogs (getting desperate by now).
It's very, very rare that I look forward to going to work on a Tuesday, but I can do no more mothering tomorrow. I am exhausted. The pox sucks.

Wednesday, June 27

Molly is 3


Dear Molly,
Some facts about you at three years old.
  • You are obsessed with wearing pink but, much to my delight, have recently added yellow to your repertoire
  • You have an imaginary friend called Bumbler (but he's gone a bit quiet of late)
  • You've started to do some really cool drawings - most of them are monsters and spiders at the moment
  • You always like a mini vegetable samosa or five to eat while we're doing the supermarket shopping
  • You are so full of energy that if you haven't been outside for a least a few hours each day, you start running lengths of the kitchen and dining room
  • You say very funny things, like "I can't finish my dinner because my fork's run out of petrol", "What are these pants doing in my bed? I thought it was a pine cone", "My poo doesn't want to come out yet, it's having its breakfast"
  • You like sucking ice cubes (but you call them icebergs)
  • You absolutely love books, and sometimes I sneak a look at you while I'm reading to see the delight on your face
  • You've suddenly become really sociable, bending strangers' ears about all sorts of things and stalking older children in the park
  • You tell amazing made-up jokes, involving elephants, made-up words and poo (Sample: Why did the elephant go to the dubon? Cos he wanted a poo!)
  • You are fearless and physical, and like throwing yourself off things quite a lot
  • You absolutely love the beach, and ask to go whenever the sun comes out
  • You refuse to wear trousers
  • You love dressing up - your favourite costumes are a blue princess number and a Rapunzel dress
  • You have the most beautiful hair that I have ever seen
  • You like babies, Cloudbabies, watercolour paints, cheap character nighties, tickles, making mud pies and eating filled pasta
  • You don't like having your hair tied back, wearing shoes and socks, sleeping and going out in the rain
  • Your third birthday party ended with you running naked around the garden, sticking sprigs of rosemary in your bits and shouting "I've got a willy!"
  • You are so happy and sunshiny, funny and full of beans, and I love our days hanging about together. Can you stay three forever please?
Love,
Mam
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