Juggling all the aspects of my life with some baking, writing and good old fashioned ranting thrown in

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Trying to Find the Words...

Being a part time student can sometimes be tricky when you've also got a two year old who craves constant attention except at times when she wants some privacy to make mischief. I can occasionally read a few pages of material if she's sitting quietly with a book/biscuit/toy/expensive electronic device that she shouldn't really be touching. But all of my essays are written late in the evening after the bedtime routine is over and the washing up and other chores have been done. 

At present, I have an essay about Catholic tradition in England to complete by Friday. I've written 900 words out of 1200, which sounds pretty good. The problem is that I've actually nothing left to write. I've written about everything in my essay plan. I have no new point to make. I feel I've answered the question pretty fully. So at this point, I have to start "padding", meaning sticking words in wherever I can, lengthening perfectly good sentences just to reach the right word count. I always find this very frustrating, especially when I'm quite pleased with the essay as it is. I don't want to change it  but I have to. Surely, as my other half pointed out when I was having a lovely big rant on the subject last night, I should be congratulated for making my argument succinctly? Apparently, the Open University disagrees. I can be 5% off the word count so I need another 240 words at the very least. That'll make for a fabulous waste of my evening later. 

Anyway, rant over on that subject. I have seriously failed on my diet. Its really my husband's fault but I can't bring myself to feel badly towards him for it. A few nights ago, he offered to buy me ice cream. I did choose frozen yoghurt rather than ice cream but still, I finished the whole tub within three evenings. Not very good. Then I woke up this morning to find that my dear other half was entirely missing from our flat. I texted him and the reply quickly came to say that he was bringing in breakfast. I knew exactly what that breakfast would be without him saying anything more. One egg and sausage McMuffin meal later, I'm feeling a bit guilty. Luckily, me and the little monster have very healthy filled wholegrain pitta breads for lunch. In fact, I shall end this post now and make lunch as just remembering that frozen yoghurt is making me hungry...

Monday, 30 January 2012

Let it snow! ...or not

News that snow is on the way often brings out some very strong opinions. For some, it means a day of snowball fights and building snow men. For others, it means a day of disrupted journeys with delayed trains or traffic jams.

Last year, I was initially excited, especially when I saw the look of amazement on my daughter's face. But soon it became clear that she was too young to go stomping about in that weather. This year, she is definitely old enough to go outside in her wellies and enjoy it. This idea fills me with excitement. But the idea of attempting to get the pushchair over icy pavements and through mounds of snow fills me with dread. Last year some very lovely neighbours decided it would be a great idea to shovel all the snow off their driveway and the pavement but leave it in tall ridges across the pavement, creating an almost impossible to traverse obstacle for pushchairs and wheelchairs. This only became worse when the snow froze, leaving mountains of ice. Luckily, we have now moved far away to a place where, in general, people show some consideration for each other. 

So the part of me that is basically a big kid, the part that dances around the living room with my little girl and sings children's songs out loud in public is delighted that snow could be on the way. I'll buy a little sledge for my little monster and probably spend hours outdoors, having a lovely time. But the other part of me, the sensible part who budgets and plans meals is panicking that if it snows, we won't be able to go and buy food and nappies, which I'm already running out of today. 

I'm curious, do others fear snow or yearn for it? Is it an inconvenience or a joy? 

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Sunday Morning

I'm surprised to find that despite barely knowing the days of the week, my daughter seems to completely understand Sunday mornings. I am generally woken at around 7am by the sound of "Mummy!" being shouted from across the hall. Obviously, for the past few months, this happened before sunrise. So when I woke naturally to find sunlight coming through my bedroom window, it was a very pleasant surprise. I lazed in bed for a while before getting up and felt very relaxed rather than cranky and a bit resentful of being removed from a warm bed and duvet. My daughter soon woke up and just wandered into the living room. It was only at this point that I looked at my mobile phone and realised that it was already after 9am. 

Its now after midday and, unusually for me, I'm still in my pyjamas and not even thinking about lunch yet. Normally I would be dressed within an hour of waking up and have lunch on the table at midday if not long after. But when I went to get dressed this morning, I found myself asking why. I'll be popping to the shops this afternoon but what harm can it do if I spend a few extra leisurely hours in my pyjamas? My answer to myself was none at all. So here I sit, happily relaxed with my daughter quite happily sitting quietly with a book. I'll start lunch soon but there's no hurry. We do need a few things from the supermarket but they'll be open for hours yet. I couldn't do this everyday but just for once, it's quite nice. My other half has actually gone back to bed but he has a very rare hangover as an old friend came to visit and they had far more to drink than he's used to these days. Poor thing. 

I will end my post with another piece of advice. If at all possible, spend a morning every now and again in this fashion. Stay in your pyjamas a little longer. Put off cooking and housework for a little while and just relax. I'm not suggesting a whole day spent without dressing or moving from the sofa. But I think we could all do with a little change from the normal rushed schedule of the day. 

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Hooray for pee in the potty!

Potty training. One of the subjects I usually avoid bringing up around other parents. Because I fear either they'll sneer at me for not having potty trained my daughter before her first birthday or they'll think I'm crazy for trying to accomplish this before her third birthday. Who would have thought that how you teach your child to move from peeing in a nappy to peeing on a potty or toilet would provoke such strong opinions? But indeed it does.

We have had a potty for about a year, all in all. We actually bought two. One was a bog-standard, cheap thing that I thought would do just fine. The second, which replaced the first, is more like a chair, much more comfortable looking and it seems to be the winner for my little one. It is her potty, rather than the potty. It lives in her bedroom and she chooses to use it whenever she wishes. I switched to this method after spending months and months trying to ask her to sit on the potty periodically through the day. Since taking a more laid back approach to the whole thing, we have had three wees in the potty within a week, two just yesterday. Something else which seems to have helped was my husband's idea of buying this book. 

After reading this a few times, my daughter is now desperate to have "special princess big girl pants". So I have made a deal with her. If she can use her potty and keep her nappies dry for a whole day, I'll take her to the shops and she can choose some pants. This seems to have had an impact. Despite no consistent results, she seems to understand the concept now much more than she did before. 
I'm not getting over excited though. I am staying calm and expecting nothing. Of course, I jump about and clap and cheer when she actually does something. I've never seen her look so smug either. 

The only advice I will ever give to a parent over potty training is this: calm down. Don't panic because you're child is refusing to pee or even sit on the potty. Keep at it or maybe try something new. Ignore people who claim that their little darling was perfectly potty trained within a week so yours should be too. I know this a massive cliché but this really isn't a sprint and if you try and make it one, your child is going to give up well before the finish line. Good luck to all!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Jelly Belly

Hello readers. This morning my legs and hips are aching. This is because last night I went to my first Zumba session. Thus far in my desperate attempt to get back to my pre-baby dress size, I have merely consumed less calories and done some exercise in my living room when my daughter is in bed and my husband is out. My husband has been curious as to why I will not exercise in front of him but I am happy to exercise in a group. If I am by myself, attempting to perform sit ups and stretches and some basic aerobics, I do not want an audience. If I am in a group of people all attempting to perform the same actions, I don't feel nearly as ridiculous. Even if they are, I don't feel as though anyone is watching me. All eyes are on our instructor who had a dancer's physique and could move her feet at speeds that I simply could not achieve. There is also the knowledge that the person beside me, a good friend who recommended the class and kindly gave me a lift there and back, is also trying to lose weight. I think it's safe to assume that a few of our classmates were also trying to lose some weight. No, I'm not making a nasty comment about their appearance. It would be a bit hypocritical to insult the appearances of other women when I'm unhappy with my own. I got the impression that a lot of the ladies there weren't very comfortable in the situation. I noticed people, including myself, pulling on the hems of their tops to ensure their bellies were still covered. I noticed shy smiles and nervous giggling before the class started. I noticed that almost everyone there had at least some difficulty completing the moves that the instructor performed with some ease and grace. Of course there were a couple of sporty looking types who had clearly been going to these classes for sometime. Or at least, that's what I'll believe to keep my typical female resentment and jealousy at bay.
I arrived home exhausted and already starting to ache. My husband was still trying to settle our daughter but after a few escapes into the bedroom, she finally fell asleep in her bed. I then entirely ruined all my evening's work. We ordered a curry. Korma with rice, sheek kebab with a creamy minty dip and peshwari naan. Oh dear. I really must try harder.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Greetings and Welcome

Hello Readers, welcome to my blog. I plan to share with you my experiences of being a stay at home, a wife and a student. I have started this blog because, quite simply, I love to write. My dream career is to become a professional writer and if that's ever to happen, I probably get as much practice as possible. A secondary reason would be that I hope to amuse and inform other students, stay at home mothers and wives (and indeed fathers and husbands). Or I least hope that I don't cause anyone to feel that they have wasted precious moments by reading my ramblings. Yes, that is something I should warn you of at this point: I am a rambler. I regularly veer off subject and natter away about something completely unrelated until everyone involved has entirely forgotten what the subject was to begin with. As if to prove this point, I have now started rambling about rambling. Oh dear.

A bit of background, perhaps. I married my best friend in 2009. Later that year, our daughter was born. Roughly a year later, I started my Open University Degree. This decision took a lot of thought before I finally registered. It was a daunting prospect; I was already looking after a very energetic and, especially at the time, clingy little one year old full time. Could I really cope with studying at university level aswell? Now on my second module, I seem to be managing fairly well. My study hours are limited to when my daughter sleeps. This was simple whilst she still napped during the day but now that naps only happen after long journeys in the pushchair, all of my studying really has to be done after her bedtime. Of course, some evenings I'd much rather be lounging on the sofa, television remote in one hand, spoon in the other and a tub of ice cream on my lap. But luckily the courses seem to be structured to allow for this kind of indulgence. For this reason, and for the great sense of accomplishment gained, a highly recommend Open University learning to anyone who wishes to further their education but already has many demands on their time, be it small children hanging on your legs (my daughter likes to do this) or a full time job. 

As for being a stay at home mum, I mostly like it. There are times that I long for the adult conversation that comes with employment but the internet is very useful for days when we're stuck indoors and I'm very concerned that the song stuck in my head is the theme tune to 'In the Night Garden'. My little monster is two years old and so very clever and over dramatic (both traits she has gained from her father). I am constantly amazed at how quickly she learns new things. 

I shall leave my first post here and look forward to many posts to come. Thank you for reading.