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

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Spring Cleaning...with a Toddler

The Other Half has friends coming for the weekend, I have a friend over for lunch early next week and our letting agency wants to do a routine inspection later on next week. So I decided it was a good time for a Spring Clean. However, any housework takes double the time when my Little Monster is around. She also has a rather frustrating habit of making a mess wherever I've just finished tidying.

I began yesterday with the Little Monster's bedroom, by far the most disorganised room in the flat. I cleared toys, washed windows, hoovered the carpet and removed all items that didn't belong in there, such as a small collection of the Other Half's socks. I organised her doll's house and her mini kitchen and her finger puppet theatre. I stepped back to admire my work for a moment before going to have a sit down. A loud noise from the bedroom. I nervously returned to find the Little Monster sat giggling on her bed, looking down on the carpet where she had just emptied her picnic basket and shopping basket. I gave up and had a cup of tea.

Today has been slightly better. I managed to get the laundry, washing up and drying up done while she played happily her in her now messy bedroom. I had to resort to putting a DVD on so that I could clean the kitchen and I am very grateful that she sat quietly to watch it. After finishing the kitchen, I paused to read Little Monster a book so that she didn't feel ignored. Then I washed the windows, changed the bedsheets and swept the floors. Now it's mid afternoon and I just have to hoover the living room rug and my bedroom carpet and tidy the living room. Cleaning the bathroom has to wait until after Little Monster's bedtime as it will involve climbing into the bath in order to reach all the tiles. On moving in, I immediately loved those tiles. Lovely irregular sand coloured stone. I thought the little cracks and crevices gave it a nice textured look, made it look homely. I now utterly despise them. They are the most difficult surface I have ever had to keep clean and seem to be dirty again within hours of being scrubbed.

I'm pleased with my productive day. I'm hardly a domestic goddess so it's nice to see the flat tidy for once. I know its unlikely even to last until the Other Half's friends arrive on Saturday but hopefully it'll only need a little tidy up at that point. Now I'm going to have a bagel and a cup of tea before finishing off the big clean.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Two and a Half Years On

I can't believe my little monster will be two and a half at the end of this month. Two and half years since my identity, my priorities and my attitude to life completely changed. Only just over two and a half years since I last had a job. Well, a paid job anyway.

There is a reason I've suddenly gone all nostalgic. I have been offered a job interview. To be honest, I'm not all that confident that I'll get it and even if I do, I'm not sure the wage will be enough for me to accept it in any case. But if I do take this job, or any job for that matter, it'll put an end to what has been a wonderful time with my little girl. I know this has to happen and I am quite keen to start work again. Plus, I know my Little Monster  will love nursery. She's so independent that I'm almost in awe of her. She can have complete conversations. She has original ideas and an amazing sense of humour. She considers others and helps out where she can. She seems to have mastered the potty - it's been about a week since we had an accident. It turns out that the most common piece of advice I was given - "she'll get there in her own time" - was entirely true and now I shall probably pass it on to other parents going through the terror of potty training.

So now it's really time that I became a "productive member of society" again (there seems to be a large quantity of people who do not see raising children as productive...goodness only knows where they think the next generation of doctors, politicians and scientists will materialise from) and let someone professionally qualified take care of my Little Monster. I have found a lovely nursery to send her to. Freshly prepared meals, a lovely outdoor area, lots of creative activities and staff that seem to employ some common sense in their approach. The problem is that wonderful childcare facilities don't come cheap. So now I need to be earning a ridiculous sum of money to even be able to afford to return to work. I'm certainly not getting my hopes up!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

My Funny Little Superhero

Last night, my Little Monster decided that her hooded towel resembled a superhero's cape and ran about the house making whooshing noises. It has to be one of the funniest things she's ever done. But this had led me to thinking about all the other funny things she has done. I shall give you a few examples and hope that you find them amusing as well: 

We attended sing and sign classes for two terms, starting a few months after Little Monster's first birthday. We enjoyed them immensely and they produced a few very funny moments. The first occurred during a rendition of that timeless classic "Three Currant Buns in the Baker's Shop". When  the teacher chose her to buy the second currant bun, my Little Monster started wiggling her bottom and holding her hands in the air. She made such a performance out of her part in the song that the entire class, teacher included, were in fits of giggles. Perhaps you had to be there to see it but I've never seen such a small child put on such a performance. She even had perfect rhythm! Another funny thing she used to do at Sing and Sign actually happened at almost every class. For a couple of songs, the teacher provided some instruments for us all to use. My Little Monster often made the decision halfway through the last song that instrument time was over and carried the basket around the class to collect them. Most of her fellow babies complied and if they didn't, she politely but firmly told them that it was tidy up time. Luckily my fellow mums just found this amusing, rather than a bit annoying. The final amusing incident at the Sing and Sign class was during a song about using the potty. We had just introduced the potty at home but with little interest from the Little Monster. However, when a potty was placed in the centre of the semi circle we usually sat in for the class, she decided it was an opportunity to give it a try. Promptly removing her jeans and nappy in one very swift movement, she sat herself down. I was then faced with a dilemma. I had been waiting for this wonderful moment to occur and I couldn't risk telling her off for this as it might well have been a huge setback. On the other hand, I couldn't really let her possibly produce something in front of the entire class. So I decided to delicately remove her from the potty whilst still praising her for trying. In fact, she received a round of applause from the mums. 

About a week ago we were travelling on the bus. Having already given her one biscuit, I refused giving a second. But rather than this resulting in the usual tantrum, she started wagging her finger at me, theatrically repeating my full name and firmly stating that I am very naughty girl. A mixture of giggles and looks of grim judgement from my fellow passengers caused my face to turn a rather fetching shade of scarlet. I'm going to delight in announcing that Mummy Loves Her in front of as many of her school mates as possible when she's a teenager. Sweet revenge. 

I have a huge flaw when it comes to giggling. I cannot help myself. Especially when I know I shouldn't. A few months ago, I had to fake a coughing fit during a church sermon. Most strangely, I struggle to keep a straight face whenever I witness a couple having an argument. I think it must have something to do with the ridiculous things people come out with when arguing. I think you can only appreciate how juvenile adult arguments can become if you're outside the situation. But I come to my point: my daughter has worked this flaw out. She knows that all she has to do is pull a funny face when I'm supposed to be quiet or serious and I'll burst into laughter. She finds this hilarious. She has also perfected an innocent facial expression so that if I try to apologetically explain that I am taking the situation seriously but my daughter just did the funniest thing, she looks around as if to say "Me? But I'm just a sweet little toddler. How could I have anything to do with it?" Which only makes me laugh all the more. 

I think she has the same mischievous sense of humour as the Other Half, which I happen to find hilarious. Its so lovely to watch her personality develop in this way. She loves making people laugh. She loves being centre of attention. It reassures me that she won't suffer with socially crippling timidity the way I did growing up. I used to be too shy to even tell a joke because if people laughed, I'd turn bright red with embarrassment. Luckily, this self conciousness is disappearing as I get older. Well, I'm not sure if its age or an effect of having such an outgoing daughter. All I know is that I'll now sing "The Wheels on the Bus" in public with no shame at all.  

Monday, 12 March 2012

The Endless Hunt For Employment

Today I have applied for four more jobs. One immediately told me that I'm unsuitable because I wouldn't be able to attend a training for a week at full time hours. I'm not sure who they think would apply for a part time job yet be able to attend a full time training week. It seems a little silly to me. Another applications has just been responded to basically telling me that I would have to be very flexible with hours. Which, of course, I can't do.

I suppose I must soldier on to find something suitable. In the meantime, I've also started the search for childcare professionals who I can trust to look after my Little Monster. In about an hour, I will be going to view a nursery that is rather handily about a ten minute walk from our home. It looks rather nice from the outside and I've heard some very good recommendations so fingers crossed that it lives up to the hype!

The Little Monster has behaved rather well today, given that she spent the majority of the morning strapped into her pushchair while I rushed about town getting important things done. She even stayed calm and happy when we had to wait in the Post Office for twenty minutes. Of course, a packet of Goodies Cheese Crackers helped to keep the peace. Just after finishing lunch, she disappeared into her bedroom, wearing a nappy, and returned a few minutes later wearing pants and carrying a potty full of wee. "I've done a wee wee in the potty so I'm wearing big girl pants", she stated very seriously and with shockingly good articulation. I told her I was very pleased and that she could keep the pants on until we go back out this afternoon. She smiled, nodded and disappeared back into her bedroom. Its been nearly an hour now and there have been no accidents. Its a small success but a success nonetheless. At least one of us has accomplished something today!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Struggling with Productivity

Today I have very little that I really have to do. I need to pop to the shops, make lunch and dinner and do laundry and washing up. That's really not much for a whole day. So it's very tempting to not do very much. Whilst I don't need to, it would be good to get some studying done, go for a nice walk with the Little Monster or do something else productive.

But I find myself sitting on the sofa, laptop balanced on my knee, blogging and twittering and generally wasting time. Would it be so terrible if I did the bare minimum today? The Other Half has gone out for the day. The Little Monster seems rather content with playing with her toys. I know I've got a very busy day tomorrow. The house is reasonably clean and tidy. 

I think I need a hobby. Something other than studying that I can do in my spare time. I've done loads of crafty activities but the practicalities end up getting in the way. These are either money issues or space issues due to not having much of these things. So what I'm really looking for are suggestions of low budget activities that I can take part in that take up little or no space. Feel free to give me any ideas you have. 

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A Sunny Day of Swimming

I am having a wonderful day. Its not often that a day goes so very well and so I felt compelled to blog about it. This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock but I happily sprang out of bed, rather than curling under my duvet for a few extra precious minutes of warm relaxation. The Little Monster woke up as I was helping the Other Half get ready to leave for work. It really does make such a difference to the entire day when she can say bye bye to Daddy before he departs. 

As she quietly ate the bowl of porridge that she had politely requested for breakfast, I announced that we were going swimming today. A huge grin spread across her little cereal smeared face. "Swimming! Swimming! Swimming!" I was thrilled that our planned activity caused such delight. The meal entirely finished, she popped her bowl neatly onto the kitchen worktop before leaping about the room in excitement. We got dressed with very little fuss, apart from a mini tantrum over covering up her Charlie and Lola swimming costume with a top, and organised towels and other swimming paraphernalia. I left the house, for once feeling confident that I had remembered everything that we needed, with a very happy toddler sitting nicely in her pushchair. Outside we encountered glorious sunshine accompanied by the slightest of breezes, keeping the air just cool enough. My favourite kind of weather. I was almost disappointed that the walk to the swimming pool was only five or ten minutes long. 

Paying for my ticket and getting changed passed without issue. Of course, I couldn't expect perfect behaviour from my Little Monster. Whilst I was attempting to cram our two full bags and shoes into a locker, she tried to make an escape. I had to leave the contents of our swimming bag falling on the floor as I dashed after her. Luckily she didn't get far but the previously empty changing rooms were suddenly full of fellow swimmers who all found the incident rather amusing. I managed to see the humour of the situation and my good mood remained intact.  
We waded into the slightly warm water until it reached her shoulders. She made her way to the closest edge and sat herself up on the side. I spent about ten minutes coaxing her into the water. We haven't been swimming many times due to moving about so much and lack of facilities in our old neighbourhood. This means she's a little unsure of the vast expanse of water. I assured her that it was really just like a big bath, which seemed to do the trick. She spent the majority of the rest of our visit wading about in the water, occasionally clinging to me so that she could lay back and kick her legs. She even made a little attempt at a doggy paddle. After a while, she didn't even want me holding her hand, although she changed her mind when the fountains and sprinklers were turned on. Far above us was a very large container which periodically filled up then tipped its contents down a ramp and into the pool. The older children found this very thrilling but the Little Monster was a bit scared by it. She soon got used to avoiding it and the wading and splashing continued. 

She was upset when I told her it was time to go home so, because she'd been such a good girl, I promised to get her a nice lunch from the supermarket on the way. This was enough to calm the growing rage and getting dressed was fairly quiet and orderly. At one point, I spied her little hand inching towards the changing room door lock but I quickly put a stop to that before she exposed me at the worst possible moment. 

The walk home was just as pleasant as the outward journey had been that morning and I picked up some cooked chicken pieces, salad and some nice smoothies for our lunch. I know that doesn't sound very exciting but considering I had been planning jam sandwiches, it was much appreciated. Now I'm sitting at the laptop while the Little Monster does some drawing with her crayons. I've managed to do two loads of laundry and applied for two jobs. An  enjoyable and productive day! 

Monday, 5 March 2012

Entering the world of work

After about two and a half years of being at home with my Little Monster, I have started looking for work again. My hope is to have a two or three of days a week in an administration job of some description with a reasonable wage. Oh who am I kidding? My hope is to win the lottery and stay at home while following my dream of becoming a successful writer. This is unlikely to happen. My more realistic plan will require some kind of childcare. I have no experience whatsoever of organising childcare. Which is probably why I'm blogging rather than making enquiries. 
I'm really not sure how to go about this, to be quite honest. There are some nice nurseries in the area but they quite understandably need to know a while in advance if I'm going to be sending my child to them. But from accepting jobs in the past, my experience is that you only get a few days notice before a job begins. Is anyone going to let me have a few weeks to organise child care before I start work? It seems unlikely. 
It seems that I just have to give this my best shot and hope for the best. Time to stop worrying about everything that could go wrong and start looking...