Monday, 30 August 2010


- doh!

One of the brilliant things about being an older mum is nieces and nephews who are mature and tolerant of their young cousin. We were at the grandparents for the bank holiday and X's cousins didn't object at all that all the rules they abided by all through their childhood have gone out of the window with X who eats between meals, stays up as late as we all do and even watches dvd's in bed. My parents just don't have the energy to object any more.

X's cousins really spoilt her this weekend, They had baths with her, taught her make- up tips, let her play with their i-pods and played play-dough with her all day on sunday. You can probably guess which work of genius was by me, which by X and which by the fifteen year old boy cousin.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010


Watch out Michael Mcintyre, Russell Brand and Russell Howard - my mate Lizzie's little son, Lewis, has an incredibly strong comedy routine- well, it's certainly got a strong routine: jump out of the wardrobe, say 'boo!', roll around laughing. Jump out of the wardrobe, say 'boo!', roll around laughing. Some say he's a one gag man. Lewis declined to talk to us (words are still a bit tricky for him ) but friends say he's convinced that his mum is still "gagging for more." It's certainly true that, after several hours of clapping, exclaiming with surprise and rolling about laughing, she's makes snorting noises as she chews the carpet.

They say the art of comedy is timing - that's avoiding bed timing, of course.

Monday, 23 August 2010

SEAT BELT COVER - Angel Guard - Buckle Guard at

SEAT BELT COVER - Angel Guard - Buckle Guard at


We were accelerating up the Kingsland Road and the salesman was just going into the finer points of the dashboard.

'BELT UP!' I shouted.
'Sorry,' said the salesman, looking a bit miffed, 'I thought you asked about the cruise control....'

' PUT YOUR SEAT-BELT ONNNNN!' I roared, squealing to an emgergency stop.

'But I have!' he protested, getting a bit red in the neck.

' No, not you! Her!' I pointed to the back where my little one was grinning proudly and climbing out of her brand new 'big girl's' seat. No one told me that children find car seat belts easy to undo: she could never unclip the one in her baby seat.

'Oh, my kids do that all the time, ' said the salesman, 'you just have to teach them not to.'

'Great, well, thanks for the warning.'

Frankly I was a bit cheesed off with the salesman as I'd had to go and buy a new seat for the test drive as the old baby seat in my old car is far too complicated for me to even consider moving. 'Why doesn't the garage provide car seats?' I'd asked sniffily.

'In case there's an accident and you sue us,' he'd said.

Right, fair enough. So I'd nipped up the road to Halfords and bought a brand new Graco booster seat. Then the salesman had watched me wrestle the seat into the car and get red-faced fiddling out how the damn seat- belt threaded through it.

'Sorry, can't help,' he'd said, folding his arms and watching me do it totally wrongly, ' but you're nearly there.'

What with my eyes mainly on the back seat during the test drive I didn't have a lot of time to concentrate on the Fiesta, but it seemed gratifyingly nippy, good at emergency stops and quite easy to squirm around and clobber -er, restrain- children on the loose. On the downside (well,for me) the dashboard looks like a large, mobile phone fascia.

Driving home I decided I was going to become a Dragon's Den millionairess by making a child-proof seat-belt clip. Sadly the plan squealed to a halt when an internet search threw up Angel Guard Buckle Guard. But do they work? And are they wise? Further surfing turned up the fact that the AA don't advise any childproof gadgets in case children become stuck after an accident. This makes me wonder why the baby seat wasn't easier to undo.

Anyone any tips on how to keep my three year old from her new trick? She's about to have to be transported between nursery and childminder by a friend so it's not just me who will be trying to keep her safe.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

lol lola
I was all ready to hate Charlie and Lola: childish envy of Lauren Child's cleverness. But I just can't. X has just got into them big time: books and dvd's
(or dvd-dv's as X says). I just can't help loving how nice both Charlie and Lola are. Such good role models. X now skips around saying"happy to help", which will no doubt be excellent if she ever wants to go into a service industry; and ever since she saw Lola tidying her room she's become practicaly ocd about the covers of our bedclothes.'nice and tidy!' she chants, like a little Hyacinth Bouquet. Lotta is X's fave character because she likes her fluffy coat and the way she walks.


Male Marketers, Don’t Tell a Woman She Needs More Time… She Already KNOWS That.

Male Marketers, Don’t Tell a Woman She Needs More Time… She Already KNOWS That.

Male Marketers, Don't Forget to Target the Single Woman

Male Marketers, Don't Forget to Target the Single Woman

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

BOGGLED by phone.

Having her is a long lists of firsts. That's what makes it so endlessly interesting, but this one today was a really mind-boggling one for me: it was the first time I heard her voice on the phone.

My synapses sizzled, the electrons danced in both hemispheres. What amazing thing did she say to make me reel down the street like a drunkard at eight in the morning? "Yes, I'm ok, uh,huh, mmmm, bye." Mindblowing, huh? And then, there I was, with a big grin on my face, as if I'd got a call to say I'd won the lottery.

She's the first loved one ever that I've never heard on the phone. Imagine living with an adult for two and a half years and then suddenly hearing them on the phone. I've wished and wished I could talk to her a million times when I've been in meetings and worried how she was doing. I've fantasised about her being able to call me and tell me how she is. I've heard her talk to so many others on the blower, especially my mother, but never to me.

It had been a bit of an emotional morning. We'd had a fight about getting dressed in time to go to her D- her child carer. And then when we got there and I prepared to rush off
suddenly she sobbed great heaving, stomach wracking sobs. D wasn't impressed: " she's having you on, there's no tears. Stop it young lady , you're upsetting your mum." But I was upset myself about having shouted at her, I'd been horrible, had told her I'd leave her behind if she didn't hurry up! Doors had shut firmly. So we both had a little quiet moment on the sofa while D went off and did her hair. But it wasn't a quiet moment, the sobs didn't stop and finally D had to pull her off me.

Ten minutes later, nearing the tube, I got a text saying all was fine, but there was no way I was going to be fobbed off with that: I called. No crying, D as calm as ever - mind you that woman would be calm even if there were a hundred children living in her shoe. And then she passed the phone to X. I strained to listen, over the cars revving down the Liverpool Road, and then I heard her little, grown up voice. She sounded different: more precise, much older. It was if I was hooked into a weird time-travel call from her future and she was talking to me as a teenager.

Then "bye-eee," she said childishly, suddenly bored. And then I knew she really was ok and wasn't going to cry for me all day. Not that she was really crying for me, anyway; she was crying because life at D's isn't so much fun without her best mate E, who's off on her holidays to France. Maybe I should get D to hook them both up on Skype. That would put a just- won- the -lottery smile on her face, no doubt.

Sunday, 15 August 2010


She's three. She doesn't speak the same language as anyone else, everything looks and smells different from anything she has ever known, and everyone in her new world is a stranger except the woman who came one day and took her away from everything she knew, everything that she thought was her solid, reliable world. She misses her life up till now: all her normal sights, smells, habits, the routine of the orphanage. She's been in the UK for two months now. Her life up till now was in Russia. She's three and a half and has the sweetest little elfin look, a tiny Olga Korbett with a determined jutting chin and little legs that stand wide and strong, prepared for knocks.

Can you imagine being taken away from everything you ever knew, with no warning, no understanding and beginning a new life somewhere else with no contact at all with anyone you ever knew before, and no ability to even tell anyone what you missed or how sad you are? No ability to understand what the plans are for you? No understanding of what is going on or why? No wonder kicking the water really hard is a satisfying thing to do for little N-.
She is fighting the big old woman who has taken her away from her life and now is trying to control her. She's fighting hard all the time. Sometimes with rage, sometimes with fear, sometimes with frustration but mostly to see how her opponent will act, to test her out.

Her opponent looks as if she'd also love to lie on the ground and kick. She's white-faced with exhaustion, looked as if she might keel over flat into the kiddie playpool at any moment. Of the two, little N seemed to be holding up far better. She still has energy to kick her new mum in the face when changing into her swimsuit, still has the energy to lie on the ground and kick her heels when it was time to go. Her mum says that it's likely she'll still be up, banging and kicking, into the late night.

This new mum has been punched and shouted at night and day for two months with no one to help out. She's got no experience in how to parent an easy child, let alone one with all this grief and anger. She's wrestling with some silent guilt. Logically she knows that's N's future would have been bleak but she's aware that, from N's perspective, life may have taken a downturn at the moment. Sometimes, in the middle of the night when she's sill being kicked and hasn't slept she wonders whether she's bitten off more than she can chew. Like all new mums every relationship she's ever had has just changed, and some close family are being very hurtful about her decision to be a mother: her own mother is refusing to be called grandma. She's finding relationships with close friends hard. Some are fed up that she no longer seems to have time for them. Worse are some of the apparently supportive who misunderstand and say:" isn't it great she's so independent'," when little N rushes off into a crowd without a backward look. Her new mum knows this means she still hasn't forged the first beginnings of a viable attachment. They give her ice-creams when her teeth are still rotting and it gives her a sugar hit she's never had before, causing her to bounce off the walls most off the night. They look at this new mum's attempts to give reassuring boundaries in the way of a routine as her being a bit of a boring killjoy of a mum.

X and I met N and J in a cafe. I've never met another single adopter and neither had she . I empathised with her in lots of little ways: for instance when she had a little tirade against bigger families who act as if a family of two is not even a really a valid family, to be considered as having a say in arrangements. We had a playdate in the park. X and I ran around a lot with N while her mum slumped on the rug for a short while. Later N splashed her new mummy in the face with a great slice of water that ricocheted over them both. It was unexpected. They both broke into surprised laughter. It was a good little moment, a little glint of better times to come.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010