Sunday, November 23, 2008

At work and at play

Although I am on maternity leave and so am not working at the moment, I still view Monday through Friday as a working week - working as a mother. I enjoy my time with my baby - more so now than the first three months, when I whined all the time about how boring motherhood is - and I frequently meet up with other local mothers and their young babies. But as regular readers of this blog know, I find one day much like any other - a feeling that is intensified when one is essentially alone for most of the day. My weekends, on the other hand, are filled with many different things to do; M is likely to be home; family are around; and I can also do things alone, without the baby. I feel more like the old and the new me on the weekend. I know I can do many things with Little Planet that I do on a weekend, but it is so much easier to have another person around to help out as she is still so very young. So, despite the fact that I do not go to work as such, I still get that excited Friday high and that sad Sunday night low.

Saturday began with strong, freshly-brewed Monmouth coffee along with sourdough bread and a selection of cheeses M had bought during the week from Neal's Yard Dairy in Covent Garden: robust Wensleydale and double Gloucester cheeses.

Then we took Little Planet to the British Library in King's Cross to view the interesting civil liberties exhibition, Taking Liberties - The Struggle For Britain's Freedoms And Rights. It wasn't compelling enough for Little Planet, though, as she fell fast asleep as we wandered around reading about the Magna Carta, the women's emancipation movement, and modern-day concepts of human rights.

Afterwards, we took her to one of my favourite Indian restaurants Ravi Shankar on Drummond Street, where M and I shared an aloo chaat then M had a masala dosa and I had my usual delicious and very filling spinach and panir dosa. With a baby, you get used to cutting your food into bite-sized pieces so you can eat with one hand (holding the baby with the other)!

Then M took Little Planet back home to feed and nap. We have 4 hour windows of opportunities with Little Planet to do things between feeds. She is such a fussy feeder and so easily distracted that feeding her outside is very difficult. She also naps for increasingly longer periods as the day goes on - 40 minutes around 9am at home, around an hour in the buggy when out and about, around 2 hours in the afternoon where I prefer to be home, and then bedtime at 7pm. So mornings are our best time to go out and about with her or socialise with other mothers and babies.

I stayed in town to pick up tea from my regular haunt Postcard Teas and buy toys, baby books and baby clothes from Baby Gap, Borders and John Lewis. As Little Planet approaches 6 months, we have to buy the next size up of clothes. I couldn't resist buying her some cute denim dungarees (above) and brown cords, as well as the usual collection of sleepsuits, body suits (above) and vests. I really like the German Phister & Philina and Katvig ranges John Lewis now stock. I used to love buying DVDs, CDs, books, gadgets and clothes for myself; now I get even more satisfaction buying things for my baby daughter. As I choose which toy and book to buy, my heart swells as I imagine her playing with these things. And, of course, I love dressing her up.

I also picked up some Gail's sourdough bread and fondant fancies from the basement Food Hall - strawberry, lemon and chocolate. Another treat - Elizabeth Arden's miraculous and legendary Eight Hour Cream, now in a small vintage jar. Perfect for my elbows and lips.

Saturday wasn't all about shopping though. I also managed to pop into the Frith Street Gallery on Golden Square to view Dayanita Singh's latest photographic work Dream Villa. I've enjoyed Singh's work for a while now - her largely black and white photos of upper middle class Indian families (first photo above), empty home (second photo above) and museum interiors, and Delhi eunuchs appeal to me. But these photos were a little different (third photo above). No less mysterious, yet colour-drenched. These were haunting artificially lit, urban night landscapes that captivated me as I walked around the cavernous and empty gallery. I will definitely return for a re-view.

In the evening, back at home, M fed Little Planet and had her in bed by 6.45pm. The night was then all ours. We dined on homemade wild boar ragu with pappardelle by candlelight. M also made a puff pastry apple tart. Then we watched Paul Schrader's exquisitely filmed movie about Japanese writer Yukio Mishima - Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters on DVD.

Sunday began with a lie in (until 8am) then a milk feed for Little Planet and fried eggs on sourdough bread with a liberal sprinkling of Tabasco sauce for us. We shopped locally for the week's meals. Back at home we had chicken soup for lunch and bread and cheese. Then we spent the rest of the day sorting through all our books - which to keep, which to recycle. So many difficult choices to make. My parents thought that I would be able to take all my books from their house now that I have more space of my own. Sorry Mum!

The weekend ended with roast chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, kale stir-fried with pancetta, and gooseberry and elderflower posset for dessert.

How was your weekend?


Broom said...

aww, i missed my weekly fix of little planet's ridiculously cute picture!

Mallika said...

You are still packing the activities in! I'm hoping to take a leaf out of your book next year. We're also expecting a little girl...

Bombay Beuaty said...

Recently moved my books -- I computed about 80 linear feet or about 25m of books. The task of finding an apt revolved around finding a place where I could get a wall of books without overwhelming the room. Looks like you've done very nicely though -- and I spy 3 empty shelves -- BB

Planethalder said...

Hi Broom - soon, soon :-)

Mallika, many congratulations! The secret is to have an excellent babysitter (in our case my mother-in-law) and also a partner who likes to take over so you can take off alone on a regular basis. Everything got easier for us after three months.

BB - that's a lot of books!

Olivia said...

Oh you always manage to make me hungry, my stomach just growled.

I do miss Drummond Street (or Ealing Road for that matter) and chaat, and dhokla cakes, and oooh, everything from Sakonis really...

I am glad you like tabasco with your eggs. They go well with spicy sauce - right now my fave is Sriracha, that hot garlicky Thai sauce you find all over the world.

I say, gooseberry and elderflower posset sounds wonderful!

Navita said...

Hi a first timer at your blog. Its very tastefully done!
Kudos! But I would like to know more about you. :-p
Do stop by my blog too!!-a request as i have started fresh n new!

Planethalder said...

Hi O, I remember you kept going on about Sakonis. I really need to make the effort to go west and check it out.

Welcome, Navita. And thank you!

Olivia said...

I know there is a large Indian community in Queens, perhaps I should venture out there one day and see what is on offer. They have to get their supplies somewhere!