Friday, March 27, 2009

Cures for the common cold

What a week it's been.

We spent last weekend at home - a rare weekend simply pottering around the house and walking in the local area. We spent much of our time in the garden as the weather was so fine. But then both Little Planet and I caught colds, which have plagued us all week. It's been a particularly stressful week, because Little Planet is now - in her ninth month - going through separation anxiety. She has gone from being a baby as contented to play alone as with others, to crying every time I walk away from her. Plus she's teething. In fact, her first tooth (the bottom left) cut through today. So she has been very cranky and irritable and I have been doing the best I can, with a cold, to give her the attention and cuddles she needs. But it's been hard. I've hardly seen M as he's been working long hours. So I've been home alone at night feeling completely sorry for myself and worrying about the baby.

The upside of the week is that she has started crawling in earnest and she's suddenly gone through a major developmental spurt, which is amazing to witness. She's copying actions and sounds more, she's trying to mimic words and sentences, she's interacting with her toys in ever more dexterous ways, she's showing a preference for her books over her toys, she's pulling herself up, she's dashing from one end of the room to the other, she's anticipating actions and words, she's waving hello and goodbye, she's feeding herself finger foods... just so much.

Life is ever more hectic now and much more exhausting. Trying to keep up with her and trying to keep her entertained, and having to hear her cry so much because I have dared to turn my back on her for a second, has been particularly draining with a cold. Fortunately, my friend came to spend the day with me and keep Little Planet company while I took some rest. And yesterday, my mother-in-law arrived to take over the reigns as I had a meeting at work to discuss the account I will be working on when I return to work in a few weeks.

I also took advantage of being in central London on my own and scoured the shops for a lightweight Spring coat. I found a gorgeous black tiered trench coat at the Burberry store on Bond Street and treated myself to it. Retail therapy is perfect for curing adult colds.

And a grandmother's loving attention must be perfect for curing a baby's cold, because Little Planet has also recovered.

So now the weekend has rolled along again. I think it will be a good one...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Catching up and chilling out

In just over a month, I return to work and so I have been spending the last week or so preparing. I met with my boss and he told me that they want me to work on a major new account (I work in advertising). The account will involve some travel, occasionally in Europe. After nearly a year of maternity leave, I'm very excited. I've discussed my daily hours with my boss and with HR. I will start work early and leave the office at 5-ish pm each day in order to pick up my daughter from childcare by 5.30-ish and spend some time with her before her bedtime. M will drop her off each morning. I can work at home after Little Planet goes to sleep. And I can travel or work late so long as I have notice. This is the theory, and I pray very hard that it will be the practice. I think the key is not to over-think it, but simply to get on with it as all working mothers have to do.

The impending return to work has also meant trips to Aveda in Holborn to get my hair done, as well as several trips to the shops for my new working wardrobe. No hardship there! I've made an inventory of my existing clothes and have been focusing on shoes, handbags, blouses and a trench coat. So far I've looked around Selfridges and the shops around Bond Street and Regent Street, but once Little Planet starts childcare (just under a month before I go back to work) I will start looking (and buying) in earnest.

What else have I been up to... Well, I saw the excellent and moving movie Milk, on my own. Sean Penn was a revelation (and it was so hot seeing Penn and James Franco kiss). I ate, alone, at my favourite Korean restaurant Bi-won near the British Museum. M was away for 10 long days (in Chicago) and I was incredibly lonely even though I had several guests and even though I spent some lovely days going out for lunch with Little Planet and other mothers and their babies. Now that Little Planet can sit up in a highchair, is eating solids, and is enjoying entertaining herself by watching the world go by, eating out with her is such a pleasure. But now she is teething, she gets irritable quite quickly if I am out with her for too long. The other day she had a major screaming session on the bus home from a morning out in Islington. Poor little thing.

Little Planet has watched the birds and swung on the swings in Hyde Park and Regent's Park. Yesterday, M and I took her to the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery. We lunched with her at The Diner on Ganton Street in Soho. We ate thick bacon cheeseburgers with fries while she had beef and French bean puree. Then she watched the hustle and bustle from her pushchair as we shopped for provisions at the Japanese mini-market Arigato on Brewer Street and at New Loon Moon in Chinatown. We went out after her morning nap and came back home in time for her afternoon nap. After her bedtime at 7pm, M made a dinner of chicken and baby aubergine yellow Thai curry. We ended the day watching the funny Hana, a Japanese Samurai movie we first watched at the London Film Festival.

Oh yes, and since my last post Little Planet turned 9 months!

I tend to read while Little Planet naps during the day, saving the chores to when she's awake as she finds it hugely entertaining watching me fold laundry or hoovering the rugs or cooking! M bought back a thick New York Times and Chicago Tribune, which I've been working my way through. I've also finished Tony Parson's My Favourite Wife and begun Shyama Perera's Do The Right Thing. This weekend, M has spent Little Planet's naptimes gardening as the weather has been so mild and clear.

Today, we pottered around the local shops and park and then spent most of the afternoon in the garden as the weather was warm and sunny. Tonight, M is making a few Korean recipes from the current edition of the every excellent Gourmet magazine: warm tofu with spicy garlic sauce, shrimp and spring onion pancakes, rice and kimchi.

A lovely weekend with my little family. And so another week begins. M is a lawyer and one of his cases goes to trial this week so I will not see much of him over the next few weeks. But at least he is in the country. And we always have our weekends...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The weekend list

Hot croissants with raspberry jam and Brie cheese for breakfast on Saturday / Apple and mango rice pudding for Little Planet / A stroll through Regent's Park and a play, for Little Planet, on the swings there / Hot dog for M, sausages, mash and onion gravy for me, and beef and green bean puree for Little Planet outside in the park's Honest Sausage cafe / Walking down Marylebone High Street and buying wine and toiletries / Strolling through Selfridges while Little Planet napped in her buggy / Walking down Wigmore Street to the John Lewis Food Hall for provisions / Cab home / Carrot and apple puree for Little Planet's dinner / Homemade lamb shanks and steamed green vegetables for our dinner after she had gone to bed / Fried eggs on toast with hickory Tabasco sauce for breakfast on Sunday / Oat porridge for Little Planet / Lahmacuns, humus, pitta bread and spicy Kurdish sausage for lunch in Antepliler (sweet potato and lamb puree for Little Planet) / A play on the swings for Little Planet and watching the birds being fed in the leafy Finsbury Park / A thorough read of the weekend FT while Little Planet napped and M had a conference call / Spinach and apple puree for Little Planet's dinner / Homemade tonkatsu, miso soup and shredded cabbage for our dinner / Catching up on 90210 (my new guilty pleasure) and Eastenders (which I have started watching again recently) while M worked / Being amazed at the thought that Little Planet will be 9 months old at the end of this week / Feeling sad that M is back in the States again - for a whole week / But looking forward to the week filled with guests and outings (so far, a friend and her two babies on Monday, my cousin on Tuesday, a baby singing class on Wednesday, an outing with just Little Planet and I on Thursday, and my mother-in-law this Friday) / Also looking forward to some solo trips into town on Saturday (getting my hair done and doing some shopping) and the following Monday (seeing work colleagues and catching a movie) while my mother-in-law looks after Little Planet