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...