Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Shifting junk

While my husband and mother-in-law enjoyed the long weekend with my baby daughter in London... this is what I spent all Bank Holiday weekend doing: filling this skip with my mother's unwanted junk. For she is moving back to London from East Anglia just so she can be closer to her only grandchild. Hurrah!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lazy weekend

A lovely weekend is coming to an end. Yesterday, we spent the morning in Marylebone. Little Planet enjoyed the swings, roundabout and see-saw in Regent's Park and then we bought her some new clothes in Bonpoint. We also bought wine from Oddbins, fillet mignon from Ginger Pig and assorted vegetables, cheeses and bread from La Fromagerie. Dinner back at home was butter-soft fillet mignon with mushrooms, tomatoes and mashed potatoes. Saturday was also the day Little Planet stood up by herself for the first time!

Today was spent chilling at home. Little Planet played all day (aside from her afternoon nap) and we read the weekend papers. We also cleaned the house, but managed to limit it to an hour. Poor M had to work a little, but in between he managed to bake two loaves of bread and a cheesecake. He's now on a conference call, but somehow has managed to roast a chicken for our dinner later (as well as steam and mash a week's supply of carrots and broccoli for Little Planet). I am such a lazy wife!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Typical day # 6

Now that I am back in fulltime work, our morning and evening routines with Little Planet are carried out with military precision, with M and I essentially tag-teaming.

At 6.30am each work day, M will get Little Planet out of bed, take her downstairs to the kitchen, put her milk on to warm then bring her back upstairs to change her nappy. Then he will take her back downstairs, collect the milk, bring her back upstairs and feed her. Usually she has 8 oz of milk. Meanwhile, I am brushing my teeth, washing my face, and having a shower. If a load of laundry needs doing then I will have put it on a quick 1 hour cycle at 6.30am when we all get up.

By 6.50am, I am out of the bathroom and have popped downstairs to make a big pot of filter coffee. M has finished feeding Little Planet her milk. Then I am back up the stairs and I get dressed in the bedroom while M takes his shower. I put BBC News on and Little Planet plays on our floor while I get ready for the day. Once I am dressed and have put my make up on, I dress Little Planet.

By 7am or 7.10am, both Little Planet and I are downstairs. I have my breakfast while she plays in the kitchen with me. We have a bag of her toys in most rooms of the house. I will tidy and wash up a few things - I hate clutter and like things to be in their correct places. I will also prepare her breakfast.

M is down by 7.15am and he gets his breakfast ready and then around 7.30am he feeds Little Planet her breakfast of solids - usually some Weetabix and milk or some oat porridge plus fruit and rusks. Little Planet's appetite has grown substantially now she is crawling around and trying to stand and generally is burning far more calories than ever before. The laundry is usually done by now so after he has fed Little Planet, M transfers them to the dryer or hangs them out.

Between 7.30am and 7.45am, I am out the door and headed for the Tube to work in central London. I usually get in by 8.15am (luckily we live in zone 2). Meanwhile, M puts Little Planet in her playpen with CBeebies on, or he brings her upstairs with him into the bedroom, while he gets ready for work.

By 8.15am, both M and Little Planet are out the door and he drops her off at her childminders' house by 8.30am. Then M jumps on the Tube to work also.

Little Planet has a busy day in daycare. There are two other babies there. While she is 11 months old, they are 16 or 17 months old and both boys. She has a great time there, apparently. The childminders already consider her part of the family and she is often the centre of attention because she is so doll-like!

Now she is 11 months old, it is hit or miss whether she will nap in the morning. Usually there is too much going on and she is too distracted to want to nap. During her weekends at home with us, she tends to nap for 30 minutes in the buggy around 11am. But she will always take an afternoon nap around 1pm after lunch for an hour or so, both at home and with the childminders. After her afternoon nap, she will have an afternoon bottle of milk - anything from 4 to 8 oz. This is the bottle we will drop soon and replace with a snack.

The childminders feed her both lunch (around 12.30pm) and dinner (at 5pm) and she has finger food snacks throughout the day. Now she has four teeth, she loves munching down on things. She is eating so much more now she is more mobile and has more teeth. There was a time when we were worried that she wasn't bothered by food. No fear of that now!

I leave work around 5.15pm to collect her by 5.45pm. I bring her straight home and I immediately take her upstairs with me. I run the bath and undress the both of us. I change out of my work clothes and plop her into the bath. She splashes around for 5 minutes while I sponge her down and then she's out by 6.10pm and I dry her and dress her in her nightwear. During weekends, her bath times are much longer and much more fun. I also lay out both her and my own outfit for the next day so I am not rushing around with indecision in the morning (see how hyper-organised everything is now that I have returned to work?!).

By 6.30pm, we are in the kitchen. She's had a snack - usually a banana or rusk. She plays while I wash up her bottles and the breakfast things. We chat and I sing with her while I also prepare her bag for the next day. I put her bedtime bottle on to warm. While the bottle is warming, I carry her round each room to say goodnight to her toys - she waves at them all. Then we go upstairs to M's and my bedroom, where we still always change and feed her. I change her nappy. By this time, she is very tired and fights me while I change her. Sometimes she is crying by now as she is so tired.

By 6.45pm, she has a bottle in her mouth. Sometimes, she falls asleep on this feed. When she has finished - usually around 7 to 9 ozs - I like to keep her upright a little, so we read a bedtime story. If she is virtually falling asleep, then the story is very short! By 7pm, I have carried her into her bedroom. The light is on and we say goodnight to her toys and I place her in her cot. "Goodnight, sleepy tight" I say and leave her. It is a rare night that she doesn't quickly settle and then sleep through to the morning.

From 7pm, the rest of the night is my own. I tidy up upstairs and then I go downstairs and prepare the night's meal. We have already planned the week's dinner menus at the weekend and have already bought all the ingredients we need for the week as I no longer have time to shop during the week. While the dinner is cooking, I catch up on work emails or read or watch TV until M returns home - usually around 9. Then we eat dinner together. I save the vacuuming and dusting and other house cleaning for an hour on Saturday or Sunday. I may hate clutter, but I am not afraid of dust bunnies!

So that's a typical day for Little Planet at 11 months with a working mum. It's been great being back at work and using my brain. I am very busy, which is exhausting at times, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I have been craving being back in the cut and thrust of advertising for many months, so I am not complaining. It is odd working early and leaving early, but that is the way it is. As it is, I only have an hour with Little Planet after work each day. I have tried seeing if we could move her bedtime from 7pm to later, but at the moment she is too tired to last beyond 7pm.

I miss Little Planet, but I work in peace all day knowing she is having a great time with her two childminders. And I really look forward to the weekends with her. We take her out for lunch in baby-friendly restaurants such as Giraffe, we take her into central London (we've discovered the excellent Coram's Fields park near Russell Square where adults are allowed in only when accompanied by a child), we take her out on her baby tricycle and to the swings and slides in three or four parks local to us, or we simply potter about at home and in the garden.

And when my mother-in-law is here, M and I go out together - just the two of us. This weekend, for example, we saw Bill Fontana's Silent Echoes at the Haunch Of Venison - hypnotic audio and video footage exploring the sounds of five Buddhist temple bells in Kyoto when they are not ringing. We saw Thomas Steinert's stark photos of public and private lives in 1970s' East Germany, at Mummery+Schnelle. We perused the peaceful Buddhist Sculpture Gallery at the V&A. We also viewed Gerhard Richter's brilliant overpainted photos at The Photographers' Gallery. I bought Humanoid blouses from the excellent Folk Clothing store on Lambs Conduit Street, and M bought a jacket from Oliver Spencer on the same street. We bought a grey jersey dress for Little Planet from So Tiny London on Great Titchfield Street and I got very excited when they told me they are expecting some charcoal baby t-shirts with David Bowie's face on them. We lunched at the Nordic Bakery and had dinner at our favourite Japanese restaurant Kikuchi.