The One with the Window Cleaner and the Shame

So there I was, sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea.  Then the doorbell went. So, as any normal adult would do, I hid.

Yep, I hid. I didn’t want to speak to anyone, I was covered in cheese sauce from the cub’s tea, and I generally couldn’t be arsed. So I dived from the sofa and crouched in the bay window. As you do…

Then the door went again, this time a knock. I was still crouched there thinking “Bollocks, go away, fuck, fuck, bollocks”

I should just emphasise that I had no real reason to be hiding, other than that I looked like crap and couldn’t be arsed.

Knock went again. I continued with the hiding, and the under-the-breath-cursing.

Then I heard footsteps, going off the drive. “Hurrah!!! I’m free!”! I thought. I waited a bit more, just to be on the safe side. Then I nudged my nose up over the windowsill, ever so carefully, to have a look around.

And there he was, the window, cleaner, re-squeegeeing the window, six inches from my face, looking right at me. I was caught red handed. It had been raining since he had cleaned them, and he’d come round for the money. And now it was just obvious that I had been hiding. How utterly embarrassing.

Not my actual window cleaner. Credit: Telegraph.co.uk

“Alright?” he shouted, looking down at me like I’m some sort of weirdo, quite justifiably.  Mortified doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt.

I grabbed my purse and went to the door. “I was, er, just changing a nappy…” I said. I have no idea if he saw me on the sofa with the tea in the first place… but I’m pretty damn sure he knew I was fibbing.  “Right, so I just owe you for the front windows?” I said, because I forgot to leave the back gate open, and assumed he couldn’t get through to the do the back ones.

“Nope, I did the back as well.” He said. “You want to get that grass cut, love…”

I was horrified and confused. To get into our back garden, you need to go through the house, or climb over a wall that is probably 9 feet high.

“I used me ladders…”

Oh, well, that’s alright then. You obviously used your stupid ladders, because you are a sodding window cleaner and you obviously have a great big stupid bloody ladders. IT’S LOCKED FOR A REASON!!!!

The reason being that the back garden looks like an actual jungle-cum-landfill. The grass is knee level through sheer laziness, and we had recently cleaned out the garage so there is various crap on the grass waiting to be taken to the dump. And as if that isn’t bad enough, last night’s wind has taken the paper recycling and scattered it all over the garden. And it’s not all just ours, either. Pizza boxes galore.

The shame, oh the shame.

But really, that’s not OK to just climb into someone’s garden is it? Not if the door is locked? Is that really rude or really considerate? Am I liable if he falls off his ladders? Does he think I’m some sort of actual tramp now? And a lying tramp at that? Why do I even care what the window cleaner thinks? How dare he disturb my cup of tea to made me feel bad about my lack of lawnmowering?

I gave him his seven quid, cheeks burning, and made my excuses to return to an allegedly urgent baby related matter. (Baby was fast asleep. Lying again.)

Oh, the shame. The shame.

Breaking through a weight loss plateau: Two week challenge!

Today is my weigh in day, and I’ve just logged my weight on Weightwatchers online.  I’ve been the same weight for three weeks running.  This is really, really annoying. I need to break through this weight loss plateau, and I want to do it in the next 14 days.  I have a little family break coming up and if I don’t manage to do it before then, it will be another month before I see any progress. It just can’t be another month! I’m too impatient!

I have only got 10lb to lose to get to my pre-baby weight, having lost almost 2 stone since 1st January, and I am definitely feeling much smaller. My clothes have started feeling much looser over the last month, and I can now fit into almost all of my old wardrobe! That’s a huge cause for celebration, and the non-scale victories are definitely boosting my motivation.

The only problem is that the needle on that damn scale just isn’t moving for me right now.

Getting to my pre-baby weight is a huge deal for me, because it means that I can move forward.  Losing weight that I gained in my pregnancy is like treading old ground, not making new progress.  At my pre-baby weight, I felt great, and I was the lightest I have ever been as an adult.  I still had work to do though- I was a size 14/16 and carrying an extra 30lb or so. Much better than the extra 130lb I was carrying to begin with, of course! (See my before and after photos here.)

I never quite reached that final goal, and that’s what I would love to do now. To get started, I need to get to where I was back in May 09.  I feel like I’m still crawling to the start line!

So here’s the plan. I need to fit in as much exercise as possible over the next 14 days. I think I would be happy with 8 sessions.  I will not exceed my Weightwatchers points for the next 14 days. I won’t use any treat points or exercise points. I’m going to be a focussed, determined, machine! And in two weeks, I will be writing that I have broken through this plateau!   I hope….

The baby who ate everything…

Today, the cub and I went for a lovely afternoon in a local country park. I thought we could feed the ducks, play on the swings, and have some sandwiches and cake for tea.

At the park shop, they sold bags of bird seed for the bargain price of 30p. Cub has been having lots of fun throwing things lately, so I thought I’d try to get him to throw the bird seed to the ducks. I showed him how to do it, several times, and his little eyes lit up, and he goo’ed and gah’ed excitedly… I thought he was all ready to give it a go. I was very wrong… he actually grabbed a handful of seed, eyed it thoughtfully for a moment, and greedily stuffed it into his mouth.

It’s just seeds, right, how harmful can that be???

After trying to retrieve the seed from his mouth, I thought I’d continue trying to feed the ducks myself, so that he could see them waddling and quacking up close. Not a chance. After his first mouthful of that delicious bird seed, he’d got the taste for it, and tried to steal the bag back. Then he threw an almighty strop because the birds were getting the tasty seed and he wasn’t.

Duck feeding abandoned. Off to the playpark.

First we went on the swings (huge hit,) then the slide (met with mostly indifference.) Then I thought I’d let him have an explore.

This particular playground is all built on a giant sandpit, rather than squidgy flooring or grass. So, I set him down on the sand, expecting him to crawl off, play with the sand, or… something.

First he looked a bit confused by this new flooring. Then, he grabbed a huge handful of sand, and, quick as a flash, stuffed it in his mouth. I looked on in horror. You would think he would have cried, or looked disgusted, or spat it out, but no. He looked a little surprised by the texture, but was not put off. He grabbed another handful, and tried to eat that too. That one I did manage to intercept.

Play park abandoned. Off to the cafe.

I ordered a painini (for bloody six pounds bloody fifty) and a caramel shortbread, with the intention of us sharing both of them. I cut the sandwich into manageable strips, and the cake into cubes. And did he reach out eagerly and stuff them in his mouth? Nope. He played with a bit of cake, sucked it for a bit, and threw it on the floor. The sandwich was completely ignored. Obviously not sandy or seedy enough.

Good job he’s cute.

I think I’ve reached the good part…

Cub has just turned one, and I have to say, I am absolutely loving being a mum at the moment.

I make no secret of the fact that I found the first year really hard. For the first three or four months, he was colicky, refluxy, and generally fussy. That gave way at about four months, and we had a couple of lovely months when I started to get back the sanity that I thought I’d lost forever! Then we hit teething at six months, which seemed to continue for an eternity. At nine months, he started nursery, and picked up every bug going. Another two disastrous months with no sleep followed…

Don’t get me wrong, I would never say I didn’t enjoy the first year.  It was as amazing as it was difficult, and no matter how little sleep I’ve had, I would still do anything for the little man. But God, young babies are hard work! Really hard work!  There are people out there who think that the newborn period is the best. I regard these people with suspicion. I fear they have faulty memories- that, or nannies.

My newborn cried, a lot. I’m sure they all do. He was extremely cute, but you can’t really play with a newborn. You can’t even raise a smile for weeks! Tough crowd!

But now, he’s turned into a gorgeous, proper little person.  I sing, and he giggles. I dance, and he tries to copy me. He hears music, and he bobbles his head around like a nodding dog.  He waves and claps high fives, and he can say Mama. He squeals with happiness when we push him on the swing, and chuckles at the ducks on the pond. I’m sure he thinks dogs are strange little men doing a funny walk, and he laughs at every one that we see when we’re out.

He sees a goat and tries to climb it, because the world is a climbing frame….

He chats to himself constantly in his own language, and greets Mummy and Daddy with the biggest smiles. And he has his own, quirky little sense of humour. Light switches, animals, noses and tongues are all hilarious!

He has a personality all of his own. He is boisterous and energetic and curious. He is independent and loving and carefree.

Maybe I’m just not a tiny baby person. The first part was fascinating. But this is pure joy.

(Nearly) 12 months of babyness in pictures!

My little boy is one this month!! I can’t believe it! There’s a little monster in my house, hellbent on destroying everything in his path, constantly chewing on something unidentifiable that he’s found in the carpet, and shouting! Shouting a lot, loudly, and not at anything in particular! Where did my tiny baby go? Where did the last 12 months go? Well, here they are, in glorious technicolour!

Newborn

1 month

2 months

3 months

3 months

4 months

5 months

6 months

7 months

8 months

9 months

10 months

11 months

11 and a bit months

It’s all gone too fast! I’ll have first birthday pictures to post soon, and I’ve got a birthday cake to make! Better get a move on!

5 things that make me smile

I’ve just realised that I’ve been posting some slightly downbeat stuff lately- so, to turn the tables, he’s some things that have made me smile this week!

1. Free Range Sausages. Sausages from free range pigs, surely, not free range sausages? I love the idea of sausages being free to roam. Harry Hill did a sketch about this once, with sausages happily frolicking in a field. I was so glad it wasn’t just me!

2. Old couples holding hands. That just makes my heart melt. I hope to be one of them someday.

3. There is a corner shop near where we live called “Butt Savouries.” It just never gets old.

4. Tea. Tea fixes everything. It’s the only thing that can always get me to go “aaaahhhhh….” (Sorry husband!)

5. The cub learning new tricks. His latest one is waving- it is the most adorable thing in the whole world- it’s such a clumsy movement but it’s just gorgeous.

Right, I’m off to put the kettle on! What’s guaranteed to make you smile?

Does a baby mean the end of romance?

Revived for Show Off Showcase on March 19th- Click the button to read more great posts!

ShowOff Showcase

Have you ever noticed how the vast majority of Hollywood romances are only about the courtship period? The “climax” is usually marriage, and the story is how they get from meeting to marrying. That’s the end of the story, the happily ever after.

Only, for most people, that’s only the tiny little bit at the beginning. For my husband and I, it took us 3 years to move in together, 5 years to get engaged, and 7 to get married- and that’s quite slow compared to lots of couples we know! I was only 18 when we met and he was 21, so we were in no rush. But Hollywood tells me that that’s the end- happily ever after. I was only 25! Surely that can’t be the end of the story!

Since we got married, our lives have changed so much. When we got married, we were both doing well in our jobs, and we had disposable income, nice cars, lovely holidays, we had both just lost lots of weight, so we were fit and healthy with fancy new wardrobes. We loved to do things spontaneously, and we loved to spend quiet time together, lazing in bed. We ate out lots, we saw our friends lots, and we were very carefree indeed.

A year later, I got pregnant, and all that changed- the loss of my income so I could be on maternity leave meant no disposable income, and the addition of the Cub meant no time to actually do anything anyway. We toyed with the idea of going on holiday, but the idea of doing a beach holiday with a suitcase of baby paraphernalia in tow, dealing with the logistics of naps and feeding in a strange place was just utterly off putting. I got rid of my fancy car to save money and now we share one- mostly, I walk everywhere.  And we both put on a ton of babyweight and our fancy wardrobes started to mock and jeer at us from the corner of the bedroom. (We are now fixing that issue, slowly but surely!)

Then there’s the exhaustion- the sheer, utter exhaustion. Not just the sleepless nights, but the real loss of time for ourselves, in which to recharge.  We now need to prearrange babysitting for a date night out (date night! I would have laughed at that idea not long ago!) and haven’t even managed a meal out together for two months.

This has been my day for most of the last week:

Awake for most of the night with a teething Cub. Then I get up, get Cub ready, kiss Cub and husband goodbye as they leave for work and nursery, get myself ready, walk to work, do a full day at the office, walk to pick Cub up, walk home, bath Cub, dress Cub, feed Cub, put Cub to bed, say hi to husband, run out the door to the gym, spin, come home, eat whatever I can find, say goodnight to husband, collapse in a heap.

We are like ships passing in the night, and honestly, we talk more over email at work than we probably do at home. So, I ask, how on earth do you make time for romance? How is it possible to fit in actual relationship stuff into real life with a small child? Because I do not want to wake up in 20 years and find that I have an empty childless nest, with a strange bloke in it who I barely know.

Tomorrow, we are going out for a meal together, just the two of us, and I am very very excited. I am excited to be going out with a man who is handsome, funny and caring. I am proud to be going out with a man who is a fantastic father. And I am very, very lucky to be spending an evening with my best friend in the whole world.

Also, I really bloody love tapas.

Maybe there is hope for us yet! Maybe romance isn’t dead. Maybe it’s just having a little break. I certainly hope so.