Is it just my baby that sounds like a Pterodactyl?

I remember the first time we properly made cub laugh. Not a smile, or a chuckle, but a proper belly laugh. He was teething, and so so so tired.  His cheeks were bright red and it was time for bed. He was 6 or 7 months old, I think.

For some reason, we thought dropping a plastic ball on his head was a good idea.  Don’t call social services, it was only a little one…. ahem. He erupted into the cutest fit of laughter, a slightly dirty and massively infectious chuckle, which we have captured on video forever and never ever get bored of watching back.

Now, something really bizarre has happened. The cute and slightly dirty laugh is now just plain dirty. Throaty, hoarse and staccatto, it sounds like a cross between a car engine backfiring, a machine gun, Catherine Tate’s Grandma, and some sort of dinosaur. Probably what I imagine a Pterodactyl might sound like.

It’s just weird. When he’s babbling and chatting away, he has the softest, gentlest baby voice. But when he laughs, it’s like he’s been possessed by a dirty old demon lady. Does this happen to other babies too? Will it go away? Please God, make it go away!

But in until he (please, please, please) grows out of it, we have found some amazing comedy use for the scary laugh. I was sitting on a bench in the local shopping centre sorting out my bags, and Cub was standing on the bench, holding onto the back, watching the people go by. And as people passed by, he was  laughing at them all, like a  fiendish dinosaur baby prince surveying his subjects. I have never seen so many people look so frightened, appalled and confused by someone so cute and small.

Old grannies approached him looking like they wanted to squeeze his cute little baby cheeks, and recoiled in horror at the machine gun chuckle. Grown men noticeably quickened their pace as they passed us by. I must admit, I might have been faffing about with the bags just a little longer than I needed to, because I was just too amused by the whole thing.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And when your baby makes weird noises, go scare some people. Why the hell not?

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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.

Oh my god, I have a 13 month old!

This is a post for the “Live in the now, Dude!” linky hosted over at Scribbling Mum’s blog.  The idea is to capture how life is, right now.  So, this is what it’s like right now for me and my little man!

It wasn't me!

Cub has just turned 13 months.  He is a tiny baby whirlwind, and  his main hobby at the moment is destruction.  In the past 24 hours, he has pulled a pile of DVD’s off a shelf, emptied a packet of baby wipes, thrown a tray full of food on the floor, terrorised a dog, and unravelled a toilet roll.

He is discovering cause and effect, and is massively into anything that makes a noise, anything with buttons that he can push, and anything that he can drop or throw (mainly food…) He likes to empty shapes out of a container, put them in again, and put the lid back on.

He has a little trumpet that he has just learned to blow, and looks so proud when he gets it to make a toot! And he loves to dance. That boy has got some serious moves! Every time he hears a beat, his little head bobbles about happily, as if it’s a reflex reaction to music. If he’s standing up, he’ll stamp his feet too! At the moment, he is particularly enjoying a bit of  Noah and the Whale!

He likes to play passing games. He offers you an object, saying “da!” then you take it and say “ta!,” then he takes it back, and offers it again with another “da!” He loves to play in his tent and his tunnel, though he uses the tent as a method of transport, pushing the walls to roll it over, like he’s zorbing!

He’s just started pointing at everything, and he loves to explore.  He is still very much in love with Boris, and he adores Spike, his Grandparent’s dog.  That poor old dog gets chased all over the house every weekend, when all he wants is a bit of peace. Yesterday he tried to grab the dog’s willy.  The poor dog looked horrified!! It would seem Cub has yet to develop a sense of social decency!

He’s a cheeky mimic, copying everything and everyone, trying to imitate speech, gestures and expressions. He chats constantly, and seems to pick up a new noise everyday, although the only real words he has as the moment are “da” (meaning “that”) “Mama” and “Da-doo” (He can’t make the “ee” noise yet, and sometimes, Da-doo becomes Doo-doo or Doo-Da!)

He is very affectionate and loves to give kisses, although sometimes there is just a tad too much tongue.  Daddy got 14 kisses in a row this weekend!

He’s  just on the verge of walking. Yesterday he took 5 unaided steps, but he’s still wobbly and lacking confidence. He is on his feet cruising a lot, but still loves to crawl, and is really speedy! He has started bear walking too, which is adorable.

Hopefully he will be walking in the next couple of weeks, although in a way I’m hoping he puts it off  a little longer. He’ll be so grown up then, and I’ll miss my little baby! But also, I fear this new era of walking could bring more destruction than ever!

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.

Dad’s Guide to Mother’s Day 2012

Dads, take note. Mother’s day is important to those ladies in your life.  If you felt like yesterday didn’t go to plan, take heed of these pointers for next year…

DO Let your lady have a long, luxurious, quiet lie in. She is a mother, therefore she will be very tired. Keep the children away, don’t ask where anything is. Just let her sleep.

DON’T let her get out of bed at 7 because the baby is crying and you’re too busy with a marathon 30 minute session on the bog.

DO prepare her favourite breakfast in bed, or encourage the children to help if they are old enough.  Tea and toast, scrambled eggs, pancakes, waffles, bacon, whatever floats her boat. A fresh flower on the tray would be an excellent touch.

DON’T let her trudge around making the baby porridge, feeding the baby his porridge, then getting covered in said porridge.  Then swearing a bit. Especially not if she’s not had a cup of tea yet.

DO buy a present. One that you’ve put some thought into. Cost is not important, but the thought behind the gesture is.

DON’T present her with a Tesco carrier bag with a bear in it, blatantly grabbed in a hurry, and with a rubbish apology about not having had time to write the card. You’ve known for a year that this day was coming around.

DO offer to run her a bath, make her tea and generally spoil her rotten.

DON’T tell her that she has stinky breath, if she hasn’t had time to clean her teeth yet, due to the above points. Not cool.

And a tip for the baby of the house… If daddy offers to change all the nappies for the day, but has failed to meet the above requirements….

DO Poo six times. Six stinky, sticky big poos for daddy.*

Cub, you made my Mother’s day with your stinky little bum! Thank you, and I love you lots! xxx

*Yep, he actually did poo six times. It was the day after his birthday party and he’d obviously been given little bits of party food from everyone, all day long. Bum activity has now returned to normal. Amazing comedy!