We planned a fun day out in London visiting my cousin who has a new baby and also a FANTASTIC exhibition at the Tate Modern (Olafur Eliasson – it’s AMAZING, if you’re in London go see it now!).
It was our first ever train trip together, and I thought I had planned it well – on the 10am train to London, coming back at 2.50pm, on a weekday/normal working day, not school holidays etc. Figured it would be quieter and easier to travel with a small person.
Apparently not – both trains were packed! On the way in I had a seat booked but the reservations system didn’t seem to be working so there was someone in my seat and the train was chock-full, and there was no space for the buggy anyway so I decided to just keep the kid in the buggy and stand in the corridor.
So much for off-peak!
We had agreed to meet at the Tate Modern gallery 11.30am as we needed to have timed tickets to the exhibition, and I’d assumed that half an hour was plenty of time to get from Paddington to Southwark.
However I’ve never done it with a buggy before, and while on the train I started looking at journey planners, trying to work out step-free access and which stations had lifts etc. Suddenly a 15-20min tube ride was apparently going to take 57 minutes, as if you want step-free access you have to take a tube to here, a bus to there, another tube to here, etc. Quite the palaver. Continue reading →
I love a play-kitchen, as do most kids, but they are huge and bulky and take up a lot of space, which I really don’t have in my house at the moment, I saw this a few years ago and made one for my god-daughter, and decided to make another one for my daughter’s second birthday.
I’m now 4 months into my maternity leave, and although I love so much about bonding and cuddling and spending time with my kid, it’s also boring and lonely a lot of the time.
You’re in the house alone with a tiny person you can’t really talk to all day, so you go to the park and you’re alone there too, pushing your kid on the swings, nodding and smiling at the other random parents, prattling away to a kid who isn’t really listening. One of our toddler groups is really lovely as two of my friends go there so I really look forward to that one, but most of the other toddler groups are a bit cliquey. Most of the other mums on maternity leave already have friends from their NCT groups or similar, and those with toddlers tend to be stay at home mums or childminders who already know each other and have been going to these groups for ages so they’re less interested in making new friends. Continue reading →
Ok, so after I mocked the Cloth Bum Mums for being a bit cultish and hardcore, I have of course drunk the Kool-Aid and become one of them.
The night time nappies, after a bit of trial and error are working well and we don’t have any more leaks which is great! However I then went a bit further down the rabbit hole and discovered wool wraps, instead of waterproof ones. It’s really quite fascinating and the way that they work is that if the wool is well-lanolised it will absorb liquid slowly, at the same rate that it will evaporate. Meaning that it’s never wet and much more breathable for your kid.
It sounds like witchcraft, but I bought a wool wrap, lanolised it, and sure enough it works! However the wrap I bought is basically just woolly underpants, and it’s not very effective under a onesie, so I decided to knit some “longies” that would work as pyjama bottoms as well as a wool wrap over the nappy.
T-shirt quilts are popular in the USA but less common in the UK as far as I am aware.
The idea is you find a collection of t-shirts, such as for your favourite football team, or collected on holidays or at music festivals, and cut them up to make a quilt. I tend not to wear t-shirts much, but in my work overseas in the humanitarian world, branded t-shirts are common to identify yourself as a staff of an NGO and make it easier to work with communities and government officials etc, as well as showing off your donor’s logo as required!
As a natural-born hoarder, I have kept all of my response t-shirts from all my overseas aid work, as well as various t-shirts collected from other events here and there, and I recently discovered them gathering dust and mould in my attic and decided my maternity leave was the ideal time to get started doing something useful with them.
It is also 10 years since my first deployment as a humanitarian to South Sudan in 2009, the beginning of my career as an aid worker, so a quilt to mark 10 years of my humanitarian career seems fitting! However I must admit that over the years some of the NGOs I have worked for have significantly more t-shirts than others, and one NGO I have worked with for around 3 years only ever had 1 t-shirt (once you settle into HQ you tend not to get so much of the branded stuff) so the quilt appears rather skewed towards one particular NGO which is not necessarily reflective of my career but nevermind – I’ll let you guess which one!
This year, partly for environmental reasons, but also mainly because of my reduced salary while on maternity leave, I am trying to do a mostly homemade Christmas (with a few small exceptions).
In order to do a good homemade Christmas you need to plan ahead and not leave it to the last minute – there’s never any time in December! But also I’ve got more time on my hands than I used to at the moment so with that in mind I have been busy making all sorts of things!
You may have noticed my blog has become utterly dominated with adoption stuff, because, you know, becoming a mum is the single biggest thing to ever happen to me. It’s fairly monotonous and dull, which is not unlike my life at the moment – very little else going on in my life so there’s less to write about.
However in my boredom I have been missing my pottery classes and so have set about doing some more knitting and sewing and crafting in the evenings to keep myself busy and less bored.
So to break up the monotony of talking about adoption and being a mum here are some of my recent crafty projects instead!
We had our first trip away from home a couple of weeks ago, up to Yorkshire to visit my mum for a couple of days. I drove up at night, so she slept most of the way. She woke once or twice and went “Where the hell am I?” but then went back to sleep again. We arrived at 10pm, and she was initially very frightened and freaked out but then calmed down and settled.
The whole time we were there she seemed absolutely fine – I was worried she would be anxious but actually I was more anxious than she was (ironically I was mostly anxious about whether or not she was anxious!). She had a lovely time meeting some extended family members and lots and lots of cuddles with Grandma – she has bonded really quickly and well with my mum, which is lovely, although occasionally hard not to feel slightly rejected when she preferred Grandma’s hand/cuddles to mine! I suppose Grandparents do have novelty value! All in all she was happy, smiley, quiet and well behaved, and we both had a lovely time. Continue reading →