Is it Christmas yet?

Typical, my first day with Piglet in a week and I am ill.

I think it’s time to Slow. Right. Down.

The past two weeks have been manic. I get up each morning at 6, place Piglet in Granny’s bed, and then go off to work each day until nearly 7pm. Then last week I was up at 4.45am on Saturday (don’t ask) for Blogfest, and not back until after 10pm. This Saturday I was away in London again all day showing people around my old flat and hoping that they would buy it.

I had been so looking forward to spending Sunday with Piglet.

Sunday is our day.  Sunday is when we go swimming, then for a Sunday roast at the pub, and then round to my mother’s friend’s house where Piglet plays with her ancient toy cars, remnants of childhoods from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Today there was no swimming.  After a long but patchy night’s sleep, I was in no state to head out into the wind and rain at 9am, and even after sleeping on and off until 12.30, nor could I eat the pub lunch.  Piglet has now gone out with Granny to play with the ancient cars.

So what was supposed to be Mummy and Piglet day, has ended up being Granny and Piglet day, yet again.

Roll on Christmas, and two weeks off work.

Ten Reasons Why I Might Be a Failed Blogger

So at the weekend I went to Mumsnet Blogfest.  I am planning to write about this at some point, but for now, let’s just say I am having a slight problem with the photography.

This is just one reason why I am failing at blogging (and life, but I wrote about that here).

No, I am not a photographer.  I am not one of those people who just casually walks around, SLR (is that what it’s called?  You know what I mean, the big camera thingys that used to be the ridiculed preserve of Japanese tourists on pan-European coach tours, but which since the advent of the Internets have suddenly become the hipster accessory du jour) in hand, snapping at random objects in an artful manner.

I have also failed to take lessons from Buzzfeed, which is why I have not numbered this post, despite it being headlined “ten things…”  It probably won’t even BE ten things.  Then again, Buzzfeed is not to be trusted, having recently posted something about the “greatness” of Love Actually, which is a film that I used to sort of like but could never quite work out why I felt slightly uncomfortable about it, until I read this piece of brilliance and realised why I was creeped out by the Keira Knightley storyline that was supposed to be sweet, but was basically a story of stalking and harassment dressed up in a friendly Andrew Lincoln-from-Teachers shape; and the storyline about Colin Firth getting a bit obsessed with someone who couldn’t speak a word of English, which says volumes about the fact that women in our society are considered far more attractive when they don’t talk.

Then there is the fact that I have no idea what is meant by such technical jargon as “SEO,” “nofollow links” (I don’t think I want one of those.  They sound bad), and it took me about two years to work out how to resize a photo so that the occasional snapshot that does make it onto the blog-usually a view of the back of someone’s head-isn’t ridiculously tiny.

Oh, and I’m not all about the positivity beloved of so many parent bloggers.  Have you read any of my posts recently?

Oh no, you haven’t because you haven’t a clue who I am.  There was me, at Blogfest, running up to people and telling them I recognised them from Twitter, or, more frequently, just looking at them from afar with a sort of creepy admiration, wondering how they managed to have so many “blogger friends” when I was hanging around wondering if it might be time to give up and go and have a conversation with my own reflection in the mirror, and ABSOLUTELY NO ONE knew who I was.  Not. A. Single. One.  After all, I don’t have any photographs of myself on the blog, so how would they know?  Deduce from the appearance of Piglet that I look vaguely like him and therefore must be his kin?

I’m not very good at the, er, self-promotion.

You won’t find me on Pinterest, because I don’t have any decent photos on the blog.  You won’t find me on LinkedIn, because isn’t that something boring for business people?  You won’t find me on Periscope, because I don’t know what that is, and it sounds like it might be submarine-related.  On a completely unrelated note, the last time I went on a submarine (in 1994, which sounds like a long time ago, but bear in mind that even back then in Ye Olden Nineties, women did have the vote and some of them even had jobs) I asked what I thought was a pertinent question about why women were not allowed to work on submarines, and was told that the answer was because we would all synchronise our periods and have PMT at the same time, and that if that was to happen, with all the nuclear warheads on board, the only logical outcome would be that we would be a danger to national security, international stability, and indeed the continued existence of the entire human race.  BECAUSE NO MAN EVER STARTED A WAR EVER.  All those pesky women, going around causing international incidents.  I mean, look at Boudicca!

That is why I don’t like the sound of this Periscope.

So yes, ladies and gentlemen (mostly ladies.  I don’t think any men read this blog, although I will be happy to be proved wrong) I am a Bad Blogger.  I don’t even post pictures of my Mum-style Breton tops or the paleo diet kale and courgettini superfood smoothies I drink every day.  Forgive me, O blogging brethren.

Mummuddlingthrough
Life with Baby Kicks
A Cornish Mum
New Mummy Blog

A-DA!

As regular readers of this blog will attest, Piglet is a man of few words.

The words are:

“BBBBBBB-AAAALLL.”  This means “ball,” and is proclaimed whenever a ball comes into view.  Even a rugby ball, which I maintain is proof of Piglet’s budding intellectualism, as rugby balls aren’t even real balls.  They aren’t even circular, so it is impressive that Piglet is able to recognise them as belonging in the same category as ordinary, round-shaped balls.

“Brrruu.”  This is a generic term for food, usually food that is small and round, such as blueberries.  Piglet loves things that are small and round.  He is also a big fan of a pea, although he can’t say that yet.

“A-DA!”  This is a word that Piglet has been saying since around the age of eight months.  And I still have no idea what it actually means.  Various theories have been mooted.  He is obsessed with someone called Adam; he is already bemoaning his lack of a father by asking if every person who passes by is his “da;” he is saying “oh dear” a lot, probably as an expression of frustration that he was born to me and not to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as he doubtless would have preferred.  However, none of these theories have yet scratched the surface of the sheer range of emotions, adjectives, nouns and verbs of what “A-DA” appears to mean.

Take today, for example.  I picked Piglet up from nursery at 5pm, and when I arrived he was off having his nappy changed (I wonder if they sing that old chestnut, What You Got For Mummy in that Nap-Nap, at nursery?  Or do they prefer the dulcet tones of Mr Nap-Nap, Bring Me a Poo, with musical arrangement by yours truly, to the theme of Mr Sandman, as performed in Grease 2 by boys in matching jackets which get stolen by the T-Birds.  What do you mean I’m the only person in the universe insane enough to sing songs about poo?)

When Piglet returned from the changing station, he was naked apart from his nappy (although for some reason, they weren’t singing my other favourite tune, I’m a Naked Baby and I Like to Run Around) as he had a bit of a temperature.

And as he was carried aloft back into the baby room in all his naked glory, a great chorus of “A-DA!” went up, from all the assorted babies and adults greeting him.

“A-DA!” came Piglet’s commanding reply.

“A-DA!” was how he used to greet the childminder every morning.

“A-DA!” was what he said repeatedly on the bus on the way home from nursery, whilst pointing at indeterminate passing objects out of the window.

“A-DA!” was what he yelled angrily, through his sobs, from the depths of his too-small car seat as I tried desperately to placate him with small, round pieces of brrruu the last time my brother gave us a lift back from London.

“A-DA!” is his way of acknowledging my mother when I put him into her bed each morning as I go to work.

“A-DA!” is hello.  It is goodbye.  It is everything in between.  It’s a dog chasing a stick in the distance. It’s a squirrel climbing a tree.  It’s a relative stopping by to say hello.  It’s anger.  It’s reproach.  It’s “when the parents were being given out, why did I get you and not Brad and Angelina?” It’s “I bet they wouldn’t tie me into this ridiculous newborn-sized car seat at the age of FOURTEEN MONTHS and ANYWAY, GIVE ME SOME BRRUU.”

It’s the catch-all term for The World According to Piglet, and there’s a part of me that will be sad when he no longer has a use for this most useful and all-encompassing of words.

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows

Am I Failing at Life?

As I write this, I am sat in my brother’s old bedroom, which I now share with Piglet, in my mother’s house. My brother’s snowboard is still in the corner and there is a promotional flyer on the wall for a club in Ibiza which I suspect he has never been to.

I am 35 years old, and this wasn’t meant to happen.

At swimming class, I am the only person who parks their buggy outside, because everyone else can drive and therefore doesn’t need to catch the bus to swimming and leave home an hour early so that they can organise their day around the bus timetable.

Also at swimming today, I was the only mother in the pool.  All the other mothers at swimming were stood on the poolside, watching their husbands take the babies for their swimming lesson (almost all those mothers still felt the need to change the babies out of their swimming costumes afterwards, as presumably the husbands couldn’t manage it, which from a feminist perspective I find OUTRAGEOUS, but I have previously written about that here).  I do not have a husband.  Piglet does not have a daddy to fail spectacularly at changing him.  I will not be writing any blog posts with titles like “our love story,” or “why I love my husband even more now he’s a father,” because, guess what folks, I DO NOT HAVE A HUSBAND.  In fact, I failed at this milestone of life so spectacularly, that I had to import sperm from America in order to have a baby.

Sometimes I am a bit worried that I am Failing At Life.

I mean, if someone had told the teenage me that I would be living with my mother in my mid-thirties, having failed to get married despite having had the wedding pretty much planned since the age of fifteen and the baby names all picked out, I would probably go and throw myself off the nearest cliff, but, sometimes, when life gives you lemons, you have to make lemonade.

My lemonade is called Piglet.

My Kid Doesnt Poop Rainbows
Mummuddlingthrough

How about…let’s teach men not to rape, OK?

So today I fell victim to the curse of public transport known as the Angry Bus Driver.

I don’t know what it is about bus drivers.  I’ve never been one, so I perhaps they just have an incredibly stressful job (who doesn’t?) and don’t get paid enough (who does?) but many of them seem to be ANGRY.  Angry at passing motorists, angry at their passengers, angry at life.

Today’s bus driver was all of the above.

There was I, innocently standing at the bus stop, getting on the bus and all of a sudden it was “LOOK OUT FOR YOURSELF YEAH?  THINK FOR YOURSELF!  PUT YOUR HAND OUT!  I VERY NEARLY DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO STOP!”

“OK, OK…sorry.”

He was still carrying on moaning at me even after I thought he had finished his complaint and retired to the back of the bus, trying not to roll my eyes in a too-obvious Kate Middleton in America wrapping presents, kind of way.

“OK, sorry again.”

“That’s all right darling!” he called out from the front of the bus, as though all he had been looking for was a grovelling apology from me that I had had the BRAZEN AUDACITY to assume that some of the other fifty million people on the bus stop were about to catch the same bus and that the bus might, like, stop or something, rather than ignore all potential passengers as a matter of trying to prove some ridiculous point that we were all lazy benefit scrounging parasites who had the sheer unbridled cheek to stand at a bus stop in the middle of the day and think that it might stop, and that it might be embarrassing, not to mention something of a road hog, if all fifty million people decided to leap in front of the bus eagerly, arms outstretched, at the same time (you know what I’m talking about, people don’t you?  It’s either “ALL RIGHT THERE’S NO NEED FOR ALL OF YOU TO PUT YOUR HANDS OUT AT THE SAME TIME I’M GOING TO STOP OK?  OK????” or “YOU ARE ALL A BUNCH OF PEASANTS WHO NEED TO PUT YOUR HANDS OUT IF YOU THINK I WILL STOP THIS BUS!!!”)

Anyway, as I seethed with rage quietly at the back of the bus, thinking that this had blatantly happened because I was a woman, and what was this joker doing calling me  “darling” anyway, as though I was some sort of family pet, and I am 35 years old and a woman and I AM NOT GOING TO BE PATRONISED DAMMIT, the driver continued venting his rage at anyone who crossed his path.  An old man with a stick ( a STICK, I tell you, he was actually mobility impaired) who should “MIND THE DOORS!  Don’t get stuck in those doors.  You might DIE!”

By the time we were half a mile up the road the driver was taking on a long line of random motorists who dared cross his path (“I’VE GOT A JOB TO DO, YOU KNOW!  What am I supposed to do; PARK UP AND WAIT FOR YOU?”) and then aiming his enormous bus at them and forcing them to reverse back up the road.

Now, as I haven’t driven a car since since I failed my driving test in 2005, I’m no expert in The Rules of the Road, but I’m pretty sure he was breaking most of them.

Eventually, I got off the bus, mentally preparing myself for another tirade about how I shouldn’t have got up until the bus stopped, and I could go flying through the windscreen, you know.  Or I should have got up before the bus stopped, and I very nearly missed my stop, you know.  I wasn’t sure how to play it.  Anyway, I got off the bus, only for the driver to apologise for ranting at me, and to then say that the only reason he did it was because he is concerned about females late at night.

Late at night.  It was two O’clock in the afternoon and broad daylight.

I looked at him, deadpan.  “It’s the middle of the day.”

Ah yes, but one day I might fail to put my hand out when waiting for a bus in the middle of the night and the bus won’t stop and he once heard from a friend of a friend of a friend about someone this happened to who ended up being raped.

“Right,” I replied.  “I am an adult.  I am capable of looking after myself.  And if you are so concerned about females alone at night, why don’t you tell men not to go around raping them?”

The two elderly women who were about to get on the bus and who had only heard the tail end of that conversation looked utterly aghast.

I walked home feeling almost as angry as the bus driver.  Not quite, as I didn’t want to end up in an early grave due to the sheer exhaustion of being so angry all the time, but why is it that it is my responsibility (and that of all women) to avoid being raped?  I grew up being told by friends, family and everyone in between that I should never walk home alone at night, and that certain areas, due to the mere fact that they were dark and had few buildings, were basically no-go areas at night, just because I was female and MIGHT GET RAPED.  Where were the reminders to all the men that they shouldn’t be doing the raping?

NOWHERE.

Now I’m not advocating getting roaring drunk and going stumbling about alone forgetting all semblance of common sense, but I think that is important advice for members of both sexes, no? And, more importantly, lack of common sense is not an invitation or excuse to rape.

So, Angry Bus Driver, I will be ignoring your advice about waiting for buses (shock, horror) in the hours of darkness, but I will be teaching my son that it is HIS responsibility not to go around raping people (I hope that we will not reach a point where I actually have to spell this out to him in very literal terms, as hopefully basic respect for all people will follow naturally from the upbringing I give him, right people?  This will be OK, right?)

I will put my hand out next time though.  Just in case it’s Angry Bus Driver again.