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Friday, 26 September 2008

Everything is OK

Nathan loves school. By Friday morning he is running ahead up the path towards the school, arms out to each side, jacket flapping, wheeling from one side of the pavement to the other, pretending to be an aeroplane. His blond hair catches the sunlight and he peeks back at me cheekily before running away from me again. He still looks so small and I can't believe I'm setting another one off on their journey towards adulthood. He has to be told to stand three steps back, away from the gate, so that the nursery teacher can open the gate and let the children in. He is literally hanging on to the bars of the gate, poking his nose through, grinning goofily at the teacher, shouting 'good morning!' to her. Eventually she persuades him to step back, but as soon as she opens the gate he dashes through, up the path and through the school doors, throwing his coat onto a peg as he goes. I follow him in, laughing with the teacher. He allows me a quick peck on the cheek before he gets too involved in the sandbox. I am so thankful. I feel so lucky. I am so happy. And sad. All at the same time.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

He's not a baby anymore! Hiccup. Sob. Sniff.

My Baby No 2, Nath, started school yesterday, in the nursery class. They ease them in gently these days, 'not like when I were a lass'. They take the kids in, four at a time, in a staggered entry system. The first day they go for just an hour, accompanied by a parent. The second day, another hour, this time without the parents, if possible. The following day, they try them for a whole morning session, etc, etc. Of course, the kids are fine. It's the parents you have to worry about. I reckon that, secretly, the whole 'easing them in' routine is really for the Mums. At least, that's what occurred to me as I sobbed into my neighbour's shoulder on the street this morning, "He's not a baby anymore!..." Poor woman. She only came out to fetch the milk off her doorstep.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

This week I will be mostly....

Even though it was formulaic, the 'This week I will be mostly wearing...' sketch on the Fast Show never used to fail to amuse me. Pure genius. Recently I've been imagining a Working Mum's version. A harassed mother, one eye mascara'd, the other not yet done, ladder in tights, faint greasy patch on left shoulder as she leaves for work, emerges from her front door, saying, 'This week I will be mostly worrying about.... [complete as appropriate]". Sometimes I am genuinely amazed that my brain / heart do not implode with all the data / emotions they are trying to hold at once. For example, this week I will be mostly worrying about....

... Nathan starting school on Monday. Will he like it? Will he behave? Will he simply pull down his trousers and wee all over the playground rather than ask to go to the loo, just like he did in that cafe the other day? Argh! Will he remember to wipe his bum???

.... How I can give Eden the support she needs now that she is entering Year 2 and brings home letters reminding us parents that we 'MUST read with our children EVERY day' yet by the time I get home I am exhausted and she doesn't want to do anything apart from watch Dr Who?

.... How on earth I'm ever going to coordinate the out of school actitivies for three children when getting round to calling the swimming school to book lessons for just two of them has taken me six weeks.

.... Where to hold Eden's birthday party, what to provide by way of entertainment and how many children to allow her to invite

.... How I'm going to break the news to Paul that I have to go away on business again soon leaving him with the children for another four days....

.... Why the piles of 'stuff' around the house are breeding

.... How I'm going to get Nath to go dry through the night

.... Why I can't find the final connecting piece of railway track in Nathan's Thomas set

.... And so on.

I'm getting tired just thinking about it all.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Happy Birthday, Ava!

It is Ava's second birthday today. She loves her new corduroy mouse bag. She loves her new 'birthday books'. She loves it when people spontaneously break into renditions of 'Happy Birthday to you' whenever they see her. She loves it that I can't stop picking her up and nuzzling her head and kissing her all over and telling her she was the best surprise I've ever had. She has no idea what a birthday is but she knows it's good. And she slept right through the two and a half hours I was out recording the radio show. Phew.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008


Yesterday morning a producer from Radio 4 called me to ask me about the impact the new Sony Reader was having on people's perceptions about ebooks and e-reading. She was preparing for a show to be aired on Monday and wanted to know what kinds of questions they should be addressing. We had a forty minute conversation during which she asked me lots of questions, and I quite warmed to my pet topic. Eventually she asked whether I was free on Friday to speak on the show alongside an author I know. My heart sank. Friday is my day off, the day I look forward to each week, when I get to spend the entire day with my children. I told her I was really sorry, but I couldn't do it. She sounded really disappointed, said I was exactly the person they needed; she really liked the things I'd said; they'd send a cab to fetch me and I'd only be away a couple of hours; they'd pay me a small fee plus expenses. It did seem very irritating to have spent all that time briefing her on the background to the topic and then not to be able to go on and speak about it, especially if it meant a competing publisher would get the air time if I said 'no'. I hummed and hah-ed for a minute, then said I'd call her back. I called Paul and explained the situation to him. He sounded unduly unimpressed that I should even be considering it, but huffily agreed that he'd look after the children for a few hours while I went into town to do it. When I questioned why he sounded so grumpy, he said in what sounded a slightly martyrish fashion, "No, no, if that's what you want to do, it's fine...."
I fought the urge to get cross with him, and rang off, then fought the urge to feel stupidly guilty, then wondered whether I should say 'no' after all, it was only a stupid radio show, then called the producer back.
"I can do it", I said, "I've sorted everything out."
"Fantastic!" she said.
Later I walked through the front door at home to find Paul in the kitchen making supper as usual. His smile seemed a bit thin.
"Are you still huffy about me doing this Radio 4 thing on Friday?" I asked. "I guess I'm stopping you getting your 'me-time', and you won't be able to work now on Friday yourself... "
"No, it's not that," he said. "It was only that it's Ava's birthday on Friday and I don't think you even remembered."
I can't even begin to tell you how bad I felt.