Sunday, February 28, 2010
Things had been slowing down quite drastically since January. In 3 months, the company had recruited 10 times less people than they had in the same period the previous year. Being pregnant, I had decided to take it easy anyway (hence considerably slowing down on the parts of the job that I didn't really like). I was getting increasingly tired and my boss was very understanding and didn't put any pressure on me (which is quite surprising considering the fact that she didn't have any children herself and was well known for being extremely ambitious and ruthless.) Mr Foodie's dealings with her over the years were less than amicable and often conflictual (we worked for the same company but at different ends of the process). And he was quite surprised at how much support and leeway she was giving me and always wondering why? What was she to gain from it? Being a union representative always makes him wary of management anyway.
I eventually left for maternity leave at the end of May. I went back to do the obligatory 'showing off of the baby' a few weeks later, with Mr Foodie in tow. I was meant to go back to work at the beginning of December, however, this being the busiest time of the year in the business, we had decided that I would extend my maternity leave by a few unpaid weeks and some annual leave. Until we went on holidays in August...
This particular day, my mum had just been released from hospital after a very bad kidney infection. She was enjoying spending time with her grand daughters hence giving us a chance to enjoy the sun and relax for a bit. While we were sitting on the patio, soaking up the sun and having a nice chat, we were rudely interrupted by Mr Foodie's phone. It was his dad asking if we had been watching the news. Mr Foodie replied that we hadn't, since he can't understand the french news anyway. Was it another shooting? Another tiger kidnapping? More recession news? No, it wasn't. It had just been announced that the building I was working in was to close with the loss of 260 jobs. We rushed to the computer to check the news on the Internet and there was the reporter, in front of my building, announcing that it would close by the middle of 2010. I charged my phone (which had been dead for a couple of days), and checked for messages. Nothing. I then sent a text to my then manager and one of my friends. My manager called me back within minutes and confirmed the news to me. 60 jobs were to remain but not ours. She went quickly through the redundancy package the company was going to offer and asked me to come in for a meeting as soon as I was back from holidays. Panic set in. What were we going to do? My friend called me back. She couldn't shed any light on the matter since she was away herself and hadn't even heard anything about it. We discussed it with Mr Foodie and realized that, if the redundancy was good enough, it was actually a blessing in disguise, allowing me to stay at home for a bit. Then came the awful task of telling my parents. They were quite shocked and panicked at first, but I think that the fact that we were not extremely confused, crying and utterly panicked (although quite shocked ourselves) allowed them to absorb the news and take it in a quite positive light.
I went in for a few meetings afterwards where I was given some more details such as amounts etc. The only detail I could not be given was the biggest one of all: WHEN? I had to 'come back' from maternity leave before they could legally tell me. And then I was to be given 6 weeks notice. Did this mean I had to find childcare for 6 weeks and return to work? In October, I went in for another meeting and informed them that I didn't intend to come back to work until January. My boss confirmed that it would indeed be wiser (*wink wink*) to push my coming back date as much as I could. She subtly implied (about as subtle as a big pink elephant in a cupboard) that we could come to some kind of arrangement.
I eventually went 'back to work' in January, for the whole of 30 minutes. I was given my notice and my final date, February 26. I was also told that I was going to be paid for my notice but without having to set foot in the building . They literally paid me my full wages to stay at home and look after the girls for 6 weeks. My boss told me that she had known since the beginning of 2009 but could not discuss it despite me hinting at it a few times. So I went back on Friday, to collect my P45 and my final cheque. It was strange to walk back into the place I had spent so many hours in, for the last time. The outside, usually busy with people, on break or about to start, coming or going to the shop, sitting on the benches, greeting each other, waiting for each other, smoking, chatting was deadly quiet. Inside, the place was always filled with people coming and going. You had to wait to go out into the main corridor due to the number of people coming back into the main area. You always met somebody on the stairs. But on friday, it reminded me of saturday mornings when only a handful of people were there. It reminded how much I didn't like working on a saturday morning. The building was just 'not right'. It was too quiet. This eerie feeling was even stronger this time around. The half empty seats, the usual hustle and bustle muffled to the point of near silence, the empty corridors. The formalities didn't last long, I was served with my marching orders fairly quickly. I went up to see my boss one last time and say my goodbyes. We shed a few tears and I left. For the last time. I left through the back door though not wanting to bump into anyone (although unlikely to happen) and get emotional (and also because Marie was on a half day and I had to pick her up from school). I think it would have been more of a shock to my system though, had I been in there everyday and suddenly finding myself at home. But, I had had time to process it and get my head around it. I haven't been working since May so it won't really feel any different for me.
I made some good friends in there, met more people than I can count (you are bound to in a call centre environment, over a 10 year period). I was pushed to the limit, I cried, I laughed, I despaired, I shared good times and bad times. I got in trouble, I helped people out of trouble. I learned so many things in there about me and about others. I found support there, I walked into brick walls there. I got frustrated at the amount of time and work it takes to get something to change in a big american multinational. I rejoiced at little victories, when my opinion and hard work helped change things for the better.
And now, it's all officially the past. A page has turned. What had been a constant for the past 10 years in my life is now gone. But I am extremely grateful. Grateful for the fact that they are allowing me to spend time with my girls without having to worry too much financially for a while. Grateful for the friendships I formed there. Grateful for what it taught me about myself. Grateful for the skills it helped me acquire. And most of all, grateful for meeting Mr Foodie there. He is now, with my girls, the new constant in my life.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
So I hereby introduce my 7 year old daughter Marie:
1- How old do you have to be to drive a car?
- 17 or 16. Because when you re young you can't drive a car.
2- When somebody babysits, where do you think Mummy and Daddy are?
- Gone to a restaurant.
3- What do you think the Queen of England looks like?
- I think she looks beautiful. I think she has brown hair and she has pink shoes and I think she has a yellow crown.
4- What does your brother/sister do to annoy you?
- Well, pull my hair.
5- Where do babies come from?
Your mammy's belly.
6- How do the babies get inside tummies?
- I don't know how they get into your belly but ... Where's the baby book? (My mum bought her a french book that explains clearly yet simply what goes on during pregnancy). Once they're tiny and they get bigger. Do you know the little thing where they get food into their belly, that way. (That would be the umbilical cord, as pictured in the book, so apparently they just grow out of some kind of appendix)
7- How much pocket money do you think you should get per week?
- 5 cents. (Isn't that quite reasonable)
8- Who is the cleverest … Mummy or Daddy?
- Mummy. because you know loads and loads of sums. (Dunno where she gets that from, I HATE MATHS!!!)
9- What do you want to be when you grow up?
- a teacher
10- If you could be anyone else who would you be?
- Ciara from my class, because she's very shy and she speaks very low.
11- Who do you think is in charge of the country.
- The president of the United States. (Well, I would probably have more confidence in him than the ones we have at the moment who are more intent in getting each other to resign than actually fixing this country's problems)
12- If you had children what would their names be?
- One would be Kacey and one would be Bella
13- Who is Barack Obama?
- I think The president of the United States
14- Who's your best friend in the whole world?
- My friend Sarah.
15- How old am I?
- 30..32..30..31? (Well done, I am 31)
16- How old is Daddy?
- 20..23..26? (Emmm, even though that made him quite happy, no, he's 30 this year!)
17- What do you like most about school?
- Sometimes we get to play with activities, games and playdough.. (Do they do any learning these days??)
18 - What do you like to do outside?
- Skipping as in skipping with a skipping rope not skipping in the line.
19 - What do you like to do inside?
- Watching my mammy play on the computer, she's the best mammy ever. (Aww, but is that a sign that I spend too much time on the computer?)
20- What is your favorite toy?
- Let's see...A Hello Kitty playset.
21- What is your favorite Game?
22- Do you have a favorite TV show?
- Rachael Ray. (I think my obsession with cooking is rubbing off on her!)
23- Do you have a favorite movie?
- Glee. (I pointed that this wasn't a movie but she answered:) it's like a movie
24- Do you have a favorite book?
- My favourite book is All about puppies, I read it at home. It's about a lost puppy but somebody finds her. (Emm, ok, I didn't know she had that!)
25- What is you favorite colour?
26- What is your favorite number?
- 7 because it's my age
27- Whats your favorite food?
- Pasta with meatballs
28- Whats something that’s really good for you?
29- What time do you usually go to bed?
- 8pm, half past 8?
30- What time do you wake up?
- 1 o'clock (Emm, I don't think so!)
31- What do you not like to eat?
- I like to eat everything not mushrooms (and salad, and rice noodles and olives and a fair few things, but we have her thinking that you need to eat something 7 times to like it, so she obliges us and tries and eats it anyway).
32- What do you like to do with Daddy?
I like to play with him and he thinks he is the king and he is the best daddy ever.
33- What do you like to do?
- Go cheerleading
34- What do you like to do with Mammy?
- I like to be with her all the time.
35- What do you like to do with your sister?
- Make her laugh.
36- How old is your sister?
- about 6 months old (she is 9 months old so not too bad. Considering I asked my mum how old was my brother a few hours after he was born and, when she replied 3 hours, I told her I wasn't askingher for the time, I think she's doing better than I was at her age!)
37-Have you got a boyfriend?
- No (Wrong answer, she has had the same boyfriend for the past 3 years and his name is Conor, so I gently pointed that out to her). But I don't want them to know!
38- Anything else you’d like to Add?
Yes, can you ask me some more questions? pleeeease? pretty pleeease? pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!
So here you go a little insight in my 7 year old's mind. Hope you enjoyed it. Give it a try, it's really fun!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
As you know from a previous post, I like sport and have grown up doing one sport or another. And I want my girls to do so too. So this year, as I was on maternity leave to be extended into redundancy (as off friday coming, but I'll get back to this in another post), I decided it was the perfect time for her to join 'something', anything. I talked to some mums at the school gate (not my favourite activity I have to say, they all look like they've known each other for years) and found out that some of Marie's friends were joining Hip Hop on a Monday from 6 to 7 at the local community centre. So off we went to enroll her. It didn't start well. The times that were printed on the flyer were wrong. It was from 6.30pm to 7.30 pm, a slight adjustement that we could live with but still, I and, above all, Mr Foodie found that quite unprofessional and unorganised. But Marie was delighted to take part in an activity with 4 of her all times best friends from school. Then, a couple of weeks later, some kind of misunderstanding between the community centre and the highly organized (*cough cough*) dance people lead to a change of venue and another change of times. So it was now taking place at the local GAA club between 7 and 8pm. The room used for the lesson included a fully stocked bar (in case they got thirsty I suppose) and was furnished like a pub. But she enjoyed it so we still went along. By then, 3 of her best friends from school had dropped out. Then came the Christmas holidays and the 'Big Freeze' and a phone call informing us that they were trying to change the time and place of the lessons yet again and that they would keep us updated in the next week or so. That was 6 weeks ago and not a word since. So I resigned myself that Marie would not do anything until next september as I didn't want her to join something mid year and feel like she was behind.
That was until 2 weeks ago, when I came across a flyer advertising cheerleading lessons starting soon. So I brought the flyer home to discuss the option with Mr Foodie. Now, when we think cheerleading, we think High School Musical, american football, skimpy outfits and jumping up and down waving pompoms etc. Mr Foodie was particularly not enthusiastic about it, claiming that this was not the US, that it was not a sport (sparking quite the debate on what was a sport or not), and that it wouldn't be something that she could keep up. I agree with him on all points bar one: it is not a sport. After researching cheerleading (well, watching Glee mostly but still a bit of Googleing too), it so happens that it is a sport and a growing one in Ireland too. So after much debate, we decided that she would go to cheerleading classes if only for the next 10 weeks so that she does 'something'.
I brought her there yesterday and she loved it. She even made a new friend. She learned how to do a hand stand, a cartwheel and a pyramid. She also perfected her tumbles. Parents were invited to come in at the end so that the kids could show us the pyramid and there is something quite scary about seeing your child on all fours, with another girl on her back and a third one standing on top! She thoroughly enjoyed it. The location is a proper aerobic classroom in a local sports hall (5 minutes walk from our house) with the appropriate mats. The registration was very well organized with forms to fill in and even computer generated name labels for the children. They haven't got their pompoms yet as they have to earn them by working hard. And there are also rules that none of the acrobatics should be done at home. Marie even remembered the teacher's name (when she could never remember her dance teacher's name before). I peeped in at the end of the lesson and Marie looked like she was doing quite a good job (better than Hip Hop anyway).
And writing this post, I just realized something that I had forgotten, buried somewhere in the back of my brain. I used to do baton twirling when I was younger. I started at age 2 until I was 6. My grand father was involved in it and he was training the local team. And he used to take me along. I still have the baton in France. Call that a blast from the past!!!
So what do you think? Would you enroll your children in an activity just for the sake of doing 'something'? Even if that activity is filled with negative stereotypes?
Monday, February 22, 2010
I cannot count the number of times I have sat down in front of my computer and tried to write a post. It wasn't for lack of material, what with Marie's birthday, Noelie's 3rd hearing test, the strange spots she has on her forehead, midterm break, the horrible day I had on Tuesday, Marie losing yet another tooth (she calls herself a vampire these days), Josie's writing workshop at Sleep is for the weak.
So what was wrong with me? Had I caught the weird virus going around the bloggosphere? Do I write just ramblings and rubbish that people are not really interested in? Was I a bad blogger? Well, I didn't think so as the number of followers had grown by 5 bringing me to a quite reasonable 25 followers (thank you every single one of you!). And my last post received more comments than any other post I had written before (*little happy dance*). I could have made it sound a lot more important by writing instead that my blog grew by a staggering 25% hence demonstrating my theory that numbers don't mean anything, really but no, I am proud of my 25 friends.
Was it some kind of superpower slapping my wrists for telling people that ideas could be found in everything and anything? Well, no, because I had ideas, I had 7 post titles saved and my week has been quite interesting and tiring too. I had also picked 2 posts from Josie's workshop. So what was wrong with me?
I sat down countless times, trying to write, only to be faced by an unintelligible mumbo jumbo of words. I changed subjects, tried different techniques (if you can call them that), I just could not put any idea into words. Whatever was on the screen was flat, not funny, nor sad, nor angry. Just flat, as flat as a bottle of soda left open for a few days. Perhaps it just reflected the way I was feeling last week. I was just exhausted. A birthday party with 12 screaming kids (actually, 11 kids and Mr Foodie whose strange idea of fun is to get 11 kids together in a room smaller than a closet and get them to scream at the top of their lungs but that's a whole blog post in itself.), a day that went completely wrong, a few interrupted nights through nightmares, teething and a runny nose had left me somewhat akin to a flat tyre. I read blogs, but just didn't even have the energy to comment, I felt like I had nothing interesting to say, or even if it wasn't interesting at least write it in an interesting way. But no, I was flat. Mr Foodie was also quite concerned at my lack of energy for blogging, considering it was quite a big part of my days. He even offered to write a guest post, bless him. I avoided Facebook, and Twitter and my own blog. I wasn't very sociable (not easy when you have a big birthday party to attend, with friends and family). I was quite happy with my own company and Oprah's and Ellen's and Baby Einstein's. And I had elected Mr Couch and Mrs Blanket as my best friends for the week too. After a whole afternoon, in front of a screen that I kept filling up and erasing, I just gave up. I just came to the conclusion that I had lost my voice. And left it at that for the rest of the week.
I feel a bit better now, I have managed to thoroughly clean the house this morning, and I feel like things have gone back to somewhat normal. But just in case, if anybody finds my voice, can you please return it to the following address:
Miss Foodie Mummy
The postman knows me anyway!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
From age 3, I have practiced some kind of sport. I started with 10 years of ballet. I stopped because my teacher moved and I didn't want anybody else but her. Then 6 years of volleyball. I stopped as I was the only player able to walk under the net without having to bend down and I didn't jump high enough. And then, I started ...basketball. Another game not for shorties. I used to have loads of fun though. And I think that one of my best memories of it was bumping so hard into another player that she got sick by the side of the court. She shouldn't have gotten in my way and it's not my fault my shoulder was at her stomach's height (that's how tall she was!). But then, exams came about and school work needed more attention so I gave it up.
Then I moved here and was too busy working and partying to play sports. A girl in work tried to start a handball team and what a disaster that was! She was already playing gaelic football (a french girl playing GAA!) so not afraid of contact. You probably guessed from the above story that I am not either. The other players? Well, emmm, there was one that was afraid of the ball coming at her, one that was running 'funny' (She was just leaping around, toes pointed instead of running!). And we had the one that doesn't know the rules, doesn't want to know the rules and just moaned that she had to run. We were training with guys too, some of which were on the Ireland team. And they were training, not just messing about. I would consider myself a bit of a nutcase, the reason being: I put myself forward for goalkeeper. Well, we couldn't put the one that got out of the way every time a ball came towards her now, could we? What a mistake on my part. Does anybody know how fast and small and hard, hanballs balls are? Well, imagine a cantaloupe melon being thrown at you by a man at full force but without the capacity to explode, that should about do it. The goalkeeper, well, keeps goals and basically, just jumps up starfish stylee (that's arms and legs spread) and eyes closed and tries to block the ball. After a few melon size bruises on my arms, I thought maybe it wasn't such a good idea but kept on going. Until, I got one in the head. Unfortunately, the imprint of stitches on the side of your face were not a good look that year (or any other year). So I gave that up. Fast forward a few years, I decided to join the gym. I went religiously for about a month and a half, until I met my calorie obsessed, just won't shut up about work boss there. At around which time, I also realized that they had messed up the direct debit and didn't take the money out of my account and I owed them about 300 euros. I never went back and they didn't chase me up either.. Strange..I also bought a stepper, which is now stored under the spare bed. I took it out a few months ago and used it (at least twice) but it was just taking too much space in the sitting room and went back to its rest place.
So instead now, I watch sport on tv. And this afternoon, France played against Ireland in the 6 nations. And won. A lot of people might think that I must be delighted with the win and I am but (and there is a but), I am not all that happy. Well you see, Ireland is my home now and my girls are half and half. But I AM French. Things haven't been the same though since that Hand of Frog incident (Was I glad I wasn't in work then!). Since then, I wouldn't necessarily display my Frenchness while supporting my country's team because I know the Irish have a long memory (800 years, hey?). And today, after a deplorable display of non fair play on my part (I clapped when the Irish lost the ball at the beginning), I was made swear by Mr Foodie that I would not cheer at mistakes and that I wouldn't gloat if we won the game (which I wouldn't anyway *cough*). Well, OK, I would probably make a few jokes about it, but it would all be gone by tomorrow (sore looser, Mr Foodie!). And if I did cheer or gloat, it would come at a price: no blogging for 3 days. And Mr Foodie does not threaten, no he doesn't, if it sounds like a threat, do not be mistaken, it is not one, it's a promise. He would probably go to work with the 2 laptops in the boot of the car for 3 days. So, I made him swear too. No Facebook for him for 3 days either. And with that the spirit of fair play was restored in the house. And I even switched sides for the last 20 minutes, I was cheering for Ireland (well, I kinda knew that they wouldn't come back, really, and that I wasn't really being highly unpatriotic and some kind of traitor to my country). I don't like it when either one of the teams gets steamrolled like that (I hope that doesn't sound like gloating, does it?). I'm really happy France won, but I'm also a bit sad that Ireland didn't play all that well. But out of respect for Mr Foodie, I will keep my happiness low key and celebrate in my head rather than publicly. But I know though, if the shoe was on the other foot, I probably would be suffering the unending jokes of a very gloaty Mr Foodie (who would have deliberately decided to go without his beloved facebook, just so that he could). All in the spirit of fairplay though! Now, where is that remote so we can watch the Olympics?
Thursday, February 11, 2010
So now, I believe that I should pass this onto other bloggers. So the nominees are:
For the Haute Mess award:
- Coolkid at Maddies Ramblings
- Hayley at Single Motherhood Challenges
- Mummy Bear at She was not at all domestic
And for the Sunshine Award:
- Diney at Older Mums are fun
- Working Mama at Last of the Mojitos
- Heather at Notes from Lapland
And finally, just because I think she needs a bit of cheering up Josie at Sleep is for the weak.
So once more thank you so so much ladies, I am off to try and figure out how to put them on the sidebar.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
This is just for fun. Here's a list of 99 things. Bold the ones you have done and post on your blog! =)
- Started your own blog
- Slept under the stars
- Played in a band
- Visited Hawaii
- Watched a meteor shower
- Given more than you can afford to charity
- Been to Disneyland
- Climbed a mountain
- Held a praying mantis
- Sang a solo
- Bungee jumped
- Visited Paris
- Watched a lightening storm
- Taught yourself an art from scratch
- Adopted a child
- Had food poisoning
- Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
- Grown your own vegetables
- Seen the Mona Lisa in France
- Slept on an overnight train
- Had a pillow fight
- Hitch hiked
- Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
- Built a snow fort
- Held a lamb
- Gone skinny dipping
- Run a Marathon
- Ridden in a gondola in Venice
- Seen a total eclipse
- Watched a sunrise or sunset
- Hit a home run
- Been on a cruise
- Seen Niagara Falls in person
- Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
- Seen an Amish community
- Taught yourself a new language
- Had enough money to be truly satisfied
- Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
- Gone rock climbing
- Seen Michelangelo’s David
- Sung karaoke
- Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
- Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
- Visited Africa
- Walked on a beach by moonlight
- Been transported in an ambulance
- Had your portrait painted
- Gone deep sea fishing
- Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
- Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
- Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
- Kissed in the rain
- Played in the mud
- Gone to a drive-in theater
- Been in a movie
- Visited the Great Wall of China
- Started a business
- Taken a martial arts class
- Visited Russia
- Served at a soup kitchen
- Sold Girl Scout Cookies
- Gone whale watching
- Got flowers for no reason
- Donated blood, platelets or plasma
- Gone sky diving
- Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
- Bounced a check
- Flown in a helicopter
- Saved a favorite childhood toy
- Visited the Lincoln Memorial
- Eaten Caviar
- Pieced a quilt
- Stood in Times Square
- Toured the Everglades
- Been fired from a job
- Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
- Broken a bone
- Been a passenger on a motorcycle
- Seen the Grand Canyon in person
- Published a book
- Visited the Vatican
- Bought a brand new car
- Walked in Jerusalem
- Had your picture in the newspaper
- Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
- Visited the White House
- Killed and prepared an animal for eating
- Had chickenpox
- Saved someone’s life
- Sat on a jury
- Met someone famous
- Joined a book club
- Got a tattoo
- Had a baby
- Seen the Alamo in person
- Swam in the Great Salt Lake
- Been involved in a law suit
- Owned a cell phone
- Been stung by a bee
46! Not bad. See how you fare and post it! Enjoy!
PS: Mr Foodie has just read this and says that he is embarassed by the fact that, being French, I haven't been at the top of the Eiffel Tower. Even he has : )
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
You see, in France, we don't have the Tooth Fairy, we have the Little Mouse. She doesn't build a magical castle with the teeth, she just leaves them under your pillow and yet still gives you money. And you can put your baby teeth in little containers for keepsakes.
Monday, February 8, 2010
So without further a do, here is my very trusted and secret recipe for Pain:
- 1 baby (preferably around 20 pounds)
- 1 low bouncer
- 1 play mat
- 1 cot (with the base at its lowest)
- 1 washing machine
- 1 oven
- 1 bathtub.
1 - Take Baby up from low base cot.
2 - Put Baby in bouncer for bottle.
3 - Place mat about 1 foot away from bouncer.
4 - When the bottle is finished, pick up Baby and place the him/her on the play mat performing the hovering baby move (pick up, move swiftly from one side to the other , and sit down on mat).
5 - Sit Baby back up (as many times as required). Do not get worried if Baby becomes as stiff as a board, it only means that the sitting up or lying back positions are not his particular choice at the moment and (s)he would rather be standing up.
6 - Pick up baby and put on the sofa for a quick nappy change. Please ensure that nappies and other necessities are placed behind you just out of reach causing you to try and reach backward while holding the baby down so that (s)he doesn't fall from the sofa.
7 - Pick up baby and place in car seat making sure you do not bang your head (so keeping your back arched).
8 - After school run, pick up baby from car seat (once again, don't forget to arch your back).
9 - Place baby in cot. Please note this step might be repeated a few times if Baby is not willing to cooperate and sleep.
10 - When Baby is finally asleep, go to the room in which your washing machine is located. Sort out the clothes to be washed on the floor. Unload the washing machine and reload with dirty clothes (remember everybody: backs arched).
11 - Hoover around (make sure your nose is nearly as close to the floor as the hoover sucky bit is).
12 - Pick up Baby from cot.
13 - Repeat steps 1 to 9 as many times as required.
14 - Prepare a lovely dish in the oven, that cooks for hours and needs to be checked on regularly. Make sure that the oven is at the lowest level possible causing you to bend down as much as possible
15- Pick up Baby from play mat and place in bathtub. Wash Baby with arched back again.
16- Place Baby in cot for bedtime (again, uncooperative babies will have you repeating this step a few times)
Once you have performed all these steps, your pain should start to take shape. Depending on your level of practice, you should see the results of this lovely recipe within anything from a few hours to a few days. You might need to cook this recipe a few days in a row in order to get the best result possible (a whole weekend of rest). I have tried and tested it and I can tell you, you have just read the best recipe for back pain ever (and I don't mean bread).
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Well, let me tell you, it has. I have to admit to I'm not one for putting clothes away after washing them (I blame the lack of space in the wardrobes *cough*). I usually fold them neatly and put them neatly in various piles on the spare bed (usually 4, one for each of us). I really should put them away in their rightful place, but I just don't. It must be some kind of trauma from my childhood, my mum was a firm advocate of what she calls 'Iron as you go', meaning as soon as it's dry, neatly iron and fold and put away in their rightful place. I am more of an advocate of 'Iron as you go.......out', meaning I'll only iron if I want to wear it. Mr Foodie irons his own shirts and trousers for the week. Now we've all played with stacking cubes and most of us probably still do and we all know that the higher you go, the higher the chances of it tumbling down. But it's something I can't seem to learn and I probably fool myself in thinking that it's not going to happen. So as the piles start getting higher and higher, well, invariably, they topple over. At which stage, I am ashamed to say, the clothes don't get neatly folded anymore but rather just taken from the line and dumped on the Pile formerly known as 4 neat piles. Add to that a trip to Ikea, and the contents of that day's shopping, all those lovely little bits, dumped unceremoniously onto the spare bed too.
So it starts with neat piles, and as the month goes, the piles grow. And grow. And grow and they become less neat until it becomes virtually impossible to find anything in there, comparable to finding a very, very, very small needle in a big, big, BIG haystack (and I was just looking for a sock). For the past week, I have looked at my wardrobe and thought to myself: I have nothing to wear. I resigned myself to wearing things straight off the line (dry though, I wouldn't wear anything damp.. well I did on a few occasions, but I was young and really, really wanted to wear that particular pair of jeans, and it's not really my fault if they take ages to dry.) And Mr Foodie has grown a bit tired at not being able to find matching socks. We all had, or even bought for our children, pants with the days of the week written on them, thinking it will make our lives easier and by week 3, they wear Monday's on a Friday and Wednesday's on a Sunday. His socks are of the same kind. They're all black, all look the same if it wasn't for the little smiley at the top (of course not so smiley on a Monday but gets gradually better as the week goes by) and, of course the day mentioned under the little smiley face. So, he was getting increasingly tired of wearing Saturday's socks on a Wednesday as they are too smiley for a Wednesday but not enough for a Sunday. But seriously, I know there's a dress code in your job, but I don't think they take it as far as checking your socks to make sure that you're wearing the right day's ones!
So today, I finally opened the spare bedroom door (at least you don't see the chaos when it's closed) and I went in, armed with a lot of patience (that was running thin because Noelie refused to sleep at all this morning, she'd rather have Mummy singing Incy Wincy Spider). And I started sorting clothes out into 4 neat piles again. Well, it was more 4 neat piles for my clothes and a pile each for the others. Oh and another pile for the socks and pants and vests, because they go in drawers and not just in the wardrobe. And then I set out to put them in their rightful place. Marie's clothes went in her bedroom. Mr Foodie's and mine in our bedroom. And Noelie's in our bedroom too. I opened the drawer to put away Noelie's clothes only to find it already full so resorted to putting them away in a half empty drawer in the spare bedroom. I then put away Mr Foodie's shirts in the part of the wardrobe that holds shirts and dresses, well anything on a hanger. I left his trousers on our bed as I didn't know if he wanted them on hangers or folded, plus his shelf was already full, so I had nowhere to put them. And then, I decided to put mine away. But there wasn't enough room on my shelves and I went from 'I have nothing to wear' to 'I have too many clothes and really need to give some away'. I managed to squeeze them all in after a little bit of forceful pushing.
And, tonight, I left the spare bedroom door open, and it felt good to finally see the spare bed all nice and neat. Until Marie came out of her bedroom on her way to bed asking where was she to put the clean clothes that were on her bed. And Mr Foodie came out of our bedroom saying that he just put his pile of trousers onto the spare bed until tomorrow. Oh my, I think I'll just go and close that door again, and pray that nothing falls on my head when I open the wardrobe tomorrow looking for something to wear. Actually, I have a better idea, think I'll go back to Ikea and get bigger wardrobes (and loads of other little bits and I'll let you guess where I'll put them).
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
Since Noelie has been born, we have managed to go out a few times. We are lucky enough that some of Mr Foodie's relatives live close by, and they have agreed to babysit for us on a few occasions. The girls always have a great time with them and they surely enjoy looking after them too. Up to now, I was not comfortable with the idea of leaving Noelie overnight with them (or anybody else for that matter). Mr Foodie, on the contrary, has been ready to leave her overnight for the past 6 months at least. I don't know what it was, she was too much of a baby for me to even consider leaving her overnight. A few hours at a time was all I could manage. Call me overprotective if you want, I just couldn't do it. A few months ago, Mr Foodie pushed the idea a bit too far and I just started crying (I cry a lot remember?), I was almost panicked at the thought of leaving my baby. The thought just paralyzed me. Mr Foodie was very understanding though and didn't push the idea too much afterwards. I think that he knew that eventually I would come around and do it.
I was always very protective of Marie. I used to think it was because she was premature. The fact that she was whisked away to ICU after being born and was not with me on the first night had some profound effect on me. It was just horrible to be lying there in the ward with all the other mothers who had their babies beside them and all I had was a horrible Polaroid of her in the incubator with tubes coming out of her broken nose, and hooked up onto so many monitors. I could feel the other mothers looking at me and probably wondering where the hell was my baby (although I'd say they were thinking more along the lines of 'What the hell do I do now with a baby??'). I remember taking a trip up to the ICU at 3am, just to be with her. I was lucky enough though as she only stayed in the ICU for 24 hours. But I believe it had a lasting effect on me. That coupled with the first time I left Marie (2 months old at the time) with her father's parents to go out for a few hours. They had come to babysit and, upon returning, I found the house as hot as an oven (try leaving the heating on full blast for 5 hours and light the fire at the same time), and Marie swaddled in her bouncer, not strapped in, with another couple of blankets piled on her for good measure. I don't know how she didn't die from overheating. Let's just say that I found alternative babysitters after that.
So it's not easy for me to leave my girls. However, on Saturday night, I had a breakthrough. We had been invited to a birthday party and had organized to leave both girls overnight with Mr Foodie's relatives. So off we went to drop them off, everything packed but the kitchen sink (I am sure I could have fitted it in one of the bags). Everything had been checked and rechecked. Travel cot, enough food until the next afternoon, enough bottles, teddies, toys, clothes etc to last at least 3 days. I even put a little list of food and nap times etc in the bag. (cringe, does that say I don't trust you to know my child enough to look after her properly?). We dropped them off and everything was fine, until we realized that we had forgotten to bring Noelie's sleeping bag with us and had to take another quick trip down to drop it off. I'm sure she could have used blankets instead for that one night but I wanted her to feel as much at home as possible.
People around us think we are a bit, let's say, different (they probably say that we are weird behind our backs). I'd rather say that we have a more continental approach. We don't use blankets, we use sleeping bags. Now to most older generation Irish people, it is quite a novelty and we did come back once after leaving Noelie with Mr Foodie's parents, to find that she had decided to go camping in her cot. Instead of being in the sleeping bag, it had been put over her looking like a tent. We don't use a high chair, we use a table seat. Mr Foodie's parents had never seen it before. It is great and allows the child to be sitting at the table with you instead of in a high chair aside from the family. We also have a seat in the bath for Noelie. I have such definite ideas on what I want for her that I'm sure people are getting headaches trying to buy things even clothes (I have been known to put black on a 3 months old baby and I absolutely hate pink). And let's just not get into the food part of it. I'll let you imagine what people might think when I give Noelie lentils, or spinach, or couscous (I think she had potatoes only 4 times since she has been on solids). I am sure our dear babysitters looked in disgust at the green gloop that was the spinach dish or the pink one that was the carrots and cod.
Anyway, I have to admit I am quite proud of myself. I have managed to leave my girls overnight and not worry about them. We had quite a good night and got home quite late. The girls had a fantastic time and both enjoyed a reflexology treatment (must remember to book that appointment I got as a Christmas present!). Everything went really well and I am delighted. I thoroughly enjoyed the break. Getting up late, breakfast in bed and just watching telly in bed for a few hours. Nobody else to think about was a welcome change. So thank you to the babysitters for taking such good care of the girls and thank you to Mr Foodie for the breakfast in bed. I really enjoyed it, let's do it again (in a few months time).