Friday, May 31, 2013

Getting on top of each other

This morning, as I was lugging baby and buggy up the stairs, I bumped into my elderly downstairs neighbour. With her pearls, bun in her hair and accent like Marlene Dietrich, she's always very glamorous. She's also very deaf. Or so we thought.

'Are you having work done on the floor in Samuel's room?' she enquired.

Apparently she regularly hears a rhythmic thumping sound from his room so loud that it shakes her ceiling. I realised that it must be from when we pop him on the floor and let him have a good kick. He loves to hear the sound of his stumpy little legs thumping on the floor. But he must be seriously loud. After all, this is a woman who says she never once heard his hideous colicky screams. If this is what he sounds like now, then when he's bigger and tearing around, he'll sound like a rhino.

But this is the problem with living in London with a baby - houses are too expensive so you end up in a flat, everyone on top of each other. And we're at the very top of an old and rickety Victorian  building that certainly wasn't designed for young families. As much as I love our place, I do live in fear of tripping on any of the 50 (I've counted) wobbly steps I have to climb with Samuel in my arms.

I dream of moving to a ground floor flat where you can glide straight from street to hall without any huffing or bumping or risk to life and limb. Somewhere where there would be nobody downstairs bothered by Samuel's happy kicks. Oh, and a garden that he could run straight out onto from the back door would be on the wish list too, but now I'm just getting greedy.

I don't know how long we'll be here for, but in the meantime I think I'm going to have to invest in some kind of squishy floor tiles to try and dull the noise of his little feet and try and keep the neighbours sweet. Everybody needs good neighbours.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Never forget

When we were paying for our weekly nursery rhyme session at the library the other day, the librarian presented us with a little sticker that marked his tenth time there. I was about to stick it on his t-shirt, but the librarian stopped me. 'Stick it somewhere special,' she said, 'and save it for posterity. You'll both forget all about Waggle and Hum later, so this is a nice way to remember in the future.'

Fair point. I've been thinking a lot recently about how many things I'm likely to forget about Samuel's childhood. My memory's like a sieve at the best of times, and with new skills developing and new favourites emerging at a rate of knots right now, I get nervous that all of the lovely little things that happen will just wash away like soap suds.

Of course, there's his red book that records all the statistical stuff like weight and height, so I never need to worry about those. And there are always going to be oodles of photographs and videos charting his life that will help me to remember what he looked like and where we went. But photographs don't cover everything. They can't remind us of the sequence of events on the day he was born. Or what his favourite books are at six months' old. Or how Hickory Dickory Dock in particular makes him squeal with delight.

I decided it was time to start jotting these things down. Not just for my shoddy memory, but also for him when he's older. Just in case he's interested, or a nostalgic sap like his Mum.

Luckily I had just the place to do it. James bought me a Smythson 'Baby's First Years' notebook for my birthday last year when I was pregnant. I couldn't find the time to wee for the first few months, never mind write anything down, but I think I can now. So I dug it out and the sticker is now safely ensconced. From his first smile to his first Christmas, I've been scribbling memories in it furiously. And that's why I haven't been knitting.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Chelsea: my first day sans child

Before this weekend, the longest I'd been apart from Samuel was for just a couple of hours while I was getting my roots done at my hairdressers up the road. But this Saturday was all about roots of a different kind as I took my mum to the Chelsea Flower Show for a long-planned day out with no baby in sight.

I was anxious before we set off, lingering around the flat for just a little too long, repeatedly asking James whether he'd be okay on Daddy Daycare and telling him not to forget to feed Samuel his lunch. As if he would. 

But once me and Mum got out of the door, treated ourselves to a latte and hopped aboard the train, I started to feel much more relaxed. And when we got to Chelsea, we had a blast. The sun shone, the flowers dazzled and the show gardens made me think about what might be possible for the overgrown monstrosity outside our living room window. What's more, a couple of glasses of Pimms on an empty stomach made our conversations in the big tent extra entertaining ("That's the thingy that only grows in the wotsit soil," said Mum).

We finished off our visit with a trip to the L'Occitane tent where Mum treated us both to a gorgeous hamper of floral-scented goodies.

When we arrived home, we were greeted by a well-fed, smiley little boy and a far-too-relaxed looking husband.

"He was a delight," said James. "I don't know what you moan about."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A change of direction ...

So, quite early on I have discovered a flaw in my plan to blog about knitting. That is that I don't actually have time to do any knitting. Bit of a problem.

Therefore I'm shifting the emphasis of this blog slightly, and I'm going to write about my adventures as a new London mum, with the occasional knitting post when I get round to doing some. I know, I know – that'll make this a real thriller for any of my mates without children. And, also for my mates with children, given the sedate and, let's be honest, disgustingly self-indulgent nature of what I'll be posting. Bookmark-tastic!

Still, mumming is what I do now, and writing is the thing I've always done and simply can't imagine not doing, so baby blogging it is. It seems like a good time to start too, since Samuel hit six months last week. The blind panic and sleeplessness of the first few months has subsided. We're getting out a lot locally. We do the park, the nursery rhyme group at the local library, Monkey Music and coffee with our Palace pals. The idea of taking baby and buggy on public transport, or even out of SE19, terrifies me. However, I feel just about ready to be released back into society and get exploring the city as a mum, so let's see how we get on. I'll post about where we go, what we do, and write some general baby stuff too.