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October 2005
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December 2005

The Gruffalo's Child!!!

Nora saw it in the Early Learning Centre.

A different Gruffalo book! Uhoh. Well... alright then. Given that she'd chosen it herself, she was so excited with it that by the time it got to me, she'd already read it about seven times with Daddy, and every page was greated by her pointing to the picture and almost shouting or joy "The snake! The Owl!". The only time I have ever seen her this happy was the second day we gave her a small cardboard packet of raisins. The recognition of the same packet from the day before led to her looking up with an amazed grin on her face and a body movement as if she was about to implode with happiness.

I hate to say it, but it (whisper) just isn't really as good(/) as the first one, but it's the first new book Nora's had for a while (er, about 3 weeks - save for library books) and she is as in love with it as she is "Dinosaurumpus", and "Green Eggs and Ham". More so. I think it's the first book she's really, actively chosen for herself, too.

I still get a bit freaked out when you read a book with her a couple of times, then you turn the page and she says all the words on the next one before you've even started.

Oh! And she also read the "Gruffalo" word. She got as far phonetically as the second "f" before she did a bit of a step back and went "Gruffalo!" aand looked at me to say "Yes?". I was proud. Obviously.

Nearly better

Nora went to nursery on Wednesday and Thursday last week, so we missed the main bulk of her coming out of her horrific bronchitis. So on Friday I was blessed with a return to a ravenous, and bogglingly silly wee monkey, who contented herself by laughing, messing, grinning, gurning, flopping, tweaking, blathering and smiling the most beautiful smiles all day.

This hilarious and rather mental human was present throughout the weekend, including a wonderul, lovely visit to her favourite local cafe, and (although my inner bones didn't like it, and she's been coughing more since) swimming on Sunday morning, in which she shrieked with laughter constantly. When she gets out, it's like a massive rush to get her dry and in to clothes as soon as possible before her shaking with cold begins to look life threatening. But whilst she's warm, she's now incredibly confident in the water. She kicks sometimes, but mostly just loves bouncing about.

And lovely Yoz 'n' Bob came over later, which gave Noo more people to explain things to, then Uncle Stephen and Aunty Kirsty kept putting her off her tea by pulling funny faces.

I'd really forgotten what "normal" Nora was like, and it's almost as if she's celebrating being well herself.

(Busily praying for the cold to keep killing all the other available viruses).

So what's new

It's a little boy.

It's... he's very tall and slim.

He kicks and scrambles and moves about *all the time*

I am enormous. Distressingly enormous. 23 weeks! Oh God! I feel like I should be at 28/29!

How do I cope with a little boy? What are they like? Nearly everyone I know has had little girls ending in "a": Nora, Ada, Rosa, Ella - I can't call a boy a name ending in A! He'll pee up in the air! He'll want to scramble over things! I have absolutely no idea what he'll be like!

Kind of weird.



I am quietly pretty excited about the scan on Thursday, late as it is.

I think it's that No.2 is so active internally already, their presence is very firmly and clearly there. Although as usual if McK ever places his hand on my lower abdomen in key moments, all the Parappa kicking and punching finishes immediately.

Now, I have done my "I was late because I was too knacked to get up" penance of staying till 7.45, and I will now go home to attempt more sleeping.

'Angel' finished - shock

Somewhat belatedly, I've just watched the last ever thing in the "Angel" canon. I deliberately didn't re-watch the last episode with the commentary for a while but I needn't have bothered, it was a very dull and pointless exercise.

Angel itself ias a funny old show. McK couldn't bear it, but I nudged him and coughed "Star Trek" at him so at least it shut him up. The reason I became quite obsessed with it is that I watched show after show to get me through the early days of Nora's life, when she would sleep, or breastfeed for half hour stretches, with no conception of a world beyond the nipple. I didn't want to be reading Chekov during that period - something mildly inanimate and yet entertaining at the same time was called for, and there's one thing you can say for Whedon inspired scripting - at least it does character interaction humour relatively well.

So my quick capsule review of an entire 5 series show is that they wasted Charisma Carpenter - her character development was frankly weird. She had become a superb amalgam of kick ass and silly, and they threw it all away to make her a joyless do-gooder. Whilst doing that, they worked very hard with Alexis Denisof to make Wesley a fantatic, multi-faceted character, capable of exceptionally dramatic pieces of work. If anything, Angel was really about Wesley's journey from being a barely more than sterotyped twit through to a man losing all sense of moral right, and back again to a beautiful and heart stoppingly sad redemption through love.

I mean anyone who watched Fred's death scene and Wesley's final moments who had watched the show, and who didn't have tears in their eyes (or alternatively, sobbing like a buffoon) must have had a heart of stone. Amy Ackers was lovelyl as Fred but she was relatively 2 rather than 3 dimensional - whereas the various writers & plot drawers over the years saw the potential of Denisof and really drew him out. David Boreanaz, I hope for his sake, isn't now unemployable but hving said that, I can't see him turning the world on fire any time soon. He looked nice, and he did a fine job, but the role didn't give him that much room to breathe, apart from in horrifically bad flashbacks, awful Oirish accent n'all. James Masters proved he was worth a lot more than his somewhat ridiculous original character in Buffy over the years, and good luck to him too.

I was sad to see that Charisma Carpenter felt it necessary to do Playboy after she'd given birth, as if to say to casting directors "Hey look guys, still cute!". But this is the fate of hundreds of young actresses, is it not.

And so that chapter of my TV viewage life is over. What inane programme can I choose to view during beastfeeding the extreme infant no.2, that then drags on for years? Perhaps I'll make do with Chekov.

Pregnancy update number blah blah blah

What am I now. Week 22 or something?

I am so big. so very, very big. I look like... ok, I look like about week 30, I'd say - just before the real rock hard melon ball dropping stage. frankly, I'm bloody terrified of what I'll be like by the end. not a bundle of fun for nora or McK, I'd hazard a guess.

Apart from that, the heartburn season is now well under way. So that's no more half glasses of red wine once a week; must cut down on any wheat before that effect starts kicking in... the sleeping patterns have begun to get much worse. If i lie on my left, it helps the heartburn; if I lie on my right it seems to exacerbate the ugh-disgusting-horror various veins I have in my right leg. Thankfully I'm not yet at the awful stage of having to sleep propped up with christ knows how many pillows, then waking up several times in the night to resurrect myself after finding myself lying flat on the bed (bad to lie on the back because of pressing weight on a vital artery to the placenta, cutting off blood supply. Y'see). I need one of those elderly orthopaedic beds with wonky mattresses, I do.

No.2 is meanwhile binking and bonking at all times of the day and luckily, not too much of a night time. The other day s/he disturbed me in a meeting for the first time, which was somewhat amusing.

|I am also taking cat litter granules on a daily basis, otherwise known as "Normacol", kindly donated by my Mother. They are a nastily sweet concoction containing Sterculia Gum - basically one of these swelling fibre plant extract things which are supposed to keep everything moving. the difficulty I have is that moving is the problem, fibre isn't. I have high fibre breakfast, wholemeal bread, two to three pieces of fruit a day, copious amounts of water... the quality of my fibre intake cannot be questioned! The "moving" part can, since all the muscles needed to eject said fibre are refusing to work, point blank. So, I'm now going 2-3 days whilst my food and Sterculia gum build up nicely in my entire colon, before I think frankly it's the weight of gravity which eventually forces my guts to do something about it, before it all starts getting a bit too uncomfortable (and let me tell you, my God it gets uncomfortable).

To be honest, I'm not sure if the Normacol is doing much at all, but it's not doing me any harm either, so I'll carry on taking it to please my mother.

Second set of scans next week, helpfully in week 23, so if anything nasty were to crop up, I'd have approx 5 days to do something about it. And we'll see whether there's any sign of Downs. You never know really do you. and this time, I promise that we'll scan all the scans. Having not scanned in the previous scans. Scan wise. You get my drift.

Bronchitis update

I'm angry, but there's no one specific to be angry at.

Nora has been having neon yellow antibiotics every day since last monday, and last night at 5am, she woke herself up with a coughing fit that lasted nearly an hour. the gluey coughing is not constant, but it's still damn well there.

I took her to the Docs again on Friday because he told me to go if it hadn't got much better. well, she has got a little better in herself, in as much as her face doesn't look quite so pale, and there is life in her eyes again, but the chest has got only marginally better, at best. Every time she breathes in, there's a rattle.

Walking round the flat this morning, she must have been coughing at least once every couple of minutes. Full strength, heavy, thick, glutinous coughs.

...and she runs out of antibiotic tomorrow morning. What are we supposed to do then? Listen to her cough her guts up on a nightly basis hoping it'll get better?

Er, no. McK's at home with her Tuesday. It's the doc's again for you young lady.
Maybe they'll give you something that actually works this time.

On a slightly selfish note, of course it doesn't do me any good (although that's obviously the least of my worries). Totally exhausted this morning.

Over half way

"The count of Monte Cristo" is such a monumental and frankly, bizarre tale that you can put it down for several days, then pick it up again and have no problem remembering what the hell is going on. Dumas was employing the same tricks as Dickens to keep the story rollicking along in serial format and it certainly does rollick but it's also completely crazy.

Instead of, a la our Russian friends, suspending the massive narrative for a few pages whilst two characters talk about, say, whether god exists, Dumas suspends the massive narrative and spends two chapters on an entirely different rollicking narrative, that half way through begins to materialise as a crucial plot point to show you how these Marseilles lovelies have moves on since Dantes (no relation) got banged up.
A discourse on poisoning, the murder of someone who... er, I was sure was Villefort but it turns out not to have been, then a lengthy discussion on what a git an adopted child became subsequently - two chaps suddenly appear from nowhere and drag the entire story to a posh boys playground in Rome... it just goes on and on and on, with no sense of when the "Count" is to begin his real adventure of vengeance. Dumas's wall must have been a mass of an early implementation of a linear mind map, with spindly linesbetween characters' names and plot jump off points. There's not a chance he could have kept a handle on what the hell he was doing without significant help.

Meanwhile our anti-hero looms over the entire story as a threatening yet somehow also tender presence. Dumas wisely, given that the Count is getting on a bit, and does have a somewhat dodgy lifestyle, peppers the novel with a bit of innocent young love - no doubt ye Count will somehow manage to help the kids whilst metaphorically (or physically, who knows) screwing the parents.

Something tells me that once that particular ball starts rolling, it's going to be entirely unputdownable, which is no bad thing since it's 850 pages long and I could do with reading something else eventually. The translation is verging on the terrible, but the plot's just too good for that to bugger it up.

No.2 - you must know that this book has dominated my pregnancy with you so far, and as such, I fear greatly for your sanity in future given that it is, indeed, completely bonkers.

Try them and you may, I say!

Say, in the dark?
Here - in the dark?
Would you, could you, in the dark?

Dark, mouse, House, Fox, Rain, Train, Goat, Boat, ANYWHERE!

Nora has fallen, hook, line and sinker for "Green Eggs and Ham".

Current run rate is approx 5-6 times a day minimum.

She can now read "I am Sam" and "Sam I am" at the beginning. Well. I say Read. She recognises the different order of the words. She can read "I", and the first letters of the other words. She says the rhyming word at the end of every line with no prompting, and if you do shocked and angry and "harrumph" faces along with the unnamed protagonist, there are a lot of laughs to be sucked up like nectar.

Oh, *bonkers* thing happened yesterday on the way back from the Doctors. Grandad Jim was driving her (us) in a car and she had a wowee front seat ride for the first time. So despite coughing like a diseased old 40-a-day crone, she's still quite "herself". She suddenly says "Sainsburys van!".


She had recognised the Sainsburys logo on the back of a delivery van in front of us. This may sound trivial, but it is the only time she has seen that word in any context other than at Sainsburys itself. And she read it. We were a bit stumped, frankly.