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February 2007
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What James ate today

We tend to serve James' meals in Chinese rice bowls - they are a convenient size. So, if it helps in visualising things, imagine a Chinese bowl, full to the point of approx 5 mm left - certainly less than a cm around the rim.

1 whole smallish banana mashed in to:
1 bowl of popped Quinoa (don't mock - it's gluten free and smaller than rice crispies for a  small person's mouth, ok? I know I'm a ponce. If it makes you feel any better for internally sneering, it's  fair trade and organic)
My milk (still pumping off once a day while milk production goes downhill. Partly to prevent "sore Melon tits" and partly through guilt!) half a small apple whilst waiting for nora to finish her breakfast.

Other half of apple (including core!)

Full bowl of vegetable stew with 1.5 teaspoons of cream cheese (Goats, French - lovely) melted in to make it a bit more substantial - if you've never tried it, have a go, it's delicious.
Slice of wholemeal bread spread with same cream cheese, folded over and sliced in to soldiers (we're test marketing wheat products on his digestive system since he's reached the 1 year milestone - no significant skin reaction yet, PHEW)
A reasonable hunk of hard goats cheese cut in to cheese sticks
Mashed up apple and pear, with sheeps milk yoghurt for pudding - about 2/3rds of a bowl full

Milk in afternoon - approx 5 fl oz

Tea - get this:

Bowl full of lamb stew
A fish finger
About 6 oven chips
10(ish) peas and / or sweetcorn niblets
A full bowl of rice pudding with my mum's bramble jelly in

Unsurprisingly, he only drank about 3 fl 0z's of milk before bed.

But... I mean... his stomach was *hilarious*. He looked like a middle aged man with a pot belly straining for freedom by popping the buttons. It affected his fucking walking!

In case you think I was encouraging him to eat - when I lifted him away from the table he was still pointing at chips, peas etc on my plate and wanting to get at them. He should be like some kind of entirely spherical Augustus-Gloop-baby, but in fact, he looks absolutely normal sized. Just really, really BIG. Tall. Broad shouldered. Ginormous. You get the picture.

James' birthday

Well there you are. James is one year old today.

Already esconsed in his "I am 1" t shirt (c/o big sister 2 years ago) James willl have to wait for his presents till I get back from work.

This year has been so screwed up. An amazing and really lovely thing - the flowering of a delightful, funny, charming little boy; the death of a friend in terribly sad and upsetting circumstances, and the death of John, my Dad in a way I can barely begin to take in. He should be here today.

James, sweetheart, your birthday notice is a little more sombre than I would have liked. Difficult to see beyond the end of my nose today. Don't worry though, the you that's reading this in future - everything was all smiles at home because you're so fantastically lovely, it would be difficult for it not to be.

The man in the suit

Wrangling two children at home alone sometimes means making compromises, and when Nora asked to watch television at 4pm on Friday at first I resisted. We have TV (or more likely a video or DVD) on for about ten / fifteen minutes before brushing the teeth, etc for bed.

However, it meant I could make tea a little quicker, so I said ok then. spent a few minutes watching it with her (CBeebies, of course) and was somewhat dubious about what looked like a right load of nonsense. Thinking about it now p'raps my warning bells should have shouted a little more loudly since one of the characters looked distinctly bizarre. However, I bundled the newly upright James downstairs and began to sort out tea plus taking the opportunity to make his bedtime milk. 1 scoop in to the milk, I hear Nora begin to cry upstairs. "Hold on, darling hold on, I've got to do this job, I'll be there in just a moment..."

By the time I'd got to 6, and put the lid on the bottle (not shaking - just protecting) Nora sounded disastrously frightened... screaming my name through sobs. Grabbed James, belted up the stairs, too knoe look at the TV and saw exactly what was wrong for the brief second it was there before I managed to switch it off - a guy in a shaggy white sort of sasquatch type suit, with absolutely horrible looking completely black but massive circular eyes. Nora was saying "The horrible snowman!"

Plonked James in the playpen the moment the TV was off, and was with her in... the whole of the TV off / James in playpen / give Nora a hug manoevre must have taken about 4 seconds in total. It took a good few minutes to stop her crying. She was frightened in a core, gutteral way - more frightened than the last time she had a nightmare. I nearly cried on her behalf, it was so upsetting.

Poor old Nor. She does have a very thin line with frightening things. Or potentially frightening. I explained to her that it was a man, dressed up in a silly suit, and that the TV people phoned him up, and asked if he would like to come and do it, and they'd pay him some money to come along and dance around for a few hours in the afternoon. I told her that Daddy sometimes used to do that sort of thing, and I said that if they knew that Nora was going to be worried, they would never have thought up such a silly thing.

She was very tearful yesterday about the daftest of things, and she brought it up several times. Today she didn't want to go to bed, and sobbed loudly. After a while I asked her why. It was too dark, she said, and "I didn't like the scary man in the suit".

Just goes to show you. I know it's obvious but TV is not necessarily the greatest babysitter if the show is not a known quantity. Oh and yes, I do feel intensely guilty.

A request

Really, *really* gripping novels of the sort where you end up missing your tube stop. I've been reading the one David Mitchell I hadn't read, "Number 9 Dream" and having a dynamic book that involving to take up brain space two or three times a day has been very useful.

So please list below!


So James started biting again whilst feeding, and yesterday he had been biting so heavily I bled everywhere.


Given that he's now 4 days away from being 1 which was officially the beginning of the end, I think the end is beginning now, rather than then.

Definitely not feeding him tonight - way too painful. Nips heal super fast however, so we'll see about the morning. Then I'll ramp it down slowly over about a week I guess.

Sad in many ways. End of an era, etc but two pluses: he's never really enjoyed it as much as Nora did and secondly - I can GO OUT!

<falls over in a faint>

So how am I

I have no idea really.

Up and down I guess.

I have an awful lot I could say but it all feels too close. My personal editor is telling me also that since this 'ere will hopefully survive in some form or other in perpetuity, Nora would probably not like to read very painful things about the death of her Grandad, who she thought was fairly amazing.

My memory has seemed even worse than usual this week, understandably so I can't remember which Greek Philospher it was who described consciousness as being shadows playing on the back of a cave wall (approx). At present, it feels as if that is almost certainly true, plus there is a mighty poster of John tacked in the middle of the wall. Unavoidable and consciously there in the back of my mind, regardless of what I do.  I imagine that might get to the point of at least dimming occasionally.

I got through the day ok yesterday at work, then at home I said to McK that I felt guilty because I feel like I should be being more distraught or something - more incapable, after such a momentous, cataclismic event. McK said "Well what do you think your Dad would say about that?". I told him "Well, he'd say 'What a load of old bollocks' probably".

That is what he would say, and I felt so immeasurably sad that he couldn't say it, it took me a while to stop the tears and the snot.

Not only does it not feel real, it is so incredibly, unbearably wrong I am nauseous with the confusion of it.

Now, returning to the subject, I'm also aware that O and Steve read this and our grief is something very personal between ourselves. I'm not sure that they really want to read me wailing on about it either, so I may not post too much about it.

Anyway. we're sorting out a sort of legacy website thing which will probably just be another typepad blog with a domain mapped to it - mostly for nora's benefit in the long term, but also very much for our benefit to be able to write about John whenever we want. So that's how I may keep it seperate to this.

So - now some day to day motherhood type stuff.


I'm not really going out of my way to write anything down at the moment.

However, I just wanted to record that James started properly walking at the weekend.

We're all feeling very numb and confused. A large degree of total incomprehension at the idea that John might not be here. I mean that makes no sense, right?

There's a wellspring of anger building up.

But not right now.

Look, I'm turning comments off, ok. Sorry. Not really wanting to discuss this or anything.

Oh dear God....

Have you ever really wished you hadn't taken a plaster off?

Oh, I mean .. ugh. Blimey. This is one image which will be set to "Private" on Flickr, I'm telling you.

seriously though, it's an open wound about a centimeter long and 5 mil wide. I cut right in to the flesh, which has now very gingerly healed over to form a dark pink bulbous lump, peeping out of a gross, skin-gone-white-at-the-edges thick layer of skin.

There'll be a scar. There. I'm happy.

No wonder it's bloody throbbing.

Now I've got to work out how I can wash my hair after I've put a new dressing on and cleared it up (hopefully without kicking and swearing with pain). A washing up glove with an elastic band round the wrist? I'll leave it until the morning to work it out - one plan is to go in the shower, and have one hand permanently outside the curtain. Hmmm. It'll never work.


I sliced off the top of my thumb making vegetable stew for James. Blood all over the place. Luckily not all over the food.

That funny mix of embarrassment and pride at having a 'war wound'. First time I've cut myself in a long time - I pride myself in my knife skills.

I'm in the "open wound" phase of the first 24 hours after the slice. In other words, it *really bloody hurts*.