Tuesday, March 29, 2005
It is quite hard to photograph a baby on a swing

but quite easy in a buggy
Posted by Hello

Sunday, March 27, 2005
A la h-blog, 12 things about our 12-month-old daughter.
1. Her full name is Margaret Sakura Watson. Margaret because we have lots of Margarets on both sides of the family (and Cameron in particular is very pro-tradition in these matters) and Sakura means cherry blossom in Japanese. She was born at the very height of the cherry-blossom season and Tokyo was entirely pink.
2. She has lots of hair. She was born with lots of hair and despite predictions, never lost it. It is a sort of light brown, a colour that on myself I describe as 'mouse' - but I wouldn't dream of describing my beautiful daughter as being mousy.
3. She is the smiliest baby ever. As of yesterday, her smile reveals eight teeth.
4. She loves books and has a remarkably long concentration span. Current favourites include We're Going on a Bear Hunt, Ginger, and Kipper.
4. She is very keen on sorting. Putting everything into something (laundry basket, toy box or even just onto the sofa) and then all back out again. And again.
5. She has fabulous long curly eyelashes and dark grey eyes.
6. She isn't terribly keen on food but she does love meat (of any sort), cheese, and rice.
7. She walks with arms stretched out for balance, like a mummy, and with a cheeky "naughty face".
8. Favourite toys (until her birthday, that is) include her set of stacking cups and a plastic thing that requires her to push buttons, turn wheels, etc, in order to make the animals pop out from behind their doors.
9. Her favourite soft toy is a panda we bought in Beijing.
10. She dances to any music but especially likes to bob up and down to the Mexican tune ("amigo!") from Roly Mo, her current favourite television programme.
11. She has a small but developing vocabulary: Islay, Jura (sort of) and hello, with plenty of babbling to boost it. I am hoping she will do 'mummy' soon.
12. She is a whole year old. Happy birthday Maggie!

Saturday, March 26, 2005
You will be pleased to know that Maggie is almost completely better, even though we have 6 more doses of antibiotic to go (and counting; she has now decided she will hold it in her mouth until we relax then spit it out). She was up and coughing at 6 am but is generally a happy sunny baby once again. Not so Cameron and myself: we just keep passing those bugs back and forth. Today we are competing to see who can be the most bunged-up and miserable; I think I win because I can't take actifed - he thinks he wins because he took actifed and was knocked out by it.
This time last year...oh, this time last year. This *date* last year I had been in labour for a mere morning and was coping just fine; Cameron was still at work. But this Saturday last year it was going from strength to strength. Cameron says it was the longest day of his life. I wasn't really aware of the passing of time but I do remember it very clearly indeed, and I haven't drunk chocolate milk since. What a year it has been.
A good job she wasn't born here with this year's weather: we would have had to call her daffodil or magnolia as the cherry blossoms are virtually over already.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Oh dear. Back to the doctor today because M is really unhappy; too sad to even play with toys, she just wants to sit on Mummy's lap (even when Mummy goes to the toilet) and cough forlornly. So we now have liquid antibiotics and have been told to give calpol; anyone out there got any bright ideas how we might do so? When we go near her with spoon or syringe (I've tried both) she does a random selection of the following: clamps her mouth shut; shakes her head violently; screams but keeps her mouth open so anything you get in trickles straight back out again; blows bubbles on the spoon; twists and turns so you can't get near her. She doesn't seem to understand my explanations that she needs it to get better. I even tried mixing it with some yogurt today but she wasn't having that either - mind you she is just generally not eating so that wasn't such a surprise (she has had 4 mouthfuls of porridge and 1/2 a rice cake so far this week). Come on you experienced mums, I need your top tips.

Monday, March 21, 2005
Ooh. That is very cool. All that faffing about saying I couldn't show you photos because I didn't have the software installed? Turns out all I had to do was plug the camera into the computer; the driver was already part of my fancy new windows package. Hoorah.
By way of celebrating: Maggie and Mia ride a caterpillar (about a month ago I think)
Posted by Hello

Took Maggie to the doctor this morning - well, to the pharmacist then to the doc on his advice. She's had a cold for two weeks now: started out very snotty (of course, I blamed it all on teething - when in doubt) then went to manky eyes; manky eyes rather less manky now but she has developed a cough. *Very* nice doctor peered all round and listened to her chest before deciding to give us nothing. Of which I wholeheartedly approve. We have benilyn (?sp) for night time to hopefully help her sleep - she was up at 5 this morning, coughing away. But she is fine in herself, happy and smiley, if a little clingy (which I had blamed on her new walking skills but maybe just mean she is feeling a bit poorly). And we are still waiting for the second tooth of the pair to appear; it's all go.
We had an extremely quiet weekend. Blitzed the house, which really needed doing and was quite satisfying but very tedious. The high point was that walk to the duck pond! This afternoon I have a man coming to quote for blitzing the garden, which is also very necessary and can't be done in the half-hour each day I could manage to get out there if I really put my mind to it. So far I have weeded approximately 2 square metres (and we have a large garden). Laurels are taking over, nasty shiny things, and the pond is full of stinky slime. I am hoping if he makes it look beautiful, suddenly people will want to buy the house - but given that nobody has actually been and looked yet, let alone said they'd buy it if the garden wasn't so scruffy, I might be deluding myself.

Saturday, March 19, 2005
Things I had forgotten about England:
1. Ducks turn upside down in the water. I like ducks.
2. We don't have turtles.
The ducks at our local pond are obviously well-fed; they could hardly be bothered to swim for the bread unless we threw it right within a neck-stretch. And there were definitely two turtles sitting and sunning themselves on the island in the middle of the pond. Which confused me somewhat, but also made me feel happy and a bit like I was back in Japan (where, at this time of year, all the turtles come out of hibernation and into the sun).
Gorgeous weather. I could start to like England if it keeps this up.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005
No wonder she is small.
The eminenetly sensible Kaz Cooke suggests in kid-wrangling that a 1-year-old child should eat the equivalent of 1 1/2 cups of cerealy pasta-y things; 1 cup of fruit; 1/2 cup cooked veg; 60 g, 1/3 cup proteiny stuff; dairy equivalent to 2 1/2 cups milk. Today, Maggie has had the following:
1/4 weetabix
1 grape
1 mini banana muffin
1 floret cauliflower, with cheese sauce
nearly 1 bread stick
1 rice cake
about 20 sultanas
about 5 mouthfuls of cod/potato/broccoli/cheesy dinner
OK, maybe today isn't entirely typical because she was too tired to eat any real dinner (after being up all last night). But still. Should I be concerned?
(I am not worrying really - she has bags of energy and is happy and sunny and perfectly alright. I bet she just doesn't like my cooking. And frankly even if I was really worried I am not sure what I could do about it.)

Another sleepless night but this time there is a new tooth to show for it. So hooray, I suppose. (A sort of muted hooray combined with a very large yawn.)
I have a prospect of more work. Given that I haven't yet been paid the full amount for the last job I did for this company, I am loathe to take it - but also a bit scared to turn it down. It's only about a tenner short, and not malicious, just due to ignorance in the ways of currency exchange. Perhaps I should take the job with some very pointed comments about money and a demand for a least a week to complete - I am fairly confident she doesn't have another tame editor so I can push a little. But by nature I am a meek and mild walkover so I will have to gird myself to do so. Also, another set of mystery editing (we dont' know what it is, only who it is for) is lurking on the horizon; not yet sure whether it will come to me or my chum Ann (or to both). Finding it hard to care, to be frank. Neeeeed sleeeeep.
England is grey grey grey. And damp. I suppose we have daffodils, some small compensation.

Monday, March 14, 2005
We actually made it to the gym today! I was a very rubbish mummy leaving M in the creche: I had to explain that it was the first time she had been left with people she didn't know and that they were to get me Immediately if there was a problem - of course there were no problems whatsoever; when I went back for her she didn't even notice, so busy was she investigating the plastic animals. Hooray! The gym was a bit less hooray!, it being so long since I have done any exercise at all...so I sort of pottered about (there were plenty of other potterers in there, in fact, I felt quite left out there were so many people leaning on machines and chatting).
I did feel better for it, but have learnt that doing a supermarket shop straight after the gym, when you only had a cereal bar for breakfast, might be a mistake. My cupboards are groaning and very full of biscuits.
And then I fell asleep in front of Bob the Builder (hardly a surprise; it is quite tedious) and found when I woke up that Maggie had chewed a big hole in the newspaper and had a black face as a result. I am a Bad Mum.
Did next to nothing all weekend. My old school friend Helen popped in for lunch on Friday though, which was very nice: I got to meet her husband and, as she is pregnant, got to feel all wise and knowledgeable in the ways of babies. Ha. I'm sure once it is born she will rapidly realise that I know nothing.

Thursday, March 10, 2005
This time last year...
Maggie was due. I was the size of a house and getting very fed up - but not nearly as fed up as I would be 2 weeks on. And now look at her! And me, for that matter. (Oh OK you can't because I still haven't installed the camera software. It is on the list.)
I've been absent from the blog with a very good excuse this time: I had no power. I was happily sitting in front of the telly (tea, chocolate, magazine, blanket), Cameron in Paris, on Tuesday night when suddenly all went quiet and dark. I did what any girl would do in such a situation and rang my dad - fortunately I knew where the remains of my Japanese earthquake kit (torch, candles, matches) was. Oddly, none of the neighbours seemed to be having a power cut but I rang the emergency number who said they would get an engineer out to me. He rang en route and talked me through finding the trip switch (not stored sensibly on the fuse box, of course) which got the power back on...for 30 seconds. Bah. He then had me turn the dishwasher off, which got the power back on overnight (hurray) but when I tested it in the morning, the power went and stayed away. Sigh.
Anyway, I got a friendly local electrician to come, who dismantled my kitchen (it is still semi-dismantled but that is a good excuse to eat takeaway so we don't mind too much) to the tume of much muttering about the people who had installed it, and discovered that the outflow from the dishwasher had dislodged so was outflowing all over the floor - and all over a power socket that had sensibly been left there.
All power back on now, hurray.
We went to an enormous playgroup this morning that left me feeling dazed, confused and overwhelmed but that Maggie absolutely loved. She spent a good half hour trying to climb up the slide the wrong way to get to the big girls at the top; never even looked around for Mummy! Which is fantastic. The only thing I wasn't so keen on was after storytime (Noah's ark) they coloured in a picture of a rainbow that said 'thank you God' (it was a church group but I had assumed they just used the hall) - but M is too small to colour and I don't suppose it really mattered anyway. It just made me a bit uncomfortable (was expecting a thunderbolt!)

Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Phew. Maggie is in bed fast asleep (an hour early, but that's what happens when Daddy isn't here: he's gone to Paris and Mummy needs a break) so I thought I'd grab 5 minutes to catch up here before tackling Jobs.
Nasty tummy bug has gone and been replaced by a head cold: the joy. At least I can eat food again. Unfortunately, Maggie has the cold too and has the most disgusting nose I have ever seen: wiping it inspires tantrums of the sort I thought only 2-year-olds were supposed to have. And that's just me, ha ha ha.
Saturday dawned bright and Very Early, with a screaming baby at 3 am. Most uncharacteristic, and a high-pitched cry I hadn't heard before so we deduced teeth (when in doubt) - plus cold - and broke out the calpol. Which, rather than sending her off into a blissful dream, made her giggly and hyper and ready to play. As did the next dose when we did it all again at 7. By the time we got to Sara and Ian's wedding, we were all three ready to cry; only Maggie actually did so, at the bit where they say does anyone know of any impediment.... Timely. Fortunately, as soon as the photos were over, Granny and Grandpa had arrived to take over, allowing Mummy and Daddy a much-needed sojourn at the bar before dinner, speeches, dancing, etc. Mum only had to come and get me to settle her once - pretty impressive - and you've got to love the usher who described me as "slim and about 25". He tells me my mum was rather quicker to correct him than strictly necessary: what else are mothers for? Anyway, Sara has a husband - brave man - and we thoroughly enjoyed the wedding, which had all the necessary elements: the band was good, Cameron managed to stay up until 2 (I sloped off around 11.30 then lay irritatingly wakeful until 3: I really should remember not to have coffee in the afternoons), I didn't break my ankle in my silly shoes and there were a few good rows/new friendships formed to keep people gossiping for a few more weeks.
Sunday was my first Mothers' Day! And significantly better than last year's, when I was very cross at not being one. And I received an out-of-the-blue email from my old university chum Jo, from whom I haven't heard since Maggie was born. That was really very exciting and made my day. We were cat-mad flatmates for a year and she introduced me to the way of the G&T, for which I will forever be grateful. She also provided a living demonstration of a "stormy relationship" (far be it for me to publish details of the rows but My Goodness!) so I am delighted to hear she has a much nicer boyfriend now. And a blog! Did I mention she has a blog? Here.
Yesterday, mum and dad went home and I did absolutely nothing of note (apart from baking baby banana muffins - I am such a domestic goddess/supermum). And today was the NCT coffee morning.


Friday, March 04, 2005
Bloody toddlers and their bloody bugs. Mixing with other children is supposed to provide a workout for Maggie's immune system, not mine.
Thank goodness for CBeebies.

Thursday, March 03, 2005
I have a lurgy. You know it is going to be a bad day when you have to stop mid-nappy to be sick; bringing up bile and dry heaves makes your baby scream and then she pees on the floor. Joy.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Right, Maggie is booked into the creche tomorrow so I am definitely going to the gym. I hope they are kind (to me; she'll be fine) as I have never left her with people she doesn't know before and I feel a bit nervous.
Swimming today and she went right under! Big big grins again though; it was all such fun. Popped into the library next door afterwards to borrow a pen (to give one of the other mummies my phone number, hooray for making friends! Of course, if we do move to Wales that will all have been a big waste of time.) and spotted a little girl I know. Hello Amy, I said, is mummy here? No, she told me. I didn't believe her (Amy is only 3 and perhaps a little too young to go and choose her own books) and managed to find Mummy hiding out in crime fiction...only I was so out of context (I assume) that we had a very odd conversation and she had a completely stunned expression throughout. Hey ho, she just emailed so it wasn't that she had been upset with me broaching her safe haven - just puzzled about what I was doing there.
Got M weighed yesterday too, to see if she is ready for her big-girl car seat yet (she's not! Still a whole kilogram to go; I was very surprised. Still, it can sit in the garage until she is ready) and they gave me books. How kind. How unexpected. Apparently every baby in the country is being given books.