Tag Archives: Little Things

The week that was…hot

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I am supposed to be doing – haha – SO many things right now, but it’s been a good while since I checked in here. Sometimes my days and nights fill up so much I have to put blogging on the back burner. I miss it when it’s not there.

Some catch-up, then? Here are some inconsequential snippets from our week.

We just got back from a dinner date, where we wandered around looking into restaurant windows for a while before going to Five Guys like we always do. Tim managed three full cups of drink from the special flavours machine before our food even arrived. We decided to pretend we were on a first date, and talked about which character we were most like in Harry Potter (Oliver Wood and Hermione, obvs), and what our favourite films and music were. I confessed my undying love for Inception and Tim decided that whatever type of music Kings of Convenience make, he likes it (Google says they do Indie Folk, so now you know). Also, when you sit up on the high chairs by the balcony, you do actually feel like the Queen of Five Guys.




And they did.

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We are about to head into camp season – Tim is gone for the full week (!) with the teenage boys, though I’m only doing a ten-mile overnight hike with the girls, over a day and a bit. I have started to break it down, and ten miles + carrying a bed roll + sleeping on the floor in the woods without a tent + what the cheff is a bed roll have started to make intimidating sums in my head. It’s alright, guys. I’ve totally got this [am terrified].

this is not a bed.

this is not a bed.

Tim has genuinely got this, because he’s the sort of chap who looks casually hot in a canoe.


(From last year.) What the.

Henry had a nursery induction this week, where the following exchange occurred:

H’s new teacher: ‘So Henry, what’s your favourite thing to do at home?’
Hen: (top of voice, hands in air) ‘SCREEN TIIIIME!’
Me: (*ALL THE SHAME*) ‘we do, ah, do other things.’

Apart from this, he had a lovely time, and we are crossing our everything that we can move before September so he can go. Between you and me, my dears, I have so much anxiety about our unmoving house move that it makes me want to curl up into a little foetal ball every time I think about it. If you’d like to throw any of your good vibes in our direction and/or politely hustle our solicitors with eyebrows and bribes, consider this my blessing to go ahead.

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This week’s morning adbentures included hot walks/bike rides, train journeys to Goring for weir-watching and ice cream by the river, many playgrounds, the library and a cousins’ trip to West Green House Gardens. The weather has been in the thirties, which sounds fabulous until I remind you that the British do not really understand or see the need for air-conditioning. On the other hand, this has also meant a continual excuse for ice cream, and we try always to take this and run with it.

Rachel (2)

Teddy has fallen in deep and profound love with our pop-up version of ‘Dear Zoo’. He’s not allowed to look at it by himself, because he gets too excited and rips off the flaps. I put it in different hiding places, he finds it and takes it off to secret corners to chuckle over; rinse, repeat.

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I got a small pile of books from the library that turned out to be all thrillers and Books of Tense and Obscure Emotion, so got out Sadie Jones’ The Unexpected Guests again on a whim. It’s as delightful as I remember. Everything about it is perfect and lovely, and I wish I’d written it so I could tell everyone it was mine.

Instead I wrote this post, and a thing about toddler tantrums and Sirius Black for TalkMum, which is here if you fancy it. It’s no Unexpected Guests, but it was fun.

Oh gosh, 1am. Over and out, you guys. Over and out.

His mother called him ‘WILD THING’

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What follows: your weekly note about toddlers.

I haven’t written about Henry much, lately. It’s not because he’s going through a bit of a capital-P Phase – though he is – and I only want to write about the good stuff. I think this clingy, angry thing he’s been trying on has its roots in insecurity and growing pains, and – I don’t know, I suppose I feel he needs his tender parts covered until he feels more like himself. So he’s been a supporting player here for a little while.

He’s still here, though, so I thought I’d write down a few toddlerisms for posterity.

This is the Henriest Henry face there ever was. If you were to bottle up the essence of Henry, this face would be on the sticker.


His grammarisms are always the best part of my day.

‘Mummy, this da-longs to you, yes?’

‘Look, Mummy, I covered in licker!’ (He means ‘glitter’, and this is never a thing you want to hear when you can’t see him.)

‘I not very well, I have a tummy-head’.

‘Look how smart I are!’ (Drying his hair with a hairdryer.)



The other day, mid-toilet break, he told me to close the door ‘uzzerwise someone see me in my wee house’. He likes the idea of things having their own houses. This is actually the least embarrassing thing he’s said loudly in a public toilet. Others in the top five include [looking under the cubicle wall]: ‘I can see someone! LADY, I CAN SEE YOUR SHOES’, and, of course, various encouragements to his own anatomy and mine, which we will not reproduce here.

He’s experimenting with ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ at the minute – who knows where he got them from – and finds this so terribly noteworthy that he delivers them both in double forte. It’s like a trombone blast at the end of every sentence: ‘I got you a cheese-apple, DAAAAAD. Coming, DAAAAD’. (What is a cheese-apple?)

He narrates to himself when he’s feeling fancy. ‘I going this way, said Henry. Let’s open the door, said Henry’. I could make the fact that he’s apparently the star player in his own life into some metaphor or other, but let’s just comment instead that he’s still well on track for drama school.


A little while ago he got very passionate about the alphabet, and learned half the letters. Now – hello, two-year-old – he’s gone off it and will only identify P and K, for which he still has a sentimental attachment.

Winnie the Pooh. Oh my twelve-times-a-day. The other day I caught him with his hand in our jar of honey, and that clean-up is not nearly so pleasant in real life, FYI.

I am still waiting for the switch that says ‘ohhhh, THAT’S where my solid waste should go’. Since I can’t stop him soiling his pants every day, I decided to stop minding. It’s working pretty well.


He has cleared every plate, three times a day, for four days in a row. Miracle. On the other hand, he also spent his past four nights learning how to climb into Teddy’s cot, necking half a bottle of gripe water – cue frantic medical Googling – and coating Teds head to foot in Sudocreme. Which is to say, he’s growing.

He almost doesn’t fit into my lap now.  But he still wants to, and his face still looks like he’s won the lottery when I turn up unexpectedly. So two-and-three-quarters, you’re welcome to stick around for a while yet.


The Twits in Spring

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I am not eating refined sugar for a while. The reasons are mostly to do with the fact that we eat a lot of rubbish, and apparently I’m the sort of person who requires a total YOU MAY NOT EAT THIS EVER kind of ban in order to make anything stick. I have an intense and somewhat emotional relationship with hot chocolate, so it’s pretty boring already. I don’t know how vegans manage. If I couldn’t eat cheese I’d just pack it all in now and survive on gruel.

I’m also considering doing some kind of unplugged regime, because I feel all itchy when my phone’s not in my hand, which is weird. But one thing at a time, eh? If I’m having to eat snap peas instead of biscuits, at least I get to keep Twitter.

Because, Twitter! I just had a browse through my last four months, online, to distract myself from the sadness of herbal tea. Herbal tea is made from the mournful tears of abandoned fruit, did you know? But Twitter is made from the dewdrops on the cheeks of angels. Because of Twitter, I came across and loved the following:

a Caitlin Moran interview with Benedict Cumberbatch that made my life;

a Martin Luther King article that left me on the floor;

a last letter from a miner trapped underground that made me cry out all the water in my shrivelled body;

a brilliant compilation of the five best punctuation marks in literature (be still my heart);

a comprehensive trashing of the paleo diet;

a summary of WW1 as a bar fight (very useful, this);

a series of articles about monks inventing art that have made me weep tears of laughter and snort cheesecake out of my nose (medieval art, renaissance art, Byzantine art) (oh, cheesecake!);

a lovely, exactly right alternative epilogue to Harry Potter;

and, after watching Saving Mr Banks, this fabulous article about the creator of Mary Poppins and her decidedly odd life.

And here’s a potted summary of January to April. The usual warning: poo.

7 Jan

Regretting taking Ed to the weighing clinic a few hours after his brother gave him a ‘fond’ bite on the leg. [pagingsocialservices]

In case you needed more eau de Tuesday, 15mins ago I said ‘we’ll go to the library in a sec – just need to get this sick out of the Hoover’.

13 Jan

2YO: What are these?
@mrjeffcoat: They’re my cycling gloves, Henry.
2YO: *sigh* Use real words please, Daddy.

15 Jan

We’ve now watched Tangled so much that this is what happens to me at the end:

Eugene: Rapunzel, you were my new dream.
Rapunzel: *sob* and you were mine.

17 Jan

Shopping list with a cold:

4 Feb

I tell ye what, having the How to Train Your Dragon theme stuck in your head makes going to the loo TERRIBLY dramatic.

This is the noblest wee I have ever had.

5 Feb

Me: ‘There’s something round your mouth. Have you been eating anything?’
Hen: ‘I eating nothing’
Me: ‘oh, ok’
Hen: ‘except clockolet’

16 Feb

Just saw someone on Twitter write ‘voilà’ as ‘whalla’, and I think something inside me has died.

23 Feb

Fell down stairs carrying both boys this morning. Felt like Aragorn leaping to safety in mines of Moria, hobbit under each arm #flyyoufools

24 Feb

Basically, come into our house with the assumption that every cushion is artfully positioned over a sick stain #howdiditcometothis

4 Mar

Nothing makes you look so insane as getting faint wafts of poo from somewhere so furiously sniffing every item in the house. #WHEREISIT

6 Mar

Toddler just imitated the braying laugh of a check-out assistant next to us, so you’ll excuse me for trying to bury myself under the floor.

6 Mar

[at end of long discussion about biting]
Me: look, you can put your mouth on people if you want, but it has to be CLOSED.

10 Mar

Baby refusing naps. Come in 15 minutes later to find he’s completely dismantled his bottle and is no longer wearing trousers. Career in MI5?

I also can’t find the trousers.

11 Mar

From the bedroom, Teddy’s making the noise I have come to read as ‘I am having all the breath squashed out of my body bit by bit’. #brothers

12 Mar

Never ask a mother what she’s doing between 5-6pm, because the answer will always be ‘googling local orphanages’.

24 Mar

Boys haven’t slept simultaneously in weeks. Today they did, & I was like ‘yess, work!’ and body was like ‘um..sucka I am pulling that plug’.

(just woke up. No work done. Major bedhead.)

25 Mar

2YO: Try it, try it!
Me: That’s dried yoghurt from your chin. I’ll pass.
2YO: Shall I put it on your chin?
Me: Still no.

2 Apr

Tim: Mark Wahlburg is in trouble.His leg bone is sticking out.
Me: A tight spot. Poor Mark.
T: it’s ok, he pushed it back in.

10 Apr

Look, I’m not going to lie. He calls it ‘Willy the Poo’, he can’t say ‘Winnie’, I laugh every time, I am juvenile.

21 Apr

Just ate the most disgusting Burger King burger. Had to eat the raw onion (urgh) just to make sure my mouth still had feelings.

Yes, that about sums it up.

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Hey, if you catch this in the next couple of hours: the MAD Blog Awards voting closes at midnight today! If you haven’t yet and you wouldn’t mind, I’d be jolly grateful if you’d vote for us in the Best Baby Blog category.

Click here! Thank you!

Behind the sign

We’re walking back to the car in gentle sunshine, and I let go of your hand so you can swish through the leaf mould and fallen blossom at the edge of the path. You cannot resist a pile like this, I have discovered. It makes me think of concealed dog mess, but it makes you think of rustly sounds and secrets. This is what it is to grow up. I like turning the clock back with you, even if I don’t step in there myself.

‘Mummy, where are me?’

I turn around and you’re stock-still, pole-straight behind the street sign. ‘Where are me?’ is the call of our household at the minute. You will hide anywhere that will hold you, and many places that won’t. Your crinkled grammar makes me laugh every time.

I haven’t replied yet, so you ask again. ‘Hey mummy, where are me?’

I can see all of you except your head. You can never quite believe how big you are. My view of you is better, but no more complete. I can picture your face, grinning into the rusted back of the sign, waiting. You’ll stay there till I come.

It’s not the hiding you love, you see. It’s the being found.

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Mornings, revisited

Rach's Blog

I came across this post the other day, and felt like I was looking back at long-forgotten country. So here’s a continuation.

Dear self,

Here are some things that you should never forget (even when the skin on the back of your hands has gone baggy)

that you get the first hint of Boy 1 being awake when he thunders like a galloping elephant on the stairs

that Boy 2 is almost always beside you already, fuzzy head jammed into your armpit

that Tim does the breakfast routine unless you really have to – and this is now so ingrained that the other day Henry told you to go back to bed while Daddy made porridge, so SCORE ONE for you

that you get Henry in the bath every day by pretending his pirate bubble bath is talking to him

that your pirate accent is really no better, despite all this practice

that they spend twenty minutes trying to out-splash each other, and as Teddy has been gifted with thighs, he wins

that the real loser is you, since you start every day wet

that Henry will get dressed faster if you pretend you’re both racing cars

that your racing commentator accent is pretty dire as well, and who said parenthood involved so many accents anyway

that you never, ever in your life thought your bed would end up with so much pee in it

that you spend your getting-ready time having conversations with a boy who now likes having his hair combed and putting his socks on and brushing his teeth, so look, my dear, how things change

but that he still likes the taste of your perfume

so maybe they don’t change all that much.

Embrace the soakings, dear self, because they’ll be over before you can blink. And moisturise those hands.

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That was the week in…haiku


This is a heck of a lot quicker than keeping a journal.

Between the two of us (Monday)

The day you first said

‘Porridge’ instead of ‘possiss’

My heart broke a bit.

Now you’re eating solid food (Tuesday)

Red, yellow, orange.

The colours of your sick light

Up your cardigans.

After the performance (Wednesday)

It’s a tricky one

But your chameleon routine

Is my all-time fave.

For Teddy (Thursday)

Some day you won’t wake

Up at four. I’m just saying.

That’d be better.

In the old days (Friday)

Wistfully I think

Of when I could have a wee

Without your applause.

UPDATED TO SAY: in case you’re new around here, I have two boys. One is doing rainbow-coloured sick and the other is doing chameleon impressions. That would be a very weird case of child development if I only had one…

Hahpy Thanksgibing Bahk!

(If you don’t know the origin of that quote, get yourself to a copy of You’ve Got Mail and don’t come out till you’ve finished, thank you very much.) 

You know, I have been struggling to write this blog lately. Sometimes I have blocks of silence where no words come, and all I can hear is whistling. Since I normally spend all my time with sentences racketing around, deafeningly, in my head, I find this lack of wordiness (Darth Vader breath)…disturbing.

Still. It’ll come back. It usually does. And though it goes against the grain to admit it, some of the moments that mean the most to me happen in silence – snapshots that flash in the spaces between one breath and the next – and are best appreciated in silence, too.

Today is Thanksgiving. Here are some of the snapshots I’m grateful for.

We are at Five Guys for the first time. Tim is fiddling with the drinks machine, and I am watching him from across the way. I love being out all together like this. I have never seen anyone, ever, get so excited about the concept of vanilla Sprite.

It’s 4.30am, and Teddy is hungry. He will not let go of the middle-of-the-night feed, this boy, and my feelings about it are less than charitable. I get up crossly, pull his swaddling blanket loose, and as soon as he sees me his whole body tenses with unbearable delight.

I’ve just been for lunch with some lovely people, and the boys and I are getting back into the car. I’ve swung them into their car seats, dismantled the pushchair-tank without breaking a sweat and climbed in myself. I am wearing new boots. Henry is telling me a joke. My car starts first time. For once, and for a tiny second, I feel like the most competent person alive.

I’m due to drop off a meal for a friend at the other end of town. It’s dinnertime, dark and cold and depressing. ‘Henry, time to go!’ I yell up the stairs. He yells back, ‘Not now Mummy, I reading!’ I open the door. He is, too – Alfie Gives A Hand open in front of him. ‘Happy burfday to you‘, he mutters, face screwed up in concentration. 

I am driving past the park in harsh winter sun. The wind ruffles the tree branches and suddenly the bank to my left is blazing with a glorious, rich gold, unbelievably beautiful. I can hardly stop looking at it. I hold my breath as I pass.

This Thanksgiving, it’s the snapshots I want to be grateful for. All gathered and gleaming in my hands and heart, and with no words around them at all.


This is my one-thousandth Instagram

…So I can expect an Earlybird-filtered quinoa salad in the post any day now, yes?

Joking! Everyone knows that quinoa salad should only appear with a Valencia filter. Come on.

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This is Teds, loving the dear life out of getting his passport photo taken. I wouldn’t have been in raptures about lying on the shop floor on a grey t-shirt, personally, but it takes all sorts. If anyone knows what my grouchy self did to deserve a sunny boy like this, do pass it along.

It was one of those days where your passport-organisation plans are stymied by your dying car, so you haul out the double pushchair and do the post office and Tesco instead. But then it’s not as cold as you thought it was, and in any case you’ve been eating far too many chips lately, so you walk all the way into town after all. And then, remembering the chips, and feeling overwhelmingly bored of walking, you run most of the way back in jeans and beat-up Converse trainers.

Subsequently your arches and pelvis thank you not at all, and the chafing is best left shrouded in mystery. But you can eat more chips.

This is what we call a good Monday. Teds knew it all the time, didn’t he?

List for the littles


Give me a day where we get out of the house, make time for a nap AND do something about the housework, and I’ll feel like we’re the winners of everything.

I have been so unstoppably cheerful this week. Yesterday we spent a couple of hours at the soft play centre, me scrabbling after Henry with Teddy under one arm, up stairs and down slides and through spaces far too small for the three of us. Teds is a dreamy chunk of a baby at the moment, all rolls and dribble and dimply knees, and after an hour of heaving him over padded obstacles I felt like I’d been beaten with a large stick. Henry burned through so much energy – most of it through yelling ‘COME OOOOON, MUMMY!’, probably – that he wolfed his lunch, asked for seconds and then requested a nap. At which point I crossed myself and looked for angels. If the soft play place was free and not quite so scabby, we’d be there every day just for that.



We had loaded baked potato soup for dinner. It’s a heart-attack in a bowl, but it feels like you’re rolling around in a bed of bacon and joy, and some days you just deserve it.


I’ve got an old, crinkled List of Things to Do Before I Die in a box somewhere, that I wrote when I was seventeen. I still have high hopes of writing a book, spending a week in Italy, and going up in a hot air balloon. I’m even holding onto the possibility of adding to the lipstick kisses on Oscar Wilde’s grave, even though they’ve put up screens now so it might take a bit of ninja stealth. But I’ve just written a List for Right Now, to be going on with. As follows.

1. Accomplish the outing-nap-housework super triple combination twice a week.

2. Find a way to get twelve hours’ sleep at least once before Christmas (bribe, threaten, whatever).

3. Eat cake, and bacon. Attempt to put bacon on cake, and see how that works.

4. Become muscly enough to get Teddy up to the giant slide at soft play.

5. Wear lipstick. Smile. Read Agatha Christie. Give liberal kisses. Rehearse ninja moves, just in case.

I think that’ll do for the moment.

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Notes from the trenches: 4

Parenting lesson #45: keep your working spouse in the loop by bombarding them continually with panic-strewn text messages.

I’m getting pretty good at it, if I do say so myself.

8 May


I am writing this to you, so I don’t have to say it to him.

12 May

Supposed to be asleep.
Actually singing a self-penned song about tickling digger.
Story of Henry’s life.

17 July

Let us rename today Giant Sweetcorny Poos In The Bath day. A step forward though: he stood up in a corner and yelled for me because he didn’t want to stand in it. Considering its composition I’m glad he wasn’t trying to eat it…

18 July

Someone was jealous of Edward’s bath this morning. He got in with his nappy on. Urgh.

30th July

Brill! I’ll give you three guesses as to what I’m doing.

– feeding?

A clue: I am _____ surrounded by _______ while Henry ______.
The answers are ‘feeding’, ‘mess’, and ‘paints on the wall with Maybelline foundation’.

1st Aug

I think I might die of having two children.

7th Aug

By the way, I am watching a history documentary about succession. The next time we have marital relations I expect you to shout ‘Now I will do my work, for St George and England!’ As did Charles II.

8th Aug

We are both sick and covered in wee (Teddy’s), and he has decided he will only stop crying when he’s sat with me.

Meanwhile, Hen is singing Postman Pat and ‘cleaning’ where I can’t see him. Ominous.

We miss your face, in other words.

9th Aug

Ok, how toxic do you think your hair cream is, on a scale of one to ten?!

27th Aug

This is the greatest weighing session of all time. Put Teds on the scales and he wees everywhere. Unfortunately the scales are on a table and Hen is standing beside me, so he gets wee to the face. We scrabble to clear it up, Teds gets weighed…and then wees again. In Henry’s face, again. He looked so disgusted, I was in hysterics. I was the only one amused…

28 Aug

This will make me sound like a dweeb, but I can’t open the Calpol, and Teds is desperate. Pls could you and your man hands come home?

3rd Sept

Nando’s is WeightWatchers in comparison.

17 Sept

‘Mummy, Eh-ward’s awake!’

‘Yeah, he’s awake because you spat on his head.’

Poor Teds.

10 Oct

Definitely trying to put a breast pad in. This boy needs man time in the worst way.

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‘Mummy, I a pah-rit! Ha-haaargg!’

Antibacterial handwipe. Pirate hat. What’s the diff.

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It has just occurred to me: do you think one day Edward will use these posts as evidence for his parental emancipation bid?

*makes mental note to burn the internet later*

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