Sunday, January 26, 2014


We've lived in south east London for two and a half years, so we figured a trip to the Horniman Museum was well overdue. We paid it a visit on Saturday morning and it was glorious. Well, its cute little aquarium was, anyway. We didn't get to see much of the actual museum itself since Samuel freaked out somewhere near the jellyfish display and by the time we'd reached rainforest exhibit (complete with gorgeous tropical butterflies eating oranges), he was wailing uncontrollably and needed to be carried out horizontally. 

We made a sharp exit and took a stroll around the museum's gardens with their sweeping views of London and we discovered that a farmer's market was in full swing. We sat outside and grabbed a coffee while Samuel tried to grab a pigeon. He's getting used to running in those little shoes of his and can be pretty speedy when he wants to be. The pigeon was speedier, though.

The sun came out and a stall holder gave Samuel a piece of apple which he loved so much, we bought a whole bag of them before wending our way home. We'll definitely go back soon. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pop will eat itself

This month, TalkMum are profiling all of their bloggers and finding out why they blog, and this week it's been all about me. ME! I'm not entirely sure what is more narcissistic – the fact I wrote a piece all about me writing about myself, or the fact that I am telling you about it now. It's not lost on me that, essentially, I am writing about myself writing about myself writing about myself. So, before I explode in crazed burst of egotistical self-obsession, I am going to go and eat some Smarties and give myself a stern talking to. You can find the piece here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

D is for discipline and dumplings

I've never been much of a disciplinarian. Telling someone what to do just feels plain wrong. I go to great lengths to avoid entering into any kind of conflict and I only reluctantly became a manager at work because I knew that the lovely person I was managing wouldn't be any bother.

So a wild 14-month-old comes as quite a shock to my quiet, libertarian soul. Tantrums and strops are becoming a daily occurrence. I'm pretty fine about this, since it's all a sign of him asserting his burgeoning indepence and I believe this to be a very good thing. Also, I kind of ignore him if he's in no imminent danger and he stops eventually. So no big deal. But eating the plaster off the crumbling living room wall? I'm not so keen on that one. Or chomping on plugs of various electrical home appliances? I'm not wild about that either. I say 'no'. And then I say 'no' some more. Samuel laughs at me. 'No' is hilarious. So then I say 'bad ... BAD!' But 'bad' is also very funny.  

Often I simply sigh, bathtime comes along, the day ends and I go off and do something else, putting all thoughts of discipline out of my mind for another day. That's exactly what I did last night. I put on red lipstick and hopped aboard a train  to town for a late dim sum dinner with C, L and V. We chatted, giggled, celebrated C's birthday, discussed her imminent new arrival, and pretty much ate all the dumplings in London. It was great to see them and also to be reminded of the life going on beyond these four walls.

But you can't hide your behavioural issues behind pork buns forever. Today Samuel and I were up at the library for our nursery rhyme session and I was mortified when he gleefully ripped a page out of a library book. Oh the horror of that ripping sound. 

But here's the thing: surrounded by other babies and mums who all gasped, I really didn't know what to do. Should I have shouted at him? Made a fuss? Drew even more attention to us? Well that didn't feel right. He's too little. He didn't really understand what he was doing. He just liked the noise. And he liked feeling strong. So I quietly explained that we don't do that to books. That we value books. And then I got us the hell out of there, red cheeked.

I'm going to go back with him next week and take a new copy of the book he ruined with us. But in the meantime I'm going to have a think about how you can gently and lovingly, but effectively, instill a little discipline into a head-strong one-year-old. 

All of a sudden it feels like my parenting provision has to be stepped up from Tamagotchi level to moral compass level. That's quite a leap.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


We all came down with the January lurgi and ached and shaked all week. We didn't get a lot of fresh air, but we did drink a lot of tea and hot Ribena. Samuel watched us intently as we drank from our mugs and once they were drained, he wrestled them off us and had a go at the sipping malarkey himself. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


It's hard to find a good picture from this past week. James was away "working" in Las Vegas, so I was at the helm of the good ship Chittenden. We didn't get out much thanks to the crappy weather and my crappy organisational skills. Samuel started pushing boundaries and discovering what he can and can't do. He head-butted hot radiators out of curiosity. He threw tangerines in the toilet with the furrowed brow and quizzical look of a scientific researcher at work. He really put the hours in working on his full-on lie-on-the-floor-and-thrash toddler tantrums. They're coming along nicely. It was tiring and, oh my, it was so good to see James when he came home. But every time I felt like I was teetering on the edge of something that required a full box of something from Thorntons washed down by a full box of something from Blue Nun, Samuel would do something scrumptious. He'd laugh uproariously and infectiously at a cheese sandwich. He'd give a teddy bear a kiss. Or he'd head off in search of his absolutely favourite current toy - my hairdryer - and be overcome by joy once he found it. 

Monday, January 6, 2014


So, a little blog project for me this year. I'm going to try and post one favourite picture of Samuel every week in 2014. It'll be a great way to record how much he changes ... and I reckon there are going to be oodles of changes. It's going to be a big year for a little man. 

Here he is during his first hair wash of 2014. His sprongy curls conceal the true length of his hair and I'm always amazed at just how long it is when it's wet. We're just leaving it to grow. Samuel's hair is basically just a biological experiment right now.

(Just for the record, I'm totally ripping off one of my fave bloggers with this photo idea - Fritha at Tigerlilly Quinn. Do take a look at her blog - it's a cracker.)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The year in pictures

2013, on the whole, was a bit of a challenge. We came into it as brand spanking new parents. That was challenge enough. But then, later in the year, James detached his retina, Samuel went to A&E, I handed my notice in at work and we had bundles of issues with our flat. There were quite a lot of days when I wanted to boil my own head. But then, towards the end of the year in particular, there were a lot of days when I didn't. In fact, at some unknown point around October the default look on my face flipped from 'Help me, please God, somebody help me' to 'whatevs'. Then things got quite good. I started to remember who I was again, Samuel became infinitely more fun and I felt privileged to be able to spend my days with such a delightful little person. 

Anyway, here is my year in photographs. All the photos feature Samuel, but here's the thing I've come realise: in a baby's first year or so it can be hard to separate their life from your life. Samuel's life in 2013 was pretty much my life too. I'm sure this will change as he gets older, but right now I wouldn't have it any other way.

Right from the beginning there was an awful lot of this:

And this:

There was nowhere near enough of this:

But whenever it did happen I got very excited about it: 

There were lots of firsts like this:

And this:

And this:

And there were some special get togethers like this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

There were some cracking days out like this:

And this:

And this:

But I think the moments I'll remember most from 2013 will be the little ones like this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

I'm pretty optimistic that 2014 will be a belter of a year.