Thursday, December 31, 2009


It’s New Year’s Eve, and yet it’s also just another day. Paul went to work and Jake and I got on with our day, eating, playing, going to Sainsbury’s and sharing lots of cuggahs (cuddles). Jake’s been asking for them a lot, and seems to be going into a second stage of clinginess, wanting to be held a lot, crying as I leave his side, even if I’m in the same room. I used to be ultra keen on Resolutions. But I was usually unrealistic. What I need most is to give myself a break. I wish I knew how.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009



Heard yesterday that a Mum from the forum lost her child. She was two. She was put to bed a bit under the weather and was found dead by her mother the next morning. This was my biggest fear when Jake was newborn. Still is. I used to have intensely vivid nightmares about all the freak accidents that could happen, as if we were being stalked by an invisible malevolent force and I was completely powerless to protect him. Then P was attacked. In the midst of our joy of new life, fragility, vulnerability, and fear of the ultimate loss.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


29.12.09 (Two entries for today...just cos...)

Jake woke at 5:30am today. After numerous cuddles and walks round the flat, he still couldn’t get to sleep. So I let him wriggle out of my arms and watched as he proceeded to the door, pointing to go out. He was doing his baby Jake talk and then started drumming, accompanied by the dum dum noise. I was touched. He must have noticed how happy I get when he recognises the drum in his book and makes the drum motion. It was as if he was saying, come on Mummy, let’s play drums, I know it makes you happy.
Jake’s been sitting down lately. On something as opposed to the floor. He backs up to something (our laps, a stool, the edge of a basket), slowly lowers his bottom and rests there with a sigh. After 5 days at home with us, Paul went out for some time to himself. Made me realise how much of a break I get when he’s around – he’s been doing most of the childcare and Jake loves spending so much time with him. And what have I been doing with my time? Cleaning, chores and sleeping. The sleeping has been good at least.

Monday, December 28, 2009



It was sunny and mild so we went into town. I got a sketchbook from Cass Arts for £2.50, looked at the xmas tree in Trafalgar Square but it wasn’t as pretty as the one in the private garden in Bedford Square which was lit up with indigo lights. Had a picnic lunch in the British Museum, Jake taking huge bites out of a spinach and tofu quiche and a vegan pizza. He didn’t want any of my tuna sandwich or sausage roll. He was so happy running around there, playing around the pillars and hugging mine and Paul’s legs.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


My deranged looking baby - it was mostly blind contour. 


Jake making funny faces at me, like he’s straining at something. I do them back and he laughs. Jake wandering round the flat saying Daddy, Daddy, Daddy and Yommy Yommy Yommy. Jake having whiny periods, and quiet, focussed playing periods. Playing with the bucket, the stool, his water cup – pouring water over everything – his blocks, the shelf, the carpet, his legs, the sofa. He feeds himself porridge, yoghurt, beetroot, lasagne. He wants to be picked up a lot. Smiles beatifically. I finally get a chance to put up the new shower curtain, saving the old one for finger painting sessions.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Enjoying Mummy's Chocolate Cinnamon Cake and the general festivities...



“Like many love stories, this one begins with an act of foolishness…” So begins March of The Penguins. A heartwarming story of survival, majesty, endurance, fluffy chicks and DEATH. I don’t know why I watch these nature programmes – it’s always the same. You get attached to the furry babies and then along comes a predator to peck it to death or swallow it whole or thrash it about for sport. Still, I like the ‘love story’ line. Boxing Day has been a day of quiet and meandering pleasures. Oh, and walking around looking like a dickhead in my new hat.


Opening presents – Jake laughed whenever I put my funny hat on. Paul got me thermal underwear in L because he thought M meant massive. Found out Paul used to love Heidi stories when he was little. I spoke to Mum & Dad who were very happy to hear from me, Mum was particularly excited and laughed a lot and said she prayed for Jake’s health and for our happiness every single night. She kept wishing me all the happiness and everything we want in life. It touched me and jarred me from my usual perception of my relationship with her.


~ Merry Christmas ~

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Another one of Jake's melancholy looking wind-up toys.

Christmas Eve

I love Christmas Eve.  When I was a child, we stayed up till midnight on Christmas Eve to open our presents.  To me, Christmas Eve was always the special day.  I think I still enjoy the anticipation and buzz of preparations better than the day itself.  Although, now that I have Jake, that may change, as I watch his little face when he gets to open his presents tomorrow.

Anyway, I spent the whole morning baking pepparkakor (traditional Swedish xmas cookies).  The recipe I found did not state how many cookies it would make.  I was bloody surprised when I realised I could turn out at least 75 of them, and still had a bit of dough left over for Jake to play with.

The dough had to be rolled really thin, so lifting the star shaped cookies off the counter to place on the baking tray was like helping exhausted star fish get up from the scene of an accident.  I'm happy to report that most of them made it.  I only burned one batch.


Loved Where The Wild Things Are, followed by a luscious pizza with three types of mushrooms, creamy cheese and crispy speck ham. Spent this morning baking xmas cookies, the dough easily made 6 dozen. Threw Jake up and down, complete with sound effects. Resulted in great tummy chuckles and him throwing up his arms and saying “woo woo” when he wanted me to do it again. The friend who’s been ignoring me for two months suddenly got in touch, apologising and sending gifts. I’m still angry though, because I know it will happen again.  I don't know what to do.

Edit: Forgot to mention the lemon tart!  The best ever.


Anxious misletoe (copied from a wrapping paper pattern)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Made my first batches of pepparkakor cookies while Jake chirruped “Cookie, cake-o, cookie!” and played with some of the dough. Then braved the ice and snow to get some last minute groceries and Jake fell asleep in the pram for an hour and a half! Later, fished a lit torch and cement truck out of a kitchen cupboard and rolled the ball pool round the flat. It’s hours later and he’s still saying cookie, cookie, cookie. Tonight I’m out for “Where the wild things are” and dinner. Then Paul’s off for six days and it’s just two sleeps till xmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009



I never imagined I’d nearly be undone by the making of cookie dough. Or rather the impossibly precise act of measuring cinnamon onto a teaspoon with a bad wrist while a toddler hangs onto my leg and pushes me at the same time. On the other hand, he said juice for the first time, or “doof”, while mimicking the action of drinking complete with a lip-smacking “ah” afterwards. And said “moe” to porridge and olives. And later on, the cutest chocolate covered face and lots and lots of kisses and cuddles. And the creamiest, yummiest pea and pearl barley risotto.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The shortest day

The day ended better than it started.  The shortest day, but so much happened.  We got proper snow!  And I did get to see one of my oldest friends and her family who were on a fleeting visit to London on their way to Holland.  Even if it was far too brief, it was wonderful to see our kids playing together and it feeling like the most natural thing in the world.  Then our lovely neighbours popped round with fruit and gifts.  Then Paul & I took Jake out in the snow, which he really enjoyed.  And I'm meeting another friend on Wednesday.  These days, my friends are like buses.  You wait around for ages to see one, then they all come at once. 

Still, it's times like these, rare times, that make me painfully aware and wonder why it is that I am so far away from so many of the people who are closest and dearest to me.  Apart from my immediate family of Jake and Paul, most of my oldest, closest friends and family live in other countries, other continents even, scattered all over the place, even virtually.  I grew up like this, nomadic, scattered, never putting down roots, always the new kid, never having a best friend.  Maybe I'll never shake that off.  How different will it be for Jake?


Because I got to see one of my oldest friends today, and she came bearing gifts for bubba Jake...for which he spontaneously deposited a kiss on her nose :-)


I’m tired today. More than physically tired. I’m also tired of carrying around these old unwanted feelings. I just want to let them go – negativity, bitterness. Particularly about people and inconsiderateness and the fickleness of friendship. Wondering whether people really have changed so much, have become so busy, too busy to stay in touch beyond a superficial level, or if it’s me, whether there’s something about me that makes me forgettable or drives people away. I’ve never been much of a party girl. Maybe people associate me with seriousness and heaviness and stay away. I just wish I didn’t care.

Sunday, December 20, 2009




It’s been awhile since I’ve had an afternoon completely to myself. Still - like space has opened up inside and around me. And the beautiful clean light. I have a lot to do but I’m not focussing on the doing. At least, not until I am doing it. The silver birch tree outside is bare, the sky a crisp winter blue. The flat smells of my tomato and cheese omelette and the taste of sweet tea is still on my tongue. Impressions, memories, flit past like dandelion seeds. My breath is smooth and slow. It is Sunday. It is now.


Hayley’s yoga classes always get me in tune – not only with my stronger, peaceful inner self but also with the rhythms of nature, in a quiet, real way. The sun salutation became the welcoming of the return of light to our lives, as we approach the winter solstice. The postures had meaning, were natural, beautiful. A candlelit chocolate meditation and a thoughtful intention sent out to the world – our hope for the coming year. Simple prayer without the forbidding religions connotations that usually come with it. Our acts, our thoughts, our lives – however flawed - one graceful and hopeful prayer.

Friday, December 18, 2009


A blind contour drawing of a jar, the top of which I honestly did not intend to look like a penis head.


Jake’s got the go-ahead for his reversal. The results of his loopogram were good and there’s nothing they can do now but reattach his stoma and hope for the best. Jake’s consultant makes a face when he talks to us, like he’s just said something insulting and we might slap him. “Are you ready for the next step?” [Face] “The operation will take about 1.5 hours and best case scenario, [Face] Jake will be admitted for a minimum of 3 – 4 days.” [Face with raised eyebrows] It’s like his face is treading on eggshells but he doesn’t realise it shows.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Toddler Jake & the space hopper


I still have a headache and Jake’s still tugging at his stoma. He did it during a bag empty and I saw it bleed. Thank god we’re going to see his consultant tomorrow. Despite this, we did have some good moments. We went out for some fresh air and blue sky and he fell asleep in his pram. Then we played with bubbles and I taught him to blow kisses. He also discovered the word drum, miming the motion of playing a drum and saying “mum-mum”. Still can’t say Mummy yet though! He still wanders the house calling me Daddy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I bought this pair of sandals for Jake during the summer but they were too big for him.  They'd fit him now but they aren't great for snow and one of them has gone missing.  The last time I saw them as a complete pair, Benji the Lion was wearing them.


Finally heard from S – her baby boy was born after 53 hours of labour. She managed to hold out that long and avoid a c-section. He’s perfect and she’s deliriously in love. There’s nothing like those first days with a newborn. Made me envious. Then it started snowing and my usual headache from bad shoulder tension cracked my skull open and Jake had major tantrums when I tried to put him down for his nap (twice). Third time lucky, but only after crying myself. Some days everything just seems like crap trying to break you down. Life goes on regardless.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009



A small person flashing his cheekiest grin while bouncing up and down on his mattress and honking your nose is impossible to resist. Even if he is trying to delay his nap. So I didn’t resist. I let him bounce and play until he fell asleep on his own. After the morning we had, changing his stoma bag twice, having no food in the house, dashing madly to the shops followed by a cold, unhappy playground trip, it was the best thing for both of us. Still no word from S about her baby. Hope she’s not still in labour.


Despite the doorbell going mental at 2:30am, P’s parents didn’t hear it. Jake woke briefly, when P came back from pulling it off the wall, said Daddy, and zonked out again. His parents complain but do nothing to change things - the broken doorbell, being hot but not turning down the radiators or the thermostat. P also overheard his Mum complaining about him, about a joke he made about his Dad’s deafness, something she does all the time anyway. He’s a good son and she has to be so petty? Why does it still surprise me when people are two-faced?


After a crappy morning at a cold car boot sale and forgetting Jake’s food, we abandon plans for afternoon play and take a very tired and grumpy toddler home. We can’t get him to sleep so P takes him out in the pram and it does the trick. He slept surprisingly well last night – a solid 10 hours without waking, barely made a peep. In a fit of stubborn determination, I unravelled the knotted metal balls contraption that I was told I wouldn’t be able to do. They were duly impressed and ate their words. Later we all ate curry.


Travelling up North after a hectic morning buying picture frames and a laminator and wrapping presents at the last minute. Can’t shake my irritability though. Jake didn’t sleep on the train but fell asleep in the car after giving his Grandpa a great big smile within a few minutes of seeing him. Very unusual. Heard from S – she’s 11 days overdue and going to be induced this afternoon. Makes me think how lucky I was with Jake. Even though P’s parents aren’t the easiest people to be around, I’m happy to be getting out of London and our usual routine.

Friday, December 11, 2009


I'm away for the weekend and without internet access till Monday night, so won't be posting any drawings till then, though I will still be doing them.

Have a good one.


Jake's new wind-up tiger.  It flips over as well as looking melancholy.


All good today: Jake waking up this morning, seeing me and saying, Daddy!; Jake taking his dungers and putting them in the washing machine when I told him they needed washing; Jake running up to me from behind and hugging my legs and squealing with joy; Jake chanting Daddy, Daddy, Daddy in the pram all the way home from the shopping centre (I don’t know if he meant me or Paul); Jake playing with potatoes and wind-up toys, Jake talking to himself. He’s always been good company but as he gets older and understands more, he’s better company than ever.

Thursday, December 10, 2009



It isn’t always apparent, what the truth is. Sometimes I sit here and write and it's all surface blah blah blah, the kind of thing, if said out loud, that people nod to without really listening. Stuff that comes from somewhere that says, this is waffle, take no notice, just let me be and pass me by. It takes a while to stop, breathe, settle down and listen to the tangle of noise and find the strong, quiet thread beneath. Some days I never find it. Other days, it’s all I can hear, screaming inside my head to get out.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Based on the same photo, the semi-blind contour one was done very quickly (a few minutes) and isn't great - but I like the looseness of it so am uploading both here.  Apologies for the quality of some of the photos, I'm using a digital camera to take these rather than scanning them in and sometimes the lighting is a bit crap. 


I put our beloved fake tree up with Jake this morning and was very impressed that he instinctively knew what to do with the tinsel. I now feel slightly better. Just need to get baubles that don’t hang with giant safety pins. Have also decided to buy charity xmas cards. The handmade recipients will receive an additional new year’s art print – after all the xmas fatigue and just as post-glutton depression sets in. It’s not ba humbug – it’s a reality check. Unless I can make my lame design look a little less "mental institution art therapy" and more “outsider art”.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009



We’ve already received our first xmas card!!! Instead of sending cards, I made tomato and cheese muffins; took Jake to the playground; watched the simple joy of him throwing and retrieving his ball. I let him walk part of the way home until he was lured by the road. I only have pockets of time to snatch to do anything on top of being a mother. I won’t even have the weekend to catch up as we’re away. Such stress! I blame the adverts. Must remember what really matters about xmas - Jake’s little happy face. Everything else can wait.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Outgrown baby shoes
(bottom drawing semi blind-contour)


So far I’ve written a week’s worth of lunch and dinner ideas for Jake. This is an accomplishment. I made tuna and chickpea spread on wholemeal muffins and he ate one. Another accomplishment. Now the weekend is over, I’m left with a gnawing sense of anxiety. For spending so much time doing something for myself? As if I should always be labouring under some responsibility and suffering for it. I was not brought up to enjoy life. Fun was considered immoral. Only now, in retirement, do my parents tell me that all they want is for me to be happy.

Sunday, December 06, 2009



Flooded with ideas today – starting a family xmas tradition of making a snowflake or ornament for the tree, covering the windows in snowflakes, elaborate plans for a play town for Jake, making a list of other 100 day projects that can be done, wanting to transfer my blog to wordpress. And still need to make the cards I’ve been planning for two weeks, do Jake’s foot and handprints, do today’s drawing, go to Ryman’s and get a laminator, try and track down some sugar paper, make a decision about pressies, get out of my pj’s and go to the loo.

[NB. I'm living proof that having a zillion ideas does not equal getting them all done.  Especially not in one fricking day!  At least I got to go to the loo and out of my pj's.]

Saturday, December 05, 2009



After a week of short naps, Jake finally had a long one, a whole two hours. Good timing too since he woke up at 7:30 and Paul was frazzled. While they both slept, I drew and made pancakes. The quiet felt peaceful, as if it was all around us, outside too. I’d shaken off the emotional heaviness I’d woken up with and got back to yoga today. It felt tough, my wrist is still hurting, but by the end of it, I felt as good as I always do. I even managed a headstand – my first ever – with Hayley’s help.

Friday, December 04, 2009


When all else fails, bake something

Especially when it makes your flat smell lovely...

Vegan banana bread.


Bad shit: crappy crappy mood. Wrist still painful. Falling down the stairs, twice. Bruised and sore arse. Snapping and shouting at Jake. Toddler tantrums. Feeling forgotten by certain friends.
Good shit: baking banana bread, magic grandma with playground bubbles, watching Jake chase bubbles, shouting, “Bubbles” all afternoon. Jake smiling at me. Jake handing me a legless zombie. Jake resting his head on my shoulder as we watch “Come Outside” together. Fab forum friends coming to the rescue yet again. Knowing a few people are actually checking this blog from time to time. Friday afternoon already and good shit outweighing bad.

Thursday, December 03, 2009



After yesterday, today can only be better. And so far, it is. I’m making a play town out of a cardboard box for Jake’s cars and he’s helping. He’s much happier today and went down for his nap with a lot less crying. And he made me ridiculously happy and proud when (of his own accord) he picked up my empty breakfast plate and mug from the floor and placed them tidily on the dining table, the top of which he can’t even see and can barely reach. Now I just need to cook him something he’ll want for lunch.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


I miss breastfeeding.  I know Jake had a good run but there are times, like yesterday when he cried almost non-stop due to teething pain, that I wish I could just pop him on the boob like the good ole days. 

It's only been a few months since I had to stop but already I'm forgetting what it felt like.  I know I used to complain cos Jake literally took hours to feed and for the first 13 months of his life took all his daytime naps on me, as I never minded him sleepfeeding in the least.  I miss those snuggly times now, even though my arse doesn't.  Apart from the first few weeks, breastfeeding was relatively easy for me.  I know I'm one of the lucky ones, but it was all down to Jake.  He latched on within an hour after he was born and that was that. 


No matter what, I can’t seem to avoid having at least one bad week a month. No matter how positive or happy I might be feeling, it always hits, it’s always hell and I’m always plagued by the same feelings – starting with vague dissatisfaction and grumpiness to feeling drained to varying degrees of irritability, anger and kicking myself in the head. The same old tired annoying voices – I’m so pathetic, my life sucks, nobody cares, nothing I do matters. CRAP. I have no armour for it. All I can do is hold my breath and hope I come up swimming.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


So here it is, my first drawing for the 100 Days Project.  Clearly these are not going to be masterpieces.  I've decided to keep to the same format for the drawings, doing each one on a page of my 12cm x 16cm kraft paper book from Paperchase. 


I nearly had a meltdown in the 99p store. Jake was crying, queue was endless, people were rude. I wanted to fling the polystyrene plates and sponges on the floor and walk out. But I didn’t. Instead, the cashier dropped my change and didn’t help me pick it up. Then my wallet and bags fell on the ground outside and I had to take Jake out of the pram he was so upset. Thankfully, a croissant calmed him, we found poster paints, and I signed up to do a drawing every day for the hundred days project. I am insane.

One Hundred Days

I've just signed up to this:

The idea is to commit to doing one thing a day for 100 days to make you a better person, starting from today, 1st December.

I don't really need to add something else to my to do list, but I couldn't resist.  At first I was going to pledge to write 100 words a day, but I was already doing that and I don't know how it would make me a better person.  So I've pledged to do a drawing every day and give it away.*  Obviously they are not going to be masterpieces, but I'll post them up and whoever is reading is very welcome to ask for whichever drawing they so fancy.  If there are no takers I'll choose one of my friends / family at random and send it to them. but I will be focussing on the process as much as the end result.

So what do you think?  Fancy it?  There's still time to sign up!

*EDIT* - As of 2nd December, I've decided not to give away my drawings.  It seems kind of pointless to give away drawings that might not be wanted, especially as hardly anyone reads my blog and hardly anyone is bothered about my doing this project anyway.  Doing a drawing every day for 100 days will be character building (and challenging) enough.  It also takes the pressure off a bit - that way I can draw for myself and not with the feeling that I have to draw something that someone might like.  I hope it doesn't sound like a cop out, if it does - please feel free to tell me so.