Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Reasons to be cheerful

Inspired by this post on Beth's blog...

1) The laxatives are working and Jake's pooing! Four humdingers slipped out today and he wasn't in pain. He's back to his usual self with an added kick of little terror. He's also started eating again.

2) Work has given me an extension of 6 months on my sabbatical. It means I have the summer to spend with Jake and I still have the option of going back if Jake is all well.

3) When I rang Jake's nursery to tell them we wouldn't be needing his 3 day a week place, they said we didn't have to pay the month's worth of fees in lieu of notice, AND that we didn't have to pay for these three weeks he's missed due to illness & the pox!!!!!!!

4) Paul is going for a managerial position / promotion at work (interview tomorrow). If he gets it and Jake is well enough, we're going to try him in nursery two mornings a week so I can have some time to myself.

5) An old friend saw some of my 100 days project drawings on Facebook and asked me to do the artwork for a cookbook she's writing. She even likes the fact that I'm not trained / haven't been to art school. Even if it doesn't get published, it's so fantastic to be asked to work on something that could potentially be out there!!

6) Summer is coming! It may not seem like it now, but it is! Days are getting longer already.

7) There’s a long weekend coming up, and maybe even the chance for us to go out and do something nice together as a family.

8) My parents and brother and his family are coming to stay with us for three weeks in the summer. They've never visited us before and we've got lots of lovely trips planned including Paris, Scotland, Stonehenge, Cornwall or Devon and possibly Wales. It's been over a year since we all saw each other and I hate living so far away from them. We're all very excited.

9) Our lovely neighbours (who have a two year old Jake plays with) gave us two half-price vouchers for London Zoo just for taking in a parcel for them while they were out.

10) Jake is learning so many new words and it’s a joy watching him grow up and enjoy life. Today he saw a photo of me hugging a teddy bear and he said, “Mummy, Teddy, Cuggle”. That’s practically a sentence!

11) Arsenal equalised against Barcelona tonight. The next leg’s gonna be even tougher, but for now, everyone is cheerful in our house.

Now over to you...

People Project

I'm starting my next project tomorrow.  1st April - 9th July.  100 days of at least 50 drawings of people.  I'm saying 50 because I'm juggling other projects at the moment and these drawings are going to take more time than my 100 Day drawings did.  I'll be posting drawings both here and on my projects blog

I haven't drawn for a few days and I'm already losing my confidence.  I almost decided not to do this project, but the fact that it's scary is the best reason for doing it.  To help me keep my focus, I've outlined why I'm doing it and what I hope to achieve.

Why: to learn, to improve my drawing skills, to improve my daily moments comic strips, to eventually be able to create a graphic memoir.

Fears: That I'll find out I'm crap.

Remember: The struggle and why it's worth it - to improve, not to start out perfect and not to get lots of praise.  Also remember the best thing about a journey are the things you discover along the way, the things you weren't expecting to find.

If you're coming along for the ride, thank you, and I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Here’s what we’ve been eating over the last week or so:

- Chickpea & lentil stew with bulghur wheat and stir fried cabbage
- Tomato & broad beans with bulghur wheat
- Turkish red lentil and aubergine stew with sugar snap peas and naan bread
- Bubble & squeak with veggie sausages
- Broccoli & potato soup with homemade bread
- Homemade spinach & mushroom pasties with homemade chips and peas
- Tomato & courgette pasta
- Tomato, borlotti bean & barley soup
- Sour cherry & chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

Jake didn’t eat most of this. Where previously he’d devoured the bubble and squeak, he didn’t even want to taste it. Of the above, he ate some bread, the spinach pasties (that's one thing he rarely refuses - spinach), a few chips, the pasta and of course, the cookies. He did have a few spoons of the broccoli soup, and he did try the aubergine lentil stew while I was cooking it, but then spat it out as it was too hot.

Lately, since he’s been ill, his appetite has been really low. And he’s been driving us a bit crazy by saying he wants to eat whenever we want to do something like change his nappy or put him down for a nap. He’ll point to the kitchen, then point to something in the kitchen, from cereal to bread. More often then not, he will then refuse to eat whatever we’ve poured out or prepared for him, or just take one bite then refuse any more. We veer between not wanting to indulge this because it seems like an avoidance game, and wanting him to eat something.

I then veer from being so desperate for him to eat something that I will let him eat peanut butter right out of the jar with a spoon and offering him ice cream far too often – the sort of thing I never thought I’d do as a parent - to drawing up a super healthy nutritious menu full of lovingly prepared meals that he mostly ends up refusing. This is where I realize it’s futile to either feel superior about my parenting choices or to judge others on theirs, particularly where feeding their child is concerned.

When I started on the baby-led weaning journey, I felt thoroughly smug about introducing Jake to real food as a baby as opposed to spoon feeding him purees. Now I know plenty of thriving, healthy, robust toddlers who were puree fed and who have healthy appetites and no issues with food whatsoever. They will happily eat all manner of vegetables, fruit and whatever else their parents cook for them. Even when you try to do everything “right”, you can’t guarantee that things are going to go the way you want them to. All I feel I can do now is continue to offer him all the healthy options but make sure he doesn’t starve if he constantly refuses them. What else can I do? The one thing I won’t do is force him to eat.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Be kind...

Yesterday we took Jake to children’s A & E at the Royal London. They really are excellent. We were seen immediately, and they rang the surgical registrar, whom we knew and who remembered Jake, to come and see him. It shows how stressed and traumatized we’ve been that both Paul & I immediately thought Jake would have to end up with a stoma for the rest of his life. Neither one of us thought maybe they’d give him an enema, and prescribe laxatives for him. Which is what they did. The enema worked immediately and when we got home, Jake was a lot happier and slept for three hours straight. The registrar said it’s possible that this problem could have been triggered by the virus he’s got. He has been ill for over two weeks now, so it is possible. But no one can say for sure. All we can do is wait and see if the laxatives help. Then wait and see if Jake goes back to pooing normally without them.

In view of all this waiting and seeing, and not being able to let him go back to nursery this week anyway because he still has chicken pox, and not being happy with letting him go back to nursery three days a week while he's still not totally well, I asked work to extend my sabbatical.  I also offered to resign if they thought it would be best for the department.  Being the wonderfully accommodating and understanding employers they are, they will probably allow me to extend my sabbatical for a further 6 months. This should give us enough time to see how things will go with Jake.

In the meantime, Paul and I talked about what we’d need to do to ensure that I don’t go insane and so that we are all as happy as we possibly can be as a family. So we agreed to have Jake in nursery two mornings a week. We think he can cope with this, and if he can’t, then we’ll have to rethink things, but this was a huge relief for me. I’ve known for ages that I’ve needed something like this to keep me healthy & happy, but felt unable to ask for it, especially since Paul’s earning all the money and barely gets any time to himself either.  But we agreed on that too. 

Then I rang the nursery and told them we wanted to change our arrangement from three full days to two mornings, and to my surprise, they agreed without making us pay a month’s fees at three full days in lieu of notice (as is their policy). AND, they also told us we didn’t have to pay for these weeks that Jake’s missed because of illness!!! I can’t tell you what a gift that was. Not just in financial terms, but just that generosity, which is so rare these days. Not to mention some good news for us after all the crap we’ve been through.

It confirms what I was thinking yesterday as I was queuing in Sainsbury’s 10 minutes before closing time. There had been numerous announcements over the tannoy asking customers to go to the tills as the store was closing, and that they were closing their express tills. Everybody accepted this, except for one woman who was so offended by being told a till was closing that she decided to be rude to a checkout person who happened to be nearest to her. She ranted on about how it was bad business to keep customers waiting, yada yada yada.

I have to admit that usually, I would have agreed with her. It doesn’t take much for me to swear and mutter under my breath when the slightest thing inconveniences me during the course of my day, from the windows being too high for me to open (“This house was built for fucking giants!”) to glaring at people who deign to stare at me disapprovingly when Jake cries in his buggy. But something shifted in me yesterday. I don’t know if it was because we’d just spent a couple of hours in hospital, being seen by the kindest, most wonderful staff, or if I’m just going soft in my old age or what. But I allowed myself to see the other point of view. As I listened to the supervisor telling the woman that closing time is 5pm and her staff are not contracted to work beyond those hours, and that there were still 7 other tills open etc etc, I noticed that the checkout person the woman had been rude to was genuinely upset. And that the checkout person in the very long queue I was in was remaining cheerful and calm in the face of it all and it hit me in a way that should be obvious to me at all times that it was ridiculous to get so upset about something like this. Not least because it doesn’t help anyone and just leaves everyone feeling like shit. What is it about us or life or society these days that makes us so prone to moaning and whinging and being offended about the slightest things? Why can’t we see other people as people and be kind and understanding and courteous instead?

Then I read this wonderful post on my friend’s blog and I was ashamed that I hadn’t been living this way already. That is, that things like kindness and wisdom and deep, spiritual happiness are not luxuries that we only "acquire" once we get everything (materialistic) that we "need" first. They are absolute necessities. Not only because I’m a Mum and want to be a good role model for my son, but because it is right. More important than anything else, is the need to be kind – to one another and to ourselves. It shouldn’t be hard to do, and yet, it often is. As someone once said to me, just because other people choose to be rude and thoughtless arseholes, doesn’t mean you have to. I will endeavour to have that (spiritually) tattooed onto my head and heart from now on.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I've been finding it very hard to focus lately.  My head's been boiling over with project ideas and things to do, and very little time to do them.  I feel as if I've been scrabbling around, scattering myself about, wasting my energy.  I'm reading 5 books at once, getting way too preoccupied with silly tasks and trying not to become overwhelmed with Jake's renewed bout of painful pooing and the fact that I'm supposed to be going back to work right after Easter.  When I had a chance to get a few hours to myself, I went into town and bought stuff I didn't really need.  It's a lifelong habit I've yet to break.  I need to get grounded, and shopping is not the answer.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


My struggle with faces continues.  I did surprise myself drawing this though.  I laid down the first lines in pencil, and had to keep correcting the details of the faces.  Then, drawing over them in pen for the final draft, I instinctively made corrections without referring to the source photo and they were much more accurate than the pencil lines I'd drawn.  Still, need lots and lots and lots of practice.  Jake's expressions are especially hard to capture.  Damn his cuteness!


Jake had another day of painful straining. I’m hoping it’s because his diet has been a bit fruit-bare lately and it’s not a return of whatever he had before his ileostomy. It’s unnerving to see him so happy one minute then bent over in pain the next. He’s able to tell us now, so it’s a teary “bot-bot!” followed by a stream of requests for cuggles, even while he’s already being held. He was due to see his consultant tomorrow but had to cancel because of the pox. His spots are spreading, but he still hasn’t noticed he’s got them.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


When I rang Jake’s nursery and they said to keep him home for another few days, I was relieved. He’s soooo much fun right now. Shortly after, I found the first pox spot on his arm. He’s only developed three tiny spots since this morning and hasn’t even noticed them. He’s probably too distracted by the pain in his “bot-bot” from pooing. It’s giving us flashbacks to the bad old days. Since Paul’s home, I managed to get to town for a tempura udon lunch, two sketchbooks, two cupcakes and an unexpected sense of no longer belonging in that world.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

My first strip (comic that is)...

I've been working on this on and off for two days.  I managed to finish it tonight since Paul and Jake both went to bed uncharacteristically early.  After finishing my 100 Days project, I realised that this is what I want to do next.  It's going to be a lot more time consuming than taking 10 minutes a day to do an unplanned, spontaneous drawing.  It's going to take hard work and lots of practice, and I'm really looking forward to it.  I'm not going to be able to do one of these every day, but I would like to start up another 100 days project soon which will hopefully improve my drawing.  I think it will be about drawing faces or people every day, as that's something I really ♥ struggle ♥ with. 

I was going to learn to use the scanner at long last but discovered that my current sketchbook is larger than the scanner, so will have to keep on posting photos of drawings instead.  Click on the photo for a larger version.

I'm learning so would appreciate any comments, advice, suggestions for improvement.  Thank you!

19.3.10 (today's best bits)

Jake best bits:

Jake got a nice nurse at the Doctor’s. He didn’t cry much and even said, Bye! after we left. Jake perking up and playing with water, then dancing with me to the new She & Him album, then dancing with Penguin. Jake singing, “Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, Mummy” and ending with a huge smile. Jake stroking my bare arm. Jake helping me pick up bits of apple he’d spat out. While reading Peepo I wasn’t able to find the ball so asked Jake where it was. He leaned closer to have a look, spotted it and said, “Des!” (there it is).

Personal best bits:

Reading this article on Tribal Writer about deep practice and growing talent, and how the struggle is worth it. Gives me hope. Reading this incredible post on Summer Pierre’s blog about the traumatic yet amazing birth of her son in the back of a cab. Enjoying Wiggly Mittens’ 100 Days drawings. Being inspired by all of the above to carry on with the struggle to draw moments from my life*. The word struggle now meaning something positive to me.  We didn’t go to Bournemouth, but I got my happy bubba Jake back after a week of illness, pain and misery.

*work in progress...

8Things: Observed in my neighbourhood

My response to Magpie Girl's 8 Things list.

1. A lot of my neighbours know each other (and I actually know a few of my neighbours). This is something worth noting in London. Contrary to popular opinion, some of us city dwellers do smile and say hello when we see one another on the street. Some of us even do so with people we don't know!!  Even bearded unicycle man says hello when he’s unicycling past.

2. At least 4 people on our road have planted spring bulbs in their front gardens and window boxes.  They are now in bloom - daffodils and crocuses mostly, a few snowdrops too.

3. Someone took the time to plant daffodil bulbs around the bases of the silver birch trees lining our neighbourhood pavements.

4. This beautiful table left on the pavement. Later, someone turned it the right way up. Then it was gone.

5. The friendly black and white cat that belongs to the lady at no. 13 never goes indoors, not even in the snow and rain.

6. An empty can of Carlsberg perched on a hedge.

7. A faux-leather armchair with its stuffing bursting out.

8. Green shoots and buds appearing out of bare twigs and branches.  Makes me want to go out and about with my sketchbook.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tag! Wanna play?

Saw this on Skippedydoodah's blog and decided to play along.  At the very least it means I get a few minutes distraction from the screaming~whining~tired~nap resisting bubba whom Paul is trying to put down for a sleep. 

So, here are the rules.

1. Open the first (oldest) photo folder on your computer
2. Scroll to the 10th photo
3. Post the photo and the story behind it
4. Tag 5 or more people to continue the thread

We had a recent archiving of old photos so I thought the oldest photo I'd find was one of Jake, but instead came across a folder of photos from our last trip to Italy, in June 2007.

We were visiting our lovely friends N & M and on this gorgeous day, they took us to an out of the way swimming spot on a river tucked in the mountains.  To the right of N, the pool of water is deep enough to dive into.  I remember that we had a little picnic on the rocks, and I gave Na "Fup" to read, which made her cry.  We went for a swim, and after that was an impromptu game of frisbee. 
It was the last day of our holiday and it was perfect. 

I won't tag anyone...if you fancy playing along, please do, and let me know so I can come read your stories.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Eat ~ No ~ Cuggles!

This is pretty much all I've heard from Jake in the last few days.  He says eat, then refuses everything offered to him and asks for cuggles, even though he is already being cuggled.  He's been ill and pretty miserable with it.  I've been ill too so I haven't been much cheerier. 
But it's always good to see him like this...

He's been so out of it that I put the futon mattress on the living room floor so he could have a snooze whenever he felt like it without having to take him upstairs to his cot.  I liked having him close by too.  When he's poorly, I just need to be able to see him when he's sleeping. 

Incidentally, the pink bedspread is the same one my parents had when I was a baby. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mummy, Marmite, Tomayto, Tomahto...

So this morning Jake started calling the Marmite Mummy.  I, however, remain "Daddy".  Hearing him sing, "Mummy, yummy, Mummy, yummy" now takes on a whole new meaning.  So I take comfort in the fact that he really loves Marmite.  (And I'm not going to correct people's "Awwwww"s if they ever hear him sing that song in public.)

My biggest fan

An unexpectedly lovely outcome of my 100 Days project was finding out Jake is my biggest fan.  Upon spotting the drawings stuck to the walls, he got very excited.  Many of the objects drawn are very familiar to him, so he set about pointing and naming them.  "Ta-bo, my, my!!" (toothbrush, mine!), "pay-go, pay-go" (penguin), "oes, oes" (shoes), "Tu-to" (turtle), and most enthusiastically, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!!" at a drawing of Paul. 

That's got to be the best reason ever for doing the project.

Mother's Day Scone

Tomato and basil scones shaped into hearts by Paul

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The wrong socks

When I woke up this morning, I realised I'd worn the wrong socks to bed.  Apparently I'm the sort of person who has right and wrong socks for every occasion.  When and how this happened I do not know.  There are people out there who never think about such things, people who wear mismatched socks to yoga and even to work.  Maybe they are happier people. 

To clarify - stripey, colourful or otherwise "lively" socks can't be worn to bed lest they prevent a peaceful night's sleep.  The same goes for black socks which, as everybody knows, are nightmare inducing.  I do have a pair of bed socks, which I bought simply because they were called that.  I tried wearing them to bed but had to remove them because they made my feet too hot.

Makes me wonder what great things I could be doing if the socks part of my brain was freed to contemplate other things.  Imagine if my whole life I've been held back, not by a lack of positive thinking, but by thinking far too much about socks. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Jake had his second settling in session today. I left him at the nursery for three hours. He cried when I left, and when I went to pick him up, he was sitting on his keyworker’s lap and immediately cried when he saw me. They said he did have his tearful moments, and that he didn’t play with the other children, but he did play with cars on S’s lap and he did eat with them. They said he did well nonetheless and he should settle in quite quickly. We walked home with Jake stopping to admire leaves and grass.


Feeling rough after a very intense day yesterday. Glad we don’t have to be anywhere today. It feels good to have this routine to come back to, being a Mum to Jake, spending the day together. It’s grounding and I’ve appreciated it over the last few days of nervous excitement leading up to the 100 Days event. Still feeling the buzz though and my head is swimming with thoughts, ideas and realisations. I’ve decided I want to carry on with more projects, I just need to give myself some time to get over my emerging cold, rest and wind down.

100 Days Project wrap-up

All 100 drawings on our bedroom wall
(minus the five I gave away)
Over the last few days I've been reflecting on the project and how much I enjoyed being part of the final day event.  At first I thought the only way that I had become a better person (even if only marginally so) was through the character building stick-to-it-iveness of making a drawing and writing a diary entry every day.  But I've been realising that there's more to it. 

I'm really pleased I decided to go through with showing some of my drawings in the 100 Days Museum because it was a needed confidence booster.  It made me realise that what I've been doing, and my caring about what I've been doing, does have value.  Even though a great number of the drawings I've done now make me cringe, I'm aware that throughout the 100 days I'd been thinking of it as "just a hobby" and not that big a deal.  But it is a big deal.  And I don't mean that I've suddenly decided I am a Great Artist who should not deprive the world of my Great Art - far from it.  It's more a shift in attitude.  What I mean is, I'm being kinder to myself and not denigrating my efforts.  I've been reminded of the value of doing something because you love it and because it means something to you.  It may seem obvious, but it's something I've always had difficulty with.  I've never had that much faith in myself and have often laboured under the weight of doing things for approval, rather than for myself. 

The event was not what I was expecting, which was a relief.  I was worried it would be held in a super-trendy Hoxton-esque gallery and that it would be full of super-trendy people far too cool for me.  Instead the whole evening was wonderfully laid back and full of heart.  The exhibits at the Museum were beautiful and awe-inspiring, and even more so because they were shown on plinths made up of cardboard boxes supported by bits of concrete with sheets thrown over them.  And it was in an old warehouse.  Not the type that's been converted to maximise property / profit value, but the type that you and a bunch of friends might stumble upon and take over for the night for a great party.  Throw a few carpets and cushions on the floor, bring in an assortment of old sofas and armchairs, a few strings of lights and set up a makeshift stage.  Oh, and Josie Long, Isy Suttie and Sara Pascoe's sets were pretty damn good too.  Not to mention Alex Horne's film - composed of 6 seconds a day over 100 days in the life of his 5 month old son.  Unfortunately we had to leave after Sara Pascoe's set so missed the end of the night. 

Some of my favourite moments: Josie Long being heckled by a 9 year old girl, challenging her to guess her middle name (it was Bunny), Isy Sutties LOL song, seeing the other participants' exhibits, and spotting Edward Ross (he looks just like his comics!).  Oh and the fantastic dinner I had with my friend M at the Vortex jazz club next door. 

I didn't take as many photos as I meant to.  These were taken while we were setting up.  After the event started it got really busy and I got distracted! 

I took 16 framed drawings with me, but as we couldn't put nails in the walls, I had to limit myself to showing just 9 of them.  Here we are deciding which ones...

Next to my exhibit.  The blue cards are a few of my 100 word diary entries.


My souvenirs from the event

There is a review of the event here and here and The Hundred Days site promises photos and film from the event soon. 

So what next?  My 100 Days drawings are going to be sorted into some sort of album.  And then, I'm not sure exactly how, but I want to carry on with other new projects.  I'll be thinking about that over the next couple of weeks.  In the meantime, I will continue to post my 100 word diary entries here and blog about Jake and other lovely things.

Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who's encouraged, supported and followed my efforts during the 100 Days.  It's really meant a lot to me and will be what I miss most, so please don't be a stranger.

Mantras for Writers

This is my response to Magpie Girl's call for 8 Mantras for Writers:

Mantras for Writers (for getting through resistance)
1. This will pass.

2. Give Resistance a name and a face. Invite him/her to sit down and have a cup of tea with you. Ask him/her why he/she is bugging you. Write down your conversation.

3. Resistance is a sign that you’ve hit a nerve. Decide whether you want to face it today or not. Accept whatever your decision is with kindness to yourself.

4. Resistance is part of the process. Recognise it but don’t dwell on it. Get up and do something else.

5. Resistance is part of the process. Recognise it but don’t dwell on it. Think of it as a cloud on the horizon. Let the cloud pass by. Then start writing with the thought that you never know where it will take you. Write anything, even if seems like rubbish or complete nonsense. It will make you feel better just to get something on the page, and what may seem like crap to you now may actually become valuable to you later on.

6. Write a list of reasons why you can’t write today. Make the list as long or as short as you want.

7. Read Natalie Goldberg’s chapter on “Fighting Tofu” in Writing Down The Bones.

8. Resistance is a state of mind. If you dwell on it, you give it power. Just let it be what it is without attaching fear to it. For inspiration, repeat these lines from Rudyard Kipling’s “If”…

"If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same…"

For the complete poem, click here:

Thursday, March 11, 2010


                    Woo hoo!
Will write more about the final day later...


Jake had his first nursery session alone today. He didn’t seem overwhelmed when we arrived and let himself be picked up, so I didn’t linger, though when I said goodbye, he reached for me, shouted “Daddy!” looking stricken. It was heartbreaking, but he seemed to stop crying fairly quickly. The staff later reported that he had his tearful moments, didn’t really play, stayed close to the person who was holding him when I left and periodically asked for me, but also had his nappy changed without crying and generally did well considering it was his first ever time being left.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


No. 99!!  99!!!!!!!!!  Josie has asked that we hold off doing no. 100 till we're at the event tomorrow, when there's going to be a collective completion of the project.  Getting proper excited now.  Can't wait!  Woo hoo!!!!!


Jake talked a lot in his sleep last night. At one point he was going down the slides, with a, “Doo, dwee, weeeeee!” He woke up several times between 3 and 4, asking for cuggles. After the 5th time, I put him in our bed and he slept soundly. After moving him back to his cot, he slept until morning. Was it because he was feeling unwell, or a bit scared and vulnerable, as if he senses I’m going to be leaving him at nursery. Either way, the thought of leaving him kept me awake for most of the night.

Monday, March 08, 2010


Nearly there!!!!!


Took Jake to his first settling in session at nursery. He was fairly clingy, but had moments of playing happily and even wandering away from me. One of the two people who may be his key worker spent the whole time talking to us, and even got the sand table out especially for Jake. Tomorrow I’m to leave him there for an hour. It will be the first time that I’ll leave him in someone else’s care other than Paul’s. Tonight he went to bed earlier than usual, seeming very tired and with a slight temperature. Hope he isn’t poorly.

Sunday, March 07, 2010



Paul took Jake to play with his cousins so I spent much of the day by myself, buying frames and choosing and preparing drawings for the 100 Days Museum exhibit. I’ve decided to show about 17 drawings, and also include the corresponding 100 word diary entry with each drawing. When they came back, Paul said Jake had such a good time running after Ben and Alex that it would be good for us to…”have another child?” I said. But what he meant to say was “…have a joint holiday with my brother and his family.” That would be good too.

Saturday, March 06, 2010


I can't believe there are only 4 days left to this project.  Josie has asked that we make an extra push to give the end of our projects a special twist, but I'm struggling just to come up with ideas and am fast running out of motivation, so I'm just going with the flow.

Since being in touch with the 100 Days admin team about setting up my drawings for the 100 Days Museum, I've been veering from a calm "My drawings aren't so bad, I'm just going to enjoy the event as a celebration of what I've managed to achieve" to a gut-crunching panicky, "My drawings suck, who on earth do I think I am showing my stuff alongside people with actual talent, like Edward Ross????"

Luckily, my friend M is coming with me to set up and to hold my hand during the whole thing.  Hoorah for lights at the end of tunnels!  Hoorah for friends!  Hoorah for gold shoes (that will hopefully not hurt so much soon)!!


This morning we unwittingly walked into a sheep-themed family day with a (not so hidden) agenda. I guess it should have been obvious, being held in a Baptist Church. But the playgroup held there is not religious, so I thought it would be the same. It definitely wasn’t. Which was a shame because it was the friendliest welcome we’ve had in a while. I just don’t trust friendship with such an obvious ulterior motive. And this is from hard-won experience. The look on their faces when we left before the singing said it all…“Oh no, the sheep are getting away!!”


NB. I don't mean to cause offense by this post.  I'm sorry if I have. 

Friday, March 05, 2010



Took Jake to have lunch at my work today. It felt good to see everyone again, and a nice surprise to see so many of the same people are still there, even after all this time. It made me feel more than alright about going back. After initially being shy and suspicious, Jake soon warmed up and at the end of two hours, he just wanted to run up and down the corridors and ride the lift and screamed when we had to go. He didn’t burst into tears upon seeing strangers and even had silent pointing conversations with some.


Thursday, March 04, 2010


After months of meaning to make play dough for Jake, I succumbed to buying a cheap pack of four pots from Wilkinson’s. Along with a children’s pastry kit (with mini shape cutters), a mini rolling pin, a small chopping board, and a set of three colourful mixing bowls, Jake and I had a fun afternoon squishing and making shapes. Have also noticed Jake’s started putting words together – “oh no!” is today’s new phrase. And watching Jake run between us, giving us huge hugs in turn, Paul said, “Isn’t amazing how he just loves us?” Amazing and normal all at once.



For the last fortnight I’ve been planning our meals in advance. Cooking spontaneously with Jake underfoot was giving me brain freeze. It’s been working, except for the last two nights when I failed to check how long the cooking would take. Monday I spent two hours making a Tuscan Feast. It was gorgeous but dinner wasn’t ready till 9pm. And every recipe I’ve tried from the Food for Thought cookbook has at least one dubious quantity in it. Last night, I spent over an hour making a lentil stew, the leftovers for which made a gorgeous shepherds pie for tonight.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010



Jake said “Daddy go wee wee” again today. MG playgroup was more crowded and they stupidly wouldn’t open the windows or let the children go out to play so the room was hot and stuffy and everyone kept bumping into everybody else. Also, V & G were not there. Not as enjoyable as last week. But then we went to play with E & I across the road. E kept trying to feed Jake and stroke his hair. I said E seemed to think Jake was her little pet. She seemed genuinely excited by Jake’s presence. Jake was more reserved.


Monday, March 01, 2010


At the playground today, Jake played for an hour in the grass, picking up sticks, poking an earthworm, touching plants. Then wandered to the big kids’ slide. I helped him to the top and after a few tentative tries, he wanted to slide down without my help. He looked to me to count him down, One, Two, Three, then he pushed off with a “weeeeee”, got to the bottom, clapped “yay”, then did it all again. He initiated the counting thing himself recently, out of the blue. He says, “Doo, doo, dwee” when he tries, but still, I’m so proud.