Category Archives: Random Thoughts about Stuff

Abelfastmum is on holiday

Abelfastmum is listening to waves crashing on to a beach.

Abelfastmum is too hot.

Abelfastmum is burying her feet in the sand.

Abelfastmum is spending a lot of time in the pool.


Abelfastmum is also spending a disproportionate amount of time slathering the kids in factor 50, watching them constantly to make sure they don’t drown, hovering over the cruising baby to stop her cracking her head off the tiles, rinsing sand off dummies, and pretending to be a shark/crocodile/mermaid in said pool to entertain Little B.

See you when we get back….

The holidays are coming…

It’s June, and as a mum of two wee ones, the fear is setting in. Fear of the summer holidays.

Normally my week is a whirl of mums and tots groups, classes, and playgroup drop-offs and pick-ups. Every morning and afternoon during the week, we have an activity of some sort, and that means that I don’t have to think about how to entertain the kids until post 3:30pm. Usually, we then do the park, or get some shopping in, or go visit friends, or go to soft play (but only if it’s raining and mummy is really tired, honest!), and they’re back home by 5pm for their dinner. We have routine. We have order. We do things that TIRE THEM OUT.
Already, the mums and tots groups are grinding to a halt. One of the ones we attend is having it’s final day on June 4th. Our routine is falling apart slowly but surely, with a class stopping here, and a tots group closing there. At least I still have playgroup until the end of this month. But then… WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?
I’ve survived 3 summers with my eldest so far. For all three I was working part time and couldn’t wait to spend time with my little girl on my days off.  This year, however, I am still on maternity leave after baby number 2, and have a very active almost 4-year-old to entertain, as well as a baby to look after.  In front of us stretches all day, every day with NOTHING TO DO.   Hence the fear…

So I am going to throw out the planner, and try to just go with the flow.
We shall have picnics, we shall go to the beach, we shall play in the garden. If it’s raining, we will go to soft play, or visit a museum, or stay in the house and paint, or play with play-doh, or make crafty things. We will no doubt watch a lot of Paw Patrol and Ben and Holly. We will visit family and friends. We will have fun. Because by next summer, I will have had to go back to work, and both of my babies will probably spend their days being minded by someone else, while I sit in an office wishing that I was with my girls at the beach.  That thought alone is enough to banish the fear.  Let’s just hope the weather’s good!


The tiredest thing in the world

This morning, after stumbling down the stairs precariously carrying the baby whilst trying not to trip over the three year old who must go first otherwise a tantrum will ensue, I lay down on our too-short couch and closed my eyes again.  They had barely opened in the first place, but I literally couldn’t keep them open.  From being woken up by the three year old, to the point where I felt vaguely like I could carry on with the day, took nearly 30 minutes.  Until that point, I was questioning whether the kids would be ok if I just took a little nap.  I was pretty sure the three year old would survive, but the thought of the just-crawling baby braining herself on the side of the fireplace just about kept my eyes from closing.  Well, one of my eyes.  It’s been a rough few weeks, what with teething, and snotty noses, and coughs, and ‘I’m scared’ wake-ups, and wake-ups for no reason whatsoever.  I have not been getting a huge amount of sleep…

So, I did what any self-respecting modern mother would do, and I googled ‘the tiredest thing in the world’ on my phone while I was waiting on the kettle to boil for the baby’s bottle.  And, after Google had asked me whether I meant ‘the weirdest thing in the world’, and I’d skipped past some youtube videos of a tired dog, I found an article from the Chicago Tribune dated Dec 21, 1958, titled ‘What is a Mother’s Tiredest Time of Day?’

2015-05-14 08.10.39

It describes fatigue as “the occupational disease of motherhood” and goes on to say that “what is not generally known by the average mother with a child under two is that every mother with a child under two often gets so tired she could cry.”

The article is based on some scientific research done by the Michigan State University Department of Home Management, which had asked 98 mothers to keep a diary of their tiredness.  Mothers get most tired during the week between 4:30pm and 5pm, and 5:30-6pm.  At weekends, it’s 12:30-1 and 7:30-8pm.  There’s some lovely archaic banter about getting your husband ready for work and making sure that he doesn’t get cross by having his dinner on the table when he gets home, but it got me wondering what the results would be like today if they repeated the study.  As homemakers today, we have a wealth of technology to help us manage our homes.  We can do our shopping online and have it delivered straight to our kitchen counter, whereas mothers in the 50’s probably had to shop every day around the local butcher’s, greengrocer’s and bakery.  We have advanced vacuum cleaners and washing machines and dishwashers and dryers which take a lot of the pain out of keeping house.  A lot of women in the 50’s didn’t even have a fridge.  We have the internet for god’s sake, and phones which double as gateways to knowledge and other people, and videos of cats doing funny stuff.  Videos of cats, while not a recognised cure for tiredness, can keep you going for just long enough to get the kids into bed, laughter being the best medicine and all that.

6 of the women in the study reported never feeling tired.  (Who were these women?  What drugs were they on?)  Some reported feeling moderate tiredness occasionally.  The majority though, some 75%, reported very much fatigue.  And the mothers more likely to report fatigue had:
-at least one child under 2
-tried to do between 4 and 9 things whilst feeling tired
-got upset because she couldn’t get her work done
-received more hindrance than help from her partner
-lived in a house which had inadequate household arrangements like a lack of storage or no place for the children to play.

I hear ya, tired 50’s mums.  You’re not so different from us after all.
Here’s a video of some cats sleeping in funny positions to cheer you up.


Junior Masterchef

I’m pretty obsessed with Australian Masterchef.  I tape it and watch back to back episodes when Mr B is working late and I have control of the remote.  I even had a dream in which one of the judges was my husband.  ( It was Gary, if you’re a fellow fan and you need to know whether it was him, George, or Matt I was married to.)

Anyhow, some of this gourmet goodness must be seeping out of the telly and into the general ether of our house, as the other day, Little B presented me with this playdoh creation…

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Cue the usual conversation with a 3 year old upon being handed something you’re told is food:

Oh thank you darling, that looks lovely!  I’m going to eat it all up for my dinner.  What is it?”

Horse in Lemonade.”

Horse.  In Lemonade.  This from a girl who’s palette extends to chicken dippers and fish fingers with lashings of ketchup.  I expect Heston Blumenthal to be knocking my door down within the week…

Amble with the Perambulator

This is how Little B chose to walk to playgroup this morning.  Doesn’t she look like a Victorian nanny out taking her ward for a morning constitutional?  Check out how she’s wearing her cardigan.

During the walk she told me that her feet were in the water, so she had to use the bridge.  I had to swim beside her because there was no room on the bridge.  Then the bridge broke, so I had to lend her my hovercraft to go the next part of the journey.  But oh no, the hovercraft has broken down…  Luckily there was a hot air balloon beside the fence, so we used that until it crashed into a tree.

Then she started doing monkey impressions.

Walking to playgroup is fun.



Why do we need to know what new babies weigh?

I got the lovely news this morning that one of my old work friends had a baby last night.  Well, actually his wife had the baby last night, but you know what I mean.  I ogled the little picture of the newborn that he’d sent me, then wrote back a message of congratulations.  I asked how the mum was, whether they’d chosen a name, and I almost asked what weight he was.  Then I stopped myself.  I really don’t need to know what weight he is – as long as he’s here and he’s healthy, what does it matter?  7 months ago when Littler B was born, I started to get a bit incensed at all the comments on her weight.  She was a perfectly healthy 7lbs 10, but long, so complete strangers would ask her weight, then say things like “No, there’s no way she’s over 7lbs! She’s so small!”, or “Really?  She looks about 5lbs, are you sure?”  And, being a polite and well-brought-up sort, I would smile or shrug, whilst thinking to myself “Well of course I’m sure you idiot,  she’s my bloody baby and I’ve checked the red book 10 times now because of people like you being so rude, questioning me, and commenting on how small/big/fat/thin my daughter is!  I’m completely knackered and traumatised after the 11 hours of painful labour,  have had no sleep for 3 days because the baby thinks night is day and I can’t sleep while she sleeps because I have an older child who’s nose is completely put out due to the arrival of her sibling , but thanks for making me question my sanity about the one thing that I actually do know about this baby. ”

So next time you’re about to ask the weight of a newborn baby, stop and think about whether you really need to know…

And to C and O, proud new parents, congratulations, he’s an absolute stunner.  Welcome to the confusing, challenging, wonderful world of parenthood.


5:38am – the sequel

sick on my arm

As if it wasn’t enough her getting me up very early, within 10 minutes of her having her bottle, she threw up over herself, the sofa, my new cushion (from Matalan, isn’t it lovely?), and my pyjamas.  Cue a stealth dash upstairs to get clean dry clothes for us both, very very quietly so that I don’t wake child 1.  I could pull off a rare gems heist I’m that quiet…  And for once, things go right and child 1 remains asleep.  Yay!  Small mercies and all that.

sick on my leg

Back to porridge…

The holidays are over.  And I couldn’t be happier.  I know I’m not supposed to say that, but I’m so happy to be back into our normal routine of playgroup, ballet classes, library visits and mums and tots groups.  The holidays for me felt like an endless exercise in how to keep two small people entertained.  We did the Easter egg hunt, painted some eggs, made rice crispy cakes, went to the park, went for a cycle ride – that put the first morning in.  The problem was that my husband was working lots of long shifts.  He worked over the holiday weekend, and was away overnight.  So I was on my own with the kids.  There were no mums and tots groups, no playgroup, no classes to attend, no organised activities.  For a whole two weeks.  And then they both got sick.  And then I got sick.  And with all the coughing, spluttering, sore throats, ears, and high temperatures, there was not much sleeping going on at night.  Which meant that everyone was tetchy during the day.  We were not ourselves.

So I for one am glad to be ‘back to porridge’.  Porridge is warm, comforting, healthy and routine.

I like porridge.