Saturday, 28 January 2012

Is it still early days?

We've just had Miri's 2nd Christmas. She is 19months old. This is very weird. Already I can't remember what life was like without her, but more than that, it's hard to imagine her not walking, being less communicative, or even being bald as she was last Christrmas! She is now VERY chatty, has quite a few English words and is just beginning to start putting them in 'sentences' - notably, "It's a baby" (addressed to anyone smaller than her!) "NO! Mine! and most adorably, "There's the moon!".

We'll be moving soon, and we've got the difficult task of working out what things can plausibly come with us, and what has to be sold or got rid of. We did a Baby Fair today, sold a few bits but didn't get rid of the stuff that takes up the most space annoyingly. And of course, we didn't leave empty handed. A significant proportion of the profits turned into a Ninky Nonk and Upsy Daisy. She is VERY keen on In The Night Garden. Which is a shame, because its awful. Not as eye-bleedingly, brain meltingly awful as Waybuloo, admittedly. I swear if Miranda starts talking in the third person or learns yogic flying, I will write Very Stern Letters to the BBC! Ahem. Worse, that show is also on in Canada!!! THERE IS NO END TO THE TERROR!!! I am trying to convince her that TV only happens for an hour a day. Unless Mummy is Very Tired.

Sadly, Mummy is Very Tired quite often. Miri is exhausting! I have had a massive shift from taking her to work in the cafe with me, working 50 odd hours a week AND doing the PhD, to not working at all and having her at home with me all day every day. She would probably be climbing the walls in the cafe nowadays anyway, but in there she at least had other people to amuse her. Now, every day involves finding ever new ways to entertain her, and inventing reasons to go in to town - to get out the house, but that doesn't involve spending money. We are painfully broke - but that is a different story. She has a ridiculous amount of energy - we have to stomp around town, only going where she wants to go - woe betide I try and do anything useful against her will, she lies on the floor, arms and legs flailing, runs off, breaks things, casually shoplifts etc. Then we go to the park, and she says BOO to geese, goes on the swings and generally exhausts me, or Rhymetime where she sings and dances and accidently assaults other children, or Cookie Tots where we get to cook and make a LOT of mess and sing silly songs, or, if I can afford it, Ball Pool and soft play which, unsurprisingly, she adores! Getting her dressed takes nearly 20 minutes and is harder than wrapping a greased squid in clingform. This does mean that it is virtually impossible to do anything I need to do though. It's taken me a week to get round to writing this blog!! Let alone start packing to emigrate!

Canada is in sight, so maybe, given that she is Big and Gallumpfing and chatty and the most brilliant toddler ever, I shall stop this blog when we move. These are not really her Early Days any more. But she is wonderful!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Long time no bloggy

and this isn't going to be a long one because I am knackered!

Darling child has been a beastling for most of the day. A beautiful, clever beastling, but a beastling none the less. I dared to go into Waterstones today. Miranda did not want to go into Waterstones, let alone sit in a queue. So, she kicked and fought until I put her down, then she laid on the floor writhing around and shrieking. When other customers commented on it ("Oh they're all like that at that age aren't they?" or "she's just asserting her independence" - and other, inane, irritating Waterstones-customer-style comments) - she just giggled and grinned her cheeky toothy grin, so it she was obviously doing it on purpose.
She also runs off when you don't want her to, then turns round grinning to check you are chasing her.

Tooth count: 10 full ones and 2 new molars poking through at the top. Decadent!

Bess (the bear)
brum-brum (for cars, and also her scutter-bug thing)
Dog and Woof
Moo (at cows)

She also understands far more words than we realise at times.. it is getting scary!!

She's 17 months old tomorrow, and we're flying out to Canada on Tuesday. My baby's gonna be a flappyhead!!!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Bad Baby!!!

Carl keeps wondering if Miranda is quite advanced for her age. I don't really know, she is just Miranda. Very definitely Miranda. Inimitably Miranda. She was walking just before her first birthday, she has MASSIVE feet, 7 teeth and about 5 words. Is this normal for a 14 month old?
Not that it matters really, as long as she is healthy and happy. All babies grow at different rates I reckon!

One thing that has come early though seems to be the Getting Cross and Screaming about it phase. I thought this was supposed to be The Terrible Twos? She just has phases of being a Little Beast. At the moment, the favourite games are Flatly Refusing to Eat When In The Highchair. She'll eat anything as long as she's sitting on my knee or running around the house with both hands full, but not in the high chair because schmeeeling food is restricted and there is a handy wipe clean mat underneath her. This is not funny. Neither is her neat little trick of rescuing icky things from out of the bin, such as greasy not-quite-empty tubs of marg or egg shells. Or getting outside and playing with the chain on Daddy's bike. Or ripping the pages of her favourite book. Or emptying my wallet all over the floor and trying to rip up the £20 notes. She actually knows that we don't like what she's doing though. She looks at me and the lip wobbles even before I've told her off or taken away the offensively sticky item - and then when we do scold, we get the whole guilt trip: Real Tears! big lip! howling! Being told off for flinging her bowl full of dinner all over the floor is the worst thing ever and who knows how she will cope with the trauma?!

More seriously (and in hindsight I am including these tales entirely for amusement factor, dear reader) she stole my front door keys the other day, took them out of my bag in the cafe, and I didn't notice. I pedalled all the way home, and had to sit on the step with her in the rain for 25 mins until Carl got home to let me in. I got in a complete panic because I honestly thought I'd dropped the keys out of my trike or left them actually in the door or something and was expecting someone to have got into the house.... I found the keys though. They were in the bottom of Miri's toybox in the cafe.

Today, I got home after a seriously rubbish day in the cafe (during which she wailed all afternoon out of boredom, poor baby, tipped a full bowl of porridge on the floor (she refused to eat it because she was sitting in the high chair at the time), stole a teapot and tried to microwave it, stole half a dozen sticks of sugar and deposited them around the place, tried to suck on the air freshner, played bongo drums with the lid of the nappy bin, and rearranged the books - by moving them from the shelf to the floor. When I got home, I went outside to get the soaking wet washing in, and she slammed the door on me, locking me out!! I had to eventually climb over our neighbours' fence, and tap on their back window to get them to let me through their house so I could get in my front door - I was lucky they were in!! I know she is just being a playful, experimental toddler, but it is getting infuriating!!

In a way, I feel for her. She is getting bigger, and she is realising that the world we provide for her isn't as big as it once seemed. Really hope all our Canada plans come together soon, so she'll have a whole new environment to explore! At the moment, keeping up with her and stopping her destroying things is completely exhausting!!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Oh Canada...

I miss my baby!!!

She is the other side of the world without me!! 
Miranda is staying with her Granny and Grandad (and by now, her Daddy as well) whilst I am in the middle of Canada, on a fact-finding mission and pseudo-job interview. We have actually have the very real possibility of making a new life out here and my mind is all over the place trying to process it all!

I reallly do not want Miranda to grow up in Darlington. There is just nothing there for us as a family; sure, we have some amazing friends and they are the only thing that has kept me sane and relatively contented for the past seven years. But, Darlington is scruffy and run down, the local council seem hellbent on making it worse, there are precious few job opportunities, certainly no graduate jobs. Starting a business here has proved almost impossible due to the total lack of support from the local authorities, and because everyone is broke and the location is so bad, I have too few customers having finally got my business open. The worst thing though, is the people who live around us. Chavs, basically. It's not really dangerous, but we get a lot of hassle - just being yelled at in the street and spat at, just because we dress differently or use long words or have jobs or ride tricycles or whatever else it is that offends these people so much. We've suffered petty vandalism, theft and general intimidation at the cafe as well, so it's not just our street being horrible. I hate it, it depresses me, and I don't want Miranda growing up in that sort of environment - to be bullied, effectively. I want her to be able to be exactly who she wants to be, without having to conform for fear of harrassment.

Yes, we could just move somewhere in the UK, but there are chavs in every town, and given our budget, I doubt we could afford to go anywhere that is chav-free. Of course, it also depends on jobs and opportunities and the housing market and so on and so forth. Whatever we do it's going to be stressful and expensive, so we thought sod it, WHY NOT EMIGRATE!?

Carl and I have been on about going to Canada for years anyway. He fell in love with the place when he cycled all the way across it, years ago before I met him. We went out together to Vancouver and Calgary and I loved it too, but of course, I only saw the touristy bits. But, in a bizarre series of events that are better explained on my coffee blog, I have a whiff of a job offer in Regina, Saskatchewan. So that is where I am.

The job is managing a brand new 'European-style' coffee shop and the owner seems just as daft as I am, given that he wants to employ me just on the basis of my British accent!! The cafe is lovely, (and huge) and it seems a great set-up. I can see myself having a lot of fun working there, and it won't be nearly as stressful as running my own place. That part is a very easy decision.

I have set myself the mission of exploring the rest of Regina as well this week, to see if I could imagine myself living out here with Carl and Miranda. That decision is going to be far harder. Most people's reactions, when I've told them this plan and then usually explained where on earth Regina is, think I am bonkers. Even the locals can't understand why anyone would WANT to move here given the choice. It really is in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the Prairies. I was trying desperately to see as much as I could out of the plane window when I flew in the other day, and just saw LOTS AND LOTS of wide open space, peculiarly regular square fields, tiny farm houses dotted about if I was lucky and the river snaking across the Nothingness. It was such as relief to finally see the city as we landed - you don't see it at all from the air until you are on top of it. It is huge (to British eyes) but it is certainly not hugely populated. There are about twice as many people here as there are in Darlington, but in what must be six times the space! Annoyingly, from my perspective, the spaces between places of interest are so vast, you have to drive, no one walks. I don't want to drive, especially since the trucks are all massive, everyone is on the wrong side of the road, and there are no roundabouts. I will bring my trike, that will freak people!! I ventured 'downtown' yesterday too, went to the only pedestrianized bit with a large shopping 'mall' in it. It was pleasant enough, but it was pretty quiet for a Saturday afternoon in mid-summer. Everyone warns me about the freezing winters here too: -40c have been known, and the snow stays for months...

On the upside though, it is very pretty, very green and very spacious. The houses are lovely: all wooden bungalows on tree-lined streets. I did wonder why so many are single-storey, but as Carl pointed out, why build up, when you can build out? We found a 6 bed house with a garden and basement for not much more than we paid for our 2 bed semi in Darlington. Even in winter, I can imagine these streets still look nice covered in snow too. And the sky is clear, open and enormous - plenty of scope (geddit??) for Carl's astronomy. There are lots of parks throughout the town, and then the biggest area of parkland in the country, the Wascana park, with a massive lake and canoeing and the heritage centre and so on... Miranda will have lots of fun. The whole place does seem more geared towards children too. All the parks have kids' play areas, and even in the mall, there were shopping trollies in the shape of cars and trucks for children to ride around in. There's even a lakeside beach!

And no Chavs to be seen. I even found a Goth shop. YAY!!

After three days, I am very nearly sold on this idea. It is going to be a huge, huge upheaval I know. but I do believe it is the right thing to do. I just wish I could've brought my beautiful baby out here too, and Carl - he has to help in making this decision as well and I would feel far more confident about it all if he could see what I am seeing at the moment.

The other major factor to consider is how far away we will be from friends and family. I do trust my friends to stay in touch - I have friends all over the world and  this is hardly the first time I've done one of these insane trips anyway, and some friends are just as prone to disappearing as I am. It is my parents that I worry about. It is a very long flight which they hate anyway, (although they'd probably love the winter!!). They are already moaning about us taking Miranda away. They don't like her being four hours away in Darlington, let alone 15 hours away in Saskatchewan! I hope they understand why we want to do this though - I get the impression they do, underneath, but it will definitely be a huge wrench.

They have finally learnt to use Skype, so I have been trying to wave at the screen and see Miri on their webcam. She is getting doted on and spoilt rotten I think. Mum also reports that tooth #7 is on its way, so she's been a bit grumpy. Otherwise, she is coping very well not only without her Mummy, but also without Boob. Obviously I've had to stop breastfeeding this week but after 13 months, I think I did damn well with it, and she will be absolutely fine without it now. My boobs have gone huge and tender and rock hard though!! NOT NICE. I look like I've had really bad implants put it and they got so painfully full that I had to go express some milk in the toilet on the plane! Seems to be settling a bit today finally, but definitely NOT a pleasant experience. I made a point of locating a Big Bra shop in Regina yesterday, just in case they never go back to their original size....

So, I have a few more days of exploring, then I'll be reunited with my little family. And unless something goes wrong - I find Canadian chavs, or my visa gets refused or something, Miranda may well grow up Canadian, eh:?Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

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