Monthly Archives: September 2012

The other C word

I recently wrote a post about Age and the C word, but I’m talking about a different C word.  A much nicer one (although it still stresses some people out)…. yup it’s Christmas.

Whoaaa………hang on, don’t go. I’m not writing from a super woman, look at me, look how organised I am, check out the meal I’ll be cooking, presents are wrapped kind of angle.  Nor am I forcing anyone to step into Christmas territory too early for your own liking.  I’m just telling you how it is for me and the challenges I face at this time of year because I’d really rather not be doing it.

Frankly I could have written this post in April.  It saddens me to say it, but I honestly have no choice but to start planning that early because of the following:

  • Christmas Eve – The Monster’s birthday
  • Christmas Day – everyone in vicinity celebrates
  • Mid January – Pickle’s Birthday
  • Beginning Feb – My birthday
  • Beginning March – Hubby’s birthday.

Then WE ARE DONE. That’s it.  All celebrations, meals, parties, presents are planned at the same time and are over in those 3.5 months and all gifts have to last the whole year.

We aren’t massive earners. We have a big house and we live in a London Borough so our outgoings are pretty mammoth.  I have no choice but to be planning for December and January (the kids) at the beginning of the year because there is just no way I would be able to afford to buy everything in December.

I have just argued with my husband because I’m asking for his help on kids presents. I need him to think of gifts too. We are buying two sets of gifts for each child, so that’s a lot of presents to think up.  Even thinking of 1 main gift and maybe 5 little gifts means I need to find 24 presents for them.  He started by saying “Well I haven’t been thinking about Christmas, but I’ll start thinking about it now”.  I shouldn’t have to ask, he knows we have to do it.  He agreed but then he started a conversation with “Look, you’re really organised and I’m not. I do things last-minute…”  This really wound me up, because whilst I am a fairly organised person generally, I’m not doing it to be some sort of annoying organised super woman. I have no choice.

Quite clearly I’ve written this post to get it off my chest.  Quite clearly I’ve also written about it because the second I mention to someone I’ve started buying presents they launch into some sort of “oh you’re so organised, I couldn’t be bothered until at least December” conversation with me, which means I then feel I have to justify it.  Be so much easier if I only did it because I wanted to and I could just sit in my own smugness thinking others were stark raving mad.  However, I’m honest and inevitably have to tell them everything I’ve just told you….

Hopefully now I’ve got it off my chest, I may just keep it to myself.  I think I’ll just give the impression I buy it all on the 24th of December to fit in.

So are you organised?  Last minute? Or like me, do you have other challenges that mean you have no choice?




Baby Names

You spend nearly 9 months thinking about names for your precious child.

  • You go through the name book
  • You create a voting system for you and your partner (that might be just me) – stars out of 5.
  • you get 1 “save” on a name, thus allowing one of your favourites stay in the list, despite the partner disliking it.
  • you check the baby name list so it’s not too popular.  Not in top 100, phew.
  • You agonise for months trying to get an unusual enough name but easy to spell and not too odd.
  • You finally get the name, then you spell it unusually (Scandinavian spelling). You are happy, your child is unique.  Right?  Right?

Well, right up until she starts bleedin’ school and there’s another friggin girl in Reception class with the same name. Same spelling and everfing!  Gah.

Not just that, despite there being 3 classes, they put my daughter and “girl with same name” in the same class and with an M and a N for their first surname initial. For crying out loud. I should have called her Jane.

I think I’m going to have the same problem with my son.  I think naming boys are harder for various reasons.  Boys names just don’t do it for me. I don’t know what it is.  It might be to do with having lots of girl dolls, girl friends and just generally thinking of girls names a bit more, but sitting down to think up boys names seemed like I was searching for the one I disliked the least.  Eventually we happened upon one, I really really liked.  Unusual.  It was a character in a top US series, but I knew that would be long gone when he’s older and it wouldn’t matter.  It starts with a “D”.

I have since discovered no less than 4 of the people I follow on Twitter have sons with “D”‘s name.  I didn’t imagine that would ever happen.  Thought he might bump into 1 or 2 in his lifetime.  OR a few dogs with the same name, it’s a popular dogs name.  Part of me is impressed you all like the name as much as I do, but part of me is really annoyed at you all for nicking it (some of you may have older children, but that’s not the point).  My child is no longer unique.  I bet when he starts school he’ll be one of 5 “D””s in his class.

The really annoying this is that for my daughter I actually wasn’t that keen on the name we went with.  I wanted to call her “Olivia”, “Isabelle” or “Amelia”.  The only reason I didn’t is because they were all in the top 5 of the name charts.  I bet you that there isn’t a single one of those names in her class.

I could kick myself.

How did you find naming your children?  Do you wish you’d chosen differently, happy with it or are annoyed like me that your name has been stolen?

Trying for a third child

…or not?

How do people make these hard decisions about the number of children to have?  What’s a good number?  Presumably the right number for you is not the same right number for me.  More importantly am I being greedy thinking of having a third?

I can’t seem to shake the feeling of needing another child. I imagine it is very primal, that over whelming urge to bring children into the world.  It consumed my every thought after my son was born and only started to abate when hubby mentioned that two was really enough and he didn’t want to add another 2 or 3 years to his childcare calendar (he is a SAHD for 2 days a week).  I had to consider that, it isn’t just about me and had I been a Stay at home mum then it would have been a different story. I’m not and we have childcare to think about.

About a week ago I made a joke about having a third and hubby made a comment that made me think he was more receptive to it now.  It’s probably related to the fact that The Monster is causing us less trouble than he did a few months ago and we are realising how the two we have, are growing up fast.

Pickle was an IVF baby, but The Monster wasn’t.  It still took a while for me to conceive him though and it is possible a third child may not come easily.  That’s the first hurdle.

The second hurdle is my age and all the risks attached to that. Not just to me and my arthritic condition (amongst other things) but also the risk to a baby.  The likelihood of having a baby with a congenital condition or an issue resulting from a difficult birth.  I have to be honest, I don’t think my marriage would survive the pressure involved in raising a child with added challenges. Had it been my first, that’s a different story.  How do I feel if my third child required too much extra care that I had little left for the two I already have.  That worries me greatly.

The third hurdle is cost.  Not really on the outlay (clearly I have everything from the first two) and not from nappies, as I use reusable nappies, but as they get older and want to join clubs, do sports, go on excursions, require funding for things.  How can I reconcile my decision to have 3 children with the fact I may struggle to provide for them as they make their way in the world.

Of course, all of these hurdles are because I am a risk mitigator.  All fine and well when I’m planning the launch of a product in a European country, but human beings don’t work like that.  There are no guarantees in life. It all reminds me of a scene from Parenthood, one of my favourite movies and full of great lines related to raising children.


Gill: And in all those things, sometimes they´re gonna miss.

Karen: – Sometimes they won´t.

Gill: – Sometimes they will.

Karen: What do you want? Guarantees? These are kids, not appliances. – Life is messy.

Gill: – l hate messy. lt´s so messy!

Grandma: (Wandering into room) You know, when l was young Grandpa took me on a roller coaster. Up, down, up, down. – Oh, what a ride. –

Gill: (sarcastically) What a great story.

Grandma: l always wanted to go again. lt was just interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened… so scared, so sick, so excited… and so thrilled all together. Some didn´t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. l like the roller coaster. You get more out of it. Well, l´ll be seeing you in the car.

Karen: She´s a very smart lady. Come on, Taylor. Your ears are ready.

Gill: (sarcastically)A minute ago l was confused about life. Then Grandma came in with her wonderful and effecting roller coaster story. Now everything is great again.

Karen: l happen to like the roller coaster, okay? As far as l´m concerned, your grandmother is brilliant.


So part of me wants to throw caution to the winds.  I want another child, because I love the ones I have so deeply I want to create the family unit of my choosing. I want my children to have noise and emotion around them, arguments, laughter and learning to understand others point of view.  Of course it could all go horribly wrong, especially if having a third creates unwanted friction later on in life. The one who doesn’t talk to the other two.

I was one of 3 children growing up, until the age of 11.  At 11 years old by older, adopted brother killed himself.  His story is for another day, but after the age of 11 I was only one of 2 children.  It felt very small to me, very vulnerable only being 2 of us.  My mum only had her third because when she unexpectedly got pregnant 6 months after I was born, she couldn’t bring herself to have an abortion. After 13 years of infertility and then having me, she knew what a miracle it was. So despite being in a bad financial situation at the time, she went ahead and had my sister.  I cannot imagine how awful my life would be if she hadn’t had my sister.  My parents were old school English parents, who didn’t “talk” or share emotion. Our household was one of sadness and walking on eggshells from the age of 11 until I left home at 18.  My sister got me through that and we have that shared history.  I can’t help thinking my experiences are clouding my thoughts about needing a third. Whether it is a deep-seated fear of something going wrong in years to come, or the need to create that family unit I felt crumble away at that young age.

I feel I need to make my decision soon.  At this moment in time I will be 41 if I was to get pregnant in the next few months and I do feel I am pushing the limits of my own health (due to my condition) if I do.  I’m also very much aware of how tired having three children will make me, so the sooner I decide the better.

How did you decide your family was complete?  Have your experiences growing up influenced the size of your family?  Really need some help of this one.

XX Bella

Day 5/Final day of our pretend holiday – London Museums

Quick post tonight. Day 5 was fab. Trip into London (short side trip to buy Pickle new tap shoes) and off to see The Dinosaurs at The Natural History Museum.

Pickle needed convincing as it had been nearly 2 years since she’d last seen the animatronic T Rex. Eventually she agreed and we headed down the dark path to see him gnashing his teeth. She squealed, she hid behind legs, but she eventually looked and took it all in. The Monster just leant forward in the buggy and said “Rarrrrrrrrrr” at it. Hubby and I quite enjoyed it, I like to suspend disbelief and imagine it chasing me down. I live a very uneventful life.

We met up with a friend who Pickle is mad about and the two of them wandered off discussing all things dinosaur and we made our way out and over to the cafe for a bit of lunch. Food was excellent, hubby and I fell out over a “comforting of small child” incident (or lack of actually) and then we headed over to see the blue whale and the human biology exhibition which had lots of interactive stuff which Pickle loved.

After that, a quick ice cream, a falling incident (The Monster) and the a goodbye to the friend and over to the Science Museum which is right next door. We got in and then immediately had to go the basement for nappy changing (TM) and toilet breaks (the other 3 of us). By the time I emerged we discovered TM’s toy dog had been lost so I had to retrace our footsteps and discovered him propped up on a curb around the corner.

Then straight down to the basement where all the interactive stuff is. Both kids had fun with all the sound stuff then they each donned a plastic bib and headed straight to the water play where they spent the next 20minutes. A quick dabble with the giant Lego and we headed home.

It was a fantastic day and I’m pretty sad the week is over. :(

Day 4 of our pretend holiday – Legoland

I AM EXHAUSTED, but it’s been fab. Today was Legoland in Windsor and we set off at 9.30am.

We arrived and safely navigated the car parks arriving with two excited children (well, one really. The Monster had no idea what the heck was going on). First stop was the Stars Wars exhibit, which we loved but Pickle had no idea what it was. Then we got the train down ( little train) and went to Duplo world where the kids played, watched a theatre show and we ate at a buffet. Then onwards Pickle to get her drivers licence and The Monster to sleep.

20120913-204552.jpg. At this point I was fairly unimpressed with Legoland. The sculptures were weather worn and looked tired, the food options were a bit slap dash and we found the maps difficult to follow and therefore did quite a bit of walking. As well as all that Atlantis was shut so we couldn’t go on the submarine (whatever that was).

Things did pick up though and Pickle ended up going on tonnes of rides with each of us. Swings, Carousel, Knight train, Spinning Spider and then eventually the Viking ride where her and hubby got drenched. In between there were a few traditional play parks and we had lots of fun playing on it, doing a pirate training course and watching others on rides that were too scary for us. There wasn’t a lot for The Monster to go on and he got quite fed up being left out, well, actually he screamed a lot if he saw Pickle on anything. Especially the helicopters, because I had initially thought he could go on it, but he wasn’t tall enough.

We left the Viking ride at 4.50pm which gave us 10 minutes to dash down to mini world where Countries of the World are on display in full Lego splendour. We took loads of fab photos and then headed back to the car as the park was closing.

We honestly thought the kids would fall asleep enroute to Windsor, but they made it and we de-camped to Pizza Express right outside the castle. We were prepared to deal with a meltdown from one or both kids but they were brilliant and very funny and we left to get home about 7.30pm.

Journey home was a result too, because they both stayed awake, Pickle making up THE most ridiculous songs on the way home, keeping us all laughing and most importantly keeping her brother awake long enough for us to sling them into bed when we got back just after 8pm.

Exhausted, happy and looking forward to our last day of pretend holidaying tomorrow. Day 5.