Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Jetset Jackson

It's not often that one cheers for bureaucratic mistake-making, but today, I did so. Aloud. So loud, I may have scared the baby. My dad and his wife are set to land in London next week, the plan being to hang out here a few days, have some romantical time in Barcelona, then meet up with us in sunny Malaga. One slight hitch, the trip was booked before the kid was hatched... and up until the blessed doorbell rang this morning, I was under the impression that his wee passport might not arrive in time. Because basically, over the course of a painfully lengthy chain of conversations with the passport people, they told me it might not. Well, long (and not so eloquent) story short: It did. His ridiculous, could-be-any-baby passport photo is all officially in a UK passport. My tiny man of international mystery is all set for his first across-the-channel adventure. Hooray!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Jack saves the day!

In my ongoing quest to shake off the baby weight and boost my sanity levels through forced endorphin production (aka, exercise), I headed to the gym the other night for an aquafit class. It's a patently ridiculous form of fitness... but it was fun, it was exercise-y and I was delighted to be there. Until I got out and realized I had forgotten a towel and didn't even have a spare item of clothing to use (in my early days in London, I briefly stayed at the YMCA, where I used a large scarf very effectively as a towel for days). Lucky for me, I did have one of Jack's diapers in my purse. Did I look like a crazy person rubbing myself down and toweling my head with a size 2 Pamper's in a busy change room? Yes. Was I dry and warm for the walk home? Also yes.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Day One

Yes, my son is more than two months old. And sure, I have had him to myself for periods of a day or more before. But Monday was my first day of "Pearson, this is your actual job now. And although it will frequently involve going for a walk in the park, it will not always be a walk in the park."
My new boss showed me he meant business from the get-go, swapping his usual sweet and sleepy morning demeanour with his first ever morning meltdown. Not to be ruffled, I hauled his stroller downstairs and took him straight out to join the East Dulwich fitness centre. I took him to our first mom and baby pilates class, which I thought was quite nice -- but he was unimpressed and screamed the house down. So we left. Next up was lunch at home, bookended with more screaming. Me, I scarfed down strips of toast dipped in soup, which I tried not to spill on my sweet angel as he ate his own lunch. Our next destination: Baby Sensory Play, a free drop-in session for babies with lots of cool toys to play with in a totally relaxed and cheery environment. It was awesome! Or so I thought! Seems it was a little too full of babies for Lord Yelly of Screamy Manor... so we bailed on that, too. And then there was more yelling when we got home. Let's just say that when Mel called asking if I would meet her for a drink to celebrate her new 6-month attachment to Cairo (sob!) I did NOT HESITATE.
So after spending yesterday pottering around the apartment (which Lord Yelly found infinitely more pleasing) I am going to stand up to the boss man and insist we venture forth once more. Today's activity: mom and baby yoga -- which I have on good authority will only have a few babies in it. With any luck, Jack won't noticed those other kids and instead, take pleasure in laying around in public.

Scheduling conflict

In Canada, Mother's Day is always the second Sunday in May. In the UK, it's the third Sunday of March... which this year, just so happened to be the day after St. Patrick's Day. And the big UK-Ireland Rugby match.
So um, yeah. I wonder how many other UK Mummies noticed this schedule of holiday events was perhaps less than ideal?
For someone who has always been rather nonplussed by Valentine's Day, I was sort of shocked at how important my first "Mothering Sunday" was to me. Happily, despite a late start, it did consist of a bouquet of my favourite flowers, yummy champagne brunch and one final day relaxing en famille before Alex's return to work. Jack was also kind enough to write me a note saying there would be more on the horizon soon. Aw. Funny how a made-up holiday and a forged note can so genuinely warm my heart these days!  

Friday, 9 March 2012

Ignorance is bliss

So I do try not to simply get on here and post about how awesome my baby is. But really, he is. Sure, sometimes he is worthy of his title: Lord Yelly of Screamy Manor... but never for long and never (knock on wood) for "no reason". After all, I myself have been known to get a little yelly when hungry or over-stimulated... and I can't imagine I would take well to being left to lay about in soiled undergarments, either. But I digress. Back to how Jack is awesome. Reason #104? He is a highly-portable and desirable Plus One.

There was a lot I didn't know about babies before this one moved in to my life (namely, everything). And in some ways, I think this has worked to my advantage. I've been praised by a lot of strangers over the past few weeks for having Jack out doing whatever -- going on a three-hour historical walk, doing yoga with me, visiting a gallery, seeing a movie, going "power-pramming" (more on that later, in a post likely to be titled something like, WHY THE HELL MUST ALL BABY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES HAVE SUCH PATENTLY RIDICULOUS NAMES!!??!) or taking in the rugby at our local. And while I do enjoy praise, this praise is entirely unwarranted. When people see us out doing what have you, they ask how old he is, look at me for a minute and say something to the effect of "wow, good for you. i don't think we got out of the flat in the first three months! How do you do it?" Well, my big parenting secret (other than the fact that for every three or so days out, I spend an ENTIRE day inside with Jack in our PJs) is this: I like getting out and doing stuff, and, within reason, it never actually occurred to me not to take Jack out with me as I continue to go out to see and do stuff I like. In fact, in his current, sleepy-headed, non-talking, stroller-friendly stage of development, he is the ultimate Plus One. Provided I keep my end of the the bargain and drop everything the moment he really needs to be fed or changed, regardless of where we are (a chilly and epic feed on a bench outside the Southbank Centre on the Thames comes to mind), he will never complain about the exhibit I choose. He will never "forget to bring his wallet" and make me have to pay for tickets or drinks. He will never tell me to hurry up if I'm browsing in a store I like (well, unless it's time for the aforementioned feeding or changing) and he will always -- even just laying there asleep in his stroller -- make me see the world a little differently.

Let's get digital

It's 8p.m., the kid is bathed, the flat is sort-of tidy and dinner is prepped. Having scarfed down half a packet of chocolate digestives with tea on my return from Brixton this afternoon (proof I am becoming more British by the day, I suppose) I'm in no rush to get cooking, though. Nope, with Jack in the other room making contented sounds from his bed, I'm happy to put my feet up and catch up on a thing or two on the computer machine - a few worky things, another look at a Master's Programme I'm fantasizing about taking come fall, a bit of a search for some kind of amazing yoga DVD that will both unlock my seized up hip flexors and ensure my abs will protect my back and -- perhaps more pressing -- allow me to banish my maternity jeans to the back of the closet for good. Then it's time for what sometimes seems like the never-ending process of Keeping In Touch -- trying to bridge the Atlantic divide with another album of photos on Picassa to distribute to interested parties, a video of smiling Jack for Grammie to share with her friends on holiday in Florida and finally, giving into temptation and posting a photo on FB for the simple and semi-guilty pleasure of enjoying the ensuing digital coos from far-flung friends. I'm a chatty person and a communicator by nature (see: Blogging, despite minimal sleep), so mostly doing this is a pleasure. But sometimes it just serves to underline the fact that for all the people who rave about Skype... it's just... not the same. Luckily the computer machine is also pretty good for buying things like plane tickets - and luckier for me still  there are a lot of those waiting to be used -- Spain with Dad, home to Mom and Sarah here from Dublin -- in the coming weeks and months. Because sometimes, only an IRL coo will do.