Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Highs and Lows

Anna-mouse and I spent the day together. An ordinary day. An extraordinary day. Together we, she, or I -

  • Read 'The Tubby Custard Mess' for after-breakfast-potty-sit (31st time this week)
  • Were late for swimming class
  • Got changed extra quick
  • Giggled in swimming class
  • Got changed extra slow
  • Took Anna-m's new toilet seat with us to the loo
  • Thought up anything and everything to get her to sit on it
  • Left the loo with only the grown-up having gone
  • Went to visit the creche to get her (pretend) and me (this is the truth) used to it
  • Wiped up biggest pee in history from creche floor
  • Told the creche workers 'She is potty-trained, really'
  • Ate mini gherkins dipped in houmous for lunch again
  • Had total stand-off when toddler pooed in her pants 30 secs after getting off potty
  • Made-up big-time
  • Spent quarter hour not speaking after second poo in pants
  • Made-up, just, after the Bim called with cunning-return-to-Star-Chart-plan
  • Did face-painting: a pink tiger(her, done by me); a strange culty person (me, done by her)
  • Ate an enormous bowl of pasta for tea; ate a couple of penne. Guess which one which.
  • Sat at nursery room window watching the rain and waiting for the 'light'. Thrill of her first storm. Mother's heartstrings twang.
  • Endured tantrum when told could listen for thunder no more
  • Wiped the tears away when told loo seat she wouldn't hear of this morning not available now
  • Cried end-of-the-world-tears when told to leave window to brush teeth
  • Sang 'Happy Birthday Anna-mouse', cut the candles, handed out slices of cake
  • Screamed in protest at being put into cot with no more songs
  • Hugged and kissed with promise of one more song
  • Sang 'Happy Birthday Thunder'


  • Child content
  • Mother on gin.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Hunger Site

Link to this title site and click daily to do a Good Deed. A friend sent me this link and I've put it into my Favourites sidebar to remind me to click as I go online each day. How it work is this. Each time you click the sponsors who pay for the site donate something like 1.1 cups of food to those people in the world who can't feed themselves at present. I'm not mad about the principle - there's too much whimsy in it: click here, feed the world and by the way read our ads at the same time - but if it helps, hey, the end is worth the uncomfortable nature of the means.

Click now.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I Could Have Danced All Night

Clicking on my Favourites and checking out the wonderful Petite Anglaise's post today strikes a chord. Yes, freedom does come at a price. Always, I think. Somedays it's worth it; somedays it's not. Take today.

I am allowed off out for the day. A whole day of freedom on the Bim's orders. He takes Anna-mouse off to the playground, then Kent Town, then brings her home to decorate gingerbread men with saccharine-sweet coloured icing pens and I am told to stay out until I have bought something that will cure me of the cry 'I'm not moaning, but I reeeallly have nothing to wear...'

This is no small order. Lately, we've been thinking twice before buying a can of baked beans we've been that broke. So my guilt button is pressed twice before I even get out the door: I've been given carte blanche with time and money. Not easy for a worrier, and the person who knows what state the finances are really in.

I get over it. Off I go, James Blunt doing that quivery thing he does with the high notes all the way down the dual carriageway. I'm going to the shopping capital of the garden of England. I'm all excited. Hope it won't be one of those demoralising trips where the first visit to the changing room leaves me weeping into my coffee in Starbucks for the rest of the afternoon.

It isn't. I sail through the day. I return on a high, confused only for a moment by Anna-mouse opening each bag I've brought home and exclaiming 'Oh, thank you Mummy!' at each one. I fully intend to go to my newly-discovered beloved Salsa class at 8. I act as if for hours. I really think I'm going to go. The time nears, and I'm having more and more moments of doubt as I watch the Bim cook supper, clean up and take Anna-mouse for her bath. He reminds me to set the video for 'The West Wing' before I go out.

I go for a shower, look out my dancing clothes. And find myself putting my pyjamas on instead. I can't do it. I can't go. I discover this caged bird can't leave the cage, though the door is open. For my night of freedom, after my day of freedom, I would be trading a night in with Martin Sheen and the Bim, and a couple of hours spent here, trying to keep my blog alive while I try to keep my eyes open. My old self has a longing to dance. My new self knows that I have more need to embrace my chosen love, and my chosen life, than to salsa with a stranger.

For tonight, at least, the guilt dogs are at bay.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Kentish Salsa

All day it's at the back of my mind, an eight-beat sub-text that won't go away. Finally, one year into our new life in Kent Town I have discovered that there is a Sunday night Salsa class close by. Will I, won't I, brave it alone? It's three years or so since I danced the dance; Ned, my much-loved teacher is long gone and so is my pre-birth body. Everything's gone a little southwards these days.

It's been a tiring day, too. The Bim's parents are with us, Anna-mouse is on her bestest demanding form and I can think of every reason in the world not to venture out just as she's about to go down.

After an antsy half hour throwing clothes around the room and making it entirely the Bim's fault that I have nothing to wear, I find myself driving down to Quaint Town in search of The Venue. I follow a confident-looking woman through the bar and out the other side, down some steps into a long, low room with a nice smiley black man on the door. Turns out I'm early. I was trying to be minutely late so as to miss the hanging about like a wallflower with a neon arrow saying 'New Girl' pointed at my head, so I spend quarter of an hour in the Ladies, hugging a cranberry juice and re-doing my hair. Nerves aren't in it.

At last the class begins. I put myself into the middle group, Improvers/Intermediates, and pray my body remembers something. Bless Ned, it does. First up I'm partnered by a short sturdy Italian who wears a chain and a moustache. He raises an eyebrow as I stumble on a simple turn, but slowly, slowly as we change partners and work our way round the circle I feel my soul wake up, relax and begin to smile. I notice that other people are nervous, too. Some of the blokes have sweaty palms and are saying 'Sorry' more than I am. About the third time I make it round to the Italian guy, he smiles.

Two days later, my feet still hurt. I catch myself practising the cross-body in Debenhams. I know I'm older, slower. I don't move as quickly on the spins. But some long-buried part of me is gasping with relief. It's like finding a long-lost soulmate. It's like bumping into myself and shaking hands. It's Livvy, dancing Salsa again.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Parrot Fashion

This is getting spooky.

Glancing at a community noticeboard in Kent Town Sainsbury's today, I was drawn to a hand-scrawled 'For Sale' sign featuring, yes you guessed it, Baby Senegal Parrots.

Apparently they make lovely pets and are 'Ready Now': I picture rows of expectant tinies waiting patiently by the front door with their duffel coats and wellies on.

Now, two Tiny Parrot references in seven days feels just too much like somebody having a cosmic giggle for me not to take note. So I have.

Seems like if you're looking for a fun, talkative playmate, the poincephalus senegalus could be for you. There's also some indication that our friend in miniature can be a tad on the high maintenance side, but pretty frequent chats, the odd flyaround and strictly no alcohol, caffeine or chocolate will soon see him right. Clearly, though, parrot abandonment is growing: adoption of said birds is recommended over following up handwritten signs in supermarkets.

In my web travels I've come across Baby Senegals called Huggy, Mickey, Iago - hang on, Iago? - what could he possibly have done to deserve that? I can just imagine it. 'Hi, come in and meet my dwarf traitor parrot. He looks a bit lean and hungry but he's really very chatty when you get to know him.'

It's a whole 'nother world.