Sorry darling – here are some flowers I really bought for my mother…

Dot writes: we’ve missed the anniversary of our blog again; but that is getting to be something of a tradition so I’m sure it doesn’t mind. Four years of blogging were marked, or rather not marked, yesterday.

March 2010 vs March 2011:
This time last year I was working quite hard at the blogging lark, posting frequently, commenting on other people’s posts, joining British and Irish Mummy Blogging networks, and seeing the rewards in the form of better stats (though not spectacularly better; no free products to review or anything like that). This year I am, to be honest, not trying nearly so hard, and needless to say the readership has shrunk back down to a faithful core of people who mostly hear all our news in person anyway. (But thanks for reading, Mum.) Apart, that is, from the astonishing numbers who still drop by to have arguments with each other about Anatoly Boukreev.

When I was on maternity leave I found blogging a necessary and therapeutic release that allowed me to have a project of my own that was still, in fact, entirely centred on the children. Ken is now the stay-at-home parent and he does things like brewing and massacring big ugly bushes in the garden; he seems to have less of an urge to tell the world about Frank’s adventures in trying to empty out the toilet with a toy saucepan (this happened on Thursday, by the way). Here follows a short comparison of now to a year ago which is also intended to convey some of those vital pieces of news that I have neglected to record.

Then – I was just about to go back to work and nervous about it.
Now – I’m enjoying work, having a comparatively light term which allows me a day or two of research each week (in theory; in practice it tends to get eaten up with committee meetings and things like that). My edited volume made its long-awaited appearance in November, an article has been sent to a journal, another article is under way, and although I still feel I’m behind my peers I am rediscovering my love of research and a sense of where my work might be going.

Then – Frank was still breastfeeding and (stubbornly) co-sleeping. He had made a start on solids but the solids in question only just merited the label.
Now – Frank sleeps through the night, except when he doesn’t, and he does it in his own cot. Breastfeeding came to a gentle close earlier this year when he had a cold and lost enthusiasm. He had two more months of the boob than Hugh did (sixteen months as opposed to fourteen). When I stopped feeding Hugh I rushed out to buy pretty bras, but this time I dug out some old ones that seemed to fit from a drawer; ironically, they are nursing bras. Frank is still quite short of teeth and eats a lot of yoghurt and even some baby porridge, but he is going through a craze for cereal bars.

Then – Hugh was in nappies and going to a childminder one day a week. He could combine two or three words together. He regularly woke up before 6am. I spent a lot of time fretting over how exhaustingly contrary he was.
Now – Hugh is still pretty contrary but there has been improvement; sometimes he seems positively human. He is potty-trained but insists on taking his lower garments right off when he goes, after which he is reluctant to put them back on again. At the Montessori school he now attends every morning of the week there is no potty but instead a small-scale toilet. So far, however, he has as far as we know relied on his bladder of iron to protect him from ever having to use it. He often sleeps as late as 6.30 or even 7am, which would be amazing if Frank didn’t usually wake up at 5.50. He conducts lengthy pretend conversations between his toy sharks.

Then – the house was a mess.
Now – the house is even more of a mess, especially since Frank dabbled in the grate before it had been cleared out and got hot embers on the carpet. (Eek.) We might be about to buy a different, larger mess house, but then again we might not. We like it here.

Then – Ken had just started doing full-mash brewing.
Now – Ken has been working on his bitters, which at one point he felt were less satisfactory than his porters. He took a start-your-own business course in the autumn but the children are unlikely to let him divert much attention away from them any time soon. The other day when I was on my own with Frank he climbed upstairs calling “Daddy, Daddy” and insisted on checking each room to look for him (he was also looking for Hugh – “Bubba, Bubba” [=brother]). They wave me off to work quite cheerfully each morning; Frank often starts saying “Bye-bye” well before I’m actually ready to leave. It’s a good thing I’m enjoying my job, isn’t it?

6 thoughts on “Sorry darling – here are some flowers I really bought for my mother…

  1. Helen Conrad-O'Briain

    You appear to have been irradiated in the picture. Space Aliens? A Mme Currie moment? By the way Annette and I are making you a gift of Brutus. Annette found a new one in Aldi – or was it Lidle – easier for littlish old lady users.

    1. kenanddot

      The photobooth programme has a number of ‘effects’ settings: this one is supposed to be heat-sensitive. As you can see, it is much more sensitive to heat held close to it. I thought it was a jolly picture of the four of us.

  2. mairij

    …..”the readership has shrunk back down to a faithful core of people who mostly hear all our news in person anyway. (But thanks for reading, Mum.) ”
    Ken’s Mum also depends on your blogs and hugely enjoys them. Many thanks for being such a conscientious blogger.

  3. Katimum

    Is it also a mirror image? And is Ken reduced to a large hand but little else? And who is Brutus (other than being a noble Roman) and why is he to be given away?

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