Archive for July 2009

visitors and vacillations

S, Duncan, and Fraser.

We haven’t been posting because there were no comments on the last post and we loved that post. Pity we didn’t check and find out that comments were actually broken… Sorry for the absence. Next time we’ll not be so quick to dash off in a sulk.

We’ve had a great time with visitors lately, first a week with Sandra and Otto where I failed to take a single picture and am counting on Sandra emailing me copies of hers. Then we had Kim and family here for dinner this week. As she said, life’s changed a lot since we were discussing how we’d ever manage to have kids over coffee a few years back.

Life has changed and so has priorities. I’m no longer dreaming in equations but waking up in a sweat worrying about what to do about childcare for the boys. Next week is decision time but basically it’s boiling down to the nasty trap for the British middle class mother. I make enough for two nursery spots – just – but not enough for a nanny. And we make too much as a family for any government assistance with childcare costs – regardless of the inadequacies of my salary. Science PhDs aren’t really valued in this society – and if I can’t afford childcare that I’m happy with, then what are the options? We’re pretty sure what next week’s decision will be.

13. who’s to say which way is which?


Sometimes I get the feeling that you’re smarter than the rest of us. Like just now, when your brother climbed in behind you in the laundry basket and then decided that he wanted to sit in front. As the smaller one, you ended up obliging, but then turned around and faced the other way and continued to make your vroom vroom noises. In a make-believe car which way is forwards?

Chicken pox and a new molar were the physical events this month, but the emotional and intellectual ones have been far more exciting. You’ve got an imagination, a fully-developed sense of free will, and a great attitude to life. I love watching you play cars on the floor (bamboo makes an awesome racetrack) and the baby days seem far behind me now that you’re definitely a toddler. I think the nicest change is that you and Duncan are really starting to play together. You can keep up with him in games and play, even if you’re slightly oblivious to the fine details of what’s going on. So when both boys are on the floor (or in the laundry baskets, like now), I’m getting a chance to have a cup of coffee. A year ago, that seemed impossible.

For the record, favourite things are automoblox, bananas, climbing on the furniture, small cars with tiny parts, and telephones. In about 30 seconds you managed to reset all the settings on my mobile and actually re-programmed a new message into the landline answering machine. All communication devices are now stored at a height…

pushing and shoving


I’m late with Fraser’s 13 month update, and I’ll try to get to that this weekend, but we’ve currently a broken computer and are still dealing with the fall-out from chicken pox sleep deprivation and the appearance of a new molar. What’s really on our mind these days though is what to do about Duncan’s nursery. They both go to the same place, but while Fraser’s in the relatively calm baby room, Duncan’s already had to be moved from the pre-school area down to the toddler room due to some pushy kids. Now he’s complaining that he doesn’t like nursery even in the toddler room as he’s still getting pushed. Since these kids are now the same size as him, it’s not the critical issue it was in the pre-school area, but I still hate the fact that at 3 years old he’s finding nursery stressful. And he does find it stressful….

We could try another nursery, aiming for a different mix of kids, but I think even in the poshest nursery there’s still going to be more dominant and self-centered kids than others. And the staff at ours are good, we’re very happy with them. But as anyone who’s ever watched groups of children knows, it’s impossible to be everywhere at once. And nursery can’t make up for how the kids are parented at home.

So what do we do? I’m under the impression that we can’t afford a nanny, even if we turned my entire salary over to her (which is essentially what we do with nursery anyways). We’re left in the unhappy place where either I quit work and stay home or we live with the fact that our kid isn’t in an ideal situation. Throw some exhaustion into the mix and we find ourselves very overwhelmed by a difficult situation.

chicken pox


It’s knocked us senseless (Fraser’s had trouble sleeping) but we still got out for a hike today and enjoyed the lovely weather. 30 degrees in Scotland – it doesn’t happen too often.