Tuesday, 31 July 2012

What is love, and am I falling?

As I venture out on the dating scene and get to know a couple of guys more I've started to think about what kind of relationship I want out of life. My wants have changed from my criteria a few years ago. Society assumes that you will meet a guy, fall in love, get married and have children. OK, so I've done things in a random order, but I think that because of this I don't need a man to help me continue the blood line as I've been there and got the t-shirt. My criteria will not necessarily need to be based on mating compatibility and good genes at this point. It'll primarily be based on alternative attributes such as stability, humour, respect and the all important factor of acceptance of my little boy.
Girl and boy stick men
Girl loves boy

I've had a few dates with the Swede now, and I think things are going fairly well. However, I have also had my first date with the Sea Monster, and he returns from his trip to France next week. The Swede will be visiting Sweden soon so I won't be able to see him for another month. This gives me a chance to get to know the Sea Monster more, and for me to ascertain if he really is a contender.

Girl and boy stick men
Boy loves girl
Despite my doubts about the Swede not getting my sense of humour it's clear that he does, and has a fairly dry sense of humour himself.  Because I speak to both these guys on a regular basis I am beginning to form a fondness for both of them. Don't get me wrong, it's not a case of 'juggling'; They are both very aware that I am dating (as they are also), and so until the 'exclusivity' conversation arises I still have a bit of time.

Boy and girl stick figures
Finally compatibility
 This is great progression, of course, from my initial online dating experience, and I feel I have come on leaps and bounds. It's been a fantastic voyage of discovery about finding out what I want. After sifting through the weirdos on the website at the very start I couldn't possibly imagine I would be at the point where I would potentially have a couple of guys who were winners. They both offer very different plus points, and I should really think about what I want from a relationship right now. Do I want the slow progression of dating the Swede who lives an hour and a half from me, wants to pursue a career in acting (unsociable hours) and has a phobia of cohabiting and children (for now), but with whom I have incredible chemistry? Or, do I go for the dependable older man who is keen on marraige and kids who really makes me laugh, thinks a man should take care of a woman and regularly has a back, sack and crack wax?

Oh, and the other point is that I can wear heels with the Sea Monster but the Swede is an inch shorter than me.

I suppose what it comes down to is who I fall in love with. I can make all the logical decisions in the world. I can play the relationships through to completion in my head. However, I'm pretty confident that I am likely to fall in love with one of them.

What is love anyway? A chemical reaction in the brain? How is it that we find one person more attractive over another? The Urban Dictionary has some interesting definitions of love in which they describe love as euphoric, powerful and unconditional affection:
Two swans making a heart shape with their necks
It's when they're the last thing you think about before you go to sleep and when they're the first thing you think of when you wake up, the feeling that warms your heart and leaves you overcome by a feeling of serenity. Love involves wanting to show your affection and/or devotion to each other. It's the smile on your face you get when you're thinking about them and miss them.
Wikipedia describes falling in love as:
The use of the term "fall" implies that the process is in some way inevitable, uncontrollable, risky, irreversible, or that it puts the lover in a state of vulnerability, in the same way the word "fall" is used in the phrase "to fall ill" or "to fall into a trap". The term is generally used to describe an (eventual) love that is strong, although not necessarily permanent.
Wikipedia makes it sound like a bad thing. Maybe it is. Maybe I should just date and not get into relationships, only to be hurt or fall out of love later down the line.

What ever will be, will be. I am moving in 5 weeks and need to find somehwere to live, so those thoughts will have to be pushed to the back of my mind. I have a couple of viewings tomorrow so hopefully I'll find something suitable. Then it's time to pack, sell my shed, do a car boot to get rid of yet more stuff, find storage options for the rest of my junk and also have some fun with my little boy whilst I'm on annual leave.

No time for love. Sorry. However, I could do with the regular foot rubs that love promises. Especially after yesterday's boot camp!

One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.
Sophocles 

Heart drawn on a steamy window

Sunday, 29 July 2012

The Hokey Cokey and Hazardous Jelly

My son, now at 2 years and 5 months, has a fairly comfortable vocabulary. He can communicate most things in a fairly concise manner, and so the tantrums are limited because he doesn't struggle to convey his message. I think I'm very lucky in that respect, because having a grasp of language like he does at this stage will speed up his learning in other aspects of his life. He already understands so much. I am constantly fascinated by his ability to remember things which happened a few months ago. I think that for the human mind to be capable of absorbing so much in 2 years and 5 months is just astounding. Patterns, rhyming and rhythm are the key factors, I believe, in his development. A prime example of this is that having mastered the days of the week in English, he can now reel off the days of the week in French too (occasionally missing Friday).

The alphabet on a chalk board
I still have to recite the alphabet song
myself sometimes, but I never realised it
was imprinted at such an early age.
He mastered the colour blue a few months ago, and now also has a grasp of red, pink and black. He knows the words to the Gruffulo book, the Alphabet Song and (thanks to the advert for 'Compare the Market') if you as him what noise a meerkat makes he'll say, "Simples". Therefore, him understanding me (except for when his selective hearing kicks in) and me understanding him is pretty standard now. Of course, he still has pronunciation challenges such as: 'pudding' means 'pigeon', and 'black booty' means 'Black Beauty'. However, these cute little hiccups make life more entertaining.

All in all, it's a learning experience for the both of us, and we continue to laugh along the way. I've learnt that singing 'The Okey Kokey' will put him into a trance. He'll stop whatever mischief he's up to and do the dance. Its like magic. I took him to the park yesterday and as I opened the car door to get him out of his seat he said, "Mummy, girls love me". A statement which I'm sure will ring true as he gets older and learns not to walk around with his finger up his nose.

Woman asleep at her laptop
Quite clearly, a working parent
There are a lot of things they don't tell you about parenthood which can surprise you. For example, when my son was a baby I  inadvertently squirted milk across the bathroom - hitting the mirror on the opposite wall - when I got in the shower one morning. It just happens. The most impacting factor of being a parent that you will never be prepared for (because there's nothing else like it) is the mental and physical exhaustion you feel. How people cope with more than one under five is beyond me. They are super human. Fact. You have to be constantly switched on and alert to safety, feeding, watering, toileting and general curious behaviour involving Mummy's walls being drawn on or scooping mud/sand/faeces into their mouths.

Being a parent means that regardless of illness, pain or hangovers you still have to step up and continue your responsibilities. On Friday night I got in quite late after a leaving do for a couple of friends at work. I sat on the sofa and ate a Chinese I'd picked up on the way home (chow mein and sweet & sour chicken balls). My little boy woke up so I tucked him back into bed and curled up next to him because, quite frankly, I was too exhausted to move! I woke up in the morning sneezing with a hay fever nose at 7am, which then woke my son. Obviously (and unfortunately), my little boy is too young to cook for me, so I had to make my own breakfast. My eyes hurt, my neck hurt and as I wandered into the kitchen to start cooking I skidded on the kitchen floor and gave myself a groin injury. It seems that he'd found the jelly in the fridge and had helped himself leaving a trail of it on the floor. Whilst my former self before motherhood would probably have crawled back into bed and called it a day, instead, I spent the day doing fun things with him and thoroughly enjoyed it.

My son provides plenty of fun times and always keeps me on my toes (or on my bottom from falling over toys and food stuffs). I found leaves in the washing machine after a recent wash. It was as though a whole twig had been stripped and stuffed in there. His little giggle is infectious, especially when he thinks he's hiding from you. He's very stubborn and adamant about not being tired at nap time, "I don't wanna go to sleep Mummy. I don't wanna go to sleeeeep. I don't wanna........Zzzzzzzzzzzzz".

He's fantastic and no end of pleasure. However, it would be great to have someone to share his quirky behaviour with. I know I'm slowly working on that, and I will need to be patient. I think with his energy he definitely needs a male role model in his life. My fear is that if he were to grow up just with me he'd have a fabulous dress sense and penchant for painting toe nails. I think we both need a bit of male influence in our lives, but I won't introduce him to anyone unless I'm sure it's the real thing. I can't have him getting attached and then break his heart because of my mistakes.

So for now, we'll keep ticking along, making each other happy. What is my favourite thing about him?:

Now that he can talk, the first thing he says when he wakes up in the morning is, "I love you Mummy".

Mother holding her child

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

How about a tummy tuck?

Two words: Boot Camp.

These two words have reduced the muscles - which I didn't think I had anyway - to quivering wrecks. Every time I get up from my desk at work I have to consciously unravel myself slowly and then hobble off to the photocopier/kitchen/toilet looking like I'm severely constipated. I then have had to explain to my colleagues (who look at me like I'm constipated) that I am, in fact, in general bodily pain. I just can't feel my own foot on the ground, and this is just how I will be walking for the next couple of days, thank you very much.

I started Boot Camp with a couple of friends last week. I went for my second session last night, and I was subjected to an hour of putting my body in positions and under strain I didn't know possible. I was OK with the running parts because I still run 2/3 times a week. However, the sit-ups, press-ups, burpies and squats were killers.

Apple, stethoscope and tape measure
Pain is good, right?
This was me initiating the next phase of my 'Get fit and healthy' regime. I've still got weight to loose and I'm into the beginning of my fourth month with Weight Watchers, but I now need to start on the toning and getting the muscles in my abdomen 'switched on' (as my physio calls it). I have a plan to eliminate the bits that shouldn't wobble. Sort of like a poor man's tummy tuck.

Straight after Boot Camp my muscles feel hard and defined (and very sore). It's impressive how little muscle strength I have, particularly in my arms and stomach. I struggle to do one girly (that's on my knees) press-up. As for sit-ups, you might as well pull me up by the hands and call it that, because it's not going to happen without any external influence!

So this will be my body for the next four days. The pain will get worse tomorrow and then subside by Thursday. However, I'm hoping to go for a run after work tomorrow. I'm not sure if my legs will go on strike in defiance and collapse, leaving my body in a crumpled heap. We'll see, I suppose.
Green hair
Green hair!!

My son dyed his hair for the first time yesterday. Well, it was a mixture of green paint, glitter and sand which took 3 shampoos to lift. He thought that tipping a pot of paint on his head was the best thing to do at the time, it seems.

He has just over a month left at nursery before he moves on to the childminder, and I still haven't told him that he will be leaving. I know he'll be devastated but I don't want to upset him just yet. I think that as long as children are blissfully unaware of impending doom then it's better for all parties involved. I really don't want to break his little heart and I'm dreading the day I have to explain that Mummy's ripping him away from his little friends.

He'll miss his girlfriends (he has a few on the go now). Because of the time I pick him up and drop him off I do not normally bump into many other parents. I don't see any of them socially, and I wonder whether I should make more of an effort so that when he leaves nursery we can have a few play dates. One mother had discovered we were leaving the nursery, and kindly said that her and her daughter would be sad to see us go. She said the obligatory (but empty), "We really must do lunch some time". I agreed, and then we both walked off in different directions without exchanging contact details.

I've confirmed with the estate agents that I'll be moving house at the beginning of September, so I'm starting to look at possibilities. This brings more exciting changes that are unnerving at the same time. I think as long as I make plenty of lists then things should go smoothly. Anyway, any worries I did have had melted away over the last couple of days with the casting out of the 'monsoon season' we've been having, which has replaced with a bit of happy-inducing sunshine. The kind where you have to walk around with minimal clothing to stop yourself from passing out from heat exhaustion.

Summer is finally here!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

He kept me waiting

Clock face
Tempus did not fugit
I had asked for it really.

I sat on the counter in the corner of my kitchen patiently waiting for the Sweet Swede. Originally he had arranged to be at my house waiting for me when I came back from work. The anticipation was too much for me to handle and after a few exchanges over text messages I could see it was going to be a great weekend.

The last time we met I went to visit him in Leamington Spa. He showed me around the place.
We popped into an art gallery where the staff offered us a class of champagne, which I gladly took. Maybe a little too enthusiastically. Being a non-drinker, the Swede declined. I wondered if he would be discusted to kiss me with my booze-lips, so I chomped on a few Polos to help lift the taste. I was pretty sure that would do it.

I  was not so worried about the alcohol taste as I sat in my kitchen waiting for him to come to mine. There was nothing for me to do except drink Malibu. I kept hearing cars and glanced over to see if it was him. Then an hour and a half later than expected he called me and said "Hi. I'm in Winnersh. What's your address again?" I gave him my postcode and his Sat Nav said he'd be there in 7 minutes. That may have been one of the longest 7 minutes of my life.

So, back to why I deserved to be kept waiting. A couple of weeks ago I said I'd go up to see him on a Friday night. He said that he was in all night and to come up 'whenever'. So, I went to a friend's barbecue and at 10.15pm I started the hour-long drive up to Leamington spa. When I got there I snuck up to the front door of his building and tried the door. It wouldn't open. So I texted him to say, "Will you be really annoyed with me if I come up tomorrow instead?" I got a very short reply which said, "I'm very disappointed because I was really looking forward to seeing you." No kisses at the end. I stood back from the door so that I was visible from the window of his first floor flat and texted again saying, "You'd better let me in then because I don't know your flat number!" I saw the blind twitch and his fingers poke through. He had finally seen me and without a word, buzzed me in. As I met him at his door he stood back and gave me a wry smile. Whoops. I have said before that I wasn't sure if he would get my sense of humour....

Runny honey
The Swede had asked me on one of our first phone calls if I
liked honey. Now I know why...
Both weekends were pleasant enough but my doubts are beginning to set in. Although the time we have together is pretty electric I can't help but feel that there may not be anywhere for it to develop. Being the typical girl I've started analysing. He's very much focussed on embarking on an acting career, and plans to move back to Sweden at some point in the future. He doesn't drink and doesn't socialise in the same way I would at a bar or club. I'm not adverse to him not drinking (hello, personal taxi), acting, or to moving to a different country. However, I feel that he may be more of a lone wolf. Don't get me wrong, he's still lovely. He bought me a jar of lavender honey (and a second jar when the first ran out), which is divine. However, I think we've both reached a point where we are quite guarded about what we want moving forward with neither of us wanting to mention 'exclusivity' yet.

Although the Sea Monster is in France visiting his sick father he has kept in contact with me daily because he said he was worried that if he didn't he would be out of site, out of mind! He's back in the country on the 6th of August, and unlike the Swede he seems to know the right things to say. I have no doubt that the Sea Monster is very keen, but the Swede's approach is more subtle and with small gestures and suggestions. They are both gentlemen (aren't all men at the start) but the Sea Monster takes the prize for chivalry. He's always offering to do 'man stuff' for me like mow the lawn, and fix my leaky front door. The Swede said he'd wash my car because he found it therapeutic, but that's only because I asked him if he would.

Just for the odd flirty text every now and then the Lance Corporal is still hanging around. However, I had to tell him that he's wasting his time if he thinks I'll send him suggestive pictures of myself. His response was an impromptu picture from him. I don't remember suggesting he should, and it's funny how he thinks I'll crumble at the knees and willingly give him what he wants, naturally because I'm dazzled by the beauty of his contribution.

Oh well. The plot thickens, and men still confuse me.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Undignified - Not for the squeamish

Being a girl has it's drawbacks. Even the healthy female body takes severe abuse from life. It has to be super resilient to stand the test of the periods, the smear tests, the giving birth, the breast feeding and the menopause (amongst other things).

Having a child means that the area you once regarded as sacred is now somehow not as it was. By the time a room full of doctors, nurses, midwives and all of their students/trainees have seen and prodded at your nether regions you become desensitised. For me, there was a pivotal moment which I remember that changed the way I felt about other people having access to my 'area'. That moment happened for me during labour when a 6'4" man with sausage fingers had to check if I was dilated. I had to suck on the gas and air which prompted him to question if I was having a contraction, "Hell no, I'm just terrified at the prospect of your arm!" There I was, willing for the smaller lady Consultant to start her shift so that I wouldn't have the fear of that up there again. It's pretty shocking how far up they really have to go to check that sort of thing.

So, now I'm fairly desensitised and un-threathened by the prospect of routine check ups and smears etc. I like to think I take it in my stride. I felt that, as I'm dating again, I should probably get some sort of contraception in place. I can't afford another child right now and feel I should focus all the efforts and money on my son for the foreseeable future! So with this in mind, and after exploring all the options, I decided to get a Mirena coil fitted. I went for the smear test and STD check a couple of weeks ago and was given the all clear to have one put in. I've had so many dodgy smears and colposcopies in my life time I thought it would be a breeze.

There is a pharmacy onsite at my doctor's surgery where I was instructed to get the coil just before my appointment. Which I did. I sat there in the waiting room with a foot long box. Naturally, people were curious (mostly men) but there were knowing glances from a couple of the women in the room. Was it terror I'd seen in their eyes?

Dr Glover* has the bedside manner of an angry troll. After a brief, "Hello", and instructions to get on the bed she pushed my knees apart and had a good look. Without warning she pushed in two fingers which caught me by surprise! Only once she was in there did she explain that she was checking to see which way my placenta was lying. Oh. OK. Maybe a bit of warning next time, yes? I breathed and tried to relax. Apparently it was fine (whatever that means).

Next in was the speculum. Now, say that word in a room full of women and you're certain to get a few shudders, tense shoulders or crossed legs (maybe even the odd tear). The speculum is like the opposite of a vice whereby instead of cranking closed, it cranks open. Yes, it is as uncomfortable as it sounds.

The Dr did a bit of wiping up there with cotton wool (still not giving me any warning or commentary about what she was doing). This was followed by a rod. Now this part was quite painful, and I'm pretty sure they would have heard me yelp in the waiting room. She came up for air to tell me, yes it does hurt and that it was to dilate my cervix. Again, thanks for the warning, and secondly, surely it's not natural to do that when I'm not in labour!?

So finally they get to putting the thing in. I stared at the ceiling breathing like I'd just run a marathon. The nurse offered her arm to grab if I needed to. I declined as politely as I could muster in this stressful situation. Although we were in that intimate environment together I didn't feel I could trust myself not to leave nail marks in her skin. Instead I clenched my fists above my head and tried to think of a sandy beach (not sure why, that was just the image that came into my head and I went with it).

Everything was removed as quick and as roughly as it had gone in. The Dr flung a bit of tissue at me and said, "Clean yourself up with that". I felt like a used one-nighter but I did as instructed, and put my knickers back on (I didn't want to struggle with my tights too, I just wanted to get out of there). I stood awkwardly, not knowing if I could leave when I was summond to sit. I was handed a card with the date of when it needed to be removed and a leaflet. To my joy the doc would like to check if it's still in the right place in 6 weeks. Oh goody. More probing.

I've felt really achy, uncomfortable and grumpy all afternoon. However, I know that not only will I now be prevented from having babies for the next 5 years, I also won't have to think about it.

I think I've lost count how many medical practitioners have had to address my lady parts. I wonder if it ever does get any easier?

Animated doctor's face with mask
The doc's bedside manner left a lot to be desired. I thought she might be gentle, but I felt like the prize cow getting probed prior to a big show.
*Names have been changed to protect the angry troll doctor

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The first date with the Sea Monster

The Sea Monster gets his screen name not because of any appendages he may have, but apparently from his days as a water skier. Apparently.

After weeks of talking on the phone - and then waiting for him to come back from a trip to Finland - the first date with the Sea Monster finally happened on Saturday night. We had arranged to meet at 8pm, so I arrived at about quarter past, because you're supposed to keep them waiting for a bit, right? I wore skinny turquoise jeans (yes I can wear skinny now because I'm a stone and a half lighter) and a black off-the-shoulder top with my nude heels. I wore a strapless bra and some nice underwear. Not because I was expecting someone to see it, but if you feel good underneath it helps with how you feel generally.

It was a sunny evening so I wore my sunglasses on the approach to the bar/restaurant in the hope I might be able to have a good look at him through the open doors before deciding whether to go in. Unfortunately it was dark inside and I didn't want to look like a complete poser walking into the bar so I had to take my sunglasses off. I made eye contact straight away with him, 6'4" and imposing, with a dusting of grey hair and very attractive eyes. I instantly relaxed a little.

This was in fact, the very first date I'd ever had where I met a guy at a restaurant. This was a pretty daunting prospect. Being a gentleman he stood up as I approached the table and I saw the pastel pink linen shirt (hmmm, not sure), smart trousers and smart shoes. I gave him a kiss on the cheek and there was that slightly awkward, "Hi, how are you?" moment when one person ends up asking the question twice. I took a seat beside him so that we were both facing the bar area.

I had purely arranged to meet him for a drink. That way, I thought if I didn't think it was going well I could make my excuses and leave. However, I noticed there were menus on the table and the bubbly waitress bounded over and asked me what I'd like to drink. Once she had taken my drink request she said, "I'll be back to take your order shortly". So in the blink of an eye I had been inadvertently coerced into a dimly lit romantic meal.

Red wine and plate of food
Romantic meal for two
I ordered a starter salad....and a bowl of chips. He ordered two starters, one of which was asparagus, and also a side of asparagus. When the food arrived the waitress explained that they had accidentally made an extra starter of crab cakes for our table. She gave them to us anyway free of charge. It looked like we were at a Spanish tapas bar with 6 dishes on the table. He worked his way through each plate like a conveyor belt (and some of my chips). He will forever be known as an asparagus junkie in my eyes.

I was drinking a stronger version of Malibu and got a bit giggly. We did some people watching and made comments on hairstyles, levels of drunkenness, clothes and the fact that a girl's thong was a little too visible through her dress! We talked about everything, marriage, kids (he did, I didn't) and that if someone he loved didn't want those things then he would just have to live with that. He was very courteous and ever the gentleman. He very much believed in pink jobs and blue jobs but at the same time explained his love of cooking and giving massages (obviously skilled in the art of telling us girls what we want to hear). He made me laugh a lot and made some very cheeky comments. One particularly mischievous thing he said was when he asked me my thoughts on "wild sex". When I asked him in disbelief to repeat his question (it was loud in there) he said, "poli-tics". Trust me, in the noise they do sound the same.....and although he denies it now, I know he was after my reaction!

He was educated in Hong Kong in an international school so he has a slight American twang to his voice. His accent generally is very soothing and he's great to listen to! We got on really well, and he paid and offered to take me home. At that point I was pretty sure I'd missed the last train anyway and I felt pretty comfortable. I agreed for him to drop me down my road but not outside my house. He had a red Mercedes. The source of my amusement with his car was the sheep skin rugs he had in both the driver and passenger foot wells! Of course, ever the lady, I had to ask, "What the hell is that?" Apparently it's so I don't damage the back of my heels. Oh. OK. Actually, that makes sense. Even though the inside of the car does look like it's been revamped by Xzibit or Westwood on 'Pimp my Ride'.
Sheep skin rug
Heel protector


As the car came to a stop I was a little concerned about whether to give him a kiss on the cheek in the car, or see if he got out of the car or something else. I didn't want him to think I was going to let him kiss me, so I undid my seatbelt, leant towards him and aimed for his cheek. I think he may have wanted a bit more. But I didn't really give him the option as I said my good-byes, got out of the car and tottered off to my front door.

Luckily, I must have left a good impression because he texted me the next day to say he'd enjoyed the date and asked if I'd like to do it again. Which I would. Chatting to him this week he said that I am quite hard to read. He felt I couldn't get out of his car quick enough! Yup. I couldn't chance having a tipsy fumble in the front of his 'Pimp-mobile', especially knowing he was sober!

Unfortunately, he received some awful family news yesterday, so today he jumped on a plane to the south of France to be with them. For at least the next couple of weeks I'll have to wait and see what the next date will bring. I told him I'm not in any rush. I'm just taking this dating thing as it comes and having a bit of fun for now.

One thing is for sure: Summer in England may be a late one, but I can tell it will definitely be hot.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Mess and imitation

As I pushed yet another mud-soaked garment into the washing machine the other night - attempting to only touch dry bits of fabric - I wondered how long it would take my son to grow out of the 'messy phase'. Is it in fact a phase, or is that just boys' behaviour in general?

Every day at nursery my son will go through (on average) three changes of clothes. I have had all four of his favourite vices:

- Urine
- Paint
- Mud
- Poop
Toddler with toy dinosaurs
Boys are messy. Fact.

Last week, I arrived to collect him and he was knee deep in the mud pit (the water had flown over the top of his wellies). He was obviously having a lot of fun, and his shorts had wet muddy fun all over them. On another day, just before I arrived, he had dropped his trousers, relieved himself on the nursery floor (in front of other parents), and then picked it up and played with it. I feel I am a slave to the washing machine, and I always have to be a couple of days ahead to make sure he has enough changes of clothes to take with him to nursery.

I am impressed by his capacity to make such a mess in everything he does. Without doubt he will leave a trail of destruction in his wake. However, I feel I may be personally responsible for any larger holes in the Ozone layer due to the constant washing loads.

I am also impressed by my son's thirst for imitation. It's incredible how children watch and pick up small movements, gestures and phrases that you don't even realise you are doing'. The cutest copies are those which are said in the same tone and with the same inflection as me or other adults he knows. Endless amusement.

He loves to hoover (I bought him a minature vacuum cleaner for his birthday in March), but he calls it 'hooving'. He tries to pee standing up, but instead of holding himself he stands, facing the toilet, his toes at the very edge of his step, squatting. He's also taken to wearing nail varnish and an Alice band to nursery, and He also totters around the house in my knee-high (crotch-high on him) boots. Suprisingly (if a little worrying) he walks quite well in heels.

The fact that children learn so much through imitation is one of the reasons I wanted him to go to nursery. I wanted him to have a diverse range of friends of different abilities and ages to learn from. I accept that they can also pick up bad habits, but I am sure that the good out-weighs the bad.

In September I will be moving him to a childminder. I have been lucky to find a great husband and wife team who will ensure a daily adult male role model. My son and I visited the house and he settled in straight away. Deciding who to trust with your child is a very difficult decision. You can do so much to a point to ensure it is a suitable environment for your child, but ultimately you really have to go with your gut instinct.

I have also handed in our notice on the house so the next couple of months will be a busy time trying to find somewhere affordable to live. September brings about change again for us as we will be moving at around the same time my son starts with the childminder. I hope it will be the beginnings of a happier life for us both.

Talking of future happiness, I had a couple of great dates last weekend: The Sweet Swede and The Sea Monster. However, that's an update for another day....