Subscribe to feed Viewing entries tagged Kitty

Life outside the daily grind

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 26 June 2012

My opinion, for what it’s worth, about whether or not you work when you have children, (if you are in the luxurious position of being able to choose), comes from my belief that everyone needs, and everyone is entitled to, some sort of intellectual life.

When I say intellectual life, I mean something that is outside of the daily grind of getting up, feeding yourself and others, fulfilling the basic requirements of your existence.

For some, their working life and their intellectual life are the same thing. But for most, their job contributes to the general grind. It’s got nothing to do with class or with how much you get paid. I have seen well-paid City workers and lawyers cry with frustration at how their brains are atrophying in their jobs.

...

A mummy break

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Monday, 18 June 2012

Although my husband is sympathetic and generous when it comes to my constant bellyaching about the trials of motherhood and domesticity, I think it’s essential to leave Kitty in his sole charge for a while every now and again. You know, just to re-calibrate his reality every now again – just to make sure we’re reading from the same page.

Because it is easy, when someone else is doing the lion’s share of childcare, to think that it is all basically fine. It happens to me, when Kitty is the care of someone else. From a distance, it looks perfectly easy. When you are not the one making those millions of carefully-adjusted decisions every hour, when you are not the one who is ultimately responsible for the location and supply of nappies, bottles and pyjamas, hanging out with children is perfectly fun. Why on earth do we need a steam mop? Or a full-time live-in housekeeper? Everything is just fine as it is.

So off I went to a wedding in Norfolk for 24 hours this weekend. I didn’t leave a list of instructions, or things laid out neatly with arrows drawn on paper leading from one thing to the next. I just made sure Kitty’s shoes and pyjamas were in the right place and that there was one clean bottle. Then I waved goodbye and set off.

...

Alternative thinking

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 05 June 2012

I have always dismissed any health treatment that doesn’t come in a bottle or a pill as a waste of time. I believe in medicine and regard any remedy that doesn’t contain chemicals as insulting. I don’t think alternative medicine is rubbish – some of my sanest friends swear by it. But I, personally, feel fobbed-off, patronised and not believed when recommended it. I just don’t like it. My prejudice has redoubled after experiencing labour: medicinal opiates stood between me and certain madness and I will be grateful forever.

So I have always obnoxioualy ignored that advice about sitting in a steamy room with your baby or toddler when they’ve got a cough. I roll my eyes. “Just gimme the antibiotics,” I hiss to myself “and stop leading me a merry dance”.

But this time with Kitty’s most recent crackly, soggy, yukky cough, I couldn’t get to a doctor in order to turn them upside down and shake hard until some amoxycillin fell out of their pocket, because the cough started up just as everything else shut down for four days for the Jubilee. Not even I, with my deranged passion for tracking down medicine for my child, was going to raise a GP on the longest bank holiday of the year.

...

And then the sun came out...

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Monday, 28 May 2012

When I was little, I liked summer. We had a big garden with a swing and trees and there was a lot of jumping through sprinklers, lazy picnics and going for weeks without wearing shoes.

But then there was a middle bit that I didn’t like – that bit where it was difficult to enjoy doing what I wanted to do, which was to sit under a tree reading Wind in the Willows, because I was supposed to be out carousing with my friends in public spaces.

But Kitty has saved me from all that. Her need, her desperate want and desire to be outside in all her waking moments, so arduous in the winter, is brilliant in the summer. She just wants to stagger about from sun up to sun down in just her nappy shouting “Bee!” “Flower!” “Ant!”

...

Sugar & spice and all things nice... for now

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Now that Kitty is doing quite a lot of talking, and a reasonable amount of walking (as long as she’s holding your hand) I can see a little girl emerging from the blob of a baby.

And I have started to quite excited about it. I have started to fetishise childish things – even though I was a sickly, friendless, fretful child who often refused to go to school – and have all sorts of daydreams about creating an idyllic childhood for Kitty.

You know the sorts of things I mean: fish fingers and peas, sitting on the sofa watching Charlie and Lola, teddies, Brownies, hair in bunches, jumping through sprinklers in summer, bedtime stories, scones and hot chocolate after school, Disney films, best friends and worst enemies, colouring in, Play-Dough, new pencil cases.

...

If you haven’t got company, you haven’t got anything

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 15 May 2012

For the last two and a half months, we’ve all been living with my parents, while we have a kitchen extension built.

At first it was a bit tricky, a bit of a culture shock. It felt like camping, we didn’t know where anything was, couldn’t seem to get anything done. My parents’ house is large, chaotic, a bit ramshackle and curling at the edges. My mother believes very strongly that unless something is utterly broken and beyond repair, buying a replacement is morally outrageous. I, on the other hand, give lorry-loads of stuff to charity for such crimes as being “slightly the wrong colour” or “a bit annoying to look at”.

The huge benefit of living here, of course, is that the house is full of toys and its ramshackle nature means that Kitty can make a terrible mess and no-one cares. The other major plus is how many people there are here, all the time; my mum, dad, my cousin, (who rents out a room upstairs), my sister who comes here most mornings with her two and a half year-old and my other sister who sometimes turns up with her three boys under 5. There’s always someone around to talk to or play with. Any evening that my husband and I want to go out, we can because there’s someone to watch the monitor for a few hours.

...

The boring truth about motherhood

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 08 May 2012
My life is quite dull at the moment. Actually I will go out on a limb and say that it’s actively boring. Up at 7am every morning, tend to Kitty, try not to ignore my husband too much, try to eat something other than toast, try to keep everyone in clean clothes, try to get work done on days when I have childcare and not just stare into space.

As a special treat on the days when someone else is looking after Kitty, I get in the car and go for a drive. Sometimes, I will go to a shopping centre and have a poke around in Topshop. Then I get home, bath and bed Kitty, make dinner, watch some telly, pretend to listen to my husband while actually internet shopping on my iPad, put pyjamas on as early as decently possible, try to be asleep by 10pm.

Sometimes I talk to my friends, occasionally I will actually see my friends. But most of the time it’s me, Kitty, my husband, the people in the coffee shop, a few other mums...

And that’s it, or variations thereon, day in, day out, week in, week out. Whenever I find myself in my car on the A406, listening to Capital Radio and musing on the fact that doing this, driving and listening to the radio by myself, is a treat, I remind myself that this life is not forever. It is just a stage, a rather boring stage, probably the same amount of boringness as secondary school. And, just like secondary school, it will end.

...

A "non-blanching" rash, a fever and a scared mummy

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 01 May 2012

Kitty has been ill again. This time it was quite scary. There was a temperature of 104 and a rash that didn’t disappear when you pressed it – the technical term for this kind of rash is a “non-blanching” rash and it’s a symptom of meningitis.

But Kitty didn’t have meningitis – of course not. She wasn’t ill enough for that. But she was ill, no mistake. Day after day of fever cascaded in on us, accompanied by the horrible rash and glued-up eyes. Sitting on the sofa rocking and soothing a boiling hot and miserable toddler went from being a novelty to being my entire reality.

When your child is sick, it is impossible to gauge how to react. On one hand, you are acutely aware that you are a new mother and that every new and different illness is going to be frightening. On the other hand, that vision looms in your head – you know the one I mean, the one where you are in hospital at the bedside of your child, who is comatose possibly on a drip, while a serious man in a white coat turns on you and barks “Why the hell didn’t you bring her in sooner?”

...

The rage

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 24 April 2012

My husband and I had a row the other night. Nothing unusual about it – it happens from time to time. It was about something small, I can’t remember, something to do with Kitty’s bathtime. But it got slightly out of control. I lost my temper, which I don’t do often: I was doing that thing, that shaking, hissing, boiling-rage, finger-jabbing thing.

Usually we calm down, sort it out, apologise. But we had to go straight out to dinner. We arrived at Mr & Mrs’s house slightly shaken. My husband announced, typically, as soon as we got through the door that we’d just had a row.

“Oh!” cried Mrs, “We had the most terrible row the other day. Mr didn’t come home until 4am and didn’t text or anything. I called the police! I thought he was dead.”

...

Pride and joy

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 17 April 2012

At all times, in public, I try to maintain a critical distance from Kitty. If she is ever paid a compliment, I suck my cheeks in, raise one eyebrow and say: “She’s okay” as if I am talking about a mid-priced pair of trainers or a last-minute hotel room.

My husband has no such reserve. He will walk into a room holding Kitty and say “I feel so sorry for you all that your children aren’t as brilliant as mine.”

That sort of thing, alas, makes people hate you and wish bad things for you and I need all the good karma I can get, thanks. So any nauseating bursting-with-pride stuff I do in private. “You’re so BRILLIANT,” I hiss into her ear when we are alone. “You’re such a GOOD GIRL.”

...

A breakthrough at breakfast

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 03 April 2012

Everyone makes fun of how rigid I am as a parent. Whether it’s to my face or behind my back, I know that the thing about me, the thing that people snigger about, is how neurotic and to-the-second I am about timings, how strict I am about bedtime routines, about sitting in high chairs for meals, about not getting a toy back that has been thrown out of a buggy more than once, about not napping after 10.30am so that the lunchtime sleep goes well.

You know my sort, I’m sure. Maybe you’re the same.

But we are living back at home with my parents at the moment, while there is building work done to our house, and being around my mother has had a surprising effect.

...

Mummy Cool

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 27 March 2012

It’s difficult to feel cool when you’re a mother. Pretty, yes; sexy, maybe (sometimes), but cool? Edgy? No. It’s the lack of real danger, you see. Isn’t danger what’s cool? And when you’ve got a child, you can’t kid yourself, or anyone else, that you’re actually going to put yourself in harm’s way. (Unless trying to park in Waitrose at 11am on a Saturday can be considered mortal danger.)

My friend B summarised it for me. She emailed, having returned from Monkey Music with her two under three. “I am having a fag in the back garden to recover my edge,” she wrote. And I totally know what she meant.

It’s not like I was ever actually cool. I am too ruddy of complexion and round of cheek to ever look cool to anyone: even in sunglasses, sitting on a motorbike, smoking a fag, chatting casually to Angelina Jolie, I don’t think I’d look cool. But I might have felt cool.

...

Silencing my voice of doom

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 20 March 2012

I have always had a strong inner voice of doom. No holiday, party or weekend plan has ever been able to escape my critical logistical eye – and with a baby it has raged out of control. “We can’t do that,” I will say gravely when my husband suggests grabbing a morning coffee with the buggy. “It’ll be a nightmare.”

Some people don’t mind “nightmares”. Some people think they are, in fact, quite fun. War stories. Battle scars. Not me. I think “nightmares” are just that and I avoid them at all costs. My instinctive urge when invited to do anything is to say “no,” because I basically just want to stay at home and change Kitty’s nappy in peace.

 

...

I boast all I like about Kitty - but only to myself

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 13 March 2012

When things are going well with your child – especially if you only have one – it is difficult not to feel a huge upsurge of smugness. They are sleeping like tops, eating like horses and smiling all day long. “What a pleasant child!” people shriek.

Yes, yes, you say to yourself, it’s all paid off. I AM the world’s greatest mother, I AM the best at trouble-shooting and problem-solving. I am firm yet fair, my routine is structured yet flexible. My child is a dreamboat and it’s all down to me, me, me!!! Your favourite thing is people asking you questions about your child. “I am just very strict,” you say, beatifically, beaming at your progeny. “We have a brilliant routine. S/he seems to respond really well to it.”

And then, 48 hours later, your world caves in as your kind-hearted baby turns into a demented, raging toddler. You lurch from one ineffective parenting technique to another. You wonder what Jo Frost would do in your situation. You question every single thing you’ve done up until now. You conclude, sitting on your stairs and weeping into your knees, (covered in fish pie and crayon), that this is all because you didn’t breast-feed for long enough.

...

Why won't Kitty eat spaghetti like it's soup?

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 06 March 2012

There is little more emotive an issue for parents than their child’s eating. I always thought that I would be very cool if Kitty started refusing to eat, or became a picky eater. I never had to eat anything I didn’t want to when I was little and I am grateful to my mother for never making eating an issue, or mealtimes a battle. I also have a phobia about being forced to eat more than I want and so the last thing I thought I would ever do was coax, cajole or bully Kitty into eating.

And by and large, I’ve stuck to that. Mostly because you actually can’t force a pre-verbal toddler to eat something they don’t want. They will simply spit it out, or purse their lips, or bat the spoon away.

But when Kitty is going through a phase of really not wanting to eat anything, of turning her head after a mouthful of lunch and saying “Na!”, or even frantically bum-shuffling away from a proffered square of cake, it’s pretty hard to hold your nerve. The temptation to squeeze her fat cheeks together and stuff macaroni cheese into her mouth is strong.

...

How I surrendered to housework

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 28 February 2012

I thought I was going into this baby thing with my eyes pretty open. I was eight years old when my little sister was born, so I was under no illusions about babies and toddlers being delightful Boden-clad little munchkins. I knew that they wailed and puked and screamed and wriggled and didn’t do anything even remotely interesting, like sitting up, for aaaaages.

So I knew all that. But what I failed to realise is quite what a drastic increase in housework a baby means. I don’t know why, but one extra person living in our house seems to have tripled the housework, rather than just increasing it by 50%. And girls of my generation simply haven’t been brought up to know how to keep a house tidy; we were supposed to run the country.

I am lucky: my husband, although he doesn’t actually snap on the Marigolds, isn’t actively untidy. I know women whose husbands leave a trail of dirty pants and socks around the house for them to pick up and pretend that they don’t understand how to switch the dishwasher on. My husband has his chores, (all bins and recycling, all shopping and cooking on the weekend), and he sticks to them faithfully. Once in a while I will even find him cross-legged in front of the open fridge, giving it a clean.

...

How many is enough?

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Before I had children I assumed that I would have a lot. And when I say a lot I mean a minimum of three.

I have three sisters, I am the third of four (like a fax), and I have always thought that “small” families (i.e. with only two children) must be terribly lonely and sad.

It was bad enough when my eldest sister, Harriet, left school and therefore more or less left home, leaving me with only two other sisters with whom to bicker and slob about. The thought when she left there would be no-one else left with me until I went to University was awful. In fact, I remember clearly a girl at school being in floods of tears one October day because her elder brother Robin had left home for university leaving her alone at home with her “bloody parents”.

...

To be a parent is to be a nurse

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 07 February 2012

There is no time in parenting more claustrophobic or suffocating than when a child is ill. And they're ill an awful lot. No-one ever told me that. No-one ever said "By the way, to be a parent is basically to be a nurse." Vomiting and diarrhoea is the worst, as it's not only claustrophobic but smelly and requires an awful lot of laundry. Well, I say an awful lot, I mean even more than the normal gargantuan lorry-loads.

 

I took Kitty to the library the other day, that was my first mistake. It's a cheerful and welcoming place, the childrens' section of the library, and Kitty loves it. But clean it is not. And discerning about the health of the children it lets through its doors even less not. I saw more than one green and peaky face but tried to suppress my hateful bourgeois preciousness about preserving Kitty's health. "She needs to get ill," I try to tell myself. "If not now, then at nursery, ten times worse." But when I saw a four year old standing in the corner by the Harry Potters, coughing on and on, greenly, phlegmily, foully, for a full five minutes, I wrestled Kitty into her buggy and made a bid for the High Street.

...

French Children Don’t Throw Food

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The two things that frightened me most about having children were sleep deprivation and toddler tantrums.

Now Kitty is nearly a year old, and has been sleeping through the night for a while, toddler tantrums are about to be a very real thing – and I’m scared.

So I fell on the recently-published French Children Don’t Throw Food like a crazy person. In it the author, an American journalist called Pamela Druckerman who lives in Paris with three children, attempts to explain why it is that French children don’t throw food, or take off their clothes in restaurants, or interrupt, or generally make a nuisance of themselves.

...

A bit of a "phase"

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A friend of mine, who has a beautiful but classically unruly toddler, is due to have another baby in June. “I can’t believe I’m doing it again,” she said. “It’s all worth it, though isn’t it, right? RIGHT?”

Just now, after two months of illness-free, frustration-free bliss, Kitty is having a bit of a “phase”, as people politely call it. She will be 1 year old in February and I can already see her gearing up for toddler tantrums; she shrieks and arches her back when I try to dress her and clenches her little fists, purple with rage, as she tries to communicate to me through the medium of anger, what it is that she wants.

It is only going to get worse. And what would it be like with another one?

...


Forgot your password?
Click to read our digital edition
Place-Classified-advert-336
TLR-advert-May2014-336

Boarders Dormitory Master-Mistress
We are looking to appoint a Dormitory Mistress/Master for 5 nights per week, weekday evenings and nights only, term time. (35 weeks). [...]

APPLY NOW


Housekeeper to Headmaster
We have an opportunity for an experienced live-out housekeeper. You will provide a cleaning and hospitality service for the Headmaster and his guests and help to ensure the household runs efficiently. [...]

APPLY NOW


Full Time Housekeeper, Nanny
We are looking for a full time, live-out housekeeper/nanny. We are a relaxed young couple living in a large country house, and will have one newborn baby. [...]

APPLY NOW


Experienced Carer, Companion, Housekeeper needed
Our elderly mother needs a live in carer/companion on a part time basis. Must be warm hearted, calm & compassionate, with a good sense of humour. [...]

APPLY NOW


Cook, Housekeeper wanted
Good cooking skills required to cater for light meals for the Principal and a small staff, as well as occasional lunch/dinner parties. [...]

APPLY NOW



MORE JOBS LIKE THESE
Lady-directory-button-NEW

Horoscopes

What the stars have in store for you this week.2017

Capricorn Aquarius Pisces Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer Leo Virgo Libra Scorpio Sagittarius

Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter