Friday, 28 September 2018

Back to the Books

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I'm starting a new Open University degree, this time in Classical Studies.

Funny story about that. When I was in a sleep deprived state one night, up late (or early, depending on whether you're a night owl or an early bird), I found myself scrolling through the OU website. I just happened to remember my login details (unused for the better part of four years, that's worthy of a few credits in and of itself).

I managed to make my way to the list of degrees and modules, then fell into a wormhole reading about credit transfer. Somewhere in the back of my brain an idea sparked about doing another degree, and I fired off a quick message to the Student Support Team about transferring credits.

The thing was, I'd gotten involved in a local community group that instead of making me feel like I was putting my Maternity Leave time to good use volunteering, was making me feel miserable and angry and like I was wasting my precious time with my son. As happy as being with my son made me, there were still (at that time) large stretches of the day when he was feeding, or sleeping, and I wasn't really doing much.

Don't get me wrong. I loved stroking his hair and taking him all in, but I wanted for my brain to be working on something as well. I can multitask and drink in my baby whilst doing something with my hands.

And when I got a reply from the Student Support Team just a few days later, I threw caution to the wind and signed myself up.

So now I'm not only busy with a baby who I'm pretty certain will be a toddler before I know it, I'm also working on a new degree as well. It's okay though, I'll be finished by the time he's starting school, all being well.

It technically doesn't start for another week, but I've been cracking on with what I can so that I have a bit of a buffer for going back to work (pushed back now until the start of November). I've completed everything I can of Week 1 and I'm plugging away at Week 2 (which I should actually be doing right now but, well, I'm not because I'm writing this blog post, I should get back to that).

I'm loving it. And tonight I've been reading about the delightfully named Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers who sounds like he should be an address in Surrey!

Better get back to it.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Getting Crafty

It's no surprise to anyone reading this blog to learn that I enjoy working on a variety of different crafty pursuits. One of the things I was most looking forward to doing with Laurie, was exploring some of these hobbies with him.

I have to admit, I was expecting it to be a little while before he was big enough to do things like paint, or colour, but he's surprised me (as he always seems to) and is starting to show an interest in this sort of stuff already.

We took him to a dedication service for the children who had been christened this year and part way through the service we took him up to the Sunday School session. It was a neat little activity about lighthouses and we cut and stuck and Laurie chewed on the plastic cup I was decorating to look like a lighthouse. To be honest, he's still a little small for cutting and sticking, but he seemed to think that the black paper was tasty.

What did surprise me was how interested he was in the pens. So after a few minutes of trying to distract him, I handed him an uncapped pen and the Sunday School teacher passed us a sheet of blue paper. And he had a pretty good time bashing the pen about on it and even made some lines with me guiding his hand.

Which prompted a new activity at home last week.

That's a card we made for his godfather.

I cut out the heart shape, laid out a selection of felt pens and let him pick which colours he wanted to use. He kept returning to the same three pens several times; orange, dark green and dark blue (though the dark blue only made it onto the paper once). Again, I guided his hand and let him do his thing. The heart is creased because after a while he got grabby with it, letting me know he'd had enough of playing with the pens.

That's when his attention turned to my big pack of construction paper. That was a Christmas gift from Mr Click a couple of years ago. Normal 30 year olds get things like jewellery or make up; I still get excited about things like 50 sheets of thick coloured paper!

I flicked through, showing him all the different colours and he got really excited about this shade of blue. So I whipped it out, folded it in half, and stuck the heart on the front.

Voila! Instant card!

The whole activity lasted maybe ten minutes, but it's prompted me to look for some other crafty and slightly more structured activities to do with him.

Maybe it's because of the whole 'training to be a teacher' thing. But I feel like it's easier to come up with fun things to do if there's some sort of idea behind it. I love doing the sensory play stuff because I have a great time coming up with ways to sort his toys (colour, size, texture, type of object) and it's always exciting and new to see how he responds to that day's selection.

And these little arty activities mean I get to say I'm doing things like 'teaching him about colour' and 'developing his fine motor skills', but honestly? It's mostly an excuse for cutting and sticking and coloured paper!

Monday, 10 September 2018

Back to Work

The end of my Maternity Leave is gradually coming into sight. It's a scary thought to think the last time I worked a full day (outside of the home, being a stay at home mum is like having twenty jobs in one) was back in January.

I've been saying I'll go in ever since about June, but then I was away at a family wedding in Wales when I got a phone call to let me know that my team was being axed and the majority of the people on it were taking redundancy. I was lucky that I was on Maternity Leave because that meant there would be a job waiting for me when I got back.

But the not knowing just what job that would be meant I put off getting in touch. My original plan to visit in July seemed a bit silly, after all, my team would become defunct, so there was no point to me sitting and being shown the ropes in something I wouldn't be doing any more. So July passed.

August will forever remain as the month of the Boob-hah (like a hoo-hah, but boobier), which I will blog about in the future. It knocked my confidence a little and didn't put me in the frame of mind to leave Laurie for any great length of time, so I put off my visit a little longer.

Until the very end of the month, when I got a message from a colleague on another team I'm involved with asking if I could come and visit and lend a hand if it wasn't too much trouble. You see, at work I'm known for my superior cutting and sticking skills (seriously, if when I return to work they could offer me a job sitting at a desk, printing out, laminating, cutting out and generally prettifying the displays, I would be thrilled). The remaining team members? Not so hot at the cutting and sticking thing. So they called in the expert.

And today I rocked up, not knowing just how long I'd be in there for, so I'd taken my trusty breast pump along with me, should the occasion arise to use it.

I very nearly had a wobble getting out the car and watching Mr Click drive away with little Laurie tucked into the back seat. Laurie was completely oblivious to the fact that for the first time ever there would be whole miles between him and I; that I wouldn't just be in the next room, or across the building from him if he needed me.

I felt like crying. He apparently was perfectly happy. In fact, he went home and ate steak for lunch. That tells you how much he was missing me!

But I think it did me good to get out of the house and speak to adults who I'm not related to by blood or marriage. Or to people who are seven months old and wear nappies. I was able to have proper conversations which didn't begin with me saying 'mummy's going to go to the toilet' in a high pitched voice, and then continue the subsequent conversation with a baby who is dribbling into a fistful of my hair as I carry him up to the bathroom.

And I was able to talk about just what might happen with me when I go back. Including the one subject I was little nervous about broaching; not going back full time, as had been the original plan when I left. It's looking pretty positive that that's going to be an option for me.

I'm going back next week to put my awesome cutting and sticking skills to good use. In fact, I've spent a chunk of time this evening playing around with fonts for the displays and clip art, just to get an idea of what I'm wanting to do.

And I'll admit that I was secretly hoping that Laurie would give his dad a bit of a hard time while I was away from him, just so that I would still feel needed. Well, he was totally happy and barely noticed I wasn't there. The spousal unit coped marvelously as well.

But then when I got home he tried putting a Size 2 nappy onto my Size 3-wearing baby, so it turns out that I am still needed after all!

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Remember Me?

Uh, hi. If you're reading this it means you probably still check back here occasionally, or have subscribed to me through some sort of blog reader. You might be wondering 'who is this person?' or thinking 'the name looks familiar, where do I know it from?'

Here, I'll give you a clue:

Yeah, I know. I've been an awful blogger.

A number of things conspired against me.

  1. My baby boy is amazing and wonderful and as he grew and his personality developed I just wanted to spend more time with him than doing stuff on my computer (especially since my laptop was big and heavy and took up a lot of room when it was out). Plus, as he got bigger, along with his personality, he became rather awkward to hold on my lap whilst working on other stuff.
  2. Did you notice the past tense use of 'was' when I was talking about my laptop? The keyboard stopped working properly. Do you know how hard it is to write blog posts for Click's Clan when your C-key doesn't work properly? Yeah. It's tough.
  3. We had some medical issues, both Laurie and I. His was lack of weight gain due to his tongue tie not being snipped; mine was a complication related to his birth. We're both more or less on track now. He's getting weighed once a fortnight and I'm getting physiotherapy.
  4. I got involved in a local community group and dedicated a lot of time to it, which ate into my free time for doing things I enjoyed, like blogging. Then there was a big breastfeeding hoo-hah right around the time Laurie turned six months old (when I was planning a comeback blog post) and it made me want to not talk to people very much.
So what's happened since I last blogged.
  1. Well as you can see above, my baby boy has grown and grown. Actually he's still a pretty dinky 15lbs 6oz, but he's long. His legs are in 6-9 month clothes now but his waist and chest can still fit into newborn size clothes!
  2. Laurie has learned to roll over (in both directions), sit up by himself, pull himself up on our hands, and hold on to us to walk around the room. He has a variety of shouts and shrieks that he employs when he wants our attention (or anything else). He follows Tara around calling 'wuwu'. He's trying to say 'hello'. He's just incredible.
  3. I've got a new laptop. It's tiny and shiny (and desperately in need of a name because I love it and referring to it as 'my laptop' just feels terribly impersonal). It even has working USB sockets. And a keyboard I can type the letter C on without resorting to copy and paste. Look CCCCCccccCCCCC!!!
  4. I enrolled for another degree with the Open University. Laurie's a pretty easy going baby and I kind of wish I'd started a course at the beginning of my maternity leave. Degree number three is in Classical Studies and I'm starting A105 Voices, Texts and Material Culture within the next month.
I'm hoping to get some update posts up in the coming weeks to try and catch things up to where we are now. And I fully intend to start blogging regularly again now. I'm not sure how often through the week I'll get to it, but I'd like to think at least once a week.

It'll be a nice distraction from the late night studying.

But anyway, what's new with you?