One Born Every Minute liveblog 18/1/2013

I have gone into partial social media hibernation. Facebook? Meh. Twitter? CBA. Meeting up with actual real people in actual real life? Not so fussed. Tonight’s One Born liveblog is basically me sticking my nose out of my cave for an hour, sniffing, realising it’s not Spring yet and crawling back under my blanket for a snooze for the rest of the week.

My psychology course starts on the 28th so I’m getting to grips with Virtual Learning Environments and not having actual books to learn from. I last studied 7 years ago and used to love getting a stack of course materials through the post. Things have changed in academia since then…

In my last few evenings of freedom I’m really making the most of things and…cross-stitching and watching Downton Abbey. Look, I’m late to the party here. Until now I have been a DA denier. A refuser. My friend gave me her series 1 boxset to watch ages ago and last night curiosity got the better of me. I watched the first two episodes.

It’s a load of old toot isn’t it? Posh people being haughty and unreasonable. Servants doing and saying entirely predictable ever so ‘umble things. Dreadful middle class people with JOBS and IDEAS ABOVE THEIR STATIONS. Almost-but-not-quite incidents with food. It made me want to watch Acorn Antiques in its entirety again. I’m yearning for a French and Saunders send-up of the bloody thing. I know I’ll end up watching all of it though. This is why I need to study. I need saving from myself, quite honestly.

Oh where was I? Liveblog. Got carried away there. Tonight’s episode focuses on two extremely strong-willed first time mums. Bless them and all who sail out of them. See you back here at 9pm. I’m off to don a fox fur stole and march around the house looking haughty and muttering about dowries.

20.58pm Baaaack! Tonight episode of retro-Downton involved a man who they thought would be really brown but wasn’t and then died and a typewriter and a maid getting ideas above her station. The least said about the limp-correcting device the better.

21.01 Love the Latvian-Leeds hybrid accent. I’m terribly distracted by the massive silver stud below her lip. Is there such a thing as a chin stud?

21.05 I keep expecting Caroline Aherne to appear.

21.07 Dh makes origami swans. I should hire him out to children’s parties. He can juggle as well. He’s basically wasting his life as a train driver.

21.08 Patterned leggings. I don’t understand this aztec-patterned leggings thing. It makes your legs look rubbish. Is this fashion now?

21.11 I know nothing about egg donating. I was told to get on with having babies because, due to my dodgy equipment, if I left it into my thirties I might not be able to have them at all. Is there a way of finding out  if my eggs are actually a load of old shite now or if they are still ok? Obviously we’re not having any more but what if I could help someone else? Although the spawn would end up looking a bit like me which I DO NOT RECOMMEND. Honestly, R and G have dodged so many bullets looks-wise.

21.18 What a KNOBHOLE. If you spread yo’ seed y’all need’ta take reSPONsiBILITY. Y’hear? MmmHmm.

21.25 I was promised demanding ladies. These ladies are not demanding. They’re more like:  I want so and so. Oh, I can’t have it. Why? Oh thank you for your explanation. That makes perfect sense. I’m happy to do as you say. WHERE ARE THE BATTLEAXES?

21.27 Oh hang on. We’re assessing delivery rooms like some people assess hotel rooms. Fuck the birthing chair woman! You won’t give two tiny shits when you’re on all fours, pooing your breakfast out and covered in blood. WARRIORS GIVE BIRTH IN CAVES!

21.29 I reckon there’s a pea under the mattress.

21.33 Keep seeing adverts from supermarkets about using leftovers. 1. I didn’t realise there was a war on 2. Surely you don’t need recipes to learn how to make stews, stir-frys and sandwiches. Honestly. People today. *shifts bosom, sucks air through teeth*

21.36 I tell you story of my life.

21.40 Um *raises hand* is it ok to want a baby so you won’t be lonely any more? Surely a dog would be better? Or a hamster?

21.46 I want to hold a newborn baby. Can someone arrange for me to do this please?

21.52 I reckon an assisted delivery in theatre.

21.57 I was half right. They used the serving spoons in the delivery room. Ouch. Lovely baby, but ouch. Proper ouchy.

21.58 For one moment I thought that was going to be a bad follow up. I’m relieved it’s a nice one 🙂

21.59 I can’t wait until the comedian next week. I CAN’T WAIT. *claps hands* WHEN ARE THE TWINS ON? I NEEDS ME SOME TWIN BIRTH ACTION.

Lifting the lockdown

I admit it. I cracked. I’m not proud of it. I really, really wanted to clean the bathroom…

The girls have been on a bit of a children’s television embargo for the last few weeks and I finally allowed them to watch a couple of episodes of Something Special last week.In my defence, the bathroom needed a jolly good scrub and since the cleaner left (short, boring story) in December dh and I have been a bit rubbish at keeping up with things. He PROMISED me that he would clean it (as part of his ‘I’ll do more cleaning if we don’t get another cleaner’ agreement) and didn’t, so to save the inevitable argument I rolled up my sleeves and did it myself. Don’t worry, it hasn’t been forgotten…

(In case you think we’re a couple of slovenly slatterns, the bathroom gets a wipe over regularly but needed a proper deep clean…)

They have since watched a couple of episodes of Rastamouse (Dh practically cried with laughter at it and has been pottering around the house muttering CRUUUUUCIAL randomly; R just looked baffled by it) and today I finally let them watch two episodes of The Infernal Pig.

They weren’t exactly morning til bedtime telly watchers anyway (I reckon an hour at a time at most, with either dh or I sitting with them – it’s handy for a bit of quiet time in that post-lunch lull), but I have enjoyed the fact that they haven’t been whingeing to watch TV as much recently. R is currently obsessed with painting and would happily do it all day. G lives in G-land anyway and is usually constructing an imaginary world involving a cast of characters, animals and scenarios.

So, I gave in first and the lockdown has been officially lifted. It’s been an interesting experiment and proves that you don’t need to let them watch television. However, a half-hour of their favourite programmes every so often gives us all a well-earned break.

Children’s TV lockdown

We’ve always been quite strict about the type and quantity of television that the girls watch. Although dh and I love watching TV, we’re not the sort of people that switch it on the moment we get up in the morning and leave it on all day. The only time I watch daytime TV is when I’m ill. Frankly, we’ve all got better things to be doing with our time.

R and G didn’t really watch dedicated children’s programmes until they were about 15 months old, and even then it was a few minutes of Teletubbies or In the Night Garden. Even now, I won’t let them watch hours of unscheduled Cbeebies or Nick Jnr. Most of the stuff they watch – Peppa Pig, SpongeBob and Something Special – is generally from Youtube, Iplayer, or downloaded content, modern missies that they are and dh and I normally watch it with them. It’s also in controlled bursts i.e. 5 episodes of The Pig and we do a craft activity; 1 episode of Something Special before tea, etc.

They were both a bit under the weather (again) a couple of weeks ago so I put Cbeebies on. I sat with them and spent much of the time thinking. What’s wrong with (insert name of random presenter here)’s face? Why is that woman so astonishingly perky? What is Nurse Gladys doing with that hedgehog?

We had a meeting with G’s keyworker on Tuesday and she mentioned that G references Peppa Pig in a lot of her imaginative play, along with sealions. When we explained that we went to the Zoo a lot, said keyworker seemed surprised that we allowed the girls to do anything other than watch The Pig. I went into a (rather unnecessary) flap and decided that the girls could go cold turkey on TV for a little while…

…Day 7 of the children’s TV lockdown and neither dh or I have given in yet. We were out last Sunday so day 1 was easy. Days 2 and 3 were nursery days – no TV there. On Day 4 I took the girls to the park and the Maritime Museum in the morning and dh entertained them at home with some painting in the afternoon while I worked. Day 5 – nursery day. Day 6 – took the girls to visit my library and office in the morning and dh took them to the supermarket in the afternoon. We were out and about (admittedly, at the cinema) today.

Which one of us will crack first? Dh is on nights next week so I’ll be up to me to keep them out of the way on their non-nursery days while he sleeps. I’m praying for dry weather so I can take them out.

The girls don’t seem to be missing TV actually. They ask to watch it when they’re tired, but that’s it. I felt rather pleased with myself until we went shopping for a fish tank (they chose the Spongebob one)and swimming costumes (they chose Peppa Pig ones) and I’m willing to bet that G still references The Pig at nursery as well. Sigh.

Something Special…or something else?

Hello hello

How are you?

Hello hello

It’s good to see you…

If you’re a parent you’ll know exactly which children’s television programme I’m talking about. For the uninitiated, it’s this. It’s aimed at children with disabilities aged 4-7 years and teaches Makaton through simple scenarios and events.

R and G are completely and utterly obsessed with this programme, as are most children of their age, regardless of disability. It’s actually one of the very few programmes that the girls will sit and watch. I’d better point out that the girls have very limited exposure to television and only watch a few hours a week. I’m not comfortable with having the TV on in the background 24/7. We V+ the two ‘Out and About’ series when they were shown on CBeebies recently and the girls watch them on an endless loop. Dh and I know the programmes so well now that we can hold (very) basic conversations in sign language, as long as they involve animals and cake.

The programme, or rather the presenter Justin Fletcher and his alter-ego Mr Tumble (I once jokingly said that I wondered why they looked so similar and someone took great pains to explain very carefully to me that they are in fact the same person…) are the subject of intense debate among parents. ‘He’s so pure!’ cried one when we discussed the programme. ‘He give me the creeps’ said another.  As for my friend that would quite like to do VERY bad things to him (thus relieving him of his perceived purity), the least said the better! I have to say that while he seems like a nice guy, Justin doesn’t exactly float my boat. Now, the teacher in the episode where Justin goes on a bike ride and Mr Tumble delivers the post…well, I’ll leave that sentence right there!

I think it’s a lovely programme that teaches children something interesting and worthwhile (watching R and G copy the signs is very sweet) and doesn’t stigmatise disability. Each programme features two or three children with varying degrees of disability and at no point are their ‘problems’ discussed. Children take them at face value. I wonder how many parents watching the programme (apart from me) sit and try and work out what disability each child has. I know I do. I should probably feel quite ashamed of the fact that I can’t just watch Poppy or Felix or Entesar (can you tell we’ve watched them A LOT?) without wondering what their story is but with my parent head on I become curious.

Although I like SS I’m now trying to wean the girls off it and onto other programmes. There’s a limit to the amount of times I can watch the episode with Aunt Sukey’s spotty dog and I’ve very nearly reached it. They don’t mind an episode or two of Bob the Builder or Fireman Sam. I’ve banned them from watching the new version of Postman Pat (it’s blasphemous) ‘Special Delivery’ and Waybuloo is just weird. As for Penelope K by the Way, I wish there were still convict ships to Australia so that she could be returned from whence she came. We always end up watching Something Special again.

Goodbye goodbye

It’s time to run

Goodbye goodbye

I hope you had good fun

I said goodbye

I’m happy that you came

I said goodbye

Please come back

Again.