The Big Chop

This was my son yesterday. Happy and carefree with his lovely hair. I had received pressure from various people, but especially Husband, to cut his hair. I wasn’t fussed that people sometimes mistake him for a girl. 

But I understood where Husband was coming from when he said that Dubz looked messy. So today we took him to a children’s hair salon in South Wimbledon for his first haircut.
Dubz was not impressed with the chair that looked like a car. And even watching In The Night Garden and eating a biscuit could not get him to calm down. He screamed and cried. Husband and I had to hold him down. Oh the trauma. For him and me. For 25 minutes.

I had to keep staring at Dubz in the car, because he looks so different. But a few hours later, I am enjoying seeing his ears and the back of his neck for the first time in ages. I’ll tell you one thing, we are not going for another haircut for at least a year. At least. 

Yes, he looks a bit older than what I am used to. But he is still my baby boy. 

Christmas Pressies

I see Christmas as a magical time for spending with one’s family. Presents come into it, but is not a main part. With less than five weeks until Christmas, I am about to begin my Christmas shopping. I love buying gifts for others, but am not overly fussed with receiving gifts. And I want to instill that love of giving, rather than getting, to my children. I asked my daughter if she would mind only getting one gift from Mummy and Daddy so that we could buy some gifts for children whose families do not have much money. Being the dear that she is, she said it was a good idea.

I have just been researching giving to underprivileged children in the UK. For some reason, it is not something I have ever seen advertised. In the States, the Marines have a Toys for Tots program that arranges for gifts to be distributed to children from low income families in time for Christmas. This is a well publicized event. In the UK, I couldn’t really tell you what charities are targeted specifically for Christmas. I understand that charities might not want to ‘waste’ money on advertising, but surely they would get more from people if the general public knew about their programs. I would love to know how much charities pay chuggers to (often) obnoxiously harass people on the street.  

I finally discovered that The Salvation Army accepts toys at various Superdrug locations. So as you all start, or continue, to buy Christmas presents, if you have a little spare cash please order/buy something for a child who won’t have much this Christmas. 

More information can be found on the Salvation Army’s website: http://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/uki/christmas-present-appeal

Social Media, aka Not So Lonely


I have really gotten into Twitter in the past year. I enjoy tweeting and reading tweets. And about six months ago, I really got into blogs. A few years ago, many parenting blogs were just mums gushing about how wonderful their babies were and the joy of motherhood. I get it, but who wants to read that day after day? I mostly read family-orientated blogs, but from moms and dads. Sure you get the joys of parenthood, but also the tribulations. There are the struggles of working, full-time or part-time, as well as staying at home and losing one’s career. I feel so connected to these people, though I have only been following their lives for a short time. 

I have also gotten into expat blogs. They didn’t have such things when I first moved here. What help that would have been. Sometimes it’s so lonely when you’re a foreigner and are thinking and acting differently to the others around you. Though the USA and the UK have less differences than most other countries, it still feels like a million miles away from what you know.

I remember feeling so isolated at my first job in the UK. It was a small office and everyone was British. People were nice and courteous. And we would sometimes pop to the local pub for a drink at lunchtime on a Friday. But there was a lack of warmth and silliness that was lacking. I missed my American colleagues. It took me about a year before I actually made a friend, and it got easier after that. But that first year was pretty lonely.

If you are an expat, how do you deal with living in another country? Do you use social media to keep in touch with family and friends back ‘home’? Or do you use it to make new friends in your adopted homeland?

Not a Housewife

In the last week, there have been two things that have made me think of this old-fashioned and unwelcomed term of ‘housewife’. Last week, when the police officer was getting my details after the burglary, she asked my occupation. I am not sure what this has to do with being burgled, but I digress. Anyway, I said I didn’t have a job, that I was a ‘Stay At Home Mum’. She wrote ‘housewife’ on her form. I shuddered but didn’t say anything.

Yesterday I read this very articulate and entertaining blog (http://thewhimwhamlife.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/why-i-choose-to-be-stay-at-home-mom.htmlby Bonnie Ilyn, who has a similar dilemma. I wish I knew or could invent an amazing term that would encapsulate what a stay at home parent does but that doesn’t disparage those parents who work part-time or full-time. I used to work part-time when we only had our daughter. And it was hectic. And it doesn’t feel anymore relaxed now that we have two kids and I am at home every day.

I do work. Not in a paid job with colleagues and a boss who respect me. I work for little people who shriek and don’t believe in 9 to 5. I work solely for cuddles and kisses, which are abundant in my house. I won’t list everything I do, because many people do the same if not more. I keep the kids and the house ticking along. And to assuage the guilt of not working, I help out with the PTA. I am not a ‘housewife’. I am the Family Manager. I am the Director of Household. I am the Chief Executive of Domestic Bliss.

Time to update my CV. What is your occupation?

Goodbye Hallo Ween

Halloween went well. Mg daughter, Moozles, went to a schoolfriend’s house then trick-or-treating (six five-year old girls losing their minds with anticipation–talk about scary). Then we got home in time to trick-or-treat on our neighbouring streets with Moozles and her brother. We didn’t let Dubz have any candy since he is only 17-months old–he just loved getting to walk around at night. He is quite independent, so we didn’t take the stroller/buggy and he had a fab time wandering around.

This made me think how kids love going out after dark. We are normally quite strict about a 7pm/7.30pm bedtime at our house. What do other people do? Do you let your kids stay up at weekends, vacations or school holidays? Maybe I should be more relaxed? Apart from an occasional wedding or family party, my daughter hasn’t stayed up past 8pm very often.

Halloween Survival Tips

Halloween Survival Tips
My first 10 Halloweens in London were quite uneventful. In fact, we only had one trick-or-treater. And as we were not expecting him, we did not have any candy. But last year we moved to a very Halloween-friendly area of South West London. My then-four-year old went trick-or-treating for the first time. My father-in-law stayed home to pass out candy. Unfortunately, we did not get many trick-or-treaters. I did not know the rules then. But I do now.
 
1. If you want trick-or-treaters, you must have some kind of Halloween decoration in front of your house, on your window or window ledge. If you do not, trick-or-treaters will not knock or ring. Any little decoration or pumpkin will do. In America, you just need to keep your front porch/door light on.
 
2. No matter how warm it is the week before Halloween, the temperature drops by 5C on Halloween. So make sure you can layer clothes underneath your child’s outfit because most children do not want to wear a coat over their costume.
 
3. As an avid on-line shopper, I sometimes forget that there are some shops which you have to go to in person. Pound shops and grocery stores usually sell decent decorations and costumes for a low price.
 
4. Many children in the UK like to dress up a bit scary for Halloween. From what I have seen, kids here prefer to be witches, ghosts, devils and monsters. In America, people dress up as everything under the sun.
 
5. In America, the clocks go back the Sunday after Halloween. In Europe it is the Sunday before. This means it is dark by 5pm. Trick-or-treaters begin at around 5.30pm. By 7pm, most people have run out of candy so don’t bother.
 
6. Bring an umbrella. Enough said.
 
7. You don’t get the candy hoard in the UK that you do in America. I remember using pillow cases when I went trick-or-treating as a child. Here you can get away with a small holder, as in the pumpkin basket in the bottom photo. You can get one for £1 at Poundland.
 
Happy All Hallows’ Eve!
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