Sunday, February 28, 2010



I’m losing interest in the 100 Days project. I struggle to find ideas and haven’t looked forward to drawing, and even when I start, I haven’t been enjoying it. I’m actually glad it’s ending soon. A couple of weeks ago, this thought upset me. I knew I’d miss the virtual camaraderie that’s come with the project. But it already feels like it’s tailing off and coming to a natural end. It also doesn’t seem that significant in the face of the changes coming our way - Jake going to nursery and me returning to work after almost two years off.



I’ve pretty much decided that we’re going to give the nursery a go and that I’m going back to work. It’s making me feel quite positive, so I think it’s the right decision. If Jake settles in okay, I think this could benefit both of us. I’ve been feeling that he’s getting to the point when he would enjoy being around other kids his age, and my having a measure of an independent life might actually make me happier, and therefore happier to be around. Also, our time together will be even more special. Things could not stay static forever.



Jake had his follow-up appointment today. His wound is healed, he’s put on weight (now up to 9.4 kgs), and grown taller, and despite our slight worry about his not having pooed since yesterday, this was soon allayed when he did a poo when we got home. The only difficulty was the way he screamed in fear when his consultant looked at his tummy. He started crying as soon as we went into the office and closed the door. And he still cries when he’s weighed, even sitting on the chair fully clothed. Otherwise, he was his happy, playful self.


Thursday, February 25, 2010



Went to visit a nursery today. I was half-hoping it would be awful but it wasn’t. And since none of our local childminders have vacancies, it’s our best bet. It wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t bad either. So is it good enough? The staff seem caring, they have a good approach to childcare, Jake will be in a room with 5 other children around his age, with two staff members. So he won’t be lost amongst a hoard of kids like I’d feared. He even seemed interested in what the children were doing. Guess all we can do is try.


Jake enjoys playing upstairs, especially rummaging through a box of my old nik-naks while sitting on our bed. There’s a talking plastic ET figure that freaks him out, yet fascinates him. He won’t touch it, but keeps asking me to lift each of ET’s arms which makes him say different phrases. If you lift his head and push it down, his chest lights up red. Today, he accidentally touched ET and it spoke. Jake screamed in terror and wanted to be cuddled and taken out of the room. There isn’t much he’s scared of, he doesn’t even mind the dark.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010



Went to MG playgroup and saw G and V there. We met at baby massage when Jake was 10 weeks old. Haven’t seen them in a year. A lovely surprise. It was also comforting to see that G & Jake are the same size even though G is a little older. It was the first time he didn’t seem small in comparison to other kids. Later, Jake helped me make a cake for P’s birthday (and licked the batter), and invented a new game whereby on the count of three he launches himself at me for a fierce tackling hug.

Monday, February 22, 2010


I’d decided that if we find good childcare, I’d go back to work. But on days like today, when I struggle to get basic things done and even wanting a minute amount of time to myself seems selfish and the alternative, of giving up the things that keep me sane, the drawings, the writing, seems to be the only solution to make everyone else happy, I think how much worse it will be if I have to work and commute too. I can’t be everything. So is it more important to be me, or fulfill the roles I’m needed for?


Ok, I admit I was feeling just a bit sorry for myself when I wrote this post.  I know everyone struggles with such questions, and that zillions of parents go through this all the time and it's even worse for single parents or for people who've lost children or are living on the poverty line and I should just get over myself already!  No one lives completely for themselves or completely for others.  But it was how I was feeling at the time so I'm not going to delete it, even if I do cringe upon rereading it. 



I was hoping to do my own belated version of Plagiarism Week this week (I was going to plagiarise Rachel and make amulets), but it takes a lot more time than drawing, and a lot more time than I have.  The same goes for animation week.  So there you have it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


New Jake things: he’s started saying bot-bot when we change his nappy. He also understands when asked if he’s done a poo. He nods then goes to his changing mat or points to his nappies. Then there’s his disappearing hand trick. He pulls his sleeve over his hand and flops his empty sleeve about. I say, “Where’s your hand gone?” He pushes it out and says, “There!” I don’t know where he learned to do this. And today, he said Mummy and meant it.* I asked, “Who’s Mummy Jake?” and he turned and pointed at me. It made me cry.


(*For those who didn't know, up until now, he's been calling both me and Paul "Daddy".  Though he hasn't actually used the word Mummy to call me yet.  He was just saying it to himself in a sing-song when I asked him who Mummy was.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010



I keep changing my mind about returning to work. Something someone said to me keeps going round my head. What with the childcare costs and everything else, the work has to be rewarding to be worth it. On the other hand, it would be good to be a (relatively) independent person again. It was also suggested I become a childminder as a solution to childcare difficulties. But it’s not for me. Being a parent doesn’t mean I’d be happy looking after other people’s children. It’s hard work, long hours and it would be difficult to separate work from home life.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Another one of Jake's wind-up toys, this one from the Museum of Childhood.  When wound up, he rides in an arc rather than a straight line.


I’ve volunteered to contribute some drawings to the 100 days museum and it’s making me nervous. I’m not even sure I can make the party. I’d love to go, just need someone to go with. How sad is that. Have also been struggling to find things to draw. Jake had another good day, except for crying as I began cooking again. He wasn’t tired this time, he got cross and threw things. He wanted to be involved. One-handed cooking isn’t easy. But at least he let out an appreciative “ahhhhh!” when I picked him up and he saw the food.

Thursday, February 18, 2010



Wonderful times. Jake sang all day, little songs he made up (“Nonny, nonny, nonny” and “Babby, baby, boobie”). I’ve never seen him this happy. He ate and pooed happily. And tried finger painting. The only blip was his crying as I began cooking. He was just tired though and needed a nap. Ironic that after such a day, I thought for the first time that it could be alright to return to work. Maybe because T emailed to say they’re missing me. It would only be for three days a week. If it doesn’t feel right, I could always resign.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010



Today was our first post-stoma day of “normality”. Paul back at work, me with Jake. Our usually difficult Sainsbury’s trip was fine. Then he screamed all the way down the High Street. Everybody stared and I got annoyed. My mood quickly went downhill. I couldn’t help myself and briefly became crazy Mummy, shouting, “Take a good look everybody, screaming child, never seen before!” Then we went into the park and he stopped. There, Jake pootled around happily with a friendly cat in tow for over an hour, playing gently in the sun, miaowing together. How quickly things change. What relief.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010



Jake seems back to his usual self now, lively, grinning, playing, eating, even if still a little on the thin side. I’ve been feeling really washed out and lazy today though, lacking in energy or motivation to do anything. The constant drip drip of the rain hasn’t helped. All I want to do is sleep and eat. So Paul moved Jake’s cot up to the main bedroom by himself. We thought we’d all try sleeping upstairs again, now that Jake’s pooing has calmed down and we don’t have to get up at 3am to empty or change stoma bags anymore.

Monday, February 15, 2010



No trip to the beach, but went to the playground with Jake and Paul. It was brief - Jake didn’t feel much like playing. Later, watched Up and Jake followed the story for half an hour before falling asleep sprawled across my lap. He said, “Wow!” when the balloon house flew and tried to start it up again when Paul paused it. For the first year of his life, Jake had all his daytime naps on me. It wasn’t always easy but I loved those days of snuggling with a sleeping bubba. It was lovely to have that again today.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


During kicky leg chuckles on the changing mat this morning, I spotted a second top canine! I knew Jake was teething on top of everything else. He seems a lot happier today anyway. Am itching to get out and do something today. Things are starting to feel stale. These 100 word entries, our daily routine, these grey cold days. I want to walk on a beach, pick shells, chase crabs, feel the sun on my skin, make sand animals. And learn to crochet painlessly and knit us a stripey house by the sea. And cook up a great big feast.


Saturday, February 13, 2010


Jake continues to gain in energy and liveliness and ate a bit more, though he still looks worryingly thin. Today was his first day without painkillers. Maybe soon we can all go out for a walk. Paul was looking at apartments in Paris and trains to Scotland in preparation for the big family visit this summer. It’s been so long since we’ve had a holiday. Meanwhile, thinking of the possibilities that could open up with giving up work, I had a daydream about being paid to travel round Italy with my boys, all in the cause of valuable writing research.


Friday, February 12, 2010



Jake perked up again this morning and has been playing more and eating more than yesterday, and seems largely free of pain. Skyped Mum & Dad and they got to see him play a bit. I didn’t appreciate being asked whether we’ve sorted childcare yet and about my work arrangements. Jake’s barely out of hospital and I’m not even due back until April. But my very strong reaction to the questions makes me realise how much I don’t want to go back to work. I was feeling angry and tired so I baked, then drew and now feel more normal.



After initially seeming fine yesterday, Jake took a dip today and was very listless and tired. He’s barely eaten, seems to be in pain again and wants to be held all the time, which is fair enough. We’ve also noticed how bony and small he is again. We had some reassurance when Jake’s stoma nurse rang to see how he was and told us not to worry too much. Thankfully we can ring her with any worries. The nurse on duty when we were discharged yesterday was completely unhelpful. None of our favourite nurses were around to say goodbye to.



Paul was barred from the ward again so it’s been three nights in a row for me. Jake was at least allowed water overnight and taken off his drip and allowed food again this morning. And as he kept it down, we were promptly discharged. In many ways, we’re lucky that Jake’s consultant is so optimistic, even if he seems a little overly so at times. Still, Jake perked up at home and it seems to be the right decision. I’m still stunned and find it hard to think about anything else. I’ve still to remember what normal life is.



Paul came down with a bug last night so I had to spend another night on the ward. He probably passed it to Jake, as Jake vomited twice and we were moved to a room of our own and told not to walk around the ward with him. This made Jake very unhappy. He was also not allowed food, put back on a drip and cried inconsolably for hours. I had a meltdown on the ward and burst into tears. A lovely nurse gave me a hug and said she’d seen Jake go through much worse and he came through.


Monday, February 08, 2010


Jake’s now off the morphine and IV fluids. He can run wild and terrorise the ward! Except he’s not too keen on walking and constantly wants to be carried. He’s the only toddler on the ward, so he’s got full run of the play and sensory rooms. The other patients are either babies or much older children, many of whom we are getting to know. Despite the sometimes depressing surroundings, there is a sense of community on the ward, more than raising a child alone at home. He’s also allowed to eat and devoured quite a bit of toast today.



Jake made a huge improvement this morning, suddenly alert and asking to play. We played with Duplo and drew. A couple of hours later, he bent over, went all quiet and there was poo! I’ve never seen so many adults so excited about poo before. His NG tube came out and he was allowed milk or juice. He kept us busy all day, being his monkey self. Bedtime was tricky as he was overtired and cried for half an hour before settling. There was also poo leakage overnight but I managed to change him and the sheets without waking him.

Saturday, February 06, 2010



65/100 & 66/100 (two in one)


Has it only been 36 hours since Jake’s operation? Yesterday went quickly but today has been slow. He’d been doing well so they turned off his background morphine this morning, leaving him with the option of having a bolus when needed.  He had a really rough time and had to have quite a few doses, so they've turned it back on at a lower dose and he's more comfortable now, though he is also more aware that things aren't right and is visibly frightened. Even though he’s doing so much better this time around, it’s heartbreaking seeing him like this.

Friday, February 05, 2010


Jake’s operation went smoothly. He is now stoma free and has been doing well in recovery. He’s on morphine and has been drifting in and out of sleep, occasionally waking and asking for cuggles. At one point, he cuddled his Penguin then drifted off to sleep again. It’s the first time he’s really done that. He’s fond of Penguin and plays with him a lot but has never cuddled anything to sleep. Everything is a lot less stressful this time, it makes such a difference going in with a well and healthy child. He weighed in at 9 kgs too!


A bit of background on this: In August 2009, Jake had to have emergency surgery on his colon following months of a painful and mystery illness affecting his bowel.  For many months we were constantly at the Doctors and in and out of A & E, trying to get to the bottom of things.  We knew there was something wrong but it wasn't until very late in the day before we managed to get anyone to take things seriously.  Everyone just kept telling us he was just constipated, or had thrush or a virus.  In the end, he was admitted into hospital after a bout of vomiting and severe dehydration.  An x-ray and worsening of his symptoms got us transferred to The Royal London Hospital where he had surgery, leaving him with an ileostomy to allow his colon to rest and heal.  He spent three days in intensive care and than a further 3.5 weeks on a children's surgery ward.  Despite various tests, no one was able to determine the cause of his illness. 

After months of having a stoma, eating well and putting on weight, his consultant decided it was time to reverse the ileostomy and give him a chance to go back to normal.  As we don't know what caused his illness first time round, there is a possibility that it will happen again, but there is also the chance that it was a one-off.  We'll have to wait and see.

It was only after Jake was discharged the first time that his surgeons openly talked to us about how seriously ill he was.  As he is in for an elective procedure, and while he is healthy and well, his recovery this time should be much less complicated.  There are risks of infection and other things happening, but they are small. Jake's doing well and we are hopeful of a relatively quick recovery, but we also know that things can go up and down. In the meantime, we're very pleased with how Jake is doing right now.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Just to let you know...

Posts will be erratic and I will be even more behind on the 100 Days Project while Jake is in hospital.  Will try to keep up as much as possible. 


Jake’s pre-op blood test was an ordeal. But focussing on the good stuff: Jake’s first on the list for tomorrow. We should be back on the same ward where we’ll see some familiar faces. And The Sick Children’s Trust has a room for us. And after I saw the state of Jake’s toes when I took his shoes off to play in the sandpit yesterday, took him to buy new shoes. He’s gone from a 3F to a 4.5G in three months. I dread to think how long his feet were being squished in his old shoes without my realising.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Paul took the day off so we could take Jake out for a nice day before his pre-op blood tests and hospital stay. After a Vietnamese lunch in Hackney, we went to the Museum of Childhood where, for two hours, Jake toddled, played with lego, climbed stairs, tried to get toys out of the locked display cases and played in the sandpit. Then pigged out in the café. At the shop we got some wind-up ladybirds that spin and do somersaults. Jake also received a lovely good-wishes card from Snow White. He was very happy, we had a lovely day.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010



Jake was a lot happier today. He slept for 12 hours overnight and had a nap today too. He also ate like a trooper – he even asked for my mackerel rice and wanted more. This after months of refusing fish and rice! He also discovered mayo and heartily dipped his chips in it. He’s started saying “Mmmmmmmm” when he eats something he likes, and “Wow!” when he sees something he likes. And “Yay” and claps when he’s done something difficult by himself. I’m trying not to think too much about his hospital stay. I’m trying to go with the flow.

Monday, February 01, 2010



Hellish day. I don’t think Jake’s ever screamed so much in one day. And whined and asked for cuddles then immediately screamed when picked up and refused to nap. It was a good day for Paul to come home early – I wasn’t even expecting it which made it that much better. He stepped in and I was able to escape under the duvet for an hour and a half to catch up on sleep. And after the many stressful, failed attempts to get him down for a nap, Jake finally dozed off at 8:30pm while Paul was changing his bag.

Love Week Giveaway draw

Ok, this is how it's going down:

No 1 will go to Sparklepetal

No 2 will go to Yellow Lamp

No 3 will go to Nina (as she said she'd be happy to get any drawing and didn't specify)

No 4 will go to Glovecat

No 5 will also go to Glovecat who won the draw

BUT... I feel very bad that Beth lost out so I will send you something anyway!