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Questions meme - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Questions meme
Amazingly, Imogen slept for long enough that I was able to do this meme. From monkeyhands:

1. You're currently in the new-baby zone; if it was a gameshow there would be complaints about cruelty to the contestants. But which bits of being a mum are you looking forward to in the future? You can answer giving a period of time, e.g. "When she's 7" or giving a type of experience, e.g. "Family holidays", or you can give a big long ramble.

To be honest I'm looking forward to pretty much all of it from the point where she starts being able to communicate back meaningfully. Well, obviously I'm not exactly looking forward to the bits where she gets ill, or the bits where she (inevitably) tells me she hates me... but it's all basically helping her figure out how the world works one step at a time (and probably learning a lot myself about how I think the world works, in the process), and I reckon that's an awesome thing to be doing. There are glimpses of it already -- watching her learn to focus on us, react to our voices, smile at us; hearing her make new gurgly noises (including some that already sound like she's trying to talk), watching her fierce concentration as she tries to grab a toy that's dangling in front of her -- but they're only glimpses; at the moment she still spends the vast majority of the time sleeping (which is adorable but not that interesting), feeding (which is still fairly emotionally fraught though getting physically slightly easier), or crying (which is at best a bit tiresome and at worst absolutely heartrending). To be honest I was never particularly looking forward to having a baby, but to having a child.

So, yeah, I'm looking forward to all of it! Not that I think I'll be very good at any of it* but there are so many interesting things in store.

Trying to be a bit more specific, I think the first significant milestone I'm looking forward to right now is being able to start giving her solid food -- partly because it will take away some of the strain and guilt of struggling with breastfeeding, and partly because food is tasty & interesting & fun & I want to share it with her (and it's cute watching babies cover themselves in food). :-) After that**, walking and talking! Both enormously exciting!

* This isn't just automatic self-deprecation but based on the observation that I don't seem to be very good with other people's children. On the other hand it's VERY VERY DIFFERENT dealing with other people's children (in my limited experience), so, hey, maybe it will be OK.

** OK, it's possible that she might be talking before solids, as someone (who I trust not to be exaggerating) told me just the other day that their daughter started talking at four months ... but I suspect it's quite unlikely.

2. I've worked out two ways that someone with your hair type (straight, very long) can do evening glamour without risking burns from heated appliances. Do you give a shit? Do you think you'll ever give a shit?

:-) In principle I think "Yeah! It'd be great to be able to do 'evening glamour'! In fact it'd be great just to try a different hairstyle for the first time in 20 years!" but in practice I can't imagine when I'll next be likely to go to the sort of event where "evening glamour" is called for (well, at the moment it's a bit hard to imagine going to things where the dress code is anything other than "milk-stained with a faint scent of wee", but even assuming we've got past that, I was never much of a one of glamour anyway). I have always wished I could do fancy braids and stuff (as that seems like a good way to get interesting hairstyles without heated appliances or hairspray) but since I've never yet succeeded in even doing a French plait it seems quite unlikely that I'll ever have the time/energy to get good at it.

3. Why don't you like chicklit, when you like reading all sorts of other rubbish? (Not trying to point some imaginary hypocrisy, just asking why that is.)

For the benefit of other readers I should confess that the "all sorts of other rubbish" accusation is probably justified given that I've just read shedloads of Tanya Huff novels which are all about gay sex vampires, sex demons, zombies (not sex zombies thank goodness), ghosts, vampire zombies, zombie ghosts, etc. HOWEVER I borrowed them from my mum so that doesn't really count! Ha! ... HOWEVER, anybody whose shelves are as full of "Wizard Japes for the Lower Fifth" (etc etc) as mine are has absolutely no claim to literary high ground, so, yeah.

Anyway, chicklit. I don't dislike it on principle or anything, I've just not yet read any that I've really liked (as far as I can remember). I'm sure there is lots of good chicklit out there. My instinct is to say "well it's all about makeup and makeovers and fashion and stuff, and that's not very relevant/interesting to me", but that doesn't feel like a very convincing reason not to like it; after all, I've managed to read and enjoy all sorts of other stuff whose ostensible subject matter isn't anything to do with me. I mean, for example, my father's ghost has never told me to avenge his death by killing my uncle. That sort of thing.

To be honest though I think it's just not what I'd go for first (the chicklit, not avenging my father's ghost): given infinite time I'd be willing to read more or less everything; without infinite time, there are other things further ahead in the queue.

Tell you what, lend me some chicklit that you'd recommend (not Shopaholic because I did try that & didn't like it, can't remember why because it was years ago now but I remember that it annoyed me) & I'll give it a go.

4. Do you think you'll get a pet in the foreseeable future?

Hrm, dunno. addedentry would really like a cat; I do like cats, but I don't like any of the stuff that goes with owning cats (scratched floors/furniture, everything being covered in hair and/or wee, catfood all over the floor, getting woken at 5 a.m. by scratching, having to deal with the litter tray) and I really don't want to start dealing with any of that stuff while we've got a baby/toddler crawling around as well. Also, pets end up being expensive, and I'd rather spend the money on us and our child.

On the other hand, blah blah teaching children the meaning of responsibility/death etc etc, and I suspect if she really wants a pet when she's old enough to do her share of looking after it, if it's something normal like a gerbil or a rabbit (rather than something specialist like a tarantula or a lizard) we will probably say yes in the end.

So, er, "maybe".

5. How do you think computer use has changed the way you think and behave generally? ('Not at all' is an acceptable answer, of course.)

Blimey. It's hard to say, because I've been using computers in one way or another for literally as long as I can remember (my parents got the Apple ][ when I was about 2 years old), so I don't really know how I might have thought/behaved without that. It's an interesting question though; can I come back to it when I've thought about it a bit more?

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jinty From: jinty Date: June 22nd, 2011 09:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
* This isn't just automatic self-deprecation but based on the observation that I don't seem to be very good with other people's children. On the other hand it's VERY VERY DIFFERENT dealing with other people's children (in my limited experience), so, hey, maybe it will be OK.
You get the benefit of 10,000 hours of practice with your own baby that makes you an expert on her; not all of it is going to be transferable to other babies.

Re chicklit - much of what I've read of it is actively annoying on grounds of, yes, principle - the whole bit where what's important in life is looking right & getting a man, and so forth. All right, at that rate maybe I shouldn't be reading Jane Austen either but she also is very funny, and historical and stuff.
monkeyhands From: monkeyhands Date: June 22nd, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for answering my questions so quickly and interestingly!

Not that I think I'll be very good at any of it

One of the things I keep learning and re-learning and failing to accept about life is that so often there's no audition, no exam, nobody in authority who can decide if you're any good or not. So often it's just about being the person in that position, and then you find you're the only one worrying if you can do it, while everybody else around you takes it for granted that you can, because you are.

It's an interesting question though; can I come back to it when I've thought about it a bit more?

Yeah, and I'll totally forgive you if you never get round to it. :) Consider your question-answering obligations discharged.
taimatsu From: taimatsu Date: June 22nd, 2011 11:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dear person-who-set-the-questions: I have similar hair to Janet, and more time to mess about with it. What are your two Evening Glamour Solutions? I would be very interested if you were willing to share them. :)

Also, Janet, I know I've seen you sporting at least three hairstyles in the last ten years. Ok, none of them very complicated, but still. :)
monkeyhands From: monkeyhands Date: June 23rd, 2011 01:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
What are your two Evening Glamour Solutions? I would be very interested if you were willing to share them. :)

Happy to share!

Glamour solution 1: Wash hair as normal, squirt a ball of volumising mousse into your hand and work through the hair, not forgetting the roots. Then set it on jumbo rollers (medium-sized if you can't get the jumbo size). To do that you'll need to section it with clips and do the bottom layer first. Blast rollered hair with a hairdryer then wait for it to cool, or skip the hairdryer bit and leave rollers in for an hour while you do other things.

Then take the rollers out and brush or comb your hair. Give it a quick misting of hairspray if you like. Try not to fiddle with it and it should keep the volume all night.

Glamour solution 2: this one is even simpler. Just roll your hair into a messy pleat at the back and go crazy with sparkly hairclips. Works best if your hair hasn't just been washed. You can pull out bits at the front and tong them, but that bit's optional.
brightybot From: brightybot Date: June 23rd, 2011 08:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Goodness those recommendations go into a whole world of scary hairstyling that I know nothing about. Sectioning? Rollers? "Just roll into a messy pleat". i know the advice wasn't for me but yiu make me think I should be more educated about this stuff!

J, I'm still rubbish with older children but you learn on the job. I now know how to talk to 0 uo to 2.75 year olds :)
monkeyhands From: monkeyhands Date: June 24th, 2011 08:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I never used to know how to use rollers, then I had to do that photoshoot thing in November and I decided to put my hair in rollers to look like a 50s housewife- channelling my nan when she was my age, basically. I bought three packs of medium rollers from Superdrug and realised they're really simple to use. You just, well, roll the hair on them, and most of them come with a ball and string thing to fix the roller in place.

As for rolling into a pleat, it's really just more rolling, but usually vertically along the back of the head. I guess I had years of nearly waist-length hair and various customer-service jobs where hair has to be away from your face, so I've got used to doing these updos and I forget they're not easy without a bit of practice. People get obsessed with making them look all smooth, which is tricky, but I think they look better a bit messy.

Sectioning is just when you clip bits of the hair out of the way to style other bits.

I would be happy to do a demo on you if you like! Or maybe I should do a step-by-step thing on my LJ. But barnacle is getting sick of taking photos for me!
j4 From: j4 Date: June 24th, 2011 02:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have tried doing things with rollers before and my hair just really doesn't seem to hold the curls for more than an hour or so -- and if I brush the curls they disappear completely. It's possible that I've just never used enough (or strong enough) mousse/gel/spray, but if so I think I'd have to have cement to get it to set in anything recognisable.

And I'm afraid I don't know what a messy pleat is either! To me a pleat is a plait (are they different?) but I don't see how you'd roll something into a plait. Also, I think the "messy" styles work better with hair that has more volume (or a bit of natural wave) - if I leave my hair "messy" it just looks, well, messy. :-} Kind of wispy and unbrushed. On the other hand unbrushed hair seems to be really trendy at the moment, I see lots of girls looking as if they really haven't brushed their hair for a week. Ugh. Sorry, I'm an old fogey, but I think it looks horrible.

Oh and if I leave it unwashed it looks slicked-down greasy. Like it does now because I never get time to have baths or showers any more. :-/

Sorry, this sounds like I'm picking holes in your styles, I didn't mean to! I think I just Don't Get hairstyling. :-/ Also at the moment I would love to just be able to have a bath and then have time to pick out some clothes that fit me properly and maybe even look like they're meant to go together... that's about the extent of my glamour ambition for the next few months, really!

Sparkly hairclips are always good though. I can do that bit. :-)
monkeyhands From: monkeyhands Date: June 24th, 2011 03:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have tried doing things with rollers before and my hair just really doesn't seem to hold the curls for more than an hour or so -- and if I brush the curls they disappear completely.

I should say the advice as I gave it was aimed at taimatsu because you said you didn't want to hear it now and then she popped up to say she'd like the advice herself. Her hair IIRC has slightly more of a wave to it, so she can get away with brushing. For you I'd suggest skipping the brushing. But the point of this style isn't to have curly hair - it's to have straightish hair with a bit of extra volume. Think Cheryl Cole.*

To me a pleat is a plait (are they different?)

Yeah. To me a pleat is a roll of hair. I found it pretty easy to do when I had long hair. A French pleat and a French plait are two different things but a lot of people use them interchangeably and I'm not going to come down all hair-grammar-nazi on them when the concepts are so fluid and muddling.

Oh and if I leave it unwashed it looks slicked-down greasy.

I just meant it's better not to have washed your hair that day. If you have to wash your hair every day to stop it looking greasy, I can't really give any advice on that except to use a milder shampoo (like a baby shampoo). But I think this is a misunderstanding and you thought I meant "this style only works on hair that hasn't been washed for days".

Sparkly hairclips are always good though. I can do that bit. :-)

Yeah, and they somehow look like you've made more of an effort than you have. We can all do with a bit of that.

*Disclaimer: hairdressing advice can only help you look like Cheryl Cole with the help of a balanced diet. Actually, even Cheryl Cole doesn't look like Cheryl Cole. Forget the bit about Cheryl Cole.
taimatsu From: taimatsu Date: June 24th, 2011 10:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Crikey, this suggests we have met, but I have no idea what person to attach to the LJ username! Er, sorry.

I have too much hair to do a French pleat. I follow the instructions and roll it up and I roll it and tuck it and tuck it and pin it and I have an extra two feet of hair I can't fit underneath the rest of it.
monkeyhands From: monkeyhands Date: June 27th, 2011 08:24 am (UTC) (Link)
I have now revealed my secret identity to taimatsu. Sadly I then had to kill her, but I went about it in an unnecessarily elaborate way and she escaped. The name's Bond, J - oh, bugger, I'll have to kill you all now. Could j4's 200-odd followers please proceed in an orderly fashion to the room with the rare breed of tiger. Thank you.
j4 From: j4 Date: June 26th, 2011 10:27 am (UTC) (Link)
I should say the advice as I gave it was aimed at taimatsu

Ah OK, I assumed it would be the same answer for anybody with long hair, sorry.

Hey, maybe when Imogen's old enough to enjoy messing around with hairstyles you can teach her and me at the same time... (except of course I'm not allowed to tell her about hairstyles or nailvarnish or anything because it'll make her hate her body and be a pregnant poledancer at 14 [subs please check], but, yeah.)

A French pleat and a French plait are two different things

Nooooo! TOO COMPLICATED! :-}

I think this is a misunderstanding and you thought I meant "this style only works on hair that hasn't been washed for days".

No, I did mean "I have to wash my hair every other day if I don't want it to look greasy, and it's starting to look greasy by the end of the non-washing-day". If I wash it every day it goes all brittle and strawlike. :-/ At the moment I am managing to wash it about once a week at best & it generally looks and feels pretty awful.

hairdressing advice can only help you look like Cheryl Cole with the help of a balanced diet.

:-) I'm not 100% sure I even know what Cheryl Cole looks like! (I'll go and look her up on the googles.)

(I know this is a tangent & you said to forget Cheryl Cole, but) I know I have seen her before but I am terrible at remembering what people look like. I'm the one who gets zero on the picture round in pub quizzes, even when it's people I really should recognise. In fact there was a pub quiz for work where the picture round was people I actually knew, IT officers from colleges etc, and I still wasn't sure about most of them. Even people I know quite well don't look quite how I expect when I see them, there's always something sort of unfamiliar about them. Weird.
monkeyhands From: monkeyhands Date: June 27th, 2011 08:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey, maybe when Imogen's old enough to enjoy messing around with hairstyles you can teach her and me at the same time...

That would be lovely! Assuming she ever does go through that stage; I guess not all kids do.

I have to wash my hair every other day if I don't want it to look greasy

I think you've already tried the thing where you just wash the roots and it didn't work for you, so I'm going to suggest a) switch to a milder shampoo (borrow Imogen's!) and see if it helps your hair self-regulate, quack, moo; or b) try Batiste dry shampoo, which gives you a day's grace. I discovered it a few months ago and I'm ashamed to say it's my most-used hair product. You can also use it to give clean hair extra volume, which is apparently what Cheryl Cole uses it for (yes, really).

I am terrible at remembering what people look like.

Mild prosopagnosia? I dunno.
j4 From: j4 Date: June 24th, 2011 03:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
at least three hairstyles

OK if we're going to count things-that-are-essentially-the-same, I make it nine hairstyles in the past 20 years:

Hair completely loose
Hair loose but with a couple of clips
Ponytail
Pigtail (ponytail with the 'tail' plaited)
Proper plait, not tied like a ponytail at the top
Ponytail twisted up into a bun & held with a scrunchie
Pigtail twisted up into a bun & held with a scrunchie
Ironic bunches
Ironic plaits

I also once tried to do a plaited-at-the-sides-and-then-into-a-bun thing for the May Ball in my first year at Oxford, it looked a bit rubbish but since I wasn't one of the Beautiful People nobody cared, & I still had fun and didn't have to spend £100+ on my hairdo like everybody else seemed to be doing. :-) Anyway I'm not going to count that one because it was a one-off and it didn't really work!
taimatsu From: taimatsu Date: June 24th, 2011 09:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nine hairstyles isn't that bad going :)
julietk From: julietk Date: June 28th, 2011 07:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I would like to note that I am pretty certain that I didn't spend £100+ on a hairdo for that May Ball either :) (In fact I have 0 idea what I did with my hair. I may have stuck some pins into it or something, I guess?)

(Currently I am debating growing my hair again. Upsides: um, I dunno, it might look different & I get bored easily? Downsides: probably harder to cut it myself in the bath; more complicated to dye it blue.)

I quite like chicklit & I bloody hated Shopaholic, fwiw. I feel I ought to be able to recommend something but I confess that I have a bit of a tendency to just pick up anything in the library with an appropriate-looking cover & which I can read a page of without wincing, i.e. I can rarely remember author names. Freya North is fun esp 'Cat' which is the one about the Tour de France (yay bikes!), but her style is quite distinctive & one might easily find it very annoying. I think I have something by Jane Gardam that I quite enjoyed? I have also been reading a lot of Jill Mansell of late.
j4 From: j4 Date: June 24th, 2011 02:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
So often it's just about being the person in that position, and then you find you're the only one worrying if you can do it, while everybody else around you takes it for granted that you can, because you are.

I think this is a very useful thing to remember, and I do sort of know it but definitely needed to be reminded of it. Thank you.

I am still thinking about the other question, honest! (Having retained something in my head for more than a day is something to celebrate. :-)
jvvw From: jvvw Date: June 23rd, 2011 09:36 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm finding Solids are fun but exhausting - feel like I spend my whole life preparing food and cleaning up at the mo. - and forget going out at mealtimes! More fun now that hevseems to be enjoying it more too - think it took him a while to get used to the whole swallowing thing.

Surprised how much I am enjoying owen's increased mobility and watching him explore. Though nappy changes are quickly becoming a nightmare.

My sister said her first words at six months (famously 'hello mummy' out of te blue, bit of a shock for my mum as I had been a late talker) and could say 20 words at a year, so can happen yes, but chewing is good prep for talking as strengthens the muscles in the mouth. Babies seem to often focus on one skill before others, so common for early crawlers to be late talkers and vice versa.
j4 From: j4 Date: June 24th, 2011 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
feel like I spend my whole life preparing food and cleaning up at the mo. - and forget going out at mealtimes!

Well at the moment I'm breastfeeding and bottle-feeding and expressing at every feed (ie about 6 times a day), so going out at all is difficult ('mealtimes' no more so than anything else, I suppose) because a) breastfeeding in public is difficult[*], b) I am too ashamed (and scared of getting lectured by militant lactivists about the evils of formula[**]) to bottle-feed in public, and c) if I don't do any of the feeding in public I barely have time to eat inbetween feeds let alone go out for meals.

So I guess solids at least won't be any worse. :-/

[*] not because I'm shy about people seeing my boobs or anything but because I find it so awkward anyway that I can only really reliably get it to work if I have a chair at the right height etc. which kind of limits my options.

[**] if I didn't feel so miserable about the whole thing I'd be a bit more confident about just telling people to mind their own business, but at the moment I would either punch them or burst into tears, & neither is good.

nappy changes are quickly becoming a nightmare

Because he wriggles away? Or because the poo is worse? (Or both?)

chewing is good prep for talking as strengthens the muscles in the mouth

Oh, that makes sense, hadn't thought of that. OTOH Imogen seems quite happy to chew my finger even without any teeth. Or indeed to chew more sensitive areas. >_
jvvw From: jvvw Date: June 24th, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hadn't realised that you were doing the nightmare breastfeeding/bottle-feeding/expressing combo. I admit I tried that for a couple of days and quickly gave up as realised that I couldn't do it and stay sane, if that's any consolation. I even decided top-ups of formula were too much work so we just replaced first one feed and later two with a bottle of formula. Understand about the logistics of feeding in public - didn't have quite the same problem, but had a phase when Owen's feeding behaviour wasn't what I deemed publicly acceptable! Though I did persevere with doing it at baby groups to get me out of the house. Once they feed less frequently, it does get easier in terms of getting out and about.

Whenever I put Owen on his changing mat, he now instantly rolls onto his front. I normally end up turning him over at least ten times per nappy change, though I'm gradually getting better at finding ways to keep him on his back both physically and via distraction. Thankfully the poo is easier to deal with now but we do have 2-3 dirty nappies a day as opposed to one every 2-3 days like we did before.

Just to warn you, when you get to that stage, the baby led weaning crowd tend to make a big deal about how easy it is compared with traditional weaning, but I'm not convinced. Both have their pros and cons and some babies also take it to it more easily than others. I'm definitely glad that we are doing blw but it has been hard work planning and preparing meals, though I'm more in the swing of it now, and I've been lucky in that Owen has no problems actually eating stuff and never gagged too much. He's also pretty tidy eating things like banana now.
tla From: tla Date: June 24th, 2011 08:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
So er I am very interested in any further BLW field report you might want to give - I have made a few tentative steps that way with my six-month-old, just giving her bits of food to play with while I eat, but wonder at what point the effort should be kicking in, basically.
jvvw From: jvvw Date: June 25th, 2011 10:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Just given you access to my LJ so you can read my latest post on the subject.

I've gradually worked my way up gradually with our 7-month old. We started with just lunch and fruit and veg, then I started adding toast fingers with various things on them, and have now started occasionally making more of effort with things like scrambled egg and thing I have made in advance (e.g. a couple of days this week he had some courgette and mozzarella balls from the River Cottage Baby and Toddler Recipe book). I roast a bunch of veg at the weekend as a standby and he has yoghurt or fromage frais for dessert on spoons that I hand him. We added in breakfast and tea at some point. Tea is just a couple of rice cakes at the moment. Breakfast is usually banana or other fruit followed by cereal of some description, currently shredded wheat.

I think it's a balance between working out what you can cope with but going at with enough gusto that they do actually get used to the whole idea of eating.
j4 From: j4 Date: June 26th, 2011 10:41 am (UTC) (Link)
I admit I tried that for a couple of days and quickly gave up as realised that I couldn't do it and stay sane, if that's any consolation.

Well I've been doing it for 11 weeks now but I'm not sure I'm exactly a poster-girl for "staying sane"...

The nappy changes sound like a pain. Something fun to look forward to... :-} (Imogen can already roll on to her side, so I'm guessing I don't have long before she starts making nappy changes more interesting!)

the baby led weaning crowd tend to make a big deal about how easy it is compared with traditional weaning, but I'm not convinced

Yeah, I don't really believe them, because they tend to be the same people who say that breastfeeding is easy. On the other hand traditional weaning (assuming you mean the "puree everything into a homogenous gloop, measure it out in clinical doses & attempt to spoon it into a wailing baby" method) sounds difficult too... basically I don't think there's an easy option!

Sounds like you're doing really well though, & I'm amazed at your River Cottage baby cooking -- I rarely have the energy to make that sort of effort with cooking even for people who are unlikely to just throw it all on the floor! :-}
jvvw From: jvvw Date: June 27th, 2011 09:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Spending half an hour cooking at the weekend isn't anywhere as impressive as expressing for eleven weeks!

Tho kit is worth trying a little bit of both forms ofvweaning to see which you both prefer.
brrm From: brrm Date: June 23rd, 2011 09:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
addedentry would really like a cat; I do like cats, but I don't like any of the stuff that goes with owning cats (scratched floors/furniture, everything being covered in hair and/or wee, catfood all over the floor, getting woken at 5 a.m. by scratching, having to deal with the litter tray)

If it helps any, training can fix scratching if it's a problem (never really was with Ceefer or Mumu), no wee unless you count Ceefer's illness towards the end. Keeping them indoors at night seemed to turn them mostly diurnal, too.

I'm still finding cat hair months after both the cats have gone, though. ;-)
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