Category Archives: Parenting

Dudley Zoo’s Best Little Keeper.

(oops this has been sitting in my drafts, I thought I’d posted it)

Not Christmas gone, but the one before “Nanny Penny” bought TBK a voucher to become a zoo keeper for the day at Dudley Zoo.

It was going to be awesome we were going to book it and we were going to spend a lovely day meandering around and watch TBK play with the animals all day, but then the rain came, and last summer it rained, and rained, and rained, and rained and just to be helpful, as the deadline grew nearer for the voucher to be used  it rained some more. So, being the diligent parents we are we promptly called the zoo and brought an extension with the hope that a time would come when the rain stopped and we could go.

Finally it did, things started looking brighter and more importantly dryer  so we made the booking, set the date and forged ahead; But wouldn’t you know it as the date came around  it bloody poured down again, but, we thought FUCK IT and went anyway.

TBK got up close and personal with with some animals,  Some he was a lot happier around than others:

He met a rat ( he only wanted to hold it to upset Mom, who doesn’t really like Rats)…


…a chinchilla (his favourite)…


…Mr Lizard …


…a tapir (who is famous, apparently she’s from Longleat and was featured on Animal Park)…


…The Red Panda AKA The Firefox (the geek in me liked this)…

TBK feeding the male Red Panda

…and the penguins (his all time favourite part of the day).

mine mine mine mine

All the animals had names but I’m damned if I can remember them now.

It was (despite the rain and me getting ill) a lovely day and TBK had a wonderful experience, made all the nicer for him (and us) by the lovely staff he accompanied. They were very informative and answered any questions he (or we) had about breeding programs, conservation etc. and the zoo in general, for instance; Did you know that most the buildings and animal enclosures are listed buildings, hence the desperate need for renovation but lack of planning permission! I didn’t, I feel slightly guilty for judging them over the state of the place now.  Even better though, while there even I made some new friends.

Lemurs (Taken by James)

As he’s getting bigger…

TBK is appearing less and less in my online world. Before now the focus of 70% of my blog and at least 90% of my photography was about him, What we’d been doing, where we had been, things he had said and so on.

He’s disappearing though, not because we do less together, or because he’s any less of a focus in my life but because well he’s getting bigger. He now has more of a say in his life and he doesn’t always want to be put on here, because he’ll say something that he then realises has obviously amused me and his first response is “Please don’t put that on the internet” or I’ll pull out my camera and he’ll run for cover shouting “Don’t take any photos of me!”

So now I have to be more sneaky with my observation, I wait until he’s absorbed in an activity be it his homework, playing with friends or just amusing himself, and then stealthily I point and shoot….



I feel like I’m missing chunks of his childhood because I simply can’t remember what we were doing when or some of the faces he used to pull, or every little thing he said to amuse me.

I was so absorbed in just coping. Absorbed in trying to bring this “thing” into the world to love him and educate him, to feed and bathe him, and as he got older organise nursery and school and play dates,  all the time rushing around finding babysitters so I could go out and get to work on time.

I was so busy trying to balance his life and my life and still be me and with being a single mom that I forgot to remember and savour every moment. And of course not having a blog or decent camera back then to document it all as it happened meant so much more got lost in the mire that was my brain around that time.

And now he’s getting bigger and I’m begining to realise that soon my now not so little boy wont be be even this little anymore and I’m worried about what else I might forget. I still rush around trying to balance everything out, but now I have help and now I also realise how important it is to stop and remember. You only get one chance at this, so I try to remember and I try take as many photos as possible.

Be it ones he’s posed for, or ones like these when were waiting in the car and he doesn’t even know the camera is about…



…until that is I’m spotted and he pulls THAT face and rolls his eyes in THAT way and gives me another ” MOM, STOP TAKING PHOTOS OF ME!” for me to remember!



Happy New Year

A belated start to my blogging this year – hopefully not a start as I mean to go on.

This is just a quick post to say 2009 is not the year I shall be allowing TBK to have a mullet hair cut* but is the year I shall be learning to use my new camera, exploring new ideas and trying to enjoy myself enormously.

Happy New Year to you all!

*The mullet cut is a whole conversation I don’t have time to blog about now but long story short he asked we addvised otherwise!

Inside the mind of an 8 year old.

TBK has a key. It is his lucky key (or so he tells me). It’s to an old cabinet that has long since been freecycled and in the imagination of my 8 year old it opens everything.

It has opened doors that criminals have been hiding behind. It has opened boxes where treasures are held. It has been the ignition key for a space rocket, a motor bike and a racing car and it has been used to lock up things only the imaination of an eight year old could think of and, it’s been used to release captives of things only eight year olds can think of.

Sunday morning on our way to Artsfest sitting on the train the key was produced from his uber cool R2D2 bag and it became a mystic key – it unlocked peoples head so TBK could see inside. He opened mine and I asked him what he could see.

“You have two doors mom, one with a heart on it and a big metal one”

“Oh whats behind them?”

“Well the metal one has a long corridor to another big door with a lock on it and behind that is all the things you don’t like, like teenagers and other things that annoy you and the heart has me and James and all our family inside.”

I thought about this for a minute then asked.

“So whats in James’ head then?” expecting teh same answer as the logic was sound 2 doors = 2 opposite emotions

“He has three doors but two of his has hearts on”

This confused me.

“Why does James have three?”

“Well Mom, James has three becaue one has his family Stat and Al and Penny and Rob and one has the things that annoy him, just the same as you, but the other one has just you and me in there because he chooses to love us!”

one + one + one = three

Moblog user are taking part in a project “Interview52” inspired by Nige, Each week a different moblogger will have to post a photograph and answer a series of questions about themselves.

This week was my turn and here’s my entry:

An old picture but one that sums me up, Converse and my family!

*Where does this find you? Tell us the story of how you got there.*

Well right now as I’m writing this it’s Thursday evening and I’m at home, But
by the time it’s posted it shall be Friday morning so I’ll be at work in
Wolverhampton City Centre and I shall have arrived here on the bus from my
home 20 minutes away in the area I grew up in. I’m a yam yam born and bred,
I have lived in other places (Lichfield (too pretentious)and Wigan (Too
Rough)) but I returned “home” when I realised there really is no place
like it!

* Why do you moblog?*

I started moblogging as a way to pass the time when I was a poor lonely
single girl living alone with no one but the blonde kid for company.

James introduced me to it before “we” were “us” taking me into Birmingham
with a selection of Spied cards and I was hooked straight away, It’s so much
fun, kinda combining social networking with a hobby! Along with TBK telling
everyone we were getting married before we’d even smiled at each other in
THAT way maybe moblog was party responsible for the creating of James and me
as “us”?

* What were you hoping not to be asked for interview52?*

The typical Interview question used in lots of job interviews, Describe
yourself in 3 words….

* Now answer it!*

DOH! shoulda seen this coming. I’ll use the answer i gave in my last job

LOUD, TALKATIVE and TENACIOUS – and they still gave me the job!

* What question would you like to ask the next moblog interviewee?*

I’m not going say now as with the new interview 52 rules I’m going to get
the chance to ask what I want! –

oh new rules everyone says what are they??

The week after the last interview with FF when there was no interview I
though hmm thats strange, then the week after that when again there was
still no interview i though hmm even stranger It’s not like Nige to start
something and not finish it, so I emailed him something along the line of
“Oi you, giving up already?” and it transpires that Nige is a busy busy bee
and time had just ran away with him.
Organising questions and participants whilst running around the Notting Hill
Festival and generally having much fun was a time consuming thing so with
revised rules and with me being next on the “hit list” and silly enough to
wonder why he’d stopped he sent them to me….

From hence forward the interviewee will become the interviewer for the next
willing victim….So once you’ve read this today I will be on a hunt to find
someone to take part next . Then I will forward the list of questions and
instructions how to post on BUT

I will have to CHANGE AT LEAST ONE of the questions in the list

And so it will go on – my interviewee will become the interviewer, finding
the next participant and again changing AT LEAST ONE of the questions before
they forward it on. So taking the onus off Nige, continuing the project and
giving it a life of it’s own!

So who want to be next use email/text/contact button to get in touch

* What do you think your job was in your previous life? Tell us why..*.

I think I must have been a psychologist/guidance counselor in a previous
life, for some reason I’m usually the Agony Aunt, Dishing out advise to all
and sundry my friend Nicky seems to seek my advise on everything and even my
local shop keeper stops me in the shop and asks for marriage counseling –
And I’ve never even been married.

James reckons I was Pippa from Home and Away. I love kids and we’ve usually
got a houseful of TBK friends, I’ve worked as a youth worker, I’ve helped
out at school, taking part in sleep overs, & going on trips, He thinks
(quite rightly) that I’d have a horde of my own given the opportunity

*Whats the story behind your moblog username? Why did you choose it?*

Oh everyone knows this as I answered it on spikes moblog ages ago:

Essitam is Matisse backwards, It’s been my online name since school when in
an IT class the teaches asked us to think of a username.All the “cool kids”
were calling themselves “Sexygal1994” or “hotchick” and as I was neither a
cool kid, sexy girl or an hot chick I wanted something different.
Inspiration was at hand with a huge Matisse display on the wall i was
sitting next to. I wrote it down, I then rewrote it backwards and is stuck!

* What was your childhood obsession? What happened to it?*

I didn’t have one – seriously. I even called my mom when I read this
question to find out if she could remember something I’d forgotten, The only
thing she could come up with was I used to like emptying ashtrays into the
dustbin, Which apparently amused her no end as neither of my parents smoked
and my dad only ever threw loose change in there and according to her I just
one day stopped doing it aged around 3.

*Where do you go to my lovely, when you’re alone in your head? (Filbert
Fox’ question)*

I try not to spend too much time alone in my head I find it a pretty
worrying place at times!

That’s not avoidance either, I’m being serious. I suffer autophobia
(J.F.G.I.) as a symptom of stress/depression caused (according to the people
in the know) by the sudden death of my Dad when I was just a little Steph.
So I avoid being left alone for too long when I can help it. I’m better now
than I used to be. At one point the panic attacks were so bad I would be
physically sick – now I just sulk lots and get snappy if I’m left alone for
too long!

*If you had to draw a moblog family (and friend) tree, who would you be
linked to, and how?*

Oh now this could be quite interesting, If i were to be literal about this
then there is:

Miguel Sanchez

Who are all really (or via James) related to me in some way and registered
mobloggers and then real life friends (as in people I see in the flesh with
the family mobloggers)

Dicko – although I’m sure he should fall under family
Rich (not the one with Elvis)

Then there are the mobloggers who I’ve met in person purely through moblog,
at meets, if cafes (Dhamaka) in shopping centres (Nige) etc. I’m not going
to list them all as I’ve already rambled on too much but my ultimate moblog
family are my ultimate real life family:

Me + James + The Blonde Kid

Steph xxx

I’ll never be, but I can do!

I’ve felt “off” most of the day.

I can’t quite out my finger on what was wrong. I’d blame it on PMT but it’s not quite that time of the month. I’d blame it on lack of sleep, but I slept just fine. I would even try to say it was over work if it wasn’t so stupidly quiet around here today I just don’t know what it was. I do however know what cheered me up.

THIS blog post over on Moosh in Indy.

It got me thinking, I’ll never be a lot of  things but for everything Isay I’ve missed the opportunity to do I’ve opened up doors to other possibilities so much more rewarding.

So, Here’s mine to add to Moosh in Indy’s list

I will never win a Nobel peace prize,  But I can always make peace between warring 8 year olds!

And that my friends is characteristic that comes in very handy some days when the blonde kid and his friends start!


Back in 2006 I posted this video of the blonde kid on youtube

It was a bit of fun, TBK loves dancing like a nutter and I love laughing at him, This morning it appears not everyone thinks the same, I had an email notification of this comment:

ukgirl1 (16 hours ago)r
stupid………. the mother must be a shit mom, she needs to be on Jermey Kyile

Now at first I thought pathetic and I considered just deleting it, In the end I just had to respond:

essitam (2 minutes ago)
Yeah I totally agree, I mean what sort of parent films their kid having fun??

It’s disgusting I mean it’s quite clear the kid is hating every moment of it, She must be the sort of woman that aspires to be on shit day time television programmes…

No wait that aspiration is left for idiots that can’t spell “Jeremy” or “Kyle” and who want to criticize others as they have no life of their own!

– – – – –

ukgirl1 I have one other word for you – WHATEVER!!