The Adventure of Menorca

I have been to Menorca every year for the past 28 years. My grandparents bought a villa there and it now belongs to their four children, one of whom is my very own mother. When I was a child, before the airlines had thought up baggage allowances, my sister and I would pack suitcases full of toys. I have memories of our Barbies floating on a lilo (their cruise ship), of tea parties in the forest with our bunnies (I was never a teddy kind of girl and my sister did everything I did) and of us getting lost on “adventures” with my dad which sometimes ended up with us walking into strangers’ back gardens. When we were teenagers, we went through a stage of hibernating indoors watching Sky. In particular, Clarissa Explains it All, Saved By the Bell, Boy Meets World and countless other teenage American TV shows which I have now forgotten the names of. They really don’t make TV like they used to. When I did venture outside, it was to sit in the shade with my notebook and scribble one of my novels, my very own series called Kool Kidz. And, of course, I read and read and read. This was something that continued as I grew up. The very attraction of Menorca was that it was a holiday to do nothing but to read and to relax, to eat out and drink Sangria. When I started work, this was more precious than ever.

And then I had Noah. Holidays in Menorca, like everything else in my life, changed dramatically.

We first took Noah to Menorca when he was three months old. For the whole holiday, the longest period he slept in the cot was 40 minutes. Every 40 minutes he’d wake up screaming until, at somewhere around 3am, I’d give up and hold him for the rest of the night. In hindsight, I think he was cold. But back then, I was obsessed with cot death and overheating. He’d be put to bed in a vest with a thin sheet over him. We’d have the air con on. The boy was cold. We live and learn.

Me and my 3 month old Sleep Demon
Me and my 3 month old Sleep Demon

The next two years were spent chasing after Noah in a state of sleep deprivation. This year was no different.

The Buzz Lightyear Rucksack

To get to Menorca from Vienna, we had to change flights at Madrid. Unfortunately, there was a casualty at the airport: we left Noah’s rucksack there. Noah’s rucksack contained his sunglasses, his dragon, his lion Leo (favourite toy to take to bed), his Ben and Holly DVD, his Jake and the Neverland Pirates DVD and a brand new sweatshirt from GAP which I was particularly fond of. I have since made six or seven phone calls to Lost and Found at Madrid airport. The conversation goes something like this:

Me: Hello. Do you speak English?

Madrid: A little.

Me: I have lost a bag.

Madrid: Sorry?

Me: I left a bag at the airport.

Madrid: Back?

Me: No, a bag.

Madrid: What colour?

Me: Blue and red. It’s a Buzz Lightyear children’s rucksack. Nino.

Madrid: No. Call back after 8.

Explaining the situation to Noah was a bit easier:

Noah: Where’s my Leo?

Me: You know in Toy Story 2 when Woody gets taken and all the other toys go on an adventure to find him and rescue him?

Noah: Yes.

Me: Well, the toys that were in your Buzz Lightyear bag are on an adventure and they’re trying to find their way back to you.

Noah: (Running out of the room) Nana! Nana! My toys are going on an adventure!

I am a bit cut up about the sweatshirt, but I think the real problem will come when Noah inevitably asks to watch Ben and Holly or Jake and the Pirates…

Nightmare Nights

True to form, Noah didn’t sleep well. The villa has three bedrooms: one for my Mum and Dad, one for my sister and one for me, my husband and my Noah. None of us slept well. Noah now wears pyjamas and sleeps under a duvet so he slept for longer than 40 minutes at a time, but it was still hard work. He spent the first four nights waking up at 5 am. For the next five nights, he woke up for between 2-3 hours in the middle of the night. For the rest of the holiday, he was up and down, either waking up early or waking up in the night.

In the middle of one particular awful night, he was on the floor between our beds.

“Noah, get back in to bed!” You can imagine my tone.

“I’m just doing my press ups,” he replied.

He has an answer for everything. When he was asked why he didn’t sleep, he replied, “My back was hurting. The bed is uncomfortable.”

Armband Alert

It was difficult to keep Noah entertained all day. He liked the pool, but there are only so many hours in the day you can spend in there. He liked the beach for about an hour. One day we went to a snack bar that has two little water shoots. He loved it. It cost 5 euros for 28 goes. We got there at 12 and Noah had his 28 goes, then we had lunch. After lunch, he wanted to go back on the slides. My husband took him up to the top whilst I positioned myself at the bottom with my phone ready to take a picture. As he got to the bottom, my timing was late and I missed the shot. I moved the camera over to try and get a shot of my husband who was on the next slide. I also missed that shot. As I was busy deleting the photos, my husband called, “He hasn’t got his armbands on!” Yes, to our extreme horror, Noah had gone down the water slide without his armbands on. When he ploughed head first into the water at the bottom, he resurfaced and swam to the side. And that’s all I have to say about that.

3 year olds must wear armbands when sliding head first down water shoots...
3 year olds must wear armbands when sliding head first down water shoots…

Melting Meals

As Noah finds sleeping through the night such a challenge, his bedtime routine is very important. But this causes problems when we are on holiday. Most restaurants don’t open before 6 so we either have to find somewhere open at 5 or eat at lunchtime. It was so very very hot in Menorca this year that neither of those options were ideal. My husband is a great believer and enforcer of the routine. My mother likes to mention how when we were children, we had a strict bedtime at home but not when we were on holiday and thinks Noah should go to bed later. I hover in the middle. By 7 o’clock, the boy is finished. Staying up later would mean him being a nightmare. I certainly don’t go on holiday to stay indoors and cook and neither does my Mum, but finding somewhere to eat can become a bit of a chore. My family are in Menorca for four extra nights and they are now enjoying eating in their favourite restaurants in the evenings. They claim they miss us…

And so Menorca is not as relaxing as it used to be. So what? I still love it. I love the pine trees, the sound and the smell of them. I love the general stillness and the quiet of the island. I love the white villas with the red tiled rooves. I love how all the waiters are friendly and give Noah illegal lollypops. Most of all I love the memories. Menorca is part of my fabric and I know that it will be part of my Noah’s too.

Me and my 3 year old sleep demon
Me and my 3 year old sleep demon


10 Reasons why I am really actually in fact honestly lucky to have been blessed with a sleep demon

  1. It gets the ageing process over more quickly. I can accept I don’t look young anymore and move on. Until I had Noah, I still on occasion got asked for ID when buying alcohol. Just before I got pregnant at the ripe old age of thirty, someone knocked at the door and asked if they could speak to my Mum (as in they didn’t think I was old enough to be the homeowner). Three years living with a sleep demon and I have wiry pure white hairs sticking up all along my parting, giving the impression that I have been given a mild electric shock. When I smile, the skin around my eyes bulges into little creases. When someone asks my age, instead of expressing surprise and claiming they thought I was five years younger, they accept it without comment.
  2. I am more knowledgeable about babies than I would have been. When I used to sit awake in the early hours, feeding Noah or just holding him because that was the only way he’d stay asleep, I read a lot of stuff on my mobile. Dr. Google kept me company. I read government health websites from several different English speaking countries. I read sites by child behaviour experts and psychologists. I read hundreds upon hundreds of posts in different forums. I read about cholic, reflux, development milestones, medications, breast-feeding, weaning, SIDS, an array of illnesses, injections, weird rashes, bowel movements, check-ups and (of course) sleep. I read things that made me panic as well as things that comforted me.
  3. I spend more time with my son than other parents because he is awake for more hours of the day (and night).
  4. I have developed the skill to sleep anywhere – sitting up, cramped in a toddler bed or lying on the floor of a cold bedroom next to a cot.
  5. I have developed the patience of a saint. Being a school teacher and dealing with a hundred teenagers every day, I thought I was a pretty patient person already. Teenagers have got nothing on Noah. Never again will I be pushed to slam my planner down on my desk and bellow “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WILL YOU JUST SHUT UP?!” to a room full of thirty startled faces. There is nothing like being woken up every 40 minutes to stretch your patience to new limits.
  6. I get to live more than other people. Surely my sleep will never be the same again? So even when Noah becomes normal and sleeps through the night for 12 hours every night, my body will be programmed to survive on less sleep. Think about what you can do with an extra couple of hours every day! That’s 21 hours a week, 1092 hours a year. I could learn a new language or take up crochet or study for another degree…The possibilities are endless.
  7. My husband no longer wants his own five-a-side football team. That’s right, back in our romantic heyday when we were just children ourselves, my husband (God love him) mentioned he would like no less than five children so he could have his very own little football team. Having spent the last three years with a sleep demon, he is now very adamant that he absolutely only wants one more child (eventually).
  8. If I don’t go back to teaching, I could get a job as one of those statue people in Covent Garden (the gold ones). I am adept at lying or sitting very still so the sleep demon doesn’t stir.
  9. I could write a book on child sleep. (See 101 Things I Have Done to Get Noah Asleep for evidence). I am a sleep expert who knows nothing apart from what doesn’t work or what works occasionally. But still…I have enough material for a book.
  10. I wouldn’t break under interrogation. I have heard (or maybe read in a book) that people can be tortured with sleep deprivation. If I ever happened to know any important secrets and I was kidnapped and kept in a brightly lit, noisy room, I wouldn’t crack. Oh no. No one would be getting any secrets out of me.

So these are the reasons why I am really actually in fact honestly lucky to have been blessed with a sleep demon…. But I’d still like a bit more sleep, my Noah.

Fresh faced at 30
Fresh faced at 30
34 and feeling it
34 and feeling it
The Twinkle Diaries

10 Things I Now Know About Taking a Three Year Old to McDonald’s (In Vienna)

Today I took Noah out for his first McDonald’s. Here are 10 things that I learnt:

  1. If you are walking or relying on public transport, a lunchtime McDonald’s is better than a 4 o’clock one. 4pm is the start of Noah’s witching hour (or three), the time when all of his inner demons surface at once. I should always be home by this time, but, somehow, I never learn.
  2. The main appeal of a Happy Meal is the toy. The toy should come inside the box with the food. If the toy is waved in front of the child’s nose by the (un)helpful serving lady before you have even got to the counter to order, then the food has no real appeal.
  3. Think about the reasons you have decided to go to McDonald’s. Does your child like fast food? Does your child desperately need another piece of tat (i.e. the toy) to take home? Do you yourself enjoy McDonalds? If the answer to these questions is no and the only reason you wanted to go to McDonalds in the first place was to get a strawberry milkshake which you haven’t had for about five years but now desperately need, I suggest you find somewhere else that sells milkshakes and go there instead. This is what happened when I attempted to order a strawberry milkshake:

Me: Can I have a strawberry milkshake, please?

Serving Lady: Eh?

Me: A strawberry milkshake, bitte?

Serving Lady: Milk? No. Fanta? Coke?

Me: Coke light, please, bitte.

  1. If you order ketchup because you know your child won’t even contemplate the idea of eating chips without ketchup, make sure the ketchup is given to you before you go and sit down and lay all the food out. When we finally found a seat in a far corner of the restaurant, I opened Noah’s box of nuggets up, tipped some chips in and then discovered there was no ketchup. “Where’s my ketchup?” Noah asked. “They don’t have ketchup,” I replied. A fist full of chips was thrown on the floor along with “I want ketchup!” I had to leave the food out, willing that no one come and clear it up, take Noah and his scooter to the counter, queue up, ask for ketchup, get charged 30 cents for ketchup which I surely must have just paid for 5 minutes ago, and then return to the table to face a now freezing cold chicken burger.
  2. If there is the choice of sitting in a hard and uncomfortable booth, or some large comfy-looking bucket chairs, go for the booth. The bucket chairs are big, therefore optimise the opportunity for lounging and reduce the opportunity for eating. They are also screwed to the ground, making it uncomfortable if you need to keep leaning over to force feed your child unhealthy food.
  3. Even if you took your child to the toilet mere seconds before ordering the food, he will need to go again before the meal is over…in fact, before the meal has really been started. After Noah had eaten one chicken nugget and two chips, he lay across the chair and casually told me he needed a poo. “Are you sure?” I demanded, shoving my chicken sandwich in my mouth as quickly as I could, because there was no way I was taking it to the toilet with me. I sniffed the air: Noah smelt like he needed a poo. I picked up Noah’s food and attempted to put it back in the box with minimal loss of ketchup. I then headed to the toilets. Half way there he had changed his mind about the poo and wanted to go home instead. I found another table and unpacked his food again, telling him we weren’t going home until he had finished his dinner (because there was no way in hell I was going home to cook him another meal after this experience). Five minutes later (i.e. half a chicken nugget and five chips later) he needed a poo again. I repacked the food, took him to the toilets, sat him down and waited. He didn’t do a poo.
  4. Listen to your child when asking him whether he wants chicken nuggets or a cheeseburger. If your three year old is anything like mine, he will know his own mind with 100% confidence. If the boy asks for a cheeseburger, get him a bloody cheeseburger.
  5. Don’t promise your child ice-cream before you get your facts straight. Seeing as I had failed to get my milkshake, I decided a McFlurry would more than make up for it. I coaxed Noah into eating his Happy Meal with the promise of an ice-cream afterwards. I have actually given up chocolate but I decided the pieces of chocolate in McFlurries are too small to actually count as chocolate. After the failure to communicate my desire for a strawberry milkshake at the counter, I decided to opt for the self-service ordering machine for our desserts. I put my card in the machine. I selected the English option. I selected desserts. I selected a Kit Kat McFlurry. I was told it was not possible because the grill was in use. Not to be deterred by such a random obstacle, I selected a Smarties McFlurry instead. Again, not possible because the grill was in use. I dragged Noah to the counter. “McFlurry?” I asked pointing to the blatant McFlurry machine. “No,” the woman said, and turned to the next customer. I was now left with the task of finding Noah his promised ice-cream. Four shops later, he got one.
  6. If you are relying on walking or public transport, check the weather. If that is too organised for you to manage, always carry the umbrella you got for Christmas in your mummy bag with you. What do you mean, you don’t know where it is?
  7. Don’t expect your child to be grateful for this outing. After we had got soaked waiting for the bus, then had an incident getting off the bus because Noah had lost one of his shoes, and I was then dragging Noah home on the scooter in the pouring rain, he announced: “Mummy, this is a DISASTER!”

Any time, my Noah. And, actually, comparing this outing to some of our other adventures (E.g. The Adventure of the Prater on the Boiling Hot Afternoon, The Adventure of the Eurovision Village and the Balloon, The Adventure at Zoom Ocean), it wasn’t a disaster at all.

I need a poo
I need a poo

Mums' Days

The Adventure of Extreme Weather in Vienna

It is so hot in Vienna at the moment, I can hardly function. I have never experienced heat like it. The cold tap runs warm. Sleep is impossible. It’s unbearable to be inside. Outside is worse. According to BBC weather, tomorrow it’s going to be 39 degrees. I am dreading it. Afternoons are mostly spent in front of the television with our wonky wretched fan attempting to circulate cool air. Noah spends all afternoon naked, apart from his Mickey Mouse slippers. I spend most of the afternoon arguing with Noah when he insists on turning the fan off or dragging my friend the fan around after me from room to room.

As Austria is land locked and there are no beaches, it compensates by having outdoor swimming pools. There are lots of them and some of them are beautiful, right on the side of a mountain with miles and miles of countryside around. I have only ever been to one swimming complex, Stadionbad, which is in the Prater (click here to see what the Prater is and what else is there). There is a bus right behind our apartment building which takes us straight there. Stadionbad is the more chavvy outdoor pool but I don’t mind. I’m an Essex Girl. I shop at Lakeside and like it. Stadionbad is the Lakeside of swimming pools, everything you need on your doorstep.

Stadionbad costs 5 euros for the day. Noah is free. It has an Olympic sized swimming pool, which I have never been near. It has a shallow pool which has a wave machine once an hour. It has two water shoots. It has a big curve shaped pool with a shallow end and deep end and it has an ankle-deep kids pool. Surrounding these pools is lots and lots of grass, shaded by numerous trees. People bring their own sunbeds, chairs, umbrellas, tents, plastic tables and they are set up for the day. On Saturday my husband had to work all day. I couldn’t face the thought of the whole day indoors, so I decided to brave Stadionbad on my own with Noah.

Swimming pools really aren’t my thing. In fact, I hate them. I hate getting wet. I hate how your swimming costume bottom stays wet for the rest of the day, no matter how hot it is. And don’t get me started on public pools. I don’t mind proper swimming as there is a purpose and benefit to it, but larking around in a swimming pool is not my idea of fun. If I sound like a misery, when it comes to swimming, I absolutely am. Noah’s swimming education is my husband’s domain. He takes Noah to his swimming lesson every week during his lunch hour. So I was really taking one for the team when I told Noah I’d take him swimming on Saturday.

When I opened my eyes on Saturday morning, I’d changed my mind about swimming. Maybe we could go to the Prater instead? Maybe Noah could go on a few rides and go in the playground? Then Noah came running in and scrambled over me, settling his naked self in the middle of the bed. “Mummy, are we going swimming today?” he asked, bouncing up and down. “Yes,” I sighed, “We are.”

Before he left for work, my husband gave me a lecture. He told me Noah is capable of swimming on his own. I mustn’t hold on to him all of the time. I must let him jump in on his own. I must take him on the slide. I should encourage him to do his “rocket” and his “engine”. He only needs to wear two of the armband floats rather than three. “Maybe I’ll tell him the slide is shut?” I suggested hopefully. “Don’t be ridiculous,” my husband said, looking at me from underneath his lowered eyebrows.

The first challenge of the day was putting sun cream on my own back. I enlisted Noah’s help which resulted in so much sun cream going over my swimming costume that I had to change into a different one.

When we got to Stadionbad, I spread our picnic blanket out under a tree and we were ready for the pool. But wait…I had encouraged Noah to bring his scooter. I was worried about leaving it there for anyone to come along and take it. How could I live in Vienna without it? I draped our towels over it, trying to make it look like a chair rather than a scooter and hoped for the best.

All ready for the pool
All ready for the pool

We went in the big pool and it was cold. It was only ten thirty and the pool hadn’t warmed up yet, despite the heat. Noah clung to me. He refused to show me his rocket or his engine. He refused to jump in. He refused to swim. I was at a loss. My imagination stalled drastically. What do people do in swimming pools with their children? I tried Pop Goes the Weasel, which is all I remember from my own swimming experiences at three years old, but Noah wasn’t a fan.

So we went on the slide. I don’t know if it’s because I have such a flat bottom (I am the direct opposite of Kim Kardashian. She got my share of bottom muscle/flesh, I’m sure of it. No one has a bum that big), but I always find these slides uncomfortable. My sitting bones bomp uncomfortably over each join in the plastic (i.e. every metre). Although Noah is a big fan of the slide, he is not a fan of the steps leading up to the slide, which have soggy bits of grass all over them. He is not a fan of the black rubber mat you stand on whilst getting on the slide. He is not a fan of the water that rushes out of the top of the slide. But still, we went on the slide five times. It was then 11.30 and I could claim it was lunchtime. And my bum was bruised.

A small roll for lunch
A small roll for lunch

After lunch, I wondered what we could do next. Noah made a half-hearted attempt to play in the little playground (two swings, some springy chicken things, a roundabout and a sandpit) but it was too hot and he ended up sitting on the grass gazing at the other children, chewing the ears on his toy lion. I took him to the shop so he could choose himself a swimming pool toy to keep him occupied. He’d seen a boy with one of those long thin float tube things and coveted it, but he didn’t choose that, he chose a water gun. We went to the kids’ pool and he played with the gun happily for ten minutes, taking great delight in squirting me. But then he threw the gun down and sat on the side watching it drift away, elbows on his knees and his chubby fist pressed into his chubby cheek.

What else was there to do? We got an ice cream and went back to pack up our stuff. Noah laid on the picnic rug sleepily and refused to move. I felt his pain. There was nothing I wanted to do more than lie down on that rug and have an afternoon siesta. But if he sleeps at lunch, he is up till nine and I love the boy dearly but I don’t need his company till nine o’clock at night. So I picked up the rug and rolled him off. Then I put him on the scooter, which no one had stolen, attached the scoot n pull and dragged him home.

The moral of this story is, always leave the swimming to my husband. I am much better as a fond observer.

My Noah and I are looking forward to Thursday when it’s going to drop to a chilly 26 degrees.

A much needed new bit of tat
A much needed new bit of tat

The Twinkle Diaries

The Adventure of Being a Mother with an Overactive Imagination

I am inclined to see drama and disaster in everyday things. It’s my vice. Never do my Mum and Dad board a plane home after a visit to Vienna, without me feeling a chill as I consider the fact the plane might fall from the sky. Highly unlikely. But possible. My husband often goes out for a run. Sometimes he is longer than he says he will be. A lot longer. Has he been hit by a car? Has he collapsed? No, he simply decided to do ten miles more than he had planned, but I am scouring the internet for reports of local accidents, or ready to call an ambulance (I don’t know the phone number for the police). My husband fondly calls me “a lunatic”; my mother fondly calls me “a pessimist”. I like to call it having an overactive imagination. Never is my disaster-inclined imagination rifer than when it comes to my Noah.

It’s very hot in Vienna at the moment and Noah has a slight fever. The top windows in his bedroom lift out. I wanted my husband to remove them in time for Noah’s bed, but my husband is AWOL at work. I got the stepladder out but I couldn’t reach them. So I have opened the bottom window, guaranteeing myself a sleepless night tonight even though it is far more likely Noah will suffer in the heat than fall out of the window. This leads me on to the first of the top 10 things I am constantly (irrationally) afraid of:

  1. Noah falling out of the window

We live on the third floor. By third floor, I actually mean fifth floor, because there are two weirdly named floors before the first floor (the names probably aren’t weird at all if you speak German). Anyway, we live a long way up from the ground. Our windows open straight out and if you should accidentally fall out of one, you are a gonner. When we first arrived, we insisted on a lock and chain being put on all of the windows. The locksmiths puzzled over this for weeks, as if the request were previously unheard of. My Mother (the very same one who calls me “a pessimist”) would wake up in the middle of the night worrying about Noah falling out of the window. She hounded me about this like crazy so I hounded my husband and he reluctantly hounded the locksmith and we ended up with windows that only open an inch unless you release the catch which is too stiff and fiddly for three year old thumbs to master. And yet. Tonight I will worry that Noah will get out of bed, drag a climbing device across his room to the window, open the curtains, lift up the blind, master the unmasterable window lock and throw himself out of the window. It’s never going to happen. But I am already imagining it.

  1. Noah throwing himself off the balcony

We have a very small balcony which overlooks the picturesque view of the rubbish bins at the back of the building. I only ever use it to hang washing over the clotheshorse. The balcony has apparently been child-proofed. That means it has had a Perspex sheet fitted around the iron bars, secured with plastic cable ties. In my mind, the balcony is anything but child-proof. Noah is forbidden from going out there but Noah is a child for who rules are made to be broken. We often have the balcony door slightly open because of the heat. I have been known to sit bolt upright in bed, just as my husband is falling asleep, and question whether the balcony door has been closed. Throwing the word “lunatic” over his shoulder, my husband throws the sheets off, stomps across the room and goes to shut the door. Why would Noah get out of bed in the middle of the night, find his way to the balcony, get himself a climbing device and throw himself off? He wouldn’t. But I cannot sleep if I know the balcony door is open.

  1. Running into the road

When we are out and about in Vienna, we always have Noah’s scooter in tow. He knows to stop at the roads and he does stop at the roads. But sometimes he lets go of the scooter and it rolls away. What if it rolled into the road and Noah, unthinking, dived after it and a car was coming? I worry about this every day.

  1. Coughing in the night

Sometimes Noah has a ten second coughing fit in the night and then there is silence. It always wakes me up. He has probably rolled over and gone back to sleep but I long to go in there and check he is okay. I am awake for quite some time, listening carefully for any noise. The reason I don’t go in there is because it is entirely possible that Noah is wide awake and me walking into his room will remind him of my existence resulting in him demanding the pleasure of my company until he falls back to sleep (which could take hours).

  1. Toys in the bed

Noah likes to take his toys to bed with him and he likes to put them in his mouth. He is not allowed to take his die-cast cars to bed with him in case the wheels come off in his mouth and choke him. But what if there is one in the bed and I haven’t noticed? The same applies to coins.

  1. Eating apples

Noah’s preferred way of eating an apple is whole with the core taken out and the skin removed. Sometimes he has an apple while I am getting ready in the mornings. I have been known to get out of the shower half way through washing my hair to check he hasn’t choked. I like to be in the room when he is eating that notoriously dangerous food, the apple.

  1. Sleeping well

Nothing freaks me out quite like Noah sleeping well. It’s so unexpected that I wonder if there is a catch. Is he okay? Has something happened to him? My emotional capacity lasts until seven-thirty and then I send my reluctant husband in to check on him which usually wakes him up.

  1. Something happening to him at kindergarten

Noah’s kindergarten is nothing like the nursery he went to in England. Noah comes home with scratches, bite marks, bruises, bloody knees and the kindergarten staff look confused on the odd occasion I ask them how he came across these injuries. In England, there would be an incident report giving a blow by blow account of the crime which I would have to sign as soon as I arrived to pick Noah up. When they go to the park, there is a member of staff at the front and one at the back. In between the children go marching two by two. That’s seventeen children between the ages of one and three, walking along a main road and crossing it to get to the park. Nothing ever happens to these kids; all the kindergartens here do it. But the UK nursery is my safety benchmark and the kindergarten here falls significantly short of it.

  1. Someone stalking and stealing Noah

For several reasons, I decided to put my Noah’s name and photographs on the World Wide Web and start up this blog. Some mummy bloggers (and there are thousands of us) don’t use their children’s names. Some don’t even use photographs. I made a conscious decision to use Noah’s name and to share facts about our lives. But what if someone starts reading my blog (a real bonafide lunatic rather than a novice one like me) and uses the details to stalk us and becomes obsessed with my Noah and takes him one day whilst I am daydreaming in the park?

  1. Adjusting badly when he starts school

In this instance, I am worried about Noah’s emotional safety rather than the physical. Noah isn’t starting school for another 14 months and already I am worrying about how he will adjust. He has been potty-trained for a year now and he still won’t go to the toilet at nursery. Will this pass by the time he starts school? Or will he hold his wee for seven hours instead of three? Since we moved to Vienna, Noah has not been looked after by anyone but me and my husband. If we get a babysitter for a night out, we cannot start getting ready until Noah is soundo: he somehow sniffs it out and refuses to go to sleep. Will he be one of those children who cry every day when their mother leaves him at the school gate? He cried for a month when he started kindergarten here. But everyone has to start school, don’t they? It’s an important life stage. Of course, what I am really worrying about here is my own emotional safety – my baby starting school? How will I cope?

All this isn’t that crazy is it? All mothers worry about their children, right? I’m not a lunatic or a pessimist really, am I?

Don’t talk to strangers, my Noah.

I wish Noah could wear armour every day
I wish Noah could wear armour every day