Monday, 27 April 2015

The Things I said I'd Never Do

Give my baby a dummy: They look awful, sound awful and I vowed no dummy would ever pass my daughter's lips. Then I became a mum and the dummy quickly achieved Holy grail status. 
If you've ever had the pleasure of a car journey with a screaming baby in tow, you'll understand the sheer importance of the dummy.
You will carry backups on outings, pick them up off supermarket floors, weep at the sound of it falling out of baby's mouth and hitting the mattress. Worst. Sound. Ever.

Put her in an outfit for comic purposes. She did make a lovely Reindeer though.... and a ridiculously cute Christmas pudding. Sorry, Eva.

Let my child sleep in our bed: I have to admit, the both of us love having her in beside us. As long as she's not still there in 18 years we're happy enough.... And who doesn't like being edged out of bed by a little tiny dictator?! 

Become a 'Sharent' Pre baby i'd roll my eyes at the 'he rolled over!' 'she cut her first tooth' 'she slept the night through!!' status'

I mean do we really need to wake up to an album of 50 images of little Johnny with a face full of baby rice? 
After two weeks of absolute, utter teething hell (I was close to returning her to the hospital) , Eva cut her first tooth and her mood lifted.
I wanted to shout it from the rooftops, we got our baby back! Our little girl has a tooth! I completely empathized with the status' I had once mocked.
And let's be honest, there's more annoying  people on Facebook: club promoters, the game requester...

Go more than two days without washing my hair. The routine that I once actually enjoyed, now drains all energy out of me. Messy buns and dry Shampoo are ultimately the way forward. It even gets me compliments when I wash it.

Use the tv to entertain her: Little Charley Bear guarantees me my morning coffee, the coffee that is essential for functioning so it's a win win situation!

Talk about bodily functions like it's the norm: I used to be a private person. That was until I gave birth and took to the whole 'leave your dignity at the door' approach like a duck to water. I talk to other mums about labour and birth (stitches, tears, waters breaking..) as casual as talking about a sore throat. Stuart gets home from work and is greeted with graphic nappy updates. Who says that romance is dead?!

Feed her shop bought food: In a perfect world i'd be stood in the kitchen, apron on and blending together the  freshest, organic concoctions.. and I do. Sometimes. minus the apron.. 
But for all those other times, there's always the trusty Ella's Kitchen's pouches....

Swear infront of her: I'm usually quite good at this, but I have been known to let out the odd  'F' or 'S' when my little one skins the ankles off me with the baby walker. It's almost as bad as standing on a plug. 


Lift a dummy from the ground and give it to her: Six months in and the manic obsession with cleanliness/sterilizing everything within an inch of her is dwindling. 

"Awwk it landed the right way up, it'll be fiiiiiine."

Give advice: Remember all that unwelcome, unsolicited advice you received whilst pregnant? I vowed i'd never do the same. 
 I'm now that person. 

Dress her in mix matched clothes: In my defense dressing this little woman is task in itself. As much as I try to have her looking half decent and matched, the poor child can at times look like she's been dressed in the dark.

Talk baby talk: I'm constantly being told off for my long list of names for our daughter. Little lamb, Miss monkey, monkey button, baby puppy, toodles and the newly added 'Ducky' It drives Stuart insane!

Let my house resemble Toys 'r' Us: Well that lasted all of a few weeks. Then the baby walker came, followed by the bumbo, the two toy baskets, the ball pool, high chair, the travel cot. The joys!.


Monday, 20 April 2015

What I miss about pregnancy

There seems to be such a baby boom at the minute, my social media time lines are filled daily with scan pictures and bump updates! It's making me reminisce about last year like a crazy woman and brings back floods of memories both good and bad!.
When the Mr asked what my latest blog post was on and I told him,he had a look of utter horror on his face. 

Do not fear, friend. After this particular bout of teething, all plans of a future pregnancy have been put on hold for now, until my sanity returns at least.
But below are just a few things I miss/love about the pregnancy process!

Those first few weeks: When only Stuart and I knew our little secret. It was too early to tell  anyone. In fact we were still trying to come to terms with it ourselves, and for several weeks we got to enjoy this special but absolutely terrifying time together. Stuart wrote on a Valentine's Card ' You and me, we'll soon be 3' I was an absolute emotional wreck reading it. 

The thick glossy hair and strong  white nails: I thought this was nothing but a pregnancy myth but wow, this pregnancy caper does wonders for your hair and nails. I didn't really take too much attention to it at the time but at a few months post partum I was mourning the loss of my shiny thick locks and unbreakable nails!

 Apparently this is all to do with the increased estrogen levels, blood circulation and sped up metabolism which carries more nutrients to your hair and nails. But I reckon Pregnacare supplements had a lot to do with this as well-My midwife told me to continue taking them even after giving birth to make sure my body was getting all the nutrients it needed while my body was recovering.

It's ok to put on weight!: For the first time in my life it was completely acceptable to put on weight, in fact it's natural and healthy. Although eating for two is unfortunately a myth, it's probably the one time in your life you can enjoy your food without feeling too guilty. (I didn't say no to seconds.. or thirds for that matter) Any time I was horrified at the number on the scales I reminded myself that it wasn't just the weight of the baby I was carrying, it was placenta, increased volume of blood/fluid  and amniotic fluid.

Pass the cupcakes, please!

Baby shopping: The other day we were in a baby section of a clothing shop and I spotted  a pregnant woman with her mum browsing the first size clothes. I could have cried reminiscing back to those days, browsing through shops with mum 'awwwwhing' and 'aaaahing' over all the teeny little doll-like clothes. 

 Of course we could never leave a shop without buying at least something, even if it was just a pack of muslin cloths or socks! Not to mention that a shopping trip could almost always guarantee a free lunch with a iced caramel latte. I was in my element.
The minute I got home I would go straight into Eva's room and get everything out and would constantly sift through all the clothes sorting them into sizes, several times a week. I was obsessive!

The naps: I'm talking the pre 20 week naps, before the aches, pains, heartburn, cramps and even lightning crotch(Is there a politer way to put it?) kicked in. The post work naps that stretched well into dinner time. I've never been a great sleeper so these naps were heavenly!

The cleavage: I've said it before but Mother Nature gives you an amazing, natural free boob job, and in a cruel twist of fate takes it away from you, despite all the hard graft you've put in over the last 40 weeks. Life, eh?

The pregnancy bubble: You spend the duration in your lovely little pregnancy bubble which i miss terribly! I start back to work in less than a month and my bubble is well and truly burst. My body is back to normal. I can lift heavy things, I don't need to use the lift as the stairs that once seemed kilimanjaro like

are now fine. I can eat all the soft cheese I want, a few glasses of Jack D here and there are perfectly fine. I miss my little bubble of safe!

People are nicer, strangers stop to talk: Everyone loves a pregnant woman!.. (except  for maybe all the men on my Facebook list who've had to endure my pregnancy updates.) Working in retail customers constantly stopped to chat to me, asking me how I was getting on and offering up pieces of advice (not all welcome advice!- I could have done without hearing about how your complicated your daughters/nieces/second cousin twice removed's neighbour's delivery was) 

People become a lot friendlier, doors are opened for you, seats are offered up.. People have never been so nice to me in all my life. Now i'm just one of those pests with a a pram. One that struggles to navigate it around narrow shop aisles and clips people's ankles in the process, the kind of person you hate to find yourself walking behind.

The midwife appointments: Talking to midwives, getting baby's measurements, hearing the heartbeat, seeing the growth chart progress.. I really enjoyed it. Just me?

The bump: I was constantly being told how much i'd miss my bump, and after 41 weeks I honestly couldn't remember what life was like pre-bump. By the end it made everything awkward, I underestimated how much room I had between myself and cupboards, doors, shelves- everything!. Trying to get into a comfortable position in bed was almost impossible, even talking left me gasping for air and shaving my legs left me as out of breath as doing a marathon. 
Nearly seven months on I admit I really do miss my bump, my little built in resting shelf. 
I used to sit for hours watching my bump rise and see a foot or a leg here and there, watching it grow by the week, and  the hiccups.. ahhh the hiccups.

The pampering: I was gifted lots of mum and me products for my birthday and towards the end of my pregnancy. Sleep mist, bump lotion,shampoo and bath oils. There are so many products on the market aimed at mums to be! (Mum and Me were my favourite but Asda do a great range, as does Sanctuary available in Boots!) I'd usually think products like this a little gimmicky and any excuse to get mums to be to part with their pennies but I really enjoyed them! The products are loaded with ingredients such as camomile and lavender to help relax and soothe those aches and pains as well as containing ingredients to hydrate your skin which can become stretched, itchy and tight in the later stages. It's a lovely time to really focus on your body and health and really take time to pamper yourself. Lets face it, once baby arrives this goes out the window!. 

I practically lived in the bath, did weekly hair and face masks, made smoothies with fresh fruit and treated my bump to a massage with bump butters morning and night!.

Lazy days: Days spent in the comfort of my bed. I'd make breakfast and would go crawling back into bed- which contained a massive stash of books, magazines, snacks!. At the time I felt ridiculously guilty.. Stuart used to joke that I spent all day in bed and get dressed just minutes before he walked through the door from home (...and there may be a little a bit of truth in this..) but on reflection, I had nothing to feel guilty about, had I known how little time I would spend in my bed when baby arrived i'd have spent the last two months in bed! instead we were smack bang in the middle of a house move, but nevertheless, I had some amazing pajama days, I think every mama to be should make the very most of these days!

Being a psycho and getting away with it: All hell broke loose the day Stuart returned from Boots with the wrong flavour of Gaviscon. Aniseed? ANISEED? what must he have been smoking to pick me up aniseed flavour? The poor man just took it on the chin, apologising profusely.

Any time we had as much as a disagreement, even just a minor difference of opinion such as what to have for dinner, my eyes would well up and everything seemed earth shattering. It's comical (and embarrassing) looking back. 
Stuart told me in the weeks after that it was getting increasingly hard to bite his tongue, but he knew it was the hormones.  
The man did good.

You're never alone: You've yet to meet your little one, yet there is an unbreakable bond. When I was having a tough time in work feeling my little one kick away really kept me going, it was such a comforting feeling, I was never alone. From the minute I found out I was pregnant I became so protective over this little person I had yet to meet. Remember that scene in Friends when Rachel has her baby?.

Upon giving birth she looks down at baby Emma in her arms and says "I know you" 
It is so spot on and gets me every.Single.Time.

(Obligatory labour selfie...)

The labour/delivery experience: Every time we drive past the hospital my hearts a little! Stuart laughs and I have to defend myself by explaining that the maternity ward holds so many memories for me as it was the first place we met our daughter! It was the same hospital I sat in crying my eyes out when I'd fallen down the stairs before 20 weeks and we had feared the worst. The one I'd spent a night in at 37 weeks for an infection that wouldn't shift. I'd sat in the day unit with a trace machine attached when I couldn't feel any movements, laboured and gave birth in the home from home unit and carried my little girl through the corridors to the car on her first day home. So many memories!

Is there anything you miss about pregnancy?!


Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Eva's First Easter

Wow. Was that not the longest winter ever?? I have never been so glad to see the back of it, to be reunited with the sun, long light evenings and summer wardrobe (Ok, i'm being a little over optimistic, and it is only April, but having had to survive summer '14 heavily pregnant in not so flattering maternity wear, I am dying to get into clothes that don't make me look like a tent). That is after i've blown the dust off our crosstrainer which is currently being used as an extra clothes horse in the spare room, and burnt off all six easter eggs, two chinese takeaways and a bottle of Jim Beam that we've managed to consume over the holidays. Just as soon as i'd achieved my pre-baby weight, Christmas came around, followed by Easter. And i'm not the kinda girl to turn down food.
Eva was an October baby and from day one she lived in snow suits, it was an extremely wet and dark winter and by January we were suffering from major cabin fever having being cooped up in the house when the weather wasn't so good. It is amazing what good weather can do for your mood, sunshine is the best medicine. 
 I'm looking forward to getting more active with Eva and letting her explore outside! We are so ready for the summer.. barbecues, trips to the beach, zoo......... beer gardens! 
I've erased all memory of the non-alcoholic Kopparberg of last year and i'll be looking forward to stocking up the fridge for future bbqs.

I think out of the six months we've known Eva, this past week we have seen the most changes in her development which has been lovely as Stuart has been at home to witness it all.
Her first little tooth is in full view, she is making a fabulous attempt at crawling, (she is even practising her new found skills at bedtime, d'oh).
Several times this week Stuart or I have went into her room for a little check and she's been found at the opposite end of the cot, tucked away in the corner with her lanky legs hanging out the bars.

At the risk of sounding like i've aged 40 years, they really do not stay babies for long.
The other night Stuart sat down to watch a film and I decided to sort through Eva's clothes on the floor next to him, packing the smaller ones away into storage boxes.. just in case.
Bad idea.
The poor man constantly had to hit pause on his film and was subjected to
"Awwwwwwwh! look at this one", sobbing
and reminiscing about every.single.outfit.
'Remember she wore this coming from home hospital/her first walk etc etc'
If Eva was a half decent sleeper, I reckon we'd be extremely broody right about now.
It's just as well I am awakened several times in the night with spinal trauma from Eva's feet, it's a sure reminder we're far from ready for two. We're fighting for duvet as it is.
We had a lovely few days celebrating Easter together and our families amusingly bought Eva easter eggs. (Most likely as we took the huff when she received no selection boxes at Christmas-when  she was a mere 2 1/2 months.....)
We couldn't decide where to go on Easter Monday, and as the weather was unusually glorious for N.Ireland we knew we had to make the most of it.

We decided to visit the Argory in Co.Armagh where I had been on a school trip, well over fifteen years ago where we dressed up in victorian attire and got well into role play (I didn't tell him that...)  but after feeling inspired by Emma from (Life at the Little Wood) who visited a few weeks back, I thought it was the perfect place to go, and far less crowded than the seaside towns.
It was as beautiful as I remembered it being and there were plenty of walks, which came as a massive relief as we had to cut short the guided tour around the house as Eva decided to give off whilst the guide was explaining the house rules.
I left red faced, apologising with a screaming baby over my shoulder while Stuart said
"Get used to it, Sarah, this is the start of it"

We were made brutally aware that we are rookies to this family day out caper and we sat on a blanket that soaked up all the rain from the grass while everyone else in sight sat on pop up chairs with fold up tables. 
While they ate their sandwiches and salads from cooler bags and sipped on coffee from thermos flasks, Stuart had to ran up to the coffee shop to buy us lunch. 
I'll step up my mum game by summer...

So that was our first family Easter in a nutshell. Lots of outdoors, sunshine, chocolate, family gatherings, and lots of firsts with Eva!


Thursday, 2 April 2015

Things That I've Learnt 6 Months On.

Just when you think you've got it sussed, everything changes again: 
Just as I started to get the hang of things, there's more I have to get my head around. 
We're up to size 3 teats on our bottles, 3+ in nappies, we've started follow on milk, we have cut our very first tooth, we're on the move!.. ahhh. Change, change, change.

Now that she's on solid foods, there's more... errrr,'solid' nappies:

It's safe to say there's almost always a debate over who's turn it is, and i'm usually the loser. 
Stuart makes (what really is an) impressive theatrical production out of it, coughing and gagging until I have no other choice than to take over- much to his relief.
Of course the woman/mum in me gets the job done in a matter of minutes, fuss free.. 
human-style vomit however, gets me every time... where's the teacher with the sawdust at?!

The lack of sleep- is still flippin' horrendous. 182 days without a full nights sleep, even longer if you include the late pregnancy insomnia, the eating of cheerios at 4am, hourly bathroom trips etc..

Our little cherub is as good as gold from 7.30pm-1am and then the party kicks off. I've never been a great sleeper anyway, but this sleep deprivation is torturous.
Every surface is beginning to look appealing to sleep on. I'd happily sleep on the hard living room wooden floor without a blanket if I was given half a chance. Hell, give me a thorn bush as a pillow if I was guaranteed a few hours kip. 
However, by mid morning after a coffee (or two) i've forgotten all about it and life goes on as normal, there are no days off in Mummyland. 

Everything is a two man job: Eva is on the move and it is laughable to think I thought it was so ridiculously hard when she was immobile and slept 20 hours a day.

Ha! Back in those glorious days when a cry could only mean three things.. a feed, change or cuddle. Suddenly now there's tears when I take the Sky remote out of her mouth, when I steer her away from the kitchen bin in her baby walker, if I dare even take her spoon away from her mouth during lunch.
Certain things really have started to become a two man job. 
For example, now that she's rolling about, those nappy changes I talked of earlier could potentially end in utter catastrophe if one of us isn't holding on to her legs tight enough. 
We'll wrap her up in her blankets, straight jacket- style, only to check on her moments later when she's not only managed to make her way out of them but she's at the opposite end of the cot with a great big smirk on her face. Nightmare.
I can only compare it to caring for a small, hyperactive puppy.. 
and who doesn't love puppies?

Every day there are little changes and we get to see more of her personality: 
She is such a happy little thing, a tad on the shy side, but sing a nursery rhyme to her and you'll win her over in no time at all. She has mastered the art of the fake cough and can put on a impressive squeal which can have Daddy at her call in seconds - the once strong, stubborn man has crumbled! - 
She loves to be held, cuddled and tucked in tight and will playfully tug at your clothes while she drifts off.
Although I bang on repeatedly about our lack of sleep, we'll go  into her room at ridiculous o'clock and she'll have done a commando-style roll across her cot and has the cheekiest look on her face, we can't help but laugh. She really does keep us entertained.

The food tastes great: I am forever being told off for eating Eva's food. 

In my defense (or what I like to tell Stu) is that I wouldn't ever want to feed my daughter something I wouldn't be willing to eat myself. 
Organix in particular do a fantastic range of fruit pots which I often eat along with her.. as well as Ella's kitchen.. Sweet potato, pumpkin, blueberries and apples?.. heavenly.
I've discussed this with other mum's who screw their noses up but each to their own, eh? 
Count me in for the baby food diet.

How quickly the weeks go in: I'm trying to get my head around the fact i'll be returning to work in just a few weeks. What? It literally only feels like yesterday I was breaking our pregnancy news and suddenly i've been a mummy six months and returning to work? how can this be? I have been so happy living in my pregnancy/mummy bubble that i'm petrified of getting out there in the real world, having to talk to people about topics other than sleep and feeds. 
Yes, yes. I know, it'll be great for the two of us, but a little longer in our little bubble would be just lovely.

You realise you're getting on a bit: Stuart and I went out for my Birthday at the weekend. 

We decided to go to bar where we had visited on one of our very first dates. We were none the wiser of how we got home that night, if it was by taxi how did we even explain whre 'home' was? Who paid? did we even have money on us? who knows..  Ahhh, those carefree days, eh?
 This time around it couldn't have been more different, not bad different, just.. different . 
I stared around at a sea of teens/early 20's and wondered what my daughter was up to at her Nanny's. 
We studied today's youth's fashion, haircuts and music and decided (after a few cinnamon whiskeys) to head home. While it was still a great night, we could have had easily had as much fun on the sofa, Jack Daniels in hand . We spent the next morning cuddled up on the sofa drinking orange lucozade and feeding our faces with Birthday cake. This weekend i'm looking for a dine in for two, a few drinks and Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.
And what?

A few weeks back I met up with a girl I have known for a long time.. from Brownie Guides to the awkward teenage years.

Back in the day Laura and I would spend the long week in school discussing the weekend, who was coming out,where we would be going, and more importantly what we'd be drinking. We have countless memories together, most of them rather hazy- (the first Absinthe shot I ever experienced, I took with Laura.)
Fast forward almost ten years (whaat?!) and we're sitting in her kitchen feeding our babies lunch discussing how Mr Maker isn't all that bad looking.. and how Mr Tumble is borderline creepy, But most importantly that as challenging and frustrating it can be, we wouldn't change being mums for anything in the world. 

And on that, I must dash and restrain  Eva from eating Stuart's socks off the clothes horse.


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