Tuesday, 30 June 2015

You Know You're A Parent When..

You participate in a fair bit of baby dumping. Y'know, that ol' classic, 'Can you hold the baby for two minutes while *I go and do something extremely important*.
 EG: lay down. Scroll through Instagram feed. Sit on the toilet longer than I need to etc etc etc

You already have a mental list made out of all the things you'd do differently if baby no:2 ever comes along.

Your first thought when the sun comes out isn't sandals, cocktails and Al Fresco dining in the garden. it's 'QUICK, get the washing on the line!'. Is there anything more aesthetically

Yep. It's true. Your bin really does go out more than you do.

...But secretly you'll not even mind your cosy weekends in wearing pjammas,with a glass of wine and family size bag of crisps,

You take mental note of everything. My 'turn' to change the dirty nappy? I think you'll find that I was chief nappy changer yesterday at precisely 8.38pm. Get to it!

You feel stupid walking anywhere without your pram/buggy, honestly what are you meant to do with your arms?

A shower when baby is at the Grandparents could rival an afternoon at the Spa.

You call each other 'Mummy' and 'Daddy' so much it's strange hearing your partner calling you by your 'real' name.

Your little one has more money in their savings/money box than you do.

Your baby is peacefully in the land of nod upstairs, yet you're downstairs whispering to each other, approximately fifteen minutes will go by before one of you will realise 

'What are we whispering for?'

You'd rather be a human shield against vomit, pee and food than have to clean it off your carpet, sofa or duvet sheets.

You feel guilty for getting your other half to mind the baby while you do normal human things like shower and go to the toilet. Why am I apologising for needing to pee?!

You can't name any of the songs in the current top 10, but can sing all the theme tunes to your little one's favourite shows. They'll circulate around in your head all day, everyday.

"My name is Mr Bloom and i'd like to come and see you soon..."

You have random items of clothing scattered in every room of the house on every surface, from the kitchen table to the bathroom floor.

Baby events are as equally exciting as a sale in Topshop.

You know fine rightly it's never a good idea to use Google to self diagnose, but you do anyway and are highly aware you'd look like a hypochondriac psycho mum if anyone had access to your account.

You're watching your money, pay day isn't even in the horizon yet but you still can't leave a baby section without purchasing something. 

You can sleep on any surface, anywhere, at any time of the day. 

Your bed, the floor, standing.

Your little one eats like a Queen/King while you eat food straight from the packet. Who needs a plate anyway? Dishes = extra washing!

Little one is fast asleep, yet you're too tired to lift the remote and turn off the baby channels, but you don't even mind- you're getting to sit!

You feel every single emotion during the course of the day.

You honestly wouldn't change anything.




Thursday, 25 June 2015

(Almost) nine months.

-We are currently brainstorming ideas for Eva's first Birthday at the start of October . Ahhhh!  It is only when I see her next to friend's newborn babies does it  really sink in that she's not the little tiny baby I still like to believe she is. Recently we've boxed up lots of little E's newborn bits (mitts, first toys, clothes, bottles) and came to terms that  the newborn chapter is well and truly over.
 That being said i'm so excited to get planning Eva's first Birthday and all that comes along with mothering a one year old!. 
More challenges, firsts, laughs and memories.

A new (ten thousand square ft!) Mothercare recently opened in our hometown with an impressive Early Learning Centre inside so we'll probably take a visit for some gift inspiration, but we are both set on buying her a SmarTrike, as this little lady is Anti car seat/pram/stroller. A SmarTrike will give her a lot more freedom and (hopefully) make trips out anywhere fuss free!
I've also been browsing on Party Pieces  and Party Delights for party supplies, but have found that Amazon is just as good (and often so much cheaper!)

-Lately the tantrums are make teething look like a walk in the park. I clearly missed the memo that tantrums could occur so early on! Is this a taster of the Terrible Twos? If so , I may start stocking the fridge with wine right away. (Joking- kind of)
Regardless, she definitely wins the award for Queen of the tantrums. I'd like to say she didn't inherit that from me, but something in the back of my mind tells me otherwise. 

At the moment it's complete refusal to sitting in her stroller, several times i've had to trek the half an hour walk back from town with a baby over one shoulder and the stroller in the other.There has been many a fearful moment when I thought I was going to drop her (I can only describe it like hauling around a big sack of potatoes), no need to take up those gym sessions, those mummy muscles are coming along nicely! A kind lady actually helped me put the key in the front door the other day when she seen me struggling. Faith in humanity restored! Honestly it's the little things like this which make me happy for the rest of the day. 

I've been that mummy this week, you know the one with the baby that won't stop crying in the queue in Boots? And let me tell you this, never again will I fire a disapproving look that mother's way. That's the mum that needs a reassuring smile the very most. She's the one who's feeling a little under the weather and a bit deflated, the very one that doesn't need a sea of spectators judging her, she does that enough to herself. 

-Speaking of teething it's peaked dramatically this week so I found myself once again in the Chemist searching the shelves for products we have yet to try. I picked up Nelson's 'Teetha' gel as we're fans of the granules and so far, so good. We're still rotating between Calpol and Nurofen, Anbesol for the challenging days and using her Nuby teething toys!. Eva still only has her two bottom teeth but with lots of broken sleep lately, we reckon one is around the corner. SOS.

We are really enjoying discovering everything around us, absolutely nothing goes unnoticed, from every little crumb on the kitchen floor, to the bin and not to mention the doorstop in the bathroom.  I know so many parent's who can vouch for this, but  it is so flippin' true. You can buy a baby the most expensive toys that 'Toys 'R' Us have in stock, but your baby will always  seem to gravitate to the least expensive, meaningless things.
Boxes, bubble wrap, shoes!
Little amuses the innocent.
(The latest hiding place, under the kitchen table)
On the subject of toys I recently sorted through Eva's over flowing toy box. She seems to have lost interest in a lot of her first toys. (Rattles, linky toys etc) and seems to only enjoy things with lights and play music. She loves her 'First smart phone' and ' Vtech Junior DJ'
That being said she still loves her stacking cups in the bath and the balls from her ball pit! 
She loves 'Waybuloo' on Cbeebies which brings a massive smile to her face, and anything that she can drum on... this week it has been a cake tin!. although it's usually shoes up against a window or keys against the wooden floor. There is nothing timid about this boisterous little lady!

Thank you little one for keeping us entertained , making us laugh at the silliest things. For reminding us that life is too short to worry about trivial things and to be patient, ever so patient. But more importantly for showing us love. 
Lots and lots of lovely love.


Saturday, 20 June 2015

Happy 1st Father's Day.

At this very moment in time i'm listening to you singing 'Twinkle Twinkle' on the baby monitor upstairs. It's been nearly nine months now, and I don't think i'll ever get bored of listening to you with our daughter. Even when you're singing Elvis 'Return to Sender' or 'Stand By Me'  on a Sunday morning for a solid hour. I roll my eyes after the fifth play and even though I know you'll never make it on to Xfactor, inside my heart melts.
Thank you for being so heavily involved in every little thing. From the moment we found out we were pregnant you insisted on coming to every appointment you could possibly make, even if it meant leaving work a little earlier. You attended every scan, came to hear our baby's heart beat for the very first time and even the midwives  commented saying 'You know, you don't have to attend every appointment they do get a bit repetitive!!' but you were there when you could, you wanted to be involved from the very start and I really appreciate it.
You pestered the midwives with questions and concerns so that you could be as prepared as you possibly could be for what was ahead, even if I kept having to telling you 
 'Shhhhhh, let them get on with their job.'
I'm glad you were concerned, it showed you cared.
You built up the pram, the nursery furniture and came home several times with baby clothes that you had went out and bought on your lunch break, even though the thought of dressing a baby girl scared the living day lights out of you- it was one of the first fears you expressed out loud when the sonographer handed us the 'pink' bag at our gender scan.
'How will I know what to dress her in??'
You have done a remarkable job by the way, (of course you are by no means ready to intern at Vogue, but you are doing better than I ever imagined.)
You have a major case of OCD when making sure her little socks are pulled right up, her face is completely clean, and there are no traces of fluff innbetween her fingers.
 It is hilarious. 
You listened to me complain for months on end about aches and pains, cry with frustration, comforted me when I was confused at all the physical and emotional changes going on in my body. You kept your mouth shut when you took the full brunt of hormonal breakdowns. You were always there when I needed a cuddle or a shoulder to cry or even just someone to vent my frustrations to (Which was pretty much 24/7) You perfected a very convincing 'Noooooo' when I asked you did I look monstrously obese at 40 weeks pregnant, and constantly told me I looked great even though I am so painfully aware that I didn't.
I was living in Disney pjammas and barely had the energy to brush my hair, but you always had something lovely to say even if it was just
 'Did you paint your nails today?, they're lovely'
It's nice that you noticed the little things.
You drove me around several different shops on a Friday night to curb my cravings and gained some sympathy weight with me, we even joked you were having a phantom pregnancy
Thank you for holding my hand and helping me through labour, for making me laugh even when I was in extreme pain.  I honestly look back at our labour with amazing memories. You wore the hair net into the maternity ward kitchen not realising the sign only applied to staff. I honestly can't ever see the day that I won't find this absolutely hilarious! You still argue you were in the right. Ha!
You cut the cord, were the first person to dress Eva for the first time and give her her very first feed.
You once told me, years ago, that you never thought you'd be a dad, always the uncle. 
I was so delighted to see you holding your own little baby. Our little baby.
Thank you for always making us laugh. The longer i've known you I begin to question whether i'm laughing with you, or at you. But either way, you make me laugh, and more importantly our daughter, whether you are throwing her up in the air, upside down, hanging her by her feet.. (Ahhhh) She thinks you are a comedian. Please cherish every moment, as one day we'll be the most embarrassing people on the planet in her eyes, and that day will come around quicker than we'd like to think.
Thank you for the Saturday morning coffee, for bringing breakfast into me when I'm getting ready for work on a Sunday. Thank you for understanding that I'm not and never will be the Nigella type and that sometimes my dinners are a bit shit. You never complain though and know that sometimes I'm rushed for time.
We have had the best and the worst of times, are so madly in love looking at our daughter , and hours later can be calling each other every name under the sun. I don't think we really quite knew just how hard this journey would be. It can be stressful and frustrating at times and we have felt every emotion going- we broke up every night of the 4 month sleep regression and were one big happy family by the morning, but  in all honestly, I wouldn't choose anyone else to be on this journey with but you.
Well,  David Beckham might be nice, but I doubt he'd cope too well with my Disney pjammas and panda eyes from when i've been too exhausted to take off my make up.

Thank you for being patient, for giving up the tv in the evenings to watch In The Night Garden, for rocking our little woman to sleep in your arms when she's teething. For taking her to park and pushing her on the swings, and sitting her on your knee while you watch the football. For nipping out to Tescos no matter the time of the day when we've been out of calpol or nappies and for kissing our heads in the morning before you leave for work. 
Thank you for being an amazing Dad, partner and friend.
Happy First Father's Day!


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Stay At Home vs Working Mum

I'll put my hands up and openly admit that there was once a time, not too long ago when I thought stay at home mums had it easy. Real easy.
I rolled my eyes whenever I read 'Full time Mummy!' on social media sites.
Can't work or won't work?! i'd mentally ask, 
picturing them all catching up over flat whites in Costa, having baby dates in soft play centers and strolling through the park whenever the sun made an appearance.
It seemed like one giant holiday, how could they have anything to complain about?

Then I became a mum, and I was left eating my words. 

I quickly realised just how hard the 'job' was. In fact my retail job that once used to stress me out, would sometimes seem like a holiday away from it all. OK maybe not quite a week away in the Cote d'Azur, but one where I could pee in peace and not have to share my lunch, and that's just as good as isn't it?.....
I spent the last few months of my Maternity leave toying with the idea of not going back to work. Some days I got so emotional at the thought of having to return, I felt she was still too little, changing so rapidly by the day and the thought of missing out on anything would have me bawling into a box of Kleenex.
Other days (teething days, always teething days) I would have happily shut the front door and sprinted over hot coals to work, begging them to let me start back there and then, hell, I would have done a shift for free to get out of the' pressure cooker' house.

 I love being at home with my daughter, and as much as I moan (and I do moan) about the lack of sleep, and the early starts, my skinned ankles courtesy of  the baby walker and cleaning the decomposed banana out of the high chair. (banana is the absolute worst offender- I shudder at the very thought.) I really do love it. The good days, the bad days.. the in between. I just love being a mum.

But, i'd love to debunk this myth that Stay at home mums have it easy, because it is so far from the truth. 
While it may all seem all good fun, coffee dates and afternoon naps.(God forbid we nap when baby does! - and if you do, never admit it to your other half or you'll have to hear all about 'the nap' for the next fortnight.)
It is 24/7  Living for the weekend means nothing other than maybe getting a sleep in on a Saturday morning if your other half is feeling particularly generous. It's eating on the go; a polite term for inhaling a sandwich in two bites as you try to prise your little one's fingers away from opening the bin, and trying to dismantle the tv off the wall. There's the over-tired tantrums, the cabin fever on rainy days,the endless cycle of dishes, washing and cleaning food out of the high chair with no overtime, no hope of a bonus or payrise. It's basically a full time unpaid job in the house. 

Of course I wouldn't have this any other way.

No really,  I wouldn't. I can't remember ever feeling this content and so genuinely happy. 
My head and house are so chaotic at times, but my heart is so so happy. 
At the risk of  sounding like i'm being sponsored by Hallmark, the love I feel for my daughter is indescribable.
I love my sleep, a tidy house and having time to wash my hair. But I love my daughter even more.
But that is not to say it doesn't leave me feeling enraged when someone says 'So what did you do all day?'  'It could be worse, you could be at work!' 
This leaves many of us mums looking and feeling like a bull that's seen a red flag.
As much as I would love to spend my days in Costa sipping on caramel lattes and devouring red velvet cake with my mummy friends, I would need a lotto win to fund it, because lets be honest, Costa prices weren't made with statutory maternity pay in mind.
Most people I know are at work during the day, our plans are weather dependent and it's a challenge to keep things fun and entertaining all.The.Time... and that's when Mr Tumble and his flippin' spotty bag come in handy. (*Cue the mummy guilt for using the tv as a distraction*)

I have been fortunate enough to return back to the work in the evenings, so I get to spend the entire day with Eva before starting my shift. I'm so greatful that my job has allowed me to do that as i'm aware there are so many mum's who don't have the choice of evening work. In a way I have the best of both worlds, I spend every day at home with my baby and three evenings at work. I can relate to so many things that stay at home mums go through and  those mums who are newly back at work (where I spend my entire break pestering my other half to send me pictures and  updates on everything under the sun)

Did she eat all her dinner? How many oz's of her bottle did she take? did she go down ok? Have you went and checked on her? Send me a wee pic.

I read a lovely blog post this week which really inspired this post.


I insist you read and nod along, laugh and maybe even shed a little tear.

Mums, working mums, stay at home mums, part time, full time, whatever it may be, you are nothing short of amazing.


Saturday, 6 June 2015

Confessions Of A Sleep Deprived Mum

 You honestly don't care that you only have rights to the corner of the duvet or the fact that your feet are poking out the bottom of the bed, you just want sleep.

You've even learnt to sleep  surprisingly well with a little foot wedged in your spine and you're quite accustomed to random flailing fist attacks throughout the night.

You roll your eyes at anyone who says they're 'exhausted' infront of you, refusing to acknowledge the fact that they might well be! 

(Exhausted?! HA! you wouldn't know what exhausted is!...)

You start to take on all the advice you shunned at the beginning. Sleeping when baby sleeps is absolute genius.

You become that highly irritating Debbie Downer that you yourself hated when you were pregnant

"Ohhhh you may get all the sleep you can now, there's no sleep once baby arrives!!!"

You regularly participate in fights with your other half over who is more tired and list everything you've done that day to plead your case.

There was a time, long ago that you could only sleep with two pillows and the duvet had to cover your legs, now you can sleep without both..

You feel hungover  in the mornings without  even as much as a sip of alcohol the night before. 

Pjs are mandatory from 3pm onwards regardless of how light it is outside and you can't remember what your hair looks like left down. (Long live the top knot)

In fact you've more choices when it comes to pjammas and lounge wear than 'going out' clothes.

You fight with yourself to stay up past eleven at the weekend, just to feel like it wasn't  a wasted night. (Even know you'll not  even remember the last half hour of Graham Norton in your semi conscious state)

Which is the reason why you have a sky planner full of half watched programmes that you never get caught up on.

You hate that one mum on your Facebook who continuously gloats about their 7pm-7am sleeping baby and think she's nothing more than a smug ******, despite the fact she's actually really lovely and has always been extremely nice to you whenever you've bumped into her.

You have the best intentions on a Friday night, but end up emptying the contents of your wine glass down the sink and you wonder what the hell you've become.

When the Grandparents offer to take baby for the night you're more excited at the prospect of a full nights sleep rather than the date night you have had planned for ages. Getting ready is effort, effort requires energy. Takeaway and sofa it is!

The Boots points you've racked up with all the nappies/milk and Ella's Kitchen go towards all the concealer you need to cover the Uncle Fester eye bags you've accumulated.

If you were to go through your Google history you'd find countless pages of  sleep related questions.
In fact you have that much knowledge on the topic you could probably teach it.

You fight over who's turn it is to settle the baby down when you hear 'the call' on the baby monitor.

 (And then suffer crippling mummy guilt for not going....but the trek up the stairs really does seem mountainous)

You get to the stage of pleading with your baby. Yep,  actually pleading.

You've forgotten how many scoops of formula you've already put in and just hope for the best.

Every once in a while your baby will do something hilarious in the middle of the night that has you in fits of laughter and will leave you feeling awful for ever  feeling angry in the first place.

You're well over that period you thought that you were doing something wrong, now you've just accepted your baby is and always will be, a shit sleeper.

A glass of wine suddenly becomes acceptable once the clock strikes 3pm, it's Happy Hour somewhere in the world, right?

You shout at your partner to find the dummy "QUICK" only to find it is still hooked around your finger.

Getting four hour of sleep a night is good going.

You've had the 'break up talk' with your partner at least once in the early hours which has been completely forgotten about by the morning.

You know whats ahead but you can't help but love the bedtime routine. Is there anything cuter than a baby in jammies?

It's been months but you don't give up hope., every night you're convinced it  could be 'the night' they sleep through.

You've tried every solution known to man and will mentally want to swing for anyone who suggests you tweak your routine. 

You complain about the lack of sleep yet finding yourself watching your baby (when they've finally settled) in absolute awe. Those chubby cheeks and pouty lips. Ahhhhhhh.

And no matter how little sleep you've had or how rough the night as been, when they flash a big ol' smile at you in the morning your heart melts and all is instantly forgiven.


Thursday, 4 June 2015

Home Truths: Labour

-You most likely won't rush to the hospital straight away. 
I don't know about you, but I grew up believing the second your waters broke, you rushed straight to the hospital.
In Look Who's Talking I watched John Travolta  frantically driving through red lights and over barricades to get to the hospital, and Hugh Grant in 'Nine Months' fighting with the medical staff on arrival for an epidural for his missus.
Unfortunately things don't really tend to move quite this quickly.
(Don't get me wrong, there will always be some exceptions)
But generally speaking, the drive to the hospital is usually less of a Hollywood affair.
After my 41 week appointment I was told that our baby was on her way, but to head home for some dinner and some rest before going to the hospital.
Sorry?, dinner?, what?

-I was also led to believe from various TV shows over the years that my waters would inevitably break at home.

Every time I would  phone the midwife unit for advice they'd ask 'Any signs of your waters breaking?'
If the answer was no (which it always was), I felt like i'd been verbally slapped 'round the face with that dreaded response no ready to pop, mother-to-be wants to hear.
"Try taking some paracetamol, run a bath and phone us again in a few hours"
I recently watched a video were Charlotte Louise Taylor said it's like being told to take parcetemol for a lost limb. 
So hilariously true.
 I was a bit of a  self confessed hermit from 40 weeks on  living with the fear I would end up delivering in  the frozen aisle in Tescos or under a tree in my local park, but I had no reason to fear, they were broken for me, in hospital.

-While we're on the subject of TV, it is without a doubt, solely to blame for my naivety on all things regarding childbirth. How come these soap characters give birth in pubs and on living room floors with not a ounce of blood to be seen?! 

Who could possibly forget  big Mo sticking sheets of newspaper under a bewildered Sonya giving birth to her 'surprise' baby on the sofa in Eastenders?!
There's never any mention of the placenta, the cord remains uncut and the baby  looks a good, sturdy three months + old on arrival!

-It's an Olympic-style physical event, but one that Mother Nature has you facing when you're not feeling 100%. The last few weeks your organs are so tightly compressed up in your chest you can barely make it to the top of the stairs without feeling like you've summited the top of Everest, you may as well set up camp in the bathroom as soon as you flush, you need to pee again, and even eating dinner can leave you feeling exasperated (but still ready for dessert- Ben & Jerry's, anyone?)

Somehow, (God only knows how), we just grin and bear it and adrenaline  helps keeps us going until we complete the biggest physical task most of us will ever do in our lives. 
If you're smart, you'd buy shares in Lucozade Sport.

Gas and air- Old faithful, Gas and Air. 

Without sounding like a closet junkie, if only it were legal to have canisters of the stuff in the home for recreational use. Saturday nights would get a lot more interesting than watching dogs agility courses on Britain's Got Talent.
Of course, I still felt pain (It's called labour for a reason)  and was completely aware of what was happening around me, but it definitely took the edge off the pain. A LOT. 
The side effects were that I talked pure nonsense,  was utterly convinced I could hear rave music and when I spoke I heard myself talking with the deepest and most manly of voices.

-Coming from the most self aware/ paranoid wreck there ever was, I can hands on my heart tell you that you will not care who see's you  in what state/shape/angle, whether it be the Queen Of England or Ryan Gosling.

I honestly thought i'd be a nervous wreck having my nether regions on display for all to see, but like so many people assured me, between the physical discomfort and the thought that very soon your baby will be in your arms, you don't care. You truly, utterly just don't care.
It's definitely a case of leave your dignity at the door and pick it up on the way out.

-Yep,  lets just put it out there. 

Some women poo.
If it's going to happen, it's going to happen, there really isn't a lot you can do about it. 
And hey, it's a good sign that babys arrival is imminent, (baby's weight  is bearing down on your back passage. as he/she descents) Lovely
The midwives deal with it daily, and honestly the chances of you knowing it even happened are extremely slim..you'll be far too distracted with all the other sensations going on.
And realistically, what are you going to remember more? the day you met your baby or the fact you and your bowel movements had an audience?
To this day I honestly don't know if I did, or I didn't
but I like to live by the mantra that if I didn't see or feel it,  it didn't happen. 

Swiftly moving on....

- There is nothing worse than 'well meaning' people retelling horror stories while your pregnant, but

realistically,childbirth is nothing to fear. 
I read an amazing quote that really sums it up
'It's like stressing about the wedding, instead of thinking about the marriage'
Giving birth is a pretty damn great achievement. It'll leave you feeling prouder than any degree, job promotion or pay rise ever could. You realise  just how amazing the human body is and  how extremely strong and capable you are.
I run the risk of sounding like a broken record, but i've yet to hear from any mum that wouldn't do it over again if they had to, no matter what the circumstances of the birth were; at home, the operating table, with all the drugs going or none at all..

And isn't that the beauty of it all?

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