Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Girl With 'The Plan'

I've always thought of myself as one of those girls with 'the plan' The girl that had her future all sussed out. I've kind of  been planning it from  as far back as Primary school when I sat with my peers discussing which boy in the class I would marry. My future babies names were all chosen, and I even had the house we would live in picked out. Apparently i've always been a bit of a psycho..
 I remember doing an essay in  an English class when I was just thirteen titled
'My Dreams And Hopes For The Future.' 
. In it I wrote that I would be  making the move to New York to become a flight attendant. My husband (Jake) who was to be an  handsome American man from an affulent family was going to be an entrepreneur and father to my three children, Eve, Olivia and Philip. We would holiday three times a year and I would drive a silver, BMW convertible. 
Not that i'm picky or anything...
As the years went by and my hopes, dreams and plans changed, and thank Goodness for that- My claustrophobia probably wouldn't have made me the best candidate for cabin crew and who would have known I couldn't just hop on and plane and move across the world without all the fuss and faff of citizenship to consider? Not thirteen year old Sarah anyway..

By the time I reached sixteen I was happy enough if I managed to scrape enough UCAS points to get into Uni and hopefully become a photographer further down the line. I'd fall in love, have a big beautiful wedding and maybe a few babies years after we'd seen a bit of the world. Y'know? after we'd filled our faces with spaghetti in Rome, watched the sunrise in Thailand, camel trekked the dunes of the Sahara, scuba dived in the Great Barrier Reef etc etc.  But If I have learnt just one thing this past year, it is that you can meticulously plan your life down to the smallest detail and more often than not it won't end up that way because things change, circumstances change, people change and more often than not,this is all for some greater purpose- even though you may have to wait several years to see it.
If you had told me on New Years Eve 2013 that the following October I would be cradling a beautiful little baby in my arms I would have stopped you in your tracks, laughed in your face. There was more chance of me winning the Euromillions, and I don't even do the Lottery.

 On the 17th January 2014 I stood shaking, looking down at a positive pregnancy test, completely terrified of what was ahead. I spent the rest of the day curled up in bed sobbing into my pillow listening to David Gray's 'Holding On' - A fantastic track for a 'pity party' might I add...
In all seriousness though, was I really ready to mother a little human? I mean realistically, i'd never been the most independent of people to begin with. Could we even afford it? would we be good enough parents? How on earth could we teach a little human right from wrong when we were still figuring it all out ourselves? Would our relationship survive the broken sleep? the difference of opinions that comes along with parenting? Would he still love me when I was wearing sick stained pajama bottoms and hadn't washed my face in over a day? Were we ready to give up our 'selfish' years? After all, I was only three years into my twenties.

Fast forward to August 2015. and there's no American husband in sight, I haven't been on one holiday this year never mind three, and there is definitely no silver BMW convertible in the driveway, but i'm in a happy little place. One I could not have predicted in a million years. A life that if I had sat down and drew out the blueprints for I am almost sure, wouldn't have turned out quite as good. 
Of course it is far from perfect. I still complain, cry, and at times want to trade Stuart in for American Jake, just like i'm sure there's times I infuriate him so much he'd happily make a straight swap for a girlfriend who doesn't leave foundation marks on the pillows, a girl who always remembers to put the lid back on the toothpaste (Sorry!), one with impressive culinary skills and doesn't sigh when he says he says he's going to football on a Saturday. 

But that is life, and life is at times a little messy, complex and extremely unpredictable.
There are of course times I wish I had a degree to frame, a more interesting job to talk about,  and more stamps on my passport- but who knows what the future holds?
Our little unexpected blessing is turning one in just a few weeks, and is so blissfully unaware of how much joy she has brought into our lives. Never have I thought so much about life and purpose and what really defines me until she came along and taught me that life is nothing without a little love.

My qualifications aren't worthy of being framed and my bank balance looks a little pitiful the day before pay day, but I am sure I have found my 'happy place' under the same roof as two wonderful people. And that makes me a little less scared of what the future has in store, a future I can't help but feel optimistic about.


Friday, 14 August 2015

The Farm

 Last weekend we were fortunate to share a rare work-free/football free (hallelujah!) Saturday together  so we decided to get up early and out of the house for a few hours to escape the sounds of the Piplings and Cheebies of Waybuloo, and to get a bit of fresh air. 
 Every morning we have a personal wake up call courtesy of little Eva between the hours of 6am and 7 and the weekends are definitely no exception.
 I've always been a bit of a night owl and as much as it kills me having to get up so early, honestly- I still use every distraction I can think of in the hope of an extra 15 minutes, Nothing has proved effective (yet) and alas i'm shivering downstairs in the kitchen clutching on to my cup of coffee for dear life.
At times I like the fact we start our day so early and instantly feel more productive for it.
 There are days I have my hoovering, washing and breakfast finished by 8.30am feeling like Mother Of The Year, and others I can be found sprawled out on the sofa watching Mr Tumble with one eye open with Stuart's 'Rocky Italian Stallion' dressing gown wrapped around me. The only thing that can get me shifted is Eva pulling the logs out of the fire place or attempting to dismantle the television.

Anyhow, early mornings aside, after being inspired by a school friend Lauren, and her beautiful little boy who visited the farm the previous week, we decided to take a trip there ourselves .Since having a baby we have have done the rounds when it comes to day trips. Lakes, soft play centres, country trails to the local parks.. it can get a little repetitive and so the farm was a great opportunity to experience something new.
After a quick search on Google maps and loading up the car with all the gear (buggy, baby bag, snacks. nursery rhyme cd for the car- The joys, eh?) we were ready to set off.
To be honest we didn't really know what to except from the farm and wondered if  Eva would really even benefit from any of the activities they had to offer - but we couldn't help feeling excited anticipating her reactions to all the animals, considering the fact she hasn't been in contact with animals before, despite Stuart's best attempts at trying to get us a dog.

Well what can I say? we all loved the farm! Eva was so intrigued with all the animals and we didn't hear a peep out of her while she was stroking chicks and bunny rabbit and bottle feeding a baby goat. My baby feeding a baby animal? Someone pass the Kleenex! It was also  the first day Eva had ever wore 'proper' shoes, and I was most definitely that overzealous mum, bursting with pride and being ever so snap happy with the camera.

 'Ohh stand with her beside the tractor'
'Awwh! stand in front of the horse!'
Oh yeah. That mum.

The staff at the farm were fantastic and constantly brought animals over to Eva without us even having to ask and were so extremely patient with her. 

The rain came on and we ventured into a little playroom where we were able to take a little break and Eva was able to crawl about and stretch her legs. In this little room we met a little boy (Jonah) with his mummy,and days later after seeing a picture of this lovely little boy appear on my Instagram feed I was convinced these were the people we had met at the farm. As much as Stuart tried to refrain me sending her a message 'You'll sound like a baby stalker!' nosiness got the better of me and I tagged her in the photo. It turns out it was in fact Jonah and his mummy! We both have been following each other on Instagram for a few months and little did we know that our babies were playing together. How small is the world? Such a lovely coincidence.

Overall, a great day at the farm!


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

10 Month Update!

Eva is now ten months! and once again i'm left wondering how is it possible that time can pass us by so quickly? How is it physically possible that it's almost been a year since we said 'cheerio' to our bump and welcomed our baby girl into the world? It makes me a little emotional thinking of our first days, weeks and months together, those 'milk drunk' expressions, sleepy stretches and the sickly sweet baby scent- especially when i'm bawling my eyes out over One Born Every Minute.... but there is a massive part of me that breathes a massive sigh of relief that we've managed to make it this far - winging it, let's be honest, in unknown territory.
I really must stop telling customers in work i've 'just had a baby
This 'newborn' baby that I talk of is climbing the stairs, eating meals on her own and as of last week, has started to walk. (Yey!)

Lately we've noticed that we are communicating with a little tot, rather than a baby, which is really quite cute but completely bizarre to us. Eva knows the word 'No' and shakes her head when you say it to her . In fact lately 'No' is  my most used word in a day. 'No, stay away from the tv' 'No, don't touch the plugs 'no stay out of the cupboards!'  'No! You can't eat that' 'No, don't touch that!''No stop pulling on the curtains
I'm slowing but surely morphing into my own mum.
No offence, mum.
There is nothing that this little one doesn't want to explore. 
'Just you wait, she'll be into everything' is a phrase I heard a lot of when she first showed signs of being mobile, and it's really true. Nothing goes unnoticed or past her. And while it can be extremely frustrating sometimes when the hoover is 'mysteriously' unplugged or the toilet roll is completely unraveled 'Andrex- puppy' style or the drawers of clothes are emptied on to the floor and trampled on.
I know that she is just exploring the world around her and I try to embrace and understand that however hard it might be - Last week  she got loose with a tub of Sudocreme  while I was cleaning up the jammy mess that lunch brought along. I knew it seemed too quiet but didn't act on it quite quick enough.(Aaaaah, Rookie first- time mum mistake)
 A large part of me wanted to sob at the sight of the mess as these days I feel like I spend most of my time on the floor with some kind of cleaning device in hand, whether it be a hoover, steamer or dust pan and brush, and I have the saggy mum jeans (around the knees, backside...) to prove it.
But another part of me had to laugh at how ridiculous she looked, and i'm guilty of taking a picture for the Grandparent's.

When we're not prising plugs, remotes and cupboard door handles from her hands she's keeping us entertained. From the little shuffle and swaying when music comes on to full blown hysterical laughing when she thinks she is being chased. She loves to sit under the kitchen table and peek out with a cheeky grin and smiles from ear to ear when her favourite programme comes on. After a 5.30am wake up call I made a bleary eyed Youtube search for lullabies. (We've all been there, haven't we?)  and the next thing I know I am waking to the sound of Bob Marley 'Buffalo Soldier' and little Eva sat upright in our bed with my phone. Whaaaat. How? Just how?

It is only when I reflect back on all the changes do I realise how grown up she is getting. I honestly can't remember the last time we used the steriliser, or her baby walker, our attic is now housing moses baskets, the bouncer, her first pram and boxes of clothing. The majority of her 'first things' are no longer required, which is another stark reminder that time passes all too quickly and that newborn products are extortionately priced for all the time that they are used for! It's amazing how quickly the first year seems to be passing us by and I find myself forgetting things. When I hold a friend's newborn baby I find it so hard to imagine Eva ever being as small and now i'm watching her toddle along beside me, opening cupboards and climbing up on to the sofa, I find myself watching in amazement (before immediately rushing over to prevent a tumble). Isn't it strange how day by day everything feels the same and it's only when looking back do you notice the changes? and there has been plenty of change.

Some updates!
Eating: Eva loves to eat and will literally eat anything in sight- She definitely takes after her Mummy and Daddy in that sense. Her current favourites are cheese, bananas and pancakes as well as yoghurts and any kind of pasta dish. We have been extremely lucky in the sense that she isn't at all fussy with food and we never had any issues with weaning her on to solids, it kind of just happened very naturally. She self feeds which allows us to sit down and have meals at the same time as her, or even just have a coffee (and scroll through Instagram!)

Sizes: 9-12 months in most items of clothing but a few pairs of leggings have been 1 year+! We put that down to getting her daddy's genes (6ft 1) 

Milestones:- Eva is saying 'Mama' and 'Da Da' 'Bye' and 'Hi' She babbles all day long and is trying so hard to talk. Although she cannot talk, she understands a lot of what we say. If we ask her where her tongue is for instance, she puts her tongue out!.. When she hears the word 'clap' she claps! 

Teeth: She has four teeth, her two bottom ones and two at the top that have just cut but there are plenty more on the way. We are currently teething and this bout of new teeth are giving her a considerable amount of grief which has meant a lot of calpol for baby and lots of trips to Winemark for Mummy! 

Walking: Probably the biggest milestone this month! Eva is now walking and to be honest, it's been a long time coming. She is extremely active and refuses to sit still for a minute, she constantly wants to crawl, stand or walk whether it's in the bath, in her cot or when we're out- Getting her to stay in her buggy is a monstrous task, lately it's been a two man job and at times has made us look like child abductors. 

The joys.

Favourite toys: Fisher-Price Smart Stages Chair, colourful board books, balls and anything musical or with flashing lights. 

10 months post partum: There was a stage a few months after giving birth when I wondered if i'd ever feel comfortable in my body ever again, if it would ever feel like it did before, and although I haven't toned up/lost as much weight as I had planned to by this stage (My own fault entirely. Kinder chocolate is my absolute downfall.)
I sometimes find it hard to believe that I was ever pregnant, I look at women who are expecting and find myself forgetting what it was like to have a bump!I look back at pregnancy wearing rose tinted glasses and it is only when a pregnant friend will tell me of her pains, sleepless nights and aching hips do I remember that pregnancy was pretty damn hard- although i'm living proof that you soon forget about the negatives once your beautiful bundle has arrived!

© A New Mum Without A Manual

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