Because what the internet needs is more wittering about rubbish parenting

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Cheeky Baby

This week, The Baby has mostly been being still poorly, and very cheeky. I think she is getting a bit better, but her nose is still running like a tap, meaning all my clothes are getting covered in baby snot, and she is still prone to bursts of coughing like a an old, 50-B&H-a-day man. But in between the poorly, she is being very very mischievous. She's realised how much strength she's got in her legs, and is using them to propel herself backwards when she's lying down. The other night, I went to check on her at 9pm, by which time she is usually fast asleep, only to find her lying at the top of her cot, a toy in her hand and the sheet over her face, shouting "yai yai yai". She's also doing really well with the rolling, but only when there is something like a carrier bag or remote control to her left that she wants to play with. Her grip is coming on nicely too. As our friend's newborn baby found out on Friday, when I laid The Baby next to her to compare their sizes, and she reached out and grabbed a handful of the new baby's beautiful black hair and pulled. Hard. The new baby was not too impressed, and neither was I.

So it's been an exhausting week. This week doesn't promise to be much more relaxing, as we are going to Wales at the weekend, so I need to try and figure out what we need to take, and what I can take on the plane without being accused of trying to blow it up with follow-on milk and porridge.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Bad Blogger!

Sorry I haven't posted much for a couple of days, I'm very tired due to The Baby being a tiny she-devil, and the figure skating has been on, and then the internet fell over. And now I need to go and plow through some of the tower (the word "pile" doesn't quite cut it) of ironing that we've allowed to build up. Husband has just done loads of it, but he's bored now, so it's my turn. How's that for an exciting Saturday night?

For Sale...

One small (but chunky) baby. Spirited temperament, comes with one fine set of lungs in good working order. One (mostly) careful owner. In need of a clean and with some small scratches to the chassis, but otherwise in VGC. Full service history. Would suit person with patience of a saint, and no remote controls or paper in their house. £Cup of tea o.n.o.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Still all over the place

Things keep going ever so slightly wrong round here this week. On Monday, I tried to make fishcakes for The Baby, again, and failed, again. On Tuesday, I spent a large chunk of the afternoon painting the bathroom. But the rubbish magnolia paint that I was covering up decided it didn't like being replaced, so flounced off in a huff, leaving nice flaky peely bits all over the walls. And today I decided to go swimming an hour before the pool actually opened. And I've just had to get The Baby out of bed and give her a bottle, as she point-blank refused to have it earlier, and screamed as if I was giving her Lipton Yellow Label Tea (surely the worst in existence?) laced with paint stripper.
I am bored of her being ill now, and would like her to be better please. I did take her to the doctor today, but not about her being poorly. The rash on her back, that would probably have had a normal mammy racing to the doctors about 2 weeks ago, turned a very angry shade of red, so I decided that I should probably get it checked out in case it turned out to be leprosy or something. It's not, so that's good.

And I have decided to keep the silly trousers. I am going to start being a yummy mummy. Maybe tomorrow I will even brush my hair.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Fashion Victim

I bought a new pair of trousers today, which I am so not cool enough to wear. I believe they are called "peg" trousers, not to be confused with harem pants, although I'm not 100% sure of what the difference is. I'm not really sure why I bought them, other than the fact they are quite comfy, and I think I wanted to see if they would annoy Husband, as they are one of those fashiony items that men don't get. Sadly, that didn't work as he quite likes them. Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure what to wear them with. I spent a fun half an hour rooting through my wardrobes, and the only things I own that go with them are brown, high heeled lace-up shoes and an animal print cardigan. It looks better than it sounds, in fact it looks very cool and trendy. But I am the mother of an 8-month old baby who (when I go back) works in an office where people are dressed up if they are wearing jeans with only one hole in them. Where am I going to wear this outfit? I think I might look slightly out of place at the soft play at the local leisure centre (as my sister helpfully suggested). I probably should take them back, but I like them, and sometimes it is nice to do things and buy things as a woman, and not as a mammy. I will probably regret this when they are stained with pureed swede.

The Baby has just made a noise like a jet engine. Interesting. She's a bit poorly at the moment, which means she is having occasional bursts of being the demon child from hell. But in between this she is being quite lovely, and quite energetic. She is flinging herself around with alarming enthusiasm, and scrabbling at the carpet in a way that suggests that we may be about to get there with the crawling thing. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or not.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Gina Ford would have a fit...

Routine is out of the window today. Out of the window, across the garden and round the corner at the shops. This is mostly thanks to The Baby deciding that half-past midnight was PLAYTIME!, and not being impressed by my efforts to convince her otherwise. And then woke up twice more. She has had four naps today instead of two (none of them in her cot), ranging in length from 5 minutes to 1 hour, she had all her meals and bottles at the wrong times, and I think she will be going to bed early as she is being a total pain in the backside (because she's tired, I don't just put her to bed when she's annoying me.)

Whatever would Gina Ford say? For those of you unfamiliar with Gina Ford, she is the author of "The Contented Little Baby Book", which divides your day up into little chunks and tells you EXACTLY what you and your baby should be doing at each and every moment. A friend has just been given this book, and told me that she is close to throwing it out of the window. I don't blame her. I've not read the whole thing, but the bits I've seen are terrifying. And confusing. Now, I'm sure it works for some people, but how on earth you are supposed to get a newborn to sleep when it doesn't want to, or not sleep when it does, is beyond me. And any book that tells you not only when to have your breakfast (7.20, I believe), but what (tea and toast) deserves to be given to The Baby to destroy in her own little way, in my opinion.

I might have had a point to make. Too tired to think of what it might have been though.

Blogger sucks

I just wrote a post and it lost it.

In a mood now.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

On A Roll

The Baby can now roll over. But only when she is in her cot, and I am not there, and she is supposed to be napping. She's not very happy about her new-found ability, and doesn't seem to realise that she put herself on her tummy, and if she doesn't like it she could always just roll back over. Oh well, I'm sure she'll get there.

She's not very well today, so for the second day running, her tea has consisted of rice pudding and a tantrum. Oh, and part of a Heat magazine. Comfort food.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Things They Don't Tell You About.... pt 2

Part 2 - Labour and Birth!!!

Perhaps I should rename this series "Things they don't tell you, or they do tell you, but you don't listen, or you don't believe, or you do believe, but don't really get it". But that's a little less catchy. What they do tell you, or should, is that every labour is different, and every hospital is different, so I can really only speak from my experience, but here is the stuff that I learned...

  • Birth plans are a total waste of time. Actually, my midwife did tell me this, and refused to go through one with me. But loads of people put loads of effort into theirs, and set out their detailed plans for a calm and natural birthing experience, but then scream for an epidural from the car park. Or things happen quicker or slower than expected, or there are complications, and everything just goes out of the window. Most people I know didn't even get their birth plan out of their bag.
  • You spend all day timing your contractions (there's an app for that, you know), and duly phone the hospital when they are 5 minutes apart and lasting 1 minute. They tell you to go and have a bath and a cup of tea and phone back in a couple of hours. A cup of tea? A CUP OF TEA???!!!!!! I AM HAVING A BABY HERE DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THAT?????? The cup of tea will not help at all. The bath is a good thing though. Although not when your husband bursts in while you are mid-contraction and tells you Michael Jackson is dead. It makes for a very surreal moment.
  • You might get very, very bossy. Now, I am always very bossy, but even Husband was surprised at the vehemence with which I told him that he was rubbing my back in the wrong direction, and 3 millimeters right of where I wanted.
  • The whole thing is deeply, stunningly undignified. You get briskly examined numerous times, there's all kinds of mess everywhere (you might even end up cleaning your own sick off the floor!), you end up with your legs practically round your neck screaming like a banshee, but you know what? You won't care. There's kind of other things on your mind.
  • Your waters might break at any time. They do tell you this, but nowhere do they tell you what to do when they go. I was freaking out about this for weeks - if they broke at home, would I have time to clean up before going to hospital? How would I get it out of the sofa? My sofas were new, and cream! Thankfully, mine didn't break till I was safely in a delivery suite, but if anyone knows for next time, please share!
  • *IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH OR DON'T LIKE IT WHEN I OVERSHARE DON'T READ THIS NEXT ONE!!!* For people who spend their lives poking around in people's "private" parts, midwives are surprisingly prudish when it comes to telling you how to push. "Push down," they say, "Into your bottom". What? What the hell does that mean? It actually means "Push like you are doing a giant giant poo". I know most of you probably didn't want to read that, but apparently if you don't really get this and do it wrong, you can hurt yourself a bit and make the whole thing more difficult, and as I do have some pregnant readers (I think), I feel it is my duty to pass on my knowledge. So everyone else, just deal with it.
  • Gas and air is amazing. But it can make you a bit mad.
  • It might not hurt as much as you expect. Most of the screaming doesn't actually come from pain, it comes from the sheer effort of squeezing a person out of you.
  • That said, nobody ever gave out medals for pain tolerance. Take the drugs if you want them, the only people who will think less of you are annoying, competitive mothers who are no fun anyway and will probably have a nervous breakdown before their child is 4.

I can't think of anymore. Apart from something they do tell you, and that everyone knows - at the end of it all, you get your baby!!!

And then the fun starts.....

Fallen Off The Wagon.

Ugh. Just spent an over an hour on scary parenting forum. Feel dirty and wrong. Might do some housework in penance.

I think The Baby is getting ill. She has a nasty cough and lots of sneezes, and apparently did not sleep well last night. She's always poorly when she is at my mother's for the night. Perhaps my mother is poisoning her. Or perhaps it is my mother's lot in life to deal with horrible babies that don't sleep. She certainly got enough practice 28 years ago. I don't know how she didn't throw me out of the window. At least I am living proof that leaving a grotty, horrid baby to cry for hours on end does not necessarily screw them up for life (this blog may make me sound like a crazy lady, but I'm actually remarkably emotionally stable, and I probably have the least trust issues of anyone I know).

We've been out in town today, doing some shopping in the nice new posh bit of Newcastle. Went to M&S cafe to give The Baby her tea, but ended up giving the weird salmon combo I had bought to her cold, thanks to the ridiculousness that is trying to get stuff heated up. Now, I am not normally one to go on a rant about health and safety, given that I actually have to do quite a bit of H&S stuff in my job, and hate people that whinge that "you can't do anything nowadays, elf n safety gone mad, blah blah blah" (you can do anything you like, as long as you try to make sure no-one dies and you've done the paperwork to show that if someone gets hurt it isn't your fault). But seriously. Why will you not put a pot of baby food in a microwave for 20 seconds? Why have you given me a bottle warmer that is shaped like a flask? What the hell am I supposed to do with that? Am I going to sue you if I spill water over myself or my baby gets the runs? Well no, but some people would, and THEY ARE WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS WORLD!!!!!!!!

Sorry. I'll go away now, and see if I can invent a jar of self-heating parsnip puree.

Thursday, 18 February 2010


Reasons to be cheerful, 1, 2, 3! The Baby slept through last night, I have managed to stay off parenting forums for almost 48 hours, and I HAVE HAD MY MOJITO!!! Finally! Husband and I have had the first of our monthly "date" nights, which was nice. Although we were geeky and didn't stay long, instead choosing to rush home and watch Masterchef. Oh yes, we make the most of our freedom.

We've had a nice day today, The Baby decided to be in a good mood, which is always nice when I am taking her to see other people. Although I must apologise to Sparkly Gem, for the scratch mark that The Baby put in her 5-week old son's head. Oops. And also must apologise to her clean-freak husband for the pureed spaghetti carbonara marks on their formerly pristine floor.

In other news, Husband has been alarming people by telling them he was mugged today. He was, but only for his sandwich. By a seagull. Really.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Sleeeeepy. And Shameful.

Too tired to write much tonight, as I hardly slept at all last night. Not at all The Baby's fault though, for once. I had caffeine after 7pm (a whole can of Diet Coke, livin' on the edge, woo!) and then couldn't sleep. (Oh yes, and I went to get out of bed to go downstairs or something, at the same time as Husband woke up in a panic because he thought he had seen a child run across our room. We may have a ghost.)
The Baby decided to mimic my sleep patterns throughout the day, and had a series of 15 minute naps, each of which seemed to leave her slightly grumpier than the one before. Which was fun.

I also seem to have changed her nappy about 35 times today. Her bum has impeccable timing - twice I had put her into a nice clean nappy, only to catch her face screwing up with effort shortly afterwards. The second time it was literally 2 minutes after I had changed her, and the poo was so small, solid (sorry, too much information) and self-contained, that for one brief second, I entertained the thought of just taking it out and putting the still clean nappy back on her, but that was a step too far, even for me. Hear that, Husband?!! (And Social Services, if you're reading). One second! And I didn't do it! I put a fresh nappy on!! He is really aghast at me, and has made me feel like the world's most terrible person. But she has had two homemade meals, a walk in the fresh air, a story and a piece of fresh fruit today. so on balance, I feel I'm doing ok.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Many Bad Mammy Points Today..

Yup, I've really been racking them up today. As I will always aim to be honest about my Bad Mamminess on here, I will share them with you...
  • The Baby has fallen backwards and hit her head three times, and almost dived off the sofa once.
  • She ate some paper. Now, I know I always say this is one of her favourite past-times, but normally she doesn't actually eat it. Or much anyway. But today, I had given her a magazine to play with, and was tearing the soggiest pages off it every minute or so, but while my back was turned for a brief second, she managed to rip off a big piece with her surprisingly effective gums. I did, of course, try and retrieve it, but she seemed think this was a great game and kept clamping her mouth shut, which was weird. Normally she takes any chance to chew on my finger. By the time she finally opened her mouth, it was gone and I felt terrible. Oh well, at least there's no salt in paper, right?
  • I forgot to give her her mid-afternoon bottle. I had sent her off for a walk with Husband to buy bacon, completely forgetting what time it was, and then wondered why she was whinging when they got back, half an hour after she usually gets fed. She was placated with a blueberry and raspberry rice cake.
  • I made her watch the figure skating with me. It was only the pairs, too, not even anything good.
  • I have ignored her for large portions of the day to play around on the internet. Mainly my favourite parenting website. I have may mentioned it once or twice. This is because, as I finally admitted to myself today, I am completely addicted to it. I DON'T KNOW WHY!!!! The people on it annoy me, they all take it too seriously, I ignore most of the advice that is dished out, and it makes me feel like a terrible parent for not worrying about everything in the world ever. Yet still, I spend hours every day reading things about the lives of people I've never met, and engaging in pointless debates about stupid things, and getting wound up by the people who post every 17 seconds, and call everyone "hunny". How do they even have time to do it? Most of them, by definition, have young children, so what are they doing with them while they are asking everyone's opinion on reality TV, how much milk their baby should be having (about a pint! How many times must you ask the same question??!!!), or what their OH (Other Half) said to them last night. That's another thing - the bloody abbreviations! HD, DD, DS, LO, TTC, BFP, AF, DTD, HTH, TBH, EBF - FO, FFS!!!!! A friend of mine (and you know who you are) emailed me the other day saying she "cba'd" to do something. I may have to stop associating with her.

Phew. Rant over. In order to earn some Good Mammy points tomorrow, I am going to stay off that website for the whole of tomorrow. Oh yes I am. I was considering staying off the internet altogether, but then I couldn't update this, and then where would all 7 of my followers be?! (Hi guys, thanks for reading!)

Right, I'm off to have one last fix before my day of cold turkey...

Monday, 15 February 2010

Things They Don't Tell You About.... pt 1

Nothing of note to report today (The Baby has been out having father-daughter bonding while I cleaned the kitchen), so this is a request from my pregnant friend.

Things They Don't Tell You About... Pregnancy

  • So you've been feeling icky, you're late, so you peed on a stick. You are now the most excited and terrified person EVER. You phone the doctors. They don't care. You get an appointment for about 3 weeks time when the midwife is back off holiday. You trot along, full of the joys of carrying a child. She cares even less. Midwives see this all the time, they hate doing the clinics, and they will just piss on your parade and harrass you about breastfeeding.
  • You never knew you could wee so much. Even in the beginning. I always understood why you would need the loo loads towards the end, after all, there is a tiny person standing on and kicking at your bladder. But at the beginning? Why? Why?! I don't think they know, actually. Maybe just because that is life.
  • Cravings are not just "ooh, I quite fancy...". They are all-consuming. Whatever it is that you want to eat, you must have it, you must have it now, and there must be a lot of it. Thanks to my friend H for this one, as I must confess that I never really had any. Apart from once, I wanted a scone. We didn't have any, and Husband was at work with the car, so I couldn't go and get any. I started mentally scanning the contents of my kitchen cupboard to see if I could make some. Only the fact that it was 3am stopped me.
  • There is almost nothing that pregancy cannot do to your body. Dry skin, greasy skin, excess hair, loss of hair, restless legs, heartburn, itches, sciatica, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, rhinitis, back pain, head pain, finger pain - you name it, pregnancy causes it. And there's nothing they can do about a good deal of it.
  • "Mood swings" - the term doesn't even come close to describing it. Every now and again, you turn into a full-on crazy person. Again, thankfully I didn't suffer as badly as some people I know with this, but I did burst into tears once because the sun went in.
  • It makes you stupid. Really really stupid. Words will fall out of your head. Sometimes they will be replaced by entirely the wrong ones. I introduced one of the teams at work to my maternity cover by saying "And this is Anna, Zoe and Richard". The person's name was not, in fact, Richard. It was Louise.
  • You might go off tea and coffee. In hindsight, this is pretty interesting, as caffeine can be harmful to a foetus, so it is one of those wonderful examples of nature doing its thing. But at the time it just made me grumpy.
  • People will talk to your bump, and not your face. You may be used to this feeling if you have fantastic breasts.
  • Anyone who is pregnant, or who has ever been pregnant will suddenly be able to chat to you for hours about it.
  • But that's ok, because you can talk right back. And talk, and talk. And talk.
  • Feeling the baby kick for the first time is amazing. Feeling it kick for about the 907, 469, 875th time, when it is giant and does not have room to do such things, and you're in the middle of a meeting you are supposed to be taking minutes for, is less so.
  • And it's really a bit freaky. It's not just "kicking". It's prodding, wriggling, hiccuping, sticking elbows into bits of you, shifting its whole weight from side to side, and generally making you feel like it's trying to get out, like in Alien.
  • Pillows are your friends. When you've got a huge (moving) bump sticking on your front, along with a blocked nose, restless legs and heartburn, getting comfy in bed becomes an epic challenge. At one point I was taking 7 pillows to bed with me (3 under the head, one under the bump, one behind my back, one between my knees, and one between my feet). Not that it helped, I would just get myself comfy then I'd have to go to the loo again.
  • Your other half is going to be wrong for nine months. You may think that's not much different to normal, but he is going to be really, really wrong. And that is going to make you really, really angry. My advice should probably be to try and remember that he's not trying to annoy you on purpose. But it might be easier to get him to be less annoying.

Coming soon - What They Don't Tell you About Childbirth, and Babies.

I have no idea who "they" are, by the way

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Gong Hee Fat Choi!

Happy New Year everyone! I have, as promised, eaten a mahoosive amount of food, and also brought a fair amount home so I can continue to stuff myself silly for at least two days. Can't help it, my mam makes the best food! We've had a lovely weekend seeing family. The best thing about this is that I can offload The Baby onto any one of a number of besotted relatives the minute I walk in the door. I get a break from walking her round, playing with her, making silly faces, and even the more mundane things like feeding her, as these are still fun novelties for the rest of the family! (Sadly, nappy changing still ends up being mostly mine and Husband's domain. When we remember.)
I've just realised that I have managed to make caring for my child sound like a massive chore. No wonder I'm Bad Mammy! I don't find it a chore really, but if people want to take her off me and take pleasure in looking after her, then who am I to deny them?

Oh dear. The Baby has just thrown herself out of her play ring and brought it down on top of her head. It's ok though, she caught sight of Mickey Mouse and all is well. Mickey Mouse is a total egomaniac, by the way. Everything in his Clubhouse is shaped like his own head. This suggests some kind of unhealthy fixation to me.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

It's all about the Daddy.

I am feeling very unloved and unappreciated. This week, The Baby has decided that she wants to see Daddy, only Daddy, and will cry until she gets to see Daddy. Which has been very unhelpful these last couple of days, as Husband has been on nights and has been trying to sleep on a morning. Difficult when there is a howling little devil in the living room wondering where he is. Don't tell me that child doesn't know exactly what she's doing. I get a morning of utter, utter horribleness, building up into a scream that could wake the dead, or at least a very tired man, and Husband comes grumpily down the stairs to be greeted by huge, beaming, joyful grins and giant hugs. Hmph. It's alright for The Baby, she's not the one who then has to listen to him going "I'm tired mmmeeeuuhhhh" (that's a whining noise by the way) all day, making me feel like Bad Wife for letting her wake him up.

I have Bad Mammy guilt as well too, as I have let The Baby hurt herself, again. Twice. It's not my fault! She sits up so well now that I feel confident enough to leave her sitting in the middle of the carpet without a cushion behind or around her, as she will happily play on her own for ages. Until she gets a bit tired, forgets how to keep herself upright, topples backwards and smacks her head on the floor. Poor little Baby. Thank the Lord for "Incey Wincey Spider", which apparently has the power to make her forget that she is in pain, or hungry, or that she doesn't like have her face washed. Another song with similar magic properties is "Empire State of Mind". My baby is strange. Can't think where she gets it from.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Tired Mammy

I am too tired to think of anything interesting to write today. The Baby decided to randomly shout out in her sleep every couple of hours last night, then try and convince me it was time to wake up at 4.22am. Then I have been to work on a "Keeping In Touch" day. It wasn't even a full day, and I didn't really do much that could be called "work" (so not all that different from before I left really), but I'm exhausted. Have new-found respect for Husband, who had to do a 9-hour night shift last night and another tonight, after being woken up this morning by both The Baby taking offense at getting dressed, and a JCB doing something to the house next door (God only knows what. No-one lives there or appears to have bought it - it has just been standing empty for months.).

On the bright side, The Silent Koala has updated his blog! And it is Chinese New Year on Sunday. Valentine's Day can go wee up a rope, I am going to see my family and eat until I am very, very round. Think The Baby is too young to have a spring roll?

Thursday, 11 February 2010

I am a Proud Mammy

The Baby pulled herself up to standing today! There we were, playing about on the couch, and she was holding my fingers (for once, not trying to eat them), and without any help from me, hauled herself to her feet. I immediately had an immense rush of pride, and went to wake peacfully sleeping Husband to tell him what a genius our child is. (Yes, I know it doesn't exactly take a massive amount of intellect to pull yourself to your feet, but let me have my boasting mammy moment). After she had done this about 5 times and the pride was fading into a warm, satisfied glow, another thought set in - gone are the days of me leaving her sitting on the floor (or worse, the sofa - ssh, don't tell anyone!) for the briefest of moments while I go and put the kettle on, or answer the door, or to find a biscuit. I am now about to enter the "need-eyes-in-the-back-of-your-head" phase of motherhood.
Interesting times ahead...

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Time is an illusion..

.. lunchtime doubly so. This post has nothing to do with lunchtime, just any excuse for a Douglas Adams quote.

It is, however, about time - more specifically, it's about the peculiar stretching of time that happens once you have a baby. On the one hand, the weeks and months seem to go by scarily quickly. My baby is now 7 and a half months old! Soon she will be 8 months old, then 9, then before I know it she'll be 18 and asking to borrow the car (I realise I may have missed out a few stages of development there, but you get what I mean.).
On the other hand, some of the minutes and hours go by S..O.........S..L..O..W..L..Y.. Like when The Baby will NOT be put down even for a second, and I realise it is an hour and a half until Husband gets home and I can go to the loo. Or when she is screaming her head off with hunger, and I am running her bottle under the tap to cool it, on the rare occasions when I have actually followed the directions on the formula box, rather than just boiling the water hours in advance and heating it up in the microwave (does anyone actually make formula the way they tell you to? Who has time to do that?).
But the longest minutes of all are those where you have put your child down to sleep and they do NOT WANT TO GO NO MAMMY I'M NOT GOING TO SLEEP YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!!! I've been very fortunate in that The Baby is very good at going to sleep at night, but she is rubbish at napping during the day, which means that by tea-time she has usually turned into a demon-child. So I try to get her to nap, which generally she does not take kindly to, and wails like a banshee until I feel like the world's worst mother and get her out to play. A friend mentioned today that her baby always fell asleep after about 10 minutes of this, and now goes without complaint. I replied that The Baby did not, just shrieked until she was more awake. But when I got home, I realised that I had never actually timed it. Now this kind of thing can be controversial (go on, mention controlled crying on a parenting forum, I dare you). But I thought, experiment time....

1. Test conditions set - The Baby is tired. Very tired. She has been at soft play for the morning, and napped for 10 minutes on the way home. She assumes the position, in cot, dummy in mouth, blanket on. Let the whingeing commence.
2. Check the time. It is 15:22. Go downstairs. No really, go downstairs. She's fine. Go and make a cup of tea.
3. OK, I've had enough now. She's been crying for ages. I'm a terrible mother. This is the point I would usually go and either start stroking her head, or get her up. Look at the clock. It is 15:24.
4. Drink tea. Force myself to drink the entire cup, all the while ignoring the voices of scary internet mums saying "You'll give her abandonment and trust issues in the future" in my head.
5. Realise she has probably spat her dummy across the room in a fit of pique. Go up and replace it. It is 15:27.
6. It all goes suspiciously quiet. Go and check - The Baby is asleep. It is 15:30

8 MINUTES!!!! Are you freakin kidding me???!! All this anxiety and it took less time than it does to cook a Batchelor's Pasta 'n' Sauce.

Anyway, I guess the point of this rather long-winded and undoubtedly tedious wittering, is that it is very easy to lose perspective on time when your baby seems distressed. So new mammies, go easy on yourselves. If you need a cuppa, a sandwich, or a wee, put the baby down and have one (or all three). Your baby will be fine, and you will feel better.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

What not to say....

.... to a pregnant woman.

One of my best friends is currently about 4 months pregnant, and her facebook status today was exactly the same as how I felt when I was at that stage. All the pregnancy books are telling you "By now you will have stopped feeling sick and will have a great rush of energy. In fact you may be feeling better than ever!" LIES LIES LIES LIES GO AWAY YOU HORRIBLE PEOPLE I STILL FEEL LIKE A BAG OF CRAP!!!!!! - was my not at all hormone-influenced, over-the-top reaction to that. So in honour of my good, and still very tired, friend, and any other mammies-to-be out there, here are some more things that it is not wise to say to a pregnant woman.

  • "Are you sure there's only one in there?!" - Yes. That's why you have the scans. You're just calling me fat.
  • "How's the bump?" - I don't know, it doesn't exactly update its facebook status on a regular basis. Ask me how I am. (Ok, it may have just been me that had an issue with this one)
  • "You're carrying low/high/left/right, it must be a boy/girl" - You're just guessing.
  • "Are you sure you should be eating/drinking that?" - Yes. I am.
  • "That can't be good for the baby" - Neither can its mother going to prison for sticking a fork in your eyes.
  • "Sleep now while you can!" - Love to. Just tell me how, when I am roughly the shape of a hippo that's eaten a beach ball, and I've got someone standing on my bladder.
  • "Babies are hard work, you know" - Really. I wish that had occurred to me before I got myself in this state.
  • "Don't you think you're being a bit unreasonable?" - Just don't. Ever.

Who's got more?

Internets 1 - Cleaning 0

Today I am not being a very Bad Mammy. I've actually done lots of playing with The Baby, reasoning she needs the attention after a weekend of abandonment. However, I am being a very, very Bad Housewife. As this house is inhabitated by a small baby, a woman with a lot of stuff, and a man who doesn't realise that magazines don't live in the centre of the bathroom floor, it usually looks like a bomb has hit it. We can normally contain the mess so it looks like the work of a small-ish petrol bomb, but today it looks like it has been hit with a full-on, giant nuclear warship with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad laughing maniacally at the helm. And I have people coming round for dinner tonight.
So what am I doing instead? Writing my blog, faffing around on facebook, and reading web debates about interracial adoption and borrowing money from your baby's savings account. To be fair, I can't actually leave the living room, as The Baby is asleep on the sofa, because I couldn't be arsed to put her in her cot, and it was my New Year's resolution to stop leaving her unattended on raised surfaces. I'm doing pretty well with this one so far actually. Although yesterday I had her on the sofa next to me, sitting up, and while I was not paying attention (probably on the internet, again) she saw something of interest on the floor, and threw herself forward to have a closer look. Thankfully, this just resulted in her faceplanting the sofa (she wasn't best pleased), and Bad Mammy being reminded once again of the need for CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

She has started to show signs of being able to pull herself up too.... God help me.

Monday, 8 February 2010


I'm back!

I have had a wonderful time in London, spent a lot of money and eaten some gorgeous food. And of course, spent some quality time with my fantastic little sister. Drinks with her friends did not happen, so I was spared the challenge of trying to conduct appropriate conversations - I can say what I like to my sister, and if I get too boring she tells me I am a loser and need to shut up. But I still have not had my mojito!!!!! It has been over 7 months since the baby was born and I am yet to have a celebratory drink of my favourite cocktail. The world is conspiring against me to make sure I never have one again! (Ok, I may have sabotaged myself a tiny bit, as after having a very late dinner in a very nice but very very slow Morrocan restaurant, my pathetic self was too tired to go out for a drink and just wanted bed!).

It was a great weekend. As you very quickly forget what life before children is like, it was something of a revelation to me that other people:
  • have alcohol anytime after 12pm, just because it's the weekends
  • buy clothes without picturing how they are going to look once covered in porridge
  • stay up past midnight when they don't have work in the morning
  • choose restaurants based on what they want to eat, rather than how much space is in between the tables.

So it was very fun playing at being childless for a couple of days. I missed The Baby a satisfying amount (not so much it made me sad, not so little that I felt like a very Bad Mammy). Through my regular, but not obsessively so, progress reports, I heard that not only had Husband fed, watered and otherwise looked after The Baby, he had also turned into some kind of Wonder Husband and had tidied the house and done two loads of washing. The Baby had apparently been in a very good mood all weekend, so I awoke this morning a very happy mammy, looking forward to spending the day with my gorgeous smiling baby.

However, once breakfast was out of the way (it is rare that she does not smile for porridge), Grumpy Baby came out to play. She whinged when I put her on the couch to play, she whinged when I put her on the floor to play, she whinged when I gave her a cuddle, she whinged when I lay her down for a nap, she whinged when I gave her toys, she whinged when I took them away. In these situations I did what I always do and put her in her cot. If she is going to be a bugger no matter what I do, I may as well take the opportunity to grab a shower!

She must not like me.

I hear awakening noises. Hopefully Happy Baby has returned.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Big Brainfail.

I was going to write a post about baby websites, and particularly the rather scary world of the forums contained wherein. They are a wondrous source of information, advice and support, but they also (or rather, some of the women on them) scare me a little bit. As I have recently taken to posting on them (yet another thing to do whilst leaving my child to her own devices), and getting into some arguments with some of the aforementioned scary ladies (this is a side effect of starting this blog, it has mistakenly made me believe that the whole internets care what I think), I was going to write about why they scare me and the kinds of things I've come across on there.


I cannot seem to form a coherent sentence right now. I start thinking of what I want to say and then Husband will bring me a cup of tea, or I will realise that The Baby has flung herself sideways and that she is under a cushion, chewing on the Sky remote, and the end of the sentence will have vanished out of my head, never to return. Indeed, I probably was just about to write something here, but then The Baby started to wriggle under the tray on her new play ring, and now I have completely lost my train of thought. I believe this is what they call "baby brain". Would really love to know when it stops.

On a brighter note - I have just found out that I have another nephew! My brother-in-law's lovely wife has just given birth to their third son. Yay!

Not sure if I'll get to post over the weekend, so have a good one, everyone, and keep your fingers crossed for Husband.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Mammy's Night Off

Yay! I've just been out! I've had a lovely evening watching bands and catching up with workmates. And I got to take a tiny handbag! Not one filled with nappies, extra nappies, wipes, spare clothes, dummies, toys, bottles, more toys and emergency organic carrot puffs (like wotsits, but made of carrot. Genius)

Came home to find The Baby and Husband both safe and well. Although I'm not sure how much trouble they could have got in, given that she was in bed before I left. This weekend will still be the real test...!

I am now rather worried about this weekend actually. Not about The Baby or Husband (he has promised that the Museum of Knives and Fire is strictly off the agenda), but about the other matter I mentioned yesterday. Tonight, I have realised that I am incapable of conducting a conversation without mentioning my baby, my life with a baby, other people's babies, or anything else baby-related. I just can't do it, it's like some kind of reflex. I also have no "Too Much Information" boundary. I think it may be because pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding are so undignified that you are left with absolutely no shame whatsoever. Which tends to mean that I'll be halfway through a sentence about my post-partum haemorrhage or difficulties with a manual breast pump, before realising that the friend's boyfriend I'm talking to looks like he wants to hang himself. Perhaps I will buy some trendy magazines and intelligent papers to read on the train down, so I can talk about culture and politics and that.

Off to bed now. I'm very tired. I left at twenty to eleven, I have no stamina any more. Night.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Separation Anxiety. Or not.

This weekend, I will be mostly going to London Town. It's the first time I will have been away from The Baby for more than a day.

I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!

Bad Mammy, looking forward to leaving my child! I feel slightly bad about how excited I am. I'll admit, most of the excitement centres on the thought of buying new boots and drinking mojitos, but I am also looking forward to not dealing with tantrums, unidentifiable food, nappies and drool (unless my sister has developed some disturbing habits). I know that I'll miss her (I went to work and did a 14 hour day last Saturday, and was so pleased to see her the next morning) but I also know it'll be nice to play at not being a mammy for just a little while. Note to self: while in company of childless, city-dwelling young professionals do not talk about the following things: the changing consistency of baby poo, cracked nipples, breast pumps, episiostomies or the relative merits of forward and rear facing car seats. Bugger. What can I talk about?

I think I'm more worried about how Husband is going to cope than anything else, to be honest. He is a very good daddy indeed, but he does tend to get rattled by her days of random, inexpicable horrendous moods (such as today), whereas I tend to only want to throw her out of a window when I've been subjected to four of them on the trot. He also has a tiny bit of an information retention problem, so I wonder if I'm going to come home to find out that she's had 3 times as much formula as she's supposed to, but no bath. Ah well, as long as he doesn't take her to the Museum of Knives and Fire, I'm sure they'll be fine.

Poorly Mammy

I feel a bit rubbish today, this feels like the beginnings of a bastard of a cold. It may even be as serious as man-flu. The Baby, of course, has not noticed and does not care, and wants playing with. This is the hardest thing about motherhood - it stops for nothing. If you feel lousy - tough. If you are tired - tough.

I want to go back to bed. Unfortunately, Husband is in it after finishing night shift at 7am. I'm not so ill that I can justify getting him up after just 3.5 hours of sleep. I'll give him 4.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Venti Skinny Baby-tainment with an extra shot.

I am not buying The Baby any more toys. She has all kinds of exciting toys that beep and sing and light up, but I have never seen her as happy as she was today, when we gave her a Starbucks takeaway cup. I only gave her it because she was trying to get at my latte, as she has an inexplicable obsession with china, but I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. It ticks all the boxes - it's black and white, it has a face on it, it's made of paper, she can wave it about and she can chew it. Genius.

On another note, I have just seen something odd on the telly. "Prime Time on Comedy Central is sponsored by Las Vegas". As in, Las Vegas. Is it just me that finds that weird?

Stupid Mammy!

Ok, so The Baby tends to wake up in the morning with a giant poo in her nappy (I have no idea how such a little person produces so much crap). Lately I have been starting to worry that she might be doing them not long after I've put her to bed, and that I've been leaving her lying in her own filth all night. So last night, in a fit of uncharacteristic conscientiousness, I decided to change her, as I thought I could smell something dubious. The Baby was asleep, and in a vest, sleepsuit, sleeping bag and sheet. Despite my best efforts, and putting my back out trying to change her without getting her out of her cot, she of course woke up and got ridiculously over-excited to see me. She was then awake for about an hour. Entirely unneccessarily, as it turns out the dubious smell was coming from the nappy bin which hasn't been emptied for a while.

I also discovered yesterday that, thanks to a pint/litres fail on my part, I've been using twice as much sterilising solution as I was supposed to. Only been doing it for about 3 months. Oh well, it clearly hasn't done her any harm, apart from perhaps giving her a taste for formula with a strong dash of Milton (other sterilising fluids are available. I think.).

Here's hoping for a less stupid day.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Big Fat Chunker

Went to get The Baby weighed today - felt like a Bad Mammy indeed when the Health Visitor said "She's had quite a jump since last time!". I am turning my baby into a big fat fatty who will end up being the subject of a Channel 5 documentary.
And I am leading by example, as I should be at my yoga class right now, but instead am sat on my arse blogging.
Oh well. On the Good Mammy side, I have made a lovely homemade tomato and vegetable pasta sauce for her. Which she will probably eat too much of and get even fatter.

Get Your Tits Out!

I have been asked by a friend to write something about breastfeeding, and as she is my first (and, so far, only) follower, I am only too happy to oblige. Those who are squeamish about this kind of thing, look away now...

I breastfed The Baby for just short of 6 months, although she had a bottle of formula a day from about 8 weeks, and more over the last month as I wound it down. Lots of people will go on and on and on about how wonderful breastfeeding is, and how it is the natural thing to do and how it's better for the baby etc etc, but the main reasons that I did it were:
  1. I couldn't be arsed faffing on with bottles and kettles, especially in the middle of the night.
  2. It is free.

I'm not sure I quite buy in to all the "Breast is best" propaganda there is out there. It's obviously what boobs are there for (sorry guys, they weren't actually made to be plastered over the pages of Nuts magazine), and I reckon it probably is a bit better than formula, but I've read some stuff (can't remember where, which I realise does not exactly give credence to my argument) that says for every study that says breastmilk is better, there's another one that says it isn't really. Some mums get really militant about this, and say that formula can't possibly be any good because it's not what nature intended, but, you know what, neither are shoes, chemotherapy or Haribo Starmix, but the world would be immeasurably poorer without them.

Right, now I've got my opinions out of the way, here is Bad Mammy's guide to breastfeeding:

  • Give it a go, cos it's free.
  • If it doesn't work, don't worry about it. As long as your baby gets fed, it'll be fine.
  • "If you're doing it right, breastfeeding doesn't hurt" - this is a big fat giant LIE!!! It FUCKING KNACKS! You have a HUMAN BEING chomping on your nipples for 18 hours out of every 24 - how is that not going to hurt?! Thankfully, somebody told me this before I gave birth, otherwise I might have given up. In the end I figured that if it looked like she was getting some milk out, and I wasn't crying in pain, I was probably doing ok.
  • It does stop hurting eventually, thank God!
  • Do NOT pay attention to the bloody pictures in those bloody books and pamphlets the NHS give you. The babies in those pictures must have had their arms removed for the photoshoot. The nice simple steps the pictures show you don't tell you what you're meant to do when the baby has confused your boob for her own fist and is trying to get milk out of that instead.
  • In fact, don't pay too much attention to those books at all. They all say "your baby will open her mouth wide and then you can bring her to your breast". No. She won't actually. She has got her mouth just wide enough to do some ineffective, painful chomping. So that's really helpful. If this happens, simply wait until your baby is screaming its head off, and shove boob into gob.
  • Loads of places now have nursing rooms, so you can sit in a room that smells of poo on your own for half an hour. Sod that. Starbucks and Costa have sofas and a nice, mostly liberal clientele which means they can't glare at you for getting your wabs out for fear of looking unenlightened. Starbucks' sales of decaf caramel lattes must have gone way downhill since I stopped feeding.
  • They say sleep when your baby sleeps. I also say eat when your baby eats. It's the only time you get a bloody chance. Develop a repertoire of dishes that can be eaten with one hand (sandwiches are good, as are things like shepherd's pie which only need a fork). Remember to clean the crumbs and dribbles of mash out of the baby's ear afterwards.
  • Realise that you will never again see your breasts as a private part of you. Especially when your baby gets a bit older and starts getting distracted when she feeds, turning her head to look around her and exposing your nipple to a packed Starbucks.
  • Don't wear dresses or long tops without buttons up the front or a low neck. You might look good when you leave the house, but you look stupid hoiking it up to unhook your bra.

If you're about to embark on this adventure, good luck! And buy a Savoy cabbage. Seriously.