Because what the internet needs is more wittering about rubbish parenting

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Normal Service Must Resume

Boo. Festivities are over (I don't count New Year, it's rubbish). I hope you've all had a lovely Christmas. We have, it's been one long lovely round of visiting and being visited and eating all manner of nice things. And now it has come to an end. Now is the time to eat like a normal person instead of having two roast dinners and a box of chocolates every day. Now is the time to find homes for all the various singing, binging, lighting-up and screeching things that the children have been given (it would also be the time to write thank-you cards, if I were the type to be so organised and courteous, and if I stood a cat in hell's chance of remembering who bought what. But I'm not and I don't, so thank you to everyone who bought presents). Now is the time to remember that the house does not clean itself, and to realise that the washing mountain is raging out of control, and will not get any smaller without me actually doing something about it.

Needless to say, I'm not feeling as good about today as I have about the last few. It's not helped by the fact that my delightful children have decided that I don't actually need to sleep for longer than two hours in a row. The Littl'un keeps waking up wanting to play, and The Toddler keeps waking up wanting to whinge (either an ear infection or another issue with those elusive back molars, I think). Which is why we are all still in our pyjamas, we have already watched Aladdin and one DVD of Peppa Pig, and I have called in the cavalry (my mother). Now for tea, a shower, and then we'll see if I can remember how to do this thing called Normal Life.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


A couple of weeks ago, I bought The Littl'un some more dummies, taking her total up to six. Today, I am aware of the whereabouts of two. That's four dummies, unaccounted for. I'm pretty sure we haven't lost any whilst out and about, which means they must be somewhere in my house. So here's the big question: WHERE????!!!!!!!!!!! They are not in the cot, under the cot, in our bed, under our bed, in any of my handbags, in any coat pockets, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in the car, on any shelves, under the sofas, or in any of the other places they might logically be.

So what's going on? Is there some kind of dummy vortex in my house? Some kind of wormhole in the space-time continuum through which they slip, never to return? It's the only explanation I can think of (Oh, except for the other, more likely one, which involves The Toddler and a lapse in supervision).

I've got a plan though. I shall go to the hideously overpriced supermarket over the road, and buy a load more. Then, I imagine, they will promptly turn up, in an achingly obvious spot which I have looked in at least 24 times.

Thursday, 15 December 2011


I wrote a while ago about how I found myself behaving in a slightly hippymum-type way. Screw that. I am officially bored of night feeds. One, I can cope with. Two, not so much.

Until now, I have been taking the path of least resistance with regards to nighttime - if the quickest way to get The Littl'un back to sleep is to stick a boob in her face, then a boob in her face she will get. That way I get back to bed sooner. But it was all starting to get to me, not necessarily the lack of sleep, but knowing that she would need me, and only me, twice a night, every night for the rest of her life. OK, maybe not, but that was what it was starting to feel like. So, after a delightful night on Tuesday, where she wanted feeding three times between the hours of 11pm and 7am, and threw a charming mini-tantrum after each one, I decided to a change of approach was needed. I didn't want to let her cry, not really for ideological reasons, but more because I'm not about to do anything to increase the already very good chance that The Toddler will wake up and demand a wee, or a drink, or a song. Instead, I have decided to try the jiggle-rock-cuddle-or-whatever-else-might-send-you-to-sleep-because-I'm-sure-as-hell-not-feeding-you-until-I-am-100%-sure-you-are-definitely-hungry approach. The title may need work, I appreciate that.

For last night, at least, I can call it a tentative win. Yes, The Littl'un ended up in my bed kicking me in the stomach, my arm has a strange deadness to it from rocking her back and forth and not being allowed to relax my hold for a second, and I have that slightly other-wordly feeling that comes from sleeping in two-hour chunks, BUT, we got until nearly 5am before a feed, which gives me hope that she actually doesn't really need two feeds a night, and is just looking for comfort when she first wakes up and not milk. I am being cautious in my optimism though. I know only too well how babies like to make you think they're co-operating, only to mix it all up again the next day. Besides, if I've got to do the same tonight, it will be a big test. I'm very very tired, and the temptation to sit down and snuggle into a blanket feeding rather than walking up and down in the cold jiggling a baby who gets heavier by the second may prove just too great. But I really hope that we're on the road to ditching a feed, and that soon I will be happier.

Because that's the thing. I'm not doing this because of any notion that she "should" be sleeping through, or that I'm somehow doing something wrong by allowing her "still" to feed on demand. I'm doing it because it was starting to make me unhappy. I was perfectly happy doing what we were doing, but now I am not, so I'm going to change it. And that, in my terribly unimportant opinion, should always be the tipping point. Other people will try and tell you that babies need this, or should be doing that, or that you need to develop good habits and drop bad ones, but they are not the ones living your life and dealing with your baby. It's not a problem until you decide it is.

So wish me luck. Hopefully I'll soon be able to report that The Littl'un is sleeping better. Or at least that I can now kick Husband out of bed to deal with her too. And then once that's settled, perhaps we can look at making The Toddler realise that 3am is not the time for "Jingle Bells".

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Happy Half-Birthday!

The Littl'un was 6 months old yesterday. Nope, I don't know where it went either.

We marked this momentous occasion in a number of ways. Actually, that's a total lie. Some things happened which happened to happen yesterday, but I'm trying to make this post have, like, a coherent theme or something, rather than just my usual random ramble.

Anyway, now that The Littl'un is officially at The Age At Which One May Wean, I decided that we could venture away from only the purest steamed vegetables, and gave her a piece of toast. She liked. She liked very much, and proved my "She can't make that much mess with toast" assertion ridiculous amounts of wrong. I think she even ate some. She's getting a bit better at that, starting to realise that the part where the bit of food goes down her throat is not only OK, but actually the point of the whole exercise, rather than a reason to make a startled face.

We also decided to put our Christmas tree up yesterday. Family tradition dictates that trees go up around about my mam's birthday on the 14th, so it didn't feel quite right putting it up so unprecedentedly early. But I made Husband go in the loft for something on Tuesday, and he grumbled that he was getting the tree down now because he couldn't be bothered to go up there again. Honestly, anybody would think it involved him balancing precariously on a wonky ladder and shining the light on his phone around a tiny space filled with seven hundred boxes of baby clothes or something.
Anyway, it was quite nice, making the living room all festive-like. I normally rely on going shopping to get me in the Christmas spirit (although God knows why, the Metro Centre in December is surely the closest thing to hell I will experience in my mortal days), but due to some kind of freakish turn of events, it's all been pretty much done in advance, and over the internet. So yesterday, we put some Christmas songs on, and allowed The Toddler to help decorate the tree. The bottom few branches ended up somewhat heavily baubled. And now I'm full of tidings of comfort and joy, and all that (except for when those sodding "carol singers" (annoying boys from across the road who know one verse of one song and wouldn't leave me alone once I gave them biscuits last year) come to call).

And something that actually was (kind of) to mark The Littl'un's half-birthday, we took them to see some culture. We went to Enchanted Parks in Saltwell Park, which I have wanted to go to for years, but have never got my lazy arse in gear enough to actually do. It was lovely. The Littl'un gazed around her in wonder at all the pretty lights, which was cute, and The Toddler occasionally stopped saying "I don't like it" to have a run around and a nosey at stuff. Why, though, we decided that on a cold, cold, cold night, when the girls would be out past their bedtime on a walk around a hilly park, a pushchair was somehow not an essential thing to take, is completely beyond me. Possibly because we are a little bit stupid.

The most momentous thing that I did yesterday was spend a WHOLE DAY away from And not just that, it was the first of hopefully many whole days. I have finally admitted the truth, that my addiction to arguing with strangers is slightly out of control, and if I want my children to recognise me without the glow of the laptop on my face, then a good dose of cold turkey is needed. I even clicked the "Forget this Site" option in Firefox, with some trepidation, as if it was about to erase something important from my brain in the manner of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It didn't. Just logged me out and took it out of the browser history. So now I feel liberated, and as if I have extraordinary amounts of time at my disposal. Which I'm sure I will use very wisely. (I'm already using it to update this, look at me go!)

We also did some ironing and watched Masterchef, but that really had nothing to do with the date, just that we have a backlog of both. Speaking of which, off I go....

Monday, 5 December 2011

What Am I Doing Wrong?!!

Why will The Toddler not stay asleep all night, instead of waking up at random hours demanding a cuddle, a drink, or a song?

Why, when she asks for a song in the middle of the night, will she neither go to sleep without one, nor tell me which song she wants?

Why will The Littl'un not make up her mind about whether she wants a night feed or not? And if she wants one, can she not want it at roughly the same time every night? Feed at 1am, 3am, 5am, or none til 8am - the inconsistency of it is driving me up the wall. I think I would actually cope better if I knew she would wake every two hours without fail. I'd be knackered, but at least I wouldn't be harbouring any hope that tonight might be a sleeping-through night.

Why can I not just get on and feed her when she does wake up, instead of fruitlessly trying to get her to settle back down, until I'm nearly crying and go "Oh for God's sake, I'll bloody feed you then!"?

Why can I not find any of The Littl'un's dummies? Has she eaten them? Or are they just secreted away somewhere in this disaster zone which is my house?

Why is The Toddler asking me for grapes? She has eaten a bowl of rice crispies, half a bowl of cornflakes, a plum, a biscuit, a box of raisins, a crumpet with cheese, a lump of cucumber, three-quarters of an apple and half a banana, and it's only just gone 1 o'clock. Is there no filling this child?

Why am I incapable of putting a nappy on the Littl'un in such a way that it will actually contain her poosplosions? I can't remember the last time we had a one-outfit day.

Why is The Toddler's response to everything I try to give her, ask her, or do to her, "I don't LIKE it!"? And surely there's a better response than "Well, I don't care!"?

Why can't The Toddler just do what I ask her to do the first time, instead of the 34th time after having been threatened with the corner? Why do I ask 34 times, instead of threatening the corner earlier?

Why am I terrified of weaning? I've done it before, and it's not exactly rocket science, but I really feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. I think I'm not 100% certain about the baby-led weaning malarkey, but completely sure I'm too lazy to do spoon-feeding. And I'm too paranoid about salt to give her exactly what we're having, so I'm mainly just sticking bits of banana in front of her and hoping for the best.

Why have I been completely unsuccessful in trying to limit The Toddler's TV time. She now tells me about Grandpa Pig fixing the computer in exactly the same way that she tells me she had pasta for dinner. It's worrying. But guess what she's doing right now? (In my defence, I'm feeding The Littl'un).

Is the answer to many, if not most of these questions, "Because I'm a bit crap"? Or is it "Because it's all too confusing"? My greatest fear (well, not my greatest fear in the whole world, that's David Cameron being PM forEVER) is that no-one else asks themselves these questions, because they actually all do know what they're doing, and are confident they're doing it all right. Someone please tell me that's not the case!!

Thursday, 1 December 2011


The Toddler needs a poo.

I know this, because she has told me.

I have tried to put her on the toilet three times. Every time, she has thrown herself off it.

I am going to have a dirty nappy to change in approximately three minutes.


Monday, 28 November 2011

Not Interesting Or Funny Or Good

I haven't written anything for the last week, as I do generally like to make my posts a little bit funny if I can, and there's not all that much humour that can be injected into "I feel like an abject failure".

It's just been one of those weeks. You know, where you feel like everything you do is somehow not quite right, and that every single human being on the planet would make a better parent than you, even your own children could probably bring themselves up better than you're doing it.

I could go into detail, but that would be tedious. It can be summed up thus: nightfeedsmessyhousestopclimbingonthatItoldyounowhywon'tyoueatyourdinnerohgodnowyouhaveahorridcoughtooandyou'vegivenittomeandIcannotpossiblygetanymoretiredthanthisohwaityesIcannonightfeedswooIcouldgetusedtothisnightfeedagainwhywon'tyoujustsleepstopdoingthatyoucangoandsitinthecornerIhavehadenoughofyou!

Tis not the stuff great blogs are made of. Normal service will hopefully resume when I've had some sleep, a tidy of my house, and a large glass of wine.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Feeding Time At The Zoo

It's all about food this week. The blog, that is. I'm all about food all the time.

The Toddler has been getting over croup, and then a chest infection, so has not been eating or drinking very much, which always alarms me. As we made increasingly desperate attempts to get food and water into her, I found myself saying things like "Well, eat some more of your chips, and then you can have more of Grandma's poppadom", and "No, you can't have milk, have some Ribena", which feel all kinds of wrong. She's also being very contrary indeed, and keeps asking for things, and then saying she doesn't like them. This confused me greatly - what two-year-old says "I don't like cake"? Certainly not mine, usually - but then I realised that this has come about as a result of one of my vain attempts to teach her some manners. Bored of hearing "I want...", I tried to teach her to say "I would like...", and she, as usual, has got hold of the wrong end of the stick and is beating me with it. Ho hum.

As for The Littl'un, I got impatient. I said I wasn't going to wean before 6 months, as why would you introduce another thing into life before you have to? But she kept getting ridiculously excited when we were eating and trying to grab my plate, so I thought perhaps I should give it a go if I didn't want her to wean herself on a slice of Pizza Hut Chicken Supreme (did actually almost happen). I had already decided to bypass the puree stage - I am far too lazy to dig my mini food processor out (although I do love it and am sad I don't get to play with it anymore) and faff around with sweet potato, and have got used to being able to eat my own meals without having to shovel food into someone else - so I have started doing baby-led weaning.

Ish. Baby-Led Weaning (with capitals) is an actual proper thing. It's a book by Gill Rapley which is all about a philosophy where babies are introduced to family meals and can control their own intake. Or something. I have no idea. I haven't read it, and have no intention of reading it, because I am lazy, so I am undoubtedly doing it all wrong. All I'm actually doing is cooking some sticks of vegetables, and putting them in front of her so she can wave them around and throw them on the floor. She's not very good at eating them, but she's getting better. Tonight she might even have ingested some cauliflower. It's tremendous fun to watch.

It's good I'm enjoying at least one aspect of feeding this child. Because, the breastfeeding - not so much. On the whole, I love breastfeeding. Let me say it again, to remind myself: I love breastfeeding. I do. It's free, and convenient, and I have no intention of stopping at 6 months like I did with The Toddler. But bloody hell, is it testing my patience right now. I had forgotten what 5-month-olds were like. They're nosey. Which means that everything in the world is more interesting than feeding. My boobs feel insulted. And exposed, as there we'll be, doing a feed in the middle of Costa, and all of a sudden a speck of dust or strange noise will attract The Littl'un's attention, and her head will bob off so she can have a good neb around, while I sit there with my boob hanging out, waiting for her to decide she's still hungry. I hope this passes soon, before I have to resort to feeding her wearing an eye mask and ear muffs. Her, not me. Or maybe me, just for fun.

And of course, I still get to do night feeds. Woo. Probably because she hasn't eaten enough all day, what with all the gazing at random strangers and pretty lights. I had two lovely nights where she settled with just a bit of head-stroking, and I started to see a glimmer of hope that perhaps she'd go back to sleeping through. Hope is for fools. 1.30 this morning saw me standing at The Littl'un's cot, declaring "But I don't want to feed you!" I did, though, don't worry.

Who needs sleep anyway?

I do I do I do...... *weeps*

Monday, 14 November 2011

"Right, Here's The Plan...."

"I'm going to the loo, you two be good..."


"She's gone, quick, stop putting MegaBloks in her handbag and get over here and listen. Last night was pretty good, but I think we can do better."

"Last night was good, wasn't it? I especially like the way we lulled her into a false sense of security by being totally silent until 11pm."

"Yeah, I think she even came in and checked I was still breathing a couple of times."

"She still does that to me, aren't parents weird? Anyway, do you want to take the first shot tonight?"

"I'll do the first proper ambush, but I think you should do a bit of prep first. Dad will leave for work about 9.30, so once he's out of the way, why don't you have a few squawks every now and again?"

"Sounds like a plan. Shall I do it early, so she has to run up and down the stairs, or wait til she's in bed?"

"Try a bit of both, but save the best of it until she's upstairs, finished faffing around in the bathroom, and then just got herself all cozy in bed."

"Gotcha. Think I'll start with that thing where I shout "No no no!" a few times, and then immediately go quiet again, so she doesn't come in and see me, but also can't drop off to sleep because she's wondering if I'm going to do it again."

"That's brilliant. Then, just when she's decided you're happy and asleep, and is dozing off, I'll bring out the big guns. She'll probably try and fob me off with that dummy, and the rabbit, and all that head-stroking nonsense, but I'm not letting her hold out on me."

"And once you're settled and getting fed, and she's playing that stupid game on her phone, I'll start making noises again."

"Not too many though, I'm not really a fan of having my midnight snack interrupted."

"Oh get over it, she always puts you back on. Where is she, by the way? Shouldn't she be back by now?""

"I think she's making coffee. She's done that a LOT today."

"OK, so you're feeding, I'm making noises. I might mumble stuff about sandwiches or something, that always confuses her. Make sure you don't go straight back off to sleep once you've finished. Do that mad thrashing thing for a while."

"Oh yeah, that's well fun. And then I'll go to sleep..."

".. and it'll be my turn! I did water last night, shall I ask for a wee tonight?"

"That's a good idea. Make sure you wake right up once you get in the bathroom and tell her that it's dark outside."

"I always do. She might not know. That's probably taking us up to about 3am. Shall we sleep for a bit then? You can always do a random early-morning feed if you think she's getting too much."

"Yeah, I think I will. I like those, she can't be arsed to sit in the chair to feed me, so I get to go in the big bed and feed on and off for hours!"

"And I'll get up for the day not long after that. Must make sure I don't coincide it with Dad coming home though, that's a wasted opportunity. Speaking of Dad, make sure you screech a lot in the morning so he can't get any sleep either..... Quick, she's coming back! Look innocent. Stick your foot in your mouth."


"Are you OK?"

"Yes, Mammy. Want Beebies?"

"Fine, whatever."

Sunday, 13 November 2011


Husband picked The Toddler up from nursery last week, and was told by the nursery staff that our delightful daughter doesn't help tidy up. Oh, the shame, the shame! I feel like I'm the naughty child being told off, and I wasn't even there. Thank goodness, I probably would have cried.

I know why she doesn't tidy up, it's because I'm so impatient, that I just tidy up for her, so that it's done in 30 seconds as opposed to an hour. She sweeps off up to bed, and then once she's asleep, I repair the damage sustained to my living room, and she comes down in the morning to find it shiny and new. Like the shoemaker and her elves. Or something.

So, cue lots of desperate attempts to teach her the necessity of tidying-up, so that I can show my face at nursery again. We're getting there. I hope.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Crap Parent's Arsenal

My weapons are ineffective, but they're all I've got.

The Bare-Faced Lie: "Monster game's broken", "The cheese has all gone", "CBeebies doesn't work until later".

The Corner: As in "That was not very nice, go and sit in the corner/step". Not becuase you think they'll sit nicely and reflect upon what they've done, but because you need, just temporarily, to be somewhere they are not.

The Reckless Abandon: When faced with a throw-body-on-floor-and-refuse-to-move tantrum. "OK, I'll just leave you there then", walk away, and hope like mad they will get up and follow.

The Desperate Bluff: "If you don't do as you're told, we won't go to Grandma's". You have absolutely no intention of staying in the house with them for one more minute, so you hope the threat is sufficient, and you won't be exposed as the fraud you really are.

The Beebie Sitter: When you cannot have any more stickers stuck to you, when "That's Not My Lion" has completely lost any charm it once had, when all you want to do is sit down and have a cup of tea in relative peace, let Show Me Show Me, Waybuloo, and Mr Tumble do your child-rearing for you.

The Food Bribe: You swore you would never encourage an unhealthy relationship with food by linking it to behaviour, but the sentence "Alright! If you stop having a tantrum you can have a biscuit" still slips out.

The Reasonable Chat Charade: You come down to their level, and explain in kind but assertive tones why their behaviour is not acceptable. You know they're not listening, but don't want the people around you to hear you barking "Oh, just pack it in, will you?".

The Inappropriate Plaything: You know they shouldn't really be playing with that phone/pepper grinder/expensive ornament/bottle of hairspray, but it's guaranteed to buy a few minutes entranced quiet.

The Full-Body Lockdown: When no amount of bribing, cajoling, threatening, distracting, game-playing, or outright yelling will persuade them into their nappy/socks/coat/trousers, you take a deep breath, pray your neighbours won't look in through your window and call Social Services, and tackle....

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Mammy, Wha'choo Doin?

I swear to God, child, if you ask me that one more time the answer is going to be "Braying my own head in with the nearest blunt instrument".

Friday, 4 November 2011

Curses, Foiled Again.

Last night, in readiness for this morning, I actually made a concerted attempt to be a nice wife. Husband was on nights, and normally I'm a bit crap at getting us all ready and out of the way quietly so he can have some sleep. But last night, I was good and got myself a bit organised. I picked out some clothes so I wouldn't have to fumble around in the semi-darkness looking for something that looked vaguely presentable. I went in the shower. I even straightened my hair. Everything was all in place so that I would have little more to do in the morning than throw on said clothes. Which would mean I could leave The Toddler playing in her room without her really noticing I've gone, because if she knows I'm going in the shower, she demands to watch Peppa Pig in our room., and is seemingly incapable of doing this quietly, preferring to jump around the bed, regardless of who else is in it.

The morning started quite well. The Toddler woke at 6.22am, which is less than ideal, but after a wee and a drink of water, she, to my complete surprise, capitulated to my usually-futile request to go back to bed for a bit. We got another hour's sleep (although I was rudely awoken by Husband coming home in the middle of that, hmph), yay. After breakfast, I was about to implement my "get ready efficiently and with considerate stealth" plan, picked up The Littl'un..... who threw up on me. All over my back (she somehow managed to be sick, not on my top, but actually down the back of it, which is quite impressive really), and all over the ends of my painstakingly straightened hair. I'm normally a bit scummy about going about my day covered in regurgitated milk, but this was too much even for me. Cue showering, noise, DVDs, Daddy-climbing, and all the other things I had hoped to avoid.

Ah well, as the late, great Solomon Burke once said (great in stature as well as in music, I know, I once sat on his throne. Not a euphemism.), "There's always tomorrow". 10.30am should see me meeting my mam in the Metro Centre, having got us all up and dressed without getting showered in sick or waking up Husband. Here's hoping.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Nappyless: Abort

My head is a bit bashed after two days of dealing with Toddler whinges (if I never hear the word "No" again, it will be too soon), so I will expand more later, but in brief, The Toddler is back in nappies. Fail.

Monday, 31 October 2011


I can't think of a proper title. Bleh will have to do.

So, had a bit of a funny few days. On the toilet front, more of the same. I have to remember to take The Toddler to the loo (and ignore her when she says she doesn't want to go) or we get "I done a wee wee on the ground". On the early bed-time for The Littl'un front, that's still going pretty well. She now sleeps like a log, because on Saturday I abruptly decided to put her in her own room. Which I feel bad about, because she's not 6 months old yet, and I have screams of "cotdeathcotdeatharrrrgggh!" that whizz round my head occasionally. But we were waking her up every time we moved, which was very often, given that Husband is incapable of getting ready for bed quietly, I am a ridiculously fidgety sleeper, and The Toddler usually has us up at least once. And she'd waking herself up getting her arms stuck between the bars of the really-too-small-for-her crib. And then snuffle for ages while she got herself back to sleep. So yes, she now sleeps much better. Unfortunately, only til about 3.30, when I then have to go and feed her. The words "shot" and "foot" keep trying to spring to mind.

Anyway, on Saturday, The Toddler all of a sudden developed a raspy, Marge Simpson voice, and woke up a few times in the night coughing. She was a bit grumpy on Sunday, which wasn't great, as I was taking her to a Hallowe'en party. She was meant to be dressed as a bat, but ended up looking more like an interpretative dancer, as she refused to keep her ears and wings on, so was just in black with a purple tutu. The Littl'un was meant to be a witch, but I had a bit of a fail with her dress (I tried to dye it black, but it was polyester, so it just went a bit dirty looking), and she had a tiny hat, but it fell of and she was sick on it. I myself managed to rustle up a half-arsed pirates costume, complete with a sword that was made out of the side of a delivery box, which I gave to The Toddler to take to the car for me, then never saw again. Once at the party, signs started to emerge that The Toddler was really not herself. She kept wanting to sit on my knee and cuddle, and which is always nice because I don't normally get them, but also unnerving, because I don't normally get them. Also, and this is how I knew for certain that she was quite poorly, I put some food on a plate for her, and the plate included grapes, biscuits and cheese, and SHE DID NOT EAT IT. The Toddler REFUSED CHEESE. This is like the DFS sale ending - a concept my brain just can't get to grips with. That night, she turned into a baby seal. Or at least, that's what it sounded like. Actually, it's the cough that goes with croup. And it would be funny to hear your child barking like a seal, if it wasn't so freaky and so obviously uncomfortable. A rough night was had by all. Except for The Littl'un, who slumbered on regardless, got fed, and then had more sleep. Alright for some.

Decided The Toddler should go to the doctors. Phoned them expecting to be told to come in at 3.30 and then sit for hours until someone could see her, which is what usually happens. Oh no, can we come at 8.30? It was 8.05 and all three of us were still in pyjamas, and two of us were covered in baby sick. But I managed it, and, typically, The Toddler was struck down with Washing Machine Repairman Syndrome, and perked up immeasurably. The doctor confirmed she had croup and told me there was nothing she could have for it, but to keep an eye on her. By late afternoon, I was beyond sick of flicking through the channels to find something an increasing grumpy little madam would deign to watch, and said madam's breathing was starting to sound worse, so I phoned the doctor, who told me to take her to the children's unit at the hospital (not because it was deathly serious, I don't think but because it was nearly 5pm and he probably wanted to go home). So we got to check out the lovely shiny and sparkly emergency children's care unit. It has funky orange and green chairs, and lots of toys. 'Tis very nice. The Toddler was given some steroids, and perked up almost instantly and started haring around the room and trying to jump on the beds in a marked contrast to the crying baby in Assessment Room 1 and the boy dressed as a skeleton in the waiting room, who was bleeding from his ear.

And now she is asleep (although I wrote that on Facebook before, and she instantly woke up crying, so I hope I don't break it again). The magic steroids appear to be doing their thing, and she seems much less seal-like than last night. So far. I don't like having a poorly little girl. At least it got us out of the house, so we didn't have to answer the door to teenagers who think that putting on a mask from the newsagents entitles them to my chocolate. We did try putting some sweets outside for kids to help themselves to. Someone stole the tub. Not just all the sweets, the actual plastic Celebrations tub they were in. My street's a classy place.

Happy Hallowe'en everyone!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Nappyless: Day 3. And Early Bed: Day 3

We are persevering with the toilet training. There have been less accidents today, mainly because we were at a friend's house this morning, and even I, with my lack of social graces, realise that it is not the done thing to let one's child urinate all over other people's carpets, so I kept making her go to the toilet. I was aided in this by my friend's daughter's potty, a swanky affair which not only sings, but has its own toilet-roll holder. As The Toddler is fascinated by loo roll, for reasons which are unclear to me, this went down well, and she even asked to go on it. However, there are still two soggy pairs of tights in my washing machine. Ah well, I'm sure we'll get there. I'm starting to slightly panic a bit though, as it keeps dawning on me that I don't have the faintest clue what I'm doing, and I worry I'm doing it wrong. I'm scared that if I ask her all the time, she won't learn to tell me when she needs to go. But if I don't ask her, she just wees everywhere, and that's tiresome. She's also applying the selective toddler deafness when I try to say, in a nice, non-accusatory, Good Parent-type tone "If you need to go for a wee, you need to tell Mammy, please, OK?". Ah well. We're at Grandma's house tomorrow, and The Toddler will comply with Grandma's requests, in a way which is not at all frustrating.

Also, while we were on with regime change, I decided it was time to start putting The Littl'un to bed earlier. I had been keeping her up til about 9.30pm, which I didn't mind at all. But I realised the other day that I was staying up for a good two hours after that, even though I was knackered, in order to get in a decent chunk of "me" (for which, read "internet") time. Coupled with various children making various noises at various hours of the night, this was making me extremely tired, and even more grumpy than normal. So I thought it was worth a try, even if it resulted in a night feed, as I couldn't possibly be more tired. Hopefully.

It seems to be working OK. The Littl'un has a little bit of a protest at being abandoned so early, but then settles down to sleep, and woke for a feed at 4.30 the first morning, then 6am this morning. Although she did squawk randomly a few times, and I took her to bed with me at God knows what time to make the squawking stop (and have baby cuddles, which are lovely).

So, yay, I have my evenings back (because I use them so wisely, obviously), and I am going to bed at something resembling a reasonable hour. But I do miss her. Big sadface. It was actually lovely to have a couple of hours with her in the evening, playing and making silly noises at each other, without The Toddler telling her to stop shouting, or demanding biscuits. It's almost enough to make me abandon the idea and keep her up all night again. But then, today I mentioned the words "night out" to my friends, and realised, with a little flutter of excitement, that once the clock hits 7.30, I am no longer beholden to a tiny little boob-monster, and am free to go wherever I wish. The possibilities are endless. Although, let's be honest, you'll probably still find me sitting here arguing on and eating chocolate digestives.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Nappyless: Day 2

I was brave. Yesterday afternoon, I took The Toddler's nappy off, gave her a pair of big-girl pants, and held my breath.....

And it went very well. Lots of wees in the toilet. We were very proud, if already a little bored of asking if she wanted to go to the toilet every 10 minutes.

Today also started well, with a poo in the toilet. It has since gone downhill. Despite us asking her every time we remember (which could be every 5 minutes, or every hour, oops) if she wants to go to the toilet, it is always met with a "no". And on two occasions, fairly swiftly followed by "Oh! Got wet now".

I must not falter. I must not take a backwards step, say "Sod it" and put her back in nappies. This is a small stumble on the rocky road to success. We will get there. And at least I still have my mother-in-law's Vax on loan.

And in all the excitement, I have just realised that I have not changed The Littl'un's nappy in quite some time. Oh well.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Wish Me Luck......

I have finally realised that I can no longer ignore the fact that The Toddler is ready for at least an attempt at toilet training. She's been sporadically going to the toilet for a while now, but she went the whole of both Sunday and Monday daytimes without doing any wees or poos in her nappy. (She did them in the toilet, she didn't just develop truly exceptional bladder control). A lot of this was down to the fact she spent a lot of these days with my mother, who is better at this kind of thing than me. For one thing, she is much more willing (and able, not having a four-month-old baby attached to her bosom for large chunks of the day) to ask The Toddler if she wants to go to the toilet 20 times a day, and take her when she does. And Grandma gets the answer "yes" to her questions far more often than I do, possibly because Grandma is more generous with cake and has a BlackBerry PlayBook.

So, the signs are there. She knows when she needs to go, and can tell us (although she still has her bodily functions a bit mixed up at times. She said "I want a pump" yesterday, then proceeded to pee like a racehorse). She can hold on for a short amount of time until we get her to the toilet. There really are no more excuses. Tomorrow, we go nappyless, at least while we're at home. Wish me, and my carpet, luck......

Monday, 24 October 2011

Lost: One Smiley Baby

Last seen a few days ago. If found, please return to Bad Mammy, and take away this grumpy whingebag that was left in her place. Reward: my eternal gratitude.

I want my lovely, smiley, happy, placid baby back!!! Where did she go? I think the problem is that she hasn't done a poo in a while, so I wish she'd just get on with it. Hopefully, when it's not my turn to change the nappy.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011


I bloody love Tuesdays.

I'm a bit ashamed of how much I love Tuesdays, actually. Ashamed, because Tuesday is nursery day, and that means a Toddler-free day, and surely it's bad to look forward to those so much? I'm not at work at the moment, so surely I should be saving myself a whole heap of money and enjoying this quality time with my daughter, instead of continuing to ship her off to be looked after by strangers (well, not total strangers by now, but you know what I mean) once a week? Not a chance. I adore my little girl, but she ain't half hard work. I'm not sure I could take 7 days a week with her. I mean, I know countless people do spend all day every day with their children, and not all of those people have gone mad, and I know that if I didn't have any other option, then I'd just be having to get on with it. I know I am very very lucky to be able to just about afford to keep sending her. But if it came down to a choice between being able to eat, and being able to pay the nursery fees, I swear it would be a difficult decision, and you'd probably find me looking up recipes for family meals you can make from Smart Price noodles, tap water and grass.

And here is why: Today, Husband was off work, so he got up and took her to nursery (which we usually do the second they open. I am determined to get my money's worth out of that place), and I got to stay in bed with The New'un, having cuddles and feeds (her, not me. I was starving, but not even hunger could drive me out of bed). When I did eventually get up, I got to eat my WHOLE bowl of Special K. The house got tidied. We watched Masterchef without a small voice going "No. Don't cooking. Want Beebies". We had lunch when we felt like it, not bang on 12 noon, which is the time The Toddler usually starts bleating for cheese (well, she actually asks for a cheese sandwich, but as she always refuses to eat the bread, she's basically just asking for cheese). We went out, without any arguments about shoes or coats. We accomplished a small errand I've been putting off for days, because the thought of putting two children in the car, getting them out again, going into the shop, persuading The Toddler out of the shop and back into the car all to purchase one pack of fabric dye made me want to weep. I only had to change the nappy of a person who had no choice but to lie there until I'd finished. And of course, got to spend lots of time making silly faces and noises at The New'un, who gets cuter every day.

It's all very lovely. At the end of the day, though (and I do actually mean "at the end of the day", it's not just an annoying verbal tic I have), I do enjoy going to fetch The Toddler from nursery. Even when I get there to find her standing in the middle of the room with her shoe in her mouth, like today (I have no idea). Especially when I find out that the poo she's been trying to do for two days has been done and dealt with. She waves goodbye to all her little friends and the staff, holds my hand while we walk to the car, and asks where Daddy is, and agrees we should go home and see him. Then she prattles on all the way home, telling me about her day. At least, I think she's telling me about her day. I'm not entirely sure that she ate an animal and played with Joe (she has a friend called Joe, but he goes to a different nursery, and I'm fairly certain there are no Joes at hers). And of course, when we get home, we make up for lost time and have a lovely family chat. She doesn't demand CBeebies the minute she gets through the door, and we don't turn it on for her. Oh no. Not at all.

Monday, 10 October 2011


I have been waiting to find something interesting to write about, but my life is full of mundane things, so I will just have to write about one of them instead.

I did my food shopping today, as I usually do on a Monday. I realise I could make my life a whole lot easier by going on a Tuesday, when The Toddler is at nursery, but then I would have to think of something else to do on Monday, and I'm not so good at that. This is where people jump in to tell me I could make my life easier still and do it online. I know I should, it would save lots of hassle. And money, as I am the type of person who cannot walk past something that is on offer. The day is coming when I come home with budgie feed and denture tablets, just because they were half price. But I don't trust other people to pick things for me, and, like I said, it's something to do. Some weeks I'd hardly leave the house if it weren't for the weekly shop.

Anyway, we got off to a good start today. I remembered to put my shopping bags in the car. I remembered to check I had change for the car park (I did, which is good, because otherwise going shopping then also involves a sometimes convoluted search for both a cash machine and somewhere to purchase something to get change that are close enough to a parking space that I don't start to imagine ridiculously far-fetched scenarios of car-jacking, explosions or The Littl'un choking to death on her own hand). I even remembered my little trolley token that I got free, for some inexplicable reason, with my house. When we got to the supermarket, there was even a parent and child parking space free that didn't contain white van with a man reading a newspaper in it, or a tiny sports car that has patently never even seen a child. So I went to get my parking ticket, and then my trolley. Which was very wet. I know it seems very churlish to complain about something that the supermarket has only provided to make my life easier, but while it is very nice of them to provide baby and toddler trolleys, it would be even nicer if they didn't store them just outside the cover of the canopy at the store entrance. But if they put them under the canopy, where would everyone stand and smoke? Ah well, after wiping down the trolley with a blanket, persuading The Toddler not to put both her legs through the same leg-hole, and forgetting then remembering to get my bags out of the boot, we finally entered the shop.

The children were pretty well-behaved for a while. The Toddler was taking great pleasure in shouting out things for me to buy, mainly plums, even once they were safely in the trolley. As I was having a good nosey in the "Reduced for Quick Sale" cabinet, however, I heard "NO! MY hair! Stop pulling my hair!!". I looked round and, sure enough, the baby and toddler trolley was perfectly designed to allow The Littl'un to show off her new-found grabbing ability, and was gleefully entangling her little fist in The Toddler's hair. Which had not been expertly brushed and de-tangled as it, of course, always (for which read, hardly ever) is, but had just had a brush quickly dragged through it and was sticking out around her head in a riotous mass of cotters and frizz. I removed the offending hand, and gave The Littl'un a little cloth book to play with. Which she did, for about 12 seconds, when she decided that it was not nearly as much of a good toy as the briar thicket on her sister's head. Understandably, The Toddler got a bit pissed off with this fairly quickly. She also decided she was tired, and hungry, so the rest of the trip around the supermarket was punctuated with demands for "Raisins!", "Couch!", "Daddy!", and frequent shouts of "OW! Naughty baby! Stop it!".

Finally, the checkout queue. Now, can I get The Toddler to surrender the packet of crumpets she insisted on holding so I can pay for them? This usually results in some kind of meltdown, but today she was willing to let them go. So willing, in fact, that she dropped them on my head while I was emptying the trolley. Then she wanted them back once they were paid for, and cuddled them like a teddy bear all the way home.

So on reflection, a pretty easy trip. Relatively speaking, that is. I still think that it's no wonder a bottle of Chardonnay finds its way into my trolley every week....

Monday, 3 October 2011

A Bit of a Grumble

I've been finding life a bit difficult lately. Nothing too dramatic, just a bit of a slog. My girls light up my days, but they don't half make them long too. The Toddler is, well, she's two. Her selective toddler deafness, lack of appreciation of danger, greed for cheese, addiction to CBeebies, stubbornness and sense of mischief have been well documented, and all continue to contribute to me tearing my hair out on a daily basis (What's left of it, that is. I seem to be moulting, I had forgotten this happens post-pregnancy).

The Littl'un is more laid-back, but she still knows how to make her displeasure known if she is hungry, tired, wet, bored or just, you know, grumpy. And she's just learned to grab, which is cute and fun and all that, but I can't say I'm really impressed with it when the thing she is grabbing is the top of my boob. I think she in some way believes she is helping with the feeding process. She is not.

Which brings me to feeding. I am still entirely happy that I'm breastfeeding, really. But it means I have ALWAYS got to be planning things around the next feed, and it's all my responsibility. It's my own fault for being too lazy to faff about with expressing, I know, but sometimes it all just feels very BIG, if that makes sense to anyone but me.

And I'm TIRED. I seem to stay up later than is sensible, faffing around on the computer and trying to tackle some of the never-ending mountain of STUFF that needs doing around here, and then The Littl'un decides that 4am would be a good time for a feed. I disagree, but unfortunately, she wins.

I know I don't really have it that hard. There are countless women out there who don't have healthy and mostly happy children, a wonderful husband who lets them sleep in and knows how to turn the hoover on, brilliant parents who will spend hours entertaining a toddler with the attention span of a gnat, or friends who are always there for a cup of tea and a chat. So then I feel guilty for finding it hard and having a little moan.

Argh. Guess I should just stop the moaning and get on with it. For what it's worth, this was going to be an even bigger and moanier grumble (and wouldn't that have been a joy to read?), but I've been to yoga tonight, got me chakras all in line or whatever (I never listen when she's talking all the airy-fairy gumph), so I'm actually feeling much happier. Until tomorrow probably, when I start to feel the effects of too much Downward Dog.

Friday, 23 September 2011


I'm still not used to having you in my life. You still surprise me with your perfection. Something so beautiful, I can hardly believe you're mine. I could look at you all day, spend hours smelling your newness and stroking your softness. People coo over you, and I could burst with pride that I can call you my own. What would I do if I lost you? Where would I be without you? This is a love that will last forever. I have vowed to love and care for you always. I will protect and cherish you till the end of time.

So I'm sorry, my darling Mulberry Alexa, that I let The Littl'un be sick on you.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Doing It A Different Way

I'm doing it a different wa-aaay. Anyone else remember "Independent Love Song", off of the 90s?

Anyway, much as I hate talk of "parenting styles" and such nonsense, it seems I'm about to write a post full of it. Oh well. I promise not to make a habit of it.

I seem to be approaching this whole baby malarkey in a different way to how I did the first time around. Not that I ever had much of an "approach" in the first place. But I worried about things that I thought were "bad habits" and tried to avoid doing them, or at least doing them too often. I listened to people who said things like "Babies need routine" and "You don't want to make a rod for your own back", but also to people who said "You can't spoil a baby with cuddles" and "Just follow your baby's needs". I think I ended up being what The Guardian once called a "Flexi-Mum" (ugh), neither totally "parent-led" (again with the ugh) nor totally "child-led" (ugh ugh ugh), but somewhere in between. For example, I managed to coax us towards some kind of routine, based on what worked for me and when the baby usually got hungry or tired. It all suited me fine, it seemed to suit the baby fine, and it fit in with any kind of vague ideas I might have had about the "best" way to raise a child.

With The Littl'un (she's no longer New, is she, really?) however, I find myself being, well, a bit more hippyish. I'd never really liked the idea of being too child-led, fearing somehow (probably completely wrongly) that it would lead to a clingy baby who thought it was the centre of the universe. But that's what I seem to be doing this time around. There are loads of people who will tell you that following your baby's lead no matter what they want is the best, most natural way to raise happy and well-adjusted children, and this study says this and that parenting guru says that and blah blah blah... I don't give a crap about any of that. I'm doing it because I do not have the time, energy or brain space to put any thought into it. I can't be bothered to think about what the best times for her to feed or sleep might be. Even if I could think about that, it takes effort to distract a baby out of wanting to feed or sleep at the very instant, and it's more work than I'm prepared to put in, quite frankly. It's just another example of my sheer laziness. If The Littl'un wants feeding, at least I get a chance to have a sit down. She gets carried in a sling not because of any romanticised notion of tribeswomen in the rainforest who keep their babies close at all times, but because I need my hands free to stop The Toddler haring off into the distance. And because it looks well cute. And if she feeds to sleep (which she doesn't always do), who cares? At least she's asleep.

It doesn't always work. Obviously, with The Toddler being somewhat high-maintenance, and greedy, The Littl'un quite often gets put to one side while I deal with a tantrum or go and get cheese. And sometimes, in order to get places without being an unacceptable amount of late, she has to get rudely awoken and fed whether she was quite ready for it or not. But on the whole, I'm just waiting for her to tell me what I should be doing, because I sure as hell can't figure it out for myself.

Friday, 16 September 2011

It Really Is The Hardest Word

Just had a battle of the wills with The Toddler. I fear I lost. I certainly didn't win.

She was all ready for bed, just about to have her last story, which she has lying down (in theory) in bed. She started jumping on the bed. I told her not to. She jumped again. I told her not to again. During the day, I would threaten with "the corner", but couldn't really be bothered with taking her out of (ok, off the) bed if she called my bluff. So she was informed that she would not get her story if she didn't stop jumping and lie down immediately. She chose not to comply. So we said "OK, no story, goodnight then" and walked towards the door. She was not happy. A wiser person would have kept walking. But, as has been long established, wise is something I am not. I went back over to The Toddler's bed and told her she could have her story if she said sorry for jumping on the bed and not listening to me.

Well, that was a stupid idea. The Toddler said, mournfully, "Okaaaay". I said, "Go on then, say you're sorry". She said, "Okaaaay". And on it went. I was determined to get a "sorry" out of her; she, it seems, was equally determined not to say it. I have no idea why, on either side. I didn't really care whether she was actually sorry, I just keep thinking that I should mean what I say and follow through with it. Consistent parenting and all that. Anyway, after a prolonged period of this, she decided that no story was worth giving in for, I decided that it made no odds to me whether she had a story or not. I went downstairs to watch Masterchef, she counted, gleefully and repeatedly, to 5.

So the moral of the story is..... erm.... Supernanny has a lot to answer for?

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Need a Holiday...

... to get over the holiday. It was very fun, but pretty tiring too. Holidaying with 8 children under the age of 9 is not terribly relaxing, it turns out. Still, The Toddler had a great time with all her cousins (they're not actually all her cousins, but trying to figure out what relation they actually are to her makes my head hurt. I think there may be a second-step-cousin-once-removed in there somewhere), she got thoroughly wet, muddy and tired, ate a mountain of junk, and slept for about 12 hours over the whole weekend. The New'un got to have lots of cuddles from adoring relatives, and went swimming. I think she liked it. She stared around her a lot, and didn't cry, anyway.

And now, back to reality. A reality that involves a LOT of washing. I'm quite grateful for all this wind. You know you're old when you look out of the window and think, with genuine pleasure, "Perfect clothes-drying weather". Oh dear.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Getting Older, Not Wiser...

I write to you now, as I sit in the dying hours of my twenties (and also on the sofa, feeding, so please excuse any cack-handed typing). Yup, in two hours and 18 minutes, it will be my 30th birthday. Feels like a good, grown-up, responsible adult type age. So why, despite the fact that I am the owner of two small people, two mortgages, and a Brabantia breadbin, do I feel like nothing of the sort?

So, I suppose I should thank a very special friend of mine for helping to keep me feeling young. There's something about rubbing your mate's back as she's sick down a lamppost that makes you relive your underage drinking years! (Love you S!) Yes, my birthday night out may not have gone entirely according to plan (once again, no mojito!), but it was extremely fun. Until the time came to do the expressing. I had not factored in how boring, annoying, and downright difficult it would be to operate a breast pump under the influence of a bottle of prosecco. It made me feel all wrong, and like I shouldn't have left my baby. Not helped by an episode from earlier in the evening where a woman in the toilets told me that she wasn't going ANYWHERE without her son for AT LEAST 8 months. And there's me, shipping my baby off to her grandma. Terrible behaviour.

The New'un definitely missed me though. She did NOT want her milk out of a poxy bottle thank you very much Grandma (even though she has one every week when I'm at yoga, and is fine), so once she had the boobs back, she was going to feed, and feed, and feed some more, glaring accusingly at me the whole time. The Toddler didn't even notice I'd been gone.

Anyway, birthday night out was last week, because tomorrow we are off on a little family holiday. And when I say "family", I mean "every single person that I am related to apart from my dad's cousin Betty who lives in Swansea". We're taking over Center Parcs. I have a spa session booked. The Toddler is sharing a room with my 8-year-old cousin. Given that she stayed awake for two whole hours this evening just chatting on to herself, I don't envisage a whole lot of sleep happening. Ah well, best thing about family time is having plenty of reinforcements to help deal with overtired children.

See you when I'm old.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Lipstick?- Check. Camera? - Check. Breast Pump? - Check

I'm off out tonight!! Woo! Freedom! And Rum!! (and we'll ignore the fact that we are going out to celebrate that I am very very nearly 30.)

I'm a bit excited.

And a bit nervous. The children are going to my parents' for the night, and it will be the first time I've left The New'un for more than a couple of hours. I'm sure they will all be fine, but I will miss The New'un's scrunchy little face. She's dead cute, you know.

But how times change. For my last milestone birthday, my 21st, the biggest problem I had beforehand was finding the right shoes, and wondering what to drink before I went out. (I had bigger problems the day after though. The whole of the left side of my face seized up and I asked my dad if he thought I was having a stroke. I wasn't, clearly. Just still drunk) Today's night out requires a bit more forward planning. I have just written a list of things I need to pack for the kids. The timing of my parents coming to pick them up has been worked out so I can breastfeed The New'un at the last possible moment. The outfit has been planned to take into account style, comfort and any leaky boobs. I had to buy a new handbag that could hold my new, very small breast pump. Yep, because The New'un usually has two feeds between the hours of 7pm and 11pm, I am going to have to express some milk while I'm out if I don't want to explode. I bet the toilets of Tiger Tiger have never seen anything so glamourous.

Now all that remains to be seen is if I make it past 11.30 without wishing I was at home with a nice cup of tea....

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Heart. Stop.

Oh God. Bad, bad, bad Mammy.

I lost The Toddler.

Yesterday morning, at soft play, nattering away with my friend, and I suddenly realised The Toddler had wandered off. Had a quick scan of the vicinity, expecting to see her in the big kids' bit, heading for the inappropriately large slide or something. Nope, still can't see her. As I'm holding The New'un, my friend goes off to conduct a more thorough search of the soft play structure, after trying to reassure me that she can't have gone far. I know she's right - we are in an enclosed area, but I can still feel my heart going like the clappers (what are clappers, by the way? Anyone know?). Still no sign. Think I may be starting to panic now. What if she slipped through the gate while someone else was leaving? What if she's somehow got right up to the top of the big kids' bit and knocked herself out? (How, I'm not sure, it's called soft play, after all.) What if she's drowning in the ball pool? By now, my head is darting about wildly and I'm going "oh my God Oh my God I've lost my child I've lost my child" and I can't believe what a terrible parent I am. Then the woman next to me pipes up that there is a little area with games and rides behind the man selling portrait sessions. I rush over, and, oh sweet relief, there is The Toddler, happily sitting in a minature ice-cream van with an "Out of Order" sign on it. I have never been so glad to see anyone in my life.

And in my relief, I fell for the portrait man's marketing spiel, and am now fifteen pounds poorer, and the proud holder of a voucher for a photoshoot and a free framed 7x5 print of the photo of my choice.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

If There Was Any Justice In The World...

.. there would be a cold, cold bottle of Pinot Grigio in my fridge.

I am sweating my ass off. I have spent the last half an hour running up and down the stairs between whingeing children. The Toddler, having lulled me into a false sense of security by getting ready for bed beautifully, started moaning "Mammy.... Mammy.... Mammy" as soon as I started trying to find my kitchen under the pots and pans and stray bits of cous cous. The New'un did a poo and was very unhappy about that. The Toddler demanded to go to the toilet three times, and only did two wees. The New'un, once changed, kept spitting her dummy out and not being able to find it again. The Toddler then started screaming and telling me that she hurt. The New'un probably wants boob, but is no way no how getting that until the demon above has fallen asleep. Calpol has been shoved in The Toddler, whether she was fibbing or not. The New'un has given up hope of me ever going to see what it is she wants, and is zonked out in a weird, half-rolled over position on her playmat. My house is some kind of greenhouse and the first pair of trousers to hand this morning was an uncomfortabley warm pair or black jeans.

And I have no wine.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Some Bad Mammyness

I will clearly never win Frequent Blogger of the Year, should such a thing exist. I'll never win Perfect Parent of the Year either, and here are a few (more) reasons why...

  • The Toddler has been a bit under the weather today, so has been allowed to watch telly ALL day. Because Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is a cure for the common cold, obviously.
  • I keep forgetting where I have put The New'un. Really. It's a bit frightening. I'll be wandering around the house, tending to various bits of stuff, when all of a sudden I will realise that I put her down somewhere ages ago and haven't been back to get her, and can't remember exactly where. It's only ever cot, crib, moses basket or playmat, but still, it's slightly unnerving. Hopefully I won't start doing it when we're out.
  • Oh, hang on. Just remembered another place I sometimes put The New'un. The sofa. And I know I'm not supposed to, and that babies can learn to roll freakishly early and freakishly quickly, and I still do not stop it. I will, though. Promise.
  • The Toddler now knows most of the words (and some of the dance moves) to "Good Morning Baltimore", such is the amount of time she spends watching Hairspray.
  • I keep forgetting to change The New'un's nappy, and then wonder why she's crying.
  • If I can't be bothered to explain why The Toddler can't have something, it is "broken". I lie a lot.
  • I have still not managed to implement any kind of discipline regime, apart from occasionally half-heartedly threatening to take things away, or put her in the corner. She always calls my bluff.
  • I am still in denial about the fact that The Toddler needs toilet-training because I am lazy and frightened and dislike cleaning wee out of the carpet.
  • If The New'un starts to cry for no discernible reason, she gets the nearest dummy plonked in her mouth, regardless of whether it came out of the steriliser or from underneath the sofa.
I did do painting AND play-doh today though. Check me out.

Friday, 12 August 2011


The Toddler has an endearing new habit. She has taken to removing her nappy in bed, and then weeing. Or worse. Which, as you can imagine, is less than fun for us. We've tried many things to prevent this - putting pants on over her nappy (not an obstacle to her at all), removing a toy from her bed every time she took it off (looked like it might work, until she handed over two toys at once and said "Away"), and bribing her with the promise of a new toy (only done this tonight, I'll have to update you on its effectiveness. But could prove an expensive way of doing things). So far, nothing's worked. As a result, Husband and I keep running upstairs to check on her, which keeps her hyped up, so we usually have a still-awake toddler come 9pm. It's at times like this that I wish I'd had the foresight to see video monitors as more than just another weapon in the paranoid parent's arsenal, but hey ho. I'm not about to buy one now, so we'll just have to spend our evenings listening out for the telltale sound of Velcro (unfortunately, the sound of her dragging her toenails along her bedguard sounds exactly like nappy tabs being ripped open, so the stairs get much unnecessary pounding).

I'm guessing that this behaviour is just another sign that she's nearly ready for potty training. I was hoping I could put this off for a bit longer because a) I'm lazy and can't be arsed, and b) I have no idea how to go about it. I've been kinda hoping that I can just leave her to it, and one day she'll just turn around and say "You know what, Mother? You don't really have to put these nappies on me anymore, I'm quite capable of going to the toilet on my own". Not sure it really works like that though.

I'm hoping it won't be too difficult. She is quite often dry for a fair few hours, and will say "Mammy wee wee toilet" or "poo poo" (although this usually means wee or fart) when she needs to go. Sometimes she will even do a wee once she's put on the toilet, congratulating herself with a "Yay!", thanks to all the loving encouragement we've been giving her. For the last couple of days though she's been refusing to go once there. Unless we're in a restaurant, or similar. For some reason, restaurant toilets are wildly exciting places and we must go there many times for The Toddler to squeeze out the teeniest bit of wee. I'm offended on behalf of my own three perfectly adequate and more-or-less clean toilets, and the little training seat we bought her. Which, by the way Mothercare, is not worth £6.99 just because you have stuck one Peppa Pig sticker on it. Especially when the sticker is on the bit that goes under the toilet seat.

Friday, 5 August 2011

In Praise of The New'un

I realise that most of my posts are about the trials and tribulations (and sometimes the good bits) of life with The Toddler. That's because she is very entertaining, time-consuming and demanding, and, you know, just generally DOES more than The New'un.

But I feel The New'un deserves some blog time. So here it is.

The New'un (who's actually not that new anymore, so perhaps she needs a new name) is now 8 weeks old. She is GORGEOUS. I think she might even be gorgeous to an objective outsider, and not just gorgeous to my biased adoring-parent eyes. I've not had much to report thus far, because small babies are kind of boring. They cry, you feed them. They cry again, you change their nappy. They cry again, you walk around with them for a bit. They get distracted by something shiny in the distance, then fall asleep in some kind of unfeasible position on your arm. And that's about it.

But she's starting to get interesting now. She can hold her head up and look around pretty well, until she forgets how to do it and headbutts me in the nose. She looks at things and smiles at them, or makes other strange gurning faces, and coos at them. She has whole conversations with her Winnie the Pooh mobile. I think she's even starting to bat at things with her hands, and tries to eat the fish toy on her playmat. She tries to latch on to my nose when she's hungry. She looks pleased with herself when she wees on the changing mat.

None of these things are probably all that exciting to anyone but me. But she is one of the two most beautiful things I have ever seen. Even though she has just been sick on my arm. I am a lucky girl.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

I Am Just Not The Sort Of Woman Who Can...

.. have the kind of home where there are shelves that exist solely to hold decorative vases.

.. go into a room to accomplish three things and do any more than one of them.

.. be in a photograph without some, or indeed most of my bra showing.

.. remember to buy birthday cards in advance of someone's birthday.

.. breastfeed discreetly. If you're in the vicinity and my baby is hungry, you're going to have to see my nipple. (Not in a "I BREASTFEED AND YOU WILL ALL TAKE NOTICE!" kind of way, I'm just not coordinated enough)

.. go on to the internet to check my facebook and actually just check my facebook without making faecetious comments and arguing with strangers on parenting forums.

.. follow a recipe without adding something, leaving something out, replacing something with something else or just generally fannying about with it.

.. think of exciting and creative things for children to do, which is why The Toddler's favourite activities are taking potatoes out of the potato bag, running around the garden screeching, and watching CBeebies.

.. have a washing pile that is smaller than a horse.

.. get her toddler to answer any question other than "Would you like a cheese sandwich?" with the word "No".

Among other things.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Does Anyone Have A Spare Tether....?

I am fast approaching the end of mine.

The Terrible Twos are in full effect. The Toddler can be an absolute delight at the minute, until you have the audacity to suggest that she do something she doesn't want to do, and then... well.. it goes something like this...

"Do you want to go in the bath?"
"Come on, it's bath time"
(in enthusiastic voice, forced grin on face) "Yes, let's go in the bath, and you can have bubbles and do splashing!"

Cue much flailing about on the floor and endless repetition of the word "No".

Sometimes the tantrum is short-lived. A quick minute of standing in the corner on her own, and she comes back and does whatever it is I was trying to get her to do. In fact, sometimes she asks to go in the corner, and when she's done, tells me that she has "stop cry-in". Sometimes, she can be fooled with an "alternative" option, which is really a different version of what I asked of her in the first place, so we achieve the necessary, but she hasn't had to back down (yes, it really is psychological warfare round here).

But, increasingly often, nothing works. And I do mean NOTHING. Exaggerated enthusiasm, stern voices, bribes, threats, reasoning, cajoling, offering choices, cuddles, kisses, time-outs, eye contact, no eye-contact, ignoring - all tried and failed. The flailing and "No"-ing continues until we take a deep breath, steel ourselves, and just man-handle her into her clothes, or nappy, or bed, or whatever.

And I hate this. She fights and fights and fights, until I start worrying that she's going to end up covered in bruises and nursery will phone Social Services on me. An inner voice starts asking me "How crap are you? Can't you control your child?" (Clearly, I can't). And it makes me so frustrated that I am gritting my teeth to stop from yelling in her face. Which makes me feel like an even worse mother than I already do.

They're not limited to the daylight hours either, she throws them in the middle of the night, when she's woken up for no readily apparent reason and is screaming before I've even got into her room. And quite often, we will just get her settled, and then The New'un will wake for a feed. So I'm a bit tired. But the sleep deprivation is nothing compared to how draining it is actually dealing with the moods.

The worst part is having no idea what to do. Will just waiting for it to pass lead her to think that we are ineffective disciplinarians, and cause her to grow up to be the kind of child that other children give a wide berth at the soft play? Will trying to be too harsh leave her feeling unloved and give her deep-seated emotional issues. So add guilt, confusion and helplessness into the mix of frustration and tiredness, and you've got one stressed out mammy.

And just when I think I can't take anymore, she throws me a bone. Tonight's bedtime was wonderful - she splashed happily in the bath, got out not too long after I first asked, allowed me to get her dry, nappied and dressed, picked her stories and sat and listened to them, opened her mouth wide for teeth brushing, kissed me goodnight, and then went to sleep with a minimum of fuss after only taking her nappy off once (that's a whole other post waiting to happen, by the way). So now I feel happy again, and even tentatively optimistic for the night, and the week ahead.

Let's see how many hours that lasts for.....

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


We must be mindful of our behaviour. The Toddler misses nothing. Here are some things she has said or done recently:

(When playing with her toy tea set) "Sugar? TWO sugar!"

"Bu-gah. BUUUU-GAH!" (After I forgot to watch my language when I spilled a bowl of water over the carpet)

"Balls!" (After Husband did similar)

Puting a doll's head up her top to feed it (I have heard of lots of older siblings of breastfed babies doing this)

Taking my reusuable breastpads out of the washing basket and shoving them down her top (I have never, however, heard of one doing this)

Putting a Tesco bag over her shoulder and saying "Shopping! Buy fings"

Patting The New'un on the tummy, saying "Shush. Shush, SWEE-tart" (Although I'm prety sure neither Husband nor I say it in quite such an agressive tone of voice. Or pat quite so hard)

Waving in the direction of the TV (this is how you turn the Xbox Kinect on)

Drinking the milk out of the bottom of her cereal bowl (Even though this is a very bad habit of mine, at least I can usually manage not to spill it all down my front. Usually.)

At teeth-brushing time, spitting on the edge of the sink (Ah well, she'll be tall enough to do it properly eventually)

(At Bear, sternly) "Stop cry-in"

Friday, 15 July 2011

Sleep Is For The Weak

The New'un, bless her little face, has not been too horrific on the sleeping front. She has been going at least 3 hours between feeds, often 4 and sometimes even 5, which I can cope with. But on Tuesday night, she decided she wanted feeding every 2 hours, which was tiresome, to say the least. It was not helped by the fact The Toddler decided to wake every 2 hours too. Unfortunately, they were not the same hours that The New'un woke at. Husband ended up in The Toddler's bed in the small hours of the morning, only to be screamed out of it by her demanding breakfast at 6am. But never mind, the next night would be better.

The Toddler was indeed so tired on Wednesday night that she fell into a deep, deep sleep, and stayed there until a reasonable hour the next morning. But The New'un woke at 1.30am, screaming. Not whingeing or moaning or crying, but screaming her little heart out. She was clearly in some kind of pain, and the only thing that would even vaguely settle her was me walking around jiggling her. All. Freaking. Night. She continued to be poorly and screamy for most of the next day, but by bedtime she was pretty much back to normal. So maybe we could catch up with our sleep now.

And The New'un surprised me by sleeping through for the very first time, from 11.30 to 6am. Woo. Or at least it would be woo, if it weren't for the other one deciding to wake up.. well, I don't actually know at what intervals, as I made Husband deal with her, but I believe it was very frequent indeed.

It is enough to make you suspect some kind of collusion. OK, that's unlikely given that one of them can't even speak yet, but very tired brains can suspect very silly things.

I'm a bit apprehensive as to what tonight might bring. Or, more to the point, I'm REALLY apprehensive as to what tomorrow night might bring, as tomorrow is Husband's first shift back at work after a ridiculous amount of time off. And he's working 10pm til 7am, so the pleasure of whatever shenanigans our beautiful daughters decided to throw at me is mine, all mine. And when the night is through, I get to get up early, and get us all ready and out of Husband's way so he can sleep. I'm going to be a gibbering wreck by next week. More so than usual.

And on another note, I have just referred to The Toddler as "The Toddler". In real life and everything. Accusations that I spend too much time online may have a grain of truth in them....

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Second Time Around

It's days like today that make me wish I had started this blog earlier, when The Toddler was first born.

Today, I am sitting here, showered and dressed, faffing around on the computer, having just finished a (hot) cup of tea. I have done a load of washing, re-arranged all the throws on the sofas, swapped all The New'un's clothes in her drawers for the next size, and planned all of this week's meals. Husband has tidied the cupboard under the stairs. The reason for this bout of domestic efficiency is because it is Tuesday, and therefore The Toddler is in nursery. The New'un is asleep on her playmat in the middle of the floor. Life feels pretty easy.

And this is why I wish I had record of those first-time early days. I have vague recollections of spending a lot of time feeling anxious, watching the baby sleep, never eating a proper meal, and being pyjama-clad for much of the time. And I can't for the life of me think why it was all so hard. It would be really interesting to read how I felt then. The Toddler was not an easy baby, she had colic and/or silent reflux so was very, very grumpy, but even so, life definitely feels like more work now that she's running around being cheeky and demanding. I guess when it's your first it's just so overwhelming, you feel like there's so much to learn and you worry constantly that you're somehow getting it wrong. Life has all of a sudden become almost unrecognisable, and I think it must be that that makes it so hard, rather than the actual mechanics of looking after a newborn, which are pretty much "change bum, give milk". And even men can manage that. Sometimes.

I think if I had written about having a newborn the first time, I would now be trying to shout back through time, "Relax! Go and get stuff done! Newborns are easy! Just enjoy it! In a year's time you'll really know the meaning of having no time to yourself!". But I know that even if my cries did magically filter back to the me of Summer 2009, I wouldn't have been able to believe it. Nothing would have penetrated the new-mother fog of sleeplessness, sore boobs, fear and confusion. Which is why, when I see posts on from women who haven't been for a wee in 12 hours in case their baby spontaneously combusts when they leave the room, I sit on my hands and don't type what I just said above. Because they'd want to punch me in the face, and I wouldn't blame them.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

A Follow- Up

Further to last week's "your child may have a genetic disorder" post, just thought I would share this with you. This is the letter of discharge from the consultant:

"For reasons that escape me people have been querying whether [The New'un's name, spelt wrong] has any features of Down's Syndrome. I just want to put the record right, this baby has not got Down's syndrome.

I do note with interest that mum is half Chinese and that may I suppose give some pseudo-features in the baby, but the baby is absolutely smashing."

So there you go.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Sweet Dreams and Bedtime Nightmares


In case you missed that, that was "Bleurgyagh". Evenings and nights are not fun times in the Bad Mammy household right now. I was hoping to write a nice, victorious post about our success in ditching The Toddler's dummy. The dummy fairy came one night last week and left her a new t-shirt with flamingos on. There was a bit of whingeing the first few nights, and my parents resorted to it when she stayed at theirs, after an hour and a half of screaming, but otherwise we were about to tentatively about to call it a win. And then it went a bit to pot.

The Toddler is being horrific. To be honest, I'm not sure if it is to do with dummy (although I do know that it would make it better, and have just had to throw the remaining ones in the bin to ensure I didn't cave), or that she's a bit poorly (she sprouted another random rash the other day), or if she's teething (she's always teething). But tonight, she did NOT want to go to bed. She didn't want The Hungry Caterpillar. She didn't want Goodnight Maisy. She didn't want to go to bed without a story. She didn't want a song. She didn't want a cuddle. She just wanted to scream. And scream. And scream. Finally, we gave up trying to cajole her into lying down, and left her to it. Which is really, really hard. In my head, I KNOW that she is just shouting for the sake of it, that she's knackered and really needs to go to sleep, and that every time I go and give her something that she's shouting for (a drink which she's already had, her bear that is right beside her, a song that she won't listen to), I just get her riled up again and prolong the screaming. But it's really hard to ignore your own child screaming for you. Especially when you've got a whole host of internet mums in your head screeching about cortisol and cruelty and abandonment issues. So I quite often end up doing some half-arsed mixture of both, where I sometimes leave her screeching, and sometimes go and give her whatever she wants. Which I'm sure must be extremely confusing for her. I think I worked it out in the end tonight though - going in at regular intervals, lying her back down and giving her a kiss. She is finally asleep. How long she stays that way is anybody's guess. We'll probably be repeating the process at 1am again.

And of course, it's all made much more fun by the presence of The New'un, who has decided to experiment with this cluster feeding thing. It goes something like this: feed for ages, fall half-asleep on boob, get removed from boob, cry, go back on boob, come off boob, be sick, cry for more milk to replace the milk that is now gracing someone's T-shirt, and repeat ALL DAMN EVENING. It's not too bad at the moment, as we can take one each. (I usually get The New'un to placate, which is probably easier, if harder on the nipples. Although Husband would say that The Toddler seriously gets on his tits at times.) But it's making me somewhat terrified about Husband's return to work in a week and a half. I got a taste of how it might be while he was making tea tonight and they both kicked off. I managed to get up off the sofa, go up to The Toddler's room, encourage her to lie back down and give her a kiss, all while feeding The New'un. OK, she popped off at one point, but still, I'm pretty pleased with my skills there. So I guess I'll cope. I guess I have to. But that doesn't mean I have to look forward to it. You can't make me.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day. And we will take The Toddler out and do fun things, and we will approach bedtime with optimism and calm, and hopefully I won't have to do another big boring ranty whingey blog post. But for now, wine.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

It Is A Good Thing....

... that I am not prone to a) anxiety, and b) suing people, otherwise A Certain Hospital would be in trouble. I know I don't normally write about serious stuff, but I thought I would share this with you, as it is, in its own way, almost comical...

I had quite a rough time of it after giving birth to The Toddler, which I will spare you the details of, but it involved a lot of blood loss and some botched stitches, and was really quite painful and unpleasant. Once the newborn haze passed and I thought about it a bit more, I got a bit cross and had a vague notion that I would DO SOMETHING about it. I got as far as requesting a copy of my records from the hospital and taking down the name of the woman at the complaints department, before, being the lazy sod that I am, deciding I couldn't be bothered.

Anyway, after my nice, straightforward delivery of The New'un, where I was cared for by a lovely, lovely midwife, I thought I had managed to escape any more instances of hospital ineptitude. In fact, I felt quite reassured when the midwives on the ward told me that they wanted a paediatrician to check The New'un's face over - she came out at an odd angle, so was pretty battered and bruised. The paediatrician told me that she thought the baby looked fine, and she didn't think there were any problems, but she wanted us to take her to a clinic with the consultant in a few weeks time, just to be on the safe side. All fine and dandy, we thought, can we go home now please? But then shortly afterwards, the doctor came back and asked did I know why she had been asked to check the baby over? I replied that I thought it was because of the bruising. Oh no, apparently not. Apparently, the midwives who delivered her had been concerned that she displayed some of the facial characteristics compatible with Downs Syndrome, but they weren't sure because of the bruising. WTF?! Because she had already told me that The New'un seemed totally fine, I wasn't really worried, but still, it's not a great thing to hear is it?

A few days later we received a copy of the referral letter, in which the paediatrician stated that The New'un seemed normal, and that she didn't have certain characteristics, but did have a couple of them. The ones she had were a flat nose (which I have), deep eyelid folds (which I have) and an increased distance between the first and second toes (which I have. I didn't even realise this until I was about 17, and a friend looked at my feet in sandals and said "Urgh, you could fit a whole extra toe in there!". No idea it was a marker for Downs Syndrome either). I decided not to worry about it. The doctor said she was probably fine, she seemed fine, and if by some chance she did have Downs Syndrome, well, it's not like we could take her back to the shop or anything. We would worry about it if and when we knew.

So our appointment with the consultant was today. When we got there (eventually, FYI, hospital, it is not helpful to send letters out with the name of the unit on them, and then have all your signage with just the ward numbers on), he was reading The New'un's notes with a perplexed look on his face. The conversation went something like this...
Him: "I must say this is one of the most bizarre referrals I have ever seen"
Me: "Yeah...."
Him: "Can I see the baby's face?"

I show him the baby's face

Him: "That baby does not have Downs Syndrome. It's as simple as that"
Me: "Oh good. I didn't think she did"
Him: "I have no idea why anyone would think she did"
Me: "Well she was very battered when she came out, and I think the doctor just wanted her checked when it had all gone down, just to be on the safe side"
Him: "I hope you don't mind me asking, do you have any Oriental heritage?"
Me: "Yes, I'm half-Chinese"
Him: "Ah, that explains some of the characteristics they will have seen"

He then proceeded to ask me where my mother was from (Malaysia) and ask if I'd ever been there, or to Singapore, or if I spoke any Chinese. I was a bit baffled by this slightly awkward attempt at conversation, but I think possibly he was trying his best to draw out the appointment, so that we hadn't been dragged down to the hospital just to be dismissed again within 10 seconds. The consultant then proceeded to dictate a slightly narky letter to the original paedetrician, saying that the baby had been "inexplicably referred" to him, and that there was no evidence of Downs Syndrome, and that the "pseudo-characteristics" they had seen could be explained by the fact that I was half-Chinese (which, by the way, was IN MY BLOODY NOTES if they had thought to investigate that). He seemed quite embarrassed and cross about the whole thing, and apologised repeatedly for any worry it had caused us. I reassured him that we hadn't really been worried.

And we hadn't. True, we are no doctors, but even to us it seemed that the whole thing was a bit ridiculous. I suppose these things need checking out, but it could have caused us three weeks of untold worry and stress. Oh well, at least I have been able to tell my sister she can stop obsessively Googling "signs of Downs Syndrome" now.

(Sorry if this was a bit boring, and not my usual style, I just felt like writing about it. I'll post about The Toddler smacking her face off stuff or something like that.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Who Needs Glasto?

I have had an amazing weekend. And there was no mud. And no Bono.

Today, The Toddler turned 2. And to mark this momentous occasion, the little diva got not one, but two birthday parties. She is a very lucky lady. As am I, because I have a fantastic mother, who helped me throw the first one, and a fantastic mother-in-law, who threw the second one.

The first one was a barbecue at my house. Husband got very excited at the prospect of buying a barbecue and truly becoming a man, who makes fire and burns meat. I was quite worried for most of the week that it would rain, but that everyone I invited would turn up anyway. 25 adults and 10 children will not fit into my new-build, shoebox house. But after a frightening start to the day, the weather was glorious, and we had a very nice time. But I have realised that this is probably the last year I get to throw The Toddler the kind of party I like - lots of nice food and chatting to grown-ups while the children run around and throw themselves down a tiny plastic slide. My only concessions to kiddyness were said slide, a very small, borrowed bouncy castle (that I didn't even arrange), some party bags (which were rubbish, and I forgot to give to most people) and two bags of cheesey Wotsits (one of which I accidentally set fire to). Next year, The Toddler and her friends will probably not be satisfied with these things, and I'll have to do things like organise activities, and buy prizes, and put more in the party bags than a box of raisins and a bouncy ball. Maybe I'll even have to do something drastic like hire a soft play. Ugh.

The second party was at my mother-in-law's house. She, having 6 grandchildren under the age of 6, is much better at the kiddy things than me, and there was a very big bouncy castle, and individual snack boxes with little sandwiches, tubs of grapes, and chocolate biscuits in them. The Toddler liked these. She went round picking discarded boxes up from around the garden, and eating whatever she found in there. She had a wonderful time. She is now sunburned (she had factor 50 on, honest!), sticky and very, very tired. So tired, that tonight, The Very Hungry Caterpillar ate through one piece of cherry pie, one cupcake and one watering can, apparently.

I must be very tired too. As I cannot at all remember what else I was going to say, or what the point of this post was.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

A Bit Less BS

As promised, whether you want it or not, here is the story of the arrival of The New'un! I promise, it is shorter than the last one, mainly because so was the actual labour. She was in a hurry, this one.

The day before my due date. I had only remembered a day or two before that I was still sending The Toddler to nursery every Tuesday, and, as the hospital bags were finally packed, and the nursery finally sorted, Husband and I were in the rare and enviable position of having a WHOLE DAY to ourselves, to do whatever we liked with! (There was actually tons of cleaning that could have been done, but we decided to ignore that). Instead, we decided to have a good lie-in, and go to the pictures, which we never get to do anymore.

So, I dropped The Toddler off and went back to bed. When we finally got up, about 11am, Husband made me a bacon sandwich. The day was going extremely well so far, apart from the fact that I was feeling a bit twingey. But I'd been feeling twingey for days, so didn't really pay all that much attention. Also, it was a really distractingly good bacon sandwich. By about noon, the bacon was all gone, and I realised that actually, the twinges hurt really quite a lot. Hmmm. Perhaps they could be actual contractions? I decided to time a few. They were over a minute long, and about three minutes apart. But I only timed about three, then I got bored. Husband asked if I wanted to go in the bath to help with the pain. I thought it was far more important to go in the shower, and give my hair a good wash. After all, if I was in labour, I would soon be having a baby, and soon be having pictures taken of me, and therefore the state of my hair was an important consideration. I had my priorities straight.

Really in quite a lot of pain now. Husband times my contractions while I dry and straighten my hair. He informs me that there is hardly any time between them, so did I maybe think I should phone the hospital now? So I do, and they say I can come in. We set off, to do the car journey to the hospital, which should take about 3 minutes. But Husband starts to go the way with all the speed bumps. I am not keen on this plan. I do not fancy contracting and going over a speed bump at the same time. I make him go the other way. Where we get stuck behind a JCB. We finally get to the hospital, only to find that the handy "park herefor 20 minutes if you are in labour" spot has disappeared. Miss the bit of the car park we should go to in our confusion over this. Have to go round entire stupid one-way hospital road system. Get stuck behind a very old person looking for a parking space. Finally get dropped off at the door while Husband goes to park. Each contraction is now at least twice as painful as the last one, and I am getting slightly unnerved as to how quickly it got very very painful indeed. Passing strangers are looking at me with interest as I huff and puff and hold on to the doorframe of the maternity unit. After what feels like a year, I see Husband making his way over. Without my bags or hospital notes. Send him back to the car.

Finally, FINALLY, make it to a delivery room! By now, it hurts A LOT. Eventually, a lovely midwife comes to examine me. She says she wants to get a second opinion as she can't tell what my cervix is doing, but I'm having strong contractions, so "things are definitely happening". They better bloody be happening, if I'm in this much pain but not dilating, I will..... do nothing, clearly, but I won't be very happy about it. Second midwive examines me, and says "Oh, she's 8 or 9 cm". WHAT?! That's, like, nearly there! I'm actually about to have a baby. The midwife asks me if I want some gas and air, and I nearly bite her arm off. The gas and air is as fantastic as I remember it, but the tube has some kind of annoying wheezy rattle to it which is tainting my enjoyment somewhat. I am told not to push, which of course makes me realise just how desperately I want to do exactly that. It all comes flooding back now. I think this is what is called "transition" and is horrible - a combination of lots of pain, and the effort of not doing what you really want to do. I start to think the usual "this is unbearable, I can't do this" kind of thoughts. But somehow I manage to listen to the rather stern voice in my head that is telling me not to be so ridiculous, that I can bear it, and that I don't really have any choice in the matter.

After a while, while the midwife is outside sorting out some of my paperwork, I suddenly can't NOT push anymore, and start hysterically screaming "It's COMING!" like a demented person. Husband goes to fetch the midwife, and I remember that now I've got to squeeze a person out of me, and that that is not a particularly easy thing to do. But I know that I've got to do it, and that I can and I will. I am also determined not to let the head go bloody well back in this time, so, despite me having the odd shout of "I can't do this" (better than the "I'm NOT doing this" of last time though!), I keep pushing even though I feel like my face, and most other parts of me are about to pop, and then the head is out! I feel great at this point, (or as great as you can when you're in pain and have a human head hanging out of you) as I know I'm so nearly there. "One big push" they tell me, and this time I believe them, and do it, and out comes my baby. Husband tells me it's a girl, and I feel happy. I look behind me (I am kneeling on the bed hanging over the back of it), and see my new baby, and loads of other goo, and I'm pretty sure I said "that's disgusting". I meant the goo and stuff, not the baby. But there goes my last chance to say something nice and meaningful on the birth of my child. Oh well. At least I kept my top on this time.

So that's pretty much it (apart from Husband not being able to resist the strange temptation to look at the placenta and listen to the midwife's explanation of what each bit did). The New'un arrived at 15.42, 2 hours after arriving at the hospital. We were told she was 8lb 10oz, although we found out later that someone had done their sums wrong and she was in fact 8lb 2oz. And I had no nasty traumas happen afterwards, and was home after 24 hours. I'm incredibly lucky to have had two such good labours, and even more lucky to have two such gorgeous daughters. Especially two gorgeous daughters who are, right now, both asleep. I am off to enjoy this moment, for the short time it will undoubtedly last.......

Thursday, 16 June 2011

And Then There Were Four.

So. Yeah. I've got two kids. It's still sinking in. The New'un is now 9 days old. She is very small.

My brain is a bit battered, can you tell?

The New'un's birth story will follow (I promise it will be MUCH shorter than the last one), but for now, here's a quick, if slightly incoherent, update on how we've been doing. Apologies if it's not very good, I am pretty tired, and also typing with one hand, as The New'un is sleeping on me, as she's in some kind of mood.

Having a newborn is nice this time around. I get lots of cuddles, and I can leave the room safe in the knowledge that when I return, she will still be where I put her, and she won't be drawing pretty patterns in the carpet with milk. You don't get to enjoy that the first time round, your head is too busy going "Aaaargh!!! I'm a PARENT! I've got a BABY!! What do I DO with it??!!"

Breastfeeding is easier too. The New'un has taken to it like a champ. I don't know if it's easier because I know what I'm doing now, so it's not like the blind leading the blind, more like the sleepy leading the blind and ravenous. I've got emergency savoy cabbage leaves in the fridge in case of sore boobs (Why? Why does that work?!!) but have not, touch wood, needed them so far.

Sleeping is not too bad either. The New'un tends to sleep for about 3 hours at a time, sometimes so deeply that I start getting worried about her and get her up and start shoving my boob in her face. God, if you'd told 22-year-old me that one day I'd be pretty pleased at getting three hours sleep in a row, I would have laughed long and hard. Or just stared at you in blank incomprehension.

And as for The Toddler, she's been just brilliant. She came to the hospital the day after The New'un was born, bearing a gift of Winnie The Pooh, saying "Hiya Baby!". She loves her little sister, and likes to help me out during nappy changes by soaking a cotton wool ball in water and dripping it on The New'un's head. When The New'un cries, The Toddler tells me what she thinks is wrong - "Baby nappy!" or "Baby 'ungry. Woobies!". "Woobies" is what The Toddler took away from my explanation that, though it was very kind of her, The New'un did not need a drink from The Toddler's beaker, as she just has milk from Mammy's boobies. I think this is funny and cute when she does it, but really need to stop using it myself. I am nearly 30 years old. I do not have woobies.

So, all in all, things are going well. Although what I would do without my wonderful, fabulous husband, I have no idea (and no, he's not making me type this, and he hasn't just stolen the laptop off me). He has been running around after me, and more exhaustingly, The Toddler, since.. well, I was going to write "since The New'un was born", but actually he's been doing it since I was about 8 months pregnant. One of these days I will be able to get off the sofa and look after him a bit. But certainly not today, if The New'un has anything to say about it. Growth spurts. Ugh. Had almost forgotten about these......