Monday, 28 March 2016

Me, Being Mummy : Week 45 Colds and Twirlywoos

This week has been one of those weeks that could probably be illustrated with a tumble weed blowing across the page or something (note: anyone else think of Mr Tumble when they read that sentence too??).

I spent the majority of the week fighting off yet another cold, alongside BB who was lovely enough to share germs with me. That makes 3 this year for us already. It's a funny thing when your number of menstrual cycles matches the number of viruses your body has contracted. Actually, it's not funny at all. It's bloody terrible.... no pun intended. Trying to look after your child whilst fighting cramps and a head full of congestion is rough. And babies seriously don't know the meaning of a duvet day! 

The Mummy Guilt is not great for aiding these ailments either. Several times this week found me on the sofa fighting to keep my eyes open whilst watching BB playing in front of the TV. He was fine, happy as anything, engrossed in the joys of the Twirlywoos and Mr Tumble. But I kept feeling bad for not interacting with him and getting us out of the house for fresh air, convincing myself that I was the weakest and crappiest Mummy on the planet. I've witnessed other mums soldiering on in parks and shops with blood shot eyes, red shiny noses and tissues stuffed into every pocket and there was I, barely able to sit upright at the dinner table! 

How do they do it?! On one particular day I only just about managed to carry out the basics of nappy changes, naps, meals and bath time whilst dosing myself up on paracetamol and Vicks. I didn't sing any songs, play any games or even change BB out of his pjs.... or myself for that matter. The housework went by the wayside to the point that the work tops in the kitchen couldn't be seen! I felt like a complete unhinged failure.

But then I realised that I was doing what most mums do - giving myself a hard time over nothing. 
Sometimes you just have to accept limitations as being like little rain clouds, and reassure yourself that they will eventually lift so that you can feel better and brighter.

Sleeping off his cold 

Additional information and findings from this week:

- I failed at BB's first Easter. I had a notion of decorating the house for Easter, conducting an Easter Egg Hunt and doing a cute photo shoot with BB dressed up as either a chick or a bunny. No bunny ears, no easter egg and no cute basket to collect them in either. We did, however, spend Easter Sunday at my Sister Amy's house for dinner where we had a lot of fun and giggles.... and a lovely dinner consisting of a chicken pie cooked by Amy and a peach crumble cooked by myself. Mary Berry would be proud of us! 

- BB received a cute outfit from my mum (Nanny Nuts) and a Twirlywoos Puzzle from his Auntie Ada (Amy) for Easter.. both of which thankfully made up for my epic fail in the role of the Easter Bunny!
- We have been trying out brand new recipes for BB this week and they have all been well received. I have nothing against jars and ready meals for babies (which is a complete surprise as I almost always cook from fresh) but now that our house move and my return to work are all behind us, I felt like it was time to focus more on encouraging BB to try new flavours and textures, plus I'd missed cooking and playing around with recipes. This week BB has tried Marmite (he's a lover, not a hater of it... yay!), parsnip mash, chicken pie, peach crumble with custard and butternut squash risotto. I am on a roll! As is the dishwasher!
- We now have a Great Big Who Twirlywoo which has joined our already acquired Toodaloo. We are aiming to buy the complete set, not only to make BB sublimely happy but also so that myself and PB can act out the entire theme song sequence.... we are so rock and roll! 

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Sunday, 20 March 2016

Me, Being Mummy : Week 44 Freezing Time

Do you ever have moments where you feel like your heart could burst with love for someone? Where you wish you could grab that point in time and freeze frame it somewhere in a Narnian wardrobe type scenario and step back into it any time you like, because you know that there will be a time in the distant future where it would be so treasured and needed?

I have these moments a lot since BB came along. They grow so fast and life is so busy all the time, the panic that I will forget everything or feel I haven't treasured it enough frequently haunts me. And this week has just been full of them!

PB and I celebrated our 4th anniversary of being a couple (wedding not even planned yet... watch this space... the guest list brings me out in a cold sweat alone!) and we spent a beautiful sunny day out, just the 3 of us as a family, mooching around shops, stopping for lunch and even enjoying a scenic route home through the countryside just in time to witness a sunset that licensed a 1000 pictures and paintings just to do it justice.

NOTE: I neither pictured or painted it because I was too busy being selfish and trying to freeze frame it into fictional storage.

Then there was the moment I was stood in the doorway of our bedroom, waiting for BB's bath to run, watching PB blowing raspberries on BB's tummy and tickling his underarms. It rendered them both into fits of giggles that were infectious and I jumped in and the two of us parents launched an even bigger tickle attack between us onto our nappy clad victim! That sound of him giggling, THAT needs to be frozen in time, for sure.

But, of course I am devoid of any magic and so I simply take the time to note all the details of the moment down in my head and hope that it sticks. Maybe there's a little person in there, running around a floor to ceiling library type setting; with the details written on little files and labelling my 'freeze worthy' moments as 'Keep Forever'?

Probably as likely as Narnia right?

Additional information and findings from this week:

- Driving back from Portsmouth via the countryside routes meant we went through about 3 different signal areas for 1 radio station. Each signal area had about a 30 second to 1 minute delay compared with the other which meant that any song that came on lasted around 5 minutes or more and kept cutting in at different parts. Have you ever heard Sting's 'Every breath you take' last for 6 minutes? It's hilarious.
- BB now has 6 teeth! We have two incisors breaking through at the same time on the top row! He's been a star through it all and despite the odd dribbly/grinchy/rosey cheeked moment, I wouldn't have even noticed that these ones had come in.
- Either through the new dental development or just a case of practice makes perfect, BB is also really getting the hang of eating finger foods confidently and chomping on things rather than just sucking on them til they become a pulp. We're still working on the spoon/bowl/limited mess scenario and helping him try new flavours and textures but I think it's all about slow but steady progress. Patience seems to be the theme with most things...
- Such as crawling. He is so CLOSE! When he does manage it he goes backwards. Then he ends up nearly disappearing under the table or the sofa and panicking so I have to pick him up and let him try again. It reminds me of those wind up toys you race that are rearing to go and then travel off course and wind up flailing around on their backs/fronts/sides until you set them right again. That is what crawling is all about!
- He might be struggling with the concept of crawling, but standing up is his favourite. We set him up on his feet and hold arms for support and he manages to stand for a good 20 seconds before his legs wobble. Perhaps he will skip the crawling altogether and go for the big prize?! Heaven help me if he does!

This pic makes me giggle a lot. The bear hat, the cheeky little person wearing it, the concentration on said little person's face for trying to grab the metal coin chain on the handle of the trolley and lastly the slogan on the trolley's handle sign. Haha! So easily amused.

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Sunday, 13 March 2016

Me, Being Mummy : Week 43 Making Time for Family

It is so easy to get caught up within to do lists, chores, errands and routines before you suddenly realise that you and your family are like a robot on auto pilot with relationships that resemble ships passing in the night time.

PB and I are fortunate to have jobs which allow us to share BB's childcare between us, saving the precious pennies that expensive nurseries and nannies would happily scoop up into their purse. We work as a team and parenting is split down the centre, 50/50. But, it is so easy to forget to make time for one another, of course as a couple, but also time to all be together as a family.

PB pointed this out to a very sensitive me over breakfast on Mother's Day and at first, I was on the defensive. Guilt plays a huge part in my life since becoming a Mummy, a fact that no doubt resonates with a lot of other Mother's out there who attempt to strike a work/life balance. PB's observation struck a nerve and I reacted with a list of all I do to maintain a happy balance to all areas of life along with examples of how hard it is to keep everyone and everything happy. Once I had calmed down and he could actually get a word in, PB pointed out that in all the pictures we have taken of BB, only a handful either show us as a family or were taken at a time that we all 3 of us were together. No way to argue that, I thought. It was all right there, downloaded on icloud and social media. Lovely, beautiful pictures of Teddy but of him with either just one of us or of him on his own because the only other companion with him is taking the photo.

And it made me feel sad.

So this week, we both strived to remember this important need for togetherness and d'you know what? It made all the difference to our stress levels and the atmosphere in the house in general. I'm not talking about grand days out or buying one another precious gifts. We simply made a conscious effort to put aside some time as a family. Half an hour of all of us playing in BB's nursery before work for example, meant I left the house on a high because I'd said goodbye to happy faces. Or a day at home working together on little house projects only pausing to play with and care for BB has felt as nice as a holiday! I didn't take any pictures but that was simply because we were too busy enjoying ourselves to bother with a camera. It's been a marvellous lesson to learn. 

I get so caught up in my work, diaries, meetings and even social media to even realise that precious time with my family is slipping away under my nose. All those things are important and make up a part of me, but my little family are my most important part of all. After all, no one ever gets to the end of life and says 'I wish I had sent more tweets and hit 1000 likes on Instagram'... do they?

Additional information and findings from this week :

- BB is so close to crawling. He sort of semi bum shuffles around which is enough to help him shift position noticeably if we leave him to his own devices for a moment to load the dishwasher or go to the Loo. As much as I wish to celebrate this hurdle almost being mounted, I can't help but be gripped with terror at the thought of a mobile BB. May contemplate nailing the feet of his sleep suits to the floor....
- Growth spurts are funny old times for babies. They go mental! All time highs followed by all time lows, disturbed sleep and then slumber as deep as the ocean followed by not wanting to eat or drink a morsel before suddenly behaving like a plague of locusts and devouring everything in sight! Only this evening BB consumed 1 jar of pasta bolognese, 4 cubes of cheese, 1 large potatoes waffle, 1 jar of apple and pear puree and 2 pots of petis filous. The only time I can remember eating the adult equivalent was during a pot fuelled mini break to Amsterdam that involved an entire rack of BBQ ribs! The human body is amazing isn't it?!
- I am starting to try and show BB how discipline works by being firm if he grabs or touches something that he shouldn't. A firm no and pushing away his hand has so far resulted in him giggling. I tried another approach of putting him on the ground and ignoring him as way of punishment for not listening. He simply sighed and reached out for a toy whilst babbling cheerfully to himself. Must not let confidence be knocked, shall merely keep persevering in hope that 10 months is too soon for a baby to realise the difference between right and wrong.
- the concept of sleeping through a night and catching 10 hours of glorious slumber seems as real as a unicorn farting fresh daisies. If anybody spots said unicorn, please let me know, it shall greatly boost morale!
- BB is beginning to insist upon feeding himself despite not really being able to. I resist giving him the spoon for as long as possible, shovelling in as much food as I can before he flatly refuses to eat thus pitching us both against each other in some sort of food based checkmate. Eventually I relinquish the cutlery and watch as he attempts to eat using the wrong end whilst decorating the room with the contents of his bowl. I'm all for giving them space to learn and allowing them to find their own way with food but my OCD tendencies are put through their paces every meal time. As is the hoover. 

- The Twirlywoos are still of massive importance in our household! We know the theme tune off by heart and I do a rather mean impression of Toodaloo if I do say so myself. As a parent, you will do anything to make your offspring giggle, especially to diffuse grumpy boredom in public places. Which is why I found myself belting out 'Quacky birds fly over the seaaa-ee.... Bring that boat close home to me-eeee' in the middle of a rammed Aldi on Saturday morning. No fucks did I give and BB grinned his way through the cashier's desk. Win win!

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Sunday, 6 March 2016

Me, Being Mummy: Week 42 Mother's Day #1

Mother's Day used to be a day for cherishing my mum. To be thankful for her, and all she does, as well as relishing her and her presence in our lives. And of course, it still is!

But, now, I'm a mum. I have this, little being all of my own. This cheeky, all encompassing, funny, cute little ball of human... who is literally half of me.

Before him, well, it's all just a blur now really. We tried to think of a time without him and it doesn't come to mind. Just doesn't compute. How could it? That life has been exchanged for a new one, one with him in it. A life without him isn't worth remembering in any vast detail.

Mother's Day for me, is a time for being thankful, not just for my mum and not just BB and his Dad's thanks for having me around. It is a day I am thankful, thankful for him being mine and for being given the role to be his Mummy.

For the days where it all seems too much, the nights without sleep and the worries we keep. For the pain of labour, the aches of pregnancy and the stripes it's left behind. For the endless to do list and organisation needed to function throughout the day. For every nap time, new tooth and shitty nappy. For every gloriously early morning start and every frantic meal time that leaves the floor looking like it has an edible carpet of crumbs and goop.

I am thankful.

And humble too. Being a Mummy has also given me an insight to an entirely new perspective in life. A deeper empathy through picturing the view through the eyes of those who have lost babies, lost their mothers and who through no foreseen circumstances may have never managed to have children. This day of merriment for mothers, card swapping and daffodil buying before going for a walk or lunch, can be so painful to so many. It makes me want to hug them all, reassure them that, whether they are mourning their mothers or offspring, today still applies. Your mother or offspring either produced or were produced by you. You are forever connected, on all days, not just one.

So, to mothers who are no longer with us, or mothers who have little ones in their dreams, to those who are growing them as we speak and to those in the same shoes as me, I would like to wish you all a very warm and happy Mother's Day.

And how did I spend my first Mother's Day?

With my own Mum away for the weekend, and PB working, I was worried I would feel lonely for my first Mother's Day. Then I realised I can't be lonely with this little guy around. We chilled out together after PB made us breakfast, then took an afternoon walk and ate cake.

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