Monday, 30 January 2017

Nesting Instinct



I have always been a fan of a clean and tidy home. I was brought up in one. The kind of home where if Mum had washed the kitchen floor... you had to wait for it to dry before you could go get yourself a drink... on tip toes. Or once the living room was clean, the door was closed and your toys were played with in your room. Mirrors shone, shelves passed the finger test and the carpet always smelt fresh from shake n vac. My mother is a professional cleaner, as is my older sister, and that sort of 'Home Pride' mindset has just been there from the get go. 

I watch Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners and admire the ones who suffer with the OCD because I would love to be able to have the stamina and the drive to maintain a toilet seat to the point where it is cleaner than a plate. The opposite side of the spectrum where hoarders live in squalor and cook their dinner amongst rat droppings and newspapers circa 1972 fills me with despair and I want to skip ahead to the bit of the programme where they don't have to live like that anymore. Clean and tidy leaves me satisfied and calm. A good old housework spree is cathartic to me. Some of my biggest breakthroughs as a human being have happened after I have cleaned my house and rearranged furniture. It just makes me feel better. 

Which is why now, in my 34th week of pregnancy, I am going quite nuts with my nesting instinct on top of my usual compulsions. I want to clean everything. EVERYTHING. I was actually contemplating the best ways to clean books the other evening. Not just the books, but their pages too. I want to pull out every piece of furniture, every appliance, every knick knack and just CLEAN THEM! 

It's not just cleaning. It's organising too. Every cupboard, drawer, box and pot* I have come across has been emptied, sorted through and rearranged. It has been so satisfying! The amount of time and energy we waste fighting things that are falling out of cupboards, or stuffing back drawers that are full to the brim is ridiculous. And, right now, I need all the energy I can get. To open a cupboard and just grab what I need has been so nice. No unnecessary bending or bracing half a dozen things against my body as I find that one thing I just need that is always at the bloody bottom of the pile! It's been glorious. 

*Why do we always have some random pot that contains keys to things we don't know need opening, screws to things that we don't know need securing and random hair pins that have lost their effective grip? Oh, and not forgetting that one random battery that has little to no power left in it. Why do we keep these things?!

But, of course, all this cleaning is taking its toll. On me physically and on PB mentally. I can't keep bending, stretching, crouching, kneeling and crawling around to try and reach those few crumbs under the arm chair or to rid that one light bulb of a whispering of cobweb. Each time I do something that seems so desperate to be done, I get a wave of satisfaction from doing it before a tidal wave of regret and discomfort. And guilt. Poor BB2, cooking away in my tummy. He's probably going to come out waving a feather duster and craving a spritz of multipurpose spray!

And, like I said, PB has been the epitome of a patient and dutiful OH through everything despite inwardly wanting to shake me and tell me to 'Just let it go!'. Of course, he's way too clever to actually do and say such things, but I have seen a few eye rolls and witnessed a few deep sighs. Too right as well... I can see how frustrating it is to have your cereal box moved into three different places within the space of a week. The other day he was clutching at his hair whilst calmly asking me 'Where do we keep the Quavers now?!'. Poor guy... he needs a sat nav just to work his way around the kitchen nowadays. 

It's not for long though. Whilst a lot of me is behaving this way out of instinct and upbringing, a huge part of me is just acting out of control. I am going to be a Mum of Two soon. The thought excites me but daunts me in almost equal measures (excitement pips fear to the post just about!). Soon, I will be in the throes of new motherhood again; where to clean my teeth let alone the bloody house will feel like a massive achievement and the sound of the hoover will only be utilised to help a baby through colic. So, for now, whilst I have the time and (a little bit of) get go, I shall let myself clean anything I can, as and when I can. 

(Sorry PB.... will promise not to move your coco pops anymore). 







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Saturday, 28 January 2017

Those Precious Few Hours at Bedtime




Before motherhood, I truly took my time for granted. In the evenings especially. All that glorious time spent just hanging around, lazing about... sprawled out on the sofa, pampering myself with mini manis and pedis with a hair and face mask on. It was amazing. Heaven. I just didn't realise it! 

Idiot.

Nowadays, I live in fear of having my precious evening time compromised. I know it sounds selfish, but I have completely fallen into the parent trap that we all trip into, believing that between the hours of 7am and 7pm, our children should switch off and we should have uninterrupted 'me time'. An unofficial extended coffee/lunch break type thing (only at night) from possibly the hardest job in the world.

I call it a trap because, inevitably, it is just that... A massive trap. If you were to compare the amount of uneventful nights where your cherub (or cherubs) slept soundly and all the way through, to the nights where they woke up needing you for something or another.... I'm sure there's no contest. But, despite knowing this, I (like 99% of other sleep deprived parents out there) still live in hope and denial. And that's where I come unstuck.

A sensible person in my position, 34 weeks pregnant with a 20 month old toddler, would get their toddler to bed and then spend say an hour or so in front of the telly or reading a book (or blogs) before turning in for the night because they would know that their 20 month old will inevitably wake up in the wee hours to be changed/have a drink/party in his cot/have a blazing tantrum at being left to self soothe to the point where the neighbours bang on the wall. 

Or, on a great night, carry out all of the above.

Well, I'm not sensible. Like I say, I am in denial.

Which causes me to become over optimistic. I get caught up in having a sense of me back, of being able to concentrate on what I am watching or reading or typing and the idea of giving it up and going to sleep doesn't appeal in the slightest. Of course that changes in the morning, when I am shattered and berating myself for binge watching speed cleaning videos on youtube at midnight when I should have clocked up at least 3 hours kip by then. It is at that point, when I am facing another 12 hours of Being Mummy and running on near empty after just 4 hours sleep, that I am kicking myself for not opting for sleep.

It is a hard choice though. Go to sleep at a sensible hour and spend hardly any time being by one's self, or stay up and feel like you have gained a little bit of enjoyment from the small things you used to take for granted. The former would mean possibly more energy to keep up with building brick towers, carrying out errands and chores with enough left over to smile and be nice to everyone (despite inevitably feeling resentful from not being able to binge watch Netflix and youtube) and the latter means having to spend the next day crawling through the day, finding something as simple as breakfast akin to climbing Everest, all carried out with the brain power of a cotton wool bud and the temper of a raging bull? It's so hard to strike a balance! 

What makes the choice even harder is that once BB goes down, before I can even get to do the things that I would like to do, there is inevitably a long list of chores still to be done. Yes, I could leave them. But who else will do them? The sodding housework fairy? If I had a 'put it off until tomorrow' mentality, tomorrow would never come and we would end up living in a sty. Add in nesting instinct and I literally need to do the chores. So, I carry out my duties like Cinder-fucking-rella and only then can I go to the ball.

Usually its around 9pm when I get to do 'me' things. If I balance everything out and go to bed at at a reasonable hour (say 10... 10.30 tops) that means I get to have at most 90 minutes out of a 24 hour day to relish things I used to have at my disposal 24/7. When you look at it like that... is it any surprise that I favour becoming an ogre every day?

It seems so ungrateful. Like I am being super selfish and bemoaning all the blessings I do have. I don't intend for that to happen. Posts like this are just written from a human perspective. I am not Wonder Woman (no matter how much I strive to be!) and if I were to constantly bounce around on a wistful cloud of forever happiness I probably wouldn't relish things in life as much. I relish having 'me time' now. I never did. I just took it for granted, day after day. I relish a good night's sleep now, because I have known tiredness that leaves your body hurting and your mind failing. I'm simply acknowledging that the balance between the two can be tough to strike. 

But. That doesn't make me want to stop trying.













ethannevelyn



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Thursday, 26 January 2017

Me, Being Mummy: Weekly Update #89 Busy Doing Nothin' and First Day at Nursery!

This week has been mainly spent at home. It's been cold... bloody freezing actually. I debated bundling myself and BB up in lots of layers and heading to the local park (almost wrote pub then, ha, wouldn't that be nice!) but just as I was gathering up various jumpers, hats, scarves and thick socks from the various radiators and clothes airers that have lately become forms of unofficial storage, I took a peek outside at the garden and noticed that even the cobwebs were frozen and I abandoned the plan entirely. If even a thin strand of spider silk could catch cold, there was no way I was going to expose us to it for the sake of an hour on the swings. Chances are we would have become welded to them and come home with frost bitten bums!

So, we have stayed inside in the warm. BB has had a persistent snuffle all week even without being out in the cold much, so it was good for him to play with his toys and get long naps plus it gave me a chance to catch up on some work whilst resting my achy foetus filled pelvis.

As much as it's been nice to be at home taking it easy, cabin fever has set in a bit now and we are both chomping at the bit to get out and about to do something. Luckily things are looking to be getting warmer plus PB has a few days off work coming up so we can all get out for some family time and I can have help lifting BB and his luggage about without gritting my teeth through pain and not panic about hurting bump.

We've had a couple of lovely evenings where we had friends over for dinner and I also went out with my girlfriend's for a spa afternoon at the weekend. I spent an hour bobbing about like a cork in a swimming pool (pure weightlessness - felt like heaven!) before munching on cakes and sandwiches and a sneaky glass of prosecco! Which instantly took affect and zonked me out completely... in public. Would like to formally apologise to the fellow guests who had to 'enjoy' their afternoon tea across from the snoring pregnant warthog -I mean, woman - who was laid prostrate and smelling of chlorine on the leather sofas in the sun lounge...

The most important event of this week has been the fact that BB has officially started nursery! He had spent the odd afternoon there before in the summer of last year, whilst I worked on a couple of weddings, but we have signed up for him to go every week now and his time officially started this week. I had a physio exercise class aimed at helping my pelvic pain so PB took him for the session, which was the best thing to have happen because I would have probably been a bit tearful. It's a milestone, another step forward out of babehood and my irrational brain was convinced he would wonder where we were and feel we had abandoned him. Of course, nothing of the sort happend, he just toddled right on in, waved goodbye to his PoppaBear and spent 5 hours enjoying the company of his peers. Success! We are so proud of him.

Additional information and findings from this week:

- Frost is beautiful. I actually think it is more beautiful to look at than snow. Snow encompasses everything wheres frost is literally like a little dusting of Mother Nature's glitter. It can take an ordinary mundane thing like a garden fork and transform it into something magical. Was transfixed by it every morning this week but all the pics I took just didn't seem to do it justice. Was going to venture outside for a closer shot but then remembered my tumble on the decking that time with The Rat Attack!
- A PGP (Pelvic Girdle Pain) Physio Exercise class is actually code for 'Come sit on a bouncy gym ball, chat about different pregnancy and labour topics and get sympathy for being in copious amounts of pain that we neither know the cause of or how to alleviate before doing a few stretches and going home'. I loved the gym ball. I loved the chat and sympathy. I did not like the half arsed stretches I gave and I didn't like them even more when I was home later that afternoon and unable to get away from the pain. Just like any exercise, you get sore and have to tell yourself that theres no gain without pain.
- One session at nursery already brought about change in BB when he got home. He was chattering non stop  (still babble but we respond just the same) and he just looked more grown up. Mannerisms and sense of purpose in what he was doing.. all notably changed. Its amazing! And scary.. pictured him in uni and driving and got emotional. Hormones not helping.
- Sleeping has been hit and miss this week. Mostly miss. One night we got to sleep through. The rest we were up at least once and I am still finding myself having to stay present in the room for him to settle into slumber. He obviously needs the reassurance and support. Which is fine... although my lower back could do with the same to be honest. Leaning over a cot/standing motionless in the room for 15 minutes with a heavy bump and ligaments like shoe strings is bloody tough going. Would bring a gym ball into the room but with BB's obsession with all things that rotate, I'd be there all night!
- Highlight of the week has got to be watching father and son build mega blocks towers together in front of a footie game on the box. I'm not a fan of football but I can appreciate watching the two (soon to be three) men/loves of my life sit and bond over something together. It was lovely to see and made all the better by BB's attempts at connecting his megablocks together. 






Wonky but workable was the theme and each time he successfully added a block he would give himself an applause and giggle at us through pride. What can I say? The kid melts my heart. It may have been cold outside all week, but he truly is our sunshine.




ethannevelyn
DIY Daddy Blog


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Monday, 23 January 2017

Why I am #RockingMotherhood


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I have recently read a few brilliant posts that circle around the #rockingmotherhood tag, originally started up by Patricia at White Camelias, where Mums are writing 10 reasons that they are rocking motherhood. I have really enjoyed reading such uplifting and heart warming entries, so when the lovely Claire over at The Pramshed kindly tagged me to take part, I was more than pleased to do so. I don't know about you - but I am my own worst critic, and motherhood has been a life adventure that has had me mainly berating myself from the get go. Most likely because the majority of us are simply winging it and hoping for the best. However, as a naturally glass-half-empty-kind-of-girl anyway, a shove in a more positive and affirming direction is always welcome, and this post is a perfect way to go.

After much pondering and reflection, here are my top 10 reasons that I have come up with to show exactly why I am #RockingMotherhood:

The Sunshine Kid

*gushing parent alert!*

Our son is regularly described as a ray of sunshine. He literally beams his smile all the time. So much so that it becomes infectious and, as a result, he makes us smile and laugh every single day. To see so much innocence and gentleness of nature punctuated with just the right amount of cheekiness and outright goofball quality makes my heart swell with love and pride. Don't get me wrong, the sunshine can give way to a thunderous temper if a nap or a meal is late, but on the whole we have constant warmth and happiness from our Baby Bear, which helps me feel reassured that we are doing a good job as his parents.

No Previous Experience at Being Mummy

I am the youngest in my family. I never had any younger siblings to help around the house with, I was the youngest in my school year and even when my niece and nephew were born, my older sister was such an organised and efficient Mum herself that if I ever baby sat, the kiddies would be fed, changed, watered and usually even napping when I arrived so all I needed to do was sit and watch telly (slightly misleading?!). So, when I became pregnant and myself and PB mused about our impending parenthood, all I could see were rose tinted views of snuggly baby time and the fun (ha!) of wheeling a buggy proudly through the park. The reality, as we all know, is completely different and I feel I have hit the ground running and (as far as I know) not stumbled too much along the way. Motherhood is so consuming and immense! The responsibility, intensity and sheer relentless pressure were things I couldn't have prepared myself for, and I am proud for managing them and for all I have come through and achieved in the past 20+months.

Maintaining Friendships

I am currently the only Mummy within my close circle of friends. At first I was so worried about how dynamics would change and that my friends would gravitate towards doing things that didn't involve having a little person in tow. I worried they would find us tiresome and limiting to social occasions. But, I am lucky to have such flexible, loving and supportive people in my life. They have embraced our boy into 'the group' and love him without question. They have considered him whenever we have made plans to do something, taking into account pram access, baby changing, high chairs and children's menus. They've cut up my food whilst I was breast feeding, held him for me when my arms were tired and been there for every Christmas and Birthday. They put up with my rants on the down days and my gushing pride on the up days. They celebrated when he first smiled, laughed, rolled over, sat up and walked. In turn, we have included them in all of it. We passed him over for cuddles without hesitation from Day 1. We get them to check on him whilst he's sleeping and we encourage them to play with him all the time. True friends are like family, and I love mine to bits.

Nursery:

BB has started regular weekly sessions at nursery! At the moment it is just a half day a week (all we can currently afford with the new baby coming and all) but he absolutely loves it and we've loved having 5 hours to ourselves. Thanks to irrational instinct, I felt guilty on the first day, a bit like I was abandoning him. But luckily PB's rationality put me in check and pointed out just how much BB enjoyed time with other kids and after just one afternoon he seemed so much more grown up after watching his peers and having a change of scenery. I'm proud of him for embracing the change, and for myself for overcoming the separation anxiety. In fact...

Overcoming Anxiety: 

I am an anxious person and come from a long line of over thinkers. BB was born 5 weeks early and whisked away from me mere minutes after his birth due to breathing problems. We spent 8 days in neonatal, with myself being discharged from the hospital on the 5th day and having to deal with leaving our baby in hospital whilst we went home alone. It was hard. Every time I think about it I well up. From experiencing such separation anxiety in that moment of leaving the hospital, I decided I would try to do my best to not let him feel it himself. So, I have strived to face and control all my fears linked with anxiety in order to set a good example. At first, I had anxiety about going out alone with him. I overcame that. Then it was going to play groups and mingling with other mums. I overcame that. Then I went back to work and overcame the anxiety of leaving him for long work days. And, as I have mentioned, I am now over the anxiety of leaving him in nursery. And, even when I was choked with anxiety in these situations, I never once showed it or projected it onto him. As a result, he is laid back, cool, calm and collected when I exit the room or leave him with other people. He's never seen my fears and worries and I am so pleased about that. He isn't afraid of me not coming back, and for that I am super proud.

Teamwork

Myself and PB are a team. From day one, I have always referred to BB as 'our' son and said that 'we' do this and 'we' do that. I am not the Mummy who berates her OH to other people. I resent it when people refer to him as if he is a mere babysitter and the one thing that provided me solace when I had to stop breastfeeding was the lovely sight of watching PB bonding through giving BB a bottle. I am BB's Mummy. Brilliant job, love it. But, equally, PB is his Daddy. Without the two of us there would be no BB, and I never EVER under value PB as a parent. We are partners and a team. I would be lost without him and am so grateful for the fact he is a hands on Dad, who has shared the night feeds (even when I breast fed, he would sit up and cheer me on... literally), changed the nappies, hovered over the cot during the fretful nights and thrown himself around soft play on many an afternoon. He has supported me when I have felt I was doing things all wrong and has made me a better mother than I ever thought I could be. I may be listing these reasons for rocking motherhood, but we rock parenthood together.

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Maintaining Routine

I never had a routine before motherhood. EVER. I hated the idea of being dictated to, and of course had all the freedom to just please myself and waft about the place without any purpose. I was a professional wafter. Now, I thrive on routine. If I don't stick with routine, I lose all track on the day, things go horribly wrong and I feel unhinged. I couldn't waft about now if I tried!

Organisation:

Akin to Routine, but fairly new in concept as only around New Year did I really start making an effort to be organised. I obviously already had routine in place and a degree of organisation was used to follow it, but it was the bare minimum that was needed to maintain the routine if that makes sense? Nowadays, I have a planner for myself, an online calendar for work, a blogging diary and a family wall planner. It has saved so much time and stress for us so far and even though PB was jesting about how he no longer needed to speak to me because everything he needed to know was 'on the planner!', he has actually noticed the difference it has made to family life and to how I am on the whole. Pregnant mums do not need excessive stress!

Managing with Pregnancy AND a Toddler

Being Mummy has been a (rewarding) challenge of a lifetime so far. Being Mummy, to a toddler, whilst pregnant? Beyond. Hard. From the first trimester where I had severe sickness and vertigo, through the second trimester and what I believe was a strong tinge of prenatal depression into this third trimester with the chronic gnarling from pelvic girdle pain, I have had a pretty miserable time of things this pregnancy. But, I have (and still am) managing to be Mummy to BB and take care of my body and the little love it holds inside. I may have had to make adjustments (see my post How to Cope During Pregnancy with A Toddler for more on that) but things are working out and I am super excited to meet our new addition in early March and to see how BB develops as a big brother. All hard work pays off the richest rewards!

Blogging 

Which brings me to my final reason, which is my passion for my little blog and blogging as a whole. I pour time, love and a lot of late nights into this blog. Me, Being Mummy is my place to reflect on what is happening in my experiences and to document memories for the boys and myself to look back upon in the future. It has connected me with some lovely people and their blogs, who provide me with the reassurance and comfort that I can also hopefully provide to anyone who may read (or be reading) mine. It keeps the brain cogs turning when Cbeebies has rendered it to an overcooked sprout-like consistency and it gives me a little slice of time to myself, where I can let my creativity flow and distract my mind from the worry of day to day life. It forces me to take stock of what I have, who I am and where I am going with my quest of Being Mummy in the midst of Motherhood. And, on the whole, I can tentatively say that I am, indeed, rocking it.


What are the reasons you would give for why you are #RockingMotherhood? I've tagged some lovely fellow bloggers below, but by all means feel free to join in even if you aren't mentioned. It's about time we all gave ourselves a pat on the back instead of a kick in the shin!


Hello Archie

Squished Blueberries

Five Little Doves

My Petit Canard

A Mum Track Mind

Jaki Jellz

Lucy At Home







My Petit Canard


RachelSwirl


ethannevelyn


The Pramshed

Friday, 20 January 2017

My Misguided View on Pregnancy

I was SO naive about pregnancy before I started a family. There I was, thinking that once I became 'with child', I would blossom and bloom, so amazingly and breath taking to behold that the world would slow down it's turning to catch a glimpse of me and my gorgeous bump and I would be treated like a small delicate flower.

I was looking forward to losing my temper with people for treating me as if I were fragile. I had visions of having cigarette smoke from across the street wafted out of my vicinity, in case I breathed in the fumes and harmed the precious babe in my belly. I envisaged people holding doors open for me... endless back rubs and foot rubs. I honestly practised lines in my head in preparation for situations, thinking my favourite of 'Tuh... I'm pregnant, not dying... don't worry about me!' would come into perfect use (along with an eye roll and a bat of the hand), possibly when I was trying to make the bed, open a door or pull out a chair to sit on.

I haven't used the line once. In a nutshell, people get used to you being pregnant. After the initial 'Wow!' factor, the fact that the baby is inside you and can only really be felt by you... kind of excludes everyone else from the club really doesn't it? People are busy, people are tired. You are not the pivotal axis of the planet after all.

Especially second time round. The novelty has completely worn off by then and your first basket of fruit from your loins has everyone distracted from the fact you are working on another. Lifting I've been spared a lot and I've been grateful to have that help, especially when it comes to having BB or shopping bags carried. But, on the whole, special treatment has been non existent. Back massages and foot rubs were also a perk in my head. Small price for creating an entire human from scratch. I've actually given more foot rubs  than received this second time round!

I also had this image (more so the first time round) of my appearance staying as myself, just with a bump attached. I pictured fuller boobs, a nice round bump, glowing skin and shiny hair.

What. A. Prat.

Cue dough like limbs, a massive globe in the front and two admittedly full boobs that will in time deflate and hit the dirt. Literally. I underestimated the back ache (our spines curve like a pretzel?!) and the puff of fluid retention. I had no idea your pelvis could become misaligned and make walking up the stairs or turning over in bed torture. I just looked forward to the magic of feeling a baby kicking inside me. Luckily, that magic is valid... and makes up for the pain!

Now, don't misunderstand me, I am not ungrateful, neither am I put out by reality. I am an independent woman who is also stubborn, hot of temper and very determined in nature... and that's without a shit load of hormones on top. I don't wish to be molly coddled and I don't want to be constantly treated like a princess either. Its simply that I had expected all of that stuff. I thought I would have to be cajoled into sitting down and forced into submission with a neck rub. I envisaged getting annoyed with people for treating me so carefully and for wanting to touch my beautiful bump. That I would feel suffocated. And ... its not the case at all. The world continues to spin at the same speed as ever. My groans and moans of aches and pains are met with a pat on the shoulder, I actually grab people's hands to try and share the magic of a kick and a toddler who wants his toy, that he's lost under the sofa, really doesn't get or give a shit that their sibling is curled around my bladder and head butting my cervix.

Just as well really, it is all preparation for what is to come and stops me from getting too comfy. After all, a newborn baby doesn't exactly bestow the princess treatment in abundance either do they? Ha!


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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Me, Being Mummy: Weekly Update #88 Development!

BB has gotten taller. I gave him a haircut the other day and now wonder if the fact I have reduced his hair length by an inch gives an optical illusion so that it looks like he's gained the inch back in his height.

After watching him from all angles though, it isn't mere trickery of the eye... he has definitely sprouted this last week. He's also still developing his speech, you can really see him trying to copy words and put things together in his head. Which is probably why he hasn't been sleeping too great again. You would think all that development would knacker him out but it seems to fuel him up... like some kind of incessantly enthusiastic Duracell bunny. I always thought it was hard when he was a newborn and we wouldn't get big blocks of time to sleep. That was hard, but this is hard too. To now get chunks of sleep and have your muscles heavy and warm from deep slumber, only to be wrenched out from that between the hours of 2am and 4am whilst your bouncy toddler parties in his cot, all excited because he has learnt the word 'wow'. That has been pretty tough to be honest. Cute. But they have to be cute so you don't launch them out of the window at 3am.

Giving him a haircut was interesting. It was his second time having it done, and I'm a hairdresser so I'm not attacking him with kitchen scissors and a pudding basin, which he will thank me for in the future no doubt! But, he did what most toddlers do when they are held in one spot having their hair tampered with... he protested. And shook his head and put his hands in the way of the scissors (hate it when they do that!). He pushed me away... saying no (another development.. yay). But I held my ground and gave him an ipad and a couple of chocolate biscuits to keep him busy and we managed to finish just fine. My heart was beating fast the whole time though, no matter how cool and calm I appeared to be for him. One slip of the scissors and... well, didn't bear thinking about. I succeeded in my task and hopefully, at least for a little while, less old women will be telling me how beautiful my daughter is!

Additional information and findings from this week:

- BB says bye. To everything. He says bye if we leave the room. He says bye if we leave a shop. He says bye when he wants to finish something and he says bye when a programme he likes finishes on the telly. But. If you ask him to say bye to someone.. say a cashier or waitress who just served you... nothing. Blank stare and silence. Then he says the bye when we are out of the shop or in the car. Delayed reaction or what?!
- Counting is getting to be big news. Not proper counting of course. We merely count out things like peas and sweetcorn kernels at tea time and repeat the word 'two' but the general idea is coming along nicely. I've never been good at maths so am not one to jugdge. Ha!
- We received bath crayons for Christmas from one of our family members and they are AMAZING! Both BB and the adults of the family have enjoyed being creative and who thought it would be such a novelty to be able to scribble all over the bath worry free??
- My Mum and Sister came over at the weekend to do a massive 'cook up' so I could freeze a load of meals in preparation for when the new baby comes. I never managed to do it when I was pregnant with BB because he surprised us by coming early.  This time round I am leaving plenty of time, just in case, and it was really nice to get it all batched up and stacked in the freezer. My nesting instinct is terribly strong so anything to appease the twitchy feelings its giving me is very much welcome! We made about 2 - 3 weeks worth of meals and everything looks yummy!

Counting out sweetcorn into a bottle lid... as you do.


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Monday, 16 January 2017

How to Cope During Pregnancy with a Toddler

As I type this post, I am sitting with my 32 week old baby bump resting on my lap, my 20 month old toddler fast asleep in his cot and a great big mug of hot chocolate and marshmallows at my side to give my weary brain enough power to string a sentence together coherently enough for you to be able to (hopefully) find this post of some help and use to your current circumstance.

If you are reading this, chances are you are in a similar situation of growing a small human on the inside whilst taking care of another small human on the outside. First off, I want to say a huge 'Well Done!' as I know first hand how bloody tough it is! Coping with Being Mummy to one addition whilst incubating a second is no small feat, regardless of their age really. But, as I am mummy to a toddler, I can only think of tips on how to help from what I have learnt through that perspective....

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BB with our scan pics for BB2

Be kind to yourself 

Don't give yourself such a hard time about things. So what if you have a mountain of work waiting to be climbed? So what if your dishes are becoming congealed and welded to the kitchen work surfaces? So what if you are all walking around in clothes that have had their suspicious stains removed with a wet wipe? So what if the floor and hoover haven't seen each other for a while? Just focus on putting your needs first and being kind to yourself. You may feel useless and frustrated when you look about your nest at all that needs doing, but ultimately, the important thing is that you're fine, baby is fine and your other offspring are fine. I am still learning to embrace this tip, and often berate myself for trying to be perfect. Which leads me to my next piece of advice...

Don't try to be perfect.

I am a bona fide perfectionist. I put pressure on myself for everything in the house to be just so, for every situation to go just right and if I don't meet my own personal standards of perfect then, to be frank, I turn into a pretty mean bitch. Frustration and a sense of failure fuel massive rants and foot stomping sessions, hormones from pregnancy exacerbate the situation to the point where I become venomous to my nearest and dearest and my 'Temper Bomb' fuse becomes as short as a grain of rice. Not nice for me, not nice for my OH and most importantly, not nice for the little toddling slice of innocence who is witnessing every bit. Even Mary Poppins was only 'practically perfect' in every way. Not '100% perfect' or 'completely perfect' in every way. If her straw hat could slide a little... so can yours.

Embrace Your Electronic Babysitters

I know this is controversial to say but, I really don't give a hoot about my toddler watching telly. If I can sit and binge watch Netflix of an evening and still function, how can I be afraid to let him watch his Cbeebies programmes? It has been a complete godsend this pregnancy, to be able to pop the telly on and have just a small bit of peace so I could flop on the sofa and alleviate the vertigo and nausea that were part of daily life for 18 weeks or so! At that point in time, when I couldn't stand or even raise a smile for our boy, I was grateful that he was distracted by the happy, bouncy theme of cbeebies... if he had turned to look at the sofa, it would have been more like a scene from Les Mis! Same goes for ipads and phones. The umpteen thousand appointments you have with midwives, hospitals and GP's during pregnancy means a lot of time spent in crowded waiting rooms and small treatment rooms so keeping your tot occupied with a phone or ipad is necessary. Don't feel guilty, their eyes won't go square, their brains won't become mush and you are not a bad parent!

Accept Help and Delegate

It is so helpful to have a good support network around you when facing the trials and tribulations of motherhood, especially when pregnant. I am constantly asking friends and family to pass me things, lift things and carry out small tasks that I know I either can't do myself or that if I were to do them, I would regret it afterwards. When your ligaments resemble over stretched knicker elastic and your back feels ready to snap like a christmas cracker, you really need to get people to pick up, lift, carry and fetch for you. Especially because there is so much lifting involved with a toddler around. If you can get them to climb up and down stairs, or even master getting in and out of their buggy or car seat, that means less strain on your body too. Yes it feels useless and hurts the pride at times. Yes, you feel guilty for asking a barely out of babehood infant to start doing things independently. Yes it feels lazy. Yes it makes you go mad with frustration at having to wait and explain where something may be in a cupboard or a drawer but the point is, you are protecting yourself and your baby from damage. Plain and simple.

Additionally, if any of you lovely readers know a pregnant woman (especially one with a toddler in tow), a simple act of asking if she needs help with her shopping can work wonders. Or popping round in order to make the tea and watch her offspring whilst she takes a desperately needed nap can work wonders for her, mentally and physically. Simply ringing her up or texting her to say you think she is amazing and that she's got this will even be a boost. Trust me, there has been many a lonely day in this pregnancy where I have felt boosted by a kind word from someone.

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Dealing with the first trimester sickness whilst BB watched Twirlywoos on the telly! 

Keep Activities Simple

I have found that, as much as I love taking our toddler to parks, soft plays and play groups, these activities usually need me to run around after him to make sure he doesn't end up hurt or to lift him up and navigate him around obstacles and such. It's just too much to handle on top of a bump so I have started to look at more sedate activities that we can do, just for the time being until I am no longer an oven cooking a bun. Painting, baking, playing with toys and building (easy) dens have all been popular choices that have been much less taxing to me whilst still keeping BB occupied. If I am with company then I still venture for the more physical activities as I can ask for help. But on the days where it is just us two, simple and sedate activities are the way to go!

Eat and Drink!

I know everyone is obsessed with eating and drinking well and there seems a real obsession with juices and stuff that looks like pond... but to be honest, my advice would be just to make sure you actually eat and drink at all! It is so easy to forget about meal times when you are tending to your toddler, and I have had many a day where I have gotten to 4pm and realised I haven't had any lunch. So, work on remembering to eat and drink plenty throughout the day. Once you have mastered that, then you can start worrying about calorie content and all that other stuff. If you want to that is... when I was pregnant with BB I ate everything in sight (even dish sponges.. see here for an archives post where I first mention that weirdness) but this time round I have been craving mostly healthy fruit and veg instead of junk food. I have been putting my slow cooker to good use with lots of stews and pasta sauces. Still have an insane love for chocolate though but lets face it, that's always been there! Pregnancy only enhances the love between us.

Do you have any tips for getting through pregnancy whilst taking care of another infant? Comment your suggestions below!

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Friday, 13 January 2017

Pregnancy Update: Week 32 - Time To Get Real

I have been trying to find the right words for this post for a while now. I have so many thoughts and feelings coursing through this heavily pregnant and weary body of mine, mixed in with a shit load of hormones and a fair amount of sleep deprivation induced delirium, so you shall have to bear with me and hopefully understand what I am trying to articulate. I even merged it with my weekly pregnancy update video to try and help with things!

When I was young, having a baby was the one thing I wanted to do in life. I have mentioned before that whilst others were dressing up as princesses or playing at being a bride, I was always pushing a pram with a doll (sometimes even an unsure looking cat!) and busying myself in a play house cooking dinner and fluffing up pillows. And then, as an adolescent, I wanted the same things but for deeper reasons than the fact I wanted to fluff pillows! A home and a family became a real desire. My own home broke when I was in my 20s, quite late considering most divorces happen in childhood. As with most cases, the divorce was for the best... very overdue to be honest. But, upon seeing the damage caused to my family through adult eyes, along with having to let go of our family home when it was sold, my determination to have and create a stable unit for myself and my future children was greater than ever.

As far as I know, so far I have succeeded in my quest. I met this guy, who became a good friend, who then became the love of my life. We made a home together. And we continue to have each other. Yes, we bicker and row, usually from over tiredness and about the usual stresses that come from the responsibilities of being adults and parents. But, despite the days where we don't like each other much, we always know that we love each other and that we have our family.... all 2 cats, one toddler and one bump of them! And I am grateful to have them.... so grateful.

On a personal level though, I can see that there are so many complications that the little girl in that play house, nor that the younger woman in her 20's hugging her bedroom wall goodbye for that final time, just didn't factor in about adulthood, motherhood and family life. How could she... she had no real clue of the reality, only the dreams in her head. Reality is completely different and has a way of sending you crashing back to earth with a bump... literally... as I sit here typing, my 32 week baby bump is perched on my lap!

I've actually attempted to list these complications in this week's pregnancy update video. It's longer than my usual updates, but I needed to talk it all out.... which I have... and did... twice. This was the second version, in the first my emotions got the better of me just a few minutes in and I had to stop to get rid of all the tears and snot! I'd have happily uploaded that version but for the fact I was unconsolable! It was good to let it all out though, and made way for this more concise version!






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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Weekly Update #87 - Balls!

For as long as I can remember, BB has been obsessed with balls. Anything spherical shaped and able to rotate and: BOOM! This kid is there. He will spot a ball from a mile off and just make a bee line for it.

Which isn't so bad... so long as the ball he is on a quest to get IS actually a ball...
Last week we went to visit BB's Grandad Steve and Nanny Tracy (my father in law and step mother in law).  They had a bowl of satsumas on the side... needless to say that by the time we left, said satsumas were rather bruised and dented, some of them even possibly lost under the sofa for the unforeseeable future.

Spinning, rotation and rolling are something he has always been enthralled by, but now there are other things coming along that keep him fascinated. Lids for example. Taking lids on and off of pots, boxes, bottles... putting smaller items into bigger items.... and we've conquered the art of walking upstairs whilst faux counting* as we go along (mummy does this in an outwardly upbeat manner whilst inwardly she panics that he will suddenly fall backwards towards his doom).
*faux counting means mummy counts each step as we ascend, whilst BB repeatedly says 'two'.
Talking and babbling are almost non stop now, with 90% of what comes out being complete gobbledygook. It reminds me of my old french lessons in school, where I used to appear as if I understood what was being said on the outside whilst on the inside I was flailing about for a viable translation. Luckily, BB is much more easily pleased than my old french tutor used to be. And much cuter.

To be honest, it must be the same case for BB when he tries to understand me. The other evening I was showing him how to put his mega blocks away in a box and I  repeated the phrase 'Put it in the box then... put it in the box' which started out as a sweet natured tinkle tone but soon enough I felt like Basil Fawlty speaking to Manuel. Of course, I didn't resort to violence and BB was spared a frying pan over the head, but it made me realise that he must equally be wondering what on earth 90% of what we are saying to him means. Amazing how much patience and determination they have really isn't it?

Additional information and findings from this week:

- After feeling A LOT of self doubt last week due to BB drinking waaay too much milk despite my efforts to cut it down, as well as unsettled sleep and a Battle of Wills, this week has seen some big improvements and positive changes. The biggest has been that for the last few days, we have managed to stop BB from having a bottle of milk at nap time (cue cheers and hi fives all round!). Now we just have to work on the night time bottles but hey, no running before walking right?
- Peas have been a huge hit at dinner time for BB. Can't get enough of them. Started to wonder where the enthusiasm for them had come from and then it hit me...  they are small, green, edible BALLS
- I have been sticking to my vow of becoming more organised with the help of my trusty personal planner and separate family planner and, as a result, the week has ticked over really well. We have run much more on time for things than we ever have before and everything feels a lot calmer, mainly because I haven't been stressing out and then taking my stress out on PB. One thing though... being organised saves time - but takes energy. Luckily I've been alright energy wise, and hope it continues despite being almost 32 weeks along in pregnancy!?

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Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Awesome Idea from Pawsome Pet Boxes

Before I started Being Mummy, I was an unofficial mummy already... to two feline fur babies called Winnie and Fred. Since real baby BB came along over a year and a half ago, these two little people in the house have unintentionally had to take a bit of a back seat due to there not being enough hours/laps/hands free for a cuddle or scratch behind the ear. But, my love for them is unchanged... despite the fact they sometimes seem to meow loudly on purpose during nap times and have been caught sleeping in the bottom of the buggy on several occasions!

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Winnie

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Fred

When the opportunity came up to try a Purrfect Animal Box from Pawsome, I didn't think twice. After all, I shamelessly treat myself to a beauty box every month, therefore the idea of my feline friends receiving a similar deal really appealed. It is a really clever notion working with the same concept as beauty boxes, where by you subscribe monthly to Pawsome, give them all relevant info regarding your pet and in return, they send you a cute box of goodies designed to make them happy and healthy. And mine weren't disappointed!

The box arrived shortly before Christmas, so I squirrelled it away in order to save it for Christmas Day as a collective present under the tree for the two of them. It was so chaotic unwrapping presents that morning and the cats were spooked by a toddler running around all excited with wrapping paper so it took a while for things to calm down enough for them to come back and let their true curiosity take over.

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Our Festive Pawsome Box contained: 1x Pet Throw, 1x IAMS food pouch, 1x Rosewood 4 course meal treat tray, 1x Christmas Gingerbread Tease Toy, 1x Catnip Snowman, 1x Catnip Stocking, 1x Grow your Own Cat Grass Seed Tray, 1x Information Booklet 

But soon enough they were whiskers deep into everything... Winnie instantly favouring the toys and Fred thinking only of his stomach (to the point where he actually nabbed the IAMS food pouch out of the box and stole away out of my reach into the garden to scoff its contents down uninterrupted. Greedy piglet.) 

I was so impressed with what they received though. This box contained so much! Literally full to bursting with christmassy themed toys, a blanket, yummy treats and even some cat grass for me to plant to aid their digestion and stop them munching away on my real lawn. There's even a little booklet included inside, with handy hints and tips to help with your pet care. Everything was of top quality and the cats have had a purrfect time playing with their new toys and munching on their treats over the festive period. It's even stopped them from hunting because they have been playing with their toys inside a lot so the local mice and shrew population are particularly grateful to Pawsome!

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So, thumbs up all round from this household. Well, cat's don't have thumbs obviously, but you catch my drift. It has just been so nice to give two very important little members of the family a well deserved treat and has reminded me to stop appreciate them more.. meows and all!

For more information on how to get your own Pawsome box, see here. Boxes start at just £14.90 per month (which is a bargain seeing as each box contains at least £40 worth of items).

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Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Me, Being Mummy: Weekly Update #86 Battle of Wills!

This week, I have been doubting myself as a Mummy. A lot. Mostly because BB has been SO unexpectedly challenging. He has upped his demand for bottles of milk in the night time AND during his nap in the daytime. If he is on a quest to do something unsafe or uncooperative such as walk up the stairs on his own... push the electric socket switches or walk in the wrong direction to where we are going, mine or PB's gentle but firm approach and stepping in is met with a lot of protest... including bottom lip sticking out and sometimes even the dramatic act of flinging oneself in a belly flop fashion onto the nearest chair/sofa/rug/oversized cuddly toy or bed. He also currently refuses to self soothe at bedtime and so I have resorted to becoming a near enough statue in his room after he goes down, standing near the door in the quiet and the dark just to reassure him I am there without actually giving him direct conversation and attention.

Note: This process is mind numbingly boring and with a big bump in front of me, standing still in the dark is even more uncomfortable than you'd think. I refuse to sit though... sitting to me signals that I am there to stay and I most certainly bloody well am not.

And it seems to do the trick very quickly, like its enough just to know I am there for the reassurance in order to settle into slumber. It's so hard to know what to do for the best! I hate giving him attention and affection as I really believe that it encourages the resistance at bed time, but I also can't bring myself to sit in another room for chunks of time whilst he screams himself to the point of hysterical... If anything, it probably pisses off the neighbours! So, rather than being at either end of the extremes... I have found that waiting it out before resorting to this statuesque figure in the room type thing has struck a happy medium. Well... almost happy... my back doesn't feel happy at all!

Milk intake is a constant bug bear and we have fallen into the habit of using milk to go to bed at night, he also wakes up most nights for a bottle and a nappy change and he also demands one and at the moment even TWO before his nap time in the middle of the day. I try to give him water but that gets rejected, I then try a stand off but for example, at nap time today we were out and about in and out of shops and he screamed for over an hour before we caved and gave him milk. Its a battle of wills and I feel like I am on the losing team. And I am a sore loser when it comes to motherhood. I don't like feeling defeated.

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To be honest, I would stand off a lot more if it wasn't for a few different factors. Self doubt is a massive one. Some days I believe in myself and grapple challenges with tons of confidence. But on the days where I'm not feeling so capable, its easy to let the little voices of doubt creep in, to read online discussions and be influenced by others experiences and 'helpful hints'... hell, everyone has an opinion on parenting... even people who aren't bloody parents have an opinion on parenting!

Convenience is the other factor. At 3am, when you are walking into the door frame because your spacial awareness is out of whack, and your eyes feel swollen up like two pickled walnuts crossed with a cats bum, you really will do anything to be able to get the loud, tetchy, lolling about anti christ to just go back to being a sleeping angel again so that you can sink back into your cloud like pillow. It is not the most inspiring time to hold a battle of wills over what looks to be just a mere 5oz of cow juice. Of course, it is much more than that and the real holy grail is to get a stretch of 8-12 uninterrupted hours of slumber a night. But I reassure myself that one day, one day I shall be able to sink into bed and not wonder how many hours I will get. One day...

The protesting is just something I continue to ignore. As laughable as it is sometimes to witness him dramatically belly flopping onto an oversized teddy bear called Cuddles in his nursery because I have deigned to prevent him from electrocuting himself, I muffle my giggles and turn away, seemingly giving him no attention for the outburst whatsoever. Each one is short lived, and any that aren't usually indicated other issues such as hunger or tiredness or a dirty nappy. I'm not silly... I know we are heading for the terrible twos and that these are the early signs. I'm just taking it all in my stride as best as I can. One day I'll miss all these little moments and challenges.

Probably...

Additional information and findings from this week:

- BB has grown almost a whole shoe size in 3 months. 7F is the measurement now and we managed to get him two new pairs of shoes with his christmas money. Shoe shopping for infants is a nice idea but the reality is a bit stressful... the sizing is so confusing! And it always seems like they have every other size in stock other than the one you are looking for!
- BB's obsession with switches led to us calling out the boiler man this week as we believed the boiler had broken. Turns out there was a fault... the main power had been switched off by a switch down low on one of the living room walls. I wonder who could have done that?
- The living room is around 40% furniture... 60% toys. There will never be enough storage to house all the mega blocks BB got for Christmas! He loves playing with them though so I can live with it.
- The christmas tree came down this week and I spent the day cleaning the house and getting things organised. Nesting instinct is definitely hitting and as tiring as it is, it is so nice to have a tidy and organised home! Always strikes me as funny how the place looks like you've been robbed once all the decs come down though!



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