My fear of dying

At the weekend I was in the park with the Boy and we bumped into his gorgeous little friend from the childminders, with her and her Mum was her 15 month old cousin and we had a lovely time playing on the swings and the roundabout together. The Mum told me that she was looking after her niece for the day to help out her brother. She then went on to tell me that her brothers wife had died last November, aged 34, from a virus. She was fine one day and then died the next. I do recall being told by her husband at the Boys birthday party that they had just returned from a funeral where I offered my condolences and didn’t think much more of it, until I saw this beautiful smiling little girl and realised that she had lost her mother at just 9 months old. I felt a rush of emotions looking at her – overwhelming sadness, anger, disbelief but most of all fear. Fear that this can happen, I mean I know it can, you read about things like this but it never happens to someone you know and you can live in a kind of blissful ignorance that “this will never happen to me”.

Before the Boy was born I was very laissez-faire about life and if I was going to die then that was obviously my destiny. Its not something I wanted but if it was going to happen then I would accept it as my fate and hopefully get another go. Everything changed when I became a mother and met this little being who changed my world. Since the Boy was born my biggest fear is dying. I cannot even contemplate leaving him, for him but mainly for me. I want to be here for him, to celebrate with him when he succeeds and comfort him when he doesn’t. To watch him grow and embark on new challenges in life – pre-school, school, university, relationships, work. Although I sometimes want to freeze time as he is so darn cute right now, I look forward to watching his life progress and being a part of it – teaching him, learning from him and watching his influence on the world.

Now that life is more enhanced and my heart seems to have physically grown, I am much more aware of its fragility and this scares me.

 

 

Silent Sunday

 

 

 


Silent Sunday

Please may I touch those

We were in bed the other morning and for once the Man managed to bring the Boy up to our room before the words “downstairs” and “TV” sprang into his bright young mind. We have a selection of books and toys in our room for such occasions and the Boy found Fox’s Socks (another Julia Donaldson masterpiece) and asked me to read it to him. Pulling back the covers to let him snuggle in beside me I inadvertently exposed my breasts to him. Seeming to forget about the book he looked enquiringly at them, pointed and said “please may I touch those”. My heart melted at his unfailing politeness whilst my mind was reeling at the answers I could give to such a question. A yes felt a bit too odd for such a request and no could lead to all sorts of childhood trauma and women issues later in life so I stuck to the trusty parent response when you really don’t have a better one – “why”. I love that word, its usually the Boy using it on me, making conversations that should be over and done with in a short exchange lasting so long that in the end the only answer I have is “just because”. So I turned the tables on him – ha!

He didn’t have an answer, he just asked again to which I responded “why do you want to touch them” but by then he was bored and jumped in beside me to read the book. I really love reading with him, it’s my carte blanche to demand he snuggles in so I can smell his beautiful head!

Now I know this may be on the internet forever and cause the Boy some embarrassment later in life but I just had to blog about his adorable innocence as well as his politeness. We do have a book at home about cute/funny things the Boy has said but as a good friend pointed out we should omit this particular event as “he will never want to know he once wanted to touch his mothers breasts”. Good point.

I am assuming this is normal toddler inquisitiveness!

The Baby Show

So I finally made it to a Baby Show on Friday, despite having tickets for shows for the last two years thanks to the Boy and his various chest infections (a long story), we missed out. In hindsight maybe fate was telling me to hold on until I was actually pregnant (I am, did I tell you already?) so I could justifiably spend money on cute things.

It was a mammoth journey from leafy Surrey via two trains, one tube, various escalators and a 3 mile hike from the train station to the exhibition hall at the NEC in Birmingham. I met my hired hand for the day at the station (my sister) and off we went to explore the delights on offer.My main goal for the day was to check out the Stokke Xplory, the pram I wanted to get for the Boy but didn’t as it is very expensive and now every time I see a cute little baby sitting up high having a nice chat with Mummy or Daddy in one I am overcome with envy and regret. So as soon as I found out I was pregnant I told Hubby that this was what I was going to get and the sensible streak in him knows when not to argue with a hormonal pregnant woman.

The Boy was my wonderful guinea pig for the Xplory and really loved it and although it is a mammoth item which will dominate our small dining room and boot space, I think most pram systems do this and so overall it’s worth it.

The Boy had a lovely time in the Fisher Price crèche – usually I don’t put him in crèches as on my day off I like to make the most of my time with him but he wanted to go in and I wanted to shop so it was a win win situation.

There was a Twitter / Facebook meet up in the afternoon and it was really nice to put faces to names of @petitmew, @mummymatters, @cafebebe, @mammamcann, @theBabyShow and to meet a new Tweeter @geekmummy.

I was very pleased with myself for being sensible but still coming away with some great buys so here is a quick rundown of what I got:

All in all spending a grand total of £241 (oops, it sounds like a lot when you count it all up!)

A Ranty Piece – Part 1

I am quite a chilled out person but of course I do get riled up by certain things. In order to expunge these incidents from my mind I need to Rant (note the capital letter as they are an event). Ask the Man who has been the victim of many a Rant (and causer of lots too) but after 8 years together he now knows to sit back, pretend he is listening for the duration of the Rant – on average 5-10 minutes – and thereafter nod in agreement. Although my blog is generally positive I thought I would start a new element called A Ranty Piece and make it a regular slot to get off my chest those things that really do bug me. I hope you will not be offended by my Rants and would love comments, agreeing or disagreeing with my current bone. Here goes.

Rant One – people who don’t know how to queue

Queuing is an art form, I don’t know if it was created by the British but it has been perfected by the British and is an intrinsic part of our society. We understand that if you arrive before someone else you have earned the right to be ahead of them and it has nothing to do with the size or pointyness of your elbows. We accept that if we arrive late we just have to suffer the consequences and moan inwardly about the clever buggers who managed to be there in time to join the front of the queue.

I just don’t think the rest of the world gets it and whilst usually I can embrace the cultural differences that separate Brits from other nationalities, this is one area that leaves me frustrated and Ranty.  The turmoil of deciding whether to push forward with the crowd or to remain true to my queueing roots leaves me umming and aahing for so long I am left at the back despite arriving a good 10 minutes in advance to secure my spot. In googling “how to queue” I came across this very delightful guide by an Etiquette Advisor which was written as part of the Immigration Test for new citizens in the UK  (I’ll leave you to judge the necessity of this). Perhaps we should post a guide in the airports too for all international arrivals,  right by the passport queue which seems to take forever!

Pregnancy Etiquette Guide

Talking with some lovely ladies on Twitter today got me thinking about how discussing pregnancy is a political and emotional minefield but of course you don’t realise this until you have actually been pregnant and had to deal with the seemingly innocent comments which incur a new kind of wrath within thanks to a barrage of sometimes irrational hormones.

So for every man out there and ladies who have never been or are not yet pregnant I give you your guide to Pregnancy Etiquette:

DON’T

  • comment on bump size, for example please do not say “its not very big is it” or “wow you’re big already” or “are you sure there is only one in there” – this kind of comment will leave the mother to be fretting about her precious unborn child not growing properly or being so huge she will be torn to pieces on its exit.
  • give any negative reaction to finding out the sex of the Baby – it cannot be changed and despite having half a dozen boys at home it does not mean that another one is a disappointment. Think about it this way when you say “its a shame you’re having another boy/girl” said mother to be will be mortally offended as you are basically saying “oh you don’t want another one like the one you’ve already got” or if they did actually want to branch out of pink/blue clothing you are reminding them that they can’t.
  • compare bump size with other pregnant ladies you know – we all grow differently and we do not want to hear about your sodding friend who hasn’t put on any weight and has a “neat little bump”.
  • touch the bump, why on earth do people think this is ok? If someone touched you on your body you would have the right to sue for sexual harassment. It is not a touchy feely free for all. A lot of pregnant women don’t mind the bump being touched but for gods sake ask first please.
  • make assumptions for us, this may be an area where we use pregnancy to our advantage, particularly when it comes to heavy lifting and cleaning out pets but do not assume a pregnant women is handicapped in anyway because we are still the same woman we were before we were pregnant. Losing the ability to eat and drink and do whatever you want is very frustrating. So rather than miss us out when you pour wine or dish out pate ask nicely “would you like some”.
  • upon finding out the sex do not ask “does that mean you will go for another after this one” because this one of the same sex is just a blip and we surely need to rectify the mistake with another one. Insulting to say the least.
  • try to think of more interesting questions than “when’s it due” and “do you know what you’re having”, or at least don’t ask them first – we hear them a hundred times a day.
  • regale first time mothers with horrific birth stories or educate them on perineal massage and episiotomys, they will learn in their own good time.
DO’S
  • give up your seat on public transport / park bench / couch.
  • offer a back rub although this is probably best reserved for close friends / family.
  • expand your horizons when entertaining and buy nice non-alcoholic drinks, I’m not talking about water, squash and coke but sparkling grape, elderflower, non-alcoholic lager.
  • congratulate them when they announce the sex of the baby (see above)
Many thanks go to @mummylimited, @snafflesmummy, @tmntanning@VannaBeAViking, @JordanFleet, @Kellyfairy, @icod and @LisaGCreates for their contributions to this piece.
Please comment with any of your biggest Pregnancy Faux Pas I have forgotten.

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Baby Best Buys

So I am pregnant again (15 weeks tomorrow!) and I am very excited at the prospect of going shopping again and it got me thinking about the best buys (or presents) we had for the Boy. There are so many products out there and so many different brands that its a minefield for any soon to be parents and even second/third timers who have forgotten, much like the agonising pain of labour and sleep deprivation which would cause us all to stop with one.

So here are my Best Buys with the Boy that I will be buying / fetching out of the cellar / claiming back from friends for this one:

  • This Swaddle calmed the Boy right down (after we fought him to get it on) and helped him sleep much better. It worked until about 12 weeks old when he could fight his way out. In hindsight I will probably buy one with a zip next time as it means they can’t escape so easily! Calms and soothes baby.
  • Mamas and Papas bath was a fantastic baby bath which enabled me to bath the Boy on my own when the Man wasn’t there and still have my hands free to wash him / play row row with him rather than holding him so he didn’t slip under the water. Perfect if you are bathing a baby alone.
  • You may have read this post about me wanting to save the environment but in the early days I could barely get myself dressed and fed so putting nappies in the equation would have been a nightmare. Instead we used a great local Nappy Laundry Service which would drop off 40 nappies a week and pick up the dirty ones. We paid £8 a week in 2008 so slightly more than the same amount of disposables but still a reasonable price. For an easier introduction to reusable nappies.
  • Nursing chairs can be expensive but for me it was worth every penny to have a really comfy place to breastfeed / bottle feed the Boy, especially after still suffering with a bad back from pregnancy. At 3am the last thing you want is somewhere uncomfortable. We got a second hand Cosatto one which cost £300 new including a footstall for £120! Check out eBay or Gumtree for really good second hand ones.
  • This Baby Gym was given to us by a friend but it was worth its weight in gold.
    The Boy would happily spend hours under it (from about 3 weeks old) until he was about 6 months old and a bit more active. Gives you some time with two hands to yourself!
  • We bought this Baby Bjorn bouncer after reading great reviews on it, I think it must be the most expensive bouncer out there but we managed another bargain eBay purchase for it. Its great for carrying around the house to different rooms (much easier than the gym) so the Boy would sit in it if I needed to cook or when I was in the bath. A really good portable entertainment device.
  • Once the Boy was born it was clear he wasn’t going to follow the instructions manual and sleep when and where I wanted him to. Instead when he was a few days old I spent hours scouring the internet for a sling. We ended up buying this Kari Me sling which is a really long piece of material that wraps around you and baby pops inside. It was a lifesaver, especially when he also refused to go in his pram, so I would wear it for nap times (the only thing that ever made him sleep instantly) and walk to the shops or tidy up or sometimes just sit in the nursing chair and snooze. Sometimes I breastfed the Boy in it too as you can do it hands free. In case they want to be rocked to sleep and you want to use your hands
  • The Morrck Baby Hoodie is very very clever, rather than wrestling your baby into a snowsuit or struggling to get them out of it when they are asleep and you come indoors this wraps around them to create a lovely warm environment but can be easily unwrapped without disturbing them. Don’t bother buying a snowsuit, get one of these. 

Peeping Tom

>As per SuperAmazingMum and ManicMum’s Peeping Tom meme here is my real life love story.

I never imagined that I would meet my husband and the father of my children on my first day of University. In fact I didn’t know it until many years later. On arriving at the University of Bradford halls of residence I was on the lookout for a boyfriend, having never had a real one before, but the Man never even entered the radar for that. He just wasn’t my type but we got on really well as friends and he would let me watch Dawsons Creek on his TV even though he hated it and let me sleep in his bed (while he was relegated to the communal kitchen counter) when I was locked out of my room. We were always good friends but that was it.

Five months after starting university I did nab myself a boyfriend. He was lovely and we were together for two and a half years but we were very different people and I was not sure about our future. Two things highlighted this for me, the first was the Richard from Friends type moment (you know, the one where he tells Monica he’ll have kids “if you want to”) as he decided that after two years of telling me he never wanted to live in London that he would make the move “if that’s what I wanted” and the second was seeing the Man leaving a club with, lets call her “some Hussy”, which provoked a strong reaction in my gut which felt a lot like jealousy. For weeks I tried to deny this feeling as I was very confused, how could I like him, I had a boyfriend – it was a difficult time for me and as I don’t eat when I am stressed I actually lost weight.

After a stressful couple of months things finally came to a head when we were in the pub, drinking lemonade and watching Neighbours on the TV and I had to leave to meet my boyfriend and I realised I really didn’t want to, sitting in silence with the Man was more enticing than dinner with my boyfriend. So that was it, we broke up that night.

Things move fast at university when you don’t have a job to occupy you and only 15 hours of lectures (and you only bother going to 2) so within a few days the Man had some idea that he was a factor in our breakup (I cannot lie and when a mutual friend asked me if I liked someone else I caved as I had been hiding my secret for so long). As the direct person he is, he got straight to the heart of the matter and asked to “talk” – in the middle of the day, before any alcohol was even consumed! Was he crazy? So I stuttered not yet and proceeded to get very drunk in a club later that night (these being student days where every night was a different club, oh to be young).

What I didn’t know at the time was that almost at exactly the same time as I started to have these odd feelings towards him, he started feeling the same way and thank god he is a very open, honest and brave person as he told me exactly that. It was lovely and oh so cute as we both pondered what on earth to do about this for fear of ruining a fantastic friendship. So we headed back to my place to talk. We both agreed we wanted to kiss but should we, what if something went wrong, what if this wasn’t the right thing to do? The Man’s motto has always been “live by the coin, die by the coin” and so we decided heads we kiss, tails we don’t. Guess what came up – three times in a bloody row, tails!! So of course he threw the coin on the floor and kissed me anyway.

Ten months later we moved to London after graduation, two and a half years after that he proposed (which is worth another post in itself) and 18 months after that the most beautiful Boy in the world was born.

So thank you Bradford University and some Hussy.

Potty Training – 2 weeks on

>Thank you so much to everyone who read my Potty Training diary, it really helped spur me along when I felt like giving up at times and to know other people had similar experiences was very reassuring.

So we are 13 days on from when we started and the Boy is my little superstar, since last Tuesday we have had one wee accident. Apart from that we’ve had 2 days with grandparents, 2 days with the childminder and no accidents at either. I think you can imagine my proud mummy grin each day I hear this. His childminder said “he was a star” – and that’s a direct quote!

He still isn’t asking to go to the potty and he is still in nappies at night (he sleeps with a sports water bottle so that’s got to be cracked first!) but he is doing really well and I am very pleased its going so well.

Will update as and when we get rid of night nappies!