Thursday, 3 December 2009

I could pop on a white coat

We had a relativley 'easy' first six months with Baby B, she slept all night long from around 5 weeks, didn't really cry, wasn't particularly ill and was, as I say, a pretty easy baby then we hit the six month mark and teething began and all of sudden it got hard and now she is almost ten months it just gets harder!

Don't get me wrong am I still, and always will be, totally besotted with her, the word love doesn't even begin to sum up how I feel about her but it is tiring, draining, bloody hard work. I cannot remember the last time we had a full nights sleep, sometimes she wakes up crying, sometimes just wanting to play. The other night at half past midnight we were kicking a football around the living room for her, never in my wildest imagination did I think I would be playing football with my nine month old daughter in the middle of the night. Other nights she wakes up in horrible pain with her teeth, this is when I pretend to be a doctor; I get my syringe filled with Calpol and I administer the medicine into her mouth, usually missing her mouth completely and getting the pink sticky liquid all over my arms which I don't realise I've done and I then put my hand in my hair so my hair is then covered in the sugary tar-like substance which means I then have to fumble around for the baby wipes pulling out about 10 at once and trying to wipe the mess away before returning to my doctor duties. Once the medicine is correctly given, out comes my digital thermometer which goes into Baby B's ear and I look all serious as I check the reading. At these times I swear I actually think I could pop on a white coat and do the rounds of A&E.

It's not just the lack of sleep that is difficult though, oh no, Baby B is well and truly on the move, she can crawl at the speed of light, cruise around the furniture and now can race around with her 1st step walker, so there is no getting away from her, she has perfected the 'cling-onto-mummy's-legs-at-all-times' posistion and likes to put it into practice everytime I have a cup of tea, pan of water, or something equally as dangerous in my hands so I'm left trying to very carefully place said item down without so much of drop spilling then I have to try and remove the, suprisingly strong grip of a nine month old girl, from my left leg which once achieved results in an almighty tantrum of 'Vicks first Defence - Supermarket lady' proportions and I'm left with a cold cup of tea and a face full of snot and tears to clean up (and sometimes I have to wipe Baby B's face too...) It is challenging in every sense of the word.

There are times during these nights and tantrums when I wonder how the hell I will get through the next eighteen years in one piece, I already have grey hairs sprouting up all over my head and of course if I tried to actually dye it one day Baby B would be clinging to me so much that she would end up with some very suspicious looking patches all over her skin... And just as I think I can't do it anymore, that I can't listen to another cry or cope with another minute of clawing fingers she turns round and shouts Hiya and plants big sloppy kiss right on my lips and all my worries go away.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

What do Penguins have to do with it?

Autumn is my favourite time of year. I love the colours, the smell, the sounds, I even love the weather, nothing like snuggling up on the sofa with a bowl of Scouse (sorry to those of you not from Liverpool an do not know what this is!) while the wind and rain whirl around outside but the best bit about Autumn is signifies the lead up to Christmas!!!

I have always loved Christmas. I can spend hours trailing around garden centres looking at their amazing decorations and picking out my favourite tree (which incidentally I never actually buy...) but I do make sure I don't start too early, I wont go Christmas crazy until at least the 10th November. I think if I start too early the magic will wear off, so once the 2nd week of November is upon us, there is no stopping me. So imagine my excitement this year with it being Baby B's first ever Christmas! I've visited two Garden Centres already. On went Santa Hats, Reindeer Antlers and sparkly tiaras. We 'oohed' & 'aahed' in the fairy light section, fluffy Robins and talking penguins (although what Penguins have to do with Christmas in any way always confuses me?) were stroked and tickled, all made even more exciting knowing that Baby B is experiencing it all for the very first time... maybe I should actually take her with me next time. I am of course joking, Baby B was very much with me on these magical visits. However all of these things are just the same as I would do any year, the really exciting bit, the bit that I have dreamt of since I was about 10, and it stopped being quite as acceptable, is the thing that childhood dreams are made of, the ultimate Christmas experience, (have I built this up a bit too much?) Visiting Father Christmas' Grotto! For years I have longed to just pop inside the grotto and soak up the amazing magical atmosphere that exists solely inside there, so much so that I was even tempted to apply for a job as an Elf one year..., and this year (but not before December) I can actually go, I have the perfect reason, nobody will wonder what a twenty-something girl is doing lurking around the Toyshop peering into the snowy white walls of Santa's workshop because I am a mum this year, I will proudly walk up to the entrance and pay the probably extortionate entrance price (I'm sure is was about £2 in my day) I will absorb every fairy light and every snowflake, I will smile at each and every Elf and then when the ultimate destination is reached I will place Baby B onto the lap of the perfectly round and jolly, white fluffy bearded Father Christmas, who in my head resembles the one from Santa Claus the Movie but in reality will be more like Billy bob Thornton in Bad Santa, and then I will go home and get out the decorations and the mince pies, put on Santa Claus the Movie and allow the magic of Christmas to wash over me, all the while dreaming about the actual event.

Christmas Eve will be laden with festive music and mince pies. Mr B and I will tuck Baby B into bed and then we will wait for his visit. The following morning we will all snuggle up into bed with our stockings and giggle in glee as we watch Baby B eat all the discarded wrapping paper. We will saunter downstairs after a while and have chocolates followed by breakfast, Baby B will try and pull the tree over, the traditional Christmas telly programmes will be on and then we will all get dressed into our especially bought outfits and we'll do the rounds to the family. I know that in reality it will nothing like this but ssssh don't burst my bubble. So there you go, you now know my love of the Festive time. I am still very much a child at heart and nobody will ever stop this. I am not even asking for anything off Father Christmas this year because I already have everything I could ever want.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Now Where Did I Put it...?

I am now officially a stay at home mum, although before you think I'm a very lucky lady to be able to have the luxury of staying at home with my angel all day, it is through necessity not ability. I had to leave my previous job as the hours were impossible to fit into our new life and I am unable to find a new one.

At first the whole SAHM thing seemed amazing, I get to spend copious amounts of time with baby b while catching up with friends over a nice lazy lunch or I could spend whole afternoons shopping at leisure, idyllic? except the reality is I spend most of the day chasing round after a 8 month old who likes to touch everything she shouldn't, I can't meet friends for lazy lunch or shopping because they are in work and the other vital flaw in me being a SAHM is that I am unemployed i.e no wage and I miss work. Not the actual 'work' bit (I'm not completely insane!) but I miss the comaraderie of the workplace, I miss the day to day exchange with colleagues and customers alike, I miss gossiping over a cup of tea, I miss dressing up in every piece of jewellery from the lost property box and pretending to be gangster, I miss the quiet late nights laughing at the weird customer who just stumbled into reception (I'm starting to think I shouldn't show any future employers this...) I had never realised until now how much my job shaped me as a person, I was never a girl who's job was their life or anything, I didn't do a super important serious job but it was the kind of job that provided conversation, a place where something was always happening and I thrived on that. Now I kind of feel a bit, well, lost? like a little bit of me has disappeared and I'm not sure where I've put it? but I also know if someone came up to me tomorrow and offered me the perfect job I would hesitate, because being a mum is actually pretty perfect in itself.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Don't pick up the hand grenade!

I have spent just over 7 months wishing baby B would discover how to move around without my assistance. I have watched her roll from back to front over and over only to cover a pretty short distance before crying because a/ she has got stuck or b/ she got bored. Well my wish came true, Baby B is well and truly on the move and I am a nervous wreck! before I can even blink she is headed towards the DVD player / fire / laptop / hand grenade (I mean plug socket but in my eyes its just as dangerous!) I spend what feels like hours following her around picking items up that I had never before viewed as dangerous. I suddenly realise how many sharp corners, hard surfaces and lethal gadgets are in our front room, everything is a hazard and when I look down and see her hand headed towards the AK57 (or my phone charger) my heart leaps into my throat and she just looks up and giggles totally unaware of the danger that faces her. Now don't worry, I have not gone completely insane, the sensible, reasonable part of me knows that by putting her hand upon a Sony Ericsson phone charger will not cause her harm in anyway but the Mummy part of me suddenly sees the charger cable wrapped around her neck and the plug part lodged in her throat... I can't help it. I just want to pick her up, wrap her in a tog 15 tog duck down duvet and place her in a cot with inflatable sides, although if the cot is inflatable it could burst and she could roll out and bang her head and actually 15 togs is clearly far too heavy so she might just suffocate....

I have decided to spend an entire week 'baby proofing' our house, I need a stair-gate, a fire guard, socket protectors, corner guards, a fridge lock, a drawcord shortner, a radiator cover, a stop slam, a stove guard (I am googling baby safety as I write this) and a Beefeater from the Queen. I can see this list is going to get extremely long, I have only been on one page of one website and there are things I hadn't even thought I would need. Shatter paper for glass... I didn't even think of broken windows.

I am starting to think that I could take this to the extreme, I have just seen a baby helmet for sale on on one website, if I bought this would I actually have to leave it on her all day long just in case? I'm not saying I would ever take risks with Baby B's safety but maybe I'll just lock up the electric cables, cushion off the sharp corners and take any other dangers as they come.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Bandage Babies.

I was reading my usual 'high-class' literature (read New! magazine) the other day and in the problem pages (because lets face it these are usually the best bits to read!) there was a letter from a girl of 27 who was having problems with her husband and so she was thinking of getting pregnant to bring them closer together and it made me wonder, how many people actually do this? How many fighting struggling couples decide that bringing a tiny third person into their lives will save their relationship? because I'm pretty sure it would never work!

When I fell pregnant I was, in this order, shocked (I was lead to believe I could not have children), terrified, excited, worried, happy. She wasn't planned but I, no, we had faith in our, relatively short relationship of just over one year, to know we could do it. I think if we hadn't been 100% sure of each other, the pregnancy would have ended us let alone actually having the baby. With my mood swings and irrational requests, Mr B had to have the patience of a very mild-mannered Saint on Prozac and had to love me more then he ever thought possible in order for us to survive. Then of course once Baby B arrived a whole new set of challenges awaited, no matter how much of an angel your little one is, you are bound to feel irritable and exhausted, you have a whole batch of new hormones to deal with and if you're like me then you believe nobody else in the whole world can look after your new little bundle like you do, no one puts their nappy on properly, feeds them right, holds them the way they like, not even your beloved other half does it right. Then you have the endless list of decisions that now face you: when does baby move into own room? when do you start weaning? who minds baby when you are lucky enough to go out? what socks does baby wear today? every single decision becomes a joint one and how hard must that be if 9 months ago you would have rather eaten a horses hoof than agree with your husband?

In my, quite possibly wrong, opinion, a baby shouldn't be used as a bandage to a failing relationship. Turning your marriage into a threesome will not save your relationship (unless the third person is not a baby but perhaps someone called Fabio or Candy....) Children are a precious gift they are not a first aid pack filled with magical remedies.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Ralph will know what to do.

I am having one of those days where I am so desperate for 2 minutes peace that I would happily hand Baby B over to Ralph, the next door neighbours dog, for the night! before you ring social services, I am clearly joking. Their cat is far more responsible. She has been a little monster today and has needed constant attention and woe betide me if I haven't given it to her.

First, We had a journey to find a non-existent computer fixing centre, for the second time in a week, and it's true it really doesn't exist even the second time round wonder whether I'll try a third time? baby B chose this time to perfect her "even-more-annoying-than-a-never-ending-car-alarm-squeal" (catchy title I know) the journey was an hour round trip so by the end of it I wanted to gaffa tape her dummy to her mouth. After just about surviving this trip, We met my mum and grandad for lunch, baby B was all good and smiley while she was being fed and then as soon it was my turn to eat she decided she hadn't quite perfected the squeal from earlier and decided it needed a bit more volume, a few more tears and random, whatever she could reach, items to be banged along with it, this noise alone would have been difficult to cope with but paired with a story from Army Camp about a Polish man, reading glasses and a dry cleaners suit bag from a 92 year old and I was sizing up the dishwasher in the open kitchen to see if it would house a 7 month old baby... and possibly a 92 year old as well.

We got home and then my precious little bundle decided it would be fun to empty her changing bag and pull out every single baby wipe from the new packet I had just put in while rehearsing, the newly learnt, bang and squeal, she had nowhere near as much fun as I did clearing it up.
Anyway we got through the rest of the tantrum/squeal filled day without me measuring up any other pieces of kitchen equipment, until bedtime when instead of falling asleep like a nice baby she, well, just didn't, as soon as her head touched her mattress her eyes would spring wide open and the yelling would begin. I looked like a Cbeebies presenter on drugs bobbing my head wildly around while singing "the sun has got his hat on" (the only method that actually stops tears) and then finally, one hour later, she was asleep and I looked into her cot and saw her tiny little fingers curled up around her bear and decided Ralph could have a night off from babysitting.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Spot the Difference.

When Mum gets baby ready to go out;

She will look out the window to check the weather, if it's not glaringly obvious through the window she will open the door to double check the temperature. Once deciding on the weather she will make her way to the wardrobe (or pile of clothes that I'm yet to put away if I'm talking about myself...) and spend several minutes picking out a top/dress/bottoms/socks/tights that all match. Once that is sorted she will look out the window once again to decide whether a vest is necessary under the selected items. She will then begin to dress baby, including changing nappy and washing face, once baby is dressed she will then pick out a 'nice' bib that is stain free just in case it's needed.

She will then pick up changing bag and check there is enough nappies, then add one more in case, check there is 2-3 clean bibs, a bottle, a dummy, sun lotion (even if its not sunny because you never know!) wipes, sudocrem (or the equivalent), nappy sacks, spare clothes, a toy, the camera, her purse. then spend another minute re-checking the bag and making sure everything fits in nicely.

On leaving the house she will then feel baby's hands/face/feet several times to check that baby is the right temperature.

When Dad gets baby ready to go out;

He will go to the nearest pile of washed clothes and pick out the top item oblivious to the temperature, leave nappy on unless it smells really bad, dress baby, remember he's forgot the socks so put the nearest ones on regardless of their colour or whether they are a pair. He will glance in the change bag and see there is at least one nappy in there. Leave house. remember they need a bib, return to house and pick up the same bib that was used for breakfast, food stains and all. Leave house again.

And even though baby survives completely fine when Dad does it we will never change our way.

Monday, 21 September 2009

I didn't die, I had a baby.

After another weekend alone, watching X-factor and playing bejewelled while waiting for Mr B to get home from another 14 hour shift at work, I wondered where all my pre-baby friends had gone? I'm pretty sure before I was mum I didn't spend as many weekends doing this, don't get me wrong I wasn't stocking up on red emulsion at B&Q to paint the town with on a very regular basis but I did get out a lot more but since the arrival of baby B some of my 'friends' seemed to have made a sharpish exit from my life.

I don't think I've changed very much, I still have the same, slightly twisted, sense of humour, I still enjoy a pint or three of cider (the words classy and bird spring to mind...), I still like to shake my thing, all be it around my front room these days, to Girls Aloud and I would still like to be acknowledged. I'm not talking about my very bestest friend because she has held my hand through every step of pregnancy, almost every step of labour (she provided gingerbread when required, this isn't a euphemism, I do mean actual gingerbread men complete smartie buttons and chocolate feet from Greggs but then left when things really began to take pace.. .) and for the last 7 months, she has been an absolute angel and I'm not sure I could have done this without her at my side.

I am, however, talking about other 'friends' of mine. here is one common example; I am one of four girls who have known each other for a few years, we haved shared many of lifes milestones with one another from first kisses to weddings and one of them has seen my daughter the grand total of... one time! once in 7 and half months, if it were the other way round I'm quite certain I would have been round at her house providing tea and extra hands every week. She seems to avoid seeing me these days and makes some very dodgy excuses not to meet up and I'm really not too sure why? does she thinking having a baby is catching, like the common cold, because if she does wouldn't we all look silly walking round with condoms over our noses to prevent it.

I must point out, I'm not lonely, I have made some very good new mummy friends since the arrival of baby B and I adore their company and regular chit chat, with these new friends conversation can rapidly change from milk feeds and dirty nappies to anal sex and unusual use of a champagne bottle! They understand where I'm coming from when I've had a really crappy day and they know the right things to tell me to help me see the light but this does not mean I don't want to hang out with my old friends.

I have thought about this over the weekend and decided my 'friend', who I think I shall call Florence, is not the right friend for me anymore. Florence has a 'partner', owns a blackberry and I'm pretty sure she eats supper, Florence has money to spend on labels like Stella McCartney and Prada while I have money to spend on labels like SMA and Pampers. We are headed in different directions and maybe this is why she, and others, now avoid me. Maybe they stare at their blackberries and high heels and realise they will never provide the joy that my perfect designer accessory does.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Before I was a mum...

I would never have called myself a 'baby person', I didn't know too much about them and I hadn't really been around many of them. I have 2 nephews (aged 2 and 18 months) but I lived 90 mins away from them both when they where born and that was pretty much my experience of babies. so before I had a baby of my own the only points of reference I had of babies were hearsay (not the popstars group that featured Mylene, Kim and co because they would have just told me it was pure & simple), sitcoms, Jeremy Kyle and Trisha, which I now know are not completely true. Here is what I now know:

  • It is possible to have a baby that sleeps and therefore you are able to sleep, I know not all babies do but mine does and so do several of my friends little ones. It is NOT that unusual.
  • Trisha told me I'd loose it but I still have a sex drive, Me & Mr B still have amazing sex (obviously not in front of the baby, because that may cause issues for her in later life!) we maybe don't have wild afternoon relations anymore but once our little madam is in bed there is no stopping us, we sometimes even do it in the front room...
  • The mums that are in washing powder adverts (and other adverts for that matter) do not exist and if they do they should be banished to a town called Stepford. I do not or will not ever wear the clothes they wear or speak the way they do. I do not discuss washing machine temperatures or swap 'supper recipes' (We eat dinner or tea, we do not, no matter what the time is, eat supper) I do not wear blouses that my daughter will ruin with my lipstick and if my child tells me they want to go to Paul's house to poo I will tell them not to be such a spoilt brat.
  • It is possible to get dressed and put make up on everyday if you wish.
  • Looking after a baby all day can be exhausting but it's not as hard as some people say (but we don't want them to know we spend a lot of time watching This Morning and faffing on Facebook while drinking tea) most days its actually very enjoyable
  • I have never had to change 10 dirty nappies a day (although I must point out this source of information did come from watching Friends, so maybe it wasn't the most reliable...)
  • I miss my bump. Never in my entire pregnancy did I think I would miss it but I do.
  • No matter how much your baby cries, misbehaves, wakes you up, is sick on your new shoes, although this one could be the hardest to overcome, you will still love them and when they have just emptied the entire contents of their changing bag, which is now your handbag, all over the floor for the tenth time that day, as soon as they smile, your heart will melt and you will no longer be mad, however I'm sure this only lasts till they are about 2.
  • Routine is important but if you are an hour late for a feed or your little one misses a nap, you will both be fine and your child will not grow up to be ASBO as a result.
  • Labour is not easy but neither is it unbearably the worst pain on earth, and trust me my labour was a not a quick straightforward one!

so this is what I now know and I learn more everyday, I don't think I'll ever know it all but then I don't think I'd ever want to!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

My First Blog...

Before I begin my musings/thoughts/rants of modern day motherhood & all things related, I should really introduce myself. I shall go by the name of Elle J and I am 26 year old a first time mum of a beautiful 7 month old girl. I am unmarried but I do live my boyfriend (yes boyfriend, not partner... we do not do business together, well we do do 'the business' but not the suit wearing, briefcase carrying, blackberry tapping business. so he is my boyfriend) we have been together for around 2.5 years and for the purposes of this blog he shall be known as Mr B. I like many things in life and I am unable to describe myself in a short 'off the cuff' way because I am a complex character who likes to digress a lot... be warned! So I shall continue:

So, who makes these rules that us mums are supposed to adhere to? I am always hearing about new research and studies that tell me to 'wean my baby at X months', 'don't feed my baby X food', don't cuddle my baby too much', 'make sure my baby gets enough cuddles','don't pick baby up too much when crying', 'don't use controlled crying', 'don't allow my baby to tightrope walk whilst juggling batons of fire' (I'm sure there has been some kind of university of boresville study into this last one) it drives me completely mad. I created my beautiful daughter, I carried her in my highly expanding womb for 41 weeks and 4 days and I shall decide what she eats, where she sleeps and what she plays with. Except I can't do any of this because if one day I decided I'd had enough of boiling, chopping, blending, and painstakingly scooping food into tiny little ice cube trays and bought a jar of food (yes I heard the audible gasps at the mere mention of jar food!) for my little angel that would be bad enough but if I were to open up that jar in public I would face aghast glances and looks of horror from other mothers, I would hear the whispers off "she uses jar food!, that's not giving her little one the best of starts is it..." even if everyone around me was silent I would hear it, because its my head.

We have been exposed to so many magazines, newspapers and headlines telling us what is bad for our babies that we have become our own worst enemy. We feel guilty if we go to work and guilty if we don't, guilty if we buy baby food, guilty if we don't breastfeed, guilty if on the sixth night sleepless night in a row we pick our babies up and put them in our bed. Why can't these rule-makers just let us make our own decisions about our children and why can't I stop worrying about what everyone else thinks about me as a mother?