Tuesday, 9 May 2017

10 Things we are doing right for our kids

Guilt features high on the radar for pretty much all of us in our role as 'parent'. Everywhere you look you can see articles on what we are doing wrong, feeding the guilt and sending our anxieties up into new heights and beyond. So, for a change, here's what we are all doing right for our kids. Because a little bit of equilibrium is definitely needed!

1. We all care about how well we are doing.

The very fact we scrutinise ourselves and read the farsical '10 things you need to do to avoid supressing your child' and '5 ways to make sure your child is happy' articles is because the little doubt fairy and the little guilt fairy are sat on our shoulders dishing out their wares into our weary ears making us feel unsure about our parenting methods. But, the very fact we read this tripe shows we care about how we parent, and that is a very good thing.

2. We would die for them.

If there was a bus hurtling towards our infant, I'm certain all of us wouldn't think twice about lunging forward to push them to safety and taking on the bus instead. That's the beauty of instinct and a testament to the strength of love we have for our creations. How amazing is the strength in that?

3. We Sacrifice so much.

Mums and Dads alike sacrifice a lot when they step into parenthood. As mothers we sacrifice our bodies, our time, our sanity even. And so do fathers... all except the body part of course. Although a fair few do pile on the lbs alongside us so, in a way, I guess we can say they do too. They just don't have to require an epidural at any stage.

4. We lose sleep over them.

Whether its night feeds, teething, sleep regression or good old fashioned worry, shut eye is the something we lose on a monumental scale. And we don't throw them out of the window or bash them over the head, no matter how tired and deranged we get. We sit and cuddle and cradle them. We stroke their heads and pat their backs, sing nursery rhyme and lullabye concerts into the darkness and hold their hands whilst they cry. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture. And we never break. How cool is that?

5. We put our careers on hold.

Be it a stay at home Mum or Dad or a mother on maternity leave, someone puts their job on hold for atleast a short while. We throw ourselves into a whole other kind of daily grind... where a coffee break comes in the form of a nap time and even the minimum wage is nowhere to be seen. No holiday. No sick pay. And no colleagues. You work from home alone mostly and are boss, employee, janitor and dinner lady. And then when you go back to work, you juggle both professions on the hop. Multi tasking at it's finest.

6. We put up with kids tv.

Be it Cbeebies or nickelodeon, we all have the kids tv on at some point. A day of Justin Fletcher and his creepy clown alter ego of Mr Tumble along with all the different programmes with their ear worm theme tunes is enough to drive the most together person to the fridge for wine. The other day I found myself contemplating drinking nail varnish remover for its alcohol, simply because I couldn't get the Go Jetters theme tune out of my head. Go go, go go, GO JETTERS!

Side note: Ubercorn the Unicorn and 70's disco?? Who writes this stuff?!

7. We are chained to the washing machine.

All. The. Time. I have no idea where it all comes from?! If I get to the bottom of the basket I do a little victory dance like Chandler from Friends. I thought we were confusing the cereal box with the box of Daz and eating the stuff from sleep deprivation at one point but it's simply a side effect of two under two either pooping, weeing, puking or spilling their way through umpteen items of clothing a day. An hour sometimes when reflux hits! I apologise to the washing machine every night and pat it in reassurance that we shall make it through. That and the dishwasher are the only things in the house more tired out than us. Will treat them both to a descaling soon. If I get time to clean. Which brings me to my next point...

8. We live in Pig Styes.

I've tried to keep things immaculate. Valiantly. I have followed the toddler with the hoover. I have picked up toys on my hands and knees and put them away every nap time. I have washed every dish after use and wiped surfaces clean when I should have been cleaning myself in the  shower. I have tried to keep toy bits all accounted for and neatly lined up every evening and I have dusted my way through a gazillion dust mites. But, it is like trying to hold back the tide. In a wool swimming costume. And concrete flip flops. The mess is inevitable. I now aim for clean and forget about tidy. I have embraced having a home that looks like the set of Home Alone when the burglars are loose and said bye bye to my Ideal Home aspirations. Because ultimately I am not a cat and I do not have a tail to chase. And if the house is a pig stye then remember the saying: 'Happy as pigs in shit'.

9. We give our time.

We all find ourselves reading a number book for the 100th time and daydreaming about what we used to do with our time. We all put down our phone to take interest in a toy that's babbling away in a sickly sweet american voice. We've all put ourselves in the position of an evening where we have to choose between using the time to sleep or have a life. Time is precious and we give it to them. Because they are precious to us.

10. We love them more than anything.

More than ourselves. No other love is as strong and powerful and the fact that we have such a capacity for that love is truly something. That love will shape them into the adults they shall one day become. It will be with them long after we are gone and it is what makes their world go round. Even if you don't do points 1 through 9, as long as you love them then that is enough for them. Because, for our most precious pieces of forever, love is all they need and want. And we all happily oblige.


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Thursday, 4 May 2017

Post Natal Depression: My letter from the depths

I'd heard of PND. It was just a label. Some variation of baby blues that one just snaps out of with magical pills and cognitive therapy. Now I'm in it and it suddenly doesn't seem so simple as that.
It's like being in a room that has no doors or windows. But it's a glass room. You can see everyone around you and even walk amongst them, but you have to fight to be heard and to make sense. You reach out to touch them and you don't feel them, despite desperately wanting to and seeing your hands and arms make contact. In fact, you become so desperate to feel something... anything... that you find yourself contemplating inflicting pain on your body just to ground yourself. To prove you are truly there and not lost in the hell of the glass room. To remind yourself that you are safe, despite feeling the complete opposite.

You try to do the simplest of things... like make breakfast. And you have to truly concentrate on each movement and talk yourself through each action so that you don't get it wrong. You lose things. And then you panic that you have lost them and that you are, once again, becoming lost yourself. You try to find what is missing and then get distracted by a thought (or a thousand thoughts, more on that in a moment) and suddenly realise you are staring into space, the toast is burnt, the baby is screaming, your partner is looking at you with worry all over his face and your toddler has poured his juice all over the carpet!

The thoughts in your head come thick and fast. A huge jumble of thoughts and feelings... some rational others not. The rational ones you cling on to whilst the irrational ones you fight against, reasoning with yourself that nothing bad is going to happen and that all will be ok. You check on the children 100 times an hour and see threats to their well being wherever you look. Will they choke on that piece of food? Will they fall off the sofa and smack their head? Will they ever not wake up from their naps? Will they contract an illness? Will they run out in the road? Will they fall over and end up bleeding and in pain? Will they, will they, will they?!

You see your babies. One new, beautiful baby and one sweet yet feisty tot that you have brought into the world and you feel something for them but you can't figure out what that something is. You know its love but the glass room and all the worry stop you short from feeling the true impact of that love. Because you are numb. Your mind and body are just overwhelmed and it is exhausting.

I have post natal depression and post traumatic stress disorder which causes severe anxiety. It is Maternal Mental Health week and I have written this to document exactly how it feels to be me because there maybe someone reading this, perhaps you or even someone you know, who is suffering the exact same thing and it is good to talk. There is such a stigma around mental health and there really shouldn't be because the cure is reaching out and talking to people. It takes courage and strength, I for one know that for sure. Some people will treat you like you are Virginia Woolf about to walk into a river. Some people may feel awkward and withdraw because they don't know what to do or say. But there will be those glorious ones who rally round to you, who will reassure you that all will be ok and they will take your hand and guide you out of the glass room and bring you back home.

To the people who have done that for me recently, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am going to be fine and, for now at least, am enjoying motherhood more than ever. Long may it continue as I never, EVER want to be in that glass room again.

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Monday, 6 March 2017

Baby Brain Top Ten

I hate it when I can't blog. I love my blog and I love writing. It gives me a sense of purpose and a little haven to let go of all my creative vibes that are somewhat penned in nowadays with the monotony of loading and unloading the dish washer and washing machine and writing all important documents such as shopping lists and emails to letting agents about things that insist on simultaneously combusting such as light switches, boilers and ovens. But, with potentially a mere handful of days left to go until predicted B-Day, I have been struck with the worse case of fatigue and baby brain thats making it seem hard to just get dressed correctly, let alone piece full sentences together. So, as a laugh, I thought I would put down some examples of my baby brained madness and side effects that have been happening of late. Here they are, my ten top baby brain examples:

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1) Forgetting left from right. Our oven repair man asked to use our bathroom the other day and I said 'Yeah sure, its up the stairs, first door on the.... uh... the....' before waving and gesturing my hands wildly in an attempt to indicate 'Left'.
Side note: it just took me a minute of looking up at the ceiling to remember the word for 'indicate'. Am not entirely sure thats even the word I wanted but hey, it works so lets move on.
I have also driven PB to distraction in the car when trying to give directions to places, sending him left instead of right and vice versa. He switched the sat nav on eventually.
2) Forgetting how things work. When standing and attempting to pay for our parking ticket at the shopping centre the other day, it took me what felt like an age to locate exactly where to insert the ticket and then there was a vast amount of fumbling for change as every coin in my purse looked the bloody same. Pair that up with the clumsiness that had me scatter a few of those said coins on the ground and you can imagine how relieved I was to make it back to the safety of the car, even if I did trip into it with all the grace of a meandering buffalo.
3) Baby brain breeds clumsy actually. I have spilt, tipped, tripped and knocked my way about the place for the past couple of weeks and it makes for tricky situations. Such as the time I was carrying BB out of his room and down the stairs and my shirt tail got caught on the baby gate catch and tugged us both back up the stairs. Or the time I dropped an entire pot of sour cream out of the fridge that exploded and managed to redecorate the fronts of the kitchen cupboards. Same for the ketchup bottle I dropped actually. And the mustard.
3) Getting dressed.  I have put things on that are inside out and the wrong way round so many times that I have lost count. Well meaning friends and family have tried to tuck in a label, only to realise that the label is actually sitting where it should, it is simply that the person wearing the label is topsy turvy in the head. And, as a superstitious nonsense sort of fan, if something I am wearing is the wrong way round, I have to leave it that way so that I don't inflict any more bad luck on myself.
4) Forgetting names or getting names mixed up. I'm sorry if I have done this to you recently.. it is not intentional. The other day I called our son my uncle's name, my uncle my other half's name and my other half my son's name. Freud would have had a field day but I can assure you it is merely a tangled web of short circuits in the grey matter. Luckily, my family are so patient with me and all understand what is happening... especially when it takes me so long to relay a story or anecdote these days due to the fact I have to revert back and correct myself as to who told me what. So frustrating!
5) Forgetting how to string a sentence together at all. Recently, instead of a sentence, I have uttered the sounds 'uh.... un... er... na... shhh... snar... mm'. Poor PB looked at me as though I had suffered a stroke. Can't even remember what the actual sentence was meant to be either.
6) Forgetting where things go. I put dirty clothes in the rubbish bin the other day. Wasn't until I went to throw actual rubbish in there that I realised what had happened and hoofed them out and into the washing machine. Whilst shaking my head and wondering where my brain has gone.
7) Forgetting how to read. I have been stuck on the same page of my book now for the best part of a week. I read a sentence and move to the next and instantly think 'what have I just read??'. Then I get sleepy and give up... so at least its a good way of battling the late pregnancy insomnia!
8) Forgetting how to listen. People speak to me, I see their mouths move and hear sounds coming out and then all of a sudden they are silent and looking at me expectantly and I have to come clean and say 'I'm so sorry... you're going to have to repeat all that because I have no idea what you have just said....!'.
9) Forgetting where I am. I have lost my bearings so many times in the past few weeks that I have felt the physical process of my brain connecting land marks before lighting up a little light bulb that says 'You're in such and such a place'. This goes for shops, streets, car parks and houses. The other day I went to visit my Mum and walked past a window and thought to myself with a chuckle 'Oh how funny?! They have the same curtains as my Mum! What are the odds?'... before walking another hundred yards and realising that no; the curtains did in fact belong to my mother and I had completely walked past her house. No coincidence. Just brain incompetence.
10) Forgetting why I am in a room. To be fair, this has been happening for years. But now it is even more acute and takes even longer for me to retrace my steps mentally to grasp what it is I am after. Actually, I have to retrace my steps physically now... mentally isn't enough to jog the memory. It is so frustrating too because the room I walk into and go blank in is usually on a separate floor to where I was initially so there has been a lot of trudging myself and big bump up and down stairs. The air in our house is just blue right now. Probably explains why BB is currently uttering a phrase that sounds very much like 'Oh shit'.... my bad! 


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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Patience is a Virtue

My Grandmother always used to say I had the patience of a saint. That nothing would ever phase me. That I never wavered from a task that set me a challenge. Of course, she said this whilst I was around six years old and building a house out of her playing cards. At six years old, life hadn't truly tried my patience.... past the extent of a lop sided card dwelling tumbling down that is.

Now, as an adult, my patience has diminished substantially. Years of let downs, broken promises, regularly putting oneself out for others and getting jack shit in return as well as suffering personal loss has a way of putting one on edge and turning one's knack for patience into a knack for taking control instead. You feel as though you decrease the chance of being hurt that way...as a coping strategy. And, as another upside, if you are in control, the measure of your patience is superfluous. Why be patient when you control how long you have to wait right?

Usually, I get by without much patience. I organise and control pretty much every aspect in my professional and personal life. I am my own boss so have all the control there. I'm the one who makes lists and keeps schedules and 'ok's plans. I know where all things are kept and I am also the one who usually decides where to eat, what to watch and where to sit. Even where to park the car! I sound like a nightmare but I am actually surrounded by a lot of people who hate making decisions. If I didn't take charge or control then they would probably combust. Or I would. As I've said, I certainly don't have the patience to stand and wait indefinitely whilst they figure out what they would like to do. I'm not six anymore.

This is not a postive by the way. I am a control freak. I miss my patient self. The one who didn't care much about the inane crap and just lived in the moment, no pressure and no worries. Go with the flow literally used to be my motto. Now, because I got hurt by the flow of life, I cling to the side and crawl along with the flow but at my own designated pace as a way of feeling less at risk of more hurt. Yes I know... Its ridiculous.

It is also making this final part of pregnancy completely unbearable. I want out. I have a pelvis full of baby and that stupidly insufficient word 'uncomfortable' has cropped up so many times that it has me wanting to rip my hair out strand for strand. Uncomfortable?! Try fucking gruelling! Or Insufferable. No.... TORTUROUS!

My patience is gone. After almost 2 weeks of false labour pains, watching out for a 'show' (which trust me sounds way more impressive than it really is) and walking around like some demented penguin/duck hybrid with piles (literally!) I have had enough and my patience has GONE!

The lack of control that I have over this is doing my head in and I can't take it. If I could sit serenely watching netflix with the odd stretch and walk around the room followed by napping on demand then I would feel better about having to wait indefinitely for a tsunami of pain to hit me and my body. I would feel rested. Strong. Confident.

But, rest is hard to come by when you are in your second pregnancy and the result of your first is 21 months of loveliness who innocently wants to play and crack on with business as usual with you, regardless of what your lower back and ligaments think. The additional fact you had an induction with the first also means that this whole waiting and watching thing is completely alien to you. Throw in the fact that the first also ended at 35 weeks gestation and you can easily feel like this whole second pregnancy thing is almost a completely first time thing instead, because you are now 37 weeks and have officially never been this pregnant before.

I want an induction. I loved induction. I obviously hated it happening prematurely and there were a whole load of complications there. But the fact I knew the day and time I needed to 'check in' to the hospital meant I was in control. I knew I had everything under control, I was able to plan and schedule and I went in as cool as a cucumber and I did it.

I did not require patience. I did not drive myself mad googling things like 'what are early labour signs' or 'what does a show look like'. I didn't find myself feverishly scrolling through pregnancy forums, latching on to fellow impatient mothers to be who ticked all the same symptom boxes as myself. I did not have to seek comfort in these things. My comforts were my controlled elements: the induction date and time.

This waiting game approach is horrible... almost like playing a hand of poker with mother nature. Well, my poker face is shot and I want this baby out now please. I have picked up the phone on more than one occasion to call the hospital and just ask to be induced. Like booking an eye test or a hair cut. 'Hi, can I come have my baby please? You have space tomorrow at 2, I'll be there!'. I'd love that.

When I had BB, everything was so controlled. So simple. So quiet. So smooth. I checked in. I got plugged up with pessaries, read some magazines, got hooked up to a drip and then an epidural and then I laid there patiently waiting to dilate and push him out. PB says I looked like I was sleeping most of the time. Of course, my exterior wasn't relaying the huge undertaking my interior was going through, but I just felt so in control. And that suited me down to the ground.

Now, despite being near the end of my second pregnancy, I feel just as if not more vulnerable about B-Day than I did in my first. I no longer have an 'ignorance is bliss' mindset. I know what is coming. I remember the contractions, both before my epidural went in and on the 3 occasions it blocked. I remember gritting my teeth and pushing until my face felt red and about to explode. I remember the sting of the first wee, the fear of the first poop and the hell of the after pains. And, I'd just like to get it all over with please.

So, from me to my uterus....

'Hi... You've done a really great job and I am a huge fan but....

PLEASE. Let him out now and let me just get this over with ok? I am losing my nerve. Thanks'.

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Monday, 6 February 2017

The Mummy Guilt Bus, Self Doubt Fairy and Pat on the Back.

I have been hit by the Mummy Guilt Bus over many things since BB was created. Ranging from the fact I ate prawn sandwiches like they were going out of style during my pregnancy (at that point it was vaguely questionable as to whether it was 'safe' to eat them) to the other day where I favoured eating my dinner over the fact that he was yelling in demand for one of us to come and stroke his hair so he could fall asleep - because it was 8.30 and I am a pregnant blimp who gets dizzy and nauseous if I get too hungry.

Disclaimer:  Cooked prawns are (according to my midwife now, in my second pregnancy) in fact fine during pregnancy - swordfish and shark however are not... darn it! And I bolted my food that night like a competitor from Man vs Food before compromising and sitting across the room from BB's cot for 15 minutes, soothing and reassuring him all was ok and that it was time to go to sleep.

On average, I get struck by the Mummy Guilt Bus at least 10 times a day. It's preceded by the Self Doubt Fairy on my shoulder, who nervously twitches about, twiddling her thumbs and tugging on my earlobe, whispering things into my ear. Things such as 'Don't you think you should play with him rather than answer this email? ... He's been playing by himself on the floor for 5 minutes... don't you think you should get down there and 'interact' more?' or 'A Heinz Ready meal for dinner AGAIN??  What happened to feeding him all home cooked meals with a range of colours, flavours and textures?' or my personal favourite of 'Should you be working right now? He's not going to be little for long... you should be soaking it all up! Every second. RIGHT NOW!'.

We are so self critical and critical of others too. It is exhausting. And we are surrounded by statements and opinions that just fuel the fire. Only the other day, this post circulated around social media... another shame, another wagging finger.



I completely admit that I could not bear to be the parent who favours checking their Instagram instead of saying "hello" to their child after a day at nursery. When I pick BB up after any time apart, my phone is in my pocket or bag and away from my mind. I also admit that I would find it hard to witness a parent doing such a thing without feeling sad. But, that's just my own personal opinion and, really? It is none of my business. It wouldn't be my place to voice how I felt.

On another perspective... who's to say that the parent on the phone isn't receiving important information about something urgent? Maybe a possible emergency or some bad news? Could they be desperately trying to balance their career between their home life (what a tough balance that is?!) and struggling to know what and who to prioritise first? It is so easy to say 'Your child should be priority', but if you have a boss (you know.. the guy who pays your wages and keeps the roof over yours and your baby's head... that guy) who is on you about a deadline or a client who is your bread and butter because you are self employed and need to secure their custom to make your ends meet - if they decide to contact you at the exact moment your little one runs up to you with a finger painting... it makes for one hell of a tough call. Literally. Ha!

When did it become acceptable to put these notices up anyway? Because, if we are continuing in the same vain... I would expect to see where all the other notices are. Where is the 'Don't raise your voice to your child, it's appalling' notice and the 'Don't bribe your child with chocolate, it's appalling' notice? In fact... the entire wall capacity of every daycare/nursery/pre school/kindergarten could just be a mass wall paper of parental guilt and shame based on generalised opinion and circumstance.
If a child minder is concerned about a child's welfare and feels they are being neglected in any way, surely it is better that they deal with the parent/child in question, face to face? Privately?

Generalised notices like these leave us all victim to the 'Self Doubt Fairy'... and we instantly run the risk of holding a self analysis before feeling guilty and then defensive for even checking a text or email in the company of our tots... at any time.

And, believe me, as a regular RTC victim of the Mummy Guilt Bus, I don't need the side order of guilt and shame. I already filled up on the free self doubt and loathing buffet that Self Doubt Fairy has been shovelling down my neck since conception anyway.

Enough already. Motherhood is exhausting enough without all the tellings off, questioning and constantly being made to feel bad or inadequate. It took a lot for me to admit that motherhood isn't all I want or enjoy from life. There. I said it. The Self Doubt Fairy went a shade of puce with that one. It doesn't mean its not what I want to do with my life or that I don't love my son to phenomenal levels or that he is not my top priority; or even that he (and currently growing bump) aren't the biggest and most important parts of my life. It just means that there are other parts present, and that I am not going to feel guilty for having other focuses and interests going on. Nor am I going to be some cross between Mary Poppins and the smug Mum from Topsy and Tim on Cbeebies every day either. It's too exhausting to even comprehend?!

Halting the Mummy Guilt Bus isn't me being self righteous. At the same time, I also don't believe that it makes me selfish or a bad mother. I see it as being more of a self preservation tactic, the practise of not willingly giving myself a hard time over things constantly (well... if I can help it) and I try to make sure I am OK so that I can be there for my babies without crumbling to dust every five minutes from the weight of being this perfect, selfless, Super mum who never sets a foot wrong. I came across a quote the other day that said 'You can't pour from an empty cup - put yourself first' and it really resonated with me. I'm not saying I leave BB chained in the corner with bread and water before going out to get my hair and nails done. And, like I said, I would never greet him from nursery by checking twitter.

Of course not!

I'm just saying that I am a bit sick of the constant critics, and occasionally flick the Self Doubt Fairy off of my shoulder, step out of the path of the oncoming Mummy Guilt Bus (which is, by the way, driven by the types of people who put up notices in nurseries), and I focus on my own task in hand rather than downing tools at the drop of a hat all the time, for fear of not being 'perfect' and 'super'.

In fact... I am in the process of hiring a new fairy. Her name shall be 'Pat on the Back', and she shall kick 'Self Doubt Fairy's arse and decommission the Mummy Guilt Bus in the same way those nuns decommissioned the Nazi's car during that final scene of the Sound of Music. She shall help me believe in myself as a mother, to climb every mountain (ok... shall stop the SOM references now), be kind to myself and others as a human being and pat me on the back for all the good things I am doing. Because, personally, from one look at my kid, she can't be wrong and they simply must outweigh all the bad. 



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Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Night Time Delirium

I wrote this a few weeks ago now, in a semi delirium after battling the hell that is night waking. Somewhat controversially, I believe in the controlled crying method. Not in leaving an infant to be upset and in pain or hungry, of course if that is what is happening then I am there without question. But if it is simply because our son wakes up and fancies a chat and a party in the wee hours of the morning, then I choose my pillow thanks. And, after a cuddle and a reaffirming 'It's time for sleepies now', I lay him down and leave so that he can learn how to fall back to sleep without relying on me to do it for him... just like he learnt to roll over, sit up, walk and now (kind of getting there) talk. I don't want to chat and party... that's what day time is for. I'll have to write a post on it actually, since I wrote the entey below, we have actually had success and now get 10-12 hours a night. The ironic fact I am about to drop with BB2 is not wasted on me though, I assure you. Anyway, this particular night (technically morning) was trying. Controlled crying wasn't working, I hadn't the mental or physical strength to carry it through and it felt as though we would never sleep or function normally again. The following is me babbling it all out.. the peak of my delirium hitting in rhyme for the last paragraphs. For all parents, you shall nod knowingly. For all non parents, you will appreciate your slumber all the more! Either way, I hope you all enjoy the read and the glimpse I'm about to give you into that particular night of sleep deprivation:

"It's 3.30am. For over three hours now, myself and PB have been trying to cajole our 21 month old back to sleep.

It started out uneventfully. BB stirred with a bit of a grizzle so I changed his nappy and offered up some water and left the room. Then silence. I sank into bed again, confident that all was well. Then came a gradual babble of nonsense. Lots of 'Hi's and 'Who's that's (his favourite phraaes right now), with the occasional bumps and thumps as he launched himself from one side of the cot to another. Then came the excited shrieks and giggles. That then led to full on screaming.

I went in, patted his back til he fell silent and sleepy. Then left the room. Thirty seconds later the screaming started again.

To and fro, back and forth, each time losing a little bit more patience and peace of mind. Each time heaving my weary  pregnancy bump laden body out of bed to lean over and linger around a cot.

My back feels broken and my bump feels sore. And all the while, a triumphant BB smiles, and giggles and babbles at me for coming to his bedside... for nothing.

An hour passes and I have to lay down and stop my muscles screaming. Why does everything scream at me nowadays??

PB takes over, but the cycle continues.

I scoop BB up and bring him to our bed. If I can just calm the babble and get him to snooze.. surely then I can put him back in his bed and we can all get some rest.

He plays with my fingers and the hairs on my arms. He pinches my skin and traces my face. More babble and attempts to interact. He tries to sit up and wriggles around. It isn't working. Another strike out. I ask PB to return him to bed and he does. But when he comes back to our room, the wailing begins again.

Nappy is changed..  again. Milk is proferred. There goes my hopes of dropping the night time feeds. Failure and guilt tugs at my conscience but I simply have to sleep. It is guzzled down greedily but seems to fuel more babbling and screaming... and a temper begins. How dare we not play? How dare we leave him? How dare we try to tell him to sleep?

More taking turns over the cot. Controlled crying is attempted and failed... more over concern for the neighbours who are now banging on the wall than over anything else. One temper tantrum brinks on hysteria, causing PB to consider it being a night terror. Cue all the lights on and a lot of soothing. Which causes me annoyance and I descend on them both in the nursery, seething.

Out go all the lights, I storm up to the cot. Go to sleep is my mantra and lost is the plot. PB gets annoyed and says I've dismissed him. I just feel angry that he has broken the system. No lights on, no contact, no weakness should show. So we end up at logger heads, and both sit on the bed. Heads in our hands, BB shouting bub bye. Myself losing all hope of any shut eye. The buggy, its needed... get it out of the car! So PB puts his trainers on, and complains it's too far. I don't care, we'll try anything. I need to rest! I'm 35 weeks pregnant and meant to be on the nest! Bundling up BB, who was still full of chatter, he leaves and they go down the stairs with a huge clatter. I lay crying and losing all hope for myself... how can I give birth with such poor mental health? I miss sleep, and makeup and washing my hair. I know it's the way, sometimes life is unfair. Children and family are really a blessing. But right now, at 3.30 I can't help confessing. Sometimes it is hard... sometimes its a mess. So much worry, such heartache and such endless stress. If we could all sleep our full quota and get some more rest, there's no doubt in my mind, it would be for the best. But for now, it is simply a case of keep going. Of patience and nappie changing, more to-ing and fro-ing. One day, I will look back and miss these old days. But right now, I miss me.... in so many ways."

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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