Monday, 30 May 2016

Me, Being Mummy : Week 54 Small Differences

As time goes on, I am starting to notice little shifts in BB. Shifts that are distinct indicators of leaving babyhood behind and that are propelling us forward into toddler hood. Of course, so many of these have already happened... like the day he first sat up or the day he held his bottle on his own... but I guess denial was my friend and I was able to convince myself that babies stay babies for much longer than everyone says they do.

But this week I've noticed things changing at a faster pace. BB has been crawling beyond his usual boundaries of our living room rug and has been pulling things out of cupboards, storage boxes and any bag he can get his hands on. He has discovered the kitchen, with all of its wondrous cupboards filled with intriguing bits and bobs. The very fact that cupboards exist, with their never ending fun of opening and closing doors leaves him close to hysterical with glee!

But it's the washing machine that truly tips him over the edge and holds his attention and gaze extensively. With its glugs and gurgles, beeps and blips and constant spinning drum, all else seems to disappear and he will make a bee line for it with the same determined glint in his eye that I have whenever I see a 'SALE' sign on the high street.

Even the hoover causes him to come eagerly crawling along, and he cruises along the wooden flooring by holding on the the hoover handle whilst I work... like a kind of multi purpose sledge. This very awareness, interest and curiosity in all household things signifies that Mr Tumble and the Twirlywoos aren't enough anymore. We have gone up a notch in the entertainment factor of parenthood! 

Which is great because it's the summer and there's lots to do, plus it makes doing the housework much more amusing with a little buddy to keep me company. Give him time and he can help me with chores... as it is I'm considering strapping dust mitts to his knees and hands to help clean the floors!

Talking is another change that has happened this week. Up until now he has been a happy little babble baby, but last week he started to say 'Car' a lot without any context for the word so we just put it down to his trying out sounds. But this week I arrived home from work to find both father and son in the throes of bedtime, so I went to leave BB's nursery and prevent bedtime tears only to hear 'Mama... mama mamma..blub bub bub...mama' being urgently called. Bedtime tears almost came from me I'm telling you.. the best sound I have ever heard!

NOTE: if I am reading this in 10 years time and have become tired of being summoned with the term 'Mum!' five trillion times a day, remember this golden nugget of time where it was first mumbled and cherish the memory of it skipping your heart beat... as opposed to escalating it... along with your blood pressure....

Additional information and findings from this week:

- I recently completed an online course for an Award in Education and Training from home. It took me three months, a lot of late nights in front of a lap top, text book studying during lunch and nap breaks as well as 12,000+ words in essays and a nerve racking practical assessment where my pelvic floor almost failed me. But, I passed and am now able to teach hair courses for a job I have had lined up since the beginning of the year! I couldn't have done it without PB's amazing support... or him allowing me to test run my practical assessment on him in the car before I did it for real. What can I say, the man has the patience of a saint!
- Babies can get places fast even when they're crawling. I had my first 'Where the f**k is he?!' panicky moment this week and found him disappearing into a kitchen cupboard when only a minute or less earlier he had been at my feet in the living room. Road runner has nothing on this kid!

- Cat flaps are under rated for their play potential.... I reckon Toys r Us could make a killing with them. Am waiting for the moment I walk into our garden and find random things from the house have magically made their way outside. My nephew had the same obsession which resulted in my sister discovering a tin of baked beans at the foot of their drive way once. As long as it isn't one's phone or house keys then all is good right?
- The enamel project continues to grow in pace as we have discovered tooth number 9 is breaking the surface! There is a lot of drooling going on which teamed with the destruction to our kitchen cupboards and their contents gives me an insight into what it must have been like to work on the set of the movie Turner and Hooch or Beethoven. This kid even chews my shoes... I sometime wonder if I have given birth to a human or a dog. 
- Which is also ironic as I am being hounded (excuse the pun) by my better half to give my consent on getting a puppy. As much as I love dogs and would love to give one a home someday, that day is not yet. Daily walking whatever the weather, poop scoops, sleepless nights, chewing anything and everything in sight, training... well, its just not appealing at the moment. Mostly because all of the afore mentioned list are already being dealt with due to my small human! Part of me thinks of the old philosophy of 'in for a penny, in for a pound' and I am a true believer of no time ever being perfect for life decisions because life isn't perfect. But, there are certainly better times than others and I will feel it when that time comes to pass. In the meantime, I can appreciate fluffy cute pictures on the internet and appreciate other people's pooches. Let me get through nursing human babies, then I can move onto waggy tailed ones. 

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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Me, Being Mummy: Week 53 The Never Ending To do List

I love lists. And stationery. Mostly because they go hand in hand. I have umpteen notebooks, diaries, calendars, post it's and tiny notepads littered all about my vicinity. My desk has atleast 3 notebooks scattered about it, my handbag has a diary and 2 phones in it, the kitchen counter has a calendar the size of Mars on top of it, resting against the wall, and the fridge has a magnetic filing system dotted about it's front amongst little momentos from holidays gone by (NOTE: What's a 'holiday' again? I kind of remember but can't.... quite... nope, it's gone).

I have always loved lists and from the beginning of my working career, I was always to be found with my notepad around for jotting things down. But since growing my business (and a baby) things have gotten so out of hand! And it all boils down to one simple fact: There isn't enough room in my brain for everything anymore.

I always thought baby brain was a myth. That it was an excuse for mothers to forget to pick up their dry cleaning or come home with all the groceries except the one thing that had actually run out. Now I realise that it is not an excuse, it is actually a very real thing that has you staring into space trying to remember a simple word like 'fork' and you end up putting said groceries in the wrong place (as you can tell, I am still mortified at mixing up placement for our milk and washing up liquid a few moths ago!).

So, I make lists. If something significant comes into my head or circumstance then I write it down. I have scraps of paper with random numbers on, tasks I have to complete and errands I need to run, appointments to be kept and voice mails to call back to. But, lists don't get things done, they merely show you what needs to be done. Which is where the trouble ensues...

Emails stack up, responsibilities mount and before I know it, the stationery I hold so dear begins to daunt and overwhelm me. It all seems so hopelessly impossible when you have a baby hanging onto your leg whilst you stand at the calendar trying to prioritise things from 'the list', or no, really that should be plural... 'the Lists' and as you tick off one thing you notice your other list which needs 3 things to be added to it. It really does feel never ending and as though you are walking up a very steep muddy hill in well worn flip flops!

As a result, I have been trying to work out a logical solution and I think it boils down to amalgamation and organisation. A mass of stationery with lots of little lists is bound to feel overwhelming so I think I shall try cutting it all down to one notepad that I list tasks to do day by day. Upon researching the whole thing, the general consensus is to prioritise, set yourself and complete 3 tasks per day. Am a little befuddled about how I am going to select 3 tasks from 333 but I'm prepared to give it a go. At least then it won't feel so never ending!

Incidentally.... the best thing about list keeping is the ticking off bit. Does anyone else even write down a task they have already completed just to be able to tick it off?? Pure. Satisfaction.

Additional information and findings from this week:

- Another teething wave descended onto our household this week, leaving us all sleep deprived. Screaming, thrashing about and grumpiness became a nightly theme, even for us adults... and possibly even the cats too. I have a feeling our neighbours probably hate us now, I can hear them cough during the night (the walls are that thin!) so they probably got an earful of a BB's shrieks and our sssshhhing round the clock. Bloody stressful and soul destroying, the entire enamel business. You can't do much to help your baby's pain, you get resentful of it for keeping you from your slumber and then you feel guilty for being selfish when your baby is putting up with lumps of bone cutting through their gums. Still, 7 down... another 13 to go. Yay. 
- We went swimming for the second time this week. PB was working, so I took BB on my own and he loved it! I dunked him under water for the first time too (bloody nerve wracking experience that had me cursing myself for being so bold and left me convinced he could suffer secondary drowning for the remainder afternoon!) and upon coming back to the surface he giggled. We have a water baby, no doubt about it. 
- BB is determined to stand up. We help him to his feet umpteen times a day, and he tries hard to do it himself unaided too. He's managed it once, but mostly gets stuck in some kind of downward dog yoga pose which then prompts him to yell for help. He will get there... as always, I am in no rush. Standing leads to walking which leads to running which leads to a higher chance of ending up in A&E. 

- Independent feeding is another theme this week. If I load up the spoon, all goes relatively well. I just have to stick to letting him try at evening meal times as he ends up decorating himself and the room so it is easier to clear up and I can plonk him in the bath afterwards. For the record, apple sauce is very sticky. And weetabix turns from nutritious breakfast food to wallpaper paste to cement in the space of 15 minutes. 

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Me, Being Mummy : Week 52 BB's Birthday Part 2!

BB had never been swimming before, so I thought it would be the perfect way to spend his birthday! I'd managed to work my way through the conundrum of what swimming nappies and pants to use (big thank you to my sister who patiently walked my overwhelmed self through it on the phone!) and myself, PB and BB headed off to the pool after having breakfast together.

We immediately started to think we had made a mistake when, upon getting changed, BB verged on having a meltdown and I suddenly realised he hadn't napped (BIG no no to tackle a new activity without recharging your offspring's batteries!) but as soon as we got to the pool, he was all smiles and we ended up spending forty minutes splashing about!

After getting dressed (at which point BB did meltdown with tiredness which caused an older lady in the next cubicle to screech 'Ohhh,  SHUT UP!!' at us through the wall... nice) we packed up the car and headed over to Arundel where we had a lovely lunch together next to the river at a place called the Black Rabbit.

Note: I know this is all rather boring to read but bear with my memory making!

I still can't get my head around the fact that I now have a one year old.... How?! When? What?!
I'd always heard mothers nostalgically proclaiming the fact that time goes quickly with babies, and countless times have I been urged to soak up cuddles and enjoy every moment. The very reminder created a sense of urgency within myself to do just that, even in the wee hours of the morning when my boobs were being munched on (by baby of course!) and my brain felt completely disconnected from my body.

But, despite my best efforts, all the early days of motherhood are like a fuzzy dream... which is why I am so grateful for this blog and for the countless pictures and videos we have created. Is this mother nature coming into play, smudging out the earlier bits to help encourage us towards having another? Or is it similar to post traumatic stress where your brain blocks out the unthinkable? Or could it just be that babies change so much in a short amount of time that the memory bank can't store and file everything quick enough?

I think it's a bit of all the above to be honest. To look back to the night we did our pregnancy test and were full of excitement to then fast forward to where I am sitting, feeding my ONE YEAR OLD SON his cheerios.... well, it leaves me dizzy! I never thought it was possible to squeeze so much into such a short space of time.

My reflective mood is starting to wane a bit now though, and I am feeling a bit more normal (ha!) and am looking forward to getting stuck into year 2. Roll on first steps, first words and temper tantrums!

Additional information and findings from this week : 

- One year olds definitely have no clue that it's their birthday.
- Reflecting back to every minute of your birth will eventually make your other half want to drown you in a swimming pool.
- Public sessions in swimming pools don't allow you to take pictures.... which is understandable but so annoying at the same time!
- Watching your child truly enjoying themselves makes you want to capture all the fuzzy feelings that happen and collect them in a bottle and keep them safe forever.
- Attempting to confront a miserable old woman in a swimming pool changing room whilst wearing just a swimming costume is not advisable... especially on your son's birthday. Passive aggression was opted for as PB told BB to cry for as long and as loud as he liked whilst he restrained me from marching round to the next door cubicle by blocking the door with his foot.

- Conducting a photo shoot in your living room is exhausting! PB set up the back drop and took the pictures whilst I darted about like a crazed mongoose in attempts to draw smiles from our rather bemused child who just wanted to check out the balloons we'd blown up. I LOVE the shots we got though, well worth the frantic leaping about and funny noises I had to make! 

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Me, Being Mummy : Week 51 BB's Birthday Part 1 - Partaaaaay!

We never seem to do things by halves. We try... but it never happens. For weeks my sensible side has been saying 'Keep a grip on things, BB is only turning 1. He doesn't know where his nose is let alone that it is his birthday'. But then it hit us that y'know, it's. His. BIRTHDAY!!! His very first birthday. And that is BIG! No... actually, it's MASSIVE!

BB entered the world in a flurry of worry. He was 5 weeks early, he couldn't breathe on his own and he ended up in neonatal for 8 loooong days before we could bring him home and be family. I remember then looking ahead and not even being able to conceive the idea of his 1st birthday, it was enough just getting to grips with the first days and weeks!

But, one of my many seemingly obvious observations of parenthood (and life in general) so far is that looking back is what we do in order to see what has been learnt and what has been gained in life. Hindsight, experience, reflection.. what ever you call it, they are all gathered from looking backwards through time.

On the eve of our lovely boy's birthday, I now find myself having one of these moments of reflections. In truth it is around 3004th reflection of the day! I was induced the day before BB arrived so for me, his birthday eve is almost as poignant as his actual birthday. For the whole day my eyes have been flitting to the clock and, upon seeing the hour, my mind has then wandered back through the past year to that exact corresponding moment in time, recalling where I was this time last year, what I was feeling and what I was doing. Then from each of these moments I have mentally walked back through to present day, and my eyes have flitted to the bundle of loveliness that has been sat contentedly munching on wotsits in the garden, or playing around with the wrapping paper and balloons littered about the living room floor.

I just can't describe the feeling well enough. Disbelief. Wonder. Amazement. Love. Pride. An unbelievable cocktail of emotions that have had me beaming from ear to ear with the occasional lump in my throat from swallowing tears that aren't ready to surface.

All of these heady emotions have also been capped off with unbelievable gratitude for having an amazing amount of lovely people around us to help join in the celebrations for BB's first year on the planet. Our plan to keep things small went out of the window and we have just waved off our last loved ones after a two day garden party! We welcomed around 50 friends and family, held 2 BBQ's, baked umpteen cakes and enjoyed being outside in the sunshine, drinks in hand. 

I have realised that although BB doesn't know what day it is, we as his parents are aware that it is the day our lives changed forever and that celebrating his entrance into our lives, as well as surviving our first year in parenthood, is something to be thankful for and immensely proud of! To any of you reading this who came and contributed to the magic of this weekend, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have helped in creating some special memories for our little family and I am so very grateful.

Speaking of grateful, I am about to pour myself a large glass of wine, and be thus so for being able to sit here, with our boy fast asleep upstairs in his cot, instead of being back where I was a year ago... breathing through a contraction with BB back to back on my spine!


Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Me, Being Mummy: Week 50 Toys

When I was pregnant, one of my biggest fears (aside from experiencing an episiotomy or finishing work for my maternity) was that I would have to share my living room with toys.

The thought of me sitting trying to watch telly whilst sitting amongst a variety of brightly coloured kiddy objects made me wince. I take real pride in my home and it's appearance - not to the dizzying high standards of ideal homes magazine (does anyone actually live in those properties??) but I have a place for everything and everything in it's place.

Or at least I did.

Our son is crawling and therefore things are in a constant state of topsy turvy. Toys are upended everywhere, I now know that scatter cushions seriously can scatter EVERYWHERE and every now and then, various things such as the TV remotes or PB's gaming controllers will end up underfoot too.
Back in pregnancy days, I resolved to the fact that toys would enter the house and that they could be kept neat and tidy in BB's room and also in a nice toy chest or storage bin or something that could tie in with the living room.

Wrong again.

We have several stacking ring themed toys (which I must confess I absolutely love to play with!), almost the entire cast of the Twirly woos (still working on acting out the entire theme song for BB when collection is complete) and a huge variety of stuffed toys which I have to say, leave me wondering if the Bear Factory would like to sponsor our home as an addition to the franchise. Ha!
I managed to dig out one of my big magazine rack/bucket storage things which sufficed as toy storage... for about a week. Then new additions were made and my old foot stool came in to help with it's hidden storage. That soon wouldn't shut anymore so PB and I went out in search of a proper toy chest.

Which is when we found our lovely toy chest that is a brightly coloured box seat with two pillars either side that have been fashioned to look like pencils (super cute and from a store called B&M for just £16.99). It looked huge in the picture on the box, with a little boys of BB's age standing next to it. I should have known it was actually going to be quite small because trying to use BB's size and age to get an idea of measurements is such a silly thing to do because he still my little elephant. But, it still fits quite a lot of small toys in, and it's a great way of keeping all the small bits of puzzles in one place together. So between the three different places, we are managing to store stuff quite well.

Note: my OCD side is definitely known if I have a piece to a puzzle or a stacking ring toy go missing. I snapped at PB the other night because 'the small red ring is MISSING!' and he was 'not taking it seriously!' so he had to rationalise with me that it is in the house and not to panic. I found it under the sofa along with a spoon, 3 socks and a selections of plastic balls from BB's ball pit.

Note the top two teddies ... who knows what they have been getting up to when we have been out of the room?!

Am pretty sure we would all have this expression if the Hulk felt amorous.... 

So between the three different places, we are managing to store stuff quite well. Heaven forbid if we acquire big toys like toy kitchens or drum kits or chalk boards though. Those things are huge?! As it is, we have his rain forest jumperoo in the middle of the room and that trips me up daily.

But, despite being taken over and injured by all the toys, puzzles and books that are about the place, I have actually grown to like them being around. It is still a bit distracting trying to watch Game of Thrones whilst Great Big Who is sat staring at me across the room and, as I have mentioned, keeping little bits and bobs intact can render me to seem like Cruella Deville as she's crashing her car. But I love playing with BB and showing him how they all work and seeing his face light up over something. They are all well loved toys and get used everyday so I also think along the lines of Toy Story and imagine what happens when we leave the room. I bet they all come to life and discuss how the day has been and what we have all been up to and chill out in front of the log burner discussing how BB is coming along with his developments...

It's official, I'm nuts but harmless!

Additional information and findings from this week:

- Grass grows faster than hair. We had a guy come mow the lawn and he said it will need doing every two weeks. As a hairdresser, this feels like I am being taken for a ride so am going to be a rebel and have it done every 3. Am in the wrong business and should go cut lawns!
- BB is crawling about all the time now, but only stays on our living room rug because as soon as he tries to crawl on the wooden floor he becomes Bambi on ice.
- Crawling is not enough for BB. Now we are onto trying to stand up. If he can reach up and find something sturdy enough to hold onto and pull himself up, then he is determined to do so.
- We are planning BB'S first birthday which is happening next week. I'm even more excited about this than when my own birthday comes round!
- I am tentatively going to announce that BB is now sleeping through!! Finally! Just as I was about to lose my sanity! He is sleeping from 7.30pm til 5am and even then we go in and change him and give a bottle and he will go back off until 8am. Bliss!! As a result we don't look so dead. Hurrah!

Note: well and truly jinxed myself now so am expecting to sleep only 3 hours tonight.  Dammit!