Thursday, 21 July 2016

I know I'm now a mum because...

I recently reached out to all my mummy friends and asked them for their thoughts on how life has changed for them now they have babies.  I've put some of them together here, I'm sure many of them will resonate with you. If you have any others feel free to comment...

When checking my pockets I am unphased by finding wet baby socks.Wet wipes are everywhere and used for everything.
I now say things like, "Yes, I had a great sleep thanks, 4 hours."
I'm not afraid to have my boobs out anywhere.I openly talk about poo and sick.
I want to put my pjs on at 7pm. 
There are muslin cloths in every handbag I own.  
One boob is always bigger than the other.
I catch myself bouncing things when there's no baby around. 
I now carry a changing bag as a handbag.I now know there are multiple verses to row row your boat.
There's generally vomit on the right shoulder of my clothes.
Pets are expensive and I never see them. 
I wish I were ambidextrous.
I can achieve more one handed than I realised.
I have no further use for dangly/expensive jewellery.
All previous photos are worthless as they don't involve my child.
There are now more seats in my house than ever before - car seat, bouncer, high chair, bean bag, bumbo, second bouncer, carrier . . . . Ironically, I never get to sit down.
I am losing my hair at an alarming rate.
I think about my baby more than anything else.
I spend all day looking after her then look at photos and videos of her in the evening - obsessed! 
If a tiny bug lands on my baby my heart races with panic.
I want to be the one to hold her when we go out (even though I want a break I want the pride more).
The luxury bathroom we spent years installing is brightly decorated with plastic baby bath toys.
I don't need an alarm clock.
I do need a cleaner.
The laundry basket is always full.
Whereas I use to procrastinate, I can now do things at twice the pace.
My handbag is just a smaller, portable version of the playroom.
When I go in a shop, I go to the kids section first!
I use dry shampoo for many consecutive days......I always used to wash my hair daily or every other day! 
Shower time is a luxury!Waking up at 7:30am feels like a lie in! Gone are there days where I could sleep in to midday!
I sing nursery rhymes to myself when my baby isn't around.....sometimes I forget what music I used to listen to before baby was born!
I now find it acceptable to do the sniff test when changing a nappy.
I have nursery rhymes playing on repeat in the car.
I now refer to my other half as daddy!
I wiped another human's vomit, pee and poop from my clothing, hair and skin without flinching.
It has become normal, nay necessary, to sniff another human's bum several times a day.
I feel another level of love and protection I never knew existed.
I've realised that my needs would come second forevermore and that's OK.
No great night out is worth the hangover when dealing with a crying baby.
I talk to my partner in a new passive aggressive manner via the baby "Daddy likes to leave all the pooey nappies to Mummy doesn't he".
When anyone asks how I am I automatically talk about the baby.
Body fluids no longer scare me. In fact most fluids nowadays can be cleaned by using the "rub it in until you can't see it anymore" method.
Pre-baby I'd get home after a long day and mark 'me' time by taking off my bra. 
As a new mum its now the other way around.
A hot cup of tea is exhilarating.
I seriously consider long drives at 3am as a way of making life less stressful.
Wet wipes become the answer to everything.
Guilt, guilt, guilt.
I suddenly genuinely care about other people's children.
My Christmas/birthday gifts have stopped being cocktail sets and nail varnish and started being high chairs and things that make noise when shaken.
I spend my days being very committed to making inanimate objects seem fun.
Most things can now be achieved one handed.
Reading material for the toilet now consists of 'The Tiger That Came to Tea'.
I now carry a small bag of my own possessions that lives inside a much bigger bag...
Wet wipes placed in various strategic locations around the house, car and bags.
Bucket loads of dry shampoo all over the house.
My baby is perfectly content after a day in the sun, whilst I am burnt, dehydrated and hungry have totally neglected my own needs.
My phone memory is always full due to the quantity of photos taken.
I ring my other half to tell him the 'mega exciting' thing that happened that day, baby touched the hanging caterpillar with one finger... development milestone!
I congratulate another human for successfully burping.
I am totally and utterly consumed by love.

Thanks to all the lovely mummys that have contributed :)

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Honestly speaking

I wanted to write a short post about honesty as I've noticed recently that honesty, particular related to pregnancy and parenting, seems to have come to mean 'negative'.  Now before I go any further, I want to make it very clear that I have absolutely no objections to honesty, the baring of the whole truth etc, in fact a friend of mine begun a blog during her pregnancy which is well worth a read.  Follow her on twitter @honestbump to see her blog.

This particular friend is actually the least negative person I know, always raring to go and ready to take on her next adventure!  But I was talking to various friends about my blog before starting it and I was assured that honesty was the way forward.  I agree, honesty is great and a blog that only shares the highlights of parenting I guess doesn't give the full picture.  However, I realised the more I thought about it, that when people said I should be honest in my blog they were telling me to make sure I talk about the difficult bits.

Now this is absolutely not a criticism of them, I think it is perhaps a very British concern. We Brits love a bit of a misery to talk about.  British soaps thrive on it and are ultimately highly successful.  We love to bond over a common enemy.  Come to think of it, I would imagine at least three quarters of my former work colleagues that have become and remained friends of mine outside of work, were relationships formed on the basis of complaining about someone else!  I remember commenting to a fellow NCT attendee that I was concerned our group would struggle in the long term because there was no one to moan about.  Everyone was irritatingly nice!!

With the rise of blogging and forums over the last decade and the increase in smart phones, we can find anyone complaining about anything on our phones within minutes.  And we're a sucker for it.  Why do we think we will feel better when we know that our problem is shared by loads of other people.  Personally, I don't feel better.  I feel relieved I suppose that I'm not alone but the problem still exists and knowing I'm not alone hasn't resolved it. I find myself scrolling down the comments looking for the person who will say "I had this exact problem too and after 2 weeks it was resolved" but there is never that person.  Does that person exist?  No, the person whose problem was resolved quickly isn't on the internet sharing this information.

One of my mummy friends googled postpartum sex a little while ago and shared with a few of us that it wasn't a good read.  So the remaining group members all looked it up themselves and said they were horrified - proving honesty is not for the fainthearted!  I remember one of the girls saying "I can only hope that the people who aren't having problems are too busy having sex to be on the internet!!" Morbid curiosity is a funny thing!

So, as I mentioned in my first post, I plan to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly (two negatives in that phrase).  But I hope readers will understand that this honesty may be negative but it may too be positive!  Because so far, for me, motherhood has been a joy and a privilege.  And it is these emotions that I most care to share with the world.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The best bad night

As a new mum, I've had a great number of terrible nights' sleep.  When we first brought Lucas home I had been advised by the midwife to feed Lucas every two hours during the day so that he might go four hours overnight.  So I had a regular two hour alarm set to ensure that we stayed on top of it. I then went to bed at midnight and had an alarm set for 4 am and at 8am so that he was happily fed.  This lasted probably about 3 weeks and, although I don't obviously know how things would have been otherwise, I feel that this was really good advice.  I know many people could not fathom why I would wake a sleeping baby to feed him during the day but he put weight on at a great rate, was very happy when he was awake and he seemed to sleep well.  

But in these early days of feeding, changing his nappy and feeding again, this whole process would last an hour.  More often than not he would poo immediately after feeding so just as I went to change him there would be an explosion, sometimes known as a poonami.  If I was lucky this would be all over his clothes.  If I was unlucky, it wouldn't be... One night even involved waiting to see if he would poo, giving up, changing his nappy then he instantly pood in the new nappy, then continued pooing once I'd taken the nappy off, all over the second clean nappy that I was about to put on. I woke my husband up for support that night.  Fortunately this meant he was then on hand when I finally finished changing his third nappy and returning to feed him only for him to be sick, all over me.  I think that was the night we ordered the second pair of pyjamas because I was sick of washing the one pair everyday!

So two sessions of around 3 and a half hours sleep with an hour's break in the middle seemed so tough to me.  I'd never known anything quite like it.  By the end of week two I was exhausted.  But then I spoke to friends and on the whole, I think I had it easy.  One friend's baby wouldn't go back to sleep after 1.30 am - and she always looked immaculate the next day.  I just don't know how she did it.  

As he got older and I moved to demand feeding, it seemed that although the feeds in the middle of the night got a bit shorter, they were instead becoming more frequent.  I frequently survived on 5 or 6 hours of sleep with a few breaks in the night.  Around week 6 we introduced a dream feed - a feed at around 11pm that is given as a break in his sleep to enable him hopefully to continue to sleep through.  This worked brilliantly and his 2 am feed slowly became more like 3 and then 4.  By the time it reached 4am we got one less feed.  Once it had creeped up to between 5 and 6 am for a week we decided to drop the dream feed, around week 17.  To my surprise he continued to wake at the same time so that was our new routine - bedtime feed at 7.30pm, and night time feed at about 5am.  Great!  

And on the whole, things have stayed like this.  However, we've had a few slip ups - which in many ways are harder to deal with now that I've been accustomed to more sleep again. After a night out (and a few drinks) with a friend he decided to wake at 1 am, 3 am and 5 am, that was pretty rubbish!  We have had a number of strange middle of the night wakings that are unexplained - teething, hunger, growth spurt, regression?? 

But last night was by far the strangest.   He woke at 3.20 am.  I let him gurgle and whinge for about 20 minutes but then gradually it became crying.  So I looked in on him.  The moment I opened his bedroom door he fell silent.  I went in to his room and found him grinning from ear to ear.  What??? Well how do I resolve this?  Because when he cries normally we try and resolve it, put some music on to settle him down so he can drift back off, apply teething gel, change his nappy or perhaps feed him.  But this boy was happy.  Too happy to sleep.  How can you solve that?  Make him miserable?  I must confess I'd spent 20 minutes lying in bed getting pretty damn annoyed about it.  To find he was too happy was highly unexpected.  At 20 weeks I feel I know my little boy pretty well, I understand his cries and I can, on the whole, come up with a plan, but this was unprecedented.  I knew that really I should just have to leave him to try and drift back off but I couldn't.  I put my hand on his chest to gently rock him and his little hand grabbed my little finger and his smile got bigger.  He started banging his legs up and down in the bed with excitement and trying to roll over.  So I stayed and watched.  My little boy, too happy to sleep!  I wondered what was going on in his head.  Had he been dreaming?  Had he remembered a particularly nice part of his day?! Or was he just, in that moment, pretty happy about things.  My heart was thumping with pride and love.  And then I remembered it was 3.50am and both he and I needed to sleep!  So I put his slumber buddy music on (a present from my sister and a God send) and let him drift back off to sleep.  I was less amused when he woke back at 4.20!! And 6am.

All in all I was pretty shattered this morning and I am deeply hopeful this doesn't happen again tonight.  But those few moments spent watching my little boy last night were precious and rare and I'm unlikely to forget them any time soon.  All in all, the best bad night's sleep ever!
(Lucas's first proper smile taken at 03.24 on 10.03.16)

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Welcome little one

My little boy, Lucas, was born just over 4 months ago and I have decided to create a little keepsake of my memories to look back on in the months and years to come.  Some memories of him, some of my time as a mum and some other little events that have made me laugh, cry or otherwise.  I don’t imagine that he will ever read back on these words but if he does I hope he knows how much I love him – if he doesn’t know yet then perhaps the fact that he is still allowed in my house at the moment, 50 minutes into his latest crying fit, should be an indication, I mean if this is what they call sleeping like a baby, none of us have any hope! 

Oh no, there’s much worse news, he’s just gone quiet and my husband has just said “I think he’s gone down”, if ever there were a bad omen these immortal words are always the start.

I digress! The last 4 and a half months have been without a doubt the most emotional of my life.  From the tears of joy shed in the birthing pool when I pulled him out of the water and into this world to the moment when my husband came home from work and on hearing the baby crying said to me “are you alright?”, to which I responded, “DO I LOOK ALRIGHT??? - I have a cushion over my head, no one with a cushion over their head is ever alright!”  But I wouldn’t change them for the world.  Okay, maybe I’d have asked for a bit less crying and a bit more sleep, but on the whole, my life has changed for good and I have never once regretted that. 

Some friends and I were talking a while back about the comments people make when you tell them you are pregnant.  With the exception of a couple of our family members who went out of their way to tell us how amazing babies are, the majority of people, strangers and old friends alike, seem to focus so much on the negatives; ‘Goodbye sleep’, ‘They’re a handful’, ‘You won’t be able to enjoy anything ever again...’ I admit, I was ill prepared for the lack of sleep, the energy required and the total inability to ever doing anything in the spur of the moment but this was despite the warnings.  These comments only served to make me nervous in the latter stages of my pregnancy about whether we’d made the right choice, if we’d really thought this through.  But I can tell any expecting mums, my sister included, that all of this is immaterial.  These things are fact, your body adapts, you change your lifestyle so that it suits your changing needs and you find your way through.  But every time you stumble or think it’s too difficult to cope any more, your little one will look you in the eye, and if you’re very lucky, smile at you, and suddenly you find the strength for anything that lies ahead, even if you do it with your eyes closed and a cushion over your head. 

I intend to offer full disclosure on the good, the bad and the ugly in my posts but for now, I want to say, if you’re pregnant and nervous, or in the early days and struggling to imagine the good times ahead, I promise you, it is absolutely the best journey I have ever been on.  (Although I was pregnant when I went to Disneyland Florida last year, so this could have been different.  But I doubt it.)

Now I need to go and retrieve the dog chew I’ve just heard by dog bury in our bed...Fresh sheets as well, Lucas was sick on the old ones. #Ilovebeingamum