Sunday 3 March 2019

Enjoy it all because it’s all ‘just a phase’

MORE than half a year in with ‘mum of 2’ status and I’m still drinking copious amounts of gin whilst thinking ‘Fuck Me, that was a tough day’, at the end of most days. On my days off booze (because alongside mum of two, I’ve not quite yet gained my ‘alcoholic’ badge) I eat like a genuine pig. Chocolates, cakes, crisps the higher the calorie, the better. But I did make a promise to myself that I’d start to cut down on this disgusting behaviour and do more exercise. I’ve been for one run. I’m just too tired of late. And don’t my eye bags show ! One of my legit prettiest friends texted me the other day claiming she looked 40 and homeless (she’s a mum too) and left me thinking that if she genuinely believes that’s about herself, I must be a corpse! Oops. Hahahaha. 

I am having fun though. I spent the best part of a year recovering from sleep deprivation with Amelie, after having spent a year not sleeping more than on average 4 hours a night, and I was miserable. I set on a mission to show how misrepresented motherhood was and that it was a bloody big effort and not just a year of ‘playing’ and cafe dates with friends. This time, I feel rotten and exhausted a lot of the time, but I’m embracing it because shit me, no thanks ever again, but also because I see how two years flew by with Amelie - so it won’t last forever. I’m focusing on the good and the funny. My babies are literally the funniest ever. Olivia has begun this thing where she growls to express excitement, and it’s so bloody weird that it has me in stitches. Amelie has taken to being an amazing big sister and the two just bounce off one another. Olivia also does this really cute move where someone smiles at her and she just screams... and looks a bit possessed if I’m honest, so that’s fun...*buries face in hands* 

When your kid can sit well, it’s a revolution. Like well done mama, you’ve passed go and you can collect a piss in peace. I can just scatter a few pillows around her and have a guilt free trip to the loo. Bliss. Or at least it would be, if she wasn’t already keen to crawl, so is always on a quest, but actually ends up flopped on her face, with a trapped limb at which point my pee is no longer peaceful and it’s a mad dash to rescue the baby. I’ve tried menial tasks like putting some cereal into a bowl and nearly got as far as the milk part. One time I tried buttering a bit of toast and heard a baby cry, checked and saw she just fell over (onto a pillow) so I carried on quickly finishing off breakfast for the toddler... who was so engrossed in CBeebies (still my free childcare) that she either couldn’t hear or couldn’t give a shit about her screaming, collapsed sister. 

Food shopping is a no go because it costs too much to bribe Amelie to behave. Sand is a disaster because Olivia is desperate to get involved, but when handed any amount of sand freaks out and screams all while Ammie is boasting over, or begging for a sand castle being built. Swimming is a good one, as they both get involved and play nice - though I’m yet to feel comfortable with my newly acquired pouch. Flour is a firm favourite! A big tuff tray full of the stuff and they are both in their element. Honestly I’ve found that the key is routine. So they both know way to expect and you as well have a structure to the day! Ours goes like this:

Wake up, get to preschool or a play group. Baby to sleep just before lunch, a bit if mummy/ammie play (I can put the baby down for sleep time now) then out again for a small outing or some sort of structured or sensory play set up at home.

It’s so easy to overlook the ‘accomplishments’ so as mentioned, I can now put the baby down for sleep time. She no longer needs rocking but Just prefers to lay down. I mean, the truth is she’s such a stubborn character that she outright refuses to sleep most of the time unless it’s laying down in bed or mate. The car seat and very rarely the buggy. We went to a wedding recently and Olivia decided she will not sleep, until she got exhausted and slept 15 mins. The entire day! But she does like the car seat now and she’s eating three meals (and some) a day so not bound to just milk bottles! But it’s not all uphill as is always the case. My fabulous sleeper has become a dick sleeper and is ALWAYS awake 1-3 or 4 am. Any takers for a ‘pop round and see the baby’ sesh during this time .... hit me up, you are more than welcome! Amelie on the other hand IS SLEEPING 12 UNINTERRUPTED HOURS ! You win some, you lose some. But I’ve come to worship the phrase ‘it’s a phase and it’ll pass’. If I could tell 27 year old Viv that in a matter of a couple of years, you’ll be able to just kiss your child goodnight and walk out, then 5 minutes later have a snoring little one - I’d have got through baby Amelie’s horrific sleep habits no trouble. 

So trying to stay positive, but losing my shit quite frequently is the story of my current life, but I’m already so sad this is our last full year together because as of September 2020, Amelie will be in SCHOOL, so I’m determined to make it a good one and enjoy it, and make as many memories as I possibly can! 

Have no expectations, and take each day as it comes is probably the best bit of advice I could give myself! Often I’m surprised at how well a day I worried about has gone or how much fun a relatively ‘boring’ day has been! They literally are my world, and if my world consists of no sleep and lots of coffee then I shall try my best to embrace it in all its glory ❤️

Monday 10 December 2018

Phileas Fogg Brighton Christmas Winter Wonderland

The winter wonderland experience at Phileas Fogg is without a doubt one of the most exciting adventures we as a family have had as far as days out go. It is absolutely not to be missed. We were invited along for a family experience and to say I was excited was an understatement - but if I’m honest I wasn’t at all prepared for what it actually was. I thought it would be a themed room and some actors making the Christmas experience exciting for little ones. You aren’t allowed to take photographs, but the sneak peak trailer on their website here revealed spinning tunnels, ball pits, slides and the like. So I was geared up for a bit of fun. 

What it actually was, far exceeded anything I could ever have imagined! As we opened the door, we were immediately transported back in time with an elegant Victorian feel, surrounded by portraits, a beautiful station clock, cogs and gears of gadgets and of course, a large globe. I was in awe, but of course my child had arrived with a nappy full and we were escorted to an area which offered privacy and comfort! Meanwhile, the toddler was more than entertained with all things to explore and keep her occupied while we were awaiting our time slot, which also was to be our departing train time as we began our immersive journey around the world with Phileas Fogg. Not forgetting of course, to take our passport photo so that we could travel the world - which is a lovely photo opportunity with a selection of Victorian hats to wear also! (Just a shame my children either weren’t looking or had their eyes closed!) 

So we were led onto a train, set in what I believe was Gard du Nord station in Paris, the fogg clears as we arrive in Venice, stop number 1. The attention to detail in every area is second to none and without giving away too much about further ‘stops’ along our way around the world I would say the theme of careful attention to detail and high quality sets is consistent throughout - featuring cinematography, lights, sounds and even little touches like sand can be found! 

For the children’s version, there are ample opportunities to join in, and being that my toddler is quite outspoken, she was the first who got to help our group through the tunnel out of Venice, by carrying the lantern to light the way, over to the next set. She felt completely proud of herself for guiding our group through. The groups themselves are kept relatively small which is great because it really allows a chance for everyone to take part. In each room, there is an activity and opportunity for someone to take part in the experience.

The actors are incredibly dedicated and talented, and remain in character - I asked which way was best with a baby as there were two routes at one point and he responded in his Victorian character, and I think it’s at that point that I myself began to forget we were in 2018, and legitimately began to feel engulfed in the Victorian era.  

We had nearly come to the end of our journey around the world - and had to cross a bridge which was an absolute experience I don’t think I’ll ever forget then it was time to see Father Christmas! While Amelie was busy playing amongst the snowballs of the ballpit, an elf appeared to let us know that Father Christmas had arrived! Amelie was absolutely convinced that we were at the North Pole for real with Santa’s elves and she was about to meet the big man himself! We were led in to a grand and beautifully decorated room, with red carpeted steps that led to Father Christmas. Each of the children received a gift, and the families were invited to have their photo taken with Santa. The gifts are high quality and age appropriate, and Amelie was beyond chuffed with hers. 

Finally, we were led to the bar area within which the themed continued as did the exceptional service! The children were able to write letters to Santa and decorate gingerbread men with an elf which Amelie again, absolutely adored, and it also gave us a chance to enjoy a drink and snack. Phileas Fogg offer their own special brand of lager which I would liken to an upmarket lager - easy drinking, but definitely a nice blend of quality flavour led. I couldn’t resist a milkshake - it was too elaborate to give a miss ! I had a look at the menu because the afternoon tea experience AND gin experience really took my fancy -the prices are absolutely reasonable  especially now that I’ve seen the setting and quality. I’ve been inspired to book onto the adult experience, in which there are puzzles to solve in each setting with a view to help the wanted, wrongly accused Phileas Fogg along the journey! 

 Beyond grateful for the opportunity to visit for the Christmas special, and if I can recommend one place this holiday season that is truly immersive, totally different and magical - I would say Phileas Fogg is like no other that I’ve experienced with my children ever before. 

Friday 9 November 2018

FMML: F*ck my mum life, but I love it!

Stretch marks, wobbly tummies and abysmal looking fannies are a few of the things that unite us mums. And messy houses. It is chaos! We carry our chub and cherubs with pride and take each day as it comes. We take the good with the bad and smile through far more than we should. And if you’re anything like me, you have a never ending to do list which you’re forever restructuring in order of priority but knowing full well it’ll be an achievement (deserved of a celebratory gin at the very least) if you’ve even ticked ONE thing off that damn list by the end of the day. We battle sleeplessness and chaotic tantrums; face what can be comparable with war zones at meal times. We lose our shit. For me, it’s hourly; but on a good day I can go just once a day. I will tell you where I can’t go once a day. For a pee in peace and that really bugs me. My poor bowels have given up on any sense of regularity, and number twos take a back seat, being permitted only when the kids are asleep because that’s just what mums do.

Oh to be a mum! Some days, you see your baby thrive or hear their little giggle and you just know you’re getting it right. Other times your house is a tip, exploding with toys and various piles of laundry and you literally have no idea how and when you’re going to make time to put it right, but then eventually you’re bang on it and it all feels manageable again - a good day if you like. Until you’re cleaning your car and your kid’s taking a shit on the potty in the boot of your car and you have a serious wtf moment of ‘is this really my life now?’ Laugh it off, have a glass of gin, and put your worries in the fuck-it bin because if your house was tidy, it would be free of signs of playing or any kind of fun and your kid would most likely be a vegetable that watches tv whilst everything stays tidy and put away. If there’s anything I’ve learnt over the last couple of years it’s that they fly by! We have decades of tidy houses and folded laundry ahead, but our babies are only young once. One day all will be clean, tidy and relaxed. And boring AF. I’m not suggesting for a minute that I enjoy perusing the carpet for sprinkled peas, whilst hopelessly praying that none have yet been mushed into the floor, rather that I’m trying to stay relaxed about it all and actually, the carpet cost £30 for a deep clean so if my diva wants to see it she can throw a pea in the air and catch it (she can’t) it’s not the end of the world. The carpet can be cleaned and pretty cheaply, but you can’t put a price on the chuckles she gets as she misses her mouth for the ten thousandth time, or gets one stuck in her hair and has a flabbergasted look on her face as to where the fuck her pea has disappeared to. 

This is our life right now. And exhausted is an understated understatement, but my god is my heart full. I look like a zombie, the bags under my eyes are now more of a moat around them and I’m fatter than I ever was. Ive gained an embarrassing amount of weight, probably because I still eat like I’m pregnant, and I’m pretty sure my fat rolls have even started judging my eating habits. I recently went on a diet and decided I couldn’t do it, when I heard of the Kinder freakshake at a nearby cafe. I am a mum and I have no shame. I used to have abs and a thigh gap, and I literally have like a thigh pencil-point, and my bum looks like I’ve been permanently perched on a stone surface, alternated with being repeatedly beaten on the ass with a frying pan. It’s flat. And saggy. And I’m most definitely kidding myself if i think I’ve got time for exercise. The clock strikes 8 and I’m like instantly tired, and happily fall asleep without any desire to engage in rigorous exercise. Anyone else ? 

I’m in this constant bittersweet bubble of please get easier, but please stop growing. It’s full on but so funny. I can’t even imagine not being privy to Amelie’s toilet adventures. We literally listen out for the severity of the plop when she does a number two, and i watch her in fits of laughter when it’s a particularly loud one, and it just gets me. She’s two years old and is outright my bestie. Still. She tests every part of me on all levels, but she tickles me with her antics. I think she’s the funniest kid ever. She reminds me every couple of days about my spikes, and I’m incessantly shaving my legs to avoid being labelled spiky. She points out that daddy has more jelly boobies than mummy and regularly tells me that my bum is too big (mainly to fit into kids wings and slides) whilst frequently mistaking the members of the public’s men for women and vice versa and very proudly announcing that ‘no that’s not a lady, he has a moustache’ making me a ‘silly mummy’. Yesterday, she had her story, kids and cuddles and looked at joe and instructed ‘off you go’ to him, heaven forbid he had a cuddle. So to make up for the hardships, there are PLENTY of good times. 

Since becoming a mum to a baby all over again, I won’t say it’s not hard, but it’s easier to not get caught up in the trials and tribulations. With Amelie, I used to focus on the end in sight when it would be easier, and find myself imagining an easier life in a couple of years to come. Then when we got there, I wished for them back. I wished to just rock her to sleep again, or that she would hold my hand while she slept. Instead I now get a toe up my nose and a smack in the face if we ever consleep, so the lovely baby snuggles are no more. It’s exceptionally hard dealing with newborn drama, but nothing ever lasts that long and it’s oh so temporary that I just feel a lot more in control. I felt very lost in the unknown territory of new motherhood and if I could go back and tell myself how I’d long for those days soon enough, I’d have spent less time worrying that my child was broken. It’s only about 18 months after labour that you can hand your kid an iPad and a snack, so this time I’m determined to enjoy it in all its glory!

Monday 22 October 2018

Coffee Shop Musings of a Mumma

This is a reminder to myself: for all the times I’ve wished it would just ‘get a little easier’ that eventually, it does. Eventually feels like a lifetime away when your life is in that chaotic mess, free of structure and far from chilled, but when you’re suddenly catching a few more breaks than is generally the norm and visiting the loo in peace, it just hits you. It’s easier. And though I’ve longed to ‘catch a break’ for nearly three years now, I look at my baby (the big one) and feel sad. Incredibly proud but so at a loss that she no longer needs every ounce of me. I sit at her tennis lessons and just watch her little independent self take part and thrive. Without me. She can function and boy am I pleased, but the break I’ve so eagerly longed for is empty. So I can drink a cup of coffee in peace, and what? I can poo and pee in peace but it just leaves me with time to think about all the chores and errands I’ve got to get on with. Her ability to settle herself at bedtime means I can concentrate on the baby, but as this is usually Olivia and her dad’s time, I’m sat redundant. With time to tidy. Or to do laundry. And then I realise - it’s a bit shit. And unfulfilling. Most things about parenting are tough, and some are pretty shitty. . But, most of it is bloody good fun and incredibly rewarding. I have always had fun parenting. I just don’t feel like it’s an accurate representation to say it’s all a big laugh and essentially just ‘playing’. Far from it in fact ! Nevertheless I can honestly say that in hindsight - I no longer lust for this so called free time that I’m left feeling empty in. 

 A few things have changed with baby number two, and one of those is that I’m most definitely not in a rush for ‘me’ time and fully [trying to] embrace each moment. The hard bits I am finding easier to accept that they will pass, and am reminding myself that she is our last baby. I think. I’m also a lot more relaxed about nap and sleep times and guess what ? Olivia is a dream and sleeps like an angel. With Amelie I did everything by the book and still, she is the main culprit of any sleep issues in our household! With Olivia, a coffee does the job of keeping my eyes open, and I don’t need matchsticks this time around! I’m determined not to moan that she takes every ounce of me, and willingly offer her seconds so to speak. Each hectic and often non-stop day means I am totally drained by the end and left feeling like a flat battery that needs at least a week to recharge, but it’s what gives meaning to my life. Do I wish I could just sit for hours, socialising on a night out and treat myself to a relaxed hangover from time to time? Of course. Would I be as happy doing that than being a mum and taking care of the ins and outs of the daily life of my kids ? Not a chance in the slightest.  Ive socialised and drank for hours I’d be a poor mother trucker and I’d definitely be doing my body no favours! The funny thing is, I’ve been there in my life. Socialising until I was blue in the face - and I felt empty overall . It’s at this point that we decided we wanted kids. The laundry doesn’t show me any gratitude and no visitor truly gives a shit whether they sit in a spotless showroom-style house or a pig stye. (If they do, they’re probably stuck up, fuck ups and not a guest I want to spend any significant chunk of time with anyway) The clean dishes will be dirty all over again in 6-12 hours max and they’ll never learn a single thing. Inanimate objects are just that - undeserved of all the energy, effort and emotion we pump into them. Our kids - drain and use all that we have but my god do they thrive. And happily offer their affection to show just how much of an impact you can have. 

So as I sit, sipping my undisturbed coffee - I feel a few things. A little lonely, a little bored and a little like I may have a lot more fun if I go join my child and live of bit of the excitement of their world with her.  

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Here We Are

We are one week away from month number three! I’m slightly flabbergasted, somewhat baffled and most definitely shocked that we’re already one quarter of a year into Olivia’s life! This is the part where I say ‘I can’t imagine life without her’ but actually, I’m envisaging a tidy house, much more free time and less chaos. And it’s in that thought that it occurred to me. A tidy house is only a state of an inanimate object; free time usually means I peruse my phone (and I always feel so strong against just scrolling through social media for the sake of it) and finally, less chaos would just lessen the sense of achievement you feel at the end of the day once your babies are in bed. I probably would drink a little less gin* if my kids weren’t giving me a daily dose of crazy, but everyone has a weakness I suppose. Just so happens that whilst the old me would put on my running shoes and bust out a few miles to clear my head - I feel that I would potentially keel over after even HALF a mile, or worse, I’d sit down somewhere (I daresay it could even be the pebbles on the beach) and in my current state of exhaustion I don’t put it past me to potentially fall asleep. So I figure I can cut out the middle bit of running and sub in a glass of pink topped up with tonic and sleep ON THE SOFA. 

I am exhausted but I feel I have fully embraced newbornhood this time around and even at one crazy point considered having a third until I realised I was insane and probably being held hostage by my hormones. One eventful night where I coloured the world with every swear word known to man led me to take a firm stand AGAINST the idea of any more children and I made joe promise to never have any more children. He agreed and I had total trust in him. Until I tested his resilience and he caved like straight away and agreed to baby number three! So no, calling his bluff has showed that I can’t trust him to keep my ovaries from wreaking havoc upon my sanity! Two is a perfect number; a couple if you like, is ideal. Ideal in the sense that ‘a couple of colds’ to deal with is manageable. Or ‘a couple of tantrums is doable. Twice that drama is ok, but just enough to stay sane. And, after all it is twice the love. But three? That’s like new car, an addition to any ‘family tickets’ on days out and outnumbered status in regard to the parent:child ratio. No. Thanks. Plus one would always be left out. Like on a ride. One kid would always be parentless. Or in case of a tsunami washing my kids away... which two would you grab?! You only have two arms. I’ve done my research and as much as I’m not ok that the next newborn I ever hold will just be one I have to give back, three just doesn’t work for me. A couple is a pleasing number for me. 

I tell you what I’m not pleased with. A couple of bums to be responsible for. Sounds like just that. A couple of wees, a couple of poos and a couple of nappies to worry about sounds like not much bother. But when they’re pissing and shitting at different rates and times ‘a couple of bums’ turns into two annoying arses to worry about. So it’s hence that Amelie has embarked upon her journey of potty training. I’m joking she was ready. And taken to it like a boss, bar the odd accident here and there. She’s pretty good in all and I couldn’t be more proud. Nappies are extortionate - I’m talking £16 a pack (quite a big pack) but I could get the same amount of store brand nappies for like £7 but my child’s sensitive skin only doesn’t react to pampers and to be fair to them, I’ve switched Olivia to pampers as well, because they just feel less ‘clumpy’ and are super soft inside so it is good value for money - though i digress! Amelie’s potty training has saved me not only the hassle of keeping on top of nappies, but also a good £40 a month! Though she’s made up for it in formula. YES our nearly three year old is back on formula after like 3 weeks of cows milk. Three weeks of hell - she just doesn’t sleep! I’ve lost track how many times we have tried to transition her off of formula and onto cows milk since the age of 18 months but she just doesn’t sleep through unless she has formula! I’ve even tried ‘Sleepy’ which is the other ridiculously priced lotion from Lush. Literally big dinners - double dinners NOTHING fills that child up like a beaker of cow and gate  and as long as I’m buying the age 2-3 milk I feel that little bit reassured that it’s somewhat normal as she is in the age bracket on the box. But I’m really clutching at straws with that one as I know several 2.5 year olds that don’t even have milk before bed let alone it being a £10 box of formula ! Thank the LORD I am not breastfeeding as my poor boobs would basically just be udders and god only knows if Olivia was up for a feed and Amelie wanted milk! Would I have one on each tit bearing in mind an uncomfortable toddler (with teeth) could result in boob brutality? Or worse - make Amelie wait but which time she’s awake ! I dread to think. 

Two is so much fun. I’ve just yet to experience it! Kidding! It’s so wonderful watching them interact and Amelie really has taken to big sisterhood so well and Olivia finally has got past the floppy, flimsy stage and can take a toddler poki
ng and prodding her much much better. She’s a little less  delicate and a bit more durable. And the smiliest little cherub. Unless she’s in a car seat or an unfamiliar home. She will scream from the second she’s strapped into her car seat for the duration of any car journey. Unless she’s well overdue a nap. And in terms of other people’s houses... I won’t even go into that - it’s like the kid can only exist in my arms. Actually that applies to everyday life. I am not joking, exaggerating or speaking ‘in general’ when I say I cannot put her down. Occasionally she’ll do a turn in the bouncer but between 5am and 8pm she is 95% attached to me or screams. I cannot for the life of me remember when this got better with Amelie but because she’s sleeping well (and sleeping through a couple of times a week) I won’t complain. Just goes without saying - I feel AWFUL on Amelie. But I moaned quite enough about in my last post so I’ll leave it there on that one but would welcome any suggestions on when this clingy behaviour stops as I can’t remember with Amelie. I do remember being incredibly frustrated and just giving up at a year old and starting her in nursery. But my 2 month old starting nursery so soon makes me worried I’ll have a third because I missed out on baby cuddles second time round. I’m joking - I would miss her way too much because she’s only ‘a strain’ because I have a toddler to sort and worry about. I could quite happily spend my entire day napping if it was a case of just Olivia and I. But Amelie needs fun, entertainment and to be taught things so it’s a tad tricky with a human attached to me! But... we do manage! Often with the help of Joe who thankfully works from home. But i mean, I still keep my kids alive and fed when he’s away so I can manage. And I keep telling myself that when Olivia can sit it will be a little easier! Though I definitely don’t want to fall into the trap I did with Amelie whereby I keep waiting for it to get easier and it never does. Until you’re nearly three years deep. 

No idea what’s in store next month, but I say (with gin* in hand and husband ON hand) let’s do it ! Hehe. 

*DISCLAIMER: gin often substituted for coffee when it’s not appropriate to be consuming alcohol. ie day times particularly when I need to drive. Iced is my preference, usually flavoured with caramel or vanilla; and on a particularly rough day just a spoonful of shitty cupboard coffee chucked in a mug of boiling water also does the job too! 

Friday 28 September 2018

Two months with Two✌🏼

I’m sat in playgroup thinking a number of things. Firstly how quickly time is zooming by and how being a four-part gang is no longer ‘new’ and is beginning to feel normal. Our actual life and daily routine is far from normal, but the ‘fun’ of juggling two kids is becoming a regular part of life. The next thing on my mind is, what the fudge is life? Sitting in a stinky church hall, watching kids swarm the floors like crawling ants; shouting, moaning, testing their parents’ patience in any way they possible can and generally being annoying. So I surround myself with toddler knobheads for the sake of an hour and a half of peace - and to eradicate my mum guilt which is inevitable. I feel guilty on Amelie for holding the baby through a nap, and definitely guilty on the baby for putting her down and undoubtedly causing her nap to be over within no longer than ten minutes. (She’s a leech and likes to be held) the last thing I think of is all the shit I haven’t done and probably will never get around to doing, so I start mentally creating a list of priorities. These include dressing my child(ren), changing their nappies and feeding them. Followed by entertaining them, then come the actually jobs around the house. These are what I struggle with. Do I do laundry and put it away? Or chuck it all in the washer and dryer then decorate the conservatory floor with items of my family’s clothing, which would give me time to unload the dishwasher that hasn’t been unloaded in 2 days. Or maybe 3. I’ve lost track. Bottles are a priority and those 7 million part bad boys are a beast to clean and require utmost care to both take apart and reassemble! As well as clean and sterilise.

Usually I sack it all off and opt to play with Amelie. No one ever sits on their death bed wishing they’d cleaned more! Playing is our bond and time goes by oh so fast, I never want to look back and wish I’d played more. That I say is the number one hardest thing of newly mumming for two. Having to ration play times and frequently say ‘no’ or ‘later’ to Amelie for all the time she asks for something whilst I’m tied up with Olivia! It’s easy to say they can get involved by getting wipes and nappies, but when your toddler is trying to take the play doh lid off while you’re feeding your baby, or they’re thirsty and their drink has run out, or perhaps they’ve hurt themselves and just want a long ass cuddle until they feel better and you have to choose between feeding your baby or pleasing your toddler, it’s inevitable the toddler will be put on hold so to speak. It absolutely breaks my heart. The little bit of reassurance I got that Amelie doesn’t resent the new arrival was when we offered to take her on a her-only day to paw patrol live and she was seriously distressed when we told her that her sister would be staying home with Nana and Papa. She absolutely did not accept that and couldn’t imagine living this exciting experience without her baby sis by her side and repeatedly across several days expressed her absolute concern and determined opinion that she is most definitely going WITH her sister. So she embraces her. And that thought makes my heart whole, after every time it breaks when I have to tell her no to playing. 

So what’s been my saving grace ? Play groups, baby wraps and friends. Friends that hold your baby enjoy doing so, as much as you enjoy the break. Going places is tricky at first until you get into a routine and habit, so having friends on hand to just hold the baby, or help you tidy up your bag, or even keep a watchful eye on your toddler while you make up a feed, or change a nappy etc is unbelievable help and some nights I have sat in the shower overwhelmed with everything but crying out of happiness and being grateful for the amazing mummy friends I have who have made taking both children out so much easier. Baby groups are like the only way poor Olivia gets her nap in the morning. Amelie is too o is at home but when there are 30+ kids making a racket it just becomes a background noise that she happily sleeps through. I will forever be grateful to the group leaders who give up their time to put them on and I flipping hope they know that they are the difference between going insane (literally borderline depression) and feeling like you CAN handle it. Over the summer I struggled so so much and could not wait for the groups to return in September. Finally, the wrap. Oh my good god - put your clingy baby in one of those ‘Earth Mama’ baby wrap slings and you are literally flying. Hands free to tidy up, to change your toddlers nappy and all sorts - all the while your baby is putty in your hands and happy as anything! 

And.... preschool! Coming in at a whopping (minute) £13 it’s a no brainer. Who wouldn’t ? Poor Amelie has been shipped off to preschool three days a week but she absolutely loves it! Didn’t even have a trial as she just got stuck in. I fear it’s because she was aware it was scream free time, she jumped for joy and just loved preschool from the word go. If only I could have three hours break off baby duty a day! 

Not a great deal of funny just yet - unless looking like shit and feeling like a genuine zombie is funny to anyone. We’re back to those good old days. That and I genuinely have stark opposite children. Amelie was like a poo monster and this baby is so constipated I have been literally having to grab onto her poo and pull it out (thankfully with a wet wipe) just to help her empty her bowels. Lord help me, I’ve legit lost all dignity. 

Jabs were heartbreaking but overshadowed by Amelie. She thought she was having them and decided as we opened the door to go in, that she would dash across the entire doctors surgery and hide under a chair... so I dragged my stupid backpack, milk bottle hanging from my mouth to free up a hand with which to (literally) drag my child out from under the furniture and into the office. Poor Olivia was stressed out before we even went in let alone when the needles came out. The kid was already screaming (it was way past nap time and we’d been waiting 30 mins past our appointment) so the poor thing just was a crying mess for the best part of 20 minutes. Then she got a little sleepy and bossed the jabs like a pro.

With joe traveling for work frequently again it has been hard to say the least. But for the first time I feel like I am bonding not only with each of my children 1:1, but as a trio and them beginning to bond and interact makes any hardship around parenting beyond worth it! 

Friday 24 August 2018

Mumming for Two

So I became a mum of 2 this month. Cue a round of applause (to myself) and a million questions running through my head about how the flipping hell im going to manage! 

I have a birth story to potentially write but long story short - I went in all guns blazing: 3 days worth of snacks, outfits, nappies (for me - due to ruining countless amounts of hospital bedsheets last time) and all sorts ready for my mega stay in hospital... I gave birth in the evening at half six, had no sleep all night thanks to a boob leech and then they kicked me out by midday. Happy days. I also went prepared with anti colic bottles, soothing sounds, all sorts of baby shit ready to begin my battle of newborn mummyhood - but she’s a good baby. Apart from her first night where she attached herself to my boob for a solid ten hours and stayed awake, she’s a sleeper! She’s a looker-arounder too, which means I can actually eat, brush my teeth and pee and poo during the day too, because - wait for it - I can PUT HER DOWN! In short, either she’s a really good baby, or Amelie was a really broken difficult one; I’m still trying to figure out which is the case. But seriously, how my luck’s changed.

My experience of newborns has been totally transformed and I’m definitely not adverse to continued reproduction at this stage. No rush though. I have no real advice to give. I’m a few weeks into it all but I do know it has left me with a total of zero dull moments.

I’ve made a whole lot more effort with the house and my own appearance this time, but upon waking, I still manage to look like a zombie that has embarked on an apocalyptic mission all night. She’s a good sleeper and doesn’t have more than 2 wakes but I guess I’m just not a night person! By any means. The first few days, I took the opportunity to relax - something which I did not do last time. I just asked for the help I needed and took the time for me. I didn’t feel this time around that my baby would die if I left her in the care of someone else for 15 mins. Or even an hour! Last-time-round-Viv would’ve had a panic attack if the baby wasn’t in sight for longer than a couple of minutes. The first time I cooked a meal, was breakfast; and it wasn’t a meal at all. It was a bacon sandwich. I [thought I had] bossed it. Happily humming along to myself, washing and sterilising bottles as the bacon sizzles scrumptiously in the pan. Grabbing myself a bit of butter and perusing the cupboards for brown or red sauce - until I turn around and spot a plume if smoke that has overtaken the entire kitchen. What the F. This is not good. We’re moments away from the smoke alarm and in a desperate attempt to avoid that, I hastily open all the windows and doors but it’s too late, the fucker is howling through the entire house, warning us not at all of potential fire, but more rubbing it in my face that I can’t cook a sodding bacon sandwich. Meanwhile, the toddler is basking butt naked in the garden, eating a pot of Pringles. Oh life. Side note: joe ate the bacon sandwich still. And the bun was stale. Fail level 1 trillion zillion.

We also did a food shop. No dramas. Actually fairly straightforward and nothing out of the ordinary with Amelie breaking our self scanning device, resulting in us having to re scan everything - so a totally pointless endeavour to speed up our shopping experience. She also spent the entire time begging for the toy that we bribe her with on every food shop, despite reiterating endless times that she must wait until the end of the food shop. She asked in every aisle. So anyway, a good food shop. Then in the 30 degree heatwave, our trolley which was loaded with food and more importantly ICE CREAM, suffered. All because the baby woke. For milk. I’m a bottle fan so no boob drama for me but my god, making up a formula with a tiny bit of boiling water from a ridiculously sized shitty flask [note to self: please remember to buy a small flask!!] and then topping it up with cooled, boiled water but only after swishing the formula and boiling water around enough to kill the potential bacteria in the formula ... you get it. From then on, I took a bottle that I made in the comfort of my own home with my perfect prep machine and hoped for the best for a couple of hours! Goodbye ice creams, RIP. Then she pooed herself. And in my frantic antics of baby changing bag and joes efforts to secure the blaring toddler in a car seat, I realised I placed said newborn next to the exhaust of the running car. Oops. I suppose it could’ve been worse, she could’ve been put in front of it. In fairness she was next to the wheel, but still felt like a failure for putting her in such an unthoughtful place. You live and learn I suppose! So yeah, I mild win ‘in general’ 

Our little family of three has transformed into a family of four and I’m in love with mummyhood. I’m still winging at least 99 percent of all aspects of life but I’m quite happy doing it. Sleep deprived, yes - but not how one would expect. It’s the toddler. The baby sleeps like a dream and Amelie, is awake for I’ve-lost-track-of-how-many-reasons!

I don’t even care anymore, as long as I have between two and four hours of sleep, and one HELL of a lot of coffee. I’m surviving. Joe usually works from home so is often on hand for extra chaotic stresses but to be honest, it’s been manageable. Quite hard and extremely stressful, but we’re doing ok. 

I’m embracing the newborn cuddles, although I’ve swapped crappy daytime telly and newborn naps for pee breaks and Amelie time, coupled with bouts of ‘cleaning opportunities’ - or more realistically it dawns on me when the baby is asleep just how much mess has been generated in like a couple of hours, so I rush around half-heartedly tidying up and running the mop over the floor. Or occasionally [very frequently] I just fill a sink with Zoflora and the house smells good, so I feel good. My priorities lie with my biggest baby and making sure she doesn’t miss out, so the cleaning can get stuffed for the next few months. Having said that, I do most definitely catch up in the evening, and it looks pristine for all of 8 hours. Or until joe gets a snack! The hardest part is finding time to give them both quality time and anyone that says it isn’t, is a liar! 

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve said no to Amelie (purely because I can’t build block towers whilst feeding or burping her few week old sister) or how many times I’ve chased her around (when out) because she’s run off and totally forgotten I have a buggy and newborn to contend with. And quite frankly it breaks my heart: my blogs last time around had the tone of a stressed out, shocked AF first time mum, trying to see the funny side. This time around it’s a little different in that ive become an overtired, run-down mum on a desperate quest to give all of me to each of my children. Only that would mean 200% .. which is a mathematical means of talking hypothetical situations, and unfortunately the reality in my mum life is that, there is only 100% of me to give. In fact, in my mind it should be 50:50 as such. And I struggle. But in this short space of time I’ve learnt that actually it’s possible to give most of your attention to one child, then give most of your attention to the other one. Some days, one child may get more attention than the other but hopefully at the end of the week ‘on the whole’ it balances out and my mum guilt is not so bad. 

What’s changed ? Newborn wise, not a great deal. I’ve had all sorts of bodily fluids all over me and have suffered lack of sleep. But the biggest change has been in Amelie. She is a drama queen, an attention seeker and has a new found love for expressing her contrasting view. What else has changed? She’s grown. She’s blossomed, and found her independence. Where she lacked in confidence, she’s cracked it! She has grown more resilient and trusts herself to try (and succeed) and whilst it breaks my heart that I’ve had to let her figure some things out on her own (due to being tied up in stuff) I’m so incredibly proud of her and her growth in self-esteem. 

Hardest mum moment: being on my own with two babies for 4 days. Collective sleep was about 9 hours over he 4 days. So it broke me if I’m honest and I had to ask for help. So pleased to have such lovely people offering to spend some time with Amelie, and that’s just what she did. And she had a blast! So for our support network, , I’m beyond thankful. 

Most emotional moment: after a rough few days and lots of tellings off, I asked Amelie if she thought mummy was kind or mean. And she said kind and gave me a cuddle and kiss.

Biggest change in dynamics: Amelie is clingy and has started asking to sleep in our bed - which result in a toe up my nose or a punch/kick in the face 

Funniest: bacon sandwich 100%.

Favourite moment: watching my babies bonding. Loving Joe twice as much because he’s twice as perfect of a Daddy to our babies and a husband I am lucky to have to call mine.

So whilst I’ve been busy running myself into the ground, I’ve been drinking in all of motherhood and my babies and loving every single moment. Ok, maybe not the tantrums or the ridiculously smelly gases leaving my one months old rear end, or the tummy bothered baby squirms and screams. But mostly loving it, and all the while being all to aware of how flipping fast it all goes. Amelie will be school aged in 1.5 years and I’m just not ok with how quickly that has come around. So I’ve been taking each day as it comes and some days are good, some are not so good and some are plain fucking shit. Like the day I hauled the car seat across a busy car park, over the pebbles - whilst holding Amelie’s hand and wearing a heavy overfilled bag of ‘essential kids shit’ like snacks and drink and nappies and wipes and every other bloody thing you need for even an hours outing. Anyway, I digress. Long story short, I gave it my all on this particular day, and even went in the ice cold sea with Amelie... all to be ‘playing’ surprise ice cream flavours (made of sand balls) in which the game went a little something like this:
Ammie: mummy guess what ice cream I have?
Me: [insert guess of flavour] 

*and repeat*

Then one surprise was a blow to the face with and a mouthful of sand. Thanks child. 

Worst day. 

I ended up lugging my car seat and screaming kid (toddler) who did not want to go home, and it took all my might to not hold it against her. I did the time out. I did the apology. I smashed the kisses and cuddles. But, supernanny would not be proud because I did not let it go after 2 minutes as per her advice one ‘1 minuet time out per year in age’ I held that grudge the whole drive home and until about 10 minutes into Mister Maker’s Arty Party. Then we made up. And I even cherished that day. Because it was filled with her giggles and chuckles... before the sand. 

Hopefully as Olivia’s little personality develops and Amelie’s hopefully slows down (I’m not sure how much more ‘personality’ I can take from that girl) I’ll have some funny things to report, but for now... taking each day as it comes and WIPING THE SLATE CLEAN is my motto and although I’m one tired mumma, I am so content and my heart is beyond full.

Watch the space, because I’m sure I’ve just jinxed it. 

Amelie became frightened of grey clouds and insisted on wearing the rain cover (for the car seat)