The Highs & Lows of My Geriatric Mummahood…

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Easy like Sunday Mornings…a rare ‘lie in’ until 7am!

So twice last week, two of the lovely ladies I’ve been working with recently were surprised to hear that I’m turning 40 in just under six months. I was shocked that they were shocked to be honest; maybe it was my hormonal breakout that fooled them or maybe they were just being kind. It certainly made my day, as since going back to work, I’ve certainly felt my age more than ever (it’s only been two weeks!) & it’s made me think about all that geriatric mummahood actually entails for me.

I guess it made me realise that older, doesn’t necessarily mean wiser. Well certainly not in my experience. I’m not naturally maternal & I know I never have been. Even as an early years teacher, I loved my job, adored the children, but was more ‘Mary Poppins’ than ‘Molly Wealsey’ about things – but certainly not, “practically perfect in every way” that’s for sure! It gave me a great insight into how I wanted to parent: I’ve been lucky to have known some absolutely inspirational Mummas in my career & this, combined with my own parents’ methods & reading the fantastic “French Children Don’t Throw Food” by Pamela Druckerman (www.pameladruckerman.com) have shaped my ‘style’ so to speak. We’re strict with Benjamin already; he’s beginning to learn his boundaries & he knows if he’s over-stepped them. This may sound harsh for an eight month old, but both Tim & I are firm believers in setting ground rules early on, then loosening up a little later. We’ve both found it successful with Tim’s other two children (for all involved) to do it this way, rather than allowing a ‘free for all’ to start with, then trying to rein things in later when it’s all gone a bit wahey! It’s harder than I thought it would be, but I keep having to tell myself that I’m not Benjamin’s friend, not just yet. For now at least, I’m just one of his guides & mentors in this crazy thing called ‘life’. What a responsibility!

For me, the lows of being ‘an older Mumma’ have to be the extreme tiredness, the complete achiness & the occasional overwhelming feelings of frustration. I’m sure this is no different from other Mummas, of all ages, but at times I’ve felt like my age has exacerbated these negatives. Looking back, I don’t think I fell into the complete depths of Post-Natal Depression, but on some days, back in the beginning, I was definitely paddling in the shallows. My emotions consumed me: I was angry with myself that I felt ‘trapped’ in this new role of motherhood; something that I had wanted so badly, for so long. I hated the fact this beautiful tiny human, that I had, in part created, was dependent upon me for everything. Literally everything. And part of me wanted to run far far away. I’d had 38 years of just thinking of myself, I was (& probably still am but to a lesser extent) a selfish person to a certain degree. I like my own time, company & space & always have. It’s taken a lot for me to write this, it’s not something I’ve really vocalised, let alone typed. I’m lucky in that I had Tim to talk to, to shout at even. He listened to me vent & talked some sense back into me. Thank goodness. But I can see how easy it would be to slip into the vicious cycle of depression. I found: http://www.mind.org.uk to be a fantastic source of information. My other main ‘low’ has been the intense physical pain. For the first three months, I felt brittle, like an old porcelain teacup. Every movement was agony & some days I was genuinely terrified that I would ‘shatter’. Then I developed ‘de Quervain’s tenosynovitis’ aka tendonitis of the wrist. My age, my gender & my recent motherhood were all contributing factors apparently. Joy. So after seeing two doctors, a physiotherapist, being given exercises & a sexy black splint that I’m meant to wear 24/7, but found that I’m allergic to, so can only bear wearing it at night time (along with my fluffly socks & dressing gown) Tim’s a lucky man! Haha! I feel that things are getting better. I don’t have to think about how to pick the boy up & everyday tasks are getting easier again thankfully. Thank you NHS. I could go on with other ailments: breakouts, hair issues (various!), dry skin etc. etc. but I’ll leave it here for now!

The highs of my late motherhood on the other hand, are that I know how I want to parent, as I explained earlier. I have high expectations of Benjamin. I am confident to correct him in public, if necessary. My patience for his learning is high, although my tolerance for his whinging is incredibly low(!) On particularly bad days I have to walk away, then come back a few minutes later: ready to start again. Most importantly though, I appreciate the ‘now.’ As clichéd as it sounds, I guess I’m more aware of ‘the moment’ than ever before. I’ve always been aware of poignant ‘now’ markers in my life, scenes/moments that I’m drawn back to time & again. Things that I knew were significant, but I was unaware as to why at the time. I spend a lot of my working life listening to people reminisce about their interesting lives & I genuinely love it. I’ve always been fascinated by people; hearing about their memories of loved ones & the special times they’ve shared, holidays, laughter & their ambitions. Sometimes, these wonderful people can’t remember what they ate for lunch, but can remember the most intricate detail of years gone by: of fleeting moments when they fell in love, or when their children were growing up & homes they’ve lived in. I’ve decided that ‘mindfulness’ is not really a new trend, people have always been aware of the ‘now’ but not really realised its significance: it’s equally important to remember those ‘now moments’. It’s proved in our older age, as these are the things that we hold onto. Essentially they get us through life: they help us to cope.

We’ve had a great few days; it started on Friday when Benjamin & I went on a ‘Spring Hunt’ – looking for signs of new life & longer, warmer days. And although the boy slept for most of it, I rediscovered my mojo for snapping things on my iPhone that caught my eye, mainly flowers & landscapes. Saturday & Sunday were spent with some of our fabulous friends & it was great to entertain & make dinner for everyone. It was lovely to be just us again & this was highlighted to me. We were even allowed to enjoy our bed until 7am on Sunday. What a treat! Time with Benjamin continues to be precious & I cherish the subtleties of his weekly developments. Nothing makes us happier than hearing the boy properly belly laugh & giggle when I pretend to “eat him up” at the end of the day or Tim tickles him. It’s truly heart-warming & the troubles of the day just melt away for both of us.

For the first time since giving birth, this weekend has shown me how to reconnect with just ‘being me’ & combining this with being a Mumma. I can do both. The ‘highest of highs’ for me though, is that I actually can’t wait to reminisce upon my own family memories: all whilst not forgetting to be mindful of being ‘in the moment’ of course!

Thank you for reading. I’d love to hear the highs & lows of your Mummahood…

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We’re Going on a Spring Hunt!..What a beautiful day…

So we’ve survived our first week. Just…

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Our happy, smiley boy 🙂

Wow, I don’t think I’ve felt quite this tired since Benjamin came out of hospital! Just one of the many joys of being a creaky geriatric Mumma I guess. We’ve both been waking up at 5am on the dot. Every. Single. Day. Benjamin starts his day with a large bowel movement, which I can usually hear resonating through the baby monitor & then, almost disgusted with himself, protests about it. Loudly. Tim continues to be oblivious to the boy’s grumblings & sleeps on for a good hour longer. So unfair! Mumma is surviving on vast amounts of caffeine & determination in equal measure. We also discovered this week that the Green House is unable function for 24 hours even without a kettle. After our numerous attempts to fix our trusty six & a half year old Kenwood, Tim was forced to buy a new one, for his own sanity/safety. Well there are only so many times you can wait to boil a saucepan of water for a cuppa.

Our ‘routine’ (I say this term loosely), after the initial first day teething problems, seems to work quite well: I run around like a blue bottomed fly getting myself & Jamin organised for the day, all while Tim leisurely breakfasts & showers in his usual way; only changed slightly as he now has an excitable car-share buddy on his journey to work. Where as I get a decidedly non-chatty, weary commuter on our way home. I think I messaged Tim most days, to check Benjamin was happy when he was dropped off. Every time he’s been absolutely fine: happy, smiling & apparently charming his lovely child minders by fluttering his ridiculously long eyelashes & giving them one of his dazzling smiles. I’m sure this will be the source of many a headache for me in the future *sighs* I’m also sure that if I dropped him off, he’d be completely different, as he was during his settling in sessions; giving me the face of a child who should be fronting the latest NSPCC campaign & breaking my heart in the process. We’re so lucky in that Sara (our wonderful childminder) understands my angst & sends us photographs & messages to reassure me. To be honest, it’s got me through the day.

My darling boy has changed in so many ways. He seems much older, after just one week of being apart. I always remember one of the mums at swimming saying, “they just get interesting as you go back to work!” And it’s true. And although I’m sad that I’m not with him all the time to see these milestones, I feel that I appreciate & notice them more somehow. Part of me also wonders whether these achievements (see below, except for the tooth!) would even have happened if he were still just with me. My theory is that humans are characteristically sociable creatures: we imitate those around us & ultimately want to please others, so the more people you’re with, the more you naturally develop. Well that’s what I’m telling myself, so I feel a little happier about things.

Benjamin’s milestones this week…

  • He can now wave & practices his new move to the other Mummies when leaving Sara’s. Such a smoothie already it seems!
  • His first tooth is coming through at last! * Y A Y *
  • He can reliably sit up for longer…tummy time is so last month Mumma!
  • He has the appetite of a small horse & is now eating three meals a day!
  • We’ve nicknamed him ‘Bamm Bamm’ (from the Flintstones) because he seems to like to whack everything with his favourite plaything: a wooden spoon! Let’s hope he’ll be a drummer?! Well maybe.
  • He’s happier & more sociable if that’s even possible.
  • His cheeky personality is really coming out & I think he’ll be a windup merchant just like his father!
  • I’m becoming a feeder. Rice cakes & Ella’s Kitchen Tomato & Basil Melty Sticks give about 5 minutes (at least) of peace while Mumma sorts out dinner.

Let’s hope next week is just as good…

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Photos sent from Benjamin’s Childminder Sara

 

Time…

Earlier, whilst listening to Time, in my opinion, the most beautiful piece of music by Hans Zimmer & watching the boy fall asleep in his cot, the tears were streaming down my face. This was the music that I first played to Benjamin, when he was a tiny baby, usually while I showered & watched him snooze in his rocker through the open ensuite door. The days were hot & my maternity leave stretched out before us. I thought we’d have those days forever. It’s crazy how quickly the time has passed; I haven’t even caught up with all my series-linked Homes Under The Hammer for goodness sake! Today also marks the day that Tim & I first got together, eight years ago in fact. We’ve been married for almost five & Benjamin is almost eight months old.

I’m not going to lie, these last eight months have been some of the best & worst of my life: the most challenging, physically & emotionally painful too. I have a feeling that these emotions will stay with me for life now! I don’t think I’ve missed my wonderful Mum quite as desperately as I have over the last eight months either. I’m sure she would have understood what I was going through & known exactly what to say. I wish we could FaceTime Heaven. I am so grateful to Tim, along with my amazing friends, both old & new, who have kept me sane.

But here we are, tomorrow (exactly eight months to the day) I return to work. I know that I’m not the first & certainly won’t be the last Mumma to feel overwhelmed with emotions about going back to work. Part of me feels sick that I will no longer spend my days just being ‘Benjamin’s Mumma’, but part of me feels excited at the prospect of having a brand new ‘proper big girl’s job’ & getting my old ‘Lucy’ identity back again. I think it’s even more daunting that, after lots of evening studying & twenty exams later, I’m going into a completely new profession of becoming an adult Social Care Worker.

I guess my biggest worry is that I’m scared Benjamin will forget that I’m his Mumma: the one who soothes away his tears, the one whose face he strokes so gently when he drinks his milk, or makes him giggle so much he snorts (much like I do!) I’m terrified that this magical bond that we have created will be lost & we’ll become ships that pass in the night, only seeing each other to wake up, drop off, pick up, then bath & go to bed. I know millions of families do exactly the same thing every single day. We are not unique in that respect. I need to remember that at least we’ll still have Fridays together & the weekends as a family. We are very lucky. I also need to tell the boy that he can only achieve his milestones on ‘our days’ too! He’s so close to saying his first word it’s crazy & I’m sure he plays us when we’re there, like training a reluctant parrot; “say Dadda. Jamin, say Dadda!” I bet he’ll come out with his first sentence this week, when neither of us is there to witness. Let’s just pray that his first utterance isn’t obscene or incriminating, although I’m sure his Daddy would be equally as proud! Another part of me, the ex-Early Years teacher part, knows that this is absolutely the best thing for him: the best time for us to start to leave him, for him to socialise with other children & the best time for him to learn from other adults; not just me & Tim: & we have found the most perfect child minder to do this. I want him to learn early on to be mindful of his audience & adapt his behaviour accordingly. I’m praying that he’ll ‘play nicely’ with others, be kind, be friendly, but not a push over, to stand his ground & be assertive when necessary. I guess it’s what all parents want for their children. We don’t mind if he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, we’d rather him be practical, likeable, have people skills, be able to communicate & I am sure opportunities will present themselves to him in life.

As I sit here, now on the sofa: Benjamin deep in his slumbers, lunch boxes made, clothes ironed, alarm set (not had to do that for a while!) & tomorrow’s dinner planned in my head at least, my nerves are steadied slightly (although this might be the gin?!) And providing I don’t hear the theme tune of Howard’s Way, or Tales of The Unexpected (which would take me straight back to 80s Sunday nights before school as a child *shudders*), I am confident that things will work out for the best, for all of us.

Wish us luck!

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This is us…eight years together, nearly five years married, an almost eight month Benjamin & a black & white filter applied to hide the wrinkles! 

Bargain Hunt!

As I looked back over my phone photos from the last couple of weeks, I saw one that really maddened me. I was cross with myself really. Tim had taken it & sent it to me as he thought I should blog about it. I was going to; trying to put a positive, funny spin on the fact that after a dramatic week of dealing with poo (Benjamin’s not mine I must add) I’d made him a lovely lunchbox of finger foods in an attempt to get his appetite back, but neglected to pack his bottle & milk, such a bad Mumma that I am. As we were having lunch out, we had to buy single-use bottles (I didn’t even know it was a thing) & ‘on the go’ milk which Benjamin is no stranger to, due to its wonderful convenience (& recyclable bottle). Anyway, what I’m annoyed about is that we’ve always been so particular about what we buy for the boy; ensuring it’s not wasteful, unnecessary & where possible, recycled.

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‘That’ photo!

I always thought that everyone loves a bargain, right? But it seems like it’s a dirty word when it comes to babies: even dirtier than ‘single use’ it would appear. Since finding out that we were having a boy (this time last year in fact) we began amassing things we thought we’d need: clothes, bed linen, toys, furniture etc. etc. You know, just as every other excited expectant parent does really. We were incredibly lucky to be given lots of wonderful pre-loved items from friends & parents of the children I taught. Not once did we refuse any items & we were (& continue to be) incredibly grateful for what we’re given. However, I know there are so many parents, who would never dream of having anything that wasn’t brand new. I am sure that this is, in part, due to clever marketing ploys aimed at mainly first time parents; creating a stigma that if it’s not new, it must be dirty, or worse still; you obviously don’t love your baby enough to buy him/her the latest pram, fashions, or nursery furnishings. Ridiculous. At times, that’s how I felt, but after giving myself a good talking to, I never let it stop Tim or I looking for more bargains. Blimey, I think of a pair of trousers at £40 to be a considered purchase, & I have full control of my bladder & bowels, & sadly won’t be getting any taller in the next month. So why would I buy something ridiculously expensive for my rapidly growing & sometimes explosive son?! It just doesn’t make sense.

I think our most ‘frowned upon’ secondhand item & the one I’ve found myself having to justify to others, is our car seat & bases. Being children of the 80s, we didn’t have Isofix bases, or robust safety seats; health & safety didn’t really factor into the everyday sense; rear seat belts weren’t even legal until 1989 for goodness sake! I’m sure I remember lying in my neighbour’s car boot with their children on a mattress on the way back from a holiday(!) & I survived.

Generally, people aren’t going to sell a car seat that has been in an accident, it’s just wrong & unnecessary: insurance companies replace them immediately. We buy secondhand cars without knowing their complete history, but still we drive them. As baby seats are used for such a comparatively short amount of time; surely, in our heightened awareness of obsolescence these days, it’s best to get the maximum usage out of them? We worked out that we’ve saved over £300 in car seats & bases alone & this isn’t factoring in us selling the outgrown items on again. We would rather use the money to enjoy family days out; using said car seat! So why is this not encouraged?

The only brand new items that we bought were: a crib (which was an ex-display model), a mattress, all his bottles/sterilising unit, a few muzzies & sleepsuits (because he was a little smaller than we’d anticipated) & my Dad very kindly bought us a pram; which was also a great price as we got it from Toys ‘R’ Us when they were closing down. We would have bought one second hand, but we just couldn’t find exactly what we wanted & time was running out.

Nothing gives me more pleasure (well nothing else that I’m prepared to talk about on here!) than searching for something on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, charity shop or a highly coveted nearly new sale, finding exactly what I want, then getting it for a fraction of its original price. It reminds me of when I was a child & occasionally used to buy massive job lots of Barbie clothes from car boot sales with my pocket money. I used to love meticulously sorting through the items, categorising, then carefully washing them, before doing a fashion show with my dolls. Same principles still apply now really. Lucky Benjamin hey!

The staff in the village charity shop know me well & back in the early days, when I was trying to build up a bank of toys, the manager used to save me all the wooden things that had been donated, so I could have first dibs! I still love going in there, but not as frequently, as Benjamin has quite a large collection of toys now, thanks to these lovely thoughtful ladies.

I feel like a woman possessed when going to nearly new sales; I literally scour the stalls twice or three times over; just to ensure that I haven’t missed a gem. I’m sure it’s genetic as my Granny was exactly the same at jumble sales. I can’t haggle for toffee though; I’m so British in that sense. But usually I’m more than happy to pay the price; smugly knowing that it’s a darn sight cheaper than it would have been originally. I’m still very picky though: I’m not a fan of ‘character prints’ (I may have to pick my battles when he’s older on that one though, maybe), anything loose fitting or shapeless is a no-no too; I can’t bear baggy jeans on teenagers, let alone babies & I try to avoid red outfits – as it really doesn’t suit his fair complexion! I’m only just ‘allowing’ the boy to wear a trackie bottom, but they have to be ‘smart’ & even better if it has a stripe! Gees, poor Benjamin hey, he has such a fussy, bargain-hunting Mumma! I’m sure I’m going to regret this later down the line, when he rebels by refusing to wear anything other than a gaudy George Pig two-piece with matching wellies, but we’ll cross that bridge when & if we come to it. Hopefully he’ll be sartorial savvy by the time it comes to him having his own choice of clothing?!

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One of our Nearly New Sale bounties! 

It infuriates me that shops tend to stock mainly girls’ clothes & the range of items appears far greater than for boys. It hardly seems fair. Boys have a limited choice of tops, trousers or shorts. High Street shops stock an eclectic mix of separates that just don’t work together. I’d been looking for more clothes for Benjamin for a while (in preparation for when he goes to his fab child minder), when I stumbled upon a wonderful ‘bundle’ (love that search term!) on Facebook late one evening. After a few messages to get the seller’s address & arrange a date, the boy & I had a mini adventure trying to find said house: which is one of the many joys that add to the whole experience. The lovely lady put in more things than I thought I was paying for & the only item that I’m giving to the charity shop is a bobbly Toy Story top (please refer to my character prints policy). Everything was from Debenhams’ designers & we even had a quick jaunt along the beach on the way home. Winner!

I suppose the point I’m trying to make though is that there are some beautiful, stylish, clean & most importantly safe secondhand items out there; with still a lot of life left in them. Things can be washed & sterilised, & if they’re in that bad a condition, then they can be put in a fabric bank, or taken to a local recycling centre. You don’t have to settle for ‘poverty chic’ just because it’s not shop-bought. There should be no shame in buying or re-purposing them, after all we’re encouraged to recycle as much as possible everyday, so why should baby items be any different? Thank you for reading.

 

 

You’re Twistin’ My Melon Man…

This was the blog that I wanted to post on Tuesday, but things got a little crazy in the Greenhouse, so here we are, a little later than planned…

I want to talk about last Monday, when for the first time since our initial visit back in August, our wonderful osteopath Mark signed Benjamin off; satisfied for us not to return, unless we were still overly concerned ourselves & really wanted to cross his palm with the best part of £40.00 again, for half an hour of his incredibly precious time. He thinks he could do a little more: if we wanted Benjamin to be completely fine-tuned, but for the most part, he was happy & that makes us happy.

In a nutshell (excuse the pun), Benjamin has a ‘wonky bonce’ as Tim so eloquently puts it, or plagiocephaly if you want to be really technical. Basically he has a slightly flat spot on his right side, all because he suffered with torticollis (or ‘twisted neck’) since birth. The abrupt nature of his arrival (right at the end) was a little overwhelming for Benjamin (including his Mumma!) So much so, that he kind of froze in shock because he’d been evicted so forcefully, but very necessarily! After much research, aka late-night Googling, I’ve found that both conditions are becoming increasingly more common in babies. Plagiocephaly in particular since the Back To Sleep Campaign started in 1994. It is obviously desperately important to ensure that babies are safe while they sleep & I am 100% in favour of any advice I can get regarding best sleeping positions. However, no information about these conditions is made available to expectant parents. I wish we’d been told about torticollis/plagiocephaly in Antenatal classes. Learning how to breastfeed is well & good, but it shouldn’t be the main focus. Things like: signs to look out for regarding head movement & shaping, when to worry, things to try in the first instance & even contact details of amazing professionals like ‘our’ Mark should also be included. We were recommended to Mark by one of my amazing Mummy Friends, yep, I’ve used that expression, the one I really hate. This was after I was hitting my own head repeatedly against a brick wall with the Health Visitors, who weren’t taking my concerns about Benjamin’s lack of neck movement seriously. In my experience, they have been next to useless with all of my concerns. Being told, “it’s normal, just put all your baby’s toys on the left side so he’s forced to move his neck, or turn him the opposite end of his cot” multiple times doesn’t treat the problem itself. The poor boy was literally ‘locked’ into this position, so all of these suggestions were of no use at all. As far as Benjamin was concerned, only half the world existed & he literally couldn’t investigate to find the other half: because his neck forced him to always look to his right.

Tim & I arrived at a fairly modest private residence in Dorchester in late August last year, not entirely sure what to expect. My friend had said, he’ll just talk to you & Benjamin & you won’t even realise he’s doing anything. And that’s exactly how it went. Every visit. Yes, he examined him, he held him in fairly standard treatment positions, but what he was actually doing was invisible to the untrained eye. He is such an interesting man, with a mass of curly grey hair, earrings & an incredibly dry sense of humour, which I appreciate. Benjamin was absolutely intrigued by him from the start. Although you’re never quite sure if he is joking or not; for example, in one of our sessions, he flew Benjamin around the room steadily supporting his tummy & back, they were both chatting away to each other as always. I was convinced that I’d witnessed some really technical pediatric osteopathic move & intrigued, I asked what treatment he was doing. He just laughed & said, “well you’ve got to keep it fun with children, can’t be serious all the time!” Of course. Silly me. As the weeks & months went by, everyone could see a massive change in Benjamin & he now has a completely full range of neck movement. It’s amazing to see, especially considering how bad it was to begin with. His head will never be perfectly symmetrical though, but then whose is? As hard as it is to acknowledge that your child has flaws, I’ve decided that he’s perfectly imperfect & that’s more than good enough for us. We won’t send him back just yet. He’ll just have to have a long mane of hair instead. We enquired about the recently celebrity-famed ‘helmets’, but the poor boy would have to wear it for 23 hours straight a day, they are quite restrictive, designed purely for changing aesthetics & with a starting price of £2k, we decided that he can be beautifully & naturally unique.

The best advice that he gave me was to keep Benjamin on the floor. Lots of tummy time, as much as possible in fact & let him work things out for himself. He explained that this is how all babies learn best: plenty of opportunities to explore for themselves & time to get frustrated, all without too much adult interaction or distraction & he is right. I’ve loved & continue to love watching Benjamin figure things out in his head: how to move objects, how to move towards objects & learning about pressure points, all in preparation for crawling (which isn’t far off!) Sometimes I can literally see the boy thinking. It’s magical.

With this in the back of my mind, I’ve always tried hard to keep tummy time fun & varied: to hold his attention longer than 30 seconds. This week we’ve been looking at different kinds of lids on a tray. Even though I washed each of them to within an inch of their lives, he still seems to be instinctively drawn towards the alcoholic ones! Hmmm, I can’t think where he gets that from? I also changed his sensory light bulbs from their festive contents to lots of random Playmobil accessories, colourful rainbow beads & Lego bricks. See the photographs below.

I will always maintain that osteopathy is 50% science & 50% witchcraft, but it works & that’s all we wanted & hoped for. We’ve given Benjamin the best possible start, all from chance conversation with a good friend. I’ll happily give out Mark’s contact details, just leave a comment below or drop me an email. I honestly can’t recommend him enough.

Thank you for reading.

 

Mumma NEEDS Gin!

Mumma is contemplating her second double gin of the evening already after an eventful day of bodily fluids. Not her own you understand, but those of her darling 7 month old son, who, since Friday has been consistently pooing through the eye of a needle. The latest ordeal started at 12am this morning with 3 full nappies within 10 minutes – literally like molten lava with only a wet wipe between the offending matter & Mumma’s hand. But the straw that broke Mumma’s back may possibly have been when, just after she’d prepared a delicious dinner of buttery carrots & mash, her precious boy, after lulling her into a false sense of security, decided to vom it back at her in an exorcist type fashion – both through his nose & mouth all whilst screaming uncontrollably. Thankfully it mainly landed on the laminated kitchen floor. After waiting for it all to pass from a safe distance away, then quickly checking that her new Christmas slippers were unscathed & left with no other option, Mumma extracted her (dearly longed for) baby boy from his high chair in what can only be described as an ‘80s caretaker fashion’ (aka under one arm) promptly taking him upstairs into the bathroom, then stripping him down & putting him straight in the bath: no wet wipe in the world was man enough for this job. Sadly Mumma struggles to be overly maternal when it comes to sickness.Then Daddy came home & announced that he too now feels like he’s got a dodgy belly & isn’t eating his dinner that was lovingly prepared after the pukenami & subsequent mass cleanup. Mumma is now feeling slightly delirious & slightly tipsy; having previously losing her appetite due to dealing with the sheer volume of said poop & then sick for the last 18 hours, all while rocking to the seemingly never-ending drone of the recently fixed, over-worked washing machine. The boy on the other hand sleeps on, now in his cot, & completely unaware that his Mumma is teetering on the edge of therapy.

Happy Tuesday everyone. Cheers
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My first gin! Yep, I feel your pain Benjamin…

All Change Please…

So the next important milestone that I needed to embrace was Benjamin’s transition from his crib at the end of our bed, into the Big Boy’s Cot Bed in his OWN room. I’ve been putting it off for a few weeks now; he had a poorly tummy, then it was Christmas, the bedroom needed sorting out, the list goes on. Looking back, it was probably more my own reservations, or should I say excuses, that it hadn’t happened until Saturday. The poor boy looked like some inadequately caged animal; barely able to move, with limbs sticking out the sides of his crib: things were getting ridiculous. It made me wonder why I was feeling sad about it all (especially with his obvious need for an upgrade) & then realised that it marks then end of a comparatively short, but hugely significant chapter of Benjamin’s & my life. In the early days, I barely slept, even when he did; I needed to hear him breathing, moving, crying: just to ensure that this was all-real, that this truly wonderful miracle had actually happened (despite the very real pain I was still experiencing, in places I didn’t think possible!) & that I could keep this tiny vulnerable human alive. As weeks went by, I was able to relax a little more: I subconsciously heard the rhythmic sound of his breathing, the 2am thumb sucking or sleep talking, the occasional whimper of a bad dream; all without being fully awake. I liked the idea of being able to see him when I wanted to: if I got up in the middle of the night for a wee (on most nights!) or while I applied my moisturiser before going to sleep. Now I’m only going to be able to hear him, & whilst I’m typing this, a lump is forming again in my throat. We toyed with the idea of getting a video monitor, but we decided that it would just be another time-sink; we would both literally be glued to it, which would be no good for any of us.

It amazes me how two people can look at a situation in two very different ways. There I was feeling a bit sad & anxious about the night ahead, while Tim on the other hand was super excited; telling me all the things we can do, now that our little snuffling voyeur had been evicted; some of which I can’t type on here *blushes* although disappointingly, top of his list seems to be: being able to stretch his long legs out over the end of the bed once again (a problem that I will NEVER have at 5ft nothing!), closely followed by simply reading a book with the light on! Seriously. Oh how being parents has changed us!

The morning after the night before…

I’m pleased to say that it all went rather well. Yes, he did his usual ‘chat’ at 2am, but as always this soon passed & he quickly resumed his slumbers without me having to ‘shoosh’ him; as I sometimes find my semi-conscious self doing. I was still able to hear the dulcet tone of his breathing, which reassured me somewhat. Thankfully I didn’t need to be a Nappy Ninja & when he woke up at 6:33am (we’ll work on that for a Sunday morning!) he seemed happy & content as always. He was clearly enjoying the extra space by star-fishing upside down right in the middle of the cot, just like his Daddy does in bed!

He had a great day at his friend Albert’s christening; charming the ladies, burping his way through The Lord’s Prayer (I don’t think the Vicar heard, fortunately) then sleeping through the entire party afterwards, so didn’t actually get to play with his little mate in the end. Standard day really.

As I caught myself glancing at his empty crib before I went to bed last night, I guess I realised that I need to embrace change more positively (both in Benjamin’s life & my own), embrace the next milestone & enjoy the moment, although this is often easier to recognise after the moment has passed. Time has gone so very fast already & I know it’s never going to slow down. So onwards & upwards, there’s no going back: we’re selling his crib, so it’s permanent, well he can’t be in with us still when he’s 16 for goodness sake.

His weaning is going so much better these days & pretty much all is well in Benjamin’s world, even if his Mumma is finding it a little bit emotional. But she’s working on that, I promise.

Food, Not so Glorious Food…

I hope everyone has had a wonderful, relaxing Christmas.

The Greenhouse festivities were quiet, but great as always & it was so lovely to have Tim’s other children Chloe & Josh with us, along with his Mum & Grandad (who is 93 years young!) sharing Benjamin’s first Christmas with us. I do love cooking the traditional turkey dinner, helped along with a good few glasses of Bucks Fizz of course. I think the best parts for me this year included watching the children all play together & seeing the genuine love they all have for each other, even though they’d never admit it. This was closely followed by Tim giving me a rare afternoon power nap: he took care of our guests & the children (even changed a nappy!) & shock horror, LOADED THE DISHWASHER! This is unheard of in our 1950s-esque household; I wasn’t entirely sure that he knew of the appliance’s location, let alone its use. Anyway, despite my mocking, I am genuinely grateful to my brilliant & kind-hearted husband.

I know it’s been a little while since I last blogged: we’ve been working on something big, specifically introducing Benjamin to solid food. I’m not really sure what I thought weaning would entail if being completely honest. I guess had visions of him sitting beautifully in his highchair, donning a pristine bib & staying immaculately clean, lots of smiles & him devouring anything I offered him. Hmmm…ahh, those rose-tinted glasses of mine strike again, just as they did with bath times in the early days. So it started a few weeks ago now, with the most British of dishes: mashed potato. Well I say mashed potato, but it resembled nothing like my usual go-to comfort dish. I excitedly read my new Ella’s Kitchen ‘baby weaning bible’ for how to prepare baby-stylie…“Reserve some of the cooking water to help with the mashing process.” Blurgh, no milk & butter?! I also didn’t realise how ill prepared I was for this whole feeding malarkey. I quickly improvised on a bowl; dusting off a heart-shaped ramekin from a Valentine’s meal a few years ago, dug out my free Bounty Pack Petits Filous spoon & started to frantically blow on the Maris Piper. Benjamin had no clue as to his role in this unfamiliar situation & I found myself pretending to joyfully chomp on the insipid mush, I mean mash. He wasn’t having any of it & this has continued to be our lunchtime ritual ever since: Benjamin happily lets me put on his bib in his highchair, humours me during the “Chugga, chugga, choo, choo” phase, even lets me put the veg in his mouth, gives the impression that he might be chewing, then pop! Out comes the regurgitated food, complete with dramatic retching sound just for added effect; which in turn sets off my gag-reflex & there we are fake-vomming at the kitchen table together. Joy. I’m genuinely terrified that the boy will never eat: instead opting for his trusty “Bot Bot,” while all his mates are downing pints & scoffing packets of crisps.

And so, what goes in must come out. Even though I originally thought that NOTHING was going in, I was seriously mistaken. I think our most eventful day was after a couple of spoonfuls of crushed avocado, which resulted in seven dirty nappies within 24 hours. SEVEN. The last episode conveniently happened just before I was going to bed myself: the now familiar deep gurgling of his belly, then whoooosh…you have seconds to decide whether to change immediately, or leave a moment or two longer, for the process to completely finish: running the risk of the fibrous & often luminous, nappy contents to soak into his clothes, or worst still, his Grobag &/or bed linen. How can anyone poo upwards for goodness sake?! Just how? Anyway, on this occasion, I went in quickly like a Nappy Ninja: tiptoed, gave no eye contact, no chat. Changed in situ of the boy’s crib, then quickly whispered ‘goodnight’ to Alexa & we were plunged into darkness once again. Benjamin promptly resumed his slumbers & I felt epic, albeit exhausted from the six other ghastly whole outfit changes previously. He on the other hand was still smiling & remarkably upbeat during the cleanup. If I’d pooped that many times in 24 hours I’d be done in, laying in bed feeling very sorry for myself with a hot water bottle on my tummy & glass of Lucozade in hand. (I swear the medicinal value is just not the same since they did away with the glass bottles & orange foil-covered lids.)

I’ve come to the conclusion that my benchmark of deciding whether I’ll scrub & soak starts at ‘an M&S’. Any supermarket labels, white items or even Next outfits are sadly often fated for the wheelie bin. Dear World, I can only apologise. If it has a cool or funky pattern I may consider donning the marigolds. Even then, after much vigorous scrubbing (with ‘Vanish Large Area Carpet Cleaner’, because I stupidly picked up the wrong pink bottle!) more often than not, things are never quite the same as they once were. A faded patch of yellow or green still sometimes lingers in certain lights, even though it was tackled immediately & left to soak for a good half an hour before going in the machine. Although, my silly product mistake is actually one of the best clothes stain removers I’ve ever purchased! And to think I was the woman who, whilst pregnant swore blind that I would only change a nappy with a gloved hand, ha! How naive was I?

Back in June I had high-hopes that by Christmas, Benjamin would be sat with us at the dinner table, eating virtually the same meal & enjoying it. But yet again, my optimistic expectation & reality were totally off. To be fair, he did sit nicely in his highchair & was as sociable as ever, but eating, no, I wasn’t even going to attempt it. Call me a coward, but I just couldn’t face the whole sorry charade & the inevitable aftermath, not on Christmas night. Something to tackle in January methinks. I never would have thought in a million years that one of my new year’s resolutions would be to establish my son’s eating routine. But it’s got to be one of my best ones yet. There will be others, but this is top of my list so far.

So I guess all that’s left to say is that; I wish everyone a happy, healthy & memory-filled 2019.

 

 

The Christmas Tree is up…so I should really be feeling festive now, right?

Usually I would have had our tree up for a few days by now, but this year I’ve been putting it off. I wasn’t sure why. Yes, I’ve got lots of things going on at the moment that I wish I didn’t, but with it being Benjamin’s first Christmas, I thought I might be a little more keen to ‘get into the spirit.’ This morning I finally bit the bullet & asked Tim to get the decs down from the loft. I make it sound like this is a straightforward, simple process, but every year it turns into an epic operation & we usually end up having an argument. This year was no exception. Long story, but basically we need a proper loft ladder. Any way, Tim went to work in a mood with me & I frantically began dusting, Dysoning & putting the tree together: not an easy task when you have a wriggly six-month-old monkey to entertain, but I did it, eventually. It made previous years seem like a walk in the park! I’d made a conscious decision that I was not going to use the same vintage theme as I have in the previous few years. I had loved finding the decorations of my childhood when sorting through my parents’ house a couple of years ago. They had served as a wonderful reminiscence of Christmases gone by; of decorating the 70s tinsel tree from Woollies (then real ones later on; when I managed to convince Dad that he’d well & truly got his money’s worth from the 20 year old artificial one, which had definitely seen better days), of watching Dad meticulously pin the crepe paper streamers to the beams in the lounge, & also remembering my wonderful Mum, who mysteriously always kept out of the way whilst we decorated, but helpfully told me if I’d neglected to decorate a particular area of the tree, just after I thought I’d finished. It used to make me so mad at the time, but I’d give anything to hear her say, “Lucy, you’ve missed a bit!” these days. I needed these memories after Mum passed away. I still do, but I also want to create new ones for Benjamin. So this year I went ‘modern traditional’ (if that’s even a thing?!) with red & gold ornaments with warm clear lights. We’d bought some little red jingle bells yesterday just to mix things up a bit & I thought I’d be ready to cheerfully decorate with my son quietly watching on. Unfortunately, I’d stupidly forgotten that to get to my newer baubles, I’d have to wade through the old ones first; along with the years of handwritten cards that I’d carefully kept from Mum & those from my best friend Claire, who also tragically passed away five years ago. Everything came flooding back & I guess with my heightened hormones, combined with seeing my beautiful baby on his play mat; whom I never thought I would have, made me crack. Then, not wanting to feel left out, my own personal little ‘emotional barometer’ felt he should join the party as well. So there we were, sat on the floor of our lounge surrounded by boxes, both sobbing: although he had no concept of why, except that his Mumma seemed totes emosh, so perhaps he ought to be too. And then I realised that Christmas, well specifically when I put up our tree, is the only time when I deliberately think about the year gone by, the good & the bad, what we’ve all achieved & wishes for the following year. Then this made me also realise that Tim was my Christmas Wish for a couple of years & Benjamin was another Christmas Wish for quite a few years: soon after Tim & I began our relationship.

So I guess, right there, in that moment of my complete sadness, it made me see what a truly powerful time this part of year actually is & that wonderful miracles really do happen. So yes, I guess after a very emotional day, I do feel a little more festive now!

I really hope that The Universe hears all of your Christmas Wishes this year & that you have a magical time with your family & friends. Merry Christmas everyone xx

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6 Things I’ve learned in the six months of being a Mumma…

Ok, these are probably not ground-breaking observations by any stretch, but I thought as my beautiful, inquisitive, very chatty & (mainly) happy Benjamin Bunny turned 6 months old today, I thought I’d share just six of the things I’ve learned on my motherhood journey so far…

* 4am on a summer’s morning is actually a beautiful, peaceful & magical time, even with a very hungry, vocal baby. You can feel the energy of the day ahead. Although thank goodness he doesn’t wake until 7am now it’s winter!

* Although the days can sometimes feel long, the months go by incredibly quickly. Blink & you really do miss them. I didn’t believe this when I was told this so many times during my pregnancy, but it’s true.

* Always trust your own instincts, but listen to advice from lots of different people & make the best, most informed decision.

* Priorities change. Even on rubbish days, make time for laughter. Then just before you go to bed & see your peacefully sleeping baby, you know that nothing is quite as bad as it first seemed.

* Bath time is just the best time. Even splashing is fun & it ‘helpfully’ doubles up as a great time to clean the bathroom floor. Every. Single. Night.

* Digestion is highly over-rated: as is hot coffee *sigh*

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He absolutely adores his little green helicopter!