Snow Day Done.

‘Twas barely past dawn when the boys set themselves free, while mummy was washing herself, how naughty is she?

Over the baby gate and down to the kitchen, go. To the cereal cupboard, Ralph first of course then Felix to follow.

The brand new Cheerios were wasted in their pack, and a covering of cereal the living room carpet really did lack.

So with one foul swoop and an eye full of glee, with the money tree blossoming in the garden those cheeky O’s were set free.

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Some Days I’m Done (and that’s ok!) 

The childminder thinks I’m mentally unstable. 

On Wednesday I cried, twice. I’m not a cryer and pre kids was often described as being ‘heartless’ by my family. I’d never cried at Pride Of Britain and never shed a tear at Long Lost Family. 

One things for sure having children ruins your heavenly wall of ok-ness. 

Having two children a year apart blows any sort of remaining composure out of the water altogether and leaves a hormonal forgetful part human part sloth in its wake. 

Wednesday happened firstly because I washed my hair. Always a delightfully calming task with both children and all manner of wooden toys not only intruding into the physical boundary of the bathroom but normally also being used as improvised missiles to provide a totally different experience shower to the ones I used to frequent in the spa, pre kids, while the children discuss between them every single impurity the transparency of the shower exposes. 

‘Ralphie, look at all the wriggly worms on mummies twinkle’ to name a recurring personal favourite.

So you leave the shower bruised and battered and generally feeing utterly dire about what birthing this pair of analytical masterminds has done to your body and progress to try and dry your hair. 

It was at this point, upon removal of the Turbie Towel that I noticed how zebra-like I had become. I had a solo evening wine time soon after Ralph turned evil a few months back upon realising that I was 100% definitely going grey at 27, but on Wednesday I noticed the previously few well concealed wires hidden well within my wild bush of fluff had morphed slyly into now being more or less representative of about 1/5th of my total head hair. 

At Twenty-Bastard-Seven. 

With 1.5 weeks left until our next holiday I tried to frantically get a hair appointment firmly etched in the dairy. Shift work mixed with child work ruins any sort of pre planning of personal prep dates and to my absolute peril there are no dates between now and the plane’s take off to fit my not too shiny silver Barnet in. So I’m frantically googling every bloody hairdresser in the area and ringing them to find similar responses, that I’m a total idiot to think I can squeeze a hair appointment in with 10 days notice…

…and before I’ve even acknowledged it I’m full on sobbing. Sobbing sufficiently to hopefully dehydrate myself enough to cut off any blood supply to my greys. Sobbing enough to have both children squeezing and patting and asking what’s happened. 

‘Absolutely nothing darling, mummy is fine baby, you go and play with Henry in your bedroom my beautiful boy’.

A few hours later and Ralph hasn’t stopped winding. If you’re a follower of the blog, then you’ll know i knew nothing of toddler tantrums when I based the blog name on my firstborn. I think I knew Toddler Tantrums then, what I know now is I had no idea. Ralph is the epitome of ‘that child at soft play’. The one that ruins everyone’s fun, that sucks life out of the plastic slide and that every parent doesn’t want to have to own up to owning. 

Second Turnip has been more work in the last 6 months than I could have ever, ever imagined and some days I’m really over parenting him. If he’d have fired out first then there there’d have absolutely been more meticulous contraception usage than there was! 

Wednesday was the usual result of what we’re faced with on 3 hours sleep (and what happens when you lose the last dummy). The lovely aftermath of a four hour night time party and us all waking up wishing it was already bedtime again. Sleep is a biggy in influencing the position Ralph adopts on his spectrum of horribleness so naturally fuelled by a mere 3 hours kip he was well into ‘I’m going to make your life hell today’ territory. 

By 3pm, although we’d already endured hours of biting, hitting, screaming and repetitive no’ing and enough of Ralph’s F.O.F to last a lifetime (and yes, I’ve named the face he pulls every time you ask him to stop trying to murder something/someone the Fuck Off Face for my own sanity!) there was no chance I was having a second to have anything for lunch or a wee and as much as I do really adore most of him, I absolutely no longer wanted to spend any more time in his presence that day. With the revelation that it was another few hours until respite (daddy) would be home the motherly waterworks were quickly back in full force and another round of ‘What’s Wrong Mummy’ ensued. 

I left home that evening, like a real grown up adult upon the door opening and Daddy Turnip making an entrance into the funhouse I announced I’d had enough of life here, I no longer wanted my own children or him and I was leaving. Goodbye. 

So off I popped to Aldi, naturally leaving home to go spending £100 on food to feed the family I’d left behind makes total sense when you’re a mother and then to Morrisons and then to Asda to find some more dummies to finally, hopefully shut Ralph up! Once bedtime was over and a glass of wine was to hand the world was a much more pleasant place and the majority of the resentment I had for the children had returned back to loving tenderness. 

That’s the thing with these new found semi hormonal semi exhausted teary outbursts, they just happen and they’re over just about as soon as they’ve begun, so when I rocked up this afternoon to collect the children from the childminder only for her to ask if I was OK as Felix had been telling her that his mummy had been really, very upset and sad this week I was a bit taken aback. Naturally (I pray) she totally understands the reasons for my terrible upset after spending two mornings a week with both children and witnessing first hand what Ralph is capable of!

But I feel, no more presumed private crying in front of the children, or anything else I still figured i could get away with without the world being informed from the child himself after today. After today nothing will ever stay at home will it? 

K x 

The Breast of It

The acceptableness of beach booby-ness seems like forever ago already and we’ve only been back three weeks. 

I’m definitely no longer anywhere near being shy when it comes to whipping a tit out these days but I will admit, among the array of naked figures on display I could feel a few prying eyes my way when Ralph walked over and started sucking on me on a sun bed! 

Personally I was more bothered by the woman one parasol down who after annihilating our kids for spading a bit of stray sand over her feet proceeded to free her breasticles and simultaneously commence reading of a book so strikingly titled ‘I Love Dick’, which actually over boringly transpired to be a cult feminist novel and not as we had so happily hoped a 300-odd page porno. 

It’s really odd isn’t it that top half nude is so totally acceptable when it’s 35C and surrounded by sea and sand, yet discretely placing ones breast in ones child’s mouth in the middle of a shopping centre or on a train or god forbid in the actual house of god himself still causes such divide among folk. 

I’ve always felt comfortable feeding in public, probably because out of my semi-overweight physique it was the hand of 34FF’s I’d been granted that were my greatest asset growing up and I’ve very much enjoyed embracing the philosophy of ‘if you’ve got them, flaunt them’ (Because frankly there’s bugger all else of me worthy of being flaunted!!). 

But obviously and quite normally this isn’t the case for all, not every woman naturally possesses the ‘Keep Calm, It’s Only A Bit Of Areola’ mindset and for many baring your boobies in costa is enough to induce a mild anxiety attack. 

Feeding direct from the source is possibly one of the most stress inducing activities on the planet, especially in those precious early days and manages to cause huge amounts of distress and uncertainty in so many women. The more recent boob publicity has really helped with giving mum’s the autonomy to confidently whip out a nip without fear of banishment but it’s also definitely served to promote the ever delightful stigma that by doing one or the other gives you points towards being a ‘bad mum’.

 The guilt I’ve seen envelop friends who’ve had to stop feeding for reasons spanning from relentless bleeding nipples to borderline dehydration is heartbreaking and totally absolutely unnecessary. If you’re one of these mummies who has taken it upon yourself to punish and worry that by allowing your bresticles some healing and your baby some formula you’ve automatically been placed on the direct train to motherly hell then do me one thing tonight. 

Forget those thoughts, go and pour yourself a large glass of vino and toast to the absolute wonder mother that you are. There is more to life and to parenthood than breast milk. There are far more productive things to stress over and to worry about than the cow vs human milk production line. 

Personally however, somehow I now find myself the feeder of an 19 month old absolute boob crazy male and from what I can gather this places me into a whole new level of alternative mothering! I’ve been up ranked from slightly mental to absolutely without a doubt bat-excrement crazy. 

You can never win with whatever you chose in parenting, thankfully for me though Ralph has always been very receptive of receiving any variety of white stuff through any variety of delivery method which has thank god meant I’ve managed to continue my absolutely abhorrent social life throughout his short life so far and more recently allowed a little bit of respite at work! But I do feel a little violated these days that a once quite private and somewhat sexual body part has become the sole property of my own offspring. 

So do I want to stop? I really think I do now but there is absolutely no easy way to get around Ralph being able to shriek ‘boobies’ at the top of his voice in public or prevent him being able to undress me in seconds despite how much effort I’ve put into Fort Knox’ing my own nipples. Some days when he’s wood- pecking or squeezing or sitting with a hand down my top its hard to be rational and not be annoyed and wish I’d cut it out months ago but it just ain’t going to be that easy! So for now we’ll plod on and try and embrace the damage I’ve done to my now poor teabags and see what the future holds. I’m pretty sure at some point he’ll forget they ever even existed, which I’d imagine will be a guilt inducing day despite him probably at this rate being about 35! 

I planned on having this ready for world breastfeeding week (last week) but somehow between owning two small humans and clocking up a 60 hour working week (sob) I failed! 

Feel free to let me know where I score on your crazy list!
K x 


The Eight Essentials of Exhaustion.

The nightshift. 

What a total bastard.

Excuse my French.

The shift that’s giving me 50 shades of grey without even a hint of sexual gratification and making me appear like the front runner in the 2020 Obesity Olympics.

It’s International Nurses’ Day tomorrow and who would I be if I didn’t resurrect the blog for it? Turns out raising two turnips, working semi full time and coping with the amount of poo-covered clothing we generate leaves 0 seconds for typing. Who was I kidding when I said I could do this?

At Uni (and even pre-offspring) I quite enjoyed a cheeky night here and there. There’s something oddly satisfying about escaping the daily grind  and briefly meandering away from everybody’s norm. A justifiable day in bed beforehand, a cheeky duvet day with K-Patz and not a concern in the world. Aside from how the hell to make it through the next 13 hours.

If you’re contemplating student nurse-ship or you’re a nearing retirement die-hard nocturnal being then this is for you. 9 ‘til 5 is so overrated when you can train your brain 7 ‘til 8.  

  • The Wall 

Even with all the preparation in the world, this head on 70 mph car crash at 4am is completely unavoidable.

Prior training if you’ve not got kids is persuading your mates to go for a few cheeky bevvies until 3am the night before and subsequently spending the rest of the day as a hermit. If you do in fact own children then its 5,400 well timed coffee’s in 26 hours and knowing all too well the struggle of the delicate balance between drinking enough to maintain the ability to function and not going that wild that you’ve ended up with projectile pre-nights diarrhoea.

The wall hits fast and hard, your body pleads for you to sleep and rejects any sort of social norm. Politeness, kindness and understanding take every ounce of your stamina at 4am. Honestly, life doesn’t really get any harder.

Then the emergency buzzer goes and although every neuron in your body is firing solely on the Fuck Off Pathway, somewhere inbuilt in the circulating volume of a nurse is enough strength to pull through and make it semi-unscathed to 8am.

  • Passing the Others

Aside from, you know, saving lives. Perhaps the most rewarding part of staying awake all night comes in the form of driving adjacently to all the lovely lonely rush hour workers stuck in gridlock in the morning. When you’ve deployed the sure fire anti fall asleep at the wheel method of tunes on full blast, all existing windows fully retracted and consuming a chocolate bar at every traffic light while going in the opposite direction to all those who live a life within the hours of social working you know you’re living the dream.

You really do.

Until that is, you encounter the night shift nemesis, the most evilly horrid invention known to all those who work the night, number 3…

  • …The Lollipop Lady

I know, I know, she’s there for the greater good really and budget cuts mean she’s dying off quicker than the Polar Bears of the Arctic Tundra but I just can’t help but hate her. Perhaps it’s because the 600 yellow covered women stationed on my 30 minute drive home exist solely in locations where traffic lights already exist and having very little attention span left to even stop at a red one, when a green light is green, lollipop lady or not, I want to go!

  • The Tingle.

Getting in to bed…

The. Best. Feeling. In. The. World.

Truthfully, it’s almost worth staying up for. Like a thousand orgasms rolled up into one truly joyful pre-sleep experience.

So worth it, you know you’re just never, ever, ever, ever going to wake up again.

  • Until It’s 11.02 and You’re Going to Pee The Bed.

You’ve managed two hours in bed before all the nature’s diuretic (coffee), catches up with you and after truly trying to ignore it for 28 minutes, finally, at 11.30am you admit defeat and get up for a wee.

And the whole thing is ruined.

Totally, utterly ruined.

Your brains switched to daytime mode, you curse whichever idiot made your black out curtains because they obviously never tried to sleep in the daytime with them because bloody black out they are not and then after seeing what on earth you’ve missed on Facebook for the last (by this point) 4 hours you manage to fall back asleep.

  • AND BOOM

… At that very precise point, the council come to change the entire roads water main directly from your garden. I mean, it’s not like they could have sent a letter or anything that meant you could you know, go get earplugs or Nytol or buy a second home or do something to mean you could actually maybe get some god-damn sleep at some god-damn point.

Curse them x 1,000. Ring your mum and cry. Down half a bottle of night nurse. Count all the sheep probably across the entire earthly circumference, twice. Plead with your body to just let you get some sleep please or you’re risking not just your own life tonight.

  •  ‘Hi Love, It’s Your Dad’

Or the PPI man, or the dentist, or whoever else decided at 2pm to give you a quick bell.

Oh, you sound shocked that I’m using an arsey tone after you’ve once again woken me from blissful slumber.

I’ll just ring you in the middle of the night then, just for a catch up, to tell you my records indicate you’ve been needing a 3am phonecall for 5 years, blah blah, see how you like it.

You’ll be as happy as I am to hear your voice, I promise.

  • The Post Man Thinks I Don’t Own Any Clothes.

I only ever open the door to him wearing pyjamas.

Literally.

I feel like photocopying him my pay slip because I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m lying when I tell him I work nights.

Every single week…

…for the rest of Forever!

 

Happy Nurses’ Week.


K x

#MoreThanJustANurse

1% is what you’re worth when you’re Just A Nurse.

1% for being totally aware of the government’s stance regarding the value of NHS workers. There’s not an ounce of confusion that the perception is that it’s us ‘The Worker’s’ who aren’t working hard enough to keep the overstretched system working. It’s us who aren’t keeping patients safe and it’s us who should be punished with awfully horrendously horrid pay. We are the failures and our wages should reflect it. Exactly what it should be when you’re Just a Nurse.

What’s a kick in the teeth when you can raise it 1% to struggling to find the money for your mortgage, your car bill and your childcare too. A real reflection of how it is when you’re Just a Nurse.

1% for ensuring you’re down 9 hours sleep every week because you can’t justify the childcare on sleep. An entire day and a half extra of awake-ness a month, an extra month with your eyes open every year. The night shift becomes the salvation that means you can actually work and have kids. But in order to be so selfish and have a career and kids too, it’s the shift that becomes the one you don’t get to sleep before or after, because there’s nothing left in the pot to pay someone to let you. The free childcare is all used up by the time it hits the middle ground so you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t and totally exhausted whichever way. It’s ok though, sleep is for the weak when you’re Just A Nurse.

1% for working full time on nursing placements at university and simultaneously firing essays and assignments out of your backside left, right and centre to then come away and be one of the worst paid graduate jobs in existence! That’s how it will be when you’re qualified and Just a Nurse.

1% for a vocation, a choice, to totally abandon your own life to try and enhance people you’ve never previously encountered lives. For tirelessly giving your all to try and help people see a way through some of the worst days of their being. For leaving work totally terrified that maybe you didn’t manage to do everything you wanted to that shift, increasingly hoping that whatever you did do was enough. It’s exactly what it’s like being Just a Nurse.

1% for knowing how to exist simultaneously as a mathematician, a scientist, a counsellor and an acrobat too. It’s analysing observations in seconds, having the ability to constantly predict the body’s next move and being capable of prioritising a 12 hour workload but keeping room for whatever else on top. Juggling is the name of the game when you’re Just a Nurse.

1% for holding the hand of a teenager terrified of needles, for squeezing blood products into a child faster than they are coming out, for keeping cool when you’re drawing up resuscitation drugs in front of terrified parents and for trying not to cry while you take the tubes out and make footprints of the child you’ve just lost. For finding the balance between empathy and objectivity as you hold a parent as their child dies, hoping they’ll never think that you didn’t hurt with them too. Composure is paramount as Just a Nurse.

1% for being the only person on the road at 6am on Christmas day. For eating your breakfast at 6pm every other day, and for being so much of just a nurse that when your child gets ill you’re convinced they’re dying too. Dealing with all the crap, literally, is always and forever when you’re Just a Nurse.

1% for being professional, hardworking, caring, academic and knowledgeable.

1% because after all, you’re Just a Nurse.

Myself and my colleagues are PICU nurses, we diagnose, treat, advise, care, clean, predict, problem solve, flex and show great skill untangling 500 wires and tubes in 5 seconds. We are hard-working, focussed, specialist and insanely organised and apply all of our knowledge and skills in the blink of an eye to work towards saving lives every single shift, no matter how little sleep we’re on. 

The budget this week confirmed the 1% pay cap on nursing salary will continue to be enforced until 2019. The average staff nurse earns less than 30K. Many staff get no parking facilities with their post either and 9pm finishes and back alley parking don’t normally mix well in the long run. It’s not fair and it’s not safe either. 

Being a nurse wasn’t my plan B, it 100% certainly was my plan A. I don’t want to become a doctor ‘one day’. I just want to be valued and appreciated exactly as I am, which is so much more than Just a Nurse

Have a think! 

K X 

Sink or Swim- Water Babies Review and Giveaway

When I was pregnant with Wonder Baby #1 I had no idea specialist baby dunking courses existed. I remember we’d watched an odd Slovak program once while we were over there before any of the baby Turnips were even contemplated, about some new American parenting fad involving placing your brand spanking new baby under water on day 3 of life. Through the very apparent language barrier, and through much exaggerated hand gestures I cottoned onto the in-laws thinking it was the most ridiculous thing they’d ever seen. To be fair, as a nurse too, all I could think about was all those lovely bits of human excrement and bacteria floating around ready to be ingested too.

Apparently not going to be for us when the time arouse then!

So why with WB#1 accelerating past 2.5 years and Tiny Turnip about to clock his first year of post womb survival, have we had both the boys enrolled with Water Babies since they were 4 months old?

All Hail the Mummy Guilt.

Somewhere around the 2 month mark, while you’re sweaty and semi bald and you’re well into that uncomfortable stage of truly hating your body for not yet being close to ridding those completely ripped and faded pregnancy pants, you’ll head to a weigh in, or god forbid a ‘stay and play’ and you’ll encounter a set of mums conversing about how their 17th baby class has further enriched a baby IQ of 550 and you’ll realise the *only* thing you’ve been doing thus far has been trying to make sure both of you survive the day, googling ‘when will my baby start sleeping for longer than five minutes’ and chucking a monochrome crackly baby book in their face a few times a day while you’re forcing them to scream through some abs enhancing ‘Tummy Time’.

You head home convinced you’ve already destroyed your child’s future and google the hell out of google to find some classes in your area. You frantically send emails and before dawns even breaks the nest day you’re enrolled on Baby Sensory, Baby Massage, Baby Signing and Baby Swimming.

We started Water Babies with WB#1 in November 2014, our main philosophy being that both myself and The Slovak Ones are die hard Water Adults and second to generally raising a kick-ass kid, one of our important parenting goals is to have water confident offspring too. Water Babies sells itself as being the ‘world’s biggest and best baby and toddler swimming company’, an inclusive and fun programme that helps to avoid fear of water and promotes learning of potentially lifesaving techniques from the get go too. There are 17 chapters that take your child from new-born to around school age WB#1 is now coming up to Chapter 13 and Tiny Turnip Chapter 4 and we are generally in love with the classes. Water Babies use lovely warm pools and state it is perfectly safe for babies from birth, so no need to worry about their cord and their jabs then!

Like a lot of baby classes, lessons aren’t cheap at around £150 for a 10 week chapter (we have 10% discount for having two enrolled), making them significantly more expensive than local pools and other baby swimming companies and this is probably the number one factor for putting people off enrolling with them. But, and it’s a big money justifying but, the philosophy is very different to other classes, the pools are warm, the classes are small, intimate and fun filled and the teachers are in the pool and really make an effort to get to know your baby. I think with WB#1 Janice had remembered his name before I had! There’s no pressure to continue with the company after a chapter and it’s all franchised so your local office is indeed local and will know all about the teachers, the classes and the pools and it all feels nice and close knit. With the boys there have been people who finish after the first or second chapter and ones who’ve continued like us. The only downside to this being that if you are continuing, your class may have to be changed if others pull out. But being such an enormous company there are classes everywhere and everyday so plenty of choice. The changes for us have only been moving the class time by an hour to presumably merge classes.

Obviously the main goal for us was water confidence while having fun. I’m a real control freak and I really like how structured and organised Water Babies is. Everything taught eventually combines to teach skills that really help promote water safety and water enjoyment. At 2.5 years old WB#2 can now swim unaided for about 3 meters and would most definitely be able to kick his way up, find the side of a pool and climb out if he was to fall in. At 11 months old, Tiny Turnip’s classes are still mostly focussed around fun and trying to contain any water wobbles any of the babies are having, which can be really bloomin’ annoying when you’ve paid all that money to have your angel turn into a bad baby upon sniffing the chlorinated air in the changing room. Tiny Turnip has so far largely avoided meltdowns in the pool and has reserved them solely for the times his Nanna has taken him, sorry mum! His older brother however really tested our patience at times around the first birthday mark but eventually popped out the other side a completely different water loving toddler (with daddy’s help surprise surprise and mummy barred from lessons for a few weeks!).

Things we love about Water Babies;

  • We really revel in how much confidence WB#1 has in the water. He has absolutely no fear at all and is totally at home in the pool.
  •  It’s a life skill class. There are so many classes out there to choose and everyone has different priorities for their child. Swimming for us was absolutely up there at the top (although we obviously did all the others too with the firstborn!)
  •  Lots of daddy’s swim. Initially we used to swap around for the classes when we only had one baby so it was nice to have something that daddy could do too. Some weeks I’d stay home and enjoy quality alone time watching Homes under the Hammer or Casualty or finally have a wash while he took WB#1 solo.
  • It’s not a faff around class. You definitely pack loads into that half hour and unless you’ve got a teething/tired/hungry child that week the time flies by. There’s no dawdling and they’re dunked (placed lovingly) under water from the very first class.
  • Mingling with other parents. We’ve made friends from all of our classes and there’s very little time for cliques in a swimming pool. It’s funny to watch the different parenting styles in the early days (the dads particularly) as they drown their baby for the first time!
  •  The structure. Totally a reason I love it. It’s repetitive without being nauseating and it really seems like as a company they’ve taken your baby brain into account.

 
The bits we don’t like as much;

  • The cost. No denying it is one hell of a lot of money!
  • You pay whether you go or not and can’t move class for that week. The classes are around term time so if you’re going away out of school holidays you’ll be throwing the dollar in the drain. We average missing one class per 10 week chapter through viral take down too.
  •  The water wobbles, as discussed above. It’s really bloody awful when your kids the one who is screaming their way through the 30 minute class and you’re not doing anything other than jumping around with a child who won’t do anything but cling to you for their life. 

Overall, it’s a class we’ll continue for as long as we possibly can. WB#1 is now at an age where you can really see the results of his lessons stacking up on each other and see how much he enjoys it. Our current set up means we have a full Saturday morning of swimming with one of the boy’s classes at 9am and the other at 11am which is actually working out better than we thought it was going to. It’s getting us out of the house early on Saturdays and we go for a greasy spoon breaki between the classes.

That’s probably responsible for the double pregnancy flob I can’t shift!

If you would like to find out more please visit the Water Babies Website here.

As always thanks for reading,

Love, K x

 
NB, The above review has been written by myself (Katie) and represents my honest unbiased opinion. The competition and prize have been generously donated for free by Water Babies Yorkshire Central in exchange for an honest review of our experience

Terms and Conditions for the giveaway are as follows; if you are not already on a course with Water Babies then your baby must be under the age of 1 when your chapter 1 course starts. If you are already on a course with them, they will credit your account with the value of the course fee for the February 2017 cycle. The prize on offer is one cycle (10 weeks) comprising a maximum of 10 weekly half hour lessons worth up to £150. No cash alternative is available, the prize is non-transferable and can only be redeemed with Water Babies Yorkshire Central with classes at locations all over Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Rochdale, Bingley, Baildon, Guiseley and Skipton. The decision of the winner is final and will be announced on 13/01/17. Entrants must LIKE the Blogs Facebook page (link at bottom of page) and also LIKE and SHARE the competition post on facebook. 


The Alternative Manual

You’ve read all the parenting books, downloaded all the apps and paid hard earned dollar on parenting lessons.

 You’re all good to go, aren’t you? You’ve been growing this life for the past 200-odd days. Get the kid out and get this party started, you said.

Except the parenting books lied.

They really, really did.

Here’s my take:

The Hair Thing.

Despite it being quite well known that one’s locks flourish under the influence of womb inhabitent hormones, it’s perhaps less well known that you’ll pay for the extra furr ten fold when it all falls out about the 3 month mark.

As if coping with no sleep for twelve weeks and finding enough time to wash never mind style wasn’t difficult enough, once it’s finally finished shedding all over your lunch, your friends and your child, nature adds having a permanent hairband of fluffy regrowth into the mix. A particularly sexy look if like me you’re a woman who has significant post-pushing thermoregulatory issues and you spend 92% of the time perspiring profusely. Those fluffy bits really love to complete an all-round beautiful look when they’re laced in sweat and standing to attention.

The baby will for the first time in its existence show some sympathy towards its keeper around this point and shed its hair too before turning into some sort of monk-baby hybrid.
Any mother you see who has a perfect Barnett is wearing a wig.

I swear.

I’m Having an Affair With The Vacuum.

I literally feel like all I ever do is vacuum, so much so all my two year old ever wants to do when we’re out is ‘Go home and see my Henry, Momma’.
 All children ever do is shed, whether it be bits of dried playdoh they’ve had stashed in their ear canal for 6 months or just a general painting of the carpet with mashed potato session they’ve partaken in while you’ve sloped off for a 30 second poo break.

I often LOL in reminiscence over a lunch date with one of my best friends in days gone by while wonder baby no1 was still non-weaned and non-mobile. She’d pointed out that all the crap lining the floor had only materialised in the previous half hour that her 9 month old has spent there. Bugger off I thought, you fibbing!

She wasn’t fibbing.

My mum informed me last week that she’s bought WB#1 a real handheld vacuum for Christmas.

Lucky us!

Sometimes They Really Make You Dislike Them…

….and that’s perfectly ok.

I was going to change dislike to hate, but I didn’t want people thinking I was an ungrateful mother of two perfect descendants. Which of course I am not!

It’s just sometimes, no matter how much your heart is filled with completely unconditional adoration for every aspect of their being, sometimes they take every ounce of your patience and your sanity and then take your self-control too.

Sometimes, honestly, they just wake up evil, and stay evil for a few days until they’re done with the monotony of evil being and revert back to being angelic. Normally only after you’ve signed them up and paid £100 for them to be ‘socialised’ at a 10 week long gymnastic course, bought them an iPad and screamed to their father while they’re getting time off parenting at their work sanctuary that you’ve downloaded some adoption papers from google and you’ve decided you cannot hack this anymore.

Sometimes you’ve absolutely had enough of the supermarket shop with a baby, a toddler and twenty two tantrums in tow. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just go get some bread and milk without the child tipping the pram over and nearly murdering his baby bro while the entire shop watches on? Or if you could manage to nip and get some eggs without having to deploy all of the trustworthy anti F.A mode distractions like counting every single egg box on the aisle fifteen times, having the two year old assist with throwing (and destroying) all items both into the trolley and onto the checkout.

Sometimes it’d be nice to do anything, go anywhere without spending tonnes of money on the kids for the whole thing to be a huge battle. I’m not expecting a detailed thesis of appreciation, but at least just pretend for one second like you’re enjoying your £6 sausage and mash.

Buy A Bloody Tumble Dryer.

…and stock up on vanish oxi-action while you’re at it.

There are no prizes for being super human and unless you’ve somehow landed a man who has mastered the art of womanly appreciation there’ll be nothing other than a house full of damp smelling baby clothes to look at unless you purchase womankind’s BFF.

Babies fire out fluids constantly. If you’re averaging any less than 15 outfits a day in the early days you’ve come up trumps and got yourself a good one. Then when they’re done with bi-hourly poonami’s they move onto constantly resembling a carrot stain tapestry and then they discover Peppa Pig, who teaches them yet more delightful ways of getting covered head to toe in crap.

Cut and run, think of all the junk you’ve bought for this kid and never used. For all the stuff you’ll be flogging on For Sale and Swap, the dryer definitely won’t be one of them.

You Were Totally Prepared For The Blood.

No menstrual cycle for nine whole months sound too good to be true?
Yep, that’s because it is.

The average how to be a mum guide does go into some detail in regards to post-partum lochia but it keeps one delightful extra under wraps, all hail The Poo Period.  

The Poo Period?

Yes, really. Thankfully doesn’t hang around for too long but just another little momento ofhow  much damage all that pushing has done!

The Maternal Instinct.

‘You’ll wake at the very second your beautiful baby squirms, the mum instinct really is so wonderful’, they said.
Except sometimes this just doesn’t happen, and you’re not a bad mum because of it.

I really was so excited to have this natural superpower, I’d heard all about it. The midwife on our ‘active birthing’ class (active, haha) even went as far to describe how this integral part of motherhood helps you feel less tired as you’re having such meaningful sleep cycles!
Then it didn’t happen. It’s never happened. I am a complete fail at possessing this apparent gift. Sleep is my downfall and 100% the worst thing to come out of having a child for me is that I just know that if I even managed a straight 6 hour stint, I’d be a much better mother!

For 10 long years I’ve slept next to a human pneumatic drill and shared the joys having a partner with sleep apnoea brings. I’ve become so immune to The Slovak One’s nocturnal moans, groans and leaps as he fights with keeping his airway open that the poor little baby never stood a chance!

Thankfully I located a male who is completely functional on 30 minutes sleep, and one who despite never having any motherly hormones to encourage it actually has the maternal instinct! So while I do all the parenting during the day, he does the parenting on a night (excluding the breastfeeds, obvs). The perfect combo!

Motherhood is a delightful journey of extreme emotion, real worry and constant doubt. 
Remember, even the best parents are allowed an off day!

Let me know your take.
Love, K x

 

#handsofftheagendaforchange

Dotted all over my Facebook this morning is the not so shocking news our best friend couldn’t wait to share with us all! 

As usual, whenever this dude takes a breath I analyse it! 

Dear #jeremyhunt,

I’ve been wondering… 

How many times have you looked across at the mum of a five year old while you’re doing CPR and pulled that sort of ‘I’ve got this, I’m so sorry, I’m desperate for you to know I’m doing everything I possibly can in the world for your child’ face? 

How many times have you seen on the news that there has been a horrific accident with a 10 year old girl flown to your hospital and known that it’ll be your best friend who is the one looking after her? 

How many times have you laid a mum and dad on a bed and placed their dead child between them after trying your absolute hardest to keep them alive for the last 12 hours? Having not had a wee, drink or break because you’ve been the one constant in those parents’ life on an unimaginable day, knowing they will remember your face and what you’ve just done for the rest of their life? 

How many times have you watched the monitor of a previously healthy 15 year old flat line? Scanned through 3 years of your training and your years of working experience in an instant and try to figure out what’s going on inside his body? You’ve got less than 20 seconds to get it right or he’ll never come back?

How many times have you been the nurse receiving the child who has just had their body blitzed by a lorry, mauled by a train or separated in an RTA, looked down and thought ‘holy craaaapppp’ while trying to keep a calm face for the parents who are analysing every move you make?

How many times have you dragged yourself out of bed at 05:45 to get to work for the start of your 12.5 hour shift at 07:00, after being awake all night with your own poorly child, battled with all the voices in your head telling you you can’t leave them and they need to be with you, but known that if you ring in sick it could compromise the life of one of the children above? 

How many times have you had the parents of the 10 day old undiagnosed cardiac baby brought in after becoming floppy in mums arms with an acidosis incompatible with life and a brain that has been so starved of oxygen it’s only remaining function is continuing the heart beat, plead with you to do something, anything so that they can have their new born baby back? 
 
How many times have you felt a tear roll down your cheek while you’ve washed the blood off a child you’ve not been able to save? Helped mum and dad decide which outfit will be the last they’ll ever wear before carrying them to the mortuary? 

How many times have you gone home to your own partner and your own children after one of the days above and muttered ‘don’t even ask’ as you take them into your arms and plead with a god you’re pretty sure doesn’t exist to never let it be you in that situation? 

How many times have you even thought about the people, the nurses and the lives that your decisions affect? 

Have you ever stopped for a second and thought of the nurses, medics and health staff who are already struggling to pay their bills, see their family and fund childcare while they work all of Christmas, while you’re passing your total obliteration of the healthcare system off as being constructive? 

You utterly disgust me with your arrogance, your egotistic ways and your complete blatant disregard for the lives attached to the decisions you make. 

I know you’ll never give a minion like me the opportunity to tell you anything about my job.
 
I know you’ll never acknowledge the intensive care nurse, mum and champion child juggler behind this piece.

But if you were ever to, this is exactly what I’d say to you. 

For the moment however, I’ll just sit back and watch you destroy societies image of myself and my colleagues while claiming to the tabloids we are all useless anyway and you’re doing this for the greater good. 

#handsofftheagendaforchange. 

Go share, far and wide, please. 
K x 

A bloomin’ lovely babywearing life!

It was international babywearing week up until yesterday so I thought I should take the opportunity to do a blog based around how many extra washing loads I’ve been able to do since discovering the wonderful and very addictive world of chucking your sprog onto yourself, AKA ‘babywearing’.

 It seems customary to have to be able to fit yourself into a group when you decide to do anything as a parent and it’s so apparently easy to be grouped into ‘that sort’ of a mum, whatever that sort is. You absolutely have to perfect your smile and nod your face upon realising your womb is growing life and when it comes to wrapping a 4.6m long piece of patterned cotton around your baby you automatically become a certain sort of mother in the eyes of many! 

That sort for me means whatever makes me the most autonomous, whatever buys me that extra bit of time (on the sofa) or whatever makes it possible to do twenty things at once. I won’t lie, until I realised how much of a mess a baby in a furniture shop can make if they’re not restrained, how many places in the world are completely impossible to push a pram through and how little a baby likes being anywhere other than permanently attached to its founder I did tar all so called baby-wearers with the ‘she’s a hippie’ brush.

Sorry all, I’m down with you now!

I think sometimes whenever anything gets a special new name it makes people a bit wary. Baby-wearing is one of those new words that so quickly can get people’s back up. Even though baby carriers have been around for generations and for many all over the world a piece of long material, normally a bed-sheet is still the only thing available to allow mums to go about their daily jobs with their babies and have their hands free. If you’ve ever put your baby in any sort of carrier you’ve had a go at babywearing. It’s not a term that only describes mums who follow a certain parenting philosophy or trend.

When I was pregnant with wonderbaby#1 I was very much of the belief that anything sold in the big, market leading baby shops were the best. In my experience that’s not always true. I’d read about some carriers being less supportive for babies hips than others, we didn’t have any hip problems running in our families so that wasn’t an issue I presumed. I started out with a very low-range Mothercare birth to 18 months, 3 position baby carrier when #1 was 3 weeks. I am a die- hard money saver and at that point I was of the opinion they were all the same. The next day I walked 5 miles, he was only about 8lbs but by the night I was really paying for the money saved with a very sore back!

Off I trot back to Mothercare, blow £130 in the process and leave with the God of God’s carrier! The most spectacular thing to ever grace the mothercare shelves. The BabyBjörn ONE. Although absolutely on another level to its predecessor, being described as hip safe and economical and safely seeing us through six months of fairly lengthy wanders, once wonderbaby#1 was about 8 months and a rather beast-like 11kg, my body did start to suffer from having that weight hung off it. Being described as economical didn’t mean comfortable despite the price tag, off into the cupboard that went. I then went and got a hard-core Littlelife explorer as a step up from that which absolutely does as it says on the tin but isn’t exactly the sort of thing you can fold up in your handbag or walk round the shops wearing.

With their dad very content with the more manly mountainous LittleLife and the BabyBjörn reserved for me for less strenuous walking I thought that was just about the end of our babywearing journey. Then one of my work girls hired a few different carriers from her sister in laws company, Mumaroo and my womanly spending switch clicked! 

Within a few weeks I had my first Soft Structured Carrier (SSC) the original model from a brand called ErgoBaby. It was truly love and the carrier still gets lots of use now two years on. Still carrying #1 all through my pregnancy with #2 (safe as long as comfortable) and knowing id be continuing to use it once the baby arrived I looked at getting something else for once he was out. Now being a firm fan of babywearing I wanted to try something a little more adventurous.

Ever heard of a sling library? Yes, a very real thing! Have a click it might change your life!  Like sofas, beds and jeans, because rather unkindly we humans come in different sizes it really is best to have a try before you buy. Sling libraries are literally libraries full of every sort of carrier imaginable, from the SSC’s to ring slings to wraps to special new born carriers called stretchies with a leader who knows everything there is to know about the babywearing world. They’re dotted all over the place and a country-wide thing so you shouldn’t be too far from one local to you. They’re normally drop in sessions that for a small fee give you the option to get as much advice as you need and hire a carrier. My closest library charges £10 for a 5 week hire, including within that time as many swaps for others as you need. If you’re wanting a more personal or a longer time discussing carrying then most give the option for a one to one consultation too.

I’m currently using a mix of a close caboo, the original ergo baby and after hiring a wrap I now have my own from a polish company called Little Frog. It’s so convenient to have something small enough to take with us wherever we go. 

Having your baby attached and close to you has benefits other than allowing you to cook the family dinner with your hands free. It’s been shown to help with bonding, reflux symptoms and general baby happiness. Neither of mine have ever been upset when carried and while tiny both fell asleep within a few minutes. Miraculous!

Carrying your baby really shouldn’t be uncomfortable, especially when they’re small. The secret to comfort for you is having your baby close and almost wrapped around you. Many of the traditional high street carriers hold baby low down and are narrow based with less support for knees and hips which alters your posture and causes aches and pains for the carrier. I haven’t had any aches since getting the ergo baby or the wrap and can still carry Felix comfortably for miles. He’s now 30 pounds and 2 years, 3 months old. 

There’s often a misconception over a baby or child not being able to see when they’re in a non forward facing carrier. This absolutely is not an issue, the world occurs from all sides and carriers can be adjusted when head and neck control is established so they can have arms free to twist and move. 

In the early days it’s important to have baby positioned in a way that reduces the weight on their hips. A narrow based carrier, although not unsafe for either baby or mum providing there are no hip problems, isn’t recommended for such tiny hips. If you’ve got a high street carrier and are struggling with it being uncomfortable for you or for baby there is a very simple hack you can read about here. All you need is a scarf!

Irrespective of whichever carrier you choose or if indeed you choose one at all, there are 5 pointers to follow to ensure you and your baby are safe.

Follow T.I.C.K.S;*

T-Tight: make sure the carrier is like a second skin, if you lean forward and there is a gap between you and your baby then things need tightening.

I-In View: baby should never have their face covered.

C-Close Enough To Kiss: baby should be high enough for you to kiss with you head tilted downward. 

K- Keeping Chin Off Chest: 1 finger between babies chin and your body to protect the airway.

S- Supported Back: baby should be positioned appropriately to the carrier and tight enough to avoid becoming slumped. Ideally you’re aiming for a ‘J’ shape from a side on view, reflecting the spines natural curve, and a ‘M’ shape between the knees and bottom with the knees the higher part. As below… 

There really is nothing better than holding your baby and getting time for extra cuddles when you’ve got a toddler tugging and wanting and needing is near impossible. Enjoying a prolonged squeeze even on the move with 90 things in your hands and a toddler running riot around your feet is precious. Long may my boys enjoy being up high with their mummy! 

Enjoy! Feel free to ask any questions if you aren’t sure! 

K x 
*T.I.C.K.S, developed by the U.K. Sling Consortium

Goodbye #chefwidowsaturdays! 

Tonight Tom put the boys to bed without thinking he won’t get to see them in their pj’s for 5 days. 

He walked through the door at 5pm and for the first time in the 12 years he’s lived in England he ate tea on the table with his family without it being on his day off. He said ‘we’ll do it tomorrow son’ when Felix said ‘mow lawn daddy’, not ‘maybe on Wednesday darling depending on what other jobs mummy’s got lined up’.

We’re watching a film together having a bottle on a Monday night and I’m not sat here wanting to go to bed but waiting up until 11pm to try and savour a bit of a ‘relationship’ with someone who is never around. I’m not dreading Christmas or looking forward to opening presents at 5am waiting for you to leave for work at 8am. 

We’ve taken a phenomenal pay cut today to let our boys get to know their daddy again and I couldn’t be happier about it. 

Here’s to Saturday nights, to being able to have a bath, to films, to getting some jobs done and to seeing family. Absolutely 100% fuck you to the catering industry (sorry!), you’ve stolen so many parts of our life over the past 12 years, so many memories that Toms never taken part in. So many times that my sister has been mistaken for being my lover woman and so many times I’ve pointed out that the kids do actually have a dad, who very much loves them but never gets to see them.

Being a chef is so much more than frying a few onions, it’s working 60+ hours a week, never seeing a Christmas or a bank holiday with your kids. Leaving for work at 6am on Fathers’ day every year without it ever seeming like anyone gives a crap that your a daddy too. 

Never ‘going down the pub’ or going to any sort of social engagement without taking a holiday day. It’s knowing that while the rest of the world gets time to rest, you’re racking up a 50 hour bank holiday weekend and seeing no one other than an oven in that time. 

Its working in a 45C kitchen for 16 hours straight and having to pay for anything other than water. It’s leaving for a 2 hour split shift which leaves you time for 40 minutes at home once you’ve factored in the round trip getting to and from work for the second time that day.

 

It’s having no idea what your finish time will be and having no time to finish anything you ever start outside of your work. 
It’s crap, it’s horrible and it’s not worth it. There’s this law thing called the working time directive, it’s an EU initiative to protect the health and safety of workers. Except, ironically when so many EU migrants work in the industry, catering is exempt. It isn’t actually so to speak but it’s sort of passed on as a privilege to miss everything that ever happens in the world. 

I can’t tell you how happy I am to have my boy back!