The Radford’s and Euphoria

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Tonight I watched the lovely yet crazy Radford family (19 kids and counting) trek to Australia to meet another large family. The admiration I have for the Radford parents, Sue and Noel is mountainous. Every time I think to myself, shit that’s a lot of washing, I think it can’t be a patch on their daily load, and when I cant stand the whingey noise of my three simultaneously moaning or crying, again I think, it’s probably a quiet day in the Radford household.

Perspective is what I get from watching the one-off documentaries of Britain’s largest family and I’m very grateful for it. I’m also amazed by the workings of the human body, how one woman can fall pregnant 23 times and labour 19 times is utterly miraculous. I personally moaned all the way through my three pregnancies and I can’t imagine my husband could bear it if I was pregnant ever again! In fact during our third labour, and me moaning (in pain may I add) he said quite loudly, “Thank god this is our last”. If I had the energy to lump him one, I probably would have, instead I enjoyed supping on the gas and air! Now there’s a thought, has Sue Radford, experienced gas and air all 19 times? Because that stuff to me is wonderful.

But really, people often wonder why a couple would want to have so many children. But in the beginning part of the program the couple touch on both being adopted, however its clear to see that this is not the sole reason they have wanted a large family, if at all. They talk excitedly about meeting their newborn baby and how excited they get, and that each time is just as exciting as the first. And this I agree with.

For me its not just that euphoric moment when you have given birth and laid eyes upon the new member of your family, I find the excitement begins as labour does. For me with number one and two this was on the way to the hospital as I was preparing for an induction. Knowing, whilst pain-free, that your baby will be born that day, is overwhelming exciting but also ridiculously nerving! But the mix of both these anxious feelings makes the whole experience, memorable, almost alien like in an amazing way and spacy (well that’s if you were also high on gas and air like me).

It’s weird how excruciatingly painful labour is, and the after bits, ewww what a car crash of a fanny you are left with! Crying every time you go for a poo, dreading it just as much as birthing a baby and leaking boobs, night sweats and then allowing everyone and his dog coo over YOUR baby! Then they even demand a cuddle! Shit that’s difficult.

That newborn smell, Noel Radford still enjoys  and who wouldn’t? Those first few nights of newness and that bubble you are in as soon as you have them. Despite horrendous afterpains. So many questions I have for that Sue Radford, like how painful are the afterpains after 19 children because so I hear they get worse with every baby? And for me after number three I was at home practically crying over them, outraged I hadn’t been sent home with gas and air!

The human brain does this funny thing in forgetting really how painful having a baby is until you’re at that point of no return, like the head crowning!!!! Owwwww. With baby number two I felt my eyes roll into the back of my head and then I focused on the midwife whom I had taken an instant dislike too shouting at her that I had been tricked! She asked me to repeat what I had said! “Tricked…I’ve been tricked” I shouted, “I don’t remember this, ever being this painful!”. In all fairness I think the quickness of labour number two was far more painful than number one, and I most definitely had reached my pain threshold! I actually thought I was dying, and then the bitch of a midwife, takes the gas and air away for the pushing bit!!! As if, drug free I had to push! Pain is a good motivator! You will do anything to get that pain away!! So push I did!

Sue Radford has done this 19 times! Wow! And as she comments in the documentary that all people assume that by number 19 they just fall out! But no, they don’t , she describes it still being just as painful! That woman deserves a fucking medal and a crown. Because after birth, no matter how that’s happened for you, you feel heroic, empowered and a god dam machine!! I mean you just shot out something the size of a melon out of something the size of a lemon. There was blood, probably shit, maybe even a tear and then tears or even just utter amazement. It’s a night you never forget (sorry mine have all been born at night) and that feeling you get straight after is worth a million pounds. Rich with love are the Radford’s. Lets all envy that!

So tonight whilst watching the Radford’s talk about why they keep on having children, they recall the wonder of it all and that euphoric feeling that is kind of addictive…well clearly to them. I get that, I really do, maybe I’m a little sad I wont do it again, and its true when you hear of a friend experiencing that feeling for the first time you can even feel a tincy bit jealous. But then perspective kicks in and my thoughts remain with her swollen fanny, the fact she will have to piss in a bath for maybe about a week, pop arnica like sweets, bath in tea tree oil and tense her bum cheeks in fear every time she sits down!

So Sue and Noel, thanks for perspective. But thanks for reminding me about the wonder of it all and how lucky we all our to experience it in our own unique and very painful way. Please keep up the documentaries, because I am truly fascinated, and could really use some tips!

Share with me on Facebook your thoughts, and try catch this program on 4seven if you can.

Rock and Roll Status

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Today has been one of my favourite types of days in the festive period! A day at home with just us five, a ridiculous amount of leftovers, which means no cooking!! Wahooo…finally! I think I’ve earnt it, after making four deserts in the last three days, mince pies, sausage rolls and candy cane cakes! I like food and baking, just not the clearing up bit! Check my Twitter, to see what a messy cook I am!

So today we spent the most part of the morning, tidying up from yesterdays hosting. Standard.! Then we chilled in the tidiness and made some more mess, which we stared at for a while until we cleared up…again! Small people make a lot of mess! Toys are currently in every room of the house, and currently our conservatory which is usually toy free, looks like Toys R US. Them Toot Toot cars really get under your feet. The playdough has gone away in the hope they forget they have some!

Todays attire for moi, consisted of an extremely old, probably once cool T-shirt, followed by my mum bra (obvs), fluffy socks (Christmas present) and gym pants. Whilst putting on the gym pants (trousers, im going all American by calling them pants!) I smiled to myself smugly as I had no intention of doing exercise in them. In fact I can’t remember the last time I did any exercise in them! The only exercise I intended on doing today was my frequent walks to the fridge in the kitchen, and the one in the garage for the drinks! These trousers are nice and stretchy, plenty of room for my expanding waist line, which I will give some thought to in Jan! Probably by jumping on the band wagon with those non fitness freaks like myself and buy some shit DVD about how to get slim in 30 days.

So after a lunch of left overs, the not so energetic number two had a nice long nap. Leaving the eldest to moan she is bored! WTF, ungrateful little wench, she has a shed load of Lego, some science sets, makeup sets, colouring books and one scary looking reborn doll, is she for REAL! So the husband sees this as an opportunity to construct her Lego, so those two quietly disappear to her room to make a fairground ride out of Lego and I’m left holding the baby! It’s a good job she is cute, because holding a baby and amusing a non talking being could get pretty boring after a while! Almost four months now, just saying!

I try to feed the small one to sleep for a nice little nap myself, but no luck! So I thought to myself, that it has been so long since I’ve had a daytime nap since she was born and I think this week I’ve earnt it. So I carefully place the small one with the Lego builders and sneak off to the sofa. I probably only drifted off for 15 minutes because the rest of the time, I could hear the little buggers come back into the living room and watch some film about a dragon super loudly. I decided not to open my eyes, just in case they noticed I was really there! Otherwise one of them would try to talk to me, and today I wasn’t really up for being an adult, let alone a parent! Far too tired for that shit today!

Later on this evening after round two of the food consumption and the BFG, I pondered how Rock and Roll by life really is! This was at the point I went out to the tumble dryer (in t garage) in the freezing cold in my pjs, braless wearing my wellies. Luckily its pitch black dark where I live, we have neighbours but luckily no one saw me, because if anyone came out of there house, id probably of hidden behind one of the cars until they had gone! Afterwards I went into the kitchen in search of my five a day, I found some grapes, so poured them into a glass, the white variety of course and then found some left over mixed berry tart, which in fairness probably had at least five different fruits on it. So what with the lemons in my lemonade today I’m well over my limit! That is just how Rock and Roll my life really is!

Pondering how I often enjoy my Rock and Roll lifestyle I thought Id write down some moments when I think I am rocking and rolling! So here goes, for the shits and gigs, here are some other moments, which clarify, ones Rock and Roll status:-

  • Using the kids ‘fake’ illness to get out of social events so I can stay at home in my pjs
  • Wearing sunglasses on the school run, because I have no eye makeup on
  • Driving to the garage in your pyjamas and sending your sister out of the car to purchase your much-needed chocolate
  • Eating your children’s Halloween sweets whilst they sleep but when they ask where they are blame the husband because mummy would never do such a thing
  • Keeping hold of your maternity trousers long after you are pregnant because know one will notice right? Plus they are uber comfy
  • Telling your husband your day was super busy when infact you had a playdate and sat around drinking tea and cake whilst for once the kids played happily

 

How have you earnt your Rock and Roll status? Don’t forget to tell me on Facebook or Twitter! Love to hear it.

Incomplete Christmas

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Well that’s it, its all over and done with for another year! And this year I feel like saying phew! I survived and I’m glad its over. Now I’m not usually a bah humbug type but this year was always going to be tough since its the first without my dear nan. If I am really honest, I haven’t enjoyed much of this festive time at all, not the shopping, the Christmas songs or the wrapping! (I loathe the wrapping most years to be fair!).

I’ve tried my best to not let it show, as my almost 8 year old has been extremely excited, and her build up to the BIG DAY begun with two pantos, school Christmas parties, tree lighting up ceremony, a Christmas jumper day…the list goes on! She was almost bursting on Christmas eve. The 19 month old however hasn’t got a Scooby doo.

So I still decided to continue with the same traditions as the years before, whereby my Bessie mates and their kids and partners come over for a little drinky poos Christmas Eve and I overdo it on the baking (every year, cant help myself!) and we all share pressies and wish each other a Merry Christmas! This year was exceptionally lovely as there are new babies and whilst I have a full house, I forgot this years pain.

I forgot that I felt sick to my stomach with loss, angry that this year it had to happen and generally just like Christmas couldn’t really happen without her. Christmas to me is a time about families, and I’m aware that this is not the same for everyone, but for me, that’s all it is about. Not really the presents, the food and the festive wear. Really must get some festive wear for next year, how the hell do I not own a Christmas jumper! Now is definitely the time to buy one, probably get three for a tenner!

So whilst avoiding blogging for a few days because I don’t really want to be all sombre, and I most definitely want to hide my feelings most days but I just couldn’t hold it in on Christmas day. My appetite wasn’t on form, I tried not to think about it, but the more you try, the more you do! So at one point I had to pull myself together in the bathroom. But what matters, is it didn’t ruin the day and the children were not aware.

However I say that, but my eldest, just before dinner time, was in tears and locked herself in the bathroom. This year, we didn’t just lose my Nan, her Nanny Nee-nor (long story!) we lost our dog whom we have had all of Imogen’s life, our Max. So without him around in the morning tearing the paper off his doggy presents, it just wasn’t the same. Imogen explained to me at the table that she just missed Maxie this year but maybe she also sensed I was myself.

Grief is new to me, I’m not sure I understand it, sometimes I’m not sure who I am grieving for, my dog or my Nan. I also don’t know why sometimes I feel so angry and frustrated, little things annoy me. I like to talk about my Nan to others to keep her memory alive but sometimes this makes me think about her last moments as she passed. I often think about the day she passed away, on repeat, just over and over in my head. I think this is my brains way of telling me she is really gone.

The funny thing is that I always thought, when she would go, I would always feel her around me, like funny things would happen, or I would feel she is still actually there. But I was surprised and maybe more upset/disappointed to feel nothing, nothing but emptiness and sick wrenching sadness.

With those feelings so raw this year, I think about anyone at Christmas time, not just this year but in years gone by, when they have had to experience this. Christmas to me is a time for families, a time to show you care and tell someone how much they mean to you. From this awful year, I realise how precious life is, and how short life can be, its pointless wasting moments and even your breath on arguments with someone you really care about. Its sad to look at others around you and think that one day they wont be there, especially your parents.

My Christmas message to all my lovely readers, is love a lot, always be kind, and let go because sometimes, things just aren’t worth it. If we could buy time, we would all be rich. We cant, so lets be rich with love and rich with kindness. We don’t give to receive, but if we gave love and kindness you would hope you received!

Merry Christmas to you all! Tell me about your Christmas this year? Are you missing anybody, do you know much about grief? Maybe your words could help, someone else as well as me?

 

 

Ready or Not Christmas is coming

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Kids are mostly naughty when you are extremely, busy, stressed or tired! Well today I was all three. I was due to trade in my rusty old banger for a few years old Audi Q5. Not to shabby hey? And certainly not a momobile! This trade in was supposed to happen late morning, however getting out of the house with three small humans never goes to plan.

I find that each time we have to leave the house, there must be at least 30 minutes spare, just incase of a poonami situation, some drink explosion all over somebody or a massive meltdown. Well today both little ones decided to kick off at the same time, wanting my attention and cuddles, I was half ready, the other half was on a conference call so couldn’t help and I hadn’t packed a bag. In that moment, I thought to myself, how do these twin mummies do it!

Most days I need a spare pair of hands, but everyday twin mummies and daddies must need an extra pair all the time! Plus eyes in the back of their head for when they start crawling! Anyways, with no bag packed, my hair not even brushed we were of course an hour late for the car garage. I hadn’t really had time to get excited about a new car.

I was more worried about how a meltdown with number two may play out in a nice car showroom with thousands of pounds worth of cars, hmmm could be fun right? But luckily, the mad one had fallen asleep so we asked the eldest to stay in the car with him parked just outside the huge car showroom window whilst we signed the paperwork.

Whilst sorting out the paperwork with a quiet baby in the car seat next to us, I receive a phone call from the eldest as we left her with one of our phones for company! “Mummy hurry up I am getting worried” she said, “Yes yes you can literally see us we will be 5 minutes ok?”, I replied. “Huh, OK” she replied. Whilst continuing to sign I get a text, saying “4 minutes”. So the almost 8 year old is clock watching us…then still signing (so much paperwork) another text comes in “Hurry up im panicking!”. I’m not sure what she was panicking about, but this one could worry over the rising cost of milk! She is such a worry wart, I’m hoping its just her age and it will pass! Because once she hits the teenage years god help me!

So we transfer over the car seats to the new car and drive away with one shiny new black car! The husband does his careful driving since its so new, and scowls at any idiot driver who drives too close to his new baby! On route home we drive via Mothercare to get dangerous Dave a new car seat.

Dangerous Dave aka Maddox, is in his sisters old car seat, so its pretty bog standard, but this wouldn’t bother us if it wasn’t for his constant escape artist attempts to get out of his seat. So some lovely lady helped us decide on this clever seat which even has some sticky grips on the back of the seat straps which sticks to his clothing making sure he definitely can’t escape! On route home we tested the seat and the lady’s said words! Yep its a miracle, he cannot move!

Back at home the husband goes into the bedroom to do some more work, whilst I try to keep quiet all three! Number one and two get bored so play in the adjoining room, things sound a bit mad in there so I poke my head through the window to have a look! My presence excites mad number two so he climbs the sofa to the window and starts pressing his cute squidgy face up against the glass repeating my name! Wonderful, my windows are all covered in saliva, must clean them before Christmas now! Add that to mummies huge list.

After this I go into the kitchen to make mince pies and sausage rolls for the festive period.Why I don’t just buy them I don’t know, I am THE messiest cook in the world! I spent three hours doing this and feeding Ruby in-between. Then move onto make two deserts! A tiramisu and a girdlebuster pie, some Nigella recipe, I googled! Nice and easy! Just the clearing is the hard bit! So I started all this at 5ish and I eventually finished at 11pm. Realising I haven’t actually eaten dinner unless you count two mince pies, a gingernut and some diet coke as dinner! OOPS! I also haven’t finished wrapping or writing let alone sending the last of the Christmas cards!

Which leads me to think, Fuck it all, what will get done will and what wont, simply wont! Christmas is coming whether I am ready or NOT!

Two more sleeps!….Night

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Birth Stories:- First Labour

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Everyone and his dog loves a labour story. Lets be honest, when you hear that a friend or relative or even just someone you know has given birth, you really want to know all about it! Every gory detail. If you have already had children and you hear someone has given birth, your thoughts are already with their fanny, right? Especially if the baby is over 8lbs, your eyes, water and you think ouch, poor love!

But birth as we know can happen either by C-section (aka out of the sunroof) or vaginal evacuation (aka pushes a melon out of something the size of a lemon). However a baby comes into the world, doesn’t really matter, and it most certainly doesn’t make you less of a mother, or a warrior if you have experienced a caesarean section. Often these are undertaken when there are no other options left and it is in the mother and babies best interest to deliver this way. Not simply because they are too posh to push!

I personally can only speak about my experience of three vaginal births. EWW the word vagina makes me cringe, but so does minge! I thought I would share my experience of birth number one and having an induction.

Blissfully naïve, young and unaware of what was to come with number one, I was sure that Braxton Hicks in middle to late pregnancy meant I would certainly not go overdue! Pahaa, how little did I know. Quite a few first babies, so my lovely midwife friends tell me are late. Correct me if I’m wrong Kelly!?

So there I was sitting on our sofa on Facebook of all things, with my dog Maxie by my side whilst my boyfriend (now husband) was upstairs when I felt a strange popping feeling. I jumped up from the sofa with laptop still in hand and felt water running down both legs!! This was 8pm during Eastenders and I was 4 days overdue and due for a sweep the next day! I think the fear of this must have set me off! I climbed up stairs slowly, as I was huge and waddled everywhere I went, and sat on the loo, shouting across the landing to James that I think my waters have gone. He stood in the doorway of the bathroom and said “How do you know? Haven’t you just wet yourself?”.

How should I know I thought to myself, I’ve never actually done this before! I raised my bottom of the loo and stood up over it and said “Look that’s not normal is it?”. James looked slightly pale, and said “Oh you better phone the midwife, and I better call my mum to come and get the dog?”.

Maxie our lovely little Staffie, was our baby at the time and we never left him alone for long. Having a few contractions I called the hospital where they informed me unless my contractions are five minutes apart, stay at home, have a bath and a paracetamol (like that even does anything for labour pains!), otherwise come in tomorrow morning to be checked.

Yikes, I thought, I was a bag of nerves but also really excited! Not knowing how and when this will happen was unnerving but I also could not wait to finally be free from pregnancy! Couldn’t wait for the heartburn to go and the waddle. Gaviscon was my best friend with number one and as the myth goes, the more heartburn you have the hairier the baby! And my god she was a hairy baby!

A night of no sleep and timing contractions all night was just the start. On route to hospital the next morning I was soaking through so many maternity towels I felt gross. How could I have any water left I thought. After an examination my waters went again on the bed. I felt so embarrassed as I had zero control over it that I apologised to the midwife.

I thought that would be it, I was having contractions so surely we would just stay here and have a baby today! Nope, not dilated enough, but the midwife said, I will book you for an induction the following morning,. So she gave me a leaflet and some temperature thingys and said “but I expect you will probably come back in tonight” and smiled. That was it, she was so casual. Oh off we go home then!

Exhausted and hungry, we went home via McDonald’s and did what the midwife said to do which was rest! But my mind was working overtime, what’s going on, why aren’t things getting going! I stopped timing the contractions as they just weren’t long or strong enough and felt so clueless and frustrated. We responded to the family’s texts of asking, where this baby was, because we just had a baby and didnt tell anyone right! Oh wouldnt that be lovely!

The next morning, the nerves got to me in the car journey to the hospital, as it was now an induction we knew that we would have a baby today! I let excitement take over, and continued with the trips to the loo to empty my nervous bowel! Delightful! Still peeing my pants with amniotic fluid we arrived at the hospital with my carefully packed bag, with everything new! Everything was in there, new hairbrush, new toothbrush, new pyjamas, birth outfit, going home clothes, more sanitary towels, some biscuits (happy faces I seem to remember) and the important phone charger, because no one carries a camera these days. Well in all honesty, we took a video camera with us, because this was 8/9 years ago when our phones weren’t that good.

We were over prepared really, we had done and got everything our midwife in the prenatal classes had told us to do and get, including the £6 for the car park in change! An induction to labour from now having had two, can happen in many different ways, but fortunately for me this time, I was already dilated so could move straight onto a drip to bring my contractions on faster.

Because of the drip I was being put on, we moved straight into the delivery suite. I remember walking up to the unopened door where it said delivery room in big bold letters thinking shit this is it I thought. The room was massive, cold and clinical! I was on a consultant led ward, so everything seemed so formal and procedural if that makes sense!

The midwife I had first had a student with her, she was lovely and attentive whereas the midwife looked like she wanted to get the whole experience for me over and done with. She kept randomly saying out loud “Epidurals are lovely, they take all the pain away!”. She must have taken one look at me and thought, “Oh it’s a young mum, she will be a screamer!”. Despite some intense contractions I thought I was doing pretty well, just on gas and air.

The gas and air were my best friends in there, and because I got on it quite early the midwife explained that too much could make me feel sick and perhaps they should take it away! “Hell no”, I then gripped tighter on the pipe and continued to bite the mouth piece. I still remember a conversation between my first midwife and James which indicated I was pretty off my face on that lovely gas.

“She is so beautiful” James said to the midwife, “And she is really talented” he added, the midwife nodded. I thought to myself, how sweet he is talking about me in such a way to the midwife. Then I hear James say “Did you know she used to be a drug addict?”. To this I seem to come round from my woozy state and I realise they are not talking about me, I shouted “Who was?”, “Angelina Jolie Abbie”, said the other half. I  then realised they had been discussing one of her recent films, and I was so out of it I was practically seeing fairies. Good stuff though!

Around three ish the midwife came off shift and I was glad as I didn’t take to her much! Sad to see the lovely student midwife go however as they always seem so warm and interested in your needs! My new midwife was called Rosie, I liked her, she had a soft voice but seemed like she also had a lot of experience. We discussed that this baby was back to back! Ugh so I was encouraged after five hours just laying on my back to try some other positions. All fours..ugh no this made the pain worse, then some time on the birthing stool, then some time spent swaying on the husband, then some more time spent kneeling at the bed!

I remember looking up at the clock thinking, I’m so tired, I really thought that this would be all over by now! I also remember thinking I haven’t eaten anything all morning and for a hungry pregnant woman that’s a long time, but I wasn’t for once interested in food. So I watched the other half eat all of the happy faces.

Then the urge came, that feeling like you need a poo. To be fair I probably unknowingly did one but I was too focused on the pain, Id had two shoots of pethidine and they wouldn’t give me anymore! I thought they were just being mean, but the end was in sight! I had been pushing for some time but I could feel the baby keep slipping back up! Strangest feeling in the world, no matter how hard Id push, I keep saying I cant do it!

Then a team of doctors and students came into the room, and basically stared at my vagina, “No she can do it on her own” said the doctor. Really I thought, because it doesn’t bloody feel like it. Then my midwife, in her sweet voice said “Abbie we are going to get you in these stirrups, just lift up your legs”. I then realised I am not getting out of these, great! Then I watch the doctor set up a trolley in the back of the room and wheel it towards me. She is dressed in scrubs. I questioned what an earth she was doing and then she explains she wants to use forceps on the baby as the baby is back to back, face up and stuck.

I wasn’t alarmed at this point just more annoyed that it seemed like the doctor was just going ahead with her medical business without informing me. I told her that I do not want forceps on my baby, and the doctor seemed annoyed and explained her reasons for this but I said let’s try ventouse first as it isn’t as invasive. Stubborn as ever me!

To do either of these they needed to cut me! At this point I didn’t care. Although a cut and stitches was my worst fear I did not care at this point! Just get this baby out! I was so tired from all the wasted pushes! The doctor numbed me with an injection down in the never regions, OUCH now that did sting, even made my eyes water. Then I didn’t feel a thing it was great! I could feel the sensation of my pushing and her pulling which felt like she was pulling so hard my insides might come out also.

“The babies heart rate is dropping now Abbie you really need to get the baby out in this next push or we will have to take you to theatre” said the midwife. That was it I pushed with everything I had whilst James was down the business end watching. I felt instant relief. Phew no more pushing, she was out! It was a girl! She was full of dark hair and totally dry as there was not much water left in there.

I remember her being placed on me diagonally across my stomach and she looked so long. We were both in amazement of the wonder of it all and the day we had had. It was now 8.33pm on the 21st January 2009 and we had just become parents for the first time.

No tears, just exhausted amazement and then absolutely buzzing to tell everyone what we had had. James my other half couldn’t wait to put on his , ‘Who’s the Daddy’ top his cousin bought him. Even though Imogen was grunting and had to be taken to special care I was too shattered to worry much, motherhood hadn’t really kicked in yet!

Its funny throughout the labour I didn’t swear, didn’t shout and straight away afterwards I said to James, it wasn’t that bad I could do that again. I said this despite having an induction, episiotomy, catheter and ventouse delivery, because there was so much space between painful contractions, I could cope. Not at all how my labour was with number two! More on that another day!

 

What’s your experience of first time labour? Did your birth go as planned? Share with me on Facebook if you like.

 

A Life of Halves

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Pre parenthood, I honestly believed those stay at home mums did nothing but drink tea all-day and sit on their arses whilst their children were at school. Oh how wrong was I! Pre parenthood I also had lots of ideals, like what kind of mother I would be. I thought Id be one of ‘those’ mums into crafting, assisting in all nursery and school activities and baking all day long! I also thought our home would resemble something out of desperate housewives…I wish, I could do with a gardener ; ).

From the outside, I watched mothers in the supermarkets, either turn into those shouty mum types or give into their little darlings by letting them eat the contents of their trolley before heading to the till. I thought they should have more patience! (I’m laughing so much at myself that my insides hurt right now!).

I was also going to be one of ‘those’ mums that only fed their children healthy food, maybe even organic, and clean the home with only natural products! (My obsession with the smell of bleach is borderline unhealthy). I was also going to be one of those well-groomed mummies, always having my hair done in a salon, nice nails and fashionable clothing and most certainly did not intend on being one of ‘those’ slummy mummies, in leggings all day long!

Shut the front door, because I wear leggings all-day long, with everything, my hair is very rarely done in a salon (unless its my bday!), same with nails and I feed my kids all kinds of crap, more so from Friday to Sunday and when tired! So that’s 7 days a week! I get excited by bleach and Windowlene, it’s a secret of mine. I am that shouty mum and I resort to bribery when ever my parenting skills fail…so that’s often!

If I were patient, then I probably wouldn’t shout “HOW MANY TIMES DO I..” and “FOR GODNESS SAKE CHILD” loudly and often. Whilst I also like to think of myself as creative, because I do enjoy the odd bake, I like to participate in these types of activities when children are nowhere to be seen! Another wise known as weekends, when Daddy is entertaining them in the living room. This translates as Daddy is on the XBOX bouncing a baby in a chair with his foot or watching Disney XD (Star Wars, apparently the 19month old loves it) whilst they wrestle in front of him. He calls it multitasking. I call it LAZY BASTARD ITIS.

When parenthood erupted on us, like a trapped fart in an elevator. We were in a state of shock, but now we have both become accustomed to a life of halves. These consist of:-

  • Half drunk tea
  • Half eaten breakfast
  • Half done washing up
  • Half done hoovering ALWAYS
  • Half done decorating
  • Half put away clutter
  • Half emptied dishwater
  • Half filled baths
  • Half conversations with friends and relatives
  • Half done sexy time
  • Half done text you never actually send
  • Half done gardening
  • Half done dinners
  • Half done outings
  • Half done makeup

And one more…HALF the bank balance I should have!

Parenthood is nothing like I imagined, but I wouldn’t change it, how about you? Have I missed any half done’s, care to share?

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Baby Proofing

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Exhausting isn’t it? As soon as they start to move, that’s it you find new things to move to new heights! Since doing this from the crawling stage I’ve now relaxed a little (BIG MISTAKE), as I then realised my 19 month old is getting taller by the day and he can now reach door handles and windowsill’s. FFS.

Currently its the Christmas tree up for grabs, I leave the room for one second and come back to find all the decorations on the floor and a candy cane in his mouth, AGAIN! Yep I’m talking about my number two (no, not POO), he is a cheeky little character who certainly keeps everyone on their toes. I say everyone…mainly ME.

Life on one level is also difficult with this one, as I decided against baby gates and a play pen (WHY?BECAUSE IM F-ING STUPID). In hind sight a play pen would have been the most wonderful idea, and probably would have saved a lot of swearing and destruction! So living in a bungalow, if the bathroom door is left open and there has been a bath just run, he enjoys throwing the odd toothpaste, sock and toilet roll in there.

Maddox is quite partial to a bit of water, nope not just in summer. A mop and bucket is like sweets to him and his new favourite hobby is washing up! If you leave a drink on the coffee table, you might get a ritz biscuit in there, or return to the room to one wet child and no water in the glass at all! He is such a delight!

His bedroom blinds, are the first bit of haberdashery I have done, and I am pretty pleased with them, although perhaps these were installed in the wrong room as some how, he climbs up from his bed and entangles the nicely strung blinds, so they just wont pull up anymore. What a little darling.

When we had our dog (sob sob, our little Maxie had to be put down this year) he quite liked the taste of dog food from as soon as he could crawl. He enjoyed washing his hands in the water, and even putting each dog biscuit one by one into the water bowl! Poor Maxie.

Maddox also enjoys all things dangerous, this is why we nickname him dangerous Dave! Why walk anywhere when you can jump and climb EVERYWHERE. Plug sockets, everyone loves to put their fingers in there right? Or just enjoy plugging appliances in, like the Hoover. Henry, the hoover is out 24/7…that thing never makes it back into the cupboard. Cannot wait for the day they make Henry robotic!

I also think the corners on the coffee table are now rounded because he has bashed into them so much, but not just with his head, with the sturdy metal trolley which all kids love to play with when they visit!Perhaps not such a great buy, cheers Melissa and Doug. Visitors will also lose their shoes to Maddox as he enjoys trying them all on for size and leaving them in different rooms for a great game of ‘go seek the bloody shoe before you leave’! It’s all fun here!

So if you want to know whether you have baby proofed your home before you little one has started crawling, I’ll send my son round!

Like this post, share your baby proofing ideas on my Facebook page, or tell us all how you know you just haven’t cracked it!? Please tell me its not just my son!

 

 

Big Red Shiny Truck What THE

 

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It’s that time a year again, when my family has its annual early Christmas shindig. This is when all the cousins get together, with their partners, children plus mums and dads and basically eat our body weight in food. My fav.

Blessed my having a large, close family, but this means when we get together, we cater for an Army. I also think my family are sugar addicts, as we all seem to go over board on the deserts every year with every kind of cheesecake you can imagine! My favourite is usually Auntie Wendy’s maltesers cheesecake, but her daughter, my cousin pulled it out of the bag this year with a salted caramel cheesecake. I feel slightly sick writing tonight because I have no idea what portion control is!

Whilst watching my children play today with their second cousins, I thought about how fresh the memories are in my mind of when this was us, just me, my brother and sister playing with our cousins at Christmas.

It was always with great excitement to see them on Christmas day and show each other what Santa had brought us and also to secretly envy everything my older cousin had. Because she was always older, wiser, slimmer (still is bitch!) than me and had great ideas about clothing. She had beautiful blonde curly hair and I had straight brown hair. I longed for curly hair spending ages using hot tongs to look just like her and funnily enough she wanted straight hair so I spent 3 hours with those rubbish, first type of straighteners doing hers! If I could time travel I take back those wasted hours of my life and gift her some GHDs!

Whilst it’s getting harder for our family to get together, what with everyone’s work schedules and the fact that there is about 30 of us in total (seriously brother, stop breeding!). I still realise how important this is for the little ones. The children get crazy when they are all together but they really love it and now Christmas is really focused on the little ones.

Times have changed. For good and bad. Some members of our family are no longer with us, but they are never forgotten and if anything, thought about more, when its this time of year.

Despite a sense of overwhelming sadness this year since I lost my lovely Nan. I remember all the lovely times we have had together. For some families, Christmas isn’t at all a happy time of year. It isn’t really about all the money at Christmas even though it is the most expensive month for us, we are fortune enough to both work and provide it without worrying how will we do it.

When I recall Christmas as a child, I always remember being more excited about my stocking than anything else. A toothbrush, a tube of smarties, some festive socks, this was what Christmas was about. My stocking used to contain these mini cartons of fizzy that I knew my mum picked up in Woolworth’s, in fact the entire contents of my stocking was probably bought in there! God I miss that place. I’ve since never seen a pic n mix wall so big since.

I would get excited over seeing the table laid the night before, with a cloth tablecloth (not the sticky day-to-day oil cloth), crackers (usually cheap shit ones, but what fun hey!), crockery that comes out once a year and we always had a starter before our turkey. Proper posh food INNIT!

As a child I had no idea, the preparation and the stress that went into making this day. I did not see my parents look for new hiding places for our Santa presents, still no idea where they were hidden! Just like the agony of waiting for us to be a sleep before laying these out our presents in the living room the night before.  And the stressful shopping trip they would have had to time to make sure it wasn’t too busy and those last-minute dash to the shops for that forgotten item! Usually tin foil, why is it you need so much!

Back in the day Christmas was different and everything as a child looks bigger. But its true tins of quality street have got smaller! FACT. But consumer Christmas is now most certainly bigger. This whole Coca Cola truck visiting local towns, WTF? I mean when did this become about Christmas, I enjoyed the tuneful advert, but Id leave it there, it’s not like you are visiting Santa is it? It’s just a shiny red truck with lights??

The Toys R Us ad, hasn’t changed too much, but I’m ok with that! I still know all the words…”Its a magical place…were on our way there…”. Love that shit! Tins of biscuits, why we need them in tins I’m not sure, but they look nice, you might even use them again! I loved that as a child, chocolate and biscuits could form part of your breakfast for one day. Who am I kidding, I do this now as an adult, I just don’t let the kids see!! I have perfected secret eating in the kitchen! “Mummy what are you eating?” shouts my eldest, “Oh look, an aeroplane?” I mutter pointing out of the window for affect.

There are some new traditions , some welcome and some not this year like that bastard elf on the shelf which I keep forgetting to move (I tell the eldest it’s because the magic wears off when the youngest has touched it!) so she has to wait another 24 hours until it moves again!Mwahhahah! Another new, not so welcome tradition in this house is Christmas Eve boxes, for all they look great and a wonderful idea but I just about get time to wrap my presents and I’ve no time to fanny about sourcing one of those!

I do however, continue the tradition of leaving Santa a mince-pie and carrot out. As a child I left Santa milk, not even sure if this is because he suffers with heartburn but now Santa much prefers a nice Cider, Wine, Beer, Baileys…just about anything alcoholic and certainly not milk.

So Christmas is different now, because Santa has changed, his beverage likes have also changed, what we consume has changed and what we visit has changed (apparently a truck is more exciting than a bearded man in a red outfit-RANT OVER) but what remains the same is the people.

Family will always be there even when they are not in person, because some of those much-loved people set the traditions we still enjoy today. Family is brought together by love and some of us lucky few are bound by it.

Is your Christmas always merry and bright? What changes to Christmas do you enjoy or repulse? Share your stories on Facebook and like this post if of course you do!

 

Going OUT OUT

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Sadly not for me this eve. The other half is out on the razz, the beer or the town, whatever its called these days! Tonight has got me thinking about how out of touch with going OUT OUT we both are! Me more so, since I’ve practically been sober for two and a bit years what with forever being pregnant and birthing babies!

Being a parent and going out requires such a lot of meticulous planning and usually calling upon others, either for babysitting or borrowing items (that’s if your anything like me). Fortunately I have a 22 year old sister, who owns almost all of Topshop and MAC, so I am never short of a few items.

For us mothers however, going out means, shaving your legs, and these days I rarely look down at my legs, so I’m always surprised to find they are actually pretty darn hairy and I can never remember the last time I did them! OOOPS, well its winter INNIT. So a bath to shave the legs is a must, this usually involves small humans walking in and out and dropping things in your bath water, like loo roll. NOTE TO SELF, this is number twos favourite thing to do, next time lock door!

Next you must wash your hair, and no not with the kids L’Oreal shampoo even if it does smell of cherries. Then once out of the hair filled bath, I like to paint my nails, even toes even if there not getting seen, just like my matching underwear! Just makes you feel good right? But I always swear about why I didn’t paint my bloody nails the night before! So I do this whilst getting ready and then refuse to touch anything, and often demand the other half puts my shoes on just incase I chip then! Without fail, I’ve smudged or chipped the bastard nails before I’ve even made it in the car!

But way before entering the car, and eventually finding an outfit, usually black, one because it’s slimming and two because if im stealing off the sister (her whole wardrobe is black) I search for that thing called a handbag?

HANDBAG, what’s that I hear you ask? From what I remember its smaller than a changing bag, you don’t include wipes (even though they come in handy for just about anything) and often they are black too. But where do you find one in your house? Especially when the last time you had it you were probably listening to Spice Girls!!! NOTE TO SELF, before going out next time, locate handbag well in advance.

Another thing before heading out of the door, is a coat! Because gone are the days you went out in something itty bitty and were too tight to pay the £1.50 for the cloakroom. Now you are old and sensible.

Despite how getting ready and my choice of outfit has changed my ability to drink much has not! Fortunately, I am a cheap date. I hate being sick, so its rare that I get to the point of throwing up! Apart from that one time in my best mates car (she never lets me forget!) that night I am certain my drink was spiked!

So whilst it’s not my turn for a night out yet, I still remember my post baby nights out and what a difference they are. My favourite part of the evening is always the dirty kebab at the end of the night, what’s your highlight?

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Age Gaps

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I find I discuss the age gaps between my children quite often. Usually because this starts with “Oh you have your hands full don’t you!”. I don’t reply with “Well the third was a mistake, we only wanted two”, because I don’t want poor old Ruby growing up thinking she wasn’t wanted! She was just one huge SURPRISE SUPRISE CILLA. I did threaten to call her Cilla if she was a girl, but this got forgotten! Plus then the name would give it away that she was a teeny-weeny bit not at all planned!

Personally with a six month old baby, who wasn’t sleeping much, the last thing I would have thought about is another! But somehow I was tricked, I can’t recall when ‘it’ happened! But I know that I had just stopped breastfeeding, so should really have focused on that thing called contraception! Oh and here’s the thing, the morning after pill is not an affective method of contraception! Ruby is all the proof you need!

With our first baby at 22, and enjoying her as much as we did, it was tough, all the baby bit comes as one huge shock first time around. Everyone says oh those sleepless nights, but when you are in the thick of it and there is no night you can just catch up, its horrendous! No wonder sleep deprivation is used as an affective method of torture. I felt tortured for months and half the person I was before!

Also the body takes a long time to heal after having a baby and for me with the first, I didn’t feel back to my usual self until a year! For some it can be much longer depending on their birth experience.

So whilst discussing my 15 month age gap with the lady from the children’s centre group recently,  there I was merrily laughing about how mad I was and how could people even plan for such a ridiculous age gap,when a lovely very slim and pretty mum perked up and said “Well I’ve got 12 months between my boys”.

Well fuck me, my eyes nearly popped out of their sockets! I wanted to say “What the actual?”, but luckily for me she went on to explain that this was also unplanned! Phew I felt normal again, we all make mistakes! She wasn’t at all offended by my outburst either which was lucky! I asked her how she felt, when she found out she was expecting whilst I was holding Ruby who is currently the age her first would have been. She explained the whole birth bit was just so fresh in her mind that she wasn’t yet over it when she found out!

I admire her, she looked amazing for popping out two tiny humans in such a small space of time, and she didn’t seem at all stressed with her children. They were well behaved (I mean how do you do that?) and she looked like she had all her shit together! But I am a realist, in those early days, god that must have been tough!

At the same group I have met another mother with the same age gap as me and she said “I warn you, this is the easier bit, the hardest is yet to come”. She may well be right, but I’m okay with that! I’ll ride the storm, the whole bloody bit of parenthood is just one ruddy great big tornado. Ill do the best with what I have, and well the rest Ill just make up!

The thing I am finding with age gaps, is some advice has been, “Have them close together, get it all over with!”, then others have said to me “A four year age gap is lovely, just as you lose your baby to school you get another one at home!”. But what works for one family may not work for another.

Our eldest is soon to be 8, and I’ve loved all the time we have had together just being a family of 3. I was fortunate to complete university and change my career. She however longed for a sibling from about 3 and watched her cousins  and friends around her get siblings. I started to think that maybe we would just stay as we were, not have anymore, because with her I felt complete. I loved our life. But as time went on, I thought about how I had never experienced being an only child and that wasn’t something I wanted for her having had a brother and a sister growing up.

After two miscarriages, we both realised how much we wanted another child, so when our eldest found out at 6 years old she was going to have a sibling she was so overwhelmed and over the moon, she cried! Since the day that he was born, she has loved him so much, I feel almost a bit guilty that we waited so long! She calls him her boy!

For us this age gap works, as the eldest has taught number two such a lot, and he is incredibly affectionate, plus mad for it! But adjusting from an independent six-year-old to a newborn was incredibly hard. I thought I had remembered, but I had not! This time around, the age gap we didn’t plan and I would have never contemplated, is far far easier. I mean I’ve forgotten what sleep is, my boobs are like golf balls in socks anyway and I don’t have a life of my own anymore, so what the hell!

So 6 years, then 15 months, this is us. What’s your age gap if at all? Share your story with me on Facebook, I really do enjoy your comments, all your likes and shares!