Piles of Beauty

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If any normal, sane, thirty something, responsible adult walked into my house unannounced this morning, they’d look at me with a frown. They’d judge me. They’d turn their nose up at the pig sty that my daughter and I are wallowing in. They’d look at the mound of toys, the food on the floor and the general state of things in our dwelling.

And I’d agree with them. On my mission of cleaning the house up this morning, all I can see around us is a mess. Not just one mess, but a million messes.

If I let this get to me, then I would have lost my mind long ago. Some days are better than others. If I have been organised with my week, and everything has gone to plan, the weekend tidy up doesn’t have to take all day. But today I fear it will, and maybe tomorrow as well!

I’ve already been through the panic of turning my house upside down this morning due to a misplaced (not lost, just misplaced) passport. Thankfully, it has been found, along with £35 in cash – bonus! (That has made the stress worthwhile).

Lylah is pottering around with me. We keep stopping to play and have a mess around (all work and no play makes for a miserable Anni and a very bored Lylah).

I’ve just fed and watered her at the mid-morning pit stop, after which she wandered into the living room, leaving her bowls of snacks tipped onto the kitchen floor, and her drink bottle strewn somewhere else.

I look around the kitchen, searching for the drink to bring it in to her, when there I saw it. Standing atop a pile of perfectly aligned seat cushions (from outside – in the kitchen because of the rain obviously), was her gleaming pink water bottle, precariously placed on top, in the centre. The sight of it filled me with joy. When I wasn’t looking (too busy sorting out old receipts), Lylah had formed this beautiful mountain of a masterpiece, and left it there for me to find later.

With a baby comes lots of mess and therefore constant tidying and cleaning, but this morning, for the first time, I saw these messes as something else. They are hers, they are thought about, they are planned.

They are Lylah’s little Piles of Beauty. And do you know what they mean? What they represent? They stand for a happy child, a playful child; one who adores tipping things up to see what happens, and dropping things from up high to hear the sound. These Piles of Beauty mean that my child is exploring, learning and making messes along the way.

Looking around, these mini masterpieces are everywhere to be seen. In the pages torn out of her nice books, in the piles of toys hidden in the tent, in crumbs nestling on the sofa cushions, and in the things I find hidden in every nook and cranny around the house everyday. Even the little finger prints on my glasses are a sign that Lylah just wants to learn, to create, to be.  With every attempt at wearing my specs, she’s developing that little bit further.

Let your child make a mess, stop and look at it, and think about the effort they’ve put in. Before you get the hoover out, examine your child’s Piles of Beauty, or even better, contribute your own. They can be cleaned up later, when they are in bed.

Putting yourself out there

This evening, I thought I’d look into other ways of promoting my Blog, and so added it to a variety of blogging sites, forums, that type of thing.  The first comment I got on a Mumsnet blogging forum was “Im fed up reading this stuff and the name is cringey”

Ouch!

This is one of the reasons I took so long to start something like this in the first place; I was afraid of being laughed at.

I’ve done it now though, and I’m enjoying it so much, and it’s okay that not everyone likes it!  Im fully aware that Blogs like these are everywhere, being written by mums and dads all over the world, but I want to share my side of things, and so I will continue.

Putting yourself out there…In life you sometimes have to just give things a go, go with it, meet new people and experience new things.  This brings me onto a topic that I’ve long wanted to talk about…my brand new baby friends.

Now, I don’t often admit I’m wrong, but when it comes to this subject, I was the furthest from right I’ve ever been.

During pregnancy, I had a couple of conversations about meeting new friend with babies.  I recall saying on a few occasions that I wouldn’t need to meet new friends, that I have plenty of friends already, and that I wouldn’t enjoy going to baby groups and making small talk about the price of nappies and the latest must have Fisher Price toy.

I didn’t spend the small fortune required on the NCT classes, and therefore I didn’t think I’d ever belong to a group of ladies who sit around during maternity leave, babies playing happily while their drinking coffee and scoffing cake!

Chris and I attended one free ante natal class, which was pretty pointless in that we knew pretty much everything they’d gone through from reading Babycentre.  But it did make me think about the other ladies I was sat in that room with.  Who were they?  What has brought them to this momentous point in their lives?  Do they know what sex their baby is?  I wonder if I’ll be in the hospital around the same time?

i didn’t think anything else of it, and by the time the birth came, and after the first few weeks of sleepless nights and constant feeding hit,  I didn’t have time to think about going to baby groups or meeting people.

Then the health visitor advised that I go along to a free breast feeding group in the local children’s centre.  Lylah was 7 weeks old, and I was so nervous to attempt this outing alone, worried that everyone would witness how nervous I was, both as a new mother and also with breastfeeding in public.  Knowing though that it would help me out with the feeding, I went along.

It was at this group that I met my first very close ‘baby’ friend, Kirsty.  Our babies were 7 weeks apart, and she was going through all the same stuff I was.  We’d talk about sleep, feeding, babies crying, waking during the night, anything and everything that we could think of.  And I loved it.  I loved having someone to offload to, and someone who completely understood me.  It was through this group that I met other like minded mummies, including Rachael, Nikki & Shelley.  Our weekly chats helped me through some really hard early moments, and I’m so thankful to those ladies and the health visitors who were there every week.

I’d still talk to my old friends, but it was hard to relay to anyone who isn’t going through it, just how hard those first few weeks/months are.

Our local children’s centre also put on a free 6 week post natal course for us.  I was now looking forward to this!  Chris dropped me off to the first session, I think I even wore some makeup and put on a nice top, and off I went, transporting Lylah in her stripey car seat, ready to talk babies, with lots of other mummies.

At the first session, I sat next to Donna, who was bubbly, friendly and who made me feel instantly at ease.  We soon established that our little girls are only a day apart and that we were in hospital at the same time!  This group was fab – it allowed us to be open, in a private, confidential setting, and we’d all talk and share stories, advice and tips.  It was here that I met, along with Donna, Rachel, Claire and Naomi, along with lots of other lovely ladies and babies.

Other groups at the children’s centres, the local baptist church, and swimming at the local pools, meant that during our maternity leave, we all saw lots of each other.  We welcomed a new mummy, Jenny, to the fold, when she moved to the area and was looking for people to meet, and she soon joined us in weekly play sessions, coffees and general gossiping!

Since then, we have all spent lots of time with each other, and have watched our babies grow together.  It is comforting to know that Lylah will know these friends from a young age, and hopefully they will always be there for each other.

It’s also so lovely when ‘old’ friends, become baby friends as well.  A couple of people who I’ve known for a long time are also in the new parent category, and it’s great to have something new to share and talk about, on top of an already long and wonderful friendship.  Adele, it’s been fab to share my experience with you, thanks for always being there :)  Having Lylah also made me see what other friends of mine who have had children before me must have gone through!  Some of my hardest early motherhood moments were helped hugely by my oldest friend from school, Claire.  Her help and advice in the early days was invaluable – thank you.

After spending a beautiful spa day with 6 of these ladies recently, it hit me that I am a really lucky person to have met these wonderful souls, and that I get to share this special time as a parent with them, exchanging stories, sharing advice, and being an ear for each other when things get tough.

Thank you to my ‘baby’ friends.  No, scrap that.  Thank you to my friends.  As that is what you are.  Only 18 months in, and I feel like I could share anything with you.  Here’s to coffee, cake, poo stories, a shoulder to cry on, and babysitting help.  Love you all, and  Lylah loves you too.

Putting yourself out there – worth it?  Absolutely.

Balance

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I’m sat, on the sofa, comfy, relaxed. Typing.

My daughter is sat next to me, contentedly supping her warm bedtime milk.
My husband is cooking our dinner, having just bathed and dressed our daughter, following a day looking after her whilst I was at work.
I’ve just enjoyed 4 long days off with my little beauty, enjoying the bank holiday sunshine and having fun.

This is balance. This is something we’ve not had in a while, and it feels, well, balanced.

Summarising the above gives me a sense of relief, and makes me realise how very lucky we are.

Tomorrow, Lylah will be at my mum’s, enjoying a day at her Nonna’s, playing and being spoiled! Then on Thursday she will be with daddy again, tiring him out and making lots of messes!

Lylah benefits from spending time with different people on different days, with a healthy dose of mummy every morning and night, and across a nice long 4 day weekend. The point here is, that while Lylah is getting that daily variety, so is everyone else. Chris and I are both parents and workers, on different days of the week, and at last I think our lives are slightly less juggled.

Yes, we still have a lot going on, but there is now a more dominant sense of a daily family life – we’ve even eaten meals together recently! At the table!

For the first 15 months of Lylah’s life, apart from paternity leave and the odd burst of annual leave, Chris has worked over an hour away, juggling long hours, and because of this we didn’t spend a huge amount of time together with Lylah.

Hang on…Lylah has finished her milk…she’s on me…she’s on the laptop…

…I’m back, teeth brushed, cuddles and sleepy kisses done and she’s in bed, ahhhhhh.

So, I was saying, for the first 15 months of Lylah’s life, Chris has worked hard, commuted long hours and been generally exhausted every single day! Combined with the stresses of his job, this led to us both desperate for him to find a job closer to home, so we can make the most of our time with Lylah together. Up until now, I expect Lylah wondered whether Chris and I ever saw each other, as the three of us were rarely in a room together!

3 weeks ago, Chris started a job 10 minutes from home – that’s 10 minutes walking! It has made such a difference, and we now have something that is so very precious – time! Time together, time as a family with Lylah, and just as important, time to ourselves. We have joined the gym, we are getting exercise, we are having breakfast and dinners together. It is wonderful!

On Saturday, we met for lunch, had a coffee together, and had fun with Lylah. It makes such a difference to the day when you get to spend that little extra time together as a family unit.

It does make me feel for those who aren’t lucky enough to have their husbands and daddies at home all the time. Those in the military, working away and with jobs that mean they are working hours on end, starting early and finishing late.   I admire the mummies and daddies out there who are doing it alone, struggling day by day to provide everything that 2 people should for a child. A lot of the time, these situations are out of people’s control, but where you can, it is so important to have a balance.

Work, but not too hard that it has a detriment to your family. Play, but not too hard that it means you are hungover for your one day with your child at the weekend. Spend time together, but also spend time apart, to make you appreciate each other and to give your own mind some space and relaxation.

There is no one set way to be a family, no right way of doing things, but I’m just happy that in this moment, we have found the right way for us.

The “Perfect” Mum

Originally posted on jugglehood:

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I shared an article from The Guardian recently that provoked me to write about something that has long bothered me as a new mum.

The article, (read it here), talks about Peaches Geldof’s death, and the link that it perhaps has to her throwing herself into the ideal of motherhood.  If a heroin overdose was the cause, we will likely never know why Peaches chose to take drugs in the presence of her baby, and more to the point, why she chose to go down this dangerous path of drug taking having thrown herself into this new life as a mummy, and having openly stated that motherhood had made her feel complete.

The article links her death to Peaches’ need to connect in someway to her own mother, and suggests that perhaps she struggled with the ideals of being the ‘perfect mum’, but was too afraid to admit it.  Whatever…

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The “Perfect” Mum

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I shared an article from The Guardian recently that provoked me to write about something that has long bothered me as a new mum.

The article, (read it here), talks about Peaches Geldof’s death, and the link that it perhaps has to her throwing herself into the ideal of motherhood.  If a heroin overdose was the cause, we will likely never know why Peaches chose to take drugs in the presence of her baby, and more to the point, why she chose to go down this dangerous path of drug taking having thrown herself into this new life as a mummy, and having openly stated that motherhood had made her feel complete.

The article links her death to Peaches’ need to connect in someway to her own mother, and suggests that perhaps she struggled with the ideals of being the ‘perfect mum’, but was too afraid to admit it.  Whatever the reasons, the article sparked some thoughts in my head that I have had for a while about the definitions of being a mum, and the pure pressures there are in today’s society surrounding mums and their babies.

When I found out I was pregnant, I had just under 9 months to prepare.  My house was going to be the tidiest and cleanest it’s ever been.  We’d save lots of money so I could have a full year off with our baby.  I’d spend hours wondering what I’d be like as a mum, smugly thinking to myself that I’d be brilliant, and nurturing, and patient, and be able to survive on zero hours sleep, and wear my newborn in a sling whilst cooking and cleaning, like in that picture I saw of Kourtney Kardashian on Instagram.

And therein lies the problem.  We set ourselves up to fail.  Society sets us up to fail.  The media and celebrities set us up to fail.  And then we feel like failures, even though, really WE’RE NOT!

Lylah is now 16 months old, and every day brings something new that I worry about.  The sleep situation is much better now, but for months on end I was constantly tired.  I rarely get my hair done and it needs a good trim.  And as for my house, well…

The truth is, I want other people to think that I am doing fine, and that I cope brilliantly, and that Lylah is the perfect baby, and that I am the perfect mummy to her.  Social media is great for this.  A few pictures of Lylah looking smiley, and me wearing a full face of makeup (a rarity these days), and you’d think that my house is full of smiles and giggles, and Lylah is the perfectly behaved child.

However, there are no photos of the grumpy days, the days when the toys are everywhere and the washing up hasn’t been done since the night before.  There is no evidence of the constant struggle we’ve had with Lylah’s eczema, and the days that I’ve been in tears because she won’t stop scratching and she’s covered in sore patches.  There are certainly no videos of my screaming, tantrumming baby, sprawled on the floor, crying and kicking because I’ve taken the biro off her (I’d rather you didn’t tattoo yourself Lylah).  It’s unlikely that you’d find evidence of anything that was in anyway a little bit rubbish!

Scrolling through anyone with a baby’s newsfeed, and it’s likely to be the same story.  Lots of lovely pics, no rubbish pics.  And that’s fine, I get it, I’m fully with you.  But the problem is, it sets us up to fail.

Every new mum says “no-one tells you what it’s really like”.  BECAUSE IF THEY DID, YOU’D PROBABLY THINK REALLY REALLY HARD BEFORE HAVING CHILDREN AND CHANGING YOUR WHOLE LIFE FOREVER!

But it’s okay not to be perfect.  I’m so lucky to have a group of friends, all with babies around Lylah’s age, who I can be really honest with.  We’re all different mummies, with very different babies, but we’re all fundamentally the same, all struggling on with our little human beings, who are testing our patience and pushing us to our wits end, every single day.

I was recently chatting to a complete stranger in the hair salon (the one occasion I’ve been in there in the past 6 months).  She also has a baby daughter, and we started chatting about baby things, as new mummies so love to do.  It was refreshing to hear her say “I hope I don’t offend you if you are one of these mums, but I really don’t like the whole, going to every single mother and baby group, taking them to baby yoga, and hanging out with baby friends all day.  Me and my baby are fine, she travels around with us, as we have to work away a lot, and she loves it”.  Now, each to their own, and I do happen to LOVE hanging around with my baby friends, and taking her to play groups, but equally, I don’t think your a bad mother if you don’t do this!

if you are a mum, and you are feeling tired, drained, exhausted, impatient, ugly, chubby…then that’s good, because I do too!

Let’s stick together mummies, and pave the way for the new mummies of tomorrow.  It is the hardest thing we will ever do, and we’re all amazing for doing it, no matter how we go about it.  Let’s support anyone who is amazing enough to make the decision to become a mum, and most of all, let’s not judge them on how they do it.

Tell them you love them…

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I read the news about Peaches Geldof on Facebook last night. At first I thought it might be one of the fake death announcements that make their way around social media sites, but upon checking various news sites, I was shocked to discover it was, in fact, true.

Reading her father’s tribute made my stomach churn, then reading her husband’s brought about a feeling of such sadness for her beautiful little family, as well as the wider family she has now left behind, that I started to read more and more, trawling the internet and watching the news.

The news of Peaches’ passing has affected me in a way that I would never have imagined. I’m not a fan, I don’t follow her on social media, but I did recently watch the YouTube clip of her eloquently talking about attachment parenting on This Morning, defending her parenting skills to Katie Hopkins, and opening up about her family and her relationship. This side of Peaches was one that I admired, I had no real interest in her or her media presence before, but now she was relevant to me and my life, because we were both going through the same thing; Motherhood.

All of last night, I kept thinking about her two little boys, wondering where their mummy is, and the lump in my throat started to form. Some may think I’m being a little dramatic, after all, it is quite obvious that I don’t know her personally, but any mother, in fact, anyone with a heart, reading about yesterday’s tragedy was bound to feel some sadness and grief at this young girl’s passing.

All day, I have felt extremely anxious. Last night, I cried whilst looking through very recent pictures and videos of Peaches with her two sons on Twitter and Instagram. Crying? Yes, I was shedding a tear. For the extreme sadness I felt that this young woman won’t see her beautiful sons grow up. She won’t witness them starting school. She won’t ever again tuck them into bed. Nor will they ever be able to go to their mummy again when they are sad, frightened, hungry or thirsty. Looking through her pictures, I noticed similarities between our homes and daily routines. In the background of one photos sat the Fisher Price Jumperoo. Lylah spent hours in that thing; her boys must as well. She had videoed them in the bath, taking pictures of them splashing around and blowing bubbles. There were selfies, pictures of the pets and endless pictures of her smiling happy children. Yes, she was the daughter of Paula Yates and Sir Bob Geldof, yes she was a wild child teenager, yes she was a celebrity. But, most importantly, she was a mother, and that’s the part I can relate to.

The reaction to her death by some has astounded me, and that people can be so cruel and vile in these circumstances is astonishing to me. As some people have rightly said, things like this happen every day, and I’m fully aware that situations like this occur all the time without our knowledge. But she was in the public eye, therefore we do know about this one, and therefore it has provoked this reaction in me.

The thought of knowing that any family has to go through something like this is so upsetting, and when Lylah woke up this morning and cuddled me in bed, I was so thankful to God for my precious family, loved ones, and the small but important things in life. In a week where my parent’s have had sad news about the passing of a close family friend, the tragic story of a woman being knocked down and killed in a local town, and the untimely death of someone like Peaches, so young and in her prime with her whole motherhood and life ahead of her, I am very aware of the short time we have on this earth, and that we waste too much time sweating the small stuff.

Grab your loved ones, give them a hug, tell them you love them and be thankful for every second you spend together. Life is too short.

Do Something!

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My Blog posts have been waning of late, and what’s my excuse?  Oh yes, I’ve been busy!  I never wanted blogging to become a chore, or something that I have to keep up, more of something that allows me to sit with my thoughts and a laptop, and find five minutes of peace whilst furiously tapping out paragraphs, that you kind and lovely people then read.  Insert smiley face emoticon here, as that makes me very happy.

I’ve been asked by a few people in the last week where my next post is, so for those who asked, and also for those that didn’t, here it is…

I think as life goes on, and I get older, it’s too easy to let yourself fall into a daily routine, which slowly becomes a bit of a rut, that you then find yourself struggling to get out of.  When you become parents, that tends to happen to an even bigger degree, and although you’re life is fulfilled in so many more ways, there are times that you crave to something beside sing “the wheels on the bus” for hours on end!

I’m lucky enough to have lots of very talented friends, and one of these friends is doing some really good work for a local charity, Stand Against Violence.  She has set up an organisation called ISIS, which stands for the Inspiring Social Innovation Society.  She came to me a couple of months back and asked if I would get involved and chair the series of debate nights they are holding in Taunton for the next year.  I instantly said yes, but inside I was nervous that I was committing myself to something else in my already very busy and filled life, and worried that I wouldn’t be able to commit the time and energy it would need.  But when I thought about it more, it’s one night every month, where I can go and help others, and in this case, support a charity that is doing some great work in inspiring young people, and now with a baby of my own, I also have a vested interest in the future of our local society, and how it will be for the future of our children.

So, the day came where I had to go and do something important.  I was nervous about having to chair, to stand up in front of people and talk, and deliver a professional performance, and I was also very nervous about the impending interview I would have to do with Jeremy Browne MP.

I had been out all day with my mum and Lylah (wedding outfit shopping for mummy – that’s a different blog post all together!), and arrived back to my house running late, feeling flustered, and worrying about what I would wear!  I had an idea in my head, my go to black dress…the one that didn’t do up the last time I tried it.  But I have lost a few pounds, and I’m sure I could squeeze into it….

No such luck.  My mum and my nan tried every effort to get that zip up, but it wouldn’t budge.  Good job really, I probably would’ve passed out and fallen on Jeremy.

I opted for a black skirt with top and jacket.  I looked smart, but felt so overdressed and a little bit old!  I knew there would be lots of trendy young people there, but I was running out of time, and didn’t have any other outfit options, so off I went!

My heart was beating fast when I arrived and I felt a little bit sick.  Like that feeling when you arrive back at school after the holidays!  I don’t know why!  I’m 30 years old and a fairly confident person, but I hadn’t done anything like this in ages!

The people at ISIS are amazing, a mix of talented young people working really hard to put on events and inspire kids to come and have a voice.  The team were really friendly and I instantly felt at ease.  Plus Mel was there, and she’s one of my best friends, one of those ones who always makes you laugh, every time you see them, and although we were being professional, this time was no different!

When Jeremy arrived, I introduced myself and instantly felt on form.  I had prepared the interview and planned the debate layout, I was feeling ready.  The interview went really well, and the following debate was fantastic.  To see young people ask questions about some real and current issues to members of various authorities was so inspiring, and I couldn’t help thinking just how proud of Lylah I’d be if she turned out like any of these young adults in front of me.

I came away from the event feeling refreshed.  I had used my brain, interviewed a politician, chaired a debate, talked about police and crime with members of various crime services, and most of all, I feel like I’d contributed just a tiny little bit towards something that is doing amazing things for young people.

If you are ever feeling like you’re in a rut, get out and do something.  Whatever it is, do it for yourself.  Get yourself away from your every day and challenge yourself.  For a moment, be someone else, an extension of yourself as a mother/partner/office worker/whatever that may be.   Go for a run, join an evening class, read a new book, do something for charity or learn a new skill.  It doesn’t have to change the world, but it will help.  Believe me.

 

http://www.isisyouth.co.uk

http://standagainstviolence.co.uk

This post comes with a PG warning…

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This next post comes with a warning.  I suppose it would be a PG.  Literally, Parental Guidance.  Or Potential of Goo.  Or Poo & Grossness.

Do not read on if you are squirmish and/or are thinking about having a baby.

Or do, because it would tell you a few things that people failed to tell me before I had one!

This evening, at around 6:15, I watched as my beautiful, angelic faced, sweetheart of a daughter, squatted on her chubby little legs whilst fully naked in the bath, and squeezed out around 5 gobstopper sized balls of poo.  Into the bath water.  I then proceeded to watch my husband scoop each little ball out with his bare hands, scrabbling after them as they floated around the bath and Lylah’s bum, trying to escape his grasp.

That was the first time Lylah pooed in the bath, and it was hilarious!  I thought the whole thing was very funny, as did Chris, and we chuckled as we continued to bathe her and commented on how comical this little episode was.  Lylah looked rather pleased with herself and squealed with delight as the floaters (actually, they started to sink a bit) were extracted, and she splashed around with her bath toys.  We were both just so relieved that it was a rather solid form of poo, as opposed to some of her other nappy delights.

No one warns you about this.  No one tells you just how much poo and puke and saliva and goo and food that you are continuously up to your eyes in.

Your baby enters this world in a state of gooey delight, covered in blood and other stuff (ewww), and is quickly dried off with a blanket and given to you to cuddle, kiss and caress.  Which of course you do, because this is your baby, your own flesh and blood, and so it doesn’t matter how icky and sticky they are, you just don’t care about that stuff anymore.

In their first few weeks, to give them their credit, they do live up to the cute, sweet smelling stereotype that newborns have become famous for.  All of their new clothes smell of fresh linen after you’ve spent hours getting them all prepared in the last few weeks of maternity leave, the nursery is spotless, and there isn’t a yellow coloured poo stain in sight!  Oh how that changes.

Also, the content of adult conversation is taken to a whole different level. As new parents, there is a new, untouched layer of dialogue, where it is suddenly okay to talk about colours/textures/contents of poo, the pattern of today’s nappy changes and the ever-changing milk production of your boobs.  And, in a ground-breaking revelation to you all (I can’t believe I’m about to tell you this) we have been known to snap a picture of said nappy contents, and send it to each other, along with a comment like “third one of the morning, that was the big dinner she ate last night!”  Yes, we are those parents now, the ones who take delight in discussing their children’s toilet habits with each other/other people/anyone who will listen.

We have had too many disgusting baby poo/goo/puke/food incidents to write about them all, but here are a few of my favourites:

  1. Projectile Poo (PP) – Lylah was amazing at these.  One lift of her legs during a nappy change and she took the opportunity to point and shoot, spraying anything in it’s line of fire with a mustardy coloured, milk infused shot of runny poo.  The best one was when Chris and I were once changing her nappy together.  It was almost like she wanted to put on a bit of a show for us, so she took it to the next level.  She aimed for the wall, and she got the bullseye!  Thank goodness for wipe over wallpaper and paint – it was quickly removed with no stain in sight, thank goodness!  We had a number of these incidents, and they normally resulted in either Chris or I being covered in the stuff, or it would lead to another of her baby vests becoming victim of another PP episode.  Vanish became my new best friend, but sometimes, when the PP was just too much for me to handle, the vests just went to baby vest heaven, along with the other victims of PP attacks, including baby grows, trousers and tights.  Sad face.
  2. Va Va Vom – Vomit/sick/puke/”spit up”.  Always gross, always smelly, and ALWAYS ON ME.  Lylah was a sicky baby.  She puked a lot.  In the early days (first six months or so) I was continually covered in baby sick, constantly covered in muslin cloths, and probably smelled pretty horrible all of the time.  It got to the point where I would leave the house knowingly covered in baby sick.  If it were pointed out by anyone I would laugh and say, “oops, I didn’t realise that was there!”  But I did realise, and the reason I didn’t get changed is because it would just have happened again, and again, and again.
  3. Dribble – this one isn’t so bad.  Babies dribble…  It’s the dribbling on mummy’s face that is a bit grosser, and giving mummy kisses and dribbling on her mouth, and dribbling on her new shirt, and dribbling on anything and everything that they can get their squidgy little hands on!  As a mother, you get used to this.  You eat their saliva covered left over biscuit, because it doesn’t matter to you – they came out of you for goodness sake!  I used to laugh at Chris because he would never eat from Lylah’s spoon if it had her baby goo on it.  That has changed now, he’s got used to it, and Chris rightly states, “you can never see food go to waste”, and so polishing off her Weetabix in the mornings now isn’t a problem for him!
  4. Food – Weaning is an amazing time.  You get excited about buying the necessary bits and bobs, you make up some purees, you give them some finger foods.  The natural thing is to eat when you’re hungry, so you imagine that your little munchkin will polish up whatever you put in front of them, leaving no trace in sight.  No no no.  This is the MESSIEST time.  Lylah’s high chair is constantly covered, I’m always finding food in places that I haven’t even given it to her, and once again, mummy’s clothes fall victim to the baby shot-put tryouts.

So…Enjoy the short spell when your babies smell of babies, and the rare occasions that they are asleep, clean and dry all at the same time, because mostly babies are smelly, messy and overall pretty gross!

In the spirit of sharing, it would be great if you could share your MOST disgusting baby poo/puke/goo stories with me.  Just comment below on this blog post, and tell all!

My Family Planner let me down

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It’s 9:54pm and I’m only just sitting down.  Violins please….

Before you start thinking how it’s because I’ve had a long, drawn out day at work, followed by an evening full of housework and other items on the never ending TDL, I’d better tell you truth.

This evening, (albeit following a long, drawn out day in the office), I went out for dinner, in Bristol, in a restaurant, with friends.  There was some wine involved, although sadly, not drunk by me.

I feel ever so guilty about it, but not because I don’t feel like I’m deserving of this treat, but because of the circumstances that led up to it.

So, yesterday, whilst collecting Lylah from my mum and dads, my mum asked “whose got Lylah tomorrow?”  “Chris has” I said, “you know he always has her on a Thursday”.  “I’m pretty sure Chris said he’s working for 6 straight days now” she assured me…

Certain that I was right and that mum must have misheard, when I got home that evening I asked Chris if he was, as I thought, at home tomorrow.  “Stop winding me up”, he said.

“I’m not!”  I replied, “I genuinely thought you were home, so who is looking after Lylah?!”

And there it was, the first time that our well worked out, so far so good, daily working parents routine, became not quite so well worked out.  I was so annoyed at myself for letting this happen (control control), yet still convinced I was right!

I recently acquired us a family planner, to stop this kind of thing happening.  I’m always double booking things and forgetting to send cards, so laying it all out on one page, one month at a time, means there is no excuse!

I saw Chris walking over to the planner, and inside I’m secretly hoping that it states that tomorrow, he is in fact off, and that this is his mistake.  But no, there it was, a blank little space on tomorrow’s date.  Chris looked at me, all smirky with an “I told you so” written all over his face…ugghh!

Luckily for us, we have a fantastic support network; family who will have Lylah at the drop of a hat, and help us out whenever we need.  I called my mum and she immediately agreed to having Lylah again.  Phew!

I’d organised a couple of weeks ago to have some dinner out with my friends from work, Holly and Kelly, after all, if I’m doing the long drive to Bristol, I want to make the most out of it, and have some me time with the girls when I can.  I don’t feel guilty about this; it’s so important that mummies get that time to themselves, after being everything they can be for their children.

The next chapter of the childcare saga came this morning just before Chris left for work.  “Bye love.  Oh, I’m on the late tonight.”

“What?!?”  So, he wasn’t going to be able to be back on time to collect Lylah, and I was meant to be going out.  Holly had moved her personal training session to a whole other night, so I can’t let them down now!!

Umm, I don’t actually think I’d communicated my evening’s plans with Chris, so once again #mummyfail…

Again, mum to the rescue!  Upon dropping off Lylah, she happily agreed to take her for few hours longer, even taking my house key so she could bring her home, get her ready for bed at the normal time, and then wait for one of us to return to our parental duties!

So, why do I feel bad?  Well, I’d noticed a missed call from my mum when I left Bristol, so I called her back.  She didn’t know how to put the heating on, so she had been sitting in the cold since 7pm, and it was now 8:15.  She was sitting in her coat, and she really wanted to go to Sainsburys.

Luckily, Chris was nearly home, and she got away after a long 11-hour day looking after our little girl.  And for that I’m so thankful.  So today’s post is dedicated to everyone that helps us with Lylah, so that Chris and I can continue to work and so that I can have some occasional me time.  We thank Mum, Dad, Nan and Granddad who all have Lylah week in, week out, and anyone else who helps us out whenever they can.  We couldn’t do it without you.

A Day Out…

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In the 13 months that we have had Lylah, Chris and I have always tried to maintain the idea that we can still do things like lunches out/family dinners/any nice occasion that you used to enjoy without a baby.  There are the obvious ones that are a no go – the pub, cocktail bars and Las Vegas holidays being among them.  Then there are the ones that a baby should be able to fit into quite easily.  After all, there are lots of “family-friendly” places to go now, with all the bits and bobs you need, and if they don’t have them, well, you simply bring them along with you in your ten bags.

It is a Sunday afternoon in our house, daddy is relaxing and dozing on the sofa, Lylah is content with her big teddy, plastic carrot and apple and watching her favourite cartoon (lay off judgy people), and I’m sat typing this (don’t worry judgys, I will play with her shortly).  However, today has not been this chilled out until pretty much now.  We have just returned from a birthday lunch out, and as it traumatised me slightly, I thought I’d write about it.

I think today was the day when I realised I don’t have a baby anymore.  I now have a full blown, tantrummy, whirlwind of a toddler.  She is only 13 months, and I think it’s unfair that this has happened to me.  They’re not meant to be terrible until they’re 2!!  Did she turn 2 and I miss it?  Has there been some kind of weird time travel event that passed me by while I was up to my eyes in baby washing last week?  I look at Lylah now, and I don’t see a baby, I see a little girl.  She is so determined and knows exactly what she wants, how she wants it, and most importantly mummy, WHEN she wants it!  I read a great blog by Renegade Mothering (check it out, it’s brilliant) about her feeling awful about being judgy wudgy about screaming toddlers. She says how she always thought, after having a couple of lovely quiet ones, that there must be some pattern of awful parenting that leads to a toddler throwing a tantrum in public.  Well, I’m ashamed to admit, that I probably thought the same thing in my old life.  I used to think that I would be so calm and lovely and zen-like, that any baby of mine would be an angelic blob of loveliness, playing happily, giggling and eating everything I served up neatly and within seconds of me placing it in front of her.

How wrong was I?  Lylah does play happily…once a day for about 30 seconds.  She also giggles a lot, which is very cute, but is almost always accompanied by us having an energy fuelled play session in the house along with every toy she owns, lots of music, and me making endless funny faces and noises.  She doesn’t/hasn’t ever/will probably never sit and eat quietly/happily/cleanly.

Chris and I got into the car after a traumatic couple of hours, looked at each other, and gave each other a high 5.  A high flippin’ 5!  That’s how proud of ourselves we were just to get through it.  Lylah stared at us from the back seat with her grumpy little face wondering what all the fuss was about.  Well Lylah, let me tell you…

We arrived having had a pleasant morning so far.  Dressed in your gorgeous frock, purple patents and a clip in your hair, you napped in the car (perfect!) and woke with a smile on your face.  Yes!  Upon entering the venue, you had a look round, stared at a few people, and gradually felt happy enough to get down and explore.  You drank some juice, sat in a big chair and were in a generally good mood.

I was slightly worried about the next bit.  As you hate sitting in your high chair, I thought we may have a bit of trouble with you sitting in a chair contraption at the big table.  You hated it at first, screaming every time we tried to pop you in, and stiffening those chubby little legs of yours.  Eventually, you decided that you would sit down, happily munching on a bread stick from each hand, then grabbing the big spoon and banging it on the table for the next 15 minutes.  I’m sure everyone was thrilled with your musical accompaniment Lylah; you have a talent!  We took this opportunity to feed you some beef mush, which you liked, so phew! After nearly choking yourself with the chair’s straps by slipping down so far they came up to your neck, daddy took you outside.  The resulting encounter with a peacock was just too much for you to bear, so I was surprised to see you return to me with a big smile on your face!  The next hour and half was filled with you wanting to get down, then wanting to get up and running around the table to escape the party to explore the other rooms.  You screamed when daddy lifted you and shouted when mummy sat you on her lap.  You wouldn’t drink from your water bottle, but made every attempt possible to drink from an actual big person’s water receptacle.

I’m thankful we were sat with other mummies and babies, and so they would (hopefully) understand what we were going through.  Their babies were being superbly well behaved, but they are not yet at toddler terror stage, so I told myself that if Lylah was still 8 months old, she would have been fine today.  Thinking back, I’m not sure how much truth there is in that, but ah well!

We were also sat next to a pregnant lady and her husband, and with 4 weeks to go, I’m sure they are filled with excitement and anticipation at the arrival of their bundle of joy.  I really hope that sitting next to us for 2 hours hasn’t scared the living daylights out of them.

In a tag team effort, we got through the rest of the lunch, and now I’m sat on a sofa (you hopefully now understand why we need this moment of calm), and thinking about it with hindsight, she wasn’t actually that bad.  Anyway, she wasn’t bad at all, she was simply being a toddler.  An exploring, curious, eager, determined, clever little girl who is excited at the world around her and despises highchairs, confinement and straps.  Thank you Jamie, Adele and Brody, and your family and friends for having us today, and I apologise for the spoon banging.

The end.

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