Why I love my mummy mates

Why I love my mummy mates

hyuxz6iqcwq-providence-doucet
Mummy mates won’t judge if you turn up half an hour late, stressed, covered in baby sick, with no make-up on and unbrushed hair. Credit: Providence Doucet/unsplash.com

In this post I’m going to praise the NCT, but not because of their antenatal course content. It was informative, especially the bits about options for giving birth, labour and birth plans etc, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make and, to be honest, I forgot most of it when the baby came and went into a total panic about how to keep my small human alive. But, the one great thing about doing that course was the friends I made. Here’s why…

I remember the first group session, when we all sat around in a circle and introduced ourselves. I looked at these strangers and thought, “I can’t imagine being friends with you. I’ve got plenty of great friends and don’t need any more. This is a load of bollocks.” That sounds really harsh, but it takes me a while to like people. I’m fine with small talk and socialising, but when it comes to proper friendships, I am picky. For starters, I don’t like it when people are too nice to me. You don’t know me well enough to like me yet, why are you being so nice? It puts my back up.

I tend to go through three stages of friendship: polite indifference, annoyance/tolerance and then humour. If I take the mickey out of you it means I like you. So I was a little sceptical about NCT. We did our classes over a number of evening sessions spread out over a few weeks. By the end of the course, I felt I knew some of the people a little better, but we were still at the awkward stage where you don’t want to reveal your true self (in my case my inappropriate, disgustingly rude sense of humour) for fear of being branded a weirdo.

Then one couple had their baby six weeks early, which totally freaked everyone out (including the new somewhat unprepared parents!). The whole group went for a curry after the course had finished and they bought their new tiny baby along. It turns out the most scary thing for a heavily pregnant woman is to see a newborn baby in the flesh and realise that: 1) one of those will be coming out of you soon and 2) that you will be responsible for such a tiny helpless thing.

After that, I was the next mum to give birth, four days before my due date. We had arranged a walk around Knole Park to encourage labour and I had to cancel just before as I went into hospital with suspected waters breaking (see my post about the Week of Wee). After that the babies came thick and fast. Then the Whatsapp conversations began. Usually at 2, 3, or 4am. Random questions, cute photos and general chit chat. We started to bond. Going through such an intense situation at the same time makes you bond much faster than a normal friendship.

Once we had got through the newborn fog (the first two weeks or so), we started to meet up regularly at weigh-in clinics, for coffees, walks and baby classes. It was so refreshing to chat to women who felt the same way as you. Who were sleep deprived, unwashed, stressed, freaked out and stumbling through life like zombies. We were each other’s support network, agony aunts, life coaches and shoulders to cry on. We held each other up and made each other feel that we were doing a good job as mums. We moaned about our husbands, the state of our vaginas, our sore boobs and laughed at our weak pelvic floors. We ate cake and drank hot chocolate by the bucket load (we still do this quite a bit…).

There’s absolutely no way I could have got through this past year without my mummy friends. The women I wasn’t bothered about getting to know are now such an important part of my life. They are always there to listen to my moaning or offer advice when the J has a weird rash/strange poo/random mark on her body. We can sit and moan about how our children are little shites and joke about wanting to send them back. We can be honest and chat without judgement, because we know that we aren’t really being serious, we just need to vent.

So thanks ladies, you are awesome and I’m so glad to have you in my life. Oh and thanks for putting up with my gross jokes and weird banter.

When Grump and I signed up for the NCT course I was astonished at how much it cost – for a baby course! But a few of my friends with kids had said how great it was for making friends and how important that is for a new mum. Well I couldn’t agree more. That £250 (or thereabouts) was worth every penny, because it gave me so much more than a bit of birth and parenting knowledge, it gave me some proper good mummy mates.

 

Becoming Daddy

Becoming Daddy

daddy-and-immy

Preface

So Grump has been meaning to write a guest blog post for me for a while. He actually got around to it the other night when I fell asleep on the sofa at 6pm and left him in peace. He is an amazing father to the J and I am so lucky to have him by my side on this crazy journey that is parenting. I would say that his post is a little bit soppy for my liking, but it made my heart melt to read things from his point of view and to hear how much he loves our little girl (and me, bless him). I hope this post resonates with some of your other halves and encourages them to open up about their experiences as a new Dad.

Becoming Daddy

G and I had been together for about 12 years before eventually tying the knot, but starting a family was something neither of us wanted to rush into. We enjoyed married life for a year or two but, as the old saying goes, ‘time waits for no man’ (or woman’s biological clock for that matter) so we decided to go for it. G actually fell pregnant a lot quicker than both of us expected, and I’ll never the forget the mixture of emotions I felt when she did a pregnancy test and found out that we were expecting. I was of course absolutely thrilled, but at the same time terrified that I would now be responsible for a new little person – this from someone who struggles to put his shoes on the correct feet in the morning…

As G’s pregnancy progressed I developed this deep, instinctive need to protect and watch over her; I worried when she went out that something terrible would happen, that something would go wrong and we’d lose little Peanut. From speaking to other Dads, I knew I wasn’t alone in feeling this. It seems nature is very clever in preparing us for what lies ahead: that need to protect and provide.

Each night before we went to sleep I would rub oil into G’s tummy (apparently, it’s good for preventing stretch marks) and chat to Peanut. Just silly little things, but I began to build a bond with my unborn child that would only grow stronger – especially when I saw him or her (we didn’t want to know the sex) for the first time at our 12-week scan. Then it became so real, and seeing that little heartbeat made me quite tearful. I’ve never been an overly-emotional person, but this was something different; it awakened an instinct in me that I think only expectant Dads can empathise with.

Feeling the first little movements was another great milestone for me, and I’ll never forget the look on G’s face as we lay on the bed together and I felt Peanut move for the first time. I’ve always adored my wife, but moments like that on our way to becoming parents made me love her even more; we were in this together and would enjoy many more special moments like this during her pregnancy that brought us closer than I could ever imagine.

I must admit I was very apprehensive about the birth, and the nearer our due date got the worse it became. This may sound a little stupid coming from someone who was going to be a mere bystander, but I was worried for my wife. I was nervous about seeing the woman I loved in pain, and worried whether I would be a hindrance at a time she would need me most. We had a false start or two, but when things got going it seemed as if I was on autopilot. I’d listened very carefully during our NCT classes and was determined to do my bit by helping G with her breathing exercises and making sure she got help from the midwives when she needed it – quite forcefully on one occasion as it happens!

I would say that there is nothing, and I mean nothing, that could have prepared me for that 12-hour stint at G’s bedside. She was absolutely amazing, and the strength and determination she showed through what is surely the most intense pain a human being can endure not only made me respect her so much, but it made me see her quite differently. Yes, she was still was my wife and best friend, but for the first time ever since I’d known her she was about to be something she’d never been: the mother of my child.

When the J finally put in an appearance, it was by far the most amazing moment of my life. They say you never forget the birth of your children, and now I understood why. I was allowed down at the ‘business end’ every now and again, and it was a strange feeling to see the J’s head emerge and see our child before G did – the person who’d been carrying this wriggling squatter for the last nine months! But the moment she was actually born knocked me for six. The emotion of it all completely overwhelmed me and I became this crying mess of a man who was now realising his world had changed forever. I was in such a state I couldn’t even cut the cord as planned – all the while G was as calm and collected as I’d ever seen her.

When I finally pulled myself together and I held this tiny little girl in my arms I was immediately in love; a love that is unbreakable and like no other, a love between a daddy and his little girl. As a teacher, I’d often got cross with those who I perceived as ‘over-protective parents’ who fussed over their children over insignificant things. But now, for the first time, I saw it from a totally different perspective. I understood from the very first moment I held the J that you’d do anything to protect your child. That in-built need to care and protect, and God help anyone who tries to harm them.

As I’m sure any new Dad will testify, the first few weeks (and months) of fatherhood are a complete whirlwind. I must confess I was a bit miffed at being moved down the pecking order – G’s priority was now the J and I had to fend for myself a lot more, which I genuinely found a struggle. The sleepless nights; the 1am trips to Tesco, searching the shelves frantically for wind remedy; the constant, non-stop stream of stinking nappies; and an ever-decreasing bank balance… not to mention a non-existent sex-life (made all the worse by the fact your wife’s boobs look AMAZING), all conspire to put you off parenthood for life. But I can genuinely say that I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Now that the J has reached her first birthday, things have certainly got easier, but there are now very different challenges as she begins to find her way in the world. The colds, the bugs, the moving of her own accord and the havoc that causes around the house… but it’s those special moments that she and I have together that make it all worthwhile. When she falls asleep in my arms as I rock her off to sleep. The beaming smile I get as I walk in the door from work. The fits of giggles she has as I blow raspberries on her tummy. Every now and again I have to pinch myself and remind myself that this is actually real; G and I actually made her, and not only has being parents brought us closer together as a couple, it’s made me complete. It’s made me a Daddy.

Baby’s first birthday: it’s their party, but you can cry if you want to

Baby’s first birthday: it’s their party, but you can cry if you want to

ntqbknsxicw-stephanie-mccabe
Let them eat cake! Credit: Stephanie McCabe/unsplash.com

Can you remember your first birthday party? No, me neither. It’s a very special day for us as parents, we kept a little human alive for a whole year – that’s pretty impressive and should be celebrated. But why do we go to all that stress and effort when, let’s face it, our child doesn’t really understand what’s going on? It is nice to make a fuss for yourself and for friends and family, and we all love to brag a bit on social media, but is it really worth the expense and stress?

Let them eat cake

For starters there’s the cake. I have fond memories of all the amazing cakes my Mum used to make. But actually, I don’t really remember them. I just look back at old photographs. There was the hedgehog one with Kit Kat spikes and I’m sure many of you had the one with a Barbie in the middle and the cake was her skirt. There’s no way I have the time or the inclination to make a cake that epic. Perhaps a fun job to delegate to Granny? In fact, I asked my Mum to make a cake for the J’s birthday and she agreed. I’ve since found out that she’s making a plain fruit cake and has asked her friend to make the proper cake. I think she has wised up to the hassle/pressure of icing and decorating.

On another note, we have tried really hard to keep the J from eating too much sugar and salt. I know at some point she will try cake/sweets/crisps and fizzy pop, but is it fair to make her a lovely cake, let her blow out the candles and then not let her eat any? I’d definitely get the hanger if someone did that to me! Should I make a separate baby-friendly cake for the children (when I say I, what I actually mean is get someone else to make) or is that just being a bit too fussy? I feel like it is way too fussy and I don’t have time for that shizz. Obviously when your kids are older they will no doubt be eating lots of cake. But a one year old? I tend to think that if they are only going to have a little taste then bake a full-fat, full-sugar, proper tasty one and let the adults enjoy it. We deserve it!

Who do you invite?

When you start thinking about who you would like to invite to your child’s first birthday party, the guest list can grow at an alarming rate. There’s your close family, friends who have babies/kids, NCT couples and their babies, new friends from baby classes/playgroup with babies, extended family (I’m talking our aunties, uncles and cousins), godparents and well-meaning work colleagues and all of a sudden you’ve got 100 people and need to hire a hall. Basically, it’s mine and Grump’s fault for being too darn popular.

Seeing as we don’t have the budget to hire a portaloo, let alone the village hall (totes my fault for launching freelance career and not having enough work…yet), we’ve decided to have a small gathering for the J’s birthday, with our parents, my brother, Grump’s sister and their partners (and the J’s new little cousin). I’m planning a chilled afternoon with a bit of cake and some presents (although my parents have informed me that we should also provide finger sandwiches and crisps, or we are just being rude).

Then, because all of my NCT friends are having gatherings/parties for their children and I felt like a mean old scrooge, I’ve decided to invite them all over for some cake (I bought this one from Sainsbury’s) and to play with the J’s toys, which I know she hates. She will probably sit in the corner sulking and giving them all evils, while five sugar-crazed one-year-olds run riot in my living room. (I’ve written this for dramatic effect – love you guys and your babies and the J loves sharing her toys too…).

Present and correct

Then there’s the present etiquette? If, like me, you’ve got lots of friends who have had babies in the last 18 months, who do you buy for? I’ve worked out that I have around 15 people I could potentially buy a present for if I was being mega generous. And how much do you spend on each child? One of my pals whose little boy is a few months older than the J told me that she had at least seven birthday parties last year. She set a budget of £10 per child, but that’s still £70! Now that she knows who she needs to buy for next year she is going to stock up in the January sales and get toys on 2 for 1 deals. That is savvy parenting! I probably sound stingy, but when you’ve been on maternity pay for months, or if you choose to be a SAHM, money is a little tighter than when you worked up in London full time and would happily spend £4.50 on a fruit smoothie from Crush and eat lunch at Pret every other day.

I have chosen a little plastic tea set for the J that was only £10 from ELC. She gets so spoiled by our families (I’m going on their generosity at Christmas) that I don’t feel the need to buy her lots of expensive gifts. However, after setting my budget of £10, I have since gone on to buy her a unisex puzzle (it’s got tractors on it and ‘boy’ stuff) and some 12-18 months clothes from Sainsbury’s, because I cannot say no to their cute colour-and-pattern combos. Total birthday spend: under £30.

Celebrate parenthood

Am I being a Scrooge? Maybe. Perhaps if we had more disposable income, I’d be up for a big party and lots of pressies. But I also don’t want a spoiled child. Or a hyper sugar-high baby who won’t sleep. I’m not having a go at people who go big for their baby’s first birthday. Good for you! I just don’t like the idea of parents feeling that they have to organise something for other children and keep other parents happy. This is your special day (OK officially it is your child’s special day, but YOU deserve a party). In fact, what about an alternative to the traditional first birthday party? How about a party for the parents to celebrate getting through their child’s first year? It could involve a long lie in, full English breakfast, a massage and drinking copious amounts of Prosecco with your pals and then dancing the night away to some old-skool classics, among other treats. I never got a ‘push present’ (to be fair, I find the notion of this slightly ridiculous. Surely the push present is the baby?), so maybe an expensive piece of jewellery. Oh wait, I’ve not been working for the past year and all our money has gone on Aptamil and Pampers… scrap that.

Whether you are going the whole hog with a proper party or just having something a bit more intimate with family, it is important to not to get stressed or overwhelmed and to focus on the reason you are celebrating. Your little bundle of joy is having their very first birthday. Hopefully a wonderful time that is the start of many great years to come. If you have the time, make a nice cake (and finger sandwiches, obvs), decorate your home/hall/function room with balloons and banners, choose a pretty card and fun present (or anything that will keep them quiet for five minutes) and take lots of photos, so that when your child is all grown up they can look back on their first birthday with fond memories.

Grumblings of a Granny

Grumblings of a Granny

y0i85d5qkvs-alex-harvey
This is not actually my mother, but I thought it would annoy her to include a photo of a ‘Granny’ as an old lady! Pic credit: Alex Harvey/unsplash.com

Preface

My Mum, the J’s Granny has expressed an interest in writing a guest blog post for me. I have decided to let her write what she wants, even though most of it is a passive-aggressive dig at me and my mothering skills. We have come to a happy-ish conclusion that she will continue to interfere/nag me and say things like, “We didn’t do that in my day” and I will tell her to sod off when it gets too much. It seems to be working for now. So here is her first-ever blog post, titled Grumblings of a Granny by Granny Pip (have no idea why she is Pip, this is not her name, her name is Jane…).

Grumblings of a Granny

What a wonderful gift a grandchild is. I thought that as a trained Nursery Nurse (now well retired) I would be well equipped to cope as a new Granny. How wrong could I be. So much seems to have changed in the intervening years, for example:

  • Sleeping: No longer do you put your baby to bed in a cot with warm blankets and covers. Everyone seems to use these grow bags with no covers at all. I grew tomatoes in a grow bag!

  • The pram: I was looking forward to proudly pushing my grandchild around the village in a Silver Cross, a good solid upright pram that is built to last. Oh no, G had her mind set on a three-wheeled, all-terrain contraption that seems to do everything in every position for every age. However, I find kerbs are a nightmare and it leaves lots of mud in the back of my car when folded up (that in itself is quite an achievement). To be fair, you would have never got a Silver Cross in a car.

  • Bottles: Well that can’t have changed much, I thought. Dream on. We made up the bottles in the morning for the day ahead and kept them in the fridge, which is definitely not recommended now. G has an expensive machine that makes up a bottle when required, heats the water to the exact temperature, mixes the milk powder and produces the perfect bottle ready to use. Pity it doesn’t wash the bottles up as well and make the tea! Now that would be handy.

  • Snacks: These are another eye opener. In my day (she hates me saying that) a snack was a Farleys rusk and not much else. Now you can get all types of puffs, biscuits, wafers, etc, in all flavours and shapes. I have found one I rather like, a carrot-flavoured stick thing that looks like a Wotsit. I had to try them first and unfortunately made my way through half the packet before J got a look in. And why is it, when the J has lunch at my house it happens to be spaghetti bolognese, which she duly flicks across the room in all directions, landing on my white table cloth. Thankfully, a spot of Vanish got her out of that one.

I have so many stories and so little space. But I will say I am loving having a grandchild and all that it entails, and I promise to listen and learn (again) how to bring up a child.

Recipe: Mama’s mini meatballs

Recipe: Mama’s mini meatballs

img_4014
Ready to serve

I thought I’d do something slightly different this week and post a recipe. These mini meatballs are really quick and simple to make, and they taste delicious. There is no added salt, so they are suitable for children from six months old and the subtle flavours are perfect for young tastebuds. In fact, you might need to watch out for hungry husbands, as I caught Grump stealing a few for himself this evening.

I tend to offer these meatballs as finger food, but they could also be made into a meal by adding chopped up spaghetti and a tomato and basil sauce.

Ingredients

To make about 25 mini meatballs you will need:

  • 250g beef mince
  • ½ a white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp plain flour
  • Mixed herbs, pinch
  • Black pepper, to taste

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 220ºC/fan 200ºC/ gas mark 7. Get a baking tray ready with some silver foil and spritz lightly with oil.

To make the meatballs, crack the egg into a large bowl and beat with a fork. Add the raw mince, chopped onion (make this as small as you can), mixed herbs and black pepper, and mix everything together with your hands. Sprinkle on the flour and mix further. Then, separate chunks of the mixture and roll into balls using the palms of your hands. Place each ball on to your baking tray with a decent gap between each one (see photo below).

Cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Make sure you give the baking tray a shake halfway through to prevent the balls from sticking to the silver foil.

Once cooked, leave the meatballs to cool and serve. Easy, peasey.

You can store any leftovers in the fridge for a day or two, or pop them in the freezer to eat at a later date.

img_4011
Before cooking
img_4012
Leave them to cool before serving
fullsizerender
The J loves these mini meatballs

 

 

Unicorn day

Unicorn day

gem-1539624_960_720

Last week, something rare and exciting happened to me. This sort of day is so unusual that, for some people, it might not ever exist and so will henceforth be known as Unicorn day.

Seeing as we had been house bound for much of the Christmas period due to illness, I thought it would be nice to take the J out for the day. I made plans to visit my friend who lives in Lancing. It is about an hour and 15 minutes drive from us, so I had to work out when I would be driving to fit around the J’s naps. There were lots of variables that meant the day could go very wrong: the J not going to sleep; her screaming for the entire car journey; her doing a poo in the car seat (they always leak out); her refusing to eat lunch/sit in her high chair/throw food at people, etc; so I was a little bit nervous, but had my fingers crossed that it would all be OK.

Instead, I had the perfect day; one of those days where everything went just right. I felt like I was winning at life and at being a mum. I don’t want to boast too much (please don’t hate me), but it all just flowed so easily. We set off after breakfast to tie in with the J’s morning nap and she slept for a good hour in the car. She didn’t scream when my friend wanted to cuddle her (she’s a bit hit and miss with who she likes at the moment – typical female) and she played happily on the floor while I enjoyed a cup of tea and catch up.

We went out for lunch and the food took longer to come than anticipated, but the J sat in her highchair nicely and only threw the odd bit of food on the floor. She was smiling at all the waitresses and generally being a pleasant human being. Then, on the way home she had another snooze in the car. She was a pleasure all day.

When Grump got home from work, the J greeted him with a huge smile and we were all in high spirits. I feel like this is the version of motherhood we are all sold. Happy mummies and happy babies all the time. We all know this is far from reality, but it was nice to just have one day where I felt I had done everything right; the first one in almost 11 months. Most days for me are a mix of moments of happiness and laughter interspersed with crying, poo and clearing up food that she’s thrown across the room.

So if you are having a bad day, a bad week or even a bad month. One day, hopefully, you will get a Unicorn day and it will make all the crap that came before worthwhile.

A letter to my daughter

A letter to my daughter

me-and-immy

With the New Year just beginning, I started to think about my hopes, fears and wishes for my daughter and our family. I looked back at the amazing whirlwind of a year that was 2016 and realised that we are going to do it all again this year. Rather than write down a list of New Year’s resolutions that I probably won’t keep, I decided to write a letter to my daughter instead. Life with a baby/toddler/child changes so quickly, so I wanted to get down how I am feeling right now: mother to an almost 11-month-old, just starting out down a new career path and still adjusting to this new life with a wonderful little person it in.

To my darling daughter,

Here it is your very first letter. Hello little one, it’s your mum. I am writing this letter to let you know how much I deeply and truly love you and have done from the minute we met. We were both pretty dazed and confused at that moment, but I held you close and knew we would be ok.

Having you has changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. Being a mother has tested me to my limits – emotionally and physically – but it has also bought me more joy than I thought was possible. I’ve gone through almost every emotion: guilt, fear, sadness, laughter, happiness and contentment.

You amaze, frustrate and challenge me every day. You are wilful, stubborn and fascinated by everything, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. At times, you cause me great stress, but then you flash that beautiful smile and my heart melts.

Being your mum has made me a better person. I’m gentler, kinder and more empathetic, especially to mothers with babies/children in coffee shops and restaurants. Before you, I had little patience for their crying babies and unruly children. Now that I have joined the ‘club’ I get it. Motherhood is hard. And it’s worse when you decide to kick off in public. No mother deserves those cold, judgement stares from others. We deserve a medal and a large glass of wine!

You’ve made me realise that there is more to life than how I look, what I’m wearing and what other people think of me. Who cares if there’s sick in my hair or if I’m not wearing the latest fashion (I was never going to rock a crop top, let’s face it). I’m more comfortable in my own skin now and I’m pretty blooming impressed with what my body can do. Growing a baby and then giving birth is no mean feat.

The bond we have is unbreakable. I would do anything to protect you. You have bought out a ferocious, protective instinct in me; a strength I didn’t know I possessed.

You’ve made the love for my husband (your daddy) and family so much deeper, just by seeing how much they love you makes me love them more. You’ve bought together our families and made us all smile. Thank you for being so gorgeous, so cute and cuddly and funny. You make me laugh each and every day.

I want everything for you: love, happiness, success. I want you to be kind, patient and caring. To look out for others and care for your friends and family (and don’t put me in a nursing home when I am old and decrepit). I want you and I to share the same close bond that I share with my mother and that she shared with her mother. I want to be your protector, your confidant and your rock.

This past year has been a real rollercoaster and I can’t wait to find out what 2017 will bring. You have a whole world of possibilities ahead of you and I hope every second of your life is bloody brilliant. For every moment that I am there by your side I will do my best to make you happy.

Lots of love from your number one fan, your mum. xxx

Christmas Coldmageddon

Christmas Coldmageddon

1ujxuwqlfo8-ben-white

As an adult, Christmas seems to have lost a bit of its special magic for me. Yes, in recent years this may be because I’ve been hungover on Christmas Day, but mostly the excitement of receiving presents has been overtaken by the stress of buying for others and just general life/work etc, getting in the way.

This year, I was a bit more excited, as when you have kids that festive magic is supposed to come rushing back. This was the J’s first Christmas and I was looking forward to it, even though she’s only 10 months old and wouldn’t understand what it was all about. We didn’t go crazy with presents as we knew our families would spoil her rotten. I had picked out a beautiful dressing gown with her name embroidered on it as her main present. Then we had a stocking from Father Christmas with some silly little presents.

So I was all ready for the big day and got my last few presents wrapped on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Normally I’m much more organised, but this year I somehow got lumped with buying all the presents for both mine and Grump’s family (he normally does his own family, but leaves it until Xmas eve in a mad panic). Apparently the job of ‘mother’ now extends to present buyer as I supposedly have more free time to do this, even though Grump broke up from school on the 13th of December.

Every Christmas Eve for the past 15-odd years we have gone out for a curry and drinks with our friends (hence the earlier comment about being hungover on Xmas day). We went out last year when I was pregnant (minus the booze for me), but this year we thought we would dial it down a notch and get a takeaway. We invited a couple of friends over and enjoyed a nice balti and a few glasses of Prosecco. The J had gone to bed at her usual time of 7pm and all was calm. Until she woke up. It must have been about 10:30pm, when we were just thinking about going to bed. This was the beginning of the night of coldmageddon.

That night was a battle of wills; she just wouldn’t go to sleep and we lost the will to live as each hour ticked past. We tried every single trick in our arsenal of parenting knowledge – from bringing her in our bed (too exciting) to taking her for a drive in the car (she fell asleep, but woke when we transferred her to the cot) – and nothing worked. She was so bunged up with a cold and kept choking on phlegm; bless her, she was obviously feeling really grotty. Nothing we could do would get her go to sleep. The only light relief was when I took her downstairs to watch TV and gave Grump a break (we’d decided to do shifts by this point). We sat snuggled on the sofa and watched We’re Going on a Bear Hunt together. The clock struck midnight and I wished my poorly little girl Happy Christmas.

I think around 3am she finally fell asleep in her cot and we got a couple of hours’ kip; then she was up at 5.30am. It is certainly hard to summon any enthusiasm for Christmas festivities when you are that exhausted. Needless to say, there is something quite lovely about watching your child open presents. It turns out giving can be better than receiving. We ended up having a lovely Christmas – thank god both sets of parents live just down the road and we didn’t have a long drive anywhere. I don’t think we would have made it.

If you told me before I got pregnant that the first Christmas with my new baby would be spent awake half the night with a snotty, crying baby attached to me and then sucking bogeys out of her nose with a strange plastic contraption the next morning, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Coldmageddon lasted three nights and could have ruined our Christmas. Instead, we made the best of a bad situation and tried to find joy in the special little things that the festive season brings. We also ate A LOT of food and drank coffee/tea by the bucket load. It wasn’t how I imagined our first Christmas, but at least I’m prepared for future Christmases with an excited older child who doesn’t want to go to sleep.

P.S. Father Christmas is in my bad books. He totally disregarded two of the main points of my Christmas list regarding sleep and illness. I thought we had a deal Santa?

Photo credit: Ben White/unsplash.com
Dear Santa, 6 things I’d really like for Christmas

Dear Santa, 6 things I’d really like for Christmas

xxmszprm_ck-caleb-woods

Dear Santa,

I’ve been a really good girl this year – honest. Well, it depends on your definition of ‘good’, but I have squeezed a small person out of my nunu (polite word for vagina) and kept her alive for the past 10 months (‘her’ being my baby and not my nunu, obviously). Please may I have the following:

1. Sleep

If you’ve read my latest blog post, ‘Why everything my husband does it wrong’ you will know that number one on my Christmas list this year is sleep. So, please Santa let me get some sleep over the festive break. A few early nights and perhaps a 7am wake up, rather than 5 or 6am. Please let the J sleep through the night, every night. Maybe even give me the odd afternoon nap? Perhaps after I’ve had a few glasses of wine with my Christmas dinner? Thanks in advance.

2. Some ‘me’ time

I would really like a bit of time to myself. Not time to do chores or time to find freelance work (fairly high on my agenda, seeing as I am currently not earning any money) or even time to write my blog. Actual me time where I can paint my toenails, dye my hair, pluck my eyebrows or just sit on the sofa in peace with a cup of tea (or wine) and a trashy magazine. That would be wonderful.

3. A date night with Grump

We ask both each set of parents to babysit quite often, but it is always for events with family and friends. I would really like some quality time with my husband. It feels like we are two ships passing in the wind at the moment and we could do with a nice meal out together (something we used to do all the time pre-baby). If you could throw in some Prosecco that would be fab. There’s nothing better than good food, good wine and a bit of flirty banter.

4. No more sicky babies (or mummies)

I’m asking for this one for my mummy friends as well as myself. All of our babies have been through the mill with coughs, colds, sickness bugs and chest infections. We could do with a break. I know it comes with the time of year, but could you please give us a couple of week’s respite. It would be lovely to have a non-sicky Christmas. Plus, we are all fed up of quarantining our babies and having to stay at home feeling miserable. We want to socialise and feel human again. Dealing with a sick baby breaks your heart and is also knackering. The winter vomiting bug was like the worst hangover you’ve ever had times 100. Without being too graphic, things came out of both ends pretty violently. Not fun!

5. Less poo-scapes

I am fairly adept at changing nappies now. I’ve got to grips with the smell and the fact that my child wriggles like an eel in oil whenever I try to change her. I can cope with her crawling away mid change and I can even cope with the leaky poos that go all over her clothes. What I’m struggling with is when she’s done a solid poo that escapes and I have to pick it up off the floor or from my leg. It’s like a miniature (sometimes not so miniature) adult poo and I have to touch it. Seriously?!? Even with a tissue or plastic bag it makes me retch. Please Santa, can you keep her poos inside her nappy? Use some of that special Christmas magic. On the other hand I could just stop buying those cheapo nappies from a certain superstore and shell out the extra for Pampers. **Long sigh….**

6. Macbook Pro

Santa, I don’t know if you are aware, but all Apple products are a zillion times more expensive than other brands. Now that I’ve started a blog and I am trying to launch a freelance journalism career, I feel like I do NEED one of these. The trouble is they cost about £1,000 (sooooooo expensive when you are not yet in gainful employment). I know what you are thinking. I could just buy a normal laptop for half the price, but I want to use Adobe software on it, plus I have been using Macs at work for the past 10 years and I just don’t get on with PCs anymore. If you could just send a shiny new Macbook Pro 15in down the chimney, I’d be most obliged (we don’t have an actual chimney, but you know that already, you crafty old man).

Seeing as I imagine Santa won’t be bringing me anything off this list, I’m hoping that my family/Grump will read this blog post and take a few hints about my Christmas wishes (mostly just the Macbook and sleep). Saying that, I spent most of my childhood asking for a pet rat for Christmas and that never happened. Thanks a lot Mum!

Picture credit: Caleb Woods/Unsplash.com