Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Hand-me-down Humdingers

I wouldn't say my parents are hoarders but, OK yeah, they're hoarders. At an amateur level at least. With my dad, it's spanners and screws and stereotypical man stuff. And Mum? Mum has an inordinate amount of tupperware. It's just not natural. However, I am willing to overlook it due to the fact they fed and clothed me and, let's face it, are the reason I exist and all that.

And it did come in handy when the boys came along as they kept hold of lots of stuff from my childhood. And when I say lots, I mean LOTS. Suddenly, all this stuff appeared from their attic: books, toys, cot, playpen, mobiles, blankets, dolls, jigsaws, even unopened packs of Terry nappies.

It is nice to reminisce, especially when I can snuggle up with little O or baby R and read them the stories I was read when I was their age. Of course, these books are several decades old and I have to admit that some of the content is quite questionable. And that's putting it nicely. Still, I can strategically place a hand over some images or skip a page if necessary.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Confidence Trick

I'm not shy. Nevertheless, throw me into a crowded room alone, or ask me to give a speech in front of a hundred people and, guaranteed, my cheeks will turn red quicker than you can ask 'what's wrong with your face?'

The same thing can happen at my Lindyhop classes once the taught class has finished and the floor is opened up to social dancing. Faced with the prospect of having to follow my leader instead of a routine, it's pot luck if I manage to relax enough to make that connection, to feel the subtle pressure from the leader that signals to a follower how to respond. 

I may not necessarily become tomato-cheeked, as my nervousness is more likely to manifest itself as a tangle of arms or an awkward twist of fingers (though hopefully not as an elbow to the face). And to be fair, that's not always to blame. Sometimes my frame needs work, the lead is too weak so the connection isn't there, or one or both of us are just so knackered we can hardly keep our feet moving to the rhythm.

Friday, 24 June 2016

The Eczema Factor

Little O has mild eczema. I blame S as it's his dodgy genes that passed it on. And that's dodgy genes, not jeans. S's jeans are not in the slightest bit dodgy and could be deemed, dare I say it, fashionable, especially since I came along.

But anyway, I digress.

Eczema in toddlers
I took Little O to the hospital this week as he had an appointment with the specialist doctor. Fair do's, they've thought it through very well in the children's department. They have plenty of toys and there are gizmos on the walls to play with. There's a touchscreen with games and a telly in the shape of a robot as a last resort.

Its a good thing there was so much to entertain Little O because his appointment was delayed by an hour. An hour! And do you know why? Because someone else turned up an hour late for an earlier appointment. Excuse me, but if I showed up that late for an appointment at the GP or the dentist, or anywhere else come to think of it, I'm pretty certain I'd be given the heave ho and told to re-book.

Monday, 20 June 2016

My kids are conspiring against me

Little O is now 33 months, which in non-parent speak means nearly three years old. Baby R is 22 weeks, which in non-parent speak means nearly five months old. When he was about three months old something incredible and magical happened - he slept through.

Given, this was with a dream-feed at 11pm, but still, sleep is sleep. And with that a strange change happened. To properly explain what I mean, I think I need to describe the before and after.

BEFORE:

Baby R is a nightmare. I mean, a true and bonafide absolute demon from hell, sent to earth to show us why we should never have had more than one child. OK, so maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but we were struggling. In reality, Baby R was probably oblivious to our vexation. He cried, he was cuddled. He pooped, he was changed, etc etc. Never mind that this was every two hours and my boobs were either on the verge of exploding in milk-fuelled volcano fashion, or they resembled the last pittas in the packet. And I was perpetually covered in puke. Aaanyway, you get the picture.

Long distance longings

Noone can say they understand the impact of a long distance relationship until they've been through it themselves. I'm going through it right now.

Calm your horses, I'm not talking about romantic love now but a different kind all together, the love I have for my parents.

They live 200 miles away in North Wales where I grew up. They still live in the house we moved into when I was three. I went to the same highschool they did. They got married at the local church. Dad's piped up the garden like Crystal Maze to save on water and he's not yet met the payback on his solar panels. I think it's a given they're unlikely to move any time soon.

It was my choice to move away. I had met my boyfriend (now husband) and saw my future with him. But that doesn't mean I don't miss them ferociously. Skype helps but it's not the same.

I envy friends when they talk about taking the baby out for a coffee with their Nana and Grandad. And when I've had a shit night or am feeling poorly, Mum and Dad always know what to say to perk me up. I know I'm supposed to be a proper grown-up now I'm married and have offspring and stuff, but deep down I'm still their little girl.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

The Great Escape (to Odeon)

One massive benefit to having my baby on formula is that it doesn't have to be me that feeds him. It mostly is me, to be fair, but the point is it doesn't have to be. And that means I have the opportunity to enjoy some necessary me time.

S is great. As far as husbands go, he's awesome. I know some husbands who have bugger all to do with the main responsibilities of caring for a child but mine, he is hands on. And the best part is, he's hands on because he wants to be. He feeds, changes, plays, disciplines, cuddles...everything. And he's fantastic at it. To be honest, it's a reflection of our marriage - we are a partnership and try very hard not to take each other for granted.

For example, if he wants to spend an afternoon playing cricket despite being out at work all week, that's no problem. He's a grown-up and as such can make his own decisions as to what's right and fair. If I put myself in his place, I wouldn't want to be told what I could and couldn't do. I would like to be trusted to do the right thing and I trust him to do the right thing. That thing being, similarly, if I want to get out of the house for an hour or two (or maybe three) - by myself - that isn't a problem for him either.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Sorry I'm late... but I had a baby

So the good news is that the little smiley face turned into baby R! I freely admit I am completely in love with the little blighter but in the beginning though, I have to be honest, it was hard. And I don't just mean the exhaustion from sleepless nights, tantrums from an attention-seeking toddler and everything else that goes with having more than one child to be responsible for. I mean it was hard for me to accept the step up.

Of course, here was this beautiful little human being gazing at me with his huge blue eyes, fluttering those long eyelashes (that he got from his father by the way, not me, worse luck) and the love just flowed. There's no doubt about that but - I think what I'm trying to say is - I really struggled to feel like a mother second time round.

I have no idea if it was the fact that so many people, mainly those I'd remained friends with from my antenatal group, had said that the second birth was so much easier (and it wasn't) or that I expected things to be easier because I 'knew what I was doing' (hah) or that I put so much pressure on myself to be the perfect mother and hide from everyone the fact that it wasn't easier, it was horrific, and I didn't feel like I knew what I was doing, at all.