‘Thanks, now would you mind minding your own business?’

A slightly weird but definitely infuriating thing happened to me and hubs today.

Set on enjoying the bank holiday we got Wills ready and were out the house by 11:15 am (only and hour and a quarter later then planned score!) We began the day by looking at kitchens we couldn’t hope to afford but have optimistically booked a ‘design visit’ where I fully expect to have to scale back our expectations and sell one of my lesser organs. After traipsing round the vast showroom and drinking overpriced coffee in the café, hubs and I decided to head to the Fargo Village Beer Festival. Fargo Village is a new development for the city of Coventry, which has a bit of a reputation for being fugly. Mainly because vast areas of it are.  The Luftwaffe kindly flattened most of the city in the forties so bang went the medieval charm and up went some pretty revolting concrete buildings. Anyway the council have begun ‘tarting up’ the place Fargo Village is a fashionable development with a brewery, and other crafty/vintage shops including barbers shops and vegan food outlets. But most importantly there is a brewery.

Hubs and I were surprised to find the place pretty much deserted, the brewery was open (huzzarh)) but other then that it was very quiet. It wasn’t hot but we sat outside because it’s May and that’s what the British do. In other countries I’m quite sure people would be sat in coats on days like today, but we’re out in pub gardens, with shorts on, freezing but acting like there has been some sort of heatwave. I kind of like it, we NEVER waste sunshine in this country. Even if it’s bloody freezing, if the sun is shining we’re out, lighting barbeques, having picnics cramming  ourselves into pub gardens and wearing the shorts we brought four years ago but have only worn six times. (Unless of course we went abroad on holiday.) Anyway, I digress. We sat outside; Hubs with a beer, me trying to calm a tired William (whom I suspect is having a poo this very second, yep, please excuse me a tick.) Tired William was balling so I decided to placate him with a bottle, when he’s had enough I popped him in his pushchair, but he started a protest in the form of wailing at the top of his lungs. Ahh the naptime fight, a battle of wills with Wills. It doesn’t happen every naptime but when the little foghorn is fighting sleep you sure do know about it!

As he wailed I uttered soothing phrases and  pushed his chair back and forth.

‘Excuse me’

‘Err, yes?’

‘Maybe if you sat her up she’d stop crying, I don’t think she likes that’

He is actually very tired, he is fighting sleep, that’s why he is crying.’

‘Oh is it a boy?’

(No I just call her him for shits and giggles yes it’s a fucking boy, he’s in blue corduroy dungarees!) ‘Yes it’s a boy.’

‘Oh, and is he your first baby?

(What the fuck does that have to do with anything?) ‘Yes, first baby.’

‘I hope you don’t mind me saying?’

(Of course I fucking mind, who in the name of arse do you think you are? creeping up behind me and giving me advise I neither need or asked for!) ‘Not at all, thank you!’

 

Thank you!! I fucking said THANK YOU. I didn’t mean thank you, there was nothing about that situation that I was thankful for!! You see, when you have a baby you sort of become public property whether you like it or not. Sometimes it’s nice that strangers say nice things about your baby, but sometimes it crosses a line. Like the woman who asked; ‘… and are you feeding him?‘ The temptation to reply: ‘No, I refuse to offer him breast or bottle, we send him out into the woods to forage for his own food…’ To the people that ask ‘Did you have a natural birth?’  What comes out of my vagina is my business, and although I’ll happily talk through the process to preggos, that particular question is posed in a way that suggests anything other than natural is sub par. And it absolutely isn’t. There are babies and mammas that wouldn’t be here today without the marvels of modern medicine. So you can stick your natural birth question up your arse.

I’ve never had such an intrusion before. Perhaps this person thought they might combust if they didn’t intervene. But what if I was having a bad day. What if it had been one of those days when I’ve doubted my abilities. The days when I’ve cried, thinking there are a million women who’d be a better mummy. Women who never get tired and make only organic home cooked food. Who attend every baby group going and keep an immaculate house. If this had happened on one of those days I can’t tell you the damage it might have done.

But today has been a good day, I’m looking over at my little boy who is sharing a rusk with Captain and I feel all warm and proud. And I’m wondering how I’m supposed to get rusk off the cat.

I may not be a ‘supermum’ but I’m doing my best. If I want or need advice, I promise I’ll ask for it. If you don’t hear me asking, keep it to yourself.

In other news:

There is a black cat coming into the garden that my black cats are hell bent on terrorising. It’s not always easy to distinguish which black cats are mine form a raging ball of hissing and clawing.

We’re off to a wedding in a couple of weeks. Going to get Wills a suit, hoping I can keep it clean for longer than five minutes…

I’ve started a diet. Hubs is looking for sanctuary somewhere, any offers greatly appreciated.

 

 

The greatest adventure you’ll ever have.

When I was heavily pregnant and resembling a space hopper on legs hubs and I went for a coffee. This isn’t unusual for us and I have to say it was a much easier thing to do without a baby in tow. As we drank our coffees (caffeine free for me) an old lady, who was sitting on the next table, watched us rather intently with a half smile on her face. As we got up to leave she touched my arm, asked if this was our first, and told me ‘This will be the greatest adventure you will ever have, enjoy every second, there is no feeling quite like the one you get when you are a parent.’

Naturally this made me blub, and it took an awful lot of self control not to have a full on pregnancy hormone induced meltdown in the middle of Costa’s.

Thinking about what she said to me I’m left wondering ‘When will it feel like that?’

Mostly as well as tired, lonely, guilty, fed up, inept I feel like I’m already failing our son. I have no idea what sort of parent I’m supposed to be, but having said that I’ve got to 31 and I’m not sure exactly what sort of adult I am. As I type this, one of my hands is blue because I came into contact with a leaky pen, I had hoped I’d be a much more presentable person. Not much chance of that as one of my favourite t-shirts has a cartoon picture of Little Red Riding Hood kicking the Big Bad Wolf in the nuts on the front. I was distraught when the key ring with the same image broke last week.

So where is my adventure? Is this it? Yesterday I had to stop Wills eating biscuit crumbs off the carpet. I also had to intervene when the threw up on the carpet and proceeded to play with it. This is a new thing, if he doesn’t keep it in his mouth to chew to it, he plays with it. (I would like to take this opportunity to point out he has lots of toys, but apparently sick is much more appealing.) All in all, day to day life doesn’t feel very adventurous.

But perhaps I’ve hit a slump. I’m faced with returning to work next week and although I crave adult interactions and not being at the beck and call of a tiny human, I am dreading it. I don’t feel I’m ready. I don’t think I’ve prepared William yet. (Although how I’d do that, I have no idea!) I don’t feel I’ve got this mothering thing down, so how can I go back to work when I’m not a ‘proper mum’ yet? And also, why don’t I feel like a proper mum? What the deuce is one of those anyway?

And then I think about the old lady in a coffee shop. She’s been there, I imagine her children ate biscuit off the carpet, she craved a cup of tea in peace and cried often. But there she was, smiling, genuinely excited for me.

So maybe I need to think a bit deeper.

How about the first time I heard him cry? When hubs told me we had a boy, our first shopping trip, first walk on a beach? (Well carry, mummy was walking), our first swim, first night in his cot? First solid food? First time he reacted to his name? The absolute joy those moments have brought.

So maybe it’s a lot of tiny adventures that are ever so easily overlooked by overtired parents.

And maybe, one day, I’ll be an old lady in a coffee shop smiling at a ginormous space hopper lady and her husband.

In other news:

I fear that Marms has abandoned ship, to pursue a life with the neighbours. Heart is officially broken and I still call the furry little traitor every night.

The remaining loyal cat is becoming more interested in interacting with the tiny human. These moments are usually extremely cute.

Three more sleeps and I’m back at work.

 

Postpartum nights out.

Recently, hubs and I indulged in a night out. Graciously, hubs took the role of designated driver, nanny came round to babysit, I purchased a new dress all systems were go!

Here are some observations on how nights out have changed post baby:

Pre Baby:

Spend time selecting outfit, shoes, matching underwear and jewellery

Spend hours getting ready, bath, exfoliate, hair make-up

Shave everything

Drink excessively

Take selfies with friends and random people you meet in the loo

Discuss current events, who you hate at work where you want to go on holiday etc.

Drink even more excessively

Stagger into an eating establishment you wouldn’t touch with a barge pole when sober

Stumble into a taxi two to three hours later than you said you were going home

Get home, begin seduction of partner with no regard for noise or furniture

Wake up late morning regretting food and alcohol choices from previous evening, spend all day watching Made in Chelsea drinking coffee and eating nutritionally questionable food

Post baby:

Pick whatever dress is clean/fits from wardrobe between bathing/feeding and entertaining baby

Have quick shower when hubs gets home, shave only what will be on show and only if it’s excessively hairy (noticeable from a distance)

Tuck saggy tum into ginormo pully-in pants wear whatever bra happens to be clean(ish)

Try to keep safe distance from infant to avoid getting chunder on only clean dress

Greet babysitter, apologise for the mess (carpet is mostly rusk) feel pang of guilt as you leave your tiny person

Get to drinking establishment, one which is decidedly more sedate than where you would have frequented before baby, talk mostly about your baby

Text babysitter for update on condition of offspring

Show friends/bar maids/bouncers pictures of your baby

Text babysitter for update on condition of offspring

Drink quickly, you’re out; need to make the most of it

Text babysitter for update on condition of offspring

Feel fine until you get hit by the air sniper, find taxi go home

Attempt to appear sober and responsible in front of babysitter

Have big ideas with regards to seduction but pass out on bed before you’ve even kissed

Get woken early by offspring intent on ensuring your hangover is a torturous as possible

Put episodes of ‘Hey Duggee’ on repeat in desperate attempt to keep offspring content whilst you drink cold coffee and put together a lunch

Drink copious amounts of coffee throughout the day and wonder why the hell such an insignificant amount of alcohol has caused a hangover of monumental proportions.

Wake up the following morning with all the symptoms of a hangover…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swimming

 

I took William swimming on Tuesday.

 

I have always found public swimming pools traumatic. The hygiene in the changing rooms is usually questionable. The walk from the changing room to the pool is always just a little longer than comfortable for walking around with very little on. And the pool itself is essentially a bath you share with people you have never met. A bath that has the occasional plaster floating about in it…

 

*Shudders*

 

Anyway in my mission to do absolutely everything I possibly can with Wills so he doesn’t forget me when I go back to work, I figured swimming is a fairly cheap but fun thing to do.

 

After having a baby I needed to buy a new, larger swimming costume. I remember being very upset when the one I bought, that looked massive stretched out on the hanger in Sports Direct, not only fit, it was a bit tight. I seemed to have acquired new fat bits after pregnancy including two weird lumps on the top of my thighs.

 

Why do most swimsuits have such high legs? The kind an 80’s aerobics instructor would be proud of. Even my maternity one was high legged, why in the name of arse? When I bought it I hadn’t seen my bikini line in months and I was going to a hen do. Not wanting to be known and forever after referred to as ‘ the one with all the pubes’ I had to rope hubs into sorting it. (If someone is popping your offspring out of their vagina, a bit of bikini maintenance is the VERY LEAST you can do.)

 

Anyway, bikini line acceptable (from a distance) I tucked my saggy belly into my new costume. Surveying the damage in the mirror, the belly was not my biggest problem. I think my new nickname is probably going to be ‘back fat’, unfortunately I couldn’t reach those bits to do any tucking. After getting dressed I chucked a few swim nappies in a bag along with Wills’ swim body warmer thingy. As I purchased it form Amazon I keep getting emails ‘Can you answer this question..’ it’s usually size related but the last one was ‘is it a swimsuit as well as a floatation aid?’ I felt it was my moral duty to reply swiftly and make it absolutely clear that although it is described as ‘swim vest’ it in no way aids floatation in any way. Its sole purpose is to keep a baby warm. I had images of a poor baby being chucked into a pool at Centre Parcs whilst it’s parents disappear to the bar ‘It’s a floatation vest love,  he’ll bob back up to the surface, voddy and coke?’

 

That’s my good deed done.

 

Anyway we arrived in the changing rooms and they were as grim as I remember. Didn’t particularly want to put William down anywhere and the mass of clothes left in plain sight signalled a school was in for a swimming lesson.

 

 I covered a grotty changing table with a mat and got Wills ready took my clothes off to reveal new trusty one piece and made my way to the ‘learner pool’.

 

The learner pool was nice and warm, Wills seemed immediately delighted and spent the whole time we were in there squealing and smacking the water. (We were the people other people were avoiding.) The boy made a pretty impressive splash zone. We poured brightly coloured watering cans (Will tried to drink from them) and swan after footballs (Will tired to eat them), Wills found a squirty crab (tried to eat that too) and it was lovely. The sheer delight on his face kept me grinning like a mad woman! I saw two women with a baby girl, both in bikinis, both with gorgeous tummys, I’m sure one of the slender tummed women was a mamma, and I felt pure unbridled envy at such a lovely tum, which was interrupted by Wills pulling the front of my swimsuit out as far as it would go. I spotted a couple of mums in the same swimming suit as me, I couldn’t decide if that made me like it more or less.

 

We exited the pool, I swaddled William in a towel and carried him past several bored looking lifeguards into the changing room, which was freezing. So I wrapped him in my towel too. I took him into a cubicle with a changing table and removed my suit. He took the opportunity to squeal and smack my boobs. Not that there is ever a good time for a fire alarm, this would have been a really, really bad time. By the time I’d got him dressed I was pretty much dry. I tried not to feel too much dismay at my now pendulous boobs and saggy belly as I tried to stuff myself back into my clothes. Although on the bright side, the tum isn’t always saggy. Whenever I have a postpartum monster period, it fills up, so it’s a big roundy belly that leaves people wandering if I’m expecting or not…

 

Will fell fast asleep in the car and I put him straight to bed when we got home. Any activity that makes him nap is good in my books.

 

When I went to retrieve him some time later, he was licking the bars of his cot. Make of that what you will.

 

In other news:

 

It snowed for the first time in William’s life yesterday. I excitedly picked him up and took him to the window. I don’t think he could have been less bothered.

 

We’ve had some lovely pictures of William taken today. So I’ll be busy getting them put on to mugs, mouse mats, magnets, clocks, cushions, wallpaper, curtains etc.

 

We’re off out to celebrate hubs’ cousins birthday tonight, and I’m not driving… see you all in hangover town…

 

 

 

Making it out of the house with a baby – Mission only just possible.

As the end of my maternity leave draws closer, I find myself trying to cram in as many activities as possible in with Wills. I feel annoyed that I didn’t do more earlier, but such is life. I’m just hoping that not taking him to every conceivable baby group from the moment he drew his first breath, won’t have a long term negative impact on his life…

‘So, Mrs Warwick, how do you feel being the mother of the most infamous drug lord/murderer/dictator on the planet?’

‘…. urrrm, obviously I’m very sad, if only I’d taken him to baby mingle/my kid’s better than yours/parenting – you’re doing it wrong, he’d be a well adjusted surgeon instead of a drug lord/murderer/dictator. I knew I’d screw him up!’

 

Okay so probably not that bad, and I’d like to point out baby groups are fantastic things to join but I just don’t like having them shoved down my throat. I always thought I’d join loads. But then I actually had a baby. And when hubs went back to work, I was frightened to take him out on my own; what if he cries and I can’t stop him? What if I don’t have enough food/nappies/spare clothes? What if I have a car accident on the way? A million different anxieties, so I stayed in. I cuddled him, I cried sometimes and my god did I want to get out the house, but I felt tethered to it.

I still occasionally feel like that. Leaving the house with a little one is a monumental pain in the arse. It’s the reason why we pretty much NEVER do anything spontaneous. Yes ‘popping’ over for a cupper is fabulous in theory but it’s no longer an option. Because this is how leaving the house goes for me:

Dress baby in something clean and presentable, go downstairs to pack the bag, Baby throws up all over himself. Change baby in the next best clean and presentable clothes. Make food to take (just in case) gather coats etc, realise need more clean nappies, run upstairs to get them. Pack nappies go to put coat on baby. That moment is right when he decides he is hungry, starving  in fact. And why let just me know when he can inform the neighbours too. So I make a bottle, only to discover that William is participating in the worlds SLOWEST FEED EVER competition. Pretty sure he’s the winner. Then I attempt to  burp him. Just. not. happening. Then I have to change his bum. With a fed and clean bottomed baby I head for the front door and realise that now I need a wee. Up the stairs I go. Then because I don’t like taking several trips to the car, I laden myself up like a donkey in an attempt to get everything in the one go. Wrestle Will into car seat, cursing  the fact my car only has three sodding doors. As soon as the belt clicks William throws up over himself. I swear and search for his binky (rag), it’s not in the bag. Back to the house, unlock the door, run round like a mad woman trying the find a sodding binky that’s not already a health hazard, all the while imagining Wills is being kidnapped. Find binky, lock front door, attempt to wipe sick off baby but it’s already gone crusty. Try not to cry with the sheer frustration of it all. Start car. Hear baby gurgling content. Begin drive to destination. Baby stops gurgling. Convince myself that he is in some sort of life threatening situation in the back of the car. Call his name, nothing. Glance quickly over shoulder, as he’s in a rear facing seat, I can only see his feet. Feet are still. Oh god oh god oh god, pull over, undo seat belt contort body round. Baby is awake and frowning. Sigh with relief and curse self for being so silly. Continue on journey. Arrive at destination, frazzled, sweating, pissed off and wanting something stronger than tea!

I am faced with this daunting task every time I attempt to leave the house. Last week I had that PLUS wrangling a cat into his travel carrier, which as he was poorly, there wasn’t too much wrangling.

Did I mention most days we had to get to the vets twice?

So although groups are fantastic there is a hell of a lot of work to be done just to get through the door.

I’m sure it will get easier. When he’s a teenager he might find me so embarrassing he takes the bus…

In other news:

Captain continues to improve. I’ve even yelled at him a couple of times (He has five scratching posts but prefers clawing the sofa, you’d shout at him too.)

Wills is now going to bed earlier, huzzarh! But he’s waking up earlier too (6:15 am, I can’t wake up that early and be nice).

Woke from a nap to find both Marms and Captain joining in on the action, it’s nice to do things together, even if it is sleeping.

 

Baby groups – forty minutes of feeling like a knob.

I took Wills to a music group last week. We went to a trial session. The session was a pretty uncomfortable experience for me. Wills seemed to enjoy it.

Which is the main thing.

For starters, the session is held in a church hall. There is parking, but the spaces are narrow. So my first test was trying to shoe-horn myself and Wills out of the car, without damaging the car next to us. (No mean feat, my arse is considerably wider these days.)

We made our way to the hall, the flow of mummies and daddies alerted me to the right room. This is where we met ‘Beryl’ (not her actual name, but it’s fun to say) Beryl is the group leader and has worked with children for over fourteen years. She is one of those people who is so used to communicating with children that she has forgotten how to communicate with adults. Not that there is anything wrong with that. If you think of a typical children’s TV presenter, you have Beryl. Although I get the feeling Beryl is slightly hard of hearing. I have an unfortunate nervous thing whereby if I meet a new person and they say ‘pardon’ or ‘sorry I can’t hear you’ I repeat myself only more quietly than the first time I said it. So that was fun. Anyway Beryl said something about a name badge and disappeared.

That’s when I noticed Wills was missing a shoe. I had a quick look outside and couldn’t find it so I removed the other one and headed to the name badge table. I saw a sticker for Wills but no sticker for me. No biggie, there are blank stickers and a pen, I used my imitative and wrote my name down stuck it to me and put Will’s sticker on him. I then sat on the mat with the other parents and babies.

Oh wait, non of the babies are wearing stickers, the parents are. I hid Wills sticker under his bib. Beryl then decided to introduce the new members. This is when I learnt that the parents wear their babies names.

Oh balls. It was a little embarrassing explaining this one. I moved the hidden sticker and stuck it on my boob with the over one, slightly red faced. All the parents were looking at me and I felt like a moron as it was explained that ‘we wear our babies names’. Honestly I really should remember to bring my crystal ball out with me.

My initial faux pas over, we sang ‘hello’ to everyone. I sound very much like a dying moose when I sing and I didn’t know the words so I just made shapes with my mouth and looked down at Wills a lot. He was pretty bemused at this point. Beryl was holding a rag doll called ‘Arabella’ (actual name) Arabella was facing the wrong way, to which Beryl exclaimed ‘Oooh Arabella you’re facing the wrong way! Nobody told me you were facing the wrong way.’ There was a ripple of laughter.

I didn’t laugh. I did wonder how unpopular I’d make myself if I pointed out that Arabella was just a doll with a pretentious name.

Probably very.

Anyway, we shook pompoms (Wills enjoyed this), line danced (Wills did not enjoy this) played instruments. (Beryl pointed out I was playing a tambourine ‘wrong’, to be clear it didn’t look like a tambourine and with my primary teacher head on I’d have got points for experimenting with sounds. Suitably chastised I continued to tap the rhythm on Wills as he smacked me with a beater. And tired to put it in his mouth. Despite Beryl telling me to let him do what he wants with it I wasn’t letting him stick it in his mouth because I had no idea how many other babies had chewed it previously.  We made a big noise, and I decided this would be THE WORST thing to do with a hangover.

So I felt uncomfortable the whole time. It’s the over enthusiasm of all involved, are they like this at home or is it for show? The subtle competition for parent of the year, the parent boasting about how their child is already creating rhythms/orchestral masterpieces/new instruments. The parent that continually refers to the huge number of classes and baby groups she/he goes to. That’s great I’m pleased for you, I love that you are proud of your little one. Mine synchronised poops with his cousin and made both the back of my car and the entire downstairs of my house a no go zone. Not something to boast about but I’m a firm believer in keeping in real. There is a real danger in pretending everything is perfect, you’re not a bad parent for admitting you’ve struggled, or got frustrated or sat down all day watching telly.

Wills was slightly bewildered by the whole experience, but seemed to enjoy it so I’ve coughed up the forty quid needed for us to return, and told hubs he’s coming to the next one. (So we can both feel like knobs).

In other news:

Captain has been very poorly this week, Wednesday I was told to prepare for the worst, daily trips to the vets and nearly one thousand pounds later he’s on the mend.

Weaning continues with Wills polishing of tuna fish cakes this weekend. (And the cats hovering up the bits he threw on the floor, they are beginning to see some pros to the bald kitten)

Wills new thing is chewing the curtains.

Ear plugs at the ready.

Wills is entering a new phase, it involves yelling. At the top of his lungs. For long periods of time.

I am the very definition of ‘frazzled’ at the minute, and when the little foghorn finally stops yelling, I still hear it. (Kept checking the monitor like a crazy woman during his nap!)

So the soundtrack to my day is loud. My hair is doing weird things, to the point my mum asked if I’d cut a fringe. I haven’t I just have lots of short bits of hair all around my hairline. They stick up and add to the crazy look I’ve been sporting for some time. I have tried everything to get them to stick down, so far everything has failed. I’ll just look for some sort of paper bag…

So the yelling continues, and is the soundtrack to my typing this. They say that decibel wise, babies are louder than road drills. I can definitely believe that. It is currently 23 minutes past five, hubs finishes work at five and I’m counting down the minutes until he gets home and amuses Wills.

The moment he gets through the door I’m bulk buying ear plugs.

…..and probably wine….

In other news:

Once again there is a cat in the cot, probably trying to escape the noise.

It looks like my thoughts on reading with Wills and babies in general will be printed in Mother and Baby magazine, this makes up for the weird hair and has made my year.

He. is. still. yelling.