Mum authority

Mum Authority is a term I’m pretty sure I’ve made up. And it’s something I didn’t feel I had until quite recently.

When we transported Wills home from the hospital it marked the beginning of us being in charge. Occasionally he’d cry (spoiler alert, that can happen a lot) when he cried, visitors would often ask me what was the matter with him. And I wouldn’t have a bloody clue. My standard response was usually, ‘I don’t know, I’ve only had him a week…’ and sometimes I’d feel bad. Does this make me a bad mum? Don’t mums usually know what’s wrong with their children, don’t they sense it? I didn’t  know him well enough to know if he was out of sorts. Does this mean we haven’t bonded, after all I was whipped away so soon after he was born to get my bits sewn back together.

The thing is, there are two things I’d like to point out: 1, when Wills was born he looked like a baby, not me or his dad, just a baby. He could have been anyone’s. Now he’s the spit of his dad, even the postman has told me so (‘must look like his dad because he looks nothing like you…’). And 2, he had no personality. People might think that’s a mean thing to say but how could he? He’d been floating around in a womb for nine months, he’d never experienced anything other than that.

I’d felt him move and he’d heard my voice but we’d never met until that hot afternoon in hospital. And yet here I am, expected to know everything about him. Fast forward nine months and he is rapidly becoming his own little person, and I have developed a ‘mum authority’ I know when he’s not quite right. What he does and doesn’t like, the reactions I’m going to get. And with this new knowledge of my son comes not the feeling that I particularly know best, but that what I say goes.

What I say goes.

I am rapidly building a dislike of him being tickled. A little is fine, but people go too far, do it for too long and I don’t like it. And if I don’t like it, guess what? It’s not happening.

He doesn’t want to kiss you goodbye? Guess what? He’s not kissing you goodbye, my son chooses who he kisses, not me.

If I say he’s had enough of something or I don’t want him to have something…. guess what? (Pretty sure you get the gist)

I’m embracing my newfound mum authority, maybe it was a long time coming. Do I always know what’s best? No. Am I always right? Of course not (don’t tell hubs!) but I think it’s about time the world knows this:

I am mum. What I say goes.

In other news:

Marms has been once again gracing us with her presence, last night she sat next to my feet for a whole tewnty minutes! Some of this time was spent chewing my slipper socks.

Hubs is on a stag do this this weekend (bachelor party to any readers from the U S of A) so I’m solo parenting for a couple of days.

The boy has learnt to clap. We are super proud.

 

 

Working and working at parenting.

I am on my third week back at work. The first two were a breeze. This week, not so much. I put this down to two things:

Firstly- the novelty of being back at work is starting to wear off and I’m realising ‘this is my life now’

Secondly – daylight sodding savings. My alarm clock may have said six thirty this morning but I think we all know it was actually half five. I was present in body only today. I also forget where I work… whilst at work which wasn’t great as I was on reception.

I also had a slight wobble after loading Wills into his dad’s car this morning, as I looked at him through the window, he looked all wide-eyed and sad. I didn’t want to leave him, but I had to, ‘my son looked a bit sad this morning’ is not a valid reason not to go in. So gave him exaggerated smiles and waves as his dad drove off and cried on the journey into work.

With gallons of coffee and fizzy drink I made it through my working day, (and three bags of crisps), popped to the shop for nappies and got home, to put the dinner on. After tea hubs and I prep for tomorrow. Then Wills goes to bed and we vege out on the sofa. Tonight Wills decided sleep was definitely not on the agenda. When his wailing showed no sign of abating I retrieved him for some cuddles on the sofa. This was going swimmingly until he smacked me in the face with his monitor. I’m still not sure whether this was an accident or his way of voicing his disquiet about the sudden life upheaval he’s experiencing. What I do know is the inside of my mouth is swollen and my tooth is now moving.

William has very recently started crawling. It is quite literally amazing how they go from crawling a few tentative paces to all over the sodding place. Naturally he finds the most dangerous things to crawl to.  And his new found mobility has meant a huge rise in bumps, usually gained at the exact moment you take your eyes off him. It’s also meant he can indulge in his favourite hobby of following Captain around. I’m okay with this as it helps both of them burn off some extra energy. I’m not okay with William eating cat biscuits so the pursuit often involves Captain, Wills and Mummy.

Hubs and I are slowly getting into this new phase, our parenting has to be different now, all the rules and routines have had to adapt with him and now we’ve thrown working into the mix. We now need to consider childcare, dropping off and picking up, making enough food to send with him (he doesn’t stop eating!) I’ve said it before, every time we think we have this parenting malarky down, he changes and we are back to square one.

In other news:

Captain continues to steal things from the neighbours house, his latest crime was witnessed by said neighbour.

Marms has eaten a couple of meals at our house, but she growled at me when I stroked her. (The cow.)

My first Mother’s Day was lovely! Flowers, a mug and the promise of a night out for cocktails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

What to do if you experience reduced movements.

This is the most serious and important post I have ever written. In this instance, I am providing advice.

So, what should you do if your baby’s movements reduce?

Tell someone.

Call your midwife, call labour ward, call your birthing unit, get through to a person and tell them. Don’t talk yourself out of it, don’t wait until the morning, don’t use a home Doppler,

Call your midwife, call labour ward or call your birthing unit.

William was due on the 1st of July, on the second of July I woke up with a slightly sicky feeling. My baby wasn’t moving. In the morning, he was usually very active, my bladder was his trampoline, I was used to my morning kicking.

Only this morning, he wasn’t kicking.

This had happened once before, and I knew a few things the hospital might ask me to do, so I did them, concerned, but not overly worried.

I laid on my left side and drank a VERY cold drink.

Nothing.

I made a very sweet bowl of porridge and ate it.

Nothing.

I ran a warm bath, pouring water over my bump.

Nothing.

I was starting to panic, I pushed my knuckles deep into my enormous belly, I had never prodded my bump like this before, that’s when I felt it,

A weak prod.

Baby moved! But wait, did I feel baby last night? No. At bedtime, baby goes wild. In the middle of the night, baby kicks. It wakes me up then I need the loo, and I have to spend 10 minutes trying to get out of bed.

But I’m full term, maybe I can feel less movement because there is less room?

I typed the question into google, I found the following website:

http://www.kickscount.org.uk/

And I saw in plain black and white, any change or reduction in your movements call your midwife or maternity unit.

I called my mum (midwife) ‘Mum, NayNay hasn’t moved’ (We didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl, I referred to Wills as NayNay, and no I have no idea why!)

My mum told me to call the hospital and call her back.

The phone rang for what seemed like an eternity, the phone was answered, I told them my baby hadn’t moved, that I’d tried various different things and I couldn’t get baby to move, then I mentioned the bath, I said I’d pushed really hard and I’d got a weak movement.

‘Well you have had movement then’

‘Well yes, but is wasn’t right, it wasn’t like it usually was, and there wasn’t any last night or this morning until I pushed, really hard.’

‘You’ve had movement, give it an hour, do the hovering and then call us back if you’re still not happy.’

I do not wish to knock the NHS, it really is a most wonderful thing and I count myself as very fortunate to live in a country where I can go to hospital and get treated without landing an eye-watering bill.

But this was not good advice. This sort of advise was very dangerous. My mobile rang, it was mum, checking up. I was crying, ‘she told me to do the hoovering.’

‘She did what? Go in Chesney, you need to go to hospital’

‘I can’t (more sobbing) she told me to wait an hour’

‘Who did you speak to?’

‘I don’t know’

‘Give me the number darling’

And mum was gone.

Up until calling the hospital, I hadn’t told my husband what was going on.

This upset him, he said I should have told him what was going on, and that I was worried but the thing is I felt butterflies, I was on the verge of being hysterical and I mean screaming, shouting, crying, throwing things hysteria. I mean bat-shit crazy. I was frightened that if I shared with him how I was feeling, I’d lose it.

My phone rang, mum ‘Go in darling, I’ve spoken to them, they’re expecting you.’

I later learned that mum had been rather firm on the phone to the hospital, ‘Hulked out’ was what my sister used to describe it.

You might not have a mum to hulk out, when she told me to call the hospital she had fully expected them to tell me to go in it’s why she had told me to call them.

Don’t do what I nearly did. Go in.

If you’ve been in several times before for reduced movements and it’s been fine every time. Go in.

Go in. Go in. Go in.

If on the way to the hospital the movements pick up, still go in.

I was monitored. The ‘trace’ was fine. But I was told I needed to speak to a  doctor before I left. I can see why they had tried to put me off going in. Labour ward was extremely busy, emergency bells were ringing all over the place, the midwives and support staff were rushing up and down corridors in and out, slightly breathless. But reassuring, warm.

I remember speaking to the Doctor, she had the most beautiful eyes. She said they would induce me. I didn’t want to be induced. I had thought often about waking up in the night with cramps, or maybe my waters would break on my millionth trip to the loo, and I shake hubs awake and say ‘It’s time, the baby is coming.’

But now they wanted to induce me, I already knew that I would be unable to give birth in the birthing unit, my dream of a water birth under twinkling lights was gone. And now I wasn’t going to get to go into labour naturally. That was being taken away from me. Everything was going wrong!

The doctor explained that is was hospital policy to induce labour in women with reduced movement after term. That they could (and would continue to) monitor me but listening in, even scanning can not guarantee that everything is fine.

It’s funny really, medicine has come so far, to the point that there is a certain level of arrogance over what we can do now. But there was a doctor telling me we have no way of knowing if baby is fine.

I was booked in. for the 5th, if there had been space that day, I would have been induced then.

William was born on the sixth. My husband and my mum were my birth partners. During labour, Williams heart rate dropped. The room filled with people. ‘C-section’ was uttered.

I was blissfully unaware, I’d been dozing and sucking on gas and air every time I woke up. I remember mum patting me awake, darling, it’s time to start pushing.

‘Baby isn’t very happy in there darling, we need to be quick as you can’ (There were doctors hovering outside)

If you are pregnant, and worried about labour, I can promise you two things:

  1. By the time you get to term you will be so fed up that labour will be welcomed.
  2. The pushing stage doesn’t actually hurt.

At twenty to five on the 6th of July, (after twenty minutes of pushing) William was born. Quiet for a few seconds, but our little foghorn definitely made his presence known.

Arrived safely.

Because I went in.

So please, any change, reduction in movement, weaker movement, more movement,

just go in.

x

 

Poorly again!

So once again our little cherub is producing copious amounts of snot. Our first clue that he might be feeling a little under the weather was the 11 pm yell-a-thon. I took him downstairs and we watched Hey Duggee until about two o clock then I settled him to sleep with a bottle. Previous to this, he’d just eyeballed me, frowning. I think I should have been frowning, as I was a) not in bed, and, b) had been stood rocking him for over a sodding hour.

I crept up the stairs with my now sleeping baby and lowered him into is cot, he stirred but slept on. Then I faced a problem, I’d fed him and didn’t want him waking up in a puddle of wee (again); time for a stealthy nappy change.

It was about as stealthy as dropping a bag of spanners down the stairs.

He woke up, his volume has in no way been affected by his cold, I panicked, hubs was sleeping, hubs was up with him at 2am the previous night, hubs has work, hubs went to bed looking a little like a crazed serial killer, all bloodshot eyeballs and unruly hair, that man needs sleep! So I climbed into the cot with Wills.

Now, I’ve seen pictures of mums in cots on tinterweb (internet) it looks very idyllic, baby asleep, serene mummy curled protectively yet delicately round her baby, not quite my experience of it…

I think the cots in the pictures I’ve seen must be bigger than Will’s cot. I also think the mums must be smaller than me. After I’d wedged myself in, I watched Wills mobile. It’s quite relaxing, I can see why he likes it.

Wills has three teddies that live in his cot, a bunny holding a cloth, an elephant and a giraffe, at bedtime, he squeals with delight when they ‘kiss’ him and will often go to sleep clutching at least one of them. Last night it was the giraffe, I watched him pinch the ears and horns, shake it and repeat. I was smacked in the face several times, but despite the fact I was pressed up against the bars, freezing (Wills had all the blankets) and getting assaulted by a tiny soft toy, I was enjoying being so close to him. He started turning his head to the side, this is a sign that he’s going to sleep, the giraffe was being thrashed about with a lot less enthusiasm too. (Yay for my face!) The mobile light went out, I waited, the boy was definitely asleep!! Huzzarh!

Now to get out of the cot.

I think we’ve gathered ‘grace’ isn’t a trait of mine, clambering out of a cot, without waking a baby is hard. Never the less I managed it. And crawled into bed.

Until six am, when his nibs summoned me to his chambers with a wail. Thankfully bringing him into our bed did the trick. Although not too comfortable for mummy on account of daddy laying at a diagonal. Wills slept until nine, snoring softly, I think he likes being in our bed, I imagine if he’s feeling poorly he wants to be close to us.

He seems quite chirpy today, he’s currently yanking on the curtains, makes a change from my hair so I’m leaving him to it.

Here’s hoping bedtime will involve a lot less work tonight.

Happy Friday!

In other news:

Marms has returned, didn’t see the furry little sod at all yesterday!

I had a telephone interview yesterday, I think it went well, however it doesn’t matter how well it went, I can’t do the hours (a lot of part time jobs want you for a few hours everyday, we can’t get childcare to fit with that).

If you need me today, I’ll be drinking coffee…

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.