It takes a village to raise a child.

Now I’m not sure if the saying is ‘a’ village or ‘the’ village but what I do know is I don’t agree. 

You see support is a wonderful thing, no question. Offers to babysit/look after the little one are great. Advice, when it’s asked for delivered in a non-judgemental way in truely invaluable, but the village…. no thank you. 

You see raising a baby is hard enough but it’s even harder when everyone has slightly different ideas on the right way to do things. It’s even harder when people take you ignoring their advice and doing your own thing personally. What do you do if that happens? Let ’em be upset, don’t try and justify how you’re choosing to raise your child or you’ll spend the next 18 years apologising!

It’s also worth bearing in mind that all of these villagers were once exactly where you are now, no matter how authoritative their advice no-one is born knowing exactly what to do with a tiny human in all situations. 

In other news:

The boy has a cold. So. Much. Snot.

The cats appear to have called a truce.

The winter wardrobe is out the loft.

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It’s 2017 – Why is taking a baby out so frustrating?! 

The UK is a modern country. I feel living here qualifies me to say that. We have all the mod cons, men can marry men, women can marry women, we’ve embraced boutique coffee shops and the future king did the school run this week.

Not too shabby, all in all.

But now I experience this ‘green and pleasant land’  a little differently. Because now I am a parent, and I can’t tell you how frigging frustrating it can get sometimes.

Firstly, let’s look at parking. Most places provide spaces for parents and children. A lot of people moan about these spaces (‘We didn’t have them in my day’, well no, you didn’t but your toilet was also in the back garden so change is good Brenda.) Any way these spaces are supposed to be helpful and designed so you can get tiny people strapped in safely without bashing the car next to you. Or they would be if you could ever actually park in one. They are either taken by ignorant dicks (usually in the more expensive cars) or other ignorant dicks whose kids are teenagers. Often the number of parent and child spaces are woefully inadequate in number. There is a large multi-story in Coventry with only 6 parent and child spaces. 6.

Now if by some miracle I have managed to park in a space that gives me adequate room to extract my child from his seat, I have to consider trolleys. This isn’t an issue now. but when he was tiny and needed the shopping trolley (cart) with the baby seat in, our local Tesco supermarket (apparently the largest in the UK) has only four of these trolleys. When I couldn’t find one of these trolleys I was forced to put William’s car seat in an ordinary trolley which left no room for the groceries. If I did happen to get a trolley with the baby seat on I found their design such that I  couldn’t actually see where you I was going. Nice one.

Today I took wills to get new shoes. I’d had to park in a regular space (standard) and the design of this particular place is very attractive but not really helpful if you have a pushchair. Shoes purchased, I headed for a loo. The particular shop I went to is forward thinking in that it’s one of the only places with a Father and baby changing room. This is brilliant and ‘Mother and baby’ has always irked me somewhat as I don’t feel that because I’m his mother I should be the one to change him. In the same way I don’t see how having a uterus makes cleaning my responsibility. Anyway huzzarh for father and child changing rooms, because if dad takes the baby out, there is somewhere he can go for a nappy change. Anyway, as is common the mother and baby changing facilities are in the women’s toilet. But I didn’t need to change him I needed a wee. Except, I couldn’t because all the neat little cubicles wouldn’t fit a pushchair in. If I took the bags and Wills from the pushchair how was I supposed to pee holding on to them all? There was no way I was going to go with the door open or leave Wills outside unattended and I was on my own, there was no one to wait with him! Luckily, they had disabled toilets. Plenty of room for us both, but I did feel a tad guilty for using them.

It reminded me of when I took Wills to town, once again I needed a wee, the changing facilities were just a room with a changing table and the cubicles too small to get a pushchair in. (But they were immaculate.) I found a disabled toilet, but it was locked. I had to ask an attendant for the key. The attendant was male. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t like asking strange men to unlock a loo for me, and have to apologise because I don’t need the disabled facility I just need somewhere big enough for me and my son. The guy was lovely but he did have to hover outside to lock it up again after I’d finished. It is kept locked to stop unsavoury things occurring in there. (I dread to think…)

Now if I’ve manage to survive parking, trolleys and peeing, lets look at the actual shops. So many shops with barely enough room to get your buggy through. If it happens to be a big shop, they tend to stick stuff in the way, ensuring it becomes an obstacle course. Lots of sticky out legs to catch the wheels on, tables with clothing draped over which your biscuit (cookie) covered toddler likes to grab at, and you can’t swerve to avoid because there is no sodding room!

So many things that used to be simple, no longer are, mostly down to a lack of thought. Do I expect it to change anytime soon? Sadly no, looks like I’ll be putting up with it. Fingers crossed by the time I’m a Gandma we’ll have it all sorted, and my complaints won’t be met with ‘Well you chose to have children..’

In other news:

Wills and Captain have managed to squish a sandwich into the floor and fill my travel cup with cheese. (I suspect Wills is responsible for the cheese in  the cup, Captain for helping the sandwich off the side)

It’s Marms four year adoptoversary today! She celebrated by getting soaking wet and laying on our bed.

Our little boy is becoming quite the chatterbox!

Public enemy number 1.

For some reason, I can do nothing right today. My son has spent the morning wailing. The causes have been various, his daddy went to work, I stopped him drinking my tea, I took the house phone off him, I had a shower, I took my foundation out of his mouth, I picked him up, I put him down… all sorts of unreasonable things a mother does! 

He’s currently stood on the sofa smacking the wall and I’m hovering so I can catch him if he falls but I’m not sure I could take another meltdown from him so I’m pretty much leaving him to it. 

Now would be a good time to point out that it’s only 9.50 in the morning. When I took my make up off him, he threw himself on the floor and beat the carpet with his fists. I haven’t eaten yet, I think taking him out would be a good idea but it’s a wet and miserable day, I’m not sure where we would go. He has absolutely no interest in his own toys today, finding amusement in anything/everything that is highly unsuitable/dangerous. 

I can’t decide if he’s tired (all hell broke loose when I put him into bed) if he’s teething or if he’s just decided to be monumental bum hole today. 

Either way, I shall continue my day, as public enemy number one. 

Please send ear plugs. 

In other news:

Yesterday, Wills thought it acceptable to smack Captain with that sodding loo brush!

Winter is here apparently, slightly peeved we didn’t have a summer in between…

My summer house has been erected (tee hee) I just need a couple of days sans rain so I can paint it (it’s never going to get painted).

Sorting myself out.

It’s safe to say, from my previous post that I was a having a wobble of monumental proportions. I have been struggling recently with work pressures, trying to be a good mum, trying to keep my house clean and trying to not hate my body. And I’ve realised that because of being so wrapped up in thinking about how I’m failing, I’ve missed a lot of good things. 

When I feel down, I bring everything else down too. I can’t help it, the world suddenly becomes tinged with grey. I couldn’t handle William’s behaviour even though I was probably the cause of it. Babies are perceptive. It’s probably why he was so clingy. 

Yesterday I had a glorious afternoon with my son. I worked in the morning and managed to hand over a project to my boss. This thing has been the bain of my life for a few weeks so it feels great not to have to think about it for a bit! When I picked him up from my mum’s he was engrossed in watching a pigeon in the garden. He pointed with his chubby little arm and was mumbling ‘kitty’ (everything is either kitty or mummy at the moment). I could see prints all over the window from where he’d been studying this weird creature in NannyGran’s garden.  We got home and we played. We danced,  he ‘helped’ with the washing by taking clothes off the airer and putting them back into the machine. He played with two empty milk cartons he’d pulled out of the recycling box. You should have seen the sheer delight on his face! He cuddled me, he squeezed the cat (we’re still working on cat handling). We had fun. He laughed a lot. I don’t think I can put into words what the sound of his laughter means to me, I have special sounds, ones that make me feel warm inside, Wills laugh, Hubs saying my name and the cats with their surprisingly loud snoring. 

I couldn’t help but think how many times do I get so wrapped up in how I’m feeling that I miss what’s going on around me? 

We’ve had a busy morning today, so busy Will clambered onto my lap and fell asleep. It feels like such a long time since he’s done that. In the early days that’s what we did, he slept, I held him. That doesn’t happen anymore, instead I have a little boy who sprinkles cat biscuits all over the house, plays with the recycling, takes his socks off and shoves them under my nose, pulls the sodding carpet up and permanently changes the TV settings by playing with the remote. And it’s bloody brilliant! 

So, my wee man, my dearest darling boy: you be you. In all your cat-biscuit-eating, weeing- all-over -your monkey, following -mummy-around-crying glory! Because no matter how tired/sad/inadequate mummy might feel sometimes you really can make it all go away xXx

In other news: 

William heard the cat flap go and said ‘KITTY’. I may have mentioned this before, but super proud!

William can say ‘Mummy’ this would be more flattering if he didn’t insist on calling EVERYTHING mummy. 

It’s that wonderful time of year when Marms starts going baldy again. Just in time for winter…

Not all fun and games.

One of more bizarre questions I was asked as a very new parent was ‘Do you enjoy being a mum?’ A standard reply was something along the lines of I hadn’t decided yet owing to the fact I hadn’t had him for very long.

If I had been asked that question today the answer would have been a resounding NO. You see today Wills has acted in a way he has NEVER acted before. It involved screaming inconsolably every time I wasn’t in his eye line, or I was in his eye line but I wasn’t holding him. As a human being with functioning ears, I don’t enjoy the sound of a baby crying. I also like to wee without a child on my lap. I like to walk about freely without a child clinging to my legs. I like to apply make-up without a child on my lap. Today was a day that pretty much revolved round stuff I don’t like.

It was a poor start, he woke up crying. I retrieved him and nipped to the loo, he followed me wailing like an air-raid siren. A short while later he pooed. Put his hands in the poo, around about the same time he was kicking hell out of my boobs, saw a big lump on poo on his finger and attempted to put finger in his mouth.

Cue the machine gun no: NONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONONO,

I grabbed the arm with the offending poo finger, he began to cry after all what sort of bitch stops him eating his own crap? Had to get the assistance of my heavily pregnant sister, to keep offending poo finger out of his mouth whilst I attempted to remove all the poo caked round his bum.

He remained clingy. Extremely clingy. And the crying. Good grief. Before I had a baby I vowed that I’d never let my child be sad. That as soon as I saw their lip quiver, I would hold them, cuddle them, reassure them by just being there.

A prime example of some of the fucking moronic ideas I had about parenting before I became one. I had cuddled him, I had tried being soothing but I’m tired. I want to be left alone, I want him to stop standing on my bloody feet. I want a cup of tea in peace. Today that was not on his agenda.

We visited my cousin ( ? Her Grandma is my great-Aunt) who had baked us some truly delicious cakes for afternoon tea. This was lovely but a problem when a mother at the very end of her tether, a mummy to a four month old and a heavily pregnant woman with a lively two year old get together, is that most of the time we’re so exhausted/hormonal/sleep deprived we don’t really have a fucking clue what we’re talking about. I think we had about 17 half conversations on the go. So we’ve had a catch up but probably couldn’t tell you anything we’ve ‘caught up’ on. Apparently we shouldn’t expect that to improve any time soon.

My cousin(?) Katy has a dog. I can’t remember the breed (Yorkshire terrier?) but it’s tiny. Wills likes it. Except today. When he screamed. I’d pick him up. He’d point at the dog chatter to it, wiggle to get down. Follow dog. Dog would then see her new friend, get excited, jumping and licking would ensue, son would cry blue bloody murder again. Having said that, he was fairly quiet at Katy’s house he was busy eating his food off the floor. I tried a feeble intervention but my fallopian tubes were busy tying themselves in knots and quite frankly I didn’t want to stop them.

Afternoon tea over we faced the task of trying to get a two and one year old in the car. The two year old wanted to sit in the front (the driver’s seat), she is also terribly independent and we’d learnt, (to our cost) that she likes to ‘do the big step’ into the car by herself. SHE MOST DEFINATLY DOES NOT WANT LIFTING INTO THE CAR. However, actually doing the big step into the car, takes a long time. A very long time.

After dropping off my sister and my niece and enjoying some less-clingy William, I headed home. Got home to find hubs mowing the lawn. Wills continued to be clingy.

To cut a long story short I *might* have lost my temper (I did) whilst my poor mother-in-law was on FaceTime, trying to talk to her balling grandson, snapped at hubs (who was actually trying to help but I’d gone ‘rage blind’ and considered all the enemy) and stormed off into the house. (Slamming the door behind me).

Once in the house I spoke to my little boy in a manner that suggested I was absolutely fine and I had not marched off in a temper (OSCAR worthy performance, BTW) and popped him in the bath. Of course he cried when I put him down to turn the taps on, then ran off with his shampoo and his dad’s shower gel.

We made the sounds for his letters whilst he was in the bath. He concentrates so hard on the foam letter stuck to the side of the bath, I sound it out, he turns, grins at me and occasionally he will try to make the sound I’m making (most successful is the ‘zzz’ sound) (kudos for me for refraining from ‘P P P Pissed off’ and suchlike). I calmed down a lot until the cats started YET ANOTHER fight. Not quite sure why I’m paying an arm and a leg for a Feliway plug in, they’re still being wankers.

Anyway, the boy is in bed, his trusty monkey tucked under his arm. Hubs has poured me a wine and is cooking in the kitchen (I suspect partly to keep away from his moody and irrational wife). The ball of fury in my stomach is slowly dissipating, and I’m hoping to wake up a more balanced and reasonable individual. (And convince the MIL her son hasn’t married a psycho…)

In other news:

The washing machine is broken.

The cats have left two dead birds in the house and two on that lawn. (Fuckers)

I have a very exciting unicorn pad for work.

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.

 

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.