Thursday, 23 July 2015

A day in the life - looking back

While undertaking a bit of housekeeping on my email account I stumbled across a draft blog entry I was working on in January!  January!  Have I been so busy that I never got it finished?  To be honest I don't even remember writing it which shows just how exhausted I've been.

While I don't remember writing it, as I read it, I'm struck by how little has actually changed except I've learnt to cope with the exhaustion and I actually somehow fit in a full time job on top of everything else.

"During the night, the baby who can't yet crawl out of his cotbed somehow ended up in my bed. Of course I must have carried him, yet I have no recollection. Hardly surprising given that after nearly ten months of feeding my baby every 2/3 hours day and night means I hardly sleep.


I woke at 0603 to a wrigglebum, rudely awakened by a foot in my mouth swiftly followed by a baby on my chest and his fingers exploring my teeth.  As I open one eye I find my little monster baring all 6 of his shiny teeth at me and laughing very loudly.

He immediately starts grabbing at my cosy warm blanket seeking his morning feed and I cuddle him in with me and close my eyes for another ten minutes.  No sooner have I started to doze and he's off like a rocket, taking half my nipple with him.  He stops to stare at the TV as he waits for it to magically burst into it's wonderful life if moving pictures and weird and wonderful characters that babies seem to love.

It doesn't really hold his attention and the next hour or so is spent changing his nappy and trying to entertain him with my glasses case and hairbrush, while preventing him from throwing himself off the bed and not eating my moisturiser.

About 8am and after another feed it's time for everyone to get up. I need caffeine, lots of it.

The art of multi tasking and timekeeping kicks in as I boil the kettle for coffee, make the baby's breakfast, set up his high chair, prevent him from pulling everything off the coffee table, deliver coffee to the half asleep boyfriend and serve breakfast for all three of us at the same time.

It still amazes me how much I can get done in five minutes now. As I scoff my toast I encourage the baby with his shreddies and discourage him from throwing the milk all over me.  We have a busy day ahead of us and I take the opportunity to leave him with his dad while I make myself look human and scrabble for clean clothes for me, and have the hard decision of which of his many gorgeous outfits to dress him in.

When I return downstairs the wee man is in his highchair very proud of how much milk he has poured on himself and my sofa and laughs at my big sigh.

I clean up the breakfast things, empty the dishwasher, reload the dishwasher and prep Wrigglebum's lunch to take out with us.

I return to the living room to say goodbye to my other half as he leaves for work and look around at all the toys the baby has managed to pull out in such a short space of time.

He stands in front of me trying to climb up my legs and I pick him up. He's in a very giggly mood so we spend ten minutes dancing around the room while singing all his favourite songs. His delight is obvious with his laughter.

I need to get his bag packed for the day though and get him dressed. As I put him on the floor the tiredness hits him and he starts crying and shouting at me. It's now 10am and he's been awake 4 hours.  I quickly dress him and get his bag packed and try to encourage him to have a short nap before we're picked up at 1045. He's not playing the game and instead just wants to play with his toys while moaning at me.

I sort the dogs food and put her in her kennel and make sure we have everything we need for the day. Wrigglebum appears at the stairgate shaking it furiously and crying. He really needs to sleep. As I sit on the sofa he crawls to my lap and pulls down my top for a feed.  My friend is due in 5 minutes. His timing is great.
As he takes in his feed he starts to drift off to sleep so I text my friend suggesting she lets herself into the house and we may be late setting off.  He feeds for another 15 minutes and only stops when he realises there's other people there.

Within ten minutes he has his coat on and the car is loaded and off we go.  The 20 minute journey is loaded with the usual talk of babies, relationships and poo, with the occasional snippet of talk of a fun weekend with cake and alcohol. Ahhh!

We arrive at the swimming pool and begin the juggling act of getting baby and I changed for the pool. It takes several minutes just to find a cubicle with baby changing facilities.

We spend an hour in the pool singing songs,  splashing and jumping in off the side.  Today he learns he can hang of the side of the pool and float in the water,  he finds this hilarious. After an hour he's starting to get grumpy, he's tired,  cold and hungry.  A dangerous combination.

Back in the changing room as he sits on the changing table, I try to get him warm and dry but he decides is more important to feed.  Somehow I manage to get him undressed, wrapped in a towel without him unlatching from his boob. He's a crazy baby.

We're eventually both dressed and he's yelling at me for his lunch.  I load him in the pram and pile the bags on top and head for the lift to go back upstairs.  The lift is broken. FFS. There's a bit of swearing. I'm quite proud that I've made it to 1245 without swearing to be fair.

I arrive in the cafe, puffing and panting even though Wrigglebum is still laughing at the fun of being bumped up the stairs step by step.

It takes me a few minutes to get him settled into a highchair with his lunch. My friend and I decide to treat ourselves to a dirty cheeseburger for lunch. The cafe staff smile as they tell me they've stopped serving food. No lunch for this mamma.

After Wrigglebum has finished his peanut butter sandwich and fruit, we battle with traffic to get me to my next appointment.  This one is for me for a change. A local girl has been looking for people to help build her portfolio for her new business as a mobile beautician.  I spend the next half hour having my makeup done. It's the first time in nearly 10 months that I've looked human , the eye bags are gone, but nothing can hide the deep wrinkles.
The day is far from over as I have errands to run in town. Thankfully we only have to wait a few minutes in the wind for the bus to town. We haven't actually used the bus much and Wrigglebum still thinks it's very exciting. He spends the journey waving at me and shouting at everyone else.

The weather is pretty grim and I race around to get the things we need and hurry home. It's only a ten minute walk home but with the swimming bags and the shopping it's a bit harder battling the wind and I'm knackered by the time we get home. Note to myself, don't buy a house at the top of the hill next time.

It's nearly 4pm and the little one is tired but refusing to sleep. He takes a feed and I hope it will help him have a nap but not today.

I leave him with his toys while I put the shipping and the pram away and make a start on his tea.  As I missed lunch I make enough for both of us, while also making a list of what I still need to do before sleep can claim me... the washing up, walk the dog, hoover, put the pots away,load the washing machine, put the clothes away, I'm sure I've forgotten something important."

Debating for tea

Since the arrival of little legs, his dad and I frequently argue. We've never been ones for arguments and drama, but the arrival of little legs impacted in a way we never predicted.

We probably argue every day, usually late evening after little legs has gone to bed.  It always starts the same way, "Make a cuppa."

The debate is the same everytime. Who's the most tired? Who's the most stressed out? Who's had the least sleep? (I win that one) Who works the hardest? It goes on and on. Eventually one of us (me) gets up and just makes the tea. I obviously don't care enough who makes the damn tea otherwise I'd refuse, maybe I just like the drama :)

It amuses me that while we disagree on lots of things we never really argue per se, but the making the tea argument is a regular!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

My baby is growing up.

I'm not a mum who uses an instruction manual.  Nothing against other mums who read books on what happens when,  and how to do such and such, and what baby 'should' be doing etc... I guess my philosophy is that babies do things when they're ready and you should just be there to support them and enable them to do things safely,  securely and in a loving environment.

Oscar is almost 14 months and has increasingly been fighting me at nappy changes. Since he found his running away skills he practices them at every opportunity.  I can be regularly seen chasing a semi naked baby with a nappy in his hand around the house while he giggles like a loon.

More recently he's been coming up to me and then squatting down. This has been followed by the well known Eau de Pooh. Since he's started communicating when he's doing this I decided to introduce the concept of a potty.

Obviously I have no idea how anyone else does this, and it doesn't matter,  I'm working on the basis of what works for us.

My thinking was that I would just let him see the potty and take it into the bathroom while I use the loo and give him opportunity to copy.  On a whim last night as I got him ready for bed I showed him the potty and pretended to sit on it. He immediately wanted to do the same. So I stripped him and let him sit down. He happily sat and played with his toys. Within a minute the smell arrived. It's very sad how excited I was,  ha ha!

A little later I said to D that actually as much as I'm proud of him,  I'm so sad my baby is growing up. This morning,  on reflection, I've realised that this is just one of many things he will do on his life and rather than 'miss' my baby I need to focus on enjoying the experience and watching the boy he is becoming.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The reality of a working mum

When I returned to work I was frequently asked how I was coping with someone else looking after Oscar.  I found this a little strange to be honest.  Before I returned to work we had researched our local childcare options,  visited establishments,  talked to staff,  looked at Ofsted reports and asked all the questions we could think of that mattered. We chose a nursery that felt like a home,  like a family and that I considered to be safe,  supportive and best for developing Oscar in the way that I would do if I had that luxury.

So the answer to the question is that I have no worries about his care.  Am I happy with someone else looking after him?  Well that's a completely different question.

I wish that I could afford to spend more time with him. I've already reduced my hours and condensed them across 4 days in order that I get a whole day in the middle of the week with him.  It's not enough though.  I want to be spending time with him when he's not tired,  when he doesn't just want me for my boobs ha ha! I want to be able to catch those milestones.  It doesn't seem fair to me that I grew him for 9 months,  nurtured him, gave birth to him,  kept him alive and developed him this far into the cheeky character that he is,  for someone else to then see him take his first steps,  say his first words and give other people who are paid to care for him those hugs and kisses when he wakes from his nap.

I do feel resentful, but what alternative is there?  It's not reasonable to expect an employer to fund my desire to be a mum, and I can't expect the Government or the tax payer to pay for my choice to have a family. But I do think employers could do more to allow parents to find that balance between family and work.

I know I'm lucky in that my employer has a decent maternity package, allowed me to change my working pattern and has flexible working hours. But that's a rarity. I count my blessings I'm able to leave work early when I need to, that I can get a tax break in my childcare, but,  if I'm honest,  I'm pinning my hopes on a big lottery win :-D

Friday, 24 April 2015

I'm still alive

I've been back to work now since 26 January and it's had a massive impact on my life. In some ways the impact has been harder than the impact of Oscar entering our world.

When I thought about returning to work I always knew it would mean I'd need to be organised but I thought I'd manage it quite well.

Honestly? I've not managed it half as well as I hoped to. I had uhhmed and ahhed about how many hours a week I should work and decided to only lose 3 hours a week but manage to have every Wednesday off by working 0830-1730 on the other days. Sounds good right?

Hmm this means I have to have little legs at nursery by 0810 at the latest. Some days he doesn't like to wake up before 0745, which means there's barely enough time to change his nappy and dress him, never mind give him a feed and breakfast and clean his teeth. Definitely no time to brush his hair. That's pointless anyway as short of washing it, I'll never get it to stay down.

The reality is that he gets woken up about 0715, he whines and grumbles while I get ready and then I do what I can with him before we have to go. I'm pretty good at finishing work on time and I collect him from my mum's house. She's usually done a pretty good job of entertaining/distracting him until I get there. But by the time I get to him, he's knackered.

Since he has his tea at half 3 at nursery and it's 6pm by the time we get home, it's a mad rush to give him some supper, bath and get him ready for bed. It's especially hard when he doesn't want to go to bed as he hasn't seen me all day and just wants to feed, cuddle and play. It's all I want to do too, but it can't happen. Initially I wasn't getting him to sleep until after 9 and he refused to use his cot. Now I can get him down for about half 8 and on a good day I get a couple of hours out of him before he wakes demanding my company.

I often find my thoughts drifting to how I'd love a second child.  I honestly would but I know in my heart of hearts it won't happen by choice.

I enjoy going to work and couldn't imagine not going to work at least three times a day.  Childcare is expensive but I'd be worse off financially if I had a second child.  Either the childcare bills would cripple us, or I'd have to give up work and the outcome would be the same.

Some days I'm fairly OK with my lot  but a lot of the time I miss little legs and I'm sad that I miss out on his milestones and don't get to be the one to say, "he's started doing xyz today ".

He's now walking (and falling), trying to talk to us all the time and I get so little time with him to really appreciate it.  The short time I do get with him though is so precious, some nights I sit and stare at him as he drifts to sleep and I'm amazed. He's such a cheeky character and so inquisitive.

As I left work tonight I resolved to really enjoy my weekend amd just do what I can. Sod tj housework. Little legs are only little for such a short time.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

D-Day -1

Today should be a lazy Sunday,  chilling out with my family, enjoying a visit from Nanny and cooking a scrumptious Sunday dinner and enjoying time with my baby.

Today however is not that day

Today I feel sad, I feel cross and I feel very, very crappy.

Today I need to tackle the mountain of washing and actually hoover for the first time in a time that is too long to be respectable. Today I need to iron clothes and hang them up. Today I need to plan ahead mine and Oscar's outfits for tomorrow.  Today I need to prep my lunch and my evening meal for the next day.

Today is the day before I return to work.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Tough times

As I stop and think on how tough this week has been, I also realise just how lucky I am.

This week I've barely left the house, I've physically spoken to very few people. There are a number of reasons for this, but the most stressful part has been a very grumpy, whingey, unsettled, hard to please 9 month old.

I can honestly count on one hand how many days I have felt I wanted a do over since he came into our world.  But this week I have wanted bedtime to arrive within an hour of waking up every single day. Every single day.

It's definitely been a shit week, with tiny moments of joy brought about from the wonderful humorous messages received from friends and the rare toothy grins and kisses from the wrigglebum.

But, despite the shittiness (yes that is a real word), I'm incredibly lucky. He's 9 and a half months old and it's taken this long to have a week like this.  I don't know why he's been like this, and I never will, but it's wonderful to have made it this far with a sunny smiley and content baby with no health problems who brings joy to my day, every single day.  Every single day.  That's amazing.

He's moving on to a whole new chapter in his life soon,  a chapter which will see him become even more independent, which will see him go from strength to strength.  I will miss seeing him do this as I need to return to work.  It makes me sad that I may miss out on so many 'firsts'. But... I remind myself during this tough time...

I'M SO LUCKY.