Sunday, 8 November 2015
Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, Always have done, but as the years go by I'm becoming increasingly disappointed with how materialistic it has become.
This year we've spent a grand total of £30 on our little one, but the money is irrelevant. We've chosen small things which he will get so much enjoyment out of and more importantly we can play with together, and spend time together with, as a family.
My memories of Christmas as a child were all about the family. Spending time together, playing laughing and caring for each other. I can still remember the build up to Christmas, buying the tree together, decorating it and singing the Christmas Tree song. Dad would
make his Rum Baba(?), and mum would be in charge in the kitchen cooking up a storm. I can remember helping in the kitchen, although this was probably actually limited to fighting with my brothers over who licked the spoon, and who got the bowl!
Christmas day itself was a morning of opening presents, and getting dressed up in our Christmas Day clothes before heading over to my Grandparents where the whole family would meet up to exchange gifts, drink coffee and eat too many sweets. We'd all return to our own homes for Christmas Day dinner. Poor mum would be stuck in the kitchen putting together a feast, Dad was in charge of distributing the sherry and lighting the Christmas Pudding. Afterwards there would be a brief spell of just lounging around, playing with our Christmas presents, occasionally playing outside with the neighbourhood kids, before helping mum lay out the table for the Christmas tea.
The family descended to ours in the evening. In a good way, it always felt so much longer than an evening. I can remember me and my cousin disappearing upstairs to put our make up on and do our nails, giggling and laughing and feeling super grown up. Running from room to room, annoying the boys. There was always a board game that the whole family would sit around and play. Particularly memorable was my eldest brother's game of Pass The Pigs, with hilarious consequences.
These days it seems to be spent travelling from house to house, a constant exchange of gifts, constant scheduling and arranging, trying to fit in seeing everyone. A day of rushing, and not enough playing. Checking what we've got and rushing to the sales to buy the things we didn't get. By the time Christmas is over a holiday is needed to get over it.
I want the Christmas of Christmas Past. I want it to be about sharing the love, spending time with people we care about, eating too many sweets, and playing lots and lots of games.
Bring back Christmas Past I say, bring back the fun and the laughter, forget about how much has been spent and who received what. Focus on the family and friends we're proud to call our family. Nothing else matters.
Sunday, 27 September 2015
Take this for example, when he wakes up from his nap, I can almost guarantee that I will say something along the lines of "Hello, gorgeous, did you enjoy your nap?" When he sees his dad, he will probably call him"mate", as in, "Hello mate!" and start trying to play with him. The way his dad and I refer to him is very different and is probably more about our language and communication styles.
Then we have pet names. I can't even tell you where they all came from, how they all started, but each and everyone of them makes me smile, especially when he recognises them as him.
The first one was probably by my lovely mate who took his initials and called him Ogl. Sometimes we vary it and he has Ogl Sprogl. The most frequently used is "Poo", and many variations of this. We also have Oscasaurus as a result of a gift from his Nanny and that just stuck.
Before he was born, he was Wrigglebum, and that has stuck, he's still a wrigglebum now and can't sit still for more than 2 minutes.
His dad has a number of other things he uses but they're not very polite so I won't repeat them here - ha ha!
How many different names is your little one known by?
Thursday, 17 September 2015
Anyway, the reason I lost weight initially was because I always worried that if I had a child I would struggle to keep up with him if I was overweight. I wanted to make a huge change for the better. Once I discovered I was pregnant I was even more determined and monitored my weight while pregnant just to make sure I wasn't gaining more than I needed to.
Then Oscar arrived, also known as LAD (Life After Delivery), and I had lovely new mummy friends. We never went too far, and get togethers invariably involved lunch out somewhere, and quite often cake.
I got back into some really bad habits, and apart from walking places, my exercise just went out the window. LAD was very chilled and I stopped being bothered about my size. My amazing body was feeding my baby and that was all I cared about.
Then I returned to work and all those leisurely lunches and coffee mornings stopped. Oh, yes, everything goes back to normal right? Nope. Work is full of goodies and work doesn't fulfil me like being at home spending time with the wee boy, and I'm forever distracting myself with food, cakes, sweets and crisps. Whatever I can grab to be honest.
Combine that with being super tired all the time, never exercising and eating rubbish at home, I'm starting to resemble a blimp again.
Trouble is I have no idea how to motivate myself again. I need a goal, I need a plan.
Until I work it out, you'll find me in the corner eating cake.
Thursday, 23 July 2015
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Wednesday, 7 January 2015
I remember before I went on maternity leave I had ideas about what I would do during my time off and how when I returned to work I would be in such a great routine that everything would run seamlessly.
Er.. No. Quite the opposite, I have a baby who hates naps, unless he sleeps on you and doesn't particularly like sleeping at night. I somehow manage to fit in (just about) mealtimes, and attending appts and play sessions. Housework? Don't be ridiculous, my son is incredibly lucky, and I'm incredibly surprised that he has clean clothes to wear every day. There have been occasions where I realised I was dressing him in his last set of clean clothes and the panic washing and drying without a tumble dryer has begun.
When I return to work in 2 and a half weeks I'm either going to fall apart or become super efficient.
Place your bets!
One thing I have decided to do is try and focus on quick, easy and healthy meals. So the slow cooker is going to see some action, but as my other half isn't a fan of casseroles etc, I also need to look at quick meals that I can do on the stove and under the grill. Man cannot live on sandwiches and omelette. Well he could but I wouldn't be very happy.
Got to.go, another baby appointment to get to!