Sunday, 16 July 2017

The life of a toddler

Toddlers and pre-schoolers... they really know how to have fun huh? No inhibitions, no responsibilities, no thought to what others may be thinking. They see things in a completely unique and innocent way.

This is what happens when you take 3 year olds to Centre Square in Middlesbrough.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Putting a smile on a face

Picture the scene.... You had a lovely weekend with your family and Monday came round far too quick.  You do battle too early on a morning with your pre-schooler getting him ready for nursery.  Try to explain without any success just why he has to go to nursery and Mummy and Daddy need to go to work, the never ending series of “Why?” questions for every answer you give.  Drop off at nursery results in him clinging to you like a limpet and wailing, fearing he’ll never see you again.

You arrive at work looking like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards because you forgot to brush your hair and only applied mascara to one eye because the monstrous pre-schooler stopped you halfway through your makeup routine demanding you wipe his bottom.

You struggle through Monday at work fuelled purely by coffee and the promise of a Gin & Tonic (or three) when you get home.

You pick your child up from nursery on the way home to more screams and cries that you’re “not Grandma” – cheers for that just can’t win!

As you pull up outside your house, every fibre of your being is hoping and praying that your little one is going to just crash to bed early so you can just sit on the sofa staring at the TV, only to start the whole process again in the morning.

But... what if... what if someone put a little something in your day that just made you realise how much you’re appreciated.  What if you could walk into your house and see something which just breaks through all the tears, the tantrums and instantly makes you smile?

I was recently asked by Prestige Flowers to review their flowers.  I received a delivery of flowers from their Anniversary range which came in a protective box.  I don’t know who was more excited to see the box, O, or me!  

We opened the box and lifted out the flowers.
To our surprise the delivery also included a vase to hold the flowers (which was just the right size), and a small box of truffles.  The truffles were to die for, even if I had to share them with O!

Instructions for looking after the flowers were easy to understand and included food for the flowers to help them last.  

A week later the flowers were still beautiful.  They lasted a full two weeks before we sadly needed to say goodbye to them.

These particular flowers are currently £25 on and represent fantastic value for money for someone important in your life.  They certainly brought sjoy to our lives, and relieved the Monday blues of a zombie a working mum.

Monday, 12 June 2017

I remember...

I remember being able to eat what I wanted when I wanted.
I remember being able to have a pee without an audience.
I remember when every square of chocolate was mine to be savoured.
I remember a bottle of red on a Friday night.
I remember being able to lie in on a weekend.
I remember being able to just go out for the day without thinking about having to get home and cook meals and put little legs to bed.
I remember the way you announced your arrival into our life as though you'd just been holding your breath to meet us.
I remember panicking we wouldn't be enough for you.
I remember your baby breath.
I remember your first windy smile.
I remember the recognition in your eyes when you saw our faces.
I remember when the only thing you needed was cuddles in the middle of the night.
I remember the first time you slept in your own room.
I remember all the giggles at our own little jokes.
I remember the feeling of astonishment  (on a daily basis) that we made you.
I remember being so proud of your first wobbly steps.
I remember the rainy days snuggled up with you.
I remember your first day at nursery.
I remember your "I love you"s.
I remember all your "I missed you"s.

Everyday brings me something else to remember,  something else to treasure.  I remember my old life. I don't miss my old life.  I love you, I treasure you.  You are my life.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Family Time

This year I was lucky enough to be able to take O away for two little holidays.  I was going to talk about all the lovely things we did as a family while we were away, but instead what has struck me since we returned is just how much we need family time.  O had nearly 3 weeks out of nursery and boy did he need it.  Before his holiday it was becoming a struggle to get him into nursery and every day seemed to begin and end with tears.  After his holiday he has retained his happy holiday demeanour for the most part but I can see things starting to slide as we return to normality.

Since I returned from holiday I’ve found myself in a distinct slump.  My work isn’t appealing to me at all, every day feels like such an effort and all I want is to see my cheeky monkey and give my Other Half a big cuddle.  I’ve found I’m missing my family.

Our weekends which should be family time invariably gets taken up with running around shops, carrying out errands, and trying to fit in all the things we “need” to do, and very little of what we “want” to do.  Of course we’re not millionaires so couldn’t do everything we wanted to do regardless, but we sure could spend more time together actually enjoying one another’s company.

The holiday gave O much needed time out of nursery and makes me feel guilty that he is in nursery 5 days a week.  I’d love it if D and I could both reduce our hours and get more time with him.  I’m sure O would like that too.  Too much time together is wasted not just because of all the things we have to do, but because quite frankly we’re knackered!

I don’t know what the solution is, but I know that I’m going to make much more effort to get us up and out on a weekend, prioritise the smiles, the laughter and the quality time.  O needs that, he deserves that, and so do D and I. 

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Little House of Horror

We live in a little house. A tiny house in fact. We share it with a complete horror. A massive horror actually.  The last few weeks his behaviour has become somewhat.... "challenging". I'm being very sweet and trying not to refer to him as a tiny arsehole but he has actually been a giant pain in the ass.

This last week his behaviour has ramped up and we started to receive reports of him being rude at nursery and disruptive. Well he IS 3, is to be expected really! But no it's not acceptable.  As soon as we got home on Friday we made a sticker chart for rewards. We agreed he wouldn't get the batteries he need for his remote control car until the first row was complete on his chart.

Tonight he got his batteries. He lost and gained stickers like a binge eater at fat club over the last two days but he got there.  He's had some super cute moments too but the horror moments are proving hard to take.

I'm currently debating what his next "reward" should be, or whether in fact after tonight's escapade should result in the loss of his batteries.  He snuck downstairs for his step and then stole chocolate while I was drying my hair and he was supposed to be in bed. While cross with him I can't help but be a bit proud at how much he used his initiative and problem solved all by himself.

This is currently him refusing to go to sleep...

Friday, 21 April 2017

What did you just say?

Too often in the past Oscar has excitedly repeated the slurs his Daddy can't help throwing at other drivers on the road.

Not usually a matter for hilarity but tonight on the way home as his Daddy shouted out quite loudly,  Oscar yelled it out for extra effect.  Thankfully Daddy's "Knobhead" comment became, "Get to bed!".

Yep we won't be correcting that one.  Quite funny but not as funny as "Cock knee!" Yeah maybe I'll tell you about that one some time but I still can't tell it without wetting myself a little!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Sunday Funday

As two working parents of a 3 year old it's important to us to make sure that we have fun on our weekends. Of course being full time working parents with no family childcare options we also have  a lack of spare funds due to full time nursery costs. (His nursery is fab and worth every penny!) It's essential our weekend plans are as cheap as possible.

Yesterday was easy as we bundled our pride and joy off with his Nanny for the day to go to a family friend's birthday party. He greeted us in the evening with smiles, rosy cheeks, tired eyes and filthy hands and feet. Sign of a good day in my book!

Today, the sun was shining and the boy wanted to play on his bike.  We don't live in a great area to be fair and the local park is always busy.  We packed supplies and headed to a quiet park the other side of town. I'm not sure who had the most fun!

Daddy having a rest

Afterwards we weren't ready to go home, not on such a nice day.  We decided it was time to spend a little bit of cash but not too much of course! Oscar got to choose and he decided to opt for the ice cream farm. Otherwise known as Archers which has the most delicious ice creams at a reasonable price with some calves for the little one to get excited about.  I think the highlight was probably watching a cow have a massive poo. He's obsessed with poos! Combined with more running around in the kid's play area the 3 year old was sparko within 5 minutes in the car.

A great day out in the sunshine. Love family days like this.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Better late than never

Years ago I used to go to a well known fat club.  One particular day after another disastrous week and yet another gain I broke into tears.  Yeah yeah I hear you.  I was one of "those" people. The ones who sob because they ate a giant kebab and chips with extra garlic sauce the day before weigh in and then freaked out because they'd gained half a pound.

Except I wasn't.  I had my ups and downs but generally didn't put too much pressure on myself.  I had a great social life and if I gained weight that was ok because I'd enjoyed myself and would pull it back the next week. Ilost a great amount slowly and steadily. The reason I got so upset this particular time was because my consultant asked me to tell her what my reason for being there was.

For my child of course.  The child I didn't have.  The one I didn't know if would have.  The one I  desperately wanted.  The one I wanted to chase around the playground.  The one I wanted to jump up and down on the trampoline with. The one I wanted to take mountain biking.

Not long after that I was pregnant.  I actually continued going because I didn't want to gain too much weight and I wanted to be the fittest, healthiest parent I could be.

Fast forward 4 years and I'm the biggest I've ever been.  I've become complacent.  Lazy. Making excuses.

I now ache like a complete bitch after finally doing the exercise DVD I bought 3 years ago.  It's only 20 minutes but it killed me.

But it's a start.  Better late than never I will be a fit parent.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Be true to yourself

Yesterday was no different to any other day. Yet to Oscar there was one thing which clearly stood out to him. As usual when I picked him up from nursery there was a gaggle of kids (I'm pretty sure that's the official collective noun) gathering around me, firing off 120 questions. There was no surprise from me when one little girl pointed at me and spouted the typical toddler question, "What's that?"

I checked myself wondering what it could be. My work pass dangling from my pocket? My birthmark on show? My hearing aids peeping from under my hair? My blue/ green (not quite so mermaid anymore) hair? Nope. Nothing so obvious to me.

As she pointed again towards my face I realised it was my nose ring. There was no judgment, no distaste,  just simple childhood innocent curiosity.

I never gave it another thought until this morning as I was getting ready for work.  Oscar was helping me and passing me things I needed.
Oscar: "Take that off Mummy."
Mummy: "Take what off?"
Oscar: "Earring Mummy"

As I removed my earrings...
Oscar: "No that one Mummy" and tapped his nose.
Mummy: "Why? Do you not like it?"
Oscar: "No Mummy"

Now I don't know how he really feels about it at all to be honest but I do know he's never expressed any interest in it before. Needless to say I didn't take it off.  It's important he realised that we are all individuals and we can wear what we want, how we want to.

I have a whole rainbow of hair colours as we go through the year, my wardrobe is less than fashionable and I have a nose ring.  I'm not outrageous by any means but I am individual. I don't care what society says or expects of me I will always be true to myself.

Oscar's World Book Day costume was not my best effort but it was the best I could manage today.  As a last ditch effort I used my best black mascara and drew in a Batman mask on his face. He was immediately happy even though it was patchy and uneven.  He was happy and that's all that mattered. Lots of other kids had shop bought costumes.  I didn't see a single home made outfit.  Oscar had a minor panic and wanted me to take his mask off but there was no time.  When I picked him up tonight I asked if he had a good time.  He beamed from ear to ear.  I asked if any other kids had a Batman mask like his.  Nope. "Was that OK?", "Of course Mummy!" And off he whooshed with his smudged face and his cape flying high. My beautiful boy doing it his way in his own unique style.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Self care

Sometimes I find myself thinking I really need to take better care of myself. In every sense, physically, mentally and emotionally.

We each have different standards - different levels of what we consider to be awful, ok, good, and fucking awesome.

When I think back to pre-baby I was far better at that self care. I was slimmer, fitter, healthier, enjoyed going out, made time for my hobbies, my relationship, friends and family, and really took pride in my appearance. Each of these things contributed to me being happy as a whole.

Now? It's a good day if I actually apply some mascara before I go to work. It's a good day if I make it to 10pm without poking someone in the eye (only in my mind!)

In part it's because I am no longer my priority, my son is of course. But mostly if I'm truthful it’s because I've became lazy and complacent.

Today I resolve to make a change. I have already started with some little things. I have begun making time for my hobbies again and I've started taking better care and interest in my surroundings.

Next on the agenda is taking the time to care more about my appearance. That means eating better and doing more than just a swipe of moisturiser and mascara before I head out of the door.

What does your self care look like?

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Time to "relax"

One thing I've come to realise is that I can never truly relax. Even when I'm granted time to myself it gets taken up with errands and jobs that I've been putting to one side because I can't do them with a toddler clinging to me. Days off are full of things I need to get done and the pressure of completing them before it's time to pick the toddler up.

Even then life has a wonderful way of getting in the way of plans. Take this week for example.  I booked this week off work to do decorating Monday and Tuesday, declutter the house Wednesday, have estate agents over for photos on Thursday morning and then finally get a couple of days to relax.

So far it looks a bit like this:
Saturday - dropped the toddler off at his Nanny's and reminded ourselves what it was like to not have a child. Totally failed at avoiding talking about our son!

Sunday -despite enjoying the adult only time I was glad to get my toddler home. Quick bit of car shopping before picking him up. Huge eczema breakout on my hands and weirdly my lips tingling...

Monday - OH decided it was too icy to ride his bike to work. Cue manic effort to get toddler ready for nursery and everyone dropped off. In the rush I forgot to look after myself. Dropped everyone off and went to buy supplies for the day of decorating. 20p short in change for parking...grrr... wrangling with registering for online pay to park and I was rescued by a lovely lady who donated £1.20 so I could park and stop a bit longer for a coffee. I gave her a promise to pay it forward. Then went and spent £45 on paint for a house I don't even want to keep. Didn't get a coffee..
After several hours painting and while half way up a ladder the estate agent called and said they were sending someone round on Tuesday to view the house... it's a freaking shit tip of course... lips still tingling...hands calmed down.

Tuesday - Initial plan for painting and decorating the hall and stairs on hold due to impending viewing.  I look like the freaking Joker... lip tingle has spread up both sides of my mouth and skin very sore. Can't go to docs as house is a mess and the viewing is at lunchtime. Viewing done and I get to sit on the sofa for a couple of hours watching crap TV, drinking tea, knitting and eating the toddlers sugar stash. Walk the dog.
Get the toddler home and I have dinner to do with a crabby tired toddler following me everywhere and whining.
Immense bedtime battle with the toddler who finally crashed to sleep at 9.30pm. I was in bed by 10pm.

Wednesday - yes I have a report so far already.  At some point during the night the toddler clambered into bed for boob. For some reason I was convinced it was practically morning so let him.  What feels like several hours of him feeding and being an ass he finally falls asleep next to me and then just as I'm nodding off he pees the bed. Ffs. 5.30am we're up for the day.
1 hour 30 minutes before I can phone the doc. I still have to get the toddler to nursery and he's currently lying naked on the sofa under a blanket half watching Fireman Sam. I suspect he's about to fall asleep.
Bottom lip feels scabby and skin sore... possible impetigo? Hope I get to docs today.

Really loving this relaxing week off (!)

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Like sponges

It's so easy to forget how much children take in.  I am reminded on pretty much a weekly basis though by nursery staff of the delightful (!) and amazing things my son has regaled them with.

For a while it's been his colourful language and swearing. Fucking hell and fucking bastard being two of his favourites.   Thanks Daddy! I suppose I should be grateful he hasn't dropped the c bomb yet.
Then we moved on to his proud exclamations as to the size of his poos. "It was THIS big!!"
Again, thanks Daddy...
But sometimes something your child says makes you proud of them and realise that actually his loud and colourful language can have a positive effect.
One of his little friends proudly told her mummy  during toilet training that she was just like Oscar! Hopefully she wasn't trying to pee standing up or remarking on the size of her poos!
Not sure that today's report of him attempting to perform a cesarean section on another child with a plastic knife was so good though.... 😕 May have to stop watching programmes with surgeons around him for a while....

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Love them and they will grow

Picking my son up tonight I was regaled with his achievements of today. He was so proud and excited it was impossible not to be excited for him.

It got me thinking about how proud I am of him in a daily basis, even on the dark miserable days full of screaming and tantrums.  I make a point of telling him everyday that he is loved and I am proud of him. We celebrate his achievements no matter how small they might appear.  I talk to him about what he's been doing well and all the things he is going to go on and do.

I fill him up with a can do attitude and a desire to work hard. I know he's not even 3 yet but his determination and attitude makes me proud.

Yeah yeah I'm gushing. I'm his mum. I'm allowed!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Early to bed...

It's almost 8pm and I'm snuggled up in bed,  just about ready to doze off. 8pm you say! Why you ask?

Cos my toddler is a freaking asshat! Well he's a toddler you know.  I love him with all my soul but at the minute really is an asshat.

For nearly 3 years I have struggled with sleep deprivation.  He teases me with brief spells of only waking once or twice a night and with a quick boob he's back of to sleep in 10/15 minutes.

And then there's nights like last night.  Never have I stared so intently at the cobwebs on the ceiling to ignore the fact that over an hour has passed since he started crying for me and demanding to go downstairs and watch Bob Builder.  Not at sodding 1am sunshine. Or 2 or 3 either for that matter matey.  At 5am he was physically pulling me outility of bed and I knew there was no sleeping anymore.

I think I managed to grab total of 3 hours broken sleep and then had to go to work.

So unsurprisingly we were both tired tonight and despite his protestations  for just one more mickey he was asleep by 7 tonight.  Well isn't that normal? Yes for most toddlers!

I quickly poured a large gin, ran a super hot bath, picked up a book without pictures and stayed in that bath until my skin was wrinkly and the shade of a beetroot.

I kissed my OH goodnight and now it's time to get an hour or two sleep. For who knows what the asshat has in store for me tonight!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Evacuate the pool - we have a floater!

'They' don't tell you about the awkward 'shituations' you find yourself in when your toddler is just getting used to using the toilet.

In one single day I found myself:
  • scurrying out of a public swimming pool while attempting with my bare hand to stop the poo escaping from his arse (failed)
  • 3 times at a kids party taking said poo bum toddler to the toilet to clean his shitty pants.
  • Realising I'd forgotten the sodding wipes and the bag for the shitty stinking underwear which I hastily shoved in my handbag (thank heavens for compartments although I'm sure everyone who came near me must have thought I'd shit myself)
  • Pointed at my Poohead toddler standing in the middle of the party straining with such concentration to push his poo out and shouted "yep he's mine".
  • Later watching him waddling along and telling another parent he was practising his John Wayne impression.  We were at a fancy dress party after all (shame he was dressed as an elf).
  • Doing the smiling through gritted teeth that every parent does when trying to be stern with toddler and not draw attention to self.  "If you keep pooing yourself Darling you're going back in nappies" Cue wails and cries of "Nooooo not nappies mummy.  My Big Boy!" Attempt to not draw attention failed....
Toileting guidance really needs some improvement.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

I can see a rainbow

I've been doing a lot of pondering lately about how little say we have about a lot of things in our lives.  We can't control the health and happiness of others. We can't control their actions. But we can control how we choose to live our lives and what positive influences we can make.

In trying to find something which expresses how I feel about life right now I stumbled across this.

Life’s like a movie, write your own ending
Keep believing, keep pretending
We’ve done just what we set out to do.
Thanks to the lovers, the dreamers, and you.
“The Magic Store”/Rainbow Connection” (Reprise) – Kermit and the Muppets
The Muppets are making their little movie, all planned out, but then in typical muppet fashion chaos strikes. Despite everything a rainbow appears.  While life has a habit of creating unwanted chaos, throwing a spanner or two in the works; sometimes we need that to re-focus on what our priorities are. 
2017 brings a new chapter for my little family. Some key players are no longer here to play their part but their influence will be forever felt.  Even on the hardest days I know I'm going to be able to find my rainbows.
I can see my little family splashing in the puddles and know that my dad and my friend Tom couldn't be prouder; and those still with us.... well you'd best get your wellies on and come jump in those puddles with us.