Pull Up Your Big Girl Pants

4 Feb

Hello again.   It’s been a while.

This blog is not about potty training, although I shall be entering that fresh hell again soon with my smallest.  It’s about whiners, whingers and, ultimately about being a grown-up.

I’ve seen and heard a lot of twatty comments about a lot of parenting-related issues in the last few weeks, amd most of it can be resopnded to with one or both of these wonderful phrases: Grow The Fuck Up and Mind Your Own Business.

People can raise their kids however they want as long as those kids are well cared for.   You don’t need to approve or agree with other parenting choices, but equally, you are allowed an opinion on them.  I have a lot of opinions. I’m that kinda person.

Several things got my goat.

School run PJs

In my opinion this is skanky.  And lazy.   And just plain weird.   But if you wanna do the school run in your onesie GO RIGHT AHEAD.  But I will judge you.  Silently.  Becasue I’m polite.   There’s always the arguement that mums are sleep deprived (Yep, but plently have a full time job which frowns upon nightwear, and they manage ok).  Then I read the mental health argument.   Yep, again, if you’re unwell, mentally of physically, then getting dressed is much more difficult and also much less important than getting your kids to school.  Im not talking about these reasons as they’re not the norm.  For most pj wearers I think it’s just a choice they have made.  I’ve seem ladies in pjs, dressing gown, Uggs and full make up, so it’s definitely not a case of ‘not enough time’.   If you genuininely dont have the 20 seconds it takes to pull on jeans and a jumper, try getting up one minute earlier, FFS.   Also, PJs Lady, if you are just making the choice to go out like that, don’t bother trying to justify it or explain it away with excuses or reasons why it doesn’t make you a bad parent.  Just wear your PJs with pride, sister.

Mothehood Photo Challenge

Righto, so we are clear, posting pictures of your kids is annoying, thoughless, hurtful, boring, dangerous, invasive, cruel, smug, dull, devastating and/or stupid.  Take your pick.  (FWIW I think it’s cute).

If you don’t like what your friends are posting on Facebook then the Hide or Unfriend button is always there.  It’s your problem.  Take action to resolve the problem or suck it up, buttercup.   What you post on Facebook is your business, and the same goes for other poeple.  I have a Zero Tolerance policy for anything I find offensive.   I am so well aquainted with the Unfriend button, you might say the Unfriend button is my friend.

I post a lot of pictures of my kids on social media.   It’s my choice and frankly I don’t see it as a risk.  Real life paedophiles can see my real life kids every time they’re out in public.  So, if you’re offended by the Mothehood Challenge for whatever reason, (infertlity, loss, childlessness, or even just because you’re a whiny bint) I’m genuinely sorry you feel that way.  But, please remember that people don’t post pictures of their kids to piss other people off.   IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.   And from my experience, friends who’ve suffered losses or struggled to have kids can still survive Facebook if they chose to have it, which on a normal day for me is about 40% kid pics anyway.  So, if Facebook gives you rage, then have a good old cull of your friends or just quit.  Stop trying to guilt/embarrass/shame other people into chamnging their behaviour.

And last, but not least….

YOU ARE A GREAT MUM

I fucking hate this.  I read it all the time.  You know how all mums are doing their best for their kids. Are they?  ARE THEY?   No.   No they’re not.  And rightly so.   Nobody does their absolute best at everything all the time, (excpet maybe Dave Grohl, he’s awesome).

I know I don’t do my best all the time.  I know I sometimes give my kids spaghetti hoops on toast for tea when I could’ve made them an organic cottage pie (get me).   I know that some days I should give my kids a bath but I’m knackered and don’t fancy my bathroom being flooded by an overly enthusiatic semi-aquatic toddler and a lanky 3 year old.  I know that sometimes I put Netflix on to distract them while I Get Some Shit Done (return some emails, pay bills, laundry etc, all fun stuff).  Yeah, I could do that Shit later, after they’ve gone to bed, if I was doing my best for them.  But that time is reserved for laying on my sofa shouting at repeats of Grand Designs.

These are all choices I make and I’m fine with them.  I’m a strong believer that you don’t need to do what’s best for your kids all the time, and especially not at the expense of what’s best for you.   Again, you should make your choices and don’t feel the need to explain, justify or excuse them.  Just like with the eternal breastfeeding/bottle feeding argument.  Do what you want and it’s really nobody else’s beeswax.

As with the al fresco PJs situation, there are a lot of parenting practices and approaches that I wouldn’t touch with a barge pole, and in the privacy of my own mind I think people are nuts for chosing to do certain things, but I would never actaully tell them I think they’re nuts (unless it was a very close friend.  I’ve done that a few times, and I’d expect to hear the same back from them).  As I’ve said before, I’m polite.

Social media has given everyone a voice and priovides the distance, anonymity and soapbox for them to shout with it. Filtering out the bullshit and opinion that doesn’t apply to you is a skill worth cultivating.  Not every parenting article, site or blog is the truth, born of facts/research or necesasarily relevant or applicable to you.  Including this one. If someonme elses opinion doesn’t match yours, just scroll on by. No need to tell them they’re wrong.  Everyone is just winging it and muddling through.  If you cosleep you’re not doing it wrong or doing it right.  You’re doing what works for you.  So, pull up you Big Girl Pants, do what you think is right, and have enough belief in yourself to stick to your guns.  Unless you believe the earth is flat or that vaccines cause autism.  You, my friends are Wrong and I’ll take you on any day of the week.

 

It’s good to talk. To adults. 

16 Apr

How many  people have you spoken to today? Had a chat with? Exchanged pleasantries or had a moan? Talked about Game of Thrones or footy or traffic or weather? 

I’ve spoken to my children, one friend and to my husband.  That’s it.  I said hello to nursery staff at pick up time.  I said thanks to a lady at the supermarket self service till (not  sure why, she just stood there) and that’s the grand total of today’s conversational action. 

Oh I did shout at a cockwomble van man for driving like an arse, but I don’t think we’ll dwell on that.  

Being at home with small kids can be lonely.   Ironically my spellchecker kept trying to change  that to ‘lovely’. Ha. No. 

With my first child I had the freedom of going to all  the baby groups and classes I wanted, unimpeded by the needs and demands of a child 2 years older. Now, I don’t really know many people with a baby the same age.  There are few activities that happily placate my 1 year old and my 3 year old simultaneously.  Everything is hard work.  Taking my one year old to friends houses just seems rude, what with the inevitable path of destruction or vomit he will leave in his wake.   Parents of older kids forget very quickly what it’s like to host what is essentially a tiny, drunk, impulsive, unreasonable midget, hellbent on Smashing Shit Up, grabbing cables, eating cat food or doing irreparable damage to himself or their stuff.  

Yes.  The baby, who has been a joy, is now a git.  A screeching, stropping, flailing beast.  That’s a bit unfair.  He’s only really a Beast when he can’t do exactly what he wants.   He is happiest flirting with mortal danger or self-maiming endeavours, dismantling stuff, eating paper or sticking his tongue into the charging port of my iPhone.  Needless to say, he hears “No!” more than he’d like.  

I work part time so I’m not really a SAHM, but I kind of feel I have the worst of both worlds.  Not only do I have the domestic drudgery of constant childcare and chores, I also have the stress of working and the associated child related logistics of such.  I need to fit my work around my clients, my childcare and my husband. I don’t have the luxury or making it convenient for me. I sometimes work evenings after 13 hours of child wrangling.  Ouch.  

And it Never Ends.  I do only work  a few hours a week (as a private therapist) along with mostly looking after my kids and doing the lions share of domestic crap like laundry, grocery shopping and cooking.  The weekend is the same but with my husband helping out with kids. I’m still doing the same old shit. It’s relentless.  

Among my friends the phrase This Too  Shall Pass is often given as reassurance during tough times.  I’m now living in more of an It Never Ends kinda place.  

I appreciate this is a bit of a woe is me post. Sorry about that.  I need to go to bed now as the only time I get to go for a run (or plod and lurch like a fat semi-lame wildebeest) is by getting up at 5.45am.  Really.  

What’s the moral of this post?  Engage with your mum  friends.  The only other conversations she might’ve had today were probably  about poo or Pom Bears.  

  

Hello! Hi! Don’t step in the sick.

8 Apr

Hello? Remember me? I’m not sure I do. It’s been a while and motherhood has been a challenge. It often seems to take up every scrap of energy and enthusiasm I can muster. I’m going to restart the blog (if nothing else it’s an outlet for my moaning) but first we need to catch up on the last 9 months.

So. Inglorious Baby turned one (ONE!!!) on Monday and Inglorious Preschooler is now 3. This I can believe as she’s practically a teenager in temperament and behaviour. More on that later. The Threenager blog is coming soon.  Shudder.

Firstly I want to share the details of the baby’s health, as this has dominated a lot of the year. This year has been difficult. Following the baby’s pneumothorax and reflux (see previous posts for more of that joy) he has since had a heart murmur (thankfully now resolved) and an ENT condition called Laryngomalacia. It’s not serious but it is incredibly frustrating as it causes or possibly aggravates (we think) severe reflux symptoms. If you think baby reflux is bad, try cleaning up a pond of partially digested sweet and sour chicken and rice and off of your floor/walls/shoes/life.
The baby, at worst, was doing a big sick up to 8 times a day. Thankfully it didn’t dampen his wonderful spirits or cause him pain. It just created All The Washing, made feeding a nightmare, sleeping went tits-up as he’d wake up starving in the night and I was constantly yelling “DON’T STEP IN THAT SICK!”
I felt sorry for the baby, and I also felt sorry for my daughter. Many times we had to leave friends houses or outings after multiple sick incidents had used up all the spare clothes (or all my friends polite goodwill). I felt sorry for myself too. I spent all my time trying to get food and milk into him, hoping it would stay in and then pointing him away from me/the sofa/the cot/the cat when it inevitably came out again. I felt I was constantly cleaning up sick, washing clothes and bedding, always with the smell of vomit lingering in my nostrils. Bleak.
We’ve just had a few weeks without vomiting and it was glorious. Yesterday it came back. This morning I found myself trying to get a tight tshirt over my head without getting regurgitated milk on my face or in my hair. Sigh.
We have a paediatrician appointment next week to get a second opinion (outside of ENT). Maybe this will help. Maybe they too will suggest an investigative procedure to look at the structure of his throat as we believe the problem isn’t gastric. I hope this won’t be necessary as it requires a general anaesthetic and overnight stay in hospital.
The main thing is that the boy is happy. He really is full to the brim with joy, enthusiasm and energy. He is lovely. He’s also huge which is comforting. Our lovely ENT consultant always loves seeing such a hefty baby as the main associated problems of this condition is failure to thrive and malnutrition. That’s no problem for us. He is nicknamed The Beast due to his size and his heavy handedness and his relentlessly joyous destructive tendencies.

So, that’s the baby.
Next: The Threenager.

TTFN.

Watching the tiny baby days evaporate before my eyes.

25 Jun

My new baby is now 11 weeks old. He’s also a giant, wearing 6-9 month clobber and zooming through milestones at an alarming rate. Smiling, tracking, rolling over and trying to sit up. I want to press pause.
He is not tiny anymore, not that he ever was that small.
He is my last baby and I’m acutely aware that the baby days are finite. That every moment is the last I’ll have with a baby this small.
As I pack away the little sleepsuits and tshirts that no longer fit, I feel a sense of loss.
I let him sleep on me whenever he wants. I savour the middle-of-the-night cuddles after a feed, often delaying putting him back in the moses basket so I can hold him for a while longer. I listen to his baby snores and hold his little hand knowing that one day soon, sooner than I would like, he will be a toddler, a boy, a teenager and then a man.
These baby days have been so precious, so valuable to me in a different way to my daughter’s. I was more anxious, more regimented. I was so eager for her to grow, to be less tiny, less helpless and less fragile. I rejoiced in her development, the rolling over, the sitting, the crawling.
Now, I want my boy to be a baby for as long as possible. Because once his baby days are over, I’ll never have a baby again. Although this is by choice, it’s still very raw and makes me feel a little sad. As my last hellish pregnancy ended in a near death experience on an operating table for me and a very sad and lonely start to life connected to wires and drips and feeding tubes for my boy, I can not go through that again.
So, I’m enjoying every minute of this baby. Right now, my toddler is at nursery and I should be cleaning, tidying, sterilising, washing up, doing laundry or putting away clothes but instead I’m on my bed with a snoozing, snoring baby on my chest.
I’m dog tired from sleepless nights, I’m hungry and thirsty but I will not put him down just yet. He’ll never be 11 weeks old again. One day he won’t want to rest his head on my shoulder to sleep, or tightly clasp my tshirt in his little fist. He will do other things, amazing things, but the tiny days are numbered so I’ll hold him tight in my arms for as long as he can fit.

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Reflux II: The Revenge

27 Apr

My second baby is now 3 weeks old and early this morning we did the sleep-deprived-new-parent dash to A&E. Following his pneumothorax and associated breathing problems at birth, some rapid and shallow breathing and grunting had me worried.

The baby, as is usual in these circumstances, seemed absolutely fine and dandy as he was examined by a health care assistant, then a nurse, a doctor and finally the paediatric registrar on duty.

His oxygen levels were good, he’s feeding, pooing, weeing, waking, all the things they ask for. No rash, no temperature, no turning blue. All good. The paediatrician quizzed me about his feeding behaviours and drops the bombshell I hadn’t been expecting.

It sounds like reflux.

Now, I know of this beast. My daughter suffered terribly with reflux for months. She was medicated and gavisconed. I spent weeks constantly smelling ever so slightly of vomit. The was vomit on my sofa, my carpet, in my shoes, on my cat. My washing machine and tumble drier were my greatest allies. And now we are here again.

Fucksticks.

Reflux, in an otherwise healthy, sturdy baby isn’t dangerous in any way, but it is bleak as bleak can be. Seeing your newborn in discomfort and pain is horrible. The 3 hour feeding schedule is gruelling. Refluxy babies benefit from a ‘little and often’ approach to milk. My (not so little) lad does not appreciate this at all. Hs used to demanding food and getting as much as he wants. The 90ml servings he’s now receiving are not hitting the spot. He’s miserable. I’m not far behind him. 😦

Although I suffered this fresh hell with my daughter, I’m not so anxious this time round. My girl was a scrawny little thing. My boy is 5kg at 3weeks old, and he should only have been born last Monday. He will cope, as will I. We both might get regurgitated milk in our ears and hair, but as with everything This Too Shall Pass. I’m never more than 50cm away from a packet of wet wipes.

I’m trying to look at the positives. His breathing is fine. He’s big and strong. I’ve done this before and I can do it again. We will survive.

The sleep deprivation is the biggest problem. At 3am everything seems so terrible, so hard to deal with. It’s easy to feel resentment, to feel helpless and hopeless, but with the early light of a new day I always realise I can do this. I have to.

I get up, get dressed, put laundry and eyeliner on and get on with my day. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. So I’m doing it.

I’m so glad I bought my husband a fancy coffee machine at Christmas.

Breast is Best: II. One mum vs the NHS.

9 Apr

My baby was born 3 days ago and has spent those precious, irretrievable days in an incubator. Uncuddled, barely touched by me for the first day of his life, attached to tubes, wires, monitors, flashing numbers and alarms.

He is now getting better and I change his nappy through little windows in the side of the plastic box like something from the Crystal Maze. I get him out to quickly feed him, smelling him, gently squeezing him and looking into his barely open shark eyes.

The SCBU staff are helping me to establish breastfeeding. Because as the NHS constantly preach BREAST IS BEST. It’s getting there. Slowly. It’s complicated.

It’s about to get more complicated. Or a lot less complicated. I’m not sure.
The post natal ward want to discharge me and send me home, 5 miles away, 3 days after an emergency caesarian section, with swollen legs and high blood pressure. And with a sick baby in an incubator downstairs.

I can not drive following my surgery. I’d need to walk for 15 minutes (it’d probably currently take me 25 at least) and take 2 busses to get here on public transport. It’d take at least an hour, much longer at rush hour.

My baby is being fed on demand and at least every 4 hours. How is this supposed to work?

So far, my imminent eviction is a “discussion” that needs to be had. I understand they need the bed but I’m not going to give it up easily.

Leaving the hospital will make breastfeeding nigh on impossible to establish. There are rooms attached to SCBU for women in my situation, but they are apparently full.

It’s been hard enough living on a postnatal ward with an empty cot at my bedside. It’s cruel to expect me to leave.

I will blog again when I have more information, but if the NHS is directly responsible for preventing me from breastfeeding my sick baby I will kick up a big, loud fuss.

I will not go quietly.

More to follow.

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Handle with (Special) Care.

8 Apr

Inglorious Baby #2 arrived on Sunday, after much drama. As expected, he’s a big lad, weighing a healthy 9lb 8oz. But unfortunately, healthy isn’t fully accurate.

Now for the science bit. My son has a pneumothorax, which is where air becomes trapped inside the chest cavity, preventing the lungs from working properly. He’s in SCBU, in an incubator, covered in wires, hooked up to monitors and being fed via a glucose drip. Thank god he’s a chunky monkey. He looks twice the size of most of the other teeny tiny babies in the ITU.

The staff in SCBU have all been lovely. A good mix of practical, no-nonsense efficiency and caring emotional support. I’ve needed lots of both.

Being on a post natal ward when you have no baby at your bedside is tough to say the least. It’s heartbreaking. And as my husband is caring for Inglorious Toddler, I’m mostly on my own. I can handle it, mostly. I have the occasional wobble where I sit in the bathroom and cry. Thankfully the ward is quiet so I’m not sharing my room with any mums and babies. This could change at any time. I’ll jump off the bridge when I come to it. For now, at least I have a little bit of peace (and windows that open, therefore winning the hospital bed lottery).

The worst bit by far is not having the close. He’s 2 locked doors, a lift and a corridor away. Not being able to pick him up when he cries wrenches at my soul. Instinct yells at you to comfort your newborn and hold him tight, but all I can do is stroke his soft skin through a little window in his incubator. He grips my finger like a vice.

I’m hoping he’ll be well enough to spend a little longer our of his oxygen tank today. Trying to establish breastfeeding was hard enough for me last time without the added obstacles of an emergency c-section and SCBU standing in our way. I will do my best. That’s all I can do.

Positives are coming though. Baby is now wearing clothes! Well a vest, but that’s progress. The tube into his tummy to remove the mucus and gunk has been removed (as he kept removing it himself anyway) and he made a much more concerted effort to latch on this morning.

Of course I’m hoping for steady improvements but I’m also trying to chase away any dark thoughts of a rapid decline or some other unforeseen crisis.

It’s a difficult time, but as I said in my last post, you cope because you have to.

More soon.

Oh, and chin up.

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