> Mushypea, Sprout et al: April 2012

Friday, 27 April 2012

Happy places

Alison from All-in-One Mum wants to know where my "happy places" are in this meme.  Five of them no less!  Places where I can just me be for a little while without any distractions that come from my roles of Mum and partner.

These are my five "Happy Places"...

1.  The bathroom/toilet

It is without doubt the one place where I get time to be me every single day without fail.  The moment may be short but it is very much appreciated.  Just a shame I have no toilet issues otherwise I might get more me time!

2.  In front of my Mac

It does what it says with no faffing - just the way I like my technology to be.  It can keep me nicely ensconced in my own little world for five minutes to a few hours.  From blogging to just random perusal of the world that is web based it gives me time to sometimes achieve not very much but that choice has been mine.

3.  Outdoors

I love being outside - anywhere outside as long as it is that - OUT!  In the pre-Munch period I worked in a place where there were no windows - it did not matter whether WW3 had started outside or not, I would have no inkling.  This has always meant that I want to go out whatever the weather.  I mean, you only need the appropriate attire and you will be fine.  Of course, now that Munch comes along it does mean I have tended to not drag the poor mite out in rain, snow and cold but as he gets older I look forward to being out more and more.

4.  My bed

I love our bed.  I would like to be able to spend more time in it although I have that feeling it may not happen until our boy hits those teen years.  I can count on one hand the number of times I have managed to stay in bed later than 8am since Munch was born.  There was a time when we could wake up, have a feed and go back to sleep - this no longer happens.  With baby-led weaning, it has meant that breakfast must happen whether I am tired or not.  The joys of dragging my sorry arse out of bed every morning is both a delight and a chore.  Delight, what delight I hear you ask?  That that comes from sharing my breakfast time with the little man and watching him eat his way through all manner of new foods.  If it weren't for that I would quite happily hide under the duvet with my own thoughts causing havoc in my own head.

5.  Somewhere, anywhere,  with my headphones on and the music turned up

Music.  Music has always been my escape and the thing that clears my mind.  It is my friend in my moments of joy and those made of tears.

Where/what are your happy places?  Link it back to the creator of this here Meme - Jenna from Stilettos on the School Run. You've been tagged!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

#BlogitforBabies: Nine and a half centimetres

Save the Children's campaign "Build it for babies" looks to raise £1million to help build seven life saving health clinics in Bangladesh.  Mammasaurus' Blog it for Babies is one way in which Bloggers can help increase awareness and funds.  Share your birth experience, attend an event or simply donate - go on!

JustTextGiving Text XVRL71 £1 to 70070

JustGiving Blog it for Babies

Here is my birth experience in support of Blog it for Babies.

The arrival of our little bundle of joy was quite unexpected.  Unexpected in that everyone was convinced he would be early - to the point where every health professional we came into contact with during my pregnancy told us to have our bags packed come the start of the third trimester.  Who were we to argue with that?  We didn't.  My hospital bag was packed as soon as we had our twenty week scan no less!  Of course that did not mean that every few weeks I would not unpack and repack just to make sure I had thought of everything.  Looking back now, I hardly used anything but as a first timer I liked to make sure all our bases were covered.

So, where were we?  I had saved all my holidays from work to take before my due date - the first two weeks were relatively easy as I treated it like a holiday.  The third week and I was wishing Munch would hurry up already, as although being off work was nice, being off work AND being on my own bored me senseless.  There was nesting to do but I could not get motivated as my brain felt like it was turning to mush.  What did I do?  I put the sheet on the Moses basket and got the blankets washed and ready.  That, it turned out was the extent of my nesting instincts.  It was a Monday and the funny thing was I had only been complaining that Munch was going to make us wait and be overdue seeing as we had been ready for such a long time.

Monday 7.40am,  I make my usual trip to the loo having taken an age to drag myself out of bed as my hips had started to become painful.  Whoop whoop, I had my show which meant that things were going to happen.  I mean, it could have been days before the real thing started.  I had had no Braxton hicks at all so figured my body was not practising any contracting of any kind so it must be a way off yet.  Sprout left for work and told me to ring him if anything significant happened. 

It was high time I got the TENS machine and the instruction DVD out before the fun stuff began.  I had my shower in the usual manner and then boom!  My first contraction.  Nothing exciting but enough for me to wonder if things were really starting.  I had no idea at what rate my contractions were coming at - I had downloaded an app on my phone for this but to this day I don't know how anyone can concentrate on starting and stopping the darn thing as I could not focus on anything.

Imagine if you will.  Me hunched over a coffee table, contractions getting increasingly regular and more intense and all the while trying to figure out the blasted TENS machine.  I started playing the DVD and heard none of it.  Tried again, nope nadda.  I needed to figure it out so I could get it on.  Cue the frantic opening of instruction leaflet and slapping on of pads and then just doing whatever worked to ease the pain by twiddling the various dials and pushing the red button!

I got to around 1.00pm and was disappointed in myself as obviously my pain threshold is absolutely pathetic.  They told us at the antenatal classes that labour could take 12 hours or more with our first.  I had decided that I would only use gas and air but I now wanted whatever they would offer me - even a C-section.  If this was only the start,  I was not going to be pretty during full blown labour without all the drugs I could get my hands on.  I rang the delivery ward to be told that if I went in too early there was a possibility of being sent home but the choice was mine and they could tell me how far along I was.  I decided I would wait for as long as I could stand but rang Sprout as I needed someone to be with me at this stage.

He arrived home and asked me how long had it been between contractions. Me - no idea.  OK, so he would time them for me.  Start the clock - he ran upstairs to change - here came another.  Panic stricken other half as the time elapsed was all of two minutes.  Mad rush getting his trainers on - all our things had been in his car for weeks so we didn't have to worry about bags etc.  He told me to get in the car - I needed the loo.  No he wanted me in the car - I waddled painfully slowly to the loo while he waited.

It was a good job all the lights were on green as we made our thirty minute journey to the hospital.  I was on all fours in the back of the car, my waters broke halfway there - I wanted to push, he told me not to.  We got to the hospital and the midwives on the unit took their time sorting paperwork until I told them I needed to push.

We're now at around 2.30pm.  I needed IV antibiotics because I had shown to be GBS positive - the midwife told me I needed to hang on as much as possible so that they had time to get into my system - a minimum of two full hours.  They waited for the doctor to sign it off whilst they checked how far dilated I was.  I told the midwife I wanted the diamorphine if that was at all possible.  I was too late.  I was 9.5cm dilated.  Too late? Nooooooo.  I got gas and air and was dubious as to whether that was working other than to force me into concentrating on my breathing.  I never realised just how hard it is not to push when your whole body wants to do just that.  Two hours of breathing through the contractions - I kept my eyes on the time obviously.

Hurray, 5pm - let's get cracking.  Who knew I could sound like a whole herd of cattle?  The most useful piece of advice I got given was from my mum when it came to labour.  She said it was like doing a number two, so use those muscles.  It worked a charm.  Little man's head got stuck on the way out and the midwives wondered if they would need to make a cut to help him along.  I had three midwives and a student midwife at this point as there was no-one in labour on the unit.  I was tired and no longer wanted to push.  Sprout 'encouraged' me to push.  The release of pressure once the head passed through was something you cannot describe.  The rest was relatively easy in comparison.

Our little boy arrived two and a half weeks early weighing 6lb 1oz at 6.15pm with a cone shaped head and was dressed in clothes that were far too big for him.  I swore not once (very proud of myself I was) and the whole thing was nowhere near as painful as I had imagined.  We spent that evening and night, in hospital, fuelled by adrenaline and looking down at this perfect little being that we had created between us.  A perfect baby created by his not so perfect parents - magic!

Monday, 23 April 2012

A matter of opinion

Opinion.  You have yours and I have mine - we may agree on some, overlap on others and heaven forbid even disagree at times.

Being a parent somehow gives everyone free reign to give you theirs on a regular basis - sometimes in a well-meaning and helpful manner and others in an 'I know best' kind of way.  We all parent in our own style - a personal mash-up of various tried and tested, as well as the not so tested,  methods that sit with our own beliefs as to what parenting should be.  Begs the question, why are some so forceful with their opinions?

The most horrifying discovery in the parenting arena for me has been when those sharing the same opinions band together and mock/belittle those that have differing ones.  From my point of view, this behaviour is tantamount to bullying.  An emotive word I know but that is how I see it I am afraid to say.

I am all for learning from others and discussing reasons as to why we are following a particular path.  That does not mean we presume to know what is best, expect anyone else to adopt our parenting choices or that our personal book on parenting is better than anyone elses.  Even in this short space of time, the thoughts that we had on parenting pre-Munch have developed and changed as we have had to adapt and evolve with each passing day.  Hell, I was very anti-dummy use until I got so desperate that I was willing to try anything, even that!  My relief when the little man refused it point blank was palpable mind.

The choices and decisions we make as to how best to bring up our child/ren come, in part, from personal experience, knowledge we get given and seek, experience of others etc etc.  Parenting is full of enough guilt about whether what we are doing is right without others adding to it by telling us our decisions are wrong/bad. 

Is it too much to ask that we all respect each other's opinions?  I, for one,  cannot presume to know what drives another parent to the difficult decisions that we all have to make.   Can you?

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

To be apart

When did you spend your first planned hours apart from the little person/people in your life?  I have spent less than twelve hours apart from Munch in almost seven months and the thought of it scares me somewhat.  Maybe 'scares' is not strong enough a word - how about petrified, anxious, nervous and probably a whole host of other words my brain cannot bring to the fore right now. 

You see, the plan is that this Saturday I will spend an afternoon on my own doing whatever it is I choose.  We have decided that Munch and I need to start spending time apart before we can even think about leaving him with anyone other than Daddy.  Daycare/ nursery looms so I have to do this. 

It has felt like a long time since I have been, well, just me.  I have been a Mummy from the day we got that positive test and my life became centred around doing what was best for Munch.  Who am I now?  All the activities I attend, it is not about who I am but Munch.  I watched something the other day and the mother said about feeling invisible - it struck a chord.  I am not sure I know how I fit into the big world outside of the one I have been living in for all this time.   I am not the same person I was all that time ago and yet I am. Confused?  So am I.

Small steps - it is but a few hours, it cannot be that difficult!  I have made an appointment at the hairdressers which will take all of thirty minutes as I only want a cut and blow.  What else?  Help me people, what else??  It would be very easy for me to decide and go do the food shopping and all manner of house related things but that kind of misses the point of this exercise right?  *strikes that from the list*

Lunch?  A movie?  What takes up lots of time without you realising?  How about driving around and around the M60 ring road until it gets to home time or my petrol light comes on?  There are so many things that could be done but I have no clue as to what it is I want to do.  Ooo, I need to get a pair of shoes for a wedding next month.  That's now two things on my list at least.  Throw in lunch with or without a friend as I need to eat - three things.

I know it is healthy for me to get some me time and that this will eventually lead to some Mushypea-and-Sprout-only-time in the future. So why does the prospect of a few hours apart seem so utterly daunting?

Will I be checking my phone every two minutes?  Will I make it further than ten minutes away from our front door?  Will I end up sat in my car in the middle of nowhere feeling glum?  *sighs* I can feel a panic rising from the depths - I have to able to do this otherwise how will I go on when I return to work? 

I know Munch and Sprout will be fine without me, will I without them?

Monday, 16 April 2012

How and when do you find the time to ...

Eek, my first tag in a meme thanks to Farfromhomemama of Three years, one stone then home , wondering if my routine is full of thrills and adventures.  I make no promises but some ground rules to start:

  • Post the rules
  • When answering the questions, please give as much detail as possible
  • Leave a comment on Sex, drugs, rocker and stroller, baby so we can keep track of the meme and totally steal your routine tips to make our worlds a happier place
  • Tag 3 or more people and link them to your blog

Okie doke, ready?  *deep breath* Here goes.

How and when do you find the time to ....

... do your laundry?

Pre-Munch, it was laundry day every Wednesday because that was my regular day off and every Sunday too.  Nowadays, it is more like three times a week depending on how the basket looks.  The sign that a load needs washing is when Munch runs short on coloured socks!  I try and put it on first thing whilst I am waiting for the kettle to boil for my morning mug of tea otherwise it is done before we venture out.  That way, by the time we return home the machine has finished washing and I can take it out.  On bad days wet washing has sat in the machine all day until Sprout finishes work and can take Munch off my hands.  This used to be so stressful for me as I like to get things done and finished once I start, but now?  I only get annoyed if I have missed a good drying day - yes, my life really has gotten to be that exciting!!

...write a blog post?

Only when Munch decides to take his two hour nap of an afternoon.  That is unless we have had a bad night in which case I will nap too. Evenings and weekends are avoided as those are protected family times for us and I will hold onto them for dear life.

...look after yourself?... i.e. wash your hair, paint your nails, take a bubble bath etc?

I have a shower every morning and wash my hair at the same time.  This is normally when Munch is having his morning nap or is playing happily on his own.  On his clingy days I have been known to have him playing on the bathroom floor while I shower.  The weekends are a more leisurely affair as Sprout is on hand although there is only so long you can drag out a shower.  Nail painting I have never really been into.  Bubble bath?  I am one of those strange people who cannot abide a bath - to some it is the most relaxing thing.  It stresses me out as I have to sit and do nothing.  I am not good at the doing nothing.

...spend time with your other half?

We have a few hours every evening once Munch is asleep - normally we watch some TV together and I may, or may not, fall asleep.  I appreciate these few hours immensely especially as in the early months we were lucky to get ten minutes to ourselves.  We spend weekends as a family which is a far cry from our pre-Munch period where we would go out for meals, watch a movie, night on the town etc.  I cannot imagine going back to that lifestyle but a 'just us' meal would be heavenly once we feel happy to leave Munch with someone.

...do fun stuff with your LO?

We always have planned activities at least twice a week. I have kept to this since he was six weeks old,  partly for my own sanity as well as his development.  We are currently going to baby swimming lessons (water confidence I think they call it) and baby sensory sessions both of which I would like for Munch to continue once I return to work as the activities change as he developsOther days are spent visiting friends/family or are just time for the two of us where everything depends on the weather right now.  He plays on his own, we play together, we read, we dance - or rather I dance and he gets whizzed around.  Sometimes I think he must think me plain crazy : )

...spend time with family?

As I am currently on maternity leave, we see my parents once a week and his paternal grandma and cousin once a week also.  Other family members are seen on a more ad hoc basis depending on their commitments.  Not sure how we will work things once I am back at work and I often wonder how other families juggle this as I will want him all to myself.

...socialise with friends?

I have become closer to friends who have babies a similar age to Munch - there is this understanding that exists about what can, or cannot, be done with a baby in tow.  Some friends have drifted apart whilst others are quite happy to pop round for a brew and a chat.  I guess with life changing events those around us either grow with us or move in a different direction.

...prepare an evening meal juggling a baby/toddler bedtime routine?

We eat around 6pm every evening.  I do not get to spend hours in the kitchen trying this or that recipe as much these days so meals have to be quick and easy or have to be left to cook.  As we are following baby-led weaning we always eat together.  The bedtime routine starts around 7.30pm and this changes for nobody as it throws Munch's entire night off. 

...deep clean your house?

The shame! We have not had a good deep clean for far too long.  I try and keep on top of the chores as much as possible but would quite happily like a cleaning fairy.  It will never happen as I am not sure I would trust someone else to clean our house the way I want it cleaning.  Control freak? Yes.

...do the food shopping?

We do a meat shop once a month and everything is frozen.  All other things are purchased on a weekly basis.  Munch and I go in a morning which can be especially fun when he decides he has had enough of sitting in the trolley and wants to be carried!  There are countless times where I have come close to just leaving without the shopping.  Once I go back to work I may contemplate having groceries delivered but I may miss the perusing far too much.

...bulk ironing?

Er, I don't.  I used to bulk iron religiously but considering I had some clothes sat in the ironing basket until recently for nigh on seven months that tells you how much time I do not seem to have.  I hate ironing as I go but right now it is something that has to happen.

So, how did I do?  Have I bored you sufficiently or made you scratch your head in wonder as to what on earth I am doing?  The one thing that strikes me is just how much I am trying to fit into my days and not actually being very successful at it!

These ladies have very different lives but are all mothers first and foremost.  How do you find the time? 

She Be Fierce
My Crazy 4
The Moiderer
Asperger Mommy
Moonflower and Mummy

Thursday, 5 April 2012

WTF - Where's the food?

It's true! WTF should really be the acronym for "Where's the food?" - much of my life revolves around food in some way.  Other than the oral pleasure that is eating there is the making of it too.  Okay, so sometimes I will give the whole flying by the seat of your pants cooking a go but I'm not that inventive nor intuitive in the main so I like following recipes.  I may follow the recipe but tweak the ingredients which usually means adding less fat or sugar - don't get me wrong, I like food but not to the point where I am willing to damage my health to epic proportions on a regular basis.  You know what I'm referring to.  It's those recipes where the list of ingredients is like your own DIY coronary in one meal!

So, I love my food, have I said that already?  Hence I am very fortunate that the man that is Sprout also loves food as much as I.  I hope that our little boy will come to share this love of ours.

We are following baby-led weaning which makes the most sense to me.  Why would we want him to eat something we wouldn't?  No drama is involved in getting Munch to eat .  Mealtimes are a family affair and with each day Munch amazes me as to just how far he has come.  The panic that came at the beginning watching him gag has subsided and he rarely does this now.  It takes some doing to trust him and not jump in when he attempts to stuff his mouth full of food I can tell you!  He sits at our table and eats what we eat.  He knows it is time for food as soon as we put him in his chair.  He waits for his portion to be put in front of him when we are all sat. You can see the cogs turning as he thinks about how he is going to tackle a certain piece of food.  It is a joy to watch and even the mess it creates is fun to see.

We have stayed away from the fruit thus far apart from the raisins, or are they currants, in a hot cross bun.  *mental note to self find out the difference between raisins, currants and sultanas!*  From his first roast dinner to his first curry he has taken to them with the same enthusiasm.

Do I advocate BLW? 100% yes.  To enjoy food is about discovering new flavours and textures even for me as an adult, so small he may be but I know our little man is already on his merry way to taking after one Mushypea and a Sprout.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Healthy competition

I know, I know! We are told to not compare our children as they all develop at their own pace and in differing ways.  Truth be told, we do don't we?  I'll wave my hand in the air and admit that I do - maybe not outwardly so but I do nonetheless.

Munch and I go to a sensory group where there is singing, signing, music and a whole host of other activities that keep us entertained for a full sixty minutes.  The first time he sat on his own solidly was at this group.  Cue utter amazement from yours truly and a proud mummy moment added to the list.  I digress.

The other week another mum, who had not been to group with her son for a couple of weeks, noticed Munch sitting.  She commented on how the last time she saw him he was not sitting on his own.  Then she asked about eating.  Her little boy had not quite mastered the art of putting food in his own mouth yet with the whole baby-led weaning whereas Munch had.  It is when conversations go this way that I wonder what good it does asking.

I admit I look to see what other children of a similar age can do to see what is possible.  We all parent differently which bring out different skills in our offspring.  That does not mean to say that I am upset if Munch is not doing something that others can.  It only makes me want to encourage him to develop those said skills so that we do not miss it through oversight on our part.

From that incident I have looked back at my own childhood.  The earliest memory I have of being competitive comes from when I was around seven years of age.  There were these books - the gold books - which were kept next to the headmistress' office.  You were only allowed to choose from these books if you had read all the other books available in class.  My best friend at the time was reading these and I wanted to also.  And so it began. A switch got turned to on in my head somewhere and in my final year at the age of twelve I won every school prize going bar sport and music.  Yes, I was that child.

I am competitive by nature - it makes tasks and activities more palatable for me.  Hell, even if there is no competition I will set one in my head to push myself - it is nice to win but the drive it creates in me is addictive! 

Competition can be healthy and be a great motivational tool but there always come a point where you realise that there is always someone better and it hits you with a thud.  For our little boy there is only one thing I ask - to be the best that he can be no matter what that may be.

* goes to discover how not to be an overbearingly pushy mother*

I can and I will

Before your child was born did you have a mental list of the many things you would like to do with them?

The only thing I had in my mind before his birth was that I wanted him to have what I term a proper childhood.  One filled with happy memories of times spent doing the simplest things as a family be it jumping in puddles to camping in the garden.

With his birth came the realisation that in order to achieve this rich and varied family life I would need to learn some new skills myself.  Hark -  a challenge no less!  What would our son be interested in?  I don't know everything about everything and I never trust those that believe they do.  There are many a thing I cannot do - the list is endless.  There is the riding a bike (I did do once but I rode into a lady on that first attempt. She promptly tore me down verbally and so I haven't been on one since!), chess, all manner of sport related things and that is just for starters.

I am wanting to be able to participate and support Munch to the point where I am quite willing to do whatever it takes.  I, personally, may not have an ounce of interest in something but I am willing to learn with him.  Given time I may even enjoy the things I am not keen on right now.

Maybe you read this and think I am being unrealistic.  I know there will be things that I just cannot grasp - the thought of encouraging him to be creative scares the bejeezus out of me.  Neither Sprout nor I are creative types you see.  That hasn't stopped me from pinning all things creative on Pinterest for future use though!

I am all for trying our utmost to forge great memories in the hope that we leave our son with the knowledge that we gave him time - our time.   Of all the moments in my life where I need to remember the phrase "I can and I will" it is now and, in my mind, always.