> Mushypea, Sprout et al: June 2012

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Remember when

Remember when the earth used to move - a lot - in the early days of your relationship?  You go through that honeymoon period as you get to know each other and then things inevitably settle down as life gets back on track.  Add to that a baby and the earth seems to get stuck on its axis as you both come to terms with the changes taking place.  There will probably be many a false start as there is nothing that puts out those flames quite so quickly as a child demanding your attention ... there are your own parents of course but that's not what I'm talking about here.

I have read and heard about the father's being patient and having needs to fulfill.  There seem to be plenty willing to share that.  It made me stop and think.  I actually haven't come across any discussion amongst mothers about theirs.  It has to be done .... *looks wistfully around and extends hand in the air*  I'm a mother, I have a nine month old son and actually I have needs too.  There I said it.  I know that in the feeling lonely, isolated, teary states,  I have many that stand with me.  Why haven't I come across a Mum saying that your sex life changes too?

Towards the end of my pregnancy I felt fat.  My hips ached through having PSD; moving became cumbersome and I didn't feel attractive, glowing or any of the things they say in the glossy magazines.  My hair never got lush and at this moment in time I am beginning to moult (it's the only word for it) as my hormones start to change again.  Post birth was not much better.  My nether regions felt like a multitude of balloon animals had taken up residence - you know what I mean to those ladies who experienced a vaginal birth.  No-one had told me that would happen and although some part of me really wanted to get a mirror to take a peek, I controlled myself and didn't.  I cannot imagine it was a pretty site to behold; not that I can be found spread-eagled inspecting my up and unders everyday I'd like to add!   Add to that the crepe-like belly, swollen ankles, bags under the eyes and general dishevelled look I was rocking, sexy and attractive was not how I felt.

The belly and swollen ankles are now gone and the hedge backwards style only makes an appearance as a one off special every so often.  You would think we'd be back in business right?  Wrong!  It gets replaced with impeccable timing by the little man or, more often than not, sheer exhaustion.  My libido is still there ticking away in the background like an unexploded bomb but life has gotten in the way.  Would I like to work my womanly charms?  Of course, but the chances of me having fallen asleep before the man of the house has even finished brushing his teeth are very, very high.  A wry smile flickers across my face as I write this - sex would be nice.  To be awake when the opportunity arises would be more helpful though!

I cannot believe for one moment that I am alone in how I feel.  Wouldn't it be nice to feel all womanly and yummy rather than frumpy?  I have had discussions about my feelings at my most vulnerable moments with complete strangers whom I've never met.  Is sex too personal a topic? 

Someone has to go first right?  I'll start.


"Hi, I'm Mushypea.  I'm finding it difficult to have a sex life now we have a baby.  Do you?"

*waits for the anonymous comments*

Monday, 25 June 2012


Even before Munch had arrived we had decided we would give baby signing a whirl and see where it took us.  There were the opinions that it would help him communicate before he verbally grasped words and then those that thought it may hinder his actual speech development.  Anyway, we made our decision and stuck to it after careful consideration.

Since attending various parent and baby sessions,  Munch and I have both been subjected to the odd sign here and there.  The only ones that really stick with me are the ones we use a lot of; more; yes; no; finished; yoghurt; drink; hello; and story.  I did get two books from the library just the other week to add more signs to our vocabulary but never really ended up paying them much attention.  Munch hadn't given any indication of understanding anything I had been doing for the last four months; he had begun babbling more and more so I wondered if he would be an early talker instead.

Friday lunchtime.  Munch and I are sat at the dining table having our lunch together as usual.  He had eaten what was in front of him and had stopped; I looked at him and he signed "more".  Obviously I gave him more food but in that moment I was proud, amazed and emotional.  Yes he babbles away from the second he wakes in a morning but we have no idea what he is trying to say to us.  This one little sign showed that he understood and so did I.  As soon as we'd finished eating I was straight on the phone to let Sprout know of the new development; Daddy was very proud too.

The pressure was on Munch to show Daddy come tea time.  The anticipation was immense as often Munch would do something once and then not do it again for a few days.  Munch settled into his roast chicken dinner with enthusiasm then came the signing, "more", "more", "more".  Excitement that he had actually grasped a sign, smiles and praise from us for our genius little boy.  The repetition and persisting with it had worked after all.  It was the incentive I needed to continue learning and using signs with him.

Trust his first sign to be "more" for "more food".  He really does show a love for his food just as his parents do; that's our son for you!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

A reader appreciation award

Time for another meme, this one passed onto yours truly from Steve at Father in Training who blogs about his thoughts and feelings about being a first time Dad.


What is your favourite colour?
I have had various different favourite colours but for a while now it has been red.  Not any red mind, the shade that post boxes are.  Strong, vibrant and a statement colour.

What is your favourite animal?
Orangutans.  They have such soulful eyes and one day I will see them wild in Borneo without doubt.

What is your favourite non-alcoholic drink?
I don't truthfully have a favourite drink.  My mum has always said I could be a camel due to my poor fluid intake.  The one and only drink I have every day without fail is my mug of tea first thing.  My mug holds the equivalent of two and a half cups and the day goes wrong if I don't have it.

Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook is full of friends I actually have in my life whereas Twitter is full of friends that I wish I really had.  Does that make sense?

What is your favourite pattern?
Polka dots!  I love polka dots.  I don't have many clothes with them on as I look awful in it but polka dots do it for me.

Favourite number?
Hmmm,  I don't have one.  I have a liking for the number 8 because it is meant to be lucky but wouldn't say it was a favourite number.  Pass.

Favourite day of the week?
Wednesday.  To me it is that point in the week where we head full steam towards the weekend.  Otherwise right now every day is more or less the same.

Favourite flower?
Pompom dahlias - I adore these.

What is your passion?
Family.  It is the one thing I would give my last breath for. 

So, which bloggers to tag?

Mr Isaac's Blog
Motherhood and other misnomers
Ready, Steady, Mummy
Sparkly Mess 
A collection of random thoughts and observations
Kat Sighs
Young and Dumb ... 15 Years On
Ojo's World

As for the award well there are some rules of course:
  1. Include the award logo somewhere in your blog.
  2. Answer the 10 questions.
  3. Nominate 10 - 12 blogs you enjoy. Or you pick the number.
  4. Pay the love forward: Provide your nominee’s link in your post and comment on their blog to let them know they’ve been included and invited to participate.
  5. Pay the love back with gratitude and a link to the blogger(s) who nominated you.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Baby-led weaning: Two months in

Do you remember me posting about baby-led weaning a couple months back?  If not, you can read it here.

Munch is eight and a half months old now and we have made adjustments and added new skills along the way.  We started baby-led weaning (BLW) when Munch hit the six month mark.  For the month and a half prior to this we had introduced him to his high chair; in part because he had gotten bored craning his neck to try and see what we were doing from his activity centre when we were eating, but also to get him used to being included at meal times.  At around five and a half months of age we started leaving him easy to grab pieces of vegetables from our meal - of course all he did was play and look at them with the odd piece reaching his mouth but other than that he did nothing with it.  We knew he swallowed some by the way they came out in his nappy.  Oh the fun I had determining the food items that had made it to his stomach.  We purposely waited until six months before going at BLW with vigour as Munch was prone to eczema - even before we started we knew we would have to be careful as he had suffered from bad bouts of nappy rash in reaction to certain foods which had passed to him through my breastmilk.

On hitting the six month mark we started with breakfast.  Fingers of toast - they found his way to his mouth and he gummed away to his delight.  From there on in BLW has become this magical journey of food discovery - Munch has this expression that he has when he tries a new food which passes as quickly as it appears and he will then quite happily take his fill.  Our eating habits were pretty good before Munch and so the adjustments we needed to make to our diet was minimal. In the first couple of weeks of BLW he did suffer from trapped wind but that passed once his digestive system had gotten the message that his diet was changing.  After two weeks on BLW, his dirty nappies changed completely much to the disgust of Sprout!

We have been very aware of the foods neither of us really ate - namely fresh tomato.  Imagine our surprise when he absolutely loved fresh tomato!  As with most adults, Sprout and I do have a few food preferences of our own but we have worked to offer these foods to Munch so that he doesn't miss discovering a new taste or texture.  Hell, I've eaten bits of hard boiled egg with a smile on my face at breakfast with him and I cannot begin to tell you how much I cannot stand them.  Maybe you think we are going to extreme but I look at some of the children we come into contact with and have noticed that they are already displaying the same attitude towards certain foods as their parents.  Sprout and I want Munch to enjoy all foods - even if they are those we don't.

We watched as he got upset and frustrated with things like rice and mince and made the decision that a preloaded spoon was the way to go for a while.  OK, at times he ends up with food all over his head and other times he will sit and open his mouth and we will feed him because he is having a lazy day.  We're not the strictest of baby-led weaners; we follow his cues so in our own way I think we are.  He has never been one to launch food off his tray even though we have a splash mat in place.  Nor does he like being cleaned up with a damp flannel after meals.  We announce that we are going to wipe his face so it's not so much of a shock but even after more than two months of this we are still met with tears! 

Meals out are a joy.  The only thing that has taken getting used to has been not having dessert.  Boy is that difficult.  A meal out is a treat in my book and I have always been one that has dessert but because we are not at the stage where we are offering them to Munch, Sprout and I agreed that we cannot have them either.  Yes, there may be fruit salad on offer but I refuse to pay for something that I can easily whip up at home.  It is doing me good but it has meant we secretly eat our treats once he is in bed for the night - so possibly not so good huh?  During the recent bout of summer sunshine we even had our first picnic together.  I was not sure what to expect as Munch has always eaten at a table but hey, no problem whatsoever.  He sat and ate without once trying to crawl away - success.

Sprout and I are used to BLW; he gags very rarely and we have learnt to trust him when he proceeds to put something in his mouth.  The hardest part I have found is when we are in the company of others - "That piece is too big", "He won't like that", "It's too spicy for babies" etc, etc, etc or even the simple act of helping put something in his hand/mouth.  I have many a time stated in my most authoritative tone that he is fine and to leave him be.  Interfering usually means he is more likely to gag or choke but try explaining that!  He eats three meals a day without it becoming a drama and I can be found trawling around the fresh fruit and veg looking for new things to offer him.

We are learning and adapting all the time.  The only thing that has beaten us thus far is how do we get the spoon back from him without a fight?  We have offered a different spoon but that normally results in Munch holding one in each hand.  Suggestions will be gratefully received!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Snips and snails and puppy dogs' tails

Gender stereotypes.  They exist all around us from the moment we are born - how do I make sure our little boy doesn't fall foul of them?

The frustration at attempting to find gender neutral clothes because we did not want to know the sex of our unborn child was unbelievable!  There was, and still is, white aplenty; walk into any store and the newborn section is awash in swathes of pink on one side and blue on the other.  Personally, I am not a fan of either shade so the gender neutral colours that you are left with are white, cream or yellow.  This colour palette is not vibrant nor fun for a child of any age is it?  Colour choices get marginally better as they grow past the newborn baby stage but even then the pink for girls and blue for boys is enough to make me want to throw myself on the ground and throw a toddler tantrum. We have a son and no, I do not want to be limited to dressing him in various shades of blue, green, brown and grey.  Do I get much of a choice? No.

And toys?  Don't even get me started.  A walk around a toy store is just as disappointing - from a female perspective, why are all the dolls, prams, kitchen and household type toys aimed towards little girls?  I, for one, can honestly say that as a child I was not interested in dolls other than to see how easily said dolls body parts would come apart.  Sheesh, I spend sufficient time as an adult carrying out the role of homemaker to make me actually want to get my son his very own household type toys so that he does not fall into that stereotypical trap of being useless on the housekeeping front.  As it stands, it will be an absolute miracle if I do not buy him a mini ironing board, vacuum cleaner etc so that he can play house with me.

This made me think about my role in being a parental stereotype.  Am I?  My mother raised all her daughters to be intelligent, strong and fiercely independent women.  She was the major bread winner in our home and my father was the male chauvinist stereotype who lifted not a finger because it was deemed to be out of his remit.  Has this experience altered my views on what my role should be?  I look at myself and question all the things that I do day to day.  What message am I/we sending our son?

I am adamant that by the time he leaves home he will be fully capable of looking after himself - a long time away it may seem but I like to be prepared.  It makes me cringe when I hear about grown men who cannot iron a shirt or know how to boil an egg - I'm sorry but there's doing everything for your children and then there's crippling them by not giving them life skills.  It is even worse than actually being able to look after yourself but choosing to sit on your laurels.  Only just mind, but that's my opinion! 

It is not only the practical skills that I want my son to learn.  I also want him to have good emotional intelligence - none of this "Big boys don't cry".  I want him to be able and feel free to express and deal with his emotions and feelings whatever they may be.  

How much will society's expectation of what a man should be play?  Am I looking to go against the very nature of being a boy?  Does anyone have the answer?  

Monday, 11 June 2012


As my son's first tooth has started cutting through it has been met with excitement and sadness in equal measure.  He has grown and developed constantly over the entire eight months of his life thus far but this first tooth marks a turning point in my eyes.

His little face is about to change forever by the appearance of not one but two teeth.  His front two teeth are cutting through and in a very short while he will go from the gummy baby we adore to the start of becoming a little boy.  We have greeted each change with wonder and amazement and we look forward to more that is yet to come.  Sprout and I have set in motion the creation of a confident, playful, energetic and talkative little boy.

The past few months have seen a fast forward in developments and it has been hard keeping up.  He has gone from attempting to roll one day to mastering it the next.  He babbles non-stop from the moment he wakes yet we still have no clue as to what he is telling all and sundry.  He makes great strides in eating and is now self-weaning off the boob.  All this is great I assure you, but as he learns to do more and more himself his reliance on us decreases.  Good, great, hurrah!?

The things he needs from us, his parents, are changing.  I speak for myself when I say that I have only just grasped what he wanted from me - the amount of learning we have done is immense.  We have gone from working down the checklists of why he is crying to actually knowing what his different cries are.  Yes, we have figured when you are playing us my son!  We are proficient at reading his subtle body signals. He may try to hide his tiredness because he wants to continue playing but we are onto it.  The night feeds (yes, we are still having to do those) - I've finally managed to distinguish when it is plain habit to when he actually needs a feed.

I am currently in this happy place where I can respond automatically as I am now a master of all this baby-ness and bam!  I'm too slow on the uptake and he has gotten tired of waiting for me to catch up.  Munch pushes on with the necessary changes he must make and we have no choice but to run alongside.

There are so many moments I will miss that I am able to rub the sand that stings my eyes as I type this.  The beautiful gummy smile that greets us in a morning, the way he holds onto my fingers during the night feeds, the look he gives when he is tired of feeding himself, the way he babbles, blows raspberries and giggles at the things we do to entertain him.  Hey, I have to believe we are entertaining him otherwise he is just laughing at his Daddy and me which is understandable too!

Bittersweet because I want to bottle these moments forever yet am looking forward to all that is on the horizon.  His first word, his first step - so many, many more firsts.  We have truly enjoyed this beginning and I will miss it tremendously.

P.S. Soon after I finished this post Munch decided to surprise us further and walk pushing his walker for the very first time!  The expression on his face on realising what he was doing was magic.  Our baby is a little boy.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Play factore

A reply to a tweet by @TiredmummyofTwo asking for any bloggers wanting something to do today resulted in our visit to Play Factore near the Trafford Centre, Manchester.

Play Factore is an indoor adventure playground suitable for children between 0 - 12 years of age, although myself and Sprout would quite happily have had a go on everything if we were able!  We arrived and the first thing that hits you on entry to the site is the sheer scale of the place.  As you wait in line you are faced with the play frame which is over 15m in height and the astra slide which is 40m in length.  It was a crying shame Munch is only 8 months old but we could both imagine him having a great time playing on that when he is old enough.  So, we get to the front of the queue after waiting in line twenty minutes and I tell the attendant that we are on the guest list. The first time I have ever had to tell a stranger that I am Mushypea - kudos to her that she didn't raise an eyebrow or snigger - not even a brief flash of "huh" fell across her face!

We pass through the entrance barriers and there is a sea of tables and chairs for parents to sit and wait whilst their beloved children run off a lot of steam and of course where lunch can be eaten.  We made our way to the toddler area on the right.  I regularly go to a soft play centre locally and I have to say the the one they provide here is excellent.  The area is gated and full of different activities for your little ones.  There is a climbing frame with two slides of different heights and has been well thought out in that at toddler age chances are the parents will also need to limber up and through the tunnels etc without fear of getting stuck.  It was lovely for us to be able to sit Munch on our laps and take him down the higher of the slides.

There was a car track area with Little Tikes Cozy coupes - Sprout spotted these and Munch was put into one shortly after.  He shows a propensity to drive like his father already; one hand on the steering wheel and the other with his elbow propped on the door.  Munch loves ride-on toys so this area was a hit.

There was an area for younger children filled with soft cubes and seesaws, there were soft handhold ledges where Munch was able to pull himself up to stand and he loved the big mirrors at one end.  Apologies to the person that cleans that by the way - yes, those slobbery hand prints are our sons!

You have to remember that this place is filled with excited children of all ages so there was plenty of joyous screaming, laughing and chattering in the air as well as the music that they have playing in the background.  At 8 months old there comes a point where they hit stimulation overload - you know what I am talking about here - that moment in time where they need a time out and wind down otherwise big trouble is around the corner.  Play Factore has demonstrated that it understands this by providing a sensory area.  The area is closed off and small enough that there cannot be too many children in there.  There was a bubble tube, various light boxes, mirrors and a sensory board.  Munch was totally mesmorised by the bubble tube and couldn't stop hugging it!

Considering we were there with Munch there was plenty that he could do especially when you consider he cannot walk yet.  Once he is, I am sure he will love it even more; give it a good few years after that and he will be up on that play frame and down the astra slide with no stopping.  The prices for entry (accompanying adults need to pay) and refreshments, the waiting time and queues to get in  and for food were the only things that would make this place a treat rather than a regular place to visit. Those aside, Play Factore is well maintained, clean and light which is good considering the place only opened in Easter 2012.  We had a great time and look forward to going again. 

I was born at the wrong time - I wish I was 10 again so I could play too!

Sunday, 3 June 2012


The darling Rachel at Mr Isaac's Blog has tagged me in this meme that was dreamt up by Mummy Central.

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

Master Munch sends out the why vibes constantly and we have a few of our own too.

  • Why do you feel the need to practise your new moves at night when you've been doing them all day - only to wake yourself up?
  • Why, when you have a multitude of toys is the *insert any non-toy* much more interesting?
  • Why do you wake just as we are about to drift off to sleep ourselves?
  • Why is that even when we, your parents, are exhausted, you manage to brighten up the day by just being you?
  • Why do you cock your head to the side and do that whole "Look at me. I"m so cute" thing?  And more importantly, where did you learn that?
  • Why do you look at us in a disapproving manner as though your Daddy and I are the children?  Is this a sign of things to come?
  • Why did you master sleeping through the night then promptly forget you had this talent two weeks later?
  • Why can we not imagine life without you and, for that matter, remember what life was like before you?
  • Why is it you are able to motivate your Daddy and I like nothing else?
  • Why do you grow and change so quickly when we want you to slow down so we can spend longer with you?
  • Why is it you have taught us to love more than we thought possible and yet that only grows more and more each day?
  • Why do we get the impression you will be fending off the girls with that melting smile of yours?
  • Why are you so impossibly cute and beautiful even when you are upset? I mean, as parents we're not too bad but you are just on another level!
What are yours?  You've been tagged!

Steve at Father In Training
Emma at OutMUMbered
Bex at BusyBee
Becca at mums the word
Lisa at Thirty Mummy

Post your whys then link it back to Mummy Central here.

Yummy Mummy

The lovely yummy mummy who is Bex of BusyBeeMummyBex has tagged me in this meme that she started.  Am I yummy or more slummy?

What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
A visit to the toilet - those pelvic floor muscles are nowhere near as good as they were before a head got pushed through there no matter how many exercises I do every day!

Do you shower daily? Are you an early morning shower or evening bath type?
Most definitely a shower person and always in the morning but only after breakfast.

Do you wear makeup daily?
Makeup has never been something I got my head around so I have never put a face on everyday.  I only do that for special occasions or if I am going out for the evening.  I have moisturised on a daily basis since I was about five - I like to believe that is why I still get asked for ID at the grand old age of 35 ; )

What's in your make up bag?
I don't have one as such but I do have concealer, foundation, eyeshadow, lipgloss and some blusher to my name.

When you're having a slummy Mummy day what do you normally wear?
What constitutes slummy?  My "home clothes" as I call them, consist of loose fitting slouchy pants and a top of some kind depending on the weather.  They are normally clothes I wouldn't venture out in but they are oh so comfy.

Nails - how often do you get them done?
I have never paid to have my nails done  - yes, I know, but it's not me.  My sisters have shaped and painted them for me a few times but it's not something I concentrate on.  They are short, clean and tidy which is enough for me.

Your top tip for tired eyes?
Sleep and plenty of it if at all possible.

Are you a Starbucks or Costa Coffee kind of girl?
I'm not a coffee drinker but much prefer Starbucks - hot chocolate or Frappuccino?  Yes please.

How many children do you have/want & why?  
We currently have one boy, Munch, and ideally would like to add another child in a couple of years.  I am one of five and had the most fun times growing up with my brother and sisters so cannot imagine what it would be like to be an only child.  We hope to have two children in total; a girl would be nice so that we had one of each but you cannot make to order so we would be happy with either.

Where is your favourite place to shop for babies/children's clothes?
Can I confess?  We haven't actually had to buy many clothes for Munch thus far other than maybe a few packs of vests.  We have been extremely lucky in that we got given so much clothing as presents when he was born.  Munch has clothes up to 18 months waiting to be worn; he is 8 months old but is still wearing 3-6 month clothes so I think we may not need to buy until he is 2!

Everyday shoes are flats/heels?
Flats - I can move faster in them and am much less likely to trip or stumble in them when I have Munch in tow.

Are you more yummy than I?


Mummies need to post the rules.
Give as much detail as possible when answering the questions.
Link your post back to Bex here then tag at least three others.
Tweet #yummymummy when sharing on twitter.