Motherhood moments

I’ve been having a tough time with parenting recently. The Boy’s behaviour has been trying: very aggressive and abrupt and his listening skills are nil. He keeps hurting the baby and it breaks my heart, but the hardest bit of it all is keeping control of myself. I lose my temper and shout and feel ashamed afterwards, but I’ve been working really hard on stopping that; after all, I’m supposed to be the grown up in this situation. Things had just about reached their worst and lowest point – I was crying to the Man on Monday at the thought of being left alone with both of them, when suddenly things started to turn around.

Now, I don’t fool myself, I know we’ll experience some lows again, but while we’re having a reasonably positive time of things, I want to list some of the stuff that makes my heart sing about being a mother, because there are so many moments full of sweetness and it’s not always easy to focus on those when you’re struggling.

  • The ease with which you can make a baby laugh – nibbling or kissing every little bit of them, catching hold of their toes, repeatedly lunging towards them with a silly noise: it’s so uplifting to be able to make someone giggle like that
  • Telling jokes with The Boy – how delightful that he’s finally old enough to understand knock knock jokes, even if the reason he;s laughing is possibly just because the joke has the word ‘poo’ in it. Let’s face it, to a three year old the word ‘poo’ is the joke.

    happy face baby.jpg

    Happy being-sung-to face

  • The look on The Girl’s face when I sing to her – a trusting happiness as she gazes at me that completely takes my breath away.
  • The way that, when The Boy is wretched poorly he turns back into my baby again, snuggling in, having cuddles, wanting me to smooth his hair and hold my cool hand against his hot little forehead in a way that makes my heart ache as I remember how my mother did the same for me and that vivid memory of the feel of her hand on my skin, the sweet powdery smell of her perfume and the plaited gold links of her bracelet gleaming.
  • The Girl is babbling, just nonsense consonants mostly, but every time she wants my attention it’s ‘mumumumum’ until I look at her. I’d forgotten how precious it was to hear those first utterances of your special-to-them name.
  • The Boy offered a piece of his advent calendar chocolate to his sister entirely off his own bat. Why did I not realise that watching the children you love show love to each other was one of the most moving things you can witness?
  • The way a bit of ribbon or a plastic tub can entertain a baby for an absurdly long time and the excitement they can experience doing so. Who knew a pot of Bottom Butter could incite one to bounce up and down on one’s knees and squeak with the thrill of it?
  • How you can send a three year old upstairs to get a pair of socks and half an hour later he still hasn’t returned but you can hear him conducting a complex social interaction between his wooden engines, ‘doing’ all the voices with great enthusiasm.
  • The sheer intoxicating moreishness of their smell when they’re all sleep-drunk and warm. Milky, yeasty, sweet and mine.

Sorry if this post is a bit of a mish-mash, but then I wrote more for me than you. I’d love to know what moments have made your heart melt this week though…?

Portrait of a stay at home mum

The Man is currently off sick with a chest infection, so he’s cocooned in a duvet on the sofa feeling sorry for himself whilst The Girl, who’s just had a nap, bounces up and down on his lap. How To Train Your Dragon, a family favourite, is playing on the television because it’s filthy weather outisde and we’re all a bit run down. The Boy has taken it into his head to dress up as a knight and is fighting imaginary dragons in our (tiny) sitting room whilst The Girl laughs at the floorshow. I am running in and out to check everybody is OK whilst also making leek and potato soup for lunch from our allotment produce.

This afternoon we need to put the finishing touches to the papier mache dragon head The Boy and I are making for his Halloween costume and I have to construct a tail for The Girl and dragon wings for The Boy.  I also need to get the pizza dough made for dinner and meringe ghosts for the Halloween party tomorrow (I will almost certainly do a tutorial post on this).  I also need to stay on top of the washing up, find somewhere to hang the wet washing so it can dry without getting in anybody’s way (a hard task in our bijou residence) and clear up from all craft activities. I doubt I will get round to the hoovering. This is all before the BIG DRAMA of dinner and bedtime.

What do stay at home mums do all day? I’m not entirely certain because it never feels like anything actually gets done, but my family are healthy, happy and well fed and the kids will have costumes for their party tomorrow. I have even managed to wrangle a blog post out of it, though whether it actually gets posted the day I wrote it is another matter. (The answer to that is a big resounding no. I wrote this over a week ago and am only just editing it now. Oops. Saw that one coming!)

portrait of a stay at home mum

just some of the emotions experienced on a daily – nay – hourly basis…

Does this post sound a little smug? Perhaps it is, but that’s mainly because I feel a constant need to justify my position as a SAHM, even though my baby is only 7 months old and I am actually self-employed as well. Look at me, I exude through every action, I am worthy of respect, I do have value, even though I earn very little money. But who places a value on raising the next generation?

The kindness of neighbours

So I may or may not have mentioned we have a slight washing machine failure Chez Moi at the moment.  After sending home a load or two with my blessed Mater (can you hear angels sing when I mention her name? I swear I can) I was still stuck with more stinky clothes than I could shake a stick at.

Luckily, via the loudspeaker platform of Facebook and this blog, a few of my friends and neighbours may have become aware of my predicament and very kindly offered up their machines for my washing pleasure.  Grateful as I was to throw myself on their mercy and make use of their various machines, I felt reluctant to take advantage more than once.  I’ve been carefully rationing myself, washing only the most essential items, but now I’ve used up three of my four offers and it’s time to locate an alternative option.

Why is it so much harder to accept favours than offer them? I would go out of my way to help anyone I could, but it’s awkward to accept help and almost impossible to ask for it.  I go out of my way to be grateful and probably end up crawling and prostrating myself in an embarrassing display of indebtedness.  I hate it. It is probably almost preferable to offer someone a kidney than to accept the use of someone else’s washing machine.

I just hope The Man’s manly engineering-y phonecall to John Lewis today did the trick.  I neeeeeed that damn machine fixed before I end up offering my kidney to somebody as a thank you present.

Days like these

So, it’s nearly 10pm and for anyone who knows our family, they’ll know that’s pretty late for us. In fact, with The Boy’s penchant for 5am rising it’s nearly an hour past parental bedtime.  I should be tucked up in bed with my Kindle by now, if not actually sleeping, but sometimes days just don’t work out like that.

The Boy was at preschool all day (well, 9am-3pm) so I had my eyes on the prize: a long list of things to get done whilst The Girl snoozed, or kicked away happily on her playmat.  I put on a wash, started a bolognaise sauce, ironed a few bits that had been hanging around, then metaphorically rolled up my sleeves – time for the fun stuff. I started researching sun bonnets whilst I fed her, determined to make her a pretty one along similar lines to one my friend’s baby was wearing that had been bought in a boutique somewhere along the SouthWest coast.

The plan was to patch together a couple of patterns whilst she fed, then find some fabric and at least cut it out today whilst she napped, but The Girl had other ideas. Today The Girl was a sad girl.  Possibly it’s the 12 week development leap coming up, possibly it’s something to do with her drooling and snotty nose (teeth? a cold?). Who the hell knows. Most of parenting is bloody guesswork.

From a happy smiley girl who is quite happy to watch the world go by, who smiles all day, who goes to sleep peacefully on her own, she has turned into what I term a ‘proper’ baby. A whingey, clingy, velcro mess who wants to snack on and off and will only sleep upright on my chest.  Until I sat down to write this blog post I was feeling pretty fed up.  Today had been tougher than usual, especially the three hours between picking The Boy up from preschool and his bedtime.

mother and daughter cuddle

But now, with the house all quiet, my snuffly girl snoring under my chin as I type around her, I realise that there will always be days like these.  Days when you don’t get to do anything for you, hell – days when you don’t get to do anything at all, including going to the loo unaccompanied.  I sniff my daughters fluffy head, think about babies who never came into being, or were lost too soon, think about how nearly she was one of them and how lucky I am to be pinned to the sofa underneath her warm weight and it doesn’t really matter any more.

Days like these are to be treasured and when it feels like you’ve achieved nothing, remember the family motto: “Everyone fed, nobody dead” and go to bed with a clear conscience that you’ve at least managed that much.

The day of many washes

So a lot has been said on here about The Boy. From his taste in music to his robust personality traits, in just a week and a half I have covered many aspects of his little life, but I haven’t said much about my girl.

Well, today she made rather an impact on my life so it leaves me with very little choice other than to do this blog post about her.  She’s very small still, not even three months old yet, so she doesn’t do much other than utilise her digestive system, gurgle a bit and sleep. Oh – and she has dimples. Truly gorgeous dimples which she uses to great effect, especially when charming her daddy.

Anyway, to get back to her digestive system… She got the day off to a flying start by vomiting copiously over me, herself, the sofa and her big brother about 5 minutes before we needed to leave for preschool.  Putting aside the logistical difficulties of getting all three of us cleaned up in five minutes, I also had The Boy’s hysterics to deal with “Ugh I got her sick on me Mummy! Wipe it off! Ugh! Yuck. Sick!” etc. Bloody drama llama.

As if spectacular digestive pyrotechnics weren’t enough for one day she decided to conjure an impressive poo-tastrophe whilst we were out and about post-preschool, enjoying the outdoor pleasures our little town affords us.  Naturally I had just changed her nappy, thus using up the only clean one I had with us and, also naturally, the one I’d changed her into was the spare ’emergency’ nappy I keep in my bag which doesn’t fit as well as the others (for the record I should point out we use cloth nappies) so as she was lying on her side feeding the epic poonami flowed freely out of the nappy, all over her clothes and all over the blanket she was lying on, spread even further by her distressed kicking about in it.

20150326_134531Bleurgh. Now both kids are in bed I have finally had a chance to deal with the sicky, pooey fallout and the washing machine is running full blast.  I’m kind of glad we use cloth nappies, poo incidents like this hold far less fear when you deal with washing poo out of fabric every day.  It’s more stressful when out of control, however.

Sorry if today’s post wasn’t funny or particularly interesting.  I’m rather tired and funny is harder when you’re still picking poo out of your fingernails.

Rules are made to be broken. Right?

So last week I famously (famous in my own head, anyway) posted about how I’d banned TV for The Boy during the week.  Today I take it all back as we sit, slumped, on the sofa binge watching “Puff and Wock” – or Puffin Rock to you and I.

Last night was a bitch of a night.  The girl, despite being only two months old, slept soundly, but The Boy was yoyo-ing between his bed and ours, whingeing, wriggling, crying and chatting.  Eventually, after 10+ wake ups we found a solution in Calpol and a ‘warm water bottle, not a hot water bottle, just a warm water bottle my Mummy’ (he knows what he wants, this Boy of mine) but the damage was done. We’re all shattered today. Except the baby who is napping happily between my bosoms as I type.

If I had thought about sleep before the baby arrived – and believe me, after my experiences with The Boy as a newborn, I was trying very hard not to think about it – I would never have imagined that it would still be my Boy causing all the wake ups whilst the newborn slept through, or at the worst woke once in the night, from only 8 days old!

In fact, far from imagining it, I wouldn’t even have believed it possible.  I thought other mums who said this were either lying through their smug teeth or kindly trying to reassure me that it wouldn’t go on forever, but it was nearly a year before he slept through and, once it happened, didn’t happen again for over a month. Tease!

Anyway.  The Girl sleeps, The Boy doesn’t and today we snuggle on the sofa, although I suspect a run to Waitrose might be in order later to stock up on chocolate. How else is a mum to self-medicate?

PS – how come those dozy puffin bastards get to sleep and we don’t? Everything is making me grumpy today.

How I waste my time

On any given day in our house you are likely to hear the refrain “has anybody seen my phone?”  I lose it on an almost daily basis, but I am not the only culprit for losing things. The Man frequently asks the whereabouts of the keys, his swipe card for work, his clean [insert piece of laundry here] etc. The Boy can’t find the soft-toy de jour, his train, his tractor, his monster, his pants. The Girl can’t find her fingers, her toes or her MILK “I NEED MIIIILLLLLKKK! WHERE’S MY MILK GONE?” But mostly it’s me and my fucking phone.

Sometimes it’s other things. Just today I have spent well over half an hour of my (very precious, Boy-free) time hunting for the sodding Now-TV remote.  It’s ridiculously small. And white, so it has probably blended in to the snowy drifts of nappies, muslins and other baby paraphernalia knocking about my sitting room, but honestly – where has it gone?  I had it one minute then – poof – it’s vanished!  Why does it have to be the remote for the one electrical device that can only be operated by remote and not by buttons attached to the actual device? Typical!

If only I could get back all those wasted seconds, minutes, even hours of searching for lost items I would have more time than I’d know what to do with.  If you’re in the vicinity and see a small white remote looking lost, please send it back to me – along with all the wasted hours of my life!