Friday, 23 September 2016

Ten reasons to love love love Autumn

Happy Friday :)

Brown leaves and Halloween spider costume. Autumn at it's best!

Yesterday, summer ended.  You may be feeling a little sad to say goodbye to the season that offers light nights/mornings, beer garden trips, family BBQ's, camping fun, festivals, holidays, the smell of freshly cut grass and the sound of icecream vans. But wipe your eyes and fear not. Autumn has officially arrived and here are my top ten reasons why I love love love it.

1/ Comfort food is back. Ditch the salad, dig out the slow cooker and say yes to treacle sponge & custard.

2/ Big, warm, snuggly clothes for those fabulous Autumn walks, where the sun shines brightly whilst the coldness nips.

3/ Waxing and toe nail painting can be put on hold.
4/ You have 8 months to get your body ready for next summer.  

5/ Bonfire night- a massive fire, explosions in the sky with loads of sugar loaded food. What more could you possibly want?

6/ Halloween- Buying loads of  'trick or treat' treats and no one calling so you have a years supply of miniature chocolate bars, result.

7/ Cosy nights in.

8/ On Sunday 30th October clocks go back giving you an extra hour in bed. Or if you have kids an extra hour to enjoy with them ;)

9/ Warm, fluffy towels. Hello Radiators!


10/ Christmas preparations.

Anything I've missed? Would love to hear what you love about Autumn x

Friday, 16 September 2016

Bye Bye Baby

Happy Friday :)

I've bid a cheery and excited final farewell to all that is newborn/baby, including the baby. Don't worry, I still have the baby he's just aged into a toddler and I couldn't be happier. I've never been a newborn/baby fan. For me it's always been a time to 'get through' so I can get to the enjoyable part.

Don't get me wrong there are some nice moments but there are far more stressful, worrying, difficult ones. High maintenance is putting it mildly. Ever changing demands, spontaneous upset and it's all relentless as they don't realise that mummy might need 5 minutes to breathe. Unable to tell you what they require it's all guess work and elimination on your part and crying on theirs to show when you're not meeting the required standard. To be honest, everything is just hard work. Especially when your functioning on -4 hours sleep.

The amount of shit (I mean stuff) you need is astounding for one tiny person. Venturing past your front door is a major event. Remembering everything and anything they could possibly need, unpredictable being their middle name. Bottles (high five to breast feeding mamas, one less thing to prepare and boobs cannot be forgotten), milk, calpol, dummies, muslins, bibs, baby cutlery, food, snacks, drink, change of clothes, nappies, normal bum cream, very sore bum cream, wipes, mixture of toys, books, blanket, spare blanket, pushchair. Once you have everything (you will always forget something) it's all then a game of pure chance with most of the elements out of your control. Will baby be too hot, cold, tired, hungry, under stimulated, over stimulated? Out of the comfort of your home will the eating place have a highchair, be willing to even warm up your baby's lunch? Or will they give you a bowl of hot water to warm up pureed roast chicken dinner-seriously Costa Coffee, H&S gone mad. Ughhhh just thinking about it all makes me feel uneasy.

Slight detour, all this made me think about the baby cards which show 'this is me at 1 month, this is my first smile' actually these need to be for adults. It's us that put in all the effort to get to those milestones. Those pictures I'd love to see, they'd be far more interesting.

A feeling of excitement comes over me each time my youngest moves up clothing sizes. I considered making a fire with all the baby Paraphernalia just so I could dance around singing 'no more babies, no more babies' Bye bye Moses basket, Jumperoo, travel cot, highchair, musical mobile, thing that beams lights on the ceiling and plays the noise of a snoring seal. Nice knowing you, sorry but you won't be needed again or missed. I now skip past the baby food isle. A big smile on my face that I won't be needing to venture down there again. Bye bye Ella's kitchen, as handy as you were my boy is on the big food now.

As you may have gathered I'm rather happy that my youngest is progressing through the early years. He is now nearly two. Two is when things get interesting. Personalities shine through. We have words, hallelujah!! Limited words I admit and not always in context but we have communication Houston. My eldest isn't overly impressed his brother is mastering the English language. He much preferred me to have to rely on his version of events. Understanding is reached, basic instructions are followed. I remember feeling great excitement when he first put a yoghurt pouch in the bin. Small moments eh! The next step will be the departure of nappies and dummies. Thank the lord, less stuff to have to remember.

Don't get me wrong older kids have their moments, challenges and difficulties but it's just much easier. Life begins to feel kinder. Going out isn't a military operation, they can eat whatever is on offer. Loads of stuff isn't needed. Schedules can be looser and spontaneous. You can talk and find out relatively easily what it is they want, don't want, have, feel. Activities can be overseen. Bye bye to crawling through soft play areas and you finally get to have that chat and drink a hot coffee.

What's brought on all this baby grumpiness?  My thirties could be renamed my babties. I've spent all my time and energy consumed with either being pregnant or working tirelessly to ensure my babies had good routines, meals, activities etc. Whilst you're in it, it's fine. It's your life, what you do and happy to do. I think it's when you're out of it, reflecting you see how hard you've worked. Now I'm done, over it and thank god not entering back into it.

Apologies for anyone expecting, here's a cute baby picture to cheer you up :)

Friday, 9 September 2016

A humorous collection of stories from everyday mums

As different as we are we all share the ups and downs of parenting life. We all struggle, make mistakes and then make a few more. So when you're negotiating a toddler tantrum, up in the middle of the night or wishing you were on a desert island, remember, you are not alone.

Emma, Mexborough "I once warmed up ketchup in the microwave instead of the bottle"

Real Life Manic Mum "After his bath my son was sat naked on the settee. I saw his face turn into 'I'm having a poo' mode so I rushed over, picked him up and held him at arms length to quickly get him on his potty in the bathroom. Unfortunately he'd started pooing. As it dropped on the carpet (cream) I then walk through it (bare foot). Nice."

Nicola, Northampton "On a trip to IKEA I left my purse in the car so went down the escalator to get it. My tired head forgot I needed the first floor so I ran up two flights of stairs to find I was in the wrong place. I literally panicked seeing no way back down. I looked for a lift and then had to ask a member of staff who kindly pointed out I could use the stairs I had just come up!"

Deborah, Mexborough "I drove my eldest to school and then walked home. Then I went into work my husband called in to see me. He asked where the car was as he'd not seen it on the drive. I panicked and said OMG someone must have stolen it. Walking home I remembered I'd left it parked at school. This was after my husband had called the police"

Rachel, Mexborough "I had a white noise app on my phone that played shhhhhhh sounds that I used all the time to try and get them to nap. Failing that I often put them in the pushchair next to the extractor fan. "

Real Life Manic Mum "In the initial weeks of his life my first born wouldn't settle unless he was laid on my chest. One night I woke up laid down with my baby no where to be seen. In a blind panic I rummaged round the duvet convinced I'd lost him in the bed. I glanced across at the Moses basket and there he was sleeping peacefully. I never even remembered putting him back!"

Alice, Wath "On arriving at the shops my little boy was asleep so I popped him in his pushchair, reclined it back and pulled down the hood while he snoozed. I wasn't aware he'd woken up until he launched himself into the shampoo bottles on the shelf head first tumbling out of his chair"

Real Life Manic Mum "Rushing around I popped my little one in his car seat in the back of the car and then helped my eldest fasten his seat belt. About 8 minutes into the drive my eldest enquired why his brother didn't need to be strapped in but he did!"

Emma, Mexborough "I got up at crack of bird poop with my youngest. Carefully but bleary eyed carrying him downstairs in the moses basket. Some prat (my husband) had left a book on stairs. I went flying, moses basket tipped up & baby rolled down the stairs. I screamed like a banshee waking the whole house!!"

Nicola, Swinton "We were on holiday in Menorca. Our 10 month old had fallen asleep in her pushchair so we left her in it and pushed her behind our sunbeds in the shade and we chilled out for a bit. We heard her making a noise so turned to check on her and then both wondered where she had got chocolate from. It was all around her mouth and her dummy was covered in it. Upon further inspection and mainly due to the smell, it quickly dawned on us that sadly it wasn't chocolate. She had done a poo and decided to put her hand in her nappy and treat herself to a mid-afternoon snack - yuck!! X

Debra, Rotherham "I was on my way to see the nurse for his 6 week check. I put him in the carry cot then attached it to the pram. As I tipped the pram in a downward motion to go over a step the carry cot bit slid off and fell onto the concrete floor, turning upside down with baby inside. I ran up the street tears streaming down my face thinking I had damaged my baby permanently. The nurse calmed me down and made me feel like I wasn't a bad rubbish mum"

Nicola, Northampton "One night I sang twinkle twinkle little star 15 times back to back just to help get Erin back to sleep. I remember slurring the words towards the end as I was singing myself to sleep."

Kim, Rotherham "I was winding my little girl who was a few weeks old after I'd finished breast feeding. She was wiggling and unsettled then suddenly projectile vomited blood! Emergency services, Sheffield  Children's Hospital, tests... Turns out she had been suckling on a blood vessel and not getting any milk!!! Yuk yuk yuk!!"

Rachel, Lanzarote "my first baby got a personalised note book. I noted how many poops a day, how many naps, what times he napped etc. I got bit obsessed with noting everything down, trying to be perfect. My second hasn't had anything like that and I'm enjoying her so much"

Deborah, Mexborough "I use to wake up in middle night thinking he wasn't breathing so would blow on his face and then he'd wake up and I'm like 'what the hell was I thinking???' "

Claire, Manchester "The first walk after she was born ... Fed, changed, pramsuit on. Battled to get brand new pram up, hot crying baby but ready to go. A family member coming on the walk decided they just needed to go for a wee. I had a melt down. We didn't leave the house again for a week"

Claire, Manchester "To remember which boob went last I tried wearing a bracelet on the same arm which matched the last boob. Unfortunately I was so tired I kept forgetting to move the bloody thing."

Josie, Mexborough "I had been booby feeding my daughter in her sling and my son wanted boob too so I squished the other boob out of the side of the sling for him to stand and have some. My eldest's (10 yr old) girlfriend and her mum came to pick him up to go out. When they arrived i answered the doordoor, said hello and waved them off. I then realised I'd had my boob still squished out of the side of the sling for them and all neighbours to see! Weirdly they dumped each other Monday morning 😂"

Claire, Manchester "my husband drove to work as normal, went into the staff carpark, reversing into a space and crapped himself to find his sleeping daughter in her car seat in the back. Completely forgotten he had a small daughter who needed to be dropped at nursery first. We were grateful he reversed in!"

Josie, Mexborough  "Never forget my son choking and then projectile vomiting mashed potatoes all over in marks and Spencer café"

Deborah, Mexborough "My son decided to poo in the bath and no one was around to help. So I left it in whilst getting him dried and ready for bed. I then forgot all about it when I came to want a bath later. Eeww"

Fiona, Mexborough "Holding my newborn daughter up mid nappy change to admire her and she crapped in my hand"

Josie, Mexborough "My son got stuck inside a highchair whilst out for Sunday lunch. It was mega busy, the chef came out of kitchen and extracted him using some margarine"

Fiona, Mexborough "I remember having a complete meltdown at my husband on the phone because he had dared to take our daughter to the pub to show her off"
Niky, Sheffield "I remember standing in the middle of the bus station and a lady tapping me on the shoulder saying "excuse me, do you know your baby has been sick on you?" I took my coat off and all down the back of my bright red wool coat was white stinking baby sick . I had to get baby wipes and try and clean it off in the middle of the bus station with a newborn :( "
Emma, Mexborough "I put my 1 year old son in the car placing my keys in his lap while I fastened his car seat.  I shut his door to get in myself. Unfortunately he pressed lock on the key. Five security guards were trying to get in. He then pressed the button again, dead locking the car. Bloody safety glass wouldn't smash. He was screaming by this point and was then sick. Police were called by security just in case. A man ran to the garage to get centre point to be able to smash glass. Eventually we got the front window smashed. By this time my son was asleep and completely unaware of all the drama"
Real Life Manic Mum "With my first baby I got my knickers in a twist over feeding times and remember protesting on the phone to my mum that 2pm to 4pm was definitely 3 hours. I even counted on my fingers, 2,3,4 see 3 hours!!!"

If you would like to donate to PANDAS (Pre & Post Natal Depression Advice & Support) to help them support sufferers of perinatal mental illnesses please text PANDAS £3, £5 or £10 to 70660. Thank You (#PNDAW16)
A big thank you to everyone for their stories and fellow mummy bloggers for sharing my post.      Whinge Whinge Wine   Accidental Hipster Mum   Handful of Halfpennys   Guilty Mother  Mouse, Moo & Me Too
(Do take a look at their blog pages, they are all fabulous!)

Friday, 2 September 2016

Toddler Bedtime Battles (Cot to Cotbed)

Happy Friday :)

From a young age both my children settled into easy bedtime routines. Bath, bottle, Iggle Piggle, snuggled up in their cots by 7pm.Wine in my hand by 5 past. Watching my youngest go from baby to toddler I knew the bedtime battle phase was coming but by god I'd forgotten how painful it was.

The toddler definitely has the upperhand in this game. Without the restriction of the cot they are free and making the most of it. Their motivation is only wavered by tiredness so if; they've had a nice long daytime sleep, gained their second wind after not enough sleep or simply don't want to be away from you (Awwww) you're in for a battle. They have nothing to lose. The end result will be the same for them. Either now or 30, 60, 90, 1 million minutes later, it's irrelevant to them. They aren't thinking about how they really should go to bed as they'll probably be up several times in the night and possibly for good at 6am so to get some zzz's would be useful. They have nothing important to do the next day and lets face it can have a little snooze when they're feeling sleepy from all that nocturnal larking about.

You on the other hand have a lot to lose; your entire evening, bed space and sanity. I start each bedtime positively, desperately hopeful that this will be the night peaceful bedtimes return. I do wonder if toddlers can smell fear so I remain smiley faced and try to banish the feeling of dread that creeps over me as Iggle Piggle waves his goodbye. 'Bedtime' I say with feigned cheeriness.

On a good night my youngest settles down in his bed after a story nicely. Leaving his room is the mission. Silently sitting listening to his breathing, sucks on his dummy and sleepy shuffles I assess what level of sleep he's at. Is it safe enough to attempt to move? The key is patience. When you think it's safe, wait 5 more minutes. When you do move, think snail speed. Pausing after each step/crawl. There are many obstacles to overcome. If noisy floor boards and dis guarded toys aren't enough my body has now decided to join in the game with creaking joints and cracking knees.
Top tip, prepare your exit. Clear your path pre bedtime so you don't accidently set off any musical toys. Leave the door open a crack so you don't have the added hurdle of the squeaky door handle which can easily undo all your work. Finally, let your partner know that under no circumstances should they enter the room to 'see if you've fallen asleep because you've been there for ages'

On a bad night my youngest won't even entertain looking at his bed never mind getting in it. Acting like he's auditioning for a Red Bull advert these evenings really are disheartening. A battle of wills, a stand off between you and your stubborn toddler. Cries of protest and crocodile tears at being put to bed. Once you've accomplished/worn him out to stay in bed you've then got all the above to get through. Nice.

Some evenings it's all too much. You've playing the waiting game, you've done the bad cop back to bed routine and quiet frankly you've had enough so the big guns come out. The Car. This is my last resort when all else fails. When I'm completely worn out, mentally and physically, the car journey can bring it all to a swift end. If that was the end till morning it would actually be slightly bearable but oh no a game of musical beds during the night awaits.

A month in and I know I need for my own sake as much as my sons to get him into a bedtime routine again. One which doesn't involve me sitting by his side whilst he sleeps, chauffeuring him round in his own private sleep mobile or having my bed space overtaken by a cute but starfish snoring toddler. So my husband and I have decided tomorrow is the night to start operation 'no nonsense back to bed'. Ekkkk.

Toddler bedtimes aren't for the faint hearted. It is a stressful affair. A rollercoaster of emotions. I know it will naturally become easier. With middle of the night waking less frequent and your evenings gradually given back. Along with your bed space and sanity but for the time been, armour up and go forth to bedtime battle.

Between the 5th and 11th of September PANDAS are launching and hosting the first Pre & Post Natal Depression Week in the UK. 
My blog next Friday will be for PANDA so take a look on my facebook page for details on how you can get involved. I'm sure many of you are aware simply sharing stories can be a great help for parents to know that they aren't going through struggles alone so your support on this would be greatly appreciated :)