Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Q & A Blogger Tag

Happy Wednesday :)

I do like a bit of frivolous fun so when I saw Fran from Whinge Whinge Wine offering up a blogger challenge I had to join in. Here's my answers to Fran's ten questions;

1) There is no electricity and won't be for the next week. NONE. After eating the contents of the freezer (assuming you have a gas cooker) what the hell do you do with yourself?
Absolutely panic!!!!! Then grab the takeaway menus. Secure a Sunday lunch invite at my mums and beg a ready made lasagne off my mother-in-law. Actually sounds quite attractive. Where's that electric switch...

2) What time constitutes a lie-in in your house?
Disgustingly I'm now grateful for keeping my eyes shut till anytime after 5.59am. Very very rarely (maybe twice a year) we might get a 7-7.30am. However this is always due to either numerous night wakings and/or a very late night.

3) What is your greatest achievement, bar your children?
In my younger party days how I didn't get arrested for drunk and disorderly is beyond me, so perhaps an unplanned achievement. Now it's simply juggling the balls of life and if I say so myself making a half decent job of it.

4) What is your favourite blog post ever (your own, or someone else's)?
Ooooo so many to choose from. Hurrah for Gin particularly makes me giggle, love the drawings too.

5) If you could only use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, which one would you choose?

6) How often per month do you think 'screw it, I'll give up blogging'?
As it's a hobby for me I guess there's not the same pressure for those who do it for a living so not happened yet...

7) If I was a newbie and just starting my blog, and I came to you for advice, what would you tell me?
Ask Fran from Whinge Whinge Wine as I'm a newbie too!

8) Chocolate or strawberry milkshake?

9) What is the best fruit?
For usefulness, Bananas. Great for kids as minimal mess and fills them up nicely. Also good for hangovers. For taste, Cherrys. Although I can only afford to buy two per month.

10) What are your top three hits/bands from the 80s...
Remembering back tunes I particularly liked; Stay by Shakespears Sister, Eternal Flame by The Bangles and anything by Madonna.

So I tag Nat from Handful of Halfpennys, Gemma from Coffee Kids & Ice Cream, Patricia from White Camellias and Jo from Guilty Mother. Ladies, you're it! Let's find out all about you :)

1/If you could meet anyone living or dead who would it be?
2/What is one of your best childhood memories?
3/What's your biggest blogging bug bear?
4/Name three things you like about yourself.
5/Night off from the kids (I'll babysit). What do you choose to do?
6/Best go to tea?
7/If you could only give one piece of parenting advice what would it be?
8/Favourite holiday?
9/If we had to live in one season forever, which one would you choose?
10/What would be your choice for a final meal?

Friday, 21 October 2016

Silent Miscarriage-My Experience

The loss of a baby. Upsetting, uncomfortable and therefore can be something which isn't often spoken about. But listening, talking, informing is good, helpful. This is why I've decided to share my experience of a silent/missed miscarriage. Something I'd never heard of until it happened to me in December 2013. Supporting baby loss awareness week (9th-15th October) #heretolisten

Putting up the Christmas tree with my three year old I felt so happy. I was nine weeks pregnant with baby number two. From finding out at the beginning of November I had already worked out my due date, told a select few, pondered over names and excitedly imagined my maternity leave with a summer baby.

Not a week later following a difficult bowl movement (sorry TMI!) I was faced with every pregnant women's nightmare, a show of bright red blood. On calling the hospital they said it was fairly common, not to worry and to call back if the blood got heavier and/or was accompanied by any pains/cramping. There was no further blood or pains or cramping which was a good sign but I just didn't feel pregnant anymore. My boobs were no longer sensitive, the nausea had eerily subsided and a nagging feeling that something wasn't right wouldn't budge.

On Friday 20th December I sat nervously waiting for my 12 week scan. My husband held my hand tightly. I couldn't speak as my mind raced. Thoughts alternated between telling myself everything was fine to wondering how I was going to react to the news. Finally the sonographer called my name. I forced a smile. As we entered the room I felt sick. Laying down I rolled up my top feeling the cool gel on my tummy. As she moved the transducer around, twisting and turning I knew it wasn't good news. I felt sorry for the young girl who's face said it all but she had to say it none the less. She apologised and explained gently that it looked like the baby had stopped growing at around 7 weeks. I nodded, calmly listening to confirmation of what deep down I already knew. We were led to a room where a midwife gave us the options of what would happen next. I opted to let nature take it's course. My notes were kept to one side and we were shown out of a different exit. Thankfully it spared me the walk out of the door which I'd earlier entered still clinging on to hope. Most importantly too, spared the expecting, excited women from seeing the side that no one wants to endure. The devastated face of the loss of a baby.

The drive home from the hospital was surreal. I was officially no longer pregnant. I felt lost. I was supposed to be pregnant. My initial feeling was sadness. That I wouldn't be sharing our news. That my son wouldn't be joined by a sibling. The next day I felt cheated. That our new dreams and plans as a family of four were abruptly gone. I tormented myself, imagining what it would have felt like to have come home with a picture of our scan, sharing our news. Then I felt lucky. Pregnancy is complicated. Shockingly one in six pregnancies result in miscarriage. Some suffer multiple miscarriages. Others lose babies much further into pregnancy or horrendously at birth. Some people sadly never even have the opportunity. We had a happy, healthy three year old and if that was all life had intended then that was more than good enough for me.

The miscarriage started on Christmas Eve and lasted around two weeks. Only one day was especially tough when I experienced a couple of hours of contraction like pains but for the most it was really just like a heavy period. In the New Year we returned to the hospital to ensure everything was back to normal. The nurse confirmed this and said we could start trying straight away if we wished. Amazingly in February 2014 (only a month later) we found out that we were expecting again. It was a hard nine months. I worried, constantly. Sunday 12th October 2014 we welcomed our second son into the world and not a day passes that I don't appreciate how lucky we are.

Birthday Brothers. Same Birthday 4 Years Apart x

Friday, 7 October 2016

Toddler Bedtime Battles

Happy Friday :)

Bedtime and Sleeping. Two words which strike fear into 99% of parents who are currently experiencing, contemplating or recovering from bedtime and/or sleeping 'challenges'. Toddlers are renowned for their variety of challenges. Some are fun, others cute, many are exhausting and quite a few can be irritating, to say the least. These two can be particularly vicious, especially if you get a dose of both, at the same time.

Blessed with a self settler bedtimes were great. Bath, bottle, Iggle piggle and bed. 7pm I would pop my youngest in his cot bidding farewell with a kiss and cuddle. 7.05pm I'd be ready to start my evening, feeling like Mary Poppins. The thought of this blissful bedtime routine being shattered by him a/moving into a bed and b/realising life goes on after 'In the Night Garden' had crossed my mind but I was sure that I had at least till January 2017 to keep enjoying the good life. Waking during the night was rectified quickly and efficiently. Simply depositing his dummy back in place ensured everyone was straight back to sleep.

On Monday 25th of July all hell broke loose when we returned from holiday and my bedtime buddie became my bedtime bandit. Climbing out of his cot we had no choice but to remove the bars leaving a lovely open bed for him to come and go as he pleased. I felt he was too young (22 months) to understand the going to bed concept so I decided that to help him settle I would sit with him. Middle of the night wakings were dealt with much the same. However, one fateful night I was knackered and the prospect of sitting on a hard laminate floor anywhere between 15 to 40 minutes (several times) wasn't that attractive so I let the bandit into our bed. I took the easy route but soon realised that sleeping half in the bed, half on the bedside table wasn't ideal. Fast forward two months and the novelty of wasting away my evening trying to sneak out of his bedroom had funnily enough also lost it's appeal.

Along with the obvious (being knackered) it left me feeling resentful and annoyed. Which was unfair as all he was doing was enjoying the behaviour I'd set on. I felt he was selfishly keeping me for himself. Whilst getting a numb bum in the dark I heard my eldest enquire "where's Mummy?" Unintentionally he was stealing my 'me' time. By me time I'm not talking about shopping trips, nights out and bubble baths. I mean time to simply get stuff done before the next day arrived and possibly eat tea.

One particular night when several escape attempts had failed it was nearing 9pm. I was hungry, tired and truly fed up. I contemplated the longevity of this. The positive me pondered that with age he would fall asleep alone and wouldn't be waking so much through the night. The realistic me concluded that having his mummy at his side till he drifted off and being snuggled up in mummy and daddy's bed would be his preference for a good few years. Something had to be done. I could not do this for a good few years.

So we are now entering the 7th night of mission 'Bedtime Bandit'. There were essentially two parts to this 1/to get our 2 year old sleeping in his own bed, all night 2/for him to settle to sleep without me staying in his room. As this subject affects such a lot of parents and can be a god awful time I decided to post a daily update of each night to show our journey and hopefully help/support anyone going through the same. If you'd like to take a look click on the link detail of each night or alternatively below is a summary.

The first night he was up and down like a yo yo. Trying his luck each time at getting into our bed. Amazingly and a little unnervingly on night number 2 there was no fussing to come into our room. Third night Daddy was in charge and the fighting was more about going to bed than staying in it. Night number four I made the mistake of deviating from the plan. The 5th night was adding in the main game changer, me not staying the room whilst he slept. I was dreading it. It wasn't half as bad as I'd feared. Progression was even made. He was now getting back in his bed on his own and shouting me rather than coming out of his room. The sixth night started out fab but at 3.30am deteriorated. By 5am he'd spent 1 & 1/2 hours getting out of bed and calling for me before getting up for good with my hubbie. I may just be desperately hoping but my thoughts are his teeth were bothering him. Either way, we didn't relent.

Couple of things I've learnt so far;

~Don't be put off by what you think it's going to be like or how you think your little one is going to react. My youngest hasn't cried much at all. He's whinged a lot, got cross, shouted and resisted but it's actually been a lot less painful then I imagined.

~You have to be realistic. Recognise your weaknesses as they will be your failure. I'm a softie so I knew that diving in cold turkey for both issues would be a lot to deal with (mainly for me!) so I decided to soften the blow by introducing the changes staggered.

~You need to plan it when nothing else is going so you can commit to it and keep the consistency no matter what.  After easing ourselves in I had an opportunity of 4 days in a row that I wasn't working. Ideal for the hardcore part as I knew that this was going to meet the most resistance and result in potentially not much sleep for me.

~Make life easier. It takes a lot of mental and physical energy so don't sweat the small stuff. You'll be knackered so who cares if the house is a mess or you have takeout every night. When this is done you'll have all the time in the world for tidying and home cooked food.

~Don't be scared to mix and match. What's right for one parent or child may not be for another. Expert advice, routines, schedules can be followed but most importantly can be also adapted, changed and mixed up to suit you and your little one. Taking as much or as little from them as you want.

~Toddlers are clever but have fish like memories. They know what pushes your buttons and how their cries affect you. Stay with it. They really are fine. Ask them when they're fifteen about this and I guarantee they'll have no idea what on earth you're talking about. (Especially if they're still sleeping in your bed, hee hee)

Even though I'm knackered and slightly nervous about what the coming nights hold. I'm also determined and excited. We're completely dedicated and committed to achieving what we set out to. What about our youngest? He's unimpressed at the moment but give him a month and he'll be my bedtime buddie again.

I'd love to hear about your experiences, feel free to comment with them x