Change

A lot of things change when you have a child. Opinions on issues you thought you knew about, how tidy your house usually is, and unfortunately – friendships.

The biggest change? Ourselves. When you have children you change. You never think you will, you try your damned best to stay the person you were, but you change anyway. And to be honest, why wouldn’t you? We go from who we think we are to someone so much stronger and braver than we imagined.

We develop a strength that comes from lack of sleep and a huge shock to the system that comes with the presence of a child in your life. We evolve from carefree cub to fierce lioness. It’s part of the parcel. No one goes through the trial of childbirth and comes out weaker; we come out strong and feeling invincible that we survived such an experience. We come through and even though some of us descend into depression, or feel overwhelmed and daunted by the biggest responsibility we shall ever have, we are still stronger than any previous moment in our lives.

As this change happens, we find a voice we didn’t know we have. One that speaks for the baby who can’t speak for itself. One that stands up for ourselves, especially where previously we didn’t speak for ourselves. But we change.

I have made new friends since being a mum. Drawn together by the same experiences with pregnancy and childbirth and then raising children, we all meet new people and friends we had before children drift away sometimes. It’s natural when our paths in life divide – some of us have children and others don’t so the things you had in common before children (BC) fall by the wayside. You can’t go out at the drop of a hat, you can’t just go and be a person; not without consideration for the kids. You truly discover your real friends when you become a mother and I am proud of the fact I have two women in my life who I can honestly say I wouldn’t be without. They know who they are so I won’t name them, but without them I would be a bit lost! There have been some very dark days since being a mum but it is these women who have never left me to sink. That right there, that is friendship.

One thing that has changed about me personally is that I refuse to be walked over. Not by anyone, anymore. I’m a loyal person even when my judgement tells me not to be, I go against it and rather see the best of someone than give up. My husband says this is my most frustratingly wonderful quality haha. I’ve recently parted ways with who I thought was a very close friend and for the life of me I still don’t truly understand why. The gist of it seems to be that I had other friends. Absurd and baffling, I refuse to wallow in any sadness. While I can’t understand how others process, I can forgive shitty behaviour and move on from that experience, purely because life is just too fucking short to worry about someone else if they haven’t the time of day for me. I am a grown woman, not a child in the playground.

We are 7 months into 2015 and I have worked so hard to transform myself personally and mentally. I started this year in a fog of exhaustion and tears and frustration, fat and sorry for myself. The better I did, the less I saw or heard from my friend. But that’s okay you know, it’s okay. I’m a stronger person for it. I’m better as a person, knowing who my real friends are and that’s why 2015 is turning out so well.

Madeleine is going to be one next month, and Sophie is going to be three. We are giving Madeleine an amazing christening day followed by a birthday party for both girls, and our closest friends and family are coming. It’s going to be a fantastic party and I cannot wait to see the excitement on my daughters’ faces when all the people who love them are in the same place. This is what counts. The happiness of my children, my husband and myself and how we can give that back to those who love us, is what matters.

And no one will stand in the way of that

Six Months

We are now six months into what is turning into a fantastic 2015 (fingers crossed, touching wood and horseshoes and all that). I’ll give you a bullet pointed run down of why this year is so nice so far:

– We have had a family holiday.

Yes, it was Great Yarmouth and yes it was only four nights, but we had family time together as a foursome. Madeleine’s first holiday and she loved it. Sophie can’t stop chattering about it and despite the fact the sea caught her and made her wellies wet, she keeps asking to go and build more sand castles.

– Madeleine no longer keeps me awake for days on end.

Self explanatory, cheers and champagne all round for this one!

– We have a collective four weekends away happening before the end of the year.

My niece made her first Holy Communion in May, we are soon to be heading to Amy nephews christening when that’s booked, I have a hen do in August and we are visiting Middlesbrough in October.

– Nursery.

Sophie is thriving at nursery. She is doing so well there and with her being toilet trained day and night already life is so much simpler. Nursery gives me valuable one on one time with Madeleine as well as has brought Sophie and I closer together because we aren’t 24/7 in each other’s company. Which to be honest, sounds awful, but being human and all I like to hear about my daughters time away and I love her running at me excitedly to tell me of her adventures as a Beautiful Butterfly (the name of her room lol)

– Me.

I started this year with a goal of “me”. Self indulgent and selfish as that is, I’ve given my body and brain to other people since getting pregnant with Sophie. I’ve either been working, studying or pushing out a baby from 2011-2014 so I decided to take 2015 for me. Shamefully, I began my year weighing a hefty 16stone 12, or 236lbs. Reading that back, all I can think is YIKES. After the smear test before Christmas, I was essentially frightened into doing something about my health. We’ve all had those resolutions before haven’t we, lose weight yada yada. For me? It wasn’t a choice. I had allowed myself to become morbidly obese and stupidly unhealthy. I was on the road to healthy back in 2013 but life got in the way and I slipped up majorly.

I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t just lose weight. I vowed that I would be more patient, more aware of my surroundings and get out of the house. I didn’t ever want to go out. Combine the new baby and the toddler and the general embarrassment of myself in public, and you had a classic hermit situation. I think I’ve actually shocked myself if I’m honest. I didn’t expect to want to stick with it and do well. I took up the 5:2 way of life, please google this if you don’t know what it is, and I surrounded myself with supportive people and those I could moan and groan to when I needed it.

As it stands, I wanted to lose 6stone 12 to get me to 149lbs (10st) and I gave myself 2015 to do it in. I’m currently writing a diary blog aside from this which is yet unpublished with photos and progress and meals etc but I will not publish that until o reach that goal. Today, I weigh 3stone 7 less than I did. I’ve taken half a year to lose half what I wanted to lose. And I am fucking proud of myself. I am no longer classed as morbidly obese, I am now “overweight”. That in itself is a huge achievement for me. I haven’t been such a small weight for almost seven years. Since I was 20 years old. How lazy and how selfish of me to treat my body that way!? I see the fact I only now have 47lb to lose, and I am chasing that finish line.

Once I do, I will link my diary blog complete with horrifying start photos and progress photos and I will shout and brag from the rooftops. I have binned my fat clothes as I’ve lost weight purely so I have no excuse. I am accountable for every action and I log everything on Instagram and myfitnesspal for that reason.

So. This year is pretty great. There are some other things I want to say but I can’t just yet, I can’t jinx things that are ahead for us.

It’s about time we had some happiness ahead. And thank you so much to those of you who are cheering us on – you know who you are and how much I love you.

Until next time x x

Family Life

Family life is busy

Family life is fun

Family life is hard

 

These three sentences are those I repeat to myself at various points of the day. Some days I want to cry with how difficult things can be,  some days I can’t stop grinning. Either way, it’s busy. Busy like I haven’t ever imagined.

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We are almost halfway into the year and I need to blink faster to catch up. We’ve just come off our first ever family holiday as a foursome and I really wish we were still on holiday. We had a huge amount of fun and both Sophie and Madeleine didn’t stop smiling. Madeleine didn’t appreciate the swimming pool at all, but she did really enjoy cruising round a much smaller space than the living room at home. Ah yes, she is cruising now. At 9.5m old, she is cruising, crawling and has four teeth. We have heard lots of “Dada” and “bwah bwah” but as yet, no “Mama”.

Sophie is now attending nursery five mornings a week and is fully potty trained both day and night. Almost three, she is wildly independent and her speech is off the charts. She can sing the ABCs, baa baa black sheep, twinkle twinkle little star and the Incy wincy spider all the way through.

Initially I felt such guilt for her going to nursery but it’s the stimulation and social interaction she really needed and has thrived as a result. I am very proud of how far she has come. She knows all our names (first and surname) and I am currently teaching her our address. Sophie is so smart, so polite and so beautiful I pinch myself that I get to be her mummy.

Finally Madeleine and Sophie have become friends and now they cannot be away from each other. Madeleine loves to drape herself all over Sophie and lie across her laughing and Sophie always finds this hilarious.

I’m very excited for their birthdays coming up in two months time, and for everything the next few months holds. There’s a few exciting things happening but I won’t update on those just yet 🙂

Why Is It “Easy”?

April marks one year since Husband and I swapped roles in the house. He was a stay home Dad while I earned or studied for Sophie’s first 18 months, then we switched over and he went back to work and I became a stay at home Mum. Whoever said that staying home was the easy option, the ”lazy” option, clearly has never stayed at home with kids.

When I was working, I got to travel to work – alone and with a newspaper. I got to have regular breaks from my desk – alone to make tea and coffee. I got to pee – alone. I got to travel home excited to spend time with my daughter…but she would already be in bed as I used to travel 90mins each way. Despite all the wonderful alone time I had while working, I didn’t get much time with Sophie. And I hated that. The guilt of not knowing her routines or favourite things properly (considering babies are fickle beings and change on a daily basis!) used to make me cry a lot. The general guilt that I had less patience for tantrums was horrible. I didn’t know her tricks like Husband did.

Of course, I am her mum and weekends were precious, but the small day to day things were a bit harder for me as I wasn’t right there in the thick of things. Husband did a fantastic job with Sophie, taking her out every day to softplay and to the park and also kept on top of the housework while I worked full time.

When I hit 20 weeks pregnant with Madeleine, enough was enough. I was exhausted and Husband was restless so we swapped over and I took over Sophie and the house. Learning the quirks and routines of a lively 18month old while pregnant was not easy. She had also hit the terrible twos nice and early – lucky me. I found the 24/7 of staying at home a heck of an adjustment. There are these wonderful women out there who never have a struggle and gasp in shock when other mothers say they find it hard (and let’s be frank, boring) to sing the same rhymes and play the same games and do the same things over and over. I’m one of those mothers. I like to try and keep things fresh and new to prevent boredom on my part and learn new things on Sophie’s part. At home, you are on from sun up to sun down. You share the bathroom with a tiny person or two while you pee and they throw things at you or unravel the toilet paper (true story). I find myself serving up meals and eating mine while fitting in the washing up while both are sat down and still. I need six arms and twenty seven eyes to get things done while keeping both kids happy and entertained. That is NOT easy.  My washing machine works overtime and by the time I’m celebrating the basket being empty, it’s the end of the day and a new lot of clothes is shoved in. In between songs and games and reading books, I tidy and nappy change and supervise trips on the potty. We go out every day, sometimes twice, for walks just to get out of the house and to the park. I clean up puke and play dough and poop explosions. I kiss knees better and wipe snotty noses and tearful faces. I play I Spy until my ears bleed and listen to Bing and Toy Story until I wish for neither to exist.

After bedtime, I finally sit down for maybe an hour before the night shift with Madeleine begins. I do dummy runs and bottle night feeds and soothe nightmares. I wash up and sweep the floors and tidy the toys and debris in the living room. When all of that’s done, bring me the magazines and TV shows that I’m supposed to be sat around watching all day being lazy. If being a parent at home is a lazy option, then show me where? Being at home with kids is easy for some people just like being at work doesn’t carry guilt for others. I’ve had experience of both sides of the coin and personally for me, being at home is way more tiring and hard. For others, being at work is.

I am supremely lucky – I get to be with my girls and despite how much I may moan about it, I wouldn’t go back to work until school begins for Maddie if I can help it. It’s hard, and tiring, and sometimes boring and NOT easy. But wonderful and hilarious and full of cuddles and kisses. Maddie grabs my cheeks and tries to bite my mouth, and I’ve decided that she’s trying to give me kisses now. She smiles and commando crawls at top speed after her sister while laughing as she goes. Sophie has an incredible imagination and brings me pretend things and tells me they’re her jewels. Jewels – for a two year old. Amazing.

What I’m trying to say is if homemakers and working parents could give each other support and a little understanding, I wouldn’t have people saying ‘so when are you going back to work’ and then recoiling when I say not any time soon!

Breathe Them In

I remember the first time I held Sophie until she fell asleep in my arms. I remember how she would curl her tiny hand round my collar as a comfort to sleep. I remember the last time I held Sophie and rocked her to sleep. I remember the last time she cuddled into me and fell asleep, her eyelashes resting on her plump little cheeks. I remember breathing her in and running my hand over her wispy blonde hair. I remember this was a year ago.

I didn’t know it was going to be the last time she let me hold her to sleep.
I didn’t know that she was going to be so excited about moving from a cot to a toddler bed that cuddles to sleep with mummy was ending. I didn’t know.

You never know the last time is the last time. It only hit me tonight, when I picked Madeleine up out of the cot and she snuggled into my neck. I’ve been so busy feeling exhausted and run down and frustrated because of colic/sleep deprivation/toddler Olympics that I haven’t had a decent chance to stop spinning in circles and just breathe Madeleine in. Don’t get me wrong, she’s fallen asleep on me numerous times, but it always seemed clouded over by the “now, how do I get her to the cot without waking her???” Worries. It’s always been “thank goodness, now I can rest”. Of course, no one with a newborn can really blame me for that, throw in an excited toddler who doesn’t nap and you generally get points for remembering to brush your teeth.

She is now seven months old. Seven whole months have passed and it has been a blur of sleepless nights and sleep training. Teaching Madeleine that mummy cannot possibly rock her for hours and hours until she is in a dead sleep, only to be wide awake the moment her head hits the cot. Teaching Madeleine that falling asleep on her own is a good thing. Well, it is a good thing, self settling is important all round not just for my own sleep but for hers too. The trouble is, now she can do it, I miss my cuddles. She now needs her own space to fall asleep and this is great for me especially as her bottom teeth are FINALLY gracing us with their presence. She very very rarely falls asleep on me for a nap or bedtime now. She likes to starfish in bed, and who can blame her?

Tonight, three hours after bedtime has been her first wake up and she was a little upset. The bottom teeth and gums are so sore and she was just quietly and gently crying, so I picked her up. I expected her to wake up fully and get myself into a shit situation and no sleep. Instead, she snuffled into my neck, clutched hold of my necklace and snored away. I didn’t put her down straight away, I couldn’t. I gently swayed, and breathed her in. I smelt the milk and sweet smell in the crease of her neck. I could smell her shampoo. I smelled a sweetness that is Madeleine and a scent I just can’t describe. I held her and rocked her gently for a good twenty minutes before laying her down. She didn’t wake up again, she snored a little more and made me smile.

It really hit me that one day, she and Sophie won’t want me to cuddle them at all, let alone to sleep. They won’t want me invading their space and smelling their hair. Sophie is already so independent, she loves it when I play with her hair and will ask to sit with me, and in church she lays her head on my shoulder while I sing the hymns and sway at the back. But she’s growing up. They both are.

You just, you never know when the it’s the last time.

Zzzzzz

I am tired. Not just sleepy tired. Not just I-stayed-up-late-playing-games tired. I am to the bone tired. I am eyes crossed tired.

Madeleine is six months old. She is at a huge development point in her life. Right now she has two bottom teeth trying to push up (oh please, please push soon), she is saying “bbbbbbbbbbbbbb” but without the “ah” so it’s like she wants to say “bah” but can’t get passed the “b” noise, she is doing mini crunches trying to go from laying down to sitting up. And boy, do we know it. Her little brain is changing and developing and I wish, wish, wish it would hurry the fuck up.

We’ve always had trouble with her sleep, she had colic for a long time, then we settled into four nightly wakings – which I loved. Yeah she woke four times of a night but at least that’s normal for a baby. I accept normality. At six months old, she is now going down for bed just fine, her routine is set and it works. But come 2am boy oh boy she is up til about 6. She’s not even properly awake! She has her eyes shut but kind of thrashes to get comfy. My theory is that she’s in a lighter sleep cycle but wants to stay asleep so fights waking up. And she bashes her face, thrashes and shouts. Not cries, shouts.

Every time you settle her down (child is fed and not wet through) you can guarantee she will be up ten mins later shouting. I love being a mummy, but fucking hell it’s hard some days. It’s exhausting. Painfully exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fool. I have zero expectations of her sleeping the night and that’s just fine, I don’t want that of her so little. But four wake ups is better than forty four. Or sixty four. Or a bajillion and four like it feels like!

So I’m tired.

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On the plus side, Madeleine is beautiful. You cannot fail to smile at her little face, and she is so loving. Always nuzzling for a cuddle or kiss – she kisses by open mouthed head butting your chin so you get all wet and slimy haha. She simply adores Sophie and despite Sophie’s indifference to her (she loves her sister, just thinks she’s sticky) she always tries to laugh at her. Madeleine is a rolling genius now and although she will get upset if in her front too long, she soon works out that she can roll the other way. Always ending in hilarity in the shock on her face when she manages it.

Sophie, my lovely little monkey, is doing fabulously. We had about a week of shitty behaviour so introduced a reward chart. She was messing at mealtimes and barely eating, then asking for biscuits or treats in between. We stopped all snacks between meals and she gets a star for each meal that she finishes 85% of and it’s working. She gets stars for morning/afternoon/evening behaviour. Naughty step is an automatic sad face on her chart and no star. She is such a clever girl as she’s caught on so fast and wants to do well for stars. Her first week showed a massive improvement within two days so Husband took her to the cinema for the first time which of course she loved. Sophie is also more willing to try new foods if stars are promised and I am definitely not above a little bribery.

The biggest news we have is the potty. Sophie’s not yet training but each day after dinner, she now sits on the potty and tries for a wee. Not six weeks ago if you suggested this she would cry. Wouldn’t go near the potty even in clothes. This is born of the bowel issues she’s had since birth. Now she happily sits bare bummed, and after a few mins will stand up and say “no wee wee yet mummy all clean”. She has managed two poops on the potty and no wees so far. Too much information I suppose but I don’t even care. I am so proud that she’s even attempting to sit on it and that’s just fine by me. Lots of encouragement and cheering and she’s getting more confident. I’m following her lead and it’s nice. Hopefully I can have her trained before three!!

Anyway, I’m becoming terrible at updating this blog, life with two is so hectic and I’m praying it’ll slow down a little bit soon and be more manageable. Until then I will be updating when I can. I have so much to tell you all…but my bed is way more important and the duvet has claimed me as one of it’s own.

Night night!

Happy New Year

I have been a mother of two children for five months and I’ve learned a lot in that time. So I want to share with you what the latter part of 2014 taught me. Here are some of the things I’ve learned, both as a parent and as a person:

I’ve learned which of my friends are true and kind and loyal, and which of my friends aren’t really my friends and just fake people who only like me when my life goes wrong.

I’ve learned that juggling a toddler who doesn’t nap, and a new baby who has colic means that I can function on a lot less sleep than most.

I am able to travel 200miles, on two trains with a toddler and a baby and two bags without panicking or losing anything (or any child!).

I’ve learned that the NHS is more concerned with money than giving my baby the right prescribed formula. Yes, nutramigen is expensive but if it’s needed why the politics? Isn’t that why we pay taxes?

I’ve learned that a two year old girl can make me more proud than anyone just because she’s learned all her body parts and her name.

I’ve learned that one of the most heart melting moments is when I ask Sophie to do something for me or to get something and she replies “yes mummy” as if helping me is the most important thing in the whole world.

I’ve learned that Madeleine is a tough baby – she prefers being awake to being asleep and that’s exhausting.

I’ve learned that in spite of this, she is the happiest little chicken ever and she always has a sweet smile ready and waiting for me.

I’ve learned that I’ve had no time with my husband, between work and being a full time mother who is awake 24/7.

I’ve learned that we are stronger than I thought, and despite the lack of time together we haven’t changed or grown apart; simply put our time on pause.

I’ve learned that the fact that manners were so important to us paid off, as Sophie is the most polite little girl I could ever have hoped to raise.

I’ve learned that no matter how much I try I cannot bottle the pure scent of my daughters. If I could it would probably be illegal, because that is addictive.

I’ve learned that my mum is resilient and happy to listen to me bawl my eyes out and hear my worries without making me feel stupid. And I love her for this.

I’ve learned who is important to me, who has made me who I am and who I can rely on in times of need.

I’ve learned that I CAN cope and that 2015 will bring so much more joy to my life than any other year.

This is the year that begins with a completed family. It’s for me. No more babies, no more house moves (if I can help it!!) and no more crap. Just a year for us, going on holiday and saving for more holidays next year.

Cheers everyone, Happy New Year