Wednesday, 21 June 2017

HMS Tena Lady.

 She’s back! Well, a slightly rotund sweaty version but the mojo has returned. The ruddy molar isn’t quite through yet but sleep has been had. I might even have got more than 6 hours in a row. Yeah! Boom. Back of the net! I’ve even been jogging. I know? Jogging. That’s what yummy Mummy’s from South West London do, wearing really nice gear from Sweaty Betty and with very pert yoga bums. I am a very different type of jogger. Pair of old black leggings. Preferably ones without small one’s toothpaste all over them and a complete crutch sans holes. My Lionel Richie t-shirt and a pair of very comfortable M&S trainers and I have more of a ‘Yoda’ bum. I look quite the Mum about town. I finish off this look with a crimson visage and an air of “get out of my way, I’m about to die” about me. But hey, I went for a run last night and that was hot. I mean I was moist and not in a good way. I had to pass our neighbour and had that awkward moment of pausing my music and making some out of breath pleasantry as he watched my flabby arse bouncing around into the distance. I have to have my music up pretty loud to cancel out the sounds of my laboured breathing. I’m sure running used to be easier. I’m about 5 runs in now but in my twenties, I’d have been back up to fitness. Now, each run is tough. I’m carrying extra saddle bags, bigger boobs, fatigue and a very dodgy pelvic floor. It feels like when you walk over the trap door outside a pub. You know; unsafe. Could let you down at any moment. Rattly.

 Yes, the pelvic floor. I was very good about the old Kegel exercises before and after the bubs. I would do them anywhere and anytime. On the train, on the bus, watching Netflix and my eyebrows always seemed to rise as I did them. All seemed ship shape and dandy until I had the cough from hell at the beginning of the year. It went on for five months and that pretty much blew out my hull, so to speak. It’s got worse and any ideas of grandeur of jumpy jumpy on a trampoline are but a pipe dream. If I need a wee I have to go straight away, otherwise there’s potential gusset failure. That’ll teach me for taking the piss out of the Tena Lady ads (no pun intended). I have actually considered investing in them. There are certain exercises on my ‘Davina- Fit in 15’ DVD that are now out of the question. What has become of me. I’m trying to do the Kegel’s now, without my eyebrows rising. Try it. It’s really difficult.

 Anyway, enough talk of pissing oneself. Let’s move onto the average to middling parenting that you haven’t read about for a week. Well, it’s going ok. She’s just at a gorgeous age. Last week work was pretty quiet, hence lack of post as I hardly had any free time. She’s just awesome. What can I say? I miss her more and more when I do have to go to work. We have great fun when we’re together. We go swimming and she does her Kung Fu Panda kick in the water and she’s started baby ballet. Sweet mother of pearl. It’s the cutest darn thing you’ve ever seen. After the taster session she was hooked. Granny has now bought her a tutu and leotard so she looks the part. Good toes, naughty toes are practiced in the car and I am constantly followed by a little girl doing pointy toes around the sofa. The older she gets, the more fun we have. She actually makes me laugh. I’m not going to lie. When parents used to say that to me I thought it was pretty wanky. Peep Show makes me laugh. Victoria Wood makes me laugh. How the hell could a toddler be funny? But they are. I think I’ve mentioned it before but my daughter can be an utter prat and genuinely funny. Recently, she’s got into carrying a piece of fruit. Normally an orange around with her. It goes everywhere. She’s currently having a nap and it’s in the cot with her. The other day she’d wrapped it up in a flannel and was cradling it like a baby. I walked into the living room yesterday and she was trying to give it milk. Should I be worried? When asked at her 27 month review, “Do you have any concerns?” I shall keep quiet. Maybe somewhere deep in our lineage there is a long line of green grocers. Who knows? Maybe she’ll change her surname to DelMonte by deed poll one day and have a penchant for a linen suit. Whatever she becomes, I shall love her just the same. Except maybe a butcher. Being a vegetarian I would struggle with that. I’d better start hiding my husbands fillet steak, just in case it gets wrapped in a tea towel a popped in the pram. Anyway, I’m off to do my Kegel’s. This HMS Mutha doesn’t want a leaky hull. 

Monday, 5 June 2017

London is the place for me.

I’ve lost my mojo. It went about 3 weeks ago. My funny seems to have gone and everything seems to have been a bit more difficult than it usually is. I wake up tired and go to bed tired. I’m back to zero battery life and a bad attitude. Might have a little something to do with the fact that the last tooth is coming through and my small person has become rather Mummy orientated. She tries everything to keep me in the room at night. “Mummy lie down. Mummy blanket. Mummy hug. Mummy pink water bottle. Mummy Calpol.” It means that bedtime is drawn out and I’m not sitting down sometimes until gone 8:30. The evening just goes. Then after you factor in an episode of Versailles and a House of Cards, it’s pretty sodding late for someone that has a small, furry alarm clock that can go off anytime between 5:45 and 6:15.

 This dip in normal service has also coincided with some horrendous atrocities in my beloved city, the place I call home: London. I work in the centre of London a lot. I travel by train, go to busy stations, travel on the underground, walk through places like Trafalgar Square, go drinking by the river. I have never given it a second thought. But my experience of late has been very different. Instead of marching through my city without a care, tutting and sucking my teeth at Tourists that walk 5 abreast across the cocking pavement (5 across. Come on people!!), and elbowing TEFL students and their orange rucksacks out of the way, I am walking down back streets to avoid crowded areas, I am getting out of mainline stations quickly so I’m not caught up in the throng. I’m also having terrible thoughts. What if something happened to me? What if I didn’t come home one night? I had a dreadful realisation the other day that I need to do my will to make sure my daughter is taken care off. That’s not the sort of thing I want to be thinking about on my morning commute. I am a born worrier and all of this has just exacerbated my worrying tendencies. I am still going about my business and I won’t stop enjoying my city but I am seeing it in a different way. The London Bridge attack really rattled me. It’s where myself and my husband used to live, down the road in fact. We used to go out in Borough Market and the whole area was part of our lives for over 10 years. It was an absolutely amazing place to live. Friendly, vibrant, eclectic, fascinating. I know those streets so well, the bars and pubs, restaurants, places of historical interest, the cobbled back streets and the beautiful walks along the river. I feel sick to my stomach that so many innocent people, enjoying a care free evening out in such a great place were murdered, injured or witness to some horrific acts. My heart goes out to them.

 If I was not a parent I would be worried. Now, I have a two year old, with her whole life ahead of her I am really worried. I took her into Soho last week for a private showing of the new Fireman Sam Movie that I happen to be in. My husband came too as it was half term. We had such a magical day. She went on a train. She met Fireman Sam; both the voice and some poor sod stuck in a body suit. She got a phallic looking balloon flower which was bitten into on the journey home and burst in her face. And then to top it all off she got a Fireman Sam tote bag with Mummy’s character on the front and a toy and stickers inside. What more could a toddler want. Initially I was really scared of taking her into town but once we were there it was fine. I relaxed. We walked back to the station over Waterloo Bridge and looked at my favourite view. Then Saturday night happened. Would I walk across that bridge with her now? I’d do it but probably walking very quickly and constantly looking around me. It feels utterly ridiculous me thinking like this and I know that by doing that I am playing into the perpetrators hands but from now on, when I take my daughter into town I will be on full alert.

 But my daughter already loves her city. Her favourite book is ‘Hello London!’. She loves Tower Bridge and the Queen and her palace and thinks the river is well exciting. When a double decker bus drives past there is incessant waving and trains are the best thing ever. When we came home from our trip last week she started singing one of the songs from the Paddington Bear film: London is the place for me. That’s my girl! Yes, it ruddy well is. It’s an amazing place to live. It’s been my home for over 20 years. It’s where I started my career, I met my husband, met most of my friends, bought my first house and had my daughter. Yes, I’m scared and I would urge anyone to be more careful when out on their daily business and by God, I certainly will be. But this is where I work and where I live and I ain’t going anywhere. If it’s good enough for Paddington, it’s good enough for me.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Nice day for a lolly.

Summer has landed! For one week only. Get yer lallies out and reach for the flip flops and the fake tan. I have not got me lallies out (my legs) but I have applied a coating of Dove (gone for dark this year) and the Haviana’s have been taken out of moth balls. Hot weather always worries me. I enjoy it if I’m on holiday and I can lie on a beach in a bikini and not worry about what I’m going to wear for my commute. I have done a quick pit stop to H&M to purchase yet another baggy t-shirt to cover up my Malbec gut and my bingo wings. I have had to cancel my gym membership as I’m just not getting the time to get in there and sweat my squidgey arse off. My husband actually said, “I told you so, “ last night but luckily for him he left the room before I could throw a saucepan at his head. However, I am committed to getting fit again so I am donning the lycra and jogging. Yes, jogging. It sounds so simple but…then you have to actually jog. I decided to walk to the park and start in the park under the cover of trees and deer. Unfortunately, I started a bit late so it was hot as hell. I thought I was going to die the first 2 minutes and then I re-routed and found a concrete path that went downhill. Result. I did ok. It was fine until I had to go across grass and I gave myself a target of 22 minutes. I tried to “sprint” (ie jog faster) to a log and then I stopped my stop watch and sat on the log and tried not to vomit. I have to say, I thought that I was fitter than that. 25 mins on treadmill two weeks ago was doable. My heavy breathing and laboured running style was a disappointment, I ain’t gonna lie.

 Hot weather with small children is also a worry, especially when your child is on the ginger spectrum and a pale Janet to boot. The first day of the heat wave I had a day off so we decided to get out of the flat and go for a walk to get Dishwasher tablets and ice lollies cos that’s how we roll. Off we went. I stupidly allowed the toy buggy to come with us. School girl error. You just know that as you set off that you will end up carrying it, plus child, plus other paraphernalia that comes with child. Also chuck in 25 degrees of heat and you have your workout right there. We went to our lovely local Supermarket and bought Dishwasher tablets (been meaning to get them for about a week and keep forgetting) and we also bought a four pack of lollies. Mission accomplished. We slowly made our way to the terraced gardens (get us) and sat down on a bench. Bliss.  

 Sun, my beautiful little girl and an ice lolly that contains a sprinkling of E numbers. There we sat looking at the view and spotting Jackdaws, Pigeons and Parakeets (she’s a budding young ornithologist). A mother and her daughter sat on the bench next to us. My daughter waved and I thought, “Well, we’ve got a pack of four. Let’s share our wares with our neighbours.” So, I offered a lolly to the little girl, via the Mum obvs. I was told, “No thankyou. I am trying to promote healthy eating in my daughter.” Well, that’s me told then. I was so proud of my little one. A little bit of sugar in the system and she was off: waving, talking at these lovely folk and showing them her lolly with pride, shouting out ,”Lolly” like only a person with a bloodstream filled with E numbers can. Go kid. I love you. You’re frickin awesome. You know where it’s at. Sometimes we have treats but most of the time you have fruit, veg and homemade goodness. But when it’s nearly 30 feckin degrees you can have a sodding lolly. The kid of this Mum looked seriously pissed off as she sat there watching my cool little dude cooling down with a lolly as she had to tackle her tangerine. So off we trotted home for a KFC mega bucket whilst I got shit faced on white lightning. (Only joking. Don’t you know I’m trying to instill healthy eating and a feeling of superiority into my daughter. Wink emoji)

 So, during this wonderful heat wave, I had a glorious day off organised. Small person was going to her brilliant childminder and I had planned a day of open air jogging, cleaning, cooking and sorting out kiddos clothes as we are running out of space. She has such a vast wardrobe we could totes go walk-in on it. Off we drove. I dropped off small one. No probs and then popped to the garage to fill up. With Diesel. Or that’s what I thought. I had to fill up from the wrong side which meant doing that embarrassing tug of the pump round to the other side of ones motoring car. About £4.75 had gone in when I suddenly looked at the colour of the pump. Green. Cocking green. Unleaded was flooding into my Hyundai Diesel. I shouted out a loud expletive beginning with ‘F’ and put my head in my hands saying, “shit it” on repeat. It was such a long, tedious morning after that, that I won’t bore you with the deets but it cost me over £200, three hours of my life and some pretty embarrassed looks as I hunkered on down at the petrol station in the heat and wait for the AA fuel technician to come and rescue me. So the moral of this tale is: Check before you pump. Just do it. Use me as an example of a Class A prat and think of me next time you go to the garage. You will never get that valuable time back and you won’t be able to spend that £200 on ASOS. True dat.

Monday, 22 May 2017

The Daily Fish Finger.

Copyright Getty Images

I’ve just read “that” article in the Daily Mail, giving a darn good thrashing to those of us that expose our parenting and let people in to have a little glimpse at our lives. I don’t know what to say. I agree with one point: Yes, children are a gift but I am not seeing this supposed gin-soaked Hogarthian scene and I am pretty damn sure that the men and women sharing their lives and experiences aren’t currently sat in a piss soaked ally round the back of St.Paul’s effing and jeffing whilst their little ones are left to fend for themselves.
 So, why do we write these blogs? Why do we share our experiences predominantly in a comedic way? The short answer is why the hell not. But I think many of us decide to start writing for so many reasons. For example:
Parenting is tougher than you originally thought. You’re suffering from post natal depression or anxiety and writing and sharing is therapeutic and helpful. You started writing to get your brain going again. You wanted to share your experiences with others to see if there is anyone else out there who is going through the same thing.
There are so many reasons. We mostly do it to share, to say to others, “it’s ok”. Modern parenting is tough, especially if you throw work into the mix too. I had to go back to work when my daughter was 3 weeks old. It was only one job but it was still emotionally pretty tough and physically too. Having to express milk that early on was difficult enough as it hadn’t really “come in” yet. As the weeks followed I had to organise filing up the freezer full of plastic bags of booby juice. If one spilt or if one wasn’t used when I was working it was like a massive loss and a kick in the teeth. The work that had gone into that 50ml; wasted. Down the drain. But I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Going back to work was good for me. I’m very lucky that I am self-employed so could decide when I wanted to work. Well, as long as there was the work to go round. In my game it’s feast or famine.

 Anyway, I have been a bit slack on the old blog the last two weeks. I’ve been doing a lot more childcare and that means no time to write. When she naps that’s when the bomb site from lunch (and probably breakfast, oops) is cleared up. Then washing to put out/put in etc etc. You know, all the domestic bollocks that gets in the way of doing exciting things like writing my blog. And thank God for it. I am thoroughly enjoying writing it and I’ve had some jolly nice comments along the way. So ta muchly me bredrin. The past two weeks have been all about the garden office we’re having put in. We’ve had demolition, re-pointing, new fencing and foundations which means a lot of staying in and making tea and coffee in the Sainsbury’s mugs. (Just in case). The sorts of things that make you realise that you might have finally reached adulthood. We seem to have got through a lot of chocolate Hob Nobs as well. The actual building goes in next week and that’s half term so hubby is going to be doing the staying in for that. I’ve not gone to the gym in two weeks so just as the hot weather comes in, I am feeling like a Stilton that has been left out of the fridge too long and has started to slide off the cheese board. Even the vegan diet hasn’t helped me as I’ve been eating too much freakin pasta and not moving my “squidgy bottom” as my Mother in law so kindly called it the other week. The sleep thing is very up and down so I am just tired and a bit “arse in hand” as my Aunty Peggy would say. Small one has yet another cold and we had a Chicken Pox scare but it turned out to be a heat rash. Thank fark for that!

 Something that has also cropped up since the second birthday came around is the need to be attached to Mummy like a Koala for most of the day. It can be cute, especially when she puts her arms round my neck and gives me a proper hug but it seems to happen all day. We went to her little friend’s birthday party at the weekend. She wouldn’t let go of Daddy when we first arrived and then when I rocked up after parking the car the koala made a b line for me and held on tight like a bicycle lock. Even when playing pass the parcel she wouldn’t leave my lap so I ended up playing on her behalf and little does she know, I’ve had that game sussed for years. You just have to keep a very sharp eye on the music player and whoever is operating it, listen and hang on to the parcel for a little longer than you should. It’s a bit of an art form as to how you linger but I’m going to pass these valuable skills on to my daughter. That and how to win a sack race: put your feet in the corners and run. And egg and spoon: chewing gum under it. My husband can focus on the numeracy and literacy. I shall focus on the life skills that will get you through. Mostly through a school sports day but nevertheless, indispensable skills. Anyway, having shared with you my most intimate secrets and pieces of advice to help you through life, I must go and soak myself and my child in gin and go and sell my wares on the street or, nay, down the alley. Now, let me have a rummage through the freezer and ‘ave a shufty at what’s for tea….A ha. Good ole C’ptain. Always there when you need him.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Never put a used nappy in a washing machine.

I’m back. Did you miss me? (Maybe don’t answer that). Last week was busy and I did a lot of commuting by car so had no writing time. How do people drive to work everyday? I don’t know how you do it. For most of last week I felt sedentary, frustrated at sitting still and going nowhere, and really pissed off that my satnav had taken me to places like Ruislip and South Oxhey. I never thought that I would venture to either place but I have now. Didn’t Gareth Malone do his first choir thing in South Oxhey? Anyway, I’ve been now so I don’t need to go back. So, apart from long journeys I’ve also been dealing with a two year old who has discovered tantrums, has a teething cold and has stopped sleeping again. Paw patrol is back on you muthas!

 Sweet mother of pearl. I feel like I’m just about getting through each day. We are having work done in our garden which requires some sort of brain power from me as I am having to project manage the thing. Today, I’ve got the small one. She is exhausted, pouring with snot and has a bumpy rash on her forehead so I shoved her in front of Frozen, this morning so I could get on with shit. After two strong coffees I achieved quite a lot. She is now asleep so I finally have some time to write. Today, we have our builder in who is doing a sterling job whilst I do a sterling job at being a crap parent. I over cooked her lunch but have managed to get a doctor’s appointment for the rash so that’s 5 mum points to me. Possibly lose 5 for the crap lunch. So, I’m back to zero. Bugger. I’m back into the brain fog again. We have been up three, four, five times a night with this cold/teeth/separation from Mummy shizzle. I have slept on the floor twice more since my last confession and my back is screwed. However, I have made myself go Vegan for 30 days so I’m very healthy on the inside, have glowing skin and can look a pig in the eye at Hobbledown Farm without feeling like a complete bastard. But no  amount of healthy living will reduce the size of the bags under my eyes. The coal scuttles are back.

 Ever since my daughter’s birthday, in fact the day after, the terrible twos began. Ye Gods, do we have a whole year of this? I’m going to end up in a padded cell. I mean she can really scream when she’s pissed off. If you get too close you will walk away with a perforated ear drum and a feeling of regret. There’s lots of throwing herself on the floor like she’s in a Greek tragedy and a lot of me carrying her across me as it’s the only way to get her out of public places quickly and also a good position for restraining a fighting, angry toddler. But all of this is going on with not a lot of sleep for everyone involved. I tried doing some mental arithmetic the other day and it took me two hours to work out the length of fencing we needed but only between the posts. I had to draw a diagram in the end. I also left the hob gas ring on and nearly burnt my sodding arm off, broke down crying in a medical role play as I got into it a bit too much and the epic fail of all epic fails was putting a used nappy in the washing machine. I mean, we have a lot of washing. We also have a lot of washing that needs to be washed but just stays in the dirty clothes basket. There’s stuff in the bottom that’s been there since we moved house last October. Anyhoo, I did my fourth load of the day, took it out and wondered why our laminate looked like a winter wonderland. I removed the washing piece by piece and everything was covered in a white dust and bits of white fluff. And then I found the offending article. A size 5, pull up nappy, used and entangled in some of my opaque tights. Great. Just great. Don’t do it. Ever. Even if you rinse it all again it will still be covered and when you go to hang it out it all falls to the floor. Thank god for me hand held, cordless mini vacuum. It’s paid for itself for getting me out of this latest cock up. As I type this, that sodding squirrel is looking at me. Goading me. He wants my tub of violas but he ain’t going to have them this time. I went out into the garden on Saturday morning to find flower heads all over our decking where the little shit had tucked in. Well, no more Mr. Squirrel. No more. I know where you live.

 Right. I’m back. Squirrel was sent packing. Not on my watch ya little git. It’s been very difficult to get motivated to do anything the past week.  I have managed to put all of the birthday presents away and I’ve ordered nice thankyou cards with a pic of the nipper on the front and written two thirds of them. I have also found a ballet class for her to go to and made a vegan cheesecake. I did one from the Deliciously Ella book. Now that lass uses a lot of ingredients in her recipes. I mean, loads of nuts. She must have a massive food processor. I very nearly knackered the motor of my Mouilnex, just trying to get through the ton of dates she suggested. Also, I hadn’t read the bits where I was supposed to soak said nuts for 3-4 hours before cooking and freeze my bananas. Who has time to soak nuts FFS. I busked it and it looked pretty cool in the end. Our lovely friends ate it without gagging so it can’t have been that bad. So, that’s been me my little friends. Hopefully will have more opportunity to write this week. Got some commutes so I shall type to my heart’s content and drink coffee made by someone else. Now that bastard squirrel is back. Please excuse me.

Monday, 8 May 2017

We didn't have that in my day.

Birthdays. They are now a multi-million pound industry and the peeps at the top have really tapped into the children’s market. Every shop and supermarket has something that could be a party thang and there are companies that produce every kind of tat to do a “theme”. I always remember when I was getting married, people kept asking me what my theme was. The theme is Wedding FFS. What theme could I possibly want? Star Wars, Thomas the tank engine, Knightrider, ruddy Frozen? No, it’s a wedding. The theme is wedding. I was also badgered about a colour scheme. No- I don’t have a colour scheme. One was inflicted upon me but by that point I didn’t give a shit and just wanted to focus on the important bit: getting married. Very similar to a children’s party: it’s a birthday. When I was a nipper my Mum hired the church hall, we had Mr.Rainbow who did a Punch and Judy show that condoned domestic violence, he fashioned a balloon into a phallic looking dog and then a Super Ted cake came out. Party bags were distributed filled with toxic shizzle from China and some furry stickers and at least one child had to be picked up early because they’d chundered in the salmon pink toilets that were colder than the arctic and smelt of Jeys fluid. Job done. That’s what I call a party.

 When we started out on the parenting journey we had agreed not to go mental on the party front. Now, I don’t mean the two of us going out until dawn and crashing through the door, throwing our clothes in the hallway having been dropped off in an Uber. I mean children’s birthday parties. The thing is, as my sister once said, “When they’re really little, they won’t remember it anyway.” Exactly. Of course they won’t. However, when our small one turned one we ended up having the whole family over but we had to decamp to a local tearoom as our flat was too small and it ended up being a very formal high tea. She was one. This year was no different. All the grandparents wanted to be involved so I decided to have them to ours. We have a garden now and the temperature was above 16 degrees so we shoved everyone out in the garden. However, I also decided to do a party for her little friends from childcare two days before. I finished work early the day before so embarked on the party shop. I decided to go to Tiger. I started out sorting out gifts for the party bags. Only five of them. Just five I thought. The problem with Tiger is you see that it’s a pound and you grab 5 of them and so it goes on... Oh, there are some cool string lights, they’re only a fiver. Look, ladybird bunting. Great, she loves a ladybird. Ah, ladybird cups. Cute. Behold, ladybird plates. Hold the phone, there’s a packet of puffy sparkly stickers? Shove ‘em in the basket. I get to the till. There’s other shit in there that I can’t even remember picking up as I had been swept along on the Tiger tidal wave. How much…..? 40 cocking quid!!!??? I need a sit down and a flat white forthwith. No time though as I have to do pick up of said nipper. Nipped in to H&M to buy cute sparkly hair clips and a sparkly cardigan. Then hot foot it to the balloon shop for a giant number 2 helium balloon. £10 plus another 2 for the weight. I still had the food shop to do the following morning. Another £30 went piff, poff, poof into the air. That’s it, we can’t eat for the rest of the month. We also bought a cake. It was a bumble bee. The good people of Waitrose had done a mighty fine job on it. I feel no guilt. If I had made it, there would have been crumbs, frosting, burns, blood and tears, Oh, and a bin. Mostly a bin.

So, I start to decorate the table and put everything out. Ladybird bunting- check. Ladybird cups- check. Ladybird plates- check. Red table cloth- check. Red knapkins- check…….SAY WHAT!? I’ve got a sodding theme. And as if by magic, I fell into the party theme sink hole. I had also put everything symmetrically out on the table in a very OCD kinda way. Like 3 under 2 year olds are going to give a shit about a bowl in a fan formation and four balloons balanced “just so”, two either side. I’m going to blame this flaw in my ability for rational thought on the recent bout of sleep deprivation. You could also argue that I am totally under my daughter’s spell and would pretty much do anything for her. I need to go and get a sodding grip. When she’s three, I am going to book a table at a Harvester and she can bring one friend. I am going to insist on John Lewis vouchers and she can watch an episode of Peppa Pig as a treat. Yeah, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Who am I trying to kid.

 The thing is, she was so excited about her little mates coming round that I thought she would burst. They had an amazing time running around the flat and eating cake and trying to throw themselves off the sofa. Both of her amazing childminders were there and then she was surrounded by all of her family two days later. That morning, she brought her party dress into our bedroom and demanded to wear it with her sparkly tights. My husband had also bought her the most beautiful pair of navy party shoes. She loves them. She was running around looking like something out of an Edwardian novel. What can I say, I got myself a party gal. She can already do “Cheers” and say “Pub” so my work here is pretty much done. So, I am going to start saving for birthdays to come. I just have a feeling we’re going to be seriously out of pocket. And she’s getting into Frozen. Heeeeellllpppppp!!!!!!!!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Birthday girl.

Tomorrow, my little girl turns two. I wrote the following for her christening but I wanted to share it with you. It felt appropriate as this small person, with sapphire blue eyes and really cool hair turns two. Where has the time gone?

To my daughter

This is your Mummy. Yes, the one with the wild ,curly hair and red
Lippy that likes to sing A Windmill in old Amsterdam, that insists on three naps a day and who constantly administers gels and creams to various parts of your anatomy. Yes-The very same.
Now listen carefully little one. The moment I found out you were coming along I loved you. You will never know how much I love you; it's a love that makes my heart ache when you're not with me.
If I have any advice of how to get on in this big, wide world it would be this:
love others and love yourself.
Cherish your family.
Value all of the friends you make along the way. You won't take all
Of them with you but the good ones stand fast.
Take an interest in people whom you meet. You never know what you might learn and the friendships you might gain along the way.
Roll down hills
Enjoy silence.
Breath. Stand on a hill looking out to sea and just breath.
Love all creatures whether great or small.
Don't worry too much about what people think of you. Enjoy being who you are. As you get to know yourself along the way, enjoy it even more.
Hug. A lot.
Always say please and Thankyou.
Listen to things around you. Listen to people. Listen to all kinds of music. Listen to all the different voices in the world.
Look up. We spend so long looking ahead or on the ground or at our phones that we can miss the beauty above us.
Embrace learning whilst your young. Soak the information up like a sponge.
But most of all, be happy.
Never be afraid little one. Mummy & Daddy are here. Always here. The path you choose to take may not always be easy or straight forward but feel safe in the knowledge that you are loved. Very much loved.
Have a happy day little one.

I love you ,
Mummy xx

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The number 2.

It’s one of THOSE mornings. I was up a lot during the night. We are teething again. The last two. The final frontier. The last hurrah. But because I have been used to sleep for the past month this latest bout of sleep deprivation is hitting me hard. The last week has been rough. I feel like a complete failure as I’ve been on paw patrol. I’ve slept one full night on the floor: right hand in cot, 6th bar. We’ve got through 2 packets of Nielsens granules, a whole bottle of Calpol and half a bottle of Nurofen. My back is knackered from lying on half a play mat and lifting a 2 stone child out of a cot with sides that don’t go down. I’m ratty, I’m not thinking straight and I have to organise two birthday parties this week. Tomorrow, 3 under 2’s are coming to our house for my daughter’s second birthday. The outbuilding in the garden has been demolished but needless to say, they haven’t finished. “Oh yeah, love. We’ll be done in a day.” No you won’t. Your van is full from the job you tried to fit in before coming to our house and I’ve just heard you on the phone saying to someone, “see you in an hour”. So, don’t bullshit me squire. You have spread yourself thin and taken on too many sodding jobs. Our garden looks like a scene from The Blitz. Bricks piled up, electric wires sticking up from the rubble and tools littered around the garden that an inquisitive soon to be two year old would love to have a crack at. Toddlers love a lump hammer and a saw. I just don’t need this shit this week. On Sunday, we’ve got the whole family coming round but I’m seriously planning plan B which is to decamp to the park. I’ve got to make a cake, wrap a bike, sort out party bags, clean the flat and paint my nails. I mean there’s a lot to do.

 And then there’s the teeth. Oh, we’ve had fun this week. Tears, dribbling, refusal to eat anything but an Organix corn snack and some really shit nights and some truly shitty nappies. She’s been taking ages to go to sleep unless Mummy’s hand is in the cot. We’ve also had a good old wee on the carpet and a major incident in a sofa shop. So, the sofa bad search is still going on. We had found one and then ‘im in doors changed his mind. Don’t ask. I’m so over it. Imagine the scene: hubster was trying out several sofa beds, and so was small one. She was hopping on and off cream sofas, white sofas and oatmeal looking things with a fleck. I just happened to a check in the pant department (her not me) and there was nappy full of the squits. This was the kind of nappy that was going to breach. I tried to subtly suggest that we needed to head off asap as there was an unexpected item in the bagging area. Mr Man kept on looking at sofas doing that really irritating thing, “Yep, coming. Just one sec. “ Aargh! Finally he cottoned on that this was a leaker and we had to go and get her off the light coloured upholstery. We walked with purpose to Superdrug as this was the one trip that I hadn’t bought the changing pod. Yes, we have a pod. Deal with it. I’m so frickin “Surrey” yo. I had to buy an entire packet of nappies, wipes and water as husband had realised that he had leaky shit on his hoody as he’d been carrying the small one in an awkward way. They really need to sell an emergency pack for incompetent mothers like me who don’t come prepared. We ran into the big M&S Home and I panic bought a 5 pack of trousers and we did the clean up. Feckin teeth. They cause untold misery.

 But, the pot of gold at the end of this murky rainbow is that we are at the final furlong. The last two sodding teeth. When they are through and I can go back to peaceful slumber (haha) I am going take myself off to a ruddy spa. I want to walk around in a dressing gown where everything smells of Clarins and people are drinking prosecco. I want to find a cubby hole and read a book, actually read a book and take it in and reflect on every single tooth that we have grown and welcomed through those gums. Every single fecking one! And I will go to this spa on my own. Sadly, I can only dream. Money is tight as a duck’s nether regions so I might just go to my Mum’s for a couple of days. Until then, I have to work out how to make a number 2 cake (an actual number 2, not a “number 2” nappy style!) without it looking completely gash and entertain little ones with no sleep. Hopefully, after the stress of this week and lots of caffeine I’ll be completely hysterical and be able to do several rounds of Musical statues and Hop little bunnies. There will be no prosecco on Friday afternoon but there certainly will on Sunday. Anyway, I’ve got to come to terms with the fact that my little girl is turning two. She is no longer a baby. She can walk, talk, feed herself and demand that I make the clothes horse into a shop. I’m struggling a bit with the whole 2 thang. I could only bring myself to buy her birthday card a couple of days ago and I got totes emosh when we built her balance bike. I’m going to be an emotional wreck on her actual birthday. Pass the prosecco for gawd’s sake!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A Comedy of Errors.

Sleep. Hmmmm. I dream of fluffy white pillows, feathery duvet and sleeping until my alarm goes off. I dream of waking up and not feeling like I’ve been hit by a bus, have been on a huge bender or feel about 92 years of age. I dream of looking in the mirror and not going, “Oh Christ almighty” at the visage that reflects back at me. I dream of not being woken 3 times a night and stumbling out of bed only to trip over my husband’s size 11 Crocket & Jones shoes, that really frickin hurt when they slam into your toe in the dark abyss. I dream of dreaming again. So, you can probably tell that the sleep is going really well at the moment. It has actually got a lot better. I haven’t slept in her room or been on paw patrol for weeks now. However, there are just multiple wakings where she shouts out “Mummy!!” at the top of her lungs and then demands “Hand” in a weak and dramatic little voice (no idea where these Judi Dench tendencies come from. Honestly.) On the plus side, we only have two more teeth to go. One bottom molar is rearing its ugly head at the moment so that was the reason for last night’s midnight and 4:40am wake up calls. I did actually get some sleep. The night before however, was not so good.

 I woke up that fateful morning feeling like a tfl double decker had ploughed into my side the day before. I had been in and out of my small one’s room. Hand and back rub administered, plus granules and Calpol for aching gums. I felt rough on Monday morning. I felt like my head had been stuck up my arse and my eyes had been forced open to look at the sun. Small one was dropped off at amazing Childminder, car was dropped off at home and I sloped off to work. I didn’t even have time for a Flat White, that’s how shit my morning started off. I walked to work from Willesden Junction. This place makes me sad. It’s just a series of railway lines, industrial waste land and really pissed off looking folk, like me. I arrived, signed in, went for a pee and then my producer came out. “Morning. Nice to see you. You’re with me this afternoon….” Oh FFS! This afternoon? I double checked my emails and there it was: OUP, 2-5pm. Bollocks with an extra helping of bums.  

 So, I said my Goodbyes and I made my way home with a face like a slapped arse. Oh good. The tube’s here, I’d better run for it. Great I’ve got a seat. The announcement tells me that’s it’s going to West Ruislip. I don’t want to go to West Ruislip. I’ve never been there but I know I don’t want to go there. Especially this morning as I want to go home and do the hundred and one things that I had planned to do on MY AFTERNOON OFF. I finally get home and have about an hour and three quarters. Needless to say, the flat doesn’t get cleaned, that letter doesn’t get posted and the car insurance doesn’t get renewed. Nothing on my list gets ticked off. I do however, manage a nice lunch, a blog post and put a wash on.

 So, the week must get better from here on in? Mais non, Harriet. Oh non indeed. This very morning I was working on an app. The previous recording that I had done on it was two years ago and had started well. I was 39 weeks pregnant and I had to take my maternity notes with me just in case. I had to travel to Bexleyheath but on that particular day the tubes were screwed and there had been a power cut at London Bridge. I remember ringing my husband in hormonal pregnant tears asking him what I should do. It took me three hours to get there. So, when I started off today I was hopeful of a safe and speedy journey. To Marylebone. Where the ruddy confirmation email had told me to go. I arrived 15 mins before my session. I just had a bad feeling. I walked up to the studio which I had actually worked at many years ago, only so many years had passed that it was now an estate agents. Really? Are you actually sodding kidding me!? I checked the email. Marylebone. It says Marylebone in black and feckin white. I rang the lovely guy that runs the studio. No, he hadn’t been at that address for over 3 years. So off to Bexleyheath I went.

 The bonus of these major cock ups is that I have done all of my required step count on my Garmin for the day and I did the job so quickly that I got off at my old stamping ground, Bermondsey where me and my husband lived for 10 years and before we were married. I ate my Pret looking at Tower Bridge and the river Thames. I walked along the Thames path and took a photo of where I got married and then walked to the station for my afternoon session. So, things turned out ok. I haven’t even told about the session I missed on Friday because I hadn’t put it in my diary when I was ill. Oh yes. My grey matter has shrivelled away like an old man’s todger. I wonder what else this week will bring? I’m due some luck surely? Maybe I will do the lottery tonight. Might as well make the most of my winning streak eh?

Monday, 24 April 2017

Shopping with children.

It’s the weekend. Boomshackalack! It’s been a long old week, not gonna lie. I am still ill and its really getting me down. More tissues have been purchased (went for a prettier box this time. Nice Cath Kidston floral type pattern. Crap tissues but nice box). I’m off the Otravine but have had to buy some truly minging tablets called “Mucus relief”. Mucus. It’s one of those words isn’t it (especially when put together with the suffix ‘plug’),  like vagina, moist or tax return. It’s a word that makes you shudder and your skin crawl. I am getting there slowly but I managed to choke on some Starbucks scrambled egg that my daughter wouldn’t eat on Saturday because of this never ending cough. My husband came to the rescue with handfuls of napkins and water as the staff and other patrons just sat/stood and looked disgusted and appalled. Not the best reflection of human kindness that I have ever witnessed.

 My husband had let me have a lie in as I had been up 5 times with the small one who was calling out for me most of the night. At 5am I gave in and brought her into the big bed which means calling time on my sleeping whilst she pushes me out and spread eagles herself, snoring across my patch. When I awoke husband told me that he had already planned the day. Really. Have ya now, young man? His plan followed thus:
Activity 1. Daddy and toddler go swimming whilst Mummy has a quick sesh at the gym if she has the energy.
Activity 2. Sainsburys
Activity 3. Sofa bed hunting
Activity 4. Kew Gardens
What an action packed day! Not 1, not 2 nay 4 activities. Bless him. In this cunning plan there was no allowance made for naps or lunch. Fuck it! Let’s busk it. Throw my beautifully crafted routine right out of that ground floor window. We’re only dragging her round a shop for the afternoon. What could possibly go wrong?
This is how the day actually went…
After we had all fannied around for two hours we didn’t leave the house until 11:15. Now this is dangerously close to lunchtime and my poor little girl was angling for a nap as we left the house. As we closed the front door she clung onto her pram shouting out,” Pram! Sleep!”. Now I’d say that’s a pretty good indication that she wants a nap. Imminently. But oh no. You can’t veer off course with Daddy’s plan so I dropped my tired looking toddler and pensive hubster off at the pool. I hot footed it to the gym and did a 30 min speed workout, coughing up muck on the treadmill. I sped back to the pool, where I had been instructed to be waiting in the car at 12pm. I waited. Then I saw a traffic warden so I had to put money in the meter and went into the pool. I spotted the bright pink armbands immediately. They were still in the pool. Small one saw me and started howling. My husband, as wonderful as he is has absolutely no concept of time. Absolutely none. Apparently, she had just hung on to Daddy for the entire session and got really cold just to add insult to injury. We were there for another 40 mins whilst we changed small blue, shivering child into warm clothes and shoved Pomme Bears down her neck as a crap replacement for lunch.  We drove to Sainsburys and she fell to sleep as soon as her head hit the car seat. We did tag team shopping as I needed to get store cupboard essentials and toiletries and its easier if I do it myself and husband wanted to buy food for the week which means comfort food for after work ie. Tiramisu, biscuits, malt loaf and Brains faggots. She’d had a good hour so we decided to do lunch in the Sainsbury’s Starbucks, scene of my epic choke. She barely ate anything as had understandably been put off by her mother honking up food into a napkin. We set off for the sofa beds.

Now, my little one is pretty good in public. I can rely on her good behaviour in most situations. However, when she is “Hangry” and bored that goes out the window. One thing a toddler is probably not interested in is the thread count of upholstery, the type of mattress that a sofa bed has and whether it has removable covers that can be machine washed. Bless her. She was really good until she realised that this was not the kind of place that lets toddlers bounce on their stock. At which point she started rolling all over the rug and wanted to man handle the ornaments on the glass table, with skull cracking corners. Also, I couldn’t concentrate on the task in hand. If you’re potentially asking me to spend £1500 on something my parents are going to sleep on then I need to concentrate, without my toddler trying to introduce her cranium to a glass table. I’d never hear the ruddy end of it if it wasn’t right. We decided to tag team it so I went outside and we found a slope to run up and down. What is it with small children and slopes? That’s a whole hour of fun for my girl. The one in our local H&M has to be her favourite but any kind of incline will keep her happy. In fact, we were thinking of just making a slope in our garden and giving her a pile of sticks and pebbles for her looming 2nd birthday. She’d be like a pig in shit. Anyway, we swopped over and I got to look at the sofa beds that we couldn’t afford and then we headed off home, with no time for Kew Gardens. Quel surprise? Non? Poor child. She was treated to Kung Fu Panda and homemade Risotto for tea. Next weekend is all about her. We will swim together as a family, go to the park and we will not step foot inside a furniture shop. Infact, why don’t we just all go to the local H&M and run up and down her favourite slope. Now that would be fun.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Other people's children.

I’m just off to work with only one bottle of Otrivine and a packet of Strepsils. This is an improvement on the Benilyn, Otrvine x2, packet of man sized tissues and a some vocalzones that I had to shove into my leatherette back pack with over-sized day glo yellow pompom. I think I’m finally on the mend. I am off up town after work. Whoop! Get me. Off out to see me bitches. However, illness and Easter has not been kind on my waist or arse so I have gone with a rock chick look as this involves a lot of black. However, I am sporting a cream tee with gold palm trees just to accentuate that easter egg Mum tum as little bit more. I look like a short, Minnie Driver who has decided to go to a fancy dress party dressed as a fat Alison Mosshart from The Kills. We don’t have a full length mirror at home and that’s actually quite a good thing. The clothes are on and I’m not stood in the mirror sucking in my stomach, mourning my skinny calves of yesteryear. Strong lip is well, strong and I have actually painted my nails. Well, I’ve tarted up the colour that I was wearing over Easter which was a bit scarred from washing up and putting teething granules in my daughter’s mouth. She’s a monster. I liken it to brushing a dog’s teeth. Ruddy lethal.

  I am really missing my small one today. I have spent a week with her and my family and it’s been really nice. I dropped her off at our wonderful childminders this morning, got into the car and had a real pang of missing in my stomach. I immediately drove to Starbucks for a coconut flat white to ease the pain and to also wake myself up. I miss her but the little bugger did wake up at 5:45. Today, work is taking me to that cultural and fashion epicentre that is, Harlow. Where I work, there is a Toby Carvery, no M&S food hall but they do have a drive thru KFC. Every cloud. It was only yesterday that we were running on the green, chasing doggies and staring at young, attractive men. ( My daughter of course. Always blame the child. The great thing about my daughter is that she has really good taste in young, attractive men.) We picked up sticks and other dubious looking stuff and parked up the buggy so that I could swing her round and make her walk like a drunk person. Really quite amusing. Whilst we stopped a little girl toddled over to us. Her Mum followed slowly as she was heavily pregnant. We said hello to this little girl and watched her. Ah, she’s cute isn’t she. Gosh, she’s very friendly. Oh, right. She’s now emptying the contents of our buggy. Yes, every last sodding thing. Most of the things belonged to my daughter. I managed to move my handbag out of the way. That oversized yellow pompom was too attractive to an over friendly 17 month old, with no boundaries. My little one just stood there as this child swung her butterfly handbag round and played with the contents. The mother just stood and watched. Then she found the snacks at which point I had to politely retrieve our stuff from this tiny Artful Dodger and say our goodbyes. I mean. WTAF!? If I hadn’t of stepped in this kid would have gone off with my handbag, a stick, a set of old keys and a butterfly handbag, oh and a packet of Tomato naughts and crosses. The Mum wouldn’t have said a ruddy thing.

What does one do in these situations, when someone’s child comes and nicks your stuff without a by your leave? It happens a lot. There’s inquisitive and then there’s just plain frickin rude. If my small one had even attempted to empty the contents of someone else’s buggy I might just have stepped in. I might have even used that little known word, “NO!” Yes, “No!”. Simple, yet so ruddy effective. It seems that a lot of parents have omitted it from their vocab. A bit like when other children come to our house and start chucking shit about. Maybe a. stop them and b. Say NO! We’re in someone else’s home. They don’t want Aunty Sue’s wedding gift totally fucked by your small hands ricocheting it off the screen of our television. Go outside and throw the gravel but then again, not at our windows and not all over the sodding decking. Gravel is a swine to get out of the grooves and I don’t have the time to kneel down and pick it out individually with my painted nails.

We had another run in at the library. My little one was sat down quietly thumbing through ‘Zog’ and this kid just came up to her and yanked it from her small, warm paws. The Mum did shit all! What is happening in the world. We’re going to end up with a generation of people who feel that they can just go up to others and rip their property from their very hands. Oh, I want an Iphone 6S. That’s mine mutha fucka. Ooh, I quite fancy a leather clad Kindle. Hand it over, bitches. That’s a nice Volkswagen Passat with ABS and Bluetooth connectivity. Get out of the driving seat and hand over them keys, ya bastard.  It’s a scary prospect. It’s going to be like a very aggressive episode of Swap Shop but without any swapping. I am showing my age but take a leaf out of the kids of Grange Hill’s text book and “Just say, No.” Go on. Say it. I dare ya. If they roll around on the floor and scream, so be it. Remember, we are supposedly in control. Well, apart from that time when she wanted that Windy fruit thing in our local bakery. And there was that other time in Sainsbury’s when she wanted a ride on Iggle Piggle’s boat. Oh, and then there was the time in Waterstones… Oh, bum. What have I created? Time to lock up your Passat and hide the Kindle.

Monday, 17 April 2017

She is risen indeed. Hallelujah!

Easter. A time for family, chocolate, the Homeland season finale and several good bottles of vino. Unfortunately, this year, I still have a stinking cold, blocked sinuses and a bad attitude. We are spending Easter at my Mums. My small one will be spoiled rotten. Granny has got an Easter egg hunt all set up for her, something which I never had. The Easter bunny was seen as something very “American” (said with Celia Johnson rolled ‘r’) when I was growing up. Sainsbury’s is now full of plastic treasures such as Egg and spoon race sets and an abundance of rabbit ears all keeping the Chinese economy buoyant.
Up until last week I was lying suffering in my sick bed and I had been sent home from a voice over job for sounding like the girl with the cold. Yep, that’s me. So, I felt so utterly shite that I had to spend 24 hours lying down. I can’t remember the last time I did that. Well, I can. It was after my first taste of wine after having a baby and me and my friend went a bit mental on the old Pinot Noir. I think we had three glasses but not having drunk for 2 years we both woke up feeling like our drinks had been spiked and couldn’t move from our beds for the whole day.

This cold has knocked me for six. I tried to get a doctor’s appointment by
playing the call back game at 8am on the dot. After the 10th attempt I got through and all the appointments had gone. Bums. I lay there, with small one running in throwing her Peppa Pig slippers at me, pulling at the duvet shouting “Wake up, Mummy!” My husband kept asking me if I was “feeling better”. He couldn’t quite comprehend that I was out of action. The morning was full of questions. “What shall we wear today?” What shall I give her for lunch?” “Do you think you’ll feel better after lunch so we can go to the Park?” “How long do I microwave this for?”. The answer to all of these was “Urrrrggggghhhhhhh”, interspersed with my hacking cough and the clearing of my nasal passages. Around 11am the small one decided that it was nap time and that she quite fancied a snuggle with Mummy so we both conked out for an hour and a half which was rather lovely. Bless her, she was so worried about me. She kept saying “Ok?” with rising intonation. Mummy was a wounded soldier and she couldn’t understand what was wrong with me.

In the afternoon, they both went out and left me to it. I managed to make my 20th cup of tea and headed back to bed with no interruptions. There I lay, no Peppa Pig slippers in my grill, no shopping trolleys being wheeled in to play shop or demands for Play Doh. All was calm. It was an odd feeling. Quiet. Me on my own feeling like death warmed up. I farted around on my blog for a bit and then tried to sleep. Haha. That wasn’t going to happen.  I didn’t know what to do with myself. When your entire day is usually filled with going to work, drop offs/pick ups at childcare, reading stories, washing, nappy changes, snack time, cooking fusilli, scrambling eggs and waiting for your emails to ping with offers of work, lying in bed doing nothing is weird. I knew there was loads of things that I should be doing but was actually unable to do.

That night I took the blue pill in the Lemsip cold and flu packet. In days of yore you wouldn’t have seen me until morning, surrounded by my own hair and dribble. At 10pm I woke up as my husband had the tele on in the living room and it was like I was in the room it was so loud. I couldn’t be arsed to get out of bed so I texted him to turn it down. The small one woke at 2am so I hauled my sorry arse out of my pit to go and console her. Luckily, she went straight back to sleep. I lay in bed for half an hour trying to get back to sleep. I’d taken the blue pill for crying out loud! The next morning, I woke up and my husband bounced out of bed thinking that the little one next door had slept through and that I hadn’t moved from my peaceful slumber all night. Ha bloody ha. I arose out of bed. She is risen! Hallelujah! I felt slightly better but still not quite on form. No marathon running for me today. And, so back to reality I went. That’s the thing about motherhood: you can’t be out of action for long. The problem is that I kept going through this darn bug. Going to work, night wakings for these sodding molars coming through, birthday drinks for my lovely friend. I was hell bent on a normal service running but sadly I should have stopped for scheduled engineering works. Things have got worse and worse. I am currently typing this, sat by the fire at my Mums having been up for most of the night with a certain person who was being a bit of a bugger. With lack of sleep it’s one step forward, two steps back with this bloody thing. I want to feel well again. I want to get through 10 minutes of the day without blowing my nose. I want to be able to taste the cheese that I can now eat having given it up for Lent. I want to go to the gym to work off that cheese and go to work without having to apologise for the blocked nose and lack of voice. So, come on cold. Just piss off. Like an irritating friend that likes the sound of their own voice and drinks all your booze, you’re not welcome here. Time to bugger off so that I can go out with my friends this week and not feel like the resident leper. So, happy Easter one and all. Hope yours was full of chocolate and not Otravine. Otravine is a sorry substitute.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Growing a girl.

I would like to thank you for the wonderful response that I got for one of my recent posts. It was the one where I spoke briefly but candidly about my struggle with eating disorders. It highlighted for many of you, some of the battles that we may encounter whilst bringing up our little ones. And this isn’t just exclusive to girls. As I understand it, eating disorders and problems with body image are as prevalent with boys. It has probably always been this way but it is certainly more documented in the press nowadays.
 Parenting preys on those who worry and if you weren’t a worrier before, you certainly will become a worrier once that small person pops into the world. Well, they don’t just “pop” do they. But we’ll leave that one for another day. I am a self-confessed worrier and, as my husband calls me, safety chicken. I always follow the green cross code, I always wear a seat belt and I always check where the nearest fire exits are if I go clubbing. (Many of those venues are complete fire traps.)

No, having a child has increased these worries threefold. It starts with the sleeping. Are they breathing? Are they too hot? Are they swaddled too tightly? Is it too light in the room? Should the hood of the Moses basket be up or down? Then the feeding. Have they eaten enough? Should I do another feed? They threw the last one up, so should I go straight back in for round two? They’ve just done a poo so they must be hungry again? Then, comes the weaning, the teething, the crawling/bum shuffling/ dog with worms manoeuvre? Oh Christ, my child is doing none of those things? Will they have bad coordination, have autism, be unable to get into Oxbridge? Then they start to talk but the children in the NCT group have children that can say “circumference” and “algorithm” by the time they’re 18 months!   AAAAARRRGGH!!! When will it end????!!

The easy answer to that one is that it won’t. Ever. My mother was up for nearly 36 hours when I went into labour.  I was 36 years old at the time, had a mortgage, was married, had a career but she was still frantic. Mothers and Fathers will always worry about their children. However, I think that the relationship between a mother and a daughter is a strong one and I think ours is particularly so as my Mum brought me up on her own. She was divorced by the time I was my daughters age as my Dad had “other interests” and we moved down to Cambridge to be near my Granny. I was brought up by two strong women: my Mum and my Granny. Both nurses by profession so mealtimes were quick (a habit they had got into working shifts in hospitals) and I could rarely get away with being off school. It took me throwing up all over my mother in the bath for her to accept that I had a stomach bug. Granny had been through a divorce herself and brought up two children and had a very successful career nursing. My Mum trained as a health visitor when we moved and managed to do a degree whilst I was still a young child. She was at the top of her game when she retired from Nursing 3 years ago. These were strong female role models. The sort of role model that I want to be for my daughter. So, when your child turns around and tells you that they have something like an eating disorder I can imagine that must be terrifying. It’s only now that I am a mother myself can I fully appreciate that. You put everything into bringing up your children. I had an amazing education, good friends, was relatively bright and had a very happy home life. Somewhere along the line, the wiring went wrong and I went down a slightly different route to the one initially intended. My Mum’s 17 year old baby was hurting and she must have been scared as hell. Crikey, I’m barely two years into parenting and I find it difficult when my little one has fallen over or is in pain from constipation so how the hell will I cope with the bigger issues? I hope that I will be as strong as my Mum and my Granny were. They were amazing.

 One thing that I am very grateful for not having when I was growing up is social media. This is something that I am very fearful of for my own daughter. Things like SnapChat, where as far as I can make out, you simply give yourself a tongue as if you’ve got elephantitis, bulbous eyes and post it for a few seconds. Apparently that is entertainment. I see children as young as 10 on this ruddy thing, acknowledging nothing and no one as they stare into their device taking endless selfies. Interaction nil, satisfaction momentary. The darker side of this is the other images that are taken in private or unwillingly by others and then posted for all to see. Now that scares me. This is no longer a bit of fun but a weapon. A tool of destruction that can obliterate lives and self-esteem. That worries me more than anything. How will I protect my little girl then? It is a very different world that my daughter is entering into. We don’t post pictures of her on any social media as we feel it is her decision as to whether she wants an internet presence or not. My husband is in education so he has been to endless talks and training sessions about online safety and security and it scares the hell out of us. All we can be is aware and try to keep up to date as much as possible.

Sorry, shizzle got a bit deep and heavy there but it’s scary stuff. The other thing that I don’t want my girl to go through is an eating disorder. It really takes up a lot of time and energy. Time and energy that could be spent on many other things. The main one being, living. Really living. Enjoying the world and people around you, experiencing things and by looking up into the big wide world and not bumping into them because you’re on Instatwat, Snap Git or Face Ache, worrying whether you look thin enough in the photos, with your hips sticking out like two pieces of Toblerone. I want to teach her to value herself and be nice to people. To actually care what happens to her fellow human and live her life through life itself and not a social media unreality. And respect herself and her body.

There will be hiccups along the way, there will be sadness and hurdles that we have to get over but there will also be some great times. I am a self-confessed worrier and safety chicken but there is a big world out there and I want my daughter to go out and get it. Explore it, travel it, eat it, drink it (responsibly), smoke it (within reason and only once, just to try it), kiss it (under supervision) and also learn through her mistakes and achievements. Parenting is tough and there are many things that our parents didn’t have to deal with that make it that little bit tougher but I’m up for the challenge. Bring it on. Here’s to my brilliant Mum and dear Granny (God rest her soul). They’ve grown a girl and I’ve not withered through lack of watering or feeding yet. I am strong and have shiny, curly petals. I’ll be even stronger once I’ve shifted this feckin cold. Here’s a tip: don’t put lots of Olbas oil into a hot bath. It tingles but not in a good way. More of a melting your skin kind of way. See, that amazing education wasn’t wasted at all now, was it…

Monday, 10 April 2017

This is a two flat white problem.

I’ve got another sodding cold. I managed to avoid the vom bug (both small person and Daddy had it. Daddy single handedly redecorated the bathroom) so every cloud. But because of all the late nights I have succumbed to a vile cold. I’ve got through three boxes of tissues, one bottle of Otrivine, two packets of nurofen cold and flu and half a packet of Lemsip. Now, the irony of all of this is that a certain nearly to be two year old has started sleeping. Even with the arrival of a molar, her sleep has been transformed. She must have known that I’d started writing a blog. I’ve had to administer a paw for the odd night but she’s done really well. However, I am now not sleeping. Ha bloody ha. Last night, I decided not to watch the final round of the Masters. This is a tradition of mine. I watch it every year, normally fall asleep but I find it incredibly therapeutic. The sound of cracking golf balls, the gentle applause from the spectators and the soothing tones of Peter Alliss. Wonderful. I was so tired though that I went straight to bed, put on The Archers Omnibus and fell into a peaceful slumber at about 9:45. At 1:30 I woke up. Bugger.

1:40am Normally, I would get up and go to the loo and gradually get back to sleep. But not last night. I got up, went to the loo, got a glass of water, had a look outside in the garden, took a nurofen, shoved some otrivine up my nostrils like an over-zealous clubber and then tried going to bed. Oh, all this after a really tremendous coughing sesh. Daddy still snoring away and no stirring from the monitor. How are they sleeping through this!?

2:15am I checked Instagram. It’s amazing what people post in the early hours of the morning. I checked Twitter. I had a look at the BBC news app. You’ll be pleased to know that Sergio Garcia won The Masters.

2:30am After another good hack into the duvet covers I realised that I was about to run out of perfume so I went on my favourite website to purchase a new scent. It’s a Brighton based company called Eden. They produce Vegan scents and many of them are practically the same as the big brands. So, I will smell nice in an ethical way. That’s one thing I can feel good about.

2:45 More tissues needed and more Robinson's squash as my throat feels red raw. That’s the great thing about a ruddy good cold and being a voice over artist. No voice, no work. And no work means no pay as I’m self-employed. It really couldn’t be a worse situation. Fatigue is also a great way to truly bugger one’s voice. With the amount of times I’ve lost my voice this year I should really look into learning British sign language, a career in mime or maybe becoming a librarian.

3am Still. Sodding. Awake. What’s that? A tremor of the monitor bars? Ooh. Now this will occupy my insomnia. I go in and administer a hug and then she goes straight back to sleep. No paw patrol. No stroking back. No teething granules a la Wolf of Wall Street. I creep back out of the room and do a turn about the living room.

3:30am I have finally found a comfortable position for sleeping and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

6am SFX Birds tweeting, 42 year old man snoring, bus going past. Small child shouts “Mummy” very loudly to get my attention as she wants to come into the big bed for morning snuggle.
Then there were three all crammed into a standard double. Daddy snoring, small one lies there snoozing rubbing my hand furiously, Mummy lies there eyes wide open. Still. Sodding. Awake.

7am Alarm goes off. I drag my weary backside into the shower, leaving my small family snoozing and snuggling. Oh, how cute. I’m so happy for them!

8:35 I leave the house and head down the hill making sure that I have time to get a Soya Flat White before my train. The lovely chap at Puccino’s gets it all done with a minute to spare. I get a seat and neck my caffeinated beverage.

8:50 Waterloo Station. I head straight to Pret. Another Soya Flat White is ordered. Today is a two flat white problem. The other problem is the fact that I barely have any voice. I spend £10 on Vocalzone, Lockets and tissues and anything that a Koala with a raging Eucalyptus habit would lose a paw for.

And there you have it. It’s not even 9 o’clock but I already feel like I’ve done a full day’s work. I can not wait for the snot to dissolve, the crack in my voice to lift and my need to spend money in the cold and flu department of Boots to cease forthwith. Anyway, I think it might be time for another Flat White…

HMS Tena Lady.

 She’s back! Well, a slightly rotund sweaty version but the mojo has returned. The ruddy molar isn’t quite through yet but sleep has been h...