Where I’ve Been For The Past Few Months or Oh My God, The First Trimester Is A Strange Ol’ Time.

S’been a while. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen I made a bit of an announcement a couple of weeks ago about what I’ve been up to for the past few months.

 

Yep! Baby no.2 is on the way next year. I have spent the last three months mostly laying horizontally on my bed or the sofa and wondering why I’ve done this to myself whilst having Elliot laying or sitting on me giving me a Pokemon quiz.

I’m now in Week 16 and can confirm I feel much more alive that I did this time last month, and can finally bear to open my laptop and type some words. Trust me, I’ve not even been able to think about blogging over the past few weeks and I’ve felt dreadful for it.

It was very exciting today to finally have a sit down in a cafe with a tea and actually write something down on paper that wasn’t just “I feel sick” repeatedly for four pages.

Anyway, let me tell you what I’ve been up to recently. Or, the weird shit that’s been going on for the past few months.

  • I have been weeing approximately 49 thousand times an hour, through the day and night. I started to convince myself that I’d got a raging UTI confused with pregnancy and spent hours at night, between getting up to go to the toilet fifty million times, remembering a Reddit thread I once read about a guy who pissed on a pregnancy test and found out he was seriously ill. Add into that the fact I bloated like Violet Beauregarde from about 10 weeks and had to give up on my jeans pretty quickly, I was living in DUNGAREES and WEEING EVERY THIRTY SECONDS. 😐

 

  • I have been crying approximately 52 thousand times a day. I sobbed my heart out to Reece day after day for literally no reason in particular. The man deserves a medal as I would not have put up with myself. As he said to me the other day, when reminding me how to keep the heating at the optimum level, “you’re quite…delicate at the moment.” I spent the first six weeks of pregnancy convinced everyone was going to hate me and that I’d ruined our lives and everyone’s around us. I also texted him through a sheen of tears one morning as Radio 1 were playing Fix You by Coldplay and it was too much for me to handle. I fucking hate Coldplay, so he did laugh at me for that one.

 

  • My boobs expanded like balloons, and they hurt so much. SO MUCH. It reached the point where during the day, I’d have to wear my sports bra even though no exercise was taking place and when Elliot climbed into bed with us he’d lay directly on my nipple and make me scream. Because yes, they were that big they were practically taking up half the bed on their own.

 

  • I realised I was a terrible liar. From people drunkenly shouting “You’re PREGNANT” at me literally the day I found out because I wasn’t drinking espresso martinis like they were going out of fashion and me having to run away because I didn’t know what to say, to fashioning a mystery illness out of nowhere to explain why I was having a variety of appointments  so that my family could look after Elliot. That one ended with my mum questioning me over the dinner table about “headaches” I’d been suffering from to the point where I wanted to slide under the table and into the Underworld to get away from it all.

 

  • The exhaustion has never been so intense. Me, the queen of planning, decided to fall pregnant just before the summer holidays began. We had a fair few “movie afternoons” where Elliot would settle down to watch some crappy film and I’d have a nice hour’s snooze. I have no idea what happens in the Emoji Movie and even James McAvoy couldn’t keep me awake for Sherlock Gnomes. We even went on a day trip to Diggerland which consisted of Reece and Elliot riding random JCB’s around whilst I sat on a variety of benches waving weakly at them, trying to keep my eyes open.

 

The worst bit is whilst this is all going on, you can’t even tell anyone how you’re feeling as it’s “bad luck” and you don’t want to jinx anything. So you sit in silence and Google “boob sore 8 weeks pregnant help me” in Incognito mode when you’re home alone. More than that, you also just feel like you’ve got the beginnings of a strange sickness bug rather than anything more exciting.

(Spoiler alert: I’m now 16 weeks and I know there’s something in there as I’ve seen them twice. I’m feeling slightly more alive, which is why I’m able to sit here and actually write something! The only downside is that my body seems to be preparing for a baby already and waking me up at 5:30am every single morning for a wee, and I can never drop back off.)

I cannot wait to finally be posting more – see you soon!

Kids TV: The Good, The Bad And The Put-Your-Head-Through-A-Wall Terrible.

I’ve watched my fair share of kids TV over the ages.

From watching it myself, as a child during the golden age of SM:TV, Mona The Vampire and MI High to watching it at University as “research” for a housemate training as a primary school teacher, to sitting in a dark room at 3am watching Bing Bunny whilst an 18 month old does grabby hands at ice creams on screen.

Therefore, I feel like I am competently qualified to give you the run-down of the best and worst kids TV out there today.

(This is inspired by the current Pokemon series Elliot is obsessed with that we’ve been watching for the past few weeks. FOURTY-TWO EPISODES PER SERIES. Can you imagine what the last series of Game of Thrones would have been like if they’d had that timescale to play with?!)

The Best:

Dick and Dom in da Bungalow: Possibly the best TV show ever created. Laid in bed last night until nearly midnight watching clips of this on Twitter and actually crying real tears of laughter. My favourite moment remains: the girl who rang the wrong number. Back in the day when you only had six channels.

Hey Duggee: It’s actually quite aesthetically pleasing for a kids TV show. They’ve definitely had an episode where everything looked like it had fallen out of a Wes Anderson movie, and it’s given us the true gift that is the Stick Song. I won’t link to that as it’s a serious ear-worm. Or ear-stick? Not sure if that works – ANYWAY it’s really quite cool and I don’t mind watching six episodes in a row.

Waffle The Wonder Dog: Probably a bit of a Marmite program, here. It’s about a dog that can talk. But a) in the first episode, they get married and when they discover a magical dog in their house the woman rips off her wedding dress to reveal her Vet uniform underneath. Second best outfit reveal since Violet Chachki’s tartan moment. There’s also really catchy tunes, the dog is voiced by Rufus Hound and I spend all my time wondering how their house works – it has a very intriguing layout. That’s what I think of when I watch TV shows now – the interiors.

The Worst:

Paw Patrol: I could truly write an essay on the shit that goes on in Adventure Bay but I like to try and keep these blog posts under 1000 words. To sum it up: the Mayor is even shitter than Theresa May, there’s this weird man that lives at sea who pretends to be pretentious by picking particular POINTS OF PHRASE THAT BEGIN WITH P and you could probably swim in the spit that he creates. It just drives me up the wall. Also, your child will be obsessed with it one day and you’ll spend £79.99 on a Paw Patrol Adventure Bay Play Set complete with all five pups and a Bettina the cow and the next day he’ll be interested in something completely different.

Peppa Pig: I don’t think I need to explain the show Peppa Pig as everyone ever has seen one episode, or at least that meme of Peppa hanging up the phone on her friend like a bitch. It’s just absolute shite, from the fat-shaming of poor old Daddy Pig to the madness of why they all live on hills and where they draw the line at eating other animals? We watched hours and hours and hours of this and I dread to imagine how many brain cells perished.

Fireman Sam: I’m not 100% sure that Pontypandy isn’t the town where the Wicker Man takes place. Absolutely terrifying place where things set on fire every single day, and everyone has the Fire Brigade on speed-dial. WEIRD. Also, note that Norman Price is Fireman Sam’s illegitimate son and he’s obviously fighting those daddy issues by setting fire to things. Which gives me some serious serial killer vibes, to be honest.

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The “Actively-Skip-This-Trust-Me”:

Patchwork Pals: The episodes of Patchwork Pals are only approximately five minutes long, but I would honestly make those five minutes the time when you go to the toilet or boil the kettle or hang the washing out because it’s excruciatingly awkward to watch. In one episode, a chicken gets an egg stuck…coming out of them. And employs the help of their friends, including an elephant to help them get it out.

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HONESTLY, I’M CRYING WITH IT.

Show Me Show Me: There’s just something really weird about a grown man playing in a playground with teddy bears. It just seems wrong. All you need to know is in one episode, they were talking about kites and it sounded like something else. Every other moment of the show is irrelevant. Please find said moment here. But trust me, it really does sound like Something Else so I’d recommend being careful if you’re watching it with children in tow.

The Furchester Hotel: I’ll be honest, this is more of a personal beef. I have a deep-seated fear of Elmo that has haunted me to my very core and the thought of staying in a hotel where he just appears from nowhere shouting “ELMO” is…ugh. I’d rather stay in the hotel from The Shining and share a room with the old woman in the shower, honestly. I do applaud their rhyming skills though, as they concocted a whole song around the word “catastrophe.”

Let me know what you think of my choices, and if there’s anything you’d add or change. I’m sure you’ll thank me later when you’ve fallen down a hour-long rabbit hole of Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow.

 

The Chicken Pox Diaries

DAY 1: Elliot has had a spot on the back of his neck since he finished school on Thursday. I thought it was a bite and paid it no attention. However, he’s just had a wee and Reece has noticed two more spots on his groin. I ignore them, hoping it’s a bite.

I have a sore throat and feel a bit sniffly, which is just adding to the general malaise of the house.

By bedtime, he’s got this manky weird blister on his forehead and I accept my fate. The pox has arrived.

I realise we have the equivalent of one dose of Calpol left in the bottle and the pharmacy over the road is already closed. (WHY?!)

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DAY 2: The spots are growing in number and some are blistering, which is rank. Reece and I take it in turns to look at Elliot’s back and grimace at each other.

I feel even worse today. I spend my morning crying and my afternoon in the Out Of Hours doctor’s getting antibiotics and coughing up yellow gunk.

Elliot spends the day making Star Wars Lego creations and shouting about how much he loves The Simpsons. He says his first swear word, thanks to Bart Simpson. Crap.

I spend £10 in Boots on some cream to soothe itching I assume Elliot will be suffering from.

DAY 3: It’s Monday. I should be at work. Reece goes to work at 8am and I hold back tears.

I assume the day will be spent watching movies and drifting in and out of sleep. That’s what chicken pox is like, right?

Elliot watches four episodes of Lego Ninjago, three episodes of Captain Underpants and 3 Lego Star Wars films before lunch.

He also proclaims he is 0% itchy all day. I look at the cream on the kitchen side and almost weep.

Reece has to stay late at work and comes in at 9pm. I am desperate for sleep, but somehow end up watching Russian Doll for three hours instead.

 

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DAY 4: Starting to feel like I’m on house arrest. Elliot is re-watching the same episodes of Captain Underpants that we sat through yesterday.

My aunt comes round and sits with Elliot for five minutes whilst I run to the Co-op for essentials: kitchen roll, toilet roll, Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough.

Elliot asks for the “sock in the bath” again (filled with oats because it’s apparently soothing) and goes to bed easily, saying “tomorrow I will not watch any telly, I will Just Play.” Alright pal.

I’m wary of how easy this is seeming to be.

DAY 5: Elliot wakes up and announces it is the day of No Telly. About 9am we end up watching The Tempest on CBeebies for the seventy-third time.

I have to reign myself in from obsessively checking his spots every twenty minutes to check if they’re all scabbed and we can finally be on the home stretch. I end up falling down a Google hole of kids with rank scabs on their face.

My cousins come round to play and I suddenly realise how lovely and peaceful quarantine was.

Reece goes on a work night out, has too much champagne and I end up staying up until 1am on the phone to him as he’s drunk and convinced his train is going the wrong way. (He was sat backwards.)

Not even surprised that he is more stressful that the child suffering from blisters covering 60% of his body.

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DAY 6: We have scabbed! I have never cheered at the sight of a scab before but today it’s like Christmas! Scabmas!

I finally feel like we can go outside without worrying we’ll walk past The North Kent Pregnant People And People With Compromised Immune System Congregation out on a stroll and kill them all.

We go around the block on the scooter. Elliot says the sun seems too bright and I’m genuinely in shock  at how warm it is out there! We quickly retreat back indoors. I open a window so he can still get a semblance of fresh air.

Can’t imagine how much money I’ve saved since we haven’t been for a daily half-term wander around Wilkinsons.

Plans to go out with my mum tomorrow are back on now he’s officially Scabbiot. So excited to see other humans!

DAY 7: Elliot wakes up and proceeds to throw all the cushions off the sofa and all the coats off the stair banister and cackle menacingly at me all morning. He’s better.

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How To Parent When You Feel Like Shit

I am so, so glad beginning-of-November Hayley got overexcited about her new laptop and wrote up approximately 6 new blog posts to get me through the month, because as soon as I pressed “schedule” on the the Gift Guide for Dads, I got struck down by a horrible illness, a bit of a cold on steroids. I ended up laying in bed for a few days and I’m still coughing like I’ve smoked 50 a day for the past 20 years.

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The only problem is – I would have loved to lay in that bed all day and all night. I craved the kind of poorly where you forget what day or what time it is, and you just stay in bed with the curtains shut, festering and watching re-runs of your favourite programs under the duvet until you can speak again. Unfortunatley, I was only able to fester between the hours of 10am – 2pm because I still had to parent around feeling like shit.

Elliot has also been under the weather, he sounds like he’s been twos-ing my 50 fags a day to be honest. So it’s been easier as we come home from school and lay on the sofa under blankets until it’s time to go to bed.

It’s Winter so I know everyone is going to feel like this at some point over the next few months, so here are my tips for getting through the slog of parenting when you feel like dog-shit.

Take it (as) easy (as you can). Give instructions from your bed. I literally called Elliot to my bed of a morning with a whisper to go downstairs and eat his breakfast and then come upstairs and get dressed please. He’d then wander off, eat a banana that I’d give him and then come upstairs and get dressed whilst I laid on the bed and tried to build up the energy to put a bra on. Everyone in the playground that week was lucky I turned up looking half human as there was a definite chance I’d been asleep 20 minutes before each school run.

You don’t need to do shit. I’m going to be real, my house was disgusting when I felt ill. I didn’t do any washing, dusting or cleaning at all for the whole week, I just either laid on the sofa or on the bed (or, one morning I turned our sofa into a bed and really treated myself to a luxurious episode of Homes Under The Hammer). Elliot ate sandwiches for dinner every day (God bless school dinners!) and generally plodded around by himself whilst I was tapped out. I did start to feel guilty towards the end of the week so we did read a few books together and had one painful game of Monopoly that I conceded because I couldn’t actually speak the words anymore.

Surround yourself with everything you love. No, I don’t mean your cousins and grandparents around your bedside holding your hands. I mean, get yourself a cup of tea, and biscuits if you can manage to eat them and settle down in your favourite pyjamas and slippers and watch your favourite shows. We’ve all got comfy shows, I think, that we watch when we’re feeling rubbish. Mine are oddly police dramas so I’ve spent a week watching Luther and Whitechapel on the sofa, but it’s each to their own. Unless you like The Big Bang Theory, in which case I’m going to judge you hard.

Pick your battles. There is no point in arguing with your child about what socks they are going to wear when you feel like you’ve got razorblades in your throat. They want to watch Boss Baby on Netflix for five episodes in a row? Let them go for it. The other 51 weeks of the year when you’re healthy I’m sure you’d do some wholesome activities and as long as you croak out their spellings on a Friday morning then I’m sure everyone will forgive you for the lack of banana bread you made this week. (This is legit from personal experience, as I was getting ingredients out to make gingerbread men on Sunday afternoon and then thought “no. I feel too shit for this” and the world did not end. We just put the My Little Pony Movie on again and Elliot had a jammy dodger instead.)

Don’t be a martyr. This is literally a note to myself as I battled through the week when I was poorly and should have stayed in bed. I went on a bloody school trip to the library, ffs. I went back to work when I wasn’t very well and ended up giving the lurgy to someone I work with and I’ve still got the horrible cough three weeks on. It’s knackering and I wish I’d taken the chances when Elliot was at school when I felt proper dreadful to actually rest. But it’s like when kids are tiny and all the advice you get is “sleep when baby sleeps!” and you laugh it off like “haha! sleep? I’m fine, I have so much to do I’ll sleep some other time” and then three days later you end up crying into a jacket potato at 11pm because the baby isn’t sleeping and your life has fallen apart. Just take my advice, go to bed. Lay on the sofa during nap time, don’t rush around getting jobs done when the kids are at school. Just rest. You’ll feel so much better so much quicker and it saves a lot of hassle.

 

Gift List: Presents for Mum

Welcome to my Christmas Gift List series! I’m starting with the most important person in the house – ME! I mean…the general 20-something year old mother of the house who deserves a treat this Christmas.

The idea I’m going for this year is the rhyme “something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read” so all the lists will have four sections and they’ll all be full of great ideas (for all budgets) of what you can get the matriarch in your life for Christmas this year. Because not everyone is like me and wants a spray mop to unwrap…

Something they want.

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Literally anything from Lucky Sew and Sew

This is in this category because sometimes you can’t justify buying yourself beautiful, body positive, inclusive hand-made underwear. However, it’s perfect to buy it for a loved one for Christmas. These are also perfect for anyone who’s breastfeeding as they sell some absolutely breathtaking nursing bras. A long way from the saggy faded sad looking things I had when Elliot was tiny.

MAMA chain – Cult Of Youth

Another thing I’ve sat and looked at for many moons but just can’t justify buying for myself. It’s the classier version of those MUM rings you get in Argos. (Not that I’m dissing those rings, just these are that little bit more special.) Probably one of the priciest things on my list but I think it’d be a keepsake to keep for years to come.

Organic Corduroy Dungarees – Lucy & Yak

I’ve wanted dungarees for a v long time but have always been looking in the wrong places. These thighs cannot be contained by a pair of Matalan skinny dungas. I want quality. I want..these, basically. Plus they’re good for the environment which basically means it’s not just a gift for yourself, it’s a gift for the world.

Something they need.

Tears, Hugs And Rock & Roll Mug – Mere Soeur

Everyone needs a new mug for tea, coffee, secret gin at 4pm. This is the perfect sized mug. I know because…I bought it. If you’re reading this list seeing what you can buy me for Christmas then you’re gonna be hard pressed as it’s basically everything I own and want to recommend to everyone.

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COFFEE – Girls Who Grind Coffee

Well. You’ve bought her a mug, you’re going to need something to drink out of it. I haven’t personally tried this brand but I’ve heard it’s good PLUS anything that supports women around the world, especially in a male-run industry like coffee grinding is right up my street.

 

 

 

You might notice this section is blank, as there isn’t an image for TIME TO HERSELF. 

One thing mums, well all parents really,needs is a bit of time to themselves. You don’t need to go full cringe and write out a chequebook of times when they can go and have a bath by themselves or a Saturday morning where they can go and get a coffee solo. When you’ll take the baby to Sainsburys so they can lay in the bath for an extra twenty minutes. Just bear it in mind over the festive period and beyond – don’t let the 4 year old run into the bathroom whilst Mum’s mid-poo because you’re eating breakfast, let her wipe her bum in peace and it’ll probably be the best gift she’ll get all year. (This may be more of a personal wish, but thought I’d leave it here to inspire others, haha.)

 

Something to wear.

Alright For A Mum Tee – Mere Soeur.

I love me a bit of Mere Soeur merch. I’ve got absolutely tonnes of the stuff and can confirm their t-shirts are soft, they last and they’re absolutely spot on. If you buy this for someone this year, make sure you add that they’re not just alright for a mum, that they’re pretty fucking good all round.

Too Tired sweatshirt – Bloody Nora Pam

We all love a jumper. We’re all really bloody tired.  This colour is also 10/10. I don’t own this one, so please feel free to buy it for me 😉

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Mother Like No Other Sweatshirt – Mother Like No Other

Yes, I love a sweatshirt. Comfort is key. I’ve got a t-shirt from MLNO and can confirm it is soft and cosy and brilliant so would absolutely live in this. And as Elliot’s told me every single time I’ve worn it: “it is good because you are my mother and you are not anyone else’s mother so you are like no other.”

Something to read

The Unmumsy Mum Diary – Sarah Turner

This is a personal recommendation, I’ve already got this book and it’s absolutely hilarious and so Real. Most mums will have at least heard of the Unmumsy Mum and this book is a perfect lay-in-the-bath read, as you’ll just giggle along with her through her year.

How To Grow A Baby and Push It Out – Clemmie Hooper

I didn’t have this book when pregnant with Elliot but if I ever have another, I’d definitely want it. I’ve read Clemmie’s blog for a long time and followed her on Instagram for even longer and find the way she talks very truthful and calming and would definitely be pleased to unwrap this if I was expecting at Christmas.

 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

I have also read this book on honeymoon this summer and it was glorious. However, I am fully aware that if I hadn’t been lucky enough to lay next to a beach for two weeks, there would have been no hope in hell I’d have been able to read this book this year. It’s amazing, it deserves to be read. Buy it for an important person in your life and let them have a child-free afternoon to really get stuck into it.

 

 

 

 

In Defense of The Lazy Day

I’ve officially reached the half way point of half term (at the time of writing, by the time this goes live it’ll officially be 3/4 of the way through.) Today a fellow mum turned to me at the bus stop and said “at least it’s nearly over!” and then her face fell when I said I had a full week of entertaining a four year old left.

I’m all for an adventure, you’ll see all over this blog that Elliot and I are always gallivanting about but this half term has brought a new found love into my life. I’ve always appreciated a lazy day, God knows I spent 90% of my teenage years sat in my bed scrolling on Tumblr. (The other 10% was spent normally wandering around a car park, or the town centre trying to look cool. It didn’t work, so back to bed I went.) But I never really cracked the art of a lazy day with a child.

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In the middle of one of our famed lazy mornings. Yes, I’m wearing a nightie that has boobs all over it, it’s from Monki.

This half term, Elliot has been absolutely knackered. He walked out of school on Friday afternoon and started coughing and spluttering straight away. I diagnosed him with half term-itis and the remedy? Staying at home, preferably in comfies and slippers and watching movies. Or, if you’re my awkard child, watching back to back episodes of Hardball; a gameshow on BBC2 hosted by Ore Oduba.

I’ve found out there’s nothing better than not getting dressed until lunchtime, spending hours in bed taking silly selfies (see above) and playing hide and seek under the duvet. Having domino tournaments whilst teaching Elliot about 80’s power ballads on Spotify are my favourite afternoons. Drawing pictures of everyone in our family, and only being slightly offended when I look like Penfold from Dangermouse. I don’t know how it took  me this long to find out how fun it is to do nothing.

Don’t get me wrong, we have left the house. I would definitely have gone mad if we’d had to spend the entire two weeks on lockdown. But there’s nothing wrong with going for a scoot around the block for some fresh air before retreating back to your slippers and pyjamas for an afternoon of learning about fridges, shipping containers and prosthetic legs on CBeebies. Elliot has changed so much at school over the past six weeks; he’s braver, more confident and he knows so many more songs. It’s nice to be able to find out what he’s like again, after six weeks of him being out of the house 30 hours a week.

This first week has been all about learning about each other again, after what feels like a million years apart. Now that I know everything that’s going on with my tiny best friend, this week is going to be taking everything we’ve learnt about over the past week – the bridges, all the Autumn facts he’s full of, the numbers and using them when we’re out and about. I know he wants to go and see Tower Bridge after reading about it in a new book so that’ll be something we pop out to do at the end of this week. He learns so much at school every day that it’s nice to just explore the little things.

….not sure how we’ll work prosthetic legs into our activities but I’m sure I’ll work something out.