Monday, 12 September 2011

Yet another long absence from blogging

Last post was June?? No way. And once again I'm back mostly because I have time to spare being off sick from work. Awaiting new and hopefully miraculous treatment.

So, straight back into it. My current everyday life. Poppy is growing up very fast, we potty trained her in 5 days last week, what a little star. Goes wee-wee and poo-poo on the toilet now no problem. As a parent you can get slightly obsessed with your child's motions; I wouldn't say that I am so obsessed as impressed, her poo-poo today has been ginormous. And to think that would usually be stewing away in a nappy.

Hubby has had good news at work, is moving departments so will now be known as DC instead of PC. He's really pleased as he's a bit over the drudgery of dealing with the drunks on a weekend down Wind St and shoplifters. Fingers crossed he likes it and does well enough to stay on permanently at the end of the secondment.

My mum came over tonight to help bath Poppy etc. For the first time ever Poppy wanted her to take her up to bed instead of me. This was fine by me, except I knew before they set foot on the stairs that she'd take the piss out of my mum. Which she duly did, refusing to wee, refusing to brush teeth, shouting for more stories, screaming when she left the room. Don't think it helped that mum doesn't really know how to do 'quiet time', reading stories at quite a volume and talking all the while about it to Poppy. Then leaving the door open when she came downstairs, calling good night back up to her as she descended. Oh dear. Good old Mummy had to then go up and do the usual hug, kiss, hug and kiss all the teddies, turn on the white noise and stars, say good night loads of times. No wonder Poppy won't go to sleep without one of my parents lying on the bed in her room when she stays there, she knows exactly which buttons to press to get her way with them! Little minx...need to show them how to man up and be a bit firmer I think.

Only 9 weeks until NYC trip for me and hubby. Woo-hoo! Countdown is on baby.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Midwifery & how times have changed

I have been reading a fascinating series of books the past few weeks written by Jennifer Worth. They follow the work of an order of Nuns in the East End of London in the early part of the 20th Century, who acted a local district nurses and midwives for the local population. I have found it so interesting because in reality it is not that long ago these women practised, yet the circumstances of childbirth are almost unrecognisable from what is the norm today. No-one gave birth voluntarily at hospital, a woman would quite feasibly give birth to 8 or 10 children with one extreme case having birthed 24! Medical intervention was really unheard of, with the third stage of labour being allowed to occur naturally without pharmacological help. And all of this in some of the most unsanitary, overcrowded homes of the day - tenement buildings that were barely standing thanks to The Blitz or just general neglect by the buildings owners or the Councils. A family of 10 would think themselves lucky to have a 2 roomed property; the last book of the trilogy covers the account of how a family with 6 children were turned down for a 3-bedroomed Council property despite begging and pleading by the father of the family that to them it would be luxury - at the time his 6 children either shared the bed with him and his wife, slept on the floor or in a cupboard. The Council's reason for refusing him? The rules stated that they needed a 5 bedroomed property, which the Council was not currently building. Complete and utter insanity!

Another gory but equally enthralling aspect to life covered in this last book is how backstreet abortions were carried out, thanks to the law making abortions illegal until 1967. Women either killed or nearly killed themselves trying to get rid of yet another potential mouth to feed, or even more horribly from my point of view, killed the newborn out of plain sight. Left to drown in a chamber pot full of birthing blood and placenta, smothered & labelled as "stillborn'. Horrific. After being so desperate for a baby and then loving my daughter so completely, that love growing stronger with each passing minute despite the trials of raising a spirited toddler, I cannot contemplate the desperation those women must have felt. The utter poverty, depression, hopelessness. It really does make me truly grateful for what medical support we have available today, the NHS, and the luxurious houses we all live in and yet wish for more space/garden/more bedrooms for guests.

Totally worth a read

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Countdown to our holiday

Only 5 working days left in work until our 2 week caravan holiday to the Cotswolds. Please, please, please let Nice Poppy be in evidence for most, if not all, of the time. After four or five days of her waking up quite early over the past weekend, it became abundantly clear how closely her behaviour is linked to how much sleep she's had. Lets just say it wasn't a fun weekend. However, the past 2 days she's been back to normal and it is such a relief not to be living on eggshells, waiting for the next tantrum to blow up over something trivial.

The idea of sharing a bed with her for the 2 weeks we are away is slightly scaring me. Being kicked in the ribs and head repeatedly is not my idea of a good nights sleep. But hey ho, perhaps she'll be so worn out from all the fun we're having and the kiddies evening disco she'll sleep 'like a baby'. Think that this expression is possibly the most untrue saying in existence, now that I have had a very snuffly baby and a toddler who develops Turrets whilst sharing a bed with a parent.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Bank holiday plans

Yet another Bank Holiday is upon us, after the TWO recent long weekends in April which were fantastic and sunny. And finally hubby is off work for one, hurray! We are off to visit his family in Somerset tomorrow afternoon for two nights, which will hopefully involve lots of sitting down for me and Poppy being amused by her cousins.

Took the last dose of steroids yesterday so have been feeling progressively worse today, and now that I'm sat with my feet up it feels like everything is swelling and stiffening by the minute..yikes..still 4 days until I see my consultant and then who knows how long for any new medication to kick in. Perhaps I can take some more steroids after I've seen him to get through it all again. Who knew that rather than getting 'hooked' on prescription painkillers it would be prednisolone?

Poppy will be getting a lot of Grandma and Grandad exposure the next few weeks-this weekend, next weekend at her cousins birthday party (just me and her driving back to Somerset as hubby working this time), and the following weekend when I go to London for a girly weekend and they are coming here to babysit. Not looking forward to all the driving involved in these plans, bring on the stiff knees, but nothing will stop me visiting my London friend-we haven't had any time together without kids involved since just before I was pregnant with Poppy. Making it...ummm...2008! Wow! 3 years ago. This is a friend that I met while working in Wallis when a student, and another friend who also worked there is coming along too. I always thought I was rather odd, having kept in contact with people from when at Uni that I didn't meet AT Uni but through working. Guess that's what happens when you're not a typical student and go to Uni engaged to be married and living with your fiance!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Big girl at dinner

This is Poppy at dinner last night, she is growing up so quickly. After seeing me scoop rice towards my fork with my knife a few nights ago she asked for a knife too, then copied me exactly. So now she had a knife and fork at dinner. If that wasn't big-girl-ish enough she found a Diddy cup in the back of the cupboard and immediately asked for water in it. From her gleeful giggles when she saw it perhaps she uses one at nursery, I thought, which was confirmed when she carefully lifted it up and drank like a Big Girl. And then slowly set it down on the table to carry on playing, obviously aware that it will spill out if she's rough with it like she is with her milk beakers. So now she has a knife, fork and open cup at dinner. Wow.

Anyone reading this who is not a parent cannot possibly fully appreciate how these small but significant achievements can really make your day. Confirmation that you are doing ok, you are teaching your child how the world works.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Real Nappy Week 2011

Yes it's here again. This time last year we were still pretty new to the whole reusable nappy thing, I was pleased with myself for starting to use them and content with my limited product knowledge. We bought a set of Motherease One Size nappies and wraps, boosters and liners, nappy bucket and off we went. I wasn't aware of the HUGE range of cloth nappies available, varying in technique, sizes, fabrics, colours, wraps, fastenings etc etc.

Now that I am truly a bum-fluff addict it becomes difficult not to buy yet more with all the special offers on for RNW11. We don't need any more nappies, especially after my recent raffle prize win at the local Guiness World Record attempt for changing cloth nappies. So perhaps I'll restrict my purchases to a swim nappy or two for our upcoming holiday, and a pretty new wrap to brighten up our rather boring collection. A girl has to have pretty knickers on when wearing a dress and playing like a little tomboy at the park, right? Poppy is often to be found upside down climbing on something and flashing her underwear, yet another reason to be grateful for using attractive reusables rather than crinkly, smelly disposables....

for more information

Sunday, 15 May 2011

You can't choose your family

But at the end of the day, would most of us actually change them? Yes, there are things about your parents and other family that drive you absolutely crazy. Why do they do that? Where did that habit come from? For example my Mum always finishes her sentences in an email with a question mark - each and every sentence even when it's not a question - and signs off with 'LOL'. What could be causing her to Laugh Out Loud as she types 'love from Mum', I ponder as I read the email. She's got the whole technology thing down now, it can't still be amusing to type and send an email like it was the t'Internet was all new and spangly. But if she didn't do it then it wouldn't be her, would it? No-one else I know does that, it's a completely unique quirk that is only hers. Only your Mum would worry about you, their child, enough to go on at your Dad that they need to put the house up for sale and move closer to you so that she could help out more, because you're ill and struggling with things. I hope that Poppy will come to realise, once the dreaded teenage years are behind us, that family isn't all that bad. I know it took me a long time to even contemplate the notion.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

I admit it, I'm a nosy neighbour

Now that I'm back being a cripple/couch potato and we have new people moved into the house across from ours, I just can't help but sit in my seat and watch their coming's and going's. I was particularly impressed to see the older lady up and outside painting the decorative metal lamps either side of the front door when I opened the blind at 745am. That's early for a Saturday morning when you don't have a child, from what I remember. And the younger bloke is very good at keeping his car clean, and that's compared the bloke who lives next door to them who can clean his car for a whole afternoon. The same guy also mows his lawn by hand with a manual machine and trims the edges by hand with a scissors. A scissors. I just Googled fastidious to make sure I had the definition correct and yup, he is fastidious about his garden. Hubby and I often wonder why he doesn't work and is home all the time to clean the car/mow the lawn and hedge/walk his dog 3 times a day (and wipe her behind with a wetwipe when she does her business - I've witnessed this myself). His nickname is Mr P, which is short for Perfect. We are, however, very fortunate to have a fabulous set of neighbours right next door to us who are the same age as us and pregnant with their first child. Lets just say that before I was pregnant there were quite a few evenings involving a copious amount of alcohol and PS2 Singstar. It was them that gave us the Mr & Mrs P nickname, so I'm not to blame for that one! I do feel fortunate to have them there as they have helped out on more than one emergency occasion with the house, dogs and Poppy. I hope that we can be good neighbours and return the favour one day to them. Gone are the 'good old days' where everyone knows everyone in the street or village, but there is something to be said for saying hello when you pass people you see everyday getting out of their cars and offering to help out now and again. You never know when you may need them.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Brightening up my day

With a vibrant, shocking coral nail polish. Why not? What else is there to do when you have to sit down after being worn out by going to Tesco for a paper and wetwipes and WHSmiths for a card index box to organise recipes. Sit down, take off the chipped pale pink, shorten and file, moisturise, base coat, colour coat times two, top coat. Done. A familiar ritual that I can still accomplish to make me smile when I catch sight of the summery colour through the day.

And yes I am that sad and overly-organised that I want to set up an index card system for recipes that I have handwritten down on a bit of scrap paper, and keep moving around the kitchen. Hopefully it will prompt me to cook some new dishes too once I sort through them and get inspired. Or at least that Crunchie Chocolate Cheesecake that I saw lurking at the back of my current messy ringbinder. Yum.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Alternative universe

After our cleaner's first visit today we returned home to a nice clean home, in parts (she ran out of time to do all we asked as we can only afford 2 hours a week), and to my keen eye we have begun to live in an alternate universe. One where all of our things are the same but in a slightly different place on the shelf, or somewhere that I had never put them - still in plain sight but not where I had left it. Slightly disconcerting but at the same time not altogether unpleasant. After all, turning that photo frame slightly to the left means that it catches my eye on the way through the hall. And photos in frames are generally meant to be looked at. So that's a good thing.

And we have clean floors. I can't tell you how nice it will be to come home once a week to floors that have been vacuumed and mopped. Money well spent.

Monday, 9 May 2011

3 months on..

Wow. 3 and a half months ago was my last post. Just before I returned to work after having a prolonged period of sick leave due to the arthritis. And here I am again, off on sick leave due to the arthritis. And feeling very annoyed and frustrated that the treatment that seemed to have finally kicked in has begun to stop working, and that my long-awaited consultant appointment STILL has not dropped through the letterbox.

So what's been happening since I last posted? A brief rundown of the highlights that spring to mind are (not necessarily in date order, just in a random order of how my mind works):

- Poppy turning 2 in April. Celebrated by a day at home playing with new toys, some time with just the three of us and lunch by the seafront, followed by a family meal involving more presents and 3 renditions of 'Happy Birthday' and candle blowing-out. Good times. A party at the local family center followed on the saturday which was a huge success and once again surprised and delighted us with our friends generosity after all the wonderful gifts she received. Thanks to you all.

- Finally feeling like I was back on form at work, clinical-skills wise and professionally. Long may it continue once this (hopefully short) break is over.

- Lots of lovely weekends enjoying the unseasonally warm spring weather by spending many hours outside. Thanks to birthday gifts of a playhouse, new big-girl slide and sandpit Poppy is content to while away the time in her wellies and a coat no matter how cold it is, usually with bare feet even if it is really not warm enough for it. She seems to be an outdoor person, happiest pottering around digging up treasures in the sand or lying prostrate on her belly examining and decimating the ant population of the garden.

- Family time over Easter and the Royal Wedding bank holidays with hubby's relatives in Somerset. Again thanks to the weather this even involved a paddling pool and ice-cream, picnics and sunbathing.

- A spa day courtesy of Poppy/Hubby for Mother's Day. Nothing much more to say other than 'Ahhhhh...and relax..'

- Hiring in a cleaner. This is a bittersweet highlight as while most women would, in theory, love to give over those dreaded household chores to someone else, in my case it is because I am unable to keep up with said chores thanks to my illness. We produce a surprising amount of washing and ironing for only two adults and one child, which hubby manages to keep in check thanks to me having wrists too painful to lift the iron; however with his shifts and me working almost full-time too our house mostly seems to consist of mucky carpets, dust and a grimy bathroom. All of the time. We literally only have the time to give a quick clean if we have guests to stay. I know a lot of working families are in the same boat but we are lucky enough to be able to afford to pay for some help, and are fed up of the battle, so we thought why not?

- Acceptance (to some degree) that we are unlikely to have another child in the near future. This is quite a big one, as after strenuously protesting against ever having to give birth again for at least a year after I had Poppy, I had mellowed to the idea. Then wham! the arthritis was diagnosed. And the yucky nasty medication I am on means that if I accidentally got pregnant then it would have to be terminated or be born very severely malformed. Now, after the brief respite of relatively good health, it looks like more medication is to be added to the cocktail; this would complicate matters in withdrawing my treatment in order to get pregnant and the chances of me becoming very unwell whilst TTC are high because I would be meds-free. Therefore, while this has been a difficult one to come to terms with I feel that I am slowly getting there. The intense flares of jealousy that I felt when another friend announced she was pregnant again are now presenting as little aches in my chest instead.

- Poppy turning into a real, live, proper Little Girl. She is so adorable, loveable, beautiful, full of life, spirited, determined, opinionated, chatty, bossy, wicked, energetic. The new photo banner for this blog is of her at her birthday party, upside down in the bouncy castle, having the time of her life with her cousins and friends. This year's party was so different. She didn't need or look for me or hubby for the whole 2 hours. She's her own little person, content in the safe world we have created for her, happy surrounded by the family she knows and loves.

- A Day Out With Thomas at the Gwili railway. Lots of fun with Poppy having her first ever ride on a train, spending the day with a friend and her family and Poppy's little mate E. Being thankful that I have friends to rely on for support and help when hubby is at work and I want a day out, but can't manage it alone.

I think that's enough of my random recollections for now. Back to the job that I can manage to do sat down at the laptop - selling our unwanted junk on Ebay. That is now including some of Poppy's clothes which before now have all been safely squirrelled away in the loft 'just in case'. You see? Acceptance in its purest form.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Back to work I go

Saw my boss today about starting back to work next week. I'm driving myself mad at home alone and am feeling much better than I have these past 4 months. It's probably too soon to be so optimistic, but I literally am too bored of my house.
I'll be finishing at 230pm each day next week then back into full time after that, with a weeks annual leave after 3 weeks. I'll need the week off by then I expect!

On a random aside I'm watching a film where they're baking chocolate croissants and I can SMELL them I want one so much...yuuuuummmmmmm.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Birth envy

The TV series 'One Born Every Minute' is back on air again. I don't know why I like to watch it as every week I end up crying, mostly happy tears though, and end up with a feeling of general unhappiness. I know this is because each episode there is at least one example of a perfect birth. This makes me jealous, because my planned water birth all went to pot and I ended up having Poppy via a traumatic intervention. In this week's show there was a 22 year old who had her child in the birthing pool, using only gas and air, all very calm and natural and controlled. That's the experience I wanted. I was even in the damn pool for bloody ages.
I wonder if I'll ever get over this and just accept what will be, will be. That I wasn't destined to have Poppy in that way and in no way was it my fault or anything that I did or didn't do. That's the logical reasoning and what everyone tells me, but I still don't really accept it. Last week there was a woman who screamed the ward down, didn't push properly as she was making so much noise, and the midwives still told her she did a good job. If they can tell her that, thinking back to hearing those words from my midwife makes me think that they say that to everyone and it doesn't actually mean anything.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

26ⁿ Prompt 1 - The Names of Things

I haven't written anything except the usual letters, emails and blog posts since leaving GCSE English class. I thought I'd give it a try after seeing a fellow blogger starting a writing prompt blog here.

Here I sit on my brown leather sofa
Looking with fresh eyes around my quiet sitting room
Photographs on the walls, mantelpiece, windowsill
My wedding day, my youthful face smiles back at me
Hair groomed and topped with a silver jewelled tiara
A necklace of borrowed creamy pearls

My daughter's toy keyboard, a garish plastic pink
Draws my gaze away from the reminiscing
Rounded edges to make it safe, white and black keys
Hours spent shouting 'Love you' into its microphone

Baby soft hair that is mussed up by sleep
Requires gentle brushing with hair conditioner sprayed on
Coconut scented, from its bottle with a pop-off cap
Bringing back memories of suntan lotion from my honeymoon

Will it get any better?

Today's ballet class was another bad experience. I did just type 'waste of time' but deleted it. It wasn't a complete waste as it passed a couple of hours driving and spending 35 minutes being cried at, climbed on, hit, and tantrum-ed too. The clinginess that has been a feature since the chicken pox manifested hugely today, with her refusing to let me sit down on the floor. I had to be standing with her in my arms. Which really hurts my back, hips, wrists and hands after anything more than 5 minutes. And resulted in a tantrum when I began to refuse due to the pain. Another mother there even asked sympathetically "Aw, is she tired? Or just doesn't want to do it?" To which I snapped back (poor woman getting in the midst of me battling with my demon child) "No, she's like this all the time!" I think she got the general idea of my mood and didn't speak to me again.
By the time I got back to the car, after yet another tantrum when she wouldn't hold my hand near the road and therefore had to carried kicking and screaming, I breathed a sigh of relief and shed a few tears. I no longer care what other people think of me, Poppy, or my (in)ability to parent her. That's not what gets me down, riles me, frustrates me, brings tears to my eyes and a heaviness to my heart. It's how everyone else's child acts normally. Even if they are a little shy or don't want to join in, they sit quietly on a lap or outside the circle. They don't scream at or hit their parent for sitting down, throw a maraca across the floor then have a hissy fit when an innnocent toddler picks it up for a little shake, shout "no, no, no, no...etc" over and over again when their parent is dancing and joining in with the fun and music.

Is there any point in carrying on? Who am I doing this for, her or me? Or us?

Will it get any better?

Friday, 14 January 2011

Future gymnast? I think not.

I took Poppy to her first toddlers gymnastic class yesterday. We went with two of my friends and their sons, which was the first time we'd managed to meet up since well before Christmas. After arriving super-early due to me forgetting exactly what time the class started, Poppy grumpily woke up and refused to be put down until about 15 minutes into the class, not even being tempted by the free-play time allowed at the beginning to get them used to the space and equipment. Thankfully she finally woke up (after me giving in to the whining/building to a tantrum and gave her a dummy) and joined in. Once she got started she was away to go, climbing the little ladder thingie, hanging on a bar, hauling herself up onto soft blocks and joining one of her little friends rolling about on the big squishy mat. There was time for songs and actions, marching, star jumps, skipping, and parachute play at the end. All in all it was good fun, and I'm sure next week when we walk into the room she'll remember where she is and join straight in. At least I hope so, last night and today I'm so stiff and painful from carrying her about and crawling on the floor. Ouch.
After being asked by various family members if she is to be a future Olympic gymnast, I answered a resounding 'No'. Delicate and light on her feet are not ways I would describe my daughter...And based on the genes she inherited from me - unable to do a handstand for fear of falling over, hated gym at school - and her father - can't lift his leg above knee height, two left feet - she never had much of a chance.

And we have ballet class in the morning - lessons learned from last week are:
1. Feed her breakfast number 2 (toast normally given at about 8am, after breakfast number one on waking at stupid o'clock) later in the morning so that she doesn't require biscuits during the class,
2. Go into waiting room just before 11am so that she doesn't get too ingrossed the the toys there and refuse to enter the room where the actual ballet class is,
3. Don't put a hat on her and only a lightweight jacket, in case she refuses to remove said garments at the start of the class and therefore looks very odd and overheated throughout.

Who knew being a parent would involve such planning? Never mind ensuring the nappy bag is packed, the whole morning has to be considered so that a 30 minute class will hopefully go to plan!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

New York baby...

Only 314 (ish) days until myself and hubby go to New York for our joint 30th birthdays. I say -ish as it's not booked yet for us to know the departure date, but this week the brochure has finally been released so we've chosen our hotel. And know which flight time we want. Have planned the itinerary. Decided we don't really need the Virgin executive lounge after all. Can you tell we're excited about this trip?

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Happy New Year, bring on 2011

Happy New Year to everybody! Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas break and aren't too miserable now January is here. Poppy has only just gone back to nursery today after contracting chicken pox, so it hasn't been a very restful time for me and my arthritis but I've managed.

I could have cried after a visit to the GP this morning with her to look at an itchy rash that sprang up yesterday afternoon on her body, when he diagnosed infection of said chicken pox and printed a script for antibiotics. In our world, antibiotics=two days off nursery. She'd only been back an hour. I heaved a massive sigh, took her home, and rang the nursery to say she wouldn't be back today. After speaking to the manager, she said actually as it's only a skin rash it'd be ok for her to come in. So after giving her lunch, putting her back into the car yet again, and taking her back to nursery the same manager then changed her mind and wanted GP confirmation she wasn't infectious. Now I can understand it, they've had the chicken pox going around and around there for months with some adults even catching it from the kids. But why not say that on the phone before I dragged our asses back down there again? Another huge sigh. After waiting on the phone to the surgery for 10 minutes I thankfully spoke to the receptionist I know, who spoke to a GP, and relayed back to me that a secondary infection of chicken pox is not infectious. Phew. She could stay.

On arriving home and logging into Blogger, I could see that one of the people I follow on here has had some awful news. There isn't any detail on her blog as it's obviously too painful to think about, let alone put into words, but basically she has given birth to her baby who has died. This was so shocking to me that I didn't understand at first what she had written. And it made me so thankful that I have a healthy and happy child, so full of energy and joy for life that it could make you cry.