The rush of love.

When my eldest, Theo, was born two years ago, I felt everything I was meant to as he was placed straight into my arms after the birth. He was our very much longed for baby and I had spent a lot of time throughout my pregnancy bonding with my bump. I would sing to him, bought expensive massage oils and spent a lot of time visualising him. We didn’t find out what we were having but I just knew he was going to be a boy. I felt as if I knew him inside out from the moment we locked eyes on each other. I felt totally overwhelmed by the strength of my love when I held him that first time. It’s such a cliche but I honestly thought my heart might burst. I instantly felt ridiculously protective of him and hated anyone else holding him, even my husband. I breast fed him for the first few months and he was a hungry baby, so we were literally glued to one another.
Being one of two girls, I never witnessed a mother-son relationship first hand. I had assumed Theo would naturally have a closer bond with Zac and I would become a bit of an onlooker. So our exceptionally close connection took me totally by surprise.
Things with our second child, Daisy, couldn’t have been more different. I didn’t get that rush of love. Sounds brutal, I know, but I think I might finally be in a place where I can put this experience into writing.
I won’t go into the gory details but we had one weak moment over Christmas 2015 and all of a sudden we were expecting another baby. I remember feeling terrified and went into a total panic. More than anything I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt. How could I do this to Theo? He wasn’t even one yet. I suddenly felt as though the countdown had begun, ticking down the little time we had left together before an intruder would ruin everything.
I tried to pretend it wasn’t happening. I know I should have felt happy and so fortunate to be in the position I was in. I know there are couples who would give anything to have a child and another on the way. I can’t imagine the unbearable pain they must feel. This made me feel incredibly ungrateful and a pretty shitty human being.
I felt indifferent at the 12 week scan. Then at the 20 week scan I convinced Zac that we needed to find out what we were having. This wasn’t the original plan as I loved keeping it a surprise with Theo, but I had hoped that knowing the sex would help me to bond a bit more with my ever expanding bump. It didn’t. I bought one pink dress as I felt that’s probably what I should do then carried on ignoring the situation. I saw my midwife appointments as a massive inconvenience. I would get so excited about going to them the first time around. I tried to act excited when I heard the heartbeat but I still felt nothing.
Then Friday 23rd September arrived and I went into labour. It was 3am and my mum had just arrived to look after Theo. I went into Theo’s bedroom and gave him a kiss goodbye as he slept. I wept as I realised our time together as a twosome was over. I had spent the last 8 months dreading this moment. My contractions were very close together by this point so I quickly left the room and closed his door behind me.
An hour and a half later at hospital, Daisy was born. Zac got the first cuddle whilst they repaired the damage down below (childbirth is so bloody undignified!). I felt numb but so excited to hold her and to finally feel that connection I had been waiting for all year.
Zac handed her to me and.. nothing. I felt like I was holding someone else’s baby. I knew I loved her deep down, but that overwhelming connection just wasn’t there. When I held Theo I felt like I had known him my whole life. I think I expected Daisy to be the spitting image of him but they couldn’t have been more different. Theo looked a bit like Phil Mitchell and E.T’s love child. Daisy had a head full of jet black hair and such beautiful dainty features. She was a stunner, that much I could appreciate. I held her for a few minutes, then handed her back to Zac telling him I wanted to have a shower.
For the next few weeks, I fluctuated between feeling extreme guilt for turning Theo’s world upside down (in hindsight he was totally fine, the steady stream of gifts from thoughtful family and friends were a good distraction) and feeling very sad. The rest of the time I just felt numb. It all felt so wrong. This beautiful little girl should have felt like my best friend. My soulmate. My partner in crime.
I should probably have seen someone about how I felt, but I didn’t for two reasons. Firstly, I’m incredibly stubborn and hate accepting when things are less than perfect. Secondly, I had depression several years ago and refused to consider that it could ever come back again. So I just turned a blind eye to how I felt. I did what was expected of me as Daisy’s mother. I fed her, changed her nappies and washed her. But that was it. I was just going through the motions without really engaging with her or trying to form much of a bond. We started giving her formula after two weeks. I was fed up with the pain and she wasn’t latching on very well. And I wanted Zac to be able to help with feeding so I could spend more time with Theo.
This went on for nearly four months. I became convinced that she preferred just about everyone else over me. Why wouldn’t she? They gave her actual eye contact for starters. I felt little bursts of love for her now and again, like when she smiled or laughed, but it was nothing like the overwhelming emotions I felt for Theo.
Then a couple of weeks ago everything changed. Every night Zac and I alternate which of the kids we put to bed. This particular night, I was reading Theo his story. I could hear Daisy start to cry whilst Zac was trying to feed her. I gently told Theo to wait in his bed so Mummy could see what was the matter with Daisy. Zac saw me coming into Daisy’s dimly lit bedroom and told me she had heard my voice as I read Theo his story and wanted me. He’s tried saying this before, but she’s always carried on crying when I’ve held her, probably sensing my stress. I picked up her up from Zac’s arms. She instantly relaxed and snuggled into me. I felt so surprised when I realised she actually wanted me there. Zac quietly slipped from the room to finish Theo’s bedtime story. I sat down on the rocking chair and showered her with kisses and started to cry happy tears of relief. I finally felt a bond with her. I realised all this time it had been slowly forming without me realising it. All those little smiles, all those giggles and funny incidents over the past four months had built up to this moment.
Today, I feel ready to share this experience. It’s been very difficult to write as no mother wants to admit that she has felt like this. I realise I still have a way to go with Daisy, but it’s fantastic knowing we are finally getting somewhere. Putting it into writing has helped me to accept that those tricky times are hopefully all in the past. I love both my children equally and with all my heart, but I love them in different ways. I’ve had longer to get to know Theo so of course my bond is naturally going to be stronger. But I realise that’s ok because I’m still getting to know Daisy. I absolutely adore her, and I’m so excited to see what adventures life has in store for the two of us.
I picture us going for coffee together when she’s my age, perhaps with children of her own, perhaps not. We might be laughing about something silly, or she might be confiding in me about the same things that used to worry me at her age. I really hope this becomes a reality one day. But for now, I’m just enjoying getting to know my future best friend in the making.

Food Shop.

Pre-children, Zac and I used to argue over who did the food shop. It was an unwelcome weekend chore that got in the way of sleep, watching films, going for pub lunches and more sleep.
Nowadays I normally make Zac take Theo on a Saturday morning, because a) he’s a tight arse and therefore spends less money than me, b) it counts as an outing for Theo, and c) because it’s tricky for me to take both the children on my own during the week. By the time you’ve put a toddler and a baby in a trolley you have just enough room left for a packet of ham and a tube of toothpaste.

Today, however, I was given the ultimate treat of going food shopping ON MY OWN! It’s been such a long time since I’ve done this. I don’t know why I used to hate it so much. It was just so lovely not to feel rushed for once.

In preparation I made a really healthy shopping list and made plans to make lots of delicious meals from scratch. I tend not to put anything too exotic on the list when Zac goes because he usually ends up ringing me in a frantic rage asking what the hell something is, implying that I’ve made the item up in my head (last time he got all huffy with me because he didn’t know what an avocado was). So the first thing I did when I got there was make a beeline for the fruit and veg and started to slowly peruse the aubergines (why does that sound a tad filthy?).

It was then that I glanced down at my 3 page shopping list and gave myself a bit of a reality check. Was I really going to find the time to make all our meals from scratch this week? Probably not. And even if I did have the time, could I be arsed? Definitely not. So, feeling totally outrageous I folded my wedge of paper in half and slipped it back into my handbag. I was going to do the food shop WITHOUT A SHOPPING LIST! (As I rid myself of my list I’m sure I heard a few shocked gasps from the other mums in the nearby vicinity). God I know how to live on the wild side.

Long story short, I’ve attached a picture of my purchased goods. Let’s just say, the healthy eating agenda hasn’t exactly gone to plan. It’s what I call a ‘give a shit’ shopping trolley. Feeling extremely guilty for depriving Theo of meals rich in nutrients for the next week, I bought him a Thomas magazine as a peace offering. I ended up with a shitload of unhealthy food, a pair of ski trousers, a ball of wool and some paint brushes, all for £86.24; thank you Aldi, you weird, random place. (When I got home Zac was not too impressed, he normally keeps the cost below £60. Scrooge).

I then got to play shopping bag Tetris trying to get everything into the bloody car. With two car seats, a buggy and a pram taking up nearly all of the room, most of the food shop was piled up on the passenger seat.

Since when did the most exhilarating part of my week become the food shop on a Saturday afternoon? Such fun.

To all the mums.

To the mum who gave in and fed her kids chicken nuggets and chips for the third time this week, because she couldn’t be arsed with the battle of trying to get them to eat anything else. Don’t panic. Are they fed? Yep. Are they happy? Double yep. So well done to you. There probably are a very small percentage of adults who ONLY eat nuggets and chips for every meal, but these people are really weird and probably don’t go out much. The chances are your kids will grow up with a much more varied diet than they are partial to now, so who gives a damn?

To the heavily pregnant mum at toddler group desperately trying to keep her 2 year old happy because she’s so worried about what having a new brother or sister will do to him. I’m not going to lie it probably won’t be how you pictured it when the baby does eventually arrive, and he may very obviously show his disdain towards her. But then one day you will walk into the living room and find him giving the baby a cuddle as they lie on the play mat together and everything will seem a little bit better (until he knocks her over the head with a rattle. By accident of course).
To the mum who has just screamed at her kids and is sat sobbing on the stairs, we’ve all been there. Sometimes daily. Sometimes more than daily. We aren’t cyborgs, and we can’t be expected to have our shit together every damn second. They probably won’t remember you screaming at them by teatime (they may even have found it amusing), but you will no doubt feel like a shitty mother for the rest of the day. Don’t. You got a lot of stress out of your system by doing it which is good! Go to the kitchen, make yourself a cuppa (or a g&t as long as it’s after midday and you don’t have to drive anywhere), whack their favourite film on, hand the biscuits around and forget it happened, just like they probably have.
To the mum looking like she wants to cry whilst quietly trying to console a child mid tantrum in the supermarket. Ignore the judgmental twats giving you the look we all know well… you know the one; ‘she’s clearly a dreadful mother who probably feeds her child sugar and sticks him in front of the TV all day’. Well f*ck them. F*ck all the judgy twats. So what if they are right about the sugar and tv… You’re doing an amazing job. Your kid is safe, has a full tummy and is happy (when the world isn’t ending because you won’t let them have the bottle of febreeze they seem to have grown a fond attachment to). And you got out of the house today so that deserves an award in itself!
To the mum feeling guilty for giving up breastfeeding. Formula isn’t devil’s food like some people make it out to be. Hats off the mums who have got breastfeeding nailed. But if you aren’t one of these mums, it really doesn’t matter. Your baby is fed, that’s all that matters. I breast fed one of my children and formula fed the other so I’m totally impartial on the matter (let’s not start another breast/bottle debate.. it’s getting a tad tedious now). Happy mum, happy baby, and all that jazz. 
To the mum who desperately yearns for the little people to stop invading her bed every night. Do what works for you. Don’t feel ashamed for co sleeping with your 2 year old because it’s not what society expects of you. If you aren’t comfortable with leaving them to cry, then don’t. If you do let them cry, fair play. I did, it was shit, but it worked (for now). If you end up sleeping on a roll out mattress on their floor every night, then go with it. One way or another, you WILL get your personal space back. And karma will bite those little turds on the bum when they’re teenagers and you get the Dyson out at 8am on a Sunday whilst they are sleeping. (Gosh that floor right outside their room looks dreadfully dusty doesn’t it..)?
To the mum who judges all the other mums and looks down her nose at everyone else because her children are perfect. F*ck off and burn. That is all.
To the woman who wants to be a mum, and wants to scream/cry/throw herself off a bridge every time she hears another of her friends is pregnant. It’s shit. It really is. You feel like a terrible person for struggling to feel happy for someone whose had such fantastic news. I am keeping everything crossed for you that your time will come. In the meantime make the most of the alcohol, sleep, soft cheese and medium rare beef whilst you can.
To the mum who decides to stay home rather than go to a group or a play date, because she just can’t face going out and is now mentally beating herself up for depriving her child of such a rich opportunity to socialise. Don’t worry, it probably would have been shit anyway and your child is probably happier at home where the biscuits are. The groups will be there next week, and the week after. And there’s plenty more opportunity for play dates.
To the mum striving for perfection. If you can achieve this and be happy whilst doing it then good on you. But as soon as your happiness is compromised and you start becoming a stressful maniac, that’s when I recommend taking a step back and asking yourself if you’re really happy… and if the answer is no then I suggest saying to yourself ‘f*ck the dishes, they can’t fire me for not cleaning them, I’m my own boss now’ (apart from when your toddler is telling you what to do). It takes a long time to learn not to notice the housework, but believe me once you get there it’s rather lovely (until your husband comes home and comments on the mess and dirt, then you have my permission to throw his Xbox in the bin when he’s at work the next day and leave a dust pan and brush in its place. W*nker).
To the mum slapping a smile on her face as she has a steady stream of visitors to meet her new baby; but inside she’s feeling alone, terrified and very, very sad. A huge amount of us have been there. Don’t be afraid to say how you feel. It doesn’t make you a bad mother. Chances are if you speak to another mum, they will have felt the same emotions at some point. Things will get better, sometimes you will need more help than a few chats with a friend, but good on you for being honest with yourself.
To the mum feeling guilty about being on her phone instead of playing with the kids. Well how else are you meant to catch up on what’s going on with the rest of the world? It’s not exactly like you’re allowed to watch what you want on the television (obviously if you had the choice you would opt for Sky News, not Geordie Shore.. ahem). When you are stuck in the same room, with the same kids and the same shite on tv day in and day out, that cellular device is the key to what sanity you have left. It’s good for them to play on their own sometimes. They learn problem solving and other shit like that, or so I’ve heard.
I’ve been all these mums at one point or another (even the judgy mum. I know, eww). There’s always going to be something to feel guilty, stressed or generally shit about. That’s motherhood. Reading this back I wish I could take my own advice more but it’s not always that easy when you are right in the middle of a day from hell.
Today I was the mum who saw her toddler in the car rearview mirror eating the mouldy bread meant for the ducks. I told him not to. He ignored me. Obviously. We got out of the car and I tried to make him give what was left to the ducks but he started having a tantrum so I let him crack on with the bread (don’t worry, I picked off the green bits) and turned a blind eye because it would save me the job of getting him a snack later. Now that’s what I call a win.
To all the mums out there, whether you’re a working mum, stay at home mum, messy mum, tidy mum, tired mum or crazy mum, give yourselves a break. It’s not easy doing what we do, but someone’s got to bloody do it.
On a brighter note, it’s Friday which can only mean one thing… Dominoooooooooes! Boom, get in me.


#mychildwouldrathereatmouldybreadthanmycooking

#judgymumscankissmybum

#pizzapizzapizza

The Average Day

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Being a parent is absolutely nothing like I thought it would be. The tiredness, the level of patience required, and the everyday repetitiveness came as a bit of a shock. Don’t get me wrong, I love my two small people more than life itself, but is it any wonder that I’m looking increasingly like I should be expecting my letter from the Queen any day now…

I thought I’d do a run down of the average day in the life of us.

00.35am – Oh my god there’s an actual fire engine in our bedroom, what is that f*cking noise?! Oh shit it’s the monitor telling me to check the baby. I fly out of bed as if a rocket’s gone off in my rectum and sprint into Daisy’s room. The plonker has rolled off the sensor pad. Thank f*ck for that. I start breathing again and reposition her. Zac then chivalrously offers to take the monitor in case it happens again. It then takes the best part of an hour for me to fall back to sleep as my blood pressure and heart rate return to normal.

3.15am – A repeat of the above (except substitute me with Zac). Sensor pad is removed, snapped in half and thrown out the window. Ok, not really, but it’s turned off.

5.30am – Daisy wakes for a feed.

6.30am – Zac’s alarm clock goes off.

6.50am – Theo’s awake. I send Zac a text (knowing full well he’s sat in the living room watching Sky News pretending not to hear him) simply saying ‘Theo’. I then put a pillow over my head because I’m really not a morning person. Luckily Zac gets the hint and I can hear him getting Theo.

7.05am – I can hear a commotion in the kitchen. Theo’s hysterical because Zac is getting his breakfast ready and is putting milk on the weatabix. Zac sounds surprised even though this happens every morning. I groan and get out of bed and go to distract Theo from the torment he is being subjected to.

7.15am – Theo has finished breakfast. Most of it is in his lap as he’s still learning to use a spoon.

7.20am – Zac skips out the door for work (literally). I don’t blame him to be honest. I’m in a foul mood because I can’t stop thinking that if that bollocking sensor pad hadn’t gone off TWICE we would have had a solid sleep from 10pm to 5.30am.

7.30am – I change Theo’s nappy and get him dressed, then put Peppa Pig on. Eat cake or biscuits for breakfast. Make a strong coffee.

8.00am – I have my daily phone call with my mum and pretend I’ve had fruit and yogurt for breakfast when she asks.

8.30am – Get dressed. Notice Daisy’s vomit from yesterday on my jeans. I search for a clean pair and spy the overflowing washing basket with a heavy heart. I grab a baby wipe and give the jeans a good going over, feeling pleased with my handiwork. For the zillionth time in my life I thank the lord for baby wipes.

8.40am – Daisy wakes up. She gives me a delightfully gummy grin, and looks at me as if all her dreams have come true. This lifts my spirits and pulls at my heartstrings. Then she goes bright red and I realise she’s started doing a massive sh*t. We are entering dangerous territory as her nappy is already bursting at the seams with wee from the nighttime. Code yellow!!! Too late, it’s all up her back.

9.15am – The children are all dressed and ready to go. (Daisy’s just had an early morning bath to get the poo out of her belly button as the baby wipes just weren’t cutting it this time). I put both kids in their car seats. Nappy bag packed. We’re off for a play date at a friends house. At the end of the road I quickly double check both children are definitely in the car. Result.

11.20am – We arrive home. I deploy ninja moves to pick up a sleeping Daisy out of her car seat and transfer her to her cot. I tell Theo to ‘shhhh!’ as he decides the first thing he must do as soon as he walks into the living room is grab Percy and Gordon and start banging them together whilst omitting a blood curdling scream. Mission accomplished, Daisy’s asleep in her cot. I temporarily feel like supermum.

11.21am – Feelings of being supermum quickly evaporate as I walk into the living room and realise Theo’s somehow trodden in cat sh*t in the 5 yards between the car and the front door and it’s now smeared all over the living room carpet.

11.45am – I’ve cleaned Theo’s shoes although the smell of cat poo will inevitably stay at the back of my nose and throat for the rest of the day. I wash my hands until I’m certain I’ve removed a few layers of skin, then get Theo’s lunch ready (dairylea on white bread, cheese puffs, cucumber sticks which he will ignore, and a banana which he will also ignore). Im too worn out to make myself anything so I settle for a cracker, a packet of biscuits and a toxic Aldi energy drink.

12.05pm – Theo’s eaten half his sandwich and all his cheese puffs. It’s like the cucumber and banana are invisible, or laced with rat poison. Time for his nap. I read him a story and put him in bed. He gives me a huge cuddle and a big kiss which completely melts my heart. Those supermum feelings start creeping in again until I hear Daisy waking up. Synchronised naps are for wimps. I’m not jealous.

12.10pm – I feed Daisy her bottle.

12.25pm – I get carried away trying to make Daisy giggle and end up playing aeroplanes. She vomits on my head (including in my mouth). I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Using a flannel I remove what I can of the vomit from my hair. No time to wash it properly, obvs.

1.45pm – Theo’s still asleep. I begrudgingly wake him up knowing that if I don’t we will be in for some crazy shit tonight.

1.50pm – I put a Thomas film on and ignore the housework.

2.45pm – I feed Daisy again whilst Theo finishes the rest of his sandwich from lunch as I haven’t cleared his plate away yet. Daisy falls asleep again so I put her in her cot.

2.50pm – I pour myself another strong coffee.

3.00pm – The coffee kicks in. I get a burst of energy and get Theo’s easel and paints out. Let the chaos ensue.

3.07pm – Theo decides he wants to play with his trains instead. I clean up the paint things and come away with a small green paint splodge on my cream jumper. I consider this a success compared to the war zone from last time. It looked as though I’d hosted a paintball party in my living room.

3.20pm – I use the paint splodge as an excuse to get into my PJs… I detour past the kitchen on the way back to the living room and grab a slice of cake. I eat it quickly before Theo catches me. Feeling guilty, I take him a box of raisins.

3.30pm – I put Peppa Pig back on through gritted teeth after Theo makes several obvious snorting noises whilst pointing at the TV. He then orders me to sit in his playhouse for the next 40 minutes. He screams every time I try to leave. I don’t want him waking Daisy so I realise I have to stay put. My bum starts to go numb.

4.10pm – Daisy wakes up. Theo hears her on the monitor and suddenly wants a cuddle.. I comply then explain to him that I need to leave the playhouse. He shouts at me. I point at the TV. He stops when he remembers his hero, Peppa, is on. I run from the room whilst he’s distracted. Yes, I’m scared of my toddler.

4.15pm – I feed Daisy a bottle whilst trying to read Theo a story at the same time. One of them fidgets and they bump heads. They both start crying.

4.30pm – I pre-heat the oven then select some beige food from the freezer. I throw in some sweetcorn to mix things up. This is where the real descent into zombification occurs. I can feel my limbs getting heavier as I begin to trudge through the final 2 hours before bedtime.

5pm – Zac rings to say he’s just left work. I feel my spirits lift knowing that in 45 minutes I’ll no longer be outnumbered by tiny people.

5.15pm – I put the beige food into the oven.

5.45pm – Zac arrives home, we all eat our beige food. Daisy sits on Zac’s lap hungrily looking at our meal like a vampire ogling it’s next victim. 7 weeks to go until weaning… allegedly.

6.15pm – Zac starts looking at some new power tools he’s ordered that arrived today. We bought our house as a ‘project’, a bit of a mental thing to do when you consider Theo was 3 weeks old when we exchanged. Zac’s next task is the bathroom hence the fancy new tools spread all over the living room. He starts saying things like ‘multi tool’ and ‘right angled drill’, so I yawn and quickly excuse myself to clean up the dinner, leaving Zac, the power tools and the children in the living room.

6.30pm – Bath and bed for the kids.

7.05pm – Using my last ounce of strength I tuck Daisy in whilst Zac reads Theo a story about a train (the same one selected by Theo every night). We finally collapse in front of Netflix to watch an episode of ‘Orange Is The New Black’ with a Cadbury Dairy Milk each. I know, I know, evenings are wild in our house.

9.30pm – After a delightful shower removing the rest of Daisy’s vomit from my hair I’m tucked into bed mentally preparing myself to go through it all over again tomorrow.

9.40pm – Just as I’m drifting off I suddenly remember I haven’t kissed the children goodnight as I always do when I come up to bed. I leap out into the darkness and fumble my way across the landing. Watching them sleeping is one of my favourite moments in the day. Partly because they are unconscious and are therefore more manageable. But mainly because they look so utterly perfect. It makes me realise how little and dependent they are. They have no idea about life yet, I am literally their world. Yes I moan, because let’s face it, it can be f*cking hideous at times, but I love being a mum and I damn well wouldn’t have it any other way.

At the back of my mind I know that one day I will yearn for the monotony. It’s the little moments that make my day worth all the effort. Theo looks at me with total wonder when I build him a mega train track. He’s always available for a cuddle and seems to instinctively know how to lift my spirits when I feel like I’m failing at this mum business. And Daisy is the missing piece to our little family jigsaw. She’s so incredibly jolly and giggly. Life is challenging at the moment, but looking at these two tiny terrors I know in my heart I’ve done something right.

Soft Play

Hmmm Soft Play…

Does anyone actually like going? Other than the kids I mean. I try to avoid it as much as possible but now and again my sh*tty mum guilt gets the better of me.

Every time I take a deep breath just before walking in, my last bit of fresh air for a while. Then I’m greeted by the familiar stench. All soft play centres smell the same. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what it is. It seems to be a mixture of old cooked breakfast, sweat, failed dreams, piss, sh*t and a bucket load of body odour.

The last time we went, I took Daisy into the ball pool and she ended up vomming all over the place. I gave the sticky plastic balls a quick wipe with the muslin, checked no one saw and got the hell out of there. But judging by the state of the ball pool I don’t think she was the first person to chunder in there.

And there’s always a child that insists on beating up all the other children. Once there was a particularly nasty little cretin stalking around the play frame in a Walking Dead T-shirt (slightly worrying as he can’t have been older than 3). He kept pushing Theo over and shoving him into the walls. I politely asked the boy to stop, so he stuck his middle finger up at me. Nice. He then took one of his socks off and shoved it in my face. Wtaf? I might try this tactic when I next have a row with Zac and see what happens.

Anyway, I located who I assumed was turd boy’s mother from my aerial view on the play frame (easy to spot with her matching Walking Dead T-shirt. How quaint). She appeared to be having a rather explicit argument on her mobile with someone called ‘Liam’, and was totally oblivious to the torment her son was subjecting us to. So me being the mature person that I am, confiscated the sock and chucked it off the play frame. Don’t judge me. It’s far from my proudest moment. But when some little sh*t decides to mess with your child it triggers a primal reaction and can make you go all kinds of crazy (the sock chucking beast that I am). Plus I feel he needed to be reprimanded for swearing at a grown up. He, of course, found my actions hilarious and proceeded to head butt some other poor infant.

I frequently end up getting wedged between those things that look like massive paint rollers. This results in me desperately trying to wriggle free which tends to attract attention from any number of children and I usually end up with a few of them stood there laughing at me. Honestly, play frames are fine for mums to go on as long as you’re size 8 and under 5 foot. If you are neither of these then you’re f*cked.

And I always seem to end up ‘adopting’ one or two random children. I try to nicely tell them to ‘go and find mummy’ whilst looking around wondering where their mums actually are. One of them even started calling me ‘Mum’ once which was a bit disconcerting. I am absolutely convinced that some parents drop their kids off then sneak out to the pub for an hour or two. I did the maths on one visit and the ratio was something like 6 kids to every adult so I’m sure I’m onto something… Hats off to them if I’m right.

I feel like I deserve some kind of reward or badge of honour when it’s time to go. I gratefully take in gulps of fresh air when we leave and vow to myself that we will never return (or I’ll make Zac take them on his next day off, I would obviously never consider going on a weekend unless I had a strong desire to completely lose my mind and/or end up in hospital). As soon as we are home I feel the need to clean everything, including myself with a sh*t load of dettol.

Soft play: where parental happiness goes to die.

The Day We Got A 2 Year Old

Today Theo turned 2.

After pulling out the big guns last year and throwing him a pirate-themed party in a hall, complete with treasure box party favours, a hired entertainer, and a rainbow birthday cake with seven different coloured layers (made by me in the midst of morning sickness), we decided to stick with a more low key affair this year. No big parties, just the four of us visiting the Aquarium.

I expected it to be a calm and pleasant experience but clearly I have learnt nothing in the last two years.

Things got a bit crazy before we even left the house. Daisy started showing signs of wanting a nap by about 10am (in other words, she started screaming her head off), prompting a mad dash to get everything and everyone ready so that she could sleep in the car. I frantically packed the changing bag, changed both children’s nappies, chucked picnic stuff into yet another bag, tidied away all the breakfast crap and loaded the car. I’m not really sure what Zac was doing whilst this was going on. I think he may have put Theo’s coat on.

Soon we were on our way. I was then subjected Zac’s questionable IPod playlist. After listening to the likes of Aqua, Britney Spears, the Joseph soundtrack, Savage Garden and Culture Club for the best part of an hour, I took the opportunity to ask Zac if he was trying to tell me something. He got all defensive which caused him to take the wrong turn off the motorway. He got a bit angry about this so I decided to stay quiet for the rest of the journey and tried my best to enjoy the dulcet tones of Right Said Fred (actually I don’t really mind Right Said Fred, it’s an improvement on Aqua’s ‘Barbie Girl’).

We eventually arrived and Zac and I agreed that the only way we could afford the car park was to re-mortgage our house (anyone remember when car parks were free on a Sunday?). Daisy decided to do an impressive sh*t of epic proportions so my first stop was the Aquarium loos. Luckily a change of clothes was not required on this occasion.

It soon became apparent that Theo hates fish. I’ve never seen anyone look so bored in my entire life.
Daisy was having a fabulous time, so Zac parked the pram next to a tank and sat with her whilst I went off with Theo in a desperate bid to try and find a more interesting tank.

What happened next was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. I lost Theo. I had found a fish in the middle of doing a poo and turned to point it out to him as he loves a bit of toilet humour. He wasn’t there. I swore loudly and started legging it through the Aquarium looking for him, barging my way past everyone (I’m pretty sure I knocked over a teenage girl but I was too hysterical to turn back and look). After what felt like forever I found him with Zac and Daisy by the entrance. We decided he was so bored he had made a mad dash for freedom.

I, of course, started sobbing. By this point I just wanted to go home. Instead, Zac managed to calm me down enough to find a bench to have our hastily thrown together picnic. Then Theo fell off the bench and started crying too. We found a £1 ride by the entrance so put him on that. I think this was honestly the highlight of his day.

On the way home we got stuck in a bloody traffic jam. It was tipping it down with rain and I started to feel a bit sad that the day hadn’t gone at all as I had expected. I began to wish we had gone to dreaded soft play instead.

We got home and I served up my horrific looking, radioactive mould-imitation birthday cake. Luckily it wasn’t too bad if you closed your eyes and pretended it was a normal colour. Theo then spent the rest of the afternoon ignoring all his birthday presents and instead played with some sh*tty McDonalds HappyMeal toy. He also made me sit in his new playhouse (still in the middle of the living room) and screamed whenever I tried to leave, pushing me back inside and slamming the door in my face, making me feel very much like a victim of Josef Fritzl’s. Luckily I was briefly allowed out on parole to eat my dinner.

I started to mentally beat myself up about all the things that went wrong today. I compared everything against last year’s success, but then I stopped myself. Yes, he hated the aquarium and it wasn’t ideal losing him, but we weren’t to know this was going to happen. Ultimately, we did our absolute best to give him the best day possible.

We all know toddlers are unpredictable beings, and I have a feeling this year is going to be even more insane than the last. Happy 2nd Birthday Theo, you wonderfully weird boy. My life is more exciting than I ever thought it could be with you in it.

Before vs After Children: Friday Night Dinner

Before Children:

7.30pm: Get Dominos menu from the kitchen.

7.35pm: Order food.

8.05pm: Doorbell rings – collect food from kind delivery person.

8.06pm: Eat food.

After Children:

4.00pm: Longingly remember the days you could afford Dominos three times a week. Remind yourself that these days are dead and buried for the foreseeable future.

4.05pm: Reluctantly go to the kitchen and hunt out possible dinner choices. Stare blankly into a kitchen cupboard for a few minutes.

4.09pm: You hear Child 1 hysterically screaming in the living room so you rush to find out what’s happened, all sorts of horrific images fill your head (the tv has somehow unattached itself from the wall and is on top of him, or he’s somehow lost a finger or an arm from getting it caught in Child 2’s swinging chair etc etc). Luckily all that’s happened is the Peppa Pig episode he was watching has finished so you reassure him that another will follow shortly (praise the lord for NickJr).

4.15pm: Return to kitchen again. Find a jar of pasta bake. Feel smug. Pre-heat oven.

4.16pm: Now Child 2 starts whinging. Once again return to living room. After cancelling out dirty nappy as the cause of irritability, return to kitchen to fetch pre-made bottle of formula from the fridge only to find there isn’t one. Stare in horror at all the dirty bottles to the sink. Wonder why there is no wine in the house.

4.17pm: Time is now very much against you so you had better act fast. Frantically wash bottles and put in steriliser. Realise you have birthed children in less time it takes the piggin’ steriliser to run a cycle.

4.35pm: You can hear Child 2 starting to get quite frantic as you quickly make up a bottle then take a year to cool it under the tap. Curse yourself for giving up breast feeding. Child 1 appears in the kitchen demanding food so you considering chucking a saucepan at him along with a choice swear word but instead muster all your energy to stay calm and give him a rice cake and a crazed smile.

4.45: Child 2’s mood is now thermonuclear, but you manage to calm her down enough to get her to take her bottle.
*It’s worth noting here that Child 2 is the slowest feeder in the world.*

5.00pm: Child 2 has a quarter of her bottle and appears to have passed out. You gently lay her on her blanket making ‘shh’-ing noises whilst jamming the dummy in her mouth. You can hear your husband’s voice in your head telling you it’s too late for a nap but you are aware that you statistically have a much better chance of getting some form of dinner on the table with at least one child unconscious.

5.05pm: Ensure Peppa Pig/Paw Patrol/Thomas is on the TV then sneak off to the kitchen. Quickly throw together the pasta bake and grate some cheese to go on top to make yourself feel like you have actually cooked something. Remember Child 1 hates pasta. Debate whether or not you want to fight the pasta battle, conclude that you don’t have the energy and get out the trusty chicken nuggets and wedges. Put some peas in a saucepan to make yourself feel less sh*tty about the suspiciously beige food sat before you.

5.15pm: Hear Child 1 crying in the hall. You go out to find him sobbing face down on the floor because he’s dropped Gordon and Percy into one of your wellington boots and can’t figure out how to retrieve them. You get the trains out and spend a few minutes comforting him and wonder to yourself how your life has come to this.

5.26pm: Return to the kitchen, open fridge and silently scream into it. Check vegetable drawer for wine but to no avail. Put Child 1’s dinner in the oven.

5.27pm: Husband calls and confirms he will be 10 minutes late home because his meeting overran. Tell him you want a divorce.

5.29pm: Child 2 wakes up crying. Feed her another quarter of a bottle before she passes out again. Return her to the blanket.

5.40pm: Child 1 will have cottoned on by now that dinner is nearly ready and will be clinging to one of your legs as you walk down the hall like Jack Nicholson in the maze at the end of The Shining.

5.42pm: Serve up Child 1’s crap dinner. Start crying and slump into a heap on the kitchen floor when you realise you forgot to put the sodding pasta bake in the oven.

6.00pm: Child 1 has finished dinner (although most of it is on the floor and walls. Standard). Child 2 has woken up and is having some more milk. Husband strolls through the door and asks what’s for dinner. Cue more crying from you.

7.10pm: The children are in bed. You are in such a bad mood by now that you tell your husband you can’t face the prospect of crappy pasta bake. Again. He’s too scared to argue.

7.11pm: Get Dominos menu from the kitchen.

7.15pm: Order food on the credit card because you have maxed out your overdraft.

7.45pm: Doorbell rings – collect food from kind delivery person.

7.46pm: Eat food.

The Mummy Dating Game

I don’t know if it’s the January blues or the crap weather but I’ve been incredibly grumpy this month.
Today I tried to come up with every excuse imaginable in order to avoid facing this morning’s toddler group, but in the end I begrudgingly dragged our arses out of the house after guilt tripping myself into going.
I park the car and get Daisy out. Even though the hall is less than fifty metres away I haul the wheels out of the boot because carrying Daisy in her car seat is similar to carrying a small elephant with a breeze block strapped to it.
I then get Theo out and in the five seconds it’s taken me to get him, some weirdo has appeared beside Daisy. No really, he’s an actual weirdo; he’s about my age and wearing a lime green vest with skinny jeans and pink flip flops and has an Avengers rucksack. I check Daisy is still there and luckily she is. He starts to strike up a conversation about how lovely and warm the weather is, but I politely make my excuses and wish him a wonderful day. His parting words are “don’t get sunburnt!”… Right. I’m really starting to wish we had just stayed home.
I pick a corner of the room away from everyone else because I’m a grumpy cow and set up camp for the next hour and a half. It’s whilst I’m sitting there feeding Daisy that I’m struck by how making friends as a mum at these groups is similar to being in the dating game pre-husband and children.
We all need mum friends. Without them we lose our sh*t. Husbands are wonderful in many ways, but Zac isn’t always the best listener and I don’t think he feels too emotionally involved when I tell him that so-and-so’s husband is a knob because he got pissed at the weekend and vommed all over the kid’s lego… He tries to look interested but its other mums that get what it’s like to be in your shoes day in and day out.
When I used to go clubbing (I understand this is no longer a term used by young people, not sure what they call it now – it’s been a long time), we would scan the room nonchalantly looking for ‘talent’ (again, probably not a term used anymore). The same can be said for when you turn up at a new toddler group. Whether you realise you are doing it or not, you quickly look around for what you think look like your type of mums.
There are the posh mums, for example. These ones are often clothed in Ralph Lauren or something similar, with recently coloured hair and manicured nails. Their children are just as flawless and are usually dressed in clothes from Boden or JoJo Maman Bébé. They tend to frequent coffee shops in packs and they are very particular about who they let into their clique. Their noughties night club equivalent would be the good-looking, wealthy rugby or football-playing blokes who drove the flashy cars (bought by their dads usually). You only ever approached them if you were totally bladdered and would often be met with a raised eyebrow and a speedy departure on their part. Thankfully posh mums are slightly more polite and you may get a sympathetic smile and a sentence or two if you attempt a conversation. But that’s as far as it will ever go.
Then you get the chavvy mums. I think the less I say here the better. Fairly obvious who their male nightclub equivalent is (ahem… Henleys polo shirt *cough* *cough*).
Of course we can’t forget the obligatory bossy and competitive mums. These ones are highly intimidating and are normally seen running a cake or book stall at the group. Their kids are usually adorned in knitted cardigans (made by them, obviously) and are perfect sleepers and eaters. Their little angels are strongly encouraged to memorise the works of Shakespeare from memory by the tender age of six. Their clubbing parallel is the loud and arrogant show off who claims he can drink everyone else under the table, then fails abysmally by ending up in A&E with a broken arm after tumbling from the nightclub stage as a result of doing a handstand whilst downing a bottle of VK Apple.
Today at the toddler group I was unfortunate enough to come across one of the rarer mummy types; the over-sharer. These mums are hard to spot. A nice lady approaches me and within five minutes I know what birth control she’s on, I know that her husband is probably cheating on her, her bathroom ceiling has a leak and she finds mushrooms disgusting. I don’t even know her name. So I pretend Daisy has done a shit and hide in the bathroom for a few minutes until she has moved onto the next person (a bewildered looking grandad). Her equivalent in the noughties night club would be the emotional looking bloke in a cardigan that spends the whole night talking about his ex-girlfriend.
Once in a while you come across a mum who you instantly click with. You realise you laugh at the same things and have similar parenting attitudes (in my case it’s the ‘if I didn’t see it, it didn’t happen’ mind set). She will make all the failed play dates worthwhile and she will be the reason you don’t murder your husband and will reassure you when you feel like a bad mother for feeding your kids Happy Meals for lunch. She will pick you up when you feel like you are failing at mummying and will make the hard slog of wading your way through the minefield of the Mummy Dating Game totally worth it.
Much love to all my mum friends xXx

Before vs After Children: Leaving The House

Before vs After Children: Leaving The House

Before Children:
1. Put on coat and shoes.
2. Pick up handbag.
3. Go out front door.
4. Lock door behind you.

After Children:
1. Warn Child 1 we are going out at least 10 minutes before leaving the house, in an attempt to avoid an epic meltdown because it has come as a shock that he has to stop shoving raisins inside his fire truck. Be ignored.
2. Put on your coat and shoes.
3. Check the following is enclosed in nappy bag:
a) Nappies for:
(i) Child 1
(ii) Child 2
b) Baby wipes
c) Snacks for Child 1
d) Drink for Child 1
e) Toys for Child 1
f) Bottle of milk for Child 2
g) Spare formula for Child 2
h) Spare dummy for Child 2
i) At least 2 muslins for extremely vomit-prone Child 2
j) Change of clothes for Child 2
k) Sudacrem
l) Small first aid kit (you would be amazed how brutal a trip to the supermarket can be)
m) Changing mat
4. Warn Child 1 again that we are going out soon. Be ignored again.
5. Put coat and hat on Child 1 whilst he continues the raisins game. If he protests, bribe with chocolate or other sweet treat.
6. Put coat and hat on Child 2.
7. Check to see if Child 2 wants anymore milk before putting her into the much-hated car seat whilst hysterically singing ‘We’re Off To See The Wizard’ in the hope she might not realise she is being placed into the car seat.
8. Use dummy to try to calm Child 2 down now that she realises she has been plugged into the car seat.
9. Leave Child 2 screaming in car seat by the front door.
10. Turn TV off.
11. Child 1 starts to protest and acts stunned that we are going out despite two warnings and the fact he has a coat and shoes on. Save your sanity and bribe with more chocolate.
12. During this time Child 2 will have done a poo (there must be something about the car seat recline angle that encourages her to do this).
13. Get Child 2 out of car seat and change nappy, then repeat steps 7, 8 and 9.
14. Go out front door with Child 1.
15. Strap wriggling Child 1 into car seat and confirm there will be more chocolate waiting for him at our destination and hope that he forgets this comment by the time we get there.
16. Go back and get Child 2 and place in car.
17. If going to see mother put a blanket on Child 2 to avoid being told Child 2 is not wrapped up enough in this cold weather.
18. Go back and get nappy bag and handbag.
19. Reposition dummy into Child 2’s mouth as she will have spit it out by now.
20. Lock door behind you (you will need to come back and check you have done this after driving halfway down the road, just blame lack of sleep).

* Additional Note: At least another 10 steps will need to be added if the husband is also present in this situation.

I think this may be why I stay home a lot more I used to.

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