Penny for your thoughts…

  Keeping it short and simple for this post, wondering if anyone can relate. Here are just some of the thoughts I have on a daily basis…

1. Am I doing a good job? 

2. Who left me in charge of two human beings?

3. I wish I’d napped more when I had the chance.

4. Will she be as bright as her brother?

5. Will that even matter? 

6. I need to eat better.

7. How do women work, clean the house, cook dinner and care for more than 1 kid at a time?!

8. How the hell will I manage it?

9. Can we afford a nanny and/or cleaner?

10. Is my youngest going to grow up thinking my iPhone is an extension of my arm? 

11. Am I too old for topshop? 

12. Should I give up breastfeeding now? 

13. How am I going to ever give up breastfeeding? 

14. Why must I secretly compare my children to others when I know they’re perfect the way they are? 

15. Why can celeb mums pull off trackies with a top knot and look effortlessly stylish whereas I just look like a homeless person. 

16. I must drink more water.

17. Have they had their five a day?

18. Does anyone ever actually have five a day?!

19. How many organix carrot sticks is too many?

20. Why is so much baby food orange and why am I so shit at stain removal? 

90% of these thoughts are at 2am. 

Am I the only mama with a weird, over-thinking brain that struggles to switch off? Anything you’d add to the list?

Oh, and if anyone can actually answer some of these questions I’d be eternally grateful! 

X

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Tick box tales 

 Ever get that feeling you don’t fit in anywhere? I’ve got mum friends and non-mum friends and generally my life is pretty well balanced I’d say, but sometimes I wonder which box I would tick.

Having my fist baby young (20) automatically put me in that “young mum” category. Despite not being that young my baby face (soz about that) often meant I was faced with awkward questions like “are you the nanny?” Or “is he your little brother?” When he started school was when it became especially apparent as he goes to school in a fairly affluent part of SW London where your average mama is mid-late thirties. It never bothered me as such but one day my boy came home and said he wished I was older like the other mums. Why?! I wondered if it was because the other families seemed to have it more “together” at that point (whatever the hell that means) We were still in our mid twenties trying to figure life out, muddling through and raising our boy…these parents were knee deep in mortgages and life insurance plans. Luckily now my 10yo is grateful for his youthful (lol) mama who can win the parents race at sports day with her eyes closed.

So I spent my twenties hanging around the outskirts of most groups, dipping in and out when I felt relevant. My non-mum friends were doing what most twenty-somethings were, spending summers in Ibiza, jumping from job to job, boozing and the sleeping in every weekend. My mum friends, whilst we shared some interests that mostly revolved around the kids (football, homework, when little Freddie is doing his holy communion) that’s kind of where it ended. Me and the other half even dabbled in some socialising with some other parents and whilst a select few are actually some who i’d now consider real friends the majority of the time we just didn’t click. Not because they weren’t nice people or the fact they were 10+ years older but because we were just in different places in life with only one common denominator- the littles.

Fast forward 5 years or so and I’m on baby number 2. She may as well be baby number 1 as its been so bloody long I sometimes doubt myself and my ability. Saying that, you may think you’ve forgotten everything but then stuff happens and you go, oh yes I remember this. Like at 2am/4am/6am  when the little darling is clawing at my boobs for a feed I remember that my first was bottle fed and slept through from 4 months. Or when I’m scrubbing 3 week old broccoli from the creases in the highchair I remember that broccoli is a bitch to get out.

Anyway, with it being so long I decided to do the whole nct/antenatal thing and met a really lovely group of mums. All around my age and of similar interests. I decided not to be that annoying mum in the antenatal class’s that knew all the answers, turns out there was no fear in that happening! These first time mums knew it all, they were bright eyed, keen and eager to learn, armed with Google facts, bounty packs and pre-natal vitamins coming out of their ears. I was more concerned whether they were serving chocolate biscuits or digestives in the break and if I’d be finished in time for the school run. Don’t get me wrong, it was great to refresh my memory and I lapped up the round of applause I got for birthing a 9lb2 baby with no cuts or tears (I know, get me!) but yet again I was stuck straddling either side of this tick box. Yes they were the same age, similar jobs, interests etc but I was again in such a different place in my life. I’ve actually kept in touch with only one of these mums, her babe is a similar age to mine and hey, it’s never too early to start a mini #girlgang  We keep our friendship simple, sharing our common interests (our kids and wine) and that works! As I slide comfortably into my thirties I’m becoming more of a me-pleaser and less of a people pleaser.

I guess what I’m trying to say is we don’t have to tick just one box, and we don’t have to tick all of them. Sod it, draw your own box and start from there. That’s what I’m doing anyway.

X

3 Little Buttons

Nailed it 

As an avid lover/fan/advocate of presentable and pretty nails/toes not just on women but men too I’ve spent years roaming the “cheap and cheerful” nail shops of south west London, paying reasonable prices to have cuticles trimmed to bloody bits and to bathe my toes  in a questionably clean foot spa. Don’t get me wrong, these nail shops serve their purpose and are absolutely raking it in but after having kids I was often faced with the dilemma of 2 kids, one night out planned and no one to watch them whilst I run to get a quick mani-pedi. I wasn’t 100% comfortable with bringing them, the fumes are pretty strong in most of these shops plus some are less than welcoming when you’ve got the littles in tow. 

It was just after I’d had my little girl I noticed a new nail bar opening up in Putney. It wasn’t just any nail bar though, London Grace were offering “no nonsense, high quality nail treatments” They promised no over-filing, no excess cuticle cutting or “fakery” such as extensions. This fab place also have their own range of “no nasties” polishes, they serve snacks/drinks during your treatment (coffees, juices and even prosecco!) The deal-clincher for me though, as a mummy who likes to keep her claws in relatively good nick was the “pamper and play” Monday’s. Effectively a babysitting service whilst you get pampered!  Umm, amazing or what?!

I am yet to try this out but I can assure you they every time I’ve been there with babe no2 (1 is at school) they are smiley, friendly and fume free! I don’t feel like I need to put a gas mask on her face before we walk in, the lack of acrylics and “fakery” means there is a very fresh, airy feel to the space. 

This place is my go-to suggestion for friends with and without kids. They have literally covered all bases, I’m currently looking into booking their Grace space for my friends hen-do in August. I’m not sure I could ever bring myself to visit “USA classy nails” or the likes again *disclaimer this is not a nail shop I have visited or as far as I’m aware actually exists.* 

 London Grace are currently at

26 Putney High st SW15 1SL 
but they are also opening a second shop this month in Clapham! 

Check them out! X 

When lighting strikes twice…

It’s 2005, I’m 19 and 5 months pregnant with my firstborn son. This pregnancy was a surprise (well the surprise was that the pill doesn’t always work, who knew?!) but my boyfriend and I were dealing with it, we were scared yes but we could handle this! 

It was my 20 week scan, we were so excited about finding out the sex. I was convinced it was a boy, mum in law thought girl as I was carrying so neatly. The sonographer took the measurements she needed to take, working her way around this little wriggly worm on the screen. She did the femurs, head circumference, crown to rump. She then explained that she would be looking at the chest next, checking the organs; heart, lungs etc. I hadn’t felt nervous at all, never once in my pregnancy had I worried about the possibility of anything going wrong. I was younger and maybe a bit naive to potential problems. It was before the days of access to google at your fingertips (I had a brick Nokia with the slowest internet ever that cost me about a tenner to even log on to) so you could say ignorance was bliss. My second pregnancy could not have been more different, I actually had to put myself on a self-imposed Google ban as I was convincing myself I had every pregnancy issue going. 

I knew something was wrong when she suddenly stopped talking, she looked at the screen and then looked at me. She excused herself and returned with a man, I’m assuming he was some sort of consultant. To be honest, everything after this moment was a blur right up until I held my son in my arms. In hindsight, I’m not sure I had a flipping clue what was happening or being said half the time.

He was diagnosed with a cystic congenital adenomatoid malformation (ccam) or congenital pulmonary airway malformation as it is known today. It is a rare condition affecting only 1-25,000 babies. Where normal lung tissue should form, instead there are cysts. The cysts, depending on their size can affect the position of the heart and push down on the diaphragm. I was offered a medical termination at almost 6 months, which we didn’t even consider. I just knew he was meant to be on this earth, my baby boy fought one of his biggest battles before he even entered the world. 

On December 5th 2005 my little bundle of blue came kicking and screaming into our life, at 9lb 2 he was certainly well equipped to beat this condition. He continued to thrive and despite numerous admissions into hospital he was becoming a bright, kind and adventurous little boy. Two days after his 2nd birthday he had a lobectomy to remove the lower lobe of his left lung. He was under the care of the Royal Brompton hospital who were and are simply amazing in everything they do. Fast forward 8 years and you would  honestly never know anything had ever been wrong, the only telltale sign being his “shark bite” scar along his shoulder blade.

Now, we were assured when I fell pregnant with I that there was no higher risk of any complications and she proved that by arriving pretty drama free in June 2015. Besides, how unlucky would one have to be to give birth to 2 kids, 10 years apart and they both wanna give me heart failure with life threatening illnesses….nah, not gonna happen! Despite this, something still niggled at me. I found myself becoming superstitious, I seemed to have this one magpie following me everywhere so I convinced myself it was just waiting for something bad to happen. Now obviously the magpie theory was nonsense but after everything it kind of helped me make sense of it all. 

That something bad happened in November, after 10 days of suspected bronchiolitis my little girl was showing no signs if improvement, she was refusing feeds, sleeping lots then not sleeping at all, she was just downright miserable. We were admitted into hospital so she could be tube fed whilst they did further investigations. Whilst in hospital (the amazing St. Georges, Tooting) she developed a terrible stridor, the sound of her hoarse, dry and raspy voice with every breath haunts me to this day. The amount of energy it must’ve taken her tiny little body to just breathe in and out breaks my heart. Steroids and nebulisers eased the discomfort but it wasn’t until we saw an ENT consultant (my hero) that we knew what was really wrong. I was alone when I found out, the other half was on the school run with our son. It didn’t occur to me I might need him there, that was until the sting of hot tears on my cheeks and sheer panic took over. My little girl, a tiny 4 months had a mass in her airways. It was seriously compromising her breathing and they were rushing her straight to emergency theatre. What? How? Hold on, this can’t be happening…not again. It’s hard enough watching one child drift under the spell of anaesthetic and seeing them wheeled away, a tiny body drowned in wires and tape, but two? 

Panic, fear,despair, the feeling of its not fair, why us…all over again. 

 After the longest 2 hours of my life we were taken to recovery to see our little bean. The surgeon explained that the mass was a parapharangeal abscess, an infection in the deep nodes of her neck. They had drained almost 40ml of pus from it. Again, it was very rare especially in babies her age. They wanted to do further investigation once she was well to see why she could not fight this infection and it developed into something so serious. She spent 4 days intubated in intensive care whilst her airways recovered but once woken up her strength and determination amazed me, the babe was smiling after 24 hours after seeing none for almost a month then we were home 3 days later. 

Now, 4 months later I can reflect on what we went through. I can appreciate that yes, call it unlucky that something like this happened twice but as cliche as it sounds, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s taken a while to get back to normal, every little cough or cold we worry if she will fight it. But again, she continues to amaze us. As does her big brother. What a blessing, our two little heroes. 

Baby rhyme time or mum wine time? 

Baby groups, some mums swear by them for sanity and socialising, others avoid them like the plague…I still can’t make up my mind.

So on Wednesday I went to my second ever baby group with my little P.  It’s a relatively new group, upstairs in a pub function room?! I hadn’t intentionally not been to any but juggling 2 kids, one of which has an extra-curricular schedule to make any mum wince, I just haven’t really had the time! 

I wasn’t a massive “baby rhyme time” mum first time round but thought I’d give it a go as that annoying “should I be doing more with my baby” feeling creeps in every now and then. I mean, as much as I’m sure she loves watching me fill the washing machine 5 bloody times a day and nothing beats bouncing around like an absolute nutjob in the jumperoo for 15 minutes so mummy can wipe down the sides (with a baby wipe obvs) we thought we’d broaden our horizons, so off we went. 

Firstly, it was absolutely pouring down. I’m talking biblical. But I’d committed, little P was strapped in and ready to go. There was no turning back! We were a bit late and I looked like a drowned rat. Ahh well I thought, it’s only a load of mums in a pub, leggings and ugg boots are like a staple mum uniform for at least 9 months right? Right? Wrong! Think twinsets and pearls, Joules and Boden. Where were the crusty cereal smears? The baby sick shoulders? I’d just walked into an episode of the bold and the beautiful with babies and I clearly didn’t get the dress code. 

The group as whole was average, sang a few songs and did some bubbles and then a bit of standard mum chat (you know the one where you pretend you’re not comparing when you ask “how long has she been crawling?” But really you’re thinking why can’t my baby do that yet?!) before leaving. Now this was just one group in one part of London and I know not all are like this, the women seemed nice enough but just not “me” whatever that is. I’m left wondering if we do these baby groups because we feel like we should, like that big invisible “mum manual” tells us that baby groups are an integral part of babies social development. Whereas, I think Little P can gain just as much enjoyment and stimulation from playing peekaboo with her brother under piles of washing, picking Cheerios off of her highchair (using that pincer grip nonetheless) and dropping them on the floor or rolling around the living room whilst mummy chases her with the Hoover! For now anyway. 

As before I know it, I’ll be dropping her off at nursery where she will be seeing new faces and interacting with babies her own age everyday, making new discoveries and exploring this wonderful, crazy world without me.