Sunday, 20 November 2016

Noro very good weekend

It's been a week.

What started with Tom asking what death felt like before vomming all over the couch has ended with myself, Owen, Ethan and Dave having the worst bout of Norovirus we've ever encountered.

Here's what I have learned this week:


  • We need more bedsheets
  • We need new loo seats
  • I need to clean toilets more often
  • Having an upstairs bathroom is great
  • Having a bathroom where the sink and loo are close together is a fucking lifesaver.
  • Children are better at bouncing back from illness than adults
  • My kids can basically look after themselves when they need to
  • Cold water is amazing
  • Tea and toast after Noro is basically better than tea and toast after having a baby.


Ha!  Indeed...You really do not!


I have never been so ill in my whole life.

It's really kicked my ass.

And as per usual, after a week of cleaning up after the kids, it's yours truly who ended up with the worst bout of it.

Highlights of the week have included:


  • Dave catching two handfuls of sick from Tom
  • Owen sicking down my back
  • Poor Ethan having some truly awful poopy accidents five times in a row after he 'thought it was just a fart'
  • Me giving sage advice to Ethan about 'maybe not trusting a fart at this stage in the game' while he agreed, 'no, we shouldn't'
  • Owen not being able to trust his farts either
  • Hysterically laughing with Dave as he deals with poopy baby on the couch at 3 in the morning while I deal with the whole puke/shit-fest going on upstairs
  • Me heroically going to work after what will now be known as 'The Night of Hell' while poor Dave puked his guts up with baby and Ethan at home while Tom cheerfully went to school
  • Me coming home and laughing with everyone about how awesome my immune system is..
  • ...only to come home from picking up Tom and basically go through my own awful 'Night From Hell Mark 2: The Revenge of Noro'.
  • Cracking my nose on the toilet lid which came crashing down on me as I puked violently into the bowl while trying to work out which end I would like to be over the toilet. I now have a black eye and possibly a broken nose.
  • Spending the night on the couch with the dog who kept running away every time I moved to go to the toilet (approximately every 5 mins for about 12 hours) then being greeted like a hero upon my return.  Which is not as nice as it sounds when you feel like crap and just don't want any kind of interaction.
Just...yeah...

We are all thankfully feeling a lot better than we were.  Everyone is bloody starving now, so one of us will have to draw straws to see who wants to re-enter being an adult today and go and get supplies.

Dave is basically a hero - I have no idea how he managed at home with two kids while feeling like that.

I basically haven't spoken to him for two days because me and the loo have spent so much time getting to know each other (we are getting a new non-collapsing toilet seat).

And, I found out yesterday, ironically, it was world Toilet Day.

Someone is taking the piss.


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Fuel for Thought

Along with our lovely wee cottage, we have adopted a real fireplace.

We stupidly didn't use it last year - due to our 'townie' fear of burning the house down and the fact that the previous owner has been burning coal rather than wood, our epic room changing (is it a dining room?  a living room?  a general purpose room?) and first year with new baby in the house, we just didn't bother.

Owen in front of our derelict fireplace last year!


Which was daft.

As soon as we cracked on with it one blustery cold evening, we began to understand how much we lost by NOT burning it last year.


It's so, so, SO lovely to have a real fire crackling away in the background.  I suppose that it is extra work, what with the cleaning of the grate etc, but on a cold night out in the sticks, it's just what you need.

We had been burning the wood from the woodshed , which wasn't the best, but anyone who has a fireplace knows that the less money spent on burning fuel, the better - after all, burning money?  Not a nice feeling.

Burning wood is nice - there's the crackle and the roar - there's also the spitting and the flaring.  You have to watch out for that!

Once it's been going for a few hours it is lovely - but it can be tricky to get going.

I was made up when the people at Lekto Wood Fuels sent me a sample of what they have to offer.

bark briquettes


Over the last couple of weeks I've been alternating my usual wood with the Birch sawdust briquettes and the Bark briquettes.

Both burn a lot longer and a lot easier than traditional wooden logs.

They smell nice too - when I took them out of the pack to store in my indoor wood pile, they smelt very fresh and lovely.  They were easy to stack too, with none of the usual splinters!

So why burn briquettes?

Here is some info I found on the lektofuels website:

  • Humidity – Briquettes are always dry. Their moisture level is only as high as 8%, while well-dried firewood comes in at 20%. This is an important factor, because the higher levels of moisture that any heating fuel contains means you feel less heat coming off the fuel. High-moisture wood fuel also burns slower and fills your flue with creosote and soot. Low-moisture briquettes are always ready to use.
  • Environmentally Friendly – Wood briquettes are eco-friendly. They are made from by-products (pure sawdust or bark) of the sawmill industry. No chemical additives or binding materials are used in their production. Briquettes are a carbon-neutral fuel. While burning with briquettes, the amount of CO2 emitted is no greater than the amount the tree absorbs during its growth cycle.
  • Reliable Product – By purchasing briquettes, you will always receive what you ordered, because the weight and quality for each package of briquettes is constant and does not vary from one package to the next. Each piece of these briquettes comes to you in the same size, weight, and shape. Each briquette has the same burning characteristics, and our customers become quite proficient at burning them.
  • Packaging – Briquettes are packed in simple, clean, transparent plastic bags. They are easy to stack and store. Briquettes require significantly less storage space than other wood fuels.
  • Ash – Briquettes produce very little ash. Their actual ash content equals around 1% from sawdust, and about 4.5% from bark. Since our briquettes are produced without adding any binding materials, the resulting ash from this product can be used as a fertilizer in your gardens.
  • Value for the Money – Briquettes are economical to use, they last longer than any firewood, they burn steadily, and they produce even, intense heat.


They were very clean to burn - the ash swept up easily and I even found I could simply add it to the soil in my garden.

There was little to no sparking AT ALL, so were great for a novice like me - they sat in the grate without any sparks or flares, making them ideal for burning when the kids were going about - I didn't have to worry about any embers jumping out (although OF COURSE I always take every precaution and have a HUGE fire-guard)

The best thing they sent me to try, along with the briquettes, were the natural firelighters.

natural firelighters


Made from sawdust and straw, and in a pellet form, they took quickly and burned for around 15 mins each, helping my fire to really get going.

Check out Lekto Wood Fuels for more info on what they provide.

Meanwhile, I wish I could provide a photo of my lovel lit fire, but I'm almost 100% sure now that Owen has managed to send my phone to landfill as I cannot find it anywhere!  I hope to rectify this situation soon, but it is driving me absolutely crazy.  It has been a month now and no sign of it whatsoever.

Ahrgh!  Kids!






Wednesday, 2 November 2016

November

November is upon us suddenly.




I almost can't believe it.

Next week America chooses the path of least...well...least...and the world has the potential to end.

This last couple of months has been an especially trying time at home.

And not.

We have settled into the house a lot more now - things are very gradually starting to take shape and I think we have finally gotten over the initial 'euphoria' of a new place to live and also kind of get our heads around the fact that we are staying put.

There's been a lot of decorating, work and general other shenanigans to deal with; when you have three children things are...complicated, to say the least!

Especially when one of those children is a year old and basically into absolutely everything.

Owen is great - he's the kid we really wanted and the kid we never expected too.  He's a blonde bombshell and is just adorable in basically every way (which is lucky because he's basically also destroyed anything we've ever done in this house in every way. Let's just say we need to decorate again before we finished decorating).

The other two boys have finally settled into routine and school life and have made friends (even if Tom is still clinging on for dear life to the idea that he's never going to - he has no confidence, just like his mum).

I finally registered as a childminder and have been having total panic about it ever since, too scared to advertise in case someone actually wants to take me up on it and I have to be responsible for one more kid.  Which I'm not really worried about.  But I am.

Stupid.

Plus the usual head stuff: Do the other parents think I'm some kind of incompetent?  They must do when they see me just trying to handle my own two crazy, loud, over-sensitive kids (are they over-sensitive or is this normal?  Oh god, what is normal?)  They must see the outside of my house and wonder what kind of a shit-show I'm running!? Surely?  Ahrgh.

Yeesh, I just feel like a terrible person all the time.  I wish there was something I could do to boost my confidence; but then I guess it's this stuff that pushes me on.  I'm never one to shy away from a challenge.

I'm doing some volunteering two nights a week too, and it's kind of great.  There's a real sense of accomplishment and I just enjoy hoping that we make a wee difference somewhere to someone who might otherwise be having a shitty time of it.

So, yeah.

No real news. Nothing exciting as of yet.

Just...head down, keep going!


Sunday, 11 September 2016

I Am The Boss Of Me and I Am #NotSorry

I've not written for a while - but that's okay.

I am only accountable to myself for my own things.  It's a new-found power which I am still trying out, but it's kind of great.

It's very liberating to understand that you, yourself are the only person who is in control of how others make you feel.

It is a really lovely thing to not give a fuck and to stop feeling guilty or worried about small scenarios or situations in in your head which otherwise clutter up your precious hours, minutes and days.

It is understanding and playing with the fine line of happiness and the things that give you back little bits of self-respect which all add up to happy.

I've just finished reading The Life changing Magic of Not Giving A Fuck and learning how to be #NotSorry.

I am a born worrier.  I have historically worried about all the little things from a very young age.

How did I control this worry?

I worried it all over in detail.  I was convinced that if I worried over it even more, in finer detail, then I could convince myself that I've worried enough about it to warrant not worrying more.

Which is a batshit waste of time.

And I am sick fed up of trying so hard and only ending up apologising for myself. It's time to move on.

I deserve not to be kept up at night worrying about what people think of me

I deserve to feel in control of my life.

I deserve to not feel obligated to obey and serve to the detriment of my own time, energy and stomach acid.

Jeez - I am fed up of feeling sick about stuff.

I may not always get things right, I might unwittingly upset people by accident, I may fuck things up from time to time, but I do it all with the best of intentions.  I work bloody hard and I'll be fucked if I am going to apologise for my failings all the time.  Everyone has them. Nobody is perfect.

Here is what I have learned by stopping the worry:

  •  It is okay to worry about the big things - life is really fucking stressful, but it's okay and healthy to acknowledge when there is problem.  It is okay to worry out loud.  It is more than okay to share the worry. Eventually the worry will pass. The problem will go. Worries come and go; this is normal.
  • It is not okay to let other people make you feel bad.  It is perfectly okay to speak up when you feel disrespected and it is more than okay to say how you feel. To the person causing harm if needs be. I am a good person and usually always, always, always am doing my best with some really good intentions and I do not deserve disrespect. #NotSorry
  • Honesty goes a long way. Can't manage something? Be honest. Don't try to cover your tracks with white lies or a huge story; just say no.  You are one person and any one person only has so much time, energy and love to give to something.  It's okay to need to stop.  It's okay to honestly admit this.
  • Mostly, any problems anyone has with you is completely theirs. Completely. And that's okay. Not your issue. Walk away, don't worry about it.  Stay nice, but don't worry about it - you can't change how others feel about you.  But still call the disrespect, because that shit is nasty. #NotSorry.
  • Try not to look to others to validate how you feel about something. If you have passion in your heart and good intentions than, fuck it. You have good intentions. #NotSorry



Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The monetized barrier...

Tom comes home with a letter from the school.

"Dear Parent,

A small number of vacancies exist for children to have lessons on violin/viola/cello...."

...stuff about commitment and practice...

...then the hard sell.

" Cost of tuition: £231 (3 instalments of £77)

Hire of instrument: £30"

Yeesh, take that right in the face.

"Lessons are free if you are in receipt of:

Income support
Job Seekers Allowance (income based)
Employment & Support Allowance (imcome related)
Child Tax Credit (with annual income of less than £16,105)
Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit (with annual income of less than £16,105)
Universal Credit"

That's not us.

We are just over the bracket of a sizeable enough income to exclude us from any kind of benefit, thankfully (apart from the bastarding life-saving Working Tax ones which they keep messing up, grr.  But really - thank goodness for them. Otherwise we would be homeless by now!)

But only just.

But three installments of £77?

No can do.

At the moment, that's a week's worth of shopping.  Two and a half weeks most months if I'm honest.  It's amazing how far a big bag of pasta can stretch between five and a dog.

I say: amazing, I mean: I am so fed up of pasta.

Tom came home buzzing about having tried out the cello: " I was SO good at it, mum!"

He's scanning my face to see what I'm going to say.

In his heart of hearts, he knows I'm not going to deny him access to something he is passionate about or could be really good at, so we have the conversation:

"You'd have to practice every. single. day."

"I know!"

"You'd have to perform in the school orchestra at events and stuff.  No option not to."

"I know! It'd be so cool...I've seen them do that..."



Then it crushes me - we've had to say no to so much over the last couple of years, he's unsure.  I can see in his eyes he's given up already.  He knows it's not a reality.

I'm unsure now whether it's because he's scared he's going to under-perform in some way, not be good enough or if he can see in my eyes the panic and the calculation of how and when £77x3 might come from over the next year.

When I was Tom's age, I learned the violin at school.  I did it for about 6 years and right into high school...until I suddenly had to pay for it.

See, my mum was a single parent and we just didn't have the money for stuff like that.

I was okay at the violin - I was no prodigy - but I enjoyed it.  I enjoyed the group of people who did music; I never felt like I fit in anywhere else really. I was good at Art, but Art was expensive - full of trips to Paris and expensive materials there was no way I would be able to get up the courage to ask my mum for.

Languages were all about text books and more trips abroad.  Very expensive trips abroad.

I dodged them all carefully.  I had a job, but that paid for my school uniform.  I was the kid who got EMA to get by. That's how we lived.

I guess I always assumed that when I was married and had a job and two incomes in the house that this other stuff would just...be okay.

And it will be one day (everything crossed).

But for now, my boy will miss out.  Which is a shame.  I feel like money is the barrier to him maybe being good at music.

Maybe being a wizard at rock climbing.

Maybe being an amazing computer coder.

Maybe getting decent at football or gymnastics or something sporty enough to help him out at school with some friends.

He's not poorly off.  He has clothes that fit.  He has a roof over his head.  He has a big bloody garden to play in and gets gifts on his birthday.

Lucky, lucky, lucky.  Beyond lucky.

We have that 'work/life/balance' thing down (at last) where he spends tangible amounts of time with both parents.

We are safe, we don't live in an earthquake zone, there's no war in our streets.

He doesn't always have what he would  like to eat, but he has enough to eat.

Lucky. Lucky. So, so, lucky.

He has a lot of good things going that other kids don't.

But sometimes I feel like we are the shit in the shit sandwich, you know? We're not the end, we're not the crust but the shit in the middle.

And when he comes home yet again with something else that kids in his class are raving about doing, when he wants to go to the sports class, or try something new or do something out of the ordinary and I shrug it off with the age-old, "sorry, buddy, it's just too much.."...ahrgh, it kills me.

I feel like my kids are forced out of all this stuff.  I wish everything for kids to be accessible to all children, regardless of status.

Especially as opportunities are becoming more monetized.

It's such a shame.

I know I'm probably not harbouring the next rock star.  I'm probably not sitting on some great architect or the doctor who will cure cancer once and for all....but how do we know for sure?

What if he is the next Andy Murray?

What if he has the potential for something we cannot afford to unlock because of the monetized barriers?




Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Minding My Business

For those of you who don't know, I'm in the business of setting up as a Childminder.

With this come all of the crazy and absolutely necessary checks, detailed disclosures and policy-writing which we have come to expect in our society.  Because, you know, why let normal people get on with their every day lives and actually help each other out when it could be a prohibitive, costly and time-consuming process?



If you are wondering where British jobs went - they are here; box-ticking and writing nonsense which gets updated every few years.

Dave and I have just applied for our enhanced disclosures with, like, a bajillion forms of I.D, proofs of address and such. I have had, I think, three disclosures before, and Dave has had about six and also been registered with the Social Services Council as a care manager, but you know - that'll be another £100 please. Credit card.

My doctor has to sign me off.  Without seeing me. I haven't had a named doctor in over ten years.  That includes three troublesome pregnancies.  I could be telling them any old nonsense - 'how many units of alcohol do you drink a week?' Me: 'Oh, none, doctor!  I'm tee-total! *blush*

I'm not a raging alcoholic by any means - but who knows?  Maybe I'm sitting in my bathroom drinking two bottles of wine while the kids eat lunch (I'm not).  There's a fee for this too apparently. Puke. Credit Card.

Social services get a letter all of their own.  I have to declare that I've never hurt a child and they get to sign it and say they've never heard of me.  Again - not sure what this is supposed to prevent.  Any bona fide child abuser isn't going to tick the box and write a comment saying - 'well, actually, I am a bit of a dick to kids' while applying to actively have a job looking after them. No fee - lucky us!

The fire department have to inspect my house (which reminds me I need a fire blanket) and tell me off probably for the polystyrene ties on my ceiling which I SWEAR I'm going to get down as soon as I get a ladder.  Though they are beside our bedrooms, so really, if anyone's going to die, it will be me and Dave in the middle of the night.  We've already weighed this up with ripping out actual light fittings/discovering horrid things underneath said tiles.  The joys of old houses. Credit carding fire equipment.  Jeez, fire equipment is expensive.

There's a First Aid Course. Credit Card.

Induction to Childminding. Credit Card.

Member ship of Childminding Association. Credit Card.

And, well, I have to send off all of the policies I have written (stolen from another minder and edited) saying what I would do in any given situation, which you know, when kids are involved, is never as straight forward and text-booky as anyone would like. £28 to process this.  Credit card.

But hey, just in case...

THEN someone will get to come to my house, which no doubt Dave and I will have panic-tidied into oblivion and I will have my showhome-for-a-day, which will be nice and then IF we pass all of this we get to invite 3 whole children to come and play with my 3 kids after school and maybe for whole days occasionally.

Except at least I get paid for it.

Ha ha ha ha ha!

And probably taxed brutally for because it's a second income.

*sigh*

I'm just a girl, with a shit ton of bills who wants one good, steady income without any faff.

Why is this too much to ask?

Life really is like walking through treacle sometimes.

I just want a job where I get paid, can work as much as I can and need and can progress.

More and more, it feels like I'm never going to get there.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Butterfly Butterfly...

It's a wet day outside and I feel peaceful.

The baby is asleep, the dog is curled up on the sofa and the boys are at school.  Dave is at work too, so it's just me and my thoughts.



It's Monday.

I have a long working week stretching out ahead of me and my brain has been racing with so many different ideas.

I spent the weekend clearing out the garage, purging, cleansing; it felt so good.

Out with the old, in with so much possibility.

It's so exciting to make New Space.

I have so many plans.

My head feels like my garage today.

I've cleaned out some of the clutter and now tons of new ideas are whizzing through my brain.

I have so much that I want to do.

So much capability.

The mind of a creative person can be overwhelming at times.

Dave fondly calls it my 'butterfly' personality; never content with doing one thing, I like to do several things at once.  Nobody but me can see the logic in this.

I'm never content with doing one project in one go - I need to space it out, let it grow and develop.  I want the best possible outcome and sometimes the only way you can see something from every angle, is if you step away for a while and come back to it.

I usually get there eventually.

Today though, I am happy for the peace.  I am happy for the raindrops on the window and the chance to stew a little.

Even us fast-paced, over-achieving creative heads need some down time...

Oooh, look, some fabric....


Sunday, 21 August 2016

Negative Sixteen

I wake up in my lovely home with my lovely healthy family and I am thankful.

I am grateful.

We have our health, we have a roof over our heads and we have each other.

Compared to a lot of people in this world, this country, this vicinity, that's a lot.

I'm not one for taking things for granted.

I have a job that pays money.

My husband also has a job that pays money.

We have cars to get us to and from those jobs.

We have managed to jiggle childcare so that our children are safe and looked after when we are at work.

So far, so good, right?

Today is the third day that I have woken up with the knowledge that we have zero money.

Zip.

Zilch.

Nowt.

In fact, the next time we get any, we will have to give up about £16 before we have any, because, yes, we are over our overdrafts (plural).  Again.

What I have discovered is that people, unless they have been in this situation themselves, do not like to talk about money issues.  They get embarrassed or it becomes a game about who has less, who is struggling more.

It's a strange thing.

Like everything, I am probably far too honest and frank about our situation.  I like to keep things real.  Mainly because I really don't see why it has to be such a big secret; we had a hard time, we had to bail ourselves out and now we are suffering the consequences.  We are working as hard as we possibly can every single day to get through it, but it's not going to suddenly get easier any time soon.

And it is really hard.  And it is really fucking stressful.  And I am sorry, but if I don't talk about how hard and stressful it is sometimes, I really am going to implode with the worry and the strain of it all.

While we are lucky to have what we have, it doesn't make it any less stressful when you suddenly run out of baby milk and have no money to buy more. And cannot for the life of you think how in the heck you are going to find that money within the next couple of hours.

In the last month I :

Owe more money to more people than I am comfortable with for services already rendered.

Have not eaten a square fucking meal. I survive on bread based items with the occasional vegetable chucked in for good measure.

Had a decadent night of wine and cheese and instantly fucking regretted it because honestly, do you know how much reduced bread I could have shoved in the freeze with that money? Ugh!

Got stopped by police on a Saturday morning on my way to work (!) for a flat tyre which I then had to pump up in front of them at the side of the road while hoping and praying that they wouldn't clock that I need another new tyre (new tyres are, like, £45 each!)  Thankfully it's a super-slow puncture and it held and is still road-legal.

Spent two hours crying because I realised that at the end of the month my car tax is due and thus I need to add yet another direct debit on to the bunch which we cannot afford.

Have properly panicked when Tom announced cheerily 'it's less than two months until our birthdays!' *hyperventilation!*

Frantically been round the house trying to sell anything of any value.  Then our oven door broke and even though we really need our oven, we couldn't afford to pay the excess on the bloody house insurance to get a new oven, so we are stuck with the shitty oven which I'm sure doesn't work properly (we did however credit card a new door for it....ugh don't get me started on the credit card fear)

It did however lead us to a conclusion that there's probably no point in us paying for contents insurance, because honeslty and promisdly, aside from the playmobil castle that our lovely neighbour handed in for our boys, we have nothing in our house which could not happily be replaced for less than £100.

Panicked like crazy because Tom now has to pay for school dinners now that he is in p4. Free school dinners until P3 was a fucking godsend.

Annnnnnd I hoping that the government has fucked up our tax credits somehow and that we get more than we are getting, because honestly, they have sent us three letters now and it's like some horrible fucking game where they reduce the amount every time; it's like torture.

I'm a do'er.  In situations like this I fight, I think outside of every box I can find and I try my best to make a new situation to fix it.

I dream daily of the freedom to run my own business so I can work long hours and get a living from it, to not be tied by corporate rules and regulations.  To have the freedom to earn.

I have so much energy to give, can do so much - why is it not fucking good enough to make sure that my kids have shoes that fit, that we all have enough to eat, to put a fucking tyre on my bastard car when it needs one instead of playing fucking russian roulette everytime we drive?

I need opportunity.  I don't know whether I need to make that for myself or not because I am sick fed up of pounding at other doors and asking.

The stress, man.  The fucking stress.

No wonder I'm going grey!

I have to try and remember the positives, because honestly, we are fucking blessed really, but sometimes it really is shit, you know?

Sorry for all the swearing.

Swearing helps.

But honestly, I do think we should talk more about money stuff.

And not in the 'oh, it's terrible, our savings are doing nothing, hahahahaha!' kind of way (as someone recently said to me; try not to cry when you've not eaten jack shit for a week and someone says something 'funny' about savings...everyone's a joker...)

I think it should be okay to say, 'actually, we are really fucking tight right now' and maybe get a hug instead of an embarrassed silence.

Things get shit for everyone sometimes.  And that's okay.















Wednesday, 27 July 2016

My son didn't sleep for 5 years and I know how it ends

I have one of those kids.

The one that never sleeps.

I speak now from the other side (barely).

My sweet sleep-stealer


I am there.

It does exist: The Elusive Other Side.

I have spent HOURS on the fucking floor, at the end of beds, hovering at the doorway, waiting for the child to SLEEP.

I have read books on repeat, ad infinitum, hoping for that elusive moment where he is finally asleep...

Courtesy of www.crappypictures.com


I have tried sleep training, sleep cry-ing-it-out, sleep being-especially-nice and being entirely firm and shouting and crying and being so nice it hurts.
 Bribery, sticker charts, happy words, angry words, empathy.

I have been through the works.

I have had doctors, health visitors, friends, family, neighbours' opinions, hearing tests, sensitivity tests, blood tests...

Sometimes they Just. Don't. Fucking. Sleep.


I am speaking completely as a soldier from the other side of the war: in all honesty there is no secret 'thing', no tricks, no manipulation.

I'm so sorry.

The only bloody thing that has worked in the end, in the long run, at the end of the day, is TIME.

I've had all the books, the parenting manuals.

The bloody hypnotising rabbit.



I tried night lights and splitting the boys up and bunk beds and separate beds.

We had the family bed (my poor back), the floor bed (don't ask!) the sleepovers, the late nights, the early nights and the fairy lights.

Audio books. Done.

Sitting outside the door. Tick.

End of the bed.  Oh the endless hours.

Being a total bitch and telling him he HAS to go to sleep because we can't keep doing this, okay? You are a big boy now, you have to be able to go to sleep on your own...please...mummy has lots and lots to do and I'm just here, you can still see me, you can still hear me...while he sobs and pleads and begs and it all ends in tears from both of us...

Years.

Not days.

Not hours.

Not months.

Years.

Somehow...inexplicably...probably after one of those very very rare nights of sleep when Ethan was 4 years old and we had maybe had a holiday and some food and were genereally totally caught off guard, we decided a third child would be a magical addition to our brood.

Somehow.

Don't you judge me - being a parent is filled with the complete absurdity of spending a lot of time in absolute despair while also spending a lot of time in complete love and adoration for what you have made.

We had our third baby.

And LUCKILY, very very luckily, he is a dream to put to bed (much like the first).

Magically, Ethan has settled.

We have still had our problems.

It's not been perfect or smooth-sailing or completely a black-and-white progression, but somehow...it's good now (fingers crossed, touch wood etc etc)

He goes to bed alone.

In his own space,

He stays there all night.

Very occasionally. he gets into our bed and sleeps with us, but it's really not often (my back is a lot happier.)

Someone advised that I should write a piece to tell you all my secret of getting my son to sleep: I have no secrets.

There are no tricks.

He decided he was going to stay in his bed.

Some nights he still asks for s, but it's not half as bad as it was.


I know you came here on the promise that I was going to help you to get your kid to sleep.

I think what I really want to tell you is trope-y as fuck and a bit shit.

It will pass.

Your baby will stop being a baby.

He (or she) will consider himself (or herself) big enough to do it him (or her) self and they will do it.

And gradually, oh so slowly and surely, it will dissipate.

Suddenly it will be something that you used to do.

In the meantime, I suggest you do what you need to do.

I have regrets, sure , we all do as parents.

I DO NOT regret:

Putting him into nursery to get a break.

Buying more wine/beer to 'treat' myself after a particularly difficult session of getting him to sleep.

Trying absolutely everything with gusto.

Tapping out and letting my husband/mum/whoever else do it (so they can also realise I'm not making this shit up).

I DO regret:

The crying it out - it was fairly obvious he was never going to go to sleep this way and it made bedtime an absolutely awful process for both of us.

Not just letting him sleep in our bed when he requested it; there's an innate thing in a child to be nurtured - I don't know whose agenda I was playing to when I denied him that nurturing.

Not just going with my instincts and making a family bed. Or feeling judged for my feelings.   I was never FOR co-sleeping, but it sure as hell would have made or lives a helluva lot more easier if I'd simply just went with my gut feeling and let him go in the bed with us, if that was what it took to get a good night's sleep.

I'm sorry I have no magic cure.

I absolutley know what you were hoping for.

All I can say is, I have made it.

I am there.

There is an end.  It will come.

Hold on.  Be kind to yourself.  Be kind to your kid.

It will pass.





Wednesday, 6 July 2016

New Shoes

My littlest Blethering Boy got his first pair of shoes this week and he is super chuffed about them!

He loves his shoes.

I almost forgot how important these little milestones are for wee ones. And for us!

As a third child, I try really hard to not forget about all the wee things that make up Owen's babyhood.

It's not easy though, when we have so many other things going on.

Where most first-time parents are making everything about their littlest person, I am often caught unawares by the next stage.

It feels like my littlest guy, the one I wanted to hold onto the longest, is shooting up faster than I imagined.

With Thomas, it felt like I had an eternity of him; almost too much time.  I used to feel the strain of every minute detail and worried over the slightest thing. I did two baby books.  I wrote all the 'firsts' on a calendar. I made hand prints and foot prints and baby albums.

When Ethan came along, I felt the angst of dealing with two small children, picking at the small bits and trying my best to get through the day.

The two of them together were very hard work and I got little respite from that.

I always felt anxious for them to be more independent, to go to nursery, to spend time with others.  I needed the break, I needed to go to work, I needed them to play by themselves for a bit.  I needed to make sure they had good experiences and that I kept my promises and that we spent good time together as a famly; and we did.

And now, this third, sweet, delicious child.

The one we knew would be the last.

He fits in, slots in like we've had him forever.

We forgot the baby book.

We tried with the milestone cards (we really did).

But we are taking it all in.  Inhaling every moment deeply.

Every day I examine his face for changes.

I despair when he moves up yet another size in clothes.

His first shoes were a size 4!

We didn't spend £25 on his first pair, because we know a lot of things about baby shoes - how long they last, the liklihood of him losing one in the street, the grief and stress of spending wasted hours searching for the other shoe in parks and supermarkets; not worth it.

But he has shoes.

He is happy.

I wish he would stop growing!