Friday, 30 January 2015

Pub!

We went swimming this morning.  ET has a lesson every Friday, ("what do you do at swimming?", "Scoop, scoop, kick, kick"). Anyway, after swimming we had drinks with friends and played in the park. When we went to leave, ET loudly and clearly said, "I want to go to the pub!"

THE PUB!!

It's not like her Dad and I really get to go anymore so I've no idea how she's clung on to the idea! But anyone overhearing her would have thought we drag her along all the time!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

I Hate Potty Training

Potty training is driving me nuts. ET keeps insisting she wants to wear pants. We don't want to discourage her, but she is also refusing to go on the potty when encouraged to do so. I know this is part of the process, etc etc but I'm not in the mood for it today.  I am currently having to dry wee'd on jigsaw pieces on the radiator.


ET is also running around wearing only her pants, with a vest flapping round her neck, because I got fed up with her refusing to let me dress her. Instead she was determined to play the not-at-all funny "let's annoy Mummy by going totally floppy and rolling on the floor giggling" game. We're both tired today.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Amusing Little Titbits

My Darling ET,

Ever since you were born, you have kept myself and Daddy amused with your antics. Some were less funny at the time than they are now, but we can look back and laugh (changing certain poos was not the best experience!). However the older you get, and the more your imagination grows, the more Daddy and I find ourselves grinning at each other in response to the things you do. So before we forget them, here are some of the things that have amused us so far:

1. The way you are such a "contrary Mary".
2. The other day when you were singing a song. I thought I mis-heard the lyrics so asked what you were singing about. Your response? "Sick, sick sick, I'm singing about sick, Seal was sick, Emily was sick"....... lovely.
3. The time you asked for pieces of pepper for your lunch. We gave them to you, which for some unknown reason started a huge tantrum! You paused briefly to put on a tutu, then after a minute remembered you were supposed to be tantruming and returned to the tantrum, refusing all your lunch because we dared to fulfil your wish! Then a few moments later you calmly retrieved your lunch and ate it.
4. The first time, aged 19 months, when you slammed your bedroom door on us.
5. Your pretened sleeping, including snores.
6. Your pretend sulking - Grandma is in trouble for teaching you that one (she should know better! It's her response when you don't give her cuddles and kisses).
7. The recent new phrase of "it's not fair", used completely out of context.
8. The adorable way in which you recently took it upon yourself to set the table for dinner, and you went to the kitchen, took out a plate for each of us and put in on the table, then went back for the cutlery!
9. The way that we can use the threat of losing a bedtime story as a punishment to get you to stop being naughty! Also the fact that not being allowed to help empty the dishwasher or do cooking are also viewed as punishments! But sleep, on the other hand, you never want. Wait til you grow up. What you feel are chores and fun things will swap round I'm sure.
10. "The Look". You really know how to give a condescending gaze and make people feel teeny weeny inside.
11. The cheesy grin. It's the exact grin your Auntie B does if she's being a pain and wants to be forgiven. Irresistable.
12. The way when you first learned to talk, how you would go to touch something you shouldn't and look at us and grin while saying "no, no, no, no, no".
13. The fact that yesterday, while Daddy was in the kitchen, you used the potty in the living room. You then very carefully carried the full potty to the bathroom and emptied the contents into the toilet, before he even knew what you were up to!
14. The way that recently when Daddy got you out of your high chair after dinner, and you were unhappy about this because you had ordered me to do it, that when we were both out of the room, you climbed back in so that I could do the job! I thought Daddy had put you in, and he thought I'd done it. Neither of us knew you could even climb like that.
15. The way you like to spin in circles to make yourself dizzy.
16. The determined way you say "I want to do it BY MYSELF".
17. The way you grin when asking for things you know you're not allowed at that moment. Such as "want chocolate..." for breakfast. I'll let you in on a little secret - I've had chocolate for breakfast plenty of times. But being a parent means I'm allowed to take advantage of telling you one thing and doing another. That's my privilege.
18. The way you put stickers on everything.
19. Your giggle. The most beautiful sound ever.
20. The way we put you to bed and you snuggle down, then when we've left the room you sit back up, play music on your seahorse toy, and tell him all about your day. You have a good little chat before nodding off.

There will be many more things that aren't springing to mind right now. Peppa Pig is on in the background and it's distracting me! but I promise I will try to keep note of all of these things, so we don't forget them.

Oh!

21. The way when you were being naughty, and rather than wait to be told off, you went and gave yourself a time out, then after 10 seconds came back to say sorry! We've not even had to use "time out" much. You just picked up on it really quickly. Another time when we were on a family holiday, you hit me when I was resting in the bedroom, and then went and told Daddy. He made you come and say sorry, which you then did, but you returned to the living room and told the assembled family, "Mummy hit me!". Luckily the fact that they know I wouldn't do that, and that you were grinning when saying it left everyone certain you were making it up. Little monkey.

So, to get you back, I shall share on here an embarrassing photo of you as a baby, when you'd done such a ridiculous poo that you needed bath rather than a nappy change. Ha ha ha. Another advantage of being a parent - being allowed to occasionally embarrass my child to make up for all those times that you go floppy on me so that I can't change your nappy/dress you, and the times you roll on the floor of the supermarket in a tantrum. Love you.


Monday, 19 January 2015

Simple Sentences

This morning ET said, "My Raa Raa pyjamas are beautiful and big!". Yes my darling, so are you.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Tiring Work-Life-Family Balance.

This weekend I've felt pretty knackered. Yesterday morning I could hardly keep my eyes open. Luckily I have a wonderful partner who took over childcare so I could go back to bed for a bit, and I got a lie-in this morning too. Excellent!

But I wondered why I was so shattered. Then I added it up. Over 5 days I had worked 35 hours, commuting for 5 .5 hours on top of that. I'd worked full days Monday-Thursday and then a few hours on Friday evening. I'd had a night out with friends on Thursday, and then taken ET swimming on Friday morning, before heading to work again at 5:30pm. So when I thought about it, it was hardly surprising! Especially when you consider, that once you're a parent, your working day doesn't stop when you get home. You can't just collapse on the sofa once you're through the door. Your time is not your own. Things happen at set times; playtime, tidying, washing, dinner, story, bed. Once the little one is asleep that's when you can start to relax.

Now, I'm not complaining. I chose to be a parent, knowing full well that life would change. I just didn't realise how much free time I used to have! Seriously, what did I do with it all (aside from sleep a lot more)?

I know that I am lucky because my OH shares a lot of the household chores and childcare. He's a fantastic cook, so regularly makes dinner, and he looks after ET when I'm working at weekends/in the evening. Most days we take turns at bathtime, while the other one tidies up the kitchen once dinner is over. So I get a lot of help, and I appreciate that other people are not always so fortunate, whether through being a single parent, or a difference balance/way of doing things within their family. I know some women who are happy with that balance and some who are not.

Generally in today's society, Dads are a lot more hand-on than they used to be. The concept of not being so is alien to my OH. When I was on maternity leave I used to read clips off the internet, written by expectant women, whose partners used to come home from work and wonder what they'd done all day. These men would question this because the house wasn't sorted/dinner wasn't made/their every whim wasn't catered for etc. Furthermore, such men wouldn't have dreamt of getting up in the night with their child EVER, because "that's the women's role". My OH thought that perspective rather ridiculous, since most of these men had deliberately aimed to produce children, and therefore chosen to be a parent. He's Mr Logical in a lot of ways.

This post was going to be a discussion about work & childcare, but I guess it has turned into a bit of a love-fest for my partner.  It makes me happy to think that we support each other and work together in our lives, rather than living separately under one roof. It means that when one of us is knackered, the other gets a break. When someone is ill, the other takes on more. We share in the funny moments and the stressy ones, the adorable ones, and the times when we could throttle ET for being such a monkey. (Obviously we wouldn't, before anyone suggests such a thing and does a referral to Social Services). Neither of us is perfect, we can both drive each other crazy and disagree on things, and irritate each other. But we're a little family unit, and I like that. It was worth waiting for.

Monday, 12 January 2015

A Parent's Fears.

I don't know about anyone else, but since becoming a parent a whole new world of anxiety has opened up to me. I'm not talking about the general stuff (I'll save that for another day), such as will ET eat/sleep/play/learn to..*inset here*, and so on. Rather, I'm referring to that fear I never even thought about before she was born, that fear of DEATH.

I never used to particularly think about my own death. Occasionally, I'd worry for the OH. The odd health problem, or his being late home on a Friday night, and I'd find myself lying awake until I knew he was safe. Despite for years wanting a child, I never thought that once she arrived, I'd be worrying about her death or my own.

This was prompted today, by an accident on the M27. Just before we hit Junction 5, we came to a standstill. Cue 2 police cars and an ambulance. A couple of cars had collided, with one hitting the central reservation. (All passengers were able to exit their cars to seek help, so I think the cars took the brunt of it.) Seeing the crash got me thinking, what if we had an accident and got really hurt? What if ET was killed and I had to say goodbye? If I could never hug her again? I can imagine her so clearly; the way she wriggles to escape or hugs me back (depending on her mood),  the softness of her cheek, the smell of her breath, and feel of her hair, the toddler squidgyness of it all. My favourite thing in the world is if she is sleeping on me and I get to drink in all these things while she is peaceful.

So, while driving along I could picture it, in a way. How it would be to return to an empty house, to sit in her bedroom knowing she would never return. Knowing that I couldn't bear anyone to touch her things, or try to comfort me because it would be pointless. No-one could make it better, fix the problem. The fear that my OH and I might lose each other in the process. It felt like nothing would ever be ok afterwards. Rationally I know that tragedies happen and life goes on. That I too, would have to find a way forwards in such a situation. But the very thought of losing her made me physically anxious. It was a horrible feeling. People say you shouldn't have to bury a child, and I feel so sorry for anyone who has had to do that.

Similarly, I can't bear the thought of my going anytime soon either. I've always said, even before ET was born, that I would want my OH to continue with his life and move on, if something were to happen to me. That's still true, I'd want him to be able to do that, to find someone who makes him happy and is willing to offer herself to ET too. But I'm damned if it's going to happen! I've firmly told him we've both got to make it to at least 90. Simply because, I refuse to miss out on seeing ET grow up. I don't believe in heaven, although at times I think it would be a lovely idea. But my general belief is that when we die, we die, and that's it. So yes, I know that I wouldn't have a consciousness anymore with which to be aware that I was missing out on life, nor would I be watching it happening to other people from up on high, thereby watching ET grow. I would just be gone, and I'd never know the end of the story. (By end, I mean until she's about 60 odd, as she has to outlive me). Anyone who knows me will tell you that I hate ambiguous endings to films/books TV series. I need to know what happens. I want the details. So even though in that future moment, my dead self would have no knowledge of anything and thus no associated feeling about it, my current self laments this for my possible future self. Make sense?

Anyway, the feelings soon passed as I reminded myself, and as my OH reminded me when I shared them, that all is well in the world, and that spending my time worrying about what could happen, but is not likely to, is not a helpful behaviour for me to do. So I put a stop to it and focused on happier things. We visited my in-laws, which was lovely as always, and then we left ET behind for a 2 night sleepover. So this evening it was just the two of us at home, which reminded me of my thoughts from earlier in the day.

How quiet it is without a toddler in the house! Peaceful, yet odd because there is a presence missing. We spent years just the two of us before ET came along, so I'm used to us pottering about together quietly. But these days there's always some background noise, and if there isn't you know somebody is up to something! Still, I know that she is off having a lovely time with her Grandparents, and a bit of alone time is always good for a couple I think.

So it's off to bed for me now. In a few hours the alarm clock will go off as usual. But there'll be no toddler to turn on the bedroom light on and tell us; "The alarm’s gone off", "Get up Daddy", "Go down there!", "Stand by me", "It's time for breakfast". She'll be missed.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Back to The Every Day.

The holiday season was fantastic.  Lots of time spent with loved ones, free from working and communting  Good company,  good food & drink, and a chance for me, the OH, & ET to have proper time together. But this week it was time to go back to work.

So while I was in Winchester today,  my Mum brought the little one home again to Daddy in time for her tea. I was later told that the following happened: E told my Mum that her stripey bunny had to go back home with her (to Grandmas). After Grandma went home, ET said very seriously,  "I can't believe Grandma took bunny in her car" and then did some dramatic sighing. Like she had nothing to do with it!I got home in time to kiss her goodnight and she went to bed. A little later I heard music and found her relaxing with her musical seahorse nightlight/teddy, (her absolute favourite Christmas present). I went to give cuddles and kisses but was firmly told "No Mummy go out there. Go and talk to Daddy". So I did what I was told! At least he didn't reject me when I offered him a hug.

Anyway, as January, aka the most miserable month of the year, rolls along, I'll try to hang on to the joys of the holidays. Times like these: