Wedding photo with sunsetThis week Carl & I ‘celebrated’ our third wedding anniversary. By celebrated, I mean that Carl went to work, I went to playgroup and ran some errands and after Henry went to bed we exchanged cards before watching Coronation Street on the sofa with a cup of tea – who said romance was dead? Anyway, after three years of marriage and one as parents, I’ve been reflecting on a thing or two I’ve learnt:

Men like to be looked after.

This becomes all the more apparent when you have children and your priority is looking after them – you know, the little people who need your constant attention so they don’t accidentally kill themselves, as opposed to the fully grown man who just wants your attention.

But they’re also quite easily pleased, if you can be bothered. 

No, I’m not talking about rumpy-pumpy…. this isn’t that kind of blog, not least because my mum reads it. But little things, like making a cup of tea or bringing home Carls favourite crisps makes his day.

They’re not so great with the sympathy…

Don’t tell a man a story and expect to be met with a sympathetic response. They’ll either tell you they’ve had a worse day – just why is everything a competition?! – or tell you what to do as if it’s the most obvious solution in the world, eg. ‘just ignore them.’

…But they are great at maintaining perspective and rationality…

There’s only one person in this house who brings the melo-drama and it’s *ahem* the one doing the typing.

…unless they’re in the car. 

Expect road rage. Ignore the road rage. Although it’s only annoying you, not the person who’s just cut them up. It’s not aimed at you, it’s aimed at the person who just cut them up. Earphones are handy.

They say what they mean.

I might say I don’t mind if he goes out on Saturday. But I do mind a bit because we like having him around on a weekend. But I’ll insist that I don’t mind because I want to be a good wife. Or if he asks if I’m ok I’ll say, ‘I’m fine’. But what I really mean is, ‘I’m a bit pissed off because you left crisp wrappers all over the kitchen table again but I’m not going to tell you that’s why I’m pissed off because you should realise it for yourself, so I’ll just say I’m fine until you guess what’s wrong’. A man on the other hand, will just tell you straight.

Sleep deprivation is the root of all arguments…

You never even bickered before you had a baby and suddenly EVERYTHING annoys you because you’re both exhausted. Carl copes with tiredness with quietness. I’m a little more emotional. Also men still look good when they’re tired – what IS that?!

…but watching your husband grow into fatherhood is indescribable.

Henry’s all about his Daddy at the moment. He clings to him before he goes to work and he jumps with excitement when he comes home. He shouts, ‘Dada’ every time he sees a van and watching Carl read and talk to him, play with him and nap with him, developing the bond they have now is amazing and I love him even more for the incredible Daddy he is. It almost makes me forget that he leaves his dirty clothes in the bottom of his wardrobe and complains they’ve not been washed. Almost.

They need nagging disguised as gentle instruction.

Or nothing gets done. I think they actually thrive off it. What’s the saying…behind every great man is a great woman?

Daddy is always going to bring the fun.

In our case it might be because he sees less off him, so Carl has the novelty factor. Or it could be that he throws him around and lets him eat biscuits before breakfast…

Sometimes it’s easier just to let the little things go.

Who wants to argue about emptying the dishwasher everyday? Although it’s easier said than done when you’re existing on four hours broken sleep, the most important thing in a marriage is each other, not winning a tally of how many times you’ve had to take the bin out.

They make us laugh even when we don’t want to.

It’s really annoying but Carl really knows how to break my poker face.

If they run you a bath on a Saturday afternoon it’s probably because they want you out of the way to watch football.

Not that I’m arguing…

 

Have you got any learnings to share?

http://nowmynameismummy.com/?p=983&preview=true Tips for a happy marriage

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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How much younger we look here considering it’s not even 3 years ago makes me WEEP

We all know that having tiny humans to look after makes it significantly harder, if not impossible to spend time as a couple, doing the things you used to do when you were just a twosome. Even harder when all your potential babysitters are otherwise occupied because the rest of the world are out-out in the land of the living past 7pm on Valentines Day. So if you don’t have a babysitter, or you don’t like the idea of going out on a school night, I’m here to put the cheese in your fondue with some stay-at-home-little-people-are-asleep Valentines ideas:

  1. Bring back so old habits that you’ve stopped doing. When I was a student Carl and I used to order pizza and eat it in bed watching films. You’ll probably get sauce on the bedding, but a great and little known by-product of having children are packets of baby-wipes littered around the house. And those bad boys can shift a stain.
  2. Have a picnic in the living room. Light the fire, or if you don’t have a fire light some candles. Heck, light some candles anyway, it’s Valentines day! Bring in a pre-prepared picnic basket and munch away. Don’t forget the fizzy wine and strawberries.
  3. Create a restaurant at your dining table, set the table, share some wine and eat at least two courses.
  4. Play games – Monopoly, Scrabble, Cluedo, even the Rightmove game. Something where you’ll have to actually talk to each other is always fun.
  5. Bring the cinema experience (kind of) to your living room with popcorn, nachos, hot dogs and drinks in paper cups and sit next to each other on the sofa, turn the lights off and put a great film on.

Now I know what you’re thinking;

“I have a child who has a sixth sense for when I’m about to eat anything delicious, watch anything interesting or do anything remotely fun that doesn’t involved them They’ll be wide awake faster than you can say ‘Cupid’ and promptly at half hour intervals until we admit defeat and Daddy’s hot-footing it to the spare bed.”

Which is why I have BONUS idea number 6

Pretend the nearest weekend is actually Valentines Day, call in a babysitter, get dressed up and go out on an ACTUAL date. I know, I know…I’ve thought of everything…

 

The Pramshed
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31D2A495-E60A-4A9C-B891-F8C8ACA31DB9548D9061-615D-471E-A2A2-5DE5F09B5F04Tomorrow my teeny tiny little boy is turning one. How in bejesus did that happen?! I literally feel like I’ve blinked and he’s gone from a newborn to an almost-toddler and I haven’t even had time to breathe. So there you have the biggest cliché in the world; time flies.

Since I’m totes emosh over ‘ere (as I type this he’s fallen asleep in my arms and I don’t want to put him back down) I thought I’d compile a list of a few of my favourite Henry moments. I could go on all day so I’ll try and keep it concise. By the way, have you ever tried to pick nine favourite photos of your child?! Well it turns out its impossible. I narrowed it down to 18 which is why I have two pictures in this post, just in case you were wondering why I’m being so generous… Anyway….

  1. Him being born. Obviously I had to start there. After 36 hours of labour he was born at 12.40pm, on my brothers birthday. I worked bloomin’ hard for him and he’s worth every painful second.
  2. The first time he smiled. It was a Sunday morning and we were all having cuddles in bed when he smiled at Carl singing a celebratory ‘Henry only woke up twice last night song’
  3. The first time he laughed. He has the most infectious little giggle. After the smile, Carl was also the instigator of the giggle which he achieved by pretending to eat him. I like to think that I laid the groundwork because I taught Carl to pretend to eat him, I just didn’t get the same reception. As is life. Sigh.
  4. His first swimming lesson. He’s such a little water baby, he loves the bath, the shower, the pool. Heck even spitting his drink down his front amuses him.
  5. Our first family holiday in Norfolk. We went with my mum, grandparents and brother and Henry had a whale of a time, basking in all the extra attention.
  6. Other than to the dog, Henry is pretty stingey with his kisses. But sometimes he clambers over, pinches my cheeks and plants a big, sloppy kiss on me and I love it.
  7. His first Christmas. Charging around with his trolley while relatives coo-ed over him, he was in his element and it was very, very cute.

I could continue but I’ll leave it there. My year with Henry has been the best of my life and I can’t wait to see what this year brings.

What’s your favourite memory of your baby’s first year?

Tammymum
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Daddy and baby asleepI’ve talked at great length about my bedtime woes – here, here & here to name but a few… and in my brighter moments I accept that babies just don’t sleep and I’ll one day pine to be needed the way I am now. But in the depths of sleep deprivation, after a few too many consecutive near-sleepless nights, I’m at my wits end. It was in one of these moments that I delved into the world of co-sleeping and I’m here to tell you the results.

We’ve never had too much of a problem getting Henry into bed, it’s keeping him in there that induces my eyebags and keeps Touche Eclat in business. We have a bedtime routine, the standard story – bath – feed combo which I think helped to teach Henry the difference between day and night. He’s also fairly easy to settle back to sleep during the night most of the time. The problem is the frequency of his wakings. He generally makes it ’til about 1am without much fuss, but can then be up every hour. Which means I get very little sleep from then on and I’m almost certain he’s looking for comfort.

So last week Henry relegated his Daddy to the spare bed and we gave the whole co-sleeping thing a go. I placed a row of pillows at the edge of the bed and rolled myself up in the quilt to give him as much space as possible while he slept in his Grobag as normal – I also consulted the Lullaby Trust for safe co-sleeping. I wasn’t confident that I’d get that much sleep myself but concluded that not actually having to get out of bed would be preferrable to stumbling across the landing 17 times. I found I slept very lightly, and I don’t think I missed a stir, but it was 3am before he woke up and a quick pat on the back was all he needed and he was back to sleep until 7.30. Yep…7.30am. SEVEN THIRTY ANTE MERIDIEM. That’s like midday in parent terms. We all started the day with a family breakfast and much more  organisation than we’re generally accustomed to.

That night we did the same again from when he woke up the first time – that night at 11pm and he slept until 6am. I also slept better, still lightly but much better than normal and I felt pretty sprightly the following day.

Since then, we’ve had a couple of nights where he’s slept in the cot ok – only waking up once. We’ve also had a couple of nights where he’s slept with me from his first wake at around 1am and then he’s slept right through until a reasonable hour of the morning – ie. after 6am. People keep telling me that it’s not a great habit to get into, and they could be right. I like sharing the bed with my husband. But I also like not having to get out of bed and knowing that Henry is content and comfortable. It’s lovely to see him wake up and to feel and hear his little baby breath while he sleeps.

While it may not be a great habit, for now if he needs comfort I’m happy to oblige, I think we’re all better off having slept better and I’m thankful to have found a way to make that happen. In fact, if I could go back in time I think it’s something I would’ve explored earlier for a number of reasons and something I would definitely consider with a second baby.

What are your views on co-sleeping?

This post is in collaboration with Blinds-Hut. You can check out other sleeping experiments here.

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Whoopsy…so I didn’t mean to be away for quite so long. Somehow over two weeks have past since I last put fingertips to keyboard and I’d like to say I have loads to fill you in on… but no. Our nap schedule has gone completely out of the window so my time in the house is now spent chasing a very active, into-everything nine-month old, who could easily win gold if staying awake were an olympic sport and my evenings have been spent rocking in a corner with my knees under my chin …just kidding… watching all of the dramas on TV. The Missing, Our Girl, The Level… Autumn TV is just TOO GOOD. 

So last week Carl took the week off work. We’d planned a few nights away, a few days out, long walks and lazy afternoons… a staycation if you will. We had a great week, meningitis scare aside (Carl not Henry) but all of the below are likely to happen when Daddy takes a week off:

  1. You both get carried away with the misconception that you’re in for an easier week than normal. Mummy thinks that Daddy can help get up in the night because he doesn’t have to get up for work. Daddy thinks he’s on holiday, so should be able to lie in everyday. Mummy reminds him that holidays from parenting don’t exist. If there were ever a recipe for parental arguments, this little case of crossed wires would produce quite the stew.
  2. You realise that somehow it’s easier to singlehandedly get out of the door with your baby paraphernalia (and your baby) than it is with another person in tow who just doesn’t know your processes – ALWAYS PUT THE BABY IN THE CAR LAST!
  3. Trying to explain why things need to be done by a certain time falls on deaf ears; ‘We need to have left by then or we’ll still be in the car at lunchtime’. ‘Why’s he crying?’ ‘Because it’s lunchtime. That’s why I said we should’ve left earlier’. *Sigh*
  4. Your normal routine goes out of the window and you’re having so much fun that your already excessive washing pile reaches Empire State Building like proportions and by Thursday no one has any clean clothes.
  5. You eat too much. Or just eat. Because, you knowyou have time to.
  6. You can wee alone. Most of the time.
  7. The end of the week comes and you wonder how in the world you’re going to solo parent for five whole days.

 

Two Tiny Hands
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