Nappy change

Even nappy change is fun in our house

So as of the middle of next month I am officially a SAHM – that’s a ‘Stay at Home Mum’ for those not au fait with parenting lingo. After what feels like months of negotiations, my employer and I failed to reach a flexible working agreement and so here I am. My initial reaction was something along the lines of (apologies for the incoherence):

how in the world am I going to entertain a very active almost-toddler with no income and less playdate companions as everyone in my NCT group is going back to work EXCEPT ME and my house is tiny and I’ll have no money and I’ll have to give my child oranges for Christmas and I’ll have to start darning socks oh-my-gawd the world is ending…’

A little later I regained my ability to reason and I actually think it’s not a bad outcome for our family, I’ll have more time with my beautiful little boy and everything happens for a reason.

Anyway, when it became a possibility that returning to work may not be an option my mum said to me, in the nicest possible way, ‘if you don’t go back to work I do think you should try and keep your house a little bit tidier’. Cheers Mum. So the first Monday morning as an official SAHM arrived and I decided to take on board what she’d said and become housewife-mother-extraordinare. I’d do the food shop, take Henry to his doctors appointment, take the dog for her booster vaccination, make lunch, bake bread, bake cookies, pick up the Nespresso capsules, clean the living room and organise the toys.

I did manage the food shop and the doctors appointment. I forgot to take the poor dog to the vets – although she avoided being stabbed in the neck so she’s winning. I made a wonderful lunch of pea fritters with avocado – Henry spat out the first mouthful and threw the rest on the floor, which the dog promptly gobbled up – another win for her. I picked up the coffee (priorities right there), I did not bake bread. I did bake cookies and burnt them. I half cleaned the living room and ‘organised’ the toys by throwing them in a basket.

When Carl came home the sofa was in the middle of the living room with the hoover abandoned behind it and the rug was rolled up. The kitchen smelled like burnt cookies and Henry had vegetable korma in his eyebrows, which again he kept dropping on the floor for the dog. In fact my main parental achievement for the day had been cooking three very healthy meals, none of which were consumed by the intended recipient. All the intended recipient wanted to eat were Organix Carrot Puffs and bagels.

Housewife-mother-extraordinare I clearly am not but I will try again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day. And the next. But that is why motherhood is the best job, a bad day still ends with a hug and a sloppy kiss.

 

Mummuddlingthrough
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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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img_4078.jpgAs if I haven’t rambled on enough about sleep lately, I’m about to do it again. I thought I’d begin with a warning so I’ve only wasted you the time it’s taken to read this paragraph, rather than the whole sorry lot.

To the few that are still here – Hi Mum *waves*- I’ve come to accept that sleep deprivation is just part and parcel of motherhood, delivered along with mumguilt, worry and financial ruin when the stork delivers a lovely little newborn. However, there are probably some ways I could help myself in the sleep department:

  1. Not staying up ’til midnight blogging while half watching Coronation Street. When Henry was a newborn and I still remembered what it was like to have a full nights slumber, his longest chunk of sleep was, and still is from 7 to between 11 and 12. I used to sleep during that time too, so at least I was almost guaranteed something. Now I’m rarely in bed before midnight and often up more often than I was then. Pesky teeth.
  2. I could try to break the ‘feeding to sleep’ habit. I’m told a baby who self   settles is a baby who sleeps through the night. But breaking said habit will involve tears, tears aren’t my fave and I have no idea how to do this without tears. Answers on a postcard. Plus when you’re up several times in the night it’s nice to have something on hand chest to calm things down quickly.
  3. I could stop browsing *insert shop here* online or looking at blogs / Twitter / Instagram / Coronation Streer spoilers while attempting to feed back to sleep when he wakes in the night. Before I know what’s going on Henry’s fast asleep and still in my arms. I’m wired from the blue light and could’ve spent the last 30 minutes asleep myself. Although sometimes I need the blue light to keep myself awake. You win some, you lose some.
  4. I could take my mum up on her multiple offers to have Henry overnight once in a while. What can I say? I’m a clingy mum and I can’t bear to be away from him.

Even as I type the above, none are particularly appealing. I’m tired, but I like my evenings, I like blogging, I like a cuddle in the night and sometimes I find some great blogs. And there’s always coffee…

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baby-showWhile I was pregnant Carl and I had great plans for my maternity leave. He’s self-employed so has almost complete freedom when it comes to taking holidays so we were going to make the most of my new found freedom and take impromptu trips away, should it take our fancy. Well I can report that eight months in, all we’ve managed was a pre-arranged trip to Norfolk with my family.

So when an invite to the Baby & Toddler Show landed in my inbox, I thought I’d throw caution to the wind and include an overnight stay. The northern show just happens to be in Manchester, which holds a special place in our hearts as it’s where we spent our first non-wedding-night night as a married couple before jetting off on our honeymoon – sorry if I made your brain hurt with that mouthful – so I’m very excited to return to our second favourite city as a family.

The show runs 7-9th October and has a pretty impressive line up of brands, including Bugaboo, Cybex, Joolz, Mamas & Papas, Silver Cross & Maxi Cosi to name but a few – we’re in the market for a new car seat so the timing is perfect.  There are expert speakers, products to test, a midwife drop in and, if that hasn’t sold it to you – a goody bag for all new mums and mums-to-be.

If you’d like to win tickets to the show, I have two to giveaway, valid for any date you chose. All you need to do is hit the Rafflecopter link below, and leave a comment telling me what your all time favourite baby / toddler products is!

If you don’t win tickets you can purchase with 1/3 off with the code BTN31.

If you’ll be at the Baby and Toddler Show let me know, it would be great to meet so fellow mamas!

I wish you the best of luck, but never fear, as if you don’t win you can book adult tickets for 1/3 off with the code BTN31

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mummuddlingthrough

 

Diary of an imperfect mum
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