Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Lists (5)

The Olympic One.

(Things I LOVED and  HATED about London2012)

Picture borrowed from here

I'm going all out on this one guys and doing an Olympic theme too.

Fuck it.

Yeah it's over and we had it shoved down our throats for like 7 years (actually, it was exactly seven years of throat shoving) but you know what I miss it and it was bloody good, so it deserves a blog, albeit a late one.

The point The FH stood up and did a
double handed wanking sign "Come On!"


1 (Gold). I LOVED the opening ceremony. I loved that the rest of the world didn't get it. I loved that Danny Boyle flicked the V's at them and wrote a love story for us. I loved the theatre, the energy... The show.

I loved being Great. Great Fucking Britain. That's us right there, taking centre stage and doing it well.

2 (Silver). How well our female athletes did.

They totally stole the show.

To quote @victoriapeckham "isn't it amazing for young people to see women judged on what their bodies can do and not what their bodies look like"

And this isn't about women versus men. It is just about celebrating positive female influences. A little bit of hope shining out amongst the dreary, damp wag culture that is depressing our  country's daughters.

What a woman!

3 (Bronze).  Jessica Ennis.

Because she is a-maz-ing.

That last race, where she wasn't winning, the one she never wins, the one she didn't need to win. That last race where just wanted it. Where she just did it.

That's an Olympian.

4 (Fastest Loser). Exceeding expectations.

There's a quote on Facebook, that I'm sure you've all read. And if you haven't read it just click on that tosser friends Time line, the one who likes pictures of a baby and a dog cuddling with the caption 'dogs are family too' they'll have posted it somewhere. It goes "Seven years ago they said we wouldn't get it, but we did. Four years ago they said..." Blah blah you get the idea. Anyway it's a bit cheesy and naff, but it's true. We all thought it was going to be shit, and there was a chance we could fuck up royally, especially with "flag-gate" at the first football match. But it wasn't.. It was really good. We did it. We finally exceeded expectations. Great Britain? Amazing Britain. That's us

That Geordie tosser who did us proud.
5 (Just Loser) And finally last on the love list is the Unity!

I just love it when it all comes together; it didn't matter if you were posh, a chav or from Wales - we were rooting for you!

Even that tosser from the North East who said he's been on the lash for 2 years then trained for 7 months (not exactly what Seb Coe meant when he said "inspiring the future generations"), but it didn't matter, because  if you were Team GB we cheered.

But thank god for those posh people eh? We are pretty good at Hoorah Henry sports aren't we?


1 (Gold).   How shit TV is now it's over.

I mean seriously, is this it for four years? Seriously? Even X factor isn't helping. In fact it's making it worse.

Alright so it's a bit of a cop out giving the number 1 spot on the hate list to it being over. But it's not that it's ended it's the gap it has left behind, a gap that is  not going to be easily filled with Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

2 (Silver)  Gary Linekar.

This guy? Really?

Stick to football Gary. Presenting the Olympics is just not your thing.

I mean, you won't get another opportunity anyway, to be honest you just cocked up your biggest ever presenting job. Which is a shame, because I do like you, but this one was a step too far for your tanned little face.

And if you have any doubts about this one just watch him  interviewing the Judo girl who got Silver, and if you get through it without cringing or screaming " Just Ad lib Gary...ADLIB!" then you are made of sterner stuff than me.

3. (Bronze) Miserable China.

 Ok, so everyone has a right to be a bit pissed off if you get silver, a mean they wanted Gold right? I get that. But still it's a medal, get over it. Smile. Even a fake one. Or just something other than dead pan. Please. And if you get gold, then why not cheer. Go on. I dare you.

4 (Fastest Loser). The dark side of success.

For example 8 years ago in Athens some one got a bronze. A bronze! Wow. Achievement. Success. How we revelled. How good it felt. Now. London 2012. Someone gets a bronze A bronze? Is that all? Bronze? Huh.

No room for Bronze on our front pages ...
Unless you are the Netherlands
Dressage Team ofcourse - The Daily Idiots!
But among our Golds The Daily Express did still make room for Bronze  medallists on their front page.. Only because they managed to print a picture of the Dutch Dressage Team instead of Team GB's Dressage Gold Medallists.

5 (Just Loser). Closing ceremony.

Ok, so it wasn't going to be as good as the opening ceremony, we knew that. But come on... A dinosaur singing Waterloo Sunset, Spice Girls wobbling on top of taxis and fucking One Direction on a haribo rush. 

Talk about going out with a bang! Unfortunately that bang was the noise of millions of televisions being switched off simultaneously.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

"Getting 'em out" - Breastfeeding, my boobs and my babies.

You don't have to go far to catch sight of a woman feeding a baby with a bottle do you? I mean they're everywhere right? At the park, in cafes, in playgroups, sat outside shops, on park benches, travelling on public transport, waiting in waiting rooms... My God the list is exhausting!

But a breast-feeding mum,  that can be quite rare.

Oh she probably is there somewhere, like a kingfisher lost in the colours of a riverbank, you just didn't see her. Because contrary to popular belief, a breast feeding mum isn't "getting them out here, there and everywhere", she's usually quietly sat in the corner, her top slightly ruched, with a baby wrapped around her belly as if it were sleeping.

But when I do see her, catch a glimpse of a feeding position or realise later, she was ACTUALLY breast-feeding her baby something I hadn't noticed straight away, I always feel the need to go over and hug her, congratulate her, suffocate her in admiration. But I stop myself. She doesn't need that. Because the likelihood is, to have got to this point, she already knows how amazing she is.

Because unfortunately for most, breast-feeding isn't easy, it's bloody hard work; there's a lot of tears, angst, self doubt and  challenges to overcome.  Then if the skill (which it most definitely is) is mastered, having the confidence to do it in front of people isn't as simple as just "getting them out".

Breastfeeding in public requires a thick skin, a subtle amount of confidence, a grounded outlook and a positive attitude. Some people are fortunate to have these already. Others have to find them, muster them or grow them.

I was one of these women.

For me the act of breastfeeding was relatively easy. OK I'll take those rose tinted glasses off... Yes with my first there were some challenges. But compared to other peoples' hardships, mine were quite easily overcome.

But I think i know why

Firstly, I did have an emergency c-section with my first, this meant I was in hospital for three nights after his birth. During my stay the breastfeeding support, advice and warmth I received from the midwives was first class. And if, like other new mums, I had discharged myself at the first opportunity, it may have been a different story.

Secondly breastfeeding wasn't really a choice for me, in my head it's just how you feed your baby. I'm pretty sure I breast fed my dolls. You know, after I'd given birth to them out of my jumper. But that's because I watched my Mum feeding my brother till he was two years old. Because she breast feed me whilst she breast fed my 18 month older sister, because she's probably still remembered by some, thirty years on, as "THAT women who breast fed in the cricket club" But for me, us, our family, it was the norm. So of course I was going to breast feed my own.

And, although now,as I type one handed whilst breast feeding my third son, it's difficult to remember the struggles, but there were some. In fact sometimes it was a two person job, (three if my mum was visiting) as me and The FH tried to get O to latch on to an over inflated, veiny, water-melon-shaped-boob that would project milk spray if the wind blew the wrong way. And yes, there were tears and tantrums as we desperately tried to remember the exact position of infamous "rugby-ball"  that had "SAVED THE DAY" on ward 17.

But when I got it, I really did get it and it seemed to be plain sailing...


Outdoors was a whole other kettle of fish.

I was really self-conscious. Worried (I have No idea why) about what others thought. Scared  Petrified about receiving negative comments (which unfortunately some women do). Convinced the world wanted to watch me feed my baby - which I have now realised it doesn't, but it should - I'm bloody good at it. But the reality is most people couldn't care less, they have their own lives to get on with, and really just aren't that interested in seeing my boobs; be it going topless on a beach in the Caribbean or feeding my child in the middle of a shopping centre, 99% of the population just aren't that interested.

But it took having three children to really understand this, to stop caring and to be really comfortable breast feeding in public,  I'm not sure what happened to make me this self-concious, but somewhere between being the girl who breast fed her dolls and becoming the young women who sunbathed topless on holiday, I let some people's idiotic views influence me. Which is a shame. A real shame. I wish I felt like I did now when I had my first, but it was a learning curve and I'm just glad I got there in the end.

I do believe that if breast-feeding did in fact make your boobs firmer that a lot more families would do it. Regrettably, in our shallow, vain and image-obsessed culture, health incentives for you and your baby aren't enough. But it seems if it gave you a cracking pair of tits we'd all be doing it!

I was inspired to write this post because of World Breastfeeding Week, I know it was last week, but what's new?

I don't like to preach, or tell people they should do this, that or the other, purely because I have been on the receiving end of that... and it's exceptionally annoying

But I don't mind being smug, so here goes... One thing I am sure of, the decision to breastfeed my children is one of the best decisions I have ever made. So I couldn't let the week pass without commemorating it somehow.

So if you do happen to come across a women breast-feeding her child in public, you just need to do one thing: smile! Whatever you think, however you were fed, however you feed, just smile at her... Because I can assure you of one thing, she's not doing it to get attention, that baby is just bloody hungry!

This one is for you World Breastfeeding Week. 

This one obviously needs fattening up,

More tales of my boobs and public breast feeding are found here.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Need some parenting advice... Please read and help if you can.

I  didn't set this blog up to give advice, just to share my experiences.

I am really fortunate; I have an excellent support network, I have my  fiance, my mum and sister round the corner, my parents in law at the end of the phone, ex-colleagues who have kids, new mum-friends from playgroups... I am really lucky, I have a lot of people around me,

So I set up this blog, to share my parenting stories, help others who may not have the same support. Because it's not advice that you want to hear, just experiences, as sometimes someone else is going through the same as you.

But for the first time, my support network can't help me. Together we are stumped.

So I am asking you, followers, Internet friends, twitterers and fellow parents to read, share and offer any advice you have.

In February my middle child (who is about to turn 3) had his tonsils and adenoids removed and grommets put it. This is a really heavy op for a 2 and a half year old to have. I only recently understood how heavy when different specialists  told me this op is something surgeons will hold off undertaking for as long as possible.

In our case, the specialist examined Jonty and then booked him in for the earliest operating appointment he could get; things must have been bad.

Only looking back I realise that they were.

He had suffered from chronic nose infections since he was born, he snored as loud as a grown man, suffered from sleep apnoea and was constantly tired and irritable, plagued by nose and ear infections.

The illness was bearable, but it was the way it was affecting his development and personality that broke our hearts.

Although we had flagged this up with Doctors since he was born and been told "babies are mucus-y", it was only when I had shared my concerns about his speech and hearing that they referred us to a specialist. The hearing test showed he wasn't localising any of the lower volumes, we couldn't get a percentage of his hearing loss as he completely flipped when they tried to put headphones on him, but the department's reactions showed us this was not good.

Afterwards, the surgeon who operated on him said his tonsils and adenoids were enormous, quite possibly the biggest he had seen.

Pre-operation his speech had lacked progression, he was still only using the handful of words he had formed a year earlier and the rest of his noises were undecipherable baby language. He had found ways to communicate, but he had never said "Mama", didn't attempt to craete a word for his brother and was frustrated that the world couldn't undertsand him. So he bagan to shut us out.

We had slowly watched him turn from a smiling bubbly baby to a shy, introverted toddler. He would remove himself from social situations, isolate himself at play groups, and was reluctant to interact with his grandparents or aunites and uncles.If visitors came to the house, including our family, he would take himself off upstairs. Shutting the door.

Post - operation we have slowly seen him return. A new day brings new words. He is confident, sometimes to the point of cockiness, and at my brother's wedding a few weeks back  he was the life and soul of the party. He couldn't get enough of socialising.

I can't tell you how good this has been. The interaction, the moments, hearing him say my name, reading a book together, laughing and giggling over words, sounds; enjoying together the world around him.

Things are good; everything is falling into place.

Apart from one thing...

In December (2 months before Jonty's op) I gave birth to my third son Leo. He is a wonderful baby. He rarely cries, pretty much slept for the first 3 months and is always smiling.

However,now he is 7 and half months and become quite vocal, The usual stuff: teething noises, babbling, exploring sounds and he does have quite a loud cry if something startles him.

Last month Jonty started whimpering when Leo cried. And if we were somewhere where I couldn't comfort Leo or Jonty, like pushing them in a buggy on the school run, or driving in a car, this whimpering would turn to a full-scale tantrum where Jonty became hysterical, inconsolable and distressed.

This has now escalated so when Leo makes any noise at all, a babble, laugh or a yawn, Jonty screams, wails or shouts.

I was hoping when the holidays came, with my partner being off and two of us on hand, this would be ok, but things are getting worse.

And it's wearing us all down. If you have any advice, please share it with me. He has come so far and is doing so well it's heart breaking to see him so traumatised by his own brother's voice.

So here's some more info:
  • Jonty doesn't like it when any child cries, his older brother, or some one at play group hurting themselves will reduce himto sobs.
  • No other noises seem to effect him , but when we were watching a live swing band the other day he covered his ears
  • Jonty has never interacted with the baby, generally he isquite wary of him.
  • When I had Leo and Jonty came to hospital to see me, he caught sight of his brother and buried his head in his dad's shoulder and wept.
  • Jonty's speech is improving, but he you can't reason or explain yet... he is still learning to follow simple instructions and interpret sounds

This is what we have tried:
  • Reassurance, lots of cuddles and comfort when he cries
  • Possitive association, encouraging Jonty to play with Leo.
  • (not ideal, only in desperation) Separating them different rooms, different floors
  • Sending Jonty upstairs to his room to play when he does it
  • Reasoning
  • Talking
  • Calming
  • Shouting (when pushed to it)

Please help, offer advice, or share this blog to see if anyone you know has been in a similar situation.

This is the only part of my parenting where I have thought "I can't do this" and that really isn't a nice feeling, if it wasn't for this one thing, life would be perfect. I know I am very fortunate to be able to say that, but I do need some help with this bit...

Thank you x x

Friday, 3 August 2012

What do you do?

Before I gave up teaching,  people would often ask me what I did, when I told them, the standard response would be "Ooh I couldn't do your job."

I remember, after becoming a victim of crime (slightly dramatic turn of phrase for having an empty handbag nicked from your car) the police woman filling out the form asked "profession?"
And when I told her she said "Now that is one job I couldn't do."
"Really?" I asked bewildered, "I 'm just dealing with the younger versions of what you're dealing with."
"Oh but it's different isn't it?" she said
"Not that different" I replied
"Yes it is" she said sternly, and as much as I wanted to go on to rant about how schools were merely microcosms of society, things between us had become awkward, so I left it there.

Similarly when in hospital, having my children, midwifes, nurses and doctors on hearing my choice of profession all said "I don't envy you".

"What? You'd rather work here?" I would think. My skin itching as I eyed the sterile and soulless environment.

But we each have own corner of the earth to work in. By choice or by need. Some people have their vocation, some people just have to work.

Currently I am full time Mum; the hours are REALLY long and although most people think it is unpaid today I did find £2.53 at the bottom of the washing basket. But one thing I know being a Mum is the closest thing to a voaction I have ever had.

One day I want to answer the question with "writer"* but for now, this is right where I want to be.

I didn't think "full time Mum" was on here, but look there we are... with the cocktail shaker!

* and by "writer" I don't mean the stuff I do now, because I'd look a bit of a cock passing off a bit of freelance work as a writing career. I mean to be able say "writer" and the other person say "yeah I thought I recognised you". That kind of writer!

The picture is borrowed from here