So a funny story from the week that my child was born - I somehow managed to forget that I had a newborn baby. How I don't know but I did.
With months of preparation; needless to say a barrage of kicking; bountiful amounts of puke (gotta love that morning sickness which doesn't ever restrict itself to the A.M.) sleepless nights and sleep broken by numerous trips to the loo thanks to a bladder now the size of a gnat; a loo which rather annoyingly was downstairs meaning having to traipse through every other room to get to it! All this and I can still forget that I have a newborn baby.
A thirty plus hour labour; a couple of extra admissions lasting days at a time; my baby laying in an incubator when all I want to do is hold her. All this and I can still forget that I have a newborn baby.
Feeding every two-three hours and being milked by a machine like a cow inbetween, sleep deprivation that I would have never even believed possible without actually resulting in death. All this and I can still forget that I have a newborn baby.
The horrendous process of what I have heard described as similar to 'squeezing a frozen turkey through a toliet roll tube' and yep, I forgot that I had a baby!
People say that you forget what this turkey squeezing feels like once that precious baby is placed on your chest. NOT THE CASE! If you've never had a child and are reading this, don't let people fool you into thinking that 'it all goes away' as soon as you have the baby in your arms. Lies I tell you, lies!
The amount of experiences that a woman goes through during pregnancy is crazy to comprehend until you actually go through it first hand. The amount that this little mini person that you have never met effects you is unreal. They are a factor in every part of your day. So taking all this into account, you'd think that it would be hard or even impossible to forget your child, no?
No! Because babies fry your brain! At least she seems to have fried mine! The idea of 'baby brain' is something that I completely take on board and whole heartedly buy into. I plan to use as an excuse for whatever possible in the future: oh I forgot your birthday? baby brain. i left the iron on? baby brain. Speeding ticket? baby brain. And so on and so forth.
I actually posted a short post on my personal facebook when this 'forget the baby' incident first happened. Here it is:
So this was when the baby was about six days old. I wanted to try and get her out as much as possible to have new experiences, new smells, new sights and what not. (Heavily influenced by Joseph Chilton Pearce's 'Magical Child')
So sleep deprived and armed with the biggest bag of baby supplies ever (a bag which would have catered for every possible baby emergency ten times over) I collected up myself and child and planned a visit to work.
Now work is not far away from where I live. I'd say about a five-ten minute drive. Not much of a time period to forget a child you say? Yea you'd think not wouldn't you?
Now if you've read the facebook status update which I have included in this piece, then you know what happened.
Driving along, I hear a cry. And I swear I have never been so startled and perplexed and scared all at once! Where was this strange noise coming from? Was it a cat? Have I ran over something? Oh God i've ran over something, I've killed a cat! What do I do? Do I get stop and get out and care to the cat? I'm going to have to go to it's owners and admit killing their precious family pet! But, I didn't feel the car hit aything.....
You know how your mind processes a multitude of scenarios and thoughts in a split second - that happened. Except that the baby brain curse came into play immediately after and it took me a good couple of seconds to realise what this sound actually was. So in my head I'd already killed a family pet, disposed of the body, destroyed all evidence of the crime and moved to Mexico under an alias, spending the rest of my days perfecting a mean guacamole recipe.
My daughter had started to cry, that was all. In my defense, shr was a quiet baby and didn't particularly cry much. But to the point of actually forgetting her existence??? Apparently so!
I received quite a few comments and likes on this facebook status, as it seemed to amuse people no end. When in fact it honestly shook me up. Luckily I managed to make it to work safely (and cat-death free) and have a lovely brew to settle my nerves. I imagine that a generous serving of gin would have done the trick better but damn my choice to breastfeed - and i'll pick up on that at a later date!
Is anybody else bothered by this advert? Not so much the idea, Im glad that Sarah is now finding a 'great way for her money to go further.'
But.....the little boy comes in after losing a football match and his mum's response when he slats his bag on the floor is 'pick that up or you're not coming with us on holiday'
Now - this is bribery, no? Dictionary definition of bribery is 'the practice of offering something in order to gain an illicit advantage' She is offering a holiday in exchage for the boy keeping the place tidy. Is this really 'allowed' with kids? The word 'illicit' makes me a bit uneasy with the idea.
And plus, he doesn't even pick the bleedin' bag up after all that!
Ok, so like most new parents, I have come across that awesome new challenge of how to get your child soundly off to sleep in their own Moses basket.
If only the little blighters knew what we went through to enable them to sleep in such a treasure of a bed to begin with! Moses basket shopping, upon becoming pregnant, turned out to be a big event the scale of which I had never realised before.
Firstly, what colour? Do i go for neutral or wait until I know the sex? But i'm excited to buy, how an I possibly wait this long?! What store's range of lovely baby-ware will have the honour of gracing my precious child's basket? Do I have a rocking stand, a collapsible stand, a stand which does both, a stand to co-ordinate with my bedroom furniture? Do I (if you even dare to think it) buy a second hand Moses basket? After all - how much money do I want to spend on something which will only be used for a few months?
So many factors go into deciding 'the one' that I'm undoubtedly sure that if my daughter's mind could fathom this then she would apologise for any fuss she has given me in the past, and without further notice, bless me with a future of blissful nights sleep. I even imagine that she would appreciate her little bed so much to the point of wanting to take herself off to bed to save me the effort. That old 'they would if they could' chestnut.
But, she doesn't understand this, and she most definitely isn't much for her (what turned out to be a pretty damn expensive) Moses basket, with all it's trimmings. Yes, with the lovely expensive branded baby-ware and expensive sturdy rocking stand to match my furniture. (I opted for neutral coloured bedding just i case anybody wondered!)
She isn't much for it and low and behold prefers to sleep with Mummy! Now I adore co-sleeping; I know people hold strong beliefs in favour and against this but I shall save that for future discussion. Personally, I LOVE snuggling my daughter, hearing her little murmurs and adorable Darth Vader-like breath. I have never worried about 'rolling onto my daughter' as I am a light sleeper. To coin an expression I first learnt from my good friend Deb and which gave me a good chuckle, I would 'wake if a moth farted'. And so as soon as my daughter stirred for a feed I was 'up and at 'em' poised and ready to serve. And I have found that breastfeeding allows for ease of co-sleeping as she would naturally fall asleep next to me once full and I would fall asleep accordingly.
So I love co-sleeping. Or should I say I loved co-sleeping, for a while. Yet sleeping in one position every night, with a baby one side of me and my partner the other (who I'm pretty sure was over 'his half' of the bed thus making my slither of bed space even slimmer) soon took its toll on my hip, my comfort and my quality of sleep. And as a new mother I find three hours of comfortable quality floating-on-clouds deep sleep beat six plus hours of unbroken fidgety sleep hands down.
So this (have I mentioned - expensive) Moses basket needed to be used. Daughter would have her nightly feed and I would place her in her bed in the most delicate of operations which I'm sure most new parents go through. The tip-toeing away; creeping hoping that they don't stir; the 'staying there and rocking the thing just to make sure they're properly asleep' jobby.
And so, despite the digression, to address my 'how NOT to get your baby to sleep' advice with reference to the fateful night from which I draw my experience.
So its early hours, she has had a feed and not quite settled back into sleep. She was asleep but not if you know what I mean? One of those 'I'm asleep enough but I'm gonna be active enough just to ensure that YOU Mother Dearest don't sleep'. Precious!
I took to having my arm in the Moses basket next to her to comfort her and rocking it to and fro to aid her off to the Land of Nod. Go Baby Go! Go to the Land of Nod, where Care Bears and My Little Pony's await. I know I would!
She fell asleep and I must have fell asleep in this position, with a cold limp arm hanging out of bed into the Moses basket. And this night, instead of just pulling my arm back into bed, I must have trotted off with the Ponies also, and been thoroughly enjoying the deep sleep it seems.
That is, until Daughter stirred and snatched me from my slumber. Yet I don't recall my daughter stirring. I recall 'something' stirring in the middle of the dark scary night, and grabbing my arm! At this point of consciousness I wasn't even aware of having a daughter, I was in pure fright mode. I recall her little wriggle in her bed reminding me of the film The labyrinth where the girl's brother gets taken away. Half asleep, I must have thought that this was actually happening; and I have never been so scared in all my life!
Jolted awake then with heart beating out of my chest, and under imaginary Goblin attack, the baby was blissfully unaware that she had taken at least a couple of years off my life with her Jagger-esque wriggle. And may I just add, with the partner also blissfully unaware and STILL on what looked like more than his half of the bed.
So I was left. wide awake, alone, trying to comfort myself. The goblin's aren't really coming to get you. (or the baby!) And so this night I neither got those six hours of broken sleep nor the three hours of blissful floating-on-clouds with the Care Bears sleep. What I got was a frozen sleepy arm (the only part of me which was asleep it seems) and an imaginary Goblin assault.
And so, unless you want a similar experience; that is, if your imagination is anything like mine and you picture the Goblin King appearing at the end of your bed and offering you the challenge of the Labyrinth; I urge you to take heed of my story. I'm not sure how David Bowie would look in those tight trousers now anyhow....
I originally began this piece several days ago yet if you've been onto the facebook page (www.facebook.com/whowouldhavethoughtit) you will have seen that I had a little rant about this here website builder as several hours of work was lost despite constant saving throughout, all whilst I went to make a lovely brew. Either that or the child is conspiring against me and doesn't want her business public and so went on a sabotage mission whilst my back was turned.
I meant for my blog to be mainly light hearted and a little comical, yet a visit from my Health Visitor the other day urged me to write my thoughts on the meeting. And so this is going to be Part One of around three pieces which focus on the idea of 'thinking for yourself' and doing what you yourself think is right for your child.
And with this I want to ensure that I am merely voicing my opinions as much as possible rather than promoting them as the be all and end all. And with me referring to the questionning of my Health Visitor and Government recommendations, I am also very aware that I run the risk of coming across as a tin-foil-hat-to-stop-the-satellites, ostrocized-from-normal-society long-haired-tree-hugging-hippy conspiracy theorist. This I also wish to avoid.
And so to explain what sparked my interest enough to put finger to keyboard (the modern day equivalent of 'pen to paper' no?), my Health Visitor came to discuss weaning, teething and such like as is standard procedure at this stage of development. And I wondered at this point - does everybody take their (Health Visitors') word as gospel? I thought more so about younger mums who may be unaware that there are alternative theories on upbringing for example, although I cringe at this sounding ageist - I'm sure that there are many young as well as older parents out there who have researched and looked into how they want to bring their children up. But to what degree do people take these recommendations purely as what they are - a recommendation, a guideline?
And so to get back on topic, the (lovely) Health Visitor began talking about teething and promoting the brushing of teeth as soon as they are visibly sprouting from the gums. And brought along toothpaste, a toothbrush and even a little drinking cup for us too which was unexpected and something which I thought was quite nice. A little bonus gift.
She then said 'you don't have to use Colgate though' (as this was the toothpaste which she had for us) to which I replied that I wouldn't be using it as we buy our own flouride-free toothpaste from the internet. The Health Visitor then said that they recommended fouride toothpaste for children as it is not in our water supply where we are in the Midlands. And she was curious as to why we decided against toothpaste with added flouride. Aahhhhhh the old flouride debate.......and here's where I go and fetch my tin foil hat and run away to live on the outskirts of civilisation spending the rest of my days between rotting my child's teeth, not bathing and hugging trees. I did however send the Health Visitor away with research to do which I felt quite proud of, and her argument 'for' this product merely being 'well this is just what we're told to recommend'
(By the way, I challenge you to walk down an aisle in a big supermarket in fact, and try to find a toothpaste which is flouride-free; not an easy task and hence why we buy from the internet.)
I am not going to list every so-called side effect of flouride. Again to reinerate, I do not wish to impose my beliefs on readers, yet they are needed a little bit purely to make the point of this discussion. If you go to any good search engine and search the effects of flouride you will see results such as 'flouride lowers IQ' 'is linked to dementia' and such like. Whether you believe all this or not, these are the reasons why I don not buy toothpaste which has flouride in. And is why I do not want my children - who i wish to have astonishing IQ levels, and a well preserved brain in old age, as well as lovely gnashers - to use said toothpaste either.
Like I said, each to their own, I do not write this to try to persuade you to jump on my flouride-free band wagon. I have no desire to try and convince you of any other parenting other than your own beliefs and ways.
This being my point exactly though. DO people have their own beliefs? Or are we as a society more like robots who simply eat up everything that the Government tells us? And when it comes to our offspring, the people who we have to nurture into adults for the forseeable future, who we can help to shape into beautiful people - shouldn't we ask questions, shouldn't we research to see what is in our eyes best for them? Do they not deserve at least this from us? Are there other ways of living?
You want me to put something into my child which can have an effect on their intelligence levels? Umm OK whatever you say Sir. Put a microchip in them whilst you're at it. Wow this is getting highly controversial now; I think that I should sign off, and go off on my wagon to re-stock on tin foil.
O.k. so as Juliet once pondered - 'What's in a name?'
I touched lightly on this on the facebook page but I'm going to develop further. How did you decide on a baby name; how did you manage to compromise on a mutually favoured name; or if fact did one of you have no choice in naming your offspring? Do women have more rights when deciding names as they do all the 'hard work'? Argument has it I guess that in a typical nuclear family the children take on the father's surname, and so shouldn't the woman at least get to pick the kids' first name(s) since she has given (talking nuclear family still) her own family name up, her body to the birth of said children, and her future thereafter raising them?
Were lucky I guess that my partner and I both liked the name we chose for our daughter, and we each chose a middle name for her. She has a middle name from my great-nan (her great-great-nan) and a middle name from her dad, as it is tradition in his family to take on the father's name as a middle name (normally for boys you see but lucky for us my partner has a unisex name) So yes, she has four parts to her name - I guess its lucky that I'm hoping the flouride-free diet will help her I.Q. - heaven knows she'll need it with the mouthful of a title we've given her!
Even if we hadn't have agreed on a name, I had a little trick up my sleeve. Take heed people this may come in useful. When discussing names we did in the beginning struggle to find ones which we both liked, to the point of where he actually vetoed several of my choices, and so in return I vetoed any chance of a Christening! This was getting us nowhere it seemed. So my idea was to come up with and pretend that I loved, a range of completely outlandish names (not far from the truth in fact) so that when I did suggest the real favourites of mine, that he would opt for these more 'normal' choices and think that he was getting off lightly! I'm sure that other people have had this mastermind of an idea also.
Before settling for the name we have now, I put forward some titles such as 'Norah Belle' which was a name which an old friend used to call his dog. It wasn't his dogs real name, only her nickname. I personlly think that this is a lovely name, yet for some reason people argued that it was cruel to name a child after a dog. But cut me some slack here at least; it's not my fault that the dog has such a pretty name...
And in discussion of names, the topic arose of name association. When you think of a name, you think of people that you know with that name, and this person and your opinions on this person ultimately it seemed to reveal to me, shape your opinion of the name in general. I always for example liked the name Graeme for a boy, after my uncle - but he would be nicknamed 'Grae' I have this already figured out in my imagination. This was the coolest bad-ass name for what could only be the coolest little boy alive. The partner however immediately thought of Graham Norton and so instead of giving birth to a cool little bad-ass-named boy I would give birth to a camp comic who somehow would come out of the womb with an Irish accent.
After settling for a less outlandish name (I pictured myself like a character from the film 'Inception' planting these 'normal' yet secretly favoured names in my partner's head and getting him to think that he had helped to choose them, being the ever devious woman that I am) we have a name decided for our child. What about pet names and nicknames? I think that I may reveal myself to be a bit of a 'name snob' or perhaps just a bit boring and uninventive here. Bear in mind this is purely my opinion here and I do not wish to offend people.
I do not like in social media, where people have a nickname say for example 'princess' in their profile name. Unless they are in fact royal descendants I think that this just seems a bit pretencoius? The idea of a girl calling herself a princess or feeling that she deserves to be treated as such is a little cringe-worthy to me, as though they're better than the average Joe like me. And same again when people have their first and middle names as their profile names and no last name? Why? Are we turning into a symbol for the artist formerly known as oneself soon? Why can't people just use their normal names?
I don't like calling my daughter princess now either. I think that it must simply be something I personally am uncomfortable with. I call her things like 'beautiful' and 'sweetness' as these are opinions that I hold of her. I even, despite the mother protesting such, call her 'mate' as she is I guess turning out to be a little buddy of mine. Mother says that this is a 'boys nickname' what do you think?
Does it really matter what you call your kids? By time they get to school, I'm sure their classmates will have managed to find some way to make fun from their name. 'Webbhead' being my personal bug bear, and my favourite being 'Osmosis' as at least a little thought went into it, turning 'Hollie' into 'Hoz' into 'Oz' and finally into the diffusion of molecules in plants known as 'osmosis'!
I guess as long as you're not calling your kids by swear words then not too much harm is being done?!?
Wow, so much to cover here! I have decided to write this blog with inspiration from another blog, and after the theme being suggested by a facebook friend. The orginal blog is written in the style of a letter from a working mum to a stay at home mum, and vice versa and can be found at:
This blog really resonated with me to the point of which it almost made me cry (damn these emotions i've developed since pregnancy!) and what hit home particularly were the ideas of the stay at home mum's job being a 24/7 thankless one, with little or no back up and support. To save time we will call the stay at home mum 'SAHM' from here on out.
The SAHM tolls throughout the day looking after her child(ren) and it is a none stop job. People who don't have children often picture the SAHM as sitting around watching Jeremy Kyle all day or surfing the internet while occasionally checking on the child (pah!) I personally have no qualms whatsoever with the idea of a housewife being a full time job. I think that society can to an extent see this as somewhat of a lesser job: "oh youre 'just' a housewife" as though you hold this job title which involves a quaint little existence baking cookies, and caring for children and serving your man and little other than this. But more than this, so what if this IS your existence, albeit quaint and little? I would not be in the slightest bit embarrassed to call myself a full time mother, wife and housekeeper if it ever came to the point of being such. If anything, the SAHM deserves to pride herself on doing a successful job in keeping a house, caring for her children and husband (the big hunky bread winner, thank the heavens for him) and developing a delicious cookie recipe in the process.
So to refer back to the original blog by Dr Carolyn, we have the notion of recognition, which I think is the major bug bear of the SAHM. Is this right then mums? Is our job a thankless one? Or I guess more to the point, should we expect any thanks? After all , WE chose to have these children so isn't it simply our DUTY to care for them, with no thanks or at least no expectation of thanks? Are we right to expect a little recognition for raising our offspring?
An idea to toy with here is this idea of this 'job' being one that is a constant in our lives, one that is 24/7 with no clocking on or off. We have little or no break from this job. And if we have a break, we feel guilty right? We may have no support, or we may have the most tremendous support system in the world, yet you feel like you shouldn't take this break right? I think that the SAHM feels that is IS her own personal duty of care and so she shouldn't 'pass the buck' so to speak and thus must continue on with no help.
Or again, we feel GUILTY for asking for and taking on any help. Let's develop this point of GUILT further. Ok so you battle your demons and eventually give in and take a break; you get a sitter for a night. You feel bad don't you? You wonder how your kid is getting on without their mum; will they settle without that motherly bond? You then spend all night talking about your children (and probably bowel movements which you never guessed you'd talk about before motherhood), oblivious to the company that you keep rolling their eyes "she's at it again, all she ever talks about is baby, baby, baby"; you never quite feel at ease being out, checking your phone for that imaginary phone call where the most horrendous of all accidents has happened, or even checking your phone just to see that you have signal in the event of such an expected phone call. You check on them at least once, yet again you are plagued by guilt and even do this in secret, normally by way of a hush phone call when you nip to the loo, or a sneaky text typed under the table while you think nobody's noticing. You are a nervous wreck and probably end your night out early, yearning to be back in your thankless little bubble of quaint simple living, where you are the centre of their world amd they are the centre of yours. Aaaaah....bubble. That's enough of society for a while!
Being a housewife is my job at present. Although I am not a wife, I can still call myself a housewife right? I
am at the minute still waking up on average at least three times a night for feeds. To extend on this idea of
guilt further, am I the only mum who feels bad if I sleep in while the other half goes off to work? Staying all cosy in bed sounds absolutley brilliant, especially after waking throughout the night and not having a decent nights sleep in practically EVER! But then the house suffers and before you know it, the other half is home and the day is gone! I have resigned mysef to the idea that I can get one thing done a day; anything more than this is simply wishful thinking and more rightly ludicrous. If I want to get washing, drying and ironing done, I will get ironing done, that's it! I think that I now aim low with this as if I achieve anything else in the day I feel like I have had a mini and private little triumph. (yeyyyy I did washing too!)
But if I do this, I am merely proving society right aren't I? I am that SAHM who lazes about at home doing nothing. But it's not my fault that I switched the TV on and it just so happened to be on the channel which is airing the Jeremy Kyle repeat. Gotta love this graphic from someecards.com.
I'm sure I'm not the only person who, when they find out that they're expecting a child, imagines what they will look like. And again, I'm sure I'm not the only one, and this goes for both men and women, who hopes that their child carries on certain features from either themselves or their partner, the childs' siblings etc am I right?
For example, I hoped that my daughter had my partners' lips as they are nice and full. I quite like my eyes, so I didn't mind her having my eyes. And utter panic struck me when my grandad confessed to having his ears pinned back in his youth - please don't let her inherit big ears PLEASE!
Contemplating this, I felt quite uncertain in admitting that I 'quite like my eyes' as I put it. I think that most of us are uncomfortable with the admittance of not ultimately hating oneself and everything about ourselves. (Is this a British thing?) Is it seen as undesirable vanity to confess to liking certain features that you have? It seems that we are more at home with pointing out the 'nice parts' of others, but when it comes to ourselves "naah, I'm ugly, me!"
That is however - until it comes to the baby-making process! It's like when you know that the two of you have joined to create a baby, you (secretly) scrutinise your own and your partners body parts and features, as if to create an imaginary 'super baby' perfected through the elimination of your shared worst bits and spliced together with the best of both worlds. Little things that you both do will now point out the 'underisables' of features: you'll be holding hands yet instead of seeing the hand of the love of your life, the person you imagine spending the rest of your life with, you now simply see 'gross little sausage fingers'. Family meals will no longer be a nice get together and a good old catch up, rather a gathering of the possible 'horrors' your 'poor child' may be stricken with, the afflictions of being born into these two families of 'freaks'.
Is it right that we try to barter with the genetics of our future child? "ok ok, i'll lose having his luscious full lips just please don't give her Grandad Harry's ears" When your'e eyeing up the competition (which is what the partner and their face ultimately becomes) are you basically saying "I'm better at noses than you"?
So then the day arrives that the baby is born, and when friends and family get to see the new arrival, they will normally remark on how the baby looks like either parent. I very much doubt, whether you like to admit it or not, that I am the only person who did a little mental victory dance, a smug imaginary pat on the back, invisible fist pumps, or something very similar to one of these celebratory gestures in their head, when people said that she had those eyes of mine that i 'didn't quite mind'.
As it turned out, my daughter was born and looked like me quite a lot. My partner felt that it was quite apt that the daughter should turn out looking like the mum. It always reminds me of the Family Guy episode 'Not All Dogs Go To Heaven' where Brian questions the existence of God by challenging Meg with the thought of '...If there were a God, would he give you a smoking hot mom like Lois and then make you grow up looking like Peter?...' (If anybody out there doesn't know Family Guy, let me briefly explin that Meg is supposedly the ugly offspring of a beautiful slim woman and a big fat dumb man, the latter being whom she resembles)
In my partners eyes this is how it should be. Girls are meant to look like their mum and boys are meant to take after the Dad. But nobody out there thinks that their own child is ugly, there is no possible way for this.
I am very aware when I post photos on social media sites that I don't go 'baby crazy' and post nonestop baby photos baby photos baby photos! Which I may add is such a temptation! You are very much the proudest parent ever and want to say to the world of Facebook or such like "look, I made this!" and in your eyes there could be no nicer looking child on this earth. It's as if some force of nature, or the powers that be (whatever your beliefs) bought the two of you together to create such a masterpiece of a child that all the genius prodigy painters throughout the ages could not capture should they try and savour such a vision on canvas. Call it destiny, call it your duty as an now-amazing pro baby maker, you OWE it to the world to share such beauty. "everybody look on in awe at my creation; bask in my child's beauty; your jealousy is expected, understood and justified" is what you want to type when captioning the photos you post. Yet you feel bigheaded and so in reality as you don't want to seem gloat, you merely write 'daughter smiling', 'daughter posing' or something else similarly vague, unimaginative and nondescript.
But really, to be brutally honest, do we want to know what people actually think of our baby posts?