And now there are two

Apologies but it has been a while since my last post – the reason – another little boy to add to the family.

And here he is – introducing Leo William Smart – usually known as “that one”, “the smallest one” or “the other one”

I guess I should start at the beginning really.  Leo decided to enter the world two weeks before we were expecting him.  Ill share the grizzly details of the birth – it actually started amazingly well.  I knew I was in labour in the night and actually managed to go back to sleep until the morning.  Matt then took Ollie to his mums and we calmly got an uber to the hospital.  We were checked into the birthing centre and even went to get a coffee and breakfast before the contractions got too strong.  I was even in the birthing pool with mirror and vitamin K injection at the ready before Leo decided to do a complete U turn and not come to meet us after all. There is a horrible story with a pine nut which will haunt me forever to put it mildly – but ill keep that to myself.

To cut a long story short – I ended up in theatre and a few tugs with forceps, a spinal block and a bit of a bruised and battered fight later he was here – not so much born as extracted.

I will never forget the moment the midwife told me he was a boy – A BOY – what???  I was expecting a girl.  I already had a boy and I wanted a girl – he was also so skinny and small and vulnerable and utterly adorable so the want for a girl was immediately diminished and replaced with guilt for not accepting how great it would be to have two boys from the start

The funny thing is how many people are quick to commiserate with you about not having a girl -it seems at the moment boys are two a penny and girls are gold dust.  One thing is for sure – my boys are extra extra special.

The proper way to play with a mobile

A few weeks before Ollie was born we bought a lovely cot mobile with rainforest animals twirling around to a lovely sleep evoking tune for him to look at and be lulled off to sleep.  We used to think of him lying there cooing at it before going to sleep for the night.  Of course, in reality, this never ever happened.

The cot mobile actually became his absolute favourite toy when he was about six months old but not because he could watch it float about above his head, oh no, because he could pull it down as far as it would go before putting it in between his feet and pushing it onto the mattress then suddenly letting go so the whole thing flew up to the other side of the cot, then he would roll about laughing.  The only problem with this was he would continuously break the arms of the mobile.  Ollie would then look at the offending broken article as if it was stupid enough to break before crying as if the world had ended as his favourite toy in the world wasn’t working.

It was then a rush against time before amazon prime could bring us a new arm and normal service would be resumed for the next week, until the arm was broken again.

Something tells me my son may be slightly destructive. – I think we have now been through 8 arms.  Matt keeps telling me not to buy new ones – he knows I will though.

 

 

things I said I would never say

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When I heard people saying to their children “Mummy says” I always thought it sounded awful and I would never ever do it.  Oh don’t get me wrong I would love Ollie to call me Mummy but I never in a million years did I think I would be happy to refer to myself as Mummy with such happy abandon. Now I am constantly being heard saying “Ollie Mummy’s here” or “Ollie now Mummy wants you to eat your dinner” or “Mummy thinks it is time Ollie had a little sleep now” – and not just behind closed doors, oh no it seems these involuntary sentences aren’t picky about when they are used, in coffee shops, supermarkets, libraries or anywhere else I go these days.

So please, if anyone hears me uttering such sentences do tell me to shut up as I think the part of my brain containing the ability to curb such self referral fell out when Ollie was born.

And as if that isn’t bad enough I actually heard myself saying “Has Ollie done a poeypoeypoey” – and again I was out at a friends house.  I am sure she heard me.  I was mortified and I promise never to do it again. – Well promise is a bit strong – I just can’t help it!

Oh and as an aside, I just caught myself referring to Matt as “Daddy”.

999 – my wife needs a poo

Just a little story my husband now loves to dine out on – so I thought I would ruin his ability to giggle as he tells anyone else the whole story and get the truth out there as quickly as possible – and yes, it is slightly embarrassing.

Ollie was about 8 days old, it was morning (although mornings, afternoons, evenings and night times were just all one blur at that time) and suddenly I was gripped with uncontrollable pain in my stomach.  Baby in moses basket by the bed I was eating the pillow hoping it would stop.  It was worse than early contractions, worse than the worst hangover in the world (and I have had a few), I actually thought I was going to die.  As I was trying to consume the mattress Matt asked me what was wrong and all I could say was ‘it hurts’ so he called the doctor.  Now I know doctors are busy but they actually told him he could get an appointment for me at 9am a week on Thursday.  I think he thought about telling me this news before deciding to call an ambulance. I was convinced I had bits from being pregnant still inside me which had become infected and I was slowly dying from septicemia.

The ambulance men arrived and were absolutely lovely, poor guys, god knows what they thought of seeing me trying to hold a conversation with them while rolling around on the bed in agony – and all just in my pjs (it’s ok though because my dignity was still lurking around the maternity wing at the Royal Free Hospital waiting to be picked up).  They took all my stats, decided imminent death probably wasn’t an option and encouraged me to go to hospital.  I was still seeing the Grim Reeper right above me so jumped at the chance for a free ride in the ambulance.  We packed up Ollie, gave the neighbours a wave and I was wheeled into the vehicle – not sure I needed wheeling – but it made the ambulance men happy.  Once in the ambulance they asked me how I was feeling and I have to say the Grim Reeper was finishing his tea about to leave and I thought imminent death may not happen after all.

By the time we arrived at hospital I felt a total fraud and pretty much normal (as normal as you can feel with an 8 day old) they checked me over and over and over and could find nothing wrong so gave me some laxatives and sent me on my way.

So now we never need to mention this story again!!!!!!

I now understand Toe Curling pain

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Someone asked me the other day what the hardest thing about having Ollie was and I can absolutely definitely say – breastfeeding.  Why on earth does that cruel bitch Mother Nature make something so natural, that every animal in the world manages to do, so blooming painful?

When Ollie was born the midwife put him on me to feed, oh don’t worry I totally left my dignity at the door when I entered that birthing centre, he suckled and we thought everything was great.  That was until the next morning when I realised my nipples were turning a lovely shade of purple.  I had the latch wrong and he was actually consuming my skin!  The nurse told me just to bear with it and it would get better – “all new mothers go through this to start with” she said.  Oh really??  I totally understand why so many people reach for the nearest bottle at this point but I was stubborn and determined I wanted to breastfeed my baby.

It got to the stage when I dreaded feeding, my toes would actually involuntarily curl in pain and I would grimace and writhe about in agony as Ollie fed.  The biggest problem was feeding him would make him poo and he would then have a total meltdown as I changed him so the only way to calm him was… yes grimace and feed him – ouch doesn’t even come close.

My lowest point came when Ollie was 5 days old and I could bear the pain no longer so I expressed some milk, only to find it was pink in colour – yes it was so bad there was actually blood in the milk.  Through my tears I called the breastfeeding helpline number I had been given, just the start of ‘things you think you will never need to do’.  It was Easter Sunday so nowhere was open but there was an emergency session happening nearby so I packed up my little bundle of screams and headed down to a local bookshop where I sat with a coffee and my boobs out so a lady could hand lactate me – and that wasn’t the strangest thing – the strangest thing was the whole experience felt entirely normal.  I have never ever ever gone topless before, not even on a beach in Ibiza, I am a pretty coy person but had no qualms about sitting in a book shop with my boobs out!  It was almost as if they weren’t attached to my body anymore or really anything to do with me.  They were the source of Ollie’s nutrients and that was all that mattered.

The breastfeeding expert, or boob whisperer (as I liked to call her) showed me how to get the latch right and finally, I’m not going to lie, after a few more days of toe curing pain, we got the hang of it.  Before I knew it Ollie was feeding from me every 3 hours and my toes were staying straight and there were no tears from either of us.

The next challenge was feeding in front of people, I had all the scarves and everything but still ended up hiding in the toilets to feed if we were out – I just couldn’t whip out my boobs in front of anyone – especially not friends husbands.  One day we went for breakfast in a very busy cafe and Ollie decided he wanted breakfast too so I positioned the scarf and started to feed, the scarf slipped, my husband shouted that I was exposed, everyone looked, I went bright red and then the tears started – involuntary, overtired, overemotional, irrational tears – god they were bastards those moments – so it was back to the toilet cubical wherever we were!

A few weeks later a friend gave me a better scarf, this was amazing, it hid everything you wanted to hide without suffocating Ollie and I could see what was going on as well – it was fantastic.  I ended up using this scarf wherever we went – problem solved.  I managed to keep a little bit of dignity while feeding my child – even in front of male friends!

I went on to solely breastfeed Ollie until he was seven months old and grew teeth – I didn’t fancy being bitten and, after much negotiation, Ollie finally agreed to take a bottle.

The reason I am writing this is just to tell people it does get easier.  For being one of the most basic, natural human instincts – to feed your young – it isn’t always easy and painless – it is bloody hard but it really does get easier and is so so worth it if you can get through those horrible first weeks.

As an aside, if you can’t breastfeed – as a lot of mothers just can’t – it isn’t the end of the world, it doesn’t change anything, formula is amazing and most importantly you shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about it at all and in any way.  I would love to see anyone be able to identify the difference in how any child was fed – either breast or bottle – I have the upmost respect and admiration for anyone who manages to bring up a child at all.

 

 

 

conquering nap times

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Im feeling pretty smug as I am writing this now while little face is in his cot snoozing.  It does happen, finally he sleeps when I think he will and I get time to watch Jeremy Kyle or hoover or sit down and write things like this.  But, believe me, it was a massive, huge, mammoth battle to finally get here.

I always knew he would sleep but there was always a sense of dread that perhaps he was the great non-sleeping baby.  There were days when he would go 10 hours without closing those eye lids – he would scream and wriggle around fighting sleep and was pretty successful in making me feel as if I was going to go mad.  I would walk around the flat rocking his squirming little body in my arms for hours, until finally, when I realised there was only 5 minutes left until his bedtime, we were both wet with tears, I would relent and put on Peppa Pig – nap time was over and a total disaster.

The problem is he is the grumpiest baby in London if he doesn’t get enough sleep and I knew if I could only get him to relent and have a rest everything would be better.  All the other babies were having naps – why wouldn’t he?  Maybe there was something wrong with him, maybe this was just the start of all the other things he would do wrong.  I decided nap times would be the make or break of him.  If he slept he would be a member of Mensa by the age of ten and if not he was destined for a life of crime and drugs – oh the pressure.

So when he was about six months old I just left him to cry, it was hard, it was heartbreaking and it was horrible but I turned the volume down on the monitor and didn’t go back into his room and miraculously after about 20 minutes he rolled over and went to sleep for about two hours.  This happened day after day and now is actually a routine – We did it.  Now I am not sure if i can take the credit for this – he may have just decided all by himself sleep wasn’t so bad but I am taking it as a victory – I need all the victories I can get.

Of course it now means I am a prisoner in my own home between 3pm and 5pm but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

Oscar the cat

So before we had Ollie we had, and I should say we still have, two Bengal cats, Oscar and Charlie.  They used to be able to sleep wherever they wanted, have their dinner any time of day or night anywhere they wanted and generally owned the roost.  However, when we bought Ollie home from the hospital, the little precious bundle in his huge oversized car seat, they were banished.  Get off the sofa, get out of the moses basket, get down from the kitchen sink and please get out of the bedrooms – were pretty much all the words they heard for the next few months.  As we got used to Ollie being about and realised he wasn’t going to die if a cat hair landed on him, Oscar and Charlie were gradually allowed to venture further into the flat.  Charlie is slightly ferrel and to be honest couldn’t really give a stuff (although he now loves nothing better than putting on an amazing display of torturing a mouse and then killing it – right outside the patio doors while I am hosting all the NCT mums and their babies – horror stories for babies eat your heart out) but I think our treatment of our fluffy friends has had a pronounced affect on Oscar – you see I now think he wants to be a baby.

Every morning he can be found curled up in the Bumbo or the high chair – and, to give him credit, manages to look amazingly comfortable.  He follows Ollie all around the flat shouting at him as only an oscar can do – and sniffing and licking his face at every opportunity.  When Ollie is on his playmat it is very rare that an Oscar is not lying beside him putting up with having his tail, ears and whiskers pulled and generally being mauled – as if this strange form of affection is better than nothing.  He has even been known to lie underneath the Jumperoo as Ollie bounces as high as possible and hits him on the head with every bounce – again the poor cat just seems to put up with it, almost as if he sees it as one of his chores.  If he wants to be a baby he must learn everything about babies – then maybe one day he will get given a bubble bath followed by milk in a bottle and then tucked up in the cot for the night.

Until then – he must put up with Ollie.  Good luck Oscar