The ‘New Mum Land’ that time forgot

Being a new mum is daunting – but I knew the second time must be much easier – after all, this is not my first time at the rodeo. Two and a half years ago I had been a new new mum and there wasn’t anything that could surprise me about it now.

And as usual, I was wrong. It would seem some new mum agency in fancy black suits (or perhaps just massive pants and maternity pyjamas) had zapped me with a memory erasing device (presumably made up of a Gin based compound) and I had absolutely no recollection of some of the elements of being a new mum – that are all coming back to me now.

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1. How tiny they are

Yes – of course I know they are small. We all know they are small. But quite how small I had completely erased. How light they are to hold. They weigh the same as a pickled onion and the ickle-ness of their limbs is mesmerising.

The first time you see your toddler after spending a few hours with your new born he will look like a twenty eight year old competitor in the World’s Strongest Man competition – the one where they pull a Land Rover along by their neck muscles. You try and pick up your toddler and realise he weighs the same as a Grand piano – and when you go back to pick up the new born you misjudge the weight so much you hit yourself full in the face with the baby.

2. How difficult it is to get them dressed 

The first time my first midwife asked me to get the baby undressed so she could examine him will remain in my memory forever – the shame of it. My fumbling fingers and nervous twitches, the length of time it took to get his vest off and things over his tiny head – all the while your eyes wide with terror that you may accidentally snap off his arms or dislocate his joints. I thought if this was how long it took to get him dressed we were both better off naked!

And I’m here to tell you it doesn’t change the second time around – trying to get the tiny nappy around him and trying to put his legs down the holes of his massive baby grow – it’s like trying to put an unshelled soft boiled egg in a sleeping bag.

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3. The noises they make

You’re used to the hollers, shouts and Earth shaking screams of your toddler – you forget the sound of a new born. They sound like baby Raptors emerging from their shells. The sound comes from deep within them and is like a cute baby piglet screaming from three houses down. The sound of yours is quite sweet – but the harmony of six new borns on the labour ward, at 2am, for an hour – loses any novelty pretty sharpish.

Considering they’re so tiny and so sweet – the sound of their wind and pooping action is remarkable. One fart from a new born is enough to wake up the toddler and see him sprinting to the window to check out the cool motorbike that must be speeding past (true story) and one movement will make you think he’s been sneaking baked bean toasties into his diet. Their whole bodies shuddering with whiplash when they indulge in a bowel movement is heart breaking.

4. The smells they make

You have got used to your toddler’s full on adult shits that make your eyes water and put you off that tuna sarnie you were eying up for lunch – you misremember new borns being stinky too. But they don’t smell – at all. Their nappies are a delight (smell wise) and there it is – that beautiful new born baby smell that is indescribable but brings back exactly how you felt that first time.

5. How difficult it is to clean their bums:

using only tiny cotton wool balls and a bowl of water as you carefully hold up their minuscule frog legs and ‘gently’ wipe off what can only be described as black treacle quick drying cement from the depths of Hell.

6. What it feels like to “get no sleep”

This is something we must block out, as a human race, to ensure we have another baby. You mentally prepare yourself for your new born. You know you’re lucky that the toddler is a dream boat who has been vigorously trained for two years with the modes of CBeebies cut off time and triple layered black out blinds. You thought you were having a tough day if he awoke before six. Ha. Ha. You didn’t know you were born!

You now have not slept for around 36 hours. You studied an experiment like this once in GSCE Psychology and you’re pretty sure everyone died. The only sleep you have is tiny bouts of micro sleep where you momentarily doze off before your heavy head jerks you awake once more and your eyes dart to the new born to check all is well. And just one hour of sleep turns you into Julie Andrews!

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7. How fucking hard breast feeding is

You forgot this. You got a bit smug – you know what it looks like and feels for the baby to latch this time – and he’s done is straight away. Oh this will be easy. I’m so good at this shit.

Thirty six hours later, your body and mind utterly drained, your nipples sore and chapped, Lansinoh all over the shop, your arse numb – Holy Crap this is hard. It’s fucking hard.

8. How many pictures you will take

You knew there would be some snaps – but it’s day two and you need to upgrade your phone as it doesnt have enough storage capacity. And you’ve made a short film and award winning documentary.

9. What your body feels like

You have a long list of what you will do when you’re no longer weighed down by being pregnant. Most of your list involves carafes of wine, exotic spicy food and marathon running. You imagine shedding the baby like removing a cushion from up your jumper and leaping down the street singing ‘Everybody’s Free’. It doesn’t quite work like that.

Your body looks the same as it did at nine months pregnant – just with less tone. You won’t be running any marathons just yet. After a Cesarean agony is: breaking wind (purposefully), sneezing, coughing and God forbid – laughing. You walk around like Mr Burns and dread the day when you’ll need to defecate.

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10. How much love you will feel 

That one gets you every time.

 

In case you haven’t guessed – we had our baby boy. 7lbs, 15oz.

Dear Chicco, About Your Advert

After my 3.40am wake up on a Saturday morning I like to watch some Dawson’s Creek on Sony TV. In between the sickly sweet, utterly false, utopian, fictional drama – I have become aware of your advert. This one …

I feel we need to have a little chat about it.

The woman in it appears to be well rested, her hair is done and she has a lovely face of make up. Where are her bags? Where are her wrinkles? Where is the mascara smudged across her pale, sleep deprived, dry, pained face? Where are her roots? Why isn’t her hair matted and greasy? Why does she appear to have showered in the last day? Why does she look so happy?

Why doesn’t she look like an extra from The Walking Dead?

Why is the baby dressed in a clean, white baby grow? But more importantly, why is he sleeping soundly? He appears to be fast asleep. If this is the case – why is his mother awake? And if she is awake why isn’t she on Twitter, glugging coffee, brushing her teeth, watching Judge Judy and frantically rubbing baby wipes under her arm pits (all at the same time)?

Where is the bedside table of crap?

Including:
Several used baby wipes
Sick covered muslins
Three cold half cups of tea
A large glass of orange squash
Several packets of wipes
nappies
Chocolate digestives
a take away pizza box
Tissues (used and unused)
a TV
dust covered books
a breast pump
dirty baby bottles
one red wine stained wine glass
Some empty packets of quavers
Gripe water and saline solution
pain killers
a half eaten lemon drizzle cake

Why is her other half hugging her? Why is he sleeping? Why is he also happy? Where is his beer gut, grey hair and furrowed brow? Why is he in the same bed as her? Why isn’t he in a separate room? why isn’t he snoring?

Most importantly, why is she not spitting at him through gritted teeth “It’s your fucking turn you fucking arse hole!”

Now I know what you’re thinking – it’s an advert. Adverts are supposed to sell us the ideal – the dream. But I fear you are treading on thin legal ground here. Aren’t there some rules about false advertising?

I don’t worry for myself – I am a mother of two. I’m experienced. I am worried about the new parents to be – they might stumble across your advert after some love making and a lie in. Over their eggs Benedict and bucks fizz they might say “oh look sweetheart, doesn’t that look great?” “Yes pumpkin” he will reply, “let’s buy that!” and they will look forward to the day they will resemble the folks in your ad.

Over nine months later they might come knocking on your door asking for a full refund because daddy’s new nickname is ‘useless tit’, they haven’t slept in thirty six hours, and he’s spent the last four hours Googling “why is my baby crying” and “flights to Peru” on his iPad.

Can I suggest you just dial it back a tad?

First off – put the man in a separate room. The last thing she needs is to have to deal with a large sweaty, snoring lump hogging the bed and the duvet.

She needs to stretch out and if he is there and “doesn’t hear the baby crying” in the night the next time you’ll see her will be in a factual documentary about Spousal smothering. The theme tune of which will be “He had it coming” from Chicago.

Next – get rid of the natural lighting and the beautiful sun beams across the sleeping baby’s face. She should have black out ‘blinds in a box’ on her window that she had to buy after her neighbours complained about having to see her walk about with her breasts out wearing only her pants for two weeks straight. The last thing she needs after being awake for fourteen hours is a reminder that it is now day time outside. The lighting should be dimmed with the constant flicker of a mute Judge Judy lighting up the room from the table of crap.

Now make her a bit more realistic. I know she’s got a gorgeous baby and all – but no one is that smug. Keep your actress up for a few days and make her live on a diet of biscuits and toast for a week. Keep making her hot cups of tea and tell her she can’t drink them – don’t let her wash, or brush her teeth for a day or so, tape some earphones to her head and play ‘this is a song that will get on your nerves’ for seven hours and finally slap her across her face with a wet trout for good measure.

Make sure there is a side table of crap.

Lastly – get a baby model with a cold or colic who is wide awake and likes the sound of his own voice.

Yours, sleep deprived mum of two x

 

Mummy's Writing, Darling
Dear Chicco, about your advert

 

Mummy, I’m not a baby anymore

 

Today (October 3rd 2016) my three year old son walked up to me in the kitchen and shattered my heart. “Mummy” I heard. The word I hear perhaps two thousand times a day and am ashamed to tell you makes me flinch more times than not. I was busily tidying up the debris from the kitchen and uttered “mmm?”

“I’m not a baby anymore.” he said. Out of nowhere. Blindsided.

I looked down at him in his penguin pyjamas. His pure, pale face staring up at me. His perfect brown eyes shining, waiting for a response. I started to breathe again and felt my eyes heavy with tears forcing their way out.

“I know.” I said. And then started to cry in a way mums cry in front of their children as to not alarm them. A false smile plastered across my face, tears falling, like a deranged circus clown.

“I am a big boy now.” he continued. My body trembled as I choked out “but you’ll always be MY baby.”

‘NO.” He insisted. Not understanding the inflection. “I am not a baby.”

I nodded in agreement and sobbed for twenty minutes in the kitchen while he played with his fire engine.

I wept. He will never be a baby again. My small boy is only going to get bigger, and with each year further away. From day one pressed against my breast, to school next year.

It didn’t help matters further as ‘Always be my baby’ shuffled on to the music on my phone. Mariah belted out:

We were as one babe, for a moment in time, and it seemed everlasting that you would always be mine.”

I sobbed again as I wailed along to the music like a bad X Factor contestant (though I was still better than Honey G).

In these times all I can do is channel my inner Mariah Carey and insist:

“You’ll always be a part of me, I’m part of you indefinitely, boy don’t you know you can’t escape me
Ooh darling ’cause you’ll always be my baby.”

He will always be my baby. I have spent the majority of the day cuddling him.

Three year olds… jeez, they can slay you.

Soft play: The Satanic cesspit of despair

mummy's writing darling

It was on Friday, at around 10am, as I sat crossed legged trying not to show the room my granny knickers, on the PVC floor, wearing odd socks, in a tiny sweaty square next to a tinier ball pool watching my son take part in some sort of world record for how many balls in the ball pit he could caress with his tongue and teeth, me playing the “whose turd can I smell now?” game, wondering where my unsupervised precious first born was, because let’s face it, he’s on his own now, watching several women shovel thick cut yellow chips into their mouths eyeing Jeremy Kyle on the screen (and not their children) all the while protecting my one year old from the heavy set unsupervised nine year olds wearing steel toe capped Doc Martins in between their fag break that I decided once and for all that soft play is the worst place in the world. The worst place on the planet. It truly is a cesspit of despair.

It’s a lie you see! A conspiracy. They lure you in with the beautiful word combination: Soft, Play. How calm and safe that sounds. What a sanctuary that must be.

First it’s not bloody soft. Well it is, but there are quite a few hard bastards wandering around just waiting to nut your child for a fruit shoot.

Then there’s ‘Play’. Well, not really. It’s too overcrowded for that. My one year old didn’t want to play – he wanted to suck and explore with his tongue every piece of soft play paraphernalia that I can only imagine has never ever been wiped clean or disinfected since the day they opened their doors ten years ago. It was probably purchased second hand.

It’s completely un-policed. The staff don’t give a shit. All around are redundant signs and rules: No shoes; But Pocohontis over there is wearing thigh high platform boots. Please wear socks; Crusty mum and dad toes all around me shredding like confetti. Babies only; bloody Jessamy over there has got a nicotine patch on is reading The Spectator. Toddlers only; Zeus has got a fucking NUS card.

All the mums must have been like me once upon a time but now they’ve given up and thrown their offspring in to the cesspit just hoping they’ll make it out alive. There are only a few cautious new mums loitering on the perimeter, stroking their baby’s faces, shuddering, whispering “we’ve made a grave mistake, this is not for you, this is not for you.”

Hoards of desperate parents are at the front desk begging to get in for this ‘fun’. But the place is over its limit. The noise level alone makes me heave. The workers are on strike in the kitchen because their request for industrial ear defenders as part of their uniform has been rejected.

And all around me are knackered mums pouring turkey twizzlers and Slush puppies into their mouths (at 10am) washed down with the shittest warm milk (latte) you’ve ever experienced. Most of them aren’t even there. They’re outside playing Pokemon Go swigging Gin from a hip flask.

That’s it for me. I can’t do it any more. Soft play – our time is over. Now I’m off to have them both disinfected and their jabs re-done.

Can I suggest instead of soft play you purchase several soft cushions from the pound shop and scatter them around your living room. Then invite around one, small, well behaved, clean child and enjoy.

Soft play? Shit play.

 

 

Please don’t wake your baby brother up

mummys writing darling

Every single morning starts the same. 4am. And yes we have black out blinds, and yes we have a sodding Gro-clock, and yes we have tried later bedtimes, earlier bedtimes, no naps, naps, more food, less food.

The only thing we haven’t tried at this point is a tranquilliser gun, but if they manufactured a toddler safe medically approved one – I think we would go for it.

But that’s ok though because he is three now and is fairly self sufficient. He can be left to enjoy squash and toast, playing with his trains in his room specifically designed for self sufficient play with trainess. He even has his own telly now. Happy days.

The foil to our cunning plan is two fold. Firstly he can not seem to understand and follow very simple instructions and two, we only went and buggered it all up by having a second child.

So I creep into his room at four and tell him to stop that endearing shrieking noise he is making. I pop on ‘Tale of the Brave’ a lovely Thomas the tank engine movie that if they ever lose the script for I can speed type it for them and if it becomes a West-end play I am more than capable of playing ‘Marian’ (Olivia Colman no less) without any prompts. I get him a refreshment and start the simple instruction part of the soul destroying routine.

“Ok now darling, it’s ok for you to stay in your room and watch Thomas and play with your trains, ok darling? That’s fine. BUT, and I must emphasise… BUT please, please, please be very very quiet because Daddy is asleep and your baby brother is asleep. I don’t want you to wake up your baby brother ok? So be really really quiet. Ok?”

All of this is sang in a Julie Andrews type whisper.

“Ok” he nods. Job done.

Within seconds, through the wall, I hear the following:

  • Some sort of train based sports day is taking place, with races, hurdles and an awards ceremony. Lots of cheering, clapping and reading out of train names.
  • Wailing and sobbing intermittently each time his track becomes detached.
  • An entire Shakespeare tragedy is being played out starring twatting Thomas and fucking Ferdinand.
  • Singing of entirely made up, and significantly long songs.
  • Stamping of feet which could give a herd of wildebeest a run for their money.
  • “MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY?”
  • “DADDY, DADDY, DADDY, DADDY, DADDY, DADDY?”
  • I want pink milk!
  • I want cwiisssps!
  • A top class impression of Elmo on acid having an intense conversation with someone in space with no hearing aid and no phone.

 

During this I go in and out of his room attempting to sssshhh him and explain again that it is very early and I need him to be quiet. He nods. And repeat.

My voice soon turns from Mary poppins to someone possessed by the Devil trying to still be seductive. Have you ever shouted at someone while still whispering? It’s quite a feat.

And then I hear it, the short but distinctive gurgle of the baby brother awakening from his slumber.

And so we are up. It’s 4.30. And by ‘we’ – I mean me – after all, the husband “has to go to work” doesn’t he? While I pick my bum for the day.

Arses. All of them arses.

Neighbours – I’m sorry.