“A good fireman is never off duty!” Sam has all the lines
Prior to having a toddler, clearly, I was never going to let any baby of mine watch children’s television.
But, well, real life happens doesn’t it? And sometimes the only way you’re going to be able to cook dinner / put a wash on / have a wee is to stick the television on.
And so, it has transpired that Sonny Jim has fallen under the spell of Fireman Sam.
And I have questions. Questions that our daily dose of Pontypandy life is not answering. Questions that I can’t be the only parent watching their gazillionth episode (I might be exaggerating a bit, but you get the idea) is asking themselves.
So, to get them off my chest, and in the spirit of solidarity with other Sam addicts, and hopefully, to stop me fruitlessly asking my agog toddler, here are some of the most pressing… Continue reading
Throwback: Me and the triplets, circa 1990
Last week my triplet (I know!) brothers and sister turned 30.
Which gave me an excuse to dig out the old family albums, tucked away on the top shelf of a wardrobe at my parents’.
For an hour or so I got lost in a little bubble of nostalgia. Laughing at our chubby cheeks and gap-toothed grins.
And then I found myself thinking about the rather inglorious death of the family photo album.
Most of us new parents have probably got more photos on our phones of our little ones in the first month of their lives, than there are in existence from our entire childhoods.
Pretty much every single day of Sonny Jim’s life has been snapped on my phone. A fair number of them end up being posted on Instagram, and being WhatsApped to his daddy.
Not long before Sonny Jim was born I went to lunch with one of my best friends.
Strangely she had turned down the offer of a lift, meaning she wouldn’t be drinking either.
The reason was soon revealed. She was pregnant too. It was very early days, but that didn’t stop the two of us giggling together about our little ones being friends and working out just how much of our maternity leave would overlap.
Soon after I had my baby boy. And she had her dating scan at 12 weeks. I got to grips with life as a new mummy. And her pregnancy progressed.
Until 21 weeks. When her little boy, Alfie, was stillborn.
As I laughed watching my son start to work out how to roll and giggle, she was looking at her son lying silently in a cold cot in Southend Hospital’s butterfly bereavement suite. Continue reading
Heart breaking: This image has haunted me
Millions of people have now seen the photo of a two-year-old girl screaming, while a US border agent pats down her mother.
Taken last week the snap has become symbolic of the “zero tolerance” border policies in America, which has caused hundreds of children to be separated from their parents.
My Sonny Jim is the same age as that little girl.
And I haven’t been able to get that photo out of my head since.
To be entirely honest, I’m not big on world news. So much of what goes on around the globe seems to shoot straight over my head as I battle the will of a toddler who doesn’t like eating dinner or being indoors.
Yet that image, when it flashed up on my Facebook feed, cut through all the little mundanities of my day. Continue reading
Not just a mama: At my first pole dancing class
Often when you have a child, a big chunk of your identity gets lost.
Overnight you become the most important person in the world to someone else.
You’re their food source, their comfort, their safety…. You’re their mum. And everything else in the world is secondary to that.
As they get a bit bigger they obviously don’t need you quite as much – their neck can hold the weight of their own head for a start.
But still, being a mummy can be the thing that defines you.
After waiting for nine years for my boy, and undergoing fertility treatments galore, I can hand on heart say that being Sonny Jim’s mummy is the best title I’ve ever had. I’m a work-from-home mama for the sole reason that I want to grab every minute that I possibly can with my little lad while he’s growing up. I never actually realised I’d love “mummying” as much as I do. Continue reading
I can’t imagine anyone will have missed the fact that tomorrow is Father’s Day.
Hardware stores must do their best business in the first weeks of June and sales of bacon probably go up as fry ups are prepared.
But too often the role of daddy is seen as secondary to mummy, surplus to requirements in many ways when it comes to parenting. And admittedly, some dads ARE rubbish. Those mamas, single-handedly doing both the job of mum and dad, are nothing short of heroes in my book.
Yet there are a lot of good uns. And the most important thing they ever do, is just be there. Whether it’s a snatched kiss before bedtime, a cuddle on the couch, or push on the swing, those moments are like tiny beads on the necklace of a child’s life. A tiny, tangible bit of love that helps build them a brighter world. Continue reading
My heart: Sonny Jim and me
It’s a man’s world… so the saying goes.
And nowhere is that patriarchy more apparent than when it comes to fertility.
For all the strides that have been made over the last century. For all the hard-fought rights (to vote, to own our own homes, to smash those glass ceilings) when it comes to having children, nature has us pegged at a real disadvantage.
Women get maybe a 20-year window in which to have their babies. And that’s it.
However we dress it up. Whatever advances that have been made by science, no one has really found a viable, risk-free way for women to put off children well into their forties.
At 35 women’s fertility goes off a cliff – conceiving gets harder and the risks to baby and mama go up too.
Fellas though? Well there’s absolutely nothing stopping them having little ones into their dotage. Continue reading