Worth all the crap – literally!
Last week was half-term.
Sonny Jim had no pre-school and I decided now was the time for my almost-three-year-old to finally figure out the whole toilet training thing.
Having spoken about this a fair bit (honestly, as soon as you become a parent I swear suddenly 50 per cent of all conversation starts to revolve around poo) I’d not been rushing the issue.
The general consensus among my mummy friends was that you’re best to wait until your child is ready – rather than when you think they should be – else it will become a battle. And you won’t win.
Until very recently, Sonny Jim had shown absolutely no sign he was in any way ready to give up his pull-ups. But in the past month or so, me, his daddy and his preschool “aunties” had a feeling potty training might be soon on the agenda. He would tell us when he’d done a poo. He was no longer unbothered by a wet nappy. He was talking more.
So, last Monday, we went for it. Daytime nappies were no more. And chocolate buttons were the bribe of choice. He spent two days naked from the waist down and the soundtrack to our days was me asking “wee coming yet?” accompanied by the theme tune to endless episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine and Fireman Sam. Continue reading
Poorly pickle: My Sonny Jim
This week I got my first phone call from Sonny Jim’s preschool.
I was working, as ever trying to squeeze eight hours work into four, and as I hung up the phone it rang almost immediately.
I answered without even looking, to hear the voice of Sonny Jim’s key worker telling me that he was “fine, well not fine, but okay.”
It transpired that my little lad was rather out of sorts. When we’d got up that morning he had seemed slightly off colour, but I assumed it was the very last of his teeth cutting (honestly, it sometimes seems like he’ll be riding a bike before those very back ones come through!) I gave him a bit of Calpol, jollied him along and he went off to preschool in his usual fashion, “bye mummy, be back soon!”
But he’d gone rather downhill since I’d left.
And in that moment as they told me he was really not himself, that he was sad and saying “my tummy hurt, my bum hurt, my mouth hurt” that he wasn’t eating his snack and he was very hot, I got all the pangs of mummy guilt.
Rather sexist? Russell Brand
I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Russell Brand. I’d even go as far as to say I have a little bit of a crush on him.
I follow him on Instagram. I often watch his YouTube channel. When he wrote about becoming a dad for the first time, I thought it was one of the sweetest things I’d ever read.
But his latest ramblings about how he parents his two daughters (Mabel and Peggy, both under three) has left me wondering if he is, in fact, a bit of a prat.
He says he is “very, very focused on the mystical connections of Mabel’s beauty and grace. Not so good on the nappies and making sure that they eat food.”
When asked outright about his involvement in the day-to-day parenting of his children, he responded, “Laura [his wife] does all of it. It turns out that she is extremely well versed in the nuances and complexities of child rearing.
“She wouldn’t go away for 24 hours, Laura. She respects and cares for their safety too much.
Throwback: Just days before I gave birth to Sonny Jim
Knowledge is power – or so the saying goes. But sometimes the more information you have, the harder stuff seems.
Take fertility, for instance.
Having had a successful round of IVF, three unsuccessful rounds of IUI, six months of clomid treatments and years of hospital appointments, I’d say I’m pretty well versed in this area of life.
I’m under no illusion that I can just have another baby at some time in the future (though medically, there’s no reason why that couldn’t happen – oh the joys of unexplained infertility!)
I know that post-35 the chances of IVF working start to drop – and dramatically. That when you hit 35 the risks – to mum and baby – rise rapidly. That you’re actually classed as a “geriatric mother” in medical terms.
I know all of this, but at 34, it sometimes feels like information overload.
Family: Me with my sister-in-laws and sister
LAST Saturday my sister-in-law had her baby shower.
Her little boy is due in a couple of weeks, so her family and friends all gathered at Canvey’s Estuary Heights for a spot of afternoon tea, games and (in my case anyway!) prosecco.
It was lovely. Though these showers are an American tradition, that we’ve only recently really adopted this side of the pond, it’s a very sweet way to spend an afternoon. Three years ago, I really enjoyed mine.
But it got me thinking. We spend so much time preparing for the birth, for bringing the baby home, making sure we have all the material stuff sorted (from little vests to rocking chairs.)
But what about the bit when the baby is actually here. Postpartum. Those is-it-day-is-it-night-who-am-I-why-does-everything-hurt weeks (months. Can I say years?!)
Cuddling it better: Better than any medicine
One of Sonny Jim’s newest phrases is “mummy, lay DOWN. Poor tummy. Poor mummy.”
He’s started doing this ever since I was rushed to Southend hospital just before Christmas with suspected gallstones.
Though I managed to get him tucked up in bed before the ambulance came (and he had no idea his auntie Bear – my sister – spent most of the night on the sofa while I lay was prodded and poked and tested for hours by doctors) he has witnessed me spending a fair bit of time feeling utterly pathetic on the sofa.
And though I’m still not right (we’ve got no proper diagnosis despite the brilliant consultants and the dozens of tests) it has made me realise a few things.
Firstly, that it is possible to be sick and smile at the same time so as you don’t frighten your little one.
Secondly, that even when you feel awful (honestly, the pain at one point was worse than child birth) once you’re a mummy you are ALAWYS a mummy. Your needs still come second to making sure your child is okay. You don’t get to switch off the worry, even when people say you should.
My boy: Sonny Jim
For years and years, the only thing I wished for at Christmas was a baby.
Though I couldn’t put it on any list or casually throw it into conversation while at the office water cooler, falling pregnant was the one gift I yearned for – and the one thing I feared would never happen.
Having children for some women, some couples, just happens.
For others, it never does.
And for others, it takes time. Lots of time. And doctor’s appointments. And hospital visits. And tests. And needles. And months – years – of heartache.
I was one of the latter. And even though this Christmas will be my little boy’s third, I still have moments when I can’t quite believe it.
When my tot smiles with delight as we put on our matching festive pyjamas, then says “Sonny one, mummy one” while patting our candy-cane clad legs, I could almost cry. Continue reading