Peck them like Beckham: Me and my boy
Parenting, it seems, is a pursuit that everyone has an opinion on – and no one is shy about sharing those opinions.
From breast-feeding or bottle feeding, crying it out or cuddling to sleep, cots or co-sleeping, smacking or naughty stepping, nursery or nanny, every stage of parenthood, so it feels, brings with it another should or shouldn’t.
And it turns out that even one of the world’s most famous men – David Beckham – isn’t immune to the circling vultures of criticism.
What’s surprising though, is the part of his parenting that he’s been hugely trolled for online.
My little love: Sonny Jim snoozes
One of the things I’ve found since becoming a mummy, is parenthood seems to have a unique ability to stir up emotions that you thought were long suppressed or gone.
When I was little, I had a bit of a bad spell with bullying.
It was a horrid time. Which hugely shaped the woman I became and my outlook on life. Yet it’s not something as an adult that I’ve particularly dwelt on.
Then I had my baby.
And I don’t know if it’s the overwhelming love you feel that basically shakes loose every other emotion you’ve ever had. Or whether it’s the new and massive responsibility that makes you question every decision you’ve made. Or if it’s just the burning desire not to ever, ever, let down that most precious bundle that’s been entrusted into your care.
Whatever it is, it certainly opens the floodgates on your feelings. Continue reading
Fear free – Sonny Jim runs along the esplanade
There’s a rather famous poem by Philip Larkin, which opens with the line “they f*** you up, your mum and dad.”
It was a somewhat outrageous read when I was 14 and studying for my English Literature GCSE – but the sentiment stuck in my mind.
Now almost two decades on, a mummy myself, I find myself pondering the truth of his lines,
“They fill you with faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.”
I am a worrier. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t had anxiety over something gnawing away at my gut, prickling just at the edge of my consciousness. In a weird way it has probably spurred me on in life. I might as well put myself out of my comfort zone, take the big leap, I’ll worry it about it, whatever I do. Continue reading
Better than any imaginings – me and my boy
IT’S a funny thing, but becoming a parent forces you to give up on childish ideas of who the adult you might be.
Since having Sonny Jim I’ve realised that being a journalist in New York – living a Sex and the City style life – isn’t actually for me.
Since becoming a mummy I’ve known for certain that I’m never going to just jump on a plane and lose myself on a beach somewhere, working in bars by night so I can sleep in the sunshine all day.
The ship has sailed for me to suddenly become the girl with the signature red lipstick and envious eyeliner flicks. With a picture perfect city apartment.
I’m never going to grow out of being clumsy.
I’ve never been more happy in myself, but this transition from the idea of the grown up you, to the reality of it, is easier for some than others. Though no one ever seems to talk about it – instead we all seem to muddle through in our own ways, in our own little worlds. Continue reading
Up on his feet: Sonny Jim is now a toddling toddler
I think we can all agree on the fact that Einstein was a pretty clever chap.
But, did you know he was slow to talk? In fact, he reportedly didn’t start speaking until he was four. FOUR.
I bet he had his mum fretting.
Sonny Jim has just started walking. He’s one and a bit and in his little gang of baby buddies, he’s pretty much the last to get up on his feet.
He also took his sweet time in starting to crawl. Has no interest in potty training. Calls pretty much everything he sees “Bob”. And utterly refuses to wave or clap on cue.
None of this bothers me in the slightest. Continue reading
Little sleep thief: Imagine being this happy before 5am!
Honestly, I had parenting absolutely nailed… until I actually had a baby.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think most of us have pretty clear ideas of what we’d do as a mummy or daddy. What we would allow. What our child will and won’t do.
Which is great, until you realise that your child totally didn’t get the memo.
Here are some of my pre-Sonny Jim parenting fallacies:
* The baby won’t be sleeping in our bed.
Yep. That worked really well until he was poorly. Until he started waking up at 4am. Until he started staying awake for hours in the middle of the night. Now, at least part of the night is often spent with a tiny, wriggly third wheel in our bed. It’s that or we just don’t sleep for nights on end. And, quite frankly, I need sleep. Continue reading
Little buddies: Sonny Jim (asleep) with four of his five NCT pals (aged about 3-months)
A year ago today I was eight months pregnant and dragging the husband along to the first of four antenatal NCT (National Childbirth Trust) classes.
He was not exactly up for it. For starters, he was missing West Ham play. And he couldn’t understand why we needed to sit in a room with five other couples for SIX HOURS (we did break for lunch in the middle) on a Sunday to talk about how our baby was going to be born. And then go to another three sessions in the weeks that followed.
We’d also had to pay more than £200 for the privilege of the experience. Money which could have been spent on clothes for the baby. Or nappies. Or something else that seemed infinitely more practical than chatting.
Off we went to our NCT Signature Antenatal course (held in a side room at David Lloyd in Southend.) And a year on I can happily say it was one of the best pre-Sonny Jim decisions we made. Continue reading