Wednesday, 7 November 2012

D-Day - the day we got rid of the Dummy

We resisted Finn's dummy desires for ages, keeping up a constant vigilance against him stealing them from Joey, his friends or just strangers in the street. But after a year without them they slowly crept back into everyday use. We began to rely on them to get him back to sleep when he woke at an ungodly hour, to keep him quiet if we had to wait in a queue for something and eventually just for five minutes peace from the relentless onslaught of looking after a toddler.

However, after a while he got so used to the dummy that it ended up doing more harm than good. When he started waking up in the middle of the night demanding it, we knew it had to go.

Now my will power is weak (you may have gathered this from my inability to stick to any diet or exercise regime I have mentioned in this blog) so I knew the only route to success was to destroy the dummies. Otherwise I'd probably find myself on my hands and knees rummaging in the rubbish after a few hours. So I got the scissors out and cut them all into teeny tiny pieces and waited for Armageddon.

It didn't take long. After about five minutes Finn started asking, and then begging, and then screaming. I knew there was no point in trying to reason with him by telling him we were giving the dummies to Santa or posting them to little babies who needed them, because frankly, he's not that gullible. Or generous.

At nap time, Joey added his shouts to the cacophony and I spent hours rocking them both to sleep. They went to sleep crying, and they woke up crying, they cried when we went to play group and they cried when we came back home. Basically, they cried. A lot.

By the time James got home from work (early because I'd sent him a video of the children screaming and demanded his return) I couldn't take any more. I had to lie down in a darkened room until they finally cried themselves out and went to sleep in Daddy's arms.

The next day I prepared myself for more of the same. I steeled myself against another day of misery, but it never came. Finn woke up and asked for his dummy, I told him again it was gone and he just shrugged and got on with things. Joey griped a bit at nap time but was generally in good spirits and they went down to bed that night without a peep.

I'm not saying that we didn't have any other tantrums or problems. About a week after D-Day I lost sight of Finn in a cafe and when I found him, he was crouched behind a parked buggy sucking on another child's dummy that was tethered to the pram with one of those stretchy cords. But all in all it wasn't as bad as I'd feared and now, we're all sleeping through the night again - kind of, well some nights anyway.  

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


I promised details of my recent beauty exploits so here goes...

I was a bit worried about being a bridesmaid recently due to the whole 'letting myself go' extravaganza, so I called on the help of my lovely friend in the beauty business, Gemma. We discussed what I was unhappy with since having the children (everything) and came up with a realistic and basic plan which won't cost me the earth but will help me to feel better about myself. This is the plan...

1) Wax regularly. I've really let this one go. I've been so busy/tired that I stopped waxing all together and just whipped the Venus out if it was a special occasion.
2) Scouse brow - So I was originally joking about this but Gemma assured me that dyeing my eyebrows would give my face a more groomed look without me having to actually do anything. I was sceptical but she was right. So I'm not exactly a Scousewife but they are darker.
3) Permanently remove the excess hair my body kindly decided to generate when I was pregnant.

You're probably wondering a bit about that third one. I've agonised over blogging about this as it's so horrid but Caitlin Moran tweeted about her tache today so I guess I can't be alone in this.

With each pregnancy, not only did I gain a beautiful baby, I also grew a dark hair on my chin. Obviously this is unacceptable. However according to my internet research, it's very common and caused by an increase in hormones called androgens when you're preggo. To be honest, I don't care how normal it is or what causes it, I just want rid. Gemma suggested Electrolysis.

The British Institute and Associations of Electrolysis describes it as....

"inserting a very fine, flexible needle into the follicle. Your therapist then skillfully applies a tiny amount of current and destroys the lower part of the follicle, which stops any more hairs growing from that particular follicle." 

Does it hurt? Yes. It's like a hot pin being inserted into your face, the pain snaked all the way up to my jaw.
But it's not unbearable. So far I've had it done twice, one hair is gone altogether and the other is significantly finer. It's definitely worth it.

None of this is ground breaking, I know that they are just small (somewhat obvious) steps but already I feel better about myself. Next week...Shopping!

Just to finish off, you'll all be pleased to hear that Finbobs is now dry during the day even at nap time. We have the occasional accident and I'm prepared for a bit of regression once I go back to work, but we are over the worst of it. I'm ridiculously proud of him but also of myself. It's been one of the toughest parenting challenges I have faced.


Friday, 24 August 2012

Potty Training...It's Shit

First off, apologies for my absence. It's been a busy old summer since the sun finally got round to shining. I've been bridesmaid at a wonderful wedding, for which I was waxed, bleached, painted, spray tanned and electrocuted (more on that in a later blog), and for the first time since the birth of my babies I felt good about what I saw in the mirror. Since then I've ruined all my hard work by eating like a monster but I'm trying a new diet now (more on that later too).

I also ditched the kids for the weekend for a trip to V Festival. James had to work for a lot of it but luckily my brother Rich (The Gym Suicides), his girlfriend Faye (I Wish I Could Wink) and my lovely friends Laura (LymphLaura) and Rich were there to keep me company . At first it felt a bit odd to be left to my own devices without having to worry about pureeing stew or changing bums but I soon got used to it and had a brilliant time.

Anyway, I digress, what I want to blog about today is my latest foray into the parenting world...potty training Finn. I approached this latest challenge with my usual thorough parenting style (find someone else who's done it and copy them) and three weeks in, we've had moderate success.

Everyone has an opinion on the "right" age to potty train and I've had people tell me that I've missed my chance because he's now 'too busy' and others tell me that he's too young and I should wait. Well, whatever, I haven't been able to do it before now, what with having a baby and all, and I can't wait any longer as my return to work looms and I want to be there to help Finn through this. It's a big change for him and I'm his mummy, so as tempting as it is to leave the childminder to get covered in wee, we've started.

Day one saw us stay in all day, Finn naked from the waist down and me on my hands and knees with the Dettol. Day two and three were pretty much the same but every now and again we got a pee in the potty (mainly while he was sat on it staring at the TV but still, progress). At some point he seemed to get the idea and over the next week or so, the majority of his business ended up in the right place.

For the first two weeks, if we went out I popped him in a nappy but this week, we upped our game and have been out of the house nappy free. There have only been two major incidents and by major of course I mean poo. Both times it's happened when he has been preoccupied and I have taken my eye off the ball.  However, the worst thing about this whole experience has been other people's attitudes. People stare repulsed when I get the potty out in the park, tut at me when I have to hold him over the nearest tree and you should have heard the disparaging remarks when he wet himself in Sainsbury's.

The worst time was at playgroup. As I tried to clean up my miserable little boy, sad not to have made the potty in time, a woman approached me to ask if I could stop what I was doing to come and clean up my 'child's mess'. I had apparently missed a spot and she made a huge production of showing me where and hovering over me as I cleaned. I tried to put myself in her shoes, after all it's clearly unpleasant to have poo on the floor when there are other kids around. But it really was just the tiniest amount, the playgroup was hardly overrun and as a mother, she must surely be used to baby crap. It was obvious that Finn was distressed and I like to think that if roles were reversed, as a fellow parent, I would have been a little more compassionate. After all, as my lovely friend Liz said; 'it's bad enough having to clean up shit without other people making you feel like it too.'


James and I at the wedding of Laura Burch and Zac Schwarz

In the Louder Lounge with Laura and Rich - Totes Amaze

Friday, 20 July 2012

Hungry and tired but a little bit thinner

I've been doing the healthy eating for over two weeks now, it's going well. I lost three pounds last week. I'm still logging my food into MyFitnessPal but I've given up trying to stick to 1200 calories, it's impossible, I've only managed it on one day - here's what I ate:

One slice of whole meal toast with one tablespoon of light Philadelphia
One medium banaana
Instant coffee with skimmed milk

Wholemeal pitta bread with 30g of Brie, one slice of honey roast ham
One apple

Two chicken thighs marinated in lemon juice, garlic, chicken broth
3 small roasted potatoes

2 custard creams

See, it's NOTHING. I was starving. I went to bed at 9pm because all I could think about was getting up and eating breakfast. So I've upped my limit to 1500 which is still hard, but better.

To complement the healthy eating regime, I've also started exercising. Well, I've been on one run, tonight actually. I'm using another free app for this called RunKeeper which was recommended to me by my friend Sarah. She is super fit and has lost a bunch of weight so I thought I'd give it a try.

So after James got home from work, I dug out my old trainers and my only sports bra, downloaded an album called Now That's What I Call Running (I'm a professional now see) and set off. I chose a 20 minute program and a nice lady told me to set off at a slow pace for five minutes as a warm up. I took "slow pace" to mean "walk" and head towards the park.

After five minutes, the lady is back telling me that for my first interval I should go at a "steady pace" for a minute. Except I need to cross the road - crap. I start jogging on the spot, out of the corner of my eye I see one of my neighbours and try to hide my already sweaty face. Desperate to get away I make a run for it and come frighteningly close to being squashed by a bus. The driver leans on his horn, my neighbour can barely contain his laughter and I run as fast as I can in the opposite direction.  So... going well so far.

However the rest of it is pretty straightforward. I run steady for a minute and then slow for one and a half minutes. Even so after ten minutes my lack of fitness is glaringly obvious and I can't believe I'm only halfway through. The longer it goes on, the more annoying I find the lady. As 20 minutes approaches I can't wait to stop running but the lady just comes back and tells me to go steady again. WTF? Turns out the first five minutes were just the warm up and don't count towards the 20 minute program! When it finally is over, I hobble home and do some half arsed stretches. I'm mortified by how difficult I've found it. The stats on the app show that I have run a measly 3.29km and burned 259 calories - which is less than one Mars Bar.

Anyway, it's a start and I will continue.

A quick word on what the kids have been up to this week. Joey has two front teeth! They are just poking through the gum and he's been suffering a bit at night with them but on the whole it's not been too painful. He does keep pulling this weird face where he sucks his bottom lip in and chews on it though...

And Finn has been perfecting his scooting skills, he can't turn or break or anything but I'm still really proud. He also tried to steal a cake from Ben Fogle's son, but that's a story for a different day.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Sorry seems to be the hardest word

What a week. Four days trapped in the house by sick kids and torrential rain followed by three debauched days in Brighton on a Hen do. I'm bloody knackered, even more so than usual. Now, Finn and I don't do too well when either of us is over-tired so there has been the odd stand off of late, which leads me to this week's topic; discipline.

My style of parenting is either bodged from what I can remember off Super Nanny, or copied from the other mothers in my NCT group. But, now that Finn is well past his second birthday, I'm running out of excuses for his boisterous behaviour and none of the above is working. Before I launch into some of his finer moments, I'd just like to say that he's a good kid really, he's not malicious or spiteful. If anything he's overly friendly in a Lenny type manner that often sees him pulling small children to the floor shouting 'CUDDLE, CUDDLE'.  I think it's cute, sadly many parents of said small children disagree.

The main problem that we have is his refusal to follow directions...of any description...ever. From 'please don't post mummy's wedding rings down the plug hole' to  'don't eat the play-doh' (every single week at playgroup) to my personal favourite 'don't climb out of your pram onto the doctor's computer desk while I'm having this invasive examination', if Finn wants to do something, he's pretty much going to do it. Most of it is harmless exploring but every now and again he crosses a line and something must be done.

Yesterday, was one such example. Joey took a tumble trying to reach a toy on his play mat, he banged his head on Buzz Lightyear and had a good old cry. I gave him a dummy and reinstalled him on the mat. Finn hasn't had a dummy since his first birthday but lately has become obsessed by them. So as soon as I turned my back, he pinched it and Joey was crying again. I took it away and gave it back to Joey. Now repeat the last two sentences a hundred times. And then he got really mad and threw a toy, which hit me in the shin.

I'd given him a warning and now it was time for action. Supreme punishment of two minutes, alone in the front hallway. It didn't work. He played with the post, he pulled at threads in the carpet, he broke the zipper on his trousers. When I opened the door and asked him to apologise, he said 'No way, no way!'. Cue two more minutes in the hallway. Now repeat the last two sentences a hundred times.

After about twenty minutes, he was crying hysterically and I was on the verge of joining in when he finally, and very begrudgingly, uttered 'Sowee Mama'. We had a cuddle and I inwardly breathed a massive sigh of relief at my victory. Ten minutes later he'd stolen the dummy again - this time I did cry. If anyone has any advice on training toddlers, I'd love to hear it.

In other excellent news, I put on weight this week. Actually it's not too bad, because as I said, I went to a Hen do and drank my weight in Blue WKD (I don't know why) so I guess it could have been worse. One thing I am proud of is that despite knowing I was going away, I stuck to healthy eating before hand. The old me would have been all... 'well I can't diet this weekend so I'll just eat myself stupid all week and then start again on Monday'.

I'm aiming for 1200 calories a day and using a free app called My Fitness Pal. It requires quite a lot of forward planning to make sure that I don't eat my limit by the time I get to my evening meal but it makes me think twice about every single thing I eat, which can't be a bad thing. I hope to have more positive results next week.


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Hey, remember when I used to blog?

Well, I'm giving it another try. My year long absence can be explained by the arrival of baby boy number two six months ago. We never intended to have our children a mere 19 months apart and the shock of finding myself pregnant again before my kid's first birthday knocked me for six. It was a difficult pregnancy, it felt like it went on forever. But after a delightful Christmas day labour, lovely baby Joey was born at 00:27 on Boxing day. I have two of the buggers to muse over and I thought I'd share it all with you. 

Towards the end of my last foray into the blogging world, I was bemoaning my weight. And shockingly, having another baby has done nothing to help matters! Not only am I bigger than I've ever been, I've also fallen into the classic mum trap and 'let myself go'. I'm averaging one haircut every twelve months, my waxing has been shamefully lax, my wardrobe is half empty and what is in there is a minimum of three years old.

The other day, I had to get the kids to the doctors for an early morning appointment (conjunctivitis if you're interested), none of us had slept, they were both screaming and it was all I could do to get us out the door. As I ran down the road, sweating beneath my new plastic mac (purchased for this delightful summer we are having), I caught sight of myself in a shop window; no make-up, unwashed hair with roots so long they look like a reverse dip dye, JOGGING BOTTOMS. I'm not that girl, there's no way I can be that girl.

So another reason I'm revisiting this blog is to document my redevelopment. Now, unlike Victoria Beckham, when I say I'm just an average mum, it's actually true. We earn just enough money to pay for our little flat, eat and have the occasional trip to Nando's or the zoo. Sadly I will not be able to afford liposuction, a personal chef or stylist. I'm going to have to do this the old fashioned way - Weight Watchers and Legs Bums and Tums down the local leisure center. I am lucky enough to have a few friends in the beauty world, so I'll be cadging a few favours along the way too.

In a future blog I will be providing photographic evidence of my hideousness. You have been warned.

But for now, here are some goals...  
  • Ideally I'd like to lose a stone and tone up my mum tum. I'm giving myself six months which I think is reasonable
  • I go back to work in October. By then, I'd like to have sorted my hair out and refreshed my wardrobe
  • Finally, I'm thinking of trying out a 'Scouse brow' - I dunno, we'll see on that one.


Thursday, 16 June 2011

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to

Ok, so how’s the weight-loss going? Well if I tell you that last night I had takeaway for the third time this week and then ate a mars bar in bed, that should give you some idea. I just can’t do it. Working and looking after an insane one year old is too hard. I need food. I need it to keep me sane. It’s basically my only pleasure.

Anyway, speaking of having a one year old, Finn had his first birthday last month and I made the mistake of throwing him a party. I invited all his little friends from NCT, my family, the in-laws, his god-parents and all my friends with babies, amounting to somewhere in the region of 35 people.

 I don’t know what I was thinking because I live in a tiny flat, we’ve only got one sofa and it obviously chucked it down with rain so the garden was off limits. People were so squished in, I made my family take it in turns sitting in the bedroom to make more space in the living area.

I had also thought that having the party at home would be the cheaper option: wrong again. I spent a staggering £105 in the party shop on what amounted to a handful of balloons, a disposable tablecloth and some paper cups and plates. I spent a further £150 on party food, and by party food I mean, egg sandwiches, party rings a few wotsits and a plate of cheese and pineapple on a stick. I did also buy a reasonable amount of booze but believe me it was necessary. Don’t even get me started on the cost of  goody bags.

So, we’re all squashed in like sardines, eating my retro spread and every single person in the room has said to me “I just can’t believe he’s one!” and I’ve said to everyone “I know! it just seems like yesterday I was pregnant!” and I thought – he won’t remember a single second of this. I spent a fortune, stressed myself out buttering hundreds of slices of bread at six in the morning and he would probably have had just as much fun playing with wrapping paper for two hours. And while it was so lovely to see everyone, I was so busy rushing round that actually, I didn’t speak to anyone for more than 5 minutes.

On the plus side, he did seem to have a lovely time, we got some lovely presents to refresh his toy selection which was desperately needed and everyone was very kind about my efforts as hostess.

Still, on balance and as mean as it sounds, any future child of mine won’t be getting a proper party until they are at least three.