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. 

Monday, 4 April 2011

‘It looks like a Sesame Street crack den in here’’re probably wondering where I’ve been? Perhaps you thought/hoped that blogging was a passing phase in my oh so hectic life. But no, here I am, back again! 

My absence is due to two things 1: I have gone back to work and 2: Poor Finn has been ill (again). Since the hospital incident we’ve had; an ear infection, a chest infection, conjunctivitis an eczema flare up and two new teeth. Put it this way, when my brother came to visit last week, he took one look around my tissue strewn flat, replete with several multi-coloured plastic medicine syringes and said ‘it looks like a Sesame Street crack den in here’.

Finn seems to be better now, so I have finally been able to step back and survey the wreckage. It seems the main casualty of weeks of not sleeping properly and sitting at a desk eating krispy kreme four days a week is my waist line. I am fatter now than at any point since just after the baby was born. I have exchanged eyeliner for dark circles and hot polish cleanser for a quick swipe with a baby wipe and basically I look crap. 

My new found lack of self confidence was compounded the other day when I had dinner with one of my most glamorous friends. He has the kind of life that I like to imagine could have been mine if I’d had cooler parents. He goes to showbiz parties, has celebrity friends and wears designer clothes – I am obviously so jealous it hurts. Anyway, he reminded me of a time when I used to make an effort, when my roots weren’t three inches long and I actually cared if my socks matched. 

When I look at myself these days, I can scarcely believe that it is me. I’m a good stone heavier than I was before, I rarely do my hair and I recycle the same few outfits week in week out because they are the only ones that fit. So I’ve made a decision, I’m going to lose the weight, probably not all of it but I’m going to give it a go. I’ll let you know how I get on.  

Monday, 28 February 2011

That will teach me to drink sambuca

It’s a sight that no parent ever wants to see, your baby covered in a rash that doesn’t fade. And yet, as I woke up with my first proper hangover in 18 months, this is exactly what I was faced with.

Finbo chose the day after a friend’s very raucous wedding to come down with a bug. Initially I wasn’t too concerned as he was still quite bright and acted in his usual manner when I tried to take his temperature i.e. screamed blue murder and flailed his little arms and legs wildly in indignation.

I was busy cursing my luck to have an ill baby AND a hangover when I noticed the rash – tiny pin-prick, reddy/purple dots under his neck.

James was ordered to the kitchen to fetch a glass and sure enough no matter how hard I pressed (which was quite hard – at one point I was worried I’d cut off his air supply) the spots remained resolutely bright.

It was hard to know what to do. Yes, he was a bit snotty and clingy and he did have a mild fever but he was also quite smiley and not at all off his food. I’m desperate not to be the kind of mother who has the doctor’s number on speed dial and demands antibiotics every time her child sneezes but despite this we seem to live at the bloody hospital. In any case, I decided you don’t ignore a non-fading rash and off we went.

We were whisked through A&E triage the second the words ‘fever’ ‘baby’ and ‘rash’ left my lips. Right from the off, the medical staff were very reassuring and indeed after a dose of Calpol it was hard to believe Finn was sick at all. He laughed and played with the nurses and generally made me feel like a bit of a fool for overreacting.

By the time we got to the paediatric doctor up on the children’s ward I had clamed down enough to notice that I was still wearing my pyjama top and yesterday’s make-up and that actually I felt quite sick. I was expecting to be sent home after he’d been given the once over but unfortunately, a rash like Finn's has to be taken seriously. 

A battery of tests was ordered, firstly urine. If you’ve never tried it – let me assure you that getting a nine month old baby to pee into a pot is no mean feat. You have to strip them off and hold the plastic cup between their legs until they feel like going. Needless to say that by the end of it I was covered in wee.

Second was blood and I have to admit that I ducked out of this one. I’m not squeamish at all but it’s one thing having my own blood taken and quite another watching a stranger pin down my baby and stick a needle into his soft, podgy skin. Daddy did the honours and when even he came back with tears in his eyes, I knew I’d done the right thing staying away.

Finally, a chest x-ray. More pinning down and scary noises and by the end of it poor Finbo was borderline hysterical.

After that we waited, for a LONG time. With nothing to do except watch Cbeebies (they wanted £3 for two hours of adult tv, the thieving bastards), worry madly and wish I could turn back time and not drink three sambucas the night before.

At about 9pm most of the results were back. And while Finn did have something, it wasn’t meningitis. Just some run-of-the-mill virus that also happens to cause red spots and scare the shit out of parents.

Brightly coloured toys? No thanks, I'll just play with this plastic cup.
Despite the trauma, it was worth getting it checked out. I'd never have forgiven myself if it was something worse and if nothing else, it may make me think twice about doing shots on my next night out.

Monday, 21 February 2011

WARNING Don’t read over breakfast.

Everyone tells you that you can never understand how hard being a parent is until you actually do it. Well, I hope this little insight into my daily life gives non-parents some idea.

There is crap on my wall. There is actual dried human excrement on the wall in my son’s bedroom. ‘Eww. How did it get there?’ I hear you cry. I can feel the weight of your judgement already, but I’m actually a very clean person! Let me explain…

Finn is teething. Three of the little buggers are poking their way up at once and as well as waking him up three times a night and giving him worse mood swings than a menopausal woman who’s trying to give up smoking, they’ve had a very negative effect on his nappies.

We’ve had some atomic explosions down there recently and apparently the charming child subjected his Granny to one when she looked after him last week.

Now, Granny only comes now and again and she’s not as well practised at dealing with poo as I am (oh the glamour), so in her rush to get him out of his soiled clothes she just yanked at them as hard as she could – sending a delightful spray all up the wall.

No-one noticed this piece of modern art until the next day as it was hidden behind the door. So I spent 45 minutes this morning scrubbing it away with dettol. To be fair, it looks as good as new, but I’ll always know there’s poo in the corner.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Motherhood changes many things, among the most trivial is Valentine’s day.

Yes, yesterday was the most (delete as applicable) romantic, over hyped, expensive, day of the year. Despite its obvious frivolity, my husband and I have always quite enjoyed Valentine’s in the past, using it as an excuse to get dressed up, eat posh food and have sex (not that we ever used to need an excuse).

This year however, we are parents to a lively eight month old son. And as well as all the expected knock-on effects of parenting; exhaustion, being constantly covered in dribble, not quite losing the baby weight – we are also desperately trying to dig ourselves out of the financial black hole that maternity leave has caused. All things considered, Valentine’s Day was a considerably different affair this year…

Now that I am back at work, one of us leaves the house early and the other stays to sort the baby out with childcare and vice versa in the evening. So at 7:00am I dragged my weary self off to the office, I briefly saw my husband as he got up to feed the baby so I gave him his card, he informed me he’d forgotten mine.

Later in the day, I got a call from reception informing me in a singsong voice that ‘something’s been delivered’. For once, I bypassed the lift and actually walked down the stairs I was so excited. My husband is usually ace at gifts and I’ve had something thoughtful and beautiful every year since we’ve been together. Sadly this year, I got a cheap bouquet of naff roses interspersed with some droopy gyp. I tried really hard not to be an ungrateful bitch, after all we are POOR, but it was really hard.

I got home to relieve the mother-in-law of the small crazy one at about six. We’d bought relatively nice (not the cheapest available option) food so I put the baby to bed early and got cooking. Three hours later, I’d eaten, the rest was cold and J finally came home.  I couldn’t be mad, we do the same job and I know what it can get like.

Come bedtime, we were both shattered and there was no question of any action. In fact, if he’d even tried it would probably have ended in violence.

I’m aware that none of this is revelatory; I expect a lot of new parents had a pretty similar day and if so I’d love to hear about it. It makes me feel better to know that not everyone is being glamorously amorous on Feb 14th.