Monday, December 03, 2012


I feel so very judged these days. An example though, of how I manage to make myself feel. B takes his socks off at soft play, we all go into eat party food and B gets up from the table and starts walking around. Neither D nor I have thought to put his shoes and socks back on, someone comments 'oh, look at B,he has no socks on'. My mother steps in and says the right thing 'oh B loves taking his socks off, when he comes to mine he spends a lot of the day taking his socks off and feeling the different surfaces, like the door-mat which he specially likes to stand on and say 'prickly' because he likes the feeling on his feet'. 'oh, right' says the person with what my mother described as a non-plussed look. Meanwhile I have gone full on into 'oh no, he should be wearing socks' mode and am following him around attempting to coax him to put socks on which he clearly doesn't want to do. Cue resistance, wailing and tears. It was at this point that I realised 'I always do this' I take something a person says to heart, I do completely the opposite of what I and B want to do, he ends upset and I end up the mum in the room with the screaming baby.

I am determined to stop this. I need to be able to come back with an answer like mum did and stop worrying that people are judging me. Well, they are judging, but I need to stop giving a toss. I am being mean of course but I do think I need to start getting smarter with my answers, don't you? I want my son to be barefoot if that's what he wants, I want him to feel free to explore. I'm going to get smart and am going to keep on parenting the way I want.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Nursery veteran?

A woman I know in work has recently come back from maternity leave and has put her daughter into the crèche that is attached to where we work. We are very lucky to have this nursery so close to work, it makes drop offs so much easier and when I first put B in I was able to goober to feed him at lunchtime, which I carried on doing until he was a year old.

The woman who has come back has been in quite a state, her daughter cries when she puts her in and through the day, then again on pick-up. I remember it so well. People I asked about the nursery only had good things to say but when you actually start putting your child in you do find yourself asking 'is this normal?'. Like the fact that sometimes there is no one to directly hand your child to, or that he is strapped into a 'rocker' every time you arrive to collect him and also those times you see another person's baby crying and no one is comforting them. And then someone asks you what your opinion of the nursery is and you hear yourself saying 'they are great' and 'B loves it there' because by now he does and the first few weeks of tears and walking across the crossing with a heavy feeling in the pit of your stomach are over.

So when this woman started asking me did I think she should say something about the use of the rockers I told her that I wish I had, I wish I had stood up for m son's elf are and insisted they not put him in them. I wish I had waited every time I dropped him off to make sure I could hand him to one of the people he knew. All I can do is sympathise with my colleague and tell her it does pass and hope that non of it left any psychological damage because now he does love it, he does know the majority of the people who work there and he's clearly coming on leaps and bounds.

I do wish people had been more honest with me about how utterly crap it can feel in the first few weeks though, and I have resolved to be honest if I am ever asked.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

On the bus

I think all these blogs will come up as published on the same day but these are all edited drafts I have had stored until I had time, so some of these events are from a few weeks ago.

Last month my car broke down and I was carless for two weeks which meant getting B and myself to and from work with a combination of trains busses and, when I could get them, lifts from D and my mum. I tried to make it into a bit of an adventure for B so we alternated between train and bus quite a lot. It also rained quite a lot and B learned some new vocab like 'broken car' (and eventually 'mended car')' 'broken trees' (leaves coming off) and 'it's raining'. We soon moved on to 'no bus' and 'no train' depending on which we were taking; we were on a bus he wanted train - you get the picture!

Anyway my reason for blogging is to say that travelling on public transport in rush hour teaches you a lot abut the challenges of breastfeeding a toddler. Namely:

There is no where on a bus that is private so feeding discretely is not possible. If you sit at the front the whole bus, and the bus driver, can see you. If you sit at the back you will be sitting next to either the local pervert or a group of teenagers who are not the best audience for a wriggling breastfeeding toddler; he will find them, the most interesting thing on the bus, they will want to cootchie coo him until they realise that, yes, you do basically have your tit out.

There's no point trying to distract or deny your toddler, his protests will only get louder until the whole bus is looking at you.

Travel light and know where your snacks/book/car is for distraction purposes because trying to stop a toddler from walking down the bus and waving at everyone s really hard when you have a bag stuffed full of shit to balance on your knee or keep your hands on.

There will be people from work on your bus,they will probably want to talk to you but won't be aware that you are still feeding. Most people think feeding a toddler is weird.

People are very kind and they will offer you a seat, they just might be surprised to see you feeding.

Basically,trains are easier.

Friday, September 14, 2012

last posts before sunny Spain

The latest news on my husband's job is that he's definitely jobless. He left a couple of weeks ago and was paid his last wage-packet a couple of days later. The good news is that he took his case to tribunal and it turns out they were not within their rights to get rid of him so tey have agreed to setle by giving him 3 month's wages. I just hope he manages to get another job because although this payment makes us cash rich for now it's not going to be good long-term.
We are off to Spain on Sunday, I am partly packed. We fly out quite late so I am hoping that between now and then my husband willput something into the suitcase because so far it's all my and our son's stuff. I am trying to be chilled about the whole thing but am a little worried as it's 10 days, possibly in blazing hot weather with a toddler and my mother-in-law. So to distract myself I have tried to create a capsule wardrobe. Today I bought a whole new outfit from Tesco and Asda, including some lovely sunglasses in the sale. I might just take a photo and post it up like I am some kind of fashion blogger. Maybe it will become a theme.
I also had a haircut, quite a lot shorter than last time - I think I will start wearing lip-stick.

Monday, August 27, 2012

No one ever thanks me for doing the bath routine

Although rather than this being a fault in someone else, I think the fault is with me; that I feel I have to thank people for doing things that I do all the time without expecting the reward of a thank you. Also I say 'sorry' too much. My mum picked me up on this recently when I apologised to her because she dropped a carrier bag I had given her. My logic being that it was my carrier bag, I gave it to her so therefore it must be my fault. When she barked at me 'why do you say sorry all the time, you must stop it' the first words out of my mouth were 'sorry'. Part of me, thinking about it later, wonders if perhaps the blame lies elsewhere - in my childhood? It's all very well a parent berating you for your self-flagellation but what if they are the reason for it in the first place? I had a fairly ok childhood but I can definitely remember a lot of 'sit up straight, don't do that, say sorry like you mean it'. I believe my default setting has always been say sorry for everything and put yourself down before someone else does. In school I would always get in with the insults (About myself) before someone else could, it meant I couldn't get hurt. I think, although I was accutely aware of the injustice of it, I realised very early on that the safest thing to do was admit fault (even when not at fault) and hope whatever the issue was would blow over.

I want to change this. I feel like in recent years I have been far too harsh on myself and it's about time I stood up and said 'you know what? I am actually all right me'. With all the major change I have been through in the last few years I feel like I have lost myself; I am no longer the person I was. I am very good at compartmentalising life so everything from before 2007 feels like it didn't actually happen, I have swept huge parts of my previous 12 year relationship out of my mind. I started doing this as soon as I realised I was going to leave, I think it was easier that way because I didn't have to deal with it if it wasn't there. Problem is I ended up losing a part of me too. I was so eager to please and to fit in with the new life that I started to pick on myself, to compare myself to people. I wanted to be like them regardless of the fact that I didn't even know if I liked them yet. Why do I have this stupid need to please, this desparate need to fit in, this bit of me which cares so much about what people think?

Another thing I think has changed me for ever is the stuff we went through to get pregnant. I was so worried during that whole time that I was driving my husband away that I forgot about me and what I needed. It was horrible, really horrible. Of course it is all ok now because I have our beautifully funny and gorgeous son but there is still a part of me that feels crushed.

I have decided that if I want people to think I am a nice person then I just need to be a nice person but apart from that I need to somehow get rid of this self-loathing I have and the belief that other people must loathe me too. Most of all I need to stop caring about some people liking me. Why does it matter if I don't like them much either? Sod them.

Monday, August 20, 2012

K-Stew and R-Patz

Here's something I wanted to write about. Where is Kristen Stewart? Is she STILL in hiding after being papped by a photographer cheating on her boyfriend with a married man? Really none of this should bother me, nor be any of my business but her boyfriend re-emerged this week to promote his new film and her 'lover' was walking the streets within hours of the infidelity. His wife has been walking the streets in power suits and without her wedding ring. K-Stew has not been seen for days, maybe even weeks; apart from one time the day after the phots were published where she was seen crying in the street about the whole affair. Or so say the 'papers'. For the past two weeks a steady stream of hate has been spewed onto the internet towards Ms Stewart.

I find the whole thing so unfair. Yes, we all know that cheating is bad but when Brad Pitt cheated on his wife did he get all this shit thrown at him? Did he feel so persued that he went into hiding? Ok, so someone came up with those Team-Jolie / Team-Anniston T-shirts but who got most of the shit from the whole thing? Yes it was Angelina Jolie. Fair enough she was as much to blame but why is it always the woman who is made to hide or if she doesn't is chased down the streets and hounded down? I recon it must be hard for Kristen to deal with publically but people are behaving as if they expect her to be branded with a scarlett letter and never dare show her face again. It's blatent misogyny.

 jodi foster has recently commented on the whole thing.

Monday, April 30, 2012

teething and talking

It has been a funny old couple of weeks. I am shattered from restless nights of teething hell and days are zipping by so fast it has started to feel quite scary. It's also been raining for what seems like forever and though most people I know have spent the whole time moaning about it I have tried to make it fun for B by letting him splash in puddles and get wet. He is picking up words quite quickly now, though his 'garden' sounds like 'daddy' and sometimes he will say a word and then never say it again like 'Joobs' (boobs), 'Ready'. He says 'bye bye' when we put his coat on and 'garden' all day long as he is obsessed with getting outside.

We are having some work done out the back to slightly extend the kitchen so it can be a bit tricky getting him out there but when he does he loves it. D is doing all the prep work for the building-work himself, knocking down the outside loo and shed, taking bricks to the dump, preparing a trench for the foundations and so on. We'll get about a meter extra space and are planning to have big double doors leading out to the yard. It is just a yard, about 2 metres of concrete, but it will make everything so much better and hopefully create more light and space in our existing tiny kitchen. We are off on holiday at the end of June and I think the plan is to have the new walls and roof built by then so that the tiling and walls can be done while we are away, plus the job of knocking through into the new extension bit. Here's hoping the whole house isn't full of dust when we get back. I have been sorting through the Ikea Kitchen I bought years ago but never installed into my house in Newport. Most of it is salvagable thankfully. Our long-term aim is to rent this house out and move somewhere with better schools for B and all this is a part of that plan.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

General ranting about feminism and breastfeeding

Apparently, as a breastfeeding mum, I am supposed to be judging mums who bottle feed their children.

I am supposed to be thinking they are cruel for not doing their very best for their child, that their bond with their child is not a great as the one I have with mine, that they are setting their children up to be obese and to suffer from allergies. I am supposed to be smug and judgemental, disapproving and unkind.  

What am I really thinking? I am thinking that maybe the mother bottle feeding her child wanted to breastfeed but her child was ill and she did not get the right support or encouragement. I am thinking how determined I had to be when my baby was born and placed in special care; pumping every 3 hours and attempting to breastfeed in-between while the nurses offered bottles instead. Perhaps she wanted to breastfeed but her supply dwindled because she got the wrong or conflicting advice. Maybe she was advised to give her baby top-ups in the hope that it would sleep for longer and perhaps she was unaware that it is natural for a small baby to feed every one or two hours. It could be that the mother doesn’t know that babies have several growth-spurts during which it’s normal for them to feed more and that her supply will adjust to provide the right amount for her baby and that a hungry baby does not need formula. Perhaps she is unlucky to have a midwife or health visitor who has failed to update her training and believes that a baby should be in a strict routine. It’s possible that the mother was pressured by family to get the baby off the breast because “that’s what I did”, or because they believe the only way a father can bond with the baby is through a bottle. Perhaps she read stories about women who have been asked to move to the toilets to feed their child while out in public, maybe these kinds of tales made it all sound like too much effort? Could it be that she was frightened by anecdotes about blisters and blocked ducts and didn’t realise that, with the right knowledge and help, the breast-feeding experience need not be a difficult and painful one. Or, I think, maybe the mother just didn’t want to breastfeed because she has been told it’s weird or sexual. I think how sad it is that some people think a breast’s primary function is a sexual one and that a baby should be given milk meant for calves rather than the milk of its own mother; that advertising and the media can make something so natural seem so wrong. I am thinking perhaps she has never been around people who breastfeed, never seen it positively portrayed on TV or in the press so now she thinks it’s something odd that only hippies do. She may even not realise that it is pregnancy which changes breast shape, not breastfeeding.


Yes, I am thinking what a shame she is not breastfeeding but, knowing all the reasons why breastfeeding can be scuppered, I am not judging her. I am judging the system which results in so many women not even trying and even more women not continuing beyond a few weeks and that’s the real shame.

infertile me?

Oh Heck. I think I just got my period. I am in work and went to the loo and seem to have a little red mucusy discharge. Here's hoping it is my period and not implantation bleeding. My sex life is in decline but it does happen and lately I have been worrying about it because I haven't sorted out any contraception because i am barren. Heck! I have just about decided that I am fine with one child and that two would be far too hard financially and emotionally. I need sleep for a start.

So... it took me two years and a round of IVF to get pregnant and I have basically accepted that I am infertile and lately I have thought a lot about if I want another child. I came to the conclusion that I don't. I am happy with one; the one I never thought I would have. Aside from the financial and the emotional I just don't think I can cope with the whole introducing the idea of a sibling thing. I have seen so many friends and family deal with it and I think it would stress me out. There are lots of good reasons to have a sibling but I don't know I can go through the whole birth thing again.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Determined attachment parenting

I am a full time working mum; or if I am being terribly PC I am a working out of the home mum. I don't know if this makes me a part time mum and a full time working mum but no one ever questions that D is a full time working dad do they? I am also following an attachment parenting style, I have my baby in bed with me every night, I am still breastfeeding, I won't do controlled crying and I respond to my baby when he needs me, I will also never hit my child. Some people tell me that my child will be clingy and insecure, demanding and spoilt. I say - if you can't be clingy and demanding when you are 16 months old - when can you be?

Two things happened recently. I posted this picture onto my pinterest page:

and a complete stranger commented 'ridiculous'. I deleted the comment and can't imagine what she got from making that judgement or why she thought I would want to know that she thinks hitting children is ok.
I have always loved the following quote:

"When a child hits a child, we call it aggression. When a child hits an adult, we call it hostility. When an adult hits an adult, we call it assault. When an adult hits a child, we call it discipline" -Haim G. Ginott

Then today I was talking to a (childless, male) colleague who ranted on and on about his ex-girlfriend's three year old who should be left to scream and cry rather than tended to by her mother (when he was staying over) because she is going to grow up spoilt and needy and she 'needs to learn'. I asked him exactly what she needed to learn? That no one will come when she is upset? That no one will respond to her cries? That emotions should be kept in check? 'She will be insecure' he frothed back at me. Well actually there is evidence out there that an attachment parenting style actually leads to more secure children and I fail to see how leaving young children in a state of upset, uncertainty and fear can make them into secure adults. Re my colleague, I think he sounds rather spoilt - a 40 year old man pissed off with his girlfriend's three year old for interrupting his time with her mother. I wonder what kind of parenting he had?

I am realising more and more that attachment parenting is not something I have fallen into by accident, it's not something that has happened to me or that I have let happen to me. It is something I feel is best for my child and something I want to be able to speak positively about. So when people say 'are you still breastfeeding?' I want to respold with 'yes, isn't it great!'. When the nursery workers say 'is he still feeding a lot at night' I should be saying 'yes he is, I keep him in bed with me so he can - I get much better sleep that way' rather than giving the non-commital answers I do, or lying - which I have done on occassion. I worry about how the older members of my family will be judging me for 'making a rod for my own back'. I think I worry more about my inability so far to be positive about the choices I make and to speak out loudly against those people who are rude to my face about my choices. I have been practicing ways in which to say I am positively persuing the path of attachment parenting.

I have been doing a tumblr thing for B - things about him - you can read it here if you like

Monday, April 16, 2012

everyday sexism

If you don't like Facebook (and my updates) why don't YOU give it up?

Facebook knows my business. I know this because if I were to change my status from married to single I have no doubt it would start flashing up adverts for divorce and single women - maybe even dating sites. Everyone on my facebook friends list knows my business too, well apart from those I exclude *. So they know as much about me as I choose to give. Sometimes I choose to give too much, I can be rather volatile and finger happy with my status updates. If I am pissed off you may very well know why, equally if I am happy you will know that too. Problem is that people always seem to remember the negative or if not that it's the volume of updates which is a problem.

In recent months I have had to twiddle with my facebook settings quite a bit - it has always only been searchable by those on my friends list, purely because I didn't want my ex to be searching for me. I could relax that a bit now as clearly I have moved on given that I am married and have a small baby and time is a healer and all that stuff. Certainly it would mean that old friends might be able to find me and old enemies could block/stalk me if they wanted. Apart from that block on searching I also limit the audience for many of my photo albums and pick and choose who sees my status updates depending on who I don't want to offend and so on. Sometimes I have posted something but excluded someone from seeing it only for another person to tell tales on me so now I use my group lists carefully - stupid really but that's the way it goes. I don't want it to sound like I spend all my time on facebook slagging people off either. I do spend a lot of time posting pictures of my sono though, so much so that perhaps it seems endless to the people on my friends list?

Which brings me to the point of this blog. I was at lunch today and someone told me that perhaps I should stop using Facebook for a while, they also asked me if I thought it was ok to put so many pictures of B on the internet. Well... of course I think it's ok otherwise I wouldn't do it. I know that there are tales out there about paedophiles looking at pictures of children on the internet but (a) I am not stupid and (b) as my albums are not public do I really need to worry? Or perhaps they wonder if B 'is ok with it'? Well I haven't asked him - he's 16 months old and what does he know? Perhaps when he is old enough to have an opinion on it I will consult him. What really irritated me about the conversation (which other people who were there and also happen to be on my friends list joined in with) was the suggestion that because the frequency and volume of my updates is too much for them, I should be the one to stop posting!  Well forgive me but if YOU don't like it they YOU are the one in control. At the very least you can block my updates or stop looking at my page; at the most you could just de-friend me.

It really does piss me off when the implication is that I am not allowed to use facebook but they are. So it's ok to be a 'facebook user' so long as you only use it infrequently but it's not ok for anyone else to use facebook the way they want to? One thing I really find odd is the amount of people who on the one hand tell people they really don't get people who use facebook so much and yet on the other they seem to know all about whatever everyone else is posting. Doesn't this mean that they are literally sat on facebook stalking everyone else while smuggly sitting on their hands and refusing to join in? These people annoy me, all smug and perfect and judgemental about how they don't 'do' facebook and telling other people who do that they are on it too much. Pah. get a life you losers.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What to get the woman who has everything?

Husband asked me for ideas about what to get me for my birthday. As we have just been given an allotment plot I asked for various things which elicited the following response "I was hoping to get you something nicer than a £4 rake? Something more personal….." which I suppose is fair enough, though I am not sure what is personal about the itunes voucher he proposed last week. I will be 42, what does a 42 year old woman who has 'just enough of what she needs' want for her 42nd birthday? Another baby? Silly suggestion, there is no way we could afford another baby and ideally a bigger age gap between two children would work out better as far as nursery fees go. So rather than ask for fancy things I might like but don't really need I tried to think about what would be useful and at the moment it's watering cans and rakes.

We have a small plot with a shed on the allotment site I used to garden at; we are sharing it with husband's friend Mike. I was given 3 to choose from and we chose the smallest - our half has 2 small and one large raised beds on it and so far I have dug the two smallest and made a plan of what goes where. Already, having been up there twice, I feel calmer and more relaxed. I think this will be good for me as allotmenteering has always been something I enjoy. The hard effort of the digging really releases stress and the hanging about in the sunshine tending to my veg gives me a real sense of wellbeing and achievement, perhaps something I have felt lacking in recent months. It is nice too that husband is keen to help and has shown a real interest in vegetable growing. My ex used to laugh at me and I don't think he helped in any way at all, though I do remember him comeing up to see me one day and laughing at the other allotment-holders in their sheds with their flasks which I thought was really rude.

How the hell did I get to 42 without noticing; last time I looked I was 39. I was 39 when I had my IVF treatment and 40 when I found out I was pregnant. The last 2 years have been so full of other stuff that my age has not been important or interesting. So can I stay at 39 please?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Thankfully most men can do not get fathers4justice involved in their custody battles

It's been an interesting few days on Mumsnet, interesting, irritating and stupid. The group fathers4justice (F4J) have been trying to gain maximum publicity by harrassing Mumsnet which, although it hasn't worked, has been really pissing boring for regular Mumsnetters. I believe it started with a thread where F4J threatened some kind of legal action against Mumsnet because of the 'anti-men sentiment' on the forums. A big long thread ended up having loads of deletions for breaking the Mumsnet talk guidelines, though most of it was people telling obvious F4J trolls to fuck off. F4J then started targetting Mumsnetters on their facebook page during which they said one woman should be put against the wall and shot and deleted several reasonable posts from women while simultaneously moaning that they were having posts deleted on mumsnet and the Gingerbread site (Which they were also trolling) - I don't think they get the irony. They also decided to protest outside M&S because they advertise on Mumsnet.  Now they have created some stupid Advert taking quotes from Mumsnetters, though who is going to run it and what it actually means is anyone's guess. As all this has gone on it has become more and more laughable and there's a great thread on Urban75 about it and of course on Mumsnet. Have I provided enough links!?

The 'advert' they have created contains quotes like 'fuckwit' which, let's face it, could have appeared a thousand times on Mumsnet and not necessarily in relation to F4J! Of course there are many people who would agree they are fuckwits and worse. I don't think F4J are capable of seeing that they are digging themselves into a massive hole and alienating most parents by their stupididty. This is all to do with publicity really, though not much has really appeared in the press. What really is upsetting is the amount of F4J stuff posted on Mumsnet, the rape apologists, the excuses for Domestic violence and so on. They hijack threads where people are genuinely seeking help for real life situations, disrupting what is usually a great support network. All in the name of fairness for children? Their constant beef is that in their (misguided) opinion the world is full of mother's who are making up lies to keep men away from their children. The reality is that the majority of women who want to deny access ARE doing it for genuine reasons, because their children are in danger of physical or emotional abuse. The majority of single mothers are bringing up children alone because the father of their children has fucked off without a care in the world. Yes, there must be a small percentage of parents (Male and female) who make up malicious lies so they can keep the other parent away from their children but no where near as many as F4J think. Scratch the surface of F4J membership and I am sure you will find a fair share of good reasons why those people have been denied contact with their children; not all of them of course.

Monday, March 05, 2012

trip to Donegal

I booked flights for Ireland today for me D and B. We are renting a 4 bedroom house near glen and it's going to be a proper Stevenson family get-to-gether as mum and her partner is coming and so are my brother and sister, their partners and their kids. This is not something that happens in our family really. Last big holiday I remember us going on was when mum and dad rented a cottage in Fishguard when I was about 10. I always remember it fondly so am hoping this trip to Ireland will be similar in building nice family memories.

Glen is Glencolmcille in Co Donegal. It's where we all lived as kids; me from aged 6 months to 5 years. It's where all my earliest memories are from, from the time my mum and dad decided to live self sufficiantly in the 70s. We still have a house there, which is where my dad was living when he died aged 56 from a heart attack. His girlfriend still lives on the land in a house she built after he died. The house my dad had is still there but is a bit of a wreck; we had it re-thatched but it needs a complete overhaul and could be so lovely if we had the time and money to do something with it.

I am so excited about going as I haven't been for years.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Orchidopexy - testicle undescended and removal.

We are back from the hospital; B had to have his testicle removed. When they told me, after the operation, I did feel sad and disappointed even though I had basically assumed all along that they wouldn't be able to find the missing one. Turns ot that they found a 'nubbin' but not a properly formed testicle and so because it's a cancer risk they removed it. Poor old B has 3 wounds - one in his bellybutton where they put a camera in, one on his abdomen and then finally in his testes sack where they removed the nubbin. He is ok though and has needed surprisingly little pain relief. In case it is of help to anyone else reading this who has a son with the same issue here is what happened.

I was told I could only feed him up to 7.30 am but after reading up about it online and finding out the operation was unlikely to happen until after 1pm I let him feed at half past 8, not a big feed but he wanted it so I let him. After that I took him to my mum's house as she had offered to help distract him. I am still breastfeeding so was worried about him pawing at me and getting distressed. At first he was ok, quite easily distracted with a beaker of diluted juice but as time went on I had to do things like take him rond the block and show him stuff to keep his mind off wanting food. At about eleven I re-read the leaflet they had given me and realised I had made a mistake. I thought fruit juice was ok but it said 'dilued squash (not fruit juice')! Although he had only had a bit I was really worried the whole thing might have to be cancelled. Anyway, at 11.30 I had to stop giving him water and I drove to pick up my husband and then onto the hospital. As soon as we arrived on the ward I mentioned the fruit juice and was told it would be ok. at first were told we might get bumped into second place as his operation was more complicated than the other little girl waiting but it turned out that we were first. B was ok but did root around in my jumper quite a lot and we had to keep on distracting him, poor thing must have been starving.

in the ward we were given a single bed but told a cot would be provided if we had to stay over so I told them we co-sleep and no need. A nurse and anaethesist came to put 'magic cream' on his hand to numb it for when they tried to find a vein for an anaesthetic (I think) and he was weighed and had his chest listened to. A doctor came over to explain the procedure and get our consent but I barely heard a word of it as they had wanted to examine him and then just left me to console him and change his nappy while they explained to D. That was a bit annoying as I felt like I didn't know enough about it all. Then not long after D took him down to be put under. I was a coward and sent him to do it and am glad I did as apparently it wasn't very nice. D was definiely a bit shaken up by it. Then we went to get some food. It's very strange knowing your son is being operated on but not being there, I felt awful for being away from him. Just over an hour later we headed back to the hospital where D dropped me off. I went back up to the ward and waited. Not sure how long but probably within the next hour they came to tell me he was in recovery and then took me down. As I walked in I could see a male nurse giving him a cuddle (he was crying) and as soon as I got him back I was able to give hm a feed while the nurse filled in the paperwork. B was really grumpy, hot and upset. It took a while for him to calm down and then they put me in a wheelchair while I held him and pushed me back into the ward - that was very strange as I was fine but they just won't allow you to carry them all the way back. After about 40 minutes B finally went to sleep and had a rest while a doctor came to explain that they hadn't been able to bring his testicle down because there was nothing but the nubbin there. He and the nurse showed me B's wounds and explained how to care for them, gave me some medications for him and that was basically it. we didn't have to stay the night which was good as it was noisy and hot in there and it was so much better being at home. B has been ok since, not needed much in the way of medication and has been quite active so seems to be fine. Just have to keep an eye on his wounds and make sure they don't get infected.

I am still a bit unsure about what they did, the doctor's accent was quite hard to understand. I wish they would give you some kind of letter when you leave, explaining what just happened.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mums, Know your place...Second.

If anything is guaranteed to firmly demonstrate your place in the pecking order it's the kind of email I received from my mum this week entitled 'Important'. Not only that but she also messaged it to my husband on Facebook. Bless her. I have been sick, really really sick. It started last Sunday night with diarroea which turned into sweating fever by Monday morning. For four days I felt extremely sick and was on and off the toilet for most of the week, the rest of the time I was trying to entertain the baby who naturally was full of beans. It was Hellish to be honest and seemed endless. Throughout the week I kept in touch with mum who told me to keep drinking water and to keep an eye on baby B in case he got it. After about 48 hours I updated my facebook saying how horribly ill I had been and did anyone else have it, how long would it last, could it be food poisoning and so on. On Wednesday morning I woke to this email

"if B still has it you MUST phone the doctor, he can get dehydrated so fast. Important to get medical advice if it has gone on for more than 24 hours for him"

to be fair my mum did have a particularly bad stomach upset a couple of months ago which almost hospitalised her - at least her partner was that close to phoning an ambulance - so I can understand her worry ... BUT... when I posted on facebook it was about ME (me me me!) not about B. I had to laugh because it does just show how unimportant you become when a baby is born.

B has his operation for an undescended testicle on Monday. I am scared but will write more about it later.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

things on my mind...

1. I am becoming so bloody judgemental of all things to do with parenting. Anything that does not fit my way of doing things is wrong. I always was judgemental but now that it is all centred around one subject it's becoming scary. On the one hand I feel awful for feeling so disappoined in people who make certain parenting choices, on the other I actually feel I am 'right' to feel the way I do. Things I hate are early weaning, controlled crying, people giving their small children fizzy drinks, hitting cildren, dads wanting to bottle feed, telling children they are stupid, formula, routines, girls in pink, boys with guns, 'princess', 'little man'... the list goes on. Maybe I read or know too much? I am just forever asounded by the lack of basic knowledge on childcare issues that my friends have.

2. My boss doesn't know that I can request exceptional leave for my son's operation; she tells me that because the operation is planned I have to take annual leave. All my older workmates are shocked that I have not been given exceptional leave because over the years they have all had exceptional or domestic leave for children who have had hospital stays. I am considering calling in sick just to get those days back.

3. The operation is scaring me. My son has an undescended testicle, in fact they can't locate a testicle to bring down. In just over ten days he will be having a pretty routine operation to try to locate and bring down the testicle. It means an overnight stay for him and so for me. I am really scared about the anaesthetic and the after care. Poor little thing. Plus on the day I am not allowed to feed him (breastfeed or other food) after 7.30 am. I am really not looking forward to that.

4. My sister is having a shit time. She gave birth in a shit hospital and had a shit labour where she lost 4 pints of blood and had a third degree tear. Her daughter was given another baby's antibiotics by mistake and now she (my sister) is back in hospital because of retained placenta. It is 3 weeks after she gave birth and her midwife signed her off and dismissed the fact that she had terrible stomach pains. Between 2005 and 2008 six new mothers died in the hospital my sister gave birth in.

5. D's mum is here for 5 days and I will be in work for 3 of them which means my son will be in creche and so my mil won't be able to see much of him. My husbands wants his mum to have lots of time with her grandson. One solution would have been for him to take time off work and B to stay at home but this has never been suggested. I feel quite stressed out because my husband says he wants our son to see his grandmother but nothing has really been arranged to make that possible. I tend to keep my mouth shut as often when I do try to contribute I am accused of negativity. I just hope no one thinks it's me who's rubbish at planning?

6.  I really really hate the way women have become so obsessed with being hairless and being fake and tanned and big busted. I worry about how I can bring my son up to realise that those things are not right or normal.

Feeding babies - a mother's job?

Do you know what I really hate? I really hate it when men say that they feel left out because they can't feed a newborn. I just want to shout 'tough titty' - no pun intended. To be honest, until recently, I had never come across a real live man who felt this way; I had only ever read about them on-line. I have to say I am becoming a bit of a hard-line lactivist and I do truly believe that every woman can breastfeed (and should attempt to) but far too many of them are given such shit advice that they end up with inadequate supply or other issues. So it really does irritate me when I come across someone who, by saying they would like to feed the baby, is maybe unknowingly scuppering their partner's chance of successfully breastfeeding. The first 6 weeks of breastfeeding is just so important - it is when a woman builds up her supply, gets the baby and her body working in tune. It's not about bonding (although of course that is a lovely side-effect for mothers) so there is no reason for a dad to feel like they can't bond because they can't feed. Dads can bond in a whole load of ways; if bonding only came through breastfeeding then we would have a whole generation of mums and daughters who are not bonded because they were bottlefed.

A friend told me in the early days after the birth that her husband was feeling useless and finding it hard. He asked me about when she could start to express and I suggested they wait until she had been feeding for more than 6 weeks. However, because of a recent medical issue, she has had to express and so now he has achieved his goal - to bottle feed the baby. Photos on facebook and big grins from him. It just makes me so annoyed though.

Why do some men do this? They can change the baby, wear the baby, bath the baby, sing to the baby, dance with the baby, kiss the baby, sleep with the baby, rock the baby, stroke the baby, talk to the baby, dress the baby... why does 'feeding the baby' become such a massive thing. Why fixate on the one thing you have always known you are not biologically able to do? Dad's can't carry or birth the baby either but you never hear them making a fuss about that.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Me me me?

I can’t work out if I am being unreasonable to feel the way I do about recent conversations with my mum. On the one hand I wonder if I am being competitive, on the other I feel like my birth and breastfeeding experience is being marginalised. By that I don’t mean ‘listen to me, me, me I gave birth too’ but more that any reference I make to the whole thing, while trying to support my sister, is dismissed as being ‘not as bad’. The words my mum used were, if not ‘not as bad’, something like ‘yes but K’s is so much worse than yours was’ and also when talking about breastfeeding ‘I didn’t think you had any problems with breastfeeding’. Anyway this has come about because while I have been trying to help my sister through dealing with her tear/episiotomy/stitches and learning how to breastfeed I have naturally used phrases like ‘when I had my stitches’ or ‘Bob used to…’. A couple of times when I have spoken to my mum like this she has responded quite sharply, telling me that my 2nd degree tear and stitches is just not the same as my sister’s third degree injury and stitches. Fair enough, I actually do understand that for many women a third degree tear means they will have on-going continence issues and expect a generally longer recovery period. Still, that doesn’t mean that I don’t know what it’s like to have stitches in the same place you pee and shit from (to be blunt) or that I can’t empathise with the way my sister might be feeling about it.

As a middle child I am fully aware that I have these ‘look at me, me, me’ traits and also that I use humour a lot of the time to get attention. I cringe when I realise I am doing it. At the moment, though, I feel really aggrieved by some of the things my mum has said or implied. The facts are that my labour and birth experience was very much like my sisters apart from the fact that she needed 4 pints of blood. Now of course I understand that losing 4 pints is really very bad and I know this left her feeling really awful.
My labour was long just like my sister’s. My baby’s heart beat dropped dramatically just like my sister. My baby had blood tests done while he was still inside me, just like my sister. I was prepped for a C-section, just like my sister. I had a forceps birth with episiotomy, just like my sister. My baby ended up in the Neo Natal unit, my sister ended up in high dependency. Yes of course there are differences and of course my experience is not a recent one – I am fully recovered – but when it comes to being able to support my sister I actually think I am one of the peopl close to her who can empathise properly having experienced pretty much the same thing fairly recently and if that means I have to drop in a few ‘when this happened to me’ type conversations then so be it.

I do feel pissed off that my mum has belittled my episiotomy experience though I can understand why she might think that for me it was nothing. After all, I had so much more to deal with at the time that the fact I had stitches and found walking and moving painful was fairly insignificant. I had to walk even though it was painful because I had to get up and go to see B in the neo-natal unit for over a week. I had to drive to the hospital (often on my own and often at night) which meant getting in and out of a car, which is painful with stitches in your fanjo, several times a day to try to breastfeed him and fend off bottles from the well-meaning nurses. Ah – the breastfeeding. I think perhaps I was more offended by my mum saying ‘but I didn’t think you had any problems with breastfeeding’. Again the reality is that I left the recovery ward and didn’t see my son for hours by which time he had already had formula. In the neo-natal unit I wasn’t given any useful help to breastfeed and my right breast was really sore. When B came home more than a week after he was born I struggled for 2 days to get breastfeeding properly established and to get him off the bottles. I remember being in tears, I remember the pain I had in one breast which I gritted my teeth and fed through regardless.

I really don’t want to be making this all about me but I felt quite offended by mum’s attitude and wondered if I should just shut up. And stop offering support unless I can do it without referring to my own experience, particularly if mum is in earshot.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Men live in houses, right?

So it's not strange that today I collected my latest purchase from ebay (less than £6 though I gave the bloke a tenner and he chucked in a second one!)?

Husband of mine pulled a face and I zm waiting for comments from other people about how he will turn out to be gay and so on.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Take photos of your breasts and put them on the internet

Some really very good news. My sister has her baby at last. Very long and, towards the end, traumatic labour and delivery but she is very happy with her 7lb 4 oz baby girl. She is still in hospital as she needs some care and attention (my sister not the baby) after a forceps birth with a blood transfusion; I visited last night and although she is complaining of pain in her fanjo and not wanting to walk she seems to be doing ok. I am no expert but she looks like the baby is latching on ok. I hope that breastfeeding is not difficult for her, the hospital has already given her a syringe of formula.

 I wonder if hospitals were just so deeply ingraned in the whole bottlefeeding culture that they default to formula at the hint of any 'problem'? Her baby was less than 12 hours old and they decided she needed formula because she had low blood sugar. Just a quick google tells me that formula really doesn't have to be the answer and dr Sears agrees. Anyway - my sister says she has insisted upon trying breastfeeding rather than more formula. Her baby is not in Neo Natal so she can feed her whenever she wants, though she can't lift her at the moment. I am going back to visit tomorrow armed with a load of printouts on correct latch. Like me she feels like it's going so well she must be doing something wrong. Hopefully she's just got it right straight away.

There's no 'I wonder' about it though really, of course formula is seen as more normal than breastfeeding - even in hospitals. The years of attack on the natural function of the breast have resulted in a situation where even medical staff, who should be better informed, will try to hijack a mother's breastfeeding experience and they probably don't even realise they are doing it. The whole situation is really sad and makes me really angry. I am turning into an ardent lactivist. The last couple of weeks I have been following Emma Kwasnica fight with Facebook over having her breastfeeding photos removed. I am amazed by the people who comment on the situation and believe that breastfeeding should be done behind closed doors, definitely not in public and definitely not photographed. Lately I have been getting angry about the sexualisation of children in general, and the inequality many women experience which is denied continually. Now I feel angry that I am judged by people who seriously believe that feeding my baby in a public place is somehow a sexual or disgusting thing. The more angry I get the more I want to be more obvious about my breastfeeding experience. I think the more people are aware of it the more acceptable it will become.

I love it when breastfeeding is brought into the public eye although when it's done by the paps like here you do wonder what their motives were. Ooh look at the freaky breastfeeding famous mum. Good for you for not giving a shit Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Things I dare not talk about... and the other stuff.

(Big Wave to my husband if he's bookmarked this page)

So we are 2 weeks into the new year and I told myself I should post more positively, or maybe just include something positive in some of my blogs, or talk more about what I think of things happening outside of my head... or something like that. Hence this being the first time I have blogged since December. I just don't know if I can (or if I want to) do the nicey nicey blog thing! This has always been a place where I felt I could spill out everything from my brain, good and bad, to give myself head space without having to worry about the reaction of other people. Somewhere where few people who knew me would see what goes on in my brain but could be read by others who might like to comment. Since the whole mumsnet thing I feel like have lost at least one avenue for off-loading and since someone searched for my blog I do kind of feel like I can't spill on here either.

Anyway - here is a list of things I dare not talk about before I move onto the other stuff.

1. Continuing resentment towards people and evil up-to-no-gooder who sent links of my mumsnet posts to people.
2. Husband and new year's eve/day activities (Though I will update you on my London trip)
3. Holiday booked to spain to stay with husband's mum and anxieties I have RE safety and care of my son in a hot country with swimming pools.

So... NYD I took myself and the boy off to London on the train. We had it planned a week or more before and went to stay one night with a good friend who took us to the tate modern and out for food. The boylet loved the train and was so well behaved. It was a real education on how to entertain a baby on a 2+ hour journey. Something to remember for the trip to Spain in September, though he will be a totally different creature at 21 months. At least now I know he can be entertained. We had fun and the reason for getting away was to escape my husband's new year come-down. Definitely did the right thing, apparently he was so ill that he has decided to cancel his planned trip to see Orbital later in the year (yay) and instead we may go to the Zoo.

Before New Year we had the boy's 1st Birthday which was fun. He was showered with gifts of course and had a very long day on his birthday as we had people dropping in from 2pm until gone 6 when the drunkest of my husband's friends went home. I think perhaps it is an easier option to find a venue for these things; when you use your own home there will always be people who turn up later than they should, drink too much of the free wine and over-stay their welcome. At least in a venue you are confined by the hours you have paid for. Overall it was lovely though. His favourite present was the broom my sister bought him; he is obsessed with our adult sized broom. Have to say there were a few gasps from the less enlightened members of the family, in particular about the pink dustpan and brush that came with it. I wonder what they think of the kitchen I am making for him? I am definitely not subscribing to all this 'boy's toys' crap.

The Boy is now walking everywhere, even running at times. We bought him shoes which was funny as in the shop he resolutely refused to walk at all which prompted the assistant to say 'we do recommend they can do at least 20 independent steps before they have shoes'. Husband and I felt rather foolish, like parents who imagine their child's skill is better than it really is. The truth is that he loves to walk. Every time I drop him off at the nursery I give him some walking time. Before I was pregnant I dreamed of the day I could hold my son's hand and walk with him. Though he is still a reluctant hand-holder it is possible and he walks around saying 'ah ah ah ah ah' with such a look of glee. In 6 months time he will probably be moved down to the proper nursery bit, out of the baby room and back to being the youngest. Who could have even imagined it!

We have no words yet apart from what may have been a 'hello' and maybe a 'joob' which is what we call my breasts. I am still breastfeeding; so much for only doing it for a year. He still feeds at night, some nights more than others. During the day he is at Nursery or with my mum so I pump now rather than popping over to feed him. He has coped well with the transition which we started in the New year. He is still not eating very well, just nibbling and much prefers the boob. I was a bit worried about that because he is over a year now and they say 'food is fun until you are one' but I can see gradual progress so I try not to worry.

My sister is due on 18th January and I am so excited; it's going to be a girl. I really am hoping that she has an easy and uncomplicated birth. Lately I have heard that a few of my friends are pregnant again and it's made me feel it would be nice to have another. On the other hand I do love just having the boy, he is my little buddy and I am not sure how he or I would cope with a second. Had I the luxury of time I would try in a couple of years but I don't so I probably won't. I do feel jealous though. Our next 'plan' is to get a bigger house with more of a garden and hopefully nearer my mum. It is strange to be thinking about good schools and so on but there are better ones near my mum and it would make sense to move there instead of staying where we are. The plan is to change my mortgage to a buy to let and then get a joint mortgage for a new house. Then once we have paid off my house (when I am about 60!) the son can have it as his own which will be specially useful if he decides to go to university here. Hark at me, he's only just over 1 year old and I am making plans for him when he is 18!  We found a great house online (Which we won't get as we are in no position to now) which though rather ugly on the outside is great on the inside and has a HUGE garden, plus it's cheaper than I imagined so there is hope.