School

How quickly has this summer holiday flown past already, I am finding myself counting the days until Rupert goes back and Percy starts! I should be embracing the last few days with them. So here I am rattling my brain as to what I can cram into our last days off together.

We couldn’t afford to go away this year and I think we’ve managed some lovely days out and meet up’s with friends and a couple of days at Peppa Pig World. It’s been a bit of a strain to engage the kids on a daily basis. A daily question is “what are we doing today, where are we going?” Can we not just chill?

Although I am so ready for school to start I am unaware of how I truly feel about Percy starting Reception. He is looking forward to it and I am too but when it actually comes to the day of letting him go I don’t know how I’m going to feel. I think of the days when he is being defiant, rude, uncooperative, lazy and I’m like “how many day!” Then he’ll give me a hug, tell me he loves me and that I’m the best mummy, fall asleep on my leg and I’m like “he’s still my baby!”

He has always needed me. Even though this big 4 year old boy knows way more than he should and pretends to be a hard nut (with a dummy). Everyone says he can hold his own but I know deep down he won’t know what’s hit him when he starts school.

You do all realise I’ll still be doing the Primary school runs until I’m 49!!

Good luck Percy my darling boy x

Going back to work

You don’t realise when you have your last day at work to have your bundle of joy, just how quick those 9 months maternity will go. If your like me, you worry about going back to work and leaving your baby from very early on. It’s always at the back of your mind and it’s very hard to relax and enjoy the time you do have. Obviously it does also depend if you have a job you love then it does make the whole process a lot easier.

I had the same job for 23 years and going back after both of the boys I dreaded from day one. Not knowing where I’d be based. How far I’d have to travel. I was a manager of a supermarket and being mobile and flexible was a must. Having young children as well didn’t go well together.

I did get very lucky on both occasions after 8 months I returned locally for a six month maternity cover then got moved about half an hour away. It really wasn’t too bad and we managed well. We have been very lucky to have both grandparents as our childcare.

When Rupert was 3 I fell pregnant with Percy and again in the same situation. When I returned where would I go. I decided to take a year off with Percy. He was a Christmas baby being born 27th December 2014 and those who know retail will understand Christmas in retail is mental. You Hardly get any time with family so I took the opportunity to have a year off. I left middle of November at 35 weeks, took the year off which was a financial struggle for those unpaid months leading up to Christmas and then took some holiday, so returning in January. I had 2 Christmas’ off which was heaven for our family. Again returning in January I had been very lucky and getting our local store which was brand new too.

Again being so close to home I was able to work my hours, pop home at lunch time, the kids would come and see me and it was great. I had it actually easy. Until I fell pregnant with Mabel. I knew straight away I’d probably lost my chances of returning locally. I was already worrying about work before I’d left.

I had even thought about taking six months off and hoping of a guarantee of coming back. However when Mabel was three months old us Managers had a big decision to make as the company had changed the structure of the company. I decided that the new role and criteria wasn’t right for me at that time with Mabel being so young. So I decided to take redundancy. I’d been loyal for so many years that it was time I did something for me and my family and planned for another year off. Oh so guess what! I got another two Christmas’ off! I worked out I’d worked one out of four oops.

So I had some time not even thinking about working for a while. Enjoying my life and my family. I was very lucky. The money didn’t last long. I am not great at not spending money. After paying some bills and buying a new car it was going fast. So after Christmas I found myself looking for work again. This wasn’t my plan. Six months on and we have had literally no money I have been for interviews and applied for numerous jobs, and I am finding this process very difficult. I am struggling to find a job. I am being really picky because I want a job that I can do around the kids. School hours don’t exist unless you work in the same school as your kids.

So here I am. Still looking for work and totally skint. There is so much I want to do and without money it’s very hard. But personally I would rather be picking my kids up from school, seeing them in their plays, watching them grow up and eating beans on toast. (For now).

Tantrums

You think that the ‘terrible two’s’ would start at two, not at 15 months. Already we’re into head butting, scratching, pushing and general violence from Mabel. She most definitely rules the roost in this family, and usually wins most fights. The two boys have no chance growing up with Mabel around.

There have been numerous arguments over my mobile phone or the remote control and whether or not we’re watching Ben and Holly or Minecraft. She however, will always win. She must learn it from somewhere? I hear you ask, and yes the boys have their moments of bickering and fair share of scraps all in front of Mabel so I guess she has picked up on it rightly or wrongly.

I can’t seem to recall my eldest boy Rupert ever really having bad tantrums. He was three and a half when Percy was born so I guess the bad habits had passed. He did go through a stage of biting and scratching at nursery just before he started school, but he rarely back chatted his parents or stamped his feet.

Now Percy. The middle child. Those who have three kids will identify with ‘middle child syndrome’. It really is a thing! There is absolutely NO compromise with him. So stubborn with a bad temper. We can’t even put it down to being shown a wrong path as Rupert was so well behaved when Percy came along. I have no rhyme or reason to his behaviour. I sometimes just don’t know as a parent how to control him. It’s just not worth the whining. It’s the full blown, head thrown back, eyes tightly shut and the most ghastly whaaaarrr noise comes out. Then that’s it. You’re in for it. No going back from this.

This is normal you cry. You identify with this behaviour. Their whole world is ending because you’ve woken them up on the school ‘pick up’ run and they’re half asleep their legs don’t work so they have to lay down in the middle of the road ‘whaaaarrrring. The other parents are having to intervene at this point as they can see I am struggling with two kids a buggy and a scooter and a child laying in the middle of the Road.

I know it’s not forever because after the ‘terrible two’s’ come ‘threenager!’ The attitude, the ‘whaaaaaaaat’ ‘that’s not faaaaaaair’ that lasts a good few years. We’re already up to sevenager.

I wouldn’t change a thing!

Four-OH

We’re days away from my birthday and I do not want to let this one pass me by with a swift blink like the last nine, I want to embrace being forty! I can honestly say I don’t feel forty mentally. I look at what my own mother was like at forty and she didn’t still go out raving until the middle of the next morning and then come back with a kebab and have to make herself vomit from the concoction of cocktails Consumed.

I look back at how my life has changed since my thirtieth birthday, three kids that’s what’s changed, a few more grey hairs (Too many to pull out now) and unemployment. I decided to quit my job of twenty three years to spend more quality time with my poppets. I won’t get this chance again to be a mummy who gets to take and pick the kids up from school, yet I will still be doing the primary school run until I am fifty! Now that is a scary thought, and when Mabel finishes secondary school I will be nearly sixty. Shit!

I don’t know exactly how I want to embrace my forties. I definitely want to get a lot healthier (the Mac Donald’s breakfast this morning doesn’t count I’m not forty yet) if it’s not too late I want to extend my life for as long as I possibly can so In order to do that I really need to start that diet and join that gym! The thing is I love food! I adore cake! I can eat a packet of caramel chocolate digestives with one cuppa. I don’t know when to stop. I think I need some form of therapy to tell me food is really bad, also not working has allowed me to be unhealthy I’m not on my feet walking around a supermarket for nine hours a day. Am I making too many excuses?

I don’t think being forty is too bad. It comes I think with many positives because you suddenly have this realisation you are not getting any younger, in fact if you’re lucky enough, you are half way through life. You may find the back is playing up and the joints start to ache. The anti-aging creams appear in the bathroom cabinet. You’re in bed by 8pm with a cuppa. Your social life diminishes as the babysitters you once had now have a life and want to go out themselves.

I have said to myself though, I’m definitely not ‘over the hill’ just yet. There’s still a lot I want to do and see. I still don’t own my own property or have a pension or life insurance but it is on my to do list. I actually don’t even know what I want my career to be, I never have even from the age of sixteen and you kind of had to have some idea then on what path your life was going to go. I think that’s why I stayed in the same job for so long. I’ve not been greatly ambitious, I knew I wanted to get married and be a mum. To me these are by far my greatest achievements.

I’ve been saying for the last couple of years that I’m ‘nearly forty’. I still chuckle to myself when the cashier in Sainsburys says jokingly ‘are you over 25?’ and I look at them not joking saying ‘ I’m nearly forty!’ I still get a little nervous that I’m going to be asked for ID especially when I don’t have my make up on or don’t have the kids with me. Long gone are the days I carry my passport or driving licence. Now being slightly mature you start buying the top shelf wine and not white lightning (do they still sell that?).

I am forever grateful for everything I have and I look forward to our future as a family of five. I may not have the nicest hair, nails, eyebrows, flat tummy, I may not have money to buy designer clothes, homeware, pay for the carpets to be cleaned again this year. What I do have, what I am so effortlessly proud of, are my tiny humans, my funny nutcases that call me mummy. And a man who unconditionally puts us all first. I may moan on a daily basis and he thinks I’m a tad bipolar but going into my forties, I have a absolutely everything.

Memories of Nan

My earliest memories I must have been about 3 or 4 and obviously alcohol was involved. Nan loved a whiskey and lemonade or whiskey and stones ginger wine. Aged 2 I also was quite partial to a whiskey. Allegedly I would send my mother to help Nan with hanging out the washing so I could down Nan’s whiskey. My uncle recently told me a story that I threw a glass onto the fire and it when ‘kaboom’, ( what a waste).

You look at old photos and you insist you remember that time and place but it’s really because you’ve looked at the old photos so many times before and picture yourself there when really you were too young to remember it.

My sister and I stayed regularly at nan’s house. It was a cosy home and always had certain smells that I can still remember to this day. Her fresh linen sheets neatly folded in the small bedroom, next to the mountains of football trophies. If you were really lucky you got to sleep in the big bedroom it had a double bed and an extremely thick cosy duvet. Without my auntie knowing I’d secretly try on all her lipsticks and pocket the ones I liked. Nan would always make us boiled eggs and soldiers, butter an inch thick ( that’s a family trait) spread on with those old butter knives with the white handles. Her mugs were so stained with tea I use to hunt for one that I thought was the cleanest. There was always a cupboard full of biscuits.

Nan always has a cake on the go, piles Of pike-lets, coconut and jam sponge or my favourite chocolate cake with hundreds and thousands. Her house was always full, if it wasn’t family it’d be Audrey from next door, or the Silver spring van delivering the weeks supply of Bing (which I still love but can only buy from chip shops). Every Sunday before Christmas we all got together at Nan’s to do presents. I always looked forward to this tradition seeing all the family. My best present from Nan, the one that will always stay with me was a can of soft and gentle deodorant with a £5 note cello-taped to it. Love it! Cheers Nan!

There was always horse racing on the telly or you’ve been framed, and god forbid if you sat in Grandads chair, but so exciting to be there, except I was always ever so slightly completely freaked out by her African man on a plate pride of place on the wall whom she once told me was my father!

There was always an inappropriate side to Nan whether it be singing naughty lyrics of songs or flirting with that old Greek waiter on holiday in Cyprus. She knew how to have fun.

Nan always had her “face on” I used to be mesmerised watching her beauty regime. Consisted of max factor pressed powder with a lush smell to the makeup pad she applied it with, lipstick on her cheeks, blue eyeshadow and mixing water to make a liquid to her mascara brush that always had pride of place on the kitchen window sill, and bright lippy. A few squirts of Estée Lauder ‘youth dew’ and a brush of her hair and done.

My growing up years go into a bit of a blur and things change a bit for a while. My memories then become of her starting to become poorly and not seeing her as much, we all get older and grow apart slightly. We’ve lost the closeness we once had. The short term memories have been forgotten. I am reminding her of my life with every visit. I am helping her when she is in need. I am stroking her hair filled with lacquer. I am singing “roll me over in the clover”. I am wetting her lips with balm.

. . . . . . .she sleeps . . . .

Nanny Peggy Price

5/5/1927- 31/1/2019

Memories of Nan

My earliest memories I must have been about 3 or 4 and obviously alcohol was involved. Nan loved a whiskey and lemonade or whiskey and stones ginger wine. Aged 2 I also was quite partial to a whiskey. Allegedly I would send my mother to help Nan with hanging out the washing so I could down Nan’s whiskey. My uncle recently told me a story that I threw a glass onto the fire and it when ‘kaboom’, ( what a waste).

You look at old photos and you insist you remember that time and place but it’s really because you’ve looked at the old photos so many times before and picture yourself there when really you were too young to remember it.

My sister and I stayed regularly at nan’s house. It was a cosy home and always had certain smells that I can still remember to this day. Her fresh linen sheets neatly folded in the small bedroom, next to the mountains of football trophies. If you were really lucky you got to sleep in the big bedroom it had a double bed and an extremely thick cosy duvet. Without my auntie knowing I’d secretly try on all her lipsticks and pocket the ones I liked. Nan would always make us boiled eggs and soldiers, butter an inch thick ( that’s a family trait) spread on with those old butter knives with the white handles. Her mugs were so stained with tea I use to hunt for one that I thought was the cleanest. There was always a cupboard full of biscuits.

Nan always has a cake on the go, piles Of pike-lets, coconut and jam sponge or my favourite chocolate cake with hundreds and thousands. Her house was always full, if it wasn’t family it’d be Audrey from next door, or the Silver spring van delivering the weeks supply of Bing (which I still love but can only buy from chip shops). Every Sunday before Christmas we all got together at Nan’s to do presents. I always looked forward to this tradition seeing all the family. My best present from Nan, the one that will always stay with me was a can of soft and gentle deodorant with a £5 note cello-taped to it. Love it! Cheers Nan!

There was always horse racing on the telly or you’ve been framed, and god forbid if you sat in Grandads chair, but so exciting to be there, except I was always ever so slightly completely freaked out by her African man on a plate pride of place on the wall whom she once told me was my father!

There was always an inappropriate side to Nan whether it be singing naughty lyrics of songs or flirting with that old Greek waiter on holiday in Cyprus. She knew how to have fun.

Nan always had her “face on” I used to be mesmerised watching her beauty regime. Consisted of max factor pressed powder with a lush smell to the makeup pad she applied it with, lipstick on her cheeks, blue eyeshadow and mixing water to make a liquid to her mascara brush that always had pride of place on the kitchen window sill, and bright lippy. A few squirts of Estée Lauder ‘youth dew’ and a brush of her hair and done.

My growing up years go into a bit of a blur and things change a bit for a while. My memories then become of her starting to become poorly and not seeing her as much, we all get older and grow apart slightly. We’ve lost the closeness we once had. The short term memories have been forgotten. I am reminding her of my life with every visit. I am helping her when she is in need. I am stroking her hair filled with lacquer. I am singing “roll me over in the clover”. I am wetting her lips with balm.

. . . . . . .she sleeps . . . .

Nanny Peggy Price

5/5/1927- 31/1/2019

Breastfeeding

I hadn’t really thought about feeding my own babies, I had been out and bought the bottles , formula and sterilisers. When Rupert was born I was so poorly it was more about making sure I was ok and not getting him to ‘latch on’ immediately. I had him on the Tuesday and stayed in hospital until Friday. I don’t think I actually fed him at all for hours. I totally forgot. Being my first baby I really had no clue about what I actually had to do. I obviously forgot to read that book! A midwife kindly reminded me that I should have fed him by now. So they let me have a bottle and Aptimal, (they provided the bottles and formula). When I did try and feed him I closed the curtains. I didn’t want anyone seeing me struggle to manoeuvre myself, he wouldn’t latch on at all, just became extremely frustrated and I would become extremely hot and bothered and give up. So I tried expressing, a mammoth task in itself when your left with a new baby to deal with and a contraption you have zero idea how to use let alone the embarrassment of trying to not wake up the entire ward with the horrendous noise it made. ‘Sorry’ In the quietest voice I would say when the other mums tutted because their babies had been woken up one by one yet mine still slept. I even used a syringe to feed him instead of a bottle. ‘At least he is getting something’ they would say.

A week after we got home and still no joy in feeding him myself, I did have some help to try different tactics. The midwife was squeezing the life out of my tit trying to show me how to hold it. Not in the slightest bit embarrassing especially when it squirted in her face. The ‘boobie lady’ ( I called her) even came over to help him latch on but she basically told me to give up as it was all to much for both of us. So I agreed, I had tried at least.

When Percy came along I shoved him straight on as soon as he was out. I had time to prepare myself a bit more and I knew I wanted to give it another try. He latched on beautifully but every time I would start feeding him someone would turn up in hospital or when we were at home. I had already made up my mind I wasn’t going to get them out in public. Besides I wasn’t as educated as I thought about breastfeeding, I didn’t have a clue how to not get practically undressed to feed my baby. You see I did get practically undressed when I was at home, but it didn’t matter, it did somewhat matter in Costa Coffee. I lasted 6 weeks then switched to bottles full time.

Now my Mabel. She abso-blooming-lutely loves ‘the boob’. She has been breastfed since day one and is still to this very day being breastfed. She is now 14 months and still loves it. I still love it. It’s been very different and I think now it’s more for comfort for her, the boys had dummies, she has my boob. I at the young tender age of 39 decided to actually ask more questions about it and educate myself. I said this time I am just gonna get on with it and sod what anyone else thinks or feels about watching me feed my child. I have always been Discreet and used a cover but I found clothes to wear that were suitable to either lift up (and not show a bit of flesh) or pull down or both. It was that easy! I also joined a lovely baby group with other mums (mostly first timers) but we actually spoke about it and we all understood each other. Only took 7 years.

Then you get asked the ‘100 questions not to ask a mother breastfeeding her child’

What’s your favourite? If you’ve been in this situation you’ll identify with me. I hope I don’t embarrass anyone if this was your question to me and I’m sure after reading this you won’t ask me again.

How long are you going to breastfeed for?

My absolute favourite was;

What about when she gets teeth how will she feed then?

My response was “how to you eat with teeth?”

I understand all of the questions, I’ve probably asked people the same, but I’ve never spoken about my tits quite so much.

She has bitten me a few times and now with 14 teeth I’m sure it will hurt.

I know it’s a cliché but the bond between us is just magical. It’s has made us so close much more than the boys ever felt towards me at that age. I love all my children the same but the boys never screamed every time I went to the loo. She still wonders where I am and if she sees me then starts getting fretful. It’s getting easier. I have managed to leave her what 3 hours tops since being born. I know it’s been a strain on my relationship and also no one has been able to bond with her as much as the boys allowed. But secretly deep down I didn’t mind. I still don’t mind. It won’t be forever will it? A wise lady once told me . . . .

You’ll never regret the amount of time spent with your own children.

C-section v’s Natural

After having 2 natural vaginal births with just gas and air experiencing a c-section is a whole new ball game, especially under the emergency circumstances. After having a natural delivery the pain almost instantly goes, but then you’ve got the uncomfortableness of not being able to sit down, go to the loo, do the pelvic floor exercises that you lie about doing or even think about doing anything else with that region for a very long time. Also I don’t know about anyone else but my absolute worst nightmare that I was so conscious about with a natural birth was ‘pooping’ during labour! I’m not proud of it, but I did with both of mine. (Sorry).

I wasn’t allowed an epidural with Rupert because I’d had the blood transfusion, so I remember saying to my midwife when we were having Percy I want everything! I didn’t actually get time to have the epidural with Percy I was pushing when the anaesthetist was trying to get the needle in my back. So when it was Mabel’s turn again I kept an open mind and hoping the 3rd delivery would be nice and quick, in and out and home for tea!

I never ever even gave a c-section a thought. I had met people that had chosen to have one due to medical reasons or that had already had one previously, but you never think you will be in an emergency situation do you? When we were faced with our emergency we didn’t have time to register our thoughts. It all happened so quickly and all I was worried about was that no one knew what we were doing. No one knew we were about to have our baby girl. It wasn’t until after the whole traumatic experience (that I don’t ever want to go through again) when I had time to gather my thoughts and come to terms with what we just had to go through. Don’t get me wrong we are all healthy and fine and for that I am eternally grateful, but it could have been a different story, and for a split second I thought It was. When my husband felt me let go of his hand, my eyes roll back and him rushed out of the theatre, he thought that was it. It didn’t help the midwife came to him and told him ‘theyre just resuscitating her’ what who my wife? No your daughter. He said ‘I don’t care about my daughter what about my wife!’ She said ‘I can’t tell you’. I will never understand what he went through at the moment nor will he ever fully understand how I felt when I woke up but we do talk about it still 14 months on and it still is something we won’t ever get over.

We don’t have any birth pictures in our scrubs so the one where I met Mabel for the first time is the nearest.

Meeting Mabel

When I did wake up I felt a numbness, (not just from the waist down) but a vagueness, I didn’t feel anything, I should be joyous that I’ve just had my baby girl. Instead it was an emptiness, a sort of anger, and shock I suppose, I can’t explain it. She wasn’t with me for over 7 hours from giving birth. I hadn’t been the first person to see her. I hadn’t been the first person to hold her. I won’t ever get over that, you just have to learn to live with it. The midwife asked my sister in law if she wanted to hold her whilst I was still recovering, she said No and I said if she had I hoped they wouldn’t have ever told me. I would have been so desperately upset.

Recovery wise, I struggled with gas. I couldn’t eat or drink for several days afterwards. Even a sip of water was painful. I still had a drain and catheter in until the day I left which was a pain. I couldn’t stand upright. I couldn’t poo but I didn’t have any pains down below like a natural birth so I didn’t feel like I had given birth. When I finally passed wind and had a bowel movement it was amazing. I had a side room and had the windows open and I could hear all of the ladies in labour screaming, yelping, groaning with pain then a cry of a baby and I secretly thought I’m glad I didn’t have to do that.

I had my staples removed on day 5 and had an infection which a course of antibiotics got rid of. The numbness has really only just fully come back in my tummy and my scar is a gooden. I was straight into tidying up putting the washing on when I got home, the grabber came in handy. My husband was a great help especially with the two boys and With each day it did get a little easier coping with three children. I did probably do too much in the first few days, it’s so important to accept any help offered, even if it’s someone taking the kids out for dinner.

My scar does get itchy now and again and they could have done a little tummy tuck but hey ho.

So for me I can honestly say a natural birth is my preference. I love my babies with every breath in my body. But I do not want to experience labour in any form ever again.

Where it all began

I’d only gone out for a few diet cokes with some friends, I was driving you see. We went to our local pub the one with the sticky floors and stank like stale fags you could still smoke in pubs in those days. It was all a bit of a blur leading up to me ‘meeting the man of my dreams’, i had been standing next to him and some of his mates (one of which I knew from school) and he was dancing (robotics) and drinking (Campari). He offered me a drink to which I pretended to drink but actually threw it over my shoulder. He left the pub and I with a smile on my face asked our mutual friend for his phone number, was I actually going to text him? Obviously I did. Fast forward 3 weeks. I get a random text from him saying that the mutual friend gave me the wrong phone number and he had only turned on this mobile to charge it and see if there were any messages as it was his old phone! We arranged to meet up how exciting. After a few random dates with boys with braces that were allergic to tomatoes, we met up,mainly in pubs and restaurants, after 2 weeks of ‘dating’ he told me he was in love with me to which I totally freaked out and dumped him.

A week apart and actually chatting to each other more than we had in the first 2 weeks and listening to Damien Rice album (a tear jerker) which he had given me I told him I loved him too.

The rest you see is history . . .

This is where it all began.