Saturday, 26 May 2012

Hair today gone tomorrow!

As if Mother Nature hasn't already had enough opportunities for fun at my expense during six pregnancies with hyperemesis, precipitate labours, sciatic pain, a cracking varicose vein (which thankfully has decided not to stay as a permanent fixture) and a lovely hour long run of agonising contractions after Lucy was born being just a few of her highlights she has decided she has not finished with me yet. Although I was officially discharged from maternity care the better part of twelve weeks ago now I am still experiencing a few of the delights of being postnatal. Oh deep joy!

Now since our hair is constantly replenishing itself it runs in a cycle of growing then falling out to be replaced by new hair we all lose a few hairs when we brush and this is not usually a problem. However during pregnancy this cycle slows down and our hair stops falling out. We are rewarded with thicker more lustrous hair which is all very well and good until about three months after our baby is born then comes the not so fun part as the cycle catches up with itself and all those extra hairs start to fall out, rapidly! Lucy is now four and a half months old  so my hair is falling out in handfuls every time I brush. This has been going on for a few weeks now. Luckily I have plenty of hair so it is not noticeable except to me as I am finding I am leaving bits of my DNA where ever I go. Every time I wash my hair it looks like I have caught a rat in the plughole. This is not great but what is worse is that in place of all the hair I am losing my scalp is desperately trying to fill the gaps so I have wirey and very curly hairs sprouting out of the top of my head.

I was born with jet black curly hair, well according to my mum I was anyway and I suggest like me you take her word for it since I am in no position to argue, I was a newborn how the hell am I supposed to remember? I certainly couldn't see the top of my own head and if I could have I probably wouldn't have been able to focus on it.
 Anyway as babies do I rubbed off a lot of my first hair and in it's place grew blonde wavy hair which is what I had through most of my childhood, it became darker as I grew older. After each pregnancy the hair which has grown back has strangely been much darker, some jet black and very curly just like my very first hair. The lighter finer hair still remains though so as usual my hair can't make up it's mind what it is doing. It  ends up half curly and half straight which is just weird.  I have always said I have chameleon hair, see even my hair is bonkers!

My skin is still going crazy thanks to all the hormones which must be still milling around my body, am trying to remember to plaster on the moisturiser but come on I have five kids prority plastering in this house involves sun cream and elastoplast not Boots No7!

Talking of sunshine I am loving the brightness but sadly not the heat. We had a mad dash to Asda today to buy Lucy some sunhats. OK I admit to being caught unawares but come on we live in Wales packamacs come as standard! We only see the sun once every three years and even then it is only for a long weekend. I think the only time we  have actually got to the bottom of a bottle of suncream before the summer holidays was due to our eldest daughter generously sharing it with her classmates, yes because it is not like I don't have enough children to buy it for is it?.................

I don't worship the sun at all so I have spent the last two days in my usual jeans and trainers, my concession to the unusually high temperatures was to go outside without a coat! I finally decided that this was not just an odd fluke of nature and so I had better dig out my summer clothes, I had spent the last two nights sleeping on top of the duvet too. I usually follow the well known saying 'ne'er cast a clout till May is out' but I think if I stay in my winter clothes any longer I may well melt so out come the milk bottle legs. Sun glasses on my friends for your own protection! You have been warned.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Mother Bear has a sore head........

Ugh! Do you have those days when by the time the alarm screams at you to wake up you feel like you have already done your day already? The sun is shining and I am counting the hours till it goes down. Yes Mummy of five is grumpy today!

 Last night Lucy decided that first she was hungry and cold because she had kicked her covers off so she let me know about it at 3am. I had only been asleep for three hours and had been unusually restless for most of that time so I tucked her back in bed with me and fed her. Since I was boiling I covered myself in a blanket and threw the quilt back out of the way. Lucy as usual had her own blanket. We both went back to sleep. Normally we would both wake up again around 6:30/7am.  Around 5 am she woke again and we had an hour of her fidgeting next to me, after another feed I decided she was just fed up of something. I gave up and popped her back into her crib to see if that  would improve did, she sighed and went straight back to sleep, as it turns out it was me she was fed up of!

 Shattered after such an interupted night I stumbled back into bed and snuggled under my blanket again until a rude awakening just before 7am when Steve left for work. James decided he didn't want his dad to go to work and he decided to wake us all up to tell us, loudly! This in turn woke Kerrie up who immediately proclaimed that she wanted to go and sit at the table for breakfast and Lucy who was not hungry just objecting very loudly to being unceremoniously woken up before she was good and ready.  Having already been woke up a couple of times in the night it is fair to say that I was not at all happy about being jolted from my slumber in such a way. OK my alarm would have actually gone off a few minutes later anyway but that would have been a much gentler awakening compared to the voices of three small people all yelling at once.

  After a night of being too hot now I was too cold. I shivered into my dressing gown and calling to James and Kerrie that I was on my way I stumbled across the room to Lucy's crib. She was quite happy to go straight back to sleep on being handed her favourite toy and a dummy to soothe her.  Lucy, long may the days reign when handing you a toy octopus can cure all that is troubling you!
The effect was instantaneous.   I don't mind admitting I was quite jealous! I was contemplating ringing my Mum to see if she could bring me a dummy and a teddy so I could go back to sleep too. Even my foggy brain was capable of realising that had I done so she would have thought I had actually lost the plot and she would not have been amused at being woken so early either.  So putting all thoughts of more sleep aside I told the kids to get dressed except Kerrie, she had decided to get back in bed where she promptly went back to sleep. I can see my smallest two have brains. I somehow and I am still not sure how, made my way in the direction of the kettle. A very large cup of tea was needed this morning, two cups of tea later I am still not  properly awake. Two slices of toast with proper Welsh butter and half an hours peace to write this while the three eldest have gone to school and the smallest two are fast asleep has still not been enough to wake my brain up. I have a feeling that this is going to be a very long day indeed.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Even our belongings are nuts!

I don't know if it is just in our home but it is not only the people who live here who make it a madhouse. Our inanimate objects are also entirely bonkers. Seriously, I can't work out if there is some sort of glitch in our system which makes everything about this house slightly odd or whether it is just how they make things nowadays. It is bizarre, akin to living in the fun house. When my Mum comes to babysit I have to leave her a list of instructions so she can work everything.

We have the front door which will only open if you turn the key at exactly the right angle, to open it when you are inside you have to push on the door in the right place.  Visitors only come here once then they can't get back out again.
Talking of not being able too get out again we have safety gates everywhere to entertain Kerrie and each one opens in a slightly different way, it is like trying to get through a maze only there is no prize waiting for you at the end. Kerrie watches me struggle then effortlessly opens them herself with a look that can only mean Ha!

 The TV only works if you press number six before you do anything else. The phone cables which were connected to the sky box never worked properly despite being looked at by three different engineers and fully replaced three times with three different boxes used over the course of a few years. Last month I gave up cancelled the second box and unplugged both phone cables, the initial idea was to shave some money of our rather extortionate monthly bill, seconded by noticing the clever monkeys were putting the same channel on both boxes at once so that as they were playing in both rooms they didn't miss anything. The idea behind getting multi room was so that we could have one TV for grown ups and one for kids, this idea had long since died a death as the kids had taken over both sets.  It was our one luxury since we don't get out much in the evening with five kids but we found that the only time we get to watch anything is when they are all in bed so we don't need two sets then. An added bonus is with no longer having multi room we don't have to keep the phone line plugged in. Happy days as my husband says.

We have a little old portable TV in our bedroom connected to a free view box on an indoor aerial, this works fairly well despite the on line free view pages telling me it wont because we need an aerial on the roof. I only really use it at night while I am sat feeding Lucy but for the first few evenings I couldn't work out why it would give up and the screen would freeze usually around eight thirty or nine'o'clock. This was getting annoying since most programmes that I watch are on for an hour and so I kept missing the end.  Eventually I worked out that this co-incided with Chloe going to bed and further investigation revealed that she was lying in bed texting her friends from her mobile when she should have been going to sleep.  It appears the free view box does not like mobile phones, neither do I when they mean bleary eyed kids in the morning!

 The cooker timer is stuck so every time we flick the power button it buzzes loudly until you can manage to hit three buttons all at exactly the same time. We can't leave it switched on all the time because we have Kerrie, enough said!  The catch on the tumble dryer door is broken, it works but only if you wibble it, bit like my brain in the morning........

 The sky plus box is temperamental as was its predecessor which died with a full planner of things I had recorded but not had chance to watch yet - good job I am far too busy to remember what was actually on there! Actually this one makes me laugh, I know that the box takes a good ten minutes to warm up when I switch it on in the morning so my usual practise is to switch it onto standby and then make a brew, when I get back it will be ready to go, ask it to work any sooner and it goes all stubborn and refuses to work at all. It is mine what do you expect!
I live here so I am used to it, however whenever I have cause to phone sky for help the first thing they ask me to do is switch the box off and then turn it back on. I always explain that it will take an age to come back on and I've already tried this being familiar with the routine. They never believe me so I go ahead and switch it off, then back on.........they wait and they wait and they wait then they start insisting it must be back on now, erm no actually it is stuck on standby, do they actually thing that I like paying their inflated call rates so much that I would pretend it is not working just so I could have a chat with their call centre staff? Hmmmm what shall I do today ooh I know I will call sky because I am bored!

The toaster finally gave up the ghost last week after one side of it died an unexplained death a few weeks ago. Maybe they are overworked in this house but we seem to be buying a new kettle and toaster roughly every twelve months. We have tried mid range and we have tried cheap versions and they both last the same length of time. We have resigned ourselves to buying a cheap kettle and toaster and expect to replace it yearly. One day I will actually get organised and buy a spare in preparation, well you know how I love my cup of tea. It is truly a bad day when I wake up to find the kettle wont work. My lovely friend was once on her way here for a brew, as usual she kindly rang me to ask if there was anything I needed, she meant cake, cheesecake or cream cake we are not fussy as long as cake is mentioned somewhere in the item description. She was slightly surprised when I asked to buy a kettle as ours had zonked yet again. Very good timing on her part as I was just resorting to boiling water in a pan when she phoned.

  The toaster I could cope without because we do have a grill that is if I can move all the oven trays and clutter we keep in the top oven to use it. That is the trouble with this house whatever you want to use you have to move ten other things first. Steve decided to buy a new toaster so at least one thing in this house is all shiny and new and working for the timebeing. (way to go Helen, just jinxed it!)

I could keep going but at this point I am not sure whether to laugh at this daily interaction with everything going it's own sweet way regardless of what it is actually supposed to do or I could get rather depressed that nothing wants to work the way it should.  I think however that I shall pop downstairs and make myself a nice cuppa and some toast.........assuming I can open all the gates and get the kettle and toaster to play fair that is!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Shopping madness!

One of the challenges of having so many children is feeding them all. In our house this is not helped by most of them being fussy eaters. Despite my best efforts with home made purees in some cases and baby led weaning in others I might add! They didn't start out that way but as each child has grown and witnessed their older siblings faddiness they have joined in too. We have worked hard to make sure that each child will eat at least some fruit and veg but it has been a long road and very wearing at times. Things are getting better though, a roast dinner which used to be a nightmare with all their likes and dislikes is now one of the meals where they will all eat most of it. Elisha even asked me for gravy last week which she has always refused. There is hope for them all!

  Kerrie will luckily eat almost anything and since the other children are at school most of the day their fussiness is off view so Lucy has a good chance of eating properly without witnessing their strange habits. Hopefully she will enjoy a wide variety of food too.
Yesterday Kerrie enjoyed the same lunch as I did. Pitta bread filled with chicken, tomato, lettuce and coleslaw followed by a banana.
 Kerrie would live off bananas if we let her. I am convinced she is part monkey, she can scale any obstruction put in her path, she loves to climb. In fact she is climbing all the time at the moment, she is driving us all nuts so that banana mountain we buy each week could well come in handy!

I am waiting for Tesco to deliver the next van load of supplies. Considering our children are all so tiny I fail to understand how we can go through so much food! I am starting to think I should go directly to the warehouse and cut out the middleman.

The amount of milk we go through we should certainly buy a cow. During the recent panic buying of petrol it was embarrassing to go shopping to buy our usual weekend supplies of bread and milk, we looked like we were supplying the whole street. My self-conscious comments to the checkout operator about having five children to feed may have seemed a little more realistic and less like an excuse to stockpile had we have actually had them all with us.
We have learnt over the years though for the sake of our own sanity that it is best to do grocery shopping with as few children as possible so we try and go when most of them are safely ensconced in school.
 I have said it before and I will say it again I love all my children dearly I don't love herding them all around the supermarket.

 To be fair they are usually fairly well behaved but the combination of keeping an eye on three sets of small feet, keeping them all walking in the right direction, pushing a pram/entertaining the baby so she stays happy, fighting with an unwieldy trolley - why do I always get the one with a mind of it's own? keeping Kerrie sat down and amused for the duration in said mad trolley, trying to remember what I need despite the list which resembles an essay, in a building the size of an aircraft hanger with thousands of products on display, most of which I have never bought and suspect I will never actually ever need to, avoiding the strange behaviour of those people who frankly shouldn't be left in charge of themselves let alone a vehicle with four wheels! (Why do people feel the need to leave their trolley in the middle of the aisle while they wander away for their solitary tin of beans?) ......and breathe! Is all just a little too much for me. - try our instore cafe......are you kidding me? After that fun hour I need a vodka straight without the ice and a nice lie down, preferably away from all other forms of life human or otherwise!

This is why I love online shopping. I sit down and order when they are all asleep. I choose what we need and review at the end instead of slinging things in the trolley like a woman possessed in my haste to get the hell out of there and then on unpacking at home wonder how I am going to make meals out of the curious assortment of items I chose.  I sit nice and calm with a cuppa and a list, a mealplan and sometimes I even sleep on it before paying so I can make sure I have got it right. Then a nice man brings it to my door at a timeslot I have chosen again based on the easiest time for me to get it all unpacked and put away i.e when they are all in school! Job done!

My other store of choice has to be Aldi. I love Aldi! It is simple, it is quick, it is cheap and everything is easy to find without having to hunt through a million and one other things to find a jar of jam. Genius! Better still it is usually so quick and easy I can leave Daddy in charge of the children in the car while I dash in and shop in peace. Bliss!

The truth is that we couldn't have bought any extra anyway because we wouldn't have had anywhere to store it. We are having to be very inventive as it is. Our kitchen is very small, so small in fact that our fridge freezer lives in the dining room, the cereal boxes live on top of this so they don't take up valuable cupboard space in the kitchen. This does have the added benefit of being handy at breakfast time. There is so little work surface in the kitchen that we often resort to lining up the plates on the ironing board when we are dishing up meals. Well we rarely use it anyway, the iron makes a useful doorstop too! Large family, small house and right on time here is Mr Tesco, I had better go and find somewhere to stash the goodies before several sets of eager eyes see them, hands off the half price Ben and Jerry's kids it is all mine!

Monday, 14 May 2012

That Monday morning feeling..........

I've got the blues, I've got those back to school blues! OK I overslept, we all overslept. It was nearly eight 'o'clock when I woke up. Oops, Chloe usually leaves for the bus at that time. Elisha has swimming so she needs to be at school earlier than usual, double oops, and my poor James as explained in an earlier post hates to be turfed out of bed with no ceremony. A triple oops with no bonus points, collect your P45 Mummy You're Fired!

 Monday, the traditional start of the week starting off on the wrong foot does not bode well. With so many little people with so many places to get to and so many things to get ready Monday morning is at the best of times a struggle. It is a challenge to be got through and it needs to go well or it doesn't 'go' at all. Factor in 'Mummy chief little people organiser' getting up late and it is akin to watching a disaster unfold before your very eyes. If this was on reality tv they would be calling it a car crash!

Today has the makings of an epic fail. Even the laptop is refusing to work properly. When I switched it on it decided to add an update before it even got going, never a good sign. It spent an age telling me that it was 'preparing my desktop' so all I could see was a blank screen behind which I could imagine all the icons rushing around like the playing cards from Alice in Wonderland trying to assemble themselves in time for the Queen. Oh hell she is up, we are not ready! Where is my hat? Has anyone seen my coat? How can I have overslept and so on!

When it finally woke up it couldn't locate windows and so I had to shut it all down and start again which thankfully this time it did, properly. Maybe the icons had all had their morning coffee by this time. Trying to get online had it's own problems. Internet explorer did not want to wake up either, having bolted out of bed this morning in a blind panic I know just how he feels! Yes I am sorry for the sexism I do refer to IE as male. I also refer to the laptop as male, fun to play with but at times a little difficult! usual I digress!

 I wouldn't mind but we did as much as possible last night. Steve makes their packed lunches at night while I am putting the little ones to bed. School uniform for three, swimming kit for one, gym kit, a Brownie Uniform and school bags all prepared. Poor Elisha looks like a packhorse going to school most mornings although admittedly she likes to add a whole host of un-needed clutter to her bags, most mornings I have to frisk her for contraband. She is seven so I am pretty sure that they have not changed the timetable so much since I was a pupil that it would require her to take make up, cd's, sunglasses and six dolls along with their various assorted accessories to school.

  As for Chloe her backpack is nearly as big as she is. We met her in town on Friday when she had finished school because she needed new school shoes. (That story would warrant a post all of it's own!) The lovely ladies in the Clarks shop could not believe the weight of her school bag. I retain a permenantly damaged shoulder from trailing the halls of the local high school with a bag of textbooks the eqivalent of a sack of spuds. I suspect sadly she may be going down the same path. The pharmecutical industry could be missing a trick here - not like them is it! They could be handing out discount vouchers for a tin of Ralgex spray with every school bag or Deep Heat lets not be selective here.

Today Chloe also has a cookery lesson and after the previous attempts at food education I use the word cookery very loosely indeed. I told you all about the crumble debacle (If you don't know what I am ranting on about the post entitled 'Crumble Theory' will explain all) then we had fruit salad which was to be fair very nice. We then had scones which for some bizarre reason only beknown to the teacher had to be prepared on the Monday and then left in school till the Thursday to be baked the mix left to sit for four days, I am always baffled! I was also a little concerned as they made them with milk. If time was that short why did they not just send them home to be baked like the crumble?
Then came the leek and potato soup which was to be fair delicious and was actually prepared from scratch. All well and good except I can only assume the teacher is the size of a gnat. I am all for portion control but seriously the dribble of soup which slowly came out of the flask was about three desert spoonsful.
 In case you are wondering no Chloe hadn't had a quick snack on the way home, I know this because she can't stand the stuff. After making and eating it in Junior school she ended up having a quick conversation on the great white telephone to God.

 Today is Bara Brith Muffins. She is making this with a partner so the fruit and brown sugar were seeped in cold tea overnight and I await the arrival of the muffins with excitedly dancing taste buds...................probably a week next Tuesday!

The spell check is now refusing to work and after only having one cup of tea so far my eyelids are still half glued together and my brain is meerly laughing at me when I ask it to co-operate fully, therefore please excuse any errors, they are as usual all my own.

Keep your fingers crossed for me for the rest of the day, I suspect it may well be a long one!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Why I put the blame firmly at Shaky's Green Door!

I know I know I said we were stopping when we had four children, I told anyone who would listen and anyone who dared to ask that we were done. The truth was that we really had decided to stop.  Four children were plenty, four children were enough. We were so lucky to be blessed with our four beautiful children and that was that we decided. But then I discovered we were expecting Lucy.

 For this wonderful event I blame Shakin Stevens.  Before anyone gets overexcited or thinks I've gone delusional I am not claiming that he is actually responsible for one thing I am happily married, to a bloke who funnily enough is called Steve,  for another I have never actually met Shaky and as my dad pointed out he is old enough to be my dad.
 No, it is Shaky's fault because last February after being a fan for 30 years I finally realised my dream  to see him in concert. Now if you waited for 30 years for something I am sure it would leave you in quite a good mood for sometime afterwards. I couldn't stop smiling after seeing Shaky sing live. I am sure that my month long 'good mood' resulted in the beautiful little bundle of joy who is curled up fast asleep alongside me. That is why I am blaming Shaky!

I have been a fan of Shakin Stevens for virtually my whole life. I owned my first ever single at the tender age of two it was a vinyl copy of Shaky's Its Raining which I am proud to say I still have. The funny thing was whenever I played it as a child it always rained. Since we don't have a record player I can't actually play it any more and I have since replaced my records with Cd's and mp3's but I am keeping all my records because one day I will play them again.

Despite being a fan for so long, despite having his posters on my wall as a teen, despite enduring years of stick for being a fan when it was considered so untrendy I had never actually been to a Shaky concert. This was to be rectified when my Aunt wrote to me enclosing a leaflet detailing up and coming events at a theatre venue not so far away from us. She had spotted a Shakin Stevens concert and knowing that I was a fan she kindly decided to forward it to me. I was on the phone to book the tickets before you could wonder what was behind the green door! In my haste  I forgot to ask Steve if he would come too, I just booked the tickets and hoped he would agree!  I managed to get seats in the centre of the second row right in front of the stage.  Oh how happy I was, I could not stop smiling. The concert was supposed to take place in November but was postponed till February owing to Shaky's health scare.  

  A couple of weeks before my 32nd Birthday I finally went to a Shakin Steven's concert. It felt like I had waited for a very long time. Well I had waited thirty years. I spent the whole night with a huge smile on my face, Steve kept laughing at me because I was smiling so much.   I smiled so much that my cheekbones ached for a week! I smiled so much that Shaky even smiled back at me a couple of times, OK the lights were bright and he might not have been able to see the audience but I am convinced he did smile at me and you will not tell me otherwise.  He probably thought it wise to since I was sat there with an inane grin on my face the entire time he was on stage.  My hands clapped, my feet tapped and in the end we stood up and danced. It was brilliant, a night I will remember all my life.

The best bit was that I was able to hear him sing a fantastic version of 'It's Raining' live and true to form as we left the theatre it was raining. Shaky is amazing, fair play he kept us all entertained and I loved every moment.  I wonder if Lady Gaga will still be performing to packed out venues when she is in her sixties?

So when people congratulate us on our beautiful new arrival and mention as they do that they thought we were stopping at four I tell them it's not our fault just blame Shaky!

Monday, 7 May 2012

I knew cleaning was bad for your health!

Lucy has just turned four months old. She is in more of a routine now although it is not completely predictable. She does settle for a couple of long sleeps in the day which gives me time to get a few more things done around the house. Kerrie on the other hand is rivalling David Blaine in her desire to entertain us with her antics in escapology. Put a gate in her way and she will simply climb over it or in the case of the stair and kitchen gates she puts her feet under the gate and pushes upwards, open pops the gate and away she goes, rather proudly I might add.  Kerrie dashes around the house like a mini tornado opening cupboards, emptying drawers and toy boxes leaving a path of destruction in her wake. She is naturally inquisitive, she wants to explore her surroundings. She wants to press buttons and open boxes. She wants to try Chloe's shoes on, she wants to test out their toys, she wants to look at their books.  She wants to do everything she sees the other kids do and she has a million questions to go with her journey.

When Kerrie wakes up in the morning it is exactly as if someone has pushed her ON switch. She comes to life straight away, no warm up required, totally unlike James who needs a good hour at least to come around in the morning. I pity James on the odd days I oversleep. If there is one thing he loathes it is a mad dash in the morning. The poor boy does not like to be rushed, he likes to wake up slowly taking his own sweet time. He will be ready when he is ready and any attempt to make him move faster results in the opposite effect.

 We have tended to restrict Kerrie to the living room most of the time, we keep that room very baby and toddler friendly.  Toys with small parts such as Lego, jigsaws,  board games and art materials are kept in the dining room so she can't get hold of them unless she is supervised. The dining room is also home for a lot of toys such as the farm animals, cars and the play food which are taken into the living room to be played with as there is more space to play on the floor.

This has worked well until now that Kerrie can escape the confines of the living room but at only just three she still does not understand why she can't play with everything the older children play with. Her speech is excellent but her reasoning and understanding still have a long way to go. I decided that if she is going to be spending more time in the dining room now it would need a bit of rearranging so as to keep the smaller toys out of her reach.  I also decided that this would be the ideal opportunity to give the room a spring clean. I should have known that this would be a bad idea.

I don't like cleaning, well it's not that I don't like it as such it's just that I can think of so many other things I could be doing instead so I begrudge the time spent. However I last time I gave the room a really good clean was at Christmas when I was still pregnant and nesting so after 4 months of only a cat lick and a promise it really did need a good deep clean.

So I set to work. I started in the corner with the computer cupboard. The aim was to make the room Kerrie friendly so that she would think she was allowed to play with much more while everything she shouldn't touch would be out of her reach. Henry the hoover was brought out of the darkness of the  under stairs cupboard and all was going well until I hit upon the idea of hoovering the computer keyboard and two of the letters disappeared up the curly pipe, oops! While I was mentally handing myself a virtual award for stupid idea of the day in walks Steve. Fair play to him he resisted the urge to laugh and instead helped me search through  the very dusty contents of the hoover bag to find the lost letters, I and O in case you were wondering.

 Of course the hoover bag was full, this is me we are talking about here but he did actually manage to find the I key. As for the O well sadly no such luck there and so our keyboard is now missing a letter. The space where the O should be stands as a permanent reminder to me for when I next get the urge to spring clean. Since all I ended up with was a wheeze from all the dust we had to search through and a broken keyboard to boot next time I should leave well alone!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The hazards of the Postnatal Ward

 It is raining again. This is Wales so admittedly this is hardly a newsflash although if it gets any worse I hear that midwives are planning on issuing all Welsh newborns with a cagoule...........Yes I am joking but wouldn't it make an interesting talking point on the postnatal ward? So much nicer than having to discuss the lady in the next bed's stitches or the contents of her baby's nappy  'should it be that colour?' Look, I know I am sleep deprived too but I am pretty sure I managed to put my pyjamas on after the birth and not a set of scrubs.

No, of course I didn't say that outright, I was far too nice to come out with any of my immediate thoughts so keeping them to myself I went with my second choice of smiling, while clucking soothingly. I then nipped out ostensibly to go to the loo whilst in reality I was commandeering the nearest staff member and propelling her in 'New Mum's'   direction to give her a few hints about which way up to hold her firstborn.  Lost looking inmate in the next bed got some in my opinion much needed help and I went back to putting my feet up with my cup of tea and the latest Martina Cole novel job done! (In case you are wondering my baby was fed changed and asleep - I had done this before you know!)

I know my friends, I love them dearly. They are the people I choose to spend time with so I am happy to have a cuppa and answer their questions about all things pregnancy, babies and breastfeeding.  I am delighted to share the knowledge I have gained, if it is of any use to you then you are welcome to it. If you want to follow my advice then please do and if it sounds like a load of old tosh then feel free to go your own merry way. I won't ever be offended because I pick and choose which advice I follow myself in the same way. Frankly I am touched that my friends ask however I am not the fountain of all knowledge, I am still learning too so if I do not know I will say so and I do not claim to always get things right.

 I am sure the bunch of strangers I have been bundled with are all lovely people in their own right but I have just given birth too, I am dealing with my own postnatal hormones right now and unlike them I know just how 'fun' that is going to get so please just leave me in the corner bed to work through it with a nice comforting box of Kleenex, I will be fine. Thank you!

And now having said that I am going to impart one very important piece of advice for after you have your second baby which for your own benefit you should choose to follow!

Seriously, never, ever under any circumstances let a ward full of first time mums know that you have already had a baby. When your children come to visit claim they are close relations but never admit to them being your own offspring. I know that temporarily disowning your firstborn does seem a tad cruel but this is self preservation, survival of the fittest and as the Greek proverb goes 'In the kingdom of the blind the one-eyed man is king' which roughly means that even if somebody is not perfect in something, in comparison to others who are worse than her, she is going to be considered the best!

 I warn you now if you let them in on this little detail you risk an onslaught of questions that an immigration officer would be proud of. A verbal battering to your eardrums all I might say while your own beautiful newborn is sound asleep because you do know which end to put the nappy on!

In prison you would be the top dog, on a postnatal ward you are considered a pro, an expert, she who has done it before and therefore can answer all the questions. It doesn't matter that you are as exhausted as they are probably even more so seeing as you already have children.   It also doesn't matter that you have forgotten most of what you learnt the first time around or you are just too knackered to remember it! The other members of the ward do not know that and so they charge round your bed like the Light Brigade in full force. If this was a post apocalyptic drama you would be their appointed leader. Oh goody!

 At any other time in my life I would have been thrilled to be so popular, right now no. I can honestly take my Head Girl hat off and tell you that I draw the line at discussing your 'ahem' vaginal loss before breakfast. Yes that is a true recollection. Over the course of three days I must have considered the consistency of more bodily fluids then your average pathologist. I only wish I was joking!

I as a second time Mummy have done this already, the novelty has worn off and I know that I am going home to a double workload. Two little people will be dependant on me and I have with that final push officially run out of hands. I know that when I get home I will be answering the calls of both baby and toddler in the night. I will be juggling a double buggy and a basket should I ever get brave enough to venture out to the shops and I may never drink an entire cup of tea before it gets cold so please forgive my selfishness in hoping that if your newborn is not enough to keep you occupied, the contents of your bounty pack might entertain you for ooh just five minutes because I deliberately left my child at home. Harsh, hell yes, As I've already told you this is self preservation.

Excuse me while I chuckle at the contents of the postnatal exercise sheet, amuse yourselves quietly while I take a quick shower, I know it is the last time I will get chance to shower in peace without said toddler trying to climb in too. The same goes for mealtimes, yes it has to be said hospital food is not the nicest but on the plus side it is a meal I have not had to cook for myself and I have the chance to eat it while it is hot so I am going to do just that. You can tell your visitors all about your piles/sore nipples or whatever other delights you feel unable to keep to yourself.  I do not want to know. I am busy enjoying a millisecond of peace and quiet before I return to my reality.

It is entirely possible that the second time mum decides on a hospital birth because it is the one time when you are guaranteed to get the bed to yourself. OK the baby might be there with you too but only if invited. I have yet to see a newborn clamber out of it's perspex crib and into your bed in the middle of the night. Toddlers yes they run to a different set of rules, toddlers are self centred. It is not your bed at all, it is their bed the instant they climb in and they merely allow you try and sleep there while they go through an aerobics routine that Mr Motivator would be proud of.

 Of course you can try and co-sleep with your newborn in hospital go on I dare you, it is a health and safety nightmare. The powers that be are so convinced the baby is going to fall out of bed that they insisted on one of those bed guards for keeping toddlers safe at night. I kid you not! This was taken out of a cupboard and attached to one side of the bed, the side I was feeding from. Baby fed, baby went to sleep, so did Mummy.......until a couple of hours later when baby woke up hungry, the first stage of a hungry baby being the ever so cute slight snuffling sound as she moves her head from side to side rooting for a breast.
Did Mummy drift out of her slumber just long enough to move baby onto the other side of the bed and offer the other boob as she would in the delightful privacy of her own home? No, because said Mummy was  under strict orders to call the Midwife and wait for her to move the bed guard to the other side of the bed.
 At home no one else is disturbed, in hospital my baby objecting at the delay has loudly just woken up half the ward and I am sure there are much more pressing matters for the Midwife to deal with too. What a palaver! Frankly I was too tired to object, I lay down and did as I was told resolving to get the hell out of there as soon as possible. Is it any wonder I favour home birth?

I have co-slept with all my babies at home. I refuse to apologise for this, I like my sleep. I am not going to and never have as one older mum told me I would, mislaid the baby in the bed. Neither have I ever woke up to find the baby on the floor.
 I have other children to care for, I need to be awake enough to get them to school without walking them all in front of a moving bus. I need some sleep to function just enough to get through the day relatively unscathed.
 As for the rest of you, well you can do as you jolly well please, if you don't like the idea then don't do it. Your baby your choice. I on the other hand won't care whatever you decide to do because I will be curled up with my baby enjoying a well earned snooze!