Marathon V Childbirth

It struck me today, seven days before I’m due to run the London marathon, or more specifically, seven days before I’m due to run my first ever marathon, just how similar the emotions, feelings and physical traits are, to becoming a parent!

It may sound overly dramatic and just a little self indulgent but I’m serious when I say, the feelings I’ve had the last couple of days are exactly how I felt before B was born. Bar the whole, hand in the vagina for a sweep bit, even the preparation is the same.

I’ve made lists. God, I’ve made lists.

I’ve packed a bag to unpack it and pack it again.

I’ve felt a very real need to cleanse body, soul, home and mind.(You should see how clean my skirting boards are!)

I’m taking body selfies to see just how much my body as changed.

bump runner

I’ve phoned my doctor because I’m eating chalk.

I’ve tried to change my diet, take vitamins (because of the whole eating chalk malarkey) and listen to experts about the do’s and dont’s.

I’ve muttered the words ‘This time next week I’ll…’ three hundred times, much like I did for a whole month before B came along.

I’ve run (boom boom) every worst case scenario through my head and some, I’ve pictured finishing, I’ve pictured how I’ll feel after, what I’ll feel after, I wonder whether I’ll have enough energy to ever have sex again, whether I’ll be me after I finish? Whether I’ll want to do it again?

I’ve thought I can’t do it.

I’ve thought I’ll be epic at it.

I’ve over thought it to the point I feel like I know absolutely everything and nothing at all.

I’m excited and frightened and one minute very ready and the next not at all.

I think about why I’m doing this, what I wanted and want from it, how it will change nothing but everything and then I feel ridiculously proud.

Four years ago there was no B and definitely no run intended (see what I did there?) and now there’s both, a beautiful little girl, a reasonably good book, a run intended and thousands of miles, literally, thousands of miles, behind me, so whatever happens on April 24th 2016, whether I’ll be the same person I was pre marathon, whether I have sex straight away or three months later, whether or not I cleanse myself thoroughly before I get on the Megabus heading to Victoria, I am allowing myself to feel a little bit smug and a little bit relaxed.

Just like I did before I went into labour.

After all, the hard work has been done, sort of; I’ve grown into a marathon runner, like I grew B.

I know the actual race will be long, tiring, amazing and I’ll be bloody starving after.

I hope I don’t shit myself or hurt myself or fall short at the last hurdle and need pain relief to get over the line but I also can’t wait to show myself, the world, B, just exactly what I’m capable of.

And yes, I will bring that medal home and look after it and treasure it and show it off exactly how I brought B home and treasured her and took her to town so people could muse over her beauty!

I will be that woman and do you know what?

I can’t wait!!!!!

 

 

 

Ten things I’ve learnt parenting a toddler during Halloween

Here’s ten pearls of wisdom I’d like to remember/pass on.

  1. Pumpkins are tricky. In every sense. They are hard to purchase, (last minute) hard to carve (last minute) and hard to make presentable (whatever the bloody minute). This year ours actually resembles a manic, toothless serial killer with a drink problem which brings me on to point two…
  2. My particular toddler is apparently, terrified of pumpkins. Now, I’m pretty sure if I’d made more of an effort, like a Peppa bloody Pig or Bing effort, said toddler may have been more appreciative of weird, fruit carving tradition, but as it was toothless, alcoholic Ted Bundy did not go down well.
  3. Another apparently, which normally I’d apologise for but given Halloween as a parent is apparently so stressful I won’t, Darth Vader is not a suitable costume for a sixteen month old toddler according to the one that fathered her. I hope he thinks it’s suitable for forthcoming festive period or he will owe me £11.99.
  4. Organised events will require Valium and copious amounts of wine. Rooms full of toddlers dressed as clowns, fed only on cheap sweets and Panda Pop is more than nerve fraying…I’d go as far as saying its horrendous. My body managed to perspire in places that I thought were impossibly sweat free zones. At one point I actually felt my spleen tremble such was the chaos.
  5. Dressing my human last year was lovely. I was able to pop her into a little pumpkin suit and cart her round Tecos like one would show a pony. This year getting her to keep the pumpkin hat on was torture in itself. Getting her to keep the pumpkin hat on and remain in my arms whilst we queued for ‘organised event’ was a horror story in itself.
  6. I think all parents should be made aware that at some point during a Halloween shin dig you will lose your child. It’s inevitable. Lots of small creatures whizzing around, bouncing off walls and cardboard werewolves can only mean that your little devil will get caught up in the craziness and merge in well with other little creatures. You think you may be relived for a smidgen of rest bite but you won’t, you will panic and relive every Halloween horror film that involves the abduction and slicing of children. You will.
  7. Because of all of the above, you should take wine in your bag. You will need wine.
  8. There will always be at least three other mothers that are winning at Halloween. Let them win. Let them have the best pumpkins and the best costumes…next year you will have wine.
  9. Unfortunately the skull prop, for photographs, at an organised event may or may not have the same name as your vagina. It was incredibly unfortunate that when my sixteen month old toddled over to said skull and started petting it the photographer asked whether she ‘loved Eric?’ it was probably more unfortunate that I then actually said ‘ooh Eric? That’s what I call my vagina.’ Cue awkward, Halloween tumbleweed and possible social service referral, we will see.
  10. Next year I may consider a Sunday school, church type party that allows wine with a strict no pumpkin policy.

T’was the night before she was one

On the eve of my daughters very first birthday I’m feeling an extreme amount of emotions; they vary on the spectrum of feelings from elated, happy and excited that we’ve got through our first three hundred and sixty five days pretty unscathed to devastated, a little bit sad not to mention quite teary that my tiny, chubby, milk monster baby is no more.

No, now I’m the proud owner of a still chubby but beautiful, happy, inquisitive, crazy, pepperoni lover toddler; a notion that is both amazing and terrifying. Firstly, where did that year go? It seems like a nanosecond ago that I was staring down at a midwife called Anne who was waving in my vagina to get said toddlers labour moving? Surely it was just last week that I could leave her in one place to wee without risking breaking my neck to get back down the stairs? A few days ago that you had reached that all important nought to three month milestone? Seriously, where has it bloody gone and why can’t I stop bloody crying?

I suppose birthdays of any kind are reflective so it’s no wonder that I keep looking at the perfect little being that we created through nothing but love…and a lot of pumping, whilst she potters around our living room in a (very grown up) little nightie and shows me the Thomas the Tank Engine she absolutely loves that I keep bursting into sporadic tears that I match with a weird smile as not to frighten her.

It’s no wonder that I’m watching her wondering how we created something so perfect and beautiful and it’s no wonder there’s snot flying from my nostrils when I think that one day she’ll not need me at all. In fact, with every day that passes she becomes a little bit more independent, a little bit more of her own person, a little more perfect…I’m pretty much hysterical at this point so in an attempt to gather my thoughts, (because I’ve got some birthday bunting to make and my tears will surely ruin the tissue paper) sort myself out and man up in general I made a list of things that my baby girl has learnt in the past year.

Snort garlic bread

Listen to Let It Go thirty two times without getting even a tiny bit bored

Bite unsuspecting people

Walk a little bit

Give kisses with her mouth wide open

Clap hands

Like the song suggests: Hop like a bunny hop hop hop

Eat dominos pizza like a boss

Sleep all night long should she choose

Poo up her back

Poo on the floor

Wee at the crucial nappy change moments

Crawl far

Crawl fast

Poo out of spite

Interrupt car crash TV at precisely the very wrong moment

Smell weakness

Climb up the radiator

Wake three hundred times through the night; should she choose

Fart loudly

Pull off an epic E.T impression

Prove that dreams really do come true.

BB

Happy Birthday B!

Things I’ve learnt on maternity leave.

As my return to work looms imminently around the corner; we’re talking hours and minutes now no longer weeks and days, I feel it’s only best to write a totes emosh blog piece about what I’ve experienced during my year of maternity leave.

To be totally truthful not only has it been one of the best years of my entire life, it’s also easily been one of the fastest! It’s a common sentence muttered amongst seasoned mothers about the speed ones baby quickly turns into a child and then equally as quickly an adult and initially I shrugged this off as newborn envy; its only now a year in do I see exactly why we should ‘treasure every second’…because it bloody zooms by!

So, in a blur my maternity went something like this; I had a few weeks pre Blossom sunbathing in the garden with Scotty Boy who had conveniently been suspended from the shithole that cannot be named. Then he was sacked, I had a sweep and went into labour.

Blossom arrived early on a Saturday morning whilst I’d spent most of the night in a bath shitting myself! Then we came home and that was the last time both myself and B slept! I breastfed…a lot and while I did this for hours on end I churned out a first draft of that novel I’d been meaning to write.

Then I ran a half marathon and shit myself in my friend Gavin’s car. (I’m aware that shitting myself seems to be a common theme throughout my life and work is in progress to rectify this. Get it?)  After pushing my body too hard I rested for a bit. Then it was Christmas and we had the best time. New Year flew around as did Valentine ’s Day, my first mother’s day and then Easter when I forced my family of three into the cutest of cute rabbit suits!

We then went on a caravan holiday; I turned thirty and dressed B up as ET, she learnt to crawl and now all of a bloody sudden out of nowhere it’s time to return to work.

To say I’m traumatised would be an understatement but I’m thankful for both the time I’ve had with the most perfect little girl any one could wish for (bar the non sleeping bit) and the friends we’ve both met along the way.

So, in a summary here’s a list of some of the important things and pearls of wisdom I’d like to pass on regarding maternity leave.

  1. If possible take a few weeks off pre baby. Bask in the glory that is being pregnant, go to bed when you want and enjoy having a wee undisturbed and at a normal pace. I genuinely think my walk in the park labour was because I’d had time to do absolutely nothing before Blossom arrived.
  2. Find out what clubs or activities are available for new mothers and new babies. Holed up with a tiny, demanding bundle of joy can be somewhat isolating. The days are long and lonely so fill them up with other new mummies and babies…I wholeheartedly promise you that you will make the best of friends; lifelong friends even!
  3. Contrary to what my husband believes maternity leave is not a holiday! Its hard going, emotional and times tougher than the daily grind to the point you will consider what the hell you have done so if you want cake for breakfast bloody well have it, if you don’t want to change out of your pyjamas, don’t and if you either don’t want to or just bloody cant clean the house don’t worry about it! Your job is now to look after the little human being you’ve created and in order to do that you need to be in tip top condition and if that means quaffing cake at obscene times of the day…you go for it!
  4. Go with what you think. You can bog yourself down with Google, books and advice but in the end it all boils down to what you and your mothers intuition believe! I am now an expert in every article ever written on babies and how to make them sleep before finally realising that my baby just didn’t need to sleep and I’d wasted a lot and I mean a lot of time.
  5. Be prepared to talk about your return to work from the first day of your maternity leave. People are obsessed with when you’re returning, whether you’re returning and why you’re returning! In hindsight, if I had received one pound for every time I changed my mind about my return I wouldn’t ever have to return! Shrug these questions off and do not dwell on that return date…it will be there before you know it and you have no control over it so in the words of the Beatles…Here Comes The Sun!
  6. Enjoy every single moment. Make the most of your days. Do things and meet people you wouldn’t normally. Hug that tiny body every single day and hold those memories close because they will be the most precious. Embrace the nappies and sleepless nights, relish in having to do every single thing for your baby because one day… you get the picture?

The gift of Hindsight and breasts

Hindsight; I’m a big fan of hindsight, I spend a lot, and I mean A LOT, of time thinking about it. If you look it up in the dictionary you’ll find the explanation;

Recognition of the realities, possibilities, or requirements of a situation, event, decision etc., after its occurrence.

Hindsight

How brilliant is that?

I also like breastfeeding. In fact, breastfeeding has become my absolute favourite topic in the whole wide world despite the fact I have desperately tried not to become one of the breast is best brigade, I just can’t help myself.

So, when the opportunity arose for me to speak at a parent craft class about breastfeeding, naturally I jumped at the chance quickly forgetting that I can be socially awkward, possibly come across that I need some sort of medication and I’d like to think quirky but in reality its probably just plain old weird.

Anyway here’s a list of things I said and with the gift of hindsight what I probably should have said.

In relation to breast milk supply I said:

‘I once squirted all over my nieces face, it was mortifying.’

What I should have said was:

‘Trust your body, you will always have ample supply for you babies needs.’

With regards to how in tune your body is to your baby, I said:

‘Sometimes, when the dog cried my boobs would leak.’

What I should have said was:

‘Again, trust your body it will know exactly what and when to fulfil your babies needs.’

When the topic arose of the sensitivity of your nipples, I said:

‘I don’t have a weird sex life, I’m not sure about you but my bad boys had never had that type of exposure before let alone been sucked on for twenty four hours at a time.’

What I should have said was:

‘Keep in mind that your nipples will be sensitive in the early days, gather a stock of appropriate cream, compress’s and even cabbage to cool and soothe.’

And talking of appropriate cream;

‘It’s also really good for your hands…and your piles!’

However, what I should have said was:

‘Ask the pharmacist.’

In terms of how challenging breastfeeding can be, I spurted;

‘It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I thought Maths GCSE the second time around, no, the third time, was tough!’

What I should have said was;

‘It’s very challenging but extremely rewarding.’

When the session was wrapping up it was mentioned about relevant support via the internet and I said;

‘I don’t Google anything anymore, Google was the reason I didn’t use saucepans whilst I was pregnant and the reason I very nearly jet washed the baby when she was three weeks old.’

What I should have said was:

‘If using the internet, definitely use trusted sights.’

Hindsight, ey?

What Easter looks like when your nine months

I’ll be honest…my very first Easter did not start well. I decided on the Saturday before that those parent people had had a good run at sleeping; I’d let them have a reasonably good two nights rest so enough was enough. After screaming a lot every hour on the hour that mother one relented and took me into their bed. I love it there normally but like I said; they’d had a good two nights.

I started off with just a bit of wriggling and squirming which is usually enough for me to get on that mother ones boob but she appeared to be a bit stubborn last night which I thought was totally unfair given it was technically Easter Sunday and she should be more Christian about things.

When she finally caved I decided a bit of kicking, pinching and then biting would suffice as punishment. She started to get a bit stressed then.

When they started to turn on each other for my lack of sleeping I started to feel content and when that mother one snapped that she was going to get a bottle I knew I’d won. Of course I didn’t want the bottle but thought it was hysterical that she’d been downstairs in the dark and then found the cheese and butter that the father one had left out.

I went to sleep just as she started crying that the cheese would have to be thrown out.

Then in the morning that mother one banged on about how I was exactly nine months old. She did that thing where she talked me through the events of the day I was born like she’s done at the one, two, three, fourth month stage and so on so on.

It’s getting a little boring if I’m honest but if that wasn’t bad enough she put me in this outfit that I can only describe as ridiculous. It had ears and a carrot and she kept cooing about how cute I looked whilst that father one shook his head and said things like ‘you are simpling her.’
image

image

To be totally honest it was slightly scratchy and a little warm but I decided to humour her a bit before I released the scream.

Then those grandparents came over, the really crazy ones as opposed to the slightly crazy ones. They brought me a huge stuffed rabbit which I thought was totally amazing. Sometimes that mother one gets it completely wrong but the nanny one gets it spot on. I show my appreciation by shouting at the bunny and trying to eat its labels.

As everybody stood around and laughed at my ears that mother one popped me in that ball pit thing, that I can totally escape out of now, and her and the father one both disappeared only to return in matching ridiculous outfits just like mine, so if it wasn’t bad enough that I looked like a complete and utter idiot then we all did!

All three of us with stupid ears and scratchy suits!

That father one did not look amused but the mother one was nigh on hysterical. ‘Look at your little tail.’ She kept saying to him and he continued to shake his head. The grandparents also thought it was very funny and that grandmother one kept crossing her legs and holding her face.

Then we all had to have our photographs taken. I usually like having my photo taken but like I said I was hot, the suit was scratchy and to be truthful everyone just seemed to be having too much fun. I wanted to be back in that ball pit with that huge rabbit in my mouth not stood around smiling getting sweaty.

So I started to cry but all that did was trigger more photographs because apparently a miserable little bunny made a good photo. In the end that mother one relented again and stripped me back down to my vest and put me back in the pit. There was talk of the photographs making a profile picture but that was that.

When everything calmed down that father one tried to explain about some fella being put on a cross, taken off a cross, rising and then moving a rock. It was all a bit confusing but he redeemed his boringness by breaking a bit of a hot cross bun off and plopping a too bit big in my mouth. That mother one stared flapping and I decided to cough a bit just to heighten the fun. There was a little bit of chaos and then they got down to business by giving me a bit of an egg.

Oh my goodness, I thought she couldn’t top the booby milk after she’d eaten ice cream but oh my god…I can’t wait for next year!