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.

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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.

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Happy Birthday B!

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.

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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?

Ten things you WILL do from sleep deprivation after having a baby

  1. Put hairspray under your arms instead of deodorant.
  2. Pour hot water from the kettle over your cereal.
  3. Convince yourself something has fallen from the sky.
  4. Walk into walls quite frequently.
  5. Pour expressed breast milk into a visitor’s coffee. (Sorry workman.)
  6. Sit on the toilet and realise that you are actually weeing through your underwear and pyjamas.
  7. You will cry a lot.
  8. Loose things. (Baby not included.)
  9. Misplace (very different from loose) the baby.
  10. Hate yourself for hating those people who told you to go to bed when you were pregnant.

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I think we should all just stop warning.

I recently read the beautifully written They Should Have Warned Me blog and being reasonably fresh into this journey that is motherhood I was overwhelmed with emotion. It was beautiful, it was spot on it made me cry; not that that’s difficult postpartum. I copied and pasted the link and sent it to my very pregnant friend; who also cried.

A few days later I then read the response to this blog; I’m Glad Someone Told Me and was equally as moved. Another spot on article that recognised that motherhood isn’t always as seamless as it’s perceived to be and it’s OK to have a bad time of it. I quickly copied and pasted that article to my same very pregnant friend, typing; this one is good too, because it’s important she has a broad spectrum of what could be’s, right?

But it bothered me. I’d sent her two articles, two beautifully written, hitting-the-nail-on-the-head observations; both making valid points, both warning/advising that this is what motherhood could be like? And either way it was OK.  I imagined my hormonal, tired friend reading both pieces, a baffled expression on her face and an even more baffled perspective forming.

And then it hit me. Why was I trying to ‘warn’ her of anything? Because all I really wanted to tell her was; enjoy it, do it your way and enjoy it. Yes, some days are bad and others top of the world brilliant, just like life before pregnancy, before a baby, because that’s what life is like; up and down.

I remember being pregnant and literally drinking in blogs, websites, app information that would maybe give me a snippet into how being a mother  was going to be, what it would be like, how I would find it, and do you know what? Absolutely none if it has had any relevance to the way I’m brining my little girl up.

I’m fully behind the essence that we all need to be made aware of the mental health issues that could possibly arise after having a baby and it’s always nice to hear how truly beautiful having a baby is but it’s also OK to just get on with it…it’s totally OK to do it your way, your unique, tailored way because at the end of the day that’s the only way that should matter to you. And I would like to tell my friend that she categorically cannot get it wrong.

I emphasise the TO YOU bit again because that’s what I really want on pass onto her, to the lady in the supermarket who only has a week or so left of pregnancy, to anyone who is thinking about getting pregnant or at the very beginning of the growing a human voyage; If I got on the Tower of Terror rollercoaster I would have a completely different experience to the adrenalin junkie that took the seat next to me; completely different!  So, excuse the metaphorical pun but that’s why I think we should all stop warning or telling or anything.

We should hand hold, pat backs, offer support and frequent ‘You’re doing great.’ We should be there for the tears or the joy or the anything that our friend, sister, colleague wants to throw our way. Sometimes we’ll be able to relate, often we won’t because that’s the incredible thing about human beings we are all different, very, very different.

And becoming a mother is the only common denominator we’ll each have during this trek.

So, let’s celebrate the mutual factor us females share within pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood and rejoice in the more than common factor that every one of our journeys will be different. Let’s celebrate, learn, support and enjoy; not warn.

So, to my friend; the only advice I really have for you is enjoy it as best you can, if you can, because it doesn’t half go fast. Phone me whenever you want, to say whatever you want, ask me advice, ask for my assistance, my aid and I promise to help as best I can, but like Frank said; do it your way.

Walk your own path and leave your own footprints.

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What Christmas looks like when you are six months

They literally woke me up! Granted it was early morning but still. Normally I have to thrash around or cry a little for attention but there they were with these huge toothy smiles banging on about it being my first.
They then took me downstairs where that mother one got all gushy about a jumpy thing, a swinging thing and a thing they filled with balls.
She put the music on, the music with bells and happy sounds. She’s been playing this music for a long time and saying ‘don’t tell Daddy.’
The father one, post initial excitement, looked tired and a little bored by the whole malarkey.
The mother one, you know the one with the boobies, then kept passing me paper stuff which tasted absolutely rank but I quite enjoyed the noise it made and the way they both laughed at me doing my goat impression.
They then put me in the jumping thing whilst the father one looked at where he was supposed to put batteries. They then had a quarrel about reading instructions first and why the hell had the mother one hidden the tool box?
The row was gaining as much momentum as my bouncing when in came the grandparents; the really crazy ones not the little bit crazy ones.
They brought me loads of stuff! Some brilliant, some I heard the mother one whisper to the father one was a bit unsuitable.
I loved it all especially the thing they named; cotton bud dispenser! If only they’d let me play with that longer.
The grandparents paper was less shiny than the stuff I’d had earlier in the morning and smelt a bit damp.
Apparently everything from the grandparents (really crazy ones) smells a bit funny but no one has told me why yet.
The father one then took me out of the jumpy thing and put me into the swinging thing. I was thoroughly enjoying the jumping thing so I made sure I poo’d once he’d pushed me three or four times to show my distaste.
They all liked it when I poo’d and clapped their hands and talked to me in that stupid voice all big people seem to do.
For dinner, that day, we went somewhere new, where lots of other people were having their dinner and people I had seen before were all around our table. It seemed nice and they stuck me in a chair next to the table so I could see everything which was really exciting.
Only this dinner was different. That mother one was in no rush to eat hers which I felt was both cheeky and selfish. I demonstrated my dislike for her ‘not bothered’ attitude by crying until she stopped eating and picked me up.
She then tried to distract me with this paper thing on her head and they all thought it was highly amusing when they put it on my head!
I cried a bit harder until it was removed and the mother one took me outside not to ‘ruin’ everyone’s day.
Outside she kept saying that this was my first Christmas and that I must be tired! Ppppfffftttt! I was in no way tired this was all too exciting!
After a while she handed me to the father one who tried to sssshhhhhh me, like he always does, but I could time my nap by it that he’d give up soon and pass me to someone else.
That someone else happened to be the one they call Aunty and that’s the last I can remember of the place we had dinner; I’ll give it to the Aunty one she’s good!
Back at home, just the mother one, father one and me and the mother one mentions a glass of wine which is code for wanting me out of the way which disappointed me. She had been more than neglectful on my so called first Christmas!
I made a song and dance then about not wanting to go to bed and wanting to go in the jumpy thing again only the parents still don’t know what I’m after half the time. I made the really wailing noises and the mother one stuck her boob in my mouth and then all of a sudden it was morning again but they hadn’t woke me up and there was no more shiny paper.

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fright club

Here are eleven normal-ish things that will terrify you when you become a mother for the first time.

1. Stairs
You’ve been walking up and down them all your life. You’ve gone down them on your bum, made them into a slide and even used them as a storage unit. And then you had a baby and suddenly they are not only the worst obstacle in the world they are also terrifying! They threaten to trip you up, loosen your grip, trick you into lobbing your baby down or up them.
They become a menacing kaleidoscope of colours and patterns convincing you there’s definitely an extra step, an awkward floorboard, a missing step despite the fact there were twenty six of the buggers when you bought the house, twenty six when you went to the toilet earlier on and twenty six when you called the postman in to double check your counting skills and to hold the baby whilst you made a hysterical phone call to the doctors proclaiming your madness/hallucinations.

2. Petrol stations
The bane of all mothers lives.
Do you; leave the baby in the car whilst you pay, locking the door and legging it so fast over the forecourt you break your neck and die?
Do you; get the peacefully sleeping baby out of the car seat, waking her up in the process, ensuring she screams, draws a lot of attention to yourself as you get hot and bothered, sweaty and sweary because naturally you’ve left your purse back in the car?
Do you; refuse to put petrol in at all and run out in the most inconvenient black hole possible; no phone signal, no nappies left, not a soul around you for miles?
Do you; take husband with you who complains profusely about paying?
Or do you; take husband with you who complains profusely about the baby crying whilst you go and pay running across the forecourt so fast you break your neck and die?

3. Children (other peoples)
Where to start with this one? Maybe the bit where everyone else has managed to produce something with the same genetic makeup as Lucifer himself? Or maybe the fact everyone seems to accept that their little beauties carry/spread their germs with same ease as the snot trickles down small-Satan’s face?
Heavy handed, germ infested, loud, jealous little mites that like to showcase their interest of the most precious thing you’ve ever owned via sticky hands, silly sounds and whatever dangerous weapon, I mean toy, they think the baby would like on their head.

4. The weather
The weather has always been something you’ve been mildly interested in, excuse the pun. But then you have a baby and a thermometer and suddenly every season becomes a challenge.
Too hot, too cold, too windy, too wet, too dusty, too anything that may interfere with your bundles temperature, outfit choice or sleep pattern.
I became particularly vigilant by purchasing a thermometer that displays it’s unhappiness of the temperature via a sad face and flashing light which is particularly handy on hot or respectively cold nights; you know the ones where your desperate for sleep but then have to strip/layer the baby…

5. Bank balance
Checking your bank balance post baby becomes not unlike what I imagine Russian roulette is like.
Maternity pay plus cute necessities such as hats with ears that cost more than month’s mortgage payment, equals a worrying financial situation.
And it’s ironic really that one should find themselves in such scary squalor after having pretty much at least nine months warning of such expense.
‘Babies cost!’ The masses continued to warn and you continued to ignore.
Babies cost which means bank balances take a bashing!

6. Night time
The sole reason the night time becomes so terrifying is because it’s when sleep should happen! And we all know that when a new baby comes over the threshold sleep becomes a treat not a given.
Sleep is so precious. Well, it’s precious, in demand, worryingly elusive and because it should normally happens at night time, when it’s dark and quiet the night time becomes the most anxiety fuelled period of having a baby.
Like most brand, spanking new mothers I spent a lot of time in the beginning, during the night, just watching my baby breathe.
Around the five month mark I had managed to almost rid myself of this habit, albeit the odd check, when my beloved step-dog passed away in her sleep. She just stopped breathing during the night; cue the obsessive checking once again!

7. The post man
Post (excuse another pun) arrival of a new baby the post man fuels morning anxiety on a major basis. He becomes a new mother’s nemesis within the first week.
Not only does he pick the precisely worst moment possible to slam letters through your box, knock as loudly as he’s able or chose you as allocated parcel minder for the entire street.
But You can guarantee he will turn up the minute the baby latches on, the exact second the baby decides to nap, on you, making it nigh on impossible to move, or at the only moment out of the entire day that you’ve been able to use the toilet. Failing all this, he also obviously has to witness the complete breakdown over the stairs!
It almost makes me think that there’s a whole module at posty school dedicated on how to ruin maternity leave.
Six months in my posty kindly told me I was looking far better than I did; ‘You know,’ he gestured ‘better than when he was first born.’ I refuse to tell him that he is a she again.

8. Outside in general
Outside with a new born literally becomes a minefield of danger! I mean, eagles could literally swoop your baby away, comets could come crashing into the pram, everyone looks like a potential serial killer and that’s without getting started on the atmosphere in general! The germs, the poisons, the everything’s that could contaminate the baby and then there’s the old people that insist on touching/kissing/ramming their dirty fingers far too near the precious skin of your baby!
My advice; stay inside until said baby hits puberty.

9. The grandparents
They mean well, they really do but the whole ‘in my day’ theory really is quite terrifying! So terrifying I cannot bear to think about it!

10. Health visitor
Your allocated health visitor has social services on speed dial! This is a notion I found difficult to shift upon meeting mine for the first time and then when she suggested I take out my scented plug in because it could harm tiny airwaves I was pretty sure the baby was already on some sort of at risk list.
Relations were not improved when I told her I was unable to eat a biscuit in case someone died.
‘That’s OCD.’ She said with a look of such concern I practically shit myself.
‘That’s dieting.’ I wanted to reply but given she was already making me an appointment to see the GP, singing me up for a ‘stress club’ and checking the baby for signs of neglect I thought it best to keep quiet.

11. Dying
I’ve never been afraid of dying. Everyone does; it’s as much a part of life as being born. (I’ve always had the mad notion that I’ll Meet my fate by being run over but that goes hand in hand with the not being able to eat biscuit side of things.)
But then I had a baby and the thought of not being on this planet to hold her hand, watch her grow, be part of her life absolutely terrifies me!
Not that I wanted to die before she came along but now…I really do not want to snuff it!

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The hindsight letter

Dear pre Blossom me,

Firstly, stop reading this and go to bed! Seriously, get some sleep. I know, I know, you think you can’t bank the slumber but just go and relish your clean sheets and the fact you can just go to bed!

Be prepared to start worrying on a new level. You know your worries now? Well, I hate to tell you but they are not really worries, they are nothing but thought occupiers, so empty your mind…in bed! Go to bed!

Stop spending money, like, yesterday! People have been telling you that babies are expensive haven’t they? And you thought ‘how expensive can they be?’ Bloody expensive! Even when you are breastfeeding they cost. Cost a lot, so save money, you can do this by staying in bed longer! In fact, I’d stay there for days if I was you.

Get ready to toughen up! You think people are vocal when you are pregnant, well, you just wait for the onslaught of advice, opinions and general insults that are heading your way. Three words; man up princess! You’re about to be thrown to the wolves!

It’s a shame you won’t get £1 for every time someone uses the phrase ‘rod for your own back’ that way you wouldn’t need to save…or receive the pittance that is statuary maternity pay!

I suggest you rehearse the reasons why you can’t spoil a newborn baby and why breast is best! That way you can reel off clever, witty replies to the ‘advice’ you are continually being lumbered with instead of mumbling and crying a bit.

Don’t worry too much about your hoo-ha! Seriously, although initially it does feel like a RTA, within a few weeks it will just feel like you’ve reversed into one of those awkward pillars in Tescos car park. A little scuffed, a little damaged but not worth phoning the insurance company for.

Which brings me onto sexy time. If you do get a nanosecond to yourselves to participate in a bit of bonding, don’t do it! You are wasting a valuable sleeping opportunity!
Only joking, get cracking on that front! Sex after a baby is like going for a night out in Newport City centre; the thought of it is horrible but in reality you end up having the best time!

Don’t worry about spending a ridiculous amount of money on the change mat you are felling guilty about. You’ll be surprised how many photographs that change mat will feature in; best to have an interesting, good quality one!

And last but by no means least; that unconditional love everyone keeps banging on about, you know the quality you thought you’d never possess? Well, you do! It’s weird but you would, if you had to, share food with the tiny human that’s about to turn your entire world upside down, that’s how much you love her!

Best of luck kid!
Love You.

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The week of the roll

It’s all systems go here! Last week if she could have got rid of her shoulder Blossom would have been half way down the A470!

This week she’s mastered it. We call it the turn, grunt, push, away to go!
I’ve already had to retrieve her from various ‘trouble spots’ the fire grate and the dogs basket to name a few.

Anyway, as it’s officially Christmas jumper day today both me and the girl have donned our festive pullovers and we’ve decided that for every roll Queen B does we’ll donate £2 to save the children.

We’re currently on £3…which will very nearly be £4…that damn shoulder!

https://secure.savethechildren.org.uk/donate/

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