The truth about…

so I saw tomorrow’s theme for blog posts is #thetruthabout and immediately thought back to earlier today.

This post is the truth about that screaming baby. 

A close friend of mine is visiting from Yorkshire, so we decided to stick to our old tradition of meeting in the centre of our fine city (Norwich, just FYI) and go to our favourite restaurant where we used to work together, and order our usual starter of garlic bread with cheese. The only difference in this plan to countless before was that this time I would have my baby with me. 

All started well, we’d been for coffee, Twiglet was an angel, smiling, cuddling and eating her rusk biscuit. 

The First Screams occurred not long after arrival, she didn’t want to be in her high chair and so made it known. A couple behind my friend were polite and didn’t look our way, but I was immediately anxious we were ruining someone’s romantic lunch. So I guess the first #truthabout is that a baby may seem spoiled wanting to be up and out of the high chair, when in fact they’ve already put up with many inane grown up situations so far that day! 

The Second Screams occurred as the clock struck 12:24, 24 minutes past Twiglets lunch. She was hungry, and so  made it known. This is easily rectified with an organic purée or whatever floats your boat for baby meals, so please bear with the parent desperately trying to find said meal from within the Mary Poppins bag of nappies! The second #truthabout here being…nappy bags have a lot of equipment hidden within them, so bear with mum/dad/carer! 

The Third Screams, and by far the worst, came midway through our main course. She did not like her high chair. She did not want food. She did not need a nappy change. She did not want cuddles. She was teething. 

I always feel awful for Twiglet when showing signs of teething, because other than calpol and hugs I can do little else. When I think to times when my teeth have ached or been sensitive, I feel doubly sorry for teething babies, having whole sets of teeth cutting their way through the gums! 😬

The worst part was a couple who had just been seated opposite us. They heard Twiglet, exchanged a look, and moved tables. They actually moved. Because of me and my baby. I was mortified, even minutes later when I spotted the gentleman giving me dirty looks as I tried to comfort my tired teething baby. At that point I should have gotten grouchy. It was a family friendly restaurant, early afternoon, you expect children to be about. I should have been really grouchy, I was hugging, rocking, soothing as best I could. I should have given dirty looks back. Because #thetruthabout a crying baby is, you can do everything right, have all the right toys, all the right foods, stick as close to their routine as you like; the truth is if a baby is teething, it can strike at any time, anywhere, and the baby will cry. A lot. 

So the truth about that screaming baby you see is, sometimes the baby’s just got to scream. And odds are the parent/carer is doing all they can to fix it, so no dirty looks please, we really are trying.

…and then the blossom was dancing again

Permanently looking like a panda is the standard look for me these days. I adore my baby, but she is slowly driving me insane after more than eight months of sleep that lasts a maximum of two hours at a time.

I think I hit my ‘wall’ last weekend. I could feel my eyes were heavy, my limbs were slow and just driving to my parents house was enough activity for the day.  The mulch of blossom on my car (creating ANOTHER job I just didn’t have time for), the cold weather, and the constant fact I just wasn’t sleeping enough was just building up into a ball of despair in me. It felt like a big cloud was hanging low over my head, shrouding everything in gloom.

Arriving at my parents, I put Twiglet down in the kitchen, immediately started telling my mum stories from the week, keeping a close eye on a baby who was now crawling, pulling herself up and grabbing everything in sight- a lot had changed in a week, and I was struggling to adjust to a much more active and accident-prone baby.  Halfway into our first story, I spot Twiglet trying to use the vegetable rack, which is on wheels, to pull herself up. I heaved a sigh and scooped her up, muttering ‘it’s not a good day, is it?’ Mum turned from the sink and calmly replied ‘it’s not a bad day, it’s just your attitude.’ 

Now that may sound harsh, or nonchalant in the face of exhaustion, or may just ring true based on my mood, but to me it was like an epiphany. She was completely right. Looking at my active, inquisitive baby, I suddenly remembered she was hardly at an age to be purposefully naughty, she was, and still is, exploring her world. 

So for the last week, tired, reasonably rested, hungry, whatever my state, I’ve worked hard to be more positive for my baby. And it’s worked. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still dying for a good nights sleep, but I’m once again enjoying all the little things. Her laugh, her fascination with an empty bottle over any expensive toy, her baby chat, her determination to climb on any piece of furniture, her singing, all of it. Just making sure I remain positive has pushed that cloud away, and made me feel happier in myself.  

 Twiglet is such a happy baby, and last week in the car I just ended up grinning; in the mirror I have installed in the car on the headrest so I can see her, she was talking and waving to me, and the sun was breaking through the clouds. A wind whipped up at the traffic lights and the blossom swirled up, then floated over the traffic like natures confetti welcoming the summer and I thought ‘if that’s not a pathetic fallacy, I don’t know what is’

Mums offhand comment has really pulled me back and helped me keep upbeat, so thank you mum- the blossom is dancing again. 🌸

An open letter to my neighbours…

Dear neighbours,

We’re not friends. At best we are mere acquaintances. At worst, simply people living next to each other, living our own lives oblivious to one another’s. 

I want you to know I understand the walls are old and thin. And that I understand everyone has their own quirks, habits, routines. That I understand sometimes children tantrum and scream, or that sometimes you just need to turn up your favourite song just because. But I also want you to know you seriously suck. Like, really.

I’ve often mentioned during our polite exchanges that for more than eight months now my baby has had me up every two hours every night. I am exhausted. This is in no way an exaggeration. With two children of your own I assumed you’d understand my desperate need for sleep at any given opportunity. Apparently not.

Is it just ignorance that makes you want to loudly clean out and Hoover your fireplace at 10pm? Or pure whim that you’ve chosen to rearrange your house tonight at 9pm? Perhaps the hour is not that late to you, despite your children waking you, and us, up at the crack of dawn every day with their adorable screaming and tantruming. I can’t tell you how much I love that, knowing my baby is still sleeping and my partner has only had six hours sleep after a 13 hour day, to be woken up by you. And if it’s not the children, it’s you, whistling. Got to love a whistler. 

It seems worse because I’ve spoken to you before about noise. Several times. And I don’t believe the sound only travels one way. It can’t, surely? 

My Twitter followers probably think I’m insane, or an old lady, the number of times I’ve ranted about your inconsiderate behaviours. I just need to vent. We are far too polite and British to do it in person. 

To sum up, please be quiet. Please just THINK, because next door I’m likely despairing, and wondering if we indeed disturb you just as much. 

Yours,

The sleep deprived neighbour 

I will NEVER…!

So it’s been eight months since my baby girl was born, and being a parent is a constant learning curve. It’s fun, it’s draining, it’s the most amazing experience and the most testing. Over these eight months I’ve looked fondly back at my pregnancy and smiled at all the things I swore I’d NEVER do as a parent…and have since done.

1. I will NEVER let my baby get so completely messy at meal times.

Turns out this one isn’t always optional, especially when it’s something green and not so tasty. Or a rusk. Got to love a crumbly drool covered rusk biscuit.

2. I will NEVER talk to her in crazy baby talk

“Ooh she’s such a good girly whirly”… you can’t help it. They are so cute and squishy and love cooey baby talk, so why not? You’ll find you really really don’t care if people think you’re bonkers

3. I will NEVER co-sleep with my baby. 

I used to recoil in horror when people said they shared their bed with their baby. We all know it’s not safe, it’s not recommended, and yet…it’s so relaxing with a warm baby curled up next to you.  Plus, try getting up every two hours for eight months straight to breast feed, you’d soon be letting baby share with you too.

4. I will NEVER be one of those mums who goes shopping EVERY week

I used to watch the Baby Club wandering the city, window shopping or using a need for a pair of socks as an excuse to go out, and I’d think ‘No way will I do that’. But with a baby activities are limited and getting regular fresh air is a must, so if admiring the latest Kath Kidson dress in the window means we both get to go out I’m sold.

5. I will NEVER take my baby to a restaurant and disturb other people

I hated going for a romantic meal, and on the next table is a loud screamy baby. Mood. Killer.

Unfortunately, to keep up with friends and family, sometimes a lunch is necessary- it’s also hard to guess what mood baby will be in. She can be smiley and happy when we go in, yet order the starter and all manner of baby hell breaks loose. And people have to deal. I am mortified if baby girl gets too fussy, but she’s a baby and gets to scream if she wants to. Plus she’s mine so shush your mouth, she is wonderful, screams or no screams.

6. I will NEVER let her do what she wants

So, within reason, babies do try and get into everything and anything they shouldn’t. And obviously if it can be swallowed or is a general danger, baby does not get what she wants (this includes chewing the TV remote) But watching her crawl over to my pile of To Watch DVDs and pull them off the shelf is just so darn adorable…! The newest challenge is making sure daddy doesn’t give her what she wants when she screams, but I’m sure that will come up in later toddler based blog posts.

7. I will NEVER let the baby take over my house

Babies have a lot more stuff than I ever anticipated. Enough said.

8. I will NEVER visit people and expect them to babysit

Turns out most people WANT to play with baby and give you a break. As a new mum you quickly realise it’s worth making the most of every moment.

9. I will NEVER lose my patience and ask “What do you want?!”

I refer to point 3. You’re very tired, baby is tired, it doesn’t always end with a smile on your face, but you do get through it. Eventually. And asking baby what they want, despite the fact the biggest word they can say is ‘ma’, just seems to be an adult brain trying to make sense of a senseless situation, so give us a break eh?

10. I will NEVER expect my partner to help out at night

My fiancée runs a pub, works very long hours. However, when he is home from work at around midnight still buzzing from a days work, he has far more energy than me to walk her to sleep for the umpteenth time.

Despite all these ‘failures’, I am loving parenting. And I’m pleased to say there are one or two ideas my naive hormone addled pregnant brain had that I’ve kept to. The best one being ‘I will NEVER forget how lucky I am’. 💓