Oi! Where’s your baby?!

so today is another fabulous #effitfriday for the parent bloggers where we may opt to rant like toddlers.

Now I am a creature of habit. Even without work, Twiglet and I have our set days, and Monday is food shop day. I love food shop day. I know, that’s a bit sad, but I really do. The joy of looking at the baby clothes. The homeware section. The DVDs! Then of course, meals and treats for the week. 

Now one big upside of the food shop is the parking. Parent child bays are the parking spaces for the Sheldon Coopers in the world. They are close to the entrance so you won’t get wet in the rain, but not so close that you are right in the main door at risk of trolley bashes. Because of their location, you are often sheltered from the wind and direct sun, but not to the point of being chilly. They have a generous amount of space either side of your car, enough so you are safe trying to get baby in the car with your door wide open and yet not obstruct other shoppers paths. They are also directly opposite all the amazing baby-friendly trolleys. Twiglet and I always favour the car seat friendly ones for easy transfer from car to shop and back, plus no cold plastic seats. Bliss.

Now, there is one day in our recent past that sticks in my head. I had parked up, and was double checking I hadnt forgotten to pack my purse (a continued fear). I half noticed a woman had pulled up in the space next to me, a slightly rusted red car, the back seat piled high with a random assortment of objects. 

Now it suddenly dawned on me that with all the junk in the back, there was no room for a baby seat, let alone a baby. No child in the front either. 

Was she…? Did she dare to…? Surely not!

But yes. This woman, without a child to be seen, intended to park in that specifically assigned space. And I was furious! On the rare occasions I hadn’t been fortunate enough to get a Parent Child space, I had often wondered if the soft top convertible on the end actually transported a child about the place, or if the people carrier parked across two spaces actually had young children or a bunch of teens who could cope in a normal space. But this was different somehow. Perhaps because it was so empty in the car park generally, or the simple fact I was witnessing the ‘crime’ unfold. 

Now in the 30 seconds for all of this to skip through my brain, Twiglet got impatient so I went about sorting us out, grabbing the trolley and so on. The woman remained in her car, and it became obvious she was waiting for me to leave before leaving her car.

I gave her a pointed look at I passed but she avoided my gaze.

Going around the shop, I wondered if I should tell someone. But who? The car park police? Is it as bad as someone using a disabled spot without being disabled? Probably not. But as a new mum, I can tell you something as simple as a Parent Child bay can sometimes be the difference between a good day and a bad day.

My confusion continued when I spotted the woman pushing a trolley intended for a young child to sit in. She had no child. She clearly wasn’t waiting for one to join her. Then I felt bad. I didn’t know this woman. Maybe she had lost a child and parking there gave her comfort. Maybe she just wasn’t all there. The bigger likelihood to me was that she was just a bit odd. Still, she continued to ignore me as we often crossed paths, which gave me satisfaction she knew she’d done wrong. 

When I left, her car remained and my disbelief surged up again. There were very few spaces left now, and some poor parent may end up Parent Child bay-less.

Essentially, my point is, if you are out and think ‘oh no harm parking there’, somewhere in the shop there is likely a righteous mum like myself quietly judging you. So just don’t risk it ok?

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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. 🌸

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’. 💓