Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Stuff and nonsense as per usual

I wish I could lie to you and tell you that the reason I haven't been in touch for so long is solely due to the children and tiredness and illness etc but actually I can't lie, it's also because of the Real Housewives of New York City. I have become obsessed with the ladies. One happy afternoon the four children were playing together upstairs and Cybil needed a feed so I sat down with the remote and happened upon them. It has changed my world. Two hours a day, every week day, my Sky Plus records a little bit of happy for me. So whenever I have some time I sit and feed Cybs for far longer than necessary and sit and watch these skinny women flit between The Hamptons and NYC and occasionally St Barts acting as if they are incredibly important people.

I don't have an awful lot in common with them. In fact I would say there are two things - all but one of them have children and they are all women (I am watching it from the very beginning so I am going on the original crew). Oddly, I am not even jealous of their lifestyle - it is way too high maintenance for me and a few of them have that 'hungry' look about them which I can't stand; (there is a very fine line between skinny and looking like you might suddenly crack from hunger and start devouring small children and babies). Also I would be a social pariah out there because of my weight. Especially now. Not even the bathroom mirror is being lenient - it shows me exactly how fat I am. My stomach has taken on a very peculiar consistency. It is a bit like what happens when you add cornflour and water together. When I lie down it looks like it might be solid, but the minute you move or touch it, it wobbles and moves like a liquid. In fact if you push your hand down on top of it, it sinks convincingly beneath the waves of fat and you can easily lose a finger or two under the liquid fat. It is odd, I'm sure I've never had liquid fat before. It has always had a firmer consistency. I wonder whether losing the weight before I got pregnant made all my fat cells really saggy and when they filled up again they are so droopy and lack lustre that I am now left with a cornflour and water stomach. It is a tad on the depressing side but it isn't forever and I am close to thinking about dieting again. I don't want to rush in to anything. I'm not over my chocolate and cake phase yet. I'm sort of on the cusp - half of me wants to rapidly lose weight and get 'my thin' again (it's relative obviously so I have to call it my thin and not thin. The RHONYC would still view 'my thin' as 'fat') and half of me yearns to just eat myself so fat that I become one of those bed bound people that can't do anything apart from eat, use a remote control and press the button that moves the bed up and down so I can sit up to eat. Sometimes I look at these people with a strange envy. I think it shows a great deal of balls to eat 10,000 calories a day until you get to a point where someone has to wash you and cook all your meals etc. I don't have the balls to do it, even though I know I could eat all day long, I know that people think I exaggerate but seriously, I could. It is only vanity and the need to look after the children that stops me. I don't have anyone to take over from me so if I got so fat I couldn't move, K would not take kindly to having to look after the children, or buy my food, cook it for me and do the washing up afterward. And I think having to give me a bed bath and clean in between the folds of my fat would tip him over the edge. Not that we can afford for me to get that fat at the moment. At the moment I am cold and hungry and we have no money for food or gas. We are slap bang in the middle of birthday season in this house and every penny has gone on the presents and parties. We literally have no money for anything. Mercifully a cheque clears tomorrow so I don't need to suffer for long. Fear not.

Anyhoo, where were we before the RHONYC? Hmmm. Oh I was ill. I have only just started to feel better - Thursday will mark the third week anniversary of my cough. I have become quite attached to it actually as it sometimes gives me that husky, deep voice which sounds so much more exciting and sexy than my squeaky, high pitched prim and proper voice, although, after four children and a lack of self discipline on the pelvic floor front, a very heavy cough is really not ideal. However after a hideous week or two with no sleep - the pinnacle was a 4am start - I finally seem to have sleeping children again. It has literally been a life saver. I was concerned that that was it and my life would never be 'normal' again but things seem to have finally turned a corner. Plus I've got my staycation at mum's to look forward to as Friday marks the start of Half Term. Thank the lordy lord.  Free food and the closest I'll get to my dream of lying in bed all day getting to weigh half a tonne. I still have to do stuff, obviously, but she does the lion's share of everything and I can spend more time than I rightfully should, sat on my expanding arse being fed. Plus her house is always very warm.  And the cups of tea just keep on coming. She is so overly attentive to a breast feeding mother, her concern for my thirst is unparallelled. She brings me more tea and glasses of water than it is possible to drink. I can't wait.

How I wish she was here now. We are so short of money that I couldn't afford to replenish the tea bags today and I am incredibly partial to a cup of tea. Luckily I was clever enough to ask K to 'borrow' some bags from work before he left so I will be able to enjoy a cuppa in the morning. It was a master stroke on my behalf, I might get him to do it more often to save money. When I used to work we never bought loo roll. I saw taking a loo roll home in my handbag every few days as a sort of 'corportation tax'.  I worked as a fairly lowly person in the PR world so I was paid a total pittance, and not wasting money on crap (ha ha) like loo roll all helped make the pittance go further. In fact, the way I played fast and loose with the petty cash to help me pay for the train journey home on a number of occasions, could potentially fall on the 'theft' side of things but it was a jolly long time ago so lets just gloss over that. Still, one of the advantages of having children relatively young (again, I wasn't a teenager - on some estates in the UK I would have been quite old having my first at 25 but I was the first of my circle of friends to have a child by quite some years), is that K and I have NEVER had money so we haven't had to adjust our lifestyle or expectations that much since having them.

I have relatively little to tell you about actually. Life is incredibly uneventful. Bea has had her birthday, birthday tea party and official birthday party (you can see why we have no money) and K and I attended his cousin's wedding in Essex which was very enjoyable, especially as the children were not invited so it was just us and Cybs. The wonderful Replacement turned up bang on time on Saturday morning and I basically threw her two children and told her where to pick up the third from, before we ran off to get to the church on time. The Replacement was, as usual, totally unfazed by the whole thing and set about making chocolate cornflake cakes and doing puzzles with them. And doing a load of washing so that they had sheets to sleep in. She really is quite legendary. And this is where you are going to disagree with me, so be prepared. I know that since I last wrote, a man has fallen to earth from space and lived to tell the tale but to me, this is not something that amazing. To be honest I think it's selfish. I know I know, it furthers mankind etc etc but I hate all this radical stuff. Take Ellen McArthur and her solo trip around the world. I don't see the point. She put her family through all that worry and trauma, she went through all that worry and trauma, plus she could have died on numerous occasions and all so she could end up where she began - not to mention the huge sums of money both stunts cost and really what for? For some reason these acts of severe selfishness are revered and celebrated. The man that fell to earth could have died from so many different things -  in particular, his blood could have boiled - I cannot even imagine such horror and his whole family where there watching. Plus, as far as I can see it was all a huge publicity stunt for Red Bull which doesn't seem worth dying for, but K assures me it was a huge leap forward for mankind and scientific discovery, plus he broke some records. Big whoop. Anyhoo, my point is, there are rather wonderful non-publicity seeking selfless people all over the place who are far better than Ellen and Felix Baumgartner. I hasten to add I am not one of them, I am deeply selfish. I have had more children than the world needs or than K wanted just because I wanted them. That is the most obvious example but I know there are loads more. I don't want to put you off me by listing them all now.

I've gone off on a tangent and I'm too tired to get back from it. I have to go.  Let's reconvene after the half term when I am refreshed and refuelled and reheated.



Thursday, 11 October 2012

The week that was

was shit. I won't sugar coat it. I mean in comparison to war and famine it was a breeze but in my world it was rubbish. It should have been great as there was good stuff planned but after a lovely Sunday at a pub lunch celebration in Essex, and an uneventful Monday I went to do the school run on Tuesday morning and all hell broke loose. Due to G's insistence that I MUST speak to his teacher before he went in to school and inform her emphatically that he must not be made to sing in his harvest festival, I made the mistake of temporarily placing the baby in the buggy without strapping her in. She had been crying whilst I was talking to my friend so I had got her out and cuddled her, then when G called me over I put her back in but didn't bother with the straps as it was all very hurried. Whilst I was away from the buggy, Ted decided to climb in to his seat which sits directly underneath the baby one, which is a clipped on car seat that perches (securely) on top. It sort of forms a Z shape if you are struggling to visualise - the baby is the top of the Z and Ted is the bottom. Anyhoo, as Ted attempted to clamber in, he must have fallen back which caused the whole buggy to tip backwards and hit the floor with enough power to make Cybs a human catapult. She 'flew' about a metre and landed on the tarmac of the playground, on her head. One of the dads apparently scooped her up and then all the mothers kicked in to action. One came and grabbed me to take me to the scene and I was handed a screaming and grazed baby and confronted with a dazed and bleeding Ted who had a nose bleed from the accident and I looked down to see that G was still holding on to my leg as I hadn't yet managed to tell the teacher he didn't want to sing.

So, I managed to cuddle them all, calm them down, wipe up the blood, the baby stopped crying and Ted got fed up with all the fuss and got back in the buggy. A friend called an ambulance, another started trying to convince Ted to let them take him to nursery and I answered all the questions needed by the emergency operator and then took G to his class (and I did remember to tell her about the singing), another lovely friend gave me nappies and wipes and took the offending buggy away so I could go in the ambulance. When I got in and sat down and the very calm and unflappable paramedic started asking me questions I did fall a bit to pieces. Although the baby was seemingly fine, with just an angry red graze on her beautiful head, I had convinced myself that she was bleeding profusely internally and that she was in mortal danger. She started crying again so I fed her and the unflappable paramedic said that was a good sign. So, when K rang back after responding to my incredibly teary message left with a colleague, I was mid sob when he asked how she was and I replied 'She's fed' which was meant to reassure him like it had me. Unfortunately he didn't hear the 'f' and thought I'd said something that rhymed with fed and would explain why I was so upset. Luckily I reassured him within seconds but I will always feel guilty that I made the poor man think, even for a few seconds, that his latest offspring was dead. To cut the rest of this story short as I'm bored of it now, we got to hospital, I stopped crying after about an hour, and half an hour later we were discharged as they could see no obvious sign of any damage, she was awake, alert and cooing and smiling at the doctor assessing her. I wasn't happy with their diagnosis and probably for the only time in history I was desperate for them to keep up is in. I was adamant that she needed an Xray at the very least but I'd also like a CT scan to be very sure, however they wouldn't do anything but take her BP and shine a light in her eyes. We were told to go home and watch her for 48 hrs. I couldn't believe that Ted could fall over in our hallway and break a bone but she could fly at 8 weeks old and land on her head and be totally unscathed. I just couldn't accept it and kept thinking she would start fitting or vomiting blood or something that would fit with her injury.  Luckily she didn't, she remained perfectly well and still does. It is the Oddest thing, but also incredibly lucky and I am very, very thankful for that and I ALWAYS make sure she is strapped in now.

Oh and I did go to that sodding harvest festival in the afternoon. I left Ted with a friend and took my poor flying baby with me to sit in the school hall and listen to G not sing. True to his word, he got in, sat down and then promptly got up and sat next to the teacher throughout all the very jolly singing about conkers, with his mouth tightly closed. I sat on a bench at the side waving and trying to jolly him up whilst simultaneously terrified that the man standing on the bench next to me might fall on my baby and damage her further. He did not. G did not relent and open his mouth even once and it all ended very quickly. The whole day left me feeling very shaky and as if imminent danger was always around the corner. I am still a little 'have I locked the door?' about Cybs being strapped in and check her at least ten times a journey. For the next few days I did the morning school run with her in a sling and the afternoon pick up in the car. I have only just put the bottom seat back on the buggy and I am very nervous when a child goes near her head or I have to leave the buggy for any length of time.

On Wednesday I began to feel ill, but had to go and get my BP checked (more normal now thankfully) and pick up my prescription and then go and buy all of Bea's bday presents. Another lovely friend (and Cybil's Godmother) had us over for lunch which brightened up the day but by the evening I was feeling very, very cold and quite unwell.  K came home early and I went to bed. Thursday was horrid, I had to do the school run as K had to go to work and then look after the little two at home all day feeling horrid. K popped home to give me painkillers and Ted was unexpectedly good so I did get a modicum of rest and Thursday night the baby (probably conked out from the drugs I was taking) slept from 8.30 til 1.30 - which is a record - so all in all I shouldn't probably grumble but it wasn't particularly nice. I felt really cold then very hot, everything ached - especially my underarms which was made much worse by holding a heavy baby to breastfeed - and I felt very shattered. I felt slightly better on Friday but only marginally. Enough to try and cut Ted's fringe so it stopped getting in his eyes, making a huge hash of it and having to get an emergency appointment at the hairdressers at the end of the road. Miserably the hairdresser was over excitable after running half an hour late and cut it far too short - all his curls were gone in one hideous curl massacre. I went home and cried to K over the phone. I'm still not used to it. He looks like a different child. The angelic curls which helped to offset some of his naughtiness have gone and I am left with a small boy. When he is naughty it is just plain irritating and not at all cute.  On Saturday K had to go to work which is very rare but still very irritating when you're not feeling well. I managed to get Bea to her dance lessons and show rehearsals and bake a cake for her birthday with G and keep Ted alive until K came home to take over but I fell asleep during X factor I was so tired. Sunday finally saw things pick up again as my mum was staying with newly married sister so I drove the children up to her new flat and we all went to London Zoo together for Bea's birthday treat.  The sun shone, the children were thrilled with their surprise and I revelled in having my very own 'SWAT' team of helpers to race after 'the flight risk' Ted or hang around looking at snakes with G for far longer than anyone else wanted or go and get spare maps with Bea after Ted ripped hers. If only every day had a SWAT team in it. Things would be so much easier and I might also have a chance at resting enough to get better.  I am STILL ill and it is really beginning to bug me. For two episodes in a row now I haven't managed to stay awake for the end of Grand Designs which is the rather crucial part.

So, I have been ill, the baby nearly met a sticky end at Ted's hands and Bea has turned 8 - oh and actually we have discovered that as well as being long sighted and probably dyslexic, Bea has a hearing issue. I took her to have a hearing test at the hospital today and she failed it miserably. Stupidly, i didn't think about the actual test which was in a sound proof room because the test required total silence - I had in my possession a baby and a Ted. Luckily I managed to stick a boob in one mouth and a bag of teddy bear sweets in the other and Bea managed to get her test done. The upshot of the test is that they have cleaned her ears out and are going to monitor the fluid behind the drum so nothing drastic - just more guilt on my part that I should have had her assessed far earlier. That is it really. Actually I can't tell you anything else as I'm falling asleep. 

I am getting so dull. I shall be back with something more interesting next time. If I can stay awake long enough to tell you about them.


Monday, 1 October 2012

Mind Games

Good Day. The stars have aligned and I have a small window of opportunity to write.

If I have had the odd half an hour in the last few weeks I have been busy downloading photos, printing them out or trying to organise them in to a photo book online. I have always loved taking photos. Lots of photos. I still have a drawer full of around 200 photos from a school ski trip I enjoyed around twenty years ago - but with the arrival of newbie my penchant for photo taking has reached another level. A peak, I hope. I am obsessed with recording almost every day and every outfit of her life. I know I have said it many, many times before but because she is the last I have to document every day so that when I forget, I can wade back through 3000 photos and try and remember. Also I have to make sure that the amazing wardrobe she inherited (affectionately known as 'the collection') from the last five girl babies in the family, is fully appreciated. There are so many, many outfits I seriously do have to put her in two a day to get through them. She is growing at a rate of knots and it is no exaggeration to say that I feel slightly stressed from the pressure of getting some 'use' out of the collection. Kent sister is expecting a boy and Newly Married Sister does not want to inherit 'The Collection' as it is largely pink and all very 'pretty' which is not her taste. She wants white and black and 'high fashion' baby clothes. She would rather have a naked baby than one in Mini Boden or Cath Kidston.  Anyway, the point is Cybil is the last benefactor of the full collection and the pressure is on to get every possible outfit out and on the baby before she grows and it is dispersed throughout the land. 

Every time she grows out of an outfit I put it in the different piles (Kent Sister, Magician Godmother, Kent Godmother, Special box for the girls etc) and I can see how quickly the time is passing as the piles mount up. This too makes me anxious. My entire life up until this point has been about having babies. It has been my only 'drive' of any description. In fact my earliest memory is of a baby. When I was two and half I was taken to hospital to meet Baby Newly Married Sister.  Funnily enough she wasn't what I actually remember. Although I was there because of her, what I remember was walking in and turning to the right to see the hospital bed and a plate of cakes on the bed. I couldn't even tell you if the baby was in the room. But there and then my two loves were formed. Cake and babies. Actually my mum and dad were there too, so assuming the baby was indeed in the room, the reason I probably remember the occasion was because I was most likely at my very happiest. The baby was yet to steal my thunder or my toys, everyone was happy, I felt secure and excited and to top it all off there was cake. I doubt anyone was that concerned that I went straight for the cakes - at two and a half it was probably quite normal.. Miserably three decades later I have to learn to stay away from having babies and cakes. Poo. 

I am forbidden from having any more babies by K and a recent trip to the Doctors means I really do need to start weaning myself off the cake at some point too.  I wasn't really looking forward to my six week check with the Doctor as it is usually carried out by a quite irritating doctor who spends about 45 minutes on the appointment and spends a vast proportion of that time, talking about the importance of attachment parenting and keeping the baby close to you. I find that impossibly annoying as I tell him each and every time that I sleep, eat and bathe with the baby and most of the rest of the time is spent breastfeeding. I physically have to have them off me to cook, push in the buggy and go to the loo but other than that I'm not sure how much more 'attachment' I could do.  However luckily the annoying Doctor was not doing my final six week check, and instead I got the one I really like. I'm not sure why as he is quite brusque and not particularly 'warm' but I think it's his public school arrogance. I have no idea if he actually went to public school but I would bet that he did. Anyway, he is also slightly attractive so I was a TAD embarrassed when he whisked out the scales and made me stand on them. OUCH. He had just taken my blood pressure which was still frighteningly high (probably because I stopped taking the medication rather stupidly) and when I asked if it was anything to do with putting on 'quite a bit' of weight during pregnancy he didn't even pause before replying 'undoubtedly'. He then jumped up and dragged the scales over. Did I mention that during this time he called me 'Ma'am'? Throughout the entire appointment. It was most odd. (Perhaps a cultural thing?). It made me feel very old. And then he made me stand on the scales and confirm that I was fat. Fat and old. Nice. So, I now know that I have definitely put on three stone. (I have taken off a few pounds because my lowest weight was my PB, which isn't fair to count as a starting point for weight gain, so I have added on a few for a more usual weight and taken off a few from the top number for boob weight. They are huge and filled with milk as well as fat so that is totally not fair to be included in the end point for measuring my weight gain.) Mercifully due to his brisk nature my new obese status was quickly and efficiently dealt with and another prescription for my blood pressure pills was printed and, after we had ascertained that Cybs had put on a lovely load of weight, we were dismissed.

I got back to the car and calmed myself down. Luckily there were a few loose Eclair sweets in the bottom of my bag which helped me. As I sucked and then chewed I felt annoyed that I was already being instructed to lose weight by an 'official'. I had only 'just' had a baby. It was ridiculous to expect me to cut down on food already. Also, I reasoned, it was highly unlikely he had been sleep deprived for nearly seven weeks and as he has obviously never breast fed, he had no idea the hunger it induced or the need for edible rewards just to keep one going. Plus, I hate having my beliefs proved wrong. I had managed to make myself believe that I hadn't put on that much weight and my blood pressure would have rectified itself.  If I don't want to believe that something is true I am most excellent at creating an alternate reality where it isn't. My bathroom mirror is also very good at colluding with me and my reality. I don't know why, but it is truly magic. It is annoying that it wasn't there at the Doctors with me. If I don't want to believe that my children are ill behaved or have broken bones then I don't. If I don't want to believe that we don't have enough money for whatever it is I want to do then I don't. Do you see? So handy.  So, by the time I arrived home and finished all the Eclairs, I had managed to talk myself out of needing to lose weight. I went straight to the bathroom mirror, breathed in and reassured myself that I was right. I do have to keep going for weekly blood pressure checks but I have also managed to talk myself around to the idea that that will also magically reduce itself without me doing anything. My mind is a great friend at times.

At other times it is largely useless. I have been doing some quite ridiculous and/or embarrassing things recently. For a start, whilst at the Doctors I was standing behind a woman as I waited to return a form to the receptionist. The French woman, who did not speak English, was trying to communicate to the receptionist about making an appointment for her children. The receptionist was unable to understand a word she was saying. I decided to leap in and help and started speaking French to the woman with the children. She looked pleased that someone was helping. But my limited memory of the french language was not getting us any nearer to working out whether her children could make an appointment during school hours so I sat back down. It was whilst I was sitting there that I realised she was in fact Spanish and not even vaguely French and I should have waited to hear her speak more of her mother tongue than 'a' and 'la' before deciding on her nationality. The recepetionsist then said she didn't speak Spanish and couldn't help until an interpreter was available. I went visibly red. Luckily no one actively pointed at me and laughed about me butting in with my 'ecole' and 'les enfants' which was just as useless as the receptionist speaking slowly and loudly in English. This was the pinnacle of a long line of silly brain related let downs. I have never been a huge fan of the term 'baby brain' as it makes us sound like silly little women who are in need of being patronised but it would appear that I have one; I ended up at the school gates the other morning before one friend looked at me like I had two heads and kindly pointed out that I had failed to rub in my under eye concealer and had made the journey down there with two large and very obvious daubs of Touche Eclat across my face. I had obviously put it on, gone to the crying baby and then failed to rub it in before a very hurried departure; Last Friday I spent half an hour having a panic about my cash card. It was not in my purse, in K's wallet or anywhere at home. I finally realised it was still waiting for me behind the bar of the pub where I had gone for lunch the Friday before. For one whole week my cash card had been sitting patiently in their 'tab' folder. I had paid in cash, along with everyone else, so managed to totally forgot that my card had been used to start the tab; Shortly after I wrote the last post, I cooked mash and sweetcorn for the children. I realised, as it was cooking, that the mash and the water was looking an odd sort of brown colour. By the time it was fully and finally cooked (it seemed to take forever) I was very concerned and decided to taste a bit - it tasted hideous and left a lingering bitter taste and I was finally convinced that something terrible had happened and some chemicals had clearly got in to the saucepan before I used it so I binned the mash and served up 'baked bean soup' as a hasty back up. I finally realised, after things had calmed down sufficiently (newbie screaming, children complaining, heat from the cooker, music from the radio for Ted to dance to etc etc) that I had decided to make the most of a spare two minutes earlier in the day to 'de-scale' the kettle with a huge dose of citric acid. It had worked beautifully and the kettle was now limescale free, but I had obviously forgotten to empty the kettle and therefore used the water inside it with all the citric acid to cook the potatoes for the mash which explained the extremely bitter taste and brown tinge. I had also used a slightly watered down version for the corn on the cob. I made them eat the sweetcorn once I realised it wasn't life threatening. G didn't bat an eyelid. Bea complained; Anyhoo, these are the worst - but there have been many more incidents of me walking upstairs and not remembering why, making myself two cups of tea in the morning because I forgot I had already made the first one, washing the wool blanket I knitted for Ted in the normal wash and now it is half the size, forgetting to do up my nursing bra after a feed so I am walking around with one boob hanging considerably lower than the other.....etc etc. Newbie has most definitely taken the toll on my brain capacity. Either that or it is the lack of a night's sleep in nearly eight weeks. Maybe it's both.

So, not much to report except fairly peculiar behaviour and that I am now back firmly in the 'obese' category on the weight scale and I have to go through it all again - all the walks I walked, all the cake I declined, it all needs to be done once again to get me back in to my old wardrobe and back off the 'at risk' register. But not now. I am absolutely fine for now. I have only just had a baby. I can't do anything for months. Maybe longer. I just need to make sure I ask for a different Doctor from now on.

I need to get off and order Bea's birthday presents. I shall be back once my first baby has turned 8. Until then peeps. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx