Saturday, 7 May 2011

Chatty, smiley baby

Every day that passes Jasper gets more smiley, more chatty and more adorable.

Oh...*I must not swear I must not swear*

You tidy, you clean, you tidy some more, you clean some more, you've followed the toddler around the house collecting the toys and games and story books he sheds as he moves from room to room, you're feeling ok and like the house is actually tidy and not going to shame you UTTERLY in front of the visitor who is due any minute - you pop to the loo, come back and find this...

I must not swear, I must not swear, I must not swear, I must not swear...

"Woary wacing car inna snow Mummy" 

Friday, 6 May 2011

Not my best week ever.

Anxiety is a special kind of torture, invented for those who love the most to make them feel the most inadequate. 

Anxiety when you have people you love this much - my husband, my incredible children (gosh they're incredible) is totally normal, apparently - to a certain extent. It's built into all mothers; you're anxious anyway and then things just keep happening that make it MUCH worse. 
Roman choked just a little on his dinner - one cough and he was fine, but of course my mind spun into over drive. 
He's started tripping over more because he runs everywhere (usually waving his arms around shouting "look at me look at me!") so I'm convinced he's going to break something. 

Yesterday someone opened the door to the baby clinic and he ran out - I chased, holding Jasper, but he was way ahead - two people stepped back out of his way to let him pass (seriously people?!) and then, with me following and screaming "STOP!" he ran, laughing his head off, right into the road. There were three people he ran past who just watched. Just watched a toddler run into the road, with  his mum screaming from behind him because I couldn't get to him in time. Are they some kind of new, previously unheard of, special breed of stupid? I don't care if you're a stranger, please GRAB MY CHILD because I can't reach! Luckily the car coming was going very slow and just stopped, miles away from him. 

In my mind it hit him. In my mind he died. In my mind I dropped Jasper trying to catch Roman and he died too. In my mind both of my babies died. I was terrified. I was furious. I don't think his feet touched the ground on the way back inside, I caught, I pulled, I SHOUTED, I cried. The people who had watched him run out tutted at me. I hated them. I have never hated people so much. Roman cried and said "Sowwy Mummy, I sowwy Mummy!" and I cried even more for being so angry. 

Anxiety. Children breed more of it in you every day.

Anxiety is what has kept me awake for so many hours in the past few weeks even when the boys have been sleeping like angels (and apart from a few blips - Jasper having a growth spurt, Roman having a nightmare about scary badgers - they really do sleep like angels - I'm horribly lucky in that aspect) I lie awake hour after hour after hour going over our day. I count the many and varied ways in which I've failed as a mother that day - as a mother, as a wife, as a daughter, as a friend, as a human being. I've not given them enough veg - so they're going to get scurvy or rickets. I've not ironed all their socks so they're going to be Looked At by smarter people. I've not worn make up (or even got dressed) so Alex will leave me for someone better. I lost my temper so the boys will have to go to therapy to learn how to have healthy relationships with women when they're older because their mother is such a monster.

I lie and think about all the ways they could get hurt or killed. I could be carrying Jasper and trip on a toy and land on Roman and break both of their necks - literally, both of their necks, broken. I could fall going down the stairs out of the flat. The pushchair could wobble sideways into the road as I'm walking along right in front of a bus. They could get snatched. I could somehow trip and knock them through the window, shattering it, cutting them to shreds before they fall to the street (in front of a bus). 

I think about whether I'm SUCH an awful mother if it wouldn't just be better for me to leave - then I remember that they'd starve to death and never have anything to wear and would get bedsores because only I know how to do all those things (ha) so I can't leave - but spending their entire day with me must be damaging them because I'm just so useless. 

Yesterday at clinic I mentioned a couple of those things to my health visitor - who said she'd pop over this morning for a longer chat and a coffee. She did, and I talked, then all of a sudden I was crying and saying things like "I wish I could just enjoy them more" and realising that I hadn't felt like I was, and that I hadn't even noticed because it had snook up on me so slowly I hadn't even seen it. What a waste! 

She gave me the little list and I answered it - last time I did it I scored a 10; today I scored a 25. Well how the heck did THAT happen? Oh yes - for the last three nights I haven't slept, I've tortured myself instead - I see. 

It turns out I'm not a total failure - but my anxiety has pushed me over into PND without me even noticing and so actually I'm NOT a vile, useless sack of nothing as a mother - I'm just normal, with a blob of PND on top. Like sprinkles, only sprinkles made of shit and stress. Not delicious sprinkles. 

I was given a late appointment with the world's nicest GP and spent 45 entire minutes talking to him - managing, by the end of it, to laugh at myself. I left with a prescription for anxiety meds that should help me to switch off those voices that list my spectacular failings at night so I can sleep. Once I'm sleeping the daytime bits should seem a little less, well, TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO MANAGE. I might even get dressed and vaccuum (don't push it). I left feeling pretty positive - I'd said the crazy out loud and people hadn't swooped in in colourful bodysuits emblazoned with "Child rescue squad" and taken my babies away - they'd just listened, let me have a little blub, and told me it was all ok and quite normal really.

Then I went to the pharmacy to get my little tablets and the woman who served me pointed at my tummy and exclaimed - horribly loud - "Oh yes! I see now! When are you due?" 

"I've had him."

I'm not sure which of us was more mortified - but her repeatedly apologising did not help!

So, I'm never wearing that dress again and I hope these tablets don't make me feel sick forever - what a week!

Art and happiness

I think you'd struggle to find a child who didn't enjoy finger painting. There's something ever so lovely about squidging your fingers into a big blob of poster paint and smearing it around, and Roman is one of those kids who would rather have clean hands - but even he likes a good finger painting sesh! 

 Hmm - it might be time to start thinking about cleaning me up now Mummy, I seem to have some paint on my hand?
Look- do you see? Paint, on my hand?

"Tome on Mummy, tidy ups, dood boy" - nothing quite beats being called a good boy by my son!

Snack time - cheeky little cupboard raider!

All of Roman's art work is available to collectors and dealers - at a very reasonable price ;-)

What a let down.

Today was the result of the AV vote. Not a lot to say other than Britain, you make me weep. Frustration. That is all. 

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Time flies.

I remember when I was young asking my parents what age you are when you feel like a grown up. I remember them laughing and telling me "never".

It feels like minutes ago that I finished 6th form and was starting uni and waiting to feel like a grown up. Mere seconds later (I'm sure) I'm 27, I'm married, I have two children. I still don't feel like a grown up. It still astounds me that the midwives let me just leave, aged 25, with a whole actual baby - no tests or anything! I couldn't even adopt a dog that easily!

What's even stranger is that in the blink of an eye my boys will be older than I was when I had them - they will have babies of their own, wives (ha, as if I'll let them!) and one day I'll have been married for more of my life than I wasn't (I hope) and it doesn't even feel like time is passing.

It's already over 11 weeks since Jasper was born - that 11 weeks has FLOWN by - though the 11 before that dragged rather! Any day now he'll be sitting up, then walking, talking, running, they'll both be at school, finishing school - I can't quite dig my fingertips in hard enough to make time slow down, and I don't want to miss a second. 

One day I'm sure my Grandbabies will look at me and wonder how I can even remember being young - like I did my Grandparents - but it's not remembering being young that's hard - it's remembering that you're not!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

I am the luckiest.

I'm not very good at tired - tired makes me quite unbearable to be around. I'm not very good at pain - pain makes me quite unbearable to be around. I'm not very good at stressed - stressed makes me quite unbearable to be around. 

Since at the moment all three of those things apply I'm pretty much a nightmare to live with. I snap and snarl at my poor husband Alex (who blogs at fartandculture ) and then cry because I've been snapping and snarling, apologise, tell him he's too good for me, cry some more - then go right back to snapping. 

In the car this weekend I was, once again, apologising for the usual cycle of snarl, weep, apologise, snarl etc when he asked me to plug in his ipod and play a song (initially I, of course, ruined the moment a little by whinging about how much I hate Ben Folds and his whiney American voice, well done me!) and then this song came on.

Obviously I cried, and I know that however hard I find things some days Alex will always help and always knows what to say or do to make me feel better (and slightly embarassed about my strop, usually!) 

For the record, I really am the luckiest. 

Monday, 2 May 2011

Children and 'That Talk'

A few things have happened or been said recently that have made me wonder how I'll deal with 'That Talk' when the time comes. It's the talk that, no matter how old your children are, you want to be a few more years away but it seems that kids are learning and wondering and seeing things much younger than they used to - they're understanding more and more and it's a scary thing to see happening.

There was a story in my local newspaper about a 20 year old man convicted of raping three teenage girls - one 14, one 15 and one 16. The story horrified me not only because of the rape aspect, which sickens me, but also because his defense stated that the girls had entered into sexual activity with him willingly and consentingly - and that the girls were in his flat, drunk, and sleeping in his bed. 

When I read that the girls were staying at his flat and drinking I was horrified. The man is 20 - who in their right mind would let their young teenage girl go to his flat to drink and stay over? I know the girls could have lied about where they would be - but I think back to my teenage years and know that I was given quite a lot of freedom - ie I could say to my Mum that I was going to a friend's house and staying over for the night - BUT my Mum would either drop me off or my friend's Mum pick me up and I always called when I got there if I did, on rare occasions, make my own way so that my Mum knew where I was and that I was safe. I wholeheartedly believe that she 1471'd after my call to check I was calling from where I said I was (this was all before I had a mobile so I guess it was easier to check?) but surely if your child calls from a mobile to say "I'm staying at my friend's house" you'd ask for a quick word with the friend's Mum or Dad to check they were ok? 

I know that there are a lot of teenagers who are having sex, and doing so regularly and at varied levels of 'safe' - the idea of it just breaks my heart. I remember being a teenager and KNOWING I was a grown up - then actually reaching adulthood and realising how young I still was and how much I had to learn. Every generation says it to their children, having not believed their own parents - but you really are still a child in your teens and you really do still need your Mummy and Daddy to guide you. Letting your teenagers go out with no curfew to loiter in parks and on the streets is just asking for trouble. Whilst we had a lot of freedom we were still expected to call home, to account for where we were and what we were doing and to be home and in our own rooms (if not bed) by a decent hour. If we broke any of those very basic rules we weren't allowed out again for weeks. 

The 'sex education' debate is one that has been battled from all sides for generations; it's my personal opinion that we ought to educate from the beginning - from early childhood - about such things. I'm not advocating showing preschoolers hardcore porn just to get them in the know, what I mean is that children ought to be told that babies come from Mummy's tummy, that they're put there by a thing called sex. Sex should be a word that you can say in front of your children and as they get older they ought to be given honest answers to questions they have. Obviously you have to be sensible - but using the 'proper' words for things (penis, vagina, sperm) shouldn't be shameful.

I was given a good tip when I asked my Mum about this subject - "Answer their questions" - don't offer more info, don't lie, don't change the subject - just in brief and with age appropriate detail answer the question - and always include the "safe sex with a loving partner" aspect. 
My own sex education followed those guides I think - my Mum just spoke openly to me, answered my questions, talked to me about the emotion that is and should be involved (and what shouldn't) and because I had those answers I was careful and took my time about losing my virginity - as did my brother. We didn't dive around park bushes with unsuitable types in the third year because a; our parents were aware of where we were and who we were with so we had no opportunity and b; we had the answers a lot of those fumbles are looking for so had no overwhelming urge to explore!

I don't think, however, that being terribly honest and grown up needs to lead to showing children videos of animals mating - you can see where it's going! Quite possibly the funniest article the Guardian has ever published.