Thursday, 8 September 2011

A kindred spirit

Today is a good day. Today I don't feel so alone. I thought it was going to be a bad day. I woke up angry and felt like I was muffled by a big, heavy cloud. I knew we'd be going out, because we had a group to go to that I was really looking forward to - it's where I see all my favourite people. It's also a trip on the bus, which I hate, and today it's grim weather - so I didn't really want to go. I didn't really want to get out of bed, if I'm honest!

I got up though, and showered, and dressed, and got the boys sorted and we went and I had a great time - I love the crowd that are at this group at the moment, they're all lovely people and I love chatting to them (talking at them) and it makes me laugh - and Jellybean was, for the most part, a good boy (though I'm pretty sure he stole about 12 biscuits whilst I was yattering) and I enjoyed it - so I'm glad we went. I also took up the toys that came with the pushchair from Mamas and Papas and donated them to the group so felt all warm and fuzzy and good-deedy. 

On the way home I bumped into and got chatting to someone I know by sight - we have children a similar age - who I'd never chatted to before (that's all the detail I'll put to protect her identity!) and where normally I'd just be polite and hurry off (I'm terrible at talking to people outside of my 'scheduled personable' periods - for all that I'm gobby and in your face I'm actually really shy and have to build up to going places and speaking to people - I find it REALLY hard) I actually got chatting to her. We chatted for about half an hour and I'd have chatted with her all day if it weren't for Jellybean deciding he'd had enough and having a melt down! 

This lovely lady and I had so many shared experiences and feelings. We'd both had unexpected (but not unwanted) pregnancies and had both suffered PND. We'd both missed working and felt a need to work and, though we ADORE our children, we both miss time on our own, sans kids, to just be a person and not a Mummy. We both felt the same way about PND, playgroups, babies, motherhood, all of it - and it was so nice to chat honestly to someone about the realities of being a parent. It's glorious and joyous and filled with masses of unexpected gifts and wonder - but it's also bloody hard work, often thankless, rarely glamorous and sometimes just a bit too tough and some days you just don't want to move because it all hurts too much and there are too many bad things in the world. 

I gave her my email address as we parted and I hope she gets in touch - if you're reading this lovely lady, email me - I'll buy you coffee and everything! If you're reading this, thank you for talking to me on a day that could have felt bad, thank you for understanding how I feel and not judging me. Thank you for being a great, loving mother to your gorgeous children even through the darker days - you're an inspiration and I'm very, very glad we spoke.

Also, start a blog ;-) xxx

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Mylo - a review.

I posted previously that Mamas and Papas chose us to review their pushchair - the Mylo - see my earlier posts here saying we'd been chosen and here reviewing receiving and building the pushchair - we've had a wee while with the pushchair now and I have lots to say!

Most importantly - I love it. I love the old school look of the carrycot part and how solid and well made it is - I love that little old ladies always come over for a coo and to tell me how nice it is to see a 'proper' pram. They're right - it's lovely! I love it and am constantly talking about it at people - but because I'm reviewing it I am trying to be honest about the things I would change. No pushchair is perfect, none give you everything you need - but in a perfect world there would be some changes I'd make. 

First of all - with the carrycot attached, it is bloody heavy! I love love love it - I love that Midget Gem is so comfortable, that he can sit upright, surrounded by toys and enjoy being out and about or lie flat on a proper bed, snuggled up in the shade for a nap. It was great to have the carry cot on our recent holiday - it was perfect for baby to sleep in, to go out for the day in, to sit out in my Mum's garden comfortable, shaded and off the ground so her dog couldn't lick him right inside the nostrils. It was great when we were out that he didn't miss any naps, and I could pop some bits of shopping in there with him - or even, if it were a long day with lots of walking, lift up Jellybean and pop him in there too, one at each end! It's spacious enough that they could both sit in there and share toys - almost nicely - without sitting on top of each other so I loooooove that.

Back to it being heavy; with the carrycot part it's a bit difficult to lift the front wheels up and get it up kerbs - with the chair attached it's very light and not an issue at all, but so far we're using the carry cot part a lot more and it is slightly bothersome.

Also slightly bothersome is the basket - it was a nightmare to attach, but Mamas and Papas have said the units sent out from now onwards will come with it already attached. I've noticed, however, that sometimes when you open the base unit back out the basket has popped off a bit again - I'm not sure whether this is a problem with them all or whether I just haven't attached it properly. 

When it's raining the shape of the basket means that a small amount of water can collect through the open sides and things in there might get a bit damp - but not massively so and to be honest, if it's really raining, I'm not going to be outside. 

On the subject of rain, the rain cover....oh, Mamas and Papas - that raincover! What a genius piece of kit! It's super - most definitely THE BEST rain cover I've ever used or seen. It adapts to fit both the carry cot and the chair units, it is just SO easy to pop on - so when we were caught out on holiday by a sudden, heavy shower we nipped it straight on with no issues at all, I love it - I love it more than I love jelly tots. That's a lot. I also love that it has a nifty little bag that you can pop it in easy peasy - and that handy little bag has a popper fastening that I can clip over the handle and take it out and about with us very easily. 

The handle - oh lord, the handle - I'm pretty tall, my parents are even taller - the handle is very adjustable, and easily so, meaning that none of us had any issues pushing the chair around - I think if I were a foot taller I'd still have no issues at all with having to stoop - well done M&P!

The function of the chair folding so small is superb - it's very easy and folds much smaller and neater than I expected. I do wish there were a carry handle nearer the top or bottom once it was folded - there is one, a very sturdy one, in the middle of the chair back but that's a bit awkward for getting the folded chair up and down the stairs at the flat (we're on the first floor) along with changing bag/baby/shopping - but that's me being VERY pinikity for the sake of an honest review!

The base folds really easily and without the carry cot attached it's very light for the size and stability of it - and it looks awesome and kind of like an alien or a transformer. If I were being very fussy again I'd say I'd like the base (where the seat/carry cot attaches) folded a little flatter so it took up a little less space in a car boot - but we've a big car boot and we fit it in there with the carry cot AND the seat AND a suit case AND a picnic - so it's not that big a deal. If we had a smaller car - if you have a small car - it will take up the full boot. 

I really like that the carry cot faces me - but that the hood folds totally flat so I can sit baby up and either shade him or let him see everything going on around us. I like that the chair can face either way - he can be facing me for a chat, or face out to see everyone else, depending on his mood (and mine, and whether big is with us and wanting to show him things) it's great to have the option to do either as I agonised when picking our first pushchair over parent facing vs outward facing! 

The shade hoods on both the chair and the carry cot are great - they're really sturdy and good quality and intuitive; one small problem I've found - actually something I find quite irritating - is that on the carry cot, because the hood encompasses the handle with which you can carry it, so it's very strong, it's a bit of a bugger to put up because you have to push the buttons in on both sides and then lift it which is pretty difficult - I generally get hubby to help (or Mum, or my friend, or a passing old lady who stopped to coo in the library!) - the hood on the chair part, however - incredible. Seriously. 
When the chair is upright, it pulls over giving good cover over little one. When he does his magic trick (chatty chatty chat chat bam, snore) and I lie him down (well done on that, by the way - it lies very flat compared to most chairs - love) there's a zip through the hood that opens out another section meaning the hood pulls up even further giving great shade again.

The Mylo is great - I genuinely love it and feel like a proper Mummy walking around with it. It's a townie pushchair - the sold wheels (as opposed to the air tyres I was used to on the Phil and Teds double we got when Midget Gem came along) can make for a bit of a bumpy ride if we go off road - so if you live out in the sticks it might not be the best choice. I live in town so it's not an issue for me - and in the Lake District a week ago I spent a lovely couple of hours in a coffee shop with my baby, drinking coffee and reading a good book whilst the rest of my family climbed a big hill. I'm not against big hills - but I must admit, I welcomed the excuse to sit and chill ;-) 

There are LOADS of accessories that you can get to go with the chair - a little back pack kind of thing that sits behind the basket, a specially designed changing bag (though my own hangs perfectly well on there should you already have one you love) an oojit to pop a drink into, a thingumy for hanging shopping from the handle, lots of other exciting things (check out the website here to see them for yourself)  and we also got the stand (so we could use the carry cot on holiday and so we can use the chair as a high chair - which is smashing) which I'll review separately at a later point. Again, if I were being picky, I'd like there to be something that comes as standard that you can pop a cup into and hang an asda bag from if the basket is full - but I'm addicted to Nero mochas and carry too much stuff. 

I didn't expect to love the chair - I didn't expect it to replace the Phil and Teds in my heart - but I have to be honest, it's a pretty close thing! On longer outings I think I'd still plump for the double - simply because Jellybean is a nightmare to get home if he decides at the furthest away point that he's had enough of walking. Mid length journeys I'll use the carry cot (or if hubby is along for the day too, in which case he can pop big one on his shoulders at breaking point) but if we're just nipping out, the Mylo with the chair is winning over the P&T - and once bigger boy is just a little bit bigger again I think it will become my only pushchair. 

As well as being a great pushchair and looking awesome, I'm now very tenuously connected, thanks to our great taste, to Alicia Keys, who has the Mylo for her little one - see! (She has the added bag behind the basket) 

Thank you to Mamas and Papas for picking us - I've received no payment for this review but was given the pushchair for free. 

Huge thanks as well to Lynne at MumPanel for setting everything up - you're a super star.

Maybe not son!

This morning Jellybean clambered all over us in bed, as per usual, as I was feeding Midget Gem; he was fiddling on the windowsill (our bed is below the window) and as he finished feeding, baby sneezed; Jellybean popped his head from behind the curtain and peeped "I fisk (fix) Midget Gem's nose!" and dove at him clutching an alan key! 

Erm...maybe not! I'm sure it would fit up there VERY nicely - but I don't think even Bob the Builder would attempt that! 

Reasons to love my job.

There are times when you are offered something to review/promote on your blog that you think "erm, you're ok - I'm not really down with that" - and there are times when you think "am I going to come across unprofessionally if I have their arm off for this one?!"

This is one of the latter. 

Thanks to the fact that we also run Gridlock Magazine - for which we were looking for Quality Christmas Gift Ideas for our November bumper issue - we were offered the chance of a break at Ragdale Hall Health Hydro and Thermal Spa.  Look at it. Look. At. It. 

In October my lucky husband and I are going to Ragdale Hall for a very luxurious weekend of pampering - and we can't wait! It ties in very nicely, time wise, with hubby's 30th birthday which is rather nice - and it looks spectacular. Just reading about the treatments and activities has already made me feel relaxed so I am beyond excited about actually going.

I'll be posting up on here about our experiences at Ragdale Hall once we've been - in the meantime check out their website and plan yourself a mini break or a day of pampering and we can compare notes!

I changed my mind.

When I returned from Cybermummy11 one of the things I had decided was that I was no longer going to post pictures of my children - it seemed the general idea 'out there' was that posting pictures of them was bad. I went along with that but tonight, looking back through my earlier posts (which I left up, complete with children in pictures) made me really smile. 

I began this blog to keep my family up to date on what we'd been up to and how we spent our time and it's not really been about that as much without the pictures. I feel like I'm missing out too because I LIKE showing off my gorgeous kids.

As my latest blogger crush, Mamasauras, posted this week - are we being overly cautious? I mean, like she says, I'm not going to stop taking my children out of the house - nor am I going to post pictures of my boys nude! I think being TOO scared takes away a lot of the fun I get out of my blog - and you know what? My kids are ace and they're very cute - so here, take a look at their gorgeous faces :-)

Jellybean enjoying some well deserved apple juice and a read of his library book in Cafe Nero today (my FAVOURITE PLACE)

Midget Gem and his awesome tufty, flufty hair enjoying his comfy Mylo (thank you Mamas and Papas!) in one of Jellybean's t-shirts, finding Mummy drinking coffee very amusing! He'd just woken up - which doesn't explain his hair - his hair is ALWAYS like that. Apart from when there is food smushed in it.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Don't forget to take your tablets!

As you know, if you read this blog regularly, I've been diagnosed, and am being treated for, post natal depression; I swing between wanting to post my journey in detail and wanting to smush my struggles under a big rock and using this as a place to pretend everything's rosy. There have been lots of days where everything genuinely IS rosy - but there have still been lots of days in which I've really struggled. 

Most of the time I manage by keeping going and going and going - I slap on a big plastic smile and keep us busy to distract my head from talking, talking, talking at me - it's nice at times to shut those little whispers up; I then hit a stalling point - I can only find one shoe, one of the smalls needs a fresh nappy minutes after having one, my keys have vanished into the Other Reality (aka bottom of handbag) or toddler insists on being wherever I'm not as I try to get him dressed to leave for an appointment.

I'm not very good at being late. I'm not very good at things not going to plan. I make plans, I know from experience that I ought to make them flexible and with lots of room for error, I have a good week, I get cocky - and kaboom, melt down. 

We just got back from holidays - two weeks with family up north - and before we were due to go I had a counselling session booked on the Thursday and I had planned to speak to them there and arrange a repeat prescription of my anti - depressants; planned is the word here. I thought I was going to get a lift, but my lift was late - so I had to take the boys in the pushchair, panicking about having nobody to leave them with - I can't take them in with me, obviously. My 'lift' arrived at the surgery at the same time as I did so I unloaded the kids and dashed inside; I took my little questionnaire and circled 'Very bloody much' on the 'are you anxious? Are you grumpy? Are you mental in the face?' options - then lovely receptionist dashed over as flustered as me. It turned out we had the wrong time and I'd missed my counselling by an hour - super.  Just super. No idea how, but lovely counsellor had gone home and instead of a two week break I'd now be having a three week break.

I wasn't very down with that.

So, trying to cover up my answers as if it were a test the receptionist could cheat on, I scurried out - forgetting entirely about my prescription - and was very relieved to see my lift still outside, children loaded up and about to set off. 

I get really worked up on my way to my counselling sessions - I can hear those whispers talking about me being 'mental', as if post natal depression is a choice I made, and the plans I'd made around it falling apart had totally thrown me into chaos. I knew I needed to go back inside and arrange my prescription but I did my usual thing and decided it would 'sort itself out' if I ignored it long enough and went home. 

We set off on the Monday up north and I knew I only had a couple of tablets left - but I was fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine; of course I was, I'd been taking my tablets and I was going on holiday with my family - doesn't get more fine than a holiday does it! Knowing that my tablets were about to run out made me feel panicked - so I put it in a box in the back of my mind and ignored it. Like you do. 

Within a couple of days of running out my husband could tell - I was frantically hyper, irritable and snapping at every little thing. I can do that anyway - but this was quite bad because I wasn't at home, where everything's safer. Going up north always sends me a little fruit loop anyway so it was silly to have allowed myself to run out there.

Hubby and my Mum kept asking if I was ok and eventually I owned up and they managed to talk me into calling the surgery to arrange getting the prescription. They couldn't do it because I had just moved surgeries - so I had to call my Mum's surgery and arrange to see them as a temporary resident. Of course. I can't just do things the simple way can I!?

This arranged for the Friday (5th day with no tablets) I spent the rest of that week buzzing on a holiday high and spending most of each night wide awake (mmmmm, anxiety, my night time friend, nice of you to pop in. Useless? Oh yes, yes, I am - lazy, fat, ugly? Yep, that's me. They're all going to hate me? Of course they are. Leave? Well, yes, he will, I'm sure. Alone? Yup. That'll be me. Crap mother? Well, we all know that. Talentless, layabout, good for nothing? Hellooooooooooo me.) and Friday we arrived at my Mum's in good time - and rather than just getting ready and going, I faffed, delayed and pissed about just enough to make us five minutes late (of course). 

When we eventually DID arrive the receptionists seemed to have no idea what to do with me, so I stood and sweated at the desk for a while before they found the forms I needed (I was sweating in part because we'd hurried, in part because I was anxious and in part because I'm a big fat sweaty minger) then I was ushered upstairs alone to a TINY waiting room whilst Mum sat downstairs with the baby.

Just before my bum hit the seat - literally, as I was hovering an inch above it, wondering whether I'd leave an ass sweat mark - the doctor came in to get me. In his room he introduced himself by his first name, asked me what I was after, chatted to me just enough to make me cry then flirted. How he found it in himself to flirt I do not know - I assume it was pity. He asked how long I was there for and when I said 'Two weeks' he said 'that's a shame' and grinned at me. I SAY he flirted, he could have been taking the piss or just making conversation like a normal human being - I may have imagined it - but still, I felt flirted with, so I'm sticking with that because it made me feel, in a slightly inappropriate way, like less of a trogolodyte for a little while.

A week and a half later I feel ok again. I haven't missed a tablet and hubby of wonder has marked in his diary when the pack runs out so he can nag me into making arrangements not to run out completely again. He is super. I think I'll keep him.

Funny boy!

Last week I posted a 'Little Pictures from Little Fingers' blog with pictures Jellybean had taken on my iPhone - I have a great many, mostly of his forehead or chin grinning, usually covered in some kind of foodstuffs. 

I now have a collection of these; snapshots of his new favourite game on there - he spends a LOT of time playing this in the car or when I need to distract him (like when I want to poo with no audience) it's replaced Angry Birds in his affections, which replaced 'boxes' (pairs) which replaced trying to 'help' me in the bathroom...

I didn't realise he'd been taking these until this evening when I went to take a photo and was told by a small bleep that there was no more space to take pictures - so I had to go through them (all three and a half thousand...eep!) and sort them onto memory sticks and my computer (lots of back ups - this was a lesson I learned with our wedding photos) and saw these mixed in. I won't bore you with the full collection - but let's just say I won't anticipate being the mother of a world renowned stylist in the future!

Little Photos From Little Fingers'

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