Saturday, 19 May 2012

All the drugs? None of the drugs!

In the spirit of decency I shall warn you that this post contains talk about Lady Issues, hormones and things "downstairs". Yep, that downstairs. Not in a kinky way. Unless you're REALLY odd!

For over a decade now my hormones have been entirely controlled medically - as a teenager my hormones were, as is quite common in teenage girls, erratic and my mood swings and PMT were pretty extreme - like an out of body experience wherein I watched someone who looked just like me acting like satan and screeching. 

My family all knew I was best avoided, and my friends at school did the same - so I spent a lot of my time raging at nobody, because they wouldn't come near me. 

This was pretty awful - I was pretty awful - so my GP suggested that that, along with my crippling and erratic periods, could be aided with the magic of The Pill.

I capped that up so you'd know it was important - imagine it being said with cherubs 'ooohing' and strumming their tiny harps with their tiny chubby fingers. Oooooooh, The Pill.

I wasn't put on the pill (sorry, The Pill) for contraceptive reasons - I was far too vile for anyone to want to actually have sex with me - but to control those other aspects.

Some of the time, it worked. Most of the time I was still vile, with painful and erratic periods. For many moons investigations continued up until the age of 24, a few months into a wonderful new relationship, when I was told that I had PCOS and endometriosis. Nice combo! It was suggested that I would do better if I came off the pill, and I was led to believe this combination of woe would mean I couldn't get pregnant. Which I did. Four days later. 

Pregnant was GREAT - it meant no periods, no pain, no wondering whether today I was going to bleed unexpectedly, no having to carry around pads and tampons and wet wipes and spare knickers - magical! I still had mood swings, but hey, at least I wasn't infertile! 

After Jellybean was born I had long discussions with the GP and we decided that the mirena coil was the best option - it would stop me catching pregnant and would basically stop my periods. 

I had it fitted - during which hideous experience the GP said "Whoops! Oh, that's never happened before!" - which didn't flood me with confidence. It HURT. He clipped my cervix, which HURT. It was fitted badly, which HURT. 

It HURT for months, constantly, and I bled from the very first day he fit it until two days before our wedding, five months later. 

The reason it had stopped hurting is because it had dislodged from 'prime location' - and guess what?! I got pregnant! Cue more happy months of no bleeding - hurrah! 

After Midget Gem arrived I, once again, had the looooooooong conversations with the GP. This time I refused the coil - what with the HURTING and the bleeding and the pregnant. I refused the jab, which I had briefly experimented with at 19, and gained 4 stone. I refused the implant or patch, because they are the same as the jab, on which I got FAT. 

So the pill it was! I duly started popping it daily, and I bloated, I bled, I hurt, I was MENTAL and shouty, I bled, I shouted, I bled. I went back and was switched to a different pill. I bled. I shouted, bloated, shouted some more, ranted at anyone who would stand still for more than 17 seconds near me because EVERYTHING IS IRRITATING and I bled. 

I bled for months and months. I bled from a few days before Christmas day - until last monday.

Last monday I went back to the doctor - to a new one this time. One I had chosen for her knowledge and mad skillz with contraceptives. "Stop taking it" says she "progesterone dislikes you, you like progesterone."

I stopped bleeding that day - and since then I have felt a MILLION times better. It turns out, surprising to everyone including me, that I'm actually quite calm - I get up in the morning in a good mood. I rant less. (It's not a MIRACLE!) I shout less. (I repeat, not a miracle!) I enjoy my days, I laugh more, I am happy. 

I am happy.

Not happy-ish, not ok, but actual happy. 

My husband has said many times that he likes this me - that I'm fun and nice and it's nice to be around me so happy. 

Even my boss questioned the change in mood! (Hi boss, this is why!) 

The Pill (cherubs, harps, "ooooh") is great for some people, I'm sure - but I am OFF the pill, and now that I feel like a real human being, who can control her own moods, I never, ever want to go on it again. 

I'm hoping that the painful symptoms of the broken innards are manageable - I'm reading up a lot on how to help them and fingers crossed I cope.

Now can someone help me out with the whole not catching pregnant again thing?!


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Sticky Rocket!

A couple of weeks ago I happened to see a tweet from a traditional toy store, based in Manchester, Monkey Puzzle Toys. They were looking to make contact with bloggers for a review to promote their store.

I'll be honest - I'd already had a poke around their store more than once. The name had drawn me in.

When I was little I remember journeys, every second weekend, to visit my Grandparents, who lived out in the countryside. My poor Dad, who had to drive two whinging children for over an hour, down winding roads, trying to distract me from my travel sickness, would point out all kinds of interesting things and try to make us laugh. 

One of those things, which I loved for its ridiculous name, strange appearance and proximity to Mama and Gramps' house - meaning the journey was almost over - was a monkey puzzle tree! 

That and the selection of good old fashioned traditional toys meant I almost burned off my fingers whipping off an email to be considered.

Much to my delight we were chosen and the wonderful Amanda said I could take my pick from anything on the website! 

The website is excellent - it's a joy to browse. You can search by category or by age range, which makes choosing for children at an age you don't really have any experience of (like for family members or friends children) much easier as you know you'll be getting something age appropriate.

The toy selection is great, all traditional and great quality, all beautiful items - no tat or jangling noises or flimsy plastic that your toddler will break within minutes. 

I emailed again and said that if it were a review for a three year old they wanted I would pick Jellybean the Janod magnet rocket

The website description for the rocket says:

Trainee astronauts will love building and playing with this super sturdy little wooden rocket.
Consists of 5 chunky wooden pieces with strong, safe embedded magnets.
Bright, colourful and just the right size for little hands to build and zoom around.
Complete with a removable spaceman.

I liked the look of the chunky wooden pieces and the little spaceman peeping through the window!

I said that if they would prefer a review for a younger child I would pick Midget Gem the Djeco stacking cubes which have beautiful pictures decorating them and he likes to put things inside things and take them back out again! 
Being a flipping superstar Amanda said that she would send us both (!) which was very exciting! 
To save this from being the longest post ever I will review the stacking cubes separately - here I'll just review the rocket.

Jellybean adores it - he calls it his 'sticky rocket' because of the magnets and he literally takes it everywhere. It goes to bed with him, it goes in the car to nursery with him, it goes in the garden, it sits next to the bath, it entertains him on the potty. 

He has lots of toys, and lots of toys that he loves and plays with often - but I don't think anything has ever captured him quite as much as sticky rocket. 

I love it too - it's very well made, it's sturdy, it's solid, it feels indestructable. The paintwork is excellent, the magnets are perfectly inset so that they line up and click the pieces together smoothly and don't feel like they'll come unstuck easily. 

I love the little man inside, with his cheeky face, and I love the imagination of Jellybean as he plays with it, whooshing and launching trips into space from the garden or behind the sofa or under the table! 

The toys arrived well packaged, and in beautiful packaging, and at just £14.90 I don't think you could pick a better toy for a little boy with an active mind. 

Sticky rocket has been a hit with both my boys and can entertain Jellybean's busy mind and withstand the onslaught of a Midget Gem made of bashing and teething. 

In case you aren't sure from my say so, here is Jellybean, with his glamorous assistant Midget Gem, demonstrating the joy of Sticky Rocket. 

(I particularly like Daddytwo stopping the video the instant Jellybean beings to be a grump about bedtime!) 

I would absolutely recommend the toy and Monkey Puzzle Toys to anyone looking for well made, well priced gifts. Huge thanks to Amanda for sending the toys and for her lovely emails. 

Disclosure - this is a review of a toy (well, two toys!) that we were sent for free; I wasn't bribed to be nice, all views are honest and entirely my own. If I'm nice about a product I review it's because I like it - and I like this a lot.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Feminism? Am I doing it wrong?

Apparently I'm meant to call myself a feminist - I was raised by them and am surrounded by them after all. I just read Caitlin Moran's book, and she tells me I ought to shout out loud that I'm a feminist (or I fail as a woman, or something). 

When my husband and I first met he and his friends affectionately called me and mine 'The Feminazis' (bless 'em). 

Emer O'Toole claims I'm a bad feminist for shaving my body hair off - but my husband must be a bad feminist too, because he does the same. Feminist or not, I think her blog has a terrible name - "The Vagenda". Ick. It makes ME dislike feminists, and I'm meant to BE one! (Sorry Emer - I don't dislike you, I've never met you so I haven't had chance to decide!)

Germaine Greer suggested in The Female Eunuch that we might all think about tasting our own menstrual blood just, you know, so we could be all hardcore, or something.Chella Quint has made a career about being funny about periods.Even I posted about sanitary care recently - but I'm certainly not going to be licking it off anything!

There are some things, though, that still really bug me about people's attitude towards feminism, or their lack of attitude towards it, and occasionally of their patronising attitude about men. Silly little men, all boob and beer obsessed, with their idiocy and football shirts. Silly little men.

Apparently, having been away for a couple of weekends in a row, I ought to be 'grateful' that my husband has taken care of the children on his own, and done housework in my absence. 

Now, here's the thing; I'm grateful - grateful that I got home to a nice clean house, clean happy children, some food, it's nice to have things done and see the children happy. Of course I'm grateful - it would be horribly rude of me not to be grateful! 

The thing that bothers me is that I'm apparently meant to be EXTRA grateful because my husband, who is, after all, only a man, is capable of childcare and house work. 

Why should I be extra grateful? We are both the children's parents, we are both living in this house, we are partners, we both care for our children, we both care for our home (to a certain extent!) we both do laundry, dishes, nappy changes, getting up in the night, drilling holes, mowing lawns, hanging curtain rails, changing fuses - there are jobs. 

There are not girl's work jobs, there are not boy's work jobs - there are just jobs that need to be done, and whichever of us has most time does those jobs.

He is an excellent father, an excellent husband. I rant at times that he hasn't done housework that needed to be done - but it isn't because he's a man that it didn't get done, it isn't because he expected me, as his little woman, to do it - it's because he's easily distracted and ignores housework for more fun things - and do you know what? I do too! 

So of course I was grateful - but not in an extra, super grateful kind of way because my useless old husband managed some childcare - of his OWN CHILDREN - or because he bunged some laundry in the machine. He's just as capable of that as I am! 

Bloody feminism - treat men with some respect too ladies!

Oh look, another post about poo.

This wasn't the post I had planned. This isn't the post I had half written. This is yet another post about poo. Sorry - particularly to people at work who will see this come up on my facebook stream and know what they're going to have me talking about all day tomorrow. Mind you, it's what I talk about most days - there's never a situation I can't turn into talking about poo, it seems! I post about it a lot - like here or here, which has a bonus line about my winkle!

There was going to be a post about Cybher - about having to get up at 5 and out before 6 and get the train to London, then having a very full and exhausting day, then the 9.20pm train home to arrive and drive from the station and get home just after midnight. I am TIRED. 

I managed about 6 hours sleep before getting up to a busy morning of children, gardening, moving things, lifting things, gardening, laundering, playing, hefting, gardening, children, etc etc. Still shattered from yesterday I repeatedly told Daddytwo that once I'd finished the next few things I was going for a zizz. I did some of the things, told him again I was going for a zizz soon. Did more things, mentioned my zizz. Finished the last thing, changed the baby, announced it was time for my zizz and off I went, for my zizz!

Five minutes later, just as I'd dropped off, Daddytwo arrives with the baby and loudly comments on the cheek of me sneaking off for a secret zizz (ARGH!) and plonks the baby on me. "He'll fall asleep if you pop a diddy in" says he, and swans off to the sofa where HE IMMEDIATELY HAS A ZIZZ with Jellybean.

I am left with a not at ALL sleepy Midget Gem - who I hand some toys and a book so I can at least close my eyes a little and pretend it's a zizz. 

Within minutes I hear full volume snoring from the front room (grr) and happy little 'I'm climbing something' grunts from Midget Gem, who is climbing over me, then back, then over me, then back, then over me, then back.

Then the grunting isn't 'I'm climbing something' it's 'I'm filling something' - only he isn't, because he's pulled his nappy open at one side, and half his little bottom is not tucked in as it should be. This is a problem. A problem I am not aware of, because my eyes are closed, pretending it's a zizz. 

I hear the change in his grunting and inside I sigh, knowing that although I pre-booked my zizz I am now likely to be the only person who doesn't get one. 

My internal monologue goes something like this:

"Oh great. Grunting. Poo grunting. Marvellous. Just what I wanted - I definitely didn't want a zizz. For effs sake. I'll let him finish his poo before I open my eyes - that gives me at least 45 seconds of pretend zizz. I wish it was a real zizz. Gosh that was a big grunt. Hold on - what's that splashing noise? Why is he giggling? Do I dare open my eyes yet? Oh hell. WHAT IS HE RUBBING ON MY FACE?!!? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Then I open my eyes. 

I see a DELIGHTED Midget Gem, who is covered - COVERED - in poo. Poo that smells of death. Poo that looks like liquid satan. Poo that is in his hair, in his eyes, in his ears, all over his body, all over my bed, my lovely, lovely bed that is meant right then to be being zizzed in. Poo that is in his hands, which he has rubbed on my face, and in my hair. Hands that he is putting in his mouth. 


I have to shout six more times before he stops pretending he's still asleep and comes to help. I think his eyes almost fell right out of his head. That is not the scene he was expecting. Both of us were COVERED. I had to pick him up to stop him eating the poo, you see, and he bear hugged me and tried to kiss me. Nobody wants to kiss something covered in poo.

I thrust Midget Gem at Daddytwo, shouting at him as if it were entirely HIS fault (I'm reasonable like that) and he whisked the stink bomb to the bath whilst I gathered up everything on the bed and inserted it whole into the washing machine. Then I climbed into the bath with the poo machine, who was looking VERY pleased with himself. 

Once he was clean Daddytwo took Midget Gem upstairs to get dressed - where he immediately fell asleep. 


Remind me again why I had them?

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