It’s a dogs/toddlers life…

 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… having a baby changes your entire life. Which obviously you attempt to prepare for by reading books and using up pretty much all your mobile data by Googling like a mad woman. Eventually, by about the 8th month you end up feeling that you have a vague (naive) idea of the changes afoot.

Pregnancy gears you up for the lack of nights out and the very apparent lack of alcohol. You don’t buy clothes anymore because you get bigger by the day and all you end up doing is walking through Topshop trying to mask your jealousy at everyone else in there who appears to be a size 8 and wondering if you’ll ever be the same again, before heading to Costa and devouring a full fat coffee (decaf if you’re feeling particularly well meaning) of some description and a massive slice of cake.

Then parenthood actually happens, smacks you in the face like a sledge hammer but if you’re lucky enough to find some like-minded Mums you can seek solace in their equal measures of tiredness and ‘when will they sleep-ness’, you can drink again and eat pate and brie.

However, prior to children you may have decided that getting a four-legged friend would be a good start to solidifying your relationship and obviously having a puppy is a bit like having a baby… hahahahahaha.

For this poor, poor pooch life will never be the same and the major difference here is that they can’t use Google to prepare, there is no NCT for dogs and they remain oblivious right up until you arrive home with the new delivery…

Life before baby pretty much meant that they were your baby.

Life before baby: Leisurely afternoon naps, lazy Sunday walks followed by a relaxing pub lunch. Specially selected dog food to ensure a luscious coat and minimal fat and wheat to avoid the dreaded flatulence. New collars  and baths on a regular basis. Perhaps with the odd treat of leftover gravy and chicken. Life was blissful.

And then comes the positive pregnancy test…

First you have discussions about how you think the dog will cope with a baby, as you know, it was your baby. Then all of a sudden saying that out loud starts to sound a little bit ridiculous because it’s not really the same at all, you definitely didn’t give birth to them (which would be pretty horrific) and you don’t really have a moral responsibility to ensure that they grow up into well-meaning members of society who contribute to the world and aren’t mean to people. Obviously you teach them not to chew, or bite people which I guess is kind of the same for children but really I think that’s where it ends – oh and not to turd on the carpet, so maybe a few more similarities than I first thought.

Next you will probably read somewhere that you need to play the sound of babies crying to get them to adjust to the noise in a bid to help them accustom to the onslaught of a newborn (we managed an hour of this, we couldn’t cope… let alone the dog).

Oh and because it’s at the forefront of your mind after giving birth, never mind concerns over breastfeeding and not dropping the baby, you should send a family member home with a blanket of the babies smell so the dog can be prepared.

Then 2 becomes three plus the dog and life gets a little bit shit for them for a while.

Don’t go too near the baby, get off the bed, no you can’t eat the leftover chicken and gravy because we haven’t actually cooked a proper meal in at least 3 weeks. That sort of thing. A walk around the block has to suffice and then you start finding yourself wondering whether they’re happy , the guilt sets in and it hangs around for quite a long time.

Then suddenly, the baby becomes a little less baby-like, a little sturdier, starts eating solid food, crawling/walking/talking/laughing and life for the resident pooch starts looking up again.

Hello new best buddy…  the pre-baby diet will probably never return, or at least not until the actual children fly the nest and should that dog live to see that time, they will return to being the resident baby because I think empty nest does that sort of thing to the maternal brain.

However, sod the pre-baby diet… the new weaner baby diet is much more fun.

Oh look, chickens really do fly – off the side of the highchair and straight into the jaws of the slightly plumper version of your hound.

“Shall we share that rusk? Oh yes let’s…” one bite for you, one bite for me. Sharing is caring.

Anyone with a dog and small child will know only too well the struggles that you now face in a bid to get your actual child to eat the food you have spent the last 3 hours cooking in an attempt to hide veg and make it taste delicious at the same time. There is possibly nothing more infuriating than watching your dog devour meals that you painstakingly prepared when you could have just given them an Ella’s pouch which they probably would have eaten. Suddenly all that guilt that you were feeling previously about how horrible their life has become dissipates and you actually start to become a little jealous of the ‘dog’s life’. Food actually thrown at your face, cooked… heated to a lovely temperature and you had to put in zero effort. Amazing.

The dog bowl – yep that’s kind of become the watering/feeding hole for both child and dog if I’m not rapid enough to swoop it up in the morning. The main reason B now knows how to spit things out on demand is because there have been too many occasions to count when that boy has wandered in looking like a guilty hamster having gorged on the dogs biscuits for a pre-breakfast appetizer.

Treats – no longer a reward for sitting, or giving paw. Now, it’s treat time ALL the time. Because it’s a really fun game apparently.

Oh, and remember back when the dog wanted to share your bed? Yep, well that’s reversed.. because in a toddlers mind it’s really fun to get into the dogs bed. This one doesn’t go down so well for the dog but there’s a lot of love there and continuous, slightly heavy handed affection that goes with it. A bit like being in bed with a drunk husband one might say.

Toys – more toys than you can ever imagine and at this point sharing is ok.

Toddlers are also tireless in their playtime pursuits, riding up and down the corridor on a broom has some serious longevity. Luckily enough for the dog, so does throwing a ball up and down the hallway. Winning.

So really, yes there is always going to be a small period of time where the dog of the household seriously lucks out and barely makes it in range of the pile, let alone being on the bottom of it. However, that moment when all of a sudden they become buddies… makes it a little bit priceless.

So for all of you going through the ‘shit I think the dog is suicidal life is so bad right now’ stage – it will (should) get better. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and these four-legged family members may not really have been a true representation of what it would be like to have a baby but ours definitely brightens up my little man’s life… she’s also taught him a few things along the way which is a bonus – by that I mean a gentler touch, not the ability to lick ones private parts.

 

 

 

Baby/toddler would you rather…

Obviously it’s Valentines day, no commercial outlet in the entire UK would have you forget that. So I’ve spent it leisurely pottering around the house, drinking tea, reading a book and eating steak and dauphinoise potatoes… in my dreams!

Instead, I got a fairly consistent stream of vomit exiting Boden’s mouth from approximately 4am this morning, although this was made significantly better by some croissants in bed and my little vomit machine bringing me a red rose, simple parental pleasures.

In addition to the above I found a frozen lasagne in the freezer which felt like Christmas and even the toddler and dog rolling around in the vomit covered duvet and duvet covers wasn’t going to get me down after finding that nugget of meaty, cheesy goodness.

I also decided this morning whilst trying to figure out how to tackle the mound of vomit-ridden bedding/clothing/child/dog that I genuinely think I would rather catch a turd with my bare hands than have to deal with heaps of sick. One quick rapid moment of grossness which can be easily remedied with a bit of soap and lemon juice as opposed to hours of washing/drying/putting away. Done deal.

*I’d like to add that a few weeks ago, I actually did catch a turd with my bare hands during a brief and clearly ill-considered moment of free-willy time. The reason for doing so was that I actually considered that the lesser of two evils as we’d just had a new carpet fitted and the thought of scrubbing turd out of it was too much to bare.

Anyway, this got me thinking about the various situations you find yourself in as a parent and decided I’d play a little bit of would you rather with Mr T, he was mainly watching the rugby and giving my squiffy looks but it’s been that kind of Sunday and pretty much where my mind is at.

So, would you rather…

Have a hungover husband, or be hungover yourself?

Have to share every single morsel of food that you got to eat with your resident scavengers, or eat every meal in the toilet on your own..?

Have baby vomit in your face, or down (actually inside) your top?

Never have Cebeebies ever again, or have to listen to the theme tune to Peter Rabbit every 30 minutes? This is a tough call, Cebeebies has been a bit of a saving grace today but that song….

Have to use/clean reusable (shitty) nappies or walk to the shops every time to buy a new one?

Have a toddler that throws tantrums, or objects (to include food, feaces, your phone)…?

Shower once a week on your own, for as long as you desired… maybe even bath with some prosecco and candles (really push the boat out) or shower every day while dealing with a slippery child who HAS to join you and splash you constantly in the face?

Have your child brush their teeth every day, twice a day without any drama and only get to shave your legs once a year, or have complete teeth brushing breakdowns but be hair free?

Have a fussy eater, or a fussy sleeper?

Only be able to drink gin/wine out of a sippy cup, or not at all?

Go food shopping with child in tow, or do it online and have the site crash and start all over again at least 10 times…?

So Happy Valentines… now where’s the bloody gin?

 

 

 

 

 

Offspring… a.k.a rockets up ones arse

I’ve been thinking this last week about the profound impact that my little man has had on me as a person and I’ve come up with the following…

He makes me crazy! As in furious, I’m going to walk out the room and scream into a pillow while simultaneously counting to ten crazy… I’m going to crawl around on my hands and knees pretending to be a bunking bronco crazy… I’m free so I’m going to drink a lot of gin and then seriously regret it in my hungover state crazy… I haven’t slept for more than 30 minutes continuously crazy… and I’ve got so much washing and sodding life admin to do that I’m just going to sit and drink tea in my pj’s watching Octonauts crazy.

If someone was to show me a magical crystal ball 3 years ago and say this is going to be you I think I would have laughed and run for the hills. I was never too into the whole motherhood thing and as I’ve said before, Bodes was a bit of a whoops (a lovely one) and I was pretty adamant for several years that absolutely nothing was going to venture out of my hooha. And aside from making me feel a little bit bat shit crazy from time to time, there are so many things that B has taught me so far.

Who would have thought a tiny little person would actually be able to teach you things? By that I don’t mean how to change a nappy, or wipe a snotty nose (well actually, that’s an art in itself to be fair – I’ve evolved as a booger ninja, rapid wiping action is the only way) but I mean that they teach you things about yourself and kind of teach you how to be a different version of you.

I know you often see these things about motherhood being your calling and the making of you and all that jazz and I essentially think I’m still the same but mainly, the one thing he’s taught me is that you just need to get on with things… life doesn’t wait, it doesn’t always happen exactly when you want or planned it to and curve balls are kind of inevitable. He was my curve ball, and the best kind really.

He’s made me realise that I don’t need to carry on doing a job that I don’t feel fits with my life anymore (technically I do for now… but he shoved an imaginary rocket up my arse and made me see that I can make changes). These things don’t happen over night and I’m a little knee deep in coursework but there’s a long term goal there and I definitely wouldn’t have done that before.

I also finally paid off my student overdraft – maternity leave may have dented this again slightly, but hey technically it’s not a student one now! More like a coffee, cake and soft play kind of overdraft…

I definitely would never have thought of writing a blog and putting my thoughts out there… but that happened.

I also used to seriously worry about what people thought, all the time… and I would read into the smallest things (I still do this a little) but I don’t actually have that much time to do that anymore. On the one hand it’s quite difficult going into second rank behind a little feeding-pooing-sleeping machine but on the other, it’s kind of liberating and I actually really like that part.

When I found out I was pregnant my greatest fears were that I would be lonely and ‘just a mum’ (oh and covered in stretch marks) and I really struggled for a while to see the good bits that would come from it, however being in the slightly reflective mood that I am today this hasn’t been the case at all. Having him was such a happy (long) day and I really wouldn’t change it for the world and no-one is ‘just a mum’, which I totally get now.

So my concluding thought is that really, babies are little pocket rockets… yes it means that things change, life changes and that promotion that you might have got isn’t an option anymore and people at work may look at you differently because you’re ‘part-time’ but do you know what… who cares! You made a human and that’s pretty damn impressive, as is the ability to squeeze them through a tinie tiny hole… so I’m learning to embrace the change and see things from a different corner of the earth these days.

Oh and… I’m designing some Food Baby bags (not so subtle plug), these will be available to buy very soon – another example of what baby rocket fuel makes you do.

 

 

The resembelence is uncanny

Now that the Wonder Weeks app has done a runner and left me high and dry with an 18 month old (for anyone who doesn’t know about this app and has a baby, it’s genius) I’ve very slowly and unwillingly come to the conclusion that it’s because B is no longer an actual ‘baby’. Which is shit because that saying about time going really quickly is actually too true. I mean he will always be my baby but he’s turning into a fully fledged human that can take bites of things without smearing it all over his face (within reason) and if I happen to ask him to bring me something (which obviously I rarely do…) he does it!

What I have also realised is that he has gone from dependent baby to a resident drunk. By that I don’t mean I ply him with alcohol, obviously. However he has managed to take on the persona of a drunk person, not dissimilar to his Dad, minus the actual alcohol.

I must admit I’m a little jealous of the fact that he is able to achieve this state of delirium without even a morsel of gin or wine and no hangover…

So I’ve come up with a few behavioural indicators that your ‘baby’ is turning into a drunken toddler:

  • You remember that song that used to come on in the club during your Uni days that made everyone turn into raving monkeys with springs in their shoes and slut drops galore… Well that. Except it doesn’t really matter what song it is, as long as it’s music. If there is music, they will twerk the living day lights out of it.
  • Cheese, cheese and more cheese. They literally can’t get enough of the stuff. With chips is obviously better but I’ll let him figure that one out when he’s old enough to pay for his own kebab.
  • The drunken stumble… which obviously worsens the more tired they become. This can have catastrophic results which leaves you dreading the nursery drop off for fear of being reported to social services and equally the gust of the dog’s fart within 1 metre of their nostril will cause them to drop and roll like Ronaldo at a football game.
  • Downing their sippy cups like the bell has just sounded for the last round at the pub… obviously with a massive gasp at the end like they’ve just run a marathon.
  • Napping in their clothes and sometimes even their shoes – because waking them would be hell for all involved.
  • Text messages get sent… random people’s Facebook posts get liked… selfies get taken.
  • It’s a good idea to jump off things, whether there is a safety procedure in place or not.
  • Being in control of anything with 4 wheels that vaguely resembles a car is generally not going to end well.
  • Thinking it is totally ok to punch mother in the boob by way of affection
  • Open mouthed kisses are totes ok; the more slobber and tongue the better apparently. Although I do secretly love these, gross but lovely all at the same time.
  • Getting into the car seat is much the same as getting your husband in the taxi at the end of a night out, human sized shoe-horn required and then intermittently opening and closing the window to stop them from falling asleep (or vomming in the case of husband) so you can get them home without having to then do the fully-clothed-try-to-get-them-into-bed-still-asleep thing.
  • Taking all their clothes off and then crying about the fact that they’re naked, oh and it’s totally ok to walk around with no pants on at all!
  • Stairs – every drunk person’s nemisis. Which obviously means going down on one’s backside and even that is dodgey territory.
  • Oh and sleeping in the dogs bed is also totally legit, as is tucking into their biscuits.

So really, who knew that when you got up the duff you were basically going to have spend a good couple of years being faced with the daily reincarnation of you or your husband on a night out in miniature form.

Diarrhea, diarrhea…

It comes out of your bum, like a bullet from a gun… diarrhea, diarrhea!

So this pretty much sums up our week. My poor, sweet innocent baby has had the never ending shits for nearly a fortnight now and we are barely clinging on.

I obviously feel compelled to write about it because it’s become a pretty constant feature in both of our lives and obviously a problem shared… makes absolutely no difference  in terms of digestive movements but writing about it is at least therapeutic for me!

Now love makes you do all manner of weird and wonderful things, and the love of a child… Well, that knows no bounds. I can honestly say hand on heart, if I could swap bums and bowels with my little dude then I would willing do so. It also apparently makes you immune to vomming all over them when they smear their turd all over you, the furniture and the passing pooch.

As you can imagine, being a first time mum/panic-ker/manic-googler, when things go slightly awry and Google fails me or scares the crap out of me, we go to the doctors! This place it seems, has become my second home and I’ve actually started to position myself and Bodes in our ‘usual’ spot upon entering.

Now this week, I’ve added another string to my motherly bow… turd excavator. Oh yes, I actually had to don a pair of purple latex gloves and basically shovel my child’s faeces into a very tinie, tiny tube that I think even a mouse would have difficulty in maneuvering into. And just wait, the guidance that came along with that from the receptionist was – “if you could just make sure it touches all the sides that would be great”. Oh of course, no problem… because diarrhea is good like that, really compliant.

Then, to my absolute horror I was told in order to stop said diarrhea in it’s tracks I had to starve the poor boy! Well, I lasted 2 hours – at a push. Bodes actually dragged his highchair from the utility into the kitchen. Now if that doesn’t say hungry child I’m really not sure what does.

So, to sum it all up… I’m absolutely not succeeding very well at this whole situation and as it stands we are currently living on a knife point whereby we haven’t had any stool movements as yet today which is a good thing but I’m sure Mount Etna will make her appearance at some point, no doubt when it’s really convenient.

Things I have learnt though…please feel free to take any of these on board should you find yourself in a similar disposition:

  • sharts are bloody-minded farts sent down from the God of Feaces to mess with you, your toddler and your nappy supply. Always, always check a fart.
  • English muffins – excellent bunger-uppers
  • As are banana’s – these humble fruits are beyond talented
  • When enabling free-nappy time after an incident, double check the entire area. This avoids shitty forearms should the little cherub need picking up bare bottomed at any point.
  • Towels, towels and towels – pre-bedtime cuddles with In The Night Garden and more bottom breathing time requires towels. Cover up and hope for the best.
  • Oh, and whoever said a Chamomile tea bag on their bum would get rid of nappy rash is lying their tits off.

 

My vague attempt at healthy…

I bloody love Christmas, and to be frank it’s mostly about the food for me… presents, great obviously but it is the one time of year when it is totally ok to go beyond indulgent, eat pudding and cheese for breakfast and the prospect of gaining half a stone in a mere 10 days is completely acceptable. Well for me anyway, it’s a necessary festive covering to see you through the winter months, that and not shaving your legs…

However, the issue I have with Christmas and the festive period is the sudden and rapid shift in levels of acceptable eating.

One minute you’ve got every advert telling you to absolutely fill your face, Matchmakers are £1 a box, Gin weighs in at a minuscule £18 a bottle compared to £25 (you’ll know which Gin if you recognise the price reduction…) and then WHAM! Run fatty, run! The clock strikes midnight and all of a sudden you catch sight of yourself in a mirror and it’s like Beauty seeing the Beast looking back. Not pretty. Wine and cheese apparently doesn’t make you beautiful in the cold light of New Years Day.

You’ve also got all these skinny, toned celebs on TV telling you to buy their new fitness DVD or basically die from over exercising your jaw – no one ever mentions the fact that they filmed these DVD’s about 5 months ago and they’re currently sat stuffing their faces or being papped by Reveal with their Christmas gut hanging out of their tinie tiny bikini in Barbados…

Gino DiCampo goes from smothering all manner of things in goose fat to dry ciabatta and a bit of pesto if you’re lucky. It’s obscene.

Let’s also not forget the really welcome arrival of swimming lessons starting again, a week after New Year… Let’s get naked (practically)! Just what you need after eating the equivalent of Tesco Express on a daily basis.

I’m not even going to go into the gym situ that seems to take over the country like some rare virus that lasts approximately 3 weeks until they all get bored and come to their senses. Don’t get me wrong, I’m up for exercising… just not in mass.

So obviously I’ve let all of the above get to me, like pretty much everyone else in the country and I’ve started to look at myself naked through squinted eyes in the vain hope that this makes it marginally better until I can shift the extra 5 (ahem, maybe 7) pounds I’ve acquired… I pretty much blame Mint Matchmakers for this. I’m sure if we were in America I could wangle this as a law suit?

In order to remedy this cyclical situation which hits us every year, I was enormously relieved to wander past the Matchmakers yesterday to see with great relief that they had gone back up to £2.50 – this by the way is far too much money and angers me somewhat but there we go, a blessing in disguise some may say.

I’ve also started this magical thing with two of my friends which basically relies on shame and peer pressure with a touch of competition… we do Watsapp Weigh-ins every Monday. We take a snapshot of the scales with our little trotters on them and basically have to confess to any naughties we eat over the course of the week, with full acceptance of the fact that you’re going to get mild verbal abuse for wavering… we also did this before my wedding, it actually works a treat. Brutal, but good.

And lastly, frozen banana breakfast smoothies… another glorious use for all the lovely bananas I love to fill our house with. Que happy husband. These are actually pretty delicious and so easy to make as you’re flying out the door, with or without child under one arm…

Recipe as follows:

  • One over ripe banana, chopped into chunks and frozen
  • 200ml milk – normal, soya, almond. Whatever takes your fancy.
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of oats
  • Good squirt of honey or a teaspoon depending on if you’re jarred or convenience
  • A generous sprinkle of cinnamon

Chuck it all in a measuring jug, one of those Sports Direct protein drink things, or a pint glass and whizz it up. If you’re fancy use a Nutri-blender of sorts.

And basically, in my world, that’s as good as it gets… Apart from palming off portions of my dinner for Boden’s freezer suppers to make me feel slightly better.

 

 

Delicious balls of meat…

For anyone who wants to give my meatballs a bash, these are one of my husbands favourites… FYI. These are ridiculously easy and Boden goes nuts for them… I also appear to live for carbs so these are a general family winner.

This does Kobe, me and two portions for Bodes (it’s a little rich with the tomatoes so you’ll have to gauge how your little people will fare with this one). The recipe goes like so:12512826_1956212914603259_70630095642253658_n

  • 1 onion finely diced
  • glug of olive oil
  • 1 pack of meatballs, I’m partial to the Sainsburys pack of 12
  • 1 x 500g carton of pasatta
  • tablespoon tomato puree
  • 2 teaspoons lazy garlic
  • slosh of red wine
  • tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • chopped mushrooms (if you’re a fan, my sister hates them)
  • good sprinkle of oregano
  • same again for basil
  • 200g tagliatelle
  • seasoning

Fry off the onion in the olive oil, add the garlic and meatballs and brown it all off. Once that’s got some nice colour on it, splash the red wine in and let it simmer down for a few mins. Then add everything else apart from the pasta, season and let that bubble away (lid on if possible to avoid it looking like a murder scene). Good steady on salt until after if you’re sharing. If you have time let this simmer for a while to really get the flavours going.

While that’s cooking, crack on with cooking the pasta and once that’s done drain and add it to the meatballs.

Sprinkle of cheese and you’re done.

Super, super easy and I think pretty tasty.