Saturday, 30 April 2016

Ten reasons to not have a baby

So yesterday I wrote about why having a baby is a great idea, today is the other side: reasons you might not want to have a baby.

1. You can pop out to buy a pint of milk in less than 5 minutes. I can get out the house pretty quickly with the baby, it’s my 4 year old that takes forever to get appropriately attired. Even so I have to make sure I have the changing bag with all the right things in, I have to get the baby in the sling or buggy, and a last minute nappy change or crying for milk throws everything off. Even if you just need one thing from the shop down the road having a baby turns it into a mission.

2. You no longer get to control when and how much you sleep. Not only do babies stop you sleeping at night, and stop you having a lie in, but they also prevent you having naps during the day.
Photograph of an Angelcare AC1300 Movement video and sound monitor showing a baby sleeping in a Sleepyhead
3. Have you seen those pictures of what happens to your organs at 9 months pregnant? Basically everything is squished right down or all the way up to make space for the baby. Even if everything goes back into place on the inside, the outside will change. Stretch marks are likely as are deflated boobs (whether you breastfeed or not). You may end up with scarring either on your lady bits or bikini line and fat seems to decide it wants to hang out on new locations on your body. 

4. It's expensive. It’s estimated that a child born this year will cost parents around £230,000 to support to the age of 21. And that only includes c£9000 for toys and hobbies. Buy them their own iPad and you’ve used up a years worth of that already. £11.5k of that is in year 1. Just think what you could do with all that money. More info in this article.

5. You get to see more of your family, and your partners family, whether you want to or not (admittedly mine are all lovely, but I have friends with stories which explain the inlays jokes).

6. You get less presents at Christmas because everyone wants to buy for baby instead. Children are much more fun to buy gifts for than adults and they get presents for all sorts of occasions: birth, christening, birthday, Christmas. At least while they are small you get to open the presents, but after the age of 1 you just have to write all the thank you letters.
a pile of toys for a 1 year old
Christmas for a 1 year old!
7. You never get any me time. On the rare occasions you are baby free you are likely to spend that time sleeping, cleaning or shopping. You might get a handful of nights out in the first year, but remember that hangover will be accompanied by shrieks, shouting and giggles, probably and an extra early hour.

8. You stop being you. “What’s your name?”, “Kate”. 5 minutes later “see you later M’s mummy”. It’s hard to remember all the names of people you meet and their children’s names so you are often just referred to as mummy. While it’s cute from your kids it does sometimes feel like you have lost part of your identity. My ex once said “thanks Mummy” when I gave him his Valentine’s card!

9. It is impossible to get through the first 6 months without having conversations about poo: the colour, the texture, the frequency. What starts with the midwife continues into social conversations. Fortunately poop is pretty inoffensive before they are on solids, but the conversations don't stop when they are weaned or even when they are toilet trained. You will ask countless times: do you need a poo? Have you done a poo in your pants? If talking about it isn’t fun enough for you, you also get to scrub it out of clothes. Top tip sunlight is brilliant at fading newborn baby poo.

10. You have to be responsible. All the time. Well all the time the children are around. Eating properly, not swearing, setting a good example. I’m not the only mum who has hidden behind a door to wolf down some chocolate.

Taking all the above into account...I wonder when I'm allowed to start trying for number 3!

Me and Mine April 2016

This is the 5th Month I have taken a photo of my family, but the first time for me joining in with the Me and Mine Project.

This month Little turned 3 months and M is 4 1/2. We have settled into our family of 4 and are getting a bit of a routine going. The weather has finally cheered up (apart from the snow, hail etc) and we have been exploring the garden at the new house.

The Me and Mine Project

Friday, 29 April 2016

Ten great reasons to have a baby

Heavily pregnant and trying to remember why you are doing this? Need ideas to convince your partner to have a baby? Or just wondering why you have subjected yourself to the lack of sleep after baby kept you awake half the night? Here are 10 great reasons everyone should want a baby.

1. Babies are super cute. Pretty much all of my most liked pictures on social media are of my children.
The like tool bar from Instagram with 69 likes
2. You never have to be lonely again. Not even when you go to the toilet or in the middle of the night when you thought you wanted to be asleep. 

3. You have a survival ticket for boring social events. Are you at a daytime gathering and everyone is boring? You can just chat with your baby. Evening event not what you expected? Just say "sorry I need to get home for my baby". Even if people are at your house you can get a way for at least half an hour by saying you need to go feed baby somewhere quiet or you need to get them down for their nap.

4. You get paid time off work and even up to a year off if you want. Admittedly it would be cheaper to take a year off work unpaid than to bring up a child, but companies tend not to be so tolerant of that.

5. When you are pregnant it is the only time in your life that people won't call you fat if you pile on the pounds. Yes they might say you are "big", but that's just your bump right? Yes I know that when you are pregnant it doesn't give you a free ticket to eat cakes and biscuits non stop, and yes that "baby weight" might take forever to come off, but why not take advantage of the elasticated maternity trousers and floaty tops? For 9 months it will be worth it.
Emma Bridgewater Mummy Mug with tea with millionaire shortcakes
6. You make new friends. Having a baby means you instantly have conversation topics you can use with any other parents from talking about the birth to bragging about their latest milestones. Small talk is made easy. No more need for "beautiful weather we are having" or "house prices are a bit steep round here aren't they?"

7. You have an excuse for mess and being a mess. A messy house and car can be acceptable because it means you are spending more time caring for your child. Going out with dirty hair and unironed clothes? Totally normal in the first year. Strange mark on your clothes? Can't be helped. Badly wrapped presents or poorly decorated cake? "Oh I let Little help," honest.

8. You have a reason to be a big kid. Playgrounds, soft play, bouncy castles, toy shops... It's not only acceptable, but actually encouraged for you to play on with supervise your child.
A daddy enjoying going down the slide
9. You discover just how efficient you can be. If you have any baby free time and you choose not to spend it sleeping you manage to get everything done at 4 times the speed of a normal person. In a couple of hours you can tidy the house, wrap presents, bake a cake and put some washing on.

10. When your child gives you a big grin or laughs it heals everything. The tiredness, unhappiness, pain. The fix might not be permanent but you know there is more to come.
A baby in an "exhausting" vest giving a big smile

Tomorrow I will be posting ten great reasons not to have a baby... but by then it might be too late!

Thursday, 28 April 2016

My baby at 3 months

I was getting Little dressed at the weighing clinic today and the lady next to me was getting her newborn dressed. The newborn was small, wrinkly, curled up and had that cute newborn cry. I looked at the 2 babies next to each other, Little is not so Little any more. At 3 months Little is increasingly interactive and interested in the world around her, she’s finding new ways to communicate and is getting big.
A newborn sleep suit next to a 3 year old baby
Newborn to now


Wednesday, 27 April 2016

My four year old's favourite word

M’s favourite word is "never". Her favourite phrase is "never ever". Not only does she like to shout these out when I ask her to do something, but sometimes she just randomly shouts "never" for no apparent reason.

M has a wide vocabulary and is frequently surprising me with some of the words she knows, "Wowsers" is one of my favourites. Despite her knowing a huge range of words "never" seems to be the one most frequently used.
While watching Jake And The Neverland Pirates this morning I noticed that Captain Hook said that very word: “Never!!!”. So despite consciously preferring Izzy and choosing her in role play, M's inner child is identifying with the ineffectual and naughty Hook. 

I'm trying to find positives about the character, but let's face it there isn't much to love. Disney have made him constantly fail and rather stupid because this makes him less scary. Obviously good always has to win in a children's TV programme, I get that, but the kids aren't meant to associate with the baddies are they? At least Hook loves his mummy.

Maybe I am reading too much into it? Maybe M doesn't really want to go around and steal treasure with a crew of odd men she can bully. Maybe "never" is just a much better word to shout to sum up her frustration with the world than the more normally used "no". It has the great benefits of an extra syllable allowing her to stretch the word out and increase in decimals.

Let's face it a 4 year old has no concept of just how long never is. I can tell her I will never ever stop loving her, but it feels slightly undermined when at the same time she is shouting that she will never put her shoes away.

We have a daily battle of wills. I am very stubborn, so is she. Who can hold out longest? M with her requests (and tantrum) demanding to watch TV or it will break her heart (where did she get that phrase from?) or me with my refusal to let her watch TV while she is being naughty. M is single minded in her demands, but easily distracted. I have other things to consider: mainly if I give in this time, she'll expect it next time and the noise level of the tantrum is disturbing the baby and the neighbours up to six streets away.

Apparently I never let M do what she wants to do, other than all the times that I do that she forgets about. It's much easier for her to remember all the times I say "no" or "not now". Maybe I should get a pirate captain's hat, a red coat and start saying "never!”?
Captain Kate!


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

My baby at 2 months old

A delayed update about Little written at 2 months.
2 month old baby in a grey party dress
Little at 2 months old

Monday, 25 April 2016

Peter Rabbit Trail in Essex

Given a chance most children enjoy playing in the woods. Why wouldn't they enjoy playing somewhere where there is an endless supply of mud? If that's not enough there are sticks, leaves to kick around, trees to climb and a wide variety of insects. If they are lucky they might also see some larger wildlife such as squirrels, rabbits or deer. 

Sometimes though children need a little persuasion to get outside and explore. The Forestry Commission and Wildlife Trust have introduced a number of trails to help encourage the reluctant explorer. The latest one to open is the Peter Rabbit trail at Langdon Nature Reserve in Basildon. 
Little girl in red coat on a woodland path