Is it just my baby that sounds like a Pterodactyl?

I remember the first time we properly made cub laugh. Not a smile, or a chuckle, but a proper belly laugh. He was teething, and so so so tired.  His cheeks were bright red and it was time for bed. He was 6 or 7 months old, I think.

For some reason, we thought dropping a plastic ball on his head was a good idea.  Don’t call social services, it was only a little one…. ahem. He erupted into the cutest fit of laughter, a slightly dirty and massively infectious chuckle, which we have captured on video forever and never ever get bored of watching back.

Now, something really bizarre has happened. The cute and slightly dirty laugh is now just plain dirty. Throaty, hoarse and staccatto, it sounds like a cross between a car engine backfiring, a machine gun, Catherine Tate’s Grandma, and some sort of dinosaur. Probably what I imagine a Pterodactyl might sound like.

It’s just weird. When he’s babbling and chatting away, he has the softest, gentlest baby voice. But when he laughs, it’s like he’s been possessed by a dirty old demon lady. Does this happen to other babies too? Will it go away? Please God, make it go away!

But in until he (please, please, please) grows out of it, we have found some amazing comedy use for the scary laugh. I was sitting on a bench in the local shopping centre sorting out my bags, and Cub was standing on the bench, holding onto the back, watching the people go by. And as people passed by, he was  laughing at them all, like a  fiendish dinosaur baby prince surveying his subjects. I have never seen so many people look so frightened, appalled and confused by someone so cute and small.

Old grannies approached him looking like they wanted to squeeze his cute little baby cheeks, and recoiled in horror at the machine gun chuckle. Grown men noticeably quickened their pace as they passed us by. I must admit, I might have been faffing about with the bags just a little longer than I needed to, because I was just too amused by the whole thing.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And when your baby makes weird noises, go scare some people. Why the hell not?

Breaking through a weight loss plateau: Two week challenge!

Today is my weigh in day, and I’ve just logged my weight on Weightwatchers online.  I’ve been the same weight for three weeks running.  This is really, really annoying. I need to break through this weight loss plateau, and I want to do it in the next 14 days.  I have a little family break coming up and if I don’t manage to do it before then, it will be another month before I see any progress. It just can’t be another month! I’m too impatient!

I have only got 10lb to lose to get to my pre-baby weight, having lost almost 2 stone since 1st January, and I am definitely feeling much smaller. My clothes have started feeling much looser over the last month, and I can now fit into almost all of my old wardrobe! That’s a huge cause for celebration, and the non-scale victories are definitely boosting my motivation.

The only problem is that the needle on that damn scale just isn’t moving for me right now.

Getting to my pre-baby weight is a huge deal for me, because it means that I can move forward.  Losing weight that I gained in my pregnancy is like treading old ground, not making new progress.  At my pre-baby weight, I felt great, and I was the lightest I have ever been as an adult.  I still had work to do though- I was a size 14/16 and carrying an extra 30lb or so. Much better than the extra 130lb I was carrying to begin with, of course! (See my before and after photos here.)

I never quite reached that final goal, and that’s what I would love to do now. To get started, I need to get to where I was back in May 09.  I feel like I’m still crawling to the start line!

So here’s the plan. I need to fit in as much exercise as possible over the next 14 days. I think I would be happy with 8 sessions.  I will not exceed my Weightwatchers points for the next 14 days. I won’t use any treat points or exercise points. I’m going to be a focussed, determined, machine! And in two weeks, I will be writing that I have broken through this plateau!   I hope….

The baby who ate everything…

Today, the cub and I went for a lovely afternoon in a local country park. I thought we could feed the ducks, play on the swings, and have some sandwiches and cake for tea.

At the park shop, they sold bags of bird seed for the bargain price of 30p. Cub has been having lots of fun throwing things lately, so I thought I’d try to get him to throw the bird seed to the ducks. I showed him how to do it, several times, and his little eyes lit up, and he goo’ed and gah’ed excitedly… I thought he was all ready to give it a go. I was very wrong… he actually grabbed a handful of seed, eyed it thoughtfully for a moment, and greedily stuffed it into his mouth.

It’s just seeds, right, how harmful can that be???

After trying to retrieve the seed from his mouth, I thought I’d continue trying to feed the ducks myself, so that he could see them waddling and quacking up close. Not a chance. After his first mouthful of that delicious bird seed, he’d got the taste for it, and tried to steal the bag back. Then he threw an almighty strop because the birds were getting the tasty seed and he wasn’t.

Duck feeding abandoned. Off to the playpark.

First we went on the swings (huge hit,) then the slide (met with mostly indifference.) Then I thought I’d let him have an explore.

This particular playground is all built on a giant sandpit, rather than squidgy flooring or grass. So, I set him down on the sand, expecting him to crawl off, play with the sand, or… something.

First he looked a bit confused by this new flooring. Then, he grabbed a huge handful of sand, and, quick as a flash, stuffed it in his mouth. I looked on in horror. You would think he would have cried, or looked disgusted, or spat it out, but no. He looked a little surprised by the texture, but was not put off. He grabbed another handful, and tried to eat that too. That one I did manage to intercept.

Play park abandoned. Off to the cafe.

I ordered a painini (for bloody six pounds bloody fifty) and a caramel shortbread, with the intention of us sharing both of them. I cut the sandwich into manageable strips, and the cake into cubes. And did he reach out eagerly and stuff them in his mouth? Nope. He played with a bit of cake, sucked it for a bit, and threw it on the floor. The sandwich was completely ignored. Obviously not sandy or seedy enough.

Good job he’s cute.

Dad’s Guide to Mother’s Day 2012

Dads, take note. Mother’s day is important to those ladies in your life.  If you felt like yesterday didn’t go to plan, take heed of these pointers for next year…

DO Let your lady have a long, luxurious, quiet lie in. She is a mother, therefore she will be very tired. Keep the children away, don’t ask where anything is. Just let her sleep.

DON’T let her get out of bed at 7 because the baby is crying and you’re too busy with a marathon 30 minute session on the bog.

DO prepare her favourite breakfast in bed, or encourage the children to help if they are old enough.  Tea and toast, scrambled eggs, pancakes, waffles, bacon, whatever floats her boat. A fresh flower on the tray would be an excellent touch.

DON’T let her trudge around making the baby porridge, feeding the baby his porridge, then getting covered in said porridge.  Then swearing a bit. Especially not if she’s not had a cup of tea yet.

DO buy a present. One that you’ve put some thought into. Cost is not important, but the thought behind the gesture is.

DON’T present her with a Tesco carrier bag with a bear in it, blatantly grabbed in a hurry, and with a rubbish apology about not having had time to write the card. You’ve known for a year that this day was coming around.

DO offer to run her a bath, make her tea and generally spoil her rotten.

DON’T tell her that she has stinky breath, if she hasn’t had time to clean her teeth yet, due to the above points. Not cool.

And a tip for the baby of the house… If daddy offers to change all the nappies for the day, but has failed to meet the above requirements….

DO Poo six times. Six stinky, sticky big poos for daddy.*

Cub, you made my Mother’s day with your stinky little bum! Thank you, and I love you lots! xxx

*Yep, he actually did poo six times. It was the day after his birthday party and he’d obviously been given little bits of party food from everyone, all day long. Bum activity has now returned to normal. Amazing comedy!

(Nearly) 12 months of babyness in pictures!

My little boy is one this month!! I can’t believe it! There’s a little monster in my house, hellbent on destroying everything in his path, constantly chewing on something unidentifiable that he’s found in the carpet, and shouting! Shouting a lot, loudly, and not at anything in particular! Where did my tiny baby go? Where did the last 12 months go? Well, here they are, in glorious technicolour!

Newborn

1 month

2 months

3 months

3 months

4 months

5 months

6 months

7 months

8 months

9 months

10 months

11 months

11 and a bit months

It’s all gone too fast! I’ll have first birthday pictures to post soon, and I’ve got a birthday cake to make! Better get a move on!

Does a baby mean the end of romance?

Revived for Show Off Showcase on March 19th- Click the button to read more great posts!

ShowOff Showcase

Have you ever noticed how the vast majority of Hollywood romances are only about the courtship period? The “climax” is usually marriage, and the story is how they get from meeting to marrying. That’s the end of the story, the happily ever after.

Only, for most people, that’s only the tiny little bit at the beginning. For my husband and I, it took us 3 years to move in together, 5 years to get engaged, and 7 to get married- and that’s quite slow compared to lots of couples we know! I was only 18 when we met and he was 21, so we were in no rush. But Hollywood tells me that that’s the end- happily ever after. I was only 25! Surely that can’t be the end of the story!

Since we got married, our lives have changed so much. When we got married, we were both doing well in our jobs, and we had disposable income, nice cars, lovely holidays, we had both just lost lots of weight, so we were fit and healthy with fancy new wardrobes. We loved to do things spontaneously, and we loved to spend quiet time together, lazing in bed. We ate out lots, we saw our friends lots, and we were very carefree indeed.

A year later, I got pregnant, and all that changed- the loss of my income so I could be on maternity leave meant no disposable income, and the addition of the Cub meant no time to actually do anything anyway. We toyed with the idea of going on holiday, but the idea of doing a beach holiday with a suitcase of baby paraphernalia in tow, dealing with the logistics of naps and feeding in a strange place was just utterly off putting. I got rid of my fancy car to save money and now we share one- mostly, I walk everywhere.  And we both put on a ton of babyweight and our fancy wardrobes started to mock and jeer at us from the corner of the bedroom. (We are now fixing that issue, slowly but surely!)

Then there’s the exhaustion- the sheer, utter exhaustion. Not just the sleepless nights, but the real loss of time for ourselves, in which to recharge.  We now need to prearrange babysitting for a date night out (date night! I would have laughed at that idea not long ago!) and haven’t even managed a meal out together for two months.

This has been my day for most of the last week:

Awake for most of the night with a teething Cub. Then I get up, get Cub ready, kiss Cub and husband goodbye as they leave for work and nursery, get myself ready, walk to work, do a full day at the office, walk to pick Cub up, walk home, bath Cub, dress Cub, feed Cub, put Cub to bed, say hi to husband, run out the door to the gym, spin, come home, eat whatever I can find, say goodnight to husband, collapse in a heap.

We are like ships passing in the night, and honestly, we talk more over email at work than we probably do at home. So, I ask, how on earth do you make time for romance? How is it possible to fit in actual relationship stuff into real life with a small child? Because I do not want to wake up in 20 years and find that I have an empty childless nest, with a strange bloke in it who I barely know.

Tomorrow, we are going out for a meal together, just the two of us, and I am very very excited. I am excited to be going out with a man who is handsome, funny and caring. I am proud to be going out with a man who is a fantastic father. And I am very, very lucky to be spending an evening with my best friend in the whole world.

Also, I really bloody love tapas.

Maybe there is hope for us yet! Maybe romance isn’t dead. Maybe it’s just having a little break. I certainly hope so.

Crunchy or Chewy? A mum politics test!

This week, I came across the term “crunchy parenting” for the first time, referring to hippy parenting (“crunchy” like granola!) As far as I can fathom, crunchy parenting may include, but is not limited to, breastfeeding (especially over the age of one,) co-sleeping, cloth nappying, buying organic, babywearing, not using cry-it-out, baby led weaning, homebirthing, homeschooling, and possibly some form of vegetarianism or veganism.

Having just started using Twitter, I am amazed at the amount of people whose bio basically repeats the list above. I think that’s amazing, and I can’t imagine how much effort goes into maintaining that sort of lifestyle.  I have always thought of myself as a hippy sort of soul, but when it comes down to the everyday stuff, I am fairly mainstream, to be honest. So, just for fun, I am going to formulate a quiz, and try and place myself somewhere on the continuum of crunchy, and the opposite, which I shall call “chewy.”  Let’s see where I end up…

Criteria 1- Milk Feeding

 I am a breastfeeder, but it always seems weird to me when people congratulate me on it. I’m really really lucky that I’ve never had any soreness, or problems with supply or latch, so it’s just what I’ve always done. I expect to feed past the age of 1 (can’t see the point of giving up when I go back to work, if I am only feeding morning and night.)  But I am not adverse to giving the odd formula  feed if I’m going out, and am certainly not a militant type that will  crusade for everyone to breastfeed, whatever it takes! It’s none of my business. Crunchy score 4/5

Criteria 2: Solid feeding

As I’ve posted before, we are doing baby led weaning, and I love it. I also really love meat, and am definitely not vegetarian.  I occasionally buy organic, but not if the price difference is significant. Overall, a bit crunchy, but not much. Crunchy score 3/5

Criteria 3: Attachment Parenting

Ok, time for some confessions. I have used CIO, and it saved my sanity. I have let my baby sleep in my bed, but I didn’t sleep a wink. He was in his own room at 10 weeks. I bought a carrier, and got the straps twisted, forgot about it, and never used it out of the house. I have no intention of home schooling. It surprises me a bit that I haven’ t done any of this stuff, because it sounds like something I would do, it just didn’t turn out that way. I suppose the only way to find out what sort of parent you are is to suck it and see. Crunchy score 1/5

Criteria 4: Nappies

Disposable. Sorry. I never really looked into the eco-friendly options. I really wish I had, but I didn’t. So I am chewy, chewy, chewy, like a treacle toffee. I feel lazy now! Crunchy score 1/5

Criteria 5: Birth choices

I had a hospital birth. I would have liked a water birth, but I was too high risk (more on that another time.) I did just have gas and air though… I sent for an epidural but the baby moved faster than the anaesthetist and it never happened! Next time, I would love a home birth, and I’m reasonably confident that I could handle just gas and air again. It would be lovely to move freely, and not to be strapped to monitors and surrounded by an ever-changing sea of faces. So, my experience has been mainstream, but I wasn’t keen. My ambition for next time is  crunchy as hell. Don’t tell the husband though, he thinks we’ve finished at just the one! Crunchy score 4/5

Total score:13/25

That puts me firmly in the middle, and I bet that most mums are. Kudos to you if can manage to go the extra mile, wash those cloth nappies, and get through those patches of sleeplessness without either sleep training, or going bonkers. Kudos too, if you make confident and balanced choices that make your family happy, and encourage your children to shine- whatever path you take.

 I think this highlights the sheer number of decisions parents have to make for the tiny people that depend on them. Quite often it feels like a minefield, but we muddle through. As long as our babies are happy and healthy, we should be proud of the choices we have made, for surely that is the only goal- and there is no easy way to parent!