The power of a smile

Okay, so this one’s a bit of a soppy one – it’s about kindness. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it short. It’s Monday and I’m a bit sleep deprived, so we’ll blame it on that.

I’ve mentioned it briefly before, but since I started looking noticeably pregnant, I was greeted by kindness wherever I went. I can’t tell you how many random conversations I had with complete strangers! Everyone was lovely though, and now Ralphie is here, that kindness is being passed onto him.

Take this morning, for example. I was planning to head straight from our Rhythm Time class into town on the bus to meet some friends for lunch. I knew I was pushing my luck with timing when it came to Ralphie’s feed, but all we had to do was survive the short bus trip and then I could feed him in the café. Well, of course, as soon as the bus turned up, Ralphie’s patience wore thin and he started crying. Once we’d parked up, I got him out and sat him on my knee, and he stopped immediately – a crying baby on public transport is a big no no! Getting on the bus behind us was an old man, and he stopped to say hello. He bent down so he was level with Ralphie and made some funny noises at him, and my boy reciprocated with a huge beaming smile (a bit like this one from last night).

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In fact, during that one bus journey, Ralphie had four different people come over to him to say hello. It was lovely for both of us, and I still feel good about it now.

Many who meet Ralphie say what a happy boy he is. And he is! He’s surrounded by love at home, and when we’re out and about he’s greeted by kindness. Even this morning when he woke at 6.30am and I’d already fed him at 5am, I couldn’t be cross with him. He only has to look up at me with that cheeky grin and all is forgiven. I wonder how long that will last!

 

 

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The back to work conundrum

Ever since I got pregnant I’ve done my best to ignore the issue of what to do with my baby when maternity leave is up. I’ve basically been burying my head in the sand, and four months in since Ralphie entered the world and I’m still nowhere close to making a decision about what to do.

I’m sure like most mums, I want the best of both worlds. I love my job and would still like to work (plus the money helps!), but at the same time I don’t want to miss seeing Ralphie grow up. He’s changing on a daily basis at the moment and I don’t want any of it to pass me by. How can I leave this little face?!

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At the moment I’ve got him snuggled up asleep on my lap while I type away. I have seriously considered whether I could be at home with him and work, but 1) I can’t count on him napping when I need him to, 2) as he grows he will sleep less and need more of my attention, and 3) I can’t imagine a crying/shouting/cooing/babbling baby would be very welcome background noise on an interview or conference call, nor would it be very professional. So yeah, that plan needs some work.

The other week we played the lottery for the first time in ages in the hope we’d win that crazy rollover jackpot. We didn’t get a single number!

I popped into the office earlier this week to see everyone and kept eyeing up a decent sized bit of unused space near my desk that would turn into a great little crêche. They say that office pets are great for employee morale; well surely a baby is even better?

On a serious note, we probably do need to start checking out some local nurseries. I’m sure the good ones have ridiculously long waiting lists, and we’d be silly not to consider our options. Both my parents are a good decade or so off retirement, so as much as I’d love Ralphie to be with them, that’s not really a goer.

And that’s that. I’m kind of back to square one. This working mum business is hard! So sorry if you started reading this post in the hope I’d provide an answer. I’m afraid I don’t have one yet. But if anything comes to me as I lie awake at night plotting what to do, I’ll be the first to let you know.

 

 

Choose your pram carefully

I was intending to write this post earlier this evening, but instead I’ve spent the last few hours entertaining Ralphie, feeding him, and changing his nappy…again! To say he is regular is an understatement. Tonight, we’ve gone through four nappies, and I don’t think we’re finished yet. It’s exhausting.

Unpoppering his romper, catching his flailing legs, removing the dirty nappy without getting poo everywhere, cleaning up the poo, putting on the Sudocrem, fastening the clean nappy (and you can’t be flippant about this, because it will leak if you’re not careful!), wrestling his legs back into the romper leg holes, repoppering the poppers. And repeat! Ralphie finds the whole thing hilarious. I’m glad one of us does.

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But this post isn’t about changing nappies. It’s about the importance of the pram and its many uses. Okay, I can only think of three. The first two are quite obvious – transporting Ralphie and carrying shopping. The third I only discovered today, and it was pretty handy – a support for me when walking over ice. No more Bambi moments for me!

If I’m honest I didn’t really think this pram purchase through very well. We looked at a few, awkwardly wheeled some round the shop, and plumped for the one that looked the part and wouldn’t completely break the bank. Joke was on us, because when it arrived and we got it out the box, we realised we’d have to fork out an extra £150 for the hood. Thanks Silver Cross. You should have seen our faces! This was before I made the discovery…

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Given the chance to reconsider my investment, I’d go for one with a practical basket (one that actually fits stuff in it), and one with wheels that collapse enough so they fit in a normal sized boot. But it’s not all bad. I’d give mine 10/10 for manoeuvrability. It feels very solid too, so much so that when I slid over a patch of ice today, it saved me from coming a cropper. Pretty handy! I tell you, if it properly snows, I’ll be feeling pretty smug while I’m sliding around holding onto this chunky pram!

But when walking around town, I do find myself eyeing up other pram models. Some look like they have it all – big basket, light wheel frame, cosy carrycot, cool fabric. And yes, I’m not afraid to admit that I get a pang of jealousy when they waltz by. So one thing I would say to those who are yet to make such a purchase is this – don’t get fooled by style over substance! Practicality is key, and baskets are important.

 

 

I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date

For those who know me, you’ll concur that I’m not exactly the most prompt person in the world. I usually make it on time just, by the skin of my teeth, but I’m rarely early. It’s quite ironic since I chose a career in publishing!

But now I generally find myself running late – sometimes really late. And it’s a cycle I’m struggling to break!

It all started during the latter stages of my pregnancy. Waddling into work was hard; it took me longer than planned. Then Ralphie was born, eight days late. And now I have a small person to get ready and out the door in addition to myself; it has thrown me.

Feeding Ralphie, changing him, getting him dressed – it always ends up taking way longer than I’d planned for. Ok, so I’ll admit I don’t exactly rush things. I try and make the mundane a little more fun, so I sing to Ralphie and tickle him to make him giggle; he’s quite a distraction I’ll have you know (I mean, look at his face!). And there it is, a ten minute task has taken me twenty.

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Rather surprisingly I actually made it to this morning’s baby class on time, just! But it was pure fluke. My aim was to be on our way by 9am. At 9.15 I was still putting on Ralphie’s coat. Thankfully most of the other mums are fighting the same battle against time too. It seems to be quite acceptable for everyone to be a tad late.

The question is, then, how am I going to sort myself out? While I’m off on maternity leave with Ralphie, it’s not the end of the world if we’re a bit late for a lunch date, or our afternoon stroll. Thankfully I’ve not missed a doctor’s appointment yet, but we were late for our appointment to officially register Ralphie (that was embarrassing). What, though, am I going to do when I have to go back to work and take Ralphie to nursery? I’m dreading it already! Answers on a postcard please 🙂

Two pink lines

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Two blog posts in a day. I must be on a roll! But I couldn’t let today pass without mentioning that it was a year ago today that I found out I was pregnant.

I thought this particular moment in my life would be one of the most exciting things to happen to me, and it was, but it was also a bit of an anti-climax. I’ll explain why.

For some mad reason, I decided to take the test at around 3am in the morning. I had this gut feeling that I was pregnant and I couldn’t hold back the urge to see if I was right. So up I got and did the test, and there they were, those two perfect pink lines. My heart was absolutely pounding with excitement, but all I could do was go back to bed and wait until a more reasonable hour to wake Ryan and tell him. Did I go back to sleep? Of course I didn’t!

Funnily enough I don’t really remember Ryan’s reaction as I was so knackered from being up since 3am! He was excited but he was also much more sensible than me about it all and said we should hold off on telling anyone until we had the scan.

And that was that. The day I found out I was pregnant I spent the whole day at work absolutely exhausted because I’d got up at a ridiculously early hour!

It was also the most infuriating thing having to keep such big news a secret (I may not have quite kept my side of the bargain, but it turns out Ryan sneakily told a few people too!). Let me tell you, those 12 weeks until the scan dragged like anything. But here we are today and I’ve got my adorable baby boy in my arms and I feel like the luckiest lady in the world. Admittedly, I didn’t quite feel quite as lucky when he was crying at me at 1am this morning, but he has since been forgiven.

The plastic invasion

It’s started. Despite my best intentions, the first of what I fear will be many plastic toys are making their way into our home.

I’ll admit that it’s completely our fault. We made the decision to buy the Jumperoo this week. And now it’s sat taking pride of place in our not so minimalist living room. As you can see, Ralphie is impressed!

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I’m sure he will get a great deal of enjoyment out of it as he gets a little bigger, particularly when his feet can touch the ground and he can bounce himself around. But for now he looks entirely perplexed (and somewhat unimpressed) when I pop him in it. As for me, well I’ve already got the annoying tunes stuck in my head.

This week we’ve also invested in a Bumbo seat after hearing good things about it. It looks a bit like a potty, but it’s just a nice squidgy seat that provides a good amount of support as Ralphie gets his head around sitting up.

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Again, I think we’ll feel the benefit when he’s a bit older and is ready to wean; it’ll serve perfectly as a portable high chair. For now, he’s quite enjoying wacking his toys on the removable plastic table. And it’s great for when I’m in the shower.

Ok, so we haven’t exactly gone overboard on the plastic front yet, and I hope it stays that way. We’re yet to buy any storage for Ralphie’s nursery so, aside from the cot, that’s the next priority. I need a good chest to hide everything in at the end of the day. If anyone knows where I can find an extra large one, let me know!

The troublesome knickers

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For the last goodness knows how long, our washing machine has been temperamental. Sometimes it did a cycle no problem and others time it decided not to bother. My favourite was when it stalled on the spin cycle so you ended up with a full load of dripping wet clothes.

Anyway, just before Christmas it pretty much gave up on us entirely. All it did was make a pathetic whirring noise, which wasn’t particularly helpful for washing clothes.

I know it’s obvious, but babies sure do generate a lot of washing (pictured is Ralphie in one of his many outfits; he’d already pooed through one when I took this picture). These last 15 weeks that poor machine has been working back-to-back shifts, so I can’t complain too much, other than criticise its poor timing. Getting someone out to fix it during the festive period was nigh on impossible.

The laundrette up the road proved a god send. Although Ryan was stingey with the dryer and brought back three washloads of damp clothes, which we had to hang all over the house. Annoying as it was, I had to bite my tongue on that one.

We then descended on my mum and dad for Christmas and took full advantage of their washing and drying facilities. Ralphie had the freedom to do as many poo explosions as he wanted. What luxury!

We finally moved back home on Friday and had to make do without a working machine until yesterday. And wow the washing piles up quickly!

The first thing the washing machine guy (sorry, I’m sure he has a much more professional title!) asked me was if we’d cleared the filter. Well of course we hadn’t. I have absolutely no idea how these things work. The look of disdain on his face was unmistakeable, but I took it as best as I could and quickly trotted, with Ralphie in tow, to get the towel he had requested.

I won’t go into the logistics of how he opened up the filter. All I will say is that it was annoyingly easy. I also won’t bore you with a description of the stench that filled my nostrils as stagnant, grey water poured all over my clean kitchen floor. I cried a little bit inside! What I will tell you, though, is that the guy pulled a rather pathetic looking pair of knickers from the filter, along with some other indescribable mush similar to what you find in the plug hole.

And that, my friends, seems to have been the cause of all our washing woes – knickers! And if you must know, I don’t think they were even mine.