Thursday, 29 December 2011

Our Pea Green Christmas

Christmas inside Our Pea Green Pod was wonderfully cosy & relatively peaceful (if you drown out the giddiness of Eldest kipper due to being entirely spoilt!)

I cooked my very first Christmas dinner (duck, rather than the traditional turkey) which was surprisingly successful & we have been enjoying duck sandwiches & bubble & squeak for the past few days! We had a real tree which smells divine & a mountain of presents, the like of which I have never seen in my life. The girls were very spoilt indeed!

Christmas was mainly hand made this year. I wanted to make Christmas as warm & as perfect as possible despite having practically no budget & so I had been knocking up a few bits & bobs for the past month or so. Some of these I sold, but others I kept for our home.

I thought I'd share with you a few of my Christmas bobs, all of which are exceedingly simple to make (hell, if I can, anyone can!) & I hope you enjoy & maybe even get a little inspired!

For the children (including the big we had some little stockings to go on the tree. Eldest was thrilled that Santa had packed hers with nuts & chocolates & candy canes.

 For our tree I made some little felt bits & bobs. So simple - just felt shapes stuffed, with a blanket stitch around the edge & with buttons or sequins or bells for decoration. For some of these I used buttons from my Grandfathers old button tin which are actually older than I am! I love the idea that in years to come I'll be able to tell the children where they came from & how I used to love playing & counting the old buttons in that tin as a child.

I also had these gorgeous little wooden toadstools which I found in the local gardening shop. They were only 60p each & I treasure them! They complimented our little peg soldiers wonderfully. As a child I used to make these with my mum & they hold much sentiment for me, as well as being very cute & simple indeed! I can't wait to paint more with my girls & create warm memories for them when they get older.

For the mantelpiece & fireplace I made some bunting which I love, using some sumptuous Christmas fabric. I also had a few toadstools dotted around, some lovely thin holly tinsel which was a bargain from the range & complimented our usual fairy lights which hang there all year long. 

But, for me, the thing that really made our Christmas absolutely Pea Green was these two glittering faeries (even if the littlest one was a wee bit unimpressed at everything due to lacking the motor skills to actually open or play with presents or the comprehension to know what the heck was going on!)

Hope y'all had a wonderful one & that the New Year holds lots of magic for you. I think it shall for us!

Monday, 19 December 2011

NOT a New Year Resolution!

Well my lovely readers, I'm currently laying in bed at my in-laws with a snorty-snuffly baby to my right. Apart from that I'm having to write this using my iPhone, I feel very relaxed (which is remarkable for a visit to the in-laws as I have a few ex-in-law-related-fucked-up-issues that mean that I am constantly on edge about making the right impression or being judged, particularly with regards to my parenting skills), except for the small issue which has been creeping up on me for the past few weeks or so. This is the issue of my itchy fingers (please note: not a contagious or repulsive disease rather a want to write).

Since I had the wee one I have barely blogged. I have been rather busy with both of the terrors but also with Christmas too & to be perfectly honest I don't feel I have had all that much to blog about either. With the new year approaching fast I'd like to find a little more time & substance about which to write.

I am not one for resolutions as I am the useless type who can't stick to them, in fact if a resolution is made I usually tend to do the exact opposite - it must be the rebel in me (or that dick head part we talked about) - so I shall tactically pledge this year NOT to blog more, NOT to get a life & find something interesting to blog about but positively, definitely & absolutely to give up eating crisps & chocolate & drinking copious amounts of cocktails & Guinness & dancing like a twat whenever I go out with the ladies. Not to mention a little bit of NOT catching up with those fabulous Grooving Mums. If you haven't all ready then please check out these fabulous & inspirational ladies by searching #groovingmums on twitter or going over to the Kate on Thin Ice blog (that last bit was what you should do, not in any way what you shouldn't do. I know, it's got a little confusing now!).

You see what I did there?

Here's to reverse psychology, lots of drunken "dancing", & a bloggerific 2012!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Confessions of a Total Dick Head

Since finding myself responsible for not one, but two ever-needing & ever-wanting children it has become a daily ritual for me to have an extravagantly long shower, during which interruptions are completely ignored. Eldest whinging? Baby wailing? Not my problem. I should probably add that I make sure all their needs are met before showering, I don't just ditch them & run, so any complaints are simply attention based & can wait for half an hour.

Shower time is adult time (not like that), it is brain time, it is time for me to think. You know, like wot real people without kidz can do, init.

Usually shower time comes complete with it's own playlist. If my iPod were picked up by a stranger they'd be forgiven for thinking that it belonged to a woman in her mid forties rather than one in her early twenties (apart from a few give-away tracks) but that, my friends, is just how I roll.

Today I was listening to a spot of Beautiful South. The track that got me thinking was 'Prettiest Eyes'. It is one of my favourites. If you aren't familiar you can check it out here. It is basically a song from the perspective of someone who has been with a woman for 60 years. It got me pondering about the nature of relationships, particularly my own (of course) & wondering whether I'd ever experience long lasting love & security in the same way in which older generations, particularly my grandparents' generation seem to experience but which our society & culture seems not to allow room for.

Today, we are told that we have more freedom. We are told that we can have it all & we seek things like fairy-tale happiness, yet it seems to me that increasingly less people have long lasting, happy relationships. Do we set ourselves up for disappointment?

I look at my Mother's parents who have been married for 50 years, this year. They have always been happy, as far as I can tell. My Mum always tells of how she has never seen them argue. My Granny always tells her that that was because they never let her see them argue. This speaks volumes to me. Communication & honesty with each other & to yourself is key, there would be problems if you didn't occasionally quarrel but to find long-lasting happiness through this is exactly what I'd like for my future, but like anything in life, a relationship that lasts is something that requires hard-work & zeal from all involved & if there are children then it is important to think of their happiness first, as you would in all other aspects of life.

Looking at my mother, who is in her mid (to late, ahem) forties - & from whom my taste in music mainly comes - she is currently settled. When we talk about relationships she always jokes that she 'has been through quite a few men' to get to my step-father. I doubt she has been through as many as me, in my notably less years, though I never point this out to her! My Step-Father is, in my opinion (& I'm fairly sure in hers too) her perfect match. I love my Father, but I would never wish for my Mother to be with him. I was young when they divorced, only one year old, but I know in my heart that they aren't compatible, in fact I find it hard to imagine that they were ever a couple. My Step-Father & Mum have been together for about 15 years (I think), but they only married four years or so ago. For some reason I feel that there will never be any reason for them not to grow old together.

The example set by these people in my life is one that I find admirable & somewhat awe-inspiring. I want that for me & I hope that I am headed in the right direction. I have made mistakes. What I am about to share with you I have not shared with anyone outside of my circle of friends & I am certainly not proud, nor can I find any justification for my actions, but bear with me - it bears relevance & is only partly a selfishly placed confession.

My last relationship lasted about a year & a half & was with a guy who I had been acquainted with since college. He was very closed emotionally, but basically a nice, fun guy. I think that I fell in love with him, perhaps in hindsight not in a deep sense, but it was love nevertheless & he loved me too, but he was incapable of saying so. At first, 'the wall' was something that drew me to him - I have always liked a challenge - but as our relationship became more serious & we moved in together the very thing that drew me to him initially was what I came to resent. I couldn't break down 'the wall', not fully & I became increasingly insecure. It wasn't his fault, it was just how he was, but looking back I worry as to how he will ever truly be happy if he can't express such crucial emotions. We became more & more distant from each other. I think that we were both equally to blame for how the relationship deteriorated but the end came when I slept with somebody else. More than once. I'm not sure he even knows now that I was cheating, I wasn't big enough to own up to it, but he wasn't stupid. He left & that was that. I have never felt particularly sad that the relationship ended, it had most certainly run its course, but I feel ashamed that it took me such a cruel & selfish act to realise that it wasn't worth putting in the effort any more. I justified my actions at the time because I felt hurt & rejected, humiliated even, but it was always clear that I was, for want of a more eloquent phrase, just a total dick head.

My point is that I have been hurt & what is worse, I have hurt people along the way & though I feel remorse for some of the more selfish things I have done in the past, I don't regret them because I have always learned from my experiences. I have learned what I want to be in life (faithful, accomplished, hard-working, loved) & equally what I do not want to be (a total dick head).

I think what people lose sight of, in today's 'instant satisfaction' society is that a relationship, like anything, is something that requires input. People chase the dreams of looking beautiful, becoming rich or famous & having a fairytale love, but that simply isn't the case. I'm sure we all know the reasons for all these fucked-up delusions people of our generation suffer & the arguments as to why it is probably wrong yet so difficult to change, so I shan't drag it up, but I think that if we are consciously wanting to change something about ourselves for the better then what I have learned in my relatively few years of dating & loving is that to get more out of anything you must put more in, & what is more you must put it in to the right places. It is nothing profound, it is basic common sense, but I believe that it's something that from time to time, we can all lose sight of.

As for now, I feel very lucky. I have a relationship with someone who is worth every last scrap of effort. I also have two beautiful girls who deserve a happy upbringing, or at least a Mum who isn't a total dick head.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Hello, World.

Well, friends, it has been a while, hasn't it?

As most of you may know or have guessed I have had a break from blogging & generally from the world not for some lame reason but the rather excusable reason of having given birth to my second & equally as beautiful little girl.
This is her at a few hours old. She came on 25th November at 5.34pm, weighing 6lb 14oz. Perfect.

I have so much to say & I'd certainly like to share with you all my experiences of birth, maybe not the embarrassing & gruesome bits. Shamelessly unsubtle plug, but you can read Daddy's blog here, which give his experiences of our girly's birth, but for now I am just  going to share with you a few wondrous things about motherhood doubled, & the joy of non-pregnancy.

  1. The excruciating cuteness (though occasionally this borders on nuisance, but alas, I can't get mad) of Eldest Daughter (formerly just 'Daughter') as she coos over her little sister & 'helps' us change nappies.
  2. The new found ability I have to bend down, shave my legs, cut my toenails, put my socks on, fit through small gaps, not fall over, sleep in any position I so wish & various other trivial things that I used to take for granted.
  3. Eldest's new obsession with boobies & when she sees a cow, telling everyone who will listen "Milk comes from cows...& BOOBIES!".
  4. The comparative ease of caring for a newborn baby to that of a 3 year old.
  5. Mouldy cheese.
  6. Amazement at how poo can be yellow.
  7. Double the amazement at how yellow poo seems so much less disgusting than brown poo.
  8. Selfishly, being thin again.
  9. The prospect of running again, but not the prospect of the first run, after not exercising for 9 months. If you see a tracksuit-clad, ear-muff-wearing heap in the local area, please take me home.
  10. The incomprehensible way in which you can fall so overwhelmingly in love with a tiny person who cannot even communicate with you & who knows nothing of this world. I never thought I could feel the same way as I feel about Eldest, but what do you know?
It's all good so far.

Just look at these two. How can it not be?

Monday, 21 November 2011

On Freedom & Lack of Plastic-Horse Related Injuries.

This week, Daughter is staying with my parents as we prepare for the supposedly imminent arrival of TBC & so we haven't seen her in over a week & if TBC doesn't [bloody well] get here soon then we shan't see her until Thursday at the earliest. At first the idea of peace, quiet & lay-ins was a blissful dream & I was relishing the time alone & the freedom to go wherever I pleased at whatever hour I wished, however after a few wonderful days of doing things like meeting a friend in pub, yes, a pub, & having a pint - a real sodding PINT! - with her & wandering as I pleased around trendy shops with no cries of "I neeeed a weeeee!" or "I'm hun-greeeeeeeee!" the novelty has worn off & as much as it pains me to admit it, I would rather have her here, whinging & all, than all this bloody peace & quiet. So I thought I'd share with you a few things that Daughter likes to say or do that usually drive me crackers, but that I inexplicably miss about her when she's not here.

When I try to take a photo of how beautiful, sweet & charming she looks, a little like this...

...but because she is such a big fidget, you end up spending about 3 hours & taking several billion photos like this beforehand...

...& yes, that is a donkey she is licking.

When we are in a public place & she says (at the top of her voice) things such as:

"Oh, Mummy, look at that man, he has a big, round, fat tummy! Like you!"

"No, Mummy, that's not a lady it's a man."
"Well, honestly, I just want to pick my bottom."

"Was that you pumping Mummy?" - please note, likely honest answer is no however I've found disputing this point can often lead to prolonged conversation regarding pumping, at increased volumes.

The lack of housework there is to do. I know that as soon as she returns I'll retract this as a woe, but honestly, being around the house is so frigging boring. I feel as though I can keep the house tidy & have no excuse for not. At least when she's here if I can't be arsed to wash up I can blame having too much on to not do it & instead make a den out of a cardboard box or have a tickle fight. Now I have no excuse! It is nice not to nearly break my neck falling over train sets or standing on viciously shaped plastic animals, though.

As much as I love silence, sometimes a nonsense conversation is wonderfully amusing. Now I have to be a grown up & do paperwork & things. I haven't been listening to Radio 4 at all as there is no need to balance out the 3 year-old-ness with vaguely informative & adult chatter.

I miss her charm & her beautiful smile & the feeling of warmth I get when, after a day of complete horror, stubborness & avoidable tantrums (mainly mine, to be fair), she gives me a hug & a kiss & tells me she loves me & I melt.

I miss my Girly. Hurry up Baby.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Little Pea Green & the Twitter Baby Follower Challenge Thingy

Snappy title, I know!

Okay so I have 97 followers on Twitter & if I reach 100 before the baby gets here I shall be offering an exclusive 10% discount to said lovely followers on all the items in my Etsy shop, Little Pea Green. The more followers I get before the day of arrival, the more discount I will offer. For example if my baby takes it's time & I have 110 followers, I'll offer 11% discount. If I have over 120 followers then it'll be 12% & so on & so forth. The more the merrier!

It's all handmade by me, just lovely little affordable & unique things for wee ones.

Of course, when the baby arrives the shop will be on vacation for a week or so while we get settled but the discount code will be valid for one month from the day I reopen. I shall also be looking to replenish the stock of the shop when we've got a nice routine going (a girl can dream)!

I aim to post out well within a week - if I am too buried in nappies then I'll of course let you know this!

So, get following on Twitter @PeaGreenGwin & get your 10% off, as well as making me look really cool infront of my newborn child (because every baby cares about how many Twitter followers it's mum has!)

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Oh baby, I can groove..

It's Tuesday & this week I'm going to be much less tardy with my Grooving Mums post! Honest...

So, as you know I'm still joining in with Kate On Thin Ice's blog hop to get back my grooove...& though another bad week has occured I'm determined to focus on the positives.

This week Kate has set us a few challenges, the first of which is to think of your own challenge. Never one to be very good at motivating myself I am very tempted to set myself something sneaky like 'Eat copious amounts of curried pineapple in order to induce labour' but alas I think this is more of an inevitability rather than something I can count as challenging.

Recently I have realised that though I set up this blog to talk about my expanding family & keep track of all the lovely things we do, the focus has shifted, rather selfishly onto me & my personal struggle with pregnancy & though I do not want to stop blogging about how I feel, I think my challenge must be to put in some more posts about just how wonderful my beautiful daughter is. She is, after all, the reason I keep going & is soon to have a sibling who I will fall equally as in love with. Having said that, she isn't here for the week - freedom hurrah! but why do I miss her so? - but I'm aiming to try & compile a post about the great things we've done over the past few weeks.

Kate's second challenge is to investigate poetry & give an example of a poem you love. Though I do love literature, I often find poetry hard work & shy away, or I find that I get over-involved in poetry, as I do with songs, & then end up having nervous breakdowns. I was going to choose 'The Owl & The Pussy Cat' by Edward Lear, as it's a lovely nonesense rhyme & also what I would love to call the coffee shop I dream of one day owning, but instead I'm cheating. I'd like some lyrics from a song that I related a lot to when I was single, but actually now I think part of me relates to them even more, it also makes me think about #groovingmums too, particularly the verse beginning 'In the hours before breakfast...'. The singer is an Alaskan woman called Molly Venter & the song 'Sleep at Night' goes like this:

She steps outside and takes a breath
Like it's the last breath before she goes among the circus of performers
With smiles on their faces and she says
"I don't belong here, I don't belong here.".
Well she's marking off her checklist and making conversation
And forcing her smile today.
She cannot find a reason for her to be unhappy,
But suddenly she's lost for words to say.

And everybody feels like he doesn't belong among all the happy faces sometimes,
And everybody feels like he's the only one who can't sleep at night.

He hands her a strong drink, leans in too close for comfort
Before she can say goodbye.
Do you want to know a secret?
Learn to say "I love you." without needing to hear a reply.
Cause I have lost many friends,
There is only so much I can write in a letter
And if I had to do over again there is only one person I would have called
And now, finish your drink dear and I will walk you home,
Finish your drink dear and I will walk you home.

In the hours before breakfast with the boys
She is losing her patience, she is losing her poise.
I am tired, she thinks, and I'm late.
I don't remember warm weather, thanksgiving's not forever.
I used to work pretty damn hard and now I don't know where I lost my ambition
But I just want to wake up one morning and not worry about my dress size or my GPA
Or just how long it's been,
Just how long it's been.

And everybody feels like he doesn't belong among all the happy faces sometimes,
And everybody feels like he's the only one who can't sleep at night.

It's not until she walks out far from any street light she notices her hands are tied,
It's not until the wind stops that she knows by her own breath
She needs to be alone to sigh
And it's strange how thick silence feels in the air,
Oh and it's strange how thick silence feels in the air.

And everybody feels like... everybody feels like....

And I, I'll let you walk alone he says,
But I'd rather take you home to bed
And she thinks well it'd be so nice to go home with somebody,
Yes it'd be so nice to go home with somebody, tonight.

You can download it on iTunes, it really is an eerily beautiful & moving song from a little known but hugely talented musician.

Challenge number three is to dance. Well, I can tell you that I am so totally on it I think I've surpassed an entire weeks worth of dancing in an evening. As you may know I went to see the sexy men that call themselves the Red Hot Chili Peppers yesterday evening in Manchester & being 39 weeks pregnant did not hold me back. I bloody love that band & the were on fire & though I'm feeling the effects right now of over-exertion I had such a blast that I don't care! They played songs I've always wanted to hear live, dirty-funky-sexy-goodness. & we were so close too. Oh, it was just heaven for me!

Number four is to take part in a listography blog-hop. I can tell you that I am just not that interesting so I hope you are all ready to be disappointed but I'll get on with it at some point this week!

All in all, another crappy week but with some good bits that made it bearable. This week I shall mainly just be waiting on baby, too so I'll keep you all informed!

Keep grooving!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, 14 November 2011

Grooving Mums & the Week of No Blogging

For the past week I have been attempting to write a post, using pictures from the past five years of my life to illustrate what visible changes have taken place in me & how that corresponds to where I have been in my life, womanhood. motherhood & the rest. I have actually found it much more difficult than I expected. I spent yesterday evening trying to organise all the pictures I wanted to use & after faffing around for an hour I was drained by it all. Not just by the technical computery crap, but by looking at all these snapshots of the varying lives I've had - it feels as though I've been a million different people, but only a handful of these people I've liked & I certainly aren't any of these likable characters at the moment.

When I saw the MH woman, one of the questions she asked me was 'What do you like about yourself?'. This took me by surprise & honestly, quite honestly, I could not think of one single thing. I thought for a  long time, 'Umm & ahh..' & yet I couldn't. I laughed a little & I cried a little. This has stuck with me, & so I think that one of my #groovingmums goals should be to change this. I am not sure how, but it must change.

I think I am in need of a re-cap of the week, in relation to my goals & aims. I have had a strange week of no blogging, being fairly busy with other projects in between the overwhelming tiredness I've felt of late. I have struggled this week with my emotions, too, so I think that has been detrimental to my energy levels. After visiting parents & family & being told that I looked pale & thin I have had a bit of a reality check & tried to eat much more than I usually would. I have basically used this as an excuse to indulge - Bailey's Ice Cream, biscuits, lots of milk & dairy - but I have been struggling to feel as though I'm getting enough protein, so this is possibly what I need to consider further this week. This week I also did a craft fair with my Mum. It was lovely & even though I was feeling pretty shit I really enjoyed it, it reminded me of being a little girl as I spent many weekends at craft fairs with my Granny & Mum. They always have a similar atmosphere, right down to the smell of the place & the buzz of people.

This week Kate set us a few mini tasks. The first was to have a think about ground rules to establish for the Grooving Mums blog hop. Hands up, I totally failed on this front. A good start.

Secondly, she asked us to 'embrace the spirit', whether this be in a religious or meditative way, or however else we should choose to interpret this. Not being religious, & thinking of myself as a fairly rational person, with a love of science & fact this is something that I would interpret in a different way. This is not to say that I don't feel spiritual at times, I think that the mind is an amazingly complex thing, & the range of emotions it is capable of experiencing at once is, well, mind blowing. The things that make me float are often sensory things: tastes, sounds, sights - roughly translating as good food, music & art. This week it was music. I have not felt this way in a long time & you can read about it here.

Third came the task of 'Body Fun' - doing something you wouldn't usually do, such as painting your toenails, having a facial... whatever it is, so long as it makes you feel good. I have to admit that in order to save my skin, which can get very blotchy & spotty, I don't often wear make-up unless I am leaving the house so I didn't break this routine this week, but I have had a hair-cut & feel so much better for it & I'm enjoying experimenting with different styles, as it's been a long time since I had hair this short. As for painting my toenails, I cannot reach them, though I would very much like to!

All in all, it's been a strange week, good & bad, but it's my last few weeks of being pregnant & I am feeling much less guilty for having not done all that much. In fact, to say I was 38 weeks pregnant I actually feel as though I have done quite a lot.

Also, I am away to Manchester this evening to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers (praying that the baby doesn't decide to come any time before 11pm this evening) & I am girlishly excited! I'm certainly going to be grooving.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

I'm With You, Cosmic-Cocoon Lady.

The living room is comfy, cosy & warm in every way. I am sat in an ancient saggy armchair which has a rip in the vile terracotta fabric on the arm. My knees squish up to the rip & soothe it with the good mood that is currently oozing from every part of me. Daughter climbs up, knocking wheaty-filled Bagpuss from the arm (I imagine him to cry out “MOW!”) & sits, using my hip as a seat & my feet, which are tucked under my bum as a leg rest. She is interrupting my flow, but I don’t mind.

She is tired of dancing to our current soundtrack & is instead opting for pestering me, her second favourite thing to do. My right ear feels hot, I’m not sure this is relevant, but you never know.

I have 11 days until I am due to give birth. It could happen any time now. What I am most concerned about, other than baby’s health, blah, blah… is in relation to our soundtrack. I am in a state of cosmic calm, inside my woollen cocoon of happiness & the sound that vibrates into my ears from said cosmic-cocoon is the album ‘I’m With You’ by a band I love, love, love – the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The Chilis albums are all related to various times in my life & memories of people, places & emotions, as is inevitable with any well-loved & oft-played collections of music. My confession, however, is that though this is probably my favourite band we’re talking about this is the first time I have actually, properly, really sat down to listen to this album, despite having pre-ordered it. Usually I’m in there like a ferret up your trouser-leg (yes, your trouser-leg) but I’m all grown up now & suffering all the shite that comes with being an adult, a mother & a member of this messed up society. The last album was released when I was in college; before I was a Mummy & when my only angst was that of the teenage variety.

To be entirely truthful I was a little scared of disappointment but even more worried of associating something by a band who I connect with ‘glory days’ with the way I feel now. I was scared that all the difficulty of depression & the anxiety I feel about the baby & my risk of PND would ruin one of the few things that remind me of who I really am, beneath all this.

Daughter is dancing again.

I wasn’t disappointed – in any way. The album is bloody good. Bloody good. It feels rosy, warm, funky, dirty & strangely familiar all at once. I feel as though it could fill the void caused by the lack of flaming log fire (due to Man-useless-at-collecting-firewood-ugg) & I can’t wait to get to know it’s ins & outs; for its sounds, harmonies, flaws, quirks & individuality to wash over me & become familiar to my brain & I can’t wait to decorate my Christmas tree & wrap the family’s presents in my own perfect space with this resonating around the room, into my brain & out again as I shuffle & wrap, groove & wrap, sing [wail] & wrap.

Most of all I cannot wait for the indescribable excitement & joy of hearing these songs played live & seeing exactly what is made of them by their masters. Since I was 14, there hasn’t been a Chilis tour that I haven’t been to. I have our tickets for this Monday – five days before my due date. I am praying that baby does not decide to come before or on Monday. There is a very insensible part of me that thinks it would be entirely wonderful for the psychedelic wonder-vibes to send me into labour but this is not, I realise, entirely practical. I am also wondering if it’s acceptable to take your child to its first gig at less than a week old, should baby decide to show up early. Daughter went to her first festival at age three months… I’ll think on it. Either way, keep your fingers crossed I make it to Monday (& I’ll keep my legs crossed…).

Peace, from your local cosmic-cocoon lady.

Monday, 7 November 2011

3pm Disappointment

It's 3.52pm & I was due to have an appointment with a member of the Rural Community Mental Health Team at 3.00pm today. Originally, my appointment with her was supposed to be on the first of the month., but she had to cancel due to 'having to take some annual leave'.

Though I was disappointed when my first appointment was cancelled, obviously these things happen, people have lives other than their work & I'm sure she was not without good reason to do so.

Since 2.45pm I've been watching every car that goes past the bay window. I hate waiting for people, & always feel anxious & agitated when I'm doing so. I have put out the washing, put in some more washing, tidied away some felts I'll need in an hour & generally fiddled about with all the things I'm usually too lazy to do in an attempt to distract myself but I can feel, even now I've become very nervous & teary.

This morning I felt awful again. Any good mood I'd felt in the past week has subsided & I'm in the sobbing phase again. I was half dreading but half looking forward to seeing this woman. I felt I needed it, even if I didn't much want it (my last appointment having been a little disappointing - read about it here). Now, an hour after she was due I feel foolish & let down. Why haven't I heard from her? Does my mental health not matter?

We were supposed to be making a crisis plan. To be honest I don't actually know what this entails but I imagine it to be clarifying steps to take should I feel horrendous & fancy topping myself or similar once the baby arrives. Obviously this was to be put into place before the baby's arrival & yet I am due in 12 days. What happens if I go into labour now or this week? The way I'm feeling at this moment in time I can barely bring myself to look in the mirror, let alone watch my child come into the world to a mother who is, let's face it, fairly useless at the moment.

It has been so difficult & frankly scary admitting to myself & the people I love that this isn't going to go away & that at times I can't cope; admitting that I am not normal, as much as I feel it sometimes & realising that no matter what I do, the cocoon of sadness & the sense of claustraphobia that comes with it will always return & admitting that I can't be the mum to my children that I always thought I would be. But I have done that & I've asked for help. I know myself well enough to realise that I need support & yet I feel as though I am not getting it. I'm not stupid - I may have made some bad decisions in my life, I may have been careless but I am intelligent enough to see things must change, yet all I feel has happened so far is that I have not been taken seriously or I have been patronised.

A very charming consultant we saw a few weeks ago was kind enough to make me feel like a child, talking to my partner as though I wasn't in the room & then giving me a withering telling off for having not seen my midwife enough, even though I have seen her as she has requested. & you know what - I just take it. I haven't the energy to make myself heard & that is the worst part of it. I'm ashamed of myself but what more can I do? I'm tired. & what about all those other people out there who aren't being heard? The ones who don't have the support of a wonderful partner or children who have to be their point of focus - what do they do when they don't get heard? How many slip through the net?

The system is failing. It is not acceptable - but who has the energy to fight?

It's 4.29pm now & I'm still watching the cars go by. I don't think she's coming.

Last Winter: What a difference a year makes...

I haven't blogged or even written in six days. I have a head swimming with ideas but I haven't had the time to put them to paper & so I feel I must find something to put out there - this neglect shall not do!

With the onset of Winter & all the feelings & emotions related to this season, as well as the memories of past Winters, I thought it appropriate to share a small slice of what my story was this time last year. This is a recycled post from another blog which is focused more on my past relationships & love life. It is the beginning of my last single episode & I think it's important to let you know that just one year on I feel that I have reached my Happy Ending. I don't mean in terms of feeling happy within myself - myself is a totally different story - but in love & partnership I have found something that makes it all worthwhile. I am not naive enough to believe that this will last forever & be easy to boot, but I have certainly found a Man who is worth the effort of a relationship & who I feel entirely fortunate to have in my life. This is something I have never truly felt before. I also think it's worth mentioning that shortly after my promotion at work, the business went under & I was left with even less than nothing, materially, but I did have that Man I met on the internet & our baby. Talk about being a fast-mover.

It was this time last year that I had very little, in the material sense at the very least, due to a break-up...

Singledom always comes in short spurts for me. Though I enjoy freedom & find relationships to be hard work at times I still can’t quite shake the innate urge to couple-up, to feel loved & needed & to reciprocate these feelings.

It’s never that simple though, is it?

The last relationship had ended under dubious & dangerous circumstances. Circumstances which were almost entirely my fault & which I am not yet brave enough to put to paper. It was the beginning of the very cold winter. A week or so after he & his possessions had left the house, the outside pipes that drained the washing machine froze in mid-cycle (it was -14 degrees) & the kitchen flooded. I wept. Thankfully, all was not so bad. The very same day I finally had a bed of my own & the prospect of a comfy mattress as opposed to a constantly-deflating airbed was heavenly. That week I had also acquired a table & a desk so was no longer living completely like a squatter in my own home! So, things were looking better, even if I did have to revisit the days of squelching garments underfoot in the bath.

I’d had some dates that were not worth the effort of description, but all in all come Christmas I was not yet ready. Something was missing. I think I needed a life again before love, or the prospect of it. A coffee table & a giant rug would have been nice too.

Christmas was a warm & very welcome distraction. We spent it at Home – my parent’s house. We all ate & drank like gluttons & basked in the heat of the open fire for a blissful week. There was Christmas TV (something I love to indulge in due to not personally owning a TV at the time - though compromise means that I do now & consequently feel no such thrill for this coming Christmas); there was always company; & most importantly there was that constant, unspoken love.

I prolonged the escape by visiting my very favourite friend in Shrewsbury. We spent an enjoyable & tipsy New Year together, in the company of other wonderful folk. During this time, things changed. I received a call telling me I’d been promoted at work. This meant that a coffee table would be on the cards, it also meant challenges & fulfilment. The affection I received from friends & family filled me with a pleasure that cannot be obtained from any other source. I was finally living comfortably – I had a good job; I had a house to call my own; my daughter was, as ever, perfectly wonderful; I had security & was loved. But I was not in love.

I decided that I would be. I put myself out there – literally. I had several pairs of friends who had met via that wonderful platform that is the internet. I was sceptical at first but, I was in good humour & feeling bold so I joined. I paid & everything.

Why not?

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Lists are seriously frustrating to format.

I officially declare myself a Grooving Mum.

I know I’ve all ready written an intro but this post will be my list of goals (please note – list likely to be changed, removed, revised or set on fire at any time) that I’d like to achieve within the next 12 months or so.

Because I am currently 37+ weeks pregnant, I have decided that the most sensible thing to do is to set myself some short term aims – i.e. little things to do or change before the baby or when the baby first arrives – as well as a few bigger ambitions, & things about myself that I know will take longer to change.

I shall get straight to the point, as I have had a rather rough day – to my dismay after almost an entire week of feeling well – and I’d like to post about the Halloween activities Daughter & I got up to in the last few days when I’m in a better frame of mind!

So, here goes…

Short Term Goals:

  1. Ensure that I have a safety-net should I end up suffering from PND when the baby arrives by:
    • Making a crisis plan, as suggested by Community MH Worker.
    • Ensuring I am as honest as I possibly can with my Man & my family if needs be – this is something I have struggled with recently & am still reluctant through fear of burdening others unnecessarily.
    • Taking steps to be healthy – eat well & keep my mind active so as to get into a better routine with a view to keeping this up once the baby arrives.
  2. Sort out my ridiculously out of control finances in order to create stability for me & for my family – I dislike talking to people over the phone & therefore must man-up a bit & take charge of the situation instead of becoming a nervous wreck & avoiding these things.
  3. Enjoy the final few weeks of my pregnancy, without feeling any guilt for outing my feet up & having things done for me.
  4. Do more things I enjoy & stop worrying about others – take pleasure in making for Christmas, & share my achievements.
  5. More face masks & chocolate.

Long Term Goals (Post-Baby & New Year):

  1. Take care of my body – start running again, then possibly swimming when the hotter weather comes. Lovely endorphins, yes please!
  2. Keeping up with the healthy eating routine that I will hopefully have established pre-baby. Not weighing myself but ensure I’m not too skinny for my clothes & feel well in myself.
  3. Settle Daughter into a new nursery & set up a good routine for her, baby & myself.
  4. Take time & research the possible careers I could have when the baby gets to nursery age. Work towards achieving something that will empower me, as well as fit around family commitments.
  5. Hone my writing skills, so that all my blog-posts aren’t quite as dreary as this one seems so far! Seriously – take time to educate myself in writing & possibly other things that interest me. Get the cogs turning again.

    So, these are my goals thus far. As I say, I may revise them or (more likely) set fire to them. Currently my main focus is being well in every sense when the baby turns up. I’m truly terrified again this week. I can’t see many ways that I’ll keep sane, particularly after the New Year, but making this list today has certainly helped me. I’ve got good feeling about my Grooving Mums adventure & I certainly hope that I don’t bore you all to death in the weeks to come. I’m also totally looking forward to keeping up with everyone’s stories too.

    Ooh & I almost forgot - as requested by Kate this week I am including a pic of my in my Halloween glory, from this weekend. Looking totally un-pregnant (but trust me - it's all there) & I was actually feeling bloody brilliant too, though I am mostly always self-conscious of photos, hence the expression:

    Wish me luck!

Monday, 31 October 2011

...& the Winner Is...

Righty-ho, drum-roll please!

I have drawn the WINNER of my Blogtoberfest Giveaway...

... I allocated each comment a number (1-22) - obviously I did not count my own comments - & then used to pick (I was going to use Daughter & a hat full of names, which would have made for much better blogging & pics but I put her to bed after tears & tantrums!)

& so the WINNER...

...Oh the suspense...

...The winner is...

...Number 12...

...Which is...

Taylor Made!


So either get in touch with me or I'll get in touch with you & hopefully get it posted out to you this week :)

Oooh I love all this exciting giveaway stuff!

(& here is the proof, incase you think I'm a dirty cheat!!)

Friday, 28 October 2011

Green Grocers Should Not Give Parental Advice.

It is 7.43pm & I am sat in bed by way of protest. I am typing each letter with defiance. My laptop is asking me to stop being quite so brutal. No, I tell it:

I am in protest.

What are you in protest of?

I am in protest - I say proudly - of...well...of everything. Downstairs is a mess. I know I have to tidy it before the Man's brother-in-law comes with our new sofa tomorrow - I say petulantly - but right now I am in protest & so I shall not be tidying it until later. & yes, I know that I have to fill in that form that I promised the Man I'd fill in (the one I have been avoiding for no reason) but he is not home until midnight & I shall not be filling it in until later & besides which I do not have an envelope big enough to post it anyway so I will have to wait until tomorrow to get one. So there.

Oh. What's that you're eating?

I am eating brioche, in protest - I say.

In protest of what?

I am eating brioche by way of protest against the horrific heartburn I currently have. It has become so bad that I cannot drink anything warmer than luke-warm & each gulp of food feels like a fiery golf ball when it reaches the part between my boobs but I am eating this brioche because it is tasty & I want to.

Yes, I think I have gone mad.

It all started with a bath, in which I was given time to think about things. Dangerous, dangerous, dangerous. I am irritable & I thought that a bath & time to churn over & settle a few thoughts in my mind would help - alas, it has not. It has, for some inexplicable reason, turned me into my petulant 3 year old Daughter.

There were two things that I realised, that are now bugging me. Buzz, buzz, buzz. The first comes from reading those little online baby things that tell you where you are at with your pregnancy each week - how big your baby is by measurement of fruit or veg for some inexplicable reason (does a green-grocer write these?), what you should be doing to make it a super-genius & what ailments should currently be plaguing you at this moment in time.

A few weeks back the Man was reading one of these aloud, as he likes to, & it mentioned something in the 'Ideas for Dad' section (normally full of mundane advice such as 'take out life insurance' or 'give her a foot-rub') that has stuck in my brain ever since. It said something along the lines of this:

Dad, have you tried the 'Guess the body part' game yet? - as though it's a frigging well known game? Pish - Baby is moving a lot now & though Mum now can determine an elbow from a knee why not have fun by feeling Mum's tum & trying to guess for yourself!

Well, I can tell you it didn't stick in my mind just because it sounded like a total hoot (ahem), no it stuck because I actually had no idea as to which body-parts bulged out of my stomach. & it's not like they don't bulge, I mean they really do. It's like it's trying to break out, Alien styley, & sometimes it hurts!  Ever since I have found myself frustratedly trying to decipher which bit of my bump is a head or a leg or a bum (all this made ten times worse by the fact that Daughter was breech so I am completely obsessed with whether this one is going to turn the right way or whether they might have to cut me open again) & I can't tell. So, in my mind, this makes me one or both of two things:

a) Stupid
b) A useless mother to my unborn child

&, if I'm honest, I'm not sure which is worse!

Okay, so I know, I know I am being over-sensitive about this & that there are obviously deeper issues here, but it really makes me think that the green-grocers who write this baby-twaddle & Crap Ideas for Dad should just stick to the 'be nice, avoid her wrath & make sure the money is coming in, two pound for that bunch of bananas' tack. Don't invent tedious games that insult half of the mothers who are paranoid about which way around there baby is laying. Don't torment me, follow your own mundane advice - avoid my wrath, make my partner give me back-rubs (he's not going near my feet) & tell him to leave all his money to me, should I kill him in frustration!

Seriously, pregnant women are sensitive & will be driven to bed & brioche in protest [of nothing] in a second, so be careful what you say!

Oh, & the second thing I realised when I was in the bath was that the bath edges needed re-sealing. I got out swiftly after this second realisation.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Grooving Mums

So, I have a had a very up & down week this week. As I've mentioned, it really scares me just how up & down I can be. Some mornings I can wake up numb & end up having a wonderful day, other days I could wake up with a positive outlook only to bomb out spectacularly in a wave of tears or anxiety.

I need to get this under control.

I've never really been a stable person anyway, but I have always managed to muddle by one way or another.

Today & yesterday have been unexpectedly good days. I feel cured. I can barely remember why on earth I have felt so miserable recently & find myself wondering what all the fuss was about. There is nothing wrong with me. Unfortunately, I know that this isn't true & I know from recent experience that this feeling probably won't last forever (but I would not complain if it should) & so I have to make the most of this mindset while it lasts.

I am currently on the brink of changing things. After seeing my GP a few weeks ago I have had an initial appointment with a member of my local Community MH Team. I had very mixed feelings about the appointment. She asked me lots of standard questions as we went through a questionnaire & while I initially felt it was comprehensive & positive I soon began to stumble over my replies & didn't feel that I adequately expressed myself to her & by the end of the session I felt as though I had not given her a realistic view of myself. I write it better than I say it. Always have, probably always will. In the hours & days that followed I kept remembering things I had missed out or realising I had said things that could easily have been misconstrued.

She had said that she would go away & write up a report which she would share with some sort of team (by this time I wasn't really taking much in - my concentration is shot at the best of times) but she did say that she would arrange for me to see a consultant as she felt that I wasn't entirely convinced on her initial verdict of low moods caused by anxiety. She was right, I feel that the anxiety is only present occassionally due to my actions or inactions brought on by low mood. I feel crap first & then I do nothing & worry about having done nothing.

Anyway, the point of me telling you all this is my discovery of a blog-hop called Grooving Mums via the wonderful platform that is Twitter (I am now addicted & spend far too much time tweeting crap).

Basically, this is a group of blogging mums who feel they would like to change something about themselves, big or small & their accounts of how they are doing this. Kate [on Thin Ice] explains it all here.

So, over the next few days I am going to think of five attainable goals for myself (I have accepted - sort of - that I am not, nor am I ever going to be a Super-Mum) & try to keep weekly updates for you all to read how I am doing.

I'm terrified of bombing out on this - I have a history of being useless - but I have all ready heard from some lovely, lovely Grooving Mums which has been inspiring & heartwarming.

Here's to getting my groove back.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

On Mammaries & Memories of Who I Am

I’m sat in the middle of the floor of my baby’s nursery as I write this. Behind me is the bed of the crib that was once mine, then my daughter’s & is now theirs. To my left are the legs of the crib, half painted & still wet. In front  of me is a brand new wooden high chair which currently seats Daughter’s dolly (adorned in oversized swimsuit, previously belonging to Daughter herself), some Johnson’s Baby Lotion which I shall never use as I prefer organic & ethical products & a hand-me-down plastic baby toy in suitably garish colours. Also in the room is a large cot, again, once belonging to Daughter; a beautiful new moses basket (my proudest & most unnecessary purchase); a new chest of drawers, too small to actually hold all the clothes & bibs we seem to have acquired; an electric breast pump; various baby bottles; a steam steriliser & all that other paraphernalia associated with a new baby.

I often come in & sit in this space, to try & familiarise myself with the room or just basically in an attempt to come to terms with the fact that I’m going to be a mother - again.

There will be a new baby in here in less than five weeks.

I can say this over & over but still it has not sunk in.

Earlier I took my shiny electric breast pump out of its box, read the instructions, dismantled & reconstructed it & stared at it for a while. Last time I had a manual one which was such a pain in the arse that I promised myself an electric one this time around – a lady of leisure with all my fancy baby gadgets & all that jazz. As I dismantled the pump again I felt a pang of excitement which was immediately followed by a wave puzzlement. 

When on earth did I go from being a [not so] cool, wild party girl who got rared up by a free shot of Sambuca from the handsome gentleman at the cheap bar, followed by a dance with the cheap gentleman from the handsome bar – or was it the other way around? That Sambuca had gone to my head – to being thrilled at the prospect of not having to manually extract the milk from my mammaries? Thrilled is perhaps too strong a word, but you see my point nevertheless?

If you have read any of my previous posts you will realise that I haven’t been coping with this pregnancy well & that I am finding it hard to be thrilled by anything at the moment, but I do feel happy that I am not completely detached & I am beginning to realise that maybe doing what makes it easier for me & by buying all this fancy but slightly unnecessary stuff will actually help me to cope better when the baby is here. I also think that it is going to be about finding a balance between the partying & the pumping.

I don’t want to lose sight of who I am, or who I can be. 

At the moment I am far too round to dance for more than 10 minutes without having to stagger to the nearest seating area & have a bit of a rest but that’s just pregnancy & I must accept this. It’s not going to last forever. In fact it’s going to last for five more weeks, maximum. I am 22. I am not past it by any means, I started young & therefore I have a head start in that I have the whole of my life to achieve the things I didn’t achieve when I was 18 & pregnant. I may spend my nights wakeful or sobbing & I may feel as though I have failed because I didn’t live my life in the order that my friends & peers lived theirs but I still have time. Sometimes I find it very difficult to remember this. Sometimes my insecurities bog me down & I do stupid things & think stupid thoughts & become so absorbed in myself or in my own sadness that I forget.

Pregnancy is not forever & hopefully shall be without stretch marks.

My life after pregnancy will be just as it was before – juggling motherhood, my mammaries & responsibilities with a career (we hope), sexy shoes & a lot of dancing (though possibly not with strange men).
I could do it before, even when I was a single mum, so surely even though I have an extra sprog the presence of a man evens that out?

It’ll all be okay – I just have to remind myself of that sometimes.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Why can't I?

Here I go...

This morning I decorated gingerbread men with Daughter.

Monumental achievement? It felt like it.

My moods have been erratic lately. 

After last week being busy & my mind being fairly distracted, I shuddered to a halt on Saturday evening.
Saturday had been spent visiting my mum. We had plans to go out but comfortably abandoned such plans while feeling cosy at home. I was content to sit & let Daughter play while everyone else looked out for her. I was utterly relaxed on the large leather sofa, with the log fire roaring.

When I returned home I felt fine. A little more nonplussed than earlier. Was it the beginning of numbness? I wasn’t sure.

I crashed out on the sofa, I was tired, & sure enough the numbness crept over me like a familiar old blanket. Oh no. I was quiet & subdued all evening until it came to bedtime. Bedtime is usually the clincher. I sat on the edge of the bed & as my lovely, unsuspecting man brushed his teeth I started to cry & sob. I didn’t want to feel like this. It seemed as though this was happening more unpredictably than before & I couldn’t cope with it. I didn’t want to feel like this, I didn’t want it carry on & at the same time I didn’t feel as though I could carry on. It was too much.

Why does this keep happening? How can I feel so okay one moment then completely encased by sadness the next? 

Sunday was numb. Today is numb. I’m not good & I’m not bad. I’m just thinking. I’m certainly not doing. I never do anything when I feel this way & that’s part of the problem. I feel sad; I have no motivation; I do nothing; I feel worthless; I feel sadder. Then I cause problems for myself – not paying bills, not completing projects – & that adds anxiety to the mix.

Yes, the answer is glaringly obvious. Do something you lazy twat. It’s more than that. I’m not sure how to explain further, except that it’s like a constant block: a constant voice in the back of my mind that reminds me of just how much of a failure I am – just how worthless I am. I can tell myself I’m not, others can tell me the same, I believe them sometimes, it sounds rational but it doesn’t make it go away.

I need help. I’ve asked for it, though I haven’t been entirely honest  about how I feel with anyone I’ve encountered – not professionals nor with my loved ones. I know that I must but I don’t want to make a fuss – I’m not worth a fuss. I am pathetic & I should be able to deal with this myself. Everyone else does. Everyone else copes with life. Why can’t I?