Just say hello

As schools are back this week, I thought it would be a good time for me to take Donut to a play centre.  It’d be quiet(er), and there wouldn’t be any “big kids” running around.  I had decided on taking him to a lovely little play centre, called Playdays Cafe, which is in St Helens (Merseyside).

Now, I’m a member of several websites, that encourages mums to make friends with other mums – so I decided to extend my little party of two to be a mummy social.

One particular website I’m a member of, is (ironically) called Mummy Social, and does allow you to set up events, and invite other mums in your area (or further afield, if you wish).  So I did.  I set it up about 10 days ago, and hey presto!  My invitations were automatically sent out to those in the St Helens and Liverpool area.

It was the eve before my “social”, and no one had clicked the “attend” button on the site.  However, I wasn’t disheartened.  As I said – I was already planning on taking Donut anyway.

I quickly made a post on a local mums facebook group, extending the invite there, and I did get a lot of interest – 4 other mums said they would be there with their little ones.

This morning started off as usual.  Gning and Donut decided they wanted “milk and cookies” for breakfast, and as soon as they were ready, we were out the door.  I dropped Gning off at school (just started year 1), and Donut got really upset, because he wasn’t going to school (he goes to nursery, three times a week).  I explained to him that we were going to play instead, so he hurried me back to the car…

I arrived at the play centre early.  A lot earlier than I had invited the mums for.  I had said 10am, but I was there for 9:30am.

I’m one of those people who suffers anxiety, and I did have a mini panic-attack this morning, thinking that people would actually turn up!  What would I say to them?  Should I just say hello?  How would I keep the conversation going..?

Donut quickly ran off and started playing.  He knows this particular play centre inside out, and has a habit of climbing up to the tallest part, then starts crying.  He gets “stuck”.  He isn’t really stuck…  He just realises that he’s at the top, and can’t remember the way down.  This is exactly what happened at 9:55am.  He stood at the top of the frame, looking down at me, sobbing.  One of the girls who worked there shouted up to him, “are you ok?”, she asked.  I replied that he always does this – he just can’t remember the way down.  I stood up and went to help him, but the girl had beat me to it.  “Don’t worry about it – I’m used to going up and down this thing.  You just sit down and enjoy your coffee”, she said with a smile.  Brilliant.  Mother of the Year award goes to a complete stranger, who shot up the climbing frame quicker than I could pick up my cup.

Donut made his own way down, with guidance from the girl, and was so happy when he reached the bottom.  He did his little happy dance, and even “high fived” her, before she made her way back behind the counter.  Next thing you know, he’s up at the top again…  Only this time, he remembered his new learned skill, and was back down!

There were plenty of other mums, and carer’s of children, in the play centre.  I looked around, looking for any glimpse of familiarity in their faces.  Was that the girl who replied that she would attend?  I’m sure I recognise that little boys face…

One mum was heavily pregnant, and looked really stressed out.  She had a little girl with her – I’d say about 18 months old or so, and the tiny tot would not leave her side.  The bump had to climb over the 1.5ft barrier occasion on occasion to force her daughter to play.

Another mum was there, and had what looked like a 3 year old boy, and a baby boy – around a month old.  She looked a natural.  Laughing, chasing the child around, whilst “wearing” the baby on her chest…

Then I realised that Donut had disappeared again.  I thought that he was up on the frame again, but then I heard him laugh.  I turned around, and noticed that he was in one of those coin operated rides, with another little boy of a similar age, and the machine was on.  Mum of little boy was at their side, smiling.  I shot over to their side, and apologised that Donut was taking over her sons’ ride.  She laughed, and told me not to worry about it.  Her son doesn’t usually mingle well with other children, but he seemed to like Donut.

It was now 10:20am.  I was getting bored, sitting at the table alone.  If anyone had turned up from the Mummy Social site, or facebook group, no one had made an effort to try to find me.

I hastily posted a status on the latter mentioned group, asking if anyone was there, and if they were too shy to say hello – because I was in the same boat.  I did get lots of replies, but all were “sorry, I forgot”, or “I didn’t know you meant today…”.

I called Donut over, and asked him if he wanted to go home and see daddy, which he said “yes” to.  On with his shoes, and home we went.

I think the point that I’m getting to here is not about anyone else turning up, it’s about something much more.  I was sat on my own, and apart from the other two mums’, who seemed to be there without any other adult company, there were other “groups” of mums / child-carers.

Did you know that 4 out of 5 people would rather use the statement “I’m depressed”, rather than “I’m lonely”?

If you’re with a group of friends, and you see a mum sitting on her own – smile at her.  Say “hello”.  It’s not much, and takes no effort at all, but you may just bring so much more to that persons’ day.

Seek out the mum who is focused on her smartphone.  Most of the time they will say, ‘Oh, did you mean me?  Hi.’  A little eye contact, a little smile, a little victory for humanity.

You never know – you may just have met your new best mum friend by one simple word.

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To the mum feeling guilty…

To the mum hiding in her bathroom, needing peace for just one minute, as the tears roll down your cheeks.

To the mum who is so tired, you feel like you can’t function anymore and would do anything to lay down and get the rest you need.

To the mum sitting in your car, alone, stuffing food in your face because you don’t want anyone else to see or know you eat that stuff.

To the mum crying on the couch after you shouted at the kids for something little and is now feeling guilty and like you are unworthy.

To the mum that is trying desperately to put those old jeans on because all you really wants is to look in the mirror and feel good about yourself.

To the mum that doesn’t want to leave the house because life is just too much to handle right now.

To the mum that is calling out for take away again because dinner just didn’t happen the way you wanted it to.

To the mum that feels alone, whether in a room by yourself or standing in a crowd.

You are enough.
You are important.
You are worthy.

This is a phase of life for us. This is a really really hard, challenging, crazy phase of life.  I know – I’ve been there, and sometimes feel like I still am there.

In the end it will all be worth it. But for now it’s hard. And it’s hard for so many of us in many different ways. We don’t always talk about it, but it’s hard and it’s not just you.

You are enough.
You are doing your best.
Those little eyes that look up at you – they think you are perfect. They think you are more than enough.

Those little hands that reach out to hold you – they think you are the strongest. They think you can conquer the world.

Those little mouths eating the food you gave them – they think that you are the best because their bellies are full.

Those little hearts that reach out to touch yours – they don’t want anything more. They just want you.

Because you are enough. You are more than enough, mum.  You are simply amazing.

10 reasons to LOVE bananas!

Bananas have so many health benefits, that I am sure that someone would get bored reading before even getting halfway through the list.  Here’s just 10 reasons why you should make a banana your favourite fruit.

  1. Eating two bananas can give you enough energy for a 90 minute workout session.

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2.  Bananas can help fight against depression.  This is because bananas contain a protein called tryptophan, which converts to serotonin. Serotonin helps you relax and can make you feel better too.

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3.  Bananas contain Vitamin B6, which regulates blood glucose levels.  This vitamin also puts you in a good mood!

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4.  The Vitamin B6 in bananas will also help fight nerves and stress.

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5.  Bananas can help battle high blood pressure, and prevent strokes!  The fruit is high in potassium, and low in sodium, which is the perfect combination to fight against both ailments.

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6.  To that effect, bananas can soothe heartburn because of the natural antacid effect it has on the body.

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7.  Bananas are high in fibre.  This can help regulate bowel movements without resorting to laxatives.

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8.  Having trouble passing your exams?  The potassium in a banana can help your stay focused and alert.

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9.  The inside of a banana peel can soothe mosquito bites, and even sun burn!  Simply peel, enjoy eating the banana for all its’ health benefits, and then run the inside of the skin on the affected area.

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10.  As if bananas couldn’t be any more magical, they can also help cure a hangover!

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An open letter to the mother who has to go back to work

To the mother that has to go back to work.

You may have been absent from work for a long time, but you’ve certainly had your hands full.

You, yes you, have brought a child in to the world.  Granted, there was someone else to help you at the very beginning, but it was YOU who gave birth – or, if you’re like me, you’ve had your tummy sliced right open.  Just for them.

If you put the child to feed on your breast, you’ve had the cracked and painful nipples.  Sometimes you’ve had the teeth too…

If you fed the child on the bottle, you’ve spent endless hours washing and sterilising those pain in the arse bottles.  Not to mention the scooping of the powder, and the constant temperature checking.  It may be ok for you to drink cold tea, and slurp scalding tomato soup, but the baby’s milk has to be perfect.

You’ve been pee’d on and vomited on – almost daily.

You’ve been elbows deep, sometimes literally, in baby poo.

You’ve found baby poo in your hair…  An hour after you changed the last dirty nappy.  You don’t even know how it got there.

You know exactly when your washing machine will finish the load – because it seems to be on all of the time.

You’ve watched your child grow from a pure and innocent baby, who was so delicate, to a smiling, laughing, possibly crawling, and maybe even standing, ‘not quite a toddler’ child.

But alas, you have reached that time where you can no longer put it off.  You’re venturing in to worlds anew – even if you’ve been there before.

You’ve made the hard decision to leave your child behind and go back to work.  Afterall, you need the money, right?  You need your career, right?

But don’t think of it like that.  Think of it as a new beginning.

You are going to miss your child.  You are going to constantly wonder if you made the right choice to return to work.  You are going to cry every now and again…  Afterall…  You’re leaving behind that pure and innocent baby behind…

But you will be ok.  

It is ok to cry.

It is ok to miss your child.

It is ok to wonder if you made the right decision.

Just remember that at the end of your working day, you have those beautiful smiles to go home to.  Those cuddles, that you now take for granted, are going to be cherished even more.  Bedtimes may still be a struggle – especially if you have one of those children (like mine) who doesn’t like to go to bed – but you will love the effort you have to put in.

Why?

Because that’s your child, and even though you are away from them the whole day, you know they are there, waiting for you when you get home.

From a mother who’s been there before x

They grow up too fast…

Gning started nursery in May 2014.  I placed him in a private (paid for) nursery for a few reasons – Mainly because he was too young; but because I worked a full day, and the hubby was starting full-time work, other nurseries didn’t suit our requirements.

It all started brilliantly.  Over the first few weeks, he had come a long way.  His speech was improving, and the attempts at potty training were speeding up.  Within two months, he was out of nappies, and almost always getting to the toilet on time.

September 2014 came, and because he was turning 3, he had to move out of the baby room, and across the road to the “big kids” room.  At first everything went well.  He was happy as a few of the other kiddies had moved across with him, however it didn’t take long before I noticed little changes.

Gning had started to cry of a morning.  He didn’t want to go in to school.  He never gave a reason.  I also noticed that he was coming home covered in paint and / or pen marks – not just on his hands, but on his face, in his hair, on his clothes, on his back…  I started to worry, and I did bring it up with the nursery.  They always seemed to have a reason, and at the time it was annoying, but acceptable.

Things started to improve a little.  He was happy when I went to pick him up, and he was ‘cleaner’ (as a three year old boy could be).

About a month later, I noticed it again…  I was mid-pregnant with Donut now, and the fact that my little guy was so upset was really starting to get to me.

Gning was hysterical of a morning.  Sometimes I had to drag him out of bed, and then to the gates of the nursery.  He’d sob and cling on to me when we went in to the room.  I hated leaving him.  He’d also started coming home dirty, and covered in paint and allsorts.

In April, hubby went to pick Gning up, and I stayed at home.  When he walked through the door, to the front room where I was sitting, I smiled, and asked if he had had a good day…  But then I noticed it.  A red mark, and scratches on his forehead.  I asked if I could take a closer look, and I noticed that it was actually ‘bumping’.

I immediately brought it to the attention of the hubby, asking if he had fallen or bumped his head on the way home.  He replied with a “no…”  I immediately phoned the nursery, and I asked what had happened.  The response was unacceptable.  “Oh, I didn’t see anything.  I’ll ask around”. We kept our eyes on him for the rest of the day, and overnight.  Gning had said that he had a “little headache”, but he seemed ok.

The following day, the bump was in full effect – bruising too – so I had to ask the nursery again if they knew what had happened.  They shown no concern, and this infuriated me.  It was that incident that had literally added the final straw.  I tried to remain calm, but as soon as I got home, I snapped.

I need to point out by this time I was heavily pregnant.  My hormones were everywhere, and I was really struggling with my emotions.

I relayed the response to the hubby, and he was annoyed too.  I thought “enough is enough”, and I started to compose an email to the manager of the nursery.  I can only remember a few parts of what the email contained…  I expressed my concerns of the state that Gning was being sent home in.  I explained that I always sent him in with his backpack with spare clothes (in case of any accidents, dirt, etc.).  I explained about the cuts, bruises, scrapes and bumps.  I explained about the lack of concern when I brought up the incident with his head.  I also pointed out that I thought the nursery was a ‘joke’ by literally saying “the sessions seem to be an over-elaborate play group, with little to no structure, and minimal supervision – if at all.  If there would be any supervision, they would have noticed my sons’ latest injury“.

I don’t think they appreciated it, as I started getting phone calls…  Which I ignored the first few.  Eventually I told hubby to answer it.  It was the manager of the nursery, and they wanted to talk to me.  I refused to talk to them, so hubby organised a meeting – without me.  I didn’t want to go.  Either I would lose my temper in there, or I would sit there crying the whole time.

Anyway, it was the same day of the phone call that I called my local primary school.  I asked how I could register Gning for their nursery (as he was now old enough, and I had just left work for maternity leave).  They simply replied with “just pop on down to the school and complete a registration form.  We’ll then assess to see if there is any space in the nursery for the May intake”.

It was as simple as that.  I went to the school within the hour.  The form was completed, and as I handed it in, I asked when we were likely to find out.  The receptionist replied “we’re undergoing the intake assessments at the moment, so hopefully you’ll find out next week”.

That was all I needed.  When I got home, I decided that regardless of Gning being offered a place or not, I was going to pull him out of the private nursery.  I couldn’t face the heart-ache any more.

A couple of days passed, and hubby went for the meeting with the manager of the private nursery without me.  When we spoke afterwards, he said that the manageress seemed to have an answer for everything.  It seemed rehearsed, and very defensive.  It was like she couldn’t take any criticism, and she wasn’t prepared to listen to what he had to say.  Apparently, she seemed more concerned over my attitude.  Meh.

The following week came and went, and Gning continued to go to the private nursery.  I refused to go in to the hall, leaving him immediately when they opened the security door.

It was on the Tuesday – two weeks after I had applied for the place in the schools’ nursery – that I mentioned to hubby that I hadn’t heard from the school, so I phoned them.  They apologised for not contacting me, but announced that they would be pleased to have Gning from that Thursday!

He took to his new school like a duck to water.  He loved it.  He made lots of friends, and even had five ‘girlfriends’ at one point!  His attitude started to improve again, and he started to learn to recognise numbers, and to write his name.

Today is the 7th September 2015.

Even though Gning has been attending nursery for quite some time, I feel today is a big step.  It’s his first day (back) at school (nursery), but this time he enters it for the full school year.  No doubt the friends that he makes this school year will be the friends he will have when he moves up to the reception class next year.  Who knows?  He may even meet his “friend for life” in this school year.

I am so proud of my little man, and all that he has accomplished throughout the past 18 months (no – his whole life).  I love him to pieces, but they grow up too fast…

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It’s all happening today…

Today I am 38 weeks pregnant.

Last night was the last time I will ever sleep in my own bed, cuddling my ‘only’ child.

At 6pm today, I am being admitted to hospital, as because I am having an elective c-section (due to medical reasons), I need to start a course of steroid injections before the surgery.  My antenatal consultant stated that I could have had the injections as an out-patient, but because of complications that could arise, she would rather that I just go in today as an in-patient, and “see it out”.  I thought it best to follow her advice.

On Monday, 1 June 2015, our second ‘bundle of blue’ will be ‘hatched’ in to the world.  I have no idea on the time of the surgery yet, although I have been told that because I will already be an in-patient, it is more than likely going to be the first or second section of the morning.

I’m nervous.  No.  I’m terrified.  I have what is known as the ‘second child fear’.  I suppose I should have tried to tackle this much earlier, but I have been assured from so many people that my thoughts will disappear.

Basically, I am worried that Gning is going to feel neglected when Donut comes along.  Is he going to be jealous..?  I don’t think so…  He’s been cuddling me, and asking questions – for probably the past 6 months – and asking if he can “shake Donuts hands” when he’s here.  I don’t think the problem is with Gning.  No.  It’s me.  I’m scared that I cannot love a second child…  Will I be able to love Donut as much as I love Gning?  Will I have to share the love..?  According to everyone I have already spoken to, they are empty anxieties.  I will always love my little man as strongly as I do now; and when Donut arrives, and is in my arms, apparently, there’s another “bubble of love” that will pop, and it’ll be like I double the amount of love I have to give.

I’m ok.  I promise!  It is just the nerves talking…

It’s 9:10am, Saturday morning.  I’ve been up for a little under an hour; and I already have my lunch in the slow cooker.  We’re having braising steak, in a mushroom gravy, with baby new potatoes (with the skins still on); buttered with herbs.  It was delicious last time we had it, and I imagine it’s going to be just as lush this time – although hubby dearest is disagreeing me with, as he and mushrooms just don’t see eye-to-eye…  Ahh well.  It just means more for me 😛

I have a relatively full day today.  You know – considering I said that I am going to try to have a lazy day at home, before heading up to my parents, so they can ‘escort’ me to the hospital.  Plans never seem to follow through though, when you want a quiet day.

So, this is the last post I am making as being a parent to an ‘only’ child.  The next post I write will no doubt be to introduce our latest addition 🙂

Until then, have a wonderful weekend x

I cannot see my toes any more…

It’s official, ladies and gentlemen.  I am over halfway through my pregnancy.  Today, I am 20 +3 weeks.  My estimated due date still stands at 13 June 2015.

I use the term “estimated” loosely in this sentence, as I have had somewhat of a difficult pregnancy, and with my consultant basically telling me that although I could try for a natural birth, the odds of a successful one are only at 65%.  Therefore, I have been told that they strongly recommend an elected c-section.

The nausea started at just 6 weeks.  I suffered morning, noon and night.  I practically felt that I was always in the bathroom…  Even at work.

My employers had referred me to occupational health, due to other matters, I explained that I was suffering the sickness, and I was told by the consultant over the phone that I shouldn’t be in work.  They recommended that I was to leave work immediately, and that it would be in my best interests not to return for the remainder of the pregnancy.

You see, I am a high risk pregnancy.

When I had Mr. Gning, I had gestational diabetes, but it was caught too late in the pregnancy to do anything about it.  Because of this, I went in for a sweep; which was unsuccessful; then I went in to hospital to be induced.  I would love to say that it didn’t work, but within and hour of the midwife applying the gel, my waters had burst, and I was in labour.  37 and a half hours later, I was constantly losing consciousness.  I had been told that I needed an emergency section.

The gestational diabetes had given me a beautiful, “squish faced” baby boy, weighing in at a wonderful 10lb 8oz.

Now I have a whole list of problems which categorises me as high risk.  The previous gestational diabetes is one of them – In the January, after my son was born, I had to go for a loop incision for CIN3 treatment, after abnormal results came back from my smear test.  That is another factor.  A third is my BMI (Body Mass Index).  Let’s just say that I am a “bonnie lass”.  Cuddly, and certainly not bony.  Fourth is that I had to have an emergency section.  Fifth is that I suffer mental health issues – depression and anxiety.  It has been established that this was caused through the midwives, consultants and health visitors missing the signs of a late onset of post-natal depression.  It hit me hard.

For the past couple of months, I have been suffering from “funny turns”, where my temperature would suddenly soar; I would instantly begin to sweat; dizziness would take over me; and my legs would wobble.  The only way for me to bring myself back to reality would be for me to go outside in the cold (bear in mind that I live in England), and to practically strip off whilst downing a full bottle of something fizzy (primarily Lucozade).

After mentioning this to the midwife, she called the hospital to bring my GTT (glucose tolerance test) forward.  So, I went to get my bloods done, 11 weeks earlier than in a normal pregnancy.

Last week I get a letter through my door, confirming that I do have gestational diabetes.  I’ve been back to the clinic once already for a blood drop test, and I’m due to go to the clinic again tomorrow to get all of the items I need to keep a check on my blood sugar levels; and to be educated in what I can and can’t eat.  Should be fun.

Anyway, I am 20 weeks pregnant.

A couple of weeks ago, we went for one of those 3d/4d scans.  It was brilliant…  The sonographer confirmed with me that we did want to find out the sex of the baby.  Hubby and I are way too nosy, so obviously we said yes.  Well, that and neither of us like surprises.

Within 30 seconds of lying on the couch, the lady confirmed that we are having a boy, and she immediately played the heartbeat to us.

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If you look closely, you can see his eyes, nose, his smile…  And his hand that started rubbing his eyes.  He’s such a sleepy little man.

I love my bump.  I love showing it off in snug (ish) tshirts and dresses; although because of the size of me anyway, I will never have the beautiful “beach ball”, rounded bump.  As darling hubby (I use the term darling loosely there 😉 Ha ha) said to me last night, “you have a lumpy bump”.  (NOT IMPRESSED DARLING HUBBY *grimace*).  I don’t care…  This bump is mine.

On Friday, I was convinced that I started to feel him kick.  Saturday night came and I thought the same…  Sunday night I was lying on the settee, and I watched as my belly moved, and jolted.  Last night was exactly the same…  I absolutely love this feeling, and the kicks are only going to get stronger.

The thing that I find with him though, is that whenever a hand (mine, hubby’s, Gnings or my mums) is placed where the kick was, baby stops kicking.  It’s like he’s kicking to get the attention for us to actually put our hands there.  Hubby said that he might be doing it as a form of comfort.  Possibly.

But as the title of this post says…  On standing, I can definitely, no longer see my toes any more.