Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Like a grey marl ninja...

I imagine to the tune of "Like a rhinestone cowboy" wrapping up the baby in a long, grey, stretchy sling, like a grey marl ninja, creeping round the house waiting for the monster to awake. My skills aren't in lyrics. Or singing. So we'll leave that there.

We got a sling wrap in our baby box (Government issue - cheers wee Nicola!), I had been thinking about getting one anyway, but it seemed to be an item that divided mum's - an often bought and seemingly aspired to use, but either we used it ALL the time and loved it, or we never used it at all, I wish Id never wasted my money on it. And being a super fashionable earth mama thing to do (as if it's this new fangled trend, and hasn't been done for probably thousands of years) you can get really, really expensive ones. And it's amazing how "baby safety" can try and lure you into buying more and more expensive things. So I didn't, but thankfully we got one in the box so I was keen to give it a go. In among the 27 sets of instructions telling us not to put the lid on the box while the baby was inside it...there was a sheet about how to tie it. Thankfully I'd been revising on youtube (same place I learned a wee practice swaddle. Lucky Neville the bear, unloved by his carer [me] as a child, finally feeling loved and secure, was quickly ditched when the real life baby came along. I always wonder if I didn't love him because he was called Neville. No offence other Nevilles...).

So I'd had a wee practice getting it on, but without an actual baby, and with a big belly in the way, it's a bit hard to imagine how it'll be, or work out whether you've done it right. We got straight to it when she got home, and it was great. She loved being cooried in, she fell asleep pretty quickly in there, and eve if she wasn't asleep she settled and stopped crying.

If you've never seen one on, you effectively tie the sling in a criss-cross across your body, and it makes a cross on your back, has a couple of loops around your middle and ties at the front back or side. So, minus baby, it looks a bit like a samurai/ninja outfit, with plenty handy loops to hide all your ninja things, samurai sword, jaggy stars, all those kinds of things. And as you sneak around the house ready to bundle your screeching bundle of joy into it to shoosh them should they wake up you do feel a bit like a ninja. This is obviously all in my head. The folks on the youtube videos (mostly ladies) look, when the baby isn't in the wrap, like they're wearing some nice wraparound top in funky material,, floaty but with a little structure, oh you could totally go out in that and look quite fine actually, like I'm just playing with my baby just now, but in an emergence I'll wheech her in here, you won't know what's going on, and we'll be off, safe, secure and happy. In my reality the criss cross settles between the over-large boobies, with a nice tight band below just to underline the emphasis. You know those tops you're meant to avoid if you're large chested, the ones with the designated, demarcated boobie spaces, that your "I won't be pigeon holed" chest ignores with gay abandon, so you end up instead with a nip in the cross hairs? It's like one of those. But worse.

So I might need to practice my tying technique or remember to readjust when I take her out. Like remembering to pull your top back down/up after feeding, a not so subtle treat for any visitors.

Sir Patrick Moore had the right idea

I suppose you don't get to be a Sir having the wrong idea, I was going to write, but that's probably entirely untrue, and having read Sir Patrick Moore's Wikipedia page (who says that's not a proper scientific reference...?) I'm pretty sure he might have had the wrong idea about a few things.

But, but,, on a cold, stormy morning I pull the full brief up, up, up to my actual waist, and follow them up with the no longer necessary, and now decidedly baggy, maternity leggings, leaving merely an inch between bra and breeks, I think people may have mocked, I might even have been one of the mockers, it is the main thing I remember about Sir Patrick Moore (I even forgot he had a monocle for goodness sake) but the up-to-the-oxter-breeks - they were a good move. I can imagine he lapped up the mocking, basking in the joy of a comfortable cosy belly, resplendent in acres of material, and a foot long fly zip (probably - I've not looked that far into the situation).

I did not realise the treat I was in for in my first foray into the world of maternity jeans and leggings, and now as I have to concede they are a bit big, and ridiculous looking without the belly, I am sadly packing them away. There is a lot to be said for the maternity jean - knowing you'll never be flashing your pants, and the comfort of a cosy jersey belly hug all day.

I might have to start wearing vests. Would tucked into pants be too far? Take away from my sultry domestic Goddess seductiveness much...?

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

The Post-baby shower

Not a baby shower in the all-American sense, I managed to bypass that, I've never been to one, and I'm not really sure I get them...if I'm buying something for a baby I think I'd at least like to meet it. Not necessarily hold it, though that might have changed since having my own one, up until about 3 days after she was born I was still quite scared of babies, so maybe I will be a baby holder now, having been a conscientious objector previously. I'll happily look at your baby and buy it (I now realise) quite impractical presents, but I'd rather not touch it if it's all the same to you - they can smell my distress and anxiety and it'll almost certainly cry which'll be unpleasant for everyone. So baby showers - I'm not sure heavily pregnant women are that exciting, but I suppose it is maybe meant to be a special treat for the and a penance for their nearest and dearest.

I'm talking about the actual shower. After the lovely induction experience I could not wait to have a shower, I really felt pretty disgusting. I managed to block the mingingness from my mind as I lay in theatre fully aware of the young Irish anaesthetist running ice cubes up and down my large pregnant, unshaven, not washed for quite a few hours, apparently rapidly overheating, but now numbing body, while my husband sat beside me, and I pretended not to be able to see myself reflected in the theatre light. I'm very, very hot right now, I told myself. Everyone keeps telling me so, I'm really hot, a really, really, medically diagnosed, hot naked lady, what's not to feel good about there?

We'd done that bit, baby was here, we had some nice recovery room cuddles, I finally persuaded the midwife to take the catheter out, please, please, I can move my legs look, please let me persuasion hadn't worked quite so well trying to dissuade them from putting it in. Challenging a mildly competitive, in labour, person to pee with the threat of a catheter if they can't apparently just results in the same couple of litres of rapidly downed water coming right back up in a sick bowl. Apparently fluid going i and coming back out again doesn't cut it, it really has to come out in the horrible little pee catcher cardboard seat thing. Such a relaxing pee experience, I'm not sure why I struggled.

So, catheterless I begged to go for a shower. You'll have to take someone with you. Ok, we've done the other man running ice cubes over the naked body together, why not let you observe the horror of the post-birth shower. But...uhh...what do we do with the baby? We can't leave her alone can we...? The auxiliaries were indulgent of our new parent fears and promised to keep an eye on hour totally out for the count newborn. 

To his credit D did a splendid job handing me things and making sure I didn't die or keel over in the shower, he managed to boak or look disgusted, it wasn't exactly the couples showering experience Hollywood has us believe awaits us if we're in a relationship, but we've run into that lie before, as, having recently moved into our first home, which came with a bath (I'm not a big fan of baths, it's altogether a bit of a too hot and sweaty experience, but you know...the novelty) I went for a  bath.

My real plan was to dye my hair, and do some mild deforestation while the dye took, then a rinse and then maybe a soak. So all in all quite a lengthy and laborious undertaking. So, 20 minutes in, D, I imagine expecting something like the Galaxy adverts, a sexy lady (not sure who he thought he was living with) can-can-ing her smooth hairless leg out of the mountain of bubbles, with a perfect messy bun, those wee bits escaped around her face to save her hair getting wet, maybe reading a book and sipping on some champagne, candles lit in an all round luxurious, spa-like situation, tried to open the door.

On the other side, he wasn't to know, was not a Galaxy advert. Instead a post-Psycho like shower scene  awaited him. Red brown dye had run on to my face and shoulders from my hair, piled on my head in a cone like a soggy troll, as I stood trying to shave my legs before the dye proving time was up, trying not to touch anything else with my dyed head, with an impromptu green facemask, now nicely cracking, on (why waste 20 minutes of waiting around in the bathroom time?). So I slammed the door in his face. He tried to persuade me to let him in, obviously thinking I was being coy, not realising I was protecting him from facing the semi-decapitated looking soggy troll with half shaved legs and an untouched bikini area. He left. I'm not sure the spontaneous sexy bath scene can be a real thing. We'll not even get started on the fact we can't both fit in a  normal sized bath and get in and out without some contorsion and quite a high risk of injury. That is for another day.

So the post-baby shower made me feel better, but wasn't a particularly pleasant experience. The newly emerging nose of suspicion (which, by the way, has a new challenge to contend with since little britches has started puking a bit) could settle to sniff another day as I knew, objectively, that I was clean, and anything I smelled of must have been an inevitable side effect of being attached to a little limpet that's just emerged from your insides.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

The Nose of Suspicion and Deja Poo

3 poopy nappies into the day and my nostrils of suspicion are working overtime. Especially on a toddlers day - who wants to be the one with the stinky kid? I don't remember being scarred by stinking as a child but maybe I was. Breastfed poops aren't even that bad but I do find myself still trying to sniff them out. I wasn't especially afflicted with cravings or aversions in pregnancy, but seem to have developed the super sensitive nose since the munchkin arrived. I spent the first few weeks trying to work out if my section scar smelled, and unless you're some kind of yogi I'm not sure smelling your own belly is possible, then last week it was the boobs, and I have a regular fear about the house and go around sniffing like a bloodhound, and my nose is telling me fatherhood has made el papa smell worse. But I think it is just the super nose. Which by the way is a crap superpower, unless I could get employment as a sniffer human, I'm not sure I'd outperform the canine candidates though.

And then, 3 poops in, or a thousand poops inn, if we're going from the beginning of mum time, they stop standing out. Like in the beginning there were the horrifyingly fascinating ones the black green gunky lava, the sticky ones, the day they turned yellowy, the seedy ones, we've checked them all off from the "how often should my baby poop?" google image list, and while everyone else seems to be worrying about not enough poop ours is coming thick and fast. That worry when you catch a live action one, and thank God that you got laminate floor in the bedroom instead of carpet, the assault missile fart-poop that's like an angry little baby warning to hurry the f**k up or the literal shitis going to hit, well, everything.

I was pretty impressed the day I was changing her and the fart poop travelled as far as my knee, a good 12", and have nearly ducked for cover at the first sign of a sneeze or a fart when the nappy is off ever since (the mum sense of needing to hold on to the baby on the high changing mat only just overrides the reflex to get out of the way of proot propelled poop). Then one day as I side stepped a particularly angry, mid change tantrummy fart, out flew the poops and travelled well over a metre - to be fair with the benefit of being at about waist height on the changing mat, with a decent trajectory and maybe a little extra firepower with me holding her legs up, but holy crap, is that kind of fire power normal?!

And as they all kind of mingle into one big endless poopy bum change I start to be struck by deja poo...the assault missile situation described above has taught me to wait - poops don't often come in a singular event, there might be two or three in quick succession, so we sit it out for a moment. But then sometimes in the midst of something else I fear I've been distracted. I remember a poo...did I deal with that poop? When was it even? Minutes ago? Hours ago? Is the one I'm remembering actually one that happened yesterday...are we in an ongoing poop situation? I think it's maybe the baby-brain dementia, the sad side-effect of the fun bits of getting to stay at home. When your life is reduced to a series of poops interspersed with a bit of smiling, chatting, cooing and singing made up nursery rhymes (to get the rhyme and rhythm they inevitably go a bit off course, a bit of rudeness peppered with swears and gore, that doesn't have to stop till she's speaking right?) it becomes hard to tell them apart, in the monotony of the baby poo world deja poo has me nearly constantly on edge.

Friday, 24 November 2017

My new life, leak proofing myself

She was waking up, but it seems to have just been a sleep-roar, so I might aswell crack on while I'm on a roll.

Now this is really an early weeks one, thankfully not so applicable now. Also thankfully, for me, the hideousness of NHS issue maternity pads did not last long, and I graduated out of those nappy-like ensembles pretty quickly. They were almost more traumatic than anything else in the having a kid process.

Now, I am not one to let things go to waste, I'm a bit of a hoarder, I don't really like throwing things out and I love a bargain, so when I asked my gallant knight in shining armour to get rid of the government issue maternity pads I got in my baby box, he was immediately suspicious. Obviously once he had dealt with the hilarity of being involved in some way with "fanny pads", I mean at only 37 years old who can blame him, what's not hilarious about all feminine hygiene products? So after putting the whole pack between his legs in a not too far from the truth impression of me in the hospital, "Is it not a bit of a waste? Can't you like...use them for something else..?" he says.

Something else? Like what? Dressing gunshot wounds, stemming the blood flow after a mortar attack in a makeshift field hospital? Beyond that I'm not sure I can put them to use (I'm sure my mother will come up with a million handy uses, and give me trouble for chucking this space).

But I did have to replace them, because it turns out when you have a baby you can't just have a shower and get dressed like anyone else. Having washed like a relatively normal person (provided someone else is on hand to see to the miniature person, otherwise you have to wash like you are in some kind of frenzied supermarket sweep style bathroom competition - go high value first, prioritise! Body wash! Shampoo! You can take or leave conditioner, come on, the baby might cry, you can wash your face anytime damnit, and who needs to be fully dry, hurry!) so having washed, and dried, at a relatively luxurious mildly hurried pace, only to find out you are still dripping, thanks boobies, you have to get entirely leakproofed and dressed before you can do anything. And inevitably the first thing you will do is get the boobies out again. The never ending cycle continues.

Thankfully it is far, far from that bad now, I can almost laugh at the misery, looking back. And that's after a c-section, I'm sure it could have been a whole lot worse. Still spring the occassional leak in the bra dept, but thankfully I've usually got that covered.

Telling the nips to relax because you're so used to narrating your entire life

Looking over my list of possible topics stored in notes on my phone I'm afraid throws up some impenetrable rambling titles that I'm sure made sense at the time. They might have to be ditched..."Google poops sleep holding your breath" ? "The starving night and pee covered day" ?

Inadvertently telling the nips to relax out loud hasn't, unfortunately, been an isolated incident. Having negotiated the indecent nip-nops of pregnancy, carrying my basket through the meat and cheese aisles of Tesco like a cartoon old lady, clutched high under my chin to hide the offending articles, I thought I had whatever the boobies could throw at me covered. I could not have been more wrong. 

I really wanted to breastfeed, for all the well documented reasons of goodness, but also for the convenience, surely whipping a boobie out is easier than sterilising, mixing, reheating and all that palaver. So I was glad when the munchkin took to it like some kind of champion speed eater - she was a total pro, which made me look pretty good, even when I didn't have much clue. All well and good for the first couple of days, as Google joyfully told me the breasts may swell to 3 times the size, I smugly thought to myself, not I, with my professional eater of a child, she is super-efficient, my boobies, purely a fashion accessory for so long, have stepped up to the plate and it turns out they were (literally, apparently...) made for this. 

And then day 4. We got home, and my God they hurt. They appeared to have corners. Rounded corners, but corners none the less. Bring in the super-efficient hungry monkey and drain those bad boys. So that took a while to settle down. 

And then there's the nips, and the bras, which are now so large they have to be segregated from the equally ginormous post-section pants, two who readily shared a drawer before, now have to be separated, a neither shall thrive while the other survives type scenario. I did some "nice" feeding bras shopping to make myself feel better one day, I felt marginally better until they arrived. You peruse the online stores, where ladies seductively unclip their cups, or lift the wee flap of their discreet peephole top, like some kind of socially accessible flasher, gazing with come-to-boob eyes at the camera. So I negotiated the various options, trying not to look the models in the eye, and picked one with some kind of lacy ensemble, you know, to make the three sizes too big, occasionally angular udders look more enticing, but, as is the case with nearly all bras,  they are made for the smaller chested among us. Unless I thrust my chest aggressively forward, which to be honest, in the current circumstances, could be interpreted as threatening behaviour, or maybe even attempted assault, then the lace sits alone, peeking out of my top, then a wee bit of a gap till the easy access cup. Not appealing, but practical. Which could maybe be my new tagline.

We've been doing fairly well really, she eats like a trooper, it's generally felt ok, until this last week when I think she's gnawed one nip-nop which is now in a state of near constant vigilance, its pal over in the other cup seems to be acting out in sympathy, and there isn't just the fear of offending someone, like the pregnancy Tesco days, because I'm not sure I care if anyone's offended by them, but they are like adamantly resistant to being contained, and super sensitive, which is not a helpful superpower. Like cat whiskers on your boobs or something, by the time they tell me I've walked into something I'll already have a broken nose (I have a proportionally massive head to match). So I'm slathering on the lanolin, I'm not exactly sure how it's meant to work, but I'm trusting in the advice of the internet at large. 

So I've been knocked a little off my super-booby-lady pedestal, but I think I have the situation under control. Mean time I'm going to get expressing, which is a bizarre new skill to have learned. I couldn't quite bring myself to try milking by hand, that just felt a bit too close to being a fairytale friesian. I'm still not 100% comfortable with the idea of milking myself by any means, but the hand pump does the trick, and may give the one nip currently on the injury list a wee bit of time to get match fit, without losing her edge.

That's a thing about motherhood - they do say you lower your boundaries of socially acceptable conversation to include poops and boobs. So here we are, and the beast awakes, so I'm off.

2 and a half years later she woke up, married, with a baby. That was a surprise.

9 weeks in to motherhood I'm not sure if it still counts as new, but I definitely wouldn't enter myself into any pro-mum/mum of the year competitions just yet. I can do many more things with one hand than ever before, I can use a spoon with my left hand with minimal spillage. I don't care much about said spillage. I have harnessed the power of boobies, a magical,baby calming super power (haven't tested it on any other babies, and have no intention to. I'm a very limited scope superhero.). I can change a nappy, I've negotiated poop explosions without contaminating anything beyond the immediate vicinity of the nappy,not dropping the baby in the process. I'm a semi-accomplished milkmaid. I've learned to appreciate food at any temperature, and no longer eat at the speed of a ravenous savage. I can hold in a pee for way longer than is probably healthy. I've mastered an almost inescapable swaddle. I can (sometimes) make my baby smile, proper big smiles-with-the-eyes,dimples-in-the-chubby-cheeks smiles (it is still quite confidence crushing when she looks unconvinced at my efforts...). There are lots of things I can't do...but we don't want to dwell too much on changing bag packing isn't just brilliant, public singing still petrifies me, even when chiming in with toddlers, I find trying to match outfits unusually stressful, my patience muscle is still strengthening, I can't imagine ever being able to have any kind of routine given I failed at it as an adult. I have a tendency towards being a semi-hermit. I'm sure I can work on those and the many other inevitable failings.

So now we have a two day trend of long lunchtime naps in the sling I thought I could revisit the blog. I have been storing up ideas as we've gone along learning the art of keeping a tiny human alive, most of it is probably fairly obvious to any even semi-accomplished parent...but I had to learn them in real life. Funny how they imagine you'll know how to be a parent because you don't have any particularly significant social problems, up until 9 weeks ago I had no idea. Now I suppose I have mastered some of the practicalities.

And as I master them I feel more and more grateful for being able to stay at home for a good while, I gain more and more respect for those who stay at home longer term (it is really pretty f**king hard being in constant demand), appreciate more and more having an involved el papa for the little person so I can have a little bit of time in less demand, and feel more and more sorry that he misses out on the daytime bits, that he doesn't get the chance to get to know her as well as I do, that he probably thinks I'm better at it than he is when really I'm just getting to practice all day every day. And I have the boobies - the ultimate trump card (I think we need a new word for that, I don't really want to think of my boobies in trump terms...).