The little things…

Yesterday it was a chocolate orange in Tesco Express, sitting nonchalantly on the shelf. I’m not a fan myself, but Dad loved them and always had one at Christmas, on Fathers Day and his birthday; a Dad tradition. And there it was staring at me, reminding me that he wouldn’t have one again … that I wouldn’t buy him another. I’m getting rather good at stifling the tears now, so managed to pay for my petrol without sobbing; but it was another stark, insignificant reminder of the finality.

This morning I was cleaning my car – which is quite a mission given my soon to be 2 year old and the clutter of toys and hats and coats and mud, and chicken shit encrusted wellies. Anyway, there in the footwell was the newspaper from Tuesday 10th January – the day Dad died. I’d bought it that morning as a friend and I were collecting holiday tokens. With everything that happened afterwards, I’d forgotten all about it … couldn’t bring myself to throw it away. The day when my “before” and “after” line was drawn … when things changed forever. I have a growing amount of paraphernalia from that day; little pointless things that now have so much meaning; Dad’s receipts from that morning, the medical packaging found at the allotment, the newspaper..

This evening it was marking a new height on Freddie’s giraffe chart in his bedroom. The last measurement had been made on 5th January, when “Gandad” was still alive. Another stop the clocks moment,of which there are plenty. My little boy is growing and his Grandad can’t see it.

And so it continues. I think the adrenaline from the past [nearly 6] weeks is beginning to leave me and a malignant exhaustion has set in. A dark realisation that the present; the now; is hard. There are simply no words to describe it [so why, you may ask, do I try?]. Sleep remains difficult, and often I’m woken with the deep pounding of my heart in my chest as my subconscious relives the events of that Tuesday. It seems cruel that even sleep doesn’t offer respite. This afternoon when I’d failed miserably at napping whilst Freddie was with his Dad; I found myself at the allotment, sitting on the decking, watching the chickens, beside the funeral flowers which are still looking lovely. Some mummy friends have joined forces in project allotment, and it is there that I feel closest to Dad … where he last walked, the air he last breathed. It was an unfinished project; and making a good job of it means a lot to me.

I have realised just how big a part of my life Dad was. I always knew it, and always appreciated it – but I hadn’t quite comprehended the huge gaping void now so obvious. I listen to old voicemails, just so I won’t forget his voice. I miss his phonecalls, his presence, his companionship. I miss watching him be Grandad.

If you’re reading this, Fred, in years to come – Mummy’s sorry if she has been sad these weeks; if you’ve caught her crying in the kitchen or lacking the amount of energy she usually has. I’m sorry for not knowing what to say to you sometimes when you still stand at the window waiting for your Grandad or “Gandads car”. One day, my darling, you’ll understand how hard it all is – but for now, know that your cheeky smiles and snotty kisses, are keeping Momma going…

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A drunken kitten

If I told you that last night my toddler threw a pear across the dining table which hit [yes, hit, good shot] my 5 o’clock glass of Sauvignon Blanc and then laughed and said “yes Momma” when I told him this was naughty …. only for the cat to lick up the remaining wine whilst my back was turned, throw up in the night [the cat, not me], utterly hungover this morning, you would probably gather it has been an eventful week [and it’s only Tuesday!]. An alcoholic kitten at 5months old? My mothering skills are epic. Luckily there was another glass left in the bottle.

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From left to right; Violet, Virginia, Vita …

I need to introduce this Blog to Virginia, Vita and Violet – my three recently acquired rescue chickens. They are lovely girls, producing some eye wateringly whopping coloured eggs. Slightly concerned that Virginia and Violet gang up on Vita … but I guess that’s where the pecking order comes from. Fredders is really enjoying feeding the “tichens” as he calls them, every morning before work; and the Good Life begins. Naughty Mr Fox had better leave my girls alone! Roll on those summer evenings ….

In all honesty the past couple of weeks haven’t been altogether easy. I’ve had a growing feeling of unrest, and have had to decipher what I need to do to change things. There are plans afoot – so watch this space. I feel like I’ve fallen into various ruts recently, but 2017 is going to bring some exciting things with it … I feel much clearer and more positive about what I want for me and Fred. It’s hard work, keeping yourself in check and moving forward despite surviving on 3 hours sleep …

Did I mention sleep? I’ve finally decided it’s time for Fred to sleep in his cot …. not an easy task at 21 months when he’s been used to snuggling up to Momma. Consistency is the key. And you wonder why I’m drinking wine at 5pm on a monday? Again, I shall report back …

Now, dear readers, I must hang the washing, vacuum the lounge, prepare a curry for this evening, and contemplate the dreaded Christmas letter.

Nurturing my inner PollyAnna

I often Blog about the joys of motherhood and the beautiful moments we all want to last forever. There are so many of these, and I’ve always tried to cherish the ever fleeting moment – even when running on 3 hours sleep. Freddie is without a doubt the best thing to have happened to me; that goes without saying. This week, however, has been tough … it’s partly because it’s dark and dank and cold outside; partly because I’m exhausted, Fred’s been snotty and therefore slightly grouchy [okay, scratch that, he’s been a little bugger at 4,30am for the past three days] – payday has seemed a long way off, and quite frankly I’ve felt inadequate and a little lonely – not to mention hormonal. It’s bloody hard work on your own; and much more so when it’s not summertime when everything seems so much more do able and the days so much easier to plan; no coats and wellies to lug around; light evenings to burn energy at the park ….this afternoon we have watched a DVD [Fred’s current favourite thing in the world, especially if he can ram two in the DVD player at the same time], played cars, coloured, drawn pictures on the chalk board; cooked food in Fred’s kitchen … before tea and finally settling a very overtired little chap to sleep. It was a joyous feeling as I tiptoed out of his room [yes you read that correctly; my child is sleeping in HIS cot in HIS room this evening!], leaving the kitten to act as a purring teddy. I jumped in the shower with a sense of utter liberation. My lovely friend Mandy will be here in an hour with a curry – the wine is chilling in the fridge. Thursday is my Friday; so bring on some much needed relaxation and adult conversation [come on kiddo, you can do it … you can sleep for longer than 3 hours in a row!]

Of course, I love being a mum more than anything; but I don’t want this blog to only document the good times. I was so tired this afternoon I just wanted to curl up and sleep … and despite not wanting to shove Fred in front of a screen to occupy him – it was so easy to do so. I was reminded of a comment from a friend earlier in the week – that it’s okay to be just “good enough” some days … my child is warm and fed, he has a lot of toys to play with and activities to engage with … and yet now he’s asleep I’m feeling utterly guilty for not being quite good enough today; for lacking the energy to bounce around and do more. 4.30am seems a long time ago. Please go back to sleep, I whispered this morning – please go back to sleep …. momma’s eyes are not looking pretty, despite trying the piles cream trick.

I am sitting with a cup of tea nurturing my inner PollyAnna. It is 2 years ago this week since I got the keys to this flat and became the owner of a mortgage. I’m so glad that I chose this place to call home … so many memories in these walls already … so many happy photos line the walls.

Tomorrow is another day. I will try harder tomorrow.

Home sweet home

13728971_1962498990643196_2599286044627108033_nIt is 9.06am and my son is still fast asleep beside me. This never happens; but it has been hot, and we’ve had a busy few days. I’ve just made myself a cup of tea, and as I walked to the kitchen, the sun casting pretty patterns on the tiles – I was reminded how much I love our home. In October I will have lived here for 2 years [which means I’ve already been blogging for 2 years …], and it is lovely to see these four walls develop into a family home …. the type and size of toys changing, the evolution of photographs on the walls … and the pitter patter of toddling feet along the hallway. It is happy, bright and lived in. There is always more I would like to do to it, but Flat 7 has always felt like home, and moving here was such a good decision. How fast time has gone, since I sat with a huge Freddie bump on the Chesterfield [in a much tidier and sparse lounge] trying to imagine what life would be like post partum; since I sobbed in the shower wondering if I could do it all. Then of course it was here where I brought my newborn in his moses basket, squishy and gurgling. This modest flat has provided for me, for us; a security, our own little haven; and I don’t think I will ever want to leave … the memories here have been the best of my life … and ones I will cherish forever and tell Fred about when he’s older.

Perhaps I’m in a philosophical mood, ignited because my beloved father is embarking on his 4th week  in hospital. It raises so many emotions; watching a loved one suffer; having to trust other people to fix them, and dealing with the reality that life is fragile, unfair, and short. There has been a heaviness these weeks; that Dad can’t be with us to enjoy the little things. Life isn’t as joyful when he’s not home. I’ve spent time in hospital myself, and the days are long. I’m hopeful that this week we may have a plan … but it has certainly provoked a lot of thinking and sadness, knowing my dear Dad is so poorly and that there is very little I can do to help him. We take our health forgranted ….

I’ve held Fred a little tighter, a little longer, recently …. ever aware of how quickly he is becoming a little boy. There are no words to describe the love for this little chap; the surge of protection, and the pride at the cheeky faced fun loving boy he is. I can’t imagine a time when he wasn’t in my life; and still pinch myself that he’s mine. How on earth did I unintentionally create something so utterly wonderful? I’m sure all parents think the same … but it’s the motherhood miracle which I’ll never quite get my head around. Sure, some days I’m pushed to my limits and long for bedtime, but when bedtime comes, I sit looking at my sleeping boy and forget about the housework which needs doing.

It’s now 6.30pm, and another Sunday is nearly over. My baby is once again sleeping peacefully beside me. I hope one day he looks back with good memories on his childhood, and remembers this home as a fun filled loving place to grow up. I want to get this right; and I feel the time is slipping through my fingers like grains of sand. I just brought a newborn home, surely?! Oh Freddie, you give me so much, and I’m loving watching you develop and grow … it’s great, this adventure.

Desperately at Midnight [computer says no]

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Freddie giving a hospital teddy the nebuliser mask!

It has been one of those exhausting weeks when my poor Fred has been struck down yet again by the nasty wheezy bronchiolitis bugs. This must be his seventh or eighth bout in a year, so I’m getting quite good at recognising the warning signs. Thankfully he seems on the mend, after two GP appointments, a middle of the night trip to the hospital for a nebuliser, steroids, antibiotics, inhaler and lots of Momma cuddles. I think we averaged about 4 hours sleep in 3 days. Poor bugger. Poor Momma. In fact, Momma is sitting in bed at 19.08 on a Wednesday, with a glass of wine.

Anyhow, what I really wanted to blog about was 111, and the complexities of answering their questions at silly o clock when worried. I think the general filtering idea of 111 is a good one for the NHS, but I can understand how people end up with an ambulance for indigestion. Everything is subjective; one persons 1 on the pain scale will be anothers 10. Having got through the routine reassurances that we hadn’t been on holiday to an Ebola or Malaria infected area in the past week, I explained that we’d been to the GP earlier in the day and Fred’s wheezing had got worse despite the inhaler and he was drawing his tummy in as he breathed. The operator put me through to a nurse, who wanted to know if he was as bad as he was in November when he was admitted to hospital. November seems a long time ago … I couldn’t really compare, but he was bad enough for me to phone. Was he struggling desperately for each breath? Desperately is open to interpretation; he wasn’t comfortable, but I thought desperately was too strong a description. Was I analysing too much at midnight? Now, I live 5minutes away from our local “hospital” or treatment centre as it’s now called. They have an MIU and Out of Hours GP service. Our nearest A&E is half an our away in the car. Having listened to my responses the operator, or rather the computer, advised I take Fred to A&E. I questioned this, as an appointment at Out of Hours would be nearer, therefore quicker … and a whole lot easier than driving a poorly baby on my own for half an hour in the middle of the night. “I don’t want to put your child at risk” said the rather sour woman on the other end of the phone … “Neither do I, so hurry up and make me an appointment” I retorted, now rather cross at her tone … it turns out, computer said no because I’d said he had worsened in the past hour. If I said he’d stayed the same, I could have an Out of Hours appointment. He’d stayed the same. Duh. Duh.

We went to Out of Hours and were seen within 10minutes; Fred was assessed, given a nebuliser, which really improved his airways – [before we’d have even arrived in Worcester] – and we were monitored for a couple of hours before we could go home to bed, and see our GP in the morning.

I am a huge supporter of the NHS, we are so lucky, and I will never complain about the service we have … but surely some common sense and logic could come into the 111 computer checklist? It really did seem a case of “computer says no” …

Beautiful Exhaustion

13241195_1925811830978579_1826961719327206205_nIt has been a glorious weekend … a sunny, party-filled weekend with lots of cake and ice cream, bouncy castles, messy play, pass the parcel [Freddie won it for the first time!] and a happy smiling little boy who looks so grown up with his new haircut. As I sit here, 19.11 on a Sunday … I am thoroughly exhausted, yet completely content. Yes, I’m worrying that my thighs are getting too wobbly [no correlation to the party food, surely?!], and making mental notes of the nearest Slimming World group; I’m pondering what meals to plan this week, and what to wear for work tomorrow … but I’m so bloody happy with my little corner of the world. This little boy continues to bring me so much joy … and not a day goes by without realising just how lucky I am to be his Mummy.

On Thursday when I dropped Fred at the childminders, he took TWO STEPS unaided; and Momma saw it before she went to work! He’s still not very steady on his feet, but we are close to a bipedal Fred! Another milestone … how much they learn in 14months … and how precious it all is …

And I think it’s about time I planned a Freddie tattoo … seeing as I have random philosophers tattoooed on my body, one day the boy will ask where he is! Any excuse to feel that wonderful tattoo-buzz!!

 

 

 

58 Weeks

12974378_1910905475802548_9094253456671692305_nIn the middle of a storm, whilst nursing an excitable and smiley little boy to sleep, I worked out that it is exactly 58 weeks since Fredders splashed his way into the birthing pool. I know, I know – he’s ONE I hear you all say …. Note to self; must not become one of those Mums who answers the “how old is he?” question with “62 and a half weeks”. Seriously, my eyes would’ve rolled at this a couple of years ago … how motherhood changes you …. !

Last time I blogged I was exhausted. I’m still exhausted, but not debilitatingly so. Sleep is still hit and miss [“Last night was better” I said at work the other morning, “he only woke 4 times”] – but there have been some sunny days and plenty of outings in the fresh air. There was a first pony ride on a miniature Shetland called Samson, an afternoon with new baby lambs, and a holiday booked to Woolacombe in June with Auntie Cat. The weeks seem to be whizzing by faster than ever, and although I still hanker for time to slow down a little, I’m enjoying the current developments – the very nearly walking phase [come on Fred, you can do it!], and the brilliant toddler babble which Fredders enunciates so sweetly – babaggagamammadizzydoo. He gives kisses and cuddles, as well as sinking his gnashers into me and chuckling when I squeal. His current pastimes include removing his shoes and socks, taking momma’s books off the bottom shelf of the bookcase and showing off his new enthusiastic waving skills. Current dislikes include having his teeth cleaned, lying still for a nappy change, and Momma reclaiming her iPhone. He has character, and I fully approve of his cheekiness.

Going it alone is a tough one, but so rewarding … ours is a happy home; a happy chaotic home, with sticky fingerprints and copious amounts of hanging laundry. My lounge is akin to Toys R Us, and yes – he still sleeps in my bed. We have little in the way of a routine – but this life works for us … his smile tells me it works. What on earth would I do without him?

And now it must be time for Horlicks …