To sleep…perchance to dream

To sleep…perchance to dream

Butter wouldn’t melt…

It is 8.47am. Someone on our street is hitting something very hard with something very heavy. Erica is asleep, on my lap, downstairs. I would close the windows but its about 50million degrees and I don’t want to compound the headache I already have from last night’s shenanigans (not the good kind). She was up at 11, at 3 and then at 5 until about half an hour ago. She will wake up soon, before she’s slept for long enough, and I will be stuck entertaining a very grumpy baby when we’ve run out of coffee beans.

Every parent of a small (and smallish) child knows the dread and despair and impotent rage of people in your neighbourhood making noise when you’ve just got the small person to sleep. The bin men, the cheery whistling postie, the Amazon delivery guy who thinks you might be deaf, and in the back garden, and listening to thrash metal so might miss a normal volume knock, the exuberant DIYers, the house party next door, the beeping reversing lorries. In our case, when Ethan was small, the fish and chip van that arrived in our cul de sac around 7.30pm playing La Cucuracha and made mild-mannered Mark want to slash tires.

I have been wary of talking about sleep. Mainly because we have been incredibly lucky in comparison to others I know. I have friends who’s babies are up every hour to feed through the night, friends who’s darling little ones give them no respite and seem to have taken lessons from some sort of maternity ward-based black-ops group. Erica gave us a tough run-in…would only sleep on me or on the sofa…would scream unless Nick bounced up and down on the yoga ball (holding her, obviously, not just with her watching for entertainment value!)…would not even consider the crib as a sensible place to sleep. But when we decided to swaddle her as a last resort (Ethan had hated it) we turned a corner and she slept through regularly from around 11pm to 6 or 7am. I couldn’t believe my luck, but kept reminding myself that it was probably just a phase.

And now we have hit the 4 month sleep regression and I don’t like being proved right as much as I usually do! The lovely 2-3 hour morning nap has disappeared, replaced with 40 minute cat naps through the day; and there has been a return of the 2 hours plus of screaming before she will go to sleep at night. Weirdly, given my usual amnesia, I remember this stage with Ethan. I remember feeling deaf for about 3 months and identifying with the pacing polar bear at Bristol Zoo, as I wore a path in the bedroom carpet with that weird bouncy parent walk that we do. But, to an extent, it didn’t matter if there was screaming, we could focus all our attention on dealing with it and him. Now, there is the small matter of a tired 8 year old in the next room who isn’t settled by his sister wailing, or by the white noise we’re trying. And who has the worst timing in the world – always choosing to burst into the bedroom with a duvet problem when she is just closing her eyes….

They love each other really!

Two children…terrible idea….

It is Half Term this week, so we don’t have the conflict of our usual scheduled online lessons to worry about when I’m upstairs trying to get Erica to nap. But I do often feel like a terrible parent when I’m up in the darkened bedroom for what feels like hours and Ethan is having to occupy himself and get his own snacks like some kind of latchkey kid (Obviously I exaggerate…like I said…we’ve run out of coffee beans – everything is very melodramatic this morning).

Sleep is such a stress point for parents. We all think that our child should be sleeping better or longer or in a different place than they are. We assume everyone else is doing so much better than us. And (for me at least) it feels like a personal failure when you can’t get your child to sleep or settle them when they’re upset.

When I met Nick and he joined our little family I was very aware that he was coming into a tricky situation. Aside from the whole widow thing (as if that wasn’t enough), he was learning this parenting thing on the job . Now, I know I don’t have all the answers – far from it – but I did have a few parenting rules that I shared with him near the beginning. And, bearing in mind all I’ve written above, it may be time to remind myself of the first one:

  1. Never take anything personally (In this case the baby is not crying/looking sad/being sick because she hates you)

In case you’re interested, the other two are:

  1. Never threaten anything that you’re not willing to follow through on (if you tell them that they must behave or you’ll have to leave the party, you better be prepared to leave the party! Even if you’re actually having a good time and don’t want to head home. In these kind of situations it is always more sensible to choose different consequences…This is obviously less of an issue with Erica currently!)
  2. Everything is a phase (each stage of childhood has it’s own challenges, and when you get to the next one, you’ll probably miss the one’s before!)

So, this too will pass, Erica doesn’t hate me, Ethan will survive having to reach for his own crisps, and Nick will come home later with coffee beans… Maybe I should cross-stitch that on a pillow somewhere…

It’s not you, it’s me…

It’s not you, it’s me…

I’m finding it hard to be inspired to write anything at the moment. I’m very tired and much of what I have to do is monotonous. But ideas do pop in – like yesterday when I was working out and listening to an online talk with Dr Shefali Tsabary, an American clinical psychologist. She was talking about projection as a parent. I realised that most of the things I get cross with Ethan about, or I worry about for him are not about him at all. They are me projecting my lack or my fear onto him. I worry about him not making friends and being isolated because I struggled socially at school. And when I stop and think and look and listen, I realise that he has so many friends that sometimes he finds it stressful when they fight over who gets to play with him!

Gratuitous baby shot of Ethan!

I am constantly concerned that we are not pushing him enough academically  because I would have loved the opportunities and support of a private school context, but he is not me, and I know that we don’t want him pushed, we don’t want him stressed, that we have decided that the most important thing for us is that he is confident, happy and curious. The niggle in the back of my mind that if we don’t push then he won’t reach his potential is me bemoaning what I feel is my own unreached potential. My issues are not his issues, and if I am to connect to him as his own person, to really notice his soul, then I need to check myself each time I am about to snap, each time a particular behaviour annoys me, each time I compare him to other children. I need to work out whether this is something that needs to be addressed with him, or whether it is me who needs the work.

Dr Shefali, in her book The Conscious Parent says that the first task of any parent is to parent themselves, not their child. Our task is to raise ourselves to be as present and aware as possible.  Everything we do as parents comes from an effort to either recreate our upbringing, or do the complete opposite. This essentially means that we end up not actually parenting our own child, but who we think they should be.

“Our children come to us so that we may recognise our psychic wounds and call up the courage to transcend the limitations these wounds place on us. As we uncover the way in which our past drives us, we gradually become capable of parenting consciously”

 ~ Dr Shefali    

Ethan’s instincts are not my instincts, his experiences are not my experiences. His personality is not my personality.

I am aware that he has anxieties. He is not a carefree little boy – it would be remarkable if he was after everything that he has had to deal with in his life already. For example, he doesn’t like to go upstairs by himself. For a while it frustrated me that he was being so ridiculous. And then it suddenly hit me that there is an actual reason, but it is completely unconscious. During a formative time in his life, a figure who was meant to be stable and secure, suddenly disappeared and he didn’t really comprehend why. So this now sits at the back of his brain, niggling away, and giving him the fear that if he is away from any of the other stable people in his life, there is a chance that they will also disappear. He wouldn’t be able to articulate this, it is not part of a line of conscious decision-making, but it is something that Nick and I need to take into consideration every time we are confronted with his nervousness and anxiousness. His childhood was framed around an instability, no matter how much I desperately focused on combatting it (often to the detriment of aspects of my life and other peoples). And much around him makes him feel uncertain, even if he does not know why. There is no point in berating him, in trying to encourage it out of him. We must be present in his struggle, and acknowledge his uncertainty, whilst being a stable base for him to slowly venture out when he is ready.

The OG O’Brien-Day’s

The book is well worth a read, by the way. Or a listen on Audible while you clean the house/do the ironing/run off your stress on your daily exercise!

Sunday Morning Thoughts

Sunday Morning Thoughts

I am sitting on the chaise that we bought for £50 from Facebook Marketplace for our wedding and loved too much to get rid of. We’ve had to move it from it’s usual position to accommodate the desk and chair that Ethan needs for his home-school lessons. The room feels a lot more crowded than it did a few months ago. There is a stack of Lego trays on the floor under the TV, so that I don’t have to try and carry them downstairs whilst holding a baby. Nick has inexplicably perched the printer on top of the 10 green balloons Ethan asked me to blow up yesterday so we could play balloon tennis. Under the piano stool I can see the trug of cloth nappies, extra clothes and the boxes of wipes, living there because the nursery isn’t ready yet. I have to step over 2 different playmats to get from one end of the kitchen to the other; placed there to ensure that Erica has somewhere safe to hang out while I make the 52nd Ethan snack of the day. The landing currently holds 3 piles of clean washing that need putting away and 2 boxes of clothes that are already too small for Erica and can’t go on Facebook because of #socialdistancing.  My bathroom is probably a health hazard…Ethan is yet to learn to aim consistently and cleaning the toilet whilst baby-wearing feels fairly precarious.

My house is chaotic right now.

I do not deal well with chaos.

My childhood was quite chaotic, our two bedroom council house too small for 3 adults and 2, then 3 children. We were busting out at the seams, with books and clothes and toys and washing and hormones everywhere. I hate chaos, its really triggering for me. I have moved myself such a distance away from Social Security payments and milk tokens and food parcels from kind churches and too small uniform and embarrassing packed lunches filled with fluorescent reduced labels. And part of that has been creating calm and clean and a slightly minimalist space – turning my home in to somewhere I can breathe – not in a cold clinical way, I love hosting friends and family, with people turning up in the morning and still chilling out in the kitchen with some wine at 10pm – but clutter is not something I am comfortable with.

But you grow to fit the space you have, and we have a LOT of stuff now…which was fine: we have loft space and a playroom and a garden shed. But with this new tiny human we needed to rearrange, and to get some of the stuff out of its hiding place to be wriggled on and in. Lockdown and homeschooling and, to some extent, Erica’s slightly early arrival, have meant things are not yet in their place, we have not yet settled into how our house will look for the near future, and it has left me feeling as unsettled as my spare room. This is compounded by being stuck inside for all but 1 hour of the day with a hormonal 8 year old and an uncommunicative milk monster.

The piles of washing and messy bathroom frankly make me feel as if I am slipping back into the poverty of my past. As if I am only one cluttered landing away from free school meals and Tesco white bread sandwiches.  I tell myself that this is silly, and illogical, that we are in the middle of a global crisis, and a significant change in our household, and so un-ironed t-shirts are not the end of the world. But my brain is wired oddly…and I find the fear hard to shake.

So today we will be sorting things, clearing spaces and working out how to make our immediate surroundings fit our new circumstances…it will be fuelled by coffee, Judge Jules’ Carfest set and, later, probably wine. I won’t quite be turning into Marie Kondo, but I’m going to give it a damn good try.

Exercise in the time of Covid

Exercise in the time of Covid

attempting to multi-task

This morning I set up the living room to do my workout. Erica was sleeping in our bedroom; Ethan was in his bedroom playing Minecraft on his Nintendo Switch. I did the 15 minutes of Cardio that I’ve started to add on in the last two weeks perfectly happy. Then, as I got ready to do the mat/Pilates part I heard that niggling voice in my head:

“He’s been staring at the screen for an hour…you really should do something active with him…”

“You did a workout yesterday, and the day before, can you really justify another hour when he has to occupy himself?”

“Why should you have time to yourself when there’s washing to put on/out/in, the dishwasher to empty, hoovering to do? You’re so selfish!”

Life is busy right now (it has always been busy to be honest, who am I kidding, but it seems particularly pressured at the moment).

A new born has brought more washing than I remember, not helped by the choice we have made to do cloth nappies and wipes again. Ethan seems incapable of wearing anything more than once so his washing basket is always full. I’m getting through more clothes than usual (baby sick, baby dribble, baby everything, the food I’m dropping while I try to eat while she’s feeding (no-one’s going to notice the sriracha stain on her onesie, right?!)).

Keeping Ethan in snacks could almost be a fulltime job…shop bought stuff runs out quickly and is more processed than I’d like so I’ve been baking cookies and flapjacks and banana bread to fill him (and Nick, to be honest!) up. But that takes time, and the first time I tried to bake with Erica in the sling I remembered that opening the oven door is not a good idea with a baby in front of you and so had to re-think.

Then there is the time spent playing with Ethan, which I don’t do anywhere near as often as I should. As an only child for ages he misses playing with his friends, and he’s rubbish at occupying himself alone with anything other than the Switch, inane individuals on YouTube, or comics. I can only really go and kick a football or play swingball with him whilst Erica is asleep, and the one time we attempted Lego with her awake I feared the tiny yellow people wouldn’t recover from the digested milk that ended up all over them!

So, there are many, many things I should be doing whilst Erica is sleeping. And at the moment, the only guaranteed longer than an hour stretch we get is first thing in the morning, after she’s been up an hour. It feels like I have to try and fit everything I need to do in that space, just in case she’ll only sleep on me for the rest of the day. That little niggling voice in my head tells me that exercise shouldn’t be a priority.

And maybe you agree with it. Which is perfectly fine. Not everyone “gets” exercise. Not everyone has the luxury of even thinking about fitting it into their day. And I’ve not always been an endorphin chaser. After revelling in my place on the netball team at primary school (GA thank you very much *takes a bow*!), the social complexities of secondary school team picking combined with being tall and ungainly (and the whole nobody understood the need for sports bras to be part of the uniform thing) sport was not something I enjoyed. Getting sweaty and then putting your uniform back on for the rest of the day was just asking for red-faced related bullying, and people generally wanted to pass to their friends, no matter how good at shooting you actually were. I didn’t enjoy moving my adolescent body, mainly because it seemed unreliable and alien. When I got to Uni there were far too many other fun things to do, and it wasn’t until my best friend and I decided to join a gym together in the 4th year that I got back into the whole “getting fit” thing. We’d stay up late out or in with friends and far too much wine, get up for the 6am spin circuits class (trying not to be sick) and then come home, eat porridge and watch Friends re-runs… With the odd lecture thrown in, obviously. In the holidays back at home I’d run with friends, or by myself, and I started being proud of what my body could achieve, rather than cross that it didn’t seem to compare with media images. When Mark and I married we’d run to the gym together, work out and then run home – me much slower than he would have liked and feeling like I was holding him back. I was always trying to catch up, with him running 10ks most weekends and half marathons when he had the time to train. Running seemed like the most sensible way to keep moving, but although I loved the feeling of being able to run as fast as I could, that was never for long, and I never seemed to improve.

At some point in 2010, I’m not sure how, I came across some workout DVDs by Tracy Anderson, a ridiculously tiny, perky, blonde American trainer completely opposite to anyone I would have normally trusted with my wellbeing. Her moves were like Pilates on crack, mixed with dance cardio routines that I was hopeless at learning, looked like an uncoordinated elephant doing, but completely loved! The whole thing just fit, with none of the repeated stress on my joints that running gave me and a constantly changing routine that meant my (possibly ADHD) brain never got bored. And I’ve been a devotee ever since. Not (pretty obviously) because she’s made my body the perfect specimen I used to yearn after, but because the daily practise of focusing on what my body can do better than it did yesterday has improved my relationship with it more than I can say. I have still had days when I look in the mirror and dislike what I see, but I am kinder to myself than I used to be. When I dance around like a lunatic for 30 minutes I don’t have to think about anything other than trying not to fall over or making sure I don’t kick Ethan in the face, and that has been better for my mental health than anything else I have ever tried. I can work out stresses, lift myself out of despair, and feel as if I have accomplished something when everything else about my day has been shit.  When I was pregnant with Ethan it kept me healthy and flexible. The consultant we saw after the debacle of Ethan’s birth was pretty sure it was the reason I recovered so quickly. When Mark was sick I would come home and workout in the kitchen, and then collapse, dead tired, into much needed sleep which I wouldn’t have had otherwise. After Mark died it was my “me time” once Ethan was in bed, and when the day had been filled with “When is Daddy coming back?” questions I could lay it all on the mat and leave it there to start afresh a new day. Even now I don’t feel like myself if I leave 2 days between a workout, and right now it is helping me rebuild my strength after giving birth. It is also, now that we’re in lockdown, the only 45 minutes to an hour that I get for myself during the day. And, no matter how loud the voice in my head gets, it will take a lot for me to give it up. And, I do feel a bit smug that now everyone is catching onto this “working out from home” malarky!

Ethan says it looks really funny when I do it, he likes being able to join in with me sometimes, and he doesn’t really mind being occasionally kicked in the head! I like to think that I’m setting him a good example, that movement can be a healthy part of your life even if you’re not a naturally sporty person, and that there are loads of different ways of managing difficult emotions. 

I think a lot of my family and friends don’t understand why I workout so much, and think that I’m a bit nerdy about it all. I remember once my gran was staying with us and after 30 minutes she said “Are you not done yet?! That much exercise can’t be healthy!” But my life so far has been fairly stressful…and this keeps me sane…well this and red wine, anyway… #balance

Babies in Lockdown

Babies in Lockdown

I was chatting (online, obvs) with my friends from pregnancy yoga today (we have named ourselves the Yogabies and we don’t care how lame you think it is!). We are a mix of first time mums, mums with newborns and toddlers, and mums with newborns and children old enough to need homeschooling. And we are all frazzled. We all have different challenges during this drama that is unfolding. Some of us are getting used to partners working from home (and being around all the time). Some of us were just getting used to this whole maternity leave thing, trying to find routine, and now all the baby groups we were using as support have closed and we are alone, with just Whatsapp for company. Some of us have partners who need to work during the crisis and so have extra responsibilities on top of what we were expecting. Some of us are endeavouring to be teachers as well as dealing with newborns who have no routines and can’t understand why you need to finish the times table questions before you pick them up from the changing mat.

Nothing is as it should have been (a sentiment I am most familiar with).

To be honest, I do feel slightly cheated out of my maternity leave. These first few months were meant to be spent bonding with Erica, wandering around town with her in the buggy or sling, popping into coffee shops to feed her when she’s inconsolable, ranting with fellow mums about why she won’t sleep, or how everything has changed since the last time I had a baby, letting her fall asleep on me in the afternoon and smelling the top of her head. I had found it difficult enough to organise a baby around school runs and sports matches and homework and teatime even before we all went into a 3 week lockdown and I had to teach an 8 year old all about magnets. (N.B. I know nothing about magnets. When I was getting ready for my GCSE’s I had to go and stay with my Grandad for 2 weeks so he could cram enough Physics into me to help me pass the exam! Why could Ethan not be studying Shakespeare, or The Great Gatsby, or even Socialism?!)

The last week I have felt constantly torn between my two children, as well as the work that needs to be done to keep the house running. And by that I don’t even mean cleaning, just ensuring we have clothes to wear and food to eat! I spend the day feeling like I am not doing enough of anything, for anyone. And I am getting increasingly annoyed at the social media content which encourages people to look on the bright side of the lockdown by giving them ideas of things they can do with all their spare time….. Oh, to have spare time! The pile of books I was hoping to at least make a small dent in is gathering dust. This is the first time I have written anything longer than a Facebook status in about 2 weeks, and Ethan has been surviving almost completely on sausage rolls and cherry tomatoes.

I know that it’s normal to feel like you are failing as a parent (especially as a mother). I know that many people are finding this situation harder than I am, for various reasons. I know that I am very lucky that my family and I are well, and that Nick can keep working under the circumstances (oh the joys of running your own business). I’m quite pleased that we decided to use reusable nappies and wipes as they’re almost impossible to get hold of at the moment. But I am a bit sad, if I’m honest, that real life has crashed the newborn stage.

Erica is getting very good at watching me do things (like cook dinner, load the dishwasher, teach fractions, put out the washing). I am getting better at scheduling a school plan for the day and then completely rearranging it around her naps and mood. Ethan is getting better at adjusting his routine, something which he has always found very difficult. He likes the structure of school (although he will tell you the only things he likes about school are ICT, PE, lunch and break!), and he loves his friends. We are using the House Party app quite a lot so he can talk to them, and the teachers have been wonderful in sending us work home and keeping us all connected. But such a big change in routine means heightened anxiety and emotions, and so we have seen more tears than usual. My patience levels (never fabulous, to be honest) are at a very low ebb.

I miss my friends, and I don’t even have time to chat to them properly using all the fabulous technology that makes this global predicament bearable. I am very cross that the spa days and brewery visits we had planned are on hold…especially as I am currently running out of wine! And the self-indulgent tone of this blog post is also annoying me….

 All in all, I am unimpressed with Covid-19, and would very much lie to fast forward to September… If that’s alright with everyone else!

International Woman’s Day

International Woman’s Day

So, slightly earlier than planned…Erica Christine Day barrelled into our lives on the 26th January. The last 6 weeks have been intense, and I’ve not made it to the blog. I have lots of events and thoughts to update you on, but before we get back to our regularly scheduled programming (of me being far too introspective and wondering how I ever raised an 8 year old!) Here are some thoughts about this important day…

My little feminist 😍

So its International Woman’s Day.

And I had a girl….

I have always been terrified of having a daughter. I’m not a traditionally “girly girl”. I don’t understand how to do my own make up or hairstyles, let alone how to teach someone else about them. I can’t do french plaits. As someone who spent school on the end of some pretty horrendous female behaviour I was wary of re-entering the world of bitchiness, peer pressure and tearful friendship breakdowns.
I’d only ever changed boys’ nappies. And I can only stand pink in very VERY small doses.
Oh, and not to mention that the responsibility of raising a girl to be a strong, confident woman feels massive; full of trip hazards, confusion and balancing protection against independence.

Today’s global society has no easy answers. There is no black or white, just endless shades of grey for us to grapple with. People we admire and love can be on different sides of nuanced arguments and we have yet to work out how disagree kindly. Learning how to be a woman in all this is even more confusing than it was when I was growing up… it’s not even learning how to be a woman any more; it’s learning how to be you whilst navigating what society tells you a woman should be (which changes depending on which Twitter thread you’re reading).

I am sat on my sofa with my tiny daughter asleep (sporadically) on my lap. She is currently wearing a pink babygrow with cats all over it – mainly because that is what was on top of the pile at 3am when she needed changing.
More pink has entered my house these last 6 weeks than ever before, from such lovely, generous people. Thankfully it has also been mixed with greens and yellows and blues (and cardigans with dinosaurs on!) . I am grateful that she will benefit from the campaigns of the last decade to “let toys be toys” and to encourage young women that “this girl can”, and of course those further back that allow us to vote, work, own property, and contribute to society alongside our fellow man.

International Woman’s Day is extra poignant to me this year. The responsibility is a physical, night waking, nappy filling, smiling presence.
I have no idea what type of person she will grow up to be. But I hope that, alongside her brother, we will have taught her to value each person equally, to be kind, and that her worth is not dependent on society’s view of her appearance, but is inherent.

And hey: there are YouTube videos on how to do French plaits, right?!

At least she doesn’t have much hair yet!

Total Recall – or not.

Total Recall – or not.

I am 38 weeks pregnant.

But it still seems as if I have so very long to go before we get to meet the Hatchling.

Sleep comes in small doses, with all the hip pain and the constant need to pee! And fitting in daytime naps is not as easy with an existing child (even one at school) as it was without one.

There is still a lot to be done around the house. The nursery isn’t finished, the guest room is piled high with taken-down Christmas decorations, and as you may have noticed, the last few months have been so manic that writing has taken a back seat. Christmas and New Year and end of term madness and present buying and finishing things off at 3 different jobs has hoovered up all of my energy and attention. I keep glancing at the blog folder on my laptop and feeling guilty that I can’t find time to do something a little more creative that the school uniform wash or bookkeeping.

But some of my friends threw me a surprise mini baby shower last weekend, and it was wonderful! It made me feel very special and also made everything feel a lot more real and immediate. This baby is coming, and now I need to start remembering how to do the newborn thing…

Memory is an issue for me. I have such a terrible memory now. I don’t think I used to. I do sometimes wonder if this is a long lasting effect of trauma. Or may my brain is just pants!

I have spent this whole pregnancy countering very kind offers of gorgeous second hand baby clothes by saying that it’s ok, as we still have all of Ethan’s baby clothes up in the loft.

Then we pulled all the baby paraphernalia out of the loft bag by bag (well, I say “we”, I mean “Nick, with me supervising!”)…. The gro-bags….the  muslins…the bibs and baby socks…the sheets and blankets… The big bag of 12-18 month clothes….the big bag of 18-24 month clothes…the cloth nappies…the reusable wipes…the buggy and car seat…

Yup – nothing from the 1st year, other than socks…

I was completely baffled.

I have absolutely no memory of doing anything with those clothes – giving them away or selling them or anything. And I had been so certain that they were in the loft. And the only other person who would have been there to help me remember is dead. So of no help at all. So we have spent the last few weeks collecting enough small clothing so that the Hatchling isn’t laying around in just a nappy and baby socks when it gets here. And I am left confused at where the babygrows have all gone, but mainly worried that my memory of Ethan’s first year is so shocking. If I can’t remember getting rid of all the sentimental first clothes he wore, then what else have I forgotten?

That is one of the things no-one tells you about losing a spouse. You lose their half of the shared memory of your life.

Often in the last few days, as it all gets more real, Nick has asked me a question about some aspect of caring for a baby – how long do you need to sterilise bottles for, or how old will they be when they stop breastfeeding, or why do you need this random gadget! And I frequently realise that I cant remember. I have no clear recollection of large chunks of that first year.

I remember spending hours in the evening walking up and down in the bedroom, rocking Ethan and singing American Pie. We chose the longest song we could think of so we wouldn’t get too bored singing it over and over again. For years it was part of the bedtime routine (“Sing Pie Mummy!”). I remember going for many many walks around the estate during the day – trying desperately to get him to sleep, wondering if people saw me traipsing in circles and thought I was bonkers.  I remember washing nappies and the bizarrely therapeutic task of popping the right colour pieces all together again. I remember my wonderful friend Susan coming to stay for 2 weeks once Mark had to go back to work. But what I had totally forgotten until she reminded me the other day, was the phone conversation between us when she asked how I was and I burst into tears, and then she got in the car and spent her Easter Holiday picking things up off of the floor for me and doing the washing.  I remember fitting in workouts during nap time or, at the weekend, doing cardio whilst Mark looked after Ethan and being handed him to feed in between sets! These are all flashes. But there is so much I have forgotten. And I wonder if it will come flooding back with the muscle-memory of doing the newborn thing all again. I hope so. The two (4 really!) of us are relying mainly on me knowing what I’m doing with babies…

Seems quite optimistic right now… I can just about remember which way a nappy goes on. The breast pump is proving a little more complicated than I recall.