Pops turns 60!

I haven’t blogged in a fair while. Between organising a christening, looking after a very poorly Neve and the run up to Christmas I haven’t found the time. But before we get in to full Christmas swing, today is a special day for my family- happy 60th birthday pops!!

My dad is so many things to me, first and foremost of course the most amazing daddy (yes I’m almost 30 and still call him daddy)! But also the best grandypops to my girls, an awesome father in law to Danny and our go to: plumber, electrician, mortgage adviser, banker, babysitter, teacher, mechanic, comedian (wannabe). Truth is without him we’d be lost!

He’s almost succeeded in teaching us to be successful adults- yes if we get a bank letter we don’t understand, something breaks or we have a car question Pops will still be the first person we ring. But he’s also taught us to save but spend too, to always put our children first and to make a joke out of everything. Laughter makes everything better! Plus I can now replace my own screen washer in the car- if that isn’t winning at adulthood I don’t know what is…

Pops is the most generous and kindest man I know; he has always helped us out in any way he can. From grammar checking our uni essays to giving us taxi money every night out and making us promise we spend it on taxi’s (definitely didn’t spend it on 3 more shots and then stumble home). Hell he still makes Christians sandwiches for work and he’s 25!

He is also a great big softy. We would literally laugh at mum when we were kids and she threw out the ‘You wait till your dad gets home’ card. Don’t get me wrong, he could lose his shit when he needed to- Amanda and I were quite difficult teenagers (me probably more so) and Christian is the reason the term ‘terrible twos’ exists; but you can never take someone who cries at Britain’s Got Talent too seriously when they get mad!

So here’s to wishing you a 60th birthday that is as special as you pops- thanks for all the fun, love and laughter along the way. This photo says it all…

Barf Blog!

This weekend Georgia was hit with the dreaded sickness bug. That’s right, all parents send your sympathy this way- a sicky toddler is truly horrific!

It all started in the middle of the night on Sunday. Bugs always have to start in the most dramatic way possible. They never start in the middle of the day with a bit of warning and a few chuck ups in the toilet. No, they have to start at 2am, with a sick filled bed, sick filled toddler and sick splattered walls. Not only did this mean stripping sheets and cleaning at an ungodly hour; it also meant spending the rest of the night in the spare room with Georgia. Urgh! Hats off to anyone who manages co sleeping. Toddlers move SO much! Through the night I was kicked constantly in the back, elbowed in the face, pushed and shoved. All while trying to get as far away from the ticking germ bomb next to me and breathe the fresh, healthy air on the other side. Jeez, I thought sharing a bed with Danny was bad!

We somehow managed to make it till 6am. Georgia happily exclaimed it was time for Peppa Pig, sat up, then started retching. This time I was prepared. I scooped her up, ran to the bathroom and practically threw her over the sink. Then, in the most loving way possible, I pushed her head away from me while she threw up the entire contents of her stomach and cried for a cuddle. Of course my heart broke for her, there’s nothing worse than seeing your baby in pain and upset. But, at the same time, I really didn’t want her to be sick in my face.

And so started our day of quarantine. The thing is, looking after a sick toddler is like looking after a tiny drunk person. They alternate between singing baby shark as loud as they possibly can and throwing up, all in a matter of seconds (for the record, I’m not sure which is worse either). This was all while trying to keep Georgia from getting too close to Neve. Trying to explain that we need to prevent the spreading of germs to a three year old is not easy. Georgia’s logic was ‘I promise I will not be sick in her mouth mummy’ and everything will be dandy! Luckily Neve had the sense to nap in her cot most of the day and keep well away…

Once Georgia had finally realised that she felt better laying on the sofa, rather than jumping up and down on the bed or scootering around the house, I could finally start cleaning! I’m not someone who normally relishes the thought of cleaning; I haven’t bought into the whole zoflora craze. But, I’m a bit hygiene obsessed, especially when it comes to sickness. And so started the battle; me vs the germs. This was a battle I was determined to win. Armed with my ally ( dettol) I began. I literally dettoled everywhere: Georgia’s mattress, books, curtains, every single door handle, cupboard handle and light switch in the house. You name it, I dettoled it! Hell, I even considered drinking the dettol! I opened every single window in the house, mid November (Neve just wore her coat indoors). I even washed both of Georgia’s snuggles, at the same time leaving her snuggleless for a couple of hours. NOT the funnest hours!

Tired and weary, I sat down, awaiting Danny’s return home. As I heard the door click, my heart soared. Finally I would have some help. My saviour was here. He walked in, then, with puppy dog eyes and the best ‘I’m sick voice’ he could muster, he told me his nose was starting to hurt and he was getting a cold. Well what fucking good timing! Man flu had officially struck! Sympathetic wife I was not! Not only had I just degermed the whole house, my hopes of help had just been royally pissed on. My response was not showering him with affection and sympathy; it was giving him my best death stare and stating: ‘You must be fucking kidding me’.

To give Danny his due, his sniffles have turned into quite a nasty cold and he hasn’t dared be too much of a man about it. He reacted well to my ‘you must be fucking kidding me,’ and has helped as much as he can. Georgia only took a day to get over it and is now her normal funny, sassy, energetic self.

Now I’m awaiting my impending doom of catching the sickness bug or man flu from my germ infested family! Wish me luck!

Our First Wedding Anniversary

A couple of weeks ago it was our first wedding anniversary. Congratulations to us we’ve survived one whole year of marriage and it seriously scares me how quickly this year has gone. Truth be told, being married hasn’t changed our lives; it pretty much just changed my surname (which when you’re a teacher is pretty hard to get used to). Pre marriage we already had a house, joint bank accounts and most importantly a Georgia (heathans that we are!). Post marriage we still have our house, a slightly less healthy looking bank account, a much sassier Georgia and, fast forward 9 months, yes you do the math, a beautiful Neve!

Nevertheless, getting married was important to me and all my hinting obviously made it important to Danny so our first anniversary should be full of romance, love and mushiness right? Apparently not in our marriage. How it actually began in the morning was a rather groggy, post Georgia had nightmares night, ‘Happy anniversary I forgot to get you a card,’ ‘Good me too!’ (The key to a successful marriage- both be as shit as each other!) followed by a trip to Rutland Water accompanied by our small children.

We chose to go to Rutland for the day because we got married there and we thought we could have a romantic stroll, then a short play in the park for Georgia. HA! How wrong we were! Our romantic stroll ended up being a brisk walk straight to the park and then a round of mini golf. In all honesty I quite enjoy a bit of mini golf. Danny gets all technical and precise, blabbering on about angles and shit; I just hit and hope and guess who wins more often?! (Danny will tell you it’s him but he’s a big fat liar). Anyway turns out its not quite the same with a toddler in tow. The toddler has to win every hole or they’ll pull a strop to end all strops. In fact, the toddler pretty much has to play every shot, no matter whose turn it is or whose ball it is. The toddler will flat out refuse to use the child’s golf club issued to them, will insist on using yours instead and be absolutely lethal with it. And then… just when you’re getting in to it, the toddler will decide they’re fed up and everyone has to stop playing! But… the one saving grace…the toddler does look cute when you make them pose for photos (even if you do have to bribe them with an ice cream).

Despite having to spend most of our anniversary playing mini golf, at the park or answering ‘Are we there yet?’ 50 millions times, I did have a lovely day with my favourite people.

Then, even lovelier, was that Nanna had Georgia and Neve for a sleepover last weekend so we could go away to celebrate our anniversary… JUST THE TWO OF US!!

The weekend actually started off with me in a massive strop because Danny hadn’t organised where we were going and instead spent the time I had asked him to find and book a hotel (while I was taking Georgia to ballet) playing f*cking football fantasy league! But I’m over it now… ish…

Anyway we ended up going to Norwich for the weekend and doing a lot of what adults do when they go away without children…. sleeping. Get your minds out of the gutter! I’m open in my blog, but not that open; my Mumma reads these! We went out for a romantic meal and Danny became a proper grown up man- he ate mussels for the first time. He to google how to eat them and ask the waitress, just to be doubly sure, but he did it!! We drank, we shopped, we ate ALOT and it was just what we needed to spend some time together just the two of us!

Life isn’t always easy when there’s little people involved but it’s the best thing in the world and having a partner in crime to laugh with, cry with, keep you sane and drive you insane all at the same time is all you can really ask for! Here’s to many more anniversaries!

The realms of imaginative play!

The realms of imaginative play are a tricky place to navigate with a toddler. Go too realistic with your giant FEE FI FO FUM and they’ll probably end up weeing everywhere (yes I speak with experience), not realistic enough and they’ll just pull a massive tantrum. Leave them unsupervised and they’ll pretend to be mummy and try and brush your babies non existent teeth (note Neve was not impressed with this one) and god forbid you actually get it right and pull off an Oscar worthy performance – you’ll be doing the Mr Bulls voice for hours on end while Rapunzel phones you to fix her broken Lego tower with your baby rattle hammer, secretly counting down the hours till bedtime and whispering ‘for f**ks sake’ under your breath every time the word again is screeched.

Then comes the dressing up- I blame Nanna for this one. Nanna’s house is literally Georgia’s favourite place to go; ask her where she wants to go and she’ll say Nanna’s. Nanna’s house means making dens, eating sweets, having chocolate biscuits, face painting, pretty much ruling the roost for Georgia and her cousins. It was also home to the first ‘Elsa dress’ DUN DUN DUUN- cue having to play Let It Go 50 million times and address your daughter as Queen Elsa.

The dressing up then somehow seemed to infiltrate into our house. Now don’t get me wrong, I completely get the benefits of imaginative play. It’s lovely to see Georgia’s imagination blossom, but getting your kids dressed for the day and into jammys at night is a chore in itself- changing from Moana to Sleeping Beauty to Anna to Rapunzel to Angelina fricking Ballerina all before I’ve even managed to get myself dressed, let alone have a sip of my precious cup of tea, is just taking the piss! But us Mumma’s do it, because we love them and let’s face it they look adorable. Who could say no to this face?!

There’s also the third child to contend with- the husband. The husband must be supervised during imaginative play. The husband is the reason your toddler pulls her knickers down, sticks her arse in your face and pretend farts on you. The husband likes to make swords and guns out of the lego and encourage the toddler to shoot or hit you. The husband takes great pleasure in making the middle finger out of Lego and following you round the house with it. The husband never thinks of the safety aspects during pretend play; he likes to live life on the edge. He puts the small, vulnerable, real life baby in the play pram (the one with the left wheel that often falls off), then encourages the toddler (who is not very good at steering said pram) to push her round the house while he watches sky sports news. When I walked down the stairs I actually saw the pram roll past me, real life baby inside, because the husband was trying to see if he could push it far enough to reach the end of the hallway. The third child is the ultimate tester of patience…

What really takes the biscuit is when imaginative play worms it’s way into bed time. Georgia has a very vivid imagination and is also an absolute wimp (takes after her Mumma)- not a winning combination, so we have to be really careful about what she reads or watches. After endless nights checking the gruffalo isn’t in her wardrobe, there isn’t a wolf in her tent or trying to convince her that a dragon definitely wouldn’t fit under her bed we’ve learnt to steer clear of anything she could potentially find scary. That and we tell her we’ll sit outside her door while she falls asleep then quickly creep downstairs and grab a glass of wine. Cheers to all the parents who survived another day of imaginative play!

Pass me the bottle!

So we all know ‘breast is best’ believe me I heard it enough times during both my pregnancies. When I was pregnant with Georgia I was determined I would breastfeed, I went to the classes, I stayed in hospital longer to try and master it, I asked the midwives for all the advice I could- but after 3 weeks of bleeding nipples, crying on Georgia’s head every time I fed her, suffering with anxiety, putting raw cabbage on my boobs (apparently it stops them being painful- it doesn’t,it just makes everything stink) and being frightened of being close to her in case she smelt my milky boobies, I decided this wasn’t working… I tried expressing for a while, but Georgia was a tiny baby and fed every hour and a half so I found as soon as she’d fed I’d need to express again and it just became a never ending cycle of feed, express, feed, express. Leaving the house was impossible, and anyone with small children knows staying in all day will slowly drive you insane!

Then I made the big move to formula- SMITE ME NOW!!!!

For a long time I felt terrible about ‘failing to breastfeed’ I thought I was failing to do the best thing for my baby- according to many Internet forums she would end up being an obese kid, with a lower than average IQ who suffered frequent infections,struggled to bond with her mother and grew a third ear (ok so I made that last one up but you get the gist). I hated having to feed at any sort of mother and baby group in case there was a judgey mummy (I only ever came across one, shame on you mean lady/ massive bellend!!!) and I constantly battled with myself about whether I should have tried harder to stick with breastfeeding (I definitely shouldn’t have, at that point my mental health was very fragile and struggling to breastfeed was not helping)… Anyway I eventually got over my guilt and 3 years down the line Georgia is definitely not obese, is a bit too clever sometimes, wants mummy to do everything, only has two ears and is rarely ever poorly. Turns out she survived the bottle.

When it came to feeding Neve I decided I’d give breastfeeding a go again and if it wasn’t right I’d switch to the bottle- confident this time that she would not grow a third ear. As it happens I didn’t have too much choice with Neve anyway; she made the choice for me! Neve was not a fan of my boobies and wouldn’t ‘latch on’ at all. After more than 24 hours where a different midwife tried every 3 hours to ram Neve’s face into my nipple with absolutely no success I decided I’d had enough. I could feel myself getting anxious again. I wanted to go home and enjoy my baby. I left the hospital a few hours later a formula feeding Mumma once more.

This time I didn’t feel guilty about bottle feeding, I knew it was the right choice for my family and for my baby. Don’t get me wrong, sterilising bottles is a right ball ache, formula is ridiculously expensive and Neve is a bit obese but who doesn’t love a chubby baby! Too often mums are made to feel guilty about the decisions they make when they are the ones who truly know their babies, their own bodies and their mental health the best.

Breastfeeding Mumma’s and bottle feeding Mumma’s I salute you! Judgey mummy’s- I hope you step in dog shit tomorrow!

Our first holiday as a family of four

Now those of you that know us well/ heard my pops wedding speech will know that Danny and I have never been the best at ‘adulting’. The first time we decorated a room we painted the plug sockets (this was 6 years ago and they still don’t work) and spilt a whole tin of gloss over the carpet (Danny’s fault not mine). The first time we took a trip together we got off at the wrong train station and my pops had to drive for over an hour at midnight to come and get us. When we went travelling I left my passport on the security conveyer belt and had to suffer the embarrassment of it being announced over intercom at the airport. You get the gist- we’re big fat kids! Nor have we had the best of luck on holidays- when I was younger I had my appendix out in Spain (I did gain an epic scar though and we told everyone I’d been bitten by a shark so to those who were naive enough to believe me I was the coolest kid around). When we went to centre parcs we started unpacking the car and found Danny had forgotten to put my suitcase in and left it at the bottom of the stairs at home (somehow miraculously remembered to pack his own though!) and when we were on our honeymoon I threw up on the plane in Danny’s food tray (romantic I know but he’d already married me by this point so there wasn’t much he could do)…

So considering all of this I knew we had to be major organised for going on holiday with an 8 week old baby. Being the unorganised/dippy pair we are the only way to become organised, responsible adults, who did not forget a whole suitcase on holiday, or forget either of the children, was to write a comprehensive list! I set about writing the list days in advance, it grew and grew day by day- hell I was nailing this list business! I should write lists more often for sure, there is nothing, NOTHING more satisfying than crossing stuff off a list! I actually found I was adding more shit to the list just so I could cross it off! Calpol? Yes we’d definitely need that for holiday. Beechams cold and flu? Pays to be prepared. 20 pairs of knickers for Georgia for a five day holiday? Go for it!

Yeah I loved my list! But as it grew a pattern began to emerge…The vast majority of shit on my list was for one person and one person only. The tiniest member of our family needed more shit than was possibly imaginable! How could someone so small need SO much stuff?! In fact said tiny member meant we had to ask mum and dad to put stuff in their car because all her shit literally would not fit in our SUV car… enough outfits to cover all sick and poo explosions- check; enough nappies to last till she’s 10-check; 50 million SMA cartons and powder because she’s a chubster who wants food ALL the time- check and the list just went on and on.

Once I’d relished in the satisfaction of ticking everything off my list; Danny had squeezed everything in the car whilst suffering my snapping (I snap when I’m stressed, or tired, or worried, or ill, pretty much all the time now we have another baby in the house) ; Neve had screamed her head off getting in the car seat and Georgia had proudly announced to the entire neighbourhood that she had got a big bogie from her nose, showed me on her finger (I can confirm it was big) and then swiftly ate it before I could even utter the word tissue, we were off on our adventures!

I won’t bore you with every tiny detail of our holiday, I’ve probably bored you enough, but in a nutshell-

Uncle Christian bought Georgia a paw patrol float and a frozen rubber ring and our previous terrified of the water child who used to cling on to us every time we forced her to go swimming was suddenly a little mermaid. That meant all she wanted to do was go swimming ALL the time, so we, being the considerate parents we are, told her there was a crocodile in the pool so we didn’t have to go again… No I joke, we thought about it, especially on the last day, but of course we dragged our tired asses to the pool EVERY day. Neve even got a few swims in. She probably lasted about 10 minutes before she started going blue and getting cross but those 10 minutes were definitely worth the ball ache of getting her changed, getting her dry and getting her changed again, all timed round her regular feeding and constant need to nap!!!! (Insert sarcastic voice here).

Danny took Georgia to a football session, she didn’t have too much choice in the matter but seemed to enjoy it. Meanwhile I took Neve to eat cake. I ate cake, Neve slept. Winning.

Mine, Georgia’s and mums birthday were all while we were there which made it extra special plus gave us a party for Georgia- we took her to the kids disco and told her it was her birthday party. Before you judge us she absolutely loved it.

Neve slept through the night for the first time- she did her first 11 hour straight stint. But before anybody else with a newborn reads this and hates me, she hasn’t done it since, in fact she’s got progressively worse since being home.

Mum, dad and uncle Christian, who came with us, provided endless entertainment for both girls so when they got home to just boring old mummy and daddy they didn’t know what had hit em!

Somehow we were lucky enough that, at the end of September, we had a 22 degree day so we were able to spend some time by the beach at the lake. Sweating profusely because we had not packed for such climate change. The girls were alright of course, I’d packed for every eventuality for them.

All jokes aside we had the best time, didn’t forget anything we needed (thanks to my list) and made some extra special memories with our two girls.