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!