A day in the life- 2017 edition

I don’t really have a standard working week day any more, but here’s how I expect my new Wednesdays to be panning out- I swapped days, so Wednesday is now my day off, and offered to take Fin and Lyla to school when I drop Sid at playschool, to help Lauren out (in the hope that this will bring me babysitting brownie points!)

06:30- Wake up, drag self from bed, Between me and Mark, put washing on, unload dishwasher, put bins out. Make milk for Sid, who needs a good 15 minutes to wake up properly, and consequently sits staring at peppa pig episodes on the ipad. Drink tea. Much- needed lovely lovely tea.

07:00- Throw self in shower, throw self in clothes, apply zero make up, clean teeth

07:15- Persuade Sid to have a wee

07:25- Chase Sid with flannel, toothbrush and pile of clothes

07:35- Force Sid into coat, allow Sid to prat about sitting in every seat in the car, while I double check that I’ve got all the mad stuff pre-school expects me to bring- Show and tell stuff… for a two year old… who doesn’t really talk very well. Yeah, fine. Bag of fruit (take that, government subsidies), 5 t-shirts because he’s incapable of using the taps without getting soaked.

07:40- Finally get Sid in seat and buckled in, drive, at not particularly sedate pace to sister’s house before she has to leave for work

07:45- Breakfast for Sid, Lyla and Fin

08:15- Attempt to clean up breakfast/toy-based carnage, start process of requesting shoes, coats and bags are on

08:35- Finally leave house, and walk to school, Sid in pushchair sobbing that he can’t go on his scooter, Fin and Lyla giving me heart attacks every time they screech to a halt on said scooters at the edge of the pavement. Jog along with pushchair in effort to keep up

08:50- Primary school drop off- DONE!

09:00- Into preschool- lengthy and slightly stressful process of finding a name tag, putting water bottle in the right place, changing shoes and hanging everything up on the designated coloured hook. Attempt to say goodbye, and am roundly ignored (an improvement on the previous three weeks, where he sobbed every time we put the uniform on, let alone took him near the building). Slope out, waving goodbye to his key worker, in case I look like I’ve just dumped him there and ran

09:20- Tesco shop (list carefully prepared from my even more carefully prepared meal plan which was made on Sunday night, and will probably go to shit when one or the other of our parents invites us for dinner, resulting in a hasty reshuffle of the meal plan and me inevitably forgetting to put the prawns in the freezer, so they end up just rotting away in the fridge)

09:45- HOME- Supermarket shopping is much easier when you don’t have a two year old trying to escape from the trolley. Attempt to do a week’s cleaning in an hour and a half. Fail. If I was paying for a cleaner who did as bad a job as me, she would be sacked without question.

11:15- Realise forgot to eat anything for breakfast AGAIN. Trough down something inappropriate and remind myself that I was trying to cut down on refined sugar.

11:20- Continue with merry go round of washing- stripping beds, folding washing, re-loading the machine, slinging things on radiators and chucking the heating on full blast in an attempt to dry them because it ‘looks like it might rain’ and I can’t be bothered to stand in the garden putting things on the line.

11:45- Back to preschool. Probably going to be the last one in the queue for collection. Again.

12:00- Sid’s out, back in the car, home for lunch

13:00- out to the park or, more likely, to do errands loosely disguised as fun (I just need to go in x y and z shops, but then we can go look at the sad looking rabbits in Pets at Home)

15:00- Return home. Realise I’ve left the heating on full pelt, all the windows are steamed up and house resembles the subtropical paradise at Center Parcs. Swiftly turn heating off, open windows etc to hide truth from Mark. Occasionally, I get a surprise afternoon nap out of Sid, which allows me to spend two hours pansying around on the interment, but more likely afternoon continues thus…

15:15- Fold more fucking buggering washing. Hide clean, crumpled washing in pile in cupboard under the stairs, with the last three weeks’ of similar

15:30- Pick up Lyla from school. Do some kind of child-friendly activity (please not play-doh, I’ve only just mopped the floor, and it won’t be done again until next Wednesday); sneak glances at facebook while singing theme tune to Paw Patrol

17:00- Start sorting dinner out, interrupted multiple times with requests to play Mario Kart (Sid loves Mario Kart. Well, he likes picking a character, then repeatedly pressing pause on his controller, so I lose my thread, then just as I manage to make it into first place, he announces he’s bored and turns off the N64)/do puzzles/turn on the bathroom light/ make snacks (NO- IT’S NEARLY DINNER TIME!)

17.30- Speed tidy carnage that has somehow been created in last hour and a half, have cup of tea with sister when she comes to pick Lyla up

18:10- Mark returns home from work, everyone eats dinner

18:30- Tidy up dinner stuff, loaf until bath time

19:15- Bath time- One of us sorts a bath, the other tidies away 45 minutes of train track and puzzles from the floor

19:30- Stories, milk, teeth cleaned, a final wee and bed

20:00- Pack lunch and breakfast for Thursday, because I have to leave for work at the crack of dawn

20:30- Do half an hour of ironing, before giving up and hiding the pile back in the cupboard under the stairs

21:00- Sofa loafing. Ignore Mark, while playing crappy games on phone

22:00- Ignore piles of washing lovingly folded and flattened on kitchen table, switch off lights and go to bed

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Hello to you from the future

(If the future is 2017). Well, looks like I gave up on bloggerising for a while, but actually, in a narcissistic way, I’ve very much enjoyed reading back through old outpourings and seeing what I’ve been up to in years gone past, and I really think I should do it some more. Will I keep that up, well, who knows, but maybe!

 

Current status: I’m 36…I think… I genuinely am having to think about that. What year is it? oh, hang on, no I’m 35. Sorry about that!… I live with Mark and Sid in a house in Hornchurch, which is a different house to the one I lived in with Mark and Sid the last time I wrote anything on this blog. Sid is 2 and a half. Mark is 36. Definitely 36.

We moved house last year- I decided on a whim I wanted to move house, ostensibly before we needed to start thinking about school, and to make it easier to get to our parents, who lived about 15 minutes away. In reality though, I just really wanted to move house, so we did. In July last year, we became temporarily homeless for a week, when the completion of the sale of the old house didn’t quite match up with the completion of the purchase of the new one. Mainly because the last people who lived here were pricks.

Since we moved in, we discovered some major electrical problems (involving the Energy UK coming over to change our fuse board, and managing to shut down power to about 300 houses around us- that made us popular with the new neighbours), a broken dishwasher and oven, the vast majority of windows refusing to open, a rotting shed, and scarily, a real slope to the front half of the house that we’d blindly ignored on the viewings and on the subsequent survey. Consequently, several bank loans later, we have new windows, a new kitchen, two freshly decorated bedrooms, and a lot of toy cars escaping under the sofa- We’re just going to ignore the sloping floors for the time being!

I’m working three days a week, in the same old place I was before I went on maternity leave- they have been bloody good employers, so it seems silly to leave, plus I quite enjoy my job, so there’s no reason to really- I’m not exactly going to be able to rise to any heady heights career-wise, but that’s OK- it’s good to have balance! And Sid’s just started pre-school three mornings a week, which is giving me a bit of time to attempt to speed clean the house, which is an improvement on sitting on facebook while moaning that I don’t have enough time to clean said house.

The history degree alluded to in my last post went for a burton- I did the first unit, loved it, and found it really enjoyable, but then realised I didn’t have 10 grand to spunk on a pointless degree, and if I did have 10 grand, I’d spend it on investigating why my house was so wonky, so I’ve put that on a permanent back-burner.

Sid is currently asleep on the sofa, following a day that has involved a play group, lunch with nanny June and a quick trip to the shops. I should really wake him up soon because it’s 20 past 4, but if I wake him up he’s guaranteed to be an arse- think I might just let him snooze on.

I, however, should really get my shit together and go fold some washing, or put away the toy mountain that seems to explode around the house every day. Or make Sid’s bed again. Followed by making my bed. It doesn’t matter how many times I make those bloody beds, someone creeps under the covers, messes up all the pillows and chucks the cushions on the floor. I can only count myself lucky that he’s not realised the spare bed should get the same treatment! Off I go….

What a difference some months make

Can you believe it- after about 20 minutes of trying to remember my password for my WordPress account, here I am

So what’s new with you? There have been quite a fair old few changes round here that I’ve been wrangling with, most of them entirely expected but that’s not to say they haven’t been a shock to the system!

I went back to work last November, following 9 months of being at home and I was SO glad to be back- back to something that I’m vaguely competent at as opposed to the mysteries and minefields of parenthood. I was full time for two months while Mark took a bit of time out to spend with Sid, and now I’m doing a longer Wednesday to Friday in the office and a few hours at home so am practically doing a four day week.

To add something else to the mix, I decided to shake things up a bit and have signed up for my first module of a degree in history with the open university.  Technically, according to my detailed study plan, I should currently be reading Dr Faustus while I’m on the tube but instead I decided to blog. Procrastination already and the post doesn’t even start for a week *slaps wrist*

We’re planning on putting our house up for sale later this year so I really need to get a move on with doing some painting- I’m going to be hugely sad to leave but thinking practically we’ll need to be closer to our parents by the time Sid gets to school age (nb- we’re not talking about an epic move or anything- we’re looking literally two miles up the road.  London school catchments are mental! )

And yes, can you believe it,  my tiny baby is nearly one already- can’t believe a year ago I was contemplating the joys of maternity leave and now we’re trying to sort out a birthday cake!  Crazy times

So that’s a wee update at least- I’ve most making random outpourings, so expect more!

The summer so far

Hello! Yep, I’ve done my usual summer disappearing act. I don’t know what it is about July but I seem incapable of blogging through it.

So, a brief update on what I’ve been up to…

-Weaning… I really wanted to get going on the fun process of giving Sid proper food, so (sshhh, don’t hate me), we started a little bit before the recommended six months. From about five and a bit months, I started offering up little tastes of various fruits and veggies, and for quite a while he was entirely uninterested, until one day, he stole the quesedilla I was eating for lunch off of my plate and stuffed it in his mouth. We’ve been doing food ever since! It probably deserves it’s own post in full, because there’s a lot to talk about. I really really wanted to do baby-led weaning (where you give small baby sticks of food and let them get on with it), but it was SCARY! So we’ve settled on a mixture of finger food and spoon feeding, but over the course of the last three weeks, we’re slowly moving more towards self-feeding, which is cool.

-Holidays… Not yet, but next week, we’re off to Devon with my family. Probably in for a week of drizzle and windswept beaches, but that’s what holidays in England are all about, right? I’m currently making multiple packing lists, in an effort to try not to just pack up the contents of the entire house.

-History… For several years, I’ve been threatening to do another degree, and after putting it off thinking ‘oh, but in a few years, I might want to start thinking about babies, and then where will I be?’, I finally realised that I had the baby and my life really hasn’t changed that much, so there was no reason not to follow the dream. What I don’t have is the cash to fund it, so unfortunately for me, after signing up with the Open University, I have had to put it on hold for six months while I save up the funds. In the meantime, I’m doing lots of interesting reading about medieval history (and watching lots of Time Team… which is history in itself- in one of the early episodes they had to explain what GPS was!).

-Yoga… I’ve been doing post-natal yoga classes for the last three months or so and was interested in doing more, so I did a very very brief search on youtube for beginners’ yoga videos and happened across Yoga with Adriene. I was instantly in love- her teaching style is right up my street and I started doing one of her videos about three times a week, as well as starting on her ’30 days of yoga’ series. Inevitably I fell off the bandwagon, and had a week or so off, but I started again today on day 1 and am going to make a promise to do the 30 days consecutively (rather than every so often, like I had been).

-Slimming down… In the six months since Sid was born, I resolutely hung on to six or so pounds that I wanted to get rid of to get back to where I was before I was pregnant. This was no  stubborn weight that was impossible to lose, it was me eating the world out of crisps and biscuits, so it actually turned out to be no big deal to shed the weight. I signed up to myfitnesspal again and started tracking my calories, and signed up for a buggy workout class and got back to where I wanted to in four weeks.

-Buggy workout… Deserves its own little mention- Twice a week I’ve been joining a group in running round a park with a group of other ladies, with babies in buggies. As well as the running, there’s some pretty punishing hill work, plus circuit training type stuff like tricep dips, press ups and the like. It’s brilliant, a nice bunch of people and is definitely working, given how much my various body parts ache the day after! My only slight worry is that I’m stuffing my decidedly pansy-like wrists up by pushing a reasonably heavy buggy

-Hair dye… I had sort of decided that when I was on maternity leave, I’d dye my hair red again, so I did. That’s it really. It’s a bit of a sod on the upkeep, and needs redoing every three weeks (courtesy of Mr Mark- I can’t afford that many salon visits!), but I’m very much enjoying being a red head, rather than my natural blonde

Yep, I think that’s enough of an update! I shall be back more regularly, honest!

Birthday 2015

I’m having a ridiculously extended birthday- It was well over a week ago now, but I went out for dinner on Friday with Mark, followed by pub, while nanny Sue babysat, then on Saturday (actual birthday day), I had lunch with my fam, and after whinging for about two ages that I couldn’t be bothered to go, I dragged myself out and was very glad I did- not quite for my birthday, but some friends were going to StreetFeast in Dalston, so I went along for the ride. It was a hell of a lot colder when I left the house than I thought it was going to be, so as StreetFeast is sort of semi-outside, I took a quick dive into Westfield and Stratford to panic-buy a jumper!

For those not in the know, StreetFeast is a collection of bars and food stalls. My main regret of the evening is that I got too involved in the cocktails (which were admittedly a bit disappointing but pretty deadly) and didn’t eat enough food- I only ate one measly portion of gyoza, which were fricking amazing- I was burping the coriander dipping sauce for about three hours afterwards, and am not ashamed to say that it wasn’t altogether unpleasant! After the deadly cocktails, we took a cab back to the motherlands and went to an awful awful nightclub which was full of teenagers, and danced to Busted. I’m cool like that.

On Sunday, after a birthday party for Mark’s grandad (and a buffet, obvs), I went out with the family Ad for Prezzos, thus ending my food-based birthday weekend. And it’s not over yet- Mark bought me a groupon thing for cuban food in Camden, which we’re going to redeem soon, AND we’re off to the theatre with my sister and bro in law, and there was talk of lunch before that. It’s a good job most of my trousers are elasticated.

Attempting to not look fat

I was in the happy situation that during my pregnancy, I only put on 1 stone and 10 lb. I’ve no idea how that happened- from Christmas to February, I ate basically everything, so I guess I just got lucky! After my baby was squeezed out of my nethers, I was only 10lb off of where I started, which was very pleasing indeed. Because I’d read a lot of scathing articles in Closer magazine of various celebrities who had lost their baby weight too quickly, I thought I would wait a while before I started thinking about trying to lose my tiddly 10lb of excess baggage.

Stupidly for me, I spent the month after giving birth eating basically every item of junk food in the kitchen cupboard. There was a LOT of it- In the lead up to labour day, I’d stocked the cupboard both with sensible dinners and crap snacks which I’d never usually buy, and various friends and relatives kept our biscuit tin well stocked on their visits. I think by the end of the first month, I’d actually put on a couple more pounds, and decided enough was enough.

A month after that, I decided that really, really enough actually was enough and it was time to have a bit of goddamn discipline. Luckily for me, that also coincided with feeling confident enough that my pelvic floor wouldn’t fall out of my body for me to start running again.

I’m slowly chipping away and hope to be getting back to where I started in the next month or so- 10lb over 4 months sounds more than sensible to me. While I’ve never been bothered enough about my body to totally buff up, I have been a running fan for quite a few years, and quite liked having toned legs and a reasonably slim frame (hips and bum aside). I’ve been exceedingly lucky in that I didn’t gain any stretch marks or anything while the boy wonder was living on the inside, but babydom has definitely made its mark on me and I’m more than happy with what is likely to be a slightly softer look even when I get back to my original weight- Support underwear is an amazing thing!

Being a judgypants

I’ve made an executive decision to stop being such a judgypants. We all do it, don’t we- it’s just too easy (and too much fun) to bitch about people particularly, I’ve found, in the realms of parenting.

Case in point- I was talking to a friend about how her new daughter was sleeping, and she said the only way any of them can get a night’s sleep is if the baby slept laying on her front on her mum or dad’s chest. In my head I thought ‘for pity’s sakes, what a ridiculous way to live your life- just put her down and let her cry’, while thinking in my second head  (yeah, I have two- what of it?!) ‘shut up Gem, you’d never just let Sid cry if you could comfort him- you’re not Gina sodding Ford’. Outside of my head, I asked if that meant that my friend or her hubby could get a decent night’s sleep, and she said yep, they slept fine- they weren’t being woken up by a crying baby, they weren’t worried about her being on her front in her cot, and they’d got pretty used to sleeping laying on their backs. And that was when I decided to stop judging other people’s choices.

While I think there’s nothing worse than people that are absolute martyrs (you know the type ‘woe is me my life is so difficult, but oh no I couldn’t possibly do anything to change it, that would be too easy’), if someone’s doing something that works for them, who cares if it isn’t the way I’d choose to do it

The 18th Photo Project

I am a massive fan of those slightly pointless ‘news’ articles along the lines of ‘this man took a photo of his beard every day for 18 months- here’s what happened’, and decided that with a baby imminent, I wanted to start a little log of my growing family. The day I put my plan into action was the 18th of the month and because I know how lackadaisical I am (it took me three months of thinking about this amazing non-plan to actually do anything about it), I decided that a photo once a month, on the sofa, on the 18th would be do-able, and thus the 18th photo project was born.

I’ll be honest, sometimes the photo wasn’t taken on the actual 18th, but the ‘once a month when I can be bothered photo project’ didn’t really have the same ring.

I actually got my act together in January, so here are the photos for January, February, March and April. Mark isn’t exactly a willing participant in this- he likes the idea, but generally can’t be bothered with it, so the photos are very much a quick snap and hope for the best- I get maybe three go’s at most to try and get a decent shot and some of them are looking a little bit rough! Still, I’m hoping as we build this up over years, it’ll be a lovely little archive

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A whole packet of jaffa cakes

It is an absolutely miserable day, and all I can give as an achievement is that I’ve eaten an entire packet of jaffa cakes

I realised a couple of nights ago that I hadn’t had a full night’s sleep for well over 12 weeks, and even though Sid’s pretty much dropped down to one feed in the night now, I’ve been in charge of it because Mark has to get up and go to work in the morning, where as I can have a vague lay in/afternoon snooze. Mark, however, does have Thursdays off, so I’m going to be having a night of respite on Wednesdays (no sign of sleeping through from Sid just yet!). Thursday is now, and I had a very nice night’s sleep, only punctuated by Mark telling me on his way back from the 3am feed that he’d forgotten he had the next session on his tattoo booked for today and so (apologies, wife), we wouldn’t be able to do anything fun as is our usual Thursday wont.

I didn’t mind- genuine mistake and all that, but it’s now 4 o clock and I have been pretty bored, if I’m honest. I’ve run out of ways to entertain a three month old (he’s pretty much doing it himself now- absolutely entranced with a muslin while sitting in his bouncy chair cooing away- no idea why I bothered with a full hour of ‘games’), watched several hours of documentaries (Wartime Farm at the moment, and before that something about early queens of England- my medieval history knowledge is severely lacking- going to have to do some more reading up, I think), done a couple of loads of washing and cleaned the bathroom, and continued with my work on learning the names to the different sizes of champagne bottles… I’m sure it might come in handy one day for pub quiz knowledge (magnum, jeraboam, reheboam, methusela, salmanzar, balthazar, nebuchadnezar… I think… might have got some spellings wrong, mind), and then half an hour ago I found the aforementioned jaffa cakes. They’re all gone now.

Still two hours until Mark returns from the tattooist and I get a kebab for dinner, which after my recent exploits I really don’t deserve.

A little bit of me time

When I was pregnant, I did some prenatal yoga classes, which were absolutely awesome- so relaxing and really sorted out my niggly aches and pains. The teacher also ran a postnatal class and said she’d be in touch six weeks post-birth to tell me more. Eleven weeks went past and nada, and I was a little bit sad about it but thought hey ho, until an email pinged up to apologise that there’d been a break in the classes, but they’d be restarting in the first week of May if I wanted to sign up.

I surely did, even though it meant my Fridays would be a little bit jam packed. Typically the one class that I go to with Sid takes place on a Friday at 11.30, and yoga would be at 2. Class in question is Baby Sensory, by the way. It’s ok I guess- Anyone that has ever been to a baby sensory class will know that you have to sing this song at the start, with actions, called ‘hello to the sun’, which quite frankly I feel like more of a nobber singing with each passing week, and I can never remember any of the actions. The class basically involves variations on a theme of bouncing babies on your legs to a song, waving various things in front of them and a bubble machine. Sid tends to have a look of ‘what the hell are you doing, mummy?’ on his face for most of it so I’m not entirely sure if it’s money well spent, although it is a good opportunity for me to show off when we do tummy time exercises, because my boy is totally bossing tummy time. Seriously, he rocks at it </competitive parenting>.

Anyhow, I decided I wanted to do the yoga, and my friends were paying for another term of Baby Sensory, so I’ve reluctantly signed up too, just on the off chance that Sid might miraculously start actually enjoying himself and will be doing the journey from one side of the borough to the other between classes, conveniently with enough time to stop in for a cuppa at my mum’s.

So anyway, postnatal yoga- what was it like? Well, not anywhere near as relaxing as prenatal, that’s for certain, but relaxing in a different sort of a way- Everyone brings their babies, and they recline on blankets next to us while we do the exercises. The teacher’s little boy was there, running in and out and making stuff out of playdoh, and her mum was on hand to soothe or feed any babies that needed it, so everyone could concentrate on themselves for a bit.

We started off with some stretching on the floor (Sid made sure I remembered he was there by repeatedly hitting me in the face), then moved on to some poses, aiming to help knit everything back together again- pelvic floor, abdominal muscles, that sort of thing, then we finished off with a tiny bit of guided relaxation. We used to do this in prenatal for quite a lot of the session, and I’d regularly fall asleep or phase out, but this was much shorter and had a sound track of various babies squiffling around so there was no danger of nodding off! We all had eye pillows which really meant that you didn’t open your eyes and Clare, the teacher, came round with oils and gave everyone a head massage, which oh dear lord was fricking amazing.  At the end of the class, because the hall was available for another hour, Clare made everyone a cup of tea and we all had a chat, which was really nice and I left the class feeling, while not quite as blissed out as I did when I came out of prenatal, certainly ready to face the world!