Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Speaking the truth

So I managed to get 5 minutes today to myself - not much time to do anything of note - even an eyebrow pluck takes a good ten mins (there is always another hair or two if you twist your face to the light) - so I used it to flick through Grazia magazine. Mostly purdey pictures of stuff I can never afford (£400 for a clutch bag? I think not) but also a few articles that take only 20 secs to read. Perfect. One was about a girl who didn't like her best mate's boyf. At all. Worst of all - she told her. Yep she sat her best mate down and broke the news to her that she and several other mates didn't like him one jot - and then reeled off all the reasons why... Amazingly she and her best mate are still bezzie friends, although they 'do see less of each other' and never mention the bloke when they do. Funny that.

Now I've been in this predicament myself a few times. But unlike this brave (or mad?) woman - I've never told my friend, 'Oi, see that bloke you're in love with, or indeed married to, well, he aint my cup of tea.' I've always reckoned that it is the quickest way to lose a mate. You are telling them that the person that they hold in the highest regard, you frankly don't. Well, what has it got to do with you in the first place? It isn't like you're in a relationship with the twat - your mate is... And that is her (or his) choice. But down in the pit of your stomach, there is the niggle - if I am a good friend, surely I should tell them that they are making a massive mistake dating such a tool? Then you think: maybe I'm a better friend by keeping a dignified silence, letting my mate live their life as they see fit (after all they are a grown up). What to do? Well - opening one's mouth can only lead to one result - tears. Your own. As your mate tells you to sling your hook and spends the next few years bitching about you to all your other mates - the clever ones who kept quiet. For sure when mate with dodgy partner/husband/wife/lover/girlfriend/boyf isn't around they'll all cheerfully moan and relish picking apart the relationship - but the minute your mate arrives - hey presto it's all fake smiles and chumminess.

I've done those fake smiles and super chumminess myself. Kept it up for 8 whole years once. That is a LOT of fake smiling I tell you. Especially when they went up the aisle. The tears my mate's Dad shed that day were not ones of joy... My friend who saw sense eventually and kicked the loser into touch now wonders why no one piped up - most of all me, her bridesmaid. But my theory is that you simply can't. Because it isn't your relationship - and only the two people in the relationship really know what is going down. You aren't gonna like everyone all of the time - and that includes friends' partners. Most of all - who are we to judge? As long as our friends are happy - then why should we rain on their parade? Different situation entirely if your friend is miserable, but even then - you can't be the one to tell them to leave, they have to work that one out for themselves.

This article got me a thinkin' - what would you do? Avoid the couple in question as much as poss and hope that it all blows over eventually? Cross your fingers that the love that appears to be blind will suddenly sprout a pair of specs and see the true colours before them? Not so easy if they are wed or worse, have kids. Then you just have to bite your tongue and try and find the best in the person who doesn't exactly rock your world. Maybe there are folks out there that dislike my Husband. Or - hard to believe I know - friends of his who don't like old CrummyMummy too much? Husband reckons if he didn't like a mate's Mrs he would say. But I didn't hear him piping up too loudly when his best buddy dated a dumb, fake breasted, insecure personality-less bimbette for almost a year....

There is of course the fact that just cos you don't click with the other half, doesn't mean others won't. But there is something to be said when a group of you all share similar feelings - what then, will someone raise their hand and spill the beans? Who would risk it? You might read this and say - I would always be honest, hand on heart. But would you, really? Even if your mate wasn't asking for your opinion, would you throw it out there just for the hell of getting it off your chest? Isn't that what the moment in all romantic comedy weddings is for? 'Does anyone here present have any reasons why these two may not be joined in holy matrimony? Speak now or forever hold your peace?'

My money - hold that peace in for all you are worth. And no drinking at the reception - just in case.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Second time around... very different. Day from night, black from white blah blah. First time around with Sproglet circumstances were very different: for a kick off I hadn't done the whole motherhood thang before. Then there was the heatwave (hottest day ever recorded in London, being stuck in a boxy top floor flat and the fact the council were building flats behind me and unloading concrete outside my window four times a day for an hour each time. Then there was the small fact I only had 3 months worth of money, so the clock was tick tick ticking - to lose weight (I was on screen presenting in those days), find a job, (when tv channels were shutting down left right and centre and competition for work was at an all time high) find childcare and get back and earn. Looking back, the pressure was immense and I felt every day I was struggling to tread water. I went from gal about town to trapped in a sweat box with a screaming child. To say it was a shock to the system is an understatement. I was also crushingly lonely and terrified of other Mothers and happy clappy sing-alongs - I can't hold a single note let alone a tune. 'Row row row your boat' brings me out in hives... It was hideous.

This time round is a whole new world. I have a rough idea what to do. I don't have much cash, but I don't need it either. I don't want to change careers, or am worried about finding a job - not yet anyway - there is no building work near me and I live in a comfy warm house - no mansion, but compared to the flat it is a palace. Also I know lots of folk - so every day I manage to see someone, have a coffee, or take Sproglet swimming or whatever. And the biggest shock of all is that I'm actually enjoying my baby, motherhood, and all the challenges it brings. I remember when I had Sproglet when a midwife told me to 'enjoy your baby' I looked at her as if she was mad. This red howling bundle had just nuked my life as far as I was concerned. I didn't know how to tame the beast either. But this time - well, without ten tonnes of pressure on my back, I can just kick and back and think 'all I need to achieve today is that the kids are alive, fed and clean by the end of it.' If I get that, then I'm happy. Believe me, getting through bath time warrants all kinds of awards (am doing it alone remember) so keeping it all together for a whole day feels like I have climbed mountains.

And boy am I in love. My daughter is just delicious. Even when she cries and her little face scrunches into that of an old red puffing man and she makes that grating wah wah wah wah cry - it makes me smile. I could rub her fluffy head against my cheek all day and drink in her milky sweet scent until the sun no longer shines. When her chubby cheek curls up on one side and her gummy smile reaches her twinkly blue eyes I have scored gold. When Sproglet drips water on her belly and then kisses it in their shared bath time, my heart kind of slips into my stomach. My life isn't filled with exciting stories and crazy nights - but it feels slightly magical at the moment. I get to wrap this precious bundle into my arms and rock her to sleep, listening to her contented snores. I get to watch her begin to focus on the world around her and glimpse the beginning of her relationship with Sproglet. There is a contentment that I have never known. I have a family - and all the silly moments: Sproglet imitating Mr Bean, telling me at school they asked about Daddies and he piped up 'my Daddy has smart hair'; Sproglette gazing at her Bro; eating enchiladas for dinner and talking Ben 10; bath time bubbles floating in the air like snowflakes; story time with 'the snail and the whale' for the 50 millionth time; when Sproglet first sees me outside the window at school and his face cracks into a huge grin - well, they are insignificant, mundane and utterly priceless.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Gwyneth Paltrow and I - one and the same - no?

Good old Gwynnie Paltrow. When the chips are down at least we can rely on Gwynnie to tell us working Mothers how to manage our days, and to share with us how she 'copes.' Brilliant. Now I know where I have been going wrong all these years. For those of you who aren't familiar with Gwyneth's life guru website - it is called 'Goop.' In it she shares her tips on oh, where to stay when one holidays in Spain, or what fancy restaurants to eat at in London - we'd have to re-mortgage our houses to eat there, but hey, that's just a little stop off cafe for our Gwynnie. She shares such delights as to what movies we should watch - suggested by her buddy Steven(as in Spielberg) and what music to play at our soirees courtesy of Sam (Ronson). In between advising on 'bowel elimination' and how to de-tox (using an uber expensive brand she loves) she has time to model her key wardrobe looks per season (Stella McCartney always features - such a snip Stella's gear - a mere £400 for a blouse) and how to rustle up great meals - such as home made sushi for our kid's organic, gluten free, toxin free, flavour free meals. Hurrah!

Her latest mail out nearly made me wet my pants. She and Stella talk about their manic days as working Moms - Gwynnie's included fitting in a workout, baking cupcakes, lots of busy phonecalls about the gyms she runs and exhausting herself into a sweat by trying on lots of clothes for various swanky dos she had coming up. Phew! Not forgetting the crisis as the coffee maker was on the blink! The horror!! How does she manage it - with someone else collecting her kids and babysitting them that night (whilst they played on their i-pads - what else would they play on for christ's sakes?)and no doubt personal assistants/housekeepers to go along with her team of stylists etc?

Have a look:

So in the spirit of things I thought I would compare mine:

5am Baby wakes. I feel like a zombie as I only laid her down 5 mins ago. Ok, at midnight the night before, but it feels like 5 mins ago. Feed her, burp her. Will that burp outta her so I can lie back down in a sweaty heap for another ten mins. She burps.

Then vomits all down my shoulder, back, the bed, sheets, pillows and herself. She smiles. By 5:30am she is tucked up in her Moses basket and I am stripped naked, changing into another obligatory set of crap clothes. Jeans that are held together at the top with a hair bobble - the old 10 pounds plus refusing to move post baby.

6am She cried - I jump up like I am on fire - but she is still sleeping. Good trick. She plays this one on and off until 7am when Sproglet rushes in asking me an important question about a film we saw a year ago. Morning has indeed broken.

7:30 Sproglet is watching TV refusing his cereal and demanding pancakes. Not home made I add. We have one left in a pack, past it's sell by date - I give it to him anyway. Sproglette is howling. She has a dirty nappy. I change her. Mid change she grunts and low and behold she has crapped in my hand. Nice. I dash to get a clean nappy only to return to discover she has weed on my bed. And herself. 3rd outfit change for her and it aint even 9am. (Very Gwyneth).

8am I am in the shower washing baby sick from my hair. Sproglette is watching me from her chair, squished into the bathroom as it is my only way to get washed. Sproglet then comes in needing a poo. Fab. He mentions that my tummy is still big. I feel great.

8:15 Sproglette decides to kick off wanting a feed. I have 15 min to get on a maternity pad, some knickers, grim clothes and dress my son too, not forgetting a quick spray of the nit repellent as his school has them again. I shove baby in the pushchair, my wet hair gets a quick blast with the dryer and I drop some conjunctivitis drops in my eyes. I look hot. Not. Sproglet has crazy hair, his school clothes look like they were never ironed and he drops in that he needs something urgent for school - like a costume or other.... We get our winter coats etc on and discover it is pissing down.

We race up the hill to school and I drop Sproglet off. He looks like a drowned rat. I possess no coats with hoods so my hair is stuck to my head. Glad I dried it earlier. Get home and house is a state.

9 - 12. Do laundry. Do laundry. Fold laundry. Do some more laundry. Oh and just for a change - do laundry. Discover shower is leaking, put away breakfast dishes and then try and eat some of my own. Too late - Sproglette has awoken - needing feeding, changing, cuddled etc.

12 - 1 Try to email folk, wonder where on earth I will ever get a job again, look at bank balance and feel faint. Worry about the bills that just arrived, the fact I have 10lbs to lose until I can wear more than 2 pairs of jeans in my wardrobe ever again, notice I have two new spots and a whole fleet of new bags under my eyes.

1-3 Pray Sproglette will sleep so I can sort PE kit/swimming kit/ unload dishwasher/plan meals/food shop/make meals/clear out fridge/reply to letters/emails etc. She doesn't sleep.

3:15 Marching up the hill again. What fun. Still raining. Collect Sproglet, get told off by the teacher for not remembering to bring a donation for some event or other. Slink off home after making 'chat' with the other mothers who look at with something somewhere between pity and disdain. Sproglet dumps everything when he gets home and demands TV. I suggest we bake cookies. He makes a face. Sproglette cries. I turn on the TV. After an hour I insist he plays - so I end up being 'the baddie' in some Ben 10 drama he concocts. I am blasted with guns and lazers. Holding a baby.

Somewhere between 4-7 I try and make dinner. usually with Sproglette in a sling thing. She sleep, I chop, cook garnish and shovel in my gullet as quickly as humanly possible - delighted with my stir/fry or chicken in parma ham with a side of veggies etc. Sproglet makes a face and wishes he had pasta. He takes an hour to eat 4 bits of chicken and 3 noodles and two bits of cucumber. Just as I am bout to eat said dinner, Sproglette wakes and howls. A neighbour calls to ask why the bins haven't been collected, something in the oven burns and Sproglet bites his tongue by accident and has a meltdown. I eat one piece of chicken (diet diet diet joy!) before I need to feed Sproglette.

I decide to do bath time. I run a bath - as the baby sleeps. Get my son it in. Just as he is splashing around - she wakes. I dry and dress him with one hand. I feed her a bottle and read him 2 stories and the same time. I realise I have needed to wee for 4 hours and not had the chance. Sproglet finally slumbers whilst I try and prepare everything for the next day - hunting for a matching sock for at least 30 mins and clearing up ben ten toys - after almost losing a toe standing on one. Feed the baby. Lay her down. She again refuses to sleep. I try and drink a cup of cold tea.

Around midnight. After walking up and down my street like a lunatic with a buggy - baby slumbers. I peel off skanky clothes and throw myself into bed, my head racing with the things I didn't do, the shampoo I forgot, the person I was meant to call (two weeks ago). The thank you letters I still have to write for all my daughter's newborn gifts.

5am Baby wakes - and repeat the above.

See, my and Gwyneth - identical lives eh? Oh yes, I used to have a full time job as a script editor on the biggest drama on British TV - regularly pulling in 9 million viewers. It wasn't stressful or nothing. I ran the house, was 9 months preggers, looked after my son and have a husband who works crazy hours opposite to mine. So I totally get how stressful it is trying on frocks and going for dinner with the girls Gwyneth. I simply am in awe how you manage it.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

The whole epic shebang...


The day my daughter was born was both one of the best and worst of my life.

So we'd arrived at the hospital at 9:30 - a tad late and I had phoned to apologise (oh the irony) - that traffic was insane - and then I proceeded to wait. And wait. And wait. In a fetching gown, no pants and surgical stockings. Bottle green stockings. Nice. Who decides on such colour? "Forget the sexy pink - let's go with... ah yes, the bottle green. That'll cheer up anyone waiting for an op for sure." Grim.

All I could think about were the needles about to be rammed into me, the pain post op and the fact my son hadn't really been himself when we'd dropped him at a neighbour's house and explained that his Granny would collect him from school that day. In my head I pictured a momentous movie moment replete with tears and hugs and all that jazz when later that day Sproglet would meet his little sis for the first time. I pictured how they'd exchange gifts and he would be over-joyed and no longer would he wear the fearful look on his face he had been sporting all weekend. Having had a section before I should have been more relaxed - but I wasn't. I was dreading the moment they'd jab those tubes in my hand - even with a local administered I knew how those fecking tubes hurt - and then the monster epidural needle in my back. I'd been nil by mouth since the previous night and was tired, nervous, hungry and thirsty as I lay on a hospital bed and tried to amuse myself in the arduous wait. I even watched 'Loose Women' on the free tv thing - yes, I was that bored.

At 11am they told me they'd had an emergency section in theatre, but I would be next. Then they took another planned section instead of me. I was meant to be next but another emergency took precedence. Then another. Then another. When the head of the ward walked in with a cup of water at half past four I knew she wasn't bringing good news. She was bringing a glass of water as a peace offering - but I wasn't feeling so damn peaceful. No, I was an anxious ball of rage. I burst into tears, worried that I wouldn't have my baby that day at all. All my little movie monet fantasies went right out the window and for a moment I wished I could grab a bread knife and slice myself open.

I didn't think I could go through another day like this one. There was only one theatre on the ward, which they kept free in case any woman mid birth suddenly needed an emergency section. The selfish byatch. Only joking - I understood, I really did. But oh my god - could these women not shut their legs for two minutes? Maybe an hour, just so I could get my sprog cut out and then they could go back to their difficult labours? Sorry, but my patience had run out. And my sense of humour.

Head of ward woman took pity on my tears and told me she had a plan to open the second theatre. (Could this not have happened earlier? Or did it take a mad Irish woman with an unhinged glint in her eye - that's me obviously - for this ward women to suddenly find her second theatre keys??) An angry anesthetist came under my curtain - I thought to start the whole drip thing to keep fluids in me - but thankfully she brandished a bit of paper - with a name to write a complaint letter to - full of apologies that I had had to wait so long - saying that folk having hip operations didn't get bumped if someone came into hospital having fallen, so why are planned sections made to wait (often until the early hours of the morning) when they should have an allotted time? Hurrsh for this woman. She speaks the truth. I could have hugged her. The mental torture of knowing you are about to be drugged up and sliced open is really exhausting. That's before I even mention waiting behind a bland blue curtain - staring at it for 8 hours, wearing no pants and without the aid of a cuppa or gin to keep you mellow. I wanted to scream - just get me in there! I mean, I'm the kind of woman who schedules my smear tests for 9am - my thinking being I don't want to spend the whole day worrying about someone jack knifing open my v-jay-jay - kind of how you lift a car to change a tyre - so I get up, get on with it. It is the thought of something that gives me the heebeejeebies - not the actual event itself.

Anyway, I got into theatre about half five. In went the grim needles, the epidural, the cold water sprayed on my back. My floppy breasts hanging outside my gown as if they had given up on life. I promptly threw up. Oh yes, I was in full attractive mode - spit hanging from my mouth - legs marked with spider veins, hair stuck to my head, listening to folk shear my pubes away. It felt very like a conveyor belt - one in, one out. The team were tired, over worked. Knew they had another section to do that evening and just wanted to get on with it. At that moment, lying on the slab, I really wished I could do natural birth because I am sure the whole experience is infinitely better than a section. You can do it at home or in a hot pool for a start. With nice white candles dotted around and maybe a joss stick. A midwife squatting between your legs - all very hand holding and snuggly. My sections were a world apart - it felt so cold and not just the epidural. It felt like a means to an end, rather than a euphoric moment. When a guy walked in wearing a helmet covered in a plastic guard that said 'splash cover' on it and announced he was assisting - I told him how comforting that was. Husband was incredible. He held my hand (although earlier failed to hold his temper with all the goddamn waiting and him on a rickety chair for 8 hours) and kept telling me how brave he was. For some reason I was obsessed with the question - is she healthy? That somehow having 2 perfectly well kids was asking for too much... I said so many silent prayers I couldn't think straight. I kept trying to bond with the team - asking what they wanted Santa to bring them etc and they all pretty much ignored me - celarly thinking the drugs were working - all too well.

Then I heard her. A magnificent cry. I asked 'Is it a girl, they said it was a girl?' But they couldn't tell me. She wasn't even out of me yet and she was hollering. Clearly a child of Irish descent. They held her up at 6:14pm - my beautiful bunny - and wrapped her and brought her over to my husband. I couldn't help it - the tears of relief started to flow. I kept asking if she was ok and the midwife told me she was beautiful. I'm sure they say that to every new Mum - but I bought it, she was indeed beautiful. No cone head, a button nose and plump pink skin. I was much more emotional than the birth of my son - maybe because I was so fecking relieved, the op was almost over, she was here, I was no longer pregnant. Hurrah. Goodbye heartbrun and piles, hello sleepless nights... Maybe because I knew all along I was having a girl - so I was much more prepared this time - I wasn't expecting a girl and ended up with boy, or vice versa - I was able to just enjoy her. Well, if you can enjoy anything drugged to the eyeballs while folk stitch you up and you can't move three quarters of your body.

Funny thing is she looked exactly like Sproglet when he was born. A clone. His nose, his full lips, soft fluffy hair and big eyes. She smelled that delicious baby sweet smell that is utterly intoxicating. It isn't hard to fall in love with such a helpless, cute bundle. But I had to wait until they were wheeling me to recovery to get my first hold of the newest member of my family.

I was stitched up and finally taken out of theatre to recovery. However, I was wheeled back to... the room I had just rolled around in for 8 sodding hours. I never wanted to see the fecking blue curtain again. The wee one wasn't getting warm enough so they put her tiny 7lbs 1 oz body under a grill thing to heat her up. They fed me morphine which failed to abate the searing pain tearing through my abdomen. By midnight I was hooked up with triple strength morphine - and still I was so sore. Something about them cutting through scar tissue meant that second section was far from a walk in the park. My legs were still numb, the tubes still dragging on my hand, my belly still 8 months pregnant and swollen. Eventually I was wheeled to the Knutsford suite (i.e. heaven in a room. A £400 a night room but heaven no less) at 10:30pm and placed in the hands of a midwife who was fittingly an angel. Husband left just before 11pm and I tried to process how I was feeling: I was shattered, elated, relieved and in dire need of a good cup of tea. The tea and toast angel Tracy brought were the best I have ever tasted. I lay and marvelled at my daughter and counted my blessings that she was safe and well. Had I not been so emotionally wrung out I am sure I would have stared at her all night - but instead, sleep was calling.

The private room I know cost a fortune but was simply the best money I have ever spent. That first night my midwife Tracey helped feed my newborn, swaddled her and provided the care that post section, I couldn't physically or mentally give. She answered my questions, she understood why I wanted to give my daughter formula to stop her hunger, and supported this without the usual midwifery judgement that makes us all feel like shit mothers within an hour of giving birth. For 2 hours she stayed with me. I didn't feel overwhelmed or alone. I felt pampered. It was a million times better than when I was left post section after my son. I say to anyone - get a private room!! Sell your tv, your sticker collection - your Husband, but get thee a private room. It makes all the difference to your recovery I swear.


The next day another midwife helped me shower - in my own bathroom - and dress. Having someone help you put on your pants is an underrated privilege when you have just had an operation. I relaxed in front of my plasma tv, in soft low level lighting, eating a hearty breakfast. I could have been in a fancy schmancy hotel were it not for the hospital bed and sanitary towels the size of bricks laid out in the bathroom... It was so damn comfy I never wanted to leave. Sproglet arrived that day after school - and we introduced him to Riley, his new sister. I had Husband primed with the video camera and I'd taken a deep breath - hoping that my tears of complete joy wouldn't make him afraid. I'm a single child, and I've always dreamt having 2 kids - so that they'd never have the childhood that I had. Introducing them was a moment I'll never find the words to express - even thinking about it now makes my throat itch and the tears start to form in the corners of my eyes.

He stroked her head and was overjoyed when she gave him a Woody toy that he had long coveted. I told him she had great taste in toys and a telepathic powers and he didn't question this. My Mum told me how the day before he had slept for an hour at nursery, needed cuddled for half an hour and hadn't been his usual sunny wee self at all. This broke my heart - and for the first time in my life I was torn between wanting to tend to the baby and wanting to smother Sproglet in affection 24/7. He was wearing badge that school had given him saying 'Finn's Fantastic news.' Bless his school, they gave him Mr Snuggly (the new Kipper) home for the night (ha! Husband had to write the 'I went home with Finn today and we did blah blah...' story) and had made an almighty fuss of him. As he left he looked at me so mournfully I bit my lip not to cry. My Mother later told me he kept asking when I would be home. If someone had carved out my heart with a knife it would explain how I felt when she said this.

We eventually got out of hospital on Wed evening and when I walked in and saw Sproglet I burst into tears. (There are lots of tears in this post. Oh yes, the hormones were RAGING through my body. If I looked at Sproglet, my husband, the baby, or most of all when I looked in the mirror - I cried.) He hugged and hugged me and then asked me to move out of the way, Ben 10 was on telly. And so we 3 became 4. The next week was a blur of midwives, trying - and failing to successfully breast feed, visitors, cards - a sea of pink, no sleep and celebratory glasses of wine. Maybe a gin or two. Or three. I made sure that the morning after I got of hospital I was at Sproglet's school, watching him as an innkeeper (he looked more like a transvestite al qaeda terrorist in the costume I had fashioned for him) in his first ever nativity play. His wee face lit up when he saw me and he barely took his eyes off me the whole time - waving like a madman. That week he was needy and irritating and attention seeking and all the things you wish to god your child wasn't when your energies are so sapped by a new born. I have never felt so torn in my whole life. On one hand I wanted to comfort him and reassure him, on the other I had a mewing newborn who needed wiped, changed, fed, burped every minute of the day. So I bathed with Sproglet, read him stories, hugged him tightly, gave him chocolate treats, (one for you, one for Mummy, one for you, two for Mummy - Mummy needs comfort food...) so determined was I to make sure he felt secure, that we loved him just as much as we always had done. After we bathed the kids together (get me - kids!!) - which was just too cute - he turned a corner and since then has embraced 'my baby' as he calls her - and has been a doting, over enthusiastic brother - back to his usual cheery self.


Somewhere long the line, christmas came and went. I feel like I have spent my life on the sofa watching some goddawful kid's movie eating toblerone. Friends have taken Sproglet for playdates and I've been ridiculously, pathetically grateful. Trying to entertain a 4 year old whilst looking after a 2 week old, in minus five temperatures, with thick snow everywhere, unable to drive post section, has not been easy. Husband has been nothing short of amazing. Miraculous. He has a love affair going on with the dish washer he has spent so much time loading and unloading it. He has shopped, cooked, done washes, all tedious chores and has fallen hopelessly in love with his little girl. We've shared the feeds - taking it in shifts. Thank god or I would be even more of a basket case than I am now. And boy am I basket... It has taken me two attempts at writing this post to think it was worth posting. Normally I can write with ease - now, I can't even remember my name...

Boobs or bottle?

The breast feeding? Well I came, I tried, I pumped, and pumped and pumped - and then it got to Xmas eve and I just could not find 2 hours plus in every day to sit with that horrific contraption and suck the life out of my already lifeless boobs. My wee one copied her older Bro and just refused my right breast from the off. The left one she took to - but she hated the unsatisfying colostrum and so we topped her up with formula. Then my milk came in and I looked like a porn star - my G cups overflowing - but each boob was as hard as rock. My midwife was wide eyed when she copped a feel and told me to get expressing - as my daughter wasn't interested - only grazing for ten minutes, while I panicked that my chest would somehow smother her. The first time I expressed I filled two full bottles in under an hour...

But it isn't for me. For so many reasons - expressing is time consuming and when you have a house and a baby and a 4 year old and sodding Xmas and visitors etc - you just can't do it all. My baby has gone from 7lbs one oz, to 7lb 4 oz at 5 days old, 7lbs 11 oz at ten days old to - at 3 weeks and 3 days old - 8lbs, 11oz. So she aint starving. And I tried, I really did. And I expressed for almost 3 weeks - which felt like an achievement. So I'm here, bottle feeding and trying not to feel guilty - but I'd be lying if I said I was guilt free. Hell, we mothers have to beat ourselves up over something don't we?

And now...

Life has been turned on it's head with my daughter's arrival. Everywhere I look there is a muslin cloth. My washing machine has permanently been on with a white wash since she came home. I spend my life winding and wishing for wind. Seriously, I will a burp to pop out in the wee small hours of the morning to the point were I make deals with god, begging for that burp - for it's appearance means I can finally lay her down and embrace sleep. Oh god, I miss sleep. I yearn for it. Plus, Sproglette has reflux - nightmare - so she has been on gaviscon to ease the pain and then on boxing day we had to wait in a skanky out of hours hospital to get her a prescription of ranitidine. Until then she grazed on her bottles, taking only a small amount and then throwing it up moments later - unable to sleep as her wee tummy rumbled. Now it seems the ranitidine makes her throw up - the exact thing we have got it for in the first place - so she is off it, back on Gaviscon and we are garteful that we haven't been chundered over in over 24 hours... and counting.

But she is worth it. My beautiful girl. With her long fingers and dainty legs, her wobbling head and her searching eyes, her soft cheeks and warm delicious neck - I drink her in and remember that this period will pass soon... I will sleep again some day. And she will grow and become her own person. So I'm cherishing it while I can - this little scrunchy person that has turned my world around... that makes my night day and my day night. I still would sell my soul for 8 hours straight sleep, I cannot lie. But I'm coping. I was anyway until I got on the scales today - have over a stone to lose - a stone and a half to be my dream weight. Joy! I have given away all my maternity clothes to a friend expecting twins, so I have to diet if I want to have anything at all to wear. The pressure - to routine the baby, to keep a house tidy, to feed Sproglet, the lose the weight - it threatens to overwhelm me some days and other days - good sleeping days - I think somehow I can get through it. I'll keep you posted.

But the one thing that delights me every day, no matter what time of day or night, is the fact that my wonderful family is now complete.