A Poem for you.

I’ve always been a dreamer, with words stuck in my head,

until you came along, I thought that part of me was dead.

You make my feelings seem worth putting down,

on paper, instead of in my head spinning around.

 

Because, if I have nothing else to show for my days at home,

I’ll have my thoughts down as I’ve watched you grow.

You’ll have your earliest memories, both good and bad,

and you’ll have my honest thoughts, both happy and sad.

 

Incase, you havent figure it out yet, I’m a complex soul,

I need to follow my heart, by anyone else I won’t be told.

This is the only thing from me I hope you do inherit,

a sense of self, following your dreams, a constant feeling of ‘f**k it’.

 

People will tell you what you should do with your life,

unless it means you hurt someone, you don’t have to take their advice.

If you write, draw, sing or play sport, do it with passion,

give it your all, do it well, you see, happiness never goes out of fashion.

 

So, as I continue to write my poems, versus and blogs,

and for everyone elses thoughts on this, I don’t give a toss.

Just as long as you know, this is the song in my soul,

and Im writing it down before I get way too old.

 

Love you boys. You’re my inspiration.

Em 💙

How Long?

How long is a month, when you’re done with waiting?

When you’re desperate to see if a new life is creating?

When you’ve timed your cycle to ovulation just to be sure,

and you’ve tracked your basal body temperature. 

How long is a month when you got your hopes up last time?

But you were just late because your mind was doing overtime.

You know the feeling of each and every day that’s missed,

only to wake the next day and realise it’s natures cruel twist.

How long is a month when your friend just announces,

that she’s pregnant and around you she happily bounces.

You know the torture of her moans of her torso having no room,

when you’re fighting back tears because of your empty womb.

How long is a month, people keep asking “So, when is it your turn?”

Waiting impatiently, looking at you, you feel their eyes burn.

When you really want to run as far as your legs will go, 

but instead opt to shrug and laugh it off with a “I don’t know”.

To all the ‘TTC’ ladies. A month feels like an actual lifetime when you’re trying. Especially if it’s been a while. The days around ovulation feel like they go too quick for you to make a baby. Every hour that you miss your period tingles with hopeful excitement. Each time you bleed you grieve another lost opportunity. It’s a horrible, seemingly endless cycle that will only end in one of two ways. In a baby or you may move on*. Give yourself some credit for your courage, some rest for your soul and be ready to try it all over again. It took me more or less 5 years for my first baby. And it happened when I felt I was at my most defeated. But I obviously wasn’t. Hope to you all. I’m thinking of you. I remember those days all too well.

* moving on doesn’t mean giving up completely. To some it might be, to some it might be IVF, fostering or adoption. Each is as hard in their own ways I’m guessing. 

Talking Shmalking.

“Does he say much else?”

“Have you mentioned it to your Health Visitor?”

“Well, my children were talking more at that age”.

“I think you should get him checked out.”

These are the questions I dealt with time and time again, from people who should’ve been minding their own business and some family (who again, should’ve really minded their own business). My eldest son, you see, wasn’t the earliest of talkers. I wasn’t at first all that bothered because he was developing so very well with everything else. His balance and gross motor skills were amazing from being a few months old. I Mean, this is the 6lb & 3 weeks early baby who could lift his own head up after birth, much to the amazement of the midwives. I’ve  always believed that each child (and people) develope differently and excel at different things. Besides, some of things he said were cute. He said “lalalalimily” instead of Emily. “Beeber” instead of Ava. “Juju” instead of Joey and “bollockpop” instead of lollipop. Ok, That’s not as cute as it is funny and I’ve laughed sometimes instead of correcting him.

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The turning point came when we tried getting him to say things properly, he would clam up, blush and refuse to try. It really gutted me to see him so embarrassed at himself so I rung the Health Visitor. She said she’d asses him shortly as its almost his two year review but in the mean time not to concentrate on it. Correct him once and move on. On his assessment as I expected, he passed everything with flying colours apart from his speech which she reassured me was  on par with his age so not to worry about him. She’d seen us so very regularly recently as I’d just had my second baby and had been struggling so if anyone knew him, in his natural setting, she did.

So we plodded on. His confidence with talking grew slowly but surely. He started nursery with older children which helped no end and as I gradually started saying words to Joey, Henry caught on quickly so as to be the helpful big brother. I’d been on an open morning with a speech therapist at our local children’s centre. Half to put any tiny doubt to rest and half because it was next to a park and it was an excuse to get out of the house. She once again concluded that he was fine, she gave me some tips and asked me to keep track of how much breathes with his with his mouth open as if he’s problems with his adenoids then this may interfere with speech. I finally had peace of mind, I knew he was developing ok. (I knew that before but it’s funny how people can make you doubt your parenting skills isn’t it?!) I knew how to encourage him and most of  all, I could answer judgy people’s questions:

“yes, he says enough for his age.”

“yes, my Health Visitor says his speech is developing well”

“oh, your children talked more at his age? I’m surprised they could get a word in edgeways with you.”

“I’ve had him checked out, now, tell me how perfect you are again?!”

ok, the latter two might have been said in my head.

Almost a year later and he’s coming on leaps and bounds. We still don’t break down words and his confidence has grown ten fold. His baby brother has much stronger speech, it’s amazing how he knows how to repeat a word straight after youve said it. But he’s still a bit unsteady on his feet. He’s developing differently at the same pace. As all babies and children do. And it’s funny, a few people have said that they or there children have had speech therapy and haven’t shut up since. It’s really not a big deal if children do need a bit of help. And it reminds me of my favourite Albert Einstein quote: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will go it’s whole life believing it’s stupid.” (Just FYI, Albert Einstein didn’t mutter a single word until he was 4 years old.)

You know your child better than anyone. If you’ve got a niggle that things might not be as you’d expect, just ask your health visitor. They are far more qualified than any stranger, friend or family to judge potential problems. And it rules out ear, adenoids or other developement issues. Stand your ground if others try and tell you how to deal with it. If I’d have listened to how others ‘got their children talking’ Henry would very likely have a stutter by now. Besides which, how much one talks isn’t an indication of intelligence. I mean, really, how many people do you know that talk and talk and talk without really saying anything at all?!

💙 Em

 

7 Things I’ll tell you that the baby books don’t.

1. You will know exhaustion like you’ve never known before. So cut yourself some slack. Even if it’s the third day in your pj’s and you have to answer the door. If anyone’s going judge you, at this fragile period of your life, that makes them an asshole. Not you. So eat the biscuits, use the dry shampoo and sleep in the daytime. Sleep whenever the hell you can. Day or night. In bed, on the sofa or in the bath. Just do it.

2. You will learn the art of ‘nodding and smiling’ as elder generations impart their (usually useless) advice on babies to you. Apparently the fact that their children survived is an actual qualification, that no modern GP can match. Just nod. Just smile. Then do whatever you feel is best for you and your baby. Because at the end of the day, its nobody’s business if you breast or formula feed. If you top and tail wash or full on bath them. If you feel they need Calpol or not. Your choice alone. Mentally give them the finger. I said Mentally.

3. Your partner will feel left out. It’s normal but it’s pretty twatish if they say it out loud so they’ll just sulk (if they’re a man) or pretend everything’s fine (if they’re female). So, whilst everything revolves around you and baby (and rightly so), ask them for help when you need it. And you will need it. They’ll feel more helpful and involved and it lightens your load. It’s win/win. FYI: the arguments will die down. Your hormones + less sleep for you both x the overwhelming responsibility dumped on you = a truck load of arguments. I remember us two arguing over a pan of chilli. For 15 minutes straight. Concluding that we should divorce for the sake of the new baby. Before he grows too old to know any different. Lol. It happens and it DOES die down.

4. Your vagina will hurt. You will feel like you’ve been kicked between the legs by an ice skater 20 times. But it heals, like no other group of muscles in the human body. It’s pretty magic if you think about it. So get the heat pads on it, use lavender oil in your baths (honestly, it’s amazing), sit on cushions, take the paracetamol and keep your partner WELL away from your ladypiece for a good while. If there is any sign that things aren’t healing well, don’t mess about. Seriously. I ended up in hospital on the verge of sepsis after my second. If you think something’s amiss, ring your health visitor, even if it’s the 26th time you’ve rung them this week. Just do it.

5. You might not get the instant bond everybody raves about. And it’s totally fine. In the long run, it doesn’t matter, it has no bearing on how you mother your child nor about the bond you will have with them in the future. I had no bond with my first and I truly hated myself for it. I couldn’t hold him when he was born because he wasn’t breathing properly. Then I couldn’t cuddle him for 5 days as he was in an incubator receiving light therapy. But, you will not find a more protective and loving mother to my boys than me. I did get that bond with my second. He settled immediately on my chest and there was nothing but love. It was an amazing feeling  and in that moment, it was just us. But that’s all it is, one moment in a lifetime of moments you will have with your child. Nothing more, nothing less.

6. You will have to eat a great big piece of humble pie. Because you will become all that you said you wouldn’t. You’ll be posting pics of your newborn left, right and centre. You will type #blessed and #makingmemories. You will overshare on every milestone of your baby’s first year and expect everyone to ‘like’ or ‘love’ it. Even though you’ve rolled your eyes hundreds of times when other’s have done the same in the past. It’s ok, you’re only human. We can all be a bit judgy if don’t understand something. But now you understand. Just remember, there will be someone rolling their eyes at your “aww, where did the time go?!” photo. It’s just how it is.

7. Lastly,  Every cliche is true:

‘The days are long but the years are short’

‘It’s the hardest job in the world’

‘They’re not baby’s for long’

‘They’re tiny miracles’

‘cherish the moment’

of course you’re not going to remember these when it’s 4am and the third time you’ve got up to feed. Or when you’re cleaning poo from under your finger nails after a particularly bad nappy explosion. But, and I’m really not meaning to be patronising, saviour the nice cuddly moments, the bathtimes, the smiles and baby giggles. Because one day, all you’ll have are the memories. The good, the bad and the ugly.

💙 Em.

Parenting questions

If you don’t mind not having any form of personal space,

and your social life disappearing without a trace,

then parenting is for you.

If you can survive on just a couple of hours solid sleep,

and always, regardless of hangovers, be up before the bird’s first cheep,

then parenting is for you.

If you have police negotiating skills, think, hostage style;

while your toddler tantrums on the floor in a screaming pile,

then parenting is for you.

If you enjoy spending weeks asking them to repeat simple words,

for those words to be (after hearing it muttered once) ‘you turd’,

then parenting is for you.

If you admire a freshly cooked meal splashed on the floor,

because they spied a carrot, and are now shouting for more,

then parenting is for you.

If youre curious by nature and like a good guessing game,

and aren’t put off by the newly titled “hmmm, what’s that stain?”

then, parenting is for you.

If you like being a little persons cleaner, chef and P.A,

with very little breaks and not even make minimum wage,

then parenting is for you.

But of all, if the simplest of kisses can make you so happy,

a cheeky smile and a “wuv you mummy” stops you feeling crappy,

then parenting is definitely for you.

 

Sometimes it seems the hardest job in the world, but it has bountiful rewards amongst the wiping bums* and repeating the same request 81 times. It’s tiring when they’ve kept you up in the night, but they’re the best reason to get up on a morning.

Heres to my little boys. Who’ve reduced me to tears of frustration and joy in a nano-second. (It’s possible. Ask any mother of small children.)

Em 💙

* I did write arses, but my husband said babies don’t have arses, they have bums. Whatev’s. 🙄. 

Not a Disney Classic day.

Sometimes I think I’m the real Cinderella. Not that I have two ugly sisters, I have just the one and she’s far from ugly (despite the fact that I’d tell her that was why she was put up for adoption.) Just FYI, we share the same biological parents but I was a mean sister as a child. I, instead have two little boys that dictate my every task and what I need to do to be able to leave the house. I must make their breakfast, wash them, tidy up, dress them, make them drinks, clean the bathroom (for I live with 3 males,) brush their teeth and if I can, get myself dressed and scrape my hair up. Then I may go to the ball.

Well, that’s not strictly true either. I don’t even get INVITED to balls. When I leave the house it’s to nip to the local town to tick more ‘jobs’ off my never ending to-do list. Pushing a beautiful but moaning baby in his pushchair and pulling my flight-risk toddler by his reigns. Maybe that’s why when my husband nips to get his lunch in the very same town, he drives past us rather than stopping to say hello. Leaving me to console my two year old that’s just seen Daddy’s ban (van) drive away. Speedily. (In fairness, I’d probably do the same.) I similarly lose things when I’m out too. Never a glass slipper though, no. Usually, the aforementioned to-do list,  money, receipts, keys, kids and lastly, my sanity. Today it was gloves. Brand spanking new gloves. He managed 15 minutes with them on before I had to retrace our entire bloody walk. One was in the fridge in greggs where he made me stop and get him a sausage roll. And a polite gentleman informed me he’d handed the other in a shop after seeing it on the road. By this point my disowning husband had rung to ask me to get him a sandwich and take it to his work. I obediently did so before taking us three to our almost-weekly doctors appointment.

Ok, maybe I’m not like Cinderella at all. There’s no Prince Charming coming to rescue me. Oh wait- sorry- let me rephrase-maybe I’m not like Cinderella, I’ve already found my Prince Charming. Maybe I’m more like Snow White?! But I have three dwarfs and not seven? No…… that lucky cow gets way too much sleep to ever liken to me. Rapunzel? No, she gets alone time I can only dream of. Bambi’s Mum.. no wait, things aren’t that bad. Maybe it’s Jungle book. My husband always refers to our toddler as ‘Mogli’. He’s adventurous, thinks he’s an animal but he’s so, so endearing. My husband is hairy enough to pull off being Baloo (and I’ve literally seen him rub his back on our door casings to scratch an itch.) I could be Bagheera, the responsiblity-overloaded, anxiously boring, yet wise panther who spends his time chastising and worrying. Yup, probably more accurate. Or maybe, my mother was right, life isn’t a Disney film. There’s no one coming to save us. Maybe we don’t need saving after all. We decide our future.

I brought the boys home and whilst baby slept his teething episode off, me and Mogli baked. He made a holy mess, ate raw cake mix and dropped an egg in the floor but we had fun. Maybe sometimes all we need is a different perspective. I always wonder why some days I get so much done and others I barely scrape through. A lot must be down to my mood and how much sleep the boys (all three of them) have let me have. In that moment in town, I could have cried and another day I might have done. But ignored (understandabley) by my husband, getting pity smiles from older mothers who remember how difficult it can be and pacifying two little boys I merely rolled my eyes and laughed it off. I ended the day with having to clean icing sugar from my two year olds bum crack. And that’s my kind of fairytale ending that I definitely wouldn’t trade for all the Prince Charming’s in the world.

“Things will look better in the morning.” – Bagheera, The Jungle Book. 

Em 💙

Dear Beautiful Boys

An 11 year old boy hung himself recently. After years of bullying he found his way out, leaving a trail of broken hearts in his family and friends. Earlier this year a 17 year old threw himself in front of a train, after being bullied and excluded from his peers. I read these stories and cried my little heart out. I realised as a person who has attempted suicide before, I’ve never looked at it from a parents perspective but now I’m a mother ive changed the way I think about suicide. Or the wider impact of it at least.  I can’t bare to think of someone making you feel bad, hurting your feelings or making you dislike something about yourself, it tortures me. The only way I can make sense of anything is if I write. So I thought I’d write to you, in case it happens to you.

1. Your mummy was bullied. She was chubby, had a monstrous mono brow and had to wear a brace strapped around her head because of an accident with her teeth. There really was no hope in high school for her. Every horrible word weighs on your shoulders and you carry it everywhere you go. Every little push or shove hurts until you believe you’re worthy of the hatred you get. But I had a good set of friends, when I felt too defeated to stand up for myself, they did it for me. Surround yourself with few but good friends. Bullies want you to think you’re alone. You’re alone in weighing what you do, alone in wearing glasses or braces or the only one wearing a head brace. (To be fair, in my instance, I was. But I actually didn’t give a crap). They want to feel you’re alone in dealing with it too. Which you won’t be. You have your friends which are your first line of defence. Let them help you, as you would them. You ALL are never alone.

2. You can’t control other people. You can’t stop their thoughts or behaviour. You can try but some people are just toxic and hell bent on bettering themselves by putting others down. All you can do control is how you deal with them. (Easier said than done. I know-I still struggle with people like this now.) But avoid them. Ignore them. Pity them. Can you ever imagine being so insecure that you make another person feel bad just to cheer yourself up?! It’s their prerogative, leave them to it. Let your teacher know, you don’t have to ‘tell tales’ just give them a heads up. Teachers are employed to teach and care for you, let them. Remind yourself that there won’t be many people that grow into adulthood proud of being bullies, they will have live it. You don’t have to if you choose not to.

3. Pick your battles. Through out life you have to pick your battles. If you perfect this when you’re young you’ll be set for a more peaceful life. Let some stuff slide. Act like an odd comment here or there is nothing. Shrug off that shove and bounce back from that push. But if the time comes and you have to stand up for yourself, do it. Do it with every ounce of your being. I’m not advocate of violence, I can’t stand it. But in the very few ‘school fights’ I’ve being in, they’ve been to win the war when in the past I’ve surrendered the battles. Bullies are f***ing fickle creatures, they thrive off feeding each other’s ego’s. dent one ego, you pretty much dent them all,  thats if you time it right.

4. Know that we have your back. Your father and I have been through hell and back to bring you to this earth. We will defend you with our lives. (Your mother is a little dramatic but hey.) If you can’t cope, we’ll move schools. If they bring it to our home, we’ll move house. And if that’s not enough, we’ll move to Neptune. Ok, maybe not Neptune because it’s bloody cold but you get my drift. We will always be there for you. But we can only help you if you let us know what’s going on. I know how important it is that we respect what you want, so we’ll only listen while you want us to listen and act when you’d like us to act. However you want to play it. (Apart from moving to Neptune, I really wasn’t serious about that bit.)

Lastly, if you ever bully another person. God help you if I find out.

With love from your previously bullied and kind-of wiser Mummy.

💙

The most unwelcome guest

Out of all my post birth visitors, you were the worst,

I should have been so happy that I was close to burst.

But instead, you kept taking me in a cold embrace,

but the coward you are, wouldn’t reveal your ugly face.

I had to go weeks without knowing who exactly you were,

by then I’d lost precious time with the baby I’d just birthed.

Luckily I recognised you, from the leaflets and books,

before you got your claws in and my life I nearly took.

You’ve taken many a mother, baby and child,

I wouldn’t allow you to take mine, my mother instincts were wild.

I fought you and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,

but im glad I got through it for me, my husband and sons.

You will never be welcome at my door again,

I will write about you, I’ll warn others so they don’t go through the same.

Post Natal Depression you really are a horrible illness,

But you can be defeated, and families can get back to their business.

I hope in many years to come everyone will see you walking to a mothers home,

and we’ll be ready and waiting For you, to the curb you will be thrown.

Em 💙

From your baby

I love mornings when I can creep into mummy and daddy’s bed,

“daddy wants to give mummy a big cuddle” he winked and said.

She looks so peaceful, warm and snug,

Daddy’s right, so I give her a hug.

When daddy goes to work, me and mummy eat together,

she looks a bit sad but tells me she’ll love me forever.

We play with my trains until I get bored,

then to make me smile she gets out my dinosaurs.

“mummy has some things to do” she huffs to me,

she starts to do some washing and sits me at the TV.

When daddy’s home I get all excited and he makes me happy,

mummy says “I now need a little time for me”.

i don’t see her for a little while, I start to miss her,

“let’s get ready for bed” daddy says in a whisper.

After my bath, mummy comes and reads my favourite story,

I start to get sleepy, she kisses my monkey Rory.

“I’ve saved my big kiss just for you” and she kisses my cheek,

but her face feels wet, from her eyes I see water streaks.

As she turns out the light and turns from my view,

She says “I hope you know how much I love you”.

I wriggle around to get myself comfy,

I think “wow, we’ve had such fun. she must really love me”.

– A poem for the days you think you haven’t done much play, haven’t done enough with them or haven’t felt as happy as you should be. They’ll never know, you know.- 

Em 💙

 

 

It’s his party and I’ll cry if I bloody want to.

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We had a premature birthday party for mine and other babies at our group today. And I was mortified. My suppose-to-be last baby almost reaching his first birthday milestone should have left me happy, warm and reflecting on his 357 (so far) days on earth. Instead I felt robbed that they’ve gone too quickly for me to appreciate them. I wanted them all back. I want them again. This isn’t normal is it?! To feel broody once your youngest is no longer an ‘infant’? We’ve told ourselves no more. We have one income, a cosy home and a pretty busy life. Surely we couldn’t fit anymore in. Could we?!

I called my husband 2 days before he was due for the snip panicking that we were making the wrong decision and to cancel it. I think my words were “you can’t do this. Don’t let them touch you. No.no.no.” If its possible to hear a smile down a phone, it would have been him, then.It sounded like a big whopper smile too. A few months later we go on to regret that we now have to worry about contraception when deep down we know we shouldn’t have another. Should we?!

We’re quite responsible parents. The boys very rarely spend nights away or are babysat by anyone other than us. And it’s nice that I can occasionally go out for an afternoon for some wine and he can go for a few drinks after work now and then. Leaving the other to happily (mostly) bath and bed the kids. But surely another baby would totally tip that balance. How do they all fit in the bath? How do you do team teeth brushing and toileting?What if sharing bedrooms would mean they wouldn’t settle to sleep as awesomely as they do now? We would question whether it was a wise decision,despite all newborn smells and cuddles, to fix something that wasn’t broken. Would we?!

I never expected this. We have perfection in our children despite Henry shouting “Mummy’s pumped!!” when I pass a cheeky wind in public or that Joey insists on pulling my tops down past my cleavage whenever I try and put him in trolleys or any kind of seat. I thought once I had my two children, regardless of their gender, I’d feel complete. And most of the time I do. But sometimes, I get this creeping “what if?” moment and want to throw caution to the wind. Other times, dealing with the boys leaves me wanting to take up smoking again. We can’t base a whole human life on a why not. Can we?!

I’ve taken the online tests to see what percentage I do/don’t want another child, or how many my ‘subconscious’ wants. They literally come back 50/50 and 2 or 3.  I’ve asked other mothers and most just smugly ‘know’. Some friends tell me not to even think about it. (Just FYI, these are the friends that saw me hobbling around on crutches in my last pregnancy as my hips were separating.) Others tell me my children are the most amazing little people to bless the planet and why not add more. I’ve come close to setting up an online poll just to make a descision once and for all. I welcome any suggestions or tips on how you’re supposed to know. Or if someone could come have a stern word with my womb that would be great.

Em 💙