Sunday 30 September 2012

Getting to know me...

I've been tagged by the lovely Emily over at Family Four Fun to answer a few questions about myself - so here goes...

When was the last time you cried?

Actually, it was this afternoon. I stood in the middle of my kitchen after attempting to clean it up and it still looked awful! I just shed a few tears before thinking, I can either stand here feeling rather sorry for myself or get on with it. This time I chose the later.

Are you named after anyone?

The Mona Lisa!

Do you have kids?

Yes, I have three. An 11 month old, an almost three year old and a 32 year old. ;-)

If you were another person would you be a friend to yourself?

Yes, but I would hate to live next door to me. My poor neighbours.

Do you use sarcasm alot?

No Never!

Will you ever bungee jump?

Not in a million years, I am terrified of heights.

What's your favourite cereal?

It has to be Golden Grahams. But I hardly ever eat breakfast.

What's the first thing you notice about people?

Hmmm, that's a hard one. I think it depends on the person but possibly hair and general appearance.

What's your eye colour?

Greenish - blue
they look different colours in different lights and depending on what colour eye shadow I wear.

Scary movie or Happy ending?

Always a happy ending. I am such a chicken that I can't watch a horror movie, even CSI scares me.

Favourite smells?

My mum's washing! Always amazing and I can never recreate it.

What's the furthest you've been from home?

I've been to Kenya, my fiancé has family there and he grew up there until he was 16.

Where were you born?


Do you have any special talents?

I can pick up almost anything with my toes. I can almost tidy the house with just my feet.

Do you have any hobbies?

It has to be blogging, but other than that I don't get much time to do anything.

Do you have any pets?

No, unless you count my kids?

Favourite Film?

I love Bridget Jones, can't beat it!

Do you have any siblings?

I have a brother, he is two years older than me. He is expecting his first baby in February.

That's it - what a random bunch of questions - do you feel like you know me better now?

I'm tagging the following lovely ladies to join in and look forward to having a nosy at their answers...

Go and have a nosy at these lovely blogs too!

Tuesday 25 September 2012


Wow, I feel blooming awful and not in the physical sense either, there is no headache, no sickness and no aches and pains but I would say my mental health has taken a bashing. This I can attribute directly to two very small children and one in particular, who you might say, very closely resembles the devil! I think you all know who I am referring to.

I can safely say that my children have defeated me today, they have taken every last drop of my energy and in some weird superhero fashion used it against me one way or another.

By this afternoon, I had lost the battle and it was now a case of how much will I lose by?

I was so sick of the sound of my own voice, I had given up with shouting. When Damien ran off in the forest, I shouted the usual One....Two....(please turn round as I have no idea how to handle three) Three, that I scared a cow and i thought it was going to chase after me.

I couldn't actually bring myself to do anything about the fact that Damien took off his welly boots to jump in the muddy puddles. I just ended up standing there watching thinking, I know I should step in but I just couldn't find the energy for yet another battle. He ended up being striped naked and going home minus his clothes.

I think the problem is down to the constant lack of sleep. It's taking it toll. Yesterday I made Damien pretend he was Father Christmas just so I could lay down in his bed whilst he brought me presents. In fairness, he loved it but I felt like a bad mummy because I just didn't have the energy to play.

Today, I have taken to comfort eating and had amongst other things, two chocolate donuts and then felt so bad, I almost ate a third.

Tomorrow is a new day and I am going to make a conscious effort to not be defeated until at least dinner time.

Monday 24 September 2012

Lollipop Tree

I am getting married in April and on a very low budget! Therefore, I am trying to be as crafty and creative as possible.

My first task was a lollipop tree which I am very proud of.

Come and have a look at my 'How to Guide' for Netmums.
Feel free to shout if you need anymore tips!


Sunday 23 September 2012

Mike the Knight

Hazah I'm Mike the Knight and I'll do it right!" Says Damien at least twenty times a day. He is hooked on Mike the Knight, so much so, that I am forever on all fours being ridden like Galahad.

My little man is very obsessed with all things knightly, he has his sword, helmet and shield but also wants a bow and arrow and a fold up bed just like Mike has (we have stuck shields to his bed but he isn't too impressed with this DIY effort!)

As my little man doesn't sleep well, I once told him that Mike was coming for a sleepover but wouldn't arrive until he was asleep. He was extremely excited and put out his helmet on his bed ready for Mike to borrow. He kept on about it so much, that I ended up feeling really guilty. So, after his bath I pretended to take a phone call and tell Damien that it was Mike's mummy and he was too busy doing knightly things so he couldn't make it. He was devastated, bad, bad mummy

When the opportunity came up to review the new Mike the Knight DVD, I just knew we had to do it. You should have seen his face when the parcel from Glendragon arrived.

Off we trotted to the DVD player and his excitement was uncontainable, I have never seen him sit so still for such a long period of time. Of course, with Damien being Damien it meant we couldn't start watching it until he had donned his entire knights outfit. He is gutted that he only has a grey knight helmet and not a blue one like Mike. Yes, it's on his birthday list.

For those of you who aren't yet fans, Here's a quick low down on what to expect. Young knights in training will be transported to the magical realm of Glendragon as Mike takes on challenging missions in an enchanted land filled with castles, dragons and magic.

In his latest adventures, his trusty horse and best friend Galahad comes to the fore. Mike wants him to be the best knightly horse but soon realises he is perfect just the way his is!

Mike is determined to become a great and noble knight like his dad and is joined on his missions by his friends, Squirt and Sparkie - the dragons, his sister Evie and obviously his horse Galahad.

I can't recommend this DVD enough to anyone with preschool age children. It's a great watch and very inspiring for role play and little imaginations.

The DVD will be available from the 24th September and available from all good retailers. The 62 minute DVD retails at £12.99 and is certificate U.

We received the DVD for free but no payment was received for this post. All views and words are my own.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Mothers with Attitude

Wednesday can only mean one thing for Emily over at Family Four Fun and I. Yep, it's time to let off some steam and have a rant about whatever or whoever has made your blood boil this week.

Why not join us for some free therapy and add your ranting post! Looking forward to reading them with a glass of wine later.

So here goes my latest rant...

I dread going supermarket shopping with my boys, there is always the token tantrum, the unhelpful cashier, the miserable customer and the control your child better onlooker.

With that said, I actually hate any kind of shopping with my boys! Gone are the days of just popping into town to pick up a top or pair of jeans. Heaven forbid you could actually have five minutes to try them on.

When I last attempted to try on a dress, Damien managed to escape the clasp of nannie plum and ran through the changing room pulling open all the curtains and exposing all the unsuspecting shoppers shouting "mummy, where are you?"

Not to mention the time, I parked the trolley too close to the aisle whilst looking for noodles only to hear a massive smash. I turn around slowly, knowing what I am about to face and sure enough Damien has managed to wipe out a row of curry sauce jars which have shattered to pieces all over the floor!

Also, why is it that whenever Damien gets in a trolley, he has a desperate need for either a wee or a poo, somedays it will be both. What's really hard is taking both boys out of the trolley, leaving it in the supermarket, trotting off to the loo only for Damien to realise he doesn't need to go anymore!

You can guarantee that a tantrum will erupt at some point usually around the sweet or toy aisle. If you are having a particularly bad day it will inevitably be both. You will get passed by the angelic children quietly sitting in the trolley and then look at your own children wailing away and just think, 'why me'

You are bound to get an unhelpful and non child friendly check out lady. Who will ask you the most annoying question in the world, "Do you need bags?" I mean really, are they really expecting me to carry home a weeks worth of shopping in my hands! "yes please" is always my response and you can guarantee they will slowly open up two bags and begrudgingly hand them over. I think we both know I am going to need at least ten. But I say 'thank you' anyway and then ask for more ten seconds later.

Right enough from me, I want to hear what has got to you this week.

Monday 17 September 2012

Tears and giggles

To say it has been a tough few days is an understatement. Dennis picked up what we thought was a cold, a runny nose Wednesday morning, a cough here and there and then a wheezy chest in the afternoon. Off to the doctors for the standard bout of antibiotics and a dose of steroids for good measure.

I was feeling pleased with myself for catching it in time. Or so I thought! Wednesday was hellish. He went to sleep like normal and then woke up an hour later and didn't go back to sleep. Every time he dozed off, he would cough and wake himself up crying out in pain! We had projectile vomit on numerous occasions and I swear I can still smell it!

After an entire night of crying, I noticed his breathing was getting very laboured and he had no strength. Back to the doctors we went. We hadn't even sat down before we were called through as no word of a lie, the nurse could hear him coming!

Out came the nebuliser and the dreaded words, I think we need to call an ambulance. I was beside myself, it is truly amazing how quickly babies can go down hill.

We were taken over to the main hospital and in to A & E, where he stayed on oxygen and was monitored very closely. Thankfully, he started to pick up and maintain his oxygen levels and was swiftly moved onto the Paediatric Assessment Unit where we remained until the following afternoon.

I am pleased to say that although he has bronchiolitus he is now on the mend. I felt awful, I should have dialled 999 in the night but Daddy Pig and I just thought the antibiotics would work their magic and he would improve sooner rather than later and he would feel better in the morning.

He is home now and getting back on form. Thank goodness!

On a separate note, Damien decided to flash the lady in John Lewis whilst having his feet measured. One minute he had his trousers on, the next I turn away for two seconds, look back and he had taken down his trousers and pants.

Gasping, I shout 'Damien!' just as the poor lady looks up and gets a face full of willy, whilst Nannie Plum is stood behind him and gets a face full of arse! Way to go big boy, and I mean in all of the shops he could pick, it would have to be John Bloody Lewis!

He then proceeded to have a paddy at the pay desk and the thing that stopped him was the pleasure of picking his nose and wiping his bogies on my chest! Gosh, what a charmer (and I must say it was much to the disgust of the sales assistant).

On the plus side, I did manage to buy three bridesmaid dresses, pretty impressive when you consider I only went in for a jumper for Damien (which I forgot to get...oops)

Not to be out done by his older brother, Dennis decided to provide tonight's entertainment by taking a poo in the bath. Not a small little floater either but a full blown dump!

Normally, this wouldn't be a problem but he chose to empty the entire contents of his stomach as soon as we had put shampoo on both boys hair! We had to grab them out quickly. It felt a bit like escaping from a sinking ship. We all then proceeded to stand around whilst the offending article slowly made its way down the plug hole. Lovely!

Damien was very quick to praise Daddy Pig on his poo cleaning abilities! Whilst Dennis just looked smiling and wondering what all the fuss was about!

Sunday 9 September 2012

Introducing little life of scrap

I have to apologise for being slack and not posting this sooner! I had every intention and then went away for the weekend and drank lots of wine! I am sure you know the score. So without any further ado, I would like to introduce the fantastic Leanne aka Tinky Pen who blogs over at

This is my second to last guest post as part of sleep week. Enjoy....

When I was pregnant I don't think I truly understood how much my sleep would be affected over the next 2.5 years. Sure I was aware that babies wake up in the night. But I think the gravity of the situation just passed me by.

Granted Maxwell has been an ok sleeper and slept through the night from about 4 months. However this did not stop him as he got older still waking up at 5/6 am EVERY morning. This takes it toll on you.

The thing that gets me with being a mum and sleep is that children are unpredictable. You can go ages with a normal sleep pattern (bearing in mind this is being awake ay 5/6 every day!!) and then wham,he's awake for 2 hours during the night! Or awake at 4am. And then your whole body goes into shock, your head hurts your eyes hurt and more often then not this falls on a day I the have to go to work. Trying to focus on emails and spreadsheets while in the knowledge you slept for a grand total of 4 hours that night does not bode well.

So from now on when I have friends who are pregnant and struggling to sleep. I tell them get use to it. I am always tired. But that's just normal.

Thursday 6 September 2012

Introducing Yummy Mummy Training

I am delighted to be hosting a guest blog from the lovely Sarah who blogs over at as part of my sleep week. Have a read at her post and her sleep experiences and also check out the beautiful photograph. Aww, all can be forgiven, when they look like an angel.

Sleep ...Whats that?

Ahh Sleep that lovely peaceful, restful thing I use to do for about 8- 9 hours a night right up until 3 months ago, ahh yes I vaguely remember.

Now sleep is something I crave if I’m honest, Thomas does sleep better now but he still wakes up at least once a night for an hour and then he is up any time from 6:30am until 7am. Back in the early weeks Thomas use to wake 3 times a night every night yet my husband who never did a night feed and never got up with him in the morning was always more tired than I ever was and still to this day he complains daily about being tired. Is it that he thinks I am superwomen and don’t need sleep or does he really think that he is more tired than I am?

What I would like to know is when is a Mummy actually suppose to sleep? Lots of people told me to sleep when Thomas is asleep but seriously does anybody actually find the time to do that? I can be lying down trying my hardest to sleep but my mind is just filled with all the chores around the house that needs to be done. “I’ll just go put that load of washing on and then I’ll have a nap” , “I’ll just catch up with a bit of blogging and then I will nap” or “I’ll just watch last nights corrie I missed because Thomas wouldn’t stop screaming” and then before I know it Thomas has woke up and is now screaming for his next bottle.

Every morning I find myself thinking “Tonight I will be going to bed early” Then as soon as Thomas goes to be I find myself thinking about catching up with things I haven’t gotten round to during the day. Then before I know it its 11:30 and i'm only just thinking of going to bed. Like now as I write this it's nearly 10pm and I haven't even done Thomas's bottles yet. When will I ever learn?

On the other hand though even though I moan about not sleeping much, each night I wake up with Thomas, I give him his bottle and just watch him there is nothing more beautiful than my little boy and I wouldn’t change anything about him (Well maybe I'd make his pooey nappies smell a bit nicer) He makes the tiredness worth it and I guess being tired is just part of being a Mummy to a beautiful baby.

Read more of Sarah's posts at

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Shut ya cake hole

It's Wednesday and that can only mean one thing here at the diary of milkshake mummy. Yep, it's Mothers with Attitude and rant time. I have a few this week, perhaps it's PMT.

Oh my god, I can't stand the sound of people eating loudly. Urrgghh, it makes my skin crawl and every inch of my body bubble up with rage!

Chomp, bloody chomp. Rustle, rustle of the packet, could you be any louder you inconsiderate arse oh and then not content with that you insist on slurping your drink and then folding up said packet as small as possible.

You sit there oblivious and I sit there with my lip sticking out trying to keep the look of distain from my face!

I mean, seriously just shut your pie hole when you eat, it's really not that difficult.

Also as I write this I have just seen another one of my pet hates! A couple not content with eating crisps, no, they were eating each others faces. Yuck, yuck, yuck!

Now public displays of affection to a level I can tolerate, I just can't stand the soppy couple who clearly need to get a room displaying their new love in front of me on a train.

My final rant is to the inconsiderate people who insist on beeping their car horns to signal they have arrived. Just get out the car for the love of god. I mean, seriously how lazy. Also the people who beep when they are off. Just say goodbye at the door for heaven sake like most people.

The horn beeping really annoys me as its always seems to happen when my children have just gone to sleep.

Actually, I have one more annoyance to get off my chest! Dogs on trains, just leave them at home. I do not want to sit there whilst your dog farts and licks my feet! Grrrrrrr!

No I have not been reading the Daily Mail either, which for your information also puts me in a argumentative mood!

Phew, I feel better now!

Come and join in with Emily and I over at

Mothers with Attitude

What really annoys me is rude people. You know the ones, they don't say sorry if they bump into you, don't say thank you for holding open the door or letting them out and they give you a look like you have the child from hell if they dare make even the smallest of squeaks. Even if you give them an apologetic smile they just glare.

I on the other hand along with Daddy Pig are over polite. We say sorry and thank you all the time, perhaps compensating for all the rude people out there. We both quite often look at each other and utter the words, "why did I just say sorry, it was clearly their fault"...however Daddy Pig has now gotten to the point where he mutters in a loud voice how he actually didnt mean to apologise and is withdrawing his apology!

Quite simply, I just can't stand rudeness! I wish that at the time, I had the nerve to shout at them 'You're Welcome' or 'Don't say thank you then' or 'What is your problem?' but I don't, instead I let it fester and annoy me until the next time it happens.

Politeness doesn't cost anything and I think its good to set an example for your children. I always insist that my toddler remembers his manners and this should set him up for life, but am I just making him like me, where he will be endlessly polite only to be met by rude people?

I have tried not saying sorry if I haven't done anything wrong or not saying thank you but its just not in my nature and you can guarantee that the one time I do that, the other person will not be rude and then I just feel bad anyway.

The worst thing though as I mentioned above is when your children are playing you up and you get the 'look' I am sure you all know what 'look' I mean. Its a stare which implies, 'cant you control your child?' What's worse is when the 'look' is from other parents, I mean surely we should stick together? If I see a mummy struggling with a toddler having a tantrum, I always try and catch her eye and give her a message to say, 'hey, hang in there, we've all been through it, I feel your pain!'

There is nothing worse, than feeling like a failure already and then recieve evil looks to top off your day. I just hope that when their kids play them up in public, and there is no doubt in my mind that they will, that they just get the glare instead of the kind, 'I know your pain' look.

Yes, there has been times, when I have wanted to say 'Never seen theses kids before in my life' or 'He's not mine' because mine have perfected the art of showing me up in public. Tesco and Boots seem to be there favioute place to kick off, actually without fail we have some kind of meltdown in either shop. But at the end of the day, when someone offers you a kind look it can make it all the more managable.

So next time you see a toddler having a tanturm, spare a thought for their poor mother and make sure you give the right kind of look.

I'm delighted to be hosting the second week of M.W.A. and am really looking forward to reading your posts and sharing your moments of crazy. Please read around and share a bit of sympathy and support with other M.W.A.
Next week's M.W.A. meeting will be over with Emily at - see you there!

That's all... until my next rant anyway!

You are next...

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Introducing Twinkle Mummy

It's day three of my sleep week and I am pleased to introduce Claire who blogs over at Twinkle Mummy I thought I had it hard, but I take my hat off to Claire who manages twins and still keeps sane! Over to you Twinkle Mummy...

The original Keep Calm and Carry On poster was first produced in the Second World War to boost the morale of the British public, at the time it only had limited distribution.

Now it’s seems more than ever we need our morale boosted. In recent years the Keep Calm and Carry On slogan has become a huge hit and it’s impossible to go anywhere without out seeing it in some form or another.
I have a bag that says Keep Calm and Carry On Breastfeeding, The Beard has three phone cases the first says the standard Keep Calm and Carry On slogan the second says Panic and Freak out and the third says Keep Calm and Kill Zombies.

Last year the Beard received a Keep Calm and Carry On birthday card which I imagine was sent as a bit of a joke as we had two four month old babies. I at the time obviously felt the need for such a morale boost as I framed the card and put it in the Twinkles bedroom.

Spud and Sprout have never been the type of babies that just fall asleep. They are probably too nosy and active for their own good.

I attended parent and baby groups where I’d see babies crashed out on a mat in the centre of a busy room or babies being brought in asleep in their car seats or in buggies. No Spud and Sprout never did that. They never just fell asleep.

For the first four months of their lives, I just winged it from one moment to the next. We had no set routine. The Twinkles would fall asleep in my arms sometimes for minutes and at other times for hours. I wasn’t getting a break in the day. Some days I didn’t even get chance to eat let alone get any housework done. Eventually I’d had enough of being stuck on the sofa for hours on end so I decided it was time for a routine.

Dare I say it…..Yes, I read Gina Fords Contented House withTwins. I soon realised that it was completely impractical and as far as I was concerned impossible to establish such a routine with not only one but  two babies. I did however take from it what I thought might work and tweaked it to suit us then threw the book out the window.

Once the routine was in place, I stuck to it and I must admit I became or rather I still am a little obsessed about time keeping. Everything is done to the minute and if something disrupts that then I get upset. So just so you’re clear on this, if you haven’t made an appointment to visit us then you’re not welcome because one thing I have learnt is if theTwinkles have slept well then they are happy. If they are happy, then so am I.

Saying all this, it did take months to establish the routine. I did exactly the same every day but of course the Twinkles just did as they pleased. Eventually I had to compromise with them on such things - I wanted them to wake at 7am, they preferred 6am. I said lunch at 12.00 but the ywant it at 11.30am. We settled on 11.45am. As Spud and Sprout have developed, the routine has had to develop with them.

Now in the early days of the routine, nap time was hell. I would put Spud in the bouncer and cuddle Sprout. He would fight sleep and nothing would settle him. He would just scream and scream. His cries would upset Spud so I would have to take Sprout upstairs. I’d stand in the darkness next to Sprouts cot rocking him as he cried. I’d look up at the Keep Calm andCarry On card and chant it to myself as I rocked Sprout side to side. Eventually Sprout would exhaust himself and fall asleep. The worse part of all of this, is the whole time I’d been trying to settle Sprout to sleep, I had to listen to Spud crying for me from downstairs. It was torture to listen to but I knew of no other way to get them to sleep.  Once Sprout was settled in his cot, I’d go down and cuddle with Spud until he fell asleep then take him upstairs and place him in his cot. One thing I’ve learnt is that if I’m able to stay calm then it helps the Twinkles to calm down andlikewise if I’m upset or stressed then they seem to feed off this and they become upset too.

I ditched the afternoon nap early on as it was becoming too difficult to get them both to sleep.  By the time I got round to getting Spud to sleep, Sprout would have already woken up and I’d have the opposite of the above where I’d have Spud asleep on me downstairs and Sprout awake in his cot upstairs. I’d spend an hour trying to get them to sleep and they’d sleep all for 15 minutes. It didn’t seem worth the hassle.

The downside of cutting out the afternoon nap meant that 5pm became the witching hour. The Twinkles would cry non-stop for the whole hour nothing would settle them. I just tried my best to keep calm and I carried on the best I could.

When Spud and Sprout were six months old, I began weaning them onto solids. This meant some readjustments to the routine and I discovered the solutions to all my naptime problems - The Power of the Boob! Now I’ll admit the reason I hadn’t done it sooner was because I didn’t want them to become dependent upon it to get to sleep. Thankfully my attitude on such things has changed somewhat. I love nothing more than watching Spud and Sprout fall asleep whilst feeding. Seeing their eyes roll back in their heads as they suckle then unlatching them to be rewarded with drunken expressions on their little faces.

Nap times became easier but still Spud and Sprout share abedroom. So unfortunately when one wakes, they have the tendency to wake the other. There is no way I can get both Twinkles back to sleep if they have both woken up crying half way through a nap. It’s just best to abandon the idea and try to survive the rest of the day as best as possible.
I’ve perfected the art of stealthily entering the bedroom and like a ninja glide my way to the cot, pluck out the baby and exit again before you can blink. Sometimes if I sit and cuddle Spud, he will drift back off to sleep but if it’s Sprout who has awoken then I have no chance.

Spud and Sprout are now 19 months old and thankfully these days nap times are bearable.  They have one nap a day and I look forward to sitting on the sofa, drinking coffee and browsing the internet or reading a book. Sometimes I wish we didn’t have to stick to the routine and I’m becoming more flexible with it but when it comes to sleep we stay with it. Part of me longs for the day when we can have a whole day out. We could go to the zoo, take a picnic and make a day of it. At the moment, we are restricted by what we can do because of the routine but I’m sure when the day comes when they decide they no longer require their afternoon nap, I will miss and look back longingly on the time I’ve spent relaxing in peace and quiet.

So I ask myself is it time to take down the Keep Calm andCarry On card…no not just yet, let’s not tempt fate. 

Please pop over and visit me at where you can read my latest post The Big Switch Off

The fan has been on every night and naptime for the past 19 months.  Last night we decided it was time to attempt the big switch off. The Beard and I had no idea what to expect. Would we be up all night with Spud and Sprout. Should we wean them off ‘the whitenoise’ gradually, moving the fan out of their room inch by inch or will they both sleep through the night (which would be a first) in which case we would be kicking ourselves that we hadn’t done the big switch off earlier……….
A big thank you to The Milkshake Mummy for publishing my first guest post xxxx



Monday 3 September 2012

Introducing...Catch a Single Thought

Up next sharing her sleep experience is the lovely Jessica from Catch a Single Thought I am sure you will all be able to relate to this post, especially the part where she plays 'Find the Baby!' Hope you all enjoy and make sure you pop over to Jessica's blog for some more great reading! Here we go...

 Where's The Baby Gone?

Ahh sleep – it’s the one thing you can safely say you won’t get enough of in the first few years of your children’s lives but probably one of the things you’ll crave the most!

When we were expecting our first child nobody told us what it would be like not getting any sleep.  We’d read about it and it was often said in an offhand manner by friends who’d already had children but nobody really told us – nobody got hold of us, looked us in the eye and said “You Will Not Get Any Sleep EVER AGAIN (or at least, that’s what it will feel like to begin with!)” 

Both our children have slept very differently; Eli has slept from the beginning whereas Meg just didn’t sleep.  At all.  Not during the day and certainly not at night.  And of course we ended up stuck in a cycle where she wasn’t getting enough sleep during the day and so by the time we were desperately trying to introduce a bedtime routine she would spend the entire time screaming as she was overtired...and the screaming would continue long into the night.  It was terrible.

For two fresh faced young uns who really got tumbled head first into the world of parenting we didn’t know what to do!  Lack of sleep quite honestly made us a bit mental. 

The best example of this was one time when Meg had gone to sleep on my Other Half’s chest in our bed and at some point in the early hours I woke up, looked over at my Other Half and with a start realised that he was clutching the duvet cover to him but there was no baby there.  “Wake up, wake up” I hissed at him pulling at the duvet, “where’s Meg?”  My Other Half is quite a deep sleeper so it took several shakes before he woke up and replied “What?  I’ve got hold of her.” 

I can’t put into words the fear that squeezed at my chest when he said that as he quite clearly did not have a baby in his arms.  “Where is Meg?!” I shrieked flapping around under the duvet cover and wildly feeling around on the mattress for my 2 week old baby.  My panic managed to rouse my Other Half a little bit more who then blearily aided me in my under the covers search. 

“It’s ok, I’ve got hold of her, don’t worry” he said after a couple of seconds.  Practically on the verge of tears that somehow my baby had disappeared under the covers and I couldn’t find her I squeaked “no, you haven’t, you’ve got hold of my knee.” “Oh,” he replied “what are we looking for?” 

“MEGAN, OUR BABY” I wailed hysterically at him. “WHERE IS SHE?!?”  “Oh ok...” finally he appeared to wake up enough to cotton on to the situation.  “Meg’s asleep in her Moses basket”

We still laugh about that story now.  It certainly got us through some more sleepless nights.

Or there was the time when we agreed to take it in turns to get up to settle Meg once we’d started on our Baby Whisperer sleep training (a lifesaver for us - from 4 months Meg was sleeping 7pm-7am but that’s a post on it’s own!) and I managed for a whole week to lie about getting up.  My Other Half never suspected a thing as I shook him awake and told him it was his turn again.  In the end I had to confess as I felt too guilty!

I think it’s important to realise that you won’t get much sleep in the first few months.  One of the biggest mistakes I made was to try and carry on as normal.  I had two weeks of being bedridden due to complications giving birth and then once I was ‘over’ that I thought I could just get on with things in the same manner as I always had. 

I can’t stress how vital it is to take time for yourself.  “Sleep when they sleep” is a phrase I must have heard a hundred times but it never sunk in that rather than, on the golden occasions when Meg would fall asleep in her moses basket, trying to do some washing or make tea I should take myself off to bed for an hour or two instead.  And sometimes it’s not practical – dinner does have to be made and cleaning does need to be done but it’s about balancing it out properly and recognising that your sleep is essential to your wellbeing.

So, speaking as someone who has been through a pretty rough patch of getting no sleep I’ve come up with some tips that I believe are useful for the first time parent:

1.      Accept that you aren’t going to get any sleep.  Really, truly, acknowledge and accept it.  Then, when you don’t get any sleep it won’t be such a shock to your system and if you do happen to get a good sleeper it will be a bonus!

2.      Agree that whatever gets said in the night stays in the night – I can’t tell you how many hissed disagreements we had about ridiculous things.  Not even related to Meg! 

3.      SLEEP WHEN YOUR BABY SLEEPS!  And believe me when I say you will be all the better for it!  I realise that there are things you can’t get away from such a cooking dinner or having a wash but take as many opportunities as you can to rest in the early weeks.

4.      Agree a routine with your Other Half (if relevant) for getting up in the night.  I think it’s important that you both agree on who will do what.  We tried a variety (shifts, taking it in turns to get up, alternating days) until we found one that we both could get on board with.

5.      Adopt a routine that works for you and your baby.  Don’t have strong opinions on what you will or won’t do until after your baby arrives.  I did a mixture of co-sleeping, controlled crying and pick up put down with Meg because that’s what worked for us all.  I didn’t do anything with Eli and that has worked equally well for him.

But most of all, remember that it won’t last forever!  Sure you might end up with caffeine dependency, repeatedly put the cereal in the fridge and the milk in the cupboard, leave your keys in your front door five or six times, use toothpaste on your face instead of moisturiser and occasionally (almost) leave the house without a child** but it’s only a temporary situation…honestly!!

**I am guilty of all of the above scenarios


Sunday 2 September 2012

Introducing Mothering Mushroom

Sleep is a bit of a touchy subject in our house, and I know we aren't alone. That's why for this week, I have opened up my blog to some fantastic mummy bloggers to share their experiences with you. Kicking off is Rachael from Mothering Mushroom and the fantastic blog Honest Speaks

Top tips for surviving with a Sleep Stealer

My little Sleep Stealer (not his real name) - Mushroom* - arrived last spring. Such was his hurry to get out and greet the world that he decided to make his appearance two weeks early. He hasn’t changed much since then. Always in a hurry to get the most out of life, he doesn’t like to spend too much of his time asleep.

Apart from his early arrival there were no real signs of Mushroom’s criminal tendencies (in the sleep stealing department) in the early months. He slept a long stretch just after being born– I don’t blame him, it must have been at least as hard for him as it was for me – and then, like any newborn, he slept a lot. Mostly he’d wake up just as I decided to take a nap but that’s my fault. I didn’t really heed the advice to sleep when he slept because there was always stuff to do. If I could start again I’d definitely sleep more. He got into quite a good routine after a few months but then growth spurts kicked in. We muddled along for the most part, as you do. Once he got to ten months, however, things started getting ridiculous. He was waking up every two hours and this continued for months. Months! I survived – who knew I could get through a whole day at work, writing articles, attending meetings and generally appearing coherent, on just two hours’ of broken sleep? As Mushroom got a bit older I tried sleep training him and that was a complete disaster, which only served to make things worse.

Does any of this sound familiar? Do you, too, have a Sleep Stealer? If so, here are my top five tips for survival. These are based solely on my personal experience so some may not work for you – but if you’re where I was at a few months ago then anything’s worth a try, right?

1.      Go to bed early – Really early. I go to bed at around 10pm these days, but I go at 9.30 sometimes. Back when Mushroom was up every two hours I’d often go to bed at 8.30. I was never very good at taking naps when he did (which were very unpredictable back then) so the early nights made up for this. Sometimes I’d take a nap and go to bed early. Go on, try it for a week. Sure, some of your mates may ridicule you but hey, are they getting up every two hours and starting their day at 5am? Thought not.

2.      Sleep training. Do not believe everything the Health Visitors (HVs) tell you– I did, at first. As Julia Roberts might say... Mistake. BIG mistake. Sure, their advice is useful – some of it – and I’m not knocking the profession... It’s just that they give standardised advice and babies are not standardised. I would never have tried sleep training Mushroom if a HV hadn’t told me I had to. Everything in me felt wrong but I did it anyway. If it feels ok for you –sure, do it. It might work (it does for some) but trust your instincts. If it feels wrong, don’t put yourself through it.

3.      Whatever works, works – You know what?  So you’re rocking/singing/bouncing your baby to sleep. Every night. So what? If it’s ok for you, it’s ok. It won’t be forever and it will not hurt your child to know that they are loved. If it’s not ok for you, then change it. But not because other people say you should. Whatever works for you, is ok. Do it and enjoy it! Which brings me to...

4.      Ditch the guilt – You know Jack’s mum at playgroup? Remember she said that she sleep trained Jack a few months ago and he’s been a great sleeper ever since? He is... Apart from when he’s overtired, or teething, or sick... Then she’s up half the night too.** She just doesn’t tell you that. You are not doing anything wrong. Trust me. The guilt can be just as exhausting as the lack of sleep. Lose it.

5.      Remember that this too shall pass – I promise that your child will eventually start to sleep better (or at least stop disturbing you every time s/he wakesup). When s/he does, it will take you completely by surprise and you will take a while to adapt. I still regularly wake up at 3am and probably will do for a while yet!

Mushroom is still my favouriteSleep Stealer but these days – unless he’s sick or has teeth about to make an appearance – he’s more of a petty thief than a full time criminal. He generally sleeps at least 6/7 hours before waking up (just once, and usually for no more than 20 minutes) and he now sleeps through (7/8pm – 5/6am) a few times a week. It’s a lovely novelty to be able to use his nap time to do stuff instead of hauling myself off to bed just to get through the afternoon. It’s been a long time coming but we’re finally getting there.

If you’d like more details about my and Mushroom’s sleep journey, you can read the following posts over at Mothering Mushroom (listed in chronological order): Sleep is for wimps, Sleep isoverrated.Apparentlyand Don’t sweat the sleep stuff.

*Mushroom isn’t his real name either. In case you were wondering.

**I totally made this up and there are some great sleepers out there, but as a recen tnetmums survey showed that 30% of parents lie about their child’s sleep I figure it’s a likely scenario.

Saturday 1 September 2012

#sat cap

It's Saturday and that means only one thing in blog world. Yep it's caption day. Would love to know your witty lines for this picture...