Tag: parenthood

December Chat with a Dad: Alan of OMG It’s a Girl!

Tell us something about yourself (your blog) and your little ones.

I was born to Irish parents in England. Abandoned by my mother and then put into an orphanage and adopted by Americans. I now live in Ireland with my very long suffering girlfriend, two stepsons, my own son and daughter.

When not on twitter I’m full time carer to my autistic stepson.

I started the blog http://omgitsagirl.WordPress.com when I found out that the fourth child was going to be a girl. I envisioned it as a humorous look at living with a girl in a house of boys. So far the only real difference is there is PINK everywhere!

What were their birth stories like?

Not being with Mrs OMG for the births of the first two I can only say what I know about their births. The eldest stepson was an emergency section, by all accounts it wasn’t the most pleasant of births. Stepson #2 was 6 weeks premature. My first ever experience of childbirth was Buddy’s birth. It took all of 29 minutes from the midwife breaking the back waters to him being born! Curiosity got the better of me and I had to peek at the business and once the head was out. Mrs OMG took a seizure and things went a bit mental. I got queasy and sick, therefore missing the rest of the birth!

Little Miss OMG was an entirely different story! She took hours to arrive!! I’m not sure how many lives I got through on Candy Crush. The epidural meant there was no seizure this time and at 6.44 pm on the 9th of Feb last year my perfect little girl was born.

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What you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?

There is nothing that can prepare you for what life with a baby you helped create is like. Having lived with the stepsons who were four and nearly three when I moved in with their mother I thought a baby would be a breeze. How wrong was I!

How do you balance your time between work/blogging and fatherhood?

Really badly!! Even with two of us at home full time. (Mrs OMG has epilepsy) It seems I never have enough time. Between normal household duties, taxi between sports and school and a very active toddler there’s just about time for coffee! It’s the blogging that suffers. There’s also my habit of breaking uninsured mobile phones! As this is my only way of blogging it slows things down.

Any favourite anecdotes of your kids?

Oh there are so many! I’m such a bad parent! Buddy will do something that I should give out to him for but I end up laughing.

This one time at band camp, (well Lidl really) a recently toilet trained Buddy announced he needed a wee. I told him to go round the side of the shop. He ran out the in door. I wasn’t quick enough and they closed on me. As I hurried round to the exit I looked out the window and saw Buddy peeing against the shop window!

What is it about fatherhood you love about?

Everything! But if you insist on one thing it’s watching them in those moments they learn something new for the first time. Even better if it’s something they’ve struggled with.

If there is anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?

I’d love to be able to go for a wee or a shower on my own again! Buddy was obsessed with the shower! He was about 2 1/2 and happily playing so I told Mrs OMG I was gonna sneak off for a shower. I nearly had a heart attack when I finished washing shampoo off of my hair and found a naked Buddy had joined me!

If you were given a chance to be a stay-at-home dad, would you take it?

Technically I am a SAHD. Back in 2008 I was a supervisor on the night shift for one of the largest bookmakers. Mrs OMG had a tough pregnancy with Buddy. She was taking lots of seizures, had to go for injections to stop early labour and eventually be glued. This coincided with Stepson #2 Autisim diagnosis. I was taking more and more time off work so in the end made the decision to leave work and stay at home as full time carer.

I do miss work and certainly miss the money, but I’ve seen every milestone. First steps, first words, school sports days and concerts, not forgetting parents evenings and extra curricular activities like football matches.

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Best Advice you’ve received about Fatherhood?

The best piece of advise I was given surprisingly came from my mother. When Buddy was 2 he was running around a restaurant one lunchtime. I was getting noticeably fraught as he wouldn’t sit down. My mother said “Relax”

If you can give yourself advice before becoming a Dad, what would it be?

Enjoy every moment. They are only small for a short time.

THANK YOU SO MUCH ALAN! 

Do head over to Alan’s blog.  You can also stay connected with him through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, G+ and Pinterest.

And click here if you haven’t read last month’s Chat with a Mum.

November Chat with a Mum: Prabs of Absolutely Prabulous

Tell us something about yourself, your little ones and your blog.

Oh my goodness where do I start? I’m a day dreamer and have an ability to misplace (and generally do stupid things with) my keys that I challenge anyone to match. I’m a lifelong music obsessive (I think I’d rather go 7 days without water than music), huge film fan, beach lover (after being a hardened city girl pre kids) and born again runner (hilariously I’ve actually won my age category at a gruelling race which was possibly the biggest surprise in life given how I wanted to rip my own ears off whenever anyone mentioned running most of my life). I’m very ranty, too sweary and way too reactive in general (but hopefully the fact I’m also very friendly and will talk to anyone makes up for some of that). I can’t imagine a life without tea and toast although have amazingly curbed my cake addiction. I’m quite partial to my kids (girl of 12, boy of almost 10 and girl of almost 7) who are ridiculously well-behaved (to the point where they don’t provide much comedy material because there’s not much drama or bad behaviour…yet I still manage to yell at them almost every day. And I quite like my husband whom I met when I lived in Paris (although incredibly our parents actually only live ten minutes from each other). I started the blog partly so that I could use my language degree for something other than yelling ‘I don’t have a butler to switch the lights off after you’ 20 times a day and mainly so I had a legitimate excuse to show off my legendary talent for sarcasm. I’ve been blogging for three years and am in mild shock about how utterly clueless I still am about so much of it.

What were your children’s birth stories like?

At the risk of incurring wrath, I was totally terrified at the thought of natural birth (had been all my life) partly because of the pain but also as I had a very real fear of the baby being strangled by the cord (I think it may be because of it happening to an aunt when I was young). I was actually relieved when I was told at a 37 week scan that baby number 1 had to be a c-section although sadly it was because she was dangerously underweight, not thriving and breach. At that point I didn’t realise how much worse it can be when they take the baby out too early. It was 5pm, I had to be back in the next day and had barely bought anything as I was very superstitious about buying too many things for the baby before its birth and the last three weeks of kids-free coupledom were no longer to be! She came out super tiny and with the cord around her neck three times…

The next two were also breach and also had the cord around the neck. All three were c-sections. I probably would have had VBac for my son and younger daughter if we were still in the UK but Malta is c-section mad and the doctors wouldn’t hear of Vbac. Apart from the pain and longer recovery (and the attractive ‘shelf’ I now have on my tummy), frankly I believe in ‘better the devil you know’. All three births had their element of ‘drama’ (my second was born in the most hideous old-fashioned hospital that closed down months later and my third was born in the new hospital that opened afterwards which had fantastic facilities but racist nurses!!) The main thing is they got here safe and sound and I’m very blessed to have three utter angels.

What you wish you knew about being a mother, before becoming one?

To be honest, I never obsessed over this. Yes becoming a mum is obviously a total life-changing event but I was very involved in raising my siblings (very common in Indian culture) and did the whole nappy changing/weaning/everything duties when I was young so the practical side didn’t faze me once I became a mum. The rest of it…well, life is all about stages so I don’t feel it’s necessary to know much beforehand as long as you’ve done NCT classes and paid attention to what your pregnancy books say (and then take all of that with a pinch of salt and just wing it!). The rest of it, you’re going to learn anyway and the discovery/surprises are part of the parenting journey so I wouldn’t have wanted to know much beforehand even if I’d had a crystal ball.

How do you manage your “me” time?

Well I’ve always made sure I have it! We went out right from when our first was a few weeks old and I’m probably the only mum I know who didn’t cry the day her child started nursery. So I must admit the mummy guilt posts that crop up on linkies go over my head if I’m brutally honest as I just don’t think it’s healthy to spend your entire time with your kids. I was so happy to get some time on my own when my eldest started nursery and my son went from the age of five months as I needed a mental break to go for a coffee, do the shopping etc. My kids napped for years (not in one stretch ha ha…I mean they had daytime naps til the first two were about five!) because I needed that period during the day that was just for me to nap/watch some trashy TV. It’s not easy living somewhere with no family network or domestic help so admittedly I’m with my kids a lot but they’re at school during the day and are now old enough to stay home alone while I go for a run etc. so it’s all good.

Do you have any favorite anecdote of your little ones?

I know I’ll think of a whole bunch after this post gets published but can’t think of anything great right now! I can recall coming down one morning to find my eldest (then 18 months) on the kitchen floor covered from head to toe in rice krispies with the empty packet in her hand yet still maintaining she ‘didn’t do it’. My youngest is the one who comes out with randomness such as “My favourite part of the day was finding mice hair on the beach” (yeeeucch) or “Mum your eyeballs are so sparkly”. Lastly, I remember my brother picking hubby and me up from the airport and explaining how the kids had been while we’d been away for my 40th. There was loads to report on our eldest…but it took just a few seconds to describe our son: “As for D…well there is no problem that a banana can’t fix with that kid.”

What is it about motherhood you absolutely love?

I’m so bad at answering questions like this. That does NOT mean I don’t love my kids! I’m someone who always wanted three kids, got her three kids, does a lot for them (as is my duty) and never take for granted how lucky I was to have conceived first time around for all three with no heartache (apart from having a miscarriage with the very first) despite only getting started in my mid thirties. I love my kids to bits but for me motherhood is just a part of life so I’d have to say I absolutely love specific aspects of my kids as opposed to motherhood itself if that make sense? It’s the little moments: my 12 year old coming up to me and telling me I’m amazing or expressing admiration for a singer from the 70’s (take that Bieber!), my son who isn’t very tactile surprising me with a thank you hug and my youngest for just being so mellow and gentle and good natured.

On the other hand, if there is anything about motherhood you dislike what would it be?

The pressure to do and achieve pinterest perfect birthdays, Christmases, Halloweens etc. Most of my bug bears are about the issues society creates re parenting rather than motherhood: sexual images and messages in entertainment/music/beauty industry not to mention the device/iPad obsessed culture that makes it hard to raise kids to read books and be creative without resorting to a screen. And endlessly repeating myself because good as they are, they seem to be totally deaf the first time I ask them to do something.

What’s a typical day like for you and your children?

Well Monday to Friday is school routine and all that is involved in that. We’re lucky to live right near the beach so if we’re not up to our ears in homework and I’m not snowed under with the blog, we head there. Weekends are relaxed; they let me lie in and are very low key in terms of needing entertaining as they play with each other and are as happy staying home as they are heading out for a hike or to see friends.

Best advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

I don’t think I’ve ever received any personally. I’m the eldest of four so there were no older siblings and anyway I was very resistant to advice as it tended to be offered by overbearing relatives who I didn’t feel were great role models. This doesn’t really answer the question but two things come to mind: One is the famous line by Jackie Kennedy Onassis “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.” and a conversation with my brother (14 years my junior) one time when I mentioned how I didn’t want my kids to have the childhood I had. (My parents did their best by us in many ways of course but ultimately they weren’t around much as they worked long hours running a shop plus other factors.) He looked straight at me and said “You have nothing to worry about; your kids are not having the childhood you had. It’s such a privilege spending time with you seeing the mother that you are.” I’ll never forget that.

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If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one, what would it be?

“Prabs, for pity’s sake woman, lighten up and don’t give them a hard time about the smallest things.”

One of the best things I’ve ever read about motherhood though came a few days ago from the wonderful astute Dawn of Rhyming with Wine who commented on an honest rather emotional piece I wrote for my eldest’s 12th birthday:

“Giving birth doesn’t automatically put us on a path to sainthood, it just makes us feel that we want to be so much more than we can realistically expect to be for our children. The fact that you care enough to want those things makes you the best mother in the world”

It just blew me away.

How do you manage your time, blogging/workwise and time with your family and other activities?

Well I’ve written extensively about my struggle with this on the blog actually! I came back from my blog break determined to make some changes as I couldn’t make it all work. It’s now 1.30 am so I don’t think my resolution to keep a sensible blog schedule worked. I try to get the main bulk of it done 9 til 1 three days during the week so that I can get dinner on before fetching the kids but it rarely happens. I’m trying not to blog on weekends but I do work most evenings and I hardly ever stop at 1pm during the week. The house is the thing that suffers.

Thank you so much Prabs!

You can stay in touch with her on  Facebook, Twitter and Instragram and of course do head over her blog for more of her “Prabulousness”.

And don’t forget to click here if you’ve missed last month’s Chat with a Dad.

October Chat with a Dad: Simon of Man VS Pink

Tell us something about yourself (your blog) and your little one.

I’m a stay-at-home dad to a 4-year-old girl. I’ve been home with her since she was 6- months old when her mother returned to work. I mainly blog about gender stereotypes in relation to girls. As a Star Wars & superhero fan-dad, I was frustrated at how all merchandise was being overtly categorised & labelled for boys. I wanted to call this out, as well as demonstrating how girls such as my daughter engaged with these characters and stories too. I also blog about being a stay-at-home dad, as fathers also fall prey to lazy gender stereotypes.

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What was her birth story like?

The birth went well – my wife’s waters broke in middle of night, but she waited until morning when I woke to tell me and go to hospital. Our daughter was born about 12 hours later. My wife’s comment after giving birth was “Well, that was easier than I thought it was going to be…”

Post-Birth, my wife had very high blood pressure, so I took daughter home a couple of nights to give wife a chance to sleep and help bring it down. After 5 nights both were home, but less than 24 hours later my wife was rushed to hospital with complications related to her blood pressure. It was a horribly unreal experience as my wife was in a great deal of pain – we went to hospital separately, and let’s just say I was more than half expecting to be told my wife had died. Thankfully that wasn’t the case

But my wife did stay in hospital for anther week and I took our baby mosts nights. Memories of that time are bittersweet – while the stress and upheaval of what my wife was going through was awful, in hindsight there was another aspect – I had an intense period of one-on-one bonding with our baby. Perhaps that was a key moment in subsequent decision to become a stay-at-home dad?

Eventually, all came good and my wife was back home. One thing we decided on was to give up on breastfeeding, as it removed an element of stress that helped bring her blood pressure down.

What you wish you knew about being a Dad before becoming one?


I guess one thing, which has partly motivated my blogging, is my assumptions about girls – I’m embarrassed to say I assumed they were pre-disposed to like pink, princesses, etc. I’m not sure when this opinion changed, but reading the likes of Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein (a book I highly recommend to anyone having/with a daughter) made me question that in a positive way.

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How do you balance your time between work/blogging and fatherhood?


In the early days, I would blog at weekends. I would be craving time to myself after a long week home with our child and blogging was something I did for me. The luxury of having an idea and being able to follow it through to the end was immensely satisfying after a week of half finished tasks. When she started at pre-school, then nursery, this became another important blogging time. My daughter has just started school, so that has freed up a lot of time for me blog and pursue more writing gigs. I’m also an early riser – anything past 5am is a lie in!

Any favourite anecdotes of your kid?


I shared one recently on the blog. Our daughter gets quizzed a lot by men (dads) when wearing superhero or Star Wars stuff – I think these men don’t believe a girl really can be into this stuff. It’s known as the Fake Geek Girl syndrome. Anyway, she was dressed as Rey from The Force Awakens and a guy started quizzing her about her lightsaber – but she answered every question he threw at her including how they’re built, what powers them, etc. The guy was pretty shocked she knew so much.

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What is it about fatherhood you love about?


It’s hard to pin it down. I love helping her grow. I love introducing her to new ideas and experiences. I love cuddles with her. I love what she teaches me. Being a father is something I have wanted to be for as long as I can remember, and I love being one.

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If there is anything about fatherhood you dislike about, what would it be?


The main thing I dislike about fatherhood is the way it is perceived by many. I think there is often a default in parenting to the mother. In fact, often the term parenthood and motherhood are used interchangeably. But many aspects of what people perceive as the preserve of motherhood are important aspects of my parenting and that of many other fathers.

 Best Advice you’ve received about Fatherhood?

To be honest, I can’t think of any.

If you can give yourself advice before becoming a Dad, what would it be?

Don’t worry. You’ll get better at it.

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Thank you so much Simon!

If you haven’t visited Man VS Pink, please do so now.  And you can also stay in touch with more of his musing through FB, Twitter and Instagram.

Have you read last month’s chat with a mum yet?  Do check her out here.

Life With Kids: What CD is currently being played in your car?

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Most of us have one particular CD that’s permanently in our car player, especially when you’re a parent of a small child.  Little T was around three (if I remember correctly) when Frozen first hit the cinema.  The next year, they released the CD and all went crazy from there.  Yes, we were mad enough to buy her the soundtrack.  I regret that decision.  Just as remorseful as I felt when we bought the Cbeebies double-disk songs and also played that  on a road trip from Cornwall to Scotland.  I still shudder every time I hear the first few notes of “In the Night Garden”.

Going back to Frozen, needless to say, it was the only one in our playlist the whole of 2014 and when we took a road trip from Cornwall to Picardy (yes we do love road-trips), to the North of France, not to mention a day-trip to Belgium, we did it all to the tune of “Let it Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Blimming Snowman”

And of course, the sing-a-long-continued until we were back in English soil.  My husband and I have this distinct memory of hearing little girls with different nationalities (German, Irish, Finnish the usual visitors you’d expect when staying at Eurocamp), singing their version of Frozen in every single cabin/lodge surrounding ours.  That was also the year we took Little T to Disneyland Paris and yes, she did have a glimpse of Elsa and Anna.  Summer 2014, was definitely a “Frozen” summer. Thank goodness that’s over now.

And it wasn’t just me and my husband who had enough of that blasted CD, apparently, even our car couldn’t take it anymore.  One day, player decided that enough is enough and wouldn’t play it anymore and refused to even spit out the Frozen soundtrack.  That car is gone now.  It’s probably in some junk yard with the over-played CD still in it.

Thankfully that seemed to have been the end of T’s obsession with the songs and didn’t ask us to get another.  Phew.

And then she discovered “The Book of Life” a year or so ago.  For those who aren’t familiar, it’s an animated film that tells the story of a small town in Mexico called San Angel from the “Book of Life” (hence the title) that holds every single story in the world.

It’s an adventure, comedy and love story rolled into one lovely colourful movie.  It also helps that it has a good cast:  Diego Luna, Channing Tatum and Zoey Zaldana, Christina Applegate and Ron Perlman to name a few.  Do watch it if you haven’t seen it yet.

You’ve guessed it.  This is the current CD played on loop in our car and unlike the first two CDs I mentioned. I don’t regret it one single bit.

The songs are catchy and fun.  My favourite though is one of the slow ones called “Apology Song”, where Manolo, the bullfighter decides to serenade the giant toro in the land of the dead.  Do click and have a listen.  It also helps that Diego Luna has a really good voice.

And then of course there’s this romantic song, which was also sang by the same Mexican actor.  Apparently Deigo Luna is not only cute, is a great actor, but  can really sing.

And then there’s the main song “No Matter Where You are” by Us the Duo which is definitely one song you can’t help but sing-along-to, so it’s not surprising that and it’s one of T’s favourites in the soundtrack.

And lastly, this “Live Life” song by Jesse and Joy which she also loves to sing with her friends, especially on the way to their gymnastics class.  Picture this, three little girls singing at the top of their voices and begging you to play it again and again and again.

My husband and I actually love the songs too, so we don’t really mind.  It has been our sound track for the whole summer of 2016 and I have a feeling it will stay there, till at least Christmas.

What about you?

What CD is currently being played in your car?

Do share.

The School Run

Ever since moving just out of the little village by the sea and into a 400-year-old cottage, school runs now consist of a short drive down a B road.  I use the word “short” lightly, because that all depends on whether we get stuck behind a tourist who likes to break in every corner and once they’ve reached the village, slow down and take a photo from inside their car.  Yes, that happened to us so that ten-minute drive can easily turn into a 20-minute drive!

We’re back in the grind now.  We leave the house around 8:30, if we leave early we always end up waiting around especially since little T’s school just isn’t really strict with time.  I told my husband the other night, as much as I love her school, it sometimes annoys me how long it takes them to ring the bell in the morning.  If they were going to take that long, they might as well serve coffee to the parents and provide chairs outside too!

T is happily settled in school and I also think I’m less of an emotional bundle now that she’s back and loving it again.  We’re all settled, except Doc.  He seems to want to join in the school run in the mornings and always tries to sneak in the car, one of these days, we might just take him along too.  And while we’re at it, might as well take Boots!

Our word of the week is: school-run

Are the school runs also maddeing in your area?

The Reading Residence

Confession Time: First Day School Blues

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It’s not T that’s for sure.  It’s actually me!  What’s even more embarrassing about this, is that this isn’t T’s first day in school, she came back as a Year 2 and is now actually considered one of the “older kids”.  I know I really should get a grip with myself.  I’ve been a bundle of emotions ever since she turned six.  Come on woman, stiff-upper lip!  No more of this nonsense! Yes, I have been trying to snap out of this soppiness.  I’m hoping it will be all gone come Monday morning.

Thank goodness T breezed through first day with nary a whinge or a tear.  Yes, she stood by my side and didn’t run around the playground like the other kids and only moved away from me when her friends came over to collect her.  When the bell rang, my husband and I said goodbye and she trotted off without even looking back, so different from the tearful reception girl two years ago.

As for me? I came home with a heavy heart.  I’m glad though that a good friend (mum of one of T’s closest friends) came home with me and as we chatted and sipped our coffee I felt a wave of emptiness wash over me.  My friend felt it too, even though she still has another child at home with her, we bemoaned what felt like the loss of our kids, even though in reality they were in school probably running around like loonies in the playground, not thinking about their over-emotional parents at all.

The truth is, if my husband and I had a choice we’d like little T to stay with us at home and wouldn’t mind homeschooling her.  I read blogs by mums who home educate their little ones and envy how much time they spend with their kids.  My husband and I love having our daughter with us. We love her company, doing things with her, and having little chats with her.  We genuinely like having her with us.  Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why we’ve never used a babysitter.  If we can’t go to a place or attend an event that won’t allow us to bring her, then we’re not going.  It’s as simple as that.  Our daughter goes where we go.  But as much as we would love for her to be home-schooled, I’m afraid it won’t be a good option for T.

My little girl is a lot like me, you see.  We’re both quiet and reserved people.  T is friendly and will smile at anyone who smiles at her, but she won’t run up to other kids like her friends until she’s feeling comfortable enough to do so.  It takes her awhile to warm up, but once she has, she’ll run around like a loony and be like any other child her age.

We feel that home-schooling her might make her feel wary of people and other children.  I’m not saying all home-schooled children are like that.  All kids are different and we know our daughter well.

On the one hand though, she has an inner strength I really admire.  When her friends were quitting gymnastics because it got too “scary” for them, my little T persevered and didn’t quit.  She’s not a quitter and I’m really proud of her.  At the moment, we’re lucky that the village school she goes to is a lovely one, where the teachers and students are supportive and she loves it there. We will only consider other options, if the wind changes.  For now, we’re staying put.

What about you?

Would you consider home-schooling your kids too?

Do share.

The Mummy Tag

The Mummy Tag

I haven’t done this in a while, so when the lovely Yvonne from Double the Monkey Business tagged me, I thought it would be fun to reply.  Do visit her blog if you haven’t, it’s a must-read!

1. ARE YOU A STAY AT HOME MUM OR A WORKING MUM?

At the moment, I’m a stay at home mum and also do a bit of freelance writing on the side, although I must admit I haven’t had a decent writing contract in ages!

2. WOULD YOU HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY?

When T was younger, no, but now that she’s older, would love to go back to work since I’ve always worked since finishing Uni.  But at the moment and because of where we live, there isn’t much available work for me.  Thankfully, I do earn a bit from this thing called “blogging” 😉

3. DO YOU CO-SLEEP?

We did, yes and still occasionally do and I wouldn’t change it for the world no matter how some “parenting experts” think it’s not good “parenting”.  I love cuddling her in bed and waking up next to my little girl.  My husband knows how much I love sleeping with our daughter in between us, so when he wakes up, the first thing he does is carry her to our bed and we snuggle together till it’s time to get up.

4. WHAT IS YOUR ONE MUST-HAVE ITEM FOR YOUR BABY?

T is six-years-old now, so we I don’t really have any must have item in my bag, although we do always have wipes in the car and when we do day trips out, I make sure I also have some wipes in my bag.

5. HOW MANY KIDS DO YOU PLAN ON HAVING?

I married late and had T when I was 37.  Would love to have another one, but looks like it’s not going to happen.  It took awhile for me to come into terms with it, but I’m fine with right now.  I’m just thankful that I have her.

6. DATE NIGHTS? HOW OFTEN DO YOU HAVE THEM?

I’m afraid at the moment the only date-nights we have are watching DVDs in our lounge with T asleep on her bed.

7. YOUR CHILD’S FAVOURITE SHOW?

Like most little girls, she likes “My Little Pony”.

8. NAME ONE THING YOU BROUGHT BEFORE YOU HAD THE BABY AND NEVER ENDED UP USING?

We bought a dummy for T thinking it would help soothe her especially when she started teething.  The first time she had it in her mouth, she spat it out and didn’t like it.  On hindsight, I’m so glad she did just that.

9. YOUR CHILD’S FAVOURITE FOOD?

She loves jacket potatoes.  I didn’t even know that till she started having meals at school and every time we’d ask her what she had for lunch, she’d reply “Jacket potato”.  The weird thing is, she doesn’t seem to like it as much when we cook it for her at home.

10. HOW MANY CARS DOES YOUR FAMILY HAVE?

Just one.

11. WEIGHT GAIN, BEFORE PREGNANCY, DURING, AFTER AND NOW?

Oh yes!  I haven’t even lost the additional weight I gained after having T.  I used to be a size 6 before getting pregnant.  Now I’m somewhere between a size 10-12.  I know some people may think that’s not much, but when you’re short like I am, believe me, it matters … A LOT!  I know I have to do something about it, but honestly, I can’t be bothered right now, especially since I’ve realised that the trick there is to wear the right clothes 🙂

12. DREAM HOLIDAY WITH YOUR KIDS?

We’ve been to Disneyland Paris and would love to go to the one in the States, either in California or Florida, especially since we have family and close friends living there.

13. DREAM HOLIDAY WITHOUT YOUR KIDS?

I can’t imagine going on holiday without little T.  I’ll end up really missing her.  It wouldn’t be a dream holiday if I didn’t have my little girl with me.

14. HOW HAS YOUR LIFE CHANGED SINCE HAVING KIDS?

A lot.  I used to work full-time.  I used to have a life.  I used to have friends.  My life is different now, but I’m loving it too of course.  I love being a mum, even though admittedly I don’t really have much of a life outside motherhood.  But I’m fine with that too.  I’m lucky I had a good career and life before getting married and having her, otherwise I’d probably be feeling different now.

15. FINISH THE SENTENCE “IT MAKES HEART MELT WHEN…”

I see my daughter’s face 🙂

16. WHERE DO YOU SHOP FOR YOUR KIDS?

I buy most of T’s stuff from Zara kids, because I find them really cute and affordable.

17. FAVOURITE MAKE-UP AND SKINCARE PRODUCTS?

I don’t wear make-up.  The only skin care products I use are moisturisers and lotion.

18. HUGGIES OR PAMPERS?

Neither.  T is six 🙂

19. HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED KIDS?

Yes!  Like I mentioned, it would’ve been nice to have more than one, but I’m just really thankful that I have her.

20. BEST PART OF BEING A MUM?

Being with my daughter.  I just love every minute of it, even when she’s being difficult.

Thanks for the tag Yvonne!

I’m tagging the following lovely mums if they want to join:

Laura of Dear Bear and Beany

Louise of Little Hearts, Big Love

Laura of Five Little Doves

Jordanne of Life of a Glasgow Girl

 Kim of Northumberland Mam

Over to you ladies!

What the Little Girl Said

Feeling emotional just after her birthday I told little T. “Where has my little baby gone?” And gave her an exaggerated sad face.  For more dramatic effect, I added “My baby is gone!”  Gave her another woebegone expression and repeated …  My baby is gone!  Ended it with wailing sounds, giving Meryl Streep a run for her money and awards.  Then I turned to T and said “Instead … I have a little girl now!

T sighed and looked at me in the eye “But mum, if you didn’t have me.  You’d be sadder”, she said matter-of-factly.  Wise words indeed.  Wasn’t it Antoine de Saint-Exupéry author of the much loved children’s book Little Prince who said:

Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.

T must have been thinking just that by the look on her face and the tone of her voice. Today, my ever-so wise child goes back to school as a Year 2 student.

Yikes!

Does your child seem too wise for their age too?

Do share.

Little Hearts, Big Love

September Chat with a Mum: Laura of Five Little Doves

Laura of Five Little Doves Blog

Tell us something about yourself, your little ones and your blog.

My name is Laura, I’m a 36 year old Mum of five, married to Gareth and together we live in Lancashire. I am a stay at home Mum to Lewis, 12, from my first marriage, Eva 4, Megan 3 and Harrison 2. My second son Joseph would have been 10 this July but was sadly stillborn in 2006. He is a huge part of our family and we feel his absence daily.

I started my blog last year during a time when I was struggling with ongoing health issues, battling fibromyalgia, ME, and undergoing neurological investigations that were, quite frankly, terrifying for my family and I. I felt that I needed something else to focus on, something to keep my mind ticking over, and writing has always been therapeutic for me, something I enjoy and in some ways, the only thing that, other than being a Mother, has ever come naturally to me.

What were your children’s birth stories like?

In a word – FAST!! Lewis was born very quickly, just eleven minutes of established labour, and for a first labour, I realise that I was very lucky!  Joseph was an induction and a long, gruelling, emotional one at that, but again, when I got to four centimetres he was born in just a couple of minutes. Eva, Megan and Harry were induced at 35 weeks due to being such high risk pregnancies and with all three, once I reached four centimetres they were born in under two minutes. Megan developed an infection at birth and was in NICU for the first two weeks and again, Harry needed resuscitating at birth and spent two long weeks, very poorly in NICU.

unnamed (1)

What you wish you knew about being a mother, before becoming one?

That it is the hardest job in the whole world, one which will push you to your limits, test your patience and your sanity. That there will be days when you feel you are failing, that you aren’t the parent you had hoped you would be, when as much as you love your children, you would give just about anything for ONE moment to yourself before you lose the plot entirely. But despite all that, no matter how bad things get or how hard the struggle, it will absolutely be worth it.

Mum and her two daughters.

How do you manage your “me” time?

Me time?? Remind me what that is again? I don’t think I’ve had a moment to myself since 2012! Having three under three was a huge shock to the system and now I consider myself lucky if I get to shower in peace, let alone use the toilet.

I do try to claw back some me time back when the children are in bed, working on my blog, writing, reading, watching trashy reality TV and eating way too much chocolate.

Do you have any favorite anecdote of your little ones?

Far too many to tell you about but one that happened most recently, during a disastrous shopping trip with the three youngest, was Megan pointing over at a rather large gentleman and shouting, “He’s got a big fat tummy like daddy pig!!”. Definitely a ground swallow me up kind of moment!

Little Girl6.

What is it about motherhood you absolutely love about?

Gosh what a difficult question, and one which I could answer in a million different ways. I think my favourite thing is when the children are all together, with their little heads bowed over a game or a book, when they are snuggled up on the couch with their bodies touching, holding hands, sharing a kiss or a cuddle. It’s those moments when I look over, or I spot them from a distance, and I can’t quite believe that they are all mine. After everything we went through, all those losses and all of that sadness, to know that they are all mine, that we have the family we never dared to dream of, that has got to be the thing I love the most.

Siblingsbrothers

On the other hand, if there is anything about motherhood you dislike what would it be?

Absolutely!! The sleep deprivation, the screeching, the incessant whining, the days when they just don’t listen to a single word I say? The mountains of laundry that they relentlessly produce, crayon marks on my walls, the fact that it’s a military operation just to leave the house most days.

What’s a typical day like for you and your child?

In short, hard work!! Four children was never going to be easy, but three children in three consecutive years sometimes feels impossible! We try very hard to stick to a routine as that makes life much easier, but anything can throw it, a late night, a cancellation, a last minute change of plans. We do playgroups twice a week, the girls have nursery three times a week and in between we try and get out as much as possible if the weather is fine, if not we stay home and bake, play dress up and watch Frozen back to back, whatever it takes to get through the day. When I’m not refereeing another argument or being forced to sing my part of the Anna-Elsa duet, I try to keep on top of the housework, taxi Lewis to and from the many places he needs to be, and fit in coffee and cake with friends whenever possible!

Siblings playing dress-upBest advice you’ve ever received about motherhood/parenthood?

Nobody cares but you. It’s my favourite saying and something I remind myself of often. When the kids are playing up in public and I’m dying of shame inside, when my house is a complete bomb site and I’m cowering at the door, mortified that someone will step foot into the aftermath of a day without cleaning, I remind myself that nobody cares but me. Everyone is far too busy going about their own lives, and dealing with their own kids, to notice that my hair is un-brushed, that my kids have bean juice down their t-shirts or my carpets haven’t seen a hoover all week.

If you could give yourself advice about motherhood before becoming one, what would it be?

Trust your instinct. With my first I was so concerned with doing everything “right”. I read every book, every baby manual, hung on every word the Health Visitor spouted, and I actually ended up with severe post natal depression because of the pressure I put on myself. I wish I had known that my gut instinct was right, that nobody knew my child in the same way that I did, that the best thing I could do was simply go with the flow and find our own path, one that was best for the two of us.

mother and son

How do you manage your time, blogging and time with your family and other activities?

I try to blog when the kids are in bed, or on the rare occasion when I finally get an hour to myself. I struggle with the hypocrisy of palming off the kids so I can write about being a parent, I would much rather spend my time being a parent than writing about it. During the times when I feel that blogging is taking away from that, I take my foot of the pedal a little, sit back, re-assess my priorities and remind myself that as a stay at home Mum, the children will always come first. In that way, as much as I love to write, it is still very much a hobby.

Gaz and I spend very little time together on our own as a couple, something which we constantly promise to make more of an effort with, but in all honesty we are usually too tired, or too skint, when the opportunity arises! We tend to save up our babysitting offers for occasions we really don’t want to miss such as weddings, birthdays and anniversaries and remind ourselves that one day, when the children are grown, we will have all the time in the world!

unnamed (8)Thank you so much Laura!

For more of Laura’s stories, do head over to her blog and don’t forget to connect with her too over at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

And click here if you’ve missed last month’s Chat with a Dad.

A Birthday Girl, Bad Weather and Mary Poppins

Birthday Cake with Lit candles

I took a week off blogging because my little girl turned six last Friday.  I look at her now and wonder how did my baby suddenly turn into a “proper” little girl.  She suddenly looks, talks and acts a bit different now.  The “baby” is gone.  She’s lost her baby fat, can explain herself too darn-well, it’s amazing how much she’s grown.  I want to cry out “Oh do slow down a bit, I’m afraid mummy doesn’t really want you to grow-up too fast.  You may be ready, I’m not“.  Sob, sob.

I have a video of her barely two-years-old, she’s running towards me in the headland and stops and says “Mummy run!  Mummy run!”  She gets frustrated because I wouldn’t run and was too busy filming her.  If I could just freeze or go back to that day, that perfect summer day, when it was warm enough for her to wear a cute summer dress and hat and she was absolutely beautiful, my little baby.

birthday_girl

Now at six, she suddenly looks all grown-up.  I keep asking myself, how did that happen?  I spent the week doing absolutely nothing and everything with her.  We had some close friends visit early in the week too and had a lovely time with them on the beach.

There were talks of a beach party for her and her friend (whose birthday was six days before hers) but the Cornish weather didn’t allow it and so we opted for a spontaneous “camping birthday” instead and only invited a few of her closest friends.

On the day itself though, even as my husband and I pitched our tents on our garden and in spite glaring and shaking our fists at the sky “declaring war” if it decided to pour, sods law, it did rain as her little guests started arriving.  What was supposed to be a barbecue ended up a “grilled-dinner” inside our home.  In spite the wet weather, and giggling girls (and one boy), we all managed to get some sleep in our tents.

tents

After breakfast, the next day we sang little T “Happy Birthday” and had birthday.  The sun then decided to grace us, so I took the water-slide out and assembled it in our lawn and all the kids had fun sliding down before calling it a day.

water_slide

Little T opened presents from family when her guests were gone and before we knew it, it was time to get ready to go and see Mary Poppins at Plymouth.

mary_poppins

If you haven’t seen it and have little ones, go grab some tickets!  We were thoroughly entertained, the cast, the costumes, the choreography was just absolutely amazing.

My daughter is now six. I still can’t believe it.  She and I have this ritual after saying goodnight and exchanging “I love yous”, I say “On the day you were born, and T likes to end it with “It was the happiest day of your life”.  It’s certainly true.  And I want to say to her, everyday with her is a happy one.  And as author Suzanne Finnamore once said …

You are the closest I will ever come to magic.

Here’s a little video I decided to mark her “growing-up” years.

 Do you also feel that time is happening way too fast and you just want it to slow down?

Do share.