Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Bugaboo Bandit: My Confession.

Homage to my dear Bugaboo..

Yes I know, I know: it costs a FORTUNE. In fact it was so expensive that when we sold my husband’s beloved ‘sports car’  in favour of a car which the bugaboo could fit into (yes the irony isn’t lost on yet more expense being squandered on the Bugaboo here…) the proceeds didn’t even cover the extortionate amount!
That minor detail aside, I had decided long before Darcie had begun to give me morning sickness that the Bugaboo was the one for me. I admit it wasn’t a choice made entirely on its practical merit (I blame Heat mag here) – however I did of course brush up on these points when standing in Mothercare persuading long suffering Hubster that this is the ONLY pram we could consider, and just how could he make a pregnant lady cry.

“Look, it has an adjustable handle – perfect for your 6”4ness.”

I struggled with a second practical based sell so settled for “We will look JUST like Gwyneth & Chris Martin strolling around with baby Apple” – I may have been speaking Marshan but it seemed to clench the deal.

Bugaboo ordered. Muma 1: Hubster -£1000.

Little did I know that this one purchase really was all I needed to buy for our teeny tiny human. Really I shouldn’t have bothered buying any of the following for quite same time:

Rocking crib / Moses basket / big cot / cot Mobile with strange not of this earth animals hanging from it which played Eurovision style music / bath seat / bath sponge floaty thing / bouncy seat (one for upstairs, and one for downstairs) toys – a variety of world discovery essentials promising to ensure your child evolved faster than next doors / baby gym (what the..!) / books / jumperoo – a new born essential, obviously. I may have gone a bit over the top, hormones flowing I wanted to ensure Tiny Human wanted for nothing and that every possible need and whim was provided for.

How naïve was I: The 3 B’s was all I needed for months: Boobs, Bottles & BUGABOO!!!

I remember the Bugaboo arriving like it was yesterday, I was only 10 days away from my Breach inspired C-section. I was one big Muma by this point, up until this moment I hadn’t nested. Hubster was secretly hoping I would have surges of SuperHouseWife – this seemed to have pasted me by. However Bugaboo delivery day saw me spring into action: instructions in about 20 different languages, wheels, metal bits, soft bits resembling seating and an iron will I put the entire thing together, single headedly.

I sat for the rest of the afternoon staring at the Pram, all ready for an actual tiny human to take up residence. I must admit I couldn’t resist the urge to give it a quick wiz around the lounge, how I didn’t take it for a spin down the road screaming “LOOK, I BUILT THIS” I’ll never know!

Darcie arrived unexpectedly 2 days later – I should have guessed something was up: I am the most untechnical person, I can barely work the washing machine. The fact that I had just built an entire object from bits was basically Mother Nature sending me a sodding great telegram: BABY IMMINENT!

Darcie, seemed to approve of our choice in pram too. 8 days after my c section I managed to hobble about 10 meters out of our front door pushing her in the shiny new, flipping gorgeous, pram. Practically bent over double I retreated back to the sofa, but that first little ‘walk’ (in the loosest sense of the word- more of a put the bins out distance!) - really is such a treasured memory.

From then on the Bugaboo did us proud – Darcie slept in the pram top placed inside her big cot for months, she loved walks in it, I loved pushing her in it , look one handed!- Only a few minor collisions occurred…  The ease of slotting the ridiculously heavy car seat on top of it was frankly a godsend.

Our newest addition now has the pleasure of the Bugaboo, although she is currently at ToddlerMonster phase and so the pram top is now gathering dust and god knows what else in the garage.

The bugaboo has soldiered on, it has endured Tantrums off the Richter scale, witnessed the knee GENTLY in the chest trick to assist with the little known about ‘Toddler stiff as a board back arch’ condition. It has had more food and drink spilt on it than a playgroup floor, survived being literally thrown into the boot of the car after been dismantled in grotty car parks. Actually it has survived many an argument about how best to collapse it in the early days! But it has gallantly carried our screaming squirming children, and all of my shopping for over 4 years now. What am I going to do with my Primark bags when I can’t hang them on the buggy anymore?!

You have done us proud Buggaboo, I salute you.

Is it just me who has an unhealthy sentimental affiliation with their pram, please reassure me I am not alone here..?

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Stay-At-Home-Muma or Working Muma? My choice...

As sensitive a subject as Breast verses Bottle; I’m half wincing even beginning this blogpost. The time old argument, or rather ‘discussion point’ of Working Muma V’s Stay at Home Muma seems to rage on. Article after article is written on the subject, all contradicting the last, all claiming to be the latest research and written either by Earth Mother herself wrapped in her tie dye gently rocking back and forth on a rush matt with a toddler feeding from her, or City slicker Muma: louboutins- check!
These two extremes don’t really cater for The Lidl Muma – and by that, I mean me! What’s right for the Muma that’s been educated reasonably well?
I was fortunate enough to go to a very academic school, we were all aboard the conveyor belt of GCSE’S, AS levels, A levels, and then on to University as a standard. Utter scandal ensued should you have deviated from this, the very thought of ‘vocational course’ was placed next to shelf stacker as an option. From university I went on to work in recruitment mostly: I’m basically very gobby which helps in a sales environment!
I remember the day I finished work and begun my journey in to MatLeave like it was yesterday: An over indulgent lunch with my colleagues, well friends actually; I spent 50 hours a week with these people! Anyway I bid them all adios with armfuls of Pink goodies, vowing to return in a years time…
However, I just couldn’t tear myself away from my Darcie shaped bundle. I even went to a keeping in touch day, shame it was a financial planning meeting that had me wishing I could bolt out of the door. My brain felt like mush, did I get the train through to Paris because I’m clearly not speaking the same language anymore. That evening I broke the news to The Hubster that I just couldn’t go back to work and asked if we could financially survive.

If I’m totally honest I haven’t looked back since I waddled out of the office door ready to embrace Mumahood. Don’t get me wrong, there have been been moments where I have thought how lovely it would be to have a lunch break, especially when I have been on an involuntary starvation day due to a colicy baby, or a loo break sometimes, ALONE. And yes I have yearned to have a quick browse around the shops on late-night Thursdays after work on more than one occasion. But, and here’s the big but, my bottom line and my raison d’etre: I don’t want to miss out!

I don’t want to be the one to miss the first step, or first word – which would have been nice to be Muma just once: Dada got that, twice.  It’s the more mundane everyday stuff that makes you the constant: toddler tripped up and it was me that comforted her, toddler cuts another tooth and needs more cuddles, toddler whacks victim for custard cream at playgroup, – Hell, Toddler has morphed into ToddlerMonster and chucks ‘treasure’ down the loo!  I want to be the observer, the comforter, the disciplinarian, and not miss a beat.

However, in my quest to Nurture have I thrown away a great education and a career to boot? Is it realistically possible for me to return to work and still not miss a single thing? Well, of course not because it’s physically impossible to be in two places at once. It doesn’t seem fair that nature has given women a heart wrenching choice to make: follow your career, aspirations and dreams that you may have worked long and hard to build, before children. Or park it. Can a happy medium be reached or do you just end up not achieving either terribly well?

The responsibility I feel as a Stay At Home Muma to show my girls that women are invaluable to the work place is huge, I’m not leading by example here at all. I feel I must try to convince them that Muma is more than just a cleaner / cook / driver / occasional fair weather gardener. I don’t want them assuming that just because Muma doesn’t work I don’t have a brain and can’t answer their billions of critical questions - I can work Wikipedia just as well as the next Muma thanks. So with this in mind I’m now an upstanding member of the Nursery PTA and a wannabe Blogger, the fact that Darcie has begun referring to me as Muma On The Edge is frankly frightening.

This is a topic really close to my heart; I do strongly believe that every Muma strives to do the very best they can for their babies, its nature’s way. There is no perfect way to bring up our babies, just your way. And my god I hope I don’t fuck this up…

Friday, 10 April 2015

Sod the Gym Membership... Get a Soft Play Pass.

I'm not really a 'gym' person. I realised this when I once paid £500 for an introductory half hour session, a long time ago. Enthusiastically, pre-children I signed up to the gym right below our office one January along with all of the other girls from work. A sort of group new years resolution. 'We could spin during lunch' we hailed, 'we could swim after work' we cried. Some even went as far as to chip in with 'we could do Body Pump BEFORE work'. At the time I didn't like to pipe up with the fact that I thought we had all gone RAVING MAD! We already worked long hours in a thankless sales office, frankly the thought of doing anything other than eating my meal deal during lunch time blew my mind. Let alone the prospect of waking extra early to 'pump bodies' (whatever that meant!) And when work finished, that was it I was outta there and into the bar next door to moan probably about being fat and unfit amongst other things.
So having signed up and set up the monthly payments I skipped along to my induction. Never to return to the gym again!!! But they tie you in, you cannot, to quote Friends 'QUIT THE GYM' they don't let you. In my case the Gods took pity and the place burnt down! No joke..

I digress. So, Soft Play AKA Muma-Gym.

I have never quite experienced physical exertion like I did during one particular visit to a well known Soft Play centre. Lila was 6 months old and Darcie had just turned 3. My greatest error was to have innocently assumed that going it alone with the two of them and no little chums to play with Darcie was a good idea. I spent the next 2 hours crawling, jumping, climbing up, climbing down, lifting Darcie over, dragging her under the brightly coloured 'FUN' jungle.  All the while dressed like a marsupial, wearing Lila! EXHUSTED, why don't they sell wine in the café?! Gap in the market there.
8 months on and the girls are a little older, obviously. But this has meant they are stronger, faster and braver. If I thought climbing through tunnels, up sheer drops, down loopy slides (which test your pelvic floor, I might add) was tiring enough, it has nothing on trying to keep eyes on two children literally running, amongst other children running, amongst throngs of Mumas sipping MASSIVE mugs of caffeine, amongst the enthusiastic young YOUNG staff who frankly could do with having their own parents there to keep an eye on them.
In between the cries for refreshment - just how much juice can a 4 year old get through in one session?! Jugs upon jugs of the stuff, and the cries for yet another snack to keep those energy levels at an all time high, you have the cries all Mumas fear most: those cries that have been inflicted by your own child.
Cue sympathetic voice, and fake smiles, to poor little Johnny who Darcie pushed down the loopy slide because actually he had been sat there for about 10 minutes telling his gathering crowd of nippers that he was king of the slide. NOT.FOR.LONG. While I don't condone pushing, fighting, snatching bla bla etc I do have to reserve my 'serves you right Johnny' face, and adopt the more appropriate 'sorry my child hurt your child' face. What I'm really thinking is, "Put your oversized caffeine fix down and teach Johnny the way of the world: starting with basic slide etiquette!"

If you can survive a soft play session without a) breaking a sweat and b) not thinking "Where the fuck are my fucking kids" you've done well, very well.
I come out of the 'fun' warehouse with ringing ears, teary over tired children, a bad back, DISGUSTING socks and an overwhelming need to wash mine and the kids hands in bleach.
But, We'll be back next week...

Satisfying Muma-Wins: My Top 5

Over the course of a week I kept a note of a few precious satisfying moments- ALL of  which I would have laughed out of town before children. I thought I'd share to see if I am alone in enjoying these mini Muma-Wins...

#1 Being asked for ID when purchasing medicinal Cava. Ok so this didn't actually happen. I'm 31, and look every one of those years. However, I did allow myself to imagine smugly reaching for the Driver License to prove my 'fresh face' (ha!) was, most certainly, over 25.
Muma-Win: The impeccably cool Uber-Chic standing in front of me was denied her bottle of Vodka for failing the old wrinkly test; as according to the Just- outta-the-womb check out boy.

#2 Next Catalogue Delivery Day: YES!!! I LOVE this day... However Darcie at the tender age of 4 also loves this day now and dare I say Lila wants in on it too. Managing to rip open the impossibly tough cardboard packaging, before they have noticed what I'm up too. Hurriedly skipping straight to Homeware or Shoes before it's hijacked by the miniature catalogue thieves, dragging  it back to their lair(far too heavy for them to carry!)  to dribble over the summer collections and rip random chunks out of it.
But I held it first, and I caught a glimpse. Satisfaction.

#3 Finishing an entire cup of coffee before its gone cold. Same applies to toast. In fact, actually remembering I had put a slice into the toaster for myself is a win.

#4 Supermarket Shopping: ALONE. Surely there are few feelings that are as great as entering the supermarket with a trolley: JUST A TROLLY... especially an 'Extra' store. Good God, bliss. I had the great pleasure of this a few days ago. I couldn't quite get over how much satisfaction I was getting out of wandering the aisles at my own pace, rather than my usual breakneck get-to-the-check-out-before-ToddlerMonster-squirms-out-of -Trolley-Jail pace.
Sadly, there were other peoples children in Trolley jail; the sound of parental bribes, the opening of Milky bar packets before they have been purchased, the dulcet tones of "MILES GET BACK 'ERE, STOP LICKING THE FLOOR" could be heard from Fresh to Frozen.
I was oblivious, absolute Muma-Win.

#5 Clearing the 1.5m (you think I'm kidding..) ironing pile. This is included because as I ironed over the last of the food stained baby vests (nobody sees those, stains are acceptable right?!) I literally felt like I had conquered my own mountain expedition: in one hit. Basically its a shit job isn't it.
I iron, therefore I am.