October 2010 | Modern Mummy

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Confessions of Imperfect Parenting

As Fiona Neill once (very rightly) said "motherhood isn't all astanga yoga and Cath Kidston prints"....

When I first found out I was pregnant I had a vision of how I thought motherhood would be. I was full of opinions on everything; what I needed to buy, what wasn't necessary, food (baby's and mine), exercise, things that I would and wouldn't do etc etc.

Before I had given birth I had 'made' the following decisions:

1. I would breast feed, and when moving on to solids I would make my own organic creations, and never, ever use jars or pouches.
2. I would take up buggy fit, post natal yoga and walk everywhere with the pram and lose all of my baby weight within six months.
3. I would take Daisy to mother and baby clubs i.e. music time, baby massage, messy play, soft play etc four times a week.
4. Daisy would not watch CBeebies.
5. Daisy would not have chocolate until she was one.
6. I would not dress Daisy head to toe in pink.
7. I definitely would not be the sort of mother that talks incessantly about their child.

As it happens:

1. I was unable to breast feed. Daisy would not latch on and after two incredibly stressful, painful and sleepless nights in hospital with the breast feeding Nazi's midwives I finally began to consider formula feeding. Breast feeding just wasn't working out for either of us---- I was a miserable and exhausted mummy and Daisy was hungry baby! So on my last day in hospital we combined formula and breast feeding and then, happy in the knowledge that Daisy had three days worth of colostrum in her, I switched entirely to formula. When it came to weaning I still had my good intentions. It was so easy to whip up pureed vegetables and pulses that I did that to start with. Then I realised that it was even easier to whip out an Ella's Kitchen pouch. And it tasted better.

2. When you have just had your first baby you are so busy adjusting to your new role as a mummy there just isn't time for buggy fit and/or yoga. Plus I am a lazy cow. And it was November. I wasn't wrapping up warm and prancing around doing lunges and squats in my local park (where people I know might be laughing at me) for an hour a week for ANYONE! Its only now, a year on, that I am back to my pre-baby weight, and its not been down to post natal yoga either! Long summer and autumn walks with the buggy and a few sit ups (in the privacy of my own home, thank you very much) are responsible for that.

3.Have you ever been to any of those clubs? J-heeesus! I have never felt more of an idiot in my entire life as I did whilst singing and attempting to do the moves to Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes, whilst my 6 month old daughter lay on the floor half heartedly shaking a baby maraca and smirking at me. I still haven't made it to the top of the waiting list for Baby Massage so can't comment on that. Messy play and soft play I rate highly, the latter especially now madam has found her feet as she can fall over as much as she likes on the bouncy floor without hurting herself. And I can have a coffee and a bitch gossip with the other mums at the same time. Messy play is equally brilliant; not having to clear up after a finger painting session with a toddler is pure genius. I would be prepared to pay well over the £1 our local painting studio charges for that.

4. CBeebies is my saviour. Fact. I don't have it on 24/7 but I am partial to letting my daughter watch the odd episode of In The Night Garden or Waybuloo so that I actually have 20 minutes to do the washing up. Or get dressed.

5. Great in theory, but not in practice. How could I refuse my child a piece of her very first Easter egg? Especially when she caught me shovelling the entire packet of chocolate buttons from its centre into my mouth in one go.  And I might be guilty of using a jaffa cake as a bribery tool whilst wandering round Tesco doing my weekly shop too. Everything in moderation I say!

6. After six months of "Oh what a lovely baby! Is it a girl or a boy?" I finally succumbed to dressing Daisy in pink. Just to make things fairly obvious to the old grannies that were accosting me on a regular basis of course. I still get the occasional "What's his or her name?" to which I reply "This is my son, Daisy."

7. Before I became a mother myself, I had friends that had already had children. I never ceased to be amazed at how much they could talk about their offspring. How could they speak so openly about bowel movements and get so excited about things like walking and talking! I have now become one of Those People. Check out my Facebook and Twitter updates for proof. "Daisy now points to the cat and says "miaow"!" "Daisy took thirty steps at soft play today!" Oh my god I am boring myself.

I am looking at expanding on this post as an article for my upcoming website and would be interested to hear anyone else's Confessions of Imperfect Parenting! Feel free to leave a comment or email me on katyearley17@gmail.com x

Friday, 22 October 2010

I ♥ Emma Bridgewater

Aside from my daughter (and the other half I suppose) it is no secret that there is another Great Love of my Life. Some people (in particular the other half) call it an addiction. My friends and family think I'm obsessed (although they don't complain come my birthday or Christmas, as I am an easy person to buy a present for). I personally just think I have an eye for pretty things. And whats wrong with that?
This 'other person' in my life is Emma Bridgewater. A creative and artistic genius. Maker of traditional Staffordshire earthenware, reviver of traditional sponge printing techniques. Quite simply, and as described on their website, Emma Bridgewater pottery is 'some of the nicest things in your kitchen'. Never before have I wanted material things so much, and never before have material things had such sentimental value to me. I just love it.
I first came across Emma Bridgewater pottery in 2005. I was visiting a friend in Devon and when I got there, after a tiring three hour early morning drive from London, I was handed a much needed steaming hot cup of tea in a beautifully chunky mug decorated with pink hearts. Half an hour later, my breakfast was served up in a polka dot egg cup on a plate adorned with blue stars, both made from the same wonderful, creamy, chunky pottery. It was love at first sight. I insisted my friend tell me everything she knew about Emma Bridgewater the company and Emma Bridgewater the person, spent the whole morning swooning over her collection and later that day, whilst shopping in Totnes, I bought my very first pieces.
My collection has grown somewhat since that fateful day. Whilst working in the West End I would often wander down to the Marylebone High Street shop on my lunch break and return to the office with a lovely blue paper carrier bag full of new purchases. I can't walk past a kitchen or homeware shop without stopping to see whether they have any discontinued goodies inside. I have amassed an assorted collection of different shapes and patterns and like nothing more than to mix and match all my place settings at dinner parties and when I have people round for lunch. I love the girliness of Pink Hearts and the smartness of Black Toast. Nothing beats a bit of Polka for cheering you up in the morning and the beautiful, bold and bright Union Jack pattern is enough to make anyone feel patriotic. I love the 1 pint mugs; they are a perfect size for lovely wintery mugs of hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows. And the oversized wine glasses (did I mention they do glassware too?) makes a bottle of pinot noir taste even better.
The thing I love most about Emma Bridgewater is that every single item that can be used, and admired, daily. I would never keep it locked away behind cupboard doors, too afraid to use it. People often comment on it and I love the fact that I am passionate and knowledgeable enough to tell them about it.
This weekend I intend to place an order for some Christmas Stars items. I have my eye on an absolutely divine turkey platter, a serving bowl or two and a gravy jug and saucer. Although shopping in one of Emma's beautiful stores and seeing the breathtaking floor to ceiling displays of all your favourite patterns is a wonderful experience (I am like a kid in a sweet shop when I visit them, the moment I open the door my eyes start to twinkle!), the excitement of waiting for the postman to deliver one of Emma Bridgewater's famous red boxes to your front door takes some beating too! (And having to smuggle it in without the other half seeing is pretty fun as well!) 
I cannot fault Emma Bridgewater one little bit. Their products are beautiful and well made, they are priced perfectly reasonably taking into account the time and care afforded to the production of each piece by hand, and as for the company's customer service; well the girls I have met and/or spoken to at the factory in Stoke and the stores across London are the most helpful and accommodating people I have ever come across.
If you are interested in Emma Bridgewater please click here to go to the website. Make sure you have plenty of time to look at all her wonderful pieces and read the story behind the company's creation. And don't forget to have your credit card handy; you won't be able to resist, I can assure you! All I can say is thank goodness Emma couldn't find a birthday present for her mother in 1985! Where would we all be if she'd just opted for buying her a piece of Cornish Blue?

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Losing the Baby Weight

Image courtesy of the BBC

When l first found out I was pregnant I can remember finding a tool on a pregnancy website that could 'predict' my pregnancy weight gain. According to my height and my pre-pregnancy weight I could be expected to put on approximately 2 stone 2 pounds. "Jesus!" I can remember my skinny 9 stone something self thinking at the time. "My weight in stones is going to go into double figures!"
It sure did!
I didn't bother weighing myself regularly during my pregnancy. The midwives weren't interested in my weight and I was too busy enjoying myself eating for two. In fact it wasn't until the morning before I gave birth, at 39 weeks and 1 day pregnant, that I finally jumped on the scales. Expecting to be around two stone heavier as the weight predictor had suggested all those months ago, I was gobsmacked to discover I had gained no less than 4 stone 3 pounds (see the photo on my birth story entry for proof!) and a week after having Daisy I was only 1 stone down.
In hindsight I don't know why I was so shocked at my weight gain. Despite my good intentions of eating fruit and veg a-plenty whilst pregnant, my poor morning sickness inflicted body had other ideas, and for the first four months the only things I could stomach were white pasta, white bread or toast with butter, mashed potatoes and cheese. It didn't bode well really and once my sickness had died down I took the eating for two quite literally and must have at least doubled my daily calorie intake for the last two months of my pregnancy. "But darling if I'm craving a curry its because the baby NEEDS it!" was regularly heard by the other half and of course a curry didn't just mean a chicken madras and pilau rice - I had to have poppadoms, naan bread, aloo gobi, and a side order of chana masala too. The staff at my local Nepalese Restaurant became my best friends. You could literally see the dollar signs in their eyes when I waddled in.
Of course post baby I had to do something about my weight gain and so in January of this year I joined Weight Watchers. Some of my friends (mostly the male ones) found this hilarious. I think they had visions of Fat Fighters, with a Marjorie Dawes type figure hurling abuse at dieters and encouraging them to eat dust, which couldn't be further from the truth. I did really well to start with (I managed to lose 3 stone in 5 months which I think is fairly impressive!) then foolishly allowed myself the entire Summer off and as a result gained 10 pounds back.
The reason for this blog entry is because after jumping back on the wagon six weeks ago and after three weeks of staying the same, yesterday I  F I N A L L Y broke the four stone loss barrier and am incredibly happy to declare that I am  F I N A L L Y back to my pre-baby weight, two weeks before Daisy's first birthday. And    I T  F E E L S  G O O D!!    Yes I know I'm showing off; I'm not even going to attempt to deny that I'm feeling incredibly proud of myself right now. But it has been a long time coming I tell you!
I have 13lbs left to go now til I get to my ideal weight. (I have a pair of tweed city shorts from Whistles that I WILL fit into again!) And I am a woman on a mission!
Good luck to all the rest of you yummy mummies losing the baby weight. You will all get there I promise  ♥

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Mini Shopaholic

Last weekend I felt the need to do some damage to the joint account.*

*The other half’s money goes in---- I spend it.

It had been ages since I’d treated myself to anything – in fact the last time I bought myself any new, non-maternity clothes was back in 2008. I was in the mood to buy jeans, boots, a winter coat, a couple of dresses perhaps. Lots of nice new Benefit and Stila make up definitely. A shopping spree was long overdue and I had a whole afternoon to enjoy myself and a bank account full of Himself’s wages to do it with.

So off Daisy and I went into town in the car; sun shining, windows down (would love to say roof down, but I drive a Citroen Picasso), music up loud, no traffic, parking space on ground floor level in the multi storey, no temper tantrums whilst putting madam in her pushchair (in fact no temper tantrums for the duration of our outing!) Everything was going right! This was definitely going to be a successful shopping trip.

Yeah right.

Seeing as it wasn’t my money I was spending I tried my favourite high street shops first – Whistles, French Connection, Boden, Office.


I then gave the old fail safes a go – Top Shop (am I too old for Top Shop now?), Gap, H&M.


In sheer desperation I tried Primark.


Even Boots was a big disappointment; no new products for the Saturday girls to attempt to sell me (I’m a sucker for a good sales pitch---- even from a 16 year old that looks like a satsuma wearing bright red lipstick and clumpy mascara).

In a filthy mood I headed back to the car park and on the way decided to nip into Baby Gap to get madam some tights.

I left with three jumper dresses, two long sleeve t-shirts, two short sleeve t-shirts (they were in the SALE so it would have been rude not to buy them) two pairs of leggings, a coat and a hat and gloves set. I forgot the tights.

I also popped into the Early Learning Centre with my Muller Little Stars 20% off voucher (due to expire this Sunday girls---- get spending!) and came away with a handful of books, an In the Night Garden Goodnight Iggle Piggle and an indoor trampoline on order (all for the impending big first birthday of course).

Why is it that when you have the time to go shopping and the money to spend you can never find anything for yourself? And how come my 11 month old daughter has a better wardrobe than me?

I am wearing a pair of maternity jeans again this evening. They’re too comfy to swap for lovely new skinnies anyway.

PS Today I finally treated myself to something. I bought “Mini Shopaholic” by Sophie Kinsella 
(on the joint account of course). Have been waiting for this for bloody ages, just hope I have 
the time to read it! Will let you know what I think once I’ve finished it x


Friday, 8 October 2010

Daisy's Birth Story

Me at 38+4 with my nephew Charlie ♥

Knowing that my little monkey is only a few weeks away from her very first birthday makes me feel so unbelievably emotional. I visited a friend and her 6 day old baby boy yesterday and, aside from making me feel ridiculously broody, it made me think back to this time last year. Last night I found myself reminiscing about my big fat belly and remembering how I felt in the last few weeks of my pregnancy. So I looked at my bump photos on the laptop. I laughed at how DESPERATE I was for a big, fat glass of pinot noir and a slab of Norbury blue. I logged onto the long since abandoned pregnancy website that I frequented for nine months. And I found this.... Daisy's birth story. Read on for a very soppy and hormonal account of my labour.*

* With a few gory bits thrown in for good measure - male readers beware!

Well ladies......... Daisy Elizabeth Kay is finally here! She was born at 9.58pm on 4 November 2009 weighing 7lbs 8oz!

As some of you know, I went to the Day Assessment Unit on Tuesday as she had been really quiet for a couple of days. They monitored me and although her heart beat was fine, she still wasn't moving about as much as she had been so they referred me for a growth scan straight away. This revealed that she was measuring large (44 weeks at 38+6! Eeeekk!) and that my amniotic fluid was on the low side, so when I spoke to the consultant afterwards he told me that he wanted baby to be delivered asap.

So I was admitted (I was completely in shock!) and was told that they would be inducing me, and if three attempts failed (pretty likely as an internal examination revealed that nothing was really happening 'down there'; my cervix was still long and completely closed) then bambino would be brought into the world by c-section.

As predicted, and after two long days and nights in hospital, all three inductions failed and so I started to prepare myself for my imminent c-sect. I was given one final internal to see whether I had started to dilate (in which case they could break my waters and put me on a synoticin drip to start the contractions off and let me give birth naturally) however my body was not behaving itself and said cervix was still firmly closed.

A couple of minutes later there was a massive *pop* inside my tummy; it felt like being flicked with an elastic band and made me jump out of my skin. I called the midwife because my tummy had started to cramp really severely. I told her that I had felt what I could only describe as something bursting and she asked whether my waters had gone; because I hadn't felt anything I said no. She went to get the doctor and the moment she left the ward there was a massive gush and I realised that my waters had broken! This was at 8.10pm on Wednesday night.

The contractions then started straight away - really agonizingly painful ones (I won't lie) two minutes apart. I was howling and, I have since been informed, inbetween contractions kept apologising to the other women on the ward and telling them that it didn't really hurt! I was examined again and within 20 minutes I had dilated 5cm.

By 9pm I was in lots of pain and was wheeled down to the labour ward and given gas and air. I remember having to roll myself from the trolley onto the bed. I was starting to get the urge to push and told the midwives this and they checked and I was fully dilated!

I can remember being told to push 'out of my bum' and that if I didn't make any noise (was mooing!!!!!) then baby would arrive quicker. Despite being completely and utterly off my face on gas and air (I was talking shite to everyone and full on hallucinating) I kept the noise down and pushed out of my bum as instructed. 40 minutes of pushing later out came Little Miss Daisy! She was delivered straight onto my tummy and let out a little whimper and I just fell in love with her straight away. She is absolutely beautiful, with huge dark eyes and lots of dark hair.

I delivered the placenta whilst the other half cuddled Daisy, and had to be stitched up as I tore a little bit, but it was bearable and I was amazed when I realised that I had only had a 1hr 38min labour from start to finish!

We came back home this morning and have been inundated with visitors all day long. I must have had about thirty cups of tea (and the same amount of slices of cake!) Daisy is asleep at the moment so thought would jump on the laptop and tell you all my news!

I am not going to go all Super Mum on you and pretend that labour is painless and that you forget all about it the moment it's over, but it is so, so, so worth it. I will agree with those that say it's an amazing experience - it really is. I am still in shock that this gorgeous baby girl was in my tummy only 4 days ago and that I made her!! I am so unbelievably proud of her, and of myself.

I can't wait to hear everybody else's birth announcements and stories, but in the meantime lots and lots of love to all you ladies, babies and bumps, from me and Daisy x x x x

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Sleepless nights

I am writing this in a sleep deprived haze. Even the quadruple shot skinny cappuccino I downed en route to work has had no effect today. My little ratbag was not on form last night and decided to wake up for mummy cuddles twice; first of all at midnight and then again at 2.00am, the latter wake-up lasting no less than T H R E E   H O U R S. I couldn't blame hunger, or a dirty nappy, or teething. The little madam just wanted to play. And despite my despair at being awake at 4.30am, knowing I would have to get up for work a couple of hours later, I couldn't help but stay awake to watch her wriggling around in my bed trying to get comfortable and sighing and talking to herself whilst doing so.

Its days like this I wish I was a Stay At Home Mum so that I could catch a cheeky half hour nap alongside Daisy at lunchtime. I only work three days a week and I have to confess that every now and again I actually quite look forward to putting on a suit and going to the office for 8 hours of adult conversation. I also get a lunch break, yes a W H O L E   H O U R to myself, where I get to eat an entire sandwich without my daughter looking up at me like a starving puppy, and I have the opportunity to do all my errands in relative peace and quiet, without a newly walking eleven month old desperately trying to get out of her buggy and cause havoc. 

Today, however, is not one of those pleasant, productive days. I have spent most of my working day looking in the direction of my computer screen through half closed eyes. My lunch hour was spent stumbling around the town centre forgetting to buy the birthday cards I am supposed to post out today and queuing up at the bank for twenty minutes to pay a bill I left at home. I am sure the clock has stopped a few times this afternoon. I am desperate to get home, even more so knowing that the other half is out tonight and I can go to bed straight after Daisy without having to make conversation with anyone and then sleep in a star shape by myself in a king size bed. 

I have a day off tomorrow and I am fairly positive madam will sleep well tonight. It's children's intuition to give their parents night time wake up calls when they have things to do and people to see the following day, isn't it? Daisy has a busy one tomorrow though - baby gym in the morning followed by lunch round Granny's and then an afternoon's shopping with Mum. Perhaps I should wake her up a few times tonight and see how she likes it?

PS Thanks to the very talented Lisa Edwards at Sock Monkey Junkies for Daisy's sock monkey (pictured). If anyone is interested in purchasing one, please have a look at her Facebook page here 
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