Monday, 25 May 2015

My daughter's first gay pride

I've been on Pride marches before, and felt the heady glow of walking with people 'like me', full of courage, bravado and, yes, pride. But on Saturday I experienced this anew. I walked with my daughter.  Granted, she slept for most of it, but walking through the streets of my city with friends and thousands of others, with an estimated 75,000 looking on, it was very different. 

Maybe it was because it was the first march I've done in the era of social media, where it seemed that 75,000 smart phones were trained on us, as though the streets were some kind of red carpet. I think mistly though it was because the pride I was feeling was about my daughter - I wanted everyone to know that this was my little girl, and not only was I proud to be gay, but I was proud to be her mother. To be both of those things publicly still feels a little radical, and on Saturday it felt wonderful. 

My lovely girl enjoyed the bits of the parade she was awake for, waving at everyone, especially the drag queens and half naked men. 

Hurrah for Pride! 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

20 months later...

Our lovely girl is now 20 months old, and we have been through all sorts of remarkable developments in recent times:

Moving from a cot to a bed - and consequently re-doing sleep training :/
Moving from a high chair to a tiny chair - because she kept climbing out and walking off
Counting from one to ten - not necessarily the right order
Learning colours - but sometimes insisting everything is lellow
Saying no to everything
Hurling herself on the floor and screaming - while I tiptoe away to make a cup of tea
Demanding toast for tea and then looking affronted when we suggest she actually sits down and eats it...

Yes, it's true. We now have a toddler. And I love it!

Having a baby is lovely, but a toddler is so much more fun, if messier (yes, that is possible).

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Poo-mageddon and other adventures...

So, everyone talks about nappies when they have a baby. Indeed, me and my fellow mums now have an agreed system for classifying these disgusting abominations...

1. Poo-nado. This can also be referred to as a 'neck toucher' but in reality any nappy that causes you to wonder how the offending stuff got *there*.

2. Poo-nami. This is where a small tidal wave has engulfed the whole nappy and potentially started to seep out of the sides. 

3. Poo-mageddon. This is the moment where you realise you may not get out alive and consider cordonning your child off until he/she is three. 

4. Poo-tastrophy. One of those moments where you genuinely consider buying a new carpet rather than clearing up the mess. 

5. Poo-pocalypse. That's it. The only solution is to sell the house (at a hugely reduced price of course) and find somewhere else to live. 

Friday, 8 August 2014

11 months on and she's all grown up...

...well not quite. But my little girl can now sit up, crawl around, walk along holding onto furniture, eat pretty much what we eat, destroy things at will and is beginning to say words. 

It's been a while since I posted about M sleeping through back in June and I think that's the single change that has made me feel like I can really do this parenting thing! My status as 'other mother' feels less and less relevant - she's my girl and I'm hers. 

There are a few things that have become special to me and M, like watching TV together side by side on the sofa, laughing while getting dry after a bath and bedtime stories and much more. 

It's odd to think that she won't be a baby much longer. 

You know you are a middle-classed parent when...

It's been a while since I posted, but I couldn't resist compiling this little list...

1) You are well versed in arguments for and against baby-led weaning.

2) You become concerned your child may eat only hummous for the rest of their life. 

3) You spend approximately 50% of your life washing cloth nappies. 

4) You become well versed in the mechanics of the 'poo spoon'.

5) You pretend that you will never take your child to McDonalds. 

6) You try all the 'no cry' sleep solutions before resorting to letting the child cry a bit (but never call it controlled cryng).

7) Your child becomes well known in your local independent coffee shop. 

8) You dread well meaning people trying to feed your child sugary inappropriate food. 

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Momentous news!

Earlier this week R and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary, which was lovely. You can see M here approving of our festivities! But, this post is not about that. It is about something more important than marriage...'s about sleep. 

If you have children of your own you will know that for at least the first year all parents talk about is sleep, or the lack thereof. We've had our own fair share of challenges. M is nine months old tomorrow, and has been waking up every two hours, or even every hour, for a feed from R. And it has been taking its toll. Everything is harder without sleep - the other night R asked me to change the batteries in one of M's toys. It had been a very busy day, following a vey disturbed night. She may as well have asked me to run a marathon. It felt like a gargantuan task. And that's just me. R has it far worse than that. 

So we needed to make a change. After a long discussion, reading lots of (naturally conflicting) online advice, and a chat to the health visitor, we felt we had to allow M to have some independence. We needed to teach her to settle herself to sleep, we had to stop rocking/feeding her to sleep. But how?

On Wednesday we started. Instead of feeding her to sleep, we made sure she was in her cot *before* she went to sleep. I took the first shift. The commitment was that we wouldn't leave her alone to cry. But equally we wouldn't get her out of the cot if she was upset. She screamed, writhed and generally complained for 40 minutes. I sat in the corne of her room so she knew I was there. It was tough. I had to stop myself from picking her up, which was really counter-intuitive. I verbally reassured her a few times and, finally, when I thought that things couldn't get any worse, she dropped off. I was stunned. Ok it had taken 40 minutes. But she had settled herself. This process was repeated several times through the night, and it's safe to say that both me and R were wrung out by the morning. We soent some time trying to reassure ourselves we were doing the right thing. 

On Thursday, with some trepidation, I put M to bed, using the same approach. I settled in for a long sit down, and indeed R had left me some earplugs. But then something exaordinary happened. She moaned for five minutes, and then fell asleep. When R and I awoke at 7am the next morning, we realised that she had actually *slept through*! Yes, the holy grail of child rearing. I couldn't be more thrilled if someone doubled my salary!

Isn't everything so much better with sleep?! What's even better is her napping is better and her general mood is better soon. I'm sure we're not totally out of the woods yet, and she still has a few sleep-related curve balls to throw us, but it feels good to think we're heading in the right direction. 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

She looks just like you...

At seven months old now, M is absolutely adorable. She can sit up on her own, smile, giggle, babble, pick things up, drop them and generally chew anything she can get her mouth round. We are slowly beginning to get an idea of the child we will get to know over the next few years. 

Recently I took her into work for the first time. R was with me too, so it was a great chance for the people I work with to meet them both. Everyone knows about my daughter and that R gave birth to her, which is why the following exchange made me smile:

Colleague: Oh she's beautiful. I can see you in her R, but not you yet S, I'm sure we will though...
[no trace of irony]

Me: oh thanks. Well, yes, I see a lot of R in her too.

Bless my colleague, she seemed to be in blissful ignorance of the biological dimension to having a child. It was actually rather sweet, and reminded me that people have no doubts that I am M's Mama.

Conversely, in character, my mum thinks she resembles me uncannily. She is noisy and chatty and very good natured. Apparently I was exactly the same. It's really nice to think that, in spite of the lack of a genetic connection, she is taking after me already!