Monday, 28 June 2010

What are you afraid of?

I haven’t been tagged for a meme in quite a while, but last week, Yummy Mummy No1 got me for the ‘What are you afraid of’ meme. I’m told that the rule is you share your fear and then tag five more lovelies, who then have to share their fears too.

Now, being completely honest, I’m not usually that open about my fears. I’d much rather pretend that I don’t have any fears. Naturally, there are the usual suspects – death, or more accurately, pain in death, bad illnesses (me and my family), not being able to lose the baby weight second time around – you know the sort of thing. But, I don’t really think it would be quite in the spirit of things to cite one of those.

So, instead, let me reveal (briefly – I don’t want to bore you to death) one of my irrational fears. The sea.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love going to the beach and I can certainly handle splashing around in a swimming pool when the weather is warm. But actually swimming in the sea is a non-starter. I think it probably stems from my childhood. I’m absolutely blind – my current prescription is minus 14 – and I’ve worn spectacles all my life. Since I was 11, I’ve worn contact lenses, but when I was smaller, I had glasses, and obviously, I couldn’t take those when I ventured down to the sea shore with my brother and sister. They thought it was hilarious that I couldn’t see them, so, despite my parents telling them to ‘look after me’ (embarrassing enough, since I am the eldest) they used to run away from me and then leave me to find my way back to my parents. Which I rarely succeeded in – usually my mum or dad had to come and rescue me.

In an attempt to overcome my problem, I used to memorise what my mum’s swimming costume looked like without wearing my glasses, and then try and find that when the lovely siblings ran away. This plan did not go so well when I started talking to a complete stranger, just because she had the same costume as my mum. After that, I just decided that it was much easier to stay on the sunbed, rather than go in the sea at all.

Of course, nowadays, it should be a completely different story. I have daily disposable contact lenses – so if the worst should happen, and they came out in the sea – I’d just be able to get out a new pair. But somehow I just can’t enjoy being in the sea, no matter how hard I try. I’m even worse on small boats or pedalos – I still rigidly, clinging on for dear life and just wait for the moment I can step on dry land. I know that I’m going to have to suffer through various traumas when the kids get older and want to do these sorts of activities on family holidays. And maybe this will help me finally overcome my fear. But I think it’s far more likely that my children will pick up where my siblings left off...

I've recently discovered some great new blogs, and I'd like to find out what they are afraid of (apologies if you've already had this meme - I did try to check but forgive me if I missed it):

The Moiderer
Purple Ramblings
Frog in the Field
20something Mum

Friday, 25 June 2010

Friday Fashion Fix

I am loving the sales right now, despite being pregnant - I put myself on a very strict rule of not buying any new clothes until the baby is born. So, I have to stick to shoes. Now, I know that it's blisteringly hot outside, and I should probably be coveting flip flops, but And these beauties, from Hobbs, are just the job for the forward planner. And for pregnant women that can no longer balance on 5inch heels.

Reduced from £159 to £99.

By the way, my scan on Wednesday was inconclusive - so it's back to St. Thomas' later today for round two. Will update as soon as I have news.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

It's not as easy as I'd thought...

Tomorrow is my 20 week scan for Baby Martini 2. And I’m really looking forward to it. In fact, all things being well, it’s the milestone I’ve been waiting for since I got pregnant. But I’ve also been thinking back over the past five months (ish) and almost visibly shake my head at my total naivety going into this pregnancy.

I didn’t expect it to be easy. I thought I might be a bit tired. But, with Baby Martini settled happily at nursery and everything back to normal at work, I thought it would pretty much be a breeze. People do it all the time, right? It can’t be that hard.

Well, I can tell you that (for me at least) it bloody well has been. And it’s not exactly going to get any easier either. Obviously, I know how lucky we are – it would appear that you only have to blow on me and I’ll conceive (Mr. Martini is still lamenting the fact that we didn’t have months of ‘trying’) and, so far at least, we’ve had a healthy and straight-forward pregnancy. But, oh my God, I was not prepared for the absolute exhaustion. It’s crippling. And now I’m getting bigger, it’s getting harder to do things like carry the pushchair up the stairs. Or carry my son at all – he’s getting bigger literally by the second. Or, in fact, carry my bag to work.

And, to make matters worse, this time, I know what’s coming. There’s no doubt that I’ve taken this pregnancy a lot more seriously. Last time, I spent most the nine months pretending I wasn’t pregnant and when I finally admitted I was, I spent the remainder of the time demonstrating how it wouldn’t change me in the slightest. (Oh yes, those were the days.)

This time, not even consciously, I’ve been a lot more sensible – and I’m fairly sure it’s because I want to make sure that number two is as perfect as can be. But, I still know that: yes, it really is possible to get even bigger, the brief indigestion I’m having now will turn into a full blown 24/7 heartburn that stops me from eating, sleeping through the night is now a thing of the past, I won’t be able to go anywhere without knowing where the nearest loo is and I’m generally going to be very uncomfortable until the bundle of joy is born. Let me assure you that, in this instance, it is much better not to know what’s coming your way.

Let me be clear – I cannot wait to meet my new baby – and I love him very much already (I bet you a pound to a penny it’s a boy, by the way). I don’t regret getting pregnant in any way. But I’m ready to admit that it’s been much more difficult than I anticipated. Perhaps, when the time comes, I’ll be much more prepared for number three? Hmmm. Probably not. But, it would appear, that’s how Mother Nature works.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Just a simple get-together - or maybe not

I know that I’m a bit of an organising freak. I admit it – and quite often, I’m (secretly) quite proud of it. But every so often, I reach my limit and decide I’ve had enough. The last week has been one of those times.

I have various groups of friends I’ve acquired over the years – friends from school, different work places, and most recently ‘baby friends’ (as Mr. Martini calls them). I realised that with one particular group of friends, I only saw them when I organised a get-together. So I made the decision to wait for one of them to arrange the next night out. Two and a half years later, I’m still waiting. So, not that good a group of friends then.

Going back to the baby friends, since I went back to work much earlier than the rest of the group, I decided to organise a reunion. I sent a group email and we all agreed a date. And then, the ‘suggestions’ started rolling in. “Can we go to a different place that’s more convenient for xxx?” Fair enough. “Can we change the time so it’s easier?” Okay. Irritating, but will do. “Can we invite some other people too?” I tell you what, why don’t you organise something, and then you can do it however you like. Maybe it makes me sound mean, but to be honest, now I’m just left wondering if it wouldn’t have been easier to leave it in the first place...

Follow my blog with bloglovin

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Friday Fashion Fix

The sales are in full force right now - and even if you're five months pregnant, there are still many bargains to be had:

A great dress from Mamas and Papas - a snip at £22

If the sun comes back, this top from Blooming Marvellous is worth snapping up - £17

And if it doesn't, this jumper from ASOS will keep you warm - £22

You can never go wrong with Isabella Oliver - ever - and this dress is the best bargain yet at £28.50 - a massive 70% off!

Finally, nursing bras are always more practical than pretty, but this one does the job whilst looking at least half way decent - £26

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Breast is best, but it's not the only answer

Yummy Mummy No1 has written a brilliant post (read it here) on breast feeding and I felt compelled to write one of my own. Even before I had my first child, I was increasingly irritated by the constant barrage of literature (and nagging from midwives, I might add) about breast milk being the 'only' option for your baby. And this was before I started NCT. But I'll save that for another time, or we'll be here all week.

Yes, in an ideal world, all mothers would be whipping out their tits at every available opportunity, feeding their babies whenever the need arose. But the simple fact is, it's not that simple. And making people feel bad about it isn't going to help the baby or the child. Some myths include:

1. It's completely natural.
No, it's not. Our NCT teacher actually told us that "if your baby was born in the wild, they would come out of the birthing canal, crawl up the mother's body and latch on naturally." What utter crap. First off, a new born baby can't move, and second, latching on naturally is a fairytale. Yes, some people take to it more easily than others - but many people find it hard, and they should know that in advance, so they have time to prepare. Making out it's natural just makes people that can't do it instantly feel inadequate.

2. It can be done anywhere.
Yes, after practice at home or somewhere else quiet. No one tells you that when you see women out shopping whacking their children on their boob as soon as they start crying (the child, not the mother. We have vodka for that) that they've been doing it for a while. They did not leave hospital yesterday and the baby now knows what to do. It takes practice.

3. You don't need any help.
This is my favourite. The breastapo tell you that you must breastfeed your child come what may. Years ago, women stayed in hospital for a week after childbirth and had ample support from nurses to get the knack of breastfeeding. Now, you're kicked out in a matter of hours(which, by the way, suits me - I'd much rather be at home). If you have any problems breastfeeding, you're told to go to your nearest breastfeeding cafe. Brilliant. Your body has just been through a traumatic ordeal and then you have to get on a bus, or in your car, and then sit with a group of people you don't know and let them examine you attempt to breastfeed. And let me tell you, you do not feel like travelling three days after giving birth. Money saving? Probably. But a good idea? Absolutely not.

I'm with Yummy Mummy No1. Obviously, if you can breast feed then it is best for the baby. But not breast feeding him doesn't make you a bad mother. My theory is, if you can do it, great, and if you can't, it's not the end of the world. Take the whole thing with a pinch of salt. And remember that in ten years time, the advice will probably be completely different anyway.

I should just caveat this post with the information that I live in central London. My experiences are purely based on the services in my area. If you have more support in your area - lucky you!

Friday, 11 June 2010

Come on England

"Remember that you are an Englishman, and have consequently won first prize in the lottery of life." Cecil Rhodes

Generally, I am not a huge lover of football. My whole family are huge Arsenal fans - in fact, my parents have season tickets - but I've always been more of a rugby girl. And, in more recent years, I've become quite the cricket fan - mainly because The Husband has a sneaking suspicion he actually should have been a professional cricketer, and consequently watches every match that is played globally. If you can't beat them, join them. But that's another story.

But I have to admit that World Cup fever is winning me over. At work, there are two sweepstakes running (I drew Greece - so that entry was a total waste) and friends that I didn't even know watched sport are holding parties tomorrow night. I felt compelled to buy an England t-shirt (supersized, naturally) and have even bought Baby H a football shirt so he can join in the fun. Worse, I bought some bunting and flags at the same time - which I'll be putting up in the house tonight. I did, however, draw the line at those flags for the car. Who ever came up with that bright idea should be shot. There are limits, you know.

I vaguely remember the last world cup, where strangers spoke on the street and cheered with each other, for the brief period of time we thought we might actually have a chance. My prediction this year is that we'll make it to the semi-final and then gracefully bow out (or, to some others, lose) but there are others who are far more optimistic than me. Only time will tell. As for me, well, if England don't make it, there's always Greece...

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

It's all for charity

It's taken a couple of days, but I'm now ready to share my tale of woe.

As you may already know, I'm pregnant and growing at a rate of knots. Over the past month, I have been conscientiously sorting my 'normal' clothes and packing them for storage. I completed this task just before H and I decamped from the house last Wednesday, as the house was being completely rewired. We didn't come back until Sunday evening.

D was excellent throughout the process - he went back to the house everyday to help the electrician - moving furniture, lifting floorboards and generally ensuring everything was in order. To his credit, when we got home on Sunday night, the place was immaculate. And then I noticed that all my packed clothes were gone. "Amazing," I said. "You didn't mention you'd also been to the storage unit - what a great job!". D looked completely blank. "I haven't been to the unit," he replied.

"So, where's my whole wardrobe gone? Did you move it to another room? I can't see it..."

At this point, D starts to go a funny colour. "The bag that was just there?" He gesticulates at the now vacant area. "That wasn't for the charity shop?"

"Ha ha. Very funny. So you took it to the storage unit?" I replied, still smiling, because I'm assuming its a joke.

It was not. He'd very helpfully taken the bag to the charity shop on Thursday morning. Naturally, when we went back to the charity shop on Monday morning, the manager remembered him. "Oh yes," he says cheerfully. "There was loads of great stuff in there. We made sure we had it all out for first thing Saturday morning - it's our busiest day."

To be fair, as he realised what had happened, he tried not to look so happy. From a whole wardrobe that included (but is in no way limited to) six pairs of Seven For All Mankind jeans (yes, I wore them all), several Thomas Pink shirts, several Hilditch and Key shirts, a Joseph suit, more tops, skirts and dresses from Banana Republic and Hobbs than I could ever count (I admit it - I buy them - they are good for work), various Armani, Anne Fontaine, John Smedley, Amanda Wakely, Diane Von Furstenberg, D & G and Superdry items and my favourite Vera Wang dress I managed to salvage the following:

- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 Anne Fontaine top
- 1 Hilditch and Key shirt
- 1 pair of pyjamas
- 1 t-shirt

And that is it. Literally. The charity shop must have cleaned up. Although I was very disappointed to see my Hilditch and Key shirt hanging next to one from Primark, both labelled at the same price. (£2.50 by the way. Don't they cost that new in Primark?) It was very upsetting.

Come November, when I naturally bounce right back into shape and lose all my baby weight instantly, I will have absolutely no clothes. I will be naked. Or still in maternity clothes, which is just marginally worse. Of course, plans are abound for some serious shopping once baby two is born. And I am doing my best to remain philosophical about the whole affair - after all, he didn't mean to give all my clothes away, and I probably will only miss about a third of the stuff - but there is no doubt in my mind that when I spot someone at the bus stop in my shirt, it's going to be difficult not to attack them.

If you're interested, by the way, all the clothes went to Sense - so even if I'm naked, hopefully it's made a difference somewhere.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Dream a little dream

This pregnancy, my dreams are definitely very vivid. I can't remember if that was true first time round, but this time I wake up and almost think I'm still in the dream. This was especially disturbing this morning, because last night I dreamt I was in prison. I appreciate that I can sometimes be too direct when I speak to people, but in my dream, I was put in prison for being rude to someone. I won't bore you with the finer details, but I was locked up for 12 weeks - so when I woke up this morning, I thought I had to cancel some summer plans. My husband thinks I'm going mad.

The one person who should be locked up, though, is the person in the UK responsible for our Eurovision entry. WHAT ON EARTH WERE THEY THINKING? Last? I ask you. Especially after the complete rubbish I saw on Saturday night. Seriously, it's an embarrassment. Yes, I know it's all a bit of a joke but to be beaten by some drunken teenager from Germany is not acceptable. And no, this isn't an opportunity to reintroduce Andrew Lloyd Webber to the mix. That didn't exactly turn out well last time. Let's either get someone decent in, or pull out all together. This half in, half not bothering attitude is making us look bad.
By the way, when did we start doing telephone votes for Eurovision? That didn't happen in my day...