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Does Prince George poo in the bath?

I bet he does. Gold-plated neat little poos.

I am only pondering matters of such high intellect as it has been a particularly glamorous day chez nous.

Minor issues have included two doses of internal nasal serration, thanks to H’s razor blade nails and my apparent neglect in not spotting they are in fact lethal weapons. She also crawled off the bed as I was brushing my teeth this morning, causing many tears (hers) and much guilt (mine).

Another incident of near concussive proportions occurred earlier at dinner time when J hid under the table, and not having learned his lesson once in whacking his head on the table top, did it again for good measure. Lots more tears and me enjoying rare hugs. (I know, it is rather sad).

At a christening earlier, we thought J had wandered out of the hall and onto the road. Cue slightly frenetic searching before I thought it a good idea to quiz the child next to whom J had been sitting. ‘Have you seen that young boy with red hair who was sitting next to you a moment ago?’. ‘He’s here’, came the reply. And up popped J, who had moved to the floor to idly stop the blood circulating to and from his right index finger with about 240 loom bands.

However, one of my most glam parental moments came this afternoon when H would not settle. Tried feeding on both sides, shushing etc., and gave up. She was not going to sleep. So, playtime I thought. I picked her up and she thought that this was her ideal moment to bring up about a gallon of half digested breastmilk. All over the pillow, my dress, my hair and (great shot) straight into my left ear.

Not to be outdone, her brother thought this evening that it would be a good idea to save on the cost of a nappy by pooing in the bath he was sharing with his sister. He had complained of a sore tummy at dinner which I had put down to trapped wind. I was relieved to observe him expelling some of that wind in the bath, and praised myself on my maternal intuition from earlier. That praise soon turned to suspicion when J went uncharacteristically still and quiet. And yes, it was necessary for full scale evacuation – although the Fisher Price whale almost didn’t make it, and may yet need treatment for a water-borne disease, or just a bit of general beaching (as opposed to General Beeching).

Anyway, I digress. So,  I thought ‘I wonder if Kate Middleton (as was) has these moments?’.

Of course she does.

But I bet she wouldn’t go to bed with festering vomit in her hair from several hours earlier. Nor would I, of course.

Perish the thought…

 

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Parents can’t win…

I am fast learning that parenting is just one big guilt trip.Even when pregnant, women are made to feel guilty for behaving in a certain way, consuming certain foods, for taking (or not taking) medication. (Although I have always rather assumed that the French and Italians stick up their respective fingers to the ‘no cheese’, ‘no coffee’ restrictions).

When it comes to birth, if you choose a hospital, you are told that you are not doing your baby any favours in terms of intervention risks and harsh environment. Choose a homebirth and you are told that you are risking your baby’s life, and your own.

If you formula feed, you are made to feel like you are feeding your baby liquid nitrogen. If you breastfeed, you are told you are doing it too much, too little, and in the wrong way.

Sleeping arrangements? Put them in a cot and you are depriving them of the natural warmth and comfort of their mother. Put them in bed with you and you are going to crush them in your sleep. Or, if they survive against the odds, they will still be in your bed when they are 46.

Use a dummy and you make your child look ugly, delay their speech and give them an emotional attachment to an inanimate object. Don’t use a dummy and you are glared at in public as your child cries and you cry internally as someone judges you again.

Put your child in a nursery and you are guilt-ridden on many levels, as someone else spends more awake time with your child than you do. Don’t put your child in a nursery and people helpfully tell you that your child will become an anti-social hermit and miss out on all the educational and fun things at nursery.

Well, we have had a hospital birth (not through choice), a homebirth (through choice), and both children have been breastfed for as long as they wished (no.2 still going at almost 8mths). No dummies, no nurseries (apart from recently with our eldest, to help his other mum do some work at home, which has not gone down well at all with him). We have also co-slept and our eldest went into his own bed by choice at 13mths. The youngest has yet to spend a night in a cot or moses basket and possibly never will.

I have just spent my first night away from H. I feel awful about it. I needed to work today a long way from home and the only feasible train to get me there this morning on time would have meant getting up at 03:50.
So, she has not been breastfed for 30 hours, and I am writing this on the train home, with a sandwich bag full of lots of expressed milk, each bag expressed with a heavy and guilt-ridden heart.

It was all the more compounded when J told me he loved me for the first time. Last night, I rang, spoke to him and told him I loved him very much. ‘I love you very much as well’. And he was 200 miles too far away to hug and kiss. The best I could do was some mummy kisses down the phone.

The rational part of me says that I have to work, that I am the main breadwinner, and that if I don’t, they will be worse off. The rational part of me says that H has had the benefit of snuggling with me every night for nearly eight months, and this was just one night. That she has been breastfed every day (which technically hasn’t changed, as she was fed first thing yesterday morning and will be fed when I get home later tonight). Yet still I felt bad. And I really miss them. I nearly watched CBeebies on the hotel TV this morning, just to feel more at home.

Earlier on, J wanted to call me. His other mum phoned me, passed him the phone and walked off. He spoke very briefly to say hello and told me he was watching television. And then he just stayed on the phone, not saying anything, continuing to watch TV. The soppy part of me thinks he just wanted me there in some capacity or other, and the end of the phone would have to do. In reality, whatever was on CBeebies was more engaging than I was.

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Mumsnet Guest Post

A few days after starting my blog, I was very honoured to be asked to write a guest post for Mumsnet.

At the dawn of the new school year, when all parents of children starting school, playgroup etc. are a little anxious, I was asked to write about the additional concerns a gay parent may have.

With J starting playgroup this week, I considered my thoughts and feelings and wrote the post, which can be found here…

http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/guest_posts/2174388-Guest-post-Starting-pre-School-will-my-son-be-treated-differently-for-having-two-mums?msgid=49276079

I hope you like it.

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Breadpants blockage.

Today marked one of my more awkward highlights on this happy journey of motherhood.

A few days ago, our washing machine decided to cease all drainage function. Lady S dutifully rang Panasonic and arranged for an engineer to come out under the warranty, before bemoaning the quality of washing machines nowadays, how her last one had survived 17 generations and nine world wars and what was the world coming to when you could only have a washing machine for nine months before its sudden death.

She tested my knowledge of consumer legislation as I negotiated the M62 and bemoaned how disgraceful it was that an engineer couldn’t come out for five days, given we had a baby and a toddler. I think she thought she was ringing the AA – although they might have taken five days too.

Anyway, she managed to be cheery with the chap who arrived today, even though he was a bit late.

He fished various items from our filter – small coins, a Red Nose Day pin badge, bits of Lego, and general detritus.

Still there was a problem.

He delved deeper as only a Properly Qualified Washing Machine Engineer can. We left him to it.

Lady S took the tiddlers for a short drive to induce sleep – 50% success.

She arrived back to find that the engineer had solved the problem and retrieved a mystery item.

‘I don’t know what this is’, he said. ‘I’ve never seen one of these before’.

He held aloft what our son would endearingly call ‘one of Mummy’s breadpants’.

My attempt to be environmentally friendly by buying washable breastpads had slightly backfired.

Still, it was a first (and probably a last) for the lovely engineer, who is probably lying down in a darkened room somewhere.

As more breadpants whirl around our beautifully functioning washing machine, at least one of life’s great mysteries has been solved – washing machines really do eat things.

 

Tweet Twoo

I think I have a Twitter account.

@oneoftwomums

I have absolutely no idea what I am doing and fear that the martians will now come and get me.

I have tweeted into a big black hole of cyber nothingness.

I have a purple picture of an egg next to my name. All very pagan, but appropriate for my twitter name. The picture may change, if I can work out how on earth to change it.

People seem to ‘follow’ each other. It all seems a bit stalkery.

If you would like to follow me, please do – but don’t pull my hair or throw sticky weed at me, or I may just cross the road.

I am also a hypocrite, as I said I would never have a Twitter account. I think it may be a bad idea – it is so spooky that just by registering my account and clicking ‘next’, I was faced with certain grim faces from the past, presumably because they are associated with my email address and the aliens at Twitter Towers know this and wanted to give me a fright and make me feel a bit ill.

Am off now, with Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act singing ‘I will follow Him’ in my head.

 

 

 

 

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I am not a feminist. Am I?

We have recently returned from our annual trip to the Edinburgh Book Festival. 

One of the speakers was Melissa Benn, who has recently published an interesting book called ‘What Should We Tell Our Daughters?’. A link to the talk can be found on my blog, assuming I managed to do something technical and do it well. I shall resist all coy feminine self-deprecation relating to the masculine world of The Computer.

Anyway, the whole thing got me thinking. Which I guess was the idea behind my attendance.

Am I a feminist?

I have never really thought of myself as one.

And what is a feminist anyway?

Yes, I believe in equal opportunities for women and girls vis-a-vis men and boys, but don’t most people? Would all those with the same belief describe themselves as feminists, or is there more to it?

According to the audience reaction to my rather inarticulate question towards the end of the talk, I am a feminist. I just don’t feel like one. I think the crux is this – I do not feel worthy of the title.

To me, feminists have campaigned, striven and fought for equal opportunitues. I have done not a jot for my fellow women. I have not thrown myself in front of a horse, or campaigned outside parliament. The closest I have come is writing to my MP when I was discriminated against in a mortgage application by virtue of my womb. When the MP, and in turn the Minister for Women (I think that was her title), got the wrong end of the stick, did I pursue it? No. I shrugged my shoulders and couldn’t be bothered. That is not a feminist.

Oh, and I was the ‘Women’s Officer’ on my FE college’s student council. I am pleased to report that nobody came to me with any specific difficulty but I probably put the role on my CV nonetheless.

I believe in equal opportunities for gay people. If I am defined as a feminist by virtue of my belief for equal opportunities for men and women, how am I so defined for a similar belief in relation to gay people? As far as I am aware, there isn’t a word. Homoist? I am not a gay activist. That is one step further along, and that is where I am at with ‘feminist’. I am undeserving of the title. I have written 30,000 words on why the Church of England should accept same-sex marriage but haven’t sent it to the Church of England. Peter Tatchell would  have Uhu-ed it to the windows of Church House (Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3AZ, if anyone else can be bothered).

Is it time we ditched ‘feminist’ and just accepted that there should be equal opportunities for men and women, boys and girls, and that those who think otherwise are missing a chromosome or two? Same goes for issues concerning race and sexuality.

The feminist label is unhelpful. It gives something a very political agenda, which can be frightening and off-putting for many due to the negative stereotypes surrounding the words ‘feminist’ and ‘feminism’. 

Perhaps sadly, in the same way that a heterosexual is the best advocate for equality regardless of sexuality, a man is currently best placed to advocate for equality regardless of gender. Simply because there is less agender (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Those striving are banging the drums to weary ears and fresh voices are needed.

It isn’t about the stereotypes, it’s about common sense. And common sense is equality of opportunity.

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Sorry Spider…

It’s official. My 2.5yr training programme to get my son to like spiders has failed. 

When he was about three months old, we bought him Sidney. Sidney was a soft toy spider who was greatly reduced because despite his jolly primary colours and boingy noise when dangled, he was still decidedly spider. He was certainly not fun to have hanging from the roof of the car, which we decided to try once in the name of social experimentation.

Just typing the word ‘spider’ makes me feel a bit uneasy.

Since buying Sidney and playfully jostling him so he no longer boings, I have done everything possible to train my son to love all things arachnid.

(writing ‘arachnid’ just as bad as ‘spider’)

Most recently, I made lots of exciting noises about visiting the section of the Natural History Museum that contained lots of our eight-legged friends (bit easier to write). I thought I was very convincing. Fortunately, it was closing time and we didn’t actually have time to see any of ‘them’.

Fast-forward to 15mins ago.

My partner spotted what was essentially a tarantula (but worse) on our lounge wall. 

This was greeted with shrieks from my toddler and cries of ‘SPIDER!!!!’ And ‘GET IT!!!!’.

It was then that I realised my master plan had failed.

I was pleased that he (my son that is, not the spider, who might have been a lady spider for all we knew) elected my partner to ‘get it ‘ when I democratically gave him a choice of captor. 

Being of such gargantuan proportions, there was no way those eight legs would fit under ANY receptacle and we therefore knew we would have no choice.

There would have to be murder in the house.

Not an attractive lesson for my son, nor an attractive moral proposition for my pseudo-vegetarian self. But we had no choice. It was self-defence. 

And it was then that I realised that whilst Mission:Get a Trained and Humane Spider Catcher in the House had unequivocally failed, we had succeeded in another way.

As my partner went towards Sidney’s friend (easiest of all to write), my son said ‘Sorry spider’.

Unmoved, my partner continued in her death quest (accompanied by a lot of un-murderer-like squealing) and the hoover consumed a tickly meal. 

However, this death has not been in vain. My partner has done some hoovering. Just to make really sure that this particular Incey Wincey will most definitely not be climbing back up the hoover spout.

Mr Maker, Justin Fletcher et al, mind your manners!

I confess that this topic is not my idea, but that of my partner. 

I somehow manage to go into another mental universe when CBeebies (the BBC channel for very young children) is on and find myself with the attention span of a spaniel. I struggle to sit and watch and absorb the ‘plots’ – rather, I lose the plot.

However, my partner is different. She hangs on Mr Tumble’s every word and observe’s Mr Maker’s every instruction at Minute Make Time. And therein lies her issue. Often, she finds, words are missing. Important words.

‘Put that in the bucket’.

‘Can you move over there?’.

Would it hurt to add ‘please’?

We have both noticed that many parents also lack basic manners when speaking to their children, so it is hardly surprising that many children do not say please and thank you.

Recently, I watched with a warm glow as a hotel waiter helped a child of about 8 to select various items for breakfast. He displayed kindness and patience and it was lovely to see. The child did not utter a word and certainly not ‘thank you’. And no, this child had no trouble speaking as we heard him. Quite a lot. 

Perhaps we are old-fashioned, but we have taught our toddler ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ from the beginning and it is lovely to see him now using them in social situations. It often draws positive comment, to the point that I am wondering if the words will become obsolete, as it seems so unusual for a two-year-old to say thank you and goodbye to a shop assistant, for example.

To us, manners are important. It is surprising that the BBC doesn’t seem to think so. But with the influence that children’s programmes have, it would be nice for the old-fashioned among us if the programmes taught their viewers some manners as, regrettably, the viewers’ parents may not bother.