Adapting to Sleep Deprivation

As Mini approaches her 2nd birthday, I’ve been pondering upon the all-consuming topic of infant sleep. Or, to be more accurate, non-sleep. It’s a topic that many a new mum will find themselves obsessing over, trawling the internet in tears at 3am for ‘sleep cures’ that don’t exist and veering wildly between implementing a military Gina Ford style routine or embracing a go-with-the-flow co-sleeping way of life.

Mini is not a great sleeper. Her night-waking habits were quite random in her first year of life, but from the age of about 1 she has at least had the decency to be consistently shit at sleeping. She sleeps through about once every few months, which rather than being enjoyable and refreshing is always rather unsettling as I either spend the entire night lying awake wondering why she hasn’t woken up, or wake up in the morning in a blind panic convinced that she has been abducted. If you’re anything like me, you may also convince yourself that you unwittingly did something miraculous the day before that must’ve contributed to this epic event and set about PRECISELY reenacting the previous day’s activities to achieve sleeping through once again. I once clung desperately onto the belief that Mini eating a certain number of peas for dinner combined with a slightly later bedtime of 7.03pm was the reason she slept through the night and tried to administer exactly 17 peas into her gob the following evening. It didn’t work. But that gives you some idea as to the levels of crazy a sleep-deprived mother can become accustomed to.

Sleep deprivation quite simply is the single most fucked up thing about having a baby. For me personally, the process of adapting to this New Way of Life has been a long and arduous one with many obstacles. And whilst I am now used to being up anywhere from 2 to 5 times a night, and my body has adapted by ageing 10 years in the last 2 and becoming morbidly obese with imminent threat of heart attack, the mere thought of another child makes my fanny quiver in fear and PCF’s balls retract instantly into his bum-hole (I’m aware that this is probably not medically correct, but for the sake of illustrating one’s point, I’m sure you catch my drift).

You can just never be prepared for this aspect of parenting. Ok yeah we’ve all been on a bender and stayed up until 4am… but not for 2 years in a fucking row. Pregnancy sort of prepares you for the impending sleep deprivation and general loss of your faculties to a certain extent. At the later stage it’s obviously impossible to sleep with an almost fully grown human being inside you, poking around your insides and kicking you in the spleen whenever a bit of foetal-acrobatics takes their fancy. And as someone who already needs to pee alarmingly often even under normal circumstances, I pretty much just spent the last trimester sleeping on the toilet and pissing continuously. I’m sure I could’ve powered some sort of energy turbine with my jet streams.

Aside from the sleep disturbances, you also go intermittently insane from all of those pesky mind-altering hormones that are swirling around your brain. Poor old PCF had to suffer through my unpredictable mental breakdowns on a fairly regular basis. On one occasion, as we were tucking into a curry something about the way in which PCF was nibbling on his naan bread struck me as the most hilarious thing I had ever seen in my entire, adult life. I was gripped by uncontrollable and inexplicable hysteria and just couldn’t stop laughing. I’m fairly certain I came close to suffocation on numerous occasions, but I needn’t have worried as soon enough the laughter abruptly turned into strangled sobs.

At this point PCF has stopped chewing and is peering over his naan bread at me with a perplexed, amused and fearful expression on his face.

PCF: “I really don’t understand what is happening here”

ME: *sobs now punctuated with maniacal laughter* I DON’T KNOOWWWWW!!!! *sobbity laugh*.. MAYBE WE SHOULD CALL AN AMBULANCE?!?!?

Quite rightly, he hid in the kitchen for the rest of the evening while I continued to lie on the sofa laughing and crying sporadically for no reason whatsoever. Even now, I have a little chuckle to myself when I think about The Naan Bread Incident. Aaaah, pregnancy. Such a magical time!

But despite these periods of lunacy, we all know that pregnancy is the easy part. The relative calm before the storm. And soon you will be in the throes of chaos.

The first stage in the Adapting to Sleep Deprivation Process is, of course:

SHOCK

The sort of shock you would experience should you receive an unexpected fly-kick to the jugular by an innocent looking pensioner who was trundling down the street. It’s all a bit:

wtf

You previously lived as a normal human who slept for as many hours in a row as your little heart desired without having to wake up regularly to administer milk to a tiny but extremely frightening blob. Initial contact with blob is sort of wonderfully surreal because you’ve probably been in labour for days, may be somewhat off your nut on a variety of drugs and you are undoubtedly very, very tired. Have you noticed how women rarely give birth at a nice, civilised time like 1pm? I’ts always some ungodly hour! Mini landed on Planet Earth at 3.46am precisely. Which was about my 3rd night in a row of no sleep as she had spent the previous two days and nights doing an Irish jig in the womb in preparation for her dramatic entry into the world.

So you’ve got extreme exhaustion combined with whatever hideous birth-giving aftermath you were left to deal with, which in my case was fanny-obliteration and a total loss of leg function on account of the epidural (don’t fucking judge me, one did attempt to ‘breathe through the contraction envisaging golden light passing through my womb ‘ but I was too busy DYING and shitting myself to pull that off successfully). All in all a pretty bizarre situation. You are already exhausted to your very core before you’ve even begun the hard part! Mother nature really is a bit of a piss-taker isn’t she?

From the vague scraps that I am able to salvage from my memory, the first 2-3 months were just a continuation of this shock. Jesus. If I thought I was emotional while pregnant, post-natal Sophie was a whole different ball game of loopy! I wondered around somewhat gingerly like a comatose penguin – and cried on a daily if not hourly basis. Over everything. Running out of cornflakes. Not being able to find my shoe. An advert about washing liquid. It was all VERY upsetting.

Mini slept beside me in the moses basket but I’d wake up EVERY night without fail in a blind panic, wildly patting the bed convinced that I had fallen asleep with her and she had now been usurped into the duvet. Sleep deprivation at this delicate stage is quite the mind-fuck and it’s a bit like being on a pretty bad hallucinogenic trip for a few months. Who needs acid when you could just have a baby?

Then something weird happened around the 3 month mark. Mini started to sleep rather well! Which of course lulls you into the short-lived:

False Sense of Security

Around this time, Mini fell into a lovely routine and started going to bed at 7ish and staying asleep for hours at a time. Often until about 2 or 3am. It was absolute bliss and I foolishly thought to myself ‘Well that wasn’t so bad! Maybe I’m one of those lucky ones with a good sleeper’ (hahahaha.. please excuse me while I piss my pants with laughter). Little did I know this was just a cruel form of trickery on her part and wasn’t to last for more than about a month. As of course you are now about to encounter a never-ending series of sleep regressions, developmental leaps, teething episodes, snot episodes, puking episodes and just general bollocks for the next 2 years.

No sooner than the period of blissful sleep has begun does it come to an abrupt and bitter end. The Four Month Sleep Regression is looming and you’re in for a rude awakening (pun intended). Suddenly, your baby just will not sleep. Even the act of putting them in their cot becomes a fretful 2 hour process of picking up, putting down, pacing, rocking, lowering incrementally, then trying to remove your arm from under the baby without awakening the beast. Should you succeed in actually getting them into the cot, you are now faced with Phase 2: trying to leave the room. After months of honing, you develop the ability to almost float soundlessly out of the room like a silent ninja. A really fat, silent ninja.

You often find yourself trapped under your sleeping baby, but you daren’t move as it took 3 hours of diagonal lunging whilst singing ‘Could it be Magic’ (the Take That version) to achieve. At some point during these Sleeping Baby Hostage Situations you will find yourself needing the loo – and so briefly consider shitting yourself rather than waking them up. Then you locate the last remaining scrap of your dignity, and conclude that rather than soil yourself – you can simply take the sleeping baby to the toilet with you. Needs must!

Denial

It’s around this time that you are likely to start going full throttle with the research and find yourself completely overwhelmed by the vast array of conflicting advice and information on the subject. Over the course of the next few months you will implement all sorts of bizarre practices in an effort to get your child to sleep better, as you are of course convinced that this current living hell is just a ‘blip’. And so begins the long and ridiculous period of DENIAL.

I had a stack of baby books that I would dip in and out of, in addition to the entire Internet… and looking back I honestly wish I hadn’t bothered! But at the time, it felt necessary to try and ‘solve’ this problem.

According to one of my many books, babies prefer to be swung rapidly from side to side rather than rocked back and forth as it mimicks the motion of the womb. Lots of stuff is about mimicking the womb. So you try to create a womb-like environment. I read that the room needs to be pitch black (like the womb) so I become consumed with trying to eliminate each and every shard of light slicing through her room like sleep-repelling beacons. I’m frantically and unsuccessfully trying to suction the bastard gro-blind to the window and become like a woman possessed, screaming “WHY WON’T IT STICK?!? WHY, LORD, WWHHYYYYYY??”.

The womb is apparently also very noisy, so we introduce white noise – but there’s also pink noise, brown noise, violet noise, waves, crashing waves, wind, rain, light rain, wind AND rain.. etc etc etc. I try to google ‘what type of white noise sounds most like the womb’ and become even more confused. I briefly consider purchasing someone’s womb and wrapping her in it like a fajita, and google ‘is it possible to buy a womb’. You do google quite a lot of weird shit during this time, let me tell ya! (and it turns out that you can, in fact, buy a womb – as per image below).

 womb

Unsurprisingly, none of these measures make much difference to Mini’s sleep habits.

You abandon operation Recreate Giant Womb.

As Mini got older. I became aware that sleep training was a popular and seemingly successful method of regaining one’s sanity. When implementing sleep training, it is absolutely imperative that you put your baby down in their cot ‘drowsy but awake’ (hideously annoying phrase number 1). We’ve all read this. Many times. The thought of it filled me with terror to be honest as I had always strictly adhered to putting her down ‘completely unconscious’ – but at the time 7 months of sleep-deprivation felt like a lifetime (laughable, I know) and I was desperate. So Mini was placed in her cot ‘drowsy but awake’ and visited at 2 minute intervals. She wasn’t particularly impressed by this new bedtime routine and made it known by projectile vomiting in my face on a couple of occasions. Cleaning puke out of one’s ear in the small hours didn’t seem like progress to be perfectly honest, and it was pretty clear I had a child that probably wasn’t going to respond well to this method.

You abandon sleep-training.

Back to the baby books! The importance of napping is now becoming more apparent. Perhaps if she NAPPED better in the day she would sleep better at night! Because apparently ‘sleep breeds sleep’ (hideously annoying phrase number 2). The thing with naps is that you do have to implement them at exactly the right time, harnessing precisely the correct amount of sleepiness. Not sleepy enough? You’re in for a pretty stressful 2 hours of trying to coerce a wide-eyed and increasingly energetic baby to sleep. Too sleepy? Well you’re totally fucked. Don’t even bother. An overtired baby is a demon-posessed baby. The books also stipulate that as your child gets older they should start to have a longer afternoon nap of about 2 hours. Oh! Brilliant! She should be having a two hour nap! Why did no fucker tell me this? Yes please – sign me up for the two hour nap! *SARCASTIC EYE ROLL*

If however your baby hasn’t read the baby books and doesn’t just naturally sleep for 2 hours of their own accord, you should be prepared to almost kill yourself trying to ensure that they do. If they wake up after 45 minutes, spend the next 7 hours trying to get them back to sleep AT ANY COST!! If you don’t’ achieve this you have failed completely in your role as a mother and should probably throw yourself into a river.

On account of the importance of naps and the endless efforts you put into ensuring they take place at 3-hourly intervals to avoid the much-feared onset of overtiredness, you take on the persona of a wild animal – a rabid wildebeast if you will – should anything or anyone disturb the fucking nap. You will find yourself fully prepared to ruthlessly murder the postman should he dare to knock on the door too vigorously ever again. And you inform him of this with a look of barely-concealed rage on your face when you fling open the door with your no-longer-sleeping baby on your hip. You thrust the baby at the postman while shrieking at him: “YOU MEAN TO TELL ME, THIS FUCKING PARCEL IS NOT EVEN FOR ME???!!”.

This whole nap thing is actually starting to push you to the brink.

You give up on the 2 hour nap.

You read about and give co-sleeping a go. Which I’m sure is great if you possess the ability to actually sleep with what is the equivalent of a giant wild ferret. For me personally, as a light and restless sleeper with incessant peeing-requirements, this was a special kind of hell on earth and resulted in even less sleep than usual. Trying to actually drift into unconsciousness with a small thrashing, moaning, farting creature beside me just wasn’t working out, so we gave up on that too.

Someone suggests you feed your child something like a potato before bed. She only has about 4 teeth, but you briefly consider the possibility of handing her a whole potato after bath time and seeing how she gets on. Then there’s the vast array of ‘night time’ or ‘hungry baby’ milks available on the market – with pictures of blissfully sleeping babies on the box suggesting that this magical elixir will be the answer to all of your prayers. You mix up a bottle of it and find that your child unsurprisingly struggles to suck it’s cement-like consistency through a teat. Instead I hand her a banana and she proceeds to whacks me over the head with it as if to say “Mother, PLEASE. Don’t PATRONISE me. Do you really think this banana is going to achieve anything other than you having to clean up regurgitated banana? Get a grip you silly bint”.

You abandon cement-milk and other associated food items.

I meet up with one of my friends who has a similarly dreadful sleeper and she shows me an article about placing a fake hand on your baby’s back to trick them into thinking you are in the room, and thus sleeping through the night. However, our little ones are not in fact dim enough to fall for such an unsophisticated ruse as they are approaching Toddlerhood and are in possession of functioning eyes and brains. We consider other possibilities – perhaps we could buy life-sized inflatable dolls and place them BESIDE the babies!! We decide against googling this and Operation Inflatable Mummy is abandoned before it’s even had a chance to fail.

Anger

The list of things to try was rapidly dwindling before my very eyes and I was getting angry! I had to express my anger and rage about the injustice of it all – so I took to Netmums. And Mumsnet. And Facebook. And the Sainsbury’s cashier. And pretty much anyone who would listen.

One of the most infuriating things about posting for help on social media for advice is the following scenario –

You write a long post about your terrible sleeper and someone, and there’s always one, replies with something along the lines of:

“Oh poor you. Semolina (or some other stupid fucking name) slept through the night from 12 weeks old so we’ve been VERY lucky. She did once wake up for 4 minutes at 3am on a Thursday in July which was really very tough – but we managed to power through this difficult time and she’s been an absolute ANGEL ever since. Have you tried sleep training / white noise / a potato before bed?”

You private message Semolina’s mum saying “If I ever see you in the street I WILL CUT YOU!!!”.

And of course every other mum you ever encounter informs you how wonderfully well their child sleeps. 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night and a 3 hour afternoon nap is apparently the norm. Sure. In fact some of them appear to be asleep for about 20 out of every 24 hours. I react very maturely by saying something like:

“Have you considered the possibility that your child may be narcoleptic? Yeah.. I hear there’s a new strain of air-bourne narcolepsy going around the nurseries. You better get him checked out asap”

Eventually you get the anger out of your system, hopefully without murdering anyone and consigning yourself to a lifetime in prison, and move on to the final phase of the process….

Grief and Acceptance

So Mini is well over a year old by now, and after trying all of the above plus a few more that I probably can’t recall – I finally just do what I should’ve done at the beginning. I give up. I find a way of getting just enough sleep to remain compos mentis which is by putting a mattress on Mini’s bedroom floor next to her bed and sleeping there from her first waking. I’m told that “you’re making a rod for your back” (the ULTIMATE hideously annoying phrase of all time) and my response is.. “Oh, really? No shit. My arsehole has in fact been impaled on this rod you speak of since my child was born. The rod ain’t going anywhere! So I’ve decided to become at one with the rod. Now kindly fuck off”.

My first mistake was thinking there was a problem to fix in the first place. Though you would be forgiven for doing so, as everything you read suggests that most babies ‘are capable of’ or ‘should be’ sleeping through the night by about 6 months. Personally I know very few people who have experienced this. I do however know a hell of a lot of people who have toddlers that are up through the night. And for some bizarre reason, nobody really sits you down and tells you the truth! Instead they say things like ‘oh she’ll probably sleep through when she goes onto solids / stops drinking milk at night / starts crawling / starts walking / starts going to play groups’, and so on and so forth. Well, I’m here to put a stop to these filthy lies!! Yes. Some people do get lucky on the sleep front. It does happen. But a fairly large proportion of kids DO NOT SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT FOR AT LEAST A COUPLE OF YEARS. And that’s ok! Well it’s not ok… its total dogshit. But it doesn’t mean that you are a crappy, failure of a mum. It just means you have a normal child. And if you can find a way to live with it, and laugh about it, then you’re doing great.

As I approach the 2 year mark, I have pretty much stopped noticing it. I no longer make any attempt to get Mini to sleep through and just live in hope that she will sort her shit out one day and leave me the fuck alone. But as it stands – she currently likes to recite animal noises to her mummy at 3am and who am I to stand in the way of these important nocturnal chats?

I’m sure it will all be fine in the end! But don’t take my word for it.. I’m not an expert, and I have a rubbish sleeper, after all 😉

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The Fight Against Toddlerism

Greetings blog followers!

I hope you’re well! Firstly, I really must thank you all for the totally unexpected but wonderful response to my first post. I was pretty touched and overwhelmed by all the love and support I received and it’s great to know that we’re all in the same boat when it comes to bodily fluids and sleep deprivation! Misery does love company after all 😉

Unfortunately, ever since my ‘rise to fame’ Mini Marley has been decidedly enraged for reasons unbeknownst! So I thought this would be an appropriate time to talk more about The Fight Against Toddlerism.

Now that I am responsible for a toddler, I look back on those comparably relaxed newborn days through rose tinted spectacles. Hindsight is indeed a wonderful thing! At the time, I was genuinely HORRIFIED to have been catapaulted into motherhood. I mean, don’t get me wrong. Its not like I didn’t know I was having a baby. She didn’t just unexpectedly shoot out of my vagina one evening while I was watching TOWIE. But it really doesn’t matter how many books you read or netmums threads you peruse in an effort to be ‘prepared’, it will always be a total, fucking, shock.

As a self-confessed control-freak, I found myself angsting over the tiniest of details and wanting everything to be perfect. I remember one occasion when Mini was just a few weeks old – we decided to cut her nails with a pair of those tiny little nail clippers in an effort to prevent her from gauging out her own eyes. I realise now that this is a bit like trying to wipe your arse with a cotton bud and is a a totally ludicrous idea but at the time it seemed completely necessary. Prince Cock Face was attempting to do the honours, his hands trembling under the sheer magnitude of the task, and then, of course, disaster struck! He managed to cut a teeny tiny piece of her skin off and there was BLOOD (yes, I admit it was probably a miniscule amount of blood but it was still BLOOD)!! Well, ALL HELL broke loose let me tell you. Mini was shrieking her tiny little face off, we were screaming at each other, I was crying, it was pandemonium! I phoned my mum and blubbed something vaguely comprehensible about how we’d dismembered her finger and there was FUCKING BLOOD EVERYWHERE!! Approximately 30 seconds later she was attending the scene of the massacre (she lives next door, btw, she doesn’t have a teleportation device) with a first aid kit and a panic stricken look on her face. She then surveyed the ‘injury’, looked at me and PCF with complete contempt and said.. “Oh for fucks sake. Is that it?!”.

Luckily you do start to gain a bit of perspective as time goes on. Anyway…. I digress (I do that a lot).

Today is one of those days whereby I feel a bit like I am engaging in a constant stream of bizarre negotiations with a very angry and irrational midget. It’s days like this that I find myself saying things like “Ok. You can have the tampon back if you get off the windowsill!”. Tampons being her current weapon of choice. And you’d think having a tampon-wielding toddler charging through Sainsburys would embarrass me wouldn’t you? But no. I no longer possess the ability to be embarrassed. When your child has a weekly meltdown on aisle 3 clutching some sort of poultry that she insists you ‘open’ you kind of have to get over yourself, sharpish. And whilst I usually endeavour to choose the path of least resistance, I do feel I must draw the line at gnawing on the flesh of a raw chicken in the middle of Sainsbos.

NOTHING is pleasing Mini Marley at this present time. When asked what she wanted for breakfast, she replied ‘eggy’. When eggy was produced, she screamed blue murder, threw herself at my feet and beat her chubby little fists against the floor. Apparently ‘eggy’ actually meant ‘porridge’. Porridge was then presented in the pre-approved bowl, but her majesty appeared dissatisfied with it’s consistency and rejected it after 3 spoonfuls. So in the end she had a lump of cheese and appeared to be very pleased with herself.

When it comes to your average Toddlerist, God help you if you ever produce a food item in an unfamiliar form! PCF often attempts to ‘help’ with food prep only to find me hovering an inch behind him, breathing angrily down his neck and constantly reprimanding him for doing it wrong.

Example 1

‘Why are you frying her egg in butter?!? Noooooo!!! It has to be in olive oil!! Oh god, look, the fucking edges are getting crispy!! She doesn’t like it crispy! And no she doesn’t eat the bloody yolk! Just the whites. Fuck sake *clutches head dramatically*. Now the yokes and the whites have become intertwined! Just piss off and let me do it’

Example 2

‘What is that? You cut her toast into fingers?! She only eats triangular toast!! And look! The butter isn’t melted INTO the actual bread. She’s not going to eat this shit! What is wrong with you?’

Example 3

‘HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU THE CHEESE NEEDS TO BE CUBED AND THE CUCUMBER NEEDS TO BE CUT INTO SKINLESS HALF MOONS!! STICKS!?! You give her STICKS?!? Are we barbarians?!’

Poor bloke. He’s probably going to kill me in my sleep.

Of all the utterly pointless baby classes that are currently in existence, it has occurred to me that there may well be a gap in the market for Toddler Anger Management. Perhaps they could lie down on little cushions and talk to a nice lady about the inexplicable rage that inanimate objects frequently appear to induce.

“Well donkey… can I call you donkey? Sometimes mummy just REFUSES to give me a lump of cheese for breakfast and tries to fob me off with eggs or a bowl of that lumpy shit. Honestly. If she would just cooperate I wouldn’t have to kick her in the tit so often”.

Fair play, Mini. Fair play.

During these ridiculous negotiations, somewhere in the back of my mind I am shaking my head at myself for being so incredibly pussy-whipped by such a small human child. I was never going to be one of those parents you see. The saying, ‘people without children know everything about parenting’ makes a lot of sense to me now. Once upon a time, I too knew everything.

Before I actually dealt with the realities of motherhood, I would look at my harassed mummy-friends with something probably bordering pity accompanied by an ongoing inner monologue that went something along the lines of:

Oh, that poor cow. She’s been playing Hide the Banana in the Same Fucking Place with her 2 year old for 45 minutes! Honestly, I’ll never be so indulgent if I ever have a child. And my kid will totally sleep through the night because I just won’t tolerate all of this night-waking shit. I’ll whip them into shape in no time. I’m no-nonsense, me. My child will be fully cooperative and disciplined by about 6 months of age I should think. I certainly won’t BRIBE them with crisps or cakes or juice as they will probably adhere to a very strict, organic, vegan diet. Though I will consider the possibility of a singular chocolate button on a quarterly basis. And they certainly won’t be allowed to watch Cbeebies for 17 hours a day. Parents these days just have no back-bone. Bless her. She’s got a raisin stuck to her face too. I wonder if I should say something?

 

Well, former-childless-self. I’d just like to inform you that you do all of the above and then some, you monumental dickweasel.

I’m sure you have probably gathered by now from the overall tone of my blog that I don’t support a particular type of parenting. And by that I simply mean that I support you doing whatever it is that works for you and your family. If that means allowing your 3 year old to sleep on your face from 2am onwards each night, you crack on (though I do recommend you allow for at least one airway to remain unblocked). If you breastfeed your 6 year old, that’s entirely your choice and I’m totally on board. If you did sleep-training and it worked out for you, congratulations. If you allow your child to run shrieking through the garden naked every morning at sunrise, that’s awesome. If bedtime is at 5pm, or 10pm or doesn’t exist at all, I giveth not one a fuck. As long as everyone is healthy, happy (or at least not suicidal) and loved, I’m a fan. I am honestly too busy being tired and covered in snot to expend any of my precious little energy on being judgmental. So perhaps it’s not entirely true to say I don’t support a particular style of parenting and would be more accurate to say I support them all. With the exception of being a Judgmental Twat.

 no-fucks-were-given-that-day_o_181655

And that brings entry numero dos to a close, as Mini is currently running around chanting ‘Pisps! Podge! Cake!’ which must mean it’s dinner time, so I am about venture fearfully into the kitchen and attempt to concoct a dinner that will fulfill a vast array of unpredictable and ever-changing requirements……..

I wonder if there’s any cheese left?

Introducing… Mini Marley & Me!

Before I launch into my first tirade of lunacy, I shall tell you a little bit more about The Marleys.

Prince Cock Face and I met 10 years ago when we struck up our romance in the work place. There was a lot of post-work drinking and frolicking during this time (as you do when you’re 20 and barely responsible for yourself let alone anyone else) and we discovered after one particularly boozy evening that we not only got the same bus, got off at the same bus-stop but that we also lived a road away from each other. As such, more drinking ensued back at his place, interspersed with a bit of awkward flirting. He then charmingly walked me home (though I’m sure it was more of a stagger at this point!) and I gave him a statue of a chicken from my parents garden, and that pretty much appeared to seal the deal! He was smitten. Who can resist the unbridled sexiness of a chicken statue, afterall?! PCF then spent the next 7 years trying to avoid having to marry me – but eventually in April 2012 he caved in to societal pressure and popped the question on our 7 year anniversary celebration. In a beer garden. We then proceeded to invite all of our friends down to celebrate this momentous, historic event by getting completely shit-faced. And to this day it remains one of my fondest memories 😉

Having waited so long for The Proposal, I decided that I really couldn’t be arsed with a long engagement of any sort, so we got hitched 6 months later in September 2012 and it was a truly wonderful day! wedding

Aaaw. Aren’t we cute? Mini says ‘Cuggle!’ when she sees this 🙂

Approximately 3 days post-wedding during our mini-moon in Benidorm we threw contraceptive caution to the wind (mainly for a laugh more than anything else) and our offspring was created. Don’t worry, I really won’t be elaborating any further on this other than to say that this is how our precious little lady came to be. As I was convinced we were having a boy it was our intention to name her Ben in honour of the location of conception – but she ended up being born without a penis so we had to scrap that idea!

Prior to the birth of Godzilla (as she is sometimes affectionately known) I led a fairly unremarkable life working in an office, having a few beverages on a Friday, sleeping in on weekends, eating / drinking / shitting at my own discretion and conversing with PCF without constant interruptions. All of which are now of course distant memories of a carefree life gone by.

I won’t start at the beginning of my journey into motherhood. Mainly because I’ve been so sleep deprived the entire time I can’t fucking remember it. Instead I shall simply regale you with a few of my observations over the last 21 months on being a stay at home mum.

So first let’s talk about:
(The Demise of) Personal Hygiene
  • You only realise that you haven’t washed in a very long time when you wake up one morning and quite unexpectedly find yourself asphyxiating from a toxic odour that appears to be emanating from your own arsehole. This has happened to me frequently since the birth of my child, who helpfully entered the world during the sweltering summer of 2013. There really is nothing better than having to sweat profusely through the entire newborn fog. The complete and utter shock of suddenly becoming a parent is simply enhanced by being really fucking hot the entire time. I highly recommend it.

  • It’s no longer that big of a deal when you get a bit of poo on your finger. This is a gradual process of course as initially, it is a very big frigging deal and goes something like this: “What is that? Oh my god.. *realisation dawns* OH MY GOD.. *gags dramatically*. Is that SHIT??! There is fucking SHIT on my fucking finger!!!!! It’s actual shit!! Jesus Christ get me a wipe!! Get me some bleach! Fuck it, just get me a knife and i’ll cut the fucker off!!!”. This is of course eventually replaced with a mere shrug and the addition of snot, puke and piss alongside the presence of human faecal matter taking permanent residence somewhere on your person.

  • You eat food that your child has already chewed and spat out. I like to think of it as a kind of pre-chewing service. I’m not sure if this is a cultural thing, being of Italian and West Indian descent whereby the wasting of food is on par with puppy slaying, but nonetheless I often find myself absent-mindedly eating a partially chewed cheese cube or a regurgitated slice of cucumber. This being one of the many contributing factors to my exponential arse expansion. Nothing to do with the donuts and quite frankly I REALLY RESENT THE IMPLICATION!!

  • You quite literally piss yourself on a fairly regular basis. This is a direct result of the decimation of what was once your vagina through the ‘miracle of childbirth’. I never really understood the significance of the pelvic floor prior to this particular life experience, but it becomes a part and parcel of daily life to feel that familiar trickle every time you cough, sneeze or laugh a tad too vigorously. I strongly advise that you get cracking with the fanny clenching, girls! As its decidedly uncool to be incontinent at 30. You don’t see Kim Kardashian pissing down her PVC get-ups do you?? No. You do not.

kimk

See? There she is. Not pissing. And looking a bit like a very shapely cumberland sausage.

Next on the agenda is:

Personal Space… (or lack thereof)

  • Taking a shit on your own is considered ‘me-time’. Yes. The act of defecating without a small human chattering at your feet, pulling on your knickers and trying to assist you in the wiping of your own arse is in fact quite the treat! When PCF is home and on daddy duty, I find myself gleefully announcing to him that “I’m going for a poo!”, and off I trot to bask on my solitary throne.

  • The Space Invader doesn’t stop at having to be involved just with poopy time of course. They generally have to be glued to your face during every waking moment. Mini Marley has a particular talent for trying to be so close to me it sometimes appears as if she is actually attempting to claw her way back inside my vagina. Which would be a pretty impressive achievement given her healthy stature! And don’t for one second think that you will be able to cook dinner without encountering a series of near death experiences. No darling, you can’t climb into the oven / stick your face in the pan / drink the bleach / juggle the knives / spear yourself in the eyeball with a fork, and so on and so forth. Be a dear and go and watch Mr Tumble for the 7 billionth time today, would you? This incessant usurping of one’s soul doesn’t stop at bedtime (well not for me anyway) as the Night Shift often involves my being curled up in the foetal position of Mini’s bedroom floor stroking her hair with one hand, patting her bum with the other, and rubbing her back in an anti-clockwise circular motion with my foot. These being the optimum sleep-inducing requirements. Which brings me conveniently onto my next subject…

Being TIRED

  • Although ‘tired’ isn’t really an adequate term, is it? Back in my pre-baby existence, I frequently used to moan about being tired. I look back on this now with such incredulous amusement that I would love nothing more than to travel back in time to tell my childless, clueless self that ‘You have NO. FUCKING. IDEA. what being tired is, dickhead, NO IDEA!!’. And then punch myself in the face just for emphasis.

  • You sometimes fantasise about being in a serious but non-fatal accident which would result in a hospital stay and thus the rare opportunity to sleep THROUGH THE NIGHT. However, should you actually encounter the freak opportunity to sleep for more than 5 consecutive hours your body enters into a state of convulsive shock, a bit like anaphylaxis, and you end up feeling like utter shit. Yes, that is correct. You are now allergic to a normal, human amount of sleep.


  • As a direct result of this heinous and prolonged sleep deprivation, you eventually lose your mind and have no idea what day it is, how old you are, why you walked into the bedroom, where your bag/keys/shoes are or why there is a sock in the fridge. You will constantly lose your phone and your jacket and please be prepared to purchase 3,000 sippy cups over the course of a year. Tommee Tippee will never go out of business. But as long as you don’t lose your actual child, you’re doing really well 🙂 Give yourself a pat on the puke-stained back, ladies!

And on that note – I really must tear myself away from the laptop as Mini Marley has awoken from her 17 minute siesta and is currently shouting “Muuuuummm! Muuuummm! Bee!! Gog!! Titty!!” (That’s bee, dog, kitty to you and me) and I feel duty bound to go and inspect her room for domestic animals.

Until the next time…. TTFN!  

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