Snapshot #4 – Moving on

I’m aware that in my blogs – and via my word press name thingy – I may come across as though I don’t like my monsters. I do, I really do. I’d even go as far as to say I love them (and I don’t usually say that lightly).

Husband dearest has been getting ants in his pants and bees in his bonnet about the piles of stuff lying around the house. I like stuff. Stuff makes me feel at home and, provided the little sod doesn’t move it, I know where all my stuff is.

Anyway, tonight I agree to box up Monster Minor’s too-small clothes ready for storage. In spite of agreeing that we probably maybe won’t have any more children, I haven’t been able to part with much stuff. Vests, blankets, even muslins, are all gathering dust around the house.

Tonight I decided I needed to strap on a pair and man the fuck up. I armed myself with my ‘keep it’ box and a ‘charity’ box. I tried to see the charity as ‘paying it forward’, as we’ve had some good luck recently. But even knowing the good cause, the worthwhile purpose, I still got a sense of… I don’t know how to describe it, other than hmph.

I love my monsters, and they’re each at such a totally wonderful age. I can completely sit absorbed in their innocent brilliance for ages and wonder over what I did right to get such beautiful creatures (no bias there, then). But with each new stage that comes, I find myself almost mourning for what has been. I packed up the newborn clothes with tears – it was so hard to think I wouldn’t be dressing a teeny weeny one in them again. Does this make me incredibly sad and incredibly selfish? Sad because I can’t see it for what it is – my children are successfully growing up; it’s what they’re supposed to do. Selfish because so many others wouldn’t be so lucky as to have children, let alone healthy growing ones.

With each vest, bootee and hat I shoved into my charity box, my mind swelled with memories. I bought that top at Tesco with my dad, as we wanted Monster Major to look smart for his great grandparents. I changed him into those pyjamas at the hospital when we took him down convinced he wasn’t breathing properly (he was fine, just a bit sad).

At this point in my blog entry, I’m supposed to wrap it up with some moral conclusion. But I haven’t got one. I’m clearly not one of those mummy types you look to to validate your concerns over your parenting. However, if there are parents out there who find this as difficult as me – you’re not alone. I think it is ok to feel sad that your babes are growing – it doesn’t mean you don’t look forward to the people they become. It is ok to hang too much sentimental value on something realistically insignificant. I don’t know why it’s ok, but it must be. And if it’s wrong, I have a whole loft full of wrong!

This is quite an introspective, pointless blog. But I did feel it important to show that I’ve got a softer side as well as a potty mouth. And I’m aware that this entry contradicts elements of my previous. But I need to practise contradicting myself – how else will I infuriate the monsters when they’re teens!?

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An aside – Dickish things to say to mothers

Inspired by, dedicated to and somewhat stolen from – the Thursday Group. You are all amazing and are among the strongest people I’ll ever meet.

Pardon the profanities

1) Sleep when the baby sleeps.

Riiiiiiight. I fucking would if I could bloody put it down without it screaming like a bitch! Like, I can’t even sit down without it howling… you expect me to sleep!?

2) Enjoy the newborn cuddles – stolen from C.

No. You enjoy the newborn cuddles. Seriously here, take my child. Keep it. Now who’s laughing!?

3) Don’t forget to enjoy it, it goes so quickly.

Yeah. Sorry, that must have slipped my mind whilst I was trying to get this leech to latch onto my nipple correctly whilst in a rugby ball hold, using a pillow that said it made breastfeeding comfortable but actually won’t fit around my postpartum waist. 18 times a day.

4) It makes it all worthwhile when they smile at you.

Ok. How about I punch you in the face and then smile to make it worthwhile. Actually, yes. Please. That would make me feel so much better.

5) Don’t you just love that newborn scent?

Regurgitated milk and meconium. Ooh yum.

6) The night feeds are such a special time where it’s just the two of you.

The night feeds are an awful time where I fantasize about being DEAD.

7) This is the best age – they’re so easy now.

Fuck you.

8) *My personal, most memorable* Ooh, you’ve still got quite a bump haven’t you!

No words needed, this one speaks for itself. (Sorry, S.R., I had to include it.)

I love my children, really, I do. But I hate being told to love them and how to love them. I’ve got the greatest thing in the world, and I appreciate that so much. I’ll be forever grateful that I was given the opportunity to be a mother. But often sometimes, motherhood is shit. And I’d appreciate everyone taking a moment to consider that, before spinning a cliche to a sleep-deprived, tearful, hormonal mother who just needs you to take the baby whilst she showers for the first time that week.

 

Snapshot #3 – What I wish I could tell my younger self

As I sit here (topless because my post-baby flab retains too much heat), I am reminded of all the things I took for granted in my youth. That is, largely, before I became the mother of monsters, and, by definition, Mother Monster.

1) Get your legs out love! They’re so long and slim! More importantly, your thighs don’t yet touch so you don’t have any of that awful itching where it kind of looks like you could be scratching your lady garden.

2) Don’t panic that you don’t have boobs like the singers in girl bands! One day your boobs will be so bloody massive that they register on NASA’s radar – and it’s not hot. They’ll be used for one purpose only, and, lovie, it ain’t sexy, it’s milky. They’ll have travelled so far south that failing only the pencil test is the stuff of dreams – you could hold a whole fucking pencil case under those bad boys. And just to drive that point home – monster minor will attempt to latch on to your stomach, used to his dairy goodies being on that latitude. That’s right, love those B-cup lady lumps whilst you have them. (And whilst they’re not lactating.)

3) No one cares about your qualifications now. Once you’ve found a place within the rat race (or anywhere further than where you currently are), no one cares whether you got an A or B in GCSE Textiles (I was the latter – see previous post, Hobbies, for further proof). No one cares whether you pranced around a black-box theatre for your A-level Drama or whether you studied Chaucer for your Key Stage 2 SATs. It’s all about talking the talk and walking the walk. It’s about contacts and people in high places. It’s sometimes about what you wear and how you shake hands*. Yes, you may have to look good on paper too, but it’s not the bottom line. So please stop torturing yourself, agonizing over text books, and go get some sleep. Because one day, sleep will be as important to you as your F.R.I.E.N.D.S. boxset is now. And future you will thank you for understanding its value.

*or shag, if you want to be an actress.

4) Wear sun cream when on Fistral Beach, Newquay. Future you burns. Bitch.

5) Keep up regular dentist visits. Dentistry is expensive. Unless you’re having a baby, but that isn’t a contingency plan (trust me, we’ve tried). Whilst you may be a little squeamish, it’ll hurt a hell of a lot less than root canal pain at two in the morning, when there’s a ten month waiting list for the nearest NHS dentist.       Oh, and don’t be a dick; wear your bloody brace like the orthodontist says. Your wedding photos would have looked a hell of a lot better if you had.

6) Be a bit nicer to your parents. One day you’ll look back and think, ‘bloody hell, they must have really liked me; I wouldn’t do that for my kids!’ One day they’ll be older. One day you’ll realise they’re not immortal and they’re human. And that’s such a tough pill to swallow.

7) Respect your body and make sure others do too. ‘Nuff said.

8) Don’t just say stuff, do stuff. You won’t remember that conversation you had about how cool it’d be if you learned to surf, but you will remember feeling like you were going to drown when you fell off your surf board. As you get older, you’ll see people’s true values by their actions, not their words. Be a doer, not a sayer.

9) Slow down. It’s a cliche but it’s a cliche for a reason. Life passes you by, and before you know it, you’re slumming it in a nursing bra, waiting for your monster minor to wake for his first (of many) night feed. And yes, it’s fun , but no where near as much fun as you could be having now. * Husband dearest says this sounds like I don’t want my monsters – I do, they’re my world, but I wish I had appreciated my unmonstered world too.

10) Stop taking yourself so seriously and wishing others would. One day you’ll lust after a time when you didn’t have to be so grown up. Others will be serious and expect you to know your shit. And you have to pretend you know your shit. And most of the time you have no idea where the shitting hell your shit is meant to be. So enjoy having no one expecting you to have any shit together. ‘Cos one day my love, there will be shit everywhere. And boy, it’s stinky.

Edit – 11) After 2006, Britain will have crap summers.

Snapshot #2 – Hobbies

So, all good people have hobbies right? As in, those wholesome people who sew their own Cath Kidston or Liberty print aprons, grow their own mint to adorn their locally sourced lamb, or make beautiful little knick-knacks to bring character to their lovely, little (rather large), characterful homes. Well, I wanna be one. Not that I’m worshiping false idols, but seriously – I wish I was so together and so wholesome.

Soo… after monster major decided ‘no like choonah pata’ and didn’t eat a spot of dinner (little dick), whilst monster minor ate all of it, more besides, then threw up; after a bath time of monster major wailing “No no no no no like O**** (his brother)” whilst I furiously tried to put away some of the epic clothes mountain that had sat there for two weeks too long; after monster minor had reminded me of my bovine purposes and milked me dry… I decided to try to do wholesome.

I had a bit of sewing to complete for a group I’m part of. After spending too much time untangling embroidery threads, I stitched the word ‘shine’ and felt pretty pleased with myself. I had a hobby – I’m practically a fucking seamstress, I may as well have embroidered the Bayeux tapestry. I HAVE FOUND MY CALLING! WI make way for me!

I stitched another couple of bits, trying to ignore the pain searing down my neck and cursing myself for not finding myself a comfortable sewing position  – after all, once I join the wholesome, sewing, yummy mummies crew, they’ll introduce me to the perfect, ergonomic, ethically – sourced cotton sewing stool or something, right?

Then I lost the needle. I LOST THE FUCKING NEEDLE.

Ok, to you (amazingly wise, fortunate and good at contraception) childless folk, this may seem a mild irritation akin to scuffing nail polish or, at worse, stubbing your toe. To those with a toddler and an infuriatingly mobile baby – this is BAD news. Images race through my mind – of one of the little sods going blind by shoving it into their gunky little eye, or ingesting it whilst trying to eat a pink play-doh pancake and having their digestive tract shredded into a million pieces. I’d get in so much trouble. They’d kick me out of the wholesome, sewing yummy mummies crew! I’d never find out where to buy my perfect, ergonmic, ethically – sourced cotton sewing stool! NO WI!

After shoving my hand frantically down the cushions on the sofa and embedding all manner of crap (literally) under my nails, husband dearest came over to help. And, typically, located missing needle with minimal effort. Bloody shitbag.

Anyway, no one wants to read about one scummy mummy’s attempt to find a lost needle. The moral of the story, however, is this: I will never be a wholesome, Cath Kidston and Liberty fabric apron wearing, mint growing, lamb adorning, knick-knack making, false idol. I can’t even fucking use embroidery thread. I wish I could join the WI, but my attempt at jam includes so much creme de cassis, it’d intoxicate the entire congregation.

I can’t say I’m happy with the above, but at least my children’s gullets will stay in tact. And for that, monsters, you have your hobbieless mother to thank.