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Sunday, 30 January 2011

Before or after? That is the question!

So, the other day, I was in my house, in my usual state. My eldest, at 3, was teaching the youngest, at 18 months, to darn, my partner was putting up shelves and sorting socks and making sure that the house was running smoothly, and I was whiling away the time with thoughts of puppies and the new Good Housekeeping chocolate fudge, marshmallow and minus calories muffin that I was about to bake. When low and behold, the other half got down on one knee and asked if I was available to put down said Good Housekeeping recipe and get married some time in 2012...? I duly obliged with the recipe book and accepted the ring... that eventually turned up once darning fingers had been quelled, shelves had been returned to flat and cupcake creases had been pressed and ironed and returned to something worth competing about. You'll understand that none of this is true, apart from the proposal, it just seems that people might imagine it this way?

My husband to be and I have been through A LOT. The children, the separation, the christenings with massive family divides, births, deaths, friends and relations and we're here, possibly at every one's true relationship beginning. But does that make sense? Should you buy before you try? Should you have children after you've "sealed the deal"? Surely the deal becomes more shaky after you've had the children? Thus making it less binary?

I know that the fact that I have been proposed to means a lot to me, because we, as individuals have been through divorce (not in courts and not legitimately) but because we have GENUINELY hated each other. We've had children, two lovely children, and hated the living daylights out of each other.

There are people who've never been on a date, there are people who've never stopped being on a date, there are those in, out and amongst those who have done something and nothing of the sort. But how many have had children and then got married? I think about this, I know a few and I remember that when I was young the very notion made me shudder.

I however have, thankfully, fallen into a category that means that I can comment, THANK GOD! The man that I am marrying has had 2 children with me, therefore, he knows that I am satanic, that I don't want to have sex when he wants it, that we have done something better than that, that our girls are here to do better than us, that we've been through the very hardest, worstest, most hideous journey of them all (speaking relatively, I cannot presume that our relationship's worst is everybodies worst, comparably!). We've done it, we're on the other side and that which may or may not come, will be the very best that we have to offer. Either that or we'll ACTUALLY be divorced and this will mean nothing!!

So, therefore, I ask. Do you get married before or after children? When children change everything that you know do you get married then have them or have them and get married?

Also, can I just quickly say, congratulations to Esther, who reads this ridiculous musing, and has had a happy and sound baby to add to her brood. Good luck, congratulations and may you get to sleep full nights as soon as is humanly possible. Keep us up to speed!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Ill children.

This has got to be quick and to the point as I have an ill child. A child who has had a temperature of 102.2 today.

It's a very sobering thing when you're child is ill with a temperature. Teething and ear ache and ailments are easily Calpoled and forgotten, but a temperature means something very different. I have a friend whose son is regulalry soaring in the hudreds with his temperature and has had fits and god knows what else because of it, and she says she's so used to it now it doesn't phase her. It phases me. I want my daughter to get back to normal. I carry around this horrible feeling of panic and "what if"... NHS Direct have been great as has the Out of Hours doctor, but there's a big, scaredy, juvenile part of me that wants all these people to say that I need to take her to hospital, not becasue I like the drama and fancy a trip, but so that it's someone elses responsibility as well as ours. Is that wrong? Does everyone feel like that or is it just me being pathetic and childish?

Anyhoo, I now want to go and press my daughter's forehead and force liquids of any description down her throat. I don't care if she's sleeping, to me, dehydration can happen in a second, that's how ridiculous and out of touch with reality I am when it comes to my daughter's and temperatures. I also want to wrap her up in anything I can find and give her a hot water bottle, constantly fighting that mothering urge that to me seems so natural, but actually only makes the whole thing worse. But flinging open the window and getting her naked just seems so opposite to that which I am programmed to do.

Off I trot. Please let this all be gone by tomorow so I can go back to being useless but thinking I am doing well and the children can irritate me to the point of insanity and I can complain once more without touching wood before I do so.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Phases, them or us? let's talk.

So, having established that both me and my children are human, it is also important to know when and for how long "it's natural!" and "it's just a phase" can be applied to certain types of behaviour? I know that I can sometimes become that mother who tries to explain away her children's misdemeanours with things like "tired" or "teething" or just a straight up smile and roll of the eyes when greeted by another parent's look of disgust and disbelief. But these bad things are bound to happen, like smoking and drinking and possibly drug taking, although let's hope that none of these things happen at 3 and 18 months!

Anyhoo, this question I ask because my 3 year old seems, I hope, to be going through yet another "phase". I don't think it would be too aggressive to call it the satanic phase. No, it would be, she's not satanic, she's 3 and dealing with something that she can't quite express with words, I am the satanic one, her behaviour (crying, screaming, stubborn non cooperativeness) makes me see red. In that second I become the mother that I wince at in the street. The mother who screams at her already inconsolable child. I know it's so wrong, and afterwards I feel guilty and apologise and explain to her why it makes me so cross, but by then, is it too late? Has the damage, if any, already been done?

You see, I am a classic example of "the apple never falls too far from the tree!". My mother died when I was 13 and so I was left predominantly with the influences of my father, my brother and my school mates. The latter two thankfully seem to have had the most major effect on me, but my father's aggressive, impatient, intolerant fieriness is what I am when I see red. I don't want to be that, I don't want my children to be that either, but they will be if I don't learn to control it on the occasions that I can't. I don't want my children to be like me, I want them to be far better than me. In order for that to happen though I have to completely micro manage myself when reprimanding seems like the right course of action... ooh it's hard.

Par example. Every morning we have the same fight about GETTING DRESSED! I know it's going to happen really, but there is that huge part of me that thinks that maybe this morning will be different. Maybe, the "phase" is over and we are pastures nouveaux? Not yet, the vest comes out and she says she doesn't "want anyone to go anywhere". After a few sensible suggestions and reasoning's such as "if you don't get dressed then we can't go to play group!" and "if you don't get dressed then you'll have to stay here by yourself!" I take to trying to put her vest on without consent and that is when it kicks off. She loses it and then so do I. You see, I am still a child, I don't want to be the adult, I don't want to have to make all the decisions and tell them what to do. But I do want them to be well behaved and well liked and polite.

So, I am aware that their phases are drastically altered by my reaction to/my own phases, but can I or will I get a grip of it? I don't know. I'll try, and indeed do try, but I'm just as much of a child as I ever was and that makes me just as petulant and ridiculous. So, next time I tell someone where to go or piss someone off, remember, it's not me, it's a phase. Just so happens that my children are perfect, it's the phases they try on for size that don't suit them!

Monday, 10 January 2011

PND, it's a thing, it happens and it's better once you know it.

Depression, so taboo... Why? If you have an ailment you'll take medicine, if you feel rubbish you'll tell someone, why can't this be the same with depression, post natal or otherwise?

I suffered with depression very badly before I had children. After one of the world's most pitiful and ridiculous suicide attempts I was told to leave my job, leave London and was put on anti depressants. When I found out I was pregnant with the first, I then (stupidly) took myself off them and after the birth of the first one I was in denial about it all.

I was tired beyond recognition (that I put down to the sleepless nights and the breast feeding and babies) I was low (that I put down to being tired and loss of freedom) snappy and short tempered (that I put down to everything else) and generally a nightmare to be around most of the time. I flipped easily, bed was a haven and something I returned to as often as possible, life became mundane and drudging, my new daughter felt like my prisoner and life (which actually, compared to most, was rather lovely) felt like an existence that I endured, rather than lived. Then, once I could ignore it no longer I took myself off to the Doctor. He gave me a questionnaire to fill out and, as it turned out, I was a full house of yeses. Not entirely sure if that makes me more depressed than anyone, but it did make me certifiably depressed which, to me, really is enough. Anti depressants, that weren't all that great, were prescribed, until I fell pregnant with the second when I also (again foolishly) took myself off those with reckless abandon.

Hormones have a funny way of making all these things better, then slowly but surely the spiral began. Again, just like most, I tried to tell myself to "pull yourself together, things aren't really that bad, it can't be depression, what do I have to be depressed about?" Long and short I was given Sertraline which, again, I didn't get on with, so regularly forgot to take it and thus it made very little difference. Long story short, I ended up in the Dr's surgery again with various ailments and he said that it sounded like depression, out came the questionnaire, this time not so many yeses, but I was still a "looby" as my father would say. I told him (Dr not father) that the only thing that would change this is Effexor XL which I had been on before I had had children. Duly the drug was prescribed and after careful monitoring and jigging with the dose I am right as rain, provided I remember to take it!

If things are getting on top of you and you don't really know which way is up, then perhaps, just maybe, you might need a little pick me up? No one need know if you don't want them to, but you'll know you feel better and, in a way, that is pulling yourself together, surely?

This is something that I feel very passionate about as I have seen so many people struggle (possibly with depression although I am no Dr) and yet you can't tell them that they're depressed, who am I to judge? But it's a real life thing that happens and it doesn't mean that you are a bad person, or less of a person, it just means that the chemicals in your brain aren't quite doing their job properly and they need a bit of help. If you don't do it for yourself, then as my brother said to me, "do it for your children". Problem shared is a problem halved, and solutions are so satisfying even if it's just a chat. No one is perfect, least of all me but if we can share and we can chat and we can be honest, then... who knows?

This new year, I have decided to be honest, so, now it's clear, you should no longer read any of the drivel that comes out of my blog, I might be clinically insane... I have two children, isn't that proof enough?

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Top 10's love 'em or hate 'em, I hate them, along with so many more.

New year. If it's good enough for most television channels, then it's good enough for me. So, in no particular order, but because it's fun, top 10 things that could lead most to a mental institution...

1) The Tweenies.

2) Wipes that come out in a clump as opposed to one individual one, I don't want to swaddle my child's bottom, I want to wipe it before it gets away and spreads the joys of its nappy all over the place.

3) Parents who make out that their apologising to you when they're really reprimanding you "sorry that my child can't share that with yours, I'm just going to take him away!" Yes, please do, or I'll take your handbag away and won't share that with you either!

4) People who don't pick up their dog poo but leave it to spread over everything and anything.

5) People who tut when your child is having a "moment" in public, if you can do it better my friend, then be my guest!

6) Traffic wardens who don't appreciate that "5 secs" can well turn into "the rest of your life" in any given situation and still give you a ticket even when they see your 2 children, 1 dog and eighty four million carrier bags, none of which smack slightly of luxury!

7) People who talk to children like they're morons!

8)People who make out that the ridiculous hell of children (at certain/many points) is nothing but "just so lovely/brilliant/funny/charming/sweet/adorable/enthusiastic" etc! No it's not, it's revolting and bratty and hideous, you know it, you just won't admit it... why?

9) Places that serve food that is "nuclear" by any one's standards, yet they won't let you feed your children anything else. Yes, you do have a business to run, but if you make me feed my children that toxic flotsam, I will contact health and safety and we'll see how much of business you have left to run then!

10)The Tweenies.

I feel much better after that, 2011 is here and it's a new year. A year when we should be able to be honest and open and give ourselves a little bit of a break. Harking back to my earlier blog, the next time you are going to berate yourself for something that isn't perfect in your parenting manifesto, remember that this is the only job in the world that is totally thankless, in which there is no hierarchical system up which the buck can be passed, nor is there any statutory holiday days, you take what you can give yourself here and there and the rest you have to manage. Good luck for this year, and just to leave you with one "love em"...

1) The lady in the supermarket today, who watched as my 4 pints of full fat milk slid from my bulging trolley to the floor and smashed all over the place like a dirty milk bomb, and said "there's a man behind that, has to be, you can tell!" then laughed a haughty laugh and ushered the grunting trolley man over to clean up the devastation! Made my year in a day.

Monday, 3 January 2011

The children, the job

So after my last shambolic blog, I recoiled to my lovely friend's pile in Herefordshire, where we relaxed, Christmased and made merry! On this, my final day before I return from post Christmas and new year excess, I thought I would take a moment to redress the balance of my shoddy blogging performance.
I remember this holiday period before I had children, the time seemed endless, false time spent with family getting fat and drunk when I'd much rather be drinking and cavorting with friends and lovers, (never sounds right in way of tacky novelist) this time (and other years with children) I had no concept of time whatsoever! That is to say, my day job as mother of two completely escaped me. Time was irrelevant, my military precision of leaving the house in the morning became slap dash and non existent. Bedtimes really only existed in my head and were only enforced on the children because, as much as I love them, it's just so lovely when they're tucked up in bed as opposed to clambering all over me and the rest of the world in the near vicinity! Breakfast, lunch and supper fell upon me with a secrecy so great that, had it not been so ingrained, my two girls would have existed solely on jelly beans, After Eights and any other Christmas period goodies that one finds lying around. 5 a day simply became a niggling thing at the back of my mind. Excess, greed and gluttony replaced any semblance of pious motherliness that I may or may not previously have had.
So I wonder, these children that are my job, these two lovely mortals that I would do anything for, these two little people have quite literally become my job. With that in mind therefore, I also wondered, where is the statutory pay? Where is the minimum wage? Where is the statutory holiday that everyone is entitled to? Surely, if we as mothers take on the children hook line and sinker, in the way of a job, then we too are entitled to something more than that which we can fund?
Perhaps this is in keeping with the New Year, New me thing? Perhaps we should all be striking as on the Underground and airplane companies? If everyone who has a job is entitled to certain periods of abstinence then, surely, by law, mothers and fathers should also be allowed to take paid leave, beyond that which they can afford? Mothers should be allowed a fag break, tea break or any other break that means that we aren't ready to baste our children in the oven with the turkey or fall to our knees shouting "a break, a break, my kingdom for a break".
I trust that every one of my 9 followers enjoyed their Christmas and New Year break, along with anyone who doesn't follow my blog but is a mother or a father. Perhaps the children, the job, is so true to some people they're going mad? I did, I went totally stark raving mad, but perhaps, regardless of all that, as a parent you should just accept what comes? After all, they didn't ask to be born (both children and parents ongoing).