Sunday, 1 March 2015

Self-Inflicted (50 weeks + 5 days)

Firstly, I have set aside half an hour/an hour to specifically write this, so hopefully it won't be a blurry unstructured illogical mess. That being said, I am still a blurry unstructured illogical mess, so that may affect it (also, I am typing this one-handed whilst attempting to feed Percy her porridge).

SO, let's kick off this bad boy with some discussion about dreams. Like I've said previously, sleep has not been a big priority for me at the moment because I've been a busy busy busy bee. And at the moment, when I do sleep, I've been having the most insane dreams. Like ridiculously vivid dreams; the "Why am I following a white rabbit, and why is there a smoking caterpillar here?" dreams. Here is a summary of some of the dreams that I have had this week:

1) Percy died. She had an infection that nobody knew about and just died. And everyone was like, "it's ok, you can just have another baby!" I woke up from this one screaming and in floods of tears. If anyone had heard me, they would have thought I was being attacked. This was literally the worst dream I have ever had in my life, (Side note: Percy clearly thought I'd lost it when I ran into her room wailing like a mad woman)

2) Imperial wanted me to do a PhD with them so much that they built us our own house to live in whilst we were there. That had a maternity operating theatre attached to it, so that I could watch people having c-sections. And there was a guy there who was saying, "you don't want to do chemistry, come over to engineering instead".

3) I was pregnant, but all the pregnancy tests kept saying that I wasn't even though I could see the baby moving. And I pulled out some girls hair.

4) Someone broke into the house. I'd forgotten to lock the door, and they'd just walked in. But I was like paralysed so I couldn't stop them, and I couldn't talk.

Like I said, these were all ridiculously vivid. To the extent where, when I woke up, I wasn't sure if they'd actually happened or not. Really freaky dreams. My sleep is still utterly atrocious. When I told my mum about these, she actually asked if I was losing my mind. To be honest, it wouldn't be surprising. I am exhausted right now, and even when I sleep, I'm not actually being allowed to rest.

And when I say I am exhausted, I'm talking about exhaustion that full-on affects your mental state. Three times this week, I have lost my phone, turned the house upside down looking for it, before calling it, only to find that it was in my pocket all along. The first time this happened, I then saw that I had a missed call on the phone, googled the number to see who it was, and was then totally perplexed when I couldn't find it (yes, that's right, I was googling my own number).

So why am I so exhausted? Why am I letting myself get into this state? Let's take a look at the culprits!

1) Uni-related stuff.

2) Percy-related stuff

3) Appointments for Percy/Me

4) Job hunting/PhD applications/Medicine things

5) Preparations for Percy's birthday

6) Marathon training

7) Nursery-related things

And now let's discuss each of these in more detail, to see if I can cut corners on any of them, and maybe get a bit of decent sleep? Right so, numbers 1), 2) and 6) are- currently- essential. Uni is top priority. Percy is top priority. This year is probably going to be my only chance to run the London Marathon and I want the best time I can get- again, top priority. And I am fine with all of these. I plan for them. I make time for them. I have a schedule that I can work to. Do you know what I don't plan for? I don't plan for waking up on a Sunday morning to find that Percy has exploded poo everywhere. That is something that I do not plan for. That is something that takes time out of my day. That is something that ruins my schedule. What am I learning here? You can't plan for babies. Babies don't do schedules. What is this teaching me? I should not attempt to do anything productive at weekends, because it's just not going to happen with Percy around.

Number 3), this week, has consisted of Percy's eye appointment. Which Percy loved. I want to actually give a big shout out to the people who examined her- they were so so so so good. And she was so funny. She was really intrigued by all the various bits of equipment they were using to look at her eyes (the ophthalmologist was like "you're a nosey one aren't you"- he's got her down. She is so unbelievably nosey, and curious about EVERYTHING). And she had to wear some funny glasses at one point which was hilarious! She was a model baby though. The most well-behaved child in the world. Anyway, outcome is that there are no problems with her sight. They said to just keep an eye on her squint and take her back in a year. It's likely that it will just go away by itself.

In theory then. that means that there should be no more medical appointment things for either of us for a while right? Percy now has nothing on (that I am currently aware of). I have nothing until April, which is when I've got nerurology/epilepsy things...Oh, oh wait. Oh hang on. That's how it was supposed to be. Until I got a call on Wednesday afternoon from the doctor. Who wants me to have another ECG and he's asked for me to see him again. So now I've got an ECG on Monday and Doctor's appointment on Wednesday. And I don't have time. I just don't have time. I shouldn't have said anything. I should have just carried on as normal, pretending nothing was happening. Can I postpone these? Can I leave it till Summer maybe? And then we can worry about my health. Yeah? Because I'm fine. I'm fine. Seriously. Just stressed. But fine.

Number 4)- nope, can't put those off, Definitely can't put those off. Very important. Cannot be unemployed. Cannot cope with unemployment. Percy at home all the time. Me having no goal or purpose. No way. No way, Jose. Number 4 is very very very very very very important.

Number 5. Percy's birthday. Oh, number 5. Now this is a temporary thing. This is obviously going to pass. So, in 10 days my baby is going to be 1. Oh my gosh. This has happened ridiculously quickly. How is she getting so big already? I do not know. All I know is that it was a lot easier to get things done when she was tiny and wasn't moving about all the time (she's standing up properly now. Oh, and she has another tooth. Three teeth in like a month? Playing catch-up, obviously). What have I got for Percy's birthday? I have sorted out her card. I have got balloons. I have got banners. I have got candles. I have got wrapping paper. As for presents? So far....she's got two books. I have no idea what to get for her. I was planning on getting her a trike, but I'm not sure now. I think she might still be a bit small. I also wanted to make her a card to send into Cbeebies, but I've missed the deadline (they have to be sent in four weeks before their birthday). WAH! I AM SO UNORGANISED. I'm going to have to rush round and sort it all out next week.

So we've done 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.... just 7 left! Nursery things. Ok, so you may think that by putting your baby into nursery that you're going to have loads and loads of free time, and they're going to raise your baby for you. And you can just relax. And you're right, To an extent, you're right. But there are nursery-related activities that you have to prepare for. Like, next week, is World Book Day. And you can send your child in dressed as their favourite book character (note that "can" = "will"). Percy is going to be Peter Rabbit. So I need to go and buy some Peter Rabbit type clothes for her to wear. There's also some Mother's Day activities the week after for parents to go to (which is lovely! Really lovely....when you are not a manic busy bee), so I need to book time out of that week for those (Side note: In the past five minutes, Percy has tried to eat my laptop wire, pull the laptop off my lap, type 53425 things on the laptop and eat my phone- this is why I get nothing done. I'm also covered in spit right now and I HATE BEING COVERED IN SPIT BECAUSE IT FEELS GROSS. Another thing about Percy- she is wild. Like, most babies you can just stick them in their walker/highchair and they'll be happy for a bit, but Percy wants to be free. WILD BABY).

Anyway, (she's happy again now-she's playing with a sports bra off the radiator), the point is that at the moment, I need to prioritise. I need to work out what the most important things in my life are, and tackle those first. Because my situation is self-inflicted. I have brought this upon myself (she's moaning again, clearly it's time for a nap). Why do I feel the need to do everything at once? Why do I feel the need to do everything alone? Why do I feel that I have something to prove? I need to slow down a bit, and work out what can wait, and what can't. And then (hopefully!) I will be able to have nice, peaceful sleep as opposed to whatever it is that I'm having now (it is not sleep- it is torture).

Just to finish, since we're talking about self-infliction, I'm still waiting for my child maintenance payment. For those who don't know, here's what happens when you don't pay your child maintenance:

1) If you miss two payments, they switch to collect and pay: the paying parent must pay an extra 20% to use this service (I think I also have to pay like 4%, but I'm not really bothered about that)

2) If you don't make these payments, then they take the money straight from your employer; you then have to pay the extra 20%, plus 20% on any arrears you have, AND you have to pay them £50 for setting this service up.

3) If you continue to be a total douchebag, and ignore your financial responsibility for the child you helped create, they can send bailiffs to your house to take your things, (including your car) and you can actually go to prison for missed child maintenance payments.

The child maintenance service have said that they have spoken with Mr Dickhead (sorry, slip of the tongue- Dixon, not Dickhead. My bad!), and he is using "common delay tactics" to avoid paying. They have assured me that they will proceed down the above route if he continues to not pay. Funny, the things that we bring upon ourselves.

ps. Almost forgot: Percy said "Mum" this week. I was getting her milk ready, and she was shouting at me like "Ahawah wah wah wha wha MUUUUUUUUM!" Amazing, Step in the right direction. Before she was calling me Harriet (seriously, she said Harriet. Or the combination of sounds that she made sounded like Harriet).

Monday, 23 February 2015

It's All About Me Percy (49 weeks + 6 days)

On the 2nd October 2013, I wrote this:

"I'm feeling pretty optimistic about things at the moment. Maybe a bit more optimistic than I should be? I'm aware that its going to be difficult trying to balance everything, but I think I should be fine. (I can already see that in a month I'm going to look back at this post and LAUGH at how naive and stupid I was)."

Flash-forward 17 months, I'm currently averaging two/three hours sleep a night and am solely responsible for keeping Nescafe and Pro Plus in business. I've got a lot on right now. Between lectures, project, marathon training, attempting to have a tidy house, AND Percy, I just don't stop. Bugger, I need to look at some more PhD's aswell. I'll add that to my to-do list. So, in terms of my life, I'm...stressed. Stressed, pressured, anxious, exhausted and...more stressed. Can't believe that I allowed myself a weekend off to go to Lancaster and behave irresponsibly. What were you thinking, Harriet? You don't have the time! THERE IS NO TIME!!!

Anyway, whilst I do not have time to even think, I had promised Mrs Wiggle a weekend of fun. And that is what we had- I am not one to go back on my promises. So, on Saturday, we went swimming, which we haven't done in ages and ages and ages. I actually bought one of those crazy float things so that she could kick herself about a bit (and also, because I can afford to buy crazy float things that I have wanted for her since she was three months old). It was really fun. Percy was very excited, and really enjoyed it. This is something that I'm hoping to keep doing with her, at least once a fortnight. We might go to a different pool next time though, (seriously, this one was freezing. We spent about half an hour in the showers afterwards, just trying to be warm again).

Side note about the float: I bought one that was for babies between 1-2 years, because Wiggle is almost one. Of course, I neglected to account for the fact that she is still a miniature baby. I thought it looked a little bit big for her when we were in the pool, (but I was always holding it, so it was fine; also, hilarious trying to put her in it by myself- one of the lifeguards had to come over and help. Note to all parents who use these floats: always go in pairs). It was only when I was putting it away afterwards (again, nightmare trying to deflate a float whilst your baby is screaming because they want attention- ALWAYS TAKE BABIES SWIMMING IN PAIRS!), that I read the box, and saw that the minimum weight was 11kg. Which for those of you that can convert weights, will realise is (around) 24.2lbs. Wiggle is 18lbs. Might explain the size mismatch. So, we may delay our next swimming trip (with the float, at least), until she's grown a bit more.

So, that was fun, fun, fun Saturday for Mrs Wiggle, and then on Sunday, I took her to the Funshack, which is one of those crazy indoor play areas which make you want to be 7 again. I can't even describe her face when we got there. It was so cute. She was so happy and so excited. There was a boy who came over to us in the soft play area (always seem to attract children when we're out anywhere and I don't know why- I think they can sense my fear of them) and was talking to us, and Percy was completely besotted with him. She laughed every time he talked. EVERY TIME. And was constantly staring at him with a huge smile on her face. And crawling about after him, wherever he went. She really likes everyone who is a male (I'm sorry Percy, these are more of my terrible genes that I've passed on).

Jumping about a bit here (because my brain is failing at remembering things in a chronological order), when we got back on Saturday evening, Boris had gone missing. I'd left him and Jeremy outside whilst we went out, but then only Jeremy would come in when I called them. He just wasn't there. I was convinced that something awful had happened- Jeremy kept crying and looking all sad, and sitting on the chair that Boris usually occupies. Also, Jeremy is really, really clingy, and hates being alone. So, on Saturday night, I was camping in the living room with Jeremy (/watching lectures in the middle of the night whilst Jeremy used me as a bed). Boris decided to return at 3am. Jeremy wanted to go outside, and as I put him out, Boris just casually walked in. As though nothing had happened. I was like, "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, GIVE ME A SQUIDGE YOU SILLY FAT FACE CAT!" He wasn't too keen on that (they literally have opposing personalities- Jeremy is a clingy social butterfly, and Boris hates the world).

The Health Visitor came round on Friday for Percy's development review. It was really funny, because Percy went all quiet and clingy when she arrived (stranger danger has full-on kicked in) and then after she'd sized her up and decided that she seemed ok, she went back to being crazy and dancing around the place (her dancing is the funniest thing in the world). Everything was fine anyway. She said that Percy had done everything that she was supposed to do within five minutes of her arriving. She's actually starting to stand by herself now. And also, she's got one of those music things in her cot, and she's got a favourite song that she goes to sleep to, so whenever I tuck her in and leave the room, I hear her changing the music until she gets to the one that she likes. She's such a clever Piglet. We've got an appointment at the eye hospital for her next week. She's got a slight squint in one of her eyes and when I took her to the doctors for something entirely unrelated, they picked up on it and said that they like to look at all babies with squints. I think it's probably going to correct itself though. It only really gets noticeable when she's tired.

Speaking of appointments, I had my doctors appointment on Friday about my bloods and ECG. I was seeing the scary doctor, which I didn't realise until I actually got there, but it was ok because he didn't recognise me (I dyed my hair dark brown again on Thursday, but it is a truly awful patchy job, so there are no pictures until I rectify it. Not sure when I'm going to rectify it... Again, this is on my to-do list. It's just not near the top. I've been wearing make-up to counteract the terrible hair, so it's all fine. It's fine). Basically, ECG is fine. Bloods are fine. I am not anaemic (damn it). He's referred me to the epilepsy clinic because he thinks that my blackouts might be seizures. Initially I had no idea why he would think that, because my knowledge of epileptic seizures was the tonic-clonic kind. Having read up on it though, I can see why he's referred me. So...just waiting for that now. I don't know how I feel about it. I don't have time to know how I feel about it.

I was supposed to receive a child maintenance payment on the 15th February. I have not received it.  I've called the Child Maintenance Service about it though, so it should be rectified soon. Hopefully.

This is an utterly rubbish post. I'm sorry, I just can't focus right now, and I know that if I don't keep updating my blog on a regular basis, then I will forget everything we've done, and then I won't have a comprehensive record of Percy's childhood. Hence, expect badly written posts for the next couple of weeks whilst I try and get on top of everything. Alternatively, I could just hire a male nanny, and they could take care of Percy and house things whilst I focus on uni and marathon? Please send all applications via facebook. No experience necessary, as Percy will love you because you're a man, Only requirements are that you must look like Harry Styles. And have a brain (as in, a clever one, not just any old brain).

...I've just realised how many times I've said "fine" in this post, and I feel like I'm in therapy again. I JUST CANNOT THINK OF SYNONYMS FOR "FINE" RIGHT NOW. That's another job for the male nanny when he arrives.


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Perception, Pulling and The Problem With Persephone (49 weeks + 1 day)

Perception is a funny thing. A really, really, really funny thing. Just as an example: let's say you've bought a new bag/pair of jeans/insert highly desired item here. You love it/them. It/they are awesome, your favourite things, you're never being seen without them. Now flashforward a few months- are they still you favourite? Probably not. But what's changed about them? Nothing. It's still the same thing you longed for all those months ago. You've changed. Your perception of them, has changed.

I am very guilty of this. Not so much with possessions though, (that was just a very basic example), but more in terms of life. I am never satisfied with what I have. I aim for things, and as soon as I have achieved them, I'm onto the next goal, next step, next rung of the ladder. This is one of those personality traits which is both incredibly helpful in life, but is simultaneously incredibly frustrating. Sometimes I think I may be a "happier" person if I was the type to be able to settle with what I have. To stop aiming. Stop reaching. It's the same in terms of reflecting on things that have happened. I will always remember the positives, and very rarely see any negative aspects of things that I have left behind. And I often have to remind myself that my memory is mistaken- my perception of past events is wrong. 

So, on Thursday, we went down to London:



 Which was lovely. LOVELY LOVELY LOVELY. London was lovely. Imperial was lovely. Even attempting to navigate the tube with a pushchair was lovely. I don't think I realised how much I missed London until I was there again. It was lovely to be appreciated for my brain. As much as it may be viewed as "taboo" to say it out loud, it was lovely to be seen as more than "Percy's mum" for a little while. They've sorted me out with a laptop for my project and they're looking into what they can do for me in terms of library things. Do you know what wasn't lovely? Or, rather, who wasn't lovely? Persephone. Persephone was not lovely, Persephone was naughty. And miserable. Persephone was naughty and miserable on a day that was a reminder of how my life used to be. And it was hard looking at everything I had "given up" in order to keep her, when she was behaving so awfully (although she did have her occasional moment of hilarity- such as when she was pole dancing around my tutor's leg, and sucking on his knee).

...but that's wrong. My memory is wrong. It may have been a reminder of how my life used to be, but it certainly wasn't the reality of how my life used to be. Not in the slightest. I was a different person when I was there. I wasn't as driven, I wasn't as focused, I didn't have the same burning desire for success as I do now. Persephone has given me all these things. Persephone has changed me. If it were not for Persephone, I would suck. I would be another sucky person, floating through life, not living. Persephone has given me the urge to experience life, to do everything, achieve everything- Persephone has made me live. 

And so I don't see London as something I have "given up"; something that I have "sacrificed"; something that has "passed". I see London as the new goal. London is where I will get back to. London is the aim. I'm going to start looking at PhD's at Imperial. My tutor said I would need to put Percy's name on the waiting list for childcare now if I wanted to; he said they offer subsidised childcare; he also said that with PhD's they can be more flexible with start dates- if I am offered one, I could delay beginning it until the childcare situation is sorted.

I had been hesitant about moving Percy from the nursery that she is at now. I like that nursery; she likes that nursery; it really is a wonderful place. But...it's compromise. Sometimes. I should be allowed to be selfish. Sometimes, I should do what is best for me in the short-term, because in the long-term it will benefit both of us. Being a mother does not mean you have to be a martyr. I should not feel guilty for putting myself first, occasionally. Especially not when it is in terms of things such as my career. My perception has changed. 

So, we got back from London very late on Thursday night, and then on Friday, we were heading over to Lancaster to see my sister and for the 10km. Percy was- once again- not happy about this. She was a moody moody poo on the train. She actually went on hunger strike for the entire weekend- the only things that she would eat were eggy custard, chocolate buttons and jelly. Anything other than that, and she flat-out refused to even entertain the idea of touching it.

So, Saturday morning, I had planned to run with Percy in her buggy, but because of her moody poo behaviour, (and the fact that she had a runny nose- I think she was a little bit ill, aswell), I left her in the very capable hands of my sister and her boyfriend (by the end of the weekend I was joking that she would think they were her adoptive family). We were pretty late leaving for the race. In fact, I didn't think I was going to make it in time, but I was like "well that's ok, I'm tired, I don't really want to run anyway". So it was a bit of a mental shock when I found myself at the start line on time. Finished it in 55:47 though. And got a medal. And a flower. And a banana. I was a happy bunny.

On Saturday evening, I actually had my first proper night out in literally two years:



My sister's boyfriend had offered to look after Percy (so so so kind!) so I could go out with her. I'm not going to lie, I was quite stressed about it when I was getting ready. I thought I'd feel old. I didn't. It was awesome. It was fun. It was nice to go and behave like I was 19 again. Even better, I'd actually said this to my sister before we went out:

"I always say that no boys ever look at me because of Percy, so if nobody tries to chat me up tonight, I'm literally going to be gutted."

BUT THEY DID TRY AND CHAT ME UP! I was not invisible. I was seen. BOYS LOOKED AT ME. I am not over the hill and left on the shelf. (side note: I should mention that I was literally wearing more clothes than the entire of Lancaster combined. When we got to the club everyone was basically naked. And I have no idea how they did it, because it was freezing. FREEZING.)

So yeah. It was a fun weekend. I ate more pizza than I ever have in my life (although my scales tell me that I have not gained any weight, which is a MIRACLE). It was fun to be a "proper student" for a little while. I had honestly previously believed that my days of going out were over; I didn't think it was possible (or, to be perfectly honest, appropriate) to go out clubbing once you were a mother. Again, I was wrong. I can still go out. Just because I have had a child does not mean that I have to resign myself to a life of spending Saturday nights knitting with the cats (although, again, not going to lie, that does sound like a pretty good night in itself). Again- changed perception.

As for Persephone's behaviour over the weekend? I could view this in a number of ways. I could attribute it to her being slightly poorly. I could attribute it to the fact that she wasn't as "free" as she is at home. I could attribute it to the fact that maybe I am not her "primary attachment"; maybe she views someone at nursery in this way (although that is a very dark thought). But I'd be wrong to believe any of these things. The problem with Persephone is two-fold: she likes routine, and she likes getting her own way. And, considering that these are both traits which I myself hold, I really cannot begrudge her this. I understand being freaked out when your routine changes. I understand being frustrated when things aren't going the way that you want them to. That is why she was a mini-nightmare this weekend. She's had a lot of change for somebody so small. She didn't know we were just away for a little while. She probably thought that, after she'd just got all settled, I was uprooting her again. As evidence for this, she has been an angel again since we got home. And I was informed by nursery that (whilst she didn't eat as much as she normally does) she has eaten today (which is a BIG relief).

In terms of other things that have been happening, I reopened my child maintenance case. Well, actually, when I called them, it turned out that they hadn't even started closing it yet, so it's just being kept open. Why? Because Percy deserves that money. I am in a much more stable place. I feel stronger. I'm getting that money for her. I'm getting that money for her, so that I can continue to get things like this, and not feel guilty about it:



("Persephone, we'll just go and have a look ok? We'll just go and have a LOOK, we won't necessarily get anything. Oh, oh you like that one? Oh, you like that one too? Well, pick one. No? You want both? Oh, ok then. Fine! You've got to have the Lion King to watch aswell then, so that you can put Simba and Nala into context, obviously.")

I've also been looking at moving. Still staying up here for the time being (I want to keep Percy at the same nursery) but moving into Sunderland itself, so we're a bit more central. Why? Because essentially I'm a gypsy. I can settle somewhere for a little bit, but then I get terribly itchy feet. This is totally something I've inherited from my dad. So, I've been looking round some places, and found somewhere that I like (it's really nice) and, fingers crossed, everything is being set into motion. So that's pretty exciting. Never a dull moment, and all that!

Oh, I also had this done on Tuesday:



And an ECG, but you're not getting a picture of that (sorry boys, no topless photos here). They said the ECG was normal and I'm going back on Friday to discuss the results of the blood tests (come on anaemia! Praying for anaemia!).

SO, anyway, to conclude: we're going to spend this weekend doing whatever Percy wants to do, because, really, last weekend was pretty selfish on my part. And, don't get me wrong, it was very, very (very) fun being selfish. But, Mummy's have to compromise too. So, expect the next thing I put up to contain nothing more than pictures of tea parties with Simba, Nala, Piglet, Rolly, Marie, Minnie, Roger, Eeyore, Floppy Bunny, Crinkle Mouse, Jangles, Santa Teddy, Dolly, Octopus, Penguin.... (the list is actually endless; of course Boris and Jeremy will be here enjoying tea, aswell). We might even spend all day in our pyjamas. And play "All About That Bass" over and over again (...this weekend may kill me).

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Money. Money, Money and The Curse of Fat Knees (47 weeks +4 days)

"Money can't buy you hapiness"

...Bitch, please, who are you trying to kid?

So, most exciting news of the week: MY LOAN IS HERE!!!!!! I am rich. Rich, rich, filthy rich. Well... I'm not actually rich. I am relatively rich; as in, relative to how I was before. I'm still a long way from being able to throw money off of yachts (love Wolf of Wall Street, LOVE IT). Anyway, this has been very exciting. I've been able to pay nursery. In fact, I am now ahead with nursery payments. I've been able to pay my water bill. I've been able to pay my TV licence (I'd been avoiding this until I read that you can actually go to prison if you don't pay- lots of stress and panic after reading that). I CAN HAVE THE HEATING ON FOR AS LONG AS I WANT AND NOT WORRY ABOUT IT!!!!! So, I am now up-to-date with everything. Very exciting. Very very exciting.

Also, because loan came in, I've been able to buy some things that Percy and I have been needing for a while, but I've been putting off. So, Mrs Wiggle has got some new clothes (because she was very much in need of some). I bought this for her, which is being delivered next week:



This is obviously a joke. Everyone stop having a heart attack, I have not spent £310 on a Versace dress for Piglet. Her new outfits are from Asda, and hence substantially cheaper (like, 5% of that).

I also bought some new clothes for meeeee. I needed some new jeans. I really needed some new jeans. All my jeans are now too big, so yeah. This was not frivolous spending, this was NECESSARY. But, I hate shopping for jeans. Jean shopping is a horrible, horrible experience. In fact, I find clothes shopping in general incredibly stressful. And it induces huge feelings of guilt. Like, as I'm at the checkout, paying for any clothes, my brain is screaming "WHAT ARE YOU DOING, HOW DARE YOU WASTE MONEY ON CLOTHES????"; but, like I said, these were necessary clothes (maybe I shouldn't have cleared my wardrobe of all my skinny clothes when I was pregnant? Maybe that was a bit of an oversight...). 

ANYWAY, back to the stress that is jeans shopping. So, I hate jeans shopping because I have the most ridiculous body shape in the world. Elaborating:
1) I have no waist. No waist at all. I am a straight line.
2) I have no hips. Like actually no hips. I am a 12 year old boy in terms of my hip size.
3) BUT I have the most gargantuan thighs known to mankind. And a huge bum. Huge bum/thigh combo. This is what running does to you.
So, when I began my jeans search, I was well equipped with this knowledge. I know my weaknesses. I was expecting one of these things to cause me issues. But. I was wrong. I did encounter jeans issues, but it was not due to the aforementioned body failures. No, no, no, I made a new discovery during my jeans shopping:

I have fat knees.

Obviously, this was discovered whilst looking at jeans with ripped knees. I didn't even know this was a thing. I can honestly say that my knees are a part of my body that I have never really scrutinised in any way. And yet here they were, causing me issues. It's fine though, nobody freak out, I managed to find some suitable jeans in the end. (Also, I am aware that I probably don't have fat knees- I probably have swollen knees from overtraining at the moment. My knees are probably just rebelling against all the gym-ing).

I had another doctors appointment this week. I've started having chest pains when I'm running so figured it was probably best to mention that along with the blackouts. Doctor is sending me for an ECG and blood tests, which are booked in for Tuesday; in the meantime she said to take lots and lots and lots of paracetamol and ibuprofen and carry on as normal. So, YAY I can still run. (Side note: apparently anaemia can cause blackouts and chest pains- super hoping I am anaemic. I probably am anaemic. That would not be surprising at all).

Percy has got another tooth coming through! So now, both of her bottom front two teeth are poking out of her gums. She's so cute. And lovely. All the ladies at nursery are like, "Do you realise how lucky you are?!". Some mornings, I'll go into her room to wake her up, and find that she's already awake. She'll just be sat there, playing with her toys. She's the sweetest baby ever. And she's getting very good at standing up now. She can actually stand by herself, unaided for a couple of seconds at a time (note: I am not encouraging this- she just lets go of things. She is incredibly brave...or reckless. I'm not sure which, yet). She's becoming a lot more vocal aswell. She says hi (to me, anyway), and she calls Boris, "Bo". She calls Jeremy, "Bo", aswell. Basically, she thinks that cats are called "Bo". 

Whenever I go to get her from nursery, she crawls over to me as fast as she can with a HUGE smile. And then when we get home, she gets really excited, and giggly. And she loves the "Bo's". She crawls after them, trying to stroke them (I don't think they appreciate this too much). I honestly don't even know how I coped without Percy. She's wonderful.

What else to say..what else to say... I feel like it's been ages since I last posted, so loads of things have been going on but my brain is too full of chemistry to remember them all. Uhm... oh, yeah, Percy has conjunctivitis again. But it is being fixed with some lovely cream from the doctors (this is the price that you pay for sending your child to nursery).

I've got an interview for medicine!!!! At Kings!!!! But it's for the five year course as opposed to the four year one. That might not sound like a big change if you don't know about all the funding and stuff behind it, but trust me, it is. I'm not going to talk about it here though- I'm saving that for a future post (which may actually have quite a profound effect on my future, so if everyone could spread it as far and wide across social media as possible, that would be VERY MUCH APPRECIATED. It will be quite clear which post I'm talking about when I put it on). 

I've also sent an application off for a PhD, and I'm having a look at some other ones aswell. But, after my 426424 queries to all the universities, it appears that they have confirmed that there is no funding for childcare if you are doing a PhD (again, this will be discussed further in aforementioned future post).

Also got a new phone (I'm aware that this post has become all rambling and disjointed, but I have 1 million things to do, and I know that if I don't post this now, then I will have forgotten them all). This is not because I am crazy with money, it is because my contract runs out next month. Up until now, my dad has always paid for my contract. Yes, I am Paris Hilton. I know. So, figured seeing that I'm old, it's probably time to start paying for my own phone. And now I do. Now I am officially fully independent. That's quite a scary statement.

Wiggles and I have got a super, super, super busy week next week. We're going down to London on Thursday because I've got a meeting with my personal tutor, and then we're off to Lancaster for the weekend on Friday, because we've got a 10km race on Saturday (which is Valentine's day. I am aware. Can't think of any better way to spend  Valentine's day to be perfectly honest). Oh, my sister is at uni in Lancaster, hence the Lancaster race, so we're seeing/staying with her whilst we're there- I didn't just pick a random place on a map and decide that we should run there. Also, planning a possible zoo trip tomorrow (this zoo trip WILL happen!) depending on how much I manage to get done tonight.

Anyway, like I said, busy busy bee. Lots more that I wanted to say. Many profound things. But, I really haven't got time at the moment.

BASIC SUMMARY OF THIS WHOLE POST: Money can buy you happiness. Money can make you a very happy person. However, money can't buy the things that you really want. Money can't buy chemistry degrees. Money can't buy medicine places or PhD's. Money can't get you a pb in a 10km. I mean, of course, money can facilitate all these things, but they can't be obtained by money alone. And it turns out, that actually, all that fighting that I was doing with student finance wasn't about the money at all. It was simply about succeeding, and proving that I could do it. 

Because what the phrase should say is: "Money can't buy you success" (although I'm aware that's not strictly true...but that rant is for another time).

p.s. I'm sorry about how rubbish and all over the place this post is. Honestly, this is a reflection of how my head is right now. Scrambled and full and totally disorganised and all over the place. I will fix it SOON. I just need to do washing and hoovering and ironing (oh my god, I HATE ironing SO MUCH right now) and lectures and project and PhD applications and interview prep and sort out Piglet's old clothes and paint her room and train for marathon and call a million people and post letters and book trains and...breathe. And then I will be able to write in a nice, logical, succinct manner once again. I'm not complaining though. Hectic and frantic and busy and chaotic. That is exactly how I like my life.

Here's a load of pictures of Wiggle looking cute to make up for my rubbish writing:












Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Tooth Hurts (47 weeks)

So, Wiggles and I are back home again and 110% fit as fiddles (this is a lie- I think I can feel ANOTHER cold attacking me. WHERE ARE THEY ALL COMING FROM?!). When Piglet got her first cold when she was tiny, I read something that said babies can get up to 12 colds in their first year, because their immune system is so immature. What the article DID NOT say, is that YOU will also get 12 colds in their first year. I think they should put that somewhere. Like, as soon as your child is born, they should put a warning sticker on them; along the lines of: "Infectious Disease Breeding Ground", or something similar.

We met a couple of interesting people on the way back which resulted in me doing some self-analysis. There was a man who we were talking to for a little while between Manchester and York (don't get too excited, this is not a potential father for Wiggle- he wasn't from Manchester, and his own children were in their 40's). As we were about to alight, he said "Good luck to you and your husband with your family". And for some reason- I have no idea why- I felt the need to point out that I don't have a husband, it is just Wiggle and I, and I went off into a big long rambling justification of how we're going to be fine. Why do I do this? Why? I am never going to see this man again. Never. Why do I feel the need to be brutally honest with random strangers? I'm going to make a conscious effort in future to just say thank you. Just go with it. Have a husband for two minutes, Harriet- it won't kill you! There was also a lady at York who was getting on the lift with us, and saw me with the pushchair, suitcase and 20 bags, and she said "It's amazing what you can do, when you have to". And she's right. She's SO right. Honestly, this woman will never know how enlightened she made me feel, just by stating this point.

The Boys were very happy to see us. And by that, I mean The Boys shouted at me a lot after we had returned. They had been left with copious amounts of dry food and water, but because they are of the belief that they are Kings, they weren't happy with not having had any wet food. Hence, when we got back, they were literally circling me for an hour, meowing about the lack of wet food, and the fact that we had been away for longer than I told them we would be. After this point, Boris became my shadow for the rest of the night, and Jeremy was attached to my ankle. They've become very clingy. I think I've lost their trust.

Percy went back to nursery on Thursday. Everyone was very excited to see her; when I took her in, all the children were saying "Hi Percy!". It's so cute. It's the most adorable thing in the world. Percy's key worker said that some of the other parents had been coming in, and asking who Percy was because their children had been talking about her all the time at home. THIS IS ADORABLE. I CANNOT COPE WITH HOW SWEET THIS IS!

I had a big chat with Percy's key worker when I picked her up that evening (I always have big chats with Percy's key worker. Not even about Percy, just about life. In fact, maybe this isn't normal behaviour...? Do the other parents do this?!), and then we got all her things together and started to leave. And as we were going, another of the ladies at nursery came running up to us, saying "So, I hear we've got a tooth!"

WHAT?!
WHAT?!
WHAT?!

Apparently, at this point, Percy's key worker was behind us, waving her arms and mouthing, "No no no no no no no no", through the door. There was a tooth, but she hadn't wanted to say anything, so that I could find it for myself at home. How cute is that?! SO SWEET. It was probably best that they told me though, because I don't think I would have spotted it. It's literally just poking through. Just. It's sharp, though. Really sharp. She attempted to chew on my finger that evening...that was pretty painful.

So. Percy has her first tooth! And it's making me sad. She's getting all big. Is it normal to feel sad that your babies are growing up? I thought this only hit you when they'd got to like 13/14 and had turned into disgusting teenagers. I was not prepared for this sadness so early on! (I'm going to stop writing about this now, because I'm getting all emotional about it. Seriously, on her first birthday, I will be having a full-scale breakdown.)

She's a big mischief now. Constantly pulling herself up onto things and falling over; pulling lamps/flowers/books/cups off of tables. She found a bit of selotape yesterday which she thought was hilarious, until it was stuck to her hand and she couldn't get it off (it was so funny. She is a comedy genius). And she'll have conversations aswell. One evening at nursery she was literally saying "yeah" to all the questions that her key worker and I were asking her (until we started laughing- then she refused to play the game any longer). It's amazing, really, how quickly they grow (I'm stopping here again. Let's have one day where I don't have a breakdown over my child growing up).

Student loan is hopefully coming through next week. It should have been with me on Friday, but uni hadn't confirmed my attendance to them in time. I've called everyone up 642642 times though, and been assured that everything is being sorted, so...I'm not holding my breath but...there may be a zoo trip next weekend. (YAY, YAY, YAY, ZOO!)

I'm still waiting to hear back from universities about my medicine application. There's not a lot I can do at the moment, really. The hospital have been in touch regarding my volunteering, and the ward volunteer coordinator is supposed to be calling me within the next couple of weeks. Which is very exciting! I really can't wait to start on the wards. I'd also e-mailed a couple of universities about childcare funding for PhD's, if I were to go down that route. I haven't heard anything from them either, so I think I'll probably chase them down tomorrow. Still no money from Child Maintenance, but apparently that's not down to anyone trying to avoid anything, just because some wires have been crossed (and their internal transfer system is slooooooooow).

Not a lot to report other than that! Been to the gym lots. Lots of lectures/project writing. Crocheted a million granny squares yesterday (I want to make Wiggle Pop a nice new blanket for her birthday). So...yeah. Things are looking up. Things are looking good. Hopefully, the next time I post will include lots of lovely pictures of elephants and tigers from the zoo (come on loan! I NEED THE ZOO!)

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Waiting and Weighting (46 weeks)

Right, so following the discussion of my emotional instability since becoming a mother, this post contains all the gory details of what has been occurring in the world of Mummy and Piglet over the past week.

So, first and foremost, like I said, I am back at uni. Being a uni-bee. Student life. LOVE BEING A STUDENT. And, I'm distance learning, so all my lectures are online. Now, to start with, when I realised that I was going to be spending this year distance learning, I was a little disheartened, I felt that I might be missing out on the interaction of going to lectures, and actually being on campus. OH, HOW WRONG I WAS! Distance learning is awesome. Awesome, AWESOME, AWESOME. Here are the reasons why distance learning is awesome:

1) I can watch lectures whilst wearing my pyjama bottoms and slippers. 
2) I can pause lectures half way through to go and make a coffee.
3) I can pause lectures whilst I make far more notes than are probably required.
4) I can rewind to watch the bits that I missed when the cats decided that they wanted to sit in front of the laptop.
5) I don't get Lecture Theatre Fog Brain.

I'm assuming you all know about Lecture Theatre Fog Brain? No? Let me elaborate, then. No matter what you have done; how you are feeling; what your mental state is when you walk into a lecture theatre, within five minutes of sitting down, you will be falling asleep. I don't know why, I don't know how, but this is a real thing. You can have slept for 12 hours the night before, be all prepared to fight the fog with 6 black coffees and 8 sugar free red bulls, and still within five minutes, you will be like one of those people on cartoons, attempting to prop your eyes open with match sticks. Lecture theatres are like chloroform. 

BUT, if you're distance learning, you can sprawl all over your living room floor in your pyjama bottoms, surrounded by bits of paper, various books, coffee and toast, batting cats away from the screen every 10 seconds, and you probably actually take in more information because your brain is CLEAR. CRYSTAL CLEAR, SUPER SHINY BRAIN. It's fantastic. Honestly. And the lectures that I'm doing at the moment are awesome. Really interesting. I love Chemistry. I am a nerd. I am a huge Chemistry nerd, and I LOVE IT.

I've also been really ill recently. Really ill. More ill than I thought was feasibly possible, which has been a bit horrendous. I think I mentioned in one of my previous posts that Piglet had brought a cold home from nursery and had managed to fight it off, but I'd been hit pretty hard. Well, that's still been going on. I've been ill for like two weeks. And in a lot of pain. PAIN. No painkillers would even touch the agony that was my throat. Utter nightmare.

Piglet and I came down to my parents at the end of last week, as we had been recruited as a tag-team babysitting duo. Mummy and Daddy were going to see Queen and Adam Lambert, so we were looking after Auntie Flip Flop (I was very jealous that they were seeing Queen. Exponentially jealous. They didn't even bring me Brian May's autograph home. Even though I said that they should tell him that I go to Imperial too, so we're basically related through uni... I love Brian May. In fact, Future Husband- if you could just BE Brain May, that would be awesome).

Thursday was actually a bit of an intriguing day in terms of finance-type things. The man who I've been dealing with at SFE emailed me to say that uni had sent over my change of circumstance, so he was passing everything through to the processing department to be dealt with "as a priority". Hopefully this means that everything will be sorted soon. Although I'm being very cautious about it all. Not counting any chickens until the money is physically in my account. I also had a call from Child Maintenance. They were asking if I wanted to collect money from Percy's dad for the time that my application had been open (so, like a month) and said that they were "days away" from making a calculation. I've said yes. Just because, to be honest, I need the money. It's been cold. Gas is expensive. I have been ill. Medicine is expensive. All pennies are welcome. They also asked if I was sure that I wanted to close the case. I said I was. I don't want it. I just don't. So, now, it is just a game of waiting for all the money to (hopefully) appear. Fingers crossed!

I also had another funny "blackout episode" type thing on Thursday. When we were waiting at York. But I managed to stop it from fully coming on. The doctor is wrong, it is not migraines. It's blood pressure. I know it's blood pressure. I said that I get really hot and start to feel light headed when it starts to happen, so as soon as I felt that occurring, I literally sat on the floor, and put my head between my knees (in the middle of York station. I am a very classy, dignified young lady). And, after a couple of minutes, it passed. So, I'm going to go back and ask to see a different doctor. Blood pressure. Not head.

My mummy has her own theory about my blackouts, which is what the second part of this posts title refers to. Mummy says I am now "Too Thin". I have "lost too much weight". That is why I am having blackouts. That is why I am always getting ill. I'm not eating enough. And when she said this to me, it's funny really, because in some ways it's like a reflex, I started to defend my weight loss; "I've been busy; I've had a lot of stress; I've been ill; my tooth has stopped me eating; it's just initial training loss". But (and she loves it when I say this phrase) in some ways, she's probably right. I probably am a little angular at the moment. A little bit too streamlined. But, I don't actually see it. My clothes see it. My scales see it. Clearly, my mummy sees it. But, my mirror does not let me see it. Irregardless, I am making an effort to "eat more". Had a huge piece of cake when we went out for a meal at the weekend (seriously, this cake was like the size of a person). So, yeah. Food. Food is essential. Liking food, Yum, food.

Piglet has been enjoying spending time with everyone. She does enjoy it when there's lots going on around her. She's also been trying to stand up by herself (as in, not supported by sofas/tables). I've been trying to explain to her that she's still too small for that, and needs to wait a bit longer. She doesn't seem to take a lot of notice of me though.... Clearly she's starting as she means to go on!

...Other than that? Not a lot to report. We were supposed to be going home on Sunday, but I was still feeling like The Germ of Death, so we've stayed a little longer. The plan is now to go home tomorrow. I'm very much looking forward to being reunited with the gym (oh the gym, oh how I have MISSED you, gym!) OH. OH. Actually, I do have a story. Regarding the gym. It's really funny:

This is the story of how I got My First Gym Stalker. So, normally when I go to the gym, I am vile. Like, I go to the gym to become a sweaty mess- I do not see the point in paying for a gym membership, and then just standing around, posing like a banana. When I am gyming, I am GYMING. But, last week, Wednesday was a bit of a poser gym day for me, because I was a bit poorly (ie. I was dying, and should not have gone to the gym at all, but I did anyway because I was a stupid girl). So anyway, there was this boy who clocked me as soon as I walked out of the changing room. And then started using the treadmill right next to mine. And then as soon as I got off and moved to the rowing machine, he got off and went on the funny weight thing right behind the rowing machine. And then the situation all got far too stressful, and I couldn't even relax and enjoy the gym, so I ran away. But anyway, I have learned a valuable lesson: if you're actually going to the gym to try and pick up boys, then you have to just pose and not really put any effort into anything at all. Me? I'm going to stick to being a sweaty mess. Because I'd rather have super hot abs than a boyfriend. And- lets face it- I've got way too much on my plate as it is. 

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

So, you're going to be a mother? (45 weeks + 1 day)

This is a post all about feelings. I'm big into feelings. I'm big into having feelings, and sharing feelings, and analysing feelings, and LETS ALL TALK ABOUT OUR FEELINGS. I never used to be a feelings person. Feelings were for the weak; and sharing feelings? Acknowledging feelings? Even worse. Man up! And then, I had 27 years of therapy, and now I can't shut up about my feelings. I probably share my feelings a little too much now. But, anyway, big big big into feeling sharing. In fact, I'm really into communication in general. The majority of rubbish in people's lives probably stems in part from there being miscommunication at some point.

Back to the title of this post: so, you're going to be a mother? Congratulations! You have made a huge decision in wanting to have your very own tiny bundle of joy. This may have been something that you've thought about for a while; it may be something that you have planned for, meticulously; it may be something that you have had to go through incredibly lengthy processes to achieve (hi to all the adoption/fertility treatment readers out there); or, it may be a decision that the Gods have thrust upon you (oh, you guys- you're right up my street).

Anyway, no matter what your circumstances, I'm sure that you've considered all the things that await you as a future parent. Sleepless nights; the loss of your independence; forever being a slave to somebody else; all the singles- you've waved goodbye to ever meeting somebody new; never ever ever being able to just "pop out" (everything takes 5 hours to prepare for); no more spontaneous nights out... Anyway, the fact is, that you know all this. And it doesn't matter. Because your beautiful child makes up for all of the "sacrifices" that you are making. And you're right. I'm not arguing with you, you are SO right. They're not sacrifices, they're just life changes, and your life is going to be so much more amazing anyway, so you won't even want or need those things.

But- and this is quite a big but- there are other things that are going to change. Things that are more subtle. Things that nobody mentions to you (I'm not talking about your boobs- but whilst we're on the subject, you can wave goodbye to those ever looking normal again). Motherhood changes you. As a person. The way that you view the world. The way that you react to things. In a lot of ways, it toughens you up. You've got to be tough. You've got to be tough for that little person who is relying on you. That person who needs you. You're their voice, and you've got to speak for them. But at the same time it turns you into an emotional wreck.

Before Percy I was...colder. But I think that a lot of that was a bit of a guard- "you can't hurt me, because you mean nothing". I wasn't like ice queen or anything, but it took a lot more to really get to me (unless I was exhausted- you could always get to me if I was exhausted). Now, that is not the case at all. I feel. I have a huge emotional range. Vast spectrum of emotions, every day. Which I think is very healthy. It shows that I'm living; it shows that I have things that I care about; it shows that I'm not a robot.

So, I'm going to kick this off, with Guilt. Prepare to feel guilty as a parent. Prepare to feel guilty as a parent, for the stupidest reasons. Not even for significant reasons. Like, I imagine, it would be deemed "normal" for me to feel guilty about the fact that I kept Piglet, knowing that she would be deprived of a father. But, I don't really feel guilty about that. This is because:

a) In terms of "gender-typical" parenting roles, I'm more of a dad than a mum.
b) To make up for my suckiness as a mother, the ladies at nursery fill the role of mum.

So, actually, Percy has currently got a pretty balanced upbringing. No, here's the silly things that are going to make you feel guilty. You're all excited about going back to uni. You write a blog post stating how excited you are about going back to uni. You drop your baby off at nursery. You're on the way to the gym. You check your facebook. And everyone is posting things about how wonderful their babies are, and how they are everything to them, and they are their world, and YOU ARE A TERRIBLE TERRIBLE MOTHER. And then you're having an emotional breakdown on the bus, because of nothing really, because you're allowed to have a life, and be excited about going back to uni, and you really shouldn't feel guilty about that. But you do. And that is how, you end up having the best workout ever in the gym (literally running away from the guilt), and then post-workout, you find yourself in the Disney Store, buying Rolly (from 101 Dalmatians) BECAUSE YOU ARE BUYING YOUR DAUGHTER TOYS OUT OF GUILT. I buy guilt toys. I am that parent. I never thought I would be that parent. And this is only going to get worse as she gets older. This is the tip of the iceberg.

The other one that's quite embarrassing is that everything will make you Sad. So, like, for example, you can be reading the paper, with that story about the crazy invoice party lady, and feeling nothing really, until you get to the bit where it says that the little boy's friend won't play with him anymore because of the parents' dispute. And then you're a sobbing mess. You're crying into your coffee, over two children who you have never met. What is wrong with you? YOU'RE A PARENT, THAT IS WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU. I think it will kill me, if Percy ever comes home from school and says that somebody doesn't want to play with her. It will break my heart. It will probably affect me, more than her.

You can also look forward to developing highly inappropriate attachments to cuddly toys. And, if your child loses one of the cuddly toys, you will feel like the world is ending. They probably won't be that bothered. But you will. Trust me. It's ridiculous. It's illogical. But you will be devastated by the loss of cuddly toys. And even though you will replace them (and you will replace them, immediately), you will forever know, that it is not the same cuddly toy.

Finally, if you read "Guess How Much I Love You" to your child, you will cry at the last page ("I love you right up to the moon- and back"), every single time you read it. Now, really, it's probably acceptable the first time, because it is so ridiculously sweet. But, when it's like 8 months after you bought it, and you've read it in the region of 50000 times, you really should have gotten over this. But, no. I will cry every time. I think Percy wonders about my emotional stability when we read this story.

Bit of an update of The Life and Times of Mrs Wiggles. She actually started doing this a few weeks ago, but I've not slotted it in anywhere (what was I thinking?). She's been pulling herself up against things (sofas, tables, beds, etc) and has started "coasting" (I think that's what it's called? When they move around whilst holding onto things). She's a very clever sausage. It's quite funny though, because she's still really short, so initially I wasn't sure if she was stood up or just on her knees. I think I'll have really mixed emotions when she starts walking. Part of me will be so proud, but then part of me will be really sad, because my baby is so big now.

Anyway, to summarise- as is quite evident from everything I have said here- if you're going to be a mother, then prepare yourself for the biggest change of all: you are going to be an emotional mess.