Monday, 13 October 2014

The Reason That I Write.

I just wanted to add a bit of a note about this blog, and my reasons behind it. I've had quite a bit of feedback about this: some people think it's a really lovely thing to do; on the other hand, I have also been told that I "shouldn't be airing my dirty laundry in public" (although, that statement was said by somebody who has no place reading anything I write, and is far from my biggest fan).

I'm not letting negativity stop me posting; I intend to continue with my blog, hopefully until Percy is far into adolescence. I'm aware that at some point, we are going to have to become "anonymous", and I will have to omit our names from here- when Percy starts school, probably- as I don't want anyone new that either of us come into contact with to have stumbled across something that is so personal. At the moment however, my readership is limited (I average about 1000 views a month, which isn't colossal in terms of web traffic), as are the people we encounter, so I'm happy to put myself out there.

Percy is going to be my one baby. I am not having any more children. I am aware that a lot of people say this, but most of them attribute that statement to a traumatic birth. I didn't have a traumatic birth. I'm just happy with one. I like how we are. I like that it's just the two of us (and Boris and Jeremy)- we're a team. And, I don't think I'm going to meet a new partner for a long time, (if ever), because of that: you'd have to be seriously special to get an invite into our club.

I am detailing everything that happens to us, for Percy. So that, one day, when she is old enough, I can give this to her. That time may be when she is 18, turns 21, has a baby- I don't know yet. It will be my gift to her, so she can see how our lives began (yes, our lives), and how they progressed as she grew up. My daughter was not the reason that I began writing; but she is the sole reason that I continue to.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Pride And Prejudice (27 weeks + 3 days)

Ok, so I'm going to cover several main themes in this post. I've ordered them into sections, as follows:

1) Percy starts nursery/I have no money
2) Student finance suck/I have no money
3) Job hunting as a parent/I have no money

1) Percy Starts Nursery
So, Mrs Piglet started nursery properly on Monday. We were a bit late for her first day, because we'd had quite a rough night on Sunday (Percy didn't go to sleep until midnight and then woke up at 4am and decided she wanted to play. Mummy was not amused). So, we were supposed to be there for 8am... and got there for 10am. I'm just that mum. I don't know why I try and fight it, I am the late mum. (That being said, we got there for 8:30am on Tuesday- practically EARLY!)

Percy loves it. I am lost without her. It's lovely to have time to get things done (namely wallpaper stripping and cleaning) but it is very very odd being alone. She has a diary that she brings home with her each day, that details what she has been doing. Everyone says that she is the most pleasant baby they have ever looked after. She smiles at everybody all the time. She is wonderful. I'm pretty sure they think that I am a disaster. A bit like "that baby is so lovely, poor child, how did she end up with that mess for a mother?" But that's ok. I'm fine with that. (Also, I think I'm slightly paranoid at the moment.)

Now, obviously nursery costs a lot of money. And I am very very very lucky that because I'm a student, I am entitled to a grant from the government, which covers 85% of the fees (HAHAHAHAHA more on this later). It works out so that basically I pay about £10 a week top up. Which is great. However, there are hidden nursery costs, that nobody tells you about- EXCEPT FOR ME!!!!

So, to start with, you have to buy two of everything. So there's stuff for nursery, and stuff for home. You're buying a box of milk for home? Don't forget the nursery one! Ran out of nappies? Remember to grab a pack for nursery! Baby food? Grab some for nursery too, because Wiggles is a fussy eater and might refuse the food they offer her. Instantly your expenditure is doubled. (I am aware that these costs will even out as time goes on- because everything will last twice as long- but I'm on about initial start-up here).

Clothes is the next one. Percy has recently had a bit of a growth spurt. She's currently on a capsule wardrobe, which consists mainly of Summer-type clothes. Now, if she was staying at home with me all the time, this would be fine. I could wrap her up in 53 blankets, put the heating on (for a restricted time, obviously) and she'd be warm as toast. At nursery, you can't do this. Babies need to be dressed appropriately, otherwise you are a Bad Parent. And the worst thing you can be is a Bad Parent. So, new clothes for Percy is also on our shopping list at the moment.

Now at this point, I can quite nicely roll into section 2:

2) Student Finance suck (and that's being polite)

I was supposed to be paid my loan on the 3rd October. I was not paid. I have called them 532542 times over the past two weeks. After being told a million different things, I was finally told that I should expect my application to be approved on the 3rd November. I'm fed up. I'm utterly disgusted. I can't be bothered to write about them anymore. They've really upset me. Here's the e-mail that I sent to their complaints department (I'm not expecting a response):


They are a complete and utter joke.

3) Job Hunting As A Parent

Ahahahaha THIS IS SO DEPRESSING. I've decided to search for a job for two main reasons:
1) I need to save money anyway in case, by some sheer stroke of luck, I am accepted to study medicine.
2) I never ever want to be in the position that Student Finance have put me in ever again. I literally had no money.

When I say I had no money, I mean, I had no money. Someone very kindly lent me enough to see me through this week- I am paying them back when my income support comes through. For that, I am eternally grateful to them. They really really helped me out when I was in a mess, and I hope that one day, if they ever need it, I can do the same for them.

The "pride" in the title of this post, refers to my own. I have mentioned that I am solely financially responsible for Percy and her upbringing. I do not claim any maintenance from her father. And that is because of my pride. I do not want his help. Not just because he would then have more rights to see Percy, but also because I really want to be able to do this alone. My problem is that pride is a luxury; if the aforementioned person hadn't helped me out this week, there's a strong chance that I would have had to swallow that pride, and go and request payments. Which would have really mortified me. It would have been a short-term solution to my financial issues, but in the long-term it really would have had the potential to mess everything up for Percy and I. I never ever want to be in that mess again.

SO, job hunting has been an interesting experience. So far, I've applied for something in the region of 7639503 jobs. I've been rejected outright from one. I failed one of the online tests (I know, I am shocked). And I'm still waiting to hear back from the others.

The issue with searching for a job when you're on your own and have a baby, is that you can't be flexible with the hours you work, Percy is in nursery from 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday. Those are the times that I can work. If needs be, I do have the option for her to start at 7:30am, but I'd rather not. A lot of places want you to be able to work weekends and evenings, which obviously I am unable to do.

It's really annoying. I'm applying for jobs that I know I could do. And I know that I could do them WELL. I don't think that I should be instantly discriminated against, simply because I have certain times that I am unable to work. At this rate, I truly don't know how anyone is able to find a job when they are a parent.

It really is just such a twisted system. I have no doubt that if I was able to work anytime, then I would be one of the stronger candidates; it is that point that's messing me up.

PLEASE, SOMEBODY HIRE ME!!!!!!!

In terms of what we've been up to, I've been a decorating bunny. STILL stripping all the paint off the bannister; doing some more wallpaper stripping. I've been experimenting a bit with foam filler (never use foam filler. Don't touch it. It's a nightmare) because some of the "holes" in the walls were essentially just...well, like the Grand Canyon. Percy has been playing, all day, every day.

We're off to march against cancer tomorrow evening, as part of the big big big big Stand Up To Cancer event that 's going on all over the country. You can sponsor us here if you fancy it. We've got our placard all ready, to go:
I'm still debating who to run the London Marathon for. There's so many charities to choose from, and I really don't know which one to pick. They're all sending me e-mails at the moment saying "PLEASE RUN FOR US!" which is confusing me even more! Any suggestions, would be greatly appreciated. You can tweet them to me- @el_snazzbeans :)

Sunday, 5 October 2014

'Twas The Night Before Nursery

A poem for my Piglet- the most important person in my life. 

‘Twas the night before nursery, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Except for a mummy, awake alone, and sad
Filled with guilt, regret, and other feelings so bad.

The Piglet was nestled all snug in her bed
Unaware of these thoughts going through mummy’s head
“It's nursery tomorrow”, had been said with a smile
“You’ll be going to play, without mummy, for a while”

Arrangements had been made, it had all been prepared
(We’d gone over the sign language, for if you were scared)
Mummy thought she was ready, that you would be fine,
But those thoughts have changed, now we’re nearer the time.

Piglet had her nursery visits, and loved them ever so,
The nursery staff said “Great! She’s all ready to go!”
Mummy had worried that you would find it hard,
But now it seems that it is me, who is going to be scarred.

I know I have moaned, about always being busy
That I have too much to do, and it's making me dizzy
"Nursery will be best, for both of us, you'll see"
Is what I have said, and believed in totally.

I am not ready, I have changed my mind
I want you here with me, right by my side
I don’t care if it’s messy, if nothing is completed
A moment without you, and I’ll feel I’ve been cheated.

Yet, I cannot do this; nursery it must be,
If I am to provide the life for Piglet and me,
That she so deserves, and I so need
And so, to this heartbreak I must concede.

We’ll walk down in the morning, I’ll give you a kiss,
And say that’s it’s you who I will so dearly miss,
The time apart will be difficult, of that I am sure
But, have no doubt, I will run back through that door

I think of all the things you are yet to do
To crawl, and to walk, and to feed yourself too
I will probably miss seeing these for the first time
And that will be the death of me, emotionally, inside.

I am trying my best, and I want you to know
That I love you, so much, and am finding it hard to let go
I hope you have fun, that you enjoy going there
But, at the same time, please miss me- even if it’s just pulling my hair!

And so here I sit, packing your bag full of things,
That you may need (far too much, we will bring!)
Roger Rabbit, Jangles Puppy Dog, Floppy Bunny aswell,
(They've all had a wash, so that they don't smell)

I will miss seeing your smile, for most of my day,
"You don't know the joy it brings to me", more often, I should say.
Hearing you laugh, is my favourite noise in the world,
I guess I'll just have to wait till the evening for it to be heard.

I know we'll be ok, that we will adjust,
"Time is a great healer", is the phrase that we must trust.
But for now, tomorrow will be my hardest day,
You are my everything Piglet. Go forth, run wild, and play.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Importance of "Success"

This is probably going to end up being a controversial post, even though I'm not intending it to be; I'm not trying to cause any offence.

I saw something a few weeks ago which shocked me. A mum had put online that her child had told her that she wanted tattoos when she was older, so she could be just like her mum (just wait a minute before you all attack me- this isn't going in the direction that you think). I was speechless. Up until this moment, I hadn't fully contemplated the impact that parents have on their children. It was only when I read this that I realised that (at least when they're little) they want to grow up to be just like Mummy or Daddy. And it really scared me.

One of my big big big big big fears is being a "typical" single mother. When you hear the phrase "single mother", it doesn't bring with it positive connotations. I've heard what people say about "single mothers"; I, myself, have probably at one point or another said those things. In fact, since becoming a mum, I have been on the receiving end of conversations that are very negative about single mothers- they always end with the phrase "oh, but I'm not talking about you".

But, that's what I am. I am a single mother. I am learning to come to terms with this. I am in denial about it. Part of me sees Percy as a little friend, as opposed to my daughter, I'm sure a psychologist would EAT that up, and tell you that's my brain giving me a "coping mechanism" for my situation.

I have a desire to succeed. I have a hunger for success. I do not want to "waste my life". And until I read that initial statement, I thought that was probably quite selfish of me. Now, I don't. I have a duty to succeed, for my daughter. I want to be somebody that she can aspire to be. I want her to see me, and think I am awesome- not just when she's little, but when she's older aswell. I don't want her to think "oh well, Mummy doesn't go to work, so why do I have to?" or "Well, Mummy was going to be somebody, but then she had me and now does nothing, why can't I do that too?"

I wasn't going to apply for medicine this year. With the whole homeless thing, and then moving up here with nobody to watch Percy, I haven't been able to do any volunteering. Not. A. Sausage. And then I thought about it. And realised, that, I may not have caring experience in an NHS environment, but my God, I have caring experience. I look after somebody 24 hours a day, every single day. I don't expect to get a place based on that. But I'm hoping to get an interview. Then, I'll probably do a PhD, and go back to medicine when Percy is a bit older. Financially, that would be more sensible, and then I will know what to expect when I go through the application process again. If I do get a place somewhere, I will be ecstatic. Literally over the moon, Because I SO want it. And it really is what I am supposed to do. I truly believe that.

I just want to point out also that when I say "success" and "succeed"- those are very subjective terms. Your definition of success will be different to my definition of success. And that is good. Variety is GOOD. I'm not saying that everyone should be like me (literally, would be my worst nightmare), I'm saying that everyone should be someone who they would want their children to be.

Percy-related news: Wiggles had a visit-hour at nursery today. She loved it. I was mortified; honestly, I walked away from that building a sobbing wreck, wondering what the hell was wrong with me. It was very odd being alone for an hour. Clearly, Percy is more adaptable than me (or I'm just easily replaced!) It is a relief that she likes it though. I'll feel less guilty about my lazy parenting.

She's being very very vocal at the moment. Says "baba" (sometimes "bye-bye"- occasionally in context). She also said "dada" on the train the other day. Can honestly say she's never heard that word in her life, which shows she's just making noises and not actually identifying things.

We had a bit of a Percy shopping spree yesterday ("Persephone, if you're good for Mummy ALL DAY then I will buy you some books and toys ok?"). Percy loves Toys r us. We got lots of fun noisy light-up toys and some books. Although, I must say, I was a little bit gutted: I'd gone out initially to try and get this specific book by Todd Parr? The one I was looking for was The Family Book. It's really cool. It discusses all different types of families, and how some are big and some are small, some have two mummies, some have two daddies, that sort of thing. I really wanted to get something like this for Percy, because whilst I don't think it's odd to be in a "broken home", I do think it's unusual to not know your father at all. Also, families are different, and I want to introduce this to her as early as possible. There's another book that he's written which I really want for her, which is about how everyone's different and that's ok. It's like "some people have big noses, some people have big ears". (Maybe I should just marry Todd Parr...?).

ANYWAY, we settled on some different books, including "Spot goes to school" (preparing her for nursery see? I'm a FANTASTIC mother.) We went to Ikea aswell. I mentally spent £5426042642, but physically spent very little. Bought some 35p mugs that I didn't need (I have a terrible affliction where I can't walk past a cheap mug and not buy it- I am sick). Had some driving this morning. I was amazing. I'm basically the best driver in the whole world who hasn't actually passed their test. And I really want a transit van.

OH SNAP. I almost forgot: I WAS PICKED IN THE LONDON MARATHON BALLOT, I AM RUNNING THE LONDON MARATHON, OH MY GOD, BEST DAY OF MY LIFE, SO EXCITED CAN'T WAIT, I AM SUCH A LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY GIRL!

So, to summarise:
- Be awesome
- I'm in the London Marathon
- Things to buy for me are: Todd Parr books, Transit van and The Entire of Ikea.

(Ps. we're running the Newcastle Town Moor Marathon on the 2nd November, fundraising for Beat; you can sponsor us here)
....Seriously. Come on. 50p. Just click it. Go on, you've been cheeky enough to nose into my life. Click the button. I will set Boris and Jeremy on you. CLICK IT.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

The 5 Things I Miss About Pregnancy

After spending some time reminiscing a little earlier (mainly about point number 1 below), I figured I'd write this post.

 So, here are the five things that I miss about being pregnant:

1) My 11am Pain Au Chocolat
Every morning, without fail, in the library cafe at uni. No guilt. No regrets. BEST. THING. EVER.

2) Getting A Seat On Public Transport
Thank you, kind people. THANK YOU!!!!!

3) Seeing Percy/Feeling Her Kick For The First Time
As silly as it sounds, I was astonished that she was moving. For some reason, I had imagined that babies were stationary... (Just don't- my baby brain obviously started immediately). And it was such a relief to see that she was actually there! As for the kicking- amazing. Less amazing towards the end, when she was bigger.

4) Maternity Jeans
SO SO SO COMFY. Oh my Gosh. Honestly- go get some topshop maternity jeans. Even if you're not pregnant; just have them for days when you've eaten too much. They are AWESOME.

5) It's Actually Really Cool That You're Making A Person.
And getting to meet that person, is even cooler. 

And, of course, lets not forget: the five things that are the reason I am never, EVER getting pregnant again:

1) "Restless Leg Syndrome"
Oh my God. Restless leg syndrome? More like "restless-entire-body-refusing-to-go-to-sleep-ever-even-though-my-eyes-are-falling-out-of-my-face syndrome". Worst thing ever. There was one time when I was in a hostel in London, sharing a room with about 532542 other people; it was 3am, I was exhausted, I had a meeting with my supervisor in the morning, and I could not get to sleep because I was so uncomfortable just trying to lie still. I had to go outside and pace up and down the road for half an hour. It's the oddest sensation in the entire world. You have to move, I HATED this so much.

2) Morning Sickness
AHAHAHAHAHAHAH. HAHAHAHAHA. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Morning sickness? They call it MORNING sickness? I did not have morning sickness. I had 24 hour sickness. Until I was almost 20 weeks pregnant. Then it disappeared for a few weeks. And returned for a few more weeks. Absolute nightmare. Morning sickness is horrendous. To everyone who hasn't had morning sickness: bugger off. I hate you. 

3) Boobs
Ugh. UGH. They become enormous. And PAINFUL. And everyone stops looking at your face. JUST GO AWAY BOOBS, I LIKE BEING FLAT CHESTED, LEAVE. LEAVE. RIGHT. NOW.

4) Sneezing
This is one of those things that nobody ever mentions to you, obviously because they don't think it's that big a deal, or maybe it's just not that common? Anyway, I sneeezed at everything. Every. Single. Thing. I think the actual condition is pregnancy rhinitis? This might not sound like that big a deal, but it is SO annoying. 

5) Being A Whale
Seriously. And half of it isn't even the baby. You gain about 2642lbs of water weight. I remember one week when (according to my scales) I gained a stone in one DAY, and then lost 10lb the next week. WHAT IS THAT?! WHAT IS IT?! Crazy. Crazy crazy crazy. Honestly, I AM SO GLAD THAT I HAVE MY BODY BACK AGAIN.

...In case it isn't obvious, I did not enjoy being pregnant at all. I can categorically state that being a mummy is a LOT better than being pregnant. So I'm going to make a concious effort to remember that, and stop being such a moody cow.... Most of the time, anyway.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Break From Reality (28 weeks + 3 days)

So, we're writing this post from Mimsy and Gramps' house in Shropshire- we came down here on Wednesday (24th) because (to summarise) I am not able to be ill and look after a baby all on my own. I hate being ill. I really hate being ill. Let me just list a few things I hate about being ill:

1) I can't breathe.
2) I suck at running/ workouts because of the aforementioned inability to breathe
3) Coughing. UGH COUGHING.
4) Anything and everything nose related- I would chop my nose off right now if I could.
5) I'm bloody ill and I am basically TRAPPED IN MY OWN BODY, BECAUSE IT IS FAILING ME.

Percy and I spent Monday and Tuesday lying in bed, dying of illnesses (well, I was; Percy was rolling about and having a whale of a time. Honestly, she'd be the happiest baby in the world if we just spent all day in bed). On Tuesday night, I realised that I really wasn't able to sort out the house and look after Percy, and the cats whilst I was feeling so rubbish. So, we've come down to stay with my parents for a few days until I'm feeling a bit more human. (The cats have been left to guard the house, along with 33 bowls of food and 7 bowls of water- this is not even an exaggeration.)

The journey was...interesting. We managed to get from Sunderland to Ludlow for around £20 (I am a bargain transport hunter) but it took a long time. We left home at 8am and got to Ludlow at around 6pm... VERY LONG TIME. 

Percy has been very happy to see everyone. Extremely happy. And she adores spending time with Auntie Pippa; she gets very excited when she comes home from school. Obviously, because there's so many people here, she's always getting attention from somebody, which is what she wants. I do think that half the reason she gets unsettled when we're at our home, is because she wants me to be with her all the time, playing and chatting. This isn't something that I'm able to do; I clearly have other tasks that require my attention, and it is for this reason that I think she is really going to enjoy starting nursery. I don't have any guilt about her starting nursery at such a young age (not at the moment, anyway!); I think it's going to be something that she'll really enjoy, and it will help her both socially and developmentally. I really think that it is going to be beneficial for both of us.

Speaking of Percy's development, she has come on so much. Honestly, I can't believe that my baby is so grown-up already. And she is so lovely. As much as I moan when she is being a moody poo, the majority of the time she is so smiley and pleasant (as long as you are talking to her.... I am 100% tempting fate by writing this- watch her be a nightmare child tonight).

It's a little bit odd being back here. Obviously, it's lovely to see my parents and siblings, but I haven't missed the place itself. I like where we live now. I have no desire to come back- Seaham is our home.

There's not really a lot to report other than that. We've just been chilling for the past few days. We're going up to Lancaster tomorrow with my parents and my sister to take her back to uni. Sunday...I don't even know yet. And then on Monday, we're going back home to give the puss cats lots and lots and lots of cuddles and love (I am a crazy cat lady, and I don't even care).

We've got quite a few organised race type events coming up in the next few months. I haven't registered for them yet (planning on doing that on Monday), but I have checked with them all that we're ok to take part with the baby jogger. So, our cheeky running diary:

- October 11th: Stand Up 2 Cancer March in Newcastle
- October 12th: Hartlepool 5 Miler
- November 2nd: Newcastle Town Moor Marathon (yes, you have read that correctly)
- November 9th: 10k MoRun in Newcastle

The March is to raise money for Cancer Research, and the MoRun is to support men's health and more specifically Prostate Cancer UK (we are both going to be sporting moustaches for that one). At the moment, I'm looking at running the 5 miler as part of the marathon training (so as a non-fundraising event); the marathon itself, I do want to choose a charity to run for. I have a few in mind, that are close to my heart, but I haven't fully made a decision yet. If anyone does have any of their own suggestions, please give me a shout. (I just want to add that I am full-on petrified about the marathon. The others are all distances that I have run before; this will be my first marathon. I will be running with Percy- which does make it harder. We have 6 weeks to train. I am very nervous, but it is something that I want to do, so badly.)

The Illness has eaten my brain, so I can't really think of anything else that I wanted to say... I guess I'll shut up, and finish with a lovely picture of Percy with her Mimsy.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Life on The Upper East Side

...Because I just realised that we ACTUALLY do live on the Upper East Side ;)

Just a bit of a general update/recap post- there's a few social comments, but no huge revelations in this one.

So, here's what we've done this week:

On Monday- as I said previously- we had a baby CPR/choking "what to do" lesson. It was really good. Really informative. I'd actually wanted to do one of these whilst I was pregnant, and had planned on doing one in January before having Percy but never got around to it. Where we used to live, these weren't available as part of the Health Visiting system, and so you had to book to attend one of the sessions ran by the NCT; the cost per person was £70. Up here though, it's free and run by the Health Visitors. They come round to your house, with one of those plastic doll things and show you what to do; then you get to have a go so that you can gauge the sort of force required to dislodge anything in their airway/ resuscitate them if they're unconscious. I'm really glad that I've done it. Choking is one of my big fears; I always worried that I would freak out if she started choking, and not know how to handle the situation. Now that I know what I'm supposed to do, I feel a lot calmer about the whole thing- well, as calm as you can feel anyway! 

Tuesday was driving day- beep beep! Percy loves it when we go driving. She sits in the back seat, and just falls asleep (apart from one lesson where she decided that she wanted to chew on the instructors hand for the entire two hours). THANKFULLY it went well. I am a driving pro. I think the whole "having six weeks not driving, starting with a new car, and being in a new area" definitely set me back a bit initially. Also, as I've said before, Sunderland driving is VERY different to Ludlow driving. In all seriousness, I think I could take my test in Ludlow tomorrow, and pass with no minors; I could take my test here tomorrow, and get 542642 minors and 32642 majors (ok, maybe not that many, but you get what I mean). It's a lot harder driving up here. Also, there's these four HUGE roundabouts, and you will definitely encounter at least one of them on your test. Let me show you one of these bad boys:

They are bitches. They are evil. They are crazy. He said it went really well though, and we're going over manoeuvres next week. I want to take my test before the end of October and then get a really rubbish tin can car (or transit van- I would sell a kidney for a transit van) so that we're a bit more mobile, and less reliant on trains and things when we have to travel long distances. 

Wednesday was baby sign language. I really like baby sign language. Percy likes seeing babies; it's a win-win situation- although she does become the most vocal baby in the entire world when we're there. She literally does not stop chatting. We went over basic needs in the first lesson (like "milk", "food", etc.) and then this week we covered family members and emotions. I'm trying to be really consistent about using them at home so that she'll hopefully pick them up quite rapidly. It will be a big comfort to me when I know that she can communicate what she wants, and how she feels about situations. I'm also going to ask them to try and keep up with it when she starts at nursery (not long now!), so that I know she's being understood there aswell. (Side note: I have managed to refrain from signing "daddy is a twat"- I think everyone should be very proud.)

Thursday and Friday were a bit lazy. We stayed in and I had a bit of a sort out of the house. Actually, I've got a really funny story about this:

So, for anyone who isn't my friend on fb and is reading this, my landlord has been really good to us. He managed to get us a few sets of drawers and some wardrobes, and a bed, and also LOADS of clothes for Percy, all free of charge . Really kind. A lot of the clothes had never been worn- he said his friend had won the lottery and bought far too many things, so the baby had grown out of them before they could be used. We were very lucky.

Now, he and the handyman came and dropped off the furniture for us a couple of weeks ago. One of the sets of drawers was assembled, as was the bed. They said the remainder of the items were a bit of a jigsaw puzzle, and if I got stuck, to just give them a call. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't really like asking for help; I like to be able to do things on my own. So, I started putting together the other set of drawers.

All the furniture is the same range; which makes it a bit difficult when you're trying to distinguish which pieces belong to which unit, but it was ok. I found the instructions for the drawers on the ikea website- thought I was off to a flying start, and should be finished within an hour. It was at this point that I realised I didn't have any of the screws and pins and stuff- that's ok, I've got screws and pins, I can use those. Carried on....and then realised that I hadn't got the slats that actually hold the unit together; I had all the outside pieces, but the structure wasn't stable without these slats. I've included a link to the instructions so that you can better see what I'm talking about:

WAIT, I thought- EUREKA! I had a bought a load of bed slats from a lady when I first moved in and had a load of them spare- I can use those! They were too short. I figured I could kind of screw them together... You're getting the picture. Anyway, to cut a long story short (or shorter at least), after 431 failed attempts, these are now the "completed" drawers (don't laugh!):



THEY STAND UP, AND I CAN KEEP STUFF IN THEM- that is all that I need.

Percy was allowed to have a little play with Boris and Jeremy. I put The Aristocats on, and pretended they were singing Scales and Arpeggios whilst they "danced" round the room. Percy loved it. Boris spent the entire time looking at me like "I hope you come back as a cat in your next life". They've  grown so much already since we first got them. Boris is absolutely huge; Jeremy is still the runt, and just follows Boris about all the time- Boris is clearly Top Dog. 

Saturday was supposed to be baby yoga day. However, we've both been a bit poorly, and on Friday night Piglet kept me up until half past three in the morning. I was very cranky. I'm not good when I'm sleep deprived: ask anyone who was doing computational labs with me (worst time ever- literally every night was an all-nighter). Initially, she wouldn't go to sleep because she was all snuffly. After a while, she had just decided she wanted to be nocturnal and it was time to shout and play.

We went and got some medicine from Boots as part of the NHS Minor Ailments Scheme- if you don't pay for your prescriptions then at participating pharmacies you are able to get free medicine. It's not brand medicine though; literally just the active ingredient. So, as such, we left Boots with some paracetamol suspension for ourselves (although it was technically prescribed to Percy, but I wasn't going to ask for a second bottle for me). Now, I gave it to Percy first. Percy is normally quite funny about medicine- she spits calpol straight back out- but this stuff, she seemed to really like. As such, I wasn't that prepared for any vile taste when I had my dose. It is the worst thing I have ever had in my mouth. Worse even than Day Nurse (and I hate Day Nurse). Clearly, Percy has some crazy taste buds. It's keeping our colds under control though, and that's the main thing that matters,

Today, we have had another race! (It's becoming a weekly thing). Only a 5k this time. It was a colour run up near Sunderland, where they throw dye and stuff at you, but we avoided the dye stations (mainly because of Percy- I didn't think she'd really appreciate it; also my lungs were dying from being ill, so I figured that any dye inhalation might just finish me off). We completed it in 26 minutes, which I was pretty happy with; we were the first pushchair across the finish line, and I reckon we were probably in the first 5% of people to complete it. Parts of the course were quite hilly, and we had a bit of a pit-stop at 3km because Percy was shouting for her dummy. I was a lot more affected from being ill than I thought I would be. In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have done it because The Illness has spread to my chest (big no-no for runners). I really would love to be able to have one of these runs where I can say "yes, that was absolutely the best time that we could have finished in, and nothing held us back"- I might try bargaining with my immune system next time ("I will feed you cake if you promise to behave, and fight off all the bugs").

I wanted to finish on this note, because I like to keep my blog as open and honest as I can. I don't believe in propagating myths. I think that one of the reasons that the incidence of post-natal depression is so high, is because people (especially those who are mothers) are not honest enough about their experiences. I am not innocent; I am as guilty as the rest- 80% of the time, we are lovely, and wonderful. 20% is a nightmare. And initially, I didn't want to share that 20% with anyone- I felt that I was a failure. I still do. I do not think I am good mum. I try my hardest, but it's something that I really struggle at. In fact, pre-babies, I used to joke that the reason I wasn't going to have any children was that they would "disappoint" me, as I set my standards so high; ironically, now that I have Percy, I feel that it is the opposite- it is I, who is failing her; she deserves a better mum.

I'm not good with crying babies. I'm really not good with crying babies. I get very wound up. And I want to throw myself off a bridge sometimes. So, I do tend to have quite a few rants on fb to try and prevent the aforementioned bridge-throwing-off- scenario. I know that maybe I shouldn't. It's probably not socially acceptable. But it helps me cope. It keeps me sane. And I'm very grateful that the majority of people who I'm friends with on fb understand where I'm coming from. I am in awe of the support that I have, and so thankful for it.

I do just want to say, that I have never been a baby person. I have never felt broody in my life. As a child, I used to tell my Gran that I was never having children. I never planned a baby. That being said, I have my own, very personal reasons for choosing to keep my Piglet. I'm not ready to share them.  I am hoping that one day I can separate myself from the experience enough to be able to write about it. Because I think that it would help me. and I think that it's something that needs to be discussed. However, I do not think that day will be soon.

I love my Piglet, and I never, ever regret having her. I love my Piglet because she is my baby. It is not a crime for me to not universally love babies. I don't think I am alone in this feeling: I may be in a minority group, but I'm sure I can't be the only one. Babies are very different when they are your own. This week, we've had  a lots of teething issues followed by being ill. This week, we haven't had a lot of sleep. I find it incredibly frustrating being sleep deprived, and having masses of things to do- as I think anyone does. It is healthy to feel a range of emotions, and to express them. I have been struggling, and I think I just need to remind myself that I  don't need to do everything all at once. Some things can be left for a little while. And I will continue to try to become the mother that Persephone deserves. 

Speaking of Baby Wiggles, she is most definitely blond-haired and blue-eyed; the Stanway genes are shining through! (Although she should probably hope that she gets Daddy's boobs- I'm sorry, I couldn't resist!)