The Baby Spa

Happy New Year and welcome to 2016!

Now that Christmas is behind us, I have started to declutter and tidy the house. The decorations have been taken down, the baubles have been retrieved from the toy box and the cat’s basket, the gift wrap has been recycled and I’ve started sorting out (big booming echoing voice) “The Drawer of Eternal Mess”.

Every house has one of these. That drawer where things get shoved to “deal with later” or “to find a home for at some point”. Mine contains old birthday cards, hairbands, a sewing kit, paperclips, receipts, stacks of paperwork and other random crap. Feeling industrious, I started sorting this out and I came across an envelope I don’t remember seeing before. Inside was a gift voucher for a day spa and I had a vague recollection of my friend giving it to me for Christmas one year.

As a parent, the idea of a relaxing day of being pampered is as welcome as rain during drought season and I thought longingly of massages and facials and time spent in the hot tub. That was when I noticed the expiration date. December 2013 (this declutter was waaayyyy overdue). Bollocks.

With a sigh I tossed the voucher into the bin but it haunted me. When the Baby later rubbed regurgitated banana into my cheek and the Toddler decided to use me as a climbing frame, I thought longingly of that damn voucher and what I had missed out on. That was when I realised that I didn’t need a spa day. I have the Baby Spa and I get to experience it every day.

Aromatherapy is the use of scents and other aromatic compounds for the purpose of altering one’s mood, cognitive, psychological or physical well-being.
As a mother I get to experience the fresh scent of talcum powder, the slightly floral scent of baby lotion and the sharp lemony smell of laundry detergent. There is also that strong, all pervading aroma of a fresh poonami wafting from the arse end of a gleefully grinning Baby and trust me, the smell of that is guaranteed to alter my mood!
Massage involves working on the body with pressure and can be applied with the hands, fingers, elbows, knees and feet.
This particular spa treatment starts in pregnancy when Baby decides to poke a knee straight out the front of your belly while simultaneously shoving an elbow into your bladder. Later on you get to experience the Toddler rolling her toy cars down your back and then pretending your spine is a tight rope that she needs to walk along while playing “Circus”.

A facial is a procedure involving a variety of substances being applied to the face.

When the Baby rubbed regurgitated banana into my cheek, she was merely giving me a facial! In fact, both my children are very generous in this department. I have experienced the aforementioned “food facial”, the gelatinous “snot facial” (normally applied straight from the nose so it has the added benefit of being all natural!), “the don’t-hold-the-Baby-over-your-head-when-she’s-just-eaten puke facial” and the “make-sure-to-wash-your-hands-after-the-nappy-change-before-scrathing-that-itch poonami facial”. Think how much I’ve saved and my skin has never looked better (because you can’t see it under the dried puree).
Reflexology is an alternative medicine involving application of pressure to the feet and hands.
Ever stood on Lego? There ya go!
Waxing is a form of semi – permanent hair removal which removes the hair from the root.
I thought I was being so smart just before The Baby was born. I went to the hairdressers before my due date and had my waist length hair chopped to just above my shoulders. I thought it would prevent any unwanted grabbage once Baby arrived. Did it heck! Baby loves to grab handfuls of the stuff and is an expert at getting hold of it no matter how much I tie it up (my hair, not the Baby). I always believed waxing was the removal of UNWANTED hair but I can testify that the above definition is correct. It definitely removes the hair from the root. Ouch.
The Hot Tub/Spa
Ahhh, sitting in the nice warm water while it foams and bubbles around you. Then the bubbles break the surface and it’s another aromatherapy treatment from the Toddler’s fart that she delights in doing in the bath. Lovely. Just feel lucky that fart bubbles are the only thing floating on the surface!
So there you go. I didn’t need that voucher with it’s day of relaxation and beauty treatments at all. I’m not at all bitter and upset that I forgot about it. Sob. I’m finishing here to go into the kitchen for some wine. And chocolate.

Why Having Kids Is Awesome!

Having children is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. Being a parent is exciting, fun and interesting but also knackering, hard work and never ending. There are many brilliant reasons to have children and here are a few reasons why I think having kids is awesome!

The Toys

Kids have a lot of toys. Noisy toys, soft toys, pull along toys….I have really enjoyed buying toys for my girls but I’ve also used it as a bit of an excuse.

When I was a child, I had a Big Yellow Teapot (remember them?) I loved playing with it and it’s a real throwback to my childhood. When the children came along it was the perfect excuse to get hold of another Big Yellow Teapot. Purely for The Toddler to play with of course.

I also collected Puppy in My Pocket. I did really well. I had most of them by the end and I kept them in an old Flumps box. Then I stupidly gave them away to my neighbours kids when I was 18. I came across one at a boot fair the other day and I fondly remembered my collection. A quick visit to Ebay pissed me right off as it turns out they are now considered “vintage” and are actually worth something (and I gave them away!!!) I’ve started collecting them again. Of course, just for The Toddler. She loves them (!)

It’s not just me either. I found a train set on Facebook the other day which I thought the girls would enjoy. When I showed my husband, his face lit up and he spent the rest of the evening setting up the most elaborate train track you’ve ever seen. He didn’t even notice when The Toddler wandered off to play with something else.

Yep, the toys are a great reason to have kids. You get to rediscover all the things you played with as a kid plus you can buy those toys that you wanted but didn’t get as a child (for example, I asked Father Christmas for Mr. Frosty but he didn’t know what it was. Turns out that’s good as I’ve since discovered they are crap!)

Getting To Be A Kid Again

One of the sad things about growing up is it’s no longer socially acceptable to jump in puddles, kick through leaves or walk along walls. Until you have kids. Then it’s actively encouraged (well, as long as the kids are with you). I’ve had a great time being able to jump in puddles with The Toddler and whizz down slides at the park (though my butt has got a bit bigger. On more than one occasion I’ve felt bruised getting off the slide). Just remember that it’s brilliant fun to be a kid again but sadly you’ve got bigger. I made a fort with The Toddler the other day (see “fort” as ta
ble with blanket over it). I excitedly got in but getting out required army crawling, stretching and a very ungla
mourous butt wriggling reverse.

You Have The Perfect Excuse

Your boring workmate has invited you to his latest “bring a fact” party and you can’t think of a polite way to decline. Ah hah! You have kids now. They are the perfect excuse. From suffering from various coughs and colds to being let down last minute by childcare, you have the ultimate “get out of jail” free card. Just remember that if you use the excuse that you had to stay home because the kids are sick, don’t then post photos on Facebook about your fun trip to the zoo that day!

The Magic and Wonder

Children are really gullible. You could poetically say they are innocent and trusting and they believe in magic but no, let’s call a spade a spade, they are flipping gullible! They will believe ANYTHING! This is great fun as you can literally tell them anything and they will believe you. Oh, the possibilities…..

Free Sweeties!

I took the Toddler trick or treating this Halloween. She’s only 2 but she soon realised all she had to do was knock on the door and say “twick or teat” and she was given sweeties. Unfortunately, quite a few of them were unsuitable for her as she’s just too young. As any responsible parent should do, I went through her bag and “got rid of” all the sweets she couldn’t have. I put them to one side in a box with the idea of disposing of them later (read that as scoffing the lot). Annoyingly my husband found the box and “got rid of them” for me. Thanks, hubby!

Rediscovering your favourite books

I have many books I remember from my childhood that I am desperate to share with my girls. I made sure I bought a brand new copy of Hairy McClarey from Donaldsons Dairy. I loved that book as a child. (On the down side I have now read it so many times that I realised I’m actually reciting it from memory but it’s still a great book!)


I love Christmas but it is made extra special when you are experiencing it through the eyes of your children. The Toddler is already getting excited over all the “pretty lights” that are popping up in shop windows. I’m desperate to put up our tree but I will hold off until December. At her age she doesn’t even know about the present part, she’s just getting excited over the decorations! She is going to love it this year. I can’t wait!

What do you think is the best thing about having kids?

Stupid Expressions

I was chatting to a friend at work the other day. They were telling me all about their weekend and how they had been out to a nightclub and got “totally rat arsed”. It made me feel very old but not that envious, to be honest. I was never a club raver even when I was younger and going out purely to get so drunk you won’t remember it in the morning seems like a complete waste of time to me. As I said, maybe I’m just old?

Anyway, my workmate finished her story by telling me “then I went straight to bed and slept like a baby.” I looked at her and just thought, “what a stupid expression!”

Unless my workmate was telling me she woke up five times, screamed her head off, shit her pants and got it all over the sheets, the expression “sleeping like a baby” is all wrong. In fact, I’m convinced the only people out there who say they “slept like a baby” don’t actually have one.

Another expression I really don’t understand is “taking candy from a baby”. This is meant to imply that something is easy! Have you ever tried to take ANYTHING from a baby they don’t want you to take? Aside from the fact the little devils have superhuman grip, the result of taking it is normally loud screaming, crying and flailing around. I would never use this expression to describe ANYTHING as easy.

One last expression that drives me potty is: “there is no use crying over spilt milk”. I guess I can kind of see the point here but if that milk has been painstaking squeezed from your breasts by something resembling a milking/torture device and it has taken you half an hour to get two fucking ounces you can bet I’m going to bloody cry over it!

Are there any stupid expressions you don’t really understand?

Parenting Superpowers!

I’m not really a big fan of superhero movies but even I can enjoy the moment the hero of the piece gets his powers (normally through a “freak accident”. Seems like “freak accidents” are actually ridiculously common in the superhero world). One minute they are mild mannered Peter Parker and the next, boom! Superheroes. I don’t really undestand why along with all the cool powers comes the unexplainable need to pick yourself a wanky name and then go and get some lycra but maybe I just don’t get it.

Anyway, I remember the moment I became a superhero. The second my eldest arrived in the world I became a Mum and with that I was given a huge dose of Mum guilt, a lot of anxiety and the sudden ability to sleep while standing over a Moses Basket. However, I was also given my powers. I firmly believe all Mums are superheroes and we all have superpowers. Just remember, along with great power comes great responsibility. Here is a list of superpowers all Mums are given:

Super smell – All Mums have the ability to smell that a nappy needs changing in a room full of other babies. Even more impressive, they can tell which child it is from scent alone!

Super hearing – Mums can hear the slightest movement from their babies from three rooms away while lying next to a snoring husband. They are especially sensitive to the sound of silence (oh yes, silence has a sound!) and can tell if it’s “I’m just quietly colouring” silence or “I’m spreading Sudocrem on the cat” silence.

Healing Kisses – The amazing ability to heal even the scariest boo boos with a single kiss. For really bad ouchies like splinters, two kisses and a cuddle may be required.

Omnilingualism – This is the power to instantly speak and understand any language fluently and okay, maybe Mums don’t have this entirely but they can definitely understand Toddler babble when no one else can.

I was changing The Baby earlier while my husband put The Toddler to bed in the other room. I heard The Toddler say “Daddy, me kissy an shugs an tuck tuck Baze!” I heard his confusion so called through “she wants a kiss and a hug and for you to tuck her in. Then she wants you to do the same for her soft toy kitty, Blaze.” It was perfectly clear to me.

Superhuman Strength – The ability to carry The Baby in the carseat, The Toddler on your shoulders, the changing bag and six bags of shopping up three flights of stairs in a single trip.

Precognition – Mums can see The Toddler falling off the toybox seconds before it happens or can tell that sticking a piece of lego up your nose is a bad idea before you even do it.

Super speed – The alarm doesn’t go off but Mum somehow manages to get everyone out the door and to nursery on time AND she remembers the lunches.

I say Mummy Superpowers but Dad’s seem to be given most of these as well. Okay, Mr. Adultier Adult super hearing doesn’t seem quite as sharp (suspiciously?) and his Omnilingualism is out of whack but he has one of the best superpowers of all… The Dreaded Daddy Voice! He can freeze any of the kids and the cat without even raising his voice! He just drops it down low and instant obedience! Dad’s are definitely superheroes too.

What is your superpower? If you could have any superpower in the world what would it be and why?

10 Reasons All Mum’s Should Love Halloween

Unless you’ve been walking around with your eyes closed recently you should know by now that it is nearly Halloween. I love Halloween. Despite it being an American holiday (though actually it’s origins are Irish). I love the tacky decorations, the cute kiddie costumes and the fact there’s lots of sweets in the house. Here is my list of why all Mum’s should love Halloween:

1) The spider webs in the house now count as Halloween decorations.

Fallen behind on the housework? It doesn’t matter. The spider webs and dust add a certain authenticity to the holiday (though annoyingly this excuse doesn’t wash when it comes to the laundry).

2) You can legitimately call your kids monsters without feeling like a bad parent.

Occasionally kids play up. The Toddler has a meltdown because you dared cut her sandwiches into squares instead of triangles and the Baby has been teething forever. You secretly whisper “for fucks sake” everytime before answering to your name but you can’t say anything bad about your kids without all the judgy mcjudgy Mums glaring at you. Well, this time of year you can call them monsters and not only will no one judge you they will likely even agree!

3) Sweeties!

Sweets in the house and FREE sweets being given out everywhere! Even better than that, it’s your duty as a responsible parent to go through all the Halloween bounty to make sure it’s safe. In some cases you may have to eat it to make sure you give it a thorough test. Parenthood is such a sacrifice sometimes…

4) You can finally scare the shit out of that little brat up the street.

We have a five year old up the street. We’ll call her Elouise. She’s the one who always shoves my Toddler in the park but then apologises so sweetly that you smile and say “that’s okay” while having mental images of chucking her in the pond. I’ve seen her kick the neighbourhood cats on more than one occasion plus she’s one of those obnoxious kids that tells other children that Santa isn’t real. I am so looking forward to Elouise coming to my door to Trick or Treat this year. I’m going to jump out on her while dressed as a skeleton and chase her down the street with a hatchet. Her scream is so going to make it worthwhile.

Obviously I’m not really going to do that but Elouise will definitely be getting the Funsize Mars Bar instead of the regular ones.

5) You can get the kids excited about eating apples.

Apple bobbing is a great tradition. It’s so much fun to watch the kids getting soaked trying to grab an apple in their mouths. They put so much effort into it and are so proud when they finally succeed that you have to hide a smile when they realise the prize is the apple.

6) You get to watch Hocus Pocus again.

I love this movie. Who doesn’t? However, I’m very aware it’s a kids film and adults are meant to be beyond watching childrens movies. However, how can it be avoided when it’s on so much over Halloween? Who cares if both girls are napping? You may as well watch it. Y’know, as it’s on.

7) Easy Halloween costumes.

I love the fact this holiday doesn’t have to cost you anything. One roll of toilet paper makes a decent Mummy costume. An old sheet with a couple of holes in it makes a pretty convincing ghost. That top the toddler stained with tomato sauce? Bam, zombie costume!

8) You can relive your childhood by bopping along to The Monster Mash and your kids are totally impressed that you know all the words.

Unfortunately this only works up to the age of about 10. Then your kids will be embarrassed by your knowledge of Boris and The Cryptkeepers but at that age the eye rolling comes with the territory anyway so carry on doing the Mash!

9) You get to watch your neighbours husband be dragged through the neighbourhood dressed as Peter Pan with a severely pissed off expression on his face.
He’s being pulled along by his young girls dressed as Wendy and Tinkerbell who are clearly loving it. Just as clearly Mr. Jones is not.

10) And you get to plan to do the same thing to YOUR husband next year when the kids are old enough to trick or treat. Mr. Jones got off lightly. I’m gonna make Mr. Adultier Adult be Tinkerbell!

Bwa ha ha haaaa.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Why Can’t My Daughter Like Thomas The Tank Engine?

The Toddler turned two last week and we had a little party at home with a buffet tea and a birthday cake. I went shopping that morning to get the food we needed and it was there I encountered problems. I stood in the birthday cake aisle looking at the different cakes. They had a pink Barbie cake or a pink Hello Kitty cake or a pink Peppa Pig cake. I picked up the Peppa cake when I saw they also had a Thomas the Tank Engine cake. The Toddler loves Thomas. Whenever she sees him she gleefully shouts “Thomas! Toot toot!” However, I hesitated. The Thomas cake was so obviously aimed at boys from it’s blue packaging to the fact Thomas is a train. I held both cakes and looked from one to the other. I actually agonised over which cake would be the better choice for my little girl! Then I gave myself a slap and defiantly thought “why shouldn’t my daughter like Thomas?” I put the Thomas cake in the trolley and went to pay.


The lovely girl on the checkout clocked the birthday cake and asked how old my little boy would be. When I told her my daughter would be two she glanced at the cake before telling me they did a nice Barbie cake for the same price. With a polite smile I explained I wanted Thomas, paid and left the store.
All the way home I couldn’t stop thinking about the cake and why it was such an important issue. The only difference between the Peppa Pig cake and the Thomas cake was food colouring! The icing was still thick, sickly and rather disgusting (as most kids birthday cakes tend to be). Both had the same basic sponge in the middle. Both contained a hell of alot of sugar. The only difference was Thomas was blue and Peppa was pink. When did everything become so gender defined?
The party went well and The Toddler loved her Thomas cake. She ate far too much sugar, got spoilt rotten with lots of lovely presents and flaked out completely at bedtime. However, that damn cake has opened my eyes to how gender specific children’s items have become. The fact that I hesitated over the cake shows I’m guilty of it too. Why are we limiting our children’s choices purely because of their sex?
If you stand in any kids clothing store you will easily spot the girls clothes. They are mainly pink and have princesses, rainbows and ponies on them. The boys side is predominantly blue with dinosaurs, pirates, trains and cars on them. What are we teaching our children? That boys can’t like ponies and girls will never be train drivers? What if my girls want to be paleontologists? Professional footballers? Mechanics? Why are we limiting these choices at such a young age?
Well, I say “screw it!” If my daughter wants to like Thomas then she can like Thomas and if that means I’ll be doing my Christmas shopping in the boys section then so be it. I intend to tell my girls they can be anything they want to be. They can be nurses OR doctors. The choice is up to them. I just hope the consumer world gets out of it’s ’50’s mindset and realises that gender doesn’t define people. Girls can like Thomas too!

How the NHS sabotaged my Breastfeeding Journey

Regular readers of my blog know that I tend to stick to humorous, light-hearted posts about parenting. However, I recently got a big dose of inspiration and courage from Jo over at Momma Boss.

Jo is the blogger I wish I had the guts to be. She doesn’t shy away from personal or controversial subjects which is why she is one of my favourite bloggers. I highly recommend having a look at her blog if you get the chance. Anyway, she made me realise that sometimes I need to have a voice and not just use humour as a defence mechanism (oh yes, I’m well aware I hide behind it). So I thought I’d share the story of my breastfeeding journey and how I feel the NHS not only sabotaged it but put my baby at serious risk with their pressure to only encourage breastfeeding.


Breastfeeding my first – she took to it easily

I have two daughters, The Toddler and The Baby. When The Toddler was born she took to breastfeeding like a duck to water. It was like she instantly knew what to do and I loved the bond we had. I may have even been a bit arrogant (“why do people struggle with this, it’s so easy?”) The Toddler self weaned at ten and a half months. I totally wasn’t ready but unbeknown to me (despite the fact we were trying), I was pregnant again and my milk changed flavour.

When The Baby was born I was all ready to breastfeed again but we struggled. She wouldn’t latch and I was really sore. It knocked my confidence badly. However, I’m a firm believer in breast is best so I carried on trying to feed. I had complications after The Baby’s birth so I was in the hospital for a week afterwards. Everytime I fed I asked a nurse to check the latch and everytime they told me it was perfect. However, after three days I was in hell. Baby was crying so much as she was hungry and I was so sore and knackered beyond belief. I felt like a complete failure as a mother. I thought I didn’t love The Baby enough as I was able to feed her older sister just fine. Most of the time I cried as The Baby fed, not from the pain (though that was intense) but because I was a terrible mum who couldn’t even feed her little girl. I felt so depressed and worthless.


The Baby in the hospital

After three days I asked if I should consider bottle feeding but the nurses all told me “breast is best”. One midwife even said, “well, if you’re not willing to try then you might as well” which was crushing. My Mum was the only voice saying bottles may be an idea but I’m stubborn and I didn’t listen.

After a week I was finally discharged and we went home. The Health Visitor came the next day to weigh The Baby. She had lost 10% of her birth weight and was severely jaundiced. She told me to go up to the hospital where they admitted The Baby (and me, her failing milk bar). They put a cannula into The Baby’s tiny hand and I sobbed so hard I couldn’t breathe. All I could think was I was failing her. She was better off without me. Once again the doctor’s told me breast was best. They put The Baby on a light box to get rid of her jaundice and we went home the following day.


The heartbreaking photo of The Baby with a cannula in her tiny hand

I carried on trying to breastfeed. I looked up videos on YouTube, I Googled breastfeeding and in the end I asked a Mum’s group on Facebook for advice. They gave me the number for our local breastfeeding supporter (not one person at the hospital had even told me she existed). She came out the same day and in two seconds she had found The Baby’s tongue tie. I was so relieved. Finally we knew what the issue was and we could get it resolved. Unfortunately, the next appointment was for three weeks time and in Canterbury (a hospital 16 miles away).  We don’t drive plus I had The Toddler and was recovering from a C Section. Getting the double buggy on the bus for the hour and a half bus journey to Canterbury with two under twos was a terrifying prospect (my husband was back at work). I was told I could have the procedure sooner AND they would come to the house but we couldn’t afford the £400 they quoted. I was told to continue breastfeeding until then.

I tried. God, I really did but at my next Health Visitor appointment The Baby’s weight had fallen again. The Health Visitor suggested half and half but I’d had enough. If I couldn’t feed her then I would bottlefeed. As much as people were telling me “breast is best”, it clearly wasn’t in this situation. I gave in, embraced my failure, switched to bottles and The Baby finally started thriving.

Three weeks later my brother took me to the hospital for the tongue tie. They told me as I wasn’t breast feeding anymore it wasn’t necessary to cut the tongue tie so I basically lied and said I had only given up a few days ago. They put me on an electric pump for an hour to get my flow back but all we got was blood. It was sooooo painful. They went ahead and cut the tie and the doctor told me we could re-establish breastfeeding. He promised to get me an electric breast pump on loan and that a breastfeeding supporter would come and see me. That was at the end of March. I haven’t heard from anyone regarding it since. I tried to breastfeeding that night but it wasn’t working so I switched to bottles permanently. The Baby is now seven months old and is in perfect health. Switching to formula was the best thing I could have done for her.

Stuck in the hospital with The Baby

Still, I feel angry. Why was I put through two weeks of hell when all it took was a two second check to diagnose the tongue tie? Why is this not checked routinely? (for once I was told what it was even I could have seen it!) Why did all of those doctors and nurses I got to check the latch in the hospital never think to check and why did I have to turn to bloody Facebook to get support?!

I feel like my breastfeeding journey was sabotaged. Why did it take three weeks before I could get an appointment? Surely a non feeding baby should be a priority? (Ah, but it is if we were able to pay for it!) I am certain if The Baby’s tongue tie had been noticed earlier we would still be feeding now. They stole that from us.

The Baby now – happy and healthy

Finally, why were the professionals STILL telling me “breast is best” when clearly I was struggling? I am really angry at the NHS for I feel they failed in their duty of care to both me and my baby. The Baby is my last child. I will never breastfeed again. My memories of her birth are filled with pain, depression, tears, guilt and anguish. I struggled to bond with The Baby and even now thinking back on that time makes me cry. I honestly believe that the pressure to breastfeed can be dangerous. Don’t judge other mothers for how they feed their child – you don’t know their story. Sometimes breast isn’t always best.

Do you think there is too much pressure on mothers to breastfeed? Maybe you think more women should try to breastfeed? Share your views in the comments.