Me and My Girls…We’re Back! (And Living with ADHP)

It’s 10.20pm and Maggie is still not sleeping. She has been chatting, singing, screeching and kicking her cot for the past hour or so trying to get our attention. She has already pulled all the bed clothes off and thrown the dummy out of the cot but we hadn’t relented in ages. But the latest one was to shout that she had a dirty nappy. In fairness, I’m all for her screaming away and I’ll even tolerate kicking the cot for a good 10 minutes at a time but even I won’t let them stew in their own poo. It worked. The room smelled vaguely of a dirty nappy when I walked in, but then she had already had three bad nappies today so there was bound to be a lingering smell so I thought she was telling the truth. She had conned me of course; she was as dry as a bone but had succeeded in getting out of the cot for a few minutes, thereby cleverly and cunningly postponing bedtime.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a household with two babies still in nappies will smell vaguely of poo at any given time. On a good day it smells of talc powder, which anyone will admit is a yummy smell. But still the faint whiff of dirty nappies linger, so a good day will be talc and nappy. On a bad day it’s just dirty nappies. When you’re in the house, of course, you don’t notice it so much. It’s only when you come back in after being outside and step back a little when you open the door. ‘Phew. What the…?’ At worst it’s a bad nappy fermenting in the bin despite being wrapped in four beautifully perfumed nappy sacks, but even when the bins are emptied the smell still…lingers. It’s either that or spilled milk, and there’s plenty of that in our house, too.

Funnily enough when I was younger I hated the word; I couldn’t even bring myself to say it. Poo. Eugh, such vulgarity. The explosive ‘Peh’. The dirty diphthong ‘oooo’, often elongated for effect. I found it disgusting. Gross. Oh, how times have changed. After two years I have to admit that it’s very much part of my life.

So there you have it. I haven’t written a blog post since Elsie was three weeks old and she’s over four months now, and when I do it’s about poo. But that’s my life. Not exclusively, you understand. (Jesus that WOULD be grim. I once said that I have a thing about smells and it still stands. There are some seriously minging smells in the world and this is still one of them). The last four months have been the most hectic, frantic, bursting-at-the-seams action-packed, exhausting, crazy months ever. I’ll tell you about it sometime, whenever I get a minute. Ironically, it’s been ever more nuts since leaving London and coming back home where our family members are close-by, but that’s a lot to do with the fact that Maggie no longer goes to childcare and Johnny is commuting to London every week. Oh, and that Maggie has firmly hit the Terrible Twos.

But I wouldn’t change a single thing. Elsie Murray is an absolute joy to behold and warms my heart every time I look at her. She is probably the best baby in the world; she’s certainly the smiliest, most patient and most relaxed one. She cut her first tooth last week which wouldn’t have been easy or pleasant for her, but she managed it so well without much fuss at all. And Maggie Murray? Well, she’s still the funniest little toddler I’ve ever met and makes me belly-laugh every day. She’s not an easy child to look after as she’s got Toddler ADHP. (This is my own diagnosis, you understand, and is similar to its close neighbour ADHD but less a psychiatric disorder and more an appreciation for her fun, full-on nature: Ants Down Her Pants). It basically means that she can’t sit still for more than five minutes. That’s right, she doesn’t watch DVDs, doesn’t read stories or build train sets or draw pictures for hours at a time. One lovely friend, on observing Maggie’s ADHP at work said, ‘Well, at least you know she’s not stupid’. That’s for sure, but I just hope she will soon learn how to content herself and relaxxxxx because it is exhausting looking after her. Until then we just have to join her in her Tasmanian whirlwind adventures.

Oh, listen….silence. Happy days – it’s after 11pm and Maggie has finally gone to sleep. Elsie the dote has been asleep for hours but is due to waken in the next hour or so for her last feed and will be up before six for her first. Eight hours sleep? Poo! Who needs ‘em.

P.S. It’s good to be back :)


Thoughts on Mother’s Day

1. I still think of myself as a new mum. After all, I’m less than two years into the job and I’m learning new things every day. If this were a paid, fully trained, 9-to-5 job I’d barely be out of my probationary period. I’d be working with my line manager on a Development Plan that would help me become more confident in my mothering skills and ultimately move higher up the ranks. You know, to Mummy Manager. But it wouldn’t happen overnight and I’d certainly sit through a few training courses beforehand. As it happens, this job doesn’t come with its own HR department to help you transition your way from ‘newbie mummy’ to ‘fully experienced and capable Mother of Two’. It’s no wonder I feel a bit out of my depth some of the time.

2. Being a mother is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. That’s not saying much, considering I’ve never flown an airplane or performed major heart surgery or delivered a baby or fought in a war. In fact, my toughest job before this was picking mushrooms in my neighbour’s mushroom house when I was fifteen. Or maybe as a student making egg mayonnaise sandwiches while severely hung over when I worked in a café at the back of Trinity College. But in my limited experience, nothing beats the emotional and physical roller-coaster of (mostly) highs and (the odd) low of being a Mother and being completely and utterly responsible for the most precious people on earth.

3. I never appreciated what my mummy did for us when we were younger. I’ve only realised recently that she didn’t get a proper night’s sleep for the guts of twenty years. She was always up in the night at least once or twice checking on us, even when we were far too old to be checked on.

4. Maggie was unwell a few weeks ago and all she wanted was her mummy. It made me feel like the most important person in the world, and also made me feel the most vulnerable. I realised I would do anything to stop my baby being sick and would wish it on me ten times over instead. It’s a feeling that never leaves you.

(Oh, and I still whimper for my mummy when I’m really sick).

5. A few of my good friends lost their mummies recently and I could cry for them on a day like today. Even though I would lay down my life for my girls without a second’s hesitation, I hope I have lots more years to see my baby girls grow up and accomplish their dreams. But if we believe that Mummies are angels on earth, then they most definitely are our guardian angels when in Heaven.

6. I used to think that Mother’s Day was commercial exploitation created by Hallmark to sell more greetings cards. (It’s not, but Grandparent’s Day definitely is!) In fact the Mother’s Day we celebrate today is a combination of Mothering Sunday – a Christian holiday celebrated throughout Europe since the sixteenth century, and Mother’s Day – first celebrated in America in 1908 by Anna Jarvis who began a campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a recognised holiday in the US. I’m glad it has a legitimate history – it’s right to remember and celebrate mummies everywhere.

7. Being a mummy of two doesn’t mean that you divide your love in half. In fact, if it is possible I love my girls even more than ever. It is just wonderful to watch Maggie being such an adoring and caring big sister to Elsie. And Elsie is a 3-week bundle of joy and gorgeousness.

8. It is much easier to be a good Mummy when you are married to a good Daddy. I love the relationship John has with the girls – it’s a joy to behold.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you ummy, yummy mummies out there.


#Silent Sunday


Welcome to the world, Elsie

Today little Elsie Catherine Bee is coming home.

She is almost three days old and is the picture of her big sister, Maggie. She has a shock of black hair and gorgeous pink skin and unfortunately a big fat bruise over her right cheek where she was pulled out with big fat forceps.

But that will fade very soon we are told, presumably along with the memory of being hauled out of the womb against your will. Then things will settle down and we will all be together – Mummy, Daddy, Maggie and Elsie, our family of four.

My God, how on earth did that happen??


Sibling Rivalry

Maggie is about to become a big sister.

She has no idea what that means just yet. Even though her little friend Martha has recently become a big sister to baby Woody I can only imagine that they haven’t had many serious conversations about how that has worked out for her, seeing as they are both under 2.’s as if she does know or at least suspect that there is something pretty big afoot and she’s not sure if she’s particularly happy about it. Recently she has becoming very clingy to her mummy and while she will willingly pull up my top and kiss The Bump, she very quickly pulls it back down again saying ‘Bye bye baby’.

I must say that I am extremely nervous about her reaction to the impending arrival of her little brother or sister. Like most first-borns I imagine, she is completely indulged, spoilt with love and attention, adored and admired by her doting parents and the apple of our eye. Imagine the shock of being ousted off her only-child pedestal by a little nipper who doesn’t even play with her and demands her mummy’s undivided attention for at least the first few months. Maggie completely rules the roost in our house and has no idea how to share her time or her possessions. She has no real meaning of the word ‘share’, even though she has obviously heard it being bandied about and often uses it when she’s trying to take a toy off someone else. ‘Share’, ‘Share’, she insists but really only means ‘Give it to me!’

One parenting expert Eileen Hayes wrote in 2004 that the age gap between children is thought to have an effect on the strength of sibling rivalry. It’s been found a gap of between two and four years often produces the worst jealousy, while there seems to be less of a problem if the gap’s larger (more than five years) or smaller (less than 18 months).

There will be almost 21 months difference between Maggie and Baby, so according to the theory books things might work out just fine. We plan to do all the recommended things like buying a present for Maggie from the new baby and making sure we give her plenty of encouragement and attention, even when she is being too ‘helpful’. But nature has its own way of working and hopefully it will simply be in Maggie’s nature to look after and love her little brother or sister. After all, aren’t siblings the best thing ever???

I wrote in an earlier post 25 Things that I would love to have four children, mostly because I am from a family of four and couldn’t imagine life without my siblings. And it’s true! I’m sure we had our fair share of sibling issues and tissues over the years but I can honestly say that my life is enriched in so many ways by my gorgeous siblings. They are by far my best friends.

When I was expecting Maggie I secretly hoped she was a girl, despite everyone I met insisting that I was having a boy. Now I’m completely open to whatever is in store, although some day I definitely would love her to have a sister. They pull your hair and kick you right in the chin with their new roller-boots and sometimes are just downright mean, but then they’ll write you a letter saying they love you and offer to plait your hair and tickle your arm as you fall asleep and you’ll forgive them everything.

Sibling Rivalry? Let’s hope it’s more like Sibling Devotion.

Me and my gorgeous siblings

It’s official: I’m HP – Heavily Pregnant

I think there should be 4, not 3 stages of pregnancy:

First trimester: weeks 1-12
Second trimester: weeks 13-24
Third trimester: up until Week 34
‘Officially Heavily Pregnant’ stage or ‘the Last Leg’: 6 weeks to go

This is the stage where NOTHING fits, not even your hubby’s T-shirt; and the baby moves into your pelvis so you start to WADDLE.

12 signs that prove I am officially Heavily Pregnant:

1. A friend asked me if I had enjoyed sledging in the snow last weekend. An innocent enough enquiry to which I replied, ‘Sledging? Are you feckin’ serious? I can barely walk!’ I only managed to put the final twig in place for the snowman during our ‘snowman building’ activity and even then the walk to the park nearly floored me.

2. My belly is stretching so fast at the moment that I have developed a rash that itches like MAD.

3. No amount of Walls Vienetta or Tangle Twisters can ease the heartburn, but I continue to try this method nonetheless.

4. Even though it has been -2 degrees outside this week I can’t seem to escape the heat. I am sleeping with the duvet off as if it is mid-summer.

5. I’ve started to have horrendous, anxious, horrible dreams.

6. The ‘nesting instinct’ has officially kicked in. To date I have cleaned out the fridge, reorganised the cupboards, sorted paperwork, bought lots of storage boxes. Oh and bought lots of Housey magazines. That counts, right?

7. I decided to work right up until 2 weeks before the baby arrives, just so I can enjoy a longer maternity break at the other side. But I’m beginning to regret it. I had a 2-hour conference call today and I found myself wheezing and panting by the end of it. And I hadn’t moved from my chair- just talked for a bit!

8. I am constantly switching between immense fatigue and little bursts of energy. So I’ll get the hoover out, put on a couple of washes and clean the bathroom in a spurt of energy, and then collapse on the sofa with an achy back and discomfort in my pelvis, thinking ‘why, why, why’.

9. I feel like my bump has exploded recently. I had my 34-week GP appointment today and my doctor suggested that this was very probably a big baby. ‘Well, it’s certainly a very big bump’, he laughed. Hmmm.

10. Who am I trying to kid? I’ve been HP since Christmas at least. I spent all of Christmas Day puffing and panting not only because I had eaten too much turkey but because my gorgeous red (non-maternity) dress which I had thought was sufficiently loose-fitting was FAR TOO TIGHT.

11. Even though we decided to spend New Years’ Eve at home, I got all dressed up for the delicious meal John was cooking, chilled a mini bottle of Prosecco for midnight, lit the candles and put the Amelie soundtrack on. Not having much ‘spare’ room in my belly anymore, I had eaten far too much by 9.30pm, was sick and in my bed by 10, and only staggered out of bed at 11.50 so I could watch the Jools Holland countdown with Johnny and make a wish upon a star.

I was back in bed by 12.05.

12. Maggie and I travelled to and from Belfast on our own over the Christmas holidays. On the way over she sat on my lap. On the way back she didn’t fit – there was no room! I had to put her in her own seat beside me when the cabin crew weren’t looking.

So here I am, 34 weeks and counting….

Here’s (nearly) looking at you, kid! :)

Maggie kissing The Bump

Have yourself a merry little Christmas shopping…Part 2

Calling all Santa’s little elves….
Toys R Us are having a Flash Sale online today only which must end at midnight.

The sale includes up to 60% off board games, pre-school toys, action figures, fashion dolls, construction toys and bikes – but not consoles or games.

Happy shopping!

(An unread but highly anticipated) Book Review


I picked Maggie up at her childminder’s and she greeted me with a huge grin and ran over to the door shouting, ‘Mummy, my Mummy’ in a way that would break a Ma’s heart. But within thirty seconds she was refusing to put on her coat, screamed, straightened her back and lay on the ground to have a tantrum, as she is wont to do these days. Instead, I picked her up to prevent said-tantrum and she pulled my hair and hit me across the face!

Dear Lord, that was a first I can tell you. I don’t know who was more shocked – me or the poor childminder who only sees the best side of Maggie and has never yet heard her complain. I couldn’t believe she had actually yanked my hair! I didn’t know what to do so hastily bundled her into the car and almost as soon as it started it was over.


‘Toddler Taming’ by Dr Christopher Green arrived in the post.

I will of course, dear reader, let you know what it is like in due course. Let’s hope there is a chapter on the Terrible Pre-twos and that it tells me that I’m lucky because we are getting it out of the way early. And that it won’t last. And that of course we haven’t done anything wrong.

Fingers crossed.


#Silent Sunday


Have yourself a merry little Christmas shopping…Part 1

Last week the Coca-Cola Christmas truck was spotted in London, and that can mean only one thing – while it’s far too early to put up your tree or wear your Christmas jumper, the Christmas season has definitely begun (and most importantly you should start planning your Christmas shopping now!)

I don’t mean go out and buy everything in November, I mean write a list, look up ‘stuff’, google, search, meander websites looking for inspiration for the Christmas presents you will buy in the next 40 days. Everyone knows that there is nothing better than buying a few final pressies the weekend before Christmas and spending Christmas Eve over a glass of red wine wrapping them beautifully. But any good shopper will tell you that they have already done all the ground-work long ago, and in many cases have bought a fair amount of presents already. Just don’t tell anyone how organised you are – it destroys the illusion !

I’m a member of every Friends & Family / yummy mummy club there is and I often get sent vouchers and promotional codes for money off various products.

So to help out with the delightful task of early Christmas shopping, or just pre-Christmas ‘me’ shopping, I have collated a list of what I think are the best deals to be had on the high street over the next few days. But hurry! Some deals run out on Sunday.

32.5% off plus FREE delivery

This week Debenhams has a 25% off Christmas Spectacular sale which ends on Sun 18 Nov 2012. To get an extra 10% off the 25% sale enter the code FJ23, (unfortunately the 10% off code doesn’t apply to concessions, fragrance or beauty). Delivery’s free over the whole Christmas period.

Gap 30% off everything
By Mon 19 Nov, enter the code GAPSAVE30 online at Gap or download the voucher and take it to your nearest store. Delivery’s £4

Monsoon 20% off all Ladies and Children’s clothing
This Friends & Family offer starts today until Sunday 18th November in store and online. Just enter code FRIENDS20 or show in store.

Dorothy Perkins 25% off
Enter the code DPFWD online at Dorothy Perkins. Delivery’s £4. Or, avoid delivery costs by printing this voucher and taking it to your nearest store. Excludes Kardashian Collection.
Offer ends Sun 18 Nov 2012.

Free Oasis £10 gift card in £1 mag
£10 minimum spend, so find something that price and it’s ‘free’.
Pick up this month’s Look magazine (usually £1.80 but currently £1 in Tesco stores, Nicole Scherzinger on the cover) and you’ll find the gift card inside, to use at Oasis online or in-store by Sun 18 Nov 2012. You can’t use it on sale items or jewellery.

There are a few things for £10 in-store, including tights, socks and slipper socks, meaning you won’t pay anything other than £1 for the magazine.

Sainsbury’s ‘Free’ £10 baby bundle (£3.71 spend)
Buy nappies, print voucher and get £10 of goods
Nectar cardholders need to register to Sainsbury’s baby & toddler club online, get a voucher and buy any pack of Huggies Newborn nappies with that voucher. You must be pregnant or have a baby under the age of 3 months to get the freebie.

Sainsbury’s £12 off £60 grocery
Online code for new customers.
Enter the code VVTC-3FTC-3PJN online at Sainsbury’s by Fri 23 Nov 2012. Delivery’s from £3.95.

Happy shopping everyone!