Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Over 20kg & two other pieces of news!

We've just got back from a weekend in Scotland. Going away with children (well, in my case one child) is really not as stress-free or easy as it looks. As you know by now I'm all for a stress-free lifestyle. I make our life as easy as possible and try not to get hung up on the small things. My attitude is difficult to extend to travel though.

Tabby B has been on 3 trips now on a plane, that's 6 flights and she's only 9 months old. Utter madness! She's not as spooky as she sounds, my Dad lives in Scotland so it's lots easier to fly for an hour to see him rather than drive up which takes a whole day.

Our suitcase was OVER 20kg! For 4 days! I don't know how that's even possible. Luckily my brother came and he had packed light so I was able to put some things into his bag. I didn't even take anything unnecessary, juat clothes and bottles etc!

Tabby B is always very good on planes, sleeps mostly. They say that you should feed your baby on take-off and landing to try and help their ears. I'd definitely recommend that advice. Has worked everytime for us. We had a great time in Scotland, missed all o te lowly weather that everyone else had in England though!

People did help with Tabby B while I was away but it is quite tiring doing it alone. Just because we get so out of routine. I think Tabby B likes knowing where she is and what's going on. I firmly believe that babies and children thrive on routine. The stability helps them feel safe.

Two exciting developmental pieces of news for you :) the first is that Tabby B can confidently get up stairs! I lost her the other day and low and behold she was half-way up the stairs! Need to put a stair gate up pretty sharpish! Also Tabby B has just woke up. She slept 6pm-6am. Amazing! Never in her life has she slept so good!!

Have lovely Wednesday's. Thanks for reading :) xx

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

"oh my giddy aunt"

Just a short one today. Lots of things over the past (nearly) 9 months have lead me to say "I'm such a mum now!" today was no exception.

I have changed a huge deal these past 18 months. Since finding out I was pregnant, giving birth & raising tabitha I have grown up and got direction and a sense of purpose in my life. I think this happens to most mums.

Today tabitha climbed the two steps from our bathroom into the bedroom. A MASSIVE deal for us! (although probably not for you hearing about it!) Nowhere in this house is safe anymore! She's supposed to be my litte girl. However my response was the most amusing. Previously I would have sworn a lot, blasphemed and shouted. Today, for some crazy reason I declared to myself "oh my giddy aunt!"

Immediately I laughed, as did Tabby B for some reason, small things like that make me realise. I am a mum. A proper bonefide mum!

I'm very proud of Tabby B though. She's crawling, cruising, pulling herself up and now apparantly can tackle a few steps without breaking a sweat! At 8 months I'm really very impressed! To be honest I'm a little worried that she's peaking to soon and it might all be downhill from here!

As if that wasn't enough excitement we have booked our holiday today, we're off to France camping in a few weeks time! Very exciting, very worrying that I have to drive on the wrong side of the road, but very exciting! I like challenging myself to do new things these days, as I'm fulfilling a mum and dad's role a lot of the time I can't back out of difficult situations. I don't mind though, I'm quite relishing the challenge to be honest!

We come home from France, have a sleep, and then are off to Tabby B's first festival, Latitude. July is going to be a very exciting month for us. I'm cramming it all in before the hard work of real life resumes in September!


Saturday, 18 June 2011

Zzzzzz .....

Sleep. A massively important thing when you have a child. Partners argue over who has the least sleep, friends lie about how much their child sleeps and one of the most asked question from strangers is "does she sleep well?" No is the answer to that.

Tabby B has slept through the night twice in her life. Combined with the fact that I have never left her for an evening these two facts mean that I have had 2 complete nights sleep in about 9 months. Broken sleep can be a killer for some people, they find it really hard.

Unfortunately the professionals forget to mention the following 2 facts that I'm now going to reveal to you. Remember them!!

1. Newborn babies do not like sleeping by themselves. A tiny tiny percentage of newborns sleep perfectly in their Moses baskets, all the rest don't! I bought a Moses basket because that what people have when they have babies. I never used it. When we got home from hospital I tried to put Tabby B in it but she wasn't having any of it.

It's understandable really. 9 months living inside your mum all warm, comfortable and happy and then people expect you to sleep in funny sheets & clothes all by yourself. No way! A huge percentage of people co-sleep at the start, so long as this is done safely and the guidance is researched theres nothing wrong with it. In fact it can be a really lovely experience for you, your partner and your baby. It's funny because not many people admit that they co-sleep but for the first couple of days a surprisingly large amount of do do it!

2. Newborn babies do not self-settle. No way no how! Some people expect a lot of their children, but it's not their fault. There is a perception that 6 week old newborns all get put down in their cots at 7pm, get themselves to sleep and sleep through the night. Hahahaha, if only! Tabby B still doesn't self settle. Now some people say that I'm "making a rod for my own back" but in actual fact lots of friends, family and other mums all have the same experiences as me.

From birth Tabby B stayed up until around 11pm and fed to sleep. She came to bed with me and woke 3, 4, 5 times a night. At around 3 months I started to think that 11pm was a bit late. I was getting seriously tired!! I started taking her to bed at around 7pm and after a few nights she adjusted her routine to this. Now I go upstairs at around 5pm, Tabby B has a bath every other day (it's not advised to bath everyday to begin with) and she has a bottle (or 2!) and goes to sleep. Then we have a cuddle for about half an hour and I put her down. She wakes a couple of times these days, it varies really. She's been getting better.

Co-sleeping is ace though. I really like the fact that when she wakes up I'm there. I've never not been there for her in the night and that's something I really like. I don't judge people who go out and leave their babies it's just up until now it's not something I've wanted to do. We can have a cuddle in the night and I know that she's ok all the time, I don't have to get up and check when I'm worried. The only thing I'm struggling with at the moment is that Tabby B wakes for 1-2 hours in the middle of the night! We have a play and a chat, read a book and have a bottle. This means that I do get quite tired though, ugh, really quite tired!

We had a nice day today, I got quite a lot of sleep last night. We've been to Holt and to see some family. I've done some cooking for Tabby B too which is good. I feel a lot more positive since my money troubles. I still have them but am managing to see past them! They're not the be all and end all! Anyway, bath time! I hope you all get some good sleep!!!


Thursday, 16 June 2011

Pounds, Dollars, Euros and Yen

Yes I'm talking money people. Makes the world go round eh?! Well at the moment my world's stopped turning!

The CSA, now that's an interesting system. One department has no way of communicating with another. There's anacronyms coming out of your ears and it's certainly not a "don't call us we'll call you organisation". I am right in assuming that in their lifetimes most people don't choose to have any dealing with the CSA, that's the way it should be. People only speak to the CSA when they are in need and it is truly necessary. You'd think they'd be more helpful.

My claim which has been in since February is "under investigation" - no one can even tell me what these words actually mean. I can tell you the results of those words though, hell yes I can, it means no money for Tabby B and I. A month I'm told and they might be able to release some funds, but that's not guaranteed. Crying on the phone to the CSA is not a good look people, not a happy end to a Thursday that I'd recommend.

I also have had a couple of lovely phone calls to the Job Centre this evening. No income support for me. So no money. No legal aid. No nothing.

I am not a "Daily Mail" single mum who feels entitled to numerous benefits and a huge amount of help from this government. I am a straight A student. I have never claimed a penny before. From September I am doing my teacher training and will then be working helping society for the rest of my life, educating the adults of tomorrow. I am not a sponger or a scrounger.

I do question today's society's viewpoints on single mums. 99% of us are working hard to bring up our children in very difficult circumstances. Why in the press are we vilified? Made to feel like we are taking money from the state? There are numerous (not all, but there a lots) of "Non Resident Parents" - ex's to you and me - living it up. Enjoying their money and their lives. These people have no negative connotations attached to themselves. Society does not view them as lower class citizens, women do not avoid them, friends do not tell them what they think. Entirely backward. 

"Get a job" some of you will shout. I would. Unfortunately our country has pushed up the price of childcare to such a point that there is no way I could find a job that would even cover my nursery fees.

So back to square one. I don't want to moan. I am thankful for what I have. However being left with a tiny, ridiculous, minuscule amount of money after paying my rent (I won't tell you how much, about the same you'd spend on a Friday night takeaway) leaves me in a difficult position. Thank god for overdrafts!

The thing is I'm not just self-indulging. I don't want anyone's pity. There are hundreds if not thousands of families, some with one, some with two parents, who are struggling just as much. We all want the best for our children. We all work so hard. But sometimes you can have a period of time when it feels like you're walking into a brick wall, trying to smash through locked doors. Unfortunately I have no advice. No solutions. Just carry on. Hold your head up and keep going. I need a pep talk myself this evening. I hope that I can listen to this. It's all worth it in the end. Everyone has struggles, tests to get through. Every breath Tabby B takes helps me realise this is worthwhile, every laugh and smile ensures that I keep going.

Fight for what you believe in. Stand up for the people you love. Sometimes there's only you to battle through for them.


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Washing Up

The single worst thing about being a single parent is the washing up. I'm not joking. Read on and I'll explain why.

I have recently been interviewed by the lovely Laura Bond for an article which will be appearing in Cosmo Australia in September. The article is about the recent celebrity movement towards choosing to be young single mum's. The point of it is that these women are strong and independent and becoming a single mum isn't always a bad thing.

This got me thinking about being a single parent. I actually have found a lot of positives and benefits for Tabby B. I can spend every bit of my energy on Tabby B, having fun & bringing her up exactly how I want to. I don't have to compromise with anything. I don't know how anyone actually raises a child and maintains a happy, healthy relationship!

I can cope with the tiredness, that's fine. Tabby B has slept through the night only twice in her life! I'm not a big fan of controlled crying (I don't mind people using it, it's just not for us!) so at the moment I'm just going with the flow. I can't force her to sleep and there's no magic solution. She'll get there in the end!

I can also deal with the loneliness. Well, I don't feel lonely, so I must deal with it! I use all of my energy on Tabby B so don't have any left to be lonely with. I am very lucky having brilliant friends and family around supporting us at every turn.

So, back to the washing up. It's the mundane day to day tasks that are the worst part of being a single mum. When I am too tired, can't be bothered, feel ill I don't have a choice. I have to still do everything. If I leave the washing up it's there, staring at me, in the morning. I don't have a girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife to take up some of the slack.

When washing up is the biggest problem in your life you know that everything's alright!

Just a quick endnote, my lovely friend Emma has a great blog and has done a little feature on Me and Tabby B Have a little look if you have time! Emma has a great blog! Oh, and I lost 1lb at slimming world this week! Yay!!

I wrote this post this morning. I'm really glad that I did. I've had a hard day today involving solicitors and mediators attempting to reach an agreement with Tabby B's Dad. That combined with money worries (like most parents, single or otherwise) has bought me down. Reading back this blog has helped remind me just how lucky I really am.


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Waves hello

Hi everyone :)

So this is my first time at blogging - don't even know if I have phrased that right! I just thought I'd let you know a bit about who I am so you can see where I'm coming from.

I'm a mum first and foremost. I'm a single mum, but this blog won't be all about that. I'm a young mum, but this blog won't be all about that. I'm a positive co-sleeping mum, but this blog won't be all about that. Oh and I'm a slimming worlder too, but I won't bang on about that too much I hope!

My daughter Tabitha Blossom (henceforth she'll be know as Tabby B) is 8 months old and is amazing! She's just started to crawl and is a very active baby sleeping only 45mins a day & waking me up at 5am most mornings! She likes to be on the go & is a really happy little girl.

I left her Dad when she was just 2 months old. Proper middle of the night running away style. But that's a whole other story for a whole other blog. What matters is that Tabby B and I are happier than we've ever been.

In some ways I'm quite a traditional mum, I believe in homecooked food, an early bedtime & a mum who's always there. I overcompensate a lot because I'm a lone parent. I rarely leave Tabby B and if I do it's only for a few necessary hours in the day. It's fine by me if you want to be a mum who goes out in the evenings but it's just not my style! That's where the tradition ends though. I want to be fun and happy. Too many mum's are too uptight and have too many stupid rules.

One thing I've learnt in my life is that nothing is ever too hard. I firmly believe in living each day to the full. This is something that I hope to instil in Tabby B. Don't get weighed down by the silly mundane things in life. Get out there and get on with the things that you want to do.

We can all achieve everything & anything that we dream of. We just have to keep pushing ourselves towards our goals.

Oh. One more thing. I'm a maths teacher. Thought I'd leave that to the end so you wouldn't think I'm too boring!!!