My birth stories 

This might sound weird, but I LOVED giving birth! I also loved being pregnant. I’m lucky in that my other half just has to look at me and I conceive! After 4 children though we’re definitely done. He’s had “the snip” to make extra sure 😉

Everything about pregnancy is magical. The first few weeks, when only you and your partner know – it’s the most special secret you keep between you. The first scan, first kicks, your growing bump. I loved it. I never suffered with particularly bad sickness, it was always manageable.

With my first pregnancy I was so lucky to be going through it with two really good friends. Our babies were all due within 4 weeks of each other.

Even though I was so nervous about giving birth the first time I was also very excited! The countdown is on from about week 37 and the anticipation builds. I didn’t find out the sex, which just added to the emotion of it all.

Even though it’s been almost 8 years now since I had my first daughter I still remember that first twinge of labour! I had no idea how much those contractions could hurt! Nothing can prepare you for it. I was so, so scared and wanted all the drugs available! After a long hard labour my little girl was born. She made me a mother and the bond we formed from that day is amazing. It felt so natural. I absolutely loved being her mum and knew very early on that I wanted to give her some siblings. My birth with her was traumatic though and I was worried about the next one…

…fast forward less than 2 years and I was ready to pop again. This time two days overdue, unlike the first which was 4 days early. Again we didn’t find out the sex.

I bought a TENS machine, not really thinking it would do much. Wow! It zapped that pain away so well I ended up giving birth to my second baby girl on the living room floor! It was amazing to be at home, totally relaxed and not needing any intervention at all. I felt really empowered! After the horrendous time I had having my first I never would have thought I’d be able to do it all again, at home, no pain relief! I felt so proud of myself.

Naturally, when expecting my third, I assumed it’d be a breeze like the second! Oh how wrong I was! We knew he was a boy this time, and we knew he was bigger than the others – my bump was huge! Turned out he was almost a whole POUND bigger than my last baby. Too big, in fact! I’m only a small girl, it took me a long time to push his big meat head out (bless him he’s still got a big head now!). The recovery from that birth was rough. It was definitely the worst of the three and it put me off having a fourth baby for sure. 

But number 4 did come! And she was a late one. A week overdue and I was sooo fed up and seriously impatient. I was driving to pick my kids up from school when I felt my first tightening! It was mild so I wasn’t too sure it was real. I even sat through a gymnastics performance with my children, with 3-4 stronger, more painful contractions. I knew this was it now. When I got home they all of a sudden came faster and stronger and I knew I wouldn’t make it to hospital, just like with my second baby. We quickly arranged for a babysitter to take the 4 kids upstairs and we called an ambulance. My baby girl’s head was out by the time they arrived! Out she came! What a surreal, yet incredible experience.

It’s amazing how 4 babies can give you such different labours. My second and fourth were definitely similar though and I can honestly say I loved it! Those first precious moments holding your new baby, the first latch, first cuddles with daddy – I feel broody just thinking about it! 

Four is enough for me though, I’m very lucky! It’s so nice thinking back to each birth, they’re the best days of my life ❤️

Dogmums

So, I came across an article with a really interesting viewpoint yesterday. See here:

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_595fac10e4b02e9bdb0c3086

There are many layers to this story. Lena Dunham basically gave her rescue dog back because she says it is too aggressive and has various problems. Firstly, I’ll just say I totally advocate adopting shelter dogs – it’s the best thing to do. I rescued both my cats and I don’t believe you should buy into the breeding of “designer dogs” such as your labradoodles/puggles/pomchi’s and the endless other fashionable pooches with ridiculous names…

However, she refers to herself as a dog MOM. This article totally reflects my own opinion on this. By all means, love your pets. But come on, they’re not children! 

I’d love a dog one day. The bond and loyalty you get is truly special and I’d love for my kids to grow up with a canine friend. Unfortunately, by the time my youngest starts school I’ll be back at work full time so it’s unlikely we’d get one.

I digress. Dogs are your pets. They’re not your children! Love this article by Huffpost.

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_595fac10e4b02e9bdb0c3086

The best things about being a mum…

I’m definitely guilty of having a little moan about the trials and tribulations of parenting! But who else sits down after putting the kids to bed, even after the hardest of days, and just thinks God I love those little blighters?!

Children are hard work – they test your patience, keep you up at night and they choose to dip their fingers into their yoghurts and then wipe them on your newly cleaned sofa… (or is that just my mine?) but you wouldn’t have it any other way, would you? I definitely wouldn’t!

My children have enriched my life and made me a better, more loving, more open, slightly more patient, a lot more understanding and beyond anything – HAPPY person!

I can honestly say I feel truly blessed to have birthed FOUR incredible children. Each unique, all adorable. My love has multiplied, quadrupled in fact, and I love being their mummy so much.

The best things for me are the little things. Just yesterday my toddler son was pottering about in the garden when he proudly presents me with a bunch of dandelions and daisies from the lawn! My heart melted, he was so cute. It feels so nice to be raising such a thoughtful and sweet little boy!

My two girls are always making me cards and drawing me pictures – that never gets old.

Listening to them read, especially a little poem or story they’ve made up themselves often gives me goosebumps! Just watching them grow and develop and realising “I made them”. It’s amazing!

Number 4 is my last baby. She is such a dream! Her smiles light up the room and I could literally stare at her all day! It’s exciting waiting for her to hit all the milestones – soon she’ll be crawling! She’s just this weekend learnt to wave, which is beyond cute.

When I’ve had a hard day and I’ve been trying to work whilst keeping the two little ones entertained, and I’m stressed and can’t wait for bedtime… they fall asleep and I just want to sit there watching them. Little angel faces so content and sweet.

I love my babies so much and the best thing I ever did was have them! As I write this I’ve got my youngest baby girl dream feeding before I take her up to bed for the night. Perfect little pouty lips, fluttery long lashes and a little button nose. I could stare at her all night!

Ending the day on a positive note because sometimes you just need to count your blessings 🙂

Why are other women so cruel to each other?

I went to an all-girls school. I have a sister, and I have daughters. I am oh-so-familiar with “bitchiness”. It starts surprisingly early. My seven-year-old daughter has already experienced the difficulties of friendships, including name-calling, isolating and even body shaming! In my experience, this is a problem predominately female.

So what makes girls be so horrible to one another? Is it because we are so competitive with each other? Is it because we feel insecure from a young age? Are we inherently bitchy?

A lovely friend of mine just yesterday made a Facebook plea to a retailer – urging them to fix their sizing because it varies so drastically across the store. She bravely uploaded a selfie of how her usual size 8 slender figure could not even accommodate a pair of size 12 jean shorts, even though she had entered the shop wearing one of their own size 8 dresses.

Her whole point was that this shop’s sizing should be consistent across its stores and how frustrating it is to buy two items of clothing in exactly the same size, yet fit so differently. I knew exactly the issue she was raising and understood it entirely.

However… cue the influx of unsolicited comments misconstruing what she was saying and then accusing her of somehow indirectly “fat shaming” women of a bigger size. It was totally obvious that my friend was merely trying to raise awareness of how mislabelling clothes, and the varying sizes across the stores, is frustrating.

Comments went back and forth on the now-viral post and unfortunately things started to get personal. Girls were even making comments such as: “she can’t keep a man” and “lets get her!” – what?! 

Then there were ironic conversations going on that referenced ‘Mean Girls’ and they likened my friend to Regina George. The pathetic thing about the whole circus that ensued was that they were in fact the ‘Mean Girls’ and the jealousy, nastiness and antipathy displayed by this group of adult women was terribly sad and just reminded me of my days at my single-sex school.

Such hostility and pettiness can only be borne out of a deep insecurity within that bully’s self. To me, it’s as if they are waiting for a situation, such as this post by my dear friend, to arise. Waiting for it so that they can be keyboard warriors and attack another female, particularly as a group (strength in numbers…) and put that person down so that they feel better about themselves.

 But do they ever stop for just a second to consider how that person is feeling? What they might have been through recently that could stir up a host of distressing emotions and painful memories? What if my friend had been through abusive relationships and that was the reason that she found it difficult to trust anyone, let alone fall in love? What if, like many of us, she suffered crippling anxiety and depression, and the bullying that she has so unfairly been subjected to has caused her to be genuinely  upset and hurt? Bullies thrive on schadenfreude.

By being so spiteful and critical of my friend they achieve the paradoxical effect of what her post was actually intended to do: 

Women supporting other women.

Why should this be so hard to do? She ended up deleting her post, which had hundreds of likes, shares and comments; and even deleted her Facebook profile because of the kerfuffle it caused.

Us ladies should be building each other up, instead of tearing each other down. I’ll be setting this example to my daughters and I hope they grow into strong, yet sympathetic, assertive but not aggressive and kind yet courageous young women.

Be the woman you’d like your daughters to be.

Childhood Tics

Tics are something I had never really had any experience with and always associated them with Tourette’s syndrome. I certainly didn’t think that the average young child could suddenly develop one.

My daughter has just turned six years old and she’s been experiencing symptoms of an anxiety related tic for around a year now. It started off as an “annoying” cough that she would constantly do. I’m sad to say that before I realised it was a cough I’d ask her to please keep quiet and stop making that sound. However, after a few weeks I quickly realised that this was some kind of involuntary noises she was making. So, I read up on it and discovered, to my surprise, that these random repetitive noises were actually a form of tic.

I also didn’t realise until I really read up on it that it’s actually incredibly common. Most children who develop a tic grow out of them, but when one goes away then new ones could follow. This is what we’ve found so far.

When I discovered that anxiety, change and stress could bring these tics on I felt sad for my baby. She’s been through so much in her six years. 5 house moves, not including the two with her dad, a parents divorce, mama’s new boyfriend and daddy’s new girlfriend, starting school, two new siblings, and lastly a new custody agreement that means she only gets to see me 50% of the time. I know the poor lamb struggles with this as she often gets upset when I drop her off at school. I spend time with her though as much as I can – we read together – she’s really coming along brilliantly with that! We play and we talk a lot about things.

We don’t mention the tic when it’s particular bad. I don’t think she realises she is doing it so the best thing to do is just ignore it! I was worried about children at school picking on her for it so I dropped her teacher a quick email just to go over a few things and get that reassurance.

I guess the most important way to support your child emotionally is just to be there. She knows she can always come to me with her worries and I’ll always listen to her.

We have a lot of humour in this house too though. We’re relaxed and playful and someone is always playing a prank or a joke on someone… usually I’m the butt of those jokes!

It’s really good to not take life so seriously and to allow the children to let go and just be silly children if they want to be. I’m hoping this attitude will soon lead to my daughter’s tic diminishing and ultimately stopping.

Does anyone else’s children have a tic? Have you found it easy or difficult to manage and ignore? Would love to hear from you!

Spotsound mascot review

I have just received our company mascot that I ordered from “Spotsound”. The one we liked was on the French version of their website. I did lots of research in order to ensure it wasn’t a bogus company and the reviews looked good.

Communication via email was all fine so I felt confident and excited about receiving the product.

The mascot arrived and I have to say I was disappointed! It had been shipped from China, which was a red flag straight away as sometimes the quality in goods they produce – particularly garments, are in my opinion, often poorly stitched, ill-fitting and rushed, which results in a sub-standard finished product.

Suffice to say this all rang true with the mascot I received. The cutting of the material – specifically around the eyes, had jagged edges and didn’t have that clean professional finish I expected.

The actual head is a very tight fit. As is the body.

The gloves only have 4 fingers, which is a little tricky to put on to say the least 😄

The shoes are okay. They don’t look very hardwearing but they actual look is fine.

I paid €40 for a fan that is literally the size of the palm of my hand and I can’t imagine it will do much in the way of cooling on a hot summer’s day!

Lastly, the branding of our logo on the belly is laughable. It’s literally printed onto a white felt/cardboard sign and superglued (rather badly) onto the front of the mascot. It looks silly!

I have contacted SpotSound but unsurprisingly they haven’t responded to either of my complaints. Previously, when I had emailed them to ask questions about my order they replied within a couple of hours.

I’m really disappointed that we’ve wasted our hard earned money on this joke of a company but we will still use it until I can save up for a better one. We don’t want to let the children at our holiday camps down so Hopefully they will like it regardless.

A few people have been in touch on instagram to tell me SpotSound steal images of their mascots and pass them off as their own! What a shameful company.

Don’t get caught out like I did. DO NOT USE SPOTSOUND!

*EDIT* I have now received a reply disputing the poor quality and threatening to ruin my business’ reputation. Even more reason for everyone else to avoid this company.

 

Poem: to miles

We made a wish and you came true
A tiny life growing, special and new

To be sure of the date we had an early scan
Already perfectly formed, all going to plan

As the weeks went by we planned and prepared
We felt excited and happy, nothing compared

We found out what you were, a big bouncing boy
But We kept it a secret – our pride and joy

Daddy talked to my belly, every night
You’d kick in response and we’d watch in delight

As the end got near, impatience would grow
We wanted to meet you, to say hello

And so the day came, my contractions were strong
Grandpa stu rang up, asked if he could come along

So there I am sat, writhing in pain
With daddy and stu watching, chilling the champagne

But little did we know it would not be that fast
The pain was unbearable! How long would it last?

We went to the hospital and the hours passed on
The agony was huge but I tried to stay strong

Your head was too big, I thought you’d never come
I squeezed daddy’s hand so hard it went numb

But daddy was great, he put me at ease
When you finally popped out we were both so relieved!

You weighed Almost 8 pounds, your cry very loud
You looked just perfect, we were both so proud

Daddy looked after us and helped all he could
We were all so happy, life really was good

When the girls met you, they loved this boy
A new little brother for them to enjoy

You were so contented, and slept so well
But your nappies weren’t great, daddy dealt with that smell!

You were soon a little smiler, it was lovely to see
And your cooing and babbling when sat on daddy’s knee

You’re the cutest little thing, so gorgeous and sweet
You’ve lit up our lives, made our family complete.