Bridget Jones’ Baby

I have yet to see the new film, but I like to imagine that Bridget Jones’ baby is rollin’ something like this. At least they will be if they are anything like my, um, toddler.

10th September 2016

Weight: About a stone, apparently (Mummy says scales not entirely accurate as keep saying she is half a stone heavier than she was yesterday?)

Calories: 800 (v.good. Mostly chips and chocolate cake.  V.v.g.)

Breadsticks: 0 (v. bad)

Milky-pops: Substantial, as is Saturday (v.g.) so Mummy not at work (v.v.g.)

Well, it’s the end of a long day and I am keeping Mummy awake.  Not sure what time is but maybe 9.30pm? It is weekend though, so acceptable.  Busy day.  This morning went swimming.  Wore my new blue swim nappy with dolphins on.  Looked very fetching, but slightly too big so had soggy big pants situation when exiting water, and the lady had to come into the changing rooms and mop it all up.  I was v. impressive dragging the cot in the changing rooms around at the time like a big strong boy.  I think she thought I was cute, although Mummy was cramping my style big time by telling me stop it and don’t go near that window blind as the whole street will see me in the nuddy getting changed out of my cozzie.  Honestly, that woman is SO difficult sometimes.  She’s always telling me no Piglet, don’t do that.  No Piglet, not milky-pops time now, wait until bedtime, and I’m like, Piglet is not even my real name.  You must treat me like sensible human being and not airhead with mind of goldfish just because I can’t speak yet.

Anyway, went home in pushchair and it was SO EMBARRASSING because other babies’ mummies and daddies all have cars and I had to look at them in their car seats swooshing on by while we walked down the street getting rained on like plebs.  However, light at the end of the tunnel as got bus home and I was like, braps to all you other babies, look who has the biggest wheels now boob-suckers.

At some point I must have fallen asleep on bus, because when I woke up I was at home, still in pushchair and all my clothes, wondering how I got there.  That’s what too much milky-pops does to a boy.  Granny keeps saying I need to cut down and it’s about time I grew up, settled down to sleep on my own and ate proper food like all her friends’ grandchildren do.  Apparently I am an embarrassment and a disgrace because little Sophie and Emily go to bed at 7pm, never bother their parents during the night and eat all their peas without throwing them on the floor, and I will never be a good boy and will still be coming home milk-drunk at thirty-five, pestering my poor mother for milky-pops.

Played for a bit and ate whole packet of Pom Bears (v.g.) although I think Mummy stole some, as she is flagrant Pom Bear stealer.  Refused sandwich as on sugar and salt diet (v.g.) recommended by friend at nursery who says that if you refuse all food, eventually parents will cave and offer chips out of desperation.  Is working brilliantly.  So far I have seen Mummy and Granny beg, plead and almost cry with tears of frustration, so diet must be having desired effect.

This afternoon went shopping which is obviously v. boring activity, but was able to salvage some joy from the situation by grabbing passing coats and flinging on floor, and almost hitting Mummy with a flying cup in Patisserie Valerie, though was thwarted by Granny in attempts to throw china plates and bits of cutlery.  Diet v. successful.  Managed to eat plate of chips, steal half of Mummy’s chocolate cake and some garlic bread for a bit of vitamins, then refused entire plate of fruit (v.g.).  Mummy bought me stripy top in age 3 (proud moment.  Despite being only two, I am becoming big boy in big boy clothes) and was squealing in excitement about how I would look like her now.  Horrified as she is perpetually covered in chocolate and bogies, which was not the look I was going for.  Clearly if it was, I wouldn’t bother wiping my nose and mouth on her all the time.

Anyway, off to sleep now as I have been drinking milky-pops and doing my leg-bicycling exercises solidly since 8pm, and starting to feel the effects now.  Hiccup.  Sleepytime bigboy milkypops night night.  Hiccup. Love Mummy but wisssshshe would buymore breadsticks.  Hiccup.  Zzzzzzzzzzz.

Pink Pear Bear


Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Extended Breastfeeding and Parenting Judgement

Before I had a child, there were many things that I thought I would never do.  Bribing my child with biscuits to get them to sit in a pushchair, for one (clearly any child of mine was going to come running from the swings and willingly climb into the pushchair with nothing more than a wave and a “Darling, we’re off now! Don’t forget to say goodbye to Tristram and Phoenicia as you exit the park!”).  Many of these were of course based on ignorance of the reality of life with a toddler.  How was I, a childfree woman about town, to know that two year olds rarely ate stuffed vine leaves willingly and at times wouldn’t even consider a baked bean?  Apologies to anyone I may have judged for feeding their children chocolate cake and chips for lunch, for I was young(ish) and naive.

However, some of these Things I Would Never Do were borne not through ignorance of the reality of child-rearing, but out of cultural norms to which I gave far to much credence.

One of these was extended breastfeeding.

There is an early episode of Sex And the City called The Baby Shower, where the girls attend the baby shower of one of those supposed close friends who appears randomly out of nowhere, has their moment in the sun with an episode all about them, and then disappears into the ether, never to return, not even for any of their weddings (how rude).  Predictably, the baby shower isn’t much fun for any of the girls, with the possible exception of Charlotte, and Carrie and Miranda escape outside to bemoan the general lack of fun, alcohol and feminist solidarity.  At one point Miranda, ironically the one character who ends up breastfeeding in a future episode, remarks dryly, “There is a woman in there breastfeeding a child old enough to go to school.  You know what I feel about that?  If they are old enough to ask for it, they probably shouldn’t be having it.”

This episode taught me three things which I stored away for future reference in the area of my brain library marked “Life Lessons from Sex and the City.

1.) Don’t try and down a bottle of vodka whilst pregnant.  Give it up.  The party’s over.

2.) If you are ever in a position to hold a baby shower, there will be no party games and absolutely no squealing.  In fact, it won’t even be a baby shower, it will be an event called “let’s eat sandwiches and say goodbye to my social life forever.  All invited!”

3.) Breastfeeding: if they are old enough to ask for it, they probably shouldn’t be having it.

Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

I am now that woman breastfeeding a child who is old enough to ask for it.  And you know what, I don’t care what anyone thinks.  Not even Miranda.

For me, the question isn’t why am I still breastfeeding, but why would I not be?  My son is happy and well nourished, I can soothe him easily whenever the occasion demands it, it’s free and has health benefits for both of us.  What’s not to love?  That’s not to say that I think everyone should do as I do.  It’s not my place to tell anyone else how to live their lives based on my own completely subjective and unique experience.

I am the first to admit that where breastfeeding is concerned, I have been lucky.  We all know women whose relationship with breastfeeding is complicated, or non-existent.  Mine has been a relatively easy ride.  And you know what, I shouldn’t have to apologise for that, and neither should they.  I couldn’t care less how anyone else chooses to feed their baby.  Assuming it’s not with a lead bottle laced with arsenic, it’s no-one’s business but their own.  Personally, I chose to breastfeed, which is all well and good when you are the one being showered with free vitamins and told how well you’re doing in the early months, but it’s remarkable how the tone changes once you get past a certain prescribed point that society deems “acceptable.”  What that point is may vary slightly, but for me attitudes tended to roughly follow the timeline below.

Age 0-3 months

“You must breastfeed.  It’s essential that your baby gets the colostrum, otherwise he may be doomed to a lifetime of repeated diarrhoea infections.  It’s the best start in life, you know.  No, there’s no formula in the hospital.  We’re a baby friendly hospital.  What, he’s been asleep for three hours and you haven’t woken him for a feed?  I’m aghast.  What sort of mother are you?  Yes, it’s normal that he is feeding ever hour and a half for forty minutes each breast.  Completely standard.  Green poo?  Oh that’s normal.  No it isn’t.  It means the baby’s got gas.  No, it means their intestines haven’t formed properly yet.  What do you mean you think he has a tongue tie?  I can’t see one, but then it’s really impossible to tell without being seen by a specialist, and there’s only two in the entire country.  He looks all right to me.  No, hang on, he’s losing weight.  Are you sure your milk is enough?  Shall I pop out and get you some formula just in case?  You can’t be too careful.  The breastfeeding counsellor doesn’t have an appointment available for two weeks?  You might have given up by then!  Are you going to feed him in public?  What if someone says something?  You hear terrible stories in the media.  Here, have a breastfeeding cape.”

3-6 months

“Are you still breastfeeding?  Well done!  It’s so lovely to see a mother using her breasts as nature intended.  Such a fantastic bond.  Have some vitamins, we save these for the breastfeeding mothers.  Now, don’t forget no weaning until six months!  Are you sure that baby isn’t hungry?  You were weaned by his age.  How old is he now?  Four and a half months?  Are you sure you don’t want to try some baby rice?  Everyone else has started weaning their babies.  In my day it was four months.  They keep changing their minds.  Babies need solid food.  You need to give him a bottle or he’ll never take one.”

6-12 months

“Why isn’t he eating yet?  Babies need solid food.  Your milk doesn’t have enough vitamins.  If only you had started weaning him earlier.  In my day it was four months and most were off the bottle by three.  What happens when you go back to work?  He won’t drink from a cup!  You need to get him weaned or how will he go all day when he’s hardly eating anything?  You’re still breastfeeding?  Well done!  Fair play to you.”

12-24 months

“Well now he’s one, he can have proper milk.  I didn’t mean that your milk isn’t proper milk, it’s just that, well, it’s not normal is it?  Everyone else has given up.  I know you said the World Health Organisation says you should breastfeed until two, but they’re talking about the developing world, aren’t they?  There probably isn’t any food there so they basically have no choice.  Don’t get me wrong, I said it was good to carry on until one but, well, now you’re just doing it for yourself really.  I think you want to keep him a baby forever, completely dependent on you.  You’re doing it because you feel guilty about working.  It’s no wonder he can’t talk yet, what with you treating him like a baby.  I thought you said it would just be at night time?  It’s four ‘o clock in the afternoon!  They call it weaning for a reason, as in WEANING, cutting down milk feeds and replacing with food.  You’re supposed to be cutting down.  No wonder he doesn’t eat proper food.  He wouldn’t be so fussy if you weren’t feeding him all the time.  He’ll still be doing it when he goes to secondary school.  Have you seen that Little Britain sketch with the “bitty”?  That’s you, that is.  It’s not normal.  No one else is doing it.  No one I know anyway.  YOU NEED TO STOP BREASTFEEDING, YOU WEIRD HIPPY!””

And from the age of two onwards….Well, I’ll just have to see.  So far the calls to stop seem to be getting louder, which only strengthens my resolve to go on.  I’m happy, my son is happy.  Everyone else can keep their opinions to themselves.  Sorry not sorry.

Run Jump Scrap!
The Pramshed
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Life Love and Dirty Dishes


More Unsolicited Advice from the Good People of Wembley

So I regale you with yet another tale of how when you have a baby, everyone considers it their God-given right to tell you how to parent.

I had, as usual, carefully considered how Piglet and I were presenting ourselves to the world, in order to deflect any unwanted comments.  Piglet was wearing his snowsuit, and despite the fact that it wasn’t even that cold, I had also brought a blanket to cover him with, lest any well-intentioned individuals decide that I was a neglectful mother for not swaddling Piglet to within an inch of his life.  As we were travelling by bus, I considered taking him out in the sling, so that we wouldn’t be taking up space that may be required by a wheelchair user, or a person with more children than me, whilst also winning bonus points by carrying my baby, which according to the doctrines of attachment parenting is better for the child than being pushed in a pram, because they can like, hear your heartbeat and stuff.  And also it’s what people did in the olden times back on the savannah, innit.  Then I decided against it, as surely if babywearing is indeed better for the child, it wouldn’t result in said child yelling all the way to Ealing because the way Mummy is sitting on the bus is uncomfortable for him, and then being knackered and unable to sleep the whole time we are out as there is nowhere for him to lie down.  So, like the selfish mother that I am, I took the pram.

This was all fine until the way home, when I was sitting contentedly on the bus with Piglet blissfully asleep, until a particularly loud party of schoolchildren walked past, and Piglet woke up.  Like he always does when there is any hint of noise.  After all, in the olden times back in the cave, he had to stay alert all the time just in case a sabre toothed tiger was hanging around, hoping for a bit of a nosh up.  For a while, he was content to sit quietly, looking around (there were surprisingly no sabre toothed tigers on the 83 bus, just a mad bloke who kept caressing the pole with the bell on it) but as time went on, the traffic got worse and he started to get bored, the whingeing started.

“Don’t worry,” I told him reassuringly, “we’ll soon be home.”

Judging by the state of the traffic, this was at best an optimistic estimate, and at worst an outright lie, but Piglet had not yet descended into actual shouting, so surely the other passengers on the bus could put up with the occasional whimper.

And then the elderly man next to me turned to me and explained everything.

“He wants milk.”

Well, at least he had got Piglet’s gender right.  This was an improvement from earlier in the day, when I had been in Boots buying mascara and the woman at the counter leaned over and said knowingly to Piglet, “you’ll be wearing that before too long!”  Not wanting to conform to gender stereotypes by protesting that he was actually a boy, I had nodded enthusiastically in agreement.

I explained to the man on the bus that Piglet was going to be fed when he got home, but I didn’t really want to breastfeed him on the bus, and anyway, hunger was not the cause of his discontent on this occasion.  Why I felt I had to justify myself to the entire cohort of the 83 bus I do not know, but I immediately assumed that the man thought that I must be starving my child.

Which he obviously did, as his next comment was, “he needs nipple.  Somebody give him nipple.”

SOMEBODY?  

Emergency!  Emergency!  Piglet is showing a small amount of displeasure on public transport!  The logical conclusion to this is that I am officially such a terrible specimen of mother and general human being that I need someone else to feed my starving baby as I am incapable of doing it myself by means of breast, bottle or solid food.

And the winner of the Best Dressed Baby Award is….

It sounds like something out of the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party circa 1993, but it’s official, I have the best dressed baby in Wembley.  Winner of the Elle Style Awards, Special Commendation from Anna Wintour, Vogue Baby of the Year.  Move over Blue Ivy, Prince George and North West.  Yes, the play worker at Baby Club (n.b. this is not a nightclub.  That would bring a whole new meaning to the phrase “nappy night”) complimented Piglet on his outfit today with the words, “another lovely outfit this week!”  Yes ANOTHER.  See, Piglet is known throughout North West London for his baby chic.  Let us gloss over that incident with the poo in the dungarees. That was, like, MONTHS AGO.

As for myself, I have not been faring quite so well in the sartorial stakes.  For the second time in a row, we got up too late for me to have time to apply any make up before we left the house, so not only was I slap free-something that has become alarmingly commonplace in recent weeks-but the waistband of my maternity jeans (yes I am still wearing them) sits sufficiently low on the hips for me to have to continually hoist them up to avoid displaying my giant M&S mummy pants to the world.  Not that this was the biggest fashion faux pas at baby club today, as just as we were leaving there was a woman bending down to put her shoes on who was showing her entire bottom.  Imagine the furore if THAT happened in Claridges.

Speaking of which, I have been trying to express milk again, to no avail.  My euphoria upon discovery of the fact that hand expressing is a) possible and b) not the excruciatingly painful debacle I had expected it to be was tempered by the fact that the couple of drips I managed to squeeze out did not, as I had hoped, make much of an impact on the bottle.  One of my antenatal class said her sister had “only” been able to get out 70mls, which compared with my measly few drips, which didn’t even register on the millilitre scale, must have been like Niagara Falls.  It now looks increasingly unlikely that I will ever be able to leave Piglet with anybody for longer than half an hour as I have read in baby books that if babies don’t learn to take a bottle early on, they never will, and Piglet has never even seen a bottle.  He’s going to be the breastfeeding equivalent of those old men in pubs who complain about the yoof of today drinking lager out of bottles instead of real ale from a hearty tankard hung above the bar with their name on it.

In other news, Piglet has discovered that if he flaps his arms about a bit whilst sitting in the washing up bowl (still currently too scared to put him in the giant baby bath, so he is having his baths in the washing up bowl.  The washing up, you will be relieved to hear, goes in the dishwasher) an interesting effect, commonly known as a splash, is created.  Mummy is now soaked to the skin.

Expressing Milk Attempt no. 1: Abject Failure

11pm and Piglet is lying in his co-sleeper, shouting.  God knows what the neighbours must think.  Frankly I’m amazed I haven’t had a note through the door telling me to keep the noise down, and while we’re at it, social services have been called.  In fact, everybody in my building must see a good deal more of my parenting skills than they would like, given that my living room has no curtains and overlooks a whole bunch of other flats.  Today, for example, the neighbours were treated to the sight of what must have looked like me abusing my breasts with a plastic bottle with a big suction pad attached.

Yes, I tried to express milk in the futile hope that at some point I will be able to leave Piglet with a relative for an hour or so to go out and enjoy some wild times.  Maybe a glass of wine, maybe a day at work, maybe even-gasp!-a date.  OK not the last one.  I have officially retired from the dating scene.

Anyway, this was not a wildly successful enterprise, as the photograph below revealing the results of this experiment shows.

Just to reiterate, in case the photo didn’t make things entirely clear, this bottle is EMPTY.  I think most of the few droplets that can be seen are the remnants of a spin in the dishwasher that the breast pump had before I started using it.  So I now have both a manual breast pump and a steam steriliser that are both completely useless.  This was what I ended up with after a walk around the baby section of Boots with my mother while she pointed out the baffling array of items that are required for any sort of bottle feeding: bottles in a variety of shapes and sizes, teats which let the milk out at varying speeds, breast pumps, sterilisers.  I’m still not sure what the latter even do.  Mine is sitting in its box in my living room; a room which, I might add, I until recently described as “minimalist” and which now contains the following: bouncy chair, weaning chair (a small chair for Piglet which looks like a high chair, but on the ground.  Essentially, it’s a low chair), feeding pillow, car seat, toy arch, baby gym, play mat, selection of cuddly toys and now a breast pump and steriliser.  And yet I found myself looking at this very room this evening-a room whose strict colour scheme and lack of plastic tat I had previously prided myself upon-and thinking to myself, “now, what this room really needs is a jumperoo.”

No, what I really need is a bigger house.  And some curtains.  Definitely need those.  Poor Piglet had to have his bath this evening in full view of most of Wembley.  I’m surprised his naked bottom didn’t accidentally end up being beamed to the nation on X Factor.  In fact, what I really need is one of those houses on Escape to the Country, with a large kitchen diner, exposed beams, wood burner and range.  I’ve already chosen which Aga I want.  The blue one.  And I’ll have at least an acre of land with a few outbuildings, hot tub, sauna and holiday let.  Or failing that, I’ll just live somewhere that isn’t Wembley, and will no longer be followed down the high street by a mentalist waving a can of deodorant in my face and explaining how he bought it, but he no longer wants it and wants to exchange it.  I think he must have mistaken me for this.

We do look pretty similar.

Anyway, thankfully Piglet has now gone to sleep.  It only took about two hours of feeding.  Thank goodness I wasn’t relying on that expressed milk.

The Kindness of Strangers.

Why is it that every time I go out, no matter how many times I have fed Piglet (and no matter how many times he has tried to escape from the Hide-the-Boob Tent), and even if I have fed him immediately before leaving wherever I am, by the time he gets on the train home he is hungry again and screaming blue murder as if to alert every passer by within a fifty mile radius that I am a useless and neglectful mother who doesn’t feed her baby and who will doubtless end up with a child with a shrunken brain from all the cortisol released during the frantic screaming.

And why is it that as I run from station to home with the pram, reassuring Piglet repeatedly that we are almost home as he shrieks inconsolably, and pointing out every local landmark that he won’t recognise to support my point, that EVERY ONE of those passers by feels the need to give me the Look of Death which communicates in no uncertain terms that not only do they-Mr and Mrs Judgey McJudge, the Great British Public-wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment outlined above, but they are also on the verge of calling social services.

And why is it that every time I pass another baby, they are sitting there serenely in their mother’s arms, cooing and gurgling into their swaddling bands whilst looking up at their parents with a look of blissful adoration as if they have never shed a tear in their young life.  WHY, WHY, WHY?

And lastly, why are all these people always full of useless suggestions to stop the crying, such as (I kid thee not) blowing on the baby’s face?

BECAUSE THAT’S GOING TO WORK

Surely the one time in the history of the world that this worked was when the reason for the crying was a hair or bit of dust or fluff happened to have fallen on the baby’s face and was really annoying it until a knowledgeable stranger walked by and blew the offending article away.

It has been mooted (on the Internets, obvs.) that one possible reason for a baby’s crying is that a hair has become tightly wound around the baby’s finger, toe or (eek!) penis, annoying said baby and potentially cutting off the circulation to the area.  I now live in fear of this happening (particularly the penis situation, especially since today I found one of my own ludicrously long hairs lurking in Piglet’s nappy).  However, so far every time Piglet has started to cry on the train, the only thing that can satisfy him is the boob.  And it’s hardly practical to whip one out whilst walking down the street, however successful a multi-tasker I consider myself to be.

Yet why have I never seen anyone else in this predicament?