Nearly there…

I am one day overdue.

mummykimmy pregnant

It’s such a weird thing waiting to give birth. Every twinge gets your hopes up. I had powerful Braxton Hicks last week for three days which obviously did a great job because when the midwife came on Monday she said I was very close. She said the magic words: “I’ll be very disappointed if you need to be induced” as she did the paperwork and booked my induction for the 19th anyway.

Since I’ve stopped work, the only thing preventing me enjoying this unique time in my life is my super-demanding son, who is taking full advantage of mummy’s temporary disability. I think the worst day was at a large park, when he took off and would not come back. When I eventually caught up with him, he fought my every effort to take him back, screaming, kicking and full-on lying down on the ground and refusing to move. I part carried, part dragged him back to the car, which took a full 20 minutes, and then refused to speak to him for the rest of the afternoon. Carrying him had really f*cking hurt my back, completely screwed up my delicately balanced pelvis and just broken my heart a bit that he should behave so badly.

mummykimmy wee man

But.

This last week he has made a few breakthroughs. We have very nearly cracked the potty training. We have found a workaround for the sleep issues. He is behaving beautifully in his new nursery class and seems to be very popular. He’s eating really well and being very affectionate. If he could just have mummy’s attention 24/7 (including sleeping wrapped around me) then he would be an angel. I’m finding it all quite emotionally sensitive to deal with, but at least I am resting at home those days he is at nursery so I can give him a lot more time and energy when he comes home.

mummykimmy auntie Vick

The other thing that has made a huge difference to me has been getting more help. Rod has reduced his working week to five days so he is now at home on Thursdays and Sundays, which both the wee man and I LOVE. My mum has been up to stay, my sister-in-law has just left after helping out for three days and we have visits from my brother-in-law and in-laws to look forward to. Being left in charge of such a boisterous kid alone, while feeling so physically restricted, has been difficult for me these past few months. It’s been so frustrating saying the words “I can’t manage that”…

mummykimmy kitchen knobs

Not for much longer! I’ve ticked every job off my maternity-leave list – the hall cupboard is organised, all the wee man’s baby kit and clothes have been cleaned for number two, I’ve replaced all the knobs on my kitchen cupboards and, for once, I am on top of the laundry. I am now at the daytime-TV stage. Current obsessions include “Double your house for half the money”; “Without a Trace” and, of course, “Supernanny”. Today I have bleached everything white, mopped everything flat and hoovered everything fluffy.

I am ready.

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New room for the baby

Our spare room has always annoyed me.

It was originally designed as a garage, although the first owners 25 years ago had no car so it was built as a reception room. They had it as a dining room three steps down from the living room, then the guy we bought the house from put up a partition wall and made it a bedroom. The only thing is, he left the steps and just stuck up some shelves. It always felt a bit unfinished, but was a perfectly usable spare room after a coat of paint.

As a baby’s room though, we knew it needed some TLC.

Finding a joiner in Aberdeen was my first challenge – the first guy came round, spent half an hour advising me – and then never even sent through a quote! Two others scared the beejesus out of me with their figures – and then I found Zsolt. He was recommended by my accountant, who told me he submitted the tidiest books she’d ever seen, so that was a good omen. His quote was very reasonable, he was pleasant, he called and arrived when he said he would, so we were happy to give him the job – and what a gem he turned out to be! Reliable, tidy, and a real perfectionist – I am absolutely delighted with the work he and his assistant carried out.

They pulled back two walls where, as we suspected, we found the insulation was completely inadequate and showing signs of mould. An unexpected concrete column didn’t allow any space for insulation, hence the draft and condensation we always found in that corner. Zsolt built the wall out two inches to allow him to insulate around it, then put up new plasterboard and taped and filled it – no need for plaster and the three-day-drying-out period.

The old frame before it was built out slightly to allow insulation around the stone column

The old frame before it was built out slightly to allow insulation around the stone column

Insulation around the window was also woeful - I'm so glad we fixed it!

Insulation around the window was also woeful – I’m so glad we fixed it!

It was the solution to the weird steps-and-shelves arrangement that made me happiest. Turns out Zsolt is a master craftsman and a carpenter to trade – his real passion is building furniture. The wardrobe he fashioned out of the space is just beautiful. He also suggested a hanging rail which could be pulled down for easier access, and gave me lots of options for shelving in the other half. So we went from this:

mummykimmy refurb3

to this:

mummykimmy refurb5

then this:

mummykimmy refurb6

and this:

mummykimmyrefurb8

How gorgeous is that?

To finish off a great job, they painted the whole room white, including all the woodwork around the window and the skirtings and then, because he had half an hour before he had to leave, Zsolt went round all the doors in my house adjusting hinges and shaving bases so that they all now close silently.

Did I hit the jackpot or what? It was the least I could do to hand him a cheque before he left. As a self-employed person myself I reckon prompt payment is the best way to show your appreciation for a job well done. I am also going to keep in touch so that in the new year, when he finishes a big restoration project, I can get him some press coverage and redesign his website. Rod and I are also now seriously considering building an extension rather than moving – if Zsolt is in charge, it will be a work of art.

The carpet arrived yesterday, the new single bed is coming tomorrow and a blackout blind is being fitted next week. We’ll build the cot and put up some pictures, fill the wardrobe with all the freshly washed and folded baby clothes and see if we can even fit the rocking chair in.

I’m due in three weeks – and I’m more excited than ever to spend lots of time in my beautiful new room.

Complete with new carpet - just some furniture and a blind to come and we're ready for you, baby!

Complete with new carpet – just some furniture and a blind to come and we’re ready for you, baby!

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What’s this strange feeling?

I’m feeling a surprising emotion right now – I think it’s called… relaxed.

I’m trying to figure out why.

I think it’s because I had nothing in the diary today, except a nail appointment at 3.30 to get rid of the gel polish that chipped about three days ago. Clean nails, as my friend Jenny will agree, is a very quick route to relaxation.

I think it’s also got something to do with my finally feeling better after a stomach bug and a lot to do with the sun shining all day long and my getting four loads of washing hung outside.

It’s what was hanging on my beloved whirligig, though, that’s given me this warm, happy glow.

mummykimmy baby clothes on the line

At ten o’clock this morning, with the wee man safely off to nursery and the joiners working tidily in the spare room, I sat on the floor in front of Homes Under the Hammer with a can of Dr Pepper and two huge airtight storage bags.

Inside were all the wee man’s baby clothes from birth to 12 months.

I spent a nostalgic half hour going through them all, separating out all the white, yellow and green stuff, remembering who had given us each and every outfit. Some of the stuff is just so gorgeous that I don’t even care if it’s a girl, she’ll go out dressed in blue. I mean LOOK at this snow suit!

mummykimmy blue snowsuit

As I waited for the washing machine cycles to end I ticked a whole load of small tasks off my list – you know those little tasks that always get bumped to your “one day I’ll get round to it” list – like copying over those massive video files to free up half your hard drive? I did some filing, put away the Asda shop, made a menu for the next week (yes I still do that) and generally reclaimed that feeling of control that has been so absent from my life lately.

To top off a splendid day, the wee man came willingly home from nursery, ate a whole plate of tuna salad and gave me lots of lovely kisses and cuddles. Then an amazing thing happened. Daddy came home early! The wee man just about burst with excitement when he spotted him through the window and cannoned into him even harder than usual. Off they went to play and I realised that, with the chicken roasting in the oven (great menu planning) I could actually just…. Go and sit down. So here I am blogging, with a neat little pile of folded newborn babygros next to me and unchipped nails and a clean house and a roast chicken in the oven.

I could get used to this.

The end of Shellac - it's the end of an era…

The end of Shellac – it’s the end of an era…

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No room for the muse…

The muse has temporarily deserted me.

I used to really look forward to writing a new mum blog post, those days something funny happened or life taught me a valuable lesson. It would be a treat to open the laptop, upload the photos and indulge my creative writing hobby while the wee man slept.

Maybe that’s been the problem – the lack of sleep.

The naps – those wonderful oases in our crazy days – are long gone, and this summer the 12-hour-straight slumbers from 7.30pm have also disappeared. Some nights it’s been 9pm before he’s finally conked out, only to be up again three hours later. Those nights there’s just time to eat something before passing out ourselves.

But something else pretty big and important has taken over my life recently, and it’s no exaggeration to say it has totally floored me. Pregnancy.

It’s been a totally different experience from first time round. I haven’t enjoyed it at all. I’ve felt generally under the weather the whole time – bone tired, over-emotional, nauseous, achey and completely lacking in energy. I’ve fought it, of course. I’ve taken the supplements, eaten healthily, drunk lots of water, tried to stay active (even though my pelvis has had to be realigned and I’m doing physio every day) and clung to my perspectacles. I’ve made huge efforts to stay rational, to count my blessings that the baby’s been growing healthily, to control the tears and rages, and to continue to be a good mum to the wee man. It’s been a huge effort, especially for a woman with no energy.

Filming for the local business news broadcast - and hiding the bump!

Filming for the local business news broadcast – and hiding the bump!

My business, meanwhile, has taken off. It’s been the best trading year yet. It’s been my escape, living three days a week in a world where success can be measured and to do lists can be achieved. I’ve formulated and delivered effective strategies, returned to some proper journalism, met interesting new contacts and received praise for jobs well done. I’ve felt in control and successful, a nice contrast to toddler battles and a body that challenges me in some new way every day.

mummykimmy press call

Now though, I am four weeks away from my due date. I have finally, and reluctantly, gone on mat leave. The wee man has moved up a class at nursery and now goes three and a half days, which are more evenly spread out during the week. We have found a second babysitter – a trainee paediatric nurse who lives locally – and who the wee man loves. The sleeping has improved – though he is still up once or twice through the night – and even I have to admit that the headspace freed up by not working has allowed me to relax a bit.

Four weeks to go...

Four weeks to go…

I’ve bought myself a new notebook, glued the scan pictures into the first pages and started writing lists. Baby names, suggestions from other mums, things to organise before the wee one arrives… and I’m excited! I’m looking forward to having time alone at home to nest. I can’t wait to go through all the wee man’s old baby clothes and wash anything white, yellow or green. I’m delighted the joiner is coming to build a fitted wardrobe in the baby’s room and paint the whole place white. I’m even up for the challenge of scrubbing the pram and car seat.

I feel a sense of achievement already. And maybe the muse is returning…

 

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10 ways to cope: 7 months pregnant with with a three year old son

1 Take a hot shower every morning.

This will sound ridiculous to the childless and probably to the mums too, for different reasons. You will likely have to do it with the door open, possibly dodge missiles and awkward questions and potentially have to catch flying electrical goods before they zap you, but it sets you up for a good day. Even if your hair has to air dry /ends up only half-straightened/is scraped off your face into a bun, at least you and it are clean and refreshed.

2 Reinstate old tools

He may have been walking for more of his life than not, but if he’s suddenly he’s clicked that you can no longer catch him and runs off at every opportunity, I see no problem with hauling out the reins. The wee man has a little rucksack with a long strap – I’ve clicked it on to a strap from another similar bag and now I have, effectively, a dog leash for my child. In my defence, I’m having major pelvic issues with this pregnancy and can barely walk let alone sprint after him, and he’s developed a bad habit of running into the sea fully-clothed. This way I can venture out in public without suffering a heart attack/getting soaked to the thighs.mummykimmy reins

3 Don’t be afraid of the same-old

We used to have a new adventure every day. My mum used to warn me not to do too much, but I enjoyed these voyages of discovery in our new city as much as the wee man. Now though, I accept that I’ll probably have to pee a lot and must never be too far from the loo. I can never venture so far from the car that I’m stuck with a mid-tantrum child who doesn’t want to leave and who I can’t lift and carry back. I can’t cope with him AND the enormous bag with clothing for every surface and weather condition. So we go to the same places that I know he enjoys and whose facilities I can rely on – just for now.

4 Adopt a zero-tolerance policy to bad behaviour

He’s probably figured out that something really big is about to happen and mummy is not herself, so is pushing even harder at the boundaries. If he’s difficult now, how the hell will I cope with two? By making it crystal clear what is not acceptable. That means nipping everything in the bud, making him sit the full three minutes on the naughty step, taking the time to make him follow instructions and finding new ways to make my point. I’ve discovered that simply disengaging, ignoring him completely and putting him in his room with the stair-gate across while I clean up the mess from the kitchen bin he just “accidentally” dragged through and tipped onto the living room carpet, is very effective. A lot of his bad behaviour is simply for attention – if I withdraw that and only reinstate it when he’s apologised and is behaving well, it sends a clear message.

5 Find new fun, sitting-down games

My child has more energy than Ussain Bolt on Red Bull, so most of our activities involve wide open spaces and a ball. This weekend, though, I braved baking – and it was a huge success. I was really pleasantly surprised how well he listened and concentrated and managed. I just bought a cake mix from M&S, put all the extra ingredients in coloured bowls and supervised while he did most of it. He loved the independence and the space to just get on with it, he loved using the electric whisk and he seemed to take real pride in spooning the mixture evenly into the cases. There was some mess, of course, but nothing like what I expected. He even enjoyed the washing up. I gave him lots of praise and he lapped it up – all while I sat on my (expanding) ass. Guess what we’ll be doing every week now?

mummykimmy baking

6 Don’t feel guilty for taking time off

It is a physical impossibility to live your life at the same pace when you’re so pregnant, so just embrace it. (or so I keep telling myself). If there’s a creche at your gym, don’t think twice about booking him in then buggering off to the coffee shop. Accept every offer of help, no matter how much you may suspect they’re just being nice and don’t really mean it. I am definitely a much better mum when I’ve had a break, even a wee short one, and especially an indulgent one where I’ve done nothing but read a few chapters of my book.

7 Be realistic about work

Hahaha. I’m still working on this one. A friend advised me, a few months ago when I was telling him about this amazing new project I’d been invited to get involved in, “remember you’re going to be, like, ill for six months”. I spluttered into my decaf latte and told him to stop being so sexist. But the b*stard had a point. I’ve got eight weeks to go and I already feel disabled – tired, emotional, yes ill a lot of the time. As the realisation has dawned on me that I am not, in fact, superwoman, I have turned down two new clients and brought forward my end date. I’m now super-excited about the fact I will have the whole of September to get my shit together for the baby coming, nest, relax, and sleep!

8 Eat and drink well

Aware that my running days were over pretty much in the first trimester, I had been trying to cut down on treats. The whole ‘eating for two’ thing is a myth, right? I comforted myself that the morning sickness was an insurance policy against too much weight gain. Ha. When you haven’t slept properly for weeks, your three year old is pushing every button and you aren’t even allowed a calming glass of wine, cake is the only answer. No, actually giant cookies work too. And slabs of chocolate. As for trying not to drink too much to cut down on the endless trips to the bathroom – well, that seemed to make sod all difference. I now have a pint of squash on hand at all times and have become completely addicted to San Pellegrino. It’s like when you’re hungover to hell and think, well, even if I bring this McDonalds right back up, at least I’ll have something to be sick with.

9 Take it easy on your husband

Men will never fully understand what it is to be pregnant, and thank God for that, or the world would surely implode. I’m doing my best to keep the psycho outbursts to a minimum and I try to be rational about the things that are bothering me. Rod has been wonderful with the wee man – this morning he got up, made breakfast and entertained him before taking him out swimming so I could have the morning off. The fact that he left Play Doh all over the table, the milk, butter and juice all out on the counter, the toys strewn everywhere and the plates on top of the dishwasher (which I had switched on last night) was not important. I cleared it all up with good humour and not once did I mutter “could he not tidy as he goes?” I didn’t even mention it to him when they got back. Honest.

10 If in doubt, laugh and say ‘f*ck it’

As overwhelming, tiring and goddamn frustrating as it is to be heavily pregnant and in charge of a three year old – there are worse things. Sometimes I struggle to believe that, but it’s true. So what if people keep hilariously remarking, “Are you sure you’re not having twins?”. So what if I’m endlessly tired cos I’m either settling the wee man who’s doing his newborn impression or relieving my bladder. So I’m gasping for a cocktail, dying to go shopping and making old lady noises every time I get off the couch. It’s not for much longer – and then that’s me done with having babies. So haha, f*ck it, let’s just enjoy the experience…

mummykimmy rod and wee man

 

 

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Sleepless in Aberdeen

It shouldn’t be actresses, models or TV ‘stars’ on the cover of magazines – it should be mums. We are so freaking fabulous we deserve people to gasp when they see us. We should be sent free handbags, be placed at the best tables in restaurants and have treats showered upon us.

This morning I woke up thanks to a headbutt from the three year old I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to get back into the habit of sleeping in his own bed. My eyes were puffy from crying at 4am when his endless screaming, kicking tantrum broke me. My curly hair was a fuzzy mess from tossing and turning my six-months-pregnant bulk. I spent the morning in a daze and was so pathetically grateful when my husband handed me a lovely salad for lunch that I burst into tears. Again.

This cannot continue. I am not this woman.

I have been Googling. I cannot understand why my son has turned into a screaming banshee just because we took him on holiday and he had to sleep in a few different places.

So far the reasons I’ve come up with are:

1 he’s acting up because I’m pregnant

2 he’s having tantrums because he can’t express himself verbally and he wants to be in our bed

3 he’s having night terrors

4 he’s asserting his independence

5 he’s overtired

6 he’s going through a growth spurt

Well, I can’t do anything about number 1 or 6.

Number 2: yes, but too bad, he’s not getting his way.

3: OK, apparently the way to deal with this is to note when these happen, wake him ten mins before with a drink and reset the sleep pattern. [sigh].

Number 4, yes I understand that, and it’s probably linked to number 5, so I will redesign the bedtime routine slightly.

I’m also aware that letting him come into bed with us at 6.15am, after resolutely returning him to his bed twice or three times during the night, is probably confusing matters. My reasoning is, at 6.15, I only have two options: Get up for the day or Bring him in where he’ll fall asleep immediately, sleep for two or three more hours and be much more manageable for the rest of the day.

I mean, what would you do?

I am already dreading tonight. My patience is shot to hell. I’m tired. I’m pregnant and therefore overly emotional. I’m also back at work tomorrow. But I will dredge up some strength from the depths of my bruised soul and just have faith that this too shall pass.

If anyone wants to send me a handbag as an incentive, I’d be most grateful.

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It’s time to start potty training – part 3

Day two and there was progress, though I wasn’t sure there would be until lunchtime.

It was another lovely hot sunny day, so we were outside from 9am, though over the next three hours he seemed to develop Potty Fear. This may be because at quarter to nine he grabbed himself, ran to the toilet, peed a little as he stepped up, slipped on it and sprawled across the toilet with his head in the bin. I persuaded him to sit on the moulded seat but he cried and complained and was not interested in singing the pee pee song.

Over the course of the morning he would hide to pee or point-blank refuse to go near the potty, even though he would tell me when he needed. I was getting a bit upset about it all, until, just before noon, I managed to grab the potty and catch the last of his stream in it. I was delighted he didn’t stop and run away, he just kept going, so I decided this was a bit of a breakthrough and made a big deal of it. He was delighted, we danced around and kissed and cuddled and took the potty to the toilet to flush it down and wave bye bye to the pee pee. He then got two chocolate buttons and did a little funny dance around the kitchen. Adorable.

Mummykimmy playing on the deck

We played all afternoon and I managed my Catch the Flow trick twice more. Both times we had big celebrations and I noticed he seemed less uncomfortable with the potty as a result. He’s still happier to go and stand by the toilet on his step, though he’s yet to get anything in.

At 2.15, shortly after a two-chocolate-button moment, he was running in circles round the whirligig pole in the middle of the patio. He stopped and I asked him if he needed a pee pee? He shook his head, started running again and, like a trotting pony, plopped three little poos behind him. I’d been dreading this moment so was very relieved at the lack of drama and the easy-clean surface he’d chosen.

Mummykimmy playing with shaving foam

At half four I realised too late that he was looking for something, and he started to puddle on the deck. Luckily the potty was within reach (hidden behind a box of toys though) and I managed to catch half the flow so the wee soul could have his chocolate buttons. He really is trying.

It may be slow, but there is progress happening. He also surprised me today by picking up a tangerine, wandering off with it and bringing it back to me half peeled! I watched as he carefully removed the rest of the skin and ate the segments as if it was no big deal. It was to me! He’s never done that before and on a day when I’m obsessively watching for any step forward at all in his development, this was a wee bonus.

Mummykimmy tangerine peeling

I’m definitely much calmer than I was this time yesterday. I feel much more positive and on top of things. I accept it won’t be done and dusted within three days but I’m satisfied he understands what we’re trying to do and that he’s becoming more familiar with the sensation of needing to go. Rod’s off tomorrow and we’re both looking forward to a whole day in the garden, just the three of us.

Read part 1 here and part 2 here

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