Welcome to Summer… With your toddler

Every year, without fail, a thing happens that heralds the beginning of Summer for me. That thing is my drive home from work. The temperature will be balmy, my car windows will be down enough to create a breeze and I will be listening to good music. I will feel hopeful, it will feel like the moment things flip away from cold dark mornings and constant drizzle to orange tinted dusk and bright dawns. I will feel that Summer is on the way.

That moment this year happened yesterday evening. I was late leaving work so managed to achieve a speed of more then 4mph on the M6, Annie Mac was playing some decent tunes and it was a warm evening.

Summer is on the way. It is official in my book.

And then I walked through the front door and tripped over a toy lawnmower. 

So here are my signs that Summer is coming, re-authored from my perspective as a Mummy.

1. You scope out local beer gardens over the course of a week or so to select your favourite and then set up residence with a bottle of Pinot.

You scope out all Splash Pads and Sandpits within a twenty mile radius and visit them all, clutching a grubby Sainsburys carrier bag contained 12 packs of raisins, a bruised banana, a small pot of Playdoh, baby wipes and a bottle of flat Coke.

2. You buy a Summer perfume and new sunglasses.

You buy every type of ‘non-sticky, extra strength, factor 50 for sensitive skin’ children’s suncream going and then lose them all over a three week period.

3. You spend hours researching romantic boutique hotels on the banks of an exotic lake somewhere.

You spend hours researching crèche facilities, buffet options and swimming pools at a host of resorts across Europe before losing the will to live, chucking a dart at a brochure and screeching BOOK THAT ONE at whichever resort it lands on.

4. You master a new Summer eyeliner flick.

You master the art of rinsing suncream out of a toddler’s eye in 20 seconds.

5. You bring out the picnic basket from the cupboard under the stairs.

The cupboard under the stairs becomes a vestibule for storing approximately 600 battered sun hats and caps that were worn by your child for 10 seconds each before being discarded.

6. Corona.

Tepid Carling swigged rapidly from the can between repeated trips upstairs to calm a fractious child who cannot sleep in the heat.

7. You spend weekend afternoons snoozing in the Sun in the garden.

You spend weekend afternoons repeatedly applying sunblock, spraying insect repellant and being soaked by a hose pipe.

8. You paint your nails in pastel hues.

You wipe ice-cream sticky fingerprints from windows and door handles.

9. You drift lazily on a Lilo in a pool.

You shriek DON’T WEE IN THE POOL.

10. You listen endlessly to the latest Ibiza sunsetter.

Your Summer soundtrack is Peppa Pig’s Rainbow song, the Thomas soundtrack and ‘I’m the King of the Castle.’

And yet, Summer with a toddler is glorious. You will create memories, spend every possible waking moment outside, and indulge in the fun of Summer rather than the materiality of it in a way that you haven’t since you yourself were a child.

And so for all that they are different these days, for me these signs that Summer is coming are welcome. I will take all the flat drinks and battered hats if it means watching my boy run barefoot around the garden laughing like a drain with not a care in the world.

So welcome back sunshine.

dazedandmumfused is on Twitter @dazednmumfused and Instagram: dazedandmumfused

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The fear of waking the baby

I’m sorry for the lack of blogs of late. You might not care, but if you do then sorry. It was my Birthday, James changed jobs, things got busy and I stopped writing for a bit. I’ve felt crappy as a result – I’ve missed it, so HERE I AM! I’M BACK.

Remember my friend Sophie, with the baby bump and the fractured ankle? She had a gorgeous baby girl yesterday and everything went very well – congrats lovely. Anyway, the appearance of this baby got me thinking about Blake as a baby.

He was a tough baby, through no fault of his own. He was one of many newborns who suffered from fairly severe colic meaning that he just DID. NOT. SLEEP. I do not lie when I say that in his first three weeks he did not sleep AT ANY SODDING POINT THROUGH THE NIGHT. He would wake at ten and we would enter this relentless, soul crushing cycle of feeding and shrieking, feeding and shrieking, feeding and shrieking until I would find myself in the kitchen, cross-eyed, at 4am with a baby bundled into a Baby Bjorn and half a mince pie hanging out of my mouth, with no idea how I’d got there or what had happened to the rest of the mince pies. It was horrendous.

If you have lived through a newborn you will know how truly debilitating sleep deprivation can be, how it will knock you sideways, leaving you feeling physically winded with the sensation that your mind is slowly unravelling before your very eyes.

And once we had come through the colic and were finally getting some (by which I mean limited) sleep at night, HE STOPPED NAPPING. He would not nap at all during the day unless I was pushing him in the buggy or driving in the car. And so from that point until the point we started him on two square meals I day, I never stopped except for a few snatched hours of sleep during the night.

How James lived with me during that time I do not know because I was entirely off my rocker. It must be a strange thing, as a man, to watch the woman you love go through labour and deliver you a little person who is half of each of you, and for your heart to swell with a love you have never felt before only to watch that woman sink into herself, contract into a vaguely feral creature in front of your eyes, who bears no resemblance to the woman she was and shouts at you wildly, in between mouthfuls of Boost Bar, for not changing the toilet roll. I really am sorry James. It was hard for me, but what I couldn’t see at the time was that it was hard for you too, that in gaining a Son you lost your Wife for a while.

Anyway, what those five months bred into me is what I have called The Fear Of Waking The Baby. Sleep became a rare and precious thing and the thought of it being disturbed terrified me, and I developed a bad case of The Fear Of Waking The Baby.

I think most new parents get this Fear for a while. We all creep around once our children are a-bed, stage whispering at each other, trying to master a sniper route through the house that avoids all creaky floorboards and fearing to so much as sneeze for Fear Of Waking The Baby.

And if the baby does wake? PANIC. One night, as Blake grizzled and I dragged myself despairingly out of bed, I wailed to James ‘why didn’t I appreciate this bed more before?’ The Fear Of Waking the Baby was, for me at least, a very real fear and it lasted well beyond Blake settling into a routine and sleeping through the night. For whatever reason, I remained terrified of him waking at night. Which as it happens is entirely ridiculous because children do wake in the night.

Blake stirred in the night a week or so ago and it struck me, like being hit in the face with a sign saying MORON, that The Fear was gone. I’d let it go – there is no need for this fannying around and spiking of stress levels, because whatever the night throws up, I have lived through enough days and nights of sleep deprivation to know that one way or another you muddle through and that, ultimately, your child will raise you higher than sleep deprivation will bring you low.

So there you have it. The Fear Of Waking The Baby, done. After only three and a half years.

Dazedandmumfused is on Twitter @dazedandmumfused and Instagram: dazedandmumfused

My taste in music

Open disclaimer: I have never been particularly cool, in basically every respect but particularly when it comes to music.

However, even I can see that of late, my taste in music has gone batshit (sorry Mum) insane.

Is this a thing that happens when one has children? With the delivering of the placenta so too goes ones hold on the sort of music one likes? Any grasping control over musical genres? Even, I must admit, any real awareness of the stuff one is listening so that all of a sudden, with a dawning of consciousness, one finds oneself standing in the middle of the Kitchen singing ones heart out to something one suddenly realises is not fitting with one’s former tastes.

I have kept a little log of the stuff I have hummed to myself today, in some cases with my unique interpretation of the lyrics.
Here it is:

Ohohohohohohhhhhhh. Ohohohohohohhhhhhh. I saw you wat-ching me un-der the lights, can I get a pi-i-i-ii-iiiiiieeeeeeeeee.

He has te-ri-ble TUSKS, and ter-ri-ble CLAWS, and ter-ri-ble TEETH in his ter-ri-ble JAWS, he’s the GRRRRRR-RRRRRRR-RRRRRR-RRRRRRR-UFFALO.

Saw off all my stinking Jims, pop dripping down my sunken monkey chin! (p.s SUCH delightful lyrics from Everything Everything, that I cannot bring myself to sing or write them)

NOW THEN MARDYBUM. I’VE SEEN YOUR FROWN AND IT’S LIKE LOOKING DOWN THE BARREL OF A GUN.

Bong bing bang! Bing bong bing! Bing bong bingity bangity booooo. (I don’t even care that it’s wrong lyrically. I don’t care)

EVERYBODY WANTS TO STEAL THAT GU-U-UUURL, EVERYBODY WANTS TO TAKE HER HEART AWAY.

Cos Baby, I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream. SO IT’S GONNA BE FOREVER, OR IT’S GONNA GO DOWN IN FLAMES (just like my taste in music)

Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaade ooooooooooooooout agaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaain

Various renditions of the Pitch Perfect soundtrack HAAAAAAAAANDS UP! LET ME SEE YO HAAAAAAAAAAAANDS UP!

Maaaaaaaaaaybeeeeeee, we aaaaaaaaa-a-aaaaaaa-aare, we aaaaaaaaaa-aaaaa-aaaaaaa-aaaare, maybe I’m wasting my young years.

There was also some embarrassing-Mum-head-nodding to Kanye West in the car on the way home which was frankly the biggest shock of the month.

So I have travelled, like a radio that’s going through its troubled teenage phase and trying to find itself, from the vaguely credible to the ridiculous.

I am not really sure how this happened – how One Direction and Taylor Swift invaded my consciousness and made me know all of their lyrics, but I am dealing with it pretty well. Perhaps it is just a thing that happens. My music taste has gone renegade, has crept up on me and flicked the Vs and actually I’m flicking them right back. I’m not sure I really care.

dazedandmumfused is on Twitter @dazednmumfused and Instagram: dazedandmumfused