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While on holiday 18 September 2017

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The baby won’t sleep. 

She tosses and turns and she’s flailing like an octopus. I think she might be hungry so I offer her boob. She is not interested. 

A little fist finds my nose at speed. It doesn’t hurt, but I’m now wide awake. I try to remove blankets in case she’s hot. 

She’s not crying, but she’s clearly uncomfortable. Impressions of the day gone past might be racing through her mind. Trying to process, make sense of it all. 

I’m hot. I pop out for a drink and realise the bedroom is hot and stuffy. I leave the door open. She is still flailing. 

I offer boob again, declined again. This continues for an hour, her eyes wide open. I wonder how many extra arms and legs my baby has grown over night. 

It’s almost 3am. I could not be more awake. Baby rolls into me, burying her face in the smell of mum. Boob sounds good. She finally settles. Her eyes slowly slide shut. Her arms and legs come to a rest. Her breathing becomes soft and regular. She falls asleep. 

I’m wide awake. I try to sleep. 

Suddenly, a crash in the next room. The toddler wails. Did he fall out of bed? I can hear his dad pick him up. Big cuddles.

Sobbing and pointing. The word “there”. I can’t see, but I know he’s pointing to where it hurts and what hurt him. More reassuring words, gentle whispers from dad. 

I fight the urge to go hug my toddler. Dad is handling it, and baby is only just asleep. I love the gentle, sweet reassuring voice full of empathy in the next room. 

Sobbing stops. Silence descends again over the two rooms. Time to sleep. 

Suddenly, a tiny voice, clear as a bell. 

“Papa?”

“Yes, gorgeous?” Whispered 

“Night, night!” 

My heart melts. 

Sleep tight my gorgeous children. Sleep tight. Hopefully I can join you in the land of nod soon. 

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Baby girl 13 July 2017

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The baby has drifted off blissfully

I’m exhausted and I should sleep

Yet I can’t help but lie here and watch her. 

Fleeting moments the world stands still. 

She stretches. 

I feel in awe of being allowed to be a mum. 

To be her mum.

Outlander – a Netflix binge 11 July 2017

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I recently contracted a upper respiratory infection (courtesy of my toddler) and my GP insisted I took the whole week off due to my ‘condition’ (Bub 2 was near fully cooked by that stage). I mostly felt fine apart from a cough, but used the week to catch up on some Netflix shows. 

I will warn you now SPOILERS and distressing content in this blog post.  

On the advice of a friend, I thought I should have a look at Outlander – a show she had been raving about on Facebook for a while. After my initial hesitation (time travel generally needs at least some scientific explanation in my view to suspend disbelief) with the premise of the show, I soon found myself thoroughly enjoying the story. 

It’s not exactly high brow, and at times it felt rather ‘chick lit’. Yet it was refreshing to see a story from mostly a female point of view, even the sex scenes. And there are a number of those. There was even the notion that a woman is allowed to enjoy sex (gasp) initiate sex (what?) and be on the receiving end of sex (mind blown). As in, not all sex was about the male orgasm. What a novel idea! 

And the scenery (Scotland at it’s best) the kilted men, some select nudity and lots of gorgeous accents made for pleasant viewing. 

So halfway through the first season, I contacted my good friend who put me onto the series to thank her. 

“Someone has warned you about the ending of season 1, right?” She responded. 

Blissfully ignorant, no one had. I was told it was harrowing. Traumatic. Unwatchable. Nightmare inducing. She had found it necessary to fast forward through several scenes. 

With no further information, I was a bit worried. As I had mentioned, I was in the end stages of a pregnancy and hormonal to say the least. Should I brave it? I texted a colleague at work who had been revealed to be an Outlander tragic and asked her about it – was it really that harrowing!? After all, she had read the books first, and still watched the show. 

“It is horrendous” was the response. “It really is harrowing, it’s difficult to watch.” 

By now I was so intrigued and scared to continue that I had to google the storyline. Suffice to say that the finale of season one is about the torture, rape and psychological breaking of the male main character. He is the man that we’ve slowly fallen in love with over the season and who at every turn makes either the right choice or humbly admits his mistakes. 

The man who seems able to communicate more than any man you’ve ever met, who is macho, strong, and who exudes sensuality, yet listens, is in touch with his feelings and likes a strong, opinionated woman. He’s the perfect specimen of man (and fictional). 

He gives himself to this situation in order to save his wife. 

Harrowing, yes. But was everyone so aghast at the storyline because he was a man? Rape of women for the sake of a storyline is frequently employed in television and movies (even Outlander resorts to rape of female characters as almost an aside). 

Our society struggles with rape of a strong virulent man for the sake of a story. And a strong, macho highlander such as Jamie Fraser just does not fit the bill as a victim. To me, Outlander broke some serious boundaries there – and did it well!! It was horrendous and traumatic and convincing. But after years of shows in the same vein (Game of Thrones anyone?), I found it possible to watch the scenes without further fallout. I felt for Jamie, I wanted it to stop. But I did not end up with nightmares. It is desturbing how desensitised I have become to blood guts gore and the evil of human beings. I should probably try to understand that better. 

But then came season 2. And it destroyed me completely. 

No one had thought to warn the highly pregnant woman about the stillbirth in season 2. I was sobbing through the episode, curled up in a ball, and I did not cope well. It took a long time for me to process the emotions, even now, it brings up fear and heartache. It was compellingly real and believable. If I choose to sit through outlander again, those are the scenes I will fast forward through. Too real, too many feelings. 

A rainy day 1 May 2017

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I long for a rainy day 

To read a book and drink tea 

Curled up on the couch 

Without interruption. 

I never did this enough 

Before parenthood.

Ode to childhood 15 April 2017

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Scuffed knees and sun bleached hair

Complete wonderment at the world

Slides and swings and round abouts

Ducks to chase and ants to study

A new friend in a tiny spider 

Walking its way across the carpet 

The world at his feet 

Oh, to be a toddler again.

Taking up running again be like… 4 October 2016

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Every time I go for a run:

1) Find every possible reason not to go. 

2) Inner monologue during the run: I hate this, I hate this, I hate this. How does anyone like running? This is hard. I can’t breathe. Oh god, my calves. I hate this. I am CLEARLY not a runner. Oh my god, are you serious? I have only done 400 metres? Arg! I hate this so much! Everything hurts! When can I turn back? Yes, a red light, I will be able to catch my… oh. Green. How much further do I have to endure this mind numbing… I hate this, I hate this, I hate this. 

3) Inner monologue after the run: I totally smashed that! That was great!! I should totally do this more often!! Post-run showers are the bomb! (Insert additional exclamation marks)

Typical morning in my household 17 September 2016

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– Want to go outside, dear? 

– Oh yes please! 

– Shoes on! 

– Blasted shoes. I hate shoes. 

– Common Bub, shoes on. 

– Fine!! 

– See? That wasn’t so bad? 

– Whatever. Ok, I’m crossing the road! 

– Wait! Cars! 

– Nooooo! Crossing NOW! 

– Ok, it’s safe to cross now. 

– Oh look, duck poo. 

– Yes, duck poo. No, sweety, not in your mouth. 

– I do what I want! 

– But it’s yucky Bub. 

– Duck poo goes in my mouth! 

– Sweety! Oh… Well, at least you spat it back out. 

– Hmm. Maybe it tastes better second time? 

– Yuck, bubby. Don’t… Oh. 

– Yuck! Why didn’t you warn me it was gross? 

– Oh, Bubba. 

– You have some! 

– No thank you, sweety. 

– Have some! 

– No, let’s play over here! 

– WaaaaaAAAAAAA! 

– Look, a worm! 

– Meh. Whatever. Seen it before. 

– Really? But you had duck poo before and… 

– Whatevs Ma. Oh! Puddle! 

– Have fun in the puddle darling. 

– Ma! I fell over in the puddle and now I’m wet head to toe! 

– Oh, poor darling – let’s go inside and change. 

– Noooooooooo! You’re killing me, Ma! Oh! Cigarette butt!!! 

*sigh*

How I love that child. 

Children are little blessings 23 July 2016

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Tonight, little tyke decided sleeping was not for him. After finally thinking we had our night time routines down pat, yesterday and today were surprisingly hard – battles ensued with him screaming his little head off and me trying again and again to settle him. It just wasn’t working tonight, and I don’t know why. 

I started to become fretful and frustrated, which I know doesn’t help, but I just didn’t know what I was doing differently. I was wondering whether little tyke knew that I had work to do yesterday and today – or that he could feel that I needed to be elsewhere. “Typical,” I thought. 

Finally, after 30 minutes, there was silence. I counted to 60 – a full minute of quiet is normally a good indication that little tyke is asleep. 

To make sure, I counted out a second minute. I thought I had him. Exhausted (it’s surprisingly draining emotionally to ‘battle’ a baby for sleep), and maybe a little smug, I thought I could finally sneak downstairs. I wasn’t watching the door behind me when I closed it, and I must have misjudged, because it made a far louder noise than I intended it to. 

Oh dear God, no…

I held my breath, frozen in the hallway. The doorknob to my bedroom still in my hand, eyes on the door to little tyke’s room. 

Sob. 

My heart sank. 

Another sob. 

Then a wail, and and angry, high pitch scream. Little tyke was not asleep, and it was entirely my fault. 

Oh for Pete’s sake. 

I reopened the door to my own bedroom, and fell back on the bed, but from the pitch of little tyke’s screams I knew I had to go back in. 

I walk in, see little tyke standing at the foot of his cot yet again. 

Go! 

To! 

Sleep! 

I’m thinking firm and unyielding. I’ll win this time. 

But as I put little tyke back down from standing for the umteenth time, I see the utter sadness, the broken spirit on his face. It’s not obstinance this time, it’s not even over tiredness. Little tyke is telling me he needs me. 

Generally, once little tyke is in bed I don’t pick him back up. I give him a cuddle if he is standing or sitting, let him know I am there, but tell him it’s sleep time, and lay him back down. 

Today is different. My whole being is telling me something is wrong. 

So I pick little tyke up. He melts into me and sobs into my neck. 

He pushes away from me, looks at my face. Then he looks at the cot, and starts to cry again. He is distraught, shaking with emotion. 

You’re not in trouble baba I whisper. 

I turn us away from the cot instead of hovering above it. 

You’re ok baba. You’re ok. 

Little tyke relaxes in my arms. I can feel the relief in his little body. Somehow my focus on getting him to sleep had made me miss seeing my little tyke for what he was tonight. A tiny little human soul in need of comfort, in need of his mother. 

He smells salty, his little head is wet with perspiration and agitation. 

His face tucks into my neck. His breathing changes from short, superficial sobs to slower, deeper breaths. His little right arm tuck in underneath him, his left one curls around my neck. 

It strikes me in that moment. 

What a privilege. 

It’s a privilege to be little tyke’s mother. 

It’s a privilege to be his whole world.  

It’s a privilege to be the arms that soothe him when he is unwell or sad. 

And it’s an absolute privilege to be able to hug my child, to hold him, and to feel all that love that we share. 

I felt overwhelmed in that moment. Overwhelmed with privilege and love. 

He fell asleep in my arms as I rocked him softly. He stirred slightly as I placed him in his cot, covered him with his blanket and whispered I love you my darling boy. 

He is a blessing and a privilege and I am lucky to have remembered that tonight. 

Facebook culling 31 May 2016

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I have developed a private protocol so to speak for Facebook friends and when to cull. It came to a head when I simply had too many ‘friends’ on there to have a meaningful relationship with, and I asked myself what am I doing this for? 

I use my Facebook to stay in touch and updated with people I care about, and not business or networking reasons. So I set out the following ‘rules’ for myself. Not all people on my current Facebook follow these, there are always exceptions. 

All of these rules are a reflection on me, and by no means on my friends, past and present. If I I friend you, it does not mean you are a bad person or a bad friend. It also doesn’t mean we won’t become friends again in the future. 

1) The memory test. Do I remember who you are? If after poking around in your photos for a second does not ring a bell, then that is a very good indication of our friendship. I only do this in case you’ve had a name change that I’m not aware of, but if I don’t recognise you or can’t pick you in a photo without confirming with the tags, then you will be unfriended. This happens to people you met once, got along with, intended to be friends with, but then nothing. 

2) The past relationship test. This one boils down to are you an ex boyfriend? I’m not friends with any of my exes, that shit ain’t healthy. That’s not to say I don’t wish them all the best, but I do not wish to be updated on their every move. Unfollowed and unfriended. 

3) The milestone test. If you post “OMG, I am totally legit preggers right now” and my reaction is “whatever”, that is an indication of our relationship. If I can’t muster to congratulate you on something major in your life, such as a wedding, a pregnancy, a birth or an engagement, then what are we friends for!? Unfriended. Many of these are from a lifetime ago – school friends that you wouldn’t stay in touch with without Facebook anyway. 

4) The happy birthday test. If Facebook kindly reminds me that it is your birthday and I do not feel like wishing you a happy birthday, then that gives me pause. Birthdays are very important to me, so I try to acknowledge them where I can. If I can’t muster a measly happy birthday on your special day, then my level of caring for the relationship has clearly waned. If not unfriended, at least you have been reconsidered. 

5) The reciprocity test. If our communication over the last three years looks like this: 

Me 2013: Happy birthday!!!! 

Me 2014: Happy birthday lovely lady, plans for the big day? 

Me 2015: Wishing you all the best for your birthday! 

Me 2016: Happy birthday, have a great day! 

Then maybe I need to take a long hard look at that relationship as well. Does our ‘friendship’ possibly mean slightly more to me than it does to them? If I haven’t heard from them at all for three years, why are we still friends? Unfriended. 

So far, I have culled more than 100 ‘friends’ with this method. I’m sure there may be more. And to date, there’s only been a handful of those that I have regretted unfriending and re-friended. 

Facebook is a wonderful tool but it needs to continue to be there for my benefit and pleasure. Hence the above system. It’s working for me so far! 

Happy facebooking! 

It’s ‘in’ to complain 6 May 2016

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Far out – have you seen the articles circulating in the mummy blogosphere of late (maybe longer, but you know, I’ve only been one of late, so…)? 

10 reasons why I hate parenting 

The 12 honest things no one tells you about giving birth 

Why it’s ok to be a drinking parent 

Why having children makes you hate other people’s kids

You will regret having kids

Calm the fuck down parenting

And the list goes on. It makes me wonder. Does anyone else actually enjoy this parenting malarkey? Reading these articles the gist is “parenting is hard” “I sigh and roll my eyes before I answer my kid’s call for me” and “kids are annoying”. Give or take an expletive. 

A lot of parents I know in real life are the same. Ne’er a positive word shall be spoken by me about my child. 

I am sure some people do struggle. Maybe some of those people cope by blogging about it. But I think there is a general trend in the population to speak negatively about their kids specifically and parenting in general. 

To band together over the hardships of parenting and to highlight the tribulations. To make out that this is one of the hardest things there is to do in the world, and to bond over how awful children seemingly are. 

I can’t stand it. I am going to express a bit of a rebel opinion here, but: 

I find it hard to identify with these articles. I do not dislike my child. Nor does he make me hate other people’s children. He doesn’t make me drink, nor do I need “coping mechanisms” to get through the day. Sure, I don’t really know what I’m doing and there are demanding moments. 

But overall, it’s fun! And parenting sort of just happens. It’s not hard because what they need is your presence and your attention. Eye contact. You being on the floor playing with them. You treating them as human beings and seeing them, truly seeing them. 

To watch my child reach his milestones has been one of the greatest blessings I could ever imagine. Seeing the father that my partner is to his child has made me love him deeper and better. 

Being a parent is a true blessing and whilst there are challenges (and there will be more challenges up ahead) I would never wish this life away.