LIFE

To sleep, perchance to dream… if bloody only

My beautiful little sleep thief

It’s 2017 folks! I’m feeling cautiously optimistic. Usually for new year I make a whole load of decisions about life and how I’m going to handle things going forward, and I start new projects and generally feel motivated to make changes. But this year I haven’t had the energy. Mostly, I have realised, this is because I am obsessed with Daphne’s sleep. Or more specifically, her lovely new habit: early rising.

It’s beyond ironic that you can dream for months of your baby sleeping through the night, believing that once that happens, everything will be fine and dandy and you will be reborn, back to your old self, fizzing with energy all day. HA. Daphne does indeed now sleep through the night, and it’s great. To a degree. However, the unwanted side effect of this is that she now thinks the day should start at around 5.20am. And there ain’t no getting her back to sleep after that time (we have tried EVERYTHING but unless we get up with her, she screams and screams).

Having my day start with a 5 basically makes me feel like I am permanently jetlagged. It is far more exhausting than being woken in the night. I would actually go back to a 2am wake up, if it meant that the day didn’t have to start till 7am, or even 7.30 (what a treat!). It’s been suggested that I should adjust my own sleep schedule to accommodate it (going to bed at 9pm or whatever – ugh) but I really do believe that biologically people are wired differently. I am a night owl, and my most alert and awake times are in the evening, after dinner – it’s the time I do most of my creative writing. Before I had a baby if I woke before 8, I’d feel pretty knackered for the day. My body clock just does not agree with super early mornings, and when they’re pitch dark and freezing, as the heating hasn’t even come on yet, then they’re even more hideous.

I won’t bore you any more with what I’ve been trying to sort this problem out until I find something that works. When I do, I’m going to patent that shit and market it to all the other sleep-deprived parents of toddlers and make my fortune. This morning she slept til 6am, so there is hope. I think. I pray. I am so jealous of people whose babies sleep from 7pm-7am every night. I am SO jealous. And I don’t get jealous.

Good things about 2017: Daphne starts at the childminder’s next week. I will have a whole day per week to myself to work. I need to finish my novel, and that really must take priority, but I also desperately want to get another project off the ground that’s been bugging me for nearly a year now, and also decide what on earth I am going to do with this blog. But like I said, before my brain can wrap its knackered matter around that little lot, I need to sort out this sleep thing. So please please please – wish me luck (and leave me any suggestions you think might work!)!

LIFE

Merry Christmas!

Awesome leggings from Blade & Rose, gift from my cousin.

When we did our NCT course, the lady running it asked everyone what they were most looking forward to about having a child, and I remember replying ‘I only had a child for Christmas’ which is a terribly glib and dickheadish thing to say but it was genuinely a major factor for me. I loved Christmas as a kid (yeah, really unusual there I know) and I couldn’t imagine growing old and not having a child to share all the joy and magic with (although I don’t believe in lying to kids about Father Christmas, but that’s a post for another day – Oli and I are already at war about it!). I have therefore been in my element over the past few days and am so excited that this year we are hosting my parents and my sister and having a big family Christmas day in our new house. We actually open all our presents on Christmas Eve, so really Christmas Eve is our Christmas Day, and this year on Christmas Day we’re heading off for lunch at Oli’s brother’s house. So we get two Christmasses!

Last year Daph was too tiny to have any idea what the hell was going on, so we didn’t really get her any presents, but this year we’ve gone a bit batshit and she has her very own personalised Christmas sack and about 30 stocking presents, plus a Mokee Teepee which I can’t wait to set up. She’s already had a few presents thanks to my aunt and uncle and has definitely got the idea that ripping wrapping paper from things is enormously fun, so I am sure she’s going to love opening everything. Whether or not she plays with any of the millions of carefully selected gifts is another matter, but I’ve realised that pretty much everything about having a baby is trial and error. Will report back…

Before then however, there’s a hell of a lot of prep to do and I really need to get off the computer and start cleaning. But just wanted to say merry Christmas to all of you who read this, and send all the mummies in particular lots of alcohol and sausage rolls to get you through the festive season! I’m going to have a little break from blogging until the new year (hands up who can’t wait to see the back of 2016?) and so I wish you all a very happy new year too!

And most of all a big THANK YOU for reading and commenting and stopping this working-from-home-sort-of-stay-at-home mum from losing my mind with loneliness. Mwah xxx

BABY ON BOARD Baby updates

16 month baby update

Goodness me the last month has gone quickly! We’re edging even closer to the 18 month mark, which is amazing really. During the past month, Daph has been an absolute dream. She’s emerged from the recent grumpy screaming phase and is instead incredibly happy most days and incredibly sweet. Which is brilliant. She’s even decided she doesn’t mind going to the supermarket anymore, and the tantrums have subsided. (For now. I know, as ever, everything is a phase, even the good times).

This month her speech has come on leaps and bounds. She has a whole repertoire of words now, including: tea, Purdy (Percy the cat), Poph (my sister’s name*), Daddy, teddy, bath, ball, hi, bunny, poo poo (when she’s having her nappy changed), Dee Dee (the model in the Hush catalogue – have I mentioned here that she is OBSESSED with her?!)… I think that’s about it. Still no Mummy but I get random variations of things instead, such as Bobby, Uddy, and just Bob, which I think is my favourite. Bless her.

This week she finally started standing without support, but it’s still only for a few seconds before it’s almost as though her brain figures it out, panics and she drops to her bum. She has an incredibly long back and quite stumpy legs for her height actually, so I am sure that doesn’t help. Also, the muscles in her legs don’t seem very big (literally, she has quite scrawny legs), but hopefully they’ll keep growing and developing! I SO wish she could walk because she weighs an absolute ton, but she’s a master crawler and moves at lightning speed, so she clearly doesn’t see any great need to start using her feet instead. We measured her the other day and tried to plot her on the red book, and she’s on the 87th percentile for her age, which is crazy when she was on the 2nd when she was born! I can’t believe how tall she’s getting now – the leggings I bought for her in the autumn are all coming up short already, and she’s filling out 18-24 month babygrows. Madness.

Every time I do a baby update and I boast how her sleep’s been good, the next day it goes to shit. So I am VERY reluctant to tempt fate here but… her sleep has been the best it’s been ever in the past week. She’s been going down easily at 7pm, and sleeping through until somewhere between 6am and 6.30. We’ve had a couple of early wake ups (like 5.30 etc) which I still find absolutely killer, but in the past few days it’s been amazing really. I’m fairly confident now that I’ve written this that tonight will be an absolute disaster but anyway, thought I’d mark this time for posterity and to remind myself that it wasn’t all totally helpless when I look back…

The one thing we have changed to try to stop her early wake ups (on the advice of my friend and fellow mum Alice) is to wake her up after 40 mins of her morning nap. We never used to wake her – we always let her sleep as long as she wanted and wake up naturally, but this did mean she had her long nap in the morning and then a poxy short one in the afternoon, which is the wrong way round. So now we’ve been trying to get her to do the long nap in the afternoon instead, and it’s a bit hit and miss, but waking her up from her morning nap does seem to have done something weird to her brain and helped her sleep in later in the morning, which is great.

However, I’m fairly sure this rosy patch won’t continue as I keep hearing all about the bloody 18 month sleep regression. It’s like some awful hurdle looming on the horizon – I can’t bear it! I think I’d rather not know. It’s also going to coincide with Daph starting at the childminder’s, so I’m fairly sure February is going to be an exhausting month for all of us… *tries to think positive – we WILL be one of those lucky families that skips it entirely! we will we will we will!!*

One last slightly weird thing – Daph has started holding her wee in when she has a bath. It’s so funny, when we get her out of the bath now, she’s desperate to get her nappy on to relieve herself, and genuinely seems so relieved when she can finally wee. My mum thinks this is a sign she’s ready to be potty trained but seeing as she can’t walk yet I’m not entirely convinced. It’s interesting though, and just another reminder of how quickly she’s growing up. Sob.

So yes, on the whole, this has been a bloody LOVELY month – Daph is happy, chatty, relaxed and eating and sleeping well. If babies were like this all the time I’d have hundreds of them. Maybe.

*my sister’s name is actually Sophie, but when *I* was a littlun I couldn’t pronounce it, so I used to call her Pophie, which got shortened to Poph. Pronounced to rhyme with Soph, in case there’s any confusion (people always think it’s Pop-h or something!)

LIFE Midweek Musings

Midweek Musings: Life updates

life-update-lifebylotte

More trees today, sorry!

Long time no blog. I apologise. If I’m honest, I’ve been a bit stuck for topics. Now Daphne is older, there isn’t so much to write about her on a regular basis (although she’s changing all the time, of course, it’s all quite subtle now and we’ve settled into a reasonably happy routine). I’d love to blog about the house but the truth is we’ve done a big fat NADA to it since we moved in. I don’t know how people manage to do up houses with babies/jobs/lives.

But here are a few little updates, just to reassure you I haven’t died:

  1. We have found a childminder! From January, Daphne will be going to a lovely lady in the village next to ours for one day per week. Even this feels slightly traumatic/scary, but at the same time, incredibly exciting as it means a whole day to myself to do whatever I like! Well, mostly work, of course, but still. I will have time to reply to emails, to plan stuff, to get ahead, to work on my book… I cannot wait.
  2. I have finished the first draft of my novel. It’s a bit of a mess (a massive mess in fact) but still, I’m really pleased as now I finally know what the story is about, and how to fix it. I had my critiquing session with my group at the Faber Academy last week (we share our first 5000 words with each other and give feedback) and it went really well, which was reassuring. I am sure it’s super boring reading on a blog about someone working on a book, but I have and I’m afraid it has been taking up most of my headspace lately, leaving little room for anything else. But I’m going to have a bit of a break from it over Christmas, and then get stuck in with the redraft in January. If anyone’s interested as to what it’s about, let’s just say it’s about new motherhood not turning out exactly how someone had planned…
  3. And on that note… I’ve been having a real think about the blog lately. When I first started blogging after Daph was born, it was as an outlet for all the experiences I was going through that felt so alien and new. But now I feel a bit more sorted (not much, but a bit) and also more like I should stop with the oversharing, as if I’m honest, I don’t think it’ll help me try to relaunch a career (more on that in a minute). So I’m trying to work out how the blog can fit into this new way of thinking. I don’t go to glamorous events anymore. My restaurant review days are well and truly over. My life on a day to day basis is incredibly mundane. I’m not one of those supermums who does crafts round the clock with their offspring, providing plenty of blog fodder. I could blog more about interiors, but somehow that doesn’t feel like it fits with the content I already have on here (plus there are a gazillion interiors blogs out there already). So yes. I need to make some decisions. I want to know what people find (and don’t find) interesting, so if you fancy sharing what YOU want to read about, that would be awesome and very helpful. I try to be honest about motherhood, and these posts do seem to be the most popular, but then I worry I sound like a right moaner… Generally it seems my real life friends like reading the personal stuff as a way of keeping up to date with my life when everyone’s so busy, but for those who don’t, I’m sure it’s a massive snorefest. Pondering pondering… and open to suggestions!
  4. Careers. Hmm, I shouldn’t write much about this really, but I am feeling so so saddened by the state of my former industry (magazine journalism). I haven’t done proper journalism for ages now, just bits and bobs here and there, but still, it was a bloody awesome job while it lasted. I found out the other day that the interiors website I worked on for four years from launch has been rebranded and basically turned into a shadow of its former self, with loads of staff being made redundant. I nearly wept! It is crazy how journalism has just died a death thanks to the internet. So yes, in 2017 I need to start making some firm decisions about what the hell I am going to focus on for the rest of my working life. SCARY stuff. I have written a list of priorities for my new career, top of which is not having to commute into London every day. More on that soon…
LIFE

Running on empty

bruises-lifebylotte

No one told me that once you had a toddler on your hands, you’d be covered in bruises. And that every part of you would ache. But it’s true. I am literally covered in bruises as Daph is constantly knocking into me, throwing things at my face (my mobile phone has hit me in the eye at least five times in the past two months alone), and generally requiring me to save her from imminent death and thus injuring myself in the process. It is full on protecting a one year old from their many and varied attempts to harm themselves. Since having her, I’ve had about 300 colds, another bout of norovirus, shut my finger in my car door and lost a fingernail in the process, dropped my (switched on) hair straighteners through my finger tips losing lots of skin in the process, bashed my arm against our banister trying to stop the pushchair from knocking a huge glass-framed picture over (yes, really) and then last week, I topped it all off by falling down the stairs. While holding her.

She now weighs about two stone (not joking), and somehow I managed not to drop her as I fell (meaning she was absolutely fine), but this achievement left me feeling like I’ve been in a car accident. I have a bruise the size of my palm on one buttock (it’s gone purply-black now and is very impressive – I’ve been sharing bum-selfies with everyone and anyone I know well enough not to judge me), a huge bruise on my elbow where I knocked it trying to lessen the fall, and polka dot bruises all down my spine from where it bumped its way to the bottom of the stairs. It bloody hurts. Every part of me hurts. My neck (which has never not hurt thanks to a career spent hunched over a computer screen) is now a complete write off – leaning down to haul Daph off the floor 1200 times a day means I am rapidly turning into the hunchback of Notre Dame.

I am exhausted. Not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and any other bloody way you can be. I had booked a spa break next week with my sister, and I was so looking forward to it (and the hot stone massage) but unfortunately we’ve had to postpone as we’re going to a funeral instead. That just about sums up 2016.

The upside to all this moaning is that I am incredibly excited about Christmas and the new year. 2016 has been one of the hardest years of my life for so many varied reasons (not the worst, but the hardest), and has also been pretty shitty for most people I know. So all I can think is that stuff is going to get better. The only way is up! Last night, Daph slept from 7pm to 7.20am when we had to go in and WAKE HER UP. I am taking this miraculous event as a sign. Things are going to improve. Just a few weeks left of this godawful year – hang on in there people, we can do it.