Persephone: Parent

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Operation…Yucky!

The lurgy has hit the household and I, once again, feel like I’m dying. It’s just a cold, maybe a mild flu (achey, hot sweats, cough, dizzy/feint spells), but I am always over the top dramatic. Lucky the lurgy hit after my day away at a convention in London. Technically it hit whilst I was away. Yep, the first time that Daddy had both children on his own all day long and they both slept, taking it in turns so he only ever really had one to deal with. Typical! It did result in me getting a message once I was on my way home –

Can you get a taxi from the station rather than walk? We have vomit.

Oh, dear. Elvis then slept all day Monday, too. Ahh, Monday, the day that was supposed to be our last day together for Robin and I. Elvis hijacked it. Tuesday, which was supposed to be the first of 9 super productive spring cleaning days ended up being me watching TV with Elvis (who was hyper and no longer sick, but we didn’t know that at half 7) whilst Robin had her first morning at nursery. Wednesday, which was supposed to be second super decluttering day became a 90% on it day as I started to feel the affects of the bug, but both kids were at the nursery and I got most of my to do list done.

So, today, Thursday, supposed to be day 3 of 9 of cleaning, decluttering, jogging, shopping, being me and being amazing… I slept in until 9am (Daddy did the whole breakfast and get to nursery on his own. He’s amazing), had a bath, ate cereal, watched The 100, bought cookies and cereal. Moved a box. Ate cookies. Tried to nap. Had lunch and lemsip. That was at 12 just before I headed off to pick up both kids. I started to feel better with that lemsip. I think I just needed that amazing rest. This illness has given me such a short fuse. Robin seems to have skipped it. Although this evening she kept crying for incredibly random reasons. She hit me in the face and I jokingly said “Ouch, be careful, no, that hurt.” No sternness in my voice at all, and with a smile. She burst into tears! Elvis has spent the week having what I guess people might call normal toddler temper tantrums, but they’ve been whiny.

“I don’t want to get up!” Whiny meltdown. “I want cinnamon squares.” Whiny meltdown. “I’m tired.” Whiny meltdown. “I don’t want to go bed.” Whiny meltdown. “I don’t want to watch TV.” Whiny meltdown. “I’m tired.”

Seriously, go the fuck to bed because I have an awful headache and want you to just stop fucking whining!

This week I have been far worse than shouty parent. I have been screaming parent. I have wanted to swear at my son. Because swearing tells the other person you mean business, right? I have come so close to wanting to hit him. Just. To. Shut. Him. Up. All because I was tired, drained and exhausted and my head hurt so much. But I went to bed for over 12 hours and spent Thursday morning doing absolutely nothing and I feel better. I feel no guilt because I wasn’t being lazy, I was being protective.

Yeah, I still haven’t done my first jog of 2016 (I had planned to jog on days 1 and 3), I still have a lot of things to do on my to do list, but my junk room is already looking more spacious, I still have clothes shopping to do for work (supposed to do on day 2), but I still have 6 days left.

Unless Robin gets ill. Let’s not go there.

Robin, who has taken to nursery like a pro. She’s even happy wearing her shoes now! Everyone keeps commenting on how good of a baby she is (yes, I kind of hate how a baby is judged by how well they sleep and what their temperament is like, but it is partly true, Robin goes to sleep easily, she is so laid back and easy going, she literally leans back on you and giggles looking up, if you aren’t there she simply bangs her head on the floor and laughs!) I guess in a nursery situation “good” babies are simply because they make the workers’ life a bit easier. Robin started crying in the garden, so she was taken up for a nap and was asleep in a minute. Because she rarely cries. She’s also not overly fussed to see me when I turn up. She’s incredibly content.

Oh, and despite his mood, Elvis came home from nursery this week with two sunflowers that he’d planted and a lovely Mother’s Day card with a tree handprint and pink finger print leaves (it’s Stickman’s family tree, apparently).

Before the lurgy hit, I had an amazing weekend. I did my weekly weigh in (forgot to post, but reached my first target! Whoop!), then I spent the day at the arcades and climbing castles with the family. Went on a date night with hubby and after a lovely meal, snuck in a cinema trip and watched Deadpool (weird, not quite my taste, but hilarious). Sunday I spent in London and met 5 actors from TV and film. I finally met Greg Grunberg and Miltos Yerelomou! I’ve waited years! I’m not sure I’ll do a weigh in this week as I still feel a bit rough and, quite frankly, I have a good reason for slacking. It’s not being lazy or indulgent, it’s trying to recover and resting. I guess I’ll count myself lucky that this thing hit once both were in nursery even if it only gave me a few hours a day rest!

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And So The End Begins

This week marks the last week of what I’ve considered for however long as normal because it’s all coming to an end. My maternity leave ended a month ago and I’m still not back at work for almost 4 weeks but it’s all starting to end. Next week we’ll be in a period of transition for a few months.

I’m excited about the future about what will become the new normal but I am also sad about this week.

Tuesday was our last Tuesday where it was just the two of us, just Robin and I all day long. Where she could nap truly whenever she wanted as there was no nursery run. We could take meals slower, potter around playing in the bedrooms, do extra shopping. That’s all gone now. The one day a week where she could call the shots. And on our last Tuesday I spent it napping due to an awful migraine. Next Tuesday, Robin and I get to play at nursery for an hour for her first settling in session! Never again will she truly be able to call the shots. I mean, she has some freedom on weekends with regards to her naps, but if we want to go out as a family, her routine is the one sacrificed. Poor, second child, all she ever got was one day a week.

Oh, the sadness!

Wednesday is the day that I’ve been taking Robin for swimming lessons before lunch and then the nursery run. Next week Robin will have her second nursery settling session so I need to make sure she naps in the morning. Her lesson is during her nap time, which sometimes I can work around by taking her shopping right before and she’ll fall asleep for maybe 20 minutes. Most of the time, I just don’t let her nap and she waits until after the nursery run at 2 or 3pm. She might have been okay next week, swimming and then napping after an hour at nursery, but I don’t want to risk it. Next Wednesday, she gets to go into her nursery room for an hour whilst I fill in paperwork in the office. So she’ll be alone! She’s been in a creche loads for the therapy course I was doing so I’m not worried about leaving her. She also smiles and seems to really like the look of all of the staff when we pick Elvis up so I’m not fussed, but I’d prefer her to not be overtired! As of next week, and for the transition period maybe longer, both children will have their lessons on a Friday, his right after hers. As in, immediately after. Nanny will have to do more than just babysit one of them. Again, I’m quite sad about it as I’m so used to doing each swimming lesson with them on their own. Now, each of them are going to intrude on the other’s time. I won’t be able to get Robin dressed after her lesson. I won’t be able to get Elvis ready for his lesson. Since he was just 10 weeks old, I’ve taken him swimming, just the two of us for most of that time.

Oh, the sadness!

Thursday is the day where, well, we quite often don’t do much and next week Robin will have her third and final settling in session, where I take her and leave the building for an hour! Now, if I’d thought about it properly, I would have done it in the morning whilst Elvis is in nursery and scored myself an hour child-free, instead, I might take Elvis out for a drink and snack, maybe cake and hot chocolate – just the two of us. Sometimes on a Thursday, a friend visits with her toddler, we lunch and then collect Elvis, maybe go to a park. If not, I get cleaning done during Robin’s nap. I don’t know how I’m going to see my Thursday friend in all honesty. With my work hours, her school run, my nursery run. We’ll figure out something, but I can’t quite see how it’ll work out. We might be able to snatch an hour once a week. We could move to a Friday (along with half the rest of the bloody world), but with swimming in the morning, it might still only be an hour, maybe two. With some friends, I quite like to be limited to only an hour here and there, but not with Thursday Friend. I’m not even fussed about the cleaning, that’s built in to my new routine, but Thursday Friend, well, we might get more time during school holidays. Oh, dear, her toddler and Robin are really cute together – they talk and kind of actually play with each other. They might not see each other as much!

Oh, even more sadness!

I’m typing this just as we finished our last ever normal Thursday nursery run. Although for the next two weeks, Mondays will be normal, the other days won’t be. Tomorrow is the last Friday as normal before they both have to go on a Friday, inevitably making my Fridays far busier than currently. Oh, dear, all of this change and I am feeling a bit down about it. But I am also excited. Robin loved the creche she went to, she loves the staff we see at nursery and she is far more of a sociable baby than Elvis ever was or is now. I’ve loved seeing how Elvis developed at nursery, doing things that it would never have occurred to me to do (paint with blocks, cars, animals; use clean food containers to make a shop, paint and cook in general actually, try writing over thicker, highlighter pens), see what he picked as things he liked to play with, hear who he considers friends and who upset who today (haha!) and I am excited about Robin getting to experience all of that. With her big brother just downstairs.

But there’s still sadness at this chapter ending.

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Mothers Make Strangers Known

There’s a lady I see, a mother, always walking in the opposite direction to me no matter the time of day. As I walk towards Elvis’ nursery after lunch, she’s walking in the opposite direction. After I have collected Elvis, I return home and pass this mother. She has a double pushchair, one of the ones where one child sits above the other. As I go to nursery, she has one child, a boy, in the lower seat and I have an empty pushchair. On the return journey, my pushchair has Elvis in it and hers has a girl in the upper seat, the younger brother still hidden away underneath. We smile at each other although we have never met.

There is no recognition from baby groups. I’ve never seen her at a Sure Start Centre, although I have seen her around town with one child in her double. We “know” each other purely from walking our nursery runs in opposite directions. The other morning, I went out to yoga alone at half 8 in the morning and I saw her doing her morning nursery run, both children in the double. She was across the road. We had never seen each other at this time of day and I was without a pushchair – empty or full – and our eyes met across a busy main road and we smiled at each other.

Her children are both older than mine so I doubt we’ll ever run in the same circles. Maybe some under 5 groups. Probably not. But we smile and nod at each other. I don’t know what she thinks of the stranger who smiles at her. Does she think back to her days with only the one child, the single pushchair and a growing bump? Does she look at me and realise that I see her as my future? Not that I want a double pushchair where one sits above the other (I’m hoping for some baby wearing and toddler walking before a side-by-side stroller for certain journeys), but soon I will be the mum pushing a pushchair with one child, on my way to collect the other. Making the journey every day, times as strict as anything as the eldest can’t be left to go over their time. Does she look forward to the time soon when her oldest goes to school and her youngest starts the nursery? Does she think that when that happens, she will pass me with my one, her pushchair empty? And then we’ll pass again, me with two and her with her son. A few hours later, she’ll be needed for the school run for her daughter.

When these changes have all occurred, will we stop seeing each other? Will we forget each other? That nameless woman and her two children who are simply living their life, passing me by as I live my life.

~ P

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Toddler Proofing A Toddler Proof Home

You’d think it’s  easy, right, having toddler play dates in your home when you have a toddler already. We have safety gates, door catches, plug covers, no exposed wires, radiator turned down/off, etc, etc. Yet it really isn’t that easy. Or I’m too much of a control freak.

In the week after Christmas, Elvis was off nursery for the week so I thought it would be good to have some toddler playdates (and mummy catch ups). I feel bad during a normal  week that I put Elvis’ naps (and rest time for me) before him socialising. But he socialises at nursery. I miss out on seeing him interact with children though. And I wonder how he will be with children in his home.

We had 3 in total in that week — I was 38 weeks pregnant so everyone happily came to me! And I learnt quickly after the first. Just because I have the safety issues covered, it does not mean that toys are safe. We have a fireplace in our living room (never turned on but has edges that could hurt a child). Elvis knows not to touch it, that it’s hot so I don’t think about it. Elvis has a play desk that he knows not to climb and he knows not to take the chalks and crayons away from the desk. He has jigsaws that  he knows not to chew.

I’m not saying these things to say “my son is perfect” these are simply my house rules and I’ve taught him them. Sometimes he’s cheeky and disobeys one. We have had to take away a few pop up books as he wasn’t careful enough with them (that’s what library books are for!) That’s our rules. There is nothing wrong, nothing right about our rules, friends’ rules or anyone’s rules.

But I do need to chill out when guests come around. Or, as I quickly learnt, tidy up and hide questionable toys. I now hide the chalks and crayons, the bouncy horse that can be climbed on, the wooden jigsaws that can have their picture chewed off, the books that could be damaged by toddler hands, the more delicate pieces of train track. I considered hiding the garage with extra track that took hours to figure out a configuration, but then realised no toddler could damage it, only break it up so Daddy and I would have to spend hours refitting it all!

I was much calmer on the second playdate. And there were two toddler guests! I didn’t even mind the mess – some toddlers play with everything all at once, others tidy as they play. Just like some toddlers happily play alone, others need someone to interact with. As with all things there is no right or wrong. There are pros and cons to both. The first playdate saw Elvis share brilliantly (except his Santa hat that no one else can touch ) which is my primary concern for an only child. The second playdate saw Elvis throw a mini fit whenever I passed a toy to another child (what’s mummy’s is mummy’s which doesn’t bode well for the baby!) And saw him push another child over.

Elvis isn’t at the stage yet where punishments work. Normally when he’s naughty he gets a time out to stop crying and then has to cuddle whoever he disobeyed/hurt/upset. Well, he was never going to cuddle his friend. I really need to work on “telling off” and discipline when it comes to others! He did then play brilliantly with both boys – they were giggling and playing away and we had no idea what they were doing!

I love seeing him play with other children! But I also need to figure which are his toys – toys that he just won’t share. Which I’m fine with. Everyone has a few things or one special thing that is theirs and I don’t think they should be forced to share everything. During the week of playdates, Elvis’ special toys were his bouncy horse and Leeds Santa Hat. Fair enough. Now, when he refused to share his cars (he has 7), that is not fair and I will make him share.

And those toys that he refuses to share (because they’re special to him) will be removed from the room so no one can play! Along with the chalks, crayons, jigsaws and other delicate/damageable toys!

Here’s to more sharing and more playdates!

~ P

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Have We Survived The Move?

A.K.A were my worries just me being silly? Hehe!

Before we moved house, I made a series of three blog posts about the impending move: What Worried Me, What I would miss and Things I was looking forward to.

These were my worries:

  • Elvis coping
  • Losing everything
  • Losing time on the lunchtime nursery run
  • Being exhausted in general

Well, Elvis was fine and I lost nothing material wise. I have lost time on the nursery run and am struggling to make it until December without relying on hubby to come and collect me every day, but I could never have foreseen the back pain (as the pelvic pain has actually all gone!) As for the exhaustion, well, Elvis took to his new home very well and continued to nap all afternoon which greatly helped me with all of the unpacking. I really was worrying over, well, not much!

I was going to miss:

  • Having Elvis in another room but so much closer than he is now in the new house
  • Only having two small bedrooms to clean
  • Knowing that I can hear Elvis from downstairs
  • Traffic noise masking Elvis overnight
  • The closeness of all being in the one and only communal room
  • Being forced into moving Elvis (now Robin) into their own room
  • More carpets to hoover
  • Watching TV all of the time

Okay, Elvis has been an amazing night sleeper for months so him being those few steps further away was never gong to be a massive problem — it also is not a problem at all, when I have hubby take over night times as it’s difficult to lift in and out of a cot with a bump the size of mine! So far, the cleaning has not really been a problem. I have my Tuesday mornings off where I can get the hovering and dusting done. It doesn’t physically exhaust me yet! I can still hear Elvis when I’m downstairs in the family living room, maybe out in the back garden I can’t, but that’s what the baby monitor is for and I can hear him perfectly all night long (his 5am conversations with himself still wake me!). We also changed our plans for the living arrangements and still all live in the one room downstairs together rather than spreading over two, I’m also enjoying not having a TV in the kitchen and not always allowing the TV on when Elvis and I are playing. I do still have worries over deciding when Robin will leave our bedroom, but then we haven’t actually decided which is going to be our bedroom yet! I don’t think I actually miss a single one of those things yet!

Here is what I was looking forward to:

  • Space for all of Elvis’ things in his own bedroom, space to put away the toys and clothes he’d finished with (ready for Robin) and space to have all my DVDs and books out!
  • A spare bed for me when I have insomnia!
  • Escaping to get 5 minutes without hearing a screaming baby cry
  • Peace and quiet at night with no traffic noise or drunken chavs
  • Less dirt and dust from the traffic
  • Multiple rooms to escape to, away from crying, away from hubby, not being trapped because there’s someone asleep on the only sofa!
  • Having a garden!
  • Having different wardrobes for different seasons (at the moment, different times of life – maternity, normal, nursing)
  • having a home for coats, shoes, bags and pushchairs
  • Drying clothes outside!
  • Not having a dodgy fuse box.

And, yes, I do love each of these things! I love having space to spread out, space to store everything and sort everything. I love having the spare bed for insomnia, for family and friends. I love not having a TV at mealtimes, but I love the freedom of having a second TV and sofa for when sport is on or friends are around. I love having a spare living room where I can keep my crafting materials. I love having a wet room where the pushchair rain cover can dry!

Yes there was stress with moving, no we haven’t actually moved everything or unpacked everything, but we’re mainly all done! Next step will be to plan our refurbishments and decorating. After Robin gets here!

~ P x

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Possessive Boy

At first I thought that my son, who has only just developed the ability/desire to hug and kiss people, was having a spot of separation anxiety, but I think it’s actually some sort of possessive streak. Initially it was crying when I took him to nursery alone – perhaps he thought we were off out somewhere fun together before I abandoned him there! Then it was crying if I didn’t get in the car with Daddy to take him to nursery – am I not allowed a day off? I started to wonder if it was simply OCD and breaking his routine, but he seems fine when I’m genuinely not around. Oh, and then there were the tears when Daddy drove away with Nanny – how dare Daddy leave!

Then I noticed that I was allowed to play with his toys, Daddy wasn’t unless it was bedtime and then Daddy could join in. I still thought it was a separation thing and preferring mummy to daddy. When he was upset, Elvis currently prefers me to Daddy. If we’re both there that is! I am slightly worried if there is an element of Mummy-love because Robin isn’t far off!

Until I then realised it isn’t Mummy-love, it isn’t breaking a routine, it isn’t even being separated from me. Nope, it’s Elvis deciding everything is his!

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Can I give up Now?

For anyone’s information, this entire blog is now censored and amended to no longer be accurate to my thoughts and feelings for the sake of everyone else in the world as I am not deemed important enough to have feelings. So feel free to simply laugh at the post below.

The pains and aches are too much. It hurts to walk, not my pelvis anymore, my lower back. And my upper back aches when I try and relax my lower back. My bump has just got harder, like, overnight and it’s uncomfortable to lean forward. I’m tired all the time. 15 months ago, I was yearning for a time that Elvis would have an actual bedtime and when I would get a bit of time after he was asleep before I would go to bed. Now? Now, I would happily go to bed before him.

I can’t get a straight answer out of my bosses about my annual leave and I’m really worried that I’m going to lose a whole load of leave or be refused it. Meanwhile I’m trying to cling on until Christmas holidays. I’m beginning to doubt myself and the ability to last that long. I’ve already brought forward my help me date — I can’t deal with the 80 minutes of solid walking and hubby is happy to take his lunch ferrying Elvis and I around. I was hoping to not take advantage of his lunch hour, but now am hoping to at least the end of November before giving up.

Meanwhile, after a few pay cock-ups and a house move, money has become tight. We’re still paying the mortgage and bills at an old address, but no bills at the new house yet. We need to finish and sell the old house. I need that mortgage money to pay the nursery — especially with my impending maternity pay. I have never felt money be this tight and at least last time I had savings to help me out. Until we sell our old house, I do not have that financial security. But there’s nothing I can do to speed that up. I can’t shift the few boxes remaining. I can’t drive there and back, emptying the house. And I can’t paint the one damn wall that needs painting!

And I would really like all of these things sorted before Robin comes along (obviously the pain and feeling uncomfortable will).

I would really like to fast forward time!

~ P x

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Feeling Unloved

I don’t think it happened with Elvis, maybe because I wasn’t generally so damn uncomfortable,  but I feel kinda unloved. Because of the pelvis pain, I have to sleep in certain positions, which mean no hubby cuddles — I guess last time I could have hubby cuddles on the sofa. This time, I have to sit on a gym ball most of the evening so, again, no hubby cuddles. I’m not sure if he’s noticed. I’ve tried telling him, but I think I’ve been talking in girl code (you know, plain English that is never quite plain enough). I guess I need to spell it out clearly – cuddle me!

The other thing is, we’re both always with Elvis. Sure, we’re alone from 7pm as Elvis pretty much goes straight to sleep and doesn’t stir (except those little teething blips), but there’s no intimacy,  nothing special. We’re still trying to sort out the house after the move. We need a night out alone. Or a day out without Elvis. The only thing is, my mum’s the only babysitter local and she’s already looking after Elvis every Tuesday for over 4 hours whilst I work and then I keep roping her in to cover maternity appointments and I really don’t want to pester her with extra times. I’m sure that she wouldn’t begrudge it at all especially a daytime session.

My mum’s house still isn’t ready from her move so she has to look after Elvis at ours, which I think annoys her as when he naps she has nothing to do. Therefore she prefers watching him in the day as he, obviously, sleeps less. Saying that, she is watching him on a Saturday night soon so we can attend a wedding — although the verdict is still out as to where she is watching him and if it is over the whole night.

That’s my plan then, a daytime date. No toddler attached.

~ P

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Number Two/How?????

I read a blog by Mum of Boys, and, well, oops, I didn’t plan a second, but, here are my thoughts (my initial thoughts are – What? I won’t be welcome at under-1 groups? At all? Or at my mummy friends houses? How will playdates go for Elvis? How will they go for Robin? Holy, crap.)

  1. Apparently the second pregnancy will be harder, there’ll be no lazy cuppas with other pregnant mums-to-be and you’ll be covered in food, dressing more practically
  2. Being unwelcome at Mummy groups – or your toddler and “been there done that attitude” won’t be welcome
  3. More sleep in the hospital than in the few years leading up to then
  4. You will welcome visitors, simply to entertain the toddler
  5. You will be up and on your feet much quicker, if only to get the toddler out of the house!
  6. You will not sleep when the baby sleeps, you’ll be watching toddler TV
  7. No morning lie-ins after a night of feeding
  8. There will be no time for friends and a social life, even online
  9. You’ll “miss” the developments of the second as they appear from out of nowhere whilst your attention is on the older child
  10. You will not, even for one second, regret the decision to have number 2.

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Where’s My Boy Gone?

No, I don’t mean the cliché that every other parent around me says – the: “Where’s my baby gone?” Nope, and anyone who ever told me that “you’ll miss these baby days, the new-born phase and wonder at 1 where your baby went”, news for you – never wondered that.

Neither do I mean that I’ve literally lost him. Nope, I just want to know where the happy, independent, loves nursery boy has gone.

A few weeks ago, he complained if Daddy drove past the nursery looking for a parking space, as if Daddy wasn’t taking him there. A few weeks ago, he refused to be carried up the stairs at nursery, refused to be lifted over the safety gate by a nursery worker, wanting to walk himself and straight to the toys. And then they changed his playroom and he started crying at handover.

Well, now, apparently, he kicks off entering the nursery. Or approaching it in the car. I have to give him credit for recognising the place from the car outside on the street, but why does he suddenly apparently not want to be there? Because I saw him the other day as I went to collect him, I snuck in and peered around a door frame and there he was giggling away and playing. He’s never come home with strange marks (he gets more bruises at home than there!), always has a clean bum, never got a red bum, sometimes he’s clearly slathered in bum cream. He’s not even unhappy when he sees me, or relieved.

He has started throwing a strop before we leave the nursery, but it feels more like he’s trying to stay. So, he grabs at Daddy to not leave him, and then pushes away from me and slams gates closed to stay.

I honestly have no idea what his problem is, what has caused this or how to stop it.

Is it because they changed his room and he doesn’t like it?

Is it because soon after moving room, we moved home and he’s not sure where he stands anymore? He’s only been at nursery for three months, that’s 12 weeks of a lot of changes.

He was ill the other week (I thought teething, but no tooth arrived), is this a lasting effect? Is he still a bit ill?

Is it because we don’t have a safety gate upstairs so I don’t give him freedom and independence up there at the moment? Unless we’re in a rush, I allow Elvis to control where-ish he wants to go. After a nap, for example, if he wants to play upstairs, I do some tidying until he approaches the stair gate. Is he rebelling against that lack of freedom?

Will I ever know?

~ P

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