Sunday, 28 February 2010

Dear friend...

My dear babyless friend,

You are heartbroken. You live with fear, disappointment, frustration and questions (so many questions) every day.

And I don't know how to help.

I don't even know what to say to you. The telephone, which should be a happy wonder of technology, turns into my nemesis when I think about calling you.

You see, I'm scared to call you. I'm scared of my lack of any kind of knowledge or advice or experience that might be able to ease your suffering. I'm scared to disappoint you.

And yet by keeping my distance I disappoint you anyway.

You can't have a baby naturally. You, and your lovely husband, are going through week upon week, month upon month of agony wondering whether this time's cycle will be successful.

And when it does work, as it has a couple of times in recent months, you then live in fear of losing that hope and having to start again.

I really cannot imagine how you must feel. I want to reach out to you but my words, my actions, my presence can only linger around, useless in their efforts to bolster your flagging determination. 

I despair at my short fallings as a friend. I remember the support, love and ever-present shoulder on which to cry when I split from my first husband. You dropped your life to be by my side, to scoop me up from my depths and ply me with much needed tea and sympathy.

Now you're in your own depths and I have no idea what to say to you, much less how to help.
How can I repay you for your kindness? Why can't I find the words to help you in your hours of need? What can I do to help you?

I think of you constantly and want only the best for you. I reach out as often as I can to let you know I'm here. I only wish I could do more.

If I had a grain of sand for every time you are in my thoughts we would spend the day on a beautiful beach together, just being friends.

Your friend, helplessly


Friday, 26 February 2010

Same world, different planet

"What's with all the cutlery like?" Asked a young female type, who one could only describe as the whitest blonde I have ever seen (I assumed it wasn't natural), sat at the next table to us in the Indian restaurant the other day.

"What de ye mean?" came the less than gentle reply.

"Well there's, like, one, two (yes, she had to count them!)... two knives and two forks?" She was actually incredulous at this phenomenon.

"One lot's for the starters and one's for the main course." A reasonable answer in straightforward terms. Yet it was my turn to be incredulous that such an answer was, indeed, necessary, bearing in mind that this person (blondie) was at least 18 years of age!

"I'll just use the same fork for everythin', I don't see the point..."

"The point is, we're not tramps so we don't just lick our forks and keep them for the next stuff..."

Seriously? Oh my!

This was, honestly, the conversation hubs and I 'overheard' (more like had rammed down our throats by overly-loud table neighbours) towards the end (thankfully) of a trip to our local Indian retaurant the other day.

Aforementioned blondie was, we estimated, around the age of 18 or 19. Had she seriously never been to a restaurant before? Surely most such eateries in this day and age provide you with starter cutlery and main course cutlery. Hell, if you plump for a dessert, you might even be lucky enough to get a fresh, clean spoon with it!

Friendly neighbours continued in their less than subtle tones to have other baffling conversations 'between themselves' and one of them even managed to squeeze in a telephone conversation in between mouthfuls.

As my hubs later pointed out, we could actually hear every word from the guy on the other end of that conversation, let alone what 'neighbour' said... why not just put the phones down and shout to one another - that way you can save your money for another item of tacky, over large gold jewellery and a couple of Burberry rip-off baseball caps!

Too harsh?

Chavs? In my local Indian restaurant? What's the world coming to?

A speechless (and only slightly tongue-in-cheek) Potential Mummy B

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Dear boiler...

Dear boiler,

You disappoint me.

I know we haven't known each other for long, and that I've been slightly sneering about your position in life (or perhaps just your position in my kitchen), but I've come to depend on you, on your warmth and your undoubted skill to get things boiling around here.

You let me down last week and now my confidence in your commitment to me and this house is dented.

Perhaps I didn't pay you enough attention? Perhaps I didn't listen to you enough? Is that why your tears began to fall? Is that why you flooded my kitchen floor? Simply for attention?

Well how do you think that makes me feel? We had a good thing going there and if you'd only spoken up earlier I might have been able to work something out. Instead, you keep your peace until it's too late for either of us stop the impending doom.

Your heart is broken, I'm told. Well, not your heart so much as some space ship looking part of your workings that the plumber unceremoniously removed from within - brassy in colour and slightly covered in limescale. Whatever, a piece has clean sheared off, causing you to spill your innards to anyone and everyone who happens to be passing.

I'm sorry you're hurt and I arranged for someone to come fix you as soon as I realised there was someone wrong, but the fact still remains, you ruined my Valentine's Day. And for that, I'm not sure I can forgive you. But I'll have to try.

You see, time with my hubs is so very precious to me and, without giving anyone else a second thought, you chose that incredibly special day - that one day out of the whole calendar - to have your breakdown, turn cold on me and demand my attention.

But one thing I've learned from this whole messy (and surprisingly wet) debacle is that I, we, take you and your position in the household, for granted. Indeed, perhaps me and my entire race take you and your kind for granted as a whole. But who can blame us when, in our greatest need of warmth and comfort, you seem to laugh in our faces and withdraw your services.

Well, you got my attention with your incessent dripping and I only hope you're feeling better now. I can only assume you do feel better as you just sit smugly in your corner and hum gloatingly at me while you go about your business, caring not about the love, attention and money I've lavished on you in recent days.

You've drained me recently and I just hope that we can get back to normal now, function properly between us. I promise to pay more attention to your needs and stop taking your talents for granted.

Let's be friends again. Together we can wrap this household in love, warmth and hot water... What do you say?

Yours in domestic harmony,


This post is my first attempt at Sleep is for the Weak's Writing Workshop - head on over if you fancy joining in, it's muchos fun!

Thanks for reading my inane ramblings once again!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Falling off the wagon

Once again, for probably about the fifth time in my adult life, I'm battling with my greedy demons to try to lose some weight.

I don't think I'm massively overweight (although those nasty BMI-believing folk would have me pegged at pretty darn obese) but I'm just about flabby enough to feel uncomfortable in my usual clothes, wobbly enough to be wearing my 'fat' wardrobe and lumpy enough to want to dress only in my loosest PJs and hide away from the world for a while.

So, for about four weeks I've been praying to the angels of weight loss and studying my bible of goodly eating in an effort to shed a few pounds.

The first week was marvellous. Three pound down - score! Week two was not so good, with a slight slippage from the diet train, resulting in a two pound gain. Not so good. Naughty!

Never one to be thrown from the voyage completely I reboarded the next week and lost a further three pounds - I so love it when I have a good week.

But then came holidays. Only two nights away over at my 'away' sis-in law's, but enough to skew my diet senses and send me spinning into a whirlpool of loveliness, non-diet food and wine aplenty!

And then, of course, there's the chocolate and wine-fest that occurred when my little monthly visitor reared its ugly head earlier this week... well, one has to allow oneself a little comfort every now and again... doesn't one?

What is one supposed to do when life (and wine) gets in the way? It is not always possible to be saint-like in one's pursuit of a looser waistband, is it?

I will never be put off the chase altogether and tomorrow I start swimming again - always a good way to shift the flab (even if one has to be seen in semi-public in a state of almost undress *shudders*).

Anyone got any good strategies?

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Not this time...

OK, so pass the copious amounts of chocolate, it's that time of the month again.

Those of you who have been reading my blog since January will know that I'm trying to conceive (with help from hubs, obviously) after suffering an early miscarriage on Christmas Eve.

So, post ordeal, February is really the first month that hubs and I have tried again. Only February has conspired against us. What will illness, late nights and downright tiredness I would have been surprised if this was the month for another home pregnancy test to make my dreams come true...

Dag nash it, I hate it when I'm right!

Having downloaded an application on my iPod Touch (more in a tongue-in-cheek kind of a way than in any real anticipation) I knew that D Day (or should that be P Day?) fell this Saturday. After last time I was determined not to jump the gun and get too excited if I were a little late, but simply to bide my time and see what happened.

Even that little bit of friendly self-advice was a little premature as, on Saturday afternoon, in the midst of a hormone-fuelled battle with hubs, I recognised the dreaded onset of cramps...

While, as I said, I would have been surprised had we been pregnant this month, the arrival of those cramps left me sad, disappointed and more than a little frustrated.

But in the midst of all these feelings, hubs and I stopped our bickering and declared ourselves (the bestest of) friends again, as I brushed myself off and headed round to my sis-in-law's for an evening of chat, Cadbury's chocolate and sparkling wine - she really does know how to make me feel better (thanks bucket loads hun x).

So, onto March. Perhaps my own birthday month will herald the start of a new Baby B life?

Monday, 22 February 2010

I'm drowning in dirty stuff...

...and not in a good way!

No, I'm drowning in dirty washing, dirty dishes, dirty kitchen floors (well only one, so technically I couldn't possibly drown in that...).

This is all due to the stupidy stupid boiler breaking on Valentine's Day. Luckily we only had one sleepless night of getting up every two hours to empty the washing up bowl that was situated most precariously underneath said boiler to catch the drippety drip... Actually, my wonderful, gorgeous hubs did the getting up, but I was still rudely awakened every time he rose to do his duty.

So, I've been unable to do the dishes (must make room for that dishwasher I've had in the garage for nine months) without boiling the kettle three times for every bowl full, hubs has almost run out of undies and socks (and he gets grumpy if the underwear fairy isn't doing her job!) and my hands have gone on strike owing to the fact that I can only wash them in (and I kid you not) freezing cold water several times a day...

Ours is not a harmonious household of late!

But fear not, for a lovely fella from Gas Angel Heating has exited my abode, leaving me with a brand new, shiny (at least I think it is, can't see the blessed thing) and stupidly expensive new part which has stopped the dripping - hoozah, hoorah and jubilate!

Now, of course, I no longer have any excuse to leave the pile of washing, ignore the dirty dishes and sit at my computer all day - gah!

Time to press on with my wifely duties of the domestic kind... who has time to get pregnant these days!?

Friday, 19 February 2010

Extreme tiredness

Extreme tiredness comes in all shapes and sizes. For me it either comes in the shape of one massive grumpy lump or in the shape of a small, helpless child who just needs wrapping up in cotton wool.

Today was the turn of the child.

Welcoming hubs back from his golf game like a lethargic sloth stuck to the sofa (he's such a lucky man!), I barely had the energy to get excited about his four par threes let alone console him on his double bogey on the 17th! (Seriously, can anyone ever summon up that much enthusiasm!?)

Just then, hubs spotted one of the 'friendly neighbourhood cats' in our back garden. Friendly and neighbourly they are not! Why, oh why do cats insist on using OTHER PEOPLE'S gardens as their personal toilets? If I wanted pooh all over the my lawn I'd buy myself a dog and be done with it.

So, knowing my aversion to having cats ablute outside my back door hubs tried to scare the cat away. Only this one was having none of it. So I bounded (as fast as my exhausted body would carry me) to the back door to fling it open and scare the little *grits her teeth* darling away. This didn't work so I dashed out into the garden to make sure it didn't come back only to skid (cartoon style: picture the arms and legs flailing like the sails of a windmill, artistically, in opposite directions), slip and land *splat* right on my cushioned behind.

Hubs immediately came straight to my rescue, hauling me up as if I weighed around the same as a feather (for this I love him endlessly!), and bundling me into his arms as I allowed the hot, stinging tears of a toddler escape me into his awaiting shoulder.

How is it that I'm so easily reduced to this blithering mess? All because of a little scrapey bump bump.

My pride was hurt more than my bottom (although I think I feel a couple of attractive bruises forming) and I do have a little 'ouch' on my finger.

When extreme tiredness attacks...

A slightly bruised and embarrassed Potential Mummy B

Thursday, 18 February 2010

A close proximity

As I made my merry way about my day just recently I turned out of our street in my new car (eeek!) to see my brother-in-law accompanying a very cute, beaming and excited-looking neph number one down the road to school.

This made me smile.

I'm absolutely over the moon (and will continue to be for some very sizeable length of time) that hubs and I live so close to our extended family that we can quite easily bump into them whilst out and about and simply give a wave. Not, you understand, that I don't like to stop and talk... it's just that we live so close and speak or see each other so often than a passing in the street can be just that (especially when done at high speed in my fab new car - did I mention I had a new car!?).

The main reason behind this declaration is that I moved away from my home town (and consequently my parents and support structure) when I left university to live in the big bad 'south'. I thought it was uncool to stay in one's own town and that I had to depart and explore foreign parts.

"Ugh, no Mum I don't want to stay at home, that's so unfair."

*Mum spouting some random sense and reason about staying at home which sounded pretty much like 'blah blah blah' to me*

"Gah, whatever. You're so embarrassing!"

For that is how I spoke in those days...

How wrong I was. I'm happy to say that I now live back in the bosom of my family and I couldn't be happier about it.

And although hubs and I live literally 100 metres from neph's little school and neph lives just another 30 metres further away than that (yes, we're close! Close enough for the nephs to build a tunnel between the two houses and eventually appear, through a hole in our lounge floor, by the time they're 14 and 16!), seeing neph #1 and daddy tottering along together brought to mind Neil Armstrong's famous quote:

"It's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

While said school is almost literally within spitting distance (if you've got really, really good spitting skills, which I don't I'm almost proud to state), for little legs, it's probably slightly more of a trek.

I mean, their little legs, all cute, short and clad in pants that look like trousers, only they're smaller, have to work an awful lot harder than ours to get anywhere fast. Bless them! Our saunter down the road is a full on off-road adventure to them - especially if you're like me and my brother used to be, darting from this tree to that, hiding behind garden walls and fighting countless ruthless (albeit imagined) enemies who turned even the simplest of journeys into a fine line between life and death... Ah, the memories are still fresh!

So, if their day is so much more tiring, leg-work wise, than ours, how come they have so much energy? I'll have a pint of what they're having please!

Potential Mummy B

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

A running commentary on life...

It was whilst visiting a local hostelry for lunch last weekend with lovely hubs and hubs' grandad that I noticed something of which I've only ever been vaguely aware before; when speaking to children, adults, whether they are the children's parents or not, seem intent on providing a real time running commentary on life.

I do it myself with my nephs and I was pleased to note that I'm not alone in this phenomenon.

When said children are of the non-speaking age, adults around them literally relate their every movement back to them in the form of words: "Mmm, you're eating that yummy chippy aren't you? Yes you are!" or "Oh dear, you've dropped your forky on the floor. Never mind, Mummy get it."

Once the little darlings are of the just speaking age it become necessary to perform a check of your understanding of each utterance:

"You've got a belly?"
"Something's smelly?"
"You want to watch telly?"
"NO!" (accompanied by a frustrated fit of tears)
"Oh, you've dropped your welly?"

Do we, as adults, feel the need to demonstrate to the children in our care that we understand what they're saying, as if we are the ones just learning? I find myself, when helping the nephs into their coats and shoes, repeating everything they say to me even though it was clear as day: do I need to impress them with my language skills?

Simply uttering a "Yes he did!" to a delighted cry of "Santa brought me a tendo DS lite" suddenly becomes unacceptable, requiring instead a total regurgitation of the child's sentence right back at them - what's that about!?

Harping back to my school days, during which I learned the basics of child language acquisition, I realise that this is all a process of helping the children around you to maximise their vocabularly, string together more coherent sentences and indeed reinforce their understanding of words in relation to objects. It does, however, do nothing to stop me marvelling at the very subconcious nature with which most of us undertake these developmental tasks - damn we're clever!

Signing off from this mini commentary on life,

Potential Mummy B

Parents and carers seem to provide a running commentary on life...

I do it, parents do it - why?

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Children influence everything - even before they're conceived!

So, after almost 17 years of waiting, I finally own my own car.

I'm massively excited and feel a sometimes overwhelming sense of liberation - a feeling I'm relishing every second!

My car is a beautiful little Kia Picanto; possibly one of the cutest cars I have ever seen. Call me weird, call me sad. I don't care. I have named my car and refer to her as 'she'. Some people understand that, others don't. For me, I'm not bothered what people think, I just love her and what she represents for me.

My choice of car was massively influenced by the fact that hubs and I are trying for our first baby. A five door (or four door with a boot as my hubs insists on calling it, citing car salesmen as fibbers by nature) was essential for me in order to avoid any back breaking potential when dealing with squirming little packages in the back seat. I also checked that the car is safe for child seats. A big tick. And it has split seats in the back: another big tick for ensuring hubs and I can purchase the pram or pushchair of our choice and not have to leave the bubs at home in order to fit it in the car!

And so I'm mobile! It's an amazing feeling; one that millions of people all around the world take for granted. But believe me, when you've been reliant on borrowing other people's cars or blagging a lift in order to get around, finally having one's own mode of transport and the freedom and independence that affords one is so, so exciting!

I hope this feeling never fades!

Mobile Potential Mummy B!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Drippy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day 2010, the most romantic day of the year. Hubs and I have a low-budget day planned (having already spent a small fortune on ingredients and wine for our special meal!) and everything's going according to plan.

The angels of love surround our little home like a swarm of wasps - only much more friendly and a lot less stingy.

Then we discover our boiler is leaking. And I don't mean a gentle drip, drip, drip to act as percussion to the music of love... oh no! I'm talking a miniature Niagara Falls leaking. Now, to many that may conjure up romantic images of sight-seeing, arm in arm, gazing lovingly first into one another's eyes then out into the glorious misty furore that is the Falls...

No, not in this case.

In this case it's a beautiful scene involving a badly (done before we owned the house) boxed in boiler, leaking from place unknown on the underside, with crappy washing up bowl (already seen better days, but hey, it's for washing up in right?) perched precariously underneath to catch the roaring torrent.

Surely plumbers will be available today? Surely they'll be falling over themselves to come out on, not only a Sunday, but Valentine's Day? Wouldn't they be clammering to arrive here first to charge us a call out fee, plus a Sunday fee and Valentine's fee on top?

Nope. Can't get a plumber to come fix it! Not for love nor money (surely for love on today of all days?).

So, our special day is somewhat thwarted by the fact that we have to be around every two hours to empty the emergency basin for fear of further flooding.

Still, at least we won't need mood music during our lovely meal... the sound of running water will help us imagine we're in more glamorous climes, eating in the shadow of the great Falls...

All we need now is a couple of those fetching hooded waterproof jobs and we're the picture of love and romance!

Happy Drippy Valentine's Day darling!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

I'm a laaaaaaaady (blogger)

OK, so I've taken a break from searching for a white debutante dress and walking around the kitchen with all my cookbooks on my head to let you all in on a very exciting development in my blogging life.

I have awoken this morning to find an acceptance email from The Lady Bloggers Society. Whoo!

Being new to the world of blogging and Twitter I'm still going hell for leather (whatever the heck that actually means - something my Mum says!) at the networking, reading, surfing, following and writing thing. I just can't get enough. But all my hard work (is it really work though? When I enjoy it so much!?) is paying off as I'm receiving responses to my blogs, getting links to relevant websites and being accepted by such lovely (and brand new) societies as this!

So no I can proudly display the following button:


The Lady Bloggers Society is a new networking site where us female types with a penchant for blogging our innermosts can 'meet' (in a virtual sense of the word) other people with lady bits who also like to put their happenings, thoughts and feelings down in words on this inter-hyper-global-virtual world that is the Internet.

Feeling a little society or button envy? Pay a visit, have a read, see what you think, maybe join... go on, what have you got to lose?

Have fun!

From a stupidly over excited (and possibly not very ladylike at this very moment) Potential Mummy B

Friday, 12 February 2010

An award? For me? Too kind...

Hello... erm, my name is Potential Mummy B... and I, erm, *takes a deep, deep breath* I'm a blogaholic... There. I've said it.

Ever since I discovered blogging a few short weeks ago (as well as the related Twitter activity - another new-found vice) I have been absolutely addicted! I'm sure my work will begin to suffer if I don't get a grip, but in the meantime I'm absolutely loving allowing my creative juices to run free.

That's why, this morning, after checking my blog followers and my Twitter page for last minute additions before I turned the lights off (yes, seriously, hubs and I are supposed to be trying for a baby, yet checking my Tweets and followers is the last thing I do before sleep takes over...!?) I picked up my phone as soon as I awoke to find an email telling me I'd won an award for my blogging!

I was absolutely beside myself! Small fry it may be to many of the professional bloggers out there, but this award, an award for 'beautiful blogger' from the fabulous Jenn at South of Sheridan means a heck of a lot to me. Thank you so much! Seriously, I'm chuffed as a chuffed thing in Chuffedville and will definitely continue to follow your funny, endearing blog for as long as you write it!

Now, there is no such thing as a free blog award (as the famous saying goes...) but I'm more than delighted to share the love using the instructions I was given:

Here are the instructions for accepting the award:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award
2. Paste the award on your blog
3. Link the person who nominated you for the award
4. Tell 7 interesting things about yourself
5. Nominate 7 bloggers or less
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominated

Ok, so now to the seven things that are (questionably) interesting about me:

1) I love the taste of chocolate and ready salted crisps. Not together. One after the other. It's a taste sensation - try it! Best with Cadbury's Dairy Milk and Walker's Ready Salted crisps.

2) I've been married before (previous to the current Mr Potential Mummy B - when I met him I thought he had a weird surname but I just accepted it!) but spouse number one left me a few years ago. Turned out, though it hurt like hell at the time, to be the best thing that's ever happened to me. It's shaped me as a person and has led to me meeting the aforementioned Mr who is the most perfect man for me. Jubilate!

3) I went down a whole shoe size when I lost over three stone in weight a few years back. Who knew one's feet could be fat - they've always been one of the skinniest parts of my body!

4) I've recently become aware that I may be slightly lactose intolerant. I occasionally suffer from problems with my waterworks and, after much controlled experimentation, I have come to the conclusion that it's semi-skimmed milk that causes such discomfort (imagine mild but uncomfortable cystitis, all the time...). Again, who knew?

5) I don't eat the ends of my bananas. A family friend almost died from a tape worm when he was young and the doctors told him it was caused by some eggs laid in the end of a banana. True or not, I ain't taking any chances!

6) According to my darling husband, he can always tell when I've had a few drinks as my pronunciation becomes very clipped and proper. He always laughs that I become a real lady (only when striking that delicate balance between a few glasses and a few too many!) with a few drinks inside me!

7) Having waited almost 17 years for my very own car, I picked her up from the garage just this Monday. I have never had my own car or insurance policy (always just been a named driver on other people's cars) and yet driving is one of my very favourite things to do.

So there we are.

Hubs has just pointed out to me that the majority of the above points are actually food related - perhaps they all tie in to the necessity to lose the weight as referenced in point three! However, point number two is in no way related to my lack of food-related control, honest!

So all that remains for me to do is to award this fabulous award to some of the beautiful bloggers I follow. There are so many fab blogs that I follow but I'm going for my top three:

1) cally jane studio: CUTE in the extreme! Take a look at Cally's gorgeous artwork and you'll see why I follow. She's a designing genius and a fabulous person into the mix. Much love lady! x

2) Fit Mom Now: I love this lady's writing style. It's relaxed, funny and very informative about all things diet and exercise related. A fun read on a regular basis.

3) Kat's adventures in dietland: A new discovery of mine, but the first post I read (about finding a bulletproof method of controlling her husband's dressing regime) made me laugh out loud. I LOVE to laugh out loud. Thank you.


I'm now going to display my new button with pride. Thanks again Jenn.

Chuffed from Chuffedville (AKA Potential Mummy B) x

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Baby showers in England?

I was invited to my first baby shower a couple of weeks ago. The invitation by text came through well in advance and I have to confess to a rather large feeling of foreboding as a result. I politely declined (or rather, made another appointment up as I had no real reason for saying 'no').

I mean, I'm english. I live in England. Baby showers are something I've only heard of from our friends across the Atlantic. One of those things one witnesses on American soap operas. Surely they don't happen in little old England?

Apparently they do.

So what is a baby shower? The picture the phrase conjures up in my mind resembles something like the image right... undoubtedly cute, and definitely inaccurate. As I've said, I've never been to one and, call me cynical, but I never really intend on going to one. There, I've said it. So now one of my closest local friends will end up getting pregnant and throwing one which I have no choice but to attend... but until that day, I'm keeping my distance.

In my opinion (and I apologise if my opinion, lowly as it is, offends anyone) but surely a baby shower is just an excuse to invite people to buy you and your baby presents in the same way an engagement party forces friends who would normally merely congratulate you and share in your happiness to actually fork out for a present, perhaps against their will. I don't believe in that kind of materialism. If I did have a close friend who's having a baby I'd buy her something as and when I wanted to, not because the reason and timing is dictated to me by a 'shower' (ridiculous name!).

Anyway, I'm (half) interested. What's the point? What are they for? Why should I ever go to one?

Rant over.

Potential Mummy B

Monday, 8 February 2010

What kind of mother are you!?

Something I've never experienced before happened to me a few days ago... Not being a parent (yet) I have never experienced the kind of wrath that is obviously swimming around in playgrounds, soft play areas and school yards: the massive judgement of parenting skills.

Is that something that is rife all over the world? And if so, how do you, as parents, cope with it?

A few days ago we were asked to look after two of our nephs for a whole afternoon and into the evening. By way of entertaining them we decided to take them out in the snow. Just a short trip down to our local shopping area, which has recently benefitted from the opening of a new soft play, saw my hubby and I receive many a judgemental look from passers by. Not that they were all necessarily negative looks, but I could still read the intentions of those looks as we tottered our way down, soft play bound, all wrapped up in our hats, scarves, Ben 10 gloves and Thomas wellies... Some were thinking 'Aw, how cute, a lovely little family out for a stroll in the snow' or 'Aren't those boys adorable?'. All lovely looks which made me proud (although I'd like to think, in my more optimistic moments, that I couldn't possibly look old enough to have a four and a two year old... dream on dreamer!).

But then there's the less than lovely looks which scream 'You haven't done your child's jacket up tight enough - can't you see there's cold air getting in there!?' or 'Tsk, look at that stain on your child's scarf! How could you possibly let him set foot outside with such filth on display?' or 'How could you let your child pick that snow up and then drop it carelessly a few steps further along - you'll burn in hell for that!'. I was a nervous wreck of guilt about my bad parenting (even though I'm not even their Mum!) and lack of control over my 'errant' toddlers by the time we arrived, tottering on the ice and fighting through the crowd to get into the soft play.

When we arrived at said play centre there was, just leaving, a heaving, sweating, over-excited, sugar-fuelled marauding mass of small children who had obviously just screamed, scratched and bundled their way through a school-mate's birthday party. The very sight of the wriggling, chattering, wailing cloud of children filled me with a terror I'd never experienced before. Hubs, the boys and I managed to squeeze in through the door before being forced to take refuge, pressed uncomfortably up against the condensation-covered window to wait the departure of the aforementioned rabble before we could even hope to set foot into the play area ourselves. Is this how it is going to be!?

Once inside things settled down a little. The exiting crowd had obviously been the majority of the place's custom that morning and those left behind all seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief at the sight of them, all togged in colourful winter clothing, heading home.

The nephs stood obediently while we stripped layer upon layer of clothing off them (we'd been left with strict instructions as to which boy should have which hat, which liked his hat on this way, which liked to leave his scarf dangling thus... it's a minefield I tell you!) and, with trepidation in both our eyes, we took them firmly by the shoulders, pointed them in the direction of the entrance to the soft play area and ushered them forwards into battle.

Things seemed to be going marvellously and we seemed only to be receiving the lovely kind of judgemental looks from those spread around the place. Gazing around the place I was fascinated by the other parents and carers around the room. Some looked exhausted, others immersed themselves in the escapism that is the 'Daily Mirror', choosing to read about the infidelities of famous sports people while their darlings flung themselves around their padded haven like so many miniature, hyperactive Hannibal Lectors.

We were doing so well.

Then a scream eminated from the ruckus, unnoticed by the hubs and I who were deep in conversation with an old school friend's parents. It was Neph number two who had followed his older brother up into the second level of the softness and had momentarily found himself lost. Dazed, confused and no doubt intoxicated by the overwhelming smell of toddler sweat, he let out a bone chilling cry that had every parent in the place jumping to ensure it wasn't their heir in peril. Yes... every parent. Which meant hubs and I carried on regardless, completely oblivious to the world-ending nature of events. Then came the horrible judgemental looks. 'How could you ignore your child in his hour of need?', 'What kind of parents are you anyway?', 'You don't deserve to breathe the same air as us responsible parents'. The tirade of poisonous thoughts rained down on us from every corner of the room... and still we had no idea.

"Is that your child screaming?" asked the lady next to us, adding in, with a thought and accompanying look 'you worthless excuse for a mother'. Immediately hubs and I snapped back into the harsh reality of childcare and rushed to neph's aid. Once coaxed out of the offending tight spot he stopped crying immediately, as if someone, somewhere had found his mute button (please let our own child have one of those!). Sensing I really should look somehow like I knew what I was doing I fell to my knees, pulled a piece of tissue out of my sleeve (I've seen mothers do that as if they're some kind of learned magician) and rid his face of the slimey goo making a bid for freedom from his nose. All better he headed straight back into the fray, no harm done.

I, and indeed lovely hubs, felt the bizarre need to explain that the neph wasn't our child and was, indeed, our neph, explaining away our lack of reaction to the blood curdling scream of earlier.

Apparently, when you have your own children, their very own brand of noise drills its way, unperturbed by any goings on, into the skull of the mother, leaving no shadow of doubt that it's your child in need. This, of course, is something that we didn't know. I'm sure any parents out there reading this will know exactly what I'm talking about but it was news to me.

Anyway, despite all the withering looks, judgemental eye rolls and whispered conversations of condemnation we experienced that neph-sitting day, it did nothing to put the hubs and I off our continuing journey to board the good ship parenthood.

Thanks to the gorgeous nephs for breaking us in really quite gently and we look forward to having you grace our household again soon. Love you lots xxx

Friday, 5 February 2010

Technology... just for fun

I found a really interesting (and probably more fun than helpful) application on my iPod Touch the other day.

I'm not sure where I got the idea to search for it from, but when I typed 'menstrual calendar' into the Touch, up popped a strange and fun little application:

It's great! It asks you your cycle length, the date of the first day of your period and then predicts your ovulation date and tells you when you'll be most fertile! The dates when you're at your most fertile and the day your egg pops is even highlighted in pink - you can't miss it!!

It also lets you enter data about when you have sex and how long your period lasts! Like I say, I'm not sure how accurate it can possibly be when it only goes on the data you input. But what they hey!? It's fun and it provides a bit of a distraction while I'm waiting for that special pink day to come along!

Potential Mummy B

Thursday, 4 February 2010

And so it begins again

One of the things someone said to me after we lost our first pregnancy was 'you'll just have to brush yourself off and start again'. At the time I let that comment sail straight over the top of my head and thought very little of it. Later that day, however, just a day or two after the fateful hospital trip, the flippancy of that statement hit me full on in the stomach; it hurt.

It hurt that someone could, intentionally or not, assume that I could just forget about that 'little setback' and move on as swiftly as if it never happened. As I've stated in earlier blogs, I'm not going to sit around and wallow in self pity over this, having it impact negatively on every aspect of my life. But equally I'm not just going to forget it ever happened. Like a number of events in my life so far, painful and irreversibly damaging they may be to my outer shell, they contribute more than anyone could ever imagine to my very being. These experiences make me who I am today and, without sounding obnoxious, I happen to like who I am today, thank you very much.

Potential Mummy B

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

You shall not pass...

In between Christmas and New Year, the week following our early miscarriage we had, through our extremely diminutive doctor at the Accident and Emergency, made an appointment with the gynaecological department at our local hospital. Fresh from the upset of our loss and still reeling from the general furore that is Christmas chez nous, another trip to the hospital was pretty far down on my 'things I'd like to do today' list.

But a trip to the hospital was necessary so off we went, nerves a-jangling and anxiety in tow. I had no idea what to expect. All I'd been told was that Dr D had spoken to the gynae department on Christmas Eve and they'd advised me to go along.

Thankfully we didn't have to wait around too long. The waiting room was, in any case, warm and welcoming after the skatey, slippy fest we'd just witnessed outside the front door. Our first port of call was a consultation room, within which waited two ladies in hospital uniforms.

To say the atmosphere in this room was a little different from the waiting area would be an understatement. The talky lady (for the other uttered not one word) called me in. Hubby and I obediently stood and made our way into the room. At least we would have done if 'Talky' hadn't blocked my husband's path in the style of a miniature and slightly rotund Gandalf in the Fellowship of the Rings (picture the 'You shall not pass' moment and you're just about there!).

"And you are?" she growled up at him from a level roughly around his waistline. She may have been small but she was remarkably frightening nonetheless.

"Oh, er... sorry, this is my husband," I offered, trying to diffuse the situation. She huffed and gruffed a little as if the sight of a supportive husband wishing to accompany his wife into the unknown was offensive to her. Not a good start.

After being seated and looking on as Talky and Sitty appeared to conduct a full blown conversations in looks, paper shuffling and weird gutteral noises, I wondered what the hell we'd walked into. Talky began to ask questions, pen poised over the aforementioned paperwork to note down my answers. Each of the questions, although benign in their nature, were spat at me in such a manner as to catch me off-guard like a volley of flying hobbit daggers. I didn't expect the Spanish inquisition (cue a torrent of Monty Python quotations!).

It turned out that Talky and Sitty had no idea why we were there and how we had come to have an appointment. Unable to provide a suitable answer I merely gabbled on about Christmas Eve and the fact that the hospital doctor had sent us... perhaps just to check all was well?

With that, and a distinct lack of ceremony we were kicked out of the consulting room and back into the waiting area. Thankful to be alive and with all our limbs we sank back into the seats to await our next test.

After a scan and a very nice 'talking to' by another nurse with the smallest voice in the world we were sent home with miscarriage literature and the reassurance that none of this was our fault. Talky had turned out to be human after all, once she realised that we weren't just there wasting her time, and had talked to us softly and delicately about any questions we may have and to reiterate that we weren't at fault. This was my body's way of telling us it wasn't meant to be this time.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the human body is the most amazing thing. Sometimes it hurts and goes against our very dreams and desires... but there is always a very good reason for everything, at least in my experience so far.

Until the next time,

Potential Mummy B

Monday, 1 February 2010

Humour in every situation?

There haven't been many horrible events in my life. I am pretty much the luckiest woman in the world (at least in my view).

OK, so every now and then there's been the odd hiccough that has caused me to wobble slightly on this low beam of life. Once or twice I've even had to put my foot down for balance before readjusting the waistline of my jeans, taking a deep breath, straightening my hair and carrying on.

So... the miscarriage issue. I've spoken about it with family and friends, sometimes when all I've wanted to do is crawl into a hole and cry until the tears have dried up, I've read about other people's experiences, I've cried in the dark with my husband's arms around me, I've kept a sort of diary to act as an outlet for my emotions and I've blogged about it.

I've also found humour in a difficult situation.

That doesn't make me a callous person. I'm sure I can't be the only person on earth that tries to maintain a sense of humour (albeit sometimes restrained and kept carefully in check by the realms of decency and decorum) no matter the situation. While I always respect the power of other people's emotions and the need to pander to 'the right thing to do' I think I use my humour as a kind of coping mechanism. And a very effective one it has proved to be thus far.

The four and half hours spent at the hospital on Christmas Eve were some of the longest of my life. My husband and my marvellous Mum were with me and shared these hours, along with some of the comic moments hidden therein. It must be the writer in me that notices things, finds humour in them, develops them in a secret word laboratory in my brain and stores them for consideration at a later date.

Even before I was seen by nurse or doctor my brain was hunting out ways of making the unplanned and enormously unwelcome hospital trip a little more palatable. I started off by watching my fellow inhabitants of the waiting room, thanking all things good that I wasn't in as bad shape as they were. I needed the loo and got all but there (try not to picture me literally hovering in a state of readiness) before realising they'd probably want a urine sample so having to instruct my body, rather hastily, that there had been a last second change of plan... pelvic muscles to the rescue! All good practice.

So, having given said sample and had my blood pressure taken, the next few hours passed without much incident. I mean, once I'd been taken through to the 'cubicles' we were simply hemmed in with enormously fetching disposable curtains and left like battery chickens to await the arrival of a doctor.

There were various comings and going throughout this time which kept me and my faithful companions entertained (sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a gruelling way) but eventually our doctor arrived. Maybe it's a sign of my age, but it is incredibly disconcerting when, in your hour(s) of need and nerves, the doctor assigned to you looks no more than, and I exaggerate not, 12 years old! My pint-sized nephew of a handful of years would compare favourably with this doctor in an 'I can reach further up the wall than you can' head to head! She could barely reach up to me as I lay (yes, lay) on my surprisingly comfortable trolley, and she certainly didn't seem one hundred per cent comfortable in her 'bedside manner' routine.

My heart did go out to her however, when she obviously thought she was breaking some unexpected news about my miscarriage. While my heart hammered at the speed of the Starlight Express within me and tears welled up in my rose-tinted eyes, I still found myself thinking how uncomfortable she looked telling me I was no longer pregnant. Rabbit in headlights move aside... she was more of a gremlin (the cute one, before midnight) caught in the act of raiding the kitchen for a midnight feast.

The way she went about my 'after care' made me slightly worried that she was totally unsure about what to do next. She kept disappearing from sight, handling the curtain around my trolley like it was a precious, fragile metal, tip-toeing around in her Skechers' Shape-up trainers (which incidentally look more like orthopedic shoes... just me?), making surreptitious phone calls as if appealling to some kind of reference source... all confidence inducing merits in a doctor I find!?

Finally I was asked by Dr Diminutive to produce another urine sample. She wanted to see my pregnancy test 'with her own eyes' apparently. So I went, plastic pot in hand, to find a toilet and do as I was bade. When I found a toilet (a quest in itself) my mind was reeling with the events of the evening, the feelings of stupidity alluded to in my earlier blog entry, the disappointment of my situation and the tiny stature of my 'doctor' that, before I knew it, I had used the toilet for its utility but had forgotten to store any in my pot!

Long moments passed as I tried to work out my next steps. Such a straightforward task made infinitely complicated by mere emotions! It was with a heavy but somewhat giggling heart that I padded back to my trolley, resplendent in my hospital gown and socks, to tell Mum and hubby of my slight cock up. "We only need a tiny bit," offered one of the nurses, trying to be helpful. "Really, I used it all up without realising," came my weak and somewhat embarrassed reply.

Half an hour and several cups of water later I managed to deliver and was thus sent home to settle into Christmas. My arrival behind my own front door brought the inevitable fall of the game face and the onset of tears but, without a bitter outlook, that Christmas Eve in the hospital is one I shall never forget.

For both good and bad reasons.

Potential Mummy B