Sonny’s magical adventure at Hartbeeps

As a new mum, there are many classes to try with your baby, from sensory to rhythm and rhyme and swimming. It can be hard to know what to put your very limited money into. On Monday, I brought Sonny to Hartbeeps, a musical baby class. I’ve tried a few classes with my little man but this is my favourite. This is not a paid for review by the way, I just wanted to share my experience.

Held in a ballet studio at the top of the Ormeau road (just one of the venues), classes are kept small and intimate. I was welcomed by the lovely coordinator Paula as I wheeled in a peaceful Sonny, now five months. I always fret that he will kick off and want fed and changing as soon as I go to a class (or anywhere) but I looked around and other mums were feeding their babies, breast and bottle, around me. Before the class started, Paula said that it was “baby led” and that if little ones need fed or changing, that is expected and totally cool.

Eh, what do I do with this?

This particular class was Baby Bells, suitable from newborns to sitting. First up was a gentle massage to music, then a little baby bouncing. Next was the really fun bit, dressing up. The mums (and one dad) were given tiny hats and scarves to dress babies up for an adorable campfire scenario. Babies were given little plastic cups for pretend hot chocolate for them and their teddy bears (naturally!). When it was time to clear up, the little ones were given pom poms ‘brooms’, which Sonny was captivated with. Then the lights were lowered and the magic really happened. Stars lights were handed out  while soothing music was played. Even better, bright coloured feathers were dropped on each of the babies heads. It was a lovely touch, even if they ended up in Sonny’s gob.

Glitter looks good on me.

As I had arrived early (I know, me early?), I observed the time and care that Paula took setting everything up. It’s just like a mini theatre for babies, full of lights, bubbles, music and fun. It’s a great way to spend some time out of the house bonding with your baby.

For those with older babies or toddlers, there are classes called Baby Beeps and Happy House too. Paula also sells gorgeous toys at great prices to continue the fun at home.

Have you tried Hartbeeps? Let me know in the comments below.

Davina x

Twinkle, twinkle little star

Visit https://www.hartbeeps.com



Seriously mum, you could really use a brush!

You have many things to worry about as a new mum. How you look on a day to day basis is not one of those things. Now, I’m a girl who loves make-up and before Sonny, I wouldn’t have entertained the thought of leaving the house without foundation, mascara, concealer, lipstick and blusher. Now, unless I’m socialising, I go barefaced. I’m certainly not confident or lucky enough to go make-up free and my pale complexion could definitely do with a bit of slap. It’s these times when I run into people too. I’ve found myself trying avoid people I know in the street or a supermarket when I’m sans make-up. But I needn’t bother. Most people won’t recognise me without my trademark rosy cheeks, lashings of black mascara and red lips. I feel invisible without make-up, no-one notices me… and that suits me just fine.

Then there’s the personal grooming. I gasped when I caught the sight of my underarms in the shower the other day. Then I realised I hadn’t shaved my legs in months. Thankfully, I’m very fair so unwanted hair isn’t too much of a problem. As for the hair on my head, getting it coloured is a twice a year is good for me. I’m lucky if I brush it before going out the door as I tend to just scrape it back into a bun. That’s not to say I don’t love getting dressed up and wearing make-up to rival a drag queen when I go out for the night (another rarity these days).

I recently bit the bullet and bought a pair of GHD’s, my old straighteners had given up the ghost a long time ago. I’ve only used them once but I almost feel better knowing they’re there if/when I can be bothered to straighten my unruly mane. 

Yes, your priorities change when you have a baby. I’ll spend my last penny buying him a cute outfit or toy. Keeping Sonny clean, comfortable and cosy comes first. I know he won’t judge me for looking pasty with dark circles and having greasy hair. Although sometimes the way he looks at me, it’s as if he’s thinking, “You could really use a brush mum!” Not that he can talk, (even if he did), he regularly needs to be cut out of his vests after explosive poos. I’ll be sure to remind him of those when he’s older.

What does this do again?

Bad things happen in threes, but good things still abound

It’s not even hump day as I write and already I’m feeling depleted. I know it goes with the territory as a new mum but this week has been particularly irksome. Monday didn’t start well as I ended up wading through a pool of water in the early hours to make a feed for Sonny. Every available clean and dirty towel was on the kitchen floor, while the water had to be turned off. Not ideal when you’ve bottles, dishes and laundry baskets brimming with clothes to wash. Luckily, it was an easy fix for the plumber and normal service resumed – until the Tommee Tippee machine threw a strop. Now, this is akin to hell when you’ve a hungry, screaming baby.

Please no, not the Perfect Prep!

Thankfully, hubby wasn’t too far away. “What do I do?!” I wail, having depended on this magic machine for four months. “Try turning it off,” he offers. I do this, seems to work for most things, and hallelujah – it does the trick. However, it’s still playing up. I call the Tommee Tippee helpline and the female voice tells me to shake the machine. Odd, but okay. I do shake it, and enjoy the feeling it gives me and refrain from hurling it across the room. Sadly, it’s still not working properly so I’m going to have to read the bloody instructions on the pack to make it myself, aren’t I? No way. I call again. The helpful and understanding lady agrees to send me out a new one, convinced I’m not trying to wangle a freebie. Sonny is gurning in the background, that must have done it.

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Sad times...

Money’s too tight to mention.

They say bad things happens in threes. I also got a bill asking for money I don’t have. The only money I have goes on baby stuff, coffee and wine. So, you can join an orderly queue.

It’s not all bad…

I’m feeling a little better now I’ve that got the above off my chest. and there’s been lots of adorable moments with my little one to savour. Like when Sonny shrieks with glee when he sees me, or puts his tiny little hands around my neck while I jiggle him about. I turn to a sentimental blob of jelly when I watch my hubby use Sonny as a human weight while doing squats. Sonny loves it, grinning widely at me as I sit on the sofa, typing this. It’s as if to say, “Daddy is so much cooler than you mummy.” He’d be right. I still don’t feel like myself, whatever that is. I don’t even know that girl, the one I was before Sonny. My life before him doesn’t seem to matter, what does is the present and the future. My sister says I am a lot more “present” since Sonny came along. That’s a lovely thing. I’ve spent so much of my life never really being in the moment, always in my head, ruminating, analysing, fretting. In this age, where people live their lives on social media, being in the present is everything. It makes you grateful, and thankful for everything and everyone in your life.

Right, that felt like a therapy session. Is it wrong to have a glass of wine?!

Teething, tantrums and turds – another month of manic motherhood

Four months of motherhood and every day is a school day. My darling Sonny is no longer a tiny baby, only waking for feeds and to get his smelly little bottom changed. Now, he wants to be entertained – constantly. He’s not usually a tough audience and sometimes even the sight of me elicits a squeal of delight (or horror if it’s 5am). As wonderful as this journey is, it’s not without its challenges. At a tender age of 19 weeks, Sonny is preparing to, err… cut his teeth.

Last weekend, I met a lovely new mummy friend for lunch. I had expected this to be a relaxed, giggle-filled afternoon while our two babies and we bonded. With a glass of mummy medicine in hand (Prosecco obvs), we exchanged funny stories and anecdotes on being new mums. I fed Sonny, hoping I’d be able to place him in his buggy while I tucked into a steak sandwich. I was starving having forgone breakfast in a bid to get out the door in time for the bus. Now, ordering something which requires both a knife and fork is crazy if you have a little one, especially as you’re on call should your tiny boss require your undivided attention. As I jiggled Sonny on my knee, I wolfed a few chips while my sandwich got cold. I didn’t mind so much, thinking he’s due a kip. How wrong was I?! He opened his lungs and proceeded to wail, scream and ball. My cheeks burned as I felt other diners’ eyes bore into me. Meanwhile, my friend’s little one was the picture of contentment. There was nothing else for it but to make a speedy exit. My friend was so lovely, understanding my plight. But, when it rains it pours, and that’s exactly what it was doing. With Sonny still hollering, I hastily pulled on the rain cover, and made my way to a coffee shop where I figured I’d try and appease my poor baby with a bottle of milk. As luck would have it, two girls I used to work with noticed a frazzled me trying to push my buggy up the step into the shop and helped me. I joined them while I fed my little red-faced man and they made me feel at ease. I’ll always feel grateful for their smiles that day when all I wanted to do was cry. It’s so horrible when your baby is upset – you feel a mix of panic, helplessness, even guilt.

The drama wasn’t over. My husband who picked me us up from town informed me that the cat did a massive turd on our new hearth. I screamed at the cat and took my sucky mood out on my husband. “I didn’t have a great day either you know!” He grumpily retorts. “You didn’t have a screaming baby to deal with though,” I fire back. “I’d gladly have done an exchange,” he says. What I replied to that is unprintable.

As I write this, Sonny is being a dream baby again, busying himself with his toys and giving me big, gummy smiles. “Waaaaa!” Ah shit, spoke too soon.

 

 

 

Life is like a theme park – scream if you want to go faster…

I’m no adrenaline junkie. I’m the annoying one with a nervous disposition that is advised against going on high speed, boisterous rides at theme parks. I’m a self-diagnosed hypochondriac too, being anxious is part of my DNA. I guess you could say that it terrifies me to not be in control of my surroundings. That’s not to say I haven’t surprised myself. Giving birth is definitely my greatest physical achievement. Other than that, I’ve clung desperately to my much braver husband on a jet ski while he cruelly delighted in chasing wakes in San Diego. Against my better judgement, I’ve also paraglided, water-skied and floated in the salty sea in Spain (as a non-swimmer) and even went on a rollercoaster at Euro Disney. I had my eyes closed the entire time but at least I did it.

Like many other children, I loved ‘the amusements’ as they were so called in those halcyon days of childhood. I’d giddily jump from ride to ride with flushed cheeks, weak knees and a churning tummy. I threw up, of course, but that didn’t stop me. There were times I’d stagger of the ‘big’ rides and need to sit down, the colour drained from my face, and I’d have to wait until my heart stopped pounding and the world stopped spinning. This was all incredibly uncool, so I made a decision back then that fun fairs were probably not for me, not if I wanted to have any street cred at any rate.

However, at the weekend, I headed to Planet Fun with my husband, son and my brother, his wife and their little ones, one five months, one three and a half. I watched in awe as the older girl gleefully went from one ride to another with her dad. “Again!” she cried when she hopped off a ridiculously fast one, while her poor father was ashen-faced. As for me, I went on the Dodgems. For those three minutes, I felt like a child again and enjoyed the rush of simply just having fun. My adrenaline-junkie husband, who has jumped out of planes and bungee jumped decided to go on what could only be described as an instrument of torture. This monstrosity not only went upside down, but the car revolved manically whilst completing revolutions. Watching it was enough to make my insides churn. When he finally got off, my poor, green husband whispered, “that was not fun”. Will it stop him from getting on another terrifying ride in the future? Probably not.

In some ways, as you grow older, you feel less burdened by things that might have got to you a decade or two earlier. But in other ways, at least for me, you become more anxious about certain things. It’s good to know your limits, but like my little niece, it’s also brilliant to throw yourself at scary rides, and come out the other side, exhilarated and ready for more. In life, it’s OK to stick within your comfort zone, but it’s better to push yourself, go on the big scary ride. It might not be for you, but it will do your confidence the world of good. Adopt a child-like approach to life, feel the fear and do it anyway. I want my son to take chances, even if they don’t work out.  It’s the things you don’t do in life that you regret the most.

 

 

 

 

 

Sonny, I’ve got you babe

I’m on the red-eye shift as I cradle my nine-week-old son with one arm as he sleepily gulps his warm milk, pausing at times to make appreciative sighs before hungrily going back for more. With his ravenous appetite sated (for at least two hours I hope), he melts back into my now aching arm, drifting off to a satisfied slumber. I gaze in a trance-like state at his pink, perfect face, happy that he’s content before realising that I need to burp him. I gently sit my squirming baby on my lap with his back as straight as he’ll allow and proceed to rub and pat until I hear the glorious sound of a burp. He grimaces and squeals, deeply irritated at not being allowed to remain asleep. But, he’s totally reliant on me to help him with his bodily functions until he’s old enough to burp and fart for himself.

Sonny was born on 18 June this year, nine days past my due date. Lazy, or taking after his laid back father, I’m not sure. Thankfully, I had an uncomplicated pregnancy. In fact, it didn’t feel real until my bump started to show at around six months. With this being my first pregnancy, I kept an open mind as to how my body might change. So, apart from a swelling tummy (and boobs), I was relatively unscathed from carrying a human being for 41 weeks. I had a water birth, as per my birthing plan and reluctantly stuck with gas and air despite repeated feverish pleadings for pain relief. Nothing can prepare you for childbirth, it’s really, really tough, but, it turns out, so am I. Furthermore, nothing can prepare you for the love, or the fear, or the indifference of other people who don’t have children. I say the latter because until I became a mother, I’d no clue of what being a mother entailed and how difficult it is (though my dear mother told me countless times as a pouting teenager).

When I was coming up for with the concept for this blog, I knew I wanted it to be inclusive of all women. I’m about womanhood, motherhood and parenthood. I fit into all those categories now. Up until I started trying for a baby, I didn’t consider myself maternal at all. Even now, I’m feeling my way through the dark as I juggle feeds, nappies (so much poo!), bath time, entertaining and comforting. I wouldn’t change it for the world of course.  A very close friend and mum to a beautiful girl told me that the love you feel is like nothing else in the world. I’ve experienced love before of course, but the love you feel for your baby is so overwhelming, so ferocious, that you’d do literally anything for them. I’m a natural worrier and catastrophise constantly. There are so many dangers and you’re constantly bombarded with horror stories online. I remember taking Sonny out in his pram for the first time, I gripped the handle bar as tight as I could, imagining it somehow rolling away from me onto the path of an oncoming bus. Only recently have I started to breath normally and not in shallow gasps. I need to remember that all you can do is your best. Listen to your gut, only you know what’s best for your baby. That’s not to say you shouldn’t listen to advice, my mum is my first port of call for any niggles or worries I have (which are many!). As Baz Luhrman sagely put it, “Worrying is about as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind.”

I hope you’ll join me on my journey through motherhood, as a woman and a mother. I’ll be writing about anything and everything, what terrifies me, what inspires me and what  irritates me. I know there will be many ups and downs, but it’s how you handle the curve balls that life deals you that count.

 

 

 

 

We are family… on holiday

There was a time when going away on holiday required me to plan my outfits in meticulous detail, pairing shoes and bags with jumpsuits and dresses was the biggest stressor. On a girl’s trip to Spain, I was almost charged for excess baggage – before the trip. Yes, as a woman, you have a lot of stuff. When you’re a mum, there’s a heck of a lot more stuff and none of it yours. Last week, our little family headed off to Ballycastle for a short break. Being organised is not an gift that comes easily to me. I have to work at it. So, naturally, I left packing for myself and Sonny until the morning of the trip, despite ridiculous ideas that we’d be set off ‘first thing’. Sigh. Aside from nappies, nappy sacks, bibs, soothers, steraliser, bottles, formula, there’s the outfits. At a tender three-months-of-age, Sonny has a better wardrobe than me. Cute dungarees, cardigans with ears (obviously) and dinosaur-emblazoned tops and trousers were packed, along with night suits, plus extras should he vomit or pee (or worse) during the night. As for me, my priority was my comfy Stan Smith’s, along with my favourite jeans – a reliable pair of boot- cut Levi’s and a few ‘dressy’ tops. Before Sonny, the thought of wearing trainers out to dinner was a major faux pas. Now, the thought of heels is frankly hilarious, why put yourself through it? It’s not to say I’ll never wear them again, obviously, I’ll dust off the Louboutin’s for a fancy shin dig, should I be invited to such an affair ever again. Another unthinkable thing is not having your hair done for going away. I haven’t had my unruly mane coloured in almost a year. In the last month, my ancient straighteners have given up the ghost and haven’t been replaced. These days, my hairstyle of choice is scraped back into a chignon, because it’s less boring than a bun, or if I can be bothered, a French plait. I’m not completely slumming it though, I did make an effort with my makeup. In my eyes, you can go from washed out to respectable with a good red lipstick.

While Sonny is still too little to properly engage with the world around him, he is certainly showing us glimpses of his sunny personality. It’s pretty intoxicating for your baby to squeal in delight when he sees you. Well that or the fact he was writhing on a sheepskin rug. The wee man is certainly taking after his parent when it comes to comfort!

Our holiday was lovely. As well as eating out, a fairly rare treat these days, we also took the ferry to Rathlin island. I’m not great on boats (not a surprise if you’ve read my previous post on theme parks) but I didn’t vomit despite the ferry being tossed about in pretty scary swells. I’m probably exaggerating but it wasn’t pleasant. Sonny, of course, slept through the entire 25-minute journey. However, on the way back, I have to say, I enjoyed it. My poor husband sat inside with the buggy while I sat on a seat, separated from the freezing Irish sea by a just a bar, squealing as the ferry rode the waves. OK, I had a glass of wine to calm my nerves, but I certainly surprised myself.

We made some special memories in Ballycastle. No longer are holidays about getting blocked. They are about making our little man smile as much as possible. My heart swells when I see my husband smile and blow raspberries at our son. Those are the things I’ll remember now, whereas pre-Sonny, most of the holiday would have been spent recovering from the night before.

I can’t wait for our next one…

 

Dx