Happy birthday to me!

I’m 39. How the heck did that happen? To celebrate, I will be slipping on my killer sparkly heels, wearing a knockout LBD and hitting the town to drink until the wee hours and roll home at whatever time I can get a taxi. Only kidding.

As a teenager, I thought 30 was ancient and here I am, almost four decades into my existence on planet Earth. It’s been the best and most challenging year of my life and one of two halves, the first six months I was growing a tiny human and spending my days dreaming about what he would look like, yearning to hold him. The second part was becoming a mother. The hardest and most rewarding job I’ll ever do.

I’ll spend the last year of my thirties trying to be the best mum I can be and attempting to check a few more things of the bucket list before I turn the big 4-0. Growing older is a strange thing. You don’t really notice your familiar face blinking back at you each day changing, bar the ever increasing fine lines around the eyes, the odd silver hair. Some days, I fizzle with energy, excited for the future and other days, I just feel old.

However, I have everything I wanted in my early thirties, a solid, dependable man who loves me, a nice home that I feel safe in, a beautiful son. Plus, I have a pretty incredible support network in the shape of my wonderful family and friends. I’m lucky and I really am grateful for it. I still have ambitions, I am still a woman with hopes and dreams and I’m always going to be chasing rainbows, that’s just who I am.

I might not be going clubbing this year, but my lovely hubby will be taking me out for a slap up birthday meal of steak and red wine. It’s the stuff of dreams. It doesn’t take much to make me happy, but I just said it. I’m happy. That’s the best birthday present I could ask for.


He’s not getting near my birthday cake!

Bite-size first aid for mini-sized humans

When you have a baby, every fibre of your being is geared towards protecting your precious little bundle. It’s a natural instinct, but sometimes you need a little help in knowing what to do in an emergency. It’s utterly terrifying to think you’ll ever need to use first aid, but it could save your child’s life.

Having come across Mini First Aid on Facebook, an invaluable resource for me as a writer, I immediately knew I wanted to do it. Now, while it would be beneficial for Sonny to know what to do if I trip myself up, or knock myself out on a door frame, (I’m incredibly clumsy), this course is about protecting your little one, obvs. There isn’t a certificate or qualification at the end, something far more valuable – knowledge, which is priceless.

If the face is red, raise the head. If the face is pale, raise the tail.

Let the learning commence!

Run by friendly and very knowledgeable coordinators Ruth and Jodie, the two-hour course was held at Whalley Fine Art Gallery on the Belmont Road. A small group of people, mothers, fathers and grandparents attended. The course comprised of a number of important topics including CPR, broken bones, burns, choking, head bumps, bleeding, febrile seizures and even spotting the signs of meningitis.

Be forceful if you know you’re right.

The course opened with listing the items you would have in a first aid kit at home and some of the contents may surprise you. Interestingly, a credit card is also ideal for removing bee stings. Who knew? CPR was next. It’s definitely not something you want to dwell on. But, if you your baby isn’t breathing, would you know what to do? Jodie used visual aids and did demonstrations. The floor was opened to anyone who wanted to try CPR on the baby and child manikins. I tried CPR on the baby manikin and it’s nothing like what you see on Casualty. There is a technique to it and I found it really beneficial to practice. There is also a well-known children’s song that you can do compressions to. Another section I found very helpful was dealing with choking. As I prepare to wean Sonny (he’s almost six months!), I’m terrified of this happening as babies can choke on pureed food too. At least now, I’ve a good grasp of what to do until professional help arrives.

Let’s face it, accidents happen. From boiling pots, hot straighteners, even hot running bath water, danger is everywhere. I was alarmed to be informed that a baby can be burned by tea after 20 minutes. One thing that was put impressed upon was that, even in an emergency, you should remain as calm as possible. You won’t be any good to anyone if you panic. Also, always, always trust your instincts and go with your gut. Be forceful if you know you’re right.

I was worried that Sonny would play up  during the course but thankfully, he entertained the group with regular burps, yawns and epic grunts. I should have been mortified but you have to see the funny side. I’d definitely recommend this course for new mums or for those who’d like a refresher in first aid. It would also make a thoughtful and potentially lifesaving Christmas gift! And don’t worry, children are quite resilient, so don’t be rushing off to wrap them in cotton wool, which incidentally should never be used on burns! 

Sonny keeping himself entertained.

For more information and to book, visit:

http://www.minifirstaid.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/minifirstaidbelfast/

Something’s gotta give, mama!

I overheard an exhausted mother utter this while having my morning Americano in a local cafe while Sonny squirmed and floundered in his buggy. She was sat just across from me, unloading to a pregnant friend. Don’t judge me, I know ear-wigging is a bit naughty but I just couldn’t help myself. We’ve all done it, right? She lamented that she’d got the kids ready this morning while her husband scrolled through the news on his phone. This is normal, for her husband. Even though she was justified in complaining, she still tried to explain it away. She even said, “it’s routine, I’m used to it now.” I felt really sad for her and then I realised that this attitude still prevails in the 21st century.

A lot is expected of women, true. We’re traditionally the homemakers, the life givers, the child raisers, all the while in many cases, holding down a part-time or full-time job. Damn, it’s not easy. I’m on maternity leave with the clock counting down to my return to work. I’m adjusting to my new role as mother okay, I hope, but it’s a full-time job looking after a baby while keeping on top of the laundry, the dishes, the bottle cleaning, tidying, cleaning etc.

An average day goes like this:

  • Get up and quick shower.
  • Feed Sonny.
  • Change nappy and get him dressed (sometimes several times if the poo train comes to town).
  • Coffee.
  • Entertain/soothe Sonny.
  • Attempt to do some writing.
  • Change nappy.
  • Try and put Sonny down for a nap. It’s hard to know whether he wants to play or sleep!
  • Put on a wash.
  • Fold and put away dry clothes
  • Feed cat.
  • Make lunch for hubby.
  • Feed Sonny.
  • Wash up dishes.
  • General tidy.
  • Put on another wash.
  • Take Sonny for a walk/get fresh air before my head explodes.
  • Supermarket for baby stuff.
  • Wash and steralise bottles (several times throughout day).
  • Entertain and or soothe Sonny.
  • Do a bit of writing.
  • Bath time (I might as well be getting a bath too).
  • Get Sonny ready for bed.
  • Feed Sonny.
  • Ah shit, he’s not for sleeping.
  • Dishes.
  • Prepare bottles for during the night/morning.
  • Bed.

The above is subject to change obviously and some days are smoother than others. It depends on the boss. My beloved does help, of course. Maybe I feel that I should be doing the lion’s share because I’m not working… wait a minute. I can’t imagine juggling life once I return to work. Working mums are superhuman. Fact.

All said and done, motherhood is wildly rewarding. Sonny is getting more fun by the day. He’s mastering sitting up, rolling and babbling in the cutest way. It makes me turn to jelly. He bloody better not say “dada” first which it’s looking like more and more each day. I know I’ve it easier than a lot of mums out there. If you’re one of them or by some amazing coincidence the woman I overheard this morning (sorry!), slow down and take a breather – something’s gotta give or you’ll break. You’re doing amazing. More than that, you’re a wonder woman. I salute you.

Speaking of super humans, meet Super Sonny One Sock!

Mind the bump

I was in the shower earlier (ah the luxury!) and my hand lingered over my soft, still slightly protruding tummy as the suds dripped over it. I absentmindedly stroked it and then realised that I missed my bump. “Seriously?” I thought.

My pregnancy was straightforward, thankfully. I did find it tough towards the end. It was a hot summer and as much as I love the sun, it became a source of extreme discomfort. I went nine days overdue. Two sweeps and nature taking its course and I was in labour. It was hard. The pain was in my back the entire time. I was sobbing as my contractions began. That was nothing. I’ll not labour the point… heh, but it was bloody tough. I was completely unprepared for the pain, despite reading hypnobirthing books in the sun, when I could stand it. I thought I had a difficult labour. My midwife thought it was easy. I was affronted. After being in labour all night, I was told at 8am that I had about two hours of pushing to go. “Never again,” I thought. When my beautiful Sonny was born, I issued my husband with a stark warning. In the first few weeks, getting no sleep, I swore to myself, “never again”. Don’t get me wrong, I adore being a mum and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. But, could I seriously be getting broody for another one?! I think it’s the hormones. There’s no way we consider it at the moment. Plus, I’m nearing my forties. But, it’s crazy how you can do a complete 180°.

Becoming a mum changes you so drastically as a person. But it has made me a better one, at least I hope. I’m no longer preoccupied with my own internal dialogue. Sonny comes first. Always. I’ve found my purpose. I don’t know if I’ll have another baby. Time will tell. I thank my lucky stars I have Sonny. He’s enough, more than enough, he’s everything. Always. 

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.

20181106_1906331111419902044001996.jpg

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?!