I REFER to him as The Beast here and I’m sure some of you must be imagining a great hulking Conor McGregor type – but the reality is my little man has always been a small wee chap.
Even when he was in the womb he was teeny – at one stage during a scan the sonographer said ‘Stand up, you’ to my husband while making measurements on the screen. Running her practised eye over Yer Man – who in fairness is on the shorter side – she nodded knowingly and laughed when we said we had an idea our baba wouldn’t ever be a supermodel.
When he was born he was an average 7lb and a half an ounce. Not small by any means, but the 0-3 month babygros we’d bought were swimming on him. Nana came to the rescue with some teeny Newborn sized ones which fitted perfectly and fitted for ages. Well meaning visitors brought clothes aged 6-9 months saying that their own kids were wearing six month old clothes by time they were eight weeks. Not so for us, those clothes didn’t go near him for months and months and months.
He stayed in his Moses basket for months, was in the bassinet part of his pram for ages too. And stayed in his high chair for years as well, he just fit fine and was happy to stay there.
When we did eventually move him up a size in clothes or into the buggy setting of the pram and into his cot from his Moses basket I was always struck at how tiny he seemed in the new setting. So used to seeing him nestled in the close confines of the Moses basket, for example, I thought he looked miniscule in the vast cot.
It’s been like that for his whole life.
Until recently. Until he stopped looking tiny in new settings and started looking just normal. Just as you’d expect a boy to look. I had started to accept that he was growing up – he had moved out of his cot to a junior bed and started preschool after all and I knew my baby was growing up. But he was still my tiny wee chap, I hadn’t noticed the physical differences.
And now it’s all I can see.
It started in April, when he got a bike from his grandparents for his birthday. I couldn’t wait to see him on it. I thought he’d look so cute and tiny. Only he didn’t. He looked like a preschooler. If anything a bit too big for the bike.
Long legs tumbling to the ground. Arms easily able to reach the handlebars. A sturdy broad chest.
We had to adjust the saddle and the handlebars, all the way up.
Then we went on holidays and visited some playgrounds and pet farms that we had gone to last year. And The Beast was able to use all the playground equipment with ease. He was tall enough to climb things, reach things, he didn’t need any help at all.
Clothes bought a few months ago are too small now, his feet are growing at an alarming rate (I’m keeping bloody Clarks in business), very shortly we’ll be getting him a new car seat.
And then last weekend we moved him from his junior bed into a regular adult single bed. He was excited, he had new PJs and brand new Transformer sheets, as well as Batman posters on the walls.
I was excited too. I thought surely, surely, I’d see my tiny little scrap again. Surely he’d look teeny in the big adult bed.
Reader, he didn’t.
He fit. He fit in the big bed. Ok, he’s not filling the bed by any means, but it doesn’t look ridiculously enormous. He’s not my baby in a huge bed. He’s just my boy in his comfy bed.
And last night, almost the last vestige of babyhood disappeared when he left his soothers for the Fairies to take away. His comfort and his joy and his lifelong love, easily left by his Fairy Door. It was his decision, he said big boys in big beds don’t need soo-soos anymore and he’d rather have a present that the Fairies would leave instead.
So the exchange was made. My big brave boy went to sleep, and stayed asleep and that was that. The end of an era.
My tiny man is gone. My little scrap is no more. Some bastardin’ fairies are flying around with his soo-soos in their mouths.
And I’m sobbing over newborn pics.
IT appears I have given birth to a Kardashian.
Leaving the house is no longer a simple exercise, something we can achieve in a few minutes by throwing a bag of rice cakes in a pocket and closing the door.
No, now we have piles of
shite stuff we have to bring with us. PILES of it. Allowing for every eventuality. The Beast does not travel light – eat your heart out Kim and Kanye – and at this stage I’m about one excursion away from full on curvature of the spine.
We went to a Christening at the weekend, which was scheduled for around The Beast’s lunchtime, so as well as nappies and spare clothes and the like, we also had to bring food with us.
And therein lies the start of the problem. I don’t know if it’s just my kid, but he does this thing where he’ll survive for a fortnight on air and the dirt on the wheels of the buggy, but the minute we go anywhere he develops a ferocious hunger that cannot be sated.
So we need to bring food. Piles and piles of food. Snacks for before lunch, lunch itself and then leftover snacks for after lunch. And then an extra lunchbox of food, just in case.
On Sunday I packed up a lunchbox with cheese and cold meats, crackers and fruit, rice cakes and breadsticks. And then a separate bag of rice cakes and cereal hoops to keep him occupied in the church. And yet another separate bag of snacks for that post lunch peckishness eventuality. We were bent double under the weight of food we had with us. Every pocket of my bag, every pocket of my clothes, of Yer Man’s clothes, every side pocket of the car was filled to the brim with food. And he ate every single bit of it. There wasn’t a crumb left. And in the car on the way home he started asking for his dinner.
This particular weekend, The Beast was also going to stay with his grandparents after the Christening so we had to pack an overnight bag for him – along with his favourite toys – as well as a day bag. That bag contained spare clothes, his sleeping bag, his jammies, spare soothers, the first aid bag with
Mama’s Pink Medicine Calpol (for use only in an emergency you understand, he doesn’t smack his lips when he sees it coming) and a pile of his toys.
Oh Jesus the toys.
The Beast is a funny little fella – he never formed an attachment to one particular toy or lovey that he has to have at all times. That’d be too easy. No, he formed a deep and passionate attachment to ALL of his toys. Every single one of them. ‘My fellas’ he calls them. His Buzz Lightyear and Woody toys. His Thomas the Tank Engine set of trains. His Boots and Dora. His Peppa Pig. His books. His diggers. His fellas. And he travels nowhere without all of them.
So we had to lug Buzz and Woody, his trains and his soft toys in the boot of the car, several other toys in another plastic bag and then his diggers, trains, books, stickers and crayons in my handbag. Just in case he needed them. We thought we might get away with telling him that some of the toys were in the car, and then sneakily leave them at home. But he’s wide to us at this stage – he insisted on inspecting the boot before we left.
“My fellas,” he said approvingly, patting my face in a benevolent fashion. “Good Mama.” I felt like I had dodged a bullet.
Finally packed up – including his buggy, coat, hat and scarf – we trundled off to the Christening, the car scraping the ground, so overloaded was it by The Beast’s essentials.
It was worth it in the end though – the snacks kept him quiet in the church while the important stuff was going on, the lunch kept him going while we got our own bite to eat, the toys amused him while we chatted with family members and he was so tired after all of it that he conked out on the way home. So in the end it was worth the four solid hours I put in packing it all up.
There are two ways this could go in the future – we could pare it right back and insist that one lunchbox, one toy and one nappy is more than enough for one small boy. Or we could upgrade our car.
To an artic.
On a separate note, last week I set up a Facebook Page for Beating Myself Into a Dress and have been overwhelmed with the reaction so far. So thank you to any of you who have ‘Liked’ the page, I really appreciate it. If any of you would like to follow me on FB, there’s a little ‘Follow’ box up on the right hand side of this page.
SO now that The Beast is two, I decided it was about time I
got off my hole found a couple of hours to bring him to a soft play centre.
I know. Seriously. I’m pretty much the worst mother in the world, I haven’t brought my kid to a soft playcentre yet. I genuinely believe he’s the only child in Ireland who hasn’t been to one.
We did try in his first year, but The Beast is a little timid and a little noise sensitive and he just really didn’t enjoy it the one other time we brought him, so that, coupled with my anxiety and PND over the last while meant we put it off.
Just for a few months. A few long months. A good few long months. Two years in fact.
Now that I’m better however I have no excuse and The Beast has really come out of his shell lately – “I go outside to play with my boys” he regularly informs me, grabbing his coat – so on Tuesday when I woke up to find it was pissing rain I decided today would be the day.
I threw lunch and a nappy into my bag and off we went. I won’t lie, my heart was in my mouth.
For some reason I had built this up to be a massive deal. I’d be there by myself, with The Beast. What if he had a tantrum and I couldn’t calm him down? What if he got sick? What if he slapped another child? What if he got stuck up the top of the big slide but I was too fat to fit into the equipment to rescue him? What if the Other Mothers looked at me? And, God forbid, what if the Other Mothers actually TALKED to me?
Shaking I handed over the moolah at the door and struggled with the gate keeping the
inmates children in, pushing the buggy into the abyss. We were in. Alone. In a playcentre.
Sweat dripping into my eyes I found a table to leave our gear at, took off The Beasts shoes and let him loose.
Jesus, but he adored it. He. Had. A. Ball.
I was a nervous wreck. I actually had to have a sit down for myself in the ball pit as I went a bit weak at the knees and then had to coerce the child into hauling me out (“Ughghhhh Mama too big …pullllllllll …. Mama too big … pulllllllll”) but it was really really great.
He played solidly for 90 minutes, in and out of the ball pit, up and down the slide, building blocks with other little ones and generally just running about. While I just sat there with a goofy insane grin on my face. I felt like I had climbed a mountain. It sounds like such a normal run-of-the-mill thing, but for us it was huge.
The Other Mothers did in fact look at me and indeed they talked to me too. But guess what? They didn’t bite. We exchanged pleasantries and it was good. Normal.
After playtime we had our lunch together (playcentre food has no calories, btw, like broken biscuits and food eaten standing up) and then it was time to go home. All in all it was the perfect playcentre experience. There was even a germ ridden green-snotted toddler there, hacking all over everyone, like something out of a storybook. Ah lads, it was brilliant.
The Beast was so wrecked that he didn’t complain when he had to get his shoes and coat back on and he slept for two hours that afternoon so there was really no downside to the day. (Apart from the cold he has now, courtesy of the be-germed one, but lookit, you can’t have it everyway.)
You know those inspirational quotes you see on Facebook, the Keep Calm and Carry On type of ones? Well, I hate those, really, twee badly written over sentimental shite – but my point is just this once I’m going to reference one:
I felt the fear and I did it anyway. And God it was good.
THE Beast decided today that he wasn’t going to have a nap.
I can only liken the panic I felt to that felt when I was being rushed to theatre to have an emergency c-section.
I felt short of breath, horrified, I had a sour stomach. I could not believe this was happening.
He lay there, occasionally opening an eye to see if I was still there, still, but resolutely NOT asleep.
After a while I sighed and pulled back the curtains and said ‘You’re not going to sleep today, are you?’
“Seán AWAKE!” he bellowed, delighted with himself, before hopping off to
destroy the place play.
He’s always been a good sleeper; sometimes his naps would be short 45 minute bursts, but every day without fail he would drift off and there would be peace – and an episode of Say Yes to the Dress – for a while.
It seems things, they are a-changing. Of course he’ll probably nap fine tomorrow, but it’s a symptom of the fact that he’s getting older. He’s almost two now, so of course he’s not going to sleep as much as a tiny baby does.
I don’t want him to get older. I don’t want him to grow up. Is that a terrible thing to wish? I want to put a brick on his head, to stop him stretching.
When he was a newborn and I was so desperately ill with post natal depression, I couldn’t wait for him to grow up. Anything other than that endless cycle of feeds and night-time wakings. Anything other than the self-doubt and the questions and the fear and the constant wondering if he was ok.
But then time passed, as it does. And time healed, as it does. And I started to enjoy the baby cuddles and carting him around in his sling and being close to him.
Suddenly I didn’t want time to pass anymore. I wanted him to stay as he was, a little bundle parked on my chest. But of course he grew and started solid food and sat up and crawled and walked and talked.
It was ok for a while because he was still a baby, still my baby. But now as he approaches two, I see him turning into a little boy. A big boy. He can feed himself and hold a conversation, play independently, run and jump and cause mischief. And apparently he can get through the day without needing a nap.
I think this time there is no going back. This time he really is growing up and there will be no stopping him. All those dark, oppressive nights when I wished his life away are finally catching up to me and the regret is overwhelming.
The past isn’t a place to live though – and I would never want to go back there, back to her, to me, then.
So I can only look forward to hopefully wonderful times. Not with a baby, but with a boy. My boy.
My amazing boy.
TODAY’S Keeping Up With The Selfridges challenge involved me standing half naked in my living room rocking The Beast to sleep, praying nobody would knock on the door.
He popped off to sleep grand so I legged it up to get myself dressed and made-up only to be thwarted halfway through when he did the unthinkable – he woke up.
Cue 20 minutes of vigorous rocking and shhhhh-ing as my dressing gown flapped around me before I could get back to my primping. There was also a ‘throwing myself behind the sofa to avoid the postman’ incident. But I persevered and went for a ‘still down with the kids’ librarian look today.
The highlight of today however was receiving an email from a friend, taking part in the challenge, saying that this bit of fun has helped her through a tough week and even encouraged her to meet up with some friends, rather than staying at home. I’m so delighted that people are enjoying this and getting something out of it. I’ve had some health issues recently and combined with terrible weather and the remnants of post natal depression I haven’t been feeling 100 per cent myself. This bit of frivolous fun has really helped.
As always, you can join in on Twitter at #keepingupwiththeselfridges or leave a comment here. Thanks for reading and special thanks to those taking part along with me, so I don’t feel like such a vain bitch!
AND so Day Two of my Keeping Up With The Selfridges challenge dawned bright and early (very bloody early) with a wake-up call from The Beast.
Ah yes, you see the reason I was able to start this challenge yesterday and spend hours primping in the bathroom was because yesterday Seán was with his grandparents, so I had the time.
Today, not so much. Luckily I had done the ground work on Monday so only needed to shower and stick on a dress, before lashing on some make-up today, which I managed in 45 minutes while the baby napped. It wasn’t as enjoyable as yesterday though as I had one ear out for the baby the whole time, but I was determined not to fall at the first hurdle.
I also used a tip from a pal when dealing with my tights (The Devil’s Instruments of Torture) – two pairs of pants! Wear one pair of pants as normal, THEN your tights, then ANOTHER pair of pants over that. Voila! Tights stay up all day, no more yanking them back up from around your ankles. Comfort, thy name is the double pants trick.
Today, I even managed to get out of the house for a walk with Seán so got to show off my finery. Nobody actually noticed or said anything (the bastards) but still, it was nice to be out of the house.
Two days down, five more to go. Are you Keeping Up With The Selfridges? Share the glam on Twitter (@beatingblog) or #keepingupwiththeselfridges
WANT to lose weight and tone up for the New Year? Tired of the same old boring exercise and diet regimes? Then sign up NOW for Mickey Fitness, a brand new way to drop those pounds and shape up in time for summer.
Mickey Fitness is the brainchild of founder Karen Mulreid who stumbled upon a way to exercise all day long, without even realising! All you have to do is have a child (aka The Beast) who has a ‘mickey fit’ (hence the name) anytime you try to do the simplest task with him. A simple nappy change becomes a ten minute cardio workout as you try – and fail – to stuff flailing legs into baby skinny jeans. Putting on a bib, a seemingly easy job, becomes a 15 minute test of endurance as he flings himself kamikaze like onto the kitchen floor to get away from you. Before long you’ll be sweating like you’ve just been on a 10k hike and all in the comfort of your own home. But don’t forget about the food part of the regime, that’s the best bit. There IS no food! You get to heat up and cook delicious meals several times a day BUT you don’t get to eat any of them. Because The Beast will decide it’s time for more exercise as soon as you put the fork to your mouth! No willpower needed here, the decision is taken from you!
Now, for the first time, Ms Mulreid is offering Mickey Fitness to you, her loyal readers, in her Centre of Operations in Kildare. No need to have a child of your own, you can borrow hers, and melt that fat away. The Beast awaits you!
The Basic Package:
A quick pre-work workout consisting of getting The Beast out of bed, changing his nappy and getting him into his highchair for his porridge. Perfect for those who want to kickstart their day before heading out to the office. Includes breakfast. (Note: Breakfast is half a cup of coffee, gulped standing up)
The Silver Package:
A half-day package for those who want to put in some real work following the Christmas excess. Consists of everything in the Bronze Package plus a 40-minute ‘rocking session’ where you wrestle The Beast into his buggy and then rock vigorously until your arms start to resemble Popeye’s, in order to get him to nap. Following the nap (where you’ll hastily tidy the kitchen and gulp the rest of the now cold coffee from the Bronze Package) you’ll be pushed to your limit as you dress The Beast for the day in an outfit that has a number of inexplicable buttons and snaps. You’ll then serve him lunch, of which he will deign to eat two morsels, before flinging the rest on the floor. For you to clean up. You’ll have your lunch then. (Lunch consists of one bite out of a toasted sandwich which you will reheat so many times that eventually you’ll break your teeth on it and throw it in the bin in a fit of rage.) Post lunch it’s playtime, where you will sit on a hard wooden floor and attempt to entertain a flailing, screaming, whining Beast as he points and reaches for an invisible object somewhere in the room. You’ll never find out what it is, or where it is, that’s the mental exercise portion of the day. You’ll be allowed home after playtime, a good half stone lighter.
The Gold Package:
Everything in the Bronze AND Silver packages PLUS the ultimate workout tool – The Reluctant Afternoon Nap, dinner and a bath. This is the cream of the crop, the uber workout, the pre-wedding, need-that-bikini-bod all day package. After completing all the tasks in the Bronze and Silver Packages you’ll then lure The Beast back into his buggy for the elusive Afternoon Nap which will make the morning nap seem like a walk in the park. You’ll walk MILES around the house shhhhhh-ing and singing, pleading with the child to sleep. If he sleeps, you may find the rest of the day that bit easier. If he doesn’t, you’ll spend the following three hours picking all 18lb 12oz of him up and putting him down every 60 seconds as he decides whether he wants to be in your arms or on his playmat. In your arms, or on his playmat. He’ll decide. You’ll then attempt to shove a milk feed into him with one hand while trying to prevent him leaping to his certain death off the sofa with the other. Then you’ll make dinner. His and yours. His will be delicious, warm and tasty. Yours will be cold and forgotten on the hob. Again, it will take you a full hour to clean up after the meal and your outfit will certainly be destroyed. And no, spaghetti bolognese doesn’t come out. More playtime then. This is where you’ll hit The Wall and will want to rip the head off The Beast’s singing musical bear. If you survive, you’ll then reach bathtime, the ultimate test of wills. You’ll have to work fast if you want to get him stripped and in the bath before he pees, projectile poos or vomits on you. There is a ten minute cool down session where you’ll be allowed to sit on the toilet lid while The Beast enjoys himself splashing in the bath, but the relief is shortlived as you then have to get him out of the bath and back across the landing to his bedroom and PJS without him peeing, pooing or vomiting on you. Drying The Beast after a bath is a real test of skill and we here at Mickey Fitness WILL need a letter from your doctor stating that you don’t have any preexisting heart conditions if you decide to go for the Gold Package. With The Beast bathed and dressed in PJs you’ll be free to leave. If you haven’t lost a full stone, you’ll get your money back!
Don’t delay, contact us today! Prices available on request. Additional toning extras such as ‘Taking The Beast to the Playground’ ‘Doing the Grocery Shopping’ and ‘Attempting to Have a Shower’ can be added to all packages.