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Flying Solo

Its taken me a while to write this as I’ve still been recovering from the trauma…ok thats a bit dramatic as I know there are waaaaay worse things in life. However, a solo flight with my toddler and baby was not up there with my most pleasurable experiences. Nothing went crazily wrong, but it was certainly a “challenge” (I’m well aware that people do it all the time and with more children so really I shouldn’t dwell on it)

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I had conjured up a few scenarios in my head pre flight about things that could go wrong:

1) Both children would get the chickenpox the day before the flight
2) I would get ill the day before the flight
3) One or both children would puke and we would have to stay in crusty stinky puke clothes until our destination and no one would want to be fiends with us
4) Arlo would run off and get onto a random flight and be sold for a camel
5) Various poo scenarios
6) Flight would be cancelled/ delayed and we would have to spend 17.5 hours in airport or worse, sitting on aeroplane whilst they fixed the engine
7) Would sit next to someone who didn’t like children
8) Would loose passports, possibly thrown in bin along with shit nappy and puke clothes
9) I would forget a child at some point a long the way
10) My husband would forget to collect us

Now what silly parent of a toddler/ baby books a flight in “the witching hour”?? Ok, that was us because it was cheaper. I think this was the mistake

Here’s how it went……

COMMUTE TO AIRPORT

I used Chloes Taxi Service (actually just my mate Chloe in her Mums car) to take us to the airport. This was the best part of the journey and I would highly recommend her services. Toddler and baby slept in the car to Bristol, and I steamed up the windows with my nervous sweating, true story. We unloaded and the lovely Chloe sent us on our merry way (just wanted to grab onto Chloes legs and cry “please don’t leave us”).

Baby in pushchair, toddler on buggy board, backpack on, Arlos backpack on (so he felt important) and suitcase in hand. Assumed people were looking at us and thinking “wow, she’s got her sh*t together”…..when it was probably because I had left the silver shampoo on too long and gone grey.

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AIRPORT

Found our flight on the big screen and went to check-in desk with super organised tickets printed out. The lovely (pretty gay) man asked if I was flying on my own. I nearly broke down and started crying “yes, yes I am, please help me, don’t leave me, don’t make me do it”…….

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Went to security thing where you have to get EVERYTHING out of bags, liquids into other bags, shoes off, babies out, push chairs collapsed etc. Quite a palaver at the best of times, different ball game with a toddler and baby….with only 2 (clammy) hands. Random security guard had to hold the baby (he seemed nice?) and someone had to get Arlo off the security belt as he wanted to go through in the box with his important backpack.

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We made it through, but disaster struck. The pushchair was now broken. This prompted a blunt text to my husband saying “the fu*king pushchair is broken FULL STOP NO KISSES (totally HIS fault as I said we needed a new one). It was so chaotic after securtiy with people and STUFF, after considering just ditching the pushchair all together, I decided I would just have to lug the 2 broken pieces, the baby, the toddler, the buggy board, discarded jackets, the 2x backpacks, pammy panda, dino dinosaur through the airport. I made it approx 52.7 meters and decided I couldn’t carry on. Thank you to the lovely security guard (number 2) who fixed the (shit) pushchair.

We got some dinner and hung out (mostly in the toilet as they seemed happiest in there??) and waited for the flight. Arlo had a melt down as couldn’t see planes out of the window as promised, prompted many laps around the airport to find planes with upset plane deprived toddler (where were they????)

Witching hour was now upon us. Arlo turned into crazed-demented-toddler. Kitt turned into screetchy-teething-baby.

THE FLIGHT

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Boarded flight. Arlo was pretty excited (uncontrollable) by the enormous plane we could finally see. I had bought him a book about flying and how he could sit next to the window. I had booked a seat specifically. Weirdly the seat WAS next to a window, but alas, there was no actual window. Hysteria (god I felt bad)…..”mummy fix it please” (I couldn’t, it was a wall), “where’s my window mummy?”….” I want my window” Oh my

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So Arlo next to “window”, me and Kitt in the middle, and then a middle-aged man next to us. I totally pre judged him and my heart sank as he sat down. I was wanting another mum-type-figure….she would understand. I turned to him and said ” I’m so sorry, this isn’t going to be a relaxing flight for you”. Hurrah!!!! He said not to worry, he had 2 boys too, grown up now but he understands. He was my saving grace. We shall call him Dave.

Dave helped so much, he held Kitt, he played with Arlo, he retrieved various items off floor (yeh fun game) he wet wiped, he pulled faces, made animal noises, mended broken snacks so they could be eaten, he even helped do up my baby carrier. Thanks Dave. The world needs more Daves. But alas, Dave definitely saw my boobs.

FLYING

The following events continued for 1.5 hours…..the longest 1.5 hours of my life (the 16 hour drive home was mellow in comparrison). I don’t think Dave will ever be the same.

So take off: I had got Arlo a lolly to help with his ears, lolly would not come off stick, he wanted it to come off stick. Got emergency lolly, that would also not come off stick. Kitts ears popping, boobs out trying to feed Kitt to stop ears hurting, trying to simultaneously to wrench lolly off stick for Arlo. Got Calpol out of bag with foot. Calpol exploded due to air pressure, cleaning Calpol/ sticky lolly residue off baby/toddler/Dave. Calpol in Kitts eye rather than mouth. Snacks offered to Arlo to recover from lolly ordeal. Wong snacks (they were new and exciting?). Snacks on floor. Correct snacks given. One snack broken. Cant eat a broken snack? Inconsolable toddler. Sticker book out to distract toddler. Didn’t realise that toddler would need assistance pealing stickers off. Screaming baby in one arm, trying to retrieve George Pig sticker off floor and Grandpa Pig sticker off “window”. Teething gel for baby. Made him sick (just a little). Try to entice baby with teething necklace (worn round neck as god intended). Toddler wants teething necklace. Pulls very hard at teething necklace. Made Mummys voice very squeaky and strained as crushed wind pipe. Ipad (new spanking never-seen-before-blue-case-to-buy-me-5-mins) whipped out. Peppa pig. But wrong Peppa Pig. He wanted Postman Pat (wtf its ALWAYS Peppa Pig). New sparkling headphones (never-seen-before-to-buy-me-5-mins) put onto toddler. He didn’t want to wear them. He wanted ME to wear them. “but mummy doesn’t want to wear them”…..”MUMMY WEAR THEM”…..ok ok ok Mummy wear them. Random headphones on head, lead getting tangled in various items including baby seat belt that made baby angry, boobs still out, Kitt grabbing lady in fronts hair, Arlo kicking chair, frantically jabbing at Ipad for Pat (wheres Pat, PAT, HELP?????), snacks flying, toddler screaming as high pitched frequency of baby screams hurting his ears now…..and so on……..

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Time for my “piece-de-resistance”……..the presents!!!!!!!

A friend had advised me to wrap up little presents for the flight so they take a while to unwrap and then they have stuff to play with.

I’d wrapped them up too tight. Shit. Trying to unwrap bastard presents with one hand, un stick breast pad from Kitts head with other hand….red car unwrapped, red car landed in aisle 31, stopping toddler from trying to get to aisle 31 underneath seats, baby still crying as now a worked up teething monster….leading to altitude poo explosion (worse than sea level ones). Simultaneously toddlers delayed morning poo arrived. Used Dave to relay poo rescue. What do people do without a Dave?

Finally air stewardess came over and said “do you need some help love?”. They gave me a bottle of water for the children (maybe heard Arlo screaming that his juice had run out?). Kitt doesn’t drink water, Arlo cant drink water like a normal human from the bottle, but REALLY wants to try. Water everywhere……including my crotch: pissypants

DESTINATION
The rest of the passport control collecting luggage reuniting with husband actually went smoothly (bar some silly jokes with French passport control that one should not make at the airport, wheres their sense of humour??!). As soon as we were off the confines of the torture plane, things (children) seemed to calm down.

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AFTER-MARTH
We had made it! We survived!!! And as soon as I saw the mountains again, memories of the flight faded. And you know what, I would totally do it all again if it meant going snowboarding.

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I was so touched by everyone that helped me (I must have had fear written all over my face). And Dave, i’ll never forget Dave.

 

 

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Just An Update!

Hello its me!! Sorry it’s been a while, I’ve been busy rescuing Sally the Spider and her brother Stan and building them a house “to keep them safe” outside so we can play with them again tomorrow (successfully avoiding toddler melt down) AND stripping off to my underwear (non-matching) to wrap my toddler and baby in my clothes after they projectile vommed in my car and I forgot to pack any spare outfits…….. but here is an update on more recent times on negotiating life with 2……

Things Become A Luxury
A friend (another wise one, I have a few) said to me on my doorstep (as I cried and blow snot bubbles on her shoulder whilst she handed me over a Sleepy Head on day 3 of newborn baby Kitt), that now I had 2 children, things become a luxury. I totally get this now. I needed to lower my expectations. Someone else said (can’t remember who??) that having one child is like having a pet (Arlo was more like an angry Parana if that counts?), but anymore is like having a zoo. No word of a lie, I have gone nearly 2 weeks recently without washing my hair. There was that much dry shampoo in it that I had actually started to go grey (trendy?) and wherever I walked a puff of cloud followed me. So yes, things like general self-care (washing, plucking, shaving, dressing, drying) actually become a thing of luxury. And a hot bath (you know the sort…on your own, actual hot water, YOUR bubble bath and no plastic green turtles called Terry getting accidentally stuck up your backside) is THE HOLY GRAIL. I had one, for 10 mins, on 7/2/2018 at 6pm.

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Time
YOU time is a thing of the past. Maybe im doing it all wrong?? But you just don’t seem to get any time to do anything??!! Like ever. How do people do it with 2 plus kids?? Hats off to you!! Must be hectic every day. I’ve not even had to deal with “the school run” and school stuff yet. Apart from the hour I spend in the gym (god bless the creche of dreams),  I ALWAYS have at least one child hanging off me. Oh actually, I went to Sainburys once by myself, was like a Spa Weekend!!
Day shift: kids (still weird saying kidS-as in I have 2!!) get up anytime from 5.30 (or has Kitt only just gone to sleep?? It’s all a blur), all day running around like a Hyena on speed making sure they are fed/watered/semi clean/ stimulated/ educated (Peppa Pig)….kept alive. Try to get them to sync their naps…….failing (again) and considering selling one of them on Ebay. Dinner, bath, bed (settle Kitt, settle Kitt settle Kitt….then so tired I go to bed)……….then the night shift begins. The long lonely shift. My aim was to be able to watch the X factor finals…..when that ship sailed at christmas time, my new aim now is to be able to come downstairs once the boys are in bed and have a Mint Areo watch Stranger Things. Always torn between having some “me” time and getting some sleep. Sleep normally wins.

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Sleep!
I am really blessed that I have 2 lovely healthy boys, but I don’t think I’m blessed with sleepers. Kitt is awful….just putting it out there, but maybe even worse than Arlo was??!! I feel like at the start people are understanding about the sleep deprivation, you have a new-born! By 7 months, people stop asking how sleep is, even though the sleep deprivation is even worse now as its accumulated over a whole 7 months. Sleep is EVERYTHING, without it, everything is pink and fluffy and there are unicorns and rainbows and sometimes dragons. Im finding it hard to function and definitely feel like a shadow of my former self with the worst/ most boring/ dribbling chat…..normally about how much sleep I had last night. I have googled “can you die from sleep deprivation”, and in fact you can’t. But some days I really feel like I might. I need to try to do something about it, but im too tired to haha!!

Kitt
So so different to Arlo, weird how they end up so different when they both came out of my fanny. He is honestly the happiest, nicest, smiliest baby ever! (not that Arlo wasnt, he was just different). Poor Arlo cried pretty much constantly for the first few months of his life. Was so unhappy and unsettled (lots of medical things) and was just angry. He was chomping at the bit for his independence (fully crawling at 6 months), didn’t like to be smothered and wanted to do his own thing. Also had the attention span of Dory the Fish. Kitt however is just happy to chill and watch the world go by, no need to “get going” when you can just sit there and smile at people for kicks. He loves a cuddle and lives in the sling. You can give him a Duplo block and it will keep him happy for hours. So it would seem that actually Kitt just doesn’t need to sleep. He has 3x 20min “power” naps a day, and normally wakes every hour at night…a good night is every 2. Once I got 3 hours. But he is happy?!

Sibling Love??
Apart from Arlo saying “Baby Tit die” (he means baby Kitt cry), Arlo hasn’t been too interested in the new edition. I think when he’s a bit more interesting and he can play it will be a different story. Occasionally Arlo will give Kitt a toy (and I feel like crying it’s so beautiful to watch), but apart from that, Kitt unfortunately is just a part of the furniture. Kitt on the other hand LOVES Arlo. He just watches him all day and smiles at him and laughs (particulate when he’s crying?? Not got emotions sussed yet). He tries to touch him and just be as close to him as possible. Even started doing this really loud seagull impression to get Arlos attention, which obviously Arlo is VERY keen on…….

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Weaning
I literally hate weaning. Just milk and boobs are so much easier. Decided to give baby led weaning a whirl this time for a change, but oh my it is MESSY. And so far I think only 2% has made it into his mouth (the dog has become rather plump??) But then apparently this is normal and just have to go with it. Also the choking and puking apparently normal too….but I freak out so much each time. The faves are cucumber, strawberries and broccoli….which to be honest if he just eats these three, it’s already more fruit/ veg than Arlo eats so thats good:) I’m also trying to wean Arlo again (he’s super fussy). Three and a half weeks ago Arlo licked a piece of broccoli. This was a real break through.

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Snowboarding
So in other news…….WE ARE GOING SNOWBOARDING (although don’t want to jinx anything….so jinx, double jinx, touch wood etc). Starting off in Tignes which is like our second home, where we met, where it all began, where love was found blah blah blah. Then over to Morzine to cat sit for a friend (the cat will not be snowboarding however, he is a skier). Literally so excited, but like I said I don’t want to jinx anything. I’m not having any expectations of how much riding we will actually get it with a red-headed toddler and milk sucking vampire baby in tow, but just to be in the mountains and in the snow will make me very very happy indeed. Im sure I will actually cry when I first see the mountains again ( I wanted to last time but Arlo got travel sick on the way up and it kinda tainted the special moment).  Hoping to get Arlo on a snowboard properly this time and not just posing on one for Instagrams. He has been “snowboarding” around the living room, tail pressing cushions and 180s (assisted) off the sofa. And he’s really got the idea that he’s going snowboarding soon (like asks me a zillion times each day if we can go snowboarding now)
Obviously Kitt will be snowboarding too, that goes without saying.

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I do have an ulterior motive however……… I want Rich (husband) to see how fun and “relaxing” it could be in the mountains as a family of 4 and realise that we need to relocate there ASAP….to follow Arlos Olympic dreams of course
The only bad thing for the trip so far is that my husband will already be out in the mountains. So this means I will have to fly out BY MYSELF with a toddler and a baby. HOLY FU**KI*G SH*T, I may not survive. It will be worth it though, and an adventure?!

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Baby Photo Shoot

The amazing Tara Statton (https://www.tarastattonphotography.com/) has taken some more beautiful photos for us. Thank you SOOOOO much (sorry we had to bribe Arlo with chocolate buttons!). Here are some of my favourite:

 

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Justifying Mum Guilt

When you become a mum you start feeling really guilty…..all the time. Not the “I got really drunk last night, tied my maxi skirt up to make a mini skirt, puked in glass and woke up with kebab stuck to my face” kind of guilty (not me??!!), but a really powerful ” you’re shaping someones life/personality/future” kind of guilty.

I’ve been thinking about “Mum Guilt” recently (mainly because I’ve been feeling so guilty). Its something I hear mums talk a bout a lot. Surely it just makes us good mums that we are worried about things?? Or bad mums because we are doing things wrong??

And then it came to me (as I was rocking/shushing/nippling/ online shopping at 3am), every cloud has a silver lining. So in fact, all of these things that we have been feeling so horrendously guilty about are totally fine. If anything, they could actually be viewed as GOOD things. It’s all about turning negatives into positives.

1) Feeding Child Snacks To Keep Quite
Children love snacks, snacks are food, food is good to help growing children, child is quiet whilst eating. WIN WIN. If child has filled up on snacks and wont eat
“proper” food…..saves cooking/ money/ time.

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2) Too Much TV
On “Go Jestters” the other morning (go go, go go, goo jesters…..song in head all day long), they were talking about wind power and windmills. My 2 year suddenly chirped up “wind power”. I mean wow, how advanced to know all about how power is generated, child genius right there (!!!!). So, I really feel that TV is actually very educational. Kids programs these days are so informative, covering so many different topics that it can only be a good thing?! I was poorly when I was a kid, I had a very long time off school and just lay on the sofa and watched TV everyday, and I’m fine??!! Even TV programs like Hollyoaks (if they happen to be on) for example, your child can learn about emotions, relationships, life lessons etc. Then you can switch over to the news (ok Loose Women, basically news) for more political debates. You then have problem solving in programs like Broadchurch. Also environmental subjects covered in programs such as Love Island (travel) and talent inspiring TV such as X-Factor. So you see, TV is actually a GOOD thing. Its like being at school.

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3) Too Much Time On MY Phone
I feel guilty about my children, even my 12 week old baby, seeing me on my phone. I even go and hide in the toilet to check Instagram, or cover my phone with a blanket “den” so I can check FB. BUT if you just say “Mummy’s working” then they will see just how hard you work and how you can multi task your “work” with mothering. In this day and age (unfortunately) it’s the way our world is going (back in my day……..) so I guess it’s a good way of them getting used to it. They don’t want to be behind their peers at school. PLUS I find Instagram/ FB and just taking a million photos/ videos in general on my phone is a brilliant way to capture moments. YOU ARE RECORDING MEMORIES, so well done you. Your children will love looking through them all when they are older.

4) Too Much Cake
Me/ children?? Both! Now, my son is really really fussy (to do with all the snacks??!), but doesn’t seem to be too fussy when it comes to cake?? Its got to a point when I feel that any sort of food I can get into him is a bonus. So I do make a lot of cakes. But I always make ones with fruit/veg in to make it “healthy” (Banana Bread, Carrot Cake, Apple Crumble, Flapjack with raisens?), therefore he’s getting one of his five a day…and you don’t have to feel bad anymore. Plus cakes have eggs in too.

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5) Eating Food Off The Floor
All I can say is….”good for the immune system”. Sometimes I rub my childs food on the floor to help protect my child against colds.

6) Talking To Friends And Ignoring Child
I love a good chat. But I’m very aware then when I meet up with other mums and kids that I talk too much and don’t pay enough attention to my child. They are called mothers meetings for a reason I guess. However, It’s good for your child to venture out on their own without you having to hold their hand, makes them confident?! Anyone that knows my mum will know she talks A LOT (sorry mum if you’re reading this), and I feel, as an adult, I am pretty patient person. Maybe this is because my mum talked so much I had to learn to wait. BUT, you know when another mum comes up to you and says “is that your son in the Lama pen”, that you maybe haven’t been paying enough attention and to tone down the chatting.

7) Not Playing Enough
This follows on nicely to this point. How much should you actually play with your child? If you play with them all the time then they will never learn to play on their own, but if you never play with them then they become neglected? I always feel that I don’t play enough with my 2 year old. I’ve discovered I’m rubbish at playing, I thought I would be a lot more fun but I’ve turned out pretty boring. BUT, I do let my son play on his own (quite a bit) telling myself that this is called “baby led play” (??????) and is VERY good for them to learn how to be by themselves and entertain themselves. By doing this I’m shaping their independence and helping them develop their imagination. Well done me??

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8) Not Enjoying Diggers/ Tractors/ Cars/ Trains/ Aeroplanes
Again, this leads nicely onto this point. I’m quite a girly girl (but like extreme sports and wearing Vans)……but always feel hugely guilty that I really don’t like playing with all the ‘boy” stuff AT ALL ie: diggers/ Tractors/ Cars/ Lego (although I know girls can be really into this too). I feel bad that I find it boring and my son finds it AMAZING but I just don’t really know how to make a fun game out of a digger…day after day after day. I really need to get stuck into boy stuff now as I’ve just had boy number 2, this will be my life. Soccer Mum. BUT by playing with dolls, putting hair clips in his hair, dressing up, going shopping….(all whilst dad is out of course) I feel I am broadening his horizons and showing him its ok to be whoever he wants to be. The whole “not being gender specific” is quite popular these days so I’m bang on trend.

9) Bribing/ Incentives
Only recently (would have started way sooner if my son had understood)) I have started using bribes. Honestly, it has opened up a whole new world for me!! You can get toddlers to do pretty much anything. I did feel bad using bribery to get him to do things, until a friend pointed out another way to look at it. They are INCENTIVES not bribes. In life its good to be able to set oneself goals and aims and rewards when you achieve them. So therefore I am basically giving my toddler drive and focus and teaching him the value of commitment and results of actions etc.

10) Too Much Time In Car
I’ve always used my car as a tool to get my toddler to sleep, then doing “the transfer” (heart in mouth, blood pumping, sweating, could kill the noisy car that drives passed just as I’m getting him out of the car and into the house). Sometimes I’d drive around (for hours) to get my son off to sleep, then park up somewhere nice and leave the engine running to keep him asleep. Now I have a baby, I use the car/ car seat to contain my toddler whilst I feed the baby. (plus feed toddler snacks to keep quiet, see point 1). So all in all we spend A LOT of time in the car (also why car is so skanky). BUT, my toddler looks out the window and sees lots of different places (we cover some miles!), people, animals…diggers, tractors, cars. This gives him experience of the outside world and see lots of different places and gives him a zest for travel. I just wouldn’t be able to cover these sort of miles of foot everyday. Also my toddler is so full of energy, that I think being contained in the car seat forces him to have some down time, which he needs.

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11) So much time feeding
Since having baby number 2, I feel so bad on my toddler that I have to spend so much time feeding him. A lovely lady at work suggested having a special bag with special toys to bring out for him whilst I feed, but then when he was feeding every 45 mins or more, the novelty soon wore off. I try and play with toddler whilst feeding but this is difficult to juggle as you are trying to dig in the sand with a digger (good at digger games??) and keep your wriggly baby on the boob with the other hand…….all whilst containing your modesty. So as a result, my toddler has to fend for himself once again. But I feel this teaches him all about mothers and milk and feeding/ babies. There was teething problems at the start where he got a bit confused and tried to latch onto my husbands nipple in the shower. But now he has really got the idea of it and likes to breast feed his own Teddy?! Also I guess this teaches him lessons on sharing ie; he has to share his mum…and share his breast milk with his teddy?!

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These are just a few of the million things I feel guilty about on a daily basis. I actually feel guilty about writing this when I should be tidying bombsite/ interacting with baby on play gym/ cooking some sort of nutritious dinner/ preparing an education game for my toddler etc………..