Breastfeeding · General thoughts

Where have I been? Watching Moana…

I haven’t written a post in over a month. I don’t think that’s a massive disappointment to my 12 readers but I am slightly disappointed that I allowed my weekly writing to slip away so easily. One of the reasons was that I didn’t know what to write about. Life’s simply been ticking along – nothing felt worthy of a blog post. Here’s a few things that have happened in the last few weeks:

1.The child is sleeping more reliably. Up to two hours in the middle of the day and in bed at around 8pm. Which has led me to think that it’s time to do more. So I submitted an application to study as a Mother Supporter with the ABM. It was approved and my study pack received within a week. In the initial excitement I also ordered three of the six suggested books from the reading list. Then as I sat down to get serious about this course, the procrastination dragon that has been forcibly suppressed in the newborn/baby/early toddler stage reared its head. I had actually forgotten what a champion procrastinator I am. So much that I’m writing this post instead of doing any research or reading. I have until the end of March 2018 to complete the module. I’m putting that on here so that I will be held accountable and will get my head down – eventually…. But why isn’t this worthy of its own blog post? Well, really… I kind of feel that could be a bit sanctimonious…. better to actually do some work before I blog about it.

2. I’ve watched Moana about 86 times. Not by myself. With the kid. It’s a brilliant film, I love it. And I’m actually really happy the child has expanded her viewing likes beyond Paw Patrol. We now have the Pups, Thomas and Moana queued up on the Sky box. Then I got excited and thought, maybe she’d like other Disney movies too. So I started with Frozen. She watched for 2 minutes before she started asking for Moana. I told her it was a “different Moana” – it was Elsa. Five minutes in kid says “no more Elsa?” – then she got up to find a toy to play with. I ended up watching it and I have to say that I found it a bit disappointing after the creative genius that is Moana. A few days later I tried Sing. She’s “watched” it before, months ago when her cousins were in town and we’ve been listening to the soundtrack for months so I thought she might like the familiarity of the music. Again, 5 minutes and “no more kwa-la (koala)!” Shame…… back to Moana we go….

3. I finished knitting myself a scarf. Again, woo hoo – who cares? I even started writing a post on why it took me a year and a half to knit a sodding, albeit quite long, scarf. It was because I’d put it down to make things for the kid. Last winter we went through 4 handmade hats (three made by me, one by a friend):

4 hats better

A couple of months ago I found a pattern for a cowl with bear ears, and then one that looked like a fox and I thought that could be fun for this winter. I made the bear cowl and tried to put it on the kid only to be met with her first sentence:

“Noooooo!!! I don’t like it hat!”

And at that point I wondered why I was trying so hard. She quite willingly wears the £3 H&M hat I purchased in a hurry, following an unforseen turn in the weather, so why bother? Why not do something for myself? So I finished my scarf. The blog post was going to be about self-care, about not falling down the rabbit hole of giving up everything you enjoy just to take care of your baby – but I hate that phrase. It makes my skin crawl. Who coined it? And I got that far in the draft of that post and didn’t know how to go on. I haven’t learned my lesson though. I’ve decided I want to knit my first jumper, but I thought it might be easiest to start with a small jumper – one sized for a kid….

4. As you may have noticed, the kid’s speech is coming along – phrases and sentences. Actually if I think about it, the sentence about the bear cowl was not her first. Her first came a couple of weeks earlier when we were driving out of a multi storey car park – the same one where I had, in the recent past, scratched the car. I took a sharp inhale as I went to make the tight left hand turn down the ramp and the kid pipes up with: ” Don’t worry Mama, you can do it!” And I laughed and laughed and somehow made it out of the car park without further damaging the car.

So that’s it, nothing massively groundbreaking but I’ll be back next week…. back on schedule….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breastfeeding · Toddlerhood

No problem, you’re welcome! 

Today started badly. I’ve been making some soft hearted attempts at limiting Paw Patrol and use of the “moomik” (phone) but this morning, in my infinite wisdom, I decided I would let the kid have some time with the iPad because she hasn’t played with it in ages. I had also been very clever and hidden the Netflix app on a blank page/screen so as to confine her play to looking at photographs and playing her favourite Barry White songs. I told her that she could have the iPad for as long as it took me to clean up after breakfast (usually about 10 minutes) .

It took the kid precisely 165 seconds to find the Netflix app and click her way to Paw Patrol. I soon realised that getting the iPad back would be difficult. I made a half hearted attempt to take it back as per the terms of the original agreement but that was soon met with tears. So, I made a new deal. She could have the iPad until it was time for her to get dressed. That would be another 10-15 minutes and this time I would not be soft about the retrieval of the device. 

I was indeed not soft. I got dressed, told baby it was time for her to get dressed and therefore time to give back the iPad. Massive meltdown. In hindsight, perhaps I should have done some sort of countdown to soften the blow. Who knows if that would have worked but it might have been worth trying. Thanks hindsight. 🤦🏾‍♀️

So the baby is crying, desperately unhappy and I’m obviously the worst mama in the world. Attempt to get her dressed and she stops crying for a second to ask for “mook” (milk), and I happily oblige. She falls asleep. It’s only 9.45am. 

An hour or so later she wakes up and as is apparently the new normal asks for “moomik.” Up until a week ago, upon waking from a nap she would always ask for “mook.” Now it’s either “pup” or “moomik.” Perhaps this is the beginning of the end of our mook journey…. (watch this space)

Obviously, because I’m trying not to be very soft, I declined her request. Cue more crying and some impressively dogged repetitive requests. The girl persisted, I give her kudos for that. I held firm too, miraculously, and attempted to deploy some gentle tantrum taming techniques that I had been reading about. I used the “say what you see” method – “I can see you’re very upset about not having the iPad but it’s time to put it away and play with something else….” blah blah blah, I went on in that vein. Have to say, felt like a total muppet wittering on like that and it didn’t seem to have any calming effect whatsoever but I doubt it works first time anyway. Fairly sure consistent application is the key, right? I also stayed right with her and told her I would hold her for as long as she was upset or as long as she needed, and she didn’t push me away so that was a win. Eventually she calmed, I finished getting her dressed and got her downstairs. 

Her: “Snack?” 

Damn straight we need a snack baby. Made a beeline for the shortbread. Gave her a piece and took one myself. We sat, staring each other in the face as we enjoyed our biscuits in silence. It was over.

Me: Let’s go out… (I had read sometimes tantrums were just a need to burn off some energy, so we should do exactly that..)

Her: Park!!! 

Marvellous, yes park! Packed a hasty lunch and started getting her ready to go outside. But the actual moron that I am didn’t bother LOOKING OUT THE WINDOW. If I had, I would have noticed the drizzle. Had I noticed that BEFORE I allowed the kid to wear the SLEEVELESS jacket she requested I maybe, possibly could have avoided meltdown no. 2. I looked up, saw the rain and told her she actually can’t wear her favourite jacket and instead she needs the raincoat with the evil sleeves. Back to being the worst.mama.ever.

Fast forward to the evening and we’re alone… for the third night this week. I allowed her one pup before I made dinner. No tears when that was turned off. Brilliant. She then played etc etc but it was so quiet in the house. I don’t find that kind of quiet natural.

I would ordinarily listen to the radio but any music needs to be played from the phone and I didn’t want to go there again. 

Then I had a yet another brilliant idea. For the past few days I’d been singing, what I thought were the words to, “You’re Welcome” from Moana. It had helped at nappy changing times to focus her so she wouldn’t whip out the nappy from under her and throw it at the wall (that only needs to happen once for you to realise that a nappy changing strategy needs to be implemented). So, I downloaded the Moana soundtrack, kept the phone at a distance and played music over dinner.

Only I had to put “You’re Welcome” on repeat. Having listened to it this evening possibly 732 times, I now know the proper lyrics. After dinner she played happily again whilst I cleaned up and when I said it was time to switch off the music, go upstairs and have a bath she said:

“No problem Mama… you’re welcome”

Indeed…..  

Attachment · Breastfeeding

Clingy

I started this blog post a month ago but as I wrote it, I thought it sounded a bit angry. Not in keeping with my soft sensibilities at all. So I decided to sit on it as I was only writing out of reaction to some comment. 

Not a week goes by when someone very helpful comments on the clinginess of the kid. Does anyone else hate the word clingy? Or high-needs? Surely the lack of motor skills, the fact that the brain isn’t fully developed and the ensuing reliance on their parents makes all babies/toddlers high needs? 

The comment I was reacting to went something like this: “I don’t know how she’s ever going to go to school. I certainly don’t want to be there on the first day!” 

Comments I’ve had in the past went like: “you breastfeeding her makes her clingy.” 🙄

 “She uses your milk as a pacifier.” – Well, yes. The hormonal make up of breastmilk is intended to do just that…. 🙄

[In a whiny voice imitating the child] “Mama, Mama, Mama – gosh she really can’t cope when she can’t see you….” – yes, taunting a toddler is going to help her cope… please continue… 🙄

Earlier this week I started to really doubt my approach. It’s not like I’ve followed a book, I’ve just followed my instinct, which has veered somewhat to attachment parenting (if you need to label it) but I began to be swallowed up by the feeling that maybe everyone else is right. Maybe my kid is going to be the one kid that doesn’t conform to the theory that being responsive actually promotes independence. 

Then the day before yesterday I got my first “bye mama” without a backward glance as she sped away on her trike towards the park with her Dad. I can’t tell you the joy I felt as I saw her happily scoot away. Just a few months ago, getting her to go to the park alone with Dad would start with tears, until she saw the slide… then she’d be fine.

This was a big step…

Then yesterday I asked the kid to play in the garden with my friend whilst I went inside to make dinner. And she played and played very happily until the heavens opened (a full 15 minutes). No tears, no worry.  I’m sure she would have stayed out longer had weather permitted. 

I’ve even had several showers in the last week where she hasn’t sat in the doorway to the bathroom playing with her toys (i.e. my makeup case).

I’m hoping these instances aren’t flukes. I’m hoping this is the beginning of the emergence of a confident toddler. In the meantime, I’m sure she’ll continue to follow me to the bathroom when she feels like it. I’m sure she’ll continue to cry if someone tries to take her from me without attempting an explanation. And I’m sure that in the remaining THREE YEARS that I have before the kid starts school, I’ll be able to explain what it’s all about and that there’s no need to worry but this is something she’s going to have to do for the next thirteen years of her life…. hmmm, maybe I should start working on that explanation sooner rather than later…. 

Breastfeeding · Sleeping

Negotiating with a Sleep Thief 

I’ve been considering night weaning. It’s been a bad week. The kid’s been sick, so waking frequently at night. Nothing unusual in the circumstance but I thought I’d finally reached the end of my breastfeeding rope the other morning when from 5am to 6.30am she refused to be put down and kept swapping from side to side to side. This was after having woken four or five times earlier in the night. I was exhausted. I just wanted to sleep, just one more hour. Clearly it was time to night wean – wasn’t it?

She must have sensed something as the next night she woke only twice and went back to her cot relatively quickly and I even got a stretch of almost six hours sleep. Maybe the pain of night weaning would not be necessary, but was that a fluke?

Luckily the local ABM breastfeeding support group met yesterday so I went in for some advice. It was suggested to me that it’s really hard to night wean and continue to co-sleep – unless I want to go to bed wearing a polo neck catsuit. I think we can all agree that’s not a good look, regardless of whether you’re carrying baby (toddler) weight or not. And I know she’s not ready for her own room just yet.

I mentioned that I had started to negotiate with her in the middle of the night, in much the same way as I negotiate with her in the day about the number of episodes of Paw Patrol she gets to watch. That usually goes like this when we’re at home:

Me: Two episodes and then we go outside.

Her: Grunt of acknowledgement

Two episodes later I switch off the TV and she quite contentedly jumps down from the sofa in search of her shoes.

As an aside, negotiations never go that smoothly at Nana’s house. For some reason, the kid feels the need to turn into screeching howler monkey instead of keeping her end of the bargain. Thanks kid…

The breastfeeding support counsellor suggested that because the kid is so verbal, that perhaps continuing with night-time negotiations might be the most gentle way to get her to understand that night time is for sleeping.

Last night was awesome – in terms of comedy value. Well, I thought it was funny but it’s probably one of those things that the kid’s parents find funny, so please forgive me if you don’t actually laugh out loud. She did a 5 hour stretch of sleep before waking at 1am in search of mook, had a quick drink and then back to her bed within 15 minutes. So far so good.

[3am – in our darkened bedroom]

Her: Mama? Mook? Mook? Mook?”

Me: Ok baby [lifts kid out of cot, and feeds]

Her: *Side? [Translation: “Other boob please mama”]

Me: One more side, then bed

Her: grunt of acknowledgement

[Mama puts kid back in cot. Kid screeches and howls “no,no, no”]*

Repeat pattern between * three more times

Me: One more side, then bed

Her: Two more sides?

At this point I laughed out loud. Firstly, because of the sweet cheekiness at which the kid countered my offer and secondly because I think that was her first three-word sentence. Needless to say, I was impressed by the kid’s attempts at negotiation at 3.30am.

Me: No baby, nice try, one more side then bed.

Two more sides later I lay the grumbling toddler between me and the husband in the hope that allowing her to sleep in our bed would soothe her. It did not. She thrashed around, tried to get comfortable, and even though it was dark I could see the side eye she was giving me. I think that was my first “I hate you mama….”

After a couple minutes, she settled into a perfect child’s pose and was still. Ten seconds later the husband emits an almighty snore. She raised her head in the same way she used to when she was a baby practicing “tummy time” (I genuinely dislike that phrase) – but it gave me the nostalgic feels, then this happened to remind me she’s no longer a baby:

Her (to her Dad): Wake up Aba-aba

Her: (turning to me): It’s sleeping….

Me: Yes baby, “it’s” sleeping – maybe you’ll be more comfortable in your own bed [places kid in cot]

Kid thrashed around  some more, got comfortable and drifted off within five minutes. It was a whole 2.5 hours before I heard “Mama? Mook?” again.

Breastfeeding · Sleeping · Working

How will I know? 

I couldn’t sleep properly last night . Amazingly, the baby could – but the husband decided to put on a nocturnal nasal symphony… how thoughtful….

So here’s my brain activity from approximately 3.30am today:

How will I know when and how to stop breastfeeding?

How will I know when will be the right time to potty train? 

How will I know when to move her into her own room? 

How will I know when will be the right time to start her in pre-school?

How will I know when will be the right time to go back to work? 

Lying in the semi-dark thinking of these things and wondering what the timeline may be and also about the fact that in the last week I’ve heard the phrase “you’ll just know” at least five times from five different people.  Now, my intuition is pretty good (I’m a Pisces, so really, what d’you expect) but I had hoped there’d be a more scientific basis for figuring these things out. 

The first is really the least of my troubles. I don’t actually care when she stops breastfeeding. I know my life would be a whole heap easier if I did, but I’m still puzzled as to how I will get her to sleep at night with any efficiency without it. 

I had pencilled in Christmas as the time to potty train but she’s showing some signs of readiness now. But you don’t want to do it if you’re going away soon, which we are next month so… Christmas it is… sorted.

When to move her into her own room… hmmm… the other night she woke whenever I rustled the sheets in my bed. So I figured I must be disturbing her – time to move? The night after, didn’t follow the same pattern at all, so keep things the way they are? Last night she slept really soundly but we were at my mum’s and her cot was 6 paces from my bed (same room) Her room in our house is 12 paces from my bed (I have actually measured). So again, time to move? I don’t want to dismantle the cot and rebuild it only to find I’ve made a mistake…. I think this one requires further data collection… that might mean a few more bad nights… or at least a few nights where I try not to move a muscle… awesome, can’t wait! 🙄

Pre-school. She’s signed up to go from next September, just after turning 2.5. Judging from the way she’s really starting to enjoy other kids’ company I’m fairly happy with that decision but it sort of ties into the last question. 

Returning to work. This and the breastfeeding have quite easily been the two topics on which I receive the most outside pressure.  I will literally scream in the face of the next person that tells me my daughter, at this age – which is less than 21 months – doesn’t need me. I need to go back to work. I’m wasting my brain by spending my day looking after a child (a brat addicted to Paw Patrol and music on the iPad). That I’m being a stay at home mum for my sake, not hers – after all, she doesn’t need me. Children of working parents are self sufficient and marvellous whereas children of stay at home mums are indulged, entitled brats… and so it goes….. on and on and on… 

I will go back to work at some point (if anyone will hire me). I want a job that I’m passionate about but one that also allows me to be present for my kid, just on the off chance she needs me at some future date. So whether it takes a week, a year or three years to find that holy grail of employment, I’ll continue to enjoy the time I have with my little one…. Because once this time is gone, it’s never coming back and I’m never going to regret taking a few years away from the hamster wheel.

Breastfeeding

Today is a rant… sorry…

I was in two minds about posting this. I didn’t want to rant but I’m kind of reeling. Also am terrified of the people in question ever reading this but here goes… 

We’ve all read the stories about women being shamed for breastfeeding their babies in public. We’ve seen the photo of the mum, when asked to cover up, she covered her own face instead of her baby and boobs and I’ve considered myself very lucky that in my 20 month breastfeeding career I have not received any backlash in public. In fact most of the, at best, passive-aggressive commentary has come from those closest.

This afternoon was a gem.

Sitting in a posh restaurant waiting for some relatives and I thought I’d timed everything right and we may get through a meal without the kid asking for “mook*” – well of course not…. she started persistently asking and getting agitated and as we were just waiting at the table I figure a quick feed would be fine. And it was. The waiter that came to take a drinks order didn’t bat an eyelid, but then the family showed up:

Relative 1: “Are you sure you’re allowed to do that in here?”

Me: [stunned into momentary silence] Well, yes given it’s not illegal”

Relative 1: It may not be illegal but morally…. I mean…. at least cover up…**

Thankfully we were interrupted by Relative 2:

“Doesn’t she bite you with all her teeth? Or does she know better?”

Me: “Yes she knows better”

Here’s how I should have replied, and maybe one day, if I ever grow out of being so soft I might actually say:

“No, fuck off!”

And:

“If the latch is correct there is no way she can actually bite. The tongue covers the lower teeth and the angle of her head means she’s not in a position to bring her top jaw down with any force”***

I’m sorry to say that later in the meal the kid asked for “mook” again but I felt shamed into telling her she’d have to wait. She was upset and it hurt my heart but she’s getting pretty good at picking up on social cues (for a toddler) and didn’t have a fit. Instead she waited patiently until we were on the train home. Incidentally, a train full of zombie commuters staring at their phones is probably the easiest/best place I’ve found to publicly feed the baby given it IS in fact illegal to make eye contact on London public transport. 

I don’t breastfeed in public to make any sort of statement. I’m not purposely trying to make people feel uncomfortable. At this stage in the game, if I’m breastfeeding in public it’s because we’ve either been out and about all day or the child is upset about something and allowing her to breastfeed is the quickest and easiest way to soothe her. What would you prefer? A screaming banshee child or the possible risk that I might expose some boob flesh? Which, by the way, I got to an effort to minimise (thank god for the B Shirt – wish I’d found them sooner). I am looking forward to the day when I don’t have to think about ease of access to the “mook” when I get dressed but until that day comes I will continue to take care of my kid the best way I know how and if that means having to breastfeed in public I will do so discreetly. If that’s still not good enough… you know where you can go…. 
* My kid’s apparent thought process: Milk/Boob = Mook
**I was wearing a BelleBelly band under my top and was exposing far less skin than Relative 1 in her halter top with bra straps on show.
***My thanks to a local breastfeeding support volunteer for that explanation when I sought advice during a biting phase.

Breastfeeding

World Breastfeeding Week

Before my daughter was born, in that time when my brain worked at almost full capacity, I read a book about being a first time parent and decided that it would be nice if I breastfed her for six months. No biggie if that didn’t happen though because there were TV ads telling me that there was formula and follow on milk which would help my child achieve her dreams. Bonus!

Here’s what actually happened. Kid arrives and I stay in hospital for two days. I have a nurse oversee our latch and I’ve seemingly got the technique down so they let me go home. That’s when it all went to hell. I’m not sure when the bleeding and the cracking started but it was kind of alarming that a tiny creature with no teeth could almost split a nipple down the middle. I called my midwife for help and she said I needed to see Jane. Jane was a saviour, a lactation consultant that ran weekly clinics in the area, with a band of volunteers. I went to see her and showed me how to hold the baby so feeding would hurt less for me and be easier for the baby, (the evolutionary baby feeding position). She told me to feed from one side at a time to allow the other side to heal (nipple skin heals quickly). She told me to allow as much air as possible to my boobs to assist in the healing (my mother who was staying with me at the time was somewhat disturbed at my refusal to wear a top).

It wasn’t a quick fix, I was in agony and I would cry whenever my baby cried for a feed because I knew the pain that was about to come. And then I cried some more out of guilt. So why didn’t I just give up and give her formula? Three reasons:

  1. I’m stubborn.
  2. I read the (very confusing) instructions for the bottle steriliser (six times) and decided that I’d rather endure the pain of breastfeeding than the guilt if I were to give my kid an improperly sterilised bottle.
  3. Also, I’m lazy.

Two days later my midwife sees I’m still in pain and she schedules me a visit with Sonya, another midwife that runs an advisory clinic on a SUNDAY at the hospital. I spent two hours with Sonya. She gave me plastic shells to keep my clothes away from my skin (it was January, I couldn’t not wear a top really) and confidence. I can’t remember exactly what she said but I remember leaving the hospital feeling like an Amazonian Warrior Goddess (that’d be the oxytocin at work, hormones are great eh?)

I can’t remember when it stopped hurting. It felt like months but it must have been less than two weeks as that’s when my sister visited and by then I was feeding baby without wincing.

So what’s this got to do with anything? Well I decided to tell this story now in celebration of the 25th annual World Breastfeeding Week. World Breastfeeding Week is coordinated by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA), a global network whose members include the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF and La Leche League.

I found this on the UNICEF website :

“The targets, set by the World Health Assembly, call for at least a 50% rate of exclusive breastfeeding by 2025. The Collective’s mission is to rally political, legal, financial and public support for breastfeeding.”

Without wanting to go full on lactivist,* the key word is SUPPORT. New mums need support from their families, healthcare professionals and employers (among others) if they choose to breastfeed their babies. I chose to breastfeed because I’m inherently lazy. I continued to breastfeed beyond 6 months because by then I had come to realise the following:

  1. Breastmilk is 80% water and 20% magic. Seriously, it cleared up my baby’s weird gunky eye thing within an hour.
  2. Breastmilk sends my daughter to sleep faster than any lullaby or any amount of shushing or rocking.
  3. Breastfeeding gives me a legitimate excuse to sit down several times a day and cuddle my kid. 

I was one of the lucky ones, I had heaps of support and that’s why 20 months later we’re still going strong. 

 

*Lactation + Activist = Lactivist

I have been reliably informed that, despite my soft nature, I am by default a lactivist for having gone against the majority and continued to breastfeed my daughter beyond a year. Right on!

 

 

 

Breastfeeding · General thoughts · Sleeping · Working

If I knew then what I know now…

It won’t come as any surprise that my intentions for maternity leave and life as a mother differed wildly from reality. I intended to breastfeed my child for 6 months. I intended to switch to a bottle thereafter (cos that’s what you normally do, right?).  I intended to have a freezer perpetually stocked with delicious Annabel Karmel approved food. I intended for my child to only ever sleep in her cot, preferably in the beautifully decorated nursery after the age of 6 months. I intended to go back to work after 8 months. I intended to be able to leave her for a weekend by 9 months. I intended to be creative and constructive during my maternity leave – starting an incredibly witty blog was of course number one on that list.

What a muppet!

In fact, of all the intentions and promises I made to myself before my bundle of joy arrived, the only one I’ve stuck to was to have a shower each day. [Pats self on back]

An NCT friend of mine once said “we were all perfect parents before we had the babies.” No truer words were ever spoken. The information available to expectant and new parents is vast and often overwhelming. If you’re anything like me, then reading and gathering information provided comfort. I felt armed, I thought I was prepared, I thought I had a clue.

What I hadn’t foreseen, that in my case at least, the ability to make decisions based on reason and informed judgement would be replaced by emotion and intuition.

Here’s the reality, my daughter is 19 months old and continues to breastfeed up to 5 times a day (and that doesn’t include when she wakes at night).

She does eat homemade food most days of the week but I also have an entire shelf in my pantry that holds pouches and other pre-packaged baby food. Convenient for when out and about and for those evenings when you just. can’t. be. bothered.

There is a nursery, it is tastefully decorated with a “fly me to the moon” theme complete with glow in the dark star curtains. My daughter does not sleep there. She does however sleep in her cot… mostly. I took the side off and attached it to our bed, a recent development after months of co-sleeping (more on that in another post).

I loved my job, I loved my colleagues and the camaraderie, but I have a secret. Before I became mama I never expected to like being at home with the baby. I didn’t think there would be much to enjoy. I’ve always worked and before now I’ve never not wanted to. I thought I would be lonely. I’m also fairly sure I’m not supposed to admit that out loud. But I do enjoy it, I love it. Not every minute of every day, I’m not a bottomless pit of patience but this is probably the biggest surprise of all. So when the husband got offered a new job which would leave me no choice but to quit mine, I was relieved and elated that the new job also afforded us the amazing opportunity for me to not have to go back to work. Looking back, I know that I would have spent every minute at work wishing I was with my baby but I’m not sure that I would have spent every minute at home wishing I was at work.

I haven’t been apart from my daughter for more than 4 hours. Partly because of the breastfeeding… partly because it breaks my heart.

As for creativity? I’m an accountant, I’m a scientist.. It was always going to be a big ask…. But here I am, having a go – better late than never….

So the take away from all this? Read, plan – go ahead. But plan on being surprised.