Monday 26 August 2013

Week 103- Will Carling, big girl's beds and kissing Rabbit at 4am

At 6pm on a Wednesday evening when Ben was away for the night, I had the brainwave to turn Nancy’s cot into a big girl’s bed.

Nancy had worked out, in a rage the previous night, how to climb over the top of her cot.
Her fall was only broken as I, Will Carling style, skidded across the bedroom floor, shouting ‘nooooooooooooooooooooooo’, and catching her milliseconds before she hit the ground.
So I thought, yep, pulling off the sides of the cot, eee-e-eeeasy.

I’ll do it before bedtime, make a big fuss about the new Peppa Pig duvet set my mum had bought her.
And hey presto.
We’ve got ourselves a big girl’s bed.
Turns out the cot is an absolute nightmare to pull to bits.

It’s all wedged in.

I was splitting wood left right and centre as I tried to make sense of the instructions that were missing a page (curse of buying stuff off E-bay), as Nancy enthusiastically told me, ‘you’re sweating mummy.’

At 8ish, the bed finally looks sleepable in.
And I do a Pimp My Ride intro to her new, improved, grown-up room. As I’m mid-jazz hands, Nancy asked, ‘where’s my cot?’
It’s in about 20 pieces; wedged under the bed, behind the wardrobe, crammed into the boiler cupboard. That’s where.

Night one, and I go into her room at about 11pm to see how she’s getting on, and momentarily panic my face off, as she’s not in bed.
Her duvet is on the floor, pillows everywhere, but no Nancy.

And then I spot her, bum in the air, head stuck underneath a chair.

Fast asleep.
I pull her out gently by her ankles, and put her back into bed.

And she sleeps there for the majority of the night. That’s surely a success. So I give myself a premature pat on the back.

Because by night two I realised that my plan to make bedtime less stressful was at best ill-conceived. As she quickly works out the advantage to a bed without sides.
She can get out WHENEVER SHE WANTS TO.

The following morning I was woken at about 4ish to a breathy Nancy whispering, ‘kiss Rabbit,’ as she thrust him in my face.
She’s wised up to bedtimes too.

Once we’ve said night to her, unlike when she was in her cot and she eventually gave up, she now realises that she only has to open her bedroom door and, voilĂ , she’s back in the room.
So the brainwave was quite possibly a brain malfunction.

And a good night’s sleep is, once again, a thing of the past.

Monday 19 August 2013

Week 102- feeling old, air punching and the Edinburgh fringe

I've been away for four days and three nights sans child. I went to the Edinburgh festival with some friends. 

I has visions of getting leathered. Staying out until the time I normally get up.  Me and my friends made plans during the drive up to go dancing.

Not cool dancing.

Proper dancing to bad 80's music where every song can't be sung, but screamed at the top of your voice, accompanied by an obligatory air punch.

And booze. Lots of booze between every show.

But turns out somewhere between getting pregnant with Nancy and now, I've got old.

Not sensible old. The kind of old that whispers in your ear that you should go home now or you won't make the first show you have tickets for at 10am.

I mean old old.

That at 10.30pm I'm involuntarily yawning and my eyes are prickling, willing my to go to sleep right there in the pub.

That kind of old.

This is disappointing, to say the least.

I thought the reason I haven't been going out loads was because I don't have the opportunity to so that much.

Not that I'm virtually physically incapable of holding a conversation with anyone past midnight.

It's one thing to not cane it as you know that a little person might wake up, shouting your name, the moment you rest your spinny head on your pillow.

It's a completely different thing to have to be given the second spare set of keys for where you're staying with your friends as the sheer panic sets in when someone asks about getting another round in after ELEVEN FORTY-FIVE.

I feel like I've let myself down.

More than that. 

I feel like I've been totally tricking myself for the last two years.

That if my family lived closer and babysat at the weekend from time to time, I'd be dancing the balls of my feet red raw in inappropriate footwear.

The truth is, I'd prefer to finish reading Gone Girl, go to sleep by 9 and stay asleep for the next 12 hours.

Bit of a personal blow that I've turned into an overnight borezo.

I've just got to man up and get some more stamina before my friends realise I've turned into an 80 year old woman in a 34 year old's body.

Or they'll stop inviting me to go out altogether.

Sunday 11 August 2013

Week 101- bad behaviour, amazing women and The Everyday Sexism Project...

Britain seems to be a pretty unpleasant place to be a woman at the moment.
And it scares me and makes my blood boil in equal measures.
The recent news is peppered with stories of men who, at best, don’t know how to behave themselves, and worst, are a danger and threat to ourselves, our children and our civilised world.

Eddy Shah, former newspaper boss, in a radio 5 live interview, described charges of rape relating to girls under 16 who "threw themselves" at celebrities as "a technical thing". He said - "If we're talking about girls who just go out and have a good time, then they are to blame.

If we talk about people who go out and actually get 'raped' raped, then I feel no - and everything should be done against that."

He has recently been cleared of raping a minor in the 90’s and now obviously considers himself in a position of authority to make such sweeping, damaging remarks.

No apology has been made as of yet.

Writer, Caroline Criado-Perez, triumphed after months of campaigning for the Bank of England to continue to have female representation on the bank note (Jane Austin will be on the next ten pound note.)  Her thanks? An onslaught of rape threats on Twitter. Graphic, terrifying threats, which, at points, were coming in as frequently as one-per-minute.

A 13 year old girl has recently been described in court by the judge and prosecution as being a ‘sexual predator’, as a 41 year old man walks free having admitted having sex with her. His defence? She ‘looked older’ than her 13 years.

What the fuck is going on?
And how has it come to this that people are not only being given a platform to spew such vile opinions, but some of them have positions of authority, power and influence.
When my daughter was born, I didn’t, for one second, consider that she would have to fight for her right to have an equal place in the country, just because she has a vagina.

Are we regressing as a country?
Is consent not longer a right, but an option?

I don’t want to have to tell Nancy what she should and shouldn’t wear, for fear that a man who doesn’t know when to keep his penis in his pants, will think of it as an open invitation.

I don’t want her to feel she can’t campaign for things she feels passionately about, in case she gets attacked, on-line or otherwise.

I don’t want to have to warn her that just because a person is in a profession of trust, that doesn’t necessarily mean they can be trusted.
The Everyday Sexism Project catalogues women’s encounters of sexism, with recent examples including, ‘today my brother told me that being called a bitch is a compliment.

Another- 'I'm 16, I was stood waiting for a friend to get a lift home, I was wearing my school uniform and a hoodie- an old man poked my bum and said 'BEEP BEEP' and then continued to walk away, constantly turning around to check my reaction.'.
You don’t have to have a child to be hugely concerned about the world all our children will be growing up in.

I’m not suggesting we all start burning our bras

But I do think we need to be vigilant and proactive.

Not accept this kind of attitude or behaviour.

Because my fear is one day I won’t be reading about a stranger in the paper.

It will be closer to home.

Sunday 4 August 2013

Week 100- dudes, Bill &Ted and sleeping on the sofa

There’s a point when stuff that would otherwise be considered unacceptable becomes acceptable.

Just because enough time has elapsed that it becomes the norm.

Like saying dude.

You start off by saying it to your mates as a laugh, a hilarious nod to Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.

And before you know it, it’s slipped into your vocabulary and you’re saying it to your boss.

The same has happened in our house.

Except Nancy’s the dude.

And the boss is our bed.

The metaphor doesn’t entirely work, but all will become clear when you realise it’s down to an average of four hours sleep over several weeks.

Four hours.

Margaret Thatcher survived on four hours and look how that worked out for the country.

About a month ago Nancy woke in the middle of the night standing up in her cot, screaming for mummy. Ben and I tagged teamed it for a couple of hours, reading her stories and singing Show me the way to go home.’

Until it became clear that the only thing that would genuinely sooth her was to come into bed with us.

Now, mid-heat wave, there was no way our titchy, not sure it’s even a queen size, bed was going to accommodate three people.
Especially when one sleeps diagonally with her feet in your throat (Nancy- not me.)

So Ben slept on the sofa.

Fast-forward four weeks and Nancy habitually wakes up asking to come in with me.

And now refers to the sofa as ‘Daddy’s bed.’

And however hard we try, she point blank refuses to go back in her bed once she’s woken up.

Although it is lovely to have a cuddle with her, it’s not so great to be woken with someone prizing open your eyelids, breathy whispering, ‘wake up mummy.’

So it’s time to go back to the books.


I am going to dust off all the literature that’s currently used as a makeshift bedside table and gen up on sleep training.

Because for one thing, a two-seater IKEA sofa is not a comfy bed for a 6’ 4’’ man.

And secondly, after the best part of two years, I just want an unbroken night’s sleep.

Is that too much to ask for, dude?