Monday, 23 December 2013

Week 119- aprons, buggies and buying gender neutral...

What with Marks and Sparks pledging to make all the packaging for their toys gender neutral by Spring 2014, I thought I should at least do my bit.

I wanted to start as I mean to go on with present buying for Nancy, and get her something non-girly that she could play with.
This has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that we’ve found out we’re having a boy and so he could have all the toys when he’s old enough.

Absolutely nothing to do with that at all.
Thing is, whenever I pick Nancy up from the childminder, she’s more often than not whizzing around with a toy pram, looking like she’s having the time of her life.

In fact, Ulrika and I were at a playgroup the other day with the girls, and Nancy and her bestie Ebba were screaming themselves purple, both gripping a handle of a broken push chair, desperately trying to be the lead driver.
So I thought that would be a good start.

A blue toy buggy.

Ben suggested that we get a baby to put in it. An introduction for Nancy to her having a baby brother next year.
This sounded like a good idea.

Thing is, unless you want to pay the best part of forty quid, and buy from a specialised retailer online, it’s virtually impossible to buy a gender neutral doll.
And the ones that are advertised are quite realistic looking. But not in a good way. More creepy in a Stephen King way.

So Ben came back from Argos with a plastic, pink wearing, girl baby doll. And the next day we went back to the shop to exchange it.
I flicked through the pages of the catalogue like a woman possessed thinking, this can’t be it, can it? Four pages full of bright pink baby dolls donned with additional hair accessories, hand mirrors and the occasional make up set.

A lot of these dolls wee themselves.
Fair dos.

I can see how that works if you give them a bottle of water.
But a weeing, pooing doll?

It’s job enough changing one person’s nappy. I’m not intending on cleaning up Baby Annabell’s shit as well. And where does it come from? What are you meant to feed a plastic doll to make it produce a life-like turd?

At the point of despair, we swapped the doll with sewn on pink clothes for one with removable pink clothes and I thought I could buy her a yellow baby gro instead.
I realised that Nancy didn’t really have very much in her stocking.

By not much, I mean so far she has an apple and orange, and I’m not too sure how long ago I bought the orange.

So I went into town on a mercy dash to get some small stuff for her.

And as I was buying something for another friend in a homeware shop, saw an apron with the Hungry Caterpillar on the front of it.

Nancy ‘helps’ me cook by eating 90% of a bowl of grated cheese and sprinkling the rest on whatever it is I’m attempting to make, so I thought that would be a nice thing for her to wear.

So, there you have it.
The gender neutral buying for Nancy has most definitely been an out and out success.
She is getting a pram, a baby doll and an apron.

Just need to get her the chain and the kitchen sink, and I think that’s shopping for this year.


Monday, 16 December 2013

Week 118- double Corrie, Ouija boards and River Dance style tantrums...

I feel like we've got two daughters at the moment.

The one who's a happy, chatty, Peppa Pig loving, cuddling little girl.

And the one who we attempt to put to bed.

Who's a tad like Regan from The Exorcist, post Ouija board.

I never learn.

I'd been showing off.

Banging on to my mum about how brilliant it was when they grown out of the restless sleeping.

This is the absolute antithesis of what I should have been doing. Which is keeping totally bloody schtum and accepting that Nancy had turned a corner. She was sleeping properly.

We'd even had a friend over to babysit who willing offered to do it AGAIN.


Nancy is now on an international-scale sleep strike.

Thing is, this only seems to be the case when we're at home.

We took her to a restaurant for a family meal.

The place was packed with people out for their Christmas dos. Really loud women pulling crackers and yelling their jokes.

And Nancy slept through the whole thing in her buggy. She'd even said to Ben about 7.30 that she'd 'like a little rest.'

Yet we can softly read her a bedtime story, carry her into bed, stroke her hair and tell her we'll see her in the morning.

She'll snuggle down. Close her eyes. 

And about a milli-second later, they'll ping wide open and she's slide out of bed, having instantly burst into tears.

What are you meant to do about that?

I mean, genuinely how are you meant to negotiate with someone who, one minute is telling you they love you and they'll see you at wakey time.

And the next they're screaming themselves maroon whilst stamping their feet, River Dance style?

I stupidly assumed we'd got our evenings back.

That watching a double Corrie on a Monday was more than just a pipe dream.

But no.

The 'being put to bed, feigning sleep, running out of bed screaming, being put to bed' cycle can go on for anything up to two hours.

But the real punch in the tits was when we had a friend round for dinner the other night, and Nancy confided in him that she, 'wakes up and cries and makes mummy and daddy sad and cross. Then I wake up again and sleep in their big bed.'

We have been stitched up good and proper, the pair of us.

And no matter how many times she promises pre-bath that she'll be a good girl at bedtime, the moment those pyjamas come on, Regan creeps out too.

So I'm hanging out for her to start believing in Father Christmas, then we can start using him as ammunition.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Week 117- testicle spotting, pungent odours and having a boy...

It's a boy.

We're having a boy.

The sonographer said at least three times, 'I can see testicles!' during the scan so it's definitely, most definitely a boy.

We said that we wanted to find out for Nancy's benefit. That is would make it easier for her to understand.

But the truth is I think it was a bit more for us, well, me, to make it feel a bit more real.

I've been coasting through this second pregnancy in a kind of totally knackered fug. A gentle nod to what's going on in the inside by taking Pregnacare every morning and being so smell sensitive that walking past the air vents at the gym, pouring our the pungent odours of sweaty crotches and Lynx, sets my gag reflex off something chronic.

So I thought that by knowing the sex I could really 'engage with the process,' as one pregnancy website described it.

But now I know, I feel a bit weird about it.

With Nancy, she was just Pootle throughout the pregnancy.

She was this little non-gender mate who I carried for nine months and chatted to when I was on my own without feeling like a total mentalist.

Then when she was born, she was Nancy.

A member of our team.

A mewing creature who we watched with terror and amazement as she learnt to do stuff.

She was never really 'a girl.' Well she was. Is. But she was never defined by it when I was pregnant.

Now I'm almost thought by thought resisting the impulse genderize our unborn baby.

To think about him differently to Nancy.

People have said how nice it will be for Ben, as he'll have someone to take to the football.

But why can't Nancy go too? Will she be staying at home learning to bake with me? (Good luck with that, my cooking is rank.)

My point, I guess, is that I don't want to be making decisions as to what our little baby will like or the things we will encourage him to get involved in, just because we've seen a pair of balls in my womb.

But in the same breath, I did call him, 'my son,' the other day, and all the hairs on my neck stood up.

So the only real difference at the moment is that this time we have 4 months to get our heads round the fact that Tiddler is a boy.

Whereas with Nancy, we had about 4 seconds to digest that she was a girl before her slippy, sticky, warm, not yet unfurled body was handed to me.

And as long as they are both given the same opportunities then it won't matter if Nancy loves wearing frilly fuchsia dresses and Tiddler enjoys kicking a ball around with his dad.

Or visa versa.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Oral B Gum Health Ambassador article

Look what came through the post for me- YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

A pamper package. 
I don’t really get presents these days.

Apart from the odd parcel from e-bay. 

But that doesn’t really count as I’ve bought the stuff myself. 

And nine times out of ten it either stinks of fags when it turns up or I can’t squeeze into it.
But I digress.

The pamper package.

So Oral B were looking for Gum Health Ambassadors who were also pregnant, and I was like, herrrr hummm, *clears throat, sticks out gut*, ‘PICK ME!’
And they did.
So not only did I get the brilliant box of stuff through the post, but I also get to call myself Ambassador of something, which I’m delighted about as it feels a bit ferrero rocher.

They sent me some lovely posh stuff like Olay Total effects face cream, Max Factor false lash effect mascara and some Panetene Pro v hair moisturiser- all which was really thoughtful, especially as my face looks like it needs ironing and my hair feels like straw at the moment.
But the pièce de résistance was the most all singing all dancing electric toothbrush I’ve ever seen.

Now, I know it isn’t by chance that I’ve been sent this box of treats.
It’s because I’m pregnant, and basically your gums and teeth go to pot, along with the rest of your body when expecting. 

I’m talking bleeding gums, wobbly teeth; the works. 

Lovely stuff.

I've been to the dentist since becoming pregnant and he said my gums looked red and inflamed, and that I needed to take extra care throughout the rest of my pregnancy.

So anything to help with that is pretty fab with me. 

But this toothbrush is something else. The Oral B Triumph 5000 toothbrush has WiFi. 

We only got WiFi in our flat last year, and now I own a toothbrush that is connected via airwaves to a digital clock that not only tells me how long I’ve been brushing my teeth for, but what setting it’s on.

There are certain things you can’t control while pregnant- people asking if the midwife’s definitely got your dates right, for example.

And there are things you can.
Like looking after your gums.

I didn’t realise that between 50%-70% of women develop gum problems sometime during their pregnancy. 

To be honest, that’s one more thing I can live without. I’ve never been a size 8, or have hair you can swoosh like a Timotei advert, but I’ve always had good teeth.

And, as my grandma used to say, your teeth are your shop window. 

Not all that sure what she meant, but I went to school with a boy who only had three teeth and it was, without exception, the way you would describe him, even now.
Gum disease and crumbly teeth during pregnancy are just another headache you really don’t need.

So I’m definitely up for doing anything I can to help prevent that.
I’ve only been using my wowzer toothbrush for a week, but my teeth do feel different. Probably the first time they’ve been properly clean in about a decade. And my gums aren’t bleeding as much as they were. 

Still a bit grim, but less horror film esque.

I’ll keep you posted, but for the meantime I’m going to attempt to use all my pamper products tonight and see if it makes me look a little less Marilyn Manson 

and a little more Marilyn Monroe.

* For more info about gum health visit

PS- normal blog resumes next Sunday! x