Recently I have been tagged in several memes, and am still trying to get round to answering all of the questions. This one, from Lou at BabyGaGa, really caught my attention, as the questions were not the usual Ten Things You Never Knew etc. She also tagged several others, so once you have read my answers go and read theirs too (if they’ve got round to answering them yet – if not, just read their blogs as they are all pretty fab):
1. How do you sum up ‘parenthood’?
This is difficult! I think, for me, parenthood is about bonding with and listening to and attending to your child’s needs, earning their trust so that they know you are always there for support and guidance, and at the same time setting clear rules and standards for them to live by, which will hopefully see them grow up to be good and caring adults.
Also, the ability to con your child into doing what you want them to do is important, as is bribery, and when all else fails, the promise of chocolate buttons and CBeebies will ensure that things go your way. And a large glass of wine will ensure you don’t really care anyway.
2. How has your relationship changed with your partner since your first arrival?
Our relationship has changed hugely since The Baby came along. The Boyfriend and I were only together six months before I got pregnant, and we were still at a stage of getting to know one another, which we are still doing now nearly three years later. It’s been difficult, particularly in the early days after The Baby’s birth, still adjusting to one another and to a new baby and to being parents – it was a lot to take on, and we argued almost daily. Those first few months seem like a lifetime ago and there were times when I wasn’t sure we were strong enough as a couple to get through it. But we muddled through somehow, and now I think (hope) we are at a place where we have a strong relationship with each other and as parents.
Another huge change has been having very little time for ourselves, and no longer referring to each other by our first names, but by Mummy and Daddy. And it doesn’t even seem that weird.
3. Are you going on holiday this year? If so, what type of hols are you taking your little one/s to?
We are going to the Lake District with family for a week in April, and then Little Pea is due to make an appearance at the end of May so we have nothing else planned for the year. I love holidays but with our financial situation, we just can’t afford anything nice at the moment. Looks like we will be caravanning in Skeggy for the next few years…
4. What do you think of Gina Ford?
I think she has no understanding of being a parent; being a nanny and looking after someone else’s children is totally different to being a mother to your own. And I think she sets such ridiculous routines and rules that she could very easily make most mothers feel like utter failures, and seemingly fails to acknowledge that closeness and bonding with your child is just as important as enabling them to sleep through the night and potty training them.
Just. Don’t. Like. Her.
5. Do you agree with ‘controlled crying’? If so, did it work?
No I don’t agree with it. But I did it! Of a fashion. I was at my wits’ end with sleep deprivation having had less than three hours a night for over seven months, and no breaks in the day. I was exhausted and didn’t know what else to do except to try sleep training. It worked, and I’m sort of glad we did it, but I feel guilty for it every day and wish I had the patience and ability to survive with little sleep, so that I could have co-slept with The Baby for longer. I absolutely hate the fact that I sleep-trained The Baby.
6. What’s one piece of advice you would tell an expectant first-time mum/dad?
Don’t listen to anyone’s advice, just trust your gut instinct. Everyone is different; every baby is different; every family is different; every circumstance is different. Find what works for your family and don’t pay any attention to what others say.
7. What’s your child/children’s favourite food?
It changes weekly. Generally, The Baby can’t get enough pasta, but this week she has been demanding pancakes every verse end. Sometimes tomatoes are the only thing she will eat, and then today she made me pick them all out of her omelette before she would eat it. Contrary child.
8. It’s lunch time and you’re dining in a restaurant. There aren’t many diners. Your excitable baby is babbling/screaming and blowing raspberries loudly on their highchair. How do you react?
By interacting with my daughter and encouraging the babbling, but maybe trying to get her to turn the volume down a little – although The Baby’s volume is set at ‘Foghorn’ and therefore this would be an impossible task.
9. What’s your biggest worry?
Life is my biggest worry. Living with anxiety and depression means that almost anything is a concern and a trigger for worry and anxiety. The tablets help, as did wine before I got pregnant again, and I’m working on it!
10. What makes you smile?
Sunshine in a morning, hearing The Baby chatting to herself when she first wakes up, watching her learn and do new things, feeling Little Pea spin somersaults in my ever-expanding tummy, the love and support of my patient and generous Boyfriend, good music, Caitlin Moran, cake, the Cohen brothers.