Wednesday 28 February 2018

10 Stages of Snow When You Have Small Children

You may not be aware of this, but it’s been snowing this week. Breaking news. Much snow, all over the ground. The snow doesn’t usually stick in Romiley but this week we have a decent covering of snow in the garden. I am now on day two of snow and am now an expert in snow-related parenting.

Here are the 10 stages of snow when you have small children:

1. Will it or won’t it?
Snow is often forecast but it never sticks. The newspapers are full of threats about bad weather and blizzards and all of that vajazzle, but it never actually happens, not here, anyway. I see it fall from the sky, a solitary perfect flake of snow only for it to turn to rain before it hits the ground. We just don’t get snow here, so I am never very hopeful that the country’s weather crisis will affect us.

2. It bloody did!
But, yesterday morning, I opened my curtains and was immediately blinded by the bright white glow bouncing off All The Snow. So much snow, everywhere I looked. The wheelie bins, once dirt-splattered and covered in slugs, were now winter-ready in a glittering of snow. The Christmas Tree, still inexplicably dumped in our disused garden, had regained its festive look with a smattering of white.

3. Explaining the need for appropriate attire
Once the snow has been noticed, yelled about and stared at for at least fifteen minutes, it was time to get a move on. All we needed to do was get dressed. The six-year-old disappeared and, as she has all winter long, reappeared a moment later carrying a thin summer dress. Sigh. I explained why this was not suitable snow attire. She slumped off, returning with a vest top and watermelon skirt. Again, not ideal. I showed her my own outfit, best summed up as all the clothes I own layered heavily to retain warmth.

4. Finding The Gloves
Once everybody was dressed in winter clothes (with summer clothes underneath for some), it was time to accessorise. Over the past six years, I have bought approximately eight million pairs of gloves. I now have half a glove, at best. The gloves are nowhere. They are not in the bag of winter accessories by the front door, they are not under the stairs and they are not in the wardrobe. They have gone AWOL. They no longer exist. I spent a long time searching for matching gloves and then gave up. My eldest managed to find mismatching gloves and my youngest who definitely wouldn’t entertain the idea of gloves anyway took some socks with her, just in case.

5. Putting on the snowsuit
My toddler has a beautiful snowsuit. It is floral and big and warm. I wish it were mine. She probably does too. I force her legs and arms into it and quickly zip it up, clasping shut the top popper that both of us know will offer little protection against her quick fingers. Once she’s in, I blink and then she is out of it again. The snowsuit discarded in a heap at the bottom of the stairs, my toddler inexplicably pulling at the front door handle as though she might be allowed to play in the snow without the suit designed for exactly this moment. I wrestle her back into snowsuit. And again. And again.

6. Slip down the street
Once out in the street, we channel our inner-Bambi and slide down the street. The snow has been compacted by the previous pedestrians and the sub-zero temperatures have created a sheet of ice over the top. The six-year-old thinks this is fun and ‘ice skates’ her way to the park. The youngest is both excited and terrified and immediately wants to be carried. Not fancying my chances of walking whilst carrying a toddler who is the size of a full-grown adult, I try to convince her to walk to no avail. Eventually, I carry her and walk on the road which is concrete and not an ice rink.

7. ‘Don’t eat snow, it’s dirty.’
Once at the park, the toddler discovers that snow is both a healthy and tasty treat. I, meanwhile, know that the local park is usually full of dog turds and feel terrified that she is going to catch the dog-crap illness we learned so much about in school in the 1990s. I explain, calmly and firmly, that we do not eat snow, snow is dirty, approximately fifteen million times while passersby look on in horror while my toddler eats the entire park clean of snow. Meanwhile, I am also explaining to the older child why it is not ok to throw snowballs in the face of her toddler sister (mostly because she simply opens her mouth to catch them).

8. Capture the memories
Two children wrapped up warm in a snow-covered park. It sounds like the perfect photo opportunity, doesn’t it? But alas, the snow has switched on the nose taps of both children and their faces are not heavily covered in a coating of fresh snot. There are not enough tissues in the world to get this under control. How easy is it to photoshop snot out of a photo?

9. Everybody cries...
After spending 40 minutes finding clothes and getting dressed, it takes just four minutes for the park trip to turn sour. The eldest, after throwing herself headfirst into snowy fun, is now a walking snowgirl with icicles where her hair should be. Her navy coat is covered in snow and flakes fall off her as she walks. Her wellies were full of snow but are now small puddles of icy cold water. She starts to cry. Her hands are cold, she wants to go home. The toddler, frustrated at having eaten all the snow and yet still being hungry, joins the cry. She points to her own bright red hands while she weeps, I offer her a sock to cover them but she looks at me with disdain.

10. ...All the way home
The crying does not stop until we reach home. Nothing can stop the crying apart from fresh clothes and a warm radiator. It takes ages to get home because the pavements are slippy and everyone is crying. I swear to myself that I will keep the curtains shut next time it snows so I don’t have to endure this hell again.

Anyone else?

Tuesday 6 February 2018

The Sounds of Motherhood

Motherhood sounds like 'Mama, mama, mama' on repeat all day long. Tiny hands clawing at my skirt, desperate to pull themselves up into my arms. It sounds like 'Mama! Mama,' when I arrive home, feet toddling over to me, arms outstretched ready for a cuddle. 

Motherhood sounds like belly laughs, uncontrollable giggling coming from across the room. Two sisters, thick as thieves, lost in fun together. The biggest doing something to make the littlest laugh, and the littlest trying to copy to make everybody else laugh. 

Motherhood sounds like a washing machine and a tumble dryer, always on. The background noise to my life. Whirring away washing load after loads. White polo shirts, colourful dresses and black school cardigans in a never-ending cycle of needing to be washed. 

Motherhood sounds like inconsolable crying that I don't know how to soothe. Gasping for breath between wails, red-faced and burning up. It sounds like pain and frustration and hurt, all let out in one giant sob while I try desperately to help. 

Motherhood sounds like a boiling kettle, the hiss of the gas hob, the hum of the oven over the moans of hungry children. It sounds like a knife hitting a chopping board, chopping veg, desperately trying to get dinner cooked fast during the witching hour when children doing little else other than cry and moan and whinge. 

Motherhood sounds like cries in the dark, sleepy hands reaching across the bed for a toddler who needs a cuddle. It sounds like cries from down the hall as her big sister stirs in her sleep, yelling out at somebody in a dream. It sounds like middle of the night toilet trips and the painful exhaustion of never quite getting enough sleep. 

Motherhood sounds like 'eeeeb-a-deeee' yelled loudly the whole way to school, desperate for her big sister to hear her. Walking proudly in her winter boots, hand clasped in mine, stomping her way to the daily reunion with her favourite person in the world. It sounds like a little voice, almost bubble-like, pointing out every dog and cat along the way. 

Motherhood sounds like bickering, two little girls vying for attention and resources. The unavoidable competition between siblings. The yell from the little one as she tries to keep me for herself and the frustration of the big one as she is pushed away. Motherhood sounds like my two favourite people competing for my love, both trying to secure it all for themselves. 

Motherhood sounds like early mornings, an electronic alarm clock replaced by the buzz of wide-awake children. It sounds like the big one begging for everyone to get up while the little one squeals in excitement, desperate to wake her daddy. 

Motherhood sounds like the rushed and excited stream of consciousness from my biggest after-school. My daily update on her on-going game of chase with the boys from the year below. Who caught who, the trickery involved and the plans to win tomorrow. 

Motherhood sounds like being needed, really truly needed. 

Monday 5 February 2018

4 Perfect Pregnancy Products for Mother's Day

There's no reason why you have to wait for the baby to be born before you can celebrate Mother's Day. Growing a baby is tiring work and mums-to-be deserve a few treats to get them through the pregnancy. Neal's Yard Remedies have some gorgeous products for pregnant women and news mums, I've selected four vegan ones that would make the perfect Mother's Day hamper:

All pregnant women deserve massages all the time. It is hard work lugging a growing baby around with you all the time, not to mention the extra fluid, blood and placenta. You end with aches and pains in places you didn't know existed. This 100% organic massage oil would be great to ease the discomfort of stretching skin on a growing bump. 

When I was pregnant, I spent a lot of time in the bath. Mostly trying to relieve those aches and pains but also just to find some peace and quiet away from the chaos of family life. Bath products make the perfect gift for pregnant women, and this mother's bath oil was designed with expectant and brand new mums in mind. 

Made mostly from flaxseed oil, this pregnancy oil is high in omega 3 and is recommended for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It can be added to foods as an easy way of increasing your omega 3 intake. 

Raspberry leaf is a herb which is thought to help strengthen the uterine muscles in preparation for labour. Many pregnant women start drinking raspberry leaf tea towards the end of their pregnancy in the hope of improving their birth experience. This dried herb can be used to make tea and makes a lovely addition to a pregnancy pamper package. 

What were your pamper essentials during pregnancy? 

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