Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Would the real 'Anna' please stand up?

So I was asked on a recent, rather rare, 'night out' with a dear friend of mine, 

"But what happened to Anna?" 

And at the time I didn't really understand the question. Being already considerable inebriated at that point, I think my response may have been something along the lines of, 

"Erm well last time I checked...right here" just pinching myself to make sure of course.

However I think I now get what she was trying to ask or possibly say. So what happened to Anna?

See I write this blog all about being a mum and being me, but it's a strange thing becoming a mother (or parent), you do have a tendency to sort of lose yourself just a little. Not that I am sure I knew who I was before but something definitely shifted. I became Emily's mum and somedays I do look in the mirror and wonder what happened to Anna. In our house Gavin and I refer to each other as mummy and daddy, something we have done since Emily was born and whereas Emily is aware that Daddy's name is Gavin when asked what mummy's name is she just looks sort of blank and then after a moment of thought, smiles and says,


So who is Anna? Well she was a younger, slightly fresher faced version of me. She didn't have to wear a fringe to hide the lines on her forehead or workout every day just to keep a slim stomach and toned bottom. In fact that bitch didn't really work out at all...damn her! My friends and family often comment on how well I got my shape back after Emily was born, like it just miraculously re-appeared. 'Ah ha, there you are, I was wondering where you had gone to' but in reality I worked and have since then worked really hard to keep myself healthy. And don't get me wrong I enjoy it but it's still another thing I have to do, another things to add to the long list.

And emotionally or psychologically? Well I still feel like the same person just with a lot more responsibilities and a lot more riding on my decisions. Before I only had to worry about how my choices would affect me but now I have a child to think of, a partner, my family, his family and the list goes on and on.

Gavin relayed to me, whilst in conversation, that he can't help but see me through Emily but he did reasoned that maybe that was because we were only together for such a short time before she came along. So for the majority of our relationship I have been a mother or mother in training so to speak. Which I guess makes sense... 

And I have to say that it has changed the relationships around me, the way I relate to people. Take me and my own mother, before Emily came along we were always very tactile but now well sometimes we have to remember to hug each other before she leave. All that tactility that she used to show to me has been transferred onto my daughter, which is fine. I just hadn't realised how much it had change our relationship until I really thought about it. The moment I had a child of my own I suddenly understood everything my mother had been through and finally grew up and stopped being her little girl. We are more like equals now, which in itself isn't a bad thing.

So does becoming a mother mean I can't be me anymore? Well no I don't think so, I guess it just means I have to actually schedule 'me' time now, you know in between the housework and Emily and Gavin and College and my family and Gavin's family...ha, ha, ha! But hey next time my friend asks I can say,

"Anna... oh she's still here, you just need to look a little closer these days or maybe a little deeper"

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The road to success is littered with little puddles!

So I finally did it! Emily is potty trained! Sound the trumpets and let the celebrations commence. I want an award for getting through the last four weeks...greatest mum or maybe just most improved one anyway.

There are certain milestones that you look forward to, when your baby rolls over, learns to crawl, learns to walk, learns to talk and then there are events that you just push on through and hope to get to the end of such as teething and getting rid of a dummy. Potty training, for me, definitely falls into the latter category. And I am not alone it would seem. I recently shared my potty training woes with another mum in the nappy aisle of Morrisons. Our eyes met over the pull up pants and she gave me that understanding and sympathetic look. 
"It's hard work isn't it?" I asked her.
"Oh yes absoultely, if I have to ask my little boy one more time if he wants a wee." she laughed.
"Wow, I'm so glad it isn't just me."
"No, it's definitely not just you." 

We then discussed the options of a sanitary esk towel over a dry nights bed sheet for safe, accident free travel. She went with the bed sheet in the end as we both agreed that the sanitary towel thingy just didn't seem quite right somehow. To date, probably the weirdest conversation I have ever had in Morrisons, although there was the one about the different brands of diarrhoea tablets a few months back. Ahem...anyway!

So what have I learnt from my experiences? Well, in Emily's case that you have to approach each of the potty training requirements individually, i.e. don't just assume that because your child is weeing on the potty that she understand that she is also required to poo on it! We had a few accidents in knickers before we got that one right!

That gentle persistence is the key. Praise for success and no fuss for accidents, just clean it up and remind your child that next time they need to do it in the...?

"That's right baby, good girl."

And finally that they will only do it when 'they' are good and ready and not because you want them to, because other people are putting pressure on you or because you are under some misguided illusion that society will frown on you for having your child still in nappies at the age of two and a half. I mean, come on, cut us parents some slack, we are doing the best we can and as I have said many times before, that's all you can do!