It’s A Small World After All

The world is a strange place right now. In the grip of a global pandemic that has the potential to threaten all of our lives.

The best advice is to self isolate, protect yourself, protect those you love and by virtue of sensible action, protect vulnerable strangers. To say a grateful prayer for the nurses, doctors and key workers the world over working with all of their heart and soul to keep us well, keep us safe and help us find a way out to the other side.

To not be one of the idiots clearing supermarket shelves, or taking your entire family out for a day trip in the aisles.

We keep hearing the phrase unprecendented times and though it might be starting to grate, it couldn’t be more true. The world has never faced something of this scale. We’ve survived World Wars, people have lived through nuclear war and terrorist attacks. And yet, we don’t seem to be grasping the sheer importance of staying home. Even in a week when Disney+ was launched, we seem determined to get out and endanger life, simply because we’re being told not to. We cannot be surprised a lockdown has been forced upon us and honestly, the stupidity and selfishness of people at large is starting to scare me more than the virus itself.

My family & I are personally 2 weeks into a suggested 12 week shielding isolation, because both my pregnancy and cerebral palsy apparently place me at a higher risk, so the three of us have bunkered down, basically for the sake of our two children. I don’t think the grade of my cerebral palsy puts me at increased risk because I am fortunate not to have any of the common secondary conditions, like respiratory issues, but we absolutely would rather be safe than sorry.

So there’s no more nursery for Squidge, no playgroups, no gym, no trips to the park. Kev & I are working from home and Netflix & Paw Patrol are babysitting a lot. I feel a lot of guilt, but it’s almost comforting to know we’re not the only ones facing this. I do feel sorry for Squidge most of all, the lack of routine is not fair to her. I will be glad to get that back.

But, I am learning a lot.

There’s not been enough work to work my full days so the childcare has in the most part fallen to me. Kev comes down to play with Squidge and share meals as often as he can. It is so nice to be able to have breakfast together every day and it is certainly something I will want to maintain for our weekends.

It has been so lovely to sit with Squidge and play games, to draw rainbows for the windows, to count all the Stay Safe rainbows out in the community on our daily walks.

I am home a lot anyway given that I worked from home before all this to maintain my health and my world already existed within a small radius of our town, so that I could feel confident and independent. It may not be everyone’s choice when the world is at a normal capacity, but it works for me. Now that the world has been forced to slow down for the greater good, I guess they’re seeing more what my world is like. I mean, I can’t say that everyone appears to be enjoying it, but it’s more of a reality now.

Suddenly, I don’t need to feel so guilty for living in my small world. The whole world is suddenly small. My own personal universe is required to exist within the walls of my home, extending on sunny days out to our backyard, all for the good of ourselves and others.

It’s kinda nice not being able to be frivolous. I mean, I try to be savvy anyway, but there’s nowhere to go right now! I’m not going to lie, I did get a wholesale box of chocolate delivered, so please think of me when I go in for gestastional diabetes test in a few months! It’s nice to have more money in my pocket, so I’m overpaying our mortgage a little more. Like most people, we’re probably being forced to spend more money on our groceries, but that’s pretty much all, but suddenly you learn all the things you already have, the things you can make do without. It no longer makes a difference if I get my hair done every 3 months. In fact, I’m letting it grow out during the isolation so that there’s less work to do when the world goes back to normal. I’m about to be a mum to 2 children, possibly whilst still under all the necessary restrictions of this panemic. My roots are going to be the last damn thing I care about.

Part of me hope that a lot of people out there are reassessing what’s important. This isn’t a lecture, I’m a consumer like the rest of us, but in a time when it’s getting harder by the day to name the positives, it’s nice to know the environment is being given some kind of breather whilst we’re forced to be at home. My home is important, because it is my own and I am lucky to have it. So, whilst it’s possible, the mortgage is important. My nice fluffy blankets are important. My Headspace subscription is important. Clearing the house out ready for the baby is important.

Very few things outside of my little world (besides extended family and the restoration of Squidge’s routine) will continue to be important when some level of sanity and calm is restored in the world. That in itself feels very freeing.

I am almost 20 weeks pregnant now. In some ways, that’s a relief, in other ways it makes me sad. When I dreamt of having a second, I wanted to prioritise myself, my health and enjoy a calm pregnancy. In fact, two of the most pivotal people in my family have had extended hospital stays and now the whole world is at risk from a virus I have to hide from for the sake of them all.

Next week, I will be forced to attend my scan alone, because partners are not permitted to minimise the risk of coronavirus spread and even then, Kev would not be able to attend because we have no support network since Kev’s parents went into isolation for their own health at the same time as us, hence there will be no-one to care for Squidge. There is nothing to be done, but we are both gutted. We wanted to discover our baby’s gender together. Now, however, if it can be determined, I will find out before the father and sister of the baby, the two most important people they will ever know. I have arranged gender reveal surprises for them, but out of necessity rather than anything, because I really dislike the conceit surrounding the tradition of reveals. But I don’t expect anyone to care about the news other than Baby’s family.

My hips are starting to ache a little more and I feel a bit more vulnerable when moving, but I keep remembering the struggle of carrying Squidge and I am thankful most days that my physical self has withstood this pregnancy, especially with all the emotional challenges we have faced instead. I fully intend to single-handedly keep both my physiotherapist and massage therapist in business when my isolation is able to end, because I miss them terribly, as do all my muscles!

I sincerely hope that everyone in a similar position to me is prioritising themselves, taking care of themselves and remembering to breathe. I forget this often and as stress build, my God can I feel it translate in my body. This is an entirely new scenario for us all to live amongst, but remember that that’s true for us all. That means you’re not alone. Keep busy, but take things slow. Much like I wanted my stay-at-home mum lufe to be, there is no sense of time anymore, there is literally no rush. Right now, all we have is time. Use it to look after yourself and make yourself your priority. If we’re not looking after ourselves, we’ll not be able to do our best for others, those who probably need us more than ever whilst the world is on its head.

So let’s go for the little things, the simple pleasures and let the rest fall away. The world will speed up again, it will get big again. Let’s take some comfort in the peace of this small world. It cannot last forever.

Stay safe.

Today, I am my own hero

What you probably don’t know about living with cerebral palsy is I am constantly robbed of choices. If I have to get up and go to work (the bills won’t pay themselves) on the morning when the screaming pain in my hips says I won’t walk without agony today, then I can’t see that friend I’ve missed for months. I can’t play with Immy. I can’t go buy the milk. I am constantly robbed of my hard won independence and it’s simply not fair. It’s actually damn frightening.

But today, I can say for the very first time in my life, I am my own damn hero.

I have been blessed with a kind, helpful and inquisitive daughter who never questions why it takes me more than one go to do pretty much anything. She has made everything possible for me.

Yesterday I was limping everywhere, terrified I’d have to let down my dearest friend… who incidentally understand this life more than anyone else I know. I was so angry the choice might be taken from me. But we made it.

And today, I’m home alone. It’s all on me which isn’t normally the case. I was so worried. Immy knew, so she slept in til 9:30 to make this day easier on me than yesterday.

I’ve driven to the supermarket, I’ve carried the bags in one hand and held Immy’s hand proudly in the other. I’ve cleaned, I’ve tidied, I’ve cooked… all things I have to stop and check for niggling aches or pains that say it’s too much, that I’m not capable. They haven’t come.

I bathed Immy by myself. A job I avoid because I’m terrified I’m a danger, that I can’t protect her. I washed her hair (a job I NEVER do) and then I sat on the toilet seat with her wrapped up in my lap, brushed her hair and her teeth and got her ready for bed. She read 5 story books to me and flopped her head down on me, stroking my arm and whispering “Awww Mummy” before she took herself up to bed.

Today, I have been nothing but Mummy. I haven’t had to struggle through this day like all the others.

This is the day I’ve wanted to live since the day she was born. To just be Mummy.

#mummywins

I try to do my best by this one every day. Every parent does. But sometimes, I am so physically wrecked I can’t lift her for the cuddles I so want to give her and sometimes she settles instead for gently stroking the bruises that appear everywhere from my falls. “Aww Mumma!”

And sometimes we have days where #mummywins

Today, she helped me put the washing on, she flicked the kettle on, got the milk out the fridge door and put a teabag in a cup for me.

She held up her feet while I changed her nappy, stretched out her arms slowly to help me dress her and went to get her shoes.

And so today, I felt brave. I took her to a gymnastics soft play down the road. All by myself. I’ve always been too scared to go alone… scared I’ll be in too much pain to chase her, unable to keep her safe.

But she clambered up the ladder of the slide before I could even ask if she needed help. Look at her 😍 She deserves every second.

I have such an independent, helpful understanding girl. I am so ridiculously proud of her and so happy when we can share days like today.

Today, Mummy wins.

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, child and table

Image may contain: 1 person, sittingImage may contain: 1 person, child and indoor

Not a baby anymore

Squidge is 8 months old today.

Her dad is counting down to her first birthday. Where did all that time go?

She’s loving having her grandparents watch her on a Monday, to fuss over her and tell her she’s beautiful. (Without a hint of bias of course!)

She loves nursery too. So independent, so happy to try new things and play new games. She’s such a little person. I don’t know how else to describe it. She just is… herself. Her cheeky smile, her insistence that nothing but up on her feet is good enough. Can’t keep her still enough to cuddle anymore, I don’t think it’ll be long before she’s walking. She’s forever charging around in her baby walker now – a present to welcome her to her forever home – and a celebration that we finally had the space to warrant it.

She likes to thunder into the kitchen and watch the washing machine go, which is useful when i’m charging around trying to do housework at the same time.

Work hasn’t been too bad because the nursery send me photos of her smiling every day. 

Squidge’s first day at nursery

She’s happy and I’m trying my best for her. It’s a good feeling. An even better one when I climb into the car next to her and she’s still happy to see me!

But my God, the fatigue. I cannot sleep enough at the moment. It seems my plans to be a good mummy friend have died along with baby groups for the summer holidays. I spend my days off cleaning, tweaking our budget and selling pretty much everything that isn’t nailed down so we can overpay the loan and the idea of staying at home with her can be a reality sooner.

But I really must look at my anti-socialness again. Squidge thankfully isn’t like me, she wants to be sociable. and so do I. I always have. It just seems now that everything takes energy that I am less and less able to deny I don’t have. It seems to be a sad truth. I don’t want to be this washed out at 28 but it depends who you talk to. I mean, am I tired because I’m a working mum or tired because of the cerebral palsy? I fear I might be heading back to the doctors!   

“If you say 3, we’ll make 3!”

Finally, good news!

The one recommendation I managed to find on Google for some kind of parenting aids was

Retired

Engineers

Making

Anything 

Possible

They have volunteers nationally, so please do check them out!

Anything I could think of that’s not available on the open market, they’d have a stab at making. Music to my ears.

I asked for a sling built into a top, so that I didn’t need to faff with straps whilst Squidge was half asleep or screaming for a bottle, to enable me to carry her safely. I waited for them to say it was impossible, that I’d just have to cope.

But no. Roger of REMAP Newport and the lovely lady he bought with him nodded at my description and by way of reply were describing what they could create for me – a smock style top designed so that Squidge can sit forward facing with her legs dangling down in the frog position. All in one piece, worn straight over the head, no straps.

It seemed too good to be true.

“How many do you need?”

“Oh I don’t know, babies are messy aren’t they? 2, so we have a spare?”

“If you say 3, we’ll make 3.”

The lovely lady whose name I can’t remember (REMAP insist on bringing chaperones when they visit you at home, just for peace of mind!) coo’ed over Squidge – even asked for a cuddle. Squidge loves meeting new people – anyone that is willing to tell her she is beautiful, which of course she is. 

They were full of compliments for her beautiful auburn hair (God forbid you call it ginger in front of Kev!) 

I was full of praise and thanks. So far, they are the only organisation that hasn’t made me feel like me and my little girl are out in the cold on our own.

They didn’t mind talking with my babbling Squidge while I slung her nappy in the bin.

I asked if they had many requests from disabled parents. Apparantly they do, lamenting how woefully undersupported we are as a demographic. I’m relieved to know I’m not the only one out there – I was genuinely beginning to feel like it!

Wonderful people. They made the whole thing seem so easy and straightforward which to be honest is exactly what I needed at this stage in my parenting life.

I can’t wait to carry my girl safely around. I might even manage to dart over the road for a pint of milk rather than having to wait for Kev to come home.

And all from retired engineers up and down the country. They want nothing from me, other than to make my life easier because they can.

Right now, they feel heaven sent. Squidge and I are not alone! 

Well, it’s out there now!

First and foremost, thank you to everyone that has shared and supported the idea behind DisABLEd Mummy in the last 24 hours. It means the world to me!

Welcome to Sunday. I normally hate Sundays, as they’re normally just the lead in to another long week at work. It’s really not been too bad since I’ve been on maternity leave. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been so busy!

Not a great night’s sleep last night, couldn’t settle in bed. I tried to get some sleep on our couch and even for 5ft3 me who has always liked sleeping in the foetal position, it’s a bit snug. Shoulders, back and neck aren’t thanking me today. I made Kev swap and given that he’s 6ft, that was very mean of me, but I can’t do without sleep. Seems like I’m always on edge waiting for Squidge to wake up.

Ironically, she didn’t stir all night. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those smug mums you meet at classes who seem to have it together – little Cressida has been sleeping through since 4 weeks, oh, I barely notice the difference – the first time Squidge ever slept through, we thought she was dead(! Yes, we’re nervous parents!)

This is only the second time ever. She’s normally up around 2am & 6am for a feed. But we put her to bed at 8:30pm last night and she didn’t stir til 6am! Go Squidge! Now to get her to give us advance notice so we can plan to stay up past 7pm like rebels!

I’m having a good day if I’ve gotten dressed (bonus points are available if said clothes are clean!). But we’re all alone now – Kev’s parents have gone home to Spain – and I’m determined to keep my own clothes clean and cook my own dinner now. And Squidge, bless her, was very helpful in this endeavour. Fed and changed her by 7am and she promptly went back to sleep thanks to her full belly – I was practically a domestic goddess by 10am!

I recognise I am bragging (like the greedy sleeper mummies!) but only because I’ll likely never give myself cause to do so again, so please humour me. For day one, on next to no sleep, I feel pretty good about it.

  1. I wiped down the kitchen surfaces
  2. I put away 2 loads of washing
  3. I put away the ironing
  4. I put the next load of washing on
  5. I put chicken casserole in the slow cooker (the only way to cook when you can’t bend to the oven and are too damn shaky to pick up a knife!)
  6. I made breakfast sandwiches and tea
  7. Fed and changed Squidge again

 Only took me three hours. Result.

I’m off for a nap in preparation for our Sunday ritual of the Four in a Bed marathon!

Have a great weekend everyone!