Monthly Archives: December 2015

2015: not a write-off

This time last year, as 2014 was drawing to a close, I did not have high hopes for 2015. In fact, I distinctly remember telling several people I had already written it off. The reason? I was expecting a baby.

I know, I know. I should have been brimming with excitement at the anticipation of such a wonderful, joyous occasion… but here’s the catch. I’d been there before. Two years and four months before. That first time around – expecting my son – I was so excited, so happy, so desperate to hold my baby in my arms… but once he was finally born, the reality of the post-birth healing, sleep deprivation, constant feeding and loss of my old life slammed me in the face and threatened to floor me. Then there was the crying. Oh God, the endless crying. My baby boy suffered so terribly from colic that he would scream for hours on end. It was draining; I felt like a bad mother – that I wasn’t good enough. I was to-the-bones tired and yet had to carry on – day and night – when all I wanted to do was curl up under a 10-tog duvet and close my eyes.

Don’t get me wrong – I was so very grateful and relieved my baby boy had been born safely and that he was healthy. But the actual parenting bit? It was so much harder than I’d expected.

Second time round? Well. I decided to expect the worst and if there were any rays of sunshine through the sleep-deprived fog, it would be a nice, balmy little bonus.

And a strange thing happened.

My daughter was born in March and my little family had the most wonderful year.

Newborn

Oh, hello!

Yes, it has been hard. Yes, I am tired. Yes, sometimes I feel like banging my head against the wall when I’ve had to say ‘Be gentle’ to my son for the 76th time that day. Yes, I am fed up of scraping bits of broccoli off the floor and discovering that I’ve knelt in a splatter of Weetabix/porridge/avocado again (bloody weaning). Yes, sometimes I’d love a weekend off.

But wow, the joy in our house. The love and the laughter and the noise. Just wow.

It helps that, as a second-time mum, I am so much more relaxed. I now have the confidence to raise my baby my way, as opposed to worrying I’m doing it wrong according to this or that book.

It also helps that my baby girl was a peaceful newborn and remains, for the most part, happy. Oh yes. She is smiley and calm and utterly chilled out with the world and her place in it.

But it is also down to someone else.

My funny, clever, sensitive little boy has simply shone in his role of Big Bro.

The baby cries? He hands over his favourite toy. She coughs? He pats her back. He has helped teach her to wave, clap and blow raspberries. I feared he would never stop bouncing up and down with excitement when she started to crawl. He has one-way conversations with her, and she smiles and laughs along with him as if she understands every word. He tells her he loves her. All the time.

Seesaw

Sibling love

OK, OK… so every now and then many times a day I’ll leave her happily playing with her toys and, on returning 20 seconds later, she will have been shoved over, a bewildered look on her face, with no toy in sight. But he’s only three. We’ll get there.

One other amazing thing has happened this year – so incredible it should technically class as a miracle: I have managed to carve out a little time for me.

Weird, yes?

I started running again. I started writing this blog. I have crossed the finish line of two 10K races in not-too-shabby times.

WR_Brock.PK_A_127low res

I’ve been beating myself up a bit recently for my lack of running, but you know what? I have realised I need to feel proud of everything I have achieved in my running shoes this year.

After all… 2015?

It was supposed to be a write-off.

ChristmasDay

Happy New Year!

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Reasons not to run

My name is Claire and I’m a runner.

Except…

It’s been 31 days since my last run.

So I’m not sure I can legitimately class myself as a runner right now. In fact, I’m seriously considering changing the name of my blog to Keep Eating Chocolate Digestives Mummy. This would currently be more factually accurate.

There’s a catalogue of reasons for the lack of exercise (isn’t there always)…

The baby contracted gastroenteritis; my son had a bad cough; the baby had a bad cough; I had a bad cough. The baby still hasn’t quite grasped the all-important concept that night time is for sleeping. There is, instead, still a considerable amount of feeding going on. Which is fine – she’s only nine months old. In fact, this is very normal baby behaviour. But all things considered, it’s left me a tad exhausted.

Then there’s the latest development… the baby is on the move.

Yes, in an unprecedented development, my baby girl set off at a decent-paced crawl at the ripe old age of eight months. Considering my son didn’t make his move until almost 10 months, I thought I’d have more time to prepare for this.

I know what you’re thinking: how is she possibly blaming her lack of running on the baby’s crawling? But bear with me.

It comes down to that whole exhaustion thing again. These children of mine are pretty active little movers and shakers. But do they ever both move and shake in the same direction? Do they hell. Generally, it goes like this…

The baby heads into the kitchen, in an attempt to partake in her favourite activity (licking the bin), at exactly the same time my son shouts, ‘Mummy I’ve got my crayons, I don’t want paper’; I grab the baby under one arm and dash to rescue my walls; the baby decides to rearrange the DVDs (while casually popping a piece of crayon into her mouth) just as my son races upstairs to find a toy; he slides down the stairs on his stomach, hurtling at an alarming pace, at the exact moment the baby decides to attempt her first ascent; and just when I get a moment to try to engage my son in a puzzle, I hear the baby thundering off (she’s small, but she sounds like a medium-sized herd of wildebeest) towards the bathroom for her second-favourite activity (trying to wedge herself behind the toilet).

DVDs

Just finding her favourites

Honestly? It’s like I’ve been charged with caring for a couple of hyperactive lemmings.

The result: I don’t think I sit down. At all. For the whole day. Apart from perhaps lunchtime, when I momentarily park my arse on the sofa, in between requests for yogurts/new spoons/breadsticks/drinks.

This is motherhood. And it’s wonderful, and all-consuming, and vital, and rewarding, and frustrating, and awe-inspiring all rolled into one.

But it is tiring.

So something has had to give.

For the moment, that thing is running. Hopefully not for too long, or else my sanity might make a dash for it out the back door one day while I’m not looking. I’m hoping that over Christmas, while my husband is around a bit more to look after our little lemmings, I will get back into something of a running routine again. Slowly; steadily.

Despite all this, I’ve learned something very necessary over the past month: I need to give myself a break. Running used to be a top priority for me. And it’s still up there. But something else has taken its place.

Two little things, in fact.

Sofa cuddles

My whole world, snuggled on the sofa

And that’s just fine.

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