Monday, 31 October 2016

The One With No Time (31 months + 20 days)

COMING SOON (most likely Friday... Thursday at a push. The clue is in the title)


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The One Where Patience Is A Virt(flu)e (30 months + 16 days)


Before you start this post, I want you to go and make yourself a cup of tea, put your slippers on, get comfy.... because it's going to be a long one guys (depending on how long it gets, I may slip in intermittent tea breaks here and there- you're welcome).

Right, ready? What do you mean the kettle hasn't boiled yet? It's fine, I empathise with you- I too, have a 20p kettle from Argos that takes five years to boil. Ready now? Oh fine, I can hold on for a little bit whilst you rescue your slipper from the cat's latest hiding place. All good? No, that's ok- it's probably best if you move that random bit of chalk that your child lost 6 months ago from under your bum- that can't be comfortable. All sorted?! Cracking, LET'S GO!

"No, I will be the pattern of patience; I will say nothing"
Ok, so I've mentioned at least once that I was a little concerned with Piglet's speech. Whilst she does chatter/babble/poke you in the eye- "EYESSSSS EYESSSSSS EYESSSSSS"- quite a lot, it still doesn't seem to me to be matching other children of her age (or what I perceive that to be... seriously, I could just be expecting far too much of her). I mentioned last time that we were going for a hearing test to check that there weren't any issues there that could be causing a delay in her speech. 

Before we went, I really bigged it up to Piglet- "Piglet, we're going on an ADVENTURE today, we're going to the hospital! YAY! The hospital is REALLY EXCITING! We're going to have so much fun!!!!!" I wanted to make sure that she was comfortable at the hospital, and didn't feel concerned, or stressed out. This is partly- to be honest- because I had absolutely no idea what a hearing test for two year olds consisted of. So, I figured that if she ended up being strapped to a machine with tubes stuck down her ears, it was better for her to think it was all a fun game (they do not do this by the way- this is not hearing test procedure. This is my brain on drugs).

We had a bit of a mix-up with appointments when we got to the hospital (they had cancelled our appointment...) but the receptionist and the doctor were absolutely wonderful and said they could squeeze us in, which I was ever so grateful for. We had a bit of a wait before, so had a cheeky coffee/milkybar from the hospital shop and played with some of the toys in the waiting room before it was our turn to be seen. So, I'd told Piglet that the hospital is an adventure to relax her. To chill her out. However, what I had not anticipated, is that actually, by telling her it was an adventure, she got really, really excited. Like, crazy excited. When they called her name, she literally sprinted off after the nurse and was running after her down the corridor, giggling away- she pretty much just left me behind in the waiting room. 

And she was an absolute star. The doctors did several tests with her (all of which were focused around toys/playing in case anyone was wondering/as ignorant to what goes on as I was) and she was perfect. Literally did everything right. Got everything they asked her to do, responded to all the right prompts. Her comprehension is outstanding. In fact, it's quite scary just how much she understands. The doctor also had a look in her ears, and checked her for glue ear and said that there's no signs of that, her ears look absolutely fine. She's going to review everything again in four months (there's a couple of sounds they can't test for this early on- mainly at the quieter end of the spectrum), but she doesn't think her delay in talking is due to hearing issues, she thinks she just doesn't want to yet. And she will when she is ready.

It was a big relief. It was funny really, because all morning I had been thinking of it as "I'm sure she'll be fine", and then literally about two minutes before we were called in, I had a sudden feeling of dread and realised that it might not be. It was really weird, this overwhelming panic just came over me. And- I don't want this to come across the wrong way at all, and I'm worried that it might- but that was also the moment that I realised that if something was "wrong" with her, I would love her the same. Before that moment the possibility of a child outside the norm was terrifying to me. I thought that if anything were ever abnormal with Piglet that it would affect how I saw motherhood- whether that be, if I felt pity for her; if I felt bitter towards other people who had "normal" children; whether I would be "annoyed" at things potentially being "harder" if she was "different" (so many quotation marks here). And it was only at that moment that I realised that I was so stupid. Because she is such a lovely child. And I am just so blessed to have her in my life.

So, Piglet will speak when she wants to. For now, she is happy to babble away. And she always repeats things you ask her to (or at least tries to- currently "thank you" is "glankoo"). I am remembering to be careful of how many of my secrets I reveal to her. And am happy to be patient for when she can reveal her own to me. 

"Endurance is patience concentrated"
Obviously, I'm sure you're all wanting to hear about how THE GREAT NORTH RUN was! Really good, is the answer to that. They're all good, I really love a race. Especially the "big" races- they're just so much fun. I really think that everyone should do at least one race in their life. The atmosphere is incredible, seriously I don't think there's anything like it. It had been a couple of months since my last race and I'd almost forgotten just how much I love it. 

Due to staffing issues I ended up having to work the day before (because I hate myself, I volunteered, why am I a team player, why do I do this to myself) but only until 3pm, so I was able to get a semi-decent rest before the day. I actually had a panic about a week before the race that I'd got a stress fracture in my shin because it was in constant agony but apparently ignoring it made go away (clearly Insanity had done something to it- bloody Insanity). Oh, the reason I was mentioning I had to work is BECAUSE the day before the Great North Run is the Mini Great North Run where all the babies (not babies- 3-8 year olds) do a race and they had race numbers and medals and oh my God THEY WERE ALL SO CUTE!!!!!! I'm already planning on signing Piglet up for next September (although I can already see now that I'll probably end up carrying her BUT I DON'T CARE SHE WILL HAVE A NUMBER IT WILL BE SO CUTE!!!!!!!).

Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked by cuteness, I was absolutely buzzing on the morning. I'd got such a love buzz going on, it was lovely lovely lovely. I completed in 2:03, so I'm still just outside the two hour half-marathon time I'm dreaming of, but it was incredibly hot. I was melting. Also, I did stop for a wee. So I could pretend that it took four minutes to have a wee, if I really wanted to. But I would be lying to myself. The last couple of miles, the only thing that was keeping me going was the thought of seeing Piglet at the finish line. NNB was supposed to be bringing her up, and they were going to meet me at the end....

They weren't at the finish line. I was gutted. NNB said he couldn't get there because of the road closures. There may be some truth in this, but...I knew he hadn't wanted to come. It put a little bit of a dampener on the day for me. Piglet obviously wasn't able to be at the finish at London, and since GNR is so close to home, it would have just been nice for her to have been there. She loves race days. BUT I'LL GET OVER IT. There's still chance to sponsor me, if you haven't already. CLICK HERE ON THE BIG SHINY LINK THANK YOU, YOU'RE ALL AMAZING XXXXXX

Mrs Wiggle also had her own fundraising run with nursery. She did very well- apparently dashed off before they'd even said go (although she did refuse to walk to the park where they were having the race. Clearly saving her energy- I have taught her well). All good training for next year!

No idea, when my/our next race is going to be. Need to find some money first (you get to read AAAAAALLLLLL about this later on). Hoping it won't be too long though- I'm itching to get going again already!

Sidenote: I don't think I ever told you about the camel at London did I? A camel- well, two people dressed as a camel- overtook me when I hit my wall. A camel beat me in the London marathon. There was a guy dressed as Pikachu who overtook me during the GNR. Not for long though- the memory of the camel gave me enough energy to regain my lead on him. A bloody camel. HONESTLY. 

"Patience is not the ability to wait, but how you act while you are waiting"
Well, since I've just mentioned about money.... Ahhh, money. I remember money. Money was nice. I don't have money any more. Tax credits are still not paying me. Do you know I actually can't even speak to them at the moment? I get to talk to the robot lady instead. And the robot lady tells me that I can speak to an actual human person about my claim after October 6th, and then puts the phone down on me. Robots put the phone down on me. This is life right now.

It was pay day on Friday. All- and I mean all- of my wages went out to pay for the first installment of uni and the remaining half of my rent (I had told landlady about the tax credit fiasco at the start of the month and she said it was fine for me to pay half rent on the due date and then the remaining half on payday. Landlady is very nice. I have a very very very lovely landlady. Ignore any and all of my horrible mushroom related cynicism).. I currently have £21.13 in my account. And nursery fees are due on the 1st October...

I'm getting a tax rebate though, which is nice and hopefully coming through this week. And then I think I'm going to have to beg NNB to lend me the rest of the money for nursery with the promise that I can pay it back as soon as tax credits come through (I am sure NNB is getting v. sick of this tax credits shite. I am getting v. sick of this tax credits shite and I have not had to lend somebody £1000). 

In the meantime, I have been practicing poverty. Luckily, Piglet gets fed well at nursery and NNB's so is fine with the perpetual eggs/value fish fingers/toast lifestyle that we are currently leading. I'm expecting my phone to be cut off at the end of this month as I think I'm going to have to cancel the direct debit for this month but that's fine. I can live without a mobile for a week or so. I have a house phone. It is fine. I just have to be patient. 

I have to keep reminding myself that I did choose this. I could have been an escort if I wanted (I absolutely could not have been an escort- see later for more reasons why I am losing all faith in men forever and ever and ever). It's a good job I like eggs. 

TEA BREAK (might want to make a pot)

"Good things come to those who wait"
I'm going to flip back to Piglet for a little bit now, and how she's doing at nursery. She's been such a good egg about it all. She's settled in really, really well. She was a bit unsure for the first couple of days, and got quite upset when I was leaving her. They assured me that she was absolutely fine within five minutes of me leaving, but I was still getting concerned that she wasn't going to settle at all. Not anymore though. We've actually gotten into quite a nice little routine (although I'm sure Piglet would disagree about the early starts- nursery starts at 7:30 so Piglet is generally woken up at 6:45. Sometimes she's compliant; others...not so much).

We have our morning walks to nursery. Well, I have a morning walk to nursery. Piglet has a morning carry to nursery (NNB has the pushchair at his right now and keeps "forgetting" to bring it back). 20 minutes of carrying a toddler- serious upper body workout right there. We play I spy. We spy a lot of cats. And a lot of cars. And birds. We're currently learning to differentiate between windows and doors (Piglet thinks that both windows and doors are called doors). There's several routes we can take but in the mornings I like to go via a road called Bright Street because I am a loser and I tell Piglet this means we're going to have a bright and shiny day (it's the Prozac, ok? I am sane). She helps me to hang her coat and her bag up when we get there and then she gives me a kiss and says bye and off she goes. It's really lovely. 

Another lovely thing about nursery is sleep. We've had a lot of issues with sleep. I mentioned that I had the nursery nurse coming to visit me and discuss establishing a routine that would help, and he's been round several times over the past couple of weeks and has definitely helped. We now have a set bedtime routine and I don't just spring bedtime on her, I'll pre-warn her of it happening, and she know that her bed is her bed and bedtime is bedtime. I think that a lot of the reason her sleep has improved though is because of nursery. She is cream-crackered when she gets home from nursery. Ten and a half hours of playing- hard work, man. So, that has been a very, very lovely side-effect of nursery.

Of course, there are also some unpleasant consequences of starting at a new nursery. The main one being this:

"Patience is a cure for everything"
FLU. I HAVE HAD FLU. I'm assuming Piglet also had flu, but she bounced back far faster than me (maybe the secret to a decent immune system is copious amounts of milkybars? Remind me to try this). She was a poorly bunny though. I actually ended up calling 111 because I couldn't get an appointment at the doctors for her, and she had a temperature that wasn't going down with calpol (which meant that she couldn't go into nursery). She was eventually prescribed some ibuprofen which worked with almost immediate effect. The doctor told me that apparently the only reason people tend to give their children calpol is because it's more heavily advertised; ibuprofen is actually more effective at lowering fevers. Medical secret right there guys- ibuprofen over paracetamol. You are welcome.

I am almost back to normal. Still have demon gunky eyes of death in the morning though (did I mention that my flu has come with a side of conjunctivitis? It really is LOVELY). I have been rough rough rough. Really bad. I don't think I've ever had flu before. Not like proper flu. I've had bad colds, but they definitely weren't flu. This was flu. My entire body ached. SO MUCH ACHE. And I was exhausted. And I was hot and cold and freezing and boiling and PLEASE BODY, JUST PICK A TEMPERATURE ALREADY!!!!! I forced myself to go into work because I am a moron and I really shouldn't have. When I got there, the manager was like, "Did you not think of calling and seeing if you could switch shifts?", and I was like, "Honestly? I've never had a job where that has even been a possibility before". So apparently, there are many perks of new job, including the ability to not have to work when you are dying. He didn't send me home I just had to die quietly with a smile on my face. 

I've survived though. Piglet's left over ibuprofen has got me through (not supposed to take NSAIDs when on Prozac but cannot afford medicine due to limited budget so do not have time to think about drug interactions and increased potential for bleeding right now). Hoping that is our last dose of illnesses for a while. Of course, I know better than that- I'm sure I can look forward to our bodies being host to a plethora of nursery bacteria and viruses over the next few weeks. OH WHAT FUN!

"I'll weight"
Of course, illnesses have their benefits (or what I perceive to be benefits in my warped brain) and the flu has added to my weight loss. I don't think I droned on about it here too much, but last year over Christmas I put on 10lbs. TEN POUNDS. YES. Now, I know what caused my weight gain. Too much pizza. Too much alcohol. Bad Christmas. However, I was also unable to lose that weight, no matter what I did for almost eight months. I could lose a couple of pounds (from salmonellosis, for example) but I would gain it back the next week. And then lose it the week after. And then gain it again. I was oscillating around that +10lb mark that I hated SO MUCH.

Why could I not lose the weight? I have my suspicions. I don't believe it was a simple issue in creating a caloric deficit- because trust me, I had that. For a number of reasons, I think I had a massive hormonal imbalance, and I think I know why I did (but can't talk about it, not talking about it, will talk one day promise when my soul is free and clean again and I am sure that karma has finished hating on me xxxxx). 

ANYWAY in the past eight weeks I am now up to a 16lb weight loss, and counting. Apparently my metabolism has suddenly remembered how to work. This is very good- it means I can fit in my old jeans again, so I am a happy, happy bunny (although am aware not to take it too far- like I already said, I am still sane at the present moment in time).. 

Why have I been able to lose the weight? I'm assuming the Prozac has something to do with it. I know it kills your appetite so weight loss is a common side effect (along with the hair loss, insomnia, grinding teeth in your sleep and libido of a Giant Panda that I am also experiencing) but I've never heard of 16lbs before, Insanity has also helped (don't do Insanity. Don't do it. You hate it, but you love it, even though you hate it, it consumes your life, it hurts you so much, it's so good, DON'T DO IT). I'm assuming it's a combination of the two. Either way- I'm not complaining 

"There is no such thing as failure, just waiting for success"
More big, big, big news (and one of the main reasons why September is both the most exciting month and the poorest month of the year) I am all registered for Newcastle!!!!! Paid the first installment for my course on Friday and collected my id card after work yesterday (seriously- Friday was the fastest wage spent in my life ever). I had to sprint across Newcastle to get my id and managed to trip up the steps on the way into the building (This is what you get for wearing £2 Primani shoes for work. Too many people saw me do this, far far far too many people. What is my life?), and my id photo is officially the most hideous ever known to mankind. No second shots, no- is that ok for you? Just printed onto the card and sent out the door before I witnessed the horror of my appearance (in case you want me to set the scene: shiny forehead, flu demon eyes, cheekbones, blonde straw mop- that is my id picture. Bloody awful). So I'm very excited about that (the starting at Newcastle- not the horrendous id photo). First official day is on Wednesday. I've got uni followed by work. Insomnia is definitely going to be my friend from now on!

"A gentleman is simply a patient wolf"
Whilst I'm on the topic of work (you're reaching the end now, I swear, promise, HOLD ON GUYS, YOU CAN DO IT, I BELIEVE IN YOU!!!!)- bit of an update. Work is fine. It's easy. Initially I was concerned that this meant it was going to be boring...until I realised that is exactly what I wanted to go alongside uni, and half the reason I left old job. There's also a Team Leader vacancy that has come up which I think they were trying to work out if I would be interested in, which I was for...two seconds. Before remembering- YOU WANT EASY BONES, THE POINT IS NOT TO OVERLOAD YOURSELF AND HAVE BALANCE. So, it's a no from me- I just want to be boring bar staff. Learn from previous mistakes.

In other news, apparently, I am attractive in Newcastle. Or at least, I am attractive to all men who are the worst examples of their gender. I've had so many phone numbers given to me over the past month, I'm thinking of turning them into a novel. Would you like to hear about some of the fantastic catches that I've been presented with? Ok, so potential life partner number one is the guy who started talking to me about his girlfriend and son, before telling me that they're only together for the baby and giving me his number on a beer mat? No? Doesn't sound like a catch? Really? Oh, alright then. Well how about the one who lost his girlfriend on a night out, and the next morning came in- "this is what you get for being a multi-millionaire who goes out with women twenty years younger than you"- and gave me his number on a receipt- "take a chance- you won't regret it". Hmm... You sure? I thought he sounded pretty decent.... 

You get my drift. I really wish I was a lesbian.

"Patience is bitter, but it's fruit is sweet"
Ok, so in short: everything is kind of starting to sort itself out (apart from money and men, but the former is hopefully on it's way and the latter we do not need). I'm in a really good place right now, and I think Piglet is aswell (Adelaide-the cat- is also in a very good place. I've never spoilt a cat so much in my life, I don't know what is wrong with me- I literally treat her like a child, I think it's because she's a girl. I'm actually sexist towards cats. What even is this?). I'm really hoping this gets to continue, and I think it will, as long as I remember my limits. And continue taking my Prozac (go and get the Prozac guys... it's really good). 

"Stay patient and trust your journey"
FINALLY, in case you've missed it- our book is out. For those of you who haven't had enough of my mad ramblings (although I'm pretty sure you will have after this 750000 word dissertation) why not go check it out? It's HERE. HERE. PRESS HERE PEOPLE. (Shameless self promotion).

See? Now wasn't that worth the wait? Big love to everyone. Speak soon xxxxxx

p.s. This blog has taken me so long to write, that in the time from start to finish, I have actually had 64264262 coffee breaks, been to work and back, slept, AND been saved from financial ruin by a pair of very very kind people who I am very grateful to have in my life. So, please- feel free to take as many tea breaks as you want.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

The One With The Day Off (29 months + 21 days)


I'm assuming you can tell I've started working again from the lack of writing I've been doing... but I'll get to that in a bit.

Ok, so multiple things to fill you all in on that have been happening in the world of Bones and Piglet. I'll start with the most logical place: nursery (nursery is always a logical place to start- always).

Piglet properly started at her new nursery today. I had mentioned that we'd been looking for one previously, and...clearly we found one? This was a really weird experience for me actually, and one that I hadn't anticipated being so... difficult.

Piglet has obviously been at nursery before. And that nursery was absolutely phenomenal. She loved that nursery. I loved that nursery. And in all honesty, that was something that was totally just luck. I didn't do masses of research before finding that one, I didn't look at alternatives, I just needed a nursery, and that one was the first we found and it just so happened that they had a place available. Saying that though, when we walked in (and this is such a strange feeling and makes me sound like I'm a crazy hippy woman), I knew that was our nursery ("our" nursery... shut up Bones, you don't go to nursery). I knew that was a place that was perfect for Piglet.

I would have loved Piglet to have stayed at that original nursery until she started school. Obviously I chose to take her out of nursery at the start of the Summer, and given where we are now living however, and the fact that I am starting at Newcastle in 25 days (TWENTY FIVE DAYS ARGH!!!!!)  that nursery would not have been an option for her to return to. It's just in completely the wrong location. So alternative options needed to be considered.

I knew it would be a different process looking for a nursery this second time around. Not only did we have that benchmark to compare any prospective nursery to, but Piglet is also a lot older now than she was before. I know Piglet a lot more now- which probably sounds like a really weird phrase, but I'm hoping you can relate to what I'm saying- and I know what she likes (sausages), what she's not so keen on (sleep), and what she needs and wants from a nursery (organised chaos).

I'd originally wanted to look at four or five different options. My "first choice" was shot down instantly because they were only open during term-time, which is no good for me at the moment. The second one that we viewed was up in Newcastle, and as far as nurseries go, it was nice. Everyone was very pleasant, there was lots of space for them to run around, it was next to the train station so the children could watch the trains coming in (Piglet loves trains- really loves trains. Hardly surprising, to be honest). There wasn't a garden though. They had converted a room inside so that it was like a garden, which was a really cool idea. That being said... that wasn't our nursery. I knew it wasn't our nursery quite early on into the visit. They had organised nap times. Which may work for some children- would not work for Piglet. And you may argue that she would become accustomed to it, and get into the routine but... I don't want a regimented child? I appreciate that she needs boundaries, but I think she should have the freedom to choose when/if she sleeps in the day (saying this however, we're currently having massive night-time sleep issues, so hey, what the hell do I know?)

We left that nursery and I was seriously disheartened. And I was shocked at how emotionally attached I obviously was to our old nursery. We had another nursery visit that afternoon, however, so off we went to that one. This one was in Fulwell, which isn't far from where we live. It's only about two minutes from the metro station, so it fits in well with dropping her off/ picking her up on the way to uni. It's part of a "chain" of nurseries (as was the first one actually). And we walked through the door...and it was our nursery. It's so stupid. It's such a stupid expression- "you just know". It's brilliant. Piglet was going to be in the big children room upstairs; she's slightly younger than most of them in there but they said that by the time they got her settled in the younger room, it would be time to transfer her, which I totally agreed with. Now, let me tell you how awesome this room is. It's amazing. They have different sections with different activities (THERE IS A SCIENCE SECTION AND IT HAS X-RAYS HOW COOL IS THIS?), meal times are self-service, which Piglet will LOVE (although I imagine it is total carnage), they have naps when they want to... and- you should see this garden. The garden is huge. HUGE. I left her to play that day whilst we talked about fees and things. And she wasn't bothered at all. In fact, she didn't want to leave- I had to pull her out of a car kicking and screaming because she wanted to stay.

There was a minor flaw with this nursery, however: you have to pay the fees upfront in advance each month. I did not have £800 to hand over to nursery. So, I kind of resigned myself to it not being an option. ENTER NNB. NNB had asked how it had gone, and after I'd run through everything with him (but said that we couldn't do it because of the fee thing) he said he wanted to have a look round for himself. And luckily for us, he loved it as much as we did- or he saw how much Piglet loved it. So, NNB has paid for the first month of nursery and I am paying him back over a very, very, very long time.

I suppose I should interject here with what is actually happening with NNB and I. We're not a couple (although I lied and told nursery we are because otherwise I had no idea how I was supposed to explain the situation), there is no romantic involvement between us whatsoever, we are...friends? Can I call us friends? I think we're friends. It's nice. We're getting along well. I'm very happy with the situation as it currently stands, and the way that it's all turned out. Piglet still gets to see NNB (and vice versa), I don't die when I have no money, I am able to work unsociable hours.... If you'd told me six months ago that things would be like this, I would have said it was the best possible outcome. So...winning.

I think we were still staying at NNB's last time I wrote something weren't we? We're not anymore. We're back in our house (and have been for a while). Which is good. After what happened I was concerned that I wasn't going to feel safe here again. That it would feel tainted. The flat that we currently reside in felt like home, and I haven't lived anywhere that felt like home probably since our first house in Seaham, so I was very, very, very pissed off at the thought that someone had been able to take that feeling away from me. It still feels like home though. I'm glad to be back (have I mentioned that the doctor put me on Prozac? I haven't have I? The doctor put me on Prozac, so to be honest I'm glad at everything in life currently!)

Where to go next.... oh yes, work. I have a job. Who wants to guess what my job title is? Go on. I'm sure you'll get it straight away. YES, THAT'S RIGHT, I WORK IN A PUB! I told myself I wasn't going to apply for bar work, you know. It was my back-up plan in case I didn't get anything. Basically, I applied for two jobs. The first was as bar/waiting staff in a pub in Newcastle. And it was the same company that I had been a Team Leader for previously, but it was in a different brand. The second was as a supervisor in a health and beauty chain in Sunderland. The day after I put in these applications, the manager from the pub called me and asked me to come in for an interview.

Now. I am rubbish at interviews. Or at least, I think I'm rubbish at interviews. Anyway, luckily for me, it wasn't really an interview! I got there, and the manager said that he'd spoken to the assistant manager at the pub where I used to work and he's never heard anybody spoken so highly of before. So, he wanted me. I said that was all good with me, as long as I never ever ever have to go in the kitchen (kitchen shifts are the worst things you can ever encounter in your life- avoid the kitchen at all costs). And just like that, I had a job (also, they've interviewed other people since I've started and I am very glad that I was not subjected to that- their interviews do not sound fun at all, man). Now, a couple of days before I was due to start said job, the second place I applied for called me, and left a message saying they wanted to interview me. I didn't respond because:

a) NNB was away, so I couldn't attend an interview
b) I had a job
c) I was going to call them and say thank you but I have a job now, but I got side-tracked...

If they had called me first I would have gone to the interview. If it had been in Newcastle, I probably still would have gone to the interview. But... I haven't got my timetable for uni yet, and I figured it made more sense to be based in Newcastle for everything as opposed to having to jump all over the place. They called me again about a week later whilst I was at work aswell. So, I AM HIGHLY EMPLOYABLE. Which is very nice (seriously, so much Prozac right now. I am off my face. So good).

What else has happened? Oh God, my nana had a heart attack aswell, which was very concerning. My sister had come up from Lancaster for the day to come and see us (which was SO NICE by the way. I don't get to see my sister very often, so it's lovely when I do), and we got a phone call from my mum saying what had happened. Luckily, she's absolutely fine. We went down to see her, and you wouldn't even know that anything had happened. My nana is an incredibly strong woman. It will take more than a heart attack to beat her! We got to see my gran and gramps, and my mummy and auntie P aswell when we went down, so it was lovely to be able to catch up with all of them. Family is important. EVERYONE MAKE SURE YOU LOOK AFTER YOUR FAMILIES.

Uhm... other things...oh Piglet had her two year review with the health visitor. Yes, I am aware that she is well over two now... I am a rubbish mother. We had a new health visitor, because of moving, obviously. She is the best person I have ever met in my life. I love her. I love my health visitor. I always get really stressed about health visitors, but so far I've only ever had really nice ones, so I don't know why. She said Piglet is fine, but there are a few things that she needs to be seen for. Have I mentioned about her feet? I must have mentioned about her feet at some point... She walks with her toes pointing in. So her feet are probably around 30 degrees from straight? I'd already made an appointment about this, so she's being seen for that at the end of September. I've also asked for a hearing test because of her speech (although health visitor thinks she might just be a late talker- her comprehension is still very good), so we've got that next week. She's got an eye test booked for the start of October because she's still got a slight squint (which I didn't even notice to be honest) so that's just to check that out. And the nursery nurse came round to discuss her lack of sleep, and trying to get her into a routine and things.

Seriously, motherhood- full-time job.

In other news, I am so poor it is painful. Tax credits stopped paying me at the start of August because they'd sent my renewal pack to our old address, so I have no pennies. Which is so fun. So, so, so, fun. Managed to renew them this morning and they've said it will take 8 to 10 weeks to process the renewal. Which means 8 to 10 weeks before I get paid from them. Honestly, if I wasn't on Prozac, I would be crying SO HARD right now. SO HARD.

I've got the Great North Run in TEN DAYS PEOPLE. TEN DAYS. Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far! You're all amazing! (Those of you who are yet to do so: click the link thank you big love you're amazing xxxxx)

AND FINALLY. Book. Book is coming. I'm literally typing up the conclusion as we speak (well, not literally RIGHT NOW, like I was, but then I've taken a break to do this post....haven't worked out how to simultaneously type two things at once yet). I know it's been delayed. I'M VERY SORRY. Between builder incident, and work, and a baby who does not sleep, I've had minimal time. It's currently due to be released on the 11th of September, and you can order your copy here. Go on, do it. It's £1.99. You love reading the rubbish that I write. You'll be funding my masters. GO ON. LOVE YOU XXXXX

Ok, that's all for now. This is the first day off I've had in over a week. I've been up since 4:30am and still have a list of things to do that is as tall as me. Promise I won't leave it so long to speak to you next time. BIG LOVE TO EVERYONE XXXXXXX (seriously guys- go get some Prozac. You know you want to)

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

The One With Piglet's Perspective (28 months + 15 days)

HI EVERYONE! Piglet here. Mummy says I get to write this post, because she's feeling weird at the moment. She says she's "overreacting and behaving irrationally", but I'm not entirely sure what that means.

So, the first exciting thing I have to report: WE'RE ON HOLIDAY! At least, I think it's a holiday. We're staying at a different house, anyway. Mummy says it's NNB's new flat. I really like it; there's loads and loads of rooms to explore, and SO MANY STAIRS! Gosh, I love stairs. Mummy doesn't seem to be as keen on the stairs as I am.... She keeps telling me to get off them. Puss cat likes the stairs though. She's come on holiday with us too. And the hamsters. It's really fun. I miss our home though. I miss my room, and Mummy's room, and sleeping in Mummy's bed and playing in our garden. Mummy says she's not sure when we're going home yet. I'm a bit concerned about Mummy at the moment.

I don't know why we're on holiday. Mummy tried to explain. She said it was something to do with the man who used to come round to the house, but I don't really understand. It's all very confusing for me. Mummy is very confusing for me at the moment. She keeps crying. And then she's laughing. And then crying some more. Sometimes she's shouting. And then crying again. I try to cheer her up as much as I can. Yesterday she was crying because she couldn't find my shoes, so I ran over to her and gave her the BIGGEST KISS in the WORLD. That made her laugh again. I don't like it when Mummy is sad; it's much nicer when she's happy and smiling.

We didn't go out for nearly FOUR WHOLE DAYS when we first came here. I didn't like this. I like to be able to go out and explore. Mummy said we couldn't go out. I don't know why- Mummy had the keys to go outside, so why couldn't we? I tried to explain this to her by taking the keys and putting them in my bag. This made Mummy sad again. Mummy said she felt "guilty", but this is another one of those words that I'm not entirely sure about. NNB is behaving normally though. NNB IS SO MUCH FUN! I've missed him a lot. Don't tell Mummy, but I think I prefer NNB to her at the moment. She's broken right now. She might look like my mummy, but she isn't acting like my mummy.

NNB disappeared for a while, during our holiday. Mummy said he was "working". Mummy was REALLY weird when he left. She heard someone knock on the door and wouldn't answer it. She was all weird and shaky. The last time she did this was the last day we were at our house. Mummy didn't get dressed ALL DAY. She just lay in bed, and kept crying and asking for cuddles. Maybe that's why we went on holiday? I don't know. Someone knocked on the door then. I went to answer it, like I always do, but Mummy said no. She was talking really quietly, so I went over and sat on her lap so I could hear her better, and she gave me a big cuddle, and put her hand over my mouth and told me we had to be quiet like mice. The person at the door put something through the letter box. And then they knocked on the window. Mummy was shaking again. I got the leaflet for her- it said it was the police & that Mummy needed to call them because she was a "victim". Mummy started crying again when she saw that. Mummy says she didn't call the police; she says she doesn't know who called the police. She still hasn't spoken to the police. NNB says she tried to, but every time she calls, she goes all weird and shaky again. I don't like Mummy like this.

Mummy isn't sleeping at the moment. I thought this sounded REALLY fun, so I've been trying to stay awake with her too. She says I can't though. I don't understand why- if Mummy doesn't have to sleep, why do I have to? Sometimes she tricks me; she gives me a big hug, and pretends that we're dancing. Mimsy used to do this to me, and it always made me fall asleep when I was small, but Mummy could never do it. She's learnt how to now though- sneaky Mummy! I like it when Mummy rocks me to sleep. It makes me feel safe. Mummy says she doesn't feel safe. I think that's why Mummy doesn't want to go home right now. She said it's not home anymore. She says it's changed. I don't know why it's changed though, it looked the same as it always did on the day that we left? (Although it was a little bit messier- Mummy hadn't cleaned because of staying in bed, and I was on a RAMPAGE.)

We've been doing loads of fun things on holiday. We've watched lots and lots of films (these mainly make Mummy cry); we've been to the library and got lots of books which was REALLY fun- one of the people in the books has the same name as me! We went to the cinema too, which was AMAZING! I had a HUGE bag of buttons, and Mummy said I was the best behaved baby in the whole world. I really liked the cinema. I've done some art on the wall (Mummy was not impressed by this...). We've been having two baths a day (which is THE BEST THING EVER), although we do baths weirdly here... Mummy says it's something to do with the boiler, but this is another word I don't understand. We have to pretend we're making a coffee 7 times and then pour the water into the bath- IT'S SO MUCH FUN! We let the hamsters run round in their balls last night. Puss cat thought this was a fun game too. One of the balls broke, and the hamster was playing with the puss cat on the floor. Mummy and NNB seemed to get really freaked out about this, and started running round like headless chickens. I'm not sure why, the hamster and the puss cat seemed to be having a lovely play together! Mummy and NNB said this wasn't allowed though, so they put the hamsters back into their cage, and said they're not allowed to go back into the balls until we get new ones. 

Yesterday, Mummy said it was time that we started looking for a new nursery for me because she needs to go and do important grown up Mummy things again soon. She called up lots of nurseries and we're going for a visit to some of them on Wednesday. This is going to be so much fun- I've really missed seeing all my friends every day. Mummy's phone has been ringing a lot lately. She doesn't answer it though. She says it's the Bad Man and we shouldn't answer the phone. Mummy answered the phone yesterday. The phone said "No Caller ID", and Mummy said it was probably one of the nurseries calling us back about a visit.

I don't think it was a nursery.

Mummy went all quiet and threw the phone on the floor. NNB had to turn the phone off for her.

I really don't understand what's happening with Mummy right now.

Mummy says we're going to the Doctors today. She says it's not about my feet again though, this time it's about her. She says she needs to go and talk to the Doctor so that she can start to be like my mummy again. She says the Doctor might be able to fix her. I really hope so. I want my mummy back.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

The One With The Lack Of Consent? (28 months + 3 days)

If this post is slightly disjointed; forgive me. 

This evening, Thursday 14th July, I was supposed to be going for a drink with the local members of the Liberal Democrat party. It was a bit of like a "meet-and-greet" for new members to get to say hi to everyone and get to know others involved with the party. I was really excited about it. Nervous, but excited.

Today started with a much appreciated 5am wake up call from Piglet (these are becoming evermore the norm). Piglet soon settled back to sleep (diddy related issues- you can leave four in her cot and she still somehow manages to lose them all), however I was wide awake.

I had a productive morning. Insanity (almost onto recovery week! WOOOO!), lots of cleaning, immaculate hair and make up (this is a rarity- I was impressed with myself), and a cheeky bit of book writing, (pre-order it HERE HERE HERE), before re-awakening the baby and getting her ready for the day. We were meeting NNB at 10am as he was getting the keys for his new flat today and had asked for our help in moving some of the things over, and then afterwards we were going to have brunch.

It was actually a really lovely morning. NNB's new flat is ridiculous; it's got 570376057052 rooms, 19 floors, and enough space for a family of 542. Excessive is an understatement (Part of me is a teeny tiny bit jealous. Part of me remembers how hellish it was to live with him, and I do not envy having to clean that place). Brunch was equally pleasant. Several comical things happened. But they're not relevant here. 

The builder was coming round in the afternoon to do some more work to the bathroom and drop off a TV stand for me. He called just after brunch to check times and things, and said he'd pop round between 3:30-4:00pm. Piglet and I helped NNB move a few more things, and then went home to wait for the builder. Wiggle worked on her own building skills with her duplo whilst I continued with book writing (I'm really enjoying it at the moment actually. It's been really interesting revisiting everything, and reflecting upon things).

3:30 arrived- no sign of builder. 4:00 arrived- still no sign of builder. To be honest, I was kind of hoping he wouldn't turn up. When I first met the builder, I really liked him. I thought he was really nice. And then things started to take a turn for the weird. So, I've already mentioned the offer of topless bar work (could just be genuinely trying to help?). He was also the person who mentioned that he could put me in touch with someone about escorting. 

Should have been seeing red flags at this point, maybe? He talked about it quite a bit, actually. How much you can make, how it's easy money, everyone does it, really safe, really simple to do, really flexible.... Honestly, as a salesman, builder is pretty good. I'd said in my previous post I was contemplating it. 

Things get a little bit weirder. So, the last time he'd been round, when he left he asked if he could give me a hug. Which I thought was a bit odd, but ok? Like yeah, sure. Mates. Hugs. Whatever. At which point, he lifted my top to look at my stomach, and was like "oh my god, you're so skinny, I'm going to break you!" Again. Weird. But right. Some boundary issues there. No touching in future. Got it. 

When he called me yesterday (a phone call which lasted almost an hour btw....) he got really inappropriate on the escorting front. I said I still wasn't sure. He started asking really intrusive personal questions. Would I be happy to do x,y,z? He said they might need me to prove I can do it by sending some "nude photos"- he would be happy to pass them along for me, or even to take them.

Yesterday freaked me out. So yeah, I was hoping that he wouldn't turn up.

At 4:20pm he called me. And said he was running a bit late, and would be there at 5pm. Maybe I should have put him off. But he'd said the job would only take 2 minutes, so I figured I would have plenty of time to make it for my drink with the lib dems.

The job did take 2 minutes, he was right about that. However the time he spent at my flat was over an hour and a half. 

If I tell you that the builder kissed me, would you be surprised? Would you be shocked? Would you be angry?

What if I told you that I repeatedly said no, and tried to push him away, and he continued to do so?

What if I was a bit more descriptive in my language? "Kissed" can be considered quite vague I suppose.

The builder stuck his tongue down my throat whilst pushing himself against me, grabbing my arse, pulling my top up and putting his hand into my bra. Repeatedly. And I said no. Repeatedly.

And I froze. I was scared. He's a lot older than me. He's a lot bigger than me. I was alone with Piglet. Every  time I said no he just said to stop being silly. I wanted him to leave. I just wanted him to stop touching me and get out. 

It's my fault really, I suppose. I had liked him as a person- maybe this had been misconstrued? I clearly wasn't assertive enough- maybe I should have screamed, maybe I should have shouted, maybe I should have told him to get out. But I didn't, I froze.

I kept telling him I had to go and check on Piglet, and he kept saying he could see her, she was fine. I had to get her more milk, I said; I needed to make her tea; I needed to do x,y,z. Eventually he left. And he called me within two minutes of driving away to "thank me for a wonderful evening".

"I'd had a really stressful day, and it was just what I needed. I'm sure I've passed a lot of that stress onto you now though"

That phrase to me, insinuates that he knew I didn't want to. He knew I wasn't being playful, he knew I meant no. Irregardless of tone, no SHOULD mean no. But I didn't have a playful tone anyway, I was saying no. Maybe he knew exactly what he was doing all along. He's been sending me texts all evening. I've ignored them. He said he wants to take me to dinner this Saturday; he wants to take me away for a weekend to go shopping. Maybe he doesn't think anything is wrong. 

This is not the first occasion that I have been touched without giving consent; nor is it the most serious of these occasions. In fact, it's one of the milder instances. It's probably been the most sobering though. I've never felt so much like a child in my adult life. 

I feel guilty. I feel ashamed. I feel like I have been groomed, for want of a better term. And I feel that it was my fault. I haven't even mentioned that he's married yet, have I? I am no escort. I am no sugar baby. I feel dirty and I feel cheap. And I am reminded that I am in a very vulnerable position right now; irregardless of how many times I say "I am a strong, independent woman".

I almost ate 15 cookies this evening. But I stopped myself. Always look for the positives.

Monday, 11 July 2016

The One Where It's Okay To Be "________" (28 months)

DRUMROLL PLEASE........ IT'S FINALLY HERE! Welcome to our (far overdue) "Life updates of Bones and Piglet"- which is coming to you in the form of a Todd Parr inspired post.

I have mentioned Todd Parr (a hella long time ago, mind)- Todd Parr writes babies books. Todd Parr is awesome. I really like Todd Parr. Here is one such example of a Todd Parr book:

Accordingly to Amazon, "It's Okay To Be Different cleverly delivers the important messages of acceptance, understanding and confidence in an accessible, child-friendly format" (although, I may be inclined to argue that by their very nature children are actually the experts at acceptance, and society has a lot to learn from them). Confidence, however, is something that it is never too early to instill. So, basically, on each page is a different message (e.g. "it's okay to need some help" with a picture of a blind person; "it's okay to have big ears" with a picture of a rabbit; "it's okay to be a different colour" with a picture of a multicoloured zebra; you get the theme). I first bought this book not so much to "teach acceptance" (bleurgh I don't like how that sounds) but to show diversity. I want to raise a confident, positive, well-rounded, kind and caring person. If she happens to be a genius too- that is amazing. I think the more that we encounter earlier in childhood, the more accepting of it we are as adults (this is probably why I struggle so much at failure....). So, yeah. Todd Parr. I like him.

MOVING SWIFTLY ON, to our homage to Todd Parr; here's what we've been up to recently:

1. It's Okay To Be Slow

So, our most recent two races were the Potters 'Arf marathon and a 10k Race for Life up in Edinburgh- both of these were performed as Mummy Piglet combo runs. Hence, they took a little longer than if I was flying solo. 

I had mentioned that I wanted a sub-2 hour finish in the Potters 'Arf (my best result so far was 2:02, so I am SO CLOSE IT HURTS). Obviously, with Piggly, I was not making 2 hours. Also- hilliest course EVER. EVER EVER EVER. SO MANY HILLS. We finished around the 2:30 mark. But, do you know what? The atmosphere at that race was so amazing, I kind of wish it had taken me even longer. It was incredible. And it was really lovely to be running a race back in the "motherland" as such. The fact that I had Piglet with me probably added to the general excellence of the day to be honest. We hadn't done a race as a pair for a really long time, so it was a great feeling to be doing that again (side note: I could not feel my arms for several days afterwards). And obviously people were so so supportive- "Yer a tough woman, duck", was said multiple times. I bloody loved it. I WAS A TOUGH WOMAN. I had multiple offers of childcare for next years event from people in the crowds. A man gave me an ice pop, and I almost asked him to marry me there and then. And a lady at around 10 miles gave us flapjack, jelly babies and lucozade- LADY I LOVE YOU.

We did our race for life the weekend after. It was Fathers Day, and as I am once again The Daddy, I wanted to so something fun (also, if I am being totally honest, I was concerned that NNB may want to see Piglet, and...I didn't really want that. Maybe that is unfair. Maybe it isn't. I don't care. I am a registered psychopath). So we went up to Edinburgh for that weekend, and had our race (finished in 1 hour- best solo 10k is 51 minutes) and then we went to the zoo for the remainder of the day. Again, race atmosphere was amazing. And Edinburgh is so pretty. Edinburgh is on my list of places to live.

2. It's Okay NEVER OKAY To Have Fleas

Speaking of NNB and the fact that he never ever listens to me at all and thinks that my opinion is useless and not valid... I told NNB to make sure that he de-flead Pig. NNB did not de-flea Pig. NNB went on holiday for two weeks and sent Pig down to his parents. NNB returned to a house full of fleas. NNB watched Percy for me for an hour whilst I went for a run. NNB brought fleas into my flat. 

I am being serious right now. I encountered mushrooms- I eliminated them (ok, ok, the builder eliminated them); I faced slugs- I vanquished them; and now I was met with fleas. I was very angry. I would say that was an understatement. Now, this all happened shortly after we came back from Edinburgh, so like mid-June-ish? 21st/22nd? Within 72 hours I had removed the fleas. I did what any sensible person does- google it. For anyone suffering with fleas- Indorex spray. It's like £12 on amazon. Don't buy stuff from the shops, because the fleas have become immune to it. Just get indorex, and hoover the life out of your house- twice a day. Strip everything and wash it at 90 degrees aswell. ONE FLEA CAN CAUSE AN INFESTATION- AND YOU DO NOT WANT THAT. As I have said, because I was a normal person who does not want fleas in my house, I am now flea-free. NNB still has fleas. And ignores my offers of information re: Indorex. Because clearly I have no idea what I'm talking about do I...? Honestly, I don't even know why I talk to him sometimes, he just irritates me.

3. It's Okay To Get Symbolic Pets

Piglet and I bought some dwarf hamsters (ha ha ha "Piglet and I"- pretty sure that should be "I bought some hamsters because I am a child"). These were a treat for getting into Newcastle (I am a ridiculous, ridiculous person). I wanted a pet. BUT I was sensible, and I thought it through, and I was like, "Piglet, we can't get another puss cat. We don't have time for puss cat. We go away for weekends a lot. It is not logical to get a puss cat". So, we got hamsters. Here are the hamsters:

Their names are (are you ready for this? Prepare yourself): Mnemosyne and Elpis (Nemmy and Elp). "What? What kind of names are those?" I hear you ask. Mnemosyne (Nem-os-inny) is the Greek Goddess of memory. I shall not forget the final year of my degree. I shall not forget the past year of my life. I shall not forget how shit everything was. I shall not forget that- whilst I may at times think that I can do everything- I can't, and I have to prioritise. Elpis is the spirit of hope.'Cos...y'know we have that now...and stuff. So, yeah. Symbolic hamsters. Very important additions to the house. Always remember, and always have hope (I'm an 8 year old, ok?)

4. It's Okay (In Theory) To Have A Mouse

Right, I'm going to have to flashback again. Whilst I was at uni, I did a research placement over the Summer one year, and during this time I stayed in one of the student halls. Now I would say it was ok. Like, sure it wasn't one of the newer ones, and there were 9 bajillion stairs, but it was fine (also plus side- rooms were a hell of a lot bigger in the older buildings). But it was fine; that is what I would say. However, it was torn down at the end of that Summer because it was infested with every creature known to mankind. Anyway, I had a mouse who lived in my room. Retrospectively, I am fond of that mouse. At the time- I'm pretty sure I was having a mild hernia over his presence (again, like Sid, I had to name him to make him semi-ok: he was christened Max Whiskerton III). But like anything, you distance yourself from the event, and it becomes almost pleasant- just another funny memory.

Ok. Flashforward. Set the scene. Mushrooms? Gone. Slugs? Gone. Fleas? Gone. I'M ON A ROLL. YEAH, LOOK AT ME GO. There's quite a few holes in my house. Like in corners, and in the skirting boards and stuff. But that's not really a big deal to me ("Oh wow, look at all the character"- I am such a dick). Anyway, I was casually binge watching Homeland one night when I spotted something near one of these holes. Initially I couldn't see anything. But I can tell you that I had the same feeling then that I had when I noticed Max Whiskerton III for the first time. I knew he was there- I just hadn't spotted him. 

And then I did. I did spot him. By the fireplace. A mouse. OH MY GOOOOOOOLOOOIUII9GUYGIYGFDDDDDDDDDDDDDDURIEOW7KDTUD. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY. WHYYYYYYYYYYY DOES THIS HAPPEN TO MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. It was 11pm. There was nothing I could do at 11pm. I couldn't fill in the holes- I had no filler (also, this would have been a TERRIBLE idea, but this is to come later). All I could do after the mouse had returned to his hole was this:

(I like to think of myself as resourceful- I may put this on my CV)

Yay! Totally fine, right? Now the mouse would just disappear into the walls and move along the terrace (I am on the end) to one of the other houses with far nicer food than ours. 

Yeah, that didn't happen. Turns out, (well, I think anyway) that's not where the mouse came in, that's just where he darted when I scared him. So I had trapped him behind the fireplace with nowhere to go. And I could hear him scratching. And scratching. And more scratching. I had to unblock the hole really, didn't I?

I put towels under the bedroom doors to block the gaps that night. And in the morning, I went and got this:

OH THE IRONY! RIGHT AFTER TALKING MYSELF OUT OF GETTING ONE! This is Adelaide. She's been with us for around a week now, and has settled in very well. She is incredibly clingy. But also, incredibly good at catching things that don't need catching (e.g. stray beads that appear from nowhere), so I have high hopes for her mousing ability. The mouse has not been seen since her arrival (dead or alive), so I am hoping that he's gone and found a new home (I don't really want her to kill the mice, just deter them from entering. Although if one comes in then I suppose yes, absolutely, kill the mouse). 

5. It's Okay Is It Okay To Be An Escort?

Confession time ladies and gentlemen. Back before I went back to work 97 hours a week, and before I got the results for my degree, I was obviously looking at doing a PhD. But, as I have mentioned before, there is no childcare funding for PhD's and- because of funding regulations- you are only allowed to work 6 hours per week (so not enough to claim tax credits). There is a website for people in that kind of situation- Seeking Arrangement. Seeking arrangement matches "sugar babies" to their "sugar mummies/sugar daddies" . You see where this is going, don't you? So, I as a "sugar baby" wanted money. The men who contacted me as "sugar daddies" would be happy to part with their money in exchange for...well it varied really. Some were looking for a "long term companion"; some were seeking dates to events; some were just after sex. I had arranged to meet one of these men last April to discuss what sort of "arrangement" we could come to. 

And I bottled it. And I actually went on my first date with NNB instead (WASTED OPPORTUNITIES! STUPID GIRL!)

Recently, I have been offered the "opportunity" (is it an opportunity? Is it really?) to embark on a similar venture. It's a lot safer. Although you are basically a glorified prostitute (although- this "is not endorsed by the company"). It's something that I have not said no to. I haven't said yes yet, either. I'm currently considering it. Some of the girls take home £2000 a week (although, if this is something I go into, I think the first question I'm going to ask is if I need to become self employed and pay my own taxes, or am I technically an employee and they take care of that? Logical thinking). Morally, I don't really have any objection to it. And if I'm being totally objective, I could basically work 3 evenings a week and potentially end up with more money than I'd know what to do with. Obviously it would be short term. Like 6 months-1 year. I wouldn't miss out on Piglet. It would be easy to fit round uni. But...I don't know if I've got the balls for it. I don't know how it would make me feel about myself. I don't know how it would make other people feel about me (I think I care what people think. I think I do. And I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing). 

I probably won't do it (or maybe I'm just saying that and I know I'm going to do it really). I don't know. I am in a quandary.  I could pay for my entire masters in three weeks. How crazy is that? I don't know if there's a right answer to the question to be honest. 

I've got to call the bank tomorrow to discuss my application for my career development loan. We'll see how that goes first. If that's all fine, then I shall not be an escort. Or maybe I still will. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THIS. I think it's okay to be an escort. I just don't know yet if it's okay for me to be an escort. 

Friday, 8 July 2016

The One With #MyBodyMyChoice (27 months + 27 days)

Oh my gosh. I PROMISE PROMISE PROMISE that I am going to get round to doing our update post. I was literally sitting down to write it, but I've been faced with something that I really think deserves my attention more right now (or at least it's something that I feel I need to write about more right now- otherwise the anger is just going to fester and become toxic and I'll be a bitter, miserable, shriveled mess by midnight).

I am all for people being allowed to make their own decisions. That sounds like a stupid statement, doesn't it- "I advocate free choice"- great, who doesn't? But, just bear with me. I am VERY for people being allowed to make their own decisions with regard to their bodies. It is my body, therefore it is my choice (#mybodymychoice if you want to get in on the action guys).

Where is this coming from? Here. This is where this is coming from:

HALLELUJAH. Those of you who have followed us from the start will know that I had a planned c-section with Piglet. And I was a rare case- I did not need a section for any medical reason, I CHOSE to have one (and by chose, I really mean fought). It was a battle to get the birth that I wanted (with some help from my mummy- shout out to mummy right here). And, I think that the reason they "officially" granted my request is that I had a "fear of labour". That was the phrase that was written in my notes.

I don't care about that- they could have written whatever they wanted on there as long as it meant I got my caesarean. I don't have a fear of labour. One of the things that really irked me was that the midwifes kept telling me that I could "have an epidural" and then "you won't feel a thing", but it wasn't a pain issue, I wasn't "afraid" of it "hurting" (I'm tough man- I am TOUGH). They repeatedly did not listen to my justifications for wanting a section.

I wanted a section because- like any other first time expectant mother- I did have concerns about the delivery. So, I researched it. And I looked at possible complications. And I looked at the statistics on vaginal births. And I looked at the data for c-sections (which to start with is a nightmare, because the majority of the time they collate the data for both planned and emergency caesareans, so that all the risks are skewed anyway- an emergency caesarean is by nature going to carry more risks than a planned one- the name says it all. What complicates the matter further, is that the majority of pregnancies culminating in a planned section are high-risk- hence the need for the section in the first place). I was not happy with the risks of a vaginal birth. And I will be discussing these with you (so those who don't want to know- you might want to stop reading soon). Because I think the majority of people are unaware of the risks that a vaginal birth may carry. This sounds like I'm totally anti-vag. I'm not against natural deliveries at all. If that is what you want, and what you think is best for you and your child, that is fantastic, and you should be allowed to have that. The point I'm getting onto is about making informed decisions.

When you choose to do something- especially something as huge as delivering a baby- it is vital that you have all the information available to you. You cannot make an informed decision when you're missing half the information. It's ridiculous. Literally preposterous. This isn't like, "oh well, let's just pick the wildcard and see what happens"- it's a huge, huge thing. And one that carries risks for both you and your child irregardless of delivery choice- both have huge potential negatives. So, when I was faced with "professionals" telling me that my beliefs were unfounded, and a vaginal delivery is always the safer option, I was fuming.  Because it's been a huge cover-up. Like a giant conspiracy (starting on conspiracy theories- must be getting old if I've reached this point...). They don't want you to have a caesarean. They've got targets they need to meet. NICE issue guidelines on what percentage of births should occur in what manner. And if you're looking at it in terms of numbers, that because it costs the NHS more for you to have a caesarean, than if you have an uncomplicated natural delivery. Note the phrase "uncomplicated" there. You have complications from a vaginal birth- that's going to cost the NHS a lot more to correct.

So. And here's where some of you may want to stop reading. Alternatively, here's the part that some of you might have been eager to read. I was going to do a table, and make it all fancy and stuff but I've just seen the time so.. I'll summarise:

Risks of Caesarean delivery:
To baby: For planned sections performed at 39+ weeks, the risk to your baby is the same as for a successful natural delivery (i.e. one with no complications- WHICH ONLY HAPPENS 47% OF THE TIME BY THE WAY). HOWEVER there is the potential (I believe it's a 2% occurrence...that number sounds familiar) that the baby may end up with a superficial cut from the scalpel. I will also point out that in premature sections there is a higher risk of breathing problems in newborns. There is also (limited) evidence that babies born by sections are more likely to be asthmatic and suffer from eczema. Oh. And some studies have suggested that babies born by sections are more likely to be obese (although I would argue that that statement has no weight whatsoever- there are too many variables concerned to make this a controlled study. Are all pregnant women who enter in c-sections equal? No. They all have a variety of conditions, and genetic profiles, and environments and I think it's just a bloody ridiculous coupling to try and make a correlation between).

To you: Infection is obviously the big one. Blood clots. You may end up needing an emergency hysterectomy (side bar: my mother kept accidentally referring to my caesarean as a hysterectomy before it went ahead- talk about how to freak someone out). You're more likely to develop adhesions, which are internal bands of scar tissue that can cause your organs to stick together, and apparently can be quite painful- these are really common (around 50% of women who have had one section will have adhesions; 75% of women who have had two sections and 83% of women who have had three sections). Nerve damage can occur from the spinal tap (that was the one that stressed me out). Death, potentially. And obviously, aesthetically, you're going to have a big scar (although- more on this later).

You've also got the bollocksy psychological ones. "Less contact with baby, so you will not bond with your baby". Post-natal depression is a huge, huge thing. Do I think that the mode of delivery can influence the onset of PND? Personally, no. I think if you are going to suffer from post-natal depression, then you will, irregardless of how you have had your baby. Actually no, I'm going to retract that statement. If you have not been allowed to give birth in the way that you wanted to, then yes. I can see that having an impact. I can see that being a contributing factor. But again, as a causation? I would argue it. Contribute certainly, but not cause.

Risks of Vaginal delivery:
To baby: These risks are present. They may be small. But they are there. Brain damage. Death. Instrumental deliveries increase these risks. They can happen in a number of ways, for example umbilical cord prolapse, or compression. I just read a story actually, about a lady who was given too much oxytocin during her labour which resulted in her baby not taking a breath for 12 minutes after he was born (although this is a happy story, because they took part in a xenon gas trial, and he is now one and developing totally normally- this is phenomenal. When he was born, he was blue and showed no brain activity. This is incredible. THIS IS WHAT SCIENCE CAN DO). Again, aesthetic injuries are common with instrumental intervention. There is also the potential for a brachial plexus injury, which is nerve damage to the babies arms, resulting in weakness or a loss of mobility- this "usually" rectifies itself, but can persist.

To you: Ready? Even without forceps or the suction thing, there is the risk of urinary and fecal incontinence. If you factor in instrumental deliveries, we'll start with tears, which can range from first degree ("superficial" is the term that is used... is any tear superficial?!) to fourth degree (you don't have two holes anymore- you've got one. I don't need to elaborate any further than that do I?).And you're going to say well they can just stitch you up and you'll be fine, right? They can stitch you up, yes. Will you be "fine"? There's no guarantee. A lot of women are left in constant pain. As in 24/7, no relief pain. The risk of "sexual problems" is "high" (which isn't surprising really if you're in pain).Again, incontinence- massive, massive deal. And this isn't necessarily just something that will be affecting people in the short term, this can be a lifelong condition. Oh, I haven't mentioned my favourite yet- recto-vaginal fistulas. A fistula is a tiny hole that connects two parts of your body that aren't supposed to be connected. Your rectum and your vagina should NEVER be connected. Never. And these are harder to correct.

I'm not trying to make everyone be on Team Caesarean. That is not my point. I mean, you could die having a section. What I'm trying to get across, is that it should be up to YOU to do you own risk-benefit analysis. And you should be aware of all the facts before you enter into anything, which is why I am SO HAPPY that the risks of vaginal births are (potentially- everything is potentially) finally being acknowledged. FYI, in my opinion, forceps should be banned. It's basically mutilation. I am so against forceps it is unreal. However, there will be some people saying that they don't mind what state their body is in as long as their baby is fine- and that's ok too. Me though? I'd rather have sticky internal organs thanks. Oh, and of course, I almost forgot! The "big scar"? Not actually that big:

(My surgeon was an artist- I did send her a thank you card. Also please forgive my lack of abs- I still have 7lbs of Christmas weight to lose...I know it is July. I am aware.)

The second point I want to make, is less about decisions, and more about being open. Which you could argue is very easy for me to say when I'm sat here on a laptop writing under a pseudonym (although to be honest, I'm actually a really open person- I had too much therapy and now I don't know when to stop sharing). The complications of natural childbirth are unheard of because they are not spoken about. People suffer in silence. There's a thread on mumsnet that's full of women who have experienced traumatic labours which have resulted in some of the conditions that I mentioned, and I think that's absolutely brilliant. Because it's a support network. And I can't think of anything worse than to go through something like that completely alone, and with nobody to talk to (some of the stories are so sad. It really upsets me that some of these women are being completely failed by the medical profession).

Now, you're going to say that's all very well and good, when you're sat there with no signs of adhesions and your invisible caesarean scar- shut up, you stupid gloating girl. I do not have any childbirth injuries to reveal to you. My birthing experience has not altered me in any way (physically). However, my pregnancy has had a lasting impact on my life, and so I will share that with you now:

I have never had boobs. I still don't have boobs. The only time in my life that I had boobs was when I was pregnant. Recently, I was offered a potential job (to go alongside uni, of course) by my builder (I'm a little bit in love with my builder. It's slightly inappropriate). He said his friend was looking for someone to work in his bar. Cracking. Brilliant (well, brilliant-ish. Bloody hate bar work). There was just one thing he needed to run past me first- it was topless bar work- would that be ok? I politely responded that since having Piglet, my nipples are now parallel to my belly button, so that probably wouldn't be the best option for me. Potential future career- ruined by my body! (I didn't actually say nipples to my builder. That would be inappropriate.)

I'm making light of it. These women are incredibly strong, and I have the utmost respect for them. This is a subject that I'm incredibly passionate about (and I know that sounds weird, but it's true)- I had to make some comment on it. So everybody- make sure you all make informed decisions. Know all your facts. Overshare as much as possible. And keep supporting each other as much as you can.

STAY TUNED  for news involving fleas, hamsters, cats, escorting, and more ridiculous conversations with my builder (who is my future husband, just so you all know- don't tell him though, you'll ruin the surprise).

Saturday, 2 July 2016

The One Where One Day Can Change Everything (27 months + 21 days)

Monday 27th June began by Piglet doing an enormous shit on the floor. That was the start to my week. (Sorry for swearing Nana- but trust me, it was not a poo; it was a shit.)

For those of you good with timelines, you will note that this was the morning after the evening of my minor meltdown. 

Monday 27th June
Monday 27th June I decided that we needed to be busy. For the sake of my mind. So, I cleaned up the shit (as is a mothers duty in life), we had a bath and we went to the Centre for Life in Newcastle to be all science-y and stuff. And it was really nice. It was really interesting. They've got an exhibition currently of all these plastinates of animals which was so cool. They've got the curiosity zone- which I LOVE- because it's basically a section with loads of different stations/activities but none of them have instructions. So it's all about... well, investigating really, and asking different questions and trying different things. And it was fantastic for Piglet because it's all hands-on. (Sorry, totally lost where I was going- Piglet has found a medicine syringe and we were playing injections. Bugger, just realised that this is probably not the best game to play. Shit. Right, no longer playing injections with the baby.) I just really love the sentiment behind it: each part was exactly what you made it to be. Brilliant, brilliant idea.  There was also an experimental section, where you could do "real experiments" with "real scientists", but we avoided that, because my self-esteem was not up to it. We played with some brains (not real brains, obviously). It was fun. We had a lot of fun.

(Currently a sobbing wreck again- just put Piglet to bed and we sang "you are my sunshine" and I can't get through that song without crying- remind me to tell you that story one day.) ANYWAY, we went for a coffee after we had been to the Centre for Life, and it was during this time that I decided to check my emails.

And one was there. An email was there. In my inbox. An email.

I had applied for two masters courses at this point. One in Newcastle. And one in Sunderland. I still wanted to apply for Northumbria. And- desperate times, desperate measures- I was also looking at applying to York, and then if I got in, I was going to work out how the hell I would manage to commute there until my contract on the flat ends in March (I'm not saying this was a sensible plan- it was just a plan. A seriously, seriously desperate broken rubbish illogical stupid plan- but a plan, nonetheless.)

Of the two that I had applied for, Newcastle was my first choice. The course was more in line with what I was looking to progress with. There's a module on chemotherapy which I am obviously highly interested in. There's massive links with the Northern Institute for Cancer Research. If I were to progress with it and decide I wanted to give medicine another shot as opposed to a PhD, it would be beneficial to me- it would enhance my application. The course itself has got a beautiful balance between medicine and chemistry, and for me that's what made it perfect.

Of course, that's also what made it so terrifying to see that the email I had received was from Newcastle. 

Wait...stop. I need to rewind for a second.

The Yellow Book and The Crazy Woman
Have I ever told you about the yellow book? I don't think I have. I'm going to need to introduce the yellow book here. The yellow book was something that I bought in my...third year at uni? It's a ridiculous self-help book. I got it when I was ill and just grasping at straws for anything at all. It's got a ridiculous title... like "Stop being a loser", or "Wake up, you suck", or...what is the title...? OH, that's it, the yellow book is called, "Excuse me, your life is waiting" (yes, you're correct, it was a horrendously embarrassing experience purchasing this book). But I've never called it that- it's always been called the yellow book.

I never finished the yellow book. Because it pissed me off. The general theme, (from the first three chapters that I read), was all about "positive thinking" and "positive feelings" and how that can impact your life and make it OH SO AMAZING. Which is great. And probably true to some extent. But I had an eating disorder and was severely depressed- positive thinking was not in my vocabulary at that point. The other thing that it was all about was believing that things are going to happen. And then they will- your belief will result in them occurring (so basically, it was all about being totally delusional). Now I think, this was also the book that talked about asking the universe for things? And the universe would give them to you.

It's ridiculous. It's a totally insane concept. However, I will tell you now that on Sunday night, post-blogathon, I sat in my living room (as a sobbing, weeping mess) and I prayed, and I begged, and I asked the universe to please please please just let me get in. Please. (YES, OK I AM AWARE THAT I AM CRAZY. I KNOW THIS. You don't need to pass judgement on my desperate, illogical behaviour- I am all too aware that I am an emotionally unstable psychopath. It's fine- I'm working on it.)

Are You Seriously Going To Keep Dragging This Out..?
Long story short- it was a yes. They were offering me a place. And after jumping up and screaming "YES PIGLET, WE'RE IN WE'RE IN WE'RE IN!!!!! OF COURSE YOU CAN HAVE TWO CHOCOLATE COINS, MUMMY IS A GENIUS WE'RE IN!!!!!!!!!", I'm pretty sure that the entire of Cafe Nero knew it was a yes too.

I got my acceptance email from Sunderland a couple of days later.

Monday 27th June had started (LITERALLY) with shit. And it turned out to be quite possibly one of the best days of my life. I haven't stopped smiling since then (excluding the "you are my sunshine" turmoil). I'm so unbelievably happy. 

My self-esteem is awful. But this is the first step to fixing it. And it is a huge one.


The Yellow Book And The Crazy Woman- Part 2
After we had learned that we were once again going to be super scientists, we went to Waterstones, to buy Mrs Piggly a new book (because we have read our library 160000 times over). So there we were browsing away, deciding which one we wanted to pick when- and this seriously happened, I am not joking- a book (Truly Happy Baby by Holly Willoughby, in case any of you were wondering) that was at least 4 feet from us flew off the shelf and landed standing upright.

Now, I'm not one to believe in supernatural stuff. I don't believe in a higher power. I don't believe in the afterlife. I don't believe in fate or destiny. But at the same time- I'm also going to make sure I hedge my bets just in case. So I made sure I said thank you to the universe for getting us in, (again, looking slightly insane in the process).

There's a load more that's been going on, but I think I want to stop this one here for now (leave you on the note that I am crazy. Fantastic ending). I'll probably be putting something up later today/tomorrow with other events and occurrences (but remember- when I'm happy, my writing sucks, so don't expect it to be brilliant or anything).

SIDE NOTE: Our book is now available for pre-order. Here. Click here. On any of these words. It's only an e-book at the moment, because we're self-publishing. But still all very exciting. I'm probably going to be discussing this a bit more in my next post. Along with my 120000 other things. And Scope. Also Scope- who I'm doing the Great North Run for. You can donate here. (Big thank you to people who've donated already. Need lots of support- I'm running against my old boss, so I've got to beat him- in terms of speed and also donations. PLEASE HELP ME.)

Lots of love, and positivity, and good vibes. Make sure you all keep asking the universe for stuff! (Don't ask the universe for stuff- please don't sink to my level) Speak to you soon!

p.s. I've managed to get through a whole post without mentioning anything political. All I'm going to say is: how much of a dirty snake is Gove, man? Sneaky, sly snake. Not good form.

p.p.s I just realised that I'd written "Monday 27th July" everywhere instead of "Monday 27th June". Maybe I need to ask the universe for a new brain aswell?

Sunday, 26 June 2016

The One With The Bones-Piglet Equilibrium (27 months + 15 days)

The hardest challenge of all for any parent is balance. This statement is especially true if you happen to be a lone parent. Even more so, if you are a lone parent with ambition. It is something that I struggle with on a day-to-day basis. It is incredibly hard being a stay-at-home parent. It is hard being a working parent aswell, don't get me wrong, however, when I was a working parent, I had another person around to help at home; I was essentially relieved of any and all home responsibilities. As I said previously, I was going to talk to you about power and control; but instead I would like to discuss balance, as it something that is weighing heavily on my mind at the moment.

I think one of the greatest issues that I have at the moment is confidence. I think I've always had issues with confidence, in all honesty. I would say they were alleviated when Piglet was born- because Piglet was born; I became incredibly assertive, and the world was my oyster. And it was brilliant. I would argue that 90% of success is down to confidence- if you believe in yourself, then it is far easier to get others to believe in you too.

And then life happened. As it does. I was naive when I found out I was pregnant, I have said this before. I was blind to the implications of what having a baby would actually mean in terms of my ambitions, and goals. I was especially blinkered when it came to how much time a child demands from you. I truly and honestly believed that you could just fit a baby into your schedule, and they would work around you. How ridiculous is that?

It is one year since I received the result for my degree. And it doesn't hurt any less. I thought it would; I thought I would be firmly within that acceptance stage right now, but it still stings like a bitch (I'm actually sobbing as I write this- this is how pathetic I am). And I think that was the point when I stopped believing in myself again. I sucked. That was- (lost my train of thought now; a man from the liberal democrats just called and I had to swiftly cull my pity party so he didn't think I was a wailing train wreck.) What was I saying... Right yes, that was...honestly I really am struggling for words as to describe the utter devastation of it all. That was when I decided that there was no point in trying anymore. I dressed it all up very nicely, with the "luxury of being crap", and "I'm burning my chemistry books", and "having a gap yah", was because I had failed to achieve. And whilst I may not have known what I wanted, I certainly knew that I didn't want failure.

And then, whether it was purely circumstantial, or maybe on a subconscious level it was something I wanted (again, I have mentioned previously about my fear of becoming resentful towards Piglet if I did not succeed), I ended up "losing" Piglet. As my hours at work increased, I saw less and less of her. At the height of everything, there would be instances where I was working a close one day, all day the next, and then an open the third- so I would actually be going days without seeing her on a regular basis. And in my mind, I was shit, so I couldn't complain about it, could I? Of course, the irony is, the lack of my Piglet exacerbated that loss of self-belief- I was Samson without his hair (more biblical references...maybe I'm going to become a born-again Christian...) And so I went from being at the top of my game, where everything was possible, to...worthless. And useless. And trapped. Throw into the mix being in a relationship where I felt very unloved and manipulated and controlled (I feel guilty for writing that down, even now) and I was nothing. I was wasted potential.

I've ended up commenting on that far more than I intended to. I'm supposed to be talking about balance.

The point I'm trying to get to, is that, as it stands I am trying to get that confidence back. I have a long way to go. A very long way to go. I'm sat here checking my emails every two seconds waiting for rejections from universities- even though it's a Sunday, and there is no indication that they are going to reject me. I just don't see why they would want me. Do you know I actually email my draft applications to other people before I send them? Because I think my writing is awful. And yet I do this. I do this, and I think my writing is awful. Seriously, ego is on the floor.



We struggle with balance in the house. We struggle with balance in the house even more now that we are both physically IN the house (i.e. not at work/nursery all day). So, I have things that I want to do, and Piglet has things that she wants to do. And I feel very guilty if I'm less than 95% attentive to her needs. Which is wrong, because I'm aware that it's fine if she's playing by herself, or it's fine if she watches cbeebies for a little bit, but I feel like a crap mum. Whatever I do right now, I feel like a crap mum.

Since she finished nursery she's become a lot...clingier. Much clingier. And she's a lot more shy with other people. Which I understand. That one constant that she has had throughout her life has been taken away. I am now what she is left with. I worry that I have done her a disservice by taking her out of nursery. I worry about absolutely everything, right now, by the way. Like maybe it's best for me to work 80+ hours a week- it shuts my brain up.

For example, I was seriously concerned about her speech. You know when you see two year olds and they're fluently discussing Beethoven and the economy and the impact that Brexit is going to have on future generations? Piglet is not one of those children. So then I decided that she was definitely autistic, because issues with communication is one of the signs. And then I was in a mad panic. I have since looked into the matter, and discovered that she is actually pretty much on track in terms of speech for her age. The eloquent two year olds are not the norm. And at this point, I am only supposed to be able to decipher 50% of what she says- which is about right.

(Also, her emotional intelligence has got to be like within the top 0.1% for her age, so I really was jumping to extremes with my diagnosis there. For example, when I was sobbing over my degree again, she started tickling me to make me laugh because I was sad. Seriously, I am the worst mother ever. For anyone looking to have children, just read my blog and then do the absolute opposite of everything that I have done.)

I'VE GONE OFF COURSE AGAIN AHHHHH. Right, about 95% attentiveness- this is why I went onto speech because I also got stressed that she wasn't talking that much because I didn't talk enough to her (although I've always talked to her since she was tiny- and looked insane whenever we were out in public- so that was another irrational thought right there). By trying to focus 95% of my attention onto Piglet, and what Piglet wants to do, and what is best for Piglet, I am doing myself an injustice. I am killing myself right now. I am exhausted.

I try to make it so that I get Piglet involved in things that I want to do, so then at least I am still with her, and we're still "playing" (kind of- at a push). So, we will "play" cleaning. And we will "play" insanity. And obviously, she likes when we go running (spends half the time going "WHEEEEEEEEEE" whenever we go round corners). But then there are things that it's much harder to get her involved in. For example, masters applications. Going over degree notes. Reading through chemistry books. Considering that she puts up a significant fight when I'm just trying to change her nappy, I have got no chance getting her to sit down and "play" chemistry with me. And, you could argue that I could do these things when she's asleep, but guess what? She doesn't. Piglet does not sleep. I get her to sleep by running. That is why we have evening runs. So, let's say I'm lucky, and she's asleep by 9pm (which is a miracle, fyi)- she will be awake at 4am. And she rarely does naps now. I've tried doing the thing where I put her down for an hour in the afternoon, and tell her it's time to sleep be honest... it makes me feel guilty.

I do want to make the point that I am certainly happier now that I have my Piglet again. Every day is a battle, but it is a fight for something that I love (or maybe it's a fight with someone I love). I do not know where we're heading yet. But I know that right now I am very scared about the uncertainty of everything. There is truth in the "terrible twos" phrase. And I'm really hoping that this is the hardest it gets, because at the moment I'm not strong enough in myself to deal with anymore. We are trying to find balance. And we are trying to find confidence. And we're hoping to use these to start to try again. Because I need to.

This has been one of those posts where my brains just gone with it. I'm not looking for support, or sympathy. I was just in a situation where my two options were: write or go and eat an entire jar of nutella. And I figured it was probably better to write through my feelings than eat them.