Wednesday, 29 June 2016

An open letter to the women in the car park

Today something pretty horrible happened to me, nothing awful or life threatening, but in the absence of Chris being here to vent too, I am here in front of my laptop with an overwhelming urge to write.

I was meeting a friend at Haysden Country Park, somewhere I have been going for around 20 years. I drove into the car park behind a line of cars, one by one they parked up, but the front of the car park was pretty busy.  The car in front of me, appeared to pull over to the side, as if waiting for a space, or waiting for someone.  With plenty of room, I moved around the car and drove to the back of the car park where it was quiet and empty, and where I could get a parking ticket without having to leave Fred out of view to get one, when I reached the back of the car park I saw the machine was out of order, so I turned my car around and parked in the middle. 

I jumped out and began putting up the pram and filling the basket with all the mum crap I would need for the morning, eagerly looking forward to our toddler/mum date.  I suddenly became aware of someone staring at me, just standing, staring.  The lady soon identified herself as the car in front of me on my way in.  She then began to hurl the most vile abuse at me.  According to her I drove into the car park like a 'maniac' 'overtaking everybody' - I calmly explained that I was sorry, I thought she had pulled over but I could assure her I wasn't driving more than the 5mph limit, I had noticed when I had glanced at my petrol gage. I carried out sorting out things out, but still she did not stop, she told me she hoped my child would be run over one day because it's what I deserve, that people like me shouldn't be mothers.  I asked her to leave me alone and stop being so vile to me.  She continued to ridicule me, saying "just look at the state of you" which was a favourite one she enjoyed repeating.  when I asked her again to leave me alone she said I needed to leave her alone, and she began to laugh at me, mocking  me, and continued to tell me I was an awful person, mother, driver and was an embarrassment.  How I held myself together I do not know.  I count myself as being a fiery person, but I just turned to mush.  In those 10 minutes, which felt like 10 hours she completely destroyed me. I was having a full blown panic attack, and I could do nothing but shake. She eventually left, people were staring at me, and luckily before I just threw myself back in the car and drove off, my lovely friend Sarah arrived and reminded me why I was there.  Unfortunately we had to walk past her on our walk, She stopped to the side and glared at us like we were scum of the earth. She judged us instantly. Ironically her dog had a muzzle on.

Anyway, I don't wish to dwell on the incident, which really was verbal abuse.  she verbally abused me in front of my young son.  Of course in my complete shock I forgot to take a picture of her car or her, so in the absence of getting any real justice or satisfaction by naming and shaming and reporting to the police, I have decided to write her a letter here. She won't ever see it, but right now it's not the point. But maybe it will apply to someone else, and it will make me feel better.

Hi Lady in the car park.  Let me just tell you something.  Firstly because I am a grown up, I will apologise if you felt I was wrong to drive around you in the car park, maybe I misread your actions, I am sorry if you felt I was driving too fast. I am an extremely safe and cautious driver, ask anyone who knows me, but of course we all sometimes  make mistakes, maybe I did, maybe I didn't. 

My mum always taught me if you don't have anything nice to say, don't speak.  I think maybe you should try and live by that one a little more.  Of course if you felt my driving was not ok and felt the need to have a quiet word, tell me it wasn't ok, then fine I can live with that, but the things you said to me were not ok. 

My (almost) husband is away for pretty much 5 whole weeks, so I am taking care of our young son on my own.  And keeping house, and working.  I'm spending 90% of the time being completely on my own.  I had about 3 hours sleep last night, it took a lot for me to go out today.  To be honest, it takes a lot for me to go out any day.  For what you didn't know when you were screaming at me in the car park is that I suffer with crippling anxiety.  I am super nervous about going out in public especially on my own, but I push myself every single day, I was feeling pretty proud of my self, getting out the house by 9:30, and for managing 4 days solo parenting, and you and your nastiness knocked me right back down again. Shouting at me that people like me shouldn't be parents and that I am clearly an awful mother? Seriously? When the fuck did it become ok to put a mother, a women, a person down like that.  Like us mums don't worry enough that we are not good enough. 

 I also have the joy of having Type 1 Diabetes, the adrenaline that left me shaking from the abuse you hurled towards me has now affected  my blood sugars all day. Your behavior towards me today left me with a blood sugar of 24. Do you know how serious that can be?

Luckily I am pretty confident in my parenting and a high blood sugar can be fixed, but do you know the worst thing. laughing at me, ridiculing me. telling me I looked a state.  That is what has hurt me the most.  I might be young, I might have had white skinny jeans and flip flops on in a muddy park but you should never ever judge a book by its cover.  Every day I critique my appearance a million times. I tell myself everyday that I am fat, or that I feel ugly compared to others. To be humiliated like that in a car park full of people staring at me, watching as my confidence went ten feet under the fucking ground. Shouting at me like I was some thick idiot and you were superior to me. 

I certainly learnt today not to judge a book by its cover, a nice older lady out walking her dog? Or an old bitter twisted witch who  feels the need to belittle and ridicule a young women in front of lots of people when they have no one to fight their corner.   Guess it's hard to tell the difference these days. 

Also when did it become acceptable to behave like that in front of a child.  Even if I was guilty of your accusations, your behaviour was ten times worse.

To say to me you hoped my child would get run over, because it would serve me right? Have you ever met a parent whose lost a child? I have.  I used to work at a Children's Hospice.  Imagine saying to one of those parents, your child deserves to die. Imagine. How sick do you have to be to say something like that. 

Why is the world full of hate? Why are you so angry and full of hate? That is not a normal reaction from someone driving around you in a car park.  Do you know what, I actually feel sorry for you.  I really do.  It must be a sad lonely life to be like that inside. 

Did you get a kick out of intimidating me? Did you enjoy watching me struggle to lift my baby out the car because I was shaking so much? Did watching me cry in a busy car park make your day any better?

I am going to end on this. One of my favourite quotes; "Everyone around you is fighting a battle you know nothing about, be kind, always.  I fought a lot of battles to be in that car park today.  Thanks for making me feel like a piece of shit. For god's sake just be kind.  Be kind to those around you.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Wedding Series - The invites

I have been so looking forward to writing this post and now everyone has received  their invitations I can finally share them with you!

When I first started looking at invitations I fell in love with some fancy floral sets I saw advertised on Facebook, however the would have cost over £250! So I came back to reality with a thud and had to put my thinking cap on. 

After hours trawling the internet I came across a beautiful design on Optimal Print which I instantly fell in love with.  They were a floral theme that completely matched the rest of the wedding theme, I was so chuft and with 40 day invites and 40 evening invites they only cost me £80! They were delivered super quick and the quality was outstanding for the cost.

We decided not to use RSVP cards as they were just another thing to pay for, and not really necessary. We are not asking for gifts, we are not asking for anything really other than our guests to enjoy our day with us but we knew our family and friends would want to give us something so we have asked for the non-traditional money if people want to give us something and I found this poem which I thought was perfect, and I really love it.  The back of the invite has directions and hotel room instructions.

I knew I wanted to 'pimp' them so off I went to hobbycraft!

I used mini luggage tags and twine to give them a 'gift' feel and to write the invitee name.  I bought a lovely blue shimmery pen to write with and address the envelopes with too.

I also bought some sticky pearls some large and some small to stick in the centre of the flowers to give the invites a more expensive 3D feel. I think they looked so lovely, the pearls where a light pink and some where white.

I was so pleased with the finished result which cost £125 including extra decorations and all postage. We didn't recieve a single RSVP that didnt comment on how lovely and beautifully presented the invitations were, so tying all that bloody twine was worth it!

Only 7 weeks to go!!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Freddie William at 18 months

 Freddie turned 18 months old on 16th May, so this is a tad late but I don't think I have been ready to face having an 18 month old! We are in full on toddler zone now! Timehop has been putting me through the emotional ringer recently, seeing my 6 month old squish a year ago, and my baby bump 2 years ago! Time has flown, and as much as my heart aches for one more newborn snuggle, the adventures with a toddler are better than I ever could have imagined, Harder, of course but absolutely wonderful and seeing him grow is so exciting. So here you are, Freddie William at 18 months old.

Freddie is in no way a foodie, he loves his fruit and he likes meat but he really isn't that fussed about anything carby and filling, I have to get quite creative to engage him in eating.  He had been allowed sweet things since he turned one, white chocolate buttons, ice cream etc but after becoming quite demanding over them, and the effect they definitely had on his behavior, they have all been completely withdrawn for almost 2 weeks now and he isn't missing them one bit, he isn't expecting 'a treat' and is quite happy tucking into something healthier and more substantial instead, I feel a bit mean, he did love a choccy button but I have been making lots of healthy yummy 'sweet' treats which he enjoys a lot more so I am pleased with the decision we made.  We wont be those parents who make their child have an apple at Halloween though, we will re introduce these things when he is old enough to understand the 'concept'. Every day he is coming on leaps and bounds with his eating, he is slowly becoming more interested and is trying new flavours and things all the time.  This month he has learned to love, mama's homemade burgers, sausages, carrots and potato. He still has a bottle of milk at night and first thing in the morning although these are becoming less frequent with each passing week.

A big leap Freddie has made in his 18th month of life, was going from a cot to a bed.  This was probably sooner than we would have liked, but he literally busted out the side of his cot, the bars actually fell out! My nanny bought the cot for me when I was born, so it is 23 years old and has slept 7 children.  It did well!  The transition into a bed has not been completely smooth sailing, since the introduction of the bed he has only napped in the day once.  However I am not sure if this is a coincidence as I believe it is not uncommon for toddlers his age to go through a phase of not napping in the day.  I am praying this is true, my house is starting resemble a farmyard barn.  I need my two hours house work time back!  Freddie loves his bed to play on, read on and snuggle in.  And although is sleeping much better in the bed, he is still waking in the night. yep that's right, at 18 months old our little darling has still never slept through the night and still seeks asylum in our bed at around 2/3 am.  Although exhausting sometimes, I know it wont last forever, we are trying just to, not ignore, but just look past the issue and not turn it into a fight.  We will get there in the end.  And I love love love the snuggly sleepy cuddles, he is usually far to busy for! The silver lining however is Fred is not an early riser, He always sleeps in until 8:30/9am.

Our daily routine is pretty relaxed now, we split our day into two and always plan something for the morning and afternoon, whether that be out somewhere or a planned activities indoors.  Now I am working two days a week Freddie really understands the difference between a 'mummy' day (Mon, Tues & Weds) and gets so excited when I tell him it's a Grannie day (Thurs & Fri).  He is so lucky to go to my mums the 2 days I work, he always has so much fun, he attends the local toddler group to my mum on a Friday morning which he loves and they always fill their days with dog walks and generally spoiling Freddie rotten, just like grandparents do. On Mondays we do swimming lessons and I am hoping to find him a activity club like Toddler gymnastics or something as he is so so active.

I have been so excited to write this bit! This is by far the biggest thing with Freddie; his development is just incredible.  I cannot get over the difference between a 16 month old an 18 month old.  I have been told Freddie is ahead of himself according to my mum I was the same and the fact he does everything at 100mph this doesn't surprise me!  His talking is just amazing, he will copy any word you say, most are recognisable and even if they aren't he gives them a bloody good bash.  He is putting sentences and phrases together, his favourites being - Where is it, Who is that, Where is he (usually referring to grandad) and oh look a ... - his little voice is so cute too.  He can say so many words now it is making parenting so so much easier! He can tell me what he wants, what he needs and what he doesn't, which is making life so much easier. Especially helpful when he asks for food and 'jooce'! He always says 'Ta' or 'Thankyou' when you give him something, you can tell i'm big on manners! He literally does not stop talking from the moment he opens his eyes until the moment he goes to sleep. wonderful, but makes my head spin!

He is also very keen on the potty.  We are not training him yet, but he himself will tell me he needs a wee or a poo and will ask for the potty. he has done countless wees and a few number 2's on the potty already.  However, some days he seems to have no idea what a potty is, so we are just letting him have a go when he fancy's, not asking or persuading him. just letting him do his thing, he is in no way 100% ready yet, but I do think he will perhaps by the time he turns 2.

He can do lots of other things that amaze me, he can undress himself which can sometimes be problematic haha, He can climb into his Tripp Trapp chair and do up the buckle, this really shocked me and I thought I had amnesia for about 3 days thinking I had totally mind blanked putting him into and clipping him into his high chair!

He is so physically able now and very sturdy with his walking, running and climbing, he is going to give me a mini heart attack for sure, such a dare devil.

He knows his numbers up to 3 and can point out letters in his name but is yet to show any interest in colours.

He has learnt a lot recently about empathy, and is understanding when something isn't the right thing to do and is really testing the boundaries now! This kid, although luckily pretty rare, can through a serious tantrum. Big enough tantrum to get me fast tracked to the front of the queue in Asda, oh the shame!

  •  Loves loading and loading the washing machine - Everytime you say 'can you put that in' he says 'yep'. actually, ask him anything and he loves to answer 'Yep' really enthusiastically, its so cute!
  • Buses, cars, trains, lorrys, aeroplanes, tractors; if it's got wheels, he is obsessed. He literally spends all his days shouting out names of transport and making car noises, which is actually adorable, our house is being taken over by transport themed toys and books! His imaginative play has suddenly really kicked in, watching him playing in his room makes my heart feel like it might burst.
  • Running - this kid can run and run and run and run and when you think he might stop, he wont he will run some more. The look on his face when he is running is so cheeky, like a gold retriever that's been inside for a month!
  • Chilling, Fred is very boisterous, on the go all the time, he literally never stops but he also loves to relax and chill out. Must take after his Mama! He loves to snuggle up with his million 'muzzys' (Muslins) under his blanket and watch films, his favourite currently being Pudsey the Movie! he also loves to have quiet time and read books, he loves to pretend he can read which is hilarious. 
  • Swimming, starting swimming lessons at 5 weeks old was the best decision, he is such a water baby and has started using armbands and jumping in from the side! he is getting so good at kicking his legs too, wont be long before I will be able to let go! 
  • Adventures and Exploring - He really is never happier than when he is with Mama and Daddy exploring new places.  He loves the outdoors and I just love seeing him out exploring the big wide world.  His new favourite thing is looking for ants! 
  • Animals - second to transport is 'animools'! He loves playing with his Noahs ark and farm, and adores going to the farm, never seen a bigger smile in my life than when we took him to Godstone, Pigs are his favourite and his chicken noise is really impressive.


As usual I have rambled and I am worried this sounds like a brag fest, I promise it isn't, we have awful days too, believe me.  But every day since Freddie was born I have doubted myself as a mum, worried about whether I am doing enough, if I am teaching him enough, stimulating his mind and imagination and sitting down and writing about my 18 month old has been so good. Actually I am doing alright, our boy is thriving, and maybe i'm a pretty good mum after all.  Maybe all the worrying is what pushes me to be a better mum.

I still can't believe this wonderful, kind and caring boy is ours. Ours to keep forever.  He is so affectionate, he loves to cuddle me, and kiss me.  He kisses his toys and gives them drinks, When I do my blood sugar he strokes me and says 'hi mama' when he sees me using my needles.  He is so perceptive and already knows how to take my blood sugar levels, which is beyond incredible.  I hate the thought I will ever need him to help me, but it wont be long before, should I need looking after, he will be able to help me, although this makes me so proud, it makes me so sad too.

He shows so much affection to his family too, to all his grandparents, his aunties and uncles and cousins. He really is such a happy little boy, we are so very blessed.

what were your little ones up to at 18 months? Thank you for reading this very long post!

"Dear my darling little Freddie William, 

Thank you for bringing sunshine to my life for 18 whole months. I can never begin to explain the happiness you bring to Daddy and I. We love you so very much, too the moon, round the stars and back again. 

Love Mummy xx"