Category Archives: babies

Parenting Lessons from the Terror Tot – Potty Training 101

Potty TrainingWritespiration is on hold this week. I’ve been busy potty training. As well as the fact that this month is my target month to complete my manuscript draft of Keepers (and next month I have to finish the edits ready for beta readers) so the blog has well and truly taken a back seat.

I have heaps of comments to approve or reply to, a bunch of personal emails that need tending to and my usual boat load of pre-scheduled posts is in a deficit, so sozberries, right now I’m drowning!

So I thought I would bring you baby black terror tot extraordinaire with his latest lessons in parent training… Continue reading

Spermy, Spermy, Sperms!

more sperm

 

This is quite possibly the most exciting personal post I have written in a while. The posts about my life and memoirs seem to be getting rarer, but this blog was created originally as a memoir, so I refuse to let go of that side completely, no matter how much it’s evolved, so sorry to all the folk out there who signed up to read all about writing, this ones a memoir.

A long time ago, I was told I probably wouldn’t be able to have children. It’s a long story, but it ended up in me falling pregnant rather quickly and a hasty retreat by the fertility clinic.

Thankfully we managed to get pregnant, and nine extremely long months later, and 3.5 days of excruciating labour, baby Black was born. The best year of my life followed, and a difficult decision about sperm.

The wife and I thus far haven’t really wanted another child. Not for any other reason than, we need to pay off the cost of the first baby, and buy a house to make sure we can provide for him first before having another one.

We have spent a long time discussing whether having another one would suit us, and our family. We bickered a lot to start with, but I guess that’s normal for most couples. As time has gone on we have continued to learn lots of parenting lessons and are continually growing together on our journey.

Deciding whether to save sperm for another child has been a topic of much contention. It’s difficult trying to predict what we might or might not want to do in a few years time.

Of course, even if we didn’t save sperm we could have another child using another donor, but if the option is there to use the same donor, we are both in agreement that we would prefer to use them.

So we came to a cross road… To save or not to save? It’s an extremely costly affair saving sperm. To save enough for three attempts it’s a whopping £1000 for three years, and another £300 every three years to continue to have it stored.

BUT, we decided to save some, just in case. I am not saying we will have any more kids, as at the minute neither of us can see it happening, however, we are trying to protect our options, ensure that we aren’t taking our choices away and making a decision about how we will feel in 5 or 6 years time.

So there we have it… Very exciting news, the Black’s have a bank… a bank of sperm! (can’t help but giggle like a child about this!) But SHHHHH! It’s a secret!

 

Daylight Savings Time + Toddlers

Ahhhh, the dreaded clock change that happens twice yearly…. that sacred extra hour you usually get in bed…pre parenthood.

WORST WEEK OF MY LIFE PEOPLE!!!

Babies apparently don’t appreciate this annual gift we are given of extra sleep, in fact, not only do they reject the gift, they completely ignore it, choosing instead to get up at the usual time (now an hour early) the joyous hour of 5am. Fuck the worm, I have never been a morning person. I choose to be a late bird, why oh why did my son not inherit this precious piece of me?!

This was genuinely me trying to get out of bed at 5am to get the boy this morning.

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The thing is, he is doesn’t just affect the morning its also affecting the evening. Instead of going to be at 7, like normal we get to half past 6, and he goes all

angry

Its horrendous. We have tried everything from distraction, to TV, to extra milk, and out and out bribery! nothing is working. So tomorrow we have asked friends to come round to try and distract him between half six and 7, in the vague hope ‘new faces’ might be exciting! sigh. My caffeine intake this week is actually offensive!

Anyone else suffering with Daylight Savings Time?

Forget terrible twos, why didn't anyone tell me about the terrible ten months?

As I promised, this would be a blog of two halves, partly about my life as a mum, writer, and worker bee, and partly about writing, and my quest to get published.

So, this is a motherhood post.

Everybody knows about the terrible twos, how truly awful they are with screaming tantrums and public paddies.

giphy child

Hideously embarrassing and the phase I suspect most parents dread in young children. BUT SERIOUSLY…. why did no one tell me about the horrific change that happens at ten months? My son is now ten and a half approaching eleven months, and it was like an alien literally took over his body and possessed his previously calm temperament.

Nappy changing is simply an impossibility without an army of spare hands, arms and legs to pin your gremlin of a child in place while you change them. Ok, so distraction occasionally works too, but not as well as it used to! He now likes to pitch an absolute bitch of a screaming fit, when I get him dressed, try and do his teeth, or anything that even remotely changes his current situation.

In spite of the fact I’ve read a million mum blogs, help sites read books and compared notes with a hundred friends, it kind of doesn’t matter what they say or suggest because baby black, is just going to make life difficult his own way! When I find a solution I’ll report back!

 

Why being a lesbian mum is exactly the same and completely different

There are some fundamental things about motherhood that just don’t change. You will change umpteen nappies, and as a result you will get baby poop and other bodily liquids over most of your limbs at one point or another. Generally speaking however you obtain a child (no, not theft, I’m talking adoption, fertility treatment or in a plethora of other ways) it’s come from the same place – a womb. There will be a time – if you have a newborn or very young baby – where you don’t sleep, you will feel like the walking dead and you won’t know who you are; one day you will find you self sat on the sofa in yesterday’s underwear, bloodshot eyes with bags the size of houses, unbrushed teeth that still look clean because you can’t remember the last time you ate, smeared with poop, a few bubbles of sick down one arm, and some crusty snot thrown in for good measure. That happens. To everyone who’s a parent believe me. There’s other things, like the fact that once your a parent there really is no going back – particularly for those that have carried and birthed a child, once you have that baby your life will never be the same again. It takes time to go back to feeling like yourself, but that self is very much a different self. Whoever you were before you had a child is gone, held captive by your long forgotten and never to return youth. Whoever you were is most definitely not returning. But that’s ok. This new you is a better you anyway!

Thats the stuff that’s the same. Seems like everything, right? Wrong. The differences are invariably cultural. Its always cultural. It’s those little things that make our lives that bit harder. The worst bit, is it starts before your child’s even born.

Take your antenatal classes – a class full of straight couples. Where does the non birth mother sit? For the sake of this and any ongoing blogs I post (and my word count!) the non birth mother will be referred to as ‘mama’ and birth mother (mum). Where should the mama sit? It’s not really with the mums – they are all discussing the trials and tribulations of pregnancy and their fears of labour. But it’s also not really with the dads who are more concerned with discussing where the closest dominoes pizza place is to the hospital.

Throughout pregnancy I felt sorry for my wife – she would tell people she’s having a child and within about three seconds a haze of confusion would melt over their face as their eyes would unsubtly drop to her stomach and back to her face a few times. It’s still not ‘normal’ enough for people to just accept that two women can have a baby.

Even after pregnancy and labour it continues – but the problem is – the differences are between your friends and you. I am sure that to a certain extent straight couples who have kids young experience similar things. The friends who begin to slip away because they ‘just don’t get it’. They are incapable of compromising or being understanding to the fact that organising a night out is the equivalent to party planning for the royals. It takes serious time and effort, you can’t just go out at the drop of a hat. And, lets be honest, most of the time you don’t want too either, not because you’re a bore, but because if you do go out – the consequences will reach further than just a saturday morning hangover. You’re going to be tired long into thursday – especially when your child decides to start teething again – at that very moment you went out and let your hair down – commence a week or two of exhaustion. That bit – is probably the same.

But for the LGBT circle, the current generation of young’uns (17-35) we seem to be taking life in the slow lane. The majority of people who are having children in this gayby boom are 35 plus in the LGBT world – obviously I’m not saying everyone, there are also pockets of exceptions – but in my world – most if not all the LGBT parents I have met are 35 plus – in fact thats kind of mimicked with the hetero-parents I’ve met too. The difference this makes is – most of my friends are still in the culture of being concerned with where the next night out is coming from and who’s round is next. most still live at home with mum and dad, and few have careers sorted or any kind of concept of where they want to be when they grow up. Indeed any kind of mention of commitment and you got yourself a full on epi pen needing allergic reaction. Why is our generation of young LGBT so frightened of commitment? few if any of my friends have had relationships longer than a couple of years. It makes me feel like a freakshow – not only am I LGBT and therefore in a minority group as it is – but I’m a minority within a minority – a young LGBT person with a child, who actually had the child in a lesbian relationship and whats more, gave birth.

Other major differences include the ‘questioning’ when you come across a straight couple with a newborn – usual questions include: Oh how adorable – how much did they weigh? How was the birth? Do they sleep?

Now – we tend to get one or two of those normal questions and then you get hit with the- ‘I’m going to look really awkward and shift from foot to foot because I know what I’m about to ask is rude, but I’m going to do it anyway!’ – face and then the barrage of “oh so, er, how did you do it then?” most of the time I feel like responding with an equally stupid answer “do what? get my hair styled this way?, do what look this good on no sleep?” etc etc. Other stupid questions include “do you know the donor?” “are you both called mum”

Seriously, next time a straight couple asks me how I ‘did it’ I’m going to ask them how they got pregnant too, see how they like them apples!

I’m ranting – but I have a point, we face regular interrogations from joe public, and even from our parents. My own dad commented that he wasn’t really sure how it would ‘be’ raising a male child with two mums. “Where’s the balance” I remember him saying. He ate his own words though when he visited because he then said “I don’t think I’ve met a happier child.”

There are probably a million other differences I could name, but my rant just ran out of steam! For any of you LGBT mummies out there – anyone else able to add irritations to the list?

On Being Sacha Black

It’s been ten months since I posted properly. The birth of my son understandably turned my life into chaos. But after some thought, and preparation I’ve decided a new look to Sacha Black’s blog and a slight re think in content should bring me back onto the straight and narrow blogging scene again.

This blog has had so many incarnations – rants about work, struggles with art and writing, and my battle with fertility, but always my memoirs.

But now, I am a mum, a worker bee, a wife, a writer, and hopefully a blogger again. This blog will be twofold, my memoirs on being a mum, and my memoirs on writing.

I hope you will follow me on this journey.

Writing

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I am attempting to take more time for me now that I am beginning to get some semblance of routine back into my life. With work just round the corner an the end of my maternity approaching, I am trying to think more about myself and where I want to go. I don’t want baby black to grow up with a miserable mother – just because I carried on doing a ‘job’ that pays the bills. I want to be a role model for him, to show him if you want something bad enough you can do it, you just have to work hard. So, now I have a fixed laptop, it is time to crack on with my writing course. Incase anyone else fancies themselves a writing course you can find it here.

So my first assignment, and piece of writing I had to do was a piece of descriptive writing. I thought I would share it with you. It was an observational piece, and we had to choose somewhere of interest and describe it. Feel free to comment if you like:

In the distance an aeroplane rumbled, and I strained to find the contrail jutting out of its rear. Unable to see it, I meandered down the twisted wisteria walkway instead. This was the aisle I was meant to walk down on my wedding day. Sighing, I stroked one of the baby branches arching over the walkway and was surprised to find it furry and covered in moss; my fingers tingled at its touch. Its elder looked down watching it grow, bark as wrinkly as a grandmothers.

The gravel crunched under my feet, as I continued down the path. I halted as I glimpsed a hint of the pillar-box red oriental bridge in the distance. Veering off the walkway I headed towards the bridge to stand at the edge of the lake, I heard the quacking of a pair of ducks paddling in the pond, and the roar of a waterfall pounded the jagged rocks surrounding it. Staring at the pool beneath the waterfall, I wondered whether mermaids lived in the murky midnight blue depths.

I stepped around the end of the walkway into a huge open space covered in a blanket of green grass. It felt like I was entering a magical world. A towering pagoda stood peacefully amongst the trees and boulders around it. If you listened hard enough you could almost hear the clip clop of geisha shoes, and the flapping of kimono fabric in the wind. Poised at my feet, stood a single flower flecked with pink ready to battle the first frosts of spring like a samurai preparing for war. 

I inhaled deeply, and the sharp air cut my throat as it whipped my fringe into my glasses. I pulled my jacket tighter to protect myself from the chilly air and walked through the dewy grass towards the aged mansion at the top of the gardens. I placed my hands on the filigree garden gate, and shivered as the icy metal bit my fingers. A delicate spiders web quivered in the breeze lonely without its eight-legged owner. The stately gardens behind the gate were pruned to perfection, with chess shaped bushes and neat lines surrounding the majestic fountain centerpiece.  

Springs first sunshine kissed the mansions sandy colored bricks. Terracotta turrets bulged out of the roof, and evergreen coloured ivy crept boldly up the walls.  I walked away imagining wartime evacuees waving behind the mansions enormous square windows and running through the great rooms inside.

 

 

 

A Letter To My 18 Year Old Son

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Like the TV advert, the wife and I decided to set up an email account for our newborn  son to open on his 18th birthday. We will spend the next 18 years sending letters, photos and videos to him in secret, so that his life with us is chronicled. I thought you may like to read my first entry.

My Dearest A,

You are currently my little sleeping beauty upstairs in your crib. I am hoping you are reading this on or around your 18th birthday, as we have now given you the password and account details for this account.

I want you to know, wherever you are, wherever we are, I am immensely proud of whoever you have become. I love you with all my heart, you are my world.
‘The Very first moment I beheld him, my heart was irrevocably gone.’ Jane Austen.
 
You’re 11 and a half weeks old, just shy of 3 months old. I look at you now and wonder how you came to be. It feels like you have been here my entire life, and yet, for just a moment, and already I love you with such immensity that it takes over my entire being.
I am still at home on maternity leave with you at the moment and will be for a few more weeks. I savour every moment of time I spend with you, because I will be at work soon and then every moment I spend away from you will be a moment wasted. 🙁
The best parts of my day are when you smile at me, or when I get to watch you learn something new. Your making lots of noises these days, and beginning to form a real laugh, and I can’t help but giggle every time you do; your learning to sit – although you scream in protest every time we practice, you much prefer standing up. You love your door bouncer and finally your starting to learn to roll over.
I am talking to my 18 year old son… I will be 44 by the time your 18. Oh my god, that seems like a life time away, I can’t imagine what I will be like at 44, or who I will be, let alone who you will be.
What do I hope for you? Firstly and most importantly I hope you are happy. I hope you have had a wealth of experiences, good, bad, naughty and ugly! I hope you are safe and well. I hope you have studied hard, and played harder, I hope you have loved and lost and loved again and I hope you have travelled.
Every parent wants their child to be a doctor, lawyer, pilot or some other well paid career. But I just hope that you have found something that will make you happy for the duration of your career, I don’t care if your a ballerina, a seamstress, a chef or a boxer. As long as you work hard you will be the best you can be, but enjoy whatever you choose to do in life, because life is too short to be unhappy…. but secretly I do hope you have chosen to go to university! I met your mumma at university and I am sure I speak for her too when I tell you how much fun we had at university, even during the all nighters trying to finish assignments.
I hope you enjoy the next 18 years of emails! It might take a day or two to get through!
Happy Birthday baby boy, I love you always and forever, mummy. xxx

Tales of Advice

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The thing is, we ask for advice even when we don’t really need it, don’t really want it and then, we don’t really follow it!

I have a bee in my bonnet about this because I annoy myself asking for advice.

Why do I do it?

I… Infact WE all already know the answer. Don’t we?

For example:

Should I go out tonight?

Even though your asking with a little wry smile you already know your going, so why do we bloody ask?

Should I eat a second bar of chocolate?

No Sach, of course you shouldn’t, because once you do, your guna be wracked with guilt over the calories you have guzzled, feel guilty, fat and then reach for a third bar to console yourself – why do I do it? I just shouldn’t ask because I already know the answer!

The real irritation I have with asking for advice is really, deep down, we’re all just looking for self justification. It’s kind of arrogant! We want everyone else to agree and justify what we want to do, even when we know it’s a bad idea.

Oh what should I do? – my (fictional) boyfriends cheated on me… again – should I take him back? I mean he is really sorry this time.

Why can’t we just be confident in our decisions? In what we already know we are going to do. Why do we pretend and deny that we haven’t made our minds up?! The moment I ask for advice I’ve already made my mind up. I know it, whoever I’m asking knows it too. Yet we both persist in dancing around the perpetual advice fence: you justify whatever course of action you really want to take, and the person giving advice rolls around the reasons why it’s a bad idea.

What’s the point? Waste of air.

AND…. Even when we do get advice we never bloody follow it! Humans are awful at following advice. We all give it, and even when we ask our dear friends what they would tell themselves, we still don’t follow it!

So – I decided –

Fuck advice, I already know what I want to do….

I have been searching for the right writing course for two years, the course to give me the right knowledge to finish my novel and kick start what I hope will be a writing career – my dream.

Why I thought to ask whether or not to do it I have no idea. I only got annoyed with what I heard, because really, all I wanted was confirmation I was doing the right thing, and who can actually give me that? No one but me!

Yes it’s 350 quid, but I can pay it over a few months, yes I have a newborn. But so what. Who do I actually need to justify it to?

Does having an infant mean my life goes on hold? That my dreams stop?No. More to the point, if I did put my life on hold, what kind of role model is that for my child? Do I want him to learn that you can be lazy and find excuses not to follow your dreams? Or do I want him to know that he has to work, hard, play hard and never give up….

So, I’ll ignore the pessimism, stop asking for advice and do it anyway. My money, my time, my choice.

I might be, covered in sick, soaked in pee, stinking of baby poop, slightly delirious, and temporarily daisy the milking cow, but that doesn’t mean I can’t follow my dreams…..

Even if I have to do it one handed, smelling of baby fluids and caked in puke. Failing that I’ll do it in the bath once the boys asleep!

The Mother of all Statuses

Admittedly I dropped off the face of the planet, but in my defence I did push a rather large baby out my whatsit  9 weeks ago!

I met a mummy friend today, and she told me she was starting a blog, so I figured I had no excuse as a veteran blogger! So I am officially jumping back on the wagon. It was a fight to dream land with baby black but now he’s down here I am catching up!

I figure the quickest way to update you on the last 9 weeks is through short sharp Facebook statuses – Here is my last 9 weeks in brief:

 

4/2/14 Had the boy weighed today… 14lb… He’s a stone… A STONE!! Wtf!!

I just want to state for the record 5am is NOT play time 

1/2/14 And that is why I deserve a pair of Louboutins!…. And the fact I pushed a baby out my…!

cinder

 

30/1/14 Someone seriously needs to invent breast pads that actually work  this is not a good look

leaky

29/1/14 8 hours later, several nappies, play gym, bumbo, vibrating rocking chair, several feeds, me covered head to foot in leaked milk, sticky arms, no bath, no pee, inhaled food, practiced sitting, standing and grabbing and finally I managed to tire him out enough for one…. Just one nap…. I am shattered, PLEASE for the love of my sanity stay asleep.

And he’s awake again. Some one actually shoot me.

28/1/14   8 week health check and vaccines… FML

25/1/14  Dear pampers/huggies can you please invent a dry baby wipe that still cleans but isnt cold and wet like the normal wipes, because they ALWAYS wake the baby up in the middle of the night when u need to change them. Thanks

23/1/14  Won’t nap during the day when u want them too… But by god will they fall into an unwakeable coma the minute u want them to be awake!… In other news I’m pretty sure there’s sick on me somewhere the smell of stale cheese is following me and I can’t find where it is!! #fml

21/1/14  So tired today 🙁

20/1/14  5000 changes later a gallon of poo, dozens of nappies, half a roll of kitchen towel, several litres of sick, a rather large bogey, two giant pee pees, half a pack of baby wipes, and finally a bath, Atlas is clean, dressed, fed and passing out –

I on the other hand am rather sweaty, covered in several layers of poo, sick and wee, my child’s bogey and oddly macaroni cheese! When is my wife coming home…. — feeling fresh

16/1/14  Apparently these are the same age – UGH no wonder I can’t find anything to fit him 🙁

baby grow

 

15/1/14  Looking fabulous covered in projectile vomit as I walk into tescos…. Note to self – keep a change of clothes for mummy not just baby in the car!

9/1/14 Hate to have a bitch and moan but how in the hell is this model representative of post birth women? – amazon are idiots

skinny bitch

 

“severe” tummy muscle separation and an average healing time of 5-6months – which means no proper exercise for 5/6months – definitely shedding a tear today — feeling gutted.

Ok that would be the 4th change of clothes… #sigh

Definitely initiated into parenthood this morning – pee and sick on the bed followed by projectile sick on to the floor and three changes of clothes all before I’m dresses and out of my room BUT it’s all ok… You know why…. We have laughter as well as smiles this morning – and that made it all ok again!!

8/1/14 And we have a smiling baby black and it’s not just wind!!

28/12/13 Where has 4 weeks gone? Can’t believe we have been parents for 4 whole weeks already!

25/1/13 CHRISTMAS DAY

Thank you everyone for the love and messages  I just got home safe and sound but under strict rest orders and have some heavy duty antibiotics but on the mend 

Would really like to go home now — feeling sad.

So for Christmas Santa bought me a stay in hospital, IV antibiotics and some serious abdomen pain  merry fudging Christmas everyone! — feelingill.

23/12/13 Officially running on empty — feeling drained.

22/12/13 I now have full appreciation for the need for ‘family cars’ trying to breast feed and nappy change in my car is a full blown FML situation!!

…That priceless moment when ur little bub holds on during a cuddle and u just know u were born to be a mummy/mama/daddy or dada…. 

21/12/13 Best day ever when u can put pre pregnancy trousers on and they aren’t uncomfortable…!  still a long way to go though!!

20/12/13 Find “milk drunk” babies hilarious

15/12/13 Calling all breastfeeding mothers – upon leaving the house post feed – make sure your top is pulled up and ur bra covered particularly when entering supermarkets!

12/12/13 Forget being ambidextrous…. Having babies give you toe and feet dexterity!! I’ll be painting the Mona Lisa with my left toes in no time!!

10/12/13 Advent calendars…. The reason why mummies with Christmas babies know the date!!

8/12/13 you know your wife has OCD when she has to go out to matalan to buy cream mittens because you have put white on next to a cream baby gro!!! — feeling amused

6/12/13 Day 1 at home 9:15am everyone’s bathed and dressed and he’s been fed…. Hmm I’m thinking this is the calm before the storm!! :s