Monday, 23 February 2015

Hallway project part 1

Finally getting around to decorating our hall way.  It is an awkward L-shaped room, almost like 2 rooms in one:  long narrow 'corridor' opening out on one end to a square where each room leads off from.  It is often neglected and is the dumping ground for 'stuff' when we come home.  I have had the paper (using 3 different kinds)  picked for the hall for past couple of years but have swithered several times over one of them.  This is where mine and Hubby's tastes differ...more about that later.
Our hall is always where, whatever room I have cleared out or de-junked, ends up storing said junk as I never know whether to keep/ charity shop/ store at parent's (not really an option, but its generally for Kiddo's outgrown toys which they, incidently, bought most of...) or take to the tip.  It starts off clear and inviting, but very quickly is full of crap again. As the hall gets no natural light of its own, rather relying on light from  the other rooms, its really nice to have it free from clutter - easier said than done in my home!
Currently all the walls are magnolia from when we were selling, a couple of years ago. There are an assortment of photographs on the walls and furniture for storage.

 These were taken before I gave the shoe rack its make over at the end of last year.
 See how clutter free and calm the place looks?  This nice and tidy space did not last once life resumed following the photography session....

This was my chest of drawers that used to be in the livingroom.  the section of the hall in the 'square'.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to reshuffle the furniture again : the drawers have found their way back into the living room and the book cases that used to be in the hall years ago are back there.  So now, prior to decorating, the furniture configurement looks like this (please remember we live here and none of the 3 of us are particularly tidy by mother and mother-in-law will be horrified that I have shared these pics, but hey!) :

The papers we have chosen to decorate with are brick work for all walls except the one which has the bureau against it (this will have a 'feature paper').  The long wall in the corridor will be in the red brickwork

and all other walls in a white fresco brick
That's all fine and settled, as I said, for the past couple of years.  The decision and chopping and changing of minds stands firmly between the differing tastes of Hubby and I.  We have narrowed our short list down to 2 papers. I put both on Facebook the other day to see which paper people preferred - all bar 1 preferred Hubby's choice - any comments are welcomed here if you wish to share.  The 2 papers in question are :


These are the ones Hubby vetoed when narrowing our selection :

 "I could live with it if I had to, but would rather not!"

"Oh Hell NO!"
Sadly of all the papers I looked at, THIS was my favourite. There is something so funky and retro yet warm about it. I LOVE it. 

So this is the current "Digs to Home" project underway. 
Part 2 will follow upon completion of project. Once we eventually pick the bloody paper we can agree on.

ps. I like the teal paper with the retro sunbursts 
pps. - All 6 wallpapers shown are from

Friday, 20 February 2015

4 year olds are people too

When does "cheek" become "opinionated"?
Why are adults allowed to be in a bad mood or have a shit day, but children aren't?
Why are 4 year old's not allowed to show emotion, or worse still, express their emotion if it is not one of joy?
Why is letting them have their intense moment, then chatting about it after they calm down seen as permissive parenting, yet leaving them all alone with these big emotions either on the naughty step or behind a closed door viewed to be suitable punishment?
Why are strong willed children viewed negatively and as brats or wee devils, yet the same traits in adults are viewed as assertive, strong and in a positive manner?
Why are children forced to apologise and learn to give false platitudes, rather than learn empathy and sincerity?
What is so wrong with being genuine, authentic, overwhelmed at times with big emotions and being allowed to express them (safely) the only way you know how, until you are  mature enough to understand whats going on and have learned how to deal with situations in a more confident manner?
When someone is spoken to in a derogatory fashion/shouted or given 'a row' at work, why do they always say they were "spoken to as if I was a child"? Are children not people too? Do they not deserve to be spoken to with respect?
At what age does society stop talking to children 'like children' and start talking to them as people?

Being 4 is hard.

Kiddo is a very strong willed little boy; his stubborn streak is truly something to behold.  He will not be told what to do, unless he has an explanation as to why (even if he knows and understands, he will do it in his own time - which at times can be infuriating and others its no big issue).  Compliance to do as he is told "because I said so" just does not fly. He views all people as equals, there is no hierarchy in which he is lesser than you because 'you' are an adult. If you suggest something or say something he knows to be incorrect, he will call you on it and correct your information. My kid knows his own mind. And isn't afraid to share a piece of it with you!

This is part of his personality I love and am so protective of, it needs nurtured and refined but I'm hoping that this streak will serve him well as he is growing up and has to deal with peer pressures and  growing into a self assured and confident adult.  But it is not without its challenges. Parenting a strong willed child is bloody hard work. Kiddo and I have similar personalities in that we are both stubborn and usually always right *ahem, cough cough* (this particular gene comes from my Dad who is always "correct"), and when we go toe-to-toe it's proper arguments we have - my 4year old and I argue, and what he comes back with is, at times, (I'll admit)  hard to argue with. The boy has reasoning and sarcasm down pat. I hear what he says to his Dad or to me, and I know he has picked it up from spending so much time with me.  Hubby and I have often looked at each other and said "he's right!". And its annoying! It's frustrating! However, regardless of whether what he says is right or not, the tone used is often the bit that presents the challenge. This is where people will say "He's cheeky/I wouldn't put up with that/he's not talking to me like that/ he's grumpy/ or even one work colleague said to me after she ruffled his hair (don't mess with Kiddo's hair, especially if you haven't asked first - that's another thing, it is simply not okay to touch my child without asking him. It doesn't matter that you know me, he doesn't necessarily know you and will take issue with this - you will be left in no doubt that he is unhappy with you!) he's being a wee shit today, eh (with a conspiring nod)" - eh naw!
Now, hand ups up, sometimes I will give it " who exactly do you think you're talking to?"  ["yoou-oo"] or "Oi, you will not speak to me like that" ["well you're talking to me like that!"] and when he answers back as in the examples given, I do stop and think, right, how can I do this differently? First thing to address is my own tone - how can I possibly expect him to use an appropriate tone with me, if I don't use one with him? There is absolutely no point huffing, expelling a large sigh and flouncing off muttering " I can't be bothered with that", as this leaves him confused as to whats happening, and he learns nothing about what was wrong with this interaction.  Yes, sometimes I need to take a minute to collect myself, and give myself a 'time-out' usually in the kitchen or bathroom, just to breathe and calm down a bit.  What I don't do is put Kiddo on time-out/naughty step or any other version of that method ( we tried it a couple of times when he was younger but, honestly I think it's a terrible idea - just my opinion, I know many many parents who use it regularly.)
Why don't I use the naughty step? What does it actually achieve? As far as I can tell, kids sit there on their approved 'step' to think about their actions. Do they think about their actions - do they hell! They sit and stew about how unfair their situation is. Then after the aloted time, they are either told to say sorry for blah blah blah, or to come back when they have seen the error of their ways. This results in tears and (depending on age of child) possible anxiety at being left to sit by themselves, or they very quickly figure out that if they just say sorry, it's over with, and no more is said. Saying sorry is not worth the breath it comes out on if it is not sincere. They also learn about getting caught, which can make some kids sneaky; making sure they continue to do as they wish, without getting caught, but it's okay as all they have to do is say "I'm sorry!".
So if I don't use the naughty step what do I do? If Kiddo is angry, I let him get angry. It is a human emotion to feel anger, but it is vital to let it out and not suppress it. I stay close to him (he doesn't always want that, but he knows I'm near by when he needs me - which is always as soon as the steam has ran out, he comes over for a cuddle). If Kiddo is really angry, he cannot communicate, and instead grunts or screams and either turns his back on you (in which case back off) or lashes out.  I do not tolerate him hitting or hurting anyone.  If it is another child that he has hit, I make sure the other child is okay, and I apologise to the child : "Are you okay? I'm sorry Kiddo hurt you", and always apologise infront of Kiddo. I am genuinely sorry, and embarrassed, that another child has been hurt, and it is important for Kiddo to hear me apologise, and to understand what a genuine apology is. When he has calmed down the situation is addressed; it is impossible to communicate with a child mid-meltdown. It is my (or whomever is looking after him at that point) responsibility to keep him safe and let him feel his big emotions and then to let them go and move on.  We always talk about each situation afterwards, whether it be in the car, over dinner, as he has a bath or 5 mins after the 'event'.  The discussion about how he felt, what caused it, and mostly importantly, what he could do differently if he felt like that again.  It has to be Kiddo that comes up with the last solution as he is the one who has to try and remember to implement it when he feels angry and wants to hit someone who is annoying him.  This conversation is between me (or Hubby) and Kiddo. It is not for the ears of the person awaiting an apology from him.  Some times Kiddo will come to me on his own and chat about feelings, or come up and out the blue say he is sorry for something - once he has processed the event, and felt that an apology was required.  A real and sincere apology.

His latest idea was instead of hitting, he would turn around and wiggle his bottom.On Wednesday afternoon at one of our home-ed meets, this was exactly what I saw when I looked over to where the kids were playing : there was Kiddo shaking his bottom at his friends who were dissolving into giggles. It was hilarious! And it worked!

Now, I know that my son is no angel but by the same token, I don't believe angelic children exist.  There are always 2 sides to every story, and it pays to hear them.  This is something the woman in soft play may want to consider the next time she and her friend come stomping over to my table with 3 kids in tow complaining about Kiddo. Yes, I apologised that her daughter got hit by the chalk and then I promptly ignored the intimidation party as I had a crying 4 year old on my lap whom I was comforting and calming so that he was actually able to say what happened.  She strutted off outraged that my sobbing child was not made to apologise. We all get upset when our kids are wronged, but get some perspective, and remember it's never black and white.

This is a topic very close to my heart this week as we have just come out of a particularly tough week.  I try to keep calm (not very good at it, especially if tired) but I am a yeller. It is instinctive. I shout. Kiddo shouts - the apple really did not fall far from this particular tree. We have had a busy week with plenty going on and places to go.  This more often than not leads to melt down situations more readily than when we spread activities out over a longer period. Sometimes I will insist that he goes to places when, for what ever reason, he would rather not - it more often than not works in my favour as he has a blast once he's there, but sometimes I should listen to him when he resists.  Other times, I will follow his lead and not insist as it is not important - these are usually, but not always, the days that end up 3 hours later with, "I'm ready to go" but it's too late. In these situations, yes, he is initially upset or unhappy but has learned a lesson in decision making.

Regularly I wish I could do-over certain scenarios from the day, whether it was because I didn't bite my tongue, or wished I hadn't shouted, or had a better comeback for another person's appraisal of Kiddo's behaviour, etc etc, but like everyone reading this, I am human. Not perfect. Not striving to be. Just trying to do the best I can raising my strong willed boy through the complexities of emotions and expectations to become a confident, emotionally stable, empathetic and kind man.  If that means parenting in a style swimming upstream against the majority, well, tough! Parenting respectfully does not mean parenting permissively. It means that we are honest and true with ourselves and each other - when I make a mistake ( which I do, regularly, for instance I caught myself the other day trying the clean up a spillage, Kiddo was dancing around my feet and was promptly told "get oot ma road!". Hardly respectful, I wouldn't speak like that to another adult, so why is Kiddo any different?) I will apologise to Kiddo. He knows that I am just a person like him, and we are allowed to make mistakes.  The thing is to learn from them.  And at 4 years, nearly 5 years old, he will make plenty mistake figuring it all out. Show me an adult, who on a bad day is not grumpy, snapped at a work colleague, yelled at the kids to hurry up, felt frustrated and just want to punch the next person that annoys them? Adults can go to the gym to work off the negative emotions, they can have a glass of wine, smoke a cigarette, vent to a friend, get angry and speak only in swear words (I can recommend that one), but a child in our society is not allowed to  be anything other than "good".

Monday, 16 February 2015


I know, I know. There are many important things happening (or not happening but should be) around the world and in this country. But...
My hair is causing me much annoyance!
Part of the trouble is finding a hairdresser that delivers exactly what I want.  I don't think its asking too much for a hairdresser to know who I am talking about when I say I like "such and such's hair" or to be able to cut layers that don't look like the ends have been trimmed using a set square and spirit level.  My style is very much a messy look. I love disheveled and tousled (despite most of the pics below suggesting otherwise...)
Presently, I am the stage of making like Debbie Harry and cutting my own (not worrying about the back since can't see it anyway; her hair always looked fab despite never having been to a hairdresser).

Over the years I have had most styles:

High School Sept 1995                                                                           Christmas 1995
Late 1996 (middle aged teenager!!)                                                      Summer of 1997

Fancy dress party, loved that wig, circa 1998                                       1999

long down to my waist, to short pixie cut, shoulder length choppy/shaggy bob, chin length sharp bob, red, brown, blonde (red and blonde 'Ginger Spice style' stripes too, but it was 1996 and we will just forget about that), long fringe, short fringe, side sweeping fringe, no fringe.  When my hair is long I get bored and want it chopped. Once chopped I start growing it again.

circa 2001/2002                                                     2004

       2004/5 the look I sported when first met Hubby

     2008 (pre 30th birthday)                                          2008 (post birthday)

 Pregnant in 2009                                                     Christmas 2010

2012                                                       2013 - NOT the cut I was going for...
 Still 2013 (The Stone Roses gig in Glasgow). Really didn't like this cut as a whole, but like the razored ends and that the length was uneven.

Currently it is red (kinda faded and washed out so now its sort of coppery/pinky/looks highlighted in parts and flecked with grey at the needing touched-up roots - last coloured just before Christmas) shoulder length and layered with a couple of longer sections at the sides that fall lower than rest of hair, with a side fringe.  I'm bored with it and the layers have not been cut to my satisfaction - should by choppy not straight, they should not be visible at the ends.
I've been various shades of red over the past 4 years, but in the mood for a change and thinking about a rich brown. My mum and sister have always preferred me as a blonde, but I prefer the darker colours.  Its always been fine and naturally poker straight (I detest straighteners, woe betide any hairdresser to tries to straighten my hair!).  Sadly, post-baby my hair is also much thinner than it was previously (damn!) so now looks straggely when it gets too long.

So what to do? Naturally, I have a Pinterest board of hair dos - doesn't everyone?? (What do you mean, "no"?)
Favourite styles at the moment are :
 Don't think my hair is thick enough and Hubby hates fringes ...
 This! This is what I wanted back in May of 2013...
 Not sure I'm brave enough to go that short - last time I did, I looked older at 19 than I do at 36!
 Always loved Winona's "shag" in Reality Bites
Now this - this I think I could rock!

Just need to find myself a hairdresser who 1. listens to what I want done, 2. has the skill to cut it accordingly and 3. doesn't cost me a months wage and 4. Actually delivers the desired result.

Not asking much.
Then, yes then I will get back to writing about less frivolous matters..maybe..


Sunday, 15 February 2015

21st Century Parenting

Image from here

Being a parent in the 21st century isn't easy.
Everyone is an expert with advice to share
(regardless if recipient wants it).
Decisions decisions straight from the off.
Pink or blue?
Does it even matter?
Hospital or home birth?
Breast or bottle?
Breast for a while or long term?
On demand or every 4 hours?
In arms or in pram?
Cloth bum or disposables?
Co-sleep or own room?
Vaccinate or non-vax?
Dummy or no dummy?
No cry or cry it out?
Sleep training or no sleep training?
Set bedtime or sleep when tired?
Flow with daily rhythms or stick to routine?
Attachment Parenting or Super Nanny?
Nature or nurture?
Motherese or speaking properly?
Free play or structured?
Plastic toys or wooden?
Cbeebies or no TV?
Free range or helicopter?
Clean & tidy or muddy & messy?
Stay at home or back to work?
Only child or multiple children?
Water or juice?
Baby led or pureed mush?
Homemade or jars?
Family meals or eat when hungry?
Sweets & treats or healthy snacks?
Positive discipline or naughty step?
Smacking or non-violence?
Baby/toddler classes or not?
Family care or nursery?
School or home-ed?
Supportive of fellow parents or competitive?
Tiger Mum or Elephant Mum?
Technology or old skool?
Allowing for mistakes or controlled environment?
Yes or no?
My choices are not your business;
nor are your choices mine,
Yet we all have an opinion.
Who is right, who is wrong?
Is there no right answer.
We all want what is best for our child(ren).
Look at your child - happy, healthy, nourished?
You're doing it right.


Friday, 13 February 2015

It's February

image found here

The Cailleach has passed over
But her legacy still lingers.
Winter's ice, snow and raw temperatures
Nipping at your fingers.

The Maiden has returned
With the first shoots of Spring.
The ground is still frozen
But underneath, nature starts to sing.

The celebration of Imbolc;
A focus on rebirth and renewal.
The  fire festival honoured
With an amethyst jewel.

The nights are drawing out
Each day longer in the light.
Snowdrops and crocuses popping through
Are a truly welcome sight.

Hearts, roses, chocolate, St Valentine;
What modern February is about.
An expensive declaration of undying love
In a capitalist culture, have no doubt.

From Roman mythology, Mars' mother,
Juno Februa, gave to this month, her name.
The goddess of fertility and  purification,
Patroness of passion; the love game.

Hibernation is ending,
Draw in that new breath, fresh and deep.
Feel the transition and see the possibilities
Be alive and awake, not asleep.

Rowan brought the month in
With old wisdom and protection.
Handing over now to Ash
To ascend into Spring, sealing  the connection.

Lissa Orr, 2015 


Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Letter to my pregnant self

I cannot believe my little boy is turning 5 in a few weeks! It seems like no time at all that I was pregnant and then welcomed him into our world, yet it seems like he has always been here, a part of our lives.
Looking back over the past 5 years I can see with the utmost clarity what I have learned and wish I could have my time all over again, knowing what I know now. With experience comes wisdom and confidence.  Confidence to say that before I had a child, I thought (embarrassingly) I knew it all - I grew up with babies and young children (being one of the eldest of 19 cousins, who the majority of, have their own children too), I had watched all those Super Nanny programmes, thought the "naughty step" was a great idea, used the expressions "well, a skelped arse never did me any harm", "Mother always wins", and was extremely judgemental and opinionated about parenting and other's parenting choices. Suffice to say, pre-Kiddo, I was a mainstream-conditioned know-it-all. Oh, and smug too. Yes, "My child will never..."
Then I came across home-birthing, which lead into Attachment Parenting and home-education. Pretty quickly my whole parenting ethos flipped 180. I devoured books on AP - unfortunately though, I read most of these after Kiddo arrived. (apart from the home birthing - I genned up on everything home birth related that I could find at the time regarding safety, statistics and methods)

So with this new found and thoroughly researched info (about 80% of what I read either in books or online is about parenting and child psychology and education and has been, over the past 5 years), and 20/20 hindsight, I would tell my pregnant self this :

Dear Me in 2010,
You are about to under go a life change that you are completely unprepared for despite thinking quite the opposite. Forget everything you think you know about being a parent, and just go with your gut - it is rarely wrong and highly intuitive.  Here is a what I have learned over the past years,and would like to share with you to make the parenthood journey a little easier :

1. The one biggest recommendation I have for the labour and birthing experience is : hire a doula!!! I have come to know what a doula is and how wonderful it can be to have someone with you solely for you (who also understands the process) . She is not a random midwife who will turn up at the house, whom you have never met before nor have any connection with (and has never seen your birthplan, will give it a cursory glance and will not know what is important to you).  The midwives who do attend are a mixed bag, one will seem grumpy and a little 'all-business-like' - she is actually wonderful, and you will be so glad that she is one to deliver Kiddo in the end; the other is hamfisted and will annoy you from the beginning until she leaves.

2. Take shares out in Kleenex. You are going to cry. A lot.

3. Mum is invaluable for the first few weeks, despite the numerous phone calls each day.

4. Do not go for that new hair cut.  You have long hair easy to stick back in a pony tail. Your new do will have no shape (despite being cut by the salon owner who is younger than you, and should really know what the hell she is doing) - butchering is a different trade to hairdressing.  You will cry (plenty of new mamma hormones still in circulation) and being told you look like your aunt who is approaching 60, is not something a 31year old new mother wants to hear.

5. It's time to grow a thick skin. You're going to need it. You will be judged from now on, The passive aggressive comments are the worst, and your sarcastic retorts and flaring nostrils will make you come off as the bad one. There will be a deluge of advice from all sides (parents, in-laws, sister, other relatives, work colleagues, bosses, strangers in the street, friends, etc), 97% of it unwanted or not asked for - IGNORE IT.  Learn to trust your own instinct.  This will piss off some people and others will question and judge - that is their problem.  Kiddo is yours and Hubby's.  While you're at it, perfect the glazed eye big fake smile that says "mm, I'm taking in all your advice" while sitting thinking about anything else.

6. Breastfeeding, once you get established, its great. Get along to the support group (the one time you went and it wasn't on does not count.) you will need it to continue to bf past the 5 months mark, when the health visitor will tell you to supplement with formula.  Get over the breastfeeding in public and infront of others (particularly males) - if they have a problem with you breastfeeding it is their problem not yours and their embarrassment does not trump Kiddo's need for a feed. And don't ever ask visitors if they mind you sitting feeding Kiddo when you are sitting in your livingroom! The patriarchal hangups with bf are alive and well - get over it. It is nothing that needs to be hidden. Sitting for 2 hours upstairs on your own feeding Kiddo during a family meal is something that will never happen again!

7. Sleepless nights are hard going - especially when you spend the vast majority of the night rocking the crib back and forth to get Kiddo to sleep. It is surprising you don't have arms like popeye!  You already know that Kiddo falls asleep no problem beside you. You already know that co-sleeping is safe when done properly. Save yourself the stress and just continue the co-sleeping on from when you did that 1st night.  Ignore anyone who does not sleep in your home - the sleeping needs of the 3 people living here are the only requirements that need to be met.

8. Forget the housework. Seriously. As Kiddo gets older, you "will have time to get on with your housework", or you do as I did, and screw the housework and spend days just playing and having fun.
I love these 2 poems I found on thread :

I hope my child looks back on today 
And sees a mother who had time to play. 
There will be years for cleaning and cooking, 
But children grow up when you’re not looking. 
Tomorrow I’ll do all the chores you can mention 
But today, my baby needs time and attention. 
So settle down cobwebs; dust go to sleep, 
I’m cuddling my baby, and babies don’t keep.


Housework Can Wait

Come in, but don't expect to find
All dishes done, all floors ashine.
Observe the crumbs and toys galore.
The smudgy prints upon the door.
The little ones we shelter here
Don't thrive on a spotless atmosphere.
They're more inclined to disarray
And carefree even messy play.
Their needs are great, their patience small.
All day I'm at their beck and call.
It's Mommy come! Mommy see!
Wiggly worms and red scraped knee.
Painted pictures, blocks piled high.
My floors unshined, the days go by.
Some future day they'll flee this nest,
And I at last will have a rest!
Now you tell me which matters more,
A happy child or a polished floor?

9. I am sorry to report but following your craving induced binge on creme eggs prior to birth will mean that you will no longer be able to face the gooey delight. It will no longer matter "how you eat yours" because you will only experience nausea at the thought. Worry not though, because in 2015, Cadbury's in their infinite wisdom changed the recipe and apparently it is now vile. Now no-one can stomach a creme egg. All is well.

10. When Kiddo starts showing signs of teething at 12 weeks, but takes a further 2.5 month to pop a tooth, he is not really teething that whole time. He is hungry. Accept this now and remedy it, or be forever reminded about how "that wean was starving".

11. Kiddo will always do something when he is ready, not because he is a certain age and ought to be achieving which ever milestone. This is especially true for potty day it will just click and he'll be dry, same goes for night time (2 nights and dry). Do not try and be creative and clever using pinterest ideas for potty training. It does not end well. Hilarious yes, but mission certainly not accomplished - step forward the birth of the the smurf feet!  A little water and blue food colouring in the bottom of the potty to encourage Kiddo to use it. If he pees, it'll turn the water green, Ooh! Wow! Kiddo was completely uninterested. I needed to tend to my own call of nature, returning 1 minute later to blue feet, a large blue splashy stain all over the carpet and a delighted grin across his face. Oops, my bad!

12.  When other new mums and friends ask you to meet up or invite you to go along to a class or such : GO! Otherwise these first 2 years will be the loneliest 2 years of your life!!!  They are asking because they want you to go. Do not think that you are annoying or outstaying your welcome. If you are invited, it is for a reason!

13.  Baby-wearing is so much easier than humphing the big pram. Finding the right carrier is key. Wraps are superior interms of comfort for baby and parent, than the Baby Bjorn or the ill-fitting and footery pouch sling that you spent £100 on.

14. Sensory play and all baby activites are not complusory. Same goes for playgroups and nursery - none of which sat well with either Kiddo or you. Try them out out and stick to what you like/enjoy. Do not continue to go along for the sake of it - it is does to nothing to benefit you or Kiddo (quite the opposite infact).

15.  This parenting business is not easy and you won't "love every minute of it". While you will always love your little bundle/big bundle/ screaming toddler/sarcastic pre-schooler (yes, that he is sarcastic! Well, surely that won't come as too much of a surprise?), you will not always like him. Fact! It is impossible to like one person all the time. You are not (and no other parent on this earth is either) a saint. However, when you voice this opinion it will not go down well - you will be met with horrified faces.  Oh well.

16. Under no circumstances decide that you are qualified to cut Kiddo's hair. Especially with curved nail scissors.  His beautiful locks will meet an untimely end with an emergency appointment at the barbers with the clippers once you give him a fringe that resembles dormer windows in a thatched cottage roof. You will cry.

17. Baths cure everything from bad moods to high temperatures to boredom, oh and to clean too (this information is purely for Kiddo, you have no hope of having a peaceful bath for years to come unless you wish to have one in the middle if the night)

18.  A new thing I just learned, envelope top vests are designed to be rolled down the baby's body in the event of nappy-geddon. No need to slowly and gently cut it off.  Who knew this???

19. Every time you second guess or have doubts about buying something (for example his own bed or that bike for his 4th birthday that has been ridden only twice in almost a year) - DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!!

20. Discipline is a minefield - you will try the naughty step, forced apologising, hit back, putting Kiddo in his room, (he will cry it out just the once - one time too many!), ignoring behaviour etc, none of it works for Kiddo (or you) and to be honest, is done for the benefit of others. Conversations when calm work far better and achieve more. You are a shouter though, nothing has changed there, but every day is a new day and am still working on this (getting better though)

21. Just relax and try to enjoy each stage for what is it.  Even the awful stages and shitty days - they all pass.  Something funny or cute will happen and balance will be restored.  If no-one died, its not worth your stress.

22.  There is always wine. Until it's wine o'clock you will survive on industrial levels of coffee.

Remember - you can do this.  It's not going to look like anything you imagined prior to Kiddo's arrival.  It's going to test you like you've never been tested or pushed before. You will learn more about who you are as a person and who you are as a parent.
You're ready.
ps. there are no more coming along after Kiddo, so don't torment yourself holding onto all Kiddo's clothes and toys and 'equipment' just in case. It'll only be harder when you do part with it. (must get finger out and get that pram on gumtree...)

I have no idea what the next 5 years hold, but I will enjoy and embrace it, regardless of it throws at us. If the past 5 years have though me anything its that I am a good mum, infact I'm the best mum possible for Kiddo. And that is the most important thing. I am now confident in my choices I've made for our family. They wont be the right choices for everyone or anyone else, all families are unique with their own individual dynamics and needs. My parents made choices they felt were right for my sister and I, and Hubby and I are making ours for Kiddo. And no, they are not the same and neither they should be.