Monthly Archives: July 2012

Update on the exercise

I’m without laptop today, so this is being produced on my iPad, whilst sitting scrunched up on the floor of my bedroom. Hopefully it will be readable.

Thought I’d give an update on the previous Brompton post I did here I was musing on the pros and cons of parking for free further away from work an using a fold up bike for the rest of the journey. Having bought the bike about 2 weeks ago I can say……


I absolutely love it. I did buy a Brompton (at great expense – £810!!) but I got an interest free loan from the bike place and it’ll cost me around £50 a month. Half the cost that a parking space will cost me and I get is very clever bike at the end of it.

I rode it down to the women’s bike race in Twickenham today and due to the rain I also test drove my rain cape (again – it worked brilliantly).

The bike is really sturdy and quite comfortable. I’ll say “quite” as I’ve not really ridden a bike since I was about 17 and those seats take some getting used to. Whilst sitting on this pillow I can feel a small twinge in my backside.

For a bike with small wheels, it goes pretty fast and I overtook much bigger wheeled ones. It was actually quite fun and I’m now really looking forward to using it on my commute the week after next.
I’m still getting to grips with the fold up mechanism though, not quite got it down to 20 seconds but I’m no where near where I was on the first day having to google you tube videos because I didn’t even know how to do the first step (release the handlebars). It would have been quite funny if I hadn’t been so angry about it. :)

So there you are. I’m officially one of “those” cyclists who will cause you to slow down and will no doubt have a few fists raised at her.

Wish me luck.


Sex, Infertility and the (slightly) older woman

One of the big advantages to blogging anonymously is being able to tackle the sorts of things I just wouldn’t do if my name was in the title and my mates were following my blog. So I’m going to tackle something that I find very difficult to talk about……….sex. Specifically my own.

The Irish one (my husband) and I had a pretty good sex life when we met each other in our mid 20’s. In fact, really good. Not a 6 in one night kind of sex life, but a frequently and very satisfying sex life that I had no reason to ever complain about.

We married in our early 30’s and waited a year before trying for a baby. And try we did. In fact we tried so hard to have a baby that the whole thing became a bit of a chore. You may have heard this sort of thing before. My advice to anyone trying for a baby is to hold off charting or using ovulation kits until as long as possible. As soon as you begin using it them, that’s it….things will never be the same again.

I don’t regret our regimental approach really, because I think we realised we were going to have issues within 2 years but it had a huge impact on our sex life. Lots of arguments and lots of having to have sex when really neither one of us was in the mood. A bit of a disaster really.

4 years, 5 IUI’s later and then our first IVF and we were finally pregnant. We had 9 months off sex. It was a relief. No more needing to do it and we both wanted the break. By the time I was 12 weeks pregnant I then didn’t want to risk going into early labour (I don’t believe this is a scientific inevitability, but I’d waited so long I probably enforced a lot of ridiculous rules on myself). I waited until I was a few weeks off my due date and we started again. It felt fun, I didn’t have to suck my tummy in or wear a vest (I have very small boobs) and I didn’t care if I went into labour early. All was good.

Trying for our 2nd meant we kept up the momentum. Less pressure because we had our daughter and after 3 years I successfully got pregnant naturally with my son.

So here I am, with a nearly 5 year old and an 18 month old and the likelihood that I won’t have any more children. I’m 40 and sex is very very very low on my agenda of things to do. It’s definitely below sleeping, it’s below finishing off my Millennium Trilogy and sadly it’s even below blogging. I’d rather get this post done in silence on a Sunday morning than have sex!

I read on twitter from women who seem to have sex with their husbands a lot. I’m often reassured when I read that they are still in their 20’s or they’re in the throes of early marriage (maybe their second). I still do find some out there, the same age as me rampantly enjoying a healthy sex life. I feel deflated, but it still doesn’t prompt me to rush off for 5 minutes of sexual abandonment.

I know almost every relationship guru or counsellor will tell you that sex is an important part of a successful relationship. I don’t doubt it and I worry about it for about 3 minutes and move on. I should be more worried really, but I can’t. There are several reasons why we don’t do it that often.

1. We’ve got out of the habit
2. We are tired! Early 40’s with 2 young children will do that to you.
3. When we aren’t tired (morning, midday) we have 2 young children. Logistically impossible.
4. We both have the libido of Pandas. Helpful we are both on the same page, but it means neither one of us is pushing the issue.
5. We both have quite low self esteems about our bodies and abilities in the bedroom. The slightest wrong word/sentence can affect us for weeks.
6. Infertility. We now have a choice. I choose to sleep.

So here I am. It’s been 4 months since we last had sex and I’m hoping one of us gets in the mood soon. I have purchased THE BOOK recently so I’m hoping a bit of racy literature will fire things up. In the meantime I will seek solace in the fact that many 40 somethings with young children will be in the same boat and that this boat will eventually reach it’s destination when our household becomes a little calmer and we start focussing on us again. Until that time I will see if Mr Grey brings some va va voom into my sex life. It’s worth a shot!

Controlled Crying…….there, I said it!

I’ve been wanting to write this for a while, but despite being known in the real world for being outspoken, like most people I don’t like not being liked……so it’s a bit of a dilemma for me to dive into the big Controlled Crying debate. *does “please don’t hate me” eyes*

The reason I want to dive into it is because there is a big misconception out there about what controlled crying actually is. I’m sure parents sometimes get it wrong, but generally it shouldn’t be a horrendous experience for any child and it is VERY different to “crying it out”. The clue is in the name “CONTROLLED crying”.

Now, before I launch into why I think it’s not a bad thing to do, I would like to point out that I come from the “each to their own” school of thought. I’m a routine kind of person, so is my husband and ultimately it means that I naturally lean towards doing things in a routine way, including with my children. I have friends who are very laid back, don’t follow routines and generally make things up as they go along and that works brilliantly for them. I really don’t judge people for doing that, if it works for them (although please don’t moan that you can’t get your kids to sleep when they are 7yrs old if you never felt the need to do it before). The general rule is you do what works for your family and that makes perfect sense to me.

Controlled crying is NOT:
1. Leaving a child alone for hours on end crying their eyes out
2. Ignoring a child
3. Teaching a child that no matter how much they cry nobody will come

All of the above is neglect. There is no two ways about it. It’s true what they say, that a child that is neglected when they cry will learn to not cry because nobody comes anyway. However this is not the same as controlled crying.
Controlled crying works brilliantly for children who have got in a bit of a pattern of crying at nap and bed time because they want a parent to be sitting or cuddling them. They are not used to being alone at bedtime so they do what they do best and cry if it doesn’t happen. I think that’s all fine and well with newborns and little babies (some of the best moments are cuddling a newborn at 2am) but as they get older it creates a pattern that is very hard to break. My daughter was very colicky for the first 6 months of her life. She cried a lot, all night long, screaming. I knew she was in pain and we did all we could for her. We cuddled, we slept with her on the nursing chair, we would have had her in our bed but she didn’t like it, we jiggled, soothed, medicated when we thought we had to. However by the end of 6 mths and about 2 months away from me going back to work, her crying changed. She was no longer in the same pain but she was so used to get tearful at night and she needed us there all the time. Bedtime was a trauma for everyone. She would wake in the night (like lots of babies/toddlers do) and would start crying. We were knackered, she was distressed and it was all turning into a bit of a nightmare.

So I spent about a month researching. I knew that however I did it I had to stick to it and it was really important my daughter didn’t feel she was being ignored. I read “she who should not be named” Ford’s book for sleeping. I read “The Baby Whisperer” and I spent hours on the internet reading articles and forums about what people had done. I talked to friends and family too. I cried a lot discussing it but I guess that just highlighted how much thought and consideration I put into it. I have since spoken to other people who have done a version of controlled crying and have yet to find one person who did it lightly. Everyone spent ages thinking about it and then made sure it was the right thing for their child.

I did my own version of controlled crying based on the needs of my daughter. I spent a few days lying in her cot with her until she fell asleep. I then spent 2 days sitting at the base of her cot (in it) with one hand on her. I then did 2 days outside the cot, sitting by it with a hand on her. Then I sat on the nursing chair a few feet away, then by the door and eventually I started sitting outside the door. She would cry for about 30 seconds and I’d go in, soothe, put a hand on her. Then out again for a 1 minute and so on and so forth extending it a little each time. In the 4 days from this point the longest she cried was about 20 minutes. Some of you may think that is an awfully long time. Actually, by day 4 she stopped crying for more than a few minutes and was no longer distressed at bedtime or if she woke up in the night. For a couple of 20 minute cries during that 4 days, I’ve saved her 100’s of hours of crying that she would have done otherwise.

She’s nearly 5 now. She does still occasionally cry and sometimes she isn’t that keen to be left alone every bedtime but we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves and we still go back and check and on her every 20 minutes so she knows we’re still there. My daughter will occasionally cry out in the night and she knows WITHOUT A DOUBT that someone will be there for her and we always are. However 95% of the time she will happily stay in bed, reading or playing until she falls asleep and if she wakes in the night, she rolls over and falls asleep again. Just because controlled crying isn’t something you would entertain doesn’t mean it isn’t right for someone else and whilst you may be able to cope with some crying, some parents out there are dealing with a little more than “some crying”. A happy parent equals a happy child and sometimes making a decision like this is the only option available to us.

I don’t regret my decision for a second. The decision to use controlled crying transformed our lives and that of my daughter. I only hope that we all cut each other some slack on our parenting choices and I hope my story has explained to some doubters and given reassurance to others who are feeling the need to employ it.

Who is your favourite?

I’ve seen a few articles recently, mostly tongue in cheek ones, writing about whether parents have a favourite child. I’ve always maintained that you have different feelings, concerns and love for each child, it’s a particular shape of love that’s different for each one. However, I need to flip this on its head and ask: “do your children have a favourite parent?”

I only ask, because if my children preferred me I’d probably not be writing this post. It seems perfectly natural for children to lean towards their mother, the nurturer and I wouldn’t want to write a smug post about the trials and tribulations of being the “chosen one”. I’m writing this post, because I’m not the favourite parent and it’s really hard to take.

Clearly I made some of the bigger sacrifices (I think I did). I went through IVF, I went through pregnancy, birth (or 2 emergency C-sections after 16 hour labours). I gave up work for 10 months, I bought the nursery/children’s furniture, ALL the baby paraphernalia, I worked out the routines, enforced the rules, learnt the techniques, bought the clothes, researched the activities and classes and booked them all, did all the baby weaning blah blah blah blah. This, apparently, counts for nothing when you are a young child. Daddy is the man!

It’s not even that we have a traditional family life and they see me more. Quite the opposite. I know some children look forward to seeing their working daddy because they often don’t all week and mummies are often (I’m doing a sweeping generalisation here) stay at home mums or working part time. I work 30 hours a week. I have 1 weekday with the kids but their dad is self-employed and is often around and he looks after them 2 days a week himself. He’s also pretty strict too, almost as strict as me.

I’ll be honest, it doesn’t bother me as much 2nd time around as it did first time with my daughter. With my daughter it felt like someone was stabbing my heart every time she asked Daddy to do bedtime or give her a cuddle or read a book. I was gutted. However, she goes through phases and in the last year she has requested me in certain circumstances which has been lovely. I really have learnt to live with the favouritism, she’s not doing it to be mean, she’s just exercising her agency and making decisions on how she feels at that moment. At any rate, there is little I can do about it apart from be there when she needs me.

I was quite pleased to find out I was having a boy second time around. Boys are proper mummy boys (so everyone told me). Sadly that hasn’t proved correct either. He is 18 months and completely obsessed with his father. He will see me and turn around to chase Daddy. I’ve reconciled much quicker this time around. I am hoping that much like my daughter he will eventually work out that I’m useful for some things. However, although he has greatly improved since I wrote the post here about not enjoying his age, it isn’t all bad, because there is little I can do about him hanging on to his daddy’s leg and it’s nice that I can walk away sometimes.

This wasn’t intended to be a moaning post at all, I’m a big grown up lady and shouldn’t be acting like a child in the playground, but none the less, it’s there and it’s sometimes hard to take, but I’m probably learning one of the biggest parenting lessons – they may be my children but I have no control over their needs and wants.