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Biddenden Tractorfest Despite The Rain

Last weekend we visited the long-awaited Tractorfest in one of my dream villages, Biddenden. The forecast for the weekend was as follows,

Saturday: heatwave

Sunday: torrential rain

We went Sunday.

We arrived while the weather was seemingly mild, not a drop of rain had been seen. We assumed it would continue to stay as such and high-fived at the prospect of no rain, silly weathermen, wrong again. So, there we were, dress, shorts, no coats and all in flip-flips. Because we’re true Brits, it’s mild, so we dress for summer.

We wandered through and were instantly drawn to the smell of a hog roast, it was around 11am, so we started to count down the minutes until it would be socially acceptable to fill a roll with hog roast. Until then, we sipped teas and walked through the stalls.

My parents joined us for the day, because grandparents are the best extra hands you could have when venturing out with small children.

The layout was split into halves, one side of the field had the shows, demonstrations and exhibitions (tractors), the other side had plenty of stalls with some fabulous one-off things to purchase. We walked through the stalls and got to the childrens area with a ride-on train and other funfair rides. The toddler desperately wanted to go on the ‘choo choo’ and we would have gladly taken him on it, if the driver didn’t look like he would run us over for asking for a ride. He certainly needed a happy meal.  Luckily they had horses and dogs as distraction and bribery while we let him down gently that there would be no ‘choo choo’ today buddy.

We walked over to the dogs, in triumph at our successful attempt to avert a tantrum. The dogs there were retired greyhounds. I love all animals, I would own a farm if I could. And these greyhounds were for adoption, they were even wearing little bibs that said ‘please take me home’, cue melting heart. I’ve always sworn we wouldn’t get a dog, for us it wouldn’t suit our current lives, but I took that as a sign that when the time is right… A rescue Greyhound has always been my dog of choice for when we’re retired ourselves, all our children have flown the nest and we only have eachother to talk to, dangerous.

Whilst loving on all the dogs, it started to rain. Those bastard weathermen were right after all. We raced over to a big tent, in our flip-flips and shitting summer clothes, in a truly torrential downpour. Then my dad thought ‘ah, I have an umbrella in the car’, so off he dashed to get his umbrella. The umbrella just covered two. Brilliant. So I made it everyones mission to find an umbrella. Someone, somewhere was selling umbrellas. We saw far too many umbrellas with the same horse picture on for it to be a ‘coincidence’.

We then lost sight of our umbrella finding mission and played ‘there’s one’ which is what we said everytime we saw some lucky bugger who had an umbrella with a horse on.

I hated them.

We found the stall that sold them and my smile slowly turned into a grimace, a drippy, wet, ‘why am I dressed for a fucking summers day’ grimace, as they explained, THEY’D SOLD OUT. Well, obviously, because everyone else in this whole fair has one. Apart from us.

PhotoGrid_1440964999325Notice the sunglasses on my head?

Well, lets face it, we’re soaked through as it is, we have no layers of warmth to add, lets just get a pulled pork roll and be done with it.

Every time the downpour became slightly lighter, we exchanged comments of ‘it’s easing off’ and ‘at least it’s still warm’, moments before the weather Gods heard us and pissed a load more down.

We still enjoyed the shows, climbing into tractors and our toddlers living his ‘Fireman Sam’ dream as he climbed into a fire engine, while I received a lecture about fire safety.

”Do you have fire alarms?”

”Yes, we have two” I said happily, thinking I was doing well with his questions

”Do you have an escape plan?”

”No” bollocks, I was doing so well.

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If you live near Biddenden I’d recommend visiting next year, even in the rain we had a fun time. It’s small, but there’s plenty of entertainment and things to see and do. Including a ride in a helicopter! Which we skipped this year.

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6

Why Dads Should Absolutely Be Allowed To Stay Overnight In Maternity Wards

There’s a recent article in the Daily Mail written by women who think men should not stay over night in the maternity ward, with their partner, after their new baby is born. Saying she felt ‘vulnerable’ and unsafe and that many other mums feel the same. Whilst I don’t dispute other peoples feelings and concerns, I do however, think it’s right for dads to make their own decision as to whether to stay over night, to support their partner and bond with their new baby.

The only reason Mr Firstooth would have been pried away from our baby for the night, would be if our first child didn’t have any overnight care. We have the in-laws to thank for taking care of our son whilst we were in hospital. I needed him. No-one else would have sufficed during the night. I just needed his presence, both times. It wasn’t just for the support, it was to savour every moment with each of our new additions. Also, babies are at their most content when they are first born, he couldn’t miss out on the only sleep-full night.

With our first child we experienced what it’s like to be on the ward. One small room, filled with families and their new babies. I bloody hated every single second. But I still cherished every precious moment with our son. I didn’t hate it because there were other peoples husbands next to me, or across from me. I hated it because I wanted my own privacy, I didn’t want to hear Mr and Mrs Smith on the other side of the curtain calling everyone in their phone, hearing their phones clicking from numerous Facebook updates, and then the alerts following (at 10pm at night). I didn’t want to be hidden behind a curtain. I wanted space. Not once did I feel vulnerable, I didn’t at all wonder whether the husband in the next door cubicle would swap our babies or worse, steal mine. Why would I when I knew he would be just as smitten about his own baby as my partner was about ours. I could never deny someone the right to be there for their partner.

The article then goes on to say ‘You’re at your most exposed after giving birth. The curtain only offers a small amount of privacy; everyone can see through the gaps’. I don’t disagree anyone could peek in, there are some very strange people in the world. Firstly however, why would anyone want to have a look? You’ll most likely be sleeping or feeding. Secondly, if someone peeked through, I would have been surprised but since I wouldn’t have my legs splayed for everyone to see my war wound and catheter and I also would not have been naked with all hanging out, I certainly wouldn’t have felt ‘exposed’ by the peeping tom, because I wouldn’t have been exposing myself.

The article also states an issue of privacy between her and her husband (whilst having her catheter removed). Dignity does not exist after having a baby, it also ceases to exist weeks after giving birth. Your partner has just seen a human emerge from you, in what I can only imagine as an unforgettably gory view. He sees any catheters being fitted, he’s seen it all. I asked my partner to regularly check my stitches, we also had an incident with my own catheter, which lead to him catching my bag of wee and having a quick look, just to confirm, yes, catheter has indeed come loose. The whole process of childbirth brings a new kind of intimacy to your relationship that you wouldn’t imagine.

I appreciate that we live in a time that sees the father play a larger role in their childs life. Paternity laws are changing, for the benefit of new fathers, should they choose to spend longer with their new baby. Overnight stays are now allowed and I think it’s a brilliant choice. It’s not a ploy to relieve midwives of their duties, but to help families bond. Having my partner around actually meant our midwives were with us a lot more, he had never picked up a baby, nor changed one. Our midwives were very helpful in giving him a crash course to do so. Whilst I laid in bed helpless, watching. I wasn’t able to reach over and pick either of my children up the evenings after their birth. Without him there I think I would have gone to pieces in my uselessness.

It’s a choice for fathers, whether they want to stay the night with their family in a maternity ward, a choice that they are at liberty to make. We can all share a high-five in the corridors in celebration of our new additions and loving, empathetic smiles. Perhaps the women who contributed to the article would have felt different, had they have stayed in their own private room (which was my first request the second time). That would be my only privacy issue, not with men, but with everyone. If only it were possible for every family to have their own room, instead of cubicle.

PhotoGrid_1434389358677 (1)See, he’s harmless. The git slept most of the time.

6

Leaving The House With Small Children

With just one child, it sometimes took me anywhere up to an hour to leave. Now we have two, need I say more? Getting ready can seem like a never-ending task. Today we were meant to go to Tesco then to a castle. We only managed Tesco.

First it’s breakfast. There’s no point in dressing the children before breakfast, before any meal, because bibs are in fact, a form of strangulation (in their eyes) and clothing works perfectly well to mop up any spills. Not today kids you can eat in your pyjamas.

Toddler now wants a ‘stick stick’ so I hand him a breadstick. He gives half to his sister, cue proud gushing over him sharing. She then crunches it all up and spreads it across the floor. Hilarious.

I am now cleaning up breakfast and breadstick mess. Baby hates that I’m not paying her attention and clings to my legs for dear life.

Toddler decides ‘leg-clinging’ game looks fun, and joins in.

I shake children off ready to prepare lunch. Toddler sees everything I’m preparing and decides he wants it all.

I give him an apple as a compromise. He takes a bite, says ‘mmm’. Then throws it in the bin.

Baby now tired and desperate for a nap. I can’t take the crying any longer and I just cannot keep her awake until we leave so I put her down for a nap. I can then get myself ready.

Baby happily asleep.

I do some ironing.

Baby starting to stir and I think shit I’m still not ready.

I quickly get dressed and put some makeup on. Toddler wants, no, needs my makeup bag. This leads to the ‘stop, drop and roll’ tantrum, forcing me to roll my eyes and leave the room.

Baby dressed, which was similar to how I imagine our cat would behave, should I ever decide to dress her. Savage.

Time to dress the toddler. His clothes in hand and he informs me, under no circumstances, does he want to be dressed. I ask him if he wants to go out, he replies yes and happily heads over to the door. Naked.

I explain to him that to go out he needs to be dressed ”no no”. There is no ”no” in this. He runs. I run head first into the nearest wall.

We spend a good couple of hours of ‘lets get dressed’ chase. With a few ‘fuck it, I give up’ retreats to the sofa.

I eventually catch him off guard and throw his top on like a kidnapper would throw a bag over their victim. He’s very disappointed in my actions but this gets the ball rolling for jeans, socks and shoes.

Hurrah!

We head out to the car.  Baby fills her nappy, leggings and carseat and it starts to rain.

Of course it does. And it hasn’t stopped raining since. (One day later)

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Every outing comes with its challenges. Every. Outing. If we are to leave on time, this means we need to aim to leave two hours before the time we would actually leave.

6

Preparing Your Partner For Fatherhood

It goes without saying that becoming a parent is a huge shock to the system. There is no way to prepare yourselves, everyones experience is different just as much as every baby is different. However, if you’re looking to prepare your partner for the evenings he will be coming home to, once you’re both settled into parenting, then here is the best preparation:

  1. Purchase a large bag of flour. As soon as soon as he walks through the door, hand him the flour and burst into tears.
  2. Mix a concoction of flour and water, then rub into his shoulder and down his back. Then say ‘oh dear darling, the baby has been sick’ throw him a kitchen towel and walk off
  3. Sit the bag of flour in a chair. Make yourself some beans on toast, throw half down your partner, some down the bag of flour and the rest on the floor. Start crying.
  4. Find an animal and ask him to put a nappy on it. A small, restless pig would work well.
  5. Eat some cat food, ask him to smell the bag of flours’ bum, then burp in his face.
  6. Is he about to eat a biscuit? Not on your watch! Take it. If you eat snacks in front of children, be prepared to share (give it all away)
  7. Play Disney theme songs continuously, throughout the evening, while obnoxiously singing along
  8. Attach a hose to your bath taps, cover the entire bathroom in water. Call your partner up. His turn.
  9. Lay in bed with the bag of flour between you and cry on its behalf
  10. Set your alarm for 10pm, 1am, 3am and each time set your fire alarms off, then assure him that it’ll settle itself
  11. Get up at 5am, latest

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Did he survive? He’s ready!

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0

Reasons I Don’t Visit The Hairdresser

It has been over a year since I’ve last had my hair cut. It was also a year ago when I put some money aside for a trim after I had given birth. I’m yet to have that trim and by God my hair needs it! I don’t really enjoy going to the hairdressers and here’s why:

  • I use up all my ‘talking topics’ in the first few minutes. I then sit there awkwardly and wonder what the bloody hell can we talk about. Why did I book a cut and blow dry. Why not just a cut. ”This weather, hey” is about all I can come up with before I beg the hairdresser (in my head to) offer me some extremely outdated magazines.
  • I never know who I will get. I tend to go for the grade of hairdresser who isn’t the most expensive, so I never have ‘Sally’ everytime I visit. I may have Sally one month and Ricardo the next. Sally may be a quiet hairdresser, happy to offer me last years magazines to read. While Ricardo may be going through a sticky breakup and he has to share it with myself, the lady next to me and anyone nearby, asking our advice and thoughts on the situation. I don’t know, I don’t know, I didn’t come here for this, I wish I could help, maybe if you were my regular hairdresser I could offer more assistance, but next time I come here you will have been promoted and far too expensive, since our children shit through nappies like money grows on trees.
  • Being offered the massage chair. I’m going to say yes, everyone says ‘yes’ don’t they? Please don’t ask me, in the awkwardly seductive tone, just switch it on and lets not speak of it. Along with offering a head massage, again, yes please, no need to ask.
  • All hairdressers I’ve ever visited, I’m sure, have been built in an iron container and disguised as a fancy building. I never get any signal, I assume my children are injured and everyone is trying to get hold of me. I am anxious the entire time, I can’t let anyone know a rough e.t.a on my trim time.
  • I feel like I have to dress up nice and wear fancy make-up. Just for a hair cut. There are mirrors everywhere, I am able to enjoy myself at every unsightly angle, worse than the house of mirrors since I can’t blame my appearance on a distorted mirror (although that won’t change the fact I’m wearing leggings with this mornings porridge encrusted on the thigh). The hairdressers are usually young and if they went out to a bar afterwards in their attire, I wouldn’t question it, simply because they all look very glamorous. Quite the opposite of myself.

I need a haircut, a trim, a tidy. I just need to remember I will only be visiting, at best, once a year, for an hour. Needs, must and all that.

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Toddler Updates #4

Our toddler has been spilling out many new words and phrases. Every day. Language has to be watched intensely around him because he may not say the word straight away, but he will remember it and repeat any questionable words at a later date. Probably in a church.

He has taken to turning what me or his dad are doing into a freestyle rap. For example, I will let him know I’m about to shower and throughout the duration of my shower I will hear:

Mummy’s in the shower, mummy’s in the shower, mummy, shower, mummy, shower, mummy mummy, showeeer, mummy, hair, shower, hair, mummy, hair, mummy, hair, off

When Mr Firstooth declares he is having a shower, he receives the same rap and replaces ‘mummy’ for ‘daddy’.

He also treats us to a running commentary when we are having a ‘wee’. If we have visitors, he will also make sure they know when we are having a wee. Just to be courteous.

His word of the week is ‘horsey’. Anything he can climb and sit on he will scream ‘horsey horsey’. When we visited the farm to see some horseys he informed me they were not horseys, See here for the full story

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Baby Updates #3

This week our baby has been showing off her walking skills to our families, they are all very impressed, as are we. She has also taken to dancing, a lot. With our son (our first child) he danced, I think, in the womb onwards. Music has very much taken a backseat since our daughter was born so she didn’t have the passion that our son did, although, now she is embracing every piece of music, whether it be a song, a theme tune or me humming. Any musical sounds sends her body into dancing overdrive. This has now forced our son to up his game on his dance moves, how dare we watch her dancing, he’s been doing it for nearly two years!

She now has achieved the art of a fake cry, a skill I detest. Once I am out of sight, the crying stops, I question if I have gone deaf. Until she discovers me, hiding behind the curtains, sure enough, I haven’t gone deaf because seeing me instantly sends her into a tearful frenzy. I’m not sure what to make of it all.

This week we have had to lay many of the childrens books to rest. This is because the baby must have mistaken them for some kind of sandwich. She clearly enjoyed the paper/cardboard sandwiches, as proved during the book massacre, from being gummed and chewed.

Our daughters first words were mumum a few months ago (I’m very openly smug about this since it was the opposite scenario with our son). She now says mumum and holds her arms up to me when she needs to be carried. I love her.

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