Life Update: Watching Paint Dry

ruth crilly

Here’s Angelica waiting patiently for her nails to dry (kids’ polish) whilst watching Teletubbies on the iPad. My heart can’t take it, she’s so tiny, yet so grown up – imagine what emotional turmoil I’m going to be in when she hits her teens! She’s only three, so basically I have another ten years of this sort of heartache (wondering on a daily basis where on earth my baby is going) before the real drama starts.

ruth crilly

Talking of drama, I’m supposed to be in the final throes of preparing my app for launch (The Night Feed – read all about it here) but I don’t seem to be able to a) focus or b) get a clear day/week/month when I can just lock myself away and sort things out. I always thought that balancing work and family would get easier as the babies grew up, but in actual fact it gets much much harder.

Angelica whenever I go to disappear up-upstairs: “Where are you going Mummy? Into your office again?”

Ted whenever I go to disappear up-upstairs: “Mama! No mama! MAMA! NO MAMA!” Repeat to fade.

Working from a home office seemed like a great idea at the beginning – even this time last year it was working well – but as time goes by, being able to hear normal life going on around me is proving to be less than ideal in terms of productivity. It’s not that I’m tempted to go down and join in with the jumping/dancing/joyous screaming/microphone screeching – I only get two or three days a week to get all of my stuff done, so I’m quite good at being disciplined and staying behind a closed door – it’s more that I get a big twinge of Mum Guilt about the fact that I can’t “do it all”.

To be perfectly honest, though (I’ll regret writing this, I know): I don’t think I could actually survive without my two/three days of non-mumming. The fact that I work through those days like I’m a demented medieval scholar trying to find a solution to Henry VIII’s marriage problem is irrelevant; it’s still time off from being a Mum. Being a Mum is hard work. Wow. Sometimes I spend a good few hours at the start of a work day just staring at things and arranging beauty samples because I feel so fried. Oh, and lying down formulating sentences in my head. That’s a favourite thing to do when I can’t summon up enough energy to sit up and type. They’re always amazing, these sentences – sometimes entire blog posts – but then quite often I fall asleep for twenty minutes and when I wake up the words are gone.

ruth crilly

But enough about me, what about the kidlings? Ted (two and two months) has suddenly gone from baby to  proper functioning little person. PFLP. He wears corduroy trousers and puts toy cars in his pockets and carries a plastic screwdriver about in case he needs to pretend fix things. He makes me wooden cakes at his wooden kitchen and he tucks plastic dolls into their little blankets.

Ted is also very particular about dressing. There are certain items that he simply refuses to put on (buttoned shirts, slipper socks) and he definitely has a preference for particular tracksuit bottoms or pyjama tops. And he has started to “model” his outfits – when he’s asked to show what he has on he sort of pushes his hands into his pockets and swaggers into a cool standing position. I have no idea where he has learnt this.

Angelica’s favourite outfits are still the princess dresses that we buy from the fancy dress section at Sainsbury’s. I’ve stopped taking her to the supermarket because it was becoming a regular thing, the dress-buying; I reckon she has every incarnation of fairy/princess/angel dress they’ve manufactured. Her favourite, unfortunately, is the Spider Princess monstrosity that I bought at Halloween, which has to be worn with a very specific pair of glitter tights and a long-sleeved t-shirt underneath. Now and then she bolsters out the skirts of her dresses by pulling on a huge net tutu underneath so that the dress pouffes out and upwards. Again, I have no idea where she gets this from; I don’t rock any model poses at home (or at all, as you’ve probably noticed!) and I definitely don’t wear underskirts.

Maybe it could be a new thing for me. Pencil skirts certainly don’t do me any favours at the moment.

ruth crilly

I have been pondering the merits of teaching Angelica how to call for help if something dreadful happens – how to dial 999, or to safely shout for a neighbour. After the tree fiasco, when I thought I had double-blinded myself and/or knocked out my own brains, it occurred to me that it might be useful for her to know how to summon outside assistance. But then I do worry that she might use 999 for something that her three year old head considers to be an emergency but most definitely isn’t. Dolly falls out of bed. Dexter the dog eats her hairband. Ted won’t give the remote control back. Thoughts on this one? What’s the right age to start infiltrating little minds with practical bits of knowledge?

Although I’m having to be a bit careful with Ted’s knowledge in case he turns into some sort of (very cuddly, very kind) evil genius. Even though he’s not the chattiest of tiny people (we’re still at the two/three-word sentence stage: “More book Mama”, “THIS book Mama”) he just has this very funny way about him that speaks volumes. Cheeky. When he goes quiet, you know there’s trouble – he’s shredded an entire colouring book and made a bird’s nest to sit in, or he’s emptied the whole of the pan cupboard. If he knew how to use the phone he’d be prank-calling the local pizza shop and ordering bras on QVC.

We’ve had to start safety-pinning him into his sleeping bag, otherwise he waits until we’ve gone downstairs, unzips it, removes his pyjama bottoms, slips off his nappy and wees all over his mattress. Sometimes he lies back down in the wee and then falls asleep in it, and we have no idea that it’s happened, and he wakes up in the night cold and annoyed with his naked bottom poking up in the air.

I say all this like it’s a huge problem; he only did it for a few nights and then stopped. But it was significant enough for us to order childproof safety pins and then start to use them. Mind you, I suppose he can’t get the bloody thing off now so it’s not surprising he’s stopped doing it! Duh.

I must just go and eat a snack-size Flake. I’m trying to be really healthy at the moment but there’s only so much typing a woman can do without adequate sustenance. I’ve been doing Barre and Pilates recently (well, twice – ha!) and so I’m trying to match my diet to my good intentions. I’d like to be able to touch my toes by summer and then by Christmas it would be nice if my belly didn’t rest on my thighs when I did my shoelaces up.

Note: there is nothing wrong with bodies that can/can’t do these things, I just like being able to do them/not do them. I like being able to sprint up stairs two at a time, I like being able to fit into any of my jeans – any! Any of them will do! – and I’m determined to get into some kind of exercise routine that involves moving more than just my fingers on a keyboard. (Laptop keyboard, not musical keyboard – I’m not Ross from Friends.)

I’ve eaten my mini Flake now (total anti-climax, it was tiny) but I’ve just realised I have to sort out some pressing technical admin issues for the app and it has to be done before midnight. Stay tuned for more news on The Night Feed – those who registered their interest to test it out will be getting sent a link to download soon, but I’ll give you a heads up beforehand so that you can keep a lookout for the email.

If you fancy browsing back through my life updates then they are all here – there are pages and pages of them, so pick your month/year and marvel at how life has changed! To be quite honest, it feels as though I wrote the very first one (here) yesterday. I wonder whether I’ll still be doing these updates in another three years or four years?

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  1. Grace
    April 9, 2019 / 11:25 am

    Oh Ruth, I do love your posts. The cars in the pockets – sigh – so cute. My 3 year old son also won’t wear button up shirts so I put him in light knitted polos from marks, they look just as smart and are nice and soft for him. And all the tracksuits his heart desires for playschool of course! Looking forward to the app as in the throes of night feeds, 3 of them last night and she’s 4 months!

  2. Sheila Wade
    April 8, 2019 / 5:39 pm

    Some days I think my job saved me because (if nothing else) it got me out of the house and away from ‘momming’. I just need that, it’s just what I needed to recharge. Unfortunately, work was also far too demanding at times and would throw me/us off-balance.

    Yes, I missed a few bits along the way, but my children also gained other figures in their life who love them dearly still (same sitter(s) from start). I felt neither of us (hubs nor 2 daughters) would have survived the teen years had we not leaned on friends, and professionals and read/watch people like you, Ruth!! You remind us we are not alone in this (sometimes) parenting shit-storm.
    Thankfully at almost 23 and 20 , my girls are out there in the world kicking ass. And enough of my sanity is left to still enjoy the musings of your lovely bunch. Thanks for sharing and you got this- you are doing GREAT.

  3. sevda
    April 5, 2019 / 6:17 pm

    The font is very hard to read on my pc. Too faded. I had to press my nose to the screen.

  4. Brita
    April 4, 2019 / 10:03 pm

    Try putting Ted’s sleeping bag on back to front. Worked with my children once they had worked out how to undo the zipper.

    • April 5, 2019 / 2:12 pm

      Oh that is an AMAZING idea!!!!!

  5. Pip
    April 4, 2019 / 8:03 pm

    Although it made me cry loads it definitely gets easier when they go to school. You just have the luxury of time. 6 whole hours, 5 days a week. I went back to work when mine was 9. I work in reception at a school and we do a whole work scheme on ‘people who help us’. And we cover their address, phone number etc. They meet firemen, nurses and the police. So they talk about getting help and the importance of being safe. He is now 15 and I loved him getting older, it was just so much easier, he really makes me laugh now and when he is not being grumpy he is great to be around. Pre school days were so hard. I love looking back at the pictures and videos but I would never want to go back!

    • April 5, 2019 / 2:12 pm

      Thanks Pip, what a balanced way of looking at things! x

  6. April 4, 2019 / 2:54 pm

    Loving your house tours I thought I was the only one doing “confused” decorating, or waiting to find just the right piece. Now I realize I’m normal, and husband still cannot figure out why we have only a bed in our master :)

  7. Megan
    April 4, 2019 / 1:52 pm

    I don’t know how you get any work done with two children in the house. My two year old would never allow that. If she knows I’m in the house, she wants to be with me,
    But the mum guilt when I take her to child care! The other day as I was turning onto the street it’s in she said with a hint of desperation and panic in her voice, not this way mummy, not this way, no mummy, no. Tears and screaming followed once we were inside and I was crying too, by the time I got back to the car.
    I agree though, you need that mental break from
    Mum duties.

  8. Gillian Pidler
    April 4, 2019 / 1:30 pm

    I don’t think 3 is too young to learn what an emergency is and what to do if it happens. As long as she realises that it’s only to be used if she is really worried about you, Daddy, Ted then I think she should have a pretty good understanding. In fact there is likely a child’s book covering this that may help in explaining it, if there isn’t then maybe I should write one!!

  9. April 4, 2019 / 10:54 am

    My daughter just turned five and we taught her both calling 112 (the German emergency equivalent) and to repeat her full name and address about six months ago. So far no fake emergencies, fingers crossed.
    Oh, and mum life is hard work, I am very grateful that I can go to the office five times a week, although of course I miss them and feel incredibly guilty about doing it. I guess on that one you can’t win.

    Anne – Linda, Libra, Loca

  10. Celia Totman
    April 4, 2019 / 9:33 am

    Hi Ruth! Sorry to break it to you but teenage behaviour doesn’t start dead on thirteen. One minute theyre your baby, holding your hand and wanting hugs, the next suddenly it’s ‘ I can go into school on my own mum!’ and ‘don’t kiss me goodbye mum!’ And once they go to secondary school, the ‘fun’ really starts! All you can do is be there for them during these difficult years and hope they don’t hate you at the end of it. I’ve been reading your blogs since the beginning, my children are now 20 and 25 and are now lovely human beings thank goodness!

  11. Bumblebee
    April 4, 2019 / 8:29 am

    Angelica has your hands and fingers! Totally like your mini hands.

  12. Megan
    April 4, 2019 / 8:23 am

    How can I register to test out the night feed app? Baby no 2 is due next week so have been looking forward to trying it out!

    • April 4, 2019 / 10:02 am

      Go through to the post that’s linked and add a comment to the list at the bottom, make sure you pop your email into the form where requested. xx

  13. Anne Macnamara
    April 4, 2019 / 8:17 am

    Love the update Ruth! My 10 year old son is still the same with clothes – looks at something and point blank refuses to wear it…

  14. Jane F
    April 4, 2019 / 5:50 am

    I unfortunately don’t have kids but I was quizzing my 8 year old nephew the other day of what number to dial in an emergency (we live in Australia and the emergency number is 000) and he said “911” – It immediately got me worried that because of the big influence America is with what our kids watch on TV and youtube that that’s the number they’ll remember if ever they need to ring.
    Would be interested to hear from parents what they think on this issue.

    • April 4, 2019 / 10:02 am

      Oh yes!!! That’s a very good point.

      • Rachel
        April 4, 2019 / 10:32 am

        In the UK, if you dial 911 on a mobile, it automatically transfers you to 999. One little worry off your plate. Unless it is a landline. Worry back on plate.

        • Jane F
          April 6, 2019 / 1:35 pm

          Oh that’s really interesting. I wonder whether that’s the same in Australia.

  15. Rachel Sinclair
    April 4, 2019 / 1:04 am

    Hey Ruth,
    Is it possible for me to register my interest in The Night Feed. I am a new mum and this sound perfect for those long nights.

    • April 4, 2019 / 10:03 am

      It’ll be available to download soon, for real! But I’ll give you all a heads-up for the free testing period when it soft launches. x

  16. Poorani
    April 3, 2019 / 11:59 pm

    My mother made my son memorise my phone number in case he got lost and needed someone to call me. He has forgotten it by now because I never made him practise after my mother left. I should probably do it. That aside I haven’t done any proper exercise in years. I try to do yoga at home following Adriene but I don’t feel motivated to do it everyday. I would be more dedicated if I went to a class but I am always wasting time on my iPad to do anything useful.

    • April 4, 2019 / 10:04 am

      Yes, I have to do classes otherwise I just don’t bother!

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