Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Flumpy's newborn survival guide

Hallos! Flumpies hear. They haz tryed to keep me quiet, buts I shall be herd. I haz tied ups boob ladie and stollen her computerz. And so's, allows me two present...


Newbornz! Lets me guide yous. I am now verys old and wize ands can tell yous what you needz to get yous threw this difficults earlie stage.

1. BOOB.
This one is a bits obviouses. Howeverz - there are peoples out their who will tries to keep you from your rightful access to the BOOB, limitings you to a mear 25 hourz a daze. You needs to make it clear from a verys earlie stage that the BOOB is yourz and yourz alones, and thats you rechoir excess at alls time. If their iz any delays, SCREAMZ. Gets youre boob ladie trained ealie. Iz worth the efforts in the long runz.

Okays, so whose else iz into bondages? I knows I am. Makes it clear that if the parentals wants you to sleepz, they must keeps you well rapped. If they donts, flails around as much as possibles, smack yourselfs in face, claw at eyes, ect. They will learnz.

It iz temptings to just make boob ladie carry yous around at all timez. Howevers, sometime iz good to let her use her handz - mainlie so she canz wash nappys and dance like performing monkeys for entertainments. At this times, slings is usefuls. Also offers grate oppertunities for clawing at skins with youre carfully sharponed fingersnailz. And headbuttings. All goodz.

Sometimez milks is not enuf. A persons getz thirstie, you nose? Parentals thinks you needz barfs for keepings cleanz, but oh noes. Iz reallie for drinkings. Whenevers boob ladie look aways, dives into the luvli barf waters and drinks as much as you canz, pref threw noze. Iz delicus.

This is verry importants. You must sleepz for at least 21.5 hours a daze. Or for 5. One or the otherz.

Donts tell the parentals which, though. This is evens more importants.

Self explanatries.

Ands that iz it. All you needz to survivals youre first 13 weaks. Good lucks, comrades!

Monday, 15 July 2013

12 weeks

To my lovely little Flumpy.

You're 12 weeks today. 12 weeks of smiles, giggles, outraged howls, four-hour cuddles, and adventures. So many adventures.

We've been to London - just you and me, on the train. All I have to do is pop you in the sling, or click you into the car seat, and we're off. You'll go anywhere with me, it seems, so long as I bring my boobs. We went to Henley, and you behaved so well that they almost let you in to the Steward's Enclosure - but unfortunately you weren't in a blazer and flannels, so no go. I've rediscovered shopping - something Lumpy hasn't tolerated for years. But you're happy to come along for the ride, so we haunt Cowley centre once again (maternity leave wouldn't be complete without it) - rampaging through the chavs and charity shops. We attack the four-mile walk into Oxford with gusto, to watch a strange array of films at the Big Scream mother and baby screening. But you don't scream, rising above such lowly expectations of your behaviour, and I sit there and glow with smugness.

Not that you are incapable of showing your displeasure. Ninety eight per cent of the time you are sunniness and serenity, taking everything in, following our conversations attentively, and wiggling each of your limbs in sheer joy at the sight of the leaves swaying above you. But that two per cent of the time - if we've let you get too tired, or I dare to attack you with the snot sucker, then, my lord, you know how to show it. Look on my wrath, you parents, and be afeared.

At these times, while jiggling your outraged, rigid body, I whisper that you're meant to be the easy, placid, second baby. That I only signed up for this because that was what I was promised. But that's not fair. You are so incredibly happy, good-natured, and cheerful, it's just such a shock when you do cry that it seems strange and extreme to us. We're just so lucky. So lucky that you're you.

You are so like your big brother in so many ways. Sometimes it's like I've just dozed off and I'm back there, three years ago, a brand new, totally clueless, mother of a little Lumpy (as opposed to the consummate professional parent I am now, ho diddly he). You look like him, smile like him - oh, those explosive, open-mouthed, half-moon grins. You gave me one of those first thing this morning, after I scooped you out of your cot. You are just delicious. I could have eaten you up right there, but then I'd have gone to prison for cannibalism, and there'd be no one to wash your nappies, and my boobs would explode within five hours, and that would be no good. So I restrained myself.

From your magnificent array of coos, squawk, and grunts, I think you'll be a talker, just like Lumpy. At least, I hope so. Though I may regret that wish in two years time, when I have two little loonies shouting at me all day long.

I hope you will laugh as much as he does. You've had a good start - you giggled for the first time, last Friday. We were standing by the river, on the way back from the pub, watching a rowdy boat full of post-GCSE students with extraordinary hair (what is it with young people and their hair? And, more importantly, when did I become such an extraordinary old fart?) passing through the lock. I was leaning over you in the pram, smiling at you like a loon, laughing and tickling you in the armpits. And you giggled and giggled and giggled. What a brilliant sound that was. I keep trying to get you to do it again, but you resolutely refuse. Perhaps you were actually laughing at the oddly dressed young 'uns on the boat.

We're out of the really new, newborn phase, now. You're no longer a cross little maggot, who I couldn't put down for two minutes. You like your own space now, happily wiggling on the floor with Lumpy's pals from three years ago, Mr Bee, Zed-Bo, and Mr Moose.

You're sleeping on me less and less, and actually nap more easily in your cot (though you only ever stay asleep there for an hour max, whereas if I can get you to drop off on me, you'll stay there all day long, for hours on end, even now. I love that. You can sleep on my chest for as long as you want, till you're in your thirties, if you like. People may think that's weird, and we may be shunned as social pariahs and freaks, but so be it. Snooze on, little man.

But even as you're growing up - every minute, every hour, before my very eyes - you still seem to need me - or want me, rather. Sometimes, when I reach out to you, as you're lying on the floor, or in your cot, you grab on to my hand and pull it towards you, holding on so tight. And my heart just melts. I love you, my little Flumpy. You make that so very, very easy.

Monday, 8 July 2013


Lumpy, at the model village - his special request for a third birthday treat. He watches the model train pass under a bridge, runs to the other side, and strains to see as it disappears round a corner. A small contented sigh escapes as he turns and walks along the path. Then his face lights up again. "A train!" he shouts, breaking into a sprint.


*         *          *

Flumpy lies on my lap as I'm slumped on the couch. I look down from the television, and realize his face is filled with a half-moon smile, gummy and gorgeous. "Geeeeee eyyyy ahhhhh," he says. "Geeeeee eyyyyy ahhhhhh," I reply. "Mmmm maaaaah," he says. "Mmmm maaaah," I reply. This goes on for half an hour. It's the best conversation I've had for ages.

Photo: Raaaaaaaaah!

*          *         *

Lumpy's birthday party. His special surprise has arrived - a bouncy castle. As soon as it's inflated, he's on there, flinging himself about with delight. Eventually he's persuaded off, and goes into the house to wait for his guests to arrive. "I love my bouncy castle," he says as he's walking away. "I love him because he's my friend."

Three hours or so later, the party is in its final stages. Sweaty from too much bouncy (can you ever have too much bouncing? Really?), the guests decide some cooling off is required. Body after body squeezes in to the world's smallest paddling pool. There is much squealing and splashing. We take photos. This will be excellent blackmail material in a few years' time.

End of the party. One of the mums (of whom I am slightly afraid) pauses as she herds her triplets out of the gate. "I have to admit," she says, "when you said 10 till 2, I had my doubts."
"Oh," I say. "Why? Was that not enough time?"
She snorts. "Too much time. Two hours. That's how long a children's party is. But you did it just right." (I think she means we let the children run wild and didn't attempt to corral them in any way). "And I'm totally going to steal your way of doing pass the parcel. I've never liked it before, but your way was great." (My way is putting a present in every layer of paper, with enough layers for each child. Somehow, everyone ends up with a present. What's the chances?).
I swell with pride.

*          *          *

After a grizzly morning, when nothing seems able to settle him, Flumpy finally falls asleep in my arms. I carefully carry him up the stairs, to put him in the Nature's Nest. Halfway up I stop and just stare at the sweet, tiny, curled up, snoring bundle. And I feel glad. So very glad.

Photo: Pooped

*          *          *

Monday after Lumpy's birthday weekend. I go in to nursery in the afternoon, bringing the 28 party bags I filled the night before, then subsequently emptied in the morning, to take out the packets of Haribo, so that each parent can be asked if their child is allowed such evil sweets. Flumpy comes, strapped to me in the sling. Every child strokes and pokes him. He blinks inquisitively at them.
We play musical chairs. Lumpy insists that I play too, holding his hand. As the chairs reduce he gets more anxious. "I don't want to miss," he says. "I don't want to miss." He gets knocked out when there are three chairs remaining and dissolves into tears. He says he won't join in any more games, so I scoop him up, and we dance together for musical statues, laughing every time we freeze. Flumpy sleeps on in the sling. My arm sings with the strain of holding Lumpy up, but I won't put him down. We win.