Nostalgic New Look…

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I’m having an affair…

Yes you’re right, that definitely needs more explanation!

When I met my husband, he had quite short hair and quite substantial stubble, a young guy with a traditionally tall dark and handsome look. He soon grew his trademark beard with slightly longer hair. It’s a distinguished, classically handsome, film star type look (I’m obviously bias but the ‘film star’ definition was actually given to him from a few people at a wedding we went to a year ago!).

He’s had this bearded look for three years now, and he’s extremely well known and recognisable for it.

However, the other day, for a bit of a shake up and change of image (probably because we’re both naturally dramatic but something we both enjoy doing every so often!) he shaved off the beard and had his hair cut short, he looks, almost identical to how he looked when we first met, which for a lot of people who have entered his life post beard, has been quite a shock. Because he looks different, like REALLY different. He practically looks like another person!

There’s something excitingly nostalgic about the new look, it’s reminded me of when we first got together, I’ve found myself suddenly being a bit giggly round him! Seriously, the last few days it’s felt a bit like we’re dating again, and it’s brought back those ‘beginning of a relationship’ type butterflies, as if I’m carrying on with someone new all of a sudden!

The girls noticed the big change, Scarlett keeps telling him that he’s ‘lost his hat’! Holly keeps going to grab his beard (another of the motivations for getting rid of it for a while!) and then seeming quite confused! He shaved in front of them so they wouldn’t be too freaked out but the looks on their faces was definitely a picture.

His hair grows very fast and so before the end of the year it’ll be back to it’s more commonly known state, and it’ll likely stay there for another few years before another image shake up(!). But for now, I’m enjoying a little foray back into our first dating days. I started our relationship with an intellectual crush on my husband which has always continued throughout. However the other day, I discovered that I also have a bit more of a slightly more shameless ‘blush when he winks at me/electricity inducing’ crush that I try and pretend that at 31 I’m far too intellectual and sensible to have…! And let’s be honest, sometimes, it’s nice to feel like a teenager again (without those horrible teenage side effects.!).

Anyway, just a quick post today to acknowledge how much I fancy my husband (…!), now where did I put that red dress from 2013..!

Sleepy and soppy…

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(DISCLAIMER: tonight’s post, due to a slight hangover and being really exhausted, is rather rambling, disjointed and soppy! I’m not sorry!)

Our littlest girl turned 6 months old today! And a blog post seemed 1) well overdue but 2) very apt as we’ve come to the end of an extremely busy Summer! The last few weeks especially have been a real manic whirlwind including a week intensive stage combat course (complete with 12 people staying in our home), a 4 day trip to Malta, 2 weddings, and some extremely important planning! 
My reason (ahem…excuse!) for not having written in so long, is the hectic nature of the last couple of months. Scarlett is well into her terrible twos, and despite growing into a funny, intelligent, loving child; she is going through the classic tantrums and tears stage! Holly has cut her first tooth (and bless her is having a much tougher time of teething than our eldest did!) and is determined to be crawling imminently! She gets very frustrated not being able to keep up with her big sister, whom she adores. Scarlett is reciprocally very kind, gentle (mostly!) and includes her little sibling in playing. Watching the close relationship between the two of them develop is a real joy for my husband and I!  

Malta was our first holiday as a family (of four) and we timed it to coincide with a Europe wide heatwave! With temperatures at 41 degrees for most of the time we were there, the air conditioning and the pool were both a godsend! The heat, the two long days of travelling, and the general disruption to their normal routine were a bit of a challenge for the girls and we saw the distinct difference in having two kids instead of just one! We were lucky that on a couple of occasions, as we were out there with my husbands parents, and later on my brother and sister in law; one night we had a date night dinner, and one afternoon we had a trip to the spa together. So it wasn’t full time madness! And the moments we had together as a family were truly priceless. I will forever remember several moments: my husband and I giggling in our room with the two girls at what was supposed to be naptime, waking up on two mornings with both of them sprawled across our (luckily very large) bed while the two of us had manoeuvred into ridiculous positions to be able to stay on the bed, the last morning round the pool – all eight of us messing about and having fun and a final drink before we had to leave (ahead of the others who are still there today!), and an emotional breakfast where my mother in law and I took it in turns to make each other cry!! Moments that, for me, made the tiring 2am arrival and the heat invoked tantrums, more than worth it. It was also so nice to have some quality time with my husband, especially having left a couple of days after 12 people had checked out of our house! We LOVE the chaos and the stage combat week was one of the most fun weeks we’ve had in a long time, however, sitting at dinner opposite my very best friend and comrade, with a few drinks, great food and so many laughs my tummy hurt, was bliss. And the afternoon in the spa was an event we plan to arrange much more frequently, I can HIGHLY recommend couples massage and facial plus spa for romance and relaxation! 

We’ve watched four close friends get married in the last couple of weeks (in two weddings, we haven’t been to a double wedding or some kind of polygamous event!), one wedding with the kids in tow (fun and chaotic) and one without (a much higher consumption of gin and a trip to the playground at midnight!). But both weddings were fantastic and next weekend is going to seem rather boring when not accompanied with dressing up and pretending not to cry at the soppy parts! 

With all the busy times, we tonight took an hour to look over the last six months. This time last year, we were entering, hands down, the hardest periods of our lives so far without realising just how tough and emotional it would be. The last six months have seen us get back on track, we’ve slowly recovered and mended from what we had been through together, and the last few months have felt practically euphoric. But somehow we’ve blinked and we have a 6 month old! Which, I know, to parents of teenagers or fully grown adults, will seem ridiculous. “Just you wait” we hear all the time…! And I am fully aware that we’ll blink again and we’ll be dancing at our own children’s weddings or babysitting our own grandchildren, but right here and now, it’s hard to believe that our newborn baby days are over and we got through all the bits we both thought we might not. 

Scarlett started nursery within the stage combat week and she’ll soon be going regularly, Holly will soon be mobile. Yet we can still so clearly remember sitting in the house we lived in in the Christmas I was pregnant with Scarlett talking about how weird it was that it would be our last Christmas without our own child present. I still remember as if it was yesterday chatting about the fact that as our child was due to be born in six months we really needed to sort out a place to live that wasn’t my husbands parents or house sitting!! But at the same time, that now feels like ancient history! We caught up with someone the other day who we were reminiscing about a massive nerf battle with, and we all said ‘gosh that must be a couple of years ago now’ before realising that it was in fact nearly four years ago! 

A close friend of ours recently had a baby girl, and in the card we sent, I almost wrote ‘savour every second because it all goes so fast’, but I stopped myself – we all know it goes fast, but in those beginning days when it’s all a blur, it does go really fast but also really slowly, you really live every second when learning to be a parent, which is perhaps why when looking back it feels as if it’s gone by like lightning! There’s no non cliched way of saying any of it. We all experience it!

I’m so proud of my daughters for how they’re developing and growing, and although right now I can’t imagine how quickly Holly will reach her first birthday; I know full well that I’ll blink and we’ll be there! 

We’re planning our wedding for 2018*, which when we talk about it seems like AGES away, but that too will come and go in the blink of an eye. 

Anyway, before I ramble on anymore about the inevitable passing of time (I’m ever so slightly hungover today as well so the ramblings of my brain are much less eloquent today!) I will sign off by saying that this Summer has been hectic, and ridiculous, chaotic and a lot of hard work, but also incredible fun! When life goes by so fast, it’s so important to make sure you’re not wasting it. There have been times in my life when I’ve settled for things, maybe not held myself in a high enough regard and so ignored any niggling doubts about what choices I was making in my life and charging on regardless because day by day, it doesn’t seem like much time is passing. We must all choose the best possible lives for ourselves, the best parts of life are worth working incredibly hard for; whether that means travelling for twelve hours with two tiny children, or having a slight hangover when you know your kids will be up at 6.30am regardless because every so often the pros of the fantastic night before outweighs the cons of the difficult day afterwards! Or if it means choosing to spend your time with certain people and not others, or deciding that you’re worth more than the way you’re being treated. You are fabulous and you deserve the tough times to be worth it. The last year has taught me that life is very difficult and we are all fighting both secret and public battles in various areas of life. But we owe it to ourselves to choose the best possible paths to travel down so despite any hard times, when you look back, you see beautiful views with the knowledge that happy times and stunning scenery, (regardless of how tough it will be on the way) are on the horizon. 

The new academic year has started now which is almost more of a new year for us than January is, I think that’s the case with quite a lot of people in similar professions! Our baby girl is six months, and our little lady is almost two and a half. Life isn’t easy, we work damn hard as a team for everything we have, with some invaluable and amazing support from those around us, and we hope the people around us know that we would similarly do anything to make sure they get all wonderful things they deserve too, our doors and ears are always open to the people in our life. But what does make it feel much easier is how much we love it. And the knowledge that I made such a good decision in choosing the man I married, and the decisions we’ve made for our family, makes anything else worth while! It really isn’t worth settling for anything better than amazing!

So ‘happy half birthday’ to our precious little girl, thank you for the last half year of joy and for completing our family. And while both children sleep, as we raise a glass tonight together, here’s to many more happy years to come. And here’s to all of you, may all your hard work be worth it and may you always choose the best (regardless of difficulty!) and happiest path for you, you’re more than worth it comrades, cheers!
*= regular readers of my blog will know that my husband and I are in fact already married but are planning to do it again when I’m not pregnant and struggling with epilepsy, and incorporating all the things we weren’t able to do the first time round. It will be a celebration of our lives together with a lot more freedom to do things in our own special unique way!! 

Lucky In Love…

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It’s gone 2.30am and I’m up with our youngest because the heat has made her very uncomfortable and she can’t sleep. Scarlett has stirred a few times for the same reason but is able to get herself more comfortable and therefore get to sleep. Being up at the time comforting our youngest is not a first for this week, the very hot weather is not as appealing to young babies as it is for a lot of people! 
Luckily, I know that in the morning, when at between 6.30 and 7am when Scarlett comes to her bedroom door & shouts out ‘Mummy, Daddy, where are you?’ I don’t have to get up and manage on only a couple of hours sleep. My husband will roll over, kiss me on the head (he thinks I don’t wake up but I am always aware that he does this) and he will get up. He does this most mornings. I get very little sleep overnight and as a result of some medications, I struggle with sleep and early mornings. He doesn’t love them, but he does them. And I appreciate it every day. And I know that when he is exhausted at night, and the baby is crying or Scarlett has woken up, and I tell him to go to bed and I’ll be up whenever I’m able, I know that he appreciates it. 

Every morning, on a normal day, there’s a cup of tea waiting for me when I get up, and on hot days, there is an iced coffee waiting for me. My husband does this for me as he knows how much I adore that small but significant gesture. Every day when he goes off to work, I tell him to go and ‘be excellent’, which is something I know means a lot to him, and at some point every day, I kiss him on the forehead. In general, I know that both of us make all of our decisions with the other in mind.

It has been a wonderful few years, but the two pregnancies were incredibly difficult (although our two daughters are the obvious highlights), we chose to build our business at the same time, (we do love a challenge!) and at the beginning of this year we went through the most difficult and traumatic period of our lives. There were times when we daren’t look forward, and just clung onto each other whilst taking one step at a time. The health problems, the epilepsy, the two pregnancies and building our careers have been stressful, fraught and a lot of hard work. And then the recent political situation threw more stress our way (can of worms which I won’t open now as how I was affected personally work wise by it is the tiniest of chapters in the overall scheme of things!) and our days threatened to be dominated by that for a bit.

But throughout all of it, still every day my husband makes me a cup of tea, and every day at some point, and still I kiss my husband in the middle of his forehead (for a specific and private reason). However, aside from those things, over the last few weeks, I have fallen in love with my husband all over again! Without the intense stress and worries, we’ve started having dates, we’ve started talking about the future without saying ‘once this is better/once we know if this is ok’. We cuddle in that rather childish but amazing bear hug way, we’ve been going on walks and adventures without them being before or after some kind of appointment! We’ve realised that all the work we’ve put in over the last few years is paying off. 

Our struggles are not over, things will inevitably smack us round the face when we least expect it. For now, we are enjoying many easier happy days; we always have enjoyed our time together but the inevitable strain lessened some of the magic, the same magic that drew us together in the first place. We dance together in the living room again now, we lock eyes in a busy room again (just for a cheeky wink, not just to check if the other is ok!). I didn’t realise it but I’d missed my husband! He’s extremely handsome and has a wonderful sense of adventure. He makes me laugh, I still have a slight awestruck crush on him, and I am extremely lucky to be loved in the way that my husband loves me.

I believe that a big part of the success of a marriage is being able to weather the storms together; I’ve also talked before about how important I feel having similar core values are to a relationship. And I think that another huge third factor is the little things, because they are in fact the big things. 

So it’s tough it being 2.30am and pacing around with the baby on one arm not knowing when she might be comfortable enough to sleep. But I know that when I do get to bed, my husband will ferociously guard the opportunity for me to get a good amount of sleep, in the same way that I have guarded his sleep tonight by being downstairs so he is not disturbed. And I know that when I come downstairs, depending on the weather, there will be an expertly made beverage waiting for me. And when he holds my hand when we go out with the girls, I’ll feel that electricity between us, rather than it being a nice supportive gesture in hard times. 

This post, I hope, won’t come across as braggy or smug, that’s certainly not my intention. It hasn’t been an easy road getting here, and we’ll certainly encounter more difficult periods in the future. But with two funny, clever, beautiful daughters who mean the world to us, and with a little reprieve in the madness (and, we hope, with a long period of good health to follow!), it’s been extremely worth remembering what we had been fighting for and working for all along.  

When we are 80, our grandchildren will joke about some bicker we have over a 50 year old argument or the like, because, knowing us, there’ll definitely be things we’ll never let go of (I’ll forever tease him about Christoph Waltz!). HOWEVER, I hope that the important things, the seemingly little things, will also be discussed even after we are gone. Because what car we have, what kind of house we live in, or what ‘stuff we own’, means nothing in comparison.

“They’d tease each other all the time, but Grandad would never allow a day to go by without making ‘his Lade’ a cup of tea. And Nan would always tell ‘her grizzly bear’ to ‘be excellent’.”

When I get into bed (hopefully soon!) I will cuddle up into my husband, I don’t know whether, like me in the morning, he is aware that I do this every night. I’m so very happy to be able to be by his side, and will continue to do so till the end of time…and in all that time, I’ll still not let him forget about Christoph Waltz!

Pro’s Pretence…

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The ways in which my husband and I prove we are not ‘adult’ enough to have children (and yet we do, and they seem ok..).
1. We find it hysterical to brush each other’s teeth. Seriously, try it, hold your partners brush while they control yours and see if you can do it without laughing. You can? You think we’re ridiculous? Ah. Ok.

2. We see those memes that refers to stupid things that one parent does, the ‘irresponsible one’ and it applies to both of us. Where is our supervisory parent?! “Oh dear, did Daddy dress them today?” *awkward pause as I try and work out what’s wrong with a tutu, Spider-Man tshirt and wellies combo*

3. We both find it funny when Scarlett accidentally picks up on a swear word. So when in the car, and my husband gets road rage, we make the situation worse when we hear the angelic voice of our two year old shout out with glee, “thanks dickhead!”. We of course explain to her that it’s a bad word and that Daddy was naughty for saying it, but we can’t make eye contact with each other when doing so without giggling!

4. Neither of us ever successfully looked after a tamagotchi (although did anyone?!). 

5. If we fancy wearing a cape, we will do. If we want to play the PS4 while sitting in a fort, we will do. Although the kids are obviously always welcome to join in…as long as they know the password.

6. We often take on different personas when we go out together, could be as simple as ‘the day of the French accents’, or as elaborate as Liam and Nikki, the crime fighting team with a stray cat as their sidekick. I mean, we’re really tired a lot of the time and when it’s just the two of us (or sometimes secretly while we’re in a group of people..!) we really give in to the delirium!

7. We give the children nicknames based on random sounds, Ponk and Moop are two official titles that only we use. Some days that can be lengthened to Ponko Shmonko and Holly Wally Moop Boop, there is no limit and whatever we use, we will always somehow know which of the girls the other is referring to. Crazy understands crazy.

8. We stay up till 2am playing board games or watching a film or enjoying time together knowing full well we’ll be up by 6.30am. And like students do, every morning we swear that ‘TONIGHT we’ll have an early night’. Spoiler alert: we NEVER WILL!

9. We often make decisions based on ‘rock, paper, scissors’ or through some other childish competition; we both hate washing up – but he lost the staring competition fair and square so it’s HIS turn!

10. Neither of us really know what we’re doing as parents, we’re doing the best we can. Sometimes after a trying day, when we’ve tried something new to deal with bad behaviour, or the baby refuses to go down to sleep until midnight; we have a cuddle and sometimes even a little cry! When things go right we high five or give one another an actual pat on the back. But we muddle on through, like teenagers lost in the woods, we take on parenting together by holding each other’s hands and just going for what looks like the best direction!
You can never be ready for parenthood, and certainly other people give a much better impression of being fully fledged adults. My husband and I both have jobs where people need to rely on us being experts in our fields and THAT we’ve been trained for, THAT we know (most of the time) what we’re doing! And so in our personal lives, we try and give the impression that everything’s totally in hand. I think the truth is, no-one really has it in hand. Nobody really gets to a point where they’re totally confident or feel on top of life, because we’re all always adapting, changing and growing. Even an 80 year old is a novice at being 80, just as they think they’ve got the hang of it, that damn 81st birthday rolls around! So although our ridiculousness gives us away as not even being able to do an impression of knowing what we’re doing, I don’t think we’re truly alone in it. And we manage to keep a lot of the above to when it’s just the two of us, that’s when we can be the most unapologetically silly and goofy! 

And my suspicion is it’s the same for every other couple, we all know how to sit round a dinner table and act like we’re grown ups. Maybe we should be more free with the less adult things; maybe we should stand up on our chair at dinner and say, ‘fear not! I’m not really an adult either, I’m wearing Snoopy knickers and using cellotape because I don’t know how that breast tape bra stuff works! I couldn’t find shoe polish so I coloured the scuff mark in with felt tip, and despite being 31, I really want to blow bubbles in my drink with this straw, be free with me!!’ 

On second thoughts, I might be more amateur than most after all…

…and that kind of behaviour can get you asked to leave Zizzi’s…!

Shared Spousal Support…

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Some people just suit pregnancy, they glow, they enjoy the growing life inside of them and everything about the pregnancy just goes to show how natural they are at such a precious time. I have three close friends who were all varying degrees of pregnant whilst I have been, two of whom have now given birth; and although obviously no pregnancy is 24/7 glee and pleasure, my close friends all really suit pregnancy and look good doing it.
I, on the other hand…I’m a slightly different picture! I am epileptic, which plays up during especially the end stage of pregnancy. I have PCOS (polycystic ovaries, which can cause fertility problems which definitely hasn’t been the case for us but with it brings some less favourable factors). I have a bicornuate uterus (which means my uterus is an unusual shape, we’re extremely lucky that both our children as embryos ‘planted’ in a safe place so as to develop safely but they have still had less space in their first ‘home’). I also have weak kidneys, which were a small problem in my first pregnancy and have become a much bigger issue in my second. Added together, it’s a miracle really we’ve been able to have two healthy children!! And looking at it written down, frankly we’re really lucky to have only had the issues we have done. It’s funny really, all the issues we were aware of, and it’s the things we weren’t aware of that have caused the worse problems! ANYWAY, my point is, we’re very fortunate but I am not really naturally built for pregnancy. When my husband and I first dated, I even made him aware that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to have children given everything.
Based on the information and advice we were given after Scarlett was born, we opted for a small age gap between siblings. We knew pregnancies would be tough, but once we’ve passed that period, our family is complete and we can focus on the rest of our lives together as a four.
I’m envious of my three beautiful friends, and other friends who seem to have breezed through pregnancies. Don’t get me wrong, you never know what goes on behind closed doors and I know that everything was by no means as easy for them as I see them from a simplistic view. I also know that there are people all over the world that have a significantly worse time of it so I’m certainly not by any means trying to throw myself a pity party. 
Tonight my husband and I were looking at some old photos. Sometimes, with the bed rest, the confusion with the higher epilepsy medication I’m getting used to, the dashes to hospital and the helplessness we quite often feel; we forget that this time of our life is relatively short. Within two and a half years we’ve got that difficult time done. The pregnancy stage of our life (which isn’t the fun, whimsical time as advertised in the films). Even this coming Summer we can see long sunny days on the beach, travelling with our two children to nice places that a theatre tour we’re working on is going to. Happy times adventuring with friends and we also have a ski trip that we’ve had on the cards for a while. These plans will not happen within days or weeks of the baby being born, but my point is this. My husband and I remember laughing together until drink comes out of our noses, the sort of jokes with friends you talk about after the event that other people wonder what the hell you’re talking about! The fun times with our first child with several precious family trips! 
Today, however, we have been reminded that sitting in a bedroom, eating dinner from a tray and taking medication is not what our life is about. Lucid only some of the time with notes reminding me what’s going on each day, is not our permanent status. We’re lucky, life is hard at the moment because of a particular set of circumstances that have a distinct end date. Pregnancy is not something we’re going to miss, which is not something you’re supposed to admit. But in the same way that a marriage isn’t about the one wedding day; not having a riot during pregnancy has no reflection on how cherished your family is! Our official due date is 10th April, after that date (if we even manage to go to full term!) we will have finished that stage of our life. So although I have spent a lot of time recently feeling like I will never get outside again, (and/or feeling as high as a kite!) we are so nearly there and that has been very uplifting!
Today we were reminded that we have a truly wonderful life together and we have many happy years of manic, busy, magical ridiculousness ahead! 

Valiant Valentine…

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I’m back in the hospital, having had steroid injections to help baby’s lungs develop and on antibiotics for a new infection that brought on some contractions (which will hopefully be managed so we don’t have a premature labour). Although if premature labour IS on the cards, I’m already being monitored and prepared with aforementioned steroid injections and painkillers so I’m in the best place and lucky to be being looked after by our wonderful NHS. 
That’s the quick summary of the situation so I can get to my main point.

Today is Valentines Day. A ‘holiday’ that my husband and I don’t celebrate apart from in a jokey way (St Valentine is also the patron saint of epilepsy, the plague and beekeepers amongst other things so we like to choose an alternative to honour each year!). However, this year, I feel very lucky and I feel like we have absolutely celebrated it. 

We didn’t go out for a fancy meal, we didn’t exchange pricey or extravagant gifts. Instead my #ValentinesDay Instagram post was a picture of my hospital bed. (@Ladeington for any interested readers!) The reason I still ‘hashtagged’ it as Valentines Day is because for the entire day, while I’ve been poked, prodded, handed things to pee into, injected with things and hooked up to various machines; my husband has been by my side. Holding my hand, making me smile, stroking my hair, telling me everything’s going to be ok, as well as co-ordinating Scarlett being looked after again for the next couple of days and updating family members on the situation. I have spent the day, in pain, yes, but being shown the purest, most honest and truest sense of romance all day.

When I was taken up to the ward and he had to leave, I was incredibly sad to see him go, he is my absolute rock. And although it sounds ridiculous, it has, in some ways been the most wonderful Valentines Day I’ve ever had (obviously once we knew there was no danger to baby!).

It’s now gone 2am and painkillers have helped at least reduce the pain slightly, and my ward companion only snores gently so I’ll hopefully get some sleep, I feel much better knowing my comrade will be back with me tomorrow and with a bit of luck I’ll be home soon to be with my little girl who I miss terribly, and with Scarlett’s younger sibling still on the inside! 

So although I’m not normally the soppy romantic type, Happy Valentines Day to you all, wherever you find love, whomever it may be with and in whatever form you cherish it!

Nit Picking Nicknames…

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There’s a lot of talk in the media and online about equality and feminism and what it is to be a woman/wife/mother in today’s world. Now for a lot of the world, it’s still a pretty raw deal but this week I had a taste of ‘Mum frustration’. I LOVE being a Mum to Scarlett and she is everything to me. However, I don’t identify as a mother. For some that is their full time role and that is all they want to be and what they want to be known for, and that is a fantastic thing. Parenting is one of the most rewarding roles in the world. In no way am I refuting that but I do find it difficult to completely set aside Danielle, the girl with a lot of ambitions and plans of my own. 

I am personally a better Mother to Scarlett when I am ensuring I continue with some of my own pursuits. I’m a writer, and now Scarlett’s older I’m putting my degrees to use and practising as a Forensic Psychologist (primarily in research). And I am a better wife for having my own identity, an important cog in the business my husband and I run together. I do not identify as a ‘wife’. (Again I am merely stating my own preferences and not even insinuating that there is anything wrong with identifying thusly.)

So this week my husband and I are without Scarlett and in Warwick working at a Theatre Summer School. Tom taught a Stage Combat Workshop and I wrote some duologues and monologues for students on an acting course to study and perform. On paper, we are professionally equal. We have both left our daughter with Grandparents for a couple of days so we can focus on our work. And yet, although the theatre world is significantly more open minded and understanding than the rest of the world (in my experience), I have still found myself holding my tongue on a number of occasions. 

Firstly, and again, several people have asked both of us, but many more people have asked ME how I must feel being apart from my daughter. The implication being that her father must be used to being away from her and I must be struggling. In our family, we co-parent, we have careers that allow that to happen. So just as often as Daddy is on an all day course & Scarlett and I have a lovely ‘girls day’ together, my husband will also have her to himself when I am in the lab doing research or in rehearsals. We also both take it in turns to have time at home writing or planning stage fights or whatever’s needed when we’re working from home, and the other takes the reins with our baby. Therefore, last night in the hotel, I came out of the bathroom to find my husband staring doe eyed at a video of Scarlett that he has on his phone. I’m the colder one, I avoid looking at pictures of her and don’t call up to talk to her when I’m away from her because that would make me miss her even more and so I try and just focus on where I am and what I’m doing. I don’t think that makes me a terrible mother. When I am with her, and we are lucky to be able to be with her 80% of the time as she most often travels around with us; if I’m the one with Scarlett, I am very present and no-one can pry me away from that precious time. So am I finding it difficult? Not hugely, I’m having a great time seeing my written work brought to life and that drives me, yes when I talk about her my heart pangs but my ‘mummy’ hat is one (hugely important) side of my life and at the moment I am focusing on another. A side that Scarlett benefits from, I am engaged, and bubbly when I’m playing with my daughter, if I had no other role, I would be tired, drained and not have much to give to her. Do I want her growing up to think that if she has children that is all she has in life? No no no. She will grow up with choices and she will grow up seeing the things her Mother is passionate about and be encouraged to follow any interests that she is passionate about. And so when people look confused when I say I’m ok being apart from her for two days, I tell them she is my biggest motivation for being passionately and unapologetically me. My husband feels the same but it is still more ‘appropriate’ for the father to act that way, and sometimes even distasteful for a mother to feel as such. I disagree. I respect those for whom their passion lies solely within being a Mother, but I don’t feel being a woman as well is anything to be sorry about. 

Then there’s the professional side of things. My husband is well known, he is a highly regarded RSC Associate Practitioner and an instructor that many of the students know as they have worked with him several times before at various things. A few people know me from workshops, or from rehearsals but writers are a quieter presence. They could know my work but not know my face. So when we arrived, we were extremely warmly greeted by a small group of our very dear friends (more like family really now!) and they all knew both of us. Then we walked into the main room and started to mingle. And I noticed I was being introduced in a certain way, “this is Danielle, Tom’s wife.” Sometimes I was even introduced with a bit more of an affectionate, ‘Toms lovely wife.’ And if they’ve heard of me, “ooh yes Scarlett’s Mum” or “oh you’re baby is adorable.” Now don’t get me wrong, I AM Toms wife and I am delighted to be thought of as lovely and Scarlett IS adorable. But I’m not here as a spouse. I am Danielle Lade, respected writer and if I’m bragging; I’m Danielle Lade respected writer, and Forensic Psychologist, if you want to mention me in relation to Tom then I am also his business partner.

As I’m saying it, I can tell I sound like I’ve got a real rod up my backside, and maybe there is a little one there. I am very proud to be Tom’s wife. I’m very proud to be Scarlett’s Mum. But when I’m at work, that is personal information (not in the confidential sense, just in an ‘unrelated to what I’m doing now’ sense). Theatre is a very personable field and so you do form very close bonds with people which is why, yes 99% of people we work with know and have met Scarlett/ask how our holiday went/know and care about how we are and the feeling is reciprocated. Some of the closest people to us are also work colleagues. My point is, that as a man, my husband would never be introduced based on who he is to me or to his daughter. As a man, it’s much more accepted that his career is the front part of his identity. For those who haven’t read my work or seen what I’m doing here, they will leave thinking the wife left her daughter behind and tagged along with her husband as he worked. That’s the part that irks somewhat. For the people who have read my script, they won’t think that Tom is here just to be with me, if they ask who he is, they’ll be told he’s a Stage Combat Instructor. As we have different surnames professionally, apart from the fact that we came and are leaving together, there is no reason for his relationship with me to define him in this context. That’s the difference. And that’s what prompted me to think about our roles. 

And it works both ways; my husband is equally irritated when people share those website links that imply that if a baby is left with their father, some hilarious capers will occur because they don’t know how to take care of their children as well as Mummy. It’s a different story in our house, I’m the parent that made a nappy out of nappy bags, tissue paper and cellotape because I’d forgotten to take a spare with me when Scarlett accompanied me to a workshop. And we both dressed her as a hobbit when we took her to a Comic Con event. In both stereotypical worlds, my husband and I are equals and comrades. The world is still a few decades behind. I recently spoke to a full time Dad for an article I was writing and his frustrations were similar. A parenting team makes the best decision for their family, and that doesn’t have to mean Mummy stays at home whilst Daddy works long hours and then goes to the pub. For some families I’m sure that is the case, and that may well be what’s best for their family, but it certainly isn’t the only option. And in case anyone thinks I’m avoiding another side, gay parents make exactly the same decisions, whatever’s best for their family. I only don’t mention it because in terms of parenting teams, there is no difference and sexuality isn’t a factor. Or definitely shouldn’t be.

Between my close friends here, we’ve started a phrase that I quite like. My new introduction is ‘Danielle Lade, so much more than a wife.’ For those who assume I am at work currently raging and about to burn my bra, I’m not, I have a huge affection for the company I’m working for and the people I’m spending my time with. It’s my own sense of self it has made me look at, in all fields I know many other men and women don’t feel they have the correct identity being put forward in many circumstances. Even celebrities are pigeon holed. Heiresses want to be seen as musicians, actors want to be seen as more than just a pretty face, and the list goes on. I’ve concluded that we all deserve to embrace who we really are and the key is to be confident in that. My husband sometimes gets intimidated by the scientific jargon I use at home when I’m working, I often don’t know what he’s talking about when he’s discussing different weapons. We have a very clear view of who we are and what roles we play. I will continue to mention that I am a writer or a forensic psychologist in a situation where that is the most appropriate piece of my identity, and I will hopefully therefore get introduced less by the assumed title. However, as I have a great pride in who I married and what beautiful little girl we produced, I will also not be offended when people go to the social stereotype in their introduction. We are all the people we want to be and should wear all the pieces of our identity with pride. And I therefore hold no grudges to those who introduce me without acknowledging my career when I’m at work…I just can’t guarantee that within my next novel, the villain won’t be named after them!

List on life…

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A couple of recent discussions with friends has lead to a list being made (pause for excitement…) ok…read on!

5 things you can’t or don’t predict when choosing a life partner.

1) How you & you’re partner vote. Politics is kind of boring and kind of important. Voting is a right many fought for & we all have our own opinions. The majority of us however, in a normal week, don’t go round talking about who we vote for. We may discuss how the potholes are becoming a disgrace or how NHS waiting times are just not good enough, but we don’t do so wearing a political sash. When elections come round, all of a sudden people are passionately discussing it. A quick look on my facebook news feed & I can see the political stance of a large portion of my friends and (thanks to online debates) their friends voting plans. I have never started a relationship and asked what party they vote for as a deal breaker. I personally enjoy a good debate over social, political, religious and moral issues but I wouldn’t cut friends out of my life over a difference of opinion (someone who makes it clear they’re voting for the ‘death to all’ party I might give a wide berth to but as a general rule..!).
My husband and I have discussed it and voted the same way. We come from very similar backgrounds and work in similar fields so it’s not a huge surprise but it’s something we hadn’t really spoken about beforehand. Having witnessed a couple have a blazing row about their political stances (one Green Party, one considering UKIP..!) it made me realise that it’s the type of thing you don’t necessarily cover at the audition stages of a relationship. You’d assume some people with really strong views might but in general, I don’t think we really do. And likewise your views can change, mine have, I’m voting differently than I did five years ago, as is my husband. We now live in a different constituency which of course can make a difference but it’s interesting to think whether it would cause friction if we chose different. I’d like to think not, but after sitting behind the unhappy Green/UKIP coalition couple, it certainly makes one wonder!
2) How to bring up children. When entering a relationship, you discuss whether or not you want children. A lot of people do it quite early on as it is make or break situation. It’s not a decision that can easily be compromised on (ok dear we won’t have children but as a compromise I want us to do more paper mâché and watch CBeebies..!). 
What you don’t necessarily go into depth with are the details. What type of school do you want your child at? Do you believe in harsh discipline or a softer approach? Even simple things, what hobbies will you encourage? No first time parent comes equipped with any experience. We’re all learning as we go and it’s a steep old learning curve. Almost every day you have to make choices and if you’re at odds with your parenting comrade, you have to debate it out before making a choice and it won’t always be the choice you would rather. 
My husband and I have avoided any major clashes but we don’t agree on everything. Im a bit more gung ho whereas my husband can sometimes err a bit more on the side of caution! That statement stands for most things in our life really, he’s always happy to get dragged along with me but I think sometimes he probably wishes I’d think about things a bit more before jumping headlong! Anyway, I recently read an article about a couple who paid for a legal go between as they had reached an issue that they simply couldn’t come to an agreement on. The Father wanted their son to attend boarding school (the one he had attended), the Mother, who knew he’d attended boarding school but had no idea he was adamant his children would follow, wanted their son to attend the local comprehensive. In a quote, “I’d homeschool before I sent my child to boarding school.” Before that sticking point, they may well have been the happiest couple on the planet! But on your fifth date when you’re considering this person as a potential long term partner, you’re not likely to discuss the schooling options of your metaphorical children! 
“I’m having a lovely time, this is a great little Italian place. So picture the scene, Sid’s passed the 11+…”
“Sorry whose Sid?”
“Sorry yes, our future son Sid, he must be named after my Grandfather. And I want him to go to boarding school. I also think that I prefer the idea of baby led weaning. Oh and by the way if you vote Lib Dem I’m leaving now.”
3) How you’ll deal with an emergency or crisis. Fingers crossed, when you meet a new partner, you’re not immediately delved into a massive crisis. You’d at least hope they’d wait for the third date to drag you into a big drama anyway! However, at some point in your relationship, one or both of you will go through something really difficult. What you don’t know going in is how one or both of you will deal with it and how (and if) you’ll be able to get through it together. 
When I was pregnant with Scarlett, my epilepsy (a condition I hadn’t really been bothered by for a number of years) reared its head. I was on medication that could potentially affect our precious cargo. My kidneys then started malfunctioning enough to hospitalise me because of the different medication I was on, and I have a bicornuate uterus which brings with it its own exciting complications! It was scary, it was upsetting, it was our first set of emergencys. In a way, it was lucky we were near the beginning of our relationship because we were able to see, yes, good, we’re both level headed, calm and deal with things like this. This will put us in good stead for the future! I know some people who are married twenty years when they suddenly are faced with a trauma that they have to deal with together. And it’s not something you can prepare for. You don’t draw up a list of emergency procedures with a list of ways you should deal with hundreds and thousands of potential situations! You can’t guess what situation you may suddenly be faced with. Life just happens to you and in the same way you can’t know for sure what’s round the corner, until something like that happens, you can’t know for sure how you’re going to deal with it as a couple.
4) Looks. I know that sounds stupid, unless you go on a blind date and then get forced to marry that person without looking at them, the majority of us can absolutely and do consider looks when choosing a partner. My Nan always used to tell me that if a boy was going to sucker me in with looks, to make sure it was the eyes and the smile that really got me as those were the only two things that would look the same at 80! 
People change, they age, they put on weight/lose weight/change their hair/change their style. Their overall look develops and changes. The oldest most tattoo’d Grandmother that has been on TV a few times started getting tattoos quite late on, her secondary school picture shows a totally different person! Health affects us, lifestyle affects us. From a physical and aesthetic point of view, chances are, we’ll look significantly different at 80 than we did at 21 (the exception is of course Jennifer Aniston who has looked that good since her early twenties and shows no signs of looking her actual age anytime soon, down to I can only assume the genes of a magical beauty unicorn!). Since we’ve been together my husband’s look has already quite dramatically changed. And so my Nan is so right, because clean shaven with a Tony Stark haircut or bearded and moustached with the long hair and ruggedness of Aragorn, the way those eyes shine when he smiles at me stays exactly the same!
5) Who we are. When I was 17, I had spent a lot of time in hospitals and really admired the hugely intelligent doctors and nurses who helped me through a difficult time when my epilepsy was in full swing. I decided I wanted to be a surgeon. When I was 6 I told my Mum I wanted to be a bus driver because I liked to travel and meet new people! For a lot of my youth and early twenties I swung between wanting to be an actress and wanting to save the world. In amongst it all I got a criminology degree, and a psychology degree because I wanted to be Poirot! Throughout everything I’ve always written, so without knowing it, I’ve always been a writer, it’s only the last couple of years I’ve actually got paid to do so. And that just covers a small array of career plans. That doesn’t touch the vast journey of my ideals, hopes and dreams. 
In your teens and early twenties, they change almost daily. By thirty you’re supposed to have worked it out but the worst kept secret is that nobody really ever does. As individuals we are constantly changing and developing and growing. We have different friends at different stages of life (as well as some precious lifelong friends who stick with us even for that few months you decided you were only going to eat grass and wanted everyone to call you Sister Nature). And it’s healthy for our goals and ideals to adjust and develop.
There is no guarantee that your partner will grow and develop on the same path as you or in a compatible way. I’ve had some brilliant past relationships where we started as ‘soul mates’ because we were both from the same school, or liked the same band or could down the same number of Jägerbombs on a night out. As they start to end, a lot of the time you realise it’s not necessarily that something’s gone wrong, you’re just not right together anymore, it’s time to disembark from the Jäger train! The chances of this happening decrease as you get older, but we also as people tend to connect with people on a deeper level, for example whether you have the same morals, similar life goals. Taste in music is still important but aged thirty you’re much less likely to decide to marry someone just because you love their Nirvana tattoo..! This of course is a generalisation. There are some teenagers who absolutely have their crap together and know exactly what they want and there are most likely some thirty year olds who decide that it’s enough that their Tamagotchis have the same name to build a life together! The point is, you can’t make a decision on a life partner based on who you will become, only who you are. And if and when that changes, it may change things. 
This may seem like a list to try and make the point that no-one should ever decide to get married because at some point, one of the above points will prove that your relationship is doomed..! NOT SO! If I had to say I was making a point, it would be that you don’t have all the answers, and won’t even necessarily recognise if you’re considering the right questions. And that’s ok. It’s kind of why life is so great. If you’ve just found out that you’re house is about to be repossessed, your husband has dyed his hair green and wants to take the kids to a cult he’s just joined on the way back from voting Tory whilst you decide actually maybe you’re now a vegetarian who wants to train to be a lawyer instead of a midwife, it’s all ok. Give yourself (and your husband) a break. It may seem like a lot, it may seem that everything you felt so sure of on your wedding day is now a sham. Not so. Life is happening to you. Firstly, cults aren’t generally safe do maybe do put your foot down on that one..! He maybe Tory and you Labour but is that important enough to make you forget how much he makes you laugh? His hair may now be a green you don’t like but maybe it brings out the hazel in his eyes? And if you want to be vegetarian and a lawyer then why the hell not! Give it a go, change your mind back and get in a double pack of bacon! 
Obviously I’m not suggesting that dramatic changes every five minutes are a sensible idea but now and then, it’s ok for things to be slightly out of your control and just see where life takes you. You can try and learn every little detail about your chosen life partner but however much you try you’ll every so often be thrown a curveball. And for some people the above causes rifts, or an individual changing is too much for the other and the relationship breaks down. And that’s really sad for all
involved but again, it’s not your fault. 
Luck has a huge role to play (as does fate if you believe in that kind of thing!) I was incredibly lucky to find my husband and I look forward to any and all of life’s curveballs for us to dance around and mould into part of our story. I hope to pass on these thoughts to Scarlett and any other children we may have in the future. 
I guess my point is, above are five things you don’t or can’t consider until they happen in a relationship. And if you can’t plan for those things, why worry about them. After all, you’re left with everything else. Does that person make your heart swell, do they feel like home, do you want to choose them as your family? My sensible advise to my children would always be to choose a life partner based on life morales and outlooks on what you want your future to look like; but just as important is that feeling. The one we can’t explain, the one that makes someone feel like family. 
So comrades, whomever you choose to spend your life with, hold on tight when the rollercoaster give us bumps and drops and let yourself adapt without worry. And wherever your journey in life takes you, hold your head up high, slap on a smile, and enjoy!

Teenage Husband Plans…

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I have quite a few diaries from when I was a teenager and the other day I dipped into one for inspiration on a script I’m writing and I came across this gem. Aged about 14 I wrote a list of top ten good and top ten bad things to look for in my future husband. Entitled ‘Checklist for Mr Right.’ In a diary when I was much younger than that, after seeing the film ‘My Girl,’ there are a few pages decorated with variations of the phrase ‘I want to marry Thomas J!’ Now not only did I not realise at that point (aged 7!) I had already met my Thomas J, I had no idea that I was indeed going to go on and marry him!

7 year old Danielle (middle) the age I decided to marry Thomas J!

7 year old Danielle (middle) the age I decided to marry Thomas J!

Cut to seven years later, my priorities had obviously expanded to a more generalised list and it was really interesting looking back at what I wanted to find in my future husband.

14 year old Danielle (centre, in between the two girls in the middle at the front!) who made the list for her 'Perfect husband'!

14 year old Danielle (centre, in between the two girls in the middle at the front!) who made the list for her ‘Perfect husband’!

The lists are as follows;

Top ten good

– funny

– romantic

– taller than me

– manly

– knows all the quotes from Ace Ventura : When Nature Calls

– always up for adventures

–  happy to watch lots of Poirot

– imaginative

– can lift me up

– smiles with their eyes

Top ten bad

– bad breath

– dishonest

– materialistic

– doesn’t like horror films

– bad breath…seriously…eurgh

– dislikes chinese food

– smoker

– angry drunk

– doesn’t like my family

– has birds

Now I’m sorry to inform my teenage self that my husband has seen the film but doesn’t know ALL the quotes from Ace Ventura When Nature Calls, but with sixteen years worth of hindsight, I’m relatively sure that’s not going to cause problems down the line. I own the DVD so he can always learn them if it looks like it’s going to cause an issue! Otherwise he ticks off every other item on the top ten list so a 90% score is pretty good on that front.

The top ten bad list I think is more telling about my teenage self. The bad breath, and dishonesty are a given, no-one likes either of those! Likewise smoking is not an attractive habit and certainly makes bad breath worse. The birds thing is due to my fear of birds, I don’t mind them being in the world but living with birds certainly wouldn’t be ideal! Likewise horror films and chinese food was quite a large part of my adolescence, I have many happy memories of a group of six of us who hung out together as teens watching hundreds of horror films and eating and playing games and so I can understand why at 14, that was a priority! 

Then there’s the materialistic and angry drunk entry’s, at first read you’d assume perhaps someone in my immediate family was an angry drunk and that a lust for the material maybe was the ruin of my family or something. This is most definitely not the case, my parents divorced when I was 12, but it was very amicable (my brother can tell you about the burnt roast potato row of 1997 but frankly that’s about as extreme as it got!). However, I remember at 14 people at school started ‘dating’ (read – snogging in the form room!) and around the same time started drinking and generally trying to be more ‘grown up’. Every Monday morning there seemed to be a new drama because someone had had a ‘drunken’ row (and I say ‘drunken’ because how drunk can you really be on a couple of stolen hooch’s from your parents cupboard which was the general extent of the bingeing!). Likewise there used to be this ridiculous pressure to have brand names clothing (this was the brand obssessed 90’s) and all the latest gadgets or else you were a ‘loser’. For some reason, cost and value were misinterpreted as the same thing. Thankfully things are different now, materialistic people aren’t seen as cool these days, those trying to flaunt their wealth are seen more as shallow and tacky, with more emphasis is on the importance of people and relationships. These two things obviously had an affect on me to an extent that I wanted to avoid both traits in a future spouse! Luckily, one of the first things we bonded over was our love of the imaginative over the expensive; and although we have been known to have a fair few wines, ports and/or whiskys, we don’t ‘get drunk’ and the few times we have together, we’ve just been very giggly and/or very soppy drunks! 

My actual wedding day with my wonderful husband! My Thomas J!

My actual wedding day with my wonderful husband! My Thomas J!

It got me wondering what would stand out to Scarlett when she’s a teenager, in those years of teenage angst and Dawson’s Creek type emotions (which lets be honest spill over into our twenties as well!). When she looks around at her peers, what will stand out to her as something she doesn’t want to emulate, or what will she especially want to keep hold of as a teen? I’m relatively sure that she won’t have the same passion for Poirot as I do, and chances are she won’t know all the quotes from Ace Ventura When Nature Calls (“Oh look, it’s the monopoly guy!!” I’m assuming that will have made sense to…say one or two of you readers?!). But there will be things that she won’t necessarily even discover yet till she’s quite a bit older. 

As for her future partner, who knows, right now her entire life is a blank canvas. Maybe they are already in her life, maybe it’s someone who’ll steal a soft drink from her aged five(!) or maybe she won’t meet them until she’s much older. Of course maybe she won’t choose a partner, whatever she decides, her tastes will most likely change throughout her life. Mine certainly did, I’m not as bothered about what food my husband chooses as a treat, or which TV detective is his favourite (that’s a lie, it needs to be Poirot!), My husband smokes a cigar from time to time but I find that quite distinguished (1920’s chic!), I wouldn’t want him to be an occasional cigarette smoker and luckily he no longer is. The rest stays the same but he ticks every box. Admittedly, my list isn’t particularly exclusive, I’ve always wanted my husband to be a good man, which he very much is. And let’s be honest, not many women would want a man whose breath smells, is mean when drunk, lies all the time and hates their family! My teenage self kept her options relatively open, which in hindsight is sensible. We all change as we grow older and if Scarlett wanted my advice on who to pick as a life partner (which I assume with quite a bit of confidence that she will not!) I would tell her to try and work out what she wants from her own life first, discover her core values and then and only when she’s confident of those and self assured in who she is, then try and find someone who shares those core values. And of course one hell of a spark helps too!

One thing I will try and pass on is diary writing, at the time I sometimes wondered why I bothered but looking back now is priceless! As Scarlett grows up, I’m hoping she may be interested in reading her Mother’s equivalent age and perhaps in the times when she thinks her Father and I don’t understand her, she may be able to read my diary and realise I wasn’t so different to her (either that or she’ll realise that we’re on totally different planets and she’ll know she’s not quite so strange after all!)

For now I’m putting away ‘the perfect husband list’ and sitting back to enjoy the company of my real life ‘perfect for me’ husband, and then perhaps, just to be on the safe side, it’s time for him to learn a bit more of ‘Ace Ventura When Nature Calls’…!

Insomnia Insanity…

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As every parent or parent to be knows, there are several things you no longer do once growing a baby or having a baby. Those pesky 8 hours of sleep that interrupts your 24 hour day is one of those things you can say goodbye to for a start! Now I have never been a great sleeper anyway, and it seems my daughter already takes after me by being extremely active during the night! The other things I’ve noticed in the third trimester more than the rest of the pregnancy is two things that seem trivial but have a much bigger effect than most…that restless feeling in your arms and legs, especially when you’re lying in bed trying to get comfortable. Suddenly all of your limbs are numb/in the way/aching/just generally a pain! The other thing is the extra stretching of the skin in the last few weeks as baby grows at a faster rate meaning an increase in that horrible itching feeling that no amount of showering and moisturising can seem to ease! 

At first I had a few nights of no sleep, then in my own traditional way of dealing with sleep, tried to push on to power through the day thinking that would then enable me to be so exhausted that night I’d easily sleep. Sadly, that’s not a tactic that works anymore. The result was just me being useless at functioning, irritated and generally not a joy to be around before not being able to sleep at night anyway! Having spoken to some Mum friends when I said I tried not to nap I was met with looks that told me they thought I was mad. “If you can sleep at any point, YOU SLEEP!! AT ANY POINT!!” The other piece of advice I got was to not stress out when trying to sleep, if it wasn’t coming and I was getting uptight, the only person I was harming was myself. I needed to chill out! The other person it had inevitable consequences for was my poor husband who had to lie next to me, with the light constantly going on and off, the constant huffing, puffing, crying, sighing, random trips to the bathroom just to get up and stop going insane, the middle of the night showers, you name it I tried it and it meant he was getting no sleep either! The consequence of that was of course that he was so tired then during the day, it was more of a struggle to support me, not to mention he has work to get through, it was just an incredibly difficult few days.

SO, after taking advice from friends who’d been through similar, we decided that my husband would sleep in the spare room so that at least he got a good nights sleep and was then able to support me in the days and function better himself when working. Sounded like a great plan although we didn’t relish the idea of not sleeping in the same room. Anything was worth a try though and I was under strict instructions to try to relax and just let the night happen and then let sleep happen whenever!

The first night we tried it, I got a couple of hours sporadic napping and when I found it hard being awake I text my husband in the other room. Of course, this meant that every so often his phone buzzed so although he slept better, he did keep getting woken up by a buzzing phone! Last night was the second night and I suggested that when I was a bit stressed out, I’d write down how I was feeling and email it through to him to avoid the phone buzzing but still being able to share it. Of course when not restricted by a text, the length of ramblings got slightly out of hand but I have to admit, it definitely helped. I had a few 20/30 min dozes in between being wide awake and then managed to get a couple of hours in late morning but the main difference is feeling less stressed out about it. And today, my husband has gone to work feeling refreshed. It’s hard not sharing a bed but it’s definitely worth it for the increase in time spent together the rest of the time! 

So although it’s probably a bit of a frightening insight to the internal workings of my mind…please find below last nights diary style log book! The ‘you’ I’m referring to is of course my husband and the quoted times are the times as according to my phone when I saved each one…I make no apologies and take no responsibility for what goes on in that brain of mine in the witching hours!  

 

“01:20 – watching the first Britains Got Talent semi final, my favourite three were the top 3 (Britain better at voting for variety shows than politics clearly…!) and a magician and male singing group are the first two acts are through to the final. I think you’ll like the magician, I couldn’t tell how he did it which of course meant I hated him as much as liked him..!

02:30 – my nails aren’t all that long but I can’t seem to move my hands without scratching myself, all of a sudden they just seem to be in the way! In other news, your daughter has her head firmly sticking into my ribs and knees or something digging into my right side. She seems comfortable enough to stay like that so I’m adjusting my breathing accordingly (shallow!) and a hand on her to tell her that Mummy’s here and that there’s really no need to push any further, it’s especially important to me that she knows she shouldn’t try to come out that way in an Alien style move…! Missing a sleep catch up day today may have infected my brain…

03:00 – watching Greys Anatomy, Burkes back! Which will mean nothing to you, but is quite exciting. Although I’m sure he left last time because he was fired for being homophobic so maybe I’m not ok with it…maybe I should write a letter to someone. I probably won’t.

In other news, our baby girl hasn’t let up, maybe she’s a fan of Greys! Or maybe she knows that Mummy misses having Daddy next to her for cuddles so she’s trying to cuddle up on your behalf and doesn’t know her own strength!

Dr Shepherds sister on Greys is a famous surgeon, and called Amelia. Made me smile, I think we’re getting to know her personality more though and our current ideas for name suit that better.

I miss you.

03:40 – they made waffles on Greys. I really want waffles, with some bacon and maybe even syrup on the side…reminds me of breakfast at IHOP in Vegas, which makes me really want USA style hash browns. I know you agreed to go to McDonalds for a middle of the night craving but I suppose an international flight is pushing it…?! So to take my mind off the lack of breakfast goods, I instead daydreamed (nightdreamed?!) about our trip across Route 66. I feel like we should all have visors for the trip, and matching printed T-shirts are a bit tacky maybe, matching printed socks maybe? Still too much?!

I’ve taken an extra multivitamin and put moisturiser on to help with the itchiness. Hasn’t really helped but it’s something to do. Think I’m going to take ‘shower’ off the to do list as the 4.30am shower yesterday just seemed to make things worse, still, at least I’m squeaky clean!

04:00 – think I’m nervous about tomorrow’s hospital appointment. It’s much nicer being poked and prodded from the inside than from the outside! I’m not worried about going back on epilepsy medication, if that’s the decision, that’s the decision. I don’t really know what I’m worried about but I guess it’s on my mind. Logically I know it’s fine, but it’s 4am, I haven’t slept nearly at all in three days and my entire body is restless and my brain hurts.

In other news, I really would like a chocolate pop tart, why can’t I stop thinking about food?! In fact, I’m nauseous, my body is ridiculous!

04:30 – fishcake, a fish shop fishcake, that’s what I really want.

I stopped looking at any kind of technology and lay in the dark trying to relax for half an hour. The itching got worse, the restless arm and leg situation got significantly worse. I had a little cry, and now Greys is back on. Sally’s right, babies do their developing at night and it’s significantly harder to sleep when all that’s going on – sometimes it’s better to give in so I don’t a) scratch myself to bits b) drive myself insane.

It’s comforting knowing that you’re getting a good night sleep, I know that when I’m dropping the ball on sanity in the daytime, you’ll be more able to pick up the slack and then if by any chance you need anything done in the middle of the night, I’m your girl!

God I love you.

04:50 – you know when it feels like your arms are just sort of…in the way? Well…that.

05:05 – do you think if unicorns were real, people would ride them like regular horses?

06:00 – our baby girl can be anyone she wants to be. That’s so exciting, and I know how important it is to both of us that we give her every opportunity we can to let her be everything and anyone she wants to be and I cannot wait to see what she chooses to do. What she chooses to try, what she drops along the way. The decisions she makes that makes us burst with pride, the decisions she makes that make us despair, and the decisions she makes that we have to tell her off for but secretly wish we were quite as ballsy as she is!

I can hear you gently snoring away in the other room, the lack of sleep is starting to really hurt. I really need to drop off soon, just for a bit, just for a while.

Sleep deprivation will be a constant companion now I’m a Mum and that’s totally fine but at least when I’m not pregnant, when the baby sleeps, I’ll be able to get some sleep even if it is just a couple of hours at a time.

HA! Getting used to functioning on no sleep will be our life now because we’re parents. WE’RE PARENTS!! We’re in this as a team! You, me and little bean. I’m so excited! I’m so happy to be doing this ridiculous adventure with you! It’s going to be the hardest thing either of us ever do and it’s going to be amazing!

06:15 – God my hips are killing me. Looking forward to my massage tomorrow – you’re the best!

Feel hot and clammy and bleurgh, have to admit, I put cold water on a sponge again and chewed on the sponge…! Look up the forums yourself though, it’s REALLY common and totally safe!

It’s strange how ‘bleurgh’ is the generally accepted for that noise isn’t it, admit it, you knew exactly the noise I meant when you read it!

Had some extra ideas for the song we’re going to record together for baby, it should definitely be upbeat, maybe it should be her favourite song, it is also from our wedding after all so even though the words are inappropriate really, it’s also kind of apt..?!

06:30 – looks like it’s going to be quite a nice morning, my weather app says that it should be raining right now…weather app, you sit on a throne of lies!

Some sharp pains in my tummy a minute ago, who knows why, but I can tell they’re not anything to worry about, weird how you start to instinctively know these things.

Tempted to creep into the spare room just to cuddle up behind you for a bit but the whole point is for you to get some thorough sleep so I won’t. I’m hoping that I’ll be at least half asleep when you wake up but maybe you could come in and give me a little cuddle regardless, even if I’m asleep, I’ll know it happened somewhere in this brain.

It’s just started to rain, come on now Mother Nature, be prompt or just don’t bother. Still only lightly though and weather app suggests more extreme so I still feel let down…”

 

I’m hoping that I do start to get a bit more sleep over the next few nights because it has still been a difficult week but at least with a plan in place, we can both feel a bit more in charge of the situation…something that probably won’t be said in a few weeks time when baby arrives and we realise we won’t be in charge of anything much at all for quite some time! Pregnancy’s difficult, and it’s often not the things you think will be the worst that bring the biggest challenges. But it all prepares you for what’s the come and if pregnancy were easy, then the part that follows would be one hell of a shock! 

So if anyone is similarly struggling with sleep and getting through each day, why not try and write your own sleepless night diary even if you don’t plan to send it anyone. The roads your brain goes down with little to no sleep are quite the find and who knows, your sleepless night may lead to the next bestseller…now to start my masterpiece, “the highs and lows of the weather app accuracy…”