Parenting

#Blogtober2019 – Day 24: Trick or Treat

I don’t think we’ll take Laurie trick or treating this year. He’s still a wee bit too young for it really and I would feel compelled to help him eat any sweets he scored.

But we’ll still dress him up and we’ll take him to the groups he goes to so I wanted to get him a costume.

I always wanted to be one of those mums who makes the Halloween costume for the kids, putting it together out of charity shop finds out bits and pieces from the back of the wardrobe. Unfortunately, time just gets away from me at this time of year, so I’ve not really had time to work on homemade costumes yet.

This year I had big plans to make him Nemo, who he’s slightly obsessed with at times. I’d found orange top and bottoms in the wardrobe, along with an orange hat I planned to stick googly eyes onto. We were going to make something to go round his middle for the stripe and paint some card for his fin.

And all of a sudden, Halloween is a week away and I’ve not done anything for a costume.

I figure it’s no big deal, I’ll pick up a costume in a shop. Except, there’s some sort of strange trickery going on, because apparently toddler boys don’t dress up for Halloween.

Babies of either gender get dressed up, judging by the racks of clothing in most shops. Toddler girls dress up too (generally in tutus with either a pumpkin or a witches dress on the top half of the outfit). Children of both genders dress up from age 5-6 onwards.

But toddler boys?! Nothing.

Either someone has been going on ahead of me clearing the racks of anything that might fit my toddler, or they just don’t think there’s a market for dressing up these kids!

In the end I bought him a dinosaur all in one as a ‘just because’ treat. It’s fleecy and warm so will do for winter lounging round the house. It’s also a wee bit large so there’s a good chance he’ll still be wearing it next October!

He’ll also look amazing as a little dinosaur, after all, had plenty of practice with his backpack!

Now I just need to teach him to roar like a dinosaur because at the moment when you ask him to roar you just get a toothy grin!

This post is for the Blogtober 2019 challenge. Here are my prompts:

Do you ever feel like the universe is messing you? What’s been your worst trick and best treat?

Health · IVF · Trips Out

#Blogtober2019 – Day 23: Worst Weather

Living on an island, our lives are ruled by the weather, specifically the weather that impacts the running of the ferries that serve the island.

This affects everything, from the transport of deliveries onto the island, to being able to get off the island for shopping trips, holidays, and, you guessed it, IVF-related hospital appointments.

Laurie with cattle

With our first two fresh cycles, we were careful to schedule our treatment for the summer months to better avoid the disruption caused by bad weather. During a fresh cycle there can be appointments every other day to check blood levels, follicle growth and lining development, so you need to know that you’ll reliably be able to get to them. At the end of a fresh cycle you take an injection which gives you 36-38 hours before your eggs need to be collected; if you are delayed too long, the whole cycle could be cancelled.

For both egg collections, we booked a hotel on the mainland for the night before because nothing was going to stop us from getting to that!

When our first fresh transfer failed, we decided to throw caution to the wind and try another round during September/October. Ironically after 75% of our summer appointments had been subject to disruption on the ferries, only one single appointment was affected by a delay on the boats during that autumn round.

With Laurie’s round we knew it was the last one and we decided to go all out and start it in January; a risky move considering we’d previously written off the idea of doing any treatment between October and March because of the weather situation. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting them to be able to book us in when I called up that January. I was sure that with delays (and let’s face it, waiting for my body to do what it needed to do) that it would push us back into March. Instead we were having collection on the 13th of February after only a week of stimming injections!

I was certain that the weather would cause problems during that round. I was convinced that I would have to call the hospital up to let them know we couldn’t come in. Or that we’d end up having to get to the mainland by some roundabout route in order to get the meds that we needed.

As it happened, we ended up needing to go to the mainland almost daily during that last push towards egg collection. I remember feeling vaguely embarrassed as we travelled home from an appointment on the Friday and I called work up to apologise that I wouldn’t be in on the Monday as I’d be having my op and would want a couple of days off after to recover, and that was after barely being in during the week before as well!

Laurie mans the helm

I frantically checked the ferries and the weather forecast with each day as I tried to anticipate when we’d be needing to travel. I pretty much lived on hotel booking websites during that week.

And what do you know? On the day before egg collection, we got up intending to catch the first ferry off the island (8am on the weekend) and it was cancelled!

Even though we couldn’t check into the hotel until 2pm, we thought we’d make sure we got away on the first boat so that if there was any disruption, we’d have the later boats to catch.

And was it the weather that caused the problem?

Nope. One of the two ferries had broken down. And it had broken down where any replacement boat would need to dock to load and unload. So there was no option for travelling that way until they could get the poorly boat moved!

Thankfully there’s a smaller ferry which serves a different part of the island. So we took that, and had a two hour drive to Glasgow instead (not the most comfortable of journeys when your ovaries each resemble a large bunch of grapes). But we made it. And the weather was, for once, not to blame for the disruption!

This post is part of a series for the Blogtober 2019 challenge. You can see my prompts below:

Prompt LIst (1)

Has the weather played a part in disrupting your big plans? Or did you expect it to, then get a surprise when something else caused a problem instead?

Parenting · The Noodle · Trips Out

#Blogtober2019 – Day 22: Day tripping

This year we didn’t get to have a family holiday away together.

Laurence and I took a trip to Wales to visit family back in May. We have had a trip away for a family wedding when Laurie was four months old last year, but we’ve not had a proper holiday holiday together yet, though we’ve got one scheduled for next year now.

Instead of one big holiday, we’ve had lots of little day trips away. The plan was originally to do this through the summer instead of a summer holiday but it’s been such a good thing for our little family that we’ve kept going as we head through autumn and into winter.

I’ve got every Friday off, so we try to take a trip to the mainland every other week (with alternate weeks spent at home). I foresee that in the winter weather, when the boats are disrupted, we’ll have rather more days when we stay at home.

Laurence loves his trips out and they usually tire him out for the weekend; this weekend was no exception. We took another trip to Funworld in Greenock and I realised far too late that it was the last day of the half term break from school.

Laurie driving car

We were the very first ones in and for a little while I congratulated myself for making the decision not to change our plans. It was so quiet that Laurie had completely free roam of the place and didn’t have to worry about bumping into anyone or waiting for a turn on a toy.

That lasted for all of about twenty minutes and then the place just seemed to explode with sound and there were children everywhere!

Laurie in ride

We survived a whole hour and fifty minutes of our two hour slot before the spousal unit and I decided we couldn’t take it any more and packed up to go find some lunch (and a little bit of quiet). I wouldn’t say it put me off completely, but I’ll definitely be more mindful of local schools’ term times for our future day trips!

Laurie heading into Wean's World

This post is part of a series for the Blogtober 2019 challenge. You can see my prompts below:

Prompt LIst (1)

Where are your favourite places to go for day trips? Any hints or tips you’ve acquired along the way?

Parenting · The Noodle

#Blogtober2019 – Day 21: I have to watch…

We don’t have proper TV in our house. We don’t stream TV and we don’t have any kind of box hooked up to the telly. When we moved in we didn’t have the money to get it set up and the longer we went without it, the less we felt that we needed it.

What we do have is a vast collection of films and TV series along with the requisite viewing device to watch them on.

While I was on maternity leave with the Noodle I watched ER in its entirety, beginning when he was just two weeks old and continuing until a couple of weeks before I started back at work. Laurie reached a point where he was so familiar with the music that when it came on, he’d turn to the TV and stare at it!

A little while ago, feeling nostalgic for the days of Saturday morning cartoons, the spousal unit and I decided to start a little tradition. Each Saturday morning we’d pop on a cartoon to watch.

Initially this was the classic Stoppit and Tidyup though as that’s only thirteen episodes and each one runs at about five or six minutes, we powered through that. We followed it up with Paddington and paired the latter up with Batman.

Laurence does this amazing little dance to the opening theme music of these TV shows. Almost without fail, the music starts and he bobs up and down, usually with the massive grin on his face when he catches you watching him.

The downside to watching these programmes is that he insists on us watching them on a Saturday morning. Or any morning that he thinks might be a Saturday. They’re kept behind the TV out of reach, but he knows where they are and will grope for them and point and complain when we don’t get them out. He’s very persistent.

You also have to be careful what you say around him now. If you utter a word that sounds little too close to Batman or The Clangers, he’ll be there, trying to get the DVD case out and put the TV on.

We honestly don’t watch that much TV around him, but there are days when I think he’s utterly obsessed with it.

Laurie in ride

Take yesterday, for example. We’d picked up some Mr Men DVDs in town at the weekend, and they’d been placed on the bookcase at Laurie-height. He spotted them and before I knew what he was doing, he was getting the extension out to plug the TV (we don’t have it plugged in unless we’re about to watch it).

In the end, I let him pop a disc in and we enjoyed a peaceful few minutes as he sat on the rug, wearing nothing but a cloth nappy and his wellies, deeply engrossed in the adventures of Mr Tickle.

Perhaps there’s things I’d rather be watching than a bunch of brightly coloured characters getting up to antics on my screen. But his reactions to them are so cute, that I’m willing to forego the odd medical drama or two when it’s time for some TV time. It’s all time I’m getting to spend with my boy and I wouldn’t trade it for the world (and as an added bonus, sometimes it distracts him long enough to let me get some OU done)!

This post is part of a series for Blogtober 2019. See all my prompts below:

Prompt LIst (1)

What are some of the programmes you have to watch? Are any of them chosen for you by someone else?

IVF · Parenting · The Noodle

#Blogtober2019 – Day 20: Family is…

It’s hard to explain the feeling of missing a family member who’s never been there to someone who has never experienced it.

Family Photo

Most people know what it’s like to miss a loved one who is no longer with us; whether they’ve just gone away for a while, or they are a permanent loss. It’s that feeling of finding something you’re dying to tell them, only to be hit with the realisation that they are no longer around to tell. And in that moment you would give anything to get them back to share your news with them.

The longing for a child who is yet to exist is like that, but different.

It’s the feeling waking up to empty arms after the most vivid dream where you held your baby. You’re so acutely conscious of the weight that was in your arms just moments before that for a moment you panic when they’re not there. Then the sadness sets in as you remember that they were never there.

It’s the sense of longing as your colleagues share what their kids got up to at the weekend. You so desperately want to join in on the conversation, but you have nothing to contribute and as you listen to what they say, your mind drifts to imagining what your weekend would’ve looked like with a child in your home.

It’s the pain of waking up to cramps on a lazy Sunday morning and knowing that it’s not even worth unboxing the pregnancy test in the cupboard because you’ve already got the answer to the test. You know that instead of getting to do the cute pregnancy reveal to your partner that you’ve always planned, you’ll be eating your body weight in chocolate and hugging a hot water bottle to survive work the following day.

It’s avoiding every Baby Event in the supermarkets and Back to School offer in September. It’s the sadness of another Christmas without an extra family member to buy presents for and one less person to help put up the tree. It’s blowing out the candles on a birthday cake and making the same wish for the fourth year in a row, all the while hearing your biological clock ticking in every cell in your body.

Waiting for your child to arrive and knowing that it’s just Not. That. Simple. takes over your whole life. It becomes a part of who you are, even if it’s a part of you that is carefully concealed from the rest of the world. Every day there is some new reminder of this thing that other people have and that you do not; sometimes they even take you by surprise and you find yourself feeling completely overwhelmed in the strangest of places, like the library, or watching a band play.

But a family is something you can build as well.

Your family is all the people who support your through those darkest days. The friends who buy you cake when your IVF round fails. The internet strangers who read your blog and send you books that speak to your soul. The actual family members who can’t be there in person, but always let you know you’re in their thoughts.

Sometimes, when you’re trying so hard to make a family, you can overlook the family who is all around you at that very moment.

I don’t really feel like my family is complete yet. I still have that sense that there’s someone missing from our lives, but I’m optimistic that we’ll find them some day. And I’m so grateful to everyone who supported and helped us along the way to bring Laurie into the world, I hope they’ll be there when we need them in the future and that we can repay the favour when they need us.

This post is the twentieth in a series for Blogtober 2019. You can see my prompts below:

Prompt LIst (1)

Have you experienced that longing for another member of your family? When you had children, did have a moment when you knew your family was complete?

Activities · Parenting · The Noodle · Trips Out

#Blogtober2019 – Day 19: The Best Day

The truth is, we have so many wonderful days together, both days out and days in, that it’s hard to say which is exactly the very best day of them all.

Perhaps our very best day would look something like this:

We’d wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day. There would be no disruption on the boats and we’d sit together excitedly planning our trip ahead. Laurie would probably have us playing musical chairs and would get to charm some ladies seated near us.

Our trip out would be to somewhere not too far away, but perhaps just enough of a distance to give Laurie a nap on the way. That way he’d be all full of energy and ready to go when we arrived.

Wherever we are going on our imaginary best day, we’d have a snack when we arrived; either something we’d brought ourselves, or something they could provide. This would allow us all to feel refuelled and we’d then head out to see the place we’d be spending the day.

Laurie eating ice cream

The place we would go to would have lots of things for Laurie to see and get involved with, like at the Science Centre. We would have things to look at and do as well, but it would be at a happy medium level where Laurie could get some benefit from the day as well. If there are staff standing by, they would be able to engage Laurie and draw him in to take part in activities or have a go at taking part. He loves being able to touch things or move things, especially if there are older children who are getting to be involved; he doesn’t seem to realise how much younger he is!

Laurie is massively into animals right now, so there would almost definitely be animals at this place we are visiting. Once again, he’d want to be able to get up close to them, talk to them and maybe even stroke one or two. If those animals were dogs, Laurence would be in his element. If there was an opportunity to give a rat a cuddle, I’d be in my element too.

Laurie mans the helm

Come lunch time and we would find a nice place to eat at our attraction. The food would be tasty and filling with plenty of choice on the menu (particularly the one aimed at smaller visitors). There would be lots of different seating options as well, perhaps highchairs for the teeny tinies and booster seats for the older ones who are getting far too long in the leg to fit many highchairs you get in restaurants. If there was an all-you-can-eat buffet option, we’d definitely go all in for that.

Laurie eating chicken ball

We would maybe spent the afternoon indulging in one of Laurie’s interests; perhaps looking at different vehicles, meeting some dogs, or getting to look at a massive pile of books. I’d definitely be in favour of those last two. It would’ve been a busy day by this point so a refuelling stop for some cake or biscuits wouldn’t go amiss either.

By this point we would need to be thinking about heading back, but perhaps we’d get to have a spot of charity shopping, or mooching round a secondhand bookshop on the way back. If we could all come away with a little treat, it would round the day off nicely.

Getting back to the ferry just as a boat is pulling in, rather than away, would allow us to finish the day without a long wait for the boat, and a smooth crossing would be an added bonus.

And then we’d be back home in time to pick up Tara from the kennels and grab a bite to eat, before snuggling up in bed with a movie (that we’d probably all fall asleep in front of).

Laurie burying daddy

The funny thing is, this day describes many of our trips off the island. It could be our recent trip to Funworld or to Ayr earlier in the year. It’s virtually a complete description of our trip to Heads of Ayr Farm Park last month (a trip that I’m yet to blog about). We’ve fallen into a good routine for our days out and it turns out that it’s making for some pretty good days out; no wonder it’s so hard to pick which of them is the best one!

This blog post is part of a series for Blogtober 2019. You can see my full list of prompts below:

Prompt LIst (1)

What would your best day out look like? Have you been lucky enough to experience it or is it still a pipe dream?

Parenting

#Blogtober2019 – Day 18: Grand Tour

About a month ago, Laurie started doing this thing where he would come and take our hands to lead us somewhere when there was something he wanted to show us or a place we needed to be.

At any given moment I could be led to the kitchen door with an indication he wants something to eat, or the stairgate at the bottom of the stairs (which means he wants to play in the bathroom or his room), or through to Tara’s room so he can give her a cuddle. I love that he’s figured out that he doesn’t yet have the words to make himself understood, so he can save time by just taking us to the place we need to be and then doing lots of pointing to make it all clear.

And the feel of his little hand in mine is just lovely.

Maybe moreso because when we’re out we have moments of determined independence when he doesn’t want to hold our hands at all. These frequently end in ‘sit down protests’ which are as amusing as they are frustrating.

His hand always seems to fit so nearly in mine. He’s getting on for four times the size he was when he was born, and even though he keeps on growing, it still keeps fitting just the same. Or maybe not quite the same but even though it’s different, it’s unchanged too.

Sometimes, when I get home from work and I’m chilling on the sofa, he comes and takes my hand. He’ll heave and haul until I’m on my feet, then lead me off on a tour of the living room.

We often stop to look at a toy, or pick up the tub of building blocks to carry around with us, or sit down on the rug until we have enough energy to go onwards in our trek.

And just like that, he’ll give me the full tour of the living room.

I have to admit, there’s not a whole lot to see. It certainly doesn’t change much from one day to the next. But even though I’m often tired when he’s leading me round the living room and pointing out landmarks, such as a cushion he’s placed on the floor, the socket for the TV, and a piece of fluff off his father’s dressing gown, it’s always interesting to see what he’ll pick out this time.

He helps me to see familiar places through new eyes.

Even when that familiar place is my own living room!

This post is one of a series for the 2019 Blogtober challenge. You can see my prompts below:

Have you taken a tour somewhere familiar? Did it change how you viewed the place?