#BlameTheBaby: the naughty perks of parenthood



Some dream of fame and fortune; others of just making a small difference in a big bad world. Me? I dream of starting a trending hashtag.

Okay, I dream of other things too. But, you know, starting a hashtag, that’s pretty spesh! Especially as I am one of those annoying past-it people who use ‘hashtag-XYZ’ as a comedy inflection to end my sentences. #that’sso2010

One of my fave spoken-hashtags (that’s defo a thing) at the mo is #blamethebaby. Why? Because babies are the best excuse for every unvacuumed carpet and social faux pas going!

Having a baby has lots and lots of difficulties, but it also has its perks. For example, my friends will attest that I am generally crap at replying to texts, emails etc. Also, I am not good at punctuality, not at all. I am always rocking up to things late. But now I have Bubs these annoying traits are looked on rather more kindly.

Before I had a baby, if I snuck into church ten minutes after the service began, walking past the pews of the faithful with my hair still damp, I would feel a little stab of shame. Now I just waltz in pushing my pram, gesturing at Bubs and rolling my eyes as if to say “kids, hey?” This is even when the only reason I’m late is that I ignored my child for twenty minutes whilst he gurgled/moaned in his cot, instead of getting up and at ’em. Or I couldn’t find my house keys. That’s a big one. But they shall never know. I am welcomed with smiles and nods. #blamethebaby (it probably helps that churches like mine get very excited at the thought of anyone under the age of 35, let alone a whole family, becoming a member of the congregation)

Also, before the dawn of parenthood if I didn’t feel like going to some social occasion or other (small talk is the WORST) I’d have to think of an actual excuse, be lame and cry off at the last minute (also the WORST) or just go, grinning and bearing it. Now, all I have to say is “sorry, we can’t get a babysitter”. #blamethebaby (Friends, this does actually happen sometimes, please don’t be offended!)

What’s more, though I definitely do about twenty times as much housework as I did B.C. (before children), some days I just can’t be arsed. The place looks like a forgotten wasteland by tea time. But it’s okay, because I have a baby now; I can’t be expected to have a spotless (or even vaguely tidy) home! #blamethebaby

Finally, if I answered the door at 11am on a weekday and was still in my pyjamas, it would be obvious that I had been a)in bed until then or b) watching TV on the sofa. Now, with my babe-in-arms, I can just say I haven’t got the chance to shower yet. Well, actually, this one is true. I used to wait for Bubs’ reliable morning nap to get myself sorted. Only now his morning naps have gone from reliable, to unreliable to existing mostly in my (waking) dreams.

Still, you get the picture. Whether we’re late, wearing dirty clothes, moody, not feeling sociable, whatever, our babies are the best excuses we’ll ever had to just do what we bloody well want. When they’ll let us, that is.

What do you blame your babes for? Is there anything you get away with now that you didn’t before becoming a parent? Tweet me at @aafew and make my hashtag dreams come true! #BlameTheBaby


This post is linked up with

Mami 2 Five

Where is the Love?

One from the archives for your Sunday night perusal… What happens if you don’t get that instant rush of love?

The (mal)Contented Mother

*SPOILER ALERT: This post contains references to the plot of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. It’s not like there are any major twists but, you know, just in case you care.*

Recently I watched the movie What to Expect When You’re Expecting. It’s one of those films that follows multiple story lines of vaguely connected characters, all of whom in this case are ‘expecting’ in one way or another. It has a cast made up loads of actors you recognise but can’t name (except J-Lo and Cammy D, obvs). It’s not exactly ground-breaking but I quite enjoyed it and the writers were thoughtful enough to include a couple who are adopting and someone who has a miscarriage. However, I found the end a bit hard to take.

The film takes a comedic look at the stresses of pregnancy and getting ready for your first child. It mentions…

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When birthdays go bad… #WickedWednesdays

As some of you will know from my baby junk birthday present post, Bubs turned one not long ago. So to mark this momentous occasion we brought the posh camera; no grainy iphone photos on my son’s first birthday, thank you very much! No no, this event calls for the somewhat amateur use of an SLR! What we had not considered, though, was our little one’s reaction to this massive, black, plastic object being trained on him…

Run mum, run! He's got a gun!

Run mum, run! He’s got a gun!

 Hehe. We have some nice ones too, but this is defo my favourite birthday photo!
Had any epic photo fails recently? Tell me about them in the comments section below, or why not link up with Wicked Wednesdays yourself? (just click on the badge below to learn more)

How to give your one-year-old the perfect birthday present: FOR NO MONEY!

Dear Reader, we have done it. We have seen our child, an actual tiny human being, through the first year of his life. We have managed this with his health, our marriage and my sanity (was touch and go there for a while) intact. Huzzah!

Now, I must confess that I see the first birthday as a celebration for the parents as much (if not more) than their child, who has no awareness of the significance of this particular day, but does like to rip up shiny paper and receives attention with wide-eyed glee. My friends planned parties, visited monkey sanctuaries and Sealife centres; not me. My poor lil Bubs had no cake with a singular candle, no party or elaborate present-giving ceremony. We had a nice time playing and cuddling in the morning, opening cards and pressies (mostly clothes, which I was much more excited about than him). That evening we were off on a train to London and I tried to convince myself that this counted as a ‘special birthday treat’. Don’t think I’ll be getting away with that one again!

And what of his present? Well, I wanted to give him something that he would really enjoy, something with multi-sensory elements and, frankly, something that wouldn’t fill my house with more plastic crap. So, after much debate, we decided that the best present we could give him was a pile of old rubbish.

No, really, that’s what we did.

So, Dear Reader, here is my recipe for the ideal one-year-old birthday present.

Take one old cardboard box and mix with a willing helpful husband.

Take one old cardboard box and mix with a willing helpful husband.

Apply all of that worse-for-wear wrapping paper that's been stuffed in a bag under a desk for a a year or so.

Apply all of that worse-for-wear wrapping paper that’s been stuffed in a bag under a desk for a a year or so.

Take a month's worth of land-fill worthy packaging that you have squirrelled away.

Separately, take a month’s worth of land-fill worthy packaging that you have diligently squirrelled away. Including…

Mr and Mrs Egg box.

Mr and Mrs Egg box.

A box of tissues (unused).

A box of tissues (unused).

That old phone that's been in the bottom draw for longer than you can remember.

That old phone that’s been in the bottom draw for longer than you can remember.

Random plastic trays.

Random plastic trays.

And an optional extra: If you, like us, save all of the scoops from your formula tubs for no apparent reason, now's the time to use them...

If you, like us, save all of the scoops from your formula tubs for no apparent reason, now’s the time to use them…

Sew the ends together and fashion your Bubs a rattle of epic proportions!

Sew the ends together and fashion your Bubs a rattle of epic proportions!

Now, place the gathered ingredients into the afore mentioned box, et voila! Your birthday present is assembled!

Now, assemble the ingredients into the afore mentioned box, et voila! Your birthday present is assembled!

You say cheap and flimsy; I say creative and ecological!!

Any way, Bubs liked it…

DSC_1013 DSC_1016 DSC_1085 DSC_1088

#thrifty #birthday #winning!

What are your thrifty birthday tips? Share in the comments below, or tweet me @aafew

Bubs Speaks: #WickedWednesdays

Dear Reader, I have finally infiltrated the grown-up’s most treasured fortress; the iPad. I will have to be brief as Mother thinks I am playing with it mindlessly. (Why do they eternally underestimate us?)

I just wanted to give you a little insight into life from the ‘other side’, as it were. She’s always writing about how hard things are for her, but what about me Dear Reader, what about me?

Take this lunch time, for example. She hadn’t prepared anything in advance, as usual, so she sat me in my highchair, feeding me cucumber and tomatoes whilst she made us an omelette (it was exceptable when it came, I’ll give her that much). Cucumber and tomatoes? Did she Really think I would be subdued? By salad???? Preposterous!

But don’t you worry, I let her know my feelings on the matter!



She soon got the message, I can tell you. What else could I do? I was waiting at least five minutes. FIVE MINUTES!



But I’m pleased to report that we had quite a pleasant lunch together after this. You see, you have to discipline these adults, otherwise they never learn. I am sure you agree.





“I’ll NEVER do that with my kids”: the naive vows we make BC (before children) #WickedWednesdays

Before I had Bubs there were many noble promises I made to myself. I would never formula feed, or use a dummy, or co-sleep, or (conversely) move my baby out of our room before he was 6 months old. I was pretty darn sure that those would be my big, firm no’s…

Can guess what happened next?

I started on the formula from 4 weeks. Oh, and I definitely use a dummy; they are the best. Also, Bubs slept in the the bed with me for at least a few hours every night for the first two months. And then, at 10 weeks we moved him to his own room, because he was just TOO BLOODY LOUD! Aaaah, it feels good to get that off my chest. *represses immediate rush of what-if-they-judge-me anxiety*

The point is that our dreams of ‘perfect parenting’ (not a real thing) soon fly out the window when we meet our little human beings who come packaged with their own little personalities and whims. And I’m here to tell you that’s okay. This is a Wicked Wednesday post, but of course, it’s not actually wicked. (Yes I’m aware it’s Thursday, I’ve been busy!)

I shall give you another example from my own, admittedly limited, parenting experience. I had this idea that from early on I would make a little game out of putting toys away when we were done with them. I would thus burn such habits into my offspring’s psyche from day one. Voila! No toy-strewn floors, no pieces of lego to accidentally step on and swear at the top of my lungs. Ha ha ha, how silly I was. You see, what I didn’t anticipate is that emptying all of the toys out of their draws is the game itself for my Bubs. Let me illustrate:

Oops, I haven't quite emptied that one..

Oops, I haven’t quite emptied that one…

Right, let's get to work.

Right, let’s get to work.

Hmm, what have we got in here?

Hmm, what have we got in here?

Don't need that.

Don’t need that.

Get rid of that.

Get rid of that.

Yes mother, can I help you?

Yes mother, can I help you?

I’m sure I have a thousand more ‘nice ideas’ that Bubs will soon set me straight on. Still, a girl’s gotta dream, right?


One small step for Bubs: One giant headache for mumkind. #WickedWednesdays

Any new mum is eager for the ‘next stage’. For weaning, for sitting up, rolling over, standing up etc. Mums of older children must look upon us with a sort of knowing sympathy because, as one mum said to me when I got all excited that Bubs was on the move: “Oh, you don’t want them crawling.” (Imagine that sentence is said is a sort of war-weary voice. Yep, that’s it).

Actually the first ‘milestones’ are brill. Smiling, giggling and sitting up all make your baby seem more human and less like a screaming, pooing creature sent to test your last nerve. For many of us there is a period of grace between newborn insanity and crawling, when your baby manages to have a personality AND will also stay wherever you plonk him/her. Aaaah, bliss.

For Bubs and I those days are over. And I’m not actually sad. Watching him grow into a little boy is a strange mixture of exciting and heart-wrenching. He hasn’t taken his first steps yet, but he is now a seasoned furniture cruiser. This week he took it to the next level, though and learned three new things:

1) To stand for a few seconds unaided. Well done there.

2) To climb up onto the sofa. Oh wow, that’s clever.

3) To climb up over the arms of the sofa and launch himself head first onto the floor below. Aaaah, panic, panic, catch, phew!

So, yes, whilst I still naively look forward to those first little toddles, at least I now know it’s naive. I’ve made my peace with that.

But let me illustrate how Bubs’ new found strength and agility with a little video. First, the context: I have a playpen in our kitchen, the bottom of which is removable and washable. This is fab, as I’m sure you can imagine. However, without the fabric bottom the sides are more prone to movement. They won’t collapse in on themselves but they will move if pushed, changing the shape of the pen and making them hazardous for babies not sure of their feet. However, I thought Bubs was strong enough that he’d be fine in his, and he was. It was my kitchen that was at risk! Observe:

So, there you have it. My hulk of a son can command his play pen and, needless to say the bottom won’t be getting washed again for a while!


In The Night Garden: 10 things we’re all thinking (aren’t we?)

The most bizarre family photo ever?

The most bizarre family photo ever?

I don’t about you, but in our household each day is rounded off by sitting down to watch the much loved, and frankly bizarre, children’s TV phenomenon that is In the Night Garden. Most of the time I find it oddly charming. In fact, I am generally ever-indebted to CBeebies for providing a stream of ad-free, colourful programmes that are educational and socially aware enough to ease the guilt I feel when plonking Bubs down in front of the TV. However, after 6+ months of watching an episode almost every evening there a few things I need to get off my chest. So here goes:

1) Tombliboo music is THE WORST.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but In The Night Garden is musically quite clever. All of the characters have their own song, which becomes a motif that follows them through the entire programme. Plus the Tittifers random songs throughout each episode come together into a jolly, harmonic lullaby when it’s time to go to sleep. All well and good. So why is the only music played by actual characters in the show so utterly atrocious? The Tombliboos crash about on their little piano making a catcall of a racket and this, apparently, is ‘Tombliboo music‘. Well, I’m here to tell you Derek Jacobi (he’s the narrator, I’m not just being whimsically random) that it is nothing of the sort! My husband has, on occasion, turned the channel over to avoid said ‘music’. I’m all for discordant musical experimentation but not at bedtime, okay? Just not at bedtime.

2) What the eff are the Haahoos?

Yes, yes, ‘What the eff is anything in the Night Garden?’ I hear you cry. Good point, well made. But come on, the Haahoos? The strange inflatable creatures that loom, balloon like in the background as the others dance? Are they ever featured in a storyline? (okay ‘storyline’ is probably putting it a bit strongly) Yet there they always are, closing their sleepy eyes at the end of each episode. They are weird. And not in a good way.



3) The Ninky Nonk and Pinky Ponk change size. I find this troubling.

So, at the end of each episode there’s that little dance they all do, right? It’s one of the only times the characters all get together at once and so we can see their relative sizes. Igglepiggle and Upsy Daisy are the biggest (apart from the weirdo Haahoos, obvs) , followed by the Tombliboos, followed by Makka Pakka, the Pontipines and Wottingers. These sizes stay the same throughout the show, naturally. But not so for the much loved novelty vehicles of the Night Garden. Oooooh, no siree bob. They’re all nice and small at the end of the show. Igglepiggle runs past them (he’s never in bed is he? what’s he like?) and they are, I’d say, about half his size. Even smaller in the dancey bit before. And yet not only can Igglepiggle fit into the Ninky Nonk and Pinky Ponk, he can do so comfortably, in a variety of carriages, some of which are apparently arena-like in size. And everyone else can fit on too. So what’s the deal? Do the residents of the Night Garden shrink as soon as they approach? Or does the Pinky Ponk suddenly grow like it’s been hit by the laser from ‘Honey I Blew Up the Baby’? (If you weren’t born in the 80s that film may have passed you by, which is really a good thing).

Parents up and down the country are being tortured by these unexplained perspective changes. Why? Why? Why? We scream. Well, we scream it internally because our children are watching, blissfully ignorant of the raging inconsistencies that are being paraded before them. I have seen irate Facebook statuses on this subject. Facebook statuses people. That’s how serious this situation is.

4) The Tombliboos seem to live in a primitive version of the Tardis.

Whilst we’re on the subject of perspective, I’d just like to add that, while on the outside the Tombliboos’ house is relatively modest, inside it is positively cavernous. Is it just me or is anyone else starting to think that CBeebies are just messing with our heads?

5) Is Makka Pakka a little bit sad?

I love Makka Pakka. I actually love him. The Tombliboos can go jump for all I care and IgglePiggle just needs to stop falling over. Upsy Daisy I have more time for but still, none of them are a patch on old Makka. He’s the cutest. No, seriously, I love him.

But am I the only who finds that there’s something just a little bit melancholy to his character? Maybe it’s because all of the others have a playmate. Or it could be that he takes a stone to bed with him. He’s cuddling a stone people. Most likely, though is the fact that, whilst Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy and the Tombliboos are obviously a bunch of hapless preschoolers, Makka Pakka reminds me more of an unassuming, slightly OCD, middle aged man. Just imagine, living in a bizarre garden with questionable public transport surrounded by giant toddlers who constantly need their faces washing. Bleurgh. I think I’d be a little bit sad too.

Poor Makka Pakka. #thirdwheel

Poor Makka Pakka. #thirdwheel

Just as an aside, does anyone else secretly covet Makka Pakka’s bed covers? They are stylish man! John Lewis needs to get on that shizzle!

6) Pinky Ponk juice.

I don’t really have anything to say about this. To be honest I don’t want to think about it too much. It just freaks me out that it’s a thing. Bleurgh.

7) The Poor Old Wottingers.

‘The Pontipines are friends of mine’ sings Derek at the beginning of many an episode. That red-clad family do their little dances and hide behind buttons like nobody’s business. They’re often to be found taking a ride on the Ninky-Nonk or enjoying a refreshing beverage (afore mentioned) at altitude on the Pinky Ponk. Meanwhile, languishing just next door are the much over-looked Wottingers. The same in every way apart from their blue clothing, I can’t help thinking the Wottingers are very much the second-class citizens of the Night Garden. Whilst the Pontipines lark about enjoying the life of Riley I often wonder what the Wottinger children are doing. Are they peering out of the windows of their little semi-detached house thinking ‘What have they go that we haven’t? Why do they get to hide in flower pots all the time? Why don’t we have our own song?’  Oh sure, they appear in the odd episode or two but only as sort of mass-sidekick for the Pontipines. When will the Wottingers be allowed to express themselves in their own right? Huh? Huh?? I don’t know, Dear Reader, I just don’t know.

8) The ball is not a character

Notice, Dear Reader, that I write ‘the ball’ and not ‘The Ball’. Because it’s not a person! It’s an inanimate object. Not that I am against inanimate objects being animated into characters per se, Oh no, I love me a bit of Beauty and the Beast! But the ball does fall under this category. It. Just. Bounces. So let’s not talk about it as if it were a being, okay? Does my bloody head in.

9) What is the big deal with IgglePiggle? Upsy Daisy is the star of the show. 

A controversial opening gambit, I am aware. My husband and I have genuinely debated this question. Seriously, it has produced post-modernist interpretations and everything, whilst my son obliviously chomps down his bedtime banana. But I stick to my guns. Yes, Igglepiggle is in the boat at the beginning and the end (is the whole thing a dream? dun dun der!) but Upsy Daisy is 100% the most featured character. In fact I’d go as far to say the Igglepiggle is her sidekick, bless him. He pretty much follows her around, intermittently falling over in shock for comic effect. Upsy Daisy sings, she dances, she has a crazy mobile bed (don’t get me started) and Igglepiggle? Well, he has a blanket.

There, I’ve said it. It feels good to have that out in the open. Commence epic and impassioned debate in the comments section.

And last but by no means least:

10) Upsy Daisy and Igglepiggle: Get a Room!

I know I am corrupting the innocent and childlike relationship that is at the very heart of In The Night Garden. I know I am imposing my jaded, cynical adult mind onto what is, after all, just a nice TV show. But I don’t care! I am not the only one who finds Upsy Daisy and Igglepiggle’s kisses just a bit too lingering for comfort. Am I? Thought not. Those two are, in my mind, the Ross and Rachel of the Night Garden. Everyone can see that they’re in love and half of the time it works just fine, but then they’ll loose each other or just go chasing after a ball or something. Life always gets in the way, doesn’t?

But when they are together, well, they make it count! I’m all for showing affection guys but, you know, the kids are watching.


What bugs you about In the Night Garden? Tweet @aafew or comment below. 

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All In The Night Garden images © BBC.

Mummy Mantras: 5 phrases to get you through.

If you have been following my blog for the past couple of weeks (thanking you kindly very much please) you will have seen my Mummy Mantra series. It’s been all the things we say to ourselves to, you know, retain a bit of sanity. Or I do, any way! So, you may feel that this is a big fat cop out post. Well, it sort of is. Deal with it. I’

I thought it would be nice to collect them all in one mammoth mantra post. Especially the graphics, which I defo spent longer on than the text, Sad but true. To read more about any mantra click on the links below its pic.

There’ll be more to come, but let’s face it, this could get old pretty soon. So for now here they are in all of their glory. My mummy mantras:

Pretty self explanatory.

Pretty self explanatory. (read more)

For those times when they are JUST CRYING. You know the deal.

For those times when they are JUST CRYING. You know the deal. (read more)

Because you know what's best for your family. So screw the haters!

Because you know what’s best for your family. So screw the haters! (read more)

Honestly, they do.

Honestly, they do. (read more)

Also for when they are just crying. As many mantras as possible are helpful at this point in the day/evening/night.

Also for when they are just crying, or when they’re not sleeping, or not eating or… you know.
As many mantras as possible are helpful at this point in the day/evening/night. (read more)

And a few extras:

From @sleepdeprivdmom : ‘she’s only a baby she’s not being naughty’ (for when she isn’t sleeping or doing something I think she should be!)

From a good friend of mine : ‘The hoovering can wait.’ (That’s a BIG one!)

From a wise granny I know : ‘The babies don’t read the books.’

That’s all folks! Regular service will resume shortly.

Want your #mummymantra featured on this blog? Comment below or tweet me @aafew

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