0

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Yessss!When people talk about their favourite moments as a parent, it usually involves them gushing about the first time their kid says ‘I love you’ to them or some other cute milestone. But that’s not the same as the most satisfying moment – the times when you want to leap in the air and scream “YESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!” with a real sense of achievement. Looking back over the week, here are my “Yes” moments…

1. Picking Mishty’s nose successfully – babies have an innate ability to produce a continual stream of snot which then dries up and combines with food that has been accidentally shmushed into their nostrils. The resulting bogey will taunt you with its huge size, dangling by a tiny fibre, popping out with every breath but whipping back in just as you think you’ve got it. Then your baby will swat you away and wriggle until you manage to pin him down and squeeze it out with a triumphant, “AHA!!!!” and then resist the urge to show if off to everyone. [NB. Removing runny snot can be just as satisfying if using a snot sucking contraption where you can noisily suck the snot out (there is a filter so you don’t swallow it), I thoroughly recommend getting one.]

2. Rescuing naptime – Sometimes Mishty will go for a nap and 15 minutes in I hear the depressing sound of a tiny cry starting, usually just as I’ve sat down with a coffee to watch a Kardashian reality show. I rush in and gently pat him back to sleep, praying he doesn’t wake up fully and then do a little excited jig when he goes back to sleep. Getting an extra half hour of naptime feels epic.

3. Getting Mishty to lie still – Changing Mishty’s nappy is like trying wrap water with clingfilm, only harder. He will let you take the nappy off but then decide it’s more fun to roll over and leap off the changing table instead. The more you lie him down, the more he’ll roll over. To distract him, I give him the closest thing to hand which is usually wildly inappropriate and adds an element of danger to a normally mundane activity. If I manage to change his nappy without having to turn him over once this is truly a ‘YES’ moment. It is also spectacularly rare.

4. Peeing in peace – Separation anxiety has well and truly kicked in now. In the morning I can’t brush my teeth or pee without hearing a wail of dismay that I’m not in sight. It’s worse if I am a little blocked up, because I then have to strap him into the bouncer and bring him in just so he doesn’t wonder where I am for twenty minutes. Having an audience while I gurn and strain does not help. It also makes me wonder whether I am giving him mental scars. Once I just left him in the hallway with the door open so he could still see me, only for him to crawl in with a cheerful hello and try to get a closer look at where he came out from. Aside from that, there have been a precious few times when I’m able to leave him without him noticing. Then I can pee in peace and feel smug about my stealthy moves. Moral of the story, you have to be sneaky if you want to pee.

5. Being a superhero – Mishty is crawling and pulling himself up to standing at every opportunity. This new development is exciting but also mega scary. DANGER IS EVERYWHERE! I was filming him stand while holding the sofa and called to him so he’d look at the camera, but as he turned he lost his balance and boom – fell smack onto a plastic toy and started crying. Oops. But while I have caused a few incidents, I have also carried out more impressive saves than the German goalkeeper at the World Cup. Stopping Mishty from rolling off the bed (admittedly I failed this twice), leaping off the changing table, flinging himself backwards towards a wooden bookcase, pulling big and heavy things towards him, chewing on live wire, wriggling under the table and getting stuck under chairs is all in a day’s work. Saving him from cracking his skull open or getting flattened is a satisfying moment. It makes you feel like a superhero to have such quick reflexes although having some Inspector Gadget style arms would probably be more beneficial…

6. Cutting nails – When Mishty is sleepy, he starts sucking his thumb while stroking my face and sticking the other thumb up my nose. This is sweet but can get painful when his nails are long and the stroking turns into attempts to pull my nose/lips off and scratch my eyes out. Therefore it’s imperative that I cut his nails often. Most people do this when their babies are asleep but as Mishty sleeps in a variety of awkward positions in the dark, I find this quite tricky. Instead I try when he is awake and then it is akin to picking his nose except this has the bonus of me not being in pain once it’s done. Sometimes I manage to do one finger, sometimes a whole hand. If I can do both hands – JACKPOT BABY!!!!

7. Sleeping through the night – Mishty can sleep through the night if he is in bed with us. If he is in the cot he will wake up between 2 and 4am and stand up and look at me like, WTF? This is not my bed. Your bed is my bed. I am awake. Look at me jumping to show you how awake I am. I will now shout loudly so you cannot ignore me, da da DAAAAAA! If he sleeps through the night this is the most amazingly satisfying moment ever multiplied by a million squillion. But this hasn’t happened yet so this is actually wishful thinking. Boo.

1

Food, Glorious Food

messy-baby-176My culinary skills can be summed up by the phrase, “can’t cook, won’t cook”. But this was all about to change. Not only would I cook, but I would actually have food in the fridge that wasn’t a month out of date. This wasn’t because Hubby had left me to fend for myself, it was far worse than that… Mishty was now ready for solid food.

Preparation was key. And by that I mean it was another excuse to shop for cute but useless, overpriced baby things. Everything seemed essential, from highchairs to bibs to kitchen appliances like a baby mouli which I’d never heard of until everyone on Amazon said it was a must have. In reality, the only REALLY ESSENTIAL thing you need is a spoon.

When the time came, I donned my apron and transformed into Delia Smith. I was determined to feed my baby home cooked meals and therefore be a good mother. But after a week of dabbling with pureeing and blending and generally making a huge mess in the kitchen for three tablespoons worth of food, I quickly ditched my now heavily stained and banana splattered apron for ready-made jar food (stop judging me, IT’S ORGANIC).

If preparing food was messy, that was nothing compared to actually feeding it. Here’s what one meal time can be like…

1st spoonful: Mishty sees something bright coming towards him. His curiosity makes him want to lick it so he opens his mouth and in goes the orange puree known simply as ‘Vegetable Medley’. He looks confused and grimaces. This is not milk. He does not know whether he likes it. He looks at me and decides he wants more.

2nd: Mishty swallows slowly and approvingly. I am rewarded with a smile and an excited jig.

3rd: The excited jigging has resulted in the spoon missing the mouth and hitting the eyebrow.

4th: This time spoon hits the target and swallowing is occurring. Mishty’s mouth is starting to look very orange.

5th: Mishty chooses to look down just as spoon tries to enter the mouth and so food is now smushed into the nostrils.

6th: After a successful entry into the mouth, there is a slight pause before Mishty sneezes it out all over me. He is ridiculously happy with himself.

7th: Mishty’s attention span is starting to wane and he is more interested in the spoon. He grabs it with a surprisingly strong grip and as I try to wrench it away, food gets flicked off and narrowly misses my face.

8th: Mishty tries to grab food from the spoon again. It gets on his hands which means it is now on everything within reach including his hair.

9th: Mishty is banging on the tray. His banging manages to catch the bowl and knock it out of my hands – my beige carpet is now being accentuated with orange polka dots.

10th: Mishty starts sucking his thumb and now there is no room for the spoon to enter.

11th: Despite managing to get the thumb out, I am faced with Mishty being more interested in scrunching up his bib and trying to eat it.

12th: I get another successful mouthful in after doing some amazing spoon control manoeuvres to avoid the little hand that is desperately trying to grab the spoon

13th: The mouth is not opening now despite me making exaggerated ‘yum yum’ noises and opening my own mouth really wide in the hope he will copy me. He finds it funny and smiles at me, I take the opportunity to shove it in, he laughs and it all falls out.

14th: He is turning his head away and doesn’t want to do this anymore. His head is bent down to lick the food tray. I try to push his head up which makes him unhappy. He is about to cry so every time he opens his mouth I shovel more food in.

15th: More unhappy noises and I decide to call it a day. I give him the spoon to placate him and go to get a cloth to wipe his face but as I leave the room the crying escalates to hysterical levels. I wipe quickly and there is more crying. There is only one way to save the situation – the sippy cup. As soon as he sees it, he stops and gets excited at the prospect of drinking water. A few sips in and he stops drinking and starts blowing raspberries. Water is dribbling everywhere, it is now a game. He laughs, more water falls out, I give up.

At the end of the feed, he has vegetable puree crusted into his eyebrow that stubbornly does not want to come off, his top is soaked and there is a suspicious amount of food hiding in his neck.  I am surrounded by mess and my clothes are stained. But hey, at least I don’t have to cook…!

0

The Helpful Husband

imageRecently, I was talking to a guy who adamantly stated that when he had kids, he would never change their nappy. This instantly made me want to shove a nappy full of digested banana puree in his face and simultaneously feel grateful that Hubby did not share the same views. [Even if he did, he knows I would beat him with a Pampers box while suffocating him with a nappy bag if he tried to pull that kind of sexist crap on me.]

See, I’m all about equal parenting where we do the same amount of nappy changes, feeds and night shifts. But can there ever be equality when we start off with the man’s contribution amounting to ten minutes of exertion compared to the woman’s contribution of 40 weeks of growing a human followed by countless agonising hours of labour to push it out?

Then there’s parental leave. For the majority having only two weeks paternity leave compared to 6-12months maternity leave means they are physically not around to do the same amount as you. So just enjoy those two weeks where they morph into the most unrecognisably helpful, hands on person you’ve ever seen, fuelled by the excitement of being a first time father because sadly, it doesn’t last.

When Hubby goes to work, I naturally do the night shift and then wait patiently until he comes home in the evening. It’s actually really easy and fun looking after a baby. Said no one sane ever. Unless of course, you have a fleet of staff to cook/clean/do any other stuff to prevent your place turning into something that might appear on a reality TV show about people who live in filth and were found buried under toys. Some days it’s impossible to do anything other than lie trapped on the sofa with a sleeping baby on top of you because the minute you put them down or leave their sight they wail like you’re giving them abandonment issues for the rest of their life. Not a problem unless you have to pee or do something else equally productive.

When Hubby comes home, I let him have some downtime because I am understanding about his busy day at work, his long commute and his tiredness to do anything other than play with the baby, eat and then sleep. Yeh right… do I look like I’m from the Waltons to you?

No, by evening I am a crazy, psycho, naggy wife. As soon as he walks through the door, I am mentally ‘clocking off’. So when I see Hubby chilling on the sofa reading sports comments online from dumb football fans or taking twenty minutes to do a dump, I get a tad resentful / jealous. I WANT TO TAKE A DUMP FOR TWENTY MINUTES TOO! I WANT TO SIT ON THE SOFA AND NOT DO ANYTHING but I can’t because Mishty needs to be fed, bathed and changed before going to bed and that’s even before we cook, eat, wash up, sterilise and make milk. You also have to factor in time required for arguing over who is more tired. Once all that’s done, then you can relax… if you haven’t already fallen asleep standing up.

So that leaves the weekends. You hope that for just two days they could look after the baby from night till 6-7pm just like you do for five days. Friday night comes around and I advise Hubby to go to sleep early but my warnings fall on deaf ears. By 2am I have to poke Hubby awake as he seems able to sleep right through the wails only for him to ask whether I can do it because he’s so tired. “No” is the only printable version of my reply. By morning, I’m being woken up by Mishty again and being told that it’s my turn now because the night is over. Time management is another issue – Hubby still hasn’t got to grips with the fact that you have to do as much as possible when Mishty naps, and then wonders why it takes so long to go anywhere. Still, with Hubby around I can palm off the pooey nappies, go to the bathroom in peace and even have time to write this blog. Hell, I can even enjoy a little family time.

Hubby will probably never be able to do as much as I do, and what little he does, is frustratingly never enough but instead of dwelling on the things he doesn’t do, I’m trying hard to find a bit of the Waltons in me to be grateful for the things he does do. I am thankful that he is there for us, and he does something at least. He drives me mad, makes me clear up after him like another baby but I have to admit, life’s better with him in it…

0

10 Things I Love About You

10thingsiloveSo people keep telling me that I’m putting them off having babies which made me realise that perhaps I need to stop making my baby’s bowel movements the main topic of conversation and start talking about some of the nicer things about motherhood instead. When you take away the gory horrors of babies crying hysterically, pooing undigested vegetables and spewing all over your hair, there are actually some things about them that do make it worthwhile. Here’s my top 10 list…

1. You crack me up!

Even if you duller than a blank wall in dim lighting, you can always count on babies to find you funny. You don’t have to be witty or clever, all you have to do is move your face back and forth to their face and they will crack up like it’s the funniest thing ever. If this fails to work (maybe you have a weird face), then try jiggling your face in their tummy, throwing them up in the air or playing peekaboo – always a winner. Baby laughter is possibly the nicest sound in the world and when they smile at you, it makes your heart go a bit mushy like a GU pudding.

2. Who’s a little softy?

Babies are inexplicably soft. Particularly the soles of their tiny little feet which are softer than all of my 34 teddy bears put together. Inevitably you can’t help but grab and play with their legs until they kick you in the face to get you to stop trying to eat them. They’d be tastier than any winning dish on Masterchef because soft baby skin + chubby baby legs = yumminess.

3. Look who’s talking

Baby noises (when not crying) are fantastic. They go from soft babbling and little gurgles all the way up to loud shrieks and grunts. As they discover new pitches in their vocal range, you try to tell yourself that they just said their first word and it was a lot like “mummy” while everyone else disagrees and thinks it sounded like a cat meowing. Then despite all your efforts, (“SAY MAMA… MA… MA….MMMUH!!!) you’re rewarded with… “da da”.

4. Nom, nom, nom 

Babies are curious creatures. They’ll explore by touch and taste which means that anything new will get picked up and immediately shoved in their mouth. This sometimes includes you. I’ve had Mishty grab my hands and try to eat my palm or nibble my finger. Sometimes he’ll stare at me intently, lunge towards my face and then gob all over my chin or give my nose a little lick. If he misses I get a head butt. Usually some hair grabbing is also involved to steady himself. Either way, it’s surprisingly lovable.

5. Bendier than a bendy bus

When babies discover their own hands it’s very cute. But when they discover their toes it’s even cuter because they instantly try to put their whole foot in their mouth. They just lie on their back and up the legs come, which is no mean feat as I’ve nearly given myself a hernia attempting this in yoga. Typically, this happens when you’re trying to change their nappy and so you end up pinning their legs down with one hand and wrestling with them for 20 minutes before putting it on, only to realise it’s lopsided and you have to start again but now they have rolled over and are attempting to climb off the changing table. But apart from that, it’s still really cute.

6. Just call me Tigger….

…cos I like to BOUNCE! Nothing says happiness like a good old fashioned jumpathon in a door bouncer or a Jumperoo. Their little faces are lit up with sheer joy and excitement at being able to freely jump around like in a House of Pain video. If only they would stay content with bouncing forever so I wouldn’t need to buy an X-Box later.

7. Baby cuddles

Mishty is a proper wriggler so it’s hard to hold him for long. But when he does let me, and his little head flops on my shoulder and his grip tightens around my neck, I get to have a proper cuddle and it feels awesome. Even nicer is when he strokes my face with a big gummy grin and lets me nuzzle him. Babies are made for cuddling.

8. How did you end up there?

Babies can’t stay still and it’s always when you’ve left them alone for five seconds to pee (only people without kids can enjoy the luxury of having longer) that they discover a new move like learning how to roll over which is very exciting until you realise how close they were to hitting their head on something very hard and scary. Or when you leave them in the cot lying down and come back to find them now horizontal, on their tummy and with an arm or leg stuck between the bars. They look at you like ‘Rescue me, mummy’ and instead I just laugh and get my camera out.

9. Sleeping like a baby

I love it when Mishty is asleep. Not just because it means I get some peace but because he looks so adorable. There’s the Jesus position with arms wide open, the gentlemen’s pose with his hands folded on his chest, and ‘put your hands up’ deep sleep pose. The best is when we sneak him into our bed with us so we can enjoy his warmth and closeness. Then he’ll wake up and look at you lovingly with a big smile and that three inch gap you’re lying in with most of your body hanging off the bed all seems worth it.

10. Simply the best

Ok so there’s not really ten things that are great about babies, but more like a million things with new discoveries every day. In a nutshell, babies are ok, but your own baby is The Best Thing In The World. The expressions, noises, overall cuteness in everything they do is awesome. I love my baby, he is wicked and if your ovaries aren’t exploding by now there’s nothing more I can say. So go forth and multiply!

0

Dummy Despair

dummy despairThump… Thump… Thump…

I awoke to the rhythmical sound of Mishty gleefully raising and dropping his legs in the cot. I looked at my watch – half five. Pretty impressive for him I thought. And then I noticed the digital display on my alarm clock saying that it was actually 1.30am. My eyes had clearly been seeing what it wanted.

I groaned and slung my arm over the cot rail from my bed to grope around for the dummy to shove in Mishty’s mouth. Once in place, I stroked his forehead and five minutes later he was fast asleep again.

2.30am. More thumping and groping around the cot. [Take your mind out of the gutter or I’m calling social services]

4am. Take three.

5am. Are you kidding me?

6.15am. Finally he’s hungry.

This had been Mishty’s routine every day for the last two weeks. He wouldn’t cry or need feeding, just me to put the dummy in and stroke his forehead until he fell asleep again. And then the whole thing would repeat another four times.

I tried giving him a bath, topping him up with milk, dream feeding, putting the heating on, putting the heating off, even bringing him into our bed but nothing would make him sleep through the night. Hell, forget sleeping through the night, I’d take anything where I wasn’t waking up four times.

After some research, I realised the problem was that Mishty had gotten used to being rocked with the dummy to fall asleep and therefore didn’t know how to put himself back to sleep and was relying on me to. I did as the textbooks said and stopped rocking him and he was soon going to sleep by himself at 9pm. But that’s where reality and the textbook parted company. Instead of sleeping soundly, he was now waking up every hour from 12.30am. I had gone from being a standard sleep deprived mother to a monged out psycho bitch.  Something drastic had to be done– the dummy had to go.

I opted for going cold turkey at my parents’ house for moral support. I left him with the oldies under strict instructions not to cave in while I went out for a prior engagement. I warned them that it might involve 40 minutes of crying and they nodded and told me it would be fine. And yet when I came back, there was Mishty sleeping peacefully away with the dummy still in his mouth. They had caved after 10minutes.

This was not going well. When it was time for Mishty’s next nap I grit my teeth and took over. I rocked and soothed with all my might but Mishty was not having any of it. He was like an addict screaming for one more hit. After half an hour my mother came rushing in and promptly burst into tears. Great, I had managed to make both my son and my mother cry. My father came in after, stony faced with disapproval and took over.  Then the guilt trip began…

“He is too young.”

“This is not the way to do this.”

“We never did this to you, why can’t you just let him have his dummy?”

“How can you be so cruel to him, he is just a baby.”

Moral support was definitely not to be found here. My parents were practically accusing me of child abuse. Friends who didn’t use a dummy were doing the “I told you so” self-righteousness routine that made me want to pound their smug faces with one. Others who used a dummy couldn’t understand why I was depriving him of it and barely concealed their disapproval. Either way I was clearly a terrible mother who deserved what was coming to me.

Already sleep-deprived for the last few days, Mishty’s screams were putting my nerves on edge. Despair, Hopelessness and Guilt were my new besties. It was heart-breaking to see Mishty so tired but unable to sleep. He fought valiantly for several hours before exhaustion eventually took over. With a heavy heart, I followed suit, wondering fretfully what the night would bring.

Mishty slept for 7 hours straight.

It was a miracle! I wanted to leap around screaming “YESSSS!! In your face, mother%^&*s!” but didn’t think my folks would take too kindly to that at 4am.

The next few days were more of the same – crying, despair, not sleeping. And that was just me. We tried everything to get him to sleep – bouncing, rocking, singing, white noise, lullabies, fresh air, extra milk, cuddling, lying him down, standing him up, putting him in our bed etc. My nerves were fraught from exhaustion and the constant crying was getting to me. It felt like Mishty had cried more in these three days than the past four months put together. It was a desperately dark time and I was left a broken woman, emotionally and mentally drained. Sometimes I’d be slumped on the floor, sobbing into my hands because I had no idea how to get him to sleep or make him stop crying. I was overcome with guilt for doing this to him but there was no turning back as then all this would be for nothing.

By the fourth day, victory was mine. It was like beating Lord Voldemort, Sauron and Darth Vader all in one. Mishty was falling asleep without sounding like a Guantanamo detainee and going seven hours without a peep. It had been a hard fight, but we had emerged triumphant. The battle was finally over.

0

Nursery Nitpicking

cartoon_classroom_smallI had thought that since having the baby my spreadsheet days would be over but here I was tabbing and colour co-ordinating away over Ofsted ratings and prices. The hunt for a nursery had finally begun.

With Mishty being a few months old I was already late in my search. I berated myself over my lack of efficiency at not doing this from the moment of conception. Now there were no places available for when I went back to work and I was potentially facing a lengthy childcare problem. I doubted whether anyone would notice if I turned up to work three months late but this seemed like a slightly risky solution.

Determined to get into a good nursery, I booked us in for some tours. The first one was an immediate hit with me – it was nearby with parking, security was tight, cleanliness was militant, the staff were nice and knew how to speak grammatically, there was a lot of structure and a behaviour chart which I liked the sound of. Above all, it had a vegetable garden and offered halal sausages for lunch which made me happy. Hubby managed to overlook all this and dismiss it because the toys looked worn.

The next one we saw was set on a cricket ground and we had some difficulty finding the place. We went to the wrong car park, then we drove to the right one but mistook the toilets for the venue and then trekked across the pitch before Hubby’s arms fell off from carrying the car seat. Once inside all I could see was organised chaos. We went to the baby room and to try to avoid tripping over crawling babies. One was sprawled over some cool looking padded blocks and another had snot dripping all over his face. This was quite distracting because all I could think was why is the staff lady not wiping it? The girl who was showing us around was very nice but seemed a little dim. Neither of us were impressed.

Another nursery we looked at had a very modern reception, lots of children’s pictures on the wall and the same thoroughness as the first one we saw so basically it was amazeballs. But then they lost me when I enquired about disciplining and they said there was no such thing as bad behaviour, just maybe a bit of biting. This was probably one of those hippy PC places that bans competitions because they don’t want anyone to be a loser (if you agree with this then it’s probably because you used to be the loser).

As we approached the toddlers room we were warned about a child who was having difficulty settling in. This was an understatement. The warning should have been, “get ready to bawl your eyes out and be forever traumatised about leaving your child at a nursery”. The child wouldn’t budge from the glass panelled door because he thought his mother wouldn’t be able to see him if he did and therefore wouldn’t come to get him. The lady proceeded to explain what went on in the room but I was barely listening. I was desperately trying not to dissolve into pieces as the kid kept crying forlornly for his mummy. He was so distressed I felt heartbroken and he wasn’t even my child! Hubby made some effort at listening to make up for my distractedness and even made a new friend as one of the toddlers gave him a dinosaur. His attempts to interact further resulted in a blank face and the child wandering off in search of something more interesting like picking his nose.

This whole nursery business was harder than I thought. Firstly there’s the dilemma of choosing the right one because not giving them the best start will inevitably ruin your child’s future and set them on course to a life of crime, drugs and herpes. Then comes the guilt at leaving them with strangers while you go back to work and the worry over whether they will be ok or left crying in a corner with snot dripping down their face (although this is more likely to be me). Finally, there’s the stress over how much it’s all costing which will leave you contemplating selling a kidney as a good investment.

Hopefully it’ll all be worth it as they make friends, build their confidence, enjoy fun activities and have a safe environment to play in. At least this is what I’ll be telling myself on the first day when I’ll most likely be crying hysterically like a bereaving woman in a Bollywood film at the gates screaming “MAMA LOVES YOU!” while Hubby tries to drag me away, muttering to me about stiff upper lips and not making a scene. And with that, the transition from Cool Young Woman into Embarrassing Mother Who Cries All The Time will be complete…

0

Baby fat? It’s just fat, baby…

yoga-cartoonI took a deep breath and stepped forward. I didn’t want to look down, it was too scary but I knew I had to face it. Hardly daring to breathe I caught a glimpse. My heart sank. I shuffled about a bit more but there was no escaping the awful truth – I really was that heavy and the bastard scales were not lying.

Something clearly had to be done but the only time I had ever successfully lost any weight was when I went to India and lost half a stone in two weeks from food poisoning and avoiding anything oily which basically left me eating plain naan. Parking that idea as a last resort, I wondered about dieting for all of two seconds before binning that idea too. I love carbs and pastry and butter and cheese and chocolate and cake and pie and cream and… I could go on but you get the gist. That left exercise.

I decided to ease myself back into the gym with some low intensity exercise that would be easy on my aching back, arms and knees (motherhood suddenly torpedoes you into being middle-aged) so first up was aqua aerobics.

The water was deliciously warm and as I looked around I realised I was one of the few people under 60 there. I uneasily wondered whether the water was warm because of incontinence. I turned my attention back to the class and enthusiastically tried to follow the kicking/jumping moves which were basically all variations of the Running Man. As for toning, my puny arms struggled to push down floats and I ended up flailing around wildly chasing the floats and cackling hysterically at my own ineptitude. I figured that no one could hear me without their hearing aids anyway. With girl power ballads like “I need a hero” in the background and an old man perving on the old ladies from the café, this was more like karaoke splash time and not a class I could take seriously.

I tried pilates next. Ok so this would probably not result in any weight loss but at least it might ease my aches and pains. As we began by laying on the floor I had a horrible realisation that I couldn’t get up again. My body had gone into shut down mode as it was clearly not used to the luxury of an unexpected lie down and was making the most of it. I think I may have even fallen asleep at some point. Every move thereafter was accompanied with a groan or a joint clicking loudly, which although embarrassing was still better than the sound of gentle snoring. By the end, I felt almost supple again. It was just a shame that “supple” didn’t translate into a stone lighter.

I couldn’t make the next session so I tried yoga instead as I figured it was similar enough. Five minutes in and I remembered why I switched to pilates. I am as flexible as a plank of wood so doing sun salutation and downward dog poses six times in a row was enough to put me off for good. Plus sticking my bottom in the air gave me an overwhelming urge to fart. The highlight of the session was managing to contort myself into a horizontal comma by lifting and lowering my legs over my head to touch the floor and promptly getting stuck in that graceful position. With great difficulty I untangled myself and decided to stay lying down for the remainder of the session for my own safety.

Getting back to the cardio, I decided to scrap the aqua aerobics and go back to old fashioned swimming. It all seemed to be going well until I realised that my foray into breastfeeding had created a slight problem. The favoured boob was now marginally bigger than the other and consequently, kept popping out of my swimming costume in a kinky form of peekaboo. Luckily the swimming pool was fairly empty and the lifeguard hadn’t spotted me. My already bad technique now had to incorporate rearranging myself under water more times than a builder has to pull up his trousers. This was hard work and I was paranoid every time I passed anyone with goggles.

As the gym wasn’t really working for me, I decided to give the fitness channel a go- after all, it was free and I didn’t even need to go anywhere. I waited for Mishty to go to sleep and started with a “fun” carnival workout, dutifully copying the moves of the TV Glamazon in my tiny living room. She gracefully shimmied and danced away while I blundered around like an epileptic bull, wishing I had some net curtains and hoping none of the neighbours could see me. Plus I had forgotten the heating was on and ended up stripping down to my underwear. Twenty minutes in and I’d been interrupted four times by my mother calling, the baby waking up twice, and a call from someone in India who was adamant I’d had a car accident recently. My carnival feelings were no longer on pause and instead fast forwarding straight to craving a Kit Kat.

Surprisingly I am no closer to losing my baby bulge and fitting into my old dresses but fear not, I shall persevere… just after I finish this cheesecake.