22 May 2019

Toilet Time



People sometimes talk about the scars of motherhood—things like stretch marks and deflated belly skin. Sometimes they’ll even warn you before that first time you get synchronised projectile fluids out of both ends of your baby. I’d heard a lot of horror stories before experiencing motherhood, but no one ever sat me down for the daily struggle that is toilet time. 

You mamas will know what I mean. As soon as they’re born it’s a question as to whether you take ‘em in or lock ‘em out. Every wee requires a risk assessment between your child’s safety and your own sanity and, if I’m honest, those 30 seconds of sweet sweet serenity usually win out. 

This week brought something extra fun in the plumbing department. I had just sat down for my tiny moment of zen when suddenly, the doors opened. Awesome. Where did he even learn that? 

He walked inside pleasantly and confidently like he’d been issued an invitation for the occasion. Then he turned. Noticing the proverbial elephant in the room, he stopped and stared. 

At first, I was super chill about the whole thing, thinking “welp, he’s gonna have to figure this whole thing out eventually if he’s ever going to get potty trained. Welcome to the facts of life, buddy.” 

But the longer he stared, unflinching, with his head half-cocked like a parakeet, the more my super-chill-mum vibe faded. I began to wonder at what point he was going to start developing some kind of very serious Freudian syndrome. Eventually, I realised there was no way I was getting out of this one with my dignity intact unless I could divert his attention somewhere else.


I looked around. I picked up a loo roll tube and tossed out the now open door.

Nothing. 

I tried the same with a spare roll of toilet paper. 

Again, nothing. 

I craned around praying for something to be behind my head on the windowsill. Praise! A scented candle. 

“Oooo baby, what is this?” I croooned, tossing the candle out the door with the rest. 

BINGO! I mumstimated (that lightening-fast, instinctual mum calculator which is both handy and wildly inaccurate) that I had exactly 3.4 second to get business done and get out of there. 

Unfortunately, I was wrong by half. 

As I flushed, I felt a little swoosh brush against my leg. With the swift urgency I once believed only belonged to Olympians and middle-aged Black Friday shoppers, he was at the bowl. His hands gripped over the edge of the inside of the rim and he peered into the gurgling whirlpool below. 

I saw all of this out of the lower corner of my eye, and—as I immediately turned to scoop him up—it was like time slowed down. I could see his little mouth open wide and his tiny tongue wriggle inside like a worm, as it started moving down…. down… down… CONTACT! My baby was fully frenching the toilet seat. 

I screamed in abject horror. 

He looked up at me with a mixture of bewilderment and annoyance. What could I possibly be going on about?

Panicking, I scooped him up and rushed around the house trying to decide what to do. 

Mouthwash? No, there’s alcohol in that. Soap? Uncomfortably old school and also kind of mean. Finally, I just put his head down and started squirting water inside. After five minutes of half-drowning my child, I realised he was swallowing about half of what I was squirting in there which meant I was shooting the bacteria right down his little gullet. 

In the end, only one of us was left with the kind of scar that lasts for life, and I can tell you it wasn’t Ezra.


Fortunately, life isn't all little moments of horror like that one. Lately, we’ve had some really lovely times with friends. We spent Easter Sunday with a picnic at Prior Park with the Guys.


I was very excited about this cloudy apple and rhubarb juice. For you adventurous beverage drinkers out there, save yourself the trouble. It wasn't great.


I have also been craving good Mexican food lately, so yay for Cinco de Mayo. Any excuse to crowdsource guacamole is a major win. Sadly, I didn't get any pix of the actual people that came... which is probably a pretty harsh condemnation on my actual priorities.



Ezra is growing up so fast. I’m having to start to get creative with how to keep his ever-moving buns busy. We’ve started building obstacle courses in the living room and also turned an old box into a twinkly sensory den with fairy lights. He's been a little treat. 

My life has improved massively--or so I thought--since I fully weaned him two weeks ago (fully expressing to the end). Not only do I have many more hours in my day, but I'm finally a normal size again and no longer look like I have floatation devices strapped to my chest. 

Unfortunately, two days ago, ppppfffwwup! They were back in all their busty glory. I also started feeling dizzy and like I was going to throw up and I finally realised, that actually weaning isn't that easy. Even after two weeks of nothing, apparently, milk (and the risk of mastitis) can carry on for 2-3 months after you stop breastfeeding. You have to keep expressing it out which sucks. Majorly.



Ezra also got to visit the dinosaurs again on a trip to the Museum of Natural History in London. This time he was actually awake enough to enjoy it. 

He is currently very interested in all things animal, especially dogs. We haven’t met one yet (regardless of how big they are) that he does like. The louder the better it seems.


That is the face of a little boy cautiously watching an animatronic t-rex while his parents try to take a selfie. 


We’ve also filed for his British citizenship (unexpectedly sooner than anticipated). This is our sleepy boy just after waking up to have his biometrics taken for his application.



All in all, life is grand. I have two of the loveliest boys in the whole wide world. They love books, each other and me. I don't know if I could ask for anything more :)


[Also, I am just as freaked out by the random hyperlinks to Amazon as some of you are... still sorting out why this is happening. You are welcome to buy the excise gear etc linked in the post, just please know I'm not callous enough to try to sell merch while telling you about my kid licking a toilet seat]

20 April 2019

Residency


Back when Jon and I were dating—when we were in that super awkward I-know-you-well-enough-to-have-covered-all-the-basic-questions-but-OMGOSH-what-else-can-I-ask-you??? stage—I made him this little box of cards with thought-provoking questions to attempt to fill the void.  The card I remember best was “Will today be important in ten years?”

Over the last seven+ years, I’ve thought about that question a lot, but it has come to mind especially often over the month because so any of these days have been full of life-changing milestones. 

THE most important one is…. [drumroll]… WE OFFICIALLY HAVE PERMANENT RESIDENCY!!! What does that mean? It means we get to live in the UK for forever and work here without a visa. And it means, in a year, we can apply for dual citizenship. Jon applied first, and (the morning after receiving word) he walked into his company giving him a royal welcome—everyone was standing, applauding, and waving Union Jack flags. His co-worker took a video of it, which he put on Linkedin and it went viral (with over 150,000+views); it was all very exciting. 



My application was met with decidedly less fanfare, but it was still pretty thrilling. And it was the last hurdle to getting down to business when it came to Ezra’s citizenship. We went into London to get him all registered at the American embassy (they gave him an American flag sticker! Just like when you go the voting booth but bigger!). Now we are in the process of getting him his British passport as well as and (since he was born here) he gets to have dual citizenship since we are permanent residents. LUCKY BOY! First British citizen in this family for quite a few generations. 



To celebrate, our friend Aaron and Sara got us these amazing English rugby jerseys to celebrate, just in time for the Six Nations tournament. We had a very English curry night with our friends watching England v Scotland. To be honest I still have no idea what was happening, but my comprehension of sport in general is pretty much non-existent so usually just show up to these kinds of things for the food. Ezra and Jon, however, were very keen. 



In other news, SPRING HAS SPRUNG! We spent a day in Castle Combe, which gorgeous little village north of Bath. We went on possibly the worst day ever for pictures (mid-day blistering sun is never good when you are trying to take a south-facing photo), but it was so lovely soaking up all that Somerset sunshine. 



Here is our attempt at a family selfie… clearly still a work in progress. 



Ezra is a daddy’s boy through and through (although his first word was ‘mama’ I am very pleased to say). Whenever these two are together, Ezra has got his arm around his dad’s neck, just chillin’. If ever there were two photos to sum up the difference between dad and mum in this house, these would be it:



In other news, Ezra is very very mobile now. He climbs all over everything and mostly walks (with intermittent crawling). He hasn’t quite mastered going from crawling to standing without crawling up something, but he can stop, go, change direction and speed with his walking, which makes my life a lot easier. I do appreciate an independent baby, even if it has been exhausting getting him here. 



He is so active, I’ve had to start being really conscious about his food. He has started getting really skinny so we have to basically stuff him without food all day long. Most days we have a picnic in the park and have started playing in our postage stamp sized back garden. 



Something I’ve found that really works for us is giving each day a theme (like a colour or shape). When Ezra’s sleeping I lay theme objects on a tray and when he wakes up we talk about them as a sort of lesson for the day. Does Ezra get anything out of it? Probably not… I’m about 98% confident he has no idea what I’m saying. However, he does know that in those 15-20 minutes, he has 100% of my attention. He gets to hear more varied vocabulary and feel loved and I think those two things are probably what is important at this stage. And honestly, it’s mainly for me—it means my internal mum-guilt gets pushed off for another day. 



The other day we got to in to Jon’s work (I’ve finally caved with a hair appointment in the same complex to battle all my grey hair). Ezra loved it, naturally. He even met his first dog. It was mutual love at first sight. 



This past month we also got to spend time with some the kids from our church congregation and have a pizza-making party. These girls are some of my favourite humans. 



In other news, Jon and I had our seven anniversary. He took me to the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Bath for a seven-course dinner. It was insane. AND mine was vegetarian! I seriously can’t say enough about it; it was so yum and I’m so grateful Jon appreciates--and is willing to pay for--good food. In keeping with the seven-year theme (which is apparently copper—who comes up with these things?), I got Jon cufflinks made out of duits from the 1700s. Duits were the currency used by the East Indian Trading Company, which Jon was very jazzed about because they were the first company to offer shares (I really do love that he’s a nerd that way). 



But we all have our nerdy ways. My current geeky obsession is property investing. Been learning lots and enjoying the ride. Also been stocking up on little treasures like this £70 brand new basin sink I got for £5 (BAM!). I figure I’ll fill my garage with little beauties like this, so by the time I can actually afford to renovate a property I’ll have plenty to choose from. 



And there we go, that’s been the last month and a half. Love my boys and loving life :) I feel like good things are on the horizon! Happy Easter!

27 February 2019

February

These first three photos are for all of you that look at Ezra, then squint at Jon and I and say, "so, which one of you does he look like?"

That question honestly freaked me out so badly at the beginning. Being an IVF baby, there is always that weird one-in-a-million chance that the doctors got the egg or sperm or both mixed up before putting them back where they belong. What if Ezra isn't my biological baby? Honestly, not that big of a deal...until you think about the rights of the actual biological parents. And what if my biological baby was out there with someone else? THAT would kill me.

Luckily, as you can see by the photos, there is very little to worry about on that count.



On first glance, it appears that Ezra looks just like his mama. But, if you look a little longer you can see that, actually, he is about halfway between both of us. His nose shape and chin are a mix of us both. He may have my hairline, but his hair has gone blond like his daddy's did when he was a baby. Also, the spacing of his eyes and nose are exactly like Jon, as are his very vividly blue eyes. He is a beautiful, synergistic blend that is somehow both much cuter and cooler than either of his parents ever were as babies.



In other news, I've started taking a boxing class. It feels especially progressive heading off to go boxing with my girlfriends when our husbands are back at home with the babies.

So, I guess, point to women's lib...

That is until you wake up for the next three days feeling like you are dying. Then you start to wonder if maybe boxing is fundamentally incompatible with a mom bod. The jury is still out, but we have another class tonight so we'll see how it goes.



Ezra loves books (sometimes that just means he loves pushing them off onto the floor), so we spend a fair bit of time at the library these days. You can see how excited he is to be there. I feel you little man... every time I move someplace new and I have to get a new library card, it feels like the world is suddenly at my fingertips. It is thrilling to think of all the things he still gets to learn from books.



Now that the temperature is the warmest February it has ever been in recorded UK history, we are loving the park! We are lucky to have an amazing one right within walking distance of our house. Sometimes we can even wrangle Jon into coming with us.




Right now I spend every free moment during the day studying for my 'Life in the UK' test, which is a prerequisite for getting permanent residency. It is brutal. You can try a practice test for yourself here. Jon is applying for residency this week and (if we get accepted), I have about three weeks to pass the test and apply as well. Please pray (or send positive affirming vibes into the universe--whatever your jam is) for us! We've already been rejected once on a technicality, so we are hoping everything goes through this time without a hitch.



This photo probably belongs in the last post, but it is a good behind-the-scenes of what motherhood looks like for me, frequently with a camera up and making a funny face while a baby stares. I'm lucky that he is--generally--a very good natured little squish. He never puts up a fuss when I scramble to find my camera to capture whatever funny thing he is currently doing.

He is turning into a little boy very quickly though... much faster than I expected. I always told myself that I'd stop posting photos of him publicly online once he turned one year old because I think children deserve their privacy. I set the time at one year because I figured that, before that, they were just most little squidgy blobs without much going on. But Ezra already feels like a little boy with a robust personality and sense of humour. It is starting to feel like the time to go incognito is close at hand.

So, what does that mean? Do I just stop posting photos of Ezra on the blog? Or do I set it to private so only friends and family have access? Still thinking on it... but I'll keep you all updated. Until then, here is just one more of my favourite photos this week of Ezra and his cheeky little tongue that always seems to have a mind of its own.