The August Retrospective

Right, it was far too ambitious to do the ‘Week in the Life’ posts. It was fun, but I am far too busy/lazy to do one every week. And, let’s be honest, my life just isn’t that interesting when you look at it in such short increments! So I’m going to go for monthly updates instead.

August is always a good month in my house. We call it the Month of Cake. Both mine and Kev’s birthdays, plus the banner year of 2014 when we got married. Cake, cake and more cake.

This year, it was also the month of grandmas. Teddy was a very lucky baby this month – we went to visit my mum, and my Aunty Julie and Uncle Andrew (aka Nana Julie and Poppy Andrew to Ted) were visiting at the same time. Then the next week, Kev’s mum was visiting us here in Manchester. Let’s just say Teddy is one very spoilt baby who has had so many cuddles this month, he’s actually finally learned how to give kisses.

The trip to my mum’s was absolutely lovely. Aunty Julie and Uncle Andrew brought their great niece with them, six-year-old Lily. Ted loved her immediately and spent the entire trip either following her round or whipping his head round to see where she’d gone. Luckily it was a reciprocal love! Oh, and on the trip up there we made friends with John Prescott on a train. As you do.

One of the places we went to was Adventure Valley, which was absolutely fabulous and I definitely recommend to anyone with kids in the North East. It’s just outside Durham, and it’s nominally a petting zoo, farm kind of thing… but there’s so much more to it. All different play areas, tractor rides, a big soft play, shows, goat racing, plenty to do. They even have specific playgrounds and soft plays for under 5s, which is lovely – Ted had his very first soft play experience and went down his first slides. He’s a fan. And it tired him out so much that he zonked out in his stroller and I got to have an ice-cream in peace. Fabulous.

Back in Manchester, our actual birthdays passed fairly quietly. Kev was actually on his own for his, seeing as he had to work and Ted and I had gone up north, but I sent him some amazing Irn Bru cupcakes from Dreambakes as consolation. Mine, Kev was off work so we just had a nice little potter round as a family – time which is all the more precious now I’m working two days a week and we never have any full days together.

Then came the weekend.

The Big Night Out.

I’d been planning a birthday night out for a while – I originally had grandiose visions of loads of people coming and a massive party atmosphere. Of course, I’d forgotten the same thing I’d forgotten every year: my birthday falls in the middle of the summer holidays, right on a bank holiday weekend. It’s always exceptionally hard to muster a crowd.

But you know what? I had the best time anyway.

The girls who showed up were the perfect combination. We had some drinks in the hotel beforehand (oh yes, we got a hotel for the night, swanky right? – it was a Travelodge.) including some magnificent attempts at a Truc Ki Pique, aka the drink of 2010 for those of us lucky enough to spend time in a small French town called Abbeville. We then had a fat-filled meal at All Star Lanes, cocktails, bowling, and then many more cocktails at Be At One, where as it was my birthday, I kept being given free birthday shots. Winner.

It sounds like a pretty short night out, we only went to two places after all. But it was hilarious and fun and very, very drunken. I’ve only just got round to putting my photos up on Instagram and whereas back in the day I’d get a whole album from a bog-standard weekday uni night out, I only managed to salvage eight photos. And one of those was a three-quarters drunk espresso Martini, and I don’t think I actually took half of them. Everything else on my phone from that night was either blurry and indistinct, or a horrific video of me and Naomi dramatically singing along to Avril Lavigne’s Complicated at one o’clock in the morning. I didn’t even take a single selfie!

All in all, I’d say that’s the mark of a good night out.


Turning this into faux-CCTV footage was literally the only way to salvage this picture.

The end of August hasn’t been quite so fun, but has left us with perhaps the best photo of the entire month, and one that I’m not putting online for the sake of my poor son’s privacy (he’ll thank me one day). And you all know I’m terrible for oversharing so it must be bad if I’m keeping it in the family.

Ted had been off his food for a few days, and on the Sunday of the bank holiday, Kev mentioned that he had a temperature. Then when I got home from work, it was like we had a different baby. He was sitting listlessly in his high chair, staring through the TV, an untouched pile of strawberries in front of him. When I picked him up, he was burning.

They say mother’s instinct is a thing, and I believe them.

I knew he had to be seen. We had thought it might just be a bad batch of teeth coming through – overdue, seeing as he still only has two – but this seemed like something else. Maybe not something huge, but something else nonetheless. If it hadn’t been the bank holiday, I’d have rung the GP in the morning and got them to squeeze him in. But our only option was a walk-in centre. We decided we’d rather do it that night rather than wait for the morning, so off we trooped to the centre attached to the hospital.

Where, after much shouting and kicking on the part of Ted, the doctor took some obs, and decided they were significantly off enough that we had to go to paediatric A&E.

Oh the joys!

We were in there for what felt like a week. More obs were taken. Ted’s bedtime came and went. As soon as he had some ibuprofen, he perked up no end. It turns out that he had a throat infection, hence the not-eating. It hurt the poor boy to swallow. Advice about Calpol and ibuprofen and the like, plenty of fluids, watchful eye, and we were on our way.

But before. Before that diagnosis. We had to make sure he didn’t have a UTI.

That meant getting a urine sample.

Have you ever tried getting a urine sample out of a wriggling nine month old who can’t decide if he wants to be asleep or crawling around squealing?

It is not fun.

The picture I was referring to is a classic shot of me looking like I’d rather be anywhere else, a totally naked Ted on my lap watching Baby Jake on my phone, an incontinence pad underneath him and Kev’s disembodied hand holding a cup under his bits. Utter dignity.

That simple-yet-gross set-up did not work.

What eventually worked was Ted standing up, holding onto a chair and merrily bashing my phone against the wall while Baby Jake sang a song about yakki-yakki-yoggi. Somehow that was the trigger.

“HE’S WEEING, HE’S WEEING!” I yelled while Kev rushed to position the cup in time.

I could hear the waiting room full of anxious parents having a good old snigger.

At least it brightened up their evening a bit.

I tell you what though – those few hours were some of the scariest of my life. And deep down, I knew it was nothing big. I knew he’d be fine. I knew, really, that I could probably have dealt with it at home in the first place. But I had to be sure, and all the time, terrifying words like ‘sepsis’ were floating around in my head.

Always best to get these things checked, with such a little person. I know. And as my mum says, I’m going to find myself in that position many, many more times before Ted’s grown up. Many times.

Other than giving us a bank holiday fright to be proud of (and managing somehow not to wee on the hospital floor), Ted has come along in leaps and bounds again this month, but I’ll do a separate post all about him. He’s ten months old today, how did that happen?! It seems like only thirty seconds since I did his nine month update!

Anyway, I feel like I’ve probably missed an absolute ton out, but those are the bits of my August that stuck out and that I can remember while I’m sitting here watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for the approximately 930th time. Happy September 1st everyone, and welcome to Nineteen Years Later!

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