Semi-Annual Life Update

Oh look, I’m back again!

God, I’m a terrible blogger. Two posts then off I go again.

I believe the last time I wrote I was six months pregnant, home from a lovely – if sweaty – trip to Germany for a pounding heavy metal festival. I was sunburnt, knackered, but excited for my impending maternity leave. And, obviously, my baby.

He’s here.

Obviously, he’s here. It’s been a year. A year!

Edward Albert Peter Robinson. Known as Teddy. My boy Ted.

He came into the world on November 1st, 2016 (somewhat reluctantly, but that’s a story for another time) and instantly turned all our lives upside down.

I know, I know, terrible cliché. But it’s so, so true.

In the space of a minute, my world refocussed on its axis. I don’t revolve around the sun anymore. I revolve around this tiny tornado of a little boy.

SD9C6358

Teddy at six months old – isn’t he a stunner?

Teddy is eight months old now – nearly nine months, actually – and I know, I know, I’m his mother, I’m biased, but isn’t he just the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen? He’s a proper sturdy little boy; when he was born he weighed nearly ten pounds, and he likes his food. He’s never been one to go in for weight loss, just like his mother.

He’s always been fabulous when it comes to anything physical – he rolled over before he turned four months old and was full on crawling just before six months. Now he pulls himself up on the furniture and scoots along on his feet, and can toddle along if he’s pushing something in front of him. He won’t hold my hands and do it, though – he’s somehow fiercely independent at the same time as being quite a clingy mama’s boy.

He’s a right little mischief already. He loves to climb, and sometimes when I’m sitting on the floor I think he’s come over for a lovely cuddle… Nope, he wants to use me as a ladder to get up onto the sofa and thus onto the desk to play with the computer mouse. Or onto the windowsill to try and knock the lamp onto my head. He’s worked out which button on the DVD player makes the tray come out and will stand in front of it for ages pressing it over and over again. If I let him, he’d spend half his life watching the toilet flush, chewing on some toilet roll at the same time, of course.

Doting mama, much? Of course I am.

How have I spent my maternity leave?

It’s been quite a blur, actually. Those hazy newborn days, where I was scared to sleep in case Ted stopped breathing in his Moses basket. They seem like so long ago, now. Years, not months. I got through the entire series of The Crown on Netflix before Ted was two weeks old, and I couldn’t tell you half of what happens.

Ted’s always been such a good baby, though – I couldn’t breastfeed, but he took to the bottle immediately, has been weaning gloriously, and has been mostly sleeping through the night since around six months – I really don’t have anything to complain about. Maternity leave, which has just come to an end, is going to be forever in my mind as a peaceful, happy time. I just wish it could have lasted forever!

Kev has been absolutely amazing, he’s an incredible dad. Right from when we got back from hospital and he cooked me a ridiculously expensive steak to keep my iron levels up after a haemorrhage and a blood transfusion, he’s been hands-on and fabulous. Teddy adores him and now I’m back at work two days a week, he’s over the moon to have his ‘boy days’.

I’ve been so well supported, and had such a good baby, I feel like I really should have been more productive on maternity leave. I’ve been writing, almost non-stop in fact. Ted’s never had a problem snoozing in his pram in coffee shops while I scribble away. In fact, that’s exactly what he’s doing now, while I type.

I went off onto my leave with the grandiose idea that I’d end it with at least one book finished. Well, I kind of achieved that. At least, I finally finished editing my Guernsey-based leap year story… but I’ve hit a massive block, trying to make the synopsis work before I send it out. My other two giant projects… I’ve delved into them from time to time, but the inspiration keeps running out and they both remain unfinished. I wrote pages and pages of notes for two new writing projects, only for the impetus to bugger off as soon as I actually started the writing process. I even tried vlogging for a while, but the pressure to look human enough to film was a bit much, especially with Ted’s napping time decreasing by the day.

All in all, though, I’m not hugely bothered by the fact I’ve not technically ‘done’ much on maternity leave. I’ve not finished a book; I’ve spammed everyone on Instagram with countless baby photos instead. These nine months might not have been productive, but they’ve been precious. I’ve got to know this adorable, daft, cuddly little human that Kev and I somehow managed to make, and it’s been the best nine months of my life.

So what about this blog? Am I going to write this and then trot merrily off into radio silence once again?

It’s entirely possible. But I have a whole massive list of things I’m dying to write about, and this is the place for them. Oh, I might be a baby spammer now, but I’m a chatty one. And, frankly, I think people are getting sick of me rambling out loud. So it might have to go on here; far easier to tune me out in print than in person!

I’m going to end this post with a couple of collages of Teddy-pictures. You know, just in case anyone reading this happens to have avoided my Instagram for the past eight months. You’re not escaping the baby spam that easily.

IMG_20170721_092526

IMG_20170721_092620

IMG_20170721_092738

IMG_20170721_092823

Funny Story

It’s been a while since I blogged.

February. I wrote a ranty confessional post, upon yet another period arriving, about the ‘joys’ of trying to conceive.

Er. So. About that.

Within twenty four hours of writing that blog post, the period that sparked the ranting just seemed to… dry up. Vamoose.

That night I had a massive howling breakdown on my husband’s lap about a smelly stuffed monkey that had gone mouldy and had to be thrown away. When we moved house. In November.

Then a little later, sitting on the sofa minding my own business, I had the weirdest, spiky, prodding pains in my tummy. Something I’d never had before. It only lasted a few minutes, but it was enough to spook me.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Yes. The next morning, when my husband had gone to work, I got out one of my several thousand cheapy pee sticks and had a little go; even though I’d tested (repeatedly) before the period showed up and it had all been a resounding no. But the period had gone. Better to be safe than sorry, I guessed.

Was that… a line?

I held it up to the light. I squinted. I started to shake a tiny bit. It looked like a line. Only a faint one, but a line. Having spent a lot (a lot) of time looking at angry white spaces on pregnancy tests over the previous few months, I was pretty sure I could tell the difference.

I didn’t let myself get too excited. Could have been an evap line. Could have been me finally cracking and hallucinating.

But I had a more expensive First Response test in the drawer. Ahh, what’s the harm?

Definitely a line.

Still faint, but there was no mistaking it. Brazenly pink, there it was.

I started really shaking. I think I may have also been somewhere between sobbing and hysterically laughing. While also blasting Halestorm through the bathroom at ear-splitting volume. My neighbour must have thought the world was ending.

I had one shot left in my arsenal: the one I’d been saving especially for this occasion. Back when I’d first mentioned the whole trying-for-a-baby business, my best friend had bought me one of the most expensive pregnancy tests on the market, an all-singing Clearblue Digital. I wanted to save it for a time when I could actually be pregnant, when  I wouldn’t have the crushing disappointment of starkly being told ‘NOT PREGNANT’ in big black letters.

It came up in seconds.

‘PREGNANT: 1-2 WEEKS’.

Cue absolute howling and approximately forty five missed calls to my husband (I ended up barrelling into his work to tell him because he couldn’t pick up the phone in the middle of a lunchtime rush).

I was pregnant.

And approximately twenty weeks later, I still am.

image The current state of my fridge door

So this poor blog got rather neglected. Firstly, of course, I didn’t want to break the whole pregnancy news until after 12 weeks. Superstitious like that, and I had a horrible case of anxiety that it was all going to go wrong. It didn’t help that I was in and out of hospital with bleeding on and off for those first twelve weeks. It’s still kind of going on now, to be honest; I was back there again yesterday, though everything is fine. Stress, etc, bla bla bla.

I did mean to carry on with my 52 book challenge, but I couldn’t. Firstly, almost everything I was reading was based on either babies or pregnancy, and I thought it might give the game away a little bit. Also, my brain was so full of all things baby, I couldn’t concentrate on any of the nobly literary books I’d planned to read. It just kind of… fell by the wayside.

I just felt that I couldn’t carry on writing on here when my mind was so very, very elsewhere – I thought if I tried writing about, say, what I’d be watching on the TV, I’d just blurt out with “I’M HAVING A BABY EVERYONE A BABY HONEST A REAL ONE WITH FEET AND EVERYTHING” in the middle of a gentle paragraph about my hopes for the next two years in Game of Thrones.

But I’m back now, bump in hand. Boy bump, to be quite precise – we found out a couple of weeks ago, and he’s perfect. Quite the little wriggler, actually; every time a midwife attempts to hear his heartbeat, she has to chase him round my uterus with the doppler because he won’t keep still. He’s somersaulting around right now, actually, giving me a good booting in what remains of my belly button. I’m already bloody enormous, and I’m only just turning twenty four weeks in the morning. I’m going to be the size of the number 22 bus by the time this baby is evicted – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’ve been told by a few people that I’m so (brazenly) honest about pregnancy that I should blog about it. No haze of pregnancy glow around here! Thinking about it, they might have just wanted me to stop rambling on about it to them. Ah well. I’m here now, and although I don’t plan on being one of those ‘mummy bloggers’ with weekly belly-updates and the like, I do intend to prattle a bit more often from now on.

Let the irritating pregnancy blog posts commence!

A Bit About Me

It seems to be traditional that every time you start a new blog, you have a little chat about who you are, where you come from, all that kind of babbling. Like you’re being auditioned for some kind of really in-depth dating website, which requires the equivalent of an Oscars speech before you can talk to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you’ve done it 92 times before because you’ve started 92 blogs before (39 of which were linked to on the same Twitter you’re using now), but there you go.

This is me.

Image

Rather obviously me, as this picture is probably currently both in my sidebar and on my Twitter profile.

I’m Jess, and I’m 24. I grew up in Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, with my mum. I now live in Manchester with my lovely fiancé, Kev, and our somewhat dimwitted cat, Sandor Clegane. I went to university in Durham and just about scraped a degree in Modern Languages. By day, I’m a barista in a coffee/sandwich shop, but I call myself a writer. My first novel will be coming out with December House whenever I get round to finishing it, and I’ve got some flash fiction in a collection on Amazon.

That’s the facts, when it’s all laid out in bare-bones form.

If you want to know the real me – well, I suppose that’s a bit more difficult to put down on paper. I’m a metalhead, having once been a bit of a metal groupie, and I love bands like Nightwish, Sonata Arctica, Within Temptation, Amoral and Amaranthe – but I also obsess about the Eurovision Song Contest every year and I can often be found dancing like a maniac to Lady Gaga in Poptastic. I freely call myself a literary nerd, and I’m still obsessed with Harry Potter: to the point that I have a Deathly Hallows tattoo and the words “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home” can still bring me to tears. The ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series, and of course the Game of Thrones TV series, are currently taking over a lot of my life. I play a lot of The Sims 3, probably more than is healthy.

I consider myself an ardent feminist, to the point I regularly have to be dragged out of the kitchen at work where I’ve been ranting to my coworkers about something I’ve read. I still quite happily call myself a feminist even though my dream in life is to sit on my arse all day, writing books and occasionally popping out children. I’m counting down the days until me and Kev’s wedding (August 10th!) and I’m broody to the point of eyeing up prams when they’re pushed into my shop and wondering where I could get one.

Me and Kev, HP Studios

Me and Kev, indulging my Harry Potter obsession

I suffer from misophonia and a ridiculous phobia of balloons, and couldn’t live without ASMR videos. If you were to cut me open, I’d probably bleed espresso – and if you pronounce it eXpresso, I’m likely to knee you in the privates. I will pounce on a rogue apostrophe like my cat on a loose piece of wallpaper, something my fiancé and I delight in having in common (the grammar-fiendism, not the wallpaper-attacking).

Sandor climbing

Sandor Clegane the cat, demonstrating his wallpaper-attacking skill while trying to reach the ceiling.

That’s me in a nutshell, and in this blog you’ll probably find me rattling on about all of the above at some point. I like to think I’m not quite as rambly and disjointed as I used to be last time I was a ‘blogger’, but we’ll probably find it’s the exact opposite.

That Awkward First Post

Everyone has to start somewhere.

Of course, if we’re talking ‘starting’, when it comes to blogging, that came many years ago. In 2001, in fact. Long before my first wobbly dial-up connection was installed at home, my class at school was taught how to make a website. Most people created miniature fansites for their favourite TV programmes or the like, lovingly tweaking fonts and pictures as the weeks went by. I just rambled for week after week, block after block of text: blogging before I’d even heard the word.

Since then I’ve continued in the same vein, rambling away over several different platform. Anyone remember Microsoft Spaces? I had one of those. Livejournal, Blogspot… I was even on blogger.de for a while, back in my angsty teenage years.

For the past year or so I’ve been technically blogging about my writing endeavours on my own website, but it felt a bit restricted. I like to rattle on about whatever takes my fancy, and you know what, Twitter just doesn’t cut it. I’ve become one of those people who clogs up everyone else’s timeline with tweet after tweet on the same subject. I don’t like it when other people do it so I shouldn’t do it myself.

Therefore hello to WordPress, for the first time. This blog doesn’t have a theme beyond the random business in my own head: expect book talk, feminist rants and writing woes, among other things. I’ll probably do a proper introduction kind of post, for a start, I’m guessing… whenever my cat moves off my laptop to make typing a little easier, or whenever I’ve had my tea. There’s not going to be a schedule or anything like that; I know full well what I’m like. I’ll write three posts in one night, then nothing for a fortnight. But hey! That’s what blogging is all about. Writing and rambling.

Trying to blog

It’d be lovely if I could have my hand back so I could type properly…