Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: Family (page 2 of 5)


It’s ok, call off the search party I’m alive and well I’ve just been a little busy. I’d have liked to have written a few more blog posts recently but it turns out having 3 children and a busy job doesn’t leave much time for anything else. To be quite honest when it comes to the evening I don’t have the brain power left to string words together into something intelligible and if I did most evenings have involved either carrying around a little baby or having one sleeping on me. Which is why it’s almost a month since my last post both here and on my running blog.

The past few weeks have been quite intense, Rupert has had a string of colds thanks to his brother and sister being very affectionate and wanting to share everything including their snot and sneezes. This has meant most evenings have involved a lot of pacing the house trying to settle him while he screams at us. Not much fun and very testing when you’re tired, not to mention the fact that it makes it impossible to get anything done in the evening. All you want to do is collapse on the sofa and drink a cup of tea in peace but instead you spend 2 hours tidying, sorting out the washing, putting the bins out, making lunches for the next day the list goes on.

Thankfully we seem to be making progress this week *touches everything wooden in the house*, partly I think just due to him getting older and with it being more relaxed and also wanting to have awake time, but we also went to see the Osteopath. We’d done the same with Henry and is something I’d recommend to all new parents, I’m a huge sceptic on some of these treatments but the magic that an Osteopath performs seems to have a real impact. I like it because it’s such a gentle treatment but it releases any pressure points or tight spots the baby may have. Birth is clearly a tough event for a baby so it’s not surprising they sometimes need a little help adjusting. With both Henry and Rupert the change was very noticeable, within a day or so Rupert was already calmer and happier. The screaming was mainly gone and we now get some lovely awake time full of smiles and gurgles.

Our next challenge is getting him to be willing to sleep somewhere other than on us during the day so that maybe we can eat a meal without him either being fed or rocked while he cries. I love having time to cuddle him (we had a lovely nap together in an armchair on Sunday afternoon doing just that) but it would also be nice to have the option of him sleeping in his moses basket so that the lady of the manor and I can get some time together again.

What’s interesting about doing this for the 3rd time is we know there will come a time when it changes, we know there is hope and that makes it less scary or hard to deal with. I can remember having similar feelings when Matilda was a baby and it was just so daunting not knowing how long it could continue. Not to mention the fact that we now have 20 different solutions to dealing with crying having been through it before, things you have no clue about the first time.

Although it’s still possible to send yourself mad as you come up with a new theory about why your baby isn’t sleeping, the lady of the manor is the master at this. She’ll come down in the morning and announce her new theory ‘I think he’s getting cold, let’s use a grobag’ or ‘I’m going to wedge a pillow under his head tonight because I think he likes sleeping on an angle’. You go through all those solutions until most likely you end up back where you started and then you go back through them all again. Maybe one day you will splat the rat and your baby sleeps 12 hours a night every night, then of course you can write a book about it and make millions selling it to other sleep deprived parents who are also looking for the reason why their baby isn’t sleeping.

Until then I shall just continue enjoying my cuddles while he’s still a baby and needs us so much.


Gone in a flash

Things that are fast; Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes, Concorde, the bullet train (which apparently now levitates), Usain Bolt, Bracken chasing a squirrel, a toddler when your back is turned, the school holidays when you’re a child and your lunch break as an adult. I’d also add to that extensive list your children growing up. Rupert is now a month old. A MONTH! Holy crap did that fly by. The past month has been a blur of broken sleep, demanding preschoolers and at times paddling furiously just to stay still. It’s been hard work of course but on the whole we’ve kept smiling and positive, 3rd time around I think you’re much better placed to keep things in perspective and not let them get on top of you.

Rupert in the eveningI have a colleague who is expecting his first this week, it’s been fascinating talking to him and reliving that nervous expectation of your first child being born. All the questions he has and all the things he’s yet to experience. In a way I’m actually jealous of him, having your first is such a special experience isn’t it? The first time you become a family rather than just a couple, it’s a huge change and your life really won’t be the same again will it? I’ve been very conscious not to come into work and just complain about being tired or not having time to do anything, both very true but it’s very easy to get obsessed with the negatives of being a new parent and forget how great it is also. I want him to see that his paternity leave is going to be awesome and possibly both the hardest and best time off work he’ll ever have.

We’ve had a tough last week with Rupert who has inevitable caught not 1 but 2 colds from his ever affectionate siblings; Matilda and Henry were both spring babies so we never experienced them getting colds at such a young age. It’s really not fun seeing him so little and struggling to breathe properly and then coughing when clearly his throat is sore. It’s meant that we’ve spent probably 75% of the past week with one of us carrying him around as he wouldn’t settle to sleep lying down (who can blame him) which is quite honestly knackering. We’ve made good use of our Babasling but it’s still tiring standing up for most of that time and rocking back and forth, I did so much of it on Saturday I felt like I’d been on a boat.

But yesterday we enjoyed one of my favourite ‘firsts’ as a parent – the first bath. An amazing 20 minutes as a family that wiped the tiredness from the past few days clean away. Amazing how those parenting moments can do that isn’t it? Rupert’s first bath was a little bit more chaotic than Matilda’s with 2 siblings desperate to be part of the event and I may have had to roll out the parenting discipline big guns (you’ll go to bed with no story AND no milk) to stop them drowning him as they fought to get the closest, but it was still awesome.

Rupert's first bath

The bathroom has always been a place where he’s chilled out for some reason, most nights I lie him on the bath mat while Matilda and Henry are in the shower and he seems to enjoy just taking in the noises around him. It turns out that he’s just as chilled in the bath itself, we laid him down on the bath and he happily splashed away while Matilda and Henry ‘helped’. It was one of those moments as a family that you dream of, where everyone is happy and playing together in one place. I think Matilda and Henry are enjoying him slowly becoming more interactive and accessible which is lovely to watch. With Rupert looking like he’s going to be another water baby I think we may be heading swimming quite soon!

P.S. I also had a little look back to see what Matilda’s first bath was like, turns out it was a bit less glamorous (it was in the sink) but she enjoyed it just as much.

Me and Mine October

This is it, the me and mine post that we’ve been building to for almost the whole year, the one where we become a party of five! It’s also the reason why I’m sat here at 10pm the day before the post goes live trying to write it after finally sorting out the chaos in the house. Rupert is now 9 days old and so far is a perfect little baby, sure he doesn’t sleep all night but no one would ever expect a little baby to do that, but he doesn’t cry much, he feeds well and he is generally a chilled out little boy.

Rupert just born

The first 9 days together has been exciting, manic, chaotic, tiring, beautiful, exasperating and testing but most of all awesome. But after a number of days at home trying to rest and adjust the lady of the manor and I were starting to get fidgety and cabin fever was definitely setting in. So yesterday we headed out for our first proper trip as a family for a walk around a lake at the Cotswold water park that conveniently ends at a great cafe that serves an amazing cooked breakfast. The first challenge was getting in the car though, you see we’re waiting for our new car to be delivered in a week or 2 (the dreaded people mover) and our current car while large doesn’t fit 3 car sits across it. Which means one child has to sit on the pop up seats in the boot, a situation I assumed Henry or Matilda would love but alas no. Instead we had lengthy negotiations before persuading Matilda that it was indeed the only place she could sit, the key issue it turned out is that she wanted to be able to see Rupert *pulls remaining hair out*. We did manage to take a good photo though even if we did look a bit crazy setting up a tripod next to the lake.

Cotswold water park sculpture

This month I’ve been mainly running a marathon and jumping every time my phone rang in case it was ‘the call’. The marathon was in York and just a few days before due date so I half expected my phone to ring at mile 16 to tell me that the lady of the manor had gone into labour. At which point of course the quickest way back would be to finish the race; that would at least give me a good excuse for being tired in the delivery suite right? I have a full race report up on my running blog if you happen to be interested, the short summary is that it was a beautiful race and a PB for me.

The lady of the manor has of course spent most of the month wishing that her baby boy would arrive, she was of course magnificent during labour and now that he’s here such a amazing mum. That’s 3 babies delivered now with only gas and air used and a small amount of swearing. She’s also very content having a breastfeeding little boy again and I think enjoying having time with me at home also. This week she demonstrated her prowess in pumpkin carving, putting my funny face to shame with her carefully crafted owl (there was a stencil involved).

Henry spent the first half of the month mainly growing despite the fact that it seems to be mainly bread and pasta that go into his mouth. However the second half since Rupert arrived has been spent being a most affectionate big brother, a little too affectionate at times when Rupert is happily asleep but it’s so lovely to see how much he loves him. The first time he met Rupert was when he got out of bed the next day and he immediately rushed over and gave him a hug and a kiss. We were a little worried he would get jealous of the breastfeeding as he was fed up to 18 months but he hasn’t seemed bothered at all.

Baby wearing toddlers

Matilda has been making friends and has her first birthday party to go in a few weeks for a preschool friend which feels all a bit grown up to me. She’s also started to trust me to do her hair which I take as a great privilege but is definitely testing my dad skills to the max. Without wanting to repeat last months comment on her she appears to have grown up another 2 years this month, part of this I think is learning new things at preschool. My favourite thing she’s learnt is counting using her fingers, she’ll hold up 2 fingers and say ‘we need to read 2 books’. Too cute. Like Henry she also loves her new little brother and is so good sitting on the sofa with him on her lap.

Rupert has mainly been coming out from his cosy home in his mummies tummy. Oh and sleeping. And pooing. And drinking milk.

Me and mine February

Me and mine February


We’ve been doing an awful lot of this recently, the first sign that spring is springing and we’re in the garden with our wellies and waterproofs on. In fact Matilda will often trot up to us and say in her cutest teenager voice “shall we get some fresh air”.  It may not be warm yet but having some daylight in the mornings and evenings again plus those beautiful blue skies gives you a little boost doesn’t it?

Sure that little house is a bit tatty and needs some railings to stop the crazy little things slipping off the edge (gramps will be fixing that very soon) but we love it. So funny watching them go inside and pretend they live there and then say boo at the window. Love that the previous owners left this behind and I think it will be much used over this summer!

This month I’ve been mainly marathon training (of course) which while fun has been a lot of hard work in this ridiculously windy weather. But I’m loving the challenge and loving the feeling of getting fit and strong (if you want to read more about running you can check out my running blog). I’ve also been transitioning; to a new job and a new desk. Same company different view and a big challenge ahead.

The lady of the manor has spent most of February trying to get 2 toddlers to eat properly and more than just bread, butter and cheese. She’s also been looking at schools (scary grown up stuff) while I’m really not quite ready to accept that Matilda will be going to school next year!

Henry has been teething for what feels like the whole month. Which has changed him from the cheeky, smily laid back boy into one grumpy little ball of painful gums. He’s also learning to talk an awful lot more and in particular to say “I’ll be back in a minute”.

Matilda appears to have finally figured out that she does still need a nap and that lying down on the sofa for an hours sleep is just as good as going to bed. Although not sure if a grumpy just woken up Matilda is better or worse than a grumpy hasn’t had any sleep one.

dear beautiful


The Gallery – rewind

There was a time that seems a lifetime ago now where there were no children or mortgage. Where we lived in a flat in Bristol and enjoyed the lifestyle of a newly married couple in their twenties. Where we went on weekend breaks to Devon and stayed up to the early hours drinking on the beach.

This photo was taken in 2006 when we had just begun our married life and while we knew we wanted children had no clue about the adventures that lay ahead of us. We were happy and excited, enjoying the next stage in our life together. We’re not more or less happy now but it’s a different kind of happy. It somehow feels more complete and more contented. More us.

I’m linking up to the Gallery this week for the first time in a long time. All the other entries can be found here.

Alex and Ben Croyde 2006

Stirring away the gloom

The past week in our house has been a bleak, one of those weeks where illness descends on the house and as a parent all you can do is try to survive. Patience has been tested as has the washing machine and the ability to do the daily chores while being stuck under a child that will only settle on you.

But slowly this weekend we have emerged from this fog, the children have whined a little less and amazingly actually managed to eat something AND not be sick. To celebrate we have embarked on a little festive baking spree, inspired of course by Sunday being stir up Sunday.

I have fond memories of standing on a chair as a child holding a wooden spoon and looking down into one of my mums big blue china mixing bowls full of dried fruit. It’s one of those great traditions where everyone can get involved and you can start showing your children how magical this time of year can be.

We also made the first batch of mince pies, I know it’s not even December yet, but I do love a mince pie and as the first batch are inevitably the worst as you’re out of practice it makes perfect sense to get them out of the way early don’t you think? Plus it turns out that a mince pie is the perfect accompaniment to a single malt, I can see myself partaking in that combo more than once in the coming weeks.

The pastry was a bit thick if I’m honest but it still tasted good and I quite liked my experiment with the mini muffin tin and star shaped lids. Matilda and Henry are becoming little pro’s at using the cutters now and as long as you get to the pastry before they can shove the freshly cut piece into their mouths they’re very helpful.

Incidentally Matilda is VERY excited about Christmas, she asked me at least 5 times on Sunday if we could go and buy a Christmas tree. Not entirely sure how she has become so interested in Christmas because we haven’t mentioned it at all but it’s going to make for a lovely experience this year. Particularly as she’s excited about the tree (which is having chocolate on apparently, again never done that or mentioned it so no idea where it comes from) and baking things but no mention or awareness at all about presents.

The one where I consider the meaning of life

I’ve been feeling quite emotional recently, not entirely sure why, money worries don’t help but there has been more than one occasion when I’ve suddenly got a speck of dirt in my eye. Maybe it’s the seemingly never ending news stories of abuse, murder or some other atrocity? Or watching an episode or DIY SOS and realising that for many people out there life really does suck. People who are just about surviving until that amazing program comes along and literally changes their lives.

Then there is the parent blogging community where there have been a number of heartbreaking stories this year, stories that make you go home and hug your family close never wanting to let them out of you sight so they can’t come to harm. It may be selfish but on more than one occasion I’ve had to stop reading a blog completely just for my own preservation. Sometimes those stories are just too raw or close to home and it’s hard to read those things regularly (Anecdotes of a manic mum in particular breaks my heart every time)

There are of course some personal reasons too for feeling this way, things that make life not so nice, but those aren’t my stories to tell.

So what’s the point in this? Beyond the therapeutic benefits of writing it’s also got me thinking. Like anyone not everything is rosy in my life, we may have to use a credit card to buy food occasionally but we have a nice house, happy children and generally enjoy our life. But our issues are small compared to some people, something you have remind yourself of sometimes. However do I really do anything to truly help others? I give money to a few charities every so often and have done some volunteering with work renovating a local preschool. Small things but not really impactful.

Like many I’ve had a few approaches through this blog to get involved with a charity. But so far I’ve done very little, the charities are generally the bigger ones and relate to problems in the third world. Really important issues but something I find hard to connect with so many thousands of miles away.

If I’m going to do something that has a bigger impact it has to be a cause I’m passionate about. Something where I can feel like I’m making a difference and maybe even see that difference happening? I think I need to spend some time choosing a cause to support and then stick with it for the long term. Maybe something connected to babies like Tommy’s? Or that helps children get active and in the outdoors?

Once chosen I can then figure out how I can help; I love running and taking on challenges so maybe some classic fundraising and a big challenge for 2014? There is of course the blogging and social media skills I now have that could be of use to a smaller charity in particular. Or simply finding somewhere to volunteer my time.

I know many of you are involved with charities so would love to know why you have chosen to support a particular cause and also how you help them.

Thanks for reading.



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