So my little toddler came and helped me teach my Yogabellies Mum & Baby class the other day. Being an experienced yogi (practising since he was 6 weeks old) he thought he would come and teach the babies a few moves. He did well and even worked his way in and out of downward facing dog impressing everyone. Well the mums really as the babies were busy rolling around looking cute. And this is when I realised my little one is no longer a baby and is now a full on little boy.
I looked around at the babies laying on the pillows waiting for their little legs and arms to be eased into different yoga poses (preparing them for crawling, standing and walking) and then looked at my little man jumping up and down, running around and flinging himself into his own poses. Not to mention flinging himself on top of the babies, my yoga doll, spare mats in the corner and basically anything he could find to fling himself onto. But what a sense of achievement came over me realising I was responsible for helping advance my little one and help shape him into this little boy, this crazy little boy full of fun and energy.
Now I’m not going to lie it did come to about half way through the class and I was sweating from running around the room trying to rein him back in. But who wants a sensible quiet child with no personality (I say this to try and reason with myself every day). It was the point where we were on the second round of sun salutations (one more to go) and I looked over to the corner of the room as it was suspiciously quiet and he had my aromatherapy diffuser in his hands. You know one of those things full of water and attached to an electric plug. Ok that’s cool just one yoga ninja jump over to grab it out of his little hands and hope the babies cry over his screams of a lost new toy.
So mum & baby yoga is a lovely way to provide gentle exercise and create a beautiful bond and create a happy free spirited little yogi. But I remembered why Flynn and I stopped going to our own mum & baby classes (not until he was an active 10 month old I might add) and practised at home. Saying that from our practise he can now do a mean downward dog, tree pose, standing forward bend and pigeon pose (even if I say so pretty impressive for a 15 month old) so we need to help all the other toddlers out there do this. So mum & toddler yoga classes are on their way to Glasgow Southside just in talks with venues and doing the class plans! Anyone interested in mum & baby and mum & toddler yoga drop me a line!
So something feels weird. I’ve just left the house with a small bag which I’m sure is even smaller than my baby changing bag. I’ve then got in a taxi, read and even replied to some emails. Then checked into a flight with minimal hassle and gone to the bar and had a glass (bottle) of processo. All in peace. I’ve boarded a flight sat down, had a glass of champagne and taken off. I realise what utter peace and serenity I’m in as I browse through the extensive movie list and pick one which I’ve tried to watch twice before and needless to say fallen asleep to both times within the first 10 seconds. Normally a trip away consists of days of endless list making and packing right down to the very last second before I leave the front door. This time I even taught a Yogabellies mum & baby yoga class in the morning giving the mums an extra work out of a round of sun salutations to energise the body on our extra early start. Extra early start to the day as today is the day I’m flying off to Dubai. Alone. Well when I say alone I mean with my husband and friends but I mean alone as in baby free and I’m not sure how I feel about this. I would like to say sad and teary and I miss him so much even on the plane. I wish but no. I noticed as we took off I just sat just reading a magazine. Yes a magazine! I hear all mums cry “what’s that??” Unless it’s mothers weekly we’ve all lost touch with reality, and when I say reality I mean what the celebs are up to these days. But I’ve had a weird feeling since I’ve left the house, a feeling that I’m missing something. You know that horrible feeling that you’ve left something important behind but you really don’t know what. And now as I take off I realise I’m missing bouncing a little boy up and down, up and down, on my knees whilst making him look out of the window to find something, anything to interest him to keep him occupied through take off. And that’s when it really hit me that this is the first and possibly the first (well I’ll see how this weekend goes) time of many of travelling alone. Again not alone I’m with my husband and friends but anything is alone to me now without my little mini me, full time companion attached to my hip, waist, neck or any where he can grab ahold of as he just loves a little cuddle… Uh oh ok I’m starting to miss him now.. So what to do but snuggle down watch a movie and enjoy some wine as how often do I get to do that these days. And then as the films coming to an end I just realise that I’ve been watching the hunger games mocking bird part 2 and I haven’t even seen part one yet…
If there’s one thing I wasn’t prepared for in Motherhood (just one thing I hear you laugh out loud) it was the noise. Now I was aware of the cry of a new born, the ear shattering pierce of a cry they make. My worst experience of this was in IKEA when Flynn was just a few days old. Yes I was dragged around IKEA from as little as two days post partum. Walking around like, well like I had just had a baby. Why on earth I hear you ask, I mean most people don’t want to go to IKEA at the best of times let alone barely hours after you’ve been discharged from a hospital after pushing a baby out of you. But we had just moved into our new house four days prior to that and I had started my nesting period (this is a pre labour ritual that helps you prepare your home ready for baby) when we moved in so I was on catch up. So If there’s ever any advice I can give to mums… Don’t do that. Move house two days before your due date that is (and don’t go to IKEA two days after giving birth but that’s probably obvious to most non nesting, sane people). So I was walking or should I say hobbling through the lighting section and Flynn kicked off. And I mean kicked off. He really couldn’t have done it in a less lit more secluded area. All mums (and probably non mums and even half the dads) in IKEA would have been lactating to the sounds of this cry as this cry was one of hunger. But I was breastfeeding and after living in the Middle East for 12 years I was a little bit of a prude. I mean I couldn’t get my boobs out in the middle of IKEA could I?? Well trust me that’s all changed now my prudishness dropped about a week after having Flynn and I was breast feeding anywhere and everywhere (including the Middle East) as I soon learnt that when this boy was hungry he was hungry, and if a little bit of boob exposure in public helped then I was happy to expose.
But as babies grow older that cry goes away. It doesn’t disappear for good, oh no, but you start to learn what each cry means. There’s a ‘mum I really need a nap’ cry. Normally just as you’re about to take them swimming or to a sensory class. There’s a ‘mum where’s my lunch it’s five minutes late’ cry. This one’s normally just as your up to your eyes in milk and flour as you are trying to make cauliflower cheese and your cheese sauce has glued itself to the bottom of the saucepan and is even inedible to the dog. There’s even the ‘mum I’m at it’ cry when, well they are just at it.
But this isn’t even what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the general NOISE. It’s so loud I don’t even know what it is half the time. But there’s a constant ‘shapes are in my cookie jar, triangle, heart and star’. You will know that one of your the proud owner of the Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Cookie Surprise. Half the noise is coming from me as I too sing this all day as it’s unfortunately been engrained into my long term memory. The majority of the noise though is definitely from Flynn. Now he’s got one set of lungs on him and this boy is dying to talk, or scream in a high pitched voice. I haven’t decided which yet. Or maybe I’m trying to hide the fact its actually the latter from myself for the time being. When Flynn was born and I used to meet up with all the antenatal girls and their new babies Flynn was the oldest so it was no surprise that he was first to make a noise what seemed different to a new born cry. It was such a loud noise that came from his mouth though that everyone laughed (because it wasn’t their baby). Then when it came to their babies turn to start making these noises they all called it ‘doing a Flynn’. Geez he already had a reputation for being so loud so young. I do have to say though when your little one starts to say the word muma it is something other than amazing and your heart just melts. Whatever tone it’s said or shouted in. Even when it’s muma, muma, muma as they stare at the monitor in the early hours of the morning. Even when it’s muma when there’s a definite smell of a dirty nappy. Oh no thats when we like to hear dada. But there does get to a point for me and it’s that daytime witching hour between about 4-5pm. You know the one where they seem to want everything but nothing really makes them happy and you stand by the front door willing your husband to come home early from work with baby in your arms ready to thrust at him as he steps over the front door mat. But why on earth would he I’m sure he would just turn the car around when all he heard was mum, mum, mumm, mumm, MUMMMMMMM as he drove down the road. Er that’s not me I’m off.
So whilst the shapes are in (or rather out and all over the the floor, under the sofa and in the ball pit) the cookie jar, the jumperoo is bouncing so much it sounds like someone’s actually doing a bungee jump into an icy cold lake, the dog now is also ‘doing a Flynn’ and Flynn well is just doing a Flynn, I feel like my head is about to explode and we haven’t even got to the 5pm dinner madness yet.
5pm is definitely the worst time of my day. Everyday. Now I should learn from my mistakes but I never do and everyday at 5pm I’m like arghhhhhhhhhh… So basically this is Flynns dinner time and whether it’s ready or not he is hungry on the dot. Sometimes a distraction of an Ella’s melty puff (those not in the baby crisp know this is an organic tasteless wotsit crisp look alike) for which he normally goes wild for, but not if he wants his dinner. Until he gets it that is, and he wants the crisps again. Obvs.
Whatever plans you have for the day for you and your little one like a nice stroll around the mall checking out the clothes in Zara (oh no that’s a nice day for you and pure hell for your baby). Which I quickly must add I just don’t get. I personally would love being snuggled up under a fleecy blanket in a comfy seat with a bottle of my favourite beverage whilst having wotsits shovelled in my mouth to keep me quiet. Not to mention whilst being pushed past rows and rows of pretty dresses. But sadly my son disagrees with me.
By the way I would just like to add we aren’t at the mall every day. I wish we were but one Flynn wouldn’t allow it, and two nor would my husband’s credit card. Other days it’s a Gymboree class, a variety of different book bugs, a baby play date, the list is endless and I’m exhausted just thinking about it. So whatever plans we have for the day, and even if we meticulously plan our afternoon and our journey home in time to heat up his dinner (or if we’re really disorganised actually have to make his dinner) for some reason it’s just never ready by 5, and I’m rushing around the kitchen like I’m on Ready Steady Cook. But the episode with a screaming baby in the background. Not a super hot Ainsley Harriot (sorry I do have a a small crush on him and it’s ok husband knows).
So Flynn is in his highchair, there are Ella’s melty puffs flying around the kitchen, and a dog acting like he’s at Crufts doing somersaults through the air to catch them.
Dinner is finally ready and by the way thanks to the Bebea Babycook machine. Now this item describes itself as a luxury not an essential on the website. Well I’m every marketing persons dream so it got me in seconds, did someone say luxury?? But trust me it’s an essential. It cooks, steams, defrosts and purées all in one machine making life a lot easier for a mum on the go. And life with a baby is about making things easy. In this case money can buy you ease and your sanity. So anyway finally Flynn is being fed and in between the spoonfuls of boiling hot mashed potato and puréed veg and chicken he is screaming mum, mum, mum, mummmmmmm as I’m blowing on the food trying to cool it down and get it in fast enough. His screams are getting louder and my head is about to burst. The dog is now trying to climb up me as it appears he too wants very hot mashed potato, puréed veg and chicken. I look around the kitchen and it looks like it has exploded. I have no idea where all these dishes have come from not to mention the amount of melty puffs on the floor.
It certainly is a dining experience and not one I’m used to. And I wonder why we never go out for dinner these days. So dinner is finished and if I wasn’t exhausted before I certainly am now. But now is bottle time. We like bottle time (this is just to add Flynns milk bottle. Trust me I would love a bottle of something else right now but it’s not the time nor the place). So Flynn and I snuggle up on the sofa and put In The Night Garden on. Ahhhhh peace at last. I’m not going to lie I used to hate children’s TV programmes. Now I love them and see them as something that brings a few minutes of peace and quiet (I have finely tuned my ears to drown out the high pitched ‘iggle piggle, iggle onk, we’re going to catch the ninky nonk’). Flynns quietened down, and even the dog is sleeping in his dog bed (probably in a melty puff coma) ahhh peace. Then the front door goes and in comes husband. He’s home to rescue me from all the madness. Don’t worry darling he says I’ll take over as he takes my place on the sofa next to a quiet, snuggly Flynn. Oh ok I’ll just go clean up the kitchen and make dinner then….
Well mine and Flynns yoga classes every Wednesday are coming to an end. A very abrupt end. I used to love the days when I would take along a half sleeping baby to a class pop him down on the floor do a few yoga poses above him and every now and again look down check he’s still sleeping/ laying there/ smiling etc etc but now it’s all changed. Now he’s crawling (erm not to mention standing and thinking he can walk) it’s a totally new ball game. I sit there and engage in a bit of pre yoga breathing. Close eyes, breath in breath out, breath in breath out. Quick hold on, open my eyes where’s my son??? Arghhhh where is my son?? Ok found him, he’s on the other side of the room licking a radiator, ok fab he’s still in the room. As much as I love a bit of mother son time especially doing something we both love it’s not so relaxing anymore.
Baby yoga is an amazing thing in so many ways. For mum it gets you involved in some light exercise. New mums always want to shed a little post baby weight although never have the energy to do anything too hectic. Trust me I tried it all including both buggy pump and buggy fit. Yes two different outdoor park activities in the hope that one would be easier and make me look like a super model. But sigh no, they both left me wanting to curl up in a bush afterwards wishing my son’s blanket was a little bigger to wrap around me (maybe it would be after losing a little more post baby weight??) and his bottle was filled with nice warming tea (did I say tea I meant a nice warming Merlot) rather than quite possibly curdling formula. Also not to mention it’s a great way to meet other new mums and babies. So baby yoga a definite ‘must do’ not just for babies but for mums too.
But the benefits for baby are outstanding. Just the other day our son was dancing around his playroom (ok he was furniture walking past the TV) and I noticed just how co ordinated he was for so young. I know every parent thinks they have a child genius when they do something new (something a little like this “Omg he’s talking he just said mum, really he just said it mummmmmmm omg he’s actually talking!”). But no really the strength he has is pretty much that of Muhammad Ali (I know that after receiving a left hook to my eye this morning) and this strength surpasses both his dad and me so he must have got it from somewhere and he’s not been going to boxing classes.
So YogaBellies Mum & Baby classes opening soon in Glasgow Southside for all mums and babies from 12 weeks until mobile and by then I will aim to get toddler yoga up and running so there’s no abrupt end to their yoga class days!
When you have flown for as many years as I did it’s no surprise that when you have a baby you have no qualms (or maybe some just not as many as others) about taking your baby on a plane. I mean it’s easy right? Thousands, millions and billions of other mothers have done it before and they all got off the flight ok right? Well what I probably didn’t notice was just how harassed they were getting off that flight. Now I know that harassed feeling as Flynn has been lucky enough to have a few flights already. I jump at any chance to go away, its in my blood. Although my blood is now thinning as it’s getting more and more difficult. Fancy a camping trip round Scotland anyone? Er actually no I’m fine I’ll succumb to the flight.
So flying with a baby has its pros and cons. Pros an exotic holiday destination (hopefully) at the end of it and cons well everything else.
So here are a few tips I’ve discovered over the years as a flight attendant and more importantly over the last 9 months first hand as a travelling mum.
Always get to the airport early. Being a flight attendant I always arrived one hour prior to the scheduled departure time. You may ask why so late? Because that is when check in closes and they know if there is space left for any standby passengers. So why would I not arrive so late these days? Because no doubt baby will need feeding of some sort, may have a nappy explosion and just generally you have so much stuff to check in, re arrange and trundle through the airport with that one hour is about three hours too little.
Make sure to take enough stuff onboard but saying that not too much stuff. Take enough food or milk for the flight and a bit of a delay (and don’t forget the journey after when you land) but don’t take enough for days on end as seriously you won’t use it and you will just end up carrying a heavier bag. And guaranteed you will be carrying baby and that heavy bag at the other end when your pram or stroller goes awol. Oh and also very important take a change of clothes well several for baby as who knows what will happen and at least one for you (it’s not a good look being covered in puréed carrot walking though an airport).
For older babies take toys. I cannot stress this enough as this will be the only day they refuse to play with a plastic spoon or the in flight magazine.
Pick a flight with good timings. For baby not for you. To be fair we all want to land in the exotic destination looking like we’ve just stepped off of the cover of Vogue but in reality that’s never going to happen when travelling with a baby. Also don’t forget most airlines put lights on for services and if your baby is anything like mine he will want to be part of the breakfast service not dozing his way through it like a first class passenger.
I had always been given this advice and passed it onto my passengers (although I actually had no clue myself since never having breastfed a baby before Flynn, funny that) to breastfeed them on take off and landing. Yes the sucking motion does help their little ears, saying that have you ever tried to get a baby into position over you and your nipple whilst not showing it (your nipple) off to all the other passengers around you as the plane is hurtling down the runway or worse still as it lands with a big bump (ouch). So this piece of advice is for people in enclosed first class suites or even better still in private jets. So if anything give them a bottle. Milk, wine, vodka.. I’M JOKING the wine and vodka is for you once the flight takes off.
So after all this and not to mention several hours of thinking when is this going to be over you land into your exotic destination and all is forgiven. You now just spend the next week mentally packing, planning and panicking for the return journey.
Now I should be a pro at this. Working as a flight attendant for 12 years defiantly taught me one thing.. How to pack a suitcase. Now I’m not going to lie sometimes you have a packing faux pas for example the time I packed for a 3 day layover in Hong Kong under the belief all Asian countries were hot all year round. How was I to know it got very cold in winter. Well at least I amused some of the locals. One old man in particular when he came up to me pointed and said “you summer me winter”. “Yeah yeah whatever” I said through chattering teeth.
So anyways a few faux pas aside I’m generally quite good at packing well that is until I started packing for two. (And not my husband I hasten to add although I might have to start packing for three as last time he thought it was a good idea to go to Mexico for a weeks beach holiday with one pair of swimming trunks… I know right not just the shock horror of having the same outfit on in every holiday photo but those shorts were pretty much walking back from Mexico on their own).
So the second person is Flynn and although you would think babies don’t really need much (I mean they are tiny right and all their tiny clothes are tiny right) this couldn’t be further from the truth. You basically need to take everything just in case it’s needed (yes I know you can buy most stuff in most countries but to be fair who wants to be searching for the equivalent of Boots when you could be chasing after your small child around the poolside making sure he doesn’t fall in, constantly lathering him in factor 50 so you don’t get a sunburnt baby and finding things to amuse them out of thin air as you haven’t packed enough toys and have already been swimming 5 times today. Sorry where was that Boots again? Is it in a mall somewhere? Maybe I’ll just pop off there for a couple of hours on my own…
So just in case of any eventuality you pack everything for them which results in not a lot for you unless you want to pay ridiculous amounts for excess luggage. This ranges from baby nail clippers in case of a jagged nail emergency (anyone who has a baby with a pincer grip like Flynn’s will totally understand my nail emergency) through to larger items like something for them to sleep in (yes that sleepyhead grand is coming too. Somehow).
So needless to say packing starts at least two weeks in advance and that’s after two weeks of extensive list writing. And that’s just the stuff for the suitcase what about the hand luggage? Now there’s two types of mums travelling. One who comes onboard overloaded with everything and prepared for any situation including a delay of 18 hours and a diversion to the other side of the world. I used to look at these mums and think why not just travel lighter and make your life easier?? Well I am now one of these mums as the other type of mum packs nothing and annoys the cabin crew all flight by ringing the call bell every two minutes asking for the items they didn’t bring resulting in praying their baby doesn’t actually need anything (yeah right) as they have already annoyed the crew on the first 15 times of pressing that bell and then they too scared to do it again (and baby actually really does need something). Only problem with mum number one is when the plane actually lands it takes forever to pack up all said stuff plus hold onto a sleeping baby (who by the way was awake all flight) with the cabin crew now glaring at you as they are dying to get off and go to the hotel to sleep (I lie the cabin crew are glaring as they are dying to get off go to the hotel and drink. Remember cabin crew are normally young and single and don’t care if baby has his pacifier but do care is the bar still open by the time they reach the hotel).
Anyways back to list writing and packing we are on a countdown…
So after 8 months of ‘maternity leave’ filled with play dates, mummy and me yoga, baby sensory classes, swimming classes, book bugs, bounce and rhymes, coffee shops with the mums n bubs (with enough coffee and cake to keep me looking pregnant), spin classes, buggy fit and buggy pump in the park (to regain my post pregnancy bod or preferably a better one) it’s definitely time to do something else. Most mums panic (or some rejoice) about returning to work. I had to hand my notice in several months ago as they wanted me back flying when Flynn was just 5 months old which I had mixed emotions about. On one hand leaving baby and husband to cope for several days in a row terrified me but on the other hand especially in moments of complete exhaustion (you know those ones at 3am when baby just won’t go back to sleep) the thought of two days in Bangkok getting massages and eating exotic Thai food, or even just a night in the Manchester crew hotel eating cold room service excited me. But in reality I couldn’t do it so I quit my job. But you can’t do nothing forever not that looking after your baby is nothing oh no it is in fact way more than that. Motherhood is a full time job (forever) and there are many opposing opinions on working mums versus stay at home mums. Well I wanted the best of both worlds who doesn’t. So how to get the best of both worlds? Work from home and own your own business (aka work in your pjs and bring baby to work?) I saw an advert on Facebook one day for YogaBellies which was a pregnancy yoga class I had been to myself when pregnant and had absolutely loved and this ad said run your own successful yet ethnical business. Sold. After seconds of reading the advert I was hooked. Do you love all things birth and baby? Well yes since having Flynn not only is this my life now but also my passion (not to mention a small addiction to watching children’s TV shows) It said are you sociable, committed, passionate willing to learn and supportive? Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes!
I watched them on dragons den and just thought wow. Everything just screamed ‘me’ so I ordered a prospectus, spoke with Cheryl the founder of this amazing company and next thing I was buying into the franchise. So now I am setting up my own Yogabellies business covering the Southside of Glasgow and am currently training to teach classes in YogaBelles yoga for women, YogaBellies for pregnancy and birth and YogaBellies for mother and baby yoga for post natal mums and baby and loving touch baby massage. Check out these amazing classes below.
http://www.yogabellies.co.uk/classes/ So it’s all go from here with lots of training and study to be done in between full days with a fun loving, very energetic and playful, not a big fan of napping little boy. Lucky I have stamina and not to mention a love of coffee. Planning to have the business up and running by early 2016 so watch this space…
Snotty noses. Never something I had overly thought about until I had Flynn. So more amusing is what apparatus you need to deal with them. When doing ‘that shop’ before the baby is born you know the one where you buy absolutely everything you think you will ever need for your babies first year (even though Tesco’s is open 24 hours and your husband can realistically go buy things once baby is actually born if you need it but hey let’s buy the whole of Boots first just in case). So I bought a nasal aspirator (some websites I’ve seen them advertised as snot suckers but I like to refer to them as boogie catchers) after being advised to buy one by my friend who already as a mother was my go to person on everything baby related. But somehow i ended up with two nasal aspirators yes not one but two. Husband also bought one in what I can only describe as a beauty pouch for babies it has a hair brush and comb etc you know the essentials for the first few days ( I honestly think he panic bought it in Tesco one day after my big shop). I used to pride myself on being able to say I was the proud owner of two Louis Vuitton handbags or two pairs of Chanel sunglasses but now I get to pride myself on being the proud owner of two boogie catchers.
Have you ever seen someone walking through the park pushing a pram and painting their nails (fingers not toes now that would be impressive) well that was me today. Quite a good way to manage your time effectively although not my first choice as one it is actually not as easy as it sounds and two you don’t half get some funny looks from other fellow park goers. I tried to paint my nails this morning but of course as soon as the polish was on Flynn decided to wake up early hence no drying time what so ever resulting in smudged nails. Then he decided he didn’t want to nap in the afternoon so to the park it was (mummy tip: a walk around the park equals guaranteed sleep for a baby) Now walking around the park on a brisk sunny day with a sleeping baby is very enjoyable and relaxing unfortunately when you have a million and one things to do it suddenly becomes the opposite as you can’t get any of them done. So this is how I ended up painting my nails whilst pushing the pram around the park. Multi tasking at its best.
Just to say I have a Birthday party to go to tonight so it’s not that I just fancied pretty coloured nails it’s more of a needs must situation.