Aimee Horton

When you pretend you can’t smell anything.


One thing they never tell you when you are pregnant, one thing that is witheld (whilst animated in depth tales of piles, late nights, stretch marks are forced upon you), is the part where you play the avoidance game with your partner.

You probably all know what I’m talking about, but don’t want to comment yet, in case you have the wrong end of the stick.  I’ll go into more detail, white lies, usually focused around pooh or sleep.  You’re all with me now aren’t you?  Please tell me it’s not just me.

You become aware of the lies quite soon into the new born stage.  I would say it happened about day five of The Beast’s life.  I’d spent a hard night jiggling, feeding, bouncing, rocking, cleaning sick out of bra, changing nappies, changing vests, changing sleepsuits, bouncing and feeding.  I’d had very little sleep.  At times, when it got to sticky to be just tipping the sick from my bra into the sink, I had been known to lie a screaming baby right next to Matthew whilst I changed. I may have  laid it right next to his face, and when he didn’t even appear to stir, I have climbed into bed accidentally kicking him.  Still he doesn’t APPEAR to wake up.

In the morning, he would leap out of bed “well, that wasn’t a bad night was it?”.  I think the mood following that was what is known as “stabby”.

We all know men are “supposed” to have this natural ability to sleep through a baby cry, but sometimes I just think they pretend not to hear.  However, they don’t suddenly lose their sense of smell…do they?

Nappies.  Pooh filled nappies.  Not my favourite part of being a parent, especially first thing in the morning.  When Fatty gets into a nappy routine, it’s like that for about a week, and right now his nappies are first thing in the morning, and around bath time.

So, when I stumble into his room at 6.45am to re-insert his dummy (no milk until 7am!), if I get a whiff, I may pretend it’s just stale air.  Why?  Because Matthew’s shift begins at 7am.  So I have sometimes just snuck back into my room and snuggled into bed without acting on my motherly instinct to put that wobbly little bottom in a clean nappy.

When the 7am shift change kicks in, Matthew gets the milk and heads to the nursery.  Now.  Here’s the thing.  Sometimes he will change the nappy, muttering, making “eurgh” noises, but sometimes…just sometimes…he  can come back into our room and disappear off into the shower (WITHOUT MY CUP OF TEA), leaving me with a complaining child and I end up doing the nappy.

Another example, would be perhaps I smell a whiff, just as I’m going to fake a necessary visit to the loo (with a quick game of DrawSomething to boot), but as I turn around, I see Matthew hurrying down the stairs with his arms full of laundry and rushing into the virtually sound proof utility room HE NEVER DOES LAUNDRY!!! Darn it.  I end up changing the nappy.  One of us suddenly has some pressing paper work/tidying/phone calls/nipping to the shop as soon as the sweet scent of dying animals makes it’s way across the room where the fat one is sitting read faced and grunting.

At night, as DH is about to come to bed the baby makes a noise, he’s just about to go to the loo, but I pretend not to have woken up, so he has to deal with him.  As a direct response to this, he feigns not hearing the noises over night, even though we both know he has because at one point he shakes me awake and tells me that the baby is crying.  In the morning I point this out, he denies all knowledge.  I’d believe him if he hadn’t also remembered me calling him a rude name.

Nappies and sleep, it’s become a competitive avoidance game, “it’s your turn”, no “it’s def’ you, I did the pooh 3 days ago” “I DID FIVE YESTERDAY”.  The daily battle is then interrupted by bargaining “if you wipe his bottom I’ll do the nappy”, “I’ve been at work all day!…YES, I know staying at home with the boys is work but…no, you’re right nobody has wiped snot on my shoulder…no, my phone conversation wasn’t interrupted by EXCUSE ME MUMMAY I NEED FIVE MORE CREAM BISCUITS OR I’LL DIE…oh ok” or my personal favourite “I’ll let you pick, you can either tidy the pots up from dinner, or go up to the child shouting on the landing”.

I’m assuming this stops as soon as they can wipe their own bottoms?  Or do I need to reserve a few for when it’s time to bargain out the “sex” talk, as I’m RUBBISH at “Rock, Paper, Scissors”.


When they are so very different.


FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY, at the age of approximately seventeen months Fatso has started walking.

To me this seems horrendously late.  After all, the horrible one was practically there on his first birthday, and went hell for leather straight into running not long after that.  Even then that seemed pretty late to me, but how was I to know?

From the minute I got pregnant I knew my two children would be different.  I mean, we all know “no baby is the same”.  But, well, you kinda think they will be in some ways don’t you?  However, as I’m a little emotional as my baby starts settling in to the next room at nursery, and my eldest baby starts school in September, I’ve begun to reflect on just how different they are.


I’m gutted to say, I didn’t suit pregnancy.  As much as I wanted it, neither of them caused me to glow particularly.  Other than that sweat you get due to constant vomiting and nausea.

With The Beast, I had complications.  Obviously.  Firstly they thought he was eptopic, then I bled, and then he was teenytiny, so I had to go through the whole steroid injections and “HE COULD BE OUT ANY MOMENT PACK YOUR BAGS NOW” malarkey from probably about 27/28 weeks.  Just to add to that, after they signed me off work, he grew, and was breech, but as I had no fluid he was a c-section.  I wasn’t sick particularly.  But always full. If I ate anything it was pineapple, onken lemon moussee, and coco pops, with the odd need for salty fish and chips.  I didn’t throw up once.  Everybody was surprised I was close to my due date. He came delicately and quietly into the world on Thursday 7th August 2008 weighing a perfectly respectable 6lb 7oz.

With Fatso I threw up constantly from day one until approx. 24 weeks. I was hormonal, emotional, and HUGE (nothing to do with adoring skittles and chocolate).  I used to pull my car over on the A1 on my daily drive to Doncaster to vomit on my way to work, and at 7 weeks strangers were coming up to me asking The Beast if he was excited about having a little brother or sister.  Everybody thought I was having twins.  Luckily they confirmed I wasn’t.  I was in constant pain due to internal bruising from the horrible one, and could barely walk.  I was signed off work early, and agreed on another elective due to the fact that he was massive, and I’m 5ft 1 with a teeny tiny pelvis.  I had contractions on and off for weeks prior to due date, and at the tills of Next one day the happy skinny bitch lady said “oooh not long for you now” and when I responded with “about 10 more weeks” she said “NOOOOO YOU’RE WAY TOO HUGE FOR THAT”.  Fatso was finally hauled into the world loudly, gargling on my popped waters on Monday 25th October 2010.  To the crys “WOW HE’S MASSIVE” at again, a perfectly respectable 8lb 4oz.


So there you are.  I have had two babies.  Both boys.  Completely opposite ends of the spectrum.

The Beast, small, delicate, fitting into premmie clothes and nappies, refluxy, full of colic, constantly vomiting and fully wanting to be on the go ALL THE TIME.  He was impatient, fed every hour, refused a dummy, refused a bottle (giving in after a 13 hour hunger strike), and didn’t sleep until he had meat.  I had to rock him to sleep until he was 3 months old.  I used to stand with a constant bounce, even if I wasn’t holding him I’d bounce, it was in my nature.  The child wasn’t content ANYWHERE but on me.  He screamed in his bouncy chair, SCREAMED in the car, SCREAMED if he was lying on his back, and SCREAMED if he was lying on his front.  He hated lying flat in his pram.  My expensive BEAUTIFUL Bugaboo was converted swiftly (against my better judgement) to the pushchair setting.  He was always in a hurry to grow up.  He’s always appeared grown up with a full head of hair, and skinny little boy body and face.

Tiny Baby

FATSO on the other hand, considering he was screaming when he was born (for food) was amazingly content.  Took bottle and breast, and THANK GOD a dummy.  He spent his days happily snuggled into his chair watching his brother, the TV, or just snoozing away.  He slept through from 8 weeks old and was the amazing laid back baby.  He didn’t hit the milestones in quite the same pace, but I was secretly pleased.  After all, I loved that he was calm, didn’t race to grow up, after all, he is my last (sob).

Chunky Monkey

The speed they grew was also amazingly  different.  Whilst The Beast lasted forever in clothes, Fatso grew at an alarming rate, barely fitting in stuff for more then one airing.  He was always one age range ahead of his sizing, whereas The Beast is always one behind.


Now Fatty can toddle. He’s referred to as a “toggler” by us all, mainly by The Beast.  They’ve changed again.

As soon as The Beast could crawl and walk he was very content.  Slept well, ate everything you put in front of him, and whilst he had his tantrums (and boy did he have HORRIFIC tantrums), I was able to sit on him.  He was like a little boy.

The Fat one on the other hand is becoming higher maintenance.  Frustrated that it’s hard to heave his massive head and pudgy thighs everywhere he gets grumpy, head-butts the wall/your legs/the sofa (why do they do this?! Never experienced this before), and hasn’t slept properly for months due to his ridiculous need for his dummy.  He’s is far less independent and clingy.  Whilst The Beast would get his drink off the shelf next to his bed, fatty sits and cries until you get it for him, or if he dares to get it, he stands up and inevitably falls over.  However, the fat one plays SO much better.  He actually sits and explores toys, he LOVEs to play, whereas The Beast never did.  He was too busy causing trouble.

The Fat one is “sensitive” The Beast is “tough”.  The Fat one HATES fruit.  The Beast is happy with it.  The list goes on.

So what’s the point of this post?  As always, not much.  I’m just reminiscing on how my babies have grown up so quickly, but also how different they are.  I listen to their voices, one high pitched and the other deep and husky, I look at how they stand and walk differently, how they socialise, and how they react to others.


I’m still in denial that I’ve created little people, and I’m excited to see them grow up and see what they become.  But I’m also a bit sad.  Darn you pregnant people.  Especially as you’re having girls. *sob*.

When you sleep train the wrong person.


Sleep training.  One of the most emotionally draining suckiest parts of parenthood EVER.  In my opinion anyway.  It compromises of a rush of emotions, frustration (the child), knackerdness (you), and down right bloody mindedness (both of you).

I’ve experienced it on and off for more then three years now.  With The Beast it was slightly easier, firstly I wasn’t quite as exhausted, secondly there was nobody to worry about being woken up (except Matthew but he doesn’t count), and the “5 minute” rule worked with him, he hated it when I went to lie him down, so eventually gave up and went to sleep, by the third night the pain he always got the message and we were back to normal (until the next tooth/spate of illness/nightmare came along and changed the routine).

With Fatty it’s not so easy.  Firstly, given the weight behind him, the full FORCE of his screams are VERY VERY LOUD, and I so don’t want him to wake up The Beast, I really don’t want to deal with two children awake at 3.30am, they’ve had enough sleep to be “lively” but not enough sleep to be reasonable (and I’ve certainly not had enough sleep to be reasonable OR lively).  Secondly, all he usually wants is his dummy, or me to stroke his face, it’s so easy for me to just go in and lie him down and pop his dummy in, he goes back off straight away – for like 30 minutes until he drops his dummy again.  So instead of the 5 minute rule, I have to just leave him to scream it out.

I’m currently exhausted.  I know it’s karma coming to get me, he slept through from 8 weeks old and was always in the same position I’d left him in 12 hours earlier, smiling up at me.  However since we were on holiday in October last year he’s discovered moving and thrashing about which means he inevitably cracks himself against the side of the cot.  Now every night I have to get up to him and I either find him hanging over the bottom of the cot waiting for me “DIDDY!!” bouncing up and down ready for a play or lying in a funny angle with his back of his head against the bars after falling over to take a drink from his flask of water left on the shelf next to him. The drink thing always worked for the Beast, if he woke up thirsty he could have a quick sip then lie down back to sleep.  I often used to get a flutter of pride when he stood up and I heard little slurpy noises before he snuggled back down for a peaceful sleep.  Not fatso.

What’s even worse, is that somewhere along the line, I’ve trained myself NOT to sleep.  Even when the children are asleep.  So used to the routine, I wake between 3-3.30am every morning.  I lie there, and my mind automatically whizzes through everything I’m worrying about, and I wait for the cry.  I hear a small moan, I hear him stand up, I hear the cup fall over and land on the floor, I hear a “CLUNK” then I hear the wail.  I go through, pass him his drink, pass him his dummy, lie him down and by the time I’ve stumbled back to my room, and hit Matthew until he gives me space to get back into bed again, he’s gone back to sleep.

I, on the other hand, lie awake.  This morning it was until 5.30am.  I lay there thinking about this blog, about my book, about my deadlines, about my clients that don’t respond to their emails for 3 weeks then expect me to wave a magic wand.

So here I am.  I have a sleep routine of a 4 month old.  I go to bed at about 9pm, I sleep restlessly until about 3.30am, then I lie awake tossing and turning, fall asleep in time to then be woken by one of my children.  Or more annoyingly Matthew nudges me and tells me the children are awake.  That’s when I feel a tad stabby.

So what do I do?  I have to bite the bullet don’t I?  I have to lie and listen to the scream, and deal with The Beast if he wakes up.  I MUST be brave and suffer about 3 nights of pain so I can have my life back.  Even my trusty lack of sleep survival guide isn’t working.

Plus, I’m fed up of not talking to him any more, he’s quite cute when he talks.