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 you need that cup of tea.


If you follow me on Twitter you are probably aware that I’m not a morning person.

I used to be. I’d happily wake up, and whilst Matt was still asleep skip downstairs make a cup of tea, heading to the study to do some work. This was probably at my peak of enjoying my marketing career, the retail peaks were exhilarating and created a natural buzz I used to love logging on and seeing what was happening.

Then I had the boys.

Suddenly my early mornings aren’t a choice any more. I no longer lie in bed for a few moments taking in the silence, before springing out happily preparing for my day. No. Not any more. I can’t say I don’t have a variety of wake up calls, because I do.  Its not just the boring alarm turning on Radio 1 (ok 2) and iphone ring tone for me any more. No. It can be any one (or more) of the following:

  • sob>scuffle>thud>*sobs proceed*
  • “Hellooo puppy calling do you want to play with me, let’s have fun together while you learn your A B C”
  • “I NEED RECTUS NOW MUMMAY” (rectus = breakfast)
  • noise of a door opening > thump of giant fat baby footsteps > dribble in eye as mouth closes over my nose

The list is endless, but whoever said variety is the spice of life is lying.  It’s not.  I liked waking up quietly, calmly, traditionally.  In a routine if you please.

Now my morning brew is required more urgently.   That sweet taste of tea and kick of caffeine is a must of a morning.  I often lie there next to Matthew and whine grunt “TEA”.  He used to be rubbish, never used to do anything, just headed straight for the shower leaving me with nappies, pooh, dribble, snot and general noise without having anything other then left over water to sip on and wake my brain up.

So one morning, after a particularly rough night where he was foolish enough to claim he was “exhausted” after I’d been up five MILLION times whilst he was snoring away, I formulated a plan.

When I say the words “plan” it may sound conniving. Perhaps makes me sound a tad manipulative. NO.  It’s a survival mechanism.  If I am going to make it through the day, even through the next few hours, I NEED a brew.  With two sugars. NO DARLING I DON’T CARE IF IT’S BAD FOR ME – STOP PUTTING ONE SUGAR IN, I NEED TWO!

Anyway, it’s not that bad.  I’ve just recently not found the time (I’m very busy at the moment *cough*) to iron him any shirts for the week.  Therefore, I crawl out of bed and throw myself into the shower, and leave him to nip downstairs, iron a shirt and while he’s there he might as well make me a cup of tea.  Is there anything wrong with that?

No. I didn’t think so.

I even let him take a sip of it.  If by “let” you mean “have no choice”.  By the time I’ve witnessed it from across the room and leapt across the bed dropping my hair dryer on the way, I can’t stop him, I can’t catch him, my “noooo” comes out in slow motion.  The first sip of a Mum’s cup of tea is sacred.  EVERYBODY know this!

No, I’m not being dramatic, it’s just that it’s probably the only warm taste of tea we’ll get in twenty-four bloody hours and we want to bloody enjoy it.


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.