Aimee Horton

When you need to say “thank you”.


In the middle of sleepless nights, when you’re crawling out of bed for the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th time, and your mind is at its most dramatic and over reactive clear thinking, you realise that sometimes you don’t say thank you enough.

For the last four years they’ve always been there, they’ve stuck by you through the sleepless nights, the jabs, the chicken pox, the coughs.  Through the sticky and the messy, they’ve always been there.   Whether you need them or not, you know you can call out in your hour of need and 20 minutes of calm will ensue.

So today I want to dedicate this post as a thank you to a very important part of my life for  helping me keep my children alive.


That’s right, that sticky little bottle which has ruined entire carpets in my house, stuck in my hair, been pushed towards me with such anger by a hot and bothered poorly child that it’s flown through the air landing and then running down my cheek, Calpol has been there for me since the boys had their first jabs.

Calpol (or every now and then out of sheer desperation Sainsbury’s own brand version), is magic.

YES, like I’ve said above, it does cause that sinking feeling when a dribble lands on the carpet, and you know from now on you’re just going to have black little patches no matter how hard you scrub.  YES, I know I curse the pathetic CRAP spoon, which has no lip so when you pour that emergency spoonful in the middle of the night it comes out too fast and dribbles over the sides squelching between your toes.  YES, when it leaks in the vanity case it means everything is ruined – but I don’t care because it blinking well saves my children’s life.

When you’re sleep deprived, and for whatever reason you give your child a splodge of the old pink stuff on a spoon before they go to bed and then they sleep through you want to kiss the bottle, and I can’t deny it, I continued the trend in fear that Calpol was the only factor causing the little monkey to sleep.

When you’re just about to go into a presentation which you have been working night and day towards for three weeks and your phone rings.  Nursery’s number flashes up.  You KNOW that you’re going to be told that your child is “not themselves” and they’ve “got a bit of a temperature” (you may know this because they were the same at 8am however you dosed them up and sent them off with guilty desperation), you answer and beg, plead, sob at nursery to give them a spoonful of the handy sachets you always keep in their bag “if they’re not right in half an hour, call me back”.  You can nine times out of ten rely on pinky to save the day.

When it’s the middle of the night, and the child is out of bed EVERY CHUFFING HOUR, and you can’t work out why the hell this is happening to you before a busy day where you know you’ll have to be up at the crack of dawn.  You’ve checked the nappy – dry and clean.  You’ve checked for teeth – none seem to be coming, child seems to be dribble free.  Room isn’t too hot or too cold, music is at right volume level, PJ’s seem comfy, no sugar before bed, can’t be hungry.  That’s when you bring out the calpol.  Stumbling bleary eyed to a shelf in the room (it doesn’t matter what room you’re in there will always be a bottle and slightly sticky spoon handy), you can grab the pink stuff, and guarantee yourself at least two hours unbroken sleep.  If you’re mind calms down.

If a before school run game of web slinging gets a little out of control, and perhaps in a competitive moment which causes your child stumbles backwards and bang their head against the wall…don’t worry, some raisins and the promise of some “pink meddy” remedies the tears and you don’t need to worry about school being told that “mummy was being too rough again this morning” *dies*.

When their pillow is damp with sweat, their noses are running, their cheeks flushed and they are listless, you know you can bring them back to life with just one spoonful. Although you have to know when to administer though, too soon and you’ve blown your trump card (and perhaps a quiet half hour in front of Monsters Inc. with a cuppa), too late and you’re not sure you can hack the time for it to kick in.

Obviously I don’t abuse the use of Calpol, and only use it in emergencies *cough*.  But it’s nice to know it’s there when you need it.

So Calpol – THANK YOU – from the bottom of my heart.  And from my children.  To me, you are up there with the goodun’s working towards world peace, cures for disease, and those who invented  Bombay Sapphire.  I’m also appreicating your Cal-Cough range…keep up the good work, I can’t wait to see what you do next (please can it be something to stop tantrums).


When you don’t get any sleep – survival guide.


This morning (at about 03.56am), I was lying in bed deciding whether to go back into Theo’s room as I heard his hacking cough or whether to leave him a few more minutes to see if it sorts itself out.  As his majesty in the bed next to me grunts and rolls over I probably let out what sounded like a pig squeal but was actually a frustrated whimper.

I’ve not had much sleep on and off over the last month with one thing and another. I know, I KNOW “it’s part of the deal”, but let’s be honest, that doesn’t make it easier.

I’ve been relatively lucky second time round.  I feel perhaps I was gifted with a nice baby following the horror that I had first time round.  The beast didn’t sleep through until he was about 7 months old.  In fact, he hardly slept.  I remember the days around the 12 week mark he didn’t even sleep in the day.  He had colic, reflux and was generally STARVING all the time, he did get better though and slept perfectly once he got into his bed.  Then all of a sudden it changed, and The Hungry Caterpillar came along, and I had to get used to lack of sleep all over again, although luckily at 8 weeks after his jabs he slept through from his dream feed.  This was a huge turning point.  From then on, I’m not saying he’s slept through constantly – I’ve had some proper bad nights – (teething and chicken pox both at the same time at 6 months being some of the worst), but I’ve had SOME SLEEP.  Plus, often wake ups consist of the odd game of dummy tennis rather then constant shusshing and rocking and avoiding feeding.

Then over the last month something happened.  Fatso is teething again, and he was up every hour, and on holiday the climate/change of atmosphere /that nasty tooth was causing regular wake ups.  The villa had quite thin walls and if one child woke the other up they’d both be awake and there were often 5am starts – something I’ve been lucky enough not to experience very often.  I came home from holiday KNACKERED.  7 full days with children with late nights and early mornings.  Not exactly relaxing.  Enjoyable YES, relaxing NO.  They’ve both since come back with hacking coughs and I swear they’re both still teething (can a 3 year old get more teeth? He’s dribbling more then the fat one!).  The last 3 nights I can honestly say I’ve seen every hour on the clock between 11pm and 4am.  But, as all of us know, what’s a mum to do?  You can’t crawl into bed and hide for the rest of the day, you always have to DO stuff.  Therefore, I’ve come up with a few survival tips which help me through the day without a) wanting to curl up and cry and b) never taking up my WONDERFUL friends offer for a nap while she looks after my kids (I’d never inflict that on anybody).

1. Get up – dressed – and do your face.

I’m not one for PJ days, I can honestly say, unless I’m so ill I can’t get out of bed I wash my hair and put my make-up on every day.  After both c-sections were done I almost instantly demanded my make-up bag and applied a “natural” face of make up (you may not be able to tell this from the photographs as I look like death, but *I* felt better).  Whilst I think I’ve aged hugely over the last 11 months, I look back at photos of me and Theo when he barely slept and I don’t look too bad actually.  I find if I wallow in scruffs and with my hair scraped back I feel worse.

2. Caffeine.

Tea. Coffee. Diet Coke.  Staples of my day to day life since having the kids.  Necessary for a quick boost through the day (although nothing after about 5pm if you don’t want to be kept up late after the kids have gone to bed).

3. Get outside

I think this is why I struggled slightly more when Larry was little – it was cold and wet and going anywhere was a bit of a ‘mare especially since I wasn’t allowed to drive for 6 weeks.  Personally I  think cabin fever makes you feel worn down, tired and down.

4. Water

Drink lots of it. It works. Honest.

5. You time.

I’ve had a few “down” months recently.  What with a week ill in bed and the change of routine I lost my flow a little bit, and wallowed in not really thinking about me very often.  Recently I’ve got back into running and even just going to get a hair cut and leaving the kids with Matt/at Nursery makes a huge difference.  I can be me again.


So there you go.  I’m not saying it’s a perfect fix, I’m not saying it’s for everyone – but give it a bash, you may get an extra burst of energy.

p.s. Mummy Juice (aka Wine/Gin works wonders as well – although only opent he bar when the kids are in bed ;)))