Thursday, 30 April 2015

Mummy Time #38: Rachel Fletcher

Rachel is hilarious, super lovely and oozes super cool. And have you seen her badass lavender locks? I loved reading Rachel's post and I'm sure you will too. Also I'm totally writing her wise words on my fridge: 'Yesterday was a shower of shit? Move on! Today will be ace!' What I'd give for just an ounce of Rachel's sass!


Who are you?
Hi, I’m Rachel. I live just outside Cardiff in a little place by the sea with my ‘musician in a former life’ Adam. We used to live in quite possibly the coolest apartment ever, slap-bang in the centre of Cardiff. Totally not-child-friendly but perfect for our first home. July 12th 2013 Edith Arrietty Franklin was born. 14 months later, on September 12th 2014, Rudy Kite Franklin arrived. My brood and I moved to quiet suburbia to grow, play and live.

What do you do for a living?
I used to be front of house for a salon in Cardiff. I loved it there, and wouldn’t hesitate to go back. However the cost of childcare for two small children meant I had to make the decision of not returning after my maternity leave. It’ll only be until they are both in school, then it’ll back to the adult world where conversation doesn’t revolve around Frozen, dinosaurs and "I CAN’T GET MY SHOES ON (for the fiftieth time today)".

How do you get things done?
Early mornings, late nights! It’s the only way I can fit everything in. I’m one of those awfully annoying clean freaks, so struggle to go to bed without having made sure it’s all ‘right’ beforehand. We are also very lucky to have a home that’s fairly open-plan; we’ve made sure it’s as child-friendly as possible so I can let them loose without worrying they’re causing damage to the house (and themselves, obvs). They both sleep in with us, so we turned the second bedroom into a playroom. Quite often they’ll happily play in there by themselves, allowing me to clean up/pee/check Instagram.

How are you?
At times, struggling. Those times when they’re the best of friends and we’re all laughing and playing are brilliant but when shit hits the fan, it descends into chaos. Edie has her days when everything is fair game for a tantrum. Non-stop meltdowns. Add in to that a baby that is usually the most chilled and relaxed person I know, until he gets hungry. Or sleepy. Or bored. Then loop that for 10 hours until Adam comes home from work and I wail for help and/or wine. HOWEVER this is not every day. Yes, I am perpetually tired. Yes, emptying a can of dry shampoo into my hair is necessary. Yes, Adam and I haven’t had a night together alone since October 2013… but I expected this. I knew this is what we were taking on, so I’m ok with the tiredness and the noise and the constant ‘Row Row Row Your Boat…” - I give each new day a chance and get on with it. Yesterday was a shower of shit? Move on! Today will be ace.

What do you do to relax?
Bubble baths and booze. If it’s in the middle of the day, just the bath (sadly).

How does a typical day go? 
I’m woken up around 6/7am by either Rudy clawing at my face or Edie rolling around on top of me, shouting for food. Breakfast is a hands-on affair, with both babies given toast/brioche, yoghurts and fruit. 9 times out of 10 the fruit is tossed on the floor and the yoghurt smeared over naked bodies, but the toast/brioche is usually a hit. Got to love babies and their varied diets. Rudy naps, Edie runs around in her nappy until I can pin her down long enough to get clothes on her and then we’re out of the house. Sometimes we’ll only venture as far as the park at the end of our road. Sometimes we’ll head into Cardiff to meet with friends. The best days are when we have a boozy pub lunch. Adam gets home from work around 6/7pm. We always aim to eat together, and that usually means a very messy and hectic mealtime. Then it’s bath, pyjamas, milk for Rudy and bed… the last bit doesn’t always come straight away. We’re fairly relaxed with sleeping times and arrangements, and have never set a definite bed time for either baby. Rudy’s fairly consistent in that he’s down by 8.30pm at the latest. Edie, on the other hand, could stay up all night if she could. Once we’ve managed the impossible and both kids are asleep, Adam and I usually have a drink (bourbon and tonic for him, gin and tonic for me thanks) and either watch something on Netflix (Better Call Saul was our most recent series) or just catch up with each other. I finish the cleaning, answer a few emails and then by midnight we’re normally in bed. Rudy still wakes a couple of times in the night for a feed so neither of us will get a full night, then it’s back to it at 6am where we do it all again.


How were your pregnancies?
My first pregnancy was absolutely fine. Nothing really to complain about apart from having to be prescribed iron tablets. Not much fun, but nothing to worry about. My second pregnancy wasn’t as easy-going. I started off being told I was going to be under consultant-led care, as I had a very low BMI and I carry large babies. I had to be tested for gestational diabetes (which was negative). I was again prescribed iron tablets, but this time around my iron count plummeted to a dangerous level meaning that 3 weeks before I was due to give birth I was hooked up to a drip, being given iron intravenously to prevent a potential blood transfusion after labour. I also had AWFUL heartburn - there’s an old wives tale that heartburn when pregnant is caused by the baby’s hair. Rudy came out with a full-on Paul Weller-style mop. Believe what you will.

Did you have any cravings?
Brazil nuts, avocados, ice, mints. Anything crunchy, really. It was the same with both.

Did you find out what you were having?
YES! No way would we be able to last that long without knowing.

How did you decide on your names?
As soon as we found out I was pregnant, we’d decided on names within about a week (both times). No messing about, straight to the point.


How did you get on with breastfeeding?
Not so well first time round. Edie struggled to feed. We carried on for six weeks until we started giving her formula, and I will never regret that decision. She changed from an angry little ball of fury to a funny, sociable, happy person.
Rudy took to it very well. I made the decision to switch to formula when he was 4 months old. I know, I know… if it was going so well, why stop? I struggled to care for Edie while cluster feeding Rudy. He was always so hungry, he was feeding either every hour or just constantly throughout the day. The change worked for us. He’s still always hungry, but now I’m not the only one who can feed him.

Do the babies have a feeding routine?
We have a loose routine of breakfast around 7/8am, lunch around midday and an evening meal around 6/7pm. I work off how the babies are - if they ask for food before then, I feed them.
Edie is an annoyingly fussy eater, and goes through phases. Currently we are in the ‘spaghetti hoops, brioche and yoghurt’ phase. Rudy will mash anything you place in front of him into his mouth.
We started weaning both babies at the very earliest point you could, 17 weeks. It wasn’t like they hadn’t tried food before then, anyway. Edie was known to suck the butter off a slice of toast when you weren’t looking, and Rudy had his fair share of chocolate to lick off people’s fingers.
We went down the puree route with Edie. We went through pouch upon pouch of Ella’s Kitchen food, some were successful but the majority weren’t. Slowly I started letting her feed herself, but still trying to spoon-feed her at least once a day so I knew she was eating something. When it came to weaning Rudy, I pureed some fruit myself to start him off but when it became clear that he LOVED food I started just giving him the same food as Edie & let him go for it. His current favourites are strawberries, bananas, salmon fillets and ham. Big thick chunks of ham that he can just gnaw on. Also, he bloody loves Quavers but shush.

How do you keep them entertained?.
iPad. Best invention ever. Works as entertainment and as an educational tool (Edie knows what a boxfish and a gila monster is, thank you. However I’m not entirely sure how useful those bits of information are…). Apple devices aside, Edie loves singing. Clearly gets that from Adam as the thought of singing in public brings me out in a rash. Rudy loves his walker - he’s been zooming around the house in it since he was 4 months old, and gets ratty if he has to sit still for any amount of time.

At what age did they become more mobile?
Rudy was ‘mobile’ from 4 months - not independently because it was in his walker, but suddenly we now had two babies who could run around the house. Edie reluctantly started crawling at around 10 months, but then very quickly progressed to walking two weeks after her 1st birthday. Rudy is 7 months old and is right on the edge of being able to crawl. Our house is pretty child-proof so no real worries there.

What are your go-to resources for information when you're worried?
Google. Every time.

How did Edie react when Rudy came along?
Edie was insanely jealous with Rudy’s arrival. Slapping his face when he was feeding and trying to pull me away from him. I can’t pinpoint when that changed, but she adores him now. First thing she wants to do after she’s woken up is to go and see him. She introduces him to people. We took them to a farm last weekend and she turned to him and said “Rudy, chicks!”, pointing inside a chicken house - that was nice.


Do Edie and Rudy each have a favourite toy?
Again, iPad. Seriously, I never leave home without it.
Due to Edie’s fickle nature, her favourite toy depends on her mood - in her current rotation are her dinosaurs, her Schleich animals, her castle and her Frozen figures.
Rudy loves anything that makes a noise. Musical instruments, mainly. Also he really likes the LuckyBoySunday Kiki doll, mainly chewing her face (I wince a little every time he does).

What was your most recent baby-related purchase?
We bought the Spherovelo EarlyRider recently because HAVE YOU SEEN IT? It just so cool. Also it’s good for their motor-skills and other reasons you should really be buying your kids toys for.

What has been the most useful thing you've bought/ been given/ discovered?
Edie uses an app called Touch,Look, Listen. It’s AMAZING. So easy and basic - teaches a variety of ‘first words’ that extends beyond the usual ball, coat, dog, mum (see ‘gila monster’ above).
Mr Tumble is bloody fantastic. The amount of Makaton (a simplified sign language) Edie knows is enormous. It helped especially when Edie's speech hadn’t caught up with the rest of her, and we all went through a period of frustration of not knowing what she wanted. She could mimic actions far better than she could mimic words, and suddenly words such as ‘food’ when she was hungry could be expressed.

What are your babies' modes of transport?
I use both a Stokke Scoot and a BabyBjorn carrier. I find the Scoot absolutely brilliant. When we lived in the city centre it was great for nipping about, the raised seat perfect as a highchair-on-the-go for when I was constantly having the type of coffee dates and long lunches you can have with one small baby (ooh that was the life). Since moving away, it’s been so handy for the daily trips I make on public transport. We bought the BabyBjorn carrier when I had Edie. She hated it (obviously, she hated everything then) so off it went into a cupboard until I needed something to carry Rudy in. We dabbled with a double buggy, but even the smallest version is too unwieldy. He LOVES being worn. I love it, too. Less so when Edie wants to be carried on my hip at the same time but, hey, just call it arm day.

What are your absolute essentials when you go out?
iPad, brioche, Quavers, nappies, milks, phone charger, hip flask. Some days I wish the last one was true.


What do you wish you'd known before you had a baby?
I wish that I was told that you should never feel guilty! Lose the guilt! Don’t feel guilty that you don’t like pregnancy, that the birth doesn’t go to plan, that you don’t instantly fall head over heels in love with your little one, that you crave your pre-baby life, that you aren’t ‘doing the right thing’…You ARE doing the right thing. You ARE doing amazingly well. No your ‘old’ life won’t return, but a new one will form and you will like it, at times love it (and believe me, you do still find time to drink wine!).

Thank you so much for sharing, Rachel!

Follow Rachel on Instagram: @oh_merde  
Read Rachel's birth story with Edie on the Crafted Sisterhood blog.

1 comment

  1. Beautiful, I love the happy, juicy, warm routine you've described x


Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. It really means a lot! Nicki x