Tag Archives: New Baby

Baby’s C.V

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

NAME

Baby Boo

DOB

July 2016

ADDRESS

Wherever Mummy’s Boobs Are

EDUCATION

I have studied under the masters; my big sister and big brother.  Under their tutorage I have mastered the arts of fake crying when I want something, and throwing things when I don’t.

SPECIAL SKILLS

Clapping

Raspberry Blowing

Roaring

Growling

Falling off things

Crawling into things

Grabbing things

Biting

SPECIAL INTERESTS

I am passionately interested in remote controls and mobile phones, and I have developed, through an intense period of training, the impressive ability to retrieve them from even the most discreet locations.

Baby wipes hold a certain appeal to me.  I find pulling them all from the package and tasting each one individually to be incredible rewarding.  Indeed, I believe I am now something of a connoisseur.

I am very musically minded.  I have a piano which plays a tune that appeals to me greatly and I like to play it on repeat.  My mummy’s reaction is particularly entertaining to me; her face contorts into hilarious expressions after the seventh time through.  I am also developing skills in percussion.  I have several rattling devices which can be smacked against a variety of surfaces to create different sounds, such as tables, chairs, walls and heads.

WORK GOALS

I believe I am most suited to shift work.  I am very comfortable working late nights and early morning.  Indeed I often insist everyone gets up at 1AM just for the pleasure of experiencing such rarely appreciated hours.

I would do well in a creative role.  When presented with a bowl of pasta or soup I am able to, with minimal effort create works of art so incredible that my Mummy takes photographs whilst crying out “Oh my God” and “Look at you” and “Nobody step in it!” due to her desire to preserve my creations for the maximum time possible.

I have excellent leadership skills and would suit a role in management.  I am able to elicit the desired responses from my family with ease, indeed their entire structure has been reshaped simply to accommodate my arrival into the workplace.  If I am able to achieve that within days of my birth, imagine what I’ll do over the following years.

RELATIONSHIPS WITH COLLEAGUES

I have excellent interpersonal skills.

My Mummy seems extremely willing to cater to my needs and willingly involves me in all her daily activities.  I am privy to such things as toilet use, showering, cooking, cleaning, wine drinking and crying.  I am allowed unfettered access to her breasts, indeed on occasion I have demanded access simply because I haven’t seen them in some time.  On being presented I am satisfied and refuse them, just to make sure she knows I am boss.

My Daddy clearly worships the ground I crawl on, and even though he regularly fails me by not offering me his own breasts, he seems most determined to achieve my happiness despite a substandard body.

My brother and sister seem very taken with me and allow me to take their toys without complaint.  When they do attempt complaint they are reminded that I am indeed only a baby and therefore their job is to accommodate my needs.  This is one of my favourite aspects of my currant position and I intend to make use of this for at least the next fifteen years.  Possibly more.

The Grandparents are particularly superb at catering to my needs.  A simple smile or fart elicits celebration of my skill and wonder beyond anything the ordinary family members have achieved in months.  I am certain that should our business relationship continue I will be able to engage in many hours of unprecedented chocolate eating, that which the Mummy and Daddy would no doubt attempt to complain about should they be privy.  I, however, know how to keep the workplace running smoothly and operate a policy of don’t ask, don’t tell.

PERSONAL STATEMENT

I, Baby Boo, believe no finer baby exists.  I am marvellous.  I am incredible.  Admire my toes, there are ten of them.  Ten!  And have you seen my thighs?  I am regularly reminded that they are fantastic and “squishable”.  I will fill any home with laughter.  I will fill any heart with love.  I am, quite simply, a wonder of the modern age.

 

 

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

Baby’s First Bedtime

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

This week we decided it was time to start Baby Boo on a bedtime routine.  When I say “we” I really mean “I” but he gives me his full support when I make decisions like this so I’m lumping him in with me.

I decided we would start on March 1st.  When she was smaller she spent much of her evening feeding, but as she has grown she has been tending to either have a long feed and then fall asleep in my lap, or be wide away and full of baby rage.  I took these as signs to mean she needs to be asleep, and when she isn’t she’s not happy.

We waited until March 1st as with the Sirens Launch book party on Tuesday 28th, there seemed no point attempting to establish a routine right before she would be jerked out of it again for a night out, so March 1st was set and we prepared ourselves for it.

I started Miss Rose on a bedtime routine at about the same age, and it hasn’t changed much since.  We’ve dropped the evening bath, she now spends a lot longer in the bath in the mornings, and she doesn’t have a boob or a bottle anymore, but for the most part what we set up in babyhood has lasted until now, so it was really easy to start with Boo in the same way.

J.J. Barnes, Rose And Mum And More, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Photo credit Dagon

After dinner, Boo now eats her dinner at the same time as the Bigs, we go upstairs for quiet time.  We read picture books, lift the flap books, rhyme books.  We sit quietly upstairs chatting about what we’re reading with no TV, no music.

Fortunately Boo adores this time, as does Miss Rose, and they sit together on Rose’s bed laughing away.  Rose points things out in the books for Boo, who dutifully attempts to eat the pages.  Rose sings the songs and Boo laughs until she falls over backwards.  It’s a really lovely and contented way to round off the day.

After stories, Rose gets undressed and does her last wee on the toilet and then we brush teeth. I’ve been brushing Boo’s teeth since she first got them so I do Rose’s teeth with her brush then I do Boo’s little gnashers and clean off her gums.

After teeth it’s back into the bedroom and into pyjamas and then it’s last cuddles and conversations before quiet time.  I turn out the lights and, using the torch from my phone, read a book.  All three of us lie in Rose’s little bed, Boo in the middle having a breastfeed, and I read.  Currently I’m reading The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis and it’s a real joy.

Once both girls are asleep I take Boo and move her into her crib next to our bed.  So far she’s always disturbed a little so I give her another quiet feed and then settle her with a blanket.  I breastfeed her to sleep.  I know people say you shouldn’t, rod for your own back and all that, but I say balls to them because it’s my rod, my back, and it makes my baby go to sleep.

J.J. Barnes, Rose And Mum And More, Siren Stories, Mummy Blog, Breast Feeding Blog

Photo credit WerbeFabrik

The first time I did it was bizarre.  I walked downstairs feeling quite alone and peculiar.  I’m so used to her being with me that to be without her felt lonely.

She obviously heard my inner cries of despair and soon woke up, however, and so back up I went to do another breastfeed and another settle.

So far it is taking about an hour and a half from the first time she falls asleep to when she stays properly.  I’m going up and down, breastfeeding her quietly and then leaving again.

For the most part she’s not having a huge feed, she’s not crying because she’s hungry, she’s crying because she’s realising she’s alone and she doesn’t like it.  She’s never left alone.  I don’t feed her to fill her up, I feed her to reassure her, to comfort her.  To make sure she knows that if she needs me I’m there, she doesn’t need to be afraid, she’ll never be abandoned.  Over time she’ll start to take comfort in that fact and not wake up afraid that she’s alone because she’ll never fear that she’s alone.

Of course, I say that, but the big two still pile into our bed in the night because they don’t like being alone, but it usually takes a good few hours and really that’s all we need.

Some people don’t bother with a bedtime routine, indeed Jonathan didn’t with his ex wife for Z.  Z just stayed up until they went to bed.  Doing a bedtime routine isn’t something everyone subscribes to.  Then other’s do it earlier and more strictly.  My mother in law told me how from day one her boys were put to bed at bedtime and that’s how they learned.

I’m somewhere in the middle.

I couldn’t cope with never putting her to bed, I need my evenings.  I need my time away from children.   I need my time with Jonathan.  I need time to be quiet and wind down because children drain so much energy from me when I already have so little to give.

But I didn’t want to do a bedtime until I felt she was ready.  If she was feeding all evening then I’d rather have her with me so she could just be with the boobs she do desperately craved during those tiny months when all she wanted in the world was boobs, boobs, boobs, and more boobs.  And I do miss her.  She’s still so small I worry about her constantly when she’s not on me.  Of course, if I’m honest, I still worry about Miss Rose and have to repeatedly check that she’s surviving alone in bed throughout the evening too.  So I don’t suppose that will ever change.

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Feminist Blog

Photo credit Iquaraishi

For now her bedtime routine is working.  It’s eating a good size chunk out of my evening with repeated return visits, especially when I don’t stay up late as it is, but I know it’s not forever.  It’s only until she adjusts to the change in her life and stops feeling so peculiar about being left alone.  The key is, and I definitely believe this, not give in.  When I did this with Rose it was my first baby and I didn’t know what to do so I just made it up, but I am certain this time around that giving in is how to derail the entire affair.  If I can stick it out and just do repeated boobs and repeated settles, she’ll soon be sleeping in her own crib in the evening just fine.

Of course, then we have to go through what happens when I stop breastfeeding.  Then what happens when she stops having a bottle.  But honestly, my rod, my back, my baby.  These are all bridges I’ll cross when I get to them.  For now this is what works and I’m sticking to it!

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

No I Won’t Cover Up

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

I am a breast feeder.  I fed my first daughter for nearly 11 months and I’m currently feeding my second daughter who is nearly 8 months.  I have always breastfed on demand, as and when required.  Whether I’m in a restaurant, a shop or the theatre I’ve simply fed my baby because she’s hungry and needs feeding.

Generally my feeding so publicly and without shame has been met with positivity or, for the most part, not been noticed.  Until now.

There is a misconception amongst those who argue vehemently against public feeding that breastfeeding involves some dramatic wafting of a bare breast with milk spraying.  In reality, in my own case and the case of breast feeders I have been around, it would be easy not to know the baby is having a feed at all.  You can’t see anything as there’s a baby head in the way.  It simply looks like a cuddle.  There’s no wafting breasts or spraying nipples because the breast is behind a baby and the nipple and milk are both in their mouth.  On any Saturday night you’ll see more exposed breast flesh for fashion than you’ll see from a breastfeeding mother.

J.J. Barnes, Rose And Mum And More, Breastfeeding, Blog, Feminist, Mummy Blogger

Photo credit Avina Voicu

This weekend we went on a big family reunion to a remote area on the moors outside Buxton.  There were aunts and cousins, grandparents and grandchildren.  On Sunday we headed en masse to a local pub for a traditional Sunday lunch.

The Knight’s Table in Quarnford, Buxton, has an isolated charm.  The wind whipped and the rain fell, but we hurried inside and it was warm and cosy.  Targeted at families, offering children’s meals and with over the top medieval themed décor, it seemed the perfect location.

I was sniffy about the word “Damsels” being on the ladies toilets whilst the men got to be knights, but I put it aside as it was just part of a theme.

With nearly 30 people in our party we took over the majority of the restaurant area.  Those of us with children stationed ourselves at a back table behind a wooden partition, it seemed sensible given the likelihood of strange noises from tablets and games. and I took a seat in a high backed booth style bench with good back support for feeding.  The rest of the family filled the subsequent tables.

In due course Baby Boo required feeding so, as usual, I cradled her in my lap, slipped a boob out of my nursing dress and latched her on, then continued chatting.

“You need to cover up,” cut through a voice.  I looked up in surprise and saw the woman who had previously seated us.

I looked down at myself in confusion, had I accidentally exposed myself?  No.

I looked back at her and she pointed a finger at Boo.

“There are other people here,” she said crossly.  “You’ll need to cover that up.”

Incredulously I said, “No!”

I was furious.

Besides the fact I was tucked in a corner and surrounded by family, besides the fact I am legally entitled to breastfeed in public without harassment or discrimination, besides the fact that even businesses as well respected as Claridges have publicly apologised and admitted fault for similar incidents, I was furious because I was embarrassed.  I was humiliated. I lost my appetite, gathered up my children, and we left.

As defiantly as I refused to give in to her unacceptable demand, I felt ashamed.  As strong as I felt for continuing to feed, I felt weakened. I felt betrayed.  This woman had seen me doing something legal, normal, natural, which her establishment is required by law to respect my right to do, and instead of behaving appropriately had turned her back on both the law and the history of women’s rights.

J.J. Barnes, Rose And Mum And More Blog, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Lilly Prospero

Photo credit Bohed

One look on TripAdvisor confirmed I am not alone in this experience and other nursing mothers have been similarly harassed in The Knight’s Table.

I chose not to make a scene out of embarrassment and the desire not to negatively impact the experience of an extended family I am only just get to know, but part of me wishes I had.  Part of me wishes I had challenged her on it.  Alerted the matriarch of the family who, she later assured me on learning about the incident, would have defended me passionately.

I should have fought at the time,  but I am choosing to fight now.  No woman should be made to feel that way.  Had I been alone or a first time mother the experience could easily have put me off breastfeeding for life.  I’m a defiant, proud feminist with an established history of feeding and a loyal family at my side and it still made me feel crap.  Other circumstances could have been far harder and nobody has the right to that power.

I didn’t fight immediately but one thing I can assure you is that I am no damsel.  I can fight the dragon myself, and I beg of any other nursing mothers who find themselves in The Knight’s Table to brace yourself, then proudly fight that dragon too.

We will not be bullied, intimidated or shamed.  We are not damsels.  We will fight.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

A Year Ago I Nearly Died

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

People talk about “near death” experiences.  How they see a bright light and get amazing amounts of clarity, maybe think of the people they love.  They talk about how life changing it is, how it focuses them on what they want and need in their lives.  At least that’s the clichéd version seen in film and TV.

My near death experience started a year ago today.  There was no bright light or clarity, there wasn’t even much fear, at least not for me.  For everyone else there was a lot of fear.  A lot.

A year ago today I was eighteen weeks pregnant and I had contracted swine flu, though at the time nobody knew that.  I was ill.  Very ill.  My mother in law came round and found me lying on the sofa in agony, throwing up, and feeling faint.  She was frightened for me and phoned my dad.

When my dad came he was worried enough to phone my mother, which isn’t something that has been known to happen often as he’s not the worrying type.  My mother got me seen immediately at the doctors, the doctor phoned the hospital.  This is where memory starts to get hazy for me.  It’s patchy, I remember bits, but mostly what I’m retelling is things that I’ve been told by those who were there.

My mother phoned Jonathan at work and he came out early, then together me, my mum, Jonathan and Miss Rose headed to the hospital.

I was blacking out.  I remember very clearly begging Jonathan to look after Rose for me.  To love her, to cuddle her.  Whether those words actually made it out or were just in my head I honestly don’t know, but I know I thought I was going to die, and I know I needed him to promise he’d love her.

My mum was driving and shaking me to try and stop me passing out, behind me Jonathan was holding my head trying to stop it going down.  I remember my mum smacking me to wake me up.  Both of them intently trying to stop me disappearing.  But mostly it’s a blur of blackness.  My mum drove up the hard shoulder of the motorway, whizzing past the traffic at the side, and saying “fuck this.”  Rose was in the back wondering what was going on, frightened.

Once we got there and I had been wheel chaired in I was hooked up to tubes and machines, my blood pressure was super low, my temperature was super high.  Blood tests were done, machines were beeping.  I remember my mother in law arriving and gently stroking my hand.  I remember her promising she’d look after the children.  I remember a nurse trying to take a blood test and going wrong twice, blood spraying over her and the floor, and me watching it in slow motion.

I remember begging Jonathan to take me home.  I remember his face set rigid.  I remember my mum telling me no, I had to stay.

I was moved into high dependency and held there being tested for things, IV bags pumping into both hands.  Jonathan was allowed to stay with me.  I needed him with me and they made allowances.  I later realised it was because they weren’t sure I’d make it.

Repeatedly I begged them to check the baby and each time they refused.  They had to stabilise me or there was no point checking the baby.  I had to be okay for the baby to be okay.  I later found out they had assumed the baby wouldn’t have survived anyway.

The next day I crashed hard.  I was unconscious and Jonathan was watching doctors and nurses circling me, trying to revive me, my blood pressure dangerously low, my heart rate plummeting, machines blasting warnings.  Jonathan was watching me die.  He was trying to work out how to tell my mum, how to tell Miss Rose.  How to raise her without me there, how to help her cope with my death.  He’d accepted the baby wasn’t going to survive and now was having to come to terms with the fact I wouldn’t survive either.  He was working out how to say goodbye.

This was one year ago.  I’m typing this at home with Baby Boo in my arms, a healthy and perfect seven month old who not only survived but wasn’t damaged by it.  Jonathan was at my side every step of the way and he still is.  Every subsequent hospital stay he was with me.  He was holding my hair back, he was helping me drag equipment to the toilet and helping me on and off.  He was cleaning me up, helping me eat, watching me sleep.

Everything is okay now.  Better than okay.  My family is gorgeous, my relationship is wonderful, my career is starting to go places.  My dedication I saw in my partner, my mother, my mother in law, these wonderful people who put their all into caring for me and my children in my time of desperate need, have given me a sense of such security and safety.  I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

And yet I’m not over it.

I feel like I should be.  I feel like I should have moved on.  It’s been a whole year now.  I’m here, my baby’s here, my family is together.  But I’m not over it.

I’m still afraid.  And I know Jonathan’s still afraid.

My immune system never recovered fully.  My body never got back to full strength.  Fighting off the bug whilst sustaining a pregnancy was too much in some ways and I’m left weakened.  I catch every bug going and I catch them hard.  I’ve been collapsed on the ground vomiting whilst Jon’s cleaned me up and cared for the children.  I’ve been violently shaking before passing out whilst Jon’s held my hand and tried to keep me safe.  I’ve been so dizzy that I’ve fallen down the stairs.  I get ill.  I get really, really ill.  Whilst it was a year ago and life has moved on, I keep getting hard reminders of how close I came.  How close I could still get.

I’m not over it.

I’m frightened.

There are practical things I can do to manage that fear.  I’m taking steps to legally protect my family; making sure Jonathan retains control of the children and the business.  I’m trying to keep myself healthy as possible, I eat a healthy diet (chocolate aside) and drink lots of water.

But if I get ill again?  What if next time it’s the real thing?  What if when Jonathan thinks he’s watching me die he really is?

What then?

My children will grow up in this cruel world without the woman who loves them more than anything else on this planet.  Without the woman who would give her life for theirs.  They’ll grow up without me and I have so much to give them.  So much to do for them.

I don’t want to leave my babies.

Last year I almost died.  I almost left my babies behind.  In some ways the year since then has been the best of my life.  In some ways I am the happiest I’ve ever been.  In so many ways now is a wonderful, wonderful time to be alive.

But in some ways I am so afraid that when I lie awake at night it’s all I can think of.  I can’t get it out of my head.  Last year I almost died and there’s nothing stopping me from being there again except chance and luck.

I’m not over it yet.  I don’t know if I ever will be.  I don’t want to leave my babies.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

This Is Hard

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

I love my children.  I love them so much.  But raising them is the hardest challenge I have ever taken on in my entire life, and it’s one with no end in sight, no breaks.  I can’t put it down at the end of the day, I can’t walk away if it gets too tough, I can’t take a couple of weeks off to let myself recover.  I can’t take time off sick, which I could really use, and I’m on call 24 hours a day.

I love my children.  But being a mum is so hard.

My eldest daughter is the love of my life.  She is sweet and smart and funny.  She is loving and kind and gentle.  She makes me intensely proud of her day in day out, and I pine for her when we are apart.

Last night, after I had dealt firmly with a particularly difficult tantrum, I told her that I need to teach her how to function in society.  That I get angry with her not because she’s a bad girl, but because I need to teach her not to use bad behaviour.  I asked if she would rather grow up to have a home and a partner and children like I do, with a house full of happiness and fun, or if she wants to grow up to be alone and unhappy.  I told her that if she wants happiness and people around her I need to teach her not to behave like that.

Cuddled up in my lap, with tears streaked on her face, she told me she wants happiness when she grows up.  She told me she wants to be happy like she is when she’s with her nanny, not with me.

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, Rose And Mum And More Blog, The Lilly Prospero Series, Lilly Prospero And The Magic Rabbit, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Photo credit Greyer Baby

I broke my heart on the inside, but on the outside gave her a kiss and told her I’m happy when she’s with me.  Then I lay her down in bed and stroked her hair and stayed with her until she fell asleep.

She wants to be happy like when she is with her grandmother, not with me.

She is happier when she is not with me.

I cried.  I cried and I cried and I cried.

I phoned my mum, she told me it was nonsense.  I cried to Jonathan, who told me it was nonsense.

The thing is I know it is nonsense.  I know she said it to hurt me, she’s pushing my buttons to make a point.  I know that when I was in hospital and didn’t see her because I was so ill that she fell apart because she missed me so much.  I know that when she is poorly it’s me she needs.  I know when she’s sad it’s cuddles from me she craves.  I know.  I know that when she goes to nanny’s for sleepovers I get several Facetime calls because she misses me.  That she often cries for me in the night.  I know.

But even though I know the words are designed to hurt me, it doesn’t stop them from hurting me.  And right now I am so very tired.  And when I’m tired I’m vulnerable.  When I’m vulnerable I’m more easily hurt.

My baby daughter is the love of my life too.  She is my joy.  When she looks at me and laughs I have burst into tears of happiness.  The way she gazes at me adoringly fills me with warmth.  I’m watching her personality develop and she is becoming the most happy, adventurous, bold little girl.

She is breaking me.

She is in a phase where at around midnight she wakes up.  Not just wake up and be settled again, but wake up and be ANGRY.

Last night it was about half past eleven.  She woke up and she cried.  She howled.  She raged.

I tried breastfeeding her, she bit me.  I tried rocking her, she thrashed around.

How Jonathan slept through it I do not know because it was loud.  I’d have stayed put and just persevered but I feared she would wake up but big two, and three awake children was more than I could face.

So I took her downstairs and walked around with her, she cried but didn’t scream.  I went for a wee and put her down, she screamed.

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, Rose And Mum And More, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More Blog, Parenting Blog, Mummy Blogger

Photo Credit Profile 31

Eventually I went back upstairs and just rocked her in bed and cried whilst she cried.  Eventually Jonathan woke up and offered a sympathetic hand on my back.  Even more eventually she fell asleep.  Blissful, blissful sleep.

I love my children so very much.  I adore them.  But this is so hard.

My big girl knows how to hurt me and does it.  My baby girl is on a one girl mission to melt my brain.

I love my children but this is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  And there are no breaks.  And no escapes.

I don’t begrudge it.  I would never be without them.  But I am tired.

And this is hard.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

Not The Banana!

J.J. Barnes, Siren Stories, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Parenting Blog

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Before my first daughter arrived I had very little experience of children.  Even less of babies.  Not through a particular desire to avoid them, if one was handed to me I’d fuss over it, but more through a lack of desire to seek them out.  Other people’s children make me anxious.

Because of this, I really wasn’t sure what to do most of the time and tended to make it up as I went along.  Through trial and error I’d come to conclusions about how to do things in a way I felt most comfortable with and seemed to be most successful.  This was true of bedtimes, routines, co-sleeping, and weaning.

The arrival of Baby B has given me a more solid base to know what I’m doing.  I’m more confident and when it was time to start weaning I felt like I knew what I was doing.  But I wasn’t sure it would work this time.

J.J. Barnes, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Mummy Blogger, Mummy Blog, Parenting Blog

Photo Credit TshirtRevolution

Miss Rose is a foodie and loves to eat, always has done.  I loved weaning Rose; it was so much fun and it was something she loved so it was easy, and her enjoyment in food has continued.  My step son Z is really the only other child I’ve experienced eating and it’s a completely different matter.  He doesn’t like food, and often seems distressed by the idea of eating.  Whilst my methods worked brilliantly for Rose, perhaps they wouldn’t work at all for Baby B, and then it’d be like learning from scratch all over again.  What would I do if she hated it?!

After all, the way I weaned Rose was completely different to how children used to be weaned.  Indeed, my mother finds my methods very, very stressful.

When weaning my brother and I the process was clean and simple.  She pureed foods, carefully spooned them into our mouths, and wiped up any mess as it happened.  As we got bigger she started introducing lumps and textures until we were eventually eating solids.

I have a more… artistic approach.

I just give them food.  I remember the look of horror on my mother’s face when I handed the seven month old Rose a banana.  How that little girl loved it, she smushed it in her hands, she crushed it in her gums, she smeared it in her hair and over her face, she licked the banana slime off her fingers and burbled with glee,

“But it’s such a mess!” howled my poor mother.  “She’s not even eating it!”

“No, but she’s EXPERIENCING it,” I explained.

Because that’s what food is.  It’s an experience.  It’s not just about survival and getting the right calories, vitamins and proteins into yourself to get through the day.  It’s about the flavours, the textures, the smells.  It’s about socialising and enjoying one another’s enjoyment.  Food is fun and interesting, and I want them to learn that.

J.J. Barnes, The Lilly Prospero Series, Rose And Mum And More, Rose And Mum And More Blog, Parenting Blog, Mummy Blogger

Photo Credit Avita Lchn

So I hand them the banana and let them experience it in whatever way gives them that pleasure and excitement.  The actual real eating they will learn over time.

Baby B is going the same way.  Watching her with spaghetti O’s is a thing of glory.  Her love of naan bread is spectacular.  Her desire to shovel yogurt into her face as she merrily misses and coats her eyebrows in it is fantastic.  When she smushes cucumber into a watery pulb she’s thrilled.  I’ll be giving her a banana soon, but not until my mum is there… because her horror is part of the experience too.

It’s messy but my goodness this child is having fun.  She loves it.  She gets excited by food.  She experiences it.

Poor Z finds this completely bizarre and I feel so sad for him because he’s missing out.  Because food is such a fantastic experience if you enjoy it.

If you’re considering baby led weaning I would highly recommend it.  You just have to prepare for the mess.  Sure it’s easier in some ways to do the purees, and you’re almost certain they’ll get a belly full of food more effectively, and that’s likely they’ll sleep better because they’re full.  There are many advantages to puree feeding that can’t be knocked.  But if you have the stomach for it, and a good steam cleaner, baby led is absolutely brilliant fun.

I’m planning on taking her to an Indian restaurant soon.  Miss Rose’s devotion to chick pea curry comes from an early exposure to authentic Indian cuisine, and sure makes our own curry addiction easier.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!

Guilt Complex

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

I have a terrible guilt complex.  I always assume I’ve done something wrong.  If I haven’t done something wrong I create things in my head, or take responsibility for the wrong doings of others.  Such is my narcissism that I actually believe myself to be far more significant than I am, that I have had a far more significant impact on the lives of those around me, even though it’s in a negative way I am claiming, than I actually do.

This evening I put Baby B on Miss Rose’s bed, as I always do, before we went into the bathroom for her to have her last wee and brush her teeth.  I put B sideways on, as she is able to roll, so that she could only roll towards the foot or head of the bed, then I left the room.

As we came back in, she launched herself off the bed onto the floor.  Fortunately we have carpet so it wasn’t too damaging, but it was a bump and she howled.

I scooped her into my arms and held her close whilst Rose wept and stroked her sister’s face, fetching her toys of hers to cuddle, and then shouting at the floor for daring to hurt her.

“I’m so sorry,” she said after a minute.

“Why as you sorry?” I asked her.

She looked up at me, grey eyes wet with tears, as she stroked her sister’s face (who had long since stopped crying).  “It was my fault.” she said, in a miserable whisper.

My daughter has inherited my guilt complex.  Inherited, or possibly learned?

I insisted, of course, that it wasn’t her fault.  And not just because I was claiming responsibility I hadn’t earned.  I’m the adult, I’m the mother, it was my choice to leave B on her own on the bed.  I hadn’t realised she had progressed from rolling to actually maneuvering, and because of that my baby girl got hurt, albeit mildy.

So why did she claim responsibility?

“I should have been watching her,” she explained.  “She’s my baby sister.  I look after my baby sister.  I should have been watching her.  It’s my fault.”

Oh my little girl.

I tell her all the time to watch her baby sister.  I put her in her Jumperoo and go to make a coffee, “Watch your sister for me.”  When she’s in the back of the car in car seat, “Watch your sister for me.”

Photo Credit Alpha Creativa

Photo Credit Alpha Creativa

If B’s hat falls over her eyes, she pushes it back up.  If she pulls her blanket over her face, Rose pulls it back down.  If she gets upset in her Jumperoo, chair or on her blanket, Rose appears at my side to alert me so I can go and fetch her.  She fetches me nappies and wipes when I need them, wipes B’s nose when it needs it.  Sings to her when she’s crying, cuddles her when she’s sad.

At four years old I have infused Miss Rose with an alarming sense of responsibility for her six month old baby sister.  So much so that when I make a mistake and let her roll onto the floor, Miss Rose assumes it is her responsibility.

It’s my fault.  I put too much on my daughter.  I infused her with guilt when things go wrong.  It’s my fault.

I feel incredibly guilty about this… obviously.

Will I be able to course correct her?  I love how much she loves her baby sister.  She cares for her, adores her.  Practically worships her.  I don’t want to step in the way of that.  I love that I can trust her to care for her and want that desire to look after her to continue as they grow.  I am a big sister and I wanted to kill anyone who hurt my baby brother, even though the person who hurt him the most was actually me.

Can I leave her sense of care and love, but take away the guilt and unnecessary responsibility?  Can they grow up in a way that Miss Rose feels protective of Baby B, but not like it’s all her fault if harm befalls her?

Photo Credit Llangal

Photo Credit Llangal

She’s my daughter.  She shares so many of my emotional tendencies.  I don’t know if I can ever take it away entirely, but I sure want to try.  I want her to know when she’s not in the wrong and to embrace it, be proud of it, be certain of it.  To stand her ground when she’s done nothing wrong and fight for her innocence when she knows it to be true.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!