Friday, 17 June 2016

Who's the daddy?

Who's the daddy? Well, as far as my daughter is concerned, pretty much any adult male who makes conversation with us...

I remember when we first started trying for a baby I wondered whether our child would resent growing up without a father. We reassured ourselves with the fact that our baby would have two loving parents.

My daughter is now two and a half, and has been going to nursery for about a year. As a result she has come to medt many other children with different kinds of families and backgrounds, which is great. Lots of the children are picked up by 'dad' and I think this was her first exposure to being a little different to others. She has responded with curiosity. When my sister, brother-in-law and niece and neohew came to stay, she called her uncle 'dad' just as his son did. I actually found it really sweet, although I can't speak for 'uncle dad' as he became that weekend. Today we were being welcomed into an apartment we are renting for the weekend by the owner, who was with his young son. Within five minutes my little girl grabbed his hand and called him 'dad' much to his surprise.

Her name for me is 'mama bear' - a nickname my mum dubbed me with when she was born which has stuck. Interestingly, while she was busy appropriating other children's dads, at least three other children - including my nephew - call me mama bear too from time to time.

My little girl has the good fortune of having three grandfathers, each of whom she has a good and very different relationship. So she'll never want for 'male role models'. I long ago realised that it was the quality of the relationship you have with a child, not who you are, what your gender is and whether you have a biological connection with them.

I picked her up from nursery yesterday to discover all the children had done special drawings for their dads to mark Father's Day this Sunday. The nursery nurse was rather timid when she explained that the picture my girl had done was dedicated to me, and was that ok? I was so very touched. So it would seem that, for now, being mama bear is good enough. And chaps - if a small blonde toddler sidles up to you and calls you 'dad' within minutes of meeting you, take it as a compliment.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

New book for publication Spring 2017: a quiet hand in yours

I'm really excited to be able to report that I have contributed to a new book that will be published in Spring 2017.
Pinter and Martin are publishing Pride and Joy: A Guide for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Parents, by Sarah Eve Hagger-Holt and Dr Rachel Rose Hagger-Holt next year, and part of this blog, Mama Not Mummy, has been included.
As a former journalist, writing non-fiction often comes more naturally to me than fiction, so it is heartening to know I've still got 'it'. The blog originally came from a place of becoming a parent for the first time, and becoming a parent in a somewhat unconventional manner. I struggled to find any real writing about the situation I found myself in, so the blog came about as a way to express my feelings. I was surprised to find it gathered a following of others in a similar situation, once again reminding me of the power of reading and writing as affirmation. There's a line in the play The History Boys by Alan Bennett about this, about the power of literature to reach out and touch you:
Hector - The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - that you'd thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you've never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it's as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.
I'm thrilled to be included in this new book, and really hope that this will help others feel a quiet hand in theirs.
Note in the image above, I am demonstrating pride and joy. Or something...

Monday, 25 May 2015

My daughter's first gay pride

I've been on Pride marches before, and felt the heady glow of walking with people 'like me', full of courage, bravado and, yes, pride. But on Saturday I experienced this anew. I walked with my daughter.  Granted, she slept for most of it, but walking through the streets of my city with friends and thousands of others, with an estimated 75,000 looking on, it was very different. 

Maybe it was because it was the first march I've done in the era of social media, where it seemed that 75,000 smart phones were trained on us, as though the streets were some kind of red carpet. I think mistly though it was because the pride I was feeling was about my daughter - I wanted everyone to know that this was my little girl, and not only was I proud to be gay, but I was proud to be her mother. To be both of those things publicly still feels a little radical, and on Saturday it felt wonderful. 

My lovely girl enjoyed the bits of the parade she was awake for, waving at everyone, especially the drag queens and half naked men. 

Hurrah for Pride! 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

20 months later...

Our lovely girl is now 20 months old, and we have been through all sorts of remarkable developments in recent times:

Moving from a cot to a bed - and consequently re-doing sleep training :/
Moving from a high chair to a tiny chair - because she kept climbing out and walking off
Counting from one to ten - not necessarily the right order
Learning colours - but sometimes insisting everything is lellow
Saying no to everything
Hurling herself on the floor and screaming - while I tiptoe away to make a cup of tea
Demanding toast for tea and then looking affronted when we suggest she actually sits down and eats it...

Yes, it's true. We now have a toddler. And I love it!

Having a baby is lovely, but a toddler is so much more fun, if messier (yes, that is possible).

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Poo-mageddon and other adventures...

So, everyone talks about nappies when they have a baby. Indeed, me and my fellow mums now have an agreed system for classifying these disgusting abominations...

1. Poo-nado. This can also be referred to as a 'neck toucher' but in reality any nappy that causes you to wonder how the offending stuff got *there*.

2. Poo-nami. This is where a small tidal wave has engulfed the whole nappy and potentially started to seep out of the sides. 

3. Poo-mageddon. This is the moment where you realise you may not get out alive and consider cordonning your child off until he/she is three. 

4. Poo-tastrophy. One of those moments where you genuinely consider buying a new carpet rather than clearing up the mess. 

5. Poo-pocalypse. That's it. The only solution is to sell the house (at a hugely reduced price of course) and find somewhere else to live. 

Friday, 8 August 2014

11 months on and she's all grown up...

...well not quite. But my little girl can now sit up, crawl around, walk along holding onto furniture, eat pretty much what we eat, destroy things at will and is beginning to say words. 

It's been a while since I posted about M sleeping through back in June and I think that's the single change that has made me feel like I can really do this parenting thing! My status as 'other mother' feels less and less relevant - she's my girl and I'm hers. 

There are a few things that have become special to me and M, like watching TV together side by side on the sofa, laughing while getting dry after a bath and bedtime stories and much more. 

It's odd to think that she won't be a baby much longer. 

You know you are a middle-classed parent when...

It's been a while since I posted, but I couldn't resist compiling this little list...

1) You are well versed in arguments for and against baby-led weaning.

2) You become concerned your child may eat only hummous for the rest of their life. 

3) You spend approximately 50% of your life washing cloth nappies. 

4) You become well versed in the mechanics of the 'poo spoon'.

5) You pretend that you will never take your child to McDonalds. 

6) You try all the 'no cry' sleep solutions before resorting to letting the child cry a bit (but never call it controlled cryng).

7) Your child becomes well known in your local independent coffee shop. 

8) You dread well meaning people trying to feed your child sugary inappropriate food.