A little update on the Bean (and why I’m a bit rubbish at updates)

Our little Bean is 15 months old and I’ve just realised I haven’t written an update since he was 9 months. Oops.

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^^ When we say “dinosaur”, Bean says “rahh!” ^^

In the last couple of months I’ve been trying to figure out what littleeandbean means to me and I’ve come to the conclusion that forced blogging is a bit too much like hard work, which means I’m no longer feeling obliged to write about certain topics, or at regular intervals to ‘keep up’ with other bloggers. It also means I don’t feel bad that I can’t always fit writing into my life, although my posts have practically quadrupled recently: hello school holidays! Being a working mum means I’m very limited time-wise, but also I have so much else I want to write about; stuff that really fires me up. I love talking about my kids, of course I do, I get weepy on a daily basis thinking about my beautiful humans, but I’m not feeling the need to document their lives in quite as much detail as I used to. I guess I’m finding that my blogging voice wants to talk about a lot more than being a mum.

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Having said all that Bean has changed such a huge amount in the last few months. When I last updated he’d just started nursery and I was going through the emotional upheaval of being back at work. It’s safe to say that nearly 6 months on he loves nursery almost as much as E. I say ‘almost’ because unlike E he doesn’t demand I take him to nursery on days off  *rolls eyes*. One thing I’ve found really difficult thing about him being at nursery is the constant illness. Until recently he’d been ill almost every day since December which has been hard for all of us. But when he’s not poorly he spends most of his time grinning from ear to ear and chatting away.

He’s a real character and yes, I’m totally saying that to describe how feisty he can be. He can hold his own around E (not always a good thing) and he’s got a wicked temper. We know when he’s unhappy about something because he shouts “NO!” and launches a toy at whatever’s offending him – it would appear that we’ve another kid with a good aim *ouch* But while his temper is fierce it’s also short-lived, and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I’m a lot more relaxed about the wilfulness than I was with E.

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^^ You tell him, Bean! ^^

I’m not sure I really acknowledged all the ‘spirited’ behaviour we had with E because I didn’t want to paint him as a little gremlin. But let’s face it; all kids are difficult, at least occasionally. My boys are gregarious. If you met E he would probably want to talk to you and laugh with you and be tactile with you, and he’d also feel comfortable having almighty tantrums in front of you. While that behaviour exhausts me, it doesn’t freak me out anymore. I know it’s all part and parcel of them learning boundaries and having the freedom to be children. I was very shy as a child. I remember being not much older than E and being so anxious in social situations that I felt pain. So I love it when my boys let loose and go a bit nuts, if they can’t do it now, when on earth can they?

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As well as being a feisty little thing, Bean is incredibly loving. He’s very cuddley and loves to snuggle with J and I. He’s got a good attention span, especially when it comes to Peppa Pig or playing trains and he’d happily play with his trains for an hour or so without making a peep.

Bean’s less sedentary than he was but he’s still taking his sweet time about walking. He’s progressed to cruising and standing on his own for very short periods but he’s in no rush to get about on his feet and I’m in no rush for the walking to start. Having done all this before I know I’ll need a pair of eyes in the back of my head once he’s toddling about. One day very soon he’ll be up and walking, and just like that the baby days will feel like they’ve upped and left. I’ll miss this rugrat stage!

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He’s got a really good vocabulary, about 50 words, and he loves to mimic us. I feel like he understands so much of what we say to him, but of course that could just be parental bias ;) Some of his most used words are:

Mama, dada, ball, teeth, Peppa, car, urgh! cat, hot, no, shoes, socks, bubbles, splash, uh oh, hair, head, nose, mouth, me/mine, Elijah, eye, more, banana, train, choo-choo, ta, door, two (always after I say ‘one’!), door, please, boobies

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At 15 months Bean loves:

  • Playing trains
  • Vroom-vrooming cars across the floor
  • Building towers out of bricks
  • Chasing after his brother
  • Chastising his brother
  • Chasing after the cats
  • His daddy
  • His dummy
  • Boob
  • Food. All of it

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I’m finding time flashes by so much quicker with baby number 2. My days are a lot busier, so much so that it’s impossible to properly process everything that happens. Life is chaotic and exhausting and loud (my god it’s loud!) but it’s also bloody wonderful. I love learning a little more about Bean each day, he’s a lot of fun to be around and he adores his big brother. And I love watching my boys navigate this first chapter of brotherhood, it’s such a blessing.

15/52

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Bean:: this picture is pretty symbolic of our week. It’s half term so I’ve time off work with the boys, which means that rather than frog marching them out of the house at the crack of dawn we’ve been having some pretty laid back breakfasts. This was Bean (and his hair!) after a mountain of pancakes and maple syrup.

Little E:: E adores one on one time. When he’s with J that tends to mean lots of Lego, computer games, bedtime stories and trips out together. I think it’s so important that both our boys get alone time with us, and we love it too – it’s always a positive experience and such a wonderful insight into their minds.

I’m linking up with

And…

living arrows

There were two feminists in a bar…

I went out last night. ‘Out’ out. Proper ‘brush your hair’ and ‘wear nice things’ out. If I was of a selfie inclination this is where I’d slap a picture of me minus my children’s snot stains, but I’m rubbish in front of the camera, so you’ll just have to take my word for it – I brushed my hair, put some make up on and made a bit of an effort to feel good about myself.

My very lovely friend (who blogs here) and I spent the evening doing that thing mums do when they’re not being harangued by miniature humans – we talked and laughed for bloody hours. And I actually got to listen – such an underrated pleasure! Conversations while looking after two energetic boys are hurried affairs involving such ridiculous levels of multi-tasking, I’d almost forgotten what it’s like to properly hear someones words and have time to formulate a response.

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Mother’s night out at the pub, by Grace Robertson (source)

A few years ago the going-out-for-drinks experience stopped being so fun. All of a sudden my inner monologue took on a David Attenborough quality and everytime I peered over my wine glass all I saw was frenzied apes in various stages of getting jiggy. It was probably around then that I realised I was a ‘bit’ feminist. I found it hard not to obsess (out loud a lot of the time – sorry friends!) over behaviour that I’d previously accepted as part and parcel of going out – the groping, the leering, the feeling like a piece of meat, the not being able to be courteous or smile at a man in case it was misconstrued. It made me so angry I wanted to spit fire. And there was something else that started to bug me – the way women treat each other. You’d think that while we’re out battling through the groping and the guff of machismo we could at least find refuge amongst one another, but that’s rarely the case. In my experience we’re often a bit shit to each other.

Last night was a perfect example. As my friend and I were attempting to put the world to rights we were interrupted by a woman hell bent on verbally dissecting our appearances. It was all said in the nicest possible way, of course. She told me that I was too small, that I should really put on some weight and that she knew I was unhappy because she’d been there too. She was drunk and tactless. I’ll probably never meet her again and I don’t value her opinion because I don’t know her, but what she said has been bugging me all day. Her words are symptomatic of society’s obsession with appearance, and unfortunately she’s just one of many women I’ve met on a night out who felt it necessary to tell me how I should look.

Feeling physically inadequate is the norm for women. I’m affected by the barrage of social expectations, so I empathise with people who struggle with their appearance. Having said that it really bugs me that our bodies are the default conversation for women on a night out. I don’t mean female friends, we all need to offload to the people we trust. I’m talking about strangers. So often women I’ve never met want to talk to me about my size and shape, as though it’s a bonding ritual. I’m short and slim and small. I envy women with curves (it’s that age old, ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ stuff) but I rarely talk about it because after years of awkward conversations I know that most women don’t want to hear about my size issues. They want me to take the compliments “urgh, you’re so slim, YOU BITCH!” and they want me to smile gratefully and apologetically. They don’t want to hear about how my size makes me feel less of a woman, how clothes are a frigging nightmare to find, or how despite what I eat (a lot, sorry) I always worry I look a bit emaciated. So, yeah, I don’t go there. But other women often feel the need to and it’s so frustrating.

We have a media saturated with the messages that women are a commodity and that appearance should be valued above all else, so it’s not surprising that our internalisation of those judgements plays out in our relationships with other women. But my goodness, it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve been thinking about some of the silly hoops we jump through on nights out, and I’ve come up with two easy ways to make it less stressful:

1. ‘Do’ some feminism. Give it a go – the next time a man ambles towards you all swagger and cheeky grins and you’re willing the ground to swallow you up quick, just mention something vaguely women’s rights related; it’s sleazeball kryptonite.

2. Don’t probe women you’ve never met about their weight, eating habits or appearance. And don’t impart well meaning advice about any of the above. We’re all being conditioned to believe that the way we look is the most significant part of our identity, remember: that message is utter rubbish. Your words have an effect, so take responsibility. Don’t impose your body hangups on other women otherwise you just become part of the cycle of sexism.

Men don’t spend nearly as much time as us before a night out preparing to be diminished to just their appearance, and I’d hazard a guess that while propping up the bar most of them don’t give each other thinly veiled digs about their size. The unwritten rules saying that these are female experiences and female behaviours are just social constructs that are begging to be broken.