Categories
Family Nanny

You Choose The Title

Well the first thing you will notice is the title, or lack of! I thought of ‘The right time to die’, ‘A fantastic father and family’ and ‘A challenging time with Corona virus’ and nothing felt quite right. Choosing a title can be one of the hardest things with these posts, I generally like catchy titles, but probably this time, catchy was not needed. My son has already written an eloquently, heart warming piece about losing his Grandad, so I will try to put my perspective on losing a loved one. I am also aware that we have all had enough doom and gloom recently, so as always, I will try to seek out some positives.

My Dad really was the most amazing, intelligent, funny and lovable man you could meet. My sister and I grew up with little spare money, but family times were so precious and valuable. My Dad seemed to know something about everything. We constantly learnt new facts and skills and a local trip out would be an adventure. He helped us when we both bought our homes with garden projects, electric and plumbing issues, he must have saved us hundreds of pounds!

Although he had health issues and had skipped dying, on at least four occasions! He would come across as fit and capable and was still driving last December. He was managing all household duties and looking after my Mum. He deteriated quite rapidly in the last few weeks and became frail and vulnerable with developing dementia. We were just at the point of getting carers in when he died. He would have hated to be cared for and we knew he was frustrated with his lack of memory. It was distressing to see him like this and I know, sadly, this was the right time for him to pass away.

I now look after my mum and she is probably fed up seeing just me, but due to the lockdown, my face was one of the few she could safely see. I am gradually sorting out her affairs, which has been trying to say the least. Getting to speak to people in banking, pensions and utilities is time consuming and some people are not at all sympathetic. Plus, you get told conflicting information, so it can be very confusing. There is still lots to do, but there is no real hurry.

It has kept me busy, in a time when you can not go to the gym, eat out and see family and friends. I have also occupied myself with jigsaws, our family quiz, guitar playing and family online games. I have missed my children and of course the “Munchkin” terribly and in a time when you want an extra cuddle, you have to do without. (Husband’s cuddles are still frequent, I hasten to add!) although I have missed the munchkin development, I am so pleased my son and daughter-in-law, got to experience it all. I do worry, that he will not really know who I am anymore, but I am sure when we see each other regularly, he will know exactly who all his Nanas are again. We have done WhatsApp phone calls a few times with my mum as well, so he knows half our faces at least!

My Dad loved family, try to not say in a Phil Mitchell voice! and I know his love and closeness to us all, will continue with us for always and we will pass on these values to our little ones.

The positives are that we did not lose my Dad early in his life, or to this wretched virus. My sister and I were with him in hospital, the evening before he died. Something which has been taken away from many, many people. We do not always say the three little words to parents and older children, but actions speak volumes and my Dad knew what he meant to all of us and he was so proud of the fact we all lived nearby and saw each other regularly.

People have learnt to care for strangers in these strange and sad times and shown enormous acts of kindness. I hope this is not forgotten in the future when we get back to normal. I hope other people have reconnected with past friends of long-lost relatives too.

Let’s continue to put others first, keep smiling and love your family, that is just what my Dad would say too.

Thanks for reading,

For updates

Categories
Family

Losing a Loved one in Lockdown

I started this blog thinking the hardest thing I would write about would be the hardest parts of parenting like the tantrums and sleepless nights but this is far harder than any of those.

This is exemplified by the fact I have put it off for weeks now. But I think now, the time is right. But the right time for no reason whatsoever.


My Grandad to me was always a trendsetter, a teacher, a father figure, a hero and the life of the party. He got me into new technology, inspired my passion for gaming (both board and computer types) and taught me skills, both practical and life lessons. He loved family, fuelling our gatherings with humour, taught us everything (from LEDs to croquet), inspiring weird and wonderful games such as ‘badminton over the fence’. It’s safe to he inspired me to become the man and Daddy to Munchkin I am today.

We knew his body was slowly shutting down, but by no means thought it was the end. He has dodged death many times before. On 20 March he went into hospital. Being amidst the Covid-19 outbreak, both me and my Sister decided we should not visit, the last thing we would want would be to bring Covid-19 to him (if we were to have it). Sadly, however, he peacefully lost his fight against heart failure the morning of 21 March.

There lies my first regret and the first issue with losing a loved one during a viral outbreak. I am wholeheartedly gutted and I’m am so sorry I couldn’t come to tell him I loved him or say goodbye even if it was the right decision to stay at home at the time.


We did have permission to visit the hospital and say goodbye in the morning. For this I was and still am so thankful that it was just before lockdown. I imagine this is the first hardship of losing someone since lockdown began. I’m so sorry to anyone who can’t.

On the afternoon of the 21st March the family met in the garden of my Nans at a social distance.

On the morning of the 23rd Me and Natalie decided it was time to self isolate. One loss in the family was enough for this outbreak and we needed to protect our Nan. I think this decision broke my Mums heart. Munchkin had helped everyone the day before and wasn’t ready to stop seeing him.

On the afternoon of March 23 the UK entered lockdown.

Lockdown meant the funeral was delayed and added complications and frustrations for my Mum, Auntie and Nan who were making arrangements. When the funeral would go ahead, I would expect to not have my wife or Munchkin as they topped the numbers permitted.


The day of the funeral arrived and only family were permitted at the crematorium as expected. However, when we left my Nans behind the hearse, neighbours and friends lined the streets instead to clap. There are no words to describe what that meant to us.

With only 10.5 of us (as Natalie and Munchkin were allowed to join us when the day came around) the funeral was different to a typical one with these small numbers, but I think the whole family would agree we gave him the best send off we could.

The Effect of the lockdown

Having never lost someone so close, I don’t know how this mourning malarkey should play out, however I’m certain its been delayed by lockdown. Having not done the normal things such as seeing our family, or going out for meals since, we have not been in the situations where we would be together but we wouldn’t have Grandad with us. Add to that the distraction of a full time Munchkin with me on furlough, I don’t think I’ve had the time to process it much at all.

The lockdown produces challenges and frustrations for every aspect of arrangement. From the funeral to sorting pensions and bills…

Thirdly, while she puts on a positive face, I cannot imagine what my Nan is going through. Now living alone but also staying at home and not seeing family. It is the worst.

Final word

Loss sucks, lockdown sucks and the collective crap of both of these is indescribable. For the many people that have lost someone during this madness, my heart goes out to you, as while this has been difficult for me, I’m hugely grateful I got to say goodbye in the hospital and we all got to attend the funeral. I imagine there have been much harder circumstances for thousands of families recently.

Regardless of those who have lost someone to Covid-19 or any other cause during lockdown. We mourn together.


You will have our love always –

Rest in peace Peter Harris Wakefield 1932 – 2020

Categories
Nanny

The Best Job in the World.

A post by Nanny

Well it’s been a month of looking after munchkin. I am only doing one day a week as amazingly I seem to have become very busy since I retired! I worked for the NHS for 40 years but decided last spring that I had had enough. I lost a large percentage of my pension, to retire 7 years early, but decided that to leave the stress behind was worth it. I finished work early November, but was not needed by my son and daughter-in-law, to look after the Munchkin, until January.

Me and the Munchkin on his first birthday

My husband and I have joined the gym and are going twice a week religiously. Yes, we need to lose weight and get fitter, but we need to keep busy and have new interests. I will venture into the yoga and aqua fit classes at some point, but swimming and the treadmill have been my first priorities.

My dad has also been quite poorly, so I now have some planned time to help my parents, as well as the frequent GP, clinic, optician appointments that are needed. How did I have time to work..!

Back to the Munchkin!! My heart literally leaps to see that fluffy little head and sleepy eyes when he wakes up in the morning. There is the routine of meals, bottles and naps but in between we read books, play and create a mess. He can be so funny with his little ways, clapping and dancing to the music, well rocking on his bottom!

Yes, it is long day as mainly 10-11 hours, but well worth it. We were going for walks the last few weeks, but it’s felt a little cold, for me not him, with not much to see. We’ve now found a local music and play group for two hours in the morning.

Do I have any regrets? Absolutely not. As I said, It’s the best job in the world.

Thanks for reading,

Categories
Development and discovery

Munchkin’s firsts from the first first he conquered.

From birth to 9 months, this post is there to celebrate all the firsts our Munchkin has conquered so far with lots of piccies. But by no means make any comparisons as every baby develops at their own rate 😊.

Month one

After five long days in the post-natal ward following the arrival of our Munchkin was the first trip home.

Home time!

Then only a mere two days later he attended his first party, my cousins 30th!

To top off the month and athough against the advice, he went on his first shopping trip at week 2.

Month two

March was time for Munchkins first photo shoot.

Month Three

Then attended his first wedding.

Which was such a lovely wedding we did our first smile (though not necessarily the cause).

and had our first swim or rather our first float…

Month Four

We visited our first National Trust property. Something we hope our Munchkin will love in the future.

We went to meet the Wifey’s extended family and had our first trip to a very windy beach!

We had our first family holiday at Center Parcs in which we had our first swimming lesson. Munchkin slept a lot here!

Month Five

Month five had my first daddy thing, my first fathers day 😍

Month Six

We gawped and gasped at our first Sea Life Centre visit, as a turtle swam above us.

The first day of Daddy looking after Munchkin on shared parental leave happened. There was no time for photos on that day unsurpisingly!

Month Seven

We had our first taste of solid food with our first teeth!

Month 8

We celebrate our eight months by becoming the first UK rep place for The Trendy Tyke.

And to finish it all off he has his second photo shoot. Mummy and Daddy then compare this to the first shoot and marvel at how fast time has passed.

Phew!

Thats all the firsts with first photos. We now look forward to the future firsts! (I thought I’d keep the alliteration.

Thanks for reading,

Daddy and Munchkin

Categories
Nanny

Nine months a Nanny and Natalie

Well let’s start at the very beginning.

I knew that Stephen and Natalie wanted children and would not hang about in producing a little bundle of joy. So it was summer 2018, just 18 months after getting married, that I was handed this envelope. This opened to produce a pop up cube with a scan picture, coloured balloons and a very happy picture of the two of them.

The pop out card from Boomf

So this started the extra element of worry! Yes, I am a worrier and my main cause of my worry is my two children. I find it hard to let go, even though they are now adults in steady relationships, with good jobs and good health. I’m sure I’m not the only parent who knows this feeling!

So first there was the 12 week scan and blood tests, the 20 week scan and so on. Natalie took maternity leave on the Friday 15th and had precisely 15 hours to herself, before going into labour. They live 30 mins from the local hospital but the munchkin came that quickly, his middle name was nearly A47!

So that was the start.

The last nine months have been wonderful, it has been an absolute joy to have this lovely little boy in our family. He is so smiley and has huge blue eyes that miss nothing. He puts his arms around you now, so gives you a cuddle.

I worry that he will forget me if I do not see him every week, so will relish looking after him once a week, next January.

Natalie had a good pregnancy and delivery and is amazing as a Mummy. Obviously, I could talk about my son’s good points until the cows come home, but this post is to be about Natalie. She has coped well with every aspect of parenthood, has only just stopped breast feeding the little munchkin and is now back to working full-time. I could not have picked a better Mummy for my grandson.

The love they both have for him, just shines out, and he has lots of family who feel the same, he is a very lucky baby.

Thanks for reading,

Nanny and Munchkin.

Updates in your email?

Categories
Development and discovery Family Parent Shared Parental Leave

An average week of Daddy and Munchkin

After a lovely weekend, which of course every weekend is, that dreaded Monday comes around again. Mummy leaves early in the morning and we are left to our own devices again. When I say dreaded though it’s just that we miss her, not that we aren’t looking forward to a wonderful week of Daddy and Munchkin time again.

Monday starts with a lovely 30 minute stroll then half an hour of rhyme time and 15 minutes of play with all the other cute local babies. This covers (with associated actions of course) everything from ‘Five little ducklings’ to ‘Hickory dickory dock’. It also acts as a lovely little morning arm workout with ‘I’m a little baby, I fly high’ amongst other songs which involve lifting a Munchkin who’s getting heavier and heavier by the week. With the walk and the baby lifting during the rhymes it’s a perfect start to the week with a little exercise for Daddy. Its also a great place to make some parent friends and for Munchkin to meet other little dots.

Walking to Rhyme time



The only other regular activity is on Thursday with baby swimming. We leave in the morning for our 50 minute drive. There were closer courses, but not at this price making it worth the travel. Baby swimming not only gets Munchkin into swimming itself but also teaches important safety skills such as spitting out water, how to turn and how to climb out if he accidently fell in water. We had done plenty of kicking when playing at home but now we are kicking in the water too (one of the firsts that Daddy got to witness) 😊.

Ready to swim

That leaves us three other days. We make sure get out on at least two of them. Usually once a week we go with Nanny G to see Munchkin’s Great Grandparents. Then on the other days I either take Munchkin into work to see my work mates, to our local friends or his Guardians, or just on a walk around the local area. We fill the rest of the time with playing on his play mat and activity gym, practising sitting and crawling, and reading.

Munchkin loves a ‘That’s not my…. ‘ book.



As hard as it can be to get out nearly every day it’s important for both of us. One week I was so exhausted I spent two days at home in a row and it just made me fall into a miserable state. So even if it’s just a short walk, it can make improve the most difficult days.

Thanks for reading,

Daddy and Munchkin.