The Poo-splosion

Good afternoon everyone, and welcome back to A.P Writing! I’ve written a little short story for you all. This is a story for all the parents out there who have had to deal with a poo-splosion when changing their child’s nappy. I hope this story will make you smile and possibly even laugh. It will certainly show you that not all aspects of parenthood are glamourous. Enjoy folks, and let me know what you think.

It was hard to tell how early Ezra had woken him, but a dewy, white light was beginning to creep in through the windows. Too early, Adam thought glumly to himself; he was slouched in a chair opposite the windows, his dishevelled black hair a mess. Last night had been another to forget, sleep nothing more than wishful thinking. The sleepless nights had started melding into one of late, for Ezra’s night-time routine had completely disappeared. Not that anyone could’ve guessed, Ezra’s luscious blue eyes were transfixed on his favourite teddy, all tiredness long gone from his delicate body. He’d just had his breakfast, and the blueberry fruit pouch remnants were splattered all over the front of his vest. A loud, vibrant TV show was playing in the background. The multitude of colours meaning it could be only one thing, a children’s programme. Adam hated this particular show, especially at the early hour he was being forced to watch it. Ezra, however, was finding it hilarious. He chuckled away to himself like only a baby can, oblivious to everything around him.

The latch clacked down and suddenly his blond head whirled to look up at his mother, Chantelle. She’d just closed the stairgate and was making her way into the living room. Judging by the sore, puffy look of her eyes, she was just as exhausted as Adam. After trying valiantly to rub the earliness from her face, Chantelle eventually gave up, deciding that the best place for her was also on the chair. “How are you feeling babe?”, Adam asked, already knowing the answer but ready anyway. “Tired”. He knew better than to continue the conversation. Chantelle, like most parents, needed time to adjust to the youth of the hour. Ezra had started launching toys from his toy box across the front room, a cheeky giggle accompanying every chuck. He caught his mother’s eyes then, and she smiled. “So, why did you keep mummy and daddy up all night then?”, she chided as Adam pulled an accusing look towards his son as well. If Ezra had felt any regret though, it certainly didn’t show. Instead he showed off his two newly grown bottom teeth, all smile and chuckles again. “I’m going to make breakfast”, Adam announced suddenly, sauntering up from the sofa, unlatching the gate and closing it behind him.

When he returned, it was with a bowl full of cornflakes. So full was the bowl that some of the golden clusters cascaded over the side and onto the floor. Ezra hadn’t noticed his return, which was strange; the boy never missed a trick. “I gave him that new breakfast pouch we bought the other day. He seemed to enjoy it, but has been farting all morning though”. Chantelle’s smile was one full of sarcasm, “Oh I can see that”, she replied, “just look at the state of his top”. In her defence, he had forgotten to put a bib on Ezra, again. A splotchy blue mess of blueberry flavoured breakfast pouch now encased his formally clean, white, dinosaur pyjama top.

As his parent’s talk faded into insignificance, Ezra started, ears pricking to attention. His tummy gurgled suddenly as he rolled from back to front in order to sit up. His dad’s voice was somehow unexpected, and then Ezra knew why. The gate hadn’t clacked shut. Turning quickly while another gurgle hit his belly, pure glee spread across Ezra’s face. Straight in-front of him, something unimaginable had happened. The stairgate stood wide open; oh, daddy will be angry when he realises thought Ezra mischievously. Returning to his stomach, Ezra hatched a hasty plan for escape. He’d always wanted to explore the flat away from mummy and daddy’s watchful eyes, but never until now had such an opportunity so readily presented itself. Coyly, and with as much innocence as he could muster, Ezra inched forward. An overturned teddy with flappy ears, recently discarded from his toy box, sat halfway between the stairgate and where he lay. If I can just get to the teddy without mummy or daddy noticing, I might be able to get out through the stairgate as well. Excitement filled him then, even when another unexplained rumble from within tried to dampen his spirit. Chantelle, still half asleep on the sofa, and Adam, who was stuffing his face full of cornflakes, were oblivious to their son’s plan of escape.

So, without wasting a second, Ezra rose onto his knees and plodded forward, trying his best to look casual. Within four long limbed movements he’d reached his teddy and snuggled into it; both mummy and daddy, to his relief, hadn’t noticed a thing. Now it was time for phase two to begin: getting from his teddy to the stairgate. He wanted to giggle again knowing how close he was to freedom, but that would only draw attention to himself; so he stifled the laugh and smiled. Only two more crawls and he reached the stairgate, sighing inwardly when he eventually touched the metal bars undetected. It opened easily, the top sliding forward and out of view. A rush Ezra had never experienced shot through his stocky frame as one hand crossed the other; he was soon away in a flash out into the hallway. WOW! Although he’d seen this part of the flat more times than he could remember, Ezra had never been alone when doing so. Reluctantly, he realised that he was small and insignificant in such a large space. His stomach gurgled once more, maybe this isn’t such a good idea after all. Glancing back, Ezra watched forlornly as his favourite TV show finished and another took its place, I think I should go back, he thought, scared. But you’ve made it this far! As doubts continued to grow, Ezra caught sight of the kitchen in the distance; another thought grew even more quickly: food. The hallway was squarely shaped and a clothes dryer stood to Ezra’s right, heaped almost to breaking point by the amount of clothes atop it. Now he was torn. This new found freedom was like a new world to him; the kitchen beckoned but so did everything else in sight. All thoughts of turning back were swiftly forgotten as Ezra reached out and grabbed a sock attached to the clothes dryer. Something told him that pulling it would be a good idea, but it really wasn’t. In obvious fashion, the clothes dryer clattered down in a heap as he rolled under it. Immediately, he wanted to scream for mummy, but somehow, he managed to say to himself DON’T MAKE A SOUND!

In a rush of panic, he rolled again, trying desperately to kick off a group of bibs and socks that dangled above him. Soon, however, Ezra’s fear turned into joy. This is kinda fun he thought menacingly, as eventually a foot won through and he saw the hallway once more. After another solid kick Ezra managed to sit up and crawl away; the lights in the hallway were switched off, leaving a gloomy feel behind. His tummy grumbled again, but this time felt worse, much worse. Before he could stop it, a tiny fart escaped and was swiftly followed by another. Ignore it, come on, he wanted desperately to explore further, just forget about your tummy and keep moving. Moments later his troubles within abated. Ezra’s mischievous grin returned as after taking a quick look back to make sure mummy and daddy were still half asleep, he plodded on forward.

The kitchen beckoned and many interesting things were passed along the way. The bathroom’s huge white door came into view on his left, but he decided against entering; its spooky open feel always left him feeling unnerved. Continuing to march forward, Ezra caught sight of the thing his mummy called the hoover; he’d never been so close to it before. Somehow It wasn’t so scary now that it couldn’t make any sound, but it still frightened him. Perhaps it was the way it loomed dangerously above him, or maybe the way it unfurled like a snake when touched. Whatever the reason, Ezra was relieved to finally reach the kitchen doorway, leaving the hoover well in his wake. Immediately, he was hit by a sharp brightness as his developing eyes tried to adjust; daddy had left the kitchen lights on. I’ve done it he thought proudly, I’ve finally outsmarted mummy and daddy. Now that his eyes had acclimatised to the much brighter reality of the kitchen, Ezra took in his new surroundings in awe. He wanted desperately to smack the bin and make lots of noise, as he’d done that before when mummy was with him. The bin was a deep shiny bronze in colouration, and Ezra could see his toothy reflection whenever he looked at it. You can’t do that now he told himself sternly, mummy and daddy would be in here straight away if they heard.

So, with just a hint of frustration dampening his excitement, Ezra crawled on past the bin and into the kitchens centre. Involuntarily, his stomach twitched. This time the gurgling didn’t pass; it ran from the top of his belly all the way to the bottom. Another fart escaped. Doggedly determined to try and make the most of his freedom, Ezra brushed the feelings off. Instead he looked around the room for something to take his mind away from all the jittery gurgling. Up high upon one of the kitchen sides was the family fish tank. A rainbow of fanciful colours darted around all at once: red, blues and whites swimming as fast as they could. Ezra found them truly spectacular to look at, and for a brief moment they helped him forget the discomfort he was feeling. All to soon however, the gurgling was back, and this time with a vengeance that simply couldn’t be stopped. I have to fart he panicked, squirming left and right as the inevitable eventually took its course. If I can just hold … but it was too late. The most voluminous fart to have ever escaped his bottom erupted then; so powerful was its force that it smacked off the tiled floor like a thunder clap. Ezra burst into tears when he realized it was not just a fart, as his wonderfully white pyjama bottoms turned an alarming shade of brown. He’d pooped, and by the feel of his sodden nappy, this was turning into quite an explosion. He wailed and screamed out, catching his reflection in the bin once more, the poo-splosion rapidly spreading up his back. His pyjamas made a horrible squishy sound whenever he moved now. Quicker than lightening, Chantelle sprinted into the kitchen, a look of worry masking her tired face. Adam rushed in behind her and stood by the freezer, directly in front of Ezra. “That’s one for you to change”, he joked, indicating Chantelle, but she was already one step ahead of him, “it’s too late for that, look at the mess. Go and run a bath. QUICK!”. As quickly as Adam had entered the Kitchen, he was back out of it, the bath’s gushing water already unleashed. Ezra looked longingly up at his mother then and continued to cry. “It’s ok darling, don’t worry”, she soothed, kneeling down and cradling him close. Despite the poo-splosion, Ezra needed the reassurance that only a mother could give, the reassurance that everything was going to be ok. As soon as his mother’s embrace enclosed him, a calming sensation took over. The tears that only a moment before had flowed uncontrollably were now dissipating, a curve to his upper lip signalling the return of another cheeky smile. “Oh I’m glad you’re finding this funny now young man”, laughed Chantelle, clearly relieved that nothing more sinister had come from her sons little sojourn in the kitchen. As she started stripping Ezra down, much to the disgust of her nostrils, Adam popped his head around the door and said “the bath is done”. Only moments later, Ezra was carried at arms length from the kitchen and dunked with a splash straight into a warm, cosy bubble bath. Thinking to himself all the while what a wonderful poop-tastic morning it had been.

Opening up about Crohn’s disease

Welcome back to A.P Writing everyone! I hope you’re all well. As the title suggests, I’ll be discussing why it can be so hard to open up about having crohn’s in this post. I’ve stated in numerous posts previously just how horrible having crohn’s disease can be, but in this post, I’ll be explaining why it’s even harder not being able to express how it feels to others.

Nobody understands how I feel
If you suffer from some form of IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), whether that’s crohn’s, UC, or colitis, you’ll probably have felt at some point that you’re all alone. When you try to explain to someone that you suffer from this invisible disease and they just stare back blankly, it can be frustrating. I’ve been there more times than I can count, but it’s not a reason to keep how we’re feeling to ourselves. Trying to educate people on some of the things we have to deal with is an important step in breaking the stigma surrounding IBDs. For someone who’s never felt the pain and fatigue that crohn’s can cause, it can be hard to comprehend. However, there are lots of people who do understand, who do want to learn about the affects of these diseases. Don’t ever feel scared to open up because you feel that someone won’t understand your illness; it is a part of who you are, and therefore important that they understand.

Isn’t IBD just IBS?
The answer to that question is absolutely not. Let me tell you from someone that suffers from crohn’s disease, comparing it to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) can at times, frustrate the life out of me. Now, I’m not saying IBS is a walk in the park; it can also be a very nasty thing to have to deal with. I just don’t feel that the two can be compared, and worrying that people will compare IBD to IBS might prevent people from opening up properly. There are some similarities in the symptoms caused by both IBD and IBS, but the long term affects differ quite significantly.

I’m embarrassed by my illness
In response to the above, I’ll put this question to you: why are you embarrassed? I think understanding the answer to that question makes talking about your illness easier. Having an IBD can be embarrassing if you let yourself believe that it must be that way. I used to get really uptight about everything: going out, meeting friends, putting on weight, losing weight. The reason for this was because of how I perceived my illness would come across to others; this caused me to feel embarrassed by it. As I grew older though, It became clear to me that crohn’s is never going to go away, so why not embrace it? There are some really horrible affects that having an IBD can have on you and your body, but if you let them get to you, it will be hard to shake that embarrassed feeling. Being bloated is something I deal with on daily basis with crohn’s disease. I’m not talking about being a little bloated; I’m talking about looking like I’m 6 months pregnant. This used to prevent me entering any social situations because of how awkward and uncomfortable I felt, but I realised I couldn’t live my life like that. Being fatigued is also a bit of a struggle, but I try to manage my time and energy as realistically as possible. If we don’t explain to people about these things, how are they to know that we’re experiencing them? Being open and honest will take away some of that embarrassed feel and allow you to live your life too.

I feel awful
There will be times during your life if you suffer from an IBD when you feel truly awful. This could be because you’re having a particularly bad flare up, or perhaps you are going through a period where your medication isn’t working and you’re feeling incredibly fatigued. I personally feel that it’s important in these situations to be honest; if you’re ill and struggling, let people know what you’re going through. Of course, this is personal to the individual. Some people may prefer to recover quietly without making others aware, and I have to say that I can understand that mentality as well. I have a select group of people I talk to when I’m suffering from a flare up; I couldn’t go through it on my own. So, next time a friend contacts you to ask why you’ve been absent, perhaps it would be beneficial to open up and let them in a little. You might find that you open up another support network for yourself, and I’ve found that most people tend to be very understanding when you discuss how you’re really feeling.

It’ll be easier for everyone if I keep quiet
When I’m ill, I sometimes feel that I’ll be burdening someone by opening up about how I’m feeling. I feel that my problems will end up becoming their problems which isn’t fair. I used to do this all the time at work; I’d turn up feeling miserable and wanting to be anywhere else but there. The truth is I didn’t make anyone’s life easier by doing this, and more than once my employer sent me home because they could tell I wasn’t fit enough to be at work. By opening up and talking to them I could’ve recovered properly, and they could’ve organised suitable cover in time. It shouldn’t come to the point where you have to push yourself through fatigue, pain, and everything else that comes with an IBD. Your recovery is the most important thing, and unfortunately we have to become a little selfish in those types of situation. We have to put our health first; don’t be afraid to say that openly. If you’re not well enough to work or go out, then tell people; the only person you should be trying to make things easier for is yourself. So, put yourself and your illness first when you need to; don’t brush it aside because you feel like it’s less important than everything else.

Will people think I’m weird?
Having an IBD can, at times, make us feel uncomfortable about ourselves and how will be perceived by other people. There are things we have to go through that from the outside might seem quite weird. A few examples might include: colonoscopies, regular weight loss, poor appetite, and fatigue. It can be hard to grasp why someone would have to experience some of those things on a regular basis, and this is exactly why we need to talk to people so they do understand. You’re not weird because you have an IBD; it’s just a part of who you are, and that’s the truth. Like I stated earlier, I embrace it now. Having crohn’s has impacted my life in such a huge way that it is important to me that others understand that. I’m not worried about people thinking I’m weird anymore, and if someone won’t understand or show me support, that is their problem, not mine. Like I stated previously, I have a close group of people I talk to who motivate me and keep me going when things get hard. They don’t think what I’m going through is weird, and that support counts for a lot. I was particularly worried about starting a course of Inflectra treatment; I worried for a moment whether people would think that was weird. The more you open up the easier it gets though; you’ll have less pressure to bare and more people there to support you. Have a joke about things every so often, and laugh when things get a little scary because it really does make everything seem less daunting. That has been the only way I’ve made it through the last few months as my health deteriorated.

Will I be taken seriously?
I’m sure we’ve all been here before. You try and explain to someone the affects of your illness or how it impacts you, but they just don’t take you seriously. I’ve been told that my IBD is just another form of IBS; I’ve been told by people that don’t suffer from an IBD what will work and what won’t. While I’m writing this, I’d just like to point out that everyone who suffers from an IBD is different. What works for some might not work for others in terms of treatment, diet, and lifestyle. If you know someone with an IBD, listen to what they are saying and not what you’ve heard from someone else; there is no universal cure for an IBD, and each individual is fighting their own personal battle. When I get comments like those above, I switch off now. If that person isn’t interested in listening to what I have to say then they’re not worth the effort involved in trying to explain. The vast majority of people will take what you have to say seriously, and for those that don’t , let them be. There is no point getting stressed; that will only make the situation worse. Keep calm and open up too the people who do deserve your time; open up too the people who will support you and take what you have to say seriously. An IBD can be hard to understand sometimes, especially for people who haven’t experienced what they can be like. I feel this is because it is possible to enter remission; it is possible to lead a normal life when our IBD is managed correctly. However, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously at all times. I’ve experienced recently just how volatile crohn’s can be; it can be like flicking a switch sometimes. It will always be there.

I’m going to finish this post by stating just how important it is that we keep opening up and talking about IBD. Raising awareness will break any stigma that surrounds an IBD, which will make suffering and living with one far more normal in today’s society. We shouldn’t live in an age where we are scared to talk to people about how our illness is affecting us; I personally feel if that is the case then we’re going backwords. Having an IBD can have a huge impact on someone’s life, and they shouldn’t feel like they need to keep that to themselves. Whatever form you want to take in terms of raising awareness is positive. It could be simply having a conversation with someone and telling them about your symptoms, or maybe it’s doing a charitable walk. For me, I’m trying to raise as much awareness through A.P Writing as possible, and as the my blog grows, hopefully so will the awareness surrounding IBD.

Thanks as always for taking the time to read through my post everyone! I look forward to writing the next one. Please feel free to follow me on Facebook and Instagram.
Adam

Ezra

Evening everyone! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful day. I’ve written another poem for you. This one is dedicated to my son: Ezra. It details the first 11 months of his life and how my life has changed. This is for all the parents out there; I hope you enjoy it.

I did not know where I was heading; yet I knew I could be found. You arrived late one evening, and since then we’ve been homeward bound.

That first sight of you brought tears I’d never had before, little did I know, they were to be the first of many more.

I held you close in those moments, scared and tired but not alone. No, from that day forth, me and mummy brought you home.

Words could never do justice too how proud I was that day. You became the most important thing to me; I’m not afraid to say.

Your smile has stolen a thousand hearts, so beautiful and carefree. It was cast lovingly across your face, plain for all to see.

Those first few months brought new meaning to my life, when before there had been none. It’s only now when I look back, I can see how far we’ve both come.

But not all has flown by easily; having a child can be hard. I’ve cried and laughed in unison, along each and every yard.

There have been times when all I’ve done is worry, so fearless can you be. Maybe when you’re my age you’ll see what I can see.

It won’t be long now, and you’ll have been with us a year. Thinking back to your birth and the hospital, It brings back a little tear.

But in that time, you’ve learned so much; nothing can hold you still. You’re walking and talking already; never have you had your fill.

I’ll be pleased when all your learning has finished so I can sleep once more. My eyes have hardly closed this last year, and now they are pretty sore.

But who can blame your restlessness when everything is so new? I forget sometimes how wonderfully alive it must feel, being as young as you.

My only hope is that I’m good enough for you; I want to be the best dad I can be. I want to make you proud, to have a dad like me.

Together we can strive into the bright future, watching as it unfurls. Just remember little man, you are my entire world.

Dark Doors

Evening everyone! I hope you’ve all had an amazing day; mine has been absoloutely hectic. I’ve written another short poem called Dark Doors. This poem focuses on some the negative feelings I’ve had when it comes to believing in myself and chasing my goals. I hope you enjoy it.

Through those dark doors I must go, for what I might find, who can know.

The road is treacherous and full of holes, but why should that stop my lofty goals?

Truth bombards me but remains as yet unseen; failure is somewhere I’ve often been.

When light turns to dark and I can no longer see, will I remember who I’m to be?

Soon I must break free and take my bow; perhaps that time is here and now.

It’s time, it’s time, it’s time for me the see, if I can be this person I know to be me.

Getting through the night

Welcome everyone! I hope all is well with you. As I’ve stated in previous posts, A.P Writing is a blog that focuses on crohns disease, writing, and being first time parents. I’ll be varying what I write accordingly; today’s post is dedicated to the struggles that parents can face when trying to get their child to sleep. Over the last 10 months I’ve learned so much as a father, but getting Ezra to sleep through the night is something we’re still working on. It’s always one of the first jokes thrown your way when you announce you’re expecting a baby: well you better get used to living with no sleep. You’ll probably just laugh the joke off when it comes, but believe me, that joke is so annoyingly true. Sleep is something that all new parents learn to live without during the first year of their baby’s existence. It’s not something to be embarrassed about; it’s just part of being a parent. Being honest about how little sleep you’re getting is important; most parents are experiencing the same things. So, with all of that in mind, I’ll be using my experience with Ezra over the last 10 months to discuss what did and didn’t work for us. Hopefully this post will help you to avoid some of the mistakes that we made along the way.

Routine is key
This might seem a little obvious, but it is so important. Getting your baby into a routine as early as you feel comfortable with will make sleep realistic in the long term. During the early new-born stage setting a routine can be difficult, but with perseverance it will come. As first time parents it is hard for me and Chantelle because we’re constantly learning on the job; there is no hard-set rule book that contains the answers to our catalogue of questions. We used to let Ezra nap whenever he liked during the day, afternoon and evening. Of course, looking back now we realize our mistake, but it wasn’t until someone pointed out that he was sleeping to late in the day that we understood why he couldn’t sleep through the night. At first you might feel like a bad parent, you ask yourself how did I not know that? However, how are we expected to know? Don’t put yourself down, just learn, adapt, and move on. Having a solid night-time routine isn’t always a precursor for sleep, but it’s a very good start. Ezra now has two naps a day; he has one in the morning and one before 3pm. If he sleeps after 3pm then he won’t settle for bed. At 5pm he has his dinner which is followed by a bath at 7pm and then bed. This process is what we’ve come to learn works well for Ezra and also for us.

Listen to the right advice
I feel this is perhaps one of the most important pieces of advice I can give. When you have a child there will be a hundred different people ready to give their advice for any issue you might have. The vast majority of people mean well, but the advice isn’t always helpful. Everyone has an opinion on why your baby won’t sleep; learning to take on board the advice that will help is not always easy. We tried everything with Ezra, listening to as much advice from as many different people as possible. That may have been from close friends, family, or things we’d read online, but we were still struggling to get Ezra to sleep. As parents you can begin to panic, especially when you know of other parents who are successfully getting their children to sleep. Eventually we contacted a specialist nurse from the baby centre to discuss what we were doing wrong. She immediately identified Ezra’s naps being to late in the day, the fact that he was having to many naps, and also told us to try settling him in his room more often that we were. I remained sceptical, but the next night Ezra slept for 5 hours straight from 7pm to 12pm. I couldn’t believe it; just like that, crash, bang, wallop, he was settling into a routine. We weren’t made to feel like bad parents after listening to the nurse’s advice; she was realistic. Now we’ve adapted her advice and turned it into a real routine for Ezra; his sleep still isn’t perfect, but it is much more manageable. So, if you’re really struggling and everyone else’s advice isn’t working, seek someone who has experience and whose job it is to identify where, if anywhere, you could adjust certain things. Don’t sit there wondering what you’re doing wrong because the truth is that you’re not doing anything wrong; you just might need to tweak a few things that’s all.

Nobody knows your child better than you
As parents, and especially new parents, it can be extremely difficult to listen to your gut instinct. We often lack the confidence that experience can bring, but nobody knows your baby better than you. This is why I feel it is important to listen to your own advice; listening to what you feel is right for your child can often lead to good results with sleep, also. If the advice being given to you doesn’t feel right, if you think it will have a negative effect, you don’t have to listen to it. Of course, don’t throw away good advice from reliable sources that you trust, but be realistic. We spend the most time with our children; we know which things could work and which won’t. Try not to let yourself feel pressured into trying something because it worked for someone else; you should be optimistic that it will work for you and your child before trying it.

Make their room feel like their room
We all like to have our own little home comforts, and it’s no different for your child. Making their room a space that they want to be in will allow them to feel comfortable. That space can then become somewhere that they associate with sleep; they won’t feel so restless being left in the room by themselves. We were advised to try and get Ezra to take all his naps in his room as well as his night-time sleep. This is something we tried and found successful to begin with, but Ezra now won’t nap for more than 20 minutes at a time in his room during the day. We don’t get disheartened though; the older he gets the less nap time he’s needing. This is something we’re learning to accept, but it just goes to prove not everything will work when trying to set a routine. We are listening to our own advice on the matter now that we’ve gained the experience: Ezra simply doesn’t need to nap for as long during the day.

Create a calming space
This is another piece of advice that might sound pretty obvious, but it is something that me and Chantelle didn’t take seriously to begin with. Ezra seemed to be able to fall asleep at any time of the day with as much noise as possible. We simply didn’t think that noise during the night-time would affect him, but it really did. The nurse explained how important it was that during the night he was surrounded by calm; so, we made changes and the results were pretty instantaneous. This advice happened to coincide with us moving Ezra into his own room, but still, I think that making his room as quiet and calm as possible really helped encourage him to sleep. We tried hard to minimise the outside noise reaching Ezra’s room, paying particular attention to things like how loud our TV was and how much general we noise we made once he was asleep. Some parents find that black out blinds are very useful; I must admit that this is something we haven’t tried before. They may be something we try in the future though. Another thing that we worked hard on was trying to regulate the temperature within Ezra’s room so he is comfortable while he sleeps; we aimed to get his room to a medium temperature of 22 degrees.

Falling into a deep sleep
This might be something that just works for me, but I find that Ezra needs time to fall into a deep sleep before being put into his cot. I rock him until he falls asleep and then wait for 30 minutes to make sure that he is really settled and comfortable. I do this in his room; it is important that he knows he’s in his room when he goes to sleep to prevent any panic should he unsettle during the night. By leaving him for that extra 30 minutes, I find that he is much easier to place in his cot and less likely to unsettle when being put down. The temptation is often to put our child straight down once they’re asleep. It’s been a long day and you’ve got things you want to do, and for some parents this might work, for others it might not. It is a technique that certainly works for me however.

Learn when enough is enough
Ezra is notorious for waking at 10pm: It is a lottery as to whether he goes back to sleep or wants to get up. I’ve had many nights where I contemplated my sanity whilst trying to settle Ezra once he’d woken. Over time, experience taught me that sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and get up with him. As much as I don’t want to, mentally and emotionally it can be incredibly frustrating continuing to try and getting nowhere fast. I’ve learned to get up and let Ezra play for a while; this allows him to burn off any excess energy, hopefully encouraging further sleep when he starts to tire once more. This method isn’t ideal, but it keeps me from becoming upset or frustrated, and when I’ve been dragged out of bed during the night, that’s important. I now work on the assumption that if I cannot settle Ezra within the hour, it’s probably best to get up with him.

Be prepared with night-time necessities
I’ve been caught out numerous times during the night and lost out on sleep because I’ve not been prepared. Now, what are the night-time necessities I hear some of you ask? The night-time necessities include nappies, wet wipes, bottle preparation and anything else you feel you or your child might need were they to wake during the night. The last thing you want to be doing when your child wakes up during the night is trying to find the wet wipes or making a bottle. By the time you’ve succeeded in doing those things, your child might have woken up fully and another long night will ensue. I like to make sure I have a pack of nappies and wet wipes set aside on Ezra’s bedside table that are purely to be used during the night. I know where they are and can get access to them easily. I have a similar routine with Ezra’s bottles as well; I sterilise two before bed and fill them with sterilised water. If Ezra were to unsettle during the night, all I have to do is add his milk powder and they’re good to go. This process saves time, and I find that the more efficient the process is, the easier Ezra is to get back to sleep.

Co-sleeping – Yes or No?
There seems to be some stigma surrounding co-sleeping. I’ve been told many times how letting your child co-sleep with you can significantly affect their sleep routine, especially when they get older. Transitioning them into their own room can become troublesome if they’re not used to sleeping in a room by themselves. All those points have some form of truth to them. I do believe that co-sleeping indefinitely could lead to problems with sleep in the future, but it is important to be realistic. As parents we need sleep as well. I’m not afraid to admit that with Ezra, both me and Chantelle have let him co-sleep because it was the only way we could get any sleep ourselves. We try to limit co-sleeping whenever possible now though, but occasionally Ezra will end up co-sleeping with us. It can become counterproductive to stay up all night trying to settle your child in their cot when you know that they’ll drop right off to sleep in your bed. The outlook I have towards co-sleeping now is that it’s a last resort, but I will let Ezra co-sleep if I’ve exhausted all options and cannot get him to settle in his room.

Remain positive
Another obvious piece of advice for you here, but again, it’s important. Trying to remain positive and not get frustrated with yourself, your partner, and your child is not always easy, especially during the night when you’re tired. We mustn’t get disheartened though. When Ezra has an unsettled night, which thankfully isn’t very often anymore, I tell myself that tomorrow will be better. Having that attitude allows me to remain calm and get through the night. If you tell yourself it’ll get easier, it often does get easier because we learn and get better at dealing with certain situations.

Letting your child know who is boss
At times your child will push your limits just because they can: Ezra is a master at this. It’s amazing how someone so small can be so good at winding you up, but sometimes being stern can be the answer. Me and Ezra have had many babbling conversations late at night where I try and convince him that going back to sleep is a good idea. It doesn’t always work, but on occasion, I do have some success. If Ezra wakes me up at stupid o’clock now, he knows that there will be no TV and no lights. This way I’m trying to teach him that it’s not playtime; sometimes being stern like this works and sometimes it doesn’t, but you won’t know unless you try.

Alternate roles with your partner
Deciding on which role suits you when it comes to the night-time with your child can make all the difference in the long term. Alternating and sharing these roles with your partner makes the whole routine more efficient, and often it can become less stressful when you know there is a plan in place. Chantelle used to do the entire night-time routine all by herself, and I used to get up and do the morning routine with Ezra while she caught up on any sleep she’d missed. For a time, this worked, but it can be a lot for one person to deal with. As Covid-19 swept across the world our roles merged; I am now around a lot more and able to get up with Ezra during the night. We always go to bed with a plan for who is going to be getting up should Ezra unsettle during the night. This helps to take the pressure away from the situation and avoid any arguments. We’ve had some of our biggest rows in the early hours of the morning because we were both exhausted and didn’t have a plan in place for who would be getting up. It’s natural to get frustrated in those types of situations; If there is a plan in place however, you can avoid them entirely. If one parent is tired because they’ve been up during the night, then you swap roles and allow them time to catch up on sleep. If this is something you’ve not done or haven’t considered, it might be worth having a conversation with your partner.

Turn their routine into your routine
Quite often, the only time we get to do the things we want to do during the day or night is when our child is asleep. So, turn their sleep time into your time. If you know they get tired at 7pm, make sure you plan to do the things important to you when that time comes. Ezra goes to sleep at 7pm most nights; I always work on my writing and read my book once he has gone to sleep. He’ll normally wake between 3am-5am and want a bottle and bum change, and when I get him back down to sleep again, I study for an hour. That is his routine and I need to work my time around it. Chantelle likes to use this time to catch up on any TV she’s missed and just generally unwind. We also spend the time together as a couple because although we’re together for most of the day, Ezra takes up nearly all of our focus. It can be hard to give the kind of attention to your partner that they deserve, so, utilise this time when you do have it and let your partner know how important they are. I like to plan what I’m going to do when Ezra goes to sleep which may sound a bit extreme, but if I don’t plan what I’ll be doing, the time often passes by and is wasted.

Reassure yourself with reliable equipment
When your child transitions from sleeping in your room to their own room, it can be just as worrying and hard on the parents as well. Both me and Chantelle were petrified because we weren’t able to simply roll over during the night and check on Ezra in his cot. This is why it’s important to use equipment that you can trust and allows you to sleep easy. The first thing we did when we moved Ezra into his own room was buy a video baby monitor. Initially we had looked at the ordinary baby monitors that only pick up sound, but having had an honest conversation, we both agreed that neither of us would be able to sleep if we couldn’t see what Ezra was up to as well as hear him. It took us quite a while to choose a cot we liked; we wanted him to be as comfy and settled as possible to encourage sleep. Ezra also has a stargazer in his room because the lights seem to settle him. Perhaps your child has a favourite teddy or blanket that they can’t sleep without, or maybe they prefer to settle in a sleep bag. Whatever works for them is important, but it’s almost more important that we’re relaxed as parents. If your child is asleep but you’re worried because you can’t see them, you’re not going to sleep properly are you? Investing in good, reliable equipment can take away all that stress and allow you to sleep when the opportunity presents itself.

Thanks for taking the time to read through my blog post everyone! I really hope some of my experiences can help you. Please feel free to give the post a like and follow me on Facebook and Instagram. I’ll see you all real soon.

Adam

Things Yet To Come

Welcome everyone! I’ve written a little poem for you all. It is only short, but I feel it contrasts some of the emotions I’ve felt over the last few months. These emotions have come from the covid-19 struggle, becoming ill, and learning to adapt. I must admit, I’m more than a little nervous posting this poem, but we all must start small. So, here you are, I hope you enjoy it.

I do not know what the future holds, but I don’t like what I see. The landscape is dark and foreboding, not somewhere I want to be.

Uncertainty flows untamed in this new world of ours, streaking ahead and forcing an abide. All the while, our belief descends further down by the wayside.

Fear’s grip begins to take root as we start to falter. Somewhere deep inside, instinct tells us to be brave. It’s a choice we must all make: deciding whether to be saved.

Forgiveness does not come easy with histories chequered past; much misunderstanding has come before, but who knows what the unpredictable future holds in store.

We cannot predict those things that are yet to come, only learn from those long past. But lets not lose hope of a beautifully bright future at last.

Where have I been?

Firstly, I’d like to welcome everyone back to A.P Writing. I’m so sorry for being away for so long; It’s been a tumultuous few months. I honestly don’t know where to start; apart from perhaps that this has been without doubt the hardest period of my life. As everyone knows, Covid-19 has swept across the world causing utter disarray, and like most of you I’m absolutely sick of it. We are winning the battle though, and that is something to be positive about. I must admit that recently I’ve struggled to find much positivity in things, especially when it came to my writing. So, what’s caused this? Put simply, I became ill. My crohns disease is currently flaring up which is making life quite hard. If anyone reading this has crohns disease then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s debilitating, it hurts, and it leaves you feeling hopeless. Crohns disease is also an invisible illness, which means I might look well outside despite feeling absolutely awful on the inside, confusing right? The treatment I was on to combat the disease decided to stop working, leaving me losing weight and weak. Not ideal when you’ve got a ten-month-old son who can now walk cutting around the house is it? I’m now an MRI scan, a chest x-ray, two colonoscopies, and numerous Covid-19 tests further down the line, about to start a new treatment called Inflectra (Inflaximab). My tablets have doubled from seven to fourteen a day, but it could be worse I guess, my record daily tablet haul is twenty one. Inflectra, if you are wondering, is an intravenous transfusion that can last up to four hours each time. I’ll be travelling to hospital every 6-8 weeks for those transfusions for the foreseeable future, sounds exciting doesn’t it? All jokes aside though, I’m genuinely looking forward to my first transfusion because it’s a step in the right direction; it gives me something to hope for. I’m apprehensive as well because part of me is worried that this treatment might not work. The possibility of surgery in the future is something that has been mentioned, also. But lets not be negative right? It will be nice to have something to eat without feeling like Mike Tyson has punched me a hundred times in the midrift. That is one of the main struggles when going through a flare up: whatever I seem to eat causes the inflammation to react and hurt. I’ve been living on raman noodles since starting a course of steroids to combat the inflammation because they seem to be one of the only foods that doesn’t cause pain. My specialist IBD nurse has actually advised me to eat ‘trashy’ foods for the time being because they are easy to digest, anything high in fibre is off the menu. The only problem is that even the ‘trashy’ foods cause inflammation and cramps.

Losing my job while this has all been unfolding really didn’t help either; it came as a bit of a shock if truth be told. The stress probably expedited my flare up now I think about it, but what can you do apart from roll with the punches? It just seems that I’m getting metaphorically punched a lot at the moment. So, as a family we had to deal with losing my income; I immediately entered the crowded sector of people looking for work during Covid-19. As you can imagine, it proved pretty fruitless. However, I did eventually manage to find work for which I am very grateful for; my start date is due to be early August. The only issue is the position I find myself in now. I’m flaring and unsure whether being at work in the immediate future is the correct move, especially when starting a course of Inflectra treatment. We’ve already made plans for Chantelle to go back to work for a period while I recover, a decision I’ve really struggled with. I’ve always wanted to be out supporting my family, making sure we have all our finances in order. It’s been hard to grasp that sometimes things really are out of your control. One positive is that I’ll be getting to spend even more time with Ezra; he really is turning into a little rascal, but I wouldn’t change anything. In the last four months I’ve managed to watch him learn to babble, crawl, grow teeth, and walk. Not every father gets to witness those things as they happen, I did, and I’ll forever cherish those moments.

Despite feeling pretty rough for a lot of the last few months, things are definitely starting to move in a positive direction. At least I really hope they are. Taking the time to sit back and take stock of everything that’s happened is important, especially in times like these. So, that’s exactly what I’ve done recently, and believe me, you’ll be amazed just how many things you have to be thankful for when you think about it seriously. Life is tough at the moment, but I still have Ezra and Chantelle; I still have my health despite it trying it’s best to be a pain in my ass. We have a roof over our heads and food in the cupboards which is more than a lot of people in this ongoing struggle. Eventually, you’ll come to realise that things could be worse, despite things feeling incredibly hard in that moment. Although, there is one important thing I’d like to say: never tell a person who is suffering that there is someone worse off than them. They don’t need to hear that because most people need to realise this on their own. So, next time someone has a problem, health or otherwise, just think long and hard about what you’re going to say to them and whether your words will have a detrimental affect or not. Anyway, enough of the negativity, I’m feeling increasingly positive the further into this post I get.

Life can get hard at times, but the truth is that we need to keep moving along with it. I went through a period recently where I felt utterly hopeless and more than a little depressed, but I’ve come to learn that carrying on with life and the things that you enjoy is vital. So, I still believe in myself and achieving the goals I’ve set; it doesn’t matter if they are delayed, just that I don’t give up. At the beginning of lockdown I stated that I wanted to retrain and start a new career. With everything that’s happened it would’ve been easy to give up on that goal, but I’m pleased to say I didn’t give up. I’ve undertaken a proofreading and editing qualification with the aim of one day setting up my own little business, and I’m studying whenever possible. As always, I continue to read and write because I enjoy doing those things. I continue to try and make the most of the family time that I have with Chantelle and Ezra because the future is never certain; this year has proven that. So, that is why I’ve been quiet recently, but A.P Writing is back now. I’ll be putting a real focus into developing this blog, writing interesting content, and maintaining my health. This year and the things I’ve had to experience have made me more determined than ever, and it feels great to be back.

Sleep Regression – The Daily Struggle

As we continue on through these difficult times, I’d just like to say, I hope you’re all doing well. Under the current circumstances I think it’s safe to say that nobody is finding life particularly fun at the moment. The effort shown by all key workers has been nothing short of heroic, and for all their sacrifices I’m incredibly grateful. It is also a strange and testing time for everyone faced with lockdown, whether you’re a family with young, energetic children or retired, this lifestyle is almost unrecognisable to most of us. It’s this new way of life that I’ll be focusing on in today’s post, discussing in particular the affect it may be having on new parents and their children.

In previous posts you might remember me mentioning sleep regression, it’s something that could affect your child at various stages of their development and is something we’re currently experiencing with Ezra. So, just what is sleep regression exactly? Personally, I feel sleep regression can come in many forms, but the main symptoms are frequent waking during the night, shorter nap times during the day and fighting sleep when tired. All these things can happen quite quickly, one night you’ll have a great night-time routine with your child and the next they simply won’t sleep. Ezra experienced his first bout of sleep regression when he hit five months old, as first-time parents we were actually quite worried that something might be wrong. However, after talking to our health visitor they soon explained that everything was perfectly fine and we needn’t worry. They explained that sometimes when a baby is trying so hard to learn all these new things, like crawling and rolling over, their brain is so active that they can find sleep difficult. With our worries quashed we continued on despite Ezra’s infrequent sleep, eventually getting him back into a regular routine. One thing that our health visitor also explained to us was that sleep regression can resurface again, but not always. Ezra is now seven and a half months old and seemingly entering his second bout of sleep regression, having experienced it all before we’re not so daunted this time, but for some parents it can be unsettling.

You’ve gone from having a baby that will possibly sleep through the night to one that wakes consistently, your initial reaction as a parent is probably to worry. We’ve also found that Ezra becomes quite clingy when experiencing sleep regression, he finds it more comforting to fall asleep on me or Chantelle and struggles when we try and put him in his cot. My advice to new parents experiencing similar things is not to panic, if you’re worried seek advice from a professional. I think as parents and especially new parents, we tend to worry and overthink a lot of things, I certainly do. In reality though, sleep regression is just another part of your baby’s development, it won’t last forever and you shouldn’t worry yourself silly about it.

In my experience with Ezra, sleep regression tends to last for four to eight weeks in total. Now, I’d be lying if I said it’s been a breeze, it’s definitely had both a mental and physical effect on me and Chantelle. As parents with young children your probably used to getting little sleep, or certainly less sleep than an average individual, but going from getting a little sleep to almost hitting that new-born stage again is hard. You sometimes think to yourself what have I done to deserve this? Broken sleep is the hardest part for me, your body doesn’t feel rested and when you try to get on with daily tasks everything just feels more strenuous. Children can be pretty demanding as well, Ezra might keep us up during the night but he still expects us to keep him entertained during the day, despite being exhausted. After trying to settle him for the fourth time during the night it can start to affect you mentally as well. When you’ve worked so hard to get your child to sleep, you’ve crept from the front room to the bedroom and successfully got them into their cot without waking, you’ve managed to get into bed yourself and then all of a sudden, they start crying. After repeating this several times during the night it can be tempting to sit there and cry with them sometimes, but all I’ll say is try to remain positive, this is just a stage and it will pass.

There are things you can do to try and alleviate some of the stresses on your child during their sleep regression, some may seem very basic and others unrealistic but here are a few that seem to be working with Ezra. If it’s possible under the current circumstances then try and spend as much time as possible outside, the fresh air seems to do wonders for Ezra’s mood and sleep. With the current pandemic this solution isn’t always possible due to limited time outside and social distancing, but any fresh air is better than none, even if that means standing at your doorstep for a time while your child takes in the different surroundings. We’ve also started to encourage Ezra to really practice things like crawling and rolling from back to front, it keeps his brain active and tires him out more if he’s constantly on the go. This is not always the easiest way to spend your day because quite often your exhausted and any break that your child takes is also a break for you, but powering through will sometimes encourage your child to sleep properly during the night. Lastly, and this is perhaps the most difficult, try forming a new routine around your child’s sleep regression, if they are tired after breakfast every morning because they’ve been up throughout the night then make this their nap time. If they are most energetic after lunch then make this the time that you encourage them to crawl and roll over and generally tire themselves out. Having that routine keeps us sane, it might not be the perfect routine but at that moment in time it could be just the right amount of structure to keep us going.

I’m also going to discuss some of the things that we’ve done as parents to combat Ezra’s sleep regression. Firstly, and as much as I don’t like to admit it, you might have to form some kind of night schedule all over again. I know, you probably thought that once you’re past that new-born stage sleep would be a doddle, that both parents could go to bed without too much worry about being disturbed throughout the night. Unfortunately sleep regression has other ideas, knowing which parent will be getting up during the night and which parent will be taking over in the morning is important, it prevents the awkward moment in the middle of the night when both parents see who can pretend to be asleep the longest. We’re also a lot less tolerable of things when tired, not having a routine set for who gets up during the night can lead to arguments. The second idea is a really basic one, remember to talk to each other. There is nothing worse than two parents both struggling and neither one talking to the other about their problems. It’s ok to not be ok sometimes, talking to your partner and discussing how you feel can relieve some of the stress you might be feeling as a parent. Lastly, try and work your day around your child. If they have a mid-morning nap at 11am every day then make that your time as well, plan to do something for yourself while they sleep, that could be watching your favourite TV show or simply spending some quality time with your partner. As long as you make that time for yourself, you’ll start to feel more human again and not just like mum and dad.

I’m going to finish this post by saying what we’re all probably thinking, everything seems and feels so difficult right now. Covid-19 is having a massive impact on all of us, many aspects of our lives are uncertain and isolation is possibly beginning to take it’s toll on us, especially with young families. It won’t be like this forever though, during times like this it’s important to remain positive, try and focus on the important things in life and where you want to be when this pandemic has passed.

Thank you for taking the time to read through my blog everyone, I really appreciate it. Feel free to find me on Facebook at A.P Writing for more posts, I hope you all remain safe during these difficult times, see you all real soon.

Adam

The Parental Dilema – Is this the right career for me?

Isolation, social distancing and lockdown, I think it’s safe to say we’re all a little restricted at present, but life doesn’t have to become boring does it? As I discussed in my previous post, The 12 Week Plan, if we set our days out correctly and stick to a routine, they’ll flow without feeling so restricted. However, even with a day crammed full of activities and exciting things to do, we’re still left with a lot of time to think, and my thoughts recently have turned towards my job. For some of you this may bring back happy memories, you might be one of those lucky individuals who truly loves their job and can’t wait to get back, for others the current isolation period might feel like a last minute holiday. In all honesty, I probably fall somewhere in-between those two categories, I don’t dislike my job, in fact I actually quite enjoy it, but being home so much recently has opened my eyes a little to just what could be possible. Throughout this post I’m going to discuss what new ideas I’ve had, how being a parent has greatly affected those ideas and what I’d like my future to look like once coronavirus is a thing of the past.

As we get older certain things within our life begin to change, we might find ourselves trying new food and really enjoying it, even though we might’ve hated that particular food as a child. Our opinions will probably change as well, when we’re younger we feel invincible, like whatever people say to us doesn’t matter because we’re strong and capable, but then when we hit a certain age we take a look back and think, ‘wow that actually makes a lot of sense’. At school we have no real idea of what direction in life to take, if you’re anything like me you took subjects because you had to, not with any real idea of where they might lead you. Now I look back and think of all the wasted opportunities I squandered, having Ezra has really made me think about what I’m doing in terms of my career and whether that career is sustainable. Two weeks of isolation has shown me what having a different career could look like, I’ve spent so much time around Ezra and Chantelle, it’s been amazing. Of course, It would be great to have a career that allowed this kind of life all the time wouldn’t it? I do however hear some of you saying that it’s not realistic to think we can, but my question to you is why can’t we? It won’t happen overnight, that’s true, we will have to go back to our regular jobs when coronavirus has passed, but why can’t we be working towards this new career, this new way of life?

If I could go back to school and take different subjects, I would, I’ve got a much greater understanding of what I would like to do with my life now, It’s taken me a long time to figure out, but I got there in the end. Having my own little family has also changed my opinion of what I’d like to do, I want to be around more, I would like to be able to spend time with Ezra and Chantelle without worry. This leads me to think that carving a career that allows me to work from home is perhaps more suitable that the current 9-5 working pattern I find myself in. I’ve got all the free time in the world at the moment, structuring my days correctly has shown me that with a little discipline, I could easily work from home. This is why I’m going to go back and study, further enhance myself so that in the future I’ll have this work life balance I’m looking for, I’ll be able to work under the hours I set, I’ll be able to work freelance from home. Personally, I feel having this kind of goal will also keep me motivated for when we do all go back to our regular jobs, with hard work and dedication we can all get to where we want to be.

There are many reasons for why you could be convinced to stay with your current jobs however, and I completely understand why you’d think like this, because these are the reasons I’ve never retrained and chased another career as well. Security has to be at the top of our list of reasons to stick with the job we currently do, it’s a no brainer really, chasing a new career, especially one in which we work for ourselves is risky. We only have to look at the affect the coronavirus has had on the self-employed to realise there’s less security within this sector. This has been the main reason for me staying still, I’ve now got a family to support and I simply cannot afford to be out of work, a regular salary every month is always going to be very tempting. I also feel that one of the reasons we stay with our current jobs is because it’s comfortable, we’re good at the job, we get on with it and then we come home. Repeat on a daily basis and that’s what our life becomes, there’s no risk involved, we’re secure and have nothing to really worry about. The last reason I’m going to discuss is not necessarily something I agree with, it’s something I’ve been told numerous times over the years, and that reason is that working 9-5 is how things are, it’s just life and I should get on with it. You’ve got to ask yourself though, even with all these reasons for staying with your comfortable job, are you getting the most out of yourself? Or is there more you want from a career? Deciding to commit to the idea of a new career is scary, having a family to support makes that choice harder still, but you’re doing this for them as well as yourself right? Sometimes in life we have to take risks to get the rewards we’re looking for, if we retrain and go after a new career, we take that risk for sure, but the rewards could be incredible. In my case I’d have more time with my family if I was to freelance and work from home, I’d be around more to help out and I also feel like every day would be a challenge, I’d be constantly learning, constantly evolving.

The worrying thing for me is that the retirement age is increasing rapidly, it’s a frightening thought to think we might still be working when we hit 80 years old, but that’s the reality. Hopefully I’ll be well and truly retired by that ripe old age, but if I’m not I would like to be working on my terms. I’d also like to discuss briefly our mental state when we go to work, I’m lucky that I don’t wake up dreading going into work, we all get days where we’d rather not go to work, that’s natural, but I wouldn’t say it impacts my mental state. Although, in the past I have had jobs that’ve made me feel this way, when you have responsibilities like a family to support, sometimes these feelings get pushed to the back of your mind, and you do exactly what we stated earlier, you get on with your 9-5. Ask yourself is your current job what you really want to be doing? If the answer is no then ask yourself what it is that you would like to be doing? Then when you’ve answered that, finally ask yourself what’s stopping you from achieving this dream job of yours? The likelihood is that we may face a few challenges in getting there, but it’s not impossible. I’m going to have to retrain, to be taken seriously in what I’d like to go on and do I have to be able to show people that I’m qualified. I understand this will take time and the 9-5 is something I will continue to do until I no longer have to, the end result will be worth it however. As a new parent I’ll be able to work around my family life and create a work-life balance that’s more suitable for me and my family. I’ll be challenged everyday as I begin to make the important decisions and become my own boss. Nothing will be handed to me and it’ll take hard work to get there, but with perseverance I’ll arrive at the end destination, and so can you, just don’t be afraid to take the risk.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read my post everyone, it means a lot. Please feel free to like and leave a comment, I look forward to hearing from you. See you all real soon.
Adam

The 12 Week Plan

Welcome everyone, I hope you’re all well and finding some form of motivation in these difficult times. If the future feels a little daunting, which to be completely honest, for most of us it does, hopefully this post will help to alleviate some of those worries. I received a text message yesterday just after 5 o’clock, within the message it stated that I was one of the 1.5 million individuals that come under the high-risk category if I was to contract coronavirus. Now, I’d been expecting this but it still came as a shock when the message actually arrived, it somehow made everything feel deadly serious. The thought of contracting this horrible disease is frightening and so is the idea of being housebound for twelve weeks. So, with all that in mind, in this post I’m going to discuss the things I’ll be doing throughout the twelve weeks to remain sane, keep myself motivated and most importantly, stay healthy.

Firstly, now this is incredibly simple and takes very little time at all to complete, I’m going to make my bed and get dressed every day. Pretty basic right? The truth is, well for me anyway, that if I don’t do these very basic things my day never really starts, I cannot differentiate between morning, afternoon and night if I’m walking around in my pyjamas all day. By making your bed it means you are unlikely to get back into it during the day, by getting dressed it allows you to feel like your starting the day in a proactive way. I’m trying to keep my day as close to normal as is currently possible, if there was no coronavirus right now what would we being doing with our days? For the vast majority of us we’d be getting up, getting washed and dressed and then heading to work, so why should the routine stop just because we’re in isolation? Some people may be able to complete their regular jobs whilst at home, if so that’s awesome, but if like me you’re unable to do that, then let’s continue on and fill our days with other productive things.

I’ve started to write down a daily plan in my planner, again this might seem pretty basic and in actual fact it’s something I used to do regularly, but in recent times there’s been very few entries in the diary. Why have I started doing this now? Well, in order to fit different things into my day, I need there to be structure, from experience I’ve found it very hard to stick to things if I don’t know when I’m meant to be doing them. If they’re written down there can be no confusion, it takes away the debate we always have with ourselves about which task to start first, a debate that normally leads to procrastination. knowing what we’re doing and when breaks the day down conveniently for us, with that structure it feels like separate portions of a day rather than just one long expanse of time, something I feel helps productivity. Along with setting detailed plans in the planner I’ve also cleared and readied my office space, since having Ezra I often do my writing around the house, It’s sometimes easier that way because I’m mobile, if Ezra needs something I’m on hand to help if needed. It’s also driven by the amount of time I used to have, I’d get back from work at 6pm and be in bed by 10pm, those four hours in-between where spent as a family, cooking dinner and using whatever was left to write. However, there’s no reason not to sit in my office now, with so much time to use I can fit it all in without worry, having a dedicated place to write again will certainly help with productivity and make me more focused.

As well as writing, of which I’ll be doing a lot, another huge focus has been my initiative, Ditching the Dad Body. This is something that’s been on my mind for quite some time, I started in early March with the aim to set an example for Ezra with the way I eat and exercise, incorporating a healthy lifestyle into my routine. I was doing rather well up until the coronavirus pandemic really started, running after work during the week, eating fresh meals every day and cutting out takeaways. When I was told last week that I needed to self-isolate for seven days this new healthy way of life drifted away, partly because I was stressed and worried, but also because I got lazy. My routine was gone, I’d run after work because it was convenient and I didn’t like the idea of home workouts, the frustrating thing is when I stopped exercising properly my appetite slunk back into its old habits. Although, now knowing that I won’t be able to leave my house for twelve weeks has actually reinvigorated me, Ditching the Dad Body just needs a few tiny alterations that’s all. I will instead follow a home workout called Focus T25, this is a workout from Beachbody who are a very reputable company that get results. As the name suggests it’s only 25 minutes long, perfect for fitting into my daily schedule. The programme also lasts for ten weeks, which fits nicely into my twelve week isolation period, what’s not to like? I’m hopeful that by exercising throughout the week I’ll remain motivated; it’ll keep my mind active and release good endorphins that should promote a positive mental attitude. There are some wonderful free workouts to complete at the present time as well, Joe Wicks is performing free PE lessons/workouts for children and adults, why not make this part of your day?

Another aspiration of mine in recent times has been to start an online open learning course, with what’s transpired over the last few weeks I’m finding it hard to grasp a reason not to start one now. Financially I will have to assess whether this is a realistic thing to be doing but I certainly have the time, why shouldn’t we set new goals? It would be something positive to come out of twelve weeks stuck at home, it also gives me something to aim for and look forward to. At the end we will also have something tangible and useful that can be used in the future, something we can be proud to show off, to let people know what we’ve achieved. Now, this idea might not be for everyone, I’m quite a studious individual which is why I’d look at a course in something I find interesting, but try using a part of your day to learn something different, who knows you might come out of isolation with a wonderful new passion.

Lastly, I will look to read a little more often. I’ve always been quite an avid reader but with work and a new baby taking priority in recent months, my reading pace has slowed. With an entire twelve weeks to dissect I’m sure there will be ample time to read, there’s many reasons why I feel reading will help a lot of us who are stuck in isolation. The biggest and most important is that it’s pure escapism, if we’re reading a novel or in my case an epic fantasy trilogy it allows us to be someone else, be doing something else. In that period of the day put aside for reading we’re suddenly no longer the person stuck in isolation but a hundred different characters, living a hundred different lives, and I feel like that’s liberating when all you’ve seen recently is the same four walls of your house. We also learn a great deal by reading, it keeps us informed and our brains ticking over, if you’ve got aspirations like me to one day be a success within the writing industry then reading is certainly a way to learn new, useful techniques. Of course, my family will also be filling a huge portion of my day, I’m looking forward to having so much time to spend together, having so long together is something we’ve not experienced before because our schedules have always been so hectic.

I’m going to finish this post by answering a question that you might have been wanting to ask, how does any of this prevent me from worrying about contracting coronavirus or the future? In truth, we will always have these worries, until coronavirus is defeated it’s hard not to panic, but by setting a routine like I’ve discussed throughout this post it will keep our minds occupied. Having a routine and things to look forward to during your day will make it far more enjoyable, if we sit there worrying ourselves silly about everything, it’ll end up feeling like a very long isolation period indeed.

As always, thanks for taking the time to read my post everyone, it means a lot. Please feel free to like and leave a comment, I look forward to hearing from you. See you all real soon.
Adam