About Me

This blog is about me and my voyage to becoming a mummy. Ironically called “mummy in the baking” as together with my passion and obsession for all things cake related, I will never be able to have my own "bun in the oven." Years of fertility treatment have taken their toll and I now find myself on a new..eek, i hate this word...journey! The crazy train to adoption. I hope you will join me while I bake my way to becoming a mummy. I want this blog to be a source of information as well as a comforter. I hope it will inspire and help anyone who is considering adoption or who has in fact already bought their ticket for this..here I go again...journey. Cake makes me happy and I hope you will enjoy sharing my love of it. I want it to help lift your spirits and hearts through what can only be described as 'the trials and tribulations of the adoption process.' Along with my desire to be a family, I love my dogs, have an unhealthy love of sausages and chenin blanc, adore my land rover uber-nerd of a husband and continiously dream of balmy summer evenings. Baking in progress…..

Sunday, 8 February 2015

A time for thoughts......

A friend who has recently been approved as an adoptive parent (you know who you are Mrs Any Excuse for Bubbles) asked what was the biggest shock and adjustment when adopting and it got me thinking. While trying to be encouraging but at the same respecting her need for honesty, these are my thoughts:

a) Going from zero to hero in one day. Literally being handed a moving little person who is already past their first birthday and is well on the way to toddler-hood and who you are now totally responsible for. And let's not forget, a toddler that is heavily grieving for the loss of his foster carers. I didn't get to experience the early development of the birth child who alternates between crying and feeding and if you're lucky, some sleep. Add into the mix, I didn't have a clue what I was doing half the time. Sure, we did loads of prep on our adoption course but it was all emotional stuff. A far cry from your average ante-natal class. What's the normal amount to feed a toddler? How much milk should they drink and what type? Is that a normal poo? The first nappy I ever changed was during introductions. Shock horror.

b) Parenting a child who is nothing like you or your partner in personality. We are strong, confident, happy, creative and sociable people. To be matched with what turned out to be a shy and socially anxious little boy made for very hard times. I have always struggled to understand shy people and found this the hardest. I would welcome friends into my home with open arms and by the time I had boiled the kettle and gone to cut a wedge of cake, I would find my child hiding in a corner. So when in tough times, you need all the support you can get in terms of friends and social activities and groups, it turns out,  this very concept is what unsettles your little one. It can be very lonely. Make sure you have friends who will always be at the end of a text/email/phone for you. Mrs AAA I could not have done this without you. Hugs xx

c) Books versus instinct. I love books and the house is literally filled with them. I have read a zillion parenting books (to be fair, there was a ridiculous amount of time to kill just waiting during the 2 year adoption process!) but half the time, they really are not written for my little boy. "Read your child, not the books" is my motto. Saying that, my guilty secret is I still read them. Knowledge is power.

d) Finding your groove. I love all things creative. LBM not so much. Having to take that creativity and box it up and put it on a shelf for later is very hard. It's like removing part of your personality. I can honestly say I am not the same person. I had to find a new groove. One that worked for both of us. My husband and I love swimming. I can spend hours floating on a dam in the wild. LBM is terrified of water. I'll let you think about that for a while.

e) The jar of love. My jar of love was pretty full. There was my husband, my dogs, my family, my very special friends and let's not forget my love of cake. I now had to make room for a new person. I didn't know this person at all but yet was expected to squeeze him into this jar immediately. Let's just say we left the lid open for a while. But he now fits snuggly in there. Snug as a star in a jar.
f) Parenting after infertility: There is this hidden guilt amongst new mums. No-one likes to moan. I see it amongst my friends all with their own birth children. They've had a rough couple of days but when asked how things are going, they muster up a smile and say all is well but I can see them fighting back the tears. It's tough. Its really tough but we daren't moan amount it. The guilt is monumental. And believe me, this guilt amongst adoptive mums is even stronger. We have wanted this for so long, and everybody knows that, we daren't whinge at all about the monkey who was refusing point blank to get in the car yesterday when you were already running late for an appointment thanks to the last minute unexpected nappy change. The same monkey who screamed the place down in the supermarket because....well just because.

g) Being assessed, grilled, prodded and poked by what feels like every social worker that ever existed and then finally approved as an prospective adoptive parent and then realising that sometimes, you really suck at it. That!

Monday, 2 February 2015

And breathe.....

And so the winter solstice has past and the new year awakens. Its back to routine. Back to work and nursery schedules. LBM is confused by the break and struggles to settle in again. There are tears...many many tears....but we are assured that 10 min in, he is calm and and back in the zone. I ask them if he 'plays' at nursery and they admit to me they have been talking about this for a while. In essence, he doesn't. He just kind of wanders from activity to activity. I know every child is different and they all learn in different ways but LBM is just not your average toddler. He would much rather feed the dog, sort the laundry, unload the dishwasher or play card games than simply play. Every book I read relinquishes in the amazing fact that you don't have to show children how to play, it's a wonderful trait that 'just comes naturally.'  Errrr...really?

LRUN and I have put in a lot of time and effort literally showing LBM just how to play. To let his imagination take over and to just explore. Rolling cars and tractors around the floor, building towers, jumping off sofas, drawing pictures on a sketchy etc. Why you ask? Surely any help with housework is a bonus. Well, although the pediatricians say this 'mimicry of housework' is a form of play, I had to stress he was not 'mimicking' in an imaginative way. He is literally pushing me out the way and doing the actual tasks himself. When we visit friends and family, I fear he will want to unpack their shopping for them and then sort through Grandad's pants! But the hours are paying off and I can see tiny improvements. The joy I get when I see him pick up a car and push it along, is immense. Even if it is over my leg and onto my head!

We are off to visit my family next month and this my friends involves an 11 hour flight. "You'll be fine" everyone says. Just let him watch movies and take loads of toys to play with. Umm..he doesn't like TV or toys. "Oh dear" is all they all say, whilst giving me that 'look' of "Geesh, good luck with that!" This may well be the longest 11 hours of my life. LRUN is suggesting we have a practice run. Now, practice to run to me means booking a short break somewhere warm and sunny and trying out the flight and holiday experience. Well, what LRUN actually had in mind was me sitting still for 11 hours on the sofa with LBM strapped in next to me  with the other sofa pushed up in front us. You know...to mimic the aeroplane experience. Tempting, I thought...especially if I could get LRUN to be our stewardess and demand he whipped up a batch of this Salted Caramel Frosting and we could literally eat it by the spoonful when things get tough. 

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Dear Santa......

Mince pies, mistletoe and mulled wine. Christmas! One of my all time favourite times of the year. With all our family a million miles away, it usually involves some sort of mega road trip. Seeing as last Christmas was cancelled (due to LBM's major regression, escalating anxiety and prime rejection of LRUN peaking just before Santa was due to squeeze his chubby little bottom down the chimney) this year, we decided we could no longer hide. We had to face reality. And so a road trip was planned, visiting three separate families over the course of six nights. Crazy? I know!  But we felt we just had to do it or we would once again be facing a grim, dismal festive period on our own, searching for the elusive coin in Christmas Pud and dancing around the kitchen to the Pogues. (The same Pogues, which, now in hindsight, are sounding pretty appealing)  We knew it wouldn't be easy but in my heart, I hoped that maybe...just maybe... LBM would be ok. Who was I kidding? Turns out, it was pretty ghastly. But we were determined to persevere and soldier on. If we gave in halfway and came home, we would never go away again. All I can say is thank heavens for Santa. He brought me chocolate and mulled wine.

Despite LBM's inability to sleep in the car, the 2-4 hour car journeys themselves were manageable (hint, there was a lot of singing involved!)  But at each house, LBM began showing very interesting behavior. Big, emotional meltdowns when arriving at each destination. Bursting into tears if anyone spoke to him. Refusing to get out the car, take his shoes, coat, hat etc off. Obviously because this meant we were staying. And on cue, the same behaviour again when leaving. Obviously because this meant we were leaving. He refused to interact with anyone who tried to talk to him, unless it was his idea, of course. Then they were his best friend. Actually, generally, whoever was in the kitchen became his best friend.  And then there was the no sleeping. For a little dude who loves his sleep and is particularly grumpy when he doesn't have enough, this, my friends does not make an ideal situation. But we soldiered on and ..somebody...somebody (!)  pass me a gin...we survived. We arrived back home emotionally and mentally exhausted but knowing in my heart it was all worth it. And as if we didn't eat enough custard over Christmas, whose up for trying out this baby....Magic Custard Cake

Thursday, 20 November 2014

One year on.....

Wowzers, my trousers. Has it really been a year since we brought LBM home? 365 days of big squishy love. Looking back through this blog, I realised just how tough things have been. I'm the kind of girl (girl? who am I kidding here...ok, let's try again) I'm the type of woman that doesn't really acknowledge stress at the time. Until I look back on things and think...geesh...how did I get through that?

Admittedly things have not been easy. And reading back over this blog, I can feel the stress oozing out in each post. His social anxieties, his comfort eating and his rejection of LRUN were all pretty tough going.  We received so much advice about how we should tackle it all, suggestions of sticking to just one parent being the main carer to be sensitive to his anxieties and needs but in my heart this didn't feel right. I trusted my instinct alot of the time and we simply persevered through the tears and traumas as dual carer parents. And I can honestly say, we have come out the other side, shining. Not gleaming...we are still a long way off that but we are shining. Things really have got a whole heap better over the last few months. Watching him and LRUN roll around on the floor, playing, giggling hysterically just melts my heart. How he now squeals with delight when he hears that diesel engine pull up on the drive, it's just too precious. When he asks for food in time of stress and I calmly tell him it's not lunch time etc, he just accepts it and moves on. When he stole the show on the karaoke machine at mini Triple A's party, his confidence was blooming. Even if he did sound like an embarrassingly drunk uncle at your cousin's wedding.

But we still have a long way to go. The developmental delays are progressively more and more evident, especially on the speech front. But when he shouts "cheese" on top of his voice as we enter the dairy aisle in the supermarket, I know we will get there. In his time of course. So on our one year anniversary today, he spent the day at nursery and ironically, in true mummy in the baking style, they made chocolate cake. I'll be honest, I was a little bit gutted to discover there was none left for me. Heartless.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Meet the parents.....

The meeting went well. I think I did most of the talking but that's normal. I love a bit of babbling. Especially if I'm nervous. We couldn't have asked for a nicer set of parents for Jelly-Tot. On one hand, we are all very different but Mrs Jelly-tot and I have a little in common. She bakes and she sews. Instant friends. LRUN and I were keen to meet up again with them, this time with the kiddie winks. But they have their own birth son, who has proudly labelled himself as her 'big brother' for a while now. We need to tread very carefully here introducing LBM as the new brother. So we're going to give it some time. As long as their little boy needs. We gave them some photos of LBM to put up at home and I could see them oohing over him. She is so different to LBM. They have the same cheeks but she is completely opposite to him. How do I feel after the meeting? I'm honestly ok with it. I looked at photos of her with interest, like you do when looking at friends babies. There was no sadness. Maybe its because LBM tops her on the cuteness front. Big time. It did feel strange seeing Miss Delia again. I looked at her in a totally different light this time. Probably as she was no longer 'assessing' us and we certainly weren't watching what we were saying. She did prepare us for the latest news that tummy mummy has been locked up for a minor offence. Sad and distressing to hear but at the same time, it really emphasises that they made the right choice in granting the adoption order. I wonder where he would be today if not. Mrs Curly Wurly and family looked after him for the morning and he had an absolute blast with them. There were no tears, he made rice crispie cakes with them and charmed them beyond belief. They kept telling me what a wonderful little soul he is. Hashtag proud mummy.

Needless to say, LRUN hoovered all the rice crispie cakes but I need to be careful on the cake front. Back at a desk three days a week is not doing my waistline any favours. Especially as I stumbled across this bombshell. Brownie in a mug in under 2 minutes? You're not serious? Oh, I'm afraid I am. I added vanilla and sea salt. In the time it takes to go and get a scoop of ice cream to add....Ping...It's ready. Poor heaven but oh so dangerous.

Monday, 6 October 2014

You say what....?

It feels good to be back at work. Well, in some ways anyway. I do find my mind still wonders. Looking at the time, wondering  what LBM is up to at nursery.  He's already made best friends with the chef, so I know the little guy will be just fine. There are still a few tears on drop off but they assure me he settles pretty quickly after we've gone. "Ooh look, tractor!"  Certainly when I pick him up, I can hear him babbling away and laughing from the hallway. They have a great window you can view the little ones from without them realising and its fascinating stuff to watch him play. Engaging with others. Just being him. He is such a little champion and really has settled in well and I know we have made the right decision here...until we got the bill that is. Holy macaroni!

The last few weeks have seen him turn the big two. He was so excited about it being his birthday. Nothing to do with me singing Will-I-Am's new single at full pelt to him in the week run up to his big day. Honest. Presents and cards flowed through the door and for once, it was his turn to join in the birthday celebrations on Cbeebies.  We made the decision to forego the party this year but we had a great day all together, just our little family, jumping in muddy puddles and of course, lots of cake.

On the developmental front, his speech is still delayed and they have now clocked him as six months behind. This was always my fear. The older he gets, the more behind he is getting as there is so much to catch up on. But the speech therapists are on-board (albeit intermittently) and things are progressing. He is talking, in fact he has long conversations with us, the dog, whoever will listen really. It's just not English. Portuguese maybe but not English. Not even close.

Tomorrow is the big meet up with Jelly-tot's new parents. I'm not even thinking about how awkward it's going to be. That's a waste of energy. I'd rather channel that energy into just being me and making a new set of friends that I hope we can continue to meet up with, so LBM and Jelly-tot can be together as often as possible.  It will be interesting to see Miss Delia again. So much has changed.

Ooh...ooh...I must share: I was given some perfectly ripe pears the other day and stumbled upon this recipe for Chocolate Pear Cake. It was outrageously good. In fact, I'm on the scrounge for some more pears just so I can make it again. I may even add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Dynamite!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Hi Ho...Hi Ho.....

I walked past a poster in the park last week. A bright, colorful ad. Luring you in. "Get back your pre-baby body now!" it shouted. This made me smile and  illustrates the real irony of adoption. The last thing I want back is my 'pre-baby body.' In fact, since LBM came to share our lives, I have never been thinner and fitter. (Ok... apart from during my travels in Africa with LRUN... but that was more due to dysentery and lack of food, than happiness)
I had lunch with some pregnant friends last week and listening to the woes of their pregnancies, it really hit home how lucky I am. I have the most precious little boy for the rest of my life but have managed to escape the weight gain, the indigestion, the discomfort, the itchy skin, the multiple midnight wee stops and of course, the nausea.

Last month welcomed our final day in court. It's what they call an 'Adoption Celebration Day' but what I call the 'Closing the Front Door on Social Services Celebration Day.' But if I'm honest with you, I found it all a little disappointing. I hope this doesn't make me sound ungrateful, as I am not altogether sure what I was expecting but we literally spent longer going through security that the actual time 'celebrating' in the court. However, it was made memorable by an extra special family member joining us. You know who you are. A big squishy thank you to you.
As we were leaving, the judge asked if I would be returning to work at Christmas. "Errr....no....actually next week" I blurted out. I could feel Miss Delia's eyes burrowing into me. Once outside, I admitted to her that there had been few changes. I confessed that I hadn't told her for fear of things being delayed yet again and anyway, they were all positive changes. "I knew you were up to something" she said "but just wasn't sure what." Just shows you what a rubbish liar I am. Sadly, just as I feel we have closed the door on these 'powers that be', she asks if she can contact us again next week. The new adoptive parents of Jelly-tot would like to set up a meeting with us. Now, that is going to be an awkward meeting. Brace yourself Bridget!

On the baking front, how yummy do these Carmelitas look. Can't wait to try them. Caramel, Chocolate and Oats. Pure heaven for me. Calories? What the heck. I always have the excuse of 'having' a baby.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Let the truth be told......

Ok, here's the deal: I haven't been totally honest with you over the last few weeks. For reasons mainly that I worry that the SW's may be reading this.  There have been some major changes in the LBM  household that the SW's would only deem as unstable. Risky. I mean, you and I both know how they feel about change. In addition, it meant Miss Delia would have to update our report and that would only have delayed things even further. So for once in this process, we kept quiet. We weren't lying as such. Just not divulging the exact truth.  However, now that the adoption order is granted and we have full parental responsibility for LBM, I guess I can spill the beans:

To start with, LRUN has a new job. He has formed a company with some old colleagues and finds himself self employed and much closer to home. No more endless commutes. No more early mornings and late nights. Just some extra special LBM time in the mornings and evenings now. This was easy to keep quiet until Miss Delia wanted to pop round after work one night and LRUN had to park around the corner in stealth mode waiting for her to leave, as he shouldn't have been home at that time.

Secondly, my job was being moved north too but since LRUN had resigned, I have opted for redundancy. I have a new part time job starting in September.

Lastly...and it's a biggie.....LBM is going to nursery three days a week. Eek.