Happy Sunday!!

10/25/2015

Breaking news - Reuben has finally approved of my outfit and I've made my official debut on Sunday Style. We're getting pretty good at this 'pose for a photo' thing, I'm expecting a call from Belfast Fashion Week one of these days. The secret is to distract Reubs with animal noises and snap while he's mooing and quacking. These photos are actually from last Sunday - today we weren't quite as classy and fabulous. That extra hour meant an extra hour of 'Morning Reuben' i.e. Monster Reuben. So after church we napped aaaaalll day in our onesies with the electric blanket, and woke up extremely dazed... with excessive dribble down our faces.

This blog post should really have been called 'cute photo spam'. However, I make no apologies.












Reuben's jumper and shirt are gorgeous hand-me-downs and I'm told he is the 3rd boy to wear them - So I don't know where they are from but they must be magic. 
His jeans and boots are from Next of course. Old habits die hard.

My top/dress (depending how tall you are) is from Peacocks, a shop which I highly underrated. 
My jeans are from Topshop and my boots are from New Look. 

The really cool and picturesque background is Liberty Church in Castledawson. 

Photographer/best friend/full time Reuben supporter - annarowan95 

Becoming a Page 27 Girl

10/23/2015


Anyone who knows me will know that I haven't shut up all week. Well, actually, I never shut up but this week it's been about one thing and one thing only. MY BLOG WAS FEATURED IN THE BELFAST TELEGRAPH!! How exciting is that?! The Telegraph is pretty much the biggest newspaper in Northern Ireland with a readership of 155,000.... I'm not quite sure what that means but when we googled it in between lectures, I knew it was a very big number and a very big deal. I haven't been in the newspaper since I was a sheep in the Primary School nativity... but to be fair I was a violin-playing sheep so it's hard to beat those glory days.



I was loving life when I turned up to the Students Union on Monday morning with my cheesiest grin and squeaked "10 Telegraphs please". I proudly pointed to my little face on the front cover and not so subtly proclaimed "that's me you know, that's me on the front". I've been trying to act cool, but I'm not going to lie - I've been carrying that article around in my bag all week.

Last week Queen's University shared one of my instagram photos here with a link to my blog, and it exploded from there. The response was unbelievable. Like the - jumping with joy on the bed until your toddler falls off it - kind of unbelievable (sorry Reubs). The Tab student news site also contacted me and my blog views went from roughly 4,000 to the current 13,626 views. Now, I don't know much about blogging (actually, right now I'm blogging about my blogging. Is that even allowed?) but when I saw those views I nearly had the 'you're pregnant' level of heart attack all over again. I genuinely cannot believe it.

I could kiss every single person who has read, commented and spoke to me about my story. I'm about to get a lil soppy here. You have all encouraged me more than you will ever know and my heart is bursting with gratitude. It has been an amazing opportunity to meet new people, especially some fellow young mamas who are at their beginning of their crazy nightmare journey. I officially love you all. And Reuben officially thinks he's class. Thanks for that guys - my son's head is bigger than the Telegraph Readership. Child stardom has already went to his head. Last night he completely broke down with my mum because the trailor kept falling off his tractor. Toddler problems, am I right?

I'm pretty sure I'm going to frame the article to show Reuben when he's older. I can tell him how he adamantly ran away from the photographer several times and how one morning at breakfast a group beside us whispered "There's that wee boy from Queen's". And I hope he'll be as excited as I am. Yesterday a guy in my class was told about my blog and I proudly responded "Yeah.. You might have noticed me in the newspaper this week". If that isn't bucket list worthy then I don't know what is.



You can read The Tab article here
And the Belfast Telegraph article is here My favourite part is where they call me 'Blogger Rebecca Finlay'. That is just the cutest thing ever.

Here's some of the photos by Kevin Scott. I promise my hair was curled when I left the house. But a free run in Botanic Gardens is Reuben's dream - and my nightmare. So bare in mind I was doing a lot of exercise in between photos. And I hate exercise.


This one makes me laugh. He looks like he's in a musical.

"If you don't stand still you're never getting sweets again"
Head tilt on point



He always puts his hand on me and says MINE



You can't tell but I'm actually about to cry because Reuben
 is about to run again

He's at the Lisburn Road by now







Yep, I'm Definitely a Mum

10/17/2015

I just had one of those unbelievably emotional, defining moments in life that you know you'll look back on in years to come and it'll hit you, and you'll think 'Yep, I'm a mum'.

One of those moments where you absolutely break down into a shriveling blubbery mess because you either can't believe this moment is happening or you don't want to let this moment go.. Like when you give birth, or your kid starts school, when your son leaves home to start Uni, or when you walk your daughter down the aisle. You know.. those moments. And it caught me completely by surprise. You know what triggered it? 

Reuben got his first pair of pyjamas. 

And. I. BAWLED.



Look at him! I don't know what's wrong with me, I've got a lump in my throat just recalling it. I'm not usually one for dwelling on these things... I didn't even cry when he was born. Actually, I was so high on gas and air crying was the last thing on my mind. I was just completely buzzed at the fact I produced this child and in my head no one else had ever had a baby before me. And if they did then no one did it as good as me. I felt sheer glee. Or even when I left him at 9 months old to go back to work - Nope. Nothing. Nada. When I left him at creche to start Uni we progressed... I had tears of guilt. But there was none of these ridiculous overly emotional hyperventilating tears. But tonight I took one look at him in his big boy pyjamas and I broke. His whole future flashed in front of me. 

I used to get very annoyed at these mums who always complain 'I want them to stay this age forever'. I was always thinking I DON'T WANT HIM TO STAY THIS AGE FOREVER HE JUST BIT MY LEG AND PEED ON MY PILLOW I CAN'T WAIT FOR HIM TO GROW. When strangers say 'Awk don't they grow up so fast', I just smile... and in my head I'm thinking NOT FRIGGING FAST ENOUGH.

But here I am. Crying real tears because my boy isn't a baby any more. As a result I've been looking through baby photos all night. I had just about calmed myself down and then I realised his pyjamas don't have little feet attached to them and then I started psychotically bawling all over again. All of a sudden I could see how much he has developed. I could see him starting school, and playing football, and having friends, and asking me for money, and doing exams, and asking me for more money, and making questionable decisions with that money, and getting a girlfriend (who I'll probably not like), and moving out, and... well... just not being a baby anymore.

And here I am, sitting with my tail between my legs saying I don't want him to grow. I want him to stay just as he is. He can bite my leg and pee on my pillow and put ketchup in my hair and throw his nappy at me. I'll take every hit, because some day he'll grow up and I'll remember this night... and I'll remember that's when I knew I was definitely a mum. Because I cried over the dinosaur pyjamas. 





Accidents and Emergencies

10/11/2015

So there I was, standing at the college reception with Reuben in my arms, both of us traumatized, both of us soaking wet, blood pouring out of his forehead, and a feeble sticky plaster trying to disguise his head wound. My only words... "I should be in class right now".

Mothering skills - 0
Corner of the coffee table - 1

So about a week ago now (I still haven't got broadband in my house, don't judge my lack of organisation please), on a wet, dreary, already running late - kinda Monday morning..you know the kind.. Reuben tripped on the mat and hit his head off the corner of the coffee table. And I FREAKED out. I had an Early Church History lecture to be in, a double one might I add, and there was blood gushing out of my sons head. I was going to fail my degree and Reuben was going to have a hole in his head. No big deal. So what did I do? I paused the bleeding and covered it with a sticky plaster, naturally. I wanted to get to my lecture so I turned up at his creche... hoping that they wouldn't notice. I really struggle with Church History okay! But of course being the more responsible adults than me, they told me I needed to get him checked out at A&E.

The exact words I did not want to hear. For the last almost 2 years I've been avoiding A&E at all costs. Do you know how hard that is when you have a male toddler who throws himself off furniture and into walls?! ITS PRETTY HARD! I just reeeaaaaallllyyyyy don't want any accidents on Reuben's medical record. I mean, as a young single mum I am pretty much a walking target for Social Services. But these things happen every toddler, you can't wrap them in bubble wrap. Believe me, I've tried.

After I explained myself at the college, and the lovely ladies at reception ignored the fact that I was obviously a crazy person.. they advised me to just get the notes off someone in my class. That was common sense. But that part of my brain wasn't functioning. I'm not sure any part of my brain was functioning but we'll not go down that route.

How was I going to tell my parents? I've been in Belfast one week and I've already broken their grandson. In fact, I'm pretty sure my dad still hasn't been told so this might not be his favourite blog post. I rang my friend Anna in a blind panic... she's a student nurse, she would fix everything. Anna met me at my house, calmed me down, and gave me directions to the Royal. Then I queued for TWENTY FIVE MINUTES just to get into the car park! Y'all gotta do something about that over at the Royal! Anyway, then we spent the next half hour in the waiting room while Reuben bounced about, absolutely unaware of blood coming from his temple.

After aaaaaallllll this.... Reuben just needed cleaned and given a 'good boy' sticker. No stitches. Nothing. Nada.

WHERE'S MY GOOD MUM STICKER!

The nurse told me 'better to get these things checked out, better safe than sorry'.. But she's obviously never studied Early Church History. He might be safe, but I'm still a little sorry.

And that's Reuben's first trip to A&E. And that's my first skipped lecture. So here's to the normal Monday mornings - where early alarms and soggy weetabix don't seem so bad anymore.


Toddler Freshers

10/02/2015





It's official. I'm an adult.

To be honest I thought I became an adult when I turned 18..or when I gave birth to another human being, but admittedly I was wrong.

When you are sitting in the middle of your living room floor, crying real tears, because your hoover just blew up and you'll never get the hang of this housewife thing and you don't know how you'll afford a replacement hoover on top of the replacement TV, microwave, and 3 cups that you broke...THAT is the definition of adulthood.

So yeah, my Fresher's week has been a LITTLE stressful. But it's also been a LOTTLE fun. If you think your Freshers week was crazy - try moving a toddler to a new city, a new house, a new bedroom, a new creche...and then tell me if you still want kids when you're older. Years ago, when I used to imagine myself at University, I didn't think my housemate would be a one year old. I thought I would spend every night of Freshers making questionable decisions in questionable clubs - instead I spent my evenings perfecting my questionable bedtime routine and cleaning questionable substances off my carpet. But here we are, and I wouldn't change a thing. Here's a few things I've learned this week.

- Spaghetti hoops taste good with everything.
I can't cook. It's a well known fact. When you're pregnant you should be sent to cookery classes instead of stupid ante-natal classes, where you learn how to give birth and then forget every single thing when you're actually in labour. (I don't know about the rest of y'all but when it came down to it, I just wanted the drugs). Anyway, I used to pinch bits and pieces from mum and dads dinner for Reuben. I would have something already made up..usually from JC Stewarts - those salads are on point! But now I'm trying to cook and I've been quite successful, if I do say so myself. I even made salmon!! But every single day I've had to replace something burnt/undercooked/resembling a foot.. for some spaghetti hoops. And you know what - they are delicious.

- I love being a student.
Confession time - I wasn't sure if I would feel comfortable with other students, especially those coming straight from school. But I LOVE it. And I LOVE everyone I have met. Both staff and students at Queens are incredibly supportive and I am so grateful to be there. You see, I'm actually not sure what my maturity levels are anymore. Sometimes I feel like a 40 year old woman, worrying about providing for my family and getting the latest offers in Asda. Sometimes I feel like a toddler with a crazy exuberance and energy for life. So it's been good for me to be a 20 year old. A normal 20 year old. Who doesn't always have toddler snotters on her dress.

- I hate the smell of vinegar.
On one of my many drives to Belfast (I'm going to write a full blog on how much I hate that drive) to move my colossal amount of belongings, a bottle of balsamic vinegar smashed in my car. And it dripped all over my food, my house, my pavement, and my girl Kayla. As a friend I definitely come with a lot of catches.





















-Post isn't exciting anymore
It's either a useless advertisement leaflet or a useless bill. So disappointing. I used to run for the post. Now I very slowly walk and very slowly kick it into the corner until it isn't visible anymore.

- Reuben and I are not the strong independent people that I thought we were.
He has had trouble settling into his new creche and every morning he screams his head off and digs his nails into me. Now he's absolutely fine after 10 minutes and I'm pretty sure he secretly loves it. But the first week was traumatic. And that is no exaggeration. Each morning I went to my car and sobbed my heart out. I thought it was extremely unfair of me to uproot him from everything and everyone that he knows. The one thing that he did know was me. And I was abandoning him to go to uni!! It was so unlike us. I cannot stress this enough. Reuben and I both like our own space, We were pretty independent. I know that sounds ridiculous but we've never had any trouble being apart. I've never been that mum who cries when she leaves her baby at creche for the first time. And Reuben was never that baby who cried when other people baby sat him. But this week we've been an incredibly clingy, needy, and always cuddling duo. We are so dependent on each other and we're 100% in this together. Spaghetti hoops and all.

- My mum has washed a lot of dishes.
Seriously guys, there is always something to wash. It never stops. Never. Just when you think it has stopped, you crave a cup of tea..and then there's another darn cup to clean. It's a vicious circle of laziness and tea cravings.
There's 2 of us. It's been 1 week. And I don't want to see another dirty plate in my life. My mum had a family of 5 and has been married for 25 years. I keep imagining all of the dishes she has washed in her lifetime and I want to hug her. This honestly has hit me hard this week.

- Sometimes I parent well
A week ago my son shared a bedroom and a single bed with me. He woke up every hour and had milk on tap.
Now he sleeps in his own bed, in his own room, and he leads the way at bed time. I don't hear or see him until approx. 10-12 hours later when he shouts MUMMY from his room with a massive good morning smile.
That is a dream. That is a victory. And I am so thankful for it.
Don't get me wrong, it was hard work and Sunday night was the worst night I have ever experienced with Reuben. (newborn sleepless nights aside) I know a lot of parents won't agree with this at all, but I let him cry it out. Please don't torch me. I did it with love. I went into him every few minutes and gave him his dummy and told him I loved him and left again. And he kept crying. I had unintentionally spoiled him and now was my chance to start a new routine. This went on for a few hours and I crouched behind my own bedroom door crying and praying and wondering if I was doing the right thing. The second night he only cried a little, the third night he only cried when I said it was bed time, and on the fourth night he walked to bed himself and let me tuck him in. It might not work for everybody, but it worked for Reuben. And I am ecstatic. I also have a double bed and that creek in my neck is finally gone.

-Just because you get clean yourself in the shower doesn't mean your shower is clean.
HOW DOES IT GET SO DIRTY SO FAST!? IT IS LITERALLY JUST WATER AND SHAMPOO AND A LITTLE BIT OF GREASE FROM MY HAIR I JUST DONOT UNDERSTAND!!!!!

- TV is really not necessary
I haven't missed it as much as I missed the hoover.
Reuben and I read The Ugly Duckling approx. 678245 times and it's actually an inspiring story. More inspiring than the Early Church History article that I haven't started writing about yet. Do you think I could submit this blog post as my assignment? I haven't missed the TV one bit and Reuben has actually started paying attention when I read to him. I'm also obliged to spend every afternoon at the park so he's too tired to trash the house while I make dinner.



- I want to hang out with my parents.
My friends have been so amazing and supportive as usual. That's their thing. Just being amazing. But I missed my family. (Not the dogs though. I'll never miss the dogs)And I have LOVED having the house for just myself and Reuben. I feel like we are our own little family unit. But I was genuinely so excited to see my mama this morning when she came to visit us and I was devastated at how fast the day went. This week my parents even bought Reuben a new big single bed for our room in Castledawson. Now we both have single beds in the room - it feels like we're bother and sister. (a frequent mistake made by lots of students this week)

Who needs a schoolbag when you've got a kid
Tired of the conversation at halls






                                         
I hate football but there's always some other student who doesn't




No parents = stay in the bath as long as we like