10 Types of Mum-Friend

Being a new mum is an exciting but scary thing. Being an expatriate new mum brings a whole heap of additional challenges. Imagine being in a place where you don’t know many people, don’t have close family and friends nearby and the healthcare system is very different to home. This is where the Mum-Friends come in.

Athough a natural introvert, I’ve forced myself to get out and join a multitude of mum and baby groups. Heck, I even started one of my own. The friendships I’ve formed, some shallow and fleeting, some deep and long-lasting, have so far been a safety net through the trials and tribulations of motherhood.

When thrown together, clueless about our new roles as mothers, there’s always enough common ground to share tea and cake and have a good chit-chat. The beauty of parenthood is there’s always something to talk about.

I’ve been on the Abu Dhabi Mum-Friend ‘circuit’ for a while now. I estimate I’ve met a couple of hundred new mums over the last year or so. I’ve observed certain repeated characteristics. Here’s my run down of the top ten types of Mum-Friend I’ve encountered:

1. The Knowledgeable One

Who needs Dr. Google when this friend is around? Whether its feeding, weaning or sleeping, this friend has pearls of wisdom to share far and wide. This friend has their finger on the pulse of the Next Big Thing and is happy to share the intel. When it comes to your latest baby equipment purchase, one can bypass searching around review sites; this friend has already been there, done that and even has a plethora of discount codes to share.

Need one of these? The Knowledgeable One knows where to find it, at half the price.

Need one of these? The Knowledgeable One knows where to find it, at half the price.

 

2. The Flake

Agrees to every mummy meet-up invite only to cancel last-minute on the strength of a creative story involving keys, animals or household maintenance issues. A sick baby would be much too predictable. Thoroughly lovely but your chances of actually getting to spend time with this friend are sporadic and require persistence.

3. The Laid-Back One

When your shoulders are hunched up by your ears after the latest hellish night of teething horrors, go spend some time with the laid-back friend. This is the friend who actually oozes sunshine. To this friend, the world is a beautiful place and babies are to be taken in their stride. Their baby obviously smiles, coos and stays in one place. They stroll through life in an instagram-haze. The relaxing ambience and Jo-Malone scented bliss will rub off onto you and your little one. When visiting this friend, you may outstay your welcome as you don’t want to leave their blissful, Cath-Kidston decorated bubble.

4. The High-Achieving One

This friend manages to go to work, spend time with their baby, cook, do crafts, exercise, plan holidays, attend educational baby-classes, do charity work, read for pleasure, and renovate their home. Just thinking about what they cram into 24 hours is exhausting. Quite frankly, this friend is Wonder Woman. If we could all be half as organised as this friend we’d be grateful.

 

Here she is...the High Achiever

Here she is…the High Achiever

 

5. The Butterfly

A member of 7000 different baby groups and social networks, this friend knows everyone and is actually off to meet more people this afternoon. Unable to stay in one place for longer than approximately 15 minutes, the elusive butterfly straps their baby into a carrier and flutters off to the next gathering pretty sharpish, phone in hand.

6. The Cool One

No scraped back greasy hair, straight-legged pale mum-jeans or baby sick-patches here. This fashionista exudes confidence and has refused to leave behind the days of making an effort. You have no idea how this friend manages to perpetually look like they’ve just left a very cool magazine photo shoot and you are too in awe to ask. This friend is the friend you are aspiring to be when you’ve lost that final 10 pounds of mum-tum and have time to buy clothing that actually fits. No dieting pitfalls here. This friend is your hope at the end of the tunnel.

7. The Boaster

Your baby slept through the night? Mine has been doing that since they were 1 day old.

You struggled with breastfeeding? I didn’t even have to think about it.

Your baby has just learned to crawl? My baby has already been signed up for the Olympic figure-skating team.

Yes, we all know one of these. This friend is actually in the ‘departure lounge’ area of your friends list.

8. The Matronly One

A throwback to the days of a stiff upper lip, nerves of steel and firm parenting principles, the Matronly friend is a reassuring presence in times of uncertainty. Don’t expect tea and sympathy or a warm hug. The name of the game here is straight-talking, wise advice and a bit of a kick in the right direction. The Matronly friend is reliable, steady and likely to double up as the Knowledgeable One.

9. The Sorry One

This friend has the sorriest of sorry tales at all times. Makes your life seem like a walk in the park. Their baby is cute but ever so troublesome. This is the friend who needs to spend a lot of time in the company of The Laid-Back One. Join them and take plenty of cake. You’ll all leave this gathering feeling much better.

This will help The Sorry One feel better.

This will help The Sorry One feel better.

 

10. The Best One

The one you feel like you’ve known forever. A kindred spirit with whom you can totally be yourself, feel comfortable to discuss the good times and the worst times and not be embarrassed to turn up with dry-shampooed hair and patches of concrete Weetabix on your shoulder. They are likely to have Weetabix patches too. No front, no pretence, no need to be something you are not. This friend knows instinctively when to send a message telling you it will get better. This friend brings along the bubbly and cheers you on when you’ve survived the latest challenge. We all need at least one of these in our lives.

Which one is you?

 

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This post is part of the following blog linkys:

The Little Life of Ickle Pickle
Mami 2 Five
Binky Linky
Confessions of a Ninja Mom
A Cornish Mum
My Random Musings

Let's Talk Mommy

Mummascribbles

Friday Frolics
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Smallprint Abu Dhabi

Before I begin, I’ll tell you this is not a sponsored post. The thoughts I’m going to jot down over the next few minutes are based on goods I purchased without obligation, and therefore I can speak freely and give my honest views. I’m sharing this as it may come in useful to others looking for unique gifts. 

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I’m notoriously bad at buying gifts. Granted, I’m improving with time, but I still make the occasional dodgy purchase.

My fortunes recently took a turn for the better when I discovered Smallprint Abu Dhabi. I was in the throes of searching for a Father’s Day gift when I saw Smallprint advertised at a baby shopping event.

Smallprint is a company which makes personalised silver jewellery and keepsakes. Items can be imprinted with hand and foot prints, fingerprints, or even inscribed with a child’s handwriting. The company has the technology to copy prints onto the jewellery, albeit scaled down to fit.

I was looking for something personal and a bit different, and this seemed to fit the bill.

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I made contact via facebook with Carol-Anne, the lovely lady running Smallprint Abu Dhabi. I originally planned to visit her, either at her base, or at one of the many markets she attends around the city. Then I was struck by the idea of finding out whether any of my mum-mates would be interested in buying something too.

A quick straw poll received a resounding ‘yes’. It seems we were all struggling for gifts for the men in our lives. I set about arranging a coffee morning and Carol-Anne confirmed she was happy to come along. One of my friends described it as ‘like a very cool tupperware party’.

Carol-Anne brought along many examples of the items she could make for us, including bracelets, necklaces, charms, cufflinks and keyrings. I selected a pair of cufflinks for my husband, with Little O’s hand and foot prints. I couldn’t resist getting something for myself too, so selected a bracelet with two charms, one hand and one foot print. On the back of each charm it was also possible to have an inscription so I chose to have Little O’s name and ‘9 months’ (as a record of her age at the time).

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The process of taking the hand and foot prints was fairly quick and without drama. A ‘wet-wipe’ is applied to the hand / foot and then a print taken on special paper. Carol-Anne was very patient with all the mums and babies and happy to take repeated prints until we got prints we were happy with. Babies being babies, there was a lot of wriggling going on, which didn’t always make for the best prints first time around! This meant our coffee morning lasted a lot longer than I had booked Carol-Anne for, but she happily stayed to make sure we all had chance to get our prints.

On ordering, a deposit is paid, with the remainder to be paid on delivery. Obviously in the run-up to Father’s Day there was a high demand and Carol was very busy, however we all received our goods within 2 weeks, in good time before the big day. Everything was beautifully packaged and labelled and each item came with a care card explaining how best to care for our solid silver goods.

My husband is generally not the most ‘expressive’ soul but he seemed very happy with his gift! I love my bracelet too.

The feedback I received from friends who also ordered items from Smallprint has all been positive.

If you’d like to learn more visit the Smallprint Abu Dhabi Facebook Page

 

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Diary of a 10-Month Old: Part 1 – Marvellous Mornings

Babies, eh? A total mystery.

A lot of my time is spent trying to de-code the tone of Baby O’s crying / babbling / screeching to understand what is either being demanded or strongly declined.

As she gets older it becomes a bit easier, with the addition of hand movements and facial expressions. It’s hard to miss the signature withering expression meaning ‘get that homemade quinoa-cheesy-bite away from me and give me some Ella’s Kitchen fruit puree now‘. 

I think we are making progress in our two-way communication. With the benefit of having been able to study Little O for 10 months, I like to think I know what’s going on in her mind at least some of the time.

I imagine her morning goes something like this:

A Typical Morning:

7.00am – Come on lazy bones! I want to get up and play!

7.10am – That’s it, I give up, I’m getting out of here. If I can work out how to climb out of this wooden cot-prison. Hang on, change of plan, I’ll wait a bit longer as I want to spend some quality time gnawing on my crackly Lamaze doll.

7.20am – MUM! Don’t open the curtains, it’s too bright. Yes I’m bringing two dummies with me to the changing table, don’t even think about trying to make me leave one behind in my cot. Get a move on, I’m starving. Really, go ahead and change my nappy at a glacial pace, I’ll reward you with non-stop crying until I get my milk.

7.25am – Yum, Milk. Best thing ever. Except for chewing on remote controls.

Baby paradise

Baby paradise

 

7.45am – OK, now I’m fully charged and ready to practice standing up against the sofa. Pass me the remote control. No, really, pass it to me or I’ll scream.

7.46am – Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, it’s ok, I’ll play with this wooden spoon instead. I want to stand and sit at the same time, how is this not possible? Look, a plug socket, excellent. Lets commando-crawl towards it. Drat. Almost got there, but was lifted away when I was just a fingertip away. Most unfair. I was going to scream but will make do with watching a video clip of myself on mummy’s phone. Hmmm I feel a bit calmer now. Watching my own fabulous antics on film really cheers me up. I’m so funny.

8.15am – In baby jail playpen whilst mum eats some weetabix. It is totally unreasonable to expect me to wait for my weetabix so I’m going to whinge until she abandons her breakfast and gets on with making mine. Come on love, I’m starving.

The breakfast of champions

The breakfast of champions

 

8.30am – Mmmmmm weetabix.

8.31am – Actually, although I usually adore it, I’m going to keep mum guessing and only eat two spoonfuls today. No, stop trying to make me eat it. I want toast, not weetabix. No, don’t under any circumstances take the weetabix away.

9.00am – Don’t leave me mum! I don’t care that we are going out and you need to get changed out of your pyjamas and spray powdery stuff into your hair to make people think it has been washed. I don’t want you to move out of my sight for even one minute. Yes, bringing me with you into the bathroom is great. Oh look, a cupboard, what’s in here? Can I get this bottle open? Give it back! What, mum? Giving up on your shower? Good.

9.15am – I feel a bit tired now. Making a continuous groaning sound helps. Can we watch cartoons?

9.20am – I love cartoons. Iggle Piggle is the best. I want him to be my best friend. Where the hell is my mum? I think she’s gone to apply concealer to her eye bags. Clearly it makes no difference but I will remain quiet and allow her two minutes to indulge in her denial about how much the make up can actually improve her exhausted face. I think she’s lovely, anyway. Especially when she blows raspberries on my tummy.

Mum's try-to-look-human kit

Mum’s try-to-look-human kit

 

9.22am – Aaaaaaaarrrrrgh! What’s a baby gotta do to get some attention around here? Here she is, running around packing a large bag. I think it’s my stuff. I hope she’s bringing a spare outfit as I’m saving this nappy explosion until we’re in the shopping mall.

9.30am – Yesssssss I love the car seat. I’m pretty tired. Mmmmm I love watching the tops of the palm trees out of the car window…….

10.15am – Where am I? Oh, it’s the mall again. Joy. Why do we have to come here all the time? It was boiling hot outside but my feet are freezing in here. Oh, I feel much better now my tummy has emptied out. Why does my mum look so upset? It’s nice to change outfits a few times per day, yes? Milk please!

10.30am – I’m not in the mood for shopping today. If I have to spend more than a minute inside any shop I will make my feelings known in a very loud fashion.

11.30am – Soft play is the most fun ever. I’m staying here forever. That’s funny, mum seems to be gathering up our things, there’s no need to do that if we’re staying here. Whaaaaaat? Noooooo! Put me down. I’m not going anywhere! Never mind, I’ll watch myself on video again. Hello car seat. Good, that means we are heading home for lunch. I’m super hungry. I hope we have some quinoa-cheesy-bites for lunch. It’s so much fun watching them bounce off the floor.

Aftermath of lunch

Aftermath of lunch

 

I would like to think this is somewhere near accurate.

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon……

 

 

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Ode to a Car Seat

I’m afraid I’m no poet, but I must express my feelings about this toughened plastic baby essential.

To begin with, a vessel to carry a tiny and vulnerable baby home from hospital. Little O looked so small and crumpled, barely filling a quarter of the seat, awkwardly supported by a head cushion which looked more uncomfortable than helpful.

Placed on the floor when we got home at midnight two days after her birth, the seat containing our little treasure was a thing of beauty.

The subject of this tale...

The subject of this tale…

 

Mr O and I stared at Little O asleep in her car seat and wondered ‘what now?’.

‘What now?’ indeed.

Over the coming few months, the the car seat became a thing of dread. Little O decided that being restrained in this instrument of torture was too much for any reasonable baby to bear. Every journey, even just a five minute trip to the local food emporium, became a mission of epic proportions.

My new mum friends became accustomed to me arriving to coffee mornings late, red-faced and flustered, with a screaming ball of fury in tow. Yes, I tried all the tricks: travelling at nap time, dangling toys to distract her, music, singing and on and on. To no avail.

On Abu Dhabi highways, usually at least 5 lanes wide with no place to pull over, a purple-faced hysterical baby is not an easy travelling partner. The mirror allowing me to see Little O in her rear-facing seat made me feel worse, as I could actually witness rather than just hear the screaming whilst trying to avoid the tailgating, non-indicating drivers all around me. Of course, if she’s unhappy, I’m unhappy.

For anybody reading this and identifying with the scenario, I can provide reassurance that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Well, sort of.

Suddenly, at around 8 months old, Little O became fond of her car seat. We’ll never know how or why this happened but I’m not going to question it. Slowly but surely I’ve lengthened my journeys and can manage a half hour journey without any drama. It seems the car seat is the new place to sleep rather than scream.

Which brings me to our new relationship hitch. Little O now only wants to sleep in the car seat.

Currently I am to be found thrice daily making aimless car journeys around the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, to get Little O to sleep. Where bouncing on the exercise ball and singing ‘The Wheels on The Bus’ have failed, the car seat has now become our new sleeping hero. I type this blog post having just completed an afternoon loop of our favourite route. I say ‘our’ favourite route, to be fair Little O was non-the-wiser as she was away with the dream fairies.

Always something interesting to see on a drive around here

Always something interesting to see on a drive around here

 

I have mixed feelings about this new development. We can cover a lot of driving ground in half an hour. It gets quite tedious and uses a fair amount of petrol. Then we have the issue of the transfer. Not easy when it involves a basement car park and long journey in a lift followed by navigating a very loud-clicking front door. Then into the cot, at which point she sometimes wakes. But, today it worked well and therefore Mr. Car Seat, I salute you. I may get to the end of this blog post and even finish my cup of tea before Little O wakes up. I know this is likely to be a short phase, but whilst I have a fail-safe tool to get the baby to sleep, I’m happy.

Our relationship has been a rocky one, but for now, the car seat and I have made our peace. Until the next phase.

O Car Seat how I love thee so. I think we still have a long way to go.

 

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