I'm ready to stop because I work full-time, which means I have to make time to pump breast milk during every single work day, and this is not easy. In the past year, I've been on a dozen business trips, which involve incredible planning and logistics to leave enough milk at home, and to pump and travel with dozens of ounces of milk.
Whether you deem it as a social family building trend or simply the scientific ability to navigate around Mother Nature, "traditional" surrogacy is not a new concept. As a matter of fact, it is the only form of assisted reproduction that dates back to biblical times. The story of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis chapter 16, is the most notable example.
Attachment parenting doesn't acknowledge capitalism or patriarchy as deities the way mainstream parenting does. Attachment parenting (the practices involved in) supports a woman's right to understand how her body works, how powerful she is in the life of her child and in wider society and how awesome her biology is.
I spend my working life helping organisations deal with disruption. I focus on the media and entertainment industry these days, but I've covered sectors as diverse as health, energy, transport, and financial services.
Sleep deprivation is a key cause of Toddler's Back, when you have kids you just don't get to rest like you used to - fact. Our daughter is no fan of sleeping, and despite being a perfect little angel (well almost) during daylight hours, she turns into something of a diva at night. It was during a particularly difficult night time shift this week, when my Toddler's Back really struck.
Here is the contradiction: Society wants men to spend more time with their kids and families (believe me, at least once a week I get a comment like "Oh it's good to see daddy being in charge" when in public), but employers and government do next to nothing to support them. I believe we need some fundamental changes here...
At midnight I look up at the screen to see Big Ben, haloed in light, wreathed in the smoke of rockets and bangers, keeping stern watch over the city I called home for almost thirty years: so close, yet so far away.
Having received a card from the middle-aged couple a few doors along, next week we're having a little soiree for the neighbours - all except Dead Bob Willis and his invisible wife, obviously. As I drive home from Homebase with a boot full of planks singing along to "Rebel Rebel" it somehow feels Christmassy and normal.
Sean's spots are healing, Emma making friends; Lynda is working in London today. The house is "coming together" (as in, it's no longer falling apart). The roof of the summerhouse is secured with tarp and screws. There's nothing useful I can do alone. Nothing for it: I must write.
Neither of the kids seems traumatised by their first day at Straddlewick; we heave sighs of relief. Then, at tooth-brush-time, Emma says Sean was called names by an older boy in the playground.
Lynda's supposed to meet me at the train station but the Stilo's out of action: some sort of steering rod calamity that will cost more to fix than we paid for the infernal thing. For about a trillisecond I consider taking a mechanic's course then remember I have better things to do. I'm not sure what, exactly, but I do.
That night, I spend some time thinking about what we tell our children, about Heaven and God, about what happens when we die - and although I don't believe in any of it, I tell myself that, right now, it's ok for him to believe. After all, as a five-year-old, there are plenty of things that he believes in that I know aren't true.
Following a great deal of badgering, bribery and blackmail the children allow themselves to be shown round Straddlewick primary by the deputy head and we assume from their relative silence they have no fundamental objection to being educated there.
Mesmerised by the second child and totally drawn in. And I didn't love Anna any less. Phew! There isn't a finite amount of emotion in me. Or at least I hadn't reached the limit yet. I'm pretty apathetic about most things so it's quite possible I have some saved up over the years.
Joy! The kitchen sink is finally installed so now we can wash our pots and clothes without resorting to the scabby old bathtub. Shame about the missing cutlery drawer - "I'll come back later," says the plumber, vaguely - but who cares when you can clean your socks without your hands resembling Brillo pads immersed in Jif?*
Continuing to work in London is disorientating: waking hours before dawn, driving along waterlogged lanes to the station where I wait for the local train to take me into Cambridge, where I make a dash for anything heading towards the city: no time for coffee or breakfast, then I look up drowsily from "Portrait of a Lady" (how did these people ever actually mate?) - and I'm back in the smoke.