Monday 27 February 2012

Day 24- The Mini Zoo

rabbit, mini zoo, baby and rabbit

Day 24 saw Dylan being introduced to some creatures he had never come across before.  In turn he met a rabbit, a guinea pig and a budgie.  He has been around cats and dogs before, but has always seemed happy to be ignored by them.  This time he had no choice but to examine them closer.

baby and rabbit, mini zoo
First came a rabbit,
a beautifully soft white fluffy rabbit which I could not help but stroke myself.  Dylan seemed fascinated and happy to touch and play with the furry thing.  I had to hold him back from pulling the poor creatures hairs out as I think he fancied a quick taste.

baby and rabbit, mini-zoo

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Day 26 - The Baby Show

After being lucky enough to win tickets to this year's Baby Show, we spent a small fortune getting to, and purchasing goodies whilst there.  I was unprepared for quite how big London ExCel would be, and was surprised to find that the Baby Show was one of four major exhibits going on at the same time.

When we eventually found the right place by following the procession of bumps and buggies,  I was delighted that the first stall was
Tots Bots.  Only just inside the door,  and the shopping had begun.  We were greeted by the lovely Fiona, and proceeded to purchase among other things the beautiful new London easyfit.  They are only available for pre-order so I am eagerly anticipating some fluffy post in the near future.

Tots Bots Easyfit Limited Edition, london easyfit, cloth nappies
The London easyfuit by Tots Bots with poppers.

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Friday 24 February 2012

Day 23 - Here comes the Airplane

 A lovely Thursday with Dylan's grandparents was spent at Manston Spitfire museum.  After an Al fresco lunch (Dylan's first), due to the beautifully warm weather we watched the airplanes taking off.  Kent international airport is unique in that  it is minuscule but still in operation.

It consists of one building, no bigger than a large house, and is marked off by a small fence.  As it is barely used, and only sporadically has commuter flights it is almost forgotten, but for anyone wanting to see airplanes close up, it is perfect.  They fly almost within touching distance, the take off/landing strip is clearly visible, and there is a lovely cafe (where we lunched) looking over the air fields.

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Thursday 23 February 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful - Week 3

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

This is getting to be one of my weekly highlights-  stopping to remember why life is so good, so here is this weeks 'Reasons to be Cheerful';

1) The baby slept through last night - or what I consider to be sleeping through (I have high standards)  6.30pm til 7am.  This is the first time he has gone that long in two and a half months.  I still feel knackered, but I have hope!

2) We have a new tumble dryer.
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Wednesday 22 February 2012

Review - Tots Bots New Easyfit

Thursday morning, and for once I wasn't thinking about how early it was when the baby woke me up.  I was expecting fluffy post, and the excitement was overwhelming!  The wonderful people at Tots Bots HQ had sent me one of the new easyfits to trial, and the courier could come at any moment.  After several hours of curtain twitching, and not straying too far from the front door, the courier arrived mid nappy change.

Tots Bots, Easyfit, new colous, selection, cloth nappiesThe new Easyfit birth to potty which I was waiting for is now available in both velcro and poppers
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Day 21 + 22- Sweet Treats

Unfortunately I have not had a camera to hand for the last two days, because the mess was epic.  On day 22, we gave Dylan his first bit of real chocolate, namely, a chocolate finger.  Luckily, he happened to be wearing just a nappy at the time, so the sticky brown dribble pooled in front of rather than spreading and staining his lovely clothes.

As is recommended, he has been weaned on a healthy diet of fruit, veg, and milk but I thought it was about time he learnt the real benefit of solids- chocolate.
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Tuesday 21 February 2012

Day 20 - A Night in Cloth

Since we began using cloth nappies, I have not risked an entire night in one.  They work beautifully for daytime, but we tend not to change the baby's nappy for up to 14 hours overnight.  After trying several disposable brands and styles, we eventually found one that kept the liquid in and the baby dry.

night nappies, cloth nappies, tots bots wrap, lollipop nappy
Our winning combination
As we were doing this February Challenge it felt like the right time to take the next step and brave the cloth night nappy.  I chose a Lollipop bamboo inner with a fleece liner ( to ensure his little bum stays dry all night) and a Tots Bots waterproof wrap.  I was nervous dressing him for bed, and was dubious as to how well a cloth nappy would work for such an extended period of time.

tots bots wrap, night nappy, cloth nappies
Getting ready for bed.

In the morning I was pleasantly surprised to find no leaks, and a happy dry baby!  I had underestimated the cloth nappies ability.  Dylan can now sleep in a beautifully soft nappy, help save the planet, and look good doing it.

If you are planning on trying cloth nappies at night, I would recommend using a fleece liner so that their skin says dry and does not get irritated, and using a wrap in a larger size than normal, so there is more space to stuff.  Bamboo is the most absorbent material for a nappy.
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Monday 20 February 2012

Review - Sani + Hands Antibacterial Wipes


We were sent the Sani + Hands cleansing hand wipes to review.  The wipes come in packs of 12, which are handy handbag/ nappy bag sized.  Independently proven to be the best way to clean dirty hands, the Sani+Hands wipes are more effective than gels and foams as, although gel and foam products may kill bacteria on contact with your skin, they do not actually remove dirt.

Sani + hands, antibacterial hand wipesThe wipes sounded perfect for life with a baby, as they would combine the cleaning of baby wipes, and the sanitising of hand gel in one easy solution.  The wipes are dermatologically tested, and contain added moisturiser so do not only leave hands feeling clean, but are also kind to skin.  I was hoping that they would be gentle enough to use on Dylan.

The wipes did everything they said, keeping mummy and baby's hands clean, sanitized and free from irritation.  I also found the wipes were very handy for high chairs when out and about.  The wipes have a funky blue pattern and come in the perfect size for hands or a small surface.  They have a pleasant but not strong smell, and left us feeling clean.

Sani + Hands will be available at Tesco, Waitrose, Ocado and other independent pharmacies around the Uk, and will be sold at the affordable price of 99p.

For more details visit Sani + Hands
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Introduction to Cloth Nappies

icandy cherry, pushchair, pramBefore having a baby, I had never given much thought to what kind of parent I would be.  I spent a lot of time researching, and a lot of money buying my dream pushchair (the beautiful icandy cherry), but never considered a sling.  Now I love my wearing my baby- the closeness and the ease is unbeatable.  I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but I never dreamt I would still be happily doing it as he approaches 7 months with no plan to stop anytime soon.

 I'm not sure before having a baby that I even knew cloth nappies were still used, and I certainly was not aware of the range and colours available.  It wasn't until Dylan was a couple of months old that I started paying attention in baby group to those beautiful fluffy bums, and realised that rather than being smelly and old fashioned, they meant no more bins full of stinky nappies, and boring white pampers, and a whole world of colour and prints.

pocket nappies, cloth nappies, star print nappies

Once I made the decision to give these beautiful behinds a go, I purchased a whole bunch of pocket nappies on ebay, in an assortment of colourful prints.  Unfortunately, these were not the nappies for me, and have since been re- homed.  I proceeded to buy shaped inners, with pretty covers, a winning combination on one little bum, and although much bulkier than a disposable, they are softer, more environmentally friendly, and look adorable!

Since the arrival on my doorstep of that first cloth parcel, I have never looked back.  My life and Dylan's bum has got fluffier, and much more colourful.  I appear to have developed an insatiable addiction to the world of cloth, which means I am not saving nearly as much money as I should be!  We have several brands and varieties, and I am always on the lookout for something newer and shinier!

Look out for more posts about cloth nappies, including a review of the new Tots Bots easyfit.

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Sunday 19 February 2012

Day 18 - All Grown Up

Babies are only small for a very short time, and sometimes my little man looks ready to run off to the park with his friends, or ride his bike round the garden even though at 6 months he can't even crawl.  Today we took what I consider to be a major step towards growing up, and put Dylan in some shoes.

 To some this may not be a big deal, but I have always thought that babies do not need shoes until they can walk.  Their feet do not touch the ground!  Booties suffice to keep their little tootsies warm, and as much as I love to dress him up, his comfort is my top priority.

We had been bought a pair of shoes for him a while back, and now that he is getting to the stage where he may outgrow them, we put them on.  They are soft soled, done up with Velcro up the back, furry inner shoes, and he did not seem particularly bothered that they were on his feet, but complete with a more grown-up than usual outfit, my baby looked like a toddler ( being the size of your average 11 month old didn't help)

grown-up, baby dressed as adult
My little man!

I don't know what age it becomes inappropriate to dress a child in just a sleep suit all day but I fear Dylan is nearing that age.  He usually wears 'proper' clothes, but we like denim to be soft and lined, and tops to do up under the nappy with poppers.  I like my baby to look like a baby, and more importantly to be happy and comfortable.

Children grow up too fast without our help, so shoes are going to remain for special occasions only until he is toddling.
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Silent Sunday

sunset, richborough power station

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Friday 17 February 2012

Tag, You're It

It's that time again - Tag, you're it. The rules are as follows - 

1) You must post the rules
2) Post 12 fun facts about yourself in the blog post
3) Answer the questions the tagger has set for you in their post and then create 12 new questions for the fellow bloggers you plan to tag
4) Tag 12 people and link to them on your blog
5) Let them know you tagged them

I have been tagged by Trouble Doubled, so here goes. .  .

12 fun facts about myself:

1)  I own a ridiculous amount of shoes.  Enough for a small country.  But they are ALL necessary.

2) My eyes are not very straight any more, I am definitely developing lazy eye.  Perfect for a toddler who doesn't know which one I am looking out of.

3) I once got dragged on stage in a London Theatre watching the reduced Shakespeare company to be Ophelia.  I still have not got over how terrifying it was.

4)  I love my onesies. Not to sleep in, but they make fantastic loungewear and I have quite a few now.  My favourite one is a bunny one, and it has ears and a tail!

5)  I taught myself to drink coffee when I was studying for my finals at university.  Started with mocha and caramel lattes, and as soon as I could bear them I moved onto something stronger.

6)  I'm struggling already, twelve will be a challenge, apparently I am not that interesting!   errr I like beer.  I nearly always pick a pint of beer over a glass of wine.

7)  When I was younger I really wanted septuplets.  Now, I am not sure how I would cope with twins!

8) My little sister and I celebrate each other's half birthdays, and I am hoping that she reads this as a reminder that mine is fast approaching!

9)  I love books, and don't let the baby hold them because I don't want them chewed.  He can chew anything else, but not the books.

10) My hair has been pretty much every colour under the sun, including but not limited to red, black, blonde and blue.

11) I got a tattoo done above a pub at 2am in Vietnam.  It was actually really lovely and clean in there, and I don't regret a thing.

12)  For my 21st birthday, I had a big kids party complete with bouncy castle, pass the parcel and jelly and ice-cream
21st birthday party,
I'm in the green dress.

Wow! Can't believe I thought of 12.  Now to answer the questions:

1) Do you like being tagged in memes? This is my first, but yes I do, you may tag me again.

2) Ant or Dec? The dark haired one, whichever that is.

3) Winx Club is an abhorrence to post-feminist thought and should be banned from our TV screens. Discuss.  I had to google this, as far as I can see it is a cartoon? I currently have no opinion.

4) What is the greatest TV theme tune in the history of TV?  Easy one. . Fun house, it's a whole lot of fun, prizes to be won, if you wanna play the game then you gotta be insane!  Still get it stuck in my head now.

5) If you had to pimp your kids out for cash, would they be child models, a cute all-singing all-dancing supergroup, or up chimneys?  A child model.  He is a little young for the other two and too good looking for the chimney.  Plus, it pays better!

6) Will there ever be a boy born that can swim faster than a shark?  No, but there might be rocket propelled flippers. I would get me some of those!

7) If you could only ever eat one chocolate bar for the rest of your life, which would it be?  Cadbury's Twirl.  No contest.

8) What would be your specialist subject on Mastermind? Cloth nappies at the moment, I do know a lot about them now.  or Harry Potter.

9) Can you play a musical instrument?  Do saucepan drums count?

10) If you were a character in a novel, who would you be?  Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice.  A bit stubborn, but ends up with the right man.

11) Who let the dogs out? Who, who, who, who?  I blame the baby.  Always blame the baby. He can't speak to defend himself yet.

12) What is your favourite song?  Numb by Linkin Park and Jay-z, or I believe by Savage Garden, or Adele- Rolling in the Deep.  Too hard to pick one.

and I tag. . . 

Sarah @ Fluffydumplings
Michelle Twin Mum 
Seasider in the City
Jennifer the Book
Caz @ After Annabelle
A Yummy Mummy
Ruth Cumming

and I am going to cheat and only do that many.

Here are your questions:

1)Who do you think would win in a fight, snap, crackle or pop?
2) If you could dress in only one colour for the rest of your life what would it be?
3)cloth or disposable?
4)Would you most like to wake up next to tomorrow?
5)What is your favourite film?
6)If you won the lottery what would be the first thing you bought?
7)And who would be the first person you called?
8)Did you have a nickname at school and what was it?
9)How many children would you like, and does your OH want the same number?
10)Knock Knock. . . Who's there? (finish the joke)
11)Describe yourself in three words
12)What is next on your bucket list?

If you do take part please let me know so I can read through your answers!  Tag. . . You're it
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Day 16 & 17 - Creating a Masterpiece

After 6 months of  picture books and cartoons, I felt it was time Dylan began his cultural education, and so we embarked on a trip to the Turner Contemporary to introduce him to the world of art.  We visited Rodin's 'The Kiss', and more importantly, the gallery's cafe. I like to think that he is a more cultured baby, but he would have been a lot more impressed if the statue was brightly coloured, or if he could have tasted it (pretty sure that is not museum etiquette).

Turner contemporary, the kiss, art

Our trip to the Turner inspired today's activity, as we attempted to create our very own masterpiece. Unfortunately there is no final picture, as it ended up scrunched, dribbled on and chewed, but we had a lot of fun in the process.

Well aware that anything put near enough to Dylan will inevitably enter his mouth, I decided to make my own finger paints.  The recipe I used is:

flour- some,
water- some,
food colouring- lots.
Keep adding and mixing to you have a suitable consistency and colour.  (very official recipe there)

I knew the baby food jars would come in useful someday, and they proved perfect to mix and store the paints in.  Stripping the baby to just a disposable nappy and long sleeved bib, we got messy.  Some poking,  printing and stomping later, and we had bright colours everywhere, paper, newspaper and toes. After a few minutes it did all get a bit too much, and the paper and thumb went in the mouth, but the beauty of homemade paint meant that it didn't matter.

The paint washed straight off with water, and all evidence besides these photos is gone.  The wonder of a child that can't crawl is that they can only get things in their immediate vicinity messy!

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Thursday 16 February 2012

Day 15- Homemade Sensory

You can (and we have) spent a fortune on baby toys to improve development, co-ordination, to encourage tummy time and to provide sensory play.  Reading the blurb you would imagine a child deprived of all these fancy toys to be laying on it's back staring into space all day unable to communicate, move or imagine.  In reality, children are fascinated by the simplest thing, and Dylan often prefers playing with an empty Evian bottle to an expensive 'sensory toy'.

homemade sensoryI forced myself to eat some Quality Street, in the name of Dylan's wellbeing, and after collecting some other house hold items made my own mini playmat.  Wrapping paper, Tin foil, Sweet wrappers and sellotape entertained him for a lot longer than any other toys we have.  Whether it was the newness, or the noisy, shiny materials, he stayed put on his tummy (which doesn't happen often) for ten minutes!

homemade sensory toyhomemade sensory toy

homemade sensory toy, quality street
We played peekabo through the coloured squares, we crinkled the fabric, we used it as a mirror, we pushed it around the floor, and eventually, inevitably, we did the taste test.  It passed.  I'm pretty sure our play mat encouraged co-ordination, tummy time and sensory exploration, and all from household items.

I'm almost certain that the best incentive to make your own toys has to be the sweets needed to be consumed first!  Just need to think of a toy to make from Wine bottles now!
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Reasons to be Cheerful- week 2

I think very few people really appreciate how lucky they are.  I mean take the time every day to stop and think about what is great in their lives.  This is my favourite blog hop as it forces me to do just this.  This week I am very cheerful.

1. I have won several things this week.  Nothing big, but the buzz of winning £1 on a scratchcard makes my day more cheerful. 

2. On a similar note, I am waiting for fluffy post thanks to the wonderful people at Tots Bots HQ who have sent me the new easyfit to try out before it hits the shops. Anything that fuels my cloth nappy addiction is reason to be cheerful, although I would be even more cheerful if the postman turned up sometime soon!

3. My sister is going to Uganda in the summer for two weeks.  I love to travel, and want her to have amazing experiences in her life, so it makes me happy that she is coming out of her comfort zone, and trying something new.  

4.  With the exception of last night, the baby is sleeping soooo much better than he has been, which has done wonders for the bags under my eyes.  I would be ever so grateful if he could continue doing this for. . . well forever!

I hope everyone else is having a cheerful week!

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Tuesday 14 February 2012

Day 14- Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Dylan's first valentines day card was well received and he had a lovely text back from baby Chloe agreeing to be his valentine, with a lovely picture of her chewing the card.  Young Love!

For his valentines treat, we went to the beach.  Not quite the right weather I hear you saying.  As an august baby, by the time he was old enough that I would risk taking him near the sea and sand, it was already getting colder, so today was his first time feeling the sand and the sea breeze, his first time taking in the long stretch of sand and the endless sea.  I think he was a little underwhelmed by the vastness, but the sand was definitely a hit!

He loved the feel of it in his fingers, watching it sprinkle from my hands, and didn't seem to put off by the taste.  I can't say I wasn't warned when he next fills his nappy either.  We stopped and watched the children playing on the beach, and took in boats in the harbour before the little man decided he had had enough new in his day and would resort to the old faithful thumb and nap.

beach in winter, mother and baby

Hopefully, a combination of fresh air, new experiences and a rather impressive amount of dinner means Mummy and Daddy get a nice peaceful valentines night.

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Monday 13 February 2012

Day 13- Valentine for Baby

The modern parent subjects their child to all sorts of abuse.  From dressing them up in seasonal outfits and silly hats, stripping them naked for photos and sharing every detail of their lives on blogs (guilty to all three). Today I forced Dylan to send his first valentines day card.
cat in the hat, baby, photoshoot
Dylan at 2 months, taken by the lovely Tracey-Anne at Kidz-Unlimited

He had no choice in the matter.  Technically he was asleep when it was purchased, written and sent.  The recipient was chosen by me, in fact they are only friends because I knew her mum, but the card clearly states it was from Dylan.  As is typical of childhood friends, they will likely grow apart, and be very embarrassed when 16 years down the line I bring up the fact that Dylan once sent a valentines day card to Chloe.  The parent of a childhood friend delighted in sending me for my 18th birthday pictures of him and myself playing naked together in the garden at 2 years old.

I am not a valentines day lover myself, the Asda value card would have served my needs completely, and the bloke feels the same.  Being told to be romantic on a certain day and being told how to do it is not my idea of romance.  I prefer spur of the moment, or at least for no good reason other than I wanted to.  But for Chloe, we went all out- 99p on a card and 70p on postage.  She should consider herself spoilt!  Hopefully this early start will mean Dylan grows up to be a gentleman, respectful of women and caring.  Realistically, he was asleep.

 There are so many opportunities to dress up and embarrass your child it is easy to forget that they are not a barbie doll, but they look so darn cute!  How have you been embarrassing your children, and is there lots of evidence?

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Day 10 & 12 - Anything for a quiet night.

Old theories on parenting dictated that fresh air helped children to sleep well at night.  Since Dylan was born, I can count the number of days we have stayed in the house on one hand.  I am not one to sit at home all day when there is coffee to be drunk, clothes to be bought and friends to be seen.  Dylan definitely gets his fair share of fresh air, and maybe this is a contributing factor to him sleeping (mostly) well.

Day 10's activity is not worthy of a whole blog entry, and luckily there were no cameras to capture the moment.  I thought I would give running with the buggy a go, so down to the seafront we went, Dylan wrapped up and strapped in, me apprehensive and in trainers.  Short story shorter, Dylan did not seemed bothered in the slightest that I was huffing and puffing and pushing all twenty pounds of him along, and I was a little too bothered.  It is an experience I am unlikely to repeat.

baby at the park

Day 12 was more eventful.  We took Dylan to the park, and for once he was still awake when we got there! He has an unfortunate ability to fall asleep at the crucial moment, usually just as the park is in sight.  On Sunday he managed to stay awake all the way there, and long enough to play!  Parks are vital to society as a playground for the young, and commonly a place to hang out for teens, and the brilliance is that they are always free and always open.  I intend to utilise them a great deal as Dylan grows up!

We tried the seesaw, the slide, the flat net swing, and the baby swings.  The bloke pushed the baby so high in the swing, but still all we got was smiles. The seesaw didn't balance but still all we got was smiles.  We pushed him down the slide on his own but still all we got was smiles.  I think he liked the park.

baby on the slide
And did he sleep well both nights?  He certainly did!  There must be some truth in it then.
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Sunday 12 February 2012

Day 11- Daddy Day Care

For 6 months, Dylan has only had my milk, i have changed most of his nappies, cuddled him when he cried, and without fail put him to bed every night.  For 6 months, I have been there for everything, occasionally going out when he is tucked up in bed, to come home before he wakes up, and on two occasions leaving him when he is awake, the longest time being for 2 hours.

The first time I left him, he was 3 months old, and I went to a friends baby shower, where it was quite acceptable to talk about babies and show off his latest pictures.  I came home to find the baby and the bloke sat in silence, completely shattered from the crying and him refusing to sleep, so much so that the moment I picked up the baby he sank into my arms and fell straight to sleep.

On a night out I find it nearly impossible to refrain from getting the phone out to show him off, and it is amazing how many conversations you can turn to baby products, baby food or babies in general.  To all my friends - I apologize.

Saturday night (I am late in writing this), I went to work.  I am still on maternity leave, but was completing a 'keeping in touch' day to get us used to being apart (I think me more than the baby), and to get the bloke used to doing it alone.  I had to leave home at 4pm, which meant the bloke not only had to give the baby milk, dinner, and a bath, but put him to bed.

Kissing him goodbye and watching his little face as I left was heartbreaking, and I hovered outside the front door for a few seconds almost hoping to hear the cry that says 'mummy, I need you' but it never came.  I lasted two hours at work before I sent the text to check up, and when one came back saying he was clean, fed and fast asleep I was both happy and sad, happy that he was behaving, and that I don't need to worry about going out any more, but sad that someone else could fill my role as 'baby putting to bed-er'.  Luckily a busy shift kept me from worrying too  much, but every child that came in made me miss my own.

When I did get home the bloke was there to greet me with a massive smile on his face.  As a mother I like to worry when really, they can cope without me for a few hours just fine! So Dylan's new thing today was being put to bed by his Daddy, and mine was learning to leave him.

I understand that many people have no sympathy for me having to leave him after 6 months as the 39 week maternity leave is relatively new.  My parents generation had only 18 weeks, and no paternity leave, and many people are forced to return to work only a short time after having a baby for financial reasons, but I think whenever you first leave your child will always be hard.

I never wanted to work when having small children at home, I want to be there to see them grow up,  to see their first steps, hear those first words, to take them to school and pick them up but I will return to work two days a week when my maternity leave is up in April.  I think modern finances and lifestyles mean being a SAHM is much less common than it was 30 years ago, and this a shame. Just need to work on winning the lottery now!
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Thursday 9 February 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful

I have read several posts titled  'Reasons to be cheerful' and it seems like a great idea.  Being positive is never a bad thing, so thought I would give it a go.

Here are my reasons to be cheerful:

1.Despite teething for 3 months now Dylan still has no teeth. This makes breastfeeding a lot less painful.

2. I have a man who cooks me dinner every night.  I love being cooked for.  I hate cooking.  This makes me happy.

3. I have lots of new followers on Twitter. This means people must like what I have to say.

4.  There is still snow outside, and no matter how icy it may be, I love the snow.  I love snowmen, snowball fights, how pretty and peaceful it makes everything look, the way it reflects light and maked the whole world seem brighter.

All in all, i'm rather happy this week!

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Day 9- Noisy Play

There are several things I wish I had known before I had children, one of which being that they are incredibly space-consuming.  Our entire house is covered in bouncers, swings, bumbos, chairs, toys and blankets.  Not forgetting the space a pushchair takes up in the hall.  For such a little person they take up a lot of space! There is no room in the house that does not possess a collection of baby items.

They are also noisy.  Several toys are starting to run out of batteries, and the idea of not changing them is extremely appealing.  The bouncer sings ABC, the chair makes jungle noises, the building blocks get thrown around and everything seems to rattle.  Add to this equation one babbling child, and the occasional cry, and peaceful is far from accurate.

Today we embraced the noisy.  After a relatively good nights sleep, (as good as will ever be with a child who refuses to sleep more than 5 hours without a feed) I faced the ultimate in noisy child- The saucepan drums.  A wooden spoon and a selection of saucepans on the kitchen floor.  Admittedly he is too young, but he seemed entertained, and had a lot of fun munching on the spoon!

saucepan drums

saucepan drums
I don't think it will be long before he loves noisy games, and will be pulling things out the cupboards to clash together, but luckily (well lucky-ish)  he still stays where he is put and plays with/chews on whatever is in front of him, (quite often a quiet, no squeaker, no rattle soft toy).

I believe messy and noisy play are vital to a child's development, and are a lot of fun, especially if you don't have to clean up afterwards!  Unfortunately as we are still in the 'everything goes in the mouth' phase, these games don't often work so well.  We will persevere.

On a separate note, I accidentally dressed my child in 12-18 month clothes today, and it took until the 2nd nappy change to realise- I just thought his legs were looking a little short today.  Can't believe he is growing so fast!
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Wednesday 8 February 2012

Day 8- Amusement

The seaside brings to mind certain staples; fish and chips, seagulls, ice cream cones, beach huts, sunshine and of course the arcades.  A hub of colour and noise, the clink of the pennies, the music from the dance machine and the children running around asking for more.  A cheap day out with fresh air and family fun.

Dylan's first visit to the arcades started with a fight through the ice and snow (pushchairs and snow do not go), and ended with a very tired little boy.  He seemed overwhelmed with stimuli and fascinated with the bright lights and colours.  We played on the two pence machines in the hope of winning a fake Elvis Presley driving licence, and try as I might, I failed to win him a teddy in a zebra suit on the 20p grabbers.

baby and aunty, arcade
Living so close to the beach, i'm pretty sure that the arcades will be a back up plan for years to come, the fun and the relative cheapness is a winning combination, and it worked a treat brightening up our icy day today.  Dylan (pictured with his aunty) was in sensory heaven.

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Tuesday 7 February 2012

Day 7- The Photoshoot

Since the birth of our son in August 2011, we have spent hundreds of pounds capturing his first months.  There are so many professional photographers preying on proud mothers that is easy to get caught up in it, taking every opportunity and filling your home with beautiful images of your baby so that even when they are asleep you cannot forget about them.

We currently have a giant image of Dylan, 2 months old hanging above our fireplace, which we payed a considerable amount for.  We have the bounty photos (They are only a new newborn once), Photo shoot photos (They had novelty hats, and do look stunning- check out the wonderful Kidz-Unlimited  ) and we have several sets of pixifoto photos (It's only five pounds, and every time I convince myself I will just get the free one- never works).  I have turned down several hopeful photographers who have rang or sent letters offering their services for very reasonable prices, relying on that newborn squishy-faced cuteness to do the selling for them.

It's not like we don't take photos of the little man, we have albums full of them, and my phone camera contains very few photos that he does not feature in, but we get caught in the professional trap every time.  The second child will probably end up with none as we will be so broke from shelling out on Dylan!

Today, I attempted my own photo shoot.  It didn't look quite professional, the lighting was nothing special, and the sheet needed an iron, but the boy sure does look cute.
baby, photoshoot, 6 months old

photoshoot, 6 month old babycloth nappies, photoshoot, 6 month old

teddy bear, funky hat, 6 month old baby, photoshoot6 month old baby, furry hat, photoshoot

photoshoot, furry hat, six month old baby

6 month old photoshoot, teddies    

Ok, I couldn't resist but add a few.  Point is, I love them.  They show my beautiful baby boy, in a very simple way, looking happy.  Not sure I will stop with the photo shoot addiction, but I have some of my own to add to the collection too now!
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Monday 6 February 2012

Day 6- Ice Cream and Thumbs

Today Dylan celebrated his first national day.  I made sure to pick one wisely, one that would benefit us both.  Today is national 'Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast' day.  Sounds good? I thought so, the baby not so much. His face says it all!
ice cream, weaning, funny face baby

Dylan has a very polite way of saying 'no more thanks' - the thumb goes in his mouth, and nobody or nothing is going to get it out.  Offer him something he is interested in, (like a finger to chomp on) and the thumb is forgotten and dribble once again pours out the open mouth, but he knows when he has had enough.

Many people seem to have strong opinions on thumb-sucking and it is a common debate at our baby groups.  I have been told by one mother that it is 'the worst thing you could ever let them do', on the basis that you can never take their thumbs away.  ( 4 out of 10 thumb suckers are still at it at age 9) Others tell me dummy's are unnecessary and that if your baby doesn't like their thumb, you should always offer them a finger to suck on.  Some parents even wish their children would opt for a thumb over dummy.

I knew before he was born that I didn't want him having a dummy.  The four year olds walking round with a soother permanently attached to their face put me off, and although they are the exception, that is an image I cannot erase.

Experts opinions vary greatly, and Sir Truby King, who preaches a method of childcare not often followed today believed that thumb sucking should be stopped by putting the babies arms in splints of corrugated cardboard.  This extremist view would surely break laws nowadays, but was followed in the early twentieth century by some.  In 1970 a Mrs Frankenburg wrote that the "continuous sucker of a dummy is fortunate if he does not become a chain-smoker, a drunkard or a drug-addict". Again this is an extremist point of view, but one that was taken notice of at the time.   My views are not this strong, I think it is more about what is right for each individual family.  .

Dylan found his thumb on October 29th, and I will always remember this magical date as the day he learnt to sleep.  Suddenly i went from feeding him every two hours in the night to sleeping through! (unfortunately the thumb started losing its magic a month later).  I love seeing babies sucking their thumbs.  Babies can suck their thumbs in the womb, it is built in mechanism to self soothe, however it is a rarity nowadays.
thumb sucking, baby

My favourite part of the day, is after his bath, after he is dry and dressed and zipped up in his gro-bag. It is the cuddle as we walk upstairs to his bedroom.  He knows what is going on, the thumb goes in and he snuggles into me, content, happy and sleepy.  I realise I have gone off on a tangent here but to bring it back.  Ice cream was an interesting experience, but as soon as the thumb went in, I knew he would prefer a nice fruity puree.
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Sunday 5 February 2012

Day 5- Snow Day like Today

After spending most of last night in a childlike excitement, bubbling over in anticipation, it started snowing!  All night my facebook and twitter news feeds were taken over by weather reports, and the jealousy was starting to kick in.  Living on the south east coast however we would be the last to see the magical white stuff.

Eventually, after much curtain twitching I spotted the first falling flakes just as I was going to bed, and for once when the alarm clock (Dylan) started crying, getting out of bed was a fraction easier than usual.  We went and looked out the window and lo and behold, the world was covered in a thick layer of white.  Icing sugar had sprinkled from the sky dusting the trees, plants and fences.

I like to think that Dylan's eyes were wide in amazement, but in reality 6 months is a little young to really understand.  He would have been happier if I had let him eat some.  

As soon as we were all up and dressed (after lunch) we wrapped up, booted up and mittened up and ventured out.  Snow does something wonderful to the world.  It hides it's imperfections and flaws, covering them in something pure and natural.  The roads are no longer full of cars, headlights and horns, but snowball fights, snowmen with carrot noses and excited children being dragged along on sledges by equally excited although somewhat more tired parents.

We took the baby to the park, and the snow must have been so overwhelming he napped almost the entire time we were there.  Snow seems to bring out the child in all of us though, as me and the bloke jumped through the highest snow and felt the need to stamp through any untouched snow patches( As the park was busier than in the summer these were rather rare).  

snow, park

Snow may not be popular with everyone but in this house, it means family time, excitement, magic and fun.  
babywearing, snow baby wearing, sling, mother and baby

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Saturday 4 February 2012

Day 4- When to Wean

At five months, we were advised by the health visitor to start weaning.  The baby was not putting on weight fast enough and was being fed near enough every hour.  At a rather large 18 pounds, the five month old was hungry!

The department of health recommends giving a baby nothing but milk for 6 months, however my baby is clearly not 'a baby', he is Dylan.  New research opposing the current guidelines is gaining momentum, and studies are being carried out to determine whether late weaning is the culprit behind certain food allergies.

The Daily Mail recently ran an article 'So when IS the safest time to wean your baby' which opened up the debate and features experts advising parents to remember that guidelines are just that, not rules.  After 5 months of trying very hard to follow the guidelines in every area like they were rules, I was apprehensive to break one.

End of the story is that I wish I had done it sooner.  We introduced one meal, then two and since he hit six months he is now on three meals a day.  He is sleeping better, happier, feeding a more reasonable amount of times, putting on weight well, and it is brilliant albeit messy fun.

Before weaning commenced, I had such good intentions for making my own foods.  I planned all the fresh fruit and vegetables I would buy, stocked up on freezable pots and bought an expensive blender.  The reality of the matter is that we have a cupboard full of jars and pouches.

At first I felt very guilty, and then I convinced myself that as I was still breastfeeding it balanced out.  In reality they would not be able to sell the jars marketed at babies if they were not suitable, however making your own is nicer, fresher and you can make a better consistency. (My son does not get on with proper puree he needs it much thicker).

After 3 weeks of jarred food, today's 'new thing' involved me - in the kitchen.  Anyone that knows me will be laughing right now.  I am not a natural in the kitchen, I do not cook.  I microwave, I order take-away, and I tell the other half what I would like for dinner.  That is all.  Today, I boiled, mashed, blended and mixed.  I stocked up the fridge and freezer with my very own creations!


I want to do the best for my son- what mother doesn't?  I am very proud of my kitchen antics today, and have the best intentions to continue but with a cupboard full of back ups, I am not promising anything.
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Friday 3 February 2012

Day 3- 'It didn't go to plan'

'It didn't go to plan' must be an extremely overused phrase - by parents, teachers, politicians. . . the list goes on.  Being a parent  involves a certain amount of leeway. 'Be there at 11' becomes 'be there at 11ish', 'We are having a roast for dinner' becomes 'I'm too tired let's have beans on toast'.

My plan that Dylan always sleep in his crib 'didn't go to plan', he ended up sleeping on me more than I care to remember in those first few weeks.  My plan to go running 3 times a week after having him 'didn't go to plan', and unfortunately today's 'new thing' 'didn't go to plan'.

I had several possible ideas to fit into our already busy day, however an impromptu nap in the pushchair put a stop to them all.  Today's 'new thing' is therefore failing on day 3-  Not sure I have got that far before!  A long day of baby sensory and play was a wee bit too much for the little man.

My twenties are not 'going to plan', I have a baby.  That was never part of the plan, but it is a great transgression.  I swapped the plan of sunny beaches and cocktails for a living room covered in soft toys and decaff tea (can't handle the caffeine since pregnancy).  Bikinis for nursing tops and sparkly jewellery for teething bling.  I wouldn't change a thing (-most of the time!).  Digressing from the plan can be the best part of being a parent.  Adapting, changing and mostly just making it up as you go along.
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Thursday 2 February 2012

Day 2- The Half Birthday

6 months seems like a turning point.  My 'baby' is now closer to being a toddling, talking one year old than he is to that helpless little newborn.  He is now on solids, smiling, laughing, rolling, sitting unaided, chatting away (although not in words yet), eating his toes, teething and sleeping in his own room.  He has a beautiful personality and his features  are becoming more prominent and gorgeous every day.

Today we celebrated Dylan's half birthday for the first time.  No cards or fancy presents, but some extra special cuddles and kisses.  Of course we did keep the most important part of the birthday tradition going - cake.

half birthday, cake, weaning

For our 'new thing' today, Dylan had his first lunch ( we are now on 3 meals a day!- how grown up) and he had his first cake.  Granted he only ate a miniscule amount of it, but he had a lot of fun smearing it round the highchair.  The candle light was present enough for him, watching it flicker could have entertained him all evening.

half birthday, weaning, cake crumbs

Celebrating half birthdays will definitely stay as a tradition in our house - any excuse for cake is good with me!
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Wednesday 1 February 2012

Day 1 - Building a Fort

When I was a child, nothing beat rounding up all the duvets and blankets in the house and dragging them down the stairs. The coffee tables, dining room chairs, large toys and anything else suitable was also collected and lifted (read dragged) into the living room on a rainy day to create my own private den.

There was something magical about that cramped, dark space- it was warm, safe, people could only come in when they were invited, and that meant a 'No Brothers' sign hung over the entrance.  We could spend all day playing under some chairs and blankets, oblivious to the world around us.

For day 1 of the February Challenge, I built Dylan his first ever den.  Chairs, the sofa, and five different blankets all came together to form a lovely hidden retreat, and the moment I put the last blanket up, and created our little bubble, his face lit up with excitement. I had taken in a torch, so we lay on the floor and watched the torch light dancing on the different blankets and body parts, and he looked engrossed in the moment.

 den, baby, building a fort

I'm not sure whether today was more for me or him, but as he tried to catch the light as it flickered on the blankets, or grab whichever limb it was lighting up, it felt enjoyable for both of us.  We just need to make a 'No Daddys' sign for next time!

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