Archive for the ‘Parenthood’ Category

Bruises and bonding

August 30, 2013

Hmmm, a tale of two halves this. Two sides to my little three year old boy. Firstly the bad stuff. The part of him which lashes out. Shockingly he has smacked me in the face with my iPhone giving me a massive bruise. He’s been a bit unwell and this seems to come out in dreadful, dreadful behaviour especially violence towards me and his dad. Have lost count of how many times he has hit or kicked me this week.

But then we have the good side. The changed boy who has just realised he likes his baby brother after all. The side which wants to play with the baby, to kiss and hug him. The side which will dangle a toy and call Baby’s name and be the sweetest big brother ever.

Such a massive contrast. I just hope the naughtiness goes with the illness cos I’m already sick of it. The loving big brother side can stay!
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Enough already!

July 22, 2013

Time for me to be the party pooper. I’ve had enough already! No, not the royal baby (though I’m underwhelmed by that too.) It’s the oppressive and overwhelming heat that I’m bothered about.

Today was the hottest day in Britain since 2006. And it’s been really hot for a few weeks now. I’m afraid to say that I really don’t like it. This seems to be sacrilege in the UK – we are all supposed to worship the sun on the few days it shines. But I am now totally sick of it.

It’s almost midnight. And upstairs in our house it is 29 degrees. Despite having the windows open, fans whirring, and wet towels evaporating in bedrooms. It cools down a bit by morning, to a more manageable 25 or 26. And then gets hot again.

I am feeling very cooped up in the house. It’s too hot to go walking or even (as I’d hoped) start running again. If it was a little cooler it’d be great to go out to parks and the beach. But in this heat it’d be awful.

Poor Bub has had a fever these last few days. I’m not sure if it’s heat exhaustion or something unrelated. Either way being in a hot environment doesn’t help. He has also lost much of his appetite for food or drink which makes keeping him hydrated and happy even harder.

And of course no-one is sleeping either. Both kids are struggling and I get impression that friend’s children are the same.

According to the weather reports we are due thunder storms and then some cooler weather later this week. Can’t come soon enough for me!

Here’s to all our babies born in and out of ‘wedlock’

July 11, 2013

Today we had a prediction and a promise. Firstly the prediction. Figures out today predict that a majority of children born in 2016 will be to unmarried parents. It’s 47% at the moment. And the promise is from George Osbourne – he promises to announce a marriage tax allowance in the autumn.

I’ve set out my opposition to the allowance at length so I won’t repeat myself. I’ll just point out that arguments about the benefits of marriage often confuse correlation with causality. In general wealthier and more highly educated people get married. Is it any wonder their kids do better?

Marriage is no longer the norm for new parents. Families come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. I think this is great. I’ve no problem with people choosing to get married. And I’ve no problem with people who don’t, won’t or can’t do it either.

My partner and I are unmarried. We have two kids. We’ve been together many, many years. I don’t think being married would make us better parents. Or increase our likelihood of staying together. At present we are already disadvantaged by the tax and benefit system by cohabiting but not marrying (Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax, bereavement benefits etc.) This hasn’t encouraged us to walk up the aisle and so I doubt £150 transferable tax allowance would either.

One of the few things that might have persuaded me to marry was whether I thought my boys would face shame or stigma because their parents weren’t married. I believe that thirty years ago they probably would have. Given the figures above I really hope that this is no longer the case. Certainly I’ve never felt embarrassed about it and never got the sense others were particularly bothered. Of course people often call me Mrs so-and-so which can be a little awkward. But thankfully us unmarried mums are increasingly common and I’m glad of it.

So here’s to all the little ones, whether in the 47 or 53%. Let them be happy and loved and prosper and let their parents’ marital status be nothing but their own business.

If you want to show your opposition to a marriage tax allowance you can do so here.

Super iNanny!

April 27, 2013

A very refreshing article in today’s Guardian about children and technology. Or the iNanny as some might call iPhones, iPads etc.

One reason I started blogging was to be honest about struggling with my baby’s sleep. So many mums talked/bragged/lied about their perfect sleepers I wanted to share my opposing experience. And I think use of technology with our kids is another issue people rose tint a fair amount. After all no-one wants to admit they plonk the kids in front of the tv all day! I get the impression Apps etc are also used far more than parents admit, even to themselves.

Having said that I imagine we are probably at the ‘high end’ of iPad/iPhone usage by our toddler. Certainly at the moment with us still adjusting to a new baby in the house his screen time is sky high. And it’s not even the children’s Apps he uses either. Angry Birds, Bad Piggies, that Simpsons game… He also watches stuff, mainly computer game run throughs, on YouTube. The article refers to a four year old receiving therapy for iPad addiction. Now I don’t think Bub is addicted but I’ll be honest and say that, like the girl in the story, Bub has sometimes been on the iPhone for four hours a day. I’m not particularly proud of that and I do think this kind of usage is excessive. But I’m probably not alone in using the old iNanny a bit more than ideal.

We have started to limit Bub’s use of the iPhone/iPad. He still has access first thing, when I’m usually busy with Baby. And just before bed (mainly so we can promise it ‘later…’) And depending how things go there may be a few more short sessions. Not exactly in line with the pious ‘only half an hour at most twice a week’ brigade yet! But less than he has had it before. And to be honest he seems to be getting along fine finding other distractions for himself.

I’m also trying to ensure we play on it more together. Feeding the baby is a great time for me to also watch what he’s doing and chat about it. Or be dragooned into helping with an Angry Birds level he is stuck on.

And finally I’m trying to be a better example myself. I love my iPhone and would laze about all day reading articles and eating chocolate if I could. But that’s probably not a brilliant parenting strategy so I try to keep that to when he’s in bed! When we’re together I try to keep it out of both our reach most of the time.

So what is your approach to your child’s use of the iPad/iPhone?

The worst trip out ever…

March 20, 2013

One of our first trips out today as a family of four. And it was an almighty disaster…

We had pretty modest ambitions. Spend a couple of hours at a garden centre, look at the animals and toys, have a coffee and maybe a cake, come home. Not too much to ask.

However we failed to factor in Bub’s new sibling issues which translated into him behaving atrociously the whole time. Running away, kicking, screaming, crying, hitting other kids, trying to pull down displays, needing a wee but refusing to go. You name it, he did it.

Worst moment was trying to get food from the coffee shop. Baby had decided he wanted milk NOW and was screaming. Bub was trying to escape. My partner and I were juggling trays of hot drinks and a child each. It was awful. And then when we sat down Bub was still yelling and all the old folks trying to have a quiet cup of tea were staring at us.

I have never had such an unsuccessful family outing. I guess at least the only way now is up. If we ever dare leave the house again that is…

Waiting on milk and vomiting bugs

March 1, 2013

Ugh! It’s only 11am but this day is definitely turning into a duff one.

Baby’s feeding frenzy hasn’t stopped. He’s been feeding ALL DAY and ALL NIGHT! Starting 7.30am yesterday he’s had barely more than fifteen minutes at a stretch off the breast. He finishes one side and immediately wants the other. Am shattered as got zero sleep last night. Fortunately I’ve been able to do side-lying nursing which is restful but couldn’t sleep as each feed is pretty short and then he wants the other side. Am hoping desperately for my milk to come in any second so he can get some satisfaction and maybe sleep for more than ten minutes at a time. And for me to therefore be able to do the same!! I really don’t remember things being this intense from the off with Bub. But then Baby has shown a much stronger interest in feeding from the very start.

And to add to our challenges Bub has a vomiting bug. He was up all night being sick and so his poor daddy didn’t get a wink of sleep either. So we are both shattered and like zombies today. Poor Bub still can’t hold down any water. Am really hoping Baby doesn’t get this so we are maintaining a bit of an exclusion zone with me and him stuck in the bedroom. And to be fair I really don’t want it either!

And today is apparently when the baby blues are due to kick in too. Oh dear…

Day one

February 28, 2013

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Hard to believe our new little one is only just over 24 hours old. Feels like a lifetime has passed already.

Fortunately my high blood pressure in labour came down immediately after the birth and has stayed normal ever since. And Baby is doing brilliantly too, no concerns or issues which is lovely.

He is feeding like a trouper, has a really strong suck on him! I think Bub took much longer to get the hang of it but that might have been more down to me than him. Though I had no idea how bad afterpains can be in second children – ouch that’s been painful!!

We were in hospital for around 15 hours all in and back home yesterday in time for tea. Bub therefore got to meet his little brother at home which was how I’d hoped it’d be. And fortunately Baby had had the foresight to bring Bub a present which made everything pretty much ok from his perspective. Here’s Bub showing the Baby his new Rex toy.
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Am knackered, but did manage a few hours kip last night. More than I did for Bub when I think the adrenaline from the birth and general shock to my system kept me awake for several days. Baby is very sleepy at moment which I know won’t last but I hope to enjoy as fully as possible while I can!

Baby :-)

February 27, 2013

Baby Bum arrived today at 2.22am in the morning. Of course this isn’t his real name – we still need to come up with a blog pseudonym (and a real name!) But for now let’s stick to the name his big brother has taken to calling him – so welcome Baby Bum.

Eventful birth. I’d hoped for a home birth but my blood pressure was too high during labour so we transferred into hospital. Ambulance, blues n twos, the whole shebang. Baby was born literally within five minutes of getting to the hospital. My waters broke immediately on arrival and in four pushes he was out. All rather dramatic and exciting (and so near to him being born on route!) The ambulance men were still in the room apparently when he popped out. Though at the time I was very much out of it on gas and air and am rather hazy on the details.

But that’s a story for another time. Will hopefully write up my birth story as I did for Bub. But for now just want to enjoy my little babe and the fact he’s currently sleeping!

Toddler paracetamol (Calpol) overdose

December 9, 2012

Scary few hours last night. I’m posting this up as a warning to others and in case the info is useful.

Last night Bub (who is 34 months) just wouldn’t settle to sleep. He’s been really good for months but last night just wouldn’t drop off and was instead pottering about his room for ages. His room is like a monastery, barely anything in there. But he does have a chest of drawers (handles removed) and the top drawer has a few things in it like nappy cream and Calpol.

Last night Bub managed to open that top drawer and get out the Calpol. I found him sat on his bed, holding an empty, lidless bottle. He’d spilt a bit on his sleeping bag and a bit on his mattress but most had been drunk. I reckon about three quarters of a 100ml bottle.

We weren’t really sure what to do but a quick google search showed that this could be very serious. We jumped into the car and headed to the Accident & Emergency department. Luckily it’s only a few minutes away.

It was a Saturday night around 11pm when we arrived. It’s fair to say we had to wait around a long time. Fortunately they had a pretty good children’s waiting room with lots of toys.

After an hour we saw the triage team who took all the info, weighed Bub and checked his pulse. Then it was back to the waiting room for another long wait.

The NHS care was fab, but the communication not so great. I guess in a busy A&E on a Saturday night this is to be expected. It turns out they needed to do a blood test to check the paracetamol level. But this can’t be done until at least four hours after ingestion. If someone had told me this I’d probably have popped Bub in the car seat, whizzed him twice round the block, and let the poor lad have some sleep. But as it was we thought we were to be seen ‘shortly’ and that he’d probably be better off staying awake. Poor lad, it was about 2.15am before we finally saw the doctor. Bub was still lively though, very wired. He did amazingly well given how late it was.

The doctors put some cream on his arm to numb it and about fifteen minutes later we went through for a blood test. They took the blood from his hand which he didn’t like and neither did I. I’m not squeamish but seeing your two year old have blood taken is horrible.

After the test we asked if we had to wait or could go home. The doctors said to go home and promised to ring in the next 90 minutes. If his blood paracetamol levels were above a certain level we’d need to go back in and he’d be given a drip and admitted to a ward for monitoring.

Bub finally got to sleep at 3am in the car home… I slept in his room with him whilst his daddy waited up anxiously for the call. Fortunately his levels were below those where further medical attention would be required. Well above any recommended dose but below what might require treatment.

Have read quite a bit about paracetamol overdoses since this happened. What is scary is that you can be fine for a day or so and then get really sick. They can be fatal. So whilst Bub is hopefully going to be ok we still can’t be 100% sure yet.

So what is my advice on the back of this experience?
– Move the Calpol out of your child’s bedroom. It might be super convenient to keep it there but if there is even the slightest chance they’ll reach it then move the stuff.
– Child proof lids are not child proof. Bub probably only opened it by chance but if he can do it any other two year old can too.
– Don’t hesitate to go to A&E if you think you need to. The NHS A&E department was in some ways great (excellent children’s waiting room, kind staff) and in some ways crap (long waits, not enough communication) but I’m incredibly glad it was there.

There isn’t much in the way of reliable information on the web about paracetamol overdose in toddlers. I’m surprised NHS Direct or the Calpol website doesn’t have more. These two websites were the most helpful despite being a bit technical and they seemed to accord with what the doctors said at the hospital.
Paracetamol toxicity (Wikipedia)
Paracetamol poisoning (patient.co.uk)


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