Sunday, February 28, 2010

Toddler to English Dictionary: revised edition

He's growing up so fast. I took him paddling in the stream at the end of our road the other day. His first stream paddle! It was slightly stressful, with Missis in the sling too, but we had a great time.

So here are his latest in terms of favourite words. My favourites, that is....
Or-Tock: octopus

ash-ash: apple

sic-sic: chicken

didit: biscuit

Iya: phone, as in, Mummy's Iya

wot-wot: yoghurt

sassas: pasta

Dean: green

Right: white

Dick-cock: clock (*smirk*)

Dan: dance (accompanied by a shoulder wiggle)

Car Dan: a car with music playing on the stereo

Weak: drink, water

Meak: Milk

Mummy Meak: Mummy's milks.... you know, boobs!

Ahh: name for his sister. Everyone who meets her says "Ahhh".

Daddy dike: Daddy's bike (motorcycle). This applies to all motor bikes and leather gear.

Oh tie-ee: all tidy. Not that this happens often!

Night night: his "night night" comfort blanket

Nan nigh: saying goodnight

Miss: kiss. Also to mean dummy. It's a tedious link.
Dad: granddad.

Cheerios: cereal. Any type. (Including supermarket-own brand O's, not Nestle!)
No, dada, no! : I've finished my meal, thank you. (Ignore this warning and it's going on the floor)
Or-Oss: Awesome! (we watch an American children's music show. Listening and dancing to music iiiiis....AWESOME!)

Dillian: Brilliant (listening and dancing to music is also brilliant)

Tun ON!: come ON! (something I say when frustrated. Come ON zip. Come ON shoe. Come ON car. Etc. Not thrilled he repeats this! At least it's not swearing.

Ma-mo: banana

Ossh: off

Tenny: penny

Notice in the above words that Boy sometimes pronounces "F" as "sh" and "P" as "t". I don't swear in front of the children, and instead have chosen to say "oh flip" when things aren't going my way. Boy copies. But change the F to an sh, and the P to a T, and he says......oh dear. Perhaps I'd better come up with a new non-swearword.

After being found to have a language delay at his two year check two months ago, Boy has advanced to quickly, I often find myself wondering where he heard such and such, or how he knows about this or that when he comes out and says certain things. He really thinks about things, and now he can say enough words to tell us what he's thinking about. Yes, it is mostly cars, but it's interesting nonetheless! I'm so ridiculously proud of him, it's only learning to talk, most children do it no problem, but its just so utterly amazing to see this baby that I MADE telling me that his sister has finished her milk, so now mummy can get the blocks out for me. As exciting as I find it, I'm also clinging on to that baby I once had. I was writing some of his funny sayings in his baby book last night, and some of the pictures in there make my heart ache. He was so small not very long ago. His sister looks just like him. When she grows, will she be like Boy is now? I remember being so excited when he learned to blow a raspberry at four months. Everything he conquers is so precious to me, but I know I can't keep them all forever. It's like trying to keep water in my hands, I can't stop it slipping away but I'm just not ready to let it go. My baby is a boy.

On Wednesday, he got his very first freckles, just five or so, round the smiley crinkles of his eyes. I was delighted. I'm covered in freckles and so is HID, I've always thought they are so beautiful. When I was a little girl, my granddad told me the sun had given me special kisses.

On the same day, he said "yes" for the very first time. For almost a year, he'd used a waving hand (like a nodding hand) for yes, which then turned into a pirate-like "Aye", then for a few weeks into "hurrah", and finally yer. Not "yeah" but a clear and beautiful yes.

He gets on my last nerve sometimes, but other times, I have to squeeze him just a little too tight while I still can.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sibling Love

I love how he loves her. How she HAS to be the first person he sees when he wakes. How she is the ONLY person who can pacify him when his shoulders heave with tears of frustration. How his eyes dance with joy when he's reunited with her. How I now play second fiddle to the new lady in his life.

I love how she loves him. How she squeals with delight when he gives her his undivided attention. How she traces his beloved face with her tiny, thoughtful fingers. How she can be brought from the blackest of moods with just one of his tender kisses.

I love how they are together. The way they already, after five months together, have little in jokes that I just don't get and know nothing about the reasons for their fits of giggles. When I am driving my car and he mimics her babbles and squeals. until they are both laughing so hard they can hardly breathe. I love that I don't need to think of ways for each child to be entertained while I just get dressed, for they entertain each other.

I know now that having a second child doesn't halve the love you feel for your first. I love him in so many more new ways as he fills his role as a big brother. Not only does he have somebody new in his life to love, but she loves him back so fiercely, I sometimes almost don't believe it. Two children doubles the love. At least.

Monday, February 15, 2010

How do you eat yours??

This is my Valentines Day story. A few weeks ago, a very lovely friend read my blog post about me not wanting to leave Missis just yet, especially with a carer that didn't want to use a sling. As a seasoned, and pregnant, babywearer, she offered her services to reap some apparently "much needed" practice. (As if, this girl babywears like she invented slings!). This was via text. I couldn't think of any reason to have a babysitter (she just comes along with us) besides sex. Co-sleeping with your baby is a wonderful experience, but when your sofa is the £100 ikea one that's too narrow to lie on your back and not long enough to stretch out (and I'm only 5ft), unless you're feeling very energetic, sex has to be a very quiet and rushed affair, and on balance of waking a slumbering, light-sleeping baby, often isn't worth the trouble. A lightbulb went on in my head.

"Well, it might be nice to have sex again before my virginity grows back!" I replied.

So, before you know it, I had a babysitter for an hour of afternoon delight on the Saturday of Valentines weekend. Another few quick texts, and Boy was off to the local soft-play centre with his Auntie and Nana under the guise of HID and I "going out for lunch" and having "quality time" for Valentines day.

The day was much anticipated. I even shaved my legs the day before! Poor HID was so desperate that upon enjoying an Easter-themed desert one night after tea, I was practically growled at and told the way I eat a creme egg is almost sexual. I can assure you, the way I eat a creme egg is gross. I wouldn't do it in public, that's for sure.

Saturday came and we exchanged gifts early, we had both bought each other chocolates from Thorntons, fantastic, and HID had also splashed out on some lovely smellies from Lush, my favourite. Boy was taken out, and my friend arrived for Missis, and just like that, we were alone in our house for the first time in a very long time. With all that planning and anticipation, something was bound to go wrong, wasn't it?

Well, less than an hour later, HID was tucked up in bed nursing a bleeding member. I sort of accidentally bit him. I swear it wasn't my fault, or anything especially kinky! He just got a little over excited during oral sex (can you blame him?) and it was a particularly bad angle, I knew it was going to happen, but I had no way of warning him! I did not expect all the blood though, that was quite alarming, and if we hadn't been going pretty much without sex for the past six months, admittedly would have been a turn off.

Me, eyeing the injury: "Are you going to be ok?" (as in, to finish the job?)
Him: "I'll have to be!" (interpreted by me as a desperately horny [and brave] statement, but I found out later he was worrying about the physiological fact that all the blood was rushing towards the injured area due to his current state of arousal, and the only way to stop it was to actually go through with it, pain or not)

As much as I love sex, doing it to a schedule doesn't really work for me. I was paranoid that we were short of time (and, shamefully, kept checking), and that my mum and sister would bring Boy back early, when they had no idea what we were up to! Or that Missis wouldn't settle, and my friend had brought her back and was sitting directly beneath us in the sitting room. (A distant dog barking can sound remarkably like a baby's cry). Then I started worrying that the baby monitor was on, and a collection of people (mum, sister, friend, toddler, baby etc) were all listening to our amorous groaning! Needless to say, I couldn't concentrate. I certainly enjoyed myself, but between the blood on the sheets and my over active imagination, it didn't quite go to plan.

That night HID went to the cinema with his friend, on what I can only describe as a "man-date". Well, it was Valentine's eve, they went to see a romantic comedy, and his friend even dressed up nicely for him. For some reason (possibly missing his nap and a very busy day) Boy did not settle all evening, and at 10pm, I invited him downstairs to watch cartoons, lest his crying wake his sleeping sister while I was on my own and couldn't see to two of them at once. I was so lucky that Missis slept well (a rarity) but I still only got to bed at midnight, just before HID came home (after eventually switching his phone on and getting my texts asking him to hurry back). So when at 6am, Missis was awake, no longer wanting fed (all is usual but unfortunate after a late night), I felt perfectly justified in asking for a Valentines lie in. (But I did have to ask) I convinced HID to get up with her, and he also got Boy up when he woke, only bringing Missis back to me at 8.30 for a feed (which turned into a nap) so I didn't get up til after 9! Which was better than chocolate, and on a par with sex

That night, HID rented a film, and FORCED me to watch it. That is, watch it without the laptop on, or while folding nappies, or doing physio exercises, or any of the other million jobs I could have done. At first I was a bit panicky about having to relax properly (without sleeping), but as I felt a little unwell, I went with it. I really enjoyed myself, more than I had in ages! We watched "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" and it was great.

I love my husband. And he's feeling much better now, thank you ;-) (it was just a bruise.)

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Baby Killer

Every day, 4000 babies die from unsafe bottle feeding. Aggressive, and illegal, advertising is the root cause of this. Companies are supposed to stick to the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) code for infant feeding (this includes baby purees and other baby foods advertised as suitable from anytime before six months, breast milk substitutes) so that breastfeeding is not undermined, especially to vulnerable women in poor communities, where bottle feeding can be, and often is, deadly. As part of my BfN training, I saw a television advertisement that was (possibly still is? I shudder to think) shown in a developing country, showing a gifted child playing a violin solo to a crowded concert hall, and then that same child drinking the brand's formula milk from a glass. It implies, to a culture where many people get much of their information about the wider world from shared televisions, that drinking formula milks makes children gifted. Even without TV, companies bombard health workers with bribes and freebies to promote their brand, with midwives asking new mothers not "Are you bottle feeding?" but "Which brand do you use? Oh, no, you must buy this, more expensive milk!". The companies provide a few free samples to mother in hospitals, getting them "hooked", compromising their milk supply and by the time they leave hospital, all the artificial milk is gone, and the breast milk may well be gone too, and the women have no idea how to re-lactate. Imagine then, a family spending almost all their wage on artificial milks because it is "best for baby". Imagine an even poorer family, who travel many miles daily for water. Not just to make up a feed, but to boil to sterilise (expensive) bottles and teats, to wash their hands before making and giving each feed. Using up precious fuel to boil precious water 6-8 times daily (and we all know babies who like to feed more often). Without English as a first language, deciphering labels instructions on how to prepare feeds. At night, preparing feeds by candlelight. Is it any wonder babies end up malnourished from "weak" formula, stretched to make it to payday? Die of diarrhoea because their mother's hands are not clean enough and the equipment was not properly sterilised? Not got a TV nearby? Don't worry, you're sure to see a billboard, portraying a smiling Western child, and the west is best, or so people believe. These companies prey on babies whose very survival is dependant on the life-giving infection-fighting breast milk their mothers make all by themselves. All for a profit. These companies, albeit indirectly, kill babies.

Even in the USA, where bottle feeding is considered safe, 750 babies under 12 months die every year due to not being breastfed.
According to UNICEF: "Improved breastfeeding practices and reduction of artificial feeding could save an estimated 1.5 million children a year." Yet baby food companies continue to market artificial foods in ways that undermine breastfeeding. The people responsible have names and addresses - call on them to market products ethically.

The main offender is Nestle. Nestle is among the most boycotted companies on the planet, and is top in the UK. I'm asking you to join me in my boycott of them. Stop buying all Nestle products in support of the boycott. What they are doing is not OK. They are responsible for baby deaths. Show your support, please. Ask your family and friends. Nestle make all kinds of products, please read labels carefully. Nescafe is the main one (many coffee machines are Nestle), along with chocolate, cereals, but less obvious products such as bottled water, pet foods and cosmetics. For an extensive list, please see the Baby Milk Action website.
I'm sure you and your families will be buying lots of eggs this Easter, please remember to choose alternative brands. I'm going as far as to say to family and friends that we will not be able to accept any Nestle eggs. Some of you may have seen that Nestle has a fair trade kitkat out at the moment. Please do not be fooled by this PR move. The kitkat contains 1% of the chocolate the company makes. Only this is fair trade. The other 99%, Nestle uses questionable methods, even child labour, to obtain. Nestle has not changed.
This is not a new issue, the boycott has been around for years. I'm a newcomer to the issue and wanted to share it with you all. It's not about this awful "breast verses bottle" thing that has been going round, I am not naive, I know some babies do need to be bottle fed. But those babies deserve for the milk that they receive to be safe. Please take part in the boycott.
Because this is such an important issue, no matter how you feed your child (every child has the right to basic health and safety), I'm making this post into a tagging post! Boycotting Nestle will be great for your waistline :-)

So here are the rules:

1.) Go to the Baby Milk Action website and find out more & start boycotting.

2.) Sign up to receive the boycott brief, and if you can afford to, sign up to be a member or purchase some merchandise. A mug or magnet would make a great gift for a new mum or mum to be.

3.) Tell Nestle what you think of them. Here is a sample letter. Post it via snail mail or email as you wish!

4.) Tell family and friends. Link to this post, or the Baby Milk Action website, in an email or via facebook or similar.

5.) Tag 15 bloggers to do the same, and write you own post, or copy and paste this one, on the issue.

Here are my 15, please take part guys, it's such an important issue. Nestle is causing millions of baby deaths. You can do something to help.

1. Susanna at a modern mother

2. Josie at Sleep is for the Weak

3. Cave Mother
6. Crafty Creative at From Rat Racer to Positive Parent
9. Sandy at Baby Baby
10. Zooarchaeologist at Being a Mummy

12. Stickhead at Slightly South of Sanity

13. Kat at Slugs on the Refrigerator

14. Tasha at Wahm-Bam

15. JK at West of the Pennines

Breastmilk is a life saver to all children. Babies under 6 months who are not breastfed are five times more likely to die from pneumonia and seven times more from diarrhoea. When reserachers looked at all the possible means of preventing infant and young child death they found that improving breastfeeding practices could prevent more deaths than any other single strategy; even more than such key benefits as the provision of safe water, sanitation, immunisation and medical servies. (Taken from Palmer's "The Politics of Breastfeeding"). Nestle are partly responsible to a decline in breastfeeding. It's almost as if human development is taking a step backwards, all for money!

Recent findings...

This week, I found a (very old, at least three months) children's portion of vacuum packed (thank god) cheddar cheese in the side pocket of my nappy bag, along with one of two borrowed essential oils (lavender, presumably to combat the cheese smell) from a friend to help me through my cesarean. My baby is 5 months old, and they didn't even allow me to use it in theatre, this should have been returned long ago! Last week, on the way home from slings group, I found one of the children's centre's jigsaw pieces in Boy's coat hood (how???), and this week after slings group, there was a large googly eye stuck to the hem of his trousers. Clearly, he is collecting materials form some sort of craft project. As long as it's not a traffic cone when he's 18, eh?

Monday, February 08, 2010

Breastfeeding and returning to work.

I've recently trained as a breastfeeding helper with the Breastfeeding Network, and they are looking to produce a leaflet for mums who are returning to work, full of mum's experiences and tips. The trouble is, although we get asked about this a lot, once the women have returned to work, we often don't hear anything more from them, so we don't really know what worked, what didn't work, and how the story worked out. So I'm putting out a plea on the internet for mum's tips and expriences around the subject of returning to work and breastfeeding.

How did you broach the subject with your employer? Were they accomodating?
How did your baby react/cope?
Did you have any issues with other colleagues?
Were nursery/childminders keen to help?
Did you hand express/use a breastpump? (for comfort? for baby?)
How long did you breastfeed while working?
What happens at weekends?
Does mixed feeding work for you?
Why did you want to keep breastfeeding? (health benefits, keep close with baby etc)

Or anything else you can think of! Too long for the comments box? Drop me an email;

Here is one mum's experience to get you going:

“I was really worried about going back to work fulltime and the prospect of still being able to breastfeed was a serious concern. I had originally thought that I would keep up breastfeeding at night and when I was at home but introduce formula for a feed during the day when I was at work. But things never go to plan! C was found to be allergic to milk but can tolerate my milk. I returned to work when she was five and a half months, and was advised to start weaning her although I really wanted to do the baby led weaning approach as we had discussed at the group. We started weaning her on purees which she really liked.

On returning to work I had to make sure I had the provision to express, which in my busy job as a primary school teacher would be hard. I thought I would have to lock myself in my stock cupboard!! No nice first aid rooms in our school with fridges and so on, my deputy was great and let me use her office she got me a key so I could lock myself in there.

Breastfeeding really does have its advantages... I can stay in bed a little longer I have to get up at 7 to get ready for work so we set our alarm for 6:15 when my husband goes and gets C and brings her into bed for her feed until 7 when the alarm goes off again, if I was bottle feeding then I would have to get up!

I now only express at lunch time it takes me about 10-15 mins to express about 2-3 ozs, I keep all my equipment in a cool bag with an ice pack which I just take home everyday I use a hand pump. The milk is given to C next day around lunchtime.

Initially I was very engorged so wore loose tops where you couldn't tell, I needed to express at playime (about 10:30) then at lunchtime and at the end of the school day (3:30) if I wasn’t going straight home to feed her. This lasted for about 3 weeks. I now find at 8 months my body seems to know when it is weekend I feed on demand which is much more than during the week. During the week I feed her first thing, express at lunchtime, when I get home about 5ish, then any number of times until bedtime which ranges from 8-10 O'Clock so she is getting at least 4 good feeds a day from me and perhaps a 2oz bottle of expressed milk.

School holidays I feed her on demand as at weekends but have found that when I return to work I am engorged for the first day but its really not that bad and I still only need to express at lunchtime. C's has only had one cold in her 9 months!!! which is quite an achievement as I bring home all sorts of bugs from the children at school. I really didn't think I would still be breastfeeding now 9 months down the line.”

Please be aware that we will need your permission to use the tips/info you provide for the leaflet. Thanks for your help!


Monday, February 01, 2010

Top tips for a toddler party

Here is Boy at his 2nd birthday party. The event took place over the weekend, even though he's been two for over a month now! His birthday is on Christmas eve, so we thought it would be nice to postpone his party, and make a proper fuss of him, rather than his big day being forgotten in the rush of Christmas.
I avoided having to pass Missis round like a parcel to all my well meaning relatives by carrying here everywhere, and she was so happy to see what was going on. She the type of baby that smiles for strangers, but as soon as I appear, the tears start in a "Mummy, thank goodness, I can show my ture feelings" kind of way.

He looks so tall in this photo! Maybe I need to turn those turn-ups down again.
We stole a fabulous idea for a toddler part from a friend: hire out a hall and take all your child's large toys (the ones in the shed and under the stairs and in his Nanna's garage) and let the kids go wild. It's cheap, you can invite everyone, and the mess isn't at your house.

But you do still have to clean up the mess.

We also put on a huge fancy dress box. It was great seeing the children running round in tu-tus and suchlike, even the boys!

A wonderful, but crazy, time was had by all. It was early bedtimes all round.

My big boy doing what he does best: tearing round like a loon, eating and socialising.
I was really impressed at how many dads came to the party, I'd expected just mums really, but I was happily introduced to many of my mum friend's partners. Great to see all the dads!

I had the idea of giving out helieum ballons instead of naff party bags as you can see, it didn't go exactly to plan.

The balloons were a big hit though. Before they hit the ceiling.
So here are some tips for a successful toddler party:
Do: set aside an organised place for guests to put gifts.
Don't: end up with a jumble of presents in bags and a Mr Potato Head and a Yo Gabba Gabba doll that you really don't know where they came from to text a quick thank you message.
Do: plan pleanty of time to set up the room on the day, and allow for some guests to show up 15 mins early.
Don't: think half an hour is enough and be up to your eyeballs in play tent pegs when your first guests arrive.
Do: give guests attention while keeping a watchful eye on the birthday boy/girl
Don't: get so busy catching up with your friends that hubby has to inform you your son has been stuck on a ride on tractor for at least 3 minutes (according to the photos he took) shouting "duck, Mimi, duck!"
Do: put the left over cake where parents can help themselves.
Don't: leave it within reach of Boy, you will come back in 5 mins to find all the decorating dolly mixtures gone. Then in 10, all the icing. I counted 7 slices of cake that I saw him eat. (16% of his RDA sugar for an adult per slice. The word is "wooops")
Do: ask people without children to help on the day.
Don't: let your oldest friends get treated like staff by parents. Sorry girls xx (they must have made 50 cups of tea!)
Do: think of something unusual for children to take home from the party, like a balloon on a string.
Don't: put your mum in charge of providing string. It will be paper streamers which will rip when tied.
Do: Save money by stating on the invitation "games and cake" and holding the party between dinner and teatime.
Don't: buy so much cake that you will be giving it away all week.
Do: provide healthy snacks and drinks, such as fruit and diluted fresh juice, no one wants a hyper toddler to take home.
Don't: be surprised when you child has black poo due to all the blueberries he ate.
Do: make sure everyone gets a piece of cake, even if they leave early.
Don't: let your toddler see you giving out cake before he's had any, unless you like tantrums that is.
Do: buy two cakes: one to cut and wrap the night before so your small guests can have cake the second the candles have gone out.
Don't: forget to suggest to parents that their child might like to use one of the untouched paper plates, or you will spend much time hoovering.
Do: have a great time!
Don't: invite 20 children and 40 adults to an event ever again.
Well it's like Christmas all over again here at our house, lots of new toys, we had to invite friends over to play with them yesterday :-)
It's hard to believe how fast time goes, his age is now being counted in years and not months!