Sunday 31 March 2013

Our Easter

As its Easter, I thought I’d write about our family Easter traditions, many of which I’ve enforced on my own family from when I was a child.

There are the easy ones like….eat as much chocolate as you possibly can without being sick…and if you are sick, you need to start again! OK, not quite but it is essential that you must consume your body weight in chocolate and, because we don’t want mountains of chocolate around the house tempting us to eat it for days, weeks following Easter, we do try to finish it as quickly as possible.

It is about this time of year my chocolate addiction which I tried so hard to fight following Christmas, makes a hasty return!

OK, so Good Friday starts with Hot Cross Buns. We don’t limit them to Good Friday, however, the Hot Cross Bunathon starts a week or two before Easter & continues until we are all sick of them….Easter Monday!

Then it has to be fish & chips for dinner! Growing up, Fridays were always take-away night, usually fish & chips, but I discovered during my years working in a fish & chip take-away and restaurant, that it is actually traditional to eat fish on Good Friday and, in particular, Haddock! Not sure if the haddock was just a local trend or was in fact a traditional fish to eat but that’s what they liked at Oldhams, Rayleigh! Good Friday was our busiest day of the year (second to Boxing Day I think!).

This year, we decided to have it for lunch but when we saw the queue for the chippy restaurant we headed to a local gastro pub but still got our fish and chips.

Saturday turns into a bit of a nothing day, being as it isn’t a ‘special’ day over Easter. I’ve just googled and apparently it is called Holy Saturday or The Great Sabbath. It commemorates the day Jesus was laid in his tomb apparently. Still, its not a day that I, not being religious, celebrate or have any traditions for.

So on to Easter Day, the Sunday.

When I was a child, my siblings and I would run downstairs to see what eggs the Easter Bunny had bought us. They would be on top of the cabinet in the dining room.

This year, for Callum, we have bought him one egg and the Easter Bunny has bought him one. He also has one from each set of grandparents. Millie misses out on the chocolate this year as I’m not in a hurry for her to try chocolate until she is about a year old. My mum has bought her some chocolate but I’m sure all of us will happily help her eat it. Instead of chocolate we have bought her an Easter present. For Callum’s first Easter, he got Easter themed knife, fork & spoon set. It appears inflation has caused the Easter presents to grow somewhat as we have bought Millie a walker which isn’t Easter themed in the slightest. More that we were buying it for her anyway and I wasn’t allowed to buy her an Easter present having just bought her the walker, so I said we had to wait for Easter Sunday to give it to her. Stuart and I have also bought each other an egg….well, I bought him one and also myself one!!!

Breakfast on Easter morning is Eggy Bang Bang with faces. Eggy Bang Bang is soft boiled egg with bread soldiers. On Easter Sunday we draw silly faces on with permanent marker before boiling them.

Then its the all important egg hunt. My mum used to hide Cadbury mini eggs in our dining room for us all to hunt for. They’d predominantly be in the same places each year but a few of them would be missed and we’d end up finding them a couple of months later! When I moved out of home, I made those I lived with play…well hide the eggs for me.

When I got together with Stuart we started hiding the eggs for each other and now we hide them for Callum and then hide them for each other (although this year Stuart and I forwent our egg hunt as we had guests). We still have mini eggs but also include other eggs like cadbury’s creme eggs etc and we group a few eggs together into the plastic eggs and hide those.

As the sun finally decided to show up on Easter day this year, we did the hunt outside in the garden.

Then, on Easter Monday its get as fat as you possibly can day. No traditions other than that! Except that will be a bit harder this year as Stuart and I will be on a Fast Day (max 500 calories for me!)

Happy Easter everyone!


Silent Sunday

Sunday 24 March 2013

Wednesday 20 March 2013

I Want to Crash!

The other morning, Callum and I had a conversation while in the car, similar to one we’ve had many a time before, that went like this:

Me: “Can you stop talking to me for a minute I need to concentrate on driving”
Callum: “Why, Mummy?” completely ignoring my request!
Me: “I need to concentrate to make sure I don’t crash”
Callum: “Why don’t you want to crash?”
Me: [sigh] “because people could get hurt in a crash and then they’d need to go to hospital. It is also very expensive & costs lots of money if the cars get damaged”
Callum: “I want to crash”
Me: “We don’t want to crash because it could hurt lots”

I’m not adverse to talking while driving, unless I am doing something that needs more concentration like driving somewhere I’ve not been before or parking, at which point I politely ask my passenger(s) to pause a moment while I concentrate then let them carry on. But Callum, because of his hearing loss, asks me constant questions but can’t hear my reply so will keep repeating the question until he hears the answer. This then causes me to try to twist my head towards him so he can hear me better and I get exasperated at keep answering the same question 20 times. Not to mention the constant questions is quite a distraction from driving. The easiest thing is to ask him to ask me when we stop the car.

Anyway, on the same journey, just near home, the traffic had started to build up and I could see there was an ambulance and there had been an accident on the roundabout ahead. The same roundabout I had a bump on just before Christmas (Callum was at nursery). The next conversation went like this:

Callum: “Why aren’t we driving?”
Me: “Because there is a traffic jam – the cars ahead have stopped because there has been an accident. A crash!"
Callum: “Did they crash because someone was talking to them?”
Me: “Maybe, I don’t know”
Callum: “I can see the ambulance”
Me: “Yes, they might be hurt and going to the hospital”
Callum: “Can we ask them?”
Me: “Ask them what?”
Callum: “Can we go to the octipool (hospital) and ask them if someone was talking to them”
Me: “No they may be too poorly and need to rest”

For ease of reading, I’ve missed out the many “I can’t hear you mummy” etc and repeats of questions and answers.

Anyway – I just wondered if anyone else has had to tackle a similar issue and how have you prevented your children distracting you whilst you are driving?

I’m hoping the issue will get better when his hearing gets better but in the meantime, I want to ensure we drive safely. At the moment I just keep having the same conversations with him about not talking in the car and it doesn’t make the blindest bit of difference! He does not stop nattering and asking me questions! I’ve tried not answering him but, like I say, he just keeps repeating until he hears an answer getting louder and shouting.

Would love to hear your thoughts, experiences and possible solutions please.

Monday 18 March 2013

Millie at 7 Months



As Millie is approaching 7 months old (in 2 days) I thought I’d give a bit of an update on how she is doing, aside from the weaning.

Millie has been sitting up well now for about a month, first sitting up at about 5.5 months. She still has the occasional fall so I do still protect her but she is much better at correcting any over-balance.

I feel like we’ve been at the are we, aren’t we teething stage since forever! Second guessing every grump or symptom. Every week is a different teething symptom. Last week was the acidic dribble causing her a sore mouth, particularly where her dummy rubs (she only uses it at night) and crying out randomly in sobbing tears (Millie doesn’t really cry, just sort of grunts when she is tired or hungry so this really breaks your heart), this week is the snotty bum! Still no sign of those blasted teeth though! She has been particularly unsettled today leaving me confused an hour after waking whether she wants to go back to sleep as she only had a short nap last time or whether a couple of hours after her last feed she wants feeding again and only having a couple of ounces.

One thing that I have noticed, where teething is concerned, that is different to Callum is the acidic dribble. Callum wasn’t much of a dribbler at all really but he had the most awful nappy rash. So red raw that it was close to bleeding and took ages to clear up*. Whereas Millie is a dribbler. Millie gets sore around her mouth with dribble rash but doesn’t suffer from nappy rash (*quickly touches wood/forehead*, not so far anyway). I guess that’s it, Callum swallowed his dribble so it caused the rash at the other end.

Back to Millie progress!

One thing I’m loving at the moment is her babbling. I noticed about 10 days ago that she was saying a kind of “dadadadada” which I was most excited to tell Stuart about…and immediately started to counter with saying “mmmmm mmmmm mmmmm” back at her to no avail! But now she also says “lalalalala” and “blablablabla”. I love it, its adorable!

Things that make her laugh are squealing or screaming at her; whispering into one ear or nuzzling her neck. She also loves Round & Round the Garden done on her tummy and then tickling the right side of her neck getting excited as you walk up the fingers to her neck. Oh, and of course, Row, Row, Row the Boat with actions!

She has rolled back to front, properly with no assistance, just the once but yay, she has done it!

Callum is so good and lovely with her. He’ll have cuddles with her and try to get her to hold his hand. He asks to kiss her goodnight when she is going for a nap. He is still quite protective over his toys…just he wait until she starts crawling!



Lastly, to finish on my favourite point, when I pass Millie over for someone else to hold her, she looks at me as if making sure I’m not running off anywhere. The love I feel she has for me at that moment, in that one look, just makes me feel so warm inside and melts my heart.


* Click here for what I tried & what worked on Callum’s acute nappy rash

Nappy Rash

When Callum was a baby, he suffered really badly with acute nappy rash. Red raw so that it was virtually bleeding. So painful for him.

Sudacrem was pointless!

I was assured by friends that Metanium was the answer & that I would see an instant reduction in the redness but it didn’t work for Callum & was excruciating for him when trying to rub it on as it was so thick.

I also tried Bepanthen and was prescribed Canesten by the Health Visitor (though I was sure it wasn’t thrush) but neither made a difference.

Eventually, the doctor prescribed Drapolene which is what made the difference for Callum. The Dr said, they were all very similar but there would just be one different ingredient which would be the ingredient that worked so it was just a matter of working through them all. Thankfully, this was it. I have also been told that it works amazingly for piles in adults!

My other top tip for nappy rash – if you breastfed or attempted to breastfeed, you may have some Lansinoh left at the bottom of a draw somewhere. Don’t get rid (especially as you have to sell a kidney to get a small tube!), it is amazing on sore bottoms! Just use it on the last nappy at bedtime. Rubbing it between your fingers so it is easier to spread (it too can be quite thick and sore to spread otherwise) then gently place it on. It acts as an excellent barrier against wees and acidic poos and I really did notice a huge difference by the next morning! I’ve also used it on my very dry & cracked hands too (actually, I’d forgotten that and mine are getting sore again!).

Oh, and a tip from my sister – go back to cotton wool and water! Her daughter used to ask for cotton wool and water when her bottom was sore and would say no to wipes. Was good advice for us too.

Sunday 17 March 2013

Thursday 14 March 2013

Wake Up Millie, I Think I’ve Got Some Food to Give to You

We are now well into weaning and its so great to see Millie’s enthusiasm for trying new foods. Dare you try have something that she’s not allowed and she looks most perturbed at your cheek!

One of the problems I am finding though, and I think I remember this with Callum too, is trying to provide the opportunities for Millie to try things. I get so excited when I buy a food ingredient or make something Millie hasn’t tried yet – I’m being brave and looking for foods I wouldn’t normally buy. Its a great opportunity for us all to try something new, including Callum. So I’ll plan a meal or keep it waiting for the right time to try.

To increase the chances of BLW being successful your baby should eat when you are eating or at least with someone else other than them eating. In this day and age, its not always easy to eat dinners as a family and Stuart and I do like to eat together in the evening so I like Millie to eat when Callum eats for her ‘evening’ meal. Then during the day, I usually eat my breakfast and lunch at the same time as Callum and Millie.

However, it is typical that as we approach lunch or evening meal time for Callum, it will coincide with Millie’s nap time. Millie doesn’t have a routine for napping, it suits us better that she wakes when she wants and then naps when she wants and where-ever is convenient. Millie wakes at a different time each day and her naps last different amounts of times. She will wake between 6.30 and 7.30am. She is awake for between 1.5-2 hours and then will sleep from anywhere between 45minutes to 2.5 hours. Because her nap routine is unpredictable, it isn’t easy for me to plan a dinner time. I try to keep Callum’s dinner time the same time each evening (between 4.30 and 5) and hope that Millie is able to join in at some point. He takes so long to eat that sometimes it works for Callum to start dinner & Millie to join when she wakes up.

Then  on Thursdays and Fridays, Callum has dinner at nursery so she often doesn’t get a dinner on those days.

At the moment, as far as Millie is concerned, she is just playing and not actually consuming food. She does not yet know that real food can satisfy her hunger and milk is the main source of food for her. Therefore, it doesn’t matter in the early days if she misses meals. But, to give her the most opportunities to learn about food and how to eat, the more she joins us when eating the better. As I’ve said before, Millie is much more interested in the food when it is on my plate rather than presented to her.

Despite all this, we’ve tried lots more new foods this past week.

Strawberries – liked
Raspberries – didn’t like and I amazing managed to salvage her top & trousers which I thought were destroyed with juice stains. Vanish soap I love you!
Parsnip – liked
Beef – liked
Smoked Salmon – tried a couple of times but pulled disgusted face & discarded
Avocado – liked
Lasagne – I preloaded the spoon for her but let her play with her hands too. She was keen to start with but then was more interested in the bowl
Spaghetti Bolognese – played with but didn’t get much to her mouth
Pitta bread – liked
Apple rice cakes – liked
Cabbage – liked
Asparagus – loved
Carrot Stick crisp – liked
Bread dipped in tomato & basil soup – didn’t like

We had tried mash before but without much luck. Millie seems to prefer the solid food to the mush. Its probably nicer on her teething gums. However, I tried mash again and she showed more interest this time…until she just wanted her spoon back minus the mash and did this to dispatch of the mash.

In terms of progress, nappy watch is still on and there are still flecks of toast and wheatabix and evidence of the odd thing getting through…like asparagus – that was a pleasant nappy!!!

But the majority of food still gets gagged and coughed out of her mouth. Even the stuff she likes above she still loses interest in pretty quickly so she’ll suck on a rice cake until about a quarter of it has dissolved then will discard it.

She will often prefer the hard plastic lids, bowls, spoons to the actual food if they are within reach.

IMAG6746                 886207_10151342247632671_85156158_o

She is getting better at getting food and even loaded spoons to her mouth but there is still a lot of room for improvement. She will often study what is on a spoon and grab at the contents with her fingers. We’re in no hurry, she’ll get there in the end and in the meantime we are having fun with it! Which is the important thing!

Sunday 10 March 2013

Wednesday 6 March 2013

BLW: Trust Your Baby, Gag vs Choke

Its been over 2 weeks now since we started BLW and progress is slow but there definitely is progress.

One of the things it is difficult to get used to in the early days of BLW is trusting your child & your child’s body to do what’s right. By this, I’m talking about the risk of choking. They say as long as your baby is sitting upright and their necks are strong enough, their gag reflex should do all the work and the risk of choking is, theoretically, lower than spoon-feeding.

Being as this is my second child, it is much easier this time, reassured by the fact that Callum never choked. It was frightening the first day I gave Callum toast for breakfast. It was one of his first introductions to food and he really gagged on it and threw up an entire bottle of milk with milk coming through his nose. I fought the urge to run to him and pick him up etc, I just put on a smile said “oh dear” and…….took a photo! (Only after I knew he was ok! You’re saved, I’ve not got the photo which came after on this computer but below is the one just before!!)

     Callum eating toast                                                                                 Millie eating toast

I was a little hesitant to offer Millie toast at first, but she gagged and puked on banana and other stuff so I plucked up the courage to offer it to her and she was absolutely fine, no puke! In fact, its one of her favourite foods that she’ll happily gum for ages. There is even evidence in that fabulous game we now play “Identify that Food in the Poop” (yes, we know how to have fun in this house!) that she has swallowed some of the toast – tell tale black/brown flecks.

If you do trust your little ones and they are safely positioned, it is highly probable that they will gag in the first few days/weeks. Their gag reflexes are so sensitive and they also have a tongue-thrust reflex which pushes objects to the front of their mouth. Amazing what our human bodies do and that babies are born with these reflexes to protect them from choking. As babies learn to have more control over their tongue, the tongue-thrust reflex will relax, soften, whatever the correct terminology is. I’m already witnessing an improvement with Millie’s tongue control skills. She wont always just let the food fall out of her mouth or her tongue doesn’t always push it out, sometimes she manages to purposefully control her tongue to push the food back and swallow. There may be a bit of a tongue-food tussle first but, occasionally, Millie will win.

It really helped to be told that gagging is a natural reflex action to having food in their mouth….and therefore it is also natural for them to be sick. Also that if they are coughing, they are breathing and therefore they are NOT choking. If they are coughing or gagging, do not pick them up and hit them on the back, let their mouths and bodies clear the food on its own. If you are unsure, Google the difference between gagging and choking. There are some YouTube vids of babies gagging to show you what’s ok. This site was also quite helpful.

This all said, I would also advise any parent, when they are approaching the weaning stage, to do a child’s First Aid course or to remind themselves of what action to take if you’ve already done one, just for peace of mind, whether you are puréeing or doing BLW. Saying they are unlikely to choke is different to saying they wont choke and it is better to be safe and to know what to do just in case. It will also help you to relax about it and just trust them to get on with it.

Now back to Millie – strangely, she does seem to be a bit slower to grasp feeding/weaning/eating than Callum. Callum was able to use his doidy cup a lot earlier than Millie – Millie’s hand control is still a bit erratic so she just throws the water over herself. Same with a shot glass (so wrong but works….don’t worry, it only contains water!!). Even in her TommieTippee Cup she picks it up sideways and bites the edge. She does love water though. The first few times she was offered water, it cascaded out of her mouth in a waterfall affect but she’d grab for more and more. Now she manages to swallow.

This week, new stuff I’ve tried:

Butternut Squash Risotto – great fun to play with but not much consuming
Houmous – not really a fan and doesn’t understand dipping yet
Chips – I know, naughty, but once in a while wont hurt. Unsurprisingly she liked it!
Celery – had a really good suck on that
Prawn – ignored
Roast carrot (may have tried that last week) – not fussed
Roast onion – thought she liked it at first but then couldn’t get it out of her mouth quick enough
Yorkshire Pud – liked

A firm favourite which she had previously tried is definitely red pepper.

One thing I’m really enjoying is my renewed enthusiasm to cook real homemade meals again for Callum (and Millie). I had got a bit lazy with my having to cook 2 meals a day firstly for Callum and then for Stuart and I later. But now I’m making homemade versions of the favourites like chicken nuggets (and homemade chips) and also things like vegetable croquettes, the butternut squash risotto, beef casseroles. I’ve a fish pie pack in the freezer at the ready and looking forward to making fish fingers and/or fish cakes again. So easy to make but haven’t really done it since Callum was little (well, a baby/toddler, he is still little).

I did make lots of dinners from scratch and we did eat fresh food regularly but where I’d sometimes reach for the premade frozen fish fingers or nuggets, I’m now making my own and trying new recipes again.

This has stretched to when we have guests come and stay too, I’m wanting to cook new things rather than stick to the old faithfuls, shop bought or take-away.

Now to finish on a couple more photos of Millie for you:

1. Pear; 2a. Bite; 2b. Spit out; 2c. Bite

3. Enjoying a Red Pepper from a prawn salad

4. Mmmm like this asparagus in my roast dinner

Sunday 3 March 2013