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Not just for Shrove Tuesday and don’t let it catch you out as Pancake day is Tuesday 16th February 2010. Yes indeedy it is time to pour the milk, crack the eggs, whisk with flour, flip, fill and eat – nom, nom, nom!
Don’t take my word for it, allow me to introduce you to Lyle, he’s the guy that makes Golden Syrup don’t you know? Anyway Lil’ H and I didn’t manage to make the Pancake training session Lyle’s Golden Syrup held down in London due to us being in Cheshire and Baby G being so wee still. However the everything you need to make pancakes kit and new website with Emma Forbes showing us the inside track taught me everything I needed to know when it comes to pancakes and to not have to throw the first or two one away (the pan isn’t hot enough says Emma!) head over to www.welovepancakes.co.uk and swot up! There is a step by step guide to pancake making and loads more that will get you in the spirit for this years flipping fabulousness. Heads up from me there is now an alternative to the, whilst iconic, still sticky, tin of syrup with the new Squeezy Syrup a no drip, no mess (disclaimer: not guaranteed if used by over excited toddlers!) easy to use bottle.
Pancakes aren’t an annual event at Lancaster Towers they are a regular favourite as they combine a really easy & fun toddler activity. My best advice is weigh out and measure everything in advance it’s super easy for a toddler to pour, tip, crack & whisk the mix together. Also best left overnight to relax its an activity that can cover an afternoon shift by making the mix and also late morning making lunch together. I’ve mentioned before about how involving my H in cooking positively increases the quantity consumed (I own one picky eater already hoping Baby G won’t make it a pair!) and pancakes are a clear winner for this. Even spinach gets eaten in a cheese, ham and spinach pancake combo as first seen on My Daddy Cooks! Here is H and I making pancakes together and him sitting down to eat them with the assistance of his digger fork – count the “get my toddler to eat” tricks!
Don’t forget: Pancake Day 2010 is Tuesday 16 February – don’t let it creep up on you and get prepared with exciting recipes and new methods to impress your friends and family. For the complete “Four Steps to Perfect Pancakes”, advice, recipes, tips and more visit www.welovepancakes.co.uk.
I can hardly post up a media request and not contribute! So following on from the request for advice for first time mums here’s my thoughts on the questions posed …
How painful IS birth. No *really*.
If you are expecting it to hurt then your expectations will be met and it will hurt but it will hurt because you’re frightened and tense because everyone’s told you it’s going to hurt! After my first I would’ve said yes it hurts more than I ever would have thought possible but not at all after you’ve had an epidural! For me it wasn’t the intensity of the pain or pressure that was the issue first time round it was the duration, the endurance and stamina required that beat me down after three days of slow labour. I also wasn’t expecting the sickness that came with my first labour, I threw up constantly for three days. Reflecting on my first labour in the hindsight a year or so gives you, I could see just what a mental, mind over matter, mountain childbirth was. I really engaged with, explored and prepared for my second baby using hypno-birthing techniques (I recommend a visit to Dany at www.tums2mums.com) and indeed second time around I got to the elusive fully dilated 10cms with my mind “in the zone” still waiting for it “to really get going” when in fact, not only had it got going but it had almost gone! Although baby and I weren’t quite on the same page and I can confirm that there is no pain, no input and no effort required if you deliver under a general anaesthetic with a crash c-section! For me I think child birth is a rite of passage, everyone’s birth story is their own very personal experience, understand all the options and possibilities and mentally be able to go with the flow, the labour and delivery experience will be what it is and you won’t know what that will be until you reach that point! Anyway childbirth is the least of your worries when it comes to having babies, it’s over and done within a few days it’s the next 20+ years of child rearing you need to worry about!
What do you DO with your newborn baby all day?
The first two weeks or so they feed & sleep pretty much all the time and you’re busy with visitors and staring at your precious bundle. There’s washing but not much else to do as I found a flurry of people around “helping”. As baby gets older they spend time in their baby gyms, bouncy chairs etc. and you take hundreds of photos of them, download them and email them to people or upload them to Facebook! You will start getting out and about meeting up with ante natal and post natal groups, hitting the coffee shop circuit and going to each others houses for baby to try out a different baby gym, bouncy chair, bumbo, door bouncer etc. Very quickly by about 3 months baby can start to get bored if left too long and require some entertainment, read first board books to baby, massage baby, go for a walk, you will learn to play with your baby – grandparents are good at teaching you how to do this! Whatever it is that makes baby smile or laugh you will do a thousand times over for that smile or giggle. If popping out from behind the newspaper with your cheeks puffed out & eyes crossed gets a guaranteed laugh, the fact that you used to be a highflying barrister is irrelevant. You will do it and it won’t stop there, you will then do it in front of other people just to show them how adorably cute your baby’s giggles are. Don’t believe me? Just you wait and see!
What’s the best way to avoid losing your marbles with lack of sleep/adult company etc?
Get dressed and get out of the house at least once a day. Irrespective of season and weather get some fresh air every day. I also recommend taking a multi vitamin, make sure it contains B vitamins too such as Femibion
Can you breastfeed while technically asleep? Like a cowboy sleeping upright with his eyes open etc?
I fed both of mine lying down in bed at night and as hard as I would try to not fall asleep I would more often than not. I was paranoid with my first that I would roll on him, unless you’re on medication or have had a drink I do think a mothers natural awareness and instinct would never let this happen, I had never moved an inch when I did fall asleep. Dads however don’t have that instinct so I use to lie between Dad and baby.
And on that vein, is there any way to have a drink while breastfeeding?
It’s all in the timing with this one, I used to find a glass of wine in the evening after baby is in bed around 7pm would help me relax and also when I was expressing to express and I wouldn’t feed again until 10:30pm. If you want to have a night off the boobs I would express 2-3oz a day and freeze it, ‘til I had enough for three full feeds then I would feed baby at 7pm go out and Daddy or Grandma could feed baby at 10:30pm and also the morning feed. I found I needed to pump and dump when I got in for my own physical comfort.
What will seem like a good idea initially – and what I will quickly realise is a total nightmare?
In the very early days deciding you need to get out and get some fresh air as you head off for your walk you will remember you have vaginal stitches which is why you have been sat down on your ass inside for days!
Am I really going to be forgetting my name and putting the loo roll in the fridge for a few months after birth?
I have lost my purse, to date remains uncovered but I swear it is in the house, the lost car key has been discovered in fridge, I left mail over the microwave combi oven nuking a jacket potatoe and very nearly burning the house down and I have also recently burnt rice – who’d have thought that was possible! I regularly walk into rooms and have absolutely no idea why I am there but I irritatingly know there is a reason which comes to me eventually, usually all too late. It goes on for at the least the first year!
How does it change your relationships?
For me friendships weren’t massively impacted, I have less time and I think those with babies and children are in the same boat and those without are always pleased to catch up when you get a chance. Extended family relationships can be put under a lot of extra pressure. A new family addition of a grandchild, particularly if it the first grandchild, can cause some significant tensions amongst families. I’m just going to say the dreaded words – the in laws! The in laws can become the out laws very quickly if expectations aren’t managed, feelings and wishes not respected – bottom line is good communication, be aware it goes out the window with hormones and tiredness. Be proactive with managing the in law relationships explain how you want things to be when baby arrives, which visitors are welcome to the hospital and how visiting will be managed. I’d recommend researching and buying “a guide for grandparents” for both sets – you are all new at this! Sadly extra weekends don’t come with baby so if the new grandparents are overzealous in their weekend visits your opportunities to see others may shrink considerably. Do not be afraid to say “no that doesn’t work for us”, “it would be helpful if you could bring your own bedding/meal etc” and also to ask for your baby back just say “I think baby needs some mummy time now” and take baby back.
My best practical tip
My best practical tip would be when your baby’s nappy explodes, and it will, leaving you with a baby with poop right up to their neck. Strip them down to their vest and get a pair of scissors and simply cut them out. By all means you can wrestle them out of the poop filled vest over their heads and scrape, stain remove, wash and stain remove the vest some more if you like but when you’re standing in the baby change at John Lewis with a parcel that is more poop than baby gurgling back you you’ll be glad you read this post as you use the scissors you’ve just bought from the kitchen department!
If I could only offer one piece of advice
The best piece of advice I received and if I could only pass on one tip to an expectant first time parent it would be this – don’t be too hard on yourself. Life with your first newborn baby is unknown territory, hormonal, emotional, exhausting and really difficult. It does get better though and continues to get better and better and better. You will wonder why you didn’t do this sooner. You will understand just how small and insignificant things in life that used to stress you out are and your life will have real proportion to it as well as a gorgeous new person in it.
For a good while now I have hankered after a piece by Chambers & Beau – I love my kids, I love beautiful things and I love jewellery. Amy, the talent behind the brand (creep, creep, please pick me, *sighs* bloody random number generator!) is running a FAB competition. She is giving away one of her fabulous pieces of jewellery of your choosing, from their new collection, to the value of £150! In order to enter, you must simply post a link to the competition on your blog and leave a link to it in the comments section of Amy’s blog!
I know exactly which piece I will be having if I win and have literally everything crossed!
A freelance friend is putting together a piece for The Guardian Family section gathering together the sorts of practical and emotional pearls of wisdom for first time mums the sort of nuggets that you can’t find in books and you only discover when you’ve had a child. The inside track if you like, the amazingly useful insider bits of advice that can really help, and also the stuff that makes you laugh and other mums nod knowingly as well!
These pearls could include:
If you have thoughts, answers or have written a post or posts touching on any or all of these elements (I’m not sure I write about much else!) please comment and include any relevant links in the comments below – serious, humorous, wry, any flavour is good! If you’d rather contact her directly drop me an email at email@example.com and I will send you her email address with pleasure.
Names can be changed and even just a one liner or a tweet is useful. You may have something that leaps to mind – but if you need inspiration then here are some questions from my friend that may spark an ‘oh *yes*, I remember wondering about that…” moment….., she is yet to have kids ;-)