Monthly Archives: January 2010

Media Request: Advice request for 1st time mums!

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:

  • The anecdotal no-holds barred things that only mums know (even those that fly against conventional advice)
  • The thing you wish you’d known before you gave birth/became a mum
  • The thing “they don’t tell you”, or that are glossed over in books etc/conversely the things that are exaggerated?
  • The answers to questions that perhaps you felt you should be asking (there are a few listed below….)
  • The handiest, most invaulable thing that someone told you
  • Best practical tip
  • The most surprising thing about becoming a mum

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 claire@dandelionlounge.co.uk 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 😉 

  • How painful IS birth. No *really*.
  • What do you DO with your newborn baby all day?
  • What’s the best way to avoid losing your marbles with lack of sleep/adult company etc?
  • Can you breastfeed while technically asleep? Like a cowboy sleeping upright with his eyes open etc?
  • And on that vein, is there any way to have a drink while breastfeeding?
  • What will seem like a good idea initially – and what I will quickly realise is a total nightmare?
  • Am I really going to be forgetting my name and putting the loo roll in the fridge for a few months after birth?
  • Does a gulf open up between you and your child-free friends? How does it change your relationships?
  • Am I going to surprise myself – and if so, how? (my capacity to not sleep, the depth of emotion, the complete absorption with my baby, my ability to puree things, my time management skills etc?)
  • What won’t I care about half as much, after I’ve given birth/am a mum?

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Babies cry but…

Is it harder to love a baby that cries a lot?

Isn’t that just one big mother of a question right there?!  It’s huge!  I love this question!  I‘ve been asked this question and would like to share with you why, why I’ve been asked and why I love it.  Now if you read my blog but don’t follow me on Twitter then the last time I really blogged about my life as a new mum to Baby G was her birth story post however if you were following me on Twitter back in November & December you would have definitely been aware of some dark times here at Lancaster Towers, you may even have heard some crying and if passing seen floods of tears flowing from the door!  We are now in a good place and Baby G is a delight but for a while there things were seriously, seriously tough.  I mean like proper “considering-going-back-to-work-full-time-and-getting-a-nanny” tough!

Baby G is 15 weeks old now, so here’s a quick rundown of how those first few months with two have been. 

The first three weeks with two

Weeks 1, 2 & 3  At the beginning all was good with Baby G, breast feeding well, waking once or occasionally twice in the night to feed, sleeping most of the time.  Lil’ H adoring of his new sister but he was struggling with the change to his family unit.  His night time sleep went out the window.  My poor little guy desperately trying to make up his mummy time at night I think.  He went from sleeping through the night from being just a few months old to waking multiple times a night.  As a result of his poor sleeping his tiredness saw his behaviour spiral downhill.  Desperate to not be telling him off but everyone’s shattered, patience and best intentions have left the building and he’s being, well frankly naughty, so guess what?  He was being told off and frequently and that just made me so sad.  I kept thinking I did this to him, I knew this was all his emotional reaction to the change,  I now know and can see how hormonal a time it was too.  So positive mummy time dropped to an all time low and we spent the best part of a month in one very hideous viscous circle!

Farewell sleep, hello colic

Weeks 3-8           I had a moment of clarity amongst the fug of breastfeeding tiredness and could see the number one way to make some improvements was to tackle H’s sleep.  Bottom line was we wouldn’t be tolerating this if G hadn’t arrived so it was time.  There were two issues firstly he wouldn’t go to sleep by himself, insisting mummy/daddy stayed or he’d be out of bed and out the door.  Then there was the night waking multiple times a night.  I prioritised the night waking on the grounds it would have the biggest positive impact on his tiredness and therefore his behaviour.  We got the stair gate out and put on his bedroom for the first time ever and used aromatherapy and Indigo child essences (both which I still use).  During the day I introduced “The Sleep Fairy” and her chocolate coin incentive programme!  The premise was simple, Mummy had called the sleep fairy, she would watch over Lil’ H and if he slept in his bed all night she would leave a chocolate coin.  Lil’ H and I made a reward chart by drawing and cutting out and sticking on pictures and photographs a reward chart.  It has been invaluable to have a photo of Hugo asleep in his bed, he so clearly understood what we were asking him to do.  He loves going on the little steam train at Brookside so a straight week of sleeping in his own bed and a ticket to ride he would have! 

First night – when it came to bedtime I stayed with him whilst he went to sleep, 2am he woke, crying “Mummy” and rattling the gate, joy!  I went to him hugged him over the gate told him he was safe and told him to go back to bed.  He didn’t, I did.  I then simply spoke to him through the monitor and said Mummy would scare the sleep fairy away if she came into his room.  This was met by silence!  Quickly followed by the pitter patter of feet back into bed!  The sleep fairy came and left a coin and a very proud and not so tired boy awoke the following day.  Night 2 similar but I never went to him just spoke to him.  Night 3, the wheels fell off and I had to go into him and but of course there was no coin from the fairy in the morning L That was that though, the fairy came for three weeks and then had to be “dismissed”.  Which we did by her leaving a chocolate coin, a special present and a magic fairy wand, this is important because if we need to call the fairy back which we have had to a few times we use the wand when we are going to bed and ask her to help H sleep in his own bed.  To date it has been very effective – the Sleep Fairy and her chocolate coin incentive programme rocks! 

During all this Baby G had been a dream, breastfeeding well, sleeping well, napping well.  Toddler sleep issues resolved, make way for Baby crying issues.  It came from nowhere when G was about 3 weeks old this crying started late afternoon say about 4:30pm ish and I would get her to sleep, like to totally floppy arm asleep, put her down and seconds later eyes wide open hysterical screaming.  It was colic.  That was my worst nightmare a baby with colic and it just got worse.  It was for a few hours in the early evening which go longer ‘til it was pretty much 6 hours straight ‘til 10:30pm when she’d be fed and go to sleep and then be put down exhausted.  Then it started to start earlier and earlier and earlier and eventually it was ALL DAY.  I timed it to go to the doctors one day she cried for 5 hours between 9:30am and 4:30pm and solidly without sleeping from 4:30pm until 10:30pm.  Baby G cried for just over 11 hours that day and that was a “regular” day.  She didn’t feed well, she cried, got wind, her tummy hurt, she cried more – yet another vicious circle.  I had the infacol, the Colief, the gripe water, the Gaviscon, the massage pad, a pal on Twitter was sending reiki, the white noise of the hairdryer was rescued with a white noise CD (which is great and we still use).  I’d cut out wheat, dairy, caffeine and alcohol, I’d seen breast feeding consultants and tried most bottles (Baby Born Free have all the latest on BPA Free, were hugely supportive and deserve a thank you!)  But Baby G was still crying it was getting worse if anything, if something did work it almost never worked again there was no consistency, no pattern, preferences or routine were emerging.  My hair was going greyer I swear visibly by the day, the stress lines were deepening and arriving at a pace.  I didn’t want to go out, it was so exhausting and difficult to visit other people, I was frightened she would just scream the place down, family or good friend or not I didn’t want to be observed struggling with my Baby.  I was in yet another very hideous spiral, this time one of very real and total panic.  Life felt like a tent with no pegs in a hurricane.  I don’t believe any child is “easy” they all have their moments and challenges and it just might not be whilst they are babies but it was only now that I understood what all the conversations I heard amongst my ante & post natal groups with H were about.  Only now did I “get it”, this was the nightmare they were all going on about!

Week 8                 By the time Baby G was eight weeks old she had the six week check, all was well, I’d been prescribed the gaviscon and I had returned twice because “my baby cries all the time”.  I wasn’t dismissed to say I was would be unfair, Baby G was checked out and I was told she was fine, it would pass but to come back if I continued to be worried.  I was worried, worried it might never stop, even my mum started to say “do you think there is something wrong with her?” Family and friends would visit – arriving with their knacks, tricks, secrets, songs and rhymes and declare “oh give her to me I’ll settle her.”  Part of me is proud of G that without exception she saw everyone off and didn’t settle for a single one of their secret-special-fail-safe baby–charms!  I had seen an osteopath when I was pregnant and I had taken Baby G along when she arrived.  I was back there on an emergency appointment to see if anything had changed or could be helped or preferably fixed.  I was running out of routes to explore, next step was going to have to be… I was all out I didn’t have an next step – wait until she was 12 weeks old and allegedly all this colicky screaming would stop that 12 week milestone was a lifetime away.  The osteopath was just lovely and listened and examined Baby G, placed her hands on her head and said, almost immediately, “this baby has an ear infection”.  In my heart of hearts I didn’t really think I’d get an answer from going to the osteopath, I was just dealing with such an alien situation it made me feel better to be doing something, doing anything, I just wanted her to stop crying.  “This baby has an ear infection” I was blown away there was a possible answer, now I feel guilty that wasn’t on my radar as an option, could I have know?  Should I have know?  Oh my God I could have an answer and one that is treatable – I was excited, inappropriately pleased my baby might have an ear infection because if she does we can treat it and she won’t be in pain and she won’t be crying for unknown reasons anymore.  Baby G had her a full osteopathic “MOT” and treatment and then we headed straight back to the doctors.  I called en route as it was gone 5pm telling them I wanted someone to look in my baby’s ears tonight.  The doctor looked in her ears and confirmed.  Calpol and antibiotics were prescribed.  Calpol and 20 minutes later I had a different baby.  We had seen her smile before but we didn’t see it very often, we didn’t know that she is a smiley girl and she is.  Just look!

Happy smiley girl

Best friends are allowed

So that is why my best friend asked me “is it harder to love a baby that cries a lot?” I love that question because I knew the answer without thinking, I love the fact that I knew without stopping for a nano second, I love the fact that the question made me really think about the first few months with Baby G.  I love that question because it says so much about the strength and openness of both our friendship and the people my best friend and I are.  It’s a friendship I am incredibly proud of .

So what is the answer to the original question “is it harder to love a baby that cries a lot?”  The answer is simple “No” but there are far fewer moments to recognise, reflect and feel that love because all of the attention that is demanded and exhaustion created by the crying.  It is harder to have those moments of calm and quiet and it is those moments when you gaze at your sleeping baby and get to experience rush of love for your child flood over you.

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Simple Pleasures No 5

A bath with my favourite bath oil – my choice for bathtime is Lime, Basil & Mandarin by Jo Malone 

Its Sunday night the children are asleep, the bath is run, hot & got my name on it!  Until next week folks! 

Claire x

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Here comes my frock meme!

Having recently spent time going through the thousands of photo’s I have for the recent favourite photo meme, I dusted off (literally) my wedding album.  Without a doubt THE most expensive photos I own containing photos of  THE most expensive things I have ever bought – flowers, shoes, cake etc.  Mr L and I got married on the August Bank Holiday weekend in 2003, the weather was sunny and warm, it was a FAB day.  I loved my wedding.  I loved the preparations, the day itself, the honeymoon, actually especially the honeymoon, oh and the champagne and cake how could I forget they were bloody gorgeous too!  Oh yes and that whole marriage thing with Mr L isn’t bad either 😉  

Fast forward six and a bit years and that day is all memories and memorabilia.  Being truly honest its not often recalled and very rarely looked at.  I have my memory box with all the stationery, the cards, our place settings, a few leftover favours, the speeches, a few pressed flowers and some bits of confetti.  I also still have my wedding outfit – my dress, shoes (Gina’s if you were wondering!), veil, tiara (but of course!) – all cleaned and boxed up.  In the immediate post wedding days I’d had this thought that if I ever had a daughter, which of course I now do, she’d like to see my wedding dress.  I never thought I’d pass it on for her to wear it more maybe to play dressing up in it. 

Now here we are in 2010.  I sit in my home, which is no longer home to two but four, my home which is filling up with bright plastic shit toys and “stuff”, at a rate faster than I can ever see the declutter process making any significant impact on.  Now here in 2010 when I look at my wedding outfit I see space and cash!  I see space potential using my “maximise your property” hat, trained by home improvement and makeover TV shows and through my eBay eyes I can see some significant £’s!  It got me wondering have I lost touch with the romance of my wedding, of creating modern family heirlooms and heritage?  Or are they unrealistic ideas in modern times anyway?  Would either me or Baby G when she becomes Girlie G get anything special from her playing with it, would she ever really want to and would I ever really let her?  Hmmm.  Is there a middle ground to keep the shoes, veil & tiara and flog the frock?  Hmmm, I wonder. 

So me and my dress.  Together on show for just one day only over 6 years ago.  It feels like an airing is long overdue!  So here it is, me in my wedding dress with my Dad in those few last single minutes.

Me & My Dad - the final single moments!

My wedding dress – should it stay or should it go!  Experience?  Thoughts?  What do you vote – keep it or sell it? 

My wedding all came long before I started blogging and the same for many others but you know what I’d love to see some “Blogger Brides” so I’m going to create this post into a meme and this is the first of the “Here comes my frock” meme!  Made up by me for me, because I love a good wedding! 

To start the ball rolling I am going to ask the following beautiful brides to share their wedding frocks and any story you choose to share about your dress and or day, where is now and in the spirit of all good meme’s to pass it on, if you tweet tag it #herecomesmyfrock so we can see get a stream of them all! 

As with every meme I do, play if you can and if you too want to be tagged consider it so!

Karin over at Cafe Bebe because she encouraged me to get my finger out and write this post!

Bec at Beetroot and Gherkins and Bumbling for being intrigued on Twitter!

Laura at Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy

Andy’s wife over at The life of Wendy Wife! 

And Snaffles Mummy

As with every meme I do, play if you can and if you too want to be tagged consider it so!

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Wordless Wednesday

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Bloggers for Haiti

The situation in Haiti is terrible to watch, the images too tragic to see.  So I don’t watch.  I can’t watch.  But I can’t ignore it either.  The most constructive way to help from overseas is to donate to support the charity efforts which in already financially challenging times can be difficult, but please if you can, donate whatever you can afford.  Simply click this link and donate to Bloggers for Haiti

The link takes you through to the JustGiving website which is raising money for Shelter boxes going to Haiti, you can read full details on the JustGiving page Bloggers for Haiti aimed to raise enough for one box costing £490 when I left my donation funds has been raised for seven boxes, the cumulative total of many donating what they can afford which is just AMAZING.  Clearly with an estimated 1.5 million homeless the more that can be sent the better to help provide shelter and survival equipment to victims of the disaster.
Devastation in Haiti
Bloggers are working together to help raise funds for the relief effort, if you can help spread the word then please do.

You can find out more and make a donation here.

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Simple Pleasures No 4

It’s “quiet time” at Lancaster Towers between 1pm & 3pm. Since Lil’ H started to need his afternoon nap less & less I’ve introduced “quiet time” to allow him to rest & renergise. This consists of a makeshift bed on the sofa, his blanket & a bit of Disney babysitting usually Toy Story 1 or 2 or Finding Nemo. Sometimes still quiet time becomes naptime too. It’s a nice part of the day for me as Baby G is usually asleep too so I get to drop down a gear on the mummy child caring & raising duties.

Today I arranged the tulips I bought myself and it dawned on me how I always like to have fresh flowers, how I enjoy choosing them, arranging them & simply enjoy them being in my home. Today I remembered that fresh flowers are a simple pleasure & I am really enjoying my Tulips, one of my favourite spring flowers. What are your favourite flowers? Brighten your day & treat yourself.

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