The Snotty Todler

“Mummy I’ve got a runny nose”

I’m thinking, yup no shit Sherlock, you just smeared it all over my trouser leg, thanks. The kids are on a joint top and tail mission, the toddler snots on me from waist down and the baby pukes on me from waist up. Nice. So pleased I haven’t got round to buying those much needed new clothes.

*Cough cough* “Please don’t cough in Boyos face darling, oh and put your hand to your mouth please.”

Babes got a cold, so have I, and Boyo too. Hubby by some miracle has managed to dodge it for the last two and a half weeks, thank goodness, I didn’t need a poorly man on my hands too.

The worse thing has to be being on constant nose wiping duty for Babe. If she is not whining to have her nose wiped, she’s snorting it out her nostrils to see how gross she can make it look. Then to top it, I discovered the other day that after washing her hands and drying them, sometimes she uses the hand towel to wipe her snotty chops. Yuk!

We now have coughs and I can hear her hacking away in her sleep. I should be thinking, my poor little baby. Instead I’m thinking, please don’t wake up it’s my bedtime and your brother has already thrown up all over my bed, myself and his bed thanks to his thrush medicine.

I’m hoping for a less snotty day tomorrow.


Babywearing a Newborn

Last week was international babywearing week so I figured this would be a good time for me to talk about my experiences of babywearing a newborn.

My babywearing journey started out with one of the dreaded ‘crotch danglers’ renowned for being particularly bad for babies. But I admit, I ignored these facts, and was seduced my the marketing and vast amount of rave reviews about the Baby Bjorn. As a professional marketer, when I’m not a mama, I should have known better.

That said, at the time though, I swore by it. Babe loved it, daddy did and so did I. By seven months I was starting to hate it, argh the back ache!

This time around with Boyo I’m a whole lot more educated and I’ve been able to gather advice from the great babywearing mamas on twitter and the sling meet forum. The resounding advice was to get a stretch wrap for when the baby is small.

In the UK there are two main types of stretch wrap available (that I’m aware of). The Moby (American I think but made in china) and the Kari Mee (with great british made credentials). So then the tough decision of which to go for. The Kari Me is apparently more stretchy than the Moby, which has it’s positives and negatives. In the end I went down the totally unethical route and purchased the one I could get the cheapest. That was the Moby which I bought (well my mum did as my birthday present) from Slumber Roo.

In total I have four wraps/carriers etc, three of which I can use with the newborn. The Moby is my saviour, but my Baby Hawk mei tai is also useful when Boyo wants to look around, or in hot weather (we had a few early October), plus a ring sling my friend kindly gave me (which I’m promising to give a good go next week for breastfeeding on the move). We also have an Ergo Baby but this requires a newborn insert.

I essence I love my Moby and so does Boyo.

What’s your favourite carrier for a newborn?

Trains, Trolleys a Toddler and a Baby

This is my first full week going solo with the full brood (if you can call two a brood) cluck cluck.

I’ve already done my fair share of sqwarking and wing flapping. But its not all been scratching in the dirt, there have been some triumphant, almost moments or pure joyous flight, and that’s just Monday and Tuesday.

Monday Mother Hen Wing Flapping
Babe started off grumpy from a grizzly mildly unsettled night before. Getting out the house in the morning was a must, or else we each risked pecking one an another. The boy, well he was no trouble.

I’d already decided to take Babe along to a music and movement class called Musik Garten. With our place secured by a quick phone call, I attempted to use the promise of a train trip to a music class to encourage her to be moderately pleasant. She wasn’t buying it and wanted to get in the buggy early. Yay, this was the 30 minutes I needed, although she whined the whole time about leaving the house. But I managed to wash the dishes, put the washing on, do the first brief tidy up for the day and get Boyo and myself ready. The problem was, by the time we left the house at 10.22am (yes astonishingly I recall the exact time) I was already feeling hen pecked.

The train trip went well and I managed to find the venue without too many hitches. Admittedly I did have to call my friend Jane, who had introduced us to the group, but that was only cause a builder had mistakenly told me this was not the venue (despite me being quite confident otherwise). The group was brilliant despite Babe being very clingy. Then afterwards we walked back to the train station and explained to hubby that we would be home for lunch by 1.15pm to meet him. I had some spare time so enjoyed the cheap and tat of the poundshop. With ease I managed to stack up enough purchases to pay on card (over £5). We hot footed it to the train station and arrived in perfect time, with three minutes to go. But baby Boyo decided to get grumpy and I knew he was well overdue a nappy change and maybe more milk.

Ever thinking I might just be capable of laying a golden egg, we jumped into action to change his nappy in the buggy. The train then arrives, but I know I’ve got time. I bundle everything together and dash for the doors as they are shutting. I press the button and nothing. I’m next to the driver and he ignores me. I want to squwark and flap my wings, but I know I’m defeated. I’d pushed my luck and the train rolled off with my hand almost still banging on that bleedin’ button that failed to light up.

Squwark! Worse still I knew hubby would have left work to come home and meet us…and I’d got the bread for lunch. I knew I was going to be in the hen house. OK so time to settle down and feed four week old Boyo and wait for the next train 30 minutes later. Just as the going was good Babe decided she needed to pee and they only had one loo at the station on another platform (argh). So up we got, we had to go quick. We got back and my seat was taken so I had to nurse standing up. It’s a good job I’m a pro! Alas our train came and we scuttled on crest fallen but glad to be heading home at last. At the other end I almost sprinted home and fortunately hubby was still home and thankfully he’d improvised with the crust of bread left in the bread bin. The afternoon did get better from there, but I didn’t reckon much to my homemade bread and butter pudding.

And despite Babe falling out of bed in the night and wetting herself, she slept through and didn’t bother me till 7am in the morning.

Tuesday Trolly Dash
I’d decided that other mums could do it, so so must I. Do the weekly shop with a baby and toddler.

After a lazy morning in the house, I was ready for the challenge. Babe was fed and watered, Boyo part fed and off we went. It was a triumph, yes we did have to finish off the feed and do a nappy change pretty much as soon we got into Sainsburys, but after that he snuggled in my Moby wrap and went to sleep. Then Babe became the golden girl fetching and carrying upon request. No fussing from neither at the till, and the final loading into the car went without a hitch. I managed to get home, feed baby, put away shopping, do a roast and bake a cake all before 5.30pm.

I’d say that was one all! Now let’s see if I can defeat this week.

Co-sleeping With a Toddler & Newborn

It’s not a practice that I want to become the norm in our house, but it’s something we do when toddler bed transfer is repeatedly failing or there are night wakings.

Don’t get me wrong, it all works remarkably well but I personally don’t like my space being invaded by not just one little person but two – assault from both sides. Come on just back off little people, this is actually MY bed.

How it works
Baby Boyo sleeps in his cosleeping crib or on my mattress on the left. I sleep in the middle and then Babe my toddler sleeps on the right. We all have enough space this way.

Sleeping through the noise
Much to some people’s disbelief (yes I can say I told you so), Babe usually sleeps through Boyo’s cries. Which is pretty amazing given he is only a couple of feet away and has a powerful pair of lungs on him.

Occasions it doesn’t work
There have been a few nights when Babe has woken a couple of times to the noise of Boyo at the other side of the bed and wanted nursing while he is kicking off – but that’s when she has been light sleeping because of a cold. This had resulted in some crossed words between the two of us, something like this:

“No you can’t have num nums”

“But I want num nums mummy”

“Arggghhhh go on then (or no no no followed by tears from Babe)”

At this point I’m tired and focused on the needs of the baby. Resentment sometimes creeps in, and I’m left fighting with the thoughts that she doesnt NEED the milk. But maybe it would help her cold, maybe like me she too has a sore throat that she needs soothing? Even if it’s not a physical thing, what about the reassurance and soothing she is longing? So sometimes I give in, other times she has been happy to simply snuggle or have her hair stroked.

Something that has started to cross my mind is night weaning Babe. Any thoughts? Tips?

Birth Story: Homebirth Unexpected

A bright orange Gazania flower in full bloom.

Image via Wikipedia

Since the natural hospital delivery of my daughter nearly three years ago, I’d always wanted to go one better. I wanted a homebirth with my second, but after much research and participation one of the monthly meet ups at our local newly established homebirth support the hubby and I concluded that in our current circumstances this could be rather a stressful option.

So we eventually agreed upon the plan to be successful in having a water birth in hospital and to labour at home as long as possible (see blog post here). What we didn’t bank on was a very sudden speeding up of labour at home. We got to a point very suddenly were there was a risk of me actually giving birth in the car. Medically it became advisable that we stay home.

Opting for the homebirth
When the midwife and hubby were indecisive about what to do, after a particularly excruciating contraction I huskily bellowed “we are staying home”. No one was going to mess with me, I was in one of those lioness primal moments. Don’t cross me or I’ll eat you alive! I’d done putting other people’s feelings first, this was what I wanted and there was no way I was leaving that room let alone getting in the car, even for the short journey.

Nothing more was said, they both jumped to their action stations scouring the house for suitable waterproof floor coverings and old towels etc. Out came the waterproof backed picnic blanket (which is now sacred), the bed wetting mat and all our old towels.

The thought of staying at home and pursuing the birth I’d always wanted immediately relaxed me and in turn labour started to slow down a bit.

What?! I thought. I should relax and labour should get faster surely?
But the midwife reassured me later that it was my body’s way of saying “rest and be thankful”, to prepare for the super quick progression ahead. Quicker than any of us thought, with not enough time to even get the pre-warned second midwife present for the birth.

After things had slowed down a bit, I started to feel a little despondent and told myself that this was not allowed, we needed to get this show back on the road. Then it did, I clearly saw the finishing line and was hell-bent on getting to it as quickly as possible. Contractions increased in intensity. You know you’re going full pelt when you think you’re at the end of your tether, sucking as hard as possible on the gas and air and are leaving bite marks on the nozzle. When your efforts to contain noise goes out the window (sorry neighbours). When your birth partner is squeezed so hard they have to swear (he had the bruise to prove it). When you’re legs give way from underneath you, and finally when all you want to do is push!

Hubby clearly didn’t realise how far along we were when he explained that I have a few more gears in me yet. I not so calmly explained that I was going full throttle at that point, I knew I was at transition.

Than a slight fear kicked in
What if I was going to be pushing for four plus hours like my last labour? I didn’t feel like I had it in me, I knew I did really if needed, but I couldn’t bear the thought. My mother Teresa midwife (yes she was called Teresa), reassured me this was definitely NOT going to be the case. Little did I know that an hour later it would all be over and I would be holding my baby.

When I had the urge to push, I honestly thought I was going to have a number two, right there stood up dangling from my husband’s neck on the living room floor. The midwife calmly suggested that after the next contraction I get down on the floor and lean over my birth ball. Then full on pushing commenced. Much to my relief the 20-30 mins pushing felt more like five minutes. And then all of a sudden the intensity, and then the relief as he was born. Wow, it’s over already was all I could think.

From my husband getting home till baby Boyo arriving, it was just over an hour and a half. From being just 3cms to the arrival of the baby it was just under three hours. From the midwife arriving to the birth it was just over four and a half hours.

Born in the caul
My waters never broke, in fact baby Boyo’s head came out still in the amniotic sack of fluid. According to this website, this is very rare, one in 80,000 kind of rare. But slightly more common in homebirths which are much less likely to have any intervention. The midwife had to immediately break open the sack and unwrap the cord from around baby’s neck.

As this was a fast birth and my waters had not broken it would have been a bit of a shock to the baby, so it took about a minute for him to start crying. His agpar score at one minute was only 6 out of 10, but a minute later this jumped up to 9. During this minute hubby held his breath, for me I was too busy breathing a very long sigh of relief that the worst bit of labour was over.

Straight after he cried my little boy was wrapped up in an old towel and handed to me. It was beautiful, one of the most joyful moments of my life. Corny, but so true.

Delayed cord cutting
I’d read a lot about the benefits of delaying the cutting of the cord and daddy didn’t actually cut it for a good hour or so later, after I had naturally birthed the placenta. I was so pleased to both delay the cutting of the cord and to have been able to deliver the placenta totally naturally.

The whole experience can only be described as utterly amazing, I only wish every labouring woman could go through this experience.

Don’t Touch My Baby!

Keep your hands off and kisses to yourself!

What is it with some people who think its totally acceptable to come up to your baby and kiss them, even though you don’t know them at all?!

Like the gentleman in the supermarket that came up to my son while in his car seat and kissed him. Without asking and without us even knowing him.

It totally catches you off guard.

Then what are you supposed to say? They are not being nasty, but unintentionally over stepping the boundaries.

So tell me, do you agree or am I being over protective? And how would you respond?

This is partly why I love wearing my babies so much, no one can touch them without getting very very close to me. The fact that I often honk of milk, is a great deterrent. People are much less likely even when I pull back the folds of my wrap, to plump up a cheek or grab a hand with their grubby mits. I recognise I’m not setting a fab example on that side of things myself BUT, this is my baby and I know where I’ve been. Maybe they’ve just been smoking? Maybe they have a coldsore? Maybe…oh maybe…just get off my baby!

Thankgoodness It’s Friday…Er I Mean Sunday

Friday was my first proper full long day without anyone popping by or hubby coming home for lunch. That is, first full long day taking care of the two and a half week old and two and three quarters year old. It was never going to be a walk in the park…

The day started with Babe refusing breakfast and insisting on a mummy milk tank up. Some people might be scorning me for pandering to her. But I’ve been quick to realise that if I say ‘no’ she wants it all the more. And this is not just about nutritional physical hunger, but emotional security hunger. She’s having to go through the biggest change of all, and she needs me to make this as easy as possible. Never the less it infuriated me a little until I gave up and resigned myself to it, and took the time to be thankful for the hug and peace and quiet.

After a steady start, at 9.10am (ish) I decided it was high time I showered and dressed. I was feeling a little irritated because hubby had explained he had a parcel due to be delivered and asked me to wait in till it arrived. I wasn’t relishing the prospect of entertaining the needy toddler in the house all morning.

So shower it was. I really needed it despite the bath the night before. I just seem to stink of milk all the time, fresh milk, stale milk, regurgitated milk, snot infused milk (yup we got colds), milk any which way you can think of. I had a small window of opportunity to exploit, with which to shower and get dressed before baby Boyo called for me to tank him up some more, scrape some poop off his bum or simply be there to hold him. After setting everything and everyone lined up in the doorway to the ensuite, I dived in to attempt to have an enjoyable shower. Well that was a bit delusional, Babe decided part way through that she wanted to join me in the cubicle and started stripping off and attempting to open the doors while I tussled with her to keep the door shut and rinse off my shower gel. Then baby Boyo decided that he wanted ‘in’ on the commotion and began groaning and getting generally fussy. So I sped up, and gave in to the idea of still smelling milky even after a shower (albeit a very short one) and attempted to dry and dress in record breaking time.

30 minutes later, dressed and nappy changed (obviously the baby not me) and enjoying a momentary minute of sanity, we went down stairs to muster up some creative activity to wile away the morning. Then Babe announced that the postman had been, handing me a card. “We missed you”

I missed the delivery man, oh poop…in all honesty it was something a lot stronger than that. I was so frustrated. Damn that stupid temperamental door bell, damn that stupid delivery driver for not trying harder to get my attention and damn him for not leaving it with a neighbour. DAMN! After a few irrational post labour, tiredness induced tears I looked on the bright side. We could go out now at least, yay!

The plan was to catch the train to go do a bit of wine and nibble shopping as we had friends coming around in the evening (yes a social life, this is quite impressive for us) and feed the ducks, geese and swans. My intention to leave by 10.15 for the 10.30 train was dashed when Babe decided to pee herself again and Boyo made it clear that some last minute milk was in order. So we left at 10.30 instead to have plenty of time to walk to catch the next train. That was after baby Boyo had milk sicked-up down my top and bra as I put him in the wrap carrier. Indeed it was effective winding, but kind of defeated my shower and change of clothes. Really why did I bother? I stank worse than I did an hour ago. But I’d showered for the day, so psychologically I felt better and ready to face the day.

The trip was going well, we’d not been eaten alive by the birds we were supposedly feeding with bread, (although I’m sure they had designs on the three bears handing the stale crumbs over). That goose was virtually sitting on my lap.

As I said, going well until Babe announced she needed to pee and gestured to squat down by one of the church walls or on one of the graves. “Nooooo not here” I blurted out, “that’s disrespectful”. I assumed this was one of her outdoors moments of boredom which she was hoping to spice up by squeezing out a tiny pee. So I distracted her with a trip to the cheese shop.

So in true tag team style, it was now baby Boyo’s turn to test my coping skills. Mid order, just about between asking for that blue cheese I’d been craving for the last 10 months and passing down a handful of tasters off the counter to keep Babe quiet. The man pipes up, clearly wants a bit of milk. So I jumped to action stations and whip out the milk supply, all while grabbing Babes coat (she’d decided it was now too warm) and attempting then failing to answer a call from hubby. Short feed over, cheese paid for, husband called and toddler weather proofed, we headed on our way to the deli. This was the most successful part of the trip, all went smoothly and I even got to eat some of the free cake samples. I now had fancy stuffed peper thingies and falafels. And was able to press onto the wine shop without a hitch.

Aha, we were on the home straight now, the park, the train and the final walk home. But I’d forgotten something, and so had Babe. Then we got a tough reminder in the park, as she peed herself again (for the third time in the day but sadly no where near the last). Baby Boyo needed nursing and we had no change of clothes. We had about ten minutes to faff around with removing knickers, nursing the baby and then headed off to the train station, with Babe walking like a cowboy from soaked trousers.

Upon getting in the door home I then had the mad dash to get Babe sorted before baby Boyo was due his next feed.

Thankfully it all got a bit better from there, until Saturday which was the day from hell with colds, exhaustion and grumpiness from all.

Thank goodness it’s Sunday! I hope everyone is in better spirits when they get up today. If I’m honest it’s not boding well for me, it’s been a bad night with a snotty unhappy baby.