A Day Out With Thomas

Thomas the Tank Engine…the stuff that obsessions are made of. Well, actually not in our household. We have never been struck with the Thomas bug. It’s not that we don’t like him, there’s a certain fondness certainly – it’s just that he has never inspired the sort of all-consuming passion in my son that windmills, fire engines and bin lorries have. Adding to this slight ambivalence is a mild to moderate fear of very loud noises – station platforms have been known to send him into quite the frightened tailspin.

So you may think that it was with a certain sadism that I gleefully accepted the Watercress Line’s invitation to A Day Out With Thomas

Man and boy walking through train station onto platform
What horror looms ahead my boy!?

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18 Million Things – New Year 2017

I use this blog sometimes just for me – a place to remember some of the things that make me smile about my son. These posts are a bit soppy and they are definitely not going to change the world so please don’t feel obliged to linger on this one (unless you’re my husband).

Not that I’ve written one like this in blooming ages…partly because there’s been a few millions things that haven’t made me smile so much recently and partly because I had a break and a new baby and all that jazz.

So my fast-growing-but-you’ll-always-be-my-baby three and a half year old, there are at least 18 million things I love about you and they include: Continue reading

My Snap Happy Son

My three year old has discovered (and therefore I have just discovered) that one can take photos on one’s iPad without unlocking said iPad.

My son thinks this is amazing. I am indifferent and will always unlock my iPad to take a picture because I am essentially a technological relic.

Anyway scrolling through my gallery the other day led me to some shots that are cronkier, wonkier and more blurry than my usual ones…

Yet somehow these little gems are sweeter than any of my attempts – they are infused with a childish simplicity that makes me smile.

My son chooses to take pictures of things he loves in the house; the kitchen clock, the kitchen bin, his toys, his parents, his sister. His small world is getting bigger by the minute but for now this is his world – this is his happy.

And so, in what could be the most ill-conceived photo-blog post of all time, allow me to present the photographic gallery of my three year old:

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Breastfeeding Bites #6. Feeding in Public with Beta Mummy

Ah yes, the time has to come at some point where you leave the security of your post-partum bedroom hibernation and take your baby and your boobs OUT. Not out-out, that would be irresponsible surely, but just out – a cafe maybe; a lunch somewhere; a shopping expedition; the doctors perhaps; or, in the case of my first ever public feed, a cricket game… Continue reading

An Ode to Garden Centres & Wyevale Christmas Event Review

I love a good garden centre…I don’t even care if that makes me sound 84….I really do. I’ve spent the last three years culminating special relationships with my local garden centres – they are my ‘go to’ destination with my son. I wonder sometimes if they know what a glorious gift they’ve given to the parent attempting to entertain a small being all week…

Need fresh air but it’s pouring and your child, like mine, has a rain aversion? What’s that…? A covered outside area with trees to boot? Yes please.

Are you considering remortgaging and taking a trip to the zoo? May I interest you instead in a selection of miniature (and quite lifelike) animal statues?

Imaginative ‘real world’ play? Let the display sheds step up to the plate…

Educational resource? Hello clock aisle.

Throw in a cafe, a play area and hours of entertainment watching the water features and you’ve got yourself a whole day’s worth of activity. You’re welcome. Some even have small soft play areas if that’s your bag. It’s not mine. We tried it once and my son turned feral in the ball pit so we beat a swift retreat. Continue reading

Surviving. Not Thriving

‘Does it get easier? Please tell me it gets easier?’. I’m frantically asking this of almost anyone with more than one child at the moment… I feel as though I’m merely existing with a rambunctious (polite description) three year old and a gorgeous but naturally demanding eight week old. For context the first five weeks were bliss, genuinely lovely, then the newborn bubble burst and real life had to start. I’m overall happy and content but today is a BAD day…some days are. My husband works most afternoons and evenings so bedtime, otherwise known as deviltime, is my time. Thus some days are bad. Continue reading

Breastfeeding Bites #5. Bracelets & Bangles

Which side this feed? Ahh those familiar words have hurtled round my brain throughout breastfeeding my son and daughter. Twitchy about it I was…my son fed from both sides in one feeding so it was a precoccupation with retaining even breast shape when I’d finished feeding (no scientific evidence to suggest I needed to do that!). My daughter feeds from only one side per feed currently so it’s more about comfort.

Now it sounds like a pretty straightforward ask, yes? I’ve heard whisperings that some people can actually remember or can tell which side is due by how much fuller the breast feels. All well and good unless both sides feel full or neither side feels full or the mini bit of life you’ve squeezed into the brief gap between feeds has made you forget OR you’re just overly anxious…like me! And so methods of remembering are required. Continue reading

Make Do & Mend Parenting

My mother-in-law recently described my parenting as ‘free-spirited’…I’m pretty sure that’s not a world away from ‘your children are feral’…

Anyway I’ve been considering this and reminiscing about the last three years with my son while looking back at photos (lots of which were stored on here, so if you are a regular reader apologies for the pictorial recycling!).

Despite coming across as pretty organised in most other aspects of my life, these images have reminded me how much and how often we’ve muddled through in the last three years in a ‘make do and mend’ sort of fashion – my son makes do with his mother and I hope he doesn’t need any mending when he’s older… Continue reading

Breastfeeding Bites #4. Oversupply in the Early Weeks

Last time I wrote about what it’s like when the milk comes in and how to handle that process. It involved a lot of leaking and a lot of milk not ending up in my baby (who had PLENTY already).

I’m very conscious that having this surplus, while challenging, is mostly a lot less stressful than feeling like you have low supply. Like I’ve said previously this series is very much only charting my personal breastfeeding story so consequently this edition features lots of excess milk. If you are reading this and struggling with thinking you have low supply do be kind to yourself –  firstly you may not have low supply (weight gain and nappies are the indicator, not leakage/ability to express/frequency of feeds) and if you do then the reasons for some women needing to increase supply while others could do with decreasing it are various and mysterious. KellyMom, La Leche League, Australian Breastfeeding Association and Global Health Media to name just a few support organisations all have information relating to low supply.

So milk…I wasn’t really prepared for catching it to begin with and sadly a lot of milk ended up in the sink, down my tops, soaking through muslins, accidentally squirted in passerby’s eyes… I’m joking obviously, no chance of a passerby in my living room and leaving the house with a large supply at this stage is practically impossible for me – feeding is currently indiscreet and potentially drenching. Continue reading

Breastfeeding Bites #3. My Engorgement Management Plan

When your milk comes in the chances are you will know about it – and it may come as quite a shock. There you are calmly enjoying (or surviving at least) colostrum feeding then whoosh…the colostrum calm is well and truly over and a rapid and quite alarming breast inflation takes place.

With my first child I was a mere passenger to the experience..watching with terrified fascination as my breasts, like the giant peach, grew bigger and bigger reaching and surpassing the limits of believability to become uncontrollable balls of pain.

I am a large producer of milk and first time was clueless as to the implications of that and how to manage this process of milk arrival. The result was engorgement so severe  I was a whisker away from mastitis. Excellent postnatal care saved me with a well-timed visit from my midwife who took one look at the hot spots on my breasts and leapt into action. Her electric pump was immediately deployed and as the first few gallons of milk came off the relief was instant. I then had to follow a regime for a few days whereby I expressed surplus milk until the amounts pouring out puttered down from a tsunami to a trickle.

This time the fear was real…I did not want to get to that place again. Being a much more savvy breastfeeder this time round meant that while engorgement happened we were able to keep on top of it with the following techniques, or as I like to call it: The Engorgement Management Plan (EMP for short, entirely made up by me, please consult the disclaimer in the first edition regarding ANYTHING I say!). So here’s the EMP that worked for me: Continue reading