19 months

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19 months probably isn’t a huge milestone but I’m inordinately proud of the small person. The speed at which he learns new things blows my mind. He knows the difference between a goose and a duck (mostly), can copy ‘alpaca’ and ‘llama’, knows what a toucan is and can identify flowers,trees and leaves. He can even do a pretty convincing pigeon ‘co-cooooooo-co’ noise and will attempt to copy 4 or 5 syllable phrases and words.

Mostly he still just wants to say ‘car’.

Over the last few months he’s tried new things like omlette, cheese on toast, cucumber and chicken. He might default to carbs but two days running he’s eaten a whole Apple so he is getting some non milk related vitamins in!

The garden has been mostly baby-safed so he been enjoying it in the nice weather.

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The sun is shining and parenting feels OK right now :)

Still waking 6 plus times a night to feed, having hilarious tantrums and kicking me in the face whilst feeding but the goods are good right now.

Development

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Talking is the new favourite thing over here- lots to say all the time. In fact I have little idea what he is saying most of the time, as it’s a constant babble of verbal explosions which continue on with the odd recogniseable word like Car or Cat or Truck in between.

New words are coming thick and fast- this week it’s been “geese” “flower” and “dirty” all of which are being used in the correct context (“car dirty” for example). It’s quote fun. We talk a lot to and with him. We read to him and encourage him to point out the things he recognises in the book, but I’m sure genetics are as much to play. Apparently as a child I was bright and precocious and used to remember books off by heart so that other people thought that I was able to read when actually I was just memorising what I’d been read!

This week he also decided was the week to learn to ride a bike. A friend kindly dropped around a second hand balance bike. It was left in the hallway, and little person climbed right on despite the saddle being about 3 inches too high and tried to ride it!

Challenge

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Gemma from sling meet suggested having a go at this:
30 day challenge
The 30 day sling challenge.

We do #1 as standard, so thought we’d try the rest.

Day #2 was the semi forward wrap cross carry. Gemma posted this video:
Wrap your Baby
And I had a go.
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I couldn’t quite get a slipknot sorted in my thick woolie size three, so thought I’d look up another video.

Wrapping Rachel Semi FWCC
And then realised this was actually the first wrap I ever did with my 3, but the technique is SO different I hadn’t realised it was the same.
I did it again and took this shot:
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(other hip)

Not for me, this one!

More thoughts on feeding a toddler

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I have another urge to write something about what I’ve learnt about breastfeeding a toddler.

In a way I feel like I shouldn’t have to write this yet somehow it needs to be said.  I’m learning slowly how to communicate the way I feel in a positive way rather than being typically British and apologetic. I am now trying to ensure that I always say “R is breastfed” rather than the usual “R is still breastfed”. Don’t forget that the WHO recommend breastfeeding to two and beyond so I’m not some crazy boobmatyrhippy I’m just following World Health guidelines.

I’m lucky that both my mother and mother in law breastfed, although in a different day and age and with very different guidelines and advice. This means that straight off no one in my immediate family found  “natural term” breastfeeding odd or gave me a hard time about it. That’s another phrase-refusing to say “extended”breastfeeding any more to mean feeding past six months,  but to say “natural term” to reflect the nature of feeding a child until an extend nursing strike or self-initiated weaning.

It would be a lie to say that I don’t care what other people think or what they think of me. Obviously I care little about what strangers think of me as their opinion is irrelevant whilst it matters more what my friends and family think.  There is a huge disappointment when I hear phrases from friends and acquaintances like “I’m all for breastfeeding but. ..” which is the breastfeeding-in-public version of “I’m not a racist but”. Whatever is going to come after that “but” is almost certainly going to be misinformed, incorrect and offensive.

  I talk passionately about breastfeeding because I think it’s important that we change the way our society  views it. I’m not saying that everyone should breastfeed no matter what but just that we accept it as a normal part of every day public life.  This in turn will improve rates of breastfeeding as it becomes a more normalised and publically discussed activity. It will make it more accessible to more people, giving women the choice and the power back in the relationship rather than giving over to the misinformation rife when women are having a physical or emotional wobble about breastfeeding

So whilst I  “don’t care” what strangers think of me breastfeeding a toddler in public (probably not discreetly as he won’t stay still for 5 seconds), I do care about why people would find this entirely natural act offensive. I worry about the state of the country I live in where people think that feeding a baby from the breast is disgusting or wrong. I want to change the way people feel about it and the way they view it.

There are (to my honest knowledge) many people who think that women that breastfed past a certain age (usually a number picked out of the air) are “only doing it for themselves”. If you’ve ever watched a toddler breastfeed you’d have something else to say. With blocked ducts and mastitis,  nipple and skin pinching, Gymnastics, teeth etc it’s not really a relaxing cuddle with your small person. But then on the back of that, another huge swathe of people think that women who breastfeed to natural term are ridiculous martyrs who like to Lord over everyone else about how hard their lives are but who won’t help themselves to make life easier. By help themselves I mean employ tactics they are not comfortable with/ dont believe in that someone else thinks it will help them.

I promise you that the majority of us are neither of the above.  When you make a parenting decision, you often feel like the decision has been made for you and there was actually no choice at all.

There are very few circumstances under which a woman cannot breastfeed. This is not to undermine those who genuinely can’t , but they are in a very small minority. There was absolutely no decision to be made for me,  if I could, I would. I didn’t feel like this was a decision that I made and it certainly wasn’t in silo. It was about my whole outlook on the point of procreation- and it was just always going to be that way. Luckily once he worked it out, R felt the same and his complete bottle refusal showed me that he wanted to be breastfed. Even if for any reason I wanted to wean now, I wouldn’t have the first idea about how to go about it and R would be none too pleased about it all. It’s an even better reason to keep feeding him.

And this is what makes things hard. R is not a sleeper. And some breastfed babies are, some aren’t. Babies are made to wake every 90 minutes or so. Some can settle themselves back to sleep and some can’t. Sometimes this is beyond challenging. During my week of solo parenting R decided on the last night that he didn’t fancy going to sleep. I was exhausted having been up and out to buggy fit in the morning then out to a friends in the afternoon and it was day five of solo parenting. It took me two hours and two different beds to get him down. He woke after fifteen minutes. He then took another hour to settle again and that time slept for just thirty minutes. After about 2 1/2 hours I started to slowly crumble. This isn’t related to breastfeeding specifically but the style of more natural /attachment parenting that we have fallen into through our beliefs and Outlook.

Toddler refusingto sleep, Husband about to board a plane hundreds of miles away and all I felt was that I was trapped and unable to express honestly how I was feeling to anyone. When it feels (from comments made like “you spoil him” or “you need to put him in his own bed otherwise you’ll never get him out” etc) everyone seems to view you as a soft idiot who should be shutting the door on your screaming baby to try to”fix” him, it’s hard to find solidarity. Luckily someone posted about a similar problem on the Facebook breastfeeding group that I’m on and I felt able to share there and the lovely comments and support I received there was invaluable that night, another night feeling in a pit of despair.

What to say? Never assume you know how someone else is thinking or that you know what you’d do in their shoes. Women who have had around 4hrs sleep a night for a year plus don’t tend to handle thoughtless comments well. Don’t underestimate how far a nice comment can go when it’s needed.

Going solo

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This week had been my opportunity to really appreciate how fortunate I am.

Since R was born, this is my first extended period of solo parenting. The most I’ve done over the past 17 months is a weekend (which struck at the height of tantrums and wanting to walk everywhere), but this is pretty much a week. Dada was out Friday with work then went away on Sunday and won’t be back until Friday.

So far we’ve coped ok. Largely helped by the fact that I can work from home so have a bit of time bookending  the day before the childcare run where I can get *stuff* done. It helps that we are mostly all feeling ok and healthy too. I’ve also resigned to the fact that stuff needs to be done and I need to be prepared at all times so pack lunches have been put together the night before,  all clearing up and chores done as soon as possible and dinners have slow cooked whilst I pick R up from the childminders.

And it’s easy there’s an end in sight. Ok Dada will come home exhausted and jet  lagged and possibly a little useless for a few days but we got back to being 2 on 1 which is a ratio that works for us.

I don’t mean this to be a patronising post that makes any assumptions about other people’s situation. However I have got to say yet again how I admire single parents. No matter what the circumstances, let alone those fraught with grief or arguments and stress,  parenting by yourself is hard work. Expecially if you’re lacking in family to support you; financially, emotionally or just by being able to help or and Hove you some time off.

I really am fortunate and I’ll work on appreciating that a little more in the future.

Another sling post

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Another sling post

I’ve been playing. I’m trying to get up ten minutes earlier in the morning and practice a different carry or finish in the sling!

Two days in (plus a play on sunday) and I’m getting there with techniques for distracting the wriggling small person and taking the time to get it right! So much to remember!


Not bad! I need to work on getting my back carries higher and tighter, and using the leg passes to pin the seat, but the pretty finishes (that take pressure off the shoulders so they’re practical too) are coming along.

What shall I try tomorrow?

(huge thanks to Wrap You In Love for wonderfully helpful tutorials without any irritating voiceover! :)

Playing with slings

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Playing with slings

And there’s another on it’s way! Lets hope small stuff lets me wrap him.. I don’t want to always have to wait until he’s asleep!!

Been having fun in preparation for the new sling library if we get it up and running! First sling meet next week so I need to brush up!

With my 3 I can do:
-Poppins Hip Carry
-Robbins Hip Carry
-Kangaroo TUB (Tied under bum)
-Ruck
-Half Jordans with leg pass (kind of)
-no sew ring sling

With my 7 I can do the above plus
-FWCC
-BWCC

And at some point I’ve managed both a saltwater finish and a candycane chestbelt but need to work on both!

So many more kinds of carry to learn!

ION I’ve lost my sling rings. They were on the sofa, then they weren’t!! I have a witness that they just DISAPPEARED! Help!

Adventures

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Adventures

Last week we bravely embarked on our first holiday abroad as a family of three…..

What an adventure! We chose Fuerteventura with the hopes of winter sunshine, reasonable flight time (4 hours?? With an active toddler? ?), good Spanish food and all at a sensible out of season price.

To start with we are all recovering from illnesses (or so we thought) which was less than helpful. I’ve had tonsillitis and laryngitis then small gave me his conjunctivitis. Husband thinks he might have bronchitis with a nasty lingering cough and a pain in his back. Small is snotty and coughing. Still. For more than three weeks we’ve all woken up feeling ill-not a great start!

Early morning get up and easy drive to the airport worked out ok, small just stayed happily asleep in the car seat until we arruived. We weren’t too impressed with the “valet parking” as it was pretty slow and not a drop off outside the terminal as promised but in the short stay car park! Check in and security were a breeze as I had small in the sling, then we settled in for breakfast and baby-wrangling.

The flight was. …okay. Small wore himself out running laps of the airport so he slept for a whopping 90 mins at the start of the flight. The only challenge being not able to put the tray down when my meal arrived, but thankfully the chap next to us went off for a wander when our meals arrived so we could borrow a tray. The last 2 1/2 hours involved walking up and down the aisle getting in people’s way, dancing outside the toilets, watching RaaRaa on the tablet and playing with cars and stickers.

The transfer to our hotel was a bit naff as we sat on a boiling coach on what turned out to be the nicest day of the holiday waiting 45 minutes for another flight to arrive before we could set off. Nice one Thomas Cook!

The hotel was lovely. All inclusive deals are new to me but impressed me with cava for breakfast,  let alone the wonderful range of hot and cold food for every meal. The buffet was ideal for a small who loses interest in food quickly and can only sit in a high chair for about 10-15 minutes before commencing food throwing and shouting. I ate all my favourite things-octopus, calamari,  fish, spanish meat stews,  paella etc and tried local cheeses and their rather moreish mojo verde sauce. Small ate sausages,  pasta,  potatoes and on occasion even some yogurt.

We were in the family area of the hotel (Hotel Suite Atlantis in Corralejo for those interested) which was near the kids pools and play area (though sadly far from the nearest bar). Our room had a gigantic bed which meant the three of us could share easily even with small lying horizontally between our faces with minimum kicking. There was great entertainment for the children,  including a kids disco and at and games during the day. Small was a bit, well, small and impatient for most of it but enjoyed musical bumps once he’d worked it out!

We filled the week with activities in lieu of reasonable weather (I’m being harsh,  if was just poor for this time of year and certainly 15 plus degrees centigrade warmer than the snow at home), including a slightly disappointing boat trip to Lanzerote,  some brilliant bike hire and a wonderful Jeep tour to see the rugged North of the island up close. Though not all ideal,  all were sdoable with a small, wild one and the locals and other tourists alike were friendly and understanding.

The holiday finished in spectacular style with small falling into the fountain at the front of the hotel whilst we waited for our coach to take us back to the airport.

We came home with 93 load of washing to do and all the germs we went with,  and now an extra blocked duct to add to the healthy fun. And sand. Lots of sand.

Would we do it again? Yeeeeeeessss I *think* so. Maybe a little closer to in-season. Maybe a shorter flight but yes.

All we could do was praise small’s behavior whilst we were away but I think that is linked to being a but more relaxed in ourselves which meant more time to spend with him and entertain him!

So we did a thing. …

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I’ve been helping out with our local Bracknell sling meet group as the previous people ruining it were getting increasingly busy with the rest of life. I organised a few meet ups in the Dinnet which was nice but we don’t have anywhere regular to meet.

So a newer member Gemma and I met up today to talk about sorting a more regular meeting and potentially setting up a sling library. This is exactly what is sounds like-a facility where families can come and hire out different slings and wraps for a couple of weeks to see how they get on with them before committing to buy.

We had a really productive meeting and have thought very carefully about how it might work in practice. So we’ve got a new blog/site set up at Bracknell sling meet. Not much to see there yet but I’m hoping it will grow!

Clearly what I need is more hobbies. ….

NOT!