Monthly Archives: February 2015

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.

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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! ūüôā

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 summer 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!

The secret formula

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This week I listened to The Food Program on radio 4. Although radio 4 is probably my most listened to station (that and Planet Rock when there’s a digital radio about) is unusual for me to seek out The Food Program (last time I did was a few years ago when the gin episode was on). Last week’s edition was called The Secret Formula- the subject of the episode all about baby formula- history,¬† manufacturing process,¬† ingredients and the law.

I was quite interested to see how they were going to play it and I must admit that overall I found their approach baffling and rather poor. The initial section which talked about low milk prices and why the milk industry especially in Ireland is refocusing their market to look more towards the production of formula was really interesting.  Milk prices are so low,  pushed down by the large conglomerates and supermarkets that farmers are struggling to make any money at all,  but formula is a growing market especially in newly developed and developing countries.

The presenters managed to get a guided tour of a formula production factory which in all honesty despite being the largest section of the programme was a huge waste of the valuable 26 minutes available. The presenter feigned surprise at the sights and conditions of the factory and it’s equipment with a very derogatory stance in regards to the hygiene/health&safety precautions and “all the huge metal storage tanks and tubes”. Whilst I’d be the first to raise a wry smile at the complicated process that goes into replicating breastmilk (the process of which we don’t have to concern ourselves with), my limited knowledge and experience of processed food production would suggest that both the above parts off the presenters experience were entirely normal. To top this off more minutes from the program were used up on listening to a protective suit being donned.

The presenters next looked at a potted history of baby foods and early “formula”. This part was particularly interesting but fell short of describing the changes in advice on weaning in the last 50 years or so or explaining why early “formulas” of mashed up bread and milk are now known to be unsuitable for children. I wonder if this was partially to appease the likely listener-ship of a radio four programme. Advice and info changes so regularly that is possible they didn’t want to alienate listeners who may have been parents of babies 20 to 80 years ago, and who very likely did some of the things that are now  frowned upon.

The part I found most fascinating covered law and regulation around formula production and how it is regulated. Although I felt I already knew¬† a reasonable amount on this subject I was pleased that the expert suggested how the rules could be changed in the future-including banning formula production companies from advertising any formula milk below one year and a ban on “follow on milks”. These follow on milks are not necessary and have been thought up by formula producing companies to get around the current legislation which states that formula cannot be advertised nor be on special offer aimed at babies under six months old.

Finally the piece spoke to a small group of mothers with formula fed babies. Whilst is unfair of me to judge anything that was said by those individuals,¬† it was interesting to see how marketing and celebrity had affected their decisions around which brand of formula to use.  When I think about my own friends, their decisions for what formula to chose was usually based on where they shopped and which ones their babies seemed to get on with best.

It got me thinking though about why the programs left me feeling cold. I felt like there was a lot that could have been said in a professional, factual and impartial way about formula production, the companies that produce it and the risks and problems associated with it. However instead the programme content was neutral but the tone was sniffy and judgemental as if in in lieu of actually being able to say anything factually correct but potentially negative about formula.

I appreciate this was not a programme about breastfeeding. However I feel it’s almost impossible to talk about formula without the context of breastfeeding and I don’t think this was addressed very clearly. Try harder please Radio 4.