A penny for your thoughts…

If I had a penny for every time I’ve wondered what BB is thinking, I’d be able to buy a new pair of Jimmy Choos by now. And maybe even a matching bag. Here she is (pictured) in the paddling pool at granny and grandpa’s house this weekend, the master of all she surveys. What on earth was she thinking? Is it even possible to ‘think’ when one hasn’t mastered a language yet? And was she in fact feeling, rather than conducting an internal monologue about the sights and smells around her? I’d love to know. Apparently a child has around 100 billion brain cells at birth, and around 50 trillion synaps connecting those cells. By eight months this has increased to 1,000 trillion synaps, but by the age of 20 the number of synaps has decreased to 500 trillion. So you could say she’s in her prime. Unlike me, and probably you, which is alarming stuff. […]

By |June 10th, 2013|Family life, Health|0 Comments

Want to cut down on housework? Move somewhere hot

I’ve cracked it. I’ve worked out how to halve the amount of laundry there is to do, slash the number of times a high chair needs to be cleaned and I’ve ruled out the need to put away toys altogether. It’s simple: move somewhere hot. This week, as we have basked in temperatures of 20 degrees plus, BB and I have been outside for the majority of the day every day. As a result she has worn just one item of clothing a day, dramatically reducing the number of times the washing machine needs to go on; eaten her lunch outside every day, meaning the high chair hasn’t been out in the day at all; and her toys have remained untouched, neatly stacked where I left them on Sunday night. […]

By |June 7th, 2013|Family life, Travel|0 Comments

Mums-to-be: a bunch of reckless, risk taking half-wits

It’s official: all mums-to-be should hermetically seal themselves in a sterile bubble for the entire duration of their pregnancy. According to advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists today, pregnant women should avoid eating or drinking anything from cans or plastic containers, minimise their use of cosmetics and moisturiser and not buy any new furniture to avoid exposure to certain chemicals. It’s a wonder the human race has survived at all. The paper stupidly suggests women take a ‘safety first’ approach – implying mums-to-be are all a bunch of reckless, risk taking half-wits. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything so ludicrous. […]

By |June 5th, 2013|Beauty, Family life, Health, News|2 Comments

The key to domestic bliss? Someone please enlighten me….

Another weekend, another round of household chores to be done. And another round of ‘words’ between Misery Guts and myself. We have been living together for 10 years – married for almost three – yet for a reason that remains a mystery we are incapable of carrying out the household chores without falling out at some point along the way. I accept that when two people with different standards of cleanliness live under one roof a degree of compromise is needed: I need to compromise down and accept that it’s ok for the bathroom taps not to be sparkling all of the time, and he needs to compromise up and accept that it’s not ok for the bedding to remain unchanged for weeks on end. I also accept that as I’m at home more often than he is, I’m likely to carry out more of these tasks. But what I don’t accept is that when two people contribute equally to the running of a household in financial terms, one should contribute more to the running of that household in chore terms. […]

By |June 3rd, 2013|Family life, Work life|3 Comments

Go Myleene, that’s what I say

Poor Myleene Klass. As if your husband walking out on you after 6 months of marriage wasn’t bad enough, the singer cum TV presenter cum model is now being accused of attention seeking by revealing she encouraged family and friends to taste her breast milk. Whether she was courting attention or not – isn’t that the job of a sleb? – I don’t see why she’s come under such fire. How is drinking milk produced from a fellow human’s nipple any ‘weirder’ than drinking milk produced from a cow’s udder? At least it’s from the same species. And I don’t buy the public ‘outcry’ either. I think there’s a lot of ye doth protest too much going on. According to a study published in the Sunday Times in 2005, researchers found that one third of fathers had tasted their other half’s breast milk, and it was ‘fairly common’ for the dads to drink it not just once, but often. […]

By |May 31st, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life, Health|0 Comments

Potty training: It’s time to get the job done

With two little words we have reached a milestone: poo poo. That’s what BB started telling me a week or so ago after doing a you-know-what in her nappy. Now she has started warning me before doing a you-know-what, which means there’s no getting away from it any longer: it’s time for potty training to commence. This is a daunting prospect, especially given that her godmother started potty training her daughter, who is exactly the same age as BB, at seven months. That’s right, seven months. Now 21 months old, she is basically dry in the day and only wears nappies at night and on car journeys. “I wouldn’t want to wear pants 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so why would a baby?” BB’s godmother told me. Quite. Her approach was quite simple – she learnt to read her baby’s cues (i.e. how she reacted when she needed to go to the loo) and responded to them by putting her on the potty. When she actually went, there was praise galore. When she didn’t, or ‘went’ somewhere else, it was no big deal. […]

By |May 29th, 2013|Family life, Potty training|2 Comments

Parents of the land rejoice: Peter Rabbit is going to save your life

There is much excitement in the crummy mummy household ahead of the start of a whole series of Peter Rabbit on CBeebies. Not from BB, but from Misery Guts and I. With the exception of Postman Pat, I believe this will be the first genuinely new series to be aired on the channel since BB was born in August 2011. Almost two whole years ago. I realise these are times of austerity, the licence fee doesn’t stretch as far as it did and children love repetition, but two years watching the same programmes over and over again? Even BBC2 in the daytime isn’t quite that bad. Further research (by me) has revealed Peter Rabbit & Co aren’t the only newbies BBC bosses are drafting in to keep us sane. Would you believe it Topsy and Tim are soon to grace us with their presence too. I think there’s much to be said about looking to the past to shape the future. The one I’d really like to see is The Village With Three Corners. […]

By |May 27th, 2013|Books, Family life|4 Comments

Blogging: The story I never knew I’d written

Are ‘sharents’ – parents who blog, tweet and post pictures about all aspects of their children’s lives – doing their children harm by crossing the boundaries between public and private life? That was the loaded question posed in the family section of last Saturday’s Guardian, and it’s an interesting one. When I started blogging five months ago I didn’t have a Facebook or Twitter account, and the concept of uploading photographs online on a weekly basis was a new concept to me. Now I can’t begin to count the number of pictures of BB that must be floating in around cyberspace. And therein lies an important point: I have never once used her real name – she has intentionally always been referred to as BB – and having googled her name on its own and alongside both mine and Misery Guts’, I am pleased to see that aged 21 months she has no digital footprint at all. […]

By |May 24th, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life|0 Comments

M&S: Am I alone in thinking…?

So Marks and Spencer is in trouble. Again. The chain has reported a big fall in profits and the blame has been laid squarely at the changing room doors: sales of general merchandise, including clothes, are down 4.1% – that’s hundreds of millions of pounds to you and me. This surprises me. Since becoming a mum I have bought more clothes from M&S than I’ve ever bought in my entire life. Underwear used to be the only St Michael garments you’d find in my drawers – now I own coats, jeans, tops, jumpers, vests, bags, even shoes. I first ‘discovered’ M&S in 2011 while en route to the baby section for newborn essentials and was pleasantly surprised by their offering. Yet an industry ‘expert’ described their SS13 clothing ranges as ‘frumpy and shapeless’ on BBC Breakfast this morning. Oh dear. I fear this reflects worse on me than it does on them. […]

By |May 21st, 2013|Beauty, Family life, Fashion, News|0 Comments

The benefits of giving up breast feeding

On Monday it was 20 months, 27 days and approximately 6 hours since I started breast feeding BB. Today it’s 5 days and approximately 18 hours since I stopped. It already seems like a lifetime ago. For her, I think it really is. After joining the library and taking out a book only to be read at bedtime – previously her longest feed of the day – and buying a Special Cup from which milk is only to be drunk at story time, just a week in she has already stopped asking for my milk and started asking for her book and cup instead. I never dreamed it would be this easy. To be honest, I’m even a tiny bit disappointed it has been this easy. But there are also upsides I hadn’t considered. 1) We have gained a good two extra hours in the day time. […]

By |May 17th, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life, Weaning|3 Comments

The last supper

So that’s it. After 20 months, 27 days and approximately 6 hours, last night BB had her last ever breast feed. As of bed time this evening, Misery Guts will offer her cow’s milk from a Special Cup instead. I won’t be there – I shall make myself scarce – because mummy = booby. It’s not days one or two that worry me, it’s on day three plus that I suspect things will get tricky. But we shall see. The last week, in which we cut out day time feeds completely, couldn’t have gone any better. By day four she was asking for milk pretty much on the hour, but was easily diverted, and while there were a few tears, these quickly dried up if orange juice was on offer instead. […]

By |May 13th, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life, Weaning|0 Comments

It’s a good job men don’t have to give birth

Misery Guts has sprained his ankle. And don’t we all know it. He fell off a curb while running, and had to be brought home hobbling by his fitness instructor. To be fair it has swollen up to the size of a balloon, but I’m not sure all the grunting and groaning is really necessary. I likened the noise coming out of him last night to the sort of sound emitted when a baby’s head is crowning. He looked at me blankly. ‘What’s crowning?” he asked. If you have to ask… So that’s me on Everything Duty this weekend. He can’t even stand upright. He did manage to make himself a cucumber gin and tonic with capers by himself last night though. Funny that. […]

By |May 10th, 2013|Exercise, Family life, Health|4 Comments

It’s no use crying over spilt milk

Who thought giving up breast feeding would be so hard? Not me. I thought, if you let things roll, that babies just ‘gave up’ or grew out of it of their own accord. Silly me. I don’t think BB will ever grow out of it if left to her own devices. So after two days in which no breast milk was consumed owing to the fact Misery Guts and I were away, giving up breast feeding has (once again) started in earnest. Having read absolutely nothing on the matter or furnished myself with any kind advice, in a bid to avoid the dreaded mastitis or engorgement we’re going for a week of bed time feeds only, followed by a week of dropping those too. Is this the right way to go about it? Is this approach too hasty? Will it work? I haven’t the faintest. […]

By |May 8th, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life, Food, Weaning|2 Comments

I’ve got the whole world in my hands

So you may (or may not) be surprised to hear we made it back from Scotland unscathed. I say unscathed – we were both nursing the kind of hangovers we haven’t had since BBB (before BB) – but apart from that we managed to make it home in one piece. And you may (or may not) be surprised to hear that two whole days and nights away from BB weren’t that bad after all. Walks one would never entertain with a pushchair, tops one would never wear while breast feeding, afternoon naps, leisurely baths before going out to dinner, sipping numerous wines and spirits into the wee hours without being under the glare of the baby monitor: I could get quite used to it. […]

By |May 6th, 2013|Breast feeding, Family life, Travel|0 Comments