Tuesday, 26 November 2013

40 Weeks Pregnant - Term plus 2

Today I had my 40 week appointment with the midwife.  I had great hopes for this appointment.  I hoped to be told that baby was fully engaged.  I hoped to be offered a sweep to get things moving and probably slightly unrealistically I hoped my waters would break then an there and I'd go into labour ;-)

Friday, 22 November 2013

Hornby Visitor Centre - A Review

Being born and bred in Kent, I am ashamed to say I did not know about the Hornby Visitor Centre until I saw it mentioned last week on a local forum discussing raining day activities for toddlers in Kent. Today was definitely a rainy day and we needed an activity which involved a long enough drive for C to have a nap in the car before we got there.  Hubby remembered me mentioning the Hornby Centre to him when I found out about it, so we thought we would give it a try.

The Hornby Visitor Centre opened in 2010 and is situated in the Westwood Industrial Estate in Margate, very close to the Westwood Cross Shopping Village.  It is easily visible from the main road and we were able to find it without issue.

Monday, 18 November 2013

39 Weeks - Fear and Anxiety

I went to bed on Sunday night with the feeling I might be coming down with a cold.  I therefore was not surprised on Monday morning when I woke at 5am with a sore throat and unable to breathe.  Not what I needed when I could go into labour anytime!

The combination of being heavily pregnant, being ill and looking after a toddler is gruelling.  I am ashamed to say Monday and Tuesday were spend mostly sat on the sofa watching DVDs.  I tried to make in slightly more interactive by sitting with our Thomas book while watching Thomas the Tank Engine, finding and pointing out the various characters as they appeared on the screen.

Feeling ill has not really helped my anxiety levels. I am worried about the next few weeks. I am worried that having come all this way something could still happen to blue bump and I won't get to take him home. If I do get to take him home, I am worried how I am going to cope with a newborn again, let alone a mum of 2!  I am also worried about going through labour with a supposedly large baby and about going overdue and not being allowed my water birth.

Part of me wants the next few weeks over and done with so i can stop worrying about them. Part of me wants to bury my head in the sand and hope they never arrive. 

Stupid? Maybe
Real? Very

Sunday, 17 November 2013

World Prematurity Day

Today, November 17th, is World Prematurity Day.

I feel a bit of a fraud including myself in today as World Prematurity Day naturally conjures up images of very tiny, sick babies, in incubators and covered in tubes.  However any baby born before 37 weeks is classed as premature and C was born at 35 weeks and 5 days, making her over a week premature.  I therefore feel we do have a story to tell today.

Friday, 15 November 2013

We Love Hatley!

I am not a particularly "label" orientated Mummy.
If I am honest I am much more interested in a good bargain than a particular look or brand.
I do however have one weakness... Hatley.
Hatley is an Canadian clothing brand, most well known for its distinctive style of children's rain gear and pyjamas.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

10 Days To Go

Today I woke up feeling different.  I did not feel the same amount of cervical pressure and hip pain that I have been experiencing for the past week, and I feel I can walk again rather than waddle.  Not surprisingly I am now worried that blue bump is no longer engaged!  If the weather allows I intend to go for a long walk later in the hope of persuading him down again!

In better news I received a text in the early hours of this morning informing me that my Group B Strep test results were Negative and therefore antibiotics would not be required during labour.  This is such a weight off my mind!  One step closer to my water birth...

For more information on the dangers of Group B Strep and how to be tested in the UK, please visit Group B Strep Support

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

38 Weeks Pregnant - Low and Ready to Go?

I am now officially waddling!
Today I attended my 38 week checkup with the Midwife.  It turned out to be a whole family affair as hubby was working from home and able to come too.  I was not sure how interested he would be but he was very proactive and asked lots of questions. I was proud of him!

This was the first appointment that I have had that has had a student midwife in attendance.  This made the appointment longer than usual as everything was checked twice, first by the midwife, then by the student.

My urine sample and blood pressure were both normal.
Then we moved to the bed so that they could examine my bump.  First the Midwife listened with a pinard horn.  This is the first time she has done this at either of my pregnancies and I can only assume it was for the student's benefit.  She then listened with her normal doppler.  Blue bump's heartbeat was a nice steady 150bpm.  He was still sitting head down and the Midwife said he was very low, probably 3/5th engaged.

Monday, 4 November 2013

A Bedroom Fit for a Toddler

We are about to start work on C's new bedroom so there is room in the nursery for blue bump and more immediately all his clothes.  Cutting it fine I know!  Unfortunately there have been fundermental other areas of DIY that needed completing before we could begin.  C's new bedroom used to be hubby's study and that needed to be moved before we could be begin.  Also upstairs has been completely rewired and replumbed as part of the process.  I have already ordered her carpet and bought the paint, and hubby has already replaced the radiator.  It needs replastering and the wiring needs completing, then we can think about putting it back together.

I am so excited to be creating her a girly room that she can have all to herself.  The nursury is tiny and was difficult to put a stamp on... this room on the other hand has allowed me to be creative.  I want something girly but not too over the top.  I want it to reflect the fact she is stilll very young but don't want something that needs to be redecorated in a couple of years time because she he outgrown the decor.  I guess I am trying to create a room that can grow with her.  Here are a few of the items i've purchased so far...

Not everthing for her room will be new.  I have aquired an old children's wardrobe from my Grandma.  The wardrobe itself has seen better days but I have purchased some fun replacement knobs off ebay which give it a new lease of life.  There will also be a gorgeous wooden chair which was mine when I was little and was made by great grandfather.

Pictures of the finished project will hopefully follow in the not too distant future...

37 Weeks Pregnant - Writing A Birth Plan

This week I am 37 weeks pregnant and now I know I should hopefully be able to give birth in the Midwife Led Unit at our local hospital, I have started putting together a birth plan.  Although when pregnant with C I had ideas about what I wanted during labour and delivery, I had not got around to producing a birth plan before her early arrival at 35 weeks.  In some ways this was probably a good thing as preterm labour would have meant the plan went out the window!

Those of you who read my previous blog post on Labour Problems will remember there were many elements with my labour with C that did not go exactly how I would have wanted due to her prematurity.  A lot of the options available during a full term labour and delivery were not available to me.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Follow Up Speech Assessment - 20 Months Old

When C was 16 months old we took her for a Speech and Language Assessment at our local Children's Centre.  It was not the fact she was not saying the five or so words you would expect from a child her age, but more that she was not doing the usual babbling.  No Mamama, Dadadas, Bababas etc.  The only sounds she would make were guttural throat sounds, nothing that required her to use her mouth and tongue.  I was worried that without these essential building blocks that most children develop at 9-12 months then she had nothing to build on.  The upshot of that appointment was that they agreed with my concerns and would reassess in 4 months time to see what, if any, improvement she had made in that time and decide on a course of action.  

....So here we are 4 months later....

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A Monster Baby Shower

Last weekend C and I attended a toddler Halloween party arranged with our group of friends from one of the baby groups I attended.  As a group we did one last year too, when C was 9 months old.  Now the majority of the Mummies are back at work, we look forward to occasions like these where we can get together on a weekend and have a catch up.

I am the first of the group to be expecting baby no. 2, however two of the other Mummies are pregnant, one of them due just 2 weeks after me.

                                                                                                                Halloween 2012 (left) and 2013 (right)

36 Weeks Pregnant - Uncharted Territory

This week I am 36 weeks pregnant.  This is an especially important milestone for me as C arrived at 35 weeks and 5 days gestation.  I have never made it to 36 weeks before.  Although extemely relieved to be here (preterm labour is no fun), it did make last week a bit of an anticlimax as I couldn't help but wonder if this baby was going to make a similarly early appearance!

I am definately bigger this time around but do not have the same hip problems I had when pregnant with C. Aside from the increasing tiredness and generally imobility, I am feeling pretty good.  Labour does not feel imminent... but then it didn't with C.  I was enjoying a perfectly normal afternoon until my waters broke.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Preparing your pet for a new baby

I have been lucky enough to be invited to write a guest blog post for Wriggly Rascals in response to a post from reader Erica who has concerns about introducing her pet to her new baby when he/she arrives.

For many of us, our pets are part of our family.  Some would even go as far as to call them our surrogate children.  I have always loved animals but struggling to conceive increased my need to surround myself and when I did eventually fall pregnant I had amassed 4 cats, 2 guinea pigs, 1 rabbit and 10 chickens.  They gave me something to focus on and the cats especially were my babies.

Like Erica, when I did eventually fall pregnant, I did worry about the effect it would have on my animals.  In my case particularly my cats.  Not only would they not have my undivided attention going forward but their quiet kitty pad was about to be turned upside down!

About Wriggly Rascals

Wriggly Rascals was set up by Shona Motherwell, a frustrated mum of twins Mhairi and Archie to get mums together to share pregnancy, baby and toddler advice via quick surveys to get the facts about what other mums do. Our mums pass on loads of great tips to mums who have asked for help. If you would like some advice, get in touch at www.wrigglyrascals.com

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

33 Weeks Pregnant - PCOS, Pregnancy and Diet Part II

When I was pregnant with C I was advised that because of my PCOS I was at increased risk of getting Gestational Diabetes (GD).  I therefore was very conscious of what I ate throughout that pregnancy and did extensive research and experimentation into what food combinations I could and could not eat.  I summarised my findings in a blog post at the time.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Pre-Natal Anxiety - Coping With Being a Mummy of 2

I am getting increasingly anxious about blue bumps arrival.
Only 7/8 weeks to go officially.... or as little as 3 if C is anything to go by!
At 32 weeks pregnant I am starting to find days at home with a young toddler a challenge.
The fault is not hers, I am just not as mobile as I want to be and I tire easily.
Getting out of my seat to help her with a task takes effort.
Sitting on the floor to play is uncomfortable.
Simple tasks like preparing meals and washing clothes are exhausting
and keeping my eyes open past 2pm is a struggle.
I find myself hoping the last few weeks of this pregnancy pass quickly...
...but then I think about the new challenges that will bring and I am terrified.

Monday, 30 September 2013

32 Weeks Pregnant - Packing My Hospital Bag

Another week has gone by.
Right from the beginning of this pregnancy I said I would pack my hospital bag at 32 weeks.
Here I am!

I didn't get to pack my hospital bag with C.... I'm not sure running round the house grabbing a few essentials before a mad dash to the hospital really counts.
For a first baby which are "always late", I thought 36 weeks would be plenty early enough... of course it was not.
This time I was determind to be more prepared!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

31 Weeks Pregnant - 4D Scan

Today I am 31 weeks pregnant.  The countdown is really on now as only 9 weeks to go to until my due date.

Hubby and I went for a 4D scan yesterday.  We had a similar scan at 32 weeks with C.
As well as obviously checking all was well with baby, I wanted to check he was still a "he" and I also check his growth as I really feel HUGE this time around.  I know women are often bigger in subsiquent pregnancies compared to their first but I really am quite a lot bigger!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Depression, Anxiety and the Power of Writing

This post was sparked by a tweet earlier in the week by the PSS Postnatal Depression Project on how talking about your feelings can really help you understand the origins of your post natal depression or anxiety.  From my own personal viewpoint, I agree with this statement wholeheartedly.  In my darkest hours since C was born I could have quite easily have gone to the Doctors and been put on medication however I knew that it was being able to talk to someone that really made me feel better, and that things would only really improve if I was able to get to the root of the problem and fix it.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Butterfly Butterfly - Linking Books & Craft Activities

Today we made a beautiful butterfly with Grandma.
We prepped for this by cutting out the butterfly wings and punching 4 holes in the centre in which to thread elastic.
C then helped to decortate the butterfly wings by slicking on coloured shapes to both sides.
While we were sticking we discussed the shapes and colours we were using.  I am so impressed at the speed C's colour and shape recognition has come on in recent weeks.
We then threaded elastic through the spine of the wings and slipped them over C's arms.
She looked very cute as she fluttered around the room!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

The 21st Century and the Rise of Idealistic Parenting

I am sure there is a proper name for this new kind of parenting that has appeared over the past 10 years or so, however in the meantime I will just refer to it as idealistic parenting.  It is not my aim to be controversial here but purely to put across the impact some of these narrow-minded ideas can have on a first time mum who is trying to do the very best for her baby yet may not have a lot of confidence in what she is doing.  Here are just three of the most popular parenting ideals...

Friday, 30 August 2013

Books: A New Understanding

I have read to C since she was tiny however it was not until a few months ago she has begun to show an understanding of things that were happening in the story.
Now she has begun to act out things that are happening with simple role play.  For me this has been an unexpected, yet wonderful development to see.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Our First Attempt at Moon Sand

So this afternoon C and I played with moon sand in the garden.
Well, Mummy played with moon sand while C pottered around, played with the rabbit and guinea pigs and generally just enjoyed being outside.
This is the first time I have made moon sand, yet I was pleasantly pleased with the results.  For this first attempt I used Sunflower Oil in case C decided to taste it but I needn't have worried.
C is still not a huge fan of messy play and does not really enjoy getting her hands dirty, however she did show an interest in the sand and stuck her hands in it in between watching me build sandcastles and shapes.
She enjoyed knocking down the sandcastles I built and was intrigued by the fish and boat shapes i made with the moulds.  The moulds were part of a beach set that I had when I was a little girl and are still going strong!
Mummy found the moon sand very therapeutic and played with it for hours while watching C potter around.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Our 1st Busy Bag Activity

Ok, this activity didn't actually fit in a bag but follows the same principals: A simple, usually handmade, educational activity to occupy your child and promote lone play.

I took my idea from watching C at one of our baby groups.  One of her favourite activities to promote hand-eye coordination was posting straws to small holes.  I had an idea to take it one stage further:

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Swimming with Mummy - A Trip to the Stour Centre, Ashford

I have been meaning to take C swimming for a while now, but something or other has always got in the way.  My In Laws successful swimming trip with her while she stayed with them at the beginning of the month, finally spurred me into action.

C isn’t new to swimming.  I enrolled her in a baby swimming course at 8 weeks old and persevered for 6 months until finally admitting defeat.  She absolutely hated everything about it.  The water, the acoustics, the activities, all of it.  She would pretty much cry from the moment you put her in the water until the moment you took her out.  Since giving up on the classes, I have taken her for a few ad hoc trips to our local health club pool but never to the local leisure centre.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

25 weeks pregnant

Today (left) and 25 weeks pregnant with C (right)

The Low after the High

After an all round good week last week, I was looking forward to starting this week with a new lease of life, refreshed and ready to go.

On Saturday night, we got a call from my Mother In Law and my bubble immediately burst.  My eldest nephew had come down with Slapped Cheek.  A relatively minor illness in children but not good at all for pregnant woman as it can cause complications with the unborn baby.  

A Week As A Working Mum

I pondered over this one week for a long time.  My company had offered me a place on a one week course, fully paid and relevant to the work I was doing.

There were so many advantages of going: A change of scenery, a chance to catch up with work colleagues, a full weeks wages and possibly a new avenue for me to explore while working part time.
The main disadvantage of course is that I would need to find full time childcare for C for the whole week.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

5 Minute Meals - Chicken Tikka and Wholegrain Pilau Rice

Meal 1 in my experiment to find healthy, 5 minute meals for new mums.

Post Natal Exercise

Following on from yesterday's post on eating well when you have a newborn, today's post is about exercise when you have a baby (or a toddler for that matter).

Before I fell pregnant with C I worked out that exercise was the key to me staying reasonably slim.  For me personally, as long as I exercised regularly, then I could pretty much eat what I wanted (in moderation).  It was swimming that really helped keep me in shape.  I have been a strong swimmer since childhood and have found half an hour speed swimming twice a week could do me wonders.

After C's birth I wanted to get back into exercising as soon as possible before I lost momentum but waited until after the 6 week check to be given the all clear by the doctor (waste of time in my opinion).  I then ran in to a problem.  First I tried exercising in the evening (my original exercising time) but found I was too tired after a day of looking after a baby on my own.  I then switched to trying to exercise first thing in the morning when I was most awake.  This worked great for the exercise but meant I was too exhausted for the rest of the day to effectively parent C.  I needed sleep!

Nearly 18 months later and the same problem is still an issue.  How does anyone have the energy to exercise and look after a child full time?  I seriously would like to hear all sensible suggestions or your own experiences!!!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

5 Minute Meals for New Mums

With a newborn baby I found it incredibly hard to find the time to cook anything! In those early days Celeste would not sleep anywhere but in my arms and the odd 5 minutes I might have my hands free was not enough to prepare a decent meal.  If I was hungry, i found it all too easy to reach for that pack of biscuits rather than preparing anything decent. Hubby was all to eager to reach for the takeaway menu rather than offer to cook anything himself.  Both of these had a huge effect of my wasteline - a mistake I am determined not to make this time around!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Labour Problems

All the talk of the Duchess of Cambridge's labour and delivery has got me thinking of my own impending delivery
Ok, so I might not be at the stage of putting together a birth plan yet but I am slightly concerned I have no idea how to go about this labour.
As many of you have read from my previous birth story, it did not go exactly as I had imagined.  It has however given me plenty of idea of how I would not like to do my next labour.  Unfortunately it has not given me many ideas of how I would like to do it.

Thought of the Day

Sunday, 21 July 2013

What I Love About Being A Mummy

I realise I spend a lot of time on here moaning about how difficult I have found the last 17 months, therefore I thought I would dedicate a post to listing what I enjoy most about being Mummy to a toddler...

  • Kisses
  • Snuggles
  • Giggles
  • Their little idiotisms
  • Watching them develop and achieve new things
  • Watching their knowledge and understanding of the world around them continually delvelop and evolve
  • Watching their relationship with significant others, especially Daddy!
  • Being that no. 1 person in their life

What do you enjoy most about being a parent?

Five Little Monkeys

As part of improving Celeste's speech I have been taking her to two "Bounce and Rhyme" session at local libraries each week.  Here we sing a variety of fun action songs as well as more traditional nursery rhymes.  As yet we haven't seen an immediate improvement in her speech but she is starting to pick up the actions to many of the songs which is very cute to watch.  I thought I would share her latest accomplishment.  I have never seen her do this until today...

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Dressing A Boy

So yesterday we found out we are expecting a little boy.
I am trying not to go overboard buying too many things at this stage as there is still a long way to go however I am aware that many companies are currently running their Summer Sales and therefore I am keeping an eye out for any good bargains.

The thing that has always struck me about boys clothes is how uncomfortable many of them look.  In my opinion babies and toddlers need plenty of flexibility for sitting, rolling, crawling and eventually walking and should not be couped up in stiff jeans and inflexible waste bands.  Little girls are lucky as they have the option of both tights and leggings but where is the alternative for boys?

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

20 Weeks Pregnant

This week I am 20 weeks pregnant and today was my Anomaly Scan.
My appointment was at 4pm, the latest I have ever had scan, which meant a long wait beforehand.

I suspected by this time there would be a long delay to be seen however it was actually only about 20 minutes.  We made the wise decision to leave C with my parents as a fractious, hungry toddler would not make for a pleasant experience.
We were ushered into the room and informed that there would be two sonographers carrying out the scan, one trainee, one trainer.  This was fine with us and the trainee began the scan.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

A Stranger to Myself

This post was prompted by one written yesterday by BakedPotato Mummy on how her life has changed since becoming a Mummy.   It got me thinking about my own life and how it has changed, or rather it prompted to think about writing it down as it has been on my mind for a while.

On leaving university with a postgraduate degree in Archaeology, I got a job working for local government maintaining a database of all the archaeological sites in that county and providing archaeological information for developers and member of the public.  I loved my job and I loved the people I worked with.  However the reality was the pay was rubbish, there was little chance of any career progression locally until my boss retired (she was in her 30s at the time so that was not likely to happen soon), and our jobs were looking increasingly shaky with every local government cost cutting reshuffle.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Baby Names: Present and Future

It is less than a week now until my 20 week scan.  First and foremost I hope I am told that everything is well with my baby.  Secondly I hope to find out if the baby is a girl or a boy. 
This week hubby and I have vaguely begun discussing names.  Nothing too formalised yet as there is still a long way to go but just checking we were both on the same page.
During my first pregnancy we were pretty decided on a boy’s name but when we found out we were expecting a girl, a name proved more complicated.  I like vintage names and names that have a family connection.  I love the idea of a name being passed down through the generations.  Unfortunately this is something that has never happened in my family with girls and none of the individual names jumped out of me.  I therefore started to look at my husband’s family tree.  It was here I came across the name Adelaide being passed down the female line.  I know someone who recently named their daughter Adelaide and have always thought it a beautiful name and a family connection over many generations made it perfect.  The only problem was my first name begins with A and I definitely did not want any of my children to have the same initial as me having seen the confusion it caused in other families.  This therefore left the option of having Adelaide as a middle name.  I started looking at girls names that would work with it…..

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Speech and Language Assessment

On Tuesday I took Celeste to see the Health Visitor.  She was 16 months old exactly and it was to be our first trip for almost 6 months.  There were two main reasons for my visit, firstly I felt I ought to get her weighed and measured after all this time, and secondly I wanted to speak to her about Celeste’s speech.  I have tried to step back and not be a pushy parent but is does concern me that she is not making any of the sounds and babbling expected of a young toddler, let alone any words.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Is Preschool At 2 Too Early?

In this morning’s Daily Telegraph there was an article about delaying children’s education until they are 6 years old, instead of starting when they are 4.  It cites studies in the USA where educating a child too early can have a social and health implications later in life.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

A Very Late Early Birth Story

Watching someone give birth on television last night made me realise that I never actually blogged C's birth story. Although 15 months ago, I feel writing it down now might help me focus what to put in my birth plan this pregnancy.

I am sure many of you saw my tweets during labour last year and therefore are familiar with how the situation unravelled however hopefully this will piece it all together and fill in any blanks.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Mummy Time: Myth or Necessity?

Today has been another difficult day.  A day of clinginess and tantrums.  Celeste is teething am I sure that has exacerbated the problems this week, however they have definitely always been there.

Now, as much as the idealistic parent might say that 100% of a Mummy’s time during the day should be devoted to their child, in reality there are other parts of daily life that need to be dealt with.  This washing needs to be put out, dinner needs to be cooked, Mummy even has to go to the toilet occasionally.  Not all of this can always be done during nap time.   If I know I need to get on with something else for 10 minutes, I always try and set up Celeste with an activity that I hope will keep her interested until I return.  However this isn’t the issue.  The issue is Mummy has left the room!  Celeste is clingy to the extreme.  Unless she is with another adult to keep her company, she cannot cope with being parted from me.  Although on paper, this may seem quite sweet, it does unfortunately mean getting anything done is almost impossible.  I appreciate that I am the most important person in her little life but no-one else I know seems to have this problem.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

16 Weeks Pregnant

This week I am 16 weeks pregnant.  I always consider this a bit of mini milestone being half way between the 12 and 20 weeks scans, and, if you believe the week by week pregnancy guides, this week baby puts on a growth spurt meaning you actually start to look and feel properly pregnant (if you didn’t already).  Also, in my case it is the week I am beginning to feel the first flutterings of movement.  A very reassuring feeling!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

15 months old - Introducing Messy Play

Celeste has just turned 15 months old and over the past few weeks my Mum and I have been introducing Celeste to a variety of messy play activities.  Thursdays have become messy play days in our house as it is the day my Mum looks after Celeste so I am able to work.  I do however set aside some time to join in with the messy play activities as these currently do not last much longer than 10-15 minutes due to Celeste's still short attention span.

I Want One Of These

It surprised me how helpful my Pushchair Ponderings post was in collecting my thoughts for what I most needed from a double pushchair and what type of pushchair most suited that.  I originally assumed I wanted a tandem pushchair as I needed something narrow enough to fit on the pavements along the country roads where I live.  However the impractical arrangements of the front and back seats for a newborn and a toddler meant that I could not find a solution that really worked for me.

I therefore concluded that a narrow, all terrain, side by side like the Bugaboo Donkey was the best solution. However at over £1000 new, I had huge concerns about the price and whether I would get my money’s worth.

It was then I came across a post on a pushchair forum where someone posted asking what double pushchair was most suitable for getting on and off public transport.  The first response was from a mum highly recommending a Mountain Buggy Duet.  I had never heard of this brand before and went off to do some research.

On the 20th May 2013 the Mountain Buggy Duet was awarded a Which? Best Buy.

The Mountain Buggy Duet is only 63cm (25in) wide and therefore the same size as many single pushchairs.  It is also, importantly, suitable for newborns, even without purchasing the additional carrycot attachment.  Additional key points for me are it is suitable for multiple terrains and it is compatible with Maxi Cosi car seats, our car seat of choice.  Surprisingly, it retails for approximately half the price of the Bugaboo Donkey...  A huge consideration when you have 2 small children!

I am hugely impressed by what I have seen of this pushchair on paper.  I now intend to visit our local retailer to look at it in more detail, test the weight, how easy it is to put up and down, and finally (and probably most importantly) whether once folded it fits in the back of our Kia Sportage.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

13 Weeks Pregnant

Last Thursday was my 12 Week NT Scan.

I was very good that morning and didn’t check baby's heartbeat with the Doppler. I had nothing to gain from doing so.  The scan was going to happen regardless and the result would be what it was.

The scan was at lunchtime and luckily the morning passed quite quickly.

We entered the hospital and checked in at the X Ray department to be directed to the correct ultrasound room.  We were directed to Foetal Medicine, the main department of the hospital where all things pre-labour are done.  We sat down at in the waiting room. It felt very strange to be back here. Last time I was sat there was 24th February 2012. I was waiting to be examined after my waters had unexpectedly broken at 35 weeks pregnant. What I did not know at the time was that less than 24 hours later I would be holding my little preterm baby in my arms. It was very surreal to be back.

Unlike the last visit, we did not have to wait long to be seen.  We were ushered into the ultrasound room and I made myself comfy on the table.  The sonographer put the wand to my stomach and there on the screen was baby bopping around.

Everything looked good and after a bit of wiggling on my part, the sonographer managed to get an NT length of 1.6mm.  She concluded that I was measuring not 12 weeks 4 days as per my normal cycle length, but 13 weeks 4 days! If I am honest I think the reality is probably somewhere in the middle.  I do not think it is possible for me to be a whole week ahead as I am pretty sure I know when I ovulated, give or take a couple of days.   Of course it doesn’t really matter.  This baby will arrive when he or she is ready. It just makes it more complicated when people ask how far along you are.  For the time being I have decided to go somewhere in the middle and say I was 13 weeks exactly on scan day.  This would give me an estimated due date of 27th/28th November.

We then went round to have my NT bloods taken.  Being lunchtime I expected it to be packed and have a long wait, however I was astonished to see the waiting area almost empty and when we took a ticket from the machine we were the next ones to be seen.  I must have been in and out within 5 minutes which is unheard of!

In the car, I could tell that hubby was unnerved by the change in my pregnancy dates.  As I have previously mentioned, he was convinced this baby was going to be another girl based on a variety of factors, including dates.  If my dates were wrong it would mean the odds of being a girl were considerably less.  I am not sure why the thought of having a boy terrifies him so much.  Maybe he feels there will be more responsibility on him with regards to his upbringing.  I really don't think this is the case as the majority of little girls I know are "daddy's girls" and the boys "mummy's boys".  In any case, what we be will be and we will find out at my 20 week scan in the middle of July.

Pushchair Ponderings

When the new baby arrives at the end of November, Celeste will be 21 months old. 

Although she is a brilliant little walker with plenty of stamina, I think it would be unrealistic to think we could get away without buying a double buggy.  Currently when we are out and about she has our undivided attention and we can follow her wherever she goes. This will be less practical with a second baby to look after therefore having them both in a buggy is as much for safety reasons as practicality.

I have looked into buggy boards and I think this is definitely something worth investing in; however I am sure there will be some occasions when Celeste would prefer to sit down or maybe even sleep.  I also am willing to consider having the new baby in a sling and Celeste in a single pushchair however I am sure there will be scenarios where this is not practical either.

Currently we have 3 single pushchairs

  • A Graco QuattroTour Deluxe. This was given to us second hand from a relative.  It’s a lovely buggy to push around but quite heavy to lift in and out of the car and does not fit in one of our cars (a Vauxhall Corsa) due to its size. This pushchair currently stays at my parents house as a spare.
  • A Bugaboo Bee.  This is the only pushchair we have bought new.  We initially bought it as we needed to take Celeste on an aeroplane when she was 10 weeks old and needed a lightweight buggy suitable for a newborn to take with us.  It is also great for around town and easily fits into both our cars.
  • A Quinny Speedi SX. I bought this second hand as my husband was keen to try out running with the buggy. To be honest Celeste wasn’t a fan of high speed travel however I find this an excellent all terrain buggy and use if regularly for country walks around where we live.

I currently use a pushchair for 3 main scenarios:

  • Buggy walks.  In an attempt to shake off the baby weight, I currently go on a weekly buggy walk with friends. The terrain of these walks can vary tremendously, from tarmac paths to muddy and uneven woodland trails. Currently I use my Quinny Speedi for these.
  • Walking into the village.  We live in the Kent countryside, about 1 mile from our village centre.  It is usually 50/50 whether we walk to the village or drive, depending on the weather and the time I have available.  The walk to the village is on narrow uneven pavements and again we use the Quinny Speedi for this.
  • Shopping.  When around town and in larger shopping centres like Bluewater the Quinny Speedi is a little bulky.  It also takes up a lot of room in the car.  We therefore use our Bugaboo Bee for this.

Obviously I would rather only buy one double/tandem pushchair that would cover all of these scenarios.  The key features I feel it needs to have are:

  • Multi terrain. It does not have to be able to cope with extreme conditions but has to be able to cope with a multitude of surfaces.
  • Size.  It has to be able to fit in the boot of my Kia Sportage.
  • Liftable.  I have to be able to lift it in and out of the car.
  • Car seat compatible.  I have to be able to use as a travel system and attached an ISO-FIX car seat.

From the research I have done so far the following pushchairs have been recommended to me:

  • Bugaboo Donkey. I have heard great things about this pushchair and one of my Buggy Walk friends has one therefore I often get to see it in action.  I like that it is narrower than a lot of double buggies and therefore more suitable for narrow pavements.  I have also been reliably informed that folded down it will fit in the back of not only my Kia Sportage but also my Vauxhall Corsa.  If true, this would be a huge advantage.  I also like that it can easily transfer to a single if Celeste wanted to walk or travel on the buggy board.  Finally I have seen that it is able to cope with a variety of terrains and would feel confident taking it out and about locally.  I do have a slight concern that any side by side double may be too wide for our narrow pavements.  I guess I will need to go up the road with a tape measure and measure the narrowest points :-).
  • iCandy Peach Blossom. Everyone I have come across who has one of these pushchairs, loves it.  I like that it is no wider than a single and that there is flexibility in the seating arrangements.  My reservations are my preferred seating arrangement would be to have the carrycot closest to me and facing me, and the toddler seat furthest away and facing forward.  This scenario isn’t shown on any of the pictures I have seen therefore I am not sure if it is possible.  Also I am also not sure how suitable the wheels would be on a variety of terrains.
  • iCandy Pear - The iCandy alternative to the Peach Blossom in the Pear.  I like that the wheels look more suitable to a variety of terrains and as with the Peach Blossom , I like that it is no wider than a single.  However, as with the Peach Blossom, I am not sure if I can have the seating configuration how I would prefer.
  • Britax B-Dual. I do not know anyone that currently has this pushchair but my husband is particularly keen on it from what he has seen online. I like that I can already see I could use it in the configuration I would most prefer, with the carrycot or car seat at the top facing me and the lower seat underneath facing forward.  My concerns are I am not sure how Celeste would feel about riding in a seat so low in the ground, and how suitable the wheels would be on a variety of terrains.

The next stage of my investigations is to visit a local pushchair retailer and test drive some of these out.  I need to check how comfortable they are for me to push but also for Celeste to ride in.  I also need to have a good look at the wheels and see if they are up to the job.

If anyone has any other double or tandem pushchair suggestions I’d be delighted to hear them.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Messy Play - A Birthday card for Daddy

Yesterday was Daddy's birthday. Unfortunately he was away on a business trip, but C and I spent some of the afternoon making him a birthday card.
I haven't done much messy play with C before today as she is not very keen on getting her hands dirty and we have not had a messy area where it has been safe to let her loose.
Luckily our new playroom (once our sophisticated sun lounge) is almost finished so while C was down for her lunchtime nap I put a plastic sheet down on the floor and set up the red, blue, green and yellow poster paints into trays.
Due to a slight oversight on my part we had no paint brushes however i cut up some kitchen sponges into a variety of shapes to use for printing, and of course there was always hands and feet!
Once C was awake I stripped her down to her nappy and led her into the playroom. She was immediately very interested in the items laid across the floor. We say down on the mat and i showed her how to do some printing. I then handed her a ready painted sponge and watched her press it to the paper.

Next, to my surprise, she reached for the tray of blue paint and stuck her hand right in. I suspect it was quite cold to the touch and she seemed very unsure about what she had done. I reassured her all was OK and showed her how to make hand prints on the paper. Unfortunately at this point C decided she did not like the sensation of paint on her hands any longer and strongly indicated she wanted to be cleaned up.  While cleaning up her blue left hand she then stuck out her right and stuck it straight in the tray of green paint. This was quickly followed by a howl as she did not like the feel of that either.  I quickly used up the paint on her hand by                                                                 making a couple of green hand prints, then cleaned her up.

Once clean she was still very interested in everything that was on the mat and kept prodding and poking the sponges. I think there is some hope for our messy play in the future, once she realises that it is OK to get dirty as you can always be cleaned up afterwards.
After C had gone to bed that night and the paint had dried, i cut out the best of C's solo work and mounted it on a handmade card for Daddy. 
We hope he likes it! 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Knowledge is Power

Today the British Medical Journal published a new analysis of data from five previous studies which found that sharing a bed with your baby increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

The results have understandably provoked a passionate response from many on both sides on the co-sleeping fence.  Many Mother’s feel that their parenting choices are being invaded, and that more specific research is required before scaring Mothers with statements like these.

I don't want to comment specifically on this article as I have not read it in full.  I instead want to tackle the wider issue of when parental guidance becomes dictated rather than purely informative.

In the not so distant past, a mother's instinct was something that was admired.  No-one knew what was better for a child more than that child's mother.  Now there seems to be a trend towards dismissing an individual mother's opinion in lieu of medical statistics.  The needs of an individual child are overlooked in favour of generic guidelines.  A mother who makes her own decision is deemed irresponsible and is frowned upon.

This has already had the effect of mothers losing confidence in their own decisions.  I include myself in this.  My own Mother finds it highly amusing that I am unable to run my daughter a bath without checking the bath temperature with a digital thermometer, instead of trusting my own judgement about whether it is the correct temperature.   Along similar lines, if I am away from home and forget C’s room thermometer, I feel I don’t know what to dress her in at night.   If it’s 20.1’c then I know she needs a short sleeve vest, long sleeve sleepsuit and a 1.5 tog sleeping bag, yet at 21.3’c I know she needs just the sleepsuit and sleeping bag, no vest.  Without this information I feel lost.  I should have the confidence to be able to make these kind of decisions on my own!

Instead of being frowned upon, a Mother’s instinct should be embraced and used alongside medical knowledge to provide the safest environment possible for our children.  Where a child’s health is at risk, it is vitally important that medical research is continually carried out and widely circulated to help Mothers and Fathers provide the best care for their children.  The studies carried out into SIDS in the 1990s have proved invaluable in reducing the number of cot deaths in this country and further afield.  

What concerns many is the research often appears generalised and provides dumbed down advice to parents without giving them all the facts.  For example, it is simpler to tell parents not to bedshare at all rather than go through the more complicated process of explaining what variables have been taken into account in the research and more importantly which have not.  What seems to have been overlooked is giving parents the full picture allows them to make informed decisions. After all knowledge is power!  

Going one step further, there have been instances recently where decisions have been taken out of the parents hands completely.  It is my understanding all retailers selling amber teething necklaces within the UK were contacted by Trading Standards last year and asked to remove them from sale due to the potential safety of the necklaces and the questionable health benefits.  These items have been used for hundreds of years and many Mothers swear by the health benefits, yet apparently now Mothers are incapable of making their own decision on this matter.  Now I am not a particular advocate of this particular item however it frustrates me that it should not be down to the individual mother to decide whether or not to use them. 

As a parent we have to live with the choices we make therefore it is important we feel comfortable with them and not pressurised into doing something that does not feel right! As a nation we should be empowering Mothers with the knowledge and confidence to make the best decisions possible for our children; not dismissing our opinion.  It may be hard for some to accept but in some cases a Mother really can know best!