Monday, 26 July 2010

Now I'm on a roll, and not a good one...

It’s refreshing/comforting to hear parents admit that we do make mistakes.

Thanks for all the support I had following LLC’s bed rolling incident; in fact, the post inspired a post by Expat Mum and led me to similar past confessions from Marketing to Milk.

We’re only human, after all. But after my latest parenting booboo, I felt plain stupid and frustrated with myself.

I fed LLC some honey. Of all the motley weaning advice out there, honey under one year is an established and universal no-no. Having just finished my breakfast of Greek yogurt, fruit and honey, I put the tiniest remnant of yogurt on my spoon and let her have a lick (I've just started baby led weaning). It only struck me several hours later that there had been honey in that bowl. Immediately I was on the Internet, looking up symptoms of Infant Botulism.

Thanks to Chris & my dear MO, both of whom stopped me getting wound up in the wake of this discovery and convinced me not to panic, that LLC had probably not even ingested any honey and that if she had, it would have been only a minimal trace. I realize that infant botulism is quite rare, but this is still no excuse to tempt fate.

It was an accident and one I am, this time, confident I won’t repeat. With all the weaning advice I’ve read and discussed of late, I’m not sure how I overlooked this. Perhaps information overload clouded my view of the basics? Sigh.

This happened last week and LLC appears fighting fit so fingers so hopefully this incident will be a non-issue. I guess no matter how hard you try as a parent, sometimes you still slip up....

Thursday, 22 July 2010

“One Baby in the Bed and the Little One Said….”

Roll Over, Roll Over!

So LLC rolled over and she fell out! And I caught her in my arms mid-fall but she kept tumbling down….

Yup, I’ve been told it would happen, I’ve caught her and made the save on two previous attempts but yesterday LLC was just too quick for me.

I laid her in the center of my bed, partially surrounded by pillows and partially surrounded by laundry while I put some of this clothing away. I averted my eyes for a couple of seconds to stick some sports bras in a box under the bed when it happened…..

I raised my eyes just in time to see LLC rotating off the bed with the swiftness and ease of a baker’s rolling pin. Cue slow motion, while I leapt forward and attempted to catch her in mid-air but her momentum carried her off my arms and onto the carpet with hearty thump.


Wahhhhh! WAHHHHH!

Soft barriers used to be a match for her roll but those days are clearly no more. I should have seen the writing on the wall recently when I left her in her bedroom on a rug and returned a few minutes later to find her half-way across the wooden floorboards near her crib. She has always been a kicker, a wriggler, tiny but with tremendous energy that now may invite folly if I’m not careful on her behalf.

My immediate reaction was to scoop her up, give her a once over to check for bumps and bruises, cuddle her and dance with her in front of her bedroom fan. Its whoosh whoosh gradually calmed her cries and my thumping heart.

Next came guilt. I shouldn’t have left her on the bed like that. There had been two previous close calls. What if there wasn’t carpet on the floor or if I hadn’t broken her fall. Just as stress started to escape my brain and seep through my veins, I heard….

Hah ha haha ha ha hahahaha!

I looked down to find LLC smiling up at me, accident forgotten. All she wanted was her mommy’s attention. So I shook off guilt and returned her grin, accident not forgotten, but lesson learned.

This post is for Josie’s Writing Workshop, prompt 1: Disaster! Tell us when a best laid plan went spectacularly wrong…

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Let's Hear it for the Golden Arches

Last Friday I was eyeing the LK Bennett at Royal Exchange Buildings, debating whether or not to ask one of the busy City people or shop assistants for help hauling LLC’s stroller into the shop when it hit me – I really needed to pee! There was no way I was going into that shop; I had to find a bathroom and stat.

Why I invited the inevitable by failing to use the bathroom before leaving lunch with my two friends is beyond me because when I need to go, I need to go! This seems to be an annoying trait that I’ve carried with me from pregnancy. Fortunately many a train journey exercising my kegels has done justice to my pelvic floor and even after birth it’s in pretty good shape. Still, it was only a matter of time until desperation turned to embarrassment.

So there I was, near Bank station, in the heart of the City with many an office and small, grab-your-lunch-and-go sandwich shop in sight but nowhere that I knew of with a bathroom that would accommodate both me and LLC. Even Starbucks and the like in the City are often small, some without handicapped toilets on the ground floor.

I frantically walked off with no clear destination in mind in hopes of finding somewhere/beating off the urge with motion. Then through my haze of desperation, emerged the golden arches of McDonald's. My eyes lit up and pace quickened. I’m not a fast food lover but McDonald's never looked so good, for in that moment I knew they would have the toilet I so urgently needed.

And they did. On the ground floor, big enough to accommodate LLC’s stroller and it was actually even relatively clean (and I’m also not a fan of public bathrooms).

What it generally lacks in nutritious food, McDonald's makes up for in family friendly practicality, particularly for mamas with babies and strollers in tow. I guess many City establishments cater for their primary customers, City professionals, but that doesn’t help moms on the go like me who often venture into the City.

I never even recognised that my local shopping area has toilets big enough for mama and pram. I never paid attention to the fact that baby change stations are often located in the handicapped bathroom at restaurants and coffee shops. Why would I? But now these are vital nuggets that give me much needed comfort when my bladder decides it has had enough.

So now I take stock of where I can find a mom/baby friendly toilets. Spitalfields has some good facilities. Train stations have locked handicapped restrooms that staff let you into upon request.

For those around London, can you direct me to any other central restaurants/etc other than McDonald's where I can run to when I’ve got to? But for today, I must give the good old golden arches credit where credit is due.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

The Tragedy of Moo Cow

First it was Jim-B the elephant with his strange but chewable trunk. Now I’ve gone and done it again. I’ve lost Moo Cow.

Pink and white striped with long, thin un-cow-like appendages he saved the day after we lost Jim-B in the depths of Glendurgan while in Cornwall. LLC enjoyed gnawing on Moo Cow. She loved him bouncing on her belly. He accompanied us on all outings (my cardinal error) and even his little squeak was fairly un-offensive.

I know exactly when he went missing. I took LLC on a walk in her stroller and Moo Cow was tucked under her arm when I shut the front door but nowhere to be found when we arrived home an hour later. My heart sunk in my chest; I felt truly gutted. It will be alright, I told smiling LLC. We’ll find Moo Cow.

So I did what any logical-minded parent would do when their child’s comfort toy goes missing. (Never mind that she doesn’t yet understand that he’d gone missing.) I re-walked our hour-long route. I was convinced we’d find Moo Cow lying at the roadside, or propped up on a garden wall by a kind passer-by. I was positive we would not arrive home empty handed.

I was wrong. Moo Cow is no more. I walked the exact same route for goodness sake. He couldn’t have disappeared into thin air. We did pass a few schools on our route; would another parent have possibly let their child take home an arbitrary cow from the gutter?

So my plan is now to order another Moo Cow from the Jelly Cat website. LLC will never know the difference and fortunately she’s too young to know he’s missing. No, I’m not re-ordering Moo Cow for my sake, honestly….

Has anyone else gotten strangely attached to their child’s toys?

Once kids know their favorite toy is missing things must get much more tearful and complicated. For this reason I’ve been told to have a back-up copy the favorite stuffed animal at the ready. This would have worked a treat for me in this moment.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Huggies Messy Play Challenge – Get Involved, But Fast!

True to my style of better late than never, I’m finally posting LLC and my contribution to the Huggies Messy Play Challenge. If you’re up for photographing your little one partaking in some type of messy play and getting in the running for some free Huggies kit, act now for this competition closes tomorrow July14th. See the full rules below and get in the running!

As a Huggies Mom I found out about The Messy Play Challenge ages ago but I just wasn’t sure how to get LLC messy. This may sound ridiculous as children and messy play are more or less synonymous, but babies and messy play (for we know they make plenty of poo/wee/puke mess) are a bit more challenging.

LLC rolls around her play-mat like a tornado and grabs at anything and everything but can’t yet hold onto food, paint, pens, sand, etc long enough to really get herself dirty. I should probably savour this time before I’m frantically wiping up trails of food and drink from her wake, but instead I kept plotting how to get her playing messy.

I thought of buying some child friendly paint and dipping her hands in it or taking her to a local pottery studio where children can handprint mugs, etc but I haven’t quite got around to either (though I really do want to print her pottery while she’s still small). I considered photographing her covered in bath bubbles until my until my baby brain recognized this as the antithesis of messy (oh dear). She occasionally possets and starts to play with her sick but to capture this would be both gross and pretty cruel/demented.

Finally I settled on our first dabble in the direction of weaning by giving her a bowl of cut up banana to play with. I have a growing interest in Baby Led Weaning so was interested to see if she might get the banana to her mouth. 

She didn’t. She got her hand in the bowl, smudged some banana on her fist and managed to transfer some of this residue onto herself but we had some happy shrieks and smiles in the process. Messy(ish) Play challenge accomplished.

It may be down to the wire, but it’s so easy to take part in this so definitely go for it if you can. Here are the rule as laid out by Huggies.

1. The messier your baby is in the photo the better. (The challenge is cleaning up!)
2. Post the photo to your blog with The Messy Play by Huggies Wipes challenge. (It can be an old photo or a previous post).
3. Send a link of your blog post featuring your Messy Play photo to @Huggies_UK on Twitter or to participate.
4. Check out to see all the blogger submissions and links to their blogs. Submissions will also be shouted out by @Huggies_UK on Twitter.
5. The top 3 messiest entries will receive Huggies® gift packs of Huggies merchandise.


Friday, 9 July 2010

The Idyllic Boat meets War Paint

This year I didn’t manage to get any of my American expat friends together to celebrate the 4th of July, so instead we collected Chris’ gran and headed to the South Coast for an afternoon on his parents boat.

Warm but not scorching, it was the perfect afternoon to chill on a boat and that’s just what we did. There’s something about being on the water that’s relaxing and revitalizing; I think these pictures speak a thousand words.

I’d like to say that LLC enjoyed her first dabble in the nautical world, but she seemed more intent on eyeing up my salad than looking at the other boats! (Good thing I’m getting prepared to start weaning her.) Salad aside, the buzz of boats, docks, sun and sea must have wore her out and she drifted off for a nap on the cabin bed with Moo Cow.

Now my million dollar question – are there any baby friendly factor 50 sunscreens out there that will not leave streaky war paint-like stripes across LLC’s face? This has become a popular look for her of late in all this bright and brilliant sunshine.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

CyberMummy Snapshot

This weekend I attended the exciting, emotional and informative whirlwind that was CyberMummy. The UK parenting blogging community is no doubt well established, and this premier mummy blogging conference only served to take this presence to a new level.

Thank you CyberMummy organizers for a fun and interesting day; thank you Huggies for sponsoring my ticket and all your support and attention throughout the event.

So what did I take away from this hotpot of blogger networking and blogging chitchat? A lot, but here are the things that stood out for me:

  • Networking never felt so good – I’ve done my fair share of networking through work and it can be strained and a real effort. I’m really struck by how open and friendly our blogging community was in the flesh; conversation easily flowed; people seemed genuinely happy to be there.
  • Good content is more than just good writing – Honest content that others can relate to or discuss emerged as a key ingredient to “good content” and served as a reminder forget the mass blogosphere out there and just keep it real.
  • Copyright issues extend to music – Obvious, right?, but I hadn’t considered that by linking a YouTube video to my blog I could be creating copyright fraud.
  • Social networking is vital if you want your blog published –I didn’t recognize how important a strong online social networking presence is when pitching a book to publishers as a new author.
  • Tactically placed keywords enable SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – Be proactive in building your audience; think about the keywords that will deliver users to your blog. Search engines look at your keywords based on density, frequency, prominence, proximity and semantic reinforcement.
  • Crowdsourced Keynotes rock - the day's final roundup of posts from bloggers themselves proved an emotional and striking reminder of the strength, widsom and humor to be found in the blogging world - a real reminder of why I enjoy dabbling in this big pond in the first place. 
A small snapshot, but to me a vital one from a fab day. My only regret is that I didn’t get to meet everyone that I’d hoped to!