Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Old Friend Forgotten

Hello, old friend forgotten. I’m sorry for not keeping up with you. Life is busy and full, but that’s no excuse. I now see the error of my ways.

Hello kegels. Come on in and stay awhile.

While pregnant I dutifully performed my pelvic floor exercises. My pregnancy updates warned of the incontinent mishaps that might occur if I didn’t isolate and strengthen this area. At the time I’d done Pilates for a few years and had recently started pregnancy yoga. Put it all together and my pelvic floor was a powerhouse to be reckoned with. Maybe that’s why LLC was nearly 3 weeks late....

Fast forward to the here and now and those royal kegels that I so dutifully observed are long ago jettisoned. I’m sure those pregnancy updates attest that these exercises should be carried out forever more post birth but with LLC on the scene and no daily train commute to focus my energies on my nether-regions, I forgot all about them.

Until now. Now, I’m sheepishly looking for a way back into the kegels good books. I fear it will take some time and effort for me to rekindle this relationship but I’ve had a harsh wake up call.

Last weekend I ran the New Forest Half Marathon. I’m proud that 8 months post birth I made it around the course in the respectable time of 1 hour 58 minutes. Running has always been my thing and it felt good to finally pull my finger out and give myself a challenge.

One of the biggest challenges I faced, however, was desperately trying to avoid peeing when I dumped a cup of water over my head mid-course. I don’t know if it was the downward force of running, the sudden blast of coolness or my overall state of discomfort but it took all I was worth not to let loose down my leg right then and there.

It freaked me out and it made me realize that my pelvic floor is not what it was. It reminded of my good old friend kegels who I’ve neglected for some time now. It was a sudden wake-up call that maybe I should be doing something to support this region, particularly if I’m going to go pounding the pavement running.

So hello kegels. I promise not to leave you out in the cold again.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Library staff tells breastfeeding mother to “face the wall”

Unlike my last post, this one does have to do with breasts.

Friday’s papers reported the plight of a woman breastfeeding her nine-week old daughter in a Haringey library who was told to “face the wall” by a male member of staff. When she told him it was against the law to ask her not to breastfeed, he suggested that she be more discreet next time.

Ahhh the cheek, naiveté and rudeness of this man! As a breastfeeding mom I am well schooled in trying to feed tactfully in public. I’ve learned that this comes with different challenges depending on your child’s age; young babies may take time to latch on, at 8 months LLC wants to frequently pop off and look around. It’s not always simple but I do my best to do the deed while protecting my dignity. I’m certain this mother was only doing the same and did nothing inappropriate to warrant such remarks.

Importantly, this story highlights how such a seemingly flippant remark has the potential to seriously put a woman off breastfeeding in public. And when you feel like you can’t feed in public, you’re probably only a step away from quitting breastfeeding entirely because no one wants to sit in the house all day and babies, particularly young ones, feed a lot.

Breastfeeding is a very personal choice but those that do try to get on with it shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for doing so. And particularly from a public sector worker! I think I hear disciplinary action calling…..

Thursday, 23 September 2010

The Chest Test

Easy now, I’m not talking about breasts or brawn but about a baby’s temperature. (I probably just lost a bunch of readers.) Anyway-

Last weekend we visited Chris’ godparents on the Kent coast. After a lovely lunch we headed down to the seaside for a stroll and a view of the massive Wind Farm that made news headlines today. Considering the weather of late, it was a surprisingly sunny and still day, maybe somewhere in the 50s F.

I mention the weather not to be typically English, but to set the scene for what we observed next. A few adults a couple of small children, probably between 1-2 years walked down to the water’s edge, started to paddle and then full on waded straight into the water. They went out pretty far and one of the boys fell over and totally submerged himself.

Now these folk didn’t even seem to shiver. In fact they seemed to be really enjoying themselves in what must have been pretty chilly water. From what I can tell, small children usually love the water and don’t complain of being cold. But weren’t these parents worried about their kids being cold, and catching a cold?

I think my mom and Chris’ grandma are rubbing off on me. They both always ask if LLC is warm enough. Does she need another layer? A coat, a blanket, a hat, some socks? Maybe it’s a generational thing that hasn’t filtered down but they seem much more concerned about keeping LLC warm than I am.

From the time in her first week when a midwife told me not to dress her in a baby hat in our house, I’ve never worried too much about LLC’s temperature. Of course I try to make sure she’s warm enough, and not too hot either, but my ultimate test for all this is to feel her chest. If it’s hot and sweaty – she’s too hot. If it’s cold, then she’s too cold. Simple.

Is this reliable? Do you bundle your young children up as the temperature starts to drop? Or would you take them for a swim off the Kent coast this weekend?

Friday, 17 September 2010


How could such an innocent face generate such horrendous noise?!

Tonight LLC had a bath-time/bed-time meltdown – the first real banshee-like display she has treated us to for awhile. She started with a whimper that escalated to a scream and then advanced to a Dr Evil-esque rasp alongside hiccup-like shrieks.

Once Chris and I managed to get her wriggling, arching body into her sleeping bag, she nursed with a desperate haste, finally quieter, chasing away her urgent frustration with every gulp that she swallowed. And then she popped off, looked at me and smiled. Mood over.

It’s been a busy week and a busy day so I think she was just exhausted. But now I am.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Let’s Hear it for the Rocking Commandos!

One of my friends described her daughter’s strong upper bodied snake-like shimmy across the floor as commando crawling. Totally apt! With that upper chest strength, this little lady will surely be great at pull-ups one day, a skill that I sadly never mastered....

At the time of this said crawl, LLC was feverishly rocking on all fours but not going anywhere aside from backwards. She’s been rocking in the “all fours” pose for some time now but whenever she attempts to move a leg forward she ends up toppling onto her side.

Fast forward one week and LLC has achieved forward movement! Between all that practice and possibly from watching her friend, she’s now sporting a half commando, half raised on knees crawling manoeuvre.

Chris first spotted this “milestone” when I called home after work and he put me on speaker phone a few feet from LLC. Naturally my voice is difficult to resist, so low and behold LLC managed to inch towards the phone and add forward crawling to her repertoire.

So she’s now on the move! She doesn’t go too far yet but she does go exactly where she shouldn’t – the fireguard under our mantel, Rico’s bed and straight to the bottle of Shout next to my foot when I was spraying some stained clothing.

Maybe this is the time to start thinking about child proofing? I wouldn’t describe our house as a danger zone but it’s not particularly child friendly. We have cold, hard slate floor through much of the downstairs. Our stairs are narrow and steep. These are not things we plan to change and I’m loathe to morph our house into Fort Knox but we are planning to get stair guards and lock for under our kitchen and bathroom sinks where there are cleaning products.

I’ve had a look around on the floor “from LLC’s level” and there are plenty of things she could make mischief with but I’ll just have to tell her what is allowed and what is not allowed. Any tips about keeping a commando crawler safe and this whole child proofing malarkey?

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

All Too Much

I don’t usually think of LLC as a sensitive soul. She’s robust, a tough cookie, more likely to cry because she is frustrated or wants something she can’t get than because something scares or startles her.

Yesterday, however, this was not the case. We were visiting some of our NCT friends and LLC all of a sudden burst into tears while on the play mat with a couple of her buddies. I think it was the movement or sound of a toy that set her off, but out of the blue, off she went. Waa waa waaaaaa!

This set off one of her little friends and we were treated to a cacophony of waaaas while we quickly provided conciliatory cuddles. LLC wore a horrified face with big fat tears rolling down her cheeks. Oh those real tears, they break my heart. Then, as if carried away by a sudden gust of wind, her mood shifted and life was again rosy.

I think tiredness exacerbates LLC’s mood swings, so maybe her tears were linked to the nap we cut short when arriving at our friend’s house. Maybe she is becoming more aware of the other babies and is more likely to be responsive to them. Maybe this sensitivity is yet another dimension of her emerging personality. Maybe she just needed a little cry – she is a baby after all.

While a relatively insignificant incident, this made me wonder what adventures are to come as the babies start to come into their own and play side by side. How long will they take to really interact? Will they set each other off, and will we be in for more giggles, or more tears? Will I be effective at teaching LLC about sharing, and being gentle towards others (as opposed to hair pulling and face clawing, two favourite pastimes she’s recently mastered)?

LLC is generally quickly at ease around new people and busy social situations but how will her reactions shift as she starts to play a more active part in the world around her? Only time will tell....

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Dear LLC

Dear LLC,

You’ve grown so much already in your 7.5 months. I see other newborn babies and while I remember you this way, I’m sad that the vividness of these moments will fade somewhat with time. I’m doing my best to enjoy the potency of our every day, while freeze framing certain moments in my heart, banking them in my mind, innate riches that I’ll carry with me always.

Hopefully these little gems will help me prevent feeling as though life is accelerating faster than I can appreciate it. Today I remember this:

We sit together in the living room. You’re on all fours raking at our rickety old fire guard, a precarious adornment that we don’t want to get rid of but probably should hook to the wall. I turn you around and like a tractor beam you’re drawn to our stereo remote. You taste it, but it’s not so tasty. You’ve rotated yet again and now have hold of daddy’s baseball, which sat cradled in the cavity of a floor candle. You knock the candle on its side and pursue the rolling ball with your arm. You’re intent on touching all you should not touch, fascinated by all that is my ordinary. The bald patch on the back of your head is finally fading. You’re wearing green trousers, sized 3 months. You’re chatting to the ball, ba ba ba. You’ve now got hold of the Devon rock from JBT with your name on it and are pushing it around the base of the fire guard alongside the ball. I decide that it’s time to scoop you up and kiss you and my hear t sings.



(Do you freeze frame memories too?)