Quick pull my pants down!

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Okay so that’s not as rude as it sounds. After giving up on the potty training after my last post on the subject and carrying on as normal with nappies my son surprised me last week by suddenly getting on board with potty training. From nowhere it seems. A poo one night (which fascinated him no end) and he was off. I’d love to be able to say that all that reading about encouraging them, tricks to get them to do it and sticker charts worked but it had absolutely nothing to do with it. HE set the pace. It was nothing whatsoever to do with me.

And for all the people that are right when they say they’ll do it in their own time I give them a big hug and finally believe them. We’ve been dry for nearly a week with only one accident and he’s gone to nursery this morning wearing pants! And with several changes of clothes. It makes me sad though. He’s growing up so fast, before long he’ll be learning to drive and drinking pints of lager. Slight exaggeration. But that’s the last bit of baby behaviour gone.

It has taught me that sometimes as a parent you don’t know best, that sometimes your little boy has a better idea of what should happen than you do. I hope those times are few and far between!!

Oh to be the perfect parent with the perfect child!!!

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Actually I don’t mean that…. at all but I met a parent this morning who is the perfect parent with the perfect child, and didn’t they like to snidely say it. So after a 1.5 hour battle over breakfast (which neither of us won), getting dressed, brushing teeth, one bite mark to my hand, a whole range of shouty hitting motions at anything that didn’t move and a lot of screaming and kicking (amazingly not from me) I finally got him to nursery. So there I am saying to the staff member that he hasn’t eaten much, did drink his milk, but if he complains of being hungry there are snacks in his bag.

Enter the perfect parent. A male. Nicely dressed for work, dropping off his little girl. Lovely. He had to comment.

“I blame the parents” to which he got a glance before I carried on talking to the nursery worker, I wasn’t entirely sure he was talking to me even though there was no-one else there.

“A child only has a tantrum because of the parents, and what parent wouldn’t make sure they had a good breakfast?” Are you kidding me?

To which point he carried on in a baby talk voice to his daughter “you wouldn’t come out without breakfast would you sweetheart?”…..

Now I’m not one to get upset at other people’s opinions of me or my parenting but this morning that was the final straw. I’m sure all of us at one time have had enough of the tantrums, and wonder what the hell we did to our kids to make them hate us so much. But all of a sudden they grow out of it a bit and you realise it is not really your fault, it’s just one of those things. What gets me is that other parents, who have obviously lived through it, know what it’s like, try to pretend that it is only happening to you, not them or their perfect children. I HATE that. Be honest! It won’t kill you. It won’t make anyone think you are less of a parent if your kid screams blue murder for nothing more than it can. In fact it’s quite nice when someone says ‘oh god my son does that too’. It’s like going round a supermarket where the elderly and childless glare at you, and the other mums give you a mental hug as if to say I know how you feel that was us in aisle 11. And if you can’t be honest, keep your unwanted and egotistical opinions to yourself.

Next nursery morning I’m doing the haka after getting out of bed…. that should sort him out 😀

 

9/11

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It hardly seems real that it has been 10 years since 9/11. The images of the twin towers falling are as shocking and heart breaking today as they were then. I hadn’t long got back from a wonderful honeymoon before it happened. I remember work coming to a standstill as we all stood watching in the staff room of the laboratory glued to the television. No-one could believe what we were seeing. No-one could have anticipated how it would end.

It seemed at the time like it was replayed all the time and the images were printed constantly in the weeks after. I got given a print from NYC as a gift some years ago now, it has the twin towers on the skyline and in the water below their reflection is missing. That print sums it up perfectly.

They aren’t here anymore but every single one of us remembers that they should be there.

Strong mind… words that can be food for the soul

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Sometimes other people put into words exactly what you are thinking, and wish you could say properly and with feeling. I have a large repertoire of quotations that I love on all subjects, not only to inspire me but get me thinking and in some ways identify with myself; from needlework to narcissism, housework to healthy thinking.

Here are some of my favourites… hope you like them 🙂

Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent. ~ Dalai Lama

Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty.  ~Sicilian Proverb

Sewing mends the soul.  ~Author Unknown

It is sometimes as dangerous to be run into by a microbe as by a trolley car.  ~J.J. Walsh

You don’t choose your family.  They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.  ~Desmond Tutu

You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment unless you trust enough.  ~Frank Crane

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.  ~William Shakespeare

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.  ~Author Unknown

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
~Dr. Seuss

My second favorite household chore is ironing.  My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.  ~Erma Bombeck

A clean house is the sign of a boring person.  ~Author Unknown

Most passport pictures are good likenesses, and it is time we faced it.  ~Katharine Brush

Anyway, no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society.  If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.  ~P.J. O’Rourke

The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and for deeds left undone.  ~Harriet Beecher Stowe, Little Foxes, 1865

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him. ~ Maya Angelou

Nobody can be kinder than the narcissist while you react to life in his own terms. ~ Elizabeth Bowen

To potty or not to potty???

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For the first time in this parenting lark I truely do not know what to do with this one. My son is 33 months old, and hates his potty, hates the thought of not doing anything in his nappy and won’t even entertain the toilet. I’m stumped. Well and truely stumped. If I spent my time listening to other parents, you get a mixed bag of results. Do it when he’s ready (could be about 7!!), just do it now and stop delaying, I didn’t need to do anything they just did it. Like most mothers in this age I looked at babycentre for some advice. I’ve loved that site since the pregnancy emails and still love my monthly ‘look what your child is like now’ ones that pop in my inbox.

So…. I’ve done most things on there.

1) Let him watch and learn. Like we get to go without a little someone bursting in all the time…. No joy.

2) Buy the right equipment. I have a potty. He hates it. I have a snazzy Cars toilet seat. He hates it. I have a toilet. He hates it. I have nappies. He loves them.

3) Help him get comfortable with it. Handy Manny’s done a wee wee on it, Fireman Sam uses it, and Mickey Mouse always sits on it. My son? He puts it on his head, or throws it where he thinks I can’t reach it. We’ve done it while holding Handy Manny, while watching TV, while having a story. He always wants to get off.

4) Buy some cool pants. He wee’d in them. Saw it on the floor. Got upset. Back to the drawing board.

5) Washable training pants. I’ve got these out of the cupboard where I had stashed them. I’ve got some bright bots ones. Tomorrow I’m putting them on him and seeing what happens. No doubt I’ll be editing this to say he hated them LOL.

6) Rewards. We have smiley face stickers and a home printed chart. I end up with several stickers on my jumper at the end of each day and so does his Dad, so far my son’s chart is empty.

I think part the reason I’m struggling is he out-grew his washable nappies and instead of buying some more I put him in disposables. He lost that feeling of wetness and moved well backwards, so we went from being interested in doing it, to I don’t need to. At the end of the day he’s not 3 yet and I’m sure he will do it in his own time. For now it’s nice to know when we’re out and about I don’t need to do a mad rush to find a toilet because he needs to go. Lets face it toddlers have enough tantrums anyway without encouraging anymore!

For anyone else wondering what the hell to do here’s the link http://www.babycentre.co.uk/toddler/pottytraining/ and the best of British to you.

 

Who teaches toddlers these things?

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It occured to me the other day watching my little boy shout ‘no’ for the 30th time that day…. who taught him that word? Me. With ‘no’ to things he’s not supposed to do from a young age. I also seem to have unwittingly taught him ‘don’t that’s rude’, ‘don’t be naughty’ and ‘you do it’. It’s a bit of a new one on me. Answering back. It’s like suddenly my sweet little boy is a sulky teenager. The naughty chair has become a delaying tactic at bedtime – if I do this, and get a warning, then next time you’ll take me back downstairs for a bit longer. Now I know I never taught him that and even with post-baby brain I caught onto that pretty quickly.

The one thing I love about parenting is seeing the element of competition between parents, and it’s not just in your community, it happens in families too, especially those who aren’t used to sharing with other children apart from their own. Whose child is the best behaved? Whose child gets the most attention from grandparents? Who chooses the best name? Whose potty trains first? Who eats first? Who drinks the best formula? If you work are you neglecting your home life? If you don’t work are they getting enough education? All of a sudden every thing you do with your child is taken out of context especially if you do it differently – you think you’re better. A night in the pub with ‘the mums’ and this story plays out for every single one in some form or another. I know for a fact that some of the things I have done as a mum have been used against me. Is that my problem? Or someone else’s self-esteem problem?

He’ll spend half his life battling against negative people and their opinions. It just seems so wrong that the battle starts out so young. Let’s be honest with ourselves all children follow a similar pathway – where they are right all the time, and everyone else is wrong. The toddlers grow out of it, it’s a pity some of the parents don’t.

Father’s Day…

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Well it’s Father’s Day in the UK a time to celebrate our Dad’s and give them a card and maybe some beer. For us who are now parents it’s a time to thank our own Dad’s for guiding us this far as well as our husbands/partners/exes/whatever for guiding our own children. I’m very lucky my parents have been married for 39 years and still going strong (although their squabbles still crack me up) and I was reminded of this by a quote I found today.

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother”.
Theodore Hesburgh

I think it’s the truest thing I’ve read in a long time. A happy home is a healthy home and while not every child has that, I’m glad that my son is seeing that. Not only in us but both sets of grandparents. The confidence in yourself is often influenced by the confidence that other people show in you, if people tell you how they believe in you, then you start to believe in yourself. Now in my 30’s my confidence is the highest it’s ever been. No more worrying about trivial things like weight gain, no more work worries and no more worries about what people think (well a few of those maybe we can’t grow out of everything). I think having someone at home who doesn’t judge you, who isn’t constantly checking on you or what you are doing while pointing out what you’ve supposedly not good at. Someone who is brave enough to point out when you are behaving like a muppet and need pulling back in line, is the most important thing anyone can have. I just wish I could throw what I know now, back at myself when I was younger, it would have saved a lot of tears, self-doubt and regrets.

So if the most important thing is for a dad to love a mother on both counts I think we’re right on track. Nobody can tell the future – but I’d like to think in 29 years time my own son will be writing about how hubby and I have inspired him in life in a good way hopefully…. find a nice partner and enjoy a nice glass of merlot occassionally springs to mind!

Creative play and why I LOVE play-doh

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The best part of having a young toddler for me is watching him learn and play with all the things around him, whether it is a stick at the park or some of the many toys he is lucky enough to own (courtesy of very generous grandparents!) It’s also a chance for me to re-live a little of my childhood through him.

Hence…. my LOVE of play-doh being reignited. I don’t know what it is but the smell when you open the tub is lush, and the smell stays on your hands. Endlessly people tell me to make my own it’s much cheaper, but it doesn’t smell the same! Other cheaper brands don’t even smell the same. When he’s older and having a post-beers-in-the-pub reminising with his friends (which lets face it we all do) what will he remember? Maybe the smell of Play-Doh like his mamma.

This blog post is a bit of a sales pitch. I’ve recently bought in a play-doh range for my shop all tried and tested on my little boy, and some tried and tested that haven’t made it onto there! His favourite so far is the pizza set. It gets endlessly rolled out (by me he hasn’t quite worked out that saying ‘roll it roll it roll it’ doesn’t make it happen you have to push the rolling pin along), put into the pizza pan, decorated and put into his play oven. The longest session so far an hour! For a 2 and a half year old with limited attention span that is amazing.

www.reebeebaby.co.uk

Play-Doh at ReeBee Baby

The others sold out really quickly but there are still some Elefun’s available. It’s one of his favourites, although he did expect the play-doh butterflies to flutter like in the real game. When they didn’t he chucked them in the air instead. Not something I’m so keen on I must admit.

So while I sit in the pub talking about the Play-Doh mop shop where you cut the hair he might talk about endlessly making Play-Doh pizza and feeding them to me.

If you fancy remembering what the smell is like wander over to www.reebeebaby.co.uk or even my Ebay shop reebee*baby 😀

Post partum thyroid disease and post natal depression

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Last week, researchers called for more screening of women in pregnancy for thyroid  function. A third of women who tested positive for certain markers went on to develop thyroid disease within 2 years. I am one of those women. This is my story, I can see what happened clearly now but at the time I was scared, very depressed and convinced I was a bad mother.

When my son was 6 weeks old my world fell apart. I went from being a normal tired and stressed out (but happy) new mum just about figuring out what I was supposed to be doing with a baby, to an insomniac, anxious, crying mum. I was living on 30-40 minutes of sleep a night and that wasn’t due to my son either, I lost an astounding amount of weight, had near constant heart palpitations and was so ridden with anxiety I hated leaving the living room let alone the house. The worst part was feeling like a baby sitter I went from adoring my longed-for son to no emotions at all, acting like his baby sitter not his mum. I lived like an actress, a smile on my face but a silent void of nothing behind it.  

It didn’t take long for my husband to realise something was wrong with me and get me to a doctor. My GP diagnosed PND at the time and I was put on paroxetine, sent to community mental health and very well supported in my recovery. When my son was 6 months old the hypothyroid stage kicked in. The weight rolled on, the extreme tiredness, fatigue, and a need for 8 times more sleep than I was getting, the anxiety lessened (taking with it those awful palpitations) but the depression got worse. My husband, mum and mental health nurse were practically the only people to see me cry. I couldn’t face being judged as a bad mother.

I was lucky 6 months later after insisting something was wrong and I wasn’t a hypochondriac nutcase, I got treated again and told about post partum thyroiditis. I am now on thyroxine replacement for life and still trying to get rid of the 2 stone I piled on in just 5 months!! Although I will be honest I could probably try harder. The cause? Who knows but one risk factor is blood loss at birth, I needed 3 units of blood as an emergency transfusion the day after delivery. That is a whole other story LOL.

The stigma of mental illness means a lot of people have no time for your illness or understand it. There was a physical reason driving my mental illness that only came to light when my son was 11 months old. How many other new mums suffer the same? My experience has taught me some good lessons. I am incredibly resilient and far stronger than I thought. That my husband is more amazing than I  knew for how he supported me through it. However, I still feel guilty for developing it even though it was out of my control, but am very thankful that my son was so young he had (still has) absolutely no idea.

How am I now? My thyroid dose is still being tweaked but for the last 5 months I’ve been great, back to my old self again. For anyone suffering PND in whatever form, take one day at a time, have small goals, and take comfort in those that support you and the fact that there are others out there who have been there and know exactly what you are going through. And those that don’t support you…. you’re better off without them.

Some helpful resources on PND and thyroidism:

http://www.mind.org.uk/help/diagnoses_and_conditions/post-natal_depression

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/postnataldepression/pages/diagnosis.aspx

http://www.endocrineweb.com/news/hypothyroidism/5549-antibody-test-predicts-risk-thyroid-disease-after-pregnancy

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/thyroid-under-active/pages/introduction.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/thyroid-over-active/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.thyroid-info.com/articles/postpartum.htm

Why I love mother’s day

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Today is always very special for me and I do tend to remember why I’m so lucky to have my son. Having known since my late teens that having children would be ‘difficult’ and that pcos meant I was branded infertile, when the broodiness eventually hit in my late 20’s, mother’s day became quite hard, especially when a million and one people would comment on “it should be you next”, “when are you having children?” over and over again. Or my favourite “come and cuddle this newborn it will make you broody”. Maybe you are reading this nodding your head. It took 3.5 very looooooong years to conceive my son. After endless hospital appointments, drugs, countless friends and family excitedly expecting their own (some having more than one in that time), many times driving my husband insane by crying over the fact that it wasn’t going to happen. Round after round of failed first line treatments, it seemed IVF being the only option loomed on the horizon. We sat in the first consultation at the IVF clinic nervous but excited, looking at all the baby pictures sent in by successful parents, reading the mountain of literature they hand you when you walk in. We left knowing that in 8 months time we would be at the top of the list and our dream would be one step closer.

We also left not knowing that I was already pregnant with my son. Even when I started throwing up 2 weeks later I didn’t think anything of it and put it down to a virus. Until the test showed two little lines. On March 8th 2008 our lives changed. The years of waiting, and hoping to be parents had come true. Any woman with infertility problems will recognise the endless temperature charts, feeling phantom ovulation pains and pseudo-pregnancy signs that “had” to be true, the obsessive compulsive addiction to reading anything and everything about fertility. Endless ovulation tests whether it involve peeing on a stick or spitting on an ovulation microscope, plugging in temperatures and signs daily on fertility software and analysing the graphs, a fortune spent on ‘cheapie’ pregnancy tests ‘just in case’. 

And now I type this with a son who is nearly 2 and a half fast asleep in his bed, 2 gorgeous handmade cards on the mantlepiece and a special painting tacked to the wall. Mother’s day is my day to remembering what we went through to have him and how lucky we are.  It’s also my day for being uber-sentimental so forgive me for that.