Monday, 27 March 2017

You Googled what?!?

As most of you know, I love a Google.  From general knowledge trivia, a bit of history or geography, I'm on it and usually Googling it.  My parenting is no different.  Whilst I know that sometimes Google really isn't the answer, I still can't help myself.  But sometimes, I stump Google.  Sometimes, something so random happens, that when I type my usually complicated and unusual question into Google, it doesn't know the answer.  In the whole of the internet's information I cannot find a single person who can advise me or share my experience.  Today, I thought I'd share my actual Google questions that never got answered. 

'Can llama spit enter breast-milk?'
This is probably the most random question I spent an hour Googling, and my research came back that no other person on this planet could answer my question and that I was the only person in history that this had happened to.  I thus had to ride it out and hope that my daughter didn't start growing fur.  If you are interested, we had been to a wildlife park, and one particular llama took an instant dislike to me and managed to spit in, not only my eye but also my mouth.  I was breastfeeding my daughter at the time (not at the time of the attack, but just generally) and I was terrified of transferring any llama diseases to my 8 month old daughter. You will be pleased to know that she is now four years old and safe and well.

'How much egg mixture is too much?'
The old questions came thick and fast during my pregnancy, and one afternoon whilst baking with my eldest daughter, I couldn't help myself from sharing a lick of the bowl of our uncooked cake mixture. Things were going well until I realised I'd eaten raw egg, something I'd been told never to do in pregnancy.  After repeated Googling, I could not find one other person who had licked the egg from a bowl and lived to document it on the internet.  No-one could say for sure if I was about to drop down dead from listeria. Whilst I felt a trip to A&E might have been a tad OTT, I did spend the rest of the day feeling like I could collapse at any given moment.  I just needed to hear that a few spoonfuls (maybe 5 or 6) would be OK. 

'I reversed into a wall when pregnant' 
I was having a very bad day when I managed to reverse into our front house wall when I was around 7 months pregnant.  I had my seat belt on and was only going about 2 miles per hour, but that didn't stop me Googling away.  However, all Google threw at me were car accident results and horror stories about premature labour.  I did think they would laugh at me if I just turned up at A&E.  Not one other person on the internet had reversed into their garage wall and lived to tell the tell the tale. Cue another day of thinking I was going to drop dead at any given time. I didn't by the way.  

'What happens if my baby licks the detergent ball?'
I can honestly say I spent a good hour researching this beauty.  I have to add my daughter didn't drink any washing machine detergent, but only licked the empty washing machine dispenser ball.  My concern was if there were any remnants on the ball.  I mean you see the big warning signs everywhere of the dangers of washing detergent don't you? No-one could give me any reassurance on the matter, and all I could find were horror stories of childhood ingestion and the percentage of deaths worldwide from ingestion poisoning.  Nothing answered my daughter's lick ingestion of what was probably an empty ball. 

'When will my baby sleep?'
Oh the jokes.  I can vividly remember this question being my most searched question in the early months of LL's life.  NOT ONE single person could give me the answer.  Deep down I knew that LL would sleep when she wanted to sleep, but I couldn't help but torture myself with loitering in internet chat rooms with parents of babies who slept through the night from day one (yeah right) to those unfortunate souls who still had a nocturnal six year old. FYI, she still doesn't sleep through the night. 

'I stole a carrier bag'
This is a bit of a confession, but one that NO-ONE else seems to have ever done.  Last week at Tesco, I went to the self service checkout and needed a carrier bag, which in the UK you have to pay 5p for.  I put all my shopping through, paid, and then as I got my receipt, I remembered I hadn't paid for the carrier bag.  I tried to go back and put the bag through, but I couldn't do it, I was stressed and LL was whinging, so I thought I'd leave it and just go.  On my WAY OUT, a cashier followed me and asked me if I'd paid for the bag, to which I replied I hadn't, and so I had to go back and pay 5p on my debit card. To say I was mortified would be understatement.  I haven't dared return to the shop since as I fear the cashier thinks I'm a shoplifter, and to make matters worse I can not find one single other human that this has happened too. This obviously means I am the worse person in the world and also means I'm a pretty crap shoplifter too. Thanks Google. Thanks alot. 

Friday, 24 March 2017

Reflux Update

I haven't wrote about LL's reflux since last September, and so much has happened since then that I felt it was about time I wrote an update.  I think part of me has been putting off writing this post, because for me, reflux and our journey is such an emotive subject and one that is part of our everyday lives.  But here goes.  As an aside, if you're not at all interested in reflux, maybe click off now, and please come back next week when my other blogging topics will resume. 

Where to begin.  If you want to read my original reflux posts and follow our journey of infant reflux from the beginning, you can read them here, here and here.  In summary, LL was a very unsettled baby and I was basically sent away from the GP feeling that it was my fault.  Her pain, constant night waking and refusal to eat meant that we were finally referred to a paediatrician just before her first birthday and LL was commenced on oral ranitidine.  Her dosage was doubled, and it is here I pick up my tale. 

Doubling the ranitidine dosage did not ease LL's symptoms at all. Alongside the ranitidine, we had to try and encourage LL to eat, as at 10 months, she was not eating anything at all and only taking breast-milk. But LL just wasn't interested in food, and the very little tastes she had coincided with extreme pain at night and waking at least four times a night being inconsolable.  It was never the case that I could hold her and she would fall back to sleep, she would scream in our arms and back arch.  The only way to calm her was to let her breastfeed, but then she would settle and fall asleep, only to suddenly jolt awake again in pain. 

We were seen by the paediatrician again, and this time we were sent for bloods to rule out any underlying conditions or food intolerance's. Luckily all her results came back normal, but her pain still persisted and we still had a one year old who ate nothing.  And I have to say here, when I say nothing, I don't mean she picked at her food, or some days were better than others, I mean she ate no food whatsoever.  To me it felt like her early experiences of food were embedded with the pain of reflux.   

We were then commenced on omeprazole, and after some jiggling about with her doseage, the medication seemed to be doing something.  It certainly wasn't overnight, but instead very, very slowly.  Periods of night pain gradually starting to shorten, and they then became less frequent, to the point of only being once or twice a night.  Again, this took months, rather than days. 

The omeprazole was a bit of a pain to give as it came in a dispersible tablet form, we found the trick was to dissolve it and then mix it with a little apple puree and spoon feed it.  It also helped to give the medication at teatime, so it was effective during the night which seemed to be the worst time for LL. 

I wish I could write 'and then the reflux was never seen or heard of again', but it's a bit more complicated than that.  Whilst the omeprazole seems to have some effect on her reflux pain, diet and sleep seem to be the two areas that we now need to work on and which I think will take time to improve.   

As those of you that read my blog know, I'm awake with LL most nights and I knew that she would never suddenly become a good sleeper.  I don't think she knows how to be a good sleeper from her bad experience of sleep as a baby.  LL would never nap as a baby as it was just too uncomfortable for her to lay in her cot, so I often walked around with her in a baby carrier or pram.  To this day, she only takes a nap when I go out with the pram. Her sleep at night is still quite irregular, and we have good nights (only waking once) and bad nights (up to four times).  And things like teething or colds can really upset everything and flare her reflux up. 

Diet is still ongoing.  She will eat a few spoonfuls of cereal for breakfast and that is generally the biggest meal of her day.  Sometimes she might try a food, but more often than not she would rather go hungry. She has a total of four breastfeeds in 24 hours, and we hoped really reducing her breastfeeds would make her hungry and force her into eating, but this just hasn't been the case.  All the usual tricks to encourage eating haven't working, and as with the sleep, I think it will be a very slow process for her to learn about food and not associate it with pain. We are currently trying messy play sessions to see if that helps LL become more tactile and less sensitive to foods and to encourage her to play more with foodstuffs.  We've also started multivitamins to maintain her iron levels, as low iron levels can depress the appetite.   

And that's where we are at.  I can't believe what a long road it has been.  I'm fully aware that there are lots more worse things that could happen and we are very lucky to have such a beautiful and healthy baby, but at the same time it's been tough and some days, especially on very little sleep, it is still tough.  

I think I still carry alot of guilt around about LL's reflux, about how I should have done more from the start, especially with my knowledge of being a nurse and health visitor, and I often find myself second guessing myself if she is upset.  Is it the reflux? Is she tired? Is it teething? I find it really hard sometimes to figure out what is wrong, and sometimes I just don't know, and we have to ride it out. 

I'll be sure to update you again with how we get on trying to increase LL's food intake, and I hope at some point we no longer have to take the medication too.  If anyone is struggling out there with their baby's reflux, please know you are not alone.  For me, dealing with LL's reflux has been so difficult, especially not feeling heard and feeling that it was my fault for having an unsettled baby, or it was something I should 'just get on with'.  If you do have any questions or want to chat about reflux please feel free to drop me an email.  If just one parent finds some comfort or help from me sharing our experience, then this is completely worth it.  Thanks for reading. 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

What the parenting books failed to tell you

I am a bit of a planner (that's an understatement), so before I had my girls, I read almost every parenting book I could get my little pregnant hands on.  This was on top of what I already knew as a paediatric nurse and health visitor.  Knowledge was power.  But now being a mum to Bee, four and a half, and LL, 16 months, I realise that there was a fair chunk of information that the books completely OMITTED.  Maybe they omitted it because they didn't want to scare new parents to be.  Maybe it's some secret code that these are the things in parenting that one must never speak of.  But I'm calling it, and today I thought I'd tell you the realities that I never read in the, 'you and your baby' chapter. 

1. It's OK not to love being a parent all of the time
Yes, we know we are #blessed and of course, we know to #cherisheverymoment , but when your little one has pooped all up their back and you are in the middle of Sainsburys without so much as a wipe, you aren't going to cherish the memory and take a picture for your baby album.  Similarly, being awake from 2am to 5am with LL might be great so I can browse ASOS, but as much as I love her, I would rather be in bed, asleep.  We all know how lucky we are to be parents, and its an amazing job.  But, it's also bloody hard and it's OK to admit you don't enjoy every single second. 

2. It's ok to shout
I PROMISED myself I would never be the shouty mum.  I PROMISED myself I would always talk to my children in the way I would like to be talked to.  I PROMISED myself I would never lose it and screech like a wailing banshee.  The reality?  If my daughter runs a ring around me with her pants on her head when we're late for school and she's not even dressed, whilst the dog is barking, and LL is eating some tiny Shopkin she has found at the same time as mysteriously appearing without her nappy on, I lose it.  Even the dog goes quiet as I shout.  I don't feel good about this, and I know I shouldn't.  But I'm only human.  Sometimes you shout and it doesn't make you a bad parent. 

3. Meltdowns in Sainsburys do and will happen
The memory of my daughter rolling horizontally along the tinned goods aisle screaming is a day that is forever etched in my mind.  I had no forewarning in ANY book that this could happen.  No book told me to never go shopping with a tired and hungry toddler.  Don't do it.  It would be better to eat that last tin of corned beef in the cupboard and risk starvation than to risk the horror of a supermarket meltdown. 

4. It's ok to look forward to bedtime (and sometimes lie about the time)
I love spending time with my girls and playing and reading and singing and dancing.  But sometimes, especially following only 3 hours of sleep, I want to lie in a darkened room and sob.  Just because you want a bit of peace and are looking forward to bedtime doesn't make you a bad parent. Also, I have been known to bend the truth slightly with the actual time, I'd appreciate a book that states that this behaviour is occasionally acceptable in it's appendices. 

5. You will feel guilty 99.9% of the time
The books should say, that whilst the most powerful feeling you will experience when having children is utter love, the second most powerful emotion you will feel is guilt. From feeding, to sleep, to behaviour and all of the points above, nobody warned me about the guilt (especially when I had a second baby).  Am I doing it right? Am I doing it wrong? The guilt is normal, and I'm afraid doesn't go away, but don't despair, because that brings me on to, 

6. You're NOT a bad parent
Breastfeeding? You're a good parent. Formula feeding? You're a good parent. A stay at home mum? You're a good parent. You're a working mum? You're a good parent. If you are doing what feels right for you and baby, then chances are you are doing an amazing job.  There are more ways to parent a baby than there are books on the topic.  If someone had the magic formula for how to manage sleep, deal with tantrums, never ever shout, then they would be making a fortune and we'd all parent in this same magical way.  Unfortunately, this magic unicorn of parenting doesn't exist.  Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we may get it wrong, but that never makes you a bad parent.  Do whatever feels right and you really won't go wrong, and I think these should be the parting words on any baby book.   

Monday, 20 March 2017

I've hit a wall

I've hit a wall, and by wall, I obviously mean a metaphorical wall, though there was that time I did actually hit a wall with my car, but I digress. I hate running. There. I've said it.  I've blown any chance of getting anyone who was vaguely thinking about running to start now.  But that's how I feel at the moment.  As you know, I've entered a half marathon in June, and I'm currently trying to train for it, bearing in mind I last did any real running back in 2014, and I'm not enjoying it. At all. 

I thought that by entering a half, it would spur me on to get out there and run again, because I had definitely caught the bug back in 2014, but I just can't seem to muster much enthusiasm for going out on a run.  I have a training plan, which involves 3 x 30 minute runs in the week, with gradually increasing longer run at the weekend, but so far I have hated all the runs, except for the very last minute of every run when I know I'm about to stop.  

I hope this is just a blip. 

I know I don't HAVE to run the half marathon in June, as even though I've paid my admission fee, I'm not running for a charity, so I could just not do it. But at the same time, I don't want to feel I'm letting myself down, and I'm wondering if I will enjoy it more as it gets easier.  I'm at the point where it still takes alot to run and I can certainly feel it in my whole body. 

When to run is also harder this time round. When I ran in 2014, I'd always run first thing in the morning before Bee woke up.  I had no time to debate if I was going or not, I'd literally just roll out of bed and run. Now, I can't run in the mornings because LL isn't the best sleeper, so I never know when she's going to get up and need feeding, so I tend to run in the evening.  This means I think of excuses all day of why not to run. 

God this is such an uninspiring post.  I think the answer is to just shut up and get on with it, no? I just wish I could fast forward to that point where I run and love it, this bit where it feels like hard work is tough, but I think I'd be silly to stop now, and then if I did stop, I'd end up moaning about that! But I wanted to post today as an update, and tell it like it really is.  At the moment it's tough, hard and I'd rather be at home eating chocolate.  

Friday, 17 March 2017

Friday Fashion Finds

You guys seemed to really like my ASOS fashion picks from last week, so I thought I would do another one today with more of what I've been buying from ASOS and Topshop.  LL has been under the weather with a cold recently which has set her reflux off, so I've been up alot in the night. As those of you that are regular readers know, my favourite thing to do during night feeds is to sit and browse every possible online clothing store and pretend to fill up my basket. Sometimes, I place my order, sometimes I forget all about it, and sometimes I just order it all because it makes me feel better at 5am.

So let's start off with the most random Spring purchase ever, a Christmas cardigan.  Last Christmas, for reasons unknown, I really wanted a Christmas cardigan.  I couldn't find one I liked anywhere, and then I spotted this in the ASOS sale last week.  They only have a few sizes left, but, I did order the 8 and it's quite large.  It also doesn't have any buttons so is quite drapey at the front, so you could get away with this size if you are a 10/12.  I know I won't be able to wear this for oh, another 9 months, but I thought I'd kick myself if I didn't get it before it sells out. 

Now returning to more season appropriate clothes, I ADORE stripes, and I've lost count of the fashion posts on here that involve a stripe in some shape or form.  This jumper fits the stripe category perfectly, and it has the most gorgeous detailing around the neck, made up of small jewels and sheer fabric.  I know I'm going to wear it ALOT.  The jumper itself is amazing quality and is a really nice fit too and I'd say true to size. 

I've wanted a jumpsuit that I can wear in the day for ages, but I just couldn't seem to find one that I liked, and that I could easily breastfeed in too.  I found this little beauty on ASOS and love it!! The buttons down the front mean I can feed LL and the fabric is really soft and comfy to wear.  The middle belt section means it can hide a multitude of bumps around the waist area.  I intend to dress this down with converse and flats, but you could just as easily dress it up if you fancied. 

I spotted this shirt on the Topshop website ages ago, but then forgot about it.  When I saw Louise Redknapp wearing it last week, I was reminded that I needed it in my life. They have mostly sold out online (think there are a few smaller sizes left), but, if you check your local store information on the Topshop website you'll probably be able to find this beauty.  I love the Spring colours of this shirt and the fact that it is a shirt means I can feed LL in it too (hurrah!).  I intend to dress the shirt down with denim and converse, or heels for an evening look.   

That's all my finds for this week, next on my shopping hit list is some motif t-shirts and smart crop / capri (do they still call them that?!) trousers.  Hope you have a fab weekend and see you next week, AND, are you following me on Instagram? I've posted a picture of me wearing the Oasis jumper this morning, and I'm always Insta-storying something, though it's usually about my eyebrow growing mission (more of that another day), anyway, you can find my social media buttons on the right! Bye for now and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Baby Group Fail

Last week I went to a local parent and baby morning.  Things didn't get off to a great start when not one single other parent, in a room of at least 20, attempted to make eye contact with me.  Nor did anyone tell me that I'd sat in the group leaders place, so I had to move and then squeeze into a tiny place more suited to a small flea. Things went from bad to worse as we started to sing, Old MacDonald went to France, and parents began shouting suggestions that we had to act out, like, 'eat a baguette', 'saw a snail', and 'he smelt some garlic'.  I looked at LL, and LL looked at me. I decided quite quickly after the first chorus we were never going to come back.  

Maybe my sense of humour is slowly being lost via my breast milk, but I couldn't care less what Old MacDonald saw in France, and I certainly don't want to impersonate a snail.  As a side note, surely he should be looking after his farm anyway. 

They say you never do as much in terms of groups and activities with your second, and I think to an extent that might be true. Everything seems to have been set to double speed with your second. But I also think I haven't got the time to sit through a group I don't enjoy and if a group doesn't suit me and LL, we just won't go again.   With LL, I don't feel that pressure I felt with Bee to attend groups. I'm much more relaxed, and that suits me just fine.  

New mums can feel like they 'should' be going to messy play, singing time, music time, paint time, dancing time, and whilst all that is fantastic, it's also absolutely OK if that's not your thing.  Attending playgroup weekly is not a qualification your baby needs to have to gain entry into school. 

Now I'm not saying these groups aren't good.  They can be amazing for babies and also give parents a chance to meet other like minded mums and dads, or sometimes they just get you out of the actual house and stop you from going crazy.  But, you have to find the one that suits you, and you shouldn't feel guilty about that.  Baby days are too short to spend them feeling guilty if you're not prancing around in a circle with a tambourine (that group wasn't too bad actually, and not like the time I had to do a solo at baby group). 

So for now, me and LL will let Old MacDonald have his adventures in France alone.  Quite frankly neither of us care.  And I think we'd both prefer a nice walk to the park instead. C'est la vie.   

Update:  Since writing this post, me and LL went along to a messy play session in our local village and it was amazing!!! Mums I didn't know made me feel really welcome, and I didn't just sit there like a Billy no mates. LL loved it too. It just goes to show you have to find the group that works for you and your little one, and there wasn't a snail impression in sight. 

Monday, 13 March 2017

five things it's ok not to have as a blogger

At the very start of my blogging journey, I didn't really know what I was doing.  I opened a Blogger account, sat down to type and so it began. But pretty quickly I started to realise that there were alot of things that 'bloggers' did, that I just didn't.  Today I thought I would share with you the five things that it's OK not to have as a blogger.  I also found some HILARIOUS photographs from my early posts to demonstrate my early blogging fails... 

1. A Graffiti Wall or quiet street
Why does everyone else seem to have a perfectly placed and accessible graffiti wall? Amazing Graffiti wall shots litter my Instagram feed, with the blogger happily stood in front, showcasing their new buys or doing a creative pose.  Or maybe it's the street shot, where the blogger stands in a secluded street, just as the sun is setting to nonchalantly turn to look at the camera.  My reality? My most glamorous back drop is my white garage door.  Attempts at recreating any other outdoor shots have resulted in my neighbour shouting if I was OK as I was stood against our garden wall. I think they thought I was about to pass out and I didn't have the heart to tell them that was my leaning against a wall pose.  Other glamorous locations I have tried include my window ledge?!?  

Not sure what the hell I was thinking

Leaning against the wall pose, amidst potted plants

2.  The Blogger Pose
Before I tried my hand at a bit of blogger modelling, I thought it would be very simple. How very wrong I was.  My outtakes range from me looking scared or in pain, to verging on plain frightening.  

Never quite got the 'look to the side' pose

Also never managed to figure out how to take a mid-air shot.  Obviously. 

3. A Willing Husband
I love my husband, I really do, but sometimes I wish he would jump up and say, 'come on darling, lets go and take fifty photographs of you in your new dress, and we won't stop until we have the perfect shot for your blog'.  That's never going to happen and there's more chance of me learning my dog to use the camera.  On the occasion I have dragged my husband out to take an outfit shot, I literally have one-shot to get the picture, and that's it. 

That was my shot

4. A natural flat lay ability
More and more flat lays pop up on my social media.  My attempts at recreating such shots result in it looking like I have thrown all items on the floor, and if I do ever get it right, the dog walks into shot, or someone decides to sit in the middle of it all. 

My flat lay. It just looks like it needs clearing up

5. The same as everyone else
If we all photographed the same, did the same thing and blogged about the same thing, then what a boring world it would be.  Not having the same as everyone else really sets a blog apart, and it's that authenticity and originality I know I look for when reading blogs. Since my early blogging fails, I've since learnt to rock my own style, because being true to yourself and being authentic is what makes each and every blog unique.

I may not have the poses, the photographer husband, nor indeed the flat lay ability, but should blogging ever require a white garage door, failed jump attempts or the most interesting pose in a windowsill, well, let's just say Zoella had better watch out.