My worst parenting mistake…

Parenting is full of moments that leave you thinking “Why on earth did I do that…?” I had one of those this weekend.

Calling them mistakes is probably a bit harsh and negative – parents are generally pretty hard on themselves without feeling like they’ve made . Being new parents is like the ultimate learning curve. You assume, you predict, and you try your damned hardest. And even then, things go wrong. Frequently! Thankfully, this is normal. In fact, it’s pretty much my motto as a teacher. Learn from what you didn’t quite do right.  You never stop learning, and this is doubly true for those with babies! What’s really important is to have those mini fist-pump moments when you do get a tricky thing right!

Before I get onto what I did this weekend, thanks to those of you wishing us well on Bea’s eczema. It has certainly taken a turn for the better, even though Lucy hit the nail on the head when she said “It’s like putting an eel into a glove” when talking about our evening routine. Mistakes abound with that challenge! We’ve got our beaming, giggly, gorgeous little chunky monkey (other names are available) back though, and just looking into what the trigger is.

“Let Sleeping Babes Lie”

This is up there with the name of the blog in terms of phrases you hear around babies. To be fair, it makes perfect sense. You should be making the most of them being asleep. The reality is that you’re probably exhausted from looking after two (or in Lucy’s case, three) lives, but equally you have plans, places to be and so on. It should be a time to rest yourself, and recharge the batteries.

Bea had had a couple of days with a poor tummy, resulting in a glut of nappy/costume changes. Once we got her down for the night, we chilled for a bit then went off to bed ourselves, job done. She stirred at about 11:30pm, crying, so I went in to administer the ‘daddy cuddle’ – so far, a foolproof, gentle, settling cuddle (not as sinister as it sounds!). It had worked its merry magic once more, and as I set her down, I couldn’t shake the familiar smell of baby poo from my nostrils. Even as I got back into bed, I regretted not changing her nappy there and then. Lucy and I did a bit of tag-teaming to get the new nappy on, not easy with her new ‘tights’ and lo and behold…not a single sign of poo. We did have one fairly excited, confused and awake baby though!

That was a definite error on my part. I felt awful, having worried Lucy, worried myself, and waken Bea all for a poor sense of smell! Just when we were all set for a good night’s sleep as well!

Cue another twenty minutes of cuddles before Bea slumped her head on my shoulder and started snoring away contently again. It was only then that I could genuinely apologise to Lucy. I’m brave enough to admit that I didn’t think that was going to happen and I’d started a new routine! Granted, it’s not the worst mistake ever made, so I apologise for the melodramatic opener!

Moral #1 of this story- be really, really, sure before you change that nappy in the night!

Moral #2 of this story- make sure your partner is pretty forgiving!

I’ve been just about keeping up with the #WeeklyBlogChallenge17 encouraged by some friends on Twitter. Post #5 was no different. So I’m setting some new targets for the next few days…

Blog goals for this week:

  1. Another milestone for our little clan
  2. Sharing thoughts on photos of Bea
  3. My first ‘Bedtime Reading’ post
  4. My first ‘Cheffy Daddy’ post

If you subscribe, you’ll get all of these in your e-mail! If not, then sorry for the barrage of updates later in the week.

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Eczema! Eczema! Read all about it!

This is a difficult thing to write about. On the one hand, I know that eczema in babies is an incredibly common condition, and therefore this isn’t that big of a deal. On the other, it was out first real experience of her being in a state of constant irritation and (at times) pain, which is something all parents must experience at some point (note- I did not say she is a constant point of irritation! ). Therefore hopefully this is something people can relate to on some level. The last thing I want to do is to make our situation read like an X-Factor sob story!So, back in November, Bea developed a slight skin condition on her cheek. We were told it was infected, and had our first experience of syringe-fed medication. Needless to say, it didn’t go well, as she really didn’t like the foul-smelling goo- can’t say I blame her. It got worse, and other patches began to appear on her legs, arms and back. Her face was covered in weeping skin and it’s a miracle she didn’t kick off about it more. That feeling of helplessness is something that all parents must feel at some stage. We certainly felt that way a few times. A lot of reading up online was done (see my previous post for more on that!), which was a bit of a mixed bag. Whilst there is a lot of advice out there, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the negative stories and panic. Offline, people have been brilliant in offering suggestions too (although I think we’ve had the same conversations with so many people now!). After a few weeks of getting nowhere with creams and moisturisers, we began to look for other solutions. Here are some of the practical steps we’ve taken, should you be reading this looking for advice.
Itchy Babyitchy-baby-logoOne of the first sites we turned to for help though was Itchy Baby. This is an incredibly useful starting point for anyone with queries about the condition. The main thing you get from visiting the site is the knowledge that there are so many possible factors for affecting your baby’s skin. There are some that are more common than others, but it can be a massively daunting prospect to take them all head-on! We decided that changing our laundry powder was the most obvious thing to do. Our first port of call was to change our laundry powder. Thanks to Itchy baby, we’re now using Ecoballs instead of washing powder. They’re quite loud and clunky, but work out at 2p a wash so can’t really be turned down! Alongside this, we’ve tried changing formulas, first going lactose-free, and now we’re on goat’s milk formula. It really is amazing how much is out there for babies! We’ve toned down the frequency of bath time, which thankfully hasn’t impacted on her overall routine. There have been many other considerations too, and we’ve looked into natural remedies too.
Where We’re Up ToThis week, things still weren’t improving and Bea was getting particularly frustrated. I got home on Wednesday to find my little girl wrapped up like an Egyptian mummy, with one slightly frazzled non-Egyptian mummy who’d spent a busy day with the NHS in one form or another. Actually, that’s doing Lucy a massive disservice. She has been fantastic and has done everything in her power (as no doubt every mum and dad do!) to make Bea happy and healthy. Because of her monumentous efforts, including a mad pram dash across Norwich, things seem to have taken a miraculous turn for the better (for now). Beatrice’s skin is on the mend, and is more or less back to what people expect of baby-smooth skin.I daresay it’s far from over and done with, but we’re in a much better place with it. We’re even much better at the syringe stuff now. Pinch cheeks, tickle under the chin. Looks horrific, feels really cruel, but it works…
Granted, Lucy and I are wearing protective layers to stop the emollient from ruining everything we own, and Beatrice is as slippery as anything once she’s caked up in her new combination of creams, but the effort is totally worth it. Bea’s attitude has completely changed back to the bubbly, giggly baby she was before Christmas, and is seriously enjoying her new found ability to sit up by herself! She was showing it off today whilst we enjoyed a lovely Sunday roast out in Reepham. Sorry for the long post, and for the cheesy title. I was quite proud of that pun and didn’t want it to go to waste. I’ll be sure to update you with more thoughts on how she’s doing in the future, and perhaps do a more succinct post with the various advice and products we’ve encountered. Have a good week!

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