What was wrong with the first one I hear you all cry? Designing your baby’s nursery is an exciting, challenging and potentially stressful part of preparing for your little one’s arrival. When Lucy was pregnant, I was very keen to get it just the way we wanted it. Hours were spent poring over Pinterest and Google images (as everyone no doubt does), and all the style tips were generally ignored. We wanted something calm and neutral, no particular theme and that was about it really. Oh, and I really wanted to paint something exciting on the walls. Continue reading “Designing a New Nursery”
March has been a slow blogging month. Sorry if you’ve been waiting patiently for a new post! I think I can look back on it in terms of content, if not quantity. I finally got around to writing a feature that is about something I am passionate about – children’s reading, and then wrote a very personal but heartfelt message to Beatrice. This post is probably going to be the last one of the month, so it makes me proud that the content for this one is just as important to me as the other two!
If I’m honest, this month has also been a blur of amazing awesomeness and it’s been hard keeping up with all of Bea’s new skills – this has definitely been one of my favourite months of being a parent yet. More on that in the future… Continue reading “Happy Mother’s Day!”
So, this is post number 50. Way beyond my expectations in terms of posting, and way beyond my expectations to have received even half the comments and people coming to look at our little slice of life.
It makes sense then to mark this post with something important. 50 is a nice round number after all, and sounds important. And I’m frustrated, and annoyed at myself with only leaving around twenty minutes to type it, get it out into the world and have this one go down as post 50. It’s been one of those weeks where other factors have crept in (our car being the main one!).
Since starting this blog, I’ve always wanted to include a regular book review feature. One of the most exciting parts of planning Bea’s nursery was where to put the books! At this point, some of you will be completely on board; others will be already be looking at other blogs by now… Continue reading “Bedtime Reading 1: Once Upon an Alphabet”
Just a quick post whilst Bea’s having a nap. Check out Vol. 1 here.
These posts are all about seeing what Bea’s reaction to various music is. So far, basically anything that we do a cheesy dance to seems to be her favourite!
One of her favourites over December/January was this old Disney classic. We started humming it thanks to the school panto (Aladdin) and she just kept beaming!
This week I took a bit of a gamble on something more to my actual music tastes, and Bea was captivated by the mixing and scratching at the beginning! Long may this continue! Her first ‘gig’ was at a DJ Format & MC Abdominal concert (Lucy was about 10 weeks pregnant at the time), so I’m hoping her tastes were influenced early on…we then had a great boogie for about ten minutes full of giggles. Lots of funk/soul on show if you get through the first 2 minutes or so.
This may have more to do with the jiggling, tickling and tipping upside down (#daredevilbaby) but I’m going to credit the music choice this time!
Feel free to make suggestions in the comments! They may well feature in Vol. 3!
Last Saturday, the three of us went on our first public swimming outing, and also our first time swimming as a trio. Bea has been going to lessons for what seems like forever now – I think from around 8 weeks old? – and loves going in the water. Occasionally, I get to go along to the sessions and see how she’s getting on, and frankly I’m amazed at how fearless our little girl is! She also gets picked out for the demos as she is a really calm baby…(slightly proud teacher daddy moment there, sorry!) One memorable week involved her being picked out, only to be dunked about half a metre under the water and taken about a metre along. She came out looking vaguely flustered and slightly confused, but that was about it! I’m a poor swimmer, and hate going underwater, so I’m certainly going to have to face my fears a bit. Lucy, a particularly strong swimmer, has tolerated it till now, but I can’t really show Bea that it’s scary to go under at an age where she’s really responsive to our emotions and reactions!
Our trip out
Anyway, we decided to finally take her out ourselves. Swimming nappy and little swimming nappy cover thing in hand, we set out to a local pool at Wymondham. I’ve nicked all their pictures off of Google because I wasn’t going to go around a swimming pool taking photos!
For anyone who’s Norwich-based or thereabouts, this is a really fantastic place to take your little one. They were friendly and knowledgeable on the phone, so we could be prepared before we left, the place is bright and airy, and the family changing facilities are spacious and clean. We were really, really surprised as I think our expectations were a fair bit lower!
There are two pools once you’re in: a main one for adults, and a shallower learning pool. This learning pool is still a fair size (see below), and is something like 0.7m deep. It was also warmer than I thought it would be, though make sure you pay attention to your baby’s needs as they feel the cold a bit more than you!
Daddy V. Mummy
I think it’s fair to say I fell into the habit of pushing things a bit further than I probably should have. I think this can be a fairly common phenomenon, but must stem out of whichever parent spends more time with their child. Without meaning to, Beatrice certainly got mouthfuls of water in my care, whereas she was generally much better off in Lucy’s well-trained hands! Obviously this can happen to either parent, but I was certainly less sure in what Beatrice’s water skills were. In this case, I underestimated her ability to keep her head up when on her front (whoops!). I must point out, no babies were harmed in the writing of this post though!
It was brilliant to see Beatrice grinning away (gulps of water aside) and the fact that she is naturally starting to kick around. She also started splashing for the first time properly – I don’t get to see many ‘firsts’ now I’m back at work so this was awesome! She has a pretty strong arm too. Just make sure to hold on when they’re splashing, as you’ll inevitably be blinded at some point. I’m proud to say that she didn’t slip or fall out of my grasp
Will we go again?
Definitely! It was very easy, lots of space to float around in, floats and toys were provided, and Beatrice had a great time. Over time, I’ll definitely get over my fear over swimming under water and also get to know my daughter’s abilities in the pool a lot better.
Big thanks to @splashandgiggle for turning our daughter into a little waterbaby, she loves it!
Blog goal 3 down! I’m not sure if I can do goal number 4 by Sunday, but I’m going to find a way round that…when did you take your baby swimming?
So, time for Blog Goal number 2 for this week. The snazzy font in the featured image above is made using the Typorama app, which is free and is brilliant by the way!
Not sure why, I’m certainly no future Jamie Oliver (think the ship has sailed on that one), but I felt like posting some of my cooking efforts. Lucy and I do really enjoy cooking when we get the chance. Lucy’s a keen baker, and I like to make a mess when I do savoury stuff!
This Sunday, I made us a lamb curry. This was a lot easier than you’d think, especially if you skip out the whole blender phase. We like chunky bits anyway!
I’m not going to take any credit for the recipe itself, it’s a Mary Berry one taken from the BBC Food website (which is an amazing website by the way!).
- 3 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 kg/2lb 4oz diced lamb shoulder or leg, or a mixture of both
- 2 onions, chopped
- 25g/1oz fresh root ginger, peeled – I used some ‘Easy Ginger’ out of the fridge
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 red chillies, seeds removed, chopped – I used chilli flakes!
- 1½ tbsp ground cumin
- 1½ tbsp ground coriander
- ½ tbsp ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp Garam Masala powder
- 1 x 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
- salt and pepper
If you look closely enough, you’ll see I left out some of the ingredients that we didn’t have. I don’t know how different it would taste with those added, but this slimmed-down version was still delicious and something we’d definitely be able to do again with our stock ingredients!
A quick summary of the actual process (again, I’m basically nicking this from Mary Berry with a few lazier moderations!):
- Fry the onion, garlic and ginger till the onions are softened. It’s probably best to keep the heat low-medium, making sure you don’t burn the garlic.
- Add the spices and stir them in until all the bits are coated.
- Then add the lamb chunks and fry for about 3-4 minutes, turning up the heat a bit to brown the lamb. Again, get it all coated in the spice mix so it all tastes glorious.
- Add the tomatoes, some salt and pepper, and let it simmer down for about half an hour. You can get the rice on or any extras whilst this is happening (we use a mix of Basmati and Jasmine rice).
- That’s it! The sauce should thicken and you should be left with a delicious, quick and easy lamb curry! It definitely felt like a treat at the end of a good weekend.
This would almost certainly work with any meat. We had some leftovers from my Daddy/daughter day out in the freezer, but I’m sure anything else would work fine.
Hopefully I’ll be able to bring you more Cheffy Daddy delights in future blogs! Whilst I wouldn’t recommend this one as part of a weaning baby’s diet (it was a bit spicier than expected, not sure it’s worth the risk!), Lucy has had a go at making some things that are suitable for Bea at breakfast time that are considerably less squishy than her other options! If you want a sneak peak, you can check out my Instagram page.
Two down, two to go…
On Sunday I set myself four blogging goals. Here is the first one (I didn’t say I’d do them in order!) for the week. Hopefully I can get around to blogging more regularly.
The timing of this is actually somewhat coincidental. Since signing up to WordPress, I’ve been following the odd parent blogger that has been kind enough to like finding out about our little parenting adventure. There are around 20 of you out there following at the moment, so thanks for stopping by and having a look!
One of the people I’ve been reading is This Tiny Blue House, and their recent post on digital citizenship struck a chord here.Maybe it’s the fact we’re both teachers that makes us slightly more aware/cautious about our digital footprints. I tried leaving a wordy comment on her blog, but the internet decided to disagree with me, so I guess a blog post is the next best thing!
With this blog, I decided from the off that I didn’t want to show any full pictures of Beatrice until she was able to decide that she wanted her photos to be on here. I can’t say completely why, but it just felt like the right thing to do. In a few years she’ll know that this blog is part of her life and may want to go back through where it all started (I know I’d be curious!). Already just putting the odd (granted, fairly unique) tag into Google images reveals quite the digital trail!
I’m equally aware that this isn’t a foolproof goal. We share pictures of her on Facebook with family and friends, and like many have closed groups for sharing day-to-day ones. This is obviously a bit hypocritical, but there is a relative control over what is shared there. We’ve never been big sharers online and this is just an extension of that I suppose.
Today is also ‘Safer Internet Day’ which is generally aimed at preparing children for their life as a digital citizen. As I said, the timing of this post is actually coincidental, but it has thrown up some interesting things, such as the word ‘sharenting’ and some valid concerns from children themselves. Firstly, ‘sharenting’ is a great word by the way! Even if it seems to be attached to negative connotations, it’s a brilliant portmanteau.
It’s thrown up some interesting statistics too (albeit not terribly scientific), which made me think about the children I work with. It’s something I will definitely discuss with them.
You can read more here if you like. By the way, I’m not criticising anyone who does any ‘sharenting’. Most of the photos I see online are positive, and way better than anything I seem to manage with our camera (maybe that’s it, my photos just aren’t up to scratch…). Children are growing up with this being commonplace, and generally know what could happen to a photo of themselves online. I guess it comes down to your own attitude towards it with your children as to whether it has potential to be positive or negative. Either way, I will continue to take countless photos of our girl growing up and equally look for photos of those little moments that I can share with you! Please go and have a look at the discussion Jenny has generated on her post above, or feel free to comment on here too. Blog goal 1 of 4 achieved. Phew!
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:
- Another milestone for our little clan
- Sharing thoughts on photos of Bea
- My first ‘Bedtime Reading’ post
- 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.
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 BabyOne 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!