Cheffy Daddy: Chilli Con Carne

Since Lucy’s gone back to work, I’ve been responsible for getting our meals on the table when Bea and I get home. We’ve started planning our meals of a weekend so that we’re sorted for the week ahead. It’s really tricky planning any regular kind of variety, but we’re getting there. You can see our current week’s food here… Continue reading “Cheffy Daddy: Chilli Con Carne”

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Cheffy Daddy: Lemon Chicken and Noodles

If you’ve been following on Instagram, you may have seen the photo already. This is my second #CheffyDaddy post, and since the last one(which was aaaages ago) Beatrice is very much into her solid food. We took the baby-led weaning approach based on talking to other parents, and we are really glad we did. It means that now, we can cook for the three of us and eat together. In terms of cooking, it means no salt, which is where you need other flavours to come in. Continue reading “Cheffy Daddy: Lemon Chicken and Noodles”

Happy Mother’s Day!

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!”

Post 50: Message to my daughter on International Women’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!).

Dear Beatrice, Continue reading “Post 50: Message to my daughter on International Women’s Day”

Milestone Moment: First Swimming Trip

Determined to get my blog goals for the week done! Time for number three. You can check out one and two on the respective links if you haven’t done so already!

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!

Image result for wymondham leisure centre changing rooms

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!

Image result for wymondham leisure centre pools

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?

‘Sharenting’ and the topic of digital citizenship (aka photos of our baby)

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.

#SaferInternetDay

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.

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Taken from the Newsround website

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!

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TOTS100

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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TOTS100

 

Names we should’ve chosen…

Baby names. One of the most difficult things to decide. Names are powerful things and what’s worse is that you, as parents, are totally responsible for choosing them. Do you go down the ‘Top 100 Baby Names for 2016/2017′ route? Top baby boys’ names beginning with Q?  Traditional names, modern names, family names – they all feature, and we certainly went through a fairly extensive list (including at least 3 baby naming books). Like most people, we had our shortlists. In fact, we had a boy’s name ready. We also had a fairly long list of girls’ names.

Even at the time, at least 24 hours after she was born we still weren’t 100%.

Now, she totally is Beatrice. Or Bea-bea. Or Bea. Or little Bea to her cousin. We love her name, and she loves to hear all the different variations!

However, back to the title. Despite our happiness with her actual name, it’s almost certainly only in the top five, maybe top ten names we regularly call her. No-one tells you that you not only get to choose someone’s name, but you are also the sole creator of their pet names, nicknames and other loving terms of endearment.

bricks.jpg

I’ve also noticed a bit of a pattern forming in terms of the names I call her, so I wanted to share this little ‘Baby Name Generator’ with you. It’s fairly simple, take a word from the first list, and follow it with a word from the second one. It’s not exhaustive, but certainly covers a lot of her names!

List 1: 

Wriggle / Cheeky / Little / Happy / Gorgeous / Bouncy / Cutie

List 2:                                

Bottom / Pie / Girlie / Baby /Monkey / Monster / Pops       

Okay, so maybe ‘Gorgeous Bottom’ doesn’t work. I’d love to see your pet names in the comments, they can really stem from almost nothing and have no meaning to anyone but your little family unit- which is exactly as it should be!Big thanks to all of you who read the last post. It was my most successful to date! If you’ve seen the last couple of posts, you may have noticed a Tots 100 logo appear at the bottom. This is a site that lists the top UK parenting blogs. I’m a long way off of that at the moment, but the more views, likes and reach the posts get, the further I could go up the list- curse my inner competitive streak! I’ll let you know in February how I’m getting on (your position gets updated monthly). Enjoy your weekend!

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TOTS100

A bed of her own

Happy new year everyone!¬† You probably missed my last post (why not subscribe…ahem) on New Year’s Eve, as you were probably out having a good time being sociable. That, or you are also new parents, and New Year’s Eve passed you by in an alternative stupor – we pretty much forgot to actually say it to each other (thanks Lucy for the reminder!). There’s even the chance you decided it wasn’t worth all the fuss and went to bed early and missed it too. It was a list reflecting on a range of firsts for us as a family. I left one of those out somewhat deliberately in order to blog about it later.

Christmas day night was the last night Beatrice slept in the same room as us (for now- I’m not naive enough to think that she won’t be toddling in when she gets older!). She has been everpresent in her Moses basket since that Friday in July.

Before Beatrice was born, we were pondering which bits of parenting came down to common sense. This was one of them- when should she go to her cotbed? When she’s too big for the Moses basket (also see when should we swap out the carrycot in the travel system…?). As ever, I’m sure there are a million and one different theories for timing the big move, and all of them would be fine. For us, we loved having her there next to our bed. It was even one of the first things I blogged about. Granted, we’ve been incredibly lucky – she enjoys her sleep, and with both of us having time off during the summer, her sporadic sleeping hours at the start were definitely bearable. That said, I’ve almost certainly jinxed her (and our) sleep patterns with making this public knowledge…

What are the pros and cons of her new digs then?

Pros

  1. I can read a book in bed at night – I’ve missed this a lot!
  2. Getting up to go the loo in the night no longer requires the skills of a trained ninja
  3. The nursery I decorated is being put to good use!
  4. I can get changed with the light on in the mornings, meaning I look like a normal, everyday person and get things on the right way round. I think I spent every night in November putting my t-shirt on either inside out or back-to-front before getting into bed.
  5. The value of our baby monitor increases every day…
  6. Travelling gets potentially easier. The basket and stand take up a lot of room!

Cons (this is probably where it starts to sound soppy. I’m not apologising.)

  1. The only noises we’ll probably hear from her in the night aren’t going to be the little whimpers and sighs we used to. It sounds ridiculous to be nostalgic about something that was only a couple of months ago, but we are! We’re fairly heavy sleepers, so we won’t hear those on the microphone.
  2. I can’t sneak in so easily to give her a quick kiss goodbye before setting off to work. I daren’t even poke my head round the door for fear of waking her up. Her new room doesn’t have the familiar noises that our room would have had, so I’m worried that any additional noise might change things – Lucy probably goes in and sorts stuff every morning with her fast asleep in there though…
  3. It means she’s growing up! The last couple of weeks have been a real chance to take stock of our memories so far as parents. There have been loads, and I don’t know how people coped without hordes of digital photos to help them in their efforts.

So, there you have it. Our little girl, who is completly unfazed by the whole thing, no longer shares a room with us. It makes me a little sad, but also proud that she feels comfortable and safe enough to sleep soundly in her own room.

 

TOTS100 - UK Parent Blogs
TOTS100

 

Beacember Advent Calendar Day #22

It turns out scheduling posts is a very handy feature indeed, and allowed me to spend uninterrupted time with my favourite duo yesterday (even if both Lucy and I both checked in at 6pm to see if it had gone live…).

We discovered yesterday that the ‘chunky wheels & tread for off road adventures’ didn’t quite live up to their name. Whilst we generally love our Armadillo travel system (Mamas and Papas, we’re more than happy to try out more of your products!), it wasn’t quite ready for the mud we ploughed through yesterday morning! In 2015, we completed 50 walks around Norfolk and decided to relive a bit of one of them for our anniversary, this time with added cake and treat lunch. We started at Kerri’s tearooms, and then moved onto the lovely Dial House in Reepham to round off our walk.

Then it was back home for a bit of a play, followed by a Christmas movie and a quiet evening with Lucy.

The photo yesterday was a glimpse into what will hopefully become a tradition in our house. It’s a recipe/ingredients for cookies for Father Christmas! I love biscuits, and obviously whilst most of the treats we’ll make will go to FC himself, he’ll need a local taster to do quality control checks.

Two posts left on our first ever Beacember adventure, what’s left behind the penultimate door?

day-23-teaser