- June 15th, 8:51
I know that Jonny and I are not the only couple to have had midnight arguments after the birth of a baby; having spoken to friends I’ve had this fact confirmed. When Florence was born we spent many a night in bickering rages with each other, both of us accusing the other of having more sleep, not doing enough and mainly just niggling each other. Of course this was borne from tiredness on both parts and by morning the arguments were usually, not always mind, forgotten. Jonny and I have always been a fairly bickery couple having even coined the phrase ‘Saturday storm off’ as most weekends one of us would do so at some point. It was inevitable then, that once sleep deprivation had set in, we would be at each others throats! As I said the arguments were usually forgotten by morning but there are a few, one in particular that I can remember fairly vividly. One Saturday morning at around 2am I asked Jonny to get up and nurse a screaming, red faced Florence. She was awake for what seemed like the hundredth time and I’d had approximately 1 hour of sleep all broken up into ten minute slots. I was not feeling my best. He turned to me and said ‘Ruth, it’s my weekend for God’s sake, can’t you just do it?’ Well that sent me into a screaming hissy fit! ‘Your weekend? YOUR weekend? When the *?$£ is my *?$£ing weekend then?’ Of course he was tired too but I think we can all agree this was not the argument he should have been using! I won through sheer rage and he got up. I suspect the fact that I literally had steam coming out of my ears helped my plight!
I knew having another baby, with the older one not entirely (or even slightly some nights) out of our bed, could cause some fairly broken nights sleep and had mentally prepared myself for the days, weeks and months of walking around like a zombie. I had organised box sets of my favourite American sitcoms, studied what was on the demand vision and had lined up all sorts of programmes and films to watch with my nightly feeds. With Florence I’d spent hours lying on the sofa watching Sex and the City and the film Jack and Sarah over and over while she was awake and had presumed we would be doing similar this time too. (We watched so much SATC that when we went to the baby cinema to see the film my 10 month old Florence actually cheered when SJP came on the screen)! I’d also assumed I’d be doing a lot of nighttime writing but as it turns out Jimmy wakes for a feed, goes straight back to sleep and I don’t have to get up at all. We are however, still awake fairly often especially with Florence coming in any time from half ten onwards with a chirpy ‘Hello, can I come in’? before sleeping horizontally between us; we are inevitably still tired and grumpy despite having a sleepy baby who feeds well.
Although I knew about sleep deprivation this time and I’d remembered the arguments, (I’ve spoken of them often, the ‘weekend’ story is one of my favourites and I recount it whenever the topic arises) for some reason, during my planning and preparation it hadn’t occurred to me that we’d be in for night time rowing again! I guess I’d assumed it was a first baby problem and that by the time the second comes along you’re older, wiser and would understand you’d be tired but there’d be no need to let it get to you; you’re far better as a team of two than getting at each other and blaming the other one for not doing enough! Apparently I was wrong. Tiredness and babies, in this house anyway, induce fretful, frantic, stubborn, childish and often ridiculous arguments and I guess that’s just how it is. When Jonny brought a bottle of milk to bed the other night, a bottle I’d spent time and effort expressing, then never, not once woke up to say he’d do the feed and left me to do all of them on my own (a weekend night no less) leaving the milk to go off, I was fuming at 5am! ‘You should have woken me up then’ he said ’I didn’t know you’d brought it in, why would you do that if you had no intention of waking up and giving it to him’? I replied and it went on… But by morning (at a suitable time to get up) it was forgotten… Well, almost… These first weeks with a baby, no matter how well they sleep, are exhausting and while they give you some of the best moments of your life they also cause many a silly argument but at least this time, unlike the last, I know it will end and divorce (or worse) doesn’t have to be flittering into my mind! With Father’s Day this weekend I will try not to expect him to do too much overnight on Saturday but it is entirely possible that with his Father’s Day gifts he may very well get the odd flea in his ear too. I presume he half expects this!
Us back in the day when bleary eyes were caused by alcohol!
Babe, Donkey in the City!
Where’s my Donkey been spotted this week then? None other than the heart of the City, the financial district and home to many an iconic building that’s where! And we took Le Donk to see how he fitted in. Catching the train from Stratford to Liverpool Street couldn’t be easier with a buggy like the Donkey for he glided with ease on to the Greater Anglia service which have automatic double doors and with no assistance needed I got him, the children and myself on and off with no problems. Once in the City I found him as expected, incredibly easy to push round the pathways and streets and because he’s slimmer than your average double I don’t think he impinged on anyone walking to and from work as he may have done had he been a regular double! With lots of admiring glances from the suits (everyone, simply everyone is interested in the Donkey) we proudly showed him off to his best on a sunshine walk and then we took him for lunch in one of the Spitalfield restaurants (again, space was not a problem for Donkey is just not that big)! What did Donkey see on his travels? Well, take a look…
Lots of these traditional buses in the City!
Trendy Spitalifield and he fitted right in!
Hmm, what’s the iconic image here…? Yep, Le Donk!
Where will he be spotted next I wonder…Perhaps we’ll take him for a Father’s Day treat with Jonny but you’ll just have to come back and see next week for it’s sure to be somewhere exciting, we don’t like to travel anywhere fun without Donkey these days! I’ve been asked a few times whether my trusty old Bee is redundant now that we have the lovely Donkey and I have to say absolutely not! We’re very fortunate to have both and Bee is still very much in service it’s just that for many journeys Donkey is better for us these days! I have to say though, that when it comes to nipping about on the Central Line, Bee and her buggy board are very much still our flavour thank you very much! We’re big Bugaboo fans and they all have their own very special features with the resounding quality that runs through all the different buggies of being brilliantly manoeuvrable, practical and stylish to boot! I love the way that all of them, including the Donkey, fold down to fit such small spaces! Remember I said once that my cousin’s cat weighs more than the Bee? Well here’s a picture of said cat, Mr Tig2, who even after a diet is still heavier than the Bugaboo Bee!
And just to prove we’re not telling porkies, here’s a picture of us travelling as three with the bee on a trip up to the centre of town and another just out for a stroll in the sunshine!
For more information on the ‘Donkey’ and all other ‘Bugaboo’ products please see their website www.bugaboo.com. It’s also worth noting that ‘When you choose a ‘Bugaboo’ product to help you on your way, something else good happens as well – as ‘Bugaboo’ contributes 1 % of its total revenue to The Global Fund to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. This means more women and children living with HIV in Africa will get the medicine they need to lead a more normal, active and hopeful Life’.
Last weekend when we were up in Norfolk we went to revisit one of our favourite attractions and see what was new at Bewilderwood! Having spent the day there last year and been super impressed with how it catered for babies (Florence was only 1 then) we were excited to see how much more she’d love it this year, now that she’s that bit older. Last year, she had a super time in the ‘toddlewood’ areas; swinging in the trees in the specially built zip wires for babies and playing in the vast sandpit with tiny houses on small stilted walkways was just some of the fun we had. This year I knew she was going to be able to enjoy so much more! Bewilderwood, which is bang in the middle of the forest in Hoveton near Wroxham is a place like no other. It’s not a theme park, it’s not got a fairground, it’s not got animals (well not as we know them) and it’s not showing films… But Bewilderwood has something that none of those places have which makes it oh so much better; Bewilderwood has… magic! As you start your journey around the park, walking on adult sized stilted walkways over the bogs and the river it becomes apparent almost immediately that you are somewhere special and from the time you spot your first tiny fairy house high up in the trees (the fairies, pixies, boggle, twiggles and all the Bewilderwood characters have their own tiny walkways through the trees) you are enchanted and immersed in the world of Bewilderwood! Tom Blofeld, the creator of Bewilderwood is an author and the characters of his children’s books, Mildred the Crocklebog, Swampy (a young Marsh Boggle), Hazel the Wood Witch and all their friends are the inspiration behind the park which is billed as a curious tree house adventure.
The place is quite literally a story book brought to life and with the imagination of children, the day can be whatever your little one’s heart desires! As they run through the trees, be it high in the sky or lower down for the tiny tots they will capture the essence of the place which is full of mystique and charm. What could be better than watching your children run round and round with gigantic soppy grins on their faces until they’re tired out with fun? Seeing them play with each other and enjoy a day which is not only active but also will encourage imaginative play is simply fantastic and I can vouch that even babies as young as newborns will get something from the experience! Jimmy simply loved looking around and breathing in the fresh air of the forest! For Florence, this year, she was able to still enjoy everything that the toddlewood areas have to offer but also be a little bit more daring and try out some of the higher up fun. Her and her younger cousin Arthur (who thought the baby zip wires were just brilliant) enjoyed the freedom of the place which just dares even the most buttoned up of parents to run with their arms open wide! Luckily for us the weather was beautiful meaning we could enjoy a picnic on one of the many wooden tables provided! (If you don’t fancy catering for yourself then there’s a fairly reasonably priced café with under cover seating which is still outside meaning you don’t lose out on the atmosphere). We built dens with tree branches, listened to a fantastic story which was performed on the stage with the children who are invited to join in, whizzed about on slides with mats and ran through nets giggling as we got stuck! We made a pixie house under a tent for arts and crafts, played in sand, got lost in the maze and we had simply oodles of fun in the park! This wasn’t even anywhere near all of it either for we missed some things as there simply wasn’t enough time in the day; we were sad to have not gone boggling and twiggling again this year! As we set off on the boat which takes you from one of the walkways to the exit, visiting Mildred the Crocklebog on the way, we were already making plans to come back!
I just love this place for all of the reasons above but it’s especially worth noting how thoughtful they’ve been when designing this wonderful playground. Just like last year I am very impressed with how easy they make it for people with disabilities to enjoy just as much fun as the able bodied children and there is a new (not quite open yet) area for breast feeding with wonderfully comfortable chairs and cushions in a darkened hut just by the picnic area. They really do cater for everyone at Bewilderwood and it won’t break the bank taking the family there because it’s extremely reasonably priced! A cheeky little tip also is that this Father’s Day Dad’s go FREE! What better way to treat him than to let him climb in the trees with his little ones for his special day!
A selection of our pictures from the day!
Standard prices for day tickets for adults is £12.50, children £10.50 and little ones under 92cm are fancy free! For concession prices and further information regarding the park please see their website www.bewilderwood.co.uk.
We’re not going to be able to go back to Bewilderwood for Father’s Day unfortunately because we will be at home in London but we will be spoiling Jonny that’s for sure! Florence and I are going to cook him a special breakfast and his present is something special too! We’re going to do him a CEWE PHOTOBOOK (www.cewephotobook.co.uk) with some of the pictures after Jimmy was born and he became a Daddy of two. It’s looks really simple to download the software and then select your photos etc and then, without having to go get photos printed and slip them into a traditional photo album, we will have our very own bound book with our photos printed in it! We’re going to spend £30 on an A4 sized book with a canvas cover and when it arrives we’ll let you know how easy it was to do and how it looks! Sounds great and I know it’ll be something Jonny will really cherish. Some friends gave us something similar after our wedding and photobooks do make absolutely brilliant gifts! I just can’t believe how inexpensive CEWE PHOTOBOOK’s are, they’re an absolute bargain!
Obviously we weren’t that quick off the mark sorting out presents this year because I was so ill after labour. I just didn’t get round to doing the photobook in time for it to arrive for June 17th so we shall also be giving Jonny these fun gifts we found in Asda. Having spent a lot of time playing ‘superheroes’ recently (thanks to the brilliant exhibition at Discover Story Centre in Stratford) we think the ‘superhero’ theme Asda have going on for lots of their Father’s Day presents is a really cool idea and perfect for us! There’s loads in the range including pens and notebooks (perfect for work) to mugs, magnets and key rings and with the most expensive item being just £5, all at that perfect pocket money price! As with everything they sell, Asda is yet again offering great quality products for families on a budget! We’re going to be giving Jonny the ‘superhero’ photo frame which has a cartoon hero with a space behind the mask for us to put our own photo of Jonny and a Marvel Comic key ring. Both items are just £2 and they’re both really fun! If your Daddy, unlike ours, isn’t a superhero (although I’m sure they all are) or would prefer something a little more self indulgent then it’s worth noting that Asda are also selling a range of products for men called the ‘groomed’ range which has items from £1.50 all to do with male grooming; shaving, hair gel, face scrub… I think most men like a male grooming product and for us it would certainly prevent him using my products, so money well spent I’d say!
The superhero photo frame!
And our Daddy the superhero! Jonny dressed up as Banana Man at a party last year!
Countdown to Lollibob!
9 weeks to go!
Now as I’ve spoken about many times in the past, the Lollibop Festival last year was totally superb and we’re so excited about the fact that it’s nearly time for all the fun again that we’re starting a little countdown to the Lollibop Festival on the blog! With just 9 weeks to go there’s not loads of time left to ensure you get your tickets! They’ve already sold out of the early bird tickets so you do have to be really quick with something as popular as this! It’s just a like any other music festival but with all the acts, tents and goings on specially selected for little people and last year we bopped to the likes of the Zing Zillas and Rasta Mouse and Da easy Crew performing on the main stage as well as the set by DJs Dick and Dom and the disco by Baby Loves Disco. There’s so much more to the day than just the music but I’ll tell you about that soon!
For more information and how to book tickets please see www.lollibopfestival.co.uk.
MY LIFE WITH 2! WEEK 6!
This week has been lovely and what’s more, I’m finally off the antibiotics! Still in some discomfort but the infection has GONE and that’s just brilliant news for us! Florence, Jimmy and I have been out having fun every single day and Florence has been so worn out that one night she even stayed in her own bed till 5am! What an achievement! So the weather has been awful but the sun is out today and that always makes everything seem brilliant I think! Just lightens the mood and I’m hopeful that we will have a summer and all those lovely clothes people have bought Jimmy will get to be worn! I took them both to Discover in Stratford at the weekend and I bumped into an old friend who is very dear to me which was wonderful. They have an area at Discover where children can put on their own puppet shows from behind a little theatre and we sat watching one being done by a dad and his little boy as I was feeding Jimmy and just as I was thinking blimey, this dad is really good at this Florence went over to get in on the action and I had to go over to stop her; as I did so I saw that the dad doing the brilliant puppet show was none other than my old Drama School acting teacher from Itali Conti – well no wonder his puppet show was good, eh! You could have knocked me over with a feather to bump into him there but it’s funny because over the years I’ve bumped into him a couple of times in some very unusual places so I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised! It was great catching up with him, meeting his two boys and reminiscing over old times. Everyone has a teacher they remember as changing their lives and making a difference and for me that’s Adam, even better then that he’s offered to coach me through the final part of the L.A.M.D.A certificates so that I can then teach the subject! This is something I’ll love and can’t wait to get started!
Florence playing with the giant musical instruments in the garden at ‘Discover’ in Stratford!
Unfortunately both my babies still have colds and its fine for Florence because she can blow her nose now and even though it’s not very nice for her she knows how to do that on her own. Poor little Jimmy has been so stuffed up and uncomfortable but he’s such a good baby that he doesn’t make much fuss, it’s so sad. When they’re this little there’s not a lot you can do for them when they have a cold so I’m really pleased then to have found the Baby Nose-Clear products by 4 little 1 which give you just a little bit of extra support for a new born with a stuffed up nose. Their products which are especially designed for little ones are a really gentle and safe way to help your baby through a cold and we have been finding the two products we’ve been using absolutely invaluable. My Doctor even recommended the 4 little 1 Nasal Aspirator £7.29 so I know that it’s 100% safe! It looks like it might hurt but Jimmy hasn’t complained once when we use this contraption to gently suck the blockage from his nose. Sounds disgusting but there’s a filter in the middle which ensures that the process is perfectly hygienic and it really does work! When using saline solution (which is the only thing Drs prescribe for new borns) it has really been upsetting Jimmy when we squirt it up his nose but he doesn’t mind one jot when we use the nasal aspirator which says a lot! You just gently hold one end in the baby’s nostril and give gentle little mouth sucks at the other end which draws out the blockage into the middle where the filter prevents it going any further. You then easily pop it in half, wash it thoroughly and are ready to go again! The perfect solution for babies too young to blow their noses and we wouldn’t be without it!
We’ve also been using the Baby Nose-Clear Room Vapour, £6.99 which has been an added aid in the room overnight. When Jimmy lays down it makes him especially snuffly so this has really helped to assist us with keeping his nose unblocked. I’ve been putting a couple of drops in a bowl of warm water by the radiator at night but you can also put some on a wet flannel near where the baby sleeps. When I’ve got a blocked nose I always use some oils to help unblock my congestion but usually they aren’t safe for tiny babies, this one however is so it’s an absolute must have! There are other products in the range and we think judging by the ones we’ve tried they are definitely worth looking at when your baby has a cold.
For more information on the Baby Nose-Clear range by 4 Little 1 please see their website www.4little1.com.
And finally before I go I’ve got to tell you about my ‘Newborn Must Have of the Week’! We stumbled across photographer, Vicki Huckle who runs a strikinig newborn photography business Pennycress Photography and we noticed she was taking really unusual and gorgeous photographs so we got in contact. We had a session and now our photos are ready; they’re superb! She specialises in taking pictures of brand new babies, preferably before they get to two weeks old and she manages to get some excellent shots of them all scrunched up just as they were in the womb while adding some beautiful artistic touches! I had thought we’d rock up, have a few photos, I’d worry about Jimmy in some of the poses (I’d seen one of her collection with a baby being held high up just in the palms of his Father’s hands) and then we’d go home again shortly afterwards. I had no idea of the process and how seriously Vicki takes everything from the safety of the baby and the environment he or she is in to ensuring that the baby is comfortable in all the positions. It also takes a lot longer than I had envisaged and we were there for 4 hours while Vicki gently took the photographs while she taught another Mummy to be how she does it. I have to say I was mega impressed with how beautifully she managed to get my baby into a deep enough sleep so that she could take photographs without him being disturbed, she knew how to hold and rock him and without doing anything without my say so she snapped away some of the most gorgeous photos I have ever seen. I didn’t realise that all of the dangerous stuff is her melding two photographs, so when you see her pictures of babies being held high above the ground in slings they are actually only a couple of centimetres from her giant soft bean bag.
Because Vicki not only does private sessions for new families but also teaches her trade (she is one of the first and renowned as one of the best) to expectant parents and other photographers I got to see her in action in both roles. Even though she was teaching during my session I never got the impression I was there for a function and she treated me as if I was a friend. I get the impression this is how she treats everyone as her manner is lovely and she is clearly just a people person in the right job for her! I could see that the lady who was learning how to take these types of shots was learning lots and when I spoke to her about why she’d chosen Vicki she looked at me as if I was asking a very odd question indeed. ‘Because she’s the best’ was the reply and I have to go with that I think as she certainly seems so to me too! Vicki clearly has the right sort of temperament to teach others and with her artistic eye, lovely cake selection and way with babies it was a gorgeously relaxing way to spend the day on Jimmy’s 1 week birthday. We love the shots and will be recommending her to everyone we know with a newborn, you do have to be quick though as she gets booked up months in advance and actually recommends that you book your slot as early as possible, just after the 12 week scan even! She’s moving to new premises at the moment and having seen a photograph of her new studio with its huge church style window I can only imagine the whole experience will be even better!
Take a look at my three favourite shots from our session. The first one we’ve used on our thank you cards for all of Jimmy’s gifts and we’ll most certainly be having them on our wall too! What a beautiful treasure for us to keep forever and I think you’ll agree, they’re too sweet for words!
For more information or to book a session or training session with Vicki please see her website www.pennycressphotography.co.uk.
I also wanted to let you all know, after my Mammae nursing bra review from last week, that Mammae are also launching a new plus size range! I absolutely love my bra and since I wrote about it I have been inundated with questions and one of the most popular ones has been ‘Do they sell them in plus sizes’? Well the answer now is a tremendous yes! The new plus design is available in Taupe Treasure, sizes 34-42, E- H cup. It follows on from the success of the other award-winning Mammae bras which includes the elegant Mammae Classic range. I tried out the classic and wrote about it in my last post so for my full review please take a look back at that; I loved the discreet feeding eyelet inside the cup which opens from the middle rather than the top amongst many other features and think this range of bras are totally wonderful! For more information please see www.mammae.co.uk.
See you back here next week when we’ll have been climbing some more trees (all will be revealed) amongst other stories! Before then, if you have a moment, please do take a moment to read my little post at the bottom of this entry and think whether you might be able to help a little girl with Cerebral Palsy and her family who are fund raising for treatment to help her walk unaided.
In the meantime follow me on Twitter @rocknrollerbaby
(All opinions and words, apart from those in green, are my own. I have not been paid for this article although I did receive some products to keep after I had reviewed them.)
My little sister has a very mild case of Cerebral Palsy and I know how difficult things can be for her even though she is not affected badly. My sister has had to wear splints and have treatment in hospital many times but she is one of the lucky ones, she can walk and for all intents and purposes you wouldn’t know that she had any difficulties. Some people just aren’t as lucky and the treatment they need is invasive, costly and in this country can mean taking your turn on a long waiting list. A couple in Widnes who have a beautiful little girl called Susanna are desperately trying to raise money to take her to Missouri in the US for a life changing operation that will enable her to walk unaided. Missouri is the only place she can have surgery urgently – in the UK there is a 2 year waiting list which would mean Susanna would miss her window of opportunity to have it done as she will then be too old to qualify. We are very lucky to have a National Health Service but as with lots of things they have puzzling constraints and with this silly ‘computer says no’ sort of situation there’s simply nothing else that can be done other than to look at alternative options like this couple have done. Who wouldn’t do the same for their child? The operation has a 100% success rate so all logic says she simply MUST have this surgery but at £60,000 it’s something most people, including them, would not be able to afford. With no time to lose arguing the situation with the NHS, as ridiculous as it is, they have had no option but to set about find raising and with £15,000 already clocked up they are on their way to making their daughter’s life so much easier. They do however, still have a long way to go.
The restaurant Frankie and Benny’s, who are the employer of one of Susanna’s parents, is determined to help the couple raise the money by the end of July 2012 and have promised that this little girl will walk properly like all of her friends. They are embarking on a nationwide fundraising weekend on Saturday 30th June/Sunday 1st July in every single one of their restaurants where they will donate £3.95 from every child’s meal purchased as well as undertaking many other specific fundraising activities for each individual venue. The money will enable Susanna and her family to travel to and from the States for the operation and the operation itself, provide accommodation for the family for a month following the procedure and further intensive physiotherapy. It will also pay for the further treatment and aftercare on her return to the UK and hopefully there will be enough to also provide Susanna with some equipment to aid her speedy recovery.
If you could spare a little or a lot please go to the just giving page where you can help contribute to support this endeavour. http://www.justgiving.com/helpsusannawalk
This is Susanna.