Sunday, 25 September 2011

Baby rage at the checkout

I recently read a post by fellow mum blogger Mother's Always Right who was sharing with her readers a rather upsetting supermarket incident with the main players being her crying newborn, an over abundance of new-parent hormones and an insensitive comment from the cashier. With a little one the same age, the story was all too familiar, as it was for many of her followers, which is why I thought it would be a good idea to write about my own experience. New mums and dads out there suffering at the hands of an intolerant and impatient public - you are not alone.
My "incident" happened when the little man was about seven months old. We were queueing up in a supermarket (why does it always happen in a supermarket?) and he was enjoying experimenting with his voice – not crying, just seeing what sounds he could make. As I was paying, an elderly man who was sitting, reading the paper and waiting for his wife to finish packing their shopping, was clearly irritated by my son's babbling and  spat out “shut up” in our direction. I don’t think he meant me to hear but unfortunately for him I did and I was filled with a hot flush of indignation.
I can understand that a baby making rather loud sounds with his voicebox might grate on the nerves but we weren’t in a library or a restaurant which made him completely out of order – and I told him so. To quote – “Don’t tell him to shut up, he is just experimenting with his voice.” And as I swept away – “Learn some manners.”
Usually I work out what I should have said half an hour after the event so I was somewhat surprised but pleased that I actually managed to have my say. I suppose it might have been my maternal instinct to protect and defend but it felt good. Despite that, I remained upset for the rest of the day and the next time I was in the supermarket and the little man started getting chatty again, a wave of panic came over me that we might be disturbing others. It was a horrible as it made me feel like an unwanted outcast – that we should stay inside and do not disturb until he has at least learnt his social graces.
I would ask that elderly man to think back to when he had young children and whether he would have wanted their mother to be made to feel the same. I think not.

Monday, 19 September 2011

In the breast business

Several hours after the little man was born, a lovely lady gently pulled back the curtain encircling my hospital cubicle and introduced herself. Claire was a breastfeeding consultant and she had come to show me how it was done - I hung on her every word. Two days later, she visited us at home to see if I had been successful in putting her advice into practice. Her kind and professional manner was the equivalent of a life raft during that first frenetic month of motherhood and, thanks in no small way to her, I went on to breast feed for another twelve.

This is my 100 words for @helloitsgemma and @michelletwinmum, for Save The Children’s No Child Born To Die campaign.
8 million children die every year from basic illnesses. Half of these children are in Africa, yet Africa only has 3% of the world’s doctors, nurses and midwives. Save The Children wants to tackle the shortfall of healthworkers in the poorest parts of the world.
You can do your bit too.
1) Sign the petition.
2) Write 100 words about a health worker you’ve encountered in your life and link up to Michelle Twin Mum. Add a link to the petition and either link or add in some information from Save The Children about the #Healthworkerscampaign
3) Link to a number of other bloggers and ask them to do the same.
4) Tweet about it, mention it on Facebook. Tell your friends and your neighbours and your family. Spread the word. Because no child is born to die.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The boy with the silver spoon

Having had three boys of her own, the little man’s nain (Welsh grandmother) is rather good at present buying. In short, whatever she gets goes down a storm. The favourite so far is a trolley with wooden blocks that he pushes around endlessly shouting “go, go, go” as he whizzes past. The blocks are just becoming interesting too although knocking them down is far more fun than building them up.
Another great find has been a beautifully made wooden walker that “she couldn’t resist”. Forget garish plastic novelties, this toy is charmingly old-fashioned – the kind you imagine Benny Hill lovingly carving and hiding away under the shop floor of his toy shop in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Remember that? The child catcher scared me SO much – still does if I’m honest).
 The toy is simplicity itself, comprising a long stick with a small ball on one end (for obvious safety reasons) and a delightful painted cow on the other. This ‘moo-moo’ has wheels instead of legs with little wooden balls attached to them by string that make a satisfying clunking noise when set in motion. He will sit for hours (well, a good fifteen minutes) rolling it back and forth. For us mums, this toy is a blessing – what else can you wheel about with one hand while flicking through the latest edition of House Beautiful with the other?
The latest acquisition, however, is pure genius. As he is beginning to want to feed himself, his nain has bought him his very own loop spoon – a piece of baby cutlery she swears by. Instead of them having to tackle a long handle, this natty device loops back onto itself which is perfect for a little hand to grip. It seems you can’t get these in plastic, so while his parents eat their dinner with Ikea’s finest knives and forks, the little man is dining in style with cutlery that came in its on presentation box – talk about being born with a silver spoon in your mouth.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Carry on camping

The little man, P and I have recently returned from our first camping trip as a family. And I am pleased to report it was a resounding success. After much pre-holiday hand-wringing - What will the baby sleep in? Will he get cold at night? Can I survive without my straighteners? - we have come back from a two-night break away feeling as if we have been holidaying for two weeks.
The destination - Eweleaze Farm in the Purbecks, about 45 minutes from where we live. If you have children and are fond of sleeping under canvas, this place is a gem. Fabulous coastal views, gloriously hot solar-powered showers and a farm shop packed full of organic local goodies for the adults; a petting zoo, the odd pot-bellied pig lolling about and plenty of haystacks for climbing for the kiddies. Sounds idyllic? Well it was, barring one incident with a Shetland pony that for our friends increased the otherwise absent stress levels.
Their little girl, who is fast approaching two, was keen to have a ride on one but there was a queue of other little girls all with the same idea. Each time the hard-working animal approached the line of expectant riders, picked one up and headed off in the opposite direction, their daughter would, understandably so, fall about in a fit of angry disappointment. This went on seven or so times, but they had no choice except to wait, bear the tantrum, and wait again until it was finally their turn. They steered clear of horses and queues for the rest of the stay.
Eweleaze only opens as a campsite in August and the rest of the year is a working farm which makes it popular so if it sounds like your kind of place, book early. Go to
Some top camping tips I picked up whcih you probably already know but you just in case:
- One washing-up bowl won't do. Take two - one for washing, one for rinsing
- A dustpan and broom come in handy to get rid of all the grass and mud little ones drag into the tent
- Thermos mugs are wonderful for keeping your tea hot while you are running half way across a field after a toddler determined to explore further than he should. They were so good in fact I am considering using them at home too
-Shetland ponies and little girls sometimes don't mix

Here is the little man with his new favourite toy taken by our lovely friend Sian. It belongs to her little girl so not sure if daddy approves...