Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Our ban on screen time

I have always been in favour of little ones watching the telly - in moderation of course. If you pick the right programmes, it can be educational and entertaining, it gives them a cultural connection with their peers and it can give mummy some much-needed rest time. The little man has learnt to read numbers by watching Numtums and I love the gentle moral message that comes across in Postman Pat - everyone helps each other out and hasn't a bad word to say about anyone (perhaps I need a couple of days living in Greendale).
However, lately we have noticed that the little man is perhaps watching a little too much. I had fallen into the deadly habit of letting him watch YouTube clips of his favourite programmes on the iPad while he had dinner, something that never sat right with me and always filled me with guilt everytime I did it. As our son is very French in the way he eats - he takes ages - we started to tot up the hours he was spending in front of the screen, adding telly time as well, and decided it was getting a bit out of hand. Plus, he was spending a lot of time reciting scripts of his most-watched programmes and he had got into the habit of demanding TV everytime we returned home which was very wearing.
So we decided to go cold turkey. I might add the little man's daddy managed rather skillfully to time the launch of this screen-ban with a "very important meeting" taking him away from home and leaving me to face what seemed like a daunting uphill battle. But his job is with numbers and mine is looking after our telly addict so it was only right really that I face the challenge.
In actual fact, the new regime was remarkably easy to implement. Day one he asked for the usual programmes and "the little laptop" for dinner. I didn't say no, just distracted him and he was fine. Day two he asked once or twice. By day three he had forgotten all about them. Instead, he started doing puzzles again, and reading books - something he had loved doing but that had gone by the wayside as the telly took over. We sat and read book after book. He mastered a 20-piece puzzle, then a 24-piece. He started playing more with his cars and train set. It was more hardwork for me entertaining him (although the beauty is he started entertaining himself more) but the results at the end were just so rewarding it was completely worth it. We could see our little boy coming on leaps and bounds and not once did he ask for the TV. Yesterday he was ill and asked for Postman Pat so we cuddled up and watched it together - I am not a complete dictator.
I don't envisage a future without telly, and I wouldn't want that as I feel he would be missing out, but as far as I can it is going to be a limited passtime to make room for others. Well, let's see how it goes. Now, where did I hide the remote?

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Bump envy

Well my bump is coming on a treat I have to say. I'm 29 weeks now and it seems to erupt a little more every day. My inny tummy button is a distant memory, applying varnish to my nails has become a logistical nightmare and I am left more than a little breathless when I reach the top of the stairs - I think baby has taken more than its fair share of the room where my lungs should be.
What I have noticed this time around is how much attention seems to be being paid to how big the said bump is. Perhaps it is because last time I was pregnant I was surrounded my officeworkers and now my colleagues are fellow mums, often also pregnant themselves, but there is definite eyeing up and comparing being done (by myself included). Some fellow mums coo at how neat my bump is. Others have the opposite view, like my ever-tactful brother-in-law, whose wife is due exactly one month after me and on seeing me guffawed loudly: "Blimey, you are enormous" while looking at his other half's teeny tiny baby bulge. My friendly local butcher, upon discovering I am due the same time as his girlfriend, spent the next five minutes of our conversation casting glances at my belly and exclaiming how much smaller she was than me. Even my sarcastic "Well thanks for that" didn't seem to put him off. That's the last time I buy a sirloin steak from him - well this week anyway.
The other night I went out for drinks and was introduced to a friend of a friend who is also expecting. I cast a quick glance at her tummy and calculated I was at least two months ahead of her, judging between our sizes. She is due two weeks before me. It is her first though, a thought I comforted myself with as I waddled over to the bar to buy a lemonade and lime. You are always smaller the first time around - although I did see a profile shot of my taken just before the little man arrived into this world and was aghast at how big I had actually got.
One friend, due four weeks after me, always greets me with a friendly smile then groans at how big she is compared to me. Funnily, I think the exact opposite - I am sure I am bigger than her, as I should be. 
All this comparing and constrasting I take with a very large pinch of salt (and some handcut chips and fish knowing my appetite at the moment) as I am loving having a bump again. I take great delight seeing baby number two stretch and kick about under the surface and it is fun discovering my old maternity wardrobe again. And when I stroke my burgeoning belly, I remember how, a few months ago, I had longed for this to be happening and what so many of my childless friends struggling to fall pregnant would give to be in the position I am now - although perhaps not my most usual position heaving to get off the floor after clearing up toys left by child number one. I must teach him to tidy up after himself before it's too late and I am left helpless like a tortoise on its back, waiting for my husband to come and pull me upright again.