Here we go again… 

So we’re expecting our second child any time now. Our first is 2.5 years old now, and it seems simultaneously like yesterday and a million years ago that I was writing this blog about her. Now we’re expecting her little brother, and I can hardly believe we’re going to put ourselves through all this again! They say boys are better sleepers, right…? And at least this time the breastfeeding let down pain won’t come as a nasty surprise, and chances are labour won’t be 44 hours and result in a ventouse delivery with episiotomy. So I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to enjoy this little man more easily, more confidently, and quicker than with our first.  I suffered a little from some blues after the birth, and sleep deprivation compounded it, so I’ll know to look out for that too. And the midwives are on high alert to look for tongue tie again this time & support me with feeding if he does have it, too. 
The only thing in not happy about us my own family. Somehow, my mum, who I asked to look after our toddler when we go into hospital for the delivery, got totally confused & lost what’s left of her mind & booked a holiday to the Galapagos Islands, leaving 2 days before my due date, and returning a week after. Apparently this is my fault, too, because I asked my mum to bring her holiday forward from the originally suggested departure date of a week after my due date. Baffling. I’m just grateful that my partner’s family are considerably more thoughtful & are coming over from Ireland instead, and that we have a very maternal childminder who is desperate to help. My mum still refuses to try to understand why I’m upset, and my dad & sisters think I’m being dramatic & over-emotional (as usual). I’ve given up hoping for apologies from any of them; if something doesn’t make sense to them personally, then it simply doesn’t make sense – these people have no idea what empathy is. Oh well, it’s not the first time my family have disappointed me since I started my own family, & nor will it be the last.

All this stress has made me think about how close modern families are, emotionally and physically, from their wider families. Not so long ago, everyone would live in the same town, on the same street even, and helping out with kids for siblings, cousins, even neighbours, was the norm. Our society now with its emphasis on working families paying for childcare, social mobility & being culturally less altruistic & community-minded I think, means families like us – for whom the nearest member of immediate family is a 2 hour drive away – are much more commonplace. We’ve raised our little girl just the two of us, with occasional visits from grandparents. And one of my sisters has only visited her niece twice. The woman is a stranger to her. 
In some ways this isn’t so bad – my family would have more opportunities to drive us both crazy if they lived closer – but I think about what our little girl misses out on, having a very narrow range of people & ages in her life. I grew up seeing grandparents annually, and it wasn’t until we moved into the same town as my mum’s parents when I was eleven that I finally got to have a proper relationship with my Nan. It was something we both cherished. 
Tell me about your family’s role in your lives – would you like to see more, or less, of them? Has our society changed? Thanks for reading. 


Self Settling – What Really Happens When You Teach a Baby to Self Soothe to Sleep

As an attachment parenting convert with a serious mistrust of the ‘crying is not stressful for babies’ belief, I’ve not been convinced about the belief that babies should learn to ‘self-settle’. I honestly can’t begin to imagine our little girl doing that without a giant battle – when she wakes during the night it’s instant rage! So next time the health visitor tells me that to avoid the 2-4 hour bedtime sleep fight that I need to put her down while she’s still awake, I will quote some of this research at her…

Help – My 4-5 Month Old Is Sleeping Like a Newborn Again (AKA ‘The 4-5 month old babies from hell’)

Our little pumpkin is what you might call ‘sleep-averse’ at the moment, as in, it takes me 2, 3, even 4 hours to get her to go down to sleep in the evenings, and sometimes nap times are met with a great deal of shouty resistance too, so this blog post really galvanised me and just lifted a weight off me in terms of stress about baby’s nightmarish sleeping habits right now.

I have Sarah Ockwell-Smith’ book BabyCalm after reading all its good reviews on Amazon. And I’m a total subscriber to her instinct & baby-led attachment parenting-type support.

What’s the deal with No More Page 3?

I’m not particularly a feminist, but I do agree that Page 3 should go – it’s just not respectful & I agree that it reinforces gender stereotypes. Not to mention giving girls an image of what their breasts should look like; and that’s not fair as usually men aren’t very fussy and are happy with whatever they’re allowed! I’m not against porn, I think it has its place – on the top shelf – and Page 3 belongs there with it.

Lisa on duty, campaigned for the No More Page 3 cause Lisa on duty, campaigning for the No More Page 3 cause

We’ve all been there – you’re just trying to have a quiet read of the newspaper when you turn the page and suddenly, you’re faced with a picture of a woman with her boobs out.  Or worse, when you’re not even reading the paper, but the person next to you on the bus is, and you can’t help but notice the topless woman glaring at you from the page. It’s slightly distracting, usually embarrassing and arguably, completely undermining for females across the country.

The fact that Page 3 still exists in The Sun might sound like a bit of a bad joke, or maybe even a bit of harmless fun.  But the team behind the No More Page 3 campaign aren’t laughing (and neither are the 191,700 people who have already signed the petition or their 28,600 Twitter followers).  We spoke to one…

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Second child syndrome AKA Instagram baby

Adorable poem!

Hurrah For Gin

Instagram Baby
(An ode to subsequent children)

You’re an Instagram baby, he was DSLR;
There are times when you’re not properly strapped in the car.

We binned all the books that suggested routines,
And we ditched the organic and fed you baked beans.

You’re wearing your brother’s shoes, I’m not sure if they fit,
And your white cotton vests are stained with his sh*t.

I may take twice as long to respond when you cry,
But I’m much less inclined to worry you’ll die.

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Yarnbombing in Bath – crochet roses for Bath Fashion Week’s charity Kids Company

ImageI’m disappointed I only just heard about this on the news this morning, but in aid of Bath Fashion Week’s chosen charity, Kid’s Company, the town is being yarnbombed with crochet roses. The Bath Fashion Week’s page describes it as ” Yarnbombing, graffiti with wool is an urban art that humanises public spaces. It’s an interaction between materials and places and at its heart lies an intention to awaken people to their surroundings often injecting humour into everyday objects. It’s an old craft with a contemporary twist.”

Workshops have been held for weeks in the premises of sponsors The Porter, Carluccio’s & The Royal Crescent Hotel, with yarn & crochet hooks provided free of charge by organiser Emma Leith. For every rose created, IT company Cloud Direct will donate 10p to Kids Company, who reach out to abused & vulnerable children. According to the Bath Chronicle, they ‘must have over 2,000 roses’.


Bath Chronicle article
Bath Fashion Week page
Kids Company

Breastfeeding research can start explosive discussions!

Breastfeeding research can start explosive discussions!

Personally I think breastfeeding is best – nutritionally of course it’s designed for them, and (when you’ve got the hang of it) it’s easy & cheap. It is of course a personal choice but I suspect a lot of women who stop or never start would have liked to have breastfed, reading between the lines on comments on forums, etc. There is a lot of support available but as I know personally, it can be bloody hard work & very painful so I have total sympathy for women who stop because of problems. That being said, I think stopping because you want ‘a bit of me time’ or giving up too easily is selfish. You’re not breastfeeding for you – it’s to give your baby the best possible nutrition. 

Saying all of this though I should mention that I was formula fed as I was adopted, I turned out okay although I did suffer badly from tonsillitis as a baby – may or may not have been from not gaining a better immune system from being breastfed. 

So I find any iinformed research & discussion interesting, as I find myself on both sides of the fence. I would never tell anyone what they should or should not do – it’s not my business – and it’s rude & disrespectful. 

What’s the problem with pink and princess? The marketing, not the moms.

I was never a pink princess… I wonder what our little girl will be? I do find it difficult to buy even non-pastel babygrows which bothers me, I’ve bought boys’ ones.

Dr. Rebecca Hains

This week, New York and Slate published pieces asking why so many moms have a problem with pink and with princesses.

“What’s the problem with pink, anyway?” griped Yael Kohen in New York. Then, building upon Kohen’s piece, Slate senior editor Allison Benedikt demanded: “What is it with you moms of girls? I have never met a single one of you who isn’t tortured about pink and princesses.” Her annoyance is palpable.

Both writers proceed to defend all things pink and princess. “We treat pink — and the girls who like it — with […] condescension,” Kohen states, while Benedikt adds, “Moms of daughters need to chill out.”

Let’s take a step back, please. I am the author of a forthcoming book called The Princess Problem: Guiding Our Girls Through the Princess-Obsessed Years, and Kohen and Benedikt’s arguments are wrong on several levels. By pontificating on the subject without actually talking to the moms they’re criticizing, they’ve missed the point. Having interviewed…

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10 Reasons Why I Will Continue to Give my Children Handheld Devices

Okay so baby is only 8 weeks old but she has two extremely tech-friendly parents who are a graphic designer & web developer, and are constantly using (and loving) handheld devices. She will have her own, I’m sure. She’s already watched newborn stimulation videos of contrasty moving shapes on the tablet & our phones, and she loves it. She has 2 cousins (aged 3 & 5) who have their own iPad minis & are very creative with them, and I’ve seen how useful they can be.

I love that the author of the blog cites am instance where her 7 year old used YouTube videos to learn to draw a cat – perfect use of tech. I taught myself to knit using YouTube, it’s such an amazing resource. I’m sure we’ll be responsible with our children’s use of handheld devices, but this article certainly gave me something to think about.

Chop Wood, Carry Water

Image My children, both on handheld devices, learning and laughing.

Last week the Huffington Post ran this article titled 10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12.

As an educator who advocates for the intentional and appropriate use of technology, I could go on about this forever. But instead I’m writing here as a mother.

Here are my 10 reasons why I will continue giving my children handheld devices, and all other forms of technology as well.

1) Because banning things never, ever, ever works. 

Remember when your parents wouldn’t let you watch rated R movies so you just went to your friends’ houses to watch them? I think I’d rather have my kids using technology and handheld devices with me beside them. Where I can engage with them, answer questions, and limit content if I have concerns.

2) Problem solving.

When my kids…

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