An exciting month ahead

The blog might be a little quiet for the next month as my little family is heading off on an exciting adventure. The Hubby and I are taking the little one back to the UK to meet the family he has not yet seen. It is going to be a marathon getting there (two flights and a journey time of over 24 hours) but I keep reminding myself that there will be lots of pairs of hands ready to have a cuddle when we get to the other end so it won’t be so bad. We are away for a month in total, spending half the time with Hubby’s family and half the time with mine. It is going to be awesome for everyone, great for us to catch up with people we haven’t seen for a long time (it’s six years since we last went back) and great for the little man to get to know his extended family.

So please excuse my quietness, I promise it is all in a good cause and I will be back as soon as the jet lag has gone on our return!

Exhausting weekends and fancy fabric

My weekend was exhausting and not in a good way. The little one has his first cold (at least that’s what we think it is as he does sound awfully snuffly) and with that came a temperature. This led to a very grumpy baby. Thankfully Hubby was around to help (although he was feeling jet lagged after finishing a run of seven night shifts). We did manage a nice walk on the Saturday and Sunday I was given a pass to go shopping and get a haircut, but other than that is was trying to keep the little one happy. It felt a little like whatever we did just didn’t cut the mustard although I am sure that has a lot to do with a squiffy perspective and a feeling of over tiredness.

My beautiful new fabric

My beautiful new fabric

It would seem that whatever is bothering him is still bothering him as his temperature is still raised and he’s still grumpy. I was given permission to head to he fabric shop today though and was very happy to see that the fabric I have been coveting was on offer meaning I HAD to buy it! Four meters of fabric, two patterns and a few bits and bobs later (including a bit of a dent in the bank balance!) I now have the means to make myself a nice skirt and a pair of funky trousers for the little man. All I need now is the energy to get on and do it!

The truth about babies…what I’ve learnt so far!

I thought I would share some of the things I have learnt in my first six months (almost) of mummyhood. In no particular order…

1. Your baby will always fall asleep on a walk just before you get home/back to the car, just in time for you to have to wake them moving them into their car seat/bed.

2. Just when you think you have a schedule happening your baby will change things up just to keep you on your toes.

3. Your baby will always wait until your other half has gone to work before doing the biggest, smelliest poo possible (Monday mornings are a particularly popular time for him/her to do this)

4. Whenever you think it is safe to get a hot drink/some food your baby will prove you wrong.

5. Just when you think your baby can not scream any more they will find their second wind.

6. Your baby will save his/her cutest smile for the time he/she knows you are most annoyed/frustrated with them (I’m sure this is a built in survival mechanism!)

7. Your baby will behave impeccably around other people, making you out to be exaggerating everything you say about them. The second those people have left your baby will revert to normal behaviour.

8. Your baby will save their loudest burp/fart for when you are in company (but it’s ok to laugh at baby burps and farts!).

9. You will try all those things you were told not to do, anything to get some sleep (a cuddle or a snuggle can solve many things)

10. Despite and because of all these things it is an amazing first six months (even if it is at times difficult to see this)

Please let me know any pearls of wisdom you might have learnt about mummyhood (or daddyhood) as it is always good to get warning about what might be ahead!

Bring on the apple

We made the decision to try the little one on some food. He’s been watching us eat for a couple of weeks now and makes the occasional grab for my cup of tea and then on Sunday he managed to get a piece of apple peel and was in seventh heaven licking it (to the point that he got very distressed when it broke!) With this in mind I stewed up some apple ready for our first attempt as he seemed to already like the taste.

Deciding whether it was time has been tricky with so much advise around about when is the right time. Lots of Mummies I know have already started their little ones on food at around the four month mark, other people say wait until six months. Our little one has never been a very consistent eater as well, some days he will take almost a litre of milk in a day and other days we are lucky to get him to have more than 700ml. I had been advised to wait until he was more consistent but to be honest I don’t think he ever will be so we decided to try and figured if he wasn’t interested he wouldn’t take it. In other words nothing tried, nothing gained. All this advice is enough to make someone want to tear their hair out!

I guess that’s the problem with babies, there is so much “advice” out there that you can end up feeling very over whelmed. As a first time Mum I want someone to tell me what to do, after all I don’t have a clue what I’m doing, but there is no one answer and there never will be. It’s taken time but I realise that what works for my little one doesn’t work for another. Some of the babies I know sleep and eat like champions, some lie quietly taking the world in, some are big, some are small. My little boy is a power napping, constantly wiggling,fussy eating little monkey! Together Hubby and I are slowly working out what works and also figuring out that what works one day might not work the next, it’s all good as we are learning together.

He didn’t look too impressed with the new experience of apple and pulled some wonderful faces. Fingers crossed he will slowly grow to like the experience of eating and we will have fun giving him the chance to try new flavours.

Easy cake for busy Mums

I love to make cakes and both hubby and I love to eat cake too! With the little one around finding the time to make cake is difficult unless I bake in the evening when he’s gone to bed. That was until I remembered a recipe I used to use when I was little, the easiest cake in the world, Honey Cake from a little book called “Pooh’s Fireside Recipes”.

The reason it is easy is you simply melt some of the ingredients, add some eggs and flour and then cook. It takes about ten minutes to make and then half an hour to cook and best of all it tastes yummy. The book is hard to find now as I think it is out of print so I will share it here with you.

175g self raising flour
125g butter
100g soft brown sugar
150g honey (3 rounded tablespoons)
2 eggs
1 tablespoon water

Grease and line a cake tin (I use a loaf tin) and preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Measure the butter, sugar, honey and water into a saucepan and gently heat until the butter has melted (do not allow to boil). Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool for ten minutes. Beat the eggs in with a wooden spoon one at a time. Fold in the flour and then mix well to ensure there are no lumps. Pour into the prepared tin and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes. When cooked leave it to cool for a few minutes and then remove it from the tin to cool.

This cake is yummy with a lovely cup of tea or just when you feel like a little something naughty! I’ve really enjoyed taking a trip back to my childhood and getting to have a nice slice of cake without the need for a trip to the shops. If you give this a go let me know what you thought.

Christmas crafting

Obviously Christmas is going to be that little bit more special for us this year, our first Christmas with the little one. With this in mind I decided that he needed his own special stocking. Now actually designing one was a little beyond my brain at the moment so I decided to go down the kit route and so purchased a Dimensions Felt Works kit called “Toboggan Trio”.

The kit

The kit

The kit has everything you need in it except some softie guts and a piece of tissue paper (I was glad of the excuse to go out and buy a massive bag of softie guts). It is a lot like sewing by numbers, each piece has a number and you have step by step instructions about how to sew them together provided. You need to have a pretty steady hand to cut the pieces out, especially as some of them are pretty small. The in depth instructions mean that even a beginner could easily manage this project.

I am about a third of the way through at the moment and I am pleased with how it is looking so far. It is time consuming but a lovely way to unwind at the end of the day when the little one is in bed. I love to create my own designs but sometimes it is nice to turn the brain off a little and let someone else do that hard work and know that you are going to get a lovely item at the end of it. I will keep you updated on progress.

The baby pincushion

There were tears!

There were tears!

Our poor little boy was used as a pin cushion yesterday, it was time for his six week jabs. Mummy showed him how to be brave first by having her flu jab and then it was the boys turn. Daddy held him while the nurse got on with what she had to do. There was screams but thankfully they disappeared quickly with a good cuddle and all was soon forgotten. As the son of a doctor there was never any question of him not getting the jabs, obviously Daddy has great faith in them (and so does Mummy). Thankfully the others at our antenatal class were in favour of them too and so we managed to avoid what could have been an awkward argument and the loss of some new friends.

Vaccinations are obviously a rather controversial topic between new parents with the debate over whether they are safe or not continuing to rage across the Internet. In fact the Internet has a lot to answer for, it makes information (both fact and fiction) too readily available to people who may or may not fully understand it. The main culprit here is a piece of research done several years ago by a British doctor that supposedly showed that vaccinations (specifically the MMR vaccine) could cause autism. This research was shown to be bad and the findings were discredited. However once something is on the Internet it is there to stay and so this information is still there and still causing people to not vaccinate their children (I do recognise that this is just one reason people choose but it is generally the most prominent).

As with any medicine I recognise that there is a chance of side effects and even a chance that it won’t work and my little one will still get what he has been vaccinated against but that chance is small. The illnesses that he is being vaccinated against are potentially much worse. Something like one in ten people who get measles for example will suffer a side effect which can range from deafness through to death. Those are odds that I wouldn’t want to gamble with (and it’s highly contagious with over 750 people being affected by an outbreak in South Wales at the moment).

A quick cuddle and a plaster and all was forgotten!

A quick cuddle and a plaster and all was forgotten!

I was heartened to see some parents in Auckland advocate for people to vaccinate their children after their son caught tetanus. They had no idea how serious the illness could be and have now vaccinated all their children, hopefully their plea will help prevent other children having to suffer because they didn’t have the “evil” injections. I was also heartened to read that in general New Zealand parents are good at getting their children vaccinated (all be it a bit slowly), as a teacher I am always aware of those children in my class who aren’t protected (even more so last year when I was pregnant).

Now I don’t mean this post as a preach at people, it is simply a way for me to express my views. I know there are people out there who strongly disagree with that view and they are entitled to feel that way. However I urge people to research carefully when making this decision, check where the information you are reading comes from, make sure it is current and credible, after all it is your child’s life you are gambling with.

I found this rather well written opinion piece in the New Zealand Herald, the facts and figures make for compelling reading and the author is right, there really is nothing more persuasive than seeing someone who has suffered the effects of the illness that could have been so easily prevented.

Grizzle Monster

I’m not quite sure what is wrong with the boy, all possibilities have been eliminated…he’s fed, clean and cuddled…but he is a right grizzle monster. He was like it yesterday afternoon as well but obviously whatever was bothering him thankfully disappeared at night and he was fine. The grizzles have returned today though and I am home alone so it could be a long day.

I don't think my cake will look this good!

I don’t think my cake will look this good!

Today, however, I have made the decision to just get things done through the grizzles as otherwise I end up feeling frazzled and frustrated. Nothing makes time drag more than being stuck on the sofa with a crying baby. With this in mind we made a trip to the supermarket (which he kindly slept through only to return to grizzling when we got home!) and I have made a cake (when I say made, I added a couple of ingredients to a packet mix but it’s a start!). I intend to have a shower later as well, something that I totally failed to do yesterday. I am also making full use of my arsenal of distractions, he is currently lying on his musical play mat and is momentarily quiet!

Through all of this I will do my best not to watch the clock and count the hours down until Hubby gets home. Thankfully he is off for the next two days as tomorrow we are giving the little one a reason to grizzle…his first jabs!

A Passion for Snail Mail

I’ve always loved sending and receiving letters, when I was younger I had ten pen pals in order to feed this habit! There is something so lovely about discovering a hand written letter from a friend or relative tucked in between the bills and junk mail. As an adult life often gets in the way of this simple pleasure and I have tended to resort to email or … *shudder* … Facebook. These obviously serve a purpose and definitely allow me to stay in touch but they remove that personal touch, that hidden message of someone setting time aside to concentrate on you and nothing else. Personally I think more thought goes into a letter than into an email, an email is too easy.

Since the little one arrived I have rediscovered the pleasure of writing letters (although I’ll admit that I tend to write them on the computer as I can do it one handed whilst feeding as well!). A letter is another way to hold a conversation with someone when I am stuck in the house, it helps me to feel connected to people who are far away (when I would really love them to be close by). It is easy to feel isolated with a newborn and that is compounded for me by living on the other side of the planet to my family and a lot of friends.

Family and friends have had letters fired off to them with tales of the boy and thank yous for the many gifts we have received. We have also received more parcels and letters than we have for many years, and although I know the parcels will stop, I look forward to the postie cycling past and the excitement and anticipation of what we might find in the mail box each day. I might not have ten pen pals any more but I am certainly getting more exciting mail than I have for a long time and with my re-found love of writing letters fingers crossed it will continue.

A new nationality

Today was a big day, a day when Hubby and I became citizens of a new country.

We’ve lived in New Zealand for six and a half years now having originally only come for a years adventure. In that time I have trained as a teacher and we have started our own little family. It only seemed right that we make our lives here somehow more official. In order to make our citizenship official we had to attend a ceremony and affirm our commitment to the country so today we made the journey across to the next town to do this *. We had hoped to do this before the little one arrived but had to wait for a ceremony to be organised so he beat us to becoming a citizen by five and a half weeks. It is good to know that we all have the same nationality now though, now we just have to work out which passport we should use next time we travel back to the UK.

* This was a major effort as Hubby had just finished a night shift and getting anywhere to a schedule with the little one is quite a challenge.