Saving Time with the ‘While You’re Waiting’ Jobs…

So, having read a Mumsnet post a short while back in which another Mum said she saved a lot of time doing one job while waiting for another, I.e clearing out a drawer while waiting for the kettle to boil. A brilliant idea I thought (probably everyone does this and I’ve just been lazy…). Anyway I tried it today again. Just a spot of weeding while my toddler was happily playing in the garden…. And then he came to help…. And so did the dog. 

The result is the garden is partially weeded but my son is covered in soil and the weeds have been carefully emptied from the bucket and distributed over the lawn. I look forward to bedtime when I can clear it all up then leave the established weeds to carry on growing.

You know what though? We had fun. He had  fresh air and sunshine and he loved ‘helping’ mummy. Although time is precious, precious time is better.



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Oops I did it again….

Or strictly speaking ‘we’ did it again…. Yup, the virgin mummy is now going to be a second time round mummy. My first born will have just turned two when our newest addition comes along. And do you know what? We’re petrified!

I almost feel guilty writing this because actually our gorgeous son is really pretty good (generally). I think we’ve coped fairly well with the first 22 months (or is that nature’s way of making you think you’re ready to procreate again?!) But whereas the first time round we were full of hope, excitement and good intentions (though I did draw the line at my other half deciding what the baby’s sleep pattern was going to be… I knew THAT wasn’t going to be up to us), this time we know what to expect… but twofold!

Don’t get me wrong I can’t wait, but already this pregnancy is SO different from the first. With him I could tell you, up to the hour, how far along I was. This time round I’ve got an app on my phone that I have to consult whenever anybody asks. We haven’t yet done the big shopping trip (though to be fair we’ve got pretty much everything we need. Poor hand-me-down baby!), and I’m constantly having to check when midwife and other relevant appointments are.

I like to think that we’re actually taking a realistic view of things now. I know so many parents who say that their second child was harder work than their first. My theory has always been (even pre-children) because you somehow get complacent about it. ‘Been there done that’ etc, however the first thing to remember is that nature does have a funny habit of playing tricks on your mind, and the second is that every baby is different… Just ask all those Mum’s whose baby slept through the night from two days old whereas mine held out until 18 months. Maybe Daddy’s sleeping schedule will work with baby number two after all….




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A Scary Night

So my little one has now reached the ripe old age of eleven months. All in all we’ve been very lucky. We had a LOT of problems with him sleeping (probably more our fault than his) but other than that he has been a very happy, healthy little boy. I wouldn’t change that for the world but it meant it was even more of a shock to the system when last week he was out of sorts and had a high temperature. We managed to bring it down with Calpol (I remember months ago being reluctant to use it but don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!) and he seemed to perk up a bit. We then went off to the seaside with him for the day. He still wasn’t quite himself but he was able to lie in his pushchair and enjoy the sea breeze, which is more of a breeze than he would have had at home. We actually encountered, I think for the first time, him crying uncontrollably in public. He really isn’t a very tearful baby as a rule. We returned home and he perked up again. Bedtime came and he went to bed with no trouble. He was a bit restless but it was a hot night so I’d imagine a lot of babies across the country were hot and restless too. Then at about half past midnight I was woken by him crying. I went to fetch him and could immediately feel how hot he was. He was also shaking and I could tell that he smelled different to usual. I stripped him off (he’d only been wearing a vest and nappy) and woke my husband to fetch the thermometer. I actually now can’t recall what his temperature was, I think it was 38-something. Not knowing the best thing to do we called an ambulance. When the first paramedic car arrived the paramedic took his temperature again and got a reading of 40.3. This was after my little one had been in front of a fan and the open door for about ten minutes while we were waiting for her to arrive. She initially said we should take him to the local hospital’s minor injuries clinic but then after disappearing outside to her car it transpired she had called an ambulance to take him to A&E. The ambulance arrived a few minutes later and it was at this point that I started to become a bit disappointed in the service we received. The first paramedic relayed the details to the ambulance team but also added, ‘He’s been to the seaside today so another baby that’s got too hot.’ I didn’t really have time to respond to this as we then got loaded into the ambulance and were away. On the journey the paramedic told me this was the third baby they had taken into hospital that night. I assured him that my child had not been out in the sun, had been in the shade nearly all the time, had suitable sun cream, hat, clothing etc and had been relatively cool given the heat. He also asked me if we had considered taking him to an NHS walk in clinic earlier in the day. A fair question I suppose but as our son had appeared to be more or less ok through the day, no we hadn’t. That question, however added to my feeling that I was being looked down on as a bad parent and was wasting the time of the paramedics. When we arrived at the hospital again the facts were relayed to the Nursing staff with the added comment of, ‘Another hot baby – been at the seaside.’ Accompanied by an exasperated look from the Nurse. She later told us, ‘Babies just can’t take the heat you know.’ Grrrrrrr! I know that, WHICH IS WHY WE KEPT HIM COOL AND SHELTERED ALL DAY!!!! She also said that they would test his urine to see if there was any infection though she didn’t think there was… It turns out there was. He was prescribed anti-biotics and is now as right as rain.
A few people we have spoken to have said that they would have complained about the attitudes we encountered. I personally think the frontline staff of the NHS do a tremendous job under very difficult circumstances (with very little funding/resources) so am always reluctant to make a complaint. On the flipside we couldn’t have been more happy with the service we received when my son was delivered by C-section, and I made sure I wrote in to express my thanks, not only to the staff concerned but also to their Manager’s.
My concern is that not only are parents being treated as if they are stupid but that things can get overlooked. Had the staff dismissed my son’s symptoms without doing any tests I would have… well I would have hit the roof, and there would definitely be letters of complaint going in, however they did do their job and I was happy that my son received the correct treatment.
As I have said previously I know they are working under difficult circumstances and on a daily basis will meet parents who have not taken proper care of their children, however it is wrong to make assumptions and make people in a vulnerable and upsetting situation feel even more vulnerable and upset. A serious blog I’m afraid but it was something that upset me quite a lot. Just wondering what other people’s experiences have been. I have to add that when we previously took him to A&E with a rash (that turned out to be nothing) we were constantly reassured that we had done the right thing in taking him to be looked at. Swings and roundabouts I guess but professionals… Please don’t think you know me before you’ve got to know me…


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Also can’t claim this as my own work but do love it…

A man came home from work and found his three children outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud, with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard.The door of his wife’s car was open, as was the front door to the house and there was no sign of the dog.

Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall. In the front room the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, the fridge door was open wide, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.

He quickly headed up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened. He was met with a small trickle of water as it made its way out the bathroom door. As he peered inside he found wet towels, scummy soap and more toys strewn over the floor. Miles of toilet paper lay in a heap and toothpaste had been smeared over the mirror and walls.

As he rushed to the bedroom, he found his wife still curled up in the bed in her pajamas, reading a novel. She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went. He looked at her bewildered and asked, ‘What happened here today?’ She again smiled and answered, ‘You know every day when you come home from work and you ask me what in the world I do all day?’ ‘Yes,’ was his incredulous reply. She answered, ‘Well, today I didn’t do it.’

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Ode for Parents Everywhere (Not my work)

I hope my child looks back on today
And sees a mother who had time to play.
There will be years for cleaning and cooking,
But children grow up when you’re not looking.
Tomorrow I’ll do all the chores you can mention
But today, my baby needs time and attention.
So settle down cobwebs; dust go to sleep,
I’m cuddling my baby, and babies don’t keep.

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Unlucky For Some (and a trip down memory lane)

This is a blog I wrote shortly after reaching thirteen weeks pregnant. I was going to adapt it as if I was writing it now and looking back but when I re-read it I found a happy nostalgia in my excitement and a beautiful naivety when I talked about how tired I was. I love remembering how excited I was about the scans and how fab it was to tell people. So here it is….

So when week thirteen finally arrived I couldn’t have been more pleased. I think that at about week ten the days started going backwards. I was definitely one of the lucky ones though. Lots of nausea and a bit of dizziness in the mornings but a packet of arrowroot biscuits and a bottle of orange cordial by the bed worked miracles to ensure I could make it down the stairs and start functioning at something like a reasonable level (nb – I’m not a morning person at the best of times so the bar was set v low…). My travel sickness got worse and if I left more than forty minutes between food breaks I’d know about it but constant snacking got me through…. And then came the tiredness…

I’m not even going to talk about it really. I was tired. A lot. Very. As someone who had just moved house and who works shifts I struggled. But through it all I was wondering how on EARTH expectant mothers who already have children get through the day. I still can’t work it out but massive hats off to them. It says something that I was sat typing at ten at night feeling smug that I woke up at eight in the morning morning and went the whole day WITHOUT A NAP!!!!!!! The first day in about eight weeks I think so perhaps the premature smugness will wipe me out tomorrow.

All in all the first nine weeks or so were an emotional roller-coaster where the ups have definitely been more than the downs. The excitement of telling immediate family tempered with pretty much avoiding some friends because I didn’t want to tell them yet but equally didn’t want to lie to them! (Is it just me who did that???) My partner is famously RUBBISH at keeping secrets so pretty much all of his friends and colleagues knew by about week seven. Having said that most of his family refused to believe him without confirmation from me 🙂 My job is one that requires some quite stringent risk assessing so my best friends since school had no idea but my Senior Manager did. His reaction, ‘Oh for ***** sake. We’re losing another one.’ Honesty is the best policy I guess….

But now the scan is done, the word is out, I’m being congratulated by people I haven’t spoken to in months but I DON’T HAVE A BUMP YET!!!! I know, patience, patience. It’s just all so new and exciting that for once I want to speak to people in the street and have them acknowledge what is happening to me.

Having been through this I’m curious about second/third/fourth etc times Mums. Does this excitement go away, change, how is it different? And most importantly, what is the number one piece of advice you wish you’d been given? My best friend was told by an old lady on a bus (classic scenario), ‘sleep begets sleep.’ What a fantastic line. It could have been written for a film. I really must remind her of it as she’s now got two little cherubs of 3yrs and 18mnth and I think she’s forgotten what sleep is, never mind where one ‘begets’ it from.


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Pushchair Pondering

As I’ve previously said my advice on pushchair buying would be to have a look what’s out there and speak to other parents then sit and have a think about what you actually want and how you will be using it. Our only specification when we went pushchair shopping was that the handle would be adjustable as my partner and I are very different heights. I had some kind of vague idea about travel systems and I quite liked a purple one I’d seen….

What we weren’t prepared for was the question of forward or rear facing, weight, size when folded, ease of setting up, how it will fasten into the car and whether the car is suitable for that (there will be other similar considerations for public transport if that is what you will be using. I recommend starting to pay attention to other parents when out and about). My partner then threw in the requirement of it being compatible with an isofix base (a base that is fitted in the car which then makes it possible to just clip the car seat into place without having to strap it in each time. Not all travel systems have them and not all cars are compatible with them so do your research. We also found that you then restrict your choice further as a lot of travel systems that are compatible with them do not have the option of having your baby facing you when in the pram. Apparently some seatbelts are also not long enough to go round some of the car seats. A good shop should have this information and/or allow you the opportunity to try it out in your car whether that be at the store or with their refund/exchange policy.

I got thoroughly confused by one brand which had one chassis but seemed to have several different tops – pushchair, pram, travel seat. The Britax one that we went with has, I think, lots of different options to but the sales assistant eventually clarified it for me. The travel seat that can be removed from the car and clipped into the chassis is very useful for short trips away from the car but a baby should not be in a travel seat for longer than two hours without a decent break out of it. Apparently with that in mind the car seat is just that and does not have any places to stick the rain cover to and has no sun protection aside from the half-hood. The other fitting we have is the pram which lies flat while the baby is, well still a baby, and then converts into the pushchair when needed. I believe there is a separate pram fitting which the sales assistant suggested would be more useful for a winter baby, however we also bought a maxi-cosy warmer which I have recently fitted and it appears to keep baby very toasty.

Speak to people other people about what they like/dislike about their pushchair and why. This will help you get some sense of what is important to you. You have to consider how you will be using it. My partner has recently nicknamed ours my ‘Massey Fergusson’ as he keeps cleaning the mud off it after I’ve been ‘off-roading’ with it. We have a dog and live near fields so I do regularly find myself ploughing through the mud. This wasn’t something I’d really considered though one of my priorities was to have something I could push with one hand whilst I held the lead in the other. With this in mind we made sure we went for one solid handle rather than two separate ones (see how many things there are to consider?!) So far the Britax seems to be holding up well in the mud. Other considerations are things like whether it is important that it folds down small to put in the boot of a car or to fold up on public transport, or how much space there is to store shopping etc, and whether this will be something you’ll use. As we are not close enough to any shops to walk to I don’t tend to find I use the storage area very much and on the Britax it isn’t particularly big but does suit my needs, however a friend of mine doesn’t drive so found a bigger storage space essential.

Whatever you do don’t forget to include your house/flat/accommodation in your pram planning. Working out how to get it up and down stairs is the obvious one but don’t forget you’ll need to store it somewhere and don’t forget to measure your front door. A friend of mine bought a twin buggy but then couldn’t get it in or out with the children in it and the layout of her house plus the fact her door opened straight onto the street didn’t allow her the freedom to use it much though when she could she said it was the best pushchair she had ever had.

Price is another key factor. We were very lucky that my partners parents wanted to buy the pushchair for us, though that didn’t mean I ignore the price and got carried away! You can buy a suitable, decent pushchair with just about any budget and, as with all things baby-related, you could spend a small fortune but it really isn’t necessary. Once you’ve established what you want, shop around. There are promotions all over the place and if you’re happy to have second hand (previously loved), you’re pretty much guaranteed to pick up a bargain. Never buy second hand car seats though. You don’t know their previous history and if they’ve been in an accident they should always be replaced as they could no longer be effective in an accident.

Another tip, where possible, is to practice pushing other people’s pushchairs (only if you know them and have asked!) It will give you some sense of what you , though I found it felt very alien and awkward. I found exactly the same thing the first few times I pushed my own little one in his pushchair but, like everything with your new addition, it doesn’t take long before you’re used to it. I now feel strange if I’m not pushing a pushchair.

So there are a few things to consider. It may sound daunting, and you’re probably now cursing me for confusing what you previously found was a simple issue. I should mention here that I am not renowned for being able to make a decision. Give me a nice comfy fence to sit on any day…. However, if nothing else I did find that it gave me something else to think about during the long nine (and a bit) months when I was desperately impatient to meet my beautiful baby.

Happy Shopping!


Pushchair Checklist(for if I’ve completely messed with your mind!)

  1. Price
  2. Use – mainly shopping/walking in paved areas and on proper footpaths or will it be an off-roader.
  3. Boot space (if putting in a car). Check dimensions when folded down.
  4. Measurements of doors to house and where it will be stored.
  5. Type of handle.
  6. Type of tyres.
  7. Basket space.
  8. Height of handle.
  9. Weight.
  10. Colour J
  11. Method of fixing in car. Isofix seats? Seatbelts long enough? Seat compatible with vehicle? Seat interchangeable between other vehicles if relevant?


** Stop Press….. At the baby group I attended today the staff were talking about studies done into forward vs parent facing prams/pushchairs. Please do your own research but the gist of it was that parent facing came out way above baby facing away from you. I have not yet had the chance to look into it so I don’t know if this changes at a particular age (as I always thought it did), but apparently forward facing pushchairs not only have an effect on your child’s development in terms of speech and interaction but it was also found that there was an increase in asthma and respiratory ilnesses due to the child being more exposed to exhaust gasses. Please please don’t just take my hearsay word for it but I just wanted to include it as something else that you may want to be aware of.

***Double stop press…. I couldn’t let the sun set on my previous comment without doing some research. Please see the following link… which may be of interest to some of you.

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