The latest entry in my parenting hall of small shame

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Mid-morning last Friday the doorbell rang. I’d been trying to get us all dressed for hours but between chasing the toddler round and round, slow breakfasts, baby feeds and the usual general stuff, it just hadn’t happened. Expecting it to be the postman or a delivery, I went to open the door.

And lo and behold, it was the health visitor.

As I later texted my mum “It was SO OBVIOUS I’d completely forgotten she was coming.” My mum “I bet it happens all the time!” Me “I know, but, you know, cringe.” It didn’t help that the HV had come to both weigh the baby and do a routine PND check on me, and here I was in my dressing gown, like a depressed 1950′s housewife.

Of course it was fine, we laughed, she said people forget all the time. Now there’s baby brain, but the appointment had been right there on my calendar for six whole weeks, and I’d reminded myself of it only days before.

One for the parenting hall of small shame? Here’s some more of the embarrassing minor incidents I’ve done that rank right up there; Continue reading

New motherhood: the things no-one ever tells you

Advice to new mothers

Parenting doesn’t come an instruction manual, does it? If there was one handed out in the Bounty pack it would make negotiating the occasionally rocky roapmap of nightfeeds, hormones and emergency nappy changes a lot easier.

I looked at what no-one ever tells you about pregnancy and the third trimester.  But what happens after you get home from hospital? You think you’re going to know, but the reality can be really different. So with the benefit of second-time hindsight, here’s the parenting advice I wish I’d been given first time round…the things that people don’t ever tell you:

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Letting my toddler decorate the Christmas tree, and other festive firsts

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Christmas is all about tradition, isn’t it? All the comforting and joyful things you’ve always done and always do, over and over. This year we’re also stirring lots of firsts into the Christmas mix. It’ll be the first in our new house and first Christmas dinner we’ve hosted. And, of course, the first one with our newest family member.

As we moved house the week before C Day last year and then went away, we didn’t even get the decorations out. So I’m determined to really make the most of it this year. We always get a real tree, and get out all the decorations we’ve collected. It’s a glorious display of nostalgia and non-matchery. But letting the toddler decorate the tree…good idea or not?

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A puzzling weekend

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What board games do you remember playing as a child? The ones I always think of are Guess Who? Connect Four and The Game of Life. I’m sure we had a whole cupboard full, but these are the ones that stick out in my memory.

House of Fraser asked us to pick toys and games of our choice from the toy department, to play together as a family. This was really timely as I’ve been trying to find lots of things to keep Eliza occupied while I’m feeding, and also things we can do together as a family so she doesn’t think it’s all about the baby. Continue reading

Have a more enlightened Christmas

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Practical action
Who has their decorations up already? Despite Eliza telling everyone at nursery to the contrary (!) we are holding out till the weekend. She does have advent calendars though: my mum bought us the one with a tiny illuminated snowy village in the picture. She’s also fascinated by the Christmas lights we see outside and in the windows of other houses on our walk back from nursery.

Electricity and power is something we take for granted, isn’t it? For Christmas lights, for winter warmth, running your house and everything else. It would pretty difficult to manage Christmas, let alone the day-to-day of parenting without it. Things spiral into chaos here if we don’t put the washing machine on at least once each day.

But for many people this isn’t an option. To highlight the 1.3 billion people living without any form of modern energy services, Practical Action – a charity that uses technology to help solve global issues of poverty – has devised an energy calculator with a difference. Instead of telling you to how to cut your bills, it’ll work out how many baby incubators your Christmas light consumption would power. Continue reading

An alternative Christmas gift guide for new mums

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‘Tis the season for…a gift guide. They are everywhere at the moment if, like me, you need any Christmas shopping ideas. And having recently had a baby – which I’m totally using as an excuse for being unprepared in the present department – I was interested to read this gift guide for new mums, by a certain celebrity magazine. Continue reading

Plus one month: four and a half weeks of Florence

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So one month in, how are we getting on with our newborn? It’s all a lot better than I’d thought. So many things – from pregnancy, through to the birth, recovery and the early baby days – have been easier and more enjoyable. Is Florence a less difficult baby? I don’t think so, but it just seems like she is. I’ve loved, loved having a newborn this time.

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A capsule Christmas in your suitcase

Essential items for spending Christmas abroad

This year will be the first we’ve hosted Christmas at our new house, so I’m pretty excited about the decorating potential. But have you ever spent Christmas out of the country? I was in India and Thailand on my pre and post Uni gap years, and then went away with my family to a family friend’s villa in Spain a few years back.

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