Thursday, 18 May 2017


Fad or no fad the Danish are onto something. They embrace living 'in the moment' as a daily mantra whilst us Brits invariably save such frivolity to high days and holidays - phone away, smell the flowers, talk and listen. Surely there is a balance that could do us all some bl00dy good. 

Most of us worldwide are now too busy, too accessible 24/7, too conscious of the rat race to stop and take stock for fear of being left behind - and that is quite sad. 

I remember 17 years ago, I found myself on a small boat off the North Island of New Zealand searching for whales. I was borrowing a snazzy, super-technical camera from my father ... it was digital and it took videos!! We spent several quiet minutes on that quaint boat in arguably one of the most naturally stunning and peaceful places in the world, looking out for movement from these gorgeous gentle giants, the atmosphere was palpable; the serenity juxtaposed by sheer anticipation of a sighting. It would have been that was if I wasn't too hung up on getting the perfect video of the long-awaited breach. Needless to say, I missed the moment in the present because I was too busy trying to capture it for the future. And what more - failed. The resulting shot was a mere splash as the giant disappeared into the deep never to return that afternoon. I so wished at the time I had just savoured the excitement and seen the beast in all its glory. 

Fast forward a decade and a half and there is soooooo much more than missing a mammal on your gap-yahhh. Gone are the days of savouring a great people-watching session whilst waiting for friends at the station (bar), a moment alone is now a moment to steal quiet and frantic scrolls through social media to see what the latest news is and what everyone else is doing... To quickly get the shopping done, check the emails and message your friend to hurry up. Expectations on us are so much higher now because we are seemingly more accountable by virtue of our constant accessibility. We do. not. stop. 

I think Hygge has become in vogue because it reminds us that we are all real at a time when we are really needing to. It provides an antithesis to the unremitting crazy whirring of the social media, digital, technical society that we are immersed in. 

My prescription to everyone is to take 10 minutes a day away from demands. 10 minutes may seem tiny but it is a start. Go for a walk. Read a book. Sit. Actually taste the food. Be it what you like, a break from work, the phone, demands - is tonic for the soul, a way of recalibrating and will make you a better person as a result. The best parts of the world are passing us by. Switch off and switch on.

That ends the preach of the day.


Monday, 15 May 2017

6 months

There is advice aplenty on when how and why to wean your baby in certain ways, take all the information in and just roll with whatever you feel comfortable with. Be willing to be versatile and flexible as you work out what suits the little one best. I am no authority on the subject but have found that a mixture of 'baby led' and pureed weaning has gone down an absolute treat with my 3 musketeers. 

Buy several washable bibs, be prepared for a big mess and waste of food, have a sense of fun and humour. Aside from all manner of scientific reasons a variety of weaning methods are great.... on a base level - Baby led weaning helps eliminate the frustration of painstakingly prepared dishes being catapulted and smeared all over the place whilst pureed foods enable you to ensure that they are actually eating something!

A whole half a year has passed since this little human arrived in your world. Look at the amazing little person and give yourself a MASSIVE pat on the back. No matter how unbelievably hard it is at times, you've done a bl00dy brilliant job and as the following months unveil so do some incredibly rewarding milestones. Strap yourself in, its just as bumpy only the terrain keeps changing.

5 months

Hello you fun, cute little person. Hello outside world that expects me to be totally functional. Hello sleep ..... NOPE ONLY KIDDING! Give it another couple of months and almost all of us will be getting a vaguely acceptable level of shut-eye. Some of you will already, just don't shout about it. 

Having been on the 'outside' for an entire 20 weeks now the little human is mastering things at a rapid rate. Sitting is becoming an art as it wobbles about like a weeble only with a significantly lower success rate at making it back to the vertical. Putting their little pins out in a v shape gives them better stability. Around now is when I like to introduce the affectionately coined 'circle of neglect' or the 'baby bouncer'. Ours, the Jumperoo to be exact, makes everyone happy. The increasingly curious and mobile bambino gets freedom to explore, move and bounce within the confines of a vivid plastic rainforest whilst mama and papa get the freedom to actually pee alone or hang the washing out without their koala. Multiple WINNER.

Weaning lies just around the corner but if there is grouchiness, sleeplessness, a massive interest in your food, your baby was overdue, is big etcetc.... then it might be worth introducing first tastes early but always check with the Health Visitor or another figure of baby health authority. I certainly wouldn't be in any rush to start weaning for the sake of it and by leaving it until the recommended 6 months, you will find the little one whizzes through the rice, root veg and mush to actual food much quicker.

If you haven't already it might be worth considering a night out with papa and/or friends. Don't force yourself if you don't feel up for it but just an hour or two away from it all does wonders for the soul.  

Friday, 12 May 2017

Perceiving ain't believing ..

pəˈsiːv/ - interpret or regard (someone or something) in a particular way.

bɪˈliːv/ - hold (something) as an opinion; think.

For me, one ultimate parenting cock-up stems from doing what you perceive to be right rather than what you believe to be right. There's a difference. Worrying about how your urchin/you/your family/your parenting(blah blah)is perceived by others or how it compares with how others are perceived is futile yet we almost all do it all the time. It is how we check that we are 'getting it right' by subconsciously cross-referencing with all manner of people we come by day to day. Lets face it - this parenting lark is a massive responsibility and little humans can be volatile and unpredictable so we automatically (consciously or subconsciously) compare to make sure we aren't royally messing up. But here's the thing, by comparing, we more often than not find ourselves wading through a quagmire of unnecessary self-doubt and with a confused and petulant ankle biter to fit. 

I got it wrong last weekend. In the grand scheme of world peace it wasn't a nuclear disaster but in my tiny 1st world family utopia, I screwed right up.

Dear old Henry eats all manner of fruit but I have pretty much always accepted (since a particularly explosive blueberry bowel c. 2014/5) he doesn't 'do' berries. So quite why I took pudding of choice: Eton Mess to a friends house is beyond me. The simple thought process; is it easy? tick. Is it delicious? tick. Does it nod to being slightly healthy? tick. It was not until our hosts (who are totally non-judgemental I hasten to add) came to dish out this creamy berry-ridden heap that I suddenly realised I had dealt the poor wee chap a shocker. Realistically of course it needn't have been. Any NORMAL person unconcerned with how they might be perceived would have politely declined or accepted Henrys decline and palmed it off as just a 'kid thing'. No no, not ME. 

Everyone else was taking the pudding in all its berry sumptuousness and shovelling it down their polite little faces so now, yes NOW in someone else's house at a perfectly serene table, would be the time to inform Henry that (despite the preceding 2 years of taking an apple in lieu of anything remotely red/pink/blue) he should fall in line and munch away at the Eton Mess. Cue 5 minutes of stubborn negotiation and the resentful mastication of a raspberry with much pained wincing. That my friends, that is when I should have stopped, proud with this achievement. But NO, no he must finish his plate. Everyone must see how good my children are at eating EVERYTHING and how calm and in control I am. Everyone must watch, sat together for a further 5 minutes as my control slowly slunk off the table and ran out the house with the crescendo of wails, as the boy (who honestly rarely properly melts down) raged into his berry blancmange  
'i doooooonnntttttttt liiiiiikkkkkkeeeeeee iiiiiiiiittttttt' 
'pleeaseeeaseee I dooonnnntttt liiikkkkeeeee iiiitttttt' repeat x 8
'oh its just a berry, don't be silly' 
head banging the table, eyes rolling to the back of the skull, heavy guttural sobbing creating rivers in the wilted meringue peeping out between those shiny red berries. It was horrific and finally after daddy quietly suggested for the second time that I let the poor wee chap down because he had after all eaten all his roast (and frankly I had ruined a jovial atmosphere), I had a moment of clarity and walked the boy to the garden where he clung to me like a limpet no doubt completely and utterly confused and scarred for life.

People, don't be a twit like me that day - it just confuses the poor mites. Yes a little cross-reference-parenting can be constructive, it can also be shambolic. Stick to your guns, don't change things to fit into what you perceive to be right, do what you know and BELIEVE to be right.