Now there are four.

It has been a while since my last post, life got in the way but I’m determined to start writing more.

We have now welcomed a beautiful new arrival. Lana Katherine came into the world and our family on 2nd November and she’s completed our lives. She’s perfect, her soft skin, big blue eyes and tiny fingers and toes.

I don’t think anything can prepare you for the love you feel for a child. That urge to do your utmost to protect them. Its intense, an all consuming feeling that often takes over. Times by 4 I sometimes feel as if I’ll explode when I look at them.

If it wasn’t for certain things like a big enough car, my pelvis and back and the every increasing cost of living then I’d have several more children but as it is with certain problems and money worries I think 4 is our number.

But if things happen to change or we decide to take a chance then who knows. Maybe number five will join us in the future.

Watch this space…

Posted in March 13 | Leave a comment

A beautiful blessing.

When I met Luke we knew from the word go that we wanted children together. Our meeting was special, there was a bond and we knew we were meant to be together. He is my everything and that was certain from the start. Some people will have an opinion on it but we didn’t use contraception from the first time. I loved L with all my heart but I knew that even if the worst was to happen, after recent events I was strong enough to do it on my own.

G was conceived after 1 month and we were over the moon. He is our ray of sunshine and the completion of our little patchwork family. Or so we thought.

We didn’t want any more children. I adore babies, especially my own, and I love being pregnant but G’s pregnancy was tough as was the first 4 months of his life. Add to that a child with possible ASD and a child with hyper mobility and we decided to focus on the 3 amazing children that we had been blessed with.

Then came January 2012.

It was our doing, just once when we decided not to use contraception and chance it. I wasn’t near ovulation and we didn’t think much about it. Then came the positive test. It was a big shock, so much so that L refused to believe the tests until I’d taken a digital one and he’d seen it for himself in black and white. But there was no doubting it, we were going to have number 4. After a week or so we had got our heads round the idea and were looking forward to being parents again. I went to the GP and was referred to the midwife and sent away with the familiar little bottle of folic acid.

On 31st January we took the little 2 to a soft play centre with some close friends. I told them and we were delighted to share our good news. That afternoon whilst getting ready for college I started to bleed. L told me not to worry and to see the GP in the morning if it continued. I took another pregnancy test and was delighted that it was still positive. I went to college as usual and put on a brave face but deep down I knew what was happening. It got steadily worse and the next day, 1st February 2012, I found myself in A&E being told that my pregnancy test was now negative and I’d probably lost the baby in one of the clots down the toilet.

The grief was unreal. I have never experienced emotional pain like that and I hope I never have to go through that again. L was also upset however I don’t think he understood the true extent to my upset. I’m not sure anyone could comprehend it until they’ve been through it.

As well as the grief I was also so confused. How could I be so upset for something I’d never seen, never held. But the truth was I had seen them, seen them in our thoughts, our minds as we looked towards the future with our little surprise. I had held them. Held them in my body for 6 precious weeks. I’d imagined it was a girl, I’ve no idea why, it’s just the feeling I had and even named her. L hated the name but I was determined to try and win him over.

The pain subsided a little and we made the decision that we wanted another. This little one that shocked us so much but that we already loved and wanted with all our hearts had made us realise that we could bring another child into the world and our family. We didn’t use contraception after our loss and the following month on 8th March we discovered I was expecting again. I was so very grateful to once again fall pregnant so easily but with this pregnancy came something else. Fear. A pure fear for something that I’d now experienced. The fear has now eased after our first scan but I’m still a lot more wary of this pregnancy and something happening than I was with the other 3. I’m now all too aware of having it snatched away.

I still think about our little one we lost and I still feel sorrow for her. It was awful to go through but she was a blessing. She made us realise what we truly wanted and that we could do it. I’ll never know if she was a girl but to me she was and it makes it easier to think of her as an actual person that we were blessed with for a short time than a foetus, an it.

She opened our hearts to another child and brought us closer together. She made me look at life in a different way. Grateful for what we did have, our children and each other. I now hold them a little closer, a little longer and treasure every day. I see this new pregnancy in a different light, I enjoy every kick and wiggle and embrace the niggles that come from pregnancy rather than feel annoyed.

She was only with us for 6 weeks but she changed me so much and for that I’ll always thank her and think of her. My little Elodie.

Posted in June 12 | Leave a comment

Bye bye, boot.

Memories are important, especially when you’re a parent. Nothing compares to the memory of the first steps, first words, first day at school, but for me the most important memories are the wonderful things you weren’t expecting.

Those sneaky kisses, the little looks they give you with those perfectly round eyes and smiling faces and also the things they come out with. Most parents know, young children are funnier than any comedian and anyone who’s a friend on Facebook will know that my two can come out with some corkers.

It’s these memories that will creep up on you at the most random of times and have you weeping with laughter again as you struggle round Morrisons with a trolley or as you change a nappy for when feels like the twentieth time that day. Which is what lead me to the blog post. I was washing up the other day and suddenly remembered one memory that has me chuckling everytime I think about it.

Early this year, probably around January time and Luke decided to take Joseph swimming. I was heavily pregnant with Gabriel and didn’t feel much like swimming and Lola’s not a great swimmer at the best of times. She wears a rubber ring and armbands and still clings to me like she’s about to go under at any moment. So I decided to take her to the nearby retail park for a nosey round the shops and a coffee and cake in Starbucks.

Luke parked up and I got her out of the car. It was really busy and as it’s quite a big place, the car park was heaving. I was carrying Lola across the car park as best I could at 30 weeks pregnant, navigating through the traffic and trying not to slip on the snow that was refusing to melt. I was nearing the other side and feeling triumphant that I’d made it without getting us hit by a car or keeling over with breathlessness when she said those little words, ‘Bye bye, boot.’

I turned round to see her beloved welly on the other side of the car park, exactly where Luke had dropped us off, what seemed like a marathon walk away. I then had to make my way back across to retrieve it, still carrying my rather heavy 22 month old, pick up said boot and again get back across in one piece.

At the time I wasn’t laughing and I couldn’t understand why she hadn’t just told me her boot had fallen off but once we’d settled down with our cakes and I thought about it I couldn’t help but smile. And even now, almost a year later, those words still make me chuckle as I think about them as do many of the other memories I have stored of my three little treasures.

Lord knows they grow so fast, heck I still can’t believe that my stocky toddler with his strawberry blonde hair, blue eyes and chubby wrists that would make anyone gush, is now at school. He’s still stocky, still has strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes and is still my beautiful little boy but there is no denying that things have changed.

Before I know it they will all be at school then they’ll grow into angry teenagers that hate the world and their mothers. I will still have my wonderful children of course but their baby and toddler years will be gone and all I will have are these precious memories.

This probably means nothing to you, it’s probably not even that funny, but if you think about it I bet you can find at least one memory that sticks in your mind and has you smiling with pure happiness when you think about it.

Posted in December 11 | Leave a comment

School

I finally took the plunge last week and enrolled at college. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while but wasn’t necessarily looking to start studying just yet as I wanted to wait until Gabriel was a little older. However when we went to enquire about the course they were enrolling that day so I went for it and joined up.

I am doing an IAB Book-keeping course for 15 weeks, Computerised book-keeping and then Payroll meaning that by next June I will have hopefully have passed all 3! I’ve only had one class so far but it seems ok if a little intensive.

Joseph also started school recently. He’s done 2 weeks now, 1 week of mornings and 1 week of afternoons, and tomorrow is his first full day. It’s going well up to now although he’s not keen on the hall. Joseph hates loud noises due to his sensory issues so a large, echoing hall with over 100 excited children chatting and it’s Joseph’s version of Hell. A year ago he would have lost it, screaming whilst hiding in the corner with his hands over his ears. He’s made great progress though, when it all got too much he packed away his lunch and moved to an empty table where he resumed his eating. His teacher has allowed him to sit in the story corner. It’s a section of the hall that’s cornered off with bookcases with couches for children to sit and read. He can still hear the noise from the hall but he’s away from it so it’s not too much for him.
Hopefully with time he will want to rejoin the other children from his year but for now if he’s happy then I’m happy.

Lola started preschool last week too but in true Lola style, she took it all in her stride. A small wave and she was away into the room without so much as a backward glance. She loves it there and I love the staff for all the help they gave Joseph so I know she’ll have a fab time for the next 2 years she’s there. Then she will be joining Joseph at Sacred Heart and Gabriel will start Little Angels. Not sure how I will feel when that happens but for now I’m not thinking about it and enjoying him for the dribbly, squidgy 6 month old that he is.

Posted in September 11 | Leave a comment

Baby led weaning

A few friends have asked about this over the past few months so here is some more information.

Baby led weaning means letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning. There’s no purees, no mashing, no bowls and spoons. Just your child eating what you’re eating with the family.

With BLW you need to wait until your child is 6 months, or thereabouts, as it’s by this age our children are developmentally able to feed themselves.

So getting started.

You don’t need much really. Just a simple, easy to clean highchair will do for starters. I recommend the Ikea Antilop. At £15 including the tray it’s a must have for all messy monsters. Other extras you could buy are a wipe clean table cloth for under the highchair, some catch all bibs and maybe a spoon or two for baby for when you start introducing yoghurts, porridge and other runny foods. Of course they can use their hands for these too but eventually they will need to learn the use of a spoon and there is no harm starting them with one early.
Another thing I would recommend is a crinkle cutter, the type you use for making crinkle chips. These make slippery foods easier to hold.

Once you have the highchair and your baby is sitting upright, has the hand to mouth action and has lost the tongue thrust reflex you are ready to go! Just give them whatever you are eating minus the salt. I leave all salt out of cooking and Luke and I add to taste once we have our own. Makes things much easier!

Gagging can be a problem however this is just baby’s way of moving the food around their mouth. Don’t panic. 99% of the time, babies will bring up the troublesome piece of food with no problem and resume their eating. If they do start to choke, stay calm, remove them from their highchair and lay them across your knee with their head lower than their body. Give five firm blows to the back between the shoudler blades with the flat of your hand.  If the airway is still blocked, turn them over on your arm with the head still low. Using two fingers in the middle of the chest, push down a third of the depth of the chest. Check the mouth after each push and remove any obvious obstruction. After three cycles of back blows followed by chest thrusts, dial 999 and continue cycles. Never do abdominal thrusts.

A sure sign they are choking and not gagging is the silence. When a baby or child gags there is the noise, a hacking sound, like they are retching. With choking there is no noise and often just a wild panic in the child’s eyes. This is the reason they should never be left alone whilst eating.

My one piece of advice which I can’t stress enough is CUT THINGS UP!!! Grapes, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, even blueberries. Cut them in half at least and quarters if they’re big enough especially if your child is under 1. I have had other parents snigger and laugh at me, I’ve had people say I’m crazy for still cutting my 4 year olds grapes in half and think I’m crazy for refusing them to be allowed ones that aren’t but quite frankly I don’t care. They are my children and I will do my upmost to protect them and if that means asking for a knife at a children’s party so I can cut Joseph’s grapes in half before he eats them then so be it. And woe betide anyone who gives my children anything that could be a choking risk, you won’t do it a second time. Choking is the 3rd most common cause of infant death in the UK so if it’s possible I urge you to take a first aid cause particularly one that focuses on infants and young children.

As scary as that sounds though, please don’t be put off BLW. My son gagged more than my daughter during weaning and he was puree weaned.

Another piece of advice I have is the 4 day rule. This is especially useful in the first few weeks of weaning and what it means is giving your baby a new food and then waiting 4 days before introducing another therefore making it easier to work out if a certain food is causing a reaction.

For example, give them a chunk of carrot for their first food, then only carrot for the next 4 days. Once you are sure this has produced no reaction you can introduce another food, say potato, and they can have carrot and potato for 4 days. It sounds like a faff at first but as the mother to a baby with an intolerence, it’s worth the hassle to know what’s causing the pain and discomfort then you can avoid it in future.

I have a 7 day menu plan that I am happy to send to people if you would like it and will pop links at the bottom of this so you can have a read of other websites.

Enjoy this experience with your little ones and most of all relax! If you want to spoonfeed certain things then do it. If you want to give them curry or chilli that you’re having then do it. Just stir a spoonfull of sour cream or natural yoghurt through first and prepare for the nappy that will follow.

If there is anything else you want to know then give me a shout on here, either of my FB pages or one of the forums you can usually find me hanging out on.

Kate x

www.babyledweaning.com
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Baby-led-Weaning-Helping-Your-Baby/dp/0091923808/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315045059&sr=1-2
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Baby-led-Weaning-Cookbook-delicious-recipes/dp/0091935288/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b

Posted in September 11 | Leave a comment

What’s in a name?

A few people have asked how I came up with the name, Apparentlymad. So this is where it’s from.

It all started when I was first noticably pregnant with Gabriel. People would look at me, my 2 young children and my ever growing bump and start with the endless questions. So I would force a smile and reply, ‘Yes they’re all mine.’ ‘ Yes I will have 3 under 4.’ ‘No I’m not 16, I’m actually 24.’ ‘Yes I am aware that I look a lot younger.’

I still get it now, usually as I’m on my way to school. Rushing because, once again we are late. Attempting to push the pram, convince Lola to hurry up and stop Joseph from running off. Or in the doctors, trying to book in or order a repeat prescription, keep my children from shrieking and then navigate the heavy doors with the 3 of them.

After several questions and random comments about coping with 3, having my hands full and looking like I’ve just received my GCSE results, I can guarantee 90% of people will then say the words I’ve been expecting.

‘You must be mad’

Yes, apparently.

Posted in August 11 | Leave a comment

Extended rear-facing

If you were to ask those closest to me, what am I most passionate about, it’s this. Keeping children rear facing for as long as possible.

It’s a stage in every baby’s life, often an exciting one for the parents involved. The moment they get to switch them into a forward facing car seat and let their precious bundle see out of the front window for the first time.  Most parents that you speak to when your little one reaches 7-10 months will ask the question, ‘Have you turned them round yet?’ and then usually be shocked if you say no.

But what is the rush? Why is turning them round such a big thing? It’s because that’s how we’re made to think. We are told to turn them round as soon as they hit 9kgs and can sit up unaided for a certain amount of time. It’s what everyone expects us to do.  Scandinavian children are kept rearfacing in their cars until they are at least the age of 4 and their parents wouldn’t dream of turning them forward before this.

So why not over here in the UK? All parents want to keep their children as safe as possible so why are they encouraged to turn them round?

Rear facing is 5 times safer than forward facing especially in frontal collisions which are the most dangerous of crashes. When a child is forward facing and a frontal collision occurs the child is flung forward in the seat, being caught by the harness. This puts stress on the neck, the spine, and the internal organs.  The neck is completely unprotected and as the spine and skeleton of a small child are still growing and not yet solidified into bone, the neck is vulnerable to the great force it’s being subjected to in a car crash.

In worst case senarios a child can go through what is called internal decapitation. The neck and spine is stretched to such an extent that the spine snaps and basically means the child has been internally beheaded. This is of course fatal.

In a rear facing car seat, the child is flung into the back of the seat and the force of impact is distributed along the whole back of the seat. The neck, spine and internal organs are not subjected to the stress of the force and are therefore protected.

Of course you will get people giving the most ridiculous reasons as to why they have turned their children round. ‘They don’t like facing backwards’ ‘Their legs are squashed’ ‘They can’t see out the window’ and ‘RF car seats are too expensive.’

If your baby has been in an infant carrier since birth then all they have know is rear facing, so chances are their not unhappy with rear facing, they just don’t like being strapped in to the car seat! Yes their legs can look a bit cramped up and if you did have a bad car crash, chances are they might end up with a broken leg but better a broken leg than broken neck, surely? As for the window, in a rear facing car seat, they are just as high up as forward facing with a good view out of both the side and back windows. They probably have a better view as they don’t have the front seats in front of them. And yes the car seats are on the pricey side but you can’t put a price on your child’s safety.

I’m not asking that every one rush out and buy a rearfacing car seat for their little one, well actually I would love that, but I’m not going to judge people for turning their children round and making their own decision. I just ask that you please research it before you make that decision. If more people choose rear facing then eventually companies might realise and release more affordable rear facing seats.

If, after researching, you still think rear facing isn’t for you and your family then that’s fine but if I can convince just one parent to keep their child rear facing until at least the age of 2, then I will be happy.

http://www.rearfacing.co.uk
http://www.car-safety.org/rearface.html
http://www.incarsafetycentre.co.uk/

Posted in August 11 | 1 Comment

Facebook page

I have now set up a FB page to accompany my blog. It will include small posts, updates, reviews and can also be used as a page for advice and help for other mums or mums to be.

Please search for Apparentlymad and like my page then share with your friends!

Posted in August 11 | Leave a comment

Buses

I hate using buses with the kids. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful for public transport, especially as I don’t drive and rely on it most days, but it’s such hard work.

Standing in all weathers relying on the bus driver to turn up on time whilst trying to stop two small children running too near the road as they get tired of waiting. Then it eventually arrives and I have to heave the pram on and negotiate getting it in the pram space, apply the brake and find seats for the kids and myself all before he sets off again. It’s not easy.
That’s if a bus turns up that I can actually get on. Sometimes it’s one that looks like it should have been taken out of service in the 70′s with steps and a bar in the middle or there is already someone in the pram space with their pram, wheelchair or suitcase.

So then I have to decide whether to struggle removing everything from the pram and attaching it to someplace on my body whilst trying to fold down the pram with a wriggly baby under my arm. Then carry the pram and baby onto the bus, helping Lola up the step and again, trying to place the pram somewhere and get us seated before he sets off.

I never manage it though. I never manage to sort everything before he sets off. Is that because I’m incredibly slow or because I like staggering about on a moving bus with the pram rolling about as I haven’t had chance to apply the brake and the kids falling over as I try to sit them down? No it’s because the drivers nearly always set off as soon as I rip the ticket from their machine.

It’s almost as is they say to themselves, ‘Wait for it, wait, when she’s got that ticket in her hand I’m going to floor it. Nearly there, she’s going to take it, and, go, go, go!

Needless to say I don’t choose the option of folding down the pram very often. Especially when I have all 3 of them with me, that’s just asking for trouble.

So we wait for next one that we can get on, usually in the rain or wind, then cross our fingers that when it eventually turns up we’ll be able to get the pram on and that driver will actually have the sense to wait before he drives off so I can get myself sorted amid stares from the elderly people and tuts at the young mum on the bus with the rather loud son who enjoys singing Christmas sings at the top of his voice, whatever time of year. Stop judging me or I’ll start charging for the entertainment.

Then we finally get there, struggle to turn the pram round because people won’t move their feet, manage to bump the pram down and on to the kerb that the driver appears to have parked a mile away from and turn round to get Lola who refuses to do steps, all the while checking Joseph hasn’t legged it. I breathe a sigh of relief, we did it, we’ve arrived in one piece and I haven’t murdered anyone.

And then it hits me, that was just to get there, there’s still the return journey. We’ve got to do it all over again when it’s time to go home. Joy.

Posted in August 11 | Leave a comment

The hardest thing

About being a parent for me personally isn’t the constant arguing with my 4 year old, the tantrums from my 2 year old or the overall stress and worry that comes from having children.
It’s two Saturdays in every month, having to hand my eldest two over to their Dad.

I know it’s only two weekends a month and yes it’s only for one, maybe two, nights but I really struggle having to do it. It’s not that I don’t trust him with them, if I didn’t they wouldn’t be going at all. And it’s not that they don’t enjoy themselves, they love being at Daddy’s house and sometimes I fear they’d rather be there than with me. It’s the pain I feel at having to give them to someone else. I find it hard enough leaving them with a babysitter for a few hours whilst Luke and I escape to be a couple again. I just hate the fact that they’re not with me.

What if something happens to them and I wasn’t there to prevent it? Or they fall ill and I’m not there to hold them close and tell them it’s ok. I realise it’s very selfish of me to feel this way but if you can’t be selfish when you’re a parent, when can you be?

So every other Saturday I kiss them goodbye, hand them to their father and resist the urge to run after them screaming ‘They’re mine, give them back!’ whilst I cling to them and sob uncontrollably into their hair.

Instead I stand on the platform watching them leave, their faces bright with happiness as they’re reunited with their beloved Dad. I wave, smile and will myself to walk away without crying then wish away the hours until they’re back with me. Back where they belong.

Posted in August 11 | Leave a comment