Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Westfield ruined my baby.

I have been walking for days. It's like torture. Pushing a pram, and walking. Non-stop. I have been everywhere there is to go in the East. My legs ache, my back aches, I feel (and look) like a zombie but still the baby is not happy. And neither am I. One would think with all the excercise I've been having I'd be a losing a few pounds but that's not the case. I'm actually getting fatter as I'm having to eat out all the time. It's the only time I can sit down to eat or drink anything. Its a pretty hard time at the moment. Being forced to walk around Hackney, putting on weight and spending a small fortune on hot chocolates. Boo. I really don't know what's going on but my lovely calm, contented baby has become seriously discontented in the last week or so. Is it the weather? Is it the dreaded teeth? Is it a spurt? Is it a reaction to the jabs? Is he bored of my face looming down at him all the time? Is it just because he is a baby? Or is it a symptom of Westfield? Who knows, but all I do know is that I hope this particular phase passes soon. Everything seems to irritate the baby at present, apart from going out. Hence the walking. It doesn't stop the crying completely but being outside muffles the sound somewhat.

Basically, the baby's mood deteriorated after his first visit to the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford last Friday. I thought it would be a nice treat for him (ie me) so we went on the train, making use of the new lift at Hackney Central. However, it had somehow slipped my mind that the Paralympics were still in full swing which meant that Stratford was extremely busy. The whole world was there. Literally. The sheer volume of people combined with all the bright lights and jazzy window displays not only proved to be the most exciting day of babies life so far but also meant that he was totally overstimultaed by the time we got home. Wide eyed, cranky, he screamed so loudly on Friday evening I thought the neighbours may call the Police. Luckily however, the eggy mood coincided with a plan to go to a friends birthday so as soon as Wig got home from work, I handed over the screaming baton and legged it out the door. It was only when I went to the ladies at the pub at 10pm that night that I realised my right shoulder and right leg were  covered in baby possett (vomit) and my hair resembled a scouring pad. Thanks baby. The only positive from the Westfield excursion was the discovery of the most amazing changing stations I have seen in my travels so far. They call them 'parent rooms' and not only have the most luxurious areas for changing nappies (great height, sinks adjacent, bins underneath, perfect position ie baby's nether regions are face on to you not side on like most changing areas), but they also have sofas for feeding and a kitchen area for heating bottles or food! It was worth giving birth just to have access to this wondrous room.

Then on Sunday, as we didn't learn from my mistake on the Friday, we took baby back to Stratford! I know, stupid. But the thing was, we got last minute tickets to the Olympic Park and I really wanted to take baby. Wig had seen it already as he had been to the Paralympic Athletics but I felt bad living so close to the site and not having been. According to facebook I was the only person in the world that hadn't been. So off we trotted and I regretted the decison almost as soon as we had arrived. Not only was it even busier that the shopping centre (of course, its about a gillion times bigger) it was also extremely hot. Way to hot for a baby. So we only stayed about an hour before lugging him back home again. At least I guess when he's older he can say he was there, even though he will have no memory of it and even if he did his memory will have been of being covered in Factor 50 and kept under  a muslin while hearing me chattering away like Rainman, "Its too hot, we should go, we are being very irresponsible, are his legs ok? do his feet feel clammy?" etc etc repeat to fade.

Olympic Park, VERY impressive.

On Monday the terrible mood of the small boss continued so I took him to the one and only place in Hackney that I've never been. The Hackney Museum. My hopes weren't too high about what this museum would be like but it was somewhere to go and was free. I'm trying to think now what I learnt and I don't think I learnt anything. Maybe I learnt that I wont go again. Sorry Hackney Museum.

Exterior of museum.

Interior of museum.

I agree.

Rather surprisingly the Hackney Museum didn't have a picture of this charming street art which we saw on our way home. 

Like I said, charming.

Yesterday, the walking continued. I was out from 10am until 5pm. The small boss is relentless. I think if this is going to become a regular thing I will have to invest in some sturdy walking shoes. Walking for  7 hours in my 99p Primark Espadrilles is doing nothing for my bunions (thats a joke, I don't really have bunions. Thats about the one gross bodily ailment I don't currently suffer from). We walked around Broadway Market, The Bethnal Green Toy Museum, Sainsburys, Another Sainsburys, The Hackney Picture House, Tesco's, Boots and Marks + Sparks. I'm scared about what today will bring. There really is nowhere else to go.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

More things I wish I'd known.

Some things in life you just shouldn't mess with. Ploughman's and Scones being 2 of them. We went to our new favorite place on the weekend, This Bright Field, and found both on the menu and found both had been tampered with. I still can not fault the decor and the super friendly staff (the chef in the open kitchen recognised us from our visit last week and even brought some cut up fruit to our table for baby. Sadly, baby couldn't have it, he has no teeth and will be on milk for a little while longer yet but its the thought that counts) but fiddling with a Ploughman's and a Scone is a pretty heinous crime in my opinion.

According to Wikipedia, a  Ploughmans is a snack composed of cheese, cooked ham, pickle, apples, pickled onions and crusty bread. I agree with Wikipedia 110%.

According to This Bright Field, a Ploughmans is composed of cheese, chopped up smoked chicken in a sort of sausage shape, beetroot, radish, a tiny dollop of coleslaw, pickle and the thinnest slices of bread I've ever seen that weren't a Melba toast. And it cost £10. Ouch.

Now one may say "Well, why did you order it then?" But I really didn't know it would be such small portions and that the bread would be so thin. It was delicious but it wasn't a Ploughmans. Sorry.

Second up, the Scone. We thought we'd have a scone to make up for the shock of the Ploughmans. I love scones. I make scones. I eat scones. Quite a lot. For my 30th birthday my older brother bought me a Red Letter Day voucher to go Zorbing. I swapped it for a Cream Tea at a National Trust Castle (sorry older brother!). That's how much I love a scone. Part of the thrill of a Scone is smearing on your own jam and cream. Unfortunately, this wasn't going to happen at This Bright Field. It came to the table pre-smeared. MORTIFICADO! I almost asked for my money back.

To summarise, I still think this is an awesome place with loads going for it, just please don't mess with the classics. I'd hate to see what they'd do to a prawn cocktail.

Another thing you shouldn't mess with is a baby's small plump little thigh. Baby had his 2nd round of immunisations today which I have been dreading. The first round last month, made him peculiar for 2 days. Luckily he didn't get some of the worse reactions which can include a fever, a green face and vomiting but nevertheless, its a very unpleasant business. The thing about the immunisations are that they give you a little dose of the illness they are trying to immunise against which seems a bit mean but is worth it in the long run. Watching them get the jabs is heartbreaking though. The needles are as long as the babies thighs and almost as wide. Horrid. Particularly for a wimp like me, all I can say is thank God the Wig comes with us.

Anyway, I was dreading going back for the next lot of jabs. Baby was in a very good mood first thing this morning and I kept thinking "If only you knew what the day has in store . . . ". The thought even crossed my mind not to take him at all, that would have been a great excuse for him to stay in doors with me forever. But thinking he might want his own life one day away from me (sob  . . . sob . . . ) I thought he should go.  I really don't know how one would choose to be an "Immunisation Nurse". It has to be one of the meanest jobs ever created, stabbing babies in the legs all day is really not a nice profession but I suppose someone has to do it. Our nurse is actually quite nice (I know, a surprise) but I have noticed she wont make eye contact. I think she feels guilty for the pain she is inflicting. However, today went surprisingly well and I don't know what I was worrying about. When we arrived to the Nurses office and held baby in place for the needles, he smiled at the Nurse then when she injected him with the first needle, he didn't flinch! Not even a blink! That baby is awesome! He did cry his little heart out for the second jab (horrid) but as soon as we got outside and put him in his buggy, he dropped off. So, well done to my amazingly brave little soldier. What a guy.

After the first lot of jabs last month, I sent an email to my pregnant friends and those who had babies just after me (14 of our friends had or are having babies in the few months leading up to us and a few months after. Weird eh?) with some more thoughts on things I wish I had known, possible reactions to the jabs being one of them. So here are those few thoughts for anyone who may be remotely interested:

These are not very nice. A needle in each thigh and a screaming baby basically. All the babies have the first lot at 8 weeks (unless you live in TB riddled Hackney and they get their BCG given at birth) and I would suggest both mum and dad taking baby. It is not pleasant for anyone so the more support the better. Also, if you are bottle feeding, take some food along, it might calm them down afterwards. If you are breast feeding, you may need to whip out a boob!

Babies can get a fever afterwards so some people say to have Calpol on hand. Some other people also suggest giving Calpol anyway (babies can have it at 2 months) just in case, but if you do this it can cancel out the immunisation. They get a dose of the lurgey to kick start their immunity to it but if you try and kill the germ with the Calpol the immunity wont have a chance to build up. If the baby does get a fever either take them back to the Dr or call the NHS hotline for advice but fever's aren't the only side effect.

Babies can be very sleepy and lethargic the next day which is quite disturbing if your baby is normally quite alert. Our baby was very upset the afternoon after the jabs (he had a couple of crying spells) and almost regressed to a newborn, so I cuddled him lots obviously trying to avoid touching where the needles had been. The following day, he would not sleep all day, it was very peculiar. Then the day after that he was very lethargic, floppy, had a runny nose and was definitely out of sorts. But by the third day he was back to his old self again. The jabs are horrid but if I'd known what to expect I would have been less shocked. 

This seems very obvious but all babies really are different. I got a bit hung up on how much baby was eating and at what times and tried to make some sense of it. I googled how much babies should eat at what stage and tried to see if he was 'normal'. But I soon realised that as long as baby is happy, putting on weight (which you will know as they grow out of their clothes soon enough) and wee-ing and poo-ing ok, then you are probably fine. Do you eat the same amount of food at the same time each day? I know I don't so why should it be any different for a new baby? Get baby weighed of course if you want to double check things are ok, but we have only done this twice. We know he is growing, I don't need a Midwife who has never met him before to tell me that. The hospital told us to do "Demand Led" feeding which doesn't really fit into a routine, it's when baby is hungry so just go with the flow and don't get too hung up with what other babies are doing.

By about the 8th week I think, the poo's changed from almost one every other nappy to one a day. I freaked out at first and kept checking for the elusive poo and was convinced we had a constipation on our hands, I was almost ready to insert a greased up finger in to relieve the pressure but basically the digestive system is maturing by this stage and they don't need to go so often. One big one every day seems to be what happens and being in an upright position helps things along (Makes sense right? Do you poo laying down?). Our Babybjorn bouncer has now become known as the 'poo chair'.

Baby started doing this by about week 6. Just when you think you can't take anymore, you'll get a smile and everything is rosy.

Finally, here's a link to something that I think is brilliant. It made me cry, what a surprise.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Little Bird by Jools Oliver

I got a letter. It was 4 pages long and from the hospital. It was a response to my letter regarding the unpleasantness at the birth of baby and his subsequent stay in special care. It turns out that the Ghanaian Midwife who we got lumbered with the day he was born was newly qualified and had only recently started working at the hospital. Well there's a surprise. We certainly got the short straw that day! I'm glad to have finally received a response and (sort of) apology but even happier now to put the experience behind me. I know that writing to the hospital wouldn't change anything but I wanted there to be some record somewhere that this Midwife is an absolute liability. Now she is apparently being closely supervised by the Head of Midwifery at Homerton. Good.

So as a symbolic gesture to the end of the whole sorry affair, we finally chopped down the Jasmine that was growing through the front room window. I first noticed it sprouting through the shutters when I returned home from the hospital. Ever since then I felt too bad to cut it down for some reason, like it was somehow linked to the baby. I'm a bit superstitious about things you see and perhaps if I cut it back, something might drop off the baby, like a toe etc etc. Anyway, yesterday we chopped it down and guess what. The baby is fine.

So, goodbye Jasmine and good riddance Midwife. 

Since baby has arrived I haven't really bought much for him. Firstly, because newborns get bought A LOT of presents and secondly because I'm a bit skint from not having a job. However, last week I had a small splurge on some items that Jools Oliver had designed for Mothercare. I ordered them online (since I still haven't managed to go shopping in a real shop since May) and they arrived yesterday. This package of baby items totally made my day and are very reasonably priced. They are sort of old fashioned but thats why I like them. I think these clothes might be my favorite clothes that baby currently has in his collection. Babies should dress like babies in my opinion not like small adults (although baby does has a black hoodie from American Apparel which is not remotely babified).

Whether Jools Oliver really did design them herself, who knows but nevertheless it's a lovely range and would make great gifts for a new baby. Someone else's or your own. 

Mushroom doorstop. For the door to the babies room that doesn't exist yet. 
One day dear baby you will have your own room I promise.

Huge cellular blanket with pretty embroidery on each corner.

Material of the 70's. This is a lovely white 'bundler'. A sort of nightie with elastic at the bottom. 
Wig had a shock when he came from work and found baby on the bed dressed as a retro girl but Mothercare assures me this is a unisex item. It has buttons at the back which I thought may annoy the baby but he was fine. Phew. You dnt want to get on his wrong side. I think he may have inherited his mother's short temper and intolerance.

Nice feature on all the clothes, the Little Bird logo on a little tag.

Little socks.

Toweling babygro with Fawn embroidery and round neck collar. Beautiful.

Another tag. This is pink . . . maybe that means its for girls. . . 
Sssshhh, don't tell Wig.

And this is my favourite item but the worst photo. Its a toweling bib type thing, shaped like a waistcoat that goes over the clothes and does up at the back at the back with velcro. It's such a good idea I don't know why all bibs aren't made like this. It went down so well baby spewed all over it on its first outing to test it out but after a wash has come us as good as new. Brilliant.

Yesterday was the day that we were supposed to get married. 1st september 2012. It felt a bit strange to be honest and made me start thinking about the wedding again. It will happen one day, it has to, I've got loads of dressing for the venue all boxed up in storage and I've paid for the dress! Hopefully we can do it next year and hopefully baby will be able to crawl / waddle up the aisle with us or at least do some sort of trick since he was the one that stole the day (joke). So instead of getting married we went for a walk. And while we were out and about taking in the fresh Hackney air whilst trying to avoid nutters/people weeing in the street/dog poo's I saw this sprayed on a wall and it made me smile.