Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Baby Brain Experiment

Apparently there is no such thing as Baby Brain. At least there is no evidence of any hormonal or other medical reason why pregnant women and new mums should be a bit, er, ditsier than normal but a lot of people claim it's happened to them. So lets do a (not at all) scientific observational study. N=1 (me).

Evidence against the existence of the phenomenon known as Baby Brain:

The other night I had an almost perfectly sensible phone conversation with a friend while simultaneously:

  • Bouncing a screaming baby
  • Instructing my husband on how to make up gaviscon for said baby
  • Correctly identifying assorted sea creatures on the DVD E was watching
  • Making encouraging comments about the lobster song that ensued

Surely a fine example of higher cognitive feminine art of multi tasking, and not the least bit fluffy headed.

Evidence for the existence of the phenomenon known as Baby Brain:

1- When attempting to make a cup of tea I noticed my mug was still half full from last time and would need emptying out. However instead of doing this I waited until the kettle boiled and then poured all the water down the sink.

2- After using a knife to open a pack of chicken breasts I rested the knife on the baking tray so as not to get raw chicken on the worktop. Later that evening, while loading the dishwasher, I found the baked knife now melted into the shape of the baking tray

3- I planned to cook a ham on Christmas eve. The day before I got it out of the fridge to check it would fit in the pan. I then put the ham away in the pan drawer and the pan in the fridge*

In conclusion - baby brain may not be a medical condition, but after 3 months without a decent nights sleep it seems pretty real to me!

a bit tired

*Actually the pan didn't quite make it to the fridge, my Mum caught me in the act and pointed out my mistake (after she'd stopped laughing)

Monday, 7 January 2013

The Mummy essentials

I've had a few requests recently for advice on what to buy for a new baby, it's a mine field - cot/cotbed/crib/moses basket? Is it really worth spending more on a buggy than I did on my first car?? I could probably get a years worth of material for the blog just from baby gadgets. But it made me think - what are the Mummy essentials? Not gadgets for the baby, the stuff that makes life as a new mum that bit easier? Here's my list - what would you add?

PJs - lots and lots and PJs
This time I hoarded pyjamas while I was pregnant, most maternity PJs are also designed for breastfeeding and there is a lot to be said for only having to sneak a boob out for the night feeds rather than sitting there semi naked at 4am in a baby temperature room (ie. bloomin freezing). Also - and this may just be me, but the first few weeks I get really really sweaty at night (TMI?) throw in the leaky boobs and baby sick and it's good to have a fresh set at least once a day. Over the bump ones are best if you have a c-section so nothing is rubbing on the scar. My current favourites are from JoJo Maman Bebe

Alarmed at suddenly having acres of cleavage? A scarf will cover it up. Tummy looking a little wobbly? Scarf. Cover up for breast feeding? Scarf. Spot a vomit stain on your shoulder just as you're leaving the house? Scarf!

Thermal Mugs
If I've learnt one thing in the three years I've been a parent, it's that finding time to make a cup of tea is harder than you'd think, finding time to drink it while it's hot is near impossible. Ok I hope I've learnt a bit more than that but the point still stands. However, I now have a new friend, my trusty Thermos travel mug  if I can find the time to make the tea I now have a two hour window to drink it in! I've still had to pour it away stone cold on many occasions but it's an improvement.

Not just for the baby - so far I've also used ours to cover cooling food, strain chicken stock, steam Christmas puddings and as a hairnet when our ceiling fell down!

Hat, Boots, Raincoat
Q -How do you hold an umbrella while you're pushing a buggy?
A- You can't (I did try one that attaches the the buggy handles once but at 6 feet tall it's basically just a self-blinding mechanism. )
This is perhaps most applicable to urban mums - it's generally easier to walk than drive in central London, even if it's chucking it down and if the toddler is bouncing off the walls or the baby will only stop screaming on the move then hat, boots and raincoat may be the only answer.

Smart Phone/Tablet
Ok I'm a bit of a technophile anyway but facebook and twitter are keeping me going on the night feeds at the moment, I need a few more friends /  tweeps to follow in other time zones though - so annoying when no one posts anything interesting between the 2am and  5am feeds.

DVD box sets
On a similar theme - spending what feels like EVERY HOUR OF THE DAY sat your backside feeding a baby gets very dull, very quickly and there are only so many times you can coo vowel sounds or listen to Mozart. This is where borrowing all your friends DVD box sets comes in handy (it also gives a surprising insight into their taste) American TV series are the best, they tend to have lots of episodes which are about 45 minutes long, films are too much of a commitment.  With E I got through all of The West Wing and The Wire - I was a bit concerned she'd turn out to have a Baltimore accent but I seem to have got away with it!

A midwife told a friend it was good for milk production, or something like that, this may not be entirely evidence based, but I'll overlook that just this once.

What would you add? What are the things you've found invaluable that didn't appear in the baby gear shopping list?

PS. I've no connection to any of the companies/products mentioned here, it's just stuff I bought and liked

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

2012 - A Year In Pictures

January - Visit to the Imperial War Museum

February - Snow on Peckham Rye

March - a very busy month, 

 F and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary, and 10 years together, with a child free weekend away in Somerset

Fabulous bath at the Archangel hotel

If you want to be a big cop in a small town ....

We had another lovely holiday at Coombe Mill Farm in Cornwall (where I found out I was pregnant again!)

Dotty the pig - also expecting

And despite having a bad back and being a little bit pregnant, we got a sneak peak at the Olympic stadium when I became one of the first to try out the track (Mo learnt it all from me, ahem)

April - We had a great day out at one of my former workplaces - Legoland (they didn't let me operate the rides again though)
This ride may not have been intended for people F's size!

May - Proof that there was some good weather - just in time for E to try out her new play house

Our first glimpse of Smidge2

June -

Bumps start appearing
19 weeks

unfortunately not just on me

 we escaped London during the Jubilee for a visit to Devon and Cornwall

Joining in at the Eden Centre
Exploring the dunes...
...and rockpools at Exmouth

25 weeks

July - Family Holiday at Centre Parks

August - A great summer for London

The Olympics!!...

E had to say hello to ALL the police horses

E tries out hockey...

..then watches how it should be done

E is 3!!

Gruffalo cake - I was very proud of this!

and another look at Smidge2

September - The Paralympics

I drag my pregnant self to the top of the aquatics centre 

And the velodrome

And the basketball arena for the wheelchair rugby

Then finally admit defeat and get the mobility car back to the station!

Team GB Olympic parade

with our very own Olympic granny

Believe it or not we did see the athletes!

One of this years lovely weddings 

Reading, and looking large!

I'm not quite sure what the photographer was wanting from me here??

October - A family outing to Godstone Farm

November - A new arrival

Nearly there. 38 weeks

Welcome to the world M

The sisters meet for the first time

Home - what happens when you try to get a "nice" picture of two small children


First Smiles
M's stocking turns out to be rather large

Christmas eve

M has a snooze at Brixton registry office as we wait to make her official

Putting out snacks for Santa

Present mountain

Christmas day

Guess who came down the chimney!

Time to collapse on the sofa for Christmas TV with Granny

So happy new year to you all, however 2012 treated you I hope 2013 is better, although I think it'll be a pretty hard one to top for us!