The battleground of snot

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I know all children are snotty, I knew this before I had a baby and it was one of the things I was least looking forward to (nappies, birth and vomit were also high on my dread list), but I hadn’t actually appreciated what the worst bit of it would be.

I knew that an immunity to snot would develop because even though I as an adult cannot stand looking at either runny or crusty noses there are so many of them around that I assumed parents became ultimately indifferent, but I have discovered that’s just not true.
My son constantly has a crusty nose, and often can be found with a river of snot waving it’s way towards his mouth.
It upsets me, I find it disgusting to look at, but it’s still there.
You may ask why…and you would be right to ask.
The simple answer is not that I don’t notice or don’t care, but in the crazy battle of attempted nosewiping I realise that before I get the tissue anywhere near the little snotrag said snot will first find its way onto my shoulder, trouser leg, the rug, the sofa and probably somewhere on my skin…
…you have to pick your battles.
I am starting to come to terms with the snot, I flit between blaming it on his fortnightly trip to playgroup, teeth and the lack of manners in society (ok so the last one is unlikely but it’s a real problem).  In the same way that I came to terms with poo after I got sprayed by one…who knew I would become a cloth nappy user.
PS I do notice that although the boy won’t allow a tissue near his nose if he can find a box of tissues, loo roll or tissue anywhere within reach he will immediately hone in on it.

The curse of the mandatory nighttime nappy leakage

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When my baby was young I was a real connoisseur of nappies, I tried them all.

Naturally my favourite, Huggies, went out of production so after importing some from abroad I settled for whatever I could get my hands on.

Whatever I tried I have ended up with leaks (yes even with my favourites) and although friends had the occasional leakage, I seemed to have it nearly every night*

One particularly horrible evening after changing the moses basket sheets twice, changing clothes, a poonami, many feeds, infacol, raised lets at the head end of the moses basket etc I went through everything I could to make him sleep, I finally got him off and as I was drifting into sleep he started squalking.  I was grumpy and exhausted, I had run out of ideas and had no idea what ELSE could he need.  I picked him up and there it was AGAIN, literally 10 minutes after I had put him down, the cold damp patch on the front left side of the nappy.

Why?  WHY? and HOW?

I understand that there are times when the nappy isn’t done up quite right, or a child is in between nappy sizes.  Now I expect it more as Jem sleeps on his front so if he’s particularly wee-ey in the night it has an excuse for squeezing out, but when he was little I just couldn’t work it out.  Always in the same place, not every night but at least once a week.  I label it “the curse of the mandatory nighttime nappy leakage” because it doesn’t seem to happen to other people but I really suffer from it.  Surely after all this time my nappy fastening technique has improved…?

 

* I say night, but those of you who know me know that when he was little Jem didn’t really sleep at “night” so by “night” I mean whatever ungodly hour he dropped off to sleep for his long** sleep

 

**by “long” I mean 2 hours…max…it’s “long” because the rest of the day he only slept 20 minutes at a time…I don’t miss those first few months.

Freecycle – my favourite way to shop!

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When we moved from our flat in Tufnell Park we had to decide whether to bring our furniture with us, normally this seems like a no brainer but bearing in mind we were moving into a house that we were intending to gut we thought it might not be such a wise idea.  Instead we decided to travel light and freecycle most of our stuff.  Bookcases, unwanted gifts,wardrobes and beds you name it, we got rid of it.  We didn’t even have to pay to get rid of it, we advertised our belongings on Freecycle and a steady stream of people came to collect.  Whilst you don’t usually get to know much about the background of people collecting we know that some of our items went to great homes, including a band who wanted our ripped sofa for their studio (…I hope they remember us when they’re rich and famous).

When we moved the previous owners had left a variety of unwanted furniture, so we ended up Freecycling again to clear out before we started building.

We did bring a few things with us that we couldn’t bear to part with, one of which was the cat’s scratching post which had been too large for it’s former owner:

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We spent months and months with only a garden chair (from freecycle) and a sofa chair to perch on while we watched TV in our kitchen.  We slept on an airbed from Freecycle (which we still have – it’s an aerobed which needed a puncture repairing and it’s fantastic – we slept on it until I was about 8 months pregnant!)

This was our only chair for many months...sadly the cats claimed it so we had to sit on deckchairs most of the time...

This was our only chair for many months…sadly the cats claimed it so we had to sit on deckchairs most of the time…

Once our house started coming together it meant we were sorely lacking in furniture so we started scouring Freecycle for anything that would come in handy!

We got a bed, wardrobe and a mattress from Freecycle eventually when we had a bedroom, but that wasn’t the best thing about Freecycle.  When it became really lifesaving was when we had a baby!

We have so many thank yous to give to our lovely local Freecyclers, I couldn’t possibly list them all, but to give you an idea of what they kindly donated to us:

  • moses basket and stand;
  • Changing table;
  • Wardrobe (for adults but we use it in the baby’s room);
  • chest of drawers;
  • storage unit (we use it for toys);
  • newborn sleepsuits;
  • Bouncy chair;
  • a Bumbo;
  • a door bouncer;
  • Older baby clothes;
  • Muslins;
  • bibs, lots of bibs!;
  • a pregnancy pillow;
  • a nursing pillow;
  • a breast pump;
  • reusable nappies;
  • baby toiletries;
  • two baby baths;
  • an umbrella fold stroller (missing a wheel which we’ve managed without but could buy a new one!);
  • bath toys;
  • a Mothercare playcentre;
  • a BabyDan portable stairgate;
  • a playpen;
  • a travelcot;
  • toys;
  • an Ikea rocking chair; and
  • an Ikea egg chair.

I genuinely don’t know what we would have done without all these generous donations.  Some of these have already gone onto new owners via Freecycle, some of them we only used to try things out before we invested money in them (like the feeding cushion) but others we have kept and will love until we come to pass them onto a new home.  Our financial situation has been very difficult so it has allowed us to prioritise

The best thing about Freecycle is that it has given items which might otherwise have been thrown out another chance to be used.  Pretty much everything we have received or given away (even old paving slabs or bits of wood) has some life left in it and I just hate to throw things out if they can be used!

I’ve put a couple of photos below so you can see us enjoying some of our wonderful gifts.  To all who Freecycle:

THANK YOU!

Our trusty stroller

Our trusty stroller

Jem puts the rocking chair to good use but has less interest in the play centre...

Jem puts the rocking chair to good use but has less interest in the play centre…

This wonderful suitcase allowed us to buy a travelcot mattress and take it away with us...it's also large enough for babies...

This wonderful suitcase allowed us to buy a travelcot mattress and take it away with us…it’s also large enough for babies…

The egg chair...as you see he likes to stand rather than sit in chairs!

The egg chair…as you see he likes to stand rather than sit in chairs!

The controversial Bumbo, we were warned against it but I was so desperate to have "somewhere" to put the baby I wanted to try it out...he hate it, so glad we didn't pay for it!  You can also see the leg of the changing table behind him...and my changing bag...and my foot...

The controversial Bumbo, we were warned against it but I was so desperate to have “somewhere” to put the baby I wanted to try it out…he hate it, so glad we didn’t pay for it! You can also see the leg of the changing table behind him…and my changing bag…and my foot…

Fantastic bouncy chair, missing it's toys but it worked well for us...it even sent him to sleep three times!

Fantastic bouncy chair, missing it’s toys but it worked well for us…it even sent him to sleep three times!

When is a nappy not a nappy…when it’s not “real” presumably?

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Sorry this is more of a rant than a blog, I love my Bum Genius reusable nappies, even second hand they were great value and have lasted us well.  I have used them since Jem was about 7 months (once I knew what was likely to come out of that end and that it was unlikely to be too squishy!) but I have friends who have used them since birth and been fine.  In all honesty whilst I loved the thought of reusable nappies when I was preggers at that time I had never changed a nappy (yes, really, in fairness I only held a baby for the first time when I was 35 weeks pregnant) and even though I thought I was fully conversant in nappies (I literally read everything the internet had to offer) I was not fully prepared and when I saw it, I just couldn’t face washing it.  In all honesty it probably wouldn’t have worked for us at that time anyway, we only had access to our washing machine intermittently and I had to brave the building site to get to it, we also would have only had our kitchen/living room to dry them in and as this was already housing all our possessions (enough to fill a house – honestly) it wasn’t ideal.

In short we used “sposies” for the first 7 months and still do at night/on holiday/on days of dodgy tummy but this doesn’t make our nappies any less “real” grrr.  I just hate this term and whilst I really support initiatives such as Real Nappy Week (28 April to 4 May 2014, check it out and follow on Facebook http://www.goreal.org.uk/real-nappy-week or the website http://www.goreal.org.uk/real-nappy-week) the name drives me potty, REUSABLE surely NOT real?!?!?

Did you bring the sink mummy…?

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This is a little post about the wonder of changing bags, I’ve put you a picture of my own changing bag to give you an idea of what I’m talking about…

Admittedly I like to be organised and am often to be found with a large handbag even pre-baby (I have a list in my handbag notepad of what should be in my changing bag as a bare minimum…no really, I’ll take a photo for you: ) and it contains obvious things, nappies (sposies and reusable), changing bags, food, water…it goes on…parents you will understand this.  However a recent journey for lunch with a friend resulted in a sore back and I did begin to question all the things I was carrying around in there.

Of course I need a book/Kindle, for reading emergencies when the baby may be asleep and boredom strikes, and then a couple of crochet projects, because it’s silly to waste time (I did actually do one of these in fairness whilst the boy was asleep in the car).  Then a selection of food, grapes, a banana, baby food pouches, fruit yoghurt pots, ricecakes and breadsticks…naturally the food monster just ate my lunch so I didn’t actually need any of these.  A change of clothes for Jem and spare top for me…we haven’t needed these for several months…do they even still fit?  A spare cardigan each and 2 hats for Jem.

Toys, lots of toys, today we had a chewable bug (Kiddiecare) and joining rings from Mothercare, a Nuby Ice Bite teether, a Lamaze elephant and our V-Tech Toot Toot helicopter (possibly Jem’s current favourite thing).  He didn’t play with any of these…he did spend most of his time trying to steal cutlery or eat napkins (oh and staring at old men…)

Half a bag of disposable nappies (he did a poo, I needed one… and used a reusable one anyway), a full pack of Huggies wipes (my favourites) and ab

out 50 nappy bags, also a spare reusable nappy and a carrier bag for the dirty nappy (used!)  I also had a disposable changing mat (yet I still ended up just changing him on the floor of the toilets without using it).

Also of course general things for me as I don’t carry a separate handbag, this consisted of:

  • purse
  • phone
  • 6 mini tissue packs
  • 2 lip balms
  • 3 lipsticks (no I haven’t worn lipstick since our wedding)
  • a lip gloss
  • hand cream
  • notepad and pen
  • spare pen
  • Tampons & Sanitary towels

I never did buy an actual changing bag, because they were expensive, and my voucher for a free Boots one never came through, so although I was disappointed I ended up using an old messenger bag (endorsed by a Trade Union I used to be a member of…) which I figured did pretty much the same thing, and then after a couple of months moved onto a large handbag.  You can buy made up changing bags containing lots of essentials, pockets and hidey holes for all your essential things (presumably making them easier to find…?) but I do wonder whether it’s really essential to make such a big deal about changing bags.  I manage to carry a whole lot of junk around with me and in fairness rarely use it.  I have developed a habit of simply sticking a couple of nappies in a carrier bag in the bottom of the buggy and ‘winging it’ (admittedly at 10 months it’s easier as there is less likelihood of leaky pooage).