Sunday, 31 July 2011

Follow on from my Therapy - My Safe Place

So I have told you about my Sentor, now I will tell you about my safe place. This is somewhere where my brain can escape to when I am anxious and it instantly calms me. I knew straight away what I was going to choose for this.

A few years ago we went on a tour of Holland, we didn't book anything but the flights, I had looked on a map for which town and cities we could go, and I had looked for an idea of where we could book hotels once we had got there. We landed in Eindhoven, and then over eight days we went on to Rotterdam, Den Haag (The Hague), Haarlem, and then Amsterdam. The Hague was one of the best places I have ever been to, but that is most probably because we went in October, when we left England it was wet, grey and miserable, and it wasn't much different in Rotterdam, but when we got to The Hague the weather was glorious, very warm and sunny, not a cloud in the sky most of the time. We stayed in Scheveningen which is the area of The Hague that has a seaside. I didn't even know that there was a seaside there so it was brilliant to arrive on this glorious day and walk along the beach.

So back to my safe place. When I imagine The Hague as my safe place I remember the palace like hotel at the end of the main beach road, the dog leaping around in the surf without a care in the world, the three boats on the horizon that didn't seem to ever move from the same position, the chip van that did the greasiest chips ever and the biggest blog of mayonnaise but tasted Divine, and the unique statues which always make me smile when I think of them. I loved that place and would have happily stayed there for our whole holiday, I would love to go back their for our honeymoon if we ever get married I would get the same hotel and the same room. How we got the fantastic room is another story. As I said earlier on we hadn't booked any hotel rooms, once we got to The Hague we went to the Tourist Information who told us about the beach area, and that it was 15 minutes down the road. Fifty minutes down a very long straight road we were fed up. We said that we would book into the first hotel we came to as we were so tired and sick of walking. When we got there we asked if they had any cheaper rooms for that night and what are budget was. For an extra ten euros we got the penthouse luxury room! Compared to the flea pit in Rotterdam this was VIP quality!

Here is my special place.



Saturday, 30 July 2011

Follow on from my Therapy - My Safe "Thing"

When my counsellor said that she was going to install a tiger in me I thought, ok your nuts! When it came to doing it she explained that it was an imaginary support in my brain, and I can call upon it when I need it beside me. She said that it can be a person, an animal, a mythical creature, anything I wanted. Once she had explained it and I had got over the amusement I thought it was rather exciting, I had watched a film at the cinema a few years ago called Looking for Eric, where the main charactor has an "imaginary friend" which is Eric Cantona, and he eventually helps him be stronger and face his problems, the whole time Eric was at his side.

I was stumped, I dont have the best imagination for this kind of thing. First I thought Freddie Mercury, one of my idols, but then I remembered that his mental health wasn't the best so he might not be the best thing for me. I then thaught of a Sentor, half man, half winged horse. I loved it. I imagine it to be Mel Gibson like he was in Braveheart as the man, and for the horses body it is violet/blue with a body like peacocks feathers. He is very pretty, and very strong. You can't stroke him, he isn't friendly. He is aloof, and always ahead, leading the way and he never stops until he gets what he wants. Rather like the opposite to me, a doormat, who always puts her needs last, and gives up because i'm probably not good enough anyway.

I have been able to call up my Sentor when I have needed him, and he is good for getting to sleep when my mind is on overdrive. He quashes all of the worries so that they are no longer there and so I can drop off.

Here is a Sentor, not my Sentor, but a rather pretty one.

at adam resimleri arşivi, centaur, sentor, kentaur

Next time I will talk about my safe place, it is somewhere very special to me.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Ten Things you didn't know about me!

After some begging on my part I have been tagged by Blog By Baby to do a post about Ten Things You Didn't Know About Me. Now I am stumped! Not really, I'm sure I can think up something interesting.

  1. I am scared of Crane Flies (Daddy Long Legs) because they are just so jumpy and unpredictable. Also flip flops because I am scared of falling over and my toes getting hurt, and rabbits and their tickliness.
  2. I have never broken a bone.
  3. My idol is Freddie Mercury. I know all there is to know about him.
  4. If I could be anyone in the whole history of the world I would be Jay Z, all that money and Beyonce, he has got it all, and it is all through his own hard work.
  5. My favorite food is cheese, I am disappointed that we can grow most things in our garden and allotment, but we can't make cheese. We need a smallholding so I can have some cows and a mini cheese factory.
  6. Apart from salty things especially corned beef, my other pregnancy craving was the colour yellow. I would get a strange feeling come over me when I saw a yellow garage door near where I live.
  7. I used to be a very good football player, I had trials for Nottingham Forest Ladies when I was 15. I had to stop when an unsporting player tackled me and stamped on my knee, leaving my knee permanently damaged, and I still have the marks on my leg where the sole of her boot got me.
  8. Mine and Gary's "song" is Crazy Love by MJ Cole because of the line "Some say that love unreturned, Ain't nothing more than a obsession". He wrote it on a rubber in science class at school when we were 15, I still didn't get the hint!
  9. My secret crush is Jeremy Kyle, shhh!
  10. I used to have pretend friends when I was little, two mice called Pindy and Dora. I once stood up on the bus and shouted at my mum because she sat on them, I was furious!
Well that was easier than I thought. To spread the smiles that this post has given me I am now going to tag two of my favorite blogs The McCaskie Clan, who's blog inspired me to get started on mine, and my fellow cloth nappy lover Love In The Nest.

Introduction to my Therapy

I have been thinking about blogging about my therapy for a while but I have held back because it is a very personal thing. I am going to tell you about it in baby steps, as much as I feel comfortable for now.

I am seeing a counsellor for PTSD from Zane's birth. It was very traumatic, he wasn't coming out, the doctor tried vontouse but every time she pulled his heart rate went to zero. It became critical and the consultant literally put his hands up there and pulled him out. It turned out that he had the cord wrapped tightly around his neck, and every time the doctor pulled she strangled him. I didn't see Zane for three hours after he was born as he was rushed to SCBU. I felt like I was watching over my life for five months after the birth, it was like the pethidine had never worn off. I had been having daily flashbacks of the birth for 17 months when I read someone else's story, they said is it normal to have weekly flashbacks? Everyone who responded said no, they must go to the doctors. I thought, my goodness, they are saying that when she is having them weekly, sometimes mine are hourly! I decided that day to book into see the doctor about it.

I was referred to a counsellor, initially I saw one that didn't specialise in anything in particular. He felt that as he was male and couldn't understand about birth trauma as good as another woman could, he was going to pass me on after a couple of sessions. It was a shame because he was very friendly and gave me some good advice. I was passed on to a lady that specialised in PTSD, and she had it herself a few years ago so she knew how I was feeling and had a good understanding.

We spent a couple of sessions just talking about the past, and she wanted me to briefly tell her about my birth and the flashbacks. I find it really hard to talk about them. I feel sick when I am asked to describe it, I have a big knot in my stomach and chest and feel like I have a massive stone weighing me down. I managed it, and then my counsellor talked about the condition. She said that with PTSD, usually a traumatic event from earlier on in life can set the stage for fully blown anxiety and PTSD, and my stage was the badly managed birth. Coincidentally my most traumatic event in childhood was very similar to the part of my birth that I have the most flashbacks about.

My counsellor decided that I could have a choice of two therapies. The first was intense talking about issues and events, she explained that this could be traumatic in itself and could make me very distressed. The second option was EMDR. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This was explained to be quicker and less distressing, so I went with that option.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing  is a form of psychotherapy that was developed to resolve the development of trauma-related disorders caused by exposure to distressing events. According to the theory, when a traumatic or distressing experience occurs, it may overwhelm usual cognitive and neurological coping mechanisms. The memory and associated stimuli of the event are inadequately processed, and are dysfunctionally stored in an isolated memory network. The goal of EMDR therapy is to process these distressing memories, reducing their lingering influence and allowing clients to develop more adaptive coping mechanisms.

So are you boggled like I was? Well what actually happens is that firstly the counsellor installs new software in your brain. Firstly a safe "thing" like an animal, person, anything you want it to be. Your imagination can run wild, but I found that what I chose was something I would never usually think of, and its characteristics are very apt for why my personality needs it. The second piece of software is a safe place. This can be imaginary or a real place that you have felt safe. Once these have been decided on and described the counsellor uses a lightbar which has flashing lights running all the way across it. As you follow the lights with your eyes the counsellor calmly describes them back to you using the same words as you did. At first I thought whats the science behind this? How is watching lights going to stop me have flashbacks? Well in simple terms your brain does its filing when you are having REM sleep, and following the lights simulates that experience for you brain. As the counsellor asks you questions and you respond, it reprocesses the information into the right part of your brain so it is no longer lingering.

Once I had my first full session using the lightbar I was a bit confused, the counsellor would tell me to get into my safe place, and then think about the traumatic event, and get right there like I was reliving it again so I felt all of the same feelings. I then had to follow the lights and say how I felt, or whatever popped into my head. Then we would just repeat that over and over again until I didn't feel anymore. The therapy is exhausting, after half an hour I am yawning and ready to go to bed, and the next day is terrible, I am an emotional wreck, crying most of the day. It is all part of the processing though, and I am starting to feel a little better.

That's enough for now. Next time I want to tell you about my safe thing, and safe place. They are very special to me.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Review - Limited Edition Baba + Boo Cloth Nappy

This review is from my review blog, but as the content is relevant to this blog I thought it would be a good idea to copy it over.

Baba + Boo was born when Eve wanted to use cloth nappies on her daughter but found that the nappies that were on the market were expensive. She decided to use her skills from her previous job as a buyer to source excellent quality nappies at a  fraction of the price, and also funky designs. The company has quickly expanded and now Eve designs and produces her own nappies and shoes. All of the products are of excellent quality, and have been produced under strict codes of conduct so you an be assured that they have been produced ethically.

The lovely Eve has sent me her new Limited Edition Green Camouflage cloth nappy to review. I love cloth nappies, and I also love green camo nappies, I have three of them, so I was very excited when I received the parcel.

The nappy is suitable for children that are between 10lb- 37lb, so it is a birth to potty nappy, and it has a high rise so it is a good fit. The outer fabric is a printed poly/cotton with a waterproof lining, and it comes with two microfibre inserts. The nappy is fastened by poppers.

My first impression of the nappy was fantastic, it had an extra popper on either side that meant no wing droop, which has started to become a problem for us with some of our nappies. The material was very stretchy and the inserts were thick, seemed like they were very good quality, and they also had poppers down the middle so I could change them into a boy fitting for more absorbency for up front.

When the time came for Zane to wear the nappy after it had all of its prewashes I was a bit worried. The insert could only go as far as the poppers, all of my other nappies can be stuffed right up to the waist band. I was a little apprehensive and thought he might have a wet tummy within a short time. I put it out of my mind and we went out to play. The fit was lovely, Zane is a big boy for his age, and is easily pushing the top of the weight limit for the nappy but he still had lots of room left to grow into. The nappy wasn't a slim fit, but it wasn't that bulky either, and I used both inserts as Zane is a heavy wetter.
When we were playing I observed how he moved in the nappy, it was very flexible, probably one of the most flexible nappies that we own. His walking and playing wasn't affected, and the best bit was that he wasn't waddling! He put the nappy through its paces going down the slide, sitting in his sand pit and running up and down the garden. At no point did he have a builders bum, or gaping between the legs, he looked really comfortable. When it came to changing the nappy easily lasted three hours, it could have probably lasted longer but it was time for bed so we couldn't carry out a longer test. Daddy was testing the nappy with us and he was very impressed with the design, and fit, so if you need to try and persuade your other half to try cloth nappies, then Baba + Boo could help you.

The Baba + Boo Limited Edition nappies retail at £9.75 each, which I think is very reasonable for the quality that you are getting. Take a look at the Baba + Boo web page to see the rest of their funky designs, and also the rest of their lovely products.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Ten things I love about You.

  1. I love your curious nature, inspecting everything that catches your eye.
  2. I love your blond curly hair, I never want to get it cut.
  3. I love that you have the same colour changing eyes as me.
  4. I love your silly sense of humour.
  5. I love your passion for anything with wheels and an engine and that you can tell what vehicle is going past outside just by the engine noise.
  6. I love how affectionate you have become.
  7. I love how you can dance better than me already, and you can't help but dance every time you hear music.
  8. I love how proud you make me whenever people say how lovely you are.
  9.  I love your placid but playful personality and your sweet sensitive nature.
  10. I love every second we have together, you are a joy to be around and my heart feels like it could burst, I couldn't possibly love you anymore, but each day I do.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

What's the best fruit?

Free fruit!

For the last week we have been picking blackberries off of our Brambles everyday, only a few at a time but it was really exciting for us being able to do this. I may have said a few times previously but apart from our parents house's we have only lived in apartments, so having a garden is still very novel for us. We have lived here for eleven months now so every week we notice a real change in the garden, something that we have never seen before, this past year has been amazing and eye opening.

In our garden we have two plum trees, and an apple tree. I have always hated brambles and cut them out when I saw them but over the winter Gary has been training them to run up the side of our garden. I thought he was mad, I didn't get why he was doing it, but it clicked last week. The brambles were full of blackberries! We have been picking them off everyday and then putting them in a tub in the freezer so we (Gary) can make an apple and blackberry pie once the apples are ready.

Today has been a warm day so I suggested that we go on a walk to get some fresh air. We walked over the recreation field behind our house which was being set up for a waterways festival soon, and then onto the canal path. There were more narrow boats along the canal than I had ever seen on their before, it was a lovely site, and even more special for me as it is one of my dreams to live on a narrow boat, such a simple care free life. Whilst we walked, we talked about what our boat would be like when we win the Euro Millions, notice how I say when, I like to be positive!

Once the canal changed from having houses backing onto it, to being more rural with rough hedges all along it Gary noticed blackberries, we couldn't help ourselves and picked off the ones that were ready. We were really pleased at our find, and carried on walking. All along the path we kept finding big juicy blackberries which we stored in the hood of the pushchair which made Zane very curious. After getting really stuck in, Gary was risking life and limb to get the fattest ones high up, we were going to such lengths to get them and they were only blackberries! We couldn't believe how many we got, the hood was full when we decided to turn back. We must have had about half a kilo's. It was amazing that such a simple, free activity was so pleasurable, and I think the key to happiness is appreciating the small things in life.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Reserved Peronality?

I am currently having counselling sessions for PTSD relating to Zane's birth. I am very interested in psychology so I find the sessions really fascinating and insightful. Today we talked about how siblings can have different personalities and so react to things differently, or perceive things differently. My councillor said that we are born with our personality and temperament, and I was born with a reserved personality. So what do you think, do I look like I have had a reserved personality since birth?

Me with my Dad and two big brother on holiday, most probably Weymouth or Paignton.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Developmental Leaps

So Zane is now 19 months old and he seems to be going through another developmental leap, or a wonder week. These developmental leaps come at predictable times throughout the first few years of a child growing up, and can be when the child's brain is doing a significant amount of processing for a new physical or mental milestone. Mental Development is when the brain grows, adds new functionality, and matures. As it does (in stages, on nature’s schedule) the cranium grows, neurons are added, and successively higher perceptual functions emerge.

Whilst a child is going through a developmental leap they can show many signs such as being more grouchy than usual, being unusually sensitive, increased crying, sleeping patterns change or become disturbed and clinginess. The are many more signs but the could be as individual as your child is.

It is important to fully support your child through a developmental leap, it can be a scary time, they don't understand their emotions or why they are behaving in a certain way so we need to assist as parents to label how they are feeling, which will give them the words to help make the connections, to enable them to communicate how they are feeling in future, and also give them the love and comfort that they need during this period.

I know when Zane is going through a leap because his sleep is very disturbed, he goes off his food, and his speech regresses. Regression is common, the brain is going through a lot of changes and some well honed skills are put on the back burner. When Zane was between 12-13 months he went through his biggest leap so far. He has been able to talk since he was 9 months old and quickly developed a large vocabulary, but just after his first birthday he went from saying around 50 words to 15, and his most common words seemed to be forgotten. It was a worrying time for us, I had started looking into Autism as he was showing a lot of classic signs. Then one day I caught him walking across our front room when I wasn't looking. The little monkey had been walking in secret. Soon after all of his words and more came back to him, he started making eye contact more and he would acknowledge people, point and wave. It would seem his brain was just concentrating on learning to walk and as soon as he had mastered the skill he was back to his usual chatty self.

Developmental leaps typically come at the following intervals, give or take a few weeks.
  • 5 weeks
  • 8 weeks
  • 12 weeks
  • 17 weeks
  • 26 weeks
  • 36 weeks
  • 44 weeks
  • 53 weeks
  • 64 weeks
  • 75 weeks
I have found that being able to predict when these leaps are coming you can prepare yourself mentally and physically before it arrives. If I know its coming it isn't a shock to the system and I don't get the confusion of wondering where my placid, clever little boy has gone, and I can get a few early nights in so that the sleep deprivation isn't so bad when I am waking three times a night.

For me the last few months of leaps have been the hardest, I found parenting pretty easy when Zane was less mobile and less aware of self. Once he hit around 15 months we realised that we needed to handle him in a slightly different way and boundaries needed to be enforced and kept consistent to avoid confusion. Once we got back into our swing of our parenting a toddler it was easier again. It would seem that whilst he is constantly learning and developing, so are we as parents.

So this last week I have found myself sitting on the sofa at 5am necking strong coffee after a rubbish nights sleep with a kicking fidgety toddler in my bed. Whilst I am sitting bleary eyed Zane is running around playing, and wanting to go outside into the garden. It is worth it though, every time he learns a new word or a new skill I burst with pride, I just have to keep repeating the mantra of "this phase will pass", and it does.

Some points of reference which I have found very useful over the past 19 months are This site is very in depth and has been a godsend to me. For our next child I think I will get the book to learn more. This site explains it all in a simple way on one page. Very useful if you are losing your sanity and quickly want to know that what is going on is normal and expected.

Friday, 15 July 2011

How to Strip Cloth Nappies.

I have thought that recently my nappies have started to still smell of ammonia after washing. I have had this before and I adjusted the way that I wash and it got much better, it turned out that I needed to use more detergent and rinse a couple of times after the main wash so that all of the extra bubbles washed out. I have continued to do this but they started to smell again so I needed to take action.

I did some research and I came across stripping. I had heard of this before but never looked into it as I hadn't thought my nappies needed it, but they definitely did now, the smell was putting me off using them. After researching it made sense that stripping my nappies was the best course of action. I have been using them for over a year now, and quite a high proportion of them are preloved so I think it was sensible to strip for general maintenance. As I use a full dose of detergent a build up would be more likely, plus they have been wicking recently.

There are three popular ways of stripping cloth nappies.

The first method is manually cleaning with dishwasher liquid.

* Fill a bath up with hot water and dishwashing liquid.
* Soak all nappies, wipes, liners, boosters, and inserts over-night.
* Scrub the surface of all nappies with a scrubbing brush and neat dishwashing liquid.
* Soak the scrubbed nappies over-night again.
* Wash and rinse all items in the washing machine over and over again until no more bubbles can be seen
* Hang everything on the line to get as much sunshine as possible.

This method is very time consuming but gives brilliant results. It makes the nappies and boosters look like new and they no longer smell. The scrubbing and soaking in the bath gets rid of all of the hidden muck in the nappies that you can't see, so you know that they have had a really thorough clean, the evidence will be in the bottom of the bath.

The second method is using a dishwasher tablet in the washing machine.

* Put all PUL items in the washing machine
* Add 1 dishwasher tablet to the drum of the machine with the nappies
* Set machine to wash items at 60 C on a good wash cycle
* Set machine to do an extra rinse one first cycle has finished
* Hang items on line to expose to sunlight.

This method is good for ease of use and is very simple for someone like me who doesn't want a lot of faff when doing something for the first time. It isn't the best method for stain removal, but it is fantastic for smell busting. This could be a good method if you haven't got much time and are hanging out to dry on a very sunny day, as the UV rays will bleach the stains away.

The last method is a vinegar soak.

* Soak all items not containing PUL in a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water over-night.
* Rinse out the vinegar in the washing machine.
* Hang items on the line to dry and expose to sunlight.

This method is excellent for eradicating smells and is also quite good for stain removal. It is also pretty simple to follow, not as simple as a dishwash tablet, but still pretty easy. Vinegar is a natural grease remover which is brilliant for getting rid of a detergent build up, it is also very good for putting in your washing machine on an empty wash to get rid of the excess detergent in your pipes and drum. The downside to this method is that as my stash is mostly pocket nappies and as vinegar can erode the elastic and PUL I couldn't put my whole nappies into the wash, so they are not completely stripped. Something to counteract this would be to use a squirt of washing up liquid in with a PUL wash as it is also a grease remover, but milder than vinegar.

I decided to go with the vinegar method and I have to say that I am very pleased with the results. The inserts are very fresh, they don't have any smell at all which is perfect. The only negative that I have is that the method took longer than I thought it would. I started at just before lunch and my machine was still rinsing at 8pm. There were an awful lot of bubbles so that shows how much of a build up there was, and also how well the vinegar was working. The inserts are not as white as I thought they would be, maybe I was a bit too hopeful there, and they are drying on the line now so I will see the end result in a few hours.

I am very pleased that I took the time to strip my nappies, it feels good to know that I am maintaining them and also I know that they are fresher against Zane's bottom. I will definitely do the dishwasher liquid method when I have a lot of time, it seems to produce brilliant results and I would like to know that they have had a really thorough clean.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Review - Real Easy Nappies by Hip Hip Baby!

BabyKind Real nappies Home

I have been sent a nappy from BabyKind to review with Zane. BabyKind are a family run business based in Wales, who supply a wide range of cloth nappies, cloth nappy trials and kits, and offer expert advice. They don't just supply nappies though, they also sell organic toiletries, bandana bibs, clothing and shoes, wool toys, Mooncup, and many more items.

BabyKind sent me a Real Easy Nappy by Hip Hip Baby!, Real Easy Nappies are an All in One/Pocket nappy hybrid. Usually All in Ones aren't the fastest to dry, this nappy though has a pocket and the three layer organic cotton pad inside flaps out to enable efficient washing and quick drying. Sewn into the fleece inner is a microterry soaker pad which is two layers thick, so you have five layers of absorbency! The waterproof outer is very stretchy for a better fit, and also has a comfort leg design which stops chaffing and red marks. You can get nappies with an made of soft polyester cloth, or soft  Minky which is lovely to stroke, both types of outer have anti wicking technology to stop wetness spreading around the edges.

Once the nappy had been washed up to full absorbency we gave it a go. This nappy was the first all in one that I had tried so I am not practiced in stuffing the insert in when it is already attached to the nappy. I found it a bit difficult to get it straight and flat at first as the insert is quite thick and wide, it scrunched up at the front of the nappy, but after taking a little time it was nice and flat, it was a bit like putting your duvet in the quilt cover, you get there quicker with practice. When putting the nappy on it stretched really well over Zane's bum and it was a lovely fit. I was a bit puzzled by the poppers at first as they are diagonal, another first for me, but once they were done up I was very pleased with the fit of the nappy. It fit really nice around his legs and tummy, I felt confident that the nappy would perform well because it was a snug fit and not tight at all. I was amazed at how slim it looked on him, I thought that as the insert was quite thick, and along with the sewn in pad made me think it would be quite bulky, but it wasn't at all.

In terms of absorbency I was amazed again. I never hold much hope for brand new nappies on their first go as they haven't been washed a lot to reach their full potential, but this nappy surpassed all of my expectations. I changed Zane after 4 hours and his bottom was dry, there were no leaks, and no red marks. I can see that these nappies would have great potential to be an option as a night nappy. As you stuff the flip out insert into a pocket there is space for additional boosters, and because the nappy is very slim already it wouldn't add too much bulk.

You can buy Real Easy Nappies from at the very reasonable price of between £10.99 - £12.99 depending on the size of nappy that your baby requires. Their website features a lot of products other than nappies so it is well worth checking it out, you are bound to find something that you like.


Thursday, 7 July 2011

Thriving Thursday

It would seem that our plants are changing before our eyes, every time I look at them I see a noticeable change from the last time I looked at them. It seems appropriate to start a Thriving Thursday post to share the things have had me in awe this week.

Here is something we spotted this evening.

This is a Roma VF Tomato plant. We are growing it in the greenhouse along with Money Maker and Gardeners Delight varieties. I chose this picture because it was the first time that we had noticed the shape of the tomato forming. Our other two varieties are round in shape, and as we are novice gardeners in their first year of gardening you can imagine how excited we got when we noticed this one on our evening inspection of the greenhouse.

We are growing the tomatoes in three different places as a test to see where they grow best. We have six on the allotment, 6 in the greenhouse, and one on the patio. This is our first garden, we have lived in apartments previous to this house so we are absolute gardening novices. We are going through such a learning curve this year with regards to the garden, greenhouse and allotment. We have quite a few mistakes, but every mistake is one less to make next year.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Baby Led Weaning Is.......

Baby Led Weaning is using your natural ability to feed yourself.

Baby Led Weaning is exploration.

Baby Led Weaning is choosing to eat what you want,
 in whichever order.

Baby Led Weaning is having the ability
to eat whole fruit at 8 months old.
Baby Led Weaning is eating just like my Mummy & Daddy in a restaurant.

Baby Led Weaning is finding the most
effective way to get food from plate
 to mouth 

Baby Led Weaning is satisfying.

Baby Led Weaning is having FUN!

Baby Led Weaning is a leisurely lunch.

Baby Led Weaning is identifying the good stuff .

Baby Led Weaning is experiencing new tastes and textures.

Baby Led Weaning is knowing when you still
have appetite for pudding.

Baby Led Weaning is progress!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Review - Organix Mighty Meals

Organix prides itself in creating baby food which only contains organic and natural ingredients, with nothing unnecessary added and no goodness taken away. Their food is suitable from the start of weaning up until your child is 3 years old, and the product range includes baby porridge, jars, steamed meals, toddler meals, finger foods and various snacks.

I have been sent four of Organix new Mighty Meals that are suitable for toddlers. There are four different meals, Creamy Chicken Pasta with Sweetcorn, Hearty Lamb Hotpot with Vegetables, Tomatoey Beef Bolognese with Butternut Squash and Pasta Shells, and Spinach Felafel's in Big Beany Sweet Red Pepper Sauce.

I wasn't sure how this review would go, we have done Baby Led Weaning since Zane was six months old. Previous to that we had tried him with a couple of jars and pouches but he just wanted to feed himself, so baby led weaning was the obvious way for us to carry on weaning. He always eats what we eat, so I was very impressed when we tried Mighty Meals because they looked just like something we would eat normally.

We tried the Spinach Falafels meal first. The falafels were just like normal falafels and the sauce had lots of texture to it, and you could see what it consisted of. The meal was so easy to cook, just 40 seconds in the microwave and it was the perfect temperature to be eaten right away. I tried a little bit before I gave it to Zane as I would only give him food that I would be happy to eat myself, and I was very impressed. The flavour was very interesting, and not at all bland compared to other baby food that I had tasted before. When we gave Zane his dinner he tucked in straight away and he seemed to enjoy it, and not much ended up on the floor, cupboards, cooker, ceiling or on me! So that was a very good sign that he liked the dinner. The rest of the meals went down equally well, Organix Mighty Meals were a hit.

The things that I liked about the meals are the portion sizes are perfect, I can understand what every single ingredient is on the ingrediants list, the meals all had herbs and spices added so they weren't bland, and that they looked like actual dinners which I would serve up myself, meaning that I could give him one of these meals and he wouldnt be phased because it looks no different to what he usually eats. They would be so handy to have in the cupboard for if we get home late and needed to give him his dinner quickly and still know that he is eating well, or if we wanted a takeaway that wasn't suitable for him.

It is hard for me to find anything which I dont like about these meals, the only thing that I can think of is that it would be good if there were more variety. Currently there are four meals and they are a good range of tastes, but if there were more variety it would be more realistic to home cooking.

Have a look at Organix very informative website There you will find their range of foods, recipes, feeding advice and a meal planner.

My Book List

I love reading, but I don't seem to find the time anymore. The problem is once I get my nose in a good book I cant stop reading it and have to read the whole book in one go, and as a full time working mother I don't get time for 5 hours straight to be able to read.

I would love to find some books which I can read a chapter or two on my lunch at work or before Gary and Zane wake up. I think fiction is out of the question as once I get started I cant put the book down, so I have been looking up some "parenting" books which I think I would be interested in. We parent by using our instincts so no books required, but I realise now that the baby phase was so easy compared to the toddlerdom, so it would be good to have some back up when I am wondering how the hell to deal with something which my head and heart are split on. Oh how I was looking forward to Zane being able to crawl and then walk, we so didn't appreciate the time that he was still and didn't move very far!

Some of the books which I am going to source are

The Science Of Parenting - Margot Sunderland
Unconditional Parenting - Alfie Kohn
Three In a Bed - Deborah Jackson
Letting Go as Children Grow - Deborah Jackson
Why Love Matters - Dr. Sue Gerdhart
Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves - Naomi Aldort
What Mothers Do - Naomi Stadlen
Hidden Messages - Elizabeth Pantley
How to talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk - Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlis
Respectful parents, respectful kids - Dirk Bernard
Learning all the Time - John Holt
Playful Parenting- Lawrence Cohen
Attachment Parenting - Kate Allison Granju

Ok, so that turned out to be quite a large list for someone who had to renew Raising Boys 10 times until the library said NO MORE!

As I said previously, we follow our instincts but I am interested in Psychology, and Behaviourism, so it is great to stretch my brain. Plus a smug part of me also likes to explain the scientific reason why Zane is doing that "naughty" thing over and over again, and to see the look on the persons face after I have said it. Yes, I am a smug parent, and very proud that I understand how my son's mind works as he is growing up.

I am most looking forward to reading The Science of Parenting as it is based on scientific fact, rather than someones opinion, it also agrees with my instinct that a child's needs should be centre stage as the childhood experiences shape the brain and patterns for later on in life.

Two others that I am looking forward to reading are Why Love Matters, and How to talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk. I am looking forward to Why Love Matters because this blog is a personal journey for me as a therapy for PTSD, and part of my treatment with my councillor is looking at the stage that my childhood contributed to my adult anxiety and depression. I am hoping that the book will teach me about the importance of attachment so that I can explain to people why we are so close to Zane in better words than I already do, and also see how my early attachments have affected me. I have read that it can be quite an emotional read so I'm not sure about reading so soon in my therapy process.

I am looking forward to reading How to talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk because I think this is going to be very useful from now. Zane doesn't "tantrum" (I hate that word!) but I would like to know more about empathising with how he is feeling when he is upset, and I think that it will also be very useful when he is growing up and will help us have a respectful relationship.

So after doing all of this reading my bank balance will be smaller, but my knowledge will be greater so it will be worth it. I want to share some insightful passages on here as I find them, I would love to hear what other people have thought about these books, and also other books that they would recommend. I think it is clear to see from our book list that we practice gentle parenting so no Gina Ford or Supernanny please! :-)