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Sunday, 31 July 2011

Sixties /Seventies/ Eighties Mum...

My Mum has four children, and has the unenviable boast that she has given birth to children in three different decades.

Tiddler is her second grandchild, but the first one via one of her daughters. So, inevitably she has passed on a bit of guidance/ advice from time to time- probably more to me than to her daugter-in-law. Most of this advice is sage, welcomed and respected. Of course it is- shes been there, done that times by 4.

Mum has mentioned some of the things they did in "their" day... more by way of anecdote as topics have come up rather than cast iron "gospel" advice from her to me. Some is hilarious- its priceless stuff, some is darn scary. Wondered who else could share some of their mother's gems of wisdom/ tales of parenthood 60s/70s/80s style...

  1. Wean at 3 months
  2. Give raw egg as one of first foods
  3. Put brown sugar in your baby's bottle if they are constipated
  4. Give Marmite on toast as one of the first foods
  5. Put the pram "down the bottom of the garden"
Any others?

A student ''mother-of-that-week'' living in one of the homemaking apartments prepares the day's food ...

Silent Sunday - 31st July 2011

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Silent Sunday

Saturday, 30 July 2011

First Step Away From Apnoea Alarm

We were very brave last night.

6 hours after Tiddler was born, she went purple and had what the medics call a "dusky episode". It was terrifying and was to happen again several times in her 1st 8 days.

The second time we were discharged from hospital, we were given an Apnoea alarm for Tiddler to wear.

At first she wore it all the time- in particular I remember one of our only trips out in the early days to Tesco... there we were terrified, totally unprepared in snow, trying to make some vague effort towards Christmas and in the pram was Tiddler, our ticking baby! Tick, tick, tick... After a while when things had calmed down a bit we made the conscious decision to take it off during the day so we all had a bit of normality. We have however always, put it on her at night. Its gone off periodically, most probably due to false alarms although we won't ever know for sure I suppose.

Anyway, last night at 2 am it went off again. The alarm is incredibly shrill and urgent as you would expect and I am too used to it waking me up! I instinctively reach out to touch Tiddler's tummy- this always makes her breathe in and so stop the alarm. You see its incredibly common for babies to hold their breath and its not normally a problem. It is probable that the times the alarm has gone off at home has been because of this. Anyway, last night the alarm wouldnt stop. Tiddler was fine though, she was breathing, asleep, and her colour was normal. The sensor pad had come off her tummy. Phew! As she was still asleep, we decided that rather than to risk waking her and creating a far larger problem (an incredibly angry baby), we would sleep without the alarm on. This was such a brave move, probably a bit too bold, but we were clearly both influenced by 2 am logic!

I woke quite a few times overnight but of course everything was fine. I felt we had really achieved something by not using the alarm all night. The last thing we want to do is medicalise our daughter- we have fought tooth and nail in the recent past to avoid tube feeding etc- and so its good that we the parents were able to go "cold turkey" like this.

Tonight the alarm is back on... I don't feel as brave somehow! She is still in a crib next to our bed and we are currently contemplating a move to her own room. I dont think I will be able to do this without the apnoea alarm. Thats such a terrifying prospect still. One step at a time eh?

Friday, 29 July 2011

Can You Get Vomit Out Of Velcro

What a great day! A friend and her two children came round this morning which was lovely - I especially loved telling her all our good news and she said she could see the difference in me and how less stressed I seemed.

This afternoon we had Hydrotherapy at the local hospital. As usual, an intense nursery rhyme fuelled session! She is doing really well but splashes so much, to the great irritation of the other (older) children around her! She splashes and then doesn't seem to understand why her face is soaked- the cause and effect thing hasn't quite kicked in there...

Further to my post yesterday about Tiddler's feeding, I have been trying to encourage her to chew a little and move on one step from purees. I tried her tonight with soft carrot, totally uninterested. Then for pudding I gave her mashed plums and unfortunately she gagged and threw all of her meal back up :( This was really gutting. My husband and I had just been discussing how much better her reflux seemed to be as well :( So... I dont know how to play this now. I don't want to go too quickly for her, and I certainly dont want her to throw up her meals and so slow down any weight gain. Crucially- I dont want to put her off her solid feeds (she previously had a very strong milk aversion). The Speech Therapist has said that babies with reflux often have a very strong gag reflex so its no surprise and did also happen earlier on when we had just started to wean. So, I am a bit unsure- and nervous about what to try next! So yeah, she threw up all over herself and the lovely feeding chair loaned by our Council. So, can you get vomit out of velcro?

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful , 28th July

I really enjoyed doing this last time so here goes again:

  1. Tiddler is still feeding! She cries for feeds, finishes her feeds AND is doing really well with solids too
  2. I have spent lots of time with friends and their rugrats recently- nice as we have been out of action so much with Tiddler being unwell / in hospital etc In particular I really enjoyed spending time with a couple of old school friends
  3. Tiddler is starting to sit! We have been told that she will be slow to sit / crawl etc as she has Hypotonia meaning low muscle tone. In effect, she is floppy. However, at physiotherapy the physio was really pleased with the progress Tiddler had made and she actually sat for the first time (propped up and at a really crazy angle!) when there. I am confident that she is well on the way to proving a lot of people wrong...

2am Shenanigans with Tiddler mark 2

Ho ho ho how I laughed to be woken up at 2 am for milk by Tiddler. Hilarious! The bizarre thing is that she has literally only ever done this once or twice when tiny tiny... now I know thats not normal, and indeed due to her size we were having to wake her in the night for feeds untill she was 4 or 5 mths old.

Its so funny, I keep saying it but I swear someone has swapped my baby! She has this voracious hunger (note to self- probably normal hunger) and its just so lovely to see. I don't really mind the 2 am thing, course I don't. Until you have had a baby who refuses milk to the extremes of dangerously low blood sugar or has been tube fed as the only means of getting milk down them, I don't think you can fully appreciate how bloody fantastic it is to have a baby that feeds!

This whole new baby malarkey (you know, the one that has been swapped) is confusing though. Solids are now also going really well, thanks to a special tumbleform chair being delivered by our Local Authority - very very swiftly I might add. Tiddler has Hypotonia (low muscle tone) and some breathing/ swallowing co-ordination problems and we struggled to get her to feed in her normal high chair as she slouched and was just plain not interested. This chair on the other hand has changed everything. She opens her mouth like a little bird and gulps her food down.

I am really enjoying cooking for her and watching her experiment with different flavours. I am trying to get the balance right though between solids and milk as I think at times she is filling up with purees to the detriment of her milk, hence the 2 am wake up call!! I am also anxious that we are behind a little in terms of food types- I am trying to encourage chewing but I will admit this is not going too well and I am terrified she is going to choke! Today I tried a bit of very ripe pear. Didn't go down too well it has to be said.

We are learning, but thats fine and thats normal. Normal is good. I have missed normal.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Time and hamster wheels...

A question for you all: how on earth do you fit things into your day? Especially those of you juggling paid work and more than one child? It is impossible I swear.... I know they say that if you want something done to ask a busy person and I do believe there is truth in this, maybe this is my problem. I am struggling to fit the essentials into my day let alone the luxuries such as blogging/calling family/non-urgent laundry/ eating cake etc

Tiddler has begun a new regime of "sleep is for the weak, sleep is for the weak, sleep is for the weak" and so baby free time where I can rush around the house like a whirling dervish are over, my activities are curtailed and the house looks like a bomb has hit it. Joy.

So, will this change? How do people get all they need done? I NEED TIPS! In particular I am finding the preparation of purees for Tiddler to be particularly time consuming but really do want to home cook her food if at all possible. Now she is eating what must be half her bodyweight she's getting through what I prepare pretty quickly and so its a bit of a neverending  hamster wheel. Oh hang on- is that the deal, maybe I am missing something... is riding the hamster wheel an essential feature of motherhood?

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Lesson learnt

This week I have met up with 2 really good friends from school. We have been friends for 19 years. Thats impressive. These two same friends sent us cards during Tiddler's most recent hospital stay and said exactly what I wanted and needed to hear. Sometimes you just need to know that you are in people's thoughts. That is enough. The hospital can be a lonely place and is very unreal- messages such as these and knowing that others are praying and thinking of you not only keeps up morale, but also helps to burst the weird ward- bubble where life stands still and you dont go outside for days on end.

Unfortunately, we have found that other friends / relatives / work colleagues can sometimes drift away when things in our life with Tiddler haven't exactly gone to plan. Thing is though what has happenned to us could have happenned to anyone, we are no different and I do wonder whether that is why some people keep a wide berth, almost as if you can "catch" problems like this, like we are jinxed or something.... I have found that if things aren't "happily ever after" then some people just cant respond to this, they are literally tongue tied and you can see them squirming when you can't say that "yes, everything is alright now." That's one thing, the other much more upsetting approach is from friends and some even close relatives that just dont call. I think for some they cant cope with any bad news... tough shit I say as we have been living it. Thanks for your support! (*sarcastic voice*)

I am not holding grudges against these people but I have learnt who my friends are and know who and what is important to me. I just haven't got the energy to make an effort in the face of behaviour that has upset and disappointed us. I am now spending my time and headspace on keeping Tiddler on track healthwise and nurturing those friendships that I know are worth cherishing. Hopefully, Tiddler's health problems are all in the past now and so worrying about those around me in this way is academic. I know who is important and I hope that if the shoe is ever on the other foot I will be a friend who gets in contact, even if awkwardly, rather than one who keeps their distance in an assumption that someone else is picking up the phone.

Monday, 18 July 2011

First proper day out!

Yesterday it poured here. Poured everywhere I reckon, but we set off and were determined. This wasn't that bizarre British holiday spirit so often found on the seaside on a grim August day, we were genuinely excited!

We went to a local wild animal park and yep it rained but as most had decided not to venture out we had free run of all shelters and the cafe.

It was our first proper day trip with Tiddler. We had been on a couple of others but they were with relatives and dont count in my book! This was our first trip with just myself, Daddy and Tiddler. A week ago we were discharged from hospital having had a period of 9 days of Tiddler being fed by a nasal gastric tube. Things were very different then. She's doing really well now, I want to pinch myself, but I am just loving every minute of "normal" we get. I dont really want to believe that this is it now, the only way is up. We have been here before, so I will be cautious, but relish every smile and every normal thing that we do.

Not so long ago, I couldnt bear to be too far from a hospital, "just in case". Tiddler had apnoeas when tiny and the memory is all too horrific and real for us both. We are looking at holidays at the moment and I still cant bring myself to say yes to locations that are too far from the hospital, but for now I will be kind to myself and let myself off this.

So yeah, the day out... we saw Wallabies, Goats (a particular favourite), various birds, sheep, you know the drill. Went on a little train, she loved it- not to see the animals as its all about the tree branches waving in the wind "innit"?! Tiddler also fed when we were there- a fabulous new skill she has taken to!! It really was a day of smiles and de-stressing, for all three of us I think...

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Errrr LittleM and Mummy becomes Tiddler on the Loose

Oops. I did google my proposed blog name, I did- I promise! However, I suppose I was a "bit tired" and anyway managed to overlook that there is a very similarly named blog. Hence the name change.

Tiddler on the Loose.

Same blog, same aims etc. I have chosen "Tiddler" as LittleM has been slow to gain weight and so is on the small side. Conversations have typically gone like:

Random: "awwwww a newborn" / " awwwww a tiny baby" / " awwwww how old?"
Me: " errrr no she is actually x weeks old"
Random: without a pause "Oh, was she premature?"
Me: "No."  If feeling kind I would then save said random and say "I know, she's very small" . Sometimes I add " Shes been pretty unwell"
Random: "Oh, I am sorry to hear that, is she all better now?"
Me: "No". They then squirm and feel generally awkward.

The other alternative is to lie, but that's not me. I haven't invited them to comment. Why do people feel the need to fill a space / silence with daft questions or comments? It happens so much! I know I have been guilty of it too... if only we could all think before we speak! One comment or two is ok but when it is literally every time you go out, it gets quite hard and the constant explaining is not something I have wanted or felt able to do. Hence my responses were less forgiving.

So anyway, she is a tiddler. But the tiddler has turned as she is eating enough for small people everywhere and drinking more milk than ever before too!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful - my first foray!

Here goes- my Reasons to be Cheerful for the week the idea courtesy of Mummy From the Heart.
Is this a meme?? No idea! Get with the lingo, V...

1)  The first and biggest.... LittleM has started feeding again! We have recently come out of hospital due to her second bout of extreme non-feeding, she is going great guns and I can't begin to describe as a Mother how relieved I am as well as feeling de-stressed!

2) Having just watched the news coverage of the drought in Africa, I feel blessed that we live in a country with such fantastic healthcare and where food is plenty.

3) Its the weekend and our little family of 3 is going to have a fabulous time- we are not in a hospital and we can feed LittleM anywhere! (the previous "regime" involved tonnes of distraction, tv etc and took an hour each time to get anything down her)This means we can go on daytrips! Yay! The rain doesnt matter, does it!

Thursday, 14 July 2011


Been meaning to do this for ages, and have been urged by others to do so. Here goes.

I am a new(ish) Mum to LittleM aged 7 1/2 months. We have had quite an experience so far as parents and I hope that this Blog may help me make sense of it a little as well as providing a little diversion, hopefully being of interest to others, and helping me re-aquaint myself with that brain thats in there somewhere I trust... (knocks on head- nope, no answer yet 8¬P)

As we do not know each other from Adam, a brief bit of context. LittleM was discharged from hospital on Monday having spent 9 days in the fantastic care of our local children's ward. This was the 7th stay for her in hospital but that fact misleads. She is a very happy, smiley, chirpy baby... but also one with several smallish non- serious health issues that contribute to make a more small/medium size issue! Last week we were told by her Consultant that we may have to consider surgery/ top-to toe investigations, use of a feeding tube etc etc. Today, LittleM sat for the first time (just about) unaided, ate 100 times more solids than she has ever done and has sunk 3 bottles at an unprecedented rate. No tube needed here.

This is the topsy-turvy, up and down life that we lead with LittleM while she confounds those treating her and re-writes those awful parenting books.