Monday, 30 January 2017


There are times right now when the world seems like a scary place. Terrorism, the refugee crisis, the rise in fascist sentiments, and of course the hate-driven dictates of a certain recently appointed world leader - sometimes I find it all so overwhelming. I wonder why I am living through these terrifying times.

But a few weeks ago, when I was trying to get my baby to sleep in his carrier before picking his sister up from school, I wandered around the local churchyard. I read the gravestones there. I saw so many like the one above. And my heart broke for the people who went before me.

"Three sons & one daughter, who died in their Infancy." There isn't even space to name them. Maybe they died before they could be named.

Yes, the world around me might be going mad right now, but at least I don't know the horrific pain of losing a child in infancy. Let alone four.

And I know that I am so very fortunate. I know people are still going through the horror of infant loss and I can't imagine that devastation. Walking around that graveyard, it was hard to find a family monument that didn't include at least one baby who had died. Several had three or four. How did they cope with that?

So I am grateful. I am grateful for clean homes and healthy diets. I am grateful for trained midwives who can monitor pregnancies. I am grateful for ultrasounds, and urine tests, and blood pressure monitors. I am grateful that most women can now give birth in a safe place with proper supervision, whether that place is at home or in a hospital. I am grateful for improved hygiene. For vaccinations. For infant screening. I am grateful for feeding support (no matter how patchy) and that, for those mother-infant dyads who are unable to breastfeed, there is a better alternative than bread and milk or other concoctions that babies were reared on in times gone by. I am grateful that so many diseases that took little lives in previous centuries are now rare or even non-existent.

Things are frightening right now. But that doesn't mean this is the worst time to be alive. I am healthy. My children are healthy. Many more people are healthy now than one or two hundred years ago. We did that - us, the human race, we made things better. And we can all strive for a world where everyone has access to a safe home, to healthcare, to good food. Where more and more babies survive into adulthood, not lost through disease, malnutrition or war.

We have come so far, and there is further to go, but I am grateful to be on this earth right now. Because really I'm incredibly lucky. And maybe I can make a difference, however small, while I'm here.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Reading With The Baby: Dear Zoo

I have a confession: I'm a hypocrite.

Back in the mists of time when I had just one child to lavish my attention on, I wrote this blog post about getting your baby to love books. And yet, this time around, I've been rubbish at reading with the baby.

I tried. But not that hard. I kept forgetting to do it, or leaving books out for him to play with but not actually reading them. He just didn't seem that bothered. (Of course he didn't. I wasn't making a point of regularly reading to him.)

But now he's rapidly approaching toddlerhood (waah) I thought I'd better make more of an effort. I tried a few different books with varying results then went to the old classic, 'Dear Zoo'.

I won't review the book. Chances are you've all read it. Heck it's been around since 1982 - your parents might have read it to you! But it was quite wonderful seeing Baby read it for the first time. His eyes lit up when I lifted the first flap, and by the end he was actually giggling!

It's a simple thing. We take lift-the-flap books for granted, but to a baby they really are very exciting! 'Dear Zoo' is now a big favourite and I'm looking out for more lift-the-flap books to introduce him to. What are your suggestions?

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Forty Winks

In the absence of a photo of me getting some sleep, here's the reason I never do
Do you know what I miss? Sleep.

This won't be news to anyone who knows me, or follows me on Twitter. I bang on about it all the time.

But I really do. I really, really, REALLY miss sleep.

I miss going to bed at night and not even thinking about when I'll be woken up because it was unlikely I would be.

I miss being able to stay up watching TV because I knew I'd still get enough sleep after.

I miss the days when 7am was an early start and not a lie-in.

I miss the days when at 9.30pm I'd say, "I'm having an early night," rather than, "how did it get so late?"

I miss hitting the snooze button on my alarm clock for an extra five minutes.

I miss having an alarm clock.

I miss lie-ins on weekends, proper lie-ins that last until at least 9am.

I miss having a nap on Sunday afternoons despite aforementioned lie-in.

I miss complaining about 'only' getting six hours sleep rather than celebrating it.

And I love my children. I really do. I'm enjoying the baby stage so much this time. I'm sad it's nearly over. I wouldn't change my little ones for the world. My life is immeasurably better with them in it.

But I still miss sleep.

I'm not even looking for advice. I know what I've tried, I know the reasons for not trying the things I haven't tried. I know this will pass. I know my five year old now sleeps through most nights, and so will my baby one day. I really don't need tips on how to change things, because I know they'll change of their own accord in their own sweet time.

But I still miss sleep.

I don't even want a night off. The thought of not having my little boy next to me at night is too much to even contemplate. I wouldn't sleep, I'd be worried about how he'd cope without me.

But I still miss sleep.

And there's really no other point to this post. That's it. I miss sleep.