Monday, 28 July 2014

For the love of books

I've always loved reading and had a love of books.  Right from when I was very little, and my Mum read stories to me before bed, I've just loved to loose myself in a good book.  It's something I've also really enjoyed sharing with my children, and while they do all love stories, my oldest and youngest are both already proper book worms too.

For the love of books

Back in the days that I used to keep a diary every day, which I did from around 14 to my early 20's when I just reached the point where I was only making an entry every few days or so, I used to also record the books that I'd read in the back.  I didn't count books that I read for school, for my A levels or University course, but even so, back then I was reading more than a book a week. Of course these days, I don't have chance to read that much, with small children, I just don't get as much time to read.  But I do still read as often as I can; when I'm feeding Anja, just before I go to sleep, whenever I've got five minutes..... (like I say, not very often any more).

love of reading

A couple of years ago at Christmas, I got one of the best Christmas presents ever from Mum and Dad, a kindle.  I have to admit, when I first heard about these 'ebook reader things' I didn't really think that I would ever want or have one.  Then I heard how good they were, and wanted to give one a go.  When I got it, I quickly got into it, the great thing about it is that it's lightweight and yet it can hold heaps of books on there.  The slightly less good side of it, is that I've been caught out a few times when the battery's run out midway though me reading something really good.  Of course you can't read in the bath either, but I never get chance for that these days anyway.

My kindle and my love of books

My kindle is linked straight to my amazon account, which is great because I can just down load a book the second I want to read it.  The bad side is that I can down load a book the second I want to read it, which isn't always great for my bank balance.  It's also meant that for the last two and a bit years, I've had far too many books queued on there, ready to read.  I've finally got it down to three, but I'm not sure that I can get to the end of those before I download more.....  You do get some great books free for it, classics are all pretty much free, and there are others that are the start of a series, or by a new author that are free or really reasonable.  I've found some really good authors, that I doubt I'd ever have found if it weren't for having the kindle.  I thought that I might share some reviews of great books and authors I've found recently in future blogs......

Loving reading on my kindle

Monday, 14 July 2014

Out of the mouths of babes

Children say the funniest of things, and they do say that out of the mouths of babes comes the truth.  I don't know about the truth, but they do have a lovely way of repeating what you say.  When Kai was just learning to talk, I discovered that I must say "Ooops a daisy" quite a bit, when he started saying it all the time.  Admittedly he was learning to walk at around the same time, and kept falling over, which is probably at least part of the reason that I said it quite a bit.

Out of the mouths of babes

Neither Mahe or Lena have started saying something that I say on a regular basis, but just the other day, Anja came out with something that I fear may have come from me.  As a rule I don't swear, and I don't like to hear children swear.  I may, from time to time, say the odd mild expletive, but nothing worse, fortunately, it would seem.

children say the funniest things

Just the other day Anja dropped something on the floor and clear as bell said "Oh bugger!" It wasn't just the fact that it was really clear, but it was totally in context.  At first I had no idea where she'd got it from, and it wasn't long before she used it again.  This time when I dropped something. (I'll admit, I am a little clumsy at the best of times, so it wasn't long before she had the opportunity.)  I really didn't think it was me, and then I caught myself saying it once, or twice, and maybe a few more times.  Ooops a daisy, that's not good.

out of the mouths of babes comes all sorts

It could have been much worse, I've had friends who's little ones have come out with things that they really didn't want them to repeat and at the worst moment. Not that you need to say something often for them to pick it up.  They seem to know instantly when you've said something that you don't want them to say, and they repeat it at every available opportunity.

Watch what you say around little children, out of the mouths of babes can come out of all sorts of things that you might not expect.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Disposable knickers and the inability to breastfeed.

Back when Kai was born, I had no end of breast feeding problems, in fact if I look back now, I wonder if things had been easier, I would have been so determined to feed the other children for so long, but that is another story.  There were many many reasons that I had problems with breast feeding, but I do sometimes wonder how much of an impact the disposable knickers situation had on my ability to breastfeed.

At first glance there doesn't seem to be much link between breast feeding and disposable knickers, so perhaps I had better explain the story of the disposable knickers.  Before I had children, I was quite into 'green' and alternative things:  I'd been using a mooncup for years (if you don't know what one of those is, then I suggest you google it, I love mine.  (Unless you're male, or squeamish that is, in which case it's probably best you don't know). I'd been using fertility awareness as birth control for a long time, (successfully, that's not why we were having a baby). Whether I would use cloth nappies or not wasn't even a question, of course I would. And then I started to pack my hospital bag.

inability to breatfeed and disposable knickers

I researched all kinds of things on-line, spoke to friends with children, and started to plan what I'd need.  It might have been eight years ago now, but there was plenty of information and advice out there on the old internet.  I discovered that what I really needed in my hospital bag was a few pairs of disposable knickers.  Somehow it made sense, you might make a bit of a mess of your pants, so it was far easier to get some that you could just throw away, so I did.  I'm not sure if you've ever seen disposable knickers before, but they are uncomfortable, elasticated, papery things. If I remember rightly they cost around the price of cheap reusable knickers too, but still someone had said that I needed them, so get them I did.  I think I wore a grand total of three of my six pack, before I came to the unavoidable conclusion that they were utterly pointless.

Of course buying disposable knickers isn't really a big deal, a bit stupid, but not a major problem.  But really it shows a bigger issue.  When you're pregnant for the first time, you get bombarded with information.  At the same time that you're trying your hardest to work out exactly what you should or shouldn't be doing, this is all new territory, and you don't want to get it wrong.  Somewhere in all of that it's easy to loose sight of the way that you want to do things, and to take on board everything that people tell you.

breastfeeding journey

How does all of this relate to the problems I had with breastfeeding?  Well, while I was pregnant I was told so many times that it was hard, that even though I was sure that I wanted to breastfeed, I was beginning to doubt my ability before I even tried. Then, once he was born, and the problems started, I was met with the kind of support that left supplementing with formula as the only option, and so I took it.  I'm not saying that things would have been different if I'd been more confident in my own choices, or people hadn't told me these things, but I'm sure that it didn't help.

So what would I change if I did it all over again?  What would I suggest to other people in the same situation? Stop, and listen to yourself, what feels right to you? There is no right or wrong way to parent, but there is a right or wrong way for you to parent, and it's important that you listen to yourself rather than other people.  It doesn't matter what it is, you shouldn't do things or not do things when deep down they don't feel right to you.  If it doesn't feel right, then it probably isn't.  It's too easy to fall into the trap of leaving your baby to cry because you've heard that it's best for them to self settle, even though it tears you up inside, or not to 'spoil' your baby by holding them too much.  Really if it feels wrong it probably is.  Of course everyone is different, and you really need to listen to what your instincts are telling YOU how to parent.

If you're talking to someone else just starting out on their parenting journey, try and remember what that overload of information is like.  Suggest things, but let them find their own way, and listen to what their own instincts are telling them.  Don't frighten them with scary stories of labour or breastfeeding, not everyone has it hard.

Oh, and most of all, don't by disposable knickers, they're totally pointless.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Six months in

Can you believe that we're half way through 2014 already? I'm not sure where that time has gone, but this year, as most years seem to since I had children, is flying by at break neck speed.  I thought that it might be a good point, six months in, to just have a bit of a look back and the year so far.

Keeping resolutions

Every New Year, I always make a lot of resolutions that I'm sure that I'm going to stick to, and then either don't even start, or only manage for a day or so.  This year was slightly different, in that I only made one resolution, but to be honest I didn't really stick to it sadly.  Funnily enough, I'm feeling the impact of that right now, as were at the six month mark.  I resolved that this year I'd be more organised, on the paperwork front.  I even went out and brought a couple of brand new folders and started filing stuff.  Putting things into folder (and using dividers and everything) helped to make me feel more organised, when of course I wasn't really.  I remember a very good friend of mine at University telling me that she felt as though she was actually doing work on her dissertation if she carried the folder around with her. It made her feel far better when we all got distracted by nights out at the Carlton or Sugar House, bottles of wine and cups of tea.  My buying folders was very much in this vein.

getting myself organised six month in 2014

The reason that it's become an issue now, is that my tax return is due in, and as my filing only lasted for that first week I had the folders, I'm now in the process of wading through it all and sorting it all out.  Of course if I had really been more organised, I would have not only had everything sorted out properly, I would also have actually done my tax return months ago.  Never mind, next year I will, maybe......

Winter weather

One of the really odd things about being in New Zealand half way through the year is that it's winter.  Back in the UK it's currently Wimbledon season, so of course it will be raining there too, but right now it's got really cold here.  This afternoon I hid in my car for ten minutes, rather than pop into a shop as the heavens had opened and were bombarding us with hail and icy cold rain all driven along by a strong wind.  I wouldn't mind so much, but our fire is playing up a bit at the moment, and like the temperamental old man that it is, it belches out a plume of smoke into the lounge every so often when you're trying to get it going, nice.

Wintery weather in June

Six month achievements

So, what have I actually managed to do in the last six months? In all honestly there's little that stands out as amazing or wonderful.  Other than my crazy wonderful children, they've kept me entertained and walking the narrow tightrope between sanity and insanity on a daily basis. The business is going well, which is always a bonus, and I'm hoping for more of the same on both of those fronts over the rest of 2014.  Now if I could just manage to be a little bit more organised for the next six months, we'd be pretty much sorted going into 2015.  Well, I can always hope.......

That tightrope between sanity and insanity