141 articles Articles posted in Parenting

Effort vs. Intelligence: Are We Failing to Prepare Our Kids for Failure?

clever kidsA few weeks ago, Husband directed me towards a really interesting article in New York Magazine about how we speak to our children. The basic premise of the piece, which was actually published back in 2007, is that when we constantly tell our kids how ‘clever’ they are (especially if they actually are of above average intelligence), they’re less likey to try something if they think they’ll fail. The main subject of the piece, Thomas, actually shunned activities unless he thought he’d excel at them because he was so used to the cycle of praise and achievement:

But as Thomas has progressed through school, this self-awareness that he’s smart hasn’t always translated into fearless confidence when attacking his schoolwork. In fact, Thomas’s father noticed just the opposite. “Thomas didn’t want to try things he wouldn’t be successful at,” his father says. “Some things came very quickly to him, but when they didn’t, he gave up almost immediately, concluding, ‘I’m not good at this.’ ” With no more than a glance, Thomas was dividing the world into two—things he was naturally good at and things he wasn’t.

It really got me thinking about how I speak to Sausage and the importance that I place on intelligence and academic achievement. I wrote a post a few weeks ago about how I felt, as a child, that too much pressure was placed upon my using my intelligence, rather than being encouraged to pursue things about which I was passionate, and despite making an enormous effort to nurture Sausage with whatever  it is that makes her happy, I know for a fact that I’m guilty of constantly telling her how clever she is.

Sausage definitely needs a little encouragement to push herself outside of her comfort zone, especially when it comes to physical endeavours, and I can’t help but wonder if we should have placed more emphasis on “what a fantastic effort you’ve made!” instead of “what a clever girl you are!” and therefore created a cycle of reward for TRYING rather than BEING.

Further to the theme of the article about ‘clever’ kids refusing to try anything which might result in failure, I think it’s also possible to create a culture of not needing to try – I know for a fact that if I’d knuckled down before my exams, I could have been an A student across most subjects, but I coasted and made very little effort, and ended up with mostly B’s. I was a clever kid, by no means ‘top 1% of the top 1%’ like the boy in the article, but a lot of what was written in the piece really rang true for me. If I thought I’d be ‘rubbish’ at something, I never even tried, but I also put in minimal effort at a lot of things because plenty of stuff came very naturally to me, too.

I also wonder if, as parents and society, we don’t teach our kids well enough how to cope with failure and disappointment. Perhaps if we were to teach them that failure is a natural part of trying and needn’t be viewed as a negative all the time, simply part of a learning experience, then they may be more willing to put themselves out there. I know that if I’d, as a child, been told “failure doesn’t matter, it’s the effort that counts”, I’d have been a lot more willing to attempt things that I wasn’t naturally good at.

What do you think, dear readers? Are we letting our kids down by being TOO encouraging, rather than letting them know that failure is okay? Or do you think that by allowing kids to fail, they’ll make LESS effort overall? I’d love to know your thoughts on this.

Parenting C.V.

parenting CVWith all the focus that seems to be on ‘working parents’ and ‘stay-at-home’ parents, I’ve been thinking a lot about my role in life. I’ve come to the conclusion that, if I can at all help it, I won’t be returning to a ‘traditional’ workplace any time soon, as I’ve been fortunate enough to have this blogging lark turn into something of a career in itself. However, if I were to ever return to a 9-5, I reckon I’ve gained a lot of skills in my role as a parent which mean I’m pretty much capable of anything an office job can throw at me. I thought I’d put together my parenting C.V. for you all to take a look at:

Name: Jayne Crammond

Age: 29 (although the bags under my eyes make me look more like 49…)

Skills:

  • Multi-tasking – Lots of people claim to be good multi-taskers, but until you’ve had two kids you have NO idea what true multi-tasking is. TRUE multi-tasking is going to the loo with a feeding baby strapped to your chest, or rocking a screaming baby in a buggy whilst doing a french plait in the other ones hair.
  • Manual Dexterity – When Sausage was a small baby, we went out for a meal with my in-laws, and halfway through the meal she decided to do a poo-cano of epic proportion. I got into the toilets only to discover that they didn’t have any chaging facilities, nor even a big enough flat surface to lay her on to change her butt. That day, I discovered that I’m able to balance a poo-covered newborn on the length of my forearm, change her butt, clean her up and dress her in a new babygro. SKILLZ, BITCH.
  • Working under extreme stress – Hey, look, I love BB but there’s no denying that she’s one vocal little pickle. If she’s not happy, she’ll let you know and her cries can reach a crescendo that would make Mother Teresa swear. In the past 10 weeks, there have been times that she’s done that cry, on and off, for 10 hours at a time and in that time I still have to function as a human being and perform tasks of varying difficulty.
  • Able to function at a moments notice – Having a baby keeps you on your toes and you really do have to be ‘Johnny On The Ball’ at all times. Just slid into a hot bath? Just dozed off after being up most of the night? Managed to find a single moment to use the bathroom with the door shut for the first time in weeks? Be prepared for something to go wrong while you’re indisposed and have to jump to attention.
  • Reliability – In previous employment, I’ve been seriously flaky, having sick days here and there. However, parenting has proved that I am reliable when it’s something I have an interest in. In the 2090 days since I became a parent, there’s not been a single day where I’ve decided that I just wouldn’t turn up.
  • Risk assessment – When you’re a parent, your risk assessment skills are second to none. I can walk into a place I’ve never been before and with a quick scan of the room, know where every trip hazard, potential head-bump site, child-unfriendly object, patch of dirt and source of heat is within about 15 seconds.
  • Diplomacy – I’ve dealt with some difficult bosses in my time, but none moreso than Sausage and BB! Explaining to a toddler why they can’t have Jelly Tots on toast and avoiding a meltdown or even just refraining from wheeling BB into the garden in her pushchair and leaving her to have her latest meltdown takes a level of diplomacy of which Kofi Annan would be proud.
  • Time keeping – Okay, so it’s not perfect, but being able to get up after minimal sleep, dress, feed and organise three human beings and get them all out of the door on time, in something approaching a presentable fashion? I’d say that’s a WIN.

So, I’ve told you mine now you tell me yours; what skills has parenting taught you which would be totally transferable to a professional CV? And on a serious note…isn’t it sad that we can’t actually use these on our CV?!

Nurturing Their Dreams

Kid dreaming of being an astronautWhen I was a kid, I was often asked what I wanted to be when I was older. I was a relatively intelligent child and achieved well at school, so from a very young age there were a lot of expectations piled upon me from parents and teachers. Eventually, I passed my 11+ and was sent to a grammar school, where instead of being the brightest in my class, I was one of many clever girls and I hovered somewhere around the middle, in terms of achievement. It was drummed into us from the beginning that we had to constantly have our eye on the distance – end of year exam results dictated which GCSE options we were allowed to take, and we’d need to choose the right GCSE’s to allows us to take the A-Levels we wanted, which in turn were for the purpose of gaining access to the right degree course at the right university.

I was, and still am, a fairly shiftless person. My big dream when I was little was to be an Astronaut – sounds far fetched, but I intended to join the RAF out of sixth form and gain University sponsorship from them, with the hope of going on to train to be a pilot. Once I was told that I had zero chance of flying a plane because of my horrendous eyesight, I went into something of a tailspin. I could never really pinpoint what I wanted to be, and the thought that my career would define the rest of my life never sat well with me anyway.

I can’t help but wonder if my childhood intelligence (which, I have to say, seems considerably dulled by age) is part of the problem. I remember, for a long time, thinking that I’d be a hairdresser when I got older, except when I expressed this to my parents, I was told “You’re too clever to be a hairdresser”. This became a running theme in my adolescence and my passions were trampled under the weight of what I ‘should’ have been doing with my brain. Drama became my new passion and I was pretty good at it, too. I’m fairly extroverted and love performing but once again, it wasn’t considered cerebral enough. I was allowed to take Drama at A-Level, but only as a concession because I took four other ‘serious’ subjects (Chemistry, Biology, English Literature and English Language).

As it stands, I flunked out of sixth form; the mounting pressure got too much and I found myself being anywhere but the lessons I was supposed to be attending. I can’t help but wonder if I’d have been more inclined to attend if I’d not been steered towards subjects that I didn’t really want to take?

Sausage is an incredible kid, with a great imagination, huge intellect (she’s currently reading books at home which are for 8-year-olds, because her school books aren’t challenging enough) and artistic flair. She’s got the potential to be anything she wants to be, but I remind myself almost daily that the key part of that sentence is “SHE WANTS”. We spend so much time telling our kids that they can be anything they want to be and then second guessing their choices because they don’t sit well with our plans for their lives and it’s about time we stopped being so bloody arrogant.

Just this morning, Sausage told me that we wanted to be a nail technician and masseuse. One side of my brain said “That won’t earn you much money. You’ve got so much more potential than that. Why don’t you do that as a hobby, instead?”, but I managed to stop myself from saying it out loud. I adjusted my brain and instead thought “If that’s what makes you happy, then I’ll support you”. And, isn’t that what’s important? Supporting our kids in their choices and nurturing their happiness?

It is to us, at least.

Living With a Baby Who Cries a Lot

crying-babySausage was a very quiet, chilled out baby. People often commented how little she cried and how she always seemed so content. The same cannot be said for Burrito Baby. BB has been dealing with a horrid combination of reflux, constipation and colic. Her special reflux milk causes constipation. The Infacol worsens the reflux. No one can tell us what causes colic but it all just seems to be a vicious circle which conspires to keep our baby in pain. Babies who are in pain cry. A lot.

Living with a baby who cries a lot makes you feel like you’re failing as a parent. 

Living with a baby who cries a lot means that every moment when they aren’t crying feels like a small victory. 

Living with a baby who cries a lot means that although every moment when they aren’t crying feels like a small victory, you live in a state of anxiety because it could start all over again at any moment. 

Living with a baby who cries a lot means that you feel utterly guilty for not being able to soothe their pain.

Living with a baby who cries a lot means that you feel utterly guilty for being relieved once they fall asleep. 

Living with a baby who cries a lot means that you’ll try just about anything to stop them from crying. 

Living with a baby who cries a lot means that it’s not unusual to find you bathing them, walking them around the block in their pram, driving them around, pacing around with them in a sling…all at midnight. 

Living with a baby who cries a lot means that you’ll feel closer to the end of your tether than you’ve ever felt before.

Living with a baby who cries a lot means that you feel as though your heart is going to break when you look at their pained, pleading face and realise you don’t know how to help them.  

Living with a baby who cries a lot means that you feel as though you can’t go on, that you’ve got nothing left to give…

but you do go on. 

You find that shred of resolve that’s hiding deep inside you and you go on, and eventually the crying stops, and although you feel as though you have pins and needles in your brain you use the quiet time to mend your weary soul so that you have what it takes to deal with the crying, if and when it starts all over again. 

BB has now been given Ranitidine for her reflux, which seems to helping. We’re so sick of seeing her in pain and feeling like nothing we do is helping, but we’re really hoping this will help her turn a corner. Dealing with this has made me realise how hard single-parenthood must be at times like this, and I’m hugely thankful that I have Husband on my team, doing late-night walks around the block with BB when nothing else will settle her.

Team Crammond vs. reflux – We will win.

Going From One to Two

sisters5Before we decided to have another child, it took a long time for me to come around to the idea. I couldn’t imagine having the capacity to love anyone as much as I loved Sausage and the trauma of her birth added to my fears. Eventually, I realised two things; firstly, that I wouldn’t be a ‘first timer’ when it came to maternity care this time, which meant that it was possible for me to make informed decisions and be more in control of my treatment, rather than being carried along with the choices of doctors who thought they knew best (and ultimately, let us down completely). Secondly, that if the new baby was anywhere near as awesome as Sausage, then we’d be seriously lucky people and giving our daughter a sibling was important to us.

When Sausage was born, being our first meant that we lived in a totally baby-centric bubble for many weeks, in fact we didn’t even take her out of the house for the first time until she was almost 6 weeks old! Husband was in a job which required him to work shifts of either 7am-7pm or 7pm-7am, and life was very fluid, revolving around the new baby. With Burrito Baby, things have been totally different; it doesn’t matter if she’s been up since 4am, I still have to be up at 7 to get Sausage ready for school. It doesn’t matter if she’s only just gone down for a nap at 3pm, I still have to take her out to do the school run if Husband isn’t around to look after her. While Sausage was able to dictate the routine, BB has had to (to an extent) just slot into ours.

Obviously, now I have 2 kids, I know that it’s more than possible to have the same strength of feeling for two as it was when we just had one. Your capacity for love doesn’t get split between the two of them, it doubles and fills up every space within your being. We’re all still getting used to each other and muddling our way through to form some new sense of normality, but one thing that’s for certain is that I love my girls an immeasurable amount and it almost seems ridiculous to look back at my previous fears about not being able to love another baby as much as I adore Sausage.

On the downside, there have been some tricky moments. In the same way that BB has to slot into what we have to do on a daily basis, newborn babies (especially ones with colic) have no regard for routine. Sure, Sausage has to get to bed by a certain time on a school night, but that doesn’t automatically mean that BB will stop screaming if we need her to and it’s made for more than a couple of tricky evenings of me at one end of the house trying to soothe an agitated baby, while Husband and Sausage try to block out the noise at the other, then swapping places. When Sausage was a baby, we didn’t have anyone to think about but her and if she screamed the place down, well, so be it.

It’s also been tricky trying to split ourselves into two, when both girls need us. Obviously, there are things that Husband can do if I’m indisposed and vice versa, but sometimes it feels like I need 6 extra hands. BB is a tiny baby and needs us to provide her with everything she needs for mere survival, but although Sausage is bigger she still needs us to be there for her as much as we ever were and I’m not going to lie, it’s been a struggle. Luckily, BB is settling down and getting into a halfway-decent routine with sleep now, so I’m finding I have more time to do things with Sausage.

Obviously, these are just a few of the difficulties that come with going from one child to two and I’m sure we’ll encounter MANY more as the weeks go on, but the good is definitely outweighing the bad and we’re taking each day as it comes.

Night Feeds – Finding Our Rhythm

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Since Burrito Baby and I came home from hospital, we’ve been settling back into family life and trying to find a rhythm that suits us. As I mentioned in this post, I struggled with tiredness for the first couple of weeks, but with Husband’s help I managed to start to feel human again. We were feeding on demand at first, allowing BB to tell us when she was ready for a feed, but that posed a few problems; firstly, BB is an impatient little monkey. If she doesn’t get her milk pretty much as soon as she tells you she wants it, her screaming will reach fever pitch and, if you’re particularly slow, she’ll actually refuse the bottle once you manage to get it to her, or fall asleep from what I can only imagine is exhaustion caused by all that fuss.This then causes a knock-on issue, which is that we live in a very small house and BB’s urgent cries are likely to wake Sausage up, which is just not fair when she has school the next day. Also, she was waking herself up to the point that she didn’t want to go back to sleep, even after a feed.

So, we had to think of something new. With Husband’s help, I decided that rather than allowing BB to get to the point of screaming for a feed, we’d give her a bottle every three hours whether she asked for it or not. That way, she wouldn’t wake up to the point of no return and I managed to get some sleep between feeds. It worked for us for a while and I started to regain the feeling of being an actual human being, not just a milk-delivery zombie.

One night, though, I decided to push my luck – my alarm went off at 1am to give BB her next feed but she seemed to be sleeping really soundly so I thought I’d see how long she’d sleep for if I didn’t wake her up. She slept right through to 4.30am, which was a 6 and a half hour stretch! From that night onwards, I’ve been giving her a late bottle before I go to bed and she’s sleeping an average of 6-7 hours, uninterrupted, which is absolutely brilliant! Given that I took her to be weighed yesterday and she’s gained just under 2lb in 17 days, I think she’s probably having a bit of a growth spurt, hence all of the eating and sleeping, and if this sleeping pattern continues, I’ll be a seriously happy mummy!

For me, this is just further proof that ‘parenting methods’ are all well and good, but nothing will work the same way for every baby. When I had Sausage, I didn’t have a lot of friends with kids, nor did I have a lot of contact with other mums online, so I didn’t really know about ‘methods’, I did things instinctively. Turns out, my version of instinct was baby-wearing, gentle parenting, with a dose of baby-led weaning thrown in later on! This time, I’m trusting my instincts again, remaining fluid and open to change and it seems to be working for us.

So far…!

A Healing Birth

IMG_20140226_082159If you’ve read Sausage’s birth story before, you’ll know that it didn’t go at all to plan. The whole thing was a disaster, right up until the surgeon pulled her from my body in under a minute, saving her life and getting her into the world safely. It’s taken five years to consider the prospect of doing it all again, but as you’ll know if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, my second daughter was delivered just over three weeks ago.

I had to be in hospital for two and a half days before I gave birth as I was only 36+6 weeks gone and had to have steroid injections to ensure that the baby’s lungs were properly developed. However, steroids can play havoc with blood sugar and being diabetic already meant that I needed to be closely monitored to ensure that I didn’t go too low or too high, as well as being on a constant insulin drip. I had to take my blood sugar, via finger prick test, every hour for the entire duration of my hospital stay, which sucked. The first night I was there, I managed a total of 45 minutes sleep, and the second night about 2 hours sleep.

By Monday morning, I was SO ready for my c-section to happen, despite being nervous about the whole thing, and luckily I didn’t have long to wait. Husband arrived before 9am and soon, the scrub nurse was ushering him off to get into scrubs and wellies (yes, seriously, wellies! Although, I must say, he looked rather tasty in scrubs!).

Walking into the operating theatre felt odd – last time, I’d been shoved through on a gurney and put to sleep in the space of a few seconds. Now, I was chatting and laughing with the theatre staff and being put at ease by Husband. The spinal was the part I was dreading the most, but I had two anaesthetists in the room, both of whom were very reassuring and kind, and not only was it over in no time, but it was SO much less painful than I expected it to be. Don’t get me wrong, feeling someone sticking a needle into my spine was slightly odd, but it was totally manageable.

Once they were sure that the spinal had worked, the screen was put up and the operation began. I could feel lots of pulling and moving around, but no pain – all of it was very odd! At one point, Husband stood and looked over the top of the screen, just in time to see the baby being pulled out of my tummy! She’d been very low down and had wedged herself in with one arm above her head, so the surgeon had to use one side of a set of forceps like a spoon to help him to scoop her out.

Between the moment she was pulled out of my body and the first time I heard her cry, it felt like all of the air had been sucked out of the room. The trauma of Sausage’s birth hung over me like the blade of an axe, but hearing her let out a cry made the horrible memories evaporate. I’ll admit, I cried right along with my newborn daughter, tears of relief and love pouring out of me. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude to both the team who’d done my c-section, and the surgeon who’d managed to deliver Sausage all those years ago.

It had all gone to plan and my newborn daughter had been delivered safely.

After the baby was out, the surgeon took a long time sewing me back up and it really shows – my scar is almost invisible! One of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever had was as the team were prepping me to take me to recovery; out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of the nurses move something across the bed – it was only when I looked down that I realised the ‘something’ she’d moved had been my right leg, but I had no sensation in it at all!

Despite three miserable days spent hooked up to a drip, despite my tiredness, my bruised coccyx from sitting in a bed the whole time, despite being away from Sausage and Husband and despite all of my fears, I felt utterly blissful in the hours after the birth. It was such a different experience from my first c-section and I really felt like it had gone a long way to repairing some of the damage done to my heart and mind. Being conscious and hearing my baby’s first cry was something I’ll never forget.

 We were home within a day and a half and family life has steadily been getting back to some semblance of normality. We’ve discovered that the baby loves to be swaddled, wrapped like a burrito, leading to the name she’ll be known as here on the blog…Burrito Baby, or BB!

I’ve got lots more to tell you all about the first three weeks of BB’s life, so keep your eyes peeled for more posts. Also, there’s still time to nominate Mum’s the Word for Best Pregnancy Blog in the MAD blog awards, if you feel like doing us a favour…

Why I Don’t Care if Ellen Page is Gay

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I became aware of Ellen Page back in about 2006, when Husband told me about this film he’d watched where a young woman entrapped and brutalised a paedophile, mostly for shits and giggles, which had an awesome actress playing the lead role. If you’re aware of Hard Candy, you’ll know that a young Ellen Page gave a performance which was as convincing as it was memorable and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

Skip forward a couple of years; Husband and a very pregnant me sat and watched Juno, a film which handled the issue of teen pregnancy with a grace that had never been seen before. Here, we were faced with a young woman who, while on the surface may have been a bit off-beat, was conscious and uncompromising in her decision about what to do with the life of the child that she knew, ultimately, she wasn’t ready for. Juno was a kid who fucked up, had an accident, did what so many others do, but the way she dealt with it (and the space and respect that her parents showed her in dealing with it) reflected what a kid can really do, under such enormous pressure. I cannot imagine anyone else playing that role.

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed watching Ellen in various films, such as Inception, X-Men, The East and Whip It (a particular favourite which has made me desperately want to learn to skate so I can try roller derby!) and I can honestly say I don’t think she’s made a bad choice or put in a bad performance.

Aside from her impressive career, she seems to be a pretty impressive person, too. Away from the spotlight, the (self-confessed) “tiny Canadian” has involved herself with various humanitarian issues, such as campaigning to end the military dictatorship in Myanmar, Burma and also appealing for The New York City Food Bank.

Of course, there’s long been speculation as to her sexuality. Her ‘conspicuous’ lack of male escort at various award ceremonies never fails to set tongues wagging and her graceful but slightly awkward avoidance about whether she ever had a crush on Leonardo DiCaprio in various press junkets leading up to the release of Inception caused even more hyperbole (although, quite why anyone thinks that’s an appropriate question of a professional actor, I don’t know. Would it ever have been asked of a man?!).

Ellen’s self-outing was delivered at the Human Rights Campaigns Time to THRIVE conference, where she decided to use her personal life, and effectively sacrifice her well-protected privacy, to campaign for the safety and well-being of other gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people across the globe. She’s unleashed her truth in the most conscientious way possible, in a way that doesn’t benefit her, but will hopefully help millions of other people across the globe. She says she’s “tired of lying by omission” and hopes that her coming out will help others to have the strength to be open about their sexuality, too.

So, while the title of this post may come across as slightly glib, I really do mean it. I adore this young woman and everything she stands for. As a mother to (almost) two girls, I feel that I can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that there are women like her out there, setting an example of strength and selflessness and showing that above all else, being yourself is the best thing you can possibly be.

Who Ellen Page chooses to fall in love with is of absolutely ZERO consequence to anyone but herself and her chosen partner and what I hope is that we can start to end the process of defining people by their sexuality. It simply does not matter whether a person is gay or straight or any of the other shades of the Rainbow. What matters is how they choose to live their life and the way they treat others around them. Of course, I believe people should be proud of who they are, and their sexuality, to an extent, factors into the person as a whole, but there’s so much more to everyone than that one small factor.

Anyway, its 4.16am, I’m sitting in a darkened maternity ward and probably rambling somewhat now, but I wanted to get my thoughts on the page and say that I wish Ellen a lifetime of happiness and love.

That’s all. 

Post C-Section Tips

 Post C-Section TipsThe date of my planned c-section is looming fast and I’m already aware of (and very happy about) the fact that this will be a totally different experience to last time. For a start, I’m more than 5 years older and totally not taking for granted what five years worth of ageing can do – I feel very different as an almost 30 year old than I did as a just-turned-24 year old, and I’m aware that this could make the healing process a little different. There’s also the fact that this will be my second c-section and that could well affect my healing time and recovery afterwards.

The biggest difference, though, will be the birth itself and subsequent days. Sausage was in NICU for the first week of her life and I had been sent home, so for those 7 days I was waking, showering, going to the hospital, sitting next to our baby and then going home to do it all again in the afternoon. I must have walked miles of corridor in that first week – a far cry from the ‘as much bed rest and sleep as you can manage’ advice that’s given to most new mothers. Having said that, I actually healed and recovered from my operation pretty quickly and I wonder if my ‘carrying on regardless’ kind of helped?

Anyway, instead of going into the second c-section feeling mystified, I thought I’d ask some of my blogging pals what their best tips were for post c-section recovery, and here’s what they had to say:

Jenny from Mum of One: “Take it slowly. It is easy to forget but it is major abdominal surgery and it will take a good while to recover. Enjoy cuddles in bed with your baby as much as possible those first few weeks.”

Laura from Tired Mummy of Two: “Pillow on your belly for the first time you put a seat belt on!”

Vanessa from HPMCQ: “Do not sneeze!”

Nikki from Stressy Mummy: “Get as much help as you can for the first couple of weeks and don’t lift anything heavier than a kettle”

Stacey from Five’s a Fellowship: “Don’t even thinking about having a bath – take a shower for the first week or so otherwise you’ll find yourself unable to get back out of the tub!”

Kelly from Domestic Goddesque: “Very big pants!”

Cat from Cat’s Yellow Days: “Take it easy but do make sure you still try to keep moving even if it’s just up and down the hall to get a cup of tea. Not getting any exercise at all can leave you feeling even weaker in the long run.”

Rebecca from Here Come the Girls: “Ignore everyone’s requests to show you the scar! On a serious note; write down a list of all the times you have taken pain killers as you’ll forget and you don’t want to do that.”

Jenny from Cheetahs in my Shoes: “If you have SPD and a C-Section it can be worth asking for a walking frame to get you moving again to stop you twisting too much when you mobilise again. It’s not glamorous but can really help”

Sarah from Boo, Roo and Tigger Too: “If you do not have a changing unit downstairs then change babies nappy on a changing mat on the sofa, to save you having to get down to the floor and bend over too far”

Anna from The Imagination Tree: “I’d say take peppermint oil to ease the wind pain as it’s excruciating after a c-s! Wear mega pants up to your belly button- buy granny knickers from primarni rather than the expensive ones made for the purpose. Walk around sooner than you feel able to and it will increase your recovery time massively. Keep all vital baby equipment at standing level. Wear your hubby’s trackie-bots or a nighty as everything hurts around the waist. Phone a doctor the very second there’s redness or swelling in your scar (eesh!) Try not to get mastitis at the same time- you’ll sob and ask for someone to kill you ;-)”

As for me, my own tip would be to invest in a v-pillow or even just a spare, regular pillow to put under your tummy if you sleep on your side; having a bit of extra support while you’re healing can really help with your comfort levels in the first couple of weeks after surgery.

Thanks to all of my lovely friends who’ve contributed their wisdom. If you have any other tips for me, please leave a comment below – knowledge is power and I need all the help I can get!

Disney Princess Palace Pets Review

If you follow me on any social media, you’ll probably know that poor Sausage has been off school all week with tonsillitis. Every time we think she’s on the mend and ready to go back to school, she seems to get all run-down again, like today when she woke up with a stinking cold on top of it all. She’s feeling pretty droopy, so when a parcel arrived just for her yesterday, the timing couldn’t have been better. She’s had the Disney Princess Palace Pets app on Daddy’s iPad for a while now and she adores the game, which is basically a virtual grooming shop for all of the pets belonging to the various Disney Princesses, and the toys we were sent to review accompany the app.

Disney Princess Palace PetsThe main Disney Princess Palace Pets Pamper and Beauty Salon Play Set retails for around £33 and contains one Palace Pet (in this case it was Summer, a cat belonging to Rapunzel), and gives you a place to sit your animals while they’re being preened and pampered, as well as coming with various hair clips and brushes which can be used on tails and manes. We were also sent Blossom, Mulan’s Panda, Bloom, Aurora’s pony, and Treasure, a singing pussy cat who belongs to Ariel.

Sausage was absolutely over the moon with all of the toys, which seemed really true to the animations within the app (she immediately recognised Blossom as we pulled her out of the box!) and she’s been playing with it all pretty much ever since. All of the toys feel high quality and well made, although some of the parts are absolutely tiny, so I wouldn’t give them to smaller kids or those prone to putting things in mouths or up noses!

I like the fact that there are lots of different pets available, so if your child has a favourite princess you can buy the corresponding animal. The talking and singing cat is slightly larger than the other pets and as such retails for a slightly higher price (around £12.99, compared with around £5.99 for the smaller, non-talking pets) but I think all of the prices seem quite fair, given that it all feels sturdy and like it would last a while. This is definitely the sort of playset that I can see us putting away when Sausage has outgrown it, and passing it onto the baby shen she’s old enough for such toys.

This would make a great gift for any child who loves their Disney Princesses and it’s genuinely cheered my little lady up in a week which has been pretty miserable for her.

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