21 . London
Mama to Dylan and (soon to be) Isla

Monday, 29 September 2014

Vaccinations: waiting till the time is right (for us)

I'm going to start by saying this, I don't care whether you choose to vaccinate your children or not. Nor do I care when you decide to do it (if you do), 6 weeks, 6 months, 6 years. It's none of my danm business. 
If you decide not to vaccinate your child and they make my unvaccinated child sick that's my problem not yours. And if my unvaccinated child comes into contact with your vaccinated child your kid is covered because of your choices, a is well in your world. 
I'm writing this not to preach or try to convert you to my way of thinking, I'm writing this because it's a lesson learned and a journey traveled and sometimes I like to offload things rather than keep everything locked up in various compartments in my brain.

When I talk about our choice not to vaccinate at the prescribed time I get a lot of shock and judgement. I used to spend a lot of time defending our choice until I realised that in most cases I was the only person making an informed decision about vaccinations. Most people were just being spoon fed tiny amounts of information about medications and statistics they didn't really understand and dustily following the set out timeline of their health visitor. Most parents, especially new parents wouldn't think to question vaccinations. I didn't. When dylan was born I knew nothing about them except that I was told that he HAD to have his first lot at 6 weeks. 
HAD, that was a lie. He didn't have to have them at all, but no one tells you that. 
So off I trotted and dylan was vaccinated right on schedule and in honesty apart from a nagging fever he was fine. I didn't feel fine, I was scared and anxious that if he had a bad reaction I Wouldbg notice warning signs because I didn't know him yet. I felt guilty that I couldn't even try to explain to him what was going on and angry that someone else was telling me what to do with my son.
It wasn't until I met a mother who was choosing not to vaccinate that I began to question my choices. 
Soon after I realised that I hadn't made a choice. We make choices based on being given information but I hadn't been given any so I went looking for some. 
I won't bored you with information you can find easily online. No one needs me to tout off statistics or theories that they can find themselves if they want to.
But what I realised after doing some research was that I was happier waiting. 
I realised that as a parent I felt that it suited us better to wait until Dylan's immune system had matured as much as possible. It was better for us to wait until he could communicate any discomfort he may feel post vaccinations. It was better for us that I waited because in that time allergies may present themselves and knowing my child's allergies felt important if I were going to give him anything in the form of vaccinations or medication he may need should he have a bad reaction. 
And so as his next lot of vaccinations loomed I spoke to my doctor and he was open and understanding and accepting of my choice.  Dylan's vaccinations are now up to date. We decided that he should have them done by the time he started school so they are. It's quite simple. It's a choice.

With isla again it has been a choice. A choice based on information that is available.
With her arrival I spoke to our doctor again and once again we decided to wait. 
Last week I received a phone call asking to attend a routine check up for isla and we had that today. Once again today we discussed vaccinations and I was able to make a choice based on information both old and new. 
Today we decided to start Isla's vaccinations. There has been a rise in cases of measles and whooping cough in and around the city the risk to an unvaccinated child has increased and I don't want my daughter to fall into that category.

Information gives you the ability to make a choice and we've been so lucky to have a doctors practice who accepts our decision and gives us new information when it arose.

A little earlier than planned isla started her course of immunisations but I'm happy with our choice. 
As with everything it's about keeping my children happy and healthy and this is what works for us. 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Potty training update

Shortly before I dropped off the face of the earth for the summer I wrote about potty training. Honestly the phrase potty training made me want to punch myself in the face for the majority of the summer. 
We reached the point pretty early on where we had no accidents at all if dylan was nappy/pants free at home. That happened within a few days and naturally I thought that it would be a simple progression to no accidents wearing pants and then finally trousers. 
I was wrong. So wrong. 
All summer we battled with pants. As soon as they went on dylan would have an accident with no exception. As soon as they were off he'd go back to being absolutely fine with both a potty and a toilet, but of course you can't leave the house naked, much less start nursery sans pants.
So we spent our summer with dylan naked below the waist as soon as we were home and continuing to wear nappies or pullups whenever we were out. 
Then, ten days before school was due to start we had a last ditch attempt of proper pant wearing nappy training. I resigned myself to accidents and carrying round endless spare changes but I put my foot down where nappies were concerned, it was pants only, no exception.
Day one there were three accidents, four trips to the toilet where he refused to go and a lot of frustration on my part. 
Day two there were no accidents, several successful toilet trips and absolute shock on my part.
Day three was much of the same. As were days four, five and six. 
Lin fact, since that first day there haven't been any accidents. Not even during birthday parties, days out to the beach and even nursery.
Quite out of the blue Dylan is toilet trained during the day. 
It took a while, longer than a while really as we were almost there over a year ago. But once again it happened when he was ready, as things always do. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

It's been a while

The title of this post sums up everything I need to say, and it's obvious anyway, I haven't posted here since June.
All summer I thought about posting but something held me back, we've had a lot going on and it feels like there isn't enough time in the day to fit it all in, let alone sit down to concentrate on a blog post or YouTube video. But today I'm back and I'm not going to vanish again. I have posts to post and videos to record and we have several new journeys to embark on which are both exciting and terrifying. 
Dylan started nursery today so five mornings a week I have some one on one time with Isla and come nap time to time to myself and I'm looking forward to using that time to write and record the craziness that is our life.
This post isn't particularly interesting, I'm not using it to catch you up on our summer or our goings on and achievements, I'm just using it to say hi (again). 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

You'll have noticed that I keep promising to update my various social media platforms more then fail to actually do so. 
Partly this is to do with laziness and also a strange anxiety I seem to have developed regarding peoples expectations of my blog content (weird I know). But mostly it's because of this.
Quite out of the blue I've started a fledging business. I've mentioned it before and if you follow me on instagram you'll have been bombarded with my creations recently.
But this is what is taking up a decent chunk of my time these days. In general I have two, possibly three orders a week to make on top of making sure I keep the children alive and as a result this blog, and my youtube have suffered. I tend to find myself either making fondant toppers or doing design research in my spare time rather than sitting down and updating.
So as a peace offering to try and make up for my lack of posting, here are a few of my cakes, 

Dear Dylan

I've noticed that I've been so caught up in life that I haven't taken the time to sit and write recently. Living our lives is such a whirlwind these days that by the time you and Isla are asleep I can hardly keep my head up.
You turned three! And we had such an amazing weekend, so full of excitement and love, with your first birthday party where you invited your friends and enjoyed their company as we enjoyed the company of our friends and family.
Your party theme was pretty telling to how we spend most of our days now. Firemen!
You love Fireman Sam with a fierce passion that surprises most people you meet. You have all the engines and characters now, in fact our house is overflowing with fire engines of various different sizes and designs and most of your games revolve around some form of rescue.
Last week your friends next door had a fire in their house! I marvelled at you compassion, although there were thirty fire fighters right outside our window your first thought went to your friends. 
"I hope Sam and Elvis saved my friend Mummy"
Of course they did, we spotted them playing across the road safe as can be, and once assured they were fine you couldn't keep your eyes off the engines and fire fighters. They even invited you outside to talk to them and explore one of their fire trucks!

Days like that don't come around often, most of the time we spend out days exploring the world around us, crafting, shopping, going to playgroup, ballet or the park and running as fast as you can. And those days, normal days are amazing. Watching you learn and run and find excitement and freedom fills my heart with joy. And watching you embrace your sister as part of you life makes my heart feel like it could burst.
You're kind to her and mostly patient, even when she crawls over and ruins your games.
You share your toys (mostly) and her food and want to teach her everything that you know. She loves you so much, every time she spots you she makes a beeline for you. 

Watching your love for each other is beautiful. 

Right now we're waiting for the next step. 
We're waiting for your passport so we can go on holiday.
We're waiting for the confirmation of your place in your new nursery.
And we're waiting for the summer to finally come and stay so we can run wild in the woods and parks and meet new friends.

So far three has been kind to us. Although we're only a few weeks in you already seem bigger and more grown up.
Each year I learn so much more with you and about you. This year is set to bring a lot of change and I'm ready to hold your hand through it all.

love always
Mummy x

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Almost a year ago (well exactly a year ago from when I started writing this post but apparently I can't write and post an entry in one day) I decided that by his birthday Dylan would be putting himself to bed.
Up until that point every night he would nurse then have a small bottle of almond milk while sitting on me to fall asleep. With a new baby fast approaching I decided that this just wouldn't work and so I gave us seventeen days to crack bedtime. 
And we did. Within a week Dylan was going to bed in his own bed with a bottle of almond milk and falling asleep without a fuss. 
This lasted for a good eight months or so until a few nights falling asleep to movies on the sofa and Harrison being around for bedtimes threw a spanner in the works. Since then he refuses to self settle. Not only that, he takes a good ;5 minutes to settle with someone else in his room. Bedtimes are my least favourite time of the day these days. This new routine ensures that Isla is woken up at least twice, that we're all stressed and that Dylan doesn't go to bed time at least 9pm which leads to far less sleep than he needs and a grouchy toddler during the day.
So one again with his birthday looming I've vowed to crack bedtime. I've put my foot down, I will not go to bed with him. He can have a film on Netflix, his milk and a kids goodnight, but I will not go to bed with him.
Thus far, he's taken resettling but it's going smoothly. He's ready and able, bad habits just got in the way and aren't doing any of is any good.
Sleep training is not something I agree with but breaking bad habits is.

At the same time I've decided now is the time to tackle potty training. 
We started prior to Isla being born and we were doing well but after her arrival Dylan was adamant he needed nappies. It was generally accepted that this was just his way of expressing some anxiety about no longer being the only baby and so we went with it. But almost a year on its time for the transition.
Two days in we've had no accidents at all. And today, day three we're tackling pants. Not having instant and easy access to his potty and generally having a barrier in the way was where we faltered last time. 
Potty training is something I've always dreaded and was happy to leave it as long as I could, but having realised that Dylan was completely ready we didn't have too much of a choice.
It's a little like the blind leading the blind though as with most things when you're a parent. I don't know how Dylan will react to things and while some things come easily the next will be a nightmare.
But we have sixteen days left.
And I have full confidence in him.

On Peaches Geldof

I think that most people would be lying if they said that they weren't surprised when Peaches died.
A far cry from the girl she once was, Peaches had blossomed into a young woman, a young mother who used her voice to promote a natural way or parenting. Who loves and doted on her family and spoke gently of her past.
Currently we're still waiting for the inquest findings to be made public, but that hasn't stopped the media, and sadly much of my Facebook feed condemn the selfish mother who died of a heroin overdose like her mother.
Now, whether or not drugs were the cause of Peaches' tragic passing has become mostly irrelevant to me. Whatever the cause her death is no less tragic. The cause of her death does not take away the pain her friends and family are experiencing and it does not take away what she gave to the voice of natural parenting and especially young mothers.
However, what has become alarmingly apparent to me is just how much judgement people face. And not just those who are struggling with addiction. Those who struggle with mental health issues, their families and friends and those who support them. 
Today rather than question why a young woman, a doting mother who seemingly had everything would possibly be so desperate she would turn to drugs people have branded her selfish and a bad parent.
Instead of trying to understand the reasons people have taken the tragic outcome and spewed hate all over the internet.
So few people have spoken kind words, although that may be because those people don't feel the need to take their opinion to the internet as those who take a more negative view do.

In my opinion, if Peaches was struggling with substance abuse we should learn from her not condemn her. We should wonder why such a passionate young woman wouldn't seek help and rather struggle alone. Consider why anyone at all would struggle in secret. Although I feel I know the answer to that already.
Fear of judgement, fear of more guilt being piled on top of your already crippling guilt. Fear that maybe your children will be taken away. Fear that you may not be a fit mother.
Fear is far less crippling than an addiction to an addict.
Fear is far less crippling then starvation to an anorexic.

We should look at the situation as it currently stands with the judgement and stigma and hate and realise that this behaviour is exactly what breeds fear. It is exactly what stops people from reaching out for the help they need. It is exactly what keeps people indoors spiralling out of control until one day death interviens and then we can all pass judgement on how selfish that person was.

We should remember Peaches as the inspirational young parent she was, who admitted her mistakes and spoke openly about how difficult things could be but also of how beautiful life was with two young sons who she adored.