Yet another ‘expert’ at the children’s centre with the expertise of a banana

I like our local children’s centre. It is next to the big kids school so convenient and close to home. The woman who is in charge is friendly and fairly well educated (a bit obsessed with babies’ sleep but so are most of the parents she sees I suppose). I’ve met some good friends at the baby group (which we are now officially no longer allowed to attend but they’ve started a new session for us to go to so that’s nice) and we’ve had some interesting discussions there.

I do, however, take issue with the some of the ‘experts’ that we’ve had to talk to us about various things at the baby group. Many others truly were experts, the lady from the in car safety place was scary – don’t store car seats in garages or lofts! rear face forever! are you sure your seat fits in your car because even if it looks like it does it might not!! – but she did know what she was talking about. The lady from the speech and language team likewise although she did limit her scary talk to terrifying those whose babies used dummies. The PND counsellor knew her stuff as did the health trainer. There have, however, been a couple who have just left me wondering what exactly resulted in them being trotted out for the talk.

The first non-expert was the centre manager who came in to talk to us about treasure baskets. Now, years of going to a heuristic baby and toddler group has shown me how brilliant these can be and yet she did such a poor job of introducing them. She tortured us by making us talk about each item – OK for the first couple but then not much more could be said. She then tortured the babies but not letting them play with the baskets. She eventually left without saying goodbye probably cursing us for being a tough crowd.

Today was depressing too. A weaning ‘expert’ from another children’s centre who’s expertise was certainly doubtful as he:

  • stated that the guidelines are ‘always changing’ - well it’s been 6 months for almost a decade now…
  • stated that waking in the night is not a sign for readiness for weaning - great – then stated that it might be - huh?
  • couldn’t quite remember more than one of the signs of readiness
  • said that he didn’t know much about this new-fangled baby lead weaning thing - so new that the name has been around for at least 6 years, I first read about it in this Ask Moxie Q&A: Introducing Solids, and that ignores the fact that it’s a practice that’s been around much longer
  • gave some information but constantly ruined that with advice ‘well this is what the guidelines say but if I were you I’d do xyz’ - since he didn’t let us know any of the qualifications he has to be a weaning expert I can’t but assume that perhaps research studies are more useful than his gut feeling
  • insisted that you should always start with purées and never mix different foods because allergies scary! - really, so if you’ve no history of allergies and you’re starting at 6 months (oh wait he’s not too sure about the whole 6 month thing)…

At least he suggested that babies should be having table food as soon as possible (although did spoil that by insisting it should be mushed). He was also clear that milk should be a baby’s main food until they’re one thank goodness as that’s not the opinion of at least one of the local health visitors.

I don’t have the energy to write a complaint because really he didn’t say anything particularly harmful just disjointed advice and not particularly expert opinion. I think his main expertise came from having his own kid – not through any research or study on the subject he was supposed to be teaching. It’s probably a good thing we aren’t allowed to go to the group any more – not sure I could handle any more ‘expert’ advice.

Our nappies – Itti Bitti, My Little Patch and Bum Deal wet bags

If you use cloth nappies then at some point you will need to change a nappy outside of the house and then you will need to figure out a way of returning said nappy home so that you can wash it. Some people simply use nappy bags or supermarket bags but I much prefer to use a purpose made wet bag. When I used cloth nappies with Tilly I had one wet bag – it was big, drawstring neck and not particularly pretty. Now I have 8 wet bags, which sounds excessive but I’ve needed each of them although they aren’t all in my regular rotation.

We have:

All of my bags work for the purpose for which they were designed but are different in a variety of ways. In order of least to most favourite for day to day use my wet bags are:-

Junior Joy Wet Bag

This is not the prettiest of the bags I own but it was reasonably priced and it does the job. I think it’s a little big for daily use but it can hold a day or mores worth of nappies if needed. I used it for overspill before I bought my second nappy bucket but it’s retired for the moment. I tend to prefer zippered bags now and this one has a drawstring which I think tends to lead to more smells if the nappies have to remain in it for a while.

Bum Deal Wet Bags

We have 4 of these wet bags – 1 in each of the sizes they make; small, medium, large and x-large. I bought a set because we wanted to take our nappies on holiday with us and needed a big wet bag that could hold a lot of nappies and would contain their smell as well. The XL Bum Deal wet bag was brilliant – I used it to store all the day nappies and its slightly smaller sibling the L bag to contain the night nappies. The zips did a great job of holding in smells and I could fit a lot of nappies in both. Having the option to buy the bags in a set – for much less than all four together – made these bags very economical too. I don’t use them regularly but that’s no reflection on the bags, it’s just that I prefer to use my double wet bags (My Little Patch) day to day. I would definitely take the Bum Deals if we headed off on holiday again.

Itti Bitti Wet Bag

This was the second wet bag I ever bought and I used it regularly until I bought my first double wet bag. It’s still in use as my back up bag for when I’m going to be out for a while and will need additional wet nappy storage. The Itti Bitti wet bags are a perfect size for nappy changes when you’re out and about as they hold about 4 nappies and fold down small when not in use. They aren’t the cheapest bags available (keep an eye out for sales) but they do look great as they’re available in the same colours and prints as the Itti Bitti nappies.

My Little Patch

I love my My Little Patch bags. The choice of sizes and fabrics is fantastic and the bags can be hung from a wrist or buggy. Both my bags are medium doubles. This means that they have two pockets and so I can put clean nappies and my bag of wipes in one side and dirty nappies on the other. I often just take the wet bag instead of a fully changing bag if I’m not out for long as it cuts down on all the stuff I end up carrying otherwise. These aren’t cheap bags but they are well made and there are regular sales and discounts offered (hence why I just had to buy one more), plus loads of different fabrics to choose from.

So, that’s our wet bags – an essential but not one that needs to be any less pretty than the fluff it carries.

Why is a developmental milestone so often followed by a parenting fail?

Yesterday Eli figured out how to climb stairs for the first time. He has been trying to figure out how to climb – mainly into the shower cubicle to access toys he’s thrown in there – for a little while but yesterday it clicked and off he went.

It probably helped that one of Tilly’s toys was sitting there, tantalisingly out of reach, providing a great target for an almost one year old to try to reach.

Of course, no good developmental leap is finished without a bit of parenting fail attached. I didn’t move the toy. I just left it there, sat on the stairs, and then we fast forward to today. Today Eli had the most epically awful pooey nappy – it was one of the reasons why cloth nappies are both perfect and horrible. It was in his night nappy and thankfully contained by the wrap so not many of his day nappies would have coped and a disposable, no chance. I mention this not in the way that parents feel they need to talk about the contents of their baby’s nappies but to explain why I might have been a little distracted.

Eli was playing with Tilly in the lounge (or so I thought), I was finishing sorting out the dirty nappy and then I heard the – in hindsight inevitable – bump, BUMP, WAAAH! I gathered up Eli from the foot of the stairs, cursed my shoddy parenting, despatched Tilly to her bedroom with the offending toy and was thankful that said toy was only a few steps up. The boy had given himself a fright but had no injuries. We now have a policy that nothing is to be left on the stairs and I’ve had a reminder that new skills will be practised, preferably supervised and regardless of pootastrophies.

Finally, only one more sleep and daddy’s back

It’s been a long 4 weeks but tonight is the last time (for a while I hope!) that I’ll be solo parenting as R is currently flying back from Japan to rejoin family life. Luckily my mum has been on hand to help in the mornings (before school broke up for the holidays) and in the evenings, eating dinner with us and then staying to help with bath time. Of course she hasn’t been here through the night or for the early mornings (not that I would have ever expected her to be!) and it’s been a very tiring time!

Whilst I am happy to see R simply because I’ve missed him, I am also happy to see him because it means that I may get the odd lie-in and afternoon nap and hopefully fend off some of the crushing exhaustion I am currently operating with.

So, one more night to survive and then reinforcements arrive.

Kids always have to prove you wrong

Today at our baby group (only allowed to attend one more session <sob>) while watching a 5 month old who had just conked out on the mat, I said to those around me that I have never had the type of children who could just fall asleep anywhere, like in a highchair for, I don’t know, an example.

Guess what Eli did tonight… How does a baby do that – you say, oh he never does x, y or z and within no time, and despite not having the receptive language skills or forward planning to make their parents look silly, they’ve done whatever it is they never do and you look like you don’t know your child very well.

Today it is possible that Eli had just not had enough sleep during the day as a trip to the zoo and then baby group had scuppered his ability to nap but it was, almost certainly one of the funniest things I have ever seen. The poor child was trying desperately to eat but just. couldn’t. keep. his. eyes. open. He then tried to sleep in the high chair but only lasted a minute before he realised he was horribly uncomfortable and started screaming. After I released him from his plastic not-a-bed he snored happily on my lap until bath time. Of course I was concerned that his impromptu nap would mean difficulty in getting him to sleep at bed time but no, he really was tired and had no issues dropping off in bed.

Sadly of course, this type of one-upmanship does not take place when you say things such as ‘they never sleep through the night’ or ‘they never spend days not bickering with their siblings’ <sigh>.

Going to be unemployed (by people who pay me) soon

Tomorrow I go into the office I’ve worked in for the past decade (my 11 year anniversary would have been in November) and hand my manager a letter of resignation. I am both happy – I really didn’t want to have to leave my kids to go to work any more especially since that workplace is more than 50 miles and over an hour away – and quite sad – I will miss my colleagues (well most of them – one I definitely won’t miss) and the work.

It’s a new chapter for me, I went back to work when Lex was 6 months and then again when Tilly was almost 11 months but this time it just doesn’t feel right. Of course after childcare and travelling costs I wasn’t earning much money (if any) but I was still getting a pay check each month. Maybe I’ll be able to pick up some freelance work doing web design – blogs and Facebook pages are always needed after all and aren’t too time intensive to set up and administer.

So now I just sign my name to letters I never really thought I’d write and look forward to getting to spend lots of time with my kids as they grow up – I can’t wait.