Life

Five Things which will Absolutely Definitely happen when Flying with a Baby

October 1, 2015

As a new parent, the prospect of flying with a baby is a Very Scary Thing.

Whilst G is a crowd-pleaser, lapping up all the attention from old ladies and shop assistants, he’s also known to get cabin fever if we stay in the same space for a long time.

Unfortunately, the whole point of air travel is that you stay in the same space… for a long time.

During the weeks leading up to us travelling, I would lament to anyone and everyone about the dread that was sinking in about being That Person on the flight with a screaming baby.

What if he just doesn’t stop crying?

What if he starts screaming?

What if there’s a massive sleepsuit-filling poosploshion?

Responses ranged from “he won’t” (he might!) to “just use your nipples” (he has teeth now y’know!) or “it’s only four hours” (TERRIBLE THINGS CAN HAPPEN IN FOUR HOURS. THE TITANIC SANK IN THREE).

Jokes aside, G was pretty good ON the plane. But there are a million and one other factors which I hadn’t even considered before arriving at Gatwick; this is what you’ll probably get up to…

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Baby, Life

Parenting in the Rain (The WORST kind of Parenting)

September 15, 2015

Thanks to a “well-planned” (read: totally UNplanned) Spring baby, I have only had a handful of experiences of venturing outside in the rain with a baby.

Each and every one has been horrendous.

The first time, I put the atrociousness down to my rain vs baby virginity. That, and my lack of foresight which would have made me check the weather forecast and discover it was about to chuck it down. Had I checked, I probably wouldn’t have ventured out with nothing but a blue blanket to fend off the incoming rain.

I felt like a pretty bad mother watching G blink disapprovingly as raindrops splattered his nose.

Mummy and Baby: 0, Rain: 1

Second time, I blamed the strangely placed elastic on our pram cover. Midway through I realised I’d spent five minutes trying to fix it on upside down. By that time it was on we were both pretty drenched, and the rain had stopped. Typical.

Mummy and Baby: 0, Rain: 2

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Baby, Before and After, Travel

Before and After: Holiday Packing

September 9, 2015

Holidaying with a nearly six month old baby is certainly an interesting experience. Flying means that routine goes out the window for a few days weeks and you get to play Baby Puree Roulette in the Supermercado when you run out of Ella’s Kitchen.

We’re fairly sure that G does not like banana. But the combination of bad packaging and my non-existent Spanish means that we might never know.

Amazingly, we discovered at the airport that our luggage was (cumulatively) 9kg under the limit. I think the only word to describe my reaction to this would be “incredulous”.

Sure, Mr AW and I only had four days worth of clothing each (for an eight day trip). But we had also squished in about 90% of all the baby crap we own.

And we own a LOT of baby crap.

Lamenting over the days when hand luggage was sufficient, over the week I realised there are quite a few differences when it comes to packing for a holiday with a small person in tow:

Books

Before: Trashy rom-com bought in WHSmith in the airport, as per tradition. Read in two days. Fully stocked Kindle used for rest of holiday. Total number of books read: About 4.

After: WHSmith missed due to nappy change diversion. No books taken. Kindle App on iPhone used during feeds, but stops three days in due to neck ache. Total number of books read: A third (excluding many many repeats of “That’s not my Tractor” and “That’s not my Monkey” during breakfast/lunch/dinner).

Medicine

Before: Half-used packet of paracetamol to deal with hangovers. Thrown into the suitcase as an afterthought.

After: Calpol. Bonjela. Teething granules. Thermometer. Spare calpol. Spare bonjela. Remainders of post-natal ibruprofen (two pills, maybe?) chucked in, just for good measure.

Toiletries

Before: Multitude of hair care products to limit damage of salty/chlorinated water (anti-frizz, moisture serum…). Loads of make up coordinated with outfits for evenings out. After Sun for the inevitable burn due to (deliberate) lack of sun cream.

After: One shampoo and a suspiciously unisex shower gel shared with husband. Sun cream AND After Sun. Mascara only. Begrudgingly share a deodorant when you discover husband hasn’t bought new one. Listen to daily moans that its roll-on, not spray.

Baby shampoo, baby body wash, baby sponge. Baby nail clippers. Baby sun cream. Spare baby sun cream. Baby towel. Spare baby towel. Baby toothbrush, baby toothpaste. Basically? Everything in Boots which has the prefix “baby”. And then a spare.

Hand Luggage

Before: Laptop, phone, passport. Snacks for the plane. Trashy magazine.

After: Laptop, phone, two passports. Selection of quiet(er) toys for vain attempt of entertaining G for four hours. Muslins. Blanket. Teething rings. Bonjela. Calpol. Baby carrier. Spare clothes for G. Spare top for Mr AW and me. A dozen nappies (in case of delay). Emergency chocolate (in case of flight-induced tantrums).

Souvenirs

On the plus side, the advantage to our hold bags being full of nappies and baby food is that we have PLENTY of space for souvenirs.

Gone are the days of throwing out your clothes at the baggage check-in desk because you decided a really heavy paperweight was the perfect souvenir choice.

Packing for a baby has its uses after all.

Girl-in-the-Apple-Wood-sig

How Not To, Life

How NOT to Road Trip with a Baby

September 3, 2015

My most critical piece of advice for going on a road trip with a small child is not to drop any part of your luggage squarely on your toe as you load it into the car.

Especially those metal poles from Ikea high chairs.

They really bloody hurt. It’s guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes and swear words to your lips.

Or at least, so I’ve heard. Y’know allegedly. From a friend. Obviously I wouldn’t be so stupid as to load a highchair into the car with no shoes on.

Obviously.

Anyway…

Two weeks ago, we journeyed down to Cornwall to spend a few days with my parents and their dog. It’s about a four hour journey, which – even in the Big Family Car – is pretty unbearable.

But that might just be my singing.

Somehow, we managed to fill our massive estate car with stuff. For a four day trip. Gone are the days of a week’s summer holiday to Kos on hand luggage.

This is a whole new road trip era. A brave new world of travelling. A micro dystopia.

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Life

The Clangers are Idiots: A Deconstructed Analysis

August 31, 2015

I am not ashamed to admit that I am a Clangers aficionado. It is the ONE thing in this household which will keep G entertained for ten minutes.

Those little pink moon mice are Mama’s new friends.

Having watched all 26 episodes more times than I care to admit, it didn’t take long to come to the realisation that the Clangers are a teensy bit thick.

I get it, they’re sweet and their exploits are designed to teach pre-schoolers about some of the finer parts of morality. Like not to do the things you’ve been explicitly told not to do and not to hide things from your Granny. Especially when you ruin her favourite shawl.

But those Clangers don’t half make some… clangers.

Ahem.

Of course, I’m not expecting my children’s TV show characters to be of MENSA calibre – I’d settle for a spoonful of logic and a dash of forethought.

Here’s the breakdown of my top annoying occurrences, and the lessons that Clangers are REALLY teaching our children:

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Baby, Life

Badly Led Weaning

August 12, 2015

Is that cauliflower or a bogey up his nose?

…I found myself asking. How philosophical; Plato would be proud.

A quick exploratory mission soon revealed that we were okay and it wasn’t cauliflower, but lesson learned; don’t start weaning with food items that can disguise themselves as bodily fluids.

We’ve attempted baby-led weaning three times now.

The signs were all there. He can sit up in his highchair, he lunges for my cake and he shoves everything into his mouth – from his books to our hands.

The first time we tried weaning it was with a banana. Well, half a banana. It was about as unsuccessful as it could go. G paid zero attention to the banana pieces, and about 90% of them ended up on the floor. We blamed the banana for being too squidgy and slippery, and not particularly compatible with small, grabby baby hands.

So we tried carrot batons.

Again, these were unsuccessful. They got mushed around the highchair until we took them off him. Maybe they were too small, we mused.

He then reverted to trying to eat his “that’s not my tractor…” book straight from the plastic tray.

His MENSA application is on hold.

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Life

Mum Tums and Kardashian Bums

August 10, 2015

Five months post-birth and I have a bit of a confession to make.

I’ve got one of those…

*whispers*

… “mum tums”.

Now, don’t get me wrong; when that infamous ‘bikini ready’ ad went viral I definitely sat on the “er, it’s the five seconds before you’ve put on a bikini” side of the fence. Although I’d probably throw in a full body wax too (just for common decency).

But now? I am SO not bikini ready. I have ‘tiger stripes’ – whatever you want to call them, although it looks more like I’ve lost a fight with one – and I can shake my belly like a bowl full of jelly.

Ho ho ho, indeed.

I also have a butt which could rival the Kardashians.

Which is totally fine… if you’re a Kardashian.

We’re off on holiday in a few weeks, so I’m on a mission.

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Life, Lighthearted

Passport Forms: A Parent’s Frenemy

August 7, 2015

The Big News in the Apple Wood this week is that we’re off on a summer holiday. Well it’s been booked, anyway.

This has meant that we’ve had to apply for G’s first passport.

Oh. My. God. It has been one of the most stressful experiences of my life – and in that assessment I’m including both;

  1. My GSCE maths exam. Enough said, really.
  2. The million-point-turn I did in the Skoda garage, surrounded by a hoard of BRAND NEW SHINY CARS – including the one reserved for my in-laws. I don’t think I’ve ever been so sweaty (it’s been a very stressful week).

But anyway, back to the passport.

Obviously G cannot fill out his own passport form, which means that the responsibility fell to us.

Well, me.

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Letters

Twenty Twenty (Weeks)

August 6, 2015

Dear G,

And here we are again.

Twenty weeks.

Twenty weeks of milk-drunk eyes and morning smiles.

The past four weeks have been full of developments. You’re starting to elongate now, and you look far less pudgy than you did before. I think we’re getting a glimpse of how you’ll look as a toddler – and maybe as a hulking sixteen year old.

There have been some ‘big’ developments too. You no longer use the carrycot on your pram, and much prefer to be seated upright. We had a BBQ with your Nan and Grumps when we discovered this; you seemed so happy to be sat at the table and be part of the conversation. You weren’t overly bothered about the burgers though. Maybe next year, eh?

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Baby, Life, Lighthearted

Used Nappies and Odd Socks: What’s ACTUALLY in my Changing Bag

July 29, 2015

In the past four months I have a read a ridiculous number of baby advice articles, including dozens of blogs, vlogs and infographs breaking down what people carry around in the change bags.

Oh, what a time to be alive.

However whilst these are useful (and yes, I do have my own guide scheduled in the forthcoming weeks), they’re not wholly accurate. So I thought I’d bare a little bit too much, and share what’s actually in my changing bag.

Judge away.

So, I’ll start with the worst offender…

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