The Drama of a Sick Day

So today, Maisie is off school with a suspected ear infection. She’s wearing her most snugly and most pink clothes, she’s dosed up with Kids Ibuprofen and allowed to watch as much telly as she likes. The problem is… Isabelle. She’s being VERY 2 at the moment and taking great delight in punching, pulling, pushing and pinching her sister. She wants whatever Maisie has, she wants to sit wherever Maisie sits and she wants to do whatever Maisie is doing. This does not a restful day make.

Izzy has been wailing and screaming lots over the past week but her wails and screams are NOTHING in comparison to Maisie’s piercing shrieks of complaint. I’m basically living in fear of all the windows in the house shattering and the neighbours realising that my children are out of control and I’m an incompetent mother. Joy.

I’m managing to do my best patient and quiet talking but have a horrible feeling that it won’t be long until my inner harridan bursts forth. All I can say is Thank God for the Peppa Pig chanel. Did you know that even existed? Well it does and I think that it may well make this sick day just about bearable.


Tasty Roast Chicken Rice

This is a great, tasty recipe that uses left over roast chicken. It’s ideal for tinys who are weaning, although you’ll probably want to use reduced salt versions of the stock and gravy granules. I just want to confess that my older kids wouldn’t eat this meal unless blindfolded but my nearly 2 year old wolfs it down. It’s worth noting that when the oldest 2 are blindfolded they love it…

A splash of sunflower oil (or whatever oil you use apart from olive oil)
Left over chunks or strips of dark and white chicken
Two sticks of celery chopped
An onion chopped
Chantaney carrots halved up into stock
Half a tin of sweet corn
A crushed clove of garlic
One chicken stock cube made
A desert spoon of gravy granules three quarters of a kids cup of rice.

Fry your onions in a stewing pot or saucepan, once translucent add the chicken, celery, carrots and sweet corn. Add about half of the stock, bring to the boil and let simmer on a low heat. Keep checking to see the stock hasn’t evaporated about every 10 mins and then after 30 mins add the rest of the stock and gravy granules for thickness. Then leave to simmer for another 30 mins and put the rice on to boil 15 mins before your 30 minutes are up. Once the rice is cooked just drain and stir into the meal. If your kids don’t like the look of this you can always blend it to make a yummy soup. Delicious. The good thing about this meal is that if the children don’t like it the adults will!


I’ve broken my baby.

It’s official, I’ve broken Isabelle and not in an emotional/helpful/will now sleep through the night kind of way. A few months ago, in an attempt to sort her, “won’t sleep through the night” habit, we decided to just let her scream when she woke up at night. We’d go in once so she knew we were there and then tell her we wouldn’t come in again even if she kept on crying. It was horrific. For the first 2 nights she screamed for about 2 hours non stop and then after a few more days of crying between 1.5 hours and half an hour, it worked. The trouble though, is that 2 hours of full-on screaming is not good for a baby’s vocal chords and her voice, although always pretty deep, took on a new, sort of 60-Bensons-a-day croak.

On top of the scream induced ruination, there was also the incident with the dishwasher tab she sucked (have you called the social yet?) My Mum’s terrified that the tab has completely dissolved her throat and ruined her forever. So, in an attempt to appease Mum who has basically convinced me that Isabelle’s beyond repair, I took her to the doctors.

Now when you’re a new mother, it’s essential to visit A&E at least once a month for the first few months and thereafter the doctors for every sniffle and sneeze. When you’re a mother of three, your children have to be either unconscious or bleeding uncontrollably to warrant any medical attention. I think this, “pah, she’s fine” attitude is great most of the time as kids get ill and kids get better, but sometimes it takes someone who doesn’t see your child every day to see that medical attention might be a good idea.

Anyway, we’ve been advised not to let her scream at all if possible (er… ok). She currently has swollen tonsils and a fever, so we’re going back to see the doc in 3 weeks time when we’ll be able to see if there is still a problem with her tonsils when her illness has passed. If they’re still swollen then then we’ll take her to see a throat specialist. Poor little thing. I’ve given her a dummy which helps to stop her crying (just call me parent of the year) and some baby Nurofen to accompany the antibiotics. Now we just have to play the waiting game and hope she’s not destined for a life-time of Darth Vader voice over jobs. Ah guilt, my constant companion, come and give me a cuddle.

By the way, she has stopped sleeping through the night.



Can I have my boobs back please?

I started breastfeeding on the 6th of September 2006 and I’m still doing it. That’s almost seven years! My poor old boobs, they really could do with some time off for good behavior, they’ve “done us proud”, as someone might say if they were from the East End and very pleased with my breast’s achievements. But you know what? I think I’m done. It’s time to pack away the now grey and frayed nursing bras, and bring out the new pretty push-ups! Oh but I can’t, can I, because Isabelle is obsessed with breastfeeding.

Our word for it is dudu, which apparently is what they call milk in some parts of India. My dad was born in Burma and that’s what he used to call milk when he was little, it was therefore what we called milk when I was little and has now stuck for us. Unfortunately Izzy has also stuck, stuck to my knockers! Whenever she wants some she lies prostrate across my lap and squeaks, “dudu, dudu” just in case I’m not sure what she wants.

I thought when I went away to Sheffield for a few days, (with Mum for her op) that she might simply forget about the joys of dudu. Fat chance! For the first few hours of my return she didn’t ask for any, but then it was like she suddenly remembered what she’d been missing and demanded some right there and then. To be fair, I’m now only breastfeeding her three times a day (that’s still quite a lot isn’t it?) which is less than previously, but really I’d like to have stopped completely by the time she’s two.

The question is, how do I stop? With my other two I stopped breastfeeding at 14 and 19 months and it just sort of seemed quite natural. But with Izzy, I just can’t see an end. If I try to deny her she FREAKS OUT and not mildly, oh no. She SCREAMS and SCRATCHES and HITS and ROLLS ABOUT (too many caps?). We’ve tried formula with which we’ve had limited success but at the end of the day she just likes the real deal.

Really though, who can blame her? As the youngest of 3 kids she has to fight for my attention all the time, so I guess it’s her way of having me all to herself. I can’t really say I hate it either, she’s so cuddly and sweet and she is my last baby. I just hope she’s ready to give up before she starts school…

Any time, any place, any where. Literally.


Hi. My name is Emma and I’m a gym-a-holic.

I’m currently sitting in the café of David Lloyd Gym, Cambridge. The kids are playing in the mini play-barn after a busy morning in the crèche for the girls and a swimming lesson for Sam. Sam also had the pleasure of watching me do a Zumba class whilst also playing on my iPad – he had a lovely time. Half way through the class he whispered for me to come over and said in his most earnest voice, “good work mum.” Bless.

So what’s happened to me? Why this sudden burst of activity? Well, it all started at the school gates when I got chatting to a mum who was looking fantastic. She’d joined the gym and was getting visible results. To be honest, I’ve always hated going to the gym but was getting to the point where I was really fed up with being wobbly. I’ve been pregnant or breastfeeding for the past 7 years and after nearly 2 years of Izzy not sleeping properly I felt like it was time to start feeling alive again, not just existing through days of exhaustion. I also wanted to feel good about my body again, simple really. I’m not sure why this time the decision to get fit has stuck, but I’m feeling good and slowly losing inches.

For me the most rewarding thing has been the sense of well-being I feel. Excercise really is making me feel better. I’m fitter and stronger than I’ve been in years and even though I’ve still got lots of weight to lose, I feel in control because I know I’m actually doing something about it.

There are loads of classes here and my favorite class is Body Attack. Believe me, you really do feel like you’ve been attacked after it, but it’s high energy and great for fitness and weight loss. The best bit about this gym though is that there’s a crèche so I don’t have to go out in the evenings when I’m knackered but can go in the mornings instead when I have the most energy. I also got a 3 month membership for the kids over the summer so we can all come here loads during the holidays, to swim mostly, as they have an outside pool which has been fantastic with the good weather.

So, I’ve become a gym bunny, well perhaps that’s slightly over-ambitious, I’m probably more of a gym gerbil, but you get the idea. I’m doing something rather than feeling rubbish about myself and it feels great.


Mum’s Op and an Unexpected Review of the Nuby, Breast Express Breast Pump

I’m currently staying in a hotel in Sheffield as my Mum has just had an operation to repair her (recreated) bladder. The operation is over and thank God it went well, although she’s still in lots of pain. Honestly, it seems rather ridiculous to me that they (you know, those medical people) can clone a sheep but can’t create decent post-operative pain relief. My poor mum’s had 3 big operations in as many years and it’s been the same for all of them. Para-bloody-cetamol they offer her! She hasn’t got a hangover, she’s recovering from major surgery for crying out loud!

Sorry, I’m ranting. I’m here alone, Ferg’s at home taking care of all the kids as children under 12 aren’t allowed on the wards. I wanted to be free to see Mum whenever I could as she’s miles from home (Cambridge) and miles away from her army of wonderful friends. At least I can be her familiar face for a few days even though I just feel helpless and powerless to do anything that makes this any easier for her.

I’ve never been away from my babies for this long and it feels particularly strange as I’m still breastfeeding Izzy. I’m not sure I realised how much she feeds, as one major and hugely underestimated by-product of being away is that my boobs are continuing to produce lots and lots and LOTS of milk. I woke up this morning with boobs the size and consistency of unripe melons and two massive wet patches on my pyjama top. They were so sore, that I felt like running out into the street, grabbing the first baby I saw and forcibly offering my services as a wet-nurse. I’d forgotten how painful it is having engorged breasts and although I tried expressing by hand I only got three drops out which, believe me was NOT worth the agony.

So what to do? Buy a breast pump that I would never use again or or, or what? Well, I called the maternity unit at Sheffield Hallam Hospital and asked if it’s possible to donate breast milk and it turns out that it is! Unfortunately though you have to register and have your milk tested which would take quite a while. This was not going to be a good solution, especially as I’d had a large GnT and a pint of cider last night (apparently it’s dangerous for babies to mix their booze). I then asked if they could lend me one but apparently they don’t randomly offer out breast pumps to passing strangers which I thought was rather rude.

Anyway I reluctantly found the breast pump section in Boots and discovered a little beauty of a pump. It was only about £11 and teeny. Most importantly it’s very, very simple with only two bits to deal with, a pump and a bottle, super diddly ooper.

I can’t really give you much more info about this breast-pump other than the fact that it successfully gets milk out of my boobs and doesn’t have a million pieces to put together. Therefore, as far as I’m concerned it’s brilliant. It’s small, the little container it comes with is nicely squishy and and er that’s it really. In my experiences all breast pumps kind of hurt. It’s not a fun experience expressing milk, but when your breasts are so full of milk that your nipples go completely flat, then breast pumps are very useful. Don’t bother with more expensive ones that will hurt just as much, get this one which does the job at minimum cost and with minimum equipment.