Monday, December 29, 2008

Second Christmas

Second Christmas for Drew, but it felt like the first. Drew was more aware this time around. I say 'more aware', I mean she was awake and getting right into the boxes that her presents came in...literally.

We spent Christmas in Devon with my parents and everyone was looked after by my Mum and Dad's usual the 4*** style. We even got out washing done!!! Yep - good eh?! However, we couldn't find the telephone number for Room Service to order our breakfast in bed and the Do Not Disturb door notice seemed to have disappeared. I'd normally complain, but we couldn't find the customer comment cards....

It was a great Christmas Day and now Drew has dropped her afternoon sleep, we can do more with her. For Jerry, this is THE biggest challenge as he tends to forget that traipsing a
round TKMAX isn't as exciting as he thinks it is. For anyone. That includes anything where Drew is strapped in her buggy or stuck in her child harness...she gets a bit restless. Usually, this is a sign that she wants to be more independent and wants to get herself round everywhere...however at the moment, she's still crawling and she's not the slightest bit interested in walking.

On the one hand I'm desperate for her to walk, but on the other, everyone when she finally does start walking unaided, we'll be wishing she wasn't! We've child-proofed our house beyond belief though so we're ready for the 'Walk of Life'. In fact, I think we might have child-proofed the house about a year ago. Is that said or just plain old OCD?? We could get rid of the gate from the lounge into the kitchen as she has a habit of hanging off the gate, strumming her blue plastic drumstick along the bars, staring us out as if she was in an episode of Prisoner Cell Block H.

All the kitchen cupboards are child-proofed, but its just that the kitchen floor is a bit minging. Not that we're unclean, but the tiles haven't been put down well so there are gaps everywhere where food and 'stuff' get in and stay 'til nasty bacteria starts to grow
...I imagine. So, until we replace the kitchen floor with lovely new vinyl, I'm not sure watching Drew crawl across the kitchen tiles is good. Saying that, we do have Barney, the K9 Vacuum. He's pretty good and he doesn't come with a power lead.

Drew is doing brilliantly now. Crawling as fast as British Royal Marine and 'cruising' everywhere possible. And NO, I don't mean she's frequenting bars and looking for blokes. I mean pulling herself up to standing using everything, a chair, coffee table, Barney.

using sideways shuffling steps, she carefully walks along. I know it doesn't sound like much, but she even leans her body onto the furniture and uses her free hands to reach for toys...or more often than not, the TV remote controls. Yep - she knows what they do. She even knows we have given her own remote without batteries in...she knows it doesn't make the big colour picture change so throws it away and searches for the battery-powered ones...clever girl!

Thankfully, she doesn't show much interest in the TV and would rather check out how the hinges work on the stairgate or the wheels on her walker. She takes after her Grandad. Not that my Dad loiters outside shop doors and inside car
parks. No! He's an Engineer. Or was. A few years ago, he decided to retire so he could spend more time with his beloved PC. And my Mum.

Drew's going to be the last one in our antenatal/postnatal group to start walking, but that's what makes her special...so I keep telling myself. Maybe she's going to be more like Carol Vordermen than Tessa Sanderson...and lets thank God for that! And maybe...just maybe...Drew wants to make a grand entrance when we're least expecting it!

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Christmas! Drew really enjoyed the Christmas turkey dinner sitting in Nanna & Grandad's credit crunch highchair. It's great! I wish we'd known about these chairs before. Ikea sell them for £9.78 and it comes apart...you don't need anything else - brilliant! Its my Tip of 2008!! BUY ONE!!! Even if you don't have a baby! BUY ONE!!

I hope everyone reading this had a great Christmas 2008. Check out our 2008 Family Christmas Photos here and here's to a fantastic 2009 to you all!

What will it bring????


Saturday, November 8, 2008

First Birthday

Our little 6lbs 9.5oz baby girl finally hit 12 months...which means we must be doing something right!

As everyone says the first 12 months go in a flash and I'm sure time will continue to go at the same fast pace, so we're trying to capture every moment.

Drew's routine is such that she demands to have a nap in the morning and the afternoon. Sometimes she drops the afternoon nap which means she sleep really well at night but also means we get the afternoon to do something fun together...I mean other than watching Dr Phil on UK Living.

So, Drew decided she wanted a joint birthday party with her antenatal mate, Kaishu, and so we threw THE best 1st Birthday Party at our house for Drew and Kaishu. The fun started at indoor softplay, swiftly followed by loads of party and drink galore. And for the kids...(hee-hee)...

Believe it or not, both Drew's Nanna and Kaishu's Nanna both made a chocolate hedgehog Birthday cake for the babies so there was a little competition of which was the spikiest! Unfortunately, Drew slept through most of the food, drinks and candle-blowing sections of the Birthday Party but did make a special appearance as her guests were leaving...probably to make sure no one nicked any of her presents. Of which she received toooooo many! Including her VERY first Trike from her Great Auntie Ceri & Great Uncle David! Drew loves it...albeit she can't touch the pedals, but she takes after me. I have to strap two paintpots to the bottom of my shoes when I drive a car.

Everyone was SO generous and she ended up with so many great toys and clothes, tha
t we had to buy additional toyboxes...lucky girl! We doing the old toy rotation trick at the moment so she doesn't get bored. I do the same with Jerry's pants.

So, check out her birthday photos and apologies that there aren't
many of Drew ...she was asleep!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Back to Work


I'm peering out of the upstairs landing window. Watching the fireworks. It's November 5th. Drew's in bed, fighting sleep. Barney's not himself. He's not keen on the firework noise. He's trying to find comfort under Drew's cot. Probably licking one of her thrown away Colin's (pet name for comforter).

I wonder how many other people are doing the same thing. Not hiding under their baby's cot. Staying in I mean. On Bonfire Night. I always went out on November 5th. I love fireworks...now I just hope they don't get too loud and wake Drew. Who isn't even asleep yet.

Although I'm up her looking out the window, I'm in the middle of doing the ironing, making the tea, downloading a new version of ITunes (because my PC says I need to!), watching something on Sky +. But I'm upstairs because Drew has just started another teething phase. That, or she may have a cold. It's hard to tell these days.

But, she does have two lovely teeth at the top that have come through. Not the normal front teeth. Oh no. That would be too NORMAL. Drew's gone for one fang and one tooth next to that. No top front teeth to match her lovely bottom teeth. She looked great on Halloween.
I've just added some more books under the head of her cot, put Vicks on her chest, Olbas Oil on a muslin attached to cot and plugged in a vapour thingy. Oh and I've given her nasal drops to de-snotify her cute button nose. Poor thing. Mind you...I didn't say 'poor thing' when she was awake every 2 hours last night. That was fun. It didn't help that I went back to work last week and today was the start of my second week. However, us Super-Mums battle through it without batting an eye and STILL keep a home running...Now where's that Chinese Take Away menu...

So, I went back to work on 29th Oct. 3 days a week. Wed, Thurs, Friday. People ask 'do you miss Drew' and my answer is surprisingly 'No...til you mentioned her now'. I suppose I did think about her alot of my first few days. It probably didn't help that I had no PC connectivity so I couldn't get stuck into some work, but I managed to fill my time completing my 'Back to Work - Thingy Cos We Know You've got Baby Brain and We Need To Fill The Time It Will Take To Get You Back Online and Get Off Our IT *sses And Get You a Password For Your Computer - Induction Plan'. As I wasn't that busy, I caught myself looking at the clock a few times and thinking...she'll be having her lunch now...she'll be sleeping now...oh gawd! Will she even sleep without me?...will she behave?'...

Then your mind goes bonkers and you start thinking that you may have missed an emergency call from your childminder/nursery. You temporarily forget where you've put your baby's little red health and development record which you need in an emergency. You check your mobile phone has NHS Direct AND your GP number on it and then after battling against your inner feeling...you finally make that call.

You feel stupid doing it and then you feel even stupider when your told... 'She's fine. She's had a sleep and is now nibbling on a banana'. What was I worried about?

I'm thinking the worst and Drew's eating a banana!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Back to Work soon!

Not long now. My mucus-filled munchkin will be without her Mother for a whole day in less than 20 hours.

I'll be in an office, tap, tap, tapping on the keyboard, trying to make 'millyons Rodders'.

Cor! I need a holiday already.

Wish me luck!!!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Jerry's 40th RUDEBOY Birthday Party

So Jerry thought he was on his way to sunny climes, but he ended up at the local Sports & Social for his SURPRISE 40th Birthday Party. In true SKA RUDEBOY style, Jer rocked the roof off with his 'moshing madness' dancing and drank til the weeeee hours. Now...he's a tired old man.

Thankfully, Drew slept like a baby ('scuse the pun!) in her buggy, in the bar the whole night (back of the net!!) and was lovingly looked after by her doting grandparents, Nanna & Grandad Paterson. For that, we are most thankful. (when can you do it again??)

See the photos right HERE ____________________________________________---->

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Time has flown by so fast, I never reported back on our SECOND holiday abroad with Drew AND my parents. Check out the photos HERE.

It was in Madeira and it was lovely!

However, we have a few learnings which I can share with you...

Airport Parking (Bristol) - silver zone parking
- Although the service is very good, you have to first drive around and find a space, argue about which direction you should be going then park. Once parked, you have to walk to the central point and hand over your keys and car details to someone called Sharon. You then wait OUTSIDE for a bus to pick you up to take you over the road to the Airport Terminal (I hate that word for an Airport). On your return, you have to again wait for a bus. If you're one of the lucky ones and there is already a bus waiting for you, you may be too late. There will be a sudden push to get on that bus and whether you have a baby or not and whether its midnight or not, you'll probably have to wait to the next one as you can't run with suitcase and a buggy and shove everything on at the same time. When another bus DOES arrive 10minutes later, you are glad that the bus is heated as you've been waiting out in the midnight air. With your baby. The bus drops you at the central point where you find the previous bus passengers all lined up, waiting to see Sharon or one of her mates to get their keys back. You join the long queue...probably right at the back because, of course, you have your buggy as well and people don't like to help as they have their own suitcase to worry about and run with. You wait OUTSIDE for about 30minutes. Once your keys have been returned, you have to find your car which has been moved nearer for you, but you have to wait whilst your other half goes to collect it and warms it up ready for you and your baby.

Sun Protection for your baby - tried and tested must have - You've got to buy a Beach Cabana! Its THE best thing. With SPF50, its a pop-up tent which Drew played in everyday. Check out my previous post HERE (Mar 08 'Holiday Success') to get more details. Drew didn't sleep in it this time around as I think she was a bit bigger and because she'd just started crawling, so she was curious to see what was OUTSIDE the tent. However, Drew DID play in there with a selection of her toys (rotated regularly to prevent baby boredom!). We made the inside quite luxurious with a couple of thin soft mattresses 'borrowed' from the apartment. The tent folds back up to a flat disc shape which is good, but doesn't tend to do it as quickly as you would like when the sun disappears and the rain chucks down. You've never seen anything like it...Jerry in his shorts and my Dad in his speedos (which are just a tad too big) carrying the tent with all the toys and stuff in it, still popped up. Classic. No baby was harmed in the removal of the tent during the rainstorms.

Jacuzzi / Hot Tub - aren't they lush?? - Yep. We all love a good HOT hot tub don't we? The hot shallow water, the comfortable underwater seating, the stimulating bubbles, basking in the sun. Hmmm...do you realise how many chemicals go into something like this to keep it this hot? The safety signs always say 'children to be supervised at all time'...so that's what we did. We didn't see the OTHER safety sign which stated 'children under 2 should not use hot tub as they may have an allergic reaction'. It might have helped if this sign was NEAR the hot tub!!!

And then what followed was...the rash, head to toe red spots, emergency clinic visit, medication and lastly, shame!! You can picture it can't you. We sort of panicked, but didn't want to show the other how panicky we were inside, so we did a good job of keeping calm until the Doc confirmed it wasn't meningitis, legionnaires or chicken pox, but an embarrassing case of bad parenting. The Doctor was very understanding and put us completely at ease and reassured us the spots would go with some medicine. He was right. We won't be doing THAT again anytime soon!



Sleep Deprivation

It was a great idea to have a baby. We thought it would be a symbol of our eternal love, a ickle 'minni-me/us' and we thought it would make us less selfish. However, at 3.30am, you forget those reasons and think up reasons why you should have listened a little more rather than draw humorous cartoons in the human biology books. So, for any budding or broody adults reading this, here doeth follow a few reasons NOT to have a baby:-
  1. Labour - Imagine pushing a bowling ball out through your front bottom. Now imagine it taking 12 hours. Thankfully, 12 hours did it for us, but some are not as lucky. Imagine that after those 12 hours of trying to push a bowling ball out and failing, that doctors cut a big hole in your belly to remove the trapped bowling ball. Don't believe anyone who says that they forget all about their labour in a few months.
  2. Responsibility - In comparison, there is no bigger responsibility. If you decide to have a baby, he/she must be your top priority. Your baby may remind you of this when he or she is older - "Whatever! I didn't ask to be born."
  3. Nappies - Disposable nappies DO absorb lots of liquid, and they 'shouldn't' leak. You have to change thousands of them. On average, from birth to age 4, I've worked out it's about 5840 nappy changes. Probably 1946 of those will be runnier, smellier and lumpier. Then there's potty training. I can't comment on that as yet, but I may decide to bypass that bit as it sounds quite difficult and time-consuming. It might be easier for everyone if Drew stays in nappies and in time, she will learn to change them herself. Hey presto! Job done. (Or should that be 'jobbies done!)
  4. 3.30am alarmcalls - Looking after a baby takes a lot of physical and emotional energy. What makes it harder is that babies can sleep for anything from 10 minutes to 3 hours at a time. Some babies don't even sleep through the night for years. Years! Babies do need their sleep, but so do mummies and daddies. However, mummies get used to running a household, multi-tasking and surviving on about 5 hours sleep most nights. It's nothing Ray Mears and his whittling stick taught us either!
  5. Relationships - As long as Daddy remembers that Mummy knows best, your relationship will be 'easier'. You have to remember, Mummy spends the majority of time with the baby. They get to know what works and what doesn't. They usually know what they're talking about. But Mummies, no one likes a know-it-all. Also, a reference to No. 4 above, everything seems SO much more important and 10 times worse at 3.30am and when your baby is crying. Best to remember the 'golden rule' at those times chaps.
  6. Advice - Total strangers offer advice about your baby. I have found some of the advice IS helpful. However, sometimes, it is contradictory with what you have been advised by the experts. This only adds to your paranoia. People you don't know will be much easier to ignore than your friends and family, many of whom have raised children quite successfully. My advice is pick and choose the advice you want. Try it and use whatever works for you. Every baby is different.
  7. Changed relationships - When your family expands by the addition of a child, your relationship with everyone, and I mean everyone, changes. Your child is at the forefront of most of your thoughts, and those people without children can't really relate. Those people with children are finally happy to see that you can relate. Everyone will watch how you raise your child and will at some point cluck and disapprove, including those who raised ten children and those who raised none. Some strong bonds may weaken, some friends will not been seen again. Some may improve, but with your energies and devotions directed towards your child, that is much less likely.
  8. Free time - You will have none. Most of your time, when not spent with your child, you'll be catching up on housework. Carefully plan any time away from your child as very little can be done spontaneously.
  9. Worry - Parents always worry about their children, monitoring how fast they reach each milestone and how well they grow, eat, sleep, crawl, walk, read, make friends, and so on. And yet there is little a parent can do beyond allow a child to proceed at his or her own pace. It can be frustrating and scary when your child isn't eating well, has a new spot, a new bruise...and that's ALL before they start school!
  10. Money - Children are expensive in several ways. Ask Jerry. One parent loses wages while caring for a child, but children need to eat and be clothed. They need toys with which to explore the world. They need health care, education, activities, social interaction and hobbies. They will need car insurance. However, don't let MONEY alone put you off! Just plan ahead!
If none of the above puts you off, Drew's had a cough for a while now. 10th week. Try sleeping whilst listening to the same 'double cough' coming through the baby monitor. Turn the monitor off??? Okay, now you can hear it up the hall and should you turn it off anyway and want to sleep while your baby is struggling to sleep herself? What do you do??

There is nothing you can do. Nothing. There is nothing on the market to help a baby Drew's age when they have a cough. Nothing takes it away. There's stuff to help, but that's it. Our Doc says that the cough medicines for kids on the market are more for the parents. To make them feel better about giving their child some medicine. But, so we are told, it does nothing. All we can do is comfort her, rock to sleep and be there for her. I thought the lack of sleep part was when they were newborns...how stupid am I???

The cough MUST be related to her teeth coming through. She has ALL the other symptoms. Runny sticky plops, constant runny nose, rubbing of her ears presumably because of the pain in her gums and yes...at last...the crest of what feels like her top teeth coming through. But it doesn't end there.

Only about another 17 teeth to go!


The True Meaning of Motherood

I have tried my best to embrace the real meaning of Motherhood.
I baked a cake.

Well, actually, if we're counting...I've baked two cakes.

I've come to the simple conclusion that I am not built for this purpose and give me a drill, drill bits and some wood and I'll build you a kitchen cabinet. no problem.

But cake-making?


My first cake didn't rise and although I didn't taste it, I am told it tasted abit 'chemical'. Yes, I put salt in it. Yes, I put baking powder in it and no, I didn't use self-raising flour, I used plain flower, but the baking powder makes it rise. But it didn't. Even the icing I made was too thin so it looked a bit see through and just dripped off the sides. I gave it to the office as a present :)

My second cake, created with full adult supervision from a cake-making expert with years of experience (my Mum), didn't rise either. No, sorry, that's wrong. It DID rise. To about 1.5cms high. On the good side, it tasted lush and we bumped it up with lots of fattening butter cream and it looks nearly like a proper cake.

Think I'll buy one next time.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


At last!!

Drew crawled...forwards!

It happened in our bed on Saturday morning on 13th Sept

The same day, Dylan bought his first shoes for walking!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Help with Feeding

Help! Anyone have any idea how to keep food IN a baby's mouth without it all coming back out via a 'raspberry blowing' session?

Please leave your thoughts and suggestions on this post.

Yours 'Desperate from the South West'

Friday, August 29, 2008

Development City!

I apologise for not updating my BLOG for a few weeks.
No real excuses.

Oh, apart from...
- Drew has had a cough for 4 weeks now which has been keeping her awake, thus keeping US awake. Doc said its either a virus (surprise surprise!) or Asthma (great!).

- No new teeth have come through, although we've all been experiencing the symptoms for about 4 weeks. Probably all linked to the cough.

Okay, so Drew's not crawling yet. I'm okay about it. Most of Drew's friends of the same age are either crawling or walking with the aid of a trusty sofa or coffee table, but as everyone keeps telling me 'she'll do it in her own time'. All good advice, but I wish she would flippen' hurry up.

In the meantime, I have been teaching her the times tables in case she is academically gifted and doesn't care for boring physical challenges. The training is going well and usually ends up with half a banana smeared over her face and 2 apples very battered and bruised left on the kitchen floor. However, I'm confident that my 'banana and apples' times table approach will work and will eventually sink in. On the other hand, I could be setting her up for trouble when she starts school when she doesn't ask for a calculator but a basket of fruit.

Talking of Drew's development, in the last couple of days, she has achieved quite a lot.. Unfortunately, Daddy has not seen any of this as he's been hard at work doing worky things and we've been away with the doting grandparents in sunny Teignmouth. Yes. I did say 'sunny'.

So, what? - I hear you ask - has Drew been doing if not crawling???

Check out Drew's Achievement List below:-

- Drew said 'Mamma' yesterday morning just before I gave her a bottle of milk. Yep...she knows which side her bread is buttered on. Who's your Daddy now??!!!

- The day before, albeit in front of my partially sighted 'Barney' Nanna (so-called because she had a dog called Barney before I got our little Barney and OUR Barney is named after her dog. Not relevant, but interesting nevertheless), Drew crawled...wait for it...backwards! Not forwards I grant you that, but there are many benefits to crawling backwards:-

a) still keep eye contact with your peers

b) if baby happens to be sick, it will crawl backwards OUT of the way rather than straight into it

c) learn the idea of reverse parking from a young age

d) could possibly be an expert manoeuvring with a caravan when old enough to drive

e) still working on e)

- Clapping. I'm pretty proud of this one. Drew claps and doesn't miss each time AND makes a good CLAP sound. It's not a little clap...its a full on high 5 with herself! She seems to enjoy doing this one, so this may prevent any hope of crawling forward as clapping and crawling forward at the same time could lead to possible injury.

- Today, Drew said 'Nanna'! Pretty good going seeing as we're at my parents' place! See...it doesn't matter if Drew's not crawling (forwards). She's doing so many other interesting things! Or that's what I keep telling myself anyway.
Also, one other thing...bad Daddy hasn't pulled his finger out yet and installed a baby safety fireguard in our front room, so it's a good job Drew can't crawl forward...although it's only a matter of days before she works out how to manoeuvre backwards into her parallel parking spot right next to the fire!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Washable Nappies

It was one of the first questions my Mum asked me before Drew was born. Were we intending to use washable/ reusable nappies or disposable ones?

Initially, I was sold on using washable nappies, help to save the environment, etc. At one of our Antenatal Class, we were visited by some washable nappy tree-hugging lady. She was very nice and was keen to provide us with samples of the different types of reusable nappies. And BOY! There were LOADS! Although I can't speak for all the girls, I think none of us in the class knew what insert went with which nappy...which bit could be washed and which bit should be thrown. It was all too much information squashed into a short time and they should have realised we all had the beginnings of 'baby brain', so we couldn't take all the information in.

Needless to say, I think we are all using disposable nappies now, but we all did consider the other options. However, we all came to the same decision that although using reusable nappies may prevent further landfill rubbish, the amount of energy consumption from washing the reusable nappies on a hot temperature on a regular basis cancelled it out.

I did a lot of research on it too, but in the end, I was given some very good advice from another Mother. With your first child, you're all over the place. Sleepless nights, not eating regularly, and cleaning the house and washing is the last thing on your mind. Therefore, start off with disposable nappies, but either use a nappy-bin or just put No.2 nappies in a nappysac and No.1 nappies can go in the normal trash, saving the use of plastic bags/nappysacs.

This is what we did and still do.

However...Jerry, bless his cotton socks (from TKMAX), had one of his 'I should help out moments' and did a few of the household chores.

From upstairs, he brought down a whole load of washing to be done, shirts to be ironed and dirty nappies to be thrown away. That's a feat in itself as getting a bloke to think ahead and add additional tasks to an existing task (going downstairs) is virtually unthinkable...

To illustrate what I mean, when YOU go upstairs, do you think 'okay, I'm going upstairs, what needs taking upstairs and is there anything on the stairs waiting to go up and could be put away?'

Or do YOU think 'I'm going upstairs'.

Now I bet the women amongst you reading this do the first and I hate to say it, but I bet the blokes do the second. If I'm wrong, you're gay and in denial.

So back to the story...Jerry was breaking every stereotype in the book and was attempting to multi-task. GO JERRY!

It was great to see Jerry helping out and he was pretty pleased with himself when he finally sat down.

A few hours later, taking the clean washing out of the machine, I noticed a huge lump of white gel and what looked like toilet paper inside the drum and it was all over the actual washing. It was everywhere! I couldn't work it out.

When I asked Jerry, (get this!) he suggested I had left something in one of my pockets as he 'would never do that'. If I kept all the coins I found after washing Jerry's clothes, I could be sat on a beach in Hawaii!

We both pulled out the clothes, one by one, and all of it was covered by this really odd 'stuff''. It was then Jerry said 'I know what it is! It's Drew's nappies!'

I still couldn't work it out. Why would her nappies be in the washing machine? Straight away, Jerry asked me 'Why would you put her nappies in there?'

I thought about it for a few seconds, and I even started questioning myself and my actions, but those few seconds were all I needed to recollect WHO brought the nappies down from Drew's nursery...Jerry.

I didn't even need to say anything. He had a cheeky grin on his face which said it all. Just then, his face changed. He had remembered what was actually IN those nappies.

Needless to say, we washed the clothes a few times again.

So this story proves my point. MEN CANNOT SUCCESSFULLY MULTI-TASK.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Daddy Daycare

I returned from a very relaxing 4 days away and everything 'appeared' fine! Both Daddy and Drew are still here and all 'seems' well. First things first.

What happened while I was away?

a) No use of Calpol - well done Daddy!
b) Drew only slept an hour at a time during the day - poor Daddy!
c) Daddy didn't go to Waterbabies with Drew...Luckily for Daddy, I received a phone call from Waterbabies whilst away saying 'Waterbabies is cancelled...someone has poohed in the pool! However, even though I packed Drew's swimming bag with ALL essentials, Daddy didn't attempt it due to Drew not having much sleep - bless!
d) A bruise appeared above Drew's right eye. Her first bruise. It definitely wasn't there before I left. Apparently, Drew was sitting up playing and fell onto her DJ console (yep, she's a budding DJ). Or that's what we're telling Social.

Jerry did a fantastic job 'parenting' and although it must have been a bit daunting...4days and 3 nights on his own (I haven't even done that!), he rose to the challenge and even said he enjoyed it!

I was really happy to see both Drew and Jerry when I got back although while I was away, I totally switched off and was able to really relax and have a break. I did use the hotel's internet webcam to talk to Jerry and Drew on a couple of occasions which was quite funny. They could hear me, but I couldn't hear them, so Jerry had to use the universal language of mooning.

Overall, my trip and Jerry's single parenting stint was a roaring success. However, not wanting to send Jerry on a quick trip to Nagville, I didn't mention the state the house was in.

For at least 30 minutes.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Daddy's in Charge

The 'I-never-thought-would-happen' has happened! Yes...I'm going on holiday and Drew is staying at home with Daddy! I'm not sure who I'm more worried about...

a) Drew - will she be good for Daddy? will she stay in her '2 naps a day' routine, will she sleep for hours like normal or wake after 30mins in a bad mood, will she scream with teething pain.

b) Daddy - will he think to change her nappy even if "she's only had a wee", will he plonk her in front of one of his deadly bloody PS3 war games while he saves the universe from his chair with his AK47, will he sit her up on the sofa and wonder how she got to the floor with a funny little bump on her head, will he even think to give her bath as "she smells okay", will he remember to walk and feed the dog, remembering to get both of Drew's legs through the baby harness, will he remember to turn the baby monitor on and not wonder why "she so quiet for Daddy", will he take her to Waterbabies or not even venture outside, will he change her clothes when she's been sick instead of wiping it away and leaving the dog to lick up the rest, will he remember to get Drew's lunch and tea out of the freezer everyday or choose to use the emergency jars...the one thing I am certain of...Daddy knows where the Calpol is.

I leave on 16th July and return on 20th (our first wedding anniversary). Remember to check back here to see what happened and what didn't happen! I don't even want to think about it!


Our precious little lamb, our bundle of joy, our angelic princess, our la petit package, ...

has become...

(For those of you who don't recognise this child, click here)

yep...Drew has got TWO teeth and don't we know it!

Some days she's great, some days she's...not...
Some days she'll sleep, some days she won't...
Some days I have lunch, some days I don't eat til 10.00pm...

We tried to get a photo to upload to this post, but we were worried about losing our fingers! Even the dog stays away!


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Sitting Up

At last, our little treasure is sitting up. It took a while and she is still a bit unsteady, but Drew is up there with the rest of 'em!

It happened on 25th June 2008!

Surrounded by soft pillows and cushions, Drew is happy to play with her toys sat up and then slowly she'll lean an ickle bit too far and...PLOP, she's fallen onto a feather filled safety net.

Crawling next! Which means I'll have to start vacuuming! TUTT!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Door Slam

I've worked out the perfect solution to diffusing a heated discussion/argument with your other half.

I'm great at slamming doors. Always have been. I have a lot of experience. Try slamming a door when you have an 8month old baby... The rubber door slam stopper child safety device on all our doors does its job perfectly, the door bounces off the frame with a soft thump. Guaranteed to bring a smile to you both!

For those of you reading this at work...Have you ever tried slamming a door in your office?

...with a door closer.

It doesn't really have the shocking effect you would get from a normal head-turning door slam...its more like a slow, controlled, smooth closure...not even a closure...more of a soft 'click'.

Thank goodness for health & safety eh?!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Driving Miss Drew

Very naively, Jerry and I thought we were through the worst with Drew and her teeth troubles...

It now appears that Drew has a kind of constant flow of watery mucus from her nose, similar to that of Niagara I should imagine. Coupled with this never-ending nasal stream of goo is a never-ending dribble.

It doesn't matter how many times you wipe her nose and mouth, the goo from her nose usually ends up in her mouth and then she tries to create MORE dribbles to get rid of the nasal goo.

To make matters worse, tonight Drew woke from her usual 7.00pm slumber screaming. This usually means she needs to burp or her teeth are hurting. No burp would come up. Drew seemed like she was in real pain and wouldn't stop crying and got herself so worked up. Having given her gripe water to help ease any pain she might have, we think it went down the wrong way and she started to choke and gasp for breath. After a few frantic seconds (which seemed like minutes!), Drew caught her breath, but couldn't stop coughing and gagging. This made her continue to cry. We tried everything...except one thing. The car. Guaranteed to make your baby sleep. I wonder why no one has bothered to add this to a vehicle specification...

...Permanent all-wheel drive; Mid engine; 6 cylinders; 180kW (245bhp); sleeping baby guarantee; leather sea

So, to cut a long and tired story short, Jerry and I ended up going out for a drive. Twice. Drew did fall asleep the first time (8.00pm). One of us driving, the other in the back trying to calm her down. Trouble was, she woke up again as we tried to get her in her cot when we got home. So off out we went again. In the meantime, we called NHS Direct for some help and advice.

They were very good and asked loads of questions to determine the severity of Drew's symptoms. They promised to call back within the hour and a Nurse did call us back while we were out driving with Drew. After finding a safe side road to stop and talk to her, Jerry stayed in
the back keeping Drew calm and I answered the Nurse's questions best I could. Whilst trying to work out the difference between a 'gasp' and 'breathless', I noticed a vehicle on the other side of the road had also parked up. Nothing odd you say?

However, this car had stopped half on the road, half on the pavement, positioned over a metal bollard (now horizontal!) and wedged into a low wall! I could also see a man hunched over the driver's wheel and was trying to attract Jerry's attention in the
rear view mirror. Eventually, Jerry could see the same bizarre sight and rushed over to check on the man.

I was concentrating on the Nurse's serious questions about Drew, looking over at the man in the car
in front and realised I could hear cooing, laughing. I turn round to look at the little lady responsible for us being out this late...butter wouldn't melt. When Drew saw me looking at her, she grabbed her foot and put it in her mouth. I think she was feeling better.

Jerry returned to the car. Apparently, the man in the car was hunched over his mobile phone. Calling for help with his car. The driver (his wife!) had done a runner! That's HIS story!

The Nurse determined Drew was in no danger, apart from choking on her own feet. She recommended 5ml of
Calpol, check the room temp. was under 20degrees and to keep Drew hydrated. We followed her instructions completely and within 5 minutes of putting her in her cot, she was sound asleep.

...and breathe...


Friday, June 6, 2008

Daddy & Drew

I forgot to tell you...

Bank Holiday weekend, I was supposed to go to London for the weekend to stay with my friend. It was to be my first weekend away from Drew. Jerry's first weekend with Drew...on his own.

As this weekend had been planned for some months, I tried to prepare Jerry for this 2-day event and made sure he knew about Drew's pureed solid food in the freezer, how long to defrost it, warm it up, the amount of milk she now required and when to give it to her.

I don't think it had dawned on Jerry exactly what was involved, but as the days got closer and
closer, he asked for everything to be written down. So 'Daddy's Plan' was created.

I used the dry-wipe board in our kitchen and laid out what food/milk Drew needed and gave approximate times.

I explained to Jerry that Drew would stay awake for no longer than 2hrs at a time and if he kept a mental note of when she woke, fed, played and slept, he could potentially predict what was needed before it happened. You still with me?

Of course, this was too much for Jerry. He needed it ALL written down. So I added a table on which he could write the times Drew woke, fed, played and slept.

Even though our friends thought I was being a bit over-the-top and Jerry would do his 'I don't know why Julie has gone to these lengths?' performance, secretly, this was a great source of comfort for Jerry. On his dress rehearsal days (he had a few), he was forever referring to his 'Daddy's Plan' and filling in the table with the times things happened. It worked really well.

However, Jerry couldn't work out when he would have time to do the other things. You know...like...showering, having breakfast and lunch and WHOA!...don't ask him to do the washing, ironing, cooking, cleaning AND walk the dog! On a few occasions, Jerry would still be in MY dressing gown after midday as he didn't know when he could incorporate a shower!!!

As the days drew nearer to my two days off, Jerry was getting a bit nervous. Drew's routine was not always spot on and she would not want to sleep when we thought she ought to. Then we'd get an overtired baby who would be due to feed, but was SO tired, she would miss a feed to catch up on some sleep...but how long she slept for was anyone's guess. Sometimes 3hrs, sometimes 30minutes.

On the Thursday before I was due to go, I was struck down with a rotten cough. This turned into a horrible cough and cold and by Saturday, it was at its worst. It was such a pain, but I had to cancel my weekend seeing my friend. I spent the whole weekend either in bed sleeping or led on the sofa under a blanket.

Not only did Jerry still have to do his parenting duties that weekend, but he had to look after me too. He did a great job and there was a only a handful of occasions when he came to my 'germ pit' to ask why she was crying and what he should do. It wasn't the best weekend for Jerry really...Drew had also caught my germs and was coughing so her mood wasn't the best. It was hard for Jerry to determine what she wanted. Drew strayed from her schedule the whole weekend and I did my best to help out where I could.

Come Tuesday, Jerry went back to work and although I wasn't better, I had to look after Drew.

When you're not feeling well, but you still have a baby to look after all day, the baby comes first. Germs come second. And that's hard. I dosed myself up on ALL the cold and cough remedies I could find, but I SO wanted to just get a good nights sleep...that was the hardest thing. I would keep myself awake (and Jerry!) coughing and Drew would do the same.

Jerry made some little whiny noises about feeling unwell when he went back to work, but I think that was just an attention thing as it never turned into anything. However, it was a turning point for us both really. Jerry said he had never really appreciated how much time, work and energy went into looking after a baby ALL DAY and couldn't work out how I managed to fit in all the other household chores that have to be done AND go out! That made me feel good.

On the same note, it made me appreciate Jerry more for taking on the 'single parent' challenge and surviving when it was a tough time for Drew.

Since that weekend, Drew's feeding, sleeping and playing plan never went back to how it was. She's a clever little so-and-so and without us really noticing, Drew is now having 3 meals a day and 3 milk feeds a day. Breakkie, Lunch and Tea. Admittedly, it means Drew is awake for longer periods now. 3-4hours at a time, so that's filled with new and exciting stuff everyday (meeting up with the Ante-natal girls, dog-walking and trips to Asda - what fun!).

Drew is also thriving with her solids and hasn't screwed her face up to anything. I've now introduced chicken and mincemeat as well as veggies (which she loves!) and we're slowly making the consistency lumpier and lumpier. And as a result...can you guess?...no...no photos this time. Don't worry.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Drew Jessica Hartell - first word

It happened on 31st May 2008.

Drew said "DADDA".

And now she won't stop saying it. Jerry thinks he's the 'bees knees' as Drew says it all the time. Fortunately for me, Drew woke up this morning saying "Dadda" again. When I looked at Jerry, he had this smug look on his face, so I told him she must be calling him and he should get up and see to her...and he did!

Oh I hope she keeps this up for a long time yet before "Mamma" comes along!

See the short clip below


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Germ Bags

Imagine, for a moment, that you have an annoying cough and cold. A virus which makes you wheeze, sneeze, and struggle to breathe. With that, add a forever refilling snotty nose and painful sinuses, on and off blocked up ears which come with dizziness. Also throw in a fluctuating temperature and tiredness.

If I was at work...I'd be at home resting watching 'Can't Cook, Won't Cook' awaiting the return of my lovely husband with a pile of lemon and blackcurrant menthol medicines.

However, this time, life is a little different. Baby comes first, your germs come second. It's hard on your own though. Every task requires much more energy than you actually have.

Coupled with this, Drew's not been so easy
lately. Off her milk and food, teary, clingy and sleeping for 30minutes at a time. I wasn't sure what it was, but she started coughing during the night and is now showing signs of catching my germs...poor lass.

Then there's the dog who needs to be walked, who spends the whole day either begging for attention or sleeping by the front door in case I try to slip out without him noticing. And this BLOG! It's tough to even think about lifting my fingers to type, let alone find anything humorous about feeling like a never ending bag of snot.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


We enrolled Drew in Waterbabies 5.5 weeks ago.

It's a 30minute weekly session held in a residential home's lovely warm swimming pool.

Babies have a real affinity with water, having spent their months in the womb suspended in fluid.

Apparently, as time progresses this confidence decreases. At between 10 and 15-months, babies can develop a fear of water if not already regularly exposed to it (source: Waterbabies website)

All babies have a ‘gag reflex’ - meaning they automatically hold their breath when their faces are submerged. This is at its strongest when they are under three months old but can be re-learned at any time through responding to voice commands. To see more photos CLICK HERE

Luckily, we've had no 'nappy accidents' as yet, but I'm sure if any baby will do it in our class, it will be Drew!

I'll keep everyone posted on Drew gets on as the weeks go by and
see below for a short video of Drew in action...


Monday, May 12, 2008



Drew produced her first solid pooh!
There are many benefits of this:-

a) Less baby wipes used
b) Nappy can hold the pooh in with no leakage
c) It doesn't smell quite as bad as the 'mustard pate' version
d) If you drop it, it's easy to pick up

Isn't the human body a m a z i n g !!! Clever girl!!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Have I got OCD?

Everything was SO much easier when it was just milk and bottles. I thought I'd never be so happy about sterilising bottles and preparing milk for Drew...until now. Now she's started needing more solid food. What a palaver!

Whereas most parents relish in this apparently magically developmental time, I'm wishing Drew would either go back to being 4months old again or secretly hoping she can jump this part of life and go straight to feeding herself. With a knife and fork of course. If she can actually prepare and cook the food too...even better!

I didn't realise how uneasy it makes me feel when I feed Drew something like sweet potato or
carrots and broccoli and it either ends up ALL round her face and in her hair. I remember going to school when I was a sweet well mannered child, and I had long hair for the majority of my childhood, and finding that I had something stuck in it. Usually honey. My Dad had the same problem with his beard. His usually had marmalade in it.

Not only does it end up everywhere, but WHY OH WHY would A N Y O N E want to put their fingers in their mouth WHILST there was mushed up veggies in there and push them in far enough that it makes them gag, making the mushed veggies PLUS more come back out, resulting in a baby gasping for breath, red watery eyes and who is still hungry. Another one is that she likes to stab herself with the spoon which Drew plays with while I'm trying to feed her. In Drew's defence, she's pretty good at aiming the spoon into the mouth, but she doesn't know when to stop, so it hits the back of her throat and again, she gags and looks at me as if to say 'What have you done to me?'

I never thought I had OCD though. I'm not one of those bonkers people who MUST have their cans or jars all facing forwards, or washes their hands a zillion times a day, or even switches a light switch on and off, on and off, on and off. Mind you...I do remember when I was much younger and walking home from school, if I coughed, I would always have to cough to make it an
even number of coughs. Or if I tripped or scuffed my shoe, I would have to do the same with my other foot. Now THAT'S bonkers right? It made the journey home quicker though.

Also on the way home from school, I also sometimes pretended I wasn't making my legs move, but I was sitting in my forehead looking out through my eyes and moving all manner of levers and knobs to make the legs and feet move like a robot...yes. I know what you're thinking. I'm odder than you originally thought and you don't want me near your children. Well...its funny, but apparently, my Dad used to have the same thoughts on HIS way home from school when he was a youngster. I couldn't believe it....he was young once???

Well, back to the OCD behaviour. If you've ever wondered if you have OCD, if you check out the OCD Centre website and visit their homepage, you'll want to have OCD, let me assure you!...have a look!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Drew's First Accident

Or should this be titled - Mummy's First Accident?

I hate nail clippers! I never use them. I have never needed to use them seeing as I've got a good set of teeth that do a pretty good job of biting them.

Yes, my name is Julie Anne Hartell and I'm a nail-biter.

There I said it.

I've always done it and even though one of my primary school teachers, Miss Wall, put me in the nail biting club in an effort to stop biting my nails, I thought it was great to be associated with other fellow nail-nibblers who felt the same compulsion to stick their fingers in their mouth and munch away.

Back to the point...Nail Clippers. I don't like them because it makes my hair stand on end just the thought of the metal touching the nail. Its the same sensation you get when you put the silver wrapping from a kitkat on one your metal fillings (if you have any!) in your teeth...yeaow!!!!!

But part of the package of being a parent is that you have to cut your baby's nails. If Daddy refuses, its left to Mummy. So, I've been cutting Drew's nails since I've no longer been able to bite them when they were soft and paper-thin.

Just the other day, I cut Drew's nails as normal and then she started crying. When I checked, I had accidentally missed her nail and snipped the end of her finger....ouch! With the blood oozing out, Drew's tears and red face was instant...poor thing.

Course, we didn't have any plasters in our first aid cabinet, so I used micro pore tape and cotton wool. This worked fine and stopped Drew's tears and the blood. We all forgot about the little accident and went out for the day.

On our return, Drew was on her activity mat, merrily turning herself over and then calling to be turned back again, making her usual funny squeaks. It was only when I turned Drew over did I realise...the micro pore plaster had vanished.

Panic set in immediately and I searched frantically around the activity mat for the cotton wool and tape. Drew must have thought this was hilarious as she kept smiling and laughing...smiling...and...what was that?...did I see that right?...a quick flash of something white in her mouth?...Drew smiled at me again and there it was...the micro pore tape and cotton wool! Sitting on her tongue! I managed to scoop it out quickly and my heart-rate returned to normal. Phew! Close call! It's true...they put EVERYTHING in their mouths!

Which also means we'll have to start hoovering more than just when the parents come to visit, otherwise Drew will be sucking up all manner of things we leave behind!

On a more positive note, Drew is getting stuck into putting other things in her mouth (edible stuff!). We can add Pear, Sweet Potato & Broccoli and Butternut Squash to the list. She's not so sure about Banana which she had for the first time today...but I don't blame her...when all mashed up, it does look a bit like sick!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A whole new consistency!

Well the sweet potato and broccoli went down a storm! Drew munched down 2 x ice cube sized portions with very little coming back at all!

I totally forgot about the effect moving Drew onto solids would have...I mean apart from her sleeping better...I mean...in the toilet department.

I sort of thought her number twos would be more...what's the word... more... um... pickuppable... Is that a real word? Have I just invented it? On that note, I wonder what happens when someone invents a new word? Who do they tell? How do you get it registered? Anyone know? Worth looking into don't you think?!

So...yes...I thought her little dinner dumps would be more
"PICKUPPABLE*", but the only way to describe the consistency is that if you think of pate and then think of adding a bottle of wholegrain mustard...that's what it is like. Mustard pate. Not a nice thought I know, but it saves on the baby wipes as its not as runny as it has been lately. Drew seems to think its funny anyway. She always giggles when we change her nappy...probably cos' she knows what's in there!!!

Don't worry...I haven't added a photo of her new poohs, but I did manage to source a real image of mustard pate in a bowl which has an uncanny resemblance to Drew's baby bakerloo pooh. Enjoy!

(*copyright Julie A. Hartell)

Monday, April 14, 2008


Yep. Drew is officially on solids.
We actually started solids with her 10days ago, but honestly, because of the change in her routine and her recent clingyness AND because I've been suffering with a cold and cough, I've been away from the PC a bit...sorry apologies for this late posting.

Drew started looking around when I was giving her her milk. She couldn't keep still. We thought she was showing an arty side as she seemed to like looking at the pictures on our wall...although her gaze at our wall art was always followed by a giggle. Either she knew we were having a hard time getting the teat in her mouth or she thought our choice of artwork was laughable. Probably both actually.

Drew was also waking in the early hours at about 2.00am, 3.00am, 4.00am and thumping her legs down inside her cot. A sure sign that she was still hungry...so we found out.

We weren't that keen on starting on her solids yet, but as everyone says...listen to your baby, they know what they want and will let you know and its very true.

We started her on baby rice (mixed with formula milk) and although the first few spoonfuls were met with a crumpled face and the entire contents of the spoon reappearing, sure enough, the baby rice started to go down well. After a week of baby rice for lunch, Drew was still showing signs of hunger, so we introduced a different flavour baby rice for breakfast - banana and orange. Whoa! Drew LOVES that!

Introducing two solid mealtimes seems to have done the trick. She still has her milk, but she is sleeping like a baby ('xcuse the pun) through the night. After two weeks of baby rice, I put Annabel Karmel into action and tried steamed pureed carrot. That was a winner too and she can't get it down quick enough!

Today, we introduced her first fruit puree (apple) and the face Drew pulled when she tasted it...it was like looking at Esther Rantzen!

I've since made Pear puree and Sweet Potato & Broccoli puree which we'll try after she's got used to the apple a bit more.

AND...Whoever invented using ice cube trays to freeze the puree is 'pure(e) Genius'...hee-hee!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Jumping Through Puddles

I have to be honest. Drew has been a dream recently. I have been gayly jumping and splashing around in puddles, metaphorically, for a fair number of weeks now.

Wearing my bright coloured wellies an
d holding my matching umbrella, I have been frolicking through crystal clear pools of water, kicking droplets into the air so the Spring sunshine glistens through...quietly humming nursery rhymes and songs from Jolly Babies...

Not a care in the world...

I didn't notice the big greyish puddle in front of me. The one with an odd
looking froth round the perimeter. The one with no sun on it.

I never saw it coming.
(I'm still talking metaphorically for those of you who have this vision of me dancing in wellies with an umbrella. Not JUST wellies and an umbrella you understand. I mean as well as my normal clothing, I am wearing wellies and carrying an umbrella...metaphorically speaking).

So back to my metaphoric ramble...

I step innocently forward, only to find myself neck-deep in the big dirty puddle. My wellies no
longer protecting my legs from the wet, but acting only as a container...making sure my legs are well and truly soaked through! The water is cold, smelly and I gasp to catch my breath. The dirty froth bobs around my body and I get a whiff as it splashes onto my face. The umbrella turns inside out sinks as if it knows there is no way out from this sinking wet pit.

Yep...you think you have got your baby's routine sorted and for no reason at all...WHACK! Someone slaps you around the face with a big wet fish and says 'Oh no you don't...try this for size!"

For what seems no reason at all, your baby's routine goes completely haywire, she wakes when she normally sleeps, she cries when normally she will play. You start losing sleep, you don't know whether she needs a feed, a sleep or play and whether she needs more food and so you can't leave the house because you can't plan anything. You manage to cook a meal for that evening but it takes all day and its all gone a bit dry. And then your partner, who returns from the office right at the end of the day to metaphorically rescue you from the deep wet puddle, says the worst thing possible...'I'm sure it will be fine. Shall we have a curry tonight?'