How Does The Baby Get Out?

I’ve been blessed up to now with H that she’s known she was cut out of my tummy when she was born, which has made the issue of explaining childbirth to her relatively simple.

That was until she brought home a book from school about Humpback Whales.

There is a section about a pregnant whale, and how they lie in the water when they’re about to give birth.

“so how does the baby get out?” asked H.

I didn’t know how to answer – bearing in mind she’s only four, I needed to answer sensitively. So I did what every parent does when they’re stumped like this and asked my friends on Facebook.

Some parents told their children straight. Some parents were lucky enough to have had further children so the kids kind of knew. Some parents suggested books. Another suggested finding video of lambing season (Shaun winced at that one but I think it’s a good idea).

Karen next door has lent me a Miriam Stoppard book, Questions Children Ask so I was planning to read what would be age-appropriate for a four year old without grossing her out. Except of course I left it out on the side, so H came over and read it.

“Questions Children Ask?” she queried. “Why have you got this?”

So I told her the truth (I’m a bad liar so I generally tell the truth about everything). I reminded her about the Humpback Whales book. I explained the book would help me tell the truth in a way which isn’t scary or weird and that it would be very helpful for me.

Then I just kind of told her. About the special place a female bottom has that babies come out of. She looked at me oddly.

“are you okay?” I checked. She got off my knee and had a good think.


I let her know we could talk about it when she wants, and that it’s completely normal and nothing to worry about. I made some joke about her coming out of the sun roof (which must have been confusing as our car doesn’t have one, so she probably just thought I was a bit mad), and that was that.

It wasn’t so bad really. I fully expect to have a proper conversation about it in a couple of weeks. That’ll give me enough time to get over my Miriam Stoppard fear. (one of her baby books made me cry when I was pregnant)

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Eye Tests

H was meant to have had her annual check-up yesterday to update her glasses prescription, an appointment we’d made six months ago. Alas, a week beforehand the hospital cancelled it for reasons I can’t remember.

Fortunately they were able to fit us in with a shorter check up at short notice, but annoyingly it was in the middle of the day. H did the test – with letters now she’s a proper reader. She has done them before, but was only able to identify the letters using phonics. Now school is switching to using the correct names for the letters (as she moves into Y1) and she managed brilliantly.

She’s been switched to the words test now too – which in turn has moved her eye tests to the Opticians rather than to the three-hour long ones which she used to have with a Consultatn. It’s one of those little things I hadn’t realised – now she can read, her eye tests will be far more accurate.

How weird. How good!

The other bonus is having an eye test with the Optician means we don’t have to book six months in advance – we got an appointment for early next week. She may still need eye drops but chances are she won’t. This makes everything so much easier, eye tests can fit around school and that’s a great thing.

She’s also controlling the squint in her eye quite well which is interesting – it’ll be good to find out how her eyes are doing on Monday too and what change her prescription will be. We know she won’t need eye patches again which is always my biggest concern, but I do know she needs new glasses.

But still! Reading and changing eye tests – how brilliant?

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The Other Man’s Grass is Always Greener

Ah the Summer Holidays from School. Facebook filled full of pictures of families doing stuff together, having fun.

I look on and feel a bit envious. Just a teeny bit. Our time is coming.

I wish we could go to the seaside and have an ice cream melt all over our hands as it’s so warm and sunny. To breathe in the clean air and feel refreshed, revitalised again. Chips on the pier and candyfloss on the beach. Sand and pebbles in buckets, more spades than you realised you owned.

I wish we could go to the park and relax and sit about, catching up with groups of friends while the kids play.

R E C H A R G E.

I wish we had some grass (well, maybe astroturf then we don’t have to mow it) so the paddling pool had a nicer base (I also wish we had a cover for it, it’s got yucky bits in it, but that’s our problem). Or that we could put up a tent and have camping adventures.

I wish I was off work. I wish I could just lie around with H and take some time out to get into the summer break. Do nothing. In our imaginary tent in our imaginary astroturfed back yard with our paddling pool full of sparkling clear warm water we can sit in.

I’m not very good at doing nothing – or at least, if I’m going to do nothing the surroundings could be improved.

When it all comes to it though, it’s just not the beach. But our time will come. Not quite yet.

H is desperate for a rest. She has her first mouth ulcer. I think her little body has just given up for the holidays, she’s no longer fighting, desperate to do well at school, she’s exhausted. As long as she can do each day at holiday club then I’m happy. As long as she has enough energy to pick lavender this weekend, I’m happy. As long as we’re all sleeping well at night I’m even happier.

I’ll post pictures of us picking lavender, and I’m hoping all those seaside going friends of mine will wish they were there too.

So it isn’t all bad.

No Words Picture

Wimbledon Windmill


… Try Try Again (and a bit of a shock)

H’s swimming lesson in the Yellow hats wasn’t a huge success, so we made plans for her to try in my gym pool as I can take her for free on a weekend until she’s five.

Today was that day.

We probably did around 45 minutes of swimming, and the first 20 of those were H swimming front crawl and back stroke almost half the length of the pool on her own, with a bit of help when she needed to come up for air (due to the pool depth – 1m20) – and no floats.

I can see she’s nearly there – she just needs to master taking a breath and not panicking – the luxury of the training pool where she has her lessons means she can stand up for air - and she needs to get out of the habit and practice keeping swimming.

A few more sessions and maybe we’ll crack it?

Part of me thinks I should find a different club for her to swim where the pool depth won’t be an issue, but the other half thinks she’ll do fine once she stops panicking when she remembers she can’t just stand up and has mastered coming up for air – like I said, she’s nearly there.

We got out a noodle for her to have a kick up and down the pool, which she did well – she has the stamina, it’s just a lot to do and she is still only four anyway, so I don’t expect the world. Funnily enough the noodle gives her the support on her upper body that she needs to be able to breathe.

Yesterday evening she put her toothpaste lid into her mouth. Shaun insisted she took it out immediately (which then provoked an angry reaction from H) which led to me spelling out the consequences had she swallowed it by mistake.

For the first time in her life I had to say “because you could die” which gave her the biggest scare she’d ever had in her life.

Extreme? Possibly, but now she’s almost five it’s time to drill home ‘consequences’ that bit more. She wouldn’t put Lego in her mouth, but would do a toothpaste lid? No sense to that decision in my logical world. Last night we cuddled on the bed until I knew she was calm again. I tried to tell her as calmly as possible so as not to scare her too much, especially as I didn’t want her to have nightmares.

I don’t think her life was ever in danger, but she’s really testing the limits with things she’s not tried before. I’ve insisted she checks with us first – I’d like to think we’re fairly relaxed with her and allow her to do a lot of things, but new boundaries need to be set for a while, if only so we know what she’s thinking.

Personally I’m finding a toothpaste lid pretty gross!

This morning we talked about consequences again without mentioning death, giving me time to think of things which you shouldn’t do which she’d understand (like crossing the road in front of a bus, or playing with fire). I’ve never seen her quite so scared as I did last night – so starts the unpicking of this wonderful world she thought she lived in, as we start to discover there’s danger in most places. Sigh.

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Why The World Cup Is Good

Every Tuesday H has football classes with the Crystal Palace Academy – she has done it for a couple of terms now, and indeed did Little Kickers classes when she was at nursery – she’s no stranger to the beautiful game.

Things were progressing well, but the teamwork part wasn’t quite gelling until about three weeks ago. Cue a large football tournament on TV and H asking a bazillion questions, mainly being preoccupied with who is in defence.

In the last two weeks at football they know who is on their team. She runs back to help defend the goal and she’s running forward trying to score (to be fair, this week it was three-a-side). Watching football on tv has helped her understand the idea of being part of a team – it isn’t about scoring goals (though that’s nice) – it’s about working together.

Watching how her group has grown in the last few weeks, it’s lovely to watch. Where she’d sometimes get cross about not scoring, she’s happy to have played a part in setting up a goal. She’s looking out for her team mates and passing the ball to them. All the stuff which didn’t quite happen before.

I love it!

Also, I highly recommend the Crystal Palace Foundation classes – they’re priced at £4 a lesson and last for an hour. Last term all the kids got a medal and certificate for mastering skills – it’s the little stuff which keeps them going! (a bit like swimming badges!)


The Tooth Fairy Returns

Apparently this story of the tooth fairy and everything she gets up to is in fact a book at the Childminders house.

Glad we got that sorted!


The Tooth Fairy

The Tooth Fairy visited a year or so ago for the first time when H had her front tooth taken out in hospital. I don’t expect any future visits for another year or so.

However, H has a reading book with school she’s brought home which is a story about the Tooth Fairy – a child makes a clay tooth so gets a toy coin and mummy is really obviously in on it. His big sister got a coin when her real tooth came out in an apple.

It was tricky.

It keeps the myth going, but then there’s the questions afterwards.

“Mummy, I’m sure this story had them visiting the Tooth Fairy” said H

I replied that it wasn’t possible as the Tooth Fairy is pretend. Except I realise what I’ve said and backtrack (successfully) saying it’s magic and isn’t in the story. H is far more concerned about the story than a lack of Tooth Fairy in real life.

I think I got away with it.


“mummy, do you know where the Tooth Fairy lives?”

Things were so much easier when she couldn’t read. These days I have to tell the truth and sometimes that can be difficult when you’re telling an even bigger lie overall. My answer?

“ask your daddy” – at least it gives me five minutes of breathing space to think of a proper answer back that will satisfy her almost-five-year-old curiosities. Sigh. Fortunately I think she was distracted enough to forget she asked the question in the first place. Good work, me.


Britmums and Backs

This is where I should be doing a ‘I went to BritMums and had an awesome time’ post, but in actual fact, I didn’t. I had a brilliant Friday, but it all went horribly wrong on Saturday. Horribly.

In fact, most of BritMums on the Friday flew by in a whirl. So much that I don’t remember, it may have been the painkillers. My back had been playing up a bit through the week, but nothing a good nights rest wouldn’t fix, right? Except the following morning after my amazing shower something went, and it didn’t fix itself. At all.

I left BritMums 2014 by about 11 on the Saturday in tears, missing everything I wanted to see. I was at home and in bed sometime after midday. On the way home I had what can only be described as almost a panic attack – I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to stand up again on the tube, that something would go wrong, that everything would go wrong, and I felt my heart pounding as I counted down each station. Fortunately I’d taken my goody bag and there was a Highland Spring Elderflower water which I sipped at while trying to find something to stare at and focus (sorry lady opposite me, you probably thought I was weird). When Morden arrived and Shaun was waiting in the car (even though the exhaust was hanging off which led to another panicked journey home) it was the biggest relief I’ve felt in a long time.

BritMums 2014 - me

Other than when I was given decent painkillers which made the back pain go away.

That night I phoned 111 for advice, Shaun bought over the counter painkillers, as strong as I could go. The following day I went to our local Walk-In centre and got prescribed even stronger ones. The day after that I went to an Osteopath who told me I have a twisted pelvis which would explain a lot.  I’ve had two more osteopath treatments and am not feeling any more pain – which is incredible considering I’ve had some kind of pain for the last three years in some form.  No painkillers. No Devil’s Claw any more. None of that.

It’s great. For the first two days after the initial treatment I felt giddy – I couldn’t focus, it was like I was drunk but a neverending kind of drunk without the alcohol (I was only eating fruit and drinking water, I couldn’t face anything else). I was back at work by Thursday, taking it slowly.

So here’s what I have wrong with me.

You have this thing, a sacrum. It is a large triangular bone which is the place where the spine and the pelvis meet. It’s usually made by several bones fusing together, so it forms a solid support alongside the pelvis.

I, however, do not have this. I have several bones which fused together, and the bit which joins onto the spine hasn’t fused – so I have a lower bone which behaves like a vertebra. It shouldn’t really do that. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s also something which can give me back problems. It makes perfect sense really, everything does now.

So if I twist badly, chances are it’s because of this bone which never fused.  (this starts to happen between 16-18 years, up to around 34 so says Wikipedia) I now also know that a good Osteopath can fix it. Every time I’ve hurt my back it has been due to bad twisting – ironing, shaving my legs, picking up a cushion, sitting on a bed.

So while I had no fun at BritMums, I found out a lot about myself afterwards. It won’t help with my blogging, nor will it make me more interesting and attractive to the average browser, but I think I finally have some answers.

I’m not going next year, it’s my Wedding Anniversary. I did, however, buy my ticket for Mumsnet BlogFest which I am already looking forward to a LOT. I really enjoyed it last year and it’s easy to get to.

Britmums 2016, I may be back.

Big shout outs to Sonya for being amazing – thank you for walking me back to the tube. Lynn rocks, and always makes me laugh. Rosie thank you for offering to bring things back for me. Jo, thank you for the painkillers and brilliant to hang out with you.

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If At First You Don’t Succeed…

… at least you gave it a go. Right?

This afternoon H was invited to join the yellow hat class at swimming to see if she could cope with the big pool, a colder temperature and deeper water.

She didn’t. She was hanging on to the side, it was a bit of a shock, even though she’d been in there before.

But she really tried. Really really tried. She did some front crawl underwater but I think she was bothered by the difference between the two pools.

I was so proud of her. I knew she wasn’t ready. She could see me as she swam (and said it helped), but she needs a bit more time in the Orange Hat group. I reckon in 2-3 months she’ll be on track and ready, plus we’ll practice in the pool near us which is deeper but warmer. We’re in no rush.

The lady shook her head and said H was hopping down the pool.

Aaah, just like I did (except I was seven or eight, not four) when my teacher tried to get me to do my 50 metres. I’d done my 25 easily but was getting tired. I figured if I hopped but kept one leg going my teacher would never notice. She did.

H isn’t disappointed either, she’s quite philosophical, in that kind of “well, I tried. I don’t want to move there yet, I don’t feel ready. Maybe in a month or two? Can we practice at your pool please?”. Couldn’t have put it better myself…

She’s four and three quarters. An awfully wise four and three quarters, it would seem. Better get those last few free swims in before she turns five….