Thursday, 26 April 2012

The cruelty of sleep deprivation

One of the things that came as a total shock to me when I first had a baby was the lack of sleep. I quickly realised that my baby did not know or care that it was night time and it was time to sleep, he needed what he needed day or night. At nine months, he finally slept through and I remember telling people, "he didn't sleep through until he was NINE MONTHS, can you believe that?!"

Then when we had son 2 I was determined we were going to make sure that didn't happen again. Although he was breast fed I tried to introduce a bottle straight away to use for his last feed of the day. He wasn't having any of it. In fact he would not touch a bottle until he was 10 months old. I have heard other opinions on this, but it is my belief that breast fed babies do not sleep as well as formula fed ones. It's probably something to do with the composition of the milk, but anyway being breast fed certainly did nothing for the sleeping patterns of my baby and I was so exhausted we co-slept and he was an unwitting "attachment baby", though this was not a conscious choice.

At ten months he was still waking for 3-4 feeds during the night and I had gone back to work. People kept saying, "go to bed early", but there was really no point as he was waking up between 7 and 10pm anyway so my sleep would have been disturbed. At this point, he started to take a bottle, though he was like a new born as he wasn't used to the sucking action needed to drain the bottle so it took ages during the night for him to drink. Many people said things like "give him water", or "reduce the size of the feed". But he was absolutely starving and nothing else would do.

When he turned one, I decided enough was enough, unfortunately son 2 did not agree and was still keen to have milk in the night. He was eating well in the day so I just couldn't understand why he was still waking up all the time.

By this time my life had been affected in every way by the lack of sleep. I had lost weight, I was pale and drawn.  Worst of all my personality had been affected, I was very snappy and impatient and had completely lost my sense of humour. Nothing was funny anymore and I had lost the ability to smile and enjoy myself. All I talked about was his sleeping problems and asking people for advice I knew I would never take.  Then I started to have more serious health problems, I constantly had colds and flu, I would catch mystery tummy bugs all the time that didn't seem to affect anyone else. My hands would shake all the time, I just couldn't keep them still. Then I started with the most terrible heartburn that had me in tears most days. I felt stressed and the slightest problem seemed insurmountable. I felt embittered and miserable in my dealings with others and couldn't shake it off.  I also started to forget things, nothing would stay in my memory. This was hard to take as my memory has always been so good, in fact I have relied on it many times in exams when I haven't bothered to study and it has rarely let me down.

I can see why sleep deprivation is considered to be torture. When you are so utterly sleep deprived all you can think about it sleep, even hunger and thirst does not compare.

Now son 2 is 14 months old and last night he slept through. I feel human again, though still not myself. I am hoping this is the start of good things and a better time for all of us.

What are your experiences of sleep problems with young children, and how did you overcome them?

Monday, 23 April 2012

My latest bargain finds, £4 espadrilles and Louise Galvin shampoo!

I haven't been as bargainy in the past few months. Partly because I have decided I am some sort of shopaholic and I am trying to go cold turkey, but also because of the terrible buyers remorse I feel minutes after the thrill of buying something. Having said that, never one to avoid bobbing into a shop whilst my son is asleep in his pushchair, it would have been just rude to miss these bargain espadrilles in New Look the other day. I have the world's largest feet (not a fact) so had to resort to a size 9 to avoid "dead toe" syndrome. I'm looking forward to wearing these with summer trousers and jeans. £4 what a bargain!
My next bargain was espied in TK Maxx whilst supposedly looking for a present for my mum. When I was pregnant last year I suffered terrible hair loss and it started looking very thin and sorry for itself. After extensive googling I discovered that there is a shampoo and conditioner specifically for pregnant ladies by Louise Galvin. Having found all this out I then discovered it was £22 which I just wasn't prepared to pay. Imagine my excitement upon discovering the self same stuff for a mere £5.99! I've already used it, and it might be psychological but my hair feels better already. 'Nuff said.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Genius idea - puzzle pack by Netflights

Last year's hol to France.
Last year we took our children on their first flight, from Leeds to Nice, France. To say I was stressed in the days leading up to the holiday is an understatement. Taking a five month old and a three year old on a flight was not top of my list of "chilled out" ideas, but we wanted to take them to France, so we girded our loins and bit the bullet (no more platitudes I promise).

The worst bit was definitely the take off and landing. I was given a weird sort of strap to put Son 2 in, he regarded it as some sort of torture device and screamed hysterically until I took it off. I wanted to point out to the woman in the row in front that her staring at me in an appalled sort of way wasn't actually going to make him stop crying, but I didn't want to embarrass my husband, so I didn't.

My three year old wasn't much better, because he hadn't been aware of boarding the plane he was unclear about where we were, "when are we getting on the plane Mummy?" he kept asking. Nothing could convince him we were actually on the plane and had been for some time. I had meant to be mega prepared and take some sort of activity for him, but what with everything else, it had completely slipped my mind.

I wish we had used something like the Netflights puzzle book to keep him entertained, not just on the flight but the rest of the holiday, especially those really hot days when he just couldn't cope with being outdoors.

Hot weather doesn't really suit small children as we soon found out, luckily where we stayed had a pool, albeit unheated...brrrrrrrr.....

I will certainly be having a look at the Netflights sites for more of their holiday ideas nearer the time to our next trip....Wales, Cornwall, Menorca, where is a good place to take small children on holiday?

This is a sponsored post. I need to pay for my Cybher business cards after all.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Motherhood in the 1970s....

When my first son was born I really took on board everything I was told by health visitors and midwives. By the time son 2 came along all the advice seemed to have changed, so I started to question any advice given at all! My mum told me that in "her day" the advice had been different again, which lead me to ask, what was motherhood like in the 1970s? Here is her story...

Having had nothing whatsoever to do with babies when I was growing up in a mining village in North East Derbyshire in the 1960s, I surprised myself by taking to motherhood like a duck to water at the tender age of 25, in 1975! Of course things were different then, there were no ultra sound scans so you didn’t know the sex of your baby until it popped out, plus the sex discrimination act hadn’t yet become law so most Mothers opted to give up work when they had their first child, otherwise you were back at work when your baby was 6 weeks old, which played havoc with breast feeding routines.

The other big change is NAPPIES, terry towelling ones in my day!  I remember a friend of mine demonstrating on a teddy bear, how to make up a terry towelling nappy in a kite shape, which I could have done with my eyes closed after many months of practice even down to inserting the safety pin without either stabbing myself or the baby! The soaking and washing of said terry towelling nappies was another saga.  All Mothers had a nappy bucket for soaking the nappies in a pungent smelling powder and I remember knocking the nappy bucket over on a few occasions which was not advisable! Now, disposable nappies are the order of the day, by and large, and they don’t seep or disintegrate like 1970s disposable nappies used to do.

Whatever happened to liga rusks which were strongly recommended by Health Visitors when you wanted to start weaning your baby?  They were considered to be better alternative to Farleys rusks because they were less fattening for your baby. Generally Mothers (and Fathers) followed the Dr Spock (Benjamin Spock, not of Start Trek fame!) method of raising your child and our copy of ‘The common book of baby and childcare’ was read and re-read as we coped with each new phase in our children’s development.

Now I am in my 60s and have 4 grandchildren which is wonderful.  It has been like starting again but without all the responsibility, and knowing that you can hand them back to their parents at the end of the day is a very comforting! Toddler groups are still going strong but Playgroups have been replaced by Pre-school and there is a whole plethora of different classes that babies can do from birth including baby yoga, baby massage, baby ballet, baby music groups and at the click of a button you can soon find out what is available in your area. The internet is a fantastic tool for all of us, but I particularly like printing off pictures to colour in, or researching topics and sitting with grandchild on knee while I do this.
The big change now is that most Mothers return to work at the end of their period of maternity leave, which is good in that they still keep a foothold in the work place but not good in that they are constantly juggling and have less time to spend with their children.  Otherwise, lots of things are the same - trips to the park, playing with other children, building sandcastles on the beach, visiting friends and relatives are all activities that all Mothers and Fathers do and will continue to do.  

Thursday, 19 April 2012

What I am wearing to Cybher....

I have been over the moon this week as I have heard from my generous sponsor Savoo that they are paying for my ticket and transport to go to Cyber! I casually went over to the website only to find out there was only one ticket is now mine!  I was asked a while ago to be a DealPro at Savoo, which basically means being a savvy shopper and sharing deals with others on the site. Thanks to this, it was the lovely Savoo who set up my Daily Mail and Woman's Own interviews (due out soon, watch this space!)

Anyway, back to Cyber, first of all, a quick meet and greet:

Name : Heather
Twitter ID : @bargainmummy1
Height : 5'8" ish.
Hair : red with purple bits where it went a bit wrong.

Five things you should know about me...
1. I speak Japanese.
2. I have two boys, 3 and 1.
3. I am stuck in 1995.
4. I regret buying a three storey house.
5. I was once nearly blown up by terrorists.

Anyway, on to the important stuff, what am I going to wear! Well as usual, I am big into online ordering, so after having a quick perusal of the H&M website the other day, I ordered a lovely top and skirt, plus a cardigan on the advice of the wonderful Style Guile.

Firstly this lovely mustard coloured cardigan which was £7.99.

Mustard H&M cardy - a bit creased, whoops.
Then this lovely ruched top which I think would be really flattering on anyone, think it was £12.99.
H&M white ruched top, very flattering!
And a lovely chiffony skirt in mole/grey with white polka dots. I think this was £14.99.

And finally some lovely Oasis gladiator sandals which were £22. 

Oasis gladiator sandals, £22.
I'm not 100% sure that the cardigan goes with the rest of the outfit but to be honest yellow cardies hardly go with anything and I LOVE the colour.

I really hope it's a warm day or I will be brrrrrrrrrrrrrr....

Friday, 13 April 2012

Coloured jeans update

I know you have all been waiting with bated breath for an update on the coloured jeans situation. I am pleased to report that a pair have been found, bought and worn as you can see from the picture. The original Warehouse mint coloured ultra skinny ones had to go back I'm afraid; I thought about it and decided children and light coloured clothing don't mix, plus the colour washed me out. I opted for this dark pink colour instead as it also went nicely with this bird print top, alI from Warehouse. I do love the idea of jeans that are a bit different to the norm and also nice and colourful for spring.

However these are not the comfort option and I was glad to take them off at the end of the day rather like a too tight pair of shoes. I did notice in London a lot of coloured jeans being worn though the main wearers did seem to be 14 year old French exchange students.

Am I too old for coloured skinny jeans? What do you think?

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

At last, my day off children has arrived!

So we've bitten the bullet and after months of excitement we've finally made it here to London, aka the big smoke. Sadly something else has also arrived in my body - a germ. I won't go into detail for fear of offending those with a sensitive disposition but lets just say I'm no stranger to the porcelain telephone. However I've powered through and like the warrior I am, I trudged my sick self to Big Ben to get a pic for my Ben obsessed son. Argfh more vomming calls.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Ten minute tea

Yes, pasta in boiling water.
Stir fry sausage

nothing happening here
Today has been a bit of an illness competition and with that in mind I needed to make an ultra fast meal with whatever I had in the fridge. On the menu tonight was sausage pasta with cheese spread. Sound nutritious? I did put mushroom and parsley in, though as you can see from my herb pot I had to use the dried variety. So basically, stir fry some chopped up sausage and mushroom as the pasta is cooking, add some parsley and cream cheese or cheese spread. To finish top with grated cheese and black pepper. Kids love it and so do husbands. For added moisture add a spoonful of the pasta water as you mix everything together. Job done.
Voila, better than any restaurant in the land!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Will coloured jeans make me look fat?

I will find out tomorrow.
I've been toying with the idea of buying coloured jeans now for a while. Unfortunately they all come in the skinny variety which I find rather unflattering particularly as I am bending down to clear up some sick or other fluid.  As an avid K-Middy fan, I was amazed to see her fabulous self in a pair of coral jeans. Surely coloured jeans are for those with no bottom? Having said that, from this picture it is clear to see that K-Middy is pure muscle.

I will never look that good.
However, easily influenced by the media and anything to do with K-Middy, I am now on the search for a pair myself.  I'm not sure coral would do anything for me, and might in fact clash with my hair, so I'm looking for another colour. For spring I favour either lilac or mint green (just thinking about what I already have in my wardrobe). I will only buy online at either Warehouse or Oasis when it comes to trousers as I know they put plenty of stretch in them (which I need, believe me).

So here are the choices:

Oasis ones at £45.
Oasis mint jeans
OR Warehouse ones at £40.
Warehouse Ultra Skinny Jeans

Ultra doesn't sound hopeful does it? Anyway, I've gone with the Warehouse ones simply because I had a discount code.They arrive tomorrow. I will report back with whether I can get my "not particularly big" (my husband's words) derriere into them tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Are we never wrong?

No-one likes to be criticised, though of course there are supposedly ways to "constructively" criticise someone which are not meant to cause offence. In reality these veiled criticisms are the ones which make you suddenly sit upright at 3am, "hang on a minute" you think, "he was having a go at me".  It seems that these days no-one is ever wrong, they just "have their own opinion". No-one seems willing to accept that they might have made a blatant boo boo, "I wasn't late for the interview/meeting/special occasion, it was arranged too early". Does no-one take responsibility for their actions any more? Can we actually justify being late for something important because the other person was inconsiderate enough to arrange it at a time that seems "too early", even though we knew the time months before?!  Do we pass this onto our children, because we are never wrong and our children are an extension of ourselves, are they never wrong either? If our child shouts at another adult, do we defend them these days rather than reprimand them? I remember reading a book by Lynn Truss about the universal "F Off" reflex;  your music is on too loud in your house and it is keeping me awake - f off.  You just bumped into my car - f off. You dropped some litter - f off.  You nearly caused me to crash my car - f off (well two fingers stuck up but same meaning), This "f off" response is now becoming automatic, a defence mechanism against others in society who dare to tell us off for behaving anti socially. Having said that there are definitely those who go the other way, who are too over zealous in their policing of others' behaviour (usually without first examining their own). The ones who stare when your child is having a tantrum or "change the subject" if you ever mention anything they deem to be inappropriate and won't discuss certain subjects. How stifling, how controlling. Which is worse?


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