Monday, 26 August 2013

An Open Letter to GP practices everywhere

It must be really annoying when people say they have an emergency when they clearly don't but let me go some way to explain why.  Here is an account of what happened for me this morning....

At each of these times I phoned my GP practice

7:58 : "Your practice is closed, please phone back after 8am"
7:59 : "Your practice is closed, please phone back after 8am"
7:59 : "Your practice is closed, please phone back after 8am"
8:00 : Engaged
8:01: Engaged
8:01: Engaged
8:01: Engaged
8:02 :

Me : "Hi, I'd like to make an appointment for my daughter"
GP : "We can give her an appointment next week, all the appointments for today are already gone"
Me : "Really?!"
GP : "If you feel it is an emergency you can bring her to the emergency clinic at 11am"
Me : "I wouldn't use the word emergency but I'd like her seen in the next couple of days
GP : "We don't have any appointments left"
Me : "I guess I'll bring her to the emergency clinic then"

Sort it out!!

Friday, 23 August 2013

Inexpensive date night ideas

My husband and I have a date night every week.  I couldn't recommend this highly enough, it means that every week there is one evening where we are both together and we have a rule that we don't do jobs on the computers or even look at our phones, we are just with each other.  Makes such a difference to our relationship.  Let's be realistic though, as much as we would like to go out more, we have children and don't have a never ending supply of babysitters so the vast majority of dates happen at home.  Therefore we try and think of different things to do so we don't just end up watching *another* movie that I will fall asleep half way through.  We are also on a budget, with this in mind I thought I'd share with you some of our date night activities that don't cost a fortune (I'm hoping these should all come in under £3) and I'm not including TV/movie watching as I think that's a little obvious and unimaginative!

1.  Games! We love scrabble and chess.  Sometimes we even just play connect four!  We sometimes get the Wii out and play some Mario cart or something like that.  The game doesn't matter but it is always a great conversation starter too, especially scrabble when you get to talk about the words being put down.

2.  Food!  We love food so sometimes I will buy us a treat, my latest favourite is to buy some camembert and nice bread (in Sainsburys a value camembert and a tiger baguette costs a total of £2.13)

3.  Baking! (We do love food a lot).  Sometimes we bake a cake together (and then eat it).  Last night was date night for us and we made bread together, we needed bread anyway but this way it was yummy and we had the fun of making it first.  Baking is essentially messy play for grown ups.

4. Reminiscing.  Get out the photos from holidays gone by or even just look at them on the computer (in this digital age). Remember all the fun you've had as a family, laugh at ridiculous outfits you've worn, recall the romantic nights out you've had or the places you used to frequent as a student.  This is one of my favourite things to do and as a bonus it is completely free!

5.  Massage.  Give each other a massage, if you want some oil but don't want to buy just use a little olive oil from the kitchen, it is a perfectly good option.  Set a timer and do however long you want each.  The great thing about this date night is often leads to other very fun *cough* marital activities ;-)

6.  Make plans together.  Plan that holiday you've always wanted to go on, think of the places you'd visit.  Or design your dream home together.  My husband and I like making up quizzes, sometimes a date night has just been making up a quiz for the fun of it!  You could even just imagine what it would be like to grow old together.

7.  I'm not sure this would work for me and my husband as we are into quite different kinds of books but have a book club for two.  Discuss what you like/don't like about a book or what challenged you or whatever you would normally discuss in a book club.

8. Set up a romantic cafe for yourselves.  Especially if it is summer and a bit warmer, get a candle lit and sit over a lovely cup of coffee (I always have nice coffee including decaf in so could make a latte style thing).  If your budget wasn't as tight as mine, get a bottle of wine or some beers in instead but still get sitting in a more romantic scene with candle or flowers or whatever.

9. Sex! While this is obvious, why not take some time to be more imaginative with positions or take longer over foreplay.  Make this more special than the odd quicky!!

Do you have your own suggestions? I'd love to hear, we need to fill 52 date nights a year, it's hard not to get bogged down in date night routine!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

My Issues with Baby Led Weaning

Having enjoyed some weetabix and banana for breakfast
This post has been rattling around in my head for ages and before I start typing it I would like to make the following disclaimer:

How you wean your baby is your decision and I believe there are pros and cons to all methods and I do think there is a lot to be said for baby led weaning (I use little bits of the concept myself) and I have dear friends who I love dearly who swear by it and I still love them despite anything I am about to say.

Weaning, it's another one of those contentious parenting issues isn't it.  That separates people into "good" parents and "bad" parents depending on what you do.  Do you use purees? Are they home made or do you used shop bought packets of puree? Do you start at four months? Wait till six? Or do you do baby led weaning?

In case you don't know the idea with baby led weaning is that babies eat lots of finger foods/things they can pick up.  They can munch on what they can manage and get all the rest of what they need from milk, as they get older and more proficient at eating they get more of there nutrients and substance from solid food and less from milk, it is so called because the baby sets the pace.

Here are my issues though...

The name!  Baby Led Weaning, and even more so when you think that BLW folks tend to refer to the alternative as spoon led weaning, makes it sound like having decided to spoon feed my children that I am force feeding them!  They still dictate when they have had enough, they are more than capable of communicating when they are done and we don't finish every meal that we start.

The idea that just because we are puree feeding we are chained to the kitchen making special foods for ever more.  In the early days we just pureed some of the veg that we were having in our dinner anyway and very quickly we progressed to just eating whatever the rest of us were having for dinner.  I think that Miriam was 5 months old when she had her first curry (a dinner she loves!) and she continues to just eat whatever the rest of us are having, just pureed to a texture and consistency she could manage.  Now that she is a little older it is normally just mushed up with a fork or increasingly I just put bits down for her to pick up for herself (there's that nod to baby led weaning from me)

My baby (both of them actually, but even more so Miriam) was ravenous, long before she was ready to do baby led weaning, she could hold her head up quite the thing but nowhere near being able to sit up.  And I don't just mean she was waking up more (I am well aware this isn't necessarily a sign that it is time to start weaning), I mean she was grumpy, she was obvious hungry and at meal times when the rest of the family ate she screamed her way through.  I started weaning at four months and if I had waited any longer I would have been subjecting everyone to a very sad two months, everyone was happier (not least of all her) when she starting having some extra food inside her belly.

I frequently hear that BLW is better for avoiding allergies, and I am happy to admit that I have no evidence that it isn't but I would love to see some evidence that it is!  As far as I can tell apart from delaying the age we wean at the only difference between what I feed my child and what a BLWer feeds their child is the form it is served in...  Maybe I am just lucky but both my puree fed children are completely allergy free!

Also, and this is a very minor issue, how do children who are exclusively given meals to pick at learn to use a knife and fork? (I know they must do but for my children it was just natural to start using the spoon when I left it sitting to get a mouthful of my own dinner and then progress from there to a fork...)

Mainly though. I think my issue comes down to the fact that I feel judged.  I feel like if you have chosen BLW that you think I am harming my children or doing it "wrong".  My children are happy, healthy, love fruit and veg, not overweight and don't eat lots of junk food so please can you try and adjust your language? Or maybe I just need one or to of the baby led weaning camp to tell me what beautiful children I have and tell me I must feed them lovely healthy food for them to be doing so well.  Because you know what? I do and they are!