Thursday 31 January 2013

Activity of the Week - turn out the lights!

At this time of year towards the end of the day before bed time it's getting dark. It's a perfect time to get some sensory play going.

It can be as simple as getting a torch and shining it round the room, make some shadow puppets either just with your hand or cut some stencils out of card.

Another idea is to get some sweet wrappers (the ones from quality street you can see through) and wrap them round the torch to give you some colour.

Then you've got all the other glowing thing you may have bought or been bought. We've got a colour changing star and some sort of round plastic ornaments that change colour.  Also we got some glow in the dark stars for Christmas so they're great.

Use your imagination, make up stories, sing some songs or just put some relaxing music on.  If you've got a bit sick of twinkle, twinkle there's another nice song called have you ever tried to count the stars, you can download it from amazon for 69p :

Have You Ever Tried To Count The Stars

Have fun :)

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Rebecca ~ an inspiration

A tribute to a very special girl

I was lucky enough to know Rebecca for the 2 years I worked at NCYPE. She was a cheerful, smiley, young girl always chattering away. She had huge challenges to overcome, the greatest of which were here seizures. She went through some really tough times, but always bounced back with a smile. I think we can all learn something from her, she was truly inspirational.

I will never forget Rebecca, I have so many memories of trips out and days in, she made the house come alive. She could always cheer you up on a bad day and was a pleasure to spend time with be it out bowling or pointing out all the purple flowers on a walk, or sitting in playing bingo or doing maths questions.

Sadly she passed away a few weeeks ago, life can be very cruel taking someone so young but I'd like to think she's up there somewhere smiling down on us all.  My thoughts are with Rebecca and her family through these hard times.  She will never be forgotten, she really was in her own words a "real big lovely".

Going back to work ~ daunting!

9 months is looming near, actually very near... mid February but with annual leave which I haven't taken it's more like April I have to start.  If I'm honest I'm not really looking forward to it and keep putting off thinking about it.  But I really need to face up to it.

Don't get me wrong, I love my job, just I love being a Mum more. It's not that I haven't thought about it at all... I have a place at the nursery from April, my Mum is getting a cleaner to have her one day a week and then I'm hoping to work every other weekend.

But I need to have a meeting with my manager and HR to put it all inplace and check my holiday all fits in.  It was meant to happen last week but then it snowed and haven't got a new date.

I haven't even started to think about getting to and from work without being able to drive and fitting in with Riley's bedtimes.  Then there's the issue of milk feeds... Riley's still having 2-3 milk feeds during the day so going to need to get on formula but hoping she might take it out of a tippy cup so no sterilising... but I need to try that and push drinking as she doesn't seem to drink much.  Also don't know how we're going to get her up and at nursery by 7, Mum's offered to come and stay till she wakes up.  Just so much ligistics can't get my head round it all!

That's even before the emotional side of leaving her at nursery and the scaryness of starting work all over again and getting back into the swing of things :(

All in all very scary, but once I'm back I'm sure I'll love my job again just like I did before I went on maternity leave.

Saturday 26 January 2013

Books ~ read from the word go

We have read books to Riley from the beginning. First of all at the beginning finding things to do is hard, books can provide endless opportunities of things to do. While they are so young they may not understand the story but many of the books have a rhythm to them which babies can like and you can talk about the pictures with them too. I think it's just a good way to share time with your baby, for them to hear your voice and as the grow books will have more and more of a role in their development.

So... I have added a page for activities and books. I'll list the weekly activities there and some of our favourite books as we come across them. Feel free to add your favourite books and activities for rainy days and we can all share our ideas.

Friday 25 January 2013

Baby Groups ~ great way to get out, have fun and meet people

Baby groups are great. They're great for you and great for baby.

You don't have to spend loads, we go to a couple at our local library which are free.  Then you've got the good old sure start centres and family centres... loads goes on there.

Then you've always got net mum's they have lots of information and lists of groups local to you.

My favourite group is The Nest I learnt about it through a friend (along with other mum's it also a good way of finding out what's going on).

Would definitely say to anyone living in Sutton are come along, here's a quick review:

I love this group! All the staff are friendly, caring and give advice and support. There are lots of toys, all clean and great condition. It is an environment where babies can be sociable, learning to share and play together making friendships in a safe environment. It is also a great place to have a cup of tea, (or 2!) biscuit and chat to other mum's, everyone is so friendly and I have made really good friends from the group. Definitely recommend it to anyone.

Monday 21 January 2013

Things to do on a rainy day ~ well in this case snowy

Ok, one of the most difficult things I've found with not driving is finding things to do when your stuck in the house so thought I'd do a weekly idea for something to do to pass the time...

So Week 1 ~ Sensory box

Ok, so grab a cupboard box and some bright wrapping paper... Wrap the box in and out. Then if you can get hold of some baby safe mirrors, stick them in the box - and you have a baby in a box!

Then grab some other bits, different textured material, scarves etc...

Some old toys, they haven't seen in a while, maybe an old book.

Bubbles - wastes hours

Some stuff from outdoors, stones, shells, pine cones.

Kitchen utensils - spoon, brush, sieve, pan - lots to feel and make noises with.

Then you can be more creative, I got an old bottle decorated it a bit, put some glitter and teddy confetti (thanks Christina for the surprises in cards) and some red dye, Sellotape the lid on add some ribben - tadda.

Can also just put some pasta or rice in a milk cartoon, makes a great rattle.

Then you have lots of stuff that packs into a nice box... stick some music on and have some fun :)

Make sure you don't leave them on there own, lots of trouble they could get into with this one!

Riley's Best Friend - Staffies are softer than you think

Riley's best friend is my Mum and Dad's dog, Lily! She loves her, whenever she sees her she has the biggest grin on her face. She giggles while Lily runs round and round. Lily seems to quite like her too, she will sidle over a bit so Riley can give her a pat and she gets all excited when she sees us. All in all they seem to have a developing friendship.

So what kind of dog is she... nope not a beautiful lab or a bouncy spaniel... she's a Staffie, a Battersea stray. Staffies are given a really unfair time of it, it is very unfortunate they resemble pit bulls and have been kept by many people to look tough. But the truth is yes there are a few aggressive staffies just like there are a few aggressive labs or spaniels. But on the whole the breed have a natural bond with people and are often known as nanny dogs because they are great with children.

Battersea dogs home is full of unwanted staffies and Lily is one of them... a battersea stray.

She is great with people, dogs and goes to work with my Mum so is around horses and in the office. Of course we're careful, obviously any dog can be aggressive, never leave a child alone with a dog even for a second. Lily is great, she's never shown aggression to anything, my friend's cat even scratched her face and she just ran away!

Research has shown dogs can benefit young children, it can improve communication and self esteem. It also has been shown that babies who grow up with a dog are less likely to get asthma and get less colds and ear infections. My theory is there is good dirt and bad dirt, I don't over clean the house, I'm not paranoid about wiping Riley's toys if they fall on the floor but I make sure all kitchen surfaces etc are wiped with disinfectant... Dust - good, Salmonella - bad!

All in all I think dogs are a plus for kids and staffies shouldn't be ruled out as a family pet, give Staffies a chance, think you might like them.

Swimming continued - Aquatots started again

Term 2 of swimming started. With Rich having a bad arm I swam with her. It was great. The instructor said her 3year old just did her 5 metres and some of the 6 year olds were doing their 1000 metres. To me that's amazing and I want her to be that confident in the water so although it's expensive I really want to keep going with it. Nanny and Grandad have given her this term as a Christmas present which is great. Here's a few photos, the underwater one was from the end of last term.

Riley's first snow :)

I love snow... I know it causes chaos in this country but years of ski holidays means I just love it. My Dad's a ski instructor so I've skied since before I can remember and Riley will be lucky enough to have that opportunity too.

So we're planning a holiday to California with my parents and Nikki and Dan next March - all very exciting and saving the penny's.

This was Riley's first proper snow so making the most of it - all wrapped up we went for a snowy walk yesterday. She loved it, lots of smiles then a little sleep, then more smiles and rosy cheeks.

Friday 18 January 2013

Teeth ~ that'll help her eat her toast!

She's got her first teeth!  Didn't even notice them coming through til she bit me feeding! Ouch!  She's very brave.

Ashton and Parson's herbal teething powder is great stuff for both pain and tummy (she's had really bad nappy rash)

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Epilepsy Action Pregnancy Campaign

Wow, the Epilepsy Action Pregnancy Campaign launched last week and it seems to be reaching a lot of media (if your reading this you quite possibly found it through the campaign...)

I can't believe we have our photo on the cover of the pregnancy diaries and  even more unbelieveable is being interviewed by local radio stations and papers.

I hope that the campaign and being able to tell as many people as possible my experiences of pregnancy and being a mum, will help women feel more confident and less alone.  Hopefully it will also help health proffesionals have a better understanding of epilepsy and pregnancy and some of the issues and worries women with epilepsy face during pregnancy and as a new mum.

To have a look at the diaries we have helped write go to:

Worrying about development

I think every parent worries about their babies development.  I know that  all babies develop in different areas at different rates but at the end of the day almost all of them reach the same point eventually.  I guess I worry about it from an epilepsy meds point of view, in the back of my mind there is a niggle - what if my AEDs have had some more long term effect on Riley.  I'm always looking for things... like she's not crawling yet, most babies of her age aren't but when I see my friends 7month old crawling around I worry which is silly I know.  It's not that I want her to crawl to be competitive, I don't even want her to crawl as I know it will bring lots of extra challenges, I just want her to crawl to put my mind at rest.  But I know when she does there will be another milestone to worry about so I need to just relax a bit, she is a very alert baby and she sits on the sofa and plays with her toys, she is a normal baby - I need to sit back and enjoy every minute.

Monday 14 January 2013

Rich's Birthday Weekend ~ full of surprises

Since coming out of hospital Rich has been signed off work, he says he feels he's dosing but he is really tired and not himself, in quite a lot of pain I think, so I think he's doing the right thing, if he goes back too soon he could end up back in hospital.  But it has been nice having him around more and I know Riley has loved it, so many smiles and giggles.  But all good things must come to an end (and bad things as his arm is improving) and he is back to work now.

It was his birthday this weekend and his brother and me organised a surprise birthday meal with friends Saturday and a family meal (Korma his favourite!) on Sunday.  He hadn't really thought about his birthday so I think it meant a lot.  Riley is such a star, she was really happy all weekend and was just such a pleasure and not difficult at all. We feel very lucky to have such a happy baby who fits in with things so well.  We are truely blessed :)

Tuesday 8 January 2013

Rich is free ~ finally discharged from hospital

Well it's been a tough few days.  Turns out Rich has cellulitus, so an infection of the deep skin layers.  He's been in hospital for 4nights now but they have finally let him go home as it seems to be improving, he's very tired and on lots of anti-biotics but so glad to have him home and so's Riley.

Being on my own was tough, I worried about having a seizure overnight, just meant there was more time on my own to worry and overthink things. Not having Rich around was lonely, my evenings were very strange and hearing our neighbour shouting at her kids in the middle of the night didn't help things.  Although it was only 4 nights it felt like alot more.  Luckily my wonderful family and friends gave us lifts around places, brought me some meals and were just really supportive of me and Rich, lots of people went to visit.

Riley definately missed her Daddy, I was umming and arring whether to take her onto the ward as it was a little grim, think they were over run with patients, great care but the ward was small with a lot of people in it.  But after 2 days I knew Rich needed cheering up and Riley seemed unsettled so we braved it!!!  When we left it was hard enough for me, but I think Riley was very confused, we had a lot of tears everytime we got home. I think babies understand more than we give them credit for.

He's home now so that's the main thing.  Very very relieved he is ok.

Thursday 3 January 2013

Rich is in hospital! ~ infected arm!

My husband Rich has been in and out of A&E over new year with a swollen and red arm, as well as flu symptoms. Today after going to the GP and having a systolic (the top number which should be between about 120 and 160) of 80 he's been admitted into hospital for IV antibiotics.  It was a very hard day but luckily my wonderful Mum saved the day driving us around and looking after Riley.  But now I'm stuck at home on my own worrying about him and about being here all on my own.  Rich has always been here to tuck Riley in and over night, quite daunting being on my own.