thank you Helen for drawing this

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Welcome to Ali's blog. A blog that has absolutely nothing to do with juggling monkeys. It doesn't really have anything to do with much, just me rambling on about random things.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012
The PS3 has died for a 3rd time. Sent it back to Console Doctor again. This time if they fix it I will back up all game saves, I really don't want to start Skyrim all over again if it happens again and they can't fix it. Hope they can fix it this time and it lasts for more than 3 months. At least they've agreed to look at it even though it's a couple of days outside of it's warranty. Completely unrelated observation. What does a picture of a baby's bottle on the door to a baby changing room mean? Maybe I've been spoilt by John Lewis and Boots, but I imagined that seeing that symbol next to the symbol for baby changing on a door at Tesco meant that as well as baby changing they were providing space to feed your baby and that there would perhaps be a seat or something. So having got my shopping and a fractious, hungry baby I entered the room to discover nothing extra over the normal changing facilities, basically 1 changing mat, 1 sink and a couple of bins, no chair and not even any space to sit on the floor, unless I wanted to be hit by the door should anyone else choose to come in. Silly Tesco, if it's just a room for baby changing then you don't need a bottle on the door do you? We all know what that picture of a baby on a mat means, or perhaps you've had confused people thinking it's a picture of someone having a little sleep or something. I had something else to rant about, but it's gone from my mind now, something to do with ridiculous health and safety I believe. It may come back to me tomorrow, or you may have been saved from another tedious complaint.

Saturday, April 14, 2012
On the last two Saturdays I have been at weddings and was disappointed to discover that contrary to what I had believed, I have not improved in my anxiety within social gatherings of this sort. Somehow I perceived that I had become more socially adept, when in fact I had failed to notice that I simply hadn't been attending the kind of function that makes me the most uncomfortable. At the first wedding I found myself lurking around talking to the people I knew, while at the second where I didn't know anyone other than the bride, groom and chief bridesmaid (and Matt of course) I found myself sitting nervously trying to think of things to say to the people at my table.

I guess the positive is that I used to find all activities taxing, I must have got a lot better as now I can confidently do things where I know what is expected and what to do, e.g. work activities, shopping, going to church, attending baby groups etc. but events in which I am expected to mix with people I don't know and chat about things still fill me with dread and leave me confused as to what I should do.

It's also made me realise how much I love having Jonas with me wherever I go. He's perfect, he draws attention away from me, gives me something to talk about, gives a barrier between me and the world and he gives my hands something to do and an excuse to leave.

To those people who were getting married, please don't be offended if you're reading this. I loved seeing you get married and was honoured to be invited, it is just the mingling with strangers I don't like.

I sometimes wonder if it's my dislike of alcohol that causes me to feel so out of it at parties. Is it that which gives the other people a false confidence and desire to dance? I don't have a desire to fit in or feel comfortable that much though that I would be willing to get drunk or dance.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012
We started weaning Jonas last week. Ignoring the current UK guidelines of waiting till 6 months, I don't know anyone that's actually waited for 6 months and the more information I read the more it looked like actually a blanket 6 months is not good advice and you need to look on a baby by baby basis, but just not wean before 17 weeks. Well he was 21 weeks (nearly 5 months) so we started. It's going really well, he seems to like everything so far, with the possible exception of broccoli, not that I can blame him, I'm not a fan either. It's a lot more fun weaning him than I thought it would be, though I expect the novelty will wear off pretty quickly.

The only drawback with starting now is that I had decided to do Baby Led (which is where you just give them bits of what you're eating as finger foods) but you can't start that till 6 months (for various boring reasons which I won't go into), so we're having to do purées first. However, so far I'm not actually minding the faff of puréeing everything too much and am doing batches and freezing excess, so I should have a good stockpile. I do give him whole bananas to eat though and these are by far his favourite, he just sucks on them for ages, slowly working his way down, occasionally gnawing off a small lump, or on one occasion rather a large lump, which scared me a bit, but he spat it out (as I knew in theory he should, it's why baby led is supposed to work).

Anyway, this is turning into some sort of baby blog, I apologise and promise to think of something else to blog about for next time.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012
One more casualty for the list of things that have broken since Jonas came: Matt's new glasses. He's had them about a month. Today they died on a Stag do at Adrenalin Jungle. At least he'd gone to Specsavers so he had a free second pair!

Content Warning: This entire post is about breastfeeding, no graphic descriptions, but I won't be offended if you choose not to read it.

I don't usually use baby forums and didn't use pregnancy ones either. This is because as a general rule the answer anyone will give to any worry you might have is that your baby will probably die. However, the thing that annoys me most is something which isn't just contained to baby forums, I was reading a review of a baby product on the Asda page on facebook and it started up again: Breast vs Bottle ranting.

Now, I breastfeed, it wasn't easy, for the first 4 weeks Jonas wouldn't feed properly, so I had to express and feed him in various ways, through a cup, syringe, tube down his nose and finally a bottle (not recommended as once they've used a bottle teat it can be very hard to make them breastfeed, but at this point I'd pretty much given up and the other methods (apart from tube feeding, which could only be done in hospital) took too long and wasted quite a bit of milk). I was having to try to feed him, then feed him the expressed milk, then express more ready for his next feed every 2 hours in the day and 3 at night, the whole process took an hour, so I got 2 hours of sleep in between, it was exhausting. There is no way anyone could keep that up for long. Oddly eventually he just got it, just as I was thinking I might have to give up, so I would never judge someone who doesn't breastfeed.

I persisted for several reasons:
1) Breast is Best. (The reason I'd like to believe was my main one, but honestly I'm not sure)
2) Breastmilk is free, formula is expensive
3) If breastfeeding would eventually work properly it would not be a faff and would involve taking nothing out of the house with me (which was true and now I'm very glad I did persist)
4) I am very stubborn (Probably the actual main reason)
5) I was so exhausted from lack of sleep that I wasn't physically able to make any decisions about changing the course of action I had embarked on. I planned to breastfeed, this is what I did. I didn't know anything about formula or how to make it up, in the state I was in I was fairly sure I wouldn't be able to make up a bottle.

All of this is just an aside, laying the ground of what experience I have before I make my arguments as to why I think both sides of this debate are wrong and should just stop it. I'm aware that the people who do this debating are unlikely to read this, but it will make me feel better to rant.

To the Breast only pushers:
Before you criticise those who bottle feed, do you have any idea of what that person has gone through? Breastfeeding is not always easy, it can be incredibly hard and for some it just doesn't work. For some of them maybe they could have carried on for another week and maybe baby would have got it, but maybe for their own sanity and and health they needed to stop, baby needs a happy Mum too. And there are some who for whatever reason just can't breast-feed. e.g. where baby is tongue-tied, or Mum's milk doesn't come in.

To the angry bottle feeders:
Do you think you are helping your cause by comparing breast feeders to Nazi Germany? Breastapo and "Breast Nazi" might sound catchy, but they are offensive and using them is detrimental to your argument. (See Godwin's Law.)

Also, has it occurred to you that a lot of the people breast feeding also get a lot of flack? Being tutted or glared at for trying to discretely feed in public etc. Also having people tell them they should bottle feed (When Jonas wouldn't feed straight after birth I asked for help, 9 hours later someone finally came, looked at him, said if he's not feeding I should just give him some formula). I've heard relatives accuse people of being selfish for breastfeeding as it means they can't help feed. With all of this negativity that's why they get so defensive over their decision to breastfeed and it being the best thing.

There, done, I feel a bit better now and will get off my soapbox.

Although... While I'm climbing down, while I'm on the topic of breastfeeding. Recently there was a lot of uproar over Facebook deleting photos of breastfeeeding women where nipples were showing. Personally I think there's nothing wrong with breastfeeding in public, mainly because babies eat so often that to deny people this right would mean they couldn't leave the house (At nearly 5 months Jonas still eats very erratically, between every 2 to 4 hours). However, I don't particularly want people to see my nipples and would certainly not want a photo with them showing. Perhaps I'm just particularly prudish, but I see no problem with saying that breastfeeding photos are fine, but cover the nipple up.

Friday, March 16, 2012
Yesterday I was opening my door to take Jonas out for his jabs when I discovered the back fence was missing and builders from the site behind were standing in my garden. Considering the lead builder (and owner) had been so abusive to me in the past that I had had to call the police on him, I wasn't exactly pleased. I went to speak to them about it and they said they were moving it into my garden by about a foot because apparently it was in the wrong place according to the title plans!

I wasn't really sure what to do about this blatant bullying and land theft. I've been having a look online and no one really covers the issue of what to do if someone just moves a fence, mainly because most sane people would talk to their neighbour before doing something like that.

I don't know if he's right or not, the title plans say on them at the bottom that the boundary lines show the general boundary, not exact positions, which would imply to me that him standing there measuring is not how they are supposed to be used.

Even if the border on the map is in a different place than the fence, he and I both bought our plots after the fence was put up. So on viewing them knew how much space we had. It is rather odd to come 5 years after the fence was put up and move it.

In fact the plots used to be one, he is building in what was the garden of this house. The previous owner separated the bottom of this garden off from the house and added it to the next door property which he also owned, so that he could have parking for the flats he was building. Therefore he put the fence in at the same time as applying to change the title plan, so clearly the fence marked where he intended the property boundary to be and someone just drew the line less accurately.

What is infuriating is that legally I seem to have no way to fight this. At least no way that won't cost far more than the land is worth. So someone can just walk into my garden and steal part of my land and yet it doesn't count as theft, just a "boundary dispute". Apparently I can't even complain about trespass, which seems crazy that a man who has been incredibly verbally abusive to me can just walk into my enclosed garden whenever he wants without any warning and I can't do anything about it.

As unlikely as it sounds I'm not actually angry about this, I mean it's really a very small patch of land, and we don't really use it, it's the principle of the thing. This guy is a thug and a bully and he just gets away with it. As far as I can see the only way I can beat him is to move the fence back once he's finished. An interesting idea. Hmm. There was a property dispute helpline that was meant to give me half an hour of advice from a chartered surveyer, they took my number, but never called back.

Sunday, March 11, 2012
Since Jonas was born, these are the things that have broken:

  • The PS3 (twice. First the night Jonas was born, Matt's brother played on it and it stopped working, then just after Sebastian was born).
  • The DVD player (that we tried to use when the PS3 was off being mended)
  • My laptop (which we then tried to use plugged into the TV when the PS3 and DVD player were out of action, to be fair it was already fairly broken in that the screen didn't work, but it did work fine when plugged into another monitor or the TV, then that went wrong too).
  • Two PCs
  • The external hardrive that had my back up files on. I'm really hoping that the hard drive with all of my files on in my PC is fine -it was the second hard drive, so should be and then I can get the files once it's in a new PC (Helen and Rob are kindly giving us an old one).
  • 2 wingmirrors on the car (admittedly these weren't spontaneous like everything else. The first one broke when Matt was trying to get the car out while I was in labour - so technically doesn't count as being after Jonas came. The second one broke when Matt was getting the car out to fetch some things from the shops for Helen while she was in hospital having Sebastian)
  • The car - can't be more specific as we've never really figured out what's wrong. The check engine light keeps coming on. The garage is baffled, they keep fixing things and it is driving better now, when it first came on there was clearly something very wrong as it had started getting very few miles to the gallon. It's come on again now though and they have said they don't know what else to do and we might have to go to a dealership.
  • The Washing Machine
  • Matt's bike - he got 2 flat tyres last week, that doesn't really count as breaking, so I'm getting a bit tenuous now.

I don't really think all of these things can be caused by Jonas, but it is annoying and I'm hoping that is the end of the list as I'm on maternity pay right now, so we really can't afford to keep fixing things. We haven't really been fixing or replacing many of them.

Saturday, March 03, 2012
Right, there is a nursery rhyme which I really hate. Annoyingly it's Jonas's favourite, probably a sign of his rebellion to come. The song is "Wind the Bobbin up." Oddly I remember this song from when I was tiny and grew up in the Midlands, then I moved to Devon and never heard it again until recently, when living in Leicester. From asking around it appears that it's not just because I wasn't really around small children for the time in between, people I've asked in the South with young children still don't sing it, making it more likely that it's because of the textile industry here. Okay, fine, I have no problem with singing about bobbins in a place where there was a thriving textile industry. What bugs me about the song is the complete non sequitur of the whole pointing bit. I mean, nursery rhymes often don't seem to make sense, but when you examine them there's some sort of meaning to them, but with this I really can't see why there is a leap from working with bobbins to pointing at windows and doors. Possibly there is a really deep hidden reason, but no one I've asked seems to know.

For those who don't know the lyrics here they are:

Wind the bobbin up,
Wind the bobbin up,
Pull, pull, clap, clap, clap.
Wind it back again,
Wind it back again,
Pull, pull, clap, clap, clap,
Point to the ceiling,
Point to the floor,
Point to the window,
Point to the door,
Clap your hands together, 1, 2, 3,
Put your hands upon your knee.

(At least these are the Leicester lyrics, Wikipedia has an extra bit of "do a roly-poly" before "put your hands upon your knee", I've never heard that one and don't understand how babies would do a roly-poly, or in fact how anyone would fit one in that gap, a roly poly makes it even more random).

If anyone can enlighten me as to a reason I would be most grateful as I seem to need to sing this song every day as it cheers Jonas up (because of all of the pointing I guess, it is a particular favourite with many babies) and I would love to know that there was a reason for the different actions. My strong suspicion is though that people just added bits to it to make it more fun or something. This is strengthened by the statement on Wikipedia that in the 70s it was a game with the lyrics:

Wind the bobbin up,
Wind the bobbin up,
Pull, pull,
Tug, tug, tug.

I don't remember anything other than the winding and pulling from when I was in school in the 80s, so maybe the rest of the lyrics have been added much more recently.

In case you're wondering how it came about that I know Jonas loves a song I hate, well, that comes back to the whole attending lots of baby groups, it's sung at many of them. I tried mentioning my hatred of the song to one of the leaders of a group and she looked at me as if I was strange and said what on earth was there to dislike about it. She didn't understand when I explained. I would think it was only me, but unless they're just humouring me, others at least understand even if they don't share my hatred. Matt hates it, but tends to make up new words anyway.

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