Saturday, 30 November 2013

Buslife 2

Unexpected consequence of becoming a mother: utilising a bus service when pushing a pram tends to make one a target for outbursts of aggression from elderly women. Specifically those travelling with a shopping trolley.

It's an unsavoury symptom of the fact that buses have very little space for anything other than bottoms, and, in oxford at least, tend to be overcrowded at all times of day. Double deckers are able to carry three pushchairs, or one pushchair and one wheelchair. Several times I've had to wait for the next bus because there are too many prams already. But there is no formal allowance for the little wheeled carts, without which many elderly people would presumably be unable to fetch groceries. It's so unfortunate that the upshot of this seems to be that the little old ladies are cultivating an unhealthy defensiveness and hostility towards the mothers against whom they always lose the competition for space.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


So I'm sitting at the front of the bus with Orso on my knee, and he's making eyes at everyone, and the whole crowd are falling in love with him. I'm thinking yeah, go on, look at how awesome my baby is, smug as you like.  And then he throws up all over the place :o

Monday, 25 November 2013

Guilty as charged

An article at the Huffington Post details five things parents need to stop saying to non-parents and I am totally guilty as charged. Before having Orson I explicitly said to myself that I wasn't going to become one of those parents who can't talk about anything other than babies (yawn), who acts like their child is everyone else's problem (grr), or like the world actually owes them one for being generous enough to reproduce. There is a serious debate to be had as to whether reproduction qualifies, in some respects, as an act of biological altruism (for example, some have called mammalian breastfeeding a selfless act). But my gut instinct says its mostly entirely selfish. Aside from environmental guilt, I'm pretty sure that nobody (apart from maybe grandparents) gets such a kick out of Orson's existence as I do.

Anyway, Simo and I swore blind that we weren't going to stop going out, or let our lives revolve around the baby. We weren't going to let the everyday phenomenon of self-spawning make us lose sight of the bigger picture, of our idiosyncratic interests and intellectual activities. In short, we were going to be cool parents, who stayed just as close to all our non-parent friends and didn't become boring.

But its so HARD!!!! At some point, some number of weeks into the brain-numbing relentlessness of the nappy changing, breastfeeding, rocking etc etc you just realise that fighting the baby-take-over just makes life harder, and we-must-not-do-anything-that-makes-life-harder.

I'd like to think I'm still a fairly considerate parent. I fold my pushchair up on busy buses. I try to keep Orson quiet in places where people need quiet. I try not to subject family members to him before about 8am. But clearly I'm falling into all the cliches of a new parent who thinks everyone should be interested in the details of their darling offspring's daily habits (i'm blogging about it, for god's sake!) and that life pre-baby was a meaningless distant memory (see Exiting the cave). As for being a cool parent? I haven't got the energy!

So yes, I am guilty as charged, and I'm sorry! I really ought to be more considerate to the feelings of all those who cannot or choose not to have children. On the other hand, its hard enough worrying about the impact of all this on my academic life without worrying about my social life as well. Hopefully one day when all of this has calmed down a bit (*will that ever happen, she pleads*) my good friends will still be there for me, waiting patiently with a large bottle of vodka.

Poorly boy

Well we have finally broken the seal on the calpol. We had a miserable, clingy and sleepless baby boy there for a few days, with a fever, blocked up nose and no appetite. I'd been reluctant to resort to calpol, having read the long list of e-numbers on the ingredients, but when the thermometer read 41 degrees C I couldnt get it open fast enough. As well as distressing, it has been exhausting, like looking after a newborn again who won't be put down. Made me wonder how on earth we ever coped with a newborn! And I'm such a wuss, I coped with about 3 minutes of 4am screaming before I was like 'we have to call a doctor!'

Turns out that the best way to make a feverish baby stop screaming and calm down is to call a doctor and claim the baby won't stop screaming * embarrassed*. Anyway, we all three survived it and the boy's appetite has returned with a vengeance. On a more serious note, it made me feel so bad for all those parents of truly sick babies : (

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

£200 to breastfeed a baby?

A new scheme is being rolled out to incentivise new mothers to breastfeed their babies, rather than giving them formula. According to the BBC, mothers in selected areas of Sheffield can earn £200 by breastfeeding their newborns for six months -read the story here.

This raises several questions in my mind.  

Sunday, 3 November 2013

0.5 years old already

Such a cliche, but doesn't time  fly. It's hard to believe this small man with all his knowing smiles, skeptical glances and vocabulary of coos and squawks was ever a wriggling, snuffling little newborn animal.