It's my life, but not as I knew it!

Posts tagged ‘safety’

Act With Kindness

The Fred Rogers’ quote “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping'” has been used often to try to help with recent global events. I know I have spoken to Biscuit and Cracker about this, in an attempt to stop them being so scared by the news images which have tragically become part of our everyday lives.

Rest assured, those helpers are always there; whether that’s our amazing emergency services, individual helpers who go over and above to help others or whole communities coming together to provide support/shelter/etc. Those helpers are there after terrorist incidents, natural disasters or events like the Grenfell House fire. They are both visible and working behind the scenes (let’s not forget our 999 call handlers who got Police to the London Bridge area in order to neutralise the terrorists within 8 minutes of the call to them). But can we all be helpers?

Of course we can. I don’t mean that we should all metaphorically don capes and throw ourselves in to potentially dangerous situations, but knowing that we can all help in our own way. We can be kind to people. We can treat them with respect. Rob and I are raising Biscuit and Cracker to be tolerant, to listen to other people’s views and to respect them (VERY different from agreeing with them btw), by understanding that if it doesn’t directly impact on you then your opinion is limited and by being kind. This means remembering that words have a huge impact, that your actions/inactions can hurt people, and that empathy is one of the most vitally important skills you can ever use.

I am always honest with Biscuit and Cracker with what’s going on in the world (it’s their world too after all). They are aware of who Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Jeremy Hunt are and what their views are (if you’re wondering; “he’s a silly man who doesn’t like people who have different colour skin than him”, “he’s mean as he doesn’t think boys and boys and girls and girls should get married” and “he’s a stinky poo-poo head because he doesn’t think paramedics and nurses are important and do a brilliant job” respectively). I admit I struggled watching the DUP politicians (with their anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice stance) being given such airtime on TV and such power in Westminster. I respect that they have different views to me, but I severely dislike their damning words regarding things which are so personal and their judgments on people (nothing wrong with the saying “if you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”). There’s no kindness in what they say.

One final thought, before my random ramblings come to an end (thank you for putting up with a slightly different post from Biscuit and Cracker today); be kind to yourself. Sometimes we find it easier to be kind to others, but we shouldn’t leave ourselves out of that.

Look after yourselves and I hope to see you again soon.









Babywearing Alert: for your information

As a huge babywearing advocate, I will tell everyone and anyone to get themselves a sling and start wearing their baby as soon as they can. It is also important that people wear their baby as safely as possible too.

A recent babywearing tragedy has been reported to the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) by Dr Brierley, a consultant intensivist at Great Ormond Street Hospital. A baby was smothered whilst being carried in a ‘soft fabric bag-style baby sling’ around London by his mum (read the alert here).

The poor mum thought that she was doing her best at keeping her baby safe, and yet every parent’s worst nightmare happened to her. Of course, accidents happen each and every day. That is why we do our very best to try and prevent them happening. We secure our TVs to the wall, put stair guards on our doors and cover the sharp corners of all our furniture. If you, like me, still want to babywear then make sure you follow simple rules to make that as safe as you can.

Safety advice

The simple safety advice for wearing your baby in a sling is to make sure that it is tight, the adult can always see their baby’s face by simply glancing down, the adult can kiss their baby’s head by tipping their head forward and the baby should never be curled up so their chin is forced onto their chest, as this can restrict their breathing.

A very good rule of thumb for parents who use carriers is the TICKS mnemonic:

In view at all times
Close enough to kiss
Keep chin off the chest
Supported back

Remember there are many different types of sling available for you to use, we have used ring slings, Mai tais, buckle slings and woven wrap slings. If you are still worried, or feel you need extra help or advice then I strongly recommend you go to your local sling library and have a talk with one of their extremely qualified and experienced babywearing consultants who will be able to give you all the safety advice you need to feel comfortable.

Just Keep Swimming….

My mum had a head teacher who said that whatever else children in his school learnt, they must all learn to swim. My mum passed the same philosophy onto my brother and me- I may not particularly like going underwater but I am safe in the water and that’s the important bit. Rob, having been a lifeguard on the small Italian island where he grew up, is a fish. We both wanted the twins to be confident and competent in water.
When they were six weeks old (and baring in mind they were five weeks early, they were teeny tiny) we took them on their first course of swimming lessons with London Baby Swim in Osterley. They also have a location in Wandsworth. They are purpose-built swimming pool, maintained at a toasty 33oC with low chlorine levels and specially trained instructors. They had trouble staying awake throughout the first few lessons, but always seemed to enjoy them. Cracker had mild talipes and the swimming got him to strengthen his leg and foot muscles and now it’s not noticeable at all. We did two courses with them, one of the major benefits of maternity leave was being off for that time and being able to sign up for certain days. Osterley is very far away from us, over an hour on the tube each way, but it was a sad day when we had our last session there.
We then did a course with Water Babies at the Bridge School in Islington. Because this one was held at a school the water was still nice and warm for them and they were bigger so they could do more.
After these courses, and a trip to visit Rob’s family in Italy, we started taking them swimming in our own. We searched for a family friendly swimming pool (not that easy in London). We had a bad experience at our local pool, Oasis, where the manager told us we shouldn’t be bringing young children swimming and we left after five minutes and a refund. We had a better experience at Marshall Street Leisure Centre with lovely, helpful staff but it was absolutely freezing!! We then went a few times to Archway Leisure Centre which was nice, but with a wave pool, slide and other fun things it is probably best for older children who can already swim. We have now been lucky enough to find out that our local LA Fitness has family swim times every day, and the option to add your children to your membership. If we go at least three times a month, it works out a very good deal too. The pool is warm, not too busy and the changing rooms are clean and spacious.
I know I have talked about specific pools and businesses here, but what I wanted to get across to you is that there are many options out there for baby and toddler swimming , it is just a case of googling, searching and asking other parents for recommendations. There are a great many articles out there that show the positive aspects of baby swimming on both babies and parents, which shows how beneficial that hour a week can be for you and your family. Combine that with a life-long confidence in water, the gentle exercise you’ll all get and I’m glad we made the decision to take Biscuit and Cracker swimming from when they were young. They are happy in the water and enjoy going, I couldn’t ask for more.

A week without a playpen…

I have briefly touched on how useful I find our amazing playpen in a previous post. Loving referred to as “baby jail” in our house, it allows the twins the freedom to manoeuvre around as much as they’d like without exposing them to potential dangers in our open-plan living room/kitchen.

People have criticised me for using a playpen, but until you have looked after two mobile and highly creative toddlers in a large room that contains the TV, all electrical gadgets (ie play station, wii, sky box, laptop etc) as well as the oven, dishwasher, washing machine not to mention the cat food, litter tray and the cat herself then please don’t judge! Unfortunately, even with one child it would be impossible to be there, following them around, every second of every day.

We attempted to cope at the beginning but as soon as they started to crawl, we knew we would need something to keep them safe. Twins are notorious at crawling off in complete opposite directions, or working together to get to places or to move things they wouldn’t have been able to do alone!

For an incredibly short time we used a traditional ‘pack and play’ from Kiddicare, but it was obvious that Biscuit and Cracker didn’t like the feel of crawling or standing on the slightly springy raised floor and it was quite small for the two of them. It was perfect if I needed to answer the door or, God forbid, go to the toilet but it didn’t help us with the original problem of keeping them safe and us sane.
I then found, to us, the perfect option. It was large, didn’t have a floor and was easy to set up and put away. Amazon had the Baby Vivo Expandable Playpen in stock and we ordered it straight away! Thank goodness we did. The playpen is huge, it takes up most of the floor space in our living room and happily accommodates two toddlers, two adults and plenty of toys for everyone.

This week we have been at my parents’ house. They have a separate living room and with clever use of their furniture we figured that the twins would be okay. How silly we were! We had five days of “no”, “leave the TV alone”, “come back”, “don’t climb on there” and “stop, you’re going to hurt yourself”. It wasn’t nice. I felt that all we were doing was stopping the twins doing anything they wanted to do. Yes, they had more space to roam around in but they were definitely stifled and were getting much more frustrated than I’ve ever seen them before.

We got home last night and this morning they went straight into ‘baby jail’ full of smiles and giggles at all their toys waiting for them there. I was able to put out a load of washing, sort of a pile of magazines and catalogues and prepare their breakfast knowing where they were and that they wouldn’t be coming to harm. They can see me and regularly threw toys at me when I was unloading the washing machine! For the rest of the morning we have all been in there playing, cuddling and dancing to the new CDs they got for Christmas.

Until the twins are old enough to understand why they shouldn’t touch/chew certain things then I shall continue to use our lovely playpen. It works!