Monday 8 October 2012

Talking About Termination of Pregnancy

I feel a little uncomfortable writing this. However it was a tweet that inspired this post, which I can't find now that said basically that the electorate has a right to have their voices heard. So I have a voice, and some opinions and my blog, so here goes.

I don't like abortion. However, I have seen societies were termination of pregnancy is illegal and I really don't like that either. If we outlawed abortion it would happen still, but putting women in extreme danger. Now you can, unbelievably, buy abortion tablets on the internet. Disreuptable illegal clinics would sprout up. Women would flee to other countries.  No I believe in medical termination of pregnancy in safe enviroments with counselling and support.

However, I believe strongly that something is going wrong in terms of the amount of unwanted pregnancy and all this talk of lowering limits is shutting the stable gate. Lets catch the horse first. 

As I was considering what to write I found this fabulous blog post by Dilly Tante, my new favourite blogger (is it wrong to idolise a favicon - so pretty) where she talks about Jeremy Hunt and his desire to see the limit for termination of pregnancy reduced to 12 weeks.

What annoys me is this, what are we actually doing to prevent the rate of unwanted pregnancies in the first place? Where is the debate about what is going wrong?And where are the Tory voices in this? We have more contraception choices than ever before, more means of communicating those choices, yet still the abortion rate continues to be high. We have sex education in schools. I don't know why the unwanted pregnancy rate is high, and I'd love to hear more debate about this and to understand it.

We also have increasing sexualisation of, well, just about everything. Seeing the world through my son's eyes, whilst oftentimes is delightful, is also downright scary.I see what he is exposed to on a daily basis and I worry. I was in my 20s and married before I lost my virginity. I worry about what age Joseph will be when he loses his own.

To me, the talk of lowering the gestational age of termination of pregnancy to 12 weeks is somewhat ridiculous, and that change inadvertantly may cause the rate of terminations to go up not down, as women feel under immense pressure to have the appointment booked by 12 weeks .Chloe talks about this on her post, also written this weekend, from a very personal viewpoint.  Also Jeremy Hunt is not giving the NHS any credit, for their target is to have most terminations done by 10 weeks. The vast amount of terminations are done before the 12 week mark anyway.

I totally agree with Dilly Tante, that Jeremy Hunt's comments are to make Dorries' suggestion of lowering the gestational age from 24 weeks to 20 weeks more appealing. But what really saddens me is that no one seems to be talking about what we can do to reduce the amount of unwanted pregnancies in the first place. 

Currently the legal limit stands at 24 weeks, and for a lot of us, this seems very high. Many of my readers have had babies at 24 weeks gestation, or indeed younger, and I know that when these debates surface it is upsetting, as there are vehement arguments on both sides. The simple fact is, despite the statistics that might elude otherwise, babies are born at 22-24 weeks, and do survive, albeit with a lot of medical help and support, but they do survive and thrive.

I do think there is a case for lowering the limit from 24 weeks to 20 weeks. I do appreciate that no one enters into a late term termination lightly, however there is already provision for termination beyond 24 weeks in extenuating and compelling circumstances. Unless the Tories are considering changing this as well (and I've seen no mention of it in the press) then there is still a safety measure in place.

What I think we need overall is dialogue. Termination of pregnancy happens, for lots of reasons. I think as a community and as an electorate we need to unpick those reasons and work on them, help women manage their fertility in a way that suits them, but we need that safety net in place too.  We need to talk about termination of pregnancy, and we need to do it now.

Sunday 7 October 2012

ONE Mum Meme

My friend Michelle from Mummy from the Heart has just arrived in Ethopia. She is there with ONE to gather the living proof that international aid is truly making a difference in Ethiopia. I am excited about Michelle's trip with ONE because it is so easy for us in the UK to wonder if what we do truly makes a difference. I am excited to see what she finds.

ONE is different. We are not asking for money. ONE is a grassroots campaigning organisation, that seeks to hold governments accountable for their decisions in regard to aid. ONE is all about voices, using our voice to effect change. By showing that aid is working then this should mean more adherence by governments to the commitments they make. It's easy in a conference to say "yes we will help", but organisations like ONE, to coin a very Australia turn of phrase, are there to "*keep the bastards honest." 

When she tagged me in the ONE Mum meme I was delighted. I saw it over at Claire's blog Seasider in the City during the week, and it was on my to do list, so tagging has given me an extra incentive to get it done!

So Claire has asked us using the ONE Mums slogan to build a little picture of our thoughts on being a mum.

Olympian - being a mum is an Olympian task, huge resposibility requiring a multitude of skills
Neonatal - my experience of a mum, like it or not began in neonatal and that still colours a lot what being a mum is all about, for me.
Energy - to me being a mum is all about positive energy, and using that for good. And parenting a three year old takes a lot of it.
Memories - being a mum means creating memories, and taking time to reflect on those, and use them to build for the future
Universal - so much of being a mum unites us, wherever we are and whatever we do
Magical - from seeing my son grow from a 1lb 7oz tiny little baby to a gigantic 3 year old, seeing him say his first words, take his first steps, it's really magical
Sensational - being a mum is just fabulous. I never expected to be a mum, and its been an amazing journey.

I am cheating just a little, and am tagging the members of my Facebook group in this meme!

* In Australia the word bastard isn't seen in the same light as the UK, and this is a common term of phrase, which I have to admit I quite like. I do apologise if it offends. Try hearing it in an Aussie accent and its not so bad honest!

Friday 5 October 2012

My Friday Round Up

One of the things I really missed about not having my computer was missing out on reading my favourite blog posts. I find reading on the phone very hard, and whilst I had a quick glimpse, I couldn't read and comment as usual.

On Facebook I have started a group for parent bloggers who blog about neonatal care, baby loss and prematurity. It's become a lovely close knit group. If you blog in this area and would like to join you can find it here.

This post from K at Mummy Pinkwellies is just gorgeous. Littlebit has just celebrated her second birthday and has come a long way in that time. She's just adorable, and I think you will agree this picture of her is very special. The anxiety that comes with having a tiny baby is so hard to appreciate at times, but these two pictures say it all.

Mouse at Nearly Everything But the Kitchen Sink has done some cracking posts this week, so it was hard to choose, but I decided on the post about parks in Newcastle , because I have never been there, and all I know about Newcastle is the Angel of the North and the bridge. I really love the photography, you really get a feel for the place, and I can't wait to visit one day.

Next is the very lovely Leanna and her post over at Diary of a Premmy Mum about her amazing night in London at the MAD Blog Awards. I was so thrilled when Leanna was announced as a finalist. I found that last year that being a nominee really spurred me on with blogging and I hope Leanna has found the same.

I will be blogging a lot more, and asking Kerry from And Then All I Thought About Was You to come and join us, as its Baby Loss Awareness Month. This post highlights that the pain of losing a baby doesn't go away, and mothers like Kerry need to know that we still care and are still here to listen.

I discovered Mommy Beadzoid on Britmums many moons ago, and was excited to find another premmy mum, with a child of similar age to Joseph born at the same gestation. I really love this post about her daughter smacking, as we are going through a similar stage with Joseph, and dealing with it is really difficult. Sadly, we seem to be coming to the same conclusion that there are no easy answers, or quick solutions.

I hope you enjoy this round up of posts. I will chose some more blogs next week. And please, feel free to join our Facebook group.

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Things I Have Discovered Since My Computer Died

My computer died about 3 weeks ago now, and my replacement arrived yesterday. I was in no hurry to sort it and I waited until Joseph was asleep to set it up this evening. Here is what I have learned.

1. That I spend way too much time on line. Yes, no brainer really, but my real life was suffering and I didn't realise. Since my computer has been broken I have spent quality time with humans. And I've enjoyed it.

2. To cable knit! This is the person who was scared of increasing and decreasing, and I am knitting a lovely snood/shawl/scarf

3. That my cheap awful tablet isn't so bad after all. I was really disappointed that it only had a limited App store, that I hardly ever used it! Sadly it has now been lost to a 3 foot high person.......who optimistically refers to it as the iPad!

4. I enjoy reading. I read books. Nothing deep (and not that 50 shades of whatever either) but just read for fun.

5. I love the library. I used the local one, which happily is adjacent to preschool. We also have a lovely library in Ramsbottom. Through the library I had free internet access so I could still keep in touch.

6. The internet has been making me poorly. Well that's a slight exaggeration but I have noticed since having limited internet access my IBS has been a lot better. So here is my main lesson.

7. I must learn to manage my time better, and make lots of time for real life. Blogging and social media are fabulous, don't get me wrong, but there are lots of other things in my life too, that make me happy.

8. I love my blog. I am looking forward to blogging regularly again, but I have learnt my lesson. Blogging every day is NOT necessary. Tweeting incessantly, G+ing, Facebooking etc is not necessary either. I have loyal readers, good google hits, so need to relax, enjoy and not put so much pressure on myself!

9. That I am never going to have real life coffee and cake friends unless I leave my PC and get out there! I am delighted to have met a lovely friend at the library (hello Ellie if you are reading this) and making more friends at Joseph's school.

Feel free to remind me of these lessons!

Friday 28 September 2012

Ten Tips to Surviving Medical Appointments

Having a premature baby often means having quite a lot of appointments. I used my little group of parents on Facebook for help too, and here are my top tips.

  1. Ask about choose and book for new appointments. For our recent referral to a consultant we used choose and book. I was able to choose the time, date and location which I found really helpful.
  2. Know what the appointment is for. Sometimes other specialists will make referrals to other professionals, so its useful to have this clarified if you receive a letter on your doorstep you weren't expecting.
  3. Make a note of any questions or concerns that you have. It's ok to write these down and pass them over to the consultant. It can be helpful to ask other people involved with your child if they have anything they think needs raising,
  4. Arrive with some time up your sleeve but not too much. I made the mistake of arriving at Monday's appointment 20 minutes early and the consultant was half an hour late.
  5. For older children role play can be useful. Joseph loves playing doctors so I got him to pretend he was examining my hips and feet. Make the trip as fun as possible. We took a taxi, a tram and a bus to the hospital, and played games on the way.
  6. Take distractions. A lot of the parents who responded on my Facebook question use iPads, we don't have one. For this appointment I just had "mucky" the comfort blanket, and some books. At the Children's hospital they have an amazingly well equipped room.
  7. Bring snacks. Some mums bring chocolate buttons etc. For long appointments I tend to bring a little packed lunch. For this one I used Macdonalds as a bribe (bad parenting there but I don't care!)
  8. A great tip from one of my expert parents is that for very involved appointments ask for a play therapist to come in and keep the child busy whilst you ask questions.
  9. Bring some children's magazines, they often have toys and stickers and can provide good, inexpensive distraction. I tend to keep all ours and reuse them for craft projects too.
  10. It's absolutely fine to ask for clarification, for information to be written down, and for second opinions. Medical appointments can be daunting, and a good consultant will be able to address your concerns and put your mind at ease.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Astute Mum? Me?

On Monday I took Joseph for his long awaited appointment at Manchester Children's Hospital to see a consultant about his walking.

Unlike many of his other appointments, I wasn't nervous. I think now Joseph is 3 I am far too busy managing him to have much time to mither about appointments. A little tiny part of me was a little concerned that perhaps something had been missed with his hips, but not too worried.

I love Manchester Children's Hospital. It's shiny and new, which helps, but its very laid out, and the waiting room for outpatients has lots of toys, and even volunteer playworkers. It's a fantastic place. I suspect my creepy child does have some sort of memory of being there, as he looked upstairs and said "please don't make me go up there again". Joseph had hernia surgery here when he was 7 months old....

We saw a really lovely consultant, who spent a lot of time talking to me, and watching Joseph. The first thing she did when we entered the room was obtain another box of toys, as she quickly realised that Joseph was a very busy little chap who needs a lot of stimulation. She started by asking lots of questions. She asked if I had any problems with his expressive language, to which I replied "he's a little too expressive at times - which she was soon to find out!

He wasn't that impressed with being examined, which helped show off his sentence structure "I can't take my shoes and socks off, its raining, and I want to go and have something to eat instead". The doctor was very impressed!

She managed to have a quick look, and thankfully, as expected, Joseph does not have any spooky hip dysplasia, which I have to admit crossed my mind briefly. He is very hypermobile, and can quite easily suck his toes, which he never did as a baby but certainly does now (ewww I know where those toes have been....)

I explained that Joseph had never really had interventions, that I've just let him develop at his own speed, with the occasional physio visit and orthotic visit just to make sure he is on the right track. The consultant asked what clinical experience I had or whether I was just an expert premmie mum!

She said that my decisions had been very astute, and she was very pleased with his progress. She said unless he was falling and hitting himself, losing teeth, bruising, bleeding she would be more than happy just to let him continue on.

I felt enormous relief. I guess any parent, whether you baby is premmie or term, has no idea what is right or wrong, and just makes it up as they go along.

When you are a member of the international premmie community and hear tales of early intervention, regular physiotherapy, occupational therapy involvement, you wonder whether the "hands off and leave em to it" approach is the right one.

Joseph was very pleased to get to the end of his appointment, and most excited to run through the puddles to "the cafe".

I am so proud of my little boy, he's a star!

Wednesday 19 September 2012


Not me, my computer. It has suffered a toddler related accident and is off to hospital.

However, it is clear that Social Media (darling) and blogging have loomed too large in my days, and I have taken it as a sign that I need to get my house in order, figuratively and literally.

I am currently working on my diploma in Health and Social Care and fear I am falling behind due to life, as well as the blog, so I am going to try having a break from blogging for a bit.  My long term plan is to write a book and have a website, that contains all this information in an easy to read format rather than searching through posts. For now I am stepping away for a bit. I still very much want to be involved with Bliss, Tommy's and Sparks, but maybe using other social media more, with the blog just in the background, but we'll see.

The IBS I was diagnosed with over summer is getting harder to control and I know its because I am putting myself under too much stress to be all things to all people, and I can't keep doing that.

I am also suffering from PTSD more than I like to admit. I am dwelling more on what happened, and the ramifications, and am finding the blogger baby boom very difficult to manage personally. I am thrilled and delighted for my blogging friends and don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but for me sometimes, its really hard. (and I am crying in the library - not cool)

I feel I need some time to reassess what I'm doing and get a better balance. I want more time to glue, playdough, paint, make mud pies, collect autumn leaves, make stick dinosaurs, sew, knit.....

So we will see what happens in the coming weeks. I'll still be around with limited access either at my local library where I am now, or on my phone, and can still be reached on Twitter and Facebook from time to time.

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake with Total Greek Yoghurt

When Total  Greek Yoghurt asked me to take part in their recipe challenge I was delighted. I am not a food blogger, but I love to cook, and I love Total, and have been purchasing it ever since it arrived in the UK.

Toral have released 1000 recipes using Total Greek Yoghurt and are running a Treasure Hunt to celebrate. There are 30 recipes in total, across different blogs. All you have to do is find as many as you can to be in with a chance to win £800 worth of kitchen equipment. More details and how to enter are at the bottom of my post.

I chose the Choclate Swirl Cheesecake and was sent all the ingredients to try it out.

I have made a few cheesecakes in my day and the recipe made me a little nervous. I've made two types, a baked cheesecake and set cheesecake with gelatine. This only had yoghurt, cream cheese and a little bit of icing sugar so I was a little worried it might end up a gooey mess.

Resisting the urge to add a leaf or two of gelatine, I stuck precisely to the recipe.


First of all I introduced the biscuits to the food processor.
Then added the melted butter and agave nectar (more about this later) and popped it into the bottom of my springform tin (ungreased)

Now for the star of the show Total Greek Yoghurt. Now if you've never used it before Total is very different than Greek Style Yoghurt. It's very thick and creamy, think a cross between whipped cream and double cream with much less fat. 


I popped the whole carton of yoghurt in, together with the cream cheese and icing sugar into my beautiful Kitchenaid and gave it a good whipping.

 And then spread the luscious thick topping onto the base.
 Finally under the watchful eye of my sous chef I added the chocolate swirls.

After a day in the refrigerator here is the end result, which came out of the tin perfectly.

The cheesecake was absolutely divine, however here are a few pointers.
  • The Lyle Chocolate Syrup was the wrong product to use for the topping. I knew it would be as I buy this for Joseph. It wasn't rich enough or thick enough, so it formed a coating rather than ripples and didn't contribute to the flavour. When I make this again, I will make my own chocolate sauce with 100grammes bittersweet chocolate and 200 mls cream.
  • The agave nectar wasn't required. I never sweeten a digestive biscuit base and found this unnecessary. However if omitting it you will need to add a little more sugar to the cheesecake mix.
  • The recipe states that if feeds eight. What it means is it feeds 8 Tasmanian lumberjacks. For a family of four I would use a smaller tin and half the mixture. 
  • I am dying to play with the recipe. One of my favourite recipes is a Turkish Delight Cheesecake which is a fiddle and a half, and I am going to try and modify this recipe. I also think a chocolate ginger version would be divine, or lemon ripple with lemon curd on the top. 
  • This is a perfect recipe, in particular the filling, as there are no eggs, no gelatine, and its so easy to make. It will most certainly become a regular in my repertoire.  
Total have hidden away 30 TOTAL recipes on 30 different blogs across the web. Can you find them? If so, you are in with the chance of winning Paul Merrett’s Ultimate Chef’s Kit, worth over £800. On the tab you'll find clues leading to 10 of the hidden recipes and over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting additional clues on our timeline to help you find the final 20. The more recipes you find, the more times your name goes into the draw and the more chances you have to win! The recipes are part of our brand new recipe collection 1000 Ways to Love your TOTAL.  To take part go to the app on thek Facebook page.

Monday 17 September 2012

Borrowing Blogger's Bumps - Spark's Charity Bump Campaign

Beautiful aren't they?

Sparks Charity asked me to share my bump photo and talk about my bump, and what it meant to me. My hopes, my fears.

But I didn't get one. A bump that is.

I delivered my baby at 27 weeks, I didn't get a bump, I got a baby in a box. Pre eclampsia is one of the conditions that Sparks is researching, the very reason my bump was robbed from me.

Did you know that in the UK over 3000 babies will die before their first birthday.

1 in 30 babies are born with a condition that may affect them for life.

Sparks are laumching their Bump campaign and there are some fantastic ways to get involved, find out more here.

Sparks fund research in many conditions affecting mums to be, babies and children.

Every mum to be deserves that bump, and every baby inside that bump deserves a happy and healthy future.

I can't thank enough all those who let me borrow their bumps. I have more who offered to help too, and will share these later in the week. If you have a bump picture you would love to share, please get in touch.

Huge thanks to the following.

A Mummy Too

Circus Queen


Emmys Mummy

Ghostwriter Mummy

Little Lilypad

Looking for Blue Sky

Mummy from the Heart

Missy B & Family

The Mummy Adventure

Mummy Alarm

Ramblings of a Suburban Mummy

Seasider in the City

Stars & Roses

Stephs 2 Girls

Thursday 13 September 2012

Parenting - What is all the fuss about?

There is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be  a good one......

Lately I have read a few posts and comments about people sick of feeling criticised. The big buzz word in parenting at the moment is Attachment Parenting. I read a lot about this when I was pregnant and pretty sure that that was the way I wanted to roll. Extended breastfeeding, babywearing and co sleeping. I wanted to baby led wean, and use cloth nappies, I wanted that closeness with my baby, that secure attachment, I had waited so long to become a mum, I couldn't wait to experience all that.

And then, clang, it happened. My baby was cut out of me at 27 weeks and put into a plastic box and there he stayed, in variations there of for 3 months. About the most opposite to attachment parenting as you can get. There was a deep pain in my heart, that even holding my baby required military  like precision, not to mention permission, which could be denied at any time, for sometimes spurious reasons.

But this taught me something. Above all parenting needs to be pragmatic, not dogmatic. Every baby is completely different, every situation is different, each parent comes with their own set of philosphies, ideas and principles, and that's ok.

For me, I had to pick and choose. Co-sleeping for us was out, as Joseph was an extremely low birthweight and premature, so we didn't do it. We compromised and co slept on holiday, which we still do. I did baby wear a lot but not all the time, we did use a pram as well. Breastfeeding, as is well documented, didn't work out for us in the end, despite trying hard. And that's ok too. We used cloth nappies, much to the amusement of my neighbours. Some parents thought I was passing judgement on them, but its not for everyone and that's ok.

I found having a premature baby liberating, in that everytime someone queried or even criticised what I was doing I would just say "its different for prems".

But now I have a preschooler I am finding it happen more and more. I am not going to link to it, but I was completely shocked when I wrote my post about why I don't use the naughty step/corner at the strength of feeling at those who do, like I'd taken them to parenting court and had them charged!  I thought I was just writing a post about my own thoughts on the matter, not being judge, jury and executioner. I think its a shame we can't talk about parenting in a non emotive manner, and live and let live

Raising kids is hard. It's hard to know what to do, and I love sharing ideas and experiences. With the potty training and the poo issue talking to other parents has been invaluable. Whoever would have thought about giving poo a personality? I wouldn't have done, and my talks with Joseph about poo and what it likes and doesn't like  has made a huge difference (as well as a touch of old fashioned bribery!)

I love finding out the different ways people do things, and I like to think that I am not judgemental, just because you may not do things the way I do, doesn't mean they are wrong. I do think though, its important to think things through, and find out the rationale for different approaches, not just do things because that's the way Gina does it or Supernanny. Parenting as in life, its good to make informed choices.

Above all, be true to yourself and your family, and if you don't like an article, close the book, shut the browser and move on. Life is too short. 

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Prejudice and Having a Husband with a Disability

At the age of 8 I first experienced prejudice. My friend's mother fought for her child to attend mainstream school, this was the big bad 1970's. This little girl had down's syndrome. The principal of the school called her "a mongol". I raged.

Our page boy Ethan at our wedding

At university a lecturer came to see me. He said he had a student recently diagnosed with MS, his office was on the 3rd floor of the building, there was no lift. He suggested they hold the meeting on the stairs. She complained, he asked for my advice. I told him to apologise profusely and borrow an office on the ground floor. He was only trying to be accommodating but he was patronising - a form of prejudice.

I worked in the disability field and I saw two types of prejudice, the grinding societal inbuilt prejudice, and individual episodes of prejudice - people refused service in bars on the basis of their disability, refused to fly, turned down on dates. I had many an argument with bar owners or restaurant managers. "No this person is not a fire risk. Yes they are in a chair. The chair has these things, you know wheels? I can get him out in a fire quicker than you can walk". Or "Yes this person can have a drink, they are older than me, older than you even. Now give us a beer there's a good man".

Prejudice like that riled me, made me angry, spurred me into action. I have been a (voluntary) citizen advocate for people with disabilities, I've chosen to work in various paid and unpaid fields, and then.....I met Corey.

The first time it happened was when we were walking back from the pub one Friday night. Some hoodies through a glass at us and shouted abuse. Because my husband has a disability. The cute thing is, some people assume his disability is intellectual because of the way he looks (which is due to falling off a bike as a child and having stitches in his lip!) and are shocked when he comes back at them. We called the police and the matter was dealt with. But it left me shocked. I had never seen anything like this before. I was angry, and a little scared. People have strong feelings about disability, even in the 21st century.

The second time was also at a pub (lesson number 1 disabled people must not go out at night), we had been for a meal and were meeting friends in a local establishment. I was allowed in Corey was stopped. "Sorry you can't come in". He was ready to walk away but I was having none of it. "Why?" I asked. "Because he's drunk" said the bouncer. "Ok, how have you arrived at that?" I challenged. "Surely you can see the way he is walking, clearly inebriated, no service." I was riled. "Corey has arthrogryposis mulitplex congentia, would you like me to spell that for you? He walks like this as his legs have been broken and reset several times, he also has metal pins in his wrists, would you like a medical report before you let us in?", magically the doors opened.

Another form of prejudice is the "hero" tag. I often get "aren't you amazing?" I am not amazing. The first thing I noticed about Corey was his cute bum. I didn't notice the disability, it never concerned me. Apart from other people's attitudes, we do just fine. Yes Corey has some limitations but we get Disability Living Allowance to help us overcome those. Corey's car has adaptions. We are lucky.

Perhaps the worst, and something that hurts to this day, was when I was diagnosed with the pre eclampsia. I gave consent at 2pm. Everyone was positive and ok about things. At 8pm the midwife walked in with some paperwork. I could see some printouts about Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. I knew what was about to happen, and I was furious. "What on earth is that?" I demanded to know. "This is a hard conversation to have but we need to discuss the possibility that the baby may have this condition and you will need to think about whether you want us to withdraw treatment."

Dear reader, for only the second time in the life of this blog I am going to use the "f" word. I said to her, and I'm not proud of it "well you can fuck right off with your print outs, not up for discussion". I was so angry. My own anger scared me! You see, all over my notes was "declined pre natal testing". My husband and I were both crystal clear we were having a baby, whatever the outcome. The thing about arthrogryposis is is that it is rarely genetic, and it should be picked up at 20 weeks anyway. We had had two scans with no abnormality detected, so it was highly unlikely Joseph would have had arthrogryposis anyway. If he had we would have dealt with it.

Now reader, I am not passing judgement on those who have had medical terminations. We live in a world where there are choices. I may not always agree with the choices people make, but I defend their right to make them. Not everyone can bring up a child with a disability, the outcomes are not always happy ones, and thankfully we can do much better now, that putting children into loveless institutions. There are choices.

I fear though, that for tomorrow's adults with disabilities, prejudice will get worse, not better. Had ultrasound been around when Oscar Pistorius was a foetus, would he be here? The lack of bones in his calves would have been detected. Will we see in 20 years time a Paralympics with acquired disability only?

Prejudice is real. I think the Paralympics have been great for making people think twice, but they are over now. Are we going to take these lessons and apply them to all walks of life? Are we going to make real, worthwhile employment for people with disabilities a reality? Are we going to preserve the benefits that give people with disabilities real opportunites?

It's time we had frank discussions about our attitude to disability. We pretend its no big deal, we cheer when someone with a disability does something amazing. But what sort of future will the little boy at the top of this post have?

It's up to us, isn't it?

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Stop the Press! Hold the Front Page!

I can't not blog about this. I have previous for blogging about poo and this just has to be said. I was wondering how to approach this blog post about poo and I found, rather fortuitously, that the lovely Karin from Cafe Bebe had posted these blog prompts for Britmums, Pride and Prejudice. Prejudice might be for another day. This post is about Pride. Pride about poo, never did I think I'd see the day I blogged again about poo.

So in the summer holidays, like parents around the country, we decided to tackle the big P. Potty training. Joseph took to it easily and got the hang of wee very easily, to the point where on day 1 we were able to go the the supermarket without a problem. I have been amazed at how easily Joseph has trained and *touch wood* hasn't had an accident at pre school as yet!

But our nemesis has proven to be poo. In the heady early days Joseph did a big one on the potty and I was really happy, but it was an accident. For weeks and weeks he's been pooing into a baby wipe, on the floor, a rather spectacular one on a window, and most recently on the grass outside. The problem with toilet training an older child I guess, is you can't just physically pop them on the potty. Joseph just refused to sit on the potty or the toilet, and there was little I could do about it.

I turned to my parenting forum for help and found the refusal to poo is not uncommon. Most suggested bribery, which hasn't worked so far. One friend suggested giving poo a personality! Explaining that the poo doesn't like to be squashed in knickers or smeared on the floor, it likes to splash in the loo or plonked in the potty and flushed away.

I made a point to make Joseph aware of when I was going to the toilet. We practiced poo faces and pushing, and we talked about poo. I also said that when he did a poo on the loo or the potty he'd get a spiderman toy.

And yesterday he did the same thing he always does came to me and said "there's poo coming" I suggested I take him to the toilet and he said "no mummy I poo on the floor." I thought for a moment and said "ok, mummy is very disappointed that you won't use the poo or the toilet like a big boy, but ok". And I walked away. Next thing I heard was a gleeful "mummy I pushed my poo in the potty!" And there it was. (I have spared you a photo!!!)

We danced, we laughed, he rang daddy straight away, we're so happy!!!

So moving forward, he's getting a spiderman toy, and I'll start a sticker chart, and once he has 10 stickers spiderman can get a friend!

I am just so relieved. The little preemie voices were in my head saying "maybe they were right maybe there are lasting problems" etc etc, so I am just so glad it was normal toddler obstinance and fear and not anything sinister!

Monday 10 September 2012

Wait and See - Don't Write My Baby Off Just Yet

For a while now I've been thinking about a post about doctors and very premature babies in the NICU, and then discovered to my delight the gorgeous and talented Jessi at Life with Jack had got there first. I love it when that happens! I wanted to add my thoughts.

Dear doctor, my baby is 2 weeks old. You have just told me he will never eat or drink and be tube fed for life. I am scared. You see, I have worked with children and adults with special needs, and I have assisted with feeds before, and I don't want that for my son. Please, don't write him off just yet, let's just wait and see.

Dear doctor, my son is 3 years old. I am constantly trying to find ways to eat his broccoli, to try some peas, to eat something other than fish fingers, cakes and ice cream. He spills his drinks everywhere, leaves half eaten apples in parts of my house I never knew existed, and throws a tantrum if his banana breaks whilst he's eating it. But it's far preferable than being fed by a tube.

Dear doctor, my baby is 4 weeks old. I know, the pooing is an issue. He's not pooing regularly enough, he gets bloated. But really? Do you really think he'll need a colostomy bag? You see I've looked after people with colostomy bags. It's not the end of the world, I know, but they split, they don't like being hit with footballs, finding the right device and adhesive is such a pain. Can we just wait and see?

Dear doctor, we've been potty training for 8 weeks now. Joseph loves his potty and his toilet, he has a funky toilet seat, he's great. He wees at pre school, he loves to get "caught short" so he can wee on the grass. But won't poo on a potty or toilet. He prefers the carpet, if I'm really lucky the laminate, or if I am really really lucky the grass outside. But it's far preferable than a colostomy.

Dear doctor, I know Joseph has taken a while to get off CPAP, I know his breathing is an issue and he desaturates at night, but really can you tell at 6 weeks old that he'll need oxygen at home? I know its not the end of the world, it means having a cylinder in the house, and a transport one for out and about, I know we will manage, but can we just give him a chance?

Dear doctor, my son won't stop singing and shouting, he blows candles out in church, and other kids birthday cake candles. He is full of hot air (some would say like his mother). But I wouldn't change it for a minute.  

Dear doctor, yes I know Joseph is 18 months corrected now, and really should be walking. I know you are worried, but honestly he's just on tip toes because he wants to reach your sink, and your chairs are too high. My son comes from a long line of late walking, really, don't call it cerebral palsy yet, it's far too soon, give him until he is 2 then you can worry, please?

Dear doctor, I am very concerned as my son runs faster than I ever can, in the supermarket, on to roads, dangerously near rivers. He is never still. He climbs up walls, on to window ledges, over fences. He is racing about everywhere, and I need eyes in the back of my head. But it is far preferable than him being in callipers or a wheelchair.

Whilst this is somewhat tongue in cheek, my point is this. All of the above was said to us. It was said in a factual way never with a "in my opinion" or "in my experience". Opinion is important in medicine, of course it is, but it needs to be put as that to parents. In our case the doctors treating Joseph had not had a large amount of experience with 27 week gestation babies. I had enough medical background to ask the right questions "on what are you basing this?", "what are the chances of Joseph needing PEG feeding/home oxygen/ a colostomy bag?"

When we have a premature baby we are thrust into an alien world of machines, staff, terminology and opinion. It's hard to navigate through all that, and keep positive.

Our primary job as NICU parents  is to believe in our babies, even when things are looking less than bright. Babies are amazing resilient little creatures, and sometimes doctors can forget that.

Believe in your baby. 

Thursday 6 September 2012

4 Years Ago Today - My Wedding in Pictures

I have serious wedding envy at the moment. I loved planning our wedding, and I love our photographs, taken by two dear friends Jen and Chris. I tasked Jen with taking the minutae of our day, all the little details, and Chris with bigger shots, and it worked great! So here are some pictures of our day.

My sister Penni and her daughter Frederique

Bridesmaid's bouquet in the window

My gorgeous husband on the left with the dashing best man

My sister @eglantinescake reading poetry

Some of our guests

Walking to the train station

Enjoying the sun waiting for the train

Stealing a kiss on a stolen train!

Never travel to Ramsbottom without a brolly!

Having 5 minutes before heading to the reception

Silly wedding t-shirts!

Tuesday 4 September 2012

What The Paralympics Has Taught Us

And what some of us already knew!

I love the paralympics. I have worked in the disability field as a volunteer and then in paid employment, on and off for 25 years. The Paralympics is a rare opportunity for the general public to see people with disabilities do remarkable things. Some of us are lucky enough to see people with disabilities do amazing things every day. During the course of my career I have seen amazing things. A man who could not speak given a computer at the age of 13 and suddenly able to communicate and attend university. Another young man with spina bifida and rods in his back doing indoor rock climbing.  My husband happens to have a severe physical disability, arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, the same condition as Will Bayley

I think a lot of these lessons can absolutely be applied to us as parents, and to our children, especially those born prematurely. 

Sport is amazing therapy - It's no surprise to me that the Paralympics started at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Sports like swimming are so popular because swimming is a major part of rehabilitation following injury or sudden onset of illness. Sport is fun, promotes achievement, and gives a warm fuzzy glow, whether you win or not. Paralympics is sport at an elite level. Not every person with a disability will be a paralympian, but sport in some way can be enjoyed by us all, whatever our limitations.

Disability is not the end - it can be a stunning new beginning  Who hasn't been moved by Martine Wright who lost her legs in the London bombings of 7/7? Her injury occured the day after London's winning bid had been announced, and she kept the paralympics in her sights as an integral part of her recovery. Bradley Snyder lost his vision whilst in Afghanistan in just September 2011 and here he is winning gold in the Paralympics in 2012. One of the most powerful things I learnt in my disability training course in my early 20s is that all of us are just an accident away from a disability. But we can still fulfil our potential and have an amazing life worth living.

People with disabilities are not angels and should not be put on a pedestal just because they have an impairment.  Many moons ago I did an amazing course about Wolf Wolfensberger's theory of social role valorisation. It was all about challenging the roles we put people with disabilities into, and about empowering them to achieve their full potential without these contraints. The reactions of Jody Cundy and Oscar Pistorious remind us that people with disabilities are just like any other athlete, they have their ups and down, and aren't always gracious, and that's ok. Sometimes its ok to be pissed off, whether you have a disability or not. I think its disappointing that the coverage of such outbursts by the media has been so over the top, and I think this gets back to my point, that sometimes we think people with disabilities are angels, are better than us, and should be grateful, and when an athlete like Jody loses it, it becomes a spectacle.

Humans are incredibly adaptable I was watching the high jump on Monday night. Now I have two perfectly good legs and have never mastered the high jump. To see what these athletes can achieve with one leg is truly inspiring. Their actions are each completely different, they find the technique that suits them the best. Whilst devices like Oscar Pistorius' blades or Jody Cundy's amazing leg are awesome, it's the human body's ability to adapt to adversity, and to overcome which is truly inspiring.

The media are still well behind the diversity 8 ball I think some of the coverage has been wonderful, and The Last Leg show with Adam Hills, who himself has a physical disability, is boldly breaking down stereotypes and taboos. However some of the coverage in the media has been pretty woeful. Sometimes just ignorance about the impact of impairments, or making too big a deal about the impairment rather than the achievement have let the side down. I think the remedy is to have more coverage of positive stories about people with disabilities in the media all the time, rather than just 10 days every 4 years. Practice makes perfect. But, at least the UK is trying, and the coverage is sound, in Australia they are having just 2 hours a night of highlights.

Technological improvments are not universal Looking at the medal tables, and even just the athletes parading our in the opening ceremony, it's clear that rich countries are at an advantage. If you look around at some of the wheelchairs and other adaptive equipment, some athletes are doing it tough. We need to do much better at making technological advancements made available to people with disabilities around the world, whether they are athletes or not. It's not a level playing field.

Disability isn't always obvious Often disability is hidden. The Paralympics, with its classification system, makes it clear who has what and what the impact is. But you often can't tell who has a disability and who hasn't. 

Believe and you can achieve It may be a cliche, but the biggest obstacle any of us have is in our minds, our self belief, it's not our physical limitations, it's our mental ones that hold us back. The Paralympians teach us that if we do not believe in ourselves, we have lost.  

Monday 3 September 2012

A Carer's Thoughts

A few months ago I did a training course, and was shown this film.

The poem is doing the rounds on Facebook lately, no one knows for sure who wrote it, but it is very moving and I would love you to view it first. You can find whole print outs of the poem should you wish to read it. These thoughts came to me at work today. It is not based on any one in particular.

You did not choose me, you do not know me
You let me into your home, into your most intimate rooms
I can see the photos on your wall, your family
I observe the way you stroke your clothes, looking at the seams
Once you worked in those dark satanic mills we sing about in Jerusalem
And now you are living your own version of hell.
You can't remember your name, or where you live, but you can sing "Danny Boy"
You cannot move, you cannot walk, you cannot follow through with a thought to its completion.
I lift you up with a standing frame and you have no idea how you are moving. You are scared.
I reassure you, keeping my voice level, my tone light.

I see my grandmother, my mother, myself. 
Dementia, Alzheimers disease, stroke, they are no respectful illnesses, they strike anyone.
One day this could be me, with a fresh faced carer, brightly undressing me, washing me, feeding me.
I bring you magazines, I show you pictures. You love looking at the frocks.
A memory, of floral dresses, tea dances, of friends, of courting. 
This memory is old, 40 years or more but it could be yesterday. It is precious.
I get a notebook, I write as you talk, I clip the picture out that has prompted this.
I put it away safely in your file, a tangible record of a once precious memory.

When I see you, I see a mother, a friend, a lover, a sister, a daughter, a worker, a homemaker, a dancer.
Dementia might have threatened to take these things from you, 
But we won't let it win.
We must not let it win.  
I see you.

Friday 31 August 2012

An Antipodean Foodie Penpal

My friend Stacey from Nobody Said it Was Easy was chatting about Foodie Penpals a month or so back. I had never heard of it, and then found more bloggers doing this great fun thing. You send a parcel of food no more than £10 to a fellow foodie lover. They then send to someone else, it's not a swap, so its loads of fun. You get to find out more about someone and discover a new blog too. It's great. If you want to know more and join in the fun the details can be found at Rock Salt.

I was very fortunate to be given Emma from Adventures of a London Kiwi (sadly she didn't send me macaroons!) a fellow Antiopdean no less, which was very exciting. Emma has the best blog header graphic I have ever seen, I absolutely love it, and I adore her blog. I am always jealous of blogs with great photography. Especially macaroon pictures. Emma took great care in reading my blog and sent me the most amazing package! My husband picked it up for me one night when I was working, so I was greeted by this at 11pm one Wednesday night.

Isn't the wrapping paper just the cutest, beer with candles!

Inside the box was a hand written note and the following goodies:

Marshmallow Fluff
Gluten free Marshmallows
Pear and kiwi crisps
Apple and kiwi crisps
Gluten free rice and corn macaroni
2 mini whisks

I had told Emma that I preferred sweet over savoury, and she had read my blog and learned of my IBS diagnosis, hence the gluten free pasta (although its also a favourite of hers and she isn't gluten free). I loved my box especially the dried fruit and the Marshmallow Fluff. I had been dying to try the Fluff, but never had gotten around to it!

It was such a thoughtful box, and Emma was a fabulous person to be matched with for my first time around!

Looking forward to next month already!

Thursday 30 August 2012

Optimism and Craziness in the NICU

When Joseph was about to be born, I felt optimistic. The obstetric team told me we would get a good outcome, they would deliver a live baby, and although the journey would be long, there was no reason to think we would not bring him home.

I am so glad I didn't know what I know now. I think what they told me, although happily was correct, was very dangerous. But hey ho. I put my Pollyanna head on and away I went.

I had a dilemma early on. What to do about my parents? My parents live in Tasmania, I live in Bury England. My mum and dad are pensioners and are not young, my dad is considerably older than my mum. Do I ask them to come over or not?

I talked it over with mum, and I decided against it. It's a very long way, and mum had made the trek just the previous year for my wedding. Dad was in his early 80's at the time, and has a number of conditions that make flying tricky, so would have to stay home. We agreed, it was too much of an ask, so we would come over to Australia as a family when Joseph was well.

Joseph was still under 2lb and in an incubator when I started making enquiries. I found good flights, and decided on a two night stay in Dubai on the way there, and one night on the way back. I was told Joseph might be discharged on oxygen and with a feeding tube, so I thought a stop over would be good to renew giving sets, recharge batteries, and if it was all a disaster, two nights to organise emergency flights home.

I asked a few of Joseph's doctors and most of them agreed that after Christmas, when Joseph would be 7 months old should be achievable.

It seems nuts now, but when Joseph was just 17 days old I booked that trip. I was very lucky to have understanding insurers who covered Joseph as is and didn't bother about the fact he was in hospital.

Having that trip booked kept me going. I had a kangaroo vest in 0-3 bought for his journey over. I took it in every Friday to show him how much he had to grow.

I recall one of the nurses saying to me "what if he's not fit to fly, what if the airline won't allow him to fly", and I calmly said "it will all work out, everything always does."

As each week passed Joseph got a little bigger, a little stronger, and the complications got fewer and farther between. I held out hope that we would make it on to that flight on the 6th January.

Days came and went, weeks came and went, months went by. None of the first consultant's opinons were correct. Joseph was not PEG fed, he had bottles and mush and sticks of food like any other 7 month old, and breathed the air that we do without any assistance.

That medical stop over became a very nice stop over, with a lovely hotel and a desert safari. And finally, we got "home" to mum and dad.

It was a funny trip. Joseph still looked like a newborn, I recall a father and his 8 year old daughter looking at me with horror as I fed him a soft roll on the plane. On the way home a very exotic woman, with limited English, stopped me at Abu Dhabi airport and said "cute baby, how old?", when I replied "oh he's now 8 months!" she looked in horror and said "he is very small, you take him to doctor when you get home" Not wanting to explain prematurity it in pidgin English I just smiled and agreed.

I am so glad I still had my innocence way back when Joseph was born. Sometimes ignorance truly is bliss.

And in this case it paid off.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

Seven Deadly Sins - Envy

Many moons ago Britmums had a Seven Deadly Sins blog prompt. At the time I was probably busy being Pollyanna and didn't make time to do a post, maybe I wasn't feeling it at the time. Who knows? But the time has come.


Green with envy.

And its eating me up inside. When I was little I couldn't wait to be a mummy. My sister says I didn't play with my toys, I mothered them. I wanted to have my first child by 25 and be done with my 3 or 4 children by 30.

I didn't account for not being very good at pregnancy (or selecting male partners for that matter!). I had no idea that complications like miscarriage and then pre eclampsia would try to rob me of what I wanted most, to be a mummy. And don't worry, dear reader, I do count my blessings every single day for what I have, a perfect, healthy little boy. And yes, I do know that there are people out there who haven't got a baby at all, please don't make me feel any worse than I do.

But this envy is just eating me up from the inside out, and its awful. I don't know whether you've noticed, but there is a blogger baby boom at the moment. Gorgeous announcement photos and scan pictures appear everywhere. Joseph is asking every day for a baby.

I am genuinely happy for people when they fall pregnant, with number 2, 3, 4 or 5. But I can't help the little green monster voice "this is unfair, this should be you."

I feel like my life has been dictated to by pre eclampsia, by this evil shapeshifting illness. The pre eclampsia left me as soon as my baby was removed from me, but the ramifications remain long after the magnesium sulphate drip is removed.

All my body wants is to be pregnant again. Troublefree of course, with a lovely fat term baby at the end, who comes home with us. It's a fantasy that will never happen. But a fantasy that is reality for others, which strikes me as being utterly unfair. Why me? Why us? My husband puts a brave face on it, but he's feeling it too. We just want another child. Is that so very much to ask?

When I am not feeling sad and envious I try to use my time positively. I am knitting more and more, I have made a gold scarf, more than half a baby blanket and am just finishing a nice warm scarf for me, with more projects in the pipeline (stay tuned for knitting week!) I blog, and support others. I also do my work for Tommy's.

Because I am not alone. There are thousands of women being dictated too by pregnancy complications, who can't choose the family size they want, who haven't got a baby to hold at all.

Research is key, but so is support.

I guess I will always live with this envy, I doubt it will ever completely go away.

But I do wish it would.

Tuesday 28 August 2012

#whenIgrowup Baby and Toddler Event at ASDA

The ASDA Baby and Toddler Event is running from 27 August to 16 September. ASDA are aiming to raise £100 000 for Tommy's the baby charity. This is a great time to help Tommy's and save money too!

Joseph loves nothing more than playing doctors. He says when he grows up he is going to be a baby doctor and help the sick babies get better.

Here is my little doctor at work, giving the babies their medicine. That carrot is, actually, a cpap tube to help the baby with their breathing. I am amazed at the level of detail Joseph goes in to! He seems to know a lot about neonatal baby care, so who knows? Maybe he will, in fact be a doctor. Just as well we're increasing his Child Trust Fund every year!

Joseph must realise that he is here today because of the amazing doctors, nurses and other medical staff who helped him. I was on first name terms with the pharmacist, audiologist and health care assistants! But Joseph is also here because of Tommy's.

When I was little all I ever really wanted was to be a mummy. I had had miscarriages, weird diagnoses, and finally carried Joseph but only to 27 weeks. There are brilliant pre eclampsia protocols in place, based on medical research, and this research, thanks to organisations like Tommy's, is ongoing, and improvements are being made to baby care all the time as a result.

However the miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth rates in this country remain unacceptably high. I am of the belief that research, and carrying this research through into the care of pregnant women, is key to reducing this.

Every mother and father has an expectation that they will see that little image on the ultrasound screen be born, take their first steps, speak their first words, and achieve their dreams. Sadly this is often not the case.

Simply by choosing to buy your baby goods at Asda in the next few weeks, you could help mums and dads like us bring their babies home.

Thank you.

Friday 24 August 2012

Permission to Parent

I have a growing community of bloggers who have experienced NICU, most of whom have guest posted for me. I hope over the coming weeks that I will be sharing more from them, as I would love nothing more than to build this community, as we are all so different, all with amazingly different viewpoints. Having a premature baby or sick baby has united us, but its our friendship and unique trench humour that has made us strong I think.

Yesterday I did this guest post at Mummy Pinkwellies. Of course Leanna over at Diary of a Premmy Mum had to go and pinch half the title, and even worse, write a better post! I jest of course, I love how we bounce and share ideas off one another.

I find I often can't explain why the NICU experience hurt so much. Sometimes parents who haven't been through NICU just can't understand the emotions that go along with having a premature baby. These thoughts have been bubbling away for a while.

When you have a term baby, you have a large degree of autonomy straight away. You are making decisions (often scary ones) immediately. I can't imagine what that must be like. How to feed, when to feed, how much to listen to your baby or your own instinct, how to dress, how to sleep your baby, so many decisions.

When you have a premature baby, or a sick baby, you immediately become disempowered as a parent. Your baby is taken away and put in a box, and that's it. Yes, you express if you can, but you can make absolutely no decisions about the basic care of your baby.

Of course, its medically necessary, and I'm not saying for a moment that it isn't. The premature baby needs specialist input, the baby needs the charts, the protocols, the procedures.

As your journey with your premature baby progresses, you are an integral part of the babies care, but there's a barrier. You have to ask permission. You have to fit in with the hospital's guidelines and protocols. It can be sould destroying. Nurse A may let you have kangaroo care whenever you want, nurse B may not. The head nurse of our unit wanted Joseph's monitoring turned off for kangaroo care so that a) I was learning Joseph's cues and b) trusting my instincts and c) the machine wasn't giving off false readings every 2 minutes. But this scared most of the other staff and would not allow me to switch it off.

I, like many other mothers of former NICU babies, really struggled when home. Should I pick him up if he cried? He seems hungry but feed time isn't due yet what do I do? He's unsettled, is he being a normal baby or is there something wrong?

A good unit will work to empower mums and dads early on, but this practice is not yet widespread.

Perhaps the key then is good, sound peer support and empower one another to parent.

You have my permission to parent your baby.

Thursday 23 August 2012

The Secret Language of a 3 Year Old and some Bits and Bobs

Joseph's language never ceases to amaze me. I love the way he talks, his hilarious little accent which is a combination of Lancashire, Bury and Aussie. I love that he still has little quirks that only we understand. 

"Mummy?" a litte voice says, standing next to me as I switch on the computer. "I want to speak to grandma in oo garden".
"Yes Joseph of course, lets take a look and see if she's there". I find oo garden and click video call, and there she is.
"Grandma! Grandma!" Joseph shouts excitedly, "You are here in oo garden!"
Oo garden = Skype

"I really want to go the summer house mummy, then we can play at the pirate play ground and go swimming and eat icecream", Joseph says excitedly. "Can we go? Please please please?"
Summer house = the house in Great Yarmouth owned by my in laws. We also have the German summer house, their home in Germany.

"Let's go to the football house mummy, it's fun!"
The football house is the pub down the road with a beer garden, climbing frame and bouncy castle!

"Mummy its Friday, should we go to the cafe or have chicken bucket? We could go to a normal cafe/
Cafe = Macdonalds; Chicken Bucket = KFC and a normal cafe is any eating place that isn't either of the previously mentioned establishments

"Mummy I am trying to play, go away! Get back to your cannerpoo and leave me alone!"
Cannerpoo = computer

I currently have a guest post over at Mummy Pinkwellies today, and would love if you could check it out and perhaps comment. K is a dear blogging friend, I love her blog, and it would be great to see you all over there. Leanna at Diary of a Premmy Mum has written an amazing post in a similar vein and I want you all to read it, please!

I would love to get some feedback about my blog and where you would like to see it going, what sort of posts and features would you like to see. I feel I need a bit of a change in direction and would love some feedback from you, my readers, about what you would like to read, what sort of topics you would like me to cover etc.

Thank you all for your continued support.