Thursday, 31 January 2013

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

Are you running the marathon this year? 

Are you looking for a cause?

Please take a step for Fairtrade...

...Fairtrade Fortnight runs from the 25th of February through to the 10th of March and aims to make people more aware of the facts, highlighting the plight of African farmers, many of whom live in abject poverty. 

Please show your support for Fairtrade; visit

Monday, 28 January 2013


It's about twenty minutes from the store to the Minor Injury Unit at our local hospital. Sofia Faith slept the whole way. Alarm bells started to ring when I woke her to take her out the car and she fell back to sleep again in the waiting room. This was not like her at all. Especially considering she had already had a nap in the morning.

The paediatrician roused her to make various checks. She was concussed. I would need to keep a careful watch over her for the next 72 hours. If she started to vomit, seemed particularly irritable and clingy, or lethargic the next day, I was to return with her. I didn't stop to explain that my little one was clingy and irritable a lot of the time. Instead, he took her blood pressure, I took his advice, and we left. Esme was due out of school in five minutes. It was going to be cutting it fine. 

I carried Sofia as if she was Dresden china back to the car, beyond grateful that she was okay, still feeling nauseous that she may yet not be. I tried strapping her in, finding it difficult- aware that I was still shaking myself. I was in such a rush it didn't help. I dropped the keys on the driver's seat to free up both hands, there I managed it. I shut her door. I must get to school... CLICK. Before I had a chance to open my door the car locked itself. 

In disbelief I stood gawping for a moment. Staring me straight in the face sat on my seat were the keys, complete with their once amusing, now just stupid keyring. A word play on the 1939 government moral boosting poster KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON, read NOW PANIC AND FREAK OUT.

Context please. We'd been through too much already and I knew missing picking up Esme would not be the end of the world. A concussed baby locked in a car on the other hand, mmm. I phoned school. I phoned a mum. Said mum picked Esme up for me. Said mum's hubby could be with me in ten minutes to break the window. Said mum and hubby are legendary. In relief I phoned my OH Simon to fill him in. He said outright, "NO. Do not break the window, it will cost about £250. I'm on my way." I argued pointlessly, "But your daughter is crying. She is concussed." 

He was adamant and I hurt. 
Said mum's hubby was not required. 
Sofia screamed. For both of us this was towering torment on trauma. 
A blizzard began and I did my coat up, thankful to be wearing it.

Simon's journey would take an hour. Sofia was crying and I was close to it. We were in for a wait. I had to distract her. I would sing. And sing I did. At the top of my voice so that Fia could hear me the other side of the window. 

Verse after verse of Old MacDonald shakily soprano-ed in the car park. People toing and froing from the unit glanced in my direction oddly. In their defence, they only saw a crazed woman moo-ing, baa-ing and snorting to her reflection in the car window. 

Fia fell to sleep. She woke again and screamed some more. She looked at me with such confusion. I felt so sad but continued, changing tack for peekaboo. Somewhere in the hour, covered in snow, and dancing beside the car, my phone died. Great.

A woman unable to park drove alongside and shot me the most insane look for wasting a parking space. She obviously had no idea of my plight. Sofia was now shrouded in her own unhappiness for she had cried the windows steamy. I was beginning to lose sight of her.

Freezing and almost overcome with guilt and grief, I turned to the sound of feet walking my way. My OH was here, suited and booted, striding toward me. He used the spare fob and the car unlocked. I fell to Fia, apologising, hugging, kissing her better, checking her over in the process.

About half an hour later, Esme Grace and Sofia Faith chased each other around the lounge. Their noise levels raised the roof. I didn't once ask them to keep it down. Instead I had a large glass of wine and set about making a dinner for friends who were coming over.

What was that all about?

What it was indeed, was a blatant reminder that I am lucky to have a second little one in my life. A warning not to constantly bemoan the fact that I find her challenging and exhausting, but a motion to hold her tight just that little bit more and wonder at her being, her sense of adventure, her spirit.

Thursday, 24 January 2013


So we were driving back from the magic man when I saw the time and realised Fia must be starving. 'I know' thinks I, 'I can pop in to the supermarket and give her a bite to eat as well as pick up a few things needed for dinner tonight.' We had friends coming for food.

I'd got round the shop super fast and was inwardly gloating over the fact that I planned on never returning to this particular store again as they always screw something up- like the time they lost an entire £100 buffet for the kids christening party I'd ordered, or the time the meat was off. Plus the fruit is ripe one day, rotten the next. In short, this shop just does not do it for me. To verify this I thought, hell I can pay with my points, use up the card. Where is that card?

Sadly it was at that moment that I sealed poor Sofia Faith's fate for I took my eyes off her. You see, Fia is a child who cannot be left to her own devices for a moment. And as I sought through the cards in my purse, someone not too far away shouted out desperately.

I turned just in time to see her flip. She landed flat on her back. Her head bounced as it cracked down on the tile floor. As I write this, the crack is on repeat in my own head. I still feel a little sick at the thought too. It was awful. The entire contents of my purse were strewn all over the checkout as I dropped all and fled to Fia. 

I looked at her first. She was so shocked her breath was a while in coming. When she allowed herself the exhale, the scream was so loud it was curdling. Of course, there was a huge silence too which didn't help. Everyone had stopped what they were doing and watched her somersault off the side of the trolley. That is actually quite a long way down when you are only two feet tall. Strange, I could tell that everyone felt as helpless as me. Except, I felt useless too. Carefully I picked her up and held her in.

Meaning well, a few members of the public approached, stating the obvious: 'She's really banged her head.' I couldn't talk. I wanted the whole shop to empty out. I felt so responsible and such a shit mother at that moment - not for the first time nor the last - no doubt. I sat down with her on my lap. I could taste my own bile. Fia continued to scream. First aiders had been called; 'Jerry' came with two bags of ice. I asked him to go to the baby aisle and get me a dummy. My voice was shaky, 'Of course I'll pay'. 

He was back soon. Fia kept looking at me as if to say, 'how could you let that happen to me?' The dummy went in and did the job it is employed to do. It pacified her. Still her whimpers emanated around it. Her eyes bloodshot. Her pallor funny. 

For five minutes now I had not been able to look at the back of her head, too afraid of what I may see. Eventually I managed to peek, encouraged gently by Jerry. Anguish. I set eyes on a dark red patch. Initial panic gave way to realisation then relief that what I saw was her coat and nothing more. But surely there must be a large bump. Nothing. She sucked her dummy, and when she didn't suck, she shook.

Suddenly a tall woman approached. Looming, she looked like she was going to fall. Breathless she stated, "I need to sit down. I'm going to faint." One of the ice bags had burst and shattered ice scattered over the seat. It was cleared in time for her to slump heavily next to us. Jerry smiled, 'Two for one on first aid today.' It was funny - but I could barely acknowledge it.

I held Sofia for ages. Long enough for the bag of ice that had remained intact to have melted all over my crotch. I stood up with a dark patch all over my Venus. Fabulous. In all the trauma, me, this failed mother, also now managed to look like I had wet myself. As a tear escaped, I laughed out loud. It sounded ever so slightly hysterical. 

I managed to get Sofia Faith to the car. 
She slept immediately. 
I drove straight to minor injuries.

For the record, they very kindly never charged me for the dummy. I still plan on never returning to this particular store.


Let's face it, it was only a matter of time. 


I take her off the dining room table about 20 times a day. 


She uses a basket to step on to the play cooker.


She scales the A frame of the painting easel to step on to the kitchen side. 


She has scaled the lounge window sill and has even scaled the bath.


Looking back I suppose the writing was on the wall when she climbed out of her cot at 11 months and gave herself a black eye in the process. 


But falling head first out of a supermarket trolley and concussing herself? That's a new one, even on me. 


If you read the last post then you will know that I was all geared up to cut out wheat and dairy from Sofia's diet in a bid to stop her screaming. But that went by the wayside after a visit to the cranial osteopath (our magic man) who tested Sofia for a reaction to dairy and found nothing. Instead he told me that she appears to be suffering with headaches; a result of very tight membranes over her brain. The diarrhoea is a reaction to the pain they bring. The pain is a reaction of her emotional state. Her emotional state is a reaction to her pregnancy. The next bit freaked me out. He told me he was tracing her emotional state back to the fourteenth week in utero. I  quickly did the maths and realised that it was then I was told my Gran was dying. She passed a few days later. I was incredibly close to her. Make of that what you will.

The magic man said he would like to see me back again with Sofia a few more times so as to work on her head. About an hour later, she fell on it.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Screaming in pain

Right that's it. I'm taking action. I cannot have Sofia Faith screaming in pain (and at me) any longer. I've done the research and she is presenting with most of the symptoms of coeliacs disease. I don't think she has that, but I have to go back to basics and take her off diary and wheat in a bid to find out if she is still as very allergic as she was as an infant. 

Our days always start well and she's chipper enough, but they usually play out with her in pain. I've taken her to our cranial osteo magic man (ongoing and another post entirely), and to the homeopath down the road, who has recently also tried a remedy.

The reason I've sought help is because a lot of the time Sofia is a very unhappy, clingy, blotchy, bad-tempered little toddler with diarrhoea - up to eight dirty nappies a day. I'm hoping that cutting out diary and wheat may change that. For her. And for me. Tomorrow I am off to buy rice milk and to hang out in the 'special food aisle' at the supermarket. I feel glad to be doing something positive and recognising that there probably is a problem... that it is not just those bloody teeth.

Saturday, 19 January 2013


SNOW and LOTS of it. 
Not blogging in earnest until it's gone again. 
Off building snowmen instead. 
Such fun.

Thursday, 17 January 2013


Would like to have blogged in earnest today but my weekly shop has just taken me two hours. TWO HOURS. Worse than the Christmas food shop. Is snow forecast or something? Heavens above!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

A little more detail (7) The disappointing reality of a failed pregnancy test

A good friend has pointed out to me that I have yet to blog about being pregnant with Sofia; her birth, her being. I have scribed so much regarding Esme in the Down to earth with a bump posts, it seems only natural to continue for Sofia. (Besides my girls, if you are reading this one day, I don't want any arguments). 

Sofia was longed for. 
A sibling for Esme was longed for. 
And after the miscarriage, it just didn't happen. 

The irony hasn't bypassed me:
Two pregnancies just like that without even trying. 
One more pregnancy, tried for desperately, non-existent.

Every month I'd be hopeful. A few months I got lucky, testing positive. Only then to watch it change with a repeat test a few days later, ending up in a very heavy bleed.

Oh the negativity of a negative result. In the end, it eats away at you. In the end, it ate away at me anyway. In the end, I had to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Even if the tunnel was heading in a different direction to where we initially wanted to go.

Rightly or wrongly and against Simon's wishes, I said I would only try for six more months, and if I still wasn't pregnant by the end of that time, then that would be it. I was not prepared to keep going through the heartache of anticipation and at times, excitement, followed by disappointment. Not to mention the hormonal ups and downs. Plus I knew Esme wasn't getting all the attention she needed. Basically, it was already too long trying, although it wasn't yet 18months. 

Putting a time frame on it helped me, for in my head it then became manageable. I was positive I would do everything in my power to help aid conception in that six months; reflexology, diet, acupuncture, homeopathy, cranial osteopathy. The rest remained to be seen. 

And so the second loudest clock in my life, started ticking.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

Okay, you can start by watching this movie...

This is Evie's story.

Evie is a little girl from my town, who just like my daughter Esme Grace, started school last September.

Please listen to her parents tell their story in the film, and if you would like to help, by either donating to the charity Action for A-T, or by passing the story on to others you know to help raise awareness, then that would be amazing. 

Thank you!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Thought-provoking sister Kate (3) and norovirus

Sister Kate lives in Ecuador. She lives a most health-orientated lifestyle and sends the most thought-provoking emails. Her latest is a remedy for the Norovirus

Sickness in the house? Tackle it with charcoal...

The good news:

Apparently activated charcoal (the sort used by all hospitals for poison ingestion), is an all natural and organic method of ridding the body of bacteria and viruses. It's available from all good health food shops.

The not so good news:

If you throw up after it, then you have to take more with water until it stays down.  

The good news:

It's completely non-toxic, is solely charcoal and you can take as much as you want. One teaspoon has a surface area of a football pitch and so will absorb all the tummy bug nasties and remove them from the body.

The not so good news:

It also clears out the good bacteria in the gut, so it is best to take a probiotic afterwards.  


Kate's helped lots of people in Ecuador with the charcoal remedy, including their pets who have been poisoned! One guy was so sick in the morning, he couldn't believe he was able to continue with the catering he needed to do for a party that evening. I'd wager it's worth a go!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Twas indeed a traditional merry Christmas

And in the end it most certainly lived up to all the hype. What a happy Christmas it was for the four of us. Highlights included...

The Christmas Panto (and Esme's role play thereafter)...
Snow White and the seven dwarfs was a great hit. Esme loved being involved and enjoyed the interaction very much (oh yes she did). Afterwards, we went to my mum and dad's. Mum did us a lovely meal, crackers; the works. It just so happened that Esme had a compact mirror in her cracker. No great surprise then when I found her the next day gazing at herself, chanting, 'Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?' The mirror's dark response replied, (Esme threw her voice), "You are the fairest of them all Esme - and so much more than Sofia."
And so it begins.

Christmas Eve crib service
Esme and I went along to this with no idea of what to expect. Being four, and as she was christened this year in the local church, I felt it necessary to try and give her some experience of the Christian value behind all the festivities. I'm so pleased we went. I feel a new tradition within our family has been born. And I have to say, it was brilliant. First of all, you have never seen so many families. Pushchairs parked the entire length of the aisle. Toddlers allowed to wander. The vicar didn't stop smiling (even when singing), clearly delighted with the chaos created by so many in his house. Babes screamed and tired parents looked flustered, but piece by piece, ornament by ornament, the nativity scene came together, as the meaning of CRIB service dawned on me. Esme took pride in being asked to place a shepherd upon the stage. For half an hour we sang our hearts out and then, the fattest Christmas tree I've ever seen was lit up in the corner to great gasps of awe. Only one thing ruined it for me... I heard some chap behind say very loudly, "Look darling, that tree is nearly as big as ours." What a dick.

Christmas morning (1)
Sleeping in past seven on the day was lovely. I so realise that this is possibly the last time ever while we have small children at home?! Sleeping in was quickly followed by the most magical of all phrases one can ever hear: "He's been." God I've always loved Christmas, but it's all so much better when you have little ones to share it with.

Christmas morning (2)
Junior Choice, Radio 2's brilliant programme from 9-11am with Stupot ('ello darlin'), and all the favourite songs of my childhood. Love it. Apron goes on. Turkey gets stuffed. Mummy starts dancing. Captain Beaky, A mouse lives in a windmill, Puff the magic dragon, Sparky's magic piano, the works. LOVE IT.

Christmas lunch
A definite highlight, not much to say on this matter, but God, it was good. All four of us cleared our plates and bowls.

The Queens speech
Usually by the time this rolls round, I'm usually rolling around. As my dear OH refills my glass (again) in readiness to toast dear Queenie, I become even more patriotic than normal. I'm very proud to be British and very proud of our royal family. But by 3pm on Christmas day I am quite simply in love with the Queen. As I sit to salute her, my patriotism (and often alcohol consumption) totally kicks in and usually fuels silent tears of admiration. 

Present time
You see it all comes down to tradition. And it is only ever after the Queens speech that we (my brother and sister and I) were finally allowed to have the gifts sat winking at us all under the tree. One by one they would be handed out and enjoyed, time was taken to wait and see what each of us received. I suppose that sounds almost Dickensian to today's standards, but it always taught me to be incredibly aware of how lucky we were to have all these lovely new shiny toys. So yes, the four of us hung back til after the Queen's message. Like I say, it all comes down to tradition. And the day lasts even longer! A real highlight was watching Esme and Sofia enjoy handing out the presents.

Fat bellies and lots of TV
Isn't that how it always ends?

Boxing day family fun
More fat bellies and more TV. My rude OH sits taking photos of his mother-in-law's drool as she drops off on the sofa. Her cracker party hat will be in situ for a good few hours yet even if it does presently slide down her nose in tribute to her dear dad.

Highlights also included visits from great pals, walks in the woods and winning at Cluedo.
Perhaps the only thing that was missing this particular crimbo for me, were roaring log fires, toasted marshmallows, hot choccie, and of course the white fluffy stuff. Far too mild for any of that. However, that aside, it was as close to perfection as can be. Like I said in the previous post, there's truly a lot to be thankful for.