Keep the R in your DVR a secret

The Husband definitely needs to get on the Beta Parenting wagon, and fast. The Child is not stupid. He showed her we can play her pre-recorded favourite television programmes, so she shouts and shouts “Piggle! Piggle! Garden!” (In the Night Garden) or “Lau lau! Nok Nok!” (Waybuloo) until we react. The only thing that can distract her from the television is the tablet. *facepalm*

A note on baby-led weaning

baby-led weaning
The Child at just under six months, trying a slice of cucumber

Baby-led weaning should just be called “I can’t be arsed to cook and purée extra food”. Sure, I bought an ice cube tray and tried putting pre-cooked vegetables in it for exactly one day. Those vegetables sat there in the freezer, undefrosted and lonely, while I realised that The Child would much rather steal food off my plate and throw it on the floor after trying it.

Yes, there can be a lot of waste. But none of the special baby food I cooked and mashed was tolerated, and she really disdained anything that came out of a pouch — if I’d bought into the Infantino system (look it up, it’s a solution looking for a problem) I’d have wasted my money, effort, and food.

Yes, they can gag when they learn to eat chunks of food. But gagging is not choking. You’re not supposed to take your eyes off a baby who’s eating anyway.

With The Child, she preferred to feed herself, and giving her food off my plate (I ate a lot of omelettes and salads in her early days of weaning) was so easy that we still do it to some extent these days. She’s also big on grazing, as I am, so we consume lots of (healthy, er, ish) snacks. Whether or not you decide to do things like cut grapes in half is up to you, as The Child only eats pre-cut grapes if they belong to someone else. She can be a little shit.

Whether you go down the chunky or purée route, weaning a baby onto solids is a messy business*. In my opinion, it’s best not to rely too much on pre-packaged meals as it’s unlikely to be as tasty or nutritious as freshly-prepared food, but having some isn’t going to hurt your baby, as long as you take care with the salt and sugar content.

* No one told me that babies were smart enough to figure out how to pull off their bibs within a short time of wearing them. If you have a baby who doesn’t like wearing a bib, I empathise completely.

Hypothesis: the real thing will be played with more than the toy version

Pre-experiment observations:
The Child has worked out how to undo the camera case and exposes my digital camera on a regular basis to say ‘Cheese!’ and hold it up to her face. Visions of her dropping said camera and cracking its glass lens and screen worry a gadget-obsessed mother. I surfed the Internet to find that toy (as in fake) cameras are somewhat luridly-coloured, and posited that this child would not be convinced that such a camera was as good as Mum’s.

(She’s played with a toy wooden camera at a friend’s house, but she usually enjoys playing with other kids’ toys and then rejects them if I buy one of her own.)

Visited local charity shop that specialises in cameras and purchased a Pacemaker LP (35mm film, viewfinder camera) for £5, including a case. The Child showed minimal interest until the shutter release button and winder both made interesting noises. Demonstrated how to operate both multiple times.

Say cheese
Next thing is to get her to hold it facing out

The Child says ‘Cheese!’ while holding camera to face and enjoys repeatedly pressing the shutter release button and winder. She’s also learned to say ‘wind’.

Further experimentation required:
Should I load some film and see what weirdness ‘develops’?

Cook: Bahamian chicken soup, aka souse

This recipe is a lazy version of my sister’s souse* and Bahamas Vacation Guide. It’s a lovely, light broth and great for baby-led weaning. I first tried souse (of a turkey variety) at a farmers’ market* in Nassau. It was delicious.

I made mine in the morning while The Child was watching television. Prep shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes, less if your knife skills are better than mine. I have no knife skills.

You’ll need:

Chicken or turkey wings and/or drumsticks, about two per person
Waxy potatoes, about one medium potato per person
At least 2 sticks celery, chopped
At least 1 onion, roughly chopped
½ tsp ground allspice
4 bay leaves
Salt, to taste (especially if you’re feeding this to a baby under one)
1-2 limes, juiced
Freshly-boiled water

Scald the chicken: pour some freshly boiled water over the chicken, swirl it around a bit, and drain.

The lazy part: use the same pot for scalding the chicken as you do for the soup. Saves on a bit of washing up.

Make the soup: in a thermal pot, throw everything into your stainless steel pot, along with enough water to almost cover the ingredients, cover, and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer for at least ten minutes, then take it off the heat (don’t lift the lid) and and place it in the vacuum sleeve. For slow cookers, cook it for at least four hours. Or simmer on the stovetop for at least ½ an hour. If you make the soup at naptime, you can re-heat it in time for dinner.

* My sister and I made these two sites.

How to feel completely helpless as a parent

In the scheme of not-really-scary things happening to your child that look really bloody scary, fits / convulsions rank right up there. You are helpless and totally freaking out the first time your child’s eyes glaze over before they fall over and start shaking.

The Child had her first fit post-norovirus, and we spent an uncomfortable night in hospital where she was under observation as she did not present with a temperature. As she was perfectly fine after, I managed to sort of put it out of my mind and get on with things, although I was quite shaken at the time. And then she went on to have a series of fits a couple of weeks ago — five in 18 hours. She’d been slightly grouchy and off her food and drink in the days immediately prior, which we’d put down to teething. With a high temperature presenting after the first two fits but having a perfectly normal temperature for the following three, the paediatrician eventually posited that she might be suffering from atypical (or complex) febrile convulsions.

I read that as: The Child’s body reacts to infection by having fits. Preferably more than one, just to be extra terrifying. And she stops breathing when she fits as well, which is also pretty heart-stopping from the parental point of view. So the hospital scheduled tests.

Gangsta Smurf after her EEG
Gangsta Smurf after her EEG

While we wait for the NHS to get back to us with her test results, we are incredibly paranoid parents, and we’re co-sleeping full-time so someone is with her as much as possible during the night. All I want to know is why she’s getting them and how we can manage them. Give us answers, dammit.