Posts tagged - baby

Please baby, please – A Spike Lee joint

I’ve decided to review this book as it’s Mushroom’s current favourite.*

Please, baby, please

It’s one of those I bought on a whim after doing a google search for age appropriate books. I was curious when I saw that it was written by Spike Lee and his wife, Tanya. I assumed it would be different from his films (!) and the reviews were good so I decided to buy it. I also think it’s a good thing for Mushroom to have more books with black characters in them.

The book essentially follows a day in the life of a typical toddler but that instead of it being the usual routine of a lovely trip to the park, some jolly good fun playtime, etc., followed by hassle-free bath and bedtime in the evening, as we’ve read about in other books, this is a day for a typical toddler! This means its starts with a 3am wake-up, and is followed by the parents imploring the baby throughout the day, not to eat sand, to share her toys, not to draw on the wall… You get the picture.

At first I wasn’t sure such a book sets a good example for Mushroom, who himself is fond of a 4/5am wake-up and has been known to draw on the floor, on his face and on my clothes (not on the walls – lately – funnily enough) but he find it hilarious. He knows this baby is misbehaving and he takes great delight in it. Each time I finish reading and think he’s asleep, his little voice pipes up ‘More, more!’ I am thoroughly sick of it, and it’s repetition of ”please, baby, please, baby baby baby…’ on every page and yet…

I highly recommend this book. It will make you laugh in recognition of the challenges of bringing up a baby/toddler and kids just seem to love it. A great  stocking filler if you haven’t already finished your Christmas shopping!

Disclosure: *This is the only reason for this review. I wasn’t asked to review this book, nor have I received any payment for doing so. Read my full PR and disclosure policy here. 


Don’t sweat the sleep stuff

This is the post I wish I had read when I was listening to everyone else and trying to ‘sleep train’ Mushroom.

Sleep has always been a big issue for us. One of my first posts was about Mushroom’s sleep and more recently I wrote about my attempts to sleep train him. With hindsight, I needn’t have bothered.

Like potty training for the previous generation (when Mothers were expected to potty train their children well before they turned two – far too early in my opinion), sleep is the current hot topic. A recent netmums report shows that most parents don’t get enough sleep until Junior is well into his/her first year. Despite this, a third of those questioned still feel the need to lie about how well their children sleep, as if it’s some kind of measure of thier mothering skills rather than a reflection of their child’s personality – which, take note all control freaks (me included) is beyond anyone’s control.

There’s a multi million pound industry cashing in on our paranoia about babies and sleep with some desperate sleep deprived parents spending up to £1,000 a week on sleep specialists. I was even tempted to do this myself at the beginning, having been told – by a health visitor – that Mushroom’s wakefulness was due to my failure to sleep train him. He wasn’t even 9 months old at the time. Since then I have relaxed about the whole sleep training issue, just trying to ensure I get enough sleep most days any which way I can. I have continued to rock/cuddle/pat Mushroom to sleep depending on his mood, and I still stay in his room until he’s asleep most nights. Over the past few weeks, I noticed that although he was still waking several times a night (I can hear him sit up and get a drink. Maybe I should turn the monitor down a bit more), he’d only call me maybe once – and this was when he was in a lot of pain with his teeth and/or struggling to breathe because of a rather nasty chest infection. If you follow me on twitter, you’ll know that within the past few weeks, he has slept through the night at least once. Since that first time, he has slept through once more (from 7pm to 5am) and on the nights that he has woken up it’s actually worked out better, as he’s been awake around 11pm/12am, and then slept through until 6.30. Such late mornings are unheard of in our house and I am really enjoying these ‘lie-ins.’

So, my point is – although the sleep training did work, after a fashion, it was only temporary. This sleeping through the night business (and I think I can say, without jinxing anything, that we’re almost there) had happened organically, now that Mushroom is ready. If I had known this 12 months ago, it would have saved me a lot of time, worry and google searches! Every child is different. Maybe sleep training worked for you. If so, congratulations! If you’re in the middle of trying to sleep train a 14 month old, take heart that your child will eventually sleep through the night (or at least stop disturbing you when s/he wakes up). According to the Netmums report, more that 75% of children sleep through the night by the time they are two years old. Mushroom is currently 16 months old and only just on his way.

By the way, if you got here my frantically googling the sentence underlined above, or perhaps you typed ‘Will my child ever sleep through the night?’ – Hello! You are me, two months ago. I can’t say that my experience will match yours, perhaps your child will sleep through tonight, maybe not for another year. All I know is that letting go did wonders for how I feel… So all I can say is, if you’d like a moan to share your story, do leave a comment below. In the meantime… Don’t sweat the sleep stuff!

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Dear Mushroom… Remembering your firsts

Dear Mushroom,

I thought it was about time I addressed you personally…

When I started this blog a few months ago, its main purpose was to record your milestones so that one day, when you ask  ‘What were my first words?’ or ‘how old was I when I took my first steps?’ I can actually give you an accurate answer. Also, it might be kind of cool to read a whole blog that’s basically dedicated to you. Or not. That’s why I have protected your privacy and will continue to do so, at least until you can tell me how you feel about it all.

This week, you started walking. I mean, you took your first, hesitant, extremely wobbly, steps a few weeks ago but yesterday you started walking confidently, without being prompted – as in ‘Walk to Mummy/Daddy/Auntie – go on! Just two steps! Yay *claps* well done!!’ – The first time you just stood up by the sofa and walked right across the whole to the kitchen. And back. You looked pretty pleased with yourself. Later the same day, you bravely took a walk outside the house, stopping to stroke the neighbours dogs on your travels. This was also a first – you’ve not had much contact with animals apart from the odd trip to the farm but you showed no fear, just a burning curiosity. It was as if you had to know what the fur felt like. I think, from your expression, you were pleasantly surprised. Without being told, you were incredibly gentle and I was proud of you.

This big first – the walking I mean, rather than the dog stroking – got me thinking. I had a baby book bought for me when you were born in which I recorded all your milestones up to a year – first smile, first attempts at crawling, etc.  I will be adding in your first steps of course but what about the first time you sleep through the night (I’m told this will happen at some point)? The first time you speak a full, comprehensible sentence? You already talk a lot – recognisable words so far apart from Mumum (Not ‘Mummy’ or ‘Mama.’ I like that it’s different) and Daddy are Woof, ‘nana (banana) and Uh Oh but the rest is still babble to me. You look so earnest though, I wish I could understand and relieve your increasing frustration and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say. Well, all these things and more I will record here, for you to read at some point in the future.

For now, I just wanted to record your first steps and tell you how excited I am about all the growing you’ve done, and have yet to do. You bring so much joy into my life and I’m sure you will continue to do so.

Lots of Love,


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Be careful what you wish for

At the start of this year, Mushroom cut his first tooth. It was a slow and painful process for both of us. The sleepless nights, the reduced appetite, the runny nappies (I don’t care if it’s supposedly an old wives’ tale, it happened. And stopped abruptly as soon as the tooth broke through his gum), the tantrums because he doesn’t understand that I can’t just make it better… At the time I made a passing comment to my sister-in-law ‘Poor thing, and this goes on for two years on & off! Why can’t they just get all the teeth at once & be done with it?’ She looked at me like I was mad. ‘What? Oh no, you don’t want them to come all at once!’

Since that conversation Mushroom has cut just one more tooth, which again took forever to break through (he also had a very nasty bout of tonsillitis. But that’s another story). I think a third is now on its way. He’s exhausted, I’m exhausted and we all just need a break from all the teething trouble.

I think the moral of this story is ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ That is all.

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A week in tweets – #I’mabigboy

This week I thought I’d take part in Slummy Single Mummy’s ‘A week in tweets.’ This week I am doing a retrospective, tweeting as Mushroom. I enjoyed this both as a great writing exercise and a reminder of the highs and lows of the past week. The fact it made me laugh at the ‘lows’ reminds me that all the not so great stuff is only temporary, unless we hold onto it. Not a bad lesson to be reminded of! So here’s my effort (below. It’s meant to be funny. But might need work) – hope you enjoy it!

Nursery today. Mummy waited ages 4 me to wave bye. Like 2 whole minutes. I was BUSY. Separation anxiety much? Go 2 work already #I’mabigboy

Nursery again. Love it. I get attention ALL THE TIME. No ‘Mummy needs a shower now’ rubbish. And I can touch EVERYTHING. #I’mabigboynow

Me and Mummy practised walking today. A lot. Think she’s trying to get me to let go of her hand. I don’t think so. #notsuchabigboyafterall

Met up with baby friend. We ate out. Yum. Not nearly enough playtime though. Our Mums just wanted 2 chat. BORING  #itsnotallaboutthemummies

Let Mummy have a 3 hour stretch of sleep last night. Very generous I thought. My thanks? A trip to bloody Asda. No swings. #ungratefulmummy

Got up at 5am and did big poo. Took Mummy ages 2 realise I was complaining not singing & come sort me out. Honestly. So I got up for the day

Got up at 1am to play but Mummy didn’t want to. She stayed in my room  though. Result. Got late birthday present too. #itsbeenagreatweek

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Mushroom’s got moves

Mushroom has always loved music. From before he was born, when he used to wriggle around in my belly every time someone put the radio on at work, to his first time at a musical minis baby group when he was just four months old. He’s always swayed along with the music, but now that he’s standing and trying to walk, he is actually starting to dance properly. And the boy’s got moves.

Mushroom comes from a musical family – Daddy was part of a successful UK rap group in the early 80s and his uncles and one of his aunties on Daddy’s side ran sound systems at the same time. My sister is a singer/ songwriter/dancer and all of Daddy’s family are good dancers. Even Mushroom’s Grandma can still bust a funky move. Just last month she was showing us some of the dances they used to do at the house parties she went to in the 60s when she first came to England. With this background I’m not surprised at his love of music  but the dancing still gets me every time.

He likes all sorts of music. From standard nursery rhymes, to pop, rock and hip hop via afrobeat. He’s not keen on trance but then neither am I. Basically, if its got a beat, he’ll move. I know all babies move to music and I risk sounding boastful, but I swear he’s different. He’ll hear music blasting from a car a mile away, his face breaks into a big grin and he starts nodding his head like a miniature b-boy. If he really likes the tune he puts a hand in the air like he’s saluting some unseen DJ. If he’s not strapped in (to the pushchair/highchair etc.) he’ll find something to pull up on so he can stand up and dance. He starts with a little bounce, then that head nod, then he might lift up his left foot… He’s a bit limited at the moment as he can’t stand alone, but I can see he’s dying to move around the room and throw some shapes. I’m telling you, Mushroom’s got moves.

What does your baby do that makes you proud? Pick one thing (I know its hard to choose), and tell me about it below.

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One year in

Hello! Thanks for stopping by. If you haven’t already, you might want to read this page first. I’ll wait here til you get back.

Ok, so I started writing this all important first post about a week ago, and nothing I wrote felt ‘right.’ I started off at the beginning, writing about Mushroom’s birth, then I changed my mind and thought I would write about his first day at nursery, then I changed my mind again, and started to write about… Well you get the picture.

Seeing as I didn’t know where to start, I decided to write an overview of the highs and lows of Mushroom’s first year. So, let’s start at the beginning…

The birth –

Had liver failure about a month before my due date. There was talk of inducing me but Mushroom, considerate as ever, arrived two weeks early so we avoided that. Yes, it hurt. But not in the way I anticipated. Hypnotherapy worked better than I expected despite birth plan going out the window. Midwives at birth were great. Bonding was beautiful. Breastfeeding a breeze. Baby blues and postnatal pre-eclampsia were not. Ten further days in hospital were frustrating. But we survived. Mushroom was home properly about two weeks after the birth.

0-3 months –

Sleepless nights took some getting used to but Mushroom’s temperament was very laid back and we started getting to know each other a little. At this stage, his  longest awake time was around the time he was born. We settled into a routine by about 2.5/3 months. I started to stay awake during some of his naps and get stuff done. We had lots of visitors and I weaned myself off the blood pressure medicine.

3-6 months –

I thought the 4 month growth spurt (or ‘Wonder Week’ 19 – more on Wonder Weeks later) would kill me. My breasts hurt (so that’s what people had been telling me about) and I thought I would never sleep again. Mushroom developed more of a personality and we started attending baby groups and making friends. He was diagnosed with severe reflux so we introduced solid food at around 4.5 months which helped a little. Eventually we settled into a new routine. Or so I thought…

6-9 months –

Another growth spurt! The boy could eat. And eat. We went from one meal a day to three with breast milk on tap. His reflux flared up again, then disappeared. I started to think about giving up breastfeeding but we had a breakthrough when he started crawling, and clapping, and really trying to talk. Each milestone was met with much excitement and we all got a bit more sleep. For a week or two…

9-12 months –

The 10 month growth spurt (Wonder Week 46) coincided with Mushroom learning to sit up, then stand up (holding on), getting his first teeth, starting to talk, trying to walk… Basically this has been the most exhausting, and the most rewarding, three months since Mushroom was born.

So that was the first year in brief – I have left a lot out but I will write more about some, if not all, of the above in time, as well as more about where we are now – just entering the toddler years. If there is anything you would particularly like to hear more about, do let me know! I don’t claim to be any kind of parenting expert, but am happy to share my experiences and will also answer questions privately by email if you prefer.

Thanks for reading – do come back soon!

Mushroom’s Mum