Friday, June 29, 2012

The electronic babysitter

When I was pregnant I was thinking actively about how I wanted to parent my child once he was born. I wanted to make informed, educated parenting decisions based on sound evidence in order to ensure my baby would become as secure and confident and happy in life as possible. MSc talk at its best.

Ha! What bollocks.

I haven't had a spare second, nor, to be honest, the inclination to give a shit about 'sound evidence' in the five months now since Fletch was born. It's been a whirlwind of feeding, sleeping, crying, laughing, nappies, playing and just getting through the bloody day.

But there is one, let's call it, 'accidental parenting strategy', that I've realised I am guilty of. Plonking Fletch in front of the old TV has become a little go-to resource for me when I need a time out. Or if I need the toilet. Or a glass of water. Or if Fletch just needs to calm the fuck down. As annoying as Mister Maker is, he has now become my ally. And he, the Teletubbies and Charlie & Lola never fail to come through with the goods.

Problem is, I'm not sure how much is too much. I've done some in-depth research (*cough* Google)  and apparently there is some evidence out there that says too much TV before 6 months lowers language and visual motor skills at age 3. But, when the results were adjusted for household income and education levels, the effect disappeared. So, it sounds like no one really knows the effect of TV on young babies.

I can't believe that 5 or 10 or let's go wild, 15 minutes here and there is going to matter. I certainly know my brother and sister and I watched a fair bit of TV growing up and look how we turned out! OK, maybe not such a good example. But surely it's not that big a deal, right? What I do know is that Fletch's TV watching doesn't replace anything. He plays with his toys, goos and gahs out the windows at the boats and the cars, is out walking with me, swimming in the pool, at our weekly baby class, or playing with his baby friends the rest of the time. We read books, we sing, we play, we tickle, we laugh. The TV's certainly not a big part of his life, but it's there. And I can't see it going away anytime soon.  

So in the spirit of continuing my robust research, I'm interested to know what you think on the matter!

Do you let your kids watch TV? 
Do you limit the time per day? 
Do you think it's detrimental to their development?
Or are you all for it?

Monday, June 25, 2012

When you feel so far away

There's a lot of shit going down in my world at the moment. Not directly to me, but to a lot of people I love. Some of it's really private stuff, marriage stuff, some it's really life-threatening stuff, cancer stuff, and some of it is really bloody scary, very-close-call accident stuff (BabyMac wrote about this one).

When shit goes down, it's bad. When shit goes down and you're half way around the world? It becomes  a different kind of bad that those that have lived far away from home will know all too well.

You aren't there to be an everyday support. To drive people around, cook dinners, make beds. 
You aren't there for hospital visits, home visits, any visits. 
You aren't there to be a friend. To lend an ear, a shoulder, your heart. 
You just aren't there.

You aren't there at a time when you know you could help.
You aren't there at a time when all you want to do is be a friend.
You aren't there at a time when your whole body and self is screaming to be there.

I feel helpless and hopeless at the moment, because I'm not there for these people I love so dearly.

I'm just not there.

Monday, June 18, 2012


I know I've been neglecting this space far more than I should. But at the moment, I just can't keep it up. Fletch is going through some form of stage. It's draining me of all my energy, leaving only enough for a glass of wine and a few episodes of Revenge at the end of every day. I'm battling with him for a good 40 minutes each and every time he goes down for a nap. There are piercing screams from him, and a lot of singing and 'trying to hold it together' from me. When he's awake, he doesn't stop moving and making noise and grunting and needing a breastfeed or some food or something. It's just non-stop. 

He's started grabbing his ear a bit so he could be at the early stages of teething. Either that or it's him getting used to eating solids and the subsequent, not so pleasant bodily movements involved. Or it could be my fault for being a bit lax with his sleeping routine of late. All I know is the placid, beautiful little boy I know has been overshadowed by his alter ego, let's call him Chevy, and it hasn't been pretty. Whatever it is I'm laying low this week, giving him morning and lunchtime sleeps at home, and trying to push Chevy out of the way as fast as I bloody well can.

Welcome to parenthood eh? 

And yes. My son has a mullet.

Wine please.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Hello food.

We started Fletch on solids a week ago. Our paediatrician said he was physically ready, and that it might help with the relentless vomiting we've been dealing with. I was all for trying anything that might help me change my clothes and his less than thirty four times a day, so got straight to it.

My new 2-in-1 steamer/blender has had a workout this past week and has become my new favourite kitchen appliance. Pop some water in the base, turn to steam, flip it over when finished, turn to blend, and Bob's your uncle. Puree. Too easy. And boy do I love easy.

Rice cereal? Nailed. Apple? Demolished. Carrot? Pumpkin? Sweet potato? Pear? Smashed. And all in a couple of days. Yes my four month old baby, who basically popped out of my nether regions yesterday is now on three meals a day. How the hell does that happen? 

The way Fletch attacks a spoonful of food is nothing short of aggressive. I have to say I adore feeding him. His attempts at getting spoon to mouth as fast as humanly possible cracks me up every time. As does the Indian style head wobble he uses en route to said spoon. He inevitably ends up with food all over his face, up his nose, in his hair, smothered on his bib, through his clothes and in his nappy which has upped the quantity of washing to no end. But the beauty of living in HK? I don't have to do the washing. Snap to that my friends. Snap to that.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bookshelves and books

These boxes are still everywhere. Filled with books. I've filled the bookshelves with things other than books. You know, with my completely useless and illogical but pretty to look at stuff. Is this logical? No. Do I think it looks great? Yes. So bookless the shelves shall stay. Unfortunately this leaves us with loads of books and nowhere logical to put them. Unless, of course, I put them under the bed. Or get rid of them. Both feel slightly sacrilegious. And a little naughty. I'm not sure why, but I feel like books should have themselves a nice little home for all to see. But, as I said, and (Phil) as they shall stay, the bookshelves are otherwise occupied. So...what to do? What to do?

Do your books live on your bookshelves? Are they on show?
Or do you hide your books away somewhere?
What do you do with all your books?