The baby chronicles #17: The sick baby blues

 Weeks old: 17

I like: Boobs, pulling blankets over my head, Tellytubbies 

Mummy is learning: To crack on no matter how rough she feels.

This post is very late because Little O and I have both not been our best over the last week. He’s had a mild cold for a few weeks but it has now migrated into his chest and left him rather miserable. 

Poor little chap rattles when he breathes, snuffles when he eats and appears to be phlegmed up to his eyeballs. 

On Wednesday he gave us the fright of our lives by waking up several times struggling to breathe and coughing violently so I decided to take him to the doctor. I felt every inch the paranoid first time mum. I won’t take myself to the doctor unless I’m dying out of fear of being a time waster so the struggle was real.

Fortunately the doctor did not make me feel bad about bringing him in even though he appears to have a virus and said at this age it’s always better to be sure. She told me to keep up the vapor rub I’ve been putting on his chest and feet along with the saline spray for his nose and prescribed some piriton to help dry him out at night. He’s definitely sleeping better but he’s also a bit of a whingy grouch.

Unfortunately the situation was not improved when I suddenly got sick too on Thursday. We don’t seem to be sharing the same germs though because my bug is characterised by nausea, dizziness, headache and achy body. While mummery is tough work when you feel well, it is a whole different ballgame when you feel ill. Mr O is super helpful but I’m still the only one who can feed Little O and he likes me to rock him to sleep. Checking out and taking to my bed is no longer an option especially when Mr O is at work. 

Instead I’ve just had to keep going, even when my every instinct has been to lie on the floor and cry. I’ve slowly started eating again today so I guess that’s a good sign. Wish me luck for next week. 

Things I have been cooking lately #167: Pretzel tiffin

About a week ago when I was in Tesco buying essentials (nappies, bread, milk), I also came across a packet of salted caramel pretzel tiffin squares. These, of course, also counted as essential so I brought them home for Mr O and I to enjoy and they were glorious. I decided to make a sort of attempt to recreate them and although my version doesn’t have a caramel element they’re still pretty tasty… and very easy.


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Film Friday #283

How to be Single (2016)

Alice (Dakota Johnson) has been dating Josh (Nicholas Braun) for four years but now she wants to take a break and try out the single life in New York. She has no idea how to behave as a singleton so she teams up with her crazy colleague, Robin (Rebel Wilson), who is very good at being single, drinking, drugging and basically just doing whatever she likes. At the same time Alice’s sister, Meg (Leslie Mann), an oby-gyn who has never wanted children starts to think she might and Alice’s neighbour, Lucy (Alison Brie) struggles to take a chance on anybody. Read more…


The baby chronicles #16: The dreaded R word

Weeks old: 16
I like: Shoving everything in my mouth, Captain Calamari, sitting more upright in my pushchair, boobs
Mummy is learning: To enjoy CBeebies (but not as much as daddy), to move around more quietly

With Little O only a week away from four months old and officially past what is often referred to as the “fourth trimester”, it’s time to talk about the “R word”: routine.

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Things I have been cooking lately #166: Coconut and raspberry jam squares

Since Little O was born I have had a lot less time to bake. It can be tricky enough to put up essential meals without finding the time for any extra bits. However recently he’s a lot more able to play on his own for periods of time or under Mr O’s supervision so when the urge struck me on Sunday I decided to go for it. I picked this recipe because Mr O particularly likes raspberries and coconut and he’s been raving about them ever since.


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Film Friday #282

Room (2015)

Ma (Brie Larson) and her five year old son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) live in a solitary room in the home of Old Nick (Sean Bridgers). Jack has no concept of the outside world. Room is his only reality, that and what he sees in the seemingly fantasy world of the television. Old Nick provides for Ma and Jack’s basic needs and takes what he needs from Ma, who protects Jack from him at all costs, but Ma has a plan, one she hopes will turn the outside world into a reality.

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The baby chronicles #15: A large change in a short time

Weeks old: 15
I like: Chewing daddy’s hand, smacking the toys on my playmat, tummy time, thrashing around in my moses basket, boobs
Mummy is learning: That I won’t sleep in my own bed past 5am, what my different whinges mean

At 15 weeks old Little O is now more than three months old and a completely different being to the one we brought home in late June. While for an adult 3 months is barely a blip on the radar, the length of a mid-range work project or half of winter (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere), for a new human it’s virtually a lifetime. I cannot believe how much Little O has changed and how different mumming a three month old is to mumming a newborn. I was told there was quite a dramatic change at three months but I have to admit that at points I wondered if things would ever be different but here’s how they are.

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The baby chronicles #14: The buck stops here

I want to start this post with a disclaimer that it’s not a dig at Mr O or any of the other wonderful people who form the village that is raising Little O but rather an account of my experiences as I see them.

There are lots of incredibly special things about getting to be “mum”. It starts when you are pregnant and you get to be the one who grows the new little person inside your body, feels them move and bonds with them before they even reach the outside world. More often than not you are the first person who holds them, the one they reach to for for comfort and if you breastfeed the one who looks into their eyes as you feed them. Read more…


The baby chronicles #13: Thumb’s the word

Weeks old: 13
I like: Dribbling, boobs, my thumb
Mummy is learning: How to rock me without getting RSI

The last week of our holiday was a week of firsts for Little O. For him the most exciting one was probably successfully getting his thumb into his mouth for the first time and soothing himself to sleep by sucking it. Unfortunately it was a one-off so he’s become obsessed with getting it back into his mouth. This means we get to listen to hours of him slurping as he accidentally gets both thumbs in at once, gets his thumb in but fails to close his hand or sticks his thumb in too far and gags. I am really hoping he figures it out soon not just because his inability to do what he wants to is really frustrating him but also because a self-soothing baby equals a mummy with a bit more freedom. Read more…


The baby chronicles #12: The journey continues 

Weeks old: 12

I like: Sitting in large chairs, boobs, nappy free time

Mummy is learning: a boob doesn’t solve everything

We spent last week visiting with my dad at his house in Somerset West, which was lovely but also a bit restrictive because of our lack of proper car seat and pushchair compounded with my dad’s lack of interest in breaking his routine and the crap weather.

We did do some really fun stuff though.  Read more…


The baby chronicles #11: A long journey 

Weeks old: 11

I like: When daddy pretends to crack an egg on my head, mummy kissing my feet, the painting on Oupa’s lounge wall, boobs

Mummy is learning: To improvise

Finally this blog is actually coming to you from South Africa, which means we have successfully survived 18 hours of travelling with a small baby that involved an hour and a half in a cab and two flights… one of which was 11 hours long. Read more…


The baby chronicles #10: Awakening

Weeks old: 10
I like: Kicking everyone, boobs, making weird little noises, when mummy pretends she’s going to eat my feet
Mummy is learning to: Keep track of all my moods, keep a calm face when I am screaming my head off in public

In the last week or so Little O has had what can only be described as an awakening. He’s been smiling for a few weeks as well as showing some awareness of our presence but this is different.

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Things I have been cooking lately #165: key lime pie

Over the weekend Mr O and I invited around his best friend,  Mr H, Mr H’s brother and their wives and kids to join us for a BBQ in our garden. I asked Mr O what I should make for a dessert and he said key lime pie. I have never made key lime pie and he’s never eaten it but he liked the sound of it so I took to my recipes and found one to make. It turned out to be a great success and even though we had ice lollies for the kids they all wanted to get in on the pie! If you get the chance to make this it’s packed with zesty lime flavours that are lovely and refreshing. It is worth mentioning though that there is a lot of cooling and refrigeration time so if you are going to make this you need to start relatively early the day before you want to eat it.


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The baby chronicles #9: A series of unfortunate events

Weeks old: 9
I like: Being bounced around, lying in the middle of mummy and daddy’s bed like a pimp, boobs
Mummy is learning: To sit still and let daddy take care of her

So if you read my last baby chronicles blog you’d be expecting this blog to be written from South Africa. It wasn’t. The O family is not in South Africa as expected because of the small matter of an emergency surgery.

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The baby chronicles #8: Things I underestimated how much time I’d spend doing

Weeks old: 8
I like: The pictures of mummy and daddy’s wedding on the wall, when daddy plays with my nose, boobs
Daddy is learning: To keep an eye on me when he leaves me on the sofa

I have heard a lot of people say they were completely blind-sided by what taking care of a baby was like on a day-to-day basis and I can understand why because there really is nothing that can quite describe it. For me I wouldn’t say it was a total shock that my days would melt together, or that I’d be taken over by baby related activities or that there would be sleepless nights. I certainly didn’t feel like the woman in that infamous article who was shocked that she didn’t spend her maternity leave eating salad in restaurants and getting pedicures. However, there are some activities that I definitely underestimated how much time I’d end up devoting to.

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Film Friday #281

So after 6 weeks I have successfully managed to watch four whole films, so Film Friday is back! I can’t day how regularly… I highly doubt it will be weekly but right now… TA DA!

Coming to America (1988)

On his 21st birthday African prince, Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is due to meet his future bride and live happily ever after in the luxury lifestyle he has grown accustomed to. But Akeen dreams of more. He wants to explore the world, America in particular, and see how the other half lives. So with the blessing of his father (James Earl Jones) ostensibly to sow his wild oats, Akeem heads off  to New York with his manservant, Semmi (Arsenio Hall).

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The baby chronicles #7: Don’t ask me…

Weeks old: 7
I like: Mummy’s terrible singing, boobs, white noise, staring at things no one else can see
Mummy is learning: To make up her own songs. “Have you done a poop?” being a popular hit

When you have a tiny baby there is a series of questions everyone asks you. I think pre-baby I might have asked some of these questions myself. So I am going to let you in on a secret, no one wants to be asked these questions unless it’s by another mum, in the same boat who is genuinely offering you a venting space. Here are my answers so we can all just move on.

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Things I have been cooking lately #164: Crunchies

Crunchies are kind of like the South African equivalent of a flapjack although crunchier (hence the name) and less sweet and sticky. I grew up eating loads of these since they’re eggless and my brother was allergic to eggs as a child so baked treats he could eat were quite limited. I recently found this recipe on Pinterest and decided to make these as a snack since oats is supposed to aid breast milk production. Also they are just yummy!

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The baby chronicles #6: Things on the mind of the new mum

Weeks old: 6
I like: Grabbing mummy’s hair, boobs, dancing to Alkaline Trio with daddy
Mummy is learning: To tie up her hair, to like Alkaline Trio

So I am 6 weeks into this mum lark and some of the fog is starting to lift… sometimes. While Little O still does most of his sleeping on me, he does longer stretches of it most nights which means I am getting just about enough broken sleep to function as a human being. Not a human being who could do things like work at an actual outside the home job for money or do calculus but one who can dress, eat and keep a small human alive. (As a side note, how on earth do American mums who only get 6 weeks of maternity leave, usually unpaid, cope with returning to work at this stage???).

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The baby chronicles #5: Things I wish I knew about having a newborn baby before I had a newborn baby

Weeks old: 5
I like: Bathing with daddy, boobs, licking the strap in my pushchair (??)
Mummy is learning: To bring me downstairs for a change of scenery when I am screaming in the middle of the night

Little O is now 5 weeks old and I feel like I sort of have a vague idea of how to look after him… for now. It is definitely very true though that there is absolutely nothing that can prepare you for what being responsible for a tiny human being is like. There are some things though that I think it would have been helpful to know before he was born and I wanted to share them with you in case you’re thinking of spawning a small person or you already have one and want to reminisce/commiserate or if you just want a good laugh.

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