Get your Hygge on! 

I absolutely love warm lights, being cosy,  snuggling under blankets, locking out the world and chilling out. Our wedding had a dedicated are just for a cosy little section of the garden with twinkling fairy lights and it just makes my heart happy. Turns out that this what the Danes refer to a Hygge. 

It’s a way of life, being present and absorbed by your friends and family in a cosy, comfy environment. No harsh light or electrical glare to disrupt your zen (can I mix those two things?!) 

I am in the process of doing all I can to to purify our indoor space with plants. I think full, layered greenery adds a wonderful, cosy touch to a space but I am just basically crap at looking after them. However, I feel with all my spare time *sides split* that I can embrace this!

I want to sort the lighting out in the house anyway. I hate glare and I also hate shadow when I am trying to cook or eat. Problem solved by none direct, none fluorescent lights. Hygge is very much a candle fest too. I am not a candle person, they release way too many particles into the air in conveniently sized to upset the lungs! I also read that the tiny, floating wax particles can be classed as toxic, especially in those of scented candles.. I will have to find that article again and share. 

There is a way around it though, fake candles! I just need to work out how to get these and well  placed lamps to work in our space. I have tonnes of ideas, I just don’t like forking out a fortune for them! I wish I had a bit more DIY talent, that may assist in the whole process. But then again, DIY requires time! 

Watch this space anyway, it will be achieved! 

The blight of our life 

I don’t think anyone can comprehend the stress a coughing child inflicts, not only on them but on the parents. Leo has yet another cold, and whilst the cough isn’t croupy (yet) he is coughing throughout every sleep. THIS is what sends me under. 

Not only is his little body struggling with something, he can’t sleep properly either. It’s just so detrimental to him in every way, and I am utterly powerless. I try token gestures to at least feel like I am trying to take control, but I’m not convinced they do anything. Viks rub all over the show, cold mist humidifier, menthol spray, atomiser.. It makes me fume, unproductively of course but I just can’t deal with the disruption it brings into our lives. 

I’ve been researching the best climates to. Live in, the places with the least pollution etc because I would willingly move to the other side of the world if it would help him. It’s shit, I hate it and I can feel the anxiety grab my chest every time I hear his poor little body cough. Damn, if I could beat the shit out of a cough I would do it, gladly 

Stop for a moment 

Not for one single second am I suggesting that I am a perfect parent, far from it. I am inexperienced, I have never spent a moment considering children before I had my own and I’m pretty sure there is no such thing as a perfect parent due to the fact that a child has personal will. However, I like to think I put the effort in to understand what my role entails. 

I am all about positive attachment parenting, I see no scientific or anecdotal evidence that makes me want to do it any other way. Whilst I don’t think the approach is very natural to me, Tom disagrees but then I guess he only sees the outcome of my hours and hours of reading and pondering; running scenarios through in my head and analysing real life events. 

One thing I have noticed is just how ignorant people are to the lasting effects of their unconsidered behaviour on their wonderful little people. I’m not saying that they treat them badly, or that they do what they do from a place of cruelty: they do it from a place of ignorance but it shocks me none the less. 

I was talking to a lady the other day and she was saying how when she has told her 5 year old son off, he comes to her to say he loves her and tries to cuddle her and she tells him ‘no, you’ve been naughty and mummy does like you right now’ SERIOUSLY??? it hurts my heart. I’m just going to leave that right there. 

This same lady was discussing how babies have nothing to offer, how the first few months are just dull and it’s just them being incapable blobs. How utterly, utterly shameful. So little  respect for their individual little lives, but it really should be of no surprise to me as I have plenty of interaction with this lady and my opinion is cast aside and I am walked over for personal gain, it’s just a shame. She’s happy with how she is though and what entails a good person is a personal opinion at the end of the day. 

I am under no illusion that our little pickle is super chilled, whether that be because of our respectful approach to him or just him, I guess we will never know. He has been getting much more possessive about things recently. The little scooter above has caused some frustration for him when I want to move him onto something else. As with everything, I resist the urge to put parental need and adult opinions over how he feels about it, and I am really pleased that I have made the choice to do it like that from day one: he always responds positively, even if he gets upset when I have to calmly apply my boundaries. The upset is short lived, I am there for him and allow him to feel it and it makes me feel connected. 

It’s strange that upsetting my child makes me feel more connected, but it’s easy to feel connected when you’re laughing and happy: it’s about being there to support the big emotions, no matter what they look like. Showing him my love is unconditional and it’s OK to feel like that. 

This journey just gets more intense and rewarding as each day goes by.

Do one Croup 

Hellish, Hellish croup.. Any parent who has experienced it will know just how terrifying that signature bark is. It can appear from nowhere, scare the shit out of you, then run away and hide when a medic is within sniffing distance. 

Our horror experience with it last summer, that resulted in being hospitalised for a week, has left us horribly scarred. We had a bout of it out of nowhere 10 days ago and we took him straight into the out of hours doctor for some wonderful, wonderful Dex. This is an oral steroid and is like a wonder drug basically. Last night, the haunting whoop before the barking cough began. As there was no accompanying stridor we thought we would wait it out and see if his inhaler and pain killers did the trick, they did not. A few hour later and the blue flashing lights were by our door. 

He had of course improved significantly by the time they got to us and and we decided to drive him over to the hospital as the ambulance service was being hit really hard, mainly cases of croup it would seem. The service in the hospital was pretty poor and we were there a good few hours before we got some Dex, this time or didn’t seem to do much so we trotted off back to the out of hours surgery and got some more. 

He’s snoozing away in the car now, we did have a scare when I looked back and his head was flopped forwards and I could hear him breathing. I leapt into the back and moved him; nothing so shook him and said his name and he cried out and was breathing, then went straight back to sleep. I don’t know if he had stopped breathing, but it was horrific. This is why we never go abroad with him, the risk is just not worth the supposed benefits. I live having the NHS, we’d have been lost without it the last 18 months. 

Oh well, only 4 more croup prone years to go. 

Reflection 

I am doing a course in my own time and one of the assignments is to write a piece reflecting on your mindset towards health, disease and wellness. It’s really damned hard! One thing I have realised though, with this and witnessing the tragic death of a pedestrian a week or so ago, is that no matter how much I want to help people, you can’t help them all. Everyone has access to the same materials I do, there are plenty of resources available to the masses and it isn’t a trapping of the rich either. 

I was considering running a road safety awareness course in the area to remind people to wear reflective gear and be responsible for their own life. If you can’t do that anyway, then I would say the chance of you paying attention to something I spent all my none existent time organising, is basically next to none. As far as people who can’t help themselves, that’s different, I still need to arrange a car seat safety awareness drive but that will be for the kids sake, not the parents. 

There is no excuse for ignorance in this day and age, I appreciate that understanding and filtering through the shit takes time, but if anything is worth it I would say it’s your very existence! I just need to keep on doing what I am doing and hopefully, just by being knowledgeable and doing things right, the people that count will benefit and anyone else is just a bonus. 

That doesn’t mean I’m selfish, it just makes me real. 

Raw

Our first milk run arrives today! Unfortunately, I didn’t realise they would send it out so quickly and I’m not in work until tomorrow! 

I’ve never handled raw milk before, so it really is a new journey for us. I have only read you shouldn’t consume it because of bacteria, but everything I have read into this time says that isn’t an issue as dairies and the animals are cleaner, healthier environments now. I wish I wasn’t nervous about it, I really want to get Leo onto it but the jury is still out there! 

I’ve been reading about how easy it is to make cottage cheese from fresh milk, butter looks somewhat more involved but I think I will still have a crack at it. I can also then get whey out of it and I am considering looking into drying that for powder to have as a boost, but I haven’t really investigated that yet. 

To hold back? 

As usual for me, I’ve been doing some thinking and some reading.. This time it’s regarding the holding back a year from starting school. 

Leo is a July baby and in England, you have the right to delay the start of school until later in the year or for an entire year if that’s what you choose. 

Everyone I speak to has said you will know if they’re ready to move into big school. Readiness isn’t my concern, Leo has no issues being around other kids in busy environments. He takes his time to warm up, but I don’t feel it affects him. Our issue is with the exposure to examinations and criteria that is aimed at children 10 months further on in their learning and development journey and it is this I feel will be detrimental. 

There are plenty of research papers out there, citing evidence to prove that it is always a good idea to hold them back, the restriction on most people is the cost of nursery in doing this. This is also a concern for us, if we stick to the plan to have another baby, this would mean that we could have a year of paying double nursery fees. 

I refuse to let this be the reason, I’d rather eat gruel and only do free things for a year and benefit Leo for the rest of his life. Delaying me getting pregnant by another year isn’t something we feel is an option, whilst the first time was immediate, I’m not getting any younger and I just don’t want to wait. What will be will be and we will find a way somehow if we decide that’s the way to go. 

We will be met with opposition, for that I am prepared, but Leo’s learning journey is all we care about and we are the only people who matter in this decision at the end of the day. As with every decision we make, we just want to be informed and we have the time to make the right choice. 

Being responsible 

The quest regarding the ethical consumption of animal products continues.  Just reading about it all was sending me under and I had decided to just bite the bullet and go vegan, but then one of the girls that works with me, who is also doing the same thing, pointed out the necessity of calcium consumption. We do have a history of osteoporosis in the family too! 

I can’t believe, after all the reading and so called awareness of nutrition, that something as obvious as that didn’t cross my mind! I just thought of the obvious leafy greens then, but of course I had no idea how much I would need to be consuming; so remiss. 

And then of course, the question of all other nutrients. The biggest being B12, this little powerhouse is not to be ignored.. Or under consumed! So, it’s back to the ethical quest. 

Jess had found a dairy that doesn’t force mass production of milk and stress out their herd, which was great, but we were still breaking our hearts about the calves (they did start this entire dilemma!) so it was just still only a last resort.. And then, I found this beauty: The calf at foot dairy! AMAZING! The calves stay with their mummies.  It’s a little bit pricey,  but for no compromise on what I deem ethical, it’s a price worth paying whilst we are in a position to do so. 

My issue does still lie with Leo having formula. I’ve always been uncomfortable with it, (especially after reading it has palm oil in it)  but when we gave him milk, he had terrible diarrhea. He may be different now, but the ‘problem’ with this dairy is that it is raw milk and I’ve read scary stories about listeria and other nasties in raw milk. Apparently, now cows are clean and cared for and the equipment is too, this isn’t an issue, but I do need to understand it a little better before I risk his health. He is more important than any of the process. Raw milk is meant to be just outstanding for overall health though, so I will be giving it serious consideration. 

Eggs.. This is a tricky one, finding somewhere that gives their hens an amazing life is really, really simple. For me, it is the step before that. Where do they source their chicks from? Is it somewhere that mass produces and gasses the male chicks? The obvious place to look is at the heritage breed handlers. I have contacted Clarence Court, as they really do appear to give a shit, they are even really aware of the environmental affect of packaging products and have information on how theg handle that, no mention of source though. We shall see. 

Pork: I have contacted a place that looks great as far as the pigs life, but I have enquired about where they get their babies from and then I will find out how they handle them, especially from a castration perspective. 

We have the power to be responsible. It may be hard work and it may be a little bit more costly, but it makes me feel good in ways beyond the gratification of consuming the end product.  

N.B. One thing I have also found on this journey, is that so many vegan products contain palm oil and it isn’t necessarily responsibly sourced.(although, ethical sources are also questionable)  How does this work? We love our cows, pigs, hens etc, but the orangutans and the oxygen of the world can just swivel? I hope vegans of the world are aware, or they are a joke to me.. More so than the blinkered, die hard carnivores.

A disturbing reality 

I have owned animals my entire life and be brought up to respect them. My mother is a vegetarian and has been for many years, but she has let us take our own path in life and, until now, I have chosen that of the carnivore. 

We went out yesterday to a local farm, I wanted Leo to see the cows as he loves them at the minute. The farm has their own dairy herd and what we were presented with, were the tiniest little calves I have ever seen. The smallest were pitifully shivering in their stall,  it made my blood run cold and I felt sick to my stomach. 

One thing I have always been good at is avoiding things that cause me discomfort, and thinking about the harsh reality of the dairy industry is one of them. For the last few years, I have consciously made the effort to source my meat from outdoor bred and raised animals for the majority, but I will hold my hands up to this not being 100% of the time. 

I decided to read about the dairy industry last night, whilst they are making steps to do things better, it’s not compulsory and is far from what sits well with me, so I’m done. I mentioned it to one of my friends and she just mentioned that I may want to watch Farm to Fridge. Well, I didn’t even manage 30 seconds. It is barbaric and unless I can guarantee that I know the life and source of what we buy, there will be no meat bought in this house and I won’t be eating it regardless. I don’t feel it is my place to make the decision for anyone else, but I will teach Leo to be responsible for what he consumes.   

The rhythm 

It’s been a really tough 6 months for me, going back to work full time after a year out is a huge upheaval, not what I expected in any way. Dragging yourself back into the real world after the cozy little bubble of maternity is an unbelievable shock to the system. You forget how to adult and you don’t realise how working your way through the ranks of your chosen field, gradually eyes you into the mindset you require to be a manager and then BANG, you’re suddenly a first line engineer in a management role. HUGE deal. 

I finally feel like it’s switching back on, there has been some rearranging at work which seems to be working really well and was the discipline I needed back in my life. 

Leo absolutely loves nursery and is coping much better with the long days, so I get a happy little bundle at night rather than a my little limpet. I have to add I don’t mind that, if that is what he needs, but it doesn’t stop it being exhausting after a day in the office!