Sunday, March 26, 2017

12/52 2017

This week's photo was taken at a rather lovely playground in Stratford upon Avon.

Best playground

The equipment is wonderful, the surface is accessible, and it's worth the drive - but what made it magical this week is the bit in the background, just behind the brightly coloured house Jamie is playing in.

Yes, it's a real-life digger, or "DIG-DIG" as Jamie calls them. I suppose they must have been about to install a new piece of play equipment or something, ​because it was digging away right inside the playground. He thought it was amazing and had to stop and stare at it every time he went over to a different toy.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

11/52 2017

When putting pictures of Jamie online I've tried to be mindful of his future self, and have set a number of "rules" such as not posting naked pictures, or pictures of him unhappy. Teenage Jamie should, in my opinion, be able to look at the public record of his childhood and shrug, or at worst, have a minor cringe - he shouldn't feel teased, shamed, or violated.

Which is a long winded way of reassuring everyone that in this week's photo he's not actually unhappy.


He asked to go in this swing. He's been in it before. I was expecting him to lie down and giggle as it swung. Instead he sat bolt upright, with beautiful poise and this look of really intense concentration. I've no idea what he was processing in that brain of his.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

10/52 2017

Ah, Jamie asleep. It feels like we used to have more pictures like this... actually we did, but that's largely because as he gets older, Jamie gets even better at doing his sleep in one go in his own room, and isn't often having to find that extra hour in our bed before my PA arrives and we properly start the morning.


Tuesday, March 07, 2017

09/52 2017

Jamie in our back yard again, investigating a plant pot full of soil.


I know, I should just be thankful that he's not methodically tipping out the pots that have flowers in them. Perhaps he's searching for the flowers that have mysteriously failed to appear from the pots that didn't contain bulbs...

It seems really strange though, to think that at daffodil time last year, I was being so attentive to sterilising his sippy cups, washing his spoons with a separate brush, keeping dettol wipes handy in several rooms of the house plus the car bag, and now he's so big and independent and can wander around getting mud all over himself.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

1 in 200

I am still breastfeeding Jamie at 18 months old. First thing in the morning, last thing at night, during the day if he requests it.

This shocks some people, because in the UK it's a very unusual thing to do. Which is odd, because it's exactly the recommended path according to the NHS and the World Health Organisation. Exclusive breastfeeding to 6 months, then breastfeeding alongside other foods and drinks, ideally until at least 2 years, longer if mother and child both want to.

And yet.

The trouble with being 1 in 200 this way is that there's 199 mums who believe you're criticising their choices. So I get all English about it and make sure to validate their choices. I nod and smile and agree that whatever difficulties they faced were insurmountable, to the point where it was barely a choice at all. I imply that in their situation I would have likely made the same choice. I make cracks about how I'm only breastfeeding because I'm too lazy to sterilise bottles.

But a bit of me rages inside. I, too, had some difficulty getting started (I recommend the NCT Breastfeeding Helpline 0300 330 0771, and remember to use a phone that you can put on loudspeaker). I, too, would like to have a day off. I'd like my partner to be able to do the bedtime routine once in a while. I've made medication choices based on breastfeeding compatibility to the detriment of my own health. I've ridden out two bouts of mastitis during which, obviously, I had to look after Jamie even while hallucinating with fever. I've been bitten, basically once per tooth. Breastfeeding might be natural but it's not the soft option. I've worked hard at it and committed to sustaining it because every resource not sponsored by a formula company says it's the best and right and correct and most beneficial thing to do for my child.

It really upsets me that I then end up having to defend that choice, that effort. I've had people suggest that I do it because I want to delay Jamie's development. Or because I'm too possessive of him and don't want to let anyone else care for him. Or because it makes me feel important. Or because I don't know any other way to calm him down. Or because I'm an exhibitionist. Then we have the people who aren't so explicit about it, the double-takes, the "you're still breastfeeding him?!?" remarks, the queries about when I'm going to stop. It all grinds me down.

I'm not expecting a cookie - the cookie is knowing I'm doing my best for Jamie, and Steve gives me a lot of encouragement too - but less criticism and incredulity would be so nice.