Saturday, 31 July 2010

jul, 31st - packing...again.....

day 169:

we're off to the continent on monday to see the family. i've added a couple of things to my packing list from day 147 (especially for a Summer break). so here is my full baby-Summer-holiday-survival-check-list....it's a long list and yikes! babies' ESSENTIALS take up all your holiday-shopping space:

  • travel cot (we bought the extra mattress to make it more comfy. the mattress folds up and fits into our suitcase)
  • cot sheet
  • baby monitor (really helps when you want to sit on the terrace enjoying the view and a sun-downer without wondering whether every new noise is limi squeaking)
  • buggy (we use the car-seat-buggy combination...so that we have a car-seat on the other side. although the downside is that the car-seat is fairly warm for her to nap in during the day)
  • rain cover for the buggy
  • a sling/ baby carrier (the lightest, cotton version that you can get away with)
  • mosquito net for the travel cot and the buggy
  • clothes (with plenty of layering options)
  • sun-hats and glasses
  • swimsuits
  • enough nappies, wipes, cream to get you through the first couple of days (or enough for the whole trip if going rural....at least it means some shopping space for the trip home)
  • swimming nappies
  • baby sunscreen
  • biting insect repellent wipes/ cream
  • baby friendly bite cream
  • readymade baby food for the first two days while you're sourcing and preparing local produce
  • a strainer if you can't use a blender...you can just push the softened food through the strainer with the back of a spoon
  • formula and a couple of readymade cartons for emergencies (including the flight)
  • bottles and the spoons that she's familiar with (i just use a local bowl or even the bottle lid in an emergency)
  • sterilising tablets (even though they smell horrendous, i think that it's worth taking them along even once you've stopped sterilising. just means that in unfamiliar environments, you still have the option of sterilising the bottles, plates, spoons.)
  • bibs/ muslins
  • nail scissors/clippers
  • thermometer (or the easy travel thermometer strips)
  • small bottle of calpol (just prevents having to hunt for it in a local supermarket at some inconvenient hour)
  • bedtime routine essentials - soundtrack and her giraffe lullaby toy
  • bath essentials - sponges, baby wash, one rubber duck, brush
  • towels (unless some are available for swimming and bathing)
  • some shade options (large muslin for covering the cot, a shade tent if going to the beach, or something that you can fashion into a shelter...think sticks, cloth, weights)
  • a blanket option for throwing down on the floor/ grass/ sand (can use towels, sarongs, swaddles)
  • a familiar toy
  • a bottle of baby friendly mineral water (low sodium content)



things that i've learnt from our baby trips so far:

  1. pack in zones (read: separate bags that can be layered according to importance): bathing, feeding, sleeping, clothing…..so that when you get to your destination late at night, you’re not digging through the bag to find the travel-cot sheet…. was that us in Greece…um…yes
  2. a trip bag (which is a pimped-nappy-bag) – along with the essentials and depending on the length of your flight include two changes of clothes (for both of you), a warm hat, a sleep suit and a blanket 
  3. local water is not always safe to boil as it can use softeners. use mineral water but find a baby-safe mineral water that has a low sodium content
  4. leave the mosquito net on the cot all through the day so that pesky bugs don't decide to hide in it
  5. google the directions to the local hospital or clinic. always worth just having for emergencies
  6. your days of pulling a trolley bag onto the plane are over (unless you can push a buggy and a bag at the same time). i still haven't found a stylish option but i've seen plenty of mums using backpacks
and one final sneaky tip: in my experience they don't weigh the buggy so you can usually get away with slipping a few things in the under-storage

Friday, 30 July 2010

jul, 30th - boing, boing, boing....


day 168:

If You Don't Have One of These. Go And Buy One Now.

well only if you have a baby. and a doorway.


they are the best things. ever! A. and i both had door bouncers as tots and this week limi's arrived (man, was i jealous!) popped her in. popped on some music and voila her aussie-kangaroo-blood emerged. 
boing, boing, boing, swing, step, boing, step, twist. step, boing, boing.
she LOVES it!

 and although the idea is that i can get some things done while she bounces i can't drag myself away.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

jul, 29th - T3L: borough market....




day 167:

T3London - Borough Market
(*description of T3London on day 160)

when you visit Borough Market you feel like you could be in New York's Soho....well, except for the cockney accents and the focus on English produce. it's a fantastic foodie market in South East London, held in the shadow of Southwark Cathedral and a couple of skipping stone skips from the Thames.

one of London's oldest markets, it sells both wholesale and retail. but, given that we don't own a deli....we've only ever experienced the retail on a Thurs, Fri or Sat. 


the market was historically focused more on fruit and veg but since we've been going it has increasingly also become about artisal food: amazing fish mongers and game meat sellers, the incredible Brindisa that started just as a stall selling Spanish cured meats and has now become an institution for all things Spanish, handmade truffles, homegrown herb plants, the beer boutique.....if you're a foodie then you can definitely gorge all the senses.


our favourite way to visit Borough Market is to go early on a Saturday morning, taking along visiting friends. first stop is Monmouth Coffee Shop (get there early to avoid the queue...although it does move quickly). grab a latte and a croissant and head into the stalls to find menu inspiration. wander the aisles and source ingredients to take home and cook together for an evening feast. each person usually picks one course that they take care of. what follows is an evening of group cooking, singing and feasting. perfect!



this was our first visit with limi.....a sling would have been better but she was still a hit with other visitors...



Basic Info:

wholesale market - all weekday mornings from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.
retail market - Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fridays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

parking - paid parking on the streets around the market

Highs:

- coffee and croissants from Monmouth Coffee
- the amazing buildings and signage in the streets around the market
- chatting to the stall owners about their produce and how to cook it
- tasting as you stroll around the market
- sitting in the grounds of the cathedral with lunch 
- seasonal produce
- the ginger, apple and wheatgrass juice
- buying ingredients to cook a group feast



Lows:

- queueing for coffee
- feeling hungry when you visit the market
- not being able to taste most of the cheeses at neal's yard dairy when you're pregnant


Tot Tips:

- take a sling instead of trying to negotiate a buggy through the crowds
- no changing facilities in the loos

See you there!






Wednesday, 28 July 2010

jul, 28th - drama queen....

day 166:


limi's impressive drop lip. she's definitely learning quickly how to work the crowd.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

jul, 27th - final jabs...well for a bit...


day 165:

final jabs today...(yes, a bit later than usual but we staggered them around the various travels). one jab to the left thigh and two to the right...at one she was still smiling, at two her lip started to drop and at three she let out an outraged wail....followed by an accusing look at the nurse who had previously been receiving plenty of grins and babbling-tales-of-limi's adventures....

the sharing of stories came to an abrupt halt and all smiles were withdrawn for the rest of the appointment.

[today's jabs were for DTP-Hib, Polio, PCV and Meningitis C....we have come a long way since those first jabs on day 65.]

Monday, 26 July 2010

jul, 26th - starting solids....

day 164:

Big Step! today we start solids.


[so hungry she has to eat her toes]


i have actually given this ALOT of thought. it's probably because we've spent the first 5.5 months focusing on the other senses and i want Taste to also get a look it. but also because socialising over meals is what our family does and i would love Limi to develop an appreciation of good food and be adventurous with her taste-buds..(as i said...ALOT of thought!!!)

i have been particularly interested in Baby Led Weaning (BLW) and promoted (read - evangelised) it to anyone who would listen. but after all these months of aiming for BLW,  Limi suddenly developed a Hunger last week and i decided to start her on baby cereal....(she trips and falls at the first BLW hurdle).

although we generally come from the avoid-forums-trust-your-instincts school of parenting. i decided to go looking for guidance around introducing solids and found the following 5 step plan in my book called Baby Sense....(at least it gives me some ideas to adjust around Limi's needs) 

5 step plan for introducing solids:

step 1: begin with a baby cereal as an evening meal. introduce it between 4-5 pm. gradually increase the amount and adjust the consistency depending on the babies' needs. continue for 2 weeks and then move on to step 2.

step 2: introduce a breakfast feed at 8am. offer the same amount in the morning as the evening meal. continue with cereal both morning and evening for the next two weeks.

step 3: substitute the evening cereal with vegetables. stick to vegetables with yellow or orange flesh, moistened with formula milk, if necessary. if older than five months, continue with step 3 for a week and move on to step 4.

step 4: if the baby becomes hungry at lunchtime and cannot stretch from the mid-morning feed to the mid-afternoon feed, introduce pureed fresh, raw fruit. moisten with formula. offer the same amount as for breakfast and dinner solids. milk feeds should remain the same. continue with this meal plan for a further two weeks.

step 5: introduce one tablespoon of natural yoghurt into any one meal of the day. either mix it into the cereal, or add it to fresh fruit, or give it separately after vegetables.

[this is an abbreviated version of what is found in the book]

so today we're starting on a 4-grain-multi-baby-cereal for dinner...wake up Taste Buds!

p.s. can you tell that i've been reading far too much Winnie-the-Pooh to Limi lately. i can't stop talking In Capitals....i'm loving it....Limi's more amused by trying to Eat the story.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

jul, 25th - weekend....

day 163:

sunday. walk along the river. blankets on the banks of a stream. ginger floats. tummy time.


Saturday, 24 July 2010

jul, 24th - gerber baby...


day 162:

an american friend called Limi a Gerber Baby last night....i had to wiki it....the Gerber Baby is used to advertise baby food in the US and has 'tousled hair, bright blue eyes, and round pursed lips'....i guess the Gerber Baby is like the Pears Baby in South Africa....

with the world being so small these days, it's still odd to have these discussions where you have something that was so meaningful to you in your childhood but has no relevance to the other person....especially when you grew up in a very isolated environment like South Africa during the sanction years and prior to liberation from apartheid.

the biggest thing that A. can't believe i didn't experience as a child is Sesame Street - we had our own version called Pumpkin Patch. aaah well, i guess i have some catching up to do!

Any favourite episodes that you can recommend?

Friday, 23 July 2010

jul, 23rd - swimming....

[sadly, due to child safety, we can't take any pics of the lesson...so, here's a bath shot instead...her eyes are still blue but they seem brown here....she's not wearing contacts!]

day 161:

for swimming i am definitely missing two arms and a dry pouch (kangaroo style)....actually, it's not for the swimming part but for the pre-swimming and post-swimming part. for the actual in-the-water-swimming part, i'm missing a foot in height (although don't tell A. as I've convinced him that i'm really tall.....i wish!)

it was limi's first lesson today...we tried to find a dry spot in a very wet changing room; squeezed into a costume....hopping about, trying not to get the dry outfit on the wet floor and managed to drape around a warm towel...all whilst holding a baby (yes, that was just to get me ready)....

the next challenge was to negotiate the diving pool steps with limi taking up a vital arm (okay the teacher helped on this one) and stepping into a very deep 'shallow' end (the height issue....and i wasn't even the shortest in the class....although spending 30 minutes treading water whilst holding a baby afloat is going to get them back into their skinny jeans at a much faster rate.)

so finally, we were both dressed (undressed) and in the pool without extensive flashing or swallowing of water on either part. hooray!

the rest of the lesson was pretty uneventful in comparison. some of the tips the teacher handed out at the start:

1. don't try and get into/out of the pool without her help.
2. make sure that you don't walk the length of the pool with your babies' face in the water (it was happening...especially by the shorties in the class)
3. don't feed your baby less than an hour before swimming

limi Loved it All
she splashed vigorously from start to finish...i had to try and keep her away from the other dry-faced babies...she was literally dripping from eyelashes, nose, mouth the entire 30 minutes....(i may even have to wear goggles next week). when it came time for the teacher to splash water over their heads, the other babies were slightly startled (but bravely no-one cried) and limi thought that it was hysterical....AT LAST someone else was joining in. they also did floating on their backs while only supported by the head...which she also seemed to enjoy (and luckily inherited from me as A. cannot float....a surprising fact that he hid from me for years......i would have questioned having babies with someone who can't float!!!!) and finally had to reach and hold a rubber duck(the start of the safety lessons although you'd be unlikely to throw them a rubber duck in a time of crisis.)

anyway, having successfully negotiated the change pre-swim, post-swim, we all made the fatal flaw of dressing our babies first and then trying to get ourselves ready whilst stopping a dry, warm baby from rolling into a puddle (a mistake we will NOT be making again.)

next week it's the big dunk....limi is going underwater for the first time in the outside world (well intentionally anyway...think that there may have been some unintentional dunking during bath-time with A.)

Thursday, 22 July 2010

jul, 22nd - T3L: london royal parks....

Serpentine Bar and Kitchen in Hyde Park

day 160:

i've decided to dedicate Thursdays to Things To-Do in London (T3London). it's such a great city and we've loved being here for 10 years. it's vibrant, with so much to do, that i think we're often paralyzed by the options and end up glued to the couch (well that's my excuse on those cold Winter's days). but some of our most favourite things to do in the Big Smoke are to visit many of the wonderful markets, world class and inspirational galleries/museums, beautiful green spaces - parks, heaths, commons but also to seek out the quirky, the topical and the unique things happening in this city at all times.

Serpentine Bar and Kitchen in Hyde Park

so, on Thursdays I will share some of our favourite things to do in Limi's birth city (strange to think that she will always have a stronger connection to London than we will....she owns this town and i guess it owns her!) 

today's T3London is the Serpentine Bar & Kitchen in Hyde Park, i've blogged about this spot before as it's become a bit of a favourite after an early morning walk on a weekend (we were never up in time to haul ourselves down to Hyde Park before the hordes, pre-Limi)

Serpentine Bar and Kitchen in Hyde Park

anyway, i am constantly amazed by the foresight that it took to create these beautiful parks in the heart of a big city. 



whenever i'm wandering through hyde park, i marvel at the fact that very little has changed since the 1800's and if someone from that period were to see the park today, it would still be so familiar but the people in it would be completely alien, roller-blading, riding bicycles, kicking soccer balls around with no shirts on.....they would think that the world had gone mad!


anyway i digress......wandering through parks has that effect! the parks have always been a real tribute to the city but the cafes....not so much...dry scones, uninspiring interiors, grim bathrooms. but now, that has all changed. an inspiring company has taken hold of the mediocrity and transformed the Hyde Park cafes into warm, foodie havens....that ooze character.....aaah....why has it taken so long (she says, choking on the last of those dry, flaky scones). So here is the low down.....

Serpentine Bar and Kitchen in Hyde Park


Basic Info:



The Serpentine Bar and Kitchen can be found in Hyde Park on Serpentine Road
Opening Hours: Monday - Sunday 08:00 - 21:00
Breakfast Hours: 08:00 - 12:00 Last orders 11:45
Lunch & Supper Hours: 12:00 - 21:00 Last order 20:45



Highs:

- Go for breakfast after a early morning, brisk walk along the Serpentine (watching the Serpentine Bathers pace in the cold water can make one very hungry.)
- Freshly baked pastries and muffins
- A vintage mix of solid wooden tables and chairs
- Jugs and jars of fresh flowers from the gardens (especially the sprightly daffodils when they're in season)
- Good coffee
- A wonderfully eclectic clientele
- The view of the Serpentine

Serpentine Bar and Kitchen in Hyde Park


Lows:

- Queueing for tables
- Queueing to order
- Food arriving based on queue position rather than people at the table so you end up eating in a staggered round


Serpentine Bar and Kitchen in Hyde Park


Tot Tips:

- Good spacing for pram negotiation
- Decent changing facility in the disabled cubicle
- Open kitchen which makes walking up and asking for scissors (to cut the formula carton), hot water, cold water etc.....pretty nifty.

See you there!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

jul, 21st - buddies....


day 159:


A wise friend, told me that I would really value the relationships that I forge with other new mums who go through the parenting steep learning curve at the same time.....For me, it's been the girls that I met through pregnancy yoga (which followed through to mums and babies' yoga - see day 32)


Post yoga, over coffee, we have negotiated the formerly, little understood topics of: sleep (or surviving without it), feeding, weaning, travelling, nannies, hair/lack of hair, allergies, nurseries, teething, jabs, sickness, toys, sharing of chores, baby lessons, clothes, mishaps, returning to careers......in fact many topics that are just not suitable for general public consumption. They have given me endless brilliant advice and made me feel normal even when i've arrived on 3 hours sleep, feeling haggard and wearing my top inside out.


so, girls....thank you! the next round of coffees is on me.


--------------------------


With a summer break in our yoga schedule, we met in the park today instead. It was time for the babies to literally get to grips with each other.....



[Mabel: "Seriously Limi, what look are you channelling here? Washer woman?]



[Limi: "This is how I like to roll."]




[Limi: "I think I've got it, make two bunny ears......"]


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Tuesday, 20 July 2010

jul, 20th - routine mojo...gone....

day 158:

my routine mojo obviously decided to stay behind in Cornwall (probably thought that it was not yet windswept and interesting enough....). we certainly haven't stuck to just one routine in the past 5.5 months ...but as Limi has grown and changed, I've tried to understand her patterns and build the routine around her and us.

we started out with feeds every 3-4 hours and a loooong sleep in the middle of the day followed by short naps on either side. this was brilliant for lazy lunches with friends (see day 15) but meant that they seldom got to see her awake and even resorted to poking and prodding her on occasion (you know who you are :). lately, she's been favouring a longer nap after her formula in the morning followed by a 2-ish hour nap early afternoon....but well this week...all patterns have vanished. and i'm stuck scrambling for bottles because she's suddenly ravenous....and trawling the local streets to get her to sleep when we appear to have somehow missed the afternoon nap and I know that she won't last until bedtime....help! if you're in Cornwall please post my mojo back (first class!).

so......below is a collage of my neighbourhood pacings (stopping for coffee once i've succeeded in getting her to drop off....hooray!)

Hipstamatic collage

Monday, 19 July 2010

jul, 19th - getting creative....

day 157:

i was feeling creative today. made a headband for Limi out of one of mine and a spare button that was hanging about in a drawer. i think that it makes her look a bit like a 17th century Dutch painting....or alternatively i'm misguided and she looks more like a washer woman.

--------------------------------------


Heather Moore's Skinny laMinx dress
love the prints by Heather Moore at Skinny laMinx...and her blog is also a must-read if you're into design, printmaking or creativity. she's based in Cape Town, South Africa, but sells her gorgeously-sludgy-coloured wares internationally, on Etsy. Take a look. I'm coveting this cushion with it's whimsical protea to remind me of home.


Heather Moore's Skinny laMinx cushion

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