Thursday, 14 November 2013

Vaccination day - brought to you by Calpol

We took M to have her first vaccinations today. No parent enjoys seeing their child upset, and inevitably, any baby is going to object to having injections, especially when she has no idea what is going on. She was actually very good, although she has been very grumpy and upset all afternoon and evening. It makes it hard to remember sometimes why we do it. But I have absolutely no doubt that we have done the right thing in having her vaccinated against diseases that are virtually unheard of in this day an age. But if course, that is why they are unheard of. 

One of the conditions she was vaccinated against today was Diphtheria. In the 1930s this was the third leading cause of death in children in England and Wales. My Nan, who was a child in the early part of the 20th Century had Diphtheria before the vaccine was available. Once diagnosed with the illness, her terrified mother arranged for her to go to a sanitorium, which is what happened at that time. It was a very dangerous condition and she was very unwell. I remember her telling me about the little girl in the bed next to hers, who also had Diphtheria. One day, her parents came in to see her, bringing a brand new very expensive doll as a gift.  The girl died later that week. Nan was, fortunately, one of the lucky ones. She was in the sanitorium for a long time, but she recovered. She lived into her late 80s. 

I feel so very lucky to live in a time and place where Diphtheria - among many others - is a disease from another generation. This is what I am remembering as I give my daughter Calpol to ease the discomfort she is feeling. 

Monday, 11 November 2013

Things they don't tell you about parenthood

In the run up to having a baby, there seems to be so much that people don't tell you about parenting. There are books, and everyone has advice, but there are critical gaps... For example, I never knew:

  1. How much I want to cry myself every time my baby cries for more than about 10 minutes in one go
  2. How long something needs to go in boiling water before it is properly sterile
  3. How you can manage to keep it sterile given that everything else in the household is not - including me and the baby
  4. Baby books are full of 'advice' about sleeping which bears no resemblance to real babies and how they behave
  5. Ditto the above re feeding
  6. Ditto the above re crying
  7. There is absolutely no rational way to parent
  8. Babies continue to be an absolute joy, no matter how much of the other rubbish goes on
  9. I have no idea what I did with my time before my daughter was born
  10. I am so very lucky. A report last week gave the statistic that 1 in 133 babies in England don't survive past a week old. A shocking figure, and one that I have witnessed to be true through the experiences of others. 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Back to work

M is eight weeks old today. I was so lucky to have four weeks away from work after she was born, but now I've been back for four more. I have to confess, the first week or two were tough. Disturbed sleep and a clear head do not go together, and inevitably, in my absence, a few things in my part of the company have gone awry. I spent a lot of the first few weeks clearing up a couple of messes. I'm in a lucky position, meaning I can work from home a day or two a week. This means I can spend time with M while offering support to R. I've even managed to be productive at home, which is a pleasant surprise. Looking after M between two people is vastly easier than on your own. 

M continues to be a joy. Rather marvellously she has started smiling at us in the last week, which is indescribably wonderful. The balance between work and parenthood isn't always easy, and I'm a little nervous about the upcoming week, where I'll be away from home overnight, leaving R to fend for herfelf for 36 hours. I have my fingers crossed that M will have a 'low maintanance' night and that I don't come home to find them both a bit frayed at the edges.