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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

First word: Bubbles!

At almost 20 months, Leon's managed a few words so far : hello, doggie, bowl, balls, mummy, daddy, jardin, chien... and members of my family. But aside from 'mummy', BUBBLES has to be my favourite!

I'm still after the perfect bubbles top-up solution as ours always seems 'heavy' so please share your tips! I've found a few recipes along the lines of washing up liquid : water ranging from 1:4 - 1:14 with added sugar and some suggest keeping over night, but if you have words of wisdom or links please share!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Tongue-tied but not for long

Quick word of advice: if your baby is born with a Tongue-tie, ask the hospital to snip it asap. It's the best time to deal with it and avoids anaesthetised operations and speech therapy later on.

As a newborn, tongue-tied Leon was feeding well so the hospital advised to leave it, and see if it 'snapped' or 'stretched'. A few months later our GP eventually referred us to paediatric ENT after we raised our concerns about how it would effect his language learning and noting how there been no 'snapping' or 'stretching' of the frenulum linguae (the extra skin attaching the Tongue to the bottom of the mouth).

At 6 months, we saw the ENT consultant, and reluctant to operate on it- given no current inconvenience to Leon or the feeding - he asked us to come back after Leon turned 1. We were told it was likely to stretch - but reading the word of WikiPedia (reliable source!) it probably wouldn't have changed significantly.

During early gestation (as early as 4 weeks) the lingual frenulum serves as a guide for the forward growth of the tongue. After birth the tip of the tongue continues to elongate, giving the impression of the frenulum retracting, though in reality this has been going on for some time before birth. This is what gives the impression that the frenulums of some previously tongue-tied infants will "stretch" with age and growth. In reality the tongue often just grows beyond the frenulum, although some do also stretch and/or rupture after mild accidents. Many others continue to cause problems throughout life, unless corrected

Now almost 20 months old Leon is saying a few words. At the recent consultation with Mr ENT I listed all the reasons we wanted the snip:
- We're raising him trilingual and although vocalising well, we don't want to make it harder for him to pronounce certain sounds with a tongue-tie
- Socially, we don't want him to be teased for a lisp or unable to stick out his tongue
- More to hubby's concern, he needs full use of his tongue to be be able to 'French Kiss' amongst other things... (I DON'T want to think of my toddler engaging in that kind of stuff, but I remember an emotional plea from a 13 year old girl on a Netmums forum telling how awful it was to have a tongue-tie that she couldn't get a boyfriend and "please deal with your child's tongue-tie if they have on" That stuck with me)

I asked for recommendations on hospitals to approach should we need to do it privately, armed with a short-list of 3 London hospitals found at the Baby Friendly Initiative by UNICEF.

Mr ENT agreed to the operation but I could tell he was reluctant. I suppose it's preferable to avoid surgery on a toddler- particularly if it involves having a general anaesthetic for 15 mins, but I was happy with the outcome. He explained that it will bleed a bit but should scar over quickly ie. No need for stitches. Doesn't sound too bad- but hard to think of a little 20 month old going under for an operation.

All I had to do was sit and wait for the letter with the date. I received the letter.

However, the operation is due in November- TWO days before we have a 12-hour flight to Mexico. Brilliant. I couldn't get through to Mr ENTs secretary on Friday so fingers crossed it will be OK or we'll need to change it for our return...

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Another August rain walk

Leon loves his rain walks.

Imagine his delight after picking up some flashing Bob the builder wellies (Scope £3!)

Though after this I had to pour the water out of his boots.

**Off to find waterproof trousers, raincoat or all in one**

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Twickenham,United Kingdom

Cybermummy 2011 - 2 months on

Shameful to be posting this so late, but in-between scorched logic boards, tech-free summer holidays, a bit of laziness and a big personal tragedy it's had to wait until August. Two whole months after  Cybermummy, the ultimate UK parent blogger event of the year, but it's still fresh in my mind. Hard not to as it was rather overwhelming walking in - one of the rare people not to come in a pack of pre-prepped tweetups, and having bag upon bloody-goody-bag thrust into my hands while being channeled into the brand room well-stocked with PRs and a tasty breakfast.

Cybermummy: The Conference

After some talks by Facebook (You own your data now! and can download it anytime ;) and Sarah Brown (ex PMs wife and writer, campaigner, tweeter etc so sweet, calm and likeable and encouraged using social media for positivity - loved the image of Gordon popping down for dinner with the family before nipping back to the 'office') I was looking forward to the four sessions to come. Each session had three choices but I'd planned my day to attend : 1. Writing Workshop, 2. Working With Brands, 3. How to be a blogger activist and most importantly, 4. Blog-life balance.

1. The Writing workshop by Sophie King peed off a few bloggers when oddly suggesting to change blog names frequently adding a link on your 'old blog' to direct readers to your new blog each time... Her advice to find your unique voice and blogging niche seemed slightly obvious but it's worth hearing again and was a common theme throughout the day. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting but I liked the idea about writing as the person you'd like to be as it will sounds much more exciting. She also mentioned something about writing shorter blog posts.... (Will forget that for this one!) The mini writing challenges I was pretty crap at but it was fun to try something different. The great thing about Cybermummy was that many people were tweeting using the #Cybermummy11 hash-tag so you could follow people's opinions throughout the workshop which could be quite fun and I also got a good insight to the other workshops I was missing at the time.

2. Working with brands brought together different points of view of how brands and bloggers work together, with HP printers explaining their process of finding who to work with and underlining the importance of having a human-level approach. Personality and creativity works wonders when trying to catch a brand's eye: citing a vlogger who hosted an "un-boxing party" when unveiling his printer... Contrastingly, Natalie Lue from Bambino Goodies told us that she doesn't accept sponsored posts of any kind on her blog as they stay online permanently, worth much more than you think. She makes her money from other sources like ebooks, workshops and consultancy work. Amazing!

Unfortunately I missed the third workshop, How to Be a Blogger Activist (but apparently it was very moving) as childcare for the evening fell through and I was trying to sort it out to no avail meaning I'd have to make an early departure. Boo!

4. For Blog-Life balance I was expecting lots of tips of how to cram in time for blogging in-between the hundreds of other tasks occupying the day and the best point I took away from it was to plan your blog posts for the weeks to ensure you have varied content and if you manage to write a lot in one go, then scheduling posts gets them out on time for you! Nadine also explained how writing regularly builds your writing muscle -I need to get the hang of this!- and stressed the importance of de-cluttering physically and mentally (*stare at my corner desk stacked to the brim with papers and boxes...*) So, yes it was inspiring, but there could have been, well, a bit more.

Overall, I enjoyed the sessions but understand why next year BritMums Live! and CybHer will be potentially splitting up the sessions by blog 'level' as the talks at time felt a bit self-explanatory and I didn't leave with as much new info as hoped.

Cybermummy: Planet PR

The organisers had done a fab job of getting some top brands to come to the event. They talked endlessly, handed out many flyers and goodies and most had a competition to enter... Highlights include:
  • Chatting to the Lego people and discovering how much they've developed since I was little, whilst staying true to their roots. 
  • Racing Disney cars with Working London Mummy 
  • Chatting with the delightful Glenda at the P&G recharge room (irked I didn't wait long enough for massages and other pampering!) 
  • Seeing who was brave enough to try the Ubisoft Just Dance game
  • Learning that the Johnson's Baby and Terracycle 'Wipe Out Waste' upcycling venture do accept all brands of wipes
  • Slightly bemused by the 20th Century Fox PR explaining that from now on each film will be sold with 3 disks for DVD, PC and BlueRay and I just couldn't help thinking - but what do you do with the other 2 disks you don't need? But then I suppose it's less plastic being used...? 
The friendliest stall had to be Leapfrog - who spent ages explaining the purpose of each toy and the relevance to my toddler. The sweet PR even offered to share a cab back with me as we lived close by! I entered almost every competition going and thank goodness I did ;)

Never fancied Mauritius anyway
I liked the passport aspect of Cybermummy where you got a stamp from every brand stall then handed in to win more prizes. Managed to fill it with all but one stamp (damn you Mauritius) and even then I was tempted to forge the signature....

Cybermummy: Social overkill

I was happy to see some fellow tweeps, blogger friends and chat to new people, discovering new blogs, and businesses, finding out how sites like eBuzzing work and conversing with the infamous Dodo lady. Unfortunately I missed out on the main social event: the 3 party. But again, I followed a bit from home using the hash-tag.

Many bloggers were sponsored to attend Cybermummy and some brands such as Mamas & Papas had created a fun competition whereby you had to locate one of their sponsored bloggers, snap a picture with them and tweet it using hash-tag #LoveLife. One lucky winner would win £250. I actually wasn't aware of this until I bumped into Sharon who divulged all and was fighting  people off to have their pics taken with her.
Me and the lovely and heavily preggers Sharon I Heart Motherhood

Cybermummy: The WINNINGS!

As I was leaving, I spotted Sian with the Lego people and wanted to say Hi and Thanks- and coincidentally they'd just pulled my name out of the hat to win a box of Duplo! Amazing! Leon already received a gift of Lego from a friend but it's too small for him and I have no idea where all my old Duplo has ended up so he'll love that.

After the journey back home with 3 massive bags full of goodies of which my favourites were:
- brilliant E45 junior bubble bath
- Leapfrog farm game that is magnetic enough to stick to the fridge that Leon ADORES! "A pig in front, a duck behind, put them together and what do you find? A PigDuck? That's silly! Hahaha" Love it.
- Pampering goodies for me
- Dodo pad family planner

I was excitedly sorting these out (and making a large "for recycling/charity shop" pile) while keeping my eye on Twitter #CyberMummy11 to keep up with what I was missing. Suddenly I learned that I had won the 3 iPad! The competition was to enter in 50 words why you were a busy mum and I must have sounded like a manic mother as I won it! Yippee! Perfect as my laptop had pretty much exploded. If that wasn't enough, turns out I had also won the Mamas & Papas #LoveLife prize of £250 vouchers - get in! Perfect for some decent maternity clothes I think ;)

Leon was cracking up at my squealing and jumping up and down- I couldn't believe just how lucky I'd been :D

No More Cybermummy

So after all that- turns out that the 3 founders have separated ways meaning 2012 will bring us a choice of: Brit Mums Live! or CybHer - the difference between the two is not yet clear but I'm eager to see more info in the weeks to come! Hope to see you next time :)