Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Moneysupermarket #Superkids

Recently I wrote about my day out with my son to take part in the Moneysupermarket's Superkids challenge

On the day they asked the Superkids some questions about money and now they have published the video they created. 

So let me proudly introduce

The Moneysupermarket Superkids

Featuring my son :)


And here is another quick video of them saying how much they think a sports car costs. I think my son was thinking about the Veyron his dad would love!!!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Thankful For My Son

Today I am thankful for my son!

A couple of weeks ago we travelled to Chester together to compete in the Moneysupermarket Superkids challenge and we had an enjoyable day together, just the two of us, and he made new friends and so did I and it was lovely to spend some 1:1 time with him, something which I rarely get the chance to do with 3 other children demanding my attention.

Sadly he didn't win the challenge, but to me he is, and will always be, my winner. He tried his best and he showed me that he has been listening to my lessons about saving money and looking for bargains, he even had the wisdom to think about food going out of date before you had chance to eat!

We've started a game now when we go shopping and he's really enjoying it. I ask him to look at the prices of food and how much they cost and which one is the better deal. He's finding this challenge really interesting and he's doing really well at spotting good deals from those that are not so good. Something I didn't learn myself until recently!

He loves being a big brother and is very protective of his younger sisters. I overheard my 6yr old saying to him the other day "Can you have a word with a boy in my class because he keeps running away with my hat" and he gave her a hug and said "Course I will!"

I remember his teacher when he was in year 1 telling me he was a "Loveable Rogue". We were having a bit of trouble with him hitting when he loses his temper, something that he still does to a small amount but usually aimed at himself nowadays and I must admit that that description really suits him!

My son is quite sensitive and caring and he loves nothing more than snuggling up to you and giving you lots of hugs and kisses and telling you he loves you. He is very insecure though so you have to explain to him why you cannot give him a hug at that moment in time, otherwise he will run off upset. On New Years Eve I was singing I Will Survive by Gloria Gayner and he ran off upset as he thought I was telling him to "Go, go on now go. Just turn around now, cos you're not welcome anymore!" It took a while to calm him down and to reassure him that I wasn't singing it to him and that I would never send him away like that because I love him too much. 

He takes everything seriously and deeply and is always asking lots of questions. We've had to stop him playing Minecraft because as well as playing it, he was watching video's on You Tube of other people playing it who are a lot older than he is and it was giving him nightmares.

He's going through a strange stage at the moment, he turns 10 in March but all of a sudden he needs a lot of reassurance and he is wanting lots of hugs and kisses. I've always made sure that I tell my children several times a day how much I love them and how proud of them I am, but for some reason he's just needing extra reassurance and he's feeling down at the moment. 

He has had some bullying at school from a certain boy and he has been reluctant to go to school, but he also has a habit of blaming this boy for everything and not taking responsibility for his own actions. The biggest problem we have is that the two of them clash and no matter how many times I tell him to ignore the other boy, he seems to be unable to do that and of course that is how the problems begin. He will also blame other people for his problems, even when something is blatantly his fault. 

One of my biggest worries with my son is when he is upset, whether because he's been told off or he can't do something or he's been asked to do something, he will then get upset and say things like; "I wish I was dead, no body loves me, I hate myself, I hate my life, I wish I'd never been born, I want to kill myself, Why does everybody hate me, Somebody kill me now, I'm thick, I'm stupid, I'm gay, I don't deserve to live, Why is everyone mean to me, I don't deserve to live" etc. Something that is really upsetting to hear your 9yr old crying. I've even found him threatening to kill himself with a knife!

I know most of his behaviour is a cry for attention, something which sadly he doesn't get that much of. By the time his dad is home from work it's time for tea, bath and bed and the rest of the day I have him and his 3 sisters. At the weekend I work on Saturdays which only leaves Sundays to spend time together as a family. 

One thing that our day out to Chester did show me, was that he needs some more 1:1 attention and now that the days are getting longer, I'm going to work harder to give him and his sisters some more individual attention!!!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Fun In The Snow!!!

One of the disadvantages of living so close to the sea, is that we so very rarely get any snow! A few miles inland, they gets lots, but because of the salt in the air, when it does snow, it rarely sticks. 

Because of this, snow is a very big deal in my house and whenever it snows the children all coming running to watch it fall and pray it will stick so that they can go out and play in it.

Watching the news, and seeing all the pictures of children playing in the snow, my children will always say sadly;
"Where's our snow? Why can't we have some to play in!"

Today started very strange... There was no snow and daddy set off to work and I sent the children to get ready of school. As usual my 6yr old was moving very slowly and she was staring out of the window
"It's snowing mummy." she said. "Look there's snow all over the car park!"
So I went to look and she was right! 10 minutes ago there had been no snow, but now there was a thin layer covering the car park. 

Much to their delight school was cancelled and daddy was sent home from work!

However their delight was short lived, as our snow wasn't very nice snow. It was very wet and slushy and despite the fact that it snowed all day, the snow didn't get any deeper and they couldn't build a snowman in it.

But they know to make the most of any snow we are lucky enough to get, so off they went to play!!!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The Sauce Fiend

Last year I spoke of how my then two year old was a crisp fanatic, who would happily eat nothing but crisps all day!

Now, my recently turned 3 year old has a new obsession.... red sauce

At every meal time all you can hear is "Sauce peas!" and no amount of telling her no will work! She will refuse to eat and stand there crying for red sauce. She's even fallen asleep in the past, crying so hard because mean mummy and daddy wouldn't give in. Of course in the end we had to as we didn't want her to sleep as we knew she would be up till 2am if she did

Now if we're having chips and some meals where sauce is considered acceptable, then we will let her have it... but she wants it on EVERY meal!!!

Spaghetti bolognaise - "Sauce peas daddy!"
Sunday roast dinner - "Sauce peas mummy!"
Sandwiches - "Sauce peas!"

Does any of your little ones have any weird food and eating habits? Have you dealt with your own little sauce fiend? I'm hoping she grows out of it!

Monday, 14 January 2013

My son the #Superkid

On Saturday the boy and I went to Chester together to compete in the final of the Moneysupermarket's Superkids Challenge

Last year Moneysupermarket held a Superkids challenge where they encouraged bloggers to write a post full of tips on teaching kids how to be money savvy and we were thrilled to be chosen one of the 10 finalists thanks to my post Teaching Kids About Money

We arrived a little bit early as it took us less time than I expected to get there, even after driving through some sleet on the moors. The boy met Mummy From the Heart's son JJ and they quickly made good friends, especially as they had the same interests and were both 9 years old.  They were joined on the challenge by the 10 year old daughter of Wendy from  Inside the Wendy House. It was lovely that all the children were around the same age, especially as it made it fairer in the math's challenges they would face. 

I was also pleased to meet Michelle who had been one of the first bloggers I followed when I started blogging last January. She did a fantastic New Bloggers Fortnight which was full of tips and tricks to help new bloggers get started and she mentioned how she would be hosting another New Blogger's Fortnight again soon. I had also "met" Wendy through her blog and the fact that we would both link up with Michelle's Reason's to be Cheerful on a Thursday.

The first challenge of the day was also the main challenge. The three of them, with the help of their mothers, entered a room where there was a table full of shopping. They were given a list of essentials that they were to buy and a budget of how much they had to spend and were told that whatever they had left they could use to spend on the second table and whatever they bought from the second table they could keep, or they could save their change and they would receive that money for themselves to keep!

I was really impressed with how the boy would study each item and I could see him working out whether it was a good price or not. Sometimes there was two brands to choose from, just like in real shops, the budget and the named brand. There was also special offers where they could buy one for one amount or both for another amount, sometimes the offer price would be a good deal, but sometimes it would be wrong and would cost more than the two items would cost if you bought them individually. I was very impressed at how he quickly worked out whether the deal was any good or not. 

However the moment he impressed me the most was when he looked a the deal for the crumpets. The deal was one for 73p and 2 for £1. At first he was going to buy two packets for £1 which is a good deal, but he realised that if you only eat one packet and the other ends up in the bin because it goes out of date before you get round to eating it, then it wasn't a good deal at all!

Afterwards they had a few maths challenges, which he complained a little bit about doing, especially as we all played mean mums and wouldn't let them use calculators! He also enjoyed designing a rocket

And building a tower of golden coin's or as Wendy's 3yr old called them "Dablooms" He then stashed as many coins as he could in his bag, supposedly to share with his sisters!

Afterwards he went into another room where he was filmed and asked some questions relating to money. Based on his answers I can't wait to see the video when it is finished!

Three of his answers had me laughing the most;

Q: If you were going to a desert island, what three things would you take?
A: Mummy. daddy and Nibbles my teddy (obviously not his sisters!)
Q: What's the most money you can think of?
A: A googolplex pounds (If you don't know what a googleplex is it's a very large number. If a googol is 1 followed by 100 zero's then a googolplex is 1 followed by a googol zeros) 
Q: What could you buy with all that money?
A: The world (I'm raising a future meglomaniac!)

All in all it was a really fun day, made even more special that we were able to spend some quality time with the boy, just the two of us, whilst the girls stayed home with their daddy!

In fact, we had such a good day that we don't mind who won the £1,000 prize as all three children were deserving winners!!!

European Ruling on Car Insurance Means Premiums for Women Will Rise

Did you know that the rules regarding car insurance changed on December the 21st 2012? Since that date it is illegal for insurance companies to offer different prices based on whether you are male or female! Women drivers have been hit the hardest as their premiums have risen to match the premiums men pay for insurance, despite insurance companies previously assuming women were less likely to claim.   

Young lady drivers have been the hardest hit. The average price for 17 or 18 year old females have risen on average 32% whilst 17 or 18 year old male drivers have seen their premiums fall by 10%. 
*** Information taken from Moneysupermarket.com ***

Because of this change, it is more important than ever to compare car insurance when renewing your car insurance. NEVER assume your renewal will be the cheapest!

Last year I was shocked to see that my renewal had risen, in fact it had doubled from £400 to a whopping £800! It didn't make any sense as none of my information had changed; I hadn't been in an accident whether at fault or not, my licence was still clean with no points, my car was a year older and worth less and I was a year older with more experience  Yet my insurance had doubled and this was before the ruling had taken effect!

Thankfully I compared prices to make sure I could find the best deal and I managed to save £400 as I found another insurer who offered me half the amount my previous insurer had offered!

This is why it is always important to compare prices!

*** This is a sponsored post ***

Thursday, 10 January 2013

#OBEM - Mums in the Labour Room

Last night I was watching One Born Every Minute on Channel 4. I really shouldn't watch it as it makes me broody and I have enough with 4 already, but I do enjoy watching it. 

Last night it was the story of two girls who were in labour with their mums and their partners as their birth partners.

Did any of you have your mum as a birth partner?

If I'm completely honest, it never occurred to me to even ask my mum if she wanted to be present! Something I regret now as I know she would have loved to have been there!

When I was due with my eldest, I was admitted into hospital the day after my due date to be induced as they were worried about how big the baby was. Hubby (who was fiancĂ©e at the time) and my mum both came with me to the hospital when I was admitted. I never realised at the time, but when my mum and hubby left, my mum cried for a while in the car as she was so sad about leaving me.

Despite not driving and living over 60 miles away from hospital, hubby made the journey to the hospital to visit me every day. The first two days passed and nothing happened. I began to think I would be pregnant forever!

The 3rd day I was told was my day of rest and that they would carry on with the inducing the following day. By the time hubby arrived with his father and sister-in-law I was complaining of backache and my SIL went in search of the midwife and as she examined me my waters broke and I was taken to the labour ward. SIL and FIL went downstairs to the cafe and my SIL phoned my parents to tell them that at long last I had gone into labour and their grandchild was on its way (we didn't know what I was expecting at the time).

Most of the afternoon passed in a blur, I was given gas and air for the pain but I didn't like it (the gas and air made me feel slightly drunk, a condition I don't like as I don't like not feeling in control of myself) so then I was given a pethidine injection which was the worst think I could have had, it made me projectile vomit all throughout the labour. Finally I was given an epidural and by the time my parents arrived, with my 6yr old nephew, the epidural had taken effect and apart from feeling cold and still throwing up I was ok. 

My nephew was fascinated that he could hear the baby's heartbeat and mum was pleased that I seemed ok. After a little while they had to leave and they were giving my FIL a lift home (my SIL had taken unwell and had had to be admitted herself). What I didn't realise at the time was that my mum didn't want to leave me and had she said something I would have gladly let her stay, I honestly didn't think she wanted to stay and she didn't think I would want her there!

Finally at 5am he was born weighing 8lb 13oz so not as big as they feared (he left that privilege to his sister who was born 2yrs later and no one realised how big she would be, despite me telling them the baby felt big. She weighed a massive 10lb 14oz, a full 2lb heavier!)

With my next labours, my mum was stuck babysitting and I regret now that I never offered her the chance to be present!

But then, I was also watching OBEM last night and thinking about how hard it must be for the mothers watching their daughters in labour. Yes we know it has an end result and that we have to go through it, but no mother likes seeing their daughter in pain. Although my girls are only 7,6 and 3 at the moment, I hate seeing them in pain and would do anything I could to take that pain away!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Dryathlon - Spending a Month Alcohol Free for Cancer Research

This month, my husband has joined 35,000 pioneering Britons who have come together to take on January without alcohol to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Dryathlon is a new fundraising campaign that challenges social drinkers to give up alcohol for January, to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Through raising sponsorship, or pledging the money saved by not drinking, Dryathletes can fund the work of Cancer Research UK and help bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. 

A few years ago, he lost his father to throat cancer and his niece is currently battling cervical cancer so Cancer Research is very close to his heart. That is why he is willing to give up his weekly treat of a few cans after working hard all week, to help Cancer Research find a cure!

The children with their Taid. Sadly he never met the youngest

Cancer Research have been going since 1902 and along the way they've achieved a long list of firsts. Now they're pushing well into the future - developing newer, kinder treatments, getting closer to cures. 

Every step they make towards beating cancer relies on every pound, every hour, every person. And, as a collective force, Cancer Research has helped double survival rates in the last forty years. But they can't stop there, more than 1 in 3 of us will develop cancer at some point in our lives and, with our ageing population, this statistic is getting worse. 

Cancer Research is fighting for a world where no one's life is cut short by cancer. And there is real hope. Each year their scientists get closer to finding cures for cancers - whether through targeted treatment or simply detecting cancers earlier. Genome mapping and new technologies have put them on the brink of major breakthroughs. With the continued help of their supporters they will help turn those breakthroughs into treatments that could save millions of lives and accelerate their progress against this devastating disease.

So please help Cancer Research and support my husband by sponsoring him this month as a Dryathalon, it's quick and easy to do using Just Giving

Monday, 7 January 2013

School Dinners

This morning the children returned to school for the first time this year. It meant getting back into a routine and getting them up and ready for school. It also meant making 3 lunch boxes (or Bocs Bwyd as we call them).

Yesterday my eldest daughter asked if she could have school dinners and this morning my son asked the same thing. They're sick of sandwiches all the time, no matter how different we try to make them.

But sadly we cannot afford around £30 a week for the 3 of them to have school dinners.

To be entitled to free school dinners we have to be in receipt of certain benefits, such as;
Income Support
Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
Child Tax Credit (provided you are not, entitled to Working Tax Credit and your annual income does not exceed £16,190)
Guarantee element of State Pension Credit
Working Tax Credit "run-on" (the payment someone may receive for a further four weeks after they stop qualifying for Working Tax

But this makes no sense to me. It means thousands of parents are missing out on free school dinners, despite being under the income threshold of £16,190 just because they get off their backsides and go out to work! 

Why are those who work the ones who are penalised all the time? If they government wants to help tackle the long term unemployment (and I don't mean those who are unemployed through no fault of their own and are trying to get work, I'm talking about the minority of those who see being unemployed as their career choice and have no intention of finding a job!) then maybe they should think about rewarding those who work. Help those who are still in poverty but are working more. 

Whilst I agree that free school dinners should be means tested, I really don't understand WHY receiving Working Tax should make you exempt from receiving free school dinners, despite how much you earn!!!

The Children's Society agree with me and have started a campaign called Fair and Square. They want to see Free School Meals for ALL children in poverty. 

Their campaign aims to ensure that ALL children in need of a free school meal receive one. They say that free school meals are a crucial entitlement for families living in poverty and that these meals help to ensure that children from the lowest income families receive warm, nutritious food in the middle of the day. More that half of all school-age children living in poverty aren't getting free school meals. These 1.2 MILLION children may not be eating a single nutritious meal all day.

Free school meals have a considerable cash value - around £380 per year (for me it would cost £1,140 per year for my 3 to receive school dinners) - and as a result can play a crucial role in lifting children and families out of poverty. 

Over the coming months the government will address the future of school meals as they overhaul the current welfare system, which present a unique opportunity to influence and improve the delivery of school dinners so that they are made available to children in low income working families and is why the Children's Society and their Fair and Square Campaign are calling on the government to change the policy and allow ALL children in poverty are entitled to Free School Meals. 
***The above information is taken from the Children's Society Website about their Fair and Square Campaign***

You can sign the petition here, please do so as it only takes a moment of your time and can make the difference to children around the UK

Friday, 4 January 2013

Runaways and Running Away

How many of us, as children, have threatened or even tried to runaway? I remember once doing it, walking along the back road in tears carrying an umbrella and a bag full of toys! I even remember when my older brother did it one night, I was really upset and snuck out to find him. He was sitting on a bench in an old shelter by the beach snuggled in his sleeping bag and I persuaded him to come home. 

For some children it's a coming of age thing, a way of trying to assert your independence  but for some children it becomes their life and they never return home. 

Did you know that it is estimated that a child runs away from home or care every five minutes in the UK

In a recent survey  one in 11 teenagers aged 14 to 16 admitted to having run away overnight at some stage in their life. 

It's impossible to know the true scale of the problem as two-thirds of runaways aren't reported as missing to the police, and many more are too vulnerable or scared to seek official help.

Over Christmas, a time for families, it's estimated 2000 children will have run away. 

But it's not just neglected or children in care that run away. It's nothing to do with family economics or where people live, it doesn't matter if it's from a one-parent family or not, whether it's a blended family or a traditional family. For whatever reason a child will run away from home.

It's every parent's worst nightmare and it doesn't matter if you are rich or poor. 

Often it is a spur of the moment decision, which means they won't have thought about where they'll go, where they'll sleep, how they'll get access to money or how running away might affect their family. 

Usually, they're running away from problems at home or at school. Some are dealing with very serious issues at home, such as neglect, drugs and alcohol addiction (their own or their parents), mental health problems, violence and abuse. A few teens are even forced to leave home by their parents or carers.

Other come from perfectly "normal" family backgrounds and are trying to escape common problems such as bullying, relationship difficulties, loneliness or family breakdown. 

But what teenagers don't realise is, the problems they face on the street are often worse than those they have endured at home. In many cases, children and young people who end up alone on the streets are at risk of sexual exploitation, drug and alcohol dependency, abuse and violence. 

Signs that a child might be thinking about running away can vary as every child handles problems or deals with stress in different ways. But here's a list of things to watch out for if you are worried;

* Staying out later than agreed / Pushing boundaries
* Not wanting to come home from school, youth club or friends' houses
* Staying over at friends' houses more often, or staying with other family members to avoid coming home
* Playing truant, or doing less well at school

* Behaving very differently - for example, acting more aggressively or becoming withdrawn
* Developing new interests outside school, hanging around with a new crowd, or starting a new relationship
* Lying
* Showing signs of alcohol or drug abuse
* Self-harming
* Being very secretive when using the internet

You know your child better than anyone else, and none of the above signs in themselves means your child is definitely thinking about running away. But if you notice obvious changes in your child's behaviour and these are worrying you, try to talk to them and find out what's going on. 

With teenagers, this is often easier said than done. If they clam up, try sending them an email or text to let them know you're worried. If they do open up, ask them what they think they should do about their problem, rather than bombarding them with advice, it might help them feel more in control of the situation.

If you can, talk to your child's other parent to get their perpective and, where possible, present a united front in dealing with the problem. If your child senses that you and their other parent disagree, they may find this even more unsettling, or they may try and play you off against each other, which could make things worse.

It's also worth having a quiet word with any other adults your child spends time with, such as their teacher, youth worker or friends' parents, so the can let you know if they notice anything unusual. 

However if this doesn't work and you think your teenager has run away and you can't get in touch with them, then the main thing is to try not to panic and go into a meltdown. Teenagers are prone to strops and storming out, so, difficult as it may sound, do your best not to jump to any worst-case conclusions, as the vast majority of child runaways return safely.

Here are some suggestions that members of Mumsnet as well as advice from Railway Children (see below), as to how to respond if your child runs away. 

* Ring around their friends and see if your teen is there. Ask to speak to the friends' parents too
* As soon as you're sure your teenager is missing, contact you local police as soon as possible by dialling 101. (The 24hr waiting period doesn't exist for under 18s)
* Phone the school and see if it can shed any light on new friends your child might have been hanging around with, or places they might have been going. You can also ask the school if they can tell you if any of your teenager's friends are also absent that day. 
* Have a look at your child's Facebook wall (if they have one) to see if there's any information there and check their internet history for any clues. 
* Send a text message that reassures your teenager the situation can be resolved, and letting them know you love them, to encourage them to get in touch. Avoid angry or confrontational messages
* Spread the word to as many people as possible that your teenager is missing
*Make a note of any clothes or personal items that are missing. 

Once you report a missing child to the police the police will take a report from you, enter the information into their system and circulate the person as "missing"

If the person cannot be found by the immediate enquires made by the Initial Investigating Officer, an officer with the police station will look after the case. This will include checking to make sure they have all the details.

Things you may be asked to include are:
* Details of the missing teenager's friends or relatives
* Places they're known to visit
* Any health or medical conditions they have
* Recent photographs
* Recent events that could be connected to their decision to run away
* A DNA sample (from a toothbrush for example)

Officers will also ask for permission to search your home for any more evidence or leads as to why your teen may have gone, which is normal procedure. They will also ask for your permission to make public the fact that your teenager is missing. 

Railway Children is an international children's charity. It fights for vulnerable children who live alone at risk on the streets, where they suffer abuse and exploitation. In the UK, society often denies their existence, and in other countries the problem is big that it has become "normal".

Here in the UK, Railway Children helps and supports children under 16 who've run away from home, or at risk of doing so. They also support children after they've returned home or gone back into care. And they help educate young people about the risks of running away and what the alternatives are. 

Railway Children provides funding and support to local organisations whose familiarity with their areas means they can quickly identify any new children arriving on the streets. The charity also funds social research to make sure the issue is high on the agenda for Government and policy makers. 

*** This information was compiled with thanks from Mumsnet who are working with Aviva and their charity partner Railway Children. Aviva has also promised that for every Mumsnet blogger who blogs about Runaways, they will donate £2 to Railway Children and for every comment on the blog post they will donate another £2 so please please do comment if you have read this post and help raise as much as we can for Railway Children and all the work they do to help runaways, because you never know, the next teenager they help might just be yours! ***

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Turning Three

Today my baby turns 3. I guess that means she isn't much of a baby anymore but a big girl! But being my youngest and last, means that she will always be the baby, even more so than any of the others.

My pregnancy with her was one of the most difficult one of all.. 

It all started when I began bleeding, but as I was due my period anyway at first it didn't seem anything different. But then a few days later I wondered why the bleeding had been so light and why I hadn't come on properly. So because we were trying for another baby to complete our family I thought I had better do a pregnancy test to make sure. I was completely shocked when it came up positive, especially because of the bleeding. 

I went to the Drs for a check up and told him I'd had a positive pregnancy test and he asked me whether it was happy or sad news. When I told him happy, he grinned as well! Because of the bleeding he wanted me to go to hospital for a scan to check everything was ok. So off I went with my parents to hospital, taking my youngest daughter with me as I was still breastfeeding her at the time. 

I had a scan but the baby was very small, a lot smaller than they were expecting me to be as they thought I was 6wks but I was measuring about 4wks. Because of the bleeding and the size of the baby (they could only really see the sac) they decided to keep me in for a few days to do a blood test to check that my numbers were climbing the way they should for a successful pregnancy. So there I was, having to stay in hospital and because I had expected to just have a routine ultrasound and be let home, I had nothing with me! Luckily I had a sympathetic nurse (who also happened to be an old primary school classmate!) who let me pop into town to buy some things that I needed. I had no idea how long I was going to be in hospital and it turned out to be about 4 days! When I went home I was worried that my 28mths old wouldn't want to breastfeed anymore, but she happily did and carried on nursing until I was 7mths pregnant and she was 34mths old. 

My 7 week scan

I went back for another ultrasound a couple of weeks later and this time they could see the baby a little bit better and everyone breathed a sigh of relief that everything seemed to be going ok. This scan was followed by a dating scan at 12 weeks. It's incredible, looking at the two scan pictures, how much she changed and grew in those 5wks! In the first picture she looks like an alien, but in the second she looks like a proper baby!

My 12 week scan

I wish I could say that the rest of the pregnancy passed smoothly and I suppose in a way it did, until I was about 28wks pregnant when my midwife decided to send me to hospital for a Glucose Tolerance Test. She was worried I was at risk from Gestational Diabetes because of my size and my previous large baby (my 2nd was 10lb 14oz at birth). I'd had the GTT with all my other pregnancies, so I wasn't worried, although this time I had to have it in hospital and drink some lucazade which was different to my other GTT's when I'd had them at the maternity clinic and drunk a sugary drink they had given me. I wasn't worried about the test as I'd always passed it in the past and assumed I would again... but I was wrong... I failed the GTT and was diagnosed as having Gestational Diabetes.

Being told I had Gestational Diabetes was frightening. I worried about the baby and what it would mean to her, but the clinic were very helpful and explained everything to me. I remember telling them that I didn't eat much sugar, but I was amazed to learn that carbohydrates were sugar as well as I'd never realised that and ate a lot of carbohydrates. I saw a dietician and was also shown how to perform a finger prick test and where to record my results before being shown how to inject myself with insulin in my thigh. As my pregnancy progressed I needed more and more insulin and towards the end of my pregnancy I was injecting myself four times a day. 

As my due date approached I saw the consultant and they discussed whether I needed an elective section or whether I was ok to have a virginal birth, especially as I had already had one section. Finally it was decided that they would try with a membrane sweep on the 30th December, when I was 37wks pregnant and if that didn't work then I would be induced the following week. I remember asking the consultant if I was ok to be induced, having had a previous section because I had heard you couldn't be induced if you'd had one as there was a risk of your scar opening up. But he was confident that because it had been almost 5 years since my section and I'd only had one section and a successful VBAC (virginal birth after caesarean) 3 years earlier I would be ok being induced. 

The day of the 30th dawned and it turned into a family expedition as my parents came along to look after the children. I was given a sweep and then because the baby was agitated and they couldn't get a very good reading from her they sent me to be monitored. Of course by now it was getting dark and starting to snow and my dad was getting concerned about driving over the mountains home. Finally they let me leave, minutes before my dad told them to admit me because they were leaving. Driving home the weather was really bad as it was snowing heavily and we saw a few cars slipping and getting stuck in the snow. I was so glad my dad was driving my car and terrified I would actually go into labour whilst we were travelling. Thankfully we made it home safely and now I was free to go into labour I didn't!

I had been given another date to go back to hospital... New Years Day! Of course by lunch time it had started snowing in our town, which was very rare because we live so close to the sea and I was a bit concerned about the roads on the way to hospital, given what they had been like a week earlier and the fact that I wasn't supposed to be there until 8pm! It was also a good excuse to stay home and watch the final part of Doctor Who and see the Tenth Doctor regenerate (even though I didn't want him to!)

The following day was my mum's birthday, and we gave her a lovely present of her grandchildren to babysit whilst my dad gave me and hubby a lift to hospital so I could be induced. We got there about lunch time and then had quite a boring wait until the evening when I was finally taken to the labour ward and given pitocin to start my labour. I fully expected it to take days to work, especially as I'd been induced with my eldest and it took 3 days to work with him. That night I spent an uncomfortable night with lots of stomach pain, but the midwife explained it was just the pitocin and I hadn't gone into labour yet. Poor hubby was forced to try and sleep on a chair outside the ward as they wouldn't let him in with me and he couldn't drive home and we lived too far away.

The following morning, at 6.45am I was taken to the labour ward and a 5 minutes later the consultant came in to break my waters. He was quite rough and I remember trying to climb up the bed to get away from him!

When a midwife came in to check on me after 10mins I was already on all fours and she gave me the gas and air and I asked to be given an epidural. By the time the anaesthetist arrived to give me it I was screaming. I remember them telling me to calm down and use the gas and air or they wouldn't give me the epidural and I started using it, even though I found screaming was more effective! But by then it was too late and the baby was on her way out!

I can remember the moment I actually gave birth, I didn't have to push as the contractions were pushing her out for me, all I did was try and endure the pain and I felt the relief and her actually slithering out. The bad part was that as soon as she was born the contractions stopped and I tore giving birth to the afterbirth because I had no contractions to push her out! She was born an hour and 20 minutes after they broke my waters, weighing 8lb 15oz at 38 weeks gestation.

I love giving birth naturally as I had a quick shower afterwards and started to feel "normal" with just a bit of stomach cramps. The shower was absolute bliss! Then I got to proudly push my daughter back to the ward whilst the midwife carried my bag!

Although she was my 4th, because of my gestational diabetes, we were kept in hospital a few days for her blood sugar to stabilise  You have to remember that whilst she was in my womb she was receiving extra sugar through the placenta and her body was making insulin to deal with it. So once she was born the sugar stopped but her body was still making extra insulin. It meant that she was very sleepy the first day and I had to keep waking her to nurse and thanks to the suggestions of a friend who is also a breastfeeding councillor I knew to give her lots of kangaroo care (skin to skin contact) as another way of helping her sugars stabilise. 

We were soon home and started adjusting to being a family of 6 and now, before I can blink, we are celebrating her third birthday! It's amazing how quick children grow and why one of my New Years Resolutions is to try and cherish the time I spend with them and not get too hung up on the little things but to enjoy them whilst they're small. 

One Month old on her Christening Day
She wore the gown that both my dad and I wore
on our Christening Days!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Early Education for 3 Year Olds in Wales

So tomorrow the baby turns 3 and in Wales, all children have the right to a free, part-time, early education place in an approved setting in the term after their 3rd birthday. which means all children aged 3 and 4 are entitled to receive a minimum of 10 hours a week, for around the same number of weeks as the normal school year. An approved setting may be a school, cylch meithrin, playgroup, day nursery or childminder who is part of a quality assured childminding network. Parents are not expected to contribute towards the costs of these places, however parents may be required to pay for any services or childcare on top of the free education part-time place. 
***Information taken from Early Education***

But the problem is, despite her turning 3 tomorrow, she is not entitled to free childcare until April!!!

They say it begins from the term following her 3rd birthday. So I would take that to mean that the term begins from the day the children return to school, which is on the 7th January this year and means that she would be entitled to it straight away, but that if they had returned to school today (the 2nd) then she wouldn't be entitled to her free hours as she wasn't 3 when they returned to school. 

But they have the cutoff date of the 31st December, meaning that only a child turning 3 before the 31st December is entitled to free hours in January and that all other children have to wait until the 1st April. A little boy who attends the baby's playschool turned 3 on New Year's Day, which is a day that they never return to school on, yet by missing out by 1 or 3 days, neither my baby or this little boy is eligible for a free child place. It also means that all children who turn 3 after March the 31st are not entitled to a free place until the September, meaning that their parents never have a free playschool place as the child attends school in September in the nursery class.

Why can't it be that each child is entitled to the free place from their 3rd birthday? Why must it be the term and if it must be the term, why can't it be when the term actually begins??? 

So for the next 3 months I have to carry on paying for my daughter to attend playschool, which means that she can't go every day as I can't afford to send her and that for the sake of a few days, she misses out!!!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Celebrating New Years Eve

Last night was New Years Eve, the final day of the year that was 2012.

So how did you celebrate? Did you get a babysitter so you could paint the town red, or did you have a small celebration with close friends and family either at your house or somebody else's? Or did you do what we did and spend New Years Eve at home, celebrating with just your family?

We told the children they could stay up to watch the fireworks but we wondered if they actually would all stay awake!

We put the music channels on and started boogying, especially daddy or the Dancing Dork as the boy called him!!!

At  11.25pm, with 35 minutes left to go... we had our first casualty as the baby fell asleep, complete with her Tangled dress

10 minutes later, my 7 year old crashed. It was touch and go for a minute between her and her 6 year old sister, but the 6 year old livened up as she was complaining her throat was hurting. 

With 10 minutes left to go it looked like all 4 had crashed, but as they heard us talking about the fireworks, the older 3 all woke to watch the fireworks.

They sat entranced at the tv for the whole 10 minutes the firework display was going on, it was a fantastic display and did London and the rest of Great Britain proud and it was a fantastic way to see in the new year, in fact hubby enjoyed it so much that he was watching them for the 3rd time as I was putting the children to bed before crashing myself!

And now we wait to see what 2013 will hold as the whole year opens up in front of us, full of possibilities!