Dads don’t babysit

You’ve seen it before on the movies and TV, society tells us that when the mother goes away for work, the household will fall apart because dad is “babysitting”. Ummm no, just no! it’s impossible for a dad to babysit.  He isn’t getting paid for starters, and second of all it’s called parenting!  The term babysitting implies it is not permanent., you can hand the kid back when you like.  Parenting is a permanent responsibility, wherever you are, whenever, 24/7/365.  Dads ‘babysitting’ also implies that they are second rate.  Yes, I am primary boob milk giver, but that is the one and only difference in our roles.  We are equal.  And of course, at some point Aviana will choose her favourite parent…but our responsibilities will remain equal.  We are equally qualified (or unqualified more fittingly?!).

Could you imagine, one day if I was asked, “what are you doing this evening?” and I replied, “oh I’m babysitting whilst Chris stays late at work today”. How ridiculous would I sound?  And yet, if the roles were reversed, the probable response would be “Oh good luck with that!” or “Hope Aviana is good for you!”.

Just NO.

I went away for 8 nights on a work trip, to another continent, and Chris had the sole responsibility for Aviana for the entire time.  Except for one evening when our regular nanny was working.  But guess what Chris did that one evening he could have been taking a break?  He was babysitting our friends’ two kids.

Guess what happened when I was away?  Aviana got sick, her first cold.  It’s tough when your baby gets ill, they are cranky, miserable, don’t eat, sleep, poo or breathe well, they need love, cuddles and constant attention.  But guess what also happened when I was away?  Aviana cooed, played and was freaking adorable, Chris sent me videos everyday of Aviana doing new and fun stuff that I was missing out on. And amongst all that, Chris held the household together.  He didn’t let the dishes pile up, he did the washing, he cleaned up the garage, he put up the blinds (something on our to do list for nearly a year!), he arranged to get a quote for putting in a patio in our garden, he went to work, he paid the bills, he did the shopping, he ate salads for lunch and proper hearty meals for dinner.  The house was clean and tidy when I got home, it was like I never left, in fact it was probably tidier than when I left! Basically, life still went on.  It didn’t stop.

Now, I’m not saying it was easy. No.  He was tired, he craved adult conversation and didn’t achieve quite as much as he thought he would.  He admitted that one morning when he dropped off Aviana at daycare he cried and the teachers gave him hugs.  But you know what?   Anyone of us, mothers or fathers, would have felt the same as a single parent.  Being a single parent?  Guys, kudos, I don’t know how you do it.  I did it for a couple of nights and it was tough, if I’d done it for 8 nights I probably would have cried too, but cried in the car on my own, hiding it.  But he nailed it better than I could have.  He didn’t just babysit, he parented.


Ps.  I’ve written about this before Aviana arrived in our lives on my other blog The Great Pudding Club Hunt:

Also there are some cool t-shirts with the slogan Dads Don’t Babysit:




Preparing for daycare

EEEEEEEK Aviana starts daycare next tuesday.  How are we here already?  The past few weeks Aviana has really been starting to enjoy playtime, and I have been enjoying playtime with her too.  She is really quite mellow and happy being independent playing on her own, but I have been having too much fun playing with her. This has meant that the past few weeks I have had little time to myself, but that is what maternity leave is all about?  Spending time nurturing your little one??!

A month ago if you asked me about whether I would miss maternity leave, I’d have said no, I was actually quite looking forward to going back to work. Now if you ask me, I’d probably be a bit hesitant.  I’m actually having a lot of fun with Aviana now and I love seeing her develop.  Just the other day she sat up on her ownfor the first time…it was fascinating to watch her figure it out! And just by coincidence I managed to video record it! I know there are many other firsts to come that I will miss now, but I am glad I have been lucky enough to have at least a few with her.

Having said all of this I’m looking forward to work.  Luckily I am easing myself back into it gently.  Here is the daycare transition plan:

  • Next week, the first week, Tuesday is her first day.  We will head there after her first nap of the day at home.  Arrive at daycare at about 9.30AM, I’ll breastfeed her there, play with her a bit, then I will go on the advice of the daycare staff what is the best way to do this transition!  But the plan is for her to spend just mornings there for the rest of the week.
  • Second week, plan is to arrive 9.30AM and pick her up 3PM-ish.  So shorter days.
  • Third week, plan is to put her in full time 7.30AM/8AM to 5PM-ish.
  • Fourth week I start work and travel to Brussels so Chris is on his own with Aviana!

Aviana has been good at taking the bottle and doesn’t seem to have a problem with it, and she still likes the boob, so no fear of a nursing strike just yet.  But it is a genuine fear I have.  I am also nervous about her overeating.  We still have yet to figure out how we are going to do a routine once I am properly back at work, but hopefully we will get a feel for it in the third week.

Right…now all I have to do now is go and label all her clothes!!!

Do you have any tips for transitioning an infant to daycare?  What was your experience? How did you feel?

Preparing to fly a baby transatlantic 

It’s time to fly! Aviana has received both her passports now -US and British- and she has conditional approval for global entry (just need to get her to an enrollment centrefir an ‘interview’, photo and fingerprints-ha, really???!!!). She is ready to travel the world!!!

But am I ready to travel the world with her? Ummmm not really! I consider myself an experienced frequent flier, but traveling with a 3 month old baby, I find myself a little nervous! Especially as my return flight to the US I will be alone.

Here are some things I’ve considered but don’t know much about and hoping it all works out…

Infants can fly on your lap. Infants under two years old can fly on your lap, this means you can save on buying a seat. BUT depending on the airline and where you are traveling there still may be a price to pay. I booked my ticket before Aviana was born using my air miles, so Last week I had to call American Airlines to add her to my reservation. Because I’m flying internationally I have to pay 20% fee. Which is not so simple because I paid for my ticket with air miles. It ended up being about $250. It gets a bit complicated in terms of baggage and hand luggage allowances. But for this flight I get a one bag allowance for Aviana, but not extra hand baggage. But I can take a diaper bag. Hmmmm. Confusing! I guess it simply means I can’t take two small air cabin sized suitcases. But that’s fine because I wouldn’t be able to carry that all by myself anyway. 

Get an infant friendly seat with bassinet. When I booked my ticket I chose the seat which allows me to use the airline’s bassinet (only available on long distance certain flights). I was able to do that though because I have platinum status. BUT if you don’t have status you do not need to pay extra to select this seat. When you add an infant to your reservation they will put you in the infant friendly seat….but only if it is available. So my advice is book early to avoid disappointment! OR prepare to negotiate with the people sat in those seats when you board the plane. Which they will probably be reluctant to do if they had to pay extra for that specific seat. I’ve seen that happen before. Bassinets can only be used in the air and if there is turbulence you have to take the baby out and put them on your lap. So must be prepared to have baby on me for long periods of time!

Traveling alone as a single parent? Get a notarized letter from your partner saying they give you permission to take your baby out of country and permission to give medical treatment as necessary. This might not be necessary and border staff may not ask for it, but in case they do I have it ready.  

Traveling with a car seat and stroller. This is my biggest worry. I have bought ‘gate check bags’ to put the stroller and car seat in when I get to the gate. These are non padded bags – you can get padded ones but they are bulky and I will be using the car seat to click into the stroller. I’m nervous about them getting damaged, especially the car seat. I’m also nervous about handling a baby and all these bags by myself. I will have a baby carrier with me so I can be hands free…but what if she is screaming blue murder? I hate it when people look at me as if I am torturing my baby!!!! And the faces of horror when they see a screaming baby get on the plane. I don’t care that much about what people think, it’s just that moment in time I would probably feel flustered and stressed.

Packing to prepare for delays. What if my flight is delayed or I miss my connection? will I have to have enough supplies to last me 24 hours? I usually do that for myself, but I now have to consider baby!! I’m glad I don’t have to worry about food because I’m breastfeeding. Although I will take some formula with me just in case something happens like my boobs dry up for some reason! 

How to carry everything through security, customs and to the gate. How the hell am I going to carry/push stroller, car seat, diaper bag, carry on hand luggage and when I come back to the US, pick up my checked bags and recheck after going through customs? I’ve figured my carry on bag should probably be a rucksack. Ideally my suitcase would be on four wheels, but I don’t have one of those, just a two wheeler. This means I can’t push it in any direction, only bi-directionally. Which is fine, it just could be easier! I’m hoping there might be a nice friendly person who might be able to help me out when I collect my bags. 

Arriving at the airport, tired, jet lagged and getting to my final destination by car. This will involve fitting the car seat base into a car I don’t know with a tired mummy and perhaps a grumpy baby in tow. And it will probably be cold knowing the UK weather!!!

Packing enough stuff for baby. Blankets, muslins, burp cloths, bibs, sleep suits, swaddles, hats, socks, clothes, coats, toys, pacifiers, sound machine, baby carrier wrap….what else have I forgotten? Diapers, wipes, baby toiletries, nappy rash cream, baby towel, bath sling…anything else??? If I have forgotten anything else I can always buy it when I get there or if I don’t have enough of something I can always wash it. Sometimes when I travel I can barely organize enough stuff for me let alone a baby!!!! Or I have the opposite problem – I take too much stuff!

OK so what else have I forgotten in my preparations? Do you have any travel tips flying with a 3 month old baby??

The Babywearing meet

Aviana has started to like being carried facing forward so she can see what is going on…and I find carrying her that way quite exhausting, which is crazy considering she still doesn’t weigh much more than an average newborn baby!  So I asked my Doula if she was familiar with the many multitude of baby carriers available out there.  Yes she was, but she told me about a real good nugget of useful knowledge – Baby Wearing International.  She had been to a meet with one of her clients before and recommended it as a good place to try out carriers before buying.  A great idea considering how expensive some carriers are, how picky babies can be, and how different our bodies are.

The very next weekend Chris and I took Aviana to our first meeting of our local Baby Wearing International group.  Here is what happened…

First we signed in at the welcome desk.  The meeting is free and open to the public!  We were given a name tag and a slip of paper telling us how to get the best out of their two hour meetings.  Of course Aviana had to be hungry just as we arrived, so Chris fed her (we are trying to get her more accustomed to the bottle).  There were all sorts of people there with their newborn babies and other toddlers running around playing with each other.  It was very noisy! Probably about 50 or so people. But this didn’t seem to bother Aviana.  In fact she seemed to like watching all the other babies.

About 5 minutes after we arrived a lady announced what was going to happen and what we could do.  There were ‘stands’ with qualified baby wearing educators depending on what type of carrier and carry you needed help with.  So for example if you had a moby wrap you could go to the wrap stand and be shown how to use it, or if you had a soft shell carrier such as a Tula then you can be shown how to use that properly.  There was also a ‘lending library’ for members to use.  You pay $30 a year for membership and that allows you to borrow one carrier from the lending library for one month 11 times in a year.  This sounded ideal because then you can take it home and if it doesn’t work out you haven’t wasted lots of money!

One of the educators helped us out with our requirements – we wanted something that would be suitable for Aviana’s small size, forward facing, and easy for both Chris and I to wear.  Chris tried three different carriers, the third one he tried was the most comfortable.  All this time Aviana was quite obliging being put in and out of a carrier!  Which was surprising to me.  I tried the third one on too and found it easy to use and tie. off.  It was the Baby Hawk Meh Dai – it doesn’t have buckles, just ties.  It is soft but gives Aviana some support with the front panel head piece.  It was also adjustable in different ways of tying it so it suited both Chris and I without faffing with any buckles.  We decided we would borrow this one from the library and see how we all get on with it.

We met a couple of new people which was nice, it was very welcoming.  The whole meet lasts for two hours and at the end a photo of the group is taken.  We had to go before the photo because Aviana (and me) was hungry!  So not only did we achieve something practical, we also met some other parents which was nice.  I also joined their local facebook group and everybody helps each other out with how to wear their babies and toddlers.

Since taking the Baby Hawk Carrier home, Chris has used it once carrying Aviana forwards, I have used it once at home where she slept for two hours in it facing inwards on my front, I have also used it in the ‘witching hour’ to calm her down facing forwards.  Finally, I had some partial success using it when I went out shopping to Petsmart which required me to use the trolley (shopping cart!) for items that required me to be handsfree!  She lasted about 5 minutes before getting pissed off at the world.  I started to queue and of course everyone was staring at me as if I am torturing my baby! It was at that point that I felt absolutely helpless because I had to pay for my items and I didn’t want to give up!!!  So I stuck it out and tried to keep her from wriggling out through her screams!  The only downside to this carrier is that the ends of the wrap are long and so can easily drag on the ground, so not good if it is wet outside.  Perhaps it will just take a bit more practice.

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Snoozy time for Aviana

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I plan to take this carrier back to the UK with me, I anticipate needing it when I get on and off the plane and for when I go through customs and need to pick up my bags as I go through immigration.

I return the carrier in one month when I go to the next meeting.  So if you borrow one you need to go to the next meet which you drop off in the first 30 minutes of the meeting or arrange to give it back earlier if necessary.  I think this system works nicely and I’m looking forward to going back again to try some of the other carriers!

Find out more about your local meet here


When daddy leaves mummy

Chris went on a work trip to Atlanta on Sunday…it’s not that bad, he is coming back late tonight (Monday) so he was only away for 36 hours!  However, this meant that I had to put Aviana to bed on my own for the first time – twice!

Here is what went down when daddy left mummy alone with Aviana….

Well I am going to spoil the ending – I am still alive to tell the tale!

First of all, she struggled to fall asleep and had a big fight with her wubbanub (pacifier or dummy with a small stuffed giraffe attached to it). She didn’t really know what she wanted, but it wasn’t a nice deep sleep that was for sure.  When she did fall asleep she was fidgeting, grunting, coughing, snorting, kicking and punching.  Clearly this was not going to be a good night!  And it wasn’t….and of course, after I wrote about Aviana’s new glorious sleep habits, that very night she decided she was going to fall back to her old way of two night feeds.  Seriously girl??! 1AM, 5AM and 6.45AM was when I fed her.  That doesn’t sounds so bad, except she was refluxy, fidgety and very vocal the whole night – she didn’t cry though which is a good thing – but enough to keep me awake every ten/fifteen minutes.  She finally got into a peaceful sleep at about 6.20AM, just as I was ready to get up!!! So I dozed back to sleep myself, until 5 minutes later the cats jumped on the bed and meowed in my face – FEED ME MEEEEOOOOWWW! No peace for the wicked.

This evening, she was like a different baby to the night before.  She was pleasant, smiley, intrigued, anti-witch (where did she go?!), loved her bath, let me massage her for the first time ever, fed calmly and efficiently then fell asleep into a deep sleep quickly on time.  I had a lovely evening with her.2017-03-06 14.29.58.jpg

I am guessing she just missed daddy the first night….then forgot about him this evening.  Haha….just kidding Chris ;-p  I actual
ly think that this experience nicely sums up the essence of parenting – just go with the flow, there will be highs, there will be lows and remember:

Don’t fall into the ‘forever trap’!!!!

The more I remind myself of this, the easier those challenging times are to face head on.

Birthright citizenship in the US- when your child is American and you’re not

Aviana was born in Virginia USA and we, her parents, are British citizens. A little thing called Birthright citizenship in the US means that she can be a US citizen…or a British citizen, whichever she chooses, or both.

Seeing as our daughter is American I have recently embraced learning more about the USA than I have done in the past four years as a legal resident alien.  It started off with the simple alphabet A to Zeeeeeeee.  Then I progressed to the war of independence, sorry the revolutionary war or whatever you like to call it.  And of course there is the US Constitution.  It is here you can find out more about Birthright citizenship.  Apparently the 14th amendment is a slightly controversial topic over here??!

In 1868, the U.S. ratified the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The first sentence reads: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

The U.S. is a bit of an anomaly in the world when it comes to this issue.  Most of the rest of the world, for example, gives people citizenship based on a concept known as jus sanguinis, literally “by right of blood.”  The modern day controversy around Birthright citizenship comes to the issue of children of illegal immigrants being born in the US.

At the hospital we were given a letter detailing the recording of Aviana’s birth. We then had to apply for a birth certificate and pay something like $12 per copy (BTW it’s worth getting at least two copies because you are without one when you apply for their passport(s)).  The funny thing is her social security number was the first thing to officiate Aviana’s existence in the US!!! Ahhhhh got to be able to pay those taxes right from birth!!! We discovered when we first moved here there is little you can do without a social security number. It’s like you don’t exist without one. Anyway, I digress!

The hardest part of applying for both her US and British passport was the photos! Both countries have slightly different rules. So after I had fed and changed Aviana there is a short window of time that she is an awake happy bunny, I dashed to our local Walgreens pharmacy to get her picture taken. Here they will lay your baby down on the counter with a white sheet background, get up on a step ladder and take a picture with a digital camera. They then have the software to edit out shadows and make the face fit into the right proportions. Walgreens can do the photos for both US and British passports. The size of photos is slightly different so we had to take the British photos home and guillotine them to the right size ourselves. But that wasn’t too hard. 

Aviana was a doll for the man taking the photo. It took several goes to get her to look directly at the camera with her eyes open and arms not flailing! But the last go before she started screaming was the one! Incidentally when applying for a British passport the baby’s eyes do not have to be open.

Applying for the US passport was easy. We made an appointment at our post office and the documents were checked and sent off for a $25 fee. It was so quick and easy (we had all our docs in line and photos done already).

Applying for the British passport was a little more complicated. We had to get the photos of Aviana countersigned by someone of ‘public standing’. Who is also British. Fortunately I work with the military so that wasn’t a problem, it was just finding someone who has known us for two years or more. So you would be screwed if you lived in the US and didn’t know any other Brits in the local vicinity or had just arrived in country. Crazy.

I fly with Aviana back to the UK in mid march and we don’t have either passport yet. Hoping at least one of them arrives very soon otherwise I might be traveling to the Embassy in DC for an emergency one! 

By the way, I should say that neither Chris or I can apply for a green card on the basis that we have an American daughter. It is not until she turns 21 that she could sponsor us for a green card on the basis of her nationality. A lot of people don’t know that. So as soon as my visa runs out and is no longer sponsored by my work we have 30 days to leave the country. Technically Aviana wouldn’t have to leave! It’s all so weird! 

I’m not sure how long we will be living in the US for, but we want Aviana to experience both countries and someday she may choose to live in the other country we are not living in. Very strange to think about that!

Useful Apps for mums and dads

OK, I admit it…I love my iPhone. I probably spend way too much time on it, and now I have a baby I spend even more time on it (that doesn’t sound right does it??!!). It’s all the useful, informative and connective Apps I have on it. In fact I think I’m absolutely reliant on my phone even more so now. I dont know how parents do it without a super smart phone because….

A. I have Parenting Information at my finger tips because I have no clue what that weird looking rash is or whether it’s normal for my milk to look like that.

B. Collecting data on my baby is easier because my brain is frazzled and I can’t remember how many poops my baby has done in 24hrs when the pediatrician asks me.

C. I can connect to my distant (even near) friends and family because they want to see Aviana’s progress (and plus chatting with other parents out there going through what we are helps a lot with the sanity!).

D. I can even find and hire a caregiver right from the comfort of my nursing chair.

E. I can order food, clothing and baby supplies because my baby is cluster feeding and I can’t leave the house today.

F. I save money with e-coupons and various store apps, because babies – they eat your money out of your wallet!!

So here are my favourite apps we have been using recently helping us as new parents!!

1. Baby Connect – $4.99

Chris and I both have this app installed on our phones. We can track:

  • Food -what, when, how much, for how long
  • Nappies/diapers – when, what and how much
  • Sleep – times for how long
  • Medical appointments – who, when, including calendar reminders, what happened, weight, length, head size.
  • Medicine – what, how much, when, alarm til next dose
  • Pumping – when, how long, how much
  • Activities- e.g. Bath
  • Milestones & mood – I haven’t used these so much but you can track when she fusses or when she lifts her head or smiles etc. 

But the awesome thing is you get charts and timelines produced automatically for you…and if you know me you KNOW I LOVE data and charts.

The timeline feature helps you figure out any patterns in her sleep or feeds which is very useful if you are on demand feeding! (Look! If you see Aviana’s timeline below She has been getting into a routine at night the past week, it has been amazing!!!!)

It also charts out total time asleep, counts of diapers, total time nursing for how long on each breast Etc…anything data is collected on it can chart it.

Also gives a summary of the stats on weight, length and head size which can also be plotted against the expected data…(you can see here Aviana is catching up!!!)

Finally, here is what my main home screen looks like. I can quickly see how long it has been since the last feed and diaper change.

This Baby Connect App was really useful when the doctor wanted us to record poops and feeds in the first few weeks when Aviana was being closely monitored for weight gain because she was in the less than 1 percentile for weight when leaving the hospital. But then we discovered the sleep data was also useful too. Being able to sync between Chris and I is worth paying the extra $4.99. If our nanny was tech savvy I’d have her use it too (she records the basic info on a baby log sheet instead). Overall for this Baby Connect App I give 9/10!!!

2. What to Expect Pregnancy & Parenting – Free

I started using this App, amongst two others, for tracking my pregnancy week by week. I didn’t realise it would continue on after giving birth. It provides me with a week by week explanation of what is going on as my baby grows. It also gives 5-6 daily articles that are likely to be relevant to me at the time. These articles range from being informative to entertaining. Here is a sample of today’s articles. There are also a few sponsored articles in there too which occasionally grab my attention, but this means the app remains free so I like the way adverts aren’t pushed into my face.

You can see week by week a summary of how your baby is developing…and what to expect! Also gives articles and ads for products that may be useful around this time for baby and you.

There is also a community featur which I dont use because it is full of really DUMB questions. E.g. my baby is not breathing what do I do???! 🙄 OK that is extreme, but you get my gist. Also often full of judgemental mothers, and I dont have time for those kind of people. But each to their own, some people may find it useful or even better entertaining!

Overall, ever since I was pregnant I’ve opened this app almost everyday to get a piece of info, it’s now as routine as me opening BBC news app to catch up on what’s going on in the world, so it must be pretty good. I also like the way I didn’t have to install a new app once Aviana was born. So I give it a 8/10.

3. Ovia Parenting – Free

Similar to the what to expect App, I used the Ovia Pregnancy App to track my pregnancy. So I continued the with th parenting App. Unfortunately, I don’t think they have put as much effort into the Parenting app as they did the pregnancy one. This app provides-

  • daily articles and tips relevant to your baby’s age
  • Milestone checklist
  • Community forum

Personally, I only use this for the articles, I open it every few days. I actually think Ovia has a lot to do to the app to make it as good as the pregnancy one. It looks swish, but functionality wise it’s got a way to go. So overall I give this a meager 5/10.

4. The Wonder Weeks – Free with in App purchases

This was recommended to me by my Doula. I had never heard about the wonder weeks (I wrote about it in my last post). Basically the App is based on the wonder weeks book. It gives a summary of when your baby will go through mental development leaps and what this will mean for your baby. It’s fascinating science! 

This is the home page showing when your baby will go through the next leap and what that means.

It provides a timeline view of when to expect a leap…

And if you want to know more about the leaps, each leap has a bit of info in the App. Although the app is designed to accompany the boom, you can also download each chapter from the book relating to the leap you want to know more about for $0.99.

I downloaded the first leap chapter and wasn’t sure it was worth the money. It was mostly stories of other parents who had experienced the leap, so it can help you feel like you are not alone when going through the leap – it also helps you feel like this is normal and my baby won’t be like this forever!!! Plus helps you to understand what to expect from a parents perspective after the stormy period and the new things your baby can do after the leap. 

I haven’t decided yet if I will just buy the book or keep downloading the chapters as I go. I want to see if it predicts the next second leap well and if the info is useful or not, then I might buy the book. But so far I’m impressed! Overall I give this app an 8/10.

5. BabyMusic – Free with in App purchases.

I love this App, but I only love the Free bit of it!!!! The free music is for engaging attention and curiosity. And Aviana loves it. I use it when we are in play time and I need a break from talking to her!!! 

To unlock all the other music – creativity, restful sleep, calm baby down, stimulate the brain etc. costs $20.99. To download the individual categories is $1.99 each. I haven’t paid any money because I am using other free apps for other sleep type music. I hate that ads keep popping up too interrupting me when I want to start the music. But that’s what you get for free stuff I guess! Overall I give this App a 9/10 even though you have to pay for other music, I love the two free categories because Aviana loves them!!

6. SleepGenius Baby – Free

Two beautiful music sessions. 1.5hrs of nap time music and 1.5hrs of sleep time music. Nap time music is more nursery rhyme-ish but slow and peaceful. Sleep time music is more classical and peaceful.

 Chris said he would listen to this at his desk at work to help relax or block out noise!!! I use this App whilst doing Aviana’s bath before bed and whilst she is having her last feed as a calming cue to bedtime. It is awesome. I give this App 10/10! 

7. OrderUp – Free.

This App enables you to order take away/take out from your favourite restaurants and have it delivered direct to your door. For when you really can’t be bothered to cook because it’s been one of those long days looking after a newborn baby!!! (See wonder weeks!!!!)

I have a few more that I use -RelaxMelodies (white noise and other relaxing sounds), 23Snaps (photo sharing), (babysitter and nanny hiring), AmazingBaby (activities with baby), LeTote (clothing for hire). But Aviana is about to wake up so I’m in a hurry!

What other Apps do you use and recommend for parents?

The wonder weeks: Leap 1 changing sensations

Apparently all babies go through the same changes in mental development at the same time – and it is based on dates from conception and not dates from birth. These mental developments are called ‘leaps’. According to the book – The wonder weeks, a leap is a sudden change that brings along a new type of perception.  In the first year of a baby’s life there are eight new types of perceptions and is due to a sudden change in the brain, giving a new learning opportunity.

A leap has two phases: the first is the difficult period which can be noticed by more crying, abnormally clingy and cranky.  The second phase is when the baby masters a new skill or uses old skills in different ways – they will have new interests and be more independent.

The first leap is in week 5.  This leap is all about Aviana’s change in sensations, i.e. what she hears, sees, feels, smells and tastes.  Some of the changes in these sensations she will like and some she won’t.  But we can’t read her mind and she can’t talk so we don’t really know what she thinks about these changes.

On Tuesday, I think she went through this leap (1 day earlier than the book predicts).  She was yelling, crying, screaming – not like the pain cries from her reflux.  The cries were different.  Nothing would console her, she just wanted to be held close, but not too close, she wouldn’t even go in the sling/wrap!  She did this for almost 12 hours straight, I was exhausted mentally and physically, so much so I had to call Chris to come home early from work to help me out.  I didn’t know it in that moment that this was the leap, even though I knew it was coming .  I felt everything that the book told me I would feel…

Insecure and not confident in my parenting abilities.  Nothing I could do would stop her from crying.  I’m an intelligent, sensible and relatively knowledgeable woman.  Why could I not figure this out?

Concern.  I took Aviana’s temperature several times because I worried she might be ill and I was ignoring the signs.  I worried I wasn’t providing her with enough breast milk because she would scream at my breast and she wanted to feed almost every hour.

As soon as she finally slept solidly after all that fuss, I realised where she had been – in that leap.  The book was right.  The book tells me I should look out for how my baby has changed as a result of this leap.  This is what I have noticed in her – she will look at things longer and more often, she actually seems like she listens to me especially, my terrible singing, she is more aware of being touched, smiles more than she did before, gurgles (she has only done this just a couple of times), stays awake longer and is more alert.  Other things that the book says I can expect to see differently after this leap is her expressing her likes or dislikes more often (although we have noticed she does not like a wet diaper anymore), expresses anticipation more often, is more aware of different smells.  Apparently we will also see some physical changes in that she will vomit less, burp less, cry real tears (she was doing this already), startle and tremble less often and choke less!

Interestingly, when I saw the pediatrician today to discuss her reflux and change in medication she said that Aviana is already doing things she wouldn’t expect to see until 3 months old, such as coo-ing.  She said that Aviana will probably “want to go to the zoo very soon”, i.e. want and need more intellectual stimulation so she doesn’t get bored!

Mental leaps – I believe in them!  The next leap is  is due in week 8-9 (post due date, not birth date) This leap will allow her to experience and recognise patterns.  The signals for this leap are slightly different to the first leap, although crying and crankiness seems to be common amongst all leaps.

So mums and dads, if you find your baby crying unusually around week 5 post due date, the chances are your baby is going through a mental leap and it is not a reflection of your parenting abilities!  Knowing this helped me psychologically get over her almost inconsolable cries!!!  If you want to know more, I suggest downloading the wonder weeks app or buy the book.  Fascinating stuff.


Sharenting – the act of parents who share photos online with friends and family.

Aviana made her internet profile debut as a 5 day old embryo. We were proud to announce to the world on Facebook, Instagram and my blog ( that our third cycle of IVF was heading in a positive direction and we successfully transferred two embryos, one being Aviana. I thought carefully about posting ultrasound pictures on Facebook knowing how hard it is to see these types of pictures when dealing with infertility, but I posted a few of Aviana on my blog and Instagram. Aviana’s online photo presence grew to the obligatory birth announcement on Facebook a few days after she was born. And then we decided that we would not be posting more photos of her on Facebook or Instagram, unless she was in a photo with other adults.


1. Because photos of cute children can end up being used commercially without the consent of the guardian.

It is perfectly possible that despite your best efforts to lock down your privacy settings on Facebook that one of your unknowing friends or family doesn’t have equal levels of privacy and shares one of your photos. Then it’s out of your control.

2. Because our children have a right to privacy.

I’m not saying that parents who share photos on Facebook or Instagram are maliciously sharing photos and destroying their child’s right to privacy…but rather, it’s hard to know exactly what the long term effects might be to our children’s privacy in the future. For me, I have acquaintances on my Facebook, I’m friends with almost 600 people, of which many are whom I have met occasionally but don’t know overly well. 

3. Because of Pedophiles. 

I know of Parenting bloggers who will post pictures of their children naked in the bath or on the potty. These types of images are known to be collected by pedophiles from these sites.

4. Because of the meme culture. 

Chris took an amazing picture of Aviana looking like Dr Evil from Austin Powers. She had her little pinky finger to her mouth, and with her baldish head made a wonderful impersonation. So Chris created a picture comparing Aviana to Dr Evil. This is the exact type of picture that gets shared as a meme and suddenly it is shared like wildfire and all control is lost. In the end we only shared this photo with a couple of close friends by private messenger.

5. Because we want Aviana to form her own identity in the future.

We don’t know what the impact of sharenting is on children in the longer term. Giving her that freedom and choice for the future is what we hope to achieve.

I’m not perfect when it comes to protecting Avian’s privacy online. Firstly, I’m writing about her on this blog. I’ve already written about her health issues and behaviours. Could this information be used against her in the future? 

We are using 23 Snaps to share photos of Aviana with my closest friends and family. It is a site that was designed specifically by parents to protect the privacy of their own children online. The data on 23 snaps is stored on Amazon S3 servers. Amazon take privacy very seriously – even the US federal government use their servers for sensitive information. But does that mean in the future this data will still be secure?

I personally believe our lives are better by sharing on the internet. My blogs are examples of that belief. Also I don’t know how I would keep up with good friends and family without Facebook, Instagram, 23snaps and other social media apps. Sharing is good. But for me it is under the right conditions, and that is something I judge on a daily basis. I wish it was easier and that I could freely share without having to worry about the consequences. 

As parents we make choices on behalf of our children every day until they are old enough and responsible enough to make their own. Just as we choose their clothes, school, what they eat and sometimes even their friends we have to make a choice for them about their online profiles. Parenting is all about choices and many of which there is no one right way. Sharenting is also a choice and we decided not to share pictures of just her on Facebook. We will decide what to or not write about her on this blog. Sometimes we will get it right and sometimes we will get it wrong. But that’s being a parent, and that’s what sharenting is all about, choices of the parent.

The part time nanny

After my 4 week postpartum checkup my doctor referred me to physical therapy to help me with my urinary incontinence. At my initial consult with the therapist it was decided I needed weekly therapy sessions. So the big question was – how would I be able to do this if I’m supposed to be looking after Aviana?! Chris and I decided we probably needed help with this.

We figured we needed the help of a part time nanny.  So we settled on 8 hrs once a week. This would also allow Chris and I to get some uninterrupted time to study and keep up with our executive development programs.

We turned to as some of our friends have used it successfully to hire nanny or babysitter. We posted our ad stating our requirements for the position and the applications came flooding in within minutes. Isn’t the internet great?!

We quickly realised that half of the applicants hadn’t even bothered reading what the job was, for example some were seeking full time positions.  It’s quite a simple thing to do when applying for a job.  That pisses me off. Then there were the applicants who made BAD spelling  mistakes, for example…”Hi, my mame is…”. Seriously? I’m not looking for America’s top spelling Bee, but please, take the time to just read over your message before hitting send. Then there were applicants whose photos simply terrified me. Like scary crazy selfies.  Maybe I am officially old and too traditional, but I really don’t think ‘sexy posed selfies’ are not appropriate! Finally, there were then those applicants who just didn’t bother replying back. That’s just rude and a waste of my precious free time I have spent reading your application rather than doing the ever growing list of things I have to do-but can’t do -because I’m trying to keep a newborn baby alive!!!! GRRRRRRR.

After all that, we narrowed it down to a couple of candidates. I spoke to one of our favourites on the phone, and then invited her to meet in a coffee shop the next day to get to know her a bit better.

I was worried that she wouldn’t turn up, but she did! It is oddmeeting a stranger who I was going to effectively trust with my daughter’s life in my own home. She was not a professional nanny but appeared to be knowledgeable, caring, gentle with Aviana, and had a clear mind to being organised and efficient.  Her charge out rate was $13 per hour which we considered to be very good.  Her ‘parenting’ approach she prefers was one of ‘routine’. Although I don’t want my future life to be dictated by a schedule determined by a Military-esque series of timings, having some routine I believe is good for baby.  It may not be a routine in terms of timing, but routine in good habit forming is something I believe to be important.  Equally I’d like to encourage Aviana to be adaptable and independent as well, so hopefully we will teach her those skills as well.  Anyway I digress a little….although it is important that a nanny matches your beliefs and style, we are so new to this parenting game that it is difficult to really know what we are looking for.  We have ideas, but practically may be they won’t match reality.

We didn’t preclude candidates based on their age or education level or their charge out rate, but some basic qualifications we sought, including infant CPR.  I think if we were looking for a full time nanny and if Aviana was slightly older our requirements would be very different.  Equally, we weren’t looking for just a babysitter, Aviana’s development is important to us, even if it is only one day a week.

All of this process we managed to do in just four days.  We really hope this works out!  Next week is when she starts a trial day, so watch this space….. :-s