Choosing Two

Not Just Rosie’s Dad and I recently announced our second pregnancy, a bit of news that came as a surprise to many, as I have been very vocal in the past about only ever wanting one child. I even wrote a blog about it, One and Done, so I accepted all the ‘I told you so’ comments with as much grace as I could muster.

But I know there will be some who will be curious, and also others who might be in the same boat as me now, or me then. So I wanted to write about it and explain.

Back when I wrote One and Done, I was still recovering from Post Natal Depression. I had had a traumatic premature birth, I had been ill myself afterwards, and my daughter had had reflux so severe that having a peg feed installed was on the cards. I was not coping well, despite seeking help from numerous sources and talking about how I was feeling. The thought of ever, ever, willingly putting myself through such hell again felt like sheer madness.

And of course because it was so fresh, because it was so raw, and because I was trying to move on, I simply shoved all of that guilt and pain and sadness into a box and locked it shut. I wasn’t going to have any more kids, so I didn’t need to drag any of that nasty out and re examine it. It could stay there.

Except it couldn’t stay there.

I sat with my sisters at family gatherings and we laughed and joked and made jokes about our parents, and I felt a twinge.

I watched my husband’s five cousins play together in their garden, laughing and falling over each other and playing and I felt a twinge.

I saw my friends bellies swell, helped welcome their beautiful new additions and I felt a twinge.

I looked at Rosie, growing up more and more every second and I thought about the way her little baby head used to feel nestled into my chest when she was tiny, and again I felt a twinge.

And when I couldn’t ignore it anymore, I sat myself down and I started the painful process of opening up that box. I spoke to Not Just Rosie’s Dad, I spoke to friends, I spoke to family. I had a birth debrief with the Supervisor of Midwives at the hospital where I gave birth, and I walked out feeling, amazingly, absolved of the guilt that I had carried for so long. I researched stats on prematurity, PND, and reflux in subsequent babies. I researched Hypnobirthing and Doulas. I researched everything.

And finally, a light began to dawn and I began to see that it might be possible, after all. That I might not drown. And that actually, it might be a good thing. For me, for Rosie, for all of us.

And so, eventually, after much careful thought, research and deliberation, we went for it. I’m now sixteen weeks pregnant and don’t get me wrong, I’m still terrified, but I feel more prepared and more ready than ever. I know it will be hard, but I can do it. We can do it.

There’s still absolutely no shame in wanting only one child, but I’m glad that we have been able to have the chance at another. And I’m glad that I have been able to work through the issues that were stopping me before.

Saltwater Rose Studio Patina – Handwoven Review

Patina is the first Saltwater Rose Studio wrap I’ve had the pleasure of trying, and having seen pictures of it on the loom I was very much looking forward to having a play and getting a look at those colours up close.

Patina has an Egyptian cotton warp, with a copper merino-silk weft. The interplay of the colours Kathleen has chosen are just gorgeous, and the name suits incredibly well. Patina is the name given to the changes in an object, usually antique or aged, as the object ages and the materials oxidize, calcify or encrust. I found this particularly fitting as the twill blend weave structure, combined with the colours, reminds me of the walls of ancient caves on my favourite beach in Cornwall – the striations match the weave structure almost exactly.

In terms of craftsmanship, Patina is excellence. The hemming is perfection, and the selvedges are well done. The weave is flawless throughout. Patina features very classy labelling and a beautiful quote from John Yemma about what patina means.

Ok, so we know it’s gorgeous. But how does it feel? How does it wrap?
Rest assured, it wraps as good as it looks. I used Patina with a chunky 28 month old in a variety of back and front carries – strangleproof ruck, ruck tied tibetan, double hammock with sweetheart and lexi twist finish, and front cross carry.

I found Patina to be pefectly supportive and strong even in a single layer carry – I had no issues with digging on my picky shoulders, regardless of how sloppily I wrapped. Patina has good diagonal stretch and good recoil which means that it moulds well, making wrapping easy and enjoyable. it has good amounts of grip and glide – I am not fighting to make the passes but also they do not slip. 

Patina holds a double hammockq with a single knot tied under bum well; (and even a *very* sloppy knot tied on tails as seen in the picture above) and I was not worried that it may slip. The double faced texture helps in this regard. Patina was comfortable equally for long and short carries, the merino and silk working to add strength and cush.

All in all, Patina is a work of art and a credit to Kathleen’s attention to detail. It’s a beautiful wrap, with beautiful wrap qualities and I’m delighted to have had the chance to test it.

Liora Rae Flow Review

Liora Rae is a new British woven wrap company and Flow is their first offering, which I was lucky enough to be able to test.

Flow is a very pretty swirly design; and Natasha of Liora Rae says ‘The Flow collection is inspired by holidays with my girls – watching the rolling waves of the sea together, their faces mesmerised by the constant waves continuing to form. The design takes me back to those trips where memories were made as a family. Many testers have said they also see clouds or spirals. The name Flow seemed fitting because of this ambiguity and individual interpretation of the design.’

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This tester features lovely shades of teal and blue and is very reminiscent of stylised clouds to me. It’s woven in such a way that the swirls have different textures, and this helps enormously with grip.

Flow is a medium weight wrap in hand, with good texture and a very small amount of stretch. It definitely has a hard wearing feel to it; this is a wrap I wouldn’t be afraid to give some use to. It doesn’t strike me as a wrap that will pull easily either.

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To wear, Flow is very grippy and holds well. I attempted a Double Hammock with a Saltwater finish and found that I didn’t have enough length, to finish in front, so I tied a single knot under bum instead. As I was tying on tippy tails and it was behind my back, I wasn’t able to get much tension and so I set off to Asda with some trepidation, fully expecting my poor attempt at a knot to slip. But  it didn’t! It held very well, with no slippage despite quite a bit of slack in the passes (my fault, first try at this carry and far from perfect.) I was quite impressed, and this to me was a good testament to the wrap qualities of Flow.

I do think it would benefit from some use and breaking in to help make this wrap softer, , as it isn’t the softest wrap I’ve ever used. But, given time and wear, I think it will get there.

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I really liked Flow, its’s simple and wrapped well, no fancy blends, no fuss, just a good solid wrap.

As an aside, I was very impressed with the quality of the tote and the booklet from such a new company. Natasha has clearly done her research, and the attention to detail and presentation shown here is promising and gives a very good impression.

 

In Defence of my Daughter

Rosie has turned two, and we’ve hit the legendary tantrum stage. The stage where she needs at least twenty minutes to calm down, and there’s nothing I can do in the meantime except wait.

For the most part, I am ok with this. I understand why this happens. She has very little control over her life, she is understanding that she is separate to me, she is testing out her boundaries and she has very little control of her feelings and emotions. That’s fine. That’s normal.

What is not fine or normal is the response from members of the general public.

We were on a bus recently and Rosie was having a meltdown. Screaming, scratching, hitting, pulling my hair. I calmly removed her hands and continued to name her feelings, reassure her and offer her a cuddle. All was par for the course until an older man on the seat in front of us changed it.

He stood up, turned round, leant down towards my daughter and shouted, ‘What’s all that bloody noise?!’

And I didn’t say anything.

I didn’t stand up for her. I didn’t defend her. I didn’t explain why she was upset. I did nothing other than stare at this man with a look of shock on my face.

I felt truly awful. Was I a bad parent? Should I have shouted at her? Should I have smacked her, even? Should I have got off the bus miles from home so as not to inconvenience other passengers?

After I’d got off the bus, I realised that no, I was absolutely doing the right thing with her. What I had done wrong was not defending her. That realisation brought me almost to tears. How could I be a positive role model and empower my daughter when I have allowed a random man to shout at her on public transport?

I made it my resolve to never ever allow her to be treated that way again, or to allow anyone else to make me feel that way again.

Rosie being two, it was a mere three days before I had the opportunity to practice this.

We were at our local Tesco, Rosie in the trolley. She was upset at having been woken up, hungry, and just really not feeling it. She had gone into meltdown mode, kicking, screaming, slapping myself and her dad if we got too close. We recognised the problem so immediately went to the food on the go section to remedy it. Rosie and her dad waited by the sandwiches while I queued up to pay for her food. An older lady was stood behind me. She looked at them and rolled her eyes. This was the following exchange:

Her: Good Heavens.

Me: Pardon?

Her: That girl, making all that noise.

Me: Actually, I’ll have you know that’s my daughter. She’s two. She can’t yet control her feelings and emotions.

Her: (looking a bit taken aback) Well, surely he should be doing something about it. Comforting her or telling her to shush.

Me: No. It’s not possible. She’s gone beyond that. All we can do is wait.

Her: (now looking definitely affronted) Well…

Me: No.

And that was that. I was served, I took Rosie the food and she calmed down enough to eat it.

As for me? I felt great. My daughter needed me to defend her struggles, and I did it. I did it calmly and assertively. I didn’t use foul language, and I didn’t raise my voice. I simply stood up for her when she was unable to do so herself.

It was very empowering. And I do so hope that lady thinks twice before judging anyone else or making comments that may really hurt someone or cause them self doubt. I hope she now has a little more awareness that a situation may be more nuanced than she can see at first glance.

She very likely won’t, and she’ll have very likely complained about me to her friends at Bingo, but still, I can hope.

And I absolutely will continue to defend my daughter. For she is only two, and she does not yet have control over her feelings and emotions. At two, I don’t expect her to have that control.

I do however expect adults to. And I will continue to calmly correct that behaviour when those adults feel a need to shout, criticise, or complain at either me or her.

After all, she is only two.