The Good Baby

One of the questions people seem to ask a lot after you have a baby is, “Is s/he a good baby?” Obviously this question isn’t intended to be rude, and I’m 90% tongue in cheek with the following, but really? A good baby? What does that even mean? I always feel like replying, “No, she’s evil and terrible. We’re thinking of having her exorcised, just in case she is, in fact, the spawn of Satan”.

So what exactly are the criteria a good baby? Is there a score out of 10? As a baby, Munchkin cried, fed and dirtied her nappy with great efficiency, and even slept sometimes, so as far as being a baby goes I think she pretty much got it down. Attagirl! Gold star for you!

But what people really seem to mean when they talk about a good baby is one that doesn’t cry much and sleeps a lot. (Parents everywhere just burst out laughing reading that. Seriously, does any baby fit that profile?).

The problem with the question is the implication that if a baby doesn’t sleep well, or cries a lot, they must be bad (or, at the very least, not good). But babies don’t cry because they’re being bad, or naughty. They cry for a reason, even if that reason isn’t always apparent to others. Likewise with not sleeping – there is a reason for it. In fact, babies aren’t even expected to sleep through the night for quite some time, and for breastfed babies five hours is considered sleeping through.

That doesn’t mean that crying and not sleeping isn’t hard on the parents/carers. It can be incredibly hard! But suggesting (or implying) that their baby is bad for not meeting some arbitrary criteria for “good” isn’t really all that helpful.

A friend of mine had a baby who screamed for hours on end. Multiple trips to multiple doctors proved fruitless, until one finally looked closer and found that the poor little mite had gastroesophageal reflux. She wasn’t crying all the time because she was bad or naughty, she was crying because she was in pain. (This story is also a good example of why it’s important to keep pushing for an answer when you know something is wrong with your bub. No matter how many times she was told it was “normal for babies to cry a lot”, my friend knew there was more to it)

I guess my real problem with the “good baby” question is that it’s really not helpful. So what can you ask a new parent? How about, “How is s/he going?” and “How are you coping?”. That second one is particularly important. After all, one person may be just fine with 4-5 hours broken sleep a night, while another could be utterly exhausted. It’s so important to give new parents the opportunity to talk about themselves and how they’re going – asking the question can make all the difference.

Meet Loki

You might know Loki from Norse mythology as the God of Mischief, or from the Marvelverse as the… God of Mischief.

But today I’m going to introduce you to a whole new face of Loki… a pink, polka-dotted bunny rabbit.

Loki the bunny

The day we got Loki, we made the terrible mistake of entering a baby shop. Trust me. Baby shops = massive amounts of money mysteriously disappearing from your bank account.

We went to buy a playpen, and were leaving with far more. I almost hyperventilated over the adorable mini-armchairs, but managed to not buy one.

When we got to the checkout with our armloads of crap totally necessary baby stuff, there was a deceptively adorable, totally irresistible hoard of knitted bunnies.

I was good, I swear, but Munchkin was captivated! She practically launched herself out of the Ergo on my chest and grabbed for them. I had never seen her show any particular interest in a toy before, so that was super exciting. Plus, I was deeply mired in postnatal depression and felt like the world’s worst parent, so I decided to alleviate some of that guilt with this sweet little polka dotted bunny. Needless consumption for the win!

Anyway, I was so excited to have bought this adorable little bunny that she wanted so badly, so I gave it to her straight away. She stretched out her arms with a huge smile on her face… and then proceeded to beat this poor, innocent rabbit senseless, Hulk-style.

Over the next couple of weeks the bunny took so many of these vicious beatings that I started referring to him as Loki, and the name kind of stuck. Eventually he did get a cuddle, so despite his rough start in life I think he’s going to be fine. At least, I hope he is. Otherwise, that’s just one more thing to feel guilty about! Ain’t life grand?

Tabletop Talk: Sherlock Cluedo

Back in my younger days, I enjoyed a bit of computer gaming. It was a good way to let off steam and have a bit of lighthearted fun. I was never serious, probably half a step above the ranking of “casual gamer”, but it was fun. I mostly played MMOs (massive multiplayer online, with people from all over the world playing) like World of Warcraft, Star Wars (which I still actually enjoy) and things like Age of Empires and Sims (of course. Who of our generation didn’t play Sims?)

But now that I’m old and boring, I’m finding that tabletop games are more my speed. It all started with Wil Wheaton’s show Tabletop on Geek & Sundry. Captain and I got very quickly hooked, introduced a few friends to it and soon we were all drooling over the games.

We bought Munchkin (so did most of our friends after we played it with them), and it snowballed from there. Munchkin was our gateway game, and also gave us the nickname we use for our daughter. Yep, we nicknamed our kid after our favourite game. That’s not sad at all!

The most recent addition to our tabletop/board game arsenal is the Sherlock edition of Cluedo, and we got to play it for the first time over the weekend.

Cluedo isn’t a new game, but C and I hadn’t ever played it before! How dreadful is that? It was definitely a learning experience.

We had another couple of game lovers around, and played games from 3pm on Saturday to 1am Sunday. It was so great, especially now that Munchkin (the toddler, not the game) sleeps through the night and will even let us sleep in a bit from time to time. We struck the lottery with this kid, I’m almost afraid to have another because I’m sure that they will be the complete opposite and destroy any delusions we had of being halfway decent parents.

Getting back to the point: Sherlock Cluedo!

Sherlock is the perfect companion to Cluedo, not just because of the crime-solving element of the show (and the books, the movies, etc), but because Cluedo really does involve a lot of deduction and strategic playing to get to the result. Plus, the box is really pretty and it makes use of the mobile phone-theme that was especially prevalent in the first season of Sherlock – they seem to have backed off from that a bit now, although I guess it could have become a bit tiresome if it was too heavily used.

We played three games of Cluedo, while I was preparing and cooking dinner. I still managed to win two of the games, so I was pretty happy with that!

While the others seemed to take more extensive notes, and had systems involving colour coding, I found it worked better when I kept my notes really simple. I only marked something down when I knew someone had it (whether by seeing it myself or deducing from other things I knew) or thought it needed further investigation. The one time I tried to come up with a more comprehensive system was the time I failed dismally.

One thing that was interesting was that this edition calls for the cards to be dealt out until they’re all gone, even if it leaves people with uneven numbers of cards. With four players, two of us had four cards and two had five. In the second and third round, we put the extra cards on the board so everyone had the same amount of information. Apparently that’s what was done in the original Cluedo, so I’m not sure why that changed for this edition, but we found doing it the old way worked better.

I’m really glad that I decided to get Sherlock Cluedo for C’s Christmas present, because we will definitely get plenty of use out of it!

What are your favourite tabletop/board games? Anyone have feedback on the Firefly game? That’s one that we’re seriously considering, because, y’know, Firefly!

Blog like a mo

The gauntlet has been laid down, the call has been put out, the challenge has been issued.

Blog like a Mofo is here.

As some kind of mummy blawger (for want of any kind of less naff descriptor), I guess I’m focusing more on the “mo” part of that acronym.

Actually, if you’re romantically involved with someone with a moustache, could you still be considered a mofo? Happily (or sadly), the Captain would probably qualify for either. It’s the eastern European blood. That’s what I tell myself, anyway.

Where were we? Right. Blog like a Mofo!

The pertinent information can be found here: http://bloglikeamofo.com/how-do-i-blog-like-a-mofo/

As a “mummy blogger”, I’m pretty sure I’m morally required to post a list of new year’s resolutions at this point in the year. But I don’t do resolutions, because I think they’re stupid and pointless. If you want to make changes in your life, why wait for a specific day to start? If you don’t want to make changes in your life, but feel you should anyway, then why? The whole thing seems at best a waste of time, and at worst a highly pressured and guilt-laden situation with a high rate of failure followed by months of self-flagellation. Who needs that!

But. I have to admit that after years of staunch new year’s resolution avoidance, I almost fell into it this year. Working full time hours over Christmas, the only way to keep myself going was chocolate. Seriously, I tried lots of things, but chocolate was the one thing that consistently worked.

After weeks of overconsumption of chocolate (and coffee, and soft drink, just in case they decided to help), I was feeling pretty crappy. I was bloated and breaking out and just feeling very weighed down from not eating very well.

And there was the internet, with all these super helpful hints and tips. All the pictures, all the ads, everything telling me about how I should be feeling guilty (l’m right there with you, societal pressure!) and doing something about it.

I actually seriously considered giving up refined sugar altogether in January. Sugar-free January has a nice ring to it, and I could blog about my experience – the inevitable withdrawals, the lost weight and centimetres, how much better I feel afterwards, the same old crap.

But Christmas came and went, in spectacular style this time, work calmed down and suddenly I found I just wasn’t craving chocolate, caffeine and sugar any more. And slowly, I started to think about what giving up all refined sugar would really mean. Was it about eating healthier, or was it about restricting? Was it going to help my overall health, or was it going to make me a paranoid, stressed out person reading every label on every morsel of food to figure out if I can have it or not? Was this just a slide back into the control and eating issues of my past?

Yeah. That’s exactly what it was.

So now I’m eating a bit better, preparing my meals and snacks better to help keep my blood sugar stable (it gets low, not high – I like to do things differently) so that I don’t need to reach for sugar to avoid a mega-crash, and I’m drinking a bit less coffee, because I feel a bit ill when I have too much. Oh, and water! I’m pretty sure I’ve been dehydrated for a month now, so I’m upping my water intake a lot.

It doesn’t make for a very interesting blog, but it does make for an overall balanced life, and that’s fine by me.