Rear Facing / Contramarcha

Depending on where you live, the laws regarding infant and child car safety can vary massively. As an example, some EU countries allow very young babies to be in a carrycot attached to the seatbelt, and children as young as 5 to use normal seatbelts.

It basically boils down to this: car safety (seatbelts and airbags) has been designed for adult sized occupants. So for anyone that’s not adult sized (within an average range), adjustments need to be made.

UK law has recently changed to make sure infants and young toddlers (15 months) travel in an appropriate car seat, facing the rear of the vehicle. Why the rear? Because science (crash tests) consistently shows that it’s the safest way to travel in case of an accident – this is how air stewards travel, by the way.

We went a step further than the law, by getting a car seat that rear faces until 18 kg (for Chloe this will be around 5 years old if she carries along her usual line of growth!).

When reading about rear facing, I was flabbergasted by the amount of people out there that doesn’t like this! Reasons range from the price of the seat (mine goes from birth to 25 kg for £200, which is roughly £10 a year) to the lack of space for the legs (aren’t children made of rubber anyway?).

I honestly think that when it comes to safety, we should be looking at what’s optimal. After all, when I was little one didn’t even have seatbelts in the back seat, and I’m here, but that doesn’t mean that I still don’t wear them!

Según el país donde vivas, las leyes de tráfico variarán en lo que concierne a cómo deben viajas los niños. Por ejemplo, algunos países europeos permiten que los bebés vayan en un capacho sujeto con el cinturón, y que los niños puedan ir con el cinturón normal desde los cinco años.

La idea se puede resumir así: los sistemas de seguridad de los coches (cinturón, airbag) estan diseñados para pasajeros tamaño adulto, y cualquiera que no entre dentro del rango normal de persona adulta tendrá que adaptarse de alguna manera.

La ley ha cambiado hace poco en el Reino Unido, de forma que los niños deben ir en sillitas a contramarcha hasta los 15 meses. ¿Por qué a contramarcha? Porque la ciencia nos dice que es la forma más segura de viajar en caso de accidente. Así es como se sientan los azafatos en los aviones, por cierto.

Nosotros hemos ido más allá del mínimo que marca la ley, comprando una sillita que va a contramarcha hasta los 18 kg – ¡en el caso de Chloe si sigue creciendo en su línea tendrá unos cinco años!

Leyendo acerca del tema me quedé alucinada con la cantidad de gente que no está de acuerdo. Las razones van desde el precio de las sillas (la nuestra va desde recién nacido hasta 25 kg por 250€, que viene a ser unos 12€ al año) hasta el poco espacio para las piernas (¿pero los niños no eran de goma?).

En mi opinión, cuando estamos hablando de seguridad, siempre deberíamos tirar por lo mejor. ¡Cuando yo era pequeña no teníamos cinturones en el asiento trasero, pero no por eso paso de ponérmelos ahora!

Window cleaning / Limpiando cristales

Today’s housework activity: cleaning the windows.

The spray bottle is toddler sized and soft enough, and contains water, vinegar and lavender oil (to counteract the chippy smell!).

Toddlers love water play and helping, so why not direct their energies towards something useful!

(I have to confess though that the water mixture is currently all over mami, babá, toys, walls..)

Actividad del día de hoy: limpiar cristales.

La botella es de tamaño niño, y la lleno con una mezcla de agua, vinagre y aceite esencial de lavanda (¡para contrarrestar el olorcillo a fish&chips!).

Con esta edad les encanta jugar con agua, y también ayudar, así que por qué no encauzar sus energías hacia algo útil 🙂

(Tengo que confesar que ahora misml estamos mojados yo, el padre, las paredes, los juguetes…)

Knickers / Braguitas

By popular demand, here it goes: the story of how Chloe went nappy free at 15 months!
I’ve been meaning to share this for a while now, but first I didn’t want to jinx it, then I was too busy, and eventually it became the new normal so I haven’t thought much about it! But it’s still worth sharing as so many people want to know.

It all started around 8 months when we introduced the potty and the grunts. She soon got the hang of it and would wee in the potty when offered. I also became an expert at predicting poop so I only ever had to change one more pooey nappy! That in itself was a huge success 😀

I also introduced standing nappy changes as soon as she could support herself. This makes them more aware of what’s going on and it’s more similar to wiping yourself after using the loo. It’s recommended that you move nappy changes and potty to the bathroom but we had a nice setup in her room so I never did.

By the time she was one, she had been walking for a month so she was able to take herself to the potty. We did a few trial runs in the garden, which resulted in her making it to the potty 50% of the time, and me realizing that a) she needed a wee every 20 minutes and b) she didn’t know with more than a few seconds notice. All this made it obviously impractical to even try outside the house!

We kept at it at home though, with her wearing legwarmers and a top most days: her bladder capacity started to increase and also her communication skills (she would bring the potty over for example). Around 14 months we wouldn’t have any accidents if it was just the two of us at home.

I had a go at (cloth) training pants but they didn’t work for her: if she was wearing one she would think it was a nappy and go in it!

So I bought a portable potty (with disposable bags) that always came with us, and I spent a couple of weeks reminding her before getting in the car, or if she was busy with other kids, and still very few accidents.

She was still wearing nappies for naps, but since she always woke up dry I stopped using those as well.

She had them at the creche too, and at this point it really felt disrespectful to keep using them. If she is aware of her needs and can let me know, why would I force her to wet herself? (If you struggle understanding this, imagine it’s a grown up we’re talking about). So we went nappy free there too, although she kept having accidents because of all the distractions I presume.

Then we went to Spain for a few days and that was the final test. She had nappies for the trip but refused to use them, asking for the toilet instead. Then I could leave her with my mum and she would tell her too. So at the tender age of 15 months she was nappy free!

Most interesting part of all this, apart from all the well meaning comments, was finding underwear! Turns out the smallest size available is 2-3 years, and Chloe has always been on the small side 🙂

Issue b) above was still around, so we carried the portable potty everywhere we went, but by now she needed a wee an hour (roughly like me!) so it was much more manageable. Around 17 months she was able to tell me a bit in advance so we have time to find a toilet, and now I don’t carry anything. Possibly a change of clothes just in case!

Most nights she wakes up dry, or will wake up during the night asking to use the loo, but others she does wee so we haven’t removed those yet. Still, my washing loads have decreased dramatically!

Something I bumped into when reading about “early” potty learning was that some people believe that until the child can dress and undress themselves they shouldn’t be using the potty. To me it sounds ridiculous, because what determines this is the type of clothes you put on them, so if they can use the potty naked that’s really not a reason!

As to the big question: did cloth nappies make a difference? I’m not sure if they did to her, since she never ever cared about sitting on a dirty nappy. But they probably did to me, as I was more aware of waste etc, and the earliest we stopped using them, the better for the environment – and for my laundry routine!

Traducción próximamente

Frustration / Frustración

Chloe has been playing with this wallet for the past 15 minutes, mostly opening and closing the popper. I always try to let her explore in her own way, but just had a realization: I help too much.
I noticed this because this time I decided to not intervene at all, unless she specifically asks for help (and then I would try to talk her through it, in the hopes that I didn’t have to physically help).

So what happened is that she struggled. She screamed at the wallet! She’d do it for a while and then the popper would click and she’d be instantly back to normal. And repeat.

So maybe it’s not her frustration in play here. Maybe I’m projecting my own and trying to rescue her from something that isn’t remotely as uncomfortable as I tend to think.

Chloe lleva un cuarto de hora o así jugando con esta cartera, básicamente abriendo y cerrando el cierre. Siempre la dejo que explore las cosas como quiera, pero hoy me he dado cuenta de que la ayudo demasiado.

Me he dado cuenta porque he tomado la decisión consciente de no intervenir, salvo que me pidiera ayuda (y aún en ese caso intentaría hablarle antes de ayudar fisicamente).

Así que le ha costado. ¡Le gritaba a la cartera! Se llevaba un rato forcejeando hasta que el cierre entraba, y vuelta a la normalidad instantáneamente. Y así una y otra vez.

Igual no es su frustración la que domina la situación. Igual es la mía y estoy proyectando. Igual estoy siempre intentando rescatarla de situaciones que no son tan incómodas como me lo parecen a mí.

Kiss / Beso

(Pic is unrelated but super cute!)

I was putting Chloe to bed earlier – really late after a crazy few days sleepwise but that’s a story for another day! 

She wanted to go downstairs where abuela and babá were, but I told her we were not going, because it was late and time to sleep. As expected, she started crying, almost having a meltdown. 

I took a deep breath and reminded myself that a) her reaction is not personal (not directed at me but at the limit) and b) I am her mum, her source of balance and strength and love as well as limits.

So I simply told her ‘I can see you are sad because we won’t go downstairs. I am sorry but it is late’. And let her feelings be, not trying to calm her down or distract her or telling her off for feeling that way.

And guess what she did? She cried a bit more, came closer to hug me, kissed me, and slowly calmed herself down and went to sleep.

Sometimes all we need is someone to hear our feelings and to hold the space for them to exist.

(La foto no tiene nada que ver con la historia pero es monísima jeje)

Hace un rato estaba acostando a Chloe – súper tarde por la semana descontrolada que llevamos, pero esa es otra historia.

Quería bajar con la abuela y con babá, y le dije que no porque era muy tarde y ya había que dormir. Como era de esperar, empezó a llorar desconsoladamente.

Respiré hondo y me recordé que a) su reacción no es personal (es decir, no va conmigo sino con el límite que acabo de imponer) b) yo soy su mami, su fuente de equilibrio, fuerza y amor además de límites.

Así que simplemente le dije ‘Estás triste porque no vamos a bajar. Lo siento pero es muy tarde’. Y dejé que sintiera lo que necesitara, sin intentar calmarla, distraerla, o regañarla por sentirse mal.

¿Y sabéis lo que hizo? Lloró un poco más, se acercó a abrazarme, me dio un beso, y ya se terminó de calmar y se durmió.

A veces solo necesitamos a alguien que nos escuche y que deje que fluyan los sentimientos.

Haircut / Pelado

So it’s happened. I intended to let it grow until she decided she wanted a haircut, but it’s been growing really slowly and wispy and only at the back, so much so that it started to get on our nerves and decided to trim.

I ordered some proper scissors, seeing how I will probably be doing this every now and again, and I did it. It wasn’t a totally pleasant experience because she was sleepy and felt like I was pulling her hair all the time, but we got it done 🙂

And the following morning I fixed a couple of bits too!

Ya está hecho. Yo pensaba dejarle el pelo tranquilo hasta que ella decidiera que quería pelarse, pero entre lo poco que le crece, que sólo tenía por detrás y super estropajoso, me estaba poniendo ya de los nervios y decidimos cortárselo. Tampoco ayuda que mi padre dijera que la niña iba con pelado batasuno..

Así que encargué unas tijeras buenas, por aquello de que no será la última vez que me hagan falta, y lo hice. Estuvo complicado porque la pobre tenía sueño y le parecía que le tiraba del pelo todo el rato, pero lo conseguimos 🙂

Al día siguiente le repasé un par de trasquilones y listo!

Pasta

On Sunday Chloe spent quite a while cooking with mpampá (just as well because I’m not feeling very well and I needed some rest!). They made spinach pasta with roasted vegetables.

It’s a nice one to get children involved as you can play with the pasta as you would with Play Doh 😀

For the veg: chop a selection of vegetables (we had onions, peppers and courgettes), season with garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes, shove in the oven for 45 minutes.

For the pasta: 200g baby spinach, 300g tipo 00 flour (or 90g semolina, 210g flour). Wizz in the food processor, knead, make into small balls and roll. Boil for 5 min.

You can also add pesto and parmesan when you serve.

Looks a bit like long slugs or aparagus poop but tastes all right 😂