Monday, 26 July 2010

Sugar free

I admit it, I'm an addict. The clock has barely struck 8 before I need my first hit of the white powder, but no longer! Starting this week, I'm doing something about it. I'm going cold turkey. I'm giving up sugar.

Since Alice was born, I've increasingly relied on high energy foods that are easy to grab. Biscuits, cake, sweets and chocolate don't last long in our house. Once a packet is open, it's usually empty by the end of the day. Even as I'm eating, I'm planning what I can eat next. I'm fed up with relying on food to give me a boost, and the energy boosts and dips are doing nothing for my mood, so I've decided to do something about it.

So, here is my plan:

  • Naturally occurring sugars are fine - I can still eat fruit and have dairy produce. I'm just cutting out refined sugars. I say 'just'. I'm amazed at how many innocuous seeming foods have added sugar. Even the bran flakes that I usually feel so virtuous having for breakfast contain an extraordinary amount of added sugar.
  • Make other easy to eat foods to help me through cravings. I have trawled through this blog, amongst others for sugar free recipes and have a stock of lovely biscuits, cake and even some savoury flapjacks ready and waiting.
  • I will start on the 27th July (tomorrow - when every diet begins...) and finish on the 27th August.

I expect it to be a difficult experience, but I need to get control back, especially as Alice is beginning to notice if I'm eating something different from what she has. Hopefully, this time next month I'll be clean!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Garden update

I am a novice gardener but the alchemy of turning tiny little seeds into nourishing vegetables has always interested me. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, we turned the pond we inherited with the house into a vegetable patch and with a bit of reading up and a lot of enthusiasm, I began planting. As the weeds grew and the hot weather required frequent watering, I started to lose some of the positivity I had started out with. Some of the little plants I had planted from the seed trays withered and died, and very few of the seeds I had planted directly in the soil seemed to be coming up. The final straw came when the only plants that had been growing well, the radishes, turned out to be infested with wriggling maggots in otherwise beautiful red roots. I chalked it all up to experience, but couldn't help feeling disappointed.

However, Mother Nature is gracious. Yesterday I discovered the most amazing thing.
The most beautiful courgette I have ever seen. I seems like such a miracle that this has managed to grow despite the fact that its home is a weed ridden, cat poo infested, shady ex-pond. Bullied by a rampant potato plant, tormented by a well meaning but woefully inexperienced gardener and rarely getting so much as a drop of water, somehow this hardy little vegetable has fought its way through. It isn't the only one. I have also discovered that my carrots have a smudge of orange coloured root appearing at the base of their rather excessive greenery and even the beans, whose leaves had been chomped by caterpillars until they looked like green doilies, have manage to produce 3 reasonable sized pods.
To seasoned gardeners and allotment growers, this meagre little crop must seem laughable, but I am delighted. There can be nothing more satisfying than eating produce you have grown yourself. I think I'm hooked.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Attitudes to NIP

While I was browsing on the Internet today, I came across a forum post about GMTV featuring yet another breastfeeding debate, this time about nursing in public. Apparently, some celebrity has decided to switch to formula because they feel embarrassed to breastfeed in public. GMTV were inviting people to write in with their responses. Immediately, I started composing an email in my head countering the negative attitudes that seem to dominate 'discussions' like this. Then I stopped myself. For starters, I don't watch GMTV. I don't even have a television. I am clearly not the intended audience for this sort of feature. More importantly, even if my opinions by some miracle were aired, what good would it do? I am not eloquent enough to change entrenched viewpoints. 'Disgusted' of Tunbridge Wells will remain disgusted. The new, timid mum watching is likely to hear the negative over the positive anyway.

I don't believe that these sort of features help promote NIP. They aren't designed to. They're there to get people talking. Or shouting. The most powerful thing we can do is continue to nurse our babies wherever we are, whenever they need it. When children grow up understanding that babies' milk comes from mothers, not just bottles, they will expect their own children to feed that way. Pregnant women will have seen other mothers nursing in public, and will expect to do the same. The sight will be just another feature of daily life with no need for staring or tutting. Discussing attitudes is not the most powerful way to support nursing in public, nursing in public is! We need to normalise something that should already be normal.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Attached but apart

I am very comfortable with the attached style of parenting we have adopted. It seemed to come naturally. It just felt right to hold my baby close most of the time, to pick her up or nurse her as soon as she cried. I am most comfortable when I am holding my baby because I know that is where she is most comfortable too.

It seems, however, that this is starting to change. My baby has unaccountably become 10 months old and seems to be on the cusp of becoming a toddler. Seemingly overnight she has become more confident to explore her surroundings, shakily standing on her own two feet figuratively as well as literally. Letting her go from me isn't coming as naturally as it should. This weekend she went out in a huge Silvercross pram from the 1970s. She held on to the sides with a huge grin on her face knowing she was going to have some fun. I watched as my mother-in-law pushed the pram out of the gate and off on a walk and wondered if I had made the right choice. I'd decided to let them go without me. To many people this might seem to be a very small incident, but this was the first time Alice has been in the care of anyone other than me or her daddy. As I watched her beaming face from the window, I knew I'd made the right choice. She is ready to go a little further from me, and however difficult that is for me, I need to let her.

Forty minutes later, my baby returned with her proud grandmother. There had been no tears and she'd soon fallen asleep. Proof, if I needed it, that she had been happy with the arrangement. I know this is only going to continue, and hopefully I will start to find it easier as she moves away from me. I don't want to restrict her development by keeping her with me when she can thrive on her own. It comforts me to think that the physical closeness we fostered at the beginning will continue as an emotional bond as she gains greater independence.