Here’s what I would like to know: is baby sign just a ‘cool trend’ that emerged after Robert De Niro taught his grandson baby sign in Meet The Fockers, or is it actually a useful communication tool? A couple of mums I know rave about the brilliance of baby sign and yet for some reason I can’t picture myself getting into the whole baby sign thing. I recently read an article, published in The Guardian, by Alex Horne, father of 16-month-old Tom, who discusses whether baby sign is the new baby talk – and I found it really enlightening. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the ‘Features’ Category
Today my monthly fix was calling me. So I chucked my baby girl in the sling and blitzed off to the shop to purchase the Metal Hammer magazine. On our little fix-acquiring adventure, Amelia wooed all and sundry. My little lovely batted her baby blues at the little old man queuing in front of us, and he was mesmerised. She then grabbed the fluffy woollen jersey belonging to a little old lady sitting next to us at the bus stop, and little old lady was enchanted. To up the tally of ‘old people smiles’, Amelia waved at an old lady on the bus, who then beamed hypnotically for the rest of the journey. My daughter is a little ray of sunshine who can make even the sternest of faces buckle under the formation of a smile.
You may notice a common thread in the above description; ‘old people’. Old people love my baby. But I don’t think that it’s just my baby. Old people, or to be politically correct, ‘the elderly’ seem to love all babies. Read the rest of this entry »
My paternal grandmother died a week after my baby girl was born. As a new existence replaced an old one, the circle of life was never more vivid to me as it was then. I was not close to my grandmother and I wish that I had been. I called her granny but have never really appreciated the sentiment that is attached to the title. Retrospect can be a wonderful and yet decidedly pointless exercise but on this occasion I’ll allow my thoughts to run their course. I feel like I have been cheated out of a treasure. A treasure called wisdom: a sacred wisdom that belongs to a grandmother and is relinquished in death as a new matriarch, a grandmother’s successor, assumes the role. My grandmother’s wisdom has been lost in the sands of time due to my own apathy as a granddaughter. I’ve ignored the source and missed the scoop. And my head droops further in shame as I admit that I don’t feel sad about the loss of my grandmother, the person, but rather my grandmother, the wise one. Read the rest of this entry »
You get grunge and then you get grunge. And then you get Camden grunge. I am the mom of a totally adorable (if I may say so myself) 9-month-old baby girl. Everyone loves her… including the hobos, the dustbin-diggers, the unbathed, the toothless, the druggies, the drunkards and the mentally challenged – all of whom inhabit the wonderful town of Camden, where I live. Before I proceed, I need to say that: I love North London, I love Camden and I am of the firm belief that babies are for sharing (not in a gross paedophile way but in an ‘aah sweet, look at the lovely baby’ kind of way). The privilege of being a parent does not form everyone’s lot in life and I am well aware that motherhood is, indeed, a privilege. The aforementioned life-philosophies that share space in my brain with the ‘I will never live in South London’ philosophy, have placed me in a predicament. Babies bring delight to so many and what kind of person denies the odd head-stroke or hand-touch? Except when the Camden grunge are concerned. Camden grunge has nothing to do with torn stockings, Dr Martins and over-sized dresses, but rather, old food, dirt and oil. Let me explain. Read the rest of this entry »
The ‘what to eat during pregnancy’ debate was recently brought to the fore when a Sainsbury’s worker refused to serve a pregnant woman unpasteurised cheddar cheese. In a letter of complaint, Janet Lehain (31 years of age and mother of two) described the confrontation as “the most patronising encounter I have had the misfortune of experiencing in a long time”. She said that she only succeeded in persuading the member of staff at the Fairfield Park store to sell her the cheese by promising not to eat any of it herself. Since the incident, Sainsbury’s has admitted that “unpasteurised Cheddar does not pose a risk to health during pregnancy” – a recommendation made by the Food Standards Agency. Read the rest of this entry »
If somebody tells me about the “Mozart Effect” one more time I am going to start breaking faces. I realise that my metal music alliances may be enough to freak out the most liberal of thinkers but it would be most appreciated if people did their research.
The Mozart Effect is a theory that is based on a set of research results, which indicate that listening to Mozart’s music may induce a short-term improvement on the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks known as ‘spatial-temporal reasoning‘. Popularised versions of the theory credit the playing of classical music to babies with boosting IQ, improving health, strengthening family ties and even producing the occasional child prodigy. This idea was entrenched in the 1997 book by Don Campbell, The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit. Although there have been numerous studies conducted in support of the Mozart Effect, the theory remains controversial and there are many academics and studies that debunk the extent and consistency of the proposed effects of classical music on babies. There are researchers who argue that the Mozart Effect represents only the short-term effects of classical music on mood and arousal. There are also studies concluding that although classical music may have a calming effect babies, it does not in fact improve IQ. This is why researchers continue to test whether the Mozart Effect is real and if any other styles and pieces of music have the same effect. Read the rest of this entry »
My favourite Barbie was the one with the blue party dress and the poofy eighties fringe. My second favourite was my Party Pink Barbie which came adorned in pink, jewels and glitz – the showstopper being a furry pink shawl sprinkled with sparkly silver stuff. I had some other pretend ‘Barbies’ that I managed to destroy: I used hand soap to wash one doll’s beautiful red hair and it remains, to this very day, stuck together in one giant dreadlock; and I had a mermaid Cindy (or something) which apparently was not supposed to be used in water despite the fact that she came with a beautiful mermaid tail – her crimped hair changed from ‘Darryl Hannah in Splash‘ to ‘Cameron Diaz in Being John Malkovich‘. Poor dollies. Taiwanese plastic is pretty sturdy but does allow for creativity that encompasses body modification, hair design and facial piercings. If my mom had taken a look at my Barbies perhaps she wouldn’t have been so surprised when I got my first tattoo, purple-black hair and piercing. I spent many a happy hour ‘playing Barbies’ with neighbours, friends, cousins and even brothers – although their version of the game was called ‘army bases’ and involved G.I. Joes, lego, micro-machines, farmyard animals and plants from the garden. Read the rest of this entry »
I was absolutely dreading my antenatal class on Saturday. The thought of birth videos, synchronised breathing and mom-bonding completely freaked me out. This whole having to push a baby out thing is just becoming far too real. My fear is comprised of many elements but a large part of it is the uncertainty and the lack of control (I won’t even mention the pain … oh the pain) that envelops the act of birth. Much to my relief, antenatal class went a long way to quelling some of the fear relating to the whole ‘WTF am I supposed to do’ part – without birthing videos and the accompanying crap that I had assumed would formulate the class. Read the rest of this entry »
You gotta love metalheads! Last night I, along with my 34 week pregnant belly, went to a Paradise Lost gig at Islington Academy in London – as fan and music journalist. So whilst the husband and his photo pass were hanging out with the important peeps up front, I made my way upstairs – wisely thinking that my baby girl, although a fan of Paradise Lost, would not appreciate being crunched against a hoard of sweaty metallers for two hours. Luckily there was a nice comfy couch with my name written all over it, so I sat my ass down to wait for the metal masters of doom and gloom to inflict their brilliance on the night. Read the rest of this entry »
To say that I am afraid is the understatement of a lifetime. Petrified, terrified and horrified are better adjectives but even they don’t come close to describing the fear that is slowly but surely permeating Pleasantville. In approximately ten week’s time (actually nine week’s and 3 day’s time – if all goes as planned), a baby with long arms and a big belly, judging by the measurements taken at today’s scan, will be squeezing its way down my birth canal. Oh woe! woe! woe! is me. My lamentation cannot be reckoned with. I have spent the last twenty-seven years avoiding doctors and it seems that at least two decade’s worth of irrational fear is going to culminate in one moment consisting of many hours (literal or figurative, or both) of pain and humiliation. Did I say “Woe is me” already? Read the rest of this entry »