Once again, it’s been a LONG time since I posted here. I was dilly dallying about still having Mama, Eden & Me as a web address, so when the domain expired I bought the new one and here we are. I know I could have bought it regardless, but I guess I was having a bit of writer’s block. So, if there is still anybody out there who has bookmarks pointing to this page, be sure to update them.
Welcome to 2020! A new year. A new decade. It’s crazy how quick time goes. I wanted to do a little round up of all the things that we didn’t blog about in 2019.. I spoke a lot about these things on our Facebook Fan Page, but it’s been radio silence for a bit here. So, let’s get caught up.Continue reading →
Sleep. Everybody loves sleep. Except for toddlers, it seems. Being a shift worker, I could literally sleep pretty much anywhere and at any time. Unfortunately, Eden doesn’t appear to be taking after me in that respect.
As a baby, Eden loved sleep. For the most part, it was easy to get her to drift off to sleep and once she was out, she was out. As a three year old, life is a little different. Once she is asleep, she will sleep for hours, but getting her to go to sleep in the first place is often a challenge. The insatiable thirst that only comes at bed time, mixed with the fear of bad dreams or monsters usually keeps us all up for a little while. When we were contacted by the folks over at The Dream Pillow, we figured it was worth a shot.
What is The Dream Pillow? Here’s what they say on their website…
For children, the Dream Pillow is a toy. It makes going to bed fun, encouraging kids to craft stories to “dream up”. For parents, a dream pillow™ is a tool based on a proven technique to help kids sleep and dream good dreams, The Dream Pillow helps practice positive imagery before bed. The Dream Pillow also teaches children about their power of their thoughts, the importance of good sleep, and positive thinking. This bed time ritual will create memories for years to come.
Eden was sent the Original Dream Pillow, which she loved from the moment she set eyes on it. I opened it while we were getting a drink in Costa Coffee and when I told her that it was called a “Dream Pillow,” She asked me “can I take a nap right now?” In the box, you get the pillow, a pack of note cards to write your visualisation on, and a book about a little girl who keeps having nightmares and the Dream Pillow saves the day.
Eden sleeps with her Dream Pillow every single night. She also often requests it for naps, along with her favourite blanket. We don’t always read the book or use the notes, but the pillow has become a comfort tool all of its own. Sometimes, we sit down and talk about what she would like to dream about and write it out on the notes. It’s particularly helpful in times where she is worried about something or is particularly overtired. It helps her focus and calm down enough to be able to drift off to sleep. I’m looking forward to bringing it on holiday with us as I think it’s important to bring some home comforts, and The Dream Pillow is definitely small enough to bring along without affecting luggage allowance or being a pain.
My one reservation was with the pillow being white. I worried that constant washing would ruin how snuggly it is or cause the fluff to fall out. I needn’t have worried. It has been washed many times since we got it – including after a particularly explosive vomit situation – and has come out as good as new each time.
The Dream Pillow is now one of our favourite bed time tools. I love encouraging Eden to develop her imagination and storytelling skills, whilst also helping her to feel secure at night and comfortable enough to get a good night’s sleep. After all, nobody likes a sleep deprived three year old!
You can pick up your own The Dream Pillow at The Dream Pillow Website. They retail at £19.99 and are available in several different designs.
We were sent this product for the purpose of an honest review. We received no financial incentive for this review and it reflects our honest opinion of the product.
It’s been such a long time since I’ve written anything in this space. There has been a lot going on – life is hardly recognisable from what it was a year ago. I have a three year old, I have a new job and I also have a new husband…
No, Amy and I didn’t break up. Amy became Aiden and has been so for the last six months at least. It’s something he had spoken about for a long time, but it finally came to a point where he decided who he was on the outside needed to match the inside. It’s been a whirlwind. I can’t speak for him, but it’s definitely been a whirlwind for me. You can be as cool as you like with trans issues, but it still takes some getting used to when your wife becomes your husband.
At first, getting pronouns right was hard. I dropped the old name every so often, which caused arguments of course. Nowadays it is easier as I think of him as male. Even in my head, he’s male. But it took a long time to get there and sometimes I do still have to correct myself. Thankfully, Aiden coming out timed perfectly with my new job, so I essentially left my old job as someone with a wife and started my new job as somebody with a husband. It saved a lot of awkwardness with having to correct those around me as well as myself.
I’ve definitely had a lot to figure out. As much as I have always identified as bisexual on some level, it was weird to me to be looked on as part of a “straight” couple. It almost felt a little like erasure of my identity. I’d grown so comfortable with my identity as a woman married to a woman, that suddenly being married to a man was difficult to swallow at first. The first few times I said “husband” I had a little laugh in my head, because it makes me sound like an old married lady. I’ve been astounded by how many people feel that they can blurt their homophobic or transphobic opinions to me just because they think I’m straight. It’s a bit of a baptism by fire on that one. I didn’t realise how little people said to me because they assumed I was a lesbian.
It’s also been quite difficult in that there doesn’t really seem to be any support groups as such. There are a few on Facebook for partners of trans people. I’m in a specific one for those who are in a relationship with someone who is a trans man. But it’s difficult because a lot of the people in them met their partner in their true form. Aiden and I were together for eleven years before he came out, and although it wasn’t altogether unexpected, it has taken some getting used to. It’s very hard to find people who say “yep! I’ve been there!” because the situation is so specific. Even the media only sensationalises stories like mine – usually in the form of “My Tom Became Brenda and Ruined My Life!” when really it’s nothing like that in the majority of cases.
Even when we were first off the starting blocks, Aiden was faced with an unsupportive GP who was just not interested. Thankfully that has been rectified by seeing a different GP, but the wait list for NHS first consultation is something like two years at the moment. For consultation! We’ve had the good fortune to be able to go private for hormones, but it’s thoroughly depressing to think of how many don’t have that avenue. I had to go to the (original unsupportive) doctor with Aiden on his second visit as he felt unable to do it alone. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for those who don’t have someone in their corner who is willing to stand up for their right to be appropriately referred.
And Eden? Eden has had her ups and downs with it all. She often still calls Aiden Mama, although we are encouraging “Papa” instead. She will often tell people that Mama is a boy. At first, when we explained to her that Mama was Papa now, she was upset. I think she thought it meant Aiden was leaving, but once we reassured her that he was the same person, just a different name, she understood a little better and wasn’t as upset. It really helped that around the same time she met a little girl at childcare who changes her name almost daily! It helped give her a little context about calling people the name that they wish to be called by. We’ve had people suggest that it must all be terribly confusing for her, but I’m not convinced that’s the case. I don’t doubt that there is some level of confusion for her – there certainly was at first – but what she understands of the situation is that she has two parents who love her very much. I have no doubt that there will come a time when she doesn’t remember anything before papa.
So, with that I welcome you to our new chapter. Welcome to Papa, Eden & Me.
We were recently invited to see new musical “Come From Away” at London’s Pheonix Theatre. We received complimentary tickets courtesy of Encore Tickets, but our opinions remain our own.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a HUGE musical theatre fan. There was a time, before Eden came along, where our lives mostly revolved around musical theatre in its many forms. I’d heard fantastic things about Come From Away on Broadway, so I was excited to see what a British Cast did with such an intrinsically Multinational story.
Here’s what the synopsis tells us:
Gander is a small Canadian town, but when 38 international aircrafts are diverted to Gander airport after 9/11, the townspeople welcome in 7,000 passengers to the town by giving them shelter, food and clothes. Initiated as honorary Newfoundlanders, the “come from aways” deal with their new-found surroundings before being able to fly out of Gander and return to the United States. In a place where romance blossoms, prejudice can also grow and the show discusses how individuals are treated after the atrocity. Reuniting years after the attack, the show commemorates the compassionate behaviour of those who live in Gander and the neighbouring area.
I’m not sure what I was expecting from this show. I guess I thought it would be hard to write a musical about events around 9/11 without it being depressing. The Trade Center Attacks are a bit of a specialist subject for me, but I had read very little of the “Come From Aways”, so I went into the theatre not knowing what to expect, but with a bag of tissues all the same.
Somehow, this show manages to be entertaining and true to life at the same time. I laughed a LOT more than I thought I would, considering the subject matter. The show runs for 100 minutes with no interval, and I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through. Something I thought was interesting is that despite having only twelve actors in the show, they play nearly forty characters between them. Most of these characters are based on real life people, who gave their stories as part of the development of the musical.
Highlights for me were Rachel Tucker’s rendition of “Me and the Sky”, inspired by American Airlines’ first female captain, Beverley Bass. Imagine my surprise when I hit Google on the way home and discovered that basically every word of that song was true. The cast as a whole were excellent and the show provoked so many thoughts and emotions. There were so many stories tied into the show – a gay couple who worried about whether they could say they were together, a black man who was constantly worried about being shot or mugged, families who spoke no English, a mother worried about her New York Fire Fighter son and a Muslim who was continually treated with suspicion by those around him. You wouldn’t think that all this and more could be packed into a 100 minute show, but it is with much more too.
So, would I recommend it? Absolutely. Even for those without a specialist interest, this is a great show. 9/11 is part of world history now and I think this story really cannot be told enough. If you want to go along, tickets are available through reputable ticket agencies including Encore Tickets.
Disclaimer: We were gifted tickets for the purpose of a review. All opinions are our own.
It’s cold. I mean, not North Pole cold, but we’ve had some low temperatures in the capital as of late.
This time of year, keeping healthy in the cold becomes important. I need vitamins to help keep the nasties out and a good moisturiser, because nothing is more annoying than chapped skin on a cold day. Also, nothing irritates my skin like going from the cold of outside to the stifling heat of the tube. It really messes with me, and my skin often shows the effects first.
We were recently sent Aquaphor to review.
• Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm gives dry to very dry, cracked and irritated skin the SOS care it needs
• Formulated with only seven ingredients, Aquaphor is gentle enough to be used on highly irritated skin as well as on sensitive baby skin and also in the nappy area
• Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm protects the skin by creating a breathable protective barrier, allowing oxygen and water vapor to circulate to and from the skin, allowing skin to ‘breathe’ and strengthen its natural barrier function
• The Eucerin Aquaphor formula was first introduced in the US market in 1925 and has been a household staple ever since – long trusted for its effectiveness in repairing a wide range of skin SOS cases.
There’s no greater challenge than winter, so I used the balm over the course of a couple of weeks. The verdict? It helps keep skin healthy and soothes irritated or sore skin. It is fragrance free, clear in colour and a little bit goes a long way, so I expect the 45ml tube will last a little while in our house. I also love that it’s suitable for all of the family. It’s become a handbag staple amongst the London pollution.
This time of year is one of my least favourite times. The days are short, the nights are long and it is COLD! Also, I feel like we end up outside a lot less than we do in the spring, summer or even in the autumn. This time of year is when I massively fail on getting my ten thousand steps daily!
Getting out and about is something very important to me. It does wonders for my mental health and it usually gets a good nap out of Eden if she’s had the wind in her hair for a bit and the opportunity to really play. It means she meets other kids, she gets to learn about the world around her and she gives herself a good workout in the process. Kids learn so much from play – I know Eden learns a lot from watching other kids and even tackled the dreaded big slide after encouragement from an older child at our local playground.
Childhood obesity figures in the UK are on the rise and latest statistics shows that 1 in 3 children between the ages of 2 and 10 are overweight. 1000 of these are children referred to hospital for treatment. Isn’t that terrifying? As much as there are always outliers, just getting out and about can make a massive amount of difference to most kids. Not only in respect of their physical health, but their mental health too.
We’re lucky enough to have several playgrounds, parks and even 7,000 hectares of 800 year old woodland within an hour’s walk from our front door. South East London is wonderful in that respect. We have a real mix of older play areas and newer, well maintained play areas with lovely wooden play equipment. We don’t really have an excuse not to go, to be honest!
So, here’s a reminder from me to you, readers. Even though it’s quite frankly depressing outside, get those little ones out! Get them running, splashing through muddy puddles and spotting squirrels in the woods. Get them climbing up and conquering the big slide and get them showing other kids that they can do it too! It does wonders for their mental and physical health, and their self confidence, too. And who knows, you might even get to drink a hot coffee when you get home and they sleep off their adventures.
Eden has a grandmother that she will never meet. My mum passed away when I was nineteen – nine years before Eden was born. At the time of her passing, her never meeting my child wasn’t something I really concerned myself with. At that age, I didn’t want kids anyway, but it’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to since Eden came into our lives. I know her grandmother would dote on her as all of her grandparents do, and there has always been a part of me that is sad that they never met. Continue reading →