We are told by our Health Visitors that babies cannot control their bladders until they are 18 months old. I found this to be complete fiction. Toddlers want to be clean.
My first child was born in August and was using the toilet only just after she was two. This is what I discovered;
Babies don’t like wearing diapers into which they have peed.
Leaving your baby without a diaper for periods of time causes them to want to be out of them.
During her first year, I left diapers off my daughter for a few hours when it was convenient. Her skin could breathe properly and she seemed to enjoy kicking and crawling without the diaper. She would resist having one put on her. In the winter after her first birthday, I continued this, and after the new year, I started leaving a potty where she could see it. Of course, I never used the bathroom alone as I took her with me or, later, she followed me.
At the beginning of the summer before her second August birthday, I left her without diapers for longer periods of time with the potty in sight. We played in the garden with no diaper and if she began to wee I sat her on the potty. After a few weeks, she would go to the potty by herself outside. Indoors, she seemed more distracted, but that was OK.
Fortunately, I waited until after she had done her poo before leaving the diaper off.
We celebrated her second birthday with extended family in the park, with no diaper but the potty was with us. We then traveled to Ireland with one pack of nappies and I would lift her and hold her on toilets that I had disinfected.
I continued to use a diaper at night, but in the morning they would be dry. I reused these. I carried this on for too long. I didn’t stop until three months after her second birthday.
So Health Visitors don’t know everything. Here I must say that each child is different. What worked with my children may not work for yours. It is worth trying. It saves money and the planet!
If you are not even in a long-term relationship yet, hang on to my experience. I am passing on my wisdom.
A writer on Medium blocked me. No reason given, just clicked a button. Unilateral decision. What did I do? No idea. I messaged him twice and no reply, so I’m not going to waste time wondering. What a drop kick though. A low life.
I canceled an appointment this morning. My GP arranged for me to see a physio because of the pain in my arm. A physio can’t fix it. I had intended to go but Friday made me so tired and I feel so lethargic due to the hypoxia.
Today has shown me just how much danger I am in every day. My short-term memory failure has scared me.
I left the house to go to a doctor appointment, and found that I had left the outside tap on when I watered the garden two evenings ago. I left the garden, and then realised I did not have my sunglasses on. I thought about turning back but did not want to be late. So, of course the doctor kept me waiting. But she was very pleasant. I forgot to mention what I told Martin what I would mention. Long after I was back, I realised that I had not applied my lippy. That is a first.
I washed my hair. For some reason, I delay it.
The jolt to my spine last week has altered my pain levels and my respiration. My voice is raspy because of all the vapours that pass through my throat.
I don’t where I end and medications begin. I feel as though I am a chemical being, no longer fully me. When did I last feel like me? Not since L left home. She helped me stay in touch with myself.
My feet hurt so much. My left arm hurts so much. My back hurts.
Every day, though, there is enjoyment of my garden. Laughter with friends. Talk and laughter with Martin.
It seems that every time a crime is committed against a woman or girl, they become the subject of a headline. I am tired of reading “Woman was raped…” or “Woman was murdered..”, as if that woman had wandered astray and was complicit in what happened to her.
I want to see “Man raped a woman…” or “Man murdered a woman…”. This is the truth. Just a simple trick of semantics changes the emphasis and is much more accurate.
Women sometimes break the heel of their shoe. This does not equal the trauma and life-changing crimes committed against them. Or their untimely deaths.
Successful women are built on the bricks thrown at them
You can be certain that on the much fewer occasions that women commit violence, the headline will begin with “Woman…” too.
We need society as a whole to recognise that we are not statistics, and nor are we hapless beings who wander into danger. Last year, Sarah Everard was deliberately walking home when an off-duty police officer abducted her, raped and murdered her. Yet the headlines included, among others, “She was only walking home”. The “only” implies that she should not have been walking home and somehow played a part in her terrible ordeal and death.
A serving police officer abducted, raped, and murdered Sarah while she was going about her legitimate business.
In the 1970s, in Britain, there was a serial murder known as the Yorkshire Ripper. Women were advised to stay at home. This made women seem to be the problem, rather than the murderer. It almost suggests that being raped or murdered is entirely the fault of women. Rape is never the fault of a woman. Even if she was unable to say “no”. There needs to be a “yes” for consensual sex.
Men were not asked to stay home in case they were the murderer.
I am not going to talk about how women dress here. It is a red herring and nothing to do with crimes against women. We all need to respect ourselves in how we dress.
A few years ago, a medical student, miles from her hometown, left a party in order to catch the last bus back to her accommodation. She was 20 pence short for the fare. She asked everyone in the line behind her if they could spare 20 pence (all one can buy with that is penny candy). No one gave her that tiny sum. As a result, a man saw her alone, dragged her into an alley and beat her and raped her. She was not found until morning. When her mother travelled to the city and the hospital, she did not recognise her daughter. The headlines? “Female doctor raped and beaten after not enough fare for bus”. That was a lie and, again, implicitly blamed her.
I cannot fathom how that bus driver refused her, or how the other people waiting did not manage to provide 20 pence between them.
Until headlines change, and it is mostly men who write them, women will have an unconscious bias against them. When will enough of us get fed up with this narrative and demand that articles and headlines stop making women the subject?
We are not objects to which crimes are done. Men commit crimes against us.
It is long overdue that we stand up to this. Sadly, there are women who write as if women are passively partaking in the violence against them. Until we, as one, insist on making men responsible, we will continue to be seen as a lesser sex, a subject, or object.
We still do not have equality. We may not be chattel anymore, but the way language is used, the way we allow other women to be treated without speaking up, all goes to make our journey longer than necessary.
We need to end the narrative that depicts us as being passively complicit.
Some years ago, my husband and I were both plus ones at Eric Clapton’s New Year’s party. (I can’t tell you where it was as I’d have to kill you…) I wasn’t driving anyway, so didn’t take much notice. But I know where it was.
Sorry, I can’t remember what I wore at all. Safe to say, it was probably red or blue. They are my go to colors. Hmmm, might have been purple.
There were quite a number of people, I happened to know a few who were not my husband and our friends. We were seated at round tables of eight people.
Strangely, after about half an hour, the fire alarm went off, and no, I did not do that. We all thronged at the door, waiting to go through like liquid through a narrow bottleneck.
We were chatting and wondering aloud what if it were a real fire. Then I felt a hand take my right hand. I paused. My husband was on my left, my hand on his elbow. Who would be so bold??
I looked at my hand as if to check it really belonged to me. Yep, it was mine and a large hand was holding it. My eyes followed the upward path of wrist, jacket sleeve, and a long way up to the connected shoulder. It was a tall man whoever it was. Then my eyes reached the face.
Eric Clapton was smiling down at me.
His steel rimmed spectacles, and that smile. Slightly crooked. The smile reached his eyes. The effect was gentle and inviting.
My husband’s elbow pulled me forward a pace or two. Eric did not immediately release his hold. He stepped forward, and then I think someone on his right started talking to him, and the hand hold became more of a fingers touching sort of thing,
I lost touch of him with next pace forward. His fingers dropped mine.
Later that year, we were visiting my Uncle and Auntie. My Auntie loves pop music, so I mentioned that we had been to Eric Clapton’s New Year’s Eve party.
Auntie Jen didn’t bat an eyelid. “I used to play with him” she responded. “I pushed him around in a pushchair”.
Turns out they both spent their childhoods in a village ten miles from their home. She was a year older and they played together. Hear that, y’all? My relative by marriage played with a rock star!
A few years ago, that Auntie died of a major heart attack. The funeral was in the village where she grew up. My daughter and I arrived a bit early and decided to wander around the graveyard.
The mausoleum to Connor Clapton is there. It is massive. It speaks loudly of grief and wealth. Eric’s little boy who fell from a balcony.
Eleven years since she died, written soon after her death
I shall always remember the years of friendship with Suzi. How, after she first met me, she called out to me in a supermarket ‘Oi! Julie!’ and we ended up drinking tea at her home and I learned about the awfulness of her first marriage. That she was much older didn’t matter.
We spent many hours talking, arguing, laughing and drinking all sorts of beverages and the occasional smoke together (I am a non smoker). In the kitchen, the lounge, her bedroom or with me sitting outside the bathroom door. I also spent time in that bath, and we slept alongside each other in Suzette’s bed, sometimes in the day and sometimes at night. Suzi would sometimes mime events to me which always resulted in life threatening laughter.
I got to know Daniel, her son, of whom I’m very very fond, and met Shervin (her stepson) several times, and our slow dance at Suzi’s 50th was memorable. I met Jackie, Judy, Tony, worked with Ceri, and Suzi hosted my hen party. I also met her mother and was very fond of her, as dysfunctional as she was. I was always smiled as she offered me Raffles cigarettes which would ‘not give me wrinkles around my mouth’. This became a shared memory for us, and we still laughed about it this year. I have a photo of her at my wedding, when her guest was fought over by another ‘friend’ of mine. We had to laugh.
Suzi was one of the first to see L at the Mat Unit. She brought two other friends but for the life of me my hormones will not let me recall who they were. I fed L many times at Suzi’s with Suzi’s frequent question ‘ Is this another feed or the same one??!’ Lara was a slow feeder and spent a long time clamped to my breast.
Food was a major factor in our friendship and even the simplest meal was fantastic. Wine too, and the odd good whisky. Suzi met Andrew at a time lost in other events and became truly happy, and I love him for this. She adored him, and he is a hero.
I was privileged to be with Suzi at her first appointment — gosh when was it? April? She had a mammogram and fluid drawn. It was bright sunny morning and she pulled out my two granny facial hairs very adeptly and we laughed about the aging process. I sat and worried while she argued with consultants and did her thing. I laughed with such relief and joy when she related this to me, but worried sill that Andrew did not know and made Suze promise to him. She did keep her promise but although she told me when, it was not immediate. Bless her, she wanted to save him worry.
I love Suzette for being a fish out of water, unconventional, a fighter for the vulnerable and a lover of truth. I love her for the jobs she lost because she believes in what is right and fair. We are alike, and yet different enough to attract each other.
My first song is Baker Street .This went with my first kiss and the first album I ever bought. I would buy albums for my sister’s birthday so that I could listen to them. Actually, I had many albums by Genesis before this.
My daughter and I would dance to this and sing the harmonies. We had fun, and also would sit in my bed watching movies. Our household was crazy.
My fourth is With or Without You by U2. I was crazy about U2, but would play this on rare time off working in a recovery unit near L.A. I would drive up the mountain, and sit looking down at the lights.
My sixth is Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits. It is associated with love, travel, and heartbreak. A road trip from Liverpool to Surrey with Dave, who introduced me to Dire Straits. I should have married him.
We spent time alone without our parents and when she went away for nurse training. This song seemed to on the radio a lot. My sister was a huge influence on me. She died too soon, much soon. Young. I miss her.
My eighth is You Bring Me The Sunshine by Jess Penner.
This makes me think of me. Being loved and loving others. It is my ringtone. I love her voice, light and fresh. It makes me think of my daughter, who dances since she was three, runs cross-country, 1500m, and 4x400m relay for her school. Always placed. She canoes and paddle boards and is strikingly beautiful in a fresh, smiling way. It brings to mind the love of the recovering addicts I mothered while I researched my Ph.D.
My book would be To Kill A Mockingbird. I read it in school aged 13, and have returned to it many times.
My luxury would be seeds. Because there would be a lagoon I could lie in to get cool. Seeds for flowers, tomatoes, cucumber, and raspberries.
I want to mention Living Next Door To Alice as it is so entwined with my sister.
Back in the day when men looked at me in ways I don’t like, some friends and I were on a long haul flight to L.A. Like you do, when you have saved up your money and climate change was just a conspiracy theory.
After a short while, the flight attendant came to the front of coach class and told us to please use the toilets in First Class. No, not the champagne, or the wider seats, not even the personal video screens, only the toilets.
Eventually, I made my way. Eleven hours is a long time. First Class had very few people in it. Such a waste.
Making my return, I saw two window seats were screened off. The type of screens on wheels that have gaps between the metal frame and the cloth. A medical case being transferred, I thought.
I saw a very young looking, skinny teenager, or so I thought. We made eye contact. He said ‘hello’ and I smiled at him.
When we landed at L.A.X., we in coach were told we must wait to disembark. There were murmurs of discontent. It was more than an hour. Finally, we were allowed into the tunnel. There were screens everywhere. Screens and photographers. It dawned on me.
The people who moved in late December last year turn out to be the owners of the property. He has blatantly ignored me, which, until I realised who he is, bothered me a little. His son is pleasant though and so is his friend who came when my smoke detector went off. Kate was pleasant to me but I rarely saw her.
All week I have been feeling that my lungs are smaller. I can’t describe it any other way. Today, I shopped for a couple of items and found that carrying a candle in a jar, and one other item, exhausted me. I was fine once I put them down.
The hypoxia has caused a lot of cognitive problems this week too. The keyboard on my laptop has bewildered me many times and a few emails I was writing disappeared. They reappear in drafts.
Other symptoms have been worse too. The water on my kidneys and heart has manifested. It is so inconvenient and dictates my time.
I feel like my home has been a sub-station for the police due to M.’s ex- girlfriend. Seems they can’t retain information. There is worse, but I won’t write it here, except to say some police are idiots.
I received a group email from SWAST. Only nine months since I resigned. I guess they need a long time to update or remove email addresses. I am glad that I resigned. Being sent to seminars I shouldn’t be at, and have my boss respond differently to the same thing and not do what we agreed was painful. Not to mention the shoddy use of English.
I went to the enquiry about the proposed monstrosity that has been refused planning permission a few yards away. So glad I did. I got to represent the residents in my neighbourhood. What a slick so and so their barrister is.
My garden is a dream. So many flowers but also so many unwanted ones. The blue flower that attracts bees and looks so pretty had gone rampant. M. sliced them at ground level and laid paving slabs over. I hope to make a pond later in the year.