rmc28: Rachel holding newborn Nicholas (rmcf+nhf)
1. I have been heard to say that I am too lazy to puree food for babies, let them just help themselves off whatever the parent is eating when they aren't having milk.

Well, that worked for Charles.  Nico it turns out is very keen on eating whatever his parents are eating, but lacks teeth and competence to eat a lot of it without choking.  So I have an icecube-tray or two of roughly-blended adult food in the freezer, and if my meal looks like he might choke on it, I microwave up a cube and spoonfeed it to him.  (I've started making him his own little bowl of porridge in the morning because I like to adulterate mine with seeds).

2. I have been heard to say that Elimination Communication is lovely-sounding, but far too likely to be messy and difficult for us to even try, especially with baby moving between three main carers (me, Tony, nursery).

Except that this baby's attempts to tell me how much he hates wetting his nappies are finally sinking in and I'm admitting that part-time EC is better than none.

Turns out different babies are different and parents may need to adapt to individual needs.   Who'd have thought.

rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
I decided to set myself a month-goal of "getting to bed before 11pm on schoolnights", as an attempt to address chronic mild sleep deprivation and a sleeping pattern that had gone "stay up late and do all the things" or "collapse asleep with the baby at 8pm".

At first I wasn't doing too badly, an occasional 10:30pm and quite a few approx 11:10pm, and generally I was getting to sleep before midnight.  But the last fortnight, whenever I haven't had something taking me out of the house in the evening, I've fallen asleep about 8-9pm with the baby, woken about 1am and been awake for an hour or two, then back to sleep until 6ish.  Which is great because I'm actually getting at least the 7 hours I seem to need to function well, but sucks because "after the baby is in bed" is when I was doing my studying, and I've been sleeping through that for the last fortnight. 

Perhaps I should study for an hour at 1am instead of writing blog posts.
rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
My brother & I wrote this for LibDemVoice and it's just been published there.

Rachel writes:
Every time I hear the phrase “a life on benefits”, it’s like a slap in the face to my brother, who lives in my spare room while looking for a job. He’s not lazy or a scrounger, he just can’t find a job. As Sarah Teather said two weeks ago

the term “scroungers” has become so pervasive in social consciousness that even those on benefits do not attempt to debunk the entire category, only to excuse themselves from the label.

I asked my brother if he was willing to share what his life on benefits was like:

Jonny writes:

I have been on benefits for over three years. I apply to two or three jobs each week, making a proper effort to sell myself as best as I can with each one. It’s a very discouraging task: every role is oversubscribed, and the rare times I get as far as interviews I am always beaten by someone with more recent experience. It’s hard to convince myself each application isn’t just a waste of time.

I have volunteered at a charity shop for over two years, and though this varied and challenging work experience has not led to employment, it is emotionally rewarding and one of the few reasons I have to get up each day.

For food, I buy the cheapest healthy food I can, only getting nicer food when it is sufficiently reduced. For entertainment, I have the computer I use for job applications and the broadband in my sister’s house. I only buy myself clothes from the cheapest shops. I try to save a little from each month, against unexpected expenses such as bike or computer repairs.

I’m always conscious of my restrictions:

  • I can’t go on holiday.
  • I can’t drink with friends in the pub: if I do go I stick to tap water.
  • I can’t eat out more than once a month, and then only in cheap places.
  • I can’t afford train tickets to see distant friends.
  • I can’t go to see shows or films more than a few times a year.
  • I can’t join any club that requires a subscription.
  • I always feel guilty if I spend more than £5 on anything.

Though I do manage a life on benefits, it’s not a good life and it’s not my choice to be unemployed.

Rachel writes:

I admire my brother’s care with money and his resilience under the constant grind of jobhunting. Even so, I worry for him now that the Benefits Uprating Bill has passed its third reading. A 1% rise in his JSA is not comparable to the 1% rise my salary will see this year, because my starting point is so much better. We’ll both have to absorb a real-terms cut in income, but what I will hardly notice, he will struggle with.


rmc28: Rachel standing in front of the entrance to the London Eye pier (Default)
Rachel Coleman

March 2017

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