Category Archives: cats

Cat Naps

Before David was born, nearly everyone warned us that we’d treat the cats differently when we had a real baby.  We were warned to make sure we put a cat-net on the cot, that we shouldn’t allow them to sleep in the same room as him, that we’d have to be extra-cautious about sterilizing everything.  Our midwife was horrified that we weren’t “getting rid” of them.

Well, we’ve never really been bothered about germs.  The cat-net on the cot lasted for the five minutes before Snowball worked out how to remove it, we let the cats back into the bedroom after ten minutes on the first night home from hospital, and the ten-second rule applies to everything that touches the floor in this house.  Joe goes by the mantra “if it hasn’t got cat hair on it, it’s probably OK.”  Snowball is fed on the side in the kitchen, otherwise the boys jump on her, and we keep a litter tray in the kitchen, too.  We clean the side and the floor pretty regularly, and make sure we disinfect the side before preparing food (which, to be honest, I’d do anyway.)  There is a frequent exchange of toys, especially balls, between cats and baby: we just make sure that none of the cat toys are a choking hazard, as they’re pretty much guaranteed to end up in someone’s mouth.

Now, I know that there’s a school of thought that says you should keep pets, especially cats, away from children whilst they sleep.  We never had a problem with Snowball or Wily sleeping in the Moses basket or the cot when David was tiny, although there were occasions where Snowball would sleep next to David on the sofa.  They still don’t really go near him, especially now that he’s big enough to chase them and pull their tails.  Until this morning, Eric hadn’t shown any interest in sleeping in the cot, either.

I caught him there when I went to collect David from his nap.  Well, he’s certainly showing interest now.  It’s in a nice, warm spot, and the duvet is soft and comfortable.  There are snuggly soft toys, including Mini-Eric.  It’s not easily David-accessible unless we put him there, and Snowball and Wily have never slept there or marked it.

You know what?  I’m not going to bow down to pressure or paranoia on this one.  The stories about cats smothering babies are clearly an old wives’ tale: no cat would ever go near those grabby hands.  (Eric, certainly, would not sleep within reach of David.).  David, meanwhile, is clearly benefitting from growing up so close to these three beautiful creatures: he is mostly very gentle, and he can now say “puss!” and “miaow”.  I want him to wake up to a cat sleeping on the end of his bed, like I did with Jenny and Charlie.  One of the reasons that we got Eric when we did was that so he and David could grow up side-by-side, and I’m so very glad they are.

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The Three Stooges

Unusually, all three cats were in the mood for posing yesterday.  Here they are, in all their feline glory.

First to pose was Snowball.  This is especially unusual, as she’s incredibly camera-shy.  She tolerated me for ten minutes or so before stalking off to bug the crap out of her big brother.

Next was Eric.  He is most definitely not camera-shy, but he has the attention-span of a knat.  I’m trying to take a picture of Eric (and David!) every day, to document how he’s growing.

And here is Wily, the posiest poser of all.  He knew full well that I was taking all of these photos, but kept posing until I was done.

I love these cats to bits.  Any more need saying?

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Ginger Tiger

Sorry for the absence this week, I’ve had swine flu since Saturday.  Yesterday was the first day I could sit at the computer, and today is the first day I can sit up for any length of time.  The fever has gone, thank goodness, but I still have a raging sore throat and earache.

And you know what?  In the midst of all the fever, this thing decided he was going to use me as a nice, warm bed.

He is my big, beautiful tiger, and I would have been much lonelier through this without him.  He’s now eight months old and the same size as Snowball, who didn’t stop growing ’til last year.  Look at the size of that tummy!

Normal posting will resume shortly.

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Wordless Wednesday

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Review: Bumgenius Nappies

Satisfied Customer 2

Before David was born, we planned to use cloth nappies.  We did a little bit of research, but never got round to buying any.  We’d balked at the initial outlay and the idea of washing them.  Then, in the fuzz of the first few weeks and months of parenthood, we kept him in biodegradeable disposables: he was getting through so many of them, and we couldn’t see that we’d have time to wash and dry nappies and clothes and everything that the poor stressed cats had peed on.  My mother was very negative about the whole idea of cloth nappies: why go to all that expense and work when you could buy a packet of Pampers?

Pretty soon, the biodegradeable disposables started getting expensive, so we moved onto whichever nappy was on special at the supermarket.  (Thankfully, they often discounted the eco-friendly ones, and I’d insist on stockpiling them.)  Huggies seemed uncomfortable and we had major leakage problems; Pampers were even worse, and they irritated his skin; the Sainsbury’s eco nappies were alright, but prone to leaking.  The only disposable we actually liked was costing us a small fortune.

Thankfully, when David was about three months old, we met Anna from The Cotton Nappy Company at a baby clinic.  Despite our initial doubt, especially involving the expense, she introduced us to the Bumgenius V3.

The Bumgenius nappy comes in four parts: a quick-dry outer waterproof layer with a soft lining, two inserts (which you can use together or separately), and flusable nappy liners which go on the very inside.  They will adjust to fit your child’s size by way of poppers: they will fit newborns to children up to 40lbs.  The outer liner and the inner layer both adjust and grow with your child.  They fasten with Velcro, so there are no nasty pins and no risk of pricking your baby  They’re available in a variety of colours, too.

The best thing about these?  The flushable liners.  These are once-washable if they’ve just been peed on, but they come into their own when they’re dirty.  Just whip the liner out, throw it into the toilet, and there’s (hopefully) not much more to clean up.  Formula-fed babies’ nappies are never very nice, but I actually found that this was easier than dealing with disposables.

If you buy a starter pack, there’s a nappy bin with a mesh bag liner included.  When the nappies are wet or dirty, the parts need to be separated and thrown into the bucket.  When it’s time to wash them, you can just take the mesh bag out and put it into the washing machine.  One thing we did find was that the velcro tabs on the outers needed to be stuck down, or all the nappies would stick together.  We started off with ten nappies and using the biodegradeable disposables overnight.  We’d wash them and put them out to dry in the evening, and by the morning they’d be dry.  We were able to put the absorbent bits on the radiator and the outer liners on a washing rack, and they really did dry quickly.  The Cotton Nappy Company recommend you start with 20, and I’d back this up: we’ve now bought an extra five, and that means we can wash every two days.  If I was starting with a newborn, I’d want 20.

Bumgenius nappies are very, very absorbent after the first few washes, and rarely leak.  (You do need to do them up firmly, although not tightly.)  We’ve only had one leak in the last three months.  I didn’t initially believe that they’d contain David’s “explosions”, but they’ve fared the best out of everything we’ve tried.  Now that David is older, they’re lasting for longer between changes; they’ve also stood up to crawling and bum-shuffling.  He seems much more comfortable in them than in most disposables, but seems more aware of when he needs changing.

Now, the last point I’d like to make: the price.  The average cost of a nappy increases as the child gets older, and estimates suggest that the cost of nappies up until the age of two is about £800.  The BumGenius birth-to-potty kit costs about £270.00.  If you plan on having more than one child, cloth nappies will pay for themselves over and over again.  The initial outlay is steep, but it saves a lot of money in the longer-term.  (We also use washable wipes when we’re at home, which cuts costs down even more.)

Our conclusion: we’re saving the planet, saving an awful lot of money, having a happier baby, and having a cleaner conscience about his environmental impact.

Disclaimer: I don’t work for the Cotton Nappy Company.  I use their prices and refer you to their website because they’ve provided excellent service, they’re cheaper than buying from Mothercare, and they’re a local, family-run company.

Update: The Cotton Nappy Company are opening a shop in Leamington Spa on the 27th June: if you’re local, pop in and say hi.  They’re selling slings and toiletries and a load of other stuff, too!

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The Reason We’re Sticking at One Child

“No, Eric, don’t eat the electrical cables. They’re not good for… DAVID! THAT’S DISGUSTING! Eric, get off the plastic bag, there’s a good boy. David, please don’t grab the spoon out of Mummy’s han… ERIC! STOP EATING THAT! And David, stop giving it to him. Look, your food’s over here. Claws out of my leg, pl… David! Don’t take your bib off!  Food will go everywhere, won’t it?  Yes, just like that.  Eric, come and eat the kitten food.  You really don’t like pomegranate.”

“Who smells THIS time?  OK then, Davey-boy.  Let’s get that nappy changed.”
One poonami later…
“Why does the living room still stink, you two?  Oh, Eric.”

Children and animals: who’d have ’em?

Probably coming in the next few days if time allows: a sling review, a nappy review, and an account of the trip to Bubble London.  Almost certainly coming in the next few days: more cute pictures and absolutely nothing accomplished.

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Of Trade Shows and Fuzzy Kittens

Tomorrow we’re leaving Eric for the first time to go to a trade show in London.  I’ll head down on the train in the morning with David, and meet (David’s) Auntie Hester and Cousin Wilfred at the station (Joe’s sister and her son).  We’ll go to the show, hopefully find some stockists and persuade some people that they like what we do, and get hold of some cool things for the babies.

You know what the fun part is?  Instead of taking the pushchair, I get to do extensive sling testing.  We’re heading back in Hester’s car, as she’s coming up here to see her parents.  I can’t manage the pushchair, the car seat, the half-ton of stuff we need to take, and David, so the pushchair’s being left behind.  Meep.  I’ve not quite decided which sling(s) to take: the Baby Bjorn is a definite, as it has decent back support.  I want to show off the Wilkinet, and it’s the most comfortable carrier I own; trouble is, it’s a pain to get a wriggly baby into and to tie and I haven’t worn it enough to rely on it for a whole day yet.  The other possiblity is the BabaSling, which I’ve been pretty impressed with for a pouch sling.  It’s comfortable for short distances and good for feeding, but David weighs nearly 20lbs now, and carrying him for a whole day is back-breaking: I hope I’ve made the right decision.  (I will update tomorrow, and there will be reviews of the ones we choose to sell on the EcoBabba website.)

I’ve packed my rucksack so I can manage Stuff and David, and I feel like it’s my first day at secondary school again.  Not only do I have the huge backpack filled with stuff I’ll probably never need, I guarantee I’ll be the only one without a designer bag!   Oh well, that’s geekdom for you.

Joe’s been left with Eric-care instructions: he’s to come back at lunchtime and feed him, cuddle him, and make sure Snowball and Wily don’t eat him.  I’m more nervous about leaving him than I was about leaving David with Joe’s mum, perhaps because it’s going to be for a whole day.  But how could you bear to leave this adorable thing on his own?  (In my defence, Joe will be home every few hours, I’m in every other day, and Eric will have plenty of toys and lots of food and water.  Please don’t call the RSPCA!)

In other news, Snowball and Wily are sulky but adjusting:

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