Monthly Archives: April 2013

The worst thing about reusable nappies

I had initially planned this post to be an in-depth description of how we came to choose reusable diapers, within a few days of V. being born. My intention was to assure you we weren’t hippies. However, I was awake from midnight to 02:30 this morning with a daughter who did not want to sleep. I’m too tired so I’ll skip to the punch line.

After 8 months of reusables, the worst part (so far) is to be found in holding a used diaper over the toilet bowl and scraping half-formed stools into the water before flushing them away. Yes, folks, they don’t talk so much about this on the websites that sell the nappies. As her poo becomes more solid thanks to weaning, it becomes less practical to rely on a domestic washing machine to thoroughly wash the nappies. So this chore is a smelly and fairly disgusting new development.

It’s also why we have a dedicated pair of rubber gloves, held aloft on the bathroom tiling by a rubber-suckered clip. We also bought a special zip-up bag – with a rubber lining – that can hold 8-10 used nappies until wash day. The bag, contents and all, then go straight into the washing machine. Essential, unless you are intending to wash her nappies every day.

I wonder if reusable nappies encourages parents to move to potty-training faster?

Please let Daddy watch Zulu

Film poster for 1964 film Zulu
Film poster for 1964 film Zulu
Copyright: TBC
My dear daughter, as Mummy has gone out for the evening to celebrate a friend’s birthday, I have a rare evening babysitting you on my own. You’ve done so well with sleep training in recent months. But now I have a request.

I have plans to watch a couple of movies that Mummy won’t appreciate. No, not those kinds of movies. Mummy will indulge me when I order Thor on LoveFilm but she draws a line at a Michael Caine double bill of The Italian Job and Zulu.

So, can I please ask that you settle yourself down for the night from 8pm onwards? I can then pull up a chair in front of the tv, plug in my headphones and indulge in a probably not-too historically accurate boy’s own adventure. I am of course talking about Zulu, and not The Italian Job.

To enhance my enjoyment of the Zulu war chants, I need to find device that lets me listen to a movie on headphones but, when you cry, the sound channel switches automatically from the movie to the baby monitor. This way, I can play the movie as loud as I like without having to keep one eye out for the blinking lights of the monitor.

As a random thought, here’s some advice for any country looking for a new national anthem that will fire up a national team: you would do worse than consider John Barry’s theme music to Zulu. Play that before every international game: you’d never lose.

That track has made it to my iPod. But what I’m really after is a copy of the Zulu chants heard throughout the movie for my workout playlist.

“Do you think I could stand this butcher’s yard more than once?”

Working from home with a baby

There’s a popular image of running a small business from home: a new parent, baby bouncing on their knee, happily types away into a laptop whilst they answer calls and make coffee. This hasn’t been the experience of me or my wife. We run our personal training business from home and I can definately say that our business has been hugely affected by the presence of a baby.

The most immediate impact has been on the time available to us to work on our company together. This can only practicably happen during a working day when the baby has a nap and both of us are ‘free’ (although one of us has to be ready to go into the nursery if V. is restless). But even though the baby is on a fairly strict sleep training routine, the actual amount of time V. is fully asleep is short: a couple of hours a day. This has particularly slowed down the decision-making process when it comes to developing the business.

In addition, the time and energy demands of looking after our daughter has lead to us changing the division of labour. I’ve taken on diary management, payment processing, and customer queries so that F. can concentrate on bigger-scale projects. And for those projects to make any headway, F. needs time to concentrate. So when I have an afternoon clear of client appointments, I take our daughter for a feed, a change of nappy, playtime and a sleep. Usually this is a four-hour period of time that allows F. to work on areas such as marketing, SEO and IT. That really is not a lot of time.

We’ve also learnt to schedule a bunch of business calls to coincide with nap time. We don’t make or take calls when a crying baby could be heard in the background. It’s too unpredictable, too distracting, too unprofessional.

As childcare is not an option for us, we’ll keep on making the best of the situation. I’m hoping that this experience teaches us to our business in a leaner, tighter and more efficient way. Especially when the baby learns to type…