Category Archives: Parenting

Dear Tess Morgan, re. your son’s tattoo

Dear Tess Morgan,

Yesterday I read your reaction to your son’s tattoo and was frankly gobsmacked at your reaction which will probably destroy any relationship you and your son have.

  • Has your son killed anyone?
  • Has your son raped anyone?
  • Has your son abused anyone?
  • Has your son got a woman pregnant and not taken responsibility?
  • Has your son forced a woman into an abortion against her will?
  • Has your son committed a crime?
  • Has your son deliberately coldly and maliciously hurt anybody else either physically or mentally?
  • Or is your son David Cameron?



The way you write about your feelings towards your child and his bodily autonomy as an adult to chose what he does to his body with fully informed consent is shocking.  I’m glad you realise that your feelings are “OTT” “completely unreasonable“, “absurd” and you “get angry with myself” for feeling like that (your words) but your son has not “taken a meat cleaver to my apron strings”, your actions and response to his tattoo will be the meat cleaver in this relationship.  Your son sounds a very reasonable and wise young man, I was particularly impressed with him saying  “I think you need to re-examine your prejudices.” and “I’m upset that you’re upset. But I’m not going to apologise.”.  

I would be proud of a son like that, one that is not afraid to challenge unreasonable prejudice in those that he loves and one that is empathetic to others feelings but has courage of convictions not to plead forgiveness for appeasement purposes when he has done nothing wrong.

I was trying really hard to think what my girls would have to do to create the level of upset your son has done in you, and pretty much it is what I listed above, but even then they may one day find themselves killing someone in self defence or to protect their own children then I still wouldn’t consider their actions to be “A meat cleaver to the apron strings“.  No matter what I will always be their mother and always love them, and even if they turn into bad people doing heinous actions I would still love the children they were and although I may have to reconsider a relationship with them if they turned into immoral evil adults I suspect this is an unlikely scenario.  I also appreciate that sometimes “bad things” happen without malicious intent, I am not going to get angry at my girls for making mistakes with bad consequences if they never meant to hurt anyone, unfortunately life isn’t always black and white or good and evil, just lots of people trying to muddle along as best they can and do things that make them happy.

A tattoo has made your son happy- deal with it.

However lets also examine what you mean by “meat cleaver to the apron strings“, what you actually mean by that is control of your son, not love of your son. Your love of your children should never change however old they get, but although you say “I know you can’t control what your children do” and pretend that you don’t want to this is not reflected in the tone of your whole piece, and I find this very sad.

You will lose your son if you cannot get past this and let him be an adult on his own terms, and what a stupid thing to throw away 21years of a relationship over.  I’m presuming you grew this man in your womb, gave birth to him, fed him, changed him, winded him, helped him walk, protected him when he was hurt, but he is no longer attached to the umbilical cord and you are no longer needed.  You need to let go, you need to stop being so controlling.

This is about so much more than a tattoo now thanks to your completely unreasonable reactions and I hope you and your son can get past this and salvage some sort of a relationship.

Yours Sincerely


My tattoo which I got when I was 18 which, as expected, I now kind of regret but it reminds me of a crazy fun time of my life and I won’t get it removed. My parents hated my tattoo and didn’t find out about it until it was 5 years old, when they saw it they just groaned and said “oh I wish you hadn’t” and then said no more about it and our relationship was completely unchanged as a result. How it should be.





Hey Brood

Sing to lyrics of Beatles- Hey Jude

Hey Brood, don’t make it bad
Take a sad woman and make her better
Remember to implant into her womb,
then you can start to make it better

Hey Brood, don’t be afraid
You were made to be a mother
The minute you avoid contraception,
then you’ll begin to make it better

And anytime you feel a pain,
hey Brood, refrain, and see a doctor
don’t carry the world upon your thing
For well you know that it’s a fool
who plays it cool
by stopping at two offspring

Hey Brood, don’t let me down
She has limited eggs left in her,
Remember to let him come in her vagina,
then you can start to make it better,
better better better

So let it out and let it in, ahem
hey Brood, begin,
The performance of making another baby
And don’t you know that it’s not just you,
hey Brood, form an orderly queue,
the movement you need is in your hips

Hey Brood, don’t make it bad
Take a sad mum and make her better
Remember to let her have another baby,
that you can start to make it better,
better, better, better, better,

Na na na nananana nananana hey Brood,
na na na nananana I’ll make Baby Brood
nananana hey Brood, hey Brood
Na na na nananana I’ll make Baby Brood,
nananana hey Brood, yeah
na na na nananana nananana oh yeah yeah yeah
Make it Brood

Hey Brood,
You have been hitting me gently since Omble was born about whether I want that third baby but today you got your sledgehammer out. Thanks to the return of my fertility a polite way of saying menstruation which has been mostly absent in the last 3.5years of four pregnancies (two successful) and breastfeeding, I am now in what I will affectionately call MEGABROOD as you can see from the fact I was sad enough to write my version of the song above. This is simply ridiculous, babies grow up, babies and toddlers are hard work, I don’t particularly like kids between the ages of 4-14, what the hell am I thinking!?

I know it is hormones as from now on each month I will lose another 40-50 of my precious remaining eggs (every month 40-50 are recruited to develop but all except one become atretic and die except for the precious one that makes it to burst forth from the follicle), but I am 30 potentially I have 10 or more fertile years left in me, I can’t imagine this is it, but I also can’t imagine doing it all again. I have been so lucky with my two and the thought of a third where something was wrong and having to make decisions around that and change our lovely little family dynamic is terrifying. Plus I really adore my job and thought of the affect of any more kids on my career is currently unthinkable.

So dear Brood you are causing quite the conundrums in my brain at the minute and I would be much obliged if you wouldn’t mind buggering off until Omble is at school by which time we might be in a position to possibly consider number three but I will not cope with 4years of MEGABROOD until then because I’ll just keep singing
tunelessly everyday whilst my ovaries scream every time I catch sight of a newborn. It’s no fun.
Just gimme a break for a bit ok? Or at the very least advise me on how to ignore you.

P.S I’m totally picturing you like this – that’s right Br Ood isn’t it?

Clutching a valuable egg just waiting to be fertilised……

Dear Parents of 9month old babies considering your next sized carseat

Dear Parents of 9month old babies considering your next sized carseat,

Did you know that keeping your child rearfacing in their stage 1 carseat (the one after the Stage 0 newborn -9months old so from birth) is FIVE times safer than moving them forward facing from 9months? This is because in a forward collision the impact pushes them back into their seat instead of forwards- forward facers in a collision are 90% more likely to suffer serious injuries and are more likely to break their necks/die. 😦

The reason so many people don’t know this or use them is because rear facing carseats are rarer and can be more expensive. Forward Facing from 9months is the more dangerous “norm” in this country (In Scandinavia not so).

When I found out about this I insisted Oddler went into a rear facing carseat from when she outgrew her stage 0 at about 10.5months. After doing some research we bought online the Britax Two Way Elite from the incredibly helpful InCare Safety Centre (We used the videos online to help make sure we installed it properly). It cost £200 so £100 more than what we were anticipating spending on a carseat but we had my parents buy it for Oddler’s christmas present and the fact it would last her until 4 (25kgs) and had the possibility of going forward facing if she got to an age she hated to be rear facing then we thought this was the best option for us (we also dont have Isofix in our car).

Oddler is almost two and a half and she is totally happy being in a rear facing carseat even on long journeys. People often say “Oh but she can’t see what is going on” but that is rubbish- she has an entire unobstructed view out of the back window and can see out of the sides. They often seem suprised my toddler is still rear facing like I am “babying” her. The safety facts I pass on soon shuts them up, although I do feel bad when it’s other parents who have forward facing carseats- I don’t want to make people feel bad about the carseat they chose (especially when so few people know abour rear facing safety) but more to educate people in the safest option and get the word out there.

Yes there are very minor downsides to keeping her rearfacing- I can’t see what she is upto even if I turn around (not while driving!) but this is easily fixed by putting a mirror on the seat headrest in front of her so I can see out of my rearview mirror without turning around- so again that makes it safer than if she was forward facing as I would have to turn around for her. Also when she had a dummy to sleep for car journeys she would also often lose it down the side of the seat and we would have to stop to be able to rescue it for her but I think it would be similar if she was forward facing, she has got rid of the dummy now so it is no longer an issue. These are very minor niggles compared to the absolutely massive safety advantages. Plus it is easier to get her in and out of the carseat as you are putting her in the same way the car door opens, so no bracing yourself against the car door opened at its max to strap her in.

A few months ago I thought Oddler was getting too big for her rearfacing seat and I was worried I was going to have to turn her forward facing, she is in the 99.9th Centile and the size of a hefty (NOT FAT!) three year old. I tweeted my worries and PHEW- the lovely @13Loki who has the same carseat told me there is a part of the base that folds out and when you do this suddenly there is a heck of a lot more leg room for them. Hurrah- so Oddler is now safe in that carseat for another year at least. Annoyingly I have had my babies close together so in 6months or so we will need to buy another rear facing seat as Oddler won’t be ready to move up to the next stage car seat by the time Omble needs it, but never mind twill be a Christmas present from us all. It is so annoying these car seats are so expensive which is another reason for my post. The more consumer demand for these car seats there is, the more common these car seats are, the cheaper they will become. We need to demand more places stock them and they are much more affordable for all.

This post was fired up by reading yet more blogs/forum threads/ twitter discussions of parents moving their babies forward facing at 9months “so they can see the world” even if they haven’t grown out of their existing rear facing carseat (once the head extends over the top of the carseat is when they have outgrown it NOT when their legs extend out of the bottom- legs can bend) when there is a much safer better option. 😦

If you found this information helpful please do pass it on, or pass on the links. I can be a bit evangelical about rear facing carseats (this isn’t a sponsored post by the way in any shape or form- haha can you imagine an PR wanting to get involved with my phallic avatar and vaginal yeast infection name- Methinks not- this blog will only ever have me rambling about stuff I love for no gain whatsoever (like this and will publish my dear Mooncup one soon!), in fact I hope I don’t bring any of my fave brands into disrepute with my Curdy ways! ;))

Lots of Love



Oddler in her carseat

Dear Alpha Parent, re. women giving up breastfeeding “too easily”

Dear Alpha Parent,

I read with interest your “NEWSFLASH- Breastfeeding requires effort” post last night. I was conflicted about it for various reasons which I will explain in a moment.  I tweeted:

and understandably a lot of very upset tweeters tweeted back at me.  144 characters is not enough to do my thoughts justice so I am expanding upon them  here.

*Personal breastfeeding story klaxon*

Firstly I need to say I should be one of the 2% of women who actually can’t breastfeed. A bilateral breast reduction when I was 19 removed 7lbs of breast tissue and I was told it was 50:50 whether I would breastfeed.  However I was one of the lucky ones.  I have written extensively about my exceptionally hard early breastfeeding experiences of Oddler (here, here) and Omble (here, here,  and here). I hoped it would be easier second time around but if anything it was harder!  But in summary here is a chart of most of the trials and tribulations we conquered.



Breast reduction- large amount of tissue removed. can I feed?  Health care professionals doubtful. Breast reduction- have predominantly breastfed before, can I exclusively feed this time?
14% weight loss in first week. Everyone panics. 9.7% weight loss, most people stay calm.
6weeks to regain birthweight- Health Visitors and Midwives worried 5.5weeks to regain birthweight- Health Visitors and Midwives still worried but less so than last time
Crazy intense relentless exhausting hellish pumping and top up routine Crazy intense relentless exhausting pumping and top up routine but this time I have a toddler to care for too and a dad to grieve for.
Tube fed baby won’t latch on for first week. Will only latch on with nipple shields for first month. Won’t latch on for first 36hours, then only with nipple shields
Agonising cracked nipples that won’t heal. Agonising cracked nipples that won’t heal.
Tongue tie diagnosed and snipped at 7weeks, latch improves, nipples damaged further Tongue tie dismissed at birth but diagnosed and snipped at 3 weeks. No improvement in latch, nipples still being damaged
Bacterial infection in nipple crack diagnosed at 9 weeks. Antibiotics mean nipple heals 4 bouts of mastitis- 3 I cleared on my own, one requiring antibiotics as my breast was oozing pus
Baby on NICU for first 5days of life, I am on a hospital ward away from her. I am given minimal advice on how to establish breastfeeding in that situation. Treated for breast thrush as deep stabbing pain whenever I feed, treatment doesn’t improve situation
Flat almost inverted nipples makes it hard for baby to latch. Nipples aren’t as flat anymore thanks to a year of breastfeeding Oddler but they are still a very difficult shape to get a good latch in early days
Hugely traumatic birth and worries about a possibly brain damaged baby, affect establishing bonding and breastfeeding. My dad dies when Omble is 3weeks old, I am utterly devastated, milk supply crashes with the stress
No skin to skin after delivery- first cuddle at 24 hours old. Omble gets cold after cold making it very difficult for her to feed from me.
Born with a poor suck reflex, it does improve but breastfeeding incredibly hard to initiate. Very clicky latch despite tongue tie snip. Feeding is very noisy and painful. Tongue tie reassed but not much more they can do- Omble is just a crap feeder.

I am incredibly proud to say that despite all of this I breastfed Oddler til she self weaned at 13months and Omble is still going strong at 6months.  Oddler was mixed fed from birth as NICU put her on a 10ml an hour regime and if my supply wasn’t up to that she was supplemented with formula. When she lost 14% of body weight she was put on 30ml top ups every three hours by the paediatrician, as much as I could manage of breastmilk and the remainder being initially of Diaorlyte but we soon switched to formula as she was just sloshing with liquid. However by 15weeks I managed to get Oddler to be predominantly breastfed with a bottle of formula at nighttime. Omble was exclusively breastfed for 8weeks and although I was hoping to go longer, I was utterly floored by my 4th bout of mastitis so LordCurd took both the girls away to give me a break and I slept and pumped but we didn’t have a store of breastmilk so she had formula and from then on  has had a bottle a day too.

By my own success criteria I am a fucking legend. But in your eyes would I be a failure because I didn’t try that little bit harder and not supplement with formula!?  I only found out with my second child Omble I could actually exclusively breastfeed and have her gain sufficient weight but I have no idea if I could have exclusively breastfed to 6months like the recomendations. I doubt it somehow. I have started weaning her now anyhow, earlier than 26weeks. Is that another failure? Am I now making excuses?

There is no doubt breastfeeding is a very good thing but it occupies such a tiny part of your child’s life and within a few months babies are experimenting with food and given that whilst weaning Oddler I gave her things like quavers and rich tea biscuits as finger foods, and Omble has already tried Jamaican Ginger Cake and I drink alcohol whilst breastfeeding and I have an utterly shite diet,  then I don’t think I can be at all smug about giving my kids the “best start in life”.

Therefore by some people’s “sucess criteria” it might be said that I am failing my children, but I have decided that I cannot judge anyone except myself against my own success criteria, sometimes I feel a failure as a mother, other times I think I am the world’s most amazing mother, and I think most other mothers feel the same. It makes me sad when we judge and compare each other for making different choices to our own.  Which is also why your post rankled with me, who exactly are you to decide the success criteria of breastfeeding mothers!?

Originally before I started breastfeeding thinking I would be completely unable to due to the breast reduction, my success criteria was “If I can just get them to have a bit of colostrum then I will be happy” as it turned out I far surpassed that, but I think individuals should decide their own breastfeeding success criteria, not anyone else. If they are happy with their choices then so am I.

However one thing that came out of your post for me, was reading the comments where women highlighted some of the reasons they gave up breastfeeding, whilst other women shared the difficulties they had overcome, the difficulties were fundamentally the same in some ways, the choices different.  The reason I highlighted my own difficult breastfeeding story is that I do think it is important to celebrate breastfeeding stories in the face of such adversity and I do get a bit cross that women are expected not to champion their pride in their own achievements for fear of upsetting other women who are dealing with their own sense of failure around breastfeeding. I am not writing this to deliberately make anyone feel bad- those that know me, know I go to great lengths to avoid upsetting people, (mainly because I am a complete wuss when it comes to confrontation!) but I am worried this letter may upset some of the people reading it because the terrible tendency us women have to compare and measure ourselves against others. As I said in my comment on Glosswitch’s post “Being proud of my own experience and choices doesn’t mean I think other people should feel ashamed of theirs“.  I am not other people, I am me, only the expert of my own experience, no-body elses.

Feeding the baby, typing furiously on the internet. My life for past 2.5years.

However I didn’t used to be so wise or pretending to be wise.  A few years ago I was incredibly naive when Oddler was about 10weeks old and I posted on Mumsnet “Am I being unreasonable” the following “AIBU to think that some women give up breastfeeding too easily“.  ie. I thought much the same as you do.  My thinking behind such an inflammatory statement was “If I can do it in the face of all this shit then why am I seeing person X, Y, Z giving up after a measly cracked nipple or slow weight gain- pah wimps, I’m hard me!” Of course quite rightly I was completely and utterly flamed on the thread, and then I had the really sad realisation that the ONLY reason I stuck with breastfeeding despite all the shit was because I FELT GUILTY. I felt I had let down Oddler during her birth, I had given up, I had stopped pushing, I wanted to die, I didn’t care if she died, and as a result she was possibly brain damaged. Succeeding at breastfeeding was the ONLY way I felt I could make it up to her, and so I did, despite it being the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  I have had a huge amount of therapy since then and I don’t feel that way any more but lets face it – that is a pretty sad and crap reason to stick with breastfeeding and how is that any better than the “crap” reasons for giving up breastfeeding you highlighted in your post?

My crap reason for sticking with breastfeeding my second baby Omble despite it being fucking hard again was because I had done the same for Oddler and I couldn’t give up, as it wasn’t fair on Omble, and it was about equally as hard (or in some ways easier and some ways harder anyway) breastfeeding her as it was to feed her sister and if I had managed it once then I could again. But had I not had my crap reason to breastfeed her big sister and managed it, then the liklihood is I wouldn’t have been so bloody minded second time too.

When I realised that the only reason I stuck with breastfeeding was misplaced guilt I realised therefore that I couldn’t judge other mothers for their choices as who knows the real core truth what was going on for them to make them stick at or give up on breastfeeding, I certainly didn’t realise my own for a good while.  I felt so awful about posting my thread on Mumsnet and I persuaded them to pull it as I was too mentally fragile to keep dealing with the fallout.  Very kindly they did and thanks to all the posters who accepted my apologies and those that understood where I was coming from, though I hadn’t expressed it very well.

My key learning from that episode is that  IT’S NOT A COMPETITION to see who had a shittest time of breastfeeding and using that as criteria to judge others successes or failures because ultimately that is not only cruel but futile, they are incomparable as we are all individuals.  In fact Motherhood in general IS NOT A COMPETITION. But being called the AlphaParent I am not sure you will see it like that.  I have my breastfeeding experience, and others have theirs and it makes me sad that we can’t celebrate and comiserate equally without the baggage and judgement which comes with discussing infant feeding choices.

Breastfeeding symbol

Breastfeeding symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having rambled on about my feeding experiences for long enough (amuses me how any breastfeeding comment always attracts everyone’s personal stories), I will now try and explain why I was conflicted when I read your post.  I think it was because I agreed with an aspect of what you were saying but not how you were saying it.   I do agree there is a a “culture of ‘failure acceptance'”which there currently is around breastfeeding. “If Woman X, Y, Z didn’t manage it, then I don’t need to feel so guilty about stopping either.”  ie. it makes it much easier for women to stop perhaps before they have explored all the avenues for possible solutions to the difficulties they are experiencing. However there is a huge amount bound up in that- it is too simplistic to solely blame the woman herself for making the excuses. Ledoux made an excellent comment on your post about that.  Personally I feel the crucial issue central to successful breastfeeding is support.  With the right support I reckon most women would succeed at breastfeeding if they wanted to.  I had a group I went to every week, I phoned helplines, I have a very supportive husband and family, I had supportive midwives and health visitors (and some crap ones which I ignored), I had done a huge amount of reading beforehand. All of these things contributed massively to my breastfeeding successes despite the huge obstacles I faced. But I was lucky.  A scary amount of women don’t get the support I did.  I have read blogposts by women explaining why they gave up breastfeeding for reasons such as “because my baby lost weight”, clearly not realising that it is entirely normal for babies to lose up to 10% of their birth weight in first few days. 😦

I do think the way you expressed your opinions was unnecessarily harsh and unhelpful in the “breast vs. bottle” debate which has trundled on for far too long already. Alvarrson commented very well on your post and  I don’t think furthering the guilt mothers feel is helpful to anyone. It is pointless in fact. (Much like the pointless post abortion guilt I wrote about previously)  I am viewing my stance on breast versus bottle to be the same as my pro-choice stance.  I am pro-choice here too, women make choices right for them and their families, if we stopped with the judging and the guilt and the defensiveness and instead recognised and celebrated individuals rights to truly informed choices then I think the world would be a much happier place. But the caveat is the “truly informed choice”,  I would hope that women have the opportunity to explore every avenue for support or solutions to the issues available to them before making the decision to stop breastfeeding (and if they decide to stop after that- they absolutely should- no judgement), but I am realistic, I know this currently isn’t happenings so how can we change that?

Being a solution focussed kinda gal I would like to see the following put into place:

  • Personal breastfeeding supporter for every woman on call until the baby is 12weeks, with 3 visits a week for first few weeks, weekly thereafter if the woman wants them.
  • Breastfeeding support groups being offered weekly within a 10mile radius of every woman.
  • Tongue ties being assessed at birth and again after a few weeks (Omble’s was misdiagnosed as not present initially) feeding and snipping should be easily accessible without requiring mum and baby to travel miles for the procedure.
  • Women and their support networks being properly educated about breastfeeding and what breastfeeding sabotage looks like.  This can and should start in school.
  • Championing and celebrating breastfeeding at every opportunity- normalising it.  Breastfeeding in public being accepted and normal.
  • Personal Jamaican Ginger cake supply for all breastfeeding mothers. At least three cakes a week to be delivered to your door for free. 🙂
I think putting energy into things like that is far more productive than putting everyone’s backs up in National Breastfeeding Week. But then again- you got us all talking and discussing so maybe aspect of your rather judgemental ranty mean post has been successful. 
So yeah that is why I was conflicted, in 14306 characters- rather more than the 144 I was trying to explain my position in last night!



Dear DaddyCurd

Dear DaddyCurd,

When mummy asked me the question “Why do you love your daddy? Why is he the best daddy in the whole world?” I said:

He drinks all the beer” (well unless the Tiger comes to Tea obviously)

I’m not sure I totally understood the question but Baby Omble and I loves you a lot.

Oddler Curd

Baby Me (Oddler) &Daddy


Baby Me (Oddler)

20120617-115145.jpg Baby Omble

Dear Sleep Thief

Dear Sleep Thief,

You might be the cutest burglar I know, but seriously, come on now:


Don’t make me call the Police.  I might be your mum and love you very much, but that won’t stop me. A crime is a crime, and you are a repeat offender. You already have an ASBO.

If you end up at BabyBorstal you will only have yourself to blame.

Lots Of Love



Dear Oddler’s Nursery Keyworker

Dear Oddler’s Nursery Keyworker,

Thank you so much for telling me Oddler banged her head while you were changing her nappy today, you clearly felt awful about it. I probably shouldn’t have said breezily “oh don’t worry about it at all, we’ve done far worse to her at home, she banged into a fireplace once” (thank heavens I chose that anecdote and not the time I accidental dislocated her elbow!). I was trying to make you feel better about accidentally bashing my daughter about, but given that you gave me the “possible child protection red flag” look then perhaps I shouldn’t have bothered!

One day I will learn to think before I speak. Anyhow rest assured there are no child protection concerns at Curd Hall, but I’m glad you are vigilant. I shall aim to actually brush Oddler’s hair and wash her face tomorrow so the “possible neglect” query gets erased. Oh and I had probably better not mention that tonight I fed her fromage frais that was a week out of date and didn’t chop up her grapes. Sigh.

Anyhow Oddler adores you, and thank you for being so lovely with her and please hold off the social services referral just yet.

Many thanks


P.S and I know last week she “sold” her shoes at nursery, but honestly it wasn’t to buy toddler crack (cake), or to support her family honest, apparently I misunderstood – she gave them to someone to hold and they got lost but her speech isn’t quite there yet- which is also why I thought tonight she had sat on the nursery’s baby chicks and not simply patted them. Just a misunderstanding.