Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Periods for Pence

I came across this campaign on Facebook a while ago, but it's taken on more poignancy now that Mike Pence is not merely Governer of Indiana but the future Vice President. Now renamed as 'Periods for politicians' the campaign was started when Pence, a Conservative pro-life politician, signed off new laws placing various restrictions on access to abortions in Indiana.

Campaign founder Sue Magina (a.k.a. Sue My Vagina) took affront at one law in particular. This law obliged women who have aborted a foetus, had a medical termination of a foetus, or miscarried a foetus -at any stage of pregnancy- to provide that foetus with a formal burial or cremation.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The unbearable richness of being

Never ever let your baby hear you say that things are going well. They will make you pay for it. Wow did that last post come back to bite me.

I don't know what the hell happened....a cold, a new developmental stage, an interrupted routine because we went away, divine retribution for my sounding perilously close to blasé about everything....whatever it was, it broke the baby.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Secundipara continued....

Okay, now the little lady is having her lunch, let's try again (with one hand).

What's it like having a three year old and a three month old? Well for this white British, middle class, academic mother......its good! Of course new parents usually say that. And while I'm so chronically tired that a few days ago I accidentally drank some bleach (I'm fine, don't worry, though there were a few minutes of frantic googling and water-drinking); so time -poor that my teeth are unbrushed at 1pm today; and in such bad physical shape that I'm considering getting one of those neck cones they put on dogs so that I stop accidentally catching a glimpse of my midriff....despite all this I am gloriously, ecstatically happy. Why?
- My daughter is objectively amazing, perfect and the finest specimen of humanity the world ever saw, obvs.
- Any second-time apathy that might have occurred has been totally offset by the relief I feel after not knowing if she would make it for so long.
- Her brother has adjusted surprisingly well and hasn't tried to commit fratricide at all (yet) or at least not while I was looking.
- We are in all truth ridiculously fortunate and really well placed to just enjoy things right now. I've had three months leave on full pay, Papa's hours are really flexible, we are comfortable, financially and physically. And we have two healthy and cheerful children. What's not to love?

We've got several advantages compared to our first-time parenting experience. We now have a dishwasher, a car and a cleaner.....these help so much. This time around we didn't have any night-time social life we needed to adjust to living without. And we have tons of lovely friends nearby who are in the same stage of life whereas last time we felt like the only parents in the world. 

And of course we have a bit more experience than last time: it does help! I remember being in a blind panic one time when Orson was asleep in his Moses basket and he threw up a little. I was thinking 'if you vomit while unconscious you can choke and die, I've got to get him into the recovery position!' Turns out there are different rules for babies and drunk people, babies are pros at not choking.

So my worries about if I'd have enough love to go round everyone were unfounded - love really *is* like a magic penny.

I'll have to write when I'm having a bad day next time to balance this nauseating cheeriness a little.......


What is it like having a second child arriving into the family? I would tell you, but I don't have time.

No really, baby just woke up.......

Friday, 2 September 2016

Hello world!

It's been a while. I've been a little busy with this

Fiamma Rose Gina Duca joined us on July 11th.  Isn't she lovely?

Monday, 11 April 2016

My will power muscle is tired!

My rate of paper-completion has been astronomical this year, compared to normal years. I'm pretty pleased about this, although there are good reasons for it.......it wasn't that I was slacking last year but virtuous this year - I just spent lots of time investing in new projects last year, while this year I cleared my decks of all ancillary activities and just got things finished up. But I have an ongoing and unpleasant sensation in regard to it all that this article has just given me a name for: will power fatigue.

Friday, 8 April 2016

What not to read just before you need to sleep

I've totally freaked myself out reading 'Three shoes, one sock and no hairbrush: Everything you need to know about having your second child'. The author, Rebecca Abrams pulls no punches in warning second-time expectant mothers that they're in for some shocks. One 'myth' she busts is the one that says parents worry about whether they'll love their second child as much as their first, and then of course they do. Not so, Abrams warns, or at least not necessarily, and not at first.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Ker ching: Putting the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis to the test

Congratulations to Kevin Laland and Tobias Uller have just been awarded a stonking £5.7 million grant for an international, multi-disciplinary, project "to put the predictions of the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis to the test". It is one of the biggest awards the Templeton Foundation have ever made and it promises to be an exciting three years!

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Passing cuddles down the generations (and what else besides?)

Did you know, a mother’s love is so strong that the power of her kiss can be felt many generations after it happens? It is true of rat mother love, at least. In 2004 Michael Meaney's group published the results of a study showing that the nurturing behaviour of a mother rat brings about physical changes in her babies that are subsequently transmitted to grandchildren too. It is a fascinating example of an epigenetic effect – a change that is passed across cellular or organismal generations, even though there is no change to any DNA sequence.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Should we prioritise our health or that of the environment?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could get everyone eating more healthily, so that we all enjoy longer, better quality lives and require fewer medical interventions? And wouldn’t it be great if we could get everyone eating more sustainably, so that we could meet the nutritional needs of everyone on the planet without overburdening the natural environment? These goals have long been run together by the health food industry, endorsing natural foodstuffs as being better, both for us as individuals and for our world. ‘Natural’ implies fewer chemicals to clog up our bloodstreams and our waterways, after all.  But what if all of this is free-range baloney… What if there is natural conflict such that what is nutritionally optimal for human beings tends also to be the most environmentally burdensome, and vice versa. Faced with a choice between producing those foods that promote the health of human populations and those that promote the health of the rest of the living world, which should we choose? 

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Toddler food fads


My nearly- three year old has been through some odd food fads. At the moment he is going through a stage where he prefers not to eat food items that are mixed in with each other. He suddenly only eats salads of the 'deconstructed' variety.