Archive for the ‘Family & Parenting’ Category

All the Venla photos you could want

Thursday, November 10th, 2016 | Family & Parenting, Photos

venla-1

Venla in the hospital.

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Venla ready to go home for the first time.

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A sleepy Venla and a very tired daddy.

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Venla’s first trip out in her pram.

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Venla’s first nap on the balcony.

supergirl-venla

Supergirl Venla.

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Nap time.

Shepherd’s pie

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 | Family & Parenting, Food, Photos

shepherds-pie

God bless parents.

Baby Worfolk has a name

Thursday, October 27th, 2016 | Family & Parenting

big-bear

Naming Elina Junior has been no easy task. We wanted to give her both a Finnish and an English name so that whichever country she decided to live in, she would have a name that sounded local. We also needed to make sure it was pronounceable across the language barrier. Finnish names used rolled Rs for example, which English people cannot usually do, whereas “C” is not really a letter in Finnish.

After much consideration we have settled upon:

Venla Rosasharn Worfolk

Only time will tell whether having an actual name replaces calling her “El Ju”.

Baby Worfolk

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016 | Family & Parenting

elina-jnr

It’s a girl!

Nappy cakes

Friday, October 7th, 2016 | Family & Parenting

nappy-cakes

Yeah, apparently they are a thing. It is a bunch of presents, predominantly nappies, arranged into a cake shape. I had never heard of it until Elina came home from her last day at work carrying one. Then, in a pleasant coincidence, we arrive at my parents to be handed another one from my auntie. More are welcome: you can’t have too many nappies!

How often do you need to bathe your baby?

Friday, September 16th, 2016 | Family & Parenting

human-baby-in-a-bucket

How often should you bathe your baby? Many parents do it every day, out of a sense of responsibility, or merely because they enjoy it.

It may turn out that I do enjoy it, but right now it sounds like a massive hassle. Recently, I was talking to a friend who said that he did not bathe his baby at all. As long as you clean them properly when changing them, how dirty do they get lying around? Which leads me to the question, how often do you need to bathe your baby?

The evidence is not apparent. The NHS guide, washing and bathing your baby, says that you don’t need to do it every day. However, it offers no guidance on how often you should at a minimum.

Other research suggests that there is a reason you should not bathe your baby every day. Daily baths may contribute to dry skin and eczema. The theory is that bathing removes the protective oils from the baby’s skin, which actually does more harm than good.

This actually fits with the bigger picture. We have known for years that showering every day removes an important layer of oil from adult skin. A new study earlier this year backed this claim up.

Perhaps the answer to the question is, whenever the baby smells.

Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016 | Books, Family & Parenting

Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids is a book by economics professor Bryan Caplan and has quickly become my favourite book on parenting. In it he argues that regardless of the number of kids you were going to have, a few more might be better. So if you were planning on zero, maybe you should have one. Or if you are planning on having four, maybe you should have six.

His thesis is that having children is actually less work than most parents put themselves through. People spend hours and hours ferrying their children round activities and after-school clubs, playing them Mozart and generally doing things they hate doing, and often the child hates doing, because they want the child to be more successful.

However, all the research shows that this has basically no effect. Whether it is IQ, happiness, success, character or honesty, most of it is set by genes and the rest is set by the environment, only of which a small fraction is parenting. Therefore parents are simply making themselves totally unhappy for basically no gain.

Let’s say you have a child, and the chance of them growing up to be a lovely person is 80%. You could work really hard and sacrifice your life to budge that to 82%. That gives you an 82% chance of having a lovely child when they’re grown up. Or, you could do nothing, have two kids, and give yourself a 96% of having at least one lovely grown-up child.

Even religion is not determined that much by parenting. What parenting does affect is the labels that people use. But actually turning up to the place of worship as an adult is a whole different ball game.

They are drawbacks to having more children. However, Caplin tackles these too. For example, people without children are slightly happier than people with children. Repeated studies find this. However, when you take out all the stuff the parents hate doing, this gap is incredibly small. Also almost no parent says they regret having kids, whereas the majority of childless people do say they regret it. Finally, most of the happiness hit is with the first child, so once you have had one, you might as well keep going.

There is also the time, money and sleep loss. Caplin tackles this too. This is a short term perspective. Sure, four kids is a huge amount of kids if they are all three years old. But, by the time they are teenagers you will probably have to ask them to spend time with you. And by the time they are adults it is a pleasure to have four adult kids that you can go see. Not to mention that the only reliable way of improving your odds of grandchildren is to have more children yourself.

Is it a message of doom and gloom that parenting doesn’t matter? Not at all. You can change your child in the short term. Discipline, for example, is necessary to have any kind of sane household. Just don’t expect those lessons to last forever. More importantly, the one thing you do have a long-lasting impact on is how your child remembers and perceives you. So shower them with love and kindness. Don’t bother doing stuff you both hate, or culture-cramming. Instead, use your time together to just have fun. It does no harm and makes both of your lives more enjoyable.

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Mamas & Papas Parents To Be evening

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016 | Family & Parenting

mamas-and-papas

In July, We bought a pram from Mamas amp; Papas. Now it seems we’re in some kind of cult, like when you buy an Apple product and then get invited down for a personal setup. They invited us down to their Parents To Be evening to see what it was like. Their claim of “impartial advice” seemed a bit dubious for a chain that sells baby products.

We almost missed it. Having booked for the Leeds store, it was only when I printed out the invite as we were about to set off that I noticed their “Leeds” store was in fact their Birstall store, not their LS1-based store in Leeds Trinity.

It was actually very good. They had talks on baby and child first aid, sleep and car seats. Nobody else seemed too bothered about the free refreshments, so I worked my way through three pastries, three muffins and a cupcake.

Having so many sales people on hand was also a bonus. We have sometimes struggled to find someone to speak to on our prior visits so getting one-to-one attention was great. I had them help me try on practically every baby carrier they stocked.

We also received a goody bag and a £10 discount on the car seat we bought. We actually bought a Cybex car seat but it would seem to come Mamas & Papas branded if you buy it from their store.

car-seat

Overall, this event was well worth attending. They were true to their word in offering advice and talks, and if you are planning on buying anything you can cash in on the discount too.

Expecting Better

Friday, August 26th, 2016 | Books, Family & Parenting

Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong and What You Really Need to Know is a book on pregnancy by economist Emily Oster. Oster is known for applying her economics to other fields having given a TED talk on re-thinking AIDs in Africa. During the pregnancy of her first child she got sick of uncited recommendations and decided to look at what the evidence really said.

Take alcohol for example. I wrote about alcohol and pregnancy last month. Oster’s review of the available evidence and theory behind alcohol use during pregnancy is that having up to one drink per day is fine after the first three months. Coffee gets the green light too.

There is no evidence that bed rest is beneficial for pregnant women. In fact it is quite the opposite: laying around for weeks or even months on end is likely to have a negative impact on the mother’s health. Aromatherapy provides no benefit either, but not everything is out the door: having a doula at the birth produces much better health outcomes.

With each topic, each stage of the pregnancy and each taboo, Oster reviews the available evidence and produces a short summary at the end of each chapter explaining what is safe and what is not. This is by far the most important book on pregnancy I have read.

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Joan Rankin, 1925-2016

Sunday, August 7th, 2016 | Family & Parenting

grandma

Here’s to 90 years well-lived. We will miss you, Grandma. We all love you so much.