How We Won the Bath Time Battle

I have fond memories of my little sisters enjoying bath time, and even some hazy ones of sharing baths with my big sister, and sometimes our two cousins too! So when it came to bathing Little Moore, I was prepared for giggles and splashes and lots of water play.

As you can imagine, it didn’t go like that at all.

Little Moore screamed for his first bath. And the next. And the next.

It got to the stage where I was dreading bath time because I didn’t want to make him cry. We only bathed twice a week – I didn’t want to make it part of the bedtime routine because of his sensitive skin – but each one was a trauma.

Until two weeks ago, when we had our first tear free bath time. And we’ve had several more since then. So how did we do it?

The first thing I realised we had to change for bath time was our attitudes. If we were unhappy about it then I think he would pick up on that, and that would make him worse. So I tried to look forward to bath times and make them happy times. We ditched the baby bath and I got in with him (bonus wash time for me!) and sang nursery rhymes with a smile on my face.

That was our first breakthrough. As long as I sang he wouldn’t cry, but as soon as I stopped for breath he’d start again.

The next step was toys. When he was born we were bought some colourful stacking stars for the bath, so we floated them next to him, as well as a rubber duck (no bath is complete without one!) We actually got his first laugh in the bath, playing peekaboo with one of the stars, which was wonderful to see together.

So toys and nursery rhymes were mostly working during the bath, but when we took him out he would scream until he was red in the face and wouldn’t stop until I fed him.

We cracked the actual bath time crying with swimming lessons and one more toy. I think the swimming lessons – which he loved – got him used to being in the water, so bath time became less scary. We also bought a bubble machine from Tesco in the shape of a penguin, which Little Moore found fascinating. The perfect distraction from the water!

For post bath time, we changed up the routine a bit. Instead of taking him from the bathroom to the bedroom to get dressed and creamed up, we did all this in the bathroom instead. That way he stayed in the warmth, with all his bath toys still around him too – he always picks a star to chew on.

Now bath times are so much easier on all of us. Little Moore, plays with his bath toys, kicks his legs and doesn’t even whimper when we put him in the water. It makes all the difference now that we can all enjoy it. I hope all bath times are like this from now on!

Book Review: Silence is Goldfish (Annabel Pitcher)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Orion Children’s Books

Pages: 384

Release Date: September 8th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

My name is Tess Turner – at least, that’s what I’ve always been told.

I have a voice but it isn’t mine. It used to say things so I’d fit in, to please my parents, to please my teachers. It used to tell the universe I was something I wasn’t. It lied.

It never occurred to me that everyone else was lying too. But the words that really hurt weren’t the lies: it was six hundred and seventeen words of truth that turned my world upside down.

Words scare me, the lies and the truth, so I decided to stop using them.

I am Pluto. Silent. Inaccessible. Billions of miles away from everything I thought I knew.

Tessie-T has never really felt she fitted in and after what she read that night on her father’s blog she knows for certain that she never will. How she deals with her discovery makes an entirely riveting, heart-breaking story told through Tess’s eyes as she tries to find her place in the world.

Review:

I read a sampler of this a while back and was really intrigued to read more and I’ve finally gotten round to it.

Tess reads something terrible on her dad’s laptop that blows her whole world apart. After an unsuccessful attempt at running away, Tess stops talking to everyone, except Mr Goldfish, a torch she bought when running away, who talks back to her in her head.

I remember loving the goldfish torch when I read the sampler because I had one when I was a kid and I can still picture it so clearly. I wish mine had been able to speak to me too, though I guess the circumstances for poor Tess meant it wasn’t as cool as it sounds.

Tess has a really distinctive voice which at times I loved, and at other times it grated on me. She has a tendency to babble and sometimes I had to read sentences a couple of times to make sense of them. I found it hard to connect with how she reacted to what she’d read on her dad’s laptop. Obviously I’ve not been in the situation, but the way she fixated on different people as potential father figures seemed a bit extreme to me: I think I wanted her to be more realistic about things but I guess if you’re that shocked and hurt then you cling to anything.

My favourite character by far was Jack, Tess’s dad. He’s an out of work actor who talks constantly about ‘taking the road less travelled’, which is what he wants Tess to do, while also taking the travelled road and fitting in and doing well at school. For the type of person she is, I can imagine it being hard to live up to his expectations. I just loved his bare face lying when other people asked how his career is going. I know the feeling, putting on a good face in front of people who are judgy about your choices, and I love how brazen he was about it.

Tess’s conversations with Mr Goldfish were both funny and very revealing about herself and her situation. I remember vowing not to talk when I was a teenager and it would never last more than a day because I’m a coward and when my mum asks me a question, I answer! Her mutism as a form of protest to what she read is really interesting and not something I’ve read about before.

While I struggled to sort through Tess’s stream of consciousness narration sometimes, I really enjoyed this book and was glad it had a well tied off ending that made me smile. I know my youngest sister is a fan of Pitcher’s other books so I may have to borrow/steal some from her to read now.

4

Book Review: Born Scared (Kevin Brooks)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Egmont UK

Pages: 256

Release Date: September 8th 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Elliot is terrified of almost everything.

From the moment he was born, his life has been governed by acute fear. The only thing that keeps his terrors in check are the pills that he takes every day.

It’s Christmas Eve, there’s a snowstorm and Elliot’s medication is almost gone. His mum nips out to collect his prescription. She’ll only be 10 minutes – but shen she doesn’t come back, Elliot must face his fears and try to find her. She should only be 400 metres away. It might as well be 400 miles…

Review:

I read a couple of Kevin Brooks’ books when I was a teen and really enjoyed them – they’re on my reread pile for sure – so I was really excited when this one popped up on NetGalley.

I really really wanted to like it, but unfortunately this book just didn’t do a lot for me. It wasn’t bad and I didn’t hate it but I just wasn’t that into it either.

As the blurb says, Elliot is scared of everything. And I mean everything. All people – who he calls monkems – bar his mum, aunt and doctor. Cars. Dogs. Santa. Colours. Everything. So when he has to venture outside and encounters cars, dogs and crooks dressed as Santa, you can imagine how well that goes down. Elliot keeps his fears just at bay by taking medication, but he is down to his last pill and both his aunt and mum have mysteriously disappeared trying to fetch his prescription, so Elliot braves the outside world to get it for himself.

I felt the beginning of the book was very slow as we learn about Elliot’s childhood, from a traumatic birth where his twin sister dies, to his fears of anything and everything. It took a long time for him to actually go outside, which was where the story got more interesting. Alongside this we see two men planning to rob a bank, whose story is about to become entwined with Elliot’s. I actually found these bits more interesting than Elliot’s constant fear monologue and I felt that’s what drove the story more than anything else.

This is Kevin Brooks, so the story is well written, I just don’t think this one was for me.

3