The Lost #Vlogmas Video – The Christmas Tag

So, how was your Christmas? What did you get? How did you celebrate?

My feet are only just hitting the ground post festivities. I would like to say that’s because I’ve been a social butterfly buoyed along by a whirlwind of family parties and glorious get-togethers. In reality it’s been due to being ill still/again. I visited the doctor about my cough and apparently because it’s just in the top part of my chest I’ve just got to ride it out… :(, I also now have conjunctivitis and, as a result, look like some kind of deranged James Bond villain! Oh the joys. Elliott is also teething and has a bit of a cold which means that rather than do anything exciting he wants to be picked up and carried by me as I go about my daily business. Today I honestly intended to have a fun day out. Instead we ended up going to Sainsbury’s to buy Anbesol, eye drops and a pack of baby vests! Talk about living the high life. To be honest staying in this morning was lovely anyway, what with Elliott stealing my breakfast and dancing around to Robbie’s latest album. I’m also loving Elliott’s insistence on using a coaster for his drink!

Why eat your own porridge when mummy's is so yummy?!

A post shared by Samantha Heathcock (@samheathcock) on

Anyway, I digress, the reason for my post is because I’ve finally got around to uploading the final 2016 Vlogmas video. It’s the Christmas Tag filmed on Christmas Eve. So if you want to know what tops our Christmas tree, whether I’m any good at wrapping gifts and what topical place name I can’t pronounce – it’s all here for your viewing pleasure.

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#Vlogmas – What’s in Elliott’s Stocking

I’ve just realised the title on the thumbnail of this video is incorrect, but hey ho. I don’t have time to correct it at the moment. Here’s what’s in Elliott’s stocking this year if you’d care to take a nosy…

#Vlogmas: What’s in Elliott’s Christmas Eve Box

Christmas Eve boxes are a bit of a Marmite thing. Some love them; some hate them. I, personally, think they should be a little bit of fun and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Here is our seriously un-Pinterest-worthy Christmas Eve box, which is actually a bag.

Vlogmas – The missing days

Vlogging is hard work!

I know.

I realise that sounds ridiculous. Holding the camera out at arms length and prattling onto it is actually the easy part. Who knew?

Making sure the camera has charge, sorting the editing, getting the damn videos to upload and a whole host of other technicalities make it challenging. Still fun, but challenging. Suffice to say I didn’t fully understand how demanding partaking in Vlogmas would be when I started and had I known I would have definitely been busy preparing some pre-recorded material in advance a la any other You Tuber with an ounce of common sense.

Because it’s been a bit of a whirlwind I missed a few days recently, so I thought I’d update on what I got up to.

Wednesday 14th December

I woke up exhausted. Having taken the day off work on Tuesday to catch up with life and in particular Christmas I had bust a gut to get everything done (and failed), so by Wednesday morning I was seriously running on empty. Needless to say that’s why I didn’t pick up the camera!

It was my first day back in the office and that was busy, busy, busy too.

My tiredness wasn’t helped by Elliott chucking a fair few toddler strops either (I thought it was the terrible two’s not the eek eighteen months?). At the moment he wants to be super-independent. Lovely to see, but not so great when he won’t hold your hand whilst he’s walking up and downstairs. Neither quite so great when you then pick him up and he slaps you around the face! Oh joy!

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He did come home from nursery with some lovely artwork on Wednesday evening, so he almost redeemed himself, to be fair if he hadn’t spent so long complaining about absolutely nothing (obviously something to him, but y’know) in the hallway whilst I was trying to cook dinner he would have totally redeemed himself, but as it was, his constant whining meant my brain switched off resulting in me switching on the grill instead of the oven and totally wrecking dinner. Still, it meant me and hubby treated ourselves to Chinese take out later, so every cloud and all that. I spent most of the night falling asleep on the sofa and doing an online Asda grocery shop. Oh the glamour!

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Thursday 15th December

Elliott kick-started the day by not wanting to get into the car. He actually walked around to the boot as if to say: “No, mummy. Not the car seat today, you can take me in my buggy.”. I eventually mum-handled him into his car seat and appeased him by leaving him front facing (we have a fancy seat which you can twizzle around). I know rear-facing is safer, but at the moment he makes such a fuss when I just put him in the car that, actually, front facing is far safer for all involved, lest his constant whining distract me from the road. More hand-made goodies from nursery, a productive day at the office, the fact it was my Friday (super short week), no strop when we got home and Domino’s for tea made this a better day. I even had a bit of energy when I got home and managed to tick some things off my to do list – woo hoo!

Friday 16th December

We headed to Rattle & Rhyme at the library. We go every Friday but this Friday was special as Santa was making an appearance. Little did I know today would also be special because it would be the day Elliott would decide to turn the libraries CD player off mid-song. Oh the embarrassment!

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Elliott wasn’t too sure about Santa but I guess that’s sensible. We then picked up some bits and bobs from the shops whilst Elliott slept and then I lunched with my mom. Elliott didn’t really want to eat, but did decide to steal one of the crisps from my plate – cheeky monkey.

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A cup of tea and a mince pie back at mine before mom headed off and me and Elliott settled down to watch the CBeebies production of the Nutcracker. I think I enjoyed it more than Elliott, although he was quite taken by the dancing teddy bear and did enjoy sitting in his Lego box to watch part of the performance.

That night I caught up with some more admin and editing. Woo hoo I thought I’m making progress. Little did I know that Elliott had a little trick up his sleeve. Waking at 12:30am and then not going back to sleep until 3:30am! Even when he did go to sleep he slept on me in our bed, which meant my sleep was anything but deep and also meant my dreams were filled with adults dressed as babies – seriously weird. Dreaming of Scott Mills wearing a nappy is not a dream I wish to repeat!

Then I woke up and picked up the camera again…

*I paint a poor picture of Elliott here. He’s not that naughty and he’s not whining all the time. It’s just that he has gone from being a pretty much angelic baby to being a curious and boundary pushing toddler which is a bit of a shock to the system!

Here’s a video I made on the same topic…

Vlogmas – Catch Up

So, it turns out fitting in Vlogmas around work, looking after a toddler, having a social life and everything else is a tad problematic. Still, it’s got me into the habit of getting the camera out more often to do a bit of filming.

I’ve been mysteriously absent from the world of YouTube for the past few days as its taken me a while to edit the videos I’ve created. I’ve also missed filming a few days too – oops!

Anyway, here’s my attempt at catching up…

Surviving Hand, Foot & Mouth

Ah, the joys of childhood illnesses that you never knew existed until you had little ones.

Hand, Foot and Mouth disease? Isn’t that something that cattle get..? Turns out that’s something entirely different.

After consulting Dr Google I discover that HF&M is a viral infection which causes symptoms including: fever, a sore throat and a lack of desire to eat, as well as super nasty blisters. I also discovered that it mostly affects the under 10s and particularly the under 5s, so when Elliott was ish-diagnosed I thought I was safe. Ha, ha – more fool me and my crap immune system.

Here’s how we survived…

Symptoms & Diagnosis

Toddler

Let’s face it a 17-month-old toddler can’t tell you they’ve got a sore throat, so all I had to go on was the fact that Elliott was super-grumpy, warmer than usual (although not in fever territory), had red cheeks, was sleepier than normal, had a runny nose and was off his food – in fact he didn’t want anything in his mouth, which made administering Calpol an absolute mare! With these symptoms I assumed he was teething. Admittedly it did seem out of character for Elliott to be this poorly as a result of teething, but I just assumed a nasty big molar was the culprit.

I was still blatantly naive when Elliott’s first blister popped up on the bottom of his lower lip and just put it down to the fact that he had been using his dummy more – that was about the only thing he would allow in his mouth!

He was scream-the-house-down grumpy on Saturday, a little better on Sunday morning but still not himself, followed by scream-the-house-down the sequel on the evening and then just off-colour on Monday. On Tuesday I took him into nursery to discover there had been two cases of HF&M over the weekend. Even when I got the phone call from the nursery asking me to pick him up as they suspected he had HF&M I didn’t really believe it. There was a sore in his nappy now too, but it didn’t seem to be causing him any discomfort and from the photos I’d seen on Dr Google you got lots of blisters, right..?

A visit to the doctor concluded that Elliott had “a viral infection, probably Hand, Foot and Mouth if that’s going around at the moment…” – Thanks for the clarity there doctor, still, Elliott got two stickers, so at least he was happy. More blisters came out on Elliott’s hands over the following days, but nothing too major. Maybe we were fortunate that he had a pretty mild case? So for Elliott it was fluey/teething symptoms first and then once they had passed the blisters came. He still has a few blisters now but seems fine in himself and is demolishing his meals with gusto again so…

Mama

Shivers, a loss of appetite and feeling slightly nauseous were the first signs that something was wrong with me. At first I attributed this to rushing around and leaving a sauna of an office for the cool outdoors. Ah, I really am so naive aren’t I? Even as I sat there next to the radiator shivering whilst  wearing a dress, tights, a hoody and furry slippers I tried to persuade myself that I wasn’t ill. That evening I didn’t fancy dinner and instead decided to have a nap on the couch. I ended up there for most of the night in a slightly delirious feverish state.

The following day my symptoms were cold like – lethargy, a runny nose, a sore throat, a bit of a cough. I tried to rest as much as I could to ride out the storm. On the evening I noticed a prickly feeling on the inside of my lower lip with some small bumps – uh oh! By the end of the evening I had a full on blister to the side of my mouth, one on my lower lip and one on the bridge of my nose, with more and more popping up inside my mouth. Joy!

I woke up the next day looking like Lesley Ash post fillers but otherwise just feeling as if I had a bad cold. I worked from home but lacked energy and my mouth and throat were sore to swallow anything too coarse. Anything too sour or spicy made my tongue feel prickly, a bit like stinging nettles. The blisters spread so I had a few more on my face and also on my hands. These continued coming up the following day along with a strange painful feeling in my fingers or toes when I picked things up – it was as if I had tiny papercuts on my fingertips, which I didn’t – in fact I didn’t even have any blisters where the pain was – very strange.

Now my blisters are starting to heal – the biggest one near to my mouth has crusted over and looks gross, the others are slowly fading and my cold symptoms are getting better but still there. Today is day 4 of HF&M for me. The back of my mouth and my throat still feel a bit like they’re being attacked by stinging nettles when I eat though, which for someone who loves food isn’t much fun.

Time off nursery/work?

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Weirdly, one of the reasons the nursery wanted me to take Elliott to the doctors was to confirm that it was HF&M, because if it was he was OK to return to nursery. This goes against what it says on the NHS website, but what do I know? To be fair he was at his worst at the weekend, so by Wednesday he was fine to go back to nursery with his other HF&M buddies.

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I took a day out of the office to work from home. 1. Because I didn’t want to infect my work colleagues 2. Because I looked like Lesley Ash post fillers and no one needed to see that 3. I had been so run down since the start of October that just pushing on through wasn’t going to work for me – I needed to slow things down a bit. Something I’ve been doing ever since that first blister appeared!

Treatment

There isn’t really a ‘treatment’ for HF&M exactly. No miracle cure. Elliott had Calpol and cuddles whilst I relied on cold and flu relief tablets and slapped some Zovirax on the biggest blister on my lip (NOTE: There’s some debate as to whether Zovirax is a suitable treatment for HF&M sores. But I was willing to give anything a try). Other than that it’s just a case of riding it out.

My other survival tips…

Have this Baby Sensory video on YouTube lined up for when your toddler hits meltdown mode.

Consider purchasing one of these dummies to administer Calpol if your toddler is struggling with the dosing stick because of their sore mouth.

Sometimes only In The Night Garden and cuddles on the sofa will do.

Keep your toddler and yourself hydrated.

Soft, cool food is where it’s at – think endless Fromage Frais.

Don’t plan anything exciting – if toddler has HF&M you may well be confined to the sofa newborn style for a while, if you have it you’re probably not going to want to go partying on a soft play playdate.

If you’ve got it you will want to keep your lips moisturised but might not want to get your blister germs into you usual lip balm – I purchased a tub of cheapo Vaseline to smother on and dispose of once my blisters are gone – likewise I avoided make-up whilst my blisters were at their worst to avoid contaminating my brushes and products. I also avoided using my Clarisonic, instead gently using a flannel and cleansing balm to gently clean my face.

Be kind to yourself – if you feel ill try to get a break and have a rest. It’s tough when you’re a working mum, or just a mum, or just a person in general these days – we’re all so busy but try to get some support with little one and leave anything that isn’t urgent.

Stock up on Kleenex Balsam for the inevitable runny nose!

Don’t worry you will make it through the other side 🙂 x