16th May: I ❤️ York

I used to have an I ❤️ NY hoodie. It was great. I spent a summer in America after university working at Indian Head Camp. Four of us went travelling around the East Coast area for a bit afterwards but because of pick ups and drop offs we ended up staying in Manhattan three times. It was lots of fun being in Manhattan with a group of friends…however the men are so bloody pervy it drives you mad! We were four girls around 19-22 and as soon as we hit the Harlem area there was lots of leering and catcalling. Gross.

Anyway random New York information aside we spent Thursday in (old) York. Thursday mornings are for the single parent Gingerbread meet ups. This time one of the lovely mums brought everyone a Carmex make up bag with lip balm in. For no reason, just a little treat. People are good.

Emily had a bit of rough play with the toddlers who had previously ignored her but today had got a very sudden interest in babies. I’m maybe a bit too chilled with her, as long as she looks happy enough I just leave them too it. I really don’t want to ‘helicopter parent’. I want Emily to learn to interact and manage situations herself rather than having me intervene before it becomes a problem. Obviously I was in reaching distance and watching them all carefully, I didn’t think they would hurt her and if she got upset I would have taken her away. But I don’t want to whisk her away on the just in case if it is an opportunity for learning and socialising. Here is a good article from Psychology Today on exposing your children to risk (and animals and germs). It says that children who have never been exposed to risk or stress as children tend to freeze in stressful situations as adults and are unable to cope. At the moment if she calls for me I go to her but I’m also trying to let her do her own thing with lots of unrestricted movement and exploring and I don’t worry too much about germs or having a tumble.

After the group we took advantage of being in York and walked along the river from the West of the City Centre to the East:

It is a really nice walk starting with the park near St Barnabas Church, then you can see Museum Gardens across the river and all the old buildings:

You can hire the little red boats if you board from the river near Clifford’s Tower. I did this with my mum a couple of years ago, it was quite fun but they are rickety old things. The big red and white cruise boat is a much more relaxing trip!

The bridge in the last photo has Bishopthorpe Road on one side and Clifford’s Tower on the other. We got a few bits from the charity shops there and stopped for a sausage roll and coke to take away from The Pig and Pastry. It was a nice sausage roll but when I asked for a Coke the woman look horrified at me and said ‘we only sell ethical cola here’ OK sorry love. It was OK cola but a disappointingly small can:

Then we wandered back into York en route to Wheldrakes for a tasty cream tea which took us via Clifford’s Tower. Of course I took photos:

On the way we stopped in Fenwicks to pick up a free Living North and spray a bit of Channel, I didn’t buy anything but instead went to Primark. I just stocked up on baby vests, Mum vests (for one up one down feeding), a couple of tshirts, baby socks and some rather cool baby sunglasses featured below:

I’m quite partial to a cream tea at Wheldrakes, it’s only £5 and rather tasty. I’d been craving them for a couple of days after an Instagram debate so of course had to post it afterwards. It’s based between the National Trust gift shop near the Minster and the city walls. There are loads of nice looking coffee shops in that area, this one is quite small with cheesy music and (in my bitchy opinion) too many signs, slogans, worded things on the walls. The food is quite nice and the staff are friendly though:

After this we went to Jo Jo Maman Bebe to buy the first cup baby cups. I’m having difficulties getting Emily to drink from anything. I’m not overly keen on sippy cups and neither is Emily. She wasn’t into the Doidy Cup I linked on my last York article either. But when we went to her dad’s house the only thing he had we could give her water in were disposable shot glasses (such is his life now apparently) which actually worked quite well for her little hands. Disposable shot glasses are nasty things and the first cup is much nicer. She has a go at drinking from it when she wants to, but when she doesn’t it gets hurled across the room. Very annoying.

Then we took a leisurely walk back through the city and past the minster, over Lendal Bridge and back to the car.

When we got home there was high drama when it came to dinner, bath and teeth brushing. Teeth brushing was a particular drama. I have three brushes on the go, theoretically one for each of her hands and one for me to use. When she wants to be held I balance her on my hip and then try to smear toothpaste onto the brushes at the same time. She really really wants to grab the toothpaste off me and squeeze it all out. It’s not easy to prevent this when holding her at the same time. She quickly stole the brushes one after the other and threw them on the floor. I found one and washed and reloaded with toothpaste and she threw it on the floor again whilst shouting at me. I punched the wall in frustration. It hurt and I cried. I had to put her in the play pen for a minute to take a deep breath and reload the brush with toothpaste to try again. This time I sat on the armchair so I could pin her arms down to brush properly. She didn’t like it and cried, I felt like the nastiest shit mum ever and got upset.

I’ve looked on Sarah Ockwell Smith’s Facebook group for ideas and it seems as though at this age the actual brushing isn’t that important. Apparently dentists say that it is mostly important to get the toothpaste on the teeth with the fluoride and you don’t want to give them issues around tooth brushing. So I’m going to be more chilled in future, maybe just see if she will get it on her teeth with the brush even if there isn’t actual brushing going on. Or to see if she will let me smear it on by rubbing with a muslin over my finger. Tonight she was in a good mood in the bath so I brushed her teeth in there, it was only a quick opportunity to brush them but at least there were no tears or sore knuckles at the end of it.

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