Parenting Perspectives Around the World: Scotland, Part II | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

December 20, 2011

Parenting Perspectives Around the World: Scotland, Part II

Here is Part 2 of Jo's ramblings on parenting in Scotland.  If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.



I-is for Immunisations - Bear has just finished his jabs until he is 3. We give them injections at 2 (two jabs), 3 (two jabs) ,4 (three jabs) and 12 months (three jabs) for a string of things covering: diptheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, influenza, pneumonia, meningitis, measles, mumps and rubella. Like many places, there is a lot of controversy about the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) jab and its alleged links with autism but I do still think the benefits of being safe outweigh the limited evidence that backs up the hype. There are no injections here for chicken pox though, and its quite common for mums to try and compete to make sure their child gets it out of the way as early as possible by having "chicken pox parties" in the hopes of cross infection. Weird, but true....

K-is for Kindness. The feeling you get when someone gives you a hand with your screaming baby at the checkout so you can pay without stroking out. Edinburgers are well known for being standoffish but I think I have encountered angels this year.

L- is for Lanisoh. My favourite Mummy Product of all time. Pure lanolin in a tube, thick goop. Supposed to soothe nursing mums but I use it for everything. Dry hands, nappy rash, sore-bits-on-Bears-chin-from-drool, my husbands nose when he was complaining of a cold last week. I'm like the dad from Big Fat Greek Wedding with his Windex. Except Purple-Cracked-Nipple-Cream just ain't so quote worthy.

M-is for money.  One BIG difference I definitely notice is the cost of living differences between Scotland and America. It currently costs me $93.80 to fill my small Ford with gas. That really impacts my choices on where we can go out and about, how we shop, stops the temptation to just drive round in circles to get Bearcub to nap and makes you consider all your leisure choices carefully. Being a full time stay at home mum is simply not an option for most - they are definitely an endangered species and those out there keep a low profile as they are often villified by envious peers. My lovely pal Mairi was the only one out of 27 parents in her antenatal group not back at work by the time her son was 8 months old! Flea markets are the in places to buy toys too - a recent Edinburgh nearly-new sale had a queue of 770 mums waiting to get in!

N-is for Night hours. It gets pretty dark here in the winter. This week dusk is at 3.15pm with dawn at 8am. A bit confusing if you are relying on light levels to help with routine. Summer wise its even more confusing for little babies - it doesn't get dark till midnight in June.

O-is for "Oh my word, my midwife is a psycho". Seriously. I. In Scotland you get pretty regular checks throughout pregnancy by a community midwife. Mine, Aileen, was just a loony. First, she refused to believe that she hadn't helped me have a baby before and took offence when I said Bear was my first. He is. I think I would remember.  Then she spent THREE of my appointments talking exclusively about plug in aromatherapy stones. Who knew there was so much to say? And finally, most weirdly, she took a urine sample, then without testing it, tipped it down the sink, then picked up my purse and wordlessly tucked the wet bottle into a corner of it. That was the point I decided to request someone new! And my new midwife was lovely, lovely, lovely. I do love the medical profession really.

P-is for Pushing. A recent article revealed that the British Government has decreed that us UK ladies are "too posh to push" and should all have the choice for c-sections even if not necessary. Controversial. Natural childbirth wasn't fun persay, especially since no one believed me I was in labour so I got NO pain meds (heck yes, I did it drug free. My response - just don't) but I'm really not sure that is the answer. If you aren't ready to push you probably should have considered that 9 months previously - I have discovered that physical pain is really the least of the pain you feel once you have a little person looking to you to meet every need.

S-is for Sleep. According to my health visitor British babies are ideally supposed to sleep in a basket, with feet touching the bottom, on their backs, in a sleeping bag (Gro-bag or Dream Pod depending on preferred brand) and in their parents room with them for at least the first six months. Get this - "OTHERWISE THEY WILL DIE OF SIDS (COT DEATH)" . That is a relaxing message isn't it? Don' worry, even if you do that, they probably will be at risk anyway and Meningitis could be completely symptomless for you so just be completely scared witless for the first two years and you will almost be doing enough to prevent a slow painful (but preventable if you watch out for 548 different factors at all times) death for you and your baby. Isn't that attitude nuts?  Having been completely taken aback that my nephew would be in a room on his own this trip, and considering that Brits are continuing to see their babies grow older healthily day by day  I gather that my health visitor may have been overdoing it slightly on the warnings and there are different ways of doing things.

T-is for Television. We just get the free public channels. One of these is called C Beebies and Bear and I LOVE it. Slightly concerned that sometimes I choose to watch it when he is napping....  Check out these cool shows on YouTube - "In the Night Garden", "Abadas", "Show Me Show Me" or "Something Special"  for a taster of British Baby viewing.

(in case you, like me, couldn't resist checking out youtube:

U-is for Umbrellas. I had to mention it sometime. This summer I had 6 days from May-October where we could sit outside. Six. Thats not even freaking double digits. You would think that at least that means I am spared the stress of worrying about baby sunburn. However, we are all so glow in the dark white as a result that the slightest sign of sun and we all lobster ourselves. Plus we get the replaced worry of Vitamin 

D deficiency. Just as well that Scotland is otherwise the world's best place to live. Purely on the basis of how hilarious my country men are. We had a 165mph hurricane the other week. Did we despair? No. Did we weep to the cameras as homes were destroyed and 50,000 people lost power? No. Instead we took part in online competitions to be the most blackly hilarious and post shots of the new pandas from Edinburgh zoo being blown over the castle. Seriously. With this weather that means you need 16 layers for your child every time you leave the house if you didn't laugh you would cry.

V-is for Vehicles. Not sure what the situation is in the states, but my buggy (push chair) cost more than our first two cars. It doesn't even have an engine. That would be sweet.

W-is for Weaning. The current crazy fad here is "Self led weaning" where you go straight from milk to giving baby what you are eating, with no in-between purees stage and no spoons! The idea is that if they are ready they will just teach themselves by eating a wide variety of flavours and textures and you will not only save yourself the bother of months of blending and separate baby meals, but will end up with a well rounded non-fussy eater. What seems to actually be the case is bucket loads of wasted, thrown food, mothers permanently terrified of their children choking and some very angry hungry babies! Bear and I decided to mush things for a while and then when he was ready (ie refusing all I offered him and instead eyeing my plate) I just let him explore more solid foods, filling him up with purees once he was tired. Will my child end up fussy? Probably - I am a total fussy eater so can't expect otherwise. But have we enjoyed weaning and is he healthy? Yes and yes. I'm all for fads, but give me a happy baby any day :)

Y-is for Yoga. There is a British kids programme called Waybuloo which teaches babies yoga. Freaks.


So fun to read! What surprises you? What do you find interesting? Would love to hear from you!

If you have a world-wide parenting perspective, get in touch with me - I'd love to help you share your story! moderndaydonnareed{at}gmail{dot}com.

1 comment :

  1. I'm laughing, not crying! Both posts were great, and it's amazing to hear the differences, though mums are mums the world round!


Hey! Share a thought or two - I'd love to hear from you! ~ Steph

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