School leaver inoculations, first words, and why babies never really grow up…

Today I took Bee for her school leaver inoculations.

Bee was one of the first group of babies to get the Red Book, formally known as the Personal Child Health Record, and as you can see, being a child myself at the time, I decorated Bee’s with stickers:

Personal child health record red book

While we sat waiting our turn amongst the other anxious looking teens, doing their best to appear cool and not-anxious-at-all, we had a look through the Red Book, to see what Bee had been up to 15 years ago. Tucked inside the front cover we found a summary of the birth, containing the following interesting facts:

  • Infant: Live birth (reassuring)
  • DOB: 30-JUL-1995  06.23
  • Birth weight: 2920g
  • Blood loss: 150ml (seriously? I’m sure it was more than that…)
  • Perineum: Ist degree tear (ouch)
  • Follow up care – contraception: ‘reluctant to discuss as other people present’ (some might say I should have been less ‘reluctant to discuss’ nine months previously).

Feeling slightly squeamish, we flicked through to the ‘Development’ pages, to find that Bee was smiling at four weeks, sleeping through the night from six weeks (my laid-back parenting style, obviously…), and that at 13 weeks we sat her on a potty for the first time (clearly we must have thought that would be funny), where she apparently ‘performed many bodily functions’. Come on, I was 17, potty humour was funny.

The Red Book also reminded me of Bee’s first word – Girl.

She had a red girl from a set of chunky Duplo that fitted nicely in her chubby hand and which she absolutely adored. Girl came everywhere with us and we lived in permanent fear of Girl going missing. This is Bee and Girl just having enjoyed a play in a pub garden:

Eventually we were called in to see the nurse and before Bee had barely had time to strip off her many layers of black, she’d been jabbed and told to get dressed again.

Despite a pained look, she was very brave, and didn’t cry at all, and so was given a chocolate button as a reward. I asked the nurse to write it in the book so we would always know what a brave girl she had been:

child red book

It says ‘Very good (choc button)’.

She may be a school leaver, but she’ll always be my baby.



  1. 1 March, 2011 / 5:48 pm

    Oh this is so lovely. I must hunt my red book to see what memories it brings back.

    It’s my boy’s 15th birthday today – we had a birthday tea with cake, Cadbury’s animals, Fox’s Party Rings and Pom-bears – cos I’m a soppy old sod like you!

    • 1 March, 2011 / 5:51 pm

      Ahh! That sounds like a lovely party tea :-)

      I let Bee have a Harvest Chewy Bar when she got home too. I’m pretty sure I will never grow out of liking cheese and pineapple on sticks and pink wafer biscuits.

  2. Korhomme
    1 March, 2011 / 5:56 pm

    I thought all kids first word was “no”.

    • 2 March, 2011 / 9:18 am

      Not Bee. She was always very compliant.

  3. 1 March, 2011 / 6:31 pm

    Oh sweet. We’ve lost a couple of red books unfortunately and I live in hope we’ll find them one day.
    What a brave Bee!

    • 2 March, 2011 / 9:19 am

      Oh no! They aren’t terribly useful to be honest. I’m pretty sure by the time it got round to Belle I didn’t fill in any of the first words bits or anything like that. (Don’t tell her…)

  4. Sandra Tanner
    1 March, 2011 / 7:28 pm

    Blimey, what innoculations do they need at 15? I thought we’d left all those decisions behind in preschool?

    Great blog!

    • 2 March, 2011 / 9:18 am

      Apparently it is ‘tetanus, polio and low dose diptheria’ – so there you go!

      As you go tell my the fact that I just had to look that up I put a lot of thought into it before hand.

  5. 1 March, 2011 / 9:09 pm

    Sure Bee will hate random strangers saying it but: CUTE! X

    • 2 March, 2011 / 9:16 am

      She IS Cute :-)

      I think she will like it as a change from me being all devil may care about my parenting.

  6. Vicky
    1 March, 2011 / 9:52 pm

    Bee is a very brave girl – give her a big hug from me.

    On the subject of the baby book, can anyone tell me why Ashley (who was born in 2002 if that makes a difference) has a blue book? I never thought to ask why everyone else has a red one..

    • 2 March, 2011 / 9:16 am

      I have no idea. Did boys get a different colour one??

      Or maybe they give blues ones to the mums who look like trouble makers as a secret coded warning to health visitors?

  7. 2 March, 2011 / 4:24 am

    I love the stickers. I think having a child will reawaken my obsession for collecting them.

    • 2 March, 2011 / 9:15 am

      The great thing about having a child so young was that I never had to give anything like that up in the first place, I could just pretend it was ‘for the kids’…

  8. Vicky
    2 March, 2011 / 9:19 am

    Yeah, that’s what I was thinking! Xxx

    • 2 March, 2011 / 9:25 am

      I should be working, but I am actually trying to find out now… (sad)

      Apparently they have Blue Books in Australia, but that’s not helpful.

  9. Nick
    2 March, 2011 / 9:39 am

    … many layers of black – is the sweet baby now a goth?

    • 2 March, 2011 / 9:48 am

      I don’t think they DO goth anymore Nick, I think it’s EMO now… (tries and fails to keep finger on pulse).

      It was actually her school uniform – black jumper, black blazer – but I wanted to give a gothy impression :-)

      • Nick Cater
        2 March, 2011 / 11:35 am

        Goths, emo, punk or pop princess … and what were you Jo, back in the day?

        • 7 March, 2011 / 7:12 pm

          I was proper grunge – dressed in clothes from the ‘fill a bag for 50p’ basket in the charity shop. I am a ‘I remember where I was when I heard Kurt Cobain was dead’ kind of girl :-)

  10. 3 March, 2011 / 11:13 am

    Ah what lovely memories! Always nice to be reminded of a perineum tear isn’t it!!
    M has a red book, but I am keeping a baby journal, although am forever forgetting to write in it (always seems to be something more important to do!). Having read this though has made me dig it out and do some writing so thanks!

    Emma x

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