Bank holiday Monday hot air balloons over Bath

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Just as I was changing baby (who kindly got me up at 5am with her poo dance), I heard the now familiar sound of the gas used to power bit air balloons, looked out the window and saw four!

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The four month sleep regression is hell in a Gro-bag

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So Friday had me in tears of stress, tiredness & frustration.

I’ve been trying to nap train baby for a week now, taking ideas from my sister-in-law A and biological sister N. The first nap of the day is about an hour after baby has woken up, so when we come downstairs I pop her almost straight in the sling whilst I make lunches for my partner and I. He has awful IBS and his stomach reacts badly to fat, and I’m still trying to lose the rest of my baby weight, so it’s very healthy: wholegrain rice salad with cottage cheese, and low fat yoghurt with strawberries, blueberries & honey. He also has Herbalife shakes so if I remember I make one of those up for him too (they’re great, by the way – for losing weight or just to have in the cupboard as a good snack, with soy milk). I also do the washing up from the night before, because that’s how we roll! Anyways I pop on a white noise app on my phone, playing through a little bluetooth speaker I got (Divoom Bluetooth Bean – tiny, very portable, great sound, cheap!) and bounce around the kitchen making shushing noises until she drops off for a while.

Then around 1 hour 1/2 to two hours later I start the next nap – into the car seat on the travel system chassis (age hates the pram), with a blanket, muslin, favourite dragon toy & white noise on the speaker again, and I sing my favourite song to her, ‘The Temptation Of Adam’ by Josh Ritter, and push over the rugs in the dining room which provide a soporific bump. The record is ten minutes to go to sleep, she’s definitely getting trained to the white noise!

However on Friday, baby wouldn’t nap. Possibly she was picking up on bad vibes because I was upset with my partner having argued about me not doing enough in our relationship, and around the house, and I’d text him but he was ignoring me & I was getting more & more upset. And baby got more & more upset, as she got progressively more shattered.

I tried every one of our usual techniques twice: pushing in the buggy, breastfeeding on a cushion, bouncing in my arms, breastfeeding & cuddling on the bed, but she kept arching her back, crying, looking at me as if to say, ‘make it better mummy!’ I guessed her reflux must have been bad too, and breastfeeding to sleep can be problematic when you’ve filled them up but they’re still not sleepy, as it just come back up, overflowing, and upsets them.

After three hours of this, I called my partner in tears & asked him to come home & help. He works ten minutes’ walk up the road so fortunately he came back, to find I’d temporarily distracted baby with a YouTube animation of black & white butterflies, but as soon as he took her, the screaming started again. However his presence must have had a calming effect on one or other of us, as after ten minutes I got her to have a boob suck & a snooze, thank god. I thought it wouldn’t get that bad again.

My partner and I talked it through, and worked out our differences. And last night was supposed to be a nice adult night – he was going to make a pizza from scratch (he’s an excellent cook) and I’d help. However baby had different ideas, of course!

I usually feed baby to sleep on a pillow, sat on the bed, with her moses basket beside me, and when she’s fast asleep I transfer her to her bed. I usually feed one side then the other, partially to fill her up and partially as one nipple is more pronounced and she has a habit of keeping it in her mouth, sucked in, and I can’t remove it without waking her, whereas the other is still flat & needs work to keep it pulled out, so when she’s falling asleep it’s easier to remove. Last night she was dropping off when I switched sides but as soon as I offered her the other nipple she seemed to wake up – very unusual. She was looking up at me with her huge blue eyes & chatting at me, being totally adorable, which was very endearing for a while. However, she wouldn’t drift off, she kept looking at me & wouldn’t go back to feeding, and eventually started getting cranky & being sick, which must have hurt her throat, so I had to hold her upright & walk her around, rocking & patting, but still no sleep. She was totally fighting it, she had her dazed stare on when she was quiet & was screaming the house down the rest of the time.

After 1 hour 1/2 of failure my partner brought me up homemade cheesey garlic bread, which helped morales. After 2 & 1/2 hours, 2 poos, and reflux on 3 onesies & two Gro-bags I admitted defeat, my partner made the pizza (it was amazing), and I managed to placate baby into having a soothing, sleep-inducing boob in front of the TV, (white noise still on) whilst I had a well-deserved glass of red. Then when she was finally asleep I transfered her upstairs to her own bed (she didn’t even wake up) and crashed out myself. Happy bank holiday!!

Baby walk: Royal Victoria Park

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I went up here for the first time earlier during the week, and the half hour walk uphill is very well rewarded with this magnificent view!

It’s really amazing. This pic has a tilt-shift effect on it (among others) which is something obsessed by; it’s a physical effect originally used by architects I think, with mirrors in a special camera. Now a simulation of it comes with the camera app I use, Vignette. I highly recommend it if you’re into photography & love experimenting, it’s extremely customisable & there’s an incredible amount of options.

Anyways so my partner & I made it up there with baby who slept for the journeys there & back, and had a bit of a roll around on the rug under a tree with us, and a feed. A young guy sat unnecessarily close to us whilst I was feeding baby which made me feel a bit uncomfortable, but I guess he didn’t even notice what I was doing!

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Lessons learned in motherhood

IMG_0003So it’s been four months since our little girl was born, and it’s been a very intense time – such a steep learning curve but so rewarding. I feel like a totally different person to the one I was a year ago!

So inspired by learnermama.com here are ten lessons I’ve learned in motherhood:

1. I can survive on much less sleep than I thought. Okay so I’m not my brightest or nicest, but I’m awake and functional.

2. Breastfed baby poo can be bright orange. Like Tango or Sunny Delight, but the consistency of double cream, with seedy-looking bits in it. Delicious.

3. Breastfeeding can be enormously difficult & painful to begin with. But it gets better before you know it, and it’s so worth it. Support from those around you is invaluable – I couldn’t have got through it without my wonderful partner.

4. You will have lots of opinions & plans on how babies should be raised, then when you’ve got one, half of that will go out the window in favour of something easier. 

5. Babies are hilarious. From the sleep farting to the squeaky noises & cute concerned faces, she cracks me up every day.

6. White noise apps are ace. Both for helping baby to sleep & drowning out the partner’s snoring when you’ve just got baby to sleep at 4am.

7. Slings are ace. I would never get anything done around the house if I didn’t carry my little one with me, as she’s not really into napping anywhere other than on me or on the move.

8. Babies change & learn new skills incredibly fast. I guess I knew this already in theory, but seeing it in practice is astounding. One month ago her head bobbled around, today she can hold it straight & grab toys & bring them to her mouth. Which leads me onto…

9. Babies can drool an incredible amount, and want to put everything in their mouth. It’s kind of cute, although not when she’s trying to eat my flip flops and has soaked through her dribble bib & given herself a neck rash.

10. The love I feel for my little girl is bigger than anything I could ever have imagined. She’s my princess, my star, my wonderful little puke-a-saurus, and I can’t believe how empty my life was before her (sorry cats!).

 

Learnermama

USA has a Birthmothers day? As an adoptee I’m not convinced

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I came across this article & was very surprised to learn of birthmothers day in the USA, being the day before mothers day.

I was adopted. It was arranged before my birth. In fact the woman who gave me up for adoption gave up two other children before me, too. We all have the same biological father but they had an on-off relationship. I believe he didn’t even know I existed until a while after I was born.

What she did is courageous, and I will forever be in her debt; it can’t have been easy and I know her family were not supportive. I think in middle age she’s only recently been coming to terms with what happened now, especially as she did not go on to have any children of her own.

I’ve only met her once, so I cannot claim to know her, but she seems a lovely, intelligent, sensitive & thoughtful woman whose life can’t have been how she planned it.

She’s sent myself & my baby presents & they’ve all been perfect: the first thing she ever sent me was an Imelda May album & a knitted rose broach; how someone who’d never met me could chose 2 presents so perfect is testament to her thoughtfulness and I guess how similar I must be to her.

I find the idea of a Birthmothers day patronising. I think if I were in that situation I would not see it as a thing to be celebrated – I seriously doubt giving up a child gives anyone any joy. I understand that the point is to vindicate birthmothers in a way similar to how standard mothers are, but they’re not the same. It’s something to deal with, and move on, and hopefully have a relationship with your adopted child in its own right. Not as a mother, but as something else, it’s difficult to verbalise.
I don’t know what my biological mother would think of this, if she knows about it. And I’m not going to ask. However the article did make me think of her, and send her an email with photos of baby so I guess something good came out of it.

What’s the deal with No More Page 3?

I’m not particularly a feminist, but I do agree that Page 3 should go – it’s just not respectful & I agree that it reinforces gender stereotypes. Not to mention giving girls an image of what their breasts should look like; and that’s not fair as usually men aren’t very fussy and are happy with whatever they’re allowed! I’m not against porn, I think it has its place – on the top shelf – and Page 3 belongs there with it.

Lisa on duty, campaigned for the No More Page 3 cause Lisa on duty, campaigning for the No More Page 3 cause

We’ve all been there – you’re just trying to have a quiet read of the newspaper when you turn the page and suddenly, you’re faced with a picture of a woman with her boobs out.  Or worse, when you’re not even reading the paper, but the person next to you on the bus is, and you can’t help but notice the topless woman glaring at you from the page. It’s slightly distracting, usually embarrassing and arguably, completely undermining for females across the country.

The fact that Page 3 still exists in The Sun might sound like a bit of a bad joke, or maybe even a bit of harmless fun.  But the team behind the No More Page 3 campaign aren’t laughing (and neither are the 191,700 people who have already signed the petition or their 28,600 Twitter followers).  We spoke to one…

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No Buggy Fit today – Wonder Weeks leap 4 & reflux

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Baby has never been that keen on the pram attachment for the travel system – I think mainly because she’s a nosy & slightly clingy baby & likes to see her surroundings and us, but recently I think her reflux has played a part too. Today, and last Thursday, there’s been enough rain to mean taking her out, as usual, in the car seat bit hasn’t been an option (it has a sun shield but there’s no way of protecting it from the wet). Each time when I’ve put her in it, she’s screamed blue murder pretty much immediately! Poor little thing.

I’ve been following the Wonder Weeks app – from the bestselling book by Dutch child psychologist Frans X. Plooij. The idea is that, in addition to the growth spurts your baby’s body goes through, her mind also has growth spurts, which he calls ‘leaps’. These result in a more clingy, crying & cranky baby as she adapts to her new understanding of the world. So far his timings have been spot on for us. It’s very interesting stuff.

It’s not even bloody raining right now… But she’s having a comfort feed & snooze to recover from a tough morning of puking & crying. It’s not easy being a baby!

Second child syndrome AKA Instagram baby

Adorable poem!

Hurrah For Gin

Instagram Baby
(An ode to subsequent children)

You’re an Instagram baby, he was DSLR;
There are times when you’re not properly strapped in the car.

We binned all the books that suggested routines,
And we ditched the organic and fed you baked beans.

You’re wearing your brother’s shoes, I’m not sure if they fit,
And your white cotton vests are stained with his sh*t.

I may take twice as long to respond when you cry,
But I’m much less inclined to worry you’ll die.

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Yarnbombing in Bath – crochet roses for Bath Fashion Week’s charity Kids Company

ImageI’m disappointed I only just heard about this on the news this morning, but in aid of Bath Fashion Week’s chosen charity, Kid’s Company, the town is being yarnbombed with crochet roses. The Bath Fashion Week’s page describes it as ” Yarnbombing, graffiti with wool is an urban art that humanises public spaces. It’s an interaction between materials and places and at its heart lies an intention to awaken people to their surroundings often injecting humour into everyday objects. It’s an old craft with a contemporary twist.”

Workshops have been held for weeks in the premises of sponsors The Porter, Carluccio’s & The Royal Crescent Hotel, with yarn & crochet hooks provided free of charge by organiser Emma Leith. For every rose created, IT company Cloud Direct will donate 10p to Kids Company, who reach out to abused & vulnerable children. According to the Bath Chronicle, they ‘must have over 2,000 roses’.

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Bath Chronicle article
Bath Fashion Week page
Kids Company