Six weeks old

I can’t believe that Baby Sweetie is six weeks old already – it’s gone so incredibly fast. And she has already changed and adapted to ‘outside life’ so much. Her feeds have settled down to every three or so hours, I’m starting to learn when she needs long naps, and she has been sleeping through the night for a little while now. She’s slept through every night this week, and more nights than not the week before that. So fingers crossed she’ll stay like that now! She generally has her last feed between ten and eleven, and then falls asleep any time between straight away and an hour later. But then she has been sleeping all the way until between seven and eight, so GG and I are getting that precious chunk of sleep which makes us feel so much more human the following day! I expect that it’s been especially helpful for GG given that he’s been back at work for a week and a half now, and doesn’t really want to feel like falling asleep mid-afternoon in the office! He has joked about booking a meeting room for an hour, shutting the blinds and taking a nap, but I imagine that might be frowned upon!

Sweetie is beginning to have longer ‘happy times’ when she’s awake and ready to play and interact. She definitely recognises GG and I as well as her brothers – whenever Handsome or Cheeky walk into the room she’s immediately watching them move and wriggling excitedly if they come towards her. Which they inevitably do because they both adore her! There has been no annoyance or resentment of the baby from either of them; on the contrary she’s the only person who has ever been able to make them happily leave the computer or the TV or whatever games they’re in the middle of – if I tell them that she wants a brother, they come running to do her bidding – I wonder how long that will last!

Both Handsome and Cheeky have changed a nappy – willingly as well! I think they’re looking forward to the time when she gets solid food so that they can help out with feeding her too. They’ve been really lovely about helping out – always happy to stop what they’re doing to go and fetch something for me or do something which can’t wait. They’ve made this whole time so much easier for me, and I think both Sweetie and I look forward to them coming home from school each day!

She has rocketed from a respectable 7lbs 10.5oz to 10lbs 15oz (as of yesterday afternoon), gaining 3lbs 4.5oz in six weeks. Lengthways she is filling her 0-3 month outfits, whilst widthways she is working very hard on some very nice rolls and creases on her arms and legs! She is a strong little girl; she has been holding up her head and moving it around for some time now, and when she’s in a bad mood she has the strength to support her weight on her legs if she feels the need to stand up and shout a protest into my face!

We are gradually building a routine, starting to learn when she needs naps and at what points through the day she’ll feed. Getting her off to sleep can still be problematic – this morning she took more than an hour of grizzling to get to sleep, only had a short nap then woke up for a feed, and has since fallen asleep on my shoulder – but hopefully as we settle into a routine she’ll find it easier to fall asleep without intensive rocking, walking, singing and back-patting.

This last week we have seen her first smiles. I think the boys have had far more than their fair share, but I suppose I’ll get over it in time! It is such a joyous thing to see her smile, and I’m glad that they’ll only get more frequent as she gets older. I’m looking forward to catching one of these early smiles on camera.

The coming weeks should be good with lots to look forward to; more smiles, first giggles, greater interaction. Not to mention more predictability so that it will be easier for me to plan ahead.

Well, that’s only taken me two hours to write, with frequent breaks for feeding, winding, changing and pacing up and down the hallway! Who knew life could be so much fun!

Baby brain

You know you’re suffering with a bad case of baby brain when you’re driving along and you suffer a few moments of panic because you can’t remember what you’ve done with your car keys!

 

Must try harder

I’ve been very lazy with my blog in recent months. You see, if I have something I feel like sharing, I’ve been condensing my thoughts into one or two sentences and posting them on Facebook instead. But then, while it takes a bit longer, it’s not much harder to switch to my WordPress app on my phone and write a quick blogpost. For instance, Sweetie Baby went to bed at just after 11pm last night and is just starting to think about waking up now at 8.15am – fabulous! Sleeping like a baby all night!

Who came up with that expression – “sleeping like a baby”? Surely it would be more apt to say “sleeping like the exhausted parent of a newborn baby given half a chance”, but I suppose it doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily.

She’s just started the creaking phase of waking up, which is when she makes funny creaky noises while she stretches out and wriggles herself awake. She usually does this for a good while though before properly waking up, so this means I have anywhere between one minute and half an hour before she claims my attention – better go and be ready! 

Out and about

Since Sweetie Baby arrived, I’ve been out almost every day. I was limited with my mobility for so long, I was really keen to get out and go places as soon as possible. Now, there have been no hugely exciting trips; the majority of my outings have been to supermarkets or other big shops like IKEA or Homebase. But I felt that it was important just to get outside the house for a little while. It would be very easy for me to get into the habit of staying in the house all day, especially now the boys are old enough to take themselves to school.

However, Cardiff has changed a lot since I last had a nursing baby as my constant companion so I need to relearn the best places to go to feed and change her, as well as which places are kiddy friendly and which ones I should probably avoid until she’s at school!

I thought that I’d write posts now and again about the places I go, if only because my own memory is pretty bad at the moment and it would be good for me to have something to refer back to. And if I can help other new mothers who want to get out and about in Cardiff with their little ones, so much the better.

Easy crier

I cry so easily. I blame the kids. Before I had them I was as hard as anyone else, but now I’m a soft, tearful mess at the slightest provocation! And usually, happy events will set me off more easily than sad ones (I’m a freak!). So, Chilean miners being reunited with their families – me crying. The Scottish performers looking so happy during the handover ceremony at the Commonwealth Games – me weeping. A happy outcome in a film – that’s right, more tears. Uplifting music – I’m gone. I can’t even talk sometimes!

We used to laugh at my mother in law when, on watching some young sportsperson doing well on the TV she would say “Imagine how happy his mother is!” rather than commenting on the actual person’s performance. Now I find myself doing that as often as not, imagining how it must feel to be a family member of almost anyone featured on the television. So I don’t laugh any more!

I’m glad that I’m empathetic (yea, I said EMpathetic, thankyouverymuch!). Empathy is a good thing, and I think goes hand in hand with tolerance and understanding, which are all virtues I prize. However, I do so wish that I could find the ‘off switch’ for my tear ducts, and keep the glistening eyes for genuine times of great emotion!

Should I suggest ‘War and Peace’ for him??

Handsome, my eight year old son has taken to reading in bed. Due to the somewhat fiery nature of his younger brother, I asked Handsome if he would mind going to bed at the same time as his five year old sibling (there would be hell to pay from Cheeky if Handsome got to stay up later than him!). The compromise was that Handsome was given a reading light by his bed and is allowed to read for three quarters of an hour past their joint bedtime.

Since July, he has been reading the Harry Potter books. According to Yahoo Answers, there are 3407 pages when you add up the pages from all seven books. He finished the last book yesterday. So in approximately 180 days, he’s read an average of almost twenty pages each day. Not bad, for an eight year old.

He was looking forward to picking out a new bedtime book today. He spent some time after school choosing a book, then looked forward to it for the rest of the evening. So you can imagine his disappointment when it didn’t live up to expectations! He came into the lounge about ten minutes after he’d gone to bed, saying that the chapters were only a couple of pages long, and that he thought the whole book would only take him about as long as a ‘Harry Potter’ chapter, so could I please help him to choose another book which would take a little longer!

Bless him! I found him another book to try, but now I’m wondering whether he needs something a little meatier?! Thanks to the ‘Harry Potter’ books he’s an even more avid reader than he was before, so I don’t want him to be put off by a couple of less than enthusing books! At the moment he’s reading a treasury of boys’ stories including stories like ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, ‘Just William’, ‘Flat Stanley’ etc. When I see which stories from there he likes, I’ll be able (hopefully) to make more helpful suggestions! However, all suggestions from you guys will be more than gratefully received!

Mindful consumption, and teaching children to be thoughtful consumers

Something I meant to write about it my last post (but completely forgot, or at least got sidetracked!) is my effort to teach my children to be mindful consumers. I always seem to forget to write about WHY I do things like make jams and preserves at home, rather than take the easy and cheaper route of buying low price preserves at the supermarket.

In recent years, we as consumers have been made very much more aware of the journey that our food takes to get onto our plates. We have seen campaigners like Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall using their influence as high-profile chefs to highlight the poor conditions in which a significant number of animals are kept before being killed to produce meat for our tables. We have heard about harmful chemicals being sprayed on food crops, and have witnessed the rise in popularity of organic food.

We don’t have the space ourselves to grow more than a couple of tomato plants and a basil plant as we have only windowsills but no garden. However, the boys have enjoyed this windowsill horticulture, and are on a daily hunt for the ripening tomatoes and chilli peppers. So, as we have no garden ourselves, I’ve enjoyed taking them blackberry picking in our local park, as they get the experience of seeing food growing at first hand, and can start to appreciate the work it takes to prepare food truly from scratch rather than buying pre-made foodstuffs in the shops. It was an added bonus this afternoon when I was able to take my younger son, Cheeky, outside our flat to pick even more fruit (the elderberries) within view of our front window. We will ask around to see if anyone has any cooking apples ripening that they can spare for our jam making, and then the boys will help me to make the jam which they will love to eat on their toast, in their sandwiches and in their porridge through the coming winter.

This all fits together with my teaching them about where their sausages and roast dinners come from. Jo has been a great help in this, as my boys have been able to get to know her various livestock and realise that animals should be treated well (like royalty, in Jo’s case!) even when they are destined for the dinner table. They have also had the opportunity to learn and accept from a young age that the sausages, ham, bacon and roast gammon they both love, as well as the minced beef in Cheeky’s favourite lasagne and Handsome’s favourite cottage pie have all come from what was once a living animal. I’m doing my best to teach them to buy meat according to whether the animals have been treated well, and I’m also trying to teach them to question where their food comes from, rather than just accepting whatever arrives in front of them. They have both eaten and enjoyed meat from Jo’s pigs, even when they’ve known the pig. I’ll admit that at first, they were a little wary and squeamish of eating meat from a pig they knew and talked to, but they are very receptive to reasonable argument and so after I’d explained that there’s really no difference between eating pork from a pig you’ve known and from one you haven’t, they were both fine with it.

Well, this post has got away from me a bit, but I’ve been meaning to write all of this down for some time. Sometimes I feel like I don’t really write much about what I believe to be right. It’s much harder to express beliefs than it is to simply write down the events of the day.