Party Season Has Begun

Sadly I’m not referring to nights out for me during the festive season but something altogether much more crazy (but without the alcohol, not that the onlooker would know).

The three year old party season has begun.

When I was pregnant first time around I met two amazing ladies who I have stayed friends with ever since. We all had little girls during November and December 2008, who are also good friends too (thats when they are not arguing over bags, bangles and buggies).

On saturday it was the first of the girls birthday parties. This year we’re doing separate celebrations, the last two we did a single party for the three of them. Glutens for punishment? Umm yes. But the girls are big enough now to want their own fanfares. So we duly oblige. What better opportunity to meet up and eat lots of cake? Lets face it, for breastfeeding mamas like me, cake is as good as it gets at a party.

The host friend had decided to let the little ones draw on the wall (don’t worry she had covered it in paper before). I did wonder if this might be a recipe for disaster but it turned out the kids weren’t overly interested anyway. But we were, we mamas loved it and took the chance to show off our not so advanced drawing skills. Mine stretched to a tree and a snail – I didn’t inherit the drawing gene from my mum.

All in all the party went pretty well, despite the near meltdown with balloons. Have I mentioned before that Babe has a fear of balloons? Anyway, let’s skip the balloon popping story for another day…

Back to the party…

Then it’s home time, which went well until my friend offered the girls a balloon to go home with (momentarily forgetting the balloon fear). Poor Babe retracted and couldn’t get out the front door quick enough. At which point baby Boyo decided he too, wanted to let his sleep need be heard. Ah, they must have been so glad to be shot of the bawling baby and toddler (not to mention the near bawling mama).

So next it’s our turn, my time to play host and let the girls trash our house. Hmmm, let’s just say, I have mixed feelings about the occasion ūüėČ

The Value of a Good Midwife in Labour

For the last eight weeks I’ve been considering how to say thankyou to the midwife who helped me deliver my son at home in September. I’ve been thinking hard about the words that I could use to show my deep gratitude that would show what her assistance meant to me.

For me and many other mothers world over, giving birth is one of life’s great moments. I can firmly say that giving birth to both of my children naturally were the best days of my life. Giving birth at home tops it all. Still now, having had time to reflect, I am still in awe of that day.

The reality is, it would have never happened that way without Teresa, the experienced midwife on call for the day who guided me through it all. Awesome doesn’t quite capture how brilliant she was. I wish all midwives could be like her; experienced, relaxed, supportive and fun. I could not have ever felt more reassured during my labour.

She didn’t just take care of the physical things like checking the baby and telling me when to move into different positions, she focused a lot on the emotional things and enabled me too off load and get my head straight and focused. I always underestimated this side of labour, but now I know it makes a difference and am sure this is one of the big reasons I was able to labour quickly and smoothly (along with the calmness of being in my own home, and having self confidence and belief in my body’s ability).

The fact that by being at home, I had her full attention all of the time, made an even bigger difference. This for me is a major plus point of a homebirth.

So my message is that we should be valuing good midwifery more in society. Birth can be the most beautiful thing if you have the right environment and support.

And what a way to start a new life!

Nursery Taster for Toddler

Yesterday we attended our first nursery taster session for Babe, who starts with the free 15 hours in January. I’ve mixed feelings about this, I’ve been enjoying our extra time together but in the same vein I’ll be glad to have more one on one time with baby Boyo.

It’s a very different environment to what she’s used to, having been in childminder care or at home with me. Naturally I was apprehensive about how she would respond. Would she come out refusing never to step foot in the chaotic zoo like establishment again?

Nope, she couldn’t get enough of it. Which oddly gave me more mixed feelings – sad about my baby growing up, but ever so happy that my sometimes shy little girl was embracing the mayhem of nursery.

We arrived at the school reception to have to wait for other little people and mums, so that we could be escorted through the corridors of the school to the ‘foundation unit’. Which is basically one big play fest. There was so many different things to play with, I even saw kids rolling tyres down the bank side.

Something’s were a big hit from the start. As soon as Babe spotted the dolly and buggy and then it was relinquished from one of the other little girls, she was won over. If there is a buggy in the building she just HAS to have it. Get between her and a buggy and you’ve found yourself an enemy with fangs at the ready.

She was so taken with the little people’s toilet that we had to go twice in an hour. And finally the water play area, really sealed the deal. And that was only skimming the surface.

We have two more of these hourly sessions this week, then I think I will have had my fill of the fun house and hopefully it will leave Babe chomping at the bit and pawing at the ground in anticipation for January to come.

Nightime Changing

Some nights are meant to try us…

Boyo wakes about 2am for a feed so I lift him over from his cosleeping crib onto the side of my bed to nurse. As I wriggle around to wind him part way through the feed, I realise that Babe (my nearly three year old) who joined me in my bed a couple of hours ago refusing the toilet, has gone and released her bladder next to me in my bed.

Mind my language, but FFS! My plan was to get her to the loo during this baby feed window (just a few hours later) and she’d beaten me to it. In my defence I’d tried, and even planted her on the toilet, but she refused to pee. She was clearly keeping it back as a special surprise. The middle of the night is no time for surprises in any shape or size.

Fortunately the bed wetting mat which I’d originally bought for her, but now use under me to protect against breastmilk splurges, had caught most of the pee. Thank goodness she had her bum shoved over into my space. I’m thankful for the space invasion on this occasion.

So mid feed with a grizzly, still hungry baby I have to strip MY bed, the toddler and change.

I remained calm and got Babe back to sleep. I’d resumed the baby feed. Just in time before he lost his patience and practised his jungle holler. Then I realised I’d dripped milk all over his shoulder, so he has a change.

The fun continues…baby Boyo spits up loads of milk and soaks himself through, calling for another change.

Eventually all are asleep and I’m feeling like chocolate and writing…typing up my moan by tip tapping on my phone (at 3am on a Saturday morning). I’m so very tempted to go and gorge on the Christmas cake I’ve just baked, nom nom nom – but wilfully I resist.

This is not how I like our night feeds to go! This is not how I like the weekend to begin.

To top it off, I now have lots of washing to look forward to and am starkly reminded by the dirty dishes that still sit waiting for me in the sink.

But I’m still happy, my two babies lie either side of my contentedly asleep. And then its my turn. Zzzzzzzzzz

Getting Out The House Is Essential

If we don’t get out for at least an hour in the day, we all start getting double vision and thinking everything looks like a steak (think starved lion in the film Madegascar). But in our case we are starved of things that keep us sane. I start to believe I might never see the light of day and Babe begins to think the walls could be closing in on her.

Since hubby returned to work after his paternity leave it didn’t take me long to realise that the easiest way to cope, even with a young frequent nursing baby, is to get out the house for a while (preferably in the morning). On the days I have to wait in for parcel deliveries, all hell lets loose. By the time hubby gets home from work, I have bald patches (from pulling my hair out) and Babe has chewed the corners off the door frames, eaten the carpet and pooped in the corner of the room like a home alone puppy dog.

Many people still say I’m brave being out the house this early on in Boyo’s life. But come on, he is eight weeks old now. Plus I don’t think they appreciate what it’s like staying home all day – it is by far the harder option. Honestly, its harder work staying in the house (besides I’d rather she trashed somewhere else rather than my living room).

Getting out of the door is not the straight forward thing it used to be, which frustrates us all. And the person least able to cope with this is Babe. Her whining and general mama terrorising in the run up to leaving drives me mad. When we do eventually get out, there is such a sigh of relief. Peace at last. I can gather my self, take some deep breaths and get back to feeling mildly normal. That’s usually when I realise there is baby puke down my back or I’ve forgotten a spare nappy…grrrr!

Guess what, we have a parcel due to be delivered today so until it arrives we are house bound. I can sense it’s gonna be a tough one.

Big Sister & Baby Brotherly Love

My daughter is almost three and my son is nearly 8 weeks old, she adores him and luckily for us the novelty has not yet worn off. I’m not looking forward to the day it does (if it does). It’s hard enough keeping her our of mischief with him now, if she’s feeling resentful about his presence I dread to think.

Being so small she simply doesn’t get how fragile babies can be. She wants to show her love and get involved but sometimes it goes a bit, well wrong. Like rocking him so intensely in his rocker that any second he might bounce out and go flying across the room (ah he can fly…erm NOT). Or attempting to put hair clips in his very short downy hair and accidentally drawing blood on his forehead.

I work hard on trying to set reasonable safe limits of interaction with her baby brother to avoid resentment, but keep her from doing dangerous things that may harm him. I think generally we do OK, but the hairclip moment last week upset me. My poor little boy. Yet my poor little girl didn’t quite comprehend either. To be honest, the boy was over it in about 10 seconds, it was just me wishing that maybe I’d been firmer about not trying to put pink butterfly clips in his hair.

Largely she is brilliant though, sometimes a little over enthusiastic about caring and attending to her baby brother, but I don’t want to squash that, I do my best to redirect it the best I can.

I also work hard on helping them bond, I’m sure our tandem breastfeeding helps (if they both nurse together she might hold his hand or stroke him). I get her involved in most activities, like nappy changing (which she loves…crazy child). “Let me see the poo,” she bellows and beams with excitement. What is it with toddlers and wanting to see poo? Or is it just mine?

Today there was a delightful moment when she turned around and said “I love Boyo”. I shall cherish that forever. Almost as wonderful as two days ago when she first told me “I love you”, unprompted and totally out of the blue.

So how do your young siblings show love for one another?

The More You Do, The More You Can Do

Juggling balls

Image via Wikipedia

This is my new mantra. Mostly I love it, sometimes I hate it.

It’s true, for those people wondering how they would cope having a second child, I just want to reassure you (in the same way people did for me), that it’s amazing how you adapt. Firstly you get used to mayhem, the you learn some good lessons on how to minimise it. Sometimes you over step the mark, other times you surprise yourself. The upshot is, you become even better at multi tasking.

I’ve not yet worked out how to keep a good balance all day, in fact the shit usually hits the fan about dinner time, or just before. 4pm to be precise. The end is variable, sometimes it ends when daddy gets home, sometimes it drags on for what seems like an evening code-named ‘eternity’.

Mondays over the last few weeks have made me love and hate this phrase. The first Monday under scrutiny was pants, I was doing so well then I pushed my luck (read the full story here). Then this Monday was a different story, I felt like super mum.

In the morning I’d taken Babe to our new music movement class (Musik¬†Garten) and followed it up with a cuppa accompanied by my friend and her daughter. We caught the bus home, to have an hour before going back out to catch the train to the doctors. In this hour I had a lot to do. Make my bed (as Babe had emptied her bladder in it just before getting up), prep dinner (peel chop potatoes and veg while not forgetting to locate and thaw something remotely appetising¬†on the protein front from the freezer), feed and nappy change baby, unload the washing machine and put clothes¬†on the airer, replenish nappy change bag and get everyone ready to go out again. Phew!

The next hour was set to be the most strenuous. I had a small window of time to get off the train, hot foot it to the doctors and then pelt it back to the train. This was worsened by the outward bound train being eight minutes late. My running/fast walking with a baby on my front, pushing a toddler in a buggy up and down dale was the best work out I’ve had in a looonnngggg time (yikes how unfit I am). I just made it to the doctors in time,¬†attended the¬†appointment and even went to the chemist, before thundering it back down and back up the hill, with the final traverse up the steps to the platform for the train to roll up at the very second I got there. I kid you not, 10 seconds later and I’ve missed the train and been walking all the way¬†home in the dark at dinner time.

This is my way of living on the edge! And stupidly I felt like superwoman afterwards. I got home and put the dinner on which turned outt remarkably tasty.