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Posts Tagged ‘babies’

First of all I have to ask. Which one of you has cursed my house? Because, as is fast becoming an almost weekly occurance in our family, we have been struck down by the illness fairy once again. And by ‘we’ I mean ‘me’. A throat infection, a low-grade fever and the weak-and-wobblies have meant Kai has once again had to be subjected to the bare minimum of parenting and opened the doors to my usual guilt-ridden worries that I am not doing ENOUGH.

Why is it a few days of feeling under the weather causes me to doubt every single one of my parenting choices, life choices and pretty much every other aspect of my self in one fell swoop? All I have been able to do this last couple of days is curl up in a ball on the sofa and moan faintly while Kai looked on bemused and tried to feed me various bits of half-eaten rice cake that he had squirrelled away in his toy box.

The killing blow (and ultimate salvation) came in the form of The Mom Blog. Not mine but other moms’. You see I’m fairly new to the world of blogging and although I didn’t think for a second my contributions to the bloggosphere were in any way different or special, I hadn’t quite realised just what a teeny tiny insignificant speck I was in the vast universe of the Mommy Bloggers until I started looking. There’s frickin millions of them. Which isn’t in itself a bad thing, until I started reading and found that the vast majority of the ones I came across were very obviously the work of neat, ordered self-congratulatory, self-important, taking-everything-far-too-seriously SUPERMOMS.

And reading them I was suddenly left feeling very small, very immature, very incompetent and completely unqualified to be a mother (or a blogger).

Because I am NOT, in any way, shape, or form a supermom. Not even close.

For starters I do not bake. I am in fact a dreadful cook. I have never made home-made soup or pasta sauce. My son often eats frozen fishfingers and ravioli from a can. My crowning culinary achievement lately was to mash pre-bought roast potatoes with a fork and grill them with sprinkled spring onion and cheese (was yum though). My cupboards contain tinned mince and dry spaghetti.  I don’t know what a ‘caper’ is. I don’t frequent deli’s, or buy organic unless it’s on sale (because I’m broke). I often eat chocolate for breakfast. Or biscuits.

I do not own a shining stainless-steel bedecked kitchen in which I wear an apron or from which waft the delightful smells of cookie dough or roast dinners. My kitchen is in fact this:

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Two square metres of cramped appliances and this morning’s washing up all of which smells of catfood and damp and may or may not have previously undiscovered forms of life making a cosy home behind the fridge.

I do not pray with my child, or at my child, or about my child (preferring to talk to said child himself, and my husband, and other REAL people when I have a problem). I do not attend a bible study group, or go to church, unless you count the very excellent church-run playgroup I attend but even then I have a tendency to mysteriously disappear when they start with the inevitable baby Jesus songs.

I do not have a ‘good’ child. He does not sleep on demand or without assistance. He is, I fear, a very long way from ‘sleeping through the night’. He is often lively, noisy, demanding and extremely separation-sensitive. If you are male and not in his immediate family you WILL make him scream just by looking at him. He probably watches too much tv. When tired, frustrated or over excited he bites and scratches. He is not particularly fond of vegetables.

My (mostly second hand) clothes don’t fit well and are not particular fashionable. I don’t have a personal style or have a skincare regime. I prefer to buy groceries than pay for expensive hair styles so my hair leaves rather a lot to be desired. If you were being kind you would call it ‘tousselled’.  I don’t own a single pair of heels (given my tendency to fall down even when wearing flats) but do own several pairs of well-loved trainers. I have yet to figure out how to make it through the day without getting covered in food, sick, poo or wee. I could count on one hand the number of times I have worn make-up in the last year.

I am not the social epi-centre of a trendy group of friends. I tend to be the one sitting in the corner looking tired, dishevelled, and coming across a little weird. I either talk too much or not at all. I laugh too loud, have a tendency to mix my words up and the awful habit of not finishing my sentences. In the last twelve months I have had two evenings out without the baby. Neither of which involved drinking cocktails or dancing. Both of which involved knitting and drinking tea at my best friend’s house 100 metres away.

I am not a measured oasis of calm. I do not bend in the wind. I have a tendency to be selfish and resentful. I frequently neglect my husband in favour of a little extra stolen ‘me’ time. I often fall apart, have meltdowns, cry, scream and then hurriedly put myself back together again before anyone notices.

I swear too much.

So no. Definitely not a supermom.

So bombarded as I was with tales of bible camp, and bake sales, and endless photos of shining, clean, perfect babies (who I’m positive slept like angels, the little sh*ts) and their shining, clean, perfect moms, I was left feeling pretty much like crap.

And there I probably would have stayed. Feeling like crap. Except thankfully I didn’t. Because I kept looking and I kept reading. And hidden in amongst the endless drivel I found my salvation.

Other not-supermoms. Yep. Thank the sweet Lord.

Other moms that swear and struggle and take the piss out of themselves and their lives and laugh at everything (that kind of slightly hysterical laughter that sounds a little like sobbing). Who have equally grubby, wild children and equally grubby, unkempt houses. Who choose blogging over housework and say that if you’re child is playing happily it’s perfectly acceptable to steal a little extra writing time.

I love these moms. Suddenly, being given free reign to eavesdrop on their lives and their mistakes and their mini-meltdowns, I felt sane again. It was ok to not be perfect. In fact, it was pretty cool. For all their shortcomings these moms were obviously intelligent, accomplished, successful, witty, and despite all their self-deprecation, completely and utterly awesome mommies.

I was happy to be in their camp. Well, happy to in the anonymous periphery of their camp. If I can ever manage to be even half as good a writer, comedian, social commentator or creative free-spirit as most of these women I will consider myself to have done very well indeed.

Screw you supermoms.

So here it is, for your enjoyment: my honour blogroll of the moment. Thank you ladies for restoring my sanity and giving me some much needed reassurance this week. For telling me it’s ok to find motherhood impossibly hard and ok not to take it all too seriously.

Not Drowning, Mothering

Naptime Writing

Bad Mommy Moments

I love you. Please keep writing.

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 So where was I? Oh yes, my contractions had stopped and started again. I had lost all hope of EVER having the baby and was sobbing for my mum, whilst simultaneously, in the future, I was sat eating Orios and watching something crappy on tv, while trying to ignore the incessant whining noise at my feet (i.e. the baby that, surprise surprise, DID come out in the end). So on we plod…

July 7th 6pm

Flashback: After pouring my heart out to my mum over the phone we decide to up camp and head off to chez Whitney-Cooper for some much needed TLC and a bath as ours is gnome sized and rather uncomfortable for those that are dimensionally challenged. We throw the labour bag in the boot just in case but I am seriously beginning to doubt that this baby will EVER be born. I’m serious. Maybe I just haven’t got it in me? Maybe my body just doesn’t know what to do and I’l be pregnant FOREVER? Ok, at least until they induce me/slice me open, neither of which I particularly fancy. Or worse – maybe I’ll just carry on having these (increasingly painful) contractions every five minutes for days and days and no-one will do ANYTHING?! (except tell me to have an early night and take some paracetamol).

We arrive at mum’s and I instantly feel a bit better. Mum runs me a bath, lights some candles, makes me a cup of tea and I have a long soak. I have to keep shifting position when a contraction comes though as lying on my back when one comes seems to amplify the pain by about a million. Ant sits on the loo and makes me laugh despite the pain and suddenly the world is all ok again. Did I ever mention I was a bit changeable in the mood department?

We make a deal. No more timing contractions. Well, me anyway. I had religiously recorded every one; doing nothing short of making a graph to plot their regularity (or lack of it). Time to relax a bit Josie. Time to recognise that maybe YOU’RE NOT IN CONTROL THIS TIME. I know. Shocker. And you never know maybe removing the giant stick up your butt might make room for the baby. Ant will surreptitiously keep track, but me, well I was just going to concentrate on riding this pain.

Because bloody hell. It’s hurting now. Hurting too much to stay in the bath. Hurting too much to do ANYTHING in fact although it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep still through out it all. I have an overwhelming urge to walk and change position and grind my hips in a kind of weird pregnant lady hula. Do you know what, I think I WILL have some paracetamol now…

So I walk, and lean, and contract, and do the hula. Shouting out “here comes another one” just as Ant mutters under his breath “any second now…”.

Is it just me or are they getting closer together?

Flashforward: I wipe up Kai after his tea. He has some pasta in his belly button (and, incidently on his hair/ears/neck/dad/cat – it was pasta bolognaise so our front room looked like something out of Saw 3) and it occurs to me… this is where he was attached to me. For nine whole months. And my belly button; that is where I was attached to MY mum. And so on, down the centuries in one glorious genetic chain of belly buttons. Every one before me a mother, everyone before me going through that same terrifying and wonderful experience of giving birth to another human being. Wow. I feel kind of special. I also can’t believe I’m having profound thoughts about belly buttons…

 

9.00pm

Flashback: Everything’s getting a bit blurry now. Pain seems to dance in front of my eyes and I realise I’m beginning to pant and groan more and more. My pacing and my hula hula dance is becoming more vigorous and rhythmic as I ride each new wave. Where on earth is that mooing noise coming from? Oh wait, it’s me.

I’m vaguely aware of mum and Ant whispering in the kitchen and periodically poking their head round the corner to ask if I’m doing ok. “I’m fine” I keep saying. “Stop talking to me” is what I’m thinking, just let me walk and moo in peace. At some point, they come to me and tell me that my contractions have been every four minutes for a while – maybe we should phone the hospital now? I nod and a quick phone call later and Ant is steering me into the car.

Time to go.

Flashforward: Kai is asleep for now and I sit surveying the twenty miscellaneous pieces of plastic and metal that should, with proper assembly (BY AN ADULT stresses the instructions – thanks for that) turn into Kai’s birthday Tricycle. I screw bits together, unscrew them again and turn them round, and screw them back together again.

At least making a baby didn’t require self assembly and an allen key. I have a feeling Kai wouldn’t have been half so well put together.

 

9.45pm

Flashback: We arrive at the hospital. Four minutes had turned into every three in the car (why why WHY did you have to live on a private estate with SPEEDBUMPS mother??! Did you not know that your heavily pregnant daughter would be contracting over every single one??). We park in a ‘do not park here’ zone and display my pre-prepared “Wife is in Labour” sign (no, I know what you’re thinking – it didn’t have an accompanying drawing or was laminated, I’m not THAT bad…).

The walk up to the ward seems to go on for miles but I’m determined to walk it. Stopping, SITTING, seems unthinkable. I just have to move move move. Finally we’re there. A bored looking midwife shows me into my room. MY room. The room on the midwife-led unit I had been so adamant to have, with it’s homely decorating and bean bags and Anne Geddes’ pictures on the wall. The room that I didn’t give two hoots about once I finally got there. It could have been a dingy back alley in the East End for all I cared as long as it had some gas and air.

At last some pain relief!!! Oh sweet Jesus thank you!  “You make yourself comfy dear” she tells me, “You’ve got a while to go yet”. Great.

Ant contemplates going back to the car for the bags but the midwife has disappeared and he doesn’t want to leave me, and pretty soon they’re forgotten. Relegated to the boot, my refreshing face spray and the rest about as useful in the end as that paracetamol I’d taken an hour ago.

The midwife finally arrives to examine me and to her surprise, and mine, I’m 8cm dilated. She tells me I’m nearly there but I don’t really hear her. I’m away on my gas trip. The room fades away and all that is left is my teeth on that cold, hard mouthpiece and the sound of mask as I breathe in and out, timing my gasps to take the edge off the peak of the contractions, coming fast and strong. I’m aware of Ant’s constant, calm reassurance, holding me through everyone but everything else just becomes a jumble of vague sound and light. I don’t think I’m even particularly conscious of the fact that my baby is coming. There is only this pain. This moment. All I can do is hold on.

Flashforward: I’m STILL building that frickin trike…

 

11.30pm

Flashback: At least I think it’s about that time, I’m having to rely on others’ memories now. I am pushing. The pressure has built to peak and now I’m pushing and pushing. My waters have finally popped with one huge gush. I moan and cry and shout and I don’t care. Even when that stupid cow of a midwife tells me I’m making too much noise I don’t care. Shut up b*tch I’m having a baby for Frick’s sake – just do your job and I’ll do mine.  After an eternity I begin to feel something slowly move down and push hard against me with each contraction, and finally, Kai’s head begins to crown. It is physically and mentally the most unbelievably hard thing I have ever done. What on earth was I thinking? Having a baby? Was I MAD? “I’m NEVER doing this again” I cry vehemently between contractions. Gas and Air is forgotten now, I need every bit of my concentration just to bear down and push. PUSH! With every contraction I push and push some more. Push so hard I think my back will break and my eyes pop out. Weirdly it’s not pain I’m conscious of. Just the sheer effort and physical endurance with the hot, burning feeling that only a 7 and a half pound babies head forcing it’s way through a MUCH smaller opening can produce. “Push!” Ant and the Midwife kept telling me “PUSH! You’re nearly there!”

Flashforward: I sit holding the small, hot form of my sleeping child. My head pounding and my body about ready to drop after nearly an hour of trying to get Kai back to sleep after his inevitable wake-up. Once again it is a mystery why he has woken up. Once again it is a mystery why he has so much trouble falling back to sleep again. It’s been a long day. It’s been a long year. A year of delight and joy and fun and laughter and more love and happiness than I ever thought possible. But also a year of incredible anxiety, and stress and frustration and sheer physical effort coupled with unbelievably little sleep.

The labour was the easy part, in hindsight.

But no matter what I said, I WOULD do it all again. A million times over for just one touch of my beautiful, precious boy. And not just the labour. Every broken night, every hour spent walking and rocking and feeding and coaxing Kai into some kind of sleep. Every minute of despair and hopelessness and doubt. I’d do it all. Naked. Covered in Bees (if only because it all seems to have gotten rather serious all of a sudden).

Because he is totally, irrefutably, worth it.

I gently lower him into his cot. He sighs and rolls over but thankfully is soon sleeping deeply again. Thank god for that.

 

July 8th 12.10am

Flashback: With one last almighty PUSH! I finally feel a release as Kai’s head comes out, pushing out the shoulders, and finally, with one long, glorious, blissful gush, the rest of him. He is lifted, red and crying and slippery and the most beautiful perfect sight I have ever seen, straight on to my chest where I hold him close and sob and laugh, looking up at Ant in relief and joy and surprise. My boy is here. My Kai.

I did it.

Flashforward: I roll over, away from the clock at which I have been staring, waiting, remembering. I listen to Kai’s breathing, slow and deep and peaceful. I close my eyes.

Happy Birthday Little Bear x

Two Hours Old

Two Hours Old

One Year Old Today!

One Year Old Today!

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7.00am

Flashback: I have been lying awake for two hours. Rather considerably bigger and fatter yet rather considerably less the woman I am today (in more ways than one). 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant. The size of an average sized whale (which I don’t know the dimensions of for sure but I imagine is rather large). No longer able to put on my own socks without assistance, or roll over in bed without making unattractive grunting noises and taking ten minutes to rearrange my huge nest of various shaped pillows. I have probably just hauled myself back in bed from taking my 32nd trip to the toilet of the night. I am lying here wondering if this squeezing sensation in my pelvis is the real deal and not another cruel bout of false contractions. Well they’ve been every 15 minutes like clockwork and if I had to describe the pain I would probably be using the word ‘wave’. Ooomph there’s another one. No, this is definitely different. Ow. Maybe I should wake Ant…

Flashforward: I sit and watch Kai smearing his hair with banana and laughing hysterically at the ceiling. I love you my odd child. How incredibly blissfully restful boring and empty my life must have been before you.

7.30am

Flashback:I wake up Ant and tell him that, although I don’t want him to panic, I think this may be it. He jumps up gleefully to phone work and tell them he’s not coming in today. Dosser – any excuse for a day off is a cause for celebration in Ant’s eyes. Haha enjoy it my dear, it’s the last ‘day off’ you’re going to get for a while. Say about 18 years.

Flashforward:I emerge from the shower to find Ant holding Kai like an unexploded bomb. “He smells”, declares Ant when asked what is wrong. Yes I imagine he probably does smell since he has just evacuated about a week’s worth of poo from his behind. Thank you for bringing this to my attention honey. Here, you pin him down/distract him by putting things on your head and  and I’ll try and clean him up quick before he  crawls off and covers himself/the bed/me in excrement. I suddenly fear I may have got the short end of the straw, or the messy end anyway. Do you remember when we used to have romantic long lie-ins and DIDN”T know what it felt like to be up to your arms in crap? No, neither do I.

11am

Flashback:Contractions coming good and regular now, 5-6 minutes apart and strong enough to take my full attention. It hurts but weirdly I find myself quite enjoying it all! When not breathing and rolling about on my birthing ball (which, I’ve decided is just a space hopper without the handles and the weird face – could have saved some money there, we have one in the loft), I dutifully consult the LABOUR section of my Pregnancy File, a self-compiled recepticle of knoweldge, complete with different coloured index tabs headed in my best writing. I had been pregnant for nine long months and I had been determined to be prepared. Notes had been made, checklists written. In different coloured pens and with drawings and everything.

Breathing. Check. Moving About and Staying Upright. Check.

In between contractions I also unpack and repack my hospital bag that has been sat ready for at least a month so is slightly dusty, checking on the essential items carefully planned and packed in advance.

Cooling face spray. Check. MP3 player with pre-prepared playlist of labour songs. Check. Snacks for Ant. Massage Oil. Check Check.

I phone the labour ward and they tell me I’m doing great, that that if I feel ok to keep going at home to do so, and phone again when I get to 4-5 minutes contractions. No problem Midwife lady! I’m fine! Ok it hurts a bit but I’ve been waiting for this moment for nine long months and god dammit I’m going to do it well – all is under control. I have my file!! Over-achiever? Me? Nooo…. but if I was then I would DEFINITELY get an A+.

Flashforward: Me and my best friend Helen buy the biggest chocolate cake we can find to take to our Breastfeeding Support Group to celebrate the birthday of our boys (who were born on the same day) and a whole year of successful breastfeeding despite many difficulties along the way. We feel this is extra symbolic in that chocolate is probably the only thing to have kept us both alive this last year and able to keep up with the demands of our respective milk monsters.

3.00pm

Flashback:Ok, this is REALLY hurting now. Ow. I lie bent over my footstool with a hot water balanced on my back and watch Bill Bailey DVDs to take my mind of things but it’s getting kind of hard to stay serene and calm. My breathing is getting kind of huffy. I may be starting to moan a little. I dutifully make a note of every contraction and am getting a bit discouraged to see that they’re STILL 5-6 minutes apart, shouldn’t they be getting closer together by now?

We take a walk, pausing every 5-6 minutes for my to clutch Ant and sway and do my moany sound. Poor neighbours, I must be quite a sight. It rains and we get completely drenched and decide to go home.

I’m a bit fed up now. And I think Ant is getting bored. Look he’s given up rubbing my back to go play Football Manager…

Flashforward: Me and Kai snuggle up for nap. His head is pushed as far into my armpit as he can make it go. I look at the size of that head. Bloody hell that’s a big head. I try not to think about where that head forcibly appeared a bit later, exactly one year ago. It certainly wasn’t my armpit.

4.30pm

Flashback: I don’t believe this. My contractions have stopped. I haven’t had anything for half and hour now. No. No No NO NO NOOOOO THIS IS NOT HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO GO!!! Surely this couldn’y have all been false labour? I had endured 12 hours of pretty intense contractions. Was it all for nothing? Was I going to have to do it all again in another few days? DAMMIT I HAD MOVED ABOUT AND BREATHED AND BEEN SERENE (mostly) AND EVERYTHING!!!  Sobbing, I phone the Labour ward again, exhausted and defeated, and demand to know what the hell is going on and why why why have they stopped. A kind but slightly patronising midwife tells me I’m probably just experiencing mild (mild?? MILD???!) practise contractions and that this wasn’t established labour yet. Go take some paracetamol and have an early night she tells me.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

I sob and sob. My whole world has fallen apart. I am officially going to be pregnant forever. But, oh, OWW! that was another contraction, sob sob, god dammit stop playing with me baby!!!! Are you coming out or not?? Pretty soon the contractions are back to every 5 minutes but after the midwife’s assessment I have lost all confidence in them now and figure we might well be here for days yet.

That’s it. I want my mum.

Flashforward: Nothing particularly interesting happened…. sorry. Kai whinged. I think I ate some Orios?

To be continued…

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… Lying cheek-to-cheek on the grass under a tree in the park with my almost-toddler, one week before his first birthday.

Looking up at the blue, blue sky peeping through the branches, and watching the leaves dance and shake in the wind, and said almost-toddler pointing and pointing at the patterns and turning his face to grin at me and give me kisses. Telling me the secrets of the universe through noncensical words of two syllables, laden with meaning and expression and delight.

My bright, vivacious, exhausting, miraculous boy. Let me see you grow and change and flourish and ripen. But please, please, please stay exactly as you are. Smiling at the clouds and smelling of strawberrys.

 

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Howdy all. It’s been an eventful few days in our house. Kai started the beginning of last week very under the weather and bad tempered, lots of very cross crying, even less sleep than usual. He cried through the whole of Father’s Day meal, sobbed at playgroup, threw tantrums in his pushchair – was generally just delightful really. I put it down to teething as usual but Friday he started running a fever which by the night had spiked at 39 degrees C (that’s 102F for all my American readers…I’m sure there are hundreds of you). Slightly worrying. And were we imagining things or could we see the beginning of some spots? Ever so slightly more worrying.

I am, by nature, an incredibly neurotic mother trying desperately not to be and although tempted to phone an ambulance at the first sign of a sniffle am definitely getting better and stronger at fending off unnecessary panic. So I tried not to. Very hard. The temperature, although high, came down with cold flannels and Neurofen and sleep, and although the poor mite was obviously feeling grotty he wasn’t THAT ill, still managing to eat his body weight in food and continue his ongoing preoccupation with crawling round at high speed like a maniac and come up with new and interesting ways to maim himself. I’d heard that Chicken Pox had been doing the rounds and wondered vaguely whether this might be it. The spots didn’t LOOK like the pox though, very small and fine and showing no signs of blistering. So we decided to give it 24 hours, keep Kai at home, and see what happened.

Well, by Saturday teatime he was COVERED. Head, chest, tummy, back, arms, legs, face, hands, feet, bottom. You name it. Hundreds and hundreds of little red spots. And he still had a temperature.

 Shit.

What was it I was supposed to do? Press a cold glass against them? You try that with a wiggly baby! And did they ‘blanch’? WHAT DOES ‘BLANCH’ MEAN??! Ok I’m not panicking. Look Kai is fine, busy trying to eat the contents of the magazine rack. But this can’t be right.

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(Can you even SEE the spots on these photos?! They are there I promise)

So I resorted to my old reliable. NHS direct. The haven of all neurotic first time parents not quite neurotic enough to phone the doctor but not quite confident enough to do nothing. For my thousands of American readers (as I’m sure there are by now after this thrilling narrative), NHS direct is our National Health Service telephone helpline where you can phone for info and have your medical problems assessed over the phone and advice offered. Normally you get a call back fairly quickly but we are, of course, in the middle of Swine Flu hysteria so I was advised it would be slightly longer.

It was two hours. A tired nurse asked the same few questions over and over again. Has he got a headache? (asked three times) Does the light seem to hurt his eyes? (asked twice) Does he seem anymore sleepy than usual? (asked three times). I dutifully repeated my answers over and over, stressing that he seemed fine. He was just hot and spotty. The answer, in the end, was that it was probably a mild virus of some sort but as she couldn’t see the rash we should pop down the road to the chemist and have the pharmacist have a look at it. They’re good with rashes apparently.

It’s after teatime by now by the way so we get Kai in his PJs and trundle off down to Asda to see the Pharmacist. Who panicked. Now we’d been quite calm up till now really (well, Ant had) but the poor Pharmacist was not. Kai was a baby. Kai had a temperature. Kai had a rash. It was time to call the doctor he says, looking very worried. “I think it’s probably ok cause the rash blanches (??) but I can’t be sure – you need to phone now”.

Shit.Shit.

So we phone the doctor’s out of hours service from the car and repeat the same spot story that we must have told twenty times already down the phone. We are told we have been put in a triage system and will be be called back by a doctor. In two hours. But the rash is getting worse and now I’m really worried.

By this time it’s 7pm and Kai is shattered. We go home and put him to bed, only to phoned an hour later by the doctor saying we need to go up to the hospital. So we wake up a very bleary eyed and confused Kai (who seemed very excited by the prospect of a late night road trip and not at all poorly whatsoever) and off we go to the hospital.

Of course Kai was fine. The doctor took one look at him, checked him all over, reassured us it WASN’T meningitis and just a virus of some sort. Bless him, he was lovely. And yet there was that slight look in his eye. You know the one… the ‘neurotic parents overreacting as usual’ look. “But I didn’t panic!” I felt like shouting, “It was the Pharmacist! I just nonchalantly phoned a helpline! I’m not quite sure what happened…”

Home to bed and panic over. Except of course, baby bear is wired from all the excitement and won’t go back to sleep. Till 10.30pm. And then wanting to get up at 5am.

Urgh.

He’s perked up loads since then. Still covered in spots but temperature’s down. Just annoyed at being kept inside (which I think is probably the responsible thing to do till his spots have cleared up) so is even more destructive than usual.

Anyone fancy coming and rescuing me? I have Orios?!

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Here it is.

A comprehensive list of all the things making me laugh hysterically and feel full to the brim of magical rainbow-filled joy, AND all the things making me sob till I feel consumed by the evil quagmire of despair. Both can come within minutes of each other so, as you can imagine, our house is a rather unstable place to be right now. Poor Ant. And he thought it was bad when I was pregnant…

 

GOOD – “I see you baby…”

Now whenever music plays, a little look of glee crosses the baby bear’s face, he scuttles over and stands up against the nearest standing apparatus, assumes the position of legs spread wide a feet planted firm, and proceeds to shake his baby ass.

Yes, that’s right. Kai has discovered dancing. Love it.

Variations of the ass-shake include the bob (bobbing up and down while sitting), the wiggle, and a kind of gentle sway, often accompanied by arm flapping and clapping. Oh and singing! That’s right, he’ll kind of hum along now too! Ant swears Kai once hummed the ‘In the Night Garden’ tune along with the music but I don’t believe him…

 

BAD – “Don’t Stop Me Now”

Like most first-time parents, I eagerly anticipated Kai learning to crawl, worrying that he wasn’t doing it soon enough, or in the ‘right way’ (he favoured rambo style ‘floor swimming’ at first, achieving motion on his tummy through the frantic propulsion of arms and feet). He seemed so frustrated not being able to get about, requiring constant entertaining. “Everything will be different when he can crawl!”, I would exclaim, dreaming of a quiet, contented baby who would happily play and amuse himself for hours on end.

Oh Boy. Well I was right on one score at least: everything IS different. Except now Kai has got the hang of crawling that is all he wants to do. All the time. Every waking moment. At high speed. And of course with the crawling comes the pulling himself up, cruising and climbing. Nothing is safe and I can’t take my eyes of him for a second. Toys? Playing? Pah! Why play when you can shred (and eat) every piece of paper product in the house, attempt to pull over everything that may squash and kill you (pushchair/highchair/dining chairs/ huge pieces of furniture), and systematically dismantle and destroy every object within reach (which is pretty much everything unless on a very high shelf).

And, of course, our tiny house is not good enough for the Kai-ranasaurus Wrecks. No. He wants to be ‘outside’ (frantic door pointing). And pushchairs and carseats? Well there no good because they require Kai to be stationary for more then five minutes. Initiatate melt-down sequence, high pitched screaming and back arching. He only stays in his highchair because there is food there to bribe and distract him.

I am exhausted.

Needless to say I am now NOT in ANY hurry for Kai to learn to walk. And rather worryingly he looks like he’s not far off. God help us all.

 

GOOD– ” And I…..ee….I…Will Always Love Youuuu”

Kai has always been a very tactile baby, wanting lots of holding and touch-time but up till now it’s always been a bit more of a ‘wrestle’ than a ‘cuddle’. But now he’s really getting the hang of cuddling. Now, when tired or just wanting a bit of reassurance, he’ll put his little arms around your neck, nuzzle his head into your neck and rest it on your shoulder, and go very, very still. For about 30 seconds.

I love it. Makes my heart go ‘whoofph’ everytime. Long may it continue.

 

BAD – “I’m Talking ‘Bout The MOM In The Mirror”

Not a Kai thing but a me thing for once. I seem to have developed a very annoying raging insecurity and self-doubt problem. I am convinced everyone hates me, that I am useless and worthless and a dreadful mother, that I should be doing SOMETHING more with my life and am wasting away my potential, that I HAVE no potential and am no good at anything, that Ant is unhappy with me, that I am ugly and haggard and look like a teenage boy. The list goes on.

I know none of these things are true really (except maybe the last one). And yet this is how I find myself thinking most of the time. It monumentally pisses me off.

I also find myself more and more dissatisfied and wanting more and more. I want desperately to move to a nicer area with more than a few stunted trees nearby. I want a clean tidy house and the time and energy to maintain in. I want a dishwasher and a tumble drier and a kitchen with more than half a square meter of work surfaces and two cupboards. I want to travel and show Kai the world. I want more money. I want another baby (although know it’s completely not practical at the moment – don’t worry Ant!)

I hate this. I hate not being satisfied and not able to just ‘be’ and enjoy where I am. Because I am SO lucky and I have so much.

Grrrr….. snap out of it stupid.

 

There is more but Kai’s woken up so looks like that’s it for now. Smell you later xx

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Ahhhh the good old days… Fair enough Kai would feed around the clock (despite telling enquiring relatives that he fed four-hourly to get them off my back- hahaha that was a good one!), and at the time felt incredibly draining, but looking back it was pure bliss. I’d get to sit on the sofa all day, watching dvd’s and catching up with all the tv series I had missed (think I got through two season’s of Desperate Housewives and House in the first couple of months!). Ant even set me up a little ‘nursing station’ with snacks and drinks, the remote control and a pile of books and would ‘wait’ on me, stuck as I was with a greedy baby attached to my boob. Kai may have been hungry ALL THE TIME but it was so easy. All I had to do was whip one out and voila – happy baby. Any time, any place. And I never had to worry about how much he was feeding (although of course I did being the neurotic first time mum that I was), or whether or not he was getting the right nutrients. Cause, you see, breastfeeding is magic like that. Give a baby unrestricted access to the the breast and they will feed exactly the amount they need to, with your body somehow adjusting the amount supplied and the nutritional content of the milk according to what your baby needs for optimum growth at that time. And my little guzzler on the 85th percentile was a pretty good endorsement for that.

But then of course the little monkey GREW UP didn’t he – suddenly I had to start thinking about weaning and food and life became a hell of a lot more complicated.

The first big decision was WHEN to wean Kai. In the end we decided to wait till Kai was 6 months to start whilst systematically fending off all our baby-rice wielding associates who assumed that by waiting we were starving him somehow – one look at him should have been enough to tell you that he was doing just fine on milk thank you very much. We didn’t really get all these supposed ‘signs’ that people talk about and as he’d always fed like a fiend and NEVER slept worth a damn anyway. When he upped his feeding in the odd week I just assumed it was a growth spurt and would pass, and it usually did (although his 3-4 month spurts did run together in one long crazy marathon feed).

By the time Kai got to six months old he was quite adept at picking up things offered to him and putting them in his mouth and rather suspicious/hostile of doing anything he couldn’t have control of (especially anything bottle or spoon shaped) so we decided to give a baby-led approach a try, throwing out the spoons and the pureed mush and giving him bits of proper food to chew on from the start.

Kai at 7 months old - enjoying his weaning adventures

Kai at 7 months old - enjoying his weaning adventures

This turned out to be the best decision we’d ever made. Kai loved it. And although it took him a while to start eating anything in any great quantity, by about 8-9 months old he was shovelling it down like you wouldn’t believe. And by ‘it’ I mean pretty much anything offered to him. Hard, soft, chewy, crunchy, slippery, teeny tiny pieces and great big chunks – Kai would have a crack at them all. A lot of practice meant chewing and swallowing skills came on fast – as did the ability to chase and ‘capture’ various sizes and shapes of food around his tray. It was just fab. Watching Kai eat a sandwich or delicately picking up every pea on his highchair are still two of my all time favourite sights. And on those days he didn’t eat much I could still rely on good old breast milk to top him up.

So why do I hate weaning I hear you ask? Well Kai is approaching the big 1 now, and starting to breast feed less and less (well, during the day at least – we won’t go into the nights yet!). And I am becoming more and more aware of the need for food to give him all the nutrients he needs. And it feels like an AWESOME responsibility.

All of sudden I’m having to think about things like ‘a balanced diet’, calculating daily salt intake and monitoring sugar. Toast and sticks of fruit and cooked veg just don’t cut it any more – I need to make actual MEALS! When the timing works out he’ll just eat a bit of whatever we’re having as a family but the rest of the time I have to make stuff specially for him and me (my old diet of a packet of biscuits for lunch doesn’t seem quite so appropriate any more).

And of course, being the perfectionist that I am, it has to be good stuff. I’ve never been much of a cook but suddenly I’m making pitta pockets and pasta bake like a pro (or trying to anyway). It’s EXHAUSTING! Trying to come up with new things, get a good balance between different foods and food groups etc.  I HATE IT!!

Bring back the days when boob was enough! I tell you what… next time around I am going to appreciate it all SO much more.

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