This was originally the blog of a first-time Mum to remember the ups and downs of my pregnancy - and chart the first year of my daughter's life. But I've kept it going, and am now a mother of two! More than anything, it helps me to get to sleep once I've emptied my brain of issues and concerns and emotions onto the laptop.
If you're reading this and also a mum- or dad-to-be, first time parent, or just someone who's thinking about it - I hope it gives a little insight into one person's experiences - good and bad....

Saturday, 24 November 2012

SECOND BABY WORRIES

I feel like I've hardly mentioned my current pregnancy over the past few months. It's been all very straight forward until this week, when I had a second vomiting bug in three weeks and ended up in hospital.

I just couldn't keep a thing down for 12 hours - not even water - and so I was understandably concerned about how it would be affecting Twiglet. A quick trip to my GP and she rang the ante-natal clinic who saw me immediately. Everything was fine with Twiglet - we got to hear his/her heartbeat, and he/she was constantly on the move for what seemed like 24 hours (a bit of a worry in itself, but it's settled down now).

They kept me in for about 8 hours until I could keep down a few bottles of fluid - and thankfully I avoided the anti-sickness pills and a drip. But it meant that my OH had to take an important day off work (again) and we had to rely on grandparents to look after Charlotte. All which made me feel really guilty.

And that guilt got worse later in the week when Charlotte's nasty cough got worse and worse. After two pretty much sleepless nights (on the part of OH as he insists I sleep because I'm 7 months pregnant) her Dad took her to the doctors. They couldn't find anything really wrong, but gave her an inhaler to help just in case. He then took her to nursery, but they called a few hours later for her to be picked up as her cough was causing her so much distress. And through all of this, where was I? At work. Feeling increasingly guilty.

Because I'm self-employed if I don't go to work I don't get paid. If my OH takes (yet another) day off to help with the childcare he at least does still get paid. So on top of feeling guilty that it should be me looking after Charlotte when she's poorly, distressed and can't sleep, there's also the guilt  that he seems to be doing it all  (including battling to get her to eat anything once again) while I swan off leaving them to it when he's also had the bare minimum (if any) sleep.

Only working for one more month (and then it's only one or two days a week) - and then we'll have a whole world of new worries with Number Two. To be honest, the only thing that's really concerning me at the moment is breastfeeding the tiny one with a toddler demanding my attention at the same time.

In the early months it would take Charlotte at least an hour each time to feed - every couple of hours. I have no idea how I'll be able to do that AND look after Charlotte. But people manage somehow - hopefully she'll start playing a bit more by herself when she realises Mummy is busy. And hopefully the next one will sleep better in the day than she did so I can give her plenty of attention when her brother or sister is napping. That's a lot of "hopefully"s!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

TV... YOU CAN COUNT ON IT

Is it normal for a 16 month old to nearly be able to count to ten? Charlotte's latest party trick is (usually while looking at the numbers up the side of her bottle at bedtime) "two, see, sore, ive, six, eight, nine, TEN" said with a massive grin and an "aren't I clever" look! One and seven are usually sadly lacking!

For a while she's wandered up to the TV when the weather or Sky Sports News has been on and pointed at numbers - usually 2, 3 or 8 - and said them. But now she's nearly there with reciting 1-10 at various points through the day. She's been obsessed with her little number/picture books since she could sit up and hold a book, so I guess it's all come from there.

And now one of her favourite TV shows is Numtums. It's only 5 minutes long and she'll happily sit transfixed. I'm loathe to say "one of her favourite TV shows" because I'm afraid the honest truth is she does end up watching a bit more than I'd like some days. Her bedtime routine has always started with half an hour of TV before bath - usually a combination of Abney and Teal, Waybuloo, Peppa Pig and/or In The Night Garden.

Charlie and Lola and the more recent 74 Zoo Lane really haven't caught her attention - so thank goodness for Sky Plus! But by far and away her favourite show of the moment is Raa Raa The Noisy Lion. It doesn't matter how grumpy she is, it always cheers her up. She's even started to sing along to the theme tune and knows most of the characters' names (as she also does with Night Garden). The best thing is that you can download podcasts of it from the CBeebies website, so car journeys are also less fraught when she's fed up of her Children's Songs CD.

But the point is we (almost) always watch the shows together, so we're interacting, talking about what she can see etc. Rather than using it as a babysitter. And I'm still definitely reading to her more each day than she watches TV. Given that she has a vocabulary of way more than 50 words, I can only assume the TV that she does watch is complimenting the reading.

Oh, and her sleeping is still rubbish and after another spell of hunger strike her feeding's picking up slowly again - but the less said about all that the better.

Monday, 15 October 2012

I PUT SOME NEW SHOES ON (and suddenly everything is right)

Reading back over my last post, I can't believe Baby Number Two has become something of a footnote - and the fact that Charlotte took her first steps got just a glancing mention. This post is going to be much more celebratory and positive of my 15-month old's achievements this past week!

We've been on holiday in Sussex for the last week - house-sitting at my parents' - and within a day Charlotte's walking literally just took off. She's tottering everywhere now, albeit with the odd tumble that doesn't phase her at all, so we bought her first pair of shoes.

video video


During our week away, we took in a brilliant kids' farm and the Sea Life Centre in Brighton - both of which she genuinely seemed to enjoy for at least the first hour or so.





There was also the obligatory parks and swimming. I'm not sure who enjoyed the week more - Charlotte or her Daddy! And in our quest to get her to eat more than easy-to-eat baby/toddler meals, she even ate a few chips:




Charlotte's speech is continuing to come along at great pace still, too. She's now putting a couple of words together. As we left the house to try a new playgroup this morning she said: "Bye bye Daddy, see soon"! And everything is "hello" or "bye bye" - "hello bear, hello door, hello car", "bye bye book, bye bye cow, bye bye park!"

Friday, 28 September 2012

15 MONTHS OLD

Blimey - life's just so busy at the moment what with working, raising a 1-year old child and being pregnant with a second I just don't have time to update my blog very often.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, the past month has seen us dealing with yet more eating and sleeping issues. At one point about three weeks ago, Charlotte stopped eating almost completely. She wouldn't even touch her favourites - cheese and fruit. We eventually put it down to a tummy bug as she was a little bit sick, and slowly re-introduced easy purees and pouches of food.

A few days after she started eating something she perked right up and started eating us out of house and home for a couple days. Thankfully with the food 'sign' and her saying "Ooof", we know when she's hungry now which is useful.

Her appetite's levelled off now, and we still have days of struggling to get her to eat an awful lot, but that's more about keeping her attention rather than things she does and doesn't like. One day even the old favourites get pushed away, and only banana and a petit filous will do. One thing we have found that she loves is Tesco's Goodness microwave meals for over-1s. They seem pretty nutritious, and it's nice to have found something that bridges the gap between 'baby food' and 'proper meals'.

The last ten nights Charlotte has also been testing us to the limits with sleep deprivation once again. She's been up at least once a night, usually for at least 2 hours before she'll settle back down. We've tried letting her cry it out, holding her hand, nightlight, teething gel, paracetamol - one night one of those might work, the next night they don't.

But last night, she slept right through with just a couple of murmurs. No idea what will happen from here - whether a couple of nights of tough love letting her cry a bit more have worked, whether it was a one-off good night, or whether she's over this latest phase. Who knows? Guess we'll find out tonight. Really hope it's the latter.

Oh, and she's taken her first steps. That was a pretty big one that I nearly forgot. It's a fairly wobbly half dozen steps or so, but she loves trying to walk between me and her Daddy! "Again" she keeps saying - actually she says that  A LOT - usually for a book we've already read 14 times.

Had our 20 week scan a couple of weeks ago - although was 21+1 weeks. All good - and unlike last time, my placenta's not low-lying. I've had far fewer "skinny days" than I did with Charlotte - I'm feeling Twiglet several times a day, which is so reassuring. We were tempted, but we DIDN'T find out what flavour he/she is - so best start sorting the 'neutral' baby clothes from last time pretty soon! 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

SLEEP REGRESSION

We're having a total nightmare with Charlotte's sleeping at the moment. (note the time of this post: - 0218).

After the best part of a year of a really good bedtime routine, and C mostly going down straight away without a fight - she's suddenly refusing to sleep. And waking A LOT in the night, taking up to 2 hours to get her to go back down sometimes.

I have read that this is a common problem as her development gathers pace and she wants to be up trying all her new skills, but frankly that doesn't help. We've resorted to sitting in her room with her until she's down, like we did back in the early months. But even then she's up a couple of hours later - and then often every hour after that.

We've tried leaving her to cry, but she gets so wound up she makes herself sick - and that's after only abut 5 minutes. If we give her her dummy, she decides it's a fun game to throw it out of the cot minutes later. It's really not good at the moment.

Recently it's been nighttime coughing that had been waking her up. She's fine in the day, but almost bang on 10.30pm she'll wake up with a massive coughing fit. We've tried so many things to alleviate this - window open, humidifier, honey before bed, hoovered and cleaned bedding, different room, raised cot etc etc. And while she is still coughing quite a bit at night, it's not that that's waking her at the moment.

I don't know whether she's just started hating her cot or room, is scared, or just being a terror. But sleepless  nights are really not helpful when you're 4-months pregnant with number two. That said, I must saying my OH has been amazing in doing most of the really tough nighttime stuff, and I usually get a few hours sleep before I take over in the early hours.

Talking of number two, I had started feeling the little Twiglet (our chosen pet name for him/her) with the little pulses. And I heard his/her heartbeat at my latest ante-natal appointment, which was great. But now I've barely felt anything for a few days (probably not helped by the stress brought on by Charlotte), and so the anxiety begins... I know it's still early days to be feeling much, so trying not to get too worried. But I do love those reassuring little flutters.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

MY SECRET BLOG - II

(originally written 06/06/12)

I keep going over and over in my head: "what the hell were we thinking?". The enormity of having a newborn with a toddler under 2-years just seems too much to deal with some days. 

We've not yet told anyone - still very early days at 6 weeks, especially after the two m/cs I had before Charlotte came along. But I keep playing the conversation of when we tell my parents over and over in my head, and it's not good. Basically, they know how tough I've found the past 11 months with one - and I think they'll think we haven't thought through exactly what having two in such quick succession really means. My OH says all the imagined reactions are me transferring my own anxieties onto what I think my Mum will say. And he's probably absolutely right. I hope they'll be thrilled at the prospect of a second grandchild, rather than dismissive of how I'll cope.

So we're at six weeks, and even going to the GP and getting an appointment with the midwife next week still isn't making it feel any more real. I don't feel pregnant at all. The only slight hint is the occasional loss of appetite come dinner time in the early evening, but I certainly wouldn't call it nausea.

At this stage last time, I couldn't face one of my favourite foods - curry. And I had nausea every evening, and didn't fancy eating anything for dinner - just drinking lemonade. There is a nagging worry in the back of my mind that because I don't have any symptoms, it has already gone wrong like with my first m/c (we're past the point when I had my second), which makes me very sad when I read that at this stage hands and feet are already forming, and there should be a heartbeat.

Last time, we had a reassurance scan at 7 weeks, but that's not been offered this time as my last pregnancy was a success... yes, she certainly is!

MY SECRET BLOG III

(originally written on 27/06/12)

Close family now know I'm pregnant. It would have been impossible to keep it a secret over the past week with my parents and brother coming to stay to celebrate Charlotte's first birthday - so we had to tell them and my OH's family.

They were all pretty surprised that we're having Number Two so soon, but also seemed pleased. To be honest it's been such a hectic week with Charlotte's birthday, having a house full of guests and Charlotte being really poorly I think most people actually forgot after the initial annoucnement!

Had our booking in appointment with the community midwife last week. She's lovely - and the system's all so different from when we were in London last time. Then it felt like we were on a conveyor belt - this time it feels more personal and a bit more relaxed. Many of our appointments (apart from things like scans and my anti-D injections) will be at the local health centre, which is great.

I was told I could have a reassurance scan if I really wanted one, given my past history of miscarriages. But I'm trying to stay really positive about this pregnancy and declined for the time being, unless I feel concerned at any time before our 13 week scan. 

Right now the 24th July, when the scan's booked for, seems a long, long time away. I've still got plenty of early pg symptoms - nausea at varying times of the day (not just evenings as it was last time), tender breasts today, and being wiped out with tiredness (though that could just as easily be from running around after a one year old!).

MY SECRET BLOG

(originally written 25/05/12)

Holy c**p - we're expecting number two! That means there'll only be 19 months between him/her and his/her big sister, Charlotte.

It was planned. We never wanted Charlotte to be an only child, I'm very much the wrong side of 30, and if I'm honest - I want to get all the 'baby years' out of the way as quickly as possible - rather than face the shock of a newborn again a few years down the line.

Despite that - we were very surprised how quickly it's happened, and in the couple of days since I've known I've had all sorts of emotions swirling round my head. And experience has taught me getting them down on paper (or laptop) can really help. But I'm keeping this blog secret, just for me, until I'm ready to go public a couple more months down the line.

My biggest emotion (aside from "how the hell am I going to cope with a newborn and under-2 year old at the same time?!) has been a feeling of betrayal. I feel like I'm betraying Charlotte by even considering a second. I know that sounds odd because it's her we want a younger brother or sister for - but I wonder how my pregnancy (and beyond) will affect the attention, love and nurturing I give her. She's still just a baby herself and consumes my whole life. She amazes (and frustrates) me on a daily basis - and I just look at her with so much love and wonder how on earth I'll find all that time, energy and affection for her once there's another one here too.

I know millions and millions of people have more than one child, and there will be enough time and love for two (still not sure about energy!) - it just seems so impossible right at the moment.

Anyway - I'm four and a half weeks pregnant, and 'it' is the size of a poppy seed. Going to have to think of a name for 'it' like we called Charlotte the 'Little Monkey' or 'Little Monster' before she arrived...


13 MONTHS OLD

Crikey! Is it really six weeks since my last blog? Been so busy, literally no time to get my thoughts down.

So, I'll start with the big news..... Charlotte's going to be a big sister in January, all being well!! We've obviously known for several months but only just gone public with it. I did write a couple of secret blogs when we first found out which I'll publish after this one because my head was all over the place at first.

It wasn't exactly a shock - it was planned. Being the wrong side of 35 we didn't know how long it might take this time round, especially given what we went through before Charlotte came along. But I don't think we were exactly prepared for it to happen quite so quickly, and so far, so smoothly.

There'll be 19 months between them - which isn't as close as some we know, but plenty close enough. And the close age gap does leave me with some trepidation.

I hope we've ironed out Charlotte's eating habits by then. She's so erratic... mostly going through a 'not eating' phase at the moment which is really stressing me out. At her one year review at the health visitor they said there was nothing to worry about as she's still perfectly on her weight curve and seems very happy and healthy. She's probably getting everything she needs over the course of a week, but it's so frustrating the days she just won't touch things she's happily eaten before.

predictably though, she does like chocolate!


Ever since she was really poorly on her first birthday I think we've had two nights where she's slept right through. Most nights we've had to go in at least twice - sometimes taking an hour to get her back down. Recently it's been her latest teeth coming through, but other nights she wants water, her dummy, or is just being a right pickle. As if I've not been tired enough going through the first trimester again!

But all her other development continues to delight and amaze us - especially her 'talking'. Her vocabulary is getting bigger and bigger. And I love watching her sat with a book 'reading' it to us. Her latest word, where she points to hers and ours - is "elbow". What 13 month old knows "elbow" for goodness sake?!!

Helpfully, she can now tell us when she's hungry by going: "food" and doing the baby sign for food. Unhelpfully she knows the words for her favourite foods - cheese and banana - which she'll scream at us if she's not happy with whatever it is we've given her.

Cheese was the only thing to put a smile on her face when she had her 13-month jabs, though. You have never seen anyone so delighted to be offered a Babybel - I thought she was going to burst with excitement!.

She's also practising standing without holding on to anything. So I guess it won't be too long until walking follows.

Charlotte still screams and clings onto me when I drop her off at nursery every Friday. But these days when we pick her up, she's always happy and babbling away telling us very excitedly what she's done with her day. And the outside of our fridge is rapidly filling up with the obligatory 'paintings' and 'cut and stick' artwork!

a couple of recent pics to break up a really long and overdue blog



Aside from my pregnancy, the other big news, I guess, is that I've gone back to work (albeit only until Christmas now!). It has given me a new lease of life. I'm so loving being back - I feel like I've got a part of my old self back. If I'm honest, on really busy days, I don't give Charlotte too much thought as I know she's being well looked after by either her Dad or Grandparents - all of whom she loves spending time with. 

She seems far happier not to be with me day in, day out. And it means the days when it is me looking after her I don't feel like it's such a slog; it's more of a treat and I'm not trying to think of different things to do each day, as she's already doing different things with Granny or at nursery or with Daddy.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

ONE YEAR OLD

My little girl is one.

And to everyone that's said to me "Gosh, hasn't that gone quickly?". No, not really! There are times when I do think some of the months have sped by, but on the whole it does feel like a full year... at least!

Unfortunately Charlotte was really poorly for her birthday. She was up all the night before, and on the actual day, when she wasn't crying with a raging temperature and clearly in pain, she was cuddled into one family member or another just wanting to sleep. It was frankly heartbreaking.

We had a big BBQ with both sets of family (even my brother who came over from Australia and met his niece for the first time) and friends, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. But I could only concentrate on Charlotte and making sure she was comfortable. Thankfully my parents are always the hosts-with-the-most and took over sorting the food and drinks.

Took Charlotte to the doctors and it seems she'd had a virus, and has a chest infection for which she has anti-biotics. She's sowly getting better, but has been up every night for at least an hour crying and crying until her next dose of Nurofen kicks in - or she's too tired to fight her sleep anymore.

Sadly, we didn't get any good pictures from her first birthday, but here are a couple form when she wasn't too poorly:



having just moved into a new house, I think we're going to have to move into an even bigger one to accommodate all Charlotte's birthday presents!


NURSERY

I have so much to catch up on on my blog - not least the fact that Charlotte turned one this weekend - but I've been so busy.

Last Friday was Charlotte's first full day at Nursery. She's only going one day a week for the time being, and seemed to get on fine. In the first settling-in session where I stayed with her, she barely acknowledged I was there - far too many new toys to explore!

She was also fine in her second session - the only time she grizzled was when I went to pick her up and I think she suddenly realised I hadn't been around. She did a half day last Monday in which she had a suprisingly long nap and managed to eat some soup and banana & custard. She was apparently a bit upset when she woke up because she wasn't sure where she was, but that's totally understandable.

And Friday was fine. They give her lunch a bit earlier than I normally would, and so she doesn't get her morning nap until after lunch - so by 11am she was a bit grizzly. But it sounds like she did really well with her food and then had more than an hour's sleep. Again - she got a bit upset when I went to collect her, just as she used to when I've left her at her Grandma's if I don't go and give her a cuddle immediately.

The nursery give us a daily 'report' on how she's got on - what she's eaten, how long she's slept, what she's played with etc. -  which is really nice. 

I still have reservations about her being at nursery, but I've been given a load of freelance shifts that financially I simply can't turn down, and I can't rely on Grandparents all the time. And I know it will do her good socially. But already she's picked up a virus/chest infection (more on that in next post) - something I know will become more frequent as she mixes with more children.

But we'll give it a go for the next couple of months, and if I'm still not 100% happy then we can always take her out, try a different nursery, or I just won't work so much. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

SHE'S OFF....

At 11 months, Charlotte has finally started crawling. I was convinced she wasn't ever going to bother, and go straight to walking. But while unpacking some boxes in our new house, she made her way to her Bumbo box which had pictures of babies on the outside.

She's still a bit tentative, but can easily make it across a room... usually aiming for a DVD to pull off a shelf, a plug socket, or a cable.



But she's still much more content to sit with her books - or "bookies" as she calls them. She's a real bookworm -  sat with picture books, books with sounds, flaps or regular storybooks for hours. Tearing and chewing the pages less and less.

Friday, 25 May 2012

11 MONTHS OLD

The last month's all been a bit higgeldy-piggedly as we've been moving house (again!). Not surprisingly, Charlotte's been a little unsettled - more clingy than usual, crying when one of us leaves a room, and wanting her dummy more. But she's been much more like her old self today - and only had her dummy for sleeping (Long naps today of 50 mins and more than an hour!).

Despite having had three homes in her first 11 months, it's the first time - aside from being at her grandparents' - that she's had a garden. She really didn't like the grass at first when we practised her walking, but was fine after a couple of days. Here's Charlotte enjoying the sun:



Her speech and communication continues to astound us. She's such a mimic - trying to copy lots of words we say, and although they don't really sound much like the actual word we can hear she's really trying. She can point to her head, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, tongue (she loves that one!), tummy, hands, feet and toes - and can do animal noises (or approximations of!) for a cow, duck, pig, sheep and - her favourite - monkey!
.
But the little monkey still seems to have a mental block when it comes to 'Mummy'.... I'm still 'Dad-deeee' - and her Daddy gets the best receptions every time!!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

DANCING QUEEN

Charlotte's started to boogie on down! When she hears any kind of music, mobile ringtones, or just when we say "dance" or "are you dancing?" she sways side to side and moves her head to the beat. It's hilarious, and so cute!

Elsewhere, she's keeping us on our toes as ever. Naps can be anything between 20 minutes and 1 hour 20 - there's just no guessing these days. And one mealtime she'll be good as gold eating my food, trying to use the spoon herself and wolfing down her finger food - and the next she'll throw everything  on the floor and spit out all her food. It can be extremely frustrating at times.

I've just got to keep telling myself SHE'S JUST A BABY - although she turns one in just six weeks. Can't believe it.

Monday, 30 April 2012

WORDS OF WISDOM

Savour the good bits of now and remember the bad bits won't last - this is just a snapshot that won't last forever. That's my latest mantra to help me through when Charlotte's being a total munchkin with her food/sleeping etc.

It feels a bit odd for me at the moment because quite a few people who had babies around the same time or after me are now going back to work - and I'm not. If we hadn't re-located, meaning I left my job, I would definitely be going back now too. But it's a different situation when you have to look for new work - plus we've just bought a new house so trying to sort all that out while also looking after a 10 month old is stressful enough.

I have also learnt a very valuable lesson today. It's not much fun at all trying to look after a baby with a monster hangover. It's the first one I've had in probably two years, and I definitely won't be making a habit of it!


Friday, 27 April 2012

BUBBLES, BALLS AND BUMBLE BEES

Sat having dinner the other evening, myself and my OH worked out that Charlotte now recognises and responds to about FIFTY words! How the hell did that happen? Is that normal for 10 months?

She can point out the animals - from Bumble Bee to Octopus in her books, she knows what 'more', 'up' and 'high' mean among many others, and she does hand actions for things like 'star' and 'spider'. She's been saying Daddy (to most people), bubbles and ball for quite a while now, but it's the responding with actions or pointing to items that seems to be advancing at quite a pace. And she can do a rough attempt at about half a dozen animal noises. Brilliant!

Walking with support is also improving every day - and she's usually much happier up on two feet these days than sat down. Crawling still looks like it's going to pass her by. Interestingly - she'll happily sit for ages if she's got a few books to occupy her - in particular the That's Not My... series which are excellent.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

FOOTBALL CRAZY

I had my first full baby-free day a couple of weekends ago, so it was Daddy Day Care. So he took her to the football!

We're a bit of a football mad family so it was only a matter of time. They lasted until half-time when it got a bit chilly, but she really seemed to enjoy it.



So this Sunday we took hner to see her Dad's cousin playing in a school's football match. Once again she looked like she was having the time of her life for a good half an hour. It helps that she's learnt the word 'ball' so was pointing at the numerous balls around, and delighted on being on Daddy's shoulders to see everything that was going on:

EASTER WITH THE GRANDPARENTS

It was my birthday last weekend, and the long Easter weekend, so we went to my parent's who live more than 250 miles away from us, and haven't seen Charlotte for a good five weeks.

She was an angel - slept well, played well, tried out a few steps while being supported (she wants to be stood up all the time now)...



... and delighted in her new words (bubble, balloon, ball). And despite being my birthday, she got nearly as many presents as I did, because people wanted to buy her something for Easter but realise she's too young for chocolate! So she got a load more toys instead.

Obviously her grandparents dote on her massively, and their enthusiasm and positivity towards absolutely everything Charlotte does is unending. By the end of four days, though, it made me feel a bit like we don't show our delight and enthusiasm enough - but it's impossible to be like that if you're with her 100% of the time, every single day - there are more practical and stressful things to occupy your mind, like getting her to take a daytime nap, or making sure you're feeding her enough of the right stuff - and things like taking her for a walk lose their novelty after doing it every day, twice a day, in the early months.

So what started off as "you're doing such a great job with her" - by the end of the week there were more 'digs' and suggestions as to what we maybe 'should' be doing. Grandparents are great - don't get me wrong - but four days at a time is about the limit I think!

Friday, 30 March 2012

NOISY MONKEY

It's felt like quite a tough week.

Charlotte has been very 'shouty' and extra noisy, and not always in a nice, happy way - but yet not quite screaming and crying. To be honest it's been quite waring, and it's been an effort to keep her happy and content most days.

I've felt bad about how difficult I've found it this week - with continued frustrations over feeding too. It's exactly two years since we lost the first of our 'little Prawns' and I still have our friends' terrible news at the front of my mind, so I should be so so grateful for our little girl because I do appreciate how lucky we are to have her, but it's impossible to enjoy and savour every moment of every day.

My OH thinks I'm putting too much pressure on myself to be the best Mum ever - but I just get angry with myself when I feel I'm not being the best Mum I can be. Because of how brilliant Charlotte is most of the time, it's often hard to remember she's still just a 9-month old baby, and not a 3-year old toddler, and I need to cut her (and me!) some slack.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

NINE MONTHS OLD

Bleeuurrrghh - her mornings are getting earlier and earlier. 0530 this morning. No longer the more bearable 0710 that she was doing for so long. Over the past couple of weeks Charlotte's literally been up with the birds - no matter how dark her room is. Really hoping it's just a phase. Although I am very lucky that my OH works from home and most days is very happy to get up with Charlotte at first light and give me an extra hour or two in bed, so I really can't complain.

While some days and weeks can still drag, if I'm honest, I can't believe we've made it to nine months already. Over the past month or so, I can really see the little girl Charlotte is turning into - and she's definitely edging more towards toddler and much less of a baby.

We had a visit from a Health Visitor this week as we've only recently moved to the area, and while she was here she did Charlotte's 8-12 month development check. No concerns whatsoever - Charlotte 'performed' brilliantly with plenty of babbling (which at times can sound like full on conversations!), following some of our commands (clap, clap; kiss dog) and playing with her musical toys. She's getting so good at imitating some of our sounds - to the point where she's almost getting there with actual words (balloon, and definitely Daddy).

Not really any nearer crawling, but she's stretching further and further forward with her bum off the ground, and always gets to what she wants by rolling. She's also started pointing at things quite a lot. To be honest, I'm relishing being able to put her down in one place for a while and know she'll pretty much still be in the same place, and not yet needing the eyes in the back of my head!



Her eating's a bit more back on track after her illness. Still favouring the easier jars of food to my home-cooked, slightly lumpier stuff. And as she's still a small baby her portions are still pretty small. She's slowly getting a little better with finger food - no problem at all with her favourites: bread, cheese and some fruits - strawberries and melon particularly), but we're persevering with others like broccoli and carrot that mostly just end up on the floor.

Bizarre one today when we took her to the pub - she happily munched away on a pickled onion for ages. 


Perhaps some of my food is just too bland!

Monday, 19 March 2012

BRONCHIOLITIS

Not how we'd planned to celebrate my first Mother's Day. Charlotte's had yet another nasty cough and cold for the past couple of days, but Saturday night and Sunday morning were pretty horrendous with her really not being herself at all, and her chest was getting more and more rattly and wheezy.

So we took her to the out-of-hours doctor who told us she has Bronchiolitis and that he wanted her to go to hospital for observation. But when he rang them - based on the fact she was still eating just over half of what she'd usually eat -  they didn't want her admitted until she got worse.

Part of me was relieved not to have to see my little girl in hospital, but part of me thought that if the GP thought it was serious enough for her to be checked out there then maybe it was the best place for her. However, after a nice sleep in the car, she perked up enough in the afternoon for me to have a long relaxing bath while her Dad looked after her AND cooked us dinner, so I got my Mother's Day treats in the end :)

with her newly trimmed fringe which makes her look a bit like a boy!




Charlotte slept much better last night, thanks in part to a humidifier, and there doesn't seem much wrong with her appetite either. So she certainly looks to be on the mend, and is in very happy spirits today - albeit still with a rattly chest and cough, but hopefully that will clear soon enough.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

I had been warned, and was expecting, Charlotte's weaning to take a few backwards steps every now and again, especially when she's teething. And she's certainly done that.

A couple of weeks ago, when she had a bad cough and cold, she went right back to easy stage one purees and a bit more milk, but she's back on stage 2 stuff now - except when it comes to my home cooking. A few weeks ago, she'd happily eat my fish kedgeree, lamb stew etc, which have a few more 'bits' in than the occaisional shop-bought jar I give her.

But now she'll barely touch my lovingly created meals which are filling our freezer, yet will wolf down half a jar of the Cow & Gate/Organix/Heinz/Ella's Kitchen equivalent. I think perhaps she's just lazy - as was evident at four and a half months when she realised it was easier to get her milk out of a bottle than out of Mummy. The jars are a bit smoother than my mashed meals; it's just frustrating because I know she can do it if she wants to.

She's the same with finger food. Most of it still ends up on the floor after she's played with it for a bit - but if it's something she really likes (namely bread and cheese) she'll make much more of a fist of it.

(TOO) CLEVER (FOR HER OWN GOOD) MONKEY

Be warned - this post may well come across as a bit "isn't my daughter just the most wonderful, clever, bright little thing"...!

But Charlotte has been amazing me this week with quite how much an eight and a half month old can understand. If I put out a selection of half a dozen of her soft toys and ask her "Where's dog?" or "Where's Pennguin" or whichever random stuffed animal, nine times out of ten she'll pick the right one up.

And if I then say "Kiss dog/penguin/lion/Daddy/Mummy" she'll give the aforementioned a special Charlotte kiss - mouth wide open and placed over its face til it's all wet. I know she's been able to follow simple commands for a while because we do "kick, kick, kick", "splash" and "hold on" etc at her swimming lessons, but it's astounded me how much she's also picked up at home.

Her babbling contiunes to delight me, even if most of it is still 'dadada', 'bababa' and what sounds like 'baden-baden-baden'. And when I took her to a free Rhythm Time session this afternoon, the teachers were a bit taken back by how well she was joining in, playing with the instruments and reacting to what was going on.

So it seems any fears I had over her lack of daytime sleep affecting her development have been pretty much allayed.

Monday, 5 March 2012

STANDING ROOM ONLY

Still reeeling from the horribly sad news of my pervious post, but just a few minutes with my incredible daughter guarantees to put a smile on my face.

Her grandparents came up to visit this weekend and hadn't seen her for five weeks, and it's then that we realise quite how much Charlotte is developing and coming along. Since they last saw her she will clap her hands when we say "clap, clap, clap"; she has a tooth (although it doesn't seem to have got any bigger in the past two weeks); and she's more interested in standing than sitting these days:


It suddenly occurred to us how strong her legs were when we were holding her up on our laps, so my OH decided to see how she got on holding onto furniture and things. Turns out she's really good at standing upright with very little support.

This makes us think that the chances are she'll be one of those babies that goes straight to walking and skips the crawling part - she hasn't shown any interest in crawling for about 2 months now and is happy just to roll and stretch to whatever toy (or remote control!) she's trying to get.

As one of my friends put it - where's Baby Charlotte gone? She's virtually a toddler now, albeit without the actual toddling... yet.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

DESPERATELY SAD NEWS

Some very close friends of ours lost their baby son today. The horrendous news has left me feeling so numb, helpless and so so sad for them.

They had been trying a very long time to get pregnant and their little one had got to full term - in fact a week overdue. Don't know the details yet, but there's just the overwhelming question of 'why them?'. All we can do is give them time and space at the moment to grieve, and wait until they're ready to talk to or see us.

But I can't help thinking they might resent those friends that have happy, healthy babies and after they had tried so hard and got so far to have one of their own. I hope that's not the case, and we can do something to help them through the long, hard road ahead.

We are grieving for them too - and it puts all our trials and tribulations with Charlotte totally into perspective. We are so lucky to have such an amazing little girl.I really hope our friends eventually get the chance to have the family they want and deserve too. RIP baby boy. x

Monday, 20 February 2012

SWINGS AND ROUNDABOUTS

Well actually just swings. Charlotte had her first go in a swing on a beautiful sunny day this weekend, and she seemed to love it. Kicking her legs in excitement and making lovely noises.

Thankfully this park is very close to the new house we'll (hopefully) be moving into in the next few months, and there's another one not too far away either. So I can see us spending many an hour on the swings - and slides, roundabouts and see-saws in the coming years.

Charlotte will be eight months old at the end of the week - and finally we've seen the first tooth emerging. Or rather my OH felt it the other morning as she bit his finger. And today I can see the little white ridge pushing through the gum. She's been incredibly good so far - a tiny bit grouchy in the day, and one wake up on our one night out in ages when her Grandma was babysitting on Friday night, but so far we seem to be very lucky. 

I am expecting a couple of rough nights sometime this week as it pokes through further, but there are none of the usual signs that go with teething - her cheeks are no redder, she's not really drooling much more, and she's always got stuff in her mouth so that's not much different to usual. She just seems to be a little bit off her milk. Perhaps we'll be one of the very lucky few... or perhaps I'll be eating my words by tomorrow!

Friday, 10 February 2012

GOT A LOT OF BOTTLE

Grabbing a few minutes while Charlotte's napping to catch up on my blog. After several days of just two 25 minute naps all day, yesterday she threw me all off whack with a random hour and 20 minutes. No idea if it was her Daddy's tight swaddling or if I'm getting the timing right again, but I'll be very glad to see the back of those constant 25 minute power naps which run me ragged more than they make her overtired.

We've ditched her lunchtime milk, so now she's on just three bottles a day - with breakfast, mid-afternoon and before bed - usually totalling around 500ml. And while she's pretty good with the sippy cup taking water with her meals I'm not ready to attempt to give her her milk in it yet - for two reasons.

Firstly, she's forever throwing it on the floor, and secondly I'm enjoying hanging onto those last few months of her being a proper baby when I feed her from the bottle. It's a peaceful time when I get a bit of a cuddle and I'm not rushing Charlotte into doing 'grown up' things like eating food and drinking from a cup. She's not going to be a baby for very much longer.

And so, while she is, here are a few overindulgent cute photos:

wrapped up snug for the winter weather

that cheeky "am I going to get away with it?" face

I can glimpse the grown up girl that Charlotte will turn into here...

Friday, 3 February 2012

UP ALL NIGHT (part 2)

After the previous week's horrendous night, Charlotte treated us to another one last week. We were at my parents', and she was up every 25 minutes-2 hours, screaming and screaming and not going back to sleep without an awful lot of effort.

That meant absolutely no sleep for us, and put paid to my first totally baby-free day. I had planned a day out in London while Charlotte's Dad and/or grandparents looked after her for the day, but I couldn't face a day of anything after no sleep at all.

(Please don't let this next sentence jinx the next few nights...!) She's been very good since we've been back home though - sleeping right through without a peep. But her daytime sleeping's gone back to being a struggle and rather erratic. Back to the 25 minutes, and only after a bit of effort. But if it's between a good sleep in the day or night, I know which I'd rather take.

Weaning seems to be be progressing well. At just over seven months, Charlotte now has breakfast (usually porridge as she doesn't like the wheat biscuit things at all) followed by a bottle around half an hour after she's got up (so anything between 0715 and 0800); then a 2-course lunch between 1130-1200 of something consisting of meat and vegetables, some finger food to try, and then a dessert (often yoghurt with fruit). And she's just starting to lose interest in her lunchtime milk completely, so we may well be dropping that next week.

Her food's getting less and less pureed and more mashed and slightly lumpy - even though she's still not got any teeth. After a mid-afternoon bottle, she then has another two courses at 1730 (before Waybuloo!) of something fishy/vegetabley, another dessert and another offering of finger food. And her final bottle is just before bed.

We've also started putting Charlotte on a potty after tea, just so she gets used to it - not really potty training at this stage - and 9 times out of 10 she'll do exactly what she's supposed to on it!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

UP ALL NIGHT

Charlotte had her worst night ever. Not the worst since the early weeks - the worst EVER.

She went down fairly well at 7pm, despite her painful eczema and tummy, but then woke about four times in the subsequent hour and a half. So we tried giving her Calpol. Now, Charlotte must be the only baby for whom the apparent fail-safe for calming babies and getting them to sleep doesn't work.

From 8pm until midnight we had almost constant tears, screaming and crying - and definitely no sleep. We tried everything. We took her out in the car, tried rocking her in her pram, tried ignoring her cries. In the end I think she was just so exhausted she gave in, relaxed in my OH's arms and about an hour later dropped off in her cot - for all of two and a half hours. Then she was up every hour after that again :(

I even resorted to calling NHS Direct as a last resort as it was all so unlike her. Sod's Law - once I got through to a nurse Charlotte had calmed right down and wasn't screaming the house down. And by the time the out-of-hours surgery called me back, she was almost asleep.

She's had two good sleeps in the day today, and her constipation certainly seems to be easing. But her nasty eczema's getting worse and it's proving impossible to give her her antibiotics. She just won't swallow it - either by spoon or syringe , and when she does she often throws it straight back up, so we've no idea if she's actually getting any.

I think another trip to the doctors at the end of the week may be in order :(

Monday, 16 January 2012

FEELING HELPLESS

Our Little Monkey's poorly. She's got horrible eczema, coupled with crippling constipation. She's not the happy little girl we know at the moment - lots of tears, loss of appetite and sleepless nights.

I know both conditions are very common in babies - especially when you start weaning. But it doesn't make it any easier when I see her so unhappy. The doctor's prescribed her antibiotics for the infected bits of her eczema. But when we gave her one dose today she projectile vomited all her milk and the extra water we're trying to give her to ease her bowels.

Last night she woke pretty much every hour, crying - presumably in pain, because her tummy's hurting. I don't think it's the eczema, because I've not seen her scratching very much. I'm expecting a similar night tonight as she was equally screamy when I put her down, and she's been up three times in the past hour and a half.

Poor little munchkin. I know we're doing everything we can to help her. She's got a hyrdocortisone cream for her spreading eczema, and we're giving her water and pureed fruit to help her constipation. And I know both things will pass. I just feel so helpless when I can't stop her from crying.

It also means I've had to cancel a few of the growing social engagements in Charlotte's busy diary! The doctor recommended she doesn't go to her swimming lesson this week. And as she was so grizzly, uncomfortable and tired we gave Baby Stay and Play at the local Children's Centre a miss today. But if she's any brighter tomorrow I'll try to take her along to Baby Babble for some fun stories and nursery rhymes.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

BABBLING BABY

I got a bit of a lie-in this morning while my OH gave Charlotte her breakfast. As I awoke, all I could hear was "Dadadadada" - in varying pitches and intonations. Out of nowhere, Charlotte has properly started babbling away.

The "Dadadadadada" did not stop all day - not that I wanted it to! It's such a lovely sound. Occasionally it would be interspersed with the odd "Rarara" or "Bababa", what sounds a bit like "Yeah", and the old favourite "ahhh boo". But there was no mistaking her new skill that she spent the day practising. "Dadadadada" all day long!
It co-incided with a busy day of me throwing myself into all the local baby groups - NCT Bumps and Babes in the morning, and - ironically - Baby Babble in the afternoon. As I'm new to the area it's the best way to meet other Mums, and Charlotte also seems to thrive among other people.

We've also started another baby swimming group after the success of last term in London. Unfortunately there's only one other baby in the class, and she's a second time Mum, so there's not all the comparing notes in the changing rooms that we had last time, but Charlotte loves it in the water and it's good fun for both of us nonetheless.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

FIRST CHRISTMAS

Yes, I know Christmas was two weeks ago, but we've only just got broadband in our new house, so not been able to update my blog very easily.

So far as I was concerned, I've never felt less Christmassy this year. Christmas Day itself was just another day of making sure Charlotte was fed, slept etc., just with added relatives around and piles and piles of presents. As expected she was spoiled rotten by grandparents and aunts and uncles (just as well, as me and her Dad didn't really buy her much!).



There were a couple of moments when she was a bit grizzly from maybe too much attention and having yet another noisy toy thrust in front of her, but really she was very good.

She's still sleeping well through the night, and in the day we've gone full circle. From a few months back when I had to take her out for nearly every nap, she now gets her best daytime sleeps of up to two hours (but still sometimes just 25 minutes) in her cot!

Charlotte's equally fickle with her feeding too - one day she'll happily eat whatever meat and veg pureĆ© very well from the spoon, the next she'll not take so well to the same flavours and play around with the spoon and bowl (very messy). She's now on three meals a day - breakfast around 7.30/8am, lunch between 1130-1200 and tea at 1730 with milk feeds with breakfast, lunch, mid afternoon and before bed. 

I feel like I'm making it up as I go along, and her milk intake doesn't seem to be reducing by very much at all. But as with most other stages so far I'm just taking bits and bobs of advice from various people, books etc. and fitting it with my gut instinct and what works for us. I think I'm guilty of what I often do, and that's trying to rush things and get her along to the next stage, when I know weaning is a slow process and I keep forgetting that she's still only six and a half months - I keep looking ahead to what she "should" be doing as a seven month old and beyond.

She's also sitting up without any support really well now - and so I'm now watching out for and encouraging her to crawl. (Like I said, guilty of looking ahead to the next thing too much).