Wednesday, December 31, 2008

40 Questions

It's that time again.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
Gave birth naturally!

2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions and will you make more for next year?
I thought last year I'd try to keep up with the dishes daily, but no, that never happened. And I won't bother this year. It'll be enough work just trying to raise two kids.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Maria and Simon gave birth to Nina, and Carol and Mick gave birth to Fergal the day after Lolly was born. Jonathan and Sarah gave birth to Margaret, and Craig and Judith to Elissa. I might be forgetting others... sorry.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?
None. Stayed cozy in my little home in Scotland. Edit that- I went to England in March.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
A bit more money? Is that an evil desire? Just a little bit more.

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory?
18 December. Lolly's birthday.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Giving birth to Lolly by a successful VBAC. Giving birth is an amazing achievement. So empowering, so incredible.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I don't think anything was a massive failure, though not everything went perfectly.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I suffered from pre-natal depression for the first part of my pregnancy, but my gracious Saviour got me through. And I don't think (as of right now) there is any post-natal depression in the future. A big part of that was thanks to my VBAC. If I'd had another cesarean, I think I might've been at risk.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The maternity jeans I've worn nearly every day of my pregnancy and am still wearing.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Scott's. His presence and involvement during my labour were priceless. He surprised me with how wonderful he was. He didn't freak out at all and was a strong constant at my side, keeping me going and telling me all the things I needed to hear at all the right moments. He should become a midwife. ;)

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
I don't have an answer for this one. That's either a good thing, or proof that I'm totally self-centred and haven't even noticed other people outside my very small little world!

14. Where did most of your money go?
Since I stopped really using cloth nappies on Fifi after her first birthday, probably nappies. Lolly's in cloth nappies now, but I imagine Fifi will still wear disposables. It's just so much easier in such an active kid! And the rest went to bills, bills, bills.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative conference! And getting pregnant!

16. What song/album will always remind you of 2008?
Magnetic Fields '69 Love Songs'. I played it over and over during labour. That and my HypnoBirthing relaxation CD I listened to nearly every day for about 20 weeks.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
happier or sadder? Even happier (excluding those months of depression).
thinner or fatter? Fatter (pregnancy) then only a little bit fatter (post-pregnancy).
richer or poorer? Poorer still. TinyTalk doesn't bring in much profit just yet.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Playing with Fifi. But it was so hard, being all tired and fat and pregnant.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Last year I said 'Eat junk food'. Same this year.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Early morning present opening with Fifi and then dinner at the in-laws. Faisal made a delicious Christmas dinner that was simply marvelous! (He's at college to become a chef.)

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
As usual, my mom.

22. Did you fall in love in 2008?
Yes, as soon as this little baby slid out my bod, I fell in love. I also fell in love with Zac Efron... is he too young for me?

23. How many one night stands in this last year?
Nada.

24. What was your favourite TV programme(s)?
I didn't get into anything new this year.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Gordon Brown's a bit of a twit, isn't he?

26. What was the best book(s) you read?
Cash by Johnny Cash and The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat by Oliver Sacks

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Is it lame to say Johnny Cash, even though he's, like, so old?

28. What did you want and get?
A baby! And a new pair of boots for Christmas. :D

29. What did you want and not get?
Nothing comes to mind.

30. What were your favourite films of this year?
High School Musical, but only the first one. Besides that, I didn't make it to many movies.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 26, and I don't recall doing anything...

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A free housekeeper. Again.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Maternity.

34. What kept you sane?
Baking. Sewing. Co-sleeping. Breastfeeding. Again. Plus HypnoBirthing.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Zac Efron! Heh.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The credit 'crunch'. Good grief, it's more than a crunch, people. And I say this to Gordon Brown - LABOUR DOESN'T GET IT.

37. Who did you miss?
My family.

38. Who was the best new person (people) you met?
I don't think I met too many new people. Does Lolly count?

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Shmeh.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year?
When all the cows are sleeping
And the sun has gone to bed
UP jumps the scarecrow and this is what he said:

I'm a dingle dangle scarecrow
With a flippy floppy hat.
I can shake my hands like this,
I can shake my feet like that.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lolly's Birth Story

I’d been having on and off contractions for about 4 weeks. I’d gotten to the point where I didn’t even pay attention to them, because they never turned into anything. On my due date, a Friday, I started having steady contractions that were more intense than earlier ones. It was a full moon, and I thought it would be a perfect day to have my baby. But I went to bed that night, and they stopped, as usual. Nothing else happened until the following Tuesday. Scott, Fi and I were in Morrison’s doing some shopping when I felt my waters break. It was just a trickle, but it kept coming every few minutes. (I think it was my hind-waters, judging by what happened later during labour.) I called Allison, who was to be my birth companion, and she agreed that it sounded like my waters had gone. Still I had trouble believing it after all the false alarms previously. I called the hospital and though they wanted me to come in right away, I decided to wait until the following morning to see if my labour would start up on its own. That evening, Fifi went over to Granny’s, and Scott and I went out to a restaurant for Scott’s birthday (which was the next day). During dinner, my contractions started up and were about ten to fifteen minutes apart. It was great! We went home and throughout the evening, the contractions got closer and closer together and somewhat more intense, though still completely bearable. At around midnight they’d come to about three minutes apart and lasting about a minute each, so we headed off to the hospital.

When we got there, they assessed me. I had to lie on my back to be monitored and that slowed my labour a lot. Contractions were now about six minutes apart and not lasting nearly as long. After two hours, the midwife decided I wasn’t in active labour and sent me home. This was disappointing, and by the time I got home, the contractions had mostly stopped. I was devastated. They wanted me in the next morning to assess me again.

The next morning I woke with only a few mild contractions. I called the hospital and said I was going to stay home longer and hope for labour to start back up. I agreed to come in at 2.00, which would be a full 24 hours after my waters broke. Scott and I wandered around the town for hours hoping to start things up, but nothing happened. At the hospital, I spoke to one of the obstetricians, and he agreed to let me go another night before starting me off on Syntocinon. We agreed that if labour didn’t start on its own, we’d try a small dose to get me started and if it didn’t work, we’d have an elective caesarean. I was gutted but glad he was giving me one more night to start on my own.

Scott and I stayed in town and went to the cinema (we saw High School Musical 3!), then went back to the hospital for me to stay overnight. Over night, the contractions started again but stayed about ten minutes apart. The next morning there was no option but to be induced.

The midwives who were attending me were wonderful. I had a senior midwife and a student midwife. We all got along great. They started the drip at 9.45, and for about an hour, we all just sat around chatting and laughing and having a good time. I started then having some cramps and before I knew it, the contractions were coming on pretty steadily. I was able to laugh and talk in between them, but I had to really concentrate during them. Then they got stronger and stronger, and suddenly they felt like they were coming one directly after the other. I was finding it harder now but continued to decline gas and air until later. Scott went away for lunch. At that point, the contractions were really hard to manage, but I kept using my HypnoBirthing breathing, and it helped a lot.

While Scott was away, I had one huge contraction, and in the middle of it, the baby kicked extremely hard and my fore-waters burst. The pain was, to be perfectly honest, excruciating. The waters breaking kept my contraction going for a long time at its peak, and I lost it completely. I began crying and shouting and writhing around and saying, ‘I can’t do this! I can’t do this!’ I felt like the contraction was never going to end. I tried to get positive by saying through my sobbing, ‘I CAN do this, I CAN do this!’, but I was screaming and still writhing around. The midwife started saying, ‘Lori. Lori. Look at me. Look at me. NO ONE can do this. TAKE THE GAS AND AIR.’ I’d forgotten about gas and air! So I took it. That ended the contraction, but after that point, they came one on top of the other. And then Scott returned. He felt terrible for having been away!

I sucked on the gas and air for I don’t know how long, but it just wasn’t doing the trick. I couldn’t believe how intense the contractions became after my waters broke. I just didn’t think I could do it anymore. Scott kept telling me, ‘Just one more. Can you do just one more?’ I kept agreeing I could do one more. Then I told the midwife that I really needed her to check me to see how far along I was, because if I wasn’t progressing, then I really couldn’t go on like this. She checked me.

She said to me, ‘You’re not going to like what I have to tell you. You are only 1-2 centimetres dilated, but you are fully effaced.’ I glared at her. She then went on to say how good that was because frankly she didn’t think I’d progressed at all. She said to keep trying. I said I’d keep trying, but I was going to need diamorphine. The diamorphine helped just enough to take the edge off the pain, but it was still really painful. Scott continued to coach me through ‘just one more’, but my answers changed from ‘okay, one more’ to ‘maybe’ to ‘I don’t know’.

At some point, Allison arrived. She’d had several other visits that morning to attend to (as a proper midwife, so I felt those visits took precedence over being with me as just a companion). It was perfect timing, as in my head I was close to just asking for a c-section again. When she arrived, it gave me a new sense of energy, and I wanted to prove to myself and to everyone that I could do this.

I was all over the place, unable to get into a comfortable position for labouring. I was all over the bed, the birthing ball, standing up, leaning over the bed, everywhere. Since I was strapped to a continuous monitor, I couldn’t go very far, and all my moving was interrupting the trace on the baby’s heart beat. Because of this, they asked me to sit on the bed for awhile just to get a good twenty minute trace. I wanted to kill them, but I did it anyway. After not very long, I suddenly got the urge to push. It hadn’t been long since I had been checked, so I said very hesitantly, ‘I know this sounds stupid, but I’m just going to say it. I feel like I need to push.’ The midwife asked me to wait to push so she could check me, but with the next contraction, I couldn’t stop myself – I just pushed. She checked me and found I was 8 cm. I couldn’t stop pushing though, even though I tried my hardest. I kept trying not to, and then apologising through the whole contraction because I couldn’t help myself. It felt so good to push!

They must’ve checked me again, because they told me to go ahead and push. It felt amazing! Suddenly, labour was FUN. I was absolutely LOVING the pushing. I gave it my all with each contraction and enjoyed resting in between. I gave up the gas and air, so I could concentrate better on pushing. I don’t know how long I pushed, but it wasn’t long before the baby crowned. I reached down and felt her full head of hair. It was incredible. Before long, the baby’s head was out and with the next push, out whooshed her body. They placed her right on my tummy, and I was blown away. She didn’t breathe right away, so they took her to the resuscitation table while I delivered the placenta. Then they put her back on my tummy, and we all watched in amazement as she crawled up my chest and found the breast herself. From the start of the drip to delivery was about seven and a half hours. I was 40 weeks plus 6 days.

I had a second degree tear, and I was exhausted, so Scott spent a lot of time holding Lolly for me. I felt too wobbly from the drugs and the exhaustion to hold her myself too long. But I didn’t feel it interfered with our bonding. She and I stayed in the hospital for two days. It shouldn’t have been that long except that the very next day, when I was due to go home, the entire west of Scotland flooded, and we were stranded! Interestingly enough, my friend Carol, who was due the same day as me, gave birth the next morning, so we were both in the same ward, stranded together. That night, because no one could get into the hospital for work, our ward was shut down, and we were all moved to different wards, so Carol and I even ended up in the same room! So while we got no visitors, we at least had each other!

I was so happy. I really wanted a natural birth and really didn’t want to be induced. But more than anything, I didn’t want another c-section. I was so upset during the time between my waters breaking and being induced. I couldn’t’ understand why God was letting this happen, when He knew how important this was to me. I was certain I’d end up with another section. But as always, I realised when it was all over, that He did still have everything under control. It just wasn’t how I planned it. I still got my VBAC, and I can also say now that I went through induction without needing an epidural! I had to apologise to God afterwards for my lack of trust in Him. I was pretty mad at Him to be honest. But the birth was amazing, and I don’t regret any choices I made, even though I agreed to many things I’d normally refuse. It was an indescribably amazing experience, and only a week later I’m sure I could do it again.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Middle Child Gets It

It all makes so much sense now. The reason there are no pictures of the middle child (or second as the case may be) is not because the parents care less but simply that there aren't enough arms to go around!

We did a poor job of snapping photos of Christmas yesterday. For that, I apologise, Family In Arkansas. Scott did video Fifi opening her presents though, while I held Lolly. So that's something.

Here's a few we did manage to get. I don't know if Scott and I made it into any pictures, but if we all look tired, it's because we were. Fifi must've remembered me telling her the night before Christmas that the next morning was Christmas because she woke up (she's not even 2 remember!!) shouting 'PRESENTS! DADDY, UP!! WAKE!! SANTA! PRESENTS!'

Her favourite presents were her kitchen set (yay!), the bike from Gran and Grandpa and the teddy bear for Lolly. Yeah, it's Lolly's teddy bear, but Fifi has adopted it.

The best present I got? My mom's present from my dad; he's booked her a flight over for January! Mommy will be here in 3 weeks! Fifi will be happy to see her Mamaw again.

Christmas was over all a lot of fun this year. Kids make it better. They bring that joy and excitement back. Though due to the unexpected early wake up call, we did not get our chocolate gravy and biscuits, nor did I remember to read her the Real Christmas story. Maybe in retrospect... would it have the same affect?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Welcome

We welcomed Lolly into the world on Thursday, 18th December, at 17.15, weighing in at 9lbs 1oz. Birth story to come... when I get a chance to write it!

Mum and baby are well. Daddy is thrilled. Big sister finding it all a bit (a lot) too much.



Name pronounced AHY-la for those of you unaccustomed to Scottish names.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Going to hospital. BRB.

Santa Again

One of the bloggers I regularly read posted this story today, and I'm going to take these thoughts and run with my own.

We never believed in Santa either; it was just a story, and that's how I intended it to be with my kids too. I've discussed that before on this blog. However, as I've also recently written about, Fifi has for some reason become completely fixated on Santa. While she isn't so keen on actually seeing him live in action, she talks about him all day long, sleeps with a Santa Christmas card and only wants to colour in pictures of Santa, nothing else. This morning, her first words when she awoke were, 'Santa? Beard? Hat? Coat? Shoes? Toys!' Each day she comes up with more and more information on Santa's appearance and whereabouts. (He rides a bus, by the way, since of course, she first met him on the Teen Challenge bus at The Haven's Christmas fete.)

So this morning I asked her if she believed in Santa, and she said yes. A trifle dismayed, I asked her if she believed in Jesus, and she looked at me blankly. I've been trying to tell her about Jesus and Christmas, reading her cute nativity stories and what not, but of course I know she's too young to get the concept. We talk about praying to Jesus when we go to church, and we say our prayers at night (when we remember... blush), but it hasn't sunk in for her, and that's perfectly understandable. So then it just kills me that she gets the concept of Santa!

I suppose Santa is more saturated in our culture than Jesus. She sees pictures of Santa, sees people dressed up as Santa, sees electronic Santas playing the trombone in the mall, and then of course everyone around her is talking about Santa and what toys he'll bring her this year. I suppose that even we ourselves have encouraged it by taking her to see Santa and get a present from him. Still, I thought it would all pass over her as a fun game, not something real to believe in.

I just don't want to lie to her. And I don't want her to think that Jesus is also just a fun game to play at Christmas. I'm sure I'm over-thinking it, and maybe next year, she'll be happy to separate fantasy from reality. But I'm beginning to feel a bit guilty and even sucked into the whole Santa thing. I even caught myself saying to her she couldn't have some toy in the shop because 'Santa already got your presents'. I couldn't believe those words were coming out of my own mouth!

I know nearly all of you will say this isn't a big deal, and it's fine to tell kids about Santa, and it won't damage them. But I do know people who were rather traumatised to find out the whole thing was a farse (and a straight lie!), and I even know someone who decided Jesus must not be real either. I don't want that.

But for now, I guess I just have to let Fifi be two and not worry too much about it. We'll see what happens next year. For now, it is kinda cute to see her get all excited over All Things Santa Claus. And when she kisses that Christmas card, well, that's just adorable.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Out of Order

Just to forewarn you, this blog will be down for a few days, or will at least have limited facilities. I know, bad time for it, as I'm about to have a baby (supposedly), but it can't be helped. If you come to check if we've delivered, and there is no blog, go have a look at our Flickr page, which will be updated with pictures and any news. We'll try to have the site back up as soon as possible.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Santa - Fly - Hat

I don't know where she picked all this up, but suddenly, Fifi is very interested in Santa. She was whining all morning about seeing Santa. She kept telling me, 'Santa. Fly. Hat.' How she knew he flies and wears a hat, I do not know. I've certainly never talked much about Santa. I don't believe in lying to children about these things, so Santa is just the name of a fictional character, not someone to truly believe in. She must've been talking to her friends at playgroup...

Anyway, she heard me on the phone with Scott's mum talking about taking her to The Haven's fundraiser this afternoon where Santa will arrive at 3.00. She then talked about Santa all morning until we left.

We got there, and she was all excitement. She kept asking where Santa was. Then we heard the 'bells' (he arrived on the Teen Challenge bus). She was so excited. She climbed the bus and pushed through the crowds to get to Santa. Then, as soon as she laid eyes on him, she did an immediate 180 and came running back to me in floods of tears. She did NOT like Santa one bit. She refused to let go of me. Santa handed her present to one of the elves, and Fifi accepted it, without giving Santa one more look. She couldn't get off the bus fast enough.


Excitement.


Terror.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Nothing

I've been instructed to blog, but I'm sorry, I have nothing to talk about. The conference was the last interesting thing to happen to me. Now it's just a lot of irregular contractions which have been off and on for a few weeks now. It's getting irritating. I don't get the least bit excited when they start. There have only been two days I thought I *might* start labour in the near future but never have I believed in my contractions enough to think 'this is it'. It'll never be it. It'll just been rando contractions until my time limit is up; that's what it feels like. I know I've still got, what, 9 days until my official due date, but really, contractions that just go on and on and on and on without getting more intense or regular is just ANNOYING.

That's all I have to say really. I want to make Scott wake up so I can go lie in a bath. Even though he's been up in the mornings with Fifi the past two mornings (we're 'supposed' to take turns). Is that selfish, or justified?

Oh and can I just complain real quick about something? A wonderful girl offered yesterday to take Fifi for me this morning so I could relax/shop/do whatever I need to do, and I turned her down because Fifi goes into a creche the first Wednesday of the month while we do our breastfeeding work. I told her I'd have loved her taking her for me, but she would be in the creche and I wanted to keep her used to going. Well, what do you know but they cancelled the creche (third time in a row, I think now?). GAH. So much for a morning off. I feel crabby already.

Friday, November 28, 2008

UNICEF BFI Conference Day Two

I won't go into all the details like I did the other day, [I wrote that before I wrote this all out, so that turned out to be a lie] but I'll still share a bit about Day Two, as it was just as good, if not better, than Day One. Again, I'm going by memory, so let's see, what was first...

Oh yes. First was an as yet unpublished study by Mary Renfrew, professor at University of York, on best breastfeeding practice in neonatal units. Because the paper is coming out next year, she asked that any journalists not share her findings publicly, and while I'm not a journalist, I'll still respect that, but basically, it was an extremely informative study trying to determine the best practices for breastfeeding preterm babies. Immediately following her was Elizabeth Jones from North Straffordshire Hospital explaining the differences between preterm babies and full term babies and how breastfeeding must be treated in an entirely separate context for this group of vulnerable babies and how these 'best practices' should be implemented in hospitals. Again, it was very informative, and I really enjoyed both speakers. I can't remember which one said this, but one of them pointed out that they view breast milk in a preterm baby as a medical treatment, not a social choice, because no matter what the formula companies say, the two things a preterm baby needs for development and protection, which are long chain fatty acids and IgG [an immunoglobulin], cannot be added to formula adequately because a preterm baby will simply excrete these things without being able to use them (because they have yet to produce pancreatic lipases)*, whereas they are pre-digested in human breast milk. The other thing from these two lectures that I was most startled by is the fact that one study showed that the average yield of a breast pump is only 4% of a mother's available milk! There's some good news for those mums who look at their milk output in a pump and worry they don't have enough milk! But the reason this was pointed out was more to show caregivers how difficult it is for mother's of preterm babies to persevere with breastfeeding if it is all by pump and to encourage HPs to give the utmost support to these women.

There was then a lecture by UNICEF on how they are prepared to help hospitals achieve Baby Friendly status, and following that there were two talks about The Baby Cafe and the Little Angels peer support projects. Both were interesting and inspiring, though for those of us peer supporters in the area we are in, which has staggeringly low breastfeeding rates, we were more inspired by the Little Angels story, as they started from nothing too!

After lunch was perhaps my favourite lecture of the day. Dr Martin Ward Platt from the Royal Victoria Infirmary discussed neonatal hypoglycaemia evidence and recommendations for practice. It was incredible. I don't think he shared any 'new' information, just information we didn't know! He basically explained how the first few hours of ANY baby's life is the WORST time to check blood glucose levels because EVERY baby experiences a severe plummet in glucose as soon as they are detached from the placenta; the level is so low that in any normal adult, we would be absolutely comatose. He explained why then healthy, full term babies seem so alert and conscious despite this massive drop in glucose. Basically (I'll probably totally butcher this, but hopefully you'll get the picture), the stress of birth causes the baby's body to (getting out notes now) breakdown protein, which produces lactate, which the brain actually prefers to glucose. So in those first few hours where the stress of birth is still present and there is usually no maternal lactation for feeding**, the baby is fully sustained by lactate. Eventually, the stress of birth wears off and the liver begins using its store of glucose until the mother's milk comes in. When the liver stores of glycogen run out, protein breakdown slows and then hormonal control takes over to breakdown the baby's store of fat to produce ketones (which aren't the evil thing we are all conditioned to believe they are), which fuels the baby on until the mother's milk comes in***. Therefore, in 'high-risk' babies, it is important to withhold glucose testing for several hours (even past 4) to allow the body to regulate. Testing for glucose too early (in any baby) just means the care giver is likely to give formula or glucose supplements, and many babies will be treated unnecessarily. I love the way he stated it - Reaching for formula resolves no one's stress levels except the person reaching for the formula. He also talked about how much more important it is to check the baby's level of consciousness as a better indication of hypoglycaemia than anything else (if the baby is alert and responsive, he is most likely just fine, but if he is floppy and unresponsive, by all means, check the glucose), which he restated over and over. Anyway, there was a lot more to it than just that, but as I'm not a doctor or midwife, that's the part I found most interesting and useful to know.

The last lecture of the day was a presentation on a new website called healthtalkonline, which is set up for women to have a place to go for evidence-based information but also for support from other women who have been through similar experiences. It's actually surprisingly good (at least the breastfeeding part is, as that's the part the researcher showed us at the conference), so I recommend having a browse. You can watch video interviews of all kinds of different women discussing their experiences.

In the end, I thought the conference was wonderful, and I'm so thankful I was able to attend. I learned so much and wish everyone in the health profession who deal with women and breastfeeding could've been there! Next year's conference is in South England... we're already talking about saving up for it! (But then, my 10 year class reunion is in 2010 in America, and I think I'd rather save up for that...)



*As it has been pointed out in my comments below, there is a very small percentage of women (somewhere between 1%-3%, are the stats I have found) who are unable to produce milk, or enough milk. This is multiplied in women who have preterm babies, particularly before 36 weeks, whose breast tissues and mammary glands have not had ample time to fully develop. If lactation cannot be sustained, donor breast milk ought to be the next option for these vulnerable babies.

**An audience member asked him what he thought about colostrum, as newborns who are breastfeeding do receive colostrum, but he said there isn't enough study on colostrum to add it to his findings, and that colostrum should be studied more extensively.

***If a mother's milk does not arrive within a couple of days, the baby once again goes into stress, and the protein breakdown begins again, producing lactate and fueling the brain that way until the milk comes in, which is why again the baby still seems so alert, although perhaps a bit peeved, even after several days with no proper milk.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

For Those Who Care... (Would that be anyone?)

The UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative conference started today. Oh my gosh, it was so good. Off memory, the topics lectured on were the Millenium Cohort Study done by Dr Maria Quigley of the University of Oxford. It was a great lecture and the study was done using very good science. Ah, the joy of using my brain again. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her explain their study on the effect of breastfeeding on hospitalisation cases of diarrhoeal disease and respiratory infection. Seriously, they used such good science. It made my heart leap with joy. She showed that exclusively breastfed babies did indeed have a significantly lower rate of hospitalisation for the two diseases they looked at, and that not breastfed babies as well as mix-fed babies, had much higher incidences. The only complaint I had was that as always, it was stated that breastfeeding 'reduces the risks' rather than formula increases the risks. Though I understand her reasons for stating it as she did (the number of formula-fed babies is so much higher that they formed her base group, but still, formula shouldn't be the 'norm' or we'll never come around to seeing breastfeeding in it's proper physiological context), it would've been interesting to hear the facts stated in a different way. Nevertheless, it was a really great lecture.

Next was Dr Peter Blair of the University of Bristol discussing SIDS and dummy use/ bed-sharing. I didn't enjoy this lecture as much as I expected to, seeing as it was the major topic I was looking forward to. The man's a scientist, so I don't blame him, but he went a bit too fast and his charts and graphs were hard to follow as they weren't labeled very well for a fast run-through of his study called the SWISS Study (South West Infant Sleep Situation study - no links as this is an unpublished study as of yet). It was still interesting though. I agreed somewhat with some of his conclusions, but after the amazing thoroughness of Dr Quigley's research, I felt there were a lot of factors he didn't consider, or at least didn't mention. His final conclusion was that there is no conclusion on whether dummy use prevents SIDS (thank you) and that bed-sharing is still not safe enough to recommend (which again, I somewhat agree with, especially as he put it with all the factors that our culture needs to deal with first like soft mattresses, heavy duvets, pillows, alcohol, sleeping pills, smoking, etc.) But I would've liked to see more evidence of what bed-sharing amongst breastfeeding mums shows in regards to SIDS, rather than lumping all bed-sharing together. He did, however, which I think was wonderful, separate the situations in which bed-sharing was actually sofa/chair-sharing and when there was alcohol or drug use involved, which changed the numbers drastically.

Let's see, what else. There was an address on the Scottish Government's support on breastfeeding, an update on the Baby Friendly Intitiative changes and some information on a study done to acertain certain interventions needed for promoting breastfeeding.

Then came my other favourite lecture of the day. Dr Suzanne Colson, of Canterbury Christ Church University, spoke on her study regarding 'Biological Nurturing'. I'd never heard of this before, but in short, she discussed how sitting upright and feeding a baby in the cradle position isn't biological to mammals and showed how simply lying back seems to often correct the problem of latch with many babies and mothers, much as other mammals lie to feed with babies lying on their tummies. It dealt with infant reflexes and innate behaviours as opposed to learned behaviours regarding breastfeeding. It was fascinating. Simply fascinating. It was also very emotive, as she showed videos of her research - videos of mothers trying to breastfeed - and it was beautiful. Sounds silly, but I was so moved, I had contractions through her entire presentation! She could've talked for hours, and I would've been fully enraptured (minus the contractions, of course). I'm very, very interested in obtaining a copy of her DVD and of her published study (the latter I will try to get tomorrow at the conference, as she'll have a few copies available at one of the stands).

All in all, it was a fantastic day. We were all giddy throughout the whole thing. I am so looking forward to tomorrow. Not only do I love feeling my brain go back into education mode (analysing data and taking notes and deciding for myself what I think of the research and the methodology - oh, it makes me want to be a student again), but the topic is so close to my heart, I'm completely spellbound.

It's now 2.30am. I should be asleep. I was, too, but I keep waking all night long. I've had a bite to eat now, so I think I should go back to bed. After I run back through all of this and link away.

Good night.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I Slept!

Ahhh...

I slept so well last night. Even if my dreams were about Lost mixed with characters from Scrubs. Fi woke me up at 6 this morning, all cute, with just a tap on the shoulder and a 'Mum?' She gave me a hug and cuddled up next to me for a few minutes while I came to. It was sweet.

And no heartburn!

Let me tell you my new heartburn secret. Apple Cidar Vinegar. It is HORRIBLE. But I've been taking a tablespoon every night before going to bed (and I have to shoot it fast and then reel for a few seconds afterwards), but if I have been responsible at dinner and not eaten a big or naughty meal, it works! It actually works even when I have been naughty, like the other night when I ate nearly a whole large pepperoni pizza (yikes!). The heartburn was at least kicked until sometime mid night, at which point I just took the easy way out and guzzled some Gaviscon. But seriously. My midwife suggested ACV at the very start, and I bought some but couldn't bring myself to try it. It just seemed so terrible. And it is. But wow, it really seems to work when nothing else does. My friend Carol swears by baking soda in water, but I don't know in what quantities.

Anyway, great sleep last night. Best in days.

Today is 'Thanksgiving'. I need to nip to the shop to buy some last minute things, like turkey gravy (just gonna cheat and buy it pre-made), green beans (my mom pointed out that I had nothing green planned) and milk. And bread, since I used all our bread up last night for the stuffing, and now we've got nothing for breakfast and lunches this week.

I'm feeling good. Amazing what one night of sleep can do for you, eh?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Please Don't Shout at Me!

I know most of you who have children are going to pelt me with tomatoes for saying this but...

I just discovered my first stretch mark.

I managed to get through the entirety of my pregnancy with Fifi without any, and so far I'd made it through this one too. But today I noticed the start of a stretch mark right above my belly button. I was really hoping I'd bypass them again this time. Yet another reason to hope for an earlier baby rather than a later one.

Please don't send me hate mail; it's all about genetics, guys!

Thanksgiving

We're having our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. It's a Sunday lunch; not very traditional, I know, but then again, it's not a tradition at all in GB, so I'm allowed to bend the rules. It occurred to me only this morning that that means not only lots of cooking needs to be done but cleaning too! Our rug in our living room is covered in paint and food stains; I just can't bear the thought of getting on my hands and knees and cleaning it. Maybe if I'm feeling energetic enough tonight, I'll have Scott put Fifi to bed, and I'll get out the carpet cleaner. It's one of those jobs that has to wait until kids are away due to the chemicals, so it's not really putting it off.

I also need to clean the bathroom (not a big job, I know, but not enjoyable either), the kitchen (the floors could do a real mop, but since my wonderful mother bought me a 'swiffer sweeper' type thing, that job can be cut in half as far as effort goes) and the living room. The 'dining table' which is more a craft table than anything else will need seriously cleaned off, which is harder than it sounds as I have NO place to put things like my sewing machine other than there. I've also been meaning to go through Fifi's toy box and move some toys upstairs to clean the toy corner for the Christmas tree, so I might as well do that today too.

And I need to clear out the staircase. It's loaded down with things that need to go upstairs but have no place once they get there.

On top of house chores, I need to go to the grocery store to get a few things, and Fifi has Cameron's 4th birthday party to attend this afternoon. My hope beyond hopes is that she will nap around 12 until time to go to the party, which will give me some optimal cleaning time for tomorrow's festivities.

I'm also debating whether to do lots of cooking today and reheat tomorrow or just skip church and do it all in the morning. I think that's the most likely, except for maybe the pumpkin pie (though actually I really LOVE hot pumpkin pie straight from the oven). Oh my, if Thanksgiving weren't my favourite holiday of the year, I'd just let it slide this time, but no. I love it too much. It is worth the effort.

Though I cheated (as always) on the turkey. Usually I buy a frozen cooked crown breast, but our guest list is small this year, as I let Scott make it this time, so a crown breast is too much (not to mention too expensive). So I just bought some turkey steaks, and I'll bake them. I've never made a real, full turkey, and I'm not too bothered about trying anytime soon.

Let me just ask - does my overuse of parenthetic remarks drive you crazy? I'm a parenthesis girl; I even speak in them.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Preparations, Preparations

I'm tired. Very tired. I know I should go to bed, but there are a gazillion (yes, a gazillion) things I need to do before little Spooce comes. In the immediate, it's things like laundry, dishes (though I've been keeping my dishes surprisingly up-to-date), hoovering (not so up-to-date) and a few other errand-type things, like mailing my mom's package and all my Christmas cards, grocery shopping and the last of my Christmas shopping. My idea for Scott's present didn't work out, so I've got to think up something new... Nothing will beat having gotten him that case of Mean Pig BBQ Hot Sauce, I tell you. (And I mean that. And Scott will vouch for that.) In the long term, it's stuff like clearing out Fifi's room, getting baby stuff all ready, putting in car seat, etc.

Boring stuff to talk about, I know.

I've got our Thanksgiving dinner planned for this Sunday, which I need to get organised for. Yes, I know that Thanksgiving is two weeks away, and I'm also well aware that there is no such thing as Thanksgiving in Scotland, but I'm having a dinner and I'm having it early and that's that. I am CRAVING me some stuffing with cranberry sauce and some pumpkin pie. Oh man, pumpkin pie. My mouth waters.

Ick, that means I definitely need to get the house tidied.

I'm also planning on decorating for Christmas next weekend. I might wait until after 'Thanksgiving'; it depends. Scott wants to wait until the 1st December, but um, I'm hoping to have a baby, like, the day after my conference. So the tree needs to be UP and beautifully decorated before then.

I love Christmas.

Anyway, back to that whole being tired thing. I should really just say stuff it to the laundry and go to bed. There's no room left on the clothes horse anyway for the things in the wash. I'll hang them up tomorrow when the other clothes might possibly be dry.

Night night.

Friday, November 14, 2008

UNICEF Baby Friendly Conference

No one else seems to find this nearly as exciting as I do, but I've gotten a ticket to attend the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Annual Conference! The Baby Friendly Initiative is (in short) a list of criteria a hospital must follow regarding breastfeeding and infant care in order to achieve 'Baby Friendly' status. I don't know if Baby Friendly is in the US, but it's in Europe, and it's meant to be very prestigious. However, in my opinion, it seems the status gets thrown about more in the UK than it does in other areas of Europe.

Anyway, I'm so, so excited about going! It's in two weeks time, which means I'll be 38 weeks pregnant, so now I'm really hoping I don't go before then. I'd really hate to miss this conference! The tickets were expensive, but luckily I didn't have to pay for them, as the Inverclyde Community Health Project (of the NHS) sponsored me and the three other Breastfeeding Network Trainee Supporters to go. We are all so thrilled!

In other news, my friends Sarah and Lorna are throwing me a baby shower tomorrow. I don't know if many people will be there, as the invitations were sent out kind of last minute, but it should be fun. I made an angel food cake for the occasion, but it kinda turned out... wrong. It's a hard cake to make from scratch, I tell you! It's getting those egg whites at just the right peaks and then folding in the flour/sugar mixture... I didn't want to over-mix, so I ended up under-mixing and half of the flour/sugar mixture ended up at the bottom of the bundt pan (which is the top of cake) and baked very densely. So the bottom of the cake is fluffy and light, while the top is dense and moist. Eek. Tastes okay but not perfect.

That's all for now.


ETA: Click here and here to read about the conference.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Could I Be Any More of a Disaster?

The good news is, baby is still safely inside my womb.

The bad news is, I'm on crutches.

Yesterday morning getting ready to take Scott to work, I slipped outside in the mud and fell into the splits. Luckily, I caught myself on the car before going all the way down, but I pulled all the muscles in my pelvis. I thought the pain would subside, but it only grew worse and worse as the moments passed by. I ended up having to cancel my baby signing class last minute and get taken into the hospital (what's with me and these hospitals??) By the time we reached the hospital, I could no longer walk properly, so I had to be wheeled about in a wheelchair - very embarrassing. I was taken up to the maternity ward, and the baby was checked first. She is fine. Then I was seen by a physiotherapist who was surprised by how 'bad off' I was. She brought me crutches and a support band and a support belt and taught me how to move without further injuring myself. She showed me how to use the crutches, how to get in and out of bed and off of chairs, etc. She gave me the strongest support belt they had, which looked like a very unattractive girdle. They wheeled me back down and my wonderful mother-in-law, who drove me there, drove me back to her house, where I am now on some sort of 'bed rest'. I basically damaged my symphysis pubis something-or-other, which some of you who have been pregnant before will be able to sympathise with.

I'm staying now at my in-laws' house for a few days to ensure I rest. If I were at home, it would be impossible not to do chores. There are so many things that need done there! There's the laundry, the hoovering, the dishes... So Scott's dad has Fifi for the day, and I'm stuck here, trying to keep myself entertained. I watched Gordon Brown's press conference (what a boring man), and now I'm watching the Armistice Day festivities in France. Can you believe there are still 3 living British veterans of WW1? They are something like 108, 110 and 111.

I suppose some more good news is that today I feel much more mobile than I was yesterday. The support belt, crutches, rest and pelvic excercises seem to have really helped already. I can now shuffle around the house without the crutches, though if I were to leave the house (which I'm not allowed), I'd still need them. But the pain is much less than it was yesterday, so that is a very, very good thing.

The house phone here is ringing... what does one do when someone else's house phone rings? It stopped. Good. Sorry, whoever you were.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Take It Back

I take it all back. I don't want a premature baby. Please, baby, wait three more weeks at least.

Midwife concerned about descended head. Now so am I.

Baby Baby

Ugh. Last night I started to feel like the baby was a little lower, but this morning I'm sure of it. Either that, or there's a baseball rammed down into my pelvis. Perhaps I'm just impatient and so I'm creating close-to-birth symptoms, I don't know. But I feel truly waddle-y. This pregnancy is so strange compared to my last one. With Fifi, it was like my body knew not it wasn't meant to go into labour with her, so I never had contractions or any kind of pre-labour symptoms until 5 days prior to my scheduled section when it decided it was time to get her out - then it all happened at once, though slowly enough for us to react accordingly and safely. Does that make sense?

This time, it's like my body's been in preparation for months. I started getting Braxton-Hicks contractions somewhere around the 20th week, and I've had them ever since. I had that round of real contractions a week ago. I'm sure the baby is descending now. I'm willing to bet these things will continue to compound until they culminate into full-blown labour. I guess the baby really ought to wait it out another three weeks, but I can't imagine waiting even that long. It's five weeks until my due date. I think I will pull out my brains if I go longer than that. I need to get this baby OUT.

I also need to stop walking while holding my lower pelvis. I look like a toddler on the way to the toilet. I just feel like I've got to hold this baby in. It is so all up in my personal space.

Here's me, at 35 weeks (yesterday):



This is me at 35 weeks +1 (today):



It's possibly the fact that I'm wearing jeans in one picture and pajama bottoms in the other that skews the reality of the placing of my belly, but my bump totally looks lower today than it did last night. Even if it is a false comparison, it fuels the illusion that my baby will come soon, and that's an illusion I need to hold onto to ensure my sanity for the next few weeks.



See?


ETA: Okay, even though Scott tells me this is entirely unscientific, I took a more accurate shot, of me in the same jeans and belt as yesterday. Just really wanted to prove this to myself. I'm a crazy person.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

My New Favourite Blog

I know the title to the post I'm linking to is 'This Made Me Laugh 'Til I Cried', but seriously, this made me laugh 'til I cried. And I just kept laughing and crying. Most recent page here but read the older posts too. Can't. Stop. Laughing. (Or crying.)

It's making my bump hurt I've laughed so much.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Why Oh Why....

... don't we have an Old Navy?

My To-Dos

The list of things to do before the baby arrives doesn't seem to get any shorter, no matter how many things I cross off. Because for every one thing I cross off, I add two more. Right now I'm trying to pack my hospital bag, but for some reason, even though a list has been made, I'm making very slow progress. I think it's the idea of having to pack things like breast pads and big comfy knickers that just seems too unrealistic. Even though I think I have just about everything I need lying somewhere around the house, the effort of putting it all in one place seems very difficult. I think I'm also pretty uninspired about what bag to put them in. Dumb as it sounds, I really want a new, pretty overnight bag! All I have is a big ugly black one, and a little red one that matches my luggage. Boring. I saw some cute pink polka-dotted ones in the mall yesterday, and even though they were only £8 (a bargain), I couldn't bring myself to spend the money. After all, it's not like I NEED a new bag...

I did, however, buy a new nightdress (£3 - go Primark!) which unbuttons down the front for wearing in the hospital post-partum and two pairs of big, thick knee-high socks (£2 for the pair) to wear instead of slippers (I hate slippers). I probably only need to buy one or two things now, but seriously, it seems so hard.

I also have a gazillion things to do around the house. I've been doing lots of laundry, but even with the sunshine, my washing doesn't get very dry in the freezing cold air outside. And there's only so much room on my clothes horse indoors. And I don't like to run the tumble dryer very often because a) it costs money b) it wastes electricity and c) it doesn't work very well unless it's all small, cottony items like socks and undies.

Then there are all the things to wrap up with TinyTalk and my Christmas cards. My only card order this year - seeing as I didn't advertise AT ALL - was for my mom, and those are done, so that's a relief, but I still need to sell a lot of my assorted ones. And I've got to get next term's signing classes organised before Monday preferably so I can start the pre-booking process. And let's not even talk about taxes which don't need to be filed until 30 January, but I really ought to finish them before December, so I don't have to do taxes with a newborn baby attached to my booby.

And of course, Thanksgiving is coming up, and I'm celebrating it early to keep the stress level low, but that means I've got two weeks to organise that. And Christmas is mostly finished (cards all written out and presents almost all wrapped), but there are still a few odds and ends left to get, like extended family gifts and one thing for Scott that I have yet to order. And the decorating! Scott wants to wait until 1 December, but I really don't! I want to December to be the month of quiet, relaxed bliss while I await the arrival of my second daughter. Anyone want to keep Fifi for the month to make that dream a reality?

Anyway, instead of blogging, perhaps I should be working on some of those To-Dos. I just gotta find my list. First item on the To-Do agenda: Find To-Do List.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Trick Or Treat

So on Halloween night, Spooce McFarlane decided to play a little Halloween Trick or Treat. Around 3.30pm, I started having real contractions while snoozing on the couch with Fifi. The first two weren't too bad; they were very different from my usual Braxton-Hicks, but not terribly uncomfortable. Then came the third one - wowzers. I had to grab Scott's attention (not easy) and get him to take Fifi away, so I could stand up. I stood up, but immediately had to lean over a chair to get through. I breathed my way through it, and it finally eased off. When I stood back up, I felt (possibly TMI upcoming) a tiny release of fluid and an 'opening' sensation. It was then I realised that this was a lot more like labour is described than my BH contractions had been. I decided to get in a bath to slow/stop the contractions. I couldn't stop thinking about that opening feeling, though, so I called my midwife. She thought it all sounded too much like premature labour and advised I call the hospital. I was reluctant, so I decided to wait it out. However, two contractions later, I agreed to call. Of course, they wanted me to come in.

I texted a few people asking for prayer (I was only just 34 weeks), and Scott and I headed to the hospital. Poor Fifi could sense something was wrong and was actually not cool with going to Gran's house for a change.

The prayers must've worked, though, because by the time I got to hospital, all the contractions had stopped. I only had one while I was there, and it was really mild. They sent me back home.

We were really relieved not to have had an early baby (or a Halloween baby at that), but we were both really quite calm about the whole thing. I felt very confident that if this was it, then that's just how it goes and I was gonna go with it. Again, I think that was due to prayers... and possibly my HypnoBirthing affirmations practice. *wink* We thought it was funny that she went 'trick or treating' with us. It turned out to be a trick, but a little baby would've been a treat!

Still, very glad she's still in there and cooking. She's still just a bit too wee to enter the big, oxygeny world. Give us another, oh, 4 weeks, and then I'll be VERY happy to see you. (Come on 38 week baby, please no 42 week one.)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

GRUMPY.

I am a very grumpy mommy today. I could have something (everything) to do with the fact that Fifi woke up at 4.30 and despite my keeping her in bed until 6, I had to listen to her wail and cry for an hour and then against my better judgment, feed her for half an hour just to get a bit more of a doze in.

I did not doze during her hour of screaming.

Honestly, kid, 4.30?

I have a cold too. Also courtesy of my beloved offspring.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Baby Nina!

Congratulations to Maria, Simon and Caspar on the birth of their daughter/sister Nina! I can't wait to meet the wee thing tonight.

It's been in my mind that I would make something for her when she was born, but I kept putting it off until I got the text last night that she had been born. Then I realised I kinda needed to get on the ball.

Now, up until now I really didn't get the recent fascination amongst crafters with owls, but after the craft fair this weekend, I really got it. They are ridiculously cute! Janet, one of my friends I went to the fair with, bought some owl templates which I used to make this card:



So when trying to decide late last night what I would make for Nina, I decided to use the owl template as inspiration for an owl softie! Because the template is so easy and simplified, it didn't take long for me to make these two cuties:



I finished as much as I could last night until I crashed at midnight. I put on the finishing touches (ears and beaks) this morning and voila. Very cute owl siblings (if I do say so myself). I love them so much, I don't even want to give them away!

I ran out of stuffing, however, so both have a little pouch of rice sewn up inside them, which allow them to stand upright. The weighting is a little off, though, so you do have to fidget around with them before they will happily stand on their own. But when they do, they look really sweet.



Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts, little ones!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sewing Patterns

There's a sewing blog I read, called rostitchery that is full of interesting pattern tips and tutorials. I clicked on a link from her blog, and I found the most amazing programme:

Wild Things!

It's a free downloadable programme that gives you patterns to all kinds of accessories, like hats, slippers, bags and wraps. It's amazing!

There are a few other things on the site that I'd totally purchase if a) I had more money and b) I had more time to sew, but I'm definitely keeping this in my favourites for that wonderful someday when I can just stay at home and 'arts and crafts' it up all day long.

(Speaking of arts and crafts, I went to a craft fair yesterday and came home with some real cardmaking goodies, like this, this and this. Fun day!)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Feeling Much Better

Ahh, feeling much better today. The weather is still rubbish; it's possibly worse than yesterday, but I feel much more cheerful. I had my TinyTalk class this morning, and it was good. I had two new people along with all my regulars. I also sold some of my Christmas cards, which is exciting. This afternoon Fifi and I went over to a friend's house to play. I came home, did my paperwork, cleaned the kitchen, hung up some laundry and made some brownies, all while Fifi watched Monsters, Inc. in her highchair with some food. It's now almost 7, and I'm off to a girly night at another friend's house. Scott's got Fifi bedtime duty, so I get to go on my own!

Tomorrow will be a big tidy up day, but Fifi's gran and grandpa are back from their holiday, so I'm hoping they take her for a few hours while I get some work done... Fingers crossed!

Still wouldn't mind this crazy torrential rain (and I genuinely mean torrential), gales and flooding going away really soon. It's a pretty big damper... eh, no pun intended.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Miserable Miserable Day

Today is a miserable, rainy, windy, floody day. It's also my busy day, with playgroup in the morning and breastfeeding group in the afternoon. Sure I could skip playgroup, but who would want to sit in the house on a day like this, going mad with a bored, energetic, fed-up toddler, looking at the mess that really needs cleaned but not feeling at all like doing it?

Today is NOT a nesting day. It's a send-the-kid-away-and-sleep-on-the-couch day.

Everything is bugging me today. Like the shower that doesn't work, but I tried to make work several days ago (by simply turning it on - it doesn't even turn on) and since then it has been dripping non-stop and there is nothing to do about it (it didn't even turn on when I turned it on! It's off now and won't stop dripping!) I desperately need to get someone out to see it, as taking a bath under a cold, thick drip is torture of the worst kind (Chinese water torture terrible).

I'm also annoyed that the dishwasher needs unloaded and refilled. That's all the kitchen requires, along with a quick counter wipe-down, but that seems like SO MUCH WORK.

I need to run some laundry. But the tumble dryer is being funny and the whirligig, well, I'm not going to use that during flood weather, am I?

I need to tidy the living room. It's just a matter of putting away some toys, tidying up my sewing and cardmaking stuff and taking some laundry upstairs (and putting it away, blah), but who wants to do THAT on such a miserable day?

Did I mention I'm fed up with being pregnant? I've got 5-9 weeks to go. Please come early, please come early.

Fifi is asleep on the couch. Please stay asleep, please please please.

I need to make dinner too. Why can't we be middle class enough to order take-out on a day like this? Make some other miserable sod deliver food to us. Now THAT sounds fair.

Grumpy grumpy grumpy Lori. I'm going to go eat a bowl of chocolate ice cream. Yes.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pajama Party

I think I'm done being sick, but I can never be sure. This sicky feeling keeps coming and going... I really hope it isn't pregnancy-related and therefore here to stay!

Yesterday I still felt pretty icky in the morning, so Scott took Fifi to church without me. By noon, I was feeling much better, but thankfully, Scott's mum took Fifi for the afternoon, so I was free to do as I pleased. I'm so glad. I think it helped me feel better not to have to run around entertaining a toddler.

It also meant I finally got to make this!



I got this pattern from MOMSPatterns a long time ago and have been wanting to make the long-sleeved pajama suit forever. I cut the pieces last week but then got sick. So yesterday, I did all the sewing and look how it turned out!



I was very pleased with the outcome. It's not as slim-fitting as the picture suggests, but that might be because it's for an older child. I don't quite know how to size patterns yet, so I figured too big was better than too small.

Fifi loved it anyway! It's still too big for her, but that just means she can wear it for longer!



The project started off on the wrong foot when I accidentally sewed up the seam that was meant to be the zipper, then pressed the seam open, only to discover the fabric is not as cottony as I thought and I burnt a hole in the fabric! I had to rip the seam out and in doing so, the burnt seam ripped off too, so I no longer had a seam allowance for the zipper at one part. But I got the zipper on, hand-sewed the place with no seam allowance and patched the hole and it was ok after that. All smooth sailing. (Except when I sewed the first sleeve on upside down! I'm still not that great at this.) I also skipped the lace around the collar and sleeves, as I was afraid of ruining my good work.

I'm now working on some Black Apple Dolls for Christmas presents. They are turning out really cute, and they are a snap to make, once I figured out how to satin stitch the hair using my sewing machine instead of by hand. I'll post pictures either here or on my Flickr when they are finished.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A Violent Case of the Ickies

I was cursed on Tuesday with a stomach bug. Some things are just not fair when a woman is nearly 7 months pregnant.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Doesn't Work

I attempted to make chocolate oatmeal no-bake cookies today, but when I got to the last and integral ingredient - the oatmeal - I realised Scott had finished it off for breakfast. Since the whole thing was already combined and boiled, I tried cornflakes instead. It didn't really turn out as good as I hoped. Edible though. Fifi is loving herself some.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Thank You, God

It's been a hard two years being on only one income, but let me just thank God before all of you for how well He has provided for us month after month.

I just checked our bank balance. I held my breath the way I do every time at around this time of the month, while we wait for the next pay day. I gulped when I saw the balance. I figured up the rest of the bills and...

Once again, we're going to make it. Thank you, Lord. :)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Cleaning and Sorting

Stove cleaning in process.
Apple pie baking in oven.
All dishes clean.
Laundry and dishwasher running.
About to finish tidying living room.
If time permits, will then sort out Christmas/birthday presents I've already bought and wrap the birthday ones. On the lookout for super cute Christmas paper.

(And gardener has replaced our broken step, cleaned the rubbish from the shed that blew over almost 2 years ago and set up new whirligig.)

Feeling very clean.

NOW Back to Normal

Fifi is better now. I don't know what was wrong with her, but she's over the worst of whatever it was. I took her to play group yesterday, and she was still very clingy, which is unusual for her, but she has been acting normal besides that.

I'm in my third trimester now. I'm nearly 30 weeks pregnant. Weird. I don't want to wait another 10-12 weeks. I want to have the baby NOW. Well, okay, no I don't because that would mean a premature baby, but the sentiment still stands. I'm still pretty small compared to my pregnancy with Fifi, but I feel much more restricted in my movements. Probably because I didn't need to bend over so much the first time. Now I feel like I'm never off the floor or not bending over to pick things (like a toddler) up.

The nesting instinct had to hibernate while Fifi was ill, but I think it's back now. I spent Fifi's nap yesterday totally gutting the kitchen. I organised one of the food cupboards (still 3 to go) and the pots and pans cupboard and cleaned everything. I didn't manage to get to the floors before Fifi woke up, but that's next on the agenda. I also didn't finish scrubbing the oven, but that'll happen soon too. It sounds like not much, but it felt like serious manual labour. No wonder my uterus was contracting like crazy all day yesterday! (Sorry if that's a little TMI!)

I also think the baby might be FINALLY turning. I'm certain she's been transverse (laying side-to-side) the whole time, as I've only felt kicking on my right side from the beginning. But starting yesterday, the kicks began to gradually move up the way and now they are all at the upper-to-right side. And the little hand that seems to have been punching downwards constantly is now sort of punching more to the side. Good stuff. The last thing I want is another c-section due to the position of the baby!

More about babies and stuff, I've started drinking red raspberry leaf tea. It supposedly helps strengthen the uterus and makes the second stage of labour shorter. Who knows, but it tastes good so even if it does nothing, it's not harming me in anyway. I've read different things, but I think the general rule is that by the end of my pregnancy I should be up to 3-4 cups a day... I'm sticking with just one right now, as some think that before 32 weeks, too much can possibly trigger pre-term labour. Don't know if I believe that either, but I'll keep on the safe side for now.

It's almost time to take Scott to work now, so I need to go do hair and teeth and get shoes on - for both me and Fi.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Not Quite Normal

Things aren't quite as back to normal as I thought.

Poor little Fifi is sick. I don't know what is wrong with her, but she's miserable. Her temperature was somewhere between 38 and 40 degrees C today. Three different readings, but the most accurate (under her arm) said 38 so I went with that rather than panicking over the 40 that was read on the forehead strip. She won't sleep or eat, but she won't sit quietly either. She just cries a lot.

So Scott is off work again. This time, it's to help take care of his daughter and his wife. My third trimester has been really crappy. Morning sickness (well, morning nausea) and headaches have returned. Along with the usual tiredness and back/belly ache. Bleh. So it's not normal around here at all. I've skipped most of our weekly toddler groups (Tuesday, Fifi just stood at the door saying, 'Tod? Tod? Car?') and today I had to skip my breastfeeding group. We left Toddlers early this morning because Fifi was so miserable. She just sat in my lap the whole time, asking for milk with her signs.

However, I have some good news! Inverclyde Council has announced a small budget allotted for giving grants to parents who want to use cloth nappies! So I got to order £80 worth of nappies for the new baby, all to be reimbursed by the council! I have cloth nappies for Spooce, Fifi's old ones, but it makes me happy that she'll be getting some new ones. Since they were essentially free, I ordered some Fuzzi Bunz (love Fuzzi Bunz), along with some Blueberry minky side snap nappies, Minki nappies, Nature Baby Stuffables and ... the best... one of these (look at the order page - it's the pink puppy). Yes, that last one was a splurge. (So were the Blueberries.)

That makes me very happy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Back to Normal

Well, our anniversary week is over. We never managed to do all the things we planned, like take a walk around Cornalees or go for pizza and a movie, but we still had a good week together. Very relaxing, very enjoyable. Callander was fantastic - pictures here. We took a rainy walk around the duck pond, spent money in an amazing used bookstore and visited the Hamilton Toy Museum. The hotel was really nice; the room was big, there was a double and a single bed so Fifi got to sleep on her own (or rather, Scott and I got to sleep on OUR own), and it served dinner and breakfast both days. Fifi was an angel the whole time, too, and charmed all the wee old couples gracing the hotel (we were the youngest there by a very large margin).

Now we are settled back into normal life, with Scott back at work and Fifi and I back into our weekly routines of TinyTalk classes, Mother & Toddler groups and Breastfeeding groups. Today on the agenda is a morning Mother & Toddler group, and then while Fifi sleeps, I need to call around a few places to do some business stuff. When Fifi wakes up, we're going to have some fun with salt dough! I bought glitter paints yesterday for us to paint our creations. I'm very excited.

The weather here is getting very autumny. I love the chill in the air. I love wearing jumpers. Yesterday turned out extremely hot, but the morning felt like a perfect Autumn day. As much as I enjoy the sunshine and won't begrudge a day of it, I love when the weather goes like this.

It's 6.45am right now. Fifi and I have been up since 6, I think. I think it's now time to go wake Scott and make him take over while I go get washed up and dressed. Fifi is happily working a puzzle in her high chair and watching 'bears' (Care Bears). So now might be a good time to escape.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fruit and Flowers

This is the beginning of our anniversary week. This year is number four. Scott's idea for our anniversary this year was to 'recreate' our favourite memories together, or favourite dates. He took the whole week off, so we could do things together.

We kicked off the week last night with a recreation of our first Valentine's meal. Scott had been the original chef (!), but I made the tea last night: steak, mashed potatoes, lemon-butter asparagus and raw carrots. (We also added a side salad and fruit salad for dessert.) We played Mozart, like we did that first Valentine's Day.

Today we are heading off for Callander, which isn't sentimental in any way, but it's a few days away, which is nice! Fifi will be with us, so we'll just have a nice family trip. When we come back on Thursday, our anniversary day, we'll send Fi over to Granny's and we're off to our favourite restaurant, Thai Siam. We also plan to go for a walk at Cornalees (where we first held hands) and get dinner at KFC and walk along the Esplanade (like the night we got engaged). Pizza Hut and a movie are hopefully on the agenda too, since that used to be our regular Friday night outing, when we were DINKYs.

The fourth anniversary is traditionally gifts of fruit and flowers. My gift to Scott was a couple of bunches of carnations (being the type of flower I bought him when we got engaged, while he bought me Oriental Lilies, thus inspiring one of his songs he wrote for me), sitting in new Irn Bru glasses, and a guitar pick flower. His gift to me is Season One of Pushing Daisies.



(Click on the picture to see more of our dinner last night, and follow along as we post more pictures of our week.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sorting

Been trying to clean out Fifi's room for a while to make room for Spooce. I seriously didn't think it was possible until I really got in there and got to work today. Turns out I have a lot of useless baby crap to get rid of. I've actually managed to fit all of Fifi's clothes and Spooce's clothes into the same chest of drawers, using drawer organisers, various storage boxes and a bit of clearing out. Did Fifi really need thirty sleep suits when she was 0-3 months? Sure, they were cute, but that many? I managed to sort through the sleep suits and get them down to a reasonable number that fits side-by-side with Fifi's toddler pajamas. The rest of the adorable sleep suits have gone to Maria who is having a baby girl next month. The same goes for t-shirts, though this time it was Fifi's toddler stuff that had to be reckoned with. She didn't need an entire drawer full of t-shirts any more than Spooce will need all those sleep suits.

I'm finally getting use out of the drawer organisers I bought a while ago, by putting Fifi's socks in one box, Spooce's in another, and ditto on the frilly knickers. It looks really tidy in that drawer now.

A wall-mounted storage hanger now has all the hats, tights and baby shoes neatly tidied away.

I also went through some pink storage bins I've had in her bookshelf forever and discovered that a) I have, like, six zillion wash clothes, b) I have, like, six zillion cloth baby wipes and c) I was a major pack rat with Fifi. So I cleared those out, and now from three overflowing bins, I have one neat full one and two empty ones. I'm giddy.

I've also moved all of the outgrown baby clothes and still-to-be-grown-into toddler clothes from various shopping bags and boxes into underbed storage bags. 5 vinyl jumbo 'blanket' bags for £10 have neatly stored all of Spooce's still-to-be-grown-into clothes, all of Fifi's s-t-b-g-i clothes, a double bed duvet and all my sewing fabric under Fifi's bed. Yes, that leaves one still unused!

However, I might take care not to get too excited. I still have several boxes of baby clothes in the loft. Who knows what else I might find. Glad the church is having a jumble sale next weekend. I'll be donating LOTS.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

DIY

I am so proud of myself. I just fitted our new toilet seat to the toilet. It was the most vile job I have ever done in my life, but I did it. Considering our toilet is that awful burgundy colour from the '70s, I can guess our toilet is about 30 or 40 years old and most likely has never had a new toilet seat (oh my gosh, I might puke). So unscrewing the old one (which had broken) and refitting the new one was totally disgusting and horrifying and foul. I can't stop washing my hands. But I did it. It needed to be done and I did it. I am so very proud of myself.

I'll probably have a few nightmares about it though. I'm not your typical 'germaphobe', but I do have my compulsive fears - outdoor rubbish bins and toilets being two of them. The germs I imagine festering on those two items are enough to make me want to bathe in a tub of ammonia. I really wish I had a tub of ammonia.

But we have a new toilet seat. A clean, never-been-used-before toilet seat. Peeing will now be a much less stressful affair.

If I can ever stop washing my hands (which I'm off to do again, after spraying down the keyboard).

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Felt Like Blogging; Didn't Have a Theme...

That is precisely why I'm doing a meme.

(What do you think of that little poem?)

From the Saturday 9.

1. What is your favorite thing to do alone?
Read mostly. Or watch a film, but I usually prefer to watch films with someone, even if it's just Fifi. So, yeah, read mostly. In the bath especially.

2. What is your favorite thing to do with your best friend?
Hmm. That's tough, because I'm not sure who to call my best friend. Scott, of course, is my bestest, bestest friend, and I like just sitting around talking with Scott, about anything and everything (and everybody). But as for girl best friends, my oldest bf lives in America, so we don't really do anything together anymore! (We used to sit around talking too.) Here, I don't really have a girl best friend, but my friend Sarah is probably the closest to that, and we like to make cards together. And Carol and Maria are my best mummy friends, and we like to go on walks or sit in cafes and drink tea and coffee. There's my very thorough answer.

3. What is your favorite band?
My sentimental favourite is Tripping Daisy. My current favourite is probably Belle & Sebastian or old style Pedro the Lion. I don't get out much in the music scene these days.

4. What is your favorite song?
I don't think I have one, unless we're talking hymns, and then my favourites are O Sacred Head Now Wounded, I Know Not Why and A Mighty Fortress is Our God.

5. What is you favorite part of your job?
My favourite part of my 'job', ie teaching baby signing, is seeing the babies faces light up as we sing songs they love. I love when the babies clap and squeal at the end of songs - and in the middle of them!

6. What is your favorite TV show, on now?
I don't have TV so to speak, but if that show Pushing Daisies is still running, then that's my favourite.

7. What is your favorite TV show all time?
Ooh, that's a hard one. Let's think of which box sets I own: Scrubs, That 70's Show, Felicity, Gilmore Girls, Jeeves & Wooster... I suppose those are my favourites.

8. Who is your favorite actor?
These days I've got a major crush on James McAvoy. It used to be Ewan MacGregor. Love the Scotsmen.

9. What is your favorite film?
Again, hard to say. I love Moulin Rouge, Life is Beautiful and many others. Unlike with books, I love movies, whether daft or serious. (Books have to be really good and literary, or I can't get through them.) Though I hate movies like American Pie or Another Teenage Movie or whatever that was called. I hate stupidity films; but I can totally enjoy romantic comedies. I mostly appreciate really well done, thoughtful films.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Angel Food Cake

I really need an occasion to arise in which I can make an angel food cake. I'm desperate for some yummy white cake with strawberries and whipped cream rolling over the sides. Oh, YUM.

I also want to make some chocolate chip cookies and a chocolate cake. The cake would be covered in homemade peanut butter chocolate icing.

And an apple pie. A buttermilk apple pie, to be exact.

I'm not pregnant or anything...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I've Become a Mommy Blogger

Okay, for starters, I think Facebook is dumb, but I've actually enjoyed finding randos from the past, so there's something okay about it.

So today I was looking at my own profile and went to my blog from it, and I realised just how uninteresting I've become. All my Flickr pictures are of Fifi, all my blogs are about being a mum... I'm BOR-ing.

The worst thing is, as I realised this and determined to change it, the only thing that came to my mind was 'Review a book. I just read... oh yeah, I just read "Childbirth Doesn't Have to Hurt".'

But I also read 'News of a Kidnapping', which is about the abductions of 10 journalists by Pablo Escobar in Colombia in 1990, which gives me some cred, right?

But in general, yeah, I'm really sorry for what I've become as a blogger. Oh, who am I kidding? I was never that exciting to begin with!

I like you loyal folks who read regardless. I'll work on my material, I promise.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

1000 posts!

I just realised that 3 posts ago (including this one), I reached 1000 posts on here! Wow! What a lot of rubbish reading you people have been through (if indeed there is anyone at all who's been with me since the beginning... Amanda maybe.)

So just a few things today.

-First, Tesco does nursing bras now!! For a fiver each!

-Last night I had some crazy dreams. There was this really muffled up conspiracy theory dream where all the characters kept changing - the endangered person started out as Amanda, then turned into my 'ex-husband' (starting out as a guy I knew from school and turning into Dean from Gilmore Girls), then my ex-husband turned into the killer and Scott was my new boyfriend and this guy from church turned into the ex-husband, then the ex-husband turned into a rando called Thomas... NO IDEA. But it was a stressful, scary dream.

-We were supposed to go strawberry picking again yesterday, but after driving all the way there (about a 20 minute drive), we found it was closed because the family was at a wedding or something. Very disappointing. Must go this week before strawberry season ends.

-If the weather stays good today, Scott, Fifi and I are going on a hike. I hope Bump doesn't wear me out too much.

-In honour of my 1000th post, here's a copy/paste of part of my first ever Blogger post:

I had a girly-day on Saturday. One of those days where you just feel sad for no reason. When you're in your car and a good song comes on and you turn it up loud hoping it will make you feel good but instead you just burst into tears. Then you reach your destination and park, and you think the tears have subsided but as soon as you turn off the engine you burst into tears all over again. And you lay your head on the steering wheel hoping no one will park next to you and look at you, or hoping someone you know doesn't come outside and see you. I had that kind of night. I just felt very very sad. But it felt good to cry, man. I haven't cried in a while. So i think a good cry was in my system somewhere and needed to get out. So I'm glad i had a girly-cry-night. When I was finally done, I went over to Clunk's house. But then i was super-sensitive to everything anyone said to me- I almost cried like five times, over something Lincoln said, something Tony Tost said, something Tommy said, etc etc etc. And Clunk was my hero of the night because he noticed something was wrong and asked me if i was ok and whatnot, that i seemed timid and not myself. That's always nice, to be noticed just a little when you're feeling down.

Other than that, the weekend was great. I saw the Matrix with Shane, saw the Tickle on Friday, Ryan came home and emailed me (and i've missed him so much, which is totally dorky bec we're just new friends and he's only been gone a week- but i really miss talking about Jesus and John Calvin with him), AND, best of all, practiced with Sharkie on Sunday. :) I'm gonna be singing backup with them on May 31st- hahaha. It's gonna totally rock.

And now, for my big important Development Group meeting- I'm getting introduced as the new Report Writer.


Blast from the past! I miss Lincoln.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Roller Coaster for Mums

I'm really chancing it here, taking time out of Fifi's precious nap to blog. But I do it for the fans.

As if all the obvious things about being a mum isn't tiring enough, today I've thought of another reason we are always so tired. The emotional roller coaster we ride all day long are extremely draining. We go from cheerful to exasperated to loving to cross to proud to disappointed - all before lunch!

This morning, little Fi woke me with her bright-eyed grin to ask 'Daddy?' with her hands outstretched (sign for 'where'). Daddy had slept in her room since he has a cold, and Fi was confused as to where he was when she woke up. It was really cute. She convinced me to get out of bed, begging for her morning 'ba' and 'go' (banana and yogurt). I wearily but smilingly fumbled out of bed and down the stairs to feed her her breakfast. After breakfast she wanted to draw. She then tattooed herself with her markers. Daddy and I had a good laugh.

Once it was getting dressed time, though, she turned into Fifi the Grump Monster. She moaned and whined and kicked and refused to be dressed. Grrr.

We dropped Daddy off at work and came home to play. We made big construction paper gloves and played with them. I had fun playing with her and really cherished the fact that I get to spend so much time with her.

She played with her lunch, but didn't eat it. I tried to remain patient. Sometimes we just aren't hungry, right? She then told me she needed to 'poo', so I brought her through to her potty and stripped her tights and nappy off. She sat on the potty, stood up, looked in, nothing there, sat back down, repeat. After the third or fourth time of standing up and looking in, she pooed. On the floor. Again I had to force myself to remain patient. It was just bad timing, I reminded myself as I calmly if not grudgingly cleaned up the mess.

It was then I received a text that her playgroup was being canceled for this afternoon. No! I desperately look forward to playgroups as a chance to let her run free and get myself a cup of tea. She was already getting pretty sick of being inside (awful rainy day today), so I scooped her up and took her to the shop where I was planning on buying a new DVD player. She helped me carry some of the equipment around the shop and was very cute and endearing, with her hands full of electronics and her sad little scraped up nose. She 'helped' me pay, and we moved on to the shop next door for a browse.

In the shop, she kept running away from me, but only a short distance where I could still see her, so I didn't let it annoy me. But when we were checking out, she kept trying to run out the door into the street. I kept doing my best 'FIFI. NO!' She would look at me, grin mischievously and take another step. 'FIFI, I SAID NO. COME HERE NOW.' She'd run back to me... then run off again. I was so annoyed with her! The lady at the register looked sorry for me and helped me keep an eye on her as I paid, but Fifi kept testing me. Finally, I grabbed my shopping, chased Fifi down and gave her a swift smack on the bum (which I hate doing). She just giggled and shouted, 'Bad!' and smacked herself on the backside again. Stupid nappies! That's when I smelled another poo in her nappy. Great. I was annoyed, cross and exasperated all at once.

In the car, she tried to reconcile herself to me, but I just ignored her cute intentions and told her 'Mummy is very cross with you for being naughty and running away.' She fell asleep in the car, and by the time I got home, I wasn't annoyed anymore, just tired and desperate to keep her asleep. I almost didn't manage it, but now she's asleep, and I'm halfway through a cup of tea, and I'm starting to relax.

After this it's on to the obvious mummy-tiring stuff like cleaning up the construction paper mess we made this morning.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wedding Pics

Having been a bridesmaid in the wedding, I didn't get the opportunity to take many pictures, but the ones I did take can be found here.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Wedding Day

Today my sister-in-law (Scott's sis) is getting married. Hopefully there will be many pictures. Best wishes and congratulations to the bride and groom!

Scott's brother Pete and his wife Rebekkah and their daughter Audrey arrived yesterday. I was worried about how Fifi would take to another little child being on her turf, but she loved it. Audrey was a bit out of sorts from all the travel, so she was a tiny bit less enthusiastic than Fifi, but she was wonderful anyway. Such a cute little girl. It occurred to me that she is Fifi's only cousin, and it kinda warmed my heart. Audrey has about ten cousins, so it wasn't anything terribly special for her, but it was for me. I didn't get any pictures, but over the week I definitely will.

I hope the little ones behave today at the wedding and let us grown-ups have a little fun. I can't wait to see them in their matching flower girl dresses!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Strawberry Farm

Yesterday I took Fifi to a strawberry picking farm to pick strawberries. We went with Maria and Caspar and a couple of Maria's friends and kids. It was pouring down when we were driving to the farm but had stopped raining long enough for us to spend 45 minutes or so picking strawberries.







We had a gorgeous time. Fifi kept eating loads of strawberries, and I felt so guilty about it that I wouldn't eat any and felt I needed to keep picking more to make up for it (which makes no sense). Scott made fun of me later, reminding me that they take people eating the strawberries into the price at the end. After tasting one of those delicious strawberries, I'm so annoyed I didn't eat any!

Tomorrow I'm going to make jam out of them. Fresh beautiful jam. I found hulling the strawberries difficult, but now they are washed, hulled and ready to preserve. Yummy.

For the price of 2kg of strawberries at the farm compared to 450g in the shops, I'm getting all my strawberries at the farm until the season is over.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Baby Led Weaning and Bento

When I began the weaning process with Fifi, I decided to take on the 'baby led weaning' philosophy - basically, skipping purees and going straight to finger foods. The idea is that if the baby is allowed to choose for himself what he wants to eat, he will develop a more balanced and healthy approach to eating. He will eat when he is ready and hungry (and he will not choke if he is left to start solids until after six months, when the gag reflex is in full working order).

So we started with sliced pears and bananas and broccoli trees. It seemed to be going nowhere, but that is very normal with baby led weaning. At 10 months, she was still only eating a few things a day; I'm talking one or two peas and a yogurt (spoon fed by herself). I repeated the 'food is fun until they're one' mantra over and over to assure myself this was normal. And she was still breastfeeding and gaining tons of weight and was very healthy, so I tried not to worry.

But after a year came and went, and she still wasn't doing the solids thing, I started to worry. I decided with the next baby I wouldn't do this silly baby led weaning thing, because it seemed to produce picky eaters. (My friend who's kid is the same age as Fifi also did BLW and found the same problems with him.)

But suddenly, it clicked. Suddenly, she started eating. She'd eat a whole quarter of a sandwich. She'd eat a whole banana. She'd eat all the blueberries in a punnet. She started branching out from just fruit and yogurt to breads, meats and the occasional vegetable (though not much more than a few bites on the veggie side of things). Then it increased and increased and kept increasing. The breastfeeding went down too though that had more to do with my diminished supply due to pregnancy than anything else.

Now, the kid is eating us out of house and home. And while she loves her sweets, she also really loves good, healthy food. She's still picky with her veg, but that could be my fault as well, since I'm picky with my veg and probably don't offer it enough! I'm going to chop up some carrots today and steam some green beans and asparagus and bake those sweet potatoes to get a kick on trying harder in that department.

Just Thursday I made a fresh fruit salad for the whole family. Scott put it on her little table for all of us to munch on. Fifi pulled up her chair and proceeded to eat the whole salad. A family sized fruit salad, gone in about five minutes. Grapes, strawberries, bananas, pears and oranges. Gone.

I write this, because today I was just bewildered to see how much she was eating. She asks for fruit and yogurt (and cake) all day long, though she'll settle on almost any alternative you offer, but it still amazes me to see her actually eat her proper lunch. I made a grilled cheese sandwich for her today, and she happily ate the whole thing (minus the crusts). I'm just so pleased.

I also write this to introduce you to my latest craze: bento. Bento is a Japanese thing (see the link), but it's become quite a craze amongst Westerners, some who remain true to the Japanese theme and some who have Westernised it. While I'm afraid that to begin with, I'll be a very Western bento-boxer, I'm very excited about the prospect of supplying my husband and children with healthy lunches, full of well-balanced, bite-sized meals. I bought a bento box for Scott (a manly black one) and one for Fifi (a cute, kiddie blue one). In them I plan to pack anything from fruits and veggies to sandwiches to left-overs, with the occasional cute onigiri, just to be sort of Japanese about it. For Fifi, I can cut sandwiches and fruit into adorable shapes with cookie cutters. Maybe I'll occasionally do the same for Scott, just to make him laugh - and make his friends laugh at him. I'm really excited about starting these bento lunch boxes. It's encouraging me to think very four-basic-food-groups. It's getting me excited about putting lunches together. It's making me feel like a good wife and mummy. It'll be really fun to send the kiddos off to school with bento boxes as well, even though that's many years away. That is, if the excitement doesn't wear off by then...

Anyway, long may the bento live on in our home. And the baby led weaning will most likely get another go with Baby #2.