( sleep and feeding and rage )
( sleep and feeding and rage )
( altered Img )
On the whole, she's adorable but exhausting (she basically never stops moving or talking while she's awake, and often doesn't stop either while she's asleep). Of course it's impossible to tell what she'll be like when she's older, but early indications suggest that she's going to be small, stubborn, opinionated, and good with words -- no real surprises there given her parents. ;-)
Anyway, there's lots more I could say about Img, but I've probably already written twice as much as anybody except me is interested in reading! I haven't included photos here, to save your friends-list from baby-photo-spam, but there are loads of pics on Flickr if you want to see what she looks like. (My favourites include an unusually contemplative pose and a photo of her trying ice-cream for the first time.)
( BABY! Or should that be... PROTO-TODDLER? )
It seems impossible that she's nearly a year old already, and that she's basically a small person rather than a helpless little animal. I am absolutely in love with her and the only thing that's still not great is the sleep -- and even that I think I can probably cope with for a bit longer, not least because I'd be really sad not to have her sleeping next to me any more, because I am A BIG SOFTY and I want to be able to kiss her on the head all the time. ♥
The first attempt was stymied by, ahem, us not actually having the key for the car's petrol cap (& barnacle and the key being about 100 miles away at the time); the second attempt was called off due to predicted snow; the third was quarantined off by Img's chicken pox; and the fourth was prevented by Img's "mystery virus" (fever, non-blanching rash, trip to hospital for blood tests, kept in overnight for observation, ugh -- fortunately didn't turn out to be anything alarming). We did use the car to get to the hospital, and were very grateful to have that convenience; but on the way back it started violently overheating & pouring steam out of the bonnet and, on eventual inspection by Mr RAC, was pronounced to have blown its head gasket.
Given that our attempts to use a car at all seem to be fairly comprehensively cursed and our time will be much more limited once we both go back to work, I think we're going to abandon (or rather postpone until further notice) the attempt to come over to Cambridge in the near future; we don't really need to try out the extra bikes (in fact the nice man at the Bristol bike shop says he has another model we could try, & we can get there slightly more easily), and we're hoping to find someone else who's going from Oxford to Cambridge who could deliver the moses basket for us -- one friend says they're almost certainly going to Cambridge in the next couple of months, but if any of the rest of you could volunteer something more definite, I'd be very grateful! (rmc28, if this is all too vague & you'd rather get something definite by some other means, please let me know).
It will be a shame not to come and see you all, but hopefully we'll be able to do a general visit for fun later in the year by train (though it's still difficult to do as a day-trip, & it's hard to stay over anywhere while Img sleeps so badly...).
Separate post coming up later about the State of the Baby!
Img now has loads of spots -- new ones seem to be appearing almost as I watch, & she even has spots on her fingers, poor mite -- and is a bit whiny and grouchy, though it doesn't seem to be preventing her from getting on with learning to crawl.
The coming week is going to be a bit of a trial as I won't be able to do any of the things I normally do to get through the week -- things which involve going to children's centres or cafés or on buses or into shops, and I don't want to spread the germs around any more than absolutely necessary (and any more than I already have done). I predict a lot of Long Walks. Let's just hope there's no more snow. :-/
We've got an appointment with the out-of-hours doctor at 10:20, and I fear that by the time we actually get seen it will be far too late to try to get to Cambridge for lunch, even if the doctor can absolutely guarantee that the rash is something mild and non-contagious (e.g. her eczema flaring up weirdly).
Also, the roads are apparently still icy. :-( And it's MINUS TEN DEGREES out there! Stay indoors, dudes!
Seriously, though, GAHHHHHHHH.
Eat, drink and be merry
This week, we're focussing on food.
We're talking about both you and your baby's tummies. So first, here are some superb tips on how you can get a yummy mummy tummy.
We've got some great advice on how you can help your baby to eat sensibly and enjoy their food. But if your baby's refusing food, or eating less, the chances are that everything is absolutely fine and there's no need to be frustrated.
Your baby's first teeth are either here or well on the way. Which is perfect timing for their developing taste for lumpier food.
So we start with "Eat, drink and be merry" (yes, I know this is just a sub-editor's autocomplete tic from "Eat", but still: let's be happy about food), but immediately go on to "how you can get a yummy mummy tummy": that is, obsess about your figure. Bit of a contradiction here, maybe? OK, so they don't actually mention the d-word, but let's face it, if you tell people their figure is all wrong, they're likely to think about dieting.
Having tried to make mums feel bad about their figures, they then remind them that they're supposed to help their baby "eat sensibly" and "enjoy their food". Now, this may be a bit of a radical suggestion, but: maybe one way to help your baby eat sensibly and enjoy their food would be to eat sensibly yourself, enjoy your food yourself, and generally model sensible behaviour?
Now, in fairness to Bounty I should point out that while in my opinion they clearly imply dieting, they don't actually say anything about it: the "yummy mummy tummy" article is actually about muscle-toning exercises. So that's OK then, surely? I mean, doing your pelvic floor exercises is sensible, right? (At least, if you don't want to spend the rest of your life doing a little wee every time you cough, sneeze or laugh.) So here's the beginning of the article:
Exercise for new mums
Size zero A list mums may be all over the front pages, but in real life your tummy might not spring back to its pre-baby state easily.
However, the good news is you can get trim and toned without getting a personal trainer or going under the knife.
Fortunately, nature can be kind as well as miraculous, and your muscles will regain a lot of their tautness naturally, especially after your first baby and if you’re reasonably fit and a healthy weight. However, for the rest of us, a bit more effort may be required.
Targeted exercise is the only way to de-flab your abs without resorting to surgery (and better for you all round, not to mention a lot less painful and non-invasive).
There's a lot of subtle linguistic sleight of hand going on here, a sliding and eliding of subjects that I'm strugging to put my finger on. Let's see if I can pull it apart a bit.
So, we start off by invoking the "Size zero A list mums" and then pretending we're not talking about them at all; we're talking about "real life", where you can "get trim and toned without getting a personal trainer or going under the knife". These are things that the celeb mums might do, but because we've stopped talking about them by this time and started talking about "real life", they're presented as realistic options that "you" would have thought of already -- that is, options that you should have thought of already, because your body is All Wrong -- had Bounty not come along and told you the real solution.
Then we're told that "nature can be kind as well as miraculous, and your muscles will regain a lot of their tautness naturally" -- two references to nature, to make it clear that this is all nice stuff they're talking about -- "especially after your first baby and if you’re reasonably fit and a healthy weight. However, for the rest of us" -- because most of you aren't fit enough! And you're TOO FAT! -- "a bit more effort may be required." Just a bit more effort, that's all. What kind of lazy person wouldn't put in just a bit more effort (that's more than 'doing nothing because miraculous Mother Nature will sort it all out', I guess?) to look good?
"Targeted exercise is the only way to de-flab your abs without resorting to surgery (and better for you all round, not to mention a lot less painful and non-invasive)". Silly you for thinking about surgery! You were thinking about surgery, weren't you, because you're THAT UGLY. What? You hadn't even considered surgery? Oh dear. Well, don't worry, dear, you don't really need surgery. You just need to do "targeted exercise". That's not targeted at getting you healthy and active again, it's targeted at giving you a flat tummy. The sort of flat tummy that 17-year-old girls WHO HAVEN'T HAD BABIES have.
So it's a funny definition of "good news" they're using here: as far as I can work out the "good news" is that you need to be "trim and toned" (why?), you need to "de-flab your abs" (why?), but it's OK, you don't need to have surgery (surgery! for fuck's sake!) to get there. Well, hurrah! Break out the bunting!
Even worse, look at the comments on that article: people are going to Bounty for medical advice:
"Whens the best time to start doing sit ups after giving birth? I'm confused because my family and friends are telling me different things! One told me you can do sit ups more or less straight away and another told me not until six months as your stomach muscle don't recover from pregnancy till then. Any one got any tips? xx"
"how do i tone my belly after having an emergency c section...? Or atually when can i start toning after an emergency c section? I had my baby son 13 weeks ago. Please advise needed........ xx"
"Anyone got advice on how soon after the birth I can return to running and / or circuit training? I ran up to 12 weeks pregnant and did body pump and walked for up to an hour right up to the birth. I have had episiotomy and stiches which seem to be healing well. I am also breastfeeding."
It's frankly terrifying that people are trusting Bounty -- who exist solely to sell shitloads of plastic tat to mums by making them feel guilty, by making them feel that if they don't buy all the plastic tat then they JUST DON'T LOVE THEIR BABIES ENOUGH -- with questions like these, rather than asking e.g. the NHS. Ask your health visitor, ask your doctor; even ask your mum or your friends -- at least if they're wrong they'll probably be innocently wrong rather than trying to sell you dieting aids or exercise equipment.
You might well ask me "why did you sign up for these emails then, you silly moo?" Yes, you might well ask. I signed up with Bounty for the packs of freebies and the special offers, because I STUPIDLY FORGOT that free stuff which wastes your time and makes you angry is NOT ACTUALLY FREE. While we're on the subject of those freebie packs, let's remember that Bounty have somehow wangled it so that Important Government Information on how to claim your Child Benefit is stuffed in the pack of advertising and marketing samples that they give you when you're IN HOSPITAL, ie probably still woozy from being stuffed full of drugs and confused from being SHUNTED AROUND LIKE A PIECE OF MEAT, and therefore not in the best frame of mind to go through a bagful of rubbish and filter out the Important Government Information; but obviously it's as important for women to be aggressively marketed at by the makers of unsustainable disposable rubbish as it is for them to collect the benefits to which they're entitled. Yes.
Oh, the Bounty freeby pack also included a can of DIET COKE. I thought this was nothing do with mums/babies but now I realise OH WAIT they mean you can have caffeine again but YOU'RE FAT! GO ON A DIET EVEN THOUGH YOU JUST GAVE BIRTH 2 HOURS AGO!
If I'd seen this stuff before giving birth I'd have pushed that baby out in 10 minutes flat, with no drugs except RAGE.
Sorry about all the CAPITAL LETTERS. I blame coffee, lack of sleep, and Caitlin Moran.
* Img slept for a four-hour stretch at the beginning of the night on both Monday night & Tuesday night (and each time went back to sleep fairly easily after that waking and the subsequent wakings)! Four hours' sleep in one go! Two nights running! I was feeling almost human! (Though last night was another scratchy one, bah.)
* She can now crawl backwards a bit (and roll a lot). :-) She seems to be very close to crawling forwards -- she gets her legs in the right positions and everything, and occasionally even seems to lurch forwards a bit, but she's not quite got it coordinated yet. She can also stand up if she's holding on to furniture, and 'walk' if I hold her hands -- she really seems to enjoy that, and tries to stand/walk at every available opportunity; I guess she may yet skip crawling altogether!
* She seems to be picking up bits of baby sign language (we are trying to do some of this, & I'm going to Sing & Sign classes with her): she makes the 'milk' sign occasionally (though a bit randomly, not always sure it means what it looks like it means) and she has twice now made the 'more' sign when it's been cold-ish & I've been changing her (I guess this could mean 'more clothes'? -- she stops when she's got all her clothes on, anyway!). This seems like quite a complicated concept so I suspect it may just be coincidence, but at least I know she can definitely do the necessary hand-movements.
* She is 'talking' ALL THE TIME. Currently it's "na na NA NA NA na na na na na NA NA na na NA NA NA" (which is lovely right up to the point where it gets a bit wearing...) but we have also had entire days of "da da da da da", the occasional "ma ma ma", and several days of nothing but blowing raspberries. Occasionally we get much more complicated bits of syllables, so much so that it feels like she's said a real sentence and I've just not quite heard it clearly.
* She managed without me (with addedentry) fairly happily for a whole working day last Thursday when I went into work for one of my 'Keeping In Touch days' (for the annual Staff Day -- a chance to catch up with what everybody's doing -- and a team meeting; no proper work as such but it was really good to feel like I was starting to get involved again).
* She is eating EVERYTHING. Food is ace, isn't it? addedentry points out that it's amazing that she knows what is food & what isn't, given that food comes in so many weird and wonderful forms. (OK, she does chew things that aren't food as well, like books and clothes and my fingers and, well, anything.) She can pick up tiny things like blueberries and peas now, and if she's hungry she'll pick up every last crumb or grain off the plate.
* She can give me a kiss! If I say "big kiss" and give her a kiss, then say "kiss for mummy?" she kisses me on the cheek! Well... she sort of opens her mouth and tries to eat the side of my face. It's unbelievably cute, anyway. :-D
* She is ASLEEP RIGHT NOW in her buggy having her MORNING NAP and I have both hands free. \o/
I'm sorry I've also failed to send 'thank you' notes to all the people who gave us lovely presents. I will say a big THANK YOU now & I will try to email you all soon.
We spent Christmas itself and a couple of days either side with my parents in Leicestershire (including a day trip up to Bramhall to see my grandma), and then spent a few days after Christmas with addedentry's parents in Bristol. Img was mostly fairly well-behaved but was obviously getting more and more twitchy with all the new places and people and changes to her routine (such as it is -- we're not very good at routines at the best of times) so we were glad to get back to Oxford just before New Year. We didn't exactly stay up to see the New Year in, but Img did wake us up at about 12:05 (possibly having been woken up herself by the fireworks outside). Seemed a bit daft saying "Happy New Year" to someone who hadn't even been alive a whole year yet, but she didn't mind.
Obviously Img didn't really know about Christmas, either, but she seemed to enjoy trying to eat lots of wrapping paper or rip it to shreds; she also got some lovely new toys which she obviously likes -- the bright-coloured stacking cups are fun to knock over (and bang against each other), and she also seemed surprisingly keen on a big floppy doll (I didn't think they got into dolls until later). She also enjoyed the food at Christmas, which may have played a part in the fact that she managed to gain 2lb between mid-November and January. :-)
I don't have any New Year's resolutions this year; there are things I'd like to do before I go back to work in March, and things I'd like to do at some point this year, and things I'd like to do some day in the future; but at the moment I'm really just concentrating on surviving from day to day (or maybe week to week). I'm still finding it really difficult (as anybody who follows me on Twitter will know) because of the sleep -- or rather the lack of it -- and while I think some things will get easier, other things will surely get harder to make up for it. I can't remember if I made resolutions last year either, but I don't want to look back at them because I suspect I won't have succeeded in any of them. I did, however, manage to keep reading lots of books, which is practically the only resolution I've kept for long enough for it to become a habit.
I hope you all had lovely Christmases and I hope 2012 is shaping up well for you so far.
"hi ya i had this with my lo she 9 months and she been theething like made i asked my h/v and she said stop all fresh juice only give her diluted juice but must be suger free, dont purt any her foumla milk in her foods only fresh milk and dont give her so much paracentmol coz that could cause it too
and i done so and its worked its better all round now which is nice."
It's not that I think being able to write is necessarily correlated with quality of parenting; it's just that I find it hard to wade through posts with lousy spelling and no punctuation. It slows down my reading and that frustrates me - especially when time is such a scarce resource.
I say "parenting", there, but I don't think I've ever seen a man make a post (or comment) on a baby/child forum; they're always pitched at "mums", and to read some of them you'd think "dads" were a different species entirely. That's another reason why I mostly avoid parenting web forums: I am sick and tired of the "lol men just wudnt understnad" attitude. My daughter has two parents. OK, there is currently one thing that only I can do for her (since addedentry steadfastly refuses to lactate) -- and at the moment I'm just spending more time with her than he is, because that's the way our jobs worked out -- but everything else is as much an issue for him as it is for me.
The other reason why I mostly avoid parenting web forums is the fact that they're nearly always anti-science, anti-evidence, anti-knowledge: they're an arena where perceived experience ("well it worked for me") trumps everything, and so-called experts are not to be trusted because they're always changing their minds (that is, they change their guidelines on best practice in response to new research... shocking behaviour!). I know that there are some areas of parenting where science can't give you the answers; I know that there are areas where there probably isn't enough research to be able to pronounce definitively. But there are also lots of areas -- particularly in medicine -- where there is considerable knowledge, and I'd rather talk to a health professional than ask a randomly chosen person on the internet what their opinion is. That's not to say that health professionals are infallible, or even that different health visitors, GPs etc will offer the same advice. But even if I accepted that experience trumped everything, I'd rather go to someone who has experience of dealing with thousands of children, not just one or two!
Anyway, time to stop ranting before Img wakes up. :-)
ETA: Since everybody seems to be namechecking mumsnet, I should in fairness point out that the example comment above is not from mumsnet!
Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.
( This got very long. Tl;dr = we're still not dead )
Phew, sorry for rambling on at such length. Apologies in advance if I'm slow to reply to comments -- it's rare that I get both hands free to type, & commenting via the iPhone LJ app involves clumsy one-finger-stabby-stabby typing, so I am a bit rubbish at commenting. (I'm also a bit rubbish at reading other people's journals, sorry. Feel free to use the comments here to tell me things about you that you think I should know & might have missed.)
Also, I did have a go at riding it, and, yikes, that would need a lot of practice. It actually felt more unsettling than the trick bicycle with backwards steering that I tried to ride in Dublin (pay a couple of euros to try riding, win 10 euros if you can cycle across the line about 3 yards away... nobody manages more than about 2 feet) -- everything seemed to pivot in the wrong places, and I felt like I was going to fall off any minute. Terrifying!
So, no, I won't be bidding on it, but it was interesting to have a (very brief) go at riding it. I think I will try to get to Cambridge at some point & talk to the Hope St bike folk (and say hello to all you nice people in Cambridge!) but that probably won't be for another month at least.
Thanks again to everyone who offered advice!
So, now that Imogen is nearly 6 months old (!) it will hopefully not be too long before I can put her in some kind of bike seat & actually start cycling regularly again, hurrah hurrah. A colleague has offered me a standard sit-up-on-the-back child bike seat for free (so I will probably say yes to that anyway) but I still feel that what I'd really like is a Bakfiets-style cargo bike. The problem is that a) they are frightfully expensive, and b) nowhere in Oxford stocks them, so all the bike shops I've talked to have basically said "you don't want to buy one of those" & have instead tried to try to talk me into buying a bike seat that will fit on my normal bike (ie the sort of seat they actually sell).
HOWEVER, a cycling-mad colleague sent me a link to this cargo bike on eBay, in Oxford, for what looks like a very reasonable price (compared to the new cargo bikes I have seen online), and I am tempted. I am going to go and have a look at it tomorrow (Tuesday) and what I really want to know is: what should I be looking for to determine whether it's actually a sensible thing to buy? The description mentions "patches of rust on the frame" (they look quite trivial from the photos) -- what's the best way to check if these are a serious problem, & what work would need to be done to fix them or stop them deteriorating any further? (NB I'm not really concerned about cosmetic stuff, I just need to be able to reassure myself that it's safe.) Is it likely to be a problem getting parts for it if it's an odd make of bike?
To be honest the key question may turn out to be "is the bike actually short enough for a tiny person like me to ride it?", but I can figure that out when I see it.
Any other advice re babies-on-bikes is also welcome (unless it's "argh don't do it", but I know you're all more sensible than that. :-) Thank you in advance, kind people!
It's amazing just how much Imogen's changed already in those 8 weeks. She's gone from being a very tiny waily animal (when she cried at first she looked just like a spider monkey) who did nothing but cry and feed and sleep and poo and wee, to being a tiny person with facial expressions (including smiles!) and quite a little vocabulary of noises. When she's not wailing and kicking and screaming, she's wonderfully cuddly; there are few things as lovely as letting her fall asleep in my arms. (Admittedly she still doesn't do very much. Everybody says this time is magical and I shouldn't wish it away, but I'm very much looking forward to a time when she can interact a bit more.)
There are loads of things I want to write about -- from specific things like breastfeeding (though Juliette has written an excellent post that says a lot of what I'd want to say) and nappies (honestly, what is all the fuss about?) to the more general issues of guilt, joy, tiredness, panic, confusion, and love -- but I'm too tired to put words into sentences. I'll write more when I'm next awake and have both my hands free. So, see you all some time in 2012...
Imogen Ruth was born at 00:04 on Thursday 7th (weighing 8lb 1oz) in the John Radcliffe hospital.
Thanks to everybody who has already sent congratulations elsewhere, & also to everybody who's given us baby things and advice -- we are very lucky to have such lovely friends!
Photos on my Flickr and on Owen's facebook. I suspect we will add more. :-)
I don't think I can write about the birth yet; the short version is that it didn't really go as planned, & some bits were really quite upsetting. On the other hand, we are all alive & healthy now (if somewhat bruised) & Imogen is the most gorgeous baby in the world, so all's well that ends well.
Got to go and feed her now!
So now I guess it's just a question of waiting (hopefully not too long). We'll let you all know when anything happens! (But no, I am not going to live-blog or live-tweet through labour/birth -- you wouldn't believe how many people have asked me...)
The plan to get the house in order (which should have been started about a year ago, but hey, better late than never) progresses too as we now have SHELVES in the front room! I wish I'd admitted to myself earlier that there was no way I was ever going to put shelves up myself; we finally got a carpenter in and so far he's doing an excellent job for a very reasonable price. One alcove done (and already filled with books), the other to follow next weekend.
Sadly chickened out of going to a schoolfriend's baby's christening this weekend (it would have involved a very early start and a long car journey each way, and I just couldn't face the early rising/sitting/travelling/standing-
( Long ramble about how I'm feeling, the latest ultrasound scan, my big baby, homebirth assessment, work... as much for my own record as anything else )