Tuesday, 14 October 2014

11 months old

N is beautiful, adorable and fun with a gorgeous smile. She has two smiles actually. Her wide open-mouthed smile showing off her four teeth, and her closed-mouth smirk (my personal favourite). She loves to cuddle! She will do it on request and will reach out unexpectedly on a regular basis. She is practising standing, and we count quickly for her to encourage her. We've counted to 160 so far! She's started to confidently cruise around the furniture and she has even taken her first step unaided. We go to Bounce and Rhyme at the library most weeks where we sing nursery rhymes and we go to play group once a week now too. N is starting to interact with other children which is fascinating to watch. She's not at all shy and will bound in to play with others. We still go to Turtle Tots for swimming lessons on Sunday mornings and it's so good to see N progressing. She's very confident and I can feel her wanting to pull away from me and swim on her own. She also spends one afternoon a week with my mum. This gives me a break to catch up on things and Granny LOVES her time with N so much. Sadly, N had conjunctivitis again and a run of colds and she had a few days of miserable teething which hasn't yet resulted in any more teeth. This illness and unhappiness meant a period of time when her sleep was really disrupted. It was even harder than usual to get her to bed at night and she was waking every few hours. Her sleeping is erratic at the best of times but this particularly tough period meant that I really didn't have any time to myself in the evenings and I was going to bed even more anxious than usual about what the night ahead was going to bring. D was sleeping on the sofa so that he could get a good nights sleep which is really important as he drives a lot for work, but I felt very lonely. I've also been thinking about the return to work and went into work for a couple of half days to 'keep in touch'. This brought my anxieties about the return to work to the front of my mind and the time in the office meant that I lost the time that I usually have to myself when my mum has N. D was extremely busy with work and I found it tough to keep on top of things. I was feeling pretty low for a while and felt like I was giving myself to others 100% of the time. An old stress related dermatitis came back on my eyelids. I hadn't had it since I was going through IVF. I went to the doctor to get some cream for it and she said that it was probably good that the stress was coming out physically rather than in other ways but that it probably means that I'm bottling things up, which is absolutely right. The babies in our NCT group have starting having their first birthdays! I've felt very emotional about it at times. The first year, almost over already. My maternity leave has officially come to an end now. Thankfully I have a good chunk of annual leave to take before I go back and at least I start getting paid again now! N is clearly understanding some words now. In particular, no and cuddle. She loves apple slices at the moment. She will sit for ages chomping away on them. She loves flicking through the pages of her books. Well, any books. And she loves stealing my slippers off my feet! Her absolute favourite place to sleep is on daddy's chest. She is an absolute joy to spend my days with.

Monday, 22 September 2014

10 months old

Ten months old. 21.8 lbs and 29.5 inches. N has four teeth now and we're trying to brush them but she's not keen and wants to just hold the brush herself and chew and suck on it. I figure at least the fluoride is getting in there! Her movements are getting faster and more precise and she is chasing the cats. They seem to be taking to her but very wisely are always ready to flee. N is giving double high fives and waving goodbye. She is giving cuddles which is wonderful and big wet open mouth kisses. She's generally very affectionate. She has the cutest curls behind her ears. She has always liked to cross her ankles and this cute habit seems to be sticking. She is strong willed and determined. I think she's going to prove to be a handful! I've been feeling pretty emotional this month. D has gone back to work marking the end of the summer and so it feels like the countdown has begun before I have to go back to work too. I'm feeling anxious about being away from N, missing the little new things she does each day, the change in our routine and managing her weaning so that feeding isn't an issue. I'm also emotional about her developing so quickly. Some days I see her progressing so fast and it's overwhelming. On top of all that, I've been feeling really broody. More broody than I've ever felt in fact. I guess it's seeing N growing so fast and wanting to capture some of the early times again. Nature's way no doubt! However, in the middle of a disrupted night's sleep I feel differently! And it's still really disrupted on a regular basis. N's routine still hasn't really settled since we got back from our holiday. And she seems to be needing to be breastfed back to sleep even more than ever. I don't know how we'll ever break that habit! She had a bad cold a little while ago and I was really struggling with the disrupted sleep. Someone recommended a humidifier and so we bought one in readiness for the next cold and now she has another one already! So fingers crossed it helps! Despite being broody, I don't feel the need to be touched! Having a baby so reliant on my body certainly makes me crave periods of being left alone instead! And I'm really feeling the need for 'me' time lately for the first time since having N. I feel like I'm losing my sense of self and find it hard to be heard in the company of people who are so addicted to N. D mentioned that he feels that our relationship has changed. He says not in a good or a bad way, just that it's different as we have less time for each other. He mentioned that he missed back rubs and stuff. It made me feel bad that I'm neglecting him but I don't feel like I have much left to give to anyone. D was annoyed recently about the laundry not being done one weekend which sparked a row. He wants to have a day where he can spend time with N and not have to think about anything else, which I understand, but as far as I'm concerned that's a luxury. I find it hard to balance spending quality, happy time with N as well as getting domestic stuff done. Sometimes it's just not possible to do it and watch N too. I do actually have a mental list of shit that I can get done when he is watching N on a Sunday so that he can relax and doesn't have to worry about it. Including the fucking laundry. I really resented him getting shitty. I was so angry. I felt like my boss had expressed disappointment in my work. What am I, a fifties housewife? He'll understand better when I go back to work in December and he's taking care of her on his own! Despite the tough stuff, N is blossoming into a truly wonderful little girl. She's so lovely and so much fun. Each stage of her development still gets better and better. We still regularly look at each other in disbelief that we have this amazing child.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

9 months old

This has been a big month for N! She's 9 months now and this last month has seen a lot of development - physically and mentally. She's 20.8 lbs and 29 inches (around the 91st percentile for both). She started banging things together and slapping herself in the head and face! She clapped and waved for the first time. She started getting up on her knees and helping herself to toys in her toy box. She started to try to say 'cat' and has been saying it a lot and in context so this will definitely go down as her first word! She's also started using mama and dada in context. As a last minute plan we went to a family friendly festival so that was both her first festival and her first camping trip. She took to it very well although the music was playing until the early hours and so we were all sleep deprived by the end of it... On August 5th, she crawled for the first time! This was right before we were due to fly to the USA so we were a little concerned about how she might travel and take to being stuck in a seat for a long time. But she did amazingly well. She was so relaxed and slept when she needed to. In the USA she met the rest of her aunts and uncles on D's side and also her little cousins. Their company certainly had an impact on her mobility. She started trying to pull herself up more and more and by the end of the trip she was standing for short periods unaided. And not just on solid ground but on beds, sofas and rocking chairs! She's also developed socially and seems like a different kid than the one we took away with us. She's interacting more - smiling and laughing, pulling faces, looking to me for reassurance and reaction. Everyone comments about how aware of everything she is. She doesn't miss a single noise or new sight. We feel so lucky to have her and even luckier that we have such a wonderful child. She is so happy and content and such fun. Everyone who spends time with her falls in love with her! For a short while this month, all food was for play (except satsumas which are a firm favourite) but now she is back to eating anything put in front of her. She had a virus this month which made her really upset and she came out in a rash which made us nervous. We took her to the doctor and he explained that their immune systems are weak at this age and so they often come out in a rash. My sister was at the festival that we went to and I'm glad to say that she now seems more interested in N. As I said, everyone falls in love with N and I think my sister has been equally charmed. I feel more confident in my abilities as a mother now. I'm not usually concerned that people are silently criticising me. Although I do feel like they want to do things differently and they often suggest it but I'm more able to let it go now and not take it personally. However, I am terrified that I'll make a horrible mistake and hurt her again. She has hurt herself slightly a few times since she has become more mobile. Some of which could have been avoided and other times not, and I do really worry about what might happen next. I guess this is parenthood!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

8 months old

N is 8 months old! She weighs 9.1kg (20lbs) and is 28 inches long. Each month gets faster and faster.... She is so much fun, recognising us and smiling all the time. She charms the pants off everyone. She seems to have really developed in her communication skills this month. She is starting to form words! She is saying mamamama and she has tried very convincingly to say cat a couple of times. She definitely recognises the sign for cat. She took her first train journey (to a local station) but didn't seem particularly impressed! She had been dancing on her bum to tunes that she likes and trying to sing. She LOVED watching Dolly Parton performing at Glastonbury in TV. She loves banana toast and satsumas. She is pushing up onto her knees, and is desperate to crawl. She is using her pincer grip! Even when her whole fist would work better :) She really loves a book that we borrowed from the library called "Peter rabbit I love you" from the library. She loves you peekaboo mirror in it. She loves mirrors in general at the moment! We had a bit of a scare this month. We noticed that N had starting twitching a few times a day so I called the health visitor expecting her to say that it's a normal thing as they develop control of their muscles but instead she told me to take her to the doctor. The doctor wasn't too concerned as N is otherwise thriving but told me to try and get some video footage of it. That evening we managed to get some footage and the twitches in the footage were particularly strong and scary. It was a Friday night and so we had to wait all weekend to see the doctor again and we were really scared and thinking the worst - that it might be epilepsy or a brain tumour or something awful. On Monday morning we saw a GP and she arranged for us to take N to the paediatric assessment unit at the hospital that morning. The GP wasn't overly concerned but she knew that we were due to go to Spain on the Wednesday so understood that we wanted some reassurance ASAP. We spent all day at the hospital. Lots of waiting and seeing various doctors who were all really helpful and informed. They said that N would need an EEG to help them work out what is going on. They managed to get us an EEG that afternoon, again to enable us to be reassured before going on holiday which was great. N had a little net put over her head and little sensors attached to it. She played, fed and slept quite happily as it was done. We got the EEG report the next day and as N actually twitched during the EEG they were able to confirm that the twitches aren't related to epilepsy and they diagnosed Benign Infantile Myocolonic Spasms which basically means that they aren't harmful, don't need treatment and will probably go away by themselves by the time N is 2 years old. This was such a huge relief and we were so grateful for the fast diagnosis. We're really learning more each week what it is to be a concerned parent! So we went on our first family holiday to Madrid. I was a bit nervous about travelling with a baby but it went pretty smoothly. The only difficulties were in travelling to and from the airport. We booked a private transfer car and asked for a car seat. They had one in the car, for a small child not a baby and it was broken! So in both directions N had to sit in my lap which was pretty scary. Also, N got conjunctivitis while we were away and so we had to call a doctor to the hospital. Other than that she was a great travel buddy and she completely soaked up the experience. She had lots of firsts on this trip: first flight (she was a dream passenger), first subway ride, first time she had mint choc ice cream (and loved it as much as mum and dad do!), first trip to the zoo (particularly loved the aquarium), first gay pride parade! D is now off work for the summer and so my daily routine has changed a little. It's great to have extra help with N and enjoy quality family time together. Over the last few days I've felt a change in my hormones. I've got spots around my chin and I've been feeling premenstrual so I've been expecting my period to start again, but nothing just yet...

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

7 months old

N is 7 months old and her weight is 19lb 3oz. Her personality is really starting to show now. She is often very serious but sometimes so silly. She's very determined, she know what she likes and doesn't like! The weather has been good and we had our first trip to the beach. She really loved paddling in the sea. She loves straps - the straps on her car seat, the straps on her bouncer. She sucks them and plays with them all the time. She's really loving her swimming lessons. She finished stage 1 this month and started stage 2. She's great at kicking! We had pictures of her taken swimming underwater which came out well, and they provided a short video too which is beautiful and emotional to watch :) She loves when I sing songs to her, particularly 'row row row your boat' and 'the grand old duke of York'. She loves the cats and likes to watch them and grab their fur. They are very tolerant and keep a safe distance. She is making new sounds: baba and mmm, sucking back your saliva, gargling saliva which is entertaining. She really loves screaming! Just because she can and when she is tired, and when playing with daddy. I worry what the neighbours must think! She is so beautiful. She has beautiful skin, lovely long eye lashes and a sweet rosebud mouth. She has become a little scared of male strangers recently for some reason. She is rolling all over the place and has started to move backwards on her belly and is comfortable sitting up unsupported for long periods. She is doing well with eating solids. She has breakfast and dinner now. I think it's fair to say that her favourite foods are Greek yoghurt, strawberries and tomatoes. I do often feel uncertain with feeding - is she getting enough of the right things? I keep reminding myself that it's "Just for fun til one", but I still worry if I'm giving her enough. She has some purées but mostly finger foods. At first I really found it time consuming and annoying when she didn't want what I gave her and my effort was wasted. But it's fun and it's getting easier with every meal. Most of the time she eats well. I'm glad to say that although it's still not happening often due to time, sex is getting easier all by itself which reinforces my theory that nature was trying to stop me! We moved her into the nursery from our room which I found tough but we've both for used to it now. Although she isn't sleeping well at all. I don't think it's the move but I'm not sure what it is. She'll settle easily but will wake within a couple of hours and sometimes more than once in the early hours, and waking again at 5-6. She'll usually nap a few times after that and I'll nap with her! It's been pretty rough and I'm tired all the time. I think it could be teething, particularly as we can feel one coming through now, but she isn't fussy during the day and doesn't seem to have any other majors symptoms apart from chewing on everything. I've been trying to nap with her later in the day but we have a lot going on this month (birthdays, holidays)!and I'm finding that my head is just buzzing and I can't get to sleep. I found out the hard way how sleep deprivation can make you do stupid and dangerous things. I put N in her high chair and attached the tray without strapping her in! I didn't notice and when I took the tray off after her meal, I took it over to the sink and N fell out the chair face first onto the tile floor. I heard the bang and couldn't believe my eyes. I immediately realised what I had done. She bawled and so quickly got a red puffy face and I couldn't tell if she was hurt. I took her into A&E with my mum and they checked her over and confirmed that she was fine which was a huge relief but it was devastating. I still feel sick thinking about it. I was very careful about what I said at A&E because I was worried what the fallout might be. I told a few friends immediately, trying to release the guilt I think. They were very supportive and it seems that most mums have a similar story, and most of them seem to have kept it completely secret. It's so sad that mums worry about being judged so much, sometimes by their nearest and dearest, that they keep their mistakes to themselves and suffer the guilt in silence. Just a couple of days later she lurched forward while I was holding her and hit her head on a toy. She got a few small bruises down her face :( The whole experience has made me very fearful of accidentally hurting her of her hurting herself. Oh god, I'm turning into my mother...

Thursday, 15 May 2014

6 months old

N is six months old. Half a year already! Although the time has gone by quickly, I also feel like she's been in our lives for so much longer. It's amazing to see how much she has developed in six months and how capable she is of so many things. We had our first trip away from home with N this month. We visited her Uncle and Aunt and it all went pretty smoothly. She travelled well in the car and coped well with the change of scene. N is very strong and she's standing and sitting when supported. She rolled from her back onto her front this month and a few days later she rolled from her front to her back. She doesn't always remember how she did it and gets REALLY frustrated when she is stuck on one side or the other. But she's making progress with moving around almost every day and often I'll turn my back for a few seconds and not know how she has come to be facing in a different direction! It's definitely time to start baby-proofing the house. She has tried to get into the fireplace a few times... She is responding to her name when we call her and she has smiles for everyone when we are out and about. People often comment on her lovely smile and how sweet she is. I've put together a sensory basket and a fabric sample basket for her and she loves delving through them and investigating all the items by shoving them in her mouth. She loves watching The Simpsons, I guess it must be the bright colours. You really knows what she wants and is very determined. She has learnt how to scream this month and she has had lots of fun playing screaming games with D! She definitely has a sense of humour. She's having some solid food every evening now. Her first meal was baby rice with my milk and puréed apples and bananas. I'm giving her a mixture of spoon fed purees (baby rice, baby porridge, mashed vegetables, pureed fruit) and also finger foods. I had intended on doing just baby-led weaning but gave her some rice and porridge intially and she loves it. Plus I can see how frustrating it is for her trying to handle food and so I want to be able to give her something that she can actually eat. I'll reduce the mash/puree as she becomes better able to feed herself. She's also gagging quite a bit with the finger foods so I'm not entirely sure how ready she is for them but don't want to wait on solids any more as she is definitely interested and I'm conscious that she needs to get going with it sooner rather than later. She has quite a selection of fruit and vegetables and the only things that she doesn't seem as keen on so far are blueberries. We'll try them again soon though. She weighs 18lb and 10z now and she's about 26 inches tall. She's heavy! I'm physically shattered! She has had three colds in the last couple of months and her sleeping has been eratic. I go to bed not really knowing what kind of night lies ahead. Sometimes she'll sleep from 10:30pm-6am and then go back to sleep after a feed and sometimes she might wake several times in the night including staying awake for quite a while and babbling away to herself! I'm feeling the effects of sleep deprivation and looking very tired! My 40th birthday is approaching and for the first time I'm really feeling my age! The back of her neck is ridiculously soft. Her hair is getting thicker, blonder and longer. We're using the big bath now as she has grown out of the baby bath. We keep the water low so she can lie right back and kick freely which she loves. We FaceTime and Oovoo with D and his family in America and N is starting to respond to the people on the other end :) I think that she is starting to experience separation anxiety already. She often cries the moment that I leave the room and immediately stops when I reappear. We started Sing and Sign classes last week. My sister in law said that signing really helped with her kids and it makes a lot of sense to me to give her the opportunity to be able to communicate with us more effectively before she starts to talk. We also tried a class called Creation Station where the babies can have messy play with paint, etc. She seemed to like it and we'll probably go back again when Sing and Sign has finished. At the moment I'm feeling like I need to stop trying to cram so much into each week. It's difficult as I like to have something on every day to get us out the house and I think Nia is happier for it and less fussy. But if we have a busy day it definitely takes its toll on both of us. I'm definitely feeling more worn out at this point than I have since she was born and the last few days she has been quite fussy and she generally seems irritable and frustrated so the smiles and giggles seem a bit few and far between at the moment. D insisted that we celebrate American Mother's Day as well as the British one and took me out for dinner while Granny babysat. It was weird and lovely to have some time together. Mostly we talked about how great N is and how wonderful our lives are with her in it :) Granny (my Mum) loves her visits to see N. So much that sometimes I don't feel like she would be bothered if I was around or not!! I try and shake this off but it's not always easy. Mum has started to take N out for a couple of hours a week which she loves and it gives me a little bit of time to get some things done at home (like writing this blog!). I put in my request with work to take the whole year of maternity leave and to take my accrued annual leave before returning to work. I've also asked to go back to work part time (3 days a week). So if this is approved, I'll be going back in early December. I've been given the impression informally that this will all be OK but my boss is being a bit vague about confirming it officially which is frustrating. Hopefully it will all work out.

Monday, 14 April 2014

5 months old

At 21 weeks, N is 26.5 inches and 17lb 1 oz. I've heard of the time between 3 and 6 months as being the golden months and I can understand that. N is a proper baby now in all her cuddly cuteness and she is showing personality and is a lot of fun. But as she still isn't mobile she is still fairly easy to care for! We love her more every day :) She is getting much more capable of moving how she wants to, turning to look at things, reaching for things when she's on her tummy. She is pushing up a bit more when she's on her belly and showing signs of trying to roll over occasionally. She has very strong abs and loves to crunch them to look at her feet with her legs stretched out. She is making new noises all the time and loves to babble away to herself. N is learning about the world with her mouth and her little lizard tongue keeps popping out in search of new things :) Her wrists and thighs are very cutely chubby. More hair is coming through with glimmers of blonde. She got her first cold :( It was heartbreaking to see her pale, watery-eyed face. She woke quite a lot in the night, struggling to breath. I also got the cold so it's been a slightly tougher couple of weeks for us both and I've been the most sleep deprived to date. On the plus side, D has been off work for Easter so that's been a big help and enabled a few naps! I feel like I'm really understanding N's needs more now and anticipating them more. My instincts about what is going on with her have proven to be right which increases my confidence to trust them and ignore suggestions from other people :) Her swimming lessons are going well and she had her first free underwater swim last week which was great to watch through my goggles. N has started to use her door bouncer which she seems to be having fun with even though she looks slightly surprised at her freedom in it and I find it really odd to see her standing in it without our help! Her nick name is firmly The Bean or Beaner, from me calling her N-bean from the early days. She is really enjoyable company and we're good buddies now :) I didn't ever have an immediate, overwhelming bond with her which worried me in the beginning. Our bond has definitely been developing gradually and I prefer it that way now as I feel it's based on our time together and the trust that has developed rather than a chemical or hormonal reaction. I've wanted to wait until 6 months to give N any solid food but D is very keen and keeps putting naughty food on her lips (butter, cream, jam, chocolate). So I relented to gain some control and gave her a first stick of cucumber to chew on! I'm a little torn as the advice is to wait until 6 months to avoid infections and allergies but N appears to ready to get started. She is watching us eat all the time and I think she's almost strong enough to sit up and eat now. My reasons for not starting might also be wrapped up in not wanting her to grow up too quickly! I'm gathering all my notes about weaning and will buy a few things that we need in the next week or so. Maybe we'll make a start with some baby rice in a couple of weeks. I'm noticing some slight changes in myself which I think are hormonal, mainly that the benefits to my hair are disappearing! All through my pregnancy and during the early months with N my hair has been full and glossy and hanging beautifully and I've only needed to wash it every few days. But now it's starting to fall out, it's hanging limply and my greasy roots have made a return requiring more regular washing. Meh! My pelvic floor seems to be improving. I work on the exercises when I'm lying in N's crib at night feeding her to sleep. However, if I try and do a little jump it feels a bit like a trampoline! D and I still haven't attempted sex again (due to time more than anything, N isn't great at naps!) but I feel like I might be more ready for it physically now. I've emailed my boss about my return to work. I'm going to take the full year off and I've asked to return part-time. I've also been accruing annual leave while I'm off and so I can add this the my maternity leave. This will enable me to stay off until early December. I feel extremely lucky to be able to take so much time with N while she is little, but I'm also dreading the return to work when it does come around. N will be with my Mum for the three days per week that I'll be at work and I'm sure I'm going to be jealous of their time together. My Mum was at home with my sister and I when we were small and I feel like it should be my turn now rather than her turn again! But needs must.