Friday, March 31, 2006

A Surprisingly Busy Day

Amelia and I had an active day today, while Sheep was in London at UCL. First we walked (well, I walked, Amelia simply sat in her pram, if truth be known!) up to the centre. I needed to go the building society and return library books. This achieved, Amelia was suddenly wide awake and in need of a little feed, so I popped into to the Ecumenical Church coffee shop (where the coffee is tradefair, cheap and it's relatively quiet and hence discreet). I realised I was actually quite hungry myself and so had a sandwich as well as a cup of tea while I sat in one of their comfy chairs and nursed Amelia. I chatted to one of the volunteers there, Freddy, who remembered me from last time and was asking after Sheep (What a surprise!).

Then I went on the to NCT mothers and toddlers group at Centrecom (the central community centre). This was actually quite interesting. There was a mother there who runs sign-language classes (on Monday mornings at Centrecom - http://www.tinytalk.co.uk/) who was there with her 1 year old son, Arran. So, we chatted a lot about the merits of signing and I recounted our experiences of signing with Barnaby; it was all very enlightening. Sheep and I talked about Amelia and I think that we agree that we would like to try signing with her too (even though Barnaby started talking late, perhaps as a result of signing too well). We both feel that the advantages of being able to communicate early outweigh any disadvantages.

The mother and toddler group ran from 1:30-3:30. So at 3:30, upon leaving, I remembered that I had also wanted to go into Waterstones to buy Barnaby more "Thomas and Friends" books for his good-behaviour chart rewards (they had 3 for 2 Thomas book offer on today, which was great news!) and into Boots.

After Boots I really was going to go home, but passed M&S en route, and, since I still had plenty of time to get home and collect Barnaby, and Amelia was sleeping peacefully, decided to take the opportunity to 'browse' for 5 minutes. Bad news! They had lots of clothes on sale, including a number of 'wrap around' tops. These can be very good for breastfeeding, if worn with a camisole top underneath, as you can feed through the 'wrap' bit, with the camisole hitched up from below (if you know what I mean). Since I have very few breastfeeding tops, I am getting heartily sick of wearing the same clothes again and again (and constantly laundering them as they get covered in vomit with alarming regularity), so I ended up buying two new tops (both reduced from £30 to £9; oh dear, I sound like my mother). However, when I went to try them on, Amelia obviously decided that she needed to fully test-drive them, and demanded a feed as soon as we were in the changing room. I thought that I could give her a quick feed to tide her over until we got home, but she had different ideas. So, I gave her a lengthy feed in the changing room (luckily there was a chair) and then, as if I'd not spent enough time in there, she then needed changing! So, I changed her on her changing mat on the floor. By this time, I was worried that I'd spent far too long in there and that one of the changing room attendants would come to find out what I was up to. Luckily I wasn't rumbled! However, I realised that I would be late to collect Barnaby.

As I rushed down the hill towards home, I also realised that I would be walking past the train station at about 5:00, which is when Sheep's train gets in. So I called him on his mobile to check he was on the train, and Amelia and I ended up meeting him off the train and walking back together. I think that Sheep rather liked being met for a change, especially by Amelia. However, the rather lengthy, so-called 'top-up' feed in M&S's changing room was clearly insufficient, as Amelia was asking for another feed as we walked back. So, in the end, Sheep collected Barnaby from nursery (which is usually my task) while I fed Amelia.

Barnaby had a new sticker chart tonight (he had a new book this morning... or was it yesterday, I can't remember!) and got a sticker on it.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Amelia's Grumpy Day

Today hasn't been a good day for Amelia and I'm not sure why. She's not been her usual happy self. The day started well, both Amelia and Barnaby woke up at about 8:40 which was blissful indeed. We all got up together and breakfasted together. After Sheep returned from taking Barnaby to nursery, I took Amelia to the mother and toddler group at the Baptist Church. Once again, there were lots of people there and it was very lively. I managed to chat to quite a few people. There will be no group for the next two weeks though, because of Easter. All the way through, however, Amelia was grisly. She ranged from being barely tolerant to outright indignant; she wailed, at the top of her voice, throughout "song time". I thought she was simply tired and that there was too much going on for her to sleep. I kept contemplating leaving, but then she would appear to cheer up a little, and I would stay a bit longer, but then she would rapidly regress to being disgruntled again. The group finished at 11:30 and rather than going home, I decided to take Amelia for a brisk walk, thinking that the motion of the pram would lull her gently into sleep. However, she took a surprisingly long time to fall asleep this way too. I ended up, having wandered around aimlessly for a bit, walking to the "Hobbycraft" store where I bought some card/stickers for Barnaby to make Easter cards with; he'll have great fun with these next week. Eventually Amelia did fall asleep. However, she didn't sleep for long and when she awoke she was ravenous and outraged. I almost ran back (well walked very, very briskly) with her wailing at the top of her voice in the pram. Sheep was home, so I rang him on my mobile to warn him that we were approaching and once home I left Sheep to bring in the pram etc. and within 30 seconds of crossing the threshold, Amelia was being fed. (The joy of not preparing feeds and steralizing bottles!) The afternoon was calmer, but I would still say that Amelia's been a bit tetchy for the rest of the day too.

When I collected Barnaby from nursery, they mentioned that he had been complaining about his ear again. I am wondering if his fever and vomitting on Tuesday was actually a side-effect of this ongoing ear infection. After all, an ear infection can cause nausea, like sea-sickness, because it affects one's balance. So, Barnaby's vomitting could be because of his loss of balance and the fever directly associated with the infection. Barnaby's had this on and off since the beginning of the year and I am starting to think that we should take him back to the doctor again.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Cheerful Day Was Had by All

Amelia had a good night; she woke up cheerful, as always. I am beginning to think that she has a very sunny disposition. Barnaby slept late, which we let him do as he was ill yesterday. However, when he did awake, he was also in a good mood, in fact, we knew he was awake as he lay in his bed singning. We decided he was well enough to go to nursery, but we hung on a bit to ensure that he was really better, so he arrived at nursery an hour late. It seems like today's blog is all about Barnaby, as I must report he had an excellent day at nursery today. He was bitten and kicked (did I say excellent day?) by his best friend and instead of relatiation, he calmly told his friend that it was not acceptable behaviour and, when he didn't stop, simply walked away. The nursery assistants were completely impressed by his maturity and were quite gushing in their praise for him. He was also very considerate with some of the younger members of the 'Squirrels' (who have just moved up from the 'Acorns'), by helping them and holding their hands over an 'assault course' they had built today.

Amelia and I had a nice day together; it was quite peaceful with just the two of us (Sheep being at UCL). We even managed to attend the NCT Coffee Group in the afternoon, which was full of babies, for a change (usually the toddlers are the dominant force). Topics of conversation were useful/useless baby purchases and maternity pay/work contracts. Barnaby helped me bathe Amelia this evening, which was very sweet. He had her sponge and was carefully wiping her tummy with it. I'm sure she'll be embarassed to read this when she's older (if she ever does).

As a result of Sheep going into UCL, he came home in an unusually cheerful mood. I was happy to have had quite a cosy day with Amelia, and, as I said at the beginning, Barnaby had a good day at nursery (biting aside). So, we're all going to bed tonight (well Amelia and Barnaby are already in bed - Barnaby even got another sticker, this being number 5, he gets a book in the morning) a pretty happy family.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Barnaby Ill, Again

The day started with Barnaby being sick and running a temperature. So, no nursery for him today. I'm afraid, that with Barnaby being ill, Amelia took a bit of a back seat today and simply had to put up with us tending to Barnaby and paying her scant attention. When Barnaby is ill he gets very clingy and simply wants to sleep on Sheep all day. However, this was not possible when, around lunchtime, a man from Dyno-rod arrived to unblock our drains for us; Sheep had to go outside to show him what to do. It turns out that the problem was not on our property, but was caused by tree roots growing down through the drain on our neighbour's side. Luckily, he managed to clear the blockage and cut away the roots. However, it meant that I was left with a sick Barnaby and Amelia for about 90 minutes, which proved a bit of a handful. I'd intended to take Amelia along to the craft circle at the Quaker Meeting House, but with circumstances as they were today, there was no chance to get away. Amelia also has a bit of a head-cold, which means that she sounds a bit like Darth Vada! Let's hope that tomorrow is a bit of a better day.


Ill Barnaby sleeping on Sheep




Mothers Day photos from Sunday

Monday, March 27, 2006

Quiet Day

Well, today we had a very quiet day in order to recover, as yesterday we had been so busy. Yesterday was Mothering Sunday and my mother arrived for a visit just after breakfast. This was the first time my mother has seen Amelia since she was two days old and I think she was surprised at how she had grown. My mother remarked that Amelia looks just like I did at her age. Having enduring three years of having everyone tell me that Barnaby is the spitting image of Sheep, it would be nice if there is some noticeable resemblence to me from at least one of them.

We all went off to Quaker Meeting; it was my mother's first visit to MK Meeting and she seemed to like is as it is quite a large meeting. My mother had bought Barnaby a very long furry snake as a present and he took it into meeting with him and sat there wrapping it around himself in a threatening manner. On the whole, Amelia and Barnaby were very good in meeting and had fun in the children's meeting afterwards.

Then we all went onto lunch. For the first time we went to a restaurant called Jaipur, which claims to be the largest purpose-built Indian restaurant in Europe. They had a special Mothers Day buffet and it was actually extremely pleasant. Except for one incident - Barnaby decided that he needed to go to the toilet, so I dutifully took him into the ladies toilet and got out Barnaby's travel potty and sat down in the cubicle with him. Then Barnaby annouces that he is having a poo. This is all well and good, except that he continues to "work at it" for a while. I can tell (smell) that he's done something and so I start to ask him if he's finished and hurry him along a bit. "No! I'm still pooing" he kept saying. In the end, I begin to plead with him to hurry up, as I want to get back to my lunch. I didn't look at my watch, but we must have been in that cubicle for 15-20 minutes! In the end, after much pleading and cajoling and "Have you finished yet?" questions, Barnaby reluctantly decides he has, perhaps, finished. Just as we leave the toilet, I bump into my mother coming in to find us - the rescue party had been dispatched. However, I was beginning to think that I was going to spend all of my celebration Mothers Day lunch in the toilet!

In the evening my mother and I went through a lot of family history documents (BMD certificates etc.) which was actually a very nice end to a lovely day.

I've tried uploading some photographs of the day, but www.blogger.com is having problems, so I will upload them tomorrow as I need to sleep.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Famous Last Words

I spoke too soon. No sooner did I publish today's post, than Barnaby woke up crying. Sheep is now upstairs trying to get him back off to sleep again. Oh well.

Wedding Anniversary & Visitors

Today we were expecting Alasdair and Ozlem to visit, but we'd not arranged a time. We waited until 9:30 to telephone them and they were still in bed. Oh, how I yearn for the pre-children days of weekend-lie-ins! Barnaby was feeling a little better today (no vomiting), but he was awake at 5:40 this morning! Amelia had a good night too (I forgot to mention that on Thursday night, I think, Amelia slept for 9 hours, from 7:30 pm until 4:30 am; now, if we could just shift that to being from 10:00 pm- 7:00 am...).

Today was our 6th wedding anniversary. In the traditional system, it was our 'iron' anniversary and I bought Sheep a Bodum cast-iron wok as an anniversary present. I have been thinking that if someone had told me six years ago that we would be sitting here today with two children I would, frankly, have been surprised. Still, I can't imagine being any happier than I am.

We decided to go for a walk at about 10:30 (as much to get Barnaby out of the house and get some fresh air as any other reason) and so we took both Barnaby and Amelia out in their two prams and wandered off to buy some bread. On our return, at about 11:45, Barnaby suddenly drifted off to sleep while still in his pram (well, he had been up since before six). Amelia was also sleeping and we were loth to disturb either of them by taking them indoors. As it happens the temperature was mild today and the sun was shining quite brightly so we decided to sit out in the garden, letting Barnaby and Amelia sleep, while we had a cup of coffee & tea. It was actually a really lovely half hour, sitting out in the garden, in the sunshine, with offspring sleeping, while we just chatted and drank coffee. We don't get many quiet moments together like this, so when we can snatch such a moment it feels very precious. And how wonderful that we were able to do so on our anniversary.

After lunch Alasdair and Ozlem arrived bearing house-warming gifts (this was their first visit to our new house) and a gift for Amelia, a 'nazar boncugu' (evil eye charm). Ozlem is Turkish, and she said that the charm protects the baby from 'the look': evil or harm wished upon them by another. When a baby is born, an evil eye is pinned to the garment on his/her right, back shoulder for protection.


Ozlem and Amelia. The 'evil eye charm' is pinned to Amelia's shoulder, with a red ribbon

After more tea drinking we went into Barnaby's playroom and we all started playing with his Omagles (large-scale construction kit). Alasdair and Ozlem decided to build Barnaby a car, with lots of enthusiastic help from Barnaby. Amelia and I sat on the floor and watched the proceedings. Much fun was had by all, I think.



Sadly, Alasdair and Ozlem didn't stay for dinner. However, I must say Barnaby was certainly feeling better as he consumed two and a half omlettes (it would have been three but half fell on the floor). We had them both bathed, read to, in bed and asleep by 8:30 (and Barnaby gets another sticker for his sticker-chart!). So, now, Sheep and I can enjoy a little more quiet time together: the rest of our anniversary.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Second Trip to London

Barnaby was so sick last night and, as his temperature was still slightly elevated this morning, he didn't go to nursery today. Sheep and I had intended to both go into London together, but Sheep offered to stay and look after Barnaby and let Amelia and I go to London on our own. This was particularly nice of Sheep, as I was going into London to meet John Peponis (in London only for today from Atlanta) and listen to him lecture. I took Amelia in the sling, and she was far happier with the train journey than last time. I managed to have a brief lunch with John (he'd been examining a PhD in the morning) and we both sat in on his lecture in the afternoon. So, Amelia's first university lecture! She was wonderfully well behaved and sat through the whole hour and a half without even a mumur.

Tonight, when I was reading to Barnaby, he said. "One day Meela will be bigger. She will be as big as I am now. Then you will have another baby growing in your tummy!". I responded that probably not, but he was adamant that it would be the case.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Dalton Grandparents Depart

Jackie and Derek left for Northumberland this morning. It's been really lovely seeing them, it's just a pity it's been so short. However, we will hopefully see them again soon (either us visiting them or vice versa). Amelia's been quite sick over the last 24 hours, starting with her being sick all over me last night, as I was getting her ready for bed and again at midnight. Today she's been a lot better though. However, when I collected Barnaby from nursery this afternoon, he was compaining of an ear-ache. When we got him home he said he was extremely tired and wanted to go straight to bed. Consequently, both of them were in bed asleep shortly after 7:00, so we thought that we were in for an unexpectedly quiet and long evening together. However, it was not to be. Barnaby's running a temperature and is a grumpy invalid. He's now just been very sick (poor boy) and is clinging to Sheep like a limpet. Amelia is about to wake and I need to give her her late evening feed. I suspect that Barnaby wont be well enough to go to nursery tomorrow. I was intending to take Amelia into London, but we'll have to take a raincheck on that. What an evening!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Photos from Yesterday

Here are the photos of Amelia in her red fruit dress that I took yesterday.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Dalton Grandparents, Day 2

Amelia slept about six and a half hours last night and didn't develop any fever resulting from yesterday's jab. She woke for her first morning feed at 6:00 am shortly followed by Barnaby waking us at 6:40. After a pretty calm morning routine, Barnaby got off to nursery early and, after Sheep's return, we waited for Jackie and Derek to arrive. They came over mid-morning and we had a calm morning with Amelia. I had dressed her in a red corduroy dress (with a pattern of fruit on it), so that she'd look particularly nice today. I took some photos of her in it, which I will upload tomorrow; some of them came out very well.

After lunch, Sheep and Derek collected Barnaby from nursery (we decided to give him the afternoon off to spend with Jackie and Derek) and they all went for a walk around the village, leaving Amelia with Jackie and I. At 2:00, the Health Visitor arrived for her 6-week (a bit late!) check-up. Amelia now weighs exactly 5Kg, which is approx. 11 pounds, and means that she consistently remains on the 50th percentile for weight. Her head circumference was 40cm, which places her on, about, the 90th percentile for heads.

Jackie and Derek returned to their hotel after dinner and Barnaby fell asleep really quickly tonight. He was asleep by 8:30 with no rocking. This is the third night in a row! I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Oh, finally, with respect to the H.V., I took the "are you suffering from post-natal depression" multiple-choice test, and it would appear that I am not.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Dalton Grandparents

Today was the day that Jackie and Derek Dalton (Sheep's parents) came to visit. They arrived in time for lunch and duly inspected their new granddaughter.







Given that this is their fourth grandchild, we didn't expect them to be too impressed, but they seemed quite pleased with her. They both remarked how calm she seemed and that Sheep had been an extremely calm baby. (Second child again. I wonder if I was calm too; I must remember to ask.) Although, I am beginning to think that, temperamentally, she might take after Sheep. In the afternoon, Jackie and Derek went off to Old Stony (near Stony Stratford) to check into their hotel and Derek returned briefly in time to see Barnaby on his return from nursery. Which was just as well, as Barnaby had been very excited about the prospect of their visit.

In the afternoon, between their arrival and Derek's return, we took Amelia to the health centre to get her two-month jabs (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping Cough, Haemophilus influenzae (Hib), Polio and Men. C.). She had one in the top of each thigh. Sheep had to hold her and I couldn't watch; I really am pathetic about these things. We need to watch for a fever for the next 48 hours and can give her Calpol (paracetemol suspension). She was pretty good about it all though and hasn't yet shown any adverse reaction.

This evening, Barnaby had a couple of books and then settled down quickly in bed, listening to his audio-stories on his ipod. Tomorrow he gets another sticker - yipeee! And, although the whole process took a long time and one or other of us stayed with him until he actually fell asleep, we are hoping that, in time, we can reduce the amount of overall time to get him off and be able to leave him to fall asleep without our presence.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

...And all Through the House, not a Creature is Stirring...

Well, it's been a tiring but not altogether unsatisfactory day. I couldn't tell you when Amelia fed last night, but it felt like a bad night. I had trouble falling asleep anyway and then after I had slept and subsequently reawoken to feed Amelia, it felt like she was feeding forever and just wouldn't stop... Clearly, this is only partly true, but to my sleep-addled brain, this is how it seemed to me. Consequently, I felt completely shattered when Barnaby came running into us, crying, at 6:00 this morning. Luckily, Sheep got up and looked after Barnaby, letting Amelia and I sleep until 9:00.

We all went to Quaker Meeting, and both Barnaby and Amelia were extremely well-behaved during the first 15 minutes prior to the Children's Group. During the Children's Meeting, Barnaby happily drew and cut-out his pictures; and wrote the most fantastic set of 'B's he's yet produced. I must scan them in! Amelia first fed, then slept a little, then simply sat in her car seat and watched Barnaby drawing and cutting. Everyone commented on what a placid baby she is. I think I prefer 'serene'.

After meeting we went to Wagamamas for lunch and it was the first proper meal I've had since Tuesday (although I couldn'd finish it all). Although we were all so tired and, I think, still weak from being ill, it was extremely nice. However, we all felt rather worn out by the end of the meal. We rushed home and Sheep and Amelia both fel asleep in the car! Sheep managed to transfer Barnaby into his bed without waking him. Amelia woke but soon went back to sleep. Consequently, Sheep and I also lay down for a 'siesta' and all four of us slept for two hours!

This evening, I gave Amelia a long bath, while Sheep bathed Barnaby. As it has turned out, I am the one who bathes Amelia and not Sheep. And, since I've been laid up since Tuesday, Amelia was sorely in need of a bath! Anyway, she seemed to really enjoy her bath tonight. Until now, her attitude to her baths has been as if she's been tolerant whilst reserving judgement. Tonight, I think she was beginning to have fun. She went off to sleep at about 7:30 and then I went through to Barnaby, read him his two books and then sat with him while we listened to stories on his ipod. By 9:00 he was fast asleep, with no Sheep and no rocking chair. Hence, he gains a sticker. All we need to do is to keep this up and try to reduce the time taken for him to actually drop off. Sheep and I can now snatch an hour or so of peace and quiet.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Almost Better

After spending yesterday in bed as well, I ventured downstairs in the evening. I'm still feeling weak, but am mostly recovered. (No vomiting for 24 hours anyway). No small thanks to Amelia since, on Thursday night, she slept for nearly eight hours, from 11:15 pm until 7:05 am. What bliss and how wonderfully considerate of her. It's certainly contributed to my (almost) recovery. Although I have been feeling a little guilty about poor Amelia; she's just had three days of doing nothing except lie next to me. Or, at least, not doing much except have me grin inanely at her when I've been awake/well enough to do so. It can't have been particularly stimulating for her. On the other hand, my mother's generation were advised to leave their babies outside in prams for three hour at a stretch, with only the clouds to gaze at (and I know, I've seen the manual!). Well, since it can't have done us all that much harm, I suppose that three days of cuddles with me shouldn't have done her much long-lasting harm either.

Today, although Sheep still felt weak, he valiantly took Barnaby to story-time at the library (which sadly was cancelled) so that I could try to put the house in order again after three days of being supine. Luckily, the two hours that they were away, Amelia slept, so I managed to get beds stripped and the bathroom cleaned and things steralised etc. etc. Since their return, it's been a relatively quiet day. Amelia fell asleep over dinner (at about 6:30 and still hasn't awoken, so I'm waiting to change her into her night-time nappy, nightclothes and give her her early evening feed (which is usually about 7:30 and it's now 9:20). Barnaby's just fallen asleep as well, so Sheep and I might finally snatch an hour or two to spend together (assuming we have any energy to do anything other than fall asleep ourselves.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Two Days in Bed

After writing the blog on Tuesday evening, I decidedly took a turn for the worse. Turns out that, rather than just being 'a bit under the weather', I've had gastroenteritis. I've had vomiting and diarrhoea in the past but never both with such severity, simultaneously. I was extremely ill on Tuesday night, and spent a lot of yesterday vomiting. Sheep has also been ill, but without the vomiting and diarrhoea; he's been weak and tired, and also spent yesterday in bed. We couldn't physically take Barnaby to nursery, but luckily my sister came to the rescue - she took Barnaby to nursery on her way to work and collected him again for us.

Amelia has also had two days in bed with me and doesn't seem too put out by it. I was worried about getting dehydrated and hence affecting my milk supply, but it seems to have been alright (I forced myself to drink water, even though it made me vomit). I do worry she's got bored, but can an 8-week old get bored? I don't know.

Needless to say, she didn't have her jabs yesterday (not because she was ill but because we were!). She will have to have them on Monday instead.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Under the Weather

We're all feeling a bit under the weather today. Sheep especially. However, I must report that we all had a better night. Barnaby slept until 7:00 and was quite cheerful when he woke up. (If he sleeps badly he's quite grisly!) Unfortunately, I was up at 6:00 with Amelia. She had her early morning feed and then I noticed that she was more than a little damp and in the end had to change not only her nappy but her nightdress too. By the time I got her resettled, I couldn't get back to sleep again. Consequently, we were all up for breakfast (all dressed, all abluted) by 7:45 and Barnaby actually got off to nursery at quite a respectable time.

Mid-morning I took Amelia out for a walk in her pram (I picked up a few groceries) and on our return we were hailed upon! It was alright for her though, as the pram has a cover on it. Both Sheep and I have this cold that we've all been having in one form or another, but Sheep is feeling far, far worse than I am. He's been upstairs in bed all evening. I hope he feels a bit better tomorrow. Amelia's cold seems almost over (Barnaby's been fine, actually), Sheep's got a sore throat and achy head, I've got the headache and a chesty cough, oh and we both feel rather sick. It can't have helped being hailed on...

In the afternoon, I decided to attend the 'craft circle' at the Quaker Meeting House; I thought it would make a nice change from mother and toddler groups. I took some knitting with me: a yellow jumper that I started knitting for Barnaby and abandoned 18 months ago when it was apparant that Barnaby was growing at a greater rate than the jumper was! I thought that if I could finish it, it would do for Amelia, being yellow. Anyway, it was a very pleasant way to pass a couple of hours (given that the average age is 50-90!) and everyone made a fuss of Amelia (and I didn't embarrass myself with my bad knitting too much). She did do a scarily loud poo in the middle of it though, which would have been enough to make anyone blush a bit.

The doctor's surgery rang me to request I bring Amelia in for her jabs tomorrow, but I told them that she has had this cold and they said Monday would be ok if she's still under the weather tomorrow. I will decide tomorrow. Although, if Sheep is well enough he will go into UCL and I would rather he came with me. It sounds feeble, but I can't bear to watch them put the needles in. I could never watch Barnaby being injected. I'd let Sheep hold him and then rush in to comfort him afterwards.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Ripping Yarns

It's midnight. I'm off to bed. However, I've just 'ripped' 5.6 hours of stories onto the ipod for Barnaby. More tomorrow. However, this should be enough even for him to fall asleep to!

No Mother & Toddler Group, No Jabs

Well, it feels like today has been a day of non-events. This was partly down to Sheep and I both being tired. Barnaby woke once during the night last night (he wanted a potty and milk) and then woke up at 6:00. Consequently, when Sheep returned from taking him to nursery, he came back into bed for some 'catch-up' kip. So, Amelia and I stayed in bed and had a wonderful sleepy/ lazy morning together. Our original plans had been to go to the mother and toddler group at the Ecumenical Church, but since part of the reason for this was to give Sheep an excuse to sample the adjacent coffee shop, and since Sheep was sleeping, we gave it a miss too. When Sheep woke up, we decided to walk up the hill anyway and to try out the coffee shop (in the church), but we dithered (Amelia needed another feed etc. etc.) and by the time we got there it was somehow 3:00. We had a late lunch there - definitely the cheapest coffee/food in central M.K. - and then I went off to buy Barnaby some more Thomas and Friends books as incentives to go to sleep on his own and without sitting with Sheep in the rocking chair.

Monday afternoons are the Well Baby Clinics at the doctors surgery. I was told last week to bring Amelia for her first set of jabs, which she is meant to have at two months. (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping Cough, Haemophilus influenzae (Hib), Polio and Men C.) I was unsure about letting her have them as she still has a bit of her head cold about her. Also, it is meant to be at two months. She will not be 8 weeks old until Wednesday and not two calendar months old until next Saturday (18th), so, all things considered I decided to wait another week. (Besides, I was also meant to have a letter asking me to bring her in for her jabs and I've received no such letter yet).

This evening, reading to Barnaby whilst getting Amelia off to sleep didn't work so well, as he was being rowdy and disturbing Amelia every time she dropped off to sleep. In the end, Sheep gave up and took Barnaby back into his own room and, yes, rocked him in his rocking chair. Oh well. No stickers for his chart today. Tonight I am preparing to put another plan into action - audio stories for Barnaby. I am currently in the process of ripping CDs onto my old ipod (I guess, soon to be Barnaby's ipod!) so that we can try letting Barnaby listen to stories in bed, once we've both left him. This is a tip from our friend Joanna as well as being mentioned in Elizabeth Pantley's book. The idea is that the audio stories become a substitute for our company, allowing him to become less dependent upon our presence as he falls asleep.

Amelia was lovely this morning. She is becoming so smiley. She also had a 'conversaton' with Sheep too (so it wasn't just me imagining it). She is really starting to coo and make sounds. I also think that she's really bright: an intelligent, social, lovely girl.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Weekend

Jenni was with us until after lunch on Saturday, which was, as ever, extremely pleasant. We had meant to do something in the afternoon, if only take Barnaby to the playground, but instead had a quiet afternoon, as it was raining too hard to do anything outside. In the evening, I decided to try bathing Amelia at the same time as Barnaby. Not in the same bath, of course (Amelia in her own bath), but still silmutaneously. This was actually not such a good idea as Barnaby was so fascinated in her bath that he didn't want to get into his own bath. However, it would be nice to get Amelia used to having her bath in the early evening instead of during the day as I have been doing. Since, eventually, we'd like to be able to plop them both in the bath together. One option, for the future, is to start giving Amelia her baths in the evening, but to time her dip so that it's after Barnaby's bath; his incentive to bathe quickly and expediently is then that if he does so, he can help/watch Amelia. Another thought is that perhaps once the novelty wears off, we can bathe them at the same time (hence saving time) without Barnaby being too distracted. At the moment, Amelia is having 2-3 baths a week and soon I will step this up to every other night. By about 9 months she should be having a bath every night with Barnaby.

It was 9:30 before we got them both off to sleep. Unfortunately for me, Amelia woke again at 10:30 and wanted a feed. At this point I simply gave up and decided to go straight to bed. Hence, the lack of posting last night!

Last night (Saturday night) was horrendous. Barnaby kept Sheep awake from approximately midnight to four! Amelia was also particularly restless: perhaps she could hear Barnaby fussing. I think that she was restless because she still had the vestiges of her head cold and was finding her blocked nose somewhat agitating. She was also a little sick (in her sleep). Eventually, Barnaby slept on the floor in our bedroom (we have bought him a new inflatable bed/sleeping bag so that he can sleep in our room, if he wants to, but next to our bed rather than in it). Here's a picture of his new bed from the Blooming Marvellous website.

Luckily, after such a disturbed night, Barnaby slept until 9:00 (which means we all did too as we currently have to get up when he does!). We actually did make it to Quaker meeting though, which I wasn't convinced we'd be able to, as we have to all be ready and out of the house by 10:00 (So, managing this in a mere hour is quite an achievement). Meeting was very nice this morning. I went into the Children's Meeting with Amelia and Barnaby leaving Sheep in peace in the meeting. Afterwards, quite a few people took turns to hold Amelia leaving Sheep and I with free hands to drink tea and chat. We went off to eat at Bella Italia afterwards. It's sad, soon we'll have to stop eating at restaurants; once my maternity pay decreases (March is my last month on full pay) this will be a luxury we wont be able to afford! Then we practically raced home to ensure that Barnaby had his nap on time. As it happens, we all went to bed and all four of us slept soundly.

Amelia has started staring at me with an exceedingly intelligent expression in her eyes, as if she is trying to communicate something vitally important to me. I feel quite the dullard for not understanding what it is she is trying to say. I do think she is starting to blossom physically as well. She is certainly beginning to lose that newborn 'rawness' and become more comfortable in her skin. So far, her temperament is remarkably serene. Is this simply that she's a second child? Are all younger siblings more placid? It does make you wonder. As a pair of younger siblings ourselves, Sheep and I do find this interesting.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Not Bad as Fridays Go

I didn't get up and do the full morning routine with Sheep as Amelia was sleeping cuddled up next to me and it seemed such a shame to disturb her. However, I did, intermittently, (frequently?) call-out helpful advice to Sheep and I did manage to get up and make it to the 9:30 mother and toddler group at the Memorial Hall (the one just down the road). At the end of the group it had been my intention to go to Loughton Manor First School to submit Barnaby's application form for a nursery place. However, it started raining and no sooner had I rushed inside (worried about Amelia), it starting pelting it down.

Sheep and I had lunch at home and then walked up the hill (he dropped off the application form on the way). I wanted to go to the library (to return books and make photocopies) and go to John Lewis. The reason for the photocopies was that Amelia's hot pink and orange nappies arrived in the post today. And I must say that the pink is HOT, HOT, HOT and the orange is ULTRA! I can't wait to see her in them when she's bigger. (An older 3 year old at the toddler group today watched me change Amelia's nappy and asked why a baby was wearing pants.) In order to claim the £30 from the council I needed to return their claim form by the 15th and include a photocopy of Amelia's birth certificate. So, I did manage to send off the claim form with the required accompanying papers. I went to J.L. in order to buy something for Jenni (who is visiting again) that I'd promised to get for her. Here I met the downside of attending so many mother and toddler groups! I bumped into a 'mother' who greeted me as a long lost friend. She remarked that she'd not seen me for a while and I couldn't for the life of me remember which group I knew her from (or, indeed, her name). Oooooops.

Sheep went to collect Barnaby from nursery with my sister who'd popped over on her way back from work. After a relatively uneventful evening routine, we got both Barnaby and Amelia to sleep just as Jenni arrived. So, we've had a lovely evening discussing all manners of nonsense. As the title says, not bad as Fridays go.

Head Cold

I think Amelia's got her first cold. She was sneezing and snuffling all night. Her nose does seem a little blocked/runny. If she's still a bit under the weather after the weekend, I won't allow her to have her jabs on Monday.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Vomit, Valerie & Vomit Again

Yesterday should have been a lovely day, afterall it was Sheep's birthday. The morning started alright, with all of us awake en masse for our new, regimented morning-routine. All of us were up, dressed and breakfasted at the crack of dawn. Sheep got Barnaby to nursery on time and without any major tantrums. However, the upshot of this was that I was utterly exhausted for the rest of the day. Consequently, I didn't have the energy to go to the mother and toddler group in the morning and had to really summon up the energy to go to my NCT coffee group in the afternoon. I was also exceedingly grumpy, due to the lack of sleep caused by my early morning. However, the group was really good and I was in far higher spirits (although still exhausted or, as my brother-in-law quaintly said last night, "Tired with a K!") when I went to collect Barnaby from nursery.

It was Sheep's birthday, as I've already mentioned, and even though I had baked his cake the day before, I'd been too tired yesterday even to decorate it. So, when I got home with Barnaby, I quickly decorated the cake and stuck some candles in. Now, my sister and brother-in-law (Claire and Julian) had arranged to come over for dinner to celebrate Sheep's birthday, but we also had a parents' evening at Barnaby's nursery to attend, so in the end we decided to give Barnaby his tea at 6:00 and when Claire and Julian arrived at 6:30, Sheep would leave for the parents evening just as I went upstairs to give Barnaby his bath and get him and Amelia ready for bed, ideally with some help from Claire or Julian. This was the plan.

As all good plans can and do, this one went pretty pear-shaped with surprising rapidity. No sooner had Sheep left the house and we'd got Barnaby and Amelia upstairs (luckily Amelia lay quite quietly in her cot) than Barnaby went into complete meltdown. He didn't want a bath, he didn't want to put his pants on, he didn't want to put his pyjamas on etc. etc. Claire had been helping me out, but Barnaby in full-throttle toddler tantrum-mode eventually proved too much for her and I don't blame her. Actually, with hindsight there were some mitigating circumstances but more of that later. Let's just move on swiftly to the next part of the evening. Claire and Julian picked up an Indian take-away and eventually the four of us settled down to a peaceful and uninterrupted meal. This was wonderfully pleasant. However, the evening was not to end on such a calm note.

Luckily we had finished dinner when Barnaby awoke, calling for his daddy; Sheep went upstairs and was soon calling, urgently, for me. I arrived in time to watch Barnaby being spectacularly sick all over Sheep, sitting his the rocking chair (to the extent of Sheep having to change all his clothes, underwear indcluded). If only this worked as rocking-chair aversion therapy!. I rushed downstairs long enough to explain matters to Claire and Julian asking them if they minded letting themselves out. By the time we had cleaned up and re-settled Barnaby it was past midnight.

Today, I just couldn't make the morning routine so Sheep let off Amelia and I. Boy, was I exhausted (Sheep managed Barnaby on his own and did fine). But this morning was another write-off as far as any socializing went as I needed to rest and recover from two days of early mornings. However, I did have a visit from Valerie in the afternoon, which was really delightful! Unfortunately, she did remember to take a look at my perineum. Well the good news is that I have healed, the bad is that I have some raised scar tissue which Valerie was a bit concerned about. Still, that news aside, it was lovely to see her again.

Finally, this evening! I was breastfeeding Amelia, whilst reading to Barnaby, when Amelia starts to be sick. At first, I think it's just a 'spit-up' and I put her over my shoulder to wind her when she start being sick, big time! She was sick all down my back and, as I was kneeling, onto the soles of my feet. I had vomit everywhere, including down my jeans, in my pants and particularly all over my socks. With all this 'excitement', it was after 10:00 before we managed to get Barnaby off to sleep. So, today ended as did yesterday! (For the record, I don't think Barnaby and Amelia were sick for the same reason. I think Barnaby had eaten something that disagreed with him; I think that Amelia had drunk too much milk and had a little too much wind). Ah, the joys of parenthood. Thinking about it, this was Amelia's first major vomit episode.

To end on a more cheerful note, here's a couple of new pictures of Amelia (taken on Sheep's 43rd birthday!).


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Play Dates for Everyone

A tiring day. After yesterday's morning disaster, Sheep and I got organized for this morning. Rule 1. Barnaby doesn't go downstairs until he is dressed. Rule 2. Unfortunately, neither do we (this includes Amelia). Rule 3. We have breakfast together. This actually worked this morning. As soon as Barnaby woke up, we all dragged ourselves up and got dressed en masse (Amelia too), we washed and brushed teeth together (Amelia excluded as she has no teeth). Then we all had breakfast together, Amelia included and Barnaby actually had a whole bowl of musli for a change. We achieved this by getting everything organized the night before, including setting the breakfast table etc. And it appeared to work. No tantrums and Barnaby got to nursery on time. Looks like we must keep this up. Sadly, it also looks like Amelia and I need to sacrifice our morning time together though. Pity, I will really miss that (plus I feel shattered!).

At 10:00 I had an appointment for an informal visit to Loughton Manor First School. As well as a reception class they have just opened a nursery class; as Barnaby will be a 'rising four' in September he will be eligible. It turns out that I must get the forms in this week. There are 18 places and only 6 of these will be full-time (9:00am - 3:00pm) and so far there are 55 applicants. I liked the school though and will hand in the admission application form tomorrow. I guess Barnaby's got a 6/55 % chance of getting a full-time place.

After I got home, and fed Amelia, I rushed around and tidied up a bit as we were expecting a guest (!). And I even (and I hope Sheep doesn't read this) managed to bake Sheep a birthday cake for tomorrow. Also, I took some SMILEY photos of Amelia. I've been writing in this blog about how she has been smiling, but haven't been able to capture it on camera. Well, today I did.





OK. So, this last one isn't of her smiling, but I did rather like it, as a pensive, thoughtful, poet-contemplates-the-world sort of pose.

This afternoon Eleanor from Milton Keynes Quaker Meeting came to visit with her 11 month old baby girl, Pippa. We had a nice long play with Pippa and Amelia and a nice chat too. Turns out, we are both the same age, we both have PhDs (her's in microbiology), we both work at universities and are married to academics. We also decided that we must have met at Junior Yearly Meeting (JYM) in 1987 (was it 1987?) at Ackworth and probably at some YFCCs (Young Friends Central Committee meetings) at around the same time. Of course, we also realised that consequently we must know people in common, including Leif! So, that was Amelia's afternoon 'play date'.

At nursery, Barnaby was also invited on his first 'play date' with his friend Luke. Luke's mother and I just need to arrange a time. And finally, I received an email inviting me to join a local book-club that a couple of the Wednesday NCT Coffee Group members belong to, which I guess is a sort of 'play date' too. They meet once a month.

Barnaby got another sticker tonight. Yeah!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Well Baby Clinic

Last night wasn't good again, especially for Barnaby and Sheep. Consequently, Sheep found Barnaby very trying this morning; even though Barnaby had been awake and up since 6:00, he still ended up being late for nursery at 9:00. Three hours to get ready! When Sheep came back, he wanted to catch up on his sleep and ended up kipping downstairs on the sofa. Meanwhile, Amelia and I kept out of the way upstairs! (Actually, I do relish our morning time together, it's very sleepy and drowsy and cuddly) We eventually came downstairs at lunch time, which is when Sheep finally awoke, but was still not in a great mood. I decided that the sooner that Amelia and I could get out of the house and leave Sheep to work on his PhD, the better. So, I took her off to be weighed at the "Well Baby Clinic". Actually, I've also a little concerned as Amelia has recently only been having a bowel movement every other day. And, although I know that this is within the acceptable range for breastfed babies, I have still been a little anxious as you can never tell how much milk a breastfed baby is consuming.

The Well Baby Clinic takes place at the doctor's surgery between 2:00 and 4:00. We arrived there at 3:00 (having done a few chores en route). When we got there there was nobody else there and the two health visitors were in a chatty mood. They weighed Amelia. She weighed 4840 g (or 10lbs 9.4oz), which places her on the 50th percentile for seven weeks. There were full of praise for her. Of course, I think she's lovely. They also told me that I should also be bringing her for her first immunisation next week. That will be 1st Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping Cough, Haemophilus influenzae (Hib), Polio and Men C. It seems a lot to put into an eight-week old baby, but given that she's already fought off chicken pox on her own, perhaps it's not.

I should say that when in America I spent a long, long time thinking about whether to immunize Barnaby. I read everything I could find, particularly the anti-immunization literature. There is this website (American) called "Think Twice" (http://www.thinktwice.com/) full of the most awful real-life stories of immunizations going awry. In the end, the only way I could make up my own mind was to consider how I would feel were the worst-case scenario to occur in either case (the immunization and non-immunization case). Eventually, I decided that I would feel far, far worse if we didn't immunize and Barnaby (or indeed Amelia) were to catch one of these diseases and end up permanently affected/disabled (or worse). I think that I would blame myself far more and find the consequences harder to live with than if s/he suffered from an adverse reaction to an immunization.

Oh! I just remembered. Amelia and I had our first 'conversation' today! While we were 'lounging' in bed together, I was talking to her. Then she tried to make some 'noises' back. (Not quite cooing, but certainly managing to make a non-crying sort of noise!). When she'd finished, I talked back to her and waited and she tried again. This sequence of events was repeated half a dozen times. It might be pure coincidence, but it seemed as if she were turn-taking. My wonderful genius girl!

Second post-script. Sheep bought me flowers today. (The advantage of rarely exchanging heated words!)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A Better Day

Well, last night wasn't too good, not surprisingly given the run-up to yesterday's bedtime. In the end, Barnaby kept waking up and Sheep eventually tucked him into bed with me and Amelia while he went off to sleep in the spare room. At least that meant that Barnaby was going to sleep through the night and, indeed, he did: until nearly 8:00. (Sheep was also better-rested which meant he was more able to cope with things.) I was quite tired though and so this morning Amelia and I stayed in bed, feeding and dozing until after ten, which effectively meant that we missed Quaker meeting. However, given how stressed Sheep and I were yesterday, it seemed sensible to have a low-key day today.

It's funny how a good night's sleep helps everyone. Barnaby was so well-behaved and cooperative today (until bedtime). He even had his afternoon nap at about the right time (on the sofa). After his nap we all went for a walk. We decided to go and buy Barnaby a large-format pad of drawing paper. Incidentally, on the way home we had a flash of inspiration about how to 'fix' our American Graco pram so that Barnaby can hitch a lift on his way home from nursery, with Amelia in the pram. There is room for him to 'perch' on the front of the stroller (the footwell for the pram in toddler-mode), but there is nowhere for him to place his feet so he drags them on the floor. It occurred to us that if we could fix BMX stunt-bike style 'pegs' onto the axle of the front wheel, he could rest his feet upon them. These 'pegs' are the foot-rests that are stood on when performing stunts. Of course, I've not got a clue how to attach then, or even if it's possible, but I think it's worth looking into. If only we knew a bike-maintenance-whizz.

Not much to report about Amelia today, other than she seems to be smiling a lot! Barnaby also seems devoted to her. When we wrapped her up to go outside, we put her in this fluffy white jacket (a present from Gap) Barnaby kept calling her his "Poley (Polar) Bear". She is looking adorable, even if I say so myself. On the topic of Barnaby saying cute things, on his way to bed this evening, he decided to put his pyjama 'top' on his 'bottom' by sticking his legs through the arm-holes. See photo!

When we asked him what purpose the middle 'flap' served, he replied that it was for his penis!

Well, as nice as it would be to finish on a humorous note. I must report that bedtime was disastrous again. Barnaby went into meltdown. He refused to have his bath (we resorted to standing him in a bucket to wash his 'bits'!). And he got 'rocked' to sleep again for the second night. So, no new stickers for his sticker-chart. However good a day can be, it all seems to go horribly wrong at bedtime. (According to Ms Pantley there is a term for Barnaby's condition; it's called a 'strong sleep-onset association', the association being Sheep and the rocking chair.)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Mixed-bag of a Day, Emotionally

None of us were really at our best this morning (perhaps an understatement!). Amelia had more night-feeds than usual (and more wet nappies too) and then Barnaby woke at 6:00 am utterly refusing to go back to sleep. This wouldn't have been too bad, had Sheep not spent half the night asleep on the floor beside Barnaby's bed trying to coax him back to sleep. Given that we were both too zombie-like to do much else, we decided that we'd try to attend "Story Time" at the Library, just for something to do with Barnaby this morning. However, we barely caught the bus in time: Barnaby not being terribly cooperative, as per usual.

Interestingly, although we did actually catch the bus, our American-bought stroller barely did!

Barnaby, Amelia and Sheep on the bus

Our stroller, which wouldn't fit into the luggage-space, taking up a whole seat!

We did manage to make it to the Library in time for Story Time at 11:00. I think that Barnaby really enjoyed it. There were quite a number of 2-5 year olds there (perhaps fifteen to twenty). The librarian read two books and sang three songs; the books were large format and she also used puppets etc. Amelia woke up half way through and I eventually had to give her a feed. So she's now been fed (and had a nappy change!) in the library too!

Story time at the library

After story time, we went to eat lunch at a child-friendly Italian pasta restaurant - Barnaby was particularly well-behaved and even had a wee on his travel-potty in the toilet! As a reward, he got his first chocolate icecream. Given how tired and grumpy we were, lunch was actually extremely pleasant.

Barnaby eats chocolate icecream (It was all over his face)

After lunch, Sheep and Barnaby caught the bus back home on their own. Amelia, the oversized pram and I walked home! Sheep had actually rushed back, in the vain hope that he might be able to encourage Barnaby to have his afternoon nap. This did, indeed, turn out to be a vain hope. As Sheep and Barnaby arrived home, Barnaby discovered a strange cat in the garden and decided to chase it. Bizarrely, the cat didn't run off (as any self-respecting cat might be expected to do) but rather allowed Barnaby to chase him round the garden until I arrived home 45 minutes later!

Barnaby and the cat lacking any sense of self-preservation

This is when things began to go downhill rapidly. Barnaby did eventually fall asleep, but not until 4:15. At 5:15, I decided to try and wake him up, as I didn't want him to sleep too late (otherwise we'd have problems at bedtime). When he woke up, reluctantly, he was extremely tearful. This coincided with Amelia also having a crying fit, so I had both of them wailing, one in each ear. It was the first time since the birth that I've actually felt short-tempered; I warned Sheep that I felt I was burning a short fuse and he did his best to calm (defuse?) the situation. However, I continued to feel irritated with Barnaby. Luckily I didn't actually lose my temper or shout at him, although I did call him 'insufferable'! However, things went from bad to worse, as Barnaby did take forever to fall asleep. It was 9:30 before I came downstairs, having read to him for goodness knows how long! (And the same book again and again).

However, the evening ended with Sheep and I starting to lay plans to address Barnaby's sleep problems (with the aid of Ms. Pantley's tips), only to result in me finally shouting at Sheep (a rare occurrance, I might add, but still something I feel bad about).

How did people cope with twelve children?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Visit to London

Today was Amelia's first trip away from Milton Keynes. After Sheep took Barnaby to nursery, Amelia, Sheep and I caught the train to London. We caught the 10:25 and arrived in London at 11:11. I don't think that she liked the train journey too much; I expected her to go to sleep (with the rocking motion) but instead she was rather disgruntled. We went straight from the station into UCL to catch up with everyone and generally show-off Amelia. We managed to see a fair number of people and it was really nice to see everyone. I'd not realized that I'd been feeling a little cut-off from everything. For the return journey we took the 15:22 and arrived back at 16:01 (I was a bit worried about hitting the commuter-packed trains and so we got an early train). Actually, the return journey was far more eventful; Amelia had her first high-speed nappy change as well as a feed (not bad for a mere 39 minute journey).

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Two More Songs

On the earlier topic of trying to record the songs I've made up to sing to Amelia, here are two that I used to sing to Barnaby that have now been adapted for his sister. The first is set to a really recognisable melody, that I can not, irritatingly, place but I think it might be a football chant or some such thing! This is the version I used to sing to Barnaby:

Hello Barnaby. Hello Bar',
Hello Barnaby. What a lovely boy you are.


And here are the variations on his song that I've, so far, caught myself singing to Amelia.

Hello Meela. Hello Mee',
Hello Meela. What are you going to be?


or

Hello Meela. Hello girl!
Hello Meela. We know you very well.


or

Hello Meela. Hello you.
Hello Meela and how do you do?


Then, to the tune of "What shall we do with a drunken sailor" is a song I used to sing to Barnaby when I was bathing him. Below is the original song I made-up to sing to Barnaby. I've now started substituting Amelia for Barnaby (and 'her' for 'him'). Actually, the other night, I tried singing it to Barnaby again (while in the bath) and he was really chuffed by it! I must remember to sign it to him more often.

What shall we do with a dirty Barnaby? (Repeat x3)
Early in the evening.
Hey ho, it's Barnaby's bathtime. (Repeat x3)
Early in the evening.

Put him in the tub and make lots of bubbles. (Repeat x3)
Early in the evening.
Hey, ho... etc.

Put him the tub and splish, splosh, splish splash. (Repeat x3)
Early in the evening.
Hey, ho... etc.

Put him in the tub and soap him all over. (Repeat x3)
Early in the evening.
Hey, ho... etc.

Six Week Check-up

Today was the mother and toddler group at the Baptist Church and since I found out yesterday that they have a waiting list, I thought I'd better be prompt today. In fact, I even managed to shower and have us both out of the house by 9:30. Luckily, we all had quite a good night, Barnaby too!

Actually, I did find out that there isn't currently a waiting list (but there has been in the past). Which I was rather relieved about although Sheep conjured up the amusing image of big burly bouncers manning the door of the church, sporting those little ear microphones saying, threateningly, to all these mothers, "Can't see you on the list...". This morning, in the group, I volunteered and was interviewed by a student looking into 'work-life' balance and costs of childcare. This proved to be quite an interesting group discussion (I've also possibly found a good child-minder should I ever need one), but almost made me late for my doctor's appointment.

At 11:10, Amelia and I had our 6-week check-up. We are both fine! Although, on the inadequate mother front, I did forget her all-important RED BOOK. Slap on wrist. The doctor was admiring her cloth nappies and commented that the so-called 'green' David Cameron has confessed to using disposables. Perhaps someone should send him some cloth ones? The doctor also said that Amelia was simply perfect, which I have to agree with.

It ended up being nearly 12:30 by the time Amelia and I arrived home. Her feeding frenzy seems to have abated today, but we both came in and promptly settled down to a good lunch! Afterwards, it had been my plan to walk up the hill to go to the library, but I suddenly felt so tired (and still do) that we decided to settle down for a quiet, peaceful afternoon (Sheep was at UCL today). It then started snowing, almost a mini-blizzard, so I was relieved we'd decided not to venture out.

In the afternoon I spoke to Loughton Manor First School again and have arranged to make an informal trip next Tuesday morning. I also filled in all the registration forms for Amelia's nursery place, but then realized that I can not hand them in yet, as I need to include a £200 deposit.

Sadly, I must report that Barnaby didn't get his sticker tonight. But, as Sheep said, he's been so good recently, what's a little rock?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Super-charged Day

Well, last night was a very disturbed night for me. It's probably been Amelia's second most wakey night since she was born (the worst being her first night). As far as I can tell, she just wanted to feed a lot - in particular from 3:00 - 4:00 continuously. So, essentially, her night-time followed yesterday: much more frequent feeds. However, I am still assuming that this is simply a growth-spurt and not a permanent change in her pattern.

I actually managed to get to the Loughton Mother and Toddlers group, for 9:30! It was all quite nice. Smaller than the one in the Baptist Church. (Actually, I found out something interesting about the Baptist Church group today - there is apparently a waiting list to get in! It's a good job that I just walked in... Since I'm 'entered into the book' now, it seems that I've effectively jumped the queue). I also met someone else who had had a home birth and heard rave reviews about the local school and their nursery department. The group finished at 11:30 and Amelia and I walked home.

Since she was awake when I got home, I decided to take the opportunity to give her an early bath - I do like the baby lotion that I am using on her; it's the "Organicbabies" range by "The Green People" and is lavender scented. Anyway, after a nice bath and massage she had a feed and went to sleep upstairs. I didn't think that she would sleep for too long, so I started to do some housework in the bedroom where I could keep an eye on her, while waiting for her to awake. In the end I sorted out all the laundry and put it away, dusted every room and the landing, cleaned the bathroom and generally tidied up. By the time she actually did wake, there wasn't any housework left to be done upstairs and I was feeling remarkably virtuous.

By the time that Amelia did actually awake, it was time to leave for my NCT coffee group. (Yes, that's right, two groups in one day!!!!). This is the one that's in people's houses. Today the group met again in the first house, the one that was unbelievably clean. Well, I can confirm that a) she does have a cleaner (I was so relieved to hear that) and b) she does admit to being an obsessive cleaner. The biscuits were still pretty posh though.

The coffee group finished at 5:00 and I just had time to go and pick up Barnaby from nursery before getting home for dinner. Barnaby had had a bit of an off day today. He had a three 'wet' accidents and had bitten another child (which is actually quite a rare event). Still, he seemed cheerful enough and had baked a butterfly cake. As we came home in the car it really started snowing. Barnaby was reluctant to come indoors, and as Amelia was sleeping in her car seat, I left Sheep to mind her while Barnaby and I went for a quick walk in the snow (to post a letter). It sufficed to satisfy Barnaby's snow-urge.

After dinner, we tried the same routine that's been working all week. I change Amelia into her nightclothes as Barnaby has his bath. Then, post-bath, I settle down to feed her in our big bed, which is also big enough for Barnaby to sit with us while I read his books to him. For the fifth night in a row Barnaby has gone to sleep without sitting in the rocking chair with Sheep. (And so he gets another book) Once they are both asleep, I transfer Amelia into her cot and then when Sheep and I come to bed, we shift Barnaby into his own bed. Now, admitedly, this still isn't a perfect solution, BUT, I figure let's cure Barnaby of his Sheep-rockingchair habit and we'll solve everything else later!

I'm tired today though. But, I do feel like I've achieved a lot.