Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Another Thought

I think that Amelia was trying to say "Barnaby" yesterday. She was looking and pointing at him and saying either "Bar" and "Babba". So far Amelia's vocabulary is:

Da-da or Da-dee = Daddy
Mama = Mummy
Bar or Babba = Barnaby
Narna = Banana (I think)

and something today that sounded remarkably like "cat", whilst pointing at a cat, but was perhaps a coincidence or a sneeze!

Nursery also think that she is saying "down" and "ta" (as in 'thank you') but I am still be be convinced.

The Weekend & Start the Week

Well, yes, Amelia was very ill on Saturday and Sheep spent a lot of time looking after her. As I had to go and feed Nanny's cats for her, I took Barnaby with me so that Sheep wasn't left with an ill Amelia and a Barnaby to look after as well. At Nanny's house, Barnaby found one of her doll's houses and started playing with it. He was having great fun, (so much so that I rang Sheep and warned him not to wait for us for lunch), when he suddenly looked at me, stricken, saying that he needed to poo urgently. I scooped him up and plonked him onto Nanny's loo, not at all sure if he would 'perform' on a strange toilet. Before he could think about it all to deeply, I took advantage of the red colour-scheme in Nanny's bathroom and started playing i-spy something coloured red with him, which kept him wonderfully distracted long enough to poo a most enormous poo (some people believe that their lives are ruled by the movements of the planets; my life seems to be ruled by the movements of my offspring's bowels...). Unfortunately, his pants were a little 'marked' (ok,I mean a 'skid-mark', do I need to explain more?) and I hadn't brought any spares with me. Aaarghhh! So, I went into my mother's room, found her underwear drawer and came back with the smallest pair of Nanny's pants I could find (and even then, not exactly small). They were black and lacy. Barnaby took one look at them and said that he didn't want to wear Nanny's pants. By this stage I was trying so hard not to burst out laughing, and managed, I think, to appear very matter-of-fact about it (whilst, internally, rolling around the floor in howls of laughter). I'd found some safety pins and had pinned the waist of them, but still the crotch came down halfway to his knees. It was the funniest thing I've seen for a long time. Poor boy.

We left shortly after that and since we needed some petrol anyway, as a treat I took Barnaby through a car-wash which he thought was wonderful. Who can not love a car wash?

However, Saturday night was utter vomit-fest with Amelia, as recorded earlier. On Sunday, therefore, I took Barnaby off again, this time to meeting. (To be honest, I would not have gone had it not been for the fact that the Children's Group were going to perform "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "Away in a Manger" and if Barnaby had not attended the group would be almost non-existent.) Amelia, of course, was too ill to attend. Anyway, we all dressed in red, Barnbay and Michael wore santa hats and we brought in lots of percussion instruments (tambourine, triangle, bells, shakers etc.) and it all went very well. Barnaby even overcame his shyness to sing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" with gusto. The rest of Sunday was pretty quiet, just us as home, doing some tidying up. (Barnaby really got into clothes folding).

Monday, I was in London for a student tutorial, then I had lunch with Caroline, which was delightful. She performed god-motherly duties by bringing presents for Barnaby and Amelia (I know not what they are, but will duly record this after they have been opened). It was just good to see her. On my way back from the restaurant in Soho to Euston I did a lightning-quick bit of Christmas shopping, as I suspect that it might be my last trip to London before the new year. Amelia was at home with Sheep all day as the nursery have a rule about diarrhea: you can not return until 48 hours after the last loose 'movement'. For her this was about nine o'clock on Saturday evening (exactly the same time she was copiously sick) and so she needed to be kept off nursery until Tuesday morning, this morning. This was fine, in principle, except that she suddenly had another loose bowel movement at 4:00am this morning. Grrrr. This effectively meant that she would not be able to return until Thursday (which isn't a nursery day, so Friday...).

So, today I looked after Amelia while Sheep went into UCL. She and I went to Nanny's for coffee in the morning followed by a hunt to locate her brand of organic formula, which had just run out and which I had bought on the Internet and only ever seen for sale in London.... (We were successful: I finally managed to buy some). If anyone is interested it is HIPP Organic, 6 month plus "follow-on milk".

Today was the nursery's Christmas lunch and I think Barnaby had a good time. They are having a party on Thursday when Father Christmas will be coming and we've got to provide a gift to the value of £5. When I collected him today, they all asked how Amelia was and I said fine. I actually think that her loose bowel movement of the early hours this morning was due to her current teething and not at all related to the diarrhea of the weekend and this is what I told them. They were inclined to agree with me and said that if she has no additional problems before the morning I can take her afterall. Aha - perhaps I can get a bit of work done tomorrow...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Poor Amelia

Amelia has been ill today - sickness and diarrhea. Diarrhea all day, to such an extent that even though we changed her immediately everything she, very clearly, pooed, her bottom is red raw and she cries every time we changed her, however gentle we try to be. We have been so diligent with hand-washing and trying to keep her and Barnaby apart, but this evening she was really, copiously, dramatically sick at about 9:00. Poor girl.

More tomorrow.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Dentist & Mummy

Barnaby and I went to the dentist today and for the first time ever, Barnaby willingly opened his mouth for the dentist. What a grown-up boy! His teeth are fine (I had about an hour of work: old filling replaced). The dentist gave him a big sticker.

Amelia was fine at nursery today, she's really getting on well with her milk drinking from a bottle now. And, they thought that she said "Mummy" today. This reminded me that I was convinced that she had said "Mummy" on the train yesterday. I was so pleased at the time; I looked around to see if anyone else had heard, to check that I wasn't imagining it, but of course everyone looked blank. However, if they heard her at nursery today, I am sure it must be true. She said "Mummy"!!!! (Of course, she's been saying "Daddy" for weeks, but hey!)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Lunch

Today was the course's Christmas lunch, and so I had to bring Amelia in with me. Actually, I think she was quite a hit with everyone. After we dropped Barnaby off to nursery, Sheep and I rushed in. He had a meeting scheduled with some other students, whilst I held a couple of PhD supervisions; Sheep looked after Amelia. Then, it was lunch, and she joined me again. As I said, I think her presence was greatly appreciated and she certainly helped create a festive mood.

I didn't appreciate the journey home though. I went to Euston early, so that I could change her nappy. When I got to the toilets, I discovered that they were "pay-per-pee" and that there was no way that I was going to squeeze Amelia's pushchair through their narrow turnstiles. I did notice that there was a gate, which was, however, permanently closed, lashed shut with bindings made from plastic bags... hmmm. I then sought out the disabled toilet, only to discover that that was RADAR access key only. I then saw a sign, saying that there was a help button, but it took me three minutes to discover the location of the help button as it was nowhere near the sign. Then I had to wait for 5 minutes before anyone came to answer the button and let me in past the barriers. At this point I was within sight of the baby change room, except, of course, that it was occupied. After waiting another three minutes, I gave up, as I'd have missed my train. Oh well, I thought that I could always change her on the train. However, this intention was also thwarted, as the toilet was out of order, and although I didn't need the toilet, only the changing table, the door was locked and the nearest other toilet two carriages away. I'd not been able to change Amelia in the restuarant as they had no changing facilites either. Harrumph! Poor Amelia had to sit in a damp nappy all the way home. I was irritated.

However, when we arrived at Milton Keynes Central railway station, I must say that one bright event was that Amelia and I became the first two passengers to use the new lift from platform 5. They've been installing them, and today one of the lifts was opened. And we christening it - just her and I. I don't think that Amelia was particularly impressed by it though.

Tonight I'm tired. I'm glad I'm on the antibiotics again though. My breasts are feeling a bit better. I might even be able to sleep on my side tonight - the last two nights I've only been able to sleep on my back because of the pain.

For Two Pins...

Last thought before going to bed.

For two pins, I'd give it all up, chuck in the job and go back to breastfeeding Amelia for as long as she wants to...

Now I'm really weepy.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Nativity Play Version 2

Well, we had a slightly improved version today, athough I'm jumping ahead of myself. First, let me tell you about last night. It was a fantastic night for Amelia - she didn't wake at all. I must say, that once she is off, this formula business does seem to have removed the need for a midnight snack... Anyway, a good night for Amelia, but Barnbay woke. I went into him, as Sheep was fast asleep, and Barnaby was quite upset. I lay down beside him and started telling him a story, and before I knew it, I'd drifted off in his bed. And so, I spent most of the night, curled up with him. However, I kept waking up because of a growing awareness that my breasts (and my right breast in particular) were getting more and more painful. By the time Barnaby woke at 7:30, I was in agony. I begged Sheep to take Barnaby and Amelia to nursery and stayed in bed with a heat-pack applied to the most painful areas. Sheep persuaded me that I should see the doctor and so I rang and made an appointment for the afternoon. By the time Nanny arrived at 2:30, to come to the nativity play, I was still in my pyjamas, having rested, applied hot/cold compresses and massaged the 'hard lumps'. Ow - I didn't remember it being this painful last time.

We went to the play, and yes, Barnaby did deign to put in an appearance this time - BUT, only with me in attendance! When he first came in, he'd had a sheep attached to one of his belt-loops, which had come loose and he was on the point of tears; it had fallen in the dirt and had a dirty face. Compelte meltdown was imminent. I came to the front to reassure Barnaby and reattach the stray lamb, but once I had done so, I wasn't getting away that easily! He did participate, but only because I was holding his hand and when the shepherds had to go to the innkeepers door, I sort of shuffled along behind him, holding his hand and pretending to be invisible in japanese kabuki theatre, kuroko-style (where black-clothed prop handlers are ignored as 'invisible'). Anyway, he stayed the course - almost...

While the grown-ups were having tea and mince-pies afterwards, I snuck off to see the doctor, only to find out that, yes, I have mastitis again. Sigh. The doctor said that I'd caught it in the early stages and had I waited another 24 hours (big thanks to Sheep), I would be in agony... So, now I'm on another course of antibiotics, still tender as anything and feeling rather tearful. Of course, I don't know if I'm feeling tearful because of the mastitis or because of the breastfeeding generally.

I was looking at La Leche League advice pages about weaning (my question was, how long should the hurting engorgement last and is a week normal: I now know the answer is that it isn't!) when I came across part of this poem, that almost had me burst into tears. It's by someone called Mary Romskog.

"Stop, please. I'm trying to freeze this moment in time
write it in my memory bank in indelible ink
for this could be the last time.
This could be the last time my baby nurses.
Well, he's hardly a baby but he's my last baby
and I want to recall the scent of his warm hair,
his sweetly closed eyes, relaxed body curved into mine.
I don't want to forget the cool breeze or quiet sunset,
the sound of my older children climbing into bed,
Dad set to read stories...

...Is this it? The last time I will nurse a babe?


Anyway, I must stop getting maudlin, because I will start crying. After I returned from the doctors, we collected Barnaby and Amelia from nursery and came home (only pausing at the pharmacy to collect my prescription) and en route, Barnaby fell asleep. Clearly the stress and pressure of being a shepherd had been too much for him! When we arrived home and Sheep carried him from the car, he was quite dead to the world, and so we just tucked him up in bed. Meanwhile, Nanny stayed for dinner, I bathed Amelia and we got her off to sleep. All seemed set for a calm evening.

I was due to go out this evening (Yeah! Me! Night out! Wayhey!) with the other mothers from my NCT group for our Christmas dinner. The taxi was due to collect me at 7:50 and at 7:30 Barnaby awoke. Why am I in bed? Can I have some milk? I missed my tea! Can I have a wee? Read me a story! Where's Daddy? More milk please? Can you tell me the story of... ? etc. etc. Poor Sheep. In the end, my taxi arrived and I left him only to return at 11:30 to find that Barnaby had been awake most of the evening, bright-eyed and busy-tailed. Poor, poor Sheep. (I must confess though, it was lovely to have a night out... sore breasts and all!)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Nursery Collection Nightmare

Both Sheep and I had to be away from MK today, but not, as we originally thought, at UCL. There were course presentations taking place and we were both meant to be in attendance; to our surprise they were taking place at the Museum of Domestic Architecture (MODA) near Cockfosters in Middlesex. We quickly discovered that it would take considerable time to get the train into London and then two tubes and bus out again.... So we decided to drive (only 48 miles). Consequently, we dropped off Barnaby and Amelia at nursery early and sped off down to MODA, leaving nursery with my mothers (Nanny's) number, just in case. It took us about an hour to get there and an intense but stimulating day was had by us both. (Pity we didn't have time to look around the museum, it looked interesting). We left immediately after the last presentation, shortly after four, thinking that we'd have plenty of time to return, only to hit traffic on the M1; our average speed on the motorway was about 30mph (and at times about 7 mph). The nursery closes at 6:00 and usually, I go to collect them at about 5:00, typically picking them up between 5:15-5:30. Well, you can imagine, we were clock watching, trying to scan ahead, working out times, calling my mother, calling nursery etc. and eventually we thought we'd make it (having left the M1 and taken the A5 for the final stretch), only to be held up on the roundabout just outside Loughton... In the end it was about 6:05 when we collected them and luckily they'd not be slung out onto the streets... but we felt terrible. However, they seemed happy enough, or was it relief to see us? I'm not sure. Poor Barnaby and Amelia... Still, they seemed to have had a good day, despite our anxieties!

Post script. Barnaby's shepherd outfit arrived in the post today. It turns out that I had ordered it, unknowingly from a shop in Stony Stratford! Ha ha! So perhaps I will be able to return it....

Monday, December 11, 2006

Nativity Play Version 1

Well, when Barnaby first awoke this morning, he claimed to still be feeling unwell (after his spectacular vomiting across the kitchen floor during dinner yesterday). However, he then proceeded to eat a pretty good breakfast. I tucked him up on the sofa with some books and told him he had to stay there if he was ill, and took Amelia in to nursery on her own. By the time I returned he was up and about and was telling me he was better. So I relented and took him in. By the time I'd gone back and forth I just made it into London for a midday PhD supervision and then caught a 2:00 train back home. The nativity play was at 3:30 and, despite my worries, Barnaby was well enough to participate and so I got there in time. While I was waiting I had a good peer through the glass window in the connecting door to the baby room, and I could see Amelia being fed a bottle, so I decided not to disturb her...

And then the play. Well, I must say that Barnaby's shepherd costume was spectacular - definitely the best there - if I say so myself! So, I did him proud. However, that was where it ended. After they all came in and sat in front, Barnaby looked around at the audience for a while, obviously weighing up what was going on, and judging how many people were there and after a couple of minutes simply, calmly walked off. He headed straight over to me, climbed on to my lap and utterly refused to budge. He even refused to join in the songs from his position in the audience; he just sat there glumly, observing everything intensely, but adamant that he wasn't going to participate in any way, shape or form. So much for my costume, eh? The only thing he did was try to take some photographs of the proceedings with the camera I had. The next and final show is Wednesday; let's hope he'll deign to join in then, as Daddy and Nanny will be there too.

It's such a pity. Both Sheep and I were a little shy as children. I don't think I was as shy as this (I must ask my mother) but Sheep reckons that he was perhaps this shy (I will try and remember to ask his mother at Christmas).

Amelia slept all the way through the play and I just picked her up as usual afterwards. She was very tired this evening, though. Sheep had no problems getting her off to sleep tonight. My breasts are still painful, although it is easing off and I am still feeling a bit emotional about it all.

Sheep and I both have to be away tomorrow - so my mother is going to be 'on call' in case nursery phone.

Vomiting, Diarrhea and Shepherd's Outfit

What a 24 hours... Saturday we drove with Barnaby and Amelia into Oxfordshire to pick up a new laptop for Dad that he bought on ebay on Friday night. We'd had a good couple of nights with Sheep putting Amelia to sleep and her taking the bottle. However, over the last 24 hours it's all gone to pot. Yesterday day evening I think Amelia finally twigged that the bottle was it. Permanent, no going back, and she became outraged and went on strike. She wailed from 10:30 pm to 1:30 am. She howled and arced her back and went rigid as a board if you tried to pick her up. I tried to comfort her at one stage and when she realised that I wasn't going to nurse her she tried to kick me away, in floods of angry tears. This set me off too (this was about midnight) and then Barnaby woke up and he was crying too. Poor Sheep didn't know where to turn as all three of us were howling.

Today, we somehow made it to meeting, given the awful night we'd had. Aititi (my father) left early this morning and we didn't get to see him again. Still it was lovely to have seen him and Barnaby and Amelia got to spend some time with him on the way to Abingdon yesterday... In the afternoon, I began, with Barnaby, to make him a shepherd's costume. I'd got my date's muddled and hadn't realised that his Christmas play is tomorrow. Eeek. I'd ordered a costume online but I would be surprised if it arrives much before Tuesday/Wednesday. So, I thought I'd better set to and do something myself. Barnaby found the sewing machine fascinating and got very good at working the levers (lifting the foot up) and helping to feed the cloth through while I pressed the pedal. Then he got bored and drifted into the living room where Sheep was looking after Amelia and watching "Appollo 13". However, at tea time Barnaby suddenly said that he's not feeling too well and is then promptly sick all over the kitchen floor, twice. Plus it looks like he might have diarrhea again, which would mean 48 hours off nursery (so no Shepherd in the play anyway?). We packed him off to bed and after a couple of hours of reading stories to him (I kid you not - 2 hours...) I came back down and have been sewing his shepherd costume from 9 pm until midnight. (after spending half an hour of cleaning up vomit, of course (Sheep, my hero, dealt with the 'other mess'!)). I thought that I'd better finish his costume, just in case; if I hadn't, he would be guaranteed to be right as rain tomorrow.

How does anyone survive this? I feel like I'm just lurching from one thing to another. Plus, I'm still deeply upset about Amelia's reaction to her weaning. I almost gave in last night, I was that upset. Also, I've been grumpy because my breasts have been so tender. I don't remember it being this painful last time - today has been the first day since Thursday morning that I am beginning to feel human again and not some pneumatic punch-bag.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Weaning

Well, last night went OK. Amelia didn't wake at midnight - in fact, she didn't wake until 5:00 in the morning, at which point her and Barnaby were awake in relays which meant that we were effectively up from 5:00. Grrrrr. I'm off to bed now.

Today, my father (Aititi) was visiting, which was lovely. Barnaby was at nursery, so he got to see a bit of Amelia on her own. Then, we picked Barnaby up from nursery early, so he could see a bit of Aititi too. Actually, funny thing happened. Sheep had had a meeting at the OU and had come home with a nabaztag (http://new.nabaztag.com/) rabbit under his arm. While Barnaby was at home, before tea, Sheep started fiddling around with it and getting it to read out phrases. Shortly after Barnaby was introduced to it, the rabbit suddenly annouces that it thinks that Barnaby needs a poo and that he should go for one! Barnaby was surprised but obedient... and it worked! The result=big poo, no accident. So, clearly the solution to all potty training problems is a large, sentient, talking, plastic rabbit.

This afternoon, I made a feed up for Amelia and she drank the lot. A new experience for me! Also, this evening, I took over Barnaby's bed time routine, while Sheep gave Amelia a feed and this time she drank the 6 fl oz straight down and with little fuss settled down to sleep. (We've moved the cot away from the bed to the other side of the room - next step, her own room). I don't know whether to feel relieved that it's all going alright or devastated that she can so easily transfer to something else. I hate being so expendable. I am pleased, but also feel terribly rejected. And sad. It's horribly poignant.

Just think, I'll probably never breastfeed again. I'm just going to get old and die now.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

D-Day! (Or B-Day?)

Well, after an awful night last night (I think Amelia was teething and so she wanted to nurse all night...), we decided that today was the day I would start weaning her. Consequently, instead of me taking her to bed this evening, reading to her and then settling down to nurse her, after her bath, Sheep took over and tried to give her a bottle. Tried: she didn't drink much, but she did go off to sleep without too much fuss. We are expecting her to wake soon, hungry and so we have a thermos flask ready with some water and a feed ready to go. Of course, we're not too sure about all of this, and it partly feels like making it up as we go along...

Still, have I given her her last breast feed? What a thought - I'm tearful just typing this. On the other hand, I am struggling to continue, with her at nursery and me working and particulary with nights like last night.

Still, her last feed?

Well - let's see how the night goes.

Barnaby came home from nursery yesterday with his first 'swimming' badge! Should I be sewing it on to somewhere? There's a thought...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Back to work

Welll, there's not much I can say about Barnaby and Amelia's day, as I was in London all day! However, when Sheep took Amelia in this morning, she was delighted to see Jackie again, who has been on holiday for a week. Apparently she had a long cuddle with Jackie and wouldn't let go. She also drank a whole 6 fl oz. of milk this morning - how wonderful of her. (I am thinking of stopping breastfeeding her next week...) Barnaby had french lessons today and had a good day, as well, I think. He certainly ate well and was in high spirits when I picked him up. When I picked up Amelia she stood up and I held her hands and she walked towards me, holding my hands... it wont be long now.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Feeling Better

Well, the antibiotics are really starting to take effect. As from Saturday, I've begun to feel much better, which is as well, as Sheep had to go into London and so I was left with both Barnaby and Amelia. We met up with my mother, Nanny, in Stony Stratford, which had it's Christmas Fair in full swing. We actually had a lovely morning; Barnaby had a ride on a merry-go-round and there was a display of model railways in the chuch, which kept him absorbed for a good half hour (he's been talking about those ever since, he clearly really enjoyed them!). Amelia was perfectly content to be pushed around, looking at all the lights etc.

In the afternoon, Barnaby had been invited to one of his nursery friend's fourth birthday party - it was a fireman's party and I had a costume all ready for him. He did eventually have fun, but Barnaby is quite shy. Many of the other kids just dive in and have fun, Barnaby takes a while to 'warm up' and is quite guarded and reticent to begin with. He kept wanting me with him, to sit on me, to clutch my leg... Eventually, he thawed, and by the end, when they did the hokey-kokey, he was really enjoying himself, by which time it was time to go home. Poor Barnaby!

Today, after meeting, we went to an Indian restuarant for lunch (the same place we took my mother on Mother's Day, as it happens). We hadn't meant to feed Amelia naan bread, but she had ideas of her own and grabbed some. We didn't think a small bit would hurt, so we let her eat it. But, she liked it so much (and it was good fresh bread) that we kept letting her eat some and hadn't really monitored how much she had eaten until she was sick! Anyway, I think it can safely be said that she likes naan bread.

Well - I'm off to take my last tablet and then to bed. I'm into London tomorrow and I have a pretty full day.

Oh, final post-script. This weekend, Amelia has been making the sign for milk regularly - she had really 'got' this whole signing business! She's also been obviously really pleased with herself whenever she makes it...