Wednesday, February 04, 2015

To Phoebe at 6 months

Dear Phoebe,

Today you are exactly 26 weeks old. 6 months have gone by since the day you were born. That tiny red faced little skinny baby has turned into a rosy cheeked, curious, happy monkey. You're still little, 9th centile, but you're growing all the time.

You're sleeping right now, or almost sleeping. We've been lying in the dark on my bed with brown noise playing on my laptop, both of us falling asleep. I can hear you sucking your thumb and know that it will gradually slip out of your mouth as you fall asleep. Or you'll wiggle a bit and settle again with your hands behind your head like a sunbather.

You're sleeping in your Moses basket. The one I slept in and so did your aunties and cousins. Unlike the rest of us, you still fit at six months old! But soon you'll be big enough to move into a cot and you'll be sleeping in your own room. I will miss you, monkey. I worry that you'll have to make more noise for me to hear you wake up in the night. Right now I can hear every little twitch and breath and hear you begin to stir when you're ready to be fed. I'll miss that.

Right now, you are mostly delightful. You are curious and interested in the world. Every new place you go, you want to look at everything, the people, the things in the room. You delight strangers on the bus with your smile. You're intrigued by the things grown-ups eat and drink, especially Mummy's water glass. I've given you a sip of water a couple of times, but mostly I think you wanted to bite on the cool rim of the glass. Soon we'll start giving you solid food. I'm a little apprehensive about getting it right. Milk is, well, not easy, it's been tough, but at least I know how to do that now. Solid food is a whole new world for you. I worry about giving you good eating habits when mine aren't always good or overwhelming you with new sensations before you're ready. I need to take a deep breath, offer you some food to play with and trust you to get on with it.

You like wiggling on your play mat. You even like tummy time a bit now, though it's taken a while and I don't always remember to do it. You've rolled a few times from tummy to back and we've even caught you on video. You've not rolled the other way yet, but whenever you're on the floor, you spend a long time grabbing your feet and rocking from side to side. Your feet are good toys. The other day you managed to chew on them!

You chew everything, especially your hands. Sometimes I think you're teething. Sometimes I'm not sure. No sign of a tooth yet, though at times you seem miserable and there's lots of frantic chewing. You've been a bit grumpy and clingy for the past few weeks. According to the Wonder Weeks, it's leap 5 and the grumpiness is because your brain is working out all sorts of new exciting things. I do hope so! I love seeing you learn.

Daddy can always calm you down. Sometimes I think he's more in tune with you than I am. You like to grab his glasses and pull on his beard. I think you're going to have lots of fun together. I can see his face in yours sometimes, your expressions are similar.

I love reading you stories. You giggle and kick your legs in delight. I don't know if it's the pictures or the words or just the sound of my voice, but it's lovely. You've not started grabbing the books yourself yet, but I expect you will.

Breastfeeding you has been hard, but we're still doing it. Your tongue tie was snipped twice and still isn't quite right, though recently we finally seem to have a decent latch. This week you've been refusing the breast when the flow isn't fast enough. That made me sad. Too many bottles when you had a cold and didn't want to feed with a blocked up nose or didn't want to feed for some mysterious reason of your own. But we're persevering with a supplementer to up the flow. Maybe it'll just be a phase and in a few weeks we'll be back to feeding without it? Maybe we won't. But I'm glad to be still giving you my milk, as much as I can, even if it hasn't quite been the way I planned.

Today we saw lots of little babies and you looked so big! You've grown so much, yet I only notice when I stop to think back. It does go fast, like they say. But it's wonderful. And stressful and emotional and worrying and exhausting and all those other things too. But wonderful.

I love you, my monkey, my Phoebe

Your Mummy

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Tweets - December 214

December 1: Phoebe hungry and cross. I think the milk isn't coming out fast enough. Much chomping, pinching & taking herself off to express displeasure.

December 3: Pics from wedding at the weekend reveal how lumpen I look. :-( But my new wrap sling arrived today. :-)

And Phoebe is currently asleep in it so I think she approves.

December 4: Have you finished eating yet baby? I want to go back to sleep.
Finished, Mummy? Never! Om nom nom nom.

Bought a babywearing coat online. They sent the wrong size. Sent it back. New coat is right size but wrong colour. Also not sure about fit.

Dunno whether to keep, return for refund or return for correct colour. Will try it on with different combos of clothes/wrap to check fit.

December 6: My monkey is a restless eater. Head constantly trying to manoeuvre into a better position, legs kicking, hands pinching handfuls of breast.

December 8: A shower and breakfast and already dressed before Phoebe demands a feed? Luxury!

Rob has a go at babywearing.

December 10: Oh baby. Are you going to go to sleep now you've finished eating?
No mummy, I'm going to lie here being cute & blowing raspberries at you.

Also coughing and sniffling and sounding like a piglet.

December 12: Feeding Phoebe while the wind howls and rain drums on the roof. Feeling warm, cosy and thankful for shelter and heating.

Wriggle. Wriggle. Fart. Look at hands. Blow raspberry. Poke tongue out at mummy. Big grin. Chew fist. Wriggle some more. Repeat.

December 15:
Anxiety dream about playing in a school concert? Really, subconscious? I've not been at school for a very long time.

Odd day. Phoebe napped in her basket this morning, then screamed for an hour, then had third set of jabs, then slept all afternoon.

I think screaming was ear ache and sleep is probably the best thing for her but she's not eaten much since morning feed, just little snacks.

RT@LynnCSchreiber Love this! Lego Friends

December 16: A year ago today I found out I was pregnant with Phoebe. Best Christmas present ever. :-)

Trying to persuade sad baby with a temperature that sleep will help her feel better. Fortunately she doesn't need persuading to take calpol.

December 17: RT@LadyFOHF A fantastic takedown of @rustyrockets (Russell Brand) by the man whose lunch he ruined. (It was paella)

It's the kind of day where at 1pm you're sitting on your bed wrapped in a damp towel feeding a baby who refuses to nap.

December 18: Clean jeans put on approximately an hour ago. Already adorned with baby sick.

Ridiculously excited that @robhu has the day off which means I can go and get my hair cut. Baby free outing!

There's nothing quite like cuddling a sleepy milk-filled baby. :-)

December 19: My baby girl giggles! Apparently daddy saying Bang! is hilarious. :-)

December 21: Milk-filled at 4am.

December 22: Taking a sniffing, coughing snotty baby to the GP. Probably just a cold but it's been weeks and getting worse not better. #firsttimemummy

Cuddling a snotty baby who only wants to sleep on mummy. This does not bode well for getting the flat tidy today. Although sling will help.

December 23: Full of snot baby who doesn't want to feed plus blocked duct lump equals woe. Thank goodness for breast pump.

December 24: Sitting in my sister-in-law's pink teenager bedroom pumping milk for my snot-congested baby.

December 25: Listening to my little family snoring. Snot Encrusted baby and not snotty but snory @robhu. Happy. Except I would like the snot to abate.

Merry Christmas from Phoebe and her giant bear.

December 31: Cuddling a sleeping baby. Should put her down in her basket again and go to sleep myself but savouring the moment for a bit. :-)

Monday, December 01, 2014

Tweets - November 2014

Nov 2: Grateful that brown noise sends Phoebe to sleep. Also the car (she slept all the way home from Exeter to Cambridge).

Nov 3: One of the unexpected pleasures of having a baby is making up silly songs to sing to her.

Nov 3: poor baby! Tongue tie still limiting her, six weeks after we had it snipped. Not clear if regrowth, too small cut or scarring from infection

Nov 3: And no wonder feeding is so painful. She can't make a good seal easily and getting a good deep latch is hard for her.

Nov 4: It's a lovely day to be sitting in bed, feeding the baby and watching fluffy clouds in a bright blue sky.

Nov 4: The view from my bed this morning.

Nov 4: Here is a cute baby. :-)

Nov 4: Breastfeeding so far has been one painful problem after another yet it's still the best part of my day feeding my baby daughter to sleep.

Nov 5: Hope Lords like @lordstoddart @Dafydd_Wigley @LordJohnBrowne vote not to allow sell-off of forests today in #infrastructurebill debate

Nov 6: Put sleeping baby in cot.
5 mins later look in cot. Big blue eyes.
"Hello baby, you're supposed to be asleep."
Big grin. "Play time mummy!"

Nov 6 :"Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow. Everybody needs a bosom." Except I don't think Cornershop ever sang about throwing up on said bosom.

Nov 11: Small cross baby screams like a tiny banshee. I yelp as she latches on too shallowly for the umpteenth time. :-(

Nov 11: 2nd tongue tie division yesterday. Hoping things will improve but we've got 3 months of painful too shallow latching to unlearn.

Nov 12: Cranky baby needs a nap.
Cranky baby refuses to nap.
Cranky baby gets crankier.
Come on cranky baby, go to sleep!

Nov 12: Baby finally succumbs to sleep. If course now I'm stuck under a baby.

Nov 13: Hello Kitty baby.

Nov 13: Babies under 2 months can only see in 2 dimensions? Crazy! Though maybe more accurate to say they can't perceive depth.

Nov 13: RT @LittlePanda82
So I've learned recently that Farage thinks Armistice was a bad idea, and wants to americanise the NHS. Cant we all agree he's awful yet?

Nov 14: RT @greensideknits
Fluffy pigs! … BBC News (World)

Nov 14: Waiting for the bus.

Nov 15: Aargh! Every feed has become the battle of the latch. I make it deeper, she pulls it shallower. Come on baby, learn to use your tongue!

Nov 16: Fed the baby to sleep. Cocked up the transfer to her Moses basket. Bother.

Nov 18: Like father, like daughter.

Nov 19: Oh Phoebe. Why does it take so long to get an overtired baby to sleep?

Nov 24: Cuddling my sleepy milky daughter. Neither of us is quite awake yet.

Nov 24: My daily companion for breakfast in bed.

Nov 25: It's not been the best of days. Tears were shed. Currently feeling like bad wife and inadequate mother. Hoping sleep will help.

Nov 27: Yesterday Phoebe was pursing her lips and looking like she was trying to make a noise. Today she's blowing wet bubbly raspberries. So sweet!

Nov 27: Phoebe is staring intently at the ladies standing next to us at the bus stop having an animated conversation in (I think) mandarin.

Nov 27: Keep getting angry that Phoebe's tongue tie wasn't picked up until 6 weeks. If we'd had earlier intervention, would things be better now?

Nov 29: This is my 4am face. Let's play, mummy!

Nov 29: Why are baby fingernails so sharp? Ouch!

Friday, November 14, 2014

surviving the 4th trimester

Phoebe is now 14 weeks old. It's gone pretty fast! I'm still getting used to having this tiny person around yet now I can't imagine life without her. She's currently lying on her play mat, kicking her legs and batting at the toys hanging above her head. Though she's getting a bit frustrated and it may be time to pick her up soon.

Good things
My sweet, smiley, generally laid back baby.
Baby smiles are awesome and amazing.
Baby wearing. I love my stretchy wrap! I knew I wanted one having seen my sister Hannah carry Amelia in one (and had a go myself) but didn't anticipate quite how useful and amazing it would be. It sends Phoebe to sleep (mostly. A bit less now as she's getting bigger, but still calms her down). It means I can leave the flat in one go rather than running up and down two flights of stairs with a buggy and a baby. It's easy to get the bus wearing her and wander around town. I probably wouldn't wear it all day and it does take a little while to put on and when it's off, it's quite a big piece of fabric, but I do love it.
Phoebe sleeps well at night, generally sleeping from 10 or 11 to some time between about 4.30 and 6.30. I was pretty sleep deprived in the first few weeks, but now I feel like I get more or less enough.

Less good things
Breastfeeding. I expected to love this and sometimes I do (lying down at night feeding my baby to sleep is so sweet and intimate). But we've had so many problems due to a bad latch caused by tongue tie. Problems in the first few days meant my milk took a long time to come in. We ended up supplementing with formula to get her weight gain up, which I get unhappy about sometimes. I'm trying to let it go and remember that the baby must be fed and she's getting mostly breastmilk, so a little formula here and there to make sure she's got enough calories is fine. Her tongue tie was divided for the second time on Monday and I'm desperately hoping things will improve. Right now I have awfully sore and shredded nipples. :(
Phoebe is a terrible napper. She will sleep in the sling, but attempts at getting her to sleep in her Moses basket have so far failed. I suspect this is mostly my fault. We've never really had a predictable schedule. She also seems to go from happy baby to howling overtired monster in an instant. Although perhaps I don't respond quickly enough to her early grumpy cues? I'm usually frantically trying to achieve something (like eating breakfast) and sometimes don't do anything until she starts howling.

I do love being a mum. I get overwhelmed by it too. I'm going to post this in it's somewhat unfinished state because otherwise it won't get posted at all. Life is a bit like that right now.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Tweets - October 2014

Oct 1: Mini mohican.

Oct 1: I can see one tiny sliver of beautiful orange sunset in an otherwise clouded grey sky.

Oct 4: Baby loves books.

Oct 4: Cute baby is currently cutely refusing to go to sleep. I'm happy she's not screaming but I wish those big blue eyes would close and zzzzz.

Oct 6: Conversation with @robhu: "We could sell the baby on eBay." "We can't do that, we made her!" "Etsy then."

Oct 6: So far have managed breakfast & getting dressed. Not brushed hair or washed face tho. Sad baby needs milk, cuddles & frequent new nappies.

Oct 7: Baby says "More food mummy! I've been feeding for the last 50 minutes but I'm still so hungry I could eat my fingers! FEED ME!"

Oct 15: Completely stunned to learn that nitrous oxide in labour isn't generally available in the USA. You poor poor things!

Oct 15: Awake with a windy wide-eyed baby. How can there be so much gas inside one tiny person!?

Oct 16: "Mummy, I'm so happy I don't want to eat, I just want to smile at you!" *melts*

Oct 16: Think baby has thrush. Probably caused by antibiotics that treated the infection that got into the tongue tie cut. Mouth pain cascade! :(
[Not so sure now. We went to the Dr and were given treatment (antifungal drops) which I dutifully administered until they ran out. White spots still there. Went back to GP, saw another Dr who said white spots were inclusion cysts and nothing to worry about. So not sure if she really did have thrush at all.]

Oct 20: It's first immunisations day for Phoebe. Not too worried about the jabs, though I expect she'll cry, but anticipating a grumpy evening.

Oct 20: Baby's first jabs survived. She screamed, naturally. The needles seemed very big! Now she's snuggled up in the sling.

Oct 20: Mummy cuddles baby. "Oh my baby, I love you very much". Baby sicks on mummy's shoulder. Is that baby for "I love you too mummy!"?

Oct 21: Phoebe slept from midnight to 8. Well done that baby!

Oct 22: No, mummy, you may not eat breakfast. I AM HUNGRY AND MUST BE APPEASED!

Oct 22: Off on our first overnight stay with a baby. Feels like that episode of AbFab when the formerly minimalist couple turn up with a baby.

Oct 22: Not that I have ever been a minimalist, baby or not. (AbFab season2, episode 4: New Best Friend)

Oct 23: At my grandma's house, feeding my baby daughter. This makes me happy. The continuation of family, love, home.

Oct 23: It would be even more perfect if my mum were here too. Four generations of eldest daughters. Maybe we'll manage it at Christmas.

Oct 23: The only sadness is that Grampy isn't alive to see it. Much loved, much missed, but now in glory.

Oct 23: Never thought I could become so obsessed with another human being's digestive system. Ah, baby. At least you're currently predictable.
[Ha ha ha ha ha! The very next she went back to being unpredictable again. That'll teach me.]

Oct 24: Baby, routine for. From Elizabeth Craig's Enquire Within (1951). I'm intrigued by 'holding out'. What is it?
[Still don't know. Maybe holding out over a potty to encourage the infant to wee/poo into it?]

Oct 24: Confinement, articles required for. (Elizabeth Craig's Enquire Within, 1951).

Oct 24: "Beware of ever dressing children in startling combinations of colours or queerly shaped hats."

Oct 24: Not bad advice really.

Oct 24: Her advice on breastfeeding is less good. Also "Always time the feeding carefully - ten minutes at each breast."

Oct 24: Key wardrobe items for a baby including "3 frocks of crepe flannel, delaine, nun's veiling, cashmere or wincey."

Oct 24: "You will find that the choice of birthday cards is limited."  (!)

Oct 25: Oh baby. A big smelly poo at bedtime again. Lovely. :-\

Oct 27: Yesterday Phoebe spent lots of time staring at her right hand. Today's she's using it to batt at a hanging toy for the first time.

Oct 27: So much fun watching her learn things. :-)

Oct 27: Ah, the classic send a stream of posset down mummy's back when she's forgotten to put a muslin over her shoulder. Well played, baby.

Oct 27: I love the way Phoebe turns her head away imperiously when she's finished feeding like a dowager duchess refusing another cucumber sandwich.

Oct 29: "Wake up mummy! It's time to play!"
"But baby, I'm tired. Can I distract you with milk?"
"No, play! Oh wait, a booby, om nom nom."

Oct 29: Feeding Phoebe and listening to @robhu singing along to Price Tag. Happy. :-)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The many names of Phoebe

Phoebe Muriel Gwendolyn
Phoebe MG

My monkey
Little monkey
Phoebe monkey

Little bear
Grizzly bear

Milky face
Grumpy face
Crumply face

Farty pants
Stinky baby

My little one
My baby

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tweets - September 2014

Sep 2: Misty morning. Autumn really has arrived.

Sep 2: Baby asleep in sling. Chances of successful transfer to cot? Slim to nil. Hmm.

Sep 6: My little monkey is a month old.

Sep 8: Baby may have cow's milk protein allergy. So that may mean no dairy for me until she's not breastfeeding anymore. Eek.
[She doesn't, fortunately]

Sep 9: We got the bus into town. Baby is sleeping while I enjoy lunch in John Lewis.

Sep 12: The pictures on my phone for the last few weeks are either of Phoebe or her nappy contents. Such is the life of a new parent.

Sep 12: Ugh. Last night's sore throat has turned into headache, throat ache and wooziness. An afternoon nap would help but it depends on Phoebe...

Sep 13: Just changed the kind of nappy that requires a bath to clean up. At least the monkey likes baths. Now to convince her to sleep.

Sep 14: Sneezing. First cold of autumn/winter 2014. First time of mummying while grotty. Wonder if the baby will get it too.
[She did. Saline spray and a Nose Frida snot sucker helped a lot]

Sep 16: Liberated a pretty big spider from our living room this evening. It's lucky it was found by me and not @robhu.

Sep 16: There are few sights more wonderful than that of a soundly sleeping baby.

Sep 16: Of course, it never lasts long.

Sep 19: Snotty nosed baby has definitely caught my cold. :-( She sounds like a little snorting piglet. I guess that's appropriate.

Sep 21: Awake with a wide-eyed sleepless monkey.

Sep 24: Feeding the baby and listening to Radio 4. Very peaceful.

Sep 24: Well it was peaceful. This afternoon play isn't.

Sep 25: Snuggled

Sep 27: Colourful 

Sep 28: The relief when a baby who's been freaking out at the breast suddenly calms down and latches on. Wish I knew why. Current theory reflux pain
[It wasn't that, her tongue tie division had got infected. She needed antibiotics.]

Sep 28: Have tried every breastfeeding position I can think of in the last few days. Currently laid back/biological nurturing position works best.

Sep 29: Wondered why my baby's face had sparkles and then remembered I put on blusher with a slight shimmer in it this morning.

Sep 29: Cream blusher is my one step pick me up - takes seconds, makes me look & feel a little more alive. Not time for much other grooming.

Sep 30: Hand in hand.