Me and My Girl

Yesterday I went out with my girl. We went to the hairdresser’s together and had a lovely time.

me and my girl 1 one

My beautiful girl.

me and my girl 2 two

Afterwards we went shopping. You can never have too many shoes!  And then we had lunch.

me and my girl 3 three

It was the perfect morning.

Sleeping Like a Baby

Dear Baby Boy

You are nearly five and a half months old and you are not sleeping through the night yet – let’s talk about that.  You are now two weeks older than any of your older siblings were when they slept through.  And that’s ok – if there’s one thing I’d like you to learn in life, it’s this.  It’s good to be different.  It’s good to be you.

When you were very new I remember tweeting that you were sleeping like a baby – only when you felt like it, for about twenty minutes at a time and right in the middle of the bed!  And looking back on those first few weeks, I was very happy.  Co-sleeping and breastfeeding made it easy, I loved having time just with you and I didn’t care how tired I was.  I didn’t try to do too much else because I knew those early days go too fast.

But somehow it has crept up on me.  The gaps between feeds are getting a bit longer, I’m not quite as tired, and so I’ve started taking on too much.  And I know it’s not right because I’m losing my joy and I’m feeling dragged down.  So I’m glad, my beautiful boy, that you are still waking me up in the night and reminding me of what’s important.  I love your little squeaks and snuffles and wriggles that are your way of telling me what you want.  I love having you right next to me so that you can latch on without even having to open your eyes and you almost never have to cry – well not in the night, at least.  The day times are when you sometimes have to wait, but the night times are all yours.  I love the warmth of you and the weight of you and your milky smiles and the peace that you bring to me.  And after a feed it’s sometimes hard to take my eyes off you because I love watching you sleep.  Other times I’m already asleep myself before you’ve finished!

sleep

I’ve started to make some changes, to make life more manageable, so that you and your brothers and sister can have more of my attention.  I haven’t got it all worked out but I will get there.  So don’t start sleeping through the night baby boy, not just yet.  I need you to keep reminding me to slow down and focus on the things that really matter.

I love you.

Mummy

Baby Boy

I can’t sleep and I need something positive to think about so I’m going to indulge in looking back at photos of baby boy.  I need to remind myself how lucky I am.

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baby boy 17 seventeen

baby boy 18 eighteen

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Birthday Interview with the boy who is 5 years old (2015)

I’ve forgotten the birthday interview again, so just squeaking it in at the end of the birthday month!

birthday boy 5

What would you like to be when you grow up?

A train driver

What’s your favourite colour?

Red

What’s your favourite flower? (An extra question he suggested himself!)

The red ones – what are they called?  Poppies!

What’s your favourite book?

A pirate book

What’s your favourite film?

Thomas

What are your favourite toys?

Cars

What is your favourite food?

Fish and chips

What is your favourite thing to wear?

Shirts

What do you like doing with mummy?

Cuddling

What do you like doing with daddy?

Helping him cook supper

What makes you happy?

Cuddling with my soft toys

Tell me a joke

Why did the doctor go to the doctor’s?  Because he was hurt!

 

Baby Boy’s first day

This is how tired I am.  I few days ago I felt a great sense of achievement at finally having made photo collages of baby boy’s first 24 hours and I published them here.  Today I look in my drafts and find out I had already done it but not published it some time ago.  So here is an ever so slightly different and yet basically the same set of pictures… sigh.

baby boy first day 1

baby boy first day 2

baby boy first day 3

baby boy first day 4

baby boy first day 5

baby boy first day 6

 

Baby boy: the first 24 hours

So, this post was going to be entitled Baby Boy: the first three months, but as it’s taken me about a month to organise photo collages of his first day I think I’d better publish it now and hope to do better with the rest another time.  I don’t know how serious baby bloggers do it – I have barely managed to open my laptop in the last four months, but I will try to add some more photo posts over the next few weeks.  I was recently reminded that when I wrote baby boy’s birth story I promised a follow-up post about the rest of our hospital stay.  Too much time has passed now and I can’t think of anything intelligent to say about it, so the pictures will have to do.  Pure self-indulgent baby spam, but I want them here on the blog to look back on.

baby boy 1 one

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Birthday Interview with the girl who is 7 years old (2015)

It’s been a while since her birthday, but we suddenly realised we hadn’t done it, and it is still her birthday month!

beautiful girl

What would you like to be when you grow up?

An inventor

What’s your favourite colour?

Blue

What’s your favourite book?

Frozen

What’s your favourite film?

Frozen

What’s your favourite song?

Let it Go

What are your favourite toys?

Frozen toys

What is your favourite food?

Prawn curry, fish and chips, mint choc chip ice cream, chocolate cake and Frozen cupcakes

What is your favourite thing to wear?

Elsa dress, Anna dress, Frozen pyjamas and Frozen T-shirt

What do you like doing with mummy?

Reading, knitting and shopping

What do you like doing with daddy?

Cuddling and talking

What makes you happy?

Frozen

Tell me a joke

What’s brown and sticky?  A stick

Birthday Interview with the boy who is 9 Years Old (2015)

The title of this post is deliberately missing the blog name of the child who doesn’t like his blog name any more.  Need to rethink the nicknames or else use their real names and I’m not sure which yet.  So for now the birthday boy is He Who Must Not Be Named and he is nine years old today!

nat nine years old

What would you like to be when you grow up?

A Lego designer.

What’s your favourite colour?

Yellow.

What’s your favourite book?

The Beano.

What are your favourite toys?

My Minecraft figures.

What is your favourite food?

Haribos.

What is your favourite thing to wear?

Swimming shorts, but only when I’m in the swimming pool or on the way to it.

What do you like doing with mummy?

Reading Harry Potter.

What do you like doing with daddy?

Stuff.

What makes you happy?

Today.

Tell me a joke

What’s made of chocolate and found on the seabed?  An oyster egg.

Chinese New Year Lapbook

If you have been home educating for a while, you have probably heard of lapbooks, which are a quick and easy way to produce a mini topic book.  I’ve been meaning to try it for a long time, and have finally got round to it with a little help from the twinkl website.

chinese lapbook 1

We decided to try the Chinese New Year one first.  We printed off the resource pack from twinkl, which contained lots of pictures and captions along with instructions on how to make the lapbook.

chinese lapbook 2

It’s really simple, and all you need (in addition to basic stationery supplies) is some large sheets of card (A3 or similar) – ours was thick blotting paper because that’s what we had but it was just as good!  The instructions were really clear and the children quickly got the idea, and produced their lapbooks with a minimal amount of help.

chinese lapbook 3

We enjoyed a very relaxing afternoon making the books, and using the internet to find out more about Chinese New Year.  It was a great success and we’ll definitely be heading back to the twinkl website for more lapbooks soon.

Baby Boy: Birth Story

Baby boy is nearly six weeks old so I think if I don’t get on and write his birth story now I might not get round to it at all.  I have written here about the week or so leading up to his arrival – this is what happened next.  After the weekend during which I became increasingly certain that the birth was imminent, I went to bed reasonably early on the Sunday but had an entirely sleepless night.  I was having mild contractions on and off, and then at five to six in the morning I had one which was unmistakably the real thing.  As my last labour had lasted under six hours, I thought that this one might be similar but it wasn’t at all.  The build up was very slow and though I was having quite a lot of contractions, they weren’t at all regular.  Paul took the children to his mum’s house, and then we went out to buy a car seat.  (First baby: spend weeks deliberating and researching options, then about an hour in the shop comparing models and fabrics before making a decision.  Fifth baby:  look in shed, discover a mouse has eaten the old one, drive to shop, make a dramatic entrance – “I’m in labour and I need a car seat right now!” – buy the brand you know is good in the colour they happen to have in stock and drive away ten minutes later.)  After that we spent most of the day doing housework to pass the time so by the end of it the house looked tidier than it has done for a while!  My friend Sarah came and kept me company too, and made some inroads into my enormous ironing pile.  As soon as I knew I was pregnant, I had asked her to be my birth partner because she always makes me feel calm in any situation and I knew if she was there I’d be okay whatever happened.  There’s lots of research to show that having a female birth partner improves outcomes, as summarised in this article from the Evidence Based Birth website.  It’s about having a doula, which can be a good option for many people, though I’d say that if you have a friend willing to stay with you that is even better.  The key thing seems to be the continuous support of someone who will not leave your side throughout your labour.

“Overall, women who received continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuum or forceps-assisted births, and C-sections. In addition, their labors were shorter by about 40 minutes and their babies were less likely to have low Apgar scores at birth.”

But I digress!  Back to the story…

Towards the end of the day, as the contractions were not any more regular, Sarah went home and Paul and I had a curry which I hoped might help to speed things up.  At about 9pm I decided I might as well go to bed and see if I could sleep.  I didn’t have high hopes, but in fact I managed about four hours.  After that I was up for a while, then went back to bed and got about another hour of light sleep in the early morning.  So when I got up on Tuesday I felt a lot better than I had throughout Monday, and a lot more ready to get on with the business of having a baby!

I spent some time making arrangements for the children to be looked after as Paul’s mum couldn’t have them for a second night, and Sarah came round again once her children were in school.  Throughout the morning, the contractions became more intense and frequent, though still not regular and around the middle of the day we rang the labour ward.  I was fairly sure it was too early to go in and stay but I wanted some reassurance that baby was okay after more than 24 hours of labour.  So we went in, but as expected we were able to return home after a short period of monitoring because baby was fine.

At some point I decided it was time to start using the Tens machine which really helped as the contractions were getting stronger.  It was hard to know when to go back to the hospital.  I didn’t want a repeat of last time (when I had to go in an ambulance and baby was born 20 minutes after I arrived!) but I knew if I went in too early I would get stressed and everything would slow down.  Sarah went home for a while to see her children after school, and then came back a couple of hours later because I suddenly got the feeling I needed to go in straight away.  We left at 7pm (I know this because the Archers was starting on the radio as we set off) and I had several very strong contractions on the way there.

Once I arrived, my contractions slowed down a bit as is often the case in hospital.  I had to have continuous monitoring because of the gestational diabetes, which was a bit annoying but I knew I could work round it.  At first I felt better standing up and moving around, but after a while I was too tired and I just wanted to lie down for a while.  I definitely didn’t want to get stuck on my back, but I felt I needed to save my strength for the last bit so I managed for a while by turning onto my side every time I had a contraction.  By this time I was also using gas and air, which was very effective in combination with the Tens machine.

I’m not sure how it looked to others but at this point I still felt pretty calm.  But very tired, that’s the main thing I remember, and just hoping baby boy would come soon.  One thing I’ve learnt about giving birth though, is that when you get to the point that you suddenly feel you can’t go on any longer, that’s when you are really close to the end.  I suddenly knew I had to be in a more upright position, so I turned round and knelt on the bed.  Looking back it doesn’t seem that it was much longer after that, though I don’t know the exact timings.  After a little while my waters broke and with the next contraction I started to push.  I remember thinking that was a bit half-hearted, I need to do better than that.  So with one more contraction and a more coordinated push, baby boy was born at 9.08pm.

Baby boy birth day 1

After a rather frantic rush to get my clothes off and turn round I held him skin to skin as quickly as I could, and it was perfect.  He was perfect.  We waited until the cord stopped pulsating, and then Paul cut it.  I can’t remember exactly what happened in what order after that.  I delivered the placenta, and then I had to have stitches.  That’s always pretty unpleasant, but three things helped me get through it – gas and air, the calming presence of Paul and Sarah and cuddles from baby boy.  And I fed him very soon after the birth, and then on and off for about an hour.  Took lots of photos, enjoyed the best cup of tea ever (even if I had to drink it lukewarm because baby boy was attached) and ate lots of toast.  Eventually he stopped feeding for long enough to be weighed and he was 6lb 11oz.

Baby Boy Birth Day 2

I was very lucky to have a calm and peaceful birth and, although I would have liked to be at home, I’m grateful to the staff at St Helier who were, as always, excellent.  I had a lovely midwife and student who were a great team.  Sarah was a fantastic birth partner, as I knew she would be.  Afterwards, the midwife asked if we’d known each other for a long time because she noticed the communication between us was instinctive and we didn’t need to talk much.  That’s exactly why it worked so well.  And Paul was calm and supportive as always.  And I loved seeing the boy having his first cuddles with daddy who managed (for the first time in five babies) not to fall asleep in the chair after the birth.  I am thankful that it all went so well, even though I didn’t get to try out the Calm Birth School hypnobirthing techniques because baby boy arrived before I’d managed to go through the course.  If you’re a bit more organised than me, then you should definitely try it though because from what I have seen the course is brilliant and it provides a really good network of support too.

baby boy birth day 3

I’ve had this post in draft for too long thinking I would write about the rest of my 24 hours in hospital, but I think I’ll have to leave that part of the story for another day.

baby boy first feed

Welcome to the world baby boy!  We love you xx