Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Grace - 3 months old

So Grace is 3 months old, a quarter of a year, yet it seems like this journey began way before then though. I read through my diary from last year and the entry for the day I found out I was pregnant reads "Have we really done it? I can't let myself believe it",yet it seems so odd to think of a time when she was not here in some form, as a + on a pregnancy test, a secret flutter in my tummy, a kick in the ribs or a snuffle from the cot in the middle of the night.

Speaking of the middle of the night, Grace has a bit of a cold so she wants to feed every hour again which is exhausting. I feel so sorry for her, babies don't know how to sniff or clear their throats so they just snort and sneeze away. It's heartbreaking to see her little red eyes water.

Aside from the cold she is doing really well. She weighs over 12lb now, her hair and eyelashes are growing really long and she is learning more and more each day. She reaches out and holds onto things in front of her (not learnt how to let them go yet), and tries to put everything in her mouth. She has also learnt to sort of "push off" with her feet when she is on her change mat, which she gets very excited about (excited = kicking her feet whilst punching the air). She has started to coo with pleasure when sung too (I have quite a repertoire of songs now, James has even learnt them, in fact the people at his work sing "We know frogs go tra la la la la"). Her friend Edie is 19 months old and loves singing to her, but gets "If you're happy and you know it" mixed up with "Head shoulders knees and toes" and so wobbles about touching her feet chanting "happy happy happy".

I bit the bullet and joined British Military Fitness, it's a ball-breaker of an exercise class held outside each morning and evening in various parks, run by the army (hence the name). The first time I did it I thought I was going to die. It's been a long time since I did sit ups, squat thrusts and burpies. I forgot how much I hate them. Of course it's even more fun now because as well as hurting immensely, I also have to concentrate on not wetting myself. My breast pads fell out in front of everyone as I was doing my push ups , so that was nice and embarrassing. I cracked a "Look at me, I'm Princess Leah" joke and held them over my ears... Needless to say I was picked last when it came to team selections.

James babysat Grace while all this was going on. I forced myself to master the breast pump and have finally managed it, but only if Grace is feeding on the other side at the same time. The problem now is she HATES the pump. She thinks it's another baby, that I love more than her, stealing all her milk. As soon as she hears the whir of it being switched on, she starts sucking with a vengeance and tries to kick the pump off. She is very possessive of my boobs. She grabs on to them while she is feeding as if someone is about to snatch them from her at any second.

She also likes to be attached to them whilst trying to do a poo, which she only manages about once every 3 days so it becomes a bit of an event. It starts with a slightly puzzled expression and a sort of growling noise, then her face gets redder and redder, then she starts grunting and kicking her feet in the air, I normally start singing "Body Movin' by the Beastie Boys at this stage "Let me get some action from the back section" I chant as she thrashes about going boss-eyed. I do hope she gets more discreet as she gets older!

We are putting our flat on the market so it's a frantic time trying to keep the place neat and tidy for viewings, (especially as my beloved boyfriend thinks socks walk themselves to the washing machine from wherever he has tossed them and that it's impossible to make a nice meal unless you use every single kitchen utensil in sight and spill flour on the floor). I have learnt how to do the housework one handed whilst entertaining Grace with the other, chase the estate agent on the phone and eat my breakfast all at the same time. I am going back to work one day a week from next month so need to start leaving Grace with her babysitter for longer periods of time (So far I have managed about half an hour!) The problem is I am so haplessly in love it actually hurts me to be apart from her. I sit watching her sleep and feel a protectiveness so powerful it's almost frightening. When she wakes up and sees me, she gives me a huge gummy smile and I just melt into a puddle of silliness.

Anyway, she has just been passed to me wanting her dinner, I'd best go before the lung practising begins!!!
New photos here:

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Getting bigger...

You know how I was always bragging that Grace is the perfect baby and never cries or makes a fuss? Well thats all changed ... While she is still really good at sleeping through the night, she has become a monster from about 8pm to around 11pm when she finally falls asleep, exhausted from being a no-fun sissy whinge bag.
It started about a week ago; it was a Monday night much like any other. James was at football. I’d just bathed Grace, and gotten into bed with my crossword (sad I know, even sadder is the fact I really look forward to bedtime just so I can do my crossword!). Grace was starting to grizzle; I thought "Nothing Mr.boob can’t fix" and offered her her bestest bosom buddy (absentmindedly, my mind already on 4 down...). Imagine my surprise when it only made her cry harder. I honestly thought that perhaps my nipple had fallen off or something. This had never happened before; I was in uncharted territory, on stormy seas. I tried to latch her on again, and made her sob even harder; I let out a yelp of sheer terror myself at this point. I had a screaming child who did not want milk, which is pretty much all babies ever really want. I was puzzled, and a bit scared (She looked really angry). I lay her down to go and consult a book, which was a HUGE mistake. I did not think she could cry any louder than she already was until I put her down and went into another room... Sweet Jesus she certainly "tested her lungs" then. I raced back in and snatched up, thinking perhaps she needed her nappy changing , or maybe she needed winding, or wanted the TV on, or to play on her mat, bounce in her chair, swing in her car-seat, I tried all these things and nothing worked. James was home by this point and we even tried giving her formula milk, thinking maybe she had gone off me or something (I thought my heart would break as I made up the bottle. Annoying as breast-feeding can be, I love the bond it gives us and I love being responsible for Grace being such a chunky monkey). She did not want the bottle either though. After much rocking and dancing and singing and swinging it seems all Grace really wanted was to not go to bed.
She has somehow learnt that after her bath she gets put into her nightdress, zipped up into her sleeping bag, given milk and a cuddle and then put down in her cot, and that is not how Grace wants it done. She loves her bath, does not mind the sleeping bag or milk and cuddles but she does NOT like lying in her cot on her own. She likes to sit up and get lots of attention from James and me, and if she does not get lots of attention then she howls like a banshee. Babies are very very clever, they know exactly how to get their own way.
When James tries to be firm and tells her to stay in her cot and be a good girl she just gives him a big gummy grin, which always makes him pick her back up anyway. Her smiles are what make everything worth it. The long complicated pregnancy, the humiliation that is giving birth with your feet in stirrups and your partner chanting as if he were at a football match, the stitches, bleeding nipples, stretch marks and hair loss (oh yes.. more on that later*) all fade into insignificance when my little girl smiles at me. I feel a love so strong it almost hurts. I do hope she starts to take James more seriously as she gets older though. I don’t think we will think her grin is so cute when she’s 14 and does it in answer to him telling her she is not "going out dressed like that" or having boys stay over!

In fact she is showing her personality in more ways than one. Last week at the baby group someone decided it would be "fun" to put all the babies on their fronts and see who could hold their head up for the longest. All the mums clapped in excitement and rushed to get out their babies’ special little fleecy blankets. Well of course I did not have one, who on earth is that organised? I just put Grace’s coat down and let her lay on that. Anyway, all the other mums looked at me as if I was the worst mother in the world. Grace soon proved them wrong, and showed her father’s competitive streak though. She lifted her head up, looked from left to right at the circle of face-down panting babies with a bored expression on her face, and then noisily started sucking the label of her coat. It was hilarious.

She is very into sucking (and licking, if you give her a kiss on the lips she tries to slip you the tongue, another of her father’s traits!) We give her bits of melon to suck and she loves it, she looks a bit jealous when she sees James and I eating dinner bless her. Not long to go until we can start to introduce food.

*I got a free haircut... sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? It was. I got given a voucher from a friend who got them handed to him in the street. Now normally I would never go and have my hair cut so recklessly, but James has been saying for ages that he really likes the singer Rhiannon’s new hair, all short and sexy. He said it would look great on me.( Of course what he actually meant was that he fancies Rhiannon). Anyway, I was in a low place, I felt fat and frumpy and mumsy, I desperately wanted to feel sexy and the free voucher seemed to be sign..

So off I went to PeeWees salon to see ‘Jon’. As you can imagine he was a lovely big gay with blond streaks in his hair, a tight waistcoat on, and he called me sweetie. When he asked "What are we doing today" I said "I don’t know my boyfriend quite likes Rhiannon’s hair...", and that was it. He was off on one. "Oooohh" (he said) "You do have amazing cheekbones, short hair would really emphasize them" (the silver-tongued so and so). Of course I totally bought his sales pitch and told him to "Go mad" BIG mistake, he practically peed his skinny jeans, and before I knew it I had the same haircut as Grace. I am not joking. All I wanted was a short, easy to manage style and instead I got the most high-maintenance haircut of my life. By the time Jon had finished bits were sticking up and pointing down and tucked behind my ear and I was sporting half a can of hairspray. Grace took one look at me and started howling. I looked startled. My hair was standing up on end, Grace makes it look cute, I, on the other hand looked like a scared little lad. Not quite the sexy look I was going for.

Obviously I told Jon I loved it and that I would be coming back in 5 weeks for a trim (a trim?! I will be bald if I go back there again!!) and then ran out quickly so he did not see me cry, and boy did I cry - all the way home in the rain, which made the hairspray run into my eyes and almost blind me, as well as looking stupid my haircut is also dangerous!

James made all the right noises when I got home though, he claims to really like it, and sometimes I even believe him. I find it looks best after a good night’s sleep.

Anyway, you can see mine and Grace’s matching quiffs in the latest photos...