8 Month Summary

8 Month summaryAnother month has passed and Baby E is 8 months old! Here is what he has been up to this month.

Milestones – The quest to crawl continues! Baby E has made some good progress this month and has figured out that smooshing his face along the floor is getting him nowhere fast. He is now making more use of his arms and holds himself up very well while tucking in his knees and rocking back and forward. By doing such ‘big boy’ movements it somehow makes him appear smaller and never fails to produce an ‘aww, look at him’ moment from me. Baby E has also mastered the art of scooting backwards which is quite comical to watch him manoeuvre himself around his nursery in this way and he appears confused when he is trying to get closer to a toy but ends up further away from it. Last week we had a routine visit from the Health Visitor who was very pleased with the progress Baby E was making and he breezed through all the checks. He now weighs 18lb which is a touch under average for his age and is in the 75th percentile for height, not sure where he gets that from! He demonstrated excellent transfer between hands and pincer grips, looked immediately for items when they were put out of sight, responded to his name, held himself up and showed strength in his arms and sat up by himself (only to be gently pushed by the HV to see if he did the correct response, which he did). All in all a very successful visit which the HV summed up as Baby E showing the perfect examples of all the checks and he was a happy, smiley, chatty little boy with gorgeous eyelashes! Good work Baby E.

Sleep – Baby E continues to sleep well and is sticking to his night time routine of bed around 7pm and waking around 6am. A few nights he has needed a little comforting through the night, I think this is down to another round of delightful teething but he just needs a cuddle and settles pretty well. His morning nap continues to be his favourite and he gets a story between 9.30-10am and settles to sleep with the help of our trusty musical little friend Scout. Morning nap continues to be the longest at anywhere between 1-2 hours. Baby E seems to be dropping one of his shorter afternoon naps and tends to only show signs of needing one, this is usually between 4-4.30pm and can last 30mins to an hour.

Eating – Baby E is now taking something to eat 3 times a day. Morning is a 7oz bottle followed by porridge, which he loves, if he is off his porridge it is a sure sign he is a little under the weather. After his morning nap he will take a 5oz bottle and around an hour later he will take lunch followed by another 5oz bottle at around 3.30pm then dinner at around 5 and finishing with a 7oz bedtime milk. We have started introducing more finger foods as Baby E seems to like being independent with his feeding and does not seem keen on being spoon fed anything with texture, although he still enjoys smooth purees. Finger foods he has been trying include broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, chicken, toast with homemade humus or homemade vegetable purees spread on it. He is also still loving his mesh feeder and tends to have fruit such as pear, mango, banana, plums and peaches as desert, yoghurts are also a hit as are any fruit puree. So lunch and dinner are a combination of any of these items and we normally go for one spoon fed meal and one finger food meal a day.

Favourite Things – The Jumperoo is still a firm favourite and Baby E is continuing to explore the activities on it. He has discovered that he can turn the elephant to look at him and can push the button to make the tiger pop up…and thinks this is hilarious. Stacking cups are also getting a good play with lately, such a simple thing but Baby E can sit and bang these, chew these and knock down my carefully made towers with great delight. Baby E also continues to enjoy story time and is getting more interactive with them. He is enjoying books with flaps and knows exactly where to lift on the pages, even to the point where if he gets a book without flaps he will try to find the bit to lift! Favourites include, Fox’s Socks by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler and Where is Spot? by Eric Hill. While Baby E is not plonked in front of the TV for hours on end there are a couple of programs he enjoys. Ra Ra the Noisy Lion and Bing never fail to get a laugh and Baby E smiles and chatters away to them, he has even started laughing at all the right places!

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Little Weekly Wonders #5

Little Weekly WondersFaceTime with Granny & Papa – Baby E was treated to his own personalised little TV show this week starring his Granny and Papa. As we live over 4 hours away we don’t get to see as much of our family as we would like so things like FaceTime are a great invention for us! Baby E smiled and giggled as he watched his Granny and Papa talking to him, making silly noises and faces and playing peek-a-boo. In return he treated them to his latest trick of trying to crawl.

 

Health Visitor – This week Baby E had a routine visit from our Health Visitor and dazzled her by completing all the tests she threw at him with ease and a smile. She was very happy with his progress and commented that he was providing perfect examples of all the things she was looking for. This included transferring items hand to hand, pincer grip, looking for items when they are dropped, putting his hand out if he fell over and responding to his name. Well done Baby E!

 

Swings in the Sunshine – This week brought some beautiful sunny weather to the North East of Scotland again so we have been enjoying our afternoon walks even more than usual. Our local play park has recently been refurbished so Baby E and I decided to make a pit stop here and check it out. It was Baby E’s first shot of a swing, he sat on my knee on the ‘big’ swing so it was also my first shot on a swing for a long time! He seemed to enjoy it but was probably more interested in getting a good look at the bigger boys and girls running around and wishing he could join in!

Should I stay or should I go?

Should I stay or should I goI made the decision last week and acted on it. I decided to leave my job as a secondary school teacher of 10 years to become a stay at home mum. I wrote my letter of resignation and posted it…its official.

This was a decision that has long been in my and Mr W’s thoughts and conversations. It is not one that we took lightly and our thoughts and conversations always came back to what would be best for our family.

I loved my job, easier to say now that I am not doing it! But it is true, I enjoyed interacting with the kids, watching them develop and helping them understand things that they previously did not. I love the subject that I taught, Geography. It is unique and diverse, it is an art and a science and covers literacy, numeracy and wellbeing without even trying. It explores the interactions between the land, the people that live on it and the environment that surrounds us. I could go on but I think it is clear that I did not leave my job because I disliked it!

However, despite what some may think it is not a job that you can waltz into at 8.30am and rush out of at 3.30pm locking away the work that has built up through the day with the lock of a classroom door. The expectations, changes and challenges that education is going through just now meant that a typical work day would easily spill out either side of when that bell rings and well into the evening, weekend and holidays. The demands of the job and if I am honest, the demand I would place upon myself to do the job justice would undoubtedly impact on the time I spend with Baby E out with the official school day.

Something would need to give and I would be frustrated if it were the job that I took so much pride in and heartbroken if it were the precious time spent with my son.

We are very lucky that Mr W and I are on the same page when it comes to childcare and even luckier that one of us being at home with Baby E is even a consideration. We knew from the start that we wanted one of us to be with Baby E rather than go to into childcare. We also don’t have the ‘safety net’ of family living close by that could help with the inevitable times when we have meetings and other commitments outside normal working hours. Splitting the week between us so that we could both continue working while ensuring Baby E had one of us at home was a consideration. However, financially this did not make any sense for us and so was discarded and brought us a step closer to our final decision.

I want to be with Baby E…all the time. I love that I get to be with him every day and consider myself extremely lucky that I can be. From seeing his smiley face and hearing his sing-song voice in the morning through to sneaking into his room to see his peaceful, sleeping little body in his cot before going to bed myself. I want to be there for the smiles, the sulks, the meal times, the milestones, the tears and even the tantrums (don’t quote me on that one in a couple of years though!).

So while making the decision to leave teaching was difficult, doing it to spend time with my son was not. I might have regretted going back to work but I am certain I will never regret giving it up to be with Baby E. That is how I know we have made the right decision.

Are you a stay at home mum or did you return to work after maternity leave? I would love to hear what influenced your decision.

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Wedding & Baby Survival

KiltBaby E attended his first wedding this weekend which was his first big event. Of course this called for him to don a kilt, which he was very cute and handsome in. He wore the same kilt as Mr W in the tartan that we had at our wedding which made it even more special. The effect of an adorable baby in a kilt on people is quite spectacular and he was in serious danger of stealing the show from the beautiful bride. It also makes changing nappies considerably easier!

We were a little apprehensive about the day…it would be a long one with lots going on and lots of new faces in a busy and bustling atmosphere. Baby E would also ideally need to be polite and quiet at certain parts of the day, heaven forbid he have a total meltdown in the middle of the ceremony or speeches! With a little military precision planning, along with the help of a little boy that smiled and giggled his way through the event we have a very enjoyable, if exhausting day.

Here are a few things we did to try and make a potentially stressful day run a bit more smoothly:

  • List, list, list. This was the perfect opportunity for me to indulge in my love of lists. I made a made a list of what we needed for the day well in advance, from toys to feeding to the essentials.
  • Take plenty of the essentials i.e. nappies and wipes. The wedding venue was an hour away from home and a fair distance from the nearest town where we could get any of these in an emergency.
  • Take a back-up outfit for baby…hopefully you won’t need one for yourself!
  • Have wet wipes in an easy to access place.
  • Take a good variety of food. We took a couple of pouches that we knew Baby E enjoyed, a yogurt, rusks and little sandwich fingers so that we had few options. The finger food was a great distraction during speeches. We also took spare formula as well as what we knew we would need just in case.
  • Take a variety of small toys – make sure some are not noisy, I am sure the bride does not want to hear a little singing Mexican maraca while she says her vows!
  • We made sure Baby E had a good morning nap before going. He skipped his afternoon nap as there was too much going on for him, although I did make sure we went somewhere quieter for a little down time.
  • Take a sleep suit for the evening. This made it so much easier to put Baby E in his car seat where he fell asleep and we could just transfer him into his cot when he got home.
  • We went with the goal that if Baby E became unsettled,  grumpy…descend into raging melt down, the bride and groom would never know about it. Cue checking all rooms for the swiftest exit route!

And finally…

  • Start to leave about 45 minutes before you actually intend to. It is virtually impossible to leave an event with a cute baby quickly!

What are your top tips for taking a baby to a big event?

The Twinkle Diaries

Little Weekly Wonders #4

Little Weekly WondersSitting up – This week Baby E progressed to being able to sit up completely unaided. He is still getting the hang of it but can sit for a good length of time before the wobble starts or he sees something interesting that throws him off balance. It was not unlike when training a dog…sit, stay, stay, good boy! He looked so small and vulnerable just sitting there all alone happily playing with his stacking cups. He looked at me with a big smiley face as looked at him with that strange mixture of pride that my baby has reached another milestone and sadness that he is growing so quick. A feeling that is quickly becoming so familiar as a mum.

Wedding Bells – Baby E attended his first wedding yesterday which was his first big event and his first time wearing a kilt! He was extremely cute and handsome in his little kilt that matched his daddy. It was the same tartan that we had at our wedding so brought back some great memories and was very fitting for our little boy’s first kilt. I think I will have to have a good talk to him in the future as he drew a lot of attention from the ladies and had them all wrapped around his tiny little finger! Despite it being a long day with lots going on Baby E was so content and happy to entertain all the attention. He seemed to love the interaction with everyone and was mesmerised by the flower girls. We stayed until just after the first dance before heading home and despite Baby E getting a second wind and ready to party, myself and Mr W were definitely ready for bedtime!

The Peaks of Labour

Baby Boy 1

I read somewhere once that sometimes the longest journeys have the best destinations and I think that applies perfectly to pregnancy and labour. These are the peaks of my labour and birth story (the pits can be found here).

Early Labour – During the early stages of labour I was obviously uncomfortable but not at the gripping pain stage. It was very clear that Baby E was on his way and this brought a quiet, contented excitement. I spent those early hours taking baths, bouncing on my exercise ball and Mr W and I watched episodes of The Sopranos while we patiently waited. We even took a photo of the sunrise that morning, little did we know Baby E had other ideas and a whole new sunrise would happen before he made an appearance!

The Labour Bubble – It seemed that nothing else was happening and no one else existed (not even the plethora of midwives, doctors, anaesthetists and medical students that joined us as my labour unfolded). It was as if I were living life blurred at the edges and only focusing on what was happening to Baby E, myself and Mr W.

Our Story – After reading many birth stories and watching far too many episodes of One Born Every Minute, I was excited to see what our story be. Even though it’s a story with complications and twists and turns, it is our story.

The Relief – That split second between the big moment of giving birth and the even bigger moment of Baby E being put on me was instant relief. After all the hours of discomfort, pain and anticipation, I felt ‘normal’ before the life changing moment when I met Baby E.

First Cry – Baby E gave a gargle of a cry when he was first put on me before being whisked away to another room by a midwife to get a little more encouragement and to check him over. Hearing that cry from the other room, which we would get to know so well, was an amazing sound. We knew instantly that was our boy despite having heard nothing from him before other than that all important heartbeat.

It’s a Boy! – The only thing I got from my very undemanding birth plan was Mr W telling me the sex of our first child. We had decided not to find out during my pregnancy and we truly had no preference. I had a very strong instinct from the start that we were having a boy…mum knows best!

Wow, it’s you – The first cuddle and proper look at the tiny little human I knew so well for 9 months yet had never actually met really is something words would never do justice. Baby E looked up at Mr W and I with big eyes and huge eyelashes. So new and yet seemingly so aware soaking it all in. Although we had never met it was as if I always knew this was what my baby would look like.

So that is our story of how Mr W and I became a family of 2 to a family of 3. Ready to learn the biggest lesson of our life, how to become parents, taught by the best teacher – Baby E.

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The Pits of Labour

Sunrise1When I was pregnant I read and heard many birth stories. You would have thought that the positive ones that were quick and relatively straight forward would bring the most comfort to a pregnant lady but I found myself being more reassured by the ones that were not so ‘easy’. No matter how hard or long and difficult it was, there they were with their happy, healthy baby at the other side of it. If they could do it, so could I.

So here is the first part of my story. I decided to reflect on it by looking at the pits (the low points!) first then follow it up with a post on the peaks (which can be found here)…there are some honestly, despite what the following may suggest!

The Pits

Length of Time – It was 36 hours from when I first felt those ‘enough to keep you awake’ cramps to when Baby E was born. A long time in anybody’s book. It didn’t help that I had been surrounded by tales of ‘Oh, my little one was in a hurry. We got to the hospital at one o’clock and she was here by twenty past’. Seriously!! The timing of my labour meant that I was awake from the Monday morning until the Wednesday night (which I spent in a shared ward with 3 newborns, a snoring lady and regular midwife checks, not a recipe for a good nights sleep!).

The Pain – so obvious it doesn’t really need pointed out. For around the first 12 hours I was doing good and coping well, then the pain went up a good few notches. Although I had never experienced labour before I knew something was not quite right. Despite getting very definite, distinct contractions I was also experiencing pain in between the contractions which lasted right through to Baby E’s birth. So with my mum’s final words of encouragement ringing in my ear ‘remember, the contraction will pass and you will get a little break in between’, we called the hospital and explained that I was most certainly not getting these so called breaks in between. We left the house for the last time as a family of 2 with me feeling like an army of tiny little troll beasts were pulling my insides in all directions.

The Bleeding – When we got to the hospital I began to lose blood which needed to be monitored by the midwife and doctor. I also passed some significant clots which was obviously concerning. My hopes of remaining in the maternity unit quickly disappeared and we were moved to the labour ward where I had my waters broke, which also contained blood, and I continued to be monitored.

Baby E Misbehaving – During our time in the hospital Baby E was monitored, I think this was due to my blood loss and continuous pain. As labour progress Baby E was not quite playing ball and had a few dips in his heart rate, which resulted in lots of changing sides for me to try and improve this and he had clips put on his head to get his blood checked a number of times.

The Epidural – At around the 30 hour mark I reluctantly decided to take the epidural. I was exhausted and because of the pain I was experiencing between contractions I was not getting a break. So I thought I needed to try and get some kind of rest before the big push (literally). Also the midwife told us that if I continued to progress the way I was I could have another 10-12 hours ahead…what! I had heard others describe the relief of the epidural and how amazing it was, unfortunately it didn’t quite work for me. There were complications as it went into the wrong part of my spine, which resulted in the anaesthetist administering the drug by hand when I felt the previous dose wearing off. By the time I felt it kicking in I maybe got ten minutes of the benefit before we had to begin the process of checking me and administering the drug again. As well as this I experienced a post-dural headache which lasted for 5 days after giving birth. This was the worst thing about my recovery.

Assisted Delivery – Unfortunately despite waiting the two hours after being fully dilated, Baby E was clearly too comfortable and had not descended far enough for me to deliver him completely on my own. So after 40 minutes of trying, those menacing looking forceps were produced accompanied by their evil friend Mr. Episiotomy and despite all that had preceded Baby E made his safe and what seemed to me, perfect entrance to the world. 

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