"In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony."

Friday, 25 February 2011

My two babies are doing great!

Got two of my babies measured yesterday - no it's not twins! - Hannah and the bump.

Haven't had Hannah weighed or measured since she had her year check and, as she is two in less than two weeks, I thought I would see her progress.  She is now 22lbs and 81cm.  So still a weeny one but is out of the shaded bit on the bottom of the chart and doing well.  She is such a character now and so opinionated, which is a bit scary for her age.

Her last funny comment was a couple of days ago after she released wind from her rear end.  I said, "Hannah, what do you say?"

She replied with, "Fart!".

Trying to keep a straight face, "No, you say pardon me."

"No, fart."

And so it went on.  I think I lost to a two year old.  Is this the story of things to come?

My other baby was also measured and checked yesterday too and is doing very well - growing, moving etc.  The only thing that I am not as impressed with is that he has decided to turn breech.  I know it is still early days (28 weeks) but none of mine have been breech at this point and they all stayed head down for the remainder of the pregnancy.  So, this little boy better turn around in the next month.  Got to ring up for my blood test results later and hoping that I am not anaemic this time (as was two out of the last four).

Anyway, thought I would do a bump picture update.  Here are two photos of me, both at 28 weeks and in the same clothes.  They say that the shape of the bump tells people what it is, so I thought of a challenge.  What you need to decide is, which one is pregnancy number 4 (girl) and which one is pregnancy number 5 (boy).  Please answer in the comment box below.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Potty training and sickness

Well, I have decided to give it one more day, which is today.  If no progress by the end, then the toilet will have to wait a couple of months until I have the energy to have another go.  Although I will be eight months pregnant by then so that is a bit of an oxymoron.

While Hannah was still in her pajamas and nappy, I asked her if she wanted nappy or toilet today.  She said toilet very firmly, followed by, "Nappy off".  So off they came, she sat on the potty and promptly did a wee.  So, after praise and chocolate I explained that if she needs a wee, she needs to say toilet.  She doesn't seem to be getting this though.  Every time I ask, "What do you say if you need a wee?"  I get the reply, "Chocolate."  Oh dear!  She's two steps ahead and I just want a simple 'toilet' answer.  Am not holding much hope out.

In the meantime, three out of the four children have had a sickness bug in the last five days.  How did they manage to wait until the half-term?  And as for me?  Well, I have had nausea for two days, which feels better if I eat - a bit like morning sickness - so very odd.  To be honest, I am sick of it now (lol) and just wish I would actually be sick so I could feel better within a few hours or just go away.   The constant nausea is driving me to distraction.

So, with the sickness bug and potty training, we are off to a great half-term start.  Still, it can only get better!  Got the dentist to look forward to tomorrow and then blood tests on Thursday!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Potty Training continues....just!

Our first full day of potty training wasn't too bad.  Two in the potty and five misses.  But she seemed keen to get the chocolate and wanted to sit on the potty a lot.

Our second day started only three hours ago and I am ready to put a nappy on already.  Admittedly, Hannah had milk and juice first thing but even so, where does all the wee come from?

When her nappy came off, she ran straight to the potty and did a wee.  Mummy was very pleased and lots of praise ensued.  I thought we had cracked it.  Unfortunately, that thought was far too premature.  What has followed is five accidents on my floor.  Fortunately all of them being of the watery kind but there seems no attempt to get to the toilet and Hannah seems quite happy to stand there and wee while playing with her toys.

Maybe 23 months is too young.  I will see if I can last until the end of the day without getting too stressed or using all my kitchen towel up.  If there is no improvement, I am afraid that the nappies will be back on until Easter at the earliest.

Wish me luck for the rest of the day.  Think we are definitely staying in!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Potty training fun!

Well, today marks the start of the half-term, which for me, means a glorious nine days off!  So, I have decided to start potty training my 23 month old.

Why?  Well, as my ever expanding stomach reminds me, I will be having another baby in three months time and I am not sure that I will be up to potty training with a newborn to look after as well.  So, I have three choices - this half-term, the Easter holidays or wait until my newborn is a lot older.

It has to be during a holiday as I work term-time so I thought why not this holiday.  And then, why not start straight away?  So, with my holiday starting at 3.30pm, I started the potty training at 4.30pm.

So, the nappy came off, the potty came into the lounge and the chocolate was prepared.  And so I explained to Hannah that the chocolate was only for after a wee in the potty (or toilet as my educated daughter called it).  She seemed to understand and ran straight to her potty to try and gain some chocolate.  Unfortunately, nothing.

But, half an hour later, I hear the shouts, "Mum, chocolate."  All excited, I run to check the potty but there was nothing there.  I explained to Hannah (again) that she only got chocolate for having a wee.  But she was very insistent on having her chocolate despite being told she couldn't yet.  It didn't take long before I discovered why she thought she could have some chocolate.  She had done a wee.  Unfortunately, it was on the sofa.

An hour later and the same again.  A very pleased Hannah wants chocolate for weeing on my sofa.  So it seems that the sofa has become the toilet in her eyes.  This potty training may be cancelled until the Easter holidays or even until my baby is six months old!  But I will give it until the end of the weekend just to see if I can't change her mind as to where a good place to wee is.  Wish me luck!!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

When I get an idea in my head, I have to do something about it - now!

I had one of those days today when you look at the rooms in your house and see that you don't like them.  So what did I decide to do - change them!

Of course, I didn't start straight away.  No, firstly I had to research the options and prices on the internet.  This led to doom and gloom as the things I wanted I couldn't afford (mainly a bigger house) but just the computer desk wouldn't leave me much change from £100 and I simply don't have that much to indulge my wishes.

So, I went for a trawl around the shops, keeping my fingers crossed.  Nothing at first.   Except some very light blue paint (Crown) reduced to £2.50 - so I bought the lot.  I blame it on the pregnancy hormones.  Fortunately, they only had four tins in stock or we would have been in trouble.  Just hope it looks alright on the walls now!  Still, even if it doesn't, I can tell everyone what a bargain it was.

Anyway, finally I found a hideaway desk for £28.  Just a bit cheaper than nearly £100.  And finally a smaller dining table for £25.  That's all I needed.  So back home by 2.30pm for the mission to begin.

The old desk had to be dismantled, as did the old dining table.  Then there was the issue of where to put everything that had been on the old desk - it was huge and had shelves of paperwork, bills etc.  Then I decided the small unit also had to go.  Another issue of where to put everything that was in it.  But finally it was done.  One small dining table and one hideaway desk gives us double the floor space.  Which we have now filled with Hannah's toys!

Still, it looks tidier and I can rest in my bed tonight happy that I have transformed by dining room for less than £60.  And maybe at the weekend, I can get painting and transform the dreary beige for happy blue for £10.  What a difference colours and new furniture make.  Obviously not as good as moving house but never mind.  One day.....

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The positives outweigh the negatives

After being knocked over on Friday and hearing the awful news about Amanda Holden's baby at the weekend, I wasn't feeling very positive by the world and what it chucks at us.

However, that has all changed this week.  Finally, some positives.

Firstly, a lovely friend offered me her holiday house so we could get away as a family for a very much needed break before our new arrival arrives.

Secondly, one of the boys who knocked me over bought me in a box of chocolates as way of apology and the staff were lovely and caring on Monday.

Thirdly, a girl who I don't even know very well, kindly gave me two black bin bags full of boy newborn and 0-3 month clothes.

I am so grateful for all of these acts of human kindness over the last few days.  It makes you realise that even though there are many bad things that happen in life, the supportive and caring people around us will help us overcome them all.

So thank you for everyone who has said a kind word or act - it has made me feel so much better.  I am very lucky to have so many fantastic caring people surrounding me.  I just hope that everyone is as lucky as me.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Tragic news of Amanda Holden's baby

Deeply saddened by the news of Amanda Holden's baby this morning.  The loss of any baby is tragic but to lose two in one year and one after the critical viable stage must be heartbreaking.  My thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family at this time.  Hope the media give them the privacy that she needs to grieve.

It has touched me more than it would normally do as we were both expecting boys within weeks of each other.  I can not imagine how I would feel if I lost my baby boy at this stage.  It also reminds me of how precious and yet fragile life is.  We get to a point in pregnancy (usually 12, 20 or 24 weeks) when we feel we are 'safe', yet today's tragic news reiterates that in life, nothing is guaranteed.

Of course, I don't want anyone or myself to spend a pregnancy in a state of worrying about 'what if' scenarios.  After all, there is nothing we can do to prevent these tragedies.  Instead, we should appreciate and enjoy each day that we have with our babies (including the unborn ones) and children.  You don't know what will happen tomorrow and you can do nothing to stop it, so make the most of today.

These thoughts remind me of a Yeats' poem 'On My First Sonne' in which he ponders over the issue of whether it is better to have loved and lost or never to have loved at all, after the death of his own son.  I believe that it is better to have loved and lost, so will live my life according to that and try not to worry about the life inside me, but love every day I have with him.

In the meantime, I will think of Amanda Holden and hope that she can find some peace in time.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Knocked over with a bump

Feeling a little sorry for myself today - which is not like my usual bouncy positive self - but I do have a bruised and grazed ankle as evidence for my mood.

Leaving work yesterday, I got knocked to the ground by an out-of-control bmx bike with a pair of teenage boys trying to control it.  I am not sure what I said to them, although I am fairly sure that I didn't swear, but I am pretty sure they understood my primal maternal anger.

I put my hand out to slow my fall (leaving the work laptop bag to fly a few feet away) and I am fairly sure that I managed to avoid my bump crashing into the ground.  But the adrenalin and fear meant that I felt no pain at all.  In fact, it wasn't until I got home that I realised my ankle was very painful where the tyre had collided with me.  But at least my baby was wriggling around happily oblivious to his mother's emotional state. In fact, he was still prodding and poking me as I tried to go to sleep.  Normally, this would bug me as I would be shattered and yet unable to sleep while he somersaulted around.  But last night, he could keep me awake all night, just so long as he was ok.

This morning, my ankle is a lovely shade of blue and the shock is wearing off.  Hoping that I feel as strong as I usually do, come Monday morning when I have to return to work.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Good news at week 25

After a very long and tiring week, I had some good news today.  My midwife has said that I am able to go ahead with my plans for a homebirth.  This was in doubt as apparently the Health Authority gets funny about it when you are either on baby number five or after baby number five - the rules change frequently - but my midwife has checked and it is good to go ahead.

So relieved as it saves the fight to get the birth that I wanted.  Now all I have to do is stay fit and healthy and hope baby behaves himself in there.

All the antenatal checks were fine and she confirmed that my weight and size are perfect - so much for all of those women making nasty comments about me carrying twins.  In fact, the fundal height is a little under so am actually a bit smaller than average.  Have ammunition for the comment now!  I am carrying more water than last time though which is why I appear bigger (but am not) and he is enjoying swimming and turning around in there.  I don't enjoy it so much at 4am though when he wakes me up.  Guess I had better get used to it though as no sleep will be happening in 15 weeks time.

One more day of work to get through this week and then have promised myself a rest over the weekend - not sure if I'll be able to keep that promise though with four children to look after.  I am just so tired this week that I can hardly keep my eyes open so need some early nights.  Might start tonight.  There again, I have a pile of Year 11 essays to mark....

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

A working mum

When you are pregnant and working, you think about what you will do when the baby is born.  Maybe, you even think about it before you decide to have a baby.  There are three choices open to you:

  1. Leave work and be a ‘Stay at Home’ mum – sounds appealing but I know most women can’t financially afford to even think about it for more than a second
  2. Go back to work after maternity leave – makes financial sense
  3. Go part-time after maternity leave – the ideal balance for a lot of women although not always possible due to either the employer or financial commitments

While the finances and childcare is something we spend quite a while deliberating and weighing up the pros and cons, I wonder how many consider the emotional aspect of it. 

The guilt of being a working mum. 
The guilt of ringing up sick when our child is too ill for nursery/school. 
The guilt of sending our child to nursery/school knowing that they would be better at home. 
The guilt of coming home from work too tired to read books or spend that magical quality time that we promised ourselves we would, when in reality, all we want to do is sit down with a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit. 
The guilt of not spending more than an hour or two with our child and that hour is filled with getting him/her dressed, packing bags, cooking, cleaning, bathtime and bedtime.

Yesterday, I saw my youngest for 45 minutes as I tried to get both her and myself ready for nursery and school.  Then, on my return from work, we spent an hour together as I got tea ready, unpacked her nursery bag, answered the phone, nagged my older ones to get ready and changed her nappy.

Today, I saw her again for 45 minutes while I tried to get us both ready and when I return from work, she will be asleep in bed.

Tomorrow, I will again see her for 45 minutes in the rush to get ready but then I will spend until 8pm with her.  I would like to say that these hours after school will be ‘quality time’ but I know they won’t because I have to cook dinner, tidy up, drive my older two girls around to their clubs and do some shopping.  By the time 8pm comes, Hannah and I will both be over-tired and ready for our beds.

Three days of feeling guilty and shattered – not a good combination.

So, when women think about becoming a working mum, does this enter their minds.  Not the finances but the emotional (and at times, the physical) pressures.  Of course, I know that a lot of women don’t have a choice, and manage things admirably but there are also millions of us that are working mums and are trying to juggle it all every day.

I wish I had an answer to this, but I don’t.  Organisation is key and seeing the overall picture is also important.  For example, this week is a particularly bad one, but many others are not as time restrictive or pressured.  Make the most out of every minute you have and try (although it is hard) to keep the guilt in perspective as it serves no benefit for you or your child.  Make the most out of the weekends and time that you do have with your child but make sure you are not too tired to enjoy them.  Going to bed early on a Friday night may seem boring, but if it gives you that energy to spend on your child on a Saturday, it is surely worthwhile.

In the meantime, cups of tea and friends are invaluable to keep your sanity.  Especially if they are friends who will support not criticise you.