Happy Halloween

I love Halloween. My American roots simply can’t ignore it. And this year is extra special. It’s Baby Girl’s first Halloween. I have been so excited for months.

We have a nickname for Baby Girl that plays on ‘Tyranosuarus Rex’. So naturally, the perfect outfit was a dinosaur onsie.

Sadly, however, Baby Girl never got to wear it. As not only was it bizarrely 24 degrees today (less than ideal for a fleecey dino outfit) but I’m in bed with a sick bug. Which is an improvement on earlier today when I was in a ball on the bathroom floor with a sick bug.

So it’s a good thing I’m impatient really or I wouldn’t have got this little cutie a few weeks ago!

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Dummy vs. Thumb

A part of Motherhood no one tells you about is that you are expected to pick a team. About pretty much everything. Are you Team-Baby-Led-Weaning? Team-Gina or Team-Baby-Whisperer? Team-Bottle or Team-Boob?

Cue dummy vs. thumb. The age old debate rages on. So pick a side.

Our household was no different. I had a dummy as a baby (& never sucked my thumb). You might say I was addicted to my dummy. But my parents were one of the lucky few; as a toddler, I simply chewed holes in them & lost interest. Job done. I therefore was willing to ‘risk’ giving Baby Girl a dummy. I felt that if she sucked her thumb, we couldn’t take it away if needs be. In a nutshell; “You see 12 year olds sucking their thumbs. You don’t see 12 year olds with dummies.”

The Other Half, however, was passionately against dummies. His parents had never even owned one when he was a baby & he also never sucked his thumb. “You hear of these parents who are slaves to the dummy & then comes the day she loses it, or we forget it. And then there’s a shit fit. She can’t forget her thumb.”

And then, at about two months old, Baby Girl discovered her own thumb. And the decision was made for us. As soon as she was tired, she found her thumb, closed her eyes & if placed in the Moses basket, on the whole, would drift off to the land of nod. She was even sleeping through the night by ten weeks. Neither of us could believe our luck. IMG_2880

At around four months, everything changed. We don’t know (& probably never will) if it was the infamous Four Months Sleep Regression, Leap 4, the fact we went on holiday, the fact she moved into her cot in the nursery or just really crappy luck. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter. Either way, she suddenly lost interest in her thumb. She started feeding at 2am again & often was unable to go back to sleep. It was like having a newborn again – only for us, worse. She even found day time naps a struggle.

After a few weeks, my mom was visiting for the day. I was exhausted & at a loss. Would I ever sleep again? Would I ever get my lovely, calm, smiley baby back? She finally persuaded me to try the dummy. It was like a breath of fresh air. Within minutes, Baby Girl was asleep. She napped, properly, for the first time in weeks.

That night, the Other Half & I had a calm but heated debate. But in the end, he stepped back saying, “you’re the one up in the night & who’s with her all day. So if this is what you need to do to maintain your sanity, then so be it.”

We never looked back. She was able to self settle (again), & having been able to rest she was happier when she was awake. Though she continued to wake throughout the night she quickly dropped the 2am feed once again in exchange for her dummy & occasionally a quick sip of water.IMG_3025

And then came teething. Baby Girl started early signs of teething at only 9 weeks. By four or five months old we were in full swing, her first two teeth coming through days before she was six months old. Suddenly, the dummy wasn’t a soother but a chew toy, the perfect size for little hands to play with. Sucking on it seemed to only cause her pain (apparently it’s common for babies to go off their feeds while teething as sucking hurts their gums). And so the sleepless nights returned, the self-soothing diminished. And slowly but surely, despite our best efforts, she lost interest in the dummy of her own accord altogether.

So now, at 7.5 months old, we’ve given up & are dummy free. Teething is a bitch. Lactose intolerance has caused her more wind & pain than I can keep track of. In the last few months I have slept less than when she was a newborn. But slowly we’re coming out the other side.

The silver lining? We don’t have to worry about weaning her off her beloved dummy. As usual, Baby Girl is calling the shots & doing things her own way. Her independence makes me proud. But a little bit of co-operation wouldn’t go amiss…

Mama’s Little Helper

IMG_4704.JPGBaby Girl is now seven and a half months old. She’s able to play by herself long enough for me to empty the dishwasher (when she’s not trying to climb in it) or bash out a quick blog post.

But I’m keen to get back to some of the things I love to do. Primarily, baking. So this morning I’m baking for about the second time since Baby Girl was born. And no harm in starting her young while I’m at it!

A night with the devil

There’s no other explanation. On Saturday night the devil possessed Baby Girl.

She woke at 2:10 & despite our best efforts, our smoothest tricks, even trying her with a bottle, Baby Girl cried & cried & cried & cried until 8am when she finally succumbed to exhaustion. From 4am, barely able to keep my eyes open any longer, I woke the Other Half & we took shifts until 8am when we too collapsed.

We’ve never had a night like it. It was worse than when she was a newborn. Not least because her lungs are that much stronger & her voice that much louder.

The cause? Wind. We think. But to be honest, we’re still not entirely sure.

Unfortunately, we had also lost track of time & for the first time since she was born both stayed up late until 1am. Not a mistake we’ll make twice.

Rockin’ it

There are days you feel like this mom lark is easy. The world is your bitch. In short, you rock. You’ve got yourself & the rascal(s) up, fed, showered & out of the house before mid-morning feed; you’ve actually ticked something off the to do list; you’ve even made some baby food for the freezer & made a start on dinner for yourselves. I love those days.

Then there’s the days that when bambino finally goes down for their mid-morning nap, you catch sight of the hobo in the mirror. There’s porridge inside your pyjama top, prune smeared over your chin, something non-descript crusting over on your tracky-b’s &  bedraggled, greasy hair only just held in place by a clip. You’ve got 40 minutes. Be realistic. You’ll probably only get one load done today so shirts or colours? The dishwasher needs emptying as well & need 15 minutes to jump in the shower & get ready. You & the hobo exchange a look. And then you turn back to the living room, slump on the sofa & slurp your now cold coffee you made two hours before.

Yes, be realistic. You’ve got 38 minutes. That’s one minute to heat the coffee in the microwave. Five minutes to drink it. One minute to walk back to the bedroom. 30 minutes to nap.

I’ll give you one guess which day today is.

Review: Leapfrog Learn & Groove Activity Station

AKA: The Disco Donut!

(I realised after using Hyperlapse that it doesn’t record sound unfortunately… but maybe that’s a good thing…!)

Blurb:
An activity centre designed for babies four months & over once they can hold themselves upright. The height is adjustable so it grows with your little one. They can rest in the seat or stand fully supported while they hit, spin, whack, flip, ping & push all the bits & bobs around them. There’s a chewable microphone, shiny disco ball, DJ decks, music book & a keyboard that lights up in time with the music for your baby to enjoy.

The donut has two modes; ‘Learn’ mode encourages language development with the alphabet, numbers & colours along with fine motor skills. The ‘Groove’ mode has multiple nursery rhymes & dance steps.

Price:£85 (but there are loads going cheaper on eBay & Gumtree.)
Worth it? Personally wouldn’t pay £85, but ours was second hand & 100% worth the discounted price.

Thoughts: ****
Baby Girl absolutely loves this. It gives her the independence to stand on her own & entertain herself whilst I cook or potter around. Her legs were noticeably stronger after only a few days; the donut had clearly improved her confidence with standing & testing out her legs. Sometimes she find the table can be over stimulating or tiring, so you do need to keep an eye on them.

Double bonus is there is volume control on the table & you can turn the sound off completely – thank god! – though I find Baby Girl gets bored quicker without the sound. Double bonus is also a double edged sword.

Perhaps the best review I can give this is that a friend’s son (1 day older than Baby Girl) tried it & loved it so much they bought one off eBay the following day.

Downside: you will forever be humming Old McDonald. And ABCD….

Cabin fever

It’s been a quiet fortnight. Last week Baby Girl & the Other Half had awful colds. He was sent home from work so I was nursing the two of them. Feel like I’ve earned another Mama badge (like Brownie badges… But for Mamas). Then on Saturday I came down with full on flu & only today am I starting to feel back to my old self.

Looking after a baby whilst ill is definitely one of the most exhausting & difficult tasks I’ve ever endured.

By Tuesday I had to call in the backup. My mom came & took Baby Girl out for a few hours while I curled up under the duvet with a box of those special, extra soft, balm tissues.

With all this self imposed quarantine (I wouldn’t wish anyone or their baby this bug!) I’m getting the distinct impression Baby Girl is getting cabin fever…

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