Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The Tooth Fairy

Almost a month of dribbling and hand-in-mouth have finally come to fruition. A delivery...

Last night under the cover of darkness, the Tooth Fairy popped into Grace's room through an open window (we have the heating on, it's o.k.), and fired two baby-teeth arrows in the direction of the crib where she was sleeping. Luckily for the Tooth Fairy, both hit target and Grace this morning has two white shiners poking through the gum on her lower gum. Typically the Tooth Fairy left a parting shot, a dose of sugar-free Calpol, and for this both Grace and Mummy today are very grateful.

Grace has today been grizzly and clingy - those pesky mountain peaks in her mouth are causing her strife and she's a little confused I think. It's said that babies get used to teething pains the more that come through, but at the moment Grace is definitely discomforted by the process, bless her.

Two down, another 18 to go.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

I thought I would tell you how Grace's first Christmas played out. We travelled down to my parents on Christmas eve and had a wonderful Christmas Day there together along with my Uncle Frank. On Boxing Day I drove my Mum and Grace to Harlow to spend the day with my sister Bunny and her family. Christmas Day was magical and special, particularly for Matt the Husband and I as parents for the first time. Of course Grace being only four months doesn't give a hoot about Christmas celebrations this year, but we both delighted in enjoying the festivities on her behalf.... the fun isn't just for the children you know! It was rotten luck that my Dad and Matt the Husband were struck down on Boxing Day with the winter gastric bug that is doing the rounds (I'd had it earlier in the week). I'm so grateful their illness didn't affect Christmas Day and thank heavens they were both feeling better again so quickly. Anyway, here's a few pictures of our Happy Holidays....

Very excited opening a present with Daddy.

Christmas morning with Mummy.

Having a look in Santa's stocking with Frank.

Playtime with Grandpa.

Having a snuggle with Bunny.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Ho Ho Ho!

Well nearly. Santa is coming tomorrow and the goose is cooked! Sooooo excited, it's driving me crackers. Ho! That's my first Christmas joke (and a bad one at that!) I woke up at 2am this morning and finally nodded off again just before the alarm went off to get Matt the Husband up and packed off to work. Only 4 more hours left for him to work.... wooo!!!! It's clear that Grace's first Christmas, of which she is thus far completely oblivious, is giving me free rein to get giddy, and giddy I am. I was almost sure I heard the reindeer last night, but then I realised that a) I was a day early and b) it was Matt the Husband competing with the dog in the festive snoring competition... lucky, aren't i??

Ok enough twaddle. Grace is still in bed but time is short as she's due up soon so I need to get this written. Being thrify this Christmas now that I am down to maternity pay, we decided only to buy for close family and a few little bits for Grace. We had a fun time at the Preloved Sale last week in the village hall, where we were lucky enough to pick up a stocking full of fun bits and pieces for Grace (read Matt the Husband) to open on Christmas morning without spending big. So pleased was I with our frugal finds, I was a bit premature patting the coins in the back pocket. Ever childlike, my husband bless him, couldn't bear the thought of a Christmas without something to unwrap himself. He doesn't tell me this, no! I discover it when I'm packing bags in the wee hours, and discover a little unfamiliar pile under the tree (no, not a pressie from Daisy-woof!!).... presents wrapped and labelled "To Daddy, love from Grace x x x"

Daddy and Grace conspiring to buy gifts for Daddy...

Now he forgets Mummy and Grace are organised and have already covered this base. When he gets home from work later he may need reminding that "love from Grace" is not a ticket to buy all those things Mummy has said "No" or "You must be kidding" or "Jog on" to the rest of the year. I can't wait to see what 'Grace' has bought him.

Getting giddy on jungle gym!

Grace is HEAVY. It must be all this tinsel she has been eating?? I have been poorly this week and at times I felt too wimpy to pick her up. She's gained 11oz in a week, and the hungry baby milk she is now supping is obviously doing good work. We are sure her first word will be "Milk".

Grace helping with the tree decs.

So I bid you a Merry Christmas while I go under the radar to enjoy a family Christmas! AND a Happy Christmas to you too!! God bless x x x

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Team Suffield have had a baby!

CONGRATULATIONS to Sanchia and Jason on the arrival of their little baby boy, Ethan James, born 30th November by elective caesarian as he arrived breach, weighing a truly whopping 9lb 14oz. Sanchia, well done sweetheart, you did a great job, he's beautiful. Grace and I hope to visit the new family soon.

With Sanchia at last years xmas party - the day I found out I was pregnant with Grace!!

Have 'BUMBO' will sit...

I'm so glad I took Christina's advice and bought one of these contraptions! The invention is genius. Soft and mouldable it relies on the babies weight to support the sit position, and it's heft enough to provide stability and safety. We love it. Naturally the first time Grace sat in it she looked a little shocked to say the least - being a big baby the space in the Bumbo is a little restrictive. Nevertheless, she loved her first few minutes, sitting on the countertop watching me do the dishes while the snow fell at the window. Money well spent. Grace spends time in the Bumbo daily now, its portable and she's fond of helping me fold laundry as well as opening the post. It's non-stop excitement here!

First-time Bumbo user, Grace Mae...

A dab-hand with the washing up now.

Sitting 'propped' up.

Beautiful blue eyes.

Family L.

4 months!

Where has the time gone? 17 weeks has flown and the tiny little thing that was delivered to us what seems like only yesterday has turned into a proper little baby girl. I can't get over how far Grace has come along... and she's not so little any more! At the moment our 'little baby' is 16lbs 10oz, measures around 25 inches tall and is comfortably filling size 6-9 month clothes. She is very tall and taking after her Daddy there. Her weight is consistently on the 91st centile which show steady growth in line with her birth weight.

Grace gets weighed once a fortnight now at the Childrens Centre in the village where both of us are making some new friends. We also go to play group there once, sometimes twice a week depending on what else we have on. It's so nice watching Grace interact with the other babies. She's the youngest by a few weeks, and some are up to a year old now. She has taken particular liking to baby Berrie, Scarlett and another Grace. It's such a warm feeling seeing her make eye contact with them, watching them communicate by gurgling and babbling, and sometimes trying to grab each others hands as they lay on the mat together. It's taken a while and someone particularly brave to start the ball rolling, and thanks to Berrie's Mummy, Joanne, who lives in the next village to break the ice and invite us over for a cuppa and a play date. I took Grace with other Grace's Mummy, Emma last week, and it made a lovely change just to sit and natter about this and that in the comfort of the home environment.

I must admit we have all struggled with getting out and about in the snow and ice of the last fortnight. In the first shallow snow we were able to push the buggy and when it iced over it was still ok-ish, just very hard work on me! Since the heavier snowfall it became impossible to navigate the buggy over the uneven terrain where the snow was deeper and car wheels had caused ruts which had then frozen. With the car snowed in for 4 days on the trot, we resorted to walking with the harness but even that became a toughy with Daisy-woof pulling on the lead and me freaking out about slipping over and squashing Grace! Anyway, its thawed out a bit temporarily (more snow forecast this weekend) so we have been making the most of getting out and about in the brief reprieve.

Grace is sleeping like a dream right now. I keep touching wood but each time I write this blog she's still sleeping beautifully and it's the one thing she is very very consistent about. We've had the bedtime routine down to a fine art now, and she going to bed around 7pm and sleeping right through till around 6-7am. We had a few night time wakings the other week as she has just been through the 4 month growth spurt (which saw her milk consumption shoot up by 20% literally overnight!), but she is back on track now with normal milk input and good nighttime sleeps. I have been a little sneaky of late as I am battling with the dark mornings in my head - Grace has been going back to sleep after her morning bottle which has let me enjoy the rare opportunity to sleep late, sometimes until she wakes again at around 10am! I am very lucky! (And lazy at times, but if a first-time Mum can't take a duvet day every now and then, who can??)

BIG stretch!

Matt the Husband undertakes the bedtime routine with Grace every night at 6pm when he gets home from work. He's been late home twice with the snow causing travel disruption so I've had the fun task of reading bedtime stories and bathing Grace ready for her bedtime bottle. Her favourite book is "We're going on a Bear Hunt" which has some wonderfully indulgent sound effects which she smiles so widely at and anyone having the pleasure of reading it to her relishes in the 5 minute chance get into character, and see her enjoying the show to the max. Sometimes I watch her enjoying life and I can feel my heart brimming with love for her and find myself a bit doe eyed. This motherhood lark is taking some getting used to, but moments like that are definitely priceless.

Developmentally, Grace is on track. She loves being on her front, reaching and grabbing for toys and wriggling alot as if she's trying to crawl. She hasn't yet mastered rolling, so we are encouraging her and helping her and when she does manage one she looks so surprised! We're sitting Grace up in the bath now so she has a new perspective on the bubbly world, and is taking a real interest in in the 3 little ducks that share the bubbles with her... tentative splashes and gentle little waves. So sweet to watch the excitement on her face - wide eyed and giving her wonderfully gummy grin. She's also spending a fair amount of time propped up with pillows so she's sitting, or spending a little time in the Bumbo we bought for her recently. It's great - she sits watching me do chores and its great knowing she's seeing things from he level now instead of seeing everything from the floor up. I'm loving this phase she is going through right now. Time is going quickly... too quickly at times.

Saying night-night before I go out for the Mypetstop Xmas Party.

So while Grace is growing, Mummy is trying to shrink!!! I kid you not. I'm so lucky with where I'm at for 4 months post-partum, 6lbs to shed to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Now that's not to say that's my ideal weight, but at least it's in sight and not unachievable. I'm very proud to be able to say that. I've started Ashtanga Yoga again and have been dragging poor Sheli along with me for company. I look up to my yoga teacher so much, and already I can feel the benefits, even if I am only practicing once a week. Got to plod on through the depths of winter though and I don't much relish the drive to the far side of Leeds each week to class, but it has to be done... I will be trim again!!

Nanny Roberts visiting from Norfolk.

Well, as I come to the end of this update for my blog readers, I am starting the countdown to my return to work. BOO! HISS!
I have completed six Keeping In Touch Days already and have one a week planned in for January before going back 3 days a week from the middle of February when Grace is 6 months. I'd like to take longer off to be with Grace, although honestly, I believe she will get better quality Mummy time on the 4 days we'll spend together once I've had the chance to mingle with grown-ups and do some big-girl work. Let's not think about that too much for now, eh?

Grace is taking a daytime nap at the moment while Daisy-woof and I have a snuggle on the sofa, watching a documentary we recorded almost a week ago, while the washing machine finishes it's load and the kettle boils so I can make a coffee before she wakes. Being a stay at home Mum for the moment is busy... never a dull moment... lonely a times, but I know there are always friends I can call on to have a chat or share a laugh with. You know who you are... thank you! x x

Daisy-woof enjoying Doggy Day Camp (photo courtesy of James Kundi).

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Winter warmers

SNOWING!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, Grace is rather perplexed by the white stuff falling softly across her face from the sky. It's going to take a little getting used to, although no worries there - according to the forecast the cold snap is here for a wee while yet. We have had plenty of fun over the last few weeks trying out new games and activities to keep Grace busy. We're still going swimming every week which she is enjoying more and more and she is becoming increasingly interested in watching us grown-ups go about our day and doing the usual chores... all to her inquisitive delight.

Grace is spending time daily on her tummy to help strengthen her upper body and neck, although we have yet to see her roll by herself. She's doing plenty of hand and finger sucking which is great for us as it means she's able to self-soothe herself back to sleep at night if she wakes. We're blessed now with regular 10+ hours each night from when she goes to bed at 7pm after her bath. Thank you Grace!! (I hope I haven't jinxed that now as she has had a bit of a snotty nose for the last day or so and fear a winter cold may be on its way... so stay away winter cold virus, and keep Gracie sleeping soundly!)

At last her hair is slowly beginning to re-grow after over a month of fighting a losing battle to cradle cap. After trying a myriad of treatments, we've settled on Dentinox Shampoo, following by Oilatum smothered from head to toe, topped off with Aloe gel for good measure. I can't wait for her fluffy little crown to come back.

Oh and one last nugget of news, GREAT NEWS!! Grace has been signed off by the paediatric cardiologist at the hospital... after a full examination and echocardiogram last week, the asymptomatic heart murmur that was present in the neonatal period has resolved itself and she has been given a clean bill of health. We can now breathe a sigh of relief... our little girl is in the clear.

Anyway, a few pics for the last few weeks... (and more to follow from a visit from the Grandparents soon). Ciao peeps!

My favourite sleepsuit to date - outgrown.

Catching a snooze in the car.

Copying Daddy doing air-guitar.

Practicing for Christmas...

Saturday, 13 November 2010

A full Quart!

Darling little Grace is three months old already and I cannot believe how quickly the time has flown. Already she is developing her own little personality and we can see she is going to become a kind and contented child. My heart melts every time she treats me to one of her gummy smiles and her whole face lights up with delight. Grace has taken to sucking on her hand rather a lot and dribbling so I do wonder if we are in the early stages of teething? According to the Dentist it is possible for her to teeth this early, so we are keeping close watch.

All of a sudden this week we have seen her taking more interest in the toys on her rocking chair, and we have so enjoyed watching her chatter away to the toys, particularly Crinkly Caterpillar, who she seems to have a soft spot for. One of the most heartwarming things is listening to Grace talk away to her toys if she wakes in the night (she is making a good range of sounds now) and then often after around twenty minutes or so she drifts off back to sleep. Matt the Husband and I have been blessed this week with a beer-worthy milestone... Grace has been sleeping through from 7pm until somewhere between 6am and 7am. What initially we thought was a fluke, we're now on the 5th night on the trot so "CHEERS" and finally some uninterrupted sleep. Or at least that is the theory. I have all at once developed insomnia that hasn't kept me company since late pregnancy so I am darned frustrated to be thumb twiddling at night when I should be sleeping. Hey-ho, it's nothing to lose sleep over.... ha!!

We did have an out of character grumpy stretch with Grace the other week, where we were treated to the kind of baby one might like to muffle the sound of with a jolly good set of ear plugs. I have experienced meltdowns in Mothercare and the supermarket, the latter of which I walked the aisles for what felt like half an hour trying to calm her down. Turns out she was suffering with wet eczema, and a little under the weather from her 12 week immunisations - nothing that a little Calpol didn't fix, a blessing in one dose.

We now have our regular cheerful Grace back, and at the 3 month marker weighs in at 15lb 8oz. If I had some time to spare I'd sit and work out how much milk she's had to drink to get to that weight, but I have supper on the go and mental arithmetic has never been my strong point.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

The walking week

Autumn is upon us now the clocks have gone back, with it bringing beautiful mornings and the most wonderful colours in every direction on a walk. Combine with this early teething for Grace and a super energetic Daisy-woof, and most days this week found a tired and harassed first-time Mum pounding the pavements with a buggy. Pavements, park, woods. You name it, we walked it. For when walking, the world is quiet - no pestering from the dog, and a generally serene and sleeping (or at least content with the motion) Grace.

Grace taking in the flora at Newmillardam.

Asleep on a walk, a moment of serenity.

Daisy back home and content with her rawhide

The first-time Mum always feels better after a walk. The air clears her head, and provided she doesn't fall fowl by pushing the buggy through something, well, fowl, it usually serves well to get the day off to a good start. Thank heavens for brilliant sunshine and crisp mornings, and a note to the man upstairs if he's listening - lets have more of the crisp and sunny, and less of the damp and blustery. I look bedraggled and unkempt as it is at the moment, without throwing a dose of damp and blustery. The first-time Mother does NOT need help looking like a windswept scarecrow. She can achieve quite naturally what make-up artists and stylists on film sets in Hollywood take hours to achieve. I am a lost talent.

Anyway, thank you good weather, and thank you autumnal beauty for making our walks this week so wonderful.

As for the nightmare of early teething - that can wait for another post.

God bless x

Sunday, 17 October 2010

It all went swimmingly...

It's been a good week here in the Big-Mother House. So much so in fact that the the big-mother is now just about able to squeeze into her pre-maternity jeans which had her dancing round the house like a monkey. And a giddy one at that. Of course the fact that I can't yet sit down in those jeans is irrelevant, I am just happy to be wearing something with buttons at the waist as opposed to over-stretched elastic. Hurray me! Actually the real hard work starts next week when I dust off the yoga mat for a six week kick start to my practice with the yogi legend that is Joanna. Sheli has bravely agreed to join me so we can whine about our aches the morning after... got to love peer support.

As for Grace, she has been a busy little lady. As well as putting on a stiff upper lip for her first shot of immunisations at the clinic, she's donned her water wings and made her first splash in the local pool. Like Mummy, she is also a fan of peer support, so she was joined by not one little friend from our ante-natal group, but three! Eleanor, Ava and Logan all took to the water in their 'happy nappy' swim pants where they learnt the soggy version of 'the wheels on the bus' ('the babies in the pool go splash splash splash...') and had a great time bobbing around the waves getting used to being wet somewhere other than the bath. Next week her little friend John is also coming along!

Hanging out on the play mat

Grace has become rather fond of smiling now - it's becoming a regular thing and the best ones are certainly those she gives when she's greeted after waking from a nap in her nursery. She's also started seeking comfort from hugging and her little arms are learning to embrace and grip which is ever so heart warming when she does it. We like bear hugs in our house.

As for team triumphs, Matt the Husband and I have finally mastered the supermarket shop. After a disastrous attempt during week two, we have put the fear behind us and tackled the 'baby trolley' once more. Success is a) finding a parent and child parking space, b) finding a trolley suitable for carrying a baby, and c) finding the aisles clear enough for dawdling as shopping with a baby inevitably takes longer. THANK YOU TESCO!!

Grace showing off in her hired wheels

The only other thing to mention this week is that I have gone back to work. Not literally, but I have taken my first 'keeping in touch' day which passed in a flash and gave me a dose of grown up conversation (almost Roger), a round of buffet sarnies, and an Apricot muffin to bring home for the Mother-in-law as a thank you for looking after Grace for the day. Typically heavy traffic on the way home saw the muffin reduced to crumbs although I'm aware it's the thought that counts. Yummy. So yes, happy to be back in the chair, albeit a different one now that I have changed job roles, but a good feeling nonetheless. And my old role? The job couldn't have been offered to a more deserving person... WELL DONE SHELI!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Heart Murmur

Dear little Grace,

We had a follow up appointment with the Consultant at Pontefract Hospital this week. He wanted to listen to your heart again to see if the murmur that was present at birth is still audible. He confirmed it is, although he did say it is quite quiet so it may be that whatever defect is causing the sound is starting to correct itself naturally.

Your ECG trace was normal which is excellent news at it means the electrical activity of your heart is functioning as it should be and the defect is not having any effect on this measure. We now have to wait for a referral to see the Cardiologist at the Childrens Hospital in Leeds for an ultrasound scan which will tell us what defect is present. At the moment he thinks its either a PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosus) or a VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect), both being a hole in the heart. I'll tell you more about those as and when we get a diagnosis.

Overall though he was really very pleased with your development, commenting you were thriving - gaining weight very well and being quite advanced for your age - we're very proud.

So keep on growing big and strong, and remember that your Mummy and Daddy love you x x x

Saturday, 9 October 2010

This little piggy

Grace showing off her pinkies... tiny! And yes, Matt the Husband and I finally got to pop the cork on our 'we had a baby' celebration bottle. It's been on ice in the refrigero for 8 weeks today. Chin-chin!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Every home needs a Frances

The Supernanny.

Every first-time Mum should have one. And with Jo Frost having her own TV show and thus far outside my humble grasp, I've taken up the services of her understudy. Frances. Now anyone who knows Frances, knows that she knows best. And what a relief it was to have a visit from her last week, taking the reins and steering me and Grace into a rose-tinted harmonious mothering experience. Well, almost.

With Frances 1 year BB. (Before Baby).

Frances was characteristically superb at getting me on the straight and narrow, but the rose-tint prophecy has been shelved to make way for REALITY. Putting things into perspective is something Frances does best, and I'm thankful to have such a great friend. In the space of a whirlwind lunch visit, Frances had me slowing down (yes really - why do you think I didn't blog last week?!), and taking stock. This is my life now, and I can't expect to rattle off 10 things on my to-do list before Matt the Husband has had time to eat his toast on a morning. (That's no.3 on my list by the way).

Grace with her Daddy.

Jokes aside, a cloud has lifted and I'm getting to grips with the task of raising a little person. And a hungry one at that.

With all the developing Grace has been doing, we have one hungry baby on our hands. Since I posted last, Grace has been working on her emerging smile, strengthening her push-up technique and becoming a versatile lady who can say BALLS to the routine and still be a contented little baby. (N.B. this is NOT a euphemism of the militant how-to book authored by 'She-who-cannot-be-named Ford'!!)

So a little more relaxed as I enter the eighth week with Lady Grace. We have had a weekend away to my Father's 76th birthday party where Grace met Great Uncle Frank for the first time. And along with it a visit to the legendary 'Norfolk Kitchen' for lunch as well as the rock 'n' roll service of an American Diner on our way back up the A1 to Yorkshire.

My Uncle Frank.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Holy Smile, Batman!

Yes indeedy, my friends, Lady Grace has rewarded me with 2 big'uns today. A very gummy grin with her blue eyes twinkling while her whole face lit up... her FIRST SMILE! Genius - who would have thought a smile from a baby would put me on cloud nine in an instant? Now to prove it to the WIND CYNICS. I am on standby with the camera, and I will capture this elusive smile even if it does mean camping out in front of the Jungle Gym without blinking for hours on end. Watch this space!

(UPDATE - Smile No.3 captured in the kitchen on 22nd Sept while Grace was hanging out in her rocker watching Mummy dust the wine rack).

Saturday, 18 September 2010

My Watchdog rant!

Where's Ann Robinson when you need her? The story goes that a tired and frustrated first-time Mum wanted a magic wand to send the baby to sleep. Scouring the web for inspiration, I ordered a CD called The Mozart Effect which claims to send babies to sleep with calming music. When it arrives I'll tell you if it works. That isn't my gripe - that lies with the other CD I ordered in good faith, and being called Beethoven for Babies - Brain training for little ones, please tell me I'm not off the mark for expecting the thing to be, well, Beethoven.

So it arrived this morning and I'm immediately confused. Reading the set list I scratch my head and read the small print. "Beethoven for babies invites little ones to stretch their mental muscles..." (good so far) "...with gentle love songs..." (doubt creaps in) "...graceful minuets..." (reined back in by this classical reference, but then comes crashing down by-) "...jolly country dances and beloved Scottish, Irish and Welsh lullabies."

Scratching my head I'm reading it again and looking at the cover utterly perplexed. I wonder idly if I have it wrong and its been put together by a musical upstart called Beth Oven. I doubt it. I haven't listened to it yet, but I know old Ludwig was German, so I do wonder how he ended up writing a piece called Chiling O'Guirg which is clearly Irish. Figures.

I'm smiling now. I know old Ludwig was a versatile chap, and he did actually compose all these pieces. It just tickled me in the moment and I thought a smile this week is worth noting!

A month into my new job...

My word, my new boss is a ball braker. I thought Kev cracked the whip but even he pales in significance compared to Lady Grace. Who would have thought that something so tiny would be so demanding and take up so much of my time? I'm hoping by the time I reach six months in my new post as Mummy I get a good appraisal as at the moment I'm struggling to adjust to the all-consuming nature of this job I signed up for. I've ummed and arred about being honest about my feelings on here in the public domain but I figure getting it off my chest is a step in the right direction to processing how I feel and beginning to deal with saying goodbye to life as I knew it and hello to the future which started already one month ago.

Time has really flown- ONE MONTH OLD - Grace has passed her first milestone and it really does seem she has been here much much longer. This marker in her development has seen her graduate into Size 2 nappies, continue to thrive putting on ounce after ounce with little effort, and begin to show some real strength in the control of her head and neck muscles. This 5th week has seen some considerable change in the amount of time she is spending awake in between naps and she is becoming more content amusing herself under her play gym or on the mat looking at a colourful book or toy. My personal fave is the stuffed giraffe that plays a tune from The Sound of Music... I can't wait to teach her the words! I'm on tenterhooks waiting for her first smile... my first feedback that I'm not actually doing that bad a job at all.

Last weekend saw us reuniting with the ante-natal group now that we have all had our babies. Only baby Eleanor is younger in the group, with Toby and Amelia being the oldest at 11 weeks, so we took much comfort from the reassurance from Mums Emma and Leona that it does get easier. I'm holding onto that promise for dear life!

I did take some strength from the group in that Thursday saw us being brave enough to tackle public transport for the first time - getting the train into Leeds for a spot of window shopping and to pop into the Bank to let Grace meet her Daddy's work mates. I'm proud of the fact I only had one notable panic attack trying to navigate the train station in rush hour while Matt the Husband prattled on about the pros and cons of investing in this child trust find as opposed to that child trust fund while chomping on a banana and telling me I'm being irrational about worrying so much. So amazed that I avoided the profanities with Grace within earshot! We do love him really. (That's me and my neurotic other self, of course).

Grace having a swift half at the milk bar

One last thing. Grace's favourite thing this week, that seemed to keep her amused and content - her first trip to a country pub, The Horse & Jockey on the Sandstone Trail in Shropshire. There she met up with my Godmother Jennifer and her husband Stephen who delighted being introduced to Grace for the first time, along with my sister Bunny and her better half Steve on their way back from holidaying in Wales with the Aged P's (who were also in tow). Much amused to have my Dad consider that his Sat Nav might go out of signal from the satellite because he was driving so fast that it couldn't keep up with him. This from the man who drives no faster than 56mph to get optimal miles per gallon. Hilarious!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Week 4

Play time with Mummy

Grace and I ventured out with the buggy on our own this week to the Childrens Centre in the village. We met other new Mums and their babies, and I hope over time we will make some friends. While we were there Maggie our health visitor weighed Grace and we're proud that she is clearly thriving - having gained a further 11oz this week. No wonder her clothes are getting snug! It felt good to get out for some chat and fresh air and I kick myself that we haven't made the effort to get out more. Still, only 2 weeks until I get my wheels again so we can get out onto familiar turf.

A downside to this healthy growth Grace is experiencing is waste - we're already accumulating a pile of clothes she has outgrown which is such a pity as many of them she has worn only once. In addition to this we've just been to Mothercare to return items she has outgrown that she hasn't even had the pleasure of wearing. We are very lucky to have so much choice of wardrobe for her - I am positively green with envy. My post-natal wardrobe is restricted to comfy trackies and maternity jeans as my incision site is still tender. I'm looking forward to the green light from the doctor at my 6 week check so I can get back into some form of exercise again. Not long now!

We've been lucky to be blessed with visitors to keep us occupied while I am still confined to the village. Kevin my old boss, Wendy our friend & dog advisor (!), and Christina my bump buddy who came for lunch with her little boy Dimitris (now 5 weeks) and Auntie Mina. Daisy-woof also had visitors this week (bless her) by the Scanlons who brought Val's puppy Nig over for a run around in the garden. Is it wrong to say i felt broody for another puppy?!

Grace [burping] with Auntie Christina

Grace is still enjoying her fame and we're getting more confident with day to day life and the trials it brings. I confess I am still very much in the adjustment phase, reluctant to let go of my old ways to make the transition to being a new Mum. But we're making progress and we're slowly getting to grips with 'letting go' - taking things day by day and trying not to beat myself up over the small stuff. I have always been guilty of sweating the small stuff.

Grace showing off her head control!

Grace has been a big girl this week - experiencing her first manicure (she enjoyed it, I was petrified), and learning to bat her eyelashes that have sprouted in a matter of days. She is now showing greater strength in control of her head, which she frequently holds clear of the floor when she lays on her front. And she has also managed to roll from her front onto her back for the first time this week. We're very proud!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Week 3

So let me set the record straight. Grace is a mere 3 weeks and 3 hours old as I write this and she already has a bigger social network than my pocket filofax can keep tabs on. Rising socialite, famous for being a baby, Grace is on everyones guest list and we're getting more invites than there are days in the week. I'm pooped trying to keep up with it all.

So this week then, the one I say has been so busy. Well, Grace had her first trip to the seaside where we spent the day with Donna and her family braving the British bank holiday weather at Bridlington. Beautiful sunshine one moment, then rain with winds high enough to carry the Quinny over a cliff if I let go the next. Good fish n chips though, perhaps worth getting the wind buffed scarecrow hair for.

A wind swept Daddy in Bridlington.

We've had a visit from our friend Grace and her daughter Ava, incidentally born on the same day as our Grace. Sheli came to see us for a jaunt around the village with the Quinny, and we were also peppered with visits from the midwife and health visitor. Of course Grandma Mary and Great Grandma Fran got another look in, and Grace enjoyed meeting Great Grandma Betty for the first time. Not visits, but fan mail also came from far flung corners of the UK, Hastings and Wales, not to mention air mail from Down Under. She is a popular lass.

A sneaky pic of Grace gazing at her Rainbow Book.

As memories of the birth experience and recovery period begin to wane, I'm beginning to get to grips with my new job. FULL TIME MOTHER. It's tiring, there are no scheduled breaks, and I can't even take time out to nip for a quick can of diet coke when the boss isn't looking... she's always there. What's more, the boss, Lady Grace as she's becoming known, is a hard task master. She chops and changes her preferences leaving me trying my best to meet her needs but sometimes falling short of the keep-the-baby-from-crying mark. I joke, and I do love the little mite, but from somebody so retentive in keeping an orderly and organised life pre-baby, the shock to the system from this to being a wing-it Mother, has been like a slap around the chops with a rubber turkey.

Grace after her bath.

Matt the Husband is back to work. I am alone with a baby and it's peaceful. He's figured out that singing helps soothe her to sleep. Good for Grace - I'm glad it works, but my ears are bleeding! Great musician... terrible vocalist.

Key developments this week?
She can definitely move her head more this week - right up and from one side to another when she is laid on her belly. And she is starting to follow the sound of a voice with her eyes. She can also fart REALLY loud. She obviously has a Roberts bottom - for this I am clearly very proud, a family legacy at last.

Daisy-woof, finally moved into her own room...

That's it. She's been quiet enough for half hour for me to write this, I'm off to see if I get through dinner in one sitting.