Monday, 31 October 2011

Smashing Pumpkins and a Raging Raisin

Here are Gertie and Gilby splendidly painted as pumpkins for Halloween.

Eddie, alas, is too new for face-painting, but it doesn't matter because when he screws his little face up for a good screaming cry he resembles a particularly scary halloween pumpkin anyway. His new nickname is the 'raging raisin' on account of his newborn wrinkliness combined with his ability to ratchet up the decibels. I wonder if this is typical third-child behaviour, borne of the need to be very loud to make his demands heard above the others...?

We are winning, finally, with Gilby and the potty training; though the timing of a severe bout of diarrhoea was not helpful to this process. Enough said.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Now Going Ga Ga

So. We are driving along in the car and the radio presenter encourages the listeners to stay tuned for the Lady Ga Ga track coming up shortly.

"Mummy, I love Lady Ga Ga!" pipes up two-year-old Gilby with gusto from the back.

I'm sorry, did I mention that my son is just two? How can you love Lady Ga Ga at two years old? This is seriously worrying! Particularly when his mother isn't particularly a fan, and has never before had cause to mention Lady Ga Ga's name. Where has he got this from? I blame the Aussie.

Oh, and on day three of potty training: Carpet 3 - Potty 1.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Going Quietly Potty

I may not have fully thought through the timing of this, but today is Day 1 of Potty Training Proper for Gilby. He is almost 2 1/4 now and really starting to show signs of interest, not least in the excitement demonstrated over the choosing of the 17 pairs of 'big boy pants' that we have invested in in readiness.

So. I've read Gina Ford (not usually a great fan, but Potty Training in One Week is exactly what I'm after, so I'm ignoring the patronising tone and trying to follow the advice). We have umpteen sets of spare clothes and pants (well, seventeen, to be precise). We are restricting ourselves to two rooms: the kitchen and the sitting room, both of which have been made as 'accident-proof' as I can manage. I have smarties with which to bribe, toys on hand to occupy, two potties at the ready, a cupboard full of disinfectant and a bucketful of patience in reserve. We're off!

I also have a 16 day-old baby. One who, up until this morning, has mostly slept through the day and kept us awake at night. But of course, Eddie has picked today to reverse the pattern, and has been awake since 7.15am, pretty much uninterrupted, aside from two 20 minute naps.

Which has meant that I haven't been able to devote quite as much time as I would have liked to Gilby's needs. And, though we have strict rules about television (as much of the bedtime hour as supper and a bath allow in the evening and some programmes on Saturday morning) I find that by 11am I have already succumbed to the controlling power of CBeebies.

By 2pm we have had three accidents and a grand total of no potty wees. Gilby has begged to have his nappy back. Eddie must be having some kind of growth spurt as I have been feeding him constantly. There is yoghurt up the walls (another story). I have just about managed to get myself dressed and my kitchen and sitting room look like an advertisement for Toys R Us.

I don't know about Gilby, but I am going quietly potty...and my bucketful of patience has only a few drops left. Ah yes. Maternity leave. I remember it now.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Mummy Isn't Magic (But There Are Enough Cuddles)

Given that Gilby is very much a mummy's boy, we weren't entirely sure how he would take to his new little baby brother, Eddie. In fact, nursery had warned us that he had been saying that he wasn't sure if Mummy would have enough cuddles for him too (how to make your heart hurt!)

So it was with some care that we made the introductions. One-day-old Eddie was very generous in his gifts to his siblings, and showed a remarkable awareness for what they might like. That started things off well, but when I went to feed Eddie, Gilby came over and yanked my breast away, declaring firmly, "No Mummy, Eddie doesn't like that."

When Eddie subsequently started crying at having his supper interrupted, Gilby did make a little concession and suggested that I sing him 'Rainbow' (Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Gilby's favourite when he is feeling sad) so I guess there was some degree of empathy there.

Meanwhile Gertie (4 going on 40) was quite happy to mother her new baby brother, fussing over him with the muslin and demanding cuddles. My sister brought over a hamper of loveliness filled with nice things for Mummy including chocolates, wine and various pampering products, but it also had a little book in called 'My Mummy is Magic'. This is a lovely little tale guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye of a hormonal new mum, all about the little things that mummy does that seem like magic. Unfortunately there is no pulling the wool over Gertie's eyes with the new-found independence that school has given her. I read to them both in my best Listen With Mother voice:

"If I whisper a secret in my mummy's ear, she guesses it before I've finished telling her! That's magic."

"Well, no, that's not really magic, is it?!

I carried on, not wishing to break the 'spell'.

"When I hurt myself, my mummy kisses the sore bit, and ta-da! It's all better. That's magic."

"Um, well, that's not actually magic, either, is it?"

I suppose not...

Later on, Gertie was encouraging her little cousin to interact with her new baby brother. "Go on, he won't bite." There was a short pause before she added, "He hasn't got any teeth."

Gilby got into the spirit of it all eventually, and even came up with a gift-wrapped present for his mother. The fact that it was a packaged sanitary towel from the bathroom was irrelevant, as I believe it is the thought that counts.

And there were plenty of cuddles to go round!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Smashing Splashing Birth Story in Brief

Well, last Monday evening, I 'SROM-ed'. I only knew this because I heard the midwife say it on the telephone to the hospital: "I need to book in one of my ladies who's SROM-ed." Spontaneous Rupture of the Membranes - or, my waters broke. This was bad news for me because my previous two deliveries had begun this way, both resulting in induction. It was the one thing that I really didn't want to happen. I SROMED just before midnight, but there was good news, because by early morning there were some weak and irregular (but encouraging) signs of contractions.

My midwife examined me, and described conditions as 'favourable'. I took the dog for a brisk walk, finished off a very spicy stir-fry (the previous night's leftovers) for lunch, and was sipping my raspberry leaf tea contemplating another half pound of pineapple for pudding, when things really began to get interesting. I phoned Daddy at work and when he returned at 3.30pm it really had all kicked off.

We began to prepare to go to the hospital (suddenly realising that it might be a good idea to get the baby car seat down from the loft, that sort of thing!) when the phone rang. It was the BT engineer who we had been waiting for for several days. "I'm about twenty minutes away, is that alright?"

"Um, twenty minutes you say? Ok..."

I sat contracting as quietly as I possibly could in the nursery, trying to stay out of the way as he tested lines and installed something (I was beyond caring what), desperately willing him to finish. Finally, we left for the hospital at 5pm. The journey took nearly an hour, and by the time we arrived, my contractions were about a minute and a half apart. I've got to be honest, I've had more pleasant car journeys in my life.

I began by loudly demanding an epidural, convinced that the midwives were going to tell me that I was about 5cm dilated and would have hours to go. Sensibly, they ignored my request, and began filling the birth pool. There wasn't even time for gas and air, let alone an epidural.

"I thought I couldn't have a water birth as my waters had broken?" I managed to gasp. "Well you're still within 24 hours, so there's no problem, if you would still like to try?"

I had written 'water birth' into the birth plan more in hope than earnest, and hadn't really considered the possibility that I might be able to have one. But the minute I got into the pool things improved dramatically, and my new little baby was born at 8.17pm, only about two hours after getting to the hospital. I say 'little' but he was 9lb 10 oz. And 'he' was a surprise as I really thought that I was having a girl. It was a really euphoric experience. What a difference from my previous labours!

So now I am a mother of three under-fives, and have two sons. How on earth did that happen?