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Another short hiatus whilst we move house

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No sooner am I back from holiday, than we move house! Yes, I seem to like a challenge as my life seems to have been non-stop recently. Unfortunately, Sky broadband can’t seem to manage a seamless transition from old to new house so they’re disconnecting us today, and we’ll be activated again in the new house sometime next week (you guessed it – they couldn’t specify a date!).

So I’m having to take another mini blog hiatus. I will have a dongle in case of urgent queries (and for stealing a few moments when I’m having serious withdrawals). It’ll all be worth it as we’re moving so Dexter can have a garden and we can be near the best nursery / primary school in town.

See you on the other side!

Mustn’t forget the baby…

 

 

Giggles, gymnastics and posing at 4 months

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I can’t believe how quickly you’re growing! Looking back through photos of you laying next to your earliest cuddly toys, you seemed dwarfed by some of them! Now, you’re able to grab and chew them with ease.

Your little personality is coming into its own now. You’re cheerful and endearing, sweet-tempered and loving. A tearful tantrum is always followed by a smile and you’re able to calm yourself down now without mummy. You’re also an avid chit-chatterer and each day you’ll make a new sound. Giggles are now prolonged and more frequent and just when mummy thought she couldn’t love you any more, she finds a little bit of extra room in her heart with every laugh you give.

Your legs are now super strong. Everyday you’ll come into mummy’s bed in the morning after daddy has gone to work. You’ll finish your long sleep with mummy then wake us up at 8am by kicking off the bed sheets and giggling beside me. You also love to stand up. After changing your nappy on your mat, you’ll stretch out your arms towards me and I’ll pull you up by your arms into an upright position. Standing there smiling in your sleepsuit you look like a mini gymnast after a world-class floor routine.

How much did mummy and daddy struggle getting a shot of you on your legs?!

You continue to take such stunning photographs and seem to enjoy posing. Mummy and daddy both have photos of you set as the background on their laptops and you seem to recognise yourself whenever you catch a glimpse of our screens.

We have had the odd bad day. You gave your dad a fright a few weeks ago when you screamed for 2 hours whilst mummy was having a few drinks with her friend, and yesterday you refused to let me put you down all day. We put these outbursts down to you feeling a bit tired or a bit unwell. They are always short-lived and never a problem.

We’ve had just one accident so far when mummy dropped an iPhone on your head. You sustained a tiny cut on your eyebrow and mummy stayed up all night crying. I’m sure this is the first of many knocks and scrapes but I could do without another for a few months as I was devastated.

Rolling still seems a long way off, but your sitting is progressing well and its only a matter of time before you can do this unaided.

This next month will be a big one for you. We have the challenge of introducing you to ‘grown up’ food, you’ll be going swimming for the first time ever with daddy on holiday, and I suspect we might get a ”mama” or “dada” out of you. We’re also moving house and moving you into your own room, and mummy is going back to work. These are massive things for us both to deal with and I’ve had lots of tears myself as I’ll really miss being with you during the day. Daddy will be with you from 10am – 3pm and I know you’ll make him as happy as you’ve made me with lots of giggles and little milestones. Just don’t forget mummy please, and save some smiles for me in the early evening.

Thumb-sucking and hand-holding

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This week (#13) has been a busy one with you performing lots of new neat little tricks.

Head holding is continuing to go well. Daddy and mummy can carry you on their hips now with only the occasional head bop. You’ve had one little accident staring at yourself in the mirror where you mistakenly thought mummy had made you a twin brother to play with. Unfortunately when you went to give him a kiss you quickly realised that your playmate wasn’t all he was cracked up to be.

I reported a few weeks back that your little leggies are stronger than your arms and that’s definitely still the case. I don’t know if you’re inspired by the Olympics but you’ve really taken to standing on mummy’s legs – locking your little knees and stretching your back. Standing on the floor with mummy supporting your underarms you’ll take some tentative steps forward (you regularly take 4 of these before collapsing). I’ve heard some babies will walk without crawling and it seems you could be a contender.

Helping mummy with bot bot

You’ve also been fascinated by your hands this week. Favourite things to grab so far are your bottle (during feeds), mummy’s hand, mummy’s necklace, and mummy’s hair. You’re even beginning to grab at your rattles! As an aside, I’ve also caught you sucking your thumb on more than one occasion which daddy thinks is sweet, mummy isn’t so sure.

Thumb sucking (and swearing at mummy…) Sigh

The elusive giggle is still not quite there. Tickling your tummy seems to be the way forward here but we still haven’t quite got a full-blown laughing fit. Having said that – you’re a right chatterbox. On your playmat or sat with daddy you’ll be gurgling and cooing for England telling all about how mean your mummy is for not hurrying up with those bots bots. In fact, you are pretty much a daddy’s boy. You can’t get enough of story-time with daddy and I’ll be the first to admit daddy RULES this and offers up seriously funny voices and ab libs.  Even when daddy is preoccupied with his laptop – you’d rather hang out with him than me.

You’re also not quite there with the roll-over. I’ll regularly find you at a 90 degree angle in your cot, but haven’t seen you flip onto your tummy yet. You can take your time with this if you want as mummy would have a heart attack if she found you face down in your cot.

Finally – mummy had a sort out of your clothes this week. At a whooping 11lbs 12 you’ve now grown out of your teeny clothes and are firmly in 3-6 months outfits. I feel a fashion show is overdue so we’ll get that organised next week xxx

So that’s it – plenty of bottom lip wobbles and smile-ins… perfection in every way xx

Grabbing those toys…

… And smashing yourself in the face with them

A self conscious mummy

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They warn you that motherhood brings out just about every emotion from fear, to pain, to joy, to happiness <Insert yours here>. What I wasn’t prepared for was this overwhelming sense of self-consciousness; I feel judged by everyone, all of the time.

When Dexter and I make our daily trip to Tescos Express, I can feel people staring and appraising. They’re looking at:

  • My choice of buggy; how much did it cost? Is it secondhand?
  • They’re peering in at Dexter to see how he’s dressed; is it weather appropriate? Is the sun in his eyes?
  • They are scanning the look on my face; am I glowing and refreshed? Or, is my hair out-of-place and my make-up dishevelled?

Those same people are trying to guess my age; am I one of those school-leaving, council estate, benefit reaping charlatans we all hear about on Question Time. I don’t have any issue with young mums at all but I’m a young-looking 29-year-old so have no reason to be so paranoid. This is undoubtably because I feel young, I feel inexperienced, I feel scared – and I bet every inch of that is etched across my face.

At the supermarket I feel people are peeping into my shopping basket to see what I’m buying; fatty foods are met with a look of ‘knowing’, Infacol or Calpol brings out the sympathetic nods, wine makes people stare in horror. If I buy cigarettes people look at me like I should be shot on the spot.

My health visitor recently came around and I watched every word I said; I couldn’t be too confident or she’d think I didn’t need her help (I can’t afford to miss out on her expertise as I know so little); I couldn’t be too anxious or she’d make me fill in one of her little questionnaires and before you know it we’d have social workers around every day poring over my efforts at motherhood looking for an opportunity to step in with a “Oh I wouldn’t do it like that, it’s like this”.

Even on Facebook I have to make sure Dexter is constantly seen in a positive light; “He’s sleeping so well”, “He’s’ a joy to look after”, or “He’s so handsome” – just so people can see how well I’m coping and won’t feel the need to jump in with their two pennies worth. In the same breath I’m dishing out the same advice I hate to all those pregnant mates who haven’t had the benefit of my infinite wisdom.

I think I’ve always been a little nervous and anxious – I’ve had moments in the past where I’ve been unable to get out of bed and hid away from everyone for days on end – I even missed a Christmas once when I was upset about a relationship break up I felt like a complete failure and unworthy of a Turkey meal with my family! It’s clearly something I need to get over or poor Dexter will suffer and inherit my lack of confidence.

In reality I pass only 2 or 3 people on those supermarket trips and they aren’t at all bothered about me or my son. The health visitor is probably desperate to get out of my house so she can move onto the next mummy who isn’t afraid to admit she needs some support. My Facebook pals have probably got fed up of hearing about Dexter every 5 minutes and opted out of viewing my updates on their timeline. We’re simply a mother and son and are going to make the same mistakes as every one else in the world.

I have no reason at all to be so worried and know how ridiculous all this self doubt sounds. Everyone I meet tells me how fabulously smiley he is. The doctors and health visitors have been positive about every weigh-in and head measurement. He actually seems a little bit beyond all the major developmental milestones cited on mother and baby websites! Best of all, I know he loves me and trusts me and I know there is nothing I could do better as a mum than I do already.

So maybe this is just how everyone feels. I wouldn’t be a good mother if I didn’t worry! That said, at the end of a long day spent pretending to be the Stepford Mum, I always look forward to the solitude of my home, with my Craig and my Dexter – It’s less scary here!

 

Loving this… Dexter’s new sock monkey, Charlie

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I don’t usually get very excited about stuffed animals – Dex has very few as, quite frankly, they creep me out. However, when stumbling through the internet reading some other mummy blogs, I came across a competition to win a sock monkey. Nothing to get too excited about there then. Since having Dexter I have been known to enter the odd holiday competition but wouldn’t have ordinarily entered this one – the e-forms are fiddly and I don’t have the time to be typing away entering details when Dex is still such a handful. But a  few clicks later and I was hooked on these gorgeous homemade sock monkeys and had to have one.

Karen’s Crafty Sock Monkeys is a little known Facebook business. Karen doesn’t have a fancy website, does the whole operation on her own, and is the sewing / craft goddess none of us have the time to be. I love the imperfection of all things homemade and shabby chic and Dex’s room is a bit of a homage to this; toys and decorations have been carefully sourced from charity shops, baby boutiques, antique shops and (inevitably) eBay… therefore Karen’s little Facebook page called out to me instantly.

I love championing mums who have that little bit of entrepreneurial spirit; its tough being a mum but you ‘make do’ and make your money honestly. I would rather spend my money here, buying something truly unique, than spend the equivalent in The Disney Store on something pathetic and garish. I don’t know Karen’s situation but I have this little vision of her patiently sewing in front of Eastenders with a glass of wine in hand. She could be me if I had any bloody talent to speak of.

Needless to say I didn’t win the competition but was so taken with the novelty, I have since adopted Charlie. He was a miniscule £8.95 all in (p&p included) and just how he is that cheap, I’ll never know.

Smiles with Charlie!

The premise behind Karen’s sock monkeys is simple:

  • You browse all the sock choices from her photo album and pick your own colour scheme and material – you can stake your claim on these socks by commenting on the photo you have chosen
  • You browse all the different animals Karen has in her repertoire (again there is a Facebook album to flick through
  • You send her a message and let her know your choices, she’ll price it up for you
  • When your little buddy is ready, she’ll post a picture on her wall for you to check him / her over
  • You can either pick your new friend up from her in Kent, or pay by PayPal and she’ll send to your home address – Charlie arrived in a matter of days.

Dex is smitten with Charlie and the two are in separable. He’s perfectly safe for babies as he’s lightweight and has no scratchy labels or ‘hard bits’; he’s just sock, cotton and stuffing. He can’t fall on Dex’s face as Charlie is so skinny, he’ll just roll off. He’s a perfect car seat / moses basket companion as he sits snugly in next to Dexter and can squeeze in the tiniest of places. Not only this, but he fits in with Dexter’s other toys beautifully – as I picked Charlie’s colours I could match him to the paint in his room, the colour of his duvet and the colour of Dex’s favourite outfit – simply put, he looks the part!

Cuddling Charlie in his sleep xx

We get so many comments on Charlie, I’d recommend him in a heartbeat and will most probably build a collection of other monkeys for Dex to enjoy.

You can get yours here… http://www.facebook.com/pages/Karens-Crafty-Sock-Monkeys/213366432076674

 

Imperfect perfectness!

 

Handmade goodness

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My dream nursery - I love pretty much everything about this room especially the colours and the purposeful mess

We’re officially “nesting” at the moment in the Mill’s household. I’m really keen to have the nursery ready early so I can wander in every night from work and daydream about the day baby comes home. I’ve seen some gorgeous nurseries online and I want ours to be just as special. The idea is to have the ‘bones’ in place (furniture) by next month, then we’ll just add little bits to it over time. By the time our tiny one is in, it’ll be the most gorgeous room in the house; stuffed with little trinkets and features.

So where are we right now?

We have a Moses basket and a baby bouncer, a cot tidy, a mobile, and have made a start on the stuffed toy collection – hardly the impressive start I wanted! I’m a massive vintage fan and love hings with a past. This extends to pre-loved things that other babies have enjoyed. I plan on sourcing unique and pretty bits from eBay, Gumtree, independent baby shops, craft fairs and boot sales…  I’m hoping to find the odd thing I know no one else will have and we’ll keep for future babies to come (that’s right Craig – I’m thinking 3). What I can’t find, I’m likely to make (or buy homemade)  – and I’m loving all the tiny knitted booties and mittens on eBay. I really love the thought that someone makes them as a barely profitable mini business as they sell for £1.99 +p&p – they must  just love being thrifty and making things! Every item is unique with miniature ribbons and bows.

 
 
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Baby booties on eBay - these are so cute and intricate!

I’d ideally like for the dresser drawers to already be filled with blankets, socks, baby grows, bibs etc, when baby comes home. Anything else we receive as gifts will be bonuses. I’m less fussy about these. We’ll probably know whether we’re having a boy or a girl in a few months but most early clothing is gender neutral so this collection can start right away. I don’t see the point in spending a great deal of money on this. Baby will have some expensive one-off outfits for special occasions, but otherwise they’ll be perfectly happy in hand-me-downs and bargains sourced in high street sales. Babies don’t stay tiny enough to make use of one outfit for more than a few months, and they can be messy too. I’d be heartbroken if I spent hundreds of pennies on things that get ruined in 5 minutes; baby won’t be aware if his / her baby grow costs £20 or £2,50.
Facebook - Mummies Club
Facebook – Mummies Club

 

Speaking of money I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a Mummies Club. The idea is to connect with other new mummies in the area and donate old outgrown items to those mothers with children younger than your own. I have two ideas at the moment; a ‘bring and buy’ bi-monthly event, or a strange twist on secret santa. Obviously option 2 would be far more exciting but it would be a logistical nightmare! I floated both ideas on Facebook last week and people seemed to think it was a good idea. I may well run with this later on in the pregnancy. We’re in recession and every penny counts at the moment, for everyone, not just us. It would be so nice to help  each other out and make money at the same time. I’d love to hear peoples thoughts xx

So… we went to the midwife!

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So it all gets a little more real from here! Today was midwife appointment #1, the first in what looks to be a pretty exhaustive list of appointments in the next 7 (and a bit) months. As it’s only my second day at work, it was a bit of a lunchtime rush to get there on time. Craig picked me up outside work and we rushed through unusually busy traffic to Western Elms Surgery.

Western Elm Surgery, Reading
Western Elms Surgery, Reading

Amazingly my blood pressure was spot on for once! Considering the last few appointments have given erratic results (one week very low, the next very high), it was good to see the pregnancy hasn’t had any adverse effect. She passed no comment on my weight either so I guess she has no major concerns about this. The rest of the appointment was the general do’s and don’ts that we were already familiar with due to our own research.

Next on the list are blood tests on Friday afternoon, then a call to the hospital to book in my 11-13 week scan! REALLY looking forward to this as we’ll actually get to see our little one for the first time. People have told me it becomes far more real after this and I can’t wait. Unfortunately I also have to change doctor’s surgery as Craig and I have moved out of the catchment area for Western Elms. I was really disappointed about this as I’ve been really pleased with them. Appointments are quick and easy, someone always answers the phone, and I really liked Kirstie. I want to do this as soon as possible as it’ll be far easier to get to Tilehurst and register me, than struggle with a pram on the bus in 9 months and try to register me and baby. I also want to meet midwife #2 early so I can get to know her before the appointments come in thick and fast.

I guess the funniest thing to come out of this session was the urine test. Because I forgot to bring a sample to the appointment, I had to provide one before I left. As I’m pregnant, it’s not hard to pee on cue so I thought this would be a breeze. I was handed a little pot and a syringe and off I went. I didn’t give too much thought to the syringe bit until I read the instructions. The idea was to pee in the pot, then suck into the syringe tube for transporting to the hospital. Simple? Oh no. I literally couldn’t work it out. I had to leave my pee in the cubicle and get Craig to help. So Craig entered the toilet (luckily pee was still in situ) and joined the party. As I didn’t want to be interrupted transferring said wee from one pot to another, I locked the door and we tried to follow the Ikea style instructions. I’m sure anyone passing that toilet must have heard us giggling, especially when we squirted it everywhere trying to snap off the plunger bit.

Saved from William Mills
Saved from William Mills

In other news… the new job is going great. I’m really enjoying it and love the people I work with. I don’t seem to be suffering from any nerves there which is lovely – and owed perhaps in part to the fact I’m carrying baby; it’s something I have to be good at for his or her sake.

The new house is also going great. Billy is settling in well and caught us 2 mice yesterday as a moving in present; one sadly died, the other made it out alive thanks to Craig’s shoe. We have sat him down now and asked him nicely to bring us gifts in the early evening, and not 4am as it literally woke us both up this morning!

Right – I’m off to get in an early night as, between the pregnancy and the new job, I’m dead on my feet. Seeing Paul tomorrow to bribe him into doing a quick post at the end of the week to keep everyone updated.

Gems xxxxxxxxxxxx