Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas time again

Hello! I haven't blogged in almost a year. The longer I left it the more I felt like it was too late, that it was over, but I find myself constantly wishing I'd written things down so that I could remember exactly when/what Rose did at different times. And it's no where near too late; Rose is changing and learning new things every day. So I'm back to keep note of all her latest tricks.

Rose is 17 months old. Wow. She learnt to walk around the time of her birthday, which seems so long ago now. So that big milestone is ticked off. She went for the "launch yourself into a run before you can even walk" method, which involved a lot of toppling over, but luckily it was summer so we spent hours at the park every day and she soon became a pro-walker. She was Mrs Independent and took a long time to get into holding mummy or daddy's hand, unlike lots of children who seem to learn to walk by holding both hands, but now she goes through days where she loves holding hands and days where she wont even hold on to cross the road so you have to carry her across kicking and screaming. She knows her own mind! (I'm raising my eyebrow at this funny/polite way of saying what a little madame she can be!)

Oh, and we moved house! We've been living in Otley for around 8 months now, and our lives have completely changed from doing so. Otley is only about half an hour from the suburb of Leeds we lived in before we moved, but it's very different. Our neighbours are mostly elderly people, and a large chunk of the people I see day to day walking around the town would fall into the "retired" age group. It'd be fair to call it a sleepy town. It was hard moving somewhere that we don't know anyone, although because of moving in spring and having a really good summer weather-wise I felt so busy and happy that it didn't really start to worry me until autumn. I did finally start going to some playgroups, so have met lots of mums which is good. Baby groups are very strange social situations, as nice as everyone is there's an odd atmosphere of people comparing/judging each other's parenting skills/children. Which is understandable; it shouldn't be competetive but we each think our child is the best in the world so there's bound to be a bit of competition involved. Plus because it's a small town a lot of the mums have known each other for years. I find it increasingly less awkward, but still have to make myself go. I have met some really nice people, and it's nice to have people to ask parenting questions to and just have some nice small talk, plus the groups are bringing Rose out of her shell and it's incredibly cute seeing her interact with other little people.

There's so many new things she can do I don't know where to start! Rose is starting to talk, which is really exciting. It seems like every day at the moment she is trying to say something new. I can't remember a first word as such, it's hard to pinpoint because I don't know when you call an attempt at making the sound of a word talking. She's been saying "bup" for her cup for weeks, if not months, and of course has mama and dada down. Sometimes she just copies the sound of a word, but sometimes she really "says" things. It's very exciting. Especially at this point where we're the only people who can decifer what on earth she's asking for. I'm sad that one day this special relationship where we are her world wont exist anymore.

Her cutest current new things are saying night night to all of her toys and giving them all a kiss, sometimes even extending the night night kiss to inanimate objects. She's also just started giving me a kiss when I put her in her cot, and smiling about it - which is so cute. Sometimes as I go downstairs and when I turn on the baby monitor it picks her up still saying "night night". She's also just got into talking in the phone, mostly nonsensical babble but she's very good at saying "buh bye mama/dada". Oh and my favourite thing because I taught it to her - when you say "would you like some cheese Rose" she does a smile pose, puts her hand on her cheeks, and says "cheeeeeeeese" like you're going to take her photo. You'd have to see it to believe the cuteness. I couldn't be prouder of how quickly she's learning new skills. I love that for the past few weeks for her bedtime stories she brings the books over to me sitting on her bedroom floor and climbs up on my knee and listens to the whole stories, sometimes doing actions or saying words. It's such a lovely time. Dan does her bedtime stories when he's at home so it's really nice that on days when he's been at work but is in home in time, he gets to have a lovely close time with her before bed.

That seems a long enough update for now. Hopefully I'll blog often and keep up to date with her ever changing character. Photos next time.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

A is for Apple

Rose has eaten a whole alphabet of foods!

She is so adventurous! I've even been making her a dahl for some all important lentils with plenty of cumin in and she laps it up! They do say that babies taste while they're still in your tummy, and also that flavours get into your breastmilk, so I shouldn't be suprised that she's taking it all in her stride. She's been eating roughly the same things since we started, but seems to vary from day to day with which go down best. Sweet potato has climbed to the top spot of most reliable / sure to go down a treat.

One recent addition to the dinner table is quinoa. Which I have only just learnt to pronounce. "keen-waa". Or something like that. Its lovely and sort of similar to couscous but also perfect for swapping with rice in risotto-type dishes - which we cook a lot. Rose has been eating it just with some cooked garlic and onion, and bits of roast parsnip or squash, and a splash of lemon juice and olive oil, in. She loves it - of course. Its quite tricky to eat so I've mostly been passing her a spoon with it already piled on, although she is good at picking at all the leftover bits on her highchair-table at the end of the meal. Its perfect because if I make a big batch I can then add other veg to our portion, things like mushrooms or tomatoes and feta, things which are unsuitable for her, and we all eat together.

I've learn't loads in these few weeks, and I've really enjoyed being blown away by her development. A lot of things I assumed would be eaten everyday aren't, like toast which she probably has about once a week. The assumption that not much would actually be eaten early on was so wrong, she eats loadssss! Which is great, hopefully she'll be dropping a few milk feeds soon - although I have become rather attached to breastfeeding and might have a little cry when I'm no longer her special milk bar.

We haven't resorted to any processed foods or baby jars, although its really hard work preparing her food every day as well as all the other million mum jobs and I do totally understand that some people just wouldn't have the time to do baby led weaning. I think it helps if you like cooking; I still enjoy cooking an evening meal for me and Dan after shes gone to bed, so there's no getting me out of the kitchen. I like thinking of creative ways for us to eat the same ingredients to save time/wastage - mostly I just eat bits of what shes having for lunch but for tea I might make bread dough to make her breadsticks and us pizza, or she might have a bit of aubergine and I'll bung the rest in a stir-fry for us. Its fun. Mum skills.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

food glorious food!

And the weaning continues. She's been attempting solids for over a week now and we've managed not to skip any meals. WOW it's time consuming! I really like cooking, and cooking for Rose appeals to my mothering instinct on a whole new level! I've always loved cooking for Dan, fattening him up you might say, and have instantly become addicted to doing the same for Rose. FEEDER. But I was not prepared for the tediousness of the clean-up operation 3 times a day. It's boring enough cleaning bottles, but the highchair, area around highchair, plates, baby cutlery, and Rose herself are all in need of a hose-down after every meal. I'm going to turn into one of these mental mums who obsess about cleaning. And I don't even care about cleaning. Stop talking about cleaning!

Back to food. She's doing SO well. And she's had so many delicious meals! She's taken to every flavour I've thrown at her, even some hummous I made with far too much garlic in. Her favourites so far are cucumber, avocado, rice cakes, hummous (and a fake hummous I made with butter beans) and melon. But she really does have a good go with everything. We've even given her millet porridge (babies aren't supposed to have oat porridge for some reason, gluten maybe) a few mornings and given her the spoon to feed herself (CUTE/MESSY). I'm so proud of her.

Things I've learnt so far...although we don't want to "give up" and spoonfeed Rose purees, there's no harm in mushing up food on rice cakes/pita/dipped sticks of food, because she'll swallow much more of this mushed up stuff and at the same time be learning to self feed. So we've given her mushed up avocado, aubergine (this worked really well), carrots, yoghurt, hummous and a homemade tomato sauce. I even made breadsticks, which worked well for smearing in avocado. She loves gnawing on sticks of cucumber and fruit, and we left the skins on stuff like apples and melon because I read that it'd help her to grip the food, but we started to worry about her choking on the skin (she's managing to break them apart in her mouth) so think we'll skin them from now on. A lot of the food isn't being swallowed, but much more than I'd expected is. Hurrah! Her poo has changed (sorry!). Well, pictures tell the story best (none of poo, don't worry, but lots of food smeared all over a baby's face)...

I can't wait for the next stage when we can all eat the same things together and I can feed my little family up! xxx


Baby led weaning begins here!

Day one of baby led weaning. We decided to go down the baby led weaning route. I'm probably not the best source of information on what baby led weaning is, there are books and websites on the subject if you're interested. But it basically means that you skip the long puree stage and instead let your baby choose what and when to eat. The first few months focus on learning about tastes and how to eat, accepting that she might just play with food for a few weeks, rather than worrying about shovelling as much as you can into your baby. She'll be okay, her milk feeds will provide all she needs, so it's allowed to be a long, slow process. You're supposed to provide different foods that she can pick up and chew with her gums, a few options at every meal. I like that there's a huge emphasis on family meals together, and because she's not eating mush Rose will be having the same meals as us from really early on. I also love that food will be seen as something to learn about and share - Rose will know what carrots, broccolli etc is from day one rather than all food being a bright orange bowl of mush. So, Day one...

Breakfast of champions: banana, toast (thought I'd keep the options to a minimum for the first go!)

The first solid meal of Rose's life was SO MUCH FUN! She made me laugh the whole time. She is teething at the moment, so is desperate to chew on anything and everything, which meant that the food VERY quickly made it's way to her mouth. She was so suprised when some toast broke off in her mouth, but she seemed to really enjoy having a good suck...although she made some very funny bleugh faces when she felt crumbs left in her mouth! But it was the banana which was the biggest laugh. I already call her our little monkey, and she looked like an excellent little ape chasing a lump of banana round the highchair-surface...

I was so proud when she managed to first get it in her tiny fists and into her mouth. This face sums up the suprise at how it tasted/felt in her mouth...

For lunch Rose had a rice cake, which was another great success and excellent for sucking, some steamed carrots and some cheese. The cheese was HILARIOUS. In retrospect I maybe should have planned ahead and bought her some mild cheese especially. The carrots were a bit small for her to pick up and eat, so I'll have to make longer ones next time.

Here's her cheese face...

Teatime wasn't such a success, she's generally a bit cranky in the evenings, and showed little interest in her platter of broccoli and sweet potato.

Today, Day Two, we had fairly similar meals. Breakfast was lots of fruit; banana, apple and pear. She took it slowly, but had a go at them all, and again it was just really nice time spent together while I drank some coffee and ate the other half of each of her fruits. Lunch was another go at sweet potato and broccoli, with some toast because I knew she'd be good at holding that from watching her the previous day. She wasn't mad about sweet potato or broccoli, the sweet potato caused her problems holding and she kept squishing it into her hand and them throwing it away. And I don't think she liked the taste of broccoli so we'll have to keep trying that one! For tea I gave her avocado, cucumber and a rice cake. She was great with them all! Like her breakfast she took her time, but it was great watching all her effort picking stuff up and then getting it to her mouth. It's hard to put into words just how smeared in avocado she was by the end. And the mushy mess all tucked into her lap was pretty funny at the end.

Monday, 31 December 2012

this year

It's NYE, apparently. I wont be taking part in any of the boozy-party-times of years gone by. I hope to be fast asleep for the big countdown. But I am excited to be seeing in a new year with the though of everything to come. 2013 will be a big one - Rose's first food, steps and words are all on the horizon in the year ahead.

Rose will be 6 months old on 18th Jan. Wow. She has changed so much lately. She can sit up, with a hand hovering nearby for when she wobbles over. She likes to play on her own, engrossed by toys she can scrunch with her hands, but not for too long - she loves mummy and daddy joining in with her and doing lots of singing and dancing to prevent boredom. She is such a big girl now, rapidly growing out of yet another set of clothes. She's been teething for weeks :( Poor little drooler. It's made sleep a massive stress again, but we've just started "controlled crying" - putting her down to cry herself to sleep, popping in every 10 mins to try to calm her/ feel like you're not a bad parent, and I'm basically really against it but we had no choice left - and it's working. She slept til 5am today, last week we'd have been lucky for her to get to 2am. I know that she knows that I love her, I kiss and cuddle her all day long, so I'm trying not to feel too bad about it.

Christmas was amazing. We had a lovely morning, just the 3 of us, opening a stocking in bed and then the big piles from santa downstairs. Rose was suffering a bit with sore gums, wanting to chew something all the time, but she got plenty of new chewable toys and loved her new highchair - sitting up where she could keep an eye on everyone like a big girl. She's so grabby now - always reaching out for whatever's out of reach and attempting to destroy her books. Unfortunately for other people, she only likes being held by me or Dan at the moment, so I got to be her protect her all day. I love her so much.


Wednesday, 14 November 2012

working mum

Rose is almost 4 months old. She's nuzzled into my chest right now asleep. Pretty soon she'll be too big to sleep there and I'll miss these snuggly naps. We can finally reply "yes" to the number 1 question from strangers; "does she sleep through the night?". Or at least "most of the time" (she was up at 2am again last night). She's somehow managing to get cuter by the day; babbling away to herself / us / the cat, usually with one or more fingers jammed in her mouth. She's desperate to sit up and is almost managing to balance... she'll be toddling around in no time! She's bursting out of her moses basket so we've got a cot set up ready for her to upgrade to once I feel that her sleeping through the night thing is a bit better established in a few days. She looks tiny in her big girl's cot!

Although Rose takes up 99% of my days, I am managing to continue with my craft stuff. I joined and this has kept me really busy. Almost too busy. On etsy I make a sale maybe once a month, more if I relist and put in lots of effort, but less if I don't. And on NOTHS (NotOnTheHighStreet) it's more like a sale every couple of days. It's great! I feel like I could sell more if I listed a few more items, especially things that can be personalised (the site seems to be obsessed with personalised gifts), but I don't think I'd be able to keep up with demand if I did that! It was expensive to join the site, but it's a one off fee and I'm hoping to pay it off this financial year so that next year I can start making some real profit. I put my prices up by £1 a few days ago, after long hard thoughts and worrying, and was pleased to make two sales later that same day. I think I worry far too much about over-pricing my work... when I totted up my profit after fees/ materials, I was paying myself less than £2 a brooch, which is just silly really. I need to stop feeling guilty about paying myself a reasonable amount for my hard work.

I also decided to try to do some christmas fairs. An arts event in Leeds at Temple Works asked if I'd like to take part, and it sounds like a really fun event, but I decided to pull out and just concentrate on one big fair...I'm dong the BUST London Craftactular. I've heard that this is a really great fair from people who've sold at it before, and I was really pleased to be accepted. I'm struggling to find time to make stock, but now that Rose is sleeping through the night (mostly!) I can try to get an hour of sewing in after she goes to bed. We're going to spend a weekend in London visiting Rose's cousins, exciting! I'd really love for this craft stuff to pay off enough for me to stay home with Rose long-term, or to only have to work a day or two a week. Dream life!

x x x x x

Friday, 12 October 2012

three months

Rose is almost 3 months old. Wow, how did that happen. I keep meaning to blog but never seem to find the time. Rose is in her bouncy chair, with my foot bouncing her, slowly giving in to sleep. I've become a queen of multi-tasking. Multi-tasking feats include eating while breastfeeding, reading while breastfeeding, showering while entertaining Rose, singing while doing everything, hanging washing while swaying baby strapped on to me. The list is endless. Every task needs planning out. Nothing is easy anymore. Even going to the toilet involves deciding what the baby is doing and if I can combine going to the loo with other jobs like taking things up or down stairs or changing Rose's nappy. Life has changed completely. I put Rose in her bouncy chair in the bathroom while I have a shower, poking my head out every few minutes to see her little face. I've added to the multi-tasking fun by opening a shop for my crafts, so have to fit sewing into my days somewhere.

These have been, without any doubt, the longest three months of my adult life. Some days are never ending. Not to mention the nights. On a "bad" night, when Rose is refusing to sleep in her cot for more than an hour at a time, the only thing that keeps me going is that day will come again eventually, and I look forward to 5am when I can go downstairs and put another night behind me. I can't believe how much Rose has changed in such a relatively short time. She's gone from being a tiny little baby who could barely see or react to things, to a bright aware growing girl. Not that any strangers know she's a girl with her cute bald head! She laughs when I blow rasberrys at her and make funny faces, which melts my heart every time. She's just discovered that her hands belong to her, and has started using them to manouevre things into her mouth. She also loves sucking and chewing her hands. She's given me lovebites on my arm and chin, she's a sucky monster.

And I guess that I've grown and changed too. I feel like a better person with Rose in my life. She's brought out a confidence in me. Confidence to be silly mostly, but also a confidence that I (and Dan) know her better than anyone else, and therefore know what's best for her. I don't question my parenting skills at all, which is surprising really as I had no idea how to look after a must largely be instictual. The first few weeks of Rose's life I was super emotional, both happy and sad, and although this has calmed a lot I'm still definitely in a vulnerable emotional state. Any thought of Rose coming to harm makes me feel sick to my stomach; a wave of dread comes over me and my eyes fill with tears. This happens almost as readily when I hear of other children being harmed or having horrible illnesses. I didn't expect that to happen to me. I care very much about big picture things; I want Rose to live in a world where we care about the environment and where some people don't have to suffer for other people to live comfortable privileged lives, and I knew that having a baby would make me think about my role in the universe and who I am as a person. This has happened a bit, but at the same time it's also made me concentrate much more on little picture things; the day to day has become central to everything. And our little family being happy together is the most important thing of all. I care about her so much, and I suppose that must have made me a better person too. I'm hugely more patient than ever before, and most of the time when I notice a bad trait in myself - anger or inpatience - I'm able to stop it by remembering that she's more important than any of that sillyness.

I wonder what the next three months will bring.