Nil by mouth

Missing words

My last proper blog was January! I can’t believe it’s been so long – but I think that’s because there’s only really been one thing on my mind, and it’s been something I’ve not been allowed to talk about.. until now. 

Jude is going to be a big brother! (And we’re going to be parents to TWO! Oh god – every time I see a mum with two, I just think ‘What have we done??!’)

Our 12 week scan – they all look like blobs really, don’t they?!

     

I’m almost five months in now and finally, FINALLY feeling slightly better; more energetic and less hungover! I definitely don’t remember feeling this awful for such a long time when I was pregnant with Jude. The first trimester is by far the worst: sickness, tiredness, been off food, being on food – I was ill with an awful cold too, which was a nightmare. And all this, without being able to tell anyone – to explain myself – to anyone! I was cancelling plans with friends, turning up to work looking like I’d been out on the razz the night before, sleeping during the day (when I could), and was unable to explain that it wasn’t me being lazy and gross, it was just my body, coping with the early beginnings of a baby.

  Having a second baby is so weird. I have had lots of overwhelming feelings of guilt. Guilt for Jude, and feeling too tired and sick to play with him; guilt for the new baby and the lack of time spent thinking and being excited for him/her – there simply isn’t time this time!; more guilt for Jude and how much his life is going to change when he has to share his parents with a new sibling; more guilt for the new baby, and how different his/her first year will be in comparison to Jude’s. The list goes on. 

A little light reading – my mother’s day gift from bump

     

And then I pulled myself together. 

  I simply cannot spend the next 4.5 months worrying and fretting about what’s to come. Now is the time to enjoy the time we have with Jude (and on that note: summer holiday at 7 months preggers is already booked), look forward to the amazing time we have ahead of us – help Jude to become an independant little boy, who will be an AMAZING big brother, and generally chill out

  
   I’ve been feeling funny, not only about the concept of two children, but also about the actual birth. Most people would say that I had a great first labour. And, I know that in comparison to some births, I definitely did. The most important thing happened, and that is that Jude arrived healthy and I remained healthy. However, I was induced and had an epidural, which meant that I slept through almost my entire labour and didn’t really have to deal with any contractions or any pain during pushing (some people’s dream!). Prior to giving birth, I had hoped for a spontaneous labour, natural birth and as little pain relief as possible – I trusted my body 100% and wanted to connect with my baby through a relaxed, natural birth. The opposite happened. My body didn’t do as it was supposed to (possibly because Jude wasn’t ready to arrive and should have been left where he was?), and I had to have a lot of drugs in order to have him arrive when the hospital said he should. So this time around, I feel much MUCH more nervous about the actual birth – can my body do it this time? 

And so the ‘bumpies’ start again!

I have also considered a home birth. The last time, I was convinced that water would really help me in labour – I had a bath at one point in early labour while being induced with a pessary, and the pain from the contractions went away while I was in the bath – it was amazing! So this time, I would really love to have a water birth at home. But, I am very worried that my body simply wont be able to do it. While writing this, I am also very aware that I may well be wrong to be this nervous. I certainly know that I now have approximately 20 weeks to sort myself and my mental state out – my body can do it – it just needs the time it needs! 

   

Anyway, there you have it! Baby number 2 is well and truly on the way – second scan next week and we’re having another surprise – no finding out the gender for us (or you!). The only way is up…! 

The day we were really bad parents

I haven’t blogged since January (!), so I thought I’d ease back in by writing a short anecdotal story that I happened to recall to my friend last night and it brought back hilarious memories. 

  

By the time babies reach toddler age, they have usually become attached to one or more of their soft toys, which they like more than the others. Such is the case with Jude; who has ‘Leo’. He is a rather large lion (original name, I know), who used to belong to me (I don’t remember how I happened to have him), and Jude look a liking to him about a year ago. 

Leo is quite a cumbersome toy to have as a favourite. For many months, Leo was much bigger than Jude, and even now, he is rather inconvenient to have to take when we go away and to Nanny’s etc. Luckily, at the moment Jude can cope without him, only sleeping with him and occasionally bringing him into our bed or downstairs for more cuddles in the mornings. So thankfully, we don’t have to take him out with us every time.  

  

Last Christmas, Steve and I were lucky enough to be allowed out for Christmas drinks with some friends while Jude stayed over at Nanny and Grampy’s house. As was expected, there was rather a lot of wine consumed and it’s safe to say, Steve and I returned home a little worse for wear, albeit in a very happy place. 

In our comedic way – following copious amounts of fried chicken – we headed upstairs to (very innocently) get ready for bed. Once upstairs, I sat myself on the bed in order to remove my socks, not noticing the large yellow lion on the bed, and plonking myself directly on top of him. Steve – noticing Leo’s obvious distress – decided that pulling him out from underneath me was the quickest and most humane option for his rescue. As he did so, a loud tearing noise could be heard, and the one leg that he was being pulled by, seemed to detach rather dramatically from the rest of his body. WHAT A DISASTER! How could we have broken our child’s favourite soft toy?! Shocked and completely devastated, I hurriedly threw Leo into the bottom of the wardrobe, hoping that putting him out of site would help to remove him from my mind, and that Jude wouldn’t notice his favourite teddy was missing. 

    
  The next day we were travelling to Cornwall to visit Steve’s family, where we would usually have taken Leo too. Packing up the car and distracting Jude from the fact that he was missing (didn’t take much), we got on our way – without Leo (who was still in the bottom of the wardrobe).  On our journey, we stopped at the usual service station, complete with the usual service station shops and cafes. Lo and behold, one of the usual service station shops was selling soft toys – one of which looked almost identical to Leo! Steve and I, still feeling extremely guilty for breaking Jude’s original Leo, decided that purchasing it would at least be a step towards rectifying our terrible, drunken mistake. 

Jude loved him! He, of course, had to be called ‘Leo’. And he instantly became accepted by Jude. Phew!    

A few weeks later, I managed to find some time to sit and attempt to sew the original Leo. I did a pretty good job! You can barely tell that he ever had a tear! And now Jude has 2 almost identical Leo’s that he goes to bed with every night. He won’t go with just one – he knows if one is missing and asks for him. He also brings them both for cuddles in the mornings. 


   

I just dread to think what will happen when we have to take them both on holiday with us in the summer…!

At last, I am free!

The big finish

On 28th December, Jude turned 18 months old. 

He can walk (he can run and climb for that matter),  he can (very nearly) talk, AND, he has teeth. LOADS of them! He’s a proper little grown up lad, really. 

For the last 6 months, I have still been breastfeeding him, but only once a day before bed. This, it seemed, was completely fine with him; he didn’t ask for it at any other time of day – in fact, he didn’t even ask for it then, I just gave it to him, and he was also perfectly happy to have a bottle if I wasn’t in, or he was at my mums etc. Yet I continued to feed him myself when I had him at home by myself. It was ‘our time’ I guess. 

Breastfeeding was always my plan when I had Jude and I was lucky enough to be able to do it for as long as I have wanted to. If not, a little longer! I had initially made the decision to stop at 12 months old, but it just didn’t happen. It’s a weird old thing, breastfeeding. At the beginning of the baby’s life, and throughout pregnancy, you’re encouraged to breastfeed by everyone – “it’s the best thing for baby”, “it’s convenient”, “it’s free”, “no sterilising” etc etc. But then, after a few months it’s all about “so, when are you stopping then?”. Wow – ‘I thought you guys wanted me to do this for ages? We’ve only just settled into a flow!  

Anyway, about 3 months ago I definitely decided that enough was enough. At this rate he’d be four years old and still having it! (I know it’s right for some, just not for me). Steve also seemed keen to be able to lay some claim to them again too (ifyouknowwhatImean). 

Jude had fed on a nipple guard since he was about 4 months old. It meant that I was able to continue feeding him in comfort, and so they have just been a part of our feeding routine ever since and actually, in the end he wouldn’t feed without them. Which means that if I don’t have one with me he can’t be breastfed! It’s as simple as that. We visited Steve’s family in Cornwall shortly before Christmas and I forgot to take any guards with me. So it seemed like the perfect opportunity to stop breastfeeding. 

As it happened, I got really emotional about it and really sad that this time in our lives was over. I even fed him once or twice when we got back, but now I have officially stopped and we’re persevering with a bedtime routine that usually results in us wrestling for 20 or so minutes after his bottle, before he sleeps. (I used to feed him to sleep(!)). 

Milk from a bottle seems to have the same affect as Red Bull might. 

I feel liberated! I feel really proud of myself that I broke the cycle. Because actually, it did feel, at times, like I would never stop. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved the time that we spent breastfeeding. As I said, I have been incredibly lucky. But I’m equally as proud that I managed to stop. It’s an emotional attachment that it’s difficult to break I think. More for me than Jude too. As long as he’s fed he really doesn’t care!

Although we have had a slight issue since we stopped feeding…….


Hand down my top! Every. Single. Cuddle. No attempt to actually feed (thank goodness), but still. And he doesn’t only do it to me – he does it to my mum too! It’s like since he doesn’t get that ‘skin time’, he likes to feel my skin as a comfort thing. I stupidly commented the other day that he doesn’t do it in public, but I was wrong! 

I’m hoping he’ll grow out of it (he bloody better!), or we’ll have to use bribery or something. 

It’s nice to still feel loved though. 

So this is life

And the livin’ is easy

Its been a good few weeks since my last blog – about 6 to be (slightly more) precise. And I really have no excuse other than LIFE. It seems that it is possible to look after a child and do a job (albeit part time). Although, as every teacher knows – teaching ‘part time’ doesn’t really mean ‘part tme’, as you work at home on your ‘days off’ anyway!  But still – I’m definitely not complaining, life is good.


I even had a day to myself a few weeks ago. It was half term from school (I’m a teacher) and we had decided that Jude would still go to nursery on his normal days to try and keep some routine. This meant that I would have 2 whole days to myself. No Jude. The day came around and I dropped him to nursery in the morning, with every intention of getting lots of work done for school. That I managed, But I couldn’t believe how strange it was to be in the house alone. No Jude. No Steve. Just me and the cats. It was almost creepy! I missed him SO MUCH. I didn’t expect to! I am used to being away from Jude all day – I go to work. But being in the house without him was so strange, I hardly knew what to do with myself. By the second day of nursery I figured that perhaps I would feel better if I wasn’t in the house, so I took myself to school and worked there for the day instead. I also chose to try very hard to enjoy the time I had to myself – read a little, eat some food alone and enjoy it, etc. I think I could probably get used to savouring those moments in the future, should they occur again any time soon…

     

Being rather rash

We are now well into Autumn and the weather has been crisp and cold, just how I like it in winter – no rain please! Of course, Jude and I have spent hours running through crunchy leaves in the park and splashing in puddles (great after the rain has stopped!). Which brings me to my first small story… We bought Jude an (extremely cute) ‘puddlesuit’ as I strongly believe that all children should own one – afterall, they happen to be the ultimate in baby couture, and they’re perfect for when it’s pissing down and you don’t have a rain cover for the buggy as the zip broke on the unbelievably poorly designed cover. (Why has no one invented a better zip mechanism for these things??). Anyway. we took Jude out in the puddlesuit a few times – jumper underneath – and we had great fun. 


After our first ‘puddlesuit playtime’, we got home, took it off and it was soon bathtime. 

Jude had a rash. He wasn’t under the weather in himself, but (obviously), I did the glass test. The rash disappeared (phew). I didn’t think there was anything to worry about and assumed it would disappear soon. It didn’t. It got worse. I asked a few ‘medical’ friends and family what they thought and they suggested it might have been viral. I had assumed it was a heat rash from the puddlesuit. Afterall, rash appeared immediately after he started wearing it. And funnily enough, it disappeared once the rain stopped and he stopped wearing it…. I suppose we’ll never really know! I believe rain is forecast this weekend actually – I’ll soon find out if it was a heat rash or not! 

    

Accidental Damage

As I have been warned would happen, the accidents have increased somewhat since Jude became more confident on his feet. Jude usually bounces back pretty quickly, and we have tried to encourage him to ‘pick himself up, dust himself off, and carry on’ as much as possible – obviously, only when he clearly hasn’t injured himself. However. There was rather an horrendous incident a few weeks ago, involving Jude not doing as he was asked and a rose bush….

 Jude and I were playing in one of our local parks and we ventured into the area where there are lots of prettily-planted flower beds. (I was clearly not with it as I either a) didn’t notice they were roses, or b) didn’t realise the risk of taking a toddler into a rose bush ‘field’.) 

Jude was walking around on the grassy areas as I had thought/hoped he would do and having fun. However, he soon decided that that wasn’t entertaining enough, and started ‘teetering’ on the edge of one of the flower beds. I was a few metres away and I called him, telling him to come to me and not get in the flower bed. He didn’t listen, and tripped over the edge of the ‘dug out’ flower bed, falling face first into a rose tree – his face fitting perfectly between two extremely thorny branches. OH. MY. DEAR. GOD. I ran as fast as I could back towards my baby, who was wedged by his face, in a rose bush. I didn’t stop to think about how to remove him from the bush, I just picked him up as quickly as I could and cuddled his crying face into me, frantically trying to find his dummy to try and give him a little comfort. 


The cuts were all down one side of his face. They were bleeding and weeping and he was screaming in pain. “What the f**k should i do?” I thought to myself… Jude was also muddy from the flower bed and it had somehow gotten onto my hands. I rummaged around in my bag to try and find the wet wipes and clean my hands, before using another wipe to try and dab some of the blood from his face. The cuts were now extremely red and angry looking, but at least Jude had stopped crying. I took a photo and sent it to Steve to show him what had happened. I also sent him some pictures taken shortly afterwards, that showed his son happily playing with the ball we had taken with us, in order to show that, actually, he was ok. Jude had bounced back as he usually did, although his face, his poor face, was red and scratched and sore-looking. 
I decided that it would be unfair to take him home immediately – he’d already been punished enough – so we stayed to play a little more (away from any nasty rose bushes!). As you can imagine, passing other people soon made me feel like I needed to explain why my child looked like he’d been attacked by a cat, and he soon showed an interest in a dog that was being walked by a (lovely) lady. I hastily explained “he just tripped into one of the rose bushes over there”, and the lady said “Oh, haha, I thought it was biro! Don’t worry, there will be far worse to come”. 

THANK YOU LADY. Thank you for saying the best thing you could have to make me feel like I hadn’t been a terrible mother. Thank you for reminding me that kids will be kids, and luckily they were just shallow scratches (that actually disappeared within a week). Thank you for not judging me. Thank you for that amazing, perfect, ‘nothingy’ comment. It wasn’t ‘nothingy’ to me. 

As soon as we got home I doused Jude’s face in Sudocrem, then later on used diluted TCP and cotton wool to ensure the cuts were clean. Then more Sudocrem. Then more Sudocrem. Then more Sudocrem. It went a bit like this for the next few days. And thankfully it worked and there is no longer any evidence at all of the ‘dreaded rosebush day’. 

But I don’t think we’ll go to that area again. Not for a while anyway….

   

The dreaded ‘H’ word

Jude is now fully settled into nursery and he loves it. He goes 2 days a week while I’m in work and he’s always in a great mood when we pick him up, he’s happy and clearly likes the staff there. We couldn’t ask for more really. Actually, scratch that. If I could ask for more, I would ask that nursery be a completely germ-free place. 

My request comes after almost 3 weeks of our poor baby suffering from a common cold virus. The trouble is, he hasn’t reacted like we adults would, he’s been super duper poorly. Hospital poorly. Even A & E poorly!

Jude had been poorly for a week or so – you know, snotty nose etc – the signs of teething really. A few days into the second week of illness, he looked like he might have an eye infection, so I booked him an appointment and the doctor gave us drops for his eye and antibiotics for an ear infection (that I had no idea he had). The next day however, things seemed to get a little worse. His eye was fine, he didn’t seem to be suffering with his ear, but I watched him playing in our lounge and I noticed that his breathing seemed rather laboured. His tummy was working very hard, going in and out quite vigorously and he sounded terrible. I phoned my (pharmacist) mum and put speakerphone on so she could hear Jude’s breathing. Mum suggested phoning the doctors again. The doctor suggested A&E. Wow. That moved quickly. Steve had literally just left for work and mum had the car at work with her. I booked a taxi and flung a few essentials into a bag, along with a sleepsuit for Jude (in case we had to wait for hours), some toys and books, the ipad for final-option-entertainment-purposes and some snacks. When the taxi finally arrived we made our way to the hospital. I tried to text Steve a non-frantic message, but I failed. I worried him, he couldn’t leave work as he was in charge so I just did my best to update as frequently as possible. A&E was great – we went through to the children’s department and they assessed him immediately and began an inhaler treatment. I’m guessing baby + breathing problems = fast service. 

The lovely doctor soon told us we would be staying in (all of a sudden things felt more serious), so that Jude could have the continued treatment overnight to open his airways.  We were treated amazingly, everything was very efficient and all of the nurses and doctors we saw were amazing. We were discharged the following morning. 

Jude is now fully on the mend (after another brief hospital visit when he seemed to go downhill again). On the funny side, the inhaler medication he was treated with made him hyper. This meant that our overnight stay involved him shouting very loudly into the bed control like it was a phone, using it as a beater on the metal bed in order to make ‘music’, and me chasing him up and down the corridors trying to keep him quiet until the wee small hours. He eventually crashed at about 2am, only to be woken for more treatment at 3am! All necessary though I suppose. 


And all down to a common cold virus. Babies don’t cope as well as adults apparently?? Jude hasn’t been diagnosed with asthma, although his symptoms are the same as those associated with asthma. If we have more incidents like this he may well be diagnosed in the future. But this is just a bridge we’ll have to cross if we come to it! Babies are such complicated creatures! 

    

Siblings

Jude is 16 months old now and there have been many more new babies that have entered our lives since he was born. It’s always lovely to have babies around, but I have always found myself thinking ‘rather you than me love’. IfyouknowwhatImean. Some very good friends of ours have recently had their second baby (CONGRATULATIONS GUYS), and I suppose it got us thinking about the possibility of a sibling for Jude. We’ve always thought we would have another, but I suppose it’s a bit of a Taboo subject when you’re only getting 3 hours sleep a night! A while ago, a friend commented on social media that she was fed up of people continually asking her when she was going to have the next one. I don’t blame her – there is a societal expectation that once your baby gets to a year or so old, you will start planning for the next one. Another friend of mine has recently had her first baby and is already talking about the next one. I’ve told her she’s crazy! But in all honesty, every mother and father should simply have their next baby (if they want another), whenever the hell they like! What does it matter?? Here are some of the reasons behind ‘timings’ of second babies that I have heard (and thought myself): ‘I want them to be friends’. ‘I want them to play together’. ‘We can’t afford another’. ‘Lets wait until the first is in school’. ‘Hell no, I’m not having another for at least 10 years’. ‘I want them close together to get it over with and get back to work’. ‘Childcare is too expensive for one, let alone two’. ‘One of us would have to give up work’. ‘It would be nice if the first could help out a bit with the second’. ‘I want them to know they are going to be a big brother’. And so on and so forth….. 

I love having Jude on his own to dedicate all my time to. I would feel sorry for him if he had to share me. Then again, I loved having a brother, and Steve is a brother too – perhaps its natural for us to have another? 

Other bloggers scare me a little. Constance Hall springs to mind. She writes about the chaos of her own home and how difficult it is to run a home with quite a few kids. I can relate to her on some things, but I also feel like although Jude has brought his own amount of chaos to our lives, we still function quite well I think – but imagine having another baby too! Maybe it’s better to wait until he’s older? At the same time, we’ve just bought a house – we’re totally skint all the time! Then again,  how many people do you know that had loads of money when they had little ones? Everyone is skint at the beginning of building a family, right? 

As you can tell – it’s been on my mind a bit! But I can assure you, there is nothing on the cards just yet….. 

All in good time, all in good time:) 
And on that note, I shall love you and leave you! Goodbye for now, you lovely people x

Toddler politics

Hit me baby one more time

Toddlers can be mean. Really mean… Jude got beaten up in our sing and sign class last week. Ok – perhaps ‘beaten up’ is a bit overboard. But he was hit twice, pushed over and had an instrument thrown at his face at extremely close proximity. Absolutely heartbreaking. Each of these ‘incidents’ resulted in Jude crying very dramatically and the other mums in the group gasped as they occurred. I very nearly walked out of the class and removed us both as I was so upset ad almost crying.

The problem that I have – aside from the fact that my cub has been hurt by another child – is that the mummy of the hitting child didn’t do anything. There was no telling off for the child, no apology for Jude – or me. Just sobbing tears from Jude and massive cuddles and a very upset and angry me. 

I know that toddler aggression can rise up from nowhere. I also know that the mother of the little boy doing the hitting is probably distraught that her little boy is doing this. And everyone parents in different ways and has different ways of dealing with how their child acts. I feel like talking to her will probably make her feel better about it too… But while I’m talking to her and she’s not watching her child (which she has to do at all times), he could be beating Jude up again. 
In today’s class another little boy – who has never exhibited any aggression – also hit Jude. He hit the child that does all the hitting. It seems like the aggression is spreading pretty rapidly. This session, Jude sat in my lap for the entire session. This is really unusual – he always walks around and gets involved in classes. Another parent commented on how unusual it was for him to be so quiet. On a positive note, it means that he avoided the ‘hitting baby’ for the whole session. The hitting baby carried on hitting others this week – whereas last week it was just Jude. On the downside, I’m slightly worried that he stayed with me because he was afraid of what would happen if he left me. So not only do we have the problem that Jude might become more introverted during the class, but other children have now started hitting too. They have learned the poor behaviour and started doing it. How long will it be before Jude learns this poor behaviour too?
This week the mummy of the hitting child removed him from the room every time he did something. I have done a quick bit of reading online and it suggests that removing the aggressive child from the activity will soon mean that they associate that removal with the hitting and stop doing it. So I guess that’s what the mum is trying to do. But in the meantime, do I allow Jude to a) be scared while he’s in the class or b) be hit and pushed over by an aggressive child? 
Such a weird situation that I never expected to find myself in… If anyone has been here too – on either side of the fence – it would be great to hear from you! It’s probably one of the more awkward parts of parenting – at any age; someone is hurting your baby. How do you deal with it?