Tuesday, 27 May 2014

life lately - overdoing it in Nottingham

The week started off pretty rubbish. I was feeling rough with hayfever and Hugo was under the weather as the result of his jabs. We picked ourselves up for a lovely day out at Swithen's Farm and then headed off to Nottingham for a long weekend on Thursday while Adi did a few evening shifts in a row.

I keep saying this and never learn, but I overdid it again.

On Thursday we headed straight from Babybuds down the (very slow) M1 to Maggie's to visit my old colleagues, then on to my Nanna's, followed by my brothers. I finally ended up back at my mum and dads but it meant we'd missed Hugo's normal bedtime. I don't see a problem with that on the odd occasion, but I want to stick to a routine as much as possible. It's amazing how tiring it is simply lifting Hugo in and out the car, especially while trying to dodge some heavy downpours!

Saturday was similarly tiring, I visited my oldest friend Rebecca on Blake Road, headed straight over to my grandparents picking dad up on route and arrived back at Hunky Dory for an evening with Layla and Rich.

Sandwiched in the middle was a trip to Loughborough with mum. She's been making significant improvements so I took her out for the first time in weeks so that she could return something to a shop. I'd always had Loughborough in my mind as a lovely little small town but I was very wrong. Like most small towns, it's struggling. We did manage to pick up a couple of cheeky charity shop bargains though (my new favourite pastime).

Being away is more tiring because Adi isn't around to help with any of the feeds in the night and as much as my parents offer to help, I don't like to put that on them when they are working so hard or ill. I also feel like I need to see everyone every time. 

(19th - 25th May)

where I live - Swithen's Farm

I'd been desperate to go along to our local farm since we moved. Adi and I had popped in for some breakfast while exploring the area but we didn't get to see the animals. For some reason I felt like we needed an excuse to return in the form of a small child.

Last Wednesday I met Adi's mum and our nephew Thomas at Swithen's. It is one of the rare family places that is non-commercial as it's still somewhat undiscovered, plus it's only a five minute drive from us. I love it!

We had breakfast in the cafe. Besides feeling a little odd eating meat before going to see the animals on a working farm, it was good to be supporting a local business and eating local produce (the meat was scrummy).

Once fed and Thomas had enjoyed a few rides on the static train ride (the first time he'd braved one) we set off in search of the animals. Bev pushed Hugo around so I was able to explore with Thomas. He loved it and got so excited about the various animals, making all of the noises!

It was free to go around the farm and along with all of the normal farmyard animals (sheep, lambs, pigs, cows, donkeys, goats, ponies, horses, ducks, chickens and geese) there were the additions of llamas, alpacas and meerkats! Farms have certainly got fancy pants since my childhood! It was one thing remembering what noises all the farm animals make but how do you do an alpaca?! 

It seems that we arrived when all of the animals were pretty excitable.. Thomas was oblivious to the number of animals on top of each other, while I was amused but also felt awkward invading their privacy.

We didn't feed the animals as we hadn't noticed the food on sale until the end, but we'll be back and I'm sure Thomas will be brave enough. I on the other hand will leave it to him! As much as I love animals I've never enjoyed it when they lick me - hence keeping my distance from dogs and horses, even though I appreciate them from a distance and am quite happy stroking them.

Before we left Thomas had a play in the playground and the playgym, with added entertainment from some hyperactive sheep jumping around on the loose! 

I really want to go regularly to buy fresh meat from the farm shop. On the way out I realised there is another entrance right near our local supermarket, so I must head up there first.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Hugo's first jabs

Last Tuesday I walked down to the doctors to give Hugo his first jabs. I was a lot calmer building up to it than I thought, but it turned out to be the worst day I've had so far. He was in his happy morning mood smiling away and I was looking directly into his eyes smiling back at him when the nurse put the first needle in his thigh. I felt absolutely awful, like I'd tricked him. His face went from smiling, to shock and then a crumpled cry.

His cry was a proper pained cry, unlike anything I've heard before. I settled him down and then he started again, as if to say 'no but it really does hurt'. The second jab set him off again, but I was able to soothe him okay with some of his bottle and a cuddle on my chest.

We took a long walk home along the river to explore a new end of the village and connect it together. He slept all the way home and for a while in the pram after, but when he waked the pained cry started again. I settled him on my chest again and he wouldn't settle for the rest of the day unless he was asleep on me.

He was much better that evening when Adi was home but he was still out of sorts. The next day he slept a lot while we wandered around Swithen's Farm, but later on I realised he hadn't pooed and was getting frustrated. All afternoon he was writhing around with moans and cries, but like the day before, just before Adi came home he pooed and was fine for the evening!

The struggle with pooing lasted for another week, as did a snotty nose and generally being out of sorts. After the first poo he didn't go for another two days and I could tell he was unhappy with constipation. I tried giving him water and fruit juice to help relieve him, but nothing worked. When he eventually did poo it was very thick and harder than normal. That seemed to unblock him and the next day he did an explosion! Mum and Dad hadn't noticed as he was happily playing on his mat, but I got there just in time to get the babygrow off him and get him in the bath before anything was ruined - apart from his babygrow which was binned! Thankfully we weren't out and he wasn't in a lovely outfit!

I'm absolutely dreading the next jabs. It feels like he's only just back to his normal self and they are going to come up so fast. I wanted Adi to come with me but it's the one day of the month he can't choose his own shift. His mum is away and mine will be working, so it looks like I'll have another difficult day. I'll make sure to prepare food beforehand this time (making tuna sandwiches with one hand while a baby is attached to me is quite a feat!)

Sunday, 25 May 2014

the routine - a few weeks on

Starting a routine when we did was the best thing we've done so far! Any sooner and it just wouldn't have worked, when he was a teeny tiny newborn he was sleeping more sporadically and it made sense for him to be downstairs with us in the evening until we went to bed. 

We started the routine just as he was able to take a little more food and sleep for longer stints. For the first week he was going down between 10pm - 12pm and waking twice during the night. We managed to put him down while he was awake to fall asleep on his own a couple of times but it was hit and miss. The difficult part of the routine was transferring him from me to the crib without him waking, and I knew that I didn't want to keep this up. We thought that the cold crib unsettled him after being in warm arms, so we decided to introduce the grobag (a sleeping bag for babies) - he was just big enough for it. 

The grobag is now my best friend! I put him down to sleep every night in his grobag and he'll settle himself to sleep without any cries! 

After a week we were able to move forward the time we put him to bed by a couple of hours, so he was going down between 8pm and 9pm. This was because we could see the signs of him getting tired such as rubbing his eyes and felt able to put him to bed upstairs and use the monitor to watch him. As he was now sleeping less in the day and more alert we could make sure he was tired out without having to go for a walk in the evening. We also tried blacking out the room by putting towels over the curtains (we do have a blackout blind to put up, but that's on a long to do list for when Adi's off work!).

He'd wake about 3 times during the night at first and this gradually reduced to twice and now it's often once. On an average night he'll sleep for up to 6 hours, then wake after another 3 hours and then will go down for another couple. 

Due to introducing the bottle and starting a routine Adi has done some night feeds so I've had more sleep and enjoyed a couple of baths without having to jump out to see to Hugo! Bottle feeding definitely has it's upsides! 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

the little things - reaching two months

Ten little things from the last couple of weeks:

1. Smiles, smiles, smiles! The smiles were less frequent before but now he doesn't stop! The bigger smiles I give the bigger smiles I get! He also responds to my voice and movement - the higher the pitch the bigger the smile. Sometimes I'll turn to face him and he'll just have been staring smiling at me - it's a wonderful feeling!

2. When I say smile, I don't just mean a visual thing as it's usually accompanied by lots of gurgles and coos. Some of them sound like a cats meow. He also pants and squeals in excitement when he's smiling in response to something.

3. Seeing his tongue move lots makes me so glad I sorted the tongue tie! He copies your tongue when talking and tries to chat back to us making different noises.

4. He loves being laid down and will kick his legs about and pant with enjoyment. It's especially good if something is over his head that he can look at - either me, a rattle or things hanging from his playgym.

5. We've learned lots of nursery rhymes and songs at baby groups which Hugo loves me singing back to him. I'm gradually getting to know the words and movements but it doesn't really matter as Hugo just loves any sound and movement I make - the higher the pitch the better.

6. He's a bit wriggly when being held unless he's fast asleep. He prefers beings laid down or sat upright. It's getting harder to hold him up for long periods as he's getting heavier, but he can now sit against something with just a little security from me at the side to make sure he doesn't fall! When he is sleepy or relaxed enough for cuddles he's been more willing to be on my chest than before.

7. His poos are settling down to one or two a day. He's most wriggly and frustrated before a poo and at his happiest after! They no longer make a sound but the smell is much stronger so I'm able to change him straight away. There have been a couple of times when he's been constipated so I've used water to get things moving again. 

8. He's way more alert and is awake for most of the day and will sleep more at night. Because he's alert he'll easily be startled by a big noise but won't be too bothered and doesn't notice it a second time.

9. His hair seems to have stopped going lighter and is gradually getting thicker. He had flakey skin on his head a couple of weeks ago but it's all smooth again now.

10. He doesn't like things over his head when getting dressed. He doesn't cry but will wriggle and moan a bit. Although I didn't want to dress him just in blue, there's not been many other options and to be honest, he really suits blue! I end up putting him in the same outfits that I love over and over and some things will hardly be worn!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

life lately - sunshine and smiles

I noticed a huge change in Hugo this week with lots and lots of smiles. Because of all of the groups we've been going to I had lots of new songs in my head so I was singing constantly! The more singing I did, the more smiles I got, so Hugo was incredibly smiley and responsive to me :)

It had been sunny all week but by the weekend the weather was incredibly hot and it was the first time Hugo experienced proper heat. He was a bit hot and bothered and over tired as we'd packed so much in but coped remarkably well.

Here's the other bits from this week:
My friend Frankie popped over on Tuesday evening with the new man in her life Tom. They are making plans to move to London this summer which is kind of odd, as we're switching places. I'm really envious at all the possibilities that lie ahead of her as she makes the move. London was home to some of the best years of my life and all the advice I could offer is enjoy it. It's probably not forever, so you just have to go with it while you can. It's a shame that one of my friends is leaving Leeds as I arrive back, but on the upside Frankie won the award of the most visits to our home (hotel) while we were in London, so I'm sure I can pay her back!

Adi was off on Friday and the sun was beaming so I took him along to St Aidan's for a picnic. It was his first visit and apart from lots of midges, I think he appreciated it like I did. Because of not working I've had the opportunity to do so much more than him which feels strange. I want to fill him in on all of my experiences and take him to the best bits. 

It was lovely having some quality time together, but it was short lived because we were heading off to help Adi's brother and sister in law move house. The weather wasn't ideal (sweat inducing) but better the sun than rain I guess. We emptied the van and cars pretty quickly and were able to use the van to move some garden furniture to ours which was a bonus before Friday night fish and chips.

Sunday was spent with my sister. It was so good to have some time just the two of us (well with Hugo too). Since moving away from London we do less as friends and more as sisters with other family members/ husbands around. While that's great too, it's sometimes good just to be the two of us. We went to Temple Newsam which you can read here, and came home for a BBQ with Adi. I also developed hayfever. I blame the beautiful blossom.

(16th - 18th May)

life lately - productive mornings and 'play'dates

Productive mornings: 
The week started rather too early for me with a 8.45am doctors appointment for Hugo's 6-8 week check. I met my new lovely, young, attractive, male doctor who was completely smitten with Hugo! He was being such a show off, smiling and gurgling while the doctor did all of his checks (some of which usually upset babies). It got me thinking, the doctor may be ideal for Hugo, but I failed to ask the odd post-pregnancy recovery question I had about myself (something about his charm must've made me forget). Safe to say I'll be requesting some female nurse appointments if needed!

Despite it being a struggle, it turns out that getting up and out early made me re-discover some hours in the day. I headed straight off to Mothercare and Morrisons and was home before lunch. Being productive on a Monday morning set me off in the right way for the week ahead and I don't think I stopped from that point onwards. 

I put the finishing touches to the nursery - painting the shelving unit that my dad had fixed and putting the cotbed together. The cotbed sort of takes over the entire room (as expected) and Hugo looks absolutely tiny in it! It's not going to be long until he'll be sleeping in the nursery though. I'll put up another post with pictures of the finished room soon!

Later in the week I had a couple of days painting and gardening in-between Hugo duties. I was able to prep and paint the skirtings, do a first coat on the walls of the dining room and finish a patch in the garden. Prepping is the worst part of decorating as it's so unrewarding, just like weeding is not my favourite thing to do in the garden, so it wasn't much fun. It was also a struggle to decorate with Hugo around so the next coat may not be for a while! 

Adi's mum came over on Tuesday with my nephew Thomas. It was our first proper playdate with the cousins (yes I know Hugo is far too little for proper playdates, but it's cute to think of them playing together). I'd purchased a golf and cricket set the day before from a pound shop which occupied Thomas for a while (£2 well spent) and then we headed to the park. I made the mistake of being a big kid myself and going on the slide which Thomas loved, so I had to keep going on it again and again! I also had to lift him up each time because the bottom step is ridiculously high up which was exhausting! It's been lovely seeing more of Thomas and for him to become more familiar with Adi and I. We'll continue to have frequent playdates and it'll not be long until Thomas and Hugo will be playing together. In the meantime Thomas loves stroking his cousin 'Hoolio' and giving him kisses - too cute.

I headed in to Rothwell on Wednesday and Thursday for meet ups with NCT girls. It's amazing how much difference a few weeks can make for babies! Hugo looks so grown up compared to the younger ones and it made me realise just how much he's changed already. A couple of weeks on at babybuds made such a difference too, Hugo was more alert and taking in his surroundings. There's just one or two more births to go now until all of the NCT group have had their babies! 

On Friday we made it down to Methley Mites, the mums and tots group in the village. Our neighbour had offered to take us along when Hugo was born and I finally felt able to commit to a 9.30am meeting! The group was really welcoming and it was great to start meeting people in the village. It's funny that without realising it, Hugo's already meeting babies that could potentially be his school friends and more. 

The group is a registered charity so the leader jumped on my experience as a fundraiser. Although it's early days I do feel like I should get involved so watch this space..

(12th - 16th May)