rmc28: Rachel with manic grin holding up wrist with new watch on (watch)
I got a new watch today. I haven't had a working watch since December: I had one dead-battery rotary, and one working-but-back-falling off digital. I finally got enough grip to remember to take them both with me on an errand into town on Wednesday, and confirmed that it would basically cost as much to repair either of them as it would to get a new one.

Since December, I have found it really frustrating not being able to flick a quick glance at my wrist to tell the time, but having to drag out my phone from a pocket or bag. The ridiculous relief when I got my new! shiny! watch! on my wrist today was overwhelming - five months' pent-up frustration I think.

Anyway, I vented a bit of my excitement on twitter, and my friend asked for a "bad internet photo of it on your wrist" so I obliged, and decided it would do as a new icon too.

Today has also featured a family expedition into town:
  • Watching The Gruffalo's Child at Cambridge Arts Theatre.
  • Buying an Angry Birds hat on impulse for Charles
  • Lunch at Pizza Express for the four of us. We got two children's meals and Nico ate between a quarter and a third of his and then requested a feed.
  • Shopping for new shoes and new non-school clothes for Charles.
  • Shopping for shallow plates for Nicholas to eat from, as he'd done well with the shallow bowl in the restaurant.
Nico helpfully slept through all of the shopping in my sling, and woke up only when I sat down at home again. Since then he has been toddling industriously around the house, amicably torturing the cat (who is too old or too tolerant to run away) and repeatedly stealing my phone and/or the tv remote control. He's definitely a toddler now, not a baby.

Some phone-photos from today behind the cut:

Grainy cuteness! )
rmc28: (bat-funny)
Nicholas is getting old enough to be interested in board books, and so we have dug out the old favourites from when Charles was a similar age, reminding ourselves of the joys of Room on the Broom, and That's Not My Misc Item. An additional joy is that these are just about the right level for Charles to read aloud, and so more than once I have found him reading them to Nicholas.

Some of you my remember That's Not My Superhero. Last week I wrote That's Not My Avenger and put them both on AO3 while I was at it. (I got kudos this morning, it made me happy.)

That's not my Avenger )

rmc28: Rachel holding newborn Nicholas (rmcf+nhf)
Nicholas is now independently mobile, moving himself unaided across the living room yesterday.  He's been cruising and walking-with-help for some time, but what he's actually using to move is a sort of part-crawl, part-bumshuffle that I've never seen before, but clearly works for him.  I'm going to try to film it at some point for the wider family.

We're doing reactive babyproofing at the moment - moving things as and when he discovers he can reach them, and refereeing quite a lot between him and Charles over Charles's toys.  I'm just getting well from one of the worst colds I've ever had (I was actually signed off sick, it went on so long), while Tony is just getting ill.  In the longer-term, we need to do what we did before: make the living room safe and reinstate the baby gate on it.  A challenge I am not going to try until everyone is better.
rmc28: Rachel holding newborn Nicholas (rmcf+nhf)
1. I have been heard to say that I am too lazy to puree food for babies, let them just help themselves off whatever the parent is eating when they aren't having milk.

Well, that worked for Charles.  Nico it turns out is very keen on eating whatever his parents are eating, but lacks teeth and competence to eat a lot of it without choking.  So I have an icecube-tray or two of roughly-blended adult food in the freezer, and if my meal looks like he might choke on it, I microwave up a cube and spoonfeed it to him.  (I've started making him his own little bowl of porridge in the morning because I like to adulterate mine with seeds).

2. I have been heard to say that Elimination Communication is lovely-sounding, but far too likely to be messy and difficult for us to even try, especially with baby moving between three main carers (me, Tony, nursery).

Except that this baby's attempts to tell me how much he hates wetting his nappies are finally sinking in and I'm admitting that part-time EC is better than none.

Turns out different babies are different and parents may need to adapt to individual needs.   Who'd have thought.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I am sitting on Charles's bed, with the contents of his stocking on one side, and those of mine & Nicholas's on the other. As is becoming traditional, Charles opened his, then mine, with excited commentary. Apparently Santa chose very well this year. I am trying not to look too obviously smug.

We have fetched down a box of Charles's old baby toys & got two biggish ones out. Nico is sitting between my legs, playing industriously & Charles & I are looking on & talking together.

We are trying to let Tony sleep in: he has a lot of cooking ahead today. My brothers haven't emerged from their respective rooms yet[1] and the stockings on each bedroom door remain undisturbed. Soon I will go pull on some clothes & go downstairs with my boys for breakfast and maybe we will watch some silly tv. There are a lot of presents under the tree, disproportionately many for Charles.

[1] Jonny lives with us, my middle brother; Matt, the youngest, arrived on Sunday; Dan, the oldest, plans to drop in tomorrow.

Life is good.

Matt has just emerged, asking for wrapping paper. And I thought I was being last-minute wrapping late last night.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Just some quick photos caught on my phone of Charles sharing sunglasses with Nicholas.

Nico tries the sunglasses

Charles tries the sunglasses

Cool dudes

I wish I was more in the habit of picking up the little point-and-click digital camera than the phone though, it consistently gets much better photos than the phone.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
A second tooth followed the first within a week, and Nicholas is much more interested in food that others are eating now. Over the last week he has tried most things I have been eating, most notably refried beans at Las Iguanas. He will tolerate being spoonfed but much prefers to be in charge[1] of the spoon, or to hold the food in his fist and nom on it in his own time.


So we are into baby-led weaning territory all of a sudden, with the nappies to match. Here's a colleague's snap from our work Christmas dinner, demonstrating Nicholas's newfound enthusiasm for mince pies:

Baby-led weaning at work Christmas party
rmc28: Rachel holding newborn Nicholas (rmcf+nhf)
Nicholas is 5 months old today. He can sit up for short periods unaided, he is determinedly getting the hang of picking things up, and last Friday his first tooth cut through the gums. He has been chewing and dribbling and getting ever-more-lumpy gums since mid-September, so it is good to see something appear at last. It does mean letting him chew my fingers is more likely to result in an ouch, so I have been encouraging him to chew toys instead.

He had his first full day at nursery last week, after a few days settling in. We had a big questionnaire all about him to fill in for the nursery; one question said "what is your child's favourite activity?". I wrote "grabbing things and trying to chew them" and Tony laughed and suggested they might be able to guess that all by themselves.

He adores Charles, and will reach for him and try to cuddle him. He's getting pretty good at reaching for whoever he wants now. He is fairly clingy to me when I am home, but he will often sleep alone for the first part of the night. Unfortunately he has now outgrown the moses basket, so we are co-sleeping by default anyway, until I work out and enact a plan to fit a bigger cot into the room.

We found the baby set for the Tripp Trapp chair we got for Charles and fitted it back on, and bought a second Tripp Trapp, so now many meals have the four of us sitting together at the table. Nicholas mostly watches and makes chattery noises, and sometimes plays with a teething toy or three. He ate a tiny amount of banana at Judith's birthday party, and tried some of my weetabix at the weekend (though that didn't stay down). So we have sitting up, pincer grip, and a fading push-food-out-with-tongue reflex, which together suggest he is ready to start learning solid foods. I think we will try putting some in front of him at mealtimes for grabbing and chewing practice.

Brothers cuddling 2
rmc28: Rachel holding newborn Nicholas (rmcf+nhf)
It is 14 weeks now, I should write it down before I forget any more.  Key differences from Charles's birth are that I remember the section fairly clearly, and that thinking about it hasn't made me cry.
Read more... )
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I restarted work! Mondays and Tuesdays only. Tony is not working on those days, and brings Nico to me at lunchtime. We heat up lunch in the little kitchen microwave and sit together at a table in the foyer of my building. I eat and cuddle my baby and feed him, and most times I also take him off to the ladies' loos and change him, and almost always I get to show him off to a passing colleague or three. And then I give him back and go back to the office and work for another 4 hours.

I love it: being back at work, feeling useful and competent, but not having to go too long without my baby cuddles, and getting to do a big feed rather than a big pump at lunchtime. It's not quite as good as the conference creche but it's SO much better than going all day without seeing my baby at all, and a huge improvement on the work pattern we did with Charles where I went from 0730 to 1330 without my baby 5 days a week and didn't see Tony properly except at weekends.

All the updates are on [community profile] c25k but basically it's going well and I am liking it more than I thought I would. I've had a cold this weekend which has kept me indoors and I am missing it more than I expected.

Going well, though I have been less good at getting in my weekly hours since starting work. There was a tutorial yesterday at Hill's Road and I was too ill to go, which annoyed me.

Charles turned 6 last weekend and we held a party at home for some of his schoolfriends (note for future reference that "colouring in pictures" which I'd thought of as an easy-to-join-on-arrival activity kept the assembled children happy for nearly an hour). He asked for an Angry Birds theme and we did our best, including commissioning this most excellent cake from [twitter.com profile] planetxanna (it was delicious too):

Pay cake #1: Angry Birds. On time! on Twitpic

He seems to be enjoying year 1 of school and certainly it is stretching him a bit harder than Reception. We are supposed to get him to read out loud to us for 10 minutes a day and we probably manage it 80% of the time. He has started spontaneously reading out random signs on the street and titles of books we leave lying around. It is really, really cool to see him starting to use this skill as a tool for himself rather than just something we or school ask him to perform.

Nicholas is three months old, almost certainly teething (dribbling, gumming hard down on things), smiling at people with great enthusiasm, failing to sit up but wanting to, sleeping midnight to six most nights plus several other naps each day, continuing to breastfeed plentifully and remaining beautifully baby-chubby. He is getting the hang of hitting and grabbing things on the baby gym but would mostly rather be held/carried in a sling.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
We've had nearly two weeks of the "family" timetable and it's beginning to bed in, just in time for me to disappear to Lib Dem Conference with Nicholas and disrupt everything ...  This week I actually managed to do my 5 hours of study, and I'm working on Charles doing his daily homework actually daily as requested by his class teacher.

I seem to be more-or-less physically recovered from the surgery, though I'm being quite cautious about increasing the weights that I lift, until I'm sure.  Mentally, I am very ready to be doing other things than 24-hour babycare.  The family timetable and the OU study are helping here, but even more will be my return to work in ten days.  It'll just be Mondays & Tuesdays until the end of the year, but I miss my work, I miss the people I work with and I miss being able to work on something solidly for more than 10 minutes without having to schedule 3 other people to free me up.

Also I think it'll be good for Tony and Nicholas (and Tony and Charles outside school hours) to have their two days a week together, build their confidence in each other without me around to interfere.

Putting myself together for conference and work, I've been getting important appointments done, like my post-natal check, a haircut, and a vital Rigby & Peller bra-fitting.  I now have supportive, well-fitting nursing bras and a fiercely supportive sports bra.  My last trainers died sometime during my pregnancy so I bought a new pair from John Lewis - rather cheaper than going to Advance Performance, but the service showed it.  So no excuses for not starting C25k when I get back home from Conference.

My suitcase is half-packed and I have been procrastinating actually reading the agenda and setting my timetable, but there's still a bit of time before I head out for the bus to the train to the seaside.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Timetables are on my mind, with Charles returning to school after the summer holidays, the course books arriving for my next OU module* , and my wanting to start doing Couch-to-5k after my post-natal checkup next week.  I've been finding it all too easy to lose the days and weeks in babycare and muddling along, and I don't imagine my imminent return to work part-time is going to help.  So I've started building a timetable for the four of us.  It ended up being a spreadsheet as that's much easier to edit when I remember something else we need to get done.  It's easier to do exercise if you have a buddy, but having to schedule 3 other people so I can literally run off for half an hour has a fairly similar effect.

* B120 - Introduction to Business Studies

I have spent much of today watching the West Wing from the beginning, while either tackling a giant paperwork backlog or feeding Nicholas.  Sometimes I've been playing Loud Music to help the baby go to sleep, as that's less frustrating than trying to hear the Sorkin dialogue over his wailing.

rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Birthday boy with baby
We all went to the Discworld Convention in Birmingham last weekend, including escaping for a day to visit Cadbury World, as we were already so near to Bournville. For me it was a lovely social weekend, but I felt a bit less fannishly engaged than I would have liked to be, and am thinking on the likely causes and possible solutions for next time.

Charles fails to pose for photo at #paralympics
On Thursday I took the children (yay) to the Olympic Park having secured park-only Paralympic tickets, so we could "soak up the atmosphere" - we had no entry to any events but with a newborn and a restless five-year-old I doubt we'd have stayed long in any audience. We probably saw about a quarter of the park, had a meal, bought some souvenirs, and then gave in to the chilly damp weather and headed home again.
On our way home, Charles is worn out

On Friday, I took the children (yay) to Welwyn to meet up with Tony's sister, who has her own bump due to disgorge in a few weeks, for a lunch of gossip, and to pass on all the late-pregnancy / newborn baby stuff that we no longer need. Welwyn is easy for us to reach by train and for her to reach by car, and may become a good "compromise" meeting place for more frequent meetings in future, when neither family wants to do the full 2-3 hour journey to see the other.

Pumping kit & bottle inventory - or "how does all this fit together again?"
The week before DWCon, I dug out all the breast milk pumping/sterilising/storage stuff I kept since Charles stopped taking bottles about five years ago. The steriliser now has a place in the kitchen, and I culled out enough bottles to support the level of pumping I'm aiming for (no more than 2-3 times a week, to be used short-term, not bothering with a freezer stash). The rest of the milk storage went to SIL. I've started using breastshells to protect my clothing from my huge oversupply, and sometimes manage to sterilise them so the milk can be saved for use in a bottle later. I've had a couple of pumping sessions to provide for babysitting, and filled my first donation bottle for the local NICU. It's sitting in the freezer until I've completed all the paperwork so my milk can be used, and my intention is that it will get a friend filled every time I pump from now on.

Charles taking a turn at feeding his brother

rmc28: Rachel holding newborn Nicholas (rmcf+nhf)
Nicholas is now nearly 5 weeks old, and is getting more demanding.  That mellow easy-baby stuff, it was probably just a phase.

I'm back in non-maternity clothes now, which feels great.  There are pockets!  They are clothes I like rather than the least-bad stuff available in my size!  It was very cathartic putting everything into a bag for my mother to ebay (that way I know they are going somewhere useful, but I don't need to put any more effort or thought into them).  My taste for diet coke returned, and my alcohol tolerance is slowly increasing again.  As I find myself saying delightedly at intervals, I'm not pregnant any more.

Tony's sister got married two weeks ago, and it was a lovely ceremony and reception and party, plus a smaller family-only party the next day. Nicholas got a mention in the father-of-the-bride speech, and was passed around lots of the family.  We both got fussed over which was pleasant.  We also survived travelling through London to and from, with buggy and car seats and luggage and all.

Tony's mum came home with us after the wedding and stayed for 10 days.  It was lovely to have the extra company and help, and she got plenty of time with both the children.

The novelty of saying "the children" hasn't worn off yet.  I still get a little buzz of happiness every time I do.

I seem to be healing up well, I mostly don't need painkillers any more and I'm slowly rebuilding my stamina.

The washing machine has stopped turning the drum, as we discovered Friday morning.  [livejournal.com profile] fanf found and booked someone to come and take a look at it on Monday, and [personal profile] pseudomonas very kindly let us run a washload through his machine yesterday, so we're surviving for now.  No cloth nappies of course until it's fixed, and I'm fed up of disposables already.

I'm fed up of leaking milk over everything I wear too; hopefully in time my production will settle down a bit, but it's not helping the washing situation.

We got the AC/DC Iron Man 2 album, which was the nearest thing I could find to a greatest hits album.  It works wonders in getting Nicholas off to sleep, and makes the yelling tired-baby phase of falling asleep a bit more bearable
rmc28: Rachel holding newborn Nicholas (rmcf+nhf)
Being carried in my Hotslings pouch sling.  My theory is that it holds him fairly snugly against me with his head right on my chest where he can hear the heartbeat.  The Tricotti double-pouch isn't as effective, I think because it's a bit looser and he sits a bit lower in it.  The Tricotti is also far too hot for me to wear in the current weather.  I've been avoiding the Mei Tais because they need tying around the waist and I need to heal up some more before I can tolerate that, but Tony has used the lighter one with some success.  We have a Connecta supposedly on its way (much-delayed, I should chase the supplier again), primarily for him, but I think I'll like it too when I can do waistbands again.

I've been playing hunt-extra-slings on eBay, with the aim of getting two or three more second hand for the cost of a new one.  The Hotslings pouch is great, but the pattern clashes wildly with some of my currently most-comfortable clothes.

Being held close and jiggled gently to music.  This first was noticable when we were getting his passport photos, and there was a long wait to pay for them, and he was grumpy, and I was dance-jiggling him to the piped music.  He relaxed and went off to sleep in the middle of Flashdance, and it's proved fairly effective since.  I should try him with the Prodigy, it worked on Charles.

Breastfeeding to full - but this is no longer as effective as it was even a week ago.  He is staying awake more and more in between feeds, and sometimes he seems to really want to go to sleep and not be sure how, which results in loud complaining.  This is where the sling and the dancing come in ...
rmc28: Rachel holding newborn Nicholas (rmcf+nhf)
+ He breastfed enthusiastically from day 1 (hour 1, really).  I haven't had to pump at all.
+ He lost less than 10% of his birthweight and has now regained it all.
+ He had no problems at all at the newborn health check.
+ He sleeps in his own bed (moses basket), for much of the night, and quite a bit of the day.
+ He is bigger: there are clothes I remember Charles wearing even with cloth nappies that are already too small for Nicholas in same.

- He wees on at least half of his nappy changes.  Surprise fountains keep catching me out.
- Surprise projectile vomiting when he has overfed.

He is now 2 weeks old, gosh wow where did the last 10 days go? [answer: breastfeeding, eating, changing nappies, sleeping, reading, rinse, repeat].  He still primarily eats, sleeps and fills his nappy but he is managing longer periods of quiet wakefulness now, mostly staring at faces.

I have progressed from "when is my next painkiller dose due?" to "why am I ratty? oh, I should have taken painkillers an hour ago" and a reduced dosage.  Healing seems to be going well.  Starting on day 5, I have managed a short walks most days (or a rather longer walk followed by a day of not leaving the house).  I made it to the pub last Thursday & into the city centre on Saturday, and we have achieved passport applications and the acquisition of a new buggy.

Charles continues to be sweetly affectionate to his little brother while also slightly jealous of the attention he gets.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
I am making lots of milk and Nicholas is feeding like a champ, and I had forgotten just how intensely hungry breastfeeding makes me.

I need ideas for easy, quick and filling snacks.  Things that need to be prepared in advance are ok, but the end result should be something I can grab out of a cupboard or fridge and eat almost immediately, probably one-handed.  The lower the glycaemic index the better: I'm trying to stabilise my blood sugar after feeds, not send it rising and crashing again.
rmc28: Rachel holding newborn Nicholas (rmcf+nhf)
We've been home since Wednesday evening. I've spent most of the intervening time in or on my bed, though I am slowly increasing the amount of time I spend downstairs each day.
Cut to spare reading pages )

Tomorrow I may venture out of the house and I think we should be up to visitors from Monday.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Born shortly after 9am today, by elective c-section. 4.8kg (10lbs 9oz) so a fraction bigger than his brother was. He's already breastfed once and generally seems quite mellow and content.

Elective section is considerably more pleasant than emergency. I'm doing fine, can nearly move my legs again, and am in no pain. I'm much less tired than last time.

We are on Lady Mary Ward in the Rosie. Visiting hours 14:30-16:30 & 19:00-20:30 if you want to come & say hello. (No children other than my own allowed though.)


rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
Rachel Coleman

October 2017

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