Monthly Archives: November 2013

Surviving another week

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Not sure what has happened this week but Beatrice and Laura had the worst nights of sleep ever. Mostly Bea’s fault, I dare say, as she was the one waking Laura up, who, in return, either went to our bed and didn’t let us sleep properly or decided she wanted to play downstairs and one of us had to go with us – at 2 in the morning.

Our house is like a pressure cook at the moment, ready to explode. No one sleeps, the kids are exhausted (Beatrice seems to have a malfunction though as she is not sleeping well at night or during the day and still won’t be quiet the whole day), the parents are exhausted and the mother is grumpy, in a constant bad mood and not smiling to anybody, including her daughters.

Before we go down to more dramatic solutions, like me running away, Mr. C working night shifts, sending the kids on a one way tickets to grandparents sleep training Beatrice, we will try to put Bea in her own bed. And Laura got an upgrade as well. The new bed arrived today and instead of napping while Bea was sleeping, I decided to assemble it. All done in a couple of hours, but then – surprise! – the bed is huge and took half of the bedroom! Yikes! Typical me to buy furniture without really checking if the will fit. Anyhoo, I moved a few things around, will get rid of other few things and I think it will all be ok. No space to move around or play, but, hey, bedroom is for sleeping, eh?

I bet tomorrow I won’t be able to wave goodbye as my whole body will be aching – I guess it was the exercise of the week that I missed.

Below are some photos of the before and after, playing with positions, and Laura having fun in her new bed (bedtime was two hours late today and she took her time to fall asleep). Oh, and I had to show Bea’s new trick: stand up in the cot. But she is quite wobbly and sometimes falls on her back, with her head very close to the grid of the cot – scary!

P.S.: the house was so cold today that Bea’s nose is blocked! Yes, she caught a cold in the house, maybe because I wrap her very well when we go out, but I didn’t realise I had to dress her with several layers indoors too. Winter sucks. Conclusion: no sleep for us again.

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Pepper in the others’ eye…

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Laura got an Emilia doll from my cousin/Godmother when she came to visit us a couple of months ago.

For those not familiar with Sitio do Pica Pau Amarelo, Emilia is one the characters of these very popular series of story books for kids, first published in 1920. From books, it became a live action TV show, comics, and TV animation and, of course, is has an enormous amount of merchandising behind it – including the doll Laura got.

Emilia is a talking rag doll, who started talking after taking a magic pill. And she talks non-stop, reminds me of Laura, who won’t be quiet for a minute. So, the toy basically does the same. It has a sensor that allows it to stop talking when there is noise near it and resume talking when the noise stops; it’s meant to mirror a dialogue.

Laura was playing with the doll, singing with her, but then she wanted to tell me something that happened at the nursery. But the doll wouldn’t shut up. I could see that Laura was getting annoyed with it, looking at the doll with the “excuse me, I’m talking” face and puffing in anger. She even shushed the doll.

I so wanted to say “Now you know how WE feel when YOU talk non-stop”. But I thought it was best to be quiet and enjoy the scene. 😉

Exciting times

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I woke up today very… not positive. Another very bad night with little to no sleep, Laura being so difficult in the morning (poor her, she was also tired), Bea being adorably difficult to put down to sleep (different noises in the house). But as the day progresses, I’m recovering slowly my mood.

Yesterday, Mr. C took the day off to help me with the logistics of taking Laura for her BCG jab (oh dear, thank goodness it’s the last – hopefully – jab for many years, she screamed so so so much, several minutes BEFORE having the injection. times like this, only an ice cream can make things better; not even chocolate helped!). He dropped me off at my photography workshop and when to a soft play area to spend some father-and-daughter time with Laura. She absolutely loved it! As for me, I’m really enjoying spending some time with other mums, and despite the subject evolving around kids, it doesn’t feel like that. It rained like hell yesterday, with 10 minutes of hail during the class, and it was freezing. I went home on the tram and train and by foot and it was alright, I think. I might try this again next time. Car is very convenient, especially when you need a wee, but I’m more relaxed if I am NOT driving.

We are in the process of tiny changes and news here. Nothing exciting for you lot, I guess, but tiny things help my mood to improve. The baby massage course finished last week. It was quite hard to massage Bea with her being so mobile and nosy, but it was fun nonetheless. And she absolutely adores having a back massage. So much that for the past week, she fell asleep a few times just being massaged. Before, I had to rock her for a long time (once, for two hours). I can’t believe how much and how sudden it changed – it’s not always easy, but even when she is agitated, a back massage calms her down. She might not go to sleep straight away, but she stays still and stops moaning (she is a moaner when she is tired, but I think it’s a general thing with all babies and children).

I was going to replace the massage course with a baby yoga class, which would be today, but I had some fitters in to work on the conservatory. Yes, it seems like we will have it done for Christmas. This puts a smile on my face. 🙂 Yes, it’s a pain to get stuck in the house while they are working, but hey, I wanted it, so I have to put up with it.

Beatrice started crawling yesterday, after what seemed the longest training period ever!! She was 6 months and 10 days old, which seems a little bit too soon, but not soon for a 2nd child I was told. Her sleeping hasn’t improved at all with weaning and the crawling training – I would say it got worse. But I have hopes for the near future.

We ordered Laura’s bed from Ikea (the one I mention on this post) and it will be delivered next Friday (oh, boy, Ikea’s online shopping is a pain!). So hopefully December will be some for of goodbye 2013, hello 2014 for us. Then, of course, we are travelling and who cares about routine?

We are also trying to reduce Bea’s dummy usage. Not that she uses a lot, on the contrary, but exactly because she doesn’t like it too much, we are slowly cutting it completely. It’s not easy (for me) though, as a dummy can be a life (for me) saviour. At the moment, I would say that she sucks her dummy about 2 hours a day? Yesterday she fell asleep without it, which is a victory. I’m hoping that it will be easier in Brazil, where I will have extra pair of hands to help soothing her.

Speaking of Brazil, we had some great news. Our friend Italiano, who is leaving in San Francisco for too long now, will join us in Brazil – a week in Bahia and another week in Rio. We are so excited!! Truth is, going to California is not in our plans just now (have other places in the queue) and coming to London is not in his plans either. So makes all the sense to meet up in the middle. And Bahia is a place that none of us know and we can explore together. Now, it is also be a test of our friendship – if he disappears completely after that, means that the girls scared him for good. hahaha If he enjoys the experience, I think we could look at an annual holiday with uncle R, eh?

Now, the last update is in regards my diet. It is going slowly but surely. I can’t get into the habit of exercising enough, so I must try harder. I’ve lost just over 1 stone so far and I would like to lose another 1/2 stone before the trip. I don’t think it’s impossible, but at the pace I am now, it will be hard. Oh well, it took me 8 years to put on weight, I should be grateful that it is coming out.

Learning to sleep

Learning to sleep

Learning to crawl

Learning to crawl

Getting rid of the dummy

Getting rid of the dummy

Press ups

Press ups

Polyglot girl

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Last week Laura came to me.

Laura: mummy, vulpe.
Mummy: what?
Laura: vulpe is wolf in Spanish.

Mummy puts her “poker face” on, thinks for a couple of minutes and asks: is it? Who told you this?
Laura: I did.

I knew I’ve heard the word vulpe, or similar, before, but I wasn’t sure which language. It wasn’t Spanish (it’s lobo, same in Portuguese), it wasn’t in Romanian (Lupo). So I told the story to Mr. C, who said that vulpe is fox in Romanian.

I don’t know why she thinks that all other language that is not English is Spanish. She onces told me not to speak Spanish to her – I told her I wasn’t; I was speaking Portuguese. Now this.

She has a new best friend (she has about 5 best friends at the nursery, plus one or two outside) and she is Romanian to Romanian parents and started at the nursery about a month ago. Her English is very limited – but better than Laura’s Romanian. I asked one of the girls who work at the nursery how they communicate and the girl explained that some kids create a language of their own to overcome the barrier of language. No wonder why Laura has started speaking with a funny accent and using non-sense (to me) words at home.

On Monday, when I drop Laura off at the nursery, her Romanian friend was there and Laura went straight to her. I stood there looking at them, as I was curious to see how they play together. They smiled and laughed a lot, but almost no words were exchanged. Instead, lots of hand signs and pointing at objects. It was quite amusing to see the two together. We will encourange their friendship outside nursery walls, and maybe, who knows?, Laura can pick up some Romanian that her dad is not teaching her.

Decadence without elegance

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Whenever I say I haven’t been sleeping well in ages, people say “oh, but you look great, you don’t look tired at all!”.

I guess the hormones play a part there. In the same way that make you feel miserable on the inside, they make you look presentable on the outside. So people think I’m nuts when I explode, cry or am rude to random people because I’m exhausted – technically: if I don’t look tired, I shouldn’t act like a tired person.

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I started a photography workshop for mothers. We are 5 in the class (only 4 showed up yesterday) with our babies. I was pleasantly surprised to see that two of the other girls breastfeed their babies. Lately I’ve been feeling an alien when I breastfeed Bea in public. I didn’t use to feel that with Laura, but I guess I go out more now and have the opportunity to see other mums.

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Nobody has ever mistreated me for breastfeeding in public. But in the past week I experienced a couple of weird situations.

The first one: I was feeding Bea in the shopping mall when I heard an old lady saying “disgusting”. I don’t know if it was towards me, as I wasn’t looking at her when she said it, but it felt like it was. I don’t feel sad or embarrassed about it. I feel angry. Very. Should someone say in my face “disgusting” for breastfeeding in public, I don’t know what I would do. At the time, I felt like telling the woman “you are disgusting, your presence in the world is disgusting. May God have mercy of your soul, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he sent your straight to hell for being against what Mother Nature “taught” us to do”. Of course I didn’t say anything, I kept trying to convince myself that she saw someone spitting on the floor and THAT was disgusting.

The second one: it happened at the gym, after a class, I was feeding Bea. A man, coming from the gym room, saw me and stopped in a strategic point where he could have a better view of me. While he was putting his coat on – very slowly – he was starring and smiling at me. But not in a good “wow, that’s an amazing display of love, to feed your child” kind of way. It was a bit intrusive, pervert almost. I looked at him, serious, maybe angry, showing him I wasn’t enjoying it. I didn’t say anything though, just ensured Bea was covered and there was nothing to be seen there.

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I honestly don’t expect people’s sympathy towards my public breastfeeding habits. Honestly, it is a natural thing – you would think that even more in Europe where topless is permited in ANY beach. I just wished people got on with their lives – it has nothing to do with anybody, except my baby and I. It’s not like I’m farting in the lift where people will breathe the awful smell (yet people tend to find it “part of nature”) or I’m chatting on the phone loudly on a packed train. I don’t say “disgusting” to men to scratch their balls in public or to old ladies who play with their dental fixture in public (yes, I’ve seen this scene a few times). I won’t even mention the countless times I saw men having a wee in public (once, just behind MY car) and I tuned my face, not disgusted, but to give them privacy to do their business.

I don’t expect sympathy, but I will start practicing my “I’m a witch and I shall curse you” look for next times.

Beatrice’s weaning: first week

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We introduced food to Bea on the Sunday she turned 6 months old. This post is for my future reference, as I’m really bad at remembering things like baby’s first/favourite food, 1st tooth, etc.

Sunday: she tried apple and butternut squash. Despite the funny faces and gag reflex, she came back for more.

Monday: banana and potatoes were offered. She pulled faces with the banana but ate, spittig part of it. The potatoes weren’t successful at all, she spat everything. Must try again later on.

Tuesday: the fruit of the day was papaya, very sweet and all the way from Brazil. She seemed to have enjoyed a lot. We didn’t try a vegetable but porridge instead. It was very cute: when she saw the plate, she was so excited and opened her mouth straight away.

Wednesday: no fruits today. She had broccoli and carrot. Broccoli wasn’t a hit, but she enjoyed the carrot, and kept opening her mouth for more.

Thursday: it wasn’t a great day. She tried cauliflower and didn’t seem to like it at all (I don’t blame her). For “dessert” we had mango, from Brazil to our table. It was a tricky one. I cut a big piece and let her chew on it, but mangoes are so slimy that it kept scaping from my hand like a soap. She wasn’t sure about what she needed to do, so I ended up mashing it and spoon feeding her. She was ok, but not sure if she loved it.

Friday: we repeated mango but I don’t remember giving her a vegetable. :/

Saturday: we repeated a few things, like potato, which she enjoyed this time, and banana, also approved. Papaya is also a hit!

Sunday: she tried a strawberry/banana puree (an organic pouch), which she seemed fine with, but I don’t think she liked the facted that it was cold. She also tried sweet potato for the first time and seemed to like.

So there’s more than a week worth of food here. I don’t remember all Laura’s reaction to first solids but i think Bea enjoyed the experience more than Laura did. Quantity-wise, she has no more than one or teo teaspoons of food. Not much, but since this is a tasting phase, I don’t think it should be more than that anyway.

Today I roasted and boiled some random vegetables (courgette, sweet potato, potato, butternut squash, onion, pepper, carrots, tomatoes), pureed them as different combinations (potato + onion + butternut squash, sweet potato + courgette) and freezed them in little pots. The idea is to give them as “ready meals” or add few bits and bobs (broccoli, cauliflower, peas) to it.

Eventually we will introduce meat (chicken, fish, beef), but I want to a week or two, until she is completely into her veggies. Books/nutricionists also recommend cheeses and yogurts, but i will also wait a few weeks. The recommended cheese is cheddar, which can be a but salty. I might start with cottage cheese. On the yogurt side, it’s plain full fat yogurt. I think hard boiled egg can also be introduced soon.

I forgot how much work it can be to feed a young baby. I remember when Laura was around 10 months old, I was eating her food as I didn’t want to cook several meals. life becomes much easier when they turn one and can eat “everything” we eat.

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Mini portions of butternut squash and other stuff ready to go to the freezer

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Sweet potato and whatever. Why does baby food have always to be a orange?!

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

Beatrice: 6 months old

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Bea is sleeping. She is on her knees and hands, moving back and forth. Eyes closed. She put her head down, but the bum is still up. She babbles: “ey, dla, dla, dla. Ba. Ey. Pllluuurrrrt (blowing raspberries)” Eyes still closed. Up again on her knees and hands and tries to move. She is agitated, seems desperate to relax and sleep, but she can’t.

The above happened last night, but it is becoming more frequent in the past weeks.

Baby Bea is turning 6 months old today. Exciting times!!

* She is so close to crawling. Maybe if I had let her practice this pass week, she would be now. This afternoon she was nearly there, but she was so tired that we had to cut the training session short. I am excited for her, but still feel it’s too early (for me)

* She sits on her own but she is still a bit wobbly and now and then falls on her face

* She can hold herself up (standing up) for a few seconds

* She is smiling a lot, mainly for me, daddy and Laura. She isn’t yet a huge massive fan of her big sister, but gets excited when she sees her and when Laura plays with her. Laura, on the other hand, loves her baby sister to bits, more and more

* Her vocabulary so far (and as far as I can remember): da, dadada, dla, dla dla dla, ba, bababa, bla, dey dey dey, tey tey tey, tla, tatata, bu, bué

* She is such a curious baby. So curious that her tiredness goes away when she has lots to see around. Last Tuesday was a classic example: she only had a nap from 9 to 9:30 am and didn’t sleep at all until 7pm, only because I had a busy day and had to drag her around several places. But she only complained around 5pm

* She is not a very friendly baby when it comes to strangers. She stares and pays a lot of attention to them, sometimes can even give a little smile, as long as she is not with them and facing me. If I’m in the same room and she is with somebody else, she is sure to cry and look at me “begging” to get her. If I’m not in the same room and she can’t hear my voice, she does fine

* I don’t think she will ever get used to the car seat, to my despair

* She loves her bath time even more, now that she can sit in the bath tub and play with Laura’s toys. It’s a shame that usually she is exhausted and the only thing she really likes is her bath, so the massage bit is normally cut short by her cries

* It’s impossible to change her nappy without a fight

* And she is a fighter. With her nails uncut, she is a fighter with claws. Sometimes it’s hard to believe she is just a cute, sweet, cuddly baby, especially when I have my face all scratched

* Nothing changed on the sleeping front – not on a positive way, at least

* She bites. She doesn’t have teeth but her bites hurt like hell. I promise that if she continues biting like that when she has teeth, I will stop breastfeeding her. Not just out of pain, but because my nipples will be gone.

* She seems like she is teething – bites and chews absolutely everything – but there’s so sign of a tooth coming

* No idea of her height and weight as I haven’t weighed her for a while (two months?). She seems fine to me (compact, lean baby), so I don’t care what her weight is

* We started giving her food today. If there is something I am more relaxed about is weaning. I was so stressed with Laura in the beginning, but I know what to expect now. So we will take it very easy in the next month or two, just giving her tiny bits of fruits and vegetables to play with and try and introducing proper meals slowly. Today the menu was apple (she liked it, she didn’t like it) and butternut squash (she liked, then she got tired of it). Sweet food not to shock her taste buds.

And the photos:

Sisters watching a film together

Sisters watching a film together

The film? Rio!! I managed to get Laura very interested and she has seen it twice (as asked for a third one)

The film? Rio!! I managed to get Laura very interested and she has seen it twice (as asked for a third one)

"Muuuuuuuuuuum, can you help me? Pretty please?"

“Muuuuuuuuuuum, can you help me? Pretty please?”

6 months old - got some festive socks as a gift

6 months old – got some festive socks as a gift

Laura feeding Bea

Laura feeding Bea