Monthly Archives: April 2014

Going back to work

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It happened before. I spent one year on maternity leave and when I get back, it’s all new. It happened in 2011 and it’s happening in 2014. My boss changed back then; I have a new boss now. The super big boss was gone by the time I got back in 2011; the super big boss (which is the same, by the way) is leaving 10 days after I return to work in June.

I’m going back to work mid-June. Am I ready? No. Am I excited? Yes. Scared? Yes. Depressed? Yes. Don’t try to understand, because I don’t either. In the ideal world, I would work part-time, I would have some time for myself – a couple of hours would do, and I would spend some time with my kids without being all rush-rush to bathe-feed-put to bed. But my world is not ideal yet, so I will go back to work, check what’s going on there and see if I can find some answers to questions that have been keeping me awake.

Sadly, Beatrice won’t attend the same nursery that Laura went to, which I loved. It’s close to work, I can get there in 5 minutes if needed. It might be a sign that I can change jobs easily if I want to. Or work from home once a week, like in the good old days. I’m sure there are positive sides to it, but at the moment I’m very sad because the alternatives don’t please me. And I don’t have much time to look for options; it’s only two months until I go back to work.

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On top of this dilemma of where to put Beatrice so I can go back to work, I’m also torturing myself with Laura’s new school schedule from September. She will have 6 weeks summer holidays, then another 5 weeks of half terms and an extra week between Christmas and New Year’s. Who has 12 weeks holidays a year?!?! Luckily, there are after school and summer clubs, but still…

 
I’m dreading to leave these two…
 

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Another big step for my big little girl (or little big girl?)

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I’m talking about Laura here, not Beatrice.

So my big girl is soon going to attend a “proper” school. The letter arrived last week and she has a place in our (not hers, she doesn’t care that much yet) preferred choice, which is less than 5 minutes walk from us (and was rated Outstanding by Ofsted).

I don’t know why, but I’m making a big deal out of it. It’s just a school, we all go through this. But part of me is so scared that she might not be happy there, she might not like it, she might not want to be a student…

Although I wasn’t a bad student, I wasn’t a keen student either. I didn’t like school that much, I was always dreaming about the day I would stop studying. I don’t think it has anything to do with studying and learning per se, but with the institution, with how things are taught and the subjects we are forced to learn. I was never a big fan of strict routines, like having to go to school five days a week – I’m still the same and it is a torture to have to work five days a week.

Going back to my fears, I’m also a bit worried I will fail as a mother. You know, not doing things right, like sitting down with her, talking to her about the stuff she is learning, checking her homework, reading any signs of trouble at school… Hopefully, this is just me being overly paranoid and overthinking life, as I usually do.

Laura is a smart girl, very curious and inquisitive, and quite sociable, so it might not be as hard as I am expecting.

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She is going to attend reception, which is like an extension of the nursery/pre-school, as kids are normally four years old at this point, far too young to attend proper school. I didn’t think about that until a few months ago, but if she was born in September, she would have to wait another year to go to school. Not that it is good or bad to the child, but I can’t imagine paying another year of nursery, now that I have two kids going to childcare.

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On track

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Not that I had any doubts, but Beatrice is doing very well for her age. Last week we went to the 8 to 12 months check up (*) with the health visitor and she passed with 10 out of 10!

My petit is around the 25th centile, not only in terms of weight, which is what we have been tracking until now, but also height and head circumference, both following this line. Very proportional.

The test checks her ability to grab small things using her thumb and pointer finger and to pass an object from one hand to the other, if she shakes a rattle, if she claps, is saying da-da-da, ma-ma-ma and other sounds. Her eyes were checked and they are fine and so is her hearing.

Apparently it is quite normal not to have teeth at this age, as this didn’t seem to bother the health visitor. And she was impressed that Beatrice is walking (she is quite a confident walker now, spending more time on her feet than crawling), but I know lots of babies that walked before their first birthday.

On another note, we are all delighted with the cute things she does and learns every day. Also last week she was imitating us sneezing. And because it was so cute, we kept faking sneezes and she kept imitating us. And laughing hard at the whole thing. My mum also showed her how to cover her hands with cups (as in plastic toy cups). She was so excited about the novelty! She would hold her hands up high, each with a cup covering it, and laugh in excitement! I had forgotten how simple things can be so much fun for babies.

(*) In the UK, it is common to have health check ups at the first 72 hours, 5-8 days, 10-14 days, 6-8 weeks, 8-12 months, 2-2 1/2 years and then at school.

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Ops

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It had happened before. We are so lame. How can we forget these things?

So, on the 10th of April, when Beatrice turned 11 months old (and I wrote a post about it), Mr. C and I were also celebrating 4 years of marriage. Well, we were meant to celebrate, but we completely forgot about it.

Hmm. Part of me feels a bit guilty for not paying attention to these things. I mean, I can blame the busy life of a mother of two, blah-di-blah, but I think we forgot about the date in the last 3 years? But part of me doesn’t care that much, because we don’t usually celebrate dates in general and it doesn’t mean that we don’t care (about the people, the event). It’s just a date. Isn’t it?

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We CANNOT forget the dates in 2015 though. 5 years of marriage in April and 10 years of “togetherness” in October. Big numbers require big celebrations. If we remember.

The big day! 10/04/2010

The big day! 10/04/2010

Laura was there (she was born 1 month and 12 days later)

Laura was there (she was born 1 month and 12 days later)

Beatrice: 11 months old

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Little Bea is not as little as before. She is such a cheeky monkey, so happy and smiley and curious. And a little destroyer. Maybe it’s because Laura didn’t have so many “big kids” toys and it’s harder to break baby toys, but every day Beatrice destroys one of Laura’s toys, way more than Laura used to destroy at this age.

The big news of this last month is that she decided to practice some steps forward and apparently she enjoyed the experience and every day she goes further. Crawling is still the quickest (independent) way to get from A to B, being held is her preferred way (how she loves to be carried…) but walking will soon be part of our lives. She gives about 10 steps before falling and/or giving up. We make such a big deal out of it that even Laura cheers whenever Beatrice gives more than three consecutive steps.

The sisters love grows by the day. All the challenges and issues I find with being a mother of two disappear when I see how happy these two are together, how they can entertain themselves, the kisses and cuddles. Beatrice’s fascination with Laura and Laura’s patience with Beatrice are the two highlights of my life (for now).

Her appetite improved quite a bit. It is super cute to see her chewing, that miniature of a person. She wants to eat everything the we are eating. Sometimes I don’t even bother to cook special meals for her and instead I adapt what we will eat. At least we have been eating more vegetables that usual (and less salt and more homemade food). She loves green beans, peas, cauliflower and broccoli. Eats tomatoes like we eat apples. Not a massive fan of butternut squash and carrots. And she enjoys her sticky rice, just like her mummy. Her favourite are still the fruits though; she loves something really sweet.

No teeth. But she bites and bites hard.

She loves playing peek-a-boo, now she hides her face. She likes pretending she is talking on the phone. She loves all type of music (including noises) and she dances to any rhythm. She loves chasing her sister. She loves riding her sister’s bicycle, despite it being too big for her (her laughter in excitement is contagious).

She absolutely adores having a bath. When she sees the water running, she can hold her excitement and even tries to take her clothes off. She doesn’t stay still and wants to explore the bath tub.

She tried dirt for the first time at a barbecue a couple of weeks ago and she seemed to have enjoyed it as she keeps going for it every time is she in the garden.

Speaking of garden, we have a relatively high slide there and she loves sliding almost on her own – we only hold on hand (for safety purpose) and she can go on and on and on on that thing .

She has a “fake” laugh that seems more like she is mocking on us. Something crazy like a HA-HA-HA.

But her real laugh is just so delicious that as soon as we find something that will make her laugh a lot, we repeat it on and on and on.

She is getting into books. She likes to turn the pages on her on but also likes when we read stories for her. If we stops, she gives the book back, very serious and says “uh”, which I interpret as either “uh, again” or ” uh, why did you stop? Carry on”.

We are brain washing teaching her to clap her hands when we sing happy birthday. Although it is not common in the UK to clap while singing happy birthday, it is in Brazil.

She is so nosey and is always putting her hands where she isn’t supposed to and is always getting her fingers stuck somewhere. One of her nails fell off thanks to her locking her fingers in a drawer. Still, she keeps on doing it.

Sleeping… Bad days and awful days. Her day naps are ok-ish though. Two naps of one hour and a half each is more than double than what I used to get with Laura.

Impossible things: to change her nappy (still), to cut her nails, to keep her on the high chair.

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It’s been a long time

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To avoid this blog being just to update Beatrice’s monthly “birthdays”, let me write a random post. (Especially because she is turning 11 months in two days).

I forgot my book in the car and I am dreading the train journey. It’s sunny and hot (hurray) and I’m wearing a warm coat (boo) and there are loads of children in the carriage I am (Half term/school holidays). I’m so addicted to this book that I can’t put it aside and go to sleep, even though I am exhausted. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been reading much in the last years.

Three more weeks and my keep in touch days are over. Three more weeks and my maternity leave is over. Time flies when you are having fun, they say. It’s been interesting to be back at work, once a week, but I’m a bit anxious about returning full time and having to deal with school runs, meetings, lots of work, etc. I’ll survive, we all do.

I’m struggling with diet. I put on nearly 5 kg while in Brazil and I still have 1kg and a bit to get rid of. But geez, I’ve been so hungry lately. I can put photos of my macaroons and other stuff I’ve been baking/cooking because I changed my phone and all photos are gone. I have a back up but guess what? All my files don’t fit in this new phone. I hope I can retrieve them from the cloud or whatever they are.

So we are all booked for Croatia. Two weeks in the sun. I can’t wait, but there’s still a long way to go. A girl at work said it’s her favourite place ever, a mix of Italy and Greece. Can you imagine it?

In the meantime, I’m rushing to finish a couple of projects around the house before going back to work but nothing major. I don’t need much to get stressed anyways and I’ve already promised I won’t do anything else this year. I’m desperately trying to find a carpet fitter by next Thursday. It is NOT easy. 😦

I’m getting to my stop now. All these babies crying are making me think of my own little baby at home. But first I need to collect my big trouble maker at the nursery. Fingers crossed she will be in a good mood. (I’ll write about our latest experiment in our home soon)

The joys of motherhood, part… Whatever

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So there I was in the middle of the night breastfeeding Beatrice for the fourth time. I was exhausted, trying hard not to fall asleep with her in my arms and thinking about the joys of motherhood.

I try to be those “follow your instincts”-“embrance nature” type of mum, but I’m not very successful at it. Maybe I am too “modern” in certain aspects, or maybe I’m just too… Me.

Here are my (recent) thoughts on things like breastfeeding, co-sleeping, sleep training, and other things. Mind you, I change my mind all the time, depending on my mood and amount of hours I sleep.

Birth: I’m team “natural birth”, I LOVE giving birth (as in I could give birth to 10 babies, but not be mother of 10), but I begged for epidural on both experiences. Yes, I regreted it later on, but I’m sure I would have done the same thing if I had a third child.

Breastfeeding: it’s beautiful, it’s magical, it’s healthy for mum and baby. But whattheheck is this thing of feeding every hour at night at nearly 11 months?!? Ok, the baby seeks comfort and warmth while breastfeeding, but the poor mother deserves to sleep, for the sake of the family. Then you join a group to help you with breastfeeding in the hopes to hear something like “oh, you breastfed until now on demand? Wonderful, but you can now have a beak; resting is more important”. But, no, what you hear is: “this is normal; it might happen until the kid is 2, 3 years old. Keep calm and carry on breastfeeding on demand as much and long as your baby wants”. Yeek! On top of that, they don’t recommend stop the night feeds until the baby turns one. Yuhuuu! The solution I found to find the strength to do these night shifts leads to the next topic.

Co-sleeping: When Laura was born I was discouraged by the health visitor to co-sleep with her, to avoid risks of suffocating her (cover with blanked, roll over, etc). But I ignored it as it was just practical to breastfeed her in my bed at night. I simply couldn’t be awake with her feeding every two hours. So co-sleeping was great in this sense. After she turned one, she was sleeping mostly in her cot and I was feeding her just once or twice at night. Then Bea came and the second child IS different. I mean, the first one wants your attention and routine gets screwed up and feeding baby on demand + needy older child means that when you realise your bed now room for four. You get a nice bed for the eldest, put the youngest’s cot in her bedroom (as she requested) and… She doesn’t want to sleep there, but in your bed! What’s the problem? Well, a 3 years old kicks, rolls over, turns, pushes you. She once kicked my eye so badly that I spent three days with my face hurting. When you start having anger crisis due to lack of sleep, there’s only one way out:

Sleep-training: I tried before but my heart doesn’t like the whole idea. With Laura it was easier – one kid is pretty easy to deal with. Truth is: this stage goes by very quickly, too quick for my liking, so it just seems natural to enjoy and hold on to it as much as possible and I think this is why I did what i did with Laura for so long. But then the second baby comes and you see how easy life was. I cannot live without sleeping and soon I will return to work full time and lack of sleep + work + being a mum/wife/housewife is not a healthy combination.

So I’ve decided that from May, the kids will start getting into a more “strict” routine. Beatrice will be one and night weaning is more acceptable. Laura will be four and a big girl. And I will be too old to spend my nights awake.

I just hope mind and heart are on the same page and I have the strength to go ahead with the plan.