Category Archives: Baby

January blues

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They say that here in the North Hemisphere (or the UK? Or countries way too close to the north pole?) January is the gloomiest day of the year. It’s dark, cold, its days are short. People have no or little money after the holidays, they are not really refreshed from the break as it’s not really a break (from work, from school, yes, but not necessarily housework and surely not from family “work”).

So here we are, 13 days into January, another 18 days to go.

This is how my station is at 7.30am, just now:
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Unfortunately the photo doesn’t show the rain that is pouring right now. Proper rain, no messing about.

If it’s a given that most of us are very sad in January, it’s also a given that sleep deprived mothers are a bit unstable moody.

Until yesterday, I was completely exhausted, had lost all my faith in 2015 (already!), was feeling miserable about myself, and all that jazz. Today I woke up different. Still tired thanks to a headache that follows me every day since 2014. Not a single headache free in January so far. Despite the ache, I woke up different. I couldn’t get straight away what it was; all seemed the same (I could hear the rain outside). I looked around and I got it,
finally:

I had woken up with the alarm clock. Not a child calling me. In fact, no child called me the entire night. Not once. How I know that? I’m a light sleeper thanks to the evening calls; and I was waiting. I waited so long that I actually fell asleep. And then the alarm called me.

And all my faith in 2015 has been restored.

Beatrice: 18 months later…

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I have no idea how it happened but my baby is gone and has been replaced by a full time, interactive demanding toddler.

She is fully aware of who Beatrice – or Bea – is, but she doesn’t say her name. She will say “mamãe” (or mummy, thanks to Laura and her father), “papai” (but rarely “daddy”), Uaua or Lala but not Bea or Bibi. She says Booboo (Bubu) which is how Laura calls her. So much for choosing a beautiful international name…

English is definitely a much easier language to learn than Portuguese. I only speak Portuguese to her, she spends the day with a Brazilian childminder but the majority of words she says is in English: ball, gone, up, down, out, bath, juice, cake, eyes, other, help, please, bye. A few Portuguese ones: carro (ca-o / car), pé (foot), bumbum (bum), mais (more), água (a-ua / water), não (no), xixi (wee wee), pepê (chupeta/dummy), tchau (ciao/bye). And the baby talk ones: uh-oh, poopoo, au-au (for dog), meouw (for cat), moooooo (for cow), ai-ai-ai (when the room is a mess), papa (food), choo-choo (train)…

Her vocabulary increases by the day, even though she is not at nursery with other kids, being stimulated all the time. We can understand her most of the times even when she is not saying much.

She loves going to the ballet with Laura – but I haven’t got her in a class just yet.

She is a much better day sleeper than Laura was – she can easily sleep for 2-3 hours during the day without disturbing her nights. She wakes up about once or twice every evening, same as Laura at the same age.

She is going through the biting phase. Laura sometimes annoys her so Bea bites her – the marks are scary. She also slaps and scratches but if we tell her off, she hugs and kisses. Sometimes she knows it’s not right and says “nao, nao, nao” with her finger going side to side.

Her teeth come out very randomly. She has her four front teeth, two bottom ones, 5 at the back, both sides, top and bottom, and lots of space in between. So 11 teeth, 9 more to go.

She is now into bedtime stories and this is daddy’s business. She loves books and would happily get several books read to her every evening.

She is much easier to put to sleep than Laura was. Hmmmm, let me rephrase this: she doesn’t need to be rocked to sleep. All I need to do is lay down in her bed, feed her and let her fall asleep on her own. Lately (about a week now), she has been sleeping on my chest, listening to my heart.

When she wakes up in the middle of the night, she comes to our bed. Laura used to sleep in a cot-bed until she was 2; Bea sleeps in a normal bed since she was 1 and a bit, so she has no barriers. Laura was scared to leave her bed when we took the side down and I always had to go to her in the middle of the night. I don’t have this “problem” with Beatrice.

I have no idea how much she weights and measures and I couldn’t care less. She is very healthy and eats well (most of the time) and seems pretty ok in terms of development, so not worried about check ups at all.

Her first fireworks display was quite funny. She loved the loud music and kept asking “mais” (“more”) whenever the music stopped, but freaked out and got so so scared with the actual fireworks…

She tells us when she has a dirty nappy.

She is a funny little girl, who loves kissing and waving goodbye to strangers, dancing, singing, playing, eating, putting things in her month, climbing chairs and sofas, running, plying hide and seek, etc. She still loves Peppa Pig and Frozen (which she still calls Go but now she added Anna to the mix), but we have introduced her to Marsha and the Bear. She loves Atirei o pau no gato, Sapo cururu and other Brazilian nursery rhymes. Daddy teaches her the English ones and she likes them as well. Laura is her buddy but we have to keep an eye as sometimes they can fight like grown ups.

I’ve been trying to keep her as a baby forever, but I lost this battle. I just need to accept that she will soon be a child and will soon be sleeping through the night. 😉

Happy 18th month, Bee-bee-beautiful!

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We can’t stop time

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I’m a tiny bit shocked that it is getting to end of October.

I’m thinking about Christmas (because it’s too late to think about Halloween). Just thinking because probably we won’t do much about it apart from putting the Christmas tree up. (Can i say that I was thinking about putting it up now to justify the hard work it is? The longer it is up the more worth it it seems).

Beatrice is nearly 18 months old. Laura has been in school nearly two months. I’m no where near getting used to the “new” life (working full time-mother of two-big kid at school-small kid somewhere else).

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2014 has been a funny year. I can’t say it was good, because my father passed away in February and it has been harder than I thought. My mom’s sister had an emergency operation around the same time and still hasn’t recovered (actually had an accident last week) and another aunt – my dad’s sister – passed away unexpectedly (for me, at least). I do know, though, that despite these news weren’t welcome, this is life and the older we are, the closer to heaven we are.

I can’t 2014 has been a bad year either. I spent half of it on maternity leave, watching my baby Bea grow healthy and cute, watching the love of two sister develop, watching my big girl become a funny and intelligent child. We are healthy and we have a decent life. We might not be over the moon with our jobs but it might be because we rather be retired and traveling around the world to spending 10 hours a day working, even if we enjoy the work. And we have jobs, which is great. We visited friends, went to friends’ wedding, had family over, visited our home countries and had a nice summer holiday. And one of the highlights of the year: the British weather. Aaaah, what a beautiful spring, what a lovely summer and what a good autumn (at least for now) we’ve had. Thank you, Mother Nature (although it is because she is suffering, not because she is being nice, that the weather is like this).

So 2014 was a funny year. I want to say it was half full. It could be better, but it can always be better, right? Maybe 2015. Maybe we will be in the mood to make it better.

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I’m already working on my New Year’s resolution. I love lists and I love resolutions. I still have a few things to do in 2014 and I want to start some of my resolutions in 2014, but I like to plan the future (without putting too much energy into it – I rather use my energy doing something).

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We had visitors today and we cooked lunch at eight hands. We had nice grilled fish and prawns. It was the first time I bought fresh fish and the first time I bought fresh prawns with shell. It was a weird experience – in some aspects, I am one of those people that think that tuna comes in a tin. It was quite funny to see Laura’s reaction to the prawn:
– I don’t want this fish.
– This is a prawn, Laura.
– It has eyes!!
– Of course it does.
– Why?
– Because animals have eyes.
– But prawn is not an animal!!
– Yes, it is.
– Rice doesn’t have eyes…
– Rice is not an animal.
– Oh.

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People at work are pretty crap when it comes to recycling. The put banana skin in the paper recycling, bottles in the food bin… and to complicate things, whoever deals with the recycling decided to add more layers to something already confusing.

This week we found a new recycling bin in the bathroom. We were all discussing why the heck they would put a recycling bin in the bathroom if we don’t use paper towels to dry our hands. Really, what are they expecting to recycle?! Toilet paper? People were actually putting tissues in the bin. And then someone decided to have a closer look and read what was written on the bin: it is a recycling bin for bras. Excuse me?! Who the heck recycle their bras in the office?! It became a joke on our floor.

We later found out it is something for charity – but the explanation is only available in the bathrooms on the ground floor. Clever.

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After a good couple of months eating like there’s no tomorrow, I’m trying to eat better. Reducing sugar consumption, increasing greens and fruits, drinking more water, this sort of things. I’m not extremist, I don’t cut things completely, I don’t replace all unhealthy stuff with organic ones, but I’m trying to balance things a bit, because there’s just so much my body can take.

For a long time, I saw friends and online recipes talking about ganache and all cakes had this on top, and ganache this, ganache that. I didn’t like the name, so I didn’t want to try it. Until the day I made dark chocolate ganache for the first time. Hot cream + melted chocolate. Can I say? I hated it. No, really, I thought it was awful – sickening. I tried three times, following recipes. Pour it on the cake still warm. Not for me. Luckily all the three times I made too much, so placed the rest in the fridge. And now we are talking. And now I can say I like it. I like it dark, milk or white chocolate (not so much this one). I even like 1/2 chocolate 1/2 carob. But it has to be cold, after several hours in the fridge. Everyone in this house love it. It’s our desert when we don’t have a proper desert to eat. One day, I will try to use it (cold, lots) as cake filling. Until then, a teaspoon from time to time to sweeten life.

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Beatrice: 17 months

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Little baby is growing and, although I’m suffering to see that time is flying, I’m also loving all the new things.

* Bea’s kisses are proper kisses now. Before she just touched her lips and said “Muah”.

* She loves playing with dolls and cuddly toys, putting them to sleep, kissing them. And the she has a click and throws them far.

* She loves Buddy, the childminder’s dog, but also punches him and pulls his tail in a ‘mean’ way. It’s cute to see the photos of them sharing the bed but if I ever decide to have a pet, I would wait this aggressive phase to pass.

* Her vocabulary is increasing. Maybe at a slower pace than it would have if she was attending a nursery but at least she says more words in Portuguese than Laura used to.

* She is still a good fruit and broccoli eater. One of these days I gave her a bowl of cooked vegetables to eat by herself and she ended eating two full bowls.

* Her laughter is contagious and we all find ourselves (Laura included) doing all sort of silly things to make her laugh.

* She calls the childminder’s husband “ma-mor” (from “meu amor”, which means “my love”).

* Forever teething, no new tooth this month.

* Her sleep had some improvements.

* She cries when Laura goes to school.

* She loves Peppa Pig and ONLY Peppa Pig and ONLY in English. She can be heard singing the theme tune (“tu-tu-tu-tu-tu-tutu Paaaaaaapig).

* She know all animals sounds but my favourite (for now) is when she imitates birds.

* When she does something wrong she either says “uh-oh” or “no no”
and does “no” with her finger.

* She wakes up in the morning and comes to our bedroom when I’m not sleeping with her. Huge progress from just staying there and crying.

* She loves brushing her teeth.

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Beatrice 16 months old

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I wrote this post on the 10th September and tried to upload it then, but WordPress didn’t want to include the photos.

In two months time, she can start baby ballet classes. I wouldn’t normally do that if it wasn’t for the fact the she imitates her big sister dancing balley and – even cuter – doing the “heads, shoulders, knees and toes” or the “Let It Go” (as she sings Goooooo Goooooo) choreographies . Watch this space for future explosion of cuteness (or a baby wearing a ballet outfit).

She loves Peppa Pig (“Pappig”).

She loves eating. Even if she doesn’t eat a big portion, she is always eating. Fruits are a winner. And broccoli.

She imitates dogs (au-au; she learned from the neighbour’s dog), cat, horse (she learned from Laura’s toy horse), car (she says ca-o as well, the Portuguese word), sheep (but just when buni asks her in Romanian), duck (cak cak). She says nah-nah and nods her head to say “no” and she says uh-oh when something goes wrong. The cutest moment, though, was when I was with my mum on Skype and Bea got very excited and shouted vovó, vovó! Not only she remembered the word for grandma, but also she associated with my mum, who she hasn’t seen for a while. Other words are coming, but the majority of her talk is still very much shouting and pointing.

When she is overly tired or sleepy, she gets very aggressive, scratching, biting, punching everyone. Having said that, she also punches Buddy, her childminder’s dog quite a lot; sometimes out of excitement.

She is very friendly with people and the adaptation with the childminder could not have been better.

We changed the car seat and now it faces forward so she is much happier to be in the car.

She got a huge bed upgrade, going from her cot to Laura’s 2 meter long bed. She sleeps there all night long with an eventual middle of the night awake. We now have a proper duvet in the bed so I can sleep there if I have too (and quite often I have to). The cot is still there, acting as a sofa-balcony-barrier to the main bed.

She only has 6 teeth but seems to be teething since ever and constantly.

She has been breastfeeding way less than before, mainly at night. I am not planning to stop but she seems to be less interested. She still has milk before going to bed, sometimes in the middle of the night and sometimes in the morning.

As with Laura, she is more dependent of dummies now than she was 3-4 months ago. We try not to encourage her as I know it will be a pain to remove it (which I should have done by now).

She loves hanging herself from door handles or anything dangerous (like the tray of her high chair).

She is adorable but also a full time job. It’s hard to compare her with Laura at the same age – they are so similar in several aspects but also so different in others. Some differences are down to personality but others simply because Laura was raised differently (a separate post on that). The love I feel for both is also different – and it’s not a matter of quantity or quality, I think it’s the same here, but it is a different stage of love. Hard to explain; I don’t think I understand it, I just feel it.

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It’s just a phase, they say

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This morning, Laura had a “fit”. Screaming at us, being aggressive (as in punching me), grinding her teeth, etc. It was out of the blue – apparently she woke up fine but her mood changed like the weather in the UK.

We think it was a bit of jealousy because Beatrice was in our bed. It doesn’t make sense to me because Beatrice is ALWAYS in our bed when Laura comes in the mornings.

This terrible twos are lasting a couple of years now, but if on one hand it is a pain to deal with it, on the other it seems slightly easier as she is now a child that can communicate her feelings (even when screaming her lungs out) and expresses herself almost clearly. And maybe because of that, I find it even more frustrating to deal with these crisis. “For god’s sake, I am trying to talk to you, to give you options, to calm you down, to play with you so why the heck can’t you just stop and understand?!?” That’s the feeling.

In the last two, three weeks I found myself trying to convince two friends not to have kids. Yes, you read it correctly. The two are 35+ and although their biological clocks are not ticking, they have that mentality of “shit, if I don’t have kids now, I might regret in the future”. So, they DON’T want to have kids now. They are only scared they might be too old when they decide to have kids and then be too late. I don’t know about you but I think this is just wrong. Kids are not a walk in the park – and I can tell you that before having them, I thought it was and now I can see that it is a walk in the park when it’s pouring down with rain, dark and cold and very chaotic; it’s like when I went to Reading festival to see Pearl Jam: I absolutely loved the show, but all the previous bands, the mud, the weirdos and the travel to and from were so painful… Honestly, if you get to 42 and you decide that you want to have a kid and you are ready to have a kid, adopt one! Being a parent is not about giving birth (some women don’t even like the experience). And you might get to 42 and realise that you are happy without kids. Parents will probably say that they can’t imagine their lives without their children, and it’s true that it’s such a life changing experience and all the love that you feel for those little creatures cannot be put into words, yadda yadda, but you can’t miss what you don’t have, eh? If you are happy without kids, why would you miss having them at all? One of these friends I was talking about, spent two weeks with a friend who has a kid and she is now having second thoughts about having her own… it was too noisy for her.

Back to the tantrums… sometimes I just don’t know what to do. The manual says not to shout, not to slap,
not to punish, not to bribe, not to threaten, not to put in naughty corners, to put in naughty corners, to walk away and let the child be, not
to walk away… The manual says to be calm, talk softly but firmly (don’t even know what the heck it means), smile and be understanding, sing and twirl like a fairy, sing Let it go… there is a lot of dos and don’ts that not always make sense – or they always make sense but they contradict each other;
does it make sense?

But most of the time, the key is to be consistent. Apparently. Life with a child should be a repetition, on and on and on and on, the same thing. Same waking up times, bath time, meal times, sleep times… kids like to know what’s coming next, what to expect. And maybe this is where we are failing. We do try to keep things consistent but life hasn’t been that easy these days. Being on maternity leave, traveling to Brazil for 6 weeks, going back to work, family around for 8 months, one goes another one comes, Laura’s friends leaving pre-school, no ballet for a while… I have to say that it has been hard to keep a routine, for them and for us, and I wonder if this is playing its part in the sporadic tantrums. If it is, hopefully things will get better from September, when school starts.

Or maybe it’s just a phase and we will have to deal with it until they are 18.

Laura: 4 years old

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This post was meant to be be written and published on the 22nd May, but, hey, you heard the excuses before.

– Mum, can I have red hair?
– Uh. I suppose you can, when you grow older.
– Like, when I’m five?
– No, much older than that. But why red hair?
– I want to be like Ariel. And Jodi

Jodi is one of the teachers in her nursery and one of these days she came to me to say how proud she was because Laura said she wants to be just like Jodi when she grows up. I used to love the idea of having red hair when I was younger, but I was a teenager, not 4!

I am not the type of mother that think her kids are the most intelligent, beautiful of all. I actually think that Laura is pretty average in terms of intelligence – not a genius, but not slow either. And I’m quite happy about it. And, yes, I think she is beautiful, in her own way. A beautiful mixture of indigenous Brazilian and Eastern European. I love her smile, her eyes and her hair. I love her feet, her hands, her legs, her clumsy ballet movements. I love her mind, her personality (well… do I? Let me think… hehe).

There are a couple of things that drive me mad – the change of mood within seconds and the tantrums for no good reason (happy with tantrums that make sense). Unfortunately the tantrums are almost on a daily basis. Fortunately, it seems that she is getting more mature and can get out of them quicker than a couple of months ago.

She is a mini adult – the way she talks to us, clearly inspired by how the teachers talk to her at school, would be perfectly normal if coming from a 15 years old or a young adult, but hearing that tiny person looking at us very serious and asking “where are the bowls I left in the kitchen before I went to school? Who told you to put them away?” is hilarious.

She has finally got to that stage where she can play happily on her own. I love to watch from the distance, but it is also great to have a quick break. Not sure if it is something of this age or if it is her personality, but she is not a big fan of staying on her own/alone though. Not only when it comes to playing, but mainly when it comes to sleeping. We are trying to get her to sleep in her bedroom, but she just won’t take it. Last time I asked, she said she was afraid of the dark and of being alone (so, alone in her bedroom with the lights on is not an option for her).

If she is in a good mood, she lets Beatrice do whatever she wants to her. When Bea scratched Laura and I told her off, Laura said “it’s ok, mummy, she is just a baby and didn’t mean to; it doesn’t matter”.

She is being tested for asthma and seems to be responding well to the inhaler. I wasn’t so keen on it, as it has steroids (small doses, but still…), but she is so much better now. I could try a more natural option (what? what?) but she is such a pain when it comes to putting anything in her nose/mouth.

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– My mum locks me in a tower and she never lets me out.
– Really?? Why would she do that?
– Because she is mean. I only leave the room to work.
– How come you are here, then?
– Oh, I found a key and escaped. But she will come back and lock me again.

– Mummy, I’m Elsa.
– No, you are not.
– I AM. DON’T YOU DARE SAY I AM NOT. YOU DON’T SAY THAT. THAT IS SO RUDE!
– You can’t be Elsa. You are not blonde.
– I AM ELSA, I AM BLONDE. (and crying a river)

She is so into Princesses, and loves Frozen to bits. She knows how to sing “Let it go” from start to finish and knows the choreography. She kisses stuff pretending they are frogs. She always asks to have her hair done like TV/film characters: two plaits like Lalaloopsy or Anna from Frozen; one like Elsa. One pony tail like Barbie; two, like whoever.

The other day she told me she liked Ben 10 and Spiderman.

She likes to put on shows and perform ballet movements and she isn’t shy in public. She danced ballet in the middle of the Our Lady church in Bruges and even had a few people asking to take pictures.

She won’t go to sleep without a bedtime story. Or three. She also likes when we create our own bedtime story.

She likes when we sing for her and when we make up songs. Especially when they have her name in it.

When I drop her off at nursery, she is always shy and doesn’t want to stay. Apparently it lasts for 30 seconds after I leave her there.

She still speaks Portuguese, but she is loosing it a bit. I need to find playgroups with Brazilian kids and parents urgently!

One great thing about kids this age is that the more ridiculous their parents are, the better. And I am making the most of it before her teens.

 

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Laura being cool in Bruges

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Laura being Hello Kitty

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Laura “reading” a book in Portuguese.

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Laura sharing a ride with Thili

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Laura when she comes home from nursery

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Laura showing that she doesn’t have any sense of boundaries and space

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Laura riding “Dumbo” in Bruges

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Laura with some of her hundreds of books

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Laura being British and enjoying the sunshine in a freezing pool

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Laura and Elsa having a snooze

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Laura and BFF Iona

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Laura waiting for Bea at the bottom of the slide. To tickle her.

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Laura going down a proper big kids slide, for the 10th time

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Laura as supergirl