Friday, 30 March 2012


I realised today what one of Pix's biggest character strengths is: kindness. It doesn't seem much, does it? It's not a big word. But if it weren't for kindness, wouldn't life be so much harder?

Here's a selection of the heart-wrenching kindness he does:

  • At a playdate this morning the owner of a toy till wanted to play with her toy all by herself. Fair enough, it's her toy! She got upset, as 3 year olds do, and before he was asked he was holding out the part that he was playing with so she could have it. No prompting at all, just did it.
  • When Pops cries (which is pretty often at the moment, bloody teeth!) he runs to find her a dummy, or a toy, or the musical mobile - anything he thinks might stop her crying. How sweet is that? He also says "awwwwwwww, Pops, don't cry, be happy!" <3
  • ...and on the subject of being happy, I had a chat with him about doing what mommy and daddy say because otherwise we'll be sad. I must have hammered it home the next time he didn't do what I asked because after we had words he asked me if I was happy. I told him that no, I was sad that he wasn't doing what I asked. He asked me if a kiss would make me happy, so I said yes but only if he also did what I was asking. Now whenever we have a clash of wills he says "don't be sad mommy, I give you kiss to be happy!" Little swine, how can you be cross with that? ;)
  • When was of his little friends was crying over something hugely important to her toddler life, he went and gave her an awkward cuddle and encouraged her to forget her woes by going to play with him.

I really hope that this is something that grows and grows within him. That he'll always be kind and thoughtful. That he'll always try and diffuse someone else's upset, but do so without taking it on himself. I hope he's the boy that shares his toys, the teenager that stands up to playground bullies and the man that will never let an injustice go unchallenged. 

Just so she doesn't feel left out, I have to mention Pops. She's probably a little young to have strengths and weaknesses yet, but she really enjoys being pretend-dropped and being bounced on the bed. She positively cackles with laughter.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Chalk It Up To A Good Day

It's probably fair to say that our TV has done more parenting this last week or two than I have. Between the quadruple dose of chicken pox we've had (only Ed has escaped!) and various other ailments, we've barely left the house and when we have it's been either with incredibly grumpy children, or to wide open spaces where we can't infect anyone. And to be honest, those wide open spaces have usually been Tesco for essentials as I've not been up to braving the chilly playgrounds what with all the razor blades in my throat, hammers in my head, chainsaws in my stomach and rabid dogs gnawing at my shoulder.


I decided to take advantage of the brightening weather today so, after a brief sojourn to be fed lunch at my husband's office, and a monster nap from Pops courtesy of Ashton & Parsons teething powder, I took them into the front yard (why yes, we do live in the north!) with a tub of jumbo chalks from Tesco.

That's actually half a pirate outfit he's wearing. I'd never clash horizontal and vertical stripes.

To the right of the tub you can just about make out my amazing mermaid of awesomeness.

Ah hell, see a close up. See! Awesome.

After covering all available floor space we went inside and I read a counting book to Pixie, had a bath with them all, then nursed Pops to sleep. I think I did more active parenting in those few hours than I have in the last few weeks.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Feeding. You're Doing It Wrong.

After a slightly tumultuous start to breastfeeding, Pops started feeding like a pro. The experience has been so much more enjoyable than with Pixie, with whom I exclusively pumped for around 5 months. It turns out feeding your baby isn't stressful and guilt-inducing and time-consuming and all-encompassing. Who knew?

Only, well, it's getting that way again. Pops seems to feed far too frequently than she 'ought' to. Like, every hour frequently. And she's not having a growth spurt - this is normal :/ I've kept explaining it away; "it's because she's little and sleeps through the night (hallelujah!), she needs to make up", "it's because she's poorly (double dose of chicken pox) and is comforting", "it's warmer today and she's thirsty", but in all honesty I think I'm just not reading her cues right. I think perhaps I was feeding her when she wasn't necessarily hungry which has started this whole vicious (one day I'll totally spell that right without the aid of a spellcheck) circle that she feeds so frequently she doesn't get the hindmilk so she gets hungrier sooner, gets gassy and has acidic poo and so wants comforting...

I'm not exactly from the Gina Ford school of baby-raising but as of today I'm putting her on a loose feeding schedule. Apart from very first thing in the morning and very last thing at night, there needs to be at least 2 hours before feeds. I had to do this with Pixie too at just a wee bit older than Pops is now. He was feeding about 18 times a day because he was having such a little amount due to his reflux. I remember it not being an enjoyable time - who likes telling someone they can't eat when they're hungry? Ok, apart from Gina Ford. 

Wish me luck!

Well...perhaps I'm not doing it that wrong.

Friday, 16 March 2012

"We're best friends. Best friends never fight."

I told Pixie on the phone that he had a new baby sister.

"Oh," he said, digesting the information for a moment. "I've watched the golf on the telly with Grandpa! They have sticks and balls and into the hole!" Touché.

In all honesty, I'd expected some jealousy from Pixie. However, whether it was the excitement of having a new sister, Christmas and seeing beloved grandparents more than usual that diverted any jealous tendencies, or if he wouldn't have shown them anyway, he took to Poppet like Woody (eventually) took to Buzz. Like Dora and Boots. Like Charlie and Lola. Like Batman and The Joker. Oh. Um.

I'm pretty sure he couldn't be more lovely with her. When she cries he runs to tell me (dude thinks I'm deaf, as well as stupid) "She wants feeding? You need to feed her?" (Santa also seemingly brought an Australian question intonation? Yep, it's pretty much as annoying as you think?). He lives for 'huggles and kisses' from her and thinks that when she touches him it's better even than an episode of Team Umizoomi. In return, she only has to look at him to start grinning and chuckling to herself. She adores to watch what he's doing. Sometimes they lie facing each other, staring into each others eyes - when they do that my heart bursts.

I was apprehensive about a second child joining us with the age gap we were giving them (2years 9months) as it's very similar to the gap my brother and I have (3years 2months 1week!) and frankly, we were shits to each other. I don't want that for my children. Who does? More so, I don't want to be that mom who's embarrassed to go anywhere with her kids because they fight and tell tales constantly. Sorry mom for making you that mom.

I hope as the years progress they'll always be best friends, always look out for each other. If she ever gets in trouble I hope she goes to her big brother for protection. I hope they look back on their childhood and remember laughter and love from each other.

*Time to fess up. The post's title is actually something Pixie said about one of his friends rather than his sister, but it's something that I hope they live by.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Lady Luck Is Born

At 1.30am on Christmas Eve morning, 2011, I woke up in labour with my second child.

I dozed for a couple of hours before waking again, this time with stronger contractions 9 minutes apart. My husband and I crept downstairs so as not to wake our elder child, where we pottered about making tea and contemplating what time we ought to call reinforcements. We decided to call my parents who had agreed to travel the 80 miles between us to look after our son pretty soon, so they could start readying herself for the trip. We also decided to wake our doula, Abbie, so she had a heads up that things were starting. As my last labour was 24h46m we didn't envisage anything exciting happening anytime soon.

Well, that was wrong! At about 4.10am my contractions jumped from roughly 9 minutes apart to 3-4 minutes apart. Hurried phone calls were made to my parents, Abbie and also the local midwife team. The midwife was the first to arrive, at 5.45am. She assessed me on my bed amidst chaos - toys from the playroom had been moved into our bedroom so the birth pool had room to be put up. They were meant to go into our son's room but at that time he was still fast asleep and we thought we'd have time to transfer them in.

At 7am my parents arrived and got Pixie up and dressed. He thought Christmas had come early being woken by Grandma and Grandpa! Abbie also arrived at that point and took over from my husband in pumping up and filling the pool. Far from the serene home birth I'd envisaged, the house was chaos at that point. I decided to get in the bath as the pain was getting a bit much; to be honest I also wanted a bit of peace and tranquillity. Even moving from the bedroom to the bathroom was agony, and after only 5 minutes in there I decided I needed gas & air. As the midwife brought it to me, Abbie called up to say the pool was ready, so I took a heave on the gas and staggered downstairs.

It was blessed relief to be in the pool. I'd tried a waterbirth with my first and it wasn't a pleasant experience - the water felt far too cold in such a big room in hospital - so I had been initially wary of being in water again, but this was heaven! Toasty and warm and like a cocoon. The G&A started doing its stuff and zoned me out from my surroundings. I vaguely listened to the CD that was put on (euphoric trance!) and to the chat around me.

After about an hour I started to feel the need to push. Or at least I thought I did! I doubted myself because I never felt it with my first. I also didn't know if I was supposed to tell anyone or just push! As the G&A had zoned me out so much it took several contractions to work up to being able to speak and tell that things were hotting up. Abbie came into her own here, and persuaded me to move from my sitting position to a kneeling position. If left to my own devices I wouldn't have - it hurt far too much to move!

At 8.46am, in a couple of pushes, the baby was born with membranes still intact. I'd been convinced it was a boy but when we were told she was a she it felt right, like I already knew. She was guided through my legs and I pulled her from the water. Coated in vernix and puffy from the delivery, she was the most beautiful thing I'd seen. She healed me in ways I can't even describe, mended the scars from my first born.

She came out in the caul, which I'm told is lucky. She feels lucky. I hope she's lucky.