Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Immunisations again

Catherine had the second round of immunisations today. She screamed so loudly. Poor thing. But thanks to her best friend the thumb the screaming stopped after few seconds and 10 minutes later she even smiled at me.

Her weight is 5.99 kilos.

Monday, 26 February 2007

Three months

Catherine is three months today. We celebrated a bit early by having an Autumn Apple Sponge Cake on Saturday before Clive went to the airport. The cake was delicious, the lemon reduced the sweetness making it perfect in my books (I’m not a big fan of super sweet). And Catherine was awake to witness its creation and disappearance. She is spending more and more time awake and more aware of her surroundings. Nowadays she almost never cries. The other day I was surprised to notice that her hands are bigger and while packing away her newborn clothes I couldn’t actually believe that she really was that small. The speed of babies development is incredible and I feel that I have to stay flexible to keep up with her.

There aren’t going to be any new photos this week as Clive took my camera with him to Hong Kong. But tomorrow I'll visit Baby Clinic to find out Cat's current weight.

I must be becoming extremely sentimental in my old age as I really miss Clive after only 2 days. I miss our evening chats. I miss seeing him getting Cat to smile at the end of the day – after spending all day together she isn’t as willing to smile at me and I’m not as eager to find new ways to amuse her. I miss us laughing at each other and ourselves. I miss his support and understanding, which isn’t always (and doesn’t have to be) expressed in words. I even miss the comfort of his presence in the same room while we do our separate things. I miss being able to give him a hug or just touch his hand in passing. Only 4 more days.

Friday, 23 February 2007

The mood meter revisited

I managed to find a photo of my old mood meter and grainy (but cute) photo of me at work (I think that’s the best haircut I ever had, too bad my hairdresser went into fulltime teaching career few months later. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be lucky enough to find someone as brilliant as her).

I definitely was in much better mood this week. Just thinking of my current life and my frame of mind helped. I have a plan for keeping myself happy and list of things I need/want to do (still need to write it down).

This week I started by having occasional afternoon nap and deciding to cook every work day (with “healthy body, healthy mind” reasoning behind this decision), while Clive volunteered to be responsible for weekend dinners. I love cooking, though I’m not all that good at it. I usually go through a phase of cooking too much followed by having no inspiration to cook. I may try to plan weekly menu in advance to simplify shopping and to make sure we get enough vegetables, iron, vitamins, etc.

I accumulated loads of loose change and so today I walked to Kilburn High Road to browse charity shops for cheap second hand books. You’d think that having a library in 5-minute walking distance and a bookshelf full of unread books would satisfy me, but I love looking for new books to add to my collection. I usually find few recently published ones in good condition in PDSA shop and this time left it with FIVE books. Now I just need to read them. I’m struggling with reading books lately and spend much more time reading blogs written by women with kids. Others experiences of motherhood (and balancing the rest of their lives) seem to hold my attention much better than most of the books I started reading.

Anyway enough about me. Cat laughed today! Twice! I have to admit that I was acting super silly today while playing with her. Hope Clive and I can produce the same result tomorrow, so he’ll get to hear her laughter before going to Hong Kong for one week.

Thursday, 22 February 2007

The beauty of raindrops

It was a gloomy and rainy day, so we stayed inside for most of it. Cat passed time by staring out the window in total amazement at the falling down drops of rain. I wonder what she thinks and feels. I wonder what she makes of the world and us her parents. I wish we could remember our babyhood. I wish the babies could share with us their experiences by putting them into words. Her face and all its expressions are so familiar to me since I spend lots of my time looking at her. But sometimes a feeling of her being a totally different alien species strikes me. It is difficult to believe that soon she’ll grow into real size human being like the rest of us, that everyday objects will become familiar and … well.. everyday to her and she’ll lose her bright eyed marvelling at the simple things like raindrops. But hopefully she’ll never get bored with life and will always find something new or even old to marvel at. And for now she reminds me of how beautiful life and everyday objects are. And so I will be in awe of her and her big bright wide-opened eyes gazing in wonder at the new things.

Wednesday, 21 February 2007


Clive and I started ordering some of our groceries online from Sainsbury’s. One of their features, which I liked and found useful, is list of usually bought items. At first it contained only the things we bought online, therefore the re-ordering was easy and fast. But using our credit card or Nectar card they cross-referenced our shop purchases and so the list now contains almost everything we ever bought in store or online. I found it mildly disturbing that Sainsbury’s stores our purchase information. Makes one wonder how much information about us is stored (or can be deducted from stored info) in different organisations. Creepy! (I would write more thoughts on the matter, but my tired underslept brain is refusing to form them into words. After working in Search Engine Marketing for 2 years I probably shouldn’t find it creepy.)

Amusingly New Covent Garden soup somehow ended up under Newsagents section.

Catherine had her first tube (London underground) experience today, but sadly she slept through all of it. I went Westminster Register office to get her full birth certificate. Now that we have a decent photo of her and a birth certificate, we can start applying for passports – UK one first, followed by Australian one. These two should be pretty straightforward. I still need to figure out the procedure for getting South African and Russian ones. I’m dreading Russian bureaucracy and debating if she actually needs (or will want to have) Russian passport. Though it only took me 1 week to get mine – I’m still not sure if I was extremely lucky or if my dread of Russian officials is totally unfounded.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Monday, 19 February 2007

Lovely tea weekend

I had very nice weekend. The weather on Saturday was fantastic – very springy – warm and sunny. So Clive, Cat and I went for a nice morning walk, before catching up with Naree & Vihn in the cafĂ©. I had my first cappuccino in ages (I usually don’t drink coffee, so didn’t really miss it during my pregnancy). They brought me some Vietnamese Leaf Green tea, so all of us came back to our place to try it out. Julia joined us a bit later and once Cat fall asleep for her long afternoon nap, we walked to Julia’s place and had some more lovely tea, which she brought from Turkey. I love tea and one of my biggest disappointments about England was how average (and often downright bad) the tea, which is served it its cafes and restaurants, is.

Highlight of Sunday was helping Clive to do his Russian homework. He is taking Russian language classes on Mondays and I’m highly impressed by his aptitude for learning languages. Still he made some very cute mistakes and I spent a lot of time giggling. Hopefully he won’t get discouraged by my merriment as most of it was due to being extremely happy about him showing effort to learn my language, enjoyment of doing something fun together and in smaller amount to finally having a chance to pay back for all the times he made fun of my English.

Friday, 16 February 2007

The mood meter

I’m my previous place of work I had a mood meter drawn on the whiteboard next to my work desk. Thanks to my sister it had pretty matching pictures to go with different moods and every morning (or sometimes few times during the day) I would change it to indicate my current mood. I can’t remember why or how I came up with it. But it ended up being very useful. After suffering relatively serious depression for about 2 years I was worried about its re-recurrence and very wary of missing the first early warning signs of it. So when my mood meter was stuck in negative part for more than one day I would examine my feelings to figure out the reason and try to do something to lift the mood if appropriate. I wish blogger had mood label similar to livejournal as I miss my mood meter.

In one of our recent Skype conversations my mum pointed out that I was much more positive during my pregnancy and first few difficult weeks of Cats life than I am now. Since I can’t deny her correctness, I had to think about my reasons for not being as happy as I could and should, specially because so far Cat was a very easy baby. I think the main problem is having more responsibilities and no set priorities or plan. If I manage to nap, while Cat sleeps; I get frustrated about how little else got done during the day. If I spend all free time doing housework, I feel drained. If I neglect housework I get irritated at the messiness (I like living in a clean house) or our unhealthy eating. If I take time to read a book or watch a movie, I ponder if it is fair to take time for myself instead of doing something useful for the family. If I see friends in the evening, I feel happy, but exhausted. If I don’t, I feel isolated and lonely. Etc. I realised that I like having a plan for a day when I wake up, I like knowing what I need to get accomplished and having something fun/relaxing to look forward to. I also know that it takes me time to adjust emotionally to the new situations. I need to muse and whinge about new things before I’m 100% happy.

Clearly (in theory, not so easy in practice) my two highest priorities should be Cat’s and my wellbeing. So last two days I spent trying to figure out Cat’s new pattern of eating, sleeping, playing to see how much non-Cat time I have. Once that’s done I can try to understand how many other things I can fit into my day or let slip to keep myself happy, This weekend I’ll try to sit down with Clive to discuss some sort of joint action plan to keep three of us healthy and happy.

BTW my mood of last two days was very positive thanks to warm sunny weather and lots of time spent outside (and realisation that I’m OK with postponing the cleaning of the flat for the fresh air and sunshine). Until spring settles in properly, I’m going to rejoice that the gloom of London winter is almost over.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Happy Valentines Day

I lost my wedding ring today. Grr! On Valentines Day! Since I lost weight it was loose for awhile and I should’ve been more careful. I’m pretty sure it is somewhere in the flat, so will do a big search tomorrow (can clean the place at the same time, it really needs a good clean).

Anya departed to Berlin yesterday. Catherine and I had great time with her. I can be totally silly with her and ended giggling and laughing a lot. I noticed that I very rarely laugh in London – everything just seems bleaker, greyer, more stressful and less amusing that it does in Melbourne. I wish she could stay for longer.

Cat woke up at 4am and slept less than usual during the day. Tonight I want to curl up next to my husband on the couch and have a nice long chat. But tomorrow Clive is working until very late, so I think I’ll go to bed at the same time as Cat (around 7:30-8:00pm) to try to catch up on sleep.

I almost ended up feeling miserable today, but Clive got me a bouquet of lovely tulips (my favourite flowers) and now I can’t stop smiling.

Happy Valentines Day to everyone. I hope you have someone next to you; who loves, respects and cherishes you.

Sunday, 11 February 2007

Lots of sleep

I’m not sure if it was all the fresh air or lots of new experiences or just pure coincidence, but Cat slept from 8pm until 4am. Fantastic!

Saturday, 10 February 2007

Trip to Stonehenge

We rented a car to take Anya to Stonehenge, since it was one of the places she dreamt of visiting. It took us awhile to figure out how to work the baby car seat (the instructions found on the web helped as the woman in the car-rental place had no clue as well). Catherine wasn’t impressed with being woken up and put into weird car seat. Thankfully she stopped crying once we were on the move, but sulked for another 20 minutes before falling asleep. I followed her example and slept most of the way.

Cat wasn’t greatly impressed by the big old stones, but I think she liked looking at the sheep and the grass. Sadly she started crying every time I stopped for the photo. Sometimes I feel like a horse, who isn’t allowed any rest and has to keep on moving ;-). BTW Stonehenge site has baby changing facilities in the disabled toilet even though they are missing from the facilities list on English Heritage website.

We drove to Old Sarum; but since it was raining, Cat was peacefully asleep and I’ve been there before I stayed in the car with her. Anya and Clive braved the mud and the rain to explore the ruins.

Again Cat and I slept on the way back.

I have great respect for all parents, who manage to travel extensively with their young children. It does require additional planning, extra preparation and mental strength. This was our first long trip away from home (well, long in this case means further than 30 minutes walk from home). I find it very difficult to stay calm when Cat starts crying in public. Panic is my first instinct reaction to the perception that everyone is staring and judging. It helps a lot to have supportive family members nearby. So I think for the next few weeks I’ll stick to staying close to home when I’m on my own and will practice longer outings on weekends with Clive. Anyone knows of any baby friendly places I should try? And my dear London friends, please keep an eye out for restaurants, cafes and pubs that have baby changing facilities.

Thursday, 8 February 2007

Sushi & snow

I spent most of my pregnancy craving sushi. It is incredible how often people eat and mention sushi in the casual conversations. Sadly, once I could have sushi again, our local Japanese restaurant closed down for the renovations until February (It starting to look like they are very close to re-opening). But on Tuesday Debbie came over with sushi from her favourite place and we had good time eating it and chatting (Clive took Anya to the theatre so it was just us girls).

I had to go to doctors yesterday, so left Anya with Catherine for about one hour. Both of them survived successfully and I hope even enjoyed the experience.

It snowed again last night and was still snowing through most of the morning. I debated if I really want to go for a morning walk, but trying to keep Cat happy while being stuck inside sounded like a bigger challenge. So we went for our usual morning walk. It is really hard to push the pram through the snow! There were plenty of people outside taking photos, having snowball fights and making snowmen.

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Meeting the aunt

My sister, Anya, arrived on Sunday from Australia with more cute clothes and books for the baby. Their meeting went really well and she managed to get plenty of smiles out of Cat. I think the baby is enjoying having another person to entertain her during the day. I wonder if she sees us as big toys.

Having Anya here is a good excuse to have lots of chocolate, biscuits and tea. Another good reason for having lots of tea with honey is that I have a cold and physically feel pretty miserable. Since last two days were very sunny we went for the long walks in the park and I took lots of good photos of Cat (sunshine is so much better for that than the electric lights).

Catherine is getting much better at controlling her hands. Now her thumb usually finds her month, though sometimes she still hits her nose and then slowly slides her hand down to her mouth. Yes, now she sucks on her thumb instead the whole fist. She often manages to hit hanging toys and today she lifted and moved one of her toys (sadly I didn’t have my camera ready and once I got it Cat was more interested in looking at me than moving toys around).

Friday, 2 February 2007

The Garden

The advantage of living on the ground floor with a garden is that on the lovely day like today I can spend most of my time outside looking at the birds and greenery. Quick inspection revealed that most plants survived the cold weather and the snow and hopefully soon we’ll have lots of flowers.

The disadvantage of the ground floor is that we have mice. I feel horrified, disgusted, traumatised. Clive got mice traps, so hopefully we’ll get rid of them. I saw mice on this street when I lived here 2 years ago, but never thought I’ll get to see them inside the house. Yuck!!! I can’t figure out how they manage to get in. Naree, who came over today to tell me about her Australian trip, was very supportive, reassuring and matter-of-fact about it. But I’m too tired to want to deal with the mice problem so am being over-emotional about it. We aren’t the only ones in London experiencing mice problems – they were also seen in Newham General Hospital in east London

More clothes

Julia came back from the USA with a huge pile of clothes for Cat. Clive and I keep on rearanging our clothes to create more space for Cat's.