Saturday, 31 March 2007

Still searching

Next time I whinge about anything, please remind me that it’s all going to be different next week. Yep, I know that I mostly complain about weekly changes, but like most things in life there is a good side to it as well as bad. After a week of Cat screaming her head off every time I tried to put her down for a nap, I decided that I'll have to hold her all day long and will never again manage to get anything done. And then the new week came and she changed her mind about where she wants to sleep. For the two weeks now she is happy to be held still for 2-3 minutes before being put into her cot and once I lay her down she smiles at me, turns her head away, sticks her thumb into her mouth and peacefully goes to sleep (ok, not every time, but unquestionably most times). And she sleeps so well in the afternoon for 2-3 hours that I have plenty of time to relax and do my own things.

What wonderful things did I do? Well, I finished reading one book (more about it later) and tried to nap once (but was woken up by some religion salespeople – not sure who they were exactly, but definitely not Jehovah witnesses) and drank many cups of tea (current favourite is mint). But mostly I was looking at the real estate sites for a new place to live. Everything seems to be too small or too expensive or too far from the station or in really dodgy area or unfurnished or available too late or unsuitable for a baby. But at least some ads provide a little bit of amusement. How do you like this description from one of them? “…peaceful development dating from 1761 set in wide open spaces by the river. This former munitions manufacture and military warehousing site has been beautifully landscaped” We still have time to find something perfect, otherwise we’ll lower our expectations or raise our rent budget in a week or two.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Cat update

Weight: 6.64 kg
Morning wake up time: 7-7:30 (thanks to the summer time change)
Favourite self-amusement activity: Grabbing own feet, wiggling and pushing herself backwards (she lifts her bottom up and propels herself with her legs), while parents try to change her nappy.

Favourite Toy: Teething beads (she misses her mouth about 40% of the time)

Favourite nap location: Her own cot (Hurray! Finally)
Number of naps: Alternates between 2 and 3 (I wish she would settle on 2 naps)
Last non-parent person, who had conversation with her: Librarian

Monday, 26 March 2007

My wedding ring

Finally found after more than one month of being lost. Guess where - at the bottom of the laundry basket. I haven’t seen the bottom of it for a very long time thanks to all the extra dirty clothes Cat helps us to generate. At the moment in addition to her spitting up milk we also have to deal with lots and lots of drooling. I wonder if all that drool and more frequent grumpiness are the signs of her teething. Teething sounds like the most perfect excuse in the world for unhappy baby behaviour – a magic “get out of jail free” card of motherhood.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Black cat

This is the sight that greeted us this morning. Cat saw her first cat! And what a beautiful perfect, well-fed one! And his coat so shiny and black. Though I think I was more excited about it than her as one day I want to have a black cat like that living with me. But the silly antics of her parents still always entertain our Cat.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Good day, bad day

Until becoming a mother I never had strong feelings about days of the week. But recently I noticed that I love Saturdays. It is one day of the week that Clive can spend entirely with us. Instead of gobbling down the usual small bowl of cereal with yoghurt I can relax and prolong the breakfast experience by also having full English breakfast with eggs, bacon, sausages and toast (usually cooked by Clive) and two cups of tea, since I know that there is someone else to pick up Cat from the swing-chair or play-gym when she gets bored. And we always plan to do something fun together during the day. Three weeks ago we visited Debi & Mark for lunch and almost ended up staying for dinner as it was extremely difficult to leave their cosy flat and interesting adult conversation. Two weeks ago we travelled to the Canary Warf to have very late (by my awake at 5-6 am current standards) breakfast with Margo & Rob. I was totally impressed by Rob’s fantastic breakfast, which among lots of other things included fried aubergine (eggplant). I love aubergines & if a restaurant menu has a dish with it you can be sure I’ll order it. Besides for the first time in my life I got to try pouched eggs. Yes, it is true I never had pouched egg before – Clive struggled to believe me. And last Saturday we had our first barbeque of 2007. It coincided with St Patrick’s day, so Cat got to admire Guinness beer cans – the girl has taste. I love BBQs – I think they promote relaxed atmosphere and it is so effortless to cook enough food for everyone and to have plenty of leftovers.

On the other hand I learned to dislike Mondays. Lately every Monday I notice myself having to quash the irrational irritation and the stubborn rebellion against the small things. During the two short weekend days I don’t exactly loose all my new ‘mother’ skills of peeling banana with one hand, of figuring out Cat’s needs, of keeping her entertained for 2-3 hour stretches (I have to confess that I count breastfeeding and nappy changing as part of my amusing-awake-baby repertoire), of getting her to nap in her cot twice (I usually give up the struggle* in the late afternoon and let her have her third nap in the sling), of getting us outside between her naps, of getting my own things done around her schedule and moods, etc. But somehow I get used to having a choice of passing the baby to someone else, of when and what to do with her or by myself for myself, and I also forget how tiring and difficult the whole day of easy babycaring tasks can be. In the last year or two I accepted that I always rebel against new before accepting it, however I didn’t think that I’ll have to do it on the weekly bases. Understanding the problem is part of solving it and therefore by mid/end of Monday I get back to my “work” mood of: Cat and I had good 15 minutes, an hour, a day and if we didn’t, well there is going to be next stretch of 15 minutes, another hour, next day to try to achieve mutual contentment.

* She actually napped reasonably well in her cot all three times today, so I feel a bit bad about calling it a struggle. My excuse is that last week I really struggled to get her to sleep during the day, but I think I’ll leave that for another post.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Few hours of freedom

Remember those movie scenes in which the new mother goes out with her husband for the first time leaving her precious baby to be babysat by family or friends? Once out of the door, after spending good time giving them instructions on what to do and how to contact her if things go wrong, she starts worrying and keeps on trying to call the babysitters every few minutes to find out if her child is still OK.

Does this happen in real life or is it just stereotypical movie exaggeration as Clive thinks? On Thursday (thank to Lindsey, Dave & Debbie) Clive and I went out to dinner after putting Cat to bed. My main instruction was not to take her out of her bed unless if she is full-on screaming, as usually she happily sleeps until 3am. And once we were out of the door I was cherishing every minute of freedom; enjoying dinner cooked by someone else, relaxed conversation with my husband, glass of white wine, and not freezing with the fork poised in mid-air when Cat makes occasional noise wondering if she’ll go back to sleep or will wake up screaming (though she never really does). Glorious!

Friday, 16 March 2007

Finally rolling

Cat finally turned over from her front to her back. It is hilarious to watch. She tries to turn over from her back, manages to get to her side, but can’t get all the way to the front and I have to help her. Once she is on her tummy she just rolls back and starts to wiggle around with her tongue sticking out trying to get back on her tummy. I think she can happy do it over and over again for a very long time.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Moving again

Our landlady decided to sell the flat so we have two months to find new accommodation. Thankfully I love moving.

Growth spurt

While Clive was in Hong Kong Cat went through a growth spurt. Or at least I am explaining the difference in her behaviour as the growth spurt, it could’ve been something totally different. Instead of waking up only once during the night as she did for weeks, she was waking up at least three times. During the day I, by that stage used to her predictable 3-hourly feed-play-nap pattern, was totally bewildered by her 20-minute naps (the usual ones are almost exactly one or two hours); demanding cries and desire to feed often. By the end of the day exhausted by our lack of synchronisation with each other I was grateful to bath her at seven o’clock and put her to bed for the night. I even cheated once or twice and put her down as early as 6:30. Then after simple dinner and quick read of blogs and emails I would collapse into bed myself at before 9pm only to be woken up a bit later. After few days of this I felt so extremely tired and downhearted, but the memories of the first few newborn weeks kept me going. During every one of the 10-20 minute night feeds and nappy changes I had to remind myself about the first weeks when it would take at least one hour to feed, change and rock her to sleep. How did I survive the total lack of sleep during those weeks plus the stress of having to learn so much in such short period of time? I remember having full-on hallucinations at the end of the first week due to sleep depravation. The first 4 weeks are just a blur of feeding, nappy changing, incredulity at being someone’s mother, ecstatic happiness, worry, tears and laughter. I’m grateful for all the hormones that were flowing through my system as I think they kept my mood high and to my husband, who somehow managed to survive those weeks without the help of the hormones and remained loving, supportive and helpful. Consequently I’m now more appreciative of having to wake up only once during the night again.

Since I spend every day with Cat her growth remains unnoticed to me until something triggers the reminiscence of her newborn tininess – a photo, her old clothes, a sight of her in her cot or her body compared against Clive’s.

Photo from 13 December compared to one from yesterday:

Saturday, 10 March 2007

In the supermarket

After Clive came home last night I went to the supermarket on my own. It is such a pleasure shopping without having to push a pram or carrying extra six kilos in the sling (I usually hate shopping). But I end up feeling totally lost - wondering along the aisles, debating if I should by unnecessary things. Shopping with Cat is totally different, it’s brisk and efficient. I grab the things I need and try to get out as fast as possible. Anyway, back to yesterday – I think some man is actually tried to chat me up! In the supermarket! No one ever tried to chat me up in the supermarket before. I was amused, especially after spending half a day debating if I should put more effort in the keeping up my appearance. I have shower ever day and change out of pjs by 7am (while I can survive the lack of sleep, not having a shower makes me feel really irritable), but I very rarely put on make up. Seems a bit pointless, since most of the powder and lipstick just rubs off on Cat’s head (I spend a lot of time kissing her beautiful head and stroking her hair with my hands or my cheeks). And most of my clothes is very practical and not very glamorous. Though I finally started sorting my pre-pregnancy clothes, which I put away when I could no longer fit into them, and rediscovered some very nice things. Now I just have to figure out which ones of them could work well with breastfeeding and slinging. Some bead embroidered tops are out as they leave uncomfortable imprints on my chest and on poor Cat’s face when she is in the sling.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007


Since Cat usually wakes me up very early (she starts "talking" anytime from 4am, but I usually don't get up till 6am) I decided to use the time productively and made some corn & ham muffins for breakfast.

Today was a lovely spring day - sunny and warm. I wanted to bring a bit of spring into the house and bought some flowers.

And in the evening Clive came back home with flowers for me :-)