Monday, 31 October 2005

A Minor Miracle

Monday, 31 October 2005
I haven't posted this before because I've been a bit worried about tempting fate (not that I'm superstitious really but better to be safe than sorry I always think)

Anyway the big news is that DD is totally able to go to sleep herself and has been doing so for over a week now! No fuss, no bother, no crying, we just put her in bed and she lies there having a chat with herself and after about ten mins she goes to sleep.

All the worry we had about how hard it was going to be to get her to do this and she just did it on her own. I don't know if it's got anything to do with her being in the same room as me in her travel cot for a few days when I was decorating her room because nothing else in her routine has changed to bring this on. Or maybe she's just big enough now that she's more comfortable being on her own.

Whatever it is though I'm not knocking it. Plus we've been bringing her bedtime forward slowly but surely and that together with the clock change means that she's now in bed at 8.00pm and she sleeps through till 7.00am. This is perfect for when I'm back to work so until she starts sleeping a bit longer (I guess when solids are introduced and also when she's moving more) this'll be her bedtime.

I'm sure there'll still be plenty of nights where she wakes up but knowing that I can put her in her cot awake is a great feeling. She's also gone to bed awake during the day and gone to sleep no probs then as well.

In other news she's now constantly demonstrating her new trick of rolling over. She did her first back to front roll last wednesday and has been unstoppable ever since. She's also making serious efforts to get moving whilst on her front but I guess it'll be a while yet before she manages that.

Tomorrow is five months old so I'll post a piccie then together with some of her new room.

Thursday, 27 October 2005

Magic Boobs

Thursday, 27 October 2005
For the last five months I've been the owner of a pair of magic boobs. Milk flowed at the push of a button (or rather the suck of a nipple) and all was good in the world.

Well, all was not that good. Sometimes the milk flowed without warning. Sometimes the milk squirted DD in the eye at twenty paces it was so eager to get out. Sometimes DD wanted so much milk that it seemed to be flowing constantly. 4.00am feeds were a killer. Then there was the 24/7 bra wearing that was tantamount to torture.

However, all that was offset with the fact that nothing compared to having her lying next to me getting her dinner. For those times the feeling was totally selfish, she was mine, and only mine, because no one else could do this for her. She could love other people for cuddles, kisses, warmth but nobody else provided the food.

Okay, so that's not strictly true, she was only exclusively breast fed for a few weeks as I introduced bottles early on. However I controlled the bottles and for a long time it was only one in the evenings given by Daddy.

But it all had to end sometime and I chose my going back to work as the trigger. Since our trip to Greece DD has been having more bottles and less breast and for the last week it's been one breast feed only in the mornings. Well this morning was the last morning.

The magic boobs are no more. From tomorrow it's five bottles a day and Mummy gets her boobs back (and more to the point can go to bed without a bra on).

Current medical thinking says you should breast feed till six months but I think that all the extra hassle required just for one or two feeds a day (or, heaven forbid, expressing!) is not worth it. Five months is more than okay and most health care professionals seem stunned we've made it this far.

I know that I was lucky to be able to breast feed and lucky that DD soon settled down into short feeds of about 25 mins at a time which made it much easier. But I also know she's happy on the bottle and I don't have to feel guilty about not making the full six months. Yes I'll probably miss the actual feeding but I sure won't miss the bonus features as listed above that could drive me to distraction.

So we've got a week to both adjust during which we've got to try and sort out a routine for work mornings. Luckily as she'll be having a bottle feed DBF will be able to assist with the feeds while we all rush around like headless chickens getting ready...

Wednesday, 26 October 2005

Time flies

Wednesday, 26 October 2005
When you have a baby...

It seems like only a couple of weeks ago I was finishing work for my six months maternity leave and here I am on the brink of going back!

I officially return to work on 7th November so the rest of this week and all of next is packed with all the things I have to do before I go back (Dr's appointments, car service, visiting friends, etc) and so the last few days will fly by.

DD is going to nursery. I'm lucky two ways, one that I work on a hospital campus and the nursery is five minutes from my office and two that my accommodating boss is allowimg me to work one day a week from home so fridays I'll be home attempting to get work done around DD. I'm not sure how it's going to work but that's the initial plan and we'll see how it goes.

People keep asking me how I feel about going back and I really don't know. I'll admit that my mind could do with the stimulation but DD is also just starting to get interesting so I really don't know if I'd be happy staying at home for longer or not.

It's not really an option anyway as I could have another six months at home but I wouldn't get paid and we can't afford to not have my salary. Next year is going to be quite expensive for us so we really need to get my salary back to full strength (I'm on half salary at the moment) and get on with saving.

I think it'll be good for DD too. She spent a bit of time with other little children at the weekend and she really loved them being around. I'm not one for mother and baby groups really so if she didn't do nursery she'd kind of be deprived of other kiddie contact.

She's such an outgoing baby too that I have no worries about her being okay with other people but I admit it'll be a huge wrench to leave her.

By the way, Lorna, I haven't ignored your comment and will post some pics of the new room but after the weekend when we've got the curtains up and the light fitting changed.

Friday, 21 October 2005

If you're reading this...

Friday, 21 October 2005 may well be my 1000th visitor so check the counter down the side and maybe stop by the comments and say hi.

Just a quick update as I'm waiting for DBF to get back. It's weird, we've been apart before but he's only been a four hour flight away which doesn't seem too long. This time he's been flying since before I woke up this morning and he's not due to land for another 30 mins!

I'm presuming that's the reason today has seemed so long but hopefully it won't take long for him to arrive. We only live 30 mins from the airport and his company have booked a taxi to bring him home so I reckon another two hours tops and he'll be here.

The only other news is that I managed to get DD's room done. It's now bright yellow with a jungle border and it looks really good (even If I do say so myself). I also finally realised that I do have a theme for her room even though it's been subconscious as lots and lots of things are jungle related so when we went for a walk into town today I got curtains and a lampshade to match. This means DBF will have a small part to play in the redecoration as I need him to put the curtain pole up.

That's all, we're away for the weekend as it's my Godson's naming ceremony so I'll be away for a few days.

Wednesday, 19 October 2005

On My Own

Wednesday, 19 October 2005
I'm half way through a week alone as DBF is in Kuala Lumpur for work.

He didn't want to go (especially so soon after we got back from Greece) but there was noone else in his office to go so he got the short straw. Thankfully he's been having a good time despite missing the two of us. I haven't really had time to miss him as I spent the first few days back home with my family visiting aunts and uncles who hadn't seen DD yet. Having said that, evenings are tough when it's just me and DD as she is very demanding and there's nobody else to give me a break.

Anyway, I'm now embarking on a project to keep me busy for the next three days till DBF gets home on Friday night. I shall be making DD's room much more like a baby's room than an ex-study with a cot shoved in it.

I'm hoping that it'll all be finished by the time DBF gets home as he hates doing stuff in the house so if I suggested it when he was here he'd come up with millions of reasons not to do it. Whereas now it'll hopefully be pretty much a done deal when he gets home.

Saturday, 15 October 2005

Greece Part II

Saturday, 15 October 2005
Our days quickly fell into a pattern - up around 10.00am, breakfast, head out to meet friends or family, back to the appartment for around 3.00pm for DD's afternoon nap and then dinner out with more friends or family around 9.00pm.

DD slept for three hours every afternoon which was great, it meant we could relax in the appartment and DBF could chat with his family without their attention being fixed on the baby. It also meant that I got some stitching done which I really enjoyed, in fact it sometimes almost felt like a real holiday!

There were a few more occasions when DD got too wound up and consequently screamed and screamed but after the first time I could see them coming so managed to make sure they weren't too bad. Having said that, Thursday evening was particularly bad as, contrary to our plans, we ended up staying in the appartment and being visited but DBF's Great Aunt, his Cousing and his Mother's friend.

The first issue was the fact that I was a bit tense given that we'd planned to spend the evening with the group of DBF's friends that I like the most until I was told that his Aunt and Cousin were coming about 6.30pm so we couldn't go out until they'd arrived and spent some time with the baby. This wouldn't have been so much of a problem if they'd turned up at 6.30pm but that famous Greek time keeping was very much in evidence and they arrived at 8.30pm!

The second issue was that Jenny, the friend of his Mother arrived. I'd not been told she was coming so the first I knew was the intercom announcing her arrival. Not so much of a problem you'd think but I'd been warned that if I did meet her I should be aware that she's a bit mad and has a bit of a drinking problem...

Well trust me, it's more than 'a bit' of a problem.

She was completely insane. She squealed at the baby, bounced her up and down and (for reasons I don't understand) shook her head like crazy making her large amounts of hair go everywhere whilst holding DD up in front of her face. I could actually see the pressure rising in DD as she had no idea what was going on or how to react to this kind of mania.

Jenny was sporting a bandaged hand in a sling and I was told that she'd had an operation on a tendon that day and she was supposed to be resting it. This didn't stop her picking DD up though and I wondered why she wasn't registering any pain. I later discovered that she was on super strength pain killers given to her by her doctor husband which, coupled with the several large whisky's she got through during the evening, meant that she possibly wasn't even sure where she was let alone which bit of her hurt. Oh, and the ouzo she'd had before she even arrived with us probably didn't help either.

At least the mixture of drink and drugs explains the absolutely hideous dress that she bought DD. DBF's mother has some strange ideas for clothes but the first thing even she said was we could change it. We left it in Greece (I did toy with the idea of keeping it and making DD wear it when she'd been bad) but I did take a couple of pictures so when I get round to sorting those out I'll post one.

Anyway, having two more mad women around as well as Jenny meant that I spent much of the evening in our room trying to calm DD down. This was probably good for me too as I have extremely low tolerance for alcohol abuse and I'm sure that I'd have said something waaaaaay inappropriate had I been around more.

So that's some of the more negative parts of the holiday but there were plenty of good times too.

We spent lots of time with DBF's mates who I really get on with and are great company. Most of them I'd met before but there were some that were new to me but all of them I really had fun with. The good thing about his friends is that most of them speak really good English so it's not so important for DBF to be around to translate and this means we're both more relaxed. Hopefully my Greek will improve greatly over the next few months as I'm much more determined to learn now.

We also did shopping with other people's money which is always fun. We came back with several bits of bedding for DD's room (they have much nicer stuff over there) that his parents and sister bought and his Grandmother gave us 300 euros between the three of us so I actually came back with more money than I left with!

As well as DBF's friends I met many more of his family all of whom were lovely and we had an especially nice evening with the family of one of his Uncles. This Auntie actually treated DD like a human being and spoke to her normally. DD loved her and responded to her in a way she didn't to anyone else out there (much to DBF's mother's disgust). DD chatted and chatted and chatted with huge smiles to the extent that I thought we'd have to leave her there as she was having such a good time!

So all in all our Greek adventures were fun and we all had a good time. We left DD only once, on the last night, and she coped okay but it took her Grandmother a lot of effort to settle her to sleep (something I knew would happen as we left the appartment just as other visitors arrived so DD was bound to be wound up a bit). I coped ok too which is just as important. Okay, we were only five mins away but we were out for four hours and it was the first time I'd left her so I didn't know how I'd feel.

Tuesday, 11 October 2005

So I'm back

Tuesday, 11 October 2005
And we survived the trip.

The flight out started well - DD fell asleep on me just before takeoff and slept for about an hour. However, once she was awake it was a different story. We managed to keep her entertained for a while and she took a real shine to the guy sitting next to me who luckily was happy to play with her.

Landing wasn't so great though - she screamed for about 45 mins as we descended and we weren't able to console her or get her to suck anything to help her ears. It didn't help that we went through thunderstorms too so the plane was really rocky (this didn't help my sanity either!)

Anyway, we arrived in Greece at 2.30am and were greeted by the ecstatic grandparents. We managed to just cram all of us and our luggage in the car and arrived at their apartment around 3.00am. DD took a while to settle but she slept ok.

The next day DBF's grandmother was there bright and early and his sister turned up too. We spent the whole day in the (not very big) apartment with his parents, grandmother and sister going nuts over DD.

I don't know what it is about Greek women but they all turn into squealing idiots when faced with a baby. It's only acceptable to speak to them in a voice reminiscent of Joe Pasquale on helium and it's totally necessary to flap and wave at them all the time.

Consequently when we tried to get DD to sleep that night she was so wound up she screamed for four and a half hours!!! Not how we wanted our first proper night there to go but she was definitely telling us she wasn't happy with the situation.

Sunday we went downtown in Athens to meet a friend for coffee and I learned just how awful it is to try and take a baby out in Athens. There are absolutely no baby changing facilities anywhere, the pavements are covered with cars, trees, rubbish and pot holes and nobody, but nobody, gets out of the way for the pushchair...

It's appalling that in a modern European capital city it's damn nigh impossible to take a baby out - in fact I got used to everyone staring at me because I did take her out. In the ten days we were there I saw less than ten other prams out.

Later that day we started what was pretty much the trend of the holiday, we'd go out to eat around 9.00pm and get back around midnight. This fitted in with both the Greek way of life and DD's body clock that never adjusted to the two hour time difference.

DBF's parents apartment is quite small so DD was sleeping in a cot in our room (about a foot away from our bed). This was quite strange for all of us and every little noise she made woke us up (just like old times). However, she slept good the second night and most of the rest of the time so we can't complain.

She did get a bit of a stomach upset though - I think it may have been the water as we took the formula we use with us but obviously it's totally different drinking water there but it too settled down after a few of days.

So the first couple of days went as well as we could expect I guess and the only real issue DBF had was getting used to his teenage bedroom now being pink!!!!

Monday, 10 October 2005

Ten Things...

Monday, 10 October 2005
...I love about Greece

1. They give you free bread and water the minute you sit down in a restaurant.

2. You can go out and eat ANY time you're hungry, even 3.00am

3. You are never more than five minutes walk from a bakery and fresh bread

4. There's a kiosk on every corner that sells most of life's essentials

5. Outdoor cinemas on rooftops and in back yards where the film starts 'when it gets dark'

6. Shops that fill your bag with wet-wipes, cigarette lighters and pens when you buy something

7. Not having to wear a coat in October

8. Lacta Chocolate

9. Friendly individuals

10. Small, specialist shops (department stores are few and far between)

...I hate about Greece

1. Everyone smokes

2. There is absolutely NOWHERE to change a baby when you're out, even in the most modern of places

3. It is basically impossible to navigate the streets of Athens with a pushchair because of cars, holes, trees and extremely rude individuals

4. As a race, the Greeks are impatient and rude

5. Cars parked everywhere there is a space and a lot of places there isn't

6. The green man doesn't always mean it's okay to cross the road

7. Driving is the scariest experience you can have

8. All women turn into screeching haridens when faced with a baby

9. People riding motorcycles with their children (we actually saw parents with two children aged about 3 and 5 ON ONE BIKE)

10. Toilets anywhere but especially public toilets

11. Did I mention the smoking? Well it's worth mentioning again...


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