29 February 2008

A good night out... Glucose tollerance test?

Last night I went to the cinema for the first time in about three years! Martin had the girls, and Lorraine, Emma and Sam all came over to head off for the night. It doesn't really matter what we watched (National Treasure 2 lol) but we giggled and ate ice-cream and basically pretended to be 17 again for a while.

It was strange, although I missed the children a little, I was more distracted from moping than I thought I'd be. Of course as soon as we got out of the cinema I asked everyone to turn phones back on to see if there was an urgent message from home! Maybe I shouldn't have left it so long, shouldn't have worried so much. But Morgan is much more fretful in the evenings that during the day, so leaving her for befriending has been simple compared to the stress of being away during her peak feeding period.

Naturally Morgan fed all night, so I'm feeling tired today. The knock on from that is feeling dizzy and sick, but I haven't actually *been* sick still which is good. I'm also hungry constantly, and not usually for anything healthy. The knock on from that is that although I had decided to refuse the GTT I now might take it, because I'm eating cake and all sorts of other things I shouldn't be and wouldn't normally want! Perhaps I'll just wait and say I'll only do it if there's any sign of trouble...

27 February 2008

Minor potty frustrations but a hard day handled well

Yesterday wasn't such an easy day, but I was surprised how I coped with it. Jenna was with the tired screaming tantrums for most of the day, without any obvious reason. Nevertheless I mananged not to scream back at her and handled things, well, as if she wasn't screaming really.

At soft play there was a little disagreement with another child. I said that if she couldn't play nicely we would have to go, as they had been fighting over a particular toy for a while. She shouted, "NO!" and ran off when I suggested that she go and see why her friend was crying. So I said we were going - and she spent the next ten minutes as I dressed her kicking me and crying as if I was hurting her.

A couple of times I tried to ask her to use words, or told her to keep her feet still because she was hurting me, but that just made her shout louder. When she was calm, Morgan went to give her a cuddle and climbed onto the chair with her, at which point Jenna threw her off and she bumped her head. :( Poor Morgan had to be nursed then, until she could go in the sling and I could get them home.

The rest of the day was much better. On the way home I got Jenna a drink of rice milk and an apple, remembering how much harder it is for her to behave well when hungry and thirsty. I think it also went some way towards showing her that I wasn't trying to make her miserable! Either way it was fine after that, we traveled home with her telling me how sorry she was and that she loves me.

Today I am trying to work out what to do about Jenna and the toilet... It's really impossible to stop her going up to the bathroom alone - she can work all the doors and gates and when we put a lock on the bathroom she broke it. But I can't trust her up there at the moment, she keeps wanting to empty stuff into the sink and she doesn't seem able to remember that it makes me cross. I don't know how to stop her, or how to get through to her that it costs us money and that she has to clear it up afterwards!

Morgan keeps pointing at the potty and making cue noises, but I think she's just telling me about it rather than actually intending to do anything. When I sat her on it she giggled, got up, sat down, giggled again, made another cue noise, and ran off to play. So... *shrugs* At least whether Morgan can or can't take herself to the toilet isn't an issue in any way. ;)

25 February 2008

On an even keel once more!

Jenna is totally back to normal and so am I. No more symptoms to report but I'm still drinking lots of peppermint tea and eating little and often in paranoia that I'm going to be seriously sick any day now. And I'm officially driving my longsuffering husband crazy with talking about slings. I think it's probably the worry about what comes next - ie the actual purchasing of slings! Of course the actual budget isn't there yet, which is a good job otherwise the whole lot would have been blown on a Sakura Bloom rainbow stripe silk ring sling which I would probably have been too scared to use anyway.

Morgan has stopped biting me when she's falling asleep, and started occasionally biting when playing. She bit me on the shoulder last night, while giggling and licking me. I said "OW" and held her off at arms length looking shocked. I think she was a bit worried about being told off, because she squirmed and did the toddler shy don't-be-cross-with-me snuggle into my neck. It's such a sweet little maneuvour. No doubt she realises how irresistible I find it. :)

This afternoon the two of them have been playing properly together. This is a new take on one of them meddling in the other one's game, as Morgan actually started this one and they are both role-playing alongside each other. It's strange, to think of Morgan as a baby still (although she is in some ways) when she does so many Big Toddler things. Morgan just offered Jenna a kiss, then pinched a teacup quick while she had the chance. Uhoh, now Jenna is trying to make Morgan lie down and "be a baby" which obviously isn't going to happen. I told her to let go and let Morgan play how she wants to, and that seems to have simmered them down a bit... They always seem to come to this point just before naptime when they can't leave each other alone any more but both need space.

Oh, and today I wore the frankenkozy I was making yesterday on Emma's sewing machine (I'm jealous, it's a fab machine). It was really very comfortable round town all morning, and I love having the choice of two nice (bright, zany) fabrics. I had two people ask where I got it from too, always nice. Sadly in all this I forgot that the gas inspection man was coming for his yearly visit, so we arrived home from out New Sling outing to find him driving away. *sigh*

And in similar council efficiency related news, the letter we had yesterday threatening baliffs if we didn't pay outstanding council tax from the house we moved out of three years ago turned out to be a mistake (!) The landlord hadn't notified anyone that he was liable for the council tax after he evicted us (obviously!), and even though we were rehomed in a council property they hadn't put two and two together. They actually owe us £20! :)

24 February 2008

Pregnancy happy thoughts, or at least more laid back ones

So today has been better in several big ways. I'm feeling much better about being pregnant, partly because being at Church today was so uplifting. It was bright (but cold) first thing and being in that lovely old building with people who care about us, and probably more importantly than anything else finding that I could pray about it. Silly I know, but I haven't been able to, probably avoiding hearing something I don't want to. Anyway, I reached the point finally of thinking of this baby as planned. If not by me then by somebody; this life has a purpose and I'm not being given more than I can handle.

In fact I felt so much better I could get back to my customary sitting-at-the-back stiffling-of-giggles at the pianist, who staggered through one particular hymn like a drunk through a crowded bar... Someone needs to count for him (one two three four one two three four) or I'm going to laugh so hard one day someone will notice and I might die of shame. The poor guy is no doubt doing his best, and they are all such nice people - I have a sneaking feeling I'm not really very nice myself. ;)

Another big thing is that I'm not actually being sick. It must have been getting so stressed at Jenna (who is calmer today, yet another improvement). She's still struggling with impulse control, especially when she has had anything sugary (even yoghurt or something "innocent" like that) but I guess it's partly a Three thing, reverting to stuff I thought she had grown out of. I'm still doing ots of helping her to do what I asked (practically as I'm asking her to) and also telling her ten minutes before anything needs doing what is happening next...

It's like having an 18mo again and Morgan is approaching that stage too! At least Morgan likes tidying up. Jenna likes getting out everything she owns and then throwing herself on the floor when I tell her to put it away, or saying that someone else did it even if she knows I saw her.

I have to start taking my own advice and thinking about the consequences rather than the crime itself. Otherwise this is going to be such a cause of sibling grief - there's no need for her to blame someone else if I don't shout or try to make her sorry. It's easy the first time, harder when the same thing happens again an hour later. Even a week ago I was doing much better at not rising to the little things she does, but this week I'm having to daily remind myself that the more angry I get the less likely she is to own up and help me put things right.

In Morgan News, she cut her foot last night breaking a plate (I know, I should have taken it off her sooner) and I had to stick a plaster on it to stop her poking herself. She does seem to have figured out "Hot" properly though and when she saw the radiator at Church she touched it gently with one finger and said, "at" and that was that. She is also STILL emptying the clean nappy basket out and bringing them to me one by one - but at least she puts them back when I tell her too! And she's still asking to be changed every time she's dirty, trying to take the nappy off herself and everything.

23 February 2008

What on earth is up with Jenna?

Yet another cute Jenna statement. She picked up my shoes for me and just for a moment I could see her raising her arm as if to throw them to me. Then she stopped, looked a little pensive, and said, "I don't think I should do that, they might bonk Em-dog - or a tortoise."

Morgan has asked for her nappy off a couple of times this week, sometimes because it was dirty and sometimes because she wants to pee. She has been fine going on the toilet but doesn't like the potty at all. That will teach me to try to save money by buying a cheap one. She makes the cue sounds when she's going, which is very funny. False alarms ensue in the bathroom however when she decides that she's going to make the cue noise constantly for no other reason than that she can SEE the toilet therefore she's thinking about peeing! Also last night she had a little accident on the landing as I was taking her to the loo. She looked around, grabbed a towel, and wiped up after herself. :) I was so pleased!

This morning w've been shopping and Jenna has just been - insane. I hate to describe her like that but she has been all over the place. The second I let her go in the supermarket she ran off (we lost her twice) and when I put her in the trolley she threw herself around, grabbed things off shelves, opened packets, pulled things out of the trolley and threw them on the floor, and grabbed a huge courgette from the fridge which she took a large bite out of. I didn't know what to do with her but I thought that staying calm with her and just not giving her any chances to cause further trouble was a good enough start.

Then we got home. She was fine for half an hour before she started running around again and laughing at nothing. After breaking an ornament she was told that if she couldn't calm down it would be nap time early as she was clearly hysterical.

She then took the plate she had just eaten the sandwiches from, put it on the floor, calmly stepped on it and cracked it. When she saw the crack she jumped up and down laughing and smashed it to pieces - it was a gift from her great grandmother and not something we can replace, she has never acted destructively towards anything, especially not something so precious to her. She didn't care - even when I said that I was upset that the plate was broken and that now it couldn't be mended. The urge to do something to MAKE her care was pretty strong.

So upstairs she went, but I doubt that it's the end of my trying day. While supposedly napping I have heard her out of bed a few times. I could hear her wrecking her room but I have no energy left to deal with it and have been throwing up for the past couple of hours. I had no morning sickness until today and I've just got so stressed with her.

She's meant to be going out with my mum as a treat too but I can't trust her to behave if she's like this. I just can't think what could have caused it, or what benefit she can see to acting this way. Nothing out of the ordinary has happened and she's eaten nothing more suspicious than cheese on toast.

I wish I knew where to go from here.

Edited to add that in consultation with the grandparents we have discovered that she has been fed YAZOO and FANTA over the past two days. She is officially banned from food colourings on pain of never seeing her again. Extreme but necessary I feel - if she's give things when I'm not around to see the reaction how can I know what she is and isn't OK with? They said that they had thought she was "acting a bit nuts" but didn't think to say anything...

22 February 2008

Thoughts on a new sling list, and girlie friends far and near

When Morgan came back last night I had really noticed how long she had been gone and how full I was - it has been a long time since we last had an eight hour feed interval. She fed for half an hour when she got in and went straight to sleep on my lap, leaving me to hang about online far too long and look at yet more slings.

I had a mental list of perhaps a zippy meitaibaby and a ball baby overall, to which I've added a napsack just because (maybe in place of the BBO). I would love a long soft Didy, a 7, something plain blue like aqua waves or petrol nino. I have also kept going back to the GMBB Morgaine. Now I also really like Girasol Pacifica and Rainbow (old rainbow, earthy rainbow, anything lol). That list can't possibly be realistic, and I just can't choose - even though everything together would be a ridiculous £400 and far out of reach. *sigh*

Anyhow on more rational subjects, I decided to try to make myself something like the BBO just in case that convinced me to strike it off my list on usefulness grounds (or even possibly on I-already-have-this-one-and-love-it grounds). I chose from my lovely fabric stash some complementary zany stripes and flowers, and cut out all the bits. I even managed to utilise some bits I'd already hemmed so that cut down the work a lot. Then I spent two hours cursing the machine while Morgan slept on my friend Sam!

It seems to be a problem with the motor belt or the needle set-up so it isn't even something I can fix (the parts seem to move smoothly when I do it manually but the threads don't catch and the needle doesn't operate when the motor is running). I am feeling really fed up from not being able to do anything about it, and as a result of that have also totally neglected tea.

Jenna came home in the afternoon and we've been fine since then really (nagging feelings of irritation at the unfinished mei tai notwithstanding!) and my friend has gone home. We had a really interesting conversation setting the world to rights awnyhow, starting with the Jordan/SMA scandal and working up from there. It's nice to know that even when their lives don't have a lot in common with mine right now, we can still be on the same wavelength and they don't find my opinions offensive (as childless working women who aren't planning families yet if ever).

My circle of women, all kinds of different people with all kinds of different lives. And they care about me enough to talk on subjects of parental rights and food safety law and the best way to boost breastfeeding rates! They care enough to be here at all, when Derby isn't for many of them home and my home isn't in any way on their route. It can be good to belong.

21 February 2008

Why do I feel so darn *wierd*?

I cried on Martin again, came over all tearful out of the fear that the baby might know I'm feeling blue - somehow might decide it isn't wanted. I keep imagining I might cause it to miscarry, just as I'm starting to feel more like I want to be pregnant than like I don't! It's silly - I WANT a baby, I LOVE this baby, I just don't feel ready, probably because the "plan" was to start trying in three months or more. It's still helping that people aren't being negative, that other people are happy and excited for us. Some of that is rubbing off. HA and of course I started looking at slings again, which is fatal.

I walked through the park on my way home from befriending, feeling somehow lighter of step in spite of those vague feelings of unhappiness. I spent some time in fresh amazement staring up into the strong branches of an oak tree, remembering a picture I painted of myself when pregnant with Morgan reaching out to borrow strength from the trees (representing my birth partners). The trees were very beautiful today.

Something of the heart is lost in even the most stunning photograph of a tree, I think, and something of the intricacy is impossible to capture in painting. But perhaps in spite of that something sweeping and abstract is more my mood today - pensive and breezy at the same time. Every leaf on that tree is complex though, fractal almost, perfect in its own right no matter how closely you look. It's almost an insult to describe it as "green". It made me feel alive.

Maybe there's a pregnancy symptom to report finally as well - I've been really light-headed today a few times. This is usually a problem for me much later in pregnancy so I've been reading around to see if I should worry. I can't decide if I've been doing anything that might have caused it but I made myself a big fresh salad with dark green leaves and avocado and red pepper, and now I'm trying to think of lots of other reasons why I shouldn't be back on iron tablets again. ;)

20 February 2008

Night-weaning thoughts and fears

Happy Birthday Tristan (one today!!) and how fast this year has gone. I remember so desperately wanting to go to Naomi that morning, fiercely protective of that nursing couple under seige. What a long time ago, and how much he has grown. Naomi, I'm so proud of your mothering and your strength. What a celebration, victory in face of so much that could have been taken from you. :)

We're having calm days here, and I am REALLY looking forward to next week because I can order some parenting books from Amazon that I've wanted to read for ages. My library increases (if you want to borrow anything, get in touch lol). I had a funny conversation with my middle brother yesterday, told him that as sad as I am to be too far away to really interfer when he has children I'm not too far away to send AP books and slings. When I suggested that I could send cloth nappies too he was very enthusiastic!

Morgan is asleep on my lap as I write today, she has developed a habit of coming up whenever I'm on the computer. I think she feels left out, but all she wants is to bang on the keys and giggle at it, and when I refuse she throws herself on the floor. End result, I end up nursing her to sleep on my lap every single time I come on. Jenna hates it even more, because me having Morgan asleep on me AND typing away is even greater likelihood that she'll have to wait for anything she might want.

Dog-sitting is still enjoyable, the nice long walks to the park seem to be tiring out my little people, and it's somehow much friendlier coming home to someone who bounces everywhere and brings us toys out of the joy of seeing me again! It's a pity it isn't really practical keeping a dog with chickens (which we are still waiting for). My tired children are meaning I'm getting plenty of sleep though.

I toyed with the idea of starting to put Morgan in her own room - or in Jenna's - last night. I keep saying it's time to start seeing how she would respond to night weaning, but I don't think I'm commited enough to it. I don't actually want to stop co-sleeping or occasionally nursing her (even the nights when she hardly sleeps).

It seems unfair to limit or prematurely force her to something because of what might happen in the future. Perhaps I will need to wean her from my bed or keep co-sleeping but stop her from feeding at night, but perhaps she will do it herself in the next seven months and I'd be denying her the chance to do it gently. For now, I think I have to trust her and let her do things her way, and cross that difficult bridge if and when we come to it.

19 February 2008

Some happier thoughts about the pregnancy

I had such a great conversation last night, really wonderfully encouraging. A friend called, one of those away at university, and was delighted at our baby news. She is training to be a doctor and has just been out with the community midwives as a counterpoint to the emergancy and other hospital births she attended recently. So she was full of the wonder of the female body and positivity about birth. This friend is totally my favorite doctor, she has a really refreshing attitude of trust towards people and their innate knowledge of what their bodies are doing.

And she believes in birth. For saying that her job is the things that can go wrong, she is a very good person to talk to about natural birth because she can seperate the two and it hasn't turned to FEAR of the things that can go wrong. She was even laughing at the idea of late scanning to check position for home birth and declaring that she would be confident about a breech baby being born safely at home if there were no other complicating factors.

That and still reading lots of birth stories, I'm really fired up about actually having this baby. I can't entirely get rid of the feeling that I'm going to struggle or that having another bad pregnancy would be impossible with these two children here... But I'm definately coming to terms with the idea of the end result, that I'll go into labour and birth another baby and once it's here I won't be able to imagine otherwise. Oh, and I'm also irresistably drawn to looking at slings again - I've decided that I need another Mei Tai or an Onbuhimo, and maybe another woven wrap, so that I can easily keep slinging Morgan too. Or course should it be twins my list will be longer, another two woven wraps (one Didy one GMBB), another stretch, maybe a Mei Tai too...

18 February 2008

To speak or not to speak...

Last night was pretty hard, as our elder house guest decided to go out leaving us to put the itty one to bed. Poor baby, she just wanted her mum (she isn't that much younger than Jenna but that doesn't lessen the feelings) and she cried and cried with my holding her. I massaged her before bed - she has very dry skin - and then sang to her until she fell asleep. A half hour later she was awake and crying for her mum again. Yet again I'd been told to leave her to cry, which I've refused to do when we've cared for her occasionally from tiny. I went in, followed by Jenna who said she couldn't go to sleep with her friend being sad. In the end we tucked them up together and there was silence. Much later we put them in seperate beds again.

When her mum got home we heard her start to cry again and Jenna getting up to her. We had a bit of a terse exchange.Other parent: She needs to learn that I won't go to her.Me: Why? She's genuinely upset! She's just learning that you only meet her needs when it's convenient.Other: It's not about her being convenient. She knows I've NEVER gone to her at night.Me: Great - so she knows you're choosing never to meet her needs at night.

The next time the other mum heard a cry she went right up there without a word. I don't think I actually had an impact as much as she didn't want to discuss it again. Probably I wouldn't have said so much if it wasn't for the feeling of being put upon and for the offence that my children were having to suffer because of her desire not to parent her child any more than she felt like. It's hard to blame her for this - it's a cycle of perpetuating the rejection she's felt herself - but I wasn't going to let Jenna do her job for her.

Anyhow, everyone is gone now. It's wierd, because I'm sad to see them go even though they turn up unexpectedly and never tell me how long for (or how many meals they're eating with us or eating out!). The little one is such a love, such a pleasant child to be around. She can be oppositional (what nearly three isn't?) but she always seemed shocked into doing what I say because I just don't argue with her or get angry. She can be very gentle and loving, and she just craves to be touched and talked to. The problem is that the mum needs the same level of parenting and she's my age.

I have worried about writing this entry - because I don't want to sound dismissive or superior in my attitude to this friend. She needs a lot of support and I'm more than willing to give it, when it doesn't cause problems within my own family. It's that balance though, how to give someone outside the family what they need without taking from what my own children need. I don't want to have to choose! But here we are and there it is.

When they left Jenna wanted to follow them. She went and stood outside in her dressing up shoes (pink and glittery) and stomped her foot. She said, in a very teenage tone, "I'm GOING, it's not FAIR. I WANT to GO with THEM. [stomp]" I said, "Come back in here this minute, you're not going anywhere in those shoes." You know those moments of total premonition when you can see what's coming in the teenage years? LOL

After the house was empty we had a bit of a shouty afternoon. There has been some degree of tension this weekend, and Jenna was tired after her late night. It came to a head when Jenna refused to help me tidy up and I said she could choose to pick something up or go for her nap right away. She screamed at me, can't even remember what it was she said, but I snapped and screamed back at her to GET UPSTAIRS THIS SECOND NOW!

She did, muttering all the way about "don't know why you won't let me stay downstairs, don't know why I have to do this, it's not fair, you don't like me, I'm not your friend, mutter mutter". I followed her to say sorry, and discovered her in the bathroom climbing the shelves to get my (totally unused) makeup box. She was deposited in bed and told to be quiet until I declared nap time over.

After that, feeling that I'd inexcusably lost my temper and worrying about the baby again, I called Martin and cried down the phone about not coping and not wanting to be like this. Morgan had looked so shocked at me shouting, feeding with a look of not wanting to close her eyes in case I morphed into nasty mummy again. I couldn't bear for it still to be so tense around here when the newborn baby arrives. What kind of home life is that, with me spending half the day screaming and fighting my impulse to smack Jenna?

When Martin got home I sent him and Jenna to buy chips, as we're almost out of food and had neither bread nor potatoes and hardly any vegetables. He recounted his first experience of a really difficult conversation to have in public with a child.

Jenna: What's that?
Martin: On the stick over there? Doner meat.
Jenna: What has it got in it?
Martin: Lots of different kinds of meat.
Jenna: Pig?
Martin: Yup, probably pig.
Jenna: Cow?
Martin: I guess so, probably cow too.
Jenna: Donkey?

Anyway, I'm rushing to the toilet constantly which is unhelpful with Morgan dozing on me this evening. Also I have the return of the simultaneous spotty/dry skin, which is fun. I gave in and bought a face mask (Crash Course in Skincare from Lush which is one of the few that doesn't irritate my skin further) - and as for finding something I can use as a moisturiser on my dry and inflamed eyelids... :( Moisturisers sting (too much water content) so it's the massage bars that are prooving best bet. All of this trivial but nevertheless frustrating!

16 February 2008

Dealing close hand with other people's discipline

We have guests, and I'm struggling. The mum involved keeps smacking her little girl and it's upsetting Jenna a lot, I really don't know what to do about it. Earlier the girls all found some glitter in a drawer and tipped it out; I told Jenna I didn't care whose fault it was we were all going to clear up anyway - she helped me and said that she was sorry for making a mess and could we get the glitter out another time to make things downstairs? When the other little girl admitted that she had played in the glitter and also she was sorry, she got a smack. I can't help but think that surely that's an incentive to lie!

We usually take the tack that it doesn't matter who actually made the mess. It stops everyone handing out blame and denying their involvement, and takes away the fear of being singled out for a talking to. Even if I see something get spilled I'll just ask whoever is nearest to help me fetch a towel and clear up, no fault no blame. Jenna fetches a nappy when she thinks Morgan is going to wee on the floor. Morgan rubs up a juice spill with me when Jenna threw a cup on the floor because she was cross. We fix the immediate physical problem first and deal with the emotional reason when it's already sorted out and I don't have the puddle of milk or glue reminding me that something is ruined or lost and making me feel like someone ought to be really sorry.

What I want Jenna to learn about things that she does and shouldn't have isn't that it is BAD. Sometimes it's obvious that something was deliberate but rarely, and also her intent may have been to find something out, see how I would react, test my love for her, or underline how hurt she was. Making her feel bad about it won't magically turn her into a good person, given that I feel bad about yelling and threatening and it doesn't stop me from doing it unless I have a replacement activity for those situations! In fact the more guilty I feel the more likely I am to plough ahead anyway.

I want her to learn that whether she did something on purpose or not it can be fixed. I want her to learn that saying sorry is secondary to acting sorry, and that making up for what happened isn't a moral weight it's just what we do. If someone is sad we comfort them, before we tend to our own reasons for taking the toy or snatching the snack. If someone has lost something we help them find it before we reason about whether putting things away properly was their job or ours. Help first, disect feelings later.

I want her to learn, in a bigger sense, that she can put the past behind her - that nothing is big enough to make me see her as a bad *person*. And I want her to, in the most trivial way, think about her actions before she does them not because she's scared I might scream at her but because she knows that she will have to deal with the literal physical aftermath.

Anyhow, I can't put that into a simple sentence that isn't confrontational or moralistic or both. So I'm going to try to just reassure Jenna that I'm still going to be gentle with her - and try also to strengthen her lovely impulse to comfort her crying friend and remind her that hands are also for healing and caring.

15 February 2008

No idea how to react!!

We are telling people already, mostly because I need people to bounce feelings off and I'm not quite sure how to feel yet. We waited until Martin got home to tell Jenna, who bounced around the living room saying, "YAY YAY YAY YAY!!" When we called the In Laws, Martin started with saying that we have news and Jenna burst in with, "MUMMY HAS A BABY IN HER TUMMY!" Three year olds can't keep secrets. My own mum was really pleased for us, and said that I'd "take another one in my stride, " and called me a "confident capable mother".

Last night I was sitting with Martin and talking through my worries about this pregnancy - mostly to do with Morgan. I'm terrified that she might wean and I really don't want her to stop before she's ready. I'm worried that she might not be walking often enough to make slinging two viable. I'm worried that she might still be co-sleeping and night nursing and that I won't be able to meet her needs with a newborn as well. I'm worried that if Morgan weans she might still be night waking and I won't have another way to settle her. I'm worried that my tiredness and worry will lead to my temper getting worse and that gentle discipline will go out of the window. I'm worried about prooving people right (ie that I'm crazy) and about failing.

Worst of all I know that eight months is plenty of time for things to change and that 22 months isn't really so tiny - and that I'm probably making myself a nervous wreck for nothing and comparitively I have nothing to complain about!

Added to that is the sudden realisation - just today - that I really could miscarry. With the concerns and hopes at the back of my mind now thanks to everyone reacting so well and being so happy for us, I feel like I couldn't bear to lose this one. This isn't the same as being totally delighted to be pregnant - yet. I'm delighted with the idea of a baby, and I already feel that tug of a bond with it, but I don't actually really want to be pregnant. Silly but true. I'm sure plenty of people go through this but that doesn't make it easier.

I've spent practically the entire day reading about tandem nursing, about sleepless toddlers, about babywearing two children of different ages. It's often reassuring, usually helpful, and makes me feel like I'm doing something. The best thing has been going back to reading birth stories again, especially the natural birth ones at home and hospital, and even some from the point of view of the Dad. It makes me want to get on at Martin to write birth stories for the girls (if he can remember anything other than wanting to fix it for me!)

Jenna is still telling everyone and bouncing.

14 February 2008

I told you so! Argh and also yay and also argh again!

The tests came, I took one upstairs right away telling Jenna that I was fetching washing and needed her to stay down here so I could carry the basket down without tripping over her. The excuse was true, but when I realised that it would leave me alone in the bathroom I took the tests up with me. Nothing. One control line but nothing else, after a minute. Since it said to leave for four minutes I came back down and called Emma for a chat about babysitting next week. It was a short chat, the phone said three minutes, so I went back up to stare at the test.

And there it was, a faint line. So I'm pregnant.

We waited until tonight to tell Jenna together and I can't believe how happy she was. That really brought it home, that it was real, a real baby that I could be delighted to hold. I can't wait to breastfeed a tiny again, to sling it (to get out the Diana!!) and to be a mother for the third time. Maybe another girl, getting out all the perfect little girl clothes I remember so fondly. Maybe a boy, a new experience again. By my best guess I should be due mid-October.

I still have a lot of worries. Chief amongst these is that Morgan might wean. I want to tandem nurse, would HATE the idea of her stopping so soon. I'm also worried about slinging two and sleeping with two. I can see more ways to work that though, more ways in which things will change in the short time eight months represents. More chance that Morgan will move towards being able to share me in those ways. But the idea of giving up comforting her with the milk my body provides and the skin to skin that goes with that, I can't even think about it.

Oh but a baby. A newborn and perfect baby, mine, ours.

I just know it, I just know it, I just know it

I swallowed my nerves yesterday and told Martin what I was feeling at the time was bad news. I really needed him to just be accepting of it and of me, and he exceeded that by a mile. I should never have had such little faith in him; as a friend told me last night, "He loves you, that's all that matters!" I had hinted that I felt like I might be pregnant even though it was impossible (!) and he had been a bit, well, dismissive. And said things like, "We're not ready." But last night he called me silly admitting to my worries and told me that he would be over the moon if we were going to have another baby.

Somehow that gave me permission to admit to myself how sure I am. I still have no symptoms apart from one area of charting, that this month CM didn't slow after ovulation (hang on in here those who don't chart, don't understand charting, or just don't want the information overload about my bodily functions!) That's it, no sickness or anything. I feel a bit full of milk and tender, but that could just be that Morgan has increased feeds a bit (I don't know if I'd notice if she had lol, I still don't time or limit her).

I wanted to trust myself and trust my body this time, and not resort to testing... But I still feel like I can't tell anyone, especially get booked in with the midwife in a few weeks, without doing one. So at least for the sake of planning, I have some coming from ebay and I'll test when they arrive (hopefully today).

13 February 2008

Abstract learning and long walks for little legs

Today Jenna saw a picture of some men falling off a boat - her response was, "I hope it isn't warm water, or there might be a crocodile." Another example of something that she has learnt from only one telling and no explicit teaching, after asking about what lives in the local river. I am so astounded with that kind of critical thinking, it just goes against what I still feel small children are capable. Maybe by the time Morgan is three I'll have a little more grasp of how incredible they are, how wise and thoughtful and interested and knowledgable. I guess I'll underestimate her in much the same way from time to time.

We just took em-dog for a walk, we're looking after her for my mum which is something we couldn't have done if the chickens were already installed. At least we finally know the reason for that; too much interest from fans of Jamie Oliver! When I told mum about it Jenna piped up with the information that, "Jamie Oliver is a cooker." She likes the Jamie at Home stuff, assimilating stuff about gardening and food crops that would never have interested her had it been me talking. Anyway, all one big aside.

The point is, Morgan walked all the way. Anyone who tried to assist her was flapped off and jabbered crossly at. She was going to do it herself and she was not going to ask for help or allow the indignity of being carried. She was just so determined! We had great fun, with her little blond head bobbing in and out of passageways and gates with Jenna in persuit nagging her not to get lost. The cold air should certainly mean they are ready for bed early tonight.

12 February 2008

La Leche League and lots more good stuff (more moaning about sleep though too)

I'm starting to feel like this is turning into one long sleep diary. I compulsively record whether or not I feel tired, how much resentment I'm feeling about night feeding, how long I think she's sleeping for. I'm obsessed! I can't see how it's very helpful for me or for her, and I don't intend to stop the "on demand" part of anything (though even that phrase seems just a set-up for adversarial thinking).

But somehow counting the days, slept, not slept, make me feel like I'm in control - by listing them off I can see that things are changing and I'm not going to feel like this forever! We had two awful hourly nights again, for the record. But last night she slept through. :)
Coupled always with, "did she sleep?" is the mental question "did she eat much yesterday?"

She's definately eating a lot more than she was - her shape is changing and she has lovely little babyfat cheeks finally. Her legs are toddler legs now, and her whole body looks less like a baby every day. I love the toddler stage, even the tantrums I can see as such a good thing - and right now it IS a healthy way for her to express her feelings to me, she can't exactly put words to it herself yet.

I'm loving her strength and capability, seeing things I didn't the first time out of blindness rather than because they aren't there. I wonder how many other parents deny what their children can do is "real" or "deliberate" because the books say it develops later? And it's much easier to accept her smallness and fragility too, because I can see between her and Jenna how much further she has to go and how in the scheme of things she can't have too much demanded of her. As much of it is the shift in my perceptions as it is the experience of already having been here with a different little person. I'm owning for myself the knowledge I had from other parents. It's exciting!

A really strange turn of events is that EC seems to be working again a bit, we had three catches today when she communicated clearly that she wanted to go and was worried about doing so on the floor, and I took her to the toilet. It feels like less that she took a break from awareness but more from communicating it. I'm not thinking, "Oh, great, no more nappies!" But if she wants to start using the toilet instead then I won't say she's too small or otherwise hold her back until the proper age.

I went to my first LLL meeting today too, and strangely felt like I couldn't say the words, "I'm pregnant" or even "I think I'm pregnant". It seemed ludicrous to say the words, to let other people believe it, when I hadn't tested. I had so many questions too. The meeting was great though, and it was amazing to be in a place where I'm not the hippy one and in fact am barely amongst the most radical half of the group! There were slings there, and non-vaccinating families, and tandem nursers, and people I felt at home with right away without feeling any desire to apologise for nursing a 14mo in front of them!

7 February 2008

Doing good, feeling good

This week of sleep is getting better and better. I've had anything up to six hours a night so can this finally be our return to one-or-none night feeding? I'm still utterly unable to tell if it's linked to food or not but she does seem to be eating more again. I suppose this is a good juncture to talk about baby led weaning again and how well that has gone for us.

Food is just not even a thought for us most of the time. We go out, we eat in restaurants, she eats what we eat and when we eat and we don't think about baby portions or mashing or spoon feeding her or anything. She has made her own intruduction to food at her own rate and has always eaten adult foods. I can't describe how liberating it is to just feed a baby off my own plate from the start. It seems so obvious now.

The only way in which we revert to the way I did things before is to give Morgan apple puree - as a dessert - because it's yummy and because I eat it rather than any other reason! We also buy some expensive but lovely biodynamically grown rhubarb and apple pots, because I can't help myself and they're less naughty than chocolate. :)

I'm sometimes feeling a bit overwhelmed still, and at those times I think the nagging feeling that I'm pregnant is total paranoia and a symptom of feeling like I'm not really coping with these two. But then other days (or hours) it's amazing and there's no conflict and we resolve our differences of opinion calmly and democratically, and I love having children... And those times I think it's wishful thinking and I'm just subconciously hoping that I'm pregnant. But the feeling won't go away, and it's way to early to know and I have absolutely not a trace of suspicious symptoms and we have been really careful in spite of a chart that's all over the place.

Martin sent a lovely text earlier that went a long way to soothing my nerves. I told him that I'm sick of getting funny looks for Morgan screaming the whole time she's in the sling because she wants to wander off. He said, "What do they know - you're a great mother. I'm proud of you."

4 February 2008

Potty learning again already?

I'm still pretty tired, though I've been getting four hours more regularly. But I'm also on a real food kick, thanks to the little bit of extra sleep (and extra energy) - all making pasta and bread and soup and such things. I'd love to be in the position of just not buying anything pre-made, but that still seems like a big step. It would be great to stop buying stuff I know I can make though!

Morgan just asked me to change her nappy, her first EC action in months. She was squirming and asking for up and then down again so I offered her milk. She shook her head at me, gave me a funny look and pointed at her nappy. It was as if she was saying, "silly Mummy, down HERE!"

Anyhow once I cleaned her she leant over and gave me a kiss, proper pursed lips (which she only started doing yesterday) and I can't believe all of a sudden that she's so big. Time to buy a potty and show her how to sit on it - she's walking and cares when she's dirty and hopefully she'll like the idea as much as Jenna did. I think Jenna was 15 months when she started wanting to be naked and took herself to the potty for wees. :)