Sunday, 23 October 2016

The First Bug; A Play In Seven Parts.

Act One; Vomit 

It all started on a Friday. Called down to crèche with the simple words 

'She needs you'. 

Cuddled and fed her but rather than having the usual soothing affect  it had the opposite i.e. It all came back up, and I mean ALL. 

This was bad, very bad. The other mums were all making sympathetic and kindly noises whilst quickly moving their children away from the vicinity. I realise that I'm that mother, the one who brings her poorly kid out in public and unwittingly starts an epidemic, I feel awful. 

It was unsurprising that I would feel upset but I was unprepared for the guilt. Was it something she'd eaten? maybe something I hadn't spotted as I distractedly checked my phone while my girl, opportunist that she is, picked something delicious looking off the floor. Or worse, was it something that I cooked for her? Was my somewhat haphazard and less than careful weaning schedule at fault?

So I took her home where she proceeded to vomit up everything else I tried to feed her, multiple baths and outfits later and she succumbed to sleep.
I phone my doctor dad for reassurance which he duly gives but there is nothing to be done and we just need to ride it out. Not what I wanted to hear.

Act Two; Diarrhoea 

You can't possibly imagine how much poo one baby can hold until this happens. I was attempting to dam the projectile flow with a towel whilst trying to calm Clara and simultaneously shouting at the top of my voice to Matt who was cooking our (as it would turn out) ill fated breakfast and listening to loud music in the kitchen. Between the two of us we managed to get her into the bath, mop up and disinfect the changing table, I then put on wash load number 3,  after a quick soak in miraculous vanish. Washing machine has developed untimely gap in the seal possibly from sheer overuse and kitchen floor gets gradually soggier with every load, hey at least I won't have to mop. 

She sleeps for two hours and I take my book into her room and sit in the rocking chair watching her instead of reading.

Act Three; Quarantine 

We accept that this is not going away and cancel all our plans. Saturday fades away into wash cycles and on demand feeding. I haven't fed her on demand since she was a tiny baby as she responded really happily to a four hour feeding schedule from being quite small, but all that's gone by the wayside as I attempt to get as much fluid as possible into my (suddenly tiny looking) daughter. I sing to her as I try and get her to eat, 'Yellow' by Coldplay pops into my head, I come to the line 'For you I'd bleed myself dry'. I feel the truth of that as I feed her again and again and then hold her as she cries and it all comes out the other end. The word 'futile' comes to mind. 

Act Four: Dad Down 

As the three of us sleep I am regrettably awoken by more vomit, this time not Clara but Matt, I get up with him and make sure he has everything he needs, setting him up in the spare room before Clara wakes for a feed, end up sharing a bed with small daughter not husband for the first time, though to be fair she takes up a lot less space! I am secretly quite relieved matt is ill as it proves it's a sick bug and not anything more preventable. In your face guilt! 

I now text everyone I can think of to beg for prayers for my immune system as there is no way I can be sick too. We all wake up feeling V sorry for ourselves and collapse on sofa to watch trashy TV.

Act Five: Sleep is for Wimps 

I eat the majority of a chocolate brioche tear 'n' share, mainly because there is no one to share it with (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) Clara, presumably fed up of waking up in a puddle of sick/poo has given up altogether opting instead for a serious sleep embargo. I quietly tear out my hair and put on another load of washing. 

We take her out in her pushchair in the hopes of a sleep and bump into handsome couple from next door who I have never met before getting into their snazzy non poo covered, child free car. We get into (a far too involved) conversation about children's sick bugs I'm left wishing I could have left them with a slightly less disgusting first impression...

Act Six; Soldiering On 

Baby appears to be getting worse not better, I panic and call my parents again. Dad suggests a rehydration solution and praise the Lord she decides it's delicious and drinks nearly a whole beaker of the horrible stuff. My worry is slightly curbed.

Matt has been working on a sermon for the evening service at church all week, he is unsure about whether to go or not. I've heard the sermon and it's excellent. Selfishly I want him to stay and help with Clara as I know bedtime is going to be a nightmare this evening. I manage to swallow these feelings however and he heads off freely into the evening.

Act Seven: The Reward 

I go for walk with Clara in the sling and then come home and get a vegetable stew pot for my supper on the go while she's still happy in the sling (its been a while since that brioche.) Bath goes smoothly and then I embark on 'bedtime'. 

This is a marathon not a sprint.

Read, Feed, cuddle, rock, cot, cry, sing, change, feed, cuddle, rock, cot, scream, feed cuddle rock, cot, wimper......sleep.


I tiptoe downstairs and get the washing out of the machine and hang it up, poo stains are all gone and it makes the house smell like fairy, lovely. 

Then I sit and eat in the perfect quiet. 



Evening walk pre bedtime shenanigans. 

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

6 Months of Mama

So, Clara Evangeline, what are you into at the grand old age of six months? 

Firstly you are the most alert, curious and inquisitive baby I have ever met, you look at things as if you are already trying to work out how to take them apart. Even strangers in restaurants comment about this and your long hard stare has been known to stop people in their tracks 

You don't always smile straight away but when you do, you do it with your whole being, and the room lights up.

Your favourite song is currently the grand old duke of York and you flap your arms to it in a hilarious way, actually arm flapping is your general way of signalling total enthusiasm and approval. 

In the mornings you shriek excitedly about life and sound a bit like a cross between a pterodactyl and a cat with its tail trapped in a door, I have learned to love this noise even at 6:am.

Your favourite toy is currently your heuristic play box which has all sorts of interesting textures in it for you to explore. (You had a thing for the purple hippo for a while but you're over it) you also have a penchant for cramming your bath time flannel in your mouth whilst completely ignoring your 'official' bath toys. 

We swim together every week which you love, you kick and splash your arms madly (I've taken to wearing my goggles) and are pretty happy to get dunked under by your over enthusiastic parent.

You can roll over and sit up by yourself, and are desperate to crawl. You weigh a whopping 20 pounds, are extremely long legged and have two marvelous teeth. You've always eaten well and It has been a total joy breastfeeding you. You have also just started eating proper food and so far devour everything in your path.

This month you held your hands up to me to be picked up for the first time, I melted on the floor.

We've dragged you along everywhere with us this summer (as you might expect!) Camping, festivals, the beach,  swimming, long car journeys, weddings and tons and tons of new people. All the things we've done you've taken in your stride with your characteristic calm. I am so grateful for that.

You adore your dad and watching the two of you together is my hands down favourite thing to do, he sings you silly songs and gives you upside down eskimo kisses which makes you laugh like crazy. 

In short you are the most incredible human I know and I love being your mama. 

As for me..

Six months after birthing this 8 pounder I am feeling really well. I am physically almost as good as new, which after a bad tear is nothing short of miraculous (props to my surgeon).  My body is back to something resembling normal and I even taught myself to run over the summer and can now do 5k!

I really am loving being a mum. Clara is changing all the time (size routine interests etc)  so in some ways it feels like running really fast on a treadmill that keeps accelerating. This is completely exhausting and mind boggling and inexpressibly wonderful.

All in all I am so grateful for this little girl and the journey we are on as a family.

I'll finish with her monthly mug shots (or should I say rug shots?!)