Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Grace - 2 months old

You know what the secret to being a good parent is? Having bloody good friends. James was away last weekend, entertaining work clients (that is how he sold it to me anyway - he actually went to Paris to see the Rugby) so Grace and I were on our own, except we weren't. Grace's marvellous god-parents made me the most wonderful dinner, put Grace in the bath with their daughter Matilda (SO sweet to see the two of them together, Matilda washed Grace with her little yellow watering can), and let me talk all the way through the film they had rented whilst eating popcorn and peanut M&M's. They even picked me up and dropped me off home. It's friends like these than keep me sane and smiling. It's amazing how much little things, like being made dinner, or even a cup of tea can reduce me to tears of gratitude.

So, while James was in Paris..I decided to break our rule of never letting Grace in the bed. I figured he would never find out anyway...BIG mistake. While it was wonderful to watch Grace fall asleep in my arms, full of milk, smelling like heaven and smiling sweetly, we both got in big trouble the next night when James returned and wanted his side of the bed back. Grace did not want to be in her cot, she wanted to be in her new favourite place, and let us know by howling when we laid her down to go to sleep. James said "Grace did not sleep in the bed last night by any chance did she?" - honestly, he can be a right know-all at times.
When Grace finally does go down for the night, she sleeps for about 7 hours which is just amazing, but she can be a bit of a monster in the couple of hours leading up to bedtime. We have learnt a couple of tricks however;
1: She stops crying if James does impressions of her crying?!
2: She stops crying if you poke her nose and blow a raspberry (NB: You have to do this repeatedly, quite fast, the second you stop she pipes up again - so it's best not to do it when you are tired or it's dark as you may poke her in the eye)
3: She stops crying if I feed her - always. The problem with this is how long can you sit with someone tugging away on your nipple before you go insane?

I have started to get a tiny bit of my old life back. I now go swimming twice a week while James drives Grace round and round in the car to keep her asleep. It sort of works, I have to feed her to the hilt just before I want to go - and I can't think about her while I am in the pool, or everyone swims in my diluted breast-milk (Which is supposed to be quite good for you actually), but it's my stolen half an hour and I love it. The first time I did it I went a bit mad, trying to cram as many lengths in as possible, and then when I mounted the steps to get out the pool I realised I had two dead legs and had to sort of hang off the ladder for a minute - like a pratt.

I have still been doing my power walking round the park, I have taken to doing it in sports gear, hoping people realise it's a form of exercise. I was furious to learn I had only lost 1lb last week, after two high energy swimming sessions (if you can call that breast stroke that girls who don't like to get their hair or face wet do high energy) and all the walking. Damn peanut M&M's. The hardest thing is James bought me back loads of Toblerones from Paris (During the last month of my pregnancy I was so miserable and fat the only thing that cheered me up was to wallow in the bath eating bars of Toblerone, James must have thought he had a pet hippo) - and I can't eat them as I am supposed to be on my diet, but they call to me from the dresser. They say "Eat me, I taste much nicer than the muesli rivita you are breaking your teeth on", and they say it in that seductive voice the woman uses on the M&S adverts, "This is not just any Toblerone.." I think I am going to have to give them away and ask James for a corset instead.

Anyway, I've upped the exercise again. I made a new play list for my ipod, full of angry teenage music, and started walking down to the open market at the bottom of my road, where I buy lots of very heavy veg and then power back up the hill with it all. I was soon in abundance of potatoes and so decided to make my hardworking boyfriend a lovely cottage pie for his tea... Needless to say because it did not involve playing with Grace, she started to whinge. I swear she can read my mind. She knows when I just want half an hour to myself, and decides all she wants is to feed and cry and cling to me like a little monkey.
Somehow I cooked the pie, it took about 2 hours as I had to stop in between every step of the recipe to sing to Grace or feed her, or change her. I was so proud of myself when I FINALLY topped it with the mashed potatoes I had lugged all the way up Elm Grove, I even put little dobs of butter on top so it would go crunchy in the oven... and then James walked in and said "Aren't you funny, why do you always put so much mash on top of the mince? What you want to do is level some of that off and then you can freeze it to make bubble-and-squeak." Not the best comment to make to a harassed and hungry mum, who did not want to cook in the first place, who HATES cooking in fact. Needless to say I had a few suggestions for James and what he could do with dinner...

Anyway, mash-potato mountains aside, it's all going pretty well I think. The jabs were not as awful as I thought they would be. Grace did cry, but not too badly, and it was nice to see all the other babies and realise Grace was by far the best one.
Everyday gets easier as Grace is learning more and more. She has smiling down to a T, she does it to strangers, at her mobile, in the bath, when she does a poo. She is just starting to show an interest in her toys, she tries to reach out to touch them now and again. She has also learnt how to turn the weird noisy, squeaky water garden cot toy on and off, which is great fun for James and I in the middle of the night.
She was the only one holding her neck up all the time at the mum and baby group on Monday, and was also the only one showing an interest in sitting up. She is interested in everything in fact, the world is a constant wonder to her. She gawps at anything she sees, mouth open in wonder (or hunger - sometimes hard to tell). She has been described as 'advanced' by two health care visitors now. She is falling just below the average for her weight and height, but the nurses said it's nothing to do with hunger or a lack of food, it seems she is just going to be more my build than James'. Good - if she had carried on the way she was going I feared her nickname would be giant haystacks. Who wants that for their little princess?!

I've added some more photos at the link below, including a photo of Grace in her Spurs babygro. It seems she brings them luck!



Ericka and Grace

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