So Grace is 6 weeks old, and the last week has been HARD work. Our lovely, happy, contented, easy-going princess got temporarily replaced with a grizzly old monster. She caught some kind of virus which involved lots of screaming, no sleeping, many many noisy green poos and a very sore bot bot. I always knew that it was all going a bit too well and that we were yet to experience "real" parenting - we have now though...It's amazing what no sleep can do to a person. It makes you go slightly insane. I was forced to give up everything for 2 days. I did not bother dressing or doing housework or attempting to go out, I just sat with Grace doing lots of feeding, very poor singing and tea drinking.
We took her to the doctors, who was wonderfully reassuring that it was nothing I had done or not done (I must remember to stop doing internet research) and armed us with many lotions and potions. We had great fun with them. Grace needed changing 6 times one night, and each time I took off her nappy, wiped her, applied all the creams to her bum and was just about to put on a clean nappy, she would wee on me and all over herself, so as well as having to do the whole nappy thing again I also had to change her whole outfit - with her screaming the whole time.
I always worried that I would have no patience for this kind of thing, I mean the sound of any other child crying is one of the most annoying noises ever, but the sound of MY child crying just makes me want to do anything to help her. I would honestly have cut my arm off the other night if it would have made her feel better for even a second.
Luckily she is over it now and is back to her beautiful self (She looked horrible for a couple of days, her skin was all flaky and she was red and spotty, it was like having a giant angry flapjack).
Today when her daddy came home she gave him a smile which lit up the room, her first smile at the sound of his voice, my heart hiccuped with love for my amazing family. Everyday she is getting more and more aware of herself and her surroundings. She has learnt to suck her fist, and is holding her head up for much longer. She loves being propped up on pillows so she can see what is going on around her, she makes noises at the TV. We took her to the supermarket the other day and all the lights in the ceiling fascinated her. If only I could be so easily amused. I keep forgetting to get the remote control before I sit down to feed, and James likes to put Sky on channel 401 (the very very dull sports update channel which just list scores of games) and then he walks into a different room - so I am stuck watching the results of matches I don't care about while Grace takes her time to feed, stopping every few minutes or so and whinging if I take her off (even if she has fallen fast asleep on me, the second I try and detach myself she starts sucking with gusto, and looks a bit annoyed at me for daring to try and claim my breast back). Sometimes I am sat for hours, and there is no point calling out to James to come and change the channel either, he develops that selective hearing thing that men get.
I think I mentioned last time that I was going to attempt expressing milk... to cut a long long story short it did not go well and I will not be doing it again. The whole point of trying it was so I could nip out for half and hour to go for a run now and again. There is nothing quick about expressing however, 2 hours and only 2oz of milk is NOT quick, or anywhere near enough either. I could only manage to express if I fed Grace off one side whilst using the pump on the other (I really do know how cows feel) and so by the time I had fed Grace and also produced enough milk to be able to spend about 10 minutes away from her, I was so exhausted the last thing I felt like doing was exercising! (One of the other things parenting has taught me is how far the human nipple can stretch when stuck in an electric breast-pump).
Running is also a no anyway - I tried it very briefly the other day... I don't want to go into details but I was lacking a couple of essential items, a shock-absorber bra and my pelvic floor. I am going to stick to power-walking round Queens Park for the time being.
I took Grace to be weighed again today (she is 10lb 4oz. She has not put on much this week as she has been poorly) and met a lovely boy for her called Ernie, he is a big bruiser like her and they even had matching hair. Sadly Grace decided to go boss-eyed and do a big noisy poo just as we were introducing them, so I am not sure Ernie was too impressed. He projectile peed and vomited on his mum when he was placed on the scales, so Grace and I soon went off him anyway. He was probably just showing off - everyone knows men can't multi-task.
I also took myself to be weighed, at Boots on London Rd, where I thought I would be safe and not see anyone I knew. No chance, I lurked about for ages with my seventy pence getting sweaty in my hand as I worked up the courage to see the baby damage done, and then just as I stepped on, and the scales told me to grip the handles firmly while they tried to work out my body fat ratio, my nosy neighbour appeared, saw my weight and announced it to the whole shop. Marvellous (I am not telling you what it is, or how much I have to lose, I am sure she would be delighted to though).
So all in all it's being another roller-coaster of a week for me and my girl. We've had some hairy moments, but motherhood is still MUCH more fun than work and without question the most rewarding thing I have ever attempted.
More photos here, including grumpy Grace in swimwear, hilarious.
Lots of love
Ericka and Grace