Sunday, 25 May 2008

Grace - 5 months old


This time 5 months ago I was in labour. Some people hate giving birth, I was lucky (after my epidural kicked in), I loved it. The birth went nothing like the plan I wrote in my little medical book (Water birth, no painkillers), the closest I got to a water birth was when I asked to have a bath at about 10pm. At first I was too shy to even remove my t-shirt in front of the midwife. That all changed when I was suddenly overcome by the biggest contraction of my life. I ripped my top off, clambered out the bath (NOT easy when the size of hippo and having a seizure) then staggered naked and dripping wet down the hall screaming "James get me an epidural NOW" Suddenly being seen in the noddy was not such a big deal after all. Poor old James was under strict instruction to talk me out of any painkilling options if I started to weaken... "Come on Princess, you are doing great, give it another half an hour"... "I swear to God James, go and get me an epidural now or I will bite your fingers off"- he soon scarpered to find the anesthetist. What a wonderful woman she was. As soon as the needle went in I felt better, within half an hour I was asking the midwife her life history whilst James had a nap!

It's amazing to think it was only 5 months ago that Grace was born. How far she has come from the fat little bundle I delivered. At first all she did was sleep and feed, and poo. Now she rolls over and reaches for toys, scrunches up newspapers,plays peek-a-boo, finds her dummy and puts it in her mouth, recognises songs and phrases, bounces up and down in her jungle thing (best £70 we ever spent, when all else fails the jungle bouncer never does. It's a constant source of untold joy for Grace), more than that though - she soaks up life. At first she just slept as it passed her by but now she is into every noise, face, view, texture and taste, her little fat legs pumping in excitement as she learns about the world she has been born into. (She still poos alot too)

Her swimming is going really well. James and her went without me last week. I was feeling a bit under the weather (more on that later) so James got her up and dressed. I have long given up on trying to teach James which of her clothes go well together (I think he puts her in the most mis-matched outfits he can find on purpose) so off they went with Grace wearing blue and orange pyjama bottoms and a bright pink tshirt, no socks or coat or hat or change bag "She does not need all that crap" - and returned an hour and half later in a different brand of nappy to our normal kind (Grace, not James - he does not wear nappies), looking suspiciously neater than when she left. Turns out that when James (the only chap at little dippers (unless you count Phil, which I don't) mentioned to the gaggle of mummies that I was not well and he had "forgotten" her bag - they were all tripping over themselves to help him out. I can just picture James in 'helpless mode', I know it well - he slips into it each time I ask him to wash up or sterilise her feeding bowls "What do I do Newts? Put the Milton fluid in the kettle and then pour cold water in the sink and ..." "No James, you fill the kettle with cold water and - oh forget it, I will do it myself!"
Anyway, they had a great time without me, going under water together and reaching for toys. I was too ill to go, it's ridiculous. I have prayed for Grace to sleep through the night, and now she is I feel worse than when she had us up every hour! It's very normal my health care visitor tells me. Your body gets so used to running on empty that when you actually start to get some rest it does not know what to do, all the tiredness and exhaustion just seems to come out. It will pass though,it's just a phase - I hope the all-night sleeping is not just a phase. It was a long and weary road to get there. In the end we decided to leave her to cry for a bit and see what happened (When I say we, I actually mean me - coincidentally James had to go to Birmingham overnight for a show)
I fed her and put her to bed, and when she woke up two hours later I just left her. I peeked at her to make sure she was ok but then I sat back down and ignored her. It was not easy, but she gradually quietened down and when I went back in she had found her dummy and her monkey (George) and was fast asleep. Success! She woke momentarily at about 3am but I ignored her again and she soon drifted back off.
I am not sure if it was the leaving her to cry that did it or the fact that she now has 3 meals a day. When she turned 20 weeks the health care visitor said that she could start having Petit Filous. What marvellous pots of magic they are. She loves them and all you have to do is take the lid off and away you go, no peeling or mashing or pureeing or freezing or defrosting. Grace loves them, you can't shovel it into her quick enough. She also has apples, pears, bananas, parsnips, sweet potato, carrots and turnips all lovingly cooked and blended by us. It makes such a difference, she is happier, goes longer between breastfeeds and sleeps so much more. I have weaned her early, it was the right thing to do. Whoever made the rule that babies should be exclusively breast-fed for 6 months has never had a baby. My little monkey is hungry. All the kicking and rolling and dribbling and bouncing gives her an appetite!

So it's all going well into the 5th month, I am trying to make the most of these last few weeks before I have to go back to work. We have a holiday in France booked to go and see my parents. James is very excited as he can practise Grace's swimming techniques in their pool. I am excited because I can expose my poor crepe paper tummy to the sun without scaring anyone other than my immediate family!

Latest photos here:

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XX

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