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I was recommended the book ‘How to feed your whole family…” by Gill Holcombe by a friend and it has since become my favourite cookery book ever. The recipes are so straightforward and easy to follow and are absolutely delicious (the pork with apple and apricot was described by Michael as the best meal I have ever cooked!) and so far Jessica has happily eaten each of them. I love the meal plans at the back of the book with a shopping list for five evenings worth of meals (some of which use left-overs) which have also been very handy.
Jessica is generally very good but recently I have started using the ‘3 chances’ system if she is being a pickle. If she’s doing something and I tell her ‘no’ and she carries on, I say ‘that’s one’ and warn her that twice more and there’ll be a consequence (e.g. going indoors when playing out in the garden). So far we seem to always get to three and the consequence but I think it’s starting to sink in as yesterday she was wandering about and saying ‘no’ and holding up her finger and then saying ‘one’ which was very funny.
I’ve been trying my hand at sugarpaste modelling as I want to make Jessica an ‘In The Night Garden’ cake for her birthday. I’ve never tried it before but had a quick look online for some tips and gave it a go. I made Igglepiggle first which was reasonably simple and turned out quite well but the other characters were a bit more tricky and I ended up redoing a couple as I wasn’t satisfied with my first attempts. I have two cakes to make so will use the original figures anyway – hopefully the cakes will also turn out well!
Some days it just seems like everything goes wrong. My mother-in-law broke her jaw falling over in the bathroom whilst cleaning ready for Saturday's party and I picked her up from the hospital - thankfully she is ok but will have to live on soft food for a while. Then on the way home there was a warning light on the dashboard to tell me there was a problem with my brakes so the car is off to the garage. Fortunately I can to manage without my car for the next few days and can borrow Michael's if needed.
Today is Jessica's last day of being one. This time two years ago I was in labour. Michael and I still laugh over him taking me to work with him when I was in early labour as he had to set up an event which was 'on the way' to the hospital. He asked me to wear black so I would 'blend in with the crew' and introduced me to the event manager with the words 'this is my wife, she's in labour but don't worry she's going to sit in the crew catering room and get on with it!'
Jessica has had such a lovely second birthday – she enjoyed opening her presents and cards, playing with her new toys, seeing her birthday card being read out on CBeebies (although I think Mummy was more excited about that one!) and all the visitors who dropped by. We had a little tea party in the afternoon with one of her friends from the baby signing class who is a couple of months younger than Jessica which was great fun. Jessica loved her In The Night Garden birthday cake and was very quick to pull the figures off and start eating them!
We have had a lovely family birthday party for Jessica today at Grandma and Grandad’s house (they have a very big garden which has been fantastic for all the children to be able to run around in). We had a bouncy castle which the children absolutely loved and as usual I ended up doing enough food to feed the five thousand. Jessica enjoyed seeing the family and playing with her cousins and has had another lovely day. We still have lots more presents for her to open so her birthday celebrations will continue to last for a few more days!
Lovely day celebrating at our friends' baby Charlie's naming ceremony followed by afternoon tea which was very yummy and Jessica enjoyed getting to eat lots of cake for the third day in a row! The ceremony was lovely, particularly the speech written by Charlie's parents about how they feel so complete now he is here, what they wish for him, and their promises of love, respect and acceptance as parents. Admittedly my favourite moment of the ceremony though was Jessica saying 'mummy' for the first time - she has always said 'mum' or 'mum-mum' before so that was just magical!
After the hecticness of the last week or so, it felt very strange to put Jessica down for her nap and not have a huge to-do list of things that absolutely had to be done while she slept. Of course there are still things on the to-do list but few are urgent and it was complete and utter bliss to be able to ignore the list for a while and enjoy an afternoon nap myself whilst I still have the opportunity! No doubt the to-do list will become more of a priority again as Pod's arrival approaches.
Physically this pregnancy has been quite similar to last time - both Pod and Jessica are/were little wrigglebottoms and on the whole I have enjoyed being pregnant. However, this time I am definitely getting more heartburn than last time (I don't think I needed Gaviscon even once last time) and carpal tunnel syndrome has also started in the last couple of weeks so I frequently get pins and needles and numbness in my fingers which is not very pleasant at times. On the plus side though, so far the SPD has not really caused any discomfort so that is good.
Lovely to have a day catching up with a friend and her 11 month old daughter. Jessica enjoyed having a friend and we all enjoyed a wander round the shops - getting my friend's daughter measured for shoes for the first time and Jessica getting a new pair as her feet have grown. The only downside was that I overdid things and was quite achy and tired by the time I got home. Must try and take things a bit easier - having been lucky enough to get to this stage of pregnancy with minimal discomfort, sometimes I forget I'm not Superwoman!
Had a letter today to confirm that my midwifery registration has now lapsed and so I am no longer a ‘registered midwife’ although I am still a qualified midwife. I could become registered again next year if I complete the required number of clinical and study hours but realistically that’s not going to happen and so I will have to do a return to practice course in the future if I want to practise again. I knew when I decided to be a full-time mummy that this would happen but part of me is still a little sad about it.
Trying to write the thank you cards for Jessica’s birthday presents and having carpal tunnel syndrome is not a good combination. I can manage to write a couple of cards before my fingers go really numb and then I have to stop for a while which is quite frustrating and means that progress on this has been a lot slower than I thought it would be. The numbness and pins and needles is definitely getting worse – just waiting for a referral at the moment and then hopefully I can get some wrist splints to wear which will help ease this.
Had a coffee morning at church this morning to raise funds for Friends of PICU, a charity which helps children in intensive care at Southampton and their families and one which is very close to our hearts as Jessica spent so much time in PICU in Southampton. One of our lovely church friends came along to help watch Jessica (she is too big now to be happy sitting in a playpen while we serve teas and coffees) and also brought some home-made fairy cakes which was very much appreciated. We raised just over £50 which we were quite pleased with.
The weather was lovely and warm throughout most of the summer and then a week into September, it was as if a switch was suddenly flicked and bam! summer was well and truly over and autumn was upon us. The temperature suddenly dropped and along came clouds and rain. Whilst I’m not feeling especially cold (thanks to my little wriggly internal radiator!), Jessica has definitely been a bit on the cool side on waking up in the morning despite the thick pyjamas and fleecy blankets. Might have to start turning on the heating in the mornings sooner rather than later.
In the last week, I’ve had several people tell me that I have a ‘nice, neat bump’ and a couple of them only recently realised I was pregnant. It makes a refreshing change from most of the other comments I seem to get which usually imply that I’m huge for this stage of pregnancy and I’m growing a massive baby. One of those came just minutes after a ‘nice, neat bump’ comment and during the same mother-toddler group. Which just goes to show how subjective it all is. It’s a good job I don’t get hung up about these things.
I’ve given up waiting for a referral about the carpal tunnel and have bought wrist splints from the pharmacy as it has been getting worse and I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated with struggling to write, or open jars or anything like that. My lovely chiropractor has worked on my wrist joints to try and ease it which has helped a little bit and since using the wrist splints at night, there has been a definite improvement. I still wake with numb, tingly fingers and experience numbness throughout most of the day but it’s not quite as bad as it was.
I think nesting has started to kick in. Yesterday I spent most of Jessica’s nap time sorting out boxes in the study (which really is a storage room more than anything else!) and today I have been cleaning out the kitchen cupboards. I’ve definitely started feeling a bit more energetic over the last few days as well which is a good thing although does also mean that I have a tendency to overdo things and then spend the evening feeling quite achy. I still have a few more weeks before Pod is ‘due’ – hopefully this burst of energy will last!
Had an appointment this afternoon with one of my lovely independent midwives (who I worked with very closely when I was still practising). She brought my birth bag with her and we discussed my preferences for birth. It made me realise just how close I am now getting to the time when Pod is likely to make his or her arrival. I have been washing Jessica’s newborn nappies so they are all ready for when Pod arrives. They are so unbelievably tiny – I find it hard to believe that Jessica ever fitted into them. Her nappies look huge in comparison.
Jessica’s speaking vocabulary has really come on leaps and bounds in the last couple of weeks. We have been getting new words pretty much every day and today we had four new words: ‘towel’, ‘four’, ‘five’ and ‘six’. She is also starting to learn to count – when asked ‘what comes after one?’, she will reply ‘two’ and ‘what comes after two?’, ‘three’. Her signing vocabulary has been very good for a while but she picks up new signs very quickly now too. It is so wonderful to watch her developing new skills and seeing how pleased she is with herself!
Had a lovely relaxing spa day – my birthday present from my mother-in-law. A lovely pregnancy pamper treatment in the morning, a swim (or more accurately just floating) in the pool, yummy lunch and then a facial in the afternoon. I fell asleep in the relaxation room after lunch and had to be woken for my facial but it was lovely just to have time out and be able to completely relax. Jessica thoroughly enjoyed having a Daddy day and it was so wonderful to come back home feeling all chilled out to beautiful smiles and cuddles from my little girl.
Jessica and I have been keeping Michael company today as he had to take some equipment up to Liverpool for an event. It was quite a long journey for a day trip (450 mile round trip) but Jessica coped very well with all the travelling (she’s probably quite resigned to it after all the postbox hunting!) particularly as she had plenty of toys and snacks to keep her occupied and we made regular stops so she could get out and walk about for a bit. We had a lovely walk around Albert Dock whilst Michael was busy unloading the van.
Jessica is very good when it comes to putting her toys and books away before bedtime – it’s something that’s been part of her routine for quite a long time. It means though that when we go to groups and the leader says ‘five minutes to tidy-up time’, Jessica’s automatic reaction is to go and get the box for the toys instantly. She also loves to help me dust – and this morning I watched her pull the fabric leaves off a toy lettuce and start cleaning her bricks and toys with it! I like this tidiness trait – hopefully it will last!
I posted a few weeks back about little things in life which make me happy. A letter from the local council saying that we are going to get two wheelie bins (one for mixed recycling, the other for general waste) and the list of recyclables that can go in the bins is going to be expanded plus we can also request a bin for garden waste was what made me very happy today. That’ll save a few trips to the tip in future! Just another little thing – although does make me wonder if perhaps I need to get out more!
I’m gradually working my way through the to-do list of all the things I’d like to finish doing before Pod makes his or her appearance – scrapbooking the cards from when Jessica was born, getting various things ready for Pod’s arrival (mostly done although still a couple of things that need doing) – whilst making the most of still being able to give Jessica my full attention. I’ve had a bit of a burst of energy over the last few days which has helped and the nesting instinct is definitely kicking in. I’m starting to feel ready now – not long to go!
Wasn’t too impressed at waiting at the doctors’ surgery this afternoon for my antenatal check-up only to be told that the midwife hadn’t turned up for her clinic so all the appointments had to be rearranged and as the next clinic at the surgery was full, I was told to call the community midwives office to arrange an appointment at the hospital who told me they couldn’t fit me in until 8th October at the earliest! Fortunately the GP surgery have managed to squeeze me in for a check next week so I can at least get my bloods done.
Lovely night out having a curry with our ‘quiz group’ friends (so called because we used to get together regularly a few years back for the pub quiz although these days our meet-ups are much less frequent and usually involve curry rather than pub quizzes!). It dawned on me when Grandma turned up to babysit that this was the fourth time I had left Jessica in a week (my sister Maxine stayed for a few days and babysat as I had church meetings two nights in a row) which is very unusual as I rarely leave her with a babysitter!
Jessica’s speaking vocabulary is continuing to grow at a rate of knots. New words over the last few days include ‘beads’, ‘turtle’ (was quite impressed by that one!), ‘meow’, ‘egg’, ‘crab’, ‘flower’, ‘keys’, ‘tea’ and my favourite by a long, long way – ‘mummy’. Jessica has been able to say ‘mum-mum’ for quite a long time but to hear her saying ‘mummy’ is just the most beautiful sound ever. Particularly when she is wandering around saying it over and over again – love it! We’ve also added ‘daddy’ to the repertoire too – although she still prefers to say ‘da’ at the moment!
I was asked to sing a hymn as a solo for this morning’s church service which was organised by our worship planning group. I love singing but I did find that singing a solo at church was much more nerve-wracking than singing a solo in a concert although I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps it was just because it was a hymn I didn’t know and I only had a couple of days to learn it (although admittedly it was my choice to learn it by heart – I’ve always preferred not to have any music in my hand where possible).
I was feeling quite tired and lazy this morning and felt quite tempted to bail out of going to Stay and Play. Two things made me get up and make the effort though. Firstly (and most importantly) it is good for Jessica to get out of the house and have the space to run around and the chance to play with other children. And secondly because I have now reached the stage where missing any of my regular groups potentially means that people might start getting unnecessarily excited and think that Pod has made a bit of an early appearance.
The Tip Jar