Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What to do in a hostage situation

Write a blog post. (It'll make sense later.)

I'm in Happy One's room giving him his bedtime feed and thought why not put this time to good use and do a quick blog post.

Actually the truth is that Happy One is practically asleep but I'm hiding because I can hear ructions coming from the other room, Miss Chief crying and doors slamming, and I'm trying to avoid either getting involved or being dragged into putting her to bed. This I don't mind in and of itself but by the sounds of things it could take a while and be a bit of a mish.

The thing is that this is a bit of a crazy house at the moment. I went back to work a couple of months ago and a few weeks prior to that Map Man started a full- time 6 month coursework-based post-grad course. He's writing a paper about 'las-ers', cluster computing and finding tall trees. Pretty cool stuff but not really an appropriate subject for this blog.

Miss Chief has been having various sleep issues over the same time period and longer. The latest is that she still occasionally loses the plot at bedtime and often finds it incredibly hard to wind down. But more pertinent is that once asleep she then wakes frequently and gets out of bed. This is happening almost every night and is often after we've gone to bed. She'll wander into our room and wake us up. When we bring her back to her own room she says "but I'll be all by myself". (I hope this isn't all my fault for having a "sleepover" in my bed one night whilst Toby was away - he told me this would happen. It may well have contributed but I don't think it's a direct cause.)

At the same time she is continuing to amaze us with her wit, comprehension, vocabulary, creativity and imagination. Her development in these areas, and more, just isn't slowing. I reckon I'd have trouble sleeping if I had all that going on in my head.

Meanwhile Happy One is just a baby, 9 months old and dealing with all the usual stuff that the little critters have to deal with. The odd Wonder Week here and there. (We made it through Week 36 World of Categories (a horse can be an animal in a field or a picture in a book and is not the same as a large dog) and now we've got Week 44 World of Sequences (put spoon in bowl, scoop cereal onto spoon, move spoon to mouth, open mouth ... and so on, you get the drift) starting this week at 41 weeks.) And all the amazing milestones they bring: he's crawling, cruising round the furniture, standing by himself, playing peekaboo, picking up ever smaller morsels and working on his pincer grip, chatting away in his baby talk, sort of signing, he even clapped his hands but it was a bit of a "blink and you miss it" moment. He's incredibly funny, loves to copy Miss Chief, laughs a lot, gets annoyed if he has to wait too long for a breastfeed or if you take something from him, loves his food, and is generally a lot of fun to be around. He is also getting massive. I bought him a little hoodie for when the weather cools down today. It suggested size 0 for a 10kg baby. He is a little bit under that but I picked up the next size up anyway and was surprised that it fit him. It's a little large but not overly so.

When he's not having a major mental leap or a growth spurt, he's teething. He's not a great teether. He goes off his food and wants extra breastfeeds. Yay for me. (I love breastfeeding but not all the time.) He has 6 teeth now and we're in a teething break which is good. He still loves his sleep but sleep training has gone to poo. I still breastfeed him to sleep at night and when he's not teething he wakes once for a feed around 3 or 4am. During the day we have varying degrees of success in getting him to sleep but it pretty much always results in doing the Cot Dance - pacing round his room with him in our arms, rocking and jiggling him slightly then gradually lowering him into the cot and trying to get our arms out from under him without waking him. I'm going to design a new mother and baby exercise class based upon it. Watch this space.

The thing is at the moment it's all about maximising sleep in this house. Let's worry about bad habits later when things are less crazy. To that end my next step with The Chief is to replace her toddler bed with a single bed. I have a base. I just need to paint it (it's black) and buy a mattress. I would just let her sleep in our bed when she wakes up but Map Man can't sleep with her in the bed. I figure if she has a bigger bed one of us can either get in with her or swap.

As for me, because surely someone cares how I'm doing, right? Oh good. Well I'm finding it hard to find time to exercise. I do the occasional Zumba workout if I get up before the kids (ha!) or get them both sleeping at the same time (Chief sleeps about every other day now). Sometimes I get to the pool but that's rare. And I had my bike serviced the other week so I could ride to work. Which I've done once. Basically I'm still establishing a routine.

I'm enjoying being back at work. I don't really know where I'm heading with that but it's good to be contributing and feeling like a normal grown up a couple of days a week. A part time working mother is a bit like a person with multiple personality syndrome. It can be hard to switch between the two roles. I often go to work with rusks and spare undies (size 3) in my handbag. But I work really close to the beach and only 5 minutes drive from home in swanky new offices. I feed Happy One once a
day before his lunchtime sleep while Map Man swims in the ocean. Tomorrow if the weather isn't too bad then we're trying a new routine of meeting at the pool. Map Man will swim whilst I feed Happy One and then I'll do some laps. I haven't really been taking all the breaks I'm entitled to as I've been settling back in but I think I'm starting to find my rhythm now. We're hoping to get Happy One into daycare one day a week soon. That'll be interesting as he won't get his daytime feed (he gets 2 on a non workday). As it is he's all over me as soon as I walk through the door and won't leave me alone until I feed him.

[Update: now I'm in Chief's room massaging her feet while she (hopefully, please soon) falls asleep. How did this happen? It's very hard - and slow - typing with left hand while massaging with right (or vice versa for that matter). A bit like patting your head and rubbing your tummy. I keep getting the two mixed up. Chief's a bit perturbed but my iPhone seems nice and relaxed. At least I had the presence of mind to bring my wine in too.]

Ok where was I? Oh that's right. Me. So yeah. Work good. Two days perfect for now. Breastfeeding and working still not easy but pretty good really. Aside from that I've been baking a lot and getting fat (compared to my wedding photos anyway). And as soon as I get out of here (Chief's room. Currently hostage.) I'm going to sew Alvin's arms on (soft toy I'm making for my nephew's birthday. Which was last week. Yeah. I'm so on the ball and organised.)

Just for fun (and because I'm still captive) I'll close with a summary of Happy One's routine at 9 months. It's very flexible.

3-4am : breastfeed. Takes about 15-20 mins. Unless I fall asleep.
6am : wake
7am : breakfast.
8am : breastfeed
8.30 : sleep for about an hour
11am : breastfeed
12pm : lunch
1pm : sleep for 1.5-2 hours
3pm : breastfeed
5pm : bathtime
5.30 : dinner (usually followed by another quick dunk in the bath)
6.30 : breastfeed
7.00 : sleep

I've no idea whether this is normal. Most 9 month olds are probably down to 3 milk feeds a day but I don't care. If there's one thing I learnt when Chief was a baby it's not to stress about weaning. It'll happen when the time is right. Obviously work days are a bit different. I feed him before I leave. Then around 1130-12ish and again around 5 or 6pm depending on when I get home. He also gets offered morning and afternoon tea if he's awake when Chief has hers. In short he spends about 70% of his waking hours eating or drinking.

Sheesh this is a long post. No one's going to read this far. I could say anything now and no one would ever know.

[And I'm still massaging 3-year old feet. Or feets as Chief would say.]

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