Tuesday, May 29, 2012

getting used to the heat

Dulcie and I have both got a bit better at coping with the heat.  It got easier for Dulcie when I finally accepted that it was OK for her to leave the house with flesh showing/less than four layers on...  Bring on summer - we're ready for you!  Dulcie and I have hardly been in the house over the last week, spending lots of time on the grass in the park under the shade of a tree or just wandering about while Dulcie napped behind her makeshift pram curtains.  How cute is her little blue suit in this picture?  We got it while out on a day's charity shopping on Saturday and it had never even been worn.  I can only guess that the original owner's baby was the right size in the wrong season because I can't think of any other reason for passing it on unworn.
  Talking of our day's charity shopping, here's how Dulcie looked when we woke her from her super-long, heat-induced nap behind her pram curtains while stopping off to refuel halfway round our route.  Poor wee sleepy face!  I know I once promised never to discuss the contents of nappies on this blog, but... moments after this photo was taken, Dulcie had her first dirty nappy in over four days, delivering the goods just as I was starting to get really worried.  This temporary constipation has been the only downside of her foray into the world of solid food, but you'll all be delighted to hear (ha!) that she has been very regular ever since shifting that first problem jobby.  She's now enjoying sweet potato and/or melon on a daily basis and will be trying carrots soon too.  Before you know it, we'll be making pureed-fruit-and-veg cocktails.  I hear that butternut squash and pear is a combo that all the hip babies are enjoying these days.  How terribly avant garde!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

if you can't stand the heat...

Fire Breather Gocco ACEO by misnopalesart
Fire Breather Gocco ACEO, a photo by misnopalesart on Flickr.
I was so looking forward to summer on maternity leave and, three days in, I have officially had enough! Graham and I both struggle with hot weather and it looks like Dulcie has inherited that trait. The poor wee lamb is just miserable today. She has a bit of eczema at the moment and, at the doctor's explicit instruction, we are turning her into a "grease ball", smothering a thick layer of gloop all over her arms and legs. Even the feeling of having the stuff on my hands is unbearable, so I don't know how she is coping as well as she is. She's been breaking out in a heat rash today too and it's hard to tell which red patches are down to that and which are really eczema. Last night we smothered the gloop on her torso too and it seemed to make it worse so I'm reasoning that was heat rash after all, but I don't really know.

Breastfeeding while clammy is horrendous too. I've had Dulcie stripped down to her nappy half the day in an attempt to stop her overheating, but her naked flesh on my naked flesh just increases the clam factor and makes us both feel icky and grumpy.

I've been keeping her in the shade, fanning her, putting cold face cloths on her while she's feeding and have just put her to bed (where she's shouting grumpily) in nothing but a vest, but she still looks red and ragy and very, very upset. Anybody got any top tips for bringing up babies in extreme heat? I never considered, living in Glasgow, that this would be a problem!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

at the weekend (baby, baby, at the weekend)

We had a busy little time this weekend.  The Inchinnan fete and gala day was on so we met Graham's mum there for our annual day of village-fete fun.  In some ways it was a bit of a damp squib (the bric-a-brac stall where we once got Pride and Joy had nothing but picture frames this year for some reason) but it was still a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  The book stall came up trumps, providing me with two 1970s craft books and a novel for the princely sum of £1.10, and Dulcie enjoyed the colourful bunting and cuddles with Granma while we enjoyed the home-made cakes and weak tea.  We hit the tearoom early enough to have some choice in our cakes this year, as oppose to previous years where the only decision involved was whether to have your pancake dry or slathered in margarine.
The brass band were slightly lacklustre this year, I thought, but perhaps they were just in shock from the act that was on immediately before them - girls aged two to ten dancing (dancing?)  in leotards to I'm Sexy And I Know It.  It was all very Little Miss Sunshine, hilarious and disturbing in equal measures, but obviously I didn't really want to take any pictures!
Normally after the fete we would go to the Inchinnan bowling club and drink ourselves into cheerful oblivion (Graham and I have a fair few stories and pictures from the drunken journeys back to Glasgow) but those days are long gone so we hauled the pram along a narrow path through some fields to have lunch at India Of Inchinnan.  We'd been wanting to try their afternoon tea for years so it was very disappointing to discover they are only open for functions these days and we weren't allowed in.  Bummer.  It was still nice to see the outside of the building up close...
 ...and we should have been prepared for disappointment after seeing this sign in the local bus depot!
Sunday was a meandering sort of a day.  We decided we wanted to have a barbecue in the back garden but got distracted by all the local parks when we went out for supplies and were too late/tired to barbecue by the time we got home.  There's Dulcie and her dad hanging out under a shady tree in the Botanic Gardens, Dulcie's favourite place in the world to be these days.
After all that lazing around, we went for a walk by the river and around Kelvingrove Park where we saw this - hundreds of lonely single gloves displayed on the fence.  They were drawing lots of curious glances and by the next morning had disappeared without a trace.  I love this random city :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

sweet potato for a sweet potato

 There's been lots happening lately that I've not had the time (or in some cases the inclination) to blog about.  Dulcie reached the ripe old age of six months a couple of weeks ago.  Premature babies do most things by their corrected age (the age they would have been if they'd been born when they should have been - four months old for Dulcie at the moment) but weaning onto solids goes by their actual age, albeit at snail's pace.  So, like all those "normal" six-month-old babies, Dulcie has recently taken her first exciting steps into the world of food.  Oooooh!  For the last couple of weeks she's just been having a tiny bit of baby rice (which is essentially thick milk eaten from a spoon instead of sucked from breast/bottle) once a day, but yesterday she had the added bonus of a tiny teaspoon of sweet potato mixed in with it - her first ever vegetable!  And the verdict?  Yam yam!

[Chortle!  That was Graham's joke but it made me laugh so I stole it.]
Over the next week or two we'll be increasing the sweet potato:baby rice ratio until she's having pure (and pureed - the jokes are never ending tonight!) sweet potato and then she'll try her next new food.  It's all very exciting really, for us and for her.

You may notice her bib says, "I love Mummy."  I don't like baby clothes with slogans on and (controversially?) I don't like being referred to as Mummy.  I am Mum.  Or Ma, Mater, Mother maybe.  Not Mummy.  But a bib is a bib really.

Being a mum is strange in many ways and can still feel a bit unreal.  It's easy to feel a bit left out of things (like your baby is not really YOUR baby) or not good at your new job.  This is all very strange when you consider that you are never apart from your baby and are sustaining her in a way nobody else can, in the most literal sense if you are a breastfeeding mother but in many other ways too however you feed them.  Case in point, this photo is a real rarity.  From our photos, you'd think Dulcie only ever hung out with her dad/grandparents/random acquaintances and met up with me only on rare and special occasions.  There's very little evidence that Dulcie and I have ever been in the same room at the same time, even though we are almost always in the same room at the same time, if not actually entwined.

Lately I've been trying harder to hang out in places where other mums and babies hang out and to be a bit more chatty and sociable.  Mostly it is going quite well and Dulcie and I both enjoy it most of the time, but it is hard not to compare yourself against others and feel like you don't quite measure up or that you are only a pretend mum.  I'm sure everyone does this, but I think missing out on the later stages of pregnancy, childbirth, early bonding, bringing the brand-new baby home (etc etc) makes me feel even more fraudulent and out of the loop, a phoney mother.  Constantly having to explain why Dulcie is so tiny for her age and not doing what other babies do gets to be a bit of a drag too.  I don't know how many times a day I find myself saying, "She's six months old BUT SHE WAS EARLY."  I feel like I'm constantly making excuses for us, which never makes you feel great about what you're doing.

I'm too tired to explain any of this very well really, but two things happened today to give my motherly ego a bit of a boost.  First of all, another mum at baby cinema came over to ask me where I got Dulcie's cardigan because she really wanted one and I was able to experience the smug little thrill of saying, "I made it myself," feeling like the type of mother who crochets while her baby naps politely, rather than the type of mother who can't even think what we might have for dinner let alone take any steps to prepare it.  (Thank God for Graham and his house-husbandly skills is all I can say on this matter!)  After the cinema, Dulcie and I went and hung out in the park all afternoon, having a very lovely time together, watching all the other people and chatting about nothing in particular.  Just as we were about to head home, a woman came over (giving Dulcie some money for luck) just to say what a wonderful job I was doing and how lucky Dulcie was to have a mother who obviously loved her so much.  How nice is that?!  And it's made me feel that, yes, I am doing a good job after all.  So there.

I'll be able to hold my head high at Bounce & Rhyme tomorrow morning... just as long as Dulcie stays awake and acknowledges my existence for once!  Ah well, baby steps to parenting confidence, I think :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

anal lard duo

I just found out that my name is an anagram of "anal lard duo" and that my other half is "ravaging ham".  Dulcie has lots of great anagrams of her name - "languid vice", "valued icing" and "avid clueing" to name but a few.  These are just some of the things I do for entertainment during Dulcie's long morning feeds.  If you need to be entertained without leaving the comfort of your sofa, you can make your own anagrams here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

mmmmiddle age (mmmmotherhood? mmmmainstream?)

Our household has been loving Britain's Got Talent this year.  So good!  Ashleigh and Pudsey the dancing dog were my favourites right from their very first Flintstones audition, which quite bizarrely left me in tears.  I thought this was a one-off and put it down to tiredness/hormones, but no, I also cried over them in the semi-final and especially in the final.  If you saw the final, maybe you won't find that a strange confession (how brilliant?!) and if you didn't see the final, you can watch their performance above.  Well, did you cry, or is it something to do with motherhood, my being middle aged (ugh) or have I just gone so mainstream that I get suckered in to these things?  I tried to vote for Asleigh and Pudsey (I know...) but got a message that the phone lines were closed and then remembered we were watching it on +1.  Durr!  I put that down to middle age/motherhood too!  I was very upset and felt I had let Ashleigh and Pudsey down, visualising Ant and Dec announcing they had lost by just one vote, so I was doubly delighted and relieved when they won.  Woo hoo!  Right, I'm off to watch their winning performance again.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

happy birthday to me!

Felt Cake, done by pinkpicketfence
Felt Cake, done, a photo by pinkpicketfence on Flickr.
It's been my birthday today. I have a stinking cold and a crap new haircut and was not much looking forward to turning 32 (urgh) but I ended up having a lovely day. Graham got me pain au chocolat for breakfast then Dulcie and I went to Bounce & Rhyme (she was awake through the whole thing!) and then out for a cup of tea with some other mums and babies. We walked into town past the charity shop with the dolls' house and it was still there so we went in and I started the negotiations rolling. I have to phone the manager with my best offer tomorrow morning. We met my friend Bernadette and four-year-old Rudi for a lovely lunch and then wandered round the shops where I spent my birthday money on clothes for Dulcie, which was fun. When we got home I had lots of cards waiting for me, Graham made me a nice dinner, my sister and parents phoned and we spent the evening watching Britain's Got Talent. And then to top it all off, Dulcie got herself off to sleep shortly after I put her in her cot for the first time, albeit at about 10.30pm. And now I am going to bed too, feeling most satisfied with the day :) Happy birthday to me!

Friday, May 4, 2012

hip to the hop

Yo! Yo!  Bum rush the show!
D to the L to the motherfreakin' G!

(Don't mess with her - she's a bad ass.)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

unreal estate

I was going to say that I want to buy Dulcie a doll's house, but I think it would be more accurate to say that I want Dulcie to grow up in a home that has a doll's house.  It might even be more accurate to say that I want to buy myself a doll's house that I will encourage Dulcie to play with.  I want a doer-upper.  I have quite a few books about making furnishings for doll's houses and I want to fulfil all the interior-design dreams that I'm not allowed to do for real in our own full-size real-life home.  I don't have the know-how/slap dash panache to do any major refurbishment in my own home, but I'm sure I could do it on this small scale.
Could this be the one?  I'm loathe to buy the first house I see, but I really like it.  It looks even nicer with its (slightly damaged) front wall on.  I spotted this property in a charity shop a couple of weeks ago and was pretty excited, but was a bit put off by the price and the shop was closing for the day so I left without making a decision.  The house has popped into my mind a few times since then, but I assumed someone else would have bought it by now, so I was very surprised to see it in the window when I walked past the shop yesterday morning.
See what I mean about the price?  Well, as it says, it IS the West End!  Ha!  Hmm, it needs quite a lot of work, but is habitable as it is, so we could move in immediately and do the work as and when finances became available.  It's a long-term project, a family home to settle down in, but would we really be happy here for ever?
Here's the address.  I guess we should look into the local school situation and find out what similar properties in the area have sold for.  I've watched a lot of Location, Location, Location in my time, but I still can't decide what to do.  If I want it, I should probably act fast before someone else puts in a good offer and gets it taken off the market.  Stress!  Any property magnates care to give me their tuppence worth?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

bounce and rhyme is snoozy time

This morning Dulcie and I went to Bounce & Rhyme at the public library.  As you can see from the photo, it was not very bouncy!  Dulcie fell asleep in her pram on the way there.  She didn't wake up when I lifted her out of the pram, she didn't wake up when I put her down on the floor, she didn't wake up when I removed her outdoor clothes.  She didn't wake up when the singing started, or when we applauded the end of each song, or when I waved her arms and legs around during the action numbers.  I felt like a total divvy, singing and gesticulating, surrounded by smiling and interactive babies while my baby slept on indifferently.  I'm sure you can picture the scene...

This was only our second visit to Bounce & Rhyme.  The first time we went along she fed through the whole thing.  Are these avoidance tactics?  I'm starting to suspect singing may not be her bag!  Third time lucky?  I hope so.  I secretly love singing action songs, so I'm not about to give it up.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

a few of our favourite things

Dulcie gets so many nice presents.  Right now she is loving the mobile above, as am I.  It's not really meant to be wall mounted like that, but the ceiling in our bedroom is too high to hang it from.  Even if we could get it up there, Dulcie would need binoculars to see it from her bed.  The room that will be hers some day is of a normal height, so once she moves in there we'll be hanging it from the ceiling where it can move freely.  For now we have hung it on the wall just above where we change her nappies and she is quite fascinated by it.  Anything that might stop her shouting about getting her nappy changed is a good thing in my book, but it also gives me a chance do my best weatherman impression.  I pretend I'm doing it to boost Dulcie's language skills.  Really I just want to be John Kettley.
Dulcie got these boots a while back and just fits in them now.  Ironically, these boots are from Boots.  I love them and think they are the cutest thing ever, but Dulcie is not used to having the extra weight on her feet so won't tolerate them.  I put them on in the house for a minute or two now and again, but I'm not convinced she'll ever agree to wear them out.  Too bad.
And this little dookit in our living room shelves is making me smile at the moment.  Dulcie doesn't appreciate that these letters have anything to do with her (or even that they are letters) but she does seem to enjoy looking at them.  I'll probably move these into her own room (once she has one) along with the mobile.

The day I was photographing these, Dulcie was wearing the most amazing hand-knitted cardigan and the cutest little ladybird-spotted coat, both presents, but she managed to be sick all over them before I had managed to photograph them.  Bummer.  She really has had a lot of presents so I suppose I could never capture them all, but I will try to share the cardigan and coat another day because they are mega.  Yes, I said mega.  I must have been inspired by the '80s collar on the cardigan.  You'll understand when you see it.