I live in Kent with my husband, toddler Tilly (henceforth known as Monkey) and another baby due in November. We have two cats, Duncan and Lady Macbeth, and four chickens who kindly lay us eggs daily. We live in the picturesque seaside town of Broadstairs. I enjoy reading, knitting and cooking. I'm trying to be a bit 'greener' (not sure how successfully), and to be a gentle parent. Extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping don't freak me out, we use cloth nappies and try to follow some of the ideals of Attachment Parenting. If that sounds as if I know what I'm doing, I don't! I am also a psychotherapist with an interest in Focusing-oriented therapy, and I have a small private practice in the area.
I've been considering my New Year's Resolutions, so I thought I would jot them down and edit them as 2009 approaches...
It's that perennial favourite, Lose Weight. Must be done, as I have regained most of what I lost at Slimming World a couple of months ago. I did feel a lot better for it, so my resolution will be to go back to classes. To help and inspire me, and as a little treat, I'm going to get an organic vegetable box delivered, which will also encourage me to cook more of the baby's food.
Babywearing & Walking: now that the Monkey and I are enjoying our slings and wraps, I need to get out and about more, both for the fresh air and also to help with (1).
Crafts and Sewing In Particular: I got a beginners sewing book for Christmas, so I'd like to learn to sew and perhaps even get a sewing machine.
Decluttering: I really need to declutter the house, and sadly this means culling some of my books. I love having books around the house, but the untidy, overflowing shelves just look too dark and chaotic for my liking.
Work: I need to be more conscientious about certain aspects of my work, namely, doing paperwork and keeping my notes up to date.
Monkey's first Christmas could not be derailed by flu virus (DH) or cold bugs (me) and a wonderful time was had by all. We all had some lovely gifts and for once it seemed we resisted going 'overboard' with presents just for the sake of it. Monkey loved her Dog Phone, Frog Phone and her eco-microphone (Mama's favourite!), but winning at the moment is a simple duck which lights up in different colours when you hold it in warm hands. She also got lots of lovely books which I can't wait to read with her. We ate a delicious turkey which Mum had boned out, moist and yummy, plus all the usual extras and even a trifle (!). Feeling full of cold, I had a nap in the evening whilst the rest of the family watched Dr Who, and then we made our way back home.
Here's Monkey and I this evening, heading out for a walk in an on-loan Ellaroo:
I realised with horror at about 5pm today that the Monkey hadn't left the house since Saturday- no fresh air, poor baby girl! So we got wrapped up and strolled around the block, stopping to look at all the pretty Christmas lights in windows and gardens. DH has been poorly with flu- we had guests yesterday who were visiting from Holland, so I decided to go ahead anyway and cook the roast we had planned. We missed DH's company (he stayed upstairs so as not to infect our visitors) but had a lovely afternoon and I even managed to cook Yorkshire Puddings for the first time ever. But with all of that busyness we didn't get out during the day, and then this morning I took advantage of DH being at home to nip out to Bluewater alone to get some Christmas presents and to have my eyebrows done! I got there at 8.45am and was mightily relieved to be finished up and leaving by the time the crowds descended at 11am.
On Saturday we went to Rochester, which was lovely. We were expecting it to be really busy but it was very quiet indeed. I had Monkey in the Hug-a-Bub and we strolled along the High Street and went for some tea and cake. We found two lovely shops in particular: a 'Green' shop selling all manner of environmentally-friendly goodies, and a sewing/ craft shop which had lots of lovely fabrics and handmade items. We bought two 'Eco-friendly Toys', both battery-free: a microphone with flashing lights for the gadget-obsessed Monkey, and a rocket for a friend's little boy. They are lovely toys and worth the little extra they cost, I think. The rocket in particular is fantastic fun.
I love my Mum dearly but I'd also like to be adopted by Soulemama... is that a bad thing?! Either that or I'd like to *be* her. Do go and visit her blog, the photos in particular are so beautiful.
So, before the Monkey was born I really liked the idea of babywearing and bought a ring sling initially, which I wore her in a little bit but she never really got on with it and could be quite unpredictable. I found it quite stressful because I never knew if she would be fine or would scream her head off, so the pram got used more and more, and began to feel like the easier option. I still coveted slings though, and got a Sleepy Nico to add to my collection (gorgeous!). This week I've caught the bug again, mainly thanks to my friends Sue and Kate, who are fast becoming sling addicts and talk about their 'stashes', so I've decided that this week is Ditch the Pram Week and I'm going to try getting the baby used to being worn (I say week, I only started yesterday though). Yesterday was not a good start: I went to Babycafe and brought the Maya ring sling with me, just to use to and from the car. I'd found it okay putting the baby in it on my hip but for some reason it just didn't work out. I've decided I don't like the padded shoulder on the Maya, for a start. I couldn't get the baby to sit comfortably, particularly wearing her coat, so I gave up in the end. That afternoon I experimented with my borrowed Hug-a-Bub stretchy wrap, and had Monkey wrapped up in it for a short while successfully. I found it really comfy, much more so that the Nico, actually. This morning we went out to meet a new friend from the ivillage Attachment Parenting board, so I wore the wrap again and it was a great success. I did a front wrap cross carry (I think!), the version which you can tie on and then just slip the baby and out. We wandered around M&S a bit, then the Monkey came out while I had a cup of tea, and then back in for some more shopping. She was even on the verge of falling asleep, it felt really nice to have her snuggly, head resting on my chest. As it happened we had to get going before she fell properly asleep. So I'm really chuffed and on the look out for a woven wrap... I'm thinking an Ellaroo...
This is Tilly's cake, made by my Mum from the top tier of our wedding cake. It was marzipanned and re-iced in soft pink, with her name in glittery icing. And a cute fairy sat on top. Delicious!
The service and party went fantastically well. Lots of family and friends got up early on a cold Sunday morning to join us in the church. We were subjected to an awful, rambling sermon (not from the vicar, I don't actually know who she was) which marred the service somewhat, as it was the family service and we'd been told it would be an hour maximum. The subject of the sermon was 'Hope', something that was replaced by a lot of hopelessness as she continued for nearly thirty minutes in a rather inappropriately 'preachy' manner. Thank goodness for boobs, which saved the day by pacifying a rather fractious Monkey!
We went back to the church hall to enjoy a fantastic spread of food, mostly home-made by myself, my Mum and MIL. DH made a delicious mulled wine, and we drank lovely pink Prosecco. Monkey was lucky to receive many beautiful presents and cards, including a Brio pull-along giraffe and some Winnie The Pooh and Beatrix Potter books. Our guests left at around 2.30pm, we tidied up and were all exhausted and relieved to get home and put our feet up for the evening.
I am not writing Christmas cards. But in my defence I have made 40 chestnut rolls, some cheese straws and mince pies this evening. The chestnut rolls are delicious, especially with a cheeky spoonful of cranberry sauce added to the mixture. Not so happy with the mince pies because I didn't roll the pastry thin enough. Oh, and I bought ready-made pastry and the shortcrust version is pants. I spent most of the day at Bluewater with my Mum and Monkey. We found Mum a nice outfit for the party, and I got this lovely new nursing bra. I saw the bra and thought it was really pretty, so pretty in fact that I assumed it was just a normal version and was really chuffed to find out that it had drop cups for feeding!
And the photos are self-explanatory- the Monkey enjoying her porridge this morning. What a mess!
I can't believe it's been a week since I last posted! We've been busy preparing for the party: baking, making Christmas decorations and writing lists. I made some salt-dough stars to hang on the tree:
And received this lovely mobile from Devonmama on the Green Parent forum 'Season Swap'. It's so pretty and is made of willow (willow being my screen name!):
After having a good couple of weeks, the Monkey's sleep has totally regressed and we're now back to 3 or 4 times waking each night. She's also very boob-dependent for sleep at the moment, which is giving me a crick in the neck. I guess she is starting to teethe, as she's been pretty grumpy. She's also been constipated, and I've tried EVERYTHING to get things moving without much success (apricots, prunes, pear juice, apple juice, water- anything I've forgotten please let me know!). Hopefully things are improving a little now. I commented to DH this morning that she is becoming quite a willful little girl, which is quite challenging but also delightful to see her personality emerging. Perhaps not quite so delightful when I'm trying to get her dressed, or to put her arms in her highchair or buggy harness (two things she absolutely hates!). I'm sure I've got more to talk about but I'm off to see a client this evening at a new centre I'm working from, so I need to get ready for that, and write all of our Christmas cards, dig out the Christmas decorations etc.... !!
It's nearly ten o'clock and that familiar shall-I-go-to-bed-or-write-my-blog battle ensues! Monkey was awake at 6.08am (!) this morning, so I'm feeling pretty tired. It's been a busy day: we had a long wait for grocery delivery this morning, and then a very soggy walk into town to go to the post office. The baby enjoyed some scrambled egg for lunch, sucked off toast soldiers, and then she had a nice long nap while I got on with some baking. I was excited to be using my new rolling pin and silicone pastry mat from Lakeland!
This is my first solo pastry-making attempt as an adult, so I was pretty happy with my mince pies and sausage rolls. The mince pie pastry seems a little hard, so I'll have to ask my Mum why that might be? We're accumulating a decent amount of food for the party, and my anxiety is growing with it (as is the guest list). I need to go and look at the church hall and work out some of the logistics. I also need to find a little dress for Tilly, as the one we had planned for her to wear is waaaaaaay too big and hangs off her shoulders!
In Other News, Monkey's sleep has drastically improved, to the point where she has slept through the night (once, last Thursday) and since then has been going to bed at 7pm and not waking until 2-3am. That's almost 8 hours! The only thing we have done differently is to swaddle her in a light jersey blanket, I'm not sure if that's significant or not. I'm prepared for this to be short-term respite because we've got Teething to come, but I can't help but feel a little smug that she is doing this without Controlled Crying or any other tricksy techniques. It has certainly reinforced my belief that I can trust her to move through developmental phases by herself without intervention or coercion from us. There hasn't been any developments with my NCT classmates, but I'm not meeting with them until Friday. I am, however, feeling a bit paranoid that they don't like me anymore!! Which is probably ridiculous, but is based on my hunch that my CC email would have been discussed at a 'cocktail night' that happened while I was away last week. That's probably just me thinking I'm far more important than I actually am, so I'll just have to wait and see.