Archive for September, 2008

I survived.

September 25, 2008

I had my first day on my own with both children when Bill had to go into work today. Admittedly he didn’t leave til gone ten and came home early, but that was plenty long enough for a first effort! Bea kept me up again last night and so getting up in the morning was super difficult. Bill really had to rouse me before he left as Sam was up and about playing happily in his sand pit and, although highly tempting, falling back to sleep was not an option. I headed straight for the espresso machine. Hooray for not having to stick to decaff any more!

Actually, it really wasn’t all that bad. Bea is an absolute treasure during the day and as quiet as can be. She sleeps a lot and apart from regular feedings and nappy changes she doesn’t require too much attention at the moment. Sam on the other hand is a beast and demands that mummy play with him. If he makes a request and I don’t jump on it he simply repeats it over and over again. “Come on Mummy. Come on Mummy. Come on Mummy. Come on Mummy!” when he wants me to pay him attention or “Mummy Jacks [Big Music Show]! Mummy Jacks! Mummy Jacks! [con]’troller Mummy? Mummy Jacks! Beebies Mummy!” when he wants to watch his favourite TV shows. You get the idea. Wears me out. I’ve never looked forward to his afternoon naptime so much!

Cabin fever set in days ago so when Daddy got home from work I suggested we get out of the house for a bit and take Sam to a park to wear him out. We spent a lovely evening at Bessie Branham park in Kirkwood. Bea and I settled down on a bench and watched Sam and Daddy play on the equipment. Sam was very tuneful hitting a large stick against the chimes set into the wall of the jungle gym. It was fun to watch them.

Sam really wanted to kick Thomas ball around too but that was difficult today as the pitch filled up with a motley bunch of young American football players. Many of the boys seemed to be tubs of lard squeezed into uniforms. Others looked far too young to be running around playing a sport that requires helmets and pads. There were some really tiny tots all padded up and that seemed a bit ridiculous to me. Even Bill commented that it’s not something he’d be comfortable letting Sam participate in.

After a good time at the park we picked up a pizza from MoJo in Oakhurst then headed back to the house to eat it. It’s funny, I’m so used to sharing everything I eat with Sam now that I keep almost finding myself offering food to Bea too. I have to check myself and be reminded that she’s on a breastmilk only diet for at least six months. It’s very weird having an infant to look after again.

Have a good day at school

September 25, 2008

Sam has now been going to preschool for about a month and seems to be loving it. He drags his feet getting up with Bill in the morning, has to be persuaded to leave Bagpuss with me, and leaves the house saying he doesn’t want to go to school, but Bill assures me that when he gets to the car park he happily hops out of the car eager to see all his friends and charges headlong into some activity without looking back. I have no real idea what he does all morning when he is there but when we come to pick him up he is worn out, very happy and we can usually play “guess what Sam’s been doing today?” by the state of his clothes.

I actually got to stay with him on his very first day at school on August 25th when I stepped in at the last minute to be the parent helper that day. I was nine months pregnant and thought it would be a good idea to get a volunteer day over with while Bea was still in my tummy and I didn’t have to worry about where to put her. That afternoon and the next day I was aching all over and could barely move but I did survive the morning with eleven two year olds.

Sam’s first day at school had its ups and downs but mainly ups. It was a long morning for him and crankiness began to set in halfway through and he did have a few upset moments. When I had to leave the room to prepare the snacks in the kitchen I was really surprised when a howling Sam was brought in to be with me because he’d got so worked up and upset at my leaving the room. My independent little boy missing me? What?! Usually he barely seems to even acknowledge I’m around and likes to run off on his own. His teachers did say that the kids generally have a harder time adapting when their parents are the helpers as it can be frustrating seeing mum or dad’s attention being divided.

It was wet and gloomy that day and I spent much of my time trying to keep the muck that was being walked into the classroom from the playground under control while the class chaotically clamoured around me. Sam was a sweetie and when he wasn’t playing with the trains, doll house, musical instruments, or anything else that caught his eye, decided to help me sweep up the wood chippings and dirt with a little broom that he found.

The morning passed really quickly with the children flitting from one activity to the next. There was no group activity as such and the children each seemed to be doing whatever they felt like. Teacher Brianna read a story to whomever decided to wander over and listen, but if the kids were more interested in investigating the fish tank or being intrigued by Amy and the lightbox in the atelier that was fine too.

I did have to step in a couple of times when Sam and another boy started to have an altercation over various toys, but generally I was able to keep out of the way and let Sam negotiate and make friends with the other children on his own.

Despite the miserable day it was nice to see that the class were still able to go outside for a spell and have a run around the playground. The children got a little dirty and damp, but no worries. I like that.

Popular fish rocker.

For snack time I provided a box of Trader Joe’s crackers, a huge pile of sliced apples and a couple of packets of cubed cheese. I thought I’d brought plenty with me to be on the safe side. I ended up refilling the snack tray three or four times as the children greedily devoured everything in sight and demanded more!

Snack time.

Finally it turned one o’clock and it was time to go home once I’d straightened out the classroom. The afternoon playtime children started to come into the room for their naptime and beds were laid out on the floor. Sam decided that it was night night time for him too and after such a fun morning my exhausted little boy fetched himself a mattress pad and blankets and tried to lie down with the other sleeping children and take a snooze.

Sleepy after a busy morning.

Once I’d managed to extract him from the pile of blankets and we were heading to our car with his hand in mine, Sam stopped a moment, turned around, waved to the school and said “Bye bye friends!”

Back at home both Sam and I passed out for the afternoon. School is tiring.

Little sister.

September 24, 2008

I had just finished feeding Bea and was holding her up to burp her when Sam wandered back into the room from where he was playing on the front porch. He came right up to Bea and rested his head on the arm of the sofa, gazed across at her and started commenting “little hands!…little eyes!…little eyebrows!…little mouth! …little nose!…little sister!”

I had to quickly use the bathroom so I placed the now sleeping Bea in her pack and play bassinet in the front room. I really wasn’t gone that long but when I returned I found one of the pillows from our bed over Bea’s head. Ack! Sam had obviously decided that she needed some bedding. Hmmm, we’re going to have to watch that.

The other day I was also surprised to turn around and find a little pile of sand in the bassinet. I guess Sam had tried to get Bea to play with him and brought her a mini sand castle. Lovely. What a nice, kind big brother.

Getting out and about.

September 24, 2008

Bill’s still on paternity leave this week and it’s wonderful. I ended up being awake most of last night as Bea didn’t want to settle and would cry every time I tried to place her back in her cot. I think she just wanted cuddles as feeding and nappy changes didn’t seem to help much. I’m so glad Bill is around in the day at the moment because else I think I would be really exhausted and tearing my hair out right now.

I’m currently still sleeping on the futon in the office so I can be next to Bea while Bill is in our bed getting an uninterrupted night’s sleep. I’m really missing being in the same room as hubby, but it is working out because as least one of us is getting sleep at night at the moment. Bill is then able to look after Sam and I can concentrate on Bea. This morning Bill took Sam out to the park to kick his Thomas ball around while I managed to catch up on sleep in between Bea feedings. It’s frustrating because I ended up sleeping away the morning when I really wanted to spend time with Bill and Sam myself, and get out of the house for a bit, but nice in that I did get some rest.

Of course, right now I have both Sam and Bea awake. I’d just fed Bea and was settling back down myself when Sam started to cry. Not sure what the matter with him is but he calmed down after getting lots of cuddles and he has now gathered up all his toys and is sat on his potty clutching them. I’m giving him a little privacy (fingers crossed he doesn’t make a mess!) and hopefully when I check back in again in a bit he’ll be ready to go back to bed again.

Bea and I have only managed to leave the house on a couple of occasions so far and so I’m getting a bit of cabin fever right now. I’m determined that tomorrow we’ll get our act together and do something better than sit at home being a feeding machine all day. Hope I get some sleep soon so I’m more functional.

Bill and I took her to the doctor’s a week ago for her first visit with the pediatrician. I was on doctor’s orders not to drive so Bill had to taxi us and so Sam had to come with us. It felt like we had quite a long wait in the doctor’s office and Sam soon got fractious and bored. He was being pretty good really but was quite the handful and keeping him entertained while trying to see to Bea at the same time was a task. It got a little overwhelming for us and after Bill told Sam for the hundredth time not to root around in the doctor’s cupboards he tried to put Sam in time out for a minute by standing him in the corner. Sam then got very upset and promptly peed in his pants and all over the doctor’s floor. Great. Bill was convinced Sam did it on purpose to get a rise but I think it was sort of my fault. Moments earlier he had indicated that he’d needed to go potty but I was busy feeding Bea, and also assumed he was just messing with us because he’d last gone to the loo just before we’d left the house and I decided he should last longer than that. Won’t make that mistake again. Sorry Sam. Either way, we both agreed he was a pest though.

Dr Sells examined Bea thoroughly and declared her perfect. Hooray! She weighed in at 6lbs 15oz. Her healthy appetite had already regained her her birth weight and so the doctor was very happy with her. Next visit to the quack will be on Friday afternoon for Bea’s two week check up. Hopefully Bill and I will manage to make that one a much less frazzled and stressful experience.

The next day we had to attend a committee meeting as part of our preschool obligations. This involved meeting at a local coffee shop and once more we had no option but to bring Sam and Bea along too. One of the other parents made the mistake of offering Sam a bite of her cake and soon found the entire slice devoured and turned into a slew of crumbs spreading around the vicinity. It did a good job of distracting him for a while but eventually I decided it would be best to leave Bea with Daddy and walk him down to the nearby playground and let him have a run around. It was refreshing to be alone with my son again and we had a very good time chasing around the playground. Sam got to borrow someone’s football and we had a kick around for a bit before he decided to play on the swings and slide. It was also really nice to be able to keep up with him again. No more huge belly and tired tree trunk legs getting in the way! (well, the legs are still chunky, but they just don’t feel like dead weights anymore!)

This playground also has a couple of those spinning tea-cups like the one in this picture of Sam at Christmas when we went to Dorset. Amazing how much my boy has grown since then.


Riding the Glenwood Park Teacup.

On Saturday afternoon Bill and I took the kids out to the East Atlanta Strut to see the parade. Sam sat on Daddy’s shoulders and gave a muttered running commentary as the crazily dressed people and floats passed by. Bea decided it was feeding time just as the parade started so I had to hang back, give her milky milky and thus missed out on most of the entertainment myself. I then adjourned to Joe’s for a frozen coffee so I could finish feeding Miss Bea in comfort while Sam and Bill went to visit the goldfish in the pond outside. We all then had a nice stroll up and down the cordoned off high street investigating the lines of craft stalls. It felt very good to be out as a family, all four of us.

OK, Sam is now back in bed and settled down with Bagpuss and Spotty Dog, but of course Bea is now back up again and needing attention. Poor little girl is hiccuping away and getting distressed. Bill is fast asleep and snoozing through the mayhem, lucky him!


September 22, 2008

Bea’s first visitors at the hospital were Tricia and Kelley who popped by to see us on Saturday night. It was really good to see them and gave me the incentive to get out of the hospital gown I was languishing in and freshen up before they arrived. Apart from having barely any sleep I up and about and feeling really good when they came to see Bea. Of course, Bea decided to poop up a storm just before they entered the room and so I was busy trying to clean her back up when they walked in. Once Bea was sweet smelling again Tricia got cuddles from my little girl in exchange for a packet of scrumptious chocolates and a pair of monkey slippers.

Shortly after my friends left Bill returned to the hospital with new big brother Sam. He had spent the morning playing with Linnea at Brandie’s house and I was eager to see him again and introduce him to his little sister. Sam had to go to the nurse’s station first and get a quick health check up (a little crazy as it was Bill who was definitely not feeling his best!) before he was allowed to meet baby Bea. When he did come into the room I needn’t have worried about how he was going to handle seeing Bea, the introduction went really well. Sam was very gentle and gazed at little Bea with pure wonder on his face, before he quickly got bored and found other things to entertain him…like jumping on mummy’s tummy (OW!), slurping on mummy’s ice cold water cup and frantically rocking the glider chair backward and forwards into the wall. He’s a little tornado, but when it came to baby sister he mellowed out and was quite charming.


Oh, and I asked Bill how Sam was doing without me, and sadly the answer was “just fine” and that he had given no indication that he even seemed to notice I wasn’t around. Little rotter.

I’ve already mentioned that the next day Brandie came to the hospital to visit Bea and saved me from being totally lonely and homesick, we then have to skip forward a week to Bea’s next visitation which came in the form of Granma and Granpa Allen on Friday afternoon. Bea was just under seven days old when they finally managed to make the trip from Milledgeville to Atlanta to see her and, I think, looking particularly adorable that day in one of Sam’s old tiny babygrows. This stripy suit is definitely a cute favourite of mine, and look…no pink!

Granpa and Granpa Allen with Bea

Granma and Granpa both got some good Bea time in but what was especially nice was seeing them with Sam too. Sam insisted on taking Granpa out to play with his sand and diggers for a bit, and then made a very endearing picture when, with Bagpuss and Spotty Dog in tow, he climbed up next to Granpa on the sofa, gently cosied right up to him and had a quiet moment.

Sam sits with Granpa Allen

The next day was Saturday and we were hurriedly chasing around the house trying to get two children ready for an outing to the East Atlanta Strut when a truck pulled up into the driveway. I was alerted when I heard Bill yelling at the intruder to “get off his property!” and laughed when I looked out the window and saw the offender was Bill’s brother Donnie. Donnie was on his way to a friend’s house and had dropped in to see the new family member. He also came bearing gifts for Sam and Bea. Sam got a little medic’s set, which was inspired on Donnie’s part because recently Sam has been tending to his animals when they get sick and playing doctor a lot. He immediately took to using the new little briefcase containing lots of medical equipment and no longer has to make do with using Quince’s lead as a stethoscope! Sam is one happy little doctor now and keeps trying to read Bea’s blood pressure and put a Band-Aid on Quincy.

Uncle Donnie and Baby Bea.

Happy Birthday Mum!

September 20, 2008

Hope you have a really good day. I love you very much indeed and wish Bea, Sam and I could give you lots of big hugs in person. I must confess I will be in your bad books today though as I haven’t been able to make it to the post office yet and I’m awake feeling really awful about that. I’m sorry. Talk to you later.



Baby daughter.

September 20, 2008

One week ago after Sam was taken to preschool Bill and I decided to try to spur little Bea into action by taking Quincy out for a long walk. I felt far too good to be nine months pregnant and easily kept walking around and around the neighbourhood. It was crazy, apart from having a giant tummy to show off I could barely tell Bea was there. Earlier pregnancy aches and pains were gone and I felt great. I certainly wasn’t in any discomfort like I was with Sam, just eager to meet my little girl.

Helpful Quince must have done the trick as later that evening, at 6.06, I got the first labour twinge while we were sat down watching some tv together. I wasn’t certain straight away but was very suspicious and so jumped into action just in case.

For the next fifty minutes as I tried to determine whether it really was time or not I got Sam fed and organised ready for a sitter, had a nice warm shower to wash off the bug spray I’d covered myself in while walking earlier, and Bill and I cleaned the house! At this point I was just getting a regular stabbing pain, getting steadily closer together, but really nothing too unbearable. Mild cramping really. At seven o’clock there was no longer any doubt as the pains really kicked in and all of a sudden I was very obviously having contractions every few minutes.

Bill called Martha and thankfully she was available and able to come around immediately to look after Sam. I rang Mum and Dad to let them know, and Dad reminded me I ought to be on the phone to the doctor! Oh yes! As soon as Martha appeared we bid Sam goodnight and Bill and I hared over to the hospital. With the dashboard clock in front of me I was able to read out the time as each contraction hit. 7:32, 7.35, 7.38 A shocked Bill asked me if I was kidding, then scared me half to death by tearing up the interstate and only momentarily slowing down to pass a police car on the hard shoulder, then sticking the hazards on and honking lots to circumvent a traffic jam and run a light on Collier. Between contractions I kept trying to reassure him that he didn’t need to drive quite so desperately but it was just as well he did really as else I think baby Bea could well have been born in the car on the side of I-75.

At the hospital it was straight into a labour and delivery room where I got strapped to the baby monitor, checked (8cm dilated) and hooked up to the precautionary antibiotics to treat the strep b. It seemed to take forever for my doctor to arrive after that but it couldn’t have been very long at all. When she did appear she mentioned that she’d been stuck in traffic and as we’d previously discussed my concerns about a fast labour had raced to get to the hospital too.

Already I was having to try really hard to relax and not push along with my contractions. I was relieved when Dr Williams checked me and declared that it was time. I was fully dilated and ready to push my little girl out. She commended Bill and I on our perfect timing. Just like with Sam she did have to break my water herself and not long after baby Bea made her appearance in the world.

Bea clocked in at 8.23.

This labour I think Dr Williams had me in a much better position to push and I was more manoeuverable than I was with Sam. I liked her approach, and Bill was a great help supporting my body to curl forward rather than being beached flat on my back with my legs in the air. I was actually able to reach down and touch the top of Bea’s head which really spurred me on and helped me to focus on the task. Then as I pushed through the excruciating pain I looked down and could see her little face looking back up at me as she popped out. It was amazing. She quickly got wiped down and then handed to me.

It was an absolutely fast and furious (less than) two and a half hours from first labour twinge to cuddling my little girl.

Bea was 6lbs 14.6oz and is a hairy little monkey. She has a full head of soft dark hair, hair that even comes down and joins with her eyebrows, and there’s a little smattering on her ears too! She looks so much like a little version of baby Sam I can’t believe it. She’s less beaten up than he was though, he was very much a cone head with a bruised face after his delivery! Bea looks perfect and from her perch on my chest immediately started peering around at the world and slyly revealing two beautiful curious eyes. While I got stitched back up (nothing major) it also didn’t take her long to nuzzle down, find the source of food and start to nurse like a champ. Both doctor and nurse commented on how thick her umbilical cord was, it was pretty impressively chunky.

The first couple of days she had a little problem with choking on fluid as she came so quickly she didn’t get a good squeeze out in the birth canal. That has now thankfully passed as she kept scaring me with her spluttering. I had to grab her and suction her out quick each time. As a result I did not get a great deal of sleep that first night as Bill went home at eleven to relieve Martha of looking after Sam, so I was in the recovery room with her on my own. I would jump at any little gurglings.

The first night was also frustrating because the my nurse and I kept having communication issues. She was hispanic and although we were both speaking English she couldn’t understand me, nor me her. At one point I was exhausted and called her to see if Bea could go to the nursery for a bit so I could get some sleep and know that the nurses would deal with her choking. Instead she got taken from my arms, put back in the bassinet and then I was left alone with her again. I also got a lecture on feeding her too often because when asked about her feeds Mia didn’t understand when I used terms such as “five to three” for the time. I finally managed to snooze for a couple of hours when Bea was taken to see the paediatrician at six.

Bill, Bea and I eventually got home late on Sunday night. It was really frustrating, because I tested positive for group b strep and the labour was so fast I didn’t get the required two doses of antibiotics four hours before Bea was born we had to wait until exactly 48 hours after she had a culture taken before we were released. I would’ve been allowed home much sooner, but instead I had to sit around in the hospital room on my own all day. I was packed up and ready to go, chomping at the bit to get back home to my Sam and daddy. On the Sunday afternoon I was just getting a bit upset and teary about being on my own without Bill and Sam, and missing my folks desperately when Brandie called to see if she could visit. Thank you Brandie, excellent timing. It was really good to see you, and the chocolate mousse you brought with you!

Thank goodness Bea’s test results finally came back clear. I was so glad to be able to go home.

One week old Bea.

Bea one week old.

Okay, more later, sorry for the delayed posting, my laptop died this week and so Bill’s been nice enough to let me use his when he’s not on it.

Four hours old

September 15, 2008

Question about Sam and “scary”?

September 9, 2008

Hi Briana and Amy,

I was curious as to how Sam has been involved with the scarecrow/sharecrow project so far please?

We have a pass to the Botanical Gardens and I took him there again this morning but he acted a little weird today. It took a great deal to get him to go through the doors when we got there and he kept grabbing my legs, insisting on being held and saying “scary!” We’ve enjoyed going there together many times over the summer so this was a strange reaction. He’s fine now, in fact once we were in he was great, especially once we got through to the children’s garden and he could play in the fountain.


We also went and had a special look at all the kinetic sculptures again and he seemed to take more of an interest in those this time instead of just running off and leaving me trailing him.

So, not really sure what was up with him this morning and was curious as to how he’s been in class if you’ve been using the word “scare” or “scary” with him? Usually the only time he’s really said “scary” before is during thunderstorms and then he gets upset by the “scary clouds.” (We tell him they are just being loud and then we shout back at them, seems to calm him) The other day though he also started clutching at me and saying “scary birds” for no reason apparent to me. So I’m wondering what is going through his little head! Not really concerned as such, just wondering how he’s been in class, whether he has been involved in the project so far, and if you think there is a link?

There was a big poster of a scarecrow at the Garden entrance and it caught his attention and stopped him in his tracks for a bit. I talked to him about scarecrows (and sharecrows) and what I knew about the project and he was fine and again seemed curious and interested.



Clean house.

September 8, 2008

Bill and I did a big final push to clean the house yesterday. Well, Bill mainly did the tidying (thank you babe!) while I waddled around trying to help but was rather more successful at tripping over my feet or my tummy. I can’t be trusted right now and have suddenly got very clumsy, even the simple task of emptying the dishwasher has resulted in broken glasses and me jamming my tummy against the door. I’m a bit useless so kudos to Bill for determinedly pressing ahead and sprucing up the joint while I kept having to have a sit down.

While Bill was frantically cleaning up we had to put Sam in his room to play for a while. Else he was just creating destruction faster than we could deal with it. When we were done and the terror was released he wandered back into the front room with Bagpuss. In awe and amazement he stood stock still in the centre of the living room, jaw agape. “Wow!” the cheeky little blighter exclaimed as he and Bagpuss surveyed the room “Wow! Daddy! [it’s] clean!”