Eleven Months

Noooo! Just one month off a year. Seems impossible. Yes, I said that already.   
Monster. That’s the best way to describe her these days. She’s really really active and really rather clever. Her wave changed this month. From opening and closing her hand to waving properly. Last night she sat for a while pulling her sleeve so her arm slipped inside her pyjamas, then she’d look at me, push her arm back out suddenly and wave! She thought it was hilarious and so did I! She waves as soon as she hears ‘hello’, ‘hi’ or ‘bye’ or whenever she sees somebody familiar.  

 Two new words this months. Three if you count calling Trev ‘Rara’ (I’m wondering if she’s trying to say Trevor?). Her first is ‘yeah’. This is how she responds if I call her from another room. It’s so funny I giggle every single time. The second is ‘wack’ which actually means ‘quack’. She says it when she hears Sarah & Duck come on the TV or when she spots her rubber duck in the bath. As well as her words, she likes to babble. Actually she talks endlessly and loudly, with frequent shrieks and lots of hilarious facial expressions.  

She spends a lot of her time standing up holding onto furniture, and has let go and remained standing briefly several times. As soon as she notices she’s not holding on her bum hits the floor though. She’ll happily walk holding onto hands or pushing things around. She uses her walker but prefers to push our stacking coffee tables.  

 This month she has lots of new favourite things she likes to do. She can spend all day moving small objects in and out of containers. I often give her collections of small things combined with some Tupperware or cups. Clothes pegs and uncooked pasta are her favourites. We have put a cat flap in our back door, and often find random objects outside on the doorstep. When she finds an object suitable for throwing through the flap she crawls at full speed to the back door. Once the object is outside she gives herself a round of applause. She’s also discovered that if she moves Seb’s dog biscuits from his food bowl to his water bowl they swell up and go squidgy. Seb doesn’t find this as amusing as Iris does.  

Her first two teeth have finally appeared, and she had quite a hard time with the first one. There was lots of dribble and tears, and a lot less sleep. She’s really gnawing on anything and everything to see how they work. She briefly lost her appetite although that’s back now. This week I thought perhaps more teeth were coming as she’s been snotty and tearful, but now she’s developed a nasty cough too so it seems it’s a cold after all.  

This month Iris has ditched all night feeds and her morning feed too. If you read my post yesterday you’d know that this is a huge relief to me. Now we’re down to about 2 feeds a day. Sometimes 3. They’re usually very brief and don’t even send her to sleep much anymore. Cuddling and rocking is how we get her to sleep at night now. The nights are, more often than not, perfect now. A tooth or a cold will disrupt things but she usually sleeps through. I’ve started to think about moving her to her own bed, but I’m in no rush. I still enjoy being close to her at night. I do wonder if my movements disturb her though.  

 Iris still eats like a horse. She’s started to refuse some foods that were previously her favourites (like satsumas) but she’ll always try new things. She’s developing new favourites though, such as pasta in tomato based sauce.  

 This time next month we’ll be celebrating her first birthday. I’ll probably be crying. There will be a lot of cake!  


Breastfeeding. The End? 

Tomorrow my little love turns 11 months old. Just one more month until the big birthday. The next big breastfeeding milestone. I went from ‘I’ll give it a go’ to ‘lets just get to 6 months’ to being close to breastfeeding for a year. 

We’re close to the end though, I think. 

There have been many challenges and I’ve battled through them, one by one. I got very little support in hospital, and was discharged without them checking we had it sorted. In hindsight I think they assumed the big kids were mine and that I was an old pro at this mum thing. The very limited support I got at home was no help. I hated the violent way the midwife hurled my baby’s head towards my nipple. It seemed harsh and aggressive, and didn’t help. I bought some nipple shields in desperation. They saved breastfeeding for us, but Iris then would never latch without them, despite my efforts to wean her off them and back onto a bare nipple. I’ve come to hate the nipple shields and over the last 11 months they’ve become my biggest enemy. I’ve disliked breastfeeding too, for quite a large chunk of my time doing it. As Iris got more mobile she bagan to scratch, kick and pull on my skin. Once she cut open the inside of my mouth with her nails while tugging on my bottom lip. She flips over, sits up, wriggles. All without letting go and I find it incredibly irritating. I’ve never felt calm and peaceful breastfeeding during the day. The sleepy night time feeds are sweet, but the wriggly day time ones make my skin crawl. 

Now Iris is losing interest too, perhaps sensing my unease. She’s just had her first feed since bedtime yesterday. She rarely demands a feed and when she does it lasts just minutes. It’s a huge relief for me. The feeling of feeding her makes me feel weird all over now. I feel sick. I hate every single feed. 

I hoped it’d last into toddlerhood, that I’d have milk as my greatest parenting tool. That I’d fix hurty knees and angry tantrums with the power of milk. 

Now it seems unlikely. I’m hanging on for the next few weeks, with milk being even more essential for under-ones, and then we’re done. I’d like it to end peacefully, naturally. I’d like Iris to continue losing interest and just forget. Fingers crossed. 

Glum Thursday 

It’s my least favourite kind of weather today. It’s been pouring with rain on and off, with patches of drizzle too. The sun comes out in between and makes it all warm. Warm and wet. 

That’s the best word for it. The kind of day where you carry the coat you felt you shouldn’t leave at home. 
I’m grumpy anyway. Not grumpy as such, just kind of tired and in need of a break. 
It’s only 10am, but already the day has been full of small annoying things. Like the dog, who protests whenever Trev is away by being a little shit. He’s been out into the garden and somehow got himself stuck the other side of a wall. I had to hand Iris to a neighbour and climb down to rescue him, lifting and throwing his rather large smelly body back over the wall. He vanished for a bit on his morning walk too.
It took me the best part of an hour to find the bloody polling station. 
I’ve got a cold. Iris is teething and hates sleep even more than usual. 
Despite all of this I’m going to turn today around. 
I’m going out. There will be cake.
I’m fully expecting to come home to find the dog has eaten the house and Trev’s flight home has been delayed. 
But I’m not going to let it stop me. 
PS: use your vote!  


Camping At The Seaside (Part Two)

When I said it was a freezing cold night I wasn’t kidding. We were well prepared for it with thick fleece onesies, but they just weren’t enough. I barely slept as my feet were hurting from the cold. The only person warm enough was Iris, and I’m grateful that I went a bit overboard with her layers and also that she sleeps with us. She would have froze in a cot. 

I was relieved when the kids woke up, as I’d been awake a while already. Thankfully the tent warmed up rapidly once the sun came up. We breakfasted on those tiny boxes of cereal that come in multipacks and made the decision to head to the beach. The campsite had no hot water that morning so we were off out early thanks to being denied showers! 

We headed to Rhossili. I’ve never seen a beach quite like it. 

  Who knew such wonders could be found just down the road from Swansea? I love a beach without amusements and tacky gift shops. So peaceful. So much nicer.

  Iris nodded off in Trev’s arms, so we stopped for coffee and a (very) early lunch on the cliff top before heading for the sand. Iris woke in time to enjoy her very first ice cream.  

 We spent a very gorgeous warm day on the beach. Iris crawled around, unfazed by the wide open space. Seb insisted somebody chucked his tennis ball for him constantly all day, and kept drinking water from rock pools despite us telling him not to. The girls made sandcastles and splashed in the cold sea. We looked for starfish and crabs. We all ended up covered in sand and sun cream and it was glorious.  

       So glorious that (after a BBQ, a better night of sleep and packing up the tent) we went back to the exact same spot the next day.  

      The kids became slightly obsessed with saving the lives of ‘stranded’ crabs so much of the day was spent collecting them and returning them to rock pools.   

 And that was that. Time to head home. Iris screamed the whole way and drove us all mad. We stopped close to home to have tea and watched a grass fire destroy a local mountain. Holiday complete. Sort of.