Monday, December 26, 2011

Little One's first Christmas...

christmas2011 1

birthday2011 lunch

birthday2011 lunch

...and on Christmas Eve, my first birthday as a Mama.

Met my dearest friends and little ones for tea and scones at a nursery cafe. Dappled light, babes in arms, summer dresses, young sisters on the grass immersed in their drawings, dads in sunnies, and little pink cheeks after a hot morning out.

At night we had Brazilian Christmas with K's family and opened our presents at midnight. We have only just discovered the magic of bouncers and were ever so pleased when she spent most of the night happily snoozing in a nearby room to the muted sounds of hyped up little people and happy chatter at the dinner table.

Christmas Day was special...beginning the day as a family of three for the first time, and joining the rest of the family for lunch at Mum and Dad's, including Little Sister who is back from London for a brief visit. Saskia charmed her little cousins, slept when Christmas lunch was being served, became fascinated by the twinkly lights on the tree and was very blessed to receive a thoughtful array of gifts. I kept glancing at her cousins and thinking about what it will be like next year when she's a walking (maybe), talking little being...

*Ceramic ornaments from the lovely Paper Boat for me and one for the Little One...will make this a tradition every year.

**Thanks Mum & Dad for the sweet geranium flower boxes for the balcony. Makes me feel all European villager when I'm watering them.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2 months

2 months

2 months on and the little one... growing cheeks good enough to eat and a baby belly that just invites tickles and kisses wears 000 her best smiles first thing in the morning (which is lucky because.....)
...has had a few weeks of unsettled nights, teaching her parents the true meaning of the word patience
...graduated from swiping to spinning the wheels on her play gym, while her papa sings, You Spin me Right Round Baby
...ain't that fond of car rides (I thought this was a given?!) showers with her papa and loves staring at the flowers on the tiles
...continues to dig the sling
...will fall asleep when her mama carries her and dances to this song (I've jinxed this now, I do realise that)
...makes her parents feel their hearts expanding every day


2 months2

2 months4

2 months3

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

As a new Mama I've learnt....

changetable looks

changetable singalong2

changetable singalong3

....that I have a terrible voice. And all the nursery rhymes I sing have the same tune.

But she doesn't mind.

(Her favourite for changetable sing-a-long is Heads & Shoulders with tickles in all the right places...and she seems to enjoy dancing to Nina Simone's My Baby Just Cares for Me...but to send her off to sleep I always sing the lullaby my Granny would sing to us. It's about the only thing that sounds in tune. Lots of practise I guess.)

Any songs you would recommend I add to my repertoire? Any that you or your Little Ones particularly loved?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The First Six Weeks...

sculpture garden

sculpture garden2

sculpture garden3

...they say are the hardest.

But you don't really understand that they mean you will be jolted into a new kind of reality. You will be faced with decisions to make quickly, and at almost every turn. And your heart will break a million times a day...but in the best possible way.

We came home from the birth centre the morning after she was born. Carrying her through the door of our home I felt a surge of excitement and suddenly it all seemed very real. She was our Little One to nurture and love. And she would grow up in our home amongst the treetops.

The first few days are a blur now. Although she was a content newborn, feeding and sleeping as well as could be hoped, I was exhausted (after the hormone high wore off), swollen and sore, and finding it hard to walk and sit. If I'm honest, those first few days I felt completely overwhelmed and functioned in a trance-like state. I was so grateful for the help and support that came so willingly from family and friends, and spent most of the time tucked up in bed, nursing and dozing.

It came as a shock to me that breastfeeding was a real skill, and not something that came naturally and easily. I was lucky that little Saskia was brought to my chest after the birth, found the breast and was able to latch on - but a few days later, the attachment on one breast was causing the most excruciating pain and I cried at every feeding. My nipple was cracked and I was slowly losing confidence in my ability to breastfeed. A lovely neighbour dropped in a care package when she heard about the trouble I was having, which included these life saving devices and a breastfeeding DVD. I would watch the DVD whilst feeding and experiment with various poses and techniques. It felt like hard work. The midwives visited every day and were also invaluable in helping me overcome the feeding problems. Some time in week 2 I had a breakthrough and the attachment finally felt right which was a huge relief.

The first two weeks we stayed at home, venturing out only to take short walks around the Village and check the letterbox. It was lovely to have K by my side at this time, and I was dreading when he had to go back to work. We had our first outing on the last day of his paternity leave, taking a trip to our favourite cafe. K was pretty relaxed about it all, but I spent a lot of time lifting the wrap on her pram to check on her every 2 minutes. She slept soundly the whole time, oblivious to my anxious state. When K went back to work I was surprised at how easy the transition was. The days went quickly, so quickly - something I know every Mama understands. I barely had time to think, it's just me doing this.

I started to gain more confidence by week 4 - the pain from the birth had subsided, feeding was much easier (although I still feel a little clumsy, propping myself up with pillows and fumbling with bra straps), and we were taking short trips in the car. Things were starting to feel more manageable. I was getting better at reading her ways of communicating and felt myself relax more.

The Little One is yet to establish a sleeping routine - still too early, I'm sure. But I'm constantly amazed at how little sleep you can survive on. Early on, she would snooze happily in her bassinet, often being patted to sleep if she was a little unsettled, but now it's a little trickier and we are still trying to get the hang of the sleep thing. During the day, her favourite place to sleep is on her Papa's tummy or nestled into the crook of his arm - and 3 or 4 hour stints at night in her bassinet is the norm, with a cuddle in bed with us when she wakes for her feed around dawn.

These first six weeks have been challenging...but also exhilarating, mind-blowingly wonderful and ever so precious. It's all about those smiles and sparkling eyes. That's why we do it, right?

*Photos taken on Papa K's birthday in the NGA Sculpture Garden