Welcome back to Teething Hell, can I take your complacency?

I think last time we were experiencing teething, I referred to it as purgatory (compared to the early days of colic and constipation). Well, it’s back, and I think we’ve been plunged into full-on teething hell.

Yesterday we got a call from the nursery, just warning us that she was running a temperature and they’d given her Calpol. Of course, the heart just sinks and you wonder what manner of disease your pure, precious baby has caught, crawling around the germ-infested jungle of nursery (I kid; ours is immaculately clean and I love it). Which little monster has passed on some unspeakable virus to your angel?

We turned up to find SB crawling around in just her nappy, looking snotty and drooly and miserable, surrounded by all the healthy, happy kids. Ah. So ours is the one who might infect everyone else. Plus it turns out her nappies were loose (lovely way for describing what we’ve come to know as PooSplosions) and she’s grizzly and grumpy, which is unusual for her.

So we brought her home, the Calpol got her temperature down and she seemed ok for much of last night, until about 1am, when D spent much of the early hours trying to settle her off as she was uncomfortable. A little more Calpol did the job, but cue me wondering if she really is coming down with something nasty. Scarlet fever and similar have been sweeping through nurseries in the UK lately, so I’ve been obsessively tongue-checking and making sure there’s no rashes anywhere.

Roll on today, and we’re still no better. She hasn’t slept properly since 8am this morning, and it’s currently 5:15pm. She should’ve had at least one, maybe two, good naps in this time. Her nappies are grim, she’s off her food, drool is just everywhere and even her dummy isn’t giving her any comfort. We had a quick peek in her mouth and yep, there’s her two top teeth breaking through.

So that explains that, then. We are firmly back in teething hell. Time to rediscover Sophie The Bastard Giraffe (skilfully lost somewhere in the flat) and some lovely cold fruit sticks – no wonder she attacked a pineapple like her life depended on it the other day!

It’s alright, World. I didn’t have anything particularly important to do these next couple of weeks. Just a 5, 500 word dissertation, another approx. 9,000 words in essays, a short video to shoot, a house to tidy and a birthday to plan. Teething baby on top of it all? Pah. I got this.

IMG_0331… No publicity, please…

 

NO NO NO NO

This post has that title for two reasons.

The first is that it’s my reaction every time anyone reminds me that SB is a year old in less than three weeks. I’ve gone beyond disbelief and into pure denial. I look at her, and I don’t think she looks like a one year old, but at the same time, she’s so grown up. We went to the park today and she went on the swings and loved it! She’ll chatter away to me (currently mastering ‘Hiya’ and ‘Oh no’, combined with holding her head like she’s shocked, as well as babbling like there’s no tomorrow) and is desperate to get walking, but she looks so tiny and adorable still, I don’t feel like my little baby is about to become a toddler.

As well as that, I don’t know if I feel ready to be the mum of a one-year-old. People are always asking me how old she is, and the thought of answering ‘a year’ feels so strange and alien, when I’m so used to talking in months (and, before that, weeks!). I can’t believe how quickly this first year has gone, even though at times it probably seemed to be dragging.

The second reason the post is titled ‘NO NO NO NO’ is that we’re having to use it more and more with SB. She’s discovering her mischeivous side; her exploits including climbing onto everything, pulling everything onto the floor, getting into everything she shouldn’t and just generally causing trouble.

The problem is, every time we say ‘No’, she loves it. She’ll grin, and the more we repeat it, the more she smiles, until we can’t say ‘no’ any more. It’s adorable, but makes discipline SO hard.

IMG_0102

 

What Next?

The end of my course is fast approaching.

I’ve spent the last three years of my life living, studying, doing everything at university. It’s been like existing in a little bubble, and even with the small punctuations of reality – y’know, that whole ‘having a baby’ thing – I’ve felt secure and safe and comfortable.

Now I’m about to be thrown into the big wide world, with (hopefully) a degree in Theatre, Television and Performance, and not a lot else. Right now I don’t even have a CV, let alone a particularly attractive one. My last experience of working was a few nights as a nightclub promoter in first year, and before that it was working as a takeaway cook, which I gave up to focus on my A Levels. Since the start of second year, being pregnant/having a baby and studying has pretty much divided my time equally, and I’ve not had much opportunity to do much else.

The thing is, I don’t know what I want to do next, let alone what I’ll be able to do. If I leave uni and look for work, we’ll be up the proverbial creek without a paddle financially – but how long can I realistically stay at uni, do I want to be a perpetual student, and will anywhere accept me for just one year of a three year course? Besides, it’s hardly ethical (and probably not legal), so not something I can really consider doing.

But what am I qualified to do? As a new graduate, probably not much. My degree is in Theatre, Television and Performance – it’s taught me a lot, and made me versatile, but people see the degree title and assume I’m proficient in acting like a tree and not a lot else. I’m interested in working in social media and networking, but what experience do I really have? A couple of years as a Facebook Ambassador for my uni, followed by writing this blog – and I can’t really credit this as experience, I’ve talked about my vagina on here, for god’s sake. Not what an employer wants to read.

So where do I go? The support for student parents is great while you’re at uni, but when you leave uni and become a regular, bog-standard young-but-not-young-enough-to-make-the-Tories-cry parent, the support drains away into nothing. You’re just another graduate, trying to battle all the other graduates for the rapidly-draining pool of jobs you’re barely qualified for – with the added difficulty of trying to balance childcare too.

Who, in six months time, is going to hire a 21-year-old mum with a Drama degree and a CV with huge gaping holes in it?

11 Month Update!

No.

No no no no no no no.

I refuse to believe that we’re at 11 months already (or, at least, we will be tomorrow). I absolutely refuse to believe that my daughter will be a year old in a month’s time. How have twelve months gone by so quickly? I sometimes check my TimeHop and a lot of it is moaning about the later stages of pregnancy, all tired and miserable and mostly-manatee. How could I imagine, at the time, that in a year I’d have a crazy, unstoppable 11 month old daughter, amazing me every day with the things she can do.

So where’s she at? There’s a lot to update!

Development

SB claps like a pro now, and does it on demand – all we have to say is ‘yaaaay!’ and she starts applauding. It’s a similar story for waving – if we wave at her, or say ‘hello’, she’ll start waving her little hands at us. If she’s really excited, both hands go at the same time, which is adorable! She’s also learned to blow kisses, which is just the cutest thing EVER!

Walking-wise, I feel like we’re still at the same stage we were at last month – she loves to totter about, holding our hands, or cruising the furniture on anything she can. She crawls at a rate of knots but still seems a little too wary of walking/standing on her own just yet, which is surprising considering how adventurous she is. She’ll get there eventually though!

We’re getting further with talking. She loves babbling, and all we hear all day is dadadadadada, but we’re starting to get closer to more words. We’ve already had ‘Hi-ya’ once or twice, we just keep working at it.

IMG_0135

Weaning

With the exception of a couple of bottles a day, SB is pretty much weaned. We’ve said goodbye to powders and pouches of food – she eats what we eat now, and the transition was really easy for us. She loves sandwiches – although she has a habit of tearing them apart and smooshing one half over her face while she eats the other half.

She still has little weaning biscuits etc from the baby aisle, but those are just as snacks – everything she has, generally speaking, is what we eat. She loves beans on toast, and sausage and mash – I’m so excited to try more tastes with her. After a rocky start, I feel like we’ve finally got the hang of weaning, and she’s a little pro when it comes to finger foods. We went out to a pub for a meal the other day, and rather than having to take bags of snacks and sandwiches and pouches with us, we just ordered her fish fingers, mash and beans with jelly and ice cream for pudding, and she had a really good go at it!

carrot

Very proud of her carrots!

cake

Demolishing birthday cake!

It’s been ages since she was last weighed, so I have no idea what her weight is now, but she seems really long when we hold her, and has a lovely weight to her – if I had to place her somewhere, I’d say she’s between 25th and 50th centiles, as she’s a little dot but just perfect in our eyes. She’s still in 6-9 month clothes (she wore 3-6 month trousers by accident yesterday which fit), but she’s healthy and happy and moves so much it’s no wonder she’s burning it all off!

This month has been a really busy month for her – an adventure to the zoo, lots of busy days at nursery, coming to see my dissertation performance, lots of new tastes and textures in food, her first time at the park, her first ‘date’ (a meal with a friend’s sister’s baby), a parade and much more! She’s taking it all in her stride – even when she gets overwhelmed, she never stops smiling! This month we’ve had more comments on her sunny nature than ever – but now, they’re usually accompanied by a warning of ‘Just wait until she’s two!’.

Those Terrible Twos can wait, thank you very much – I’m enjoying every second of my baby still being a baby. Next month, she turns one, and we enter the world of parenting a toddler.

I’m already terrified.

11

My Sunday Photo – 08/03/15

DSC_0575

As there’s no silent Sunday this week, my ‘My Sunday Photo’ can include words, so I’ll just use a few.

This picture is probably one of my favourites I’ve ever taken. The love on D’s face, the happiness in SB’s expression, the memories of our day at the zoo are going to stay with me for a long time, and everything about this picture makes me feel so in love with my family.

OneDad3Girls
DSC_0400

Exhausted but elated…

What a week.

There’s been stress. There’s been tears (there have been SO many tears). But there’s also been happiness, and fun, and love, and above all, pride.

After my last update, I think the next day was Thursday, which was World Book Day. I love World Book Day – anything that promotes reading is positive in my book. I’ll probably change my mind in a few years’ time when I’m rushing to put together an awkward costume that will have been ripped off by noon, but for this year, when the Eeyore costume we bought before she was born was perfect for the occasion, it was a chance to take some SUPER cute photos.

eeyore

After that, all thoughts turned to my dissertation. I was really starting to get worried, and one thing after another was going wrong. The day before, I went into the venue to make arrangements, only to find out they’d double booked, had a conference taking place there and I had less than 24 hours to adapt the piece to fit a smaller space with different lights and technology. Then, the other performances through the day were running late, so a lot of people had to leave before mine. Then there was throwing a shit fit because someone threatened to heckle, which stressed me out beyond anything else and resulted in me refusing to perform unless he was kicked out. Finally, everyone was seated, and my computer crashed, froze while installing updates, and took ages to load back up again, delaying us even longer. But finally, finally, finally we got going.

Suffice to say, I have never been prouder of anything I have written, than I was of that dissertation. I was so proud of the way D and I performed it, and people’s responses blew me away. People have signed up to donate blood, bone marrow and organs off the back of that performance – lives are going to be saved as a result of it. I don’t know how I managed it (but D’s help played a major role), but I am really, really proud of that performance. I’m so thrilled that my parents, brother and sister and SB were able to be there – it meant so much to me that they’d been able to come and see it.

As you can tell, I’m still on a bit of a high, a day later! Today we went to Chester Zoo, as SB’s aunt and uncle adopted a red panda for us for Christmas, and today was an Adopter’s Day where we could get into the zoo for free. We went along, took loads of photos, and although SB was puzzled by most of the animals, she loved seeing some of them, and seemed to really love spending some quality time with us. Some real family time was just what we needed after all the stress and time we’ve spent apart the last few weeks! It was perfect!

DSC_0551 DSC_0563 DSC_0575 DSC_0022 DSC_0400 DSC_0410 DSC_0427 DSC_0432 DSC_0446 DSC_0493

Panic Stations

My dissertation is on Friday.

This project I’ve been working on for weeks, building up to since September (and, really, since I started my degree almost three years ago), this piece of theatre that I have created and has given me so much stress and cause for tears these last few months… is being performed on Friday afternoon.

I’m terrified. There’s no excitement there, which is a shame – it’s just pure fear. I don’t feel ready, I’m certain I’ve forgotten something, and I feel overwhelming, crippling nerves about it all. Because of the timing, SB will have to be there, as I can’t be certain it’ll be finished by the time she needs picking up from nursery – thankfully my parents will be there, as otherwise we’d be in big trouble seeing as D and I are both in it.

I’m proud of it, I really am – it’s taken so much work, from both D and I, but I feel like once it’s done, I’ll have proved to myself once and for all, that everything – the pregnancy, the difficulties we encountered in SB’s early days, all the stress of trying to balance student life and parenthood – was really just a speed bump. If I can do this, and make D and SB and my family proud, I’ll be able to prove to myself that I did the right thing in carrying on straight into third year without taking time out.

I know the script is great. I know that the words of everyone I interviewed are honest and real and powerful; far more powerful than anything I could have written. I know D will do brilliantly, as hearing his performance has made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up on more than one occasion. I know the tech works, and I’m fairly certain it’ll run smoothly. The only question is, can I keep a lid on my nerves? Can I allow myself to relax and enjoy it?

More than anything I know the best thing will be, at the end of it all, being able to have a cuddle with this little girl, and knowing that I have made her proud.

IMG_0118 IMG_0109

SB In The St David’s Day Parade!

Yesterday was St. David’s Day in Wales.

St. David is our country’s patron saint, and every year on March 1st, he’s celebrated with a series of events across the country. Lots of people carry or wear daffodils or leeks (usually pretend ones!), children have a dress-up day in school, and there are parades in many of the big towns and cities in the country. Back where we used to live, there were never any parades, but where we are now has a big one, so we decided to take SB along. The local association for promoting Welsh language in babies was there too, so it was lovely to get to go and speak to them about upcoming events – it’s really important to us that SB grows up bilingual, and introducing her to her country’s heritage is so important. Technically she is only half-Welsh, as I was born in England, but having lived here so long I consider myself Welsh, and hope SB will grow up to do the same.

Most children dress up for these parades – the shops sell a load of clothing and items at this time of year, as it’s so popular in schools. You can get novelty daffodil hats, traditional Welsh costume, and of course – the rugby shirt. We couldn’t resist, and dressed SB up as a traditional ‘Welsh Lady’ for the parade.

IMG_0034

(although not before she’d tried a daffodil hat on for size)

IMG_0026

Eventually though, she settled on the Welsh Lady outfit, and was kind enough to let me wear the daffodil hat for the parade.

IMG_0051

She had a whale of a time! She was given a little Welsh flag, and we walked the entire route of the parade with her waving it about. She was adored by everyone around her (I think she was the youngest one there in traditional dress), and we even got stopped at one point to have our pictures taken for a newspaper! Everyone commented on her smile and her beautiful outfit – I couldn’t have been prouder.

She’s gone into nursery today in the same outfit (having had a wash after she smeared Dairylea sandwiches all over it), for their St. David’s Day celebration. I’m so happy we’re raising SB to be proud of her heritage and to celebrate it, and really happy that her nursery and the local area do the same.

Plus… it makes for some really adorable pictures!