Monday, March 26, 2012

12 weeks

Baby Spouse is 12 weeks old today - just under 9 weeks corrected.  This feels like a milestone, I think partly because of the whole 12 weeks of pregnancy before exhaling a little that I never got to, and partly because he has more jabs tomorrow (we have Calpol, we have also got a new medication pacifier as even administering Calpol in the middle of a feed didn't work too well last time).

Things I have done more of than I thought I would in the last 12 weeks:
Walking (not just because we don't drive much here, but because it's a good way to get out of the house without going mad - I'm a keen hiker and am looking out for buggy- and sling-friendly walks to do).
Drinking diet Coke and Pepsi Max - I think I must drink these a lot at work, or coffee from the convenient coffee bar 2 floors down from my office, and I only notice this now I'm at home a lot.
Reading work emails. 
Making stuff.
Cooking (partly because of Mr Spouse's complete lack of availability to pull his weight in all departments, which means we've prioritised him playing with and caring for Baby Spouse, and partly because there is very little in the way of takeaway available here, and we don't like ready meals).   

Things I have done less of than I thought:
Drinking coffee - I have managed to avoid making and drinking a second pot of coffee every day like I thought I would. Partly because of the soft drink habit, but also because I'm not completely shattered every single day.
Watching TV (I have done a lot, it has to be said, but most of that was done while I was still away).
Putting Baby Spouse in and out of the car seat (see above, but it's also been partly because I haven't run out of places to go that I don't need to drive to. I suspect I'm going to need to adjust the straps when I put him in next).

Things that have been about what I thought:
Running (except for the part where I had the worst sore throat in the history of throats, I have been out about once a week).
Going to the supermarket (I've managed to go either quickly in and out, or without Baby Spouse, or Mr Spouse has gone, or I've ordered on line. Hooray!)

I also seem to have developed some OCD habits which is very very unlike me.  Making up formula is something that's bound to involve little rituals, and there are some routines that, done wrong, mean you have to start again, but I seem to have extended this to things like making coffee, washing my hands, my morning bathroom routine, putting things away the minute I get in the house. It is a bit tidier than it normally is in our house. I'm not sure anyone else would really notice, though, or that it will remain that way.

You're probably much more interested in what Baby Spouse has done a lot of, or not much of. He is still a fairly good sleeper but we're hoping now might be the time to persuade him that his longest spell between night feeds could be longer than 4 hours.  He has had a couple of days when he's decided naps are for wimps, but he generally sleeps for at least half an hour between each of his daytime feeds.  His latest trick is waving his arms around randomly and then looking very excited when he sees his toys move. I am not completely convinced this is deliberate but I think deliberate batting is close and grasping can't be far away.  He's a good feeder but I think he's going down to around the 50th-60th centile for his corrected age. People still say "oh he's big for X weeks" meaning his chronological age, when he's actually around the 20th centile for that. He's generally a very polite baby and smacks his lips when he feels it is time for us to pay attention and provide food - including at night - but screaming is also in evidence, more than it used to be as well.

I had to ring the nursery where Baby Spouse will likely go in the autumn, to ask about registration, and I was a little sad. Almost as sad as when they said "he has to go to the NICU and if his breathing doesn't improve he'll have to stay a week". They asked if we'd been to look round and I had to confess I hadn't. I didn't say "because I'm in denial that he'll be ever going there". 

Monday, March 19, 2012

What I did for Mothering Sunday


Yep that's right, sod all.
And happy about it.
You remember when you were single, and Valentine's Day felt like a kick in the teeth, and then you met your partner, and it now was a day when you felt obliged to buy a card, and a present, and book an overpriced meal, and also remember what it felt like to be on the outside looking in? Yes, that.
I feel there will be time enough for painted handprints and plastic gifts when Baby Spouse is in nursery.
Yesterday Mr Spouse visited his mother in hospital, and she seemed to be aware that he was there, and to recognise him.  And I read a version of this in a book.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Written in response to OA Roundtable #35
My mother came to stay last weekend.  Baby Spouse has in the way of grandparents: my mother, my father (not at the same address for many a year), my mother-in-law (who had just we think grasped that there is a baby but where and whose baby may not have sunk in, when she was admitted to hospital following a stroke), and Nella's parents who I have already blogged about, plus we know of at least a grandfather on his birth father's side. As we are pretty certain he will not have long with Mr Spouse's mother, and as there is as many people say, no such thing as too many loving relatives, we are very happy that we look to be getting some kind of long term relationship with Nella's parents.  We suspect that our next monthly phone call with Nella will be via them.

My mother had already bagsied Granny as that's what she is called by my nieces, which wouldn't have been my choice but she got in first, so MIL is Grandma.  I had feared the worst with my mother, that she would work on the assumption that Baby Spouse was not a "real" grandchild, but she is besotted with him, and does exactly what every other grandmother seems to do, i.e. pick him up every 5 seconds "because he's crying" when he's actually fussing himself to sleep. I was quite proud of myself that I gritted my teeth and told myself "it's just for the weekend" and didn't pick her up on it.  It should get easier when he is older and on more of a schedule, anyway.  My father, despite initial apparent lukewarmness, responded to a pointed hint that he only has ONE grandson and that not making a plan to come and visit will lead to him not seeing Baby Spouse before he is huge, and also that we'd really like X gift thank you, has purchased the gift and promised a visit in about a month.

I had two very contrasting comments recently about adoption, one from my mother, and one from a friend.  

My work friends and their connections (at least, those who know he is adopted, as the friends of friends don't all) have been mildly curious but restrained while being positive.  These are all polite, well-educated, and restrained people. Unlike my family...

My mother has been incredibly nosy, and I am afraid I react badly to that.  She has asked various questions which are either a) no-one's business but ours and Baby Spouse's (e.g. medical issues) or b) something I could speculate about and will do with Mr Spouse but not with anyone else (e.g. why he was premature) or c) something we could share in limited amounts but we will do ourselves at a point when Baby Spouse has already been given the information (e.g. birth siblings). Her excuse for asking some of the questions was "but N1 and N2 will ask". My nieces, like other children, will not even dream that a baby living with us could have a complicated set of birth siblings living elsewhere. If she wants to satisfy her own curiosity, I wish she'd just say so. I am planning to tell my brother, though, that if they have questions, please to ask me directly, not via my mother. But the comment that I know all adoptive parents hear, which my mother made, was "oh he's so lucky to have you".  I pointed out (again, I'm afraid, very forcefully) that it is never lucky to need to be adopted, and that we are lucky to have him. 

We say this a lot, and some people hear this as "he's such a quiet baby", some as "it's great that we could have him placed with us while he's so young" and only some as "we are blessed to have a child".  If she says this again, I know I'll need to ask whether she'd say it to my nieces, and point out we don't want him to grow up hearing this and thinking he needs to be grateful. The other point she tried to labour and did not seem to understand at all, even though we tried to explain, was that we want him to meet his birth family again and grow up knowing them. She has already asked "what's the latest thinking" on this and I have told her it is that contact is good, but she doesn't seem able to accept this, she seems to think that he'll be confused and worry that he'll go back to live with them.

The other friend is not originally British and in her religion adoption does  not work the same as it does under many European countries' laws.  She said something which I think will be uncommon for comments I would get here, as voluntary placement of babies is so rare here - that she couldn't understand how someone could "give up their baby".  I'm not sure if she didn't realise at all that children cannot always stay with their birth parents even if the parents wish that, or if she assumed this would not apply to a newborn. But I think she understood when I said "there was no way Baby Spouse could stay with his birth parents, so that's very sad, but we are very lucky to have him". 

I am much more able to be understanding about unhelpful attitudes and terminology in friends than in family - family push your buttons, and you can't get rid of them so easily. My friend asked if we'd met "his mother" but I think this was just because she could not work out how to refer to Nella, and when we said we'd met birth mother and birth grandparents, this seemed to make sense to her, and I think partly because of her religious concept of adoption, she seemed to understand more than my mother, that it is important to retain links with birth family.  Mr Spouse says my mother is just not thinking about it, so I guess I'm going to have to work out a way to get her to think about it, without strangling her.       

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

How I became a hippy

First it was recycling.  We do try to recycle and we did this even before it was common in our area; I am pretty sure I did this when you had to take your paper to the distant paper bank. We do live in a very "green" town and we have a precursor to Freecycle which allows you to barter your unwanted goods - current rate is half a dozen cupcakes for 5 or 6 used washable nappies.

Then it was Ecover, which I actually discovered through a rather roundabout route via Greek powdered bleach (don't ask) - we now have our own Ecover bulk size hand wash and washing up liquid containers. We moved on to Ecoballs and I've had a ceiling drying rack for ages (which is not only less in the way than a floor rack but also dries things quicker, probably because it's higher up - though Mr Spouse loves his tumble dried towels). We worked out how much more energy we were using by running the dishwasher at its highest temperature to sterilise bottles (not much) but we have found we run out of bottles really quickly so we did end up buying an electric steriliser (but it also doesn't use much electricity).

So it was pretty much inevitable that we'd give reusable nappies a go.  Some of the reasons these might not be very eco friendly are that you use lots of washing powder and water (we use the eco balls, and this means you can skip most of the rinse cycle if you are paying attention), petrol if you use a nappy service (frankly we would use one but there are none here), and tumble drying (the kind of nappies we have can't be tumble dried).

And then there's slings.  I have 7 in the house at the moment. One is dangerous, one impossible to use, two are more or less identical (but the original Moby I bought has its uses) and one slips down every time I use it - but the remaining two now are invaluable, one for "I won't stop screaming unless you carry me Mummy and I know you have to make dinner/tidy up/do something else with two hands but I don't care", and the other for out and about without straining back/losing baby/not being able to climb steps.

I met up with some other parents who use slings recently, though, and I have to say it was a tiny bit scary. Though I think using a sling is eminently sensible (to me, it's just "the way most mothers I used to know carry their babies" as I knew a far larger group of mothers overseas before I ever had friends who were mothers here or in the US), I don't really regard it as a way of life. And of course everyone is breastfeeding and sharing the family bed (contraindicated for premature babies, those not breastfeeding, and those without a husband willing to sacrifice the entire bedroom to an 8ft bed).

So it is at this point that I gracefully step back and go to my spreadsheet of childcare costs and we decide that our sanity is worth having a cleaner.  

Who came today for the first time and of course looked at our Ecover products and asked "so, are you vegetarian too?".