It Snowed Again

More snow. Why couldn’t it do this in December? It would have been ultra-festive! I suppose I should just be glad we get some though.

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Sandy had a blast in the snow again and is now a master snowman builder.

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Here he is “smiling” for the camera with his snowdog.

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Roslyn stayed in with Tate this time, seeing as last time she wasn’t particularly enamoured by the snow. She had fun watching her brother play though.

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Snowman love.

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And still eating ice.

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Stuart taught him to throw snowballs so he spent a lot of his time outside whacking them onto the glass in front of Rozzie.

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Love my boy.

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A pretty good snowman if I do say so myself. Sandy tends to enjoy making the body then bores as I make a happy face with matching coloured stones and such.

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The snowdog wasn’t as good as last time due to the weirdness of the snow. When we went out early in the morning it was powdery and too hard to work with. When we got home the sun had been out and it had melted a little and was perfect, so we made the snowman with ease. I decorated him then went to make the snowdog and it was powdery again… seriously? Bizarre. So that’s why the snowdog is a little lumpy!

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“Sandy foot print. Cat foot print”

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Merry snow everyone!

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Hospitalization (Round Two) and the Future

Apologies for the radio silence, but as you may have gathered from the title we’ve been in the wars again. A week and a half ago Roslyn got a minor cold. Sandy got it too and it was literally just a runny nose for him, but it went straight to Roslyn’s chest, as I later learned is common following a rough bout of bronchiolitis (which she had at the end of November). The other reason I could tell she wasn’t right was that she slept all night with only one wake up. Stuart was delighted and remarked that she was probably coming down with something. Too right.

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So this happened. Again.

We got her up in the morning and as soon as I picked her out her cot I could feel the effort she was exerting to breathe. I took her downstairs and went to feed her and she refused, another warning sign, though not as scary as last time as she had fed well all day and the night prior. Then I undressed her and saw a chest recession the size of a golf ball and it was on the phone to 111 who sent an ambulance. Sandy was pretty jealous of mummy going in the neenaw. Roslyn got some oxygen in the ambulance and was coping okay until we got to a&e and a million nurses descended in an unfamiliar room and tried to put IVs and tubes all over her and (quite rightly) she freaked out. You could see the abject terror in her eyes and her breathing worsened. The pediatric doctor arrived just as she was starting to turn a tinge blue and ordered space and quiet for her immediately. We moved her to the recus room and she got a nebuliser mask with the kind of drugs you get in inhalers. It wasn’t long until she was breathing a lot easier thankfully. Apparently it was a scary time but I don’t feel that scared looking back. Perhaps it was the calmness of the pediatric doctor or maybe it was the same mode I went into when Sandy went missing briefly in the park that time, where you know getting scared isn’t going to benefit anyone and just focus on the task in hand. Either way, I’m glad it wasn’t too traumatic. Luckily I was prepared for the inevitable hospital stay that followed, but glad she bounced back much quicker (largely due to it being post viral induced wheeze and not the horrible RSV bug) and we were only in two nights this time.

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Sandy coped far better this time too, mostly because he was well this time and also because we maintained his routine, consistency and I was at home more, letting family and Stuart watch Roslyn while I spent time with Sandy (and, realistically, the housework). We went to macdonalds for a treat on the afternoon I was with him and then to the hospital where I fed Roslyn while he played with the toy spaceship on the ward. I marveled at just how easy looking after only one child is!

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I was able to put Sandy to bed then Stuart came home and I went back to hospital. Roslyn was largely unsettled at night waking due to the noise and the disruption of the oxygen prongs up her nose. She wasn’t able to sleep on her front which didn’t help any either. I gave up trying to sleep between the 30 minutes where she did and ended up just reading for my PhD.

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After her first night she was much more herself and as she woke after the second night she ate her breakfast and played and generally proved she was ready to go home.

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So we got sent off with an inhaler and the happy feeling of a sleep in my own bed that was impending. That said there was still that familiar safety of the ward at night, the feeling of other people all going through the same and never being the only one up. It was coupled with the few nurses who remembered us and I felt quite surprised and warmed by it, that they cared to know us even though we were but a passing group of many surrounding sick babies in winter.

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So that accounts for some missed blogging. The rest of it comes under either job hunting or PhD completing, as well of course as being with these beauties.

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I’m in the home stretch now. As January comes to a close I’ve had the sudden realisation that not only do I need to finish a 100,000 thesis now, but that my funding runs out at the end of march, meaning I have two short months to find employment. I have applied for one job and I am applying for several more this afternoon. I am trying so hard to find something where I can afford to work part-time, so I can still be with Sandy and specifically Roslyn (who is very much a mummy’s girl and facing my working far younger than Sandy) on at least one day of the working week. I have the problem of not knowing how much of a salary to be shooting for, what is a PhD worth in this job market? It’s hard to tell.

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As for the PhD itself I have one chapter left to finish before only my introductory chapter and conclusion remain. This week will see the completion of that remaining chapter come hell or high water and then it’s some reading and onto the intro. I hope to have a full draft submitted by the end of February with then a month to review and format the final thing. I highly doubt it will be that seamless (though I hasten to add not through my own lack of timekeeping) but having the work done for when I hope to be starting a new job would be ideal. And thus closes my essay of why I’ve not been blogging.

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In other news little miss Rozzie has cut her first tooth, it poking through rather anti-climatically amid the hospital stay. She’s not been too bothered by it and a little ibuprofen here and there has helped. I’m surprised because Sandy’s first tooth didn’t come until he was 11 months old, and it was a top one, but Roslyn’s bottom left (her left) is there at the end of her eighth month. Speaking of months, she is almost nine months, which means she will soon have been out longer than she was in, which is quite a milestone, one I can’t believe has happened so fast. *Insert other growing up cliches here*

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On the 2nd of February our little man will be 2.5 years old. We celebrated 18 months yet it seems a bit weird to celebrate 30 months, but we will nonetheless. He’s such a boy now it’s untrue. I look at our canvas on the wall of him when Roslyn was brand new and his arms are still chubby and his face is still baby. Then I look at him now and he is lean and wise and grown. I can’t quite understand what happened but I love it. He makes me ridiculously happy each day with his love, humour and excitement.

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Apart from that we are enjoying once again settling back into normality with play…

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…routines…

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…fun…

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…and cuddles.

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I’m trying so hard to soak up every moment with them now, knowing the clock is ticking on my stay at home mum status. I wish so hard that I could just stay with them forever. It’s two and a half years since I became a mum and part of me doesn’t want to go back to being just me. But on the other hand I know nothing lasts forever and even if I feel it is a tad premature for Roslyn, there is independence there and I need to find some myself. I’m grateful to have made it this far with my study but so relieved that once I have completed the PhD it will be done and I can put a lid on this era of my life. A PhD and two kids is anything but easy, but I never expected it to be. I’m glad to be leaving research behind me and moving onto something new, and challenging, though I will undoubtedly mourn the loss of being with my babies every single day.

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I’m so grateful for the summer we had, our trips, the fun, the three of us. And for the winter with its snow, cosy times at home and a wonderful christmas.

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And as this weekend past proved it’s not the end of everything. There is still the weekend and much fun to be had. The prospect of holidays and days away.

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I can’t wait.

Snowman and Snowdog

It snowed last night!

This morning there was a white covering. Stuart left for work and when Pa came to get Sandy it started snowing again. Roslyn and I went to leave for University and I couldn’t get the car out of the estate. Actually, I could barely even get it out of the drive, so I abandoned it between two neighbours houses and declared a snow day.

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When Sandy got back before his nap (after I summoned him, half lest it get heavier and half to play in the white stuff with him!) we headed to the garden.

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Sandy requested a “meman and snowgog” so we made that happen.

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The snow was that perfect ball-rolling consistency I used to get so excited about when young.

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I think they look pretty snazzy if I do say so myself!

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And Sandy rolled the snowman’s head all by himself.

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Roslyn was inside with Pa but came out for a brief time to enjoy the snow.

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I hope you are enjoying it if you have any 🙂

I’ve Become One of ‘Those’ Parents…

It dawned on me as I we hit the third circuit. Standing over the weights, about to do a clean and press, and I pipe up to my Mum next to me, “oh, Sandy would get a kick out of seeing this”. And I realised it was about the fifteenth time I had managed to obscurely relate the circuit training class to Sandy and Roslyn in some way and I’d barely been there an hour. Last Wednesday was the first time I’d been away from Roslyn beyond 5pm since her birth eight months ago. A rare car journey not spent trying to become disjointed passing snacks back to newly installed rear facing car seats. I needed not to turn on the lights inside so Sandy could read Stickman and Walk of Life wasn’t on its seventh play. I didn’t need to concern myself with sneaky and inopportune naps. But as soon as I walked into the gym and a bunch of faces looked at me and a girl on a bike stopped cycling I reverted back to safe ground and I didn’t leave it. Roslyn wasn’t down yet, you know, and I kept checking that phone. You know what Sandy said this morning? It was so cute! Oh and Roslyn’s just learned something new. Check the phone. That weight is one of Sandy’s favourite colours. How cool would it be if Sandy was using this punching bag? Roslyn would love to crawl over here. And so I went on, unware until I started that clean and press for the third time and it was hurting now and I couldn’t think about what else Sandy and Roslyn had to say about the class and I realised that yes, I’d become one of those parents.

This week saw me out of the house twice in the evening. The second time was to attend my Aunt Lib’s 50th party. A party in Glasgow, at a proper venue, where alcohol would be consumed, and there would be no little faces, and only the floor would be sticky, not all the furnishings and everyone’s hands. Where I would have to wear a dress and (very, very slight) heels and I wouldn’t need to worry about things being boob accessible and my bag could be infinitesimally small. Strange foreign lands I tell you. And I went and as soon as I was settled on a seat with my parents beside me (thinking it ironic that my first night out would be spent with the same adult company I get to see most times anyway) I was being introduced as “Sandy’s Mum” and pictures of Roslyn were doing the rounds and I was discussing her being asleep when I left and what Sandy had eaten that day and I was safe and secure. Sometimes people say that you need to retain your identity and individuality when you have small children, and they relish the chance to talk about non-baby things. I agree but I don’t do it. I’ve become more Mum than Helen and more Mum than Wife even. Stuart and I go out and lament the lack of them and everything that happens becomes a big thing that they have missed. I feel bereft when they aren’t with me. It doesn’t feel like I’ve lost a limb but it feels I’ve lost a bit of my innards. I am them now, and myself and my confidence diminishes when they are not there. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

I know I will get back to myself as they grow. I’m often told that you get immersed in parenthood when they are young, and you finally emerge out the other side at some point. I’m in the depths just now and I’m okay with that. I had one of those “I’m going to miss this” moments this afternoon lying on the couch with Stuart, thinking of Roslyn’s size and Sandy’s words and my impending entrance to the job market. I honestly don’t want to be any less absorbed in my own little life right now, because I want to give it my all. I want no regrets and I never want to look back and think I should have done more. I’ve my whole life to sleep and read and drink, to stay out late and drink my tea hot; but only a few short years where I am everything to these two. So I apologise to all the attendees of the circuit training class, and all those at a party who are sick to the back teeth about discussing someone else’s kid, and to anyone in a shop who ends up hearing far too much about my life, and – of course – the poor souls subjected to mentions of the three P’s…pelvic floors, placentas and pee. I find it hard to take myself out of the bubble when I’m so much inside it. I’ve become one of those parents who are just a parent and not a real person anymore. I will be back, but for now, I’m happy as Mum, and Helen will see you in a few years; just call it an extended maternity leave of the mind.

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Sandy and Roslyn Lately

Often I feel like I am forgetting to jot down all the little things Sandy and Roslyn do. It’s clear that I’m never short on pictures but it takes a second to snap and more to write and time is something I’m short on. I want to try and get down all the amazing and hilarious things they do so when I’m an old gibbering woman I can read back and cry over how good it all was.

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Recently Sandy had EXPLODED in terms of his vocabulary. He speaks in sentences all of a sudden, makes jokes, and will give anything you say a repetitive bash. He was in the shower the other morning shouting “mummy, I’m sitting in the rain”. He makes himself heard, especially if something isn’t how he wants it to be. I was dancing for Roslyn the other day and all I hear is “No! Don’t! ENOUGH!!” Charming. A favorite phrase of late is “help me” (halp me, actually) said with a pitiful tinge. He narrates what is happening on television and adds comments full of emotion saying “oh no!” “WHOA!”, “wow” and “oh deeeeaar”. When he hurts himself he has taken to saying “sorry”. I tried to explain that you only need to say sorry if you hurt someone else but still you will hear a bang and then “owwww… sorree mummy”. And by far the cutest thing he has said of late is “come here” followed by arms outstretched and “big cuggles”. In the night he woke crying and I was in with him resettling and Stuart pops in to check he is ok. He sees him and the arms go out: “Daddy… come here!”

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As for Roslyn she can say “mumumum” to me and “dadada” to Stuart; and she says them to the correct person! I often hear her withg Stuart and she starts to cry then goes “mumumumum” in the cry. Or when Stuart walks past her she will chirp up with “dadada” to get his attention. When she is hungry and being spoon fed something she now shouts excitedly between bites, as though she is saying “more! hurry up!”. Apart from that babbling often takes a back seat to blowing raspberries, which she does on command and as a joke, knowing she will get us in stitches. I love the sheer effort involved in it, putting her all into blowing air out her mouth.

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She has been trying so hard to crawl these last few weeks. Shes been on her all fours often but either backing up into a seated position or belly flopping in frustration. She wants to go so badly but hasn’t quite mastered the arm and leg coordination just yet. She can get about slowly though by wiggling, sort of army crawling and spinning on her tummy. She can’t quite sit up from lying and rarely rolls, even though she can. She can stand up against the side of the couch though, but would fall down as she isn’t able to sit down safely herself yet. I think Sandy was a little ahead of her in terms of movement by her age but she is doing great and he was pretty early compared to his peers.

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Sandy is coming on leaps and bounds in terms of what he knows too. He can count to ten and delights in doing it going down the stairs. He knows most colours though still mixes some up. He has mixed up reds greens and browns quite often so I was querying colourblindness to myself but it comes from the mothers side (even though Stuart is colourblind) so I will need to find out if my Grandad was colourblind. He knows some shapes too and is very keen on pointing our “circles round and round” and squares.

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Roslyn has been working on how to stack items as well as hitting things off of each other, such as drumsticks on drum. she loves anything intricate, namely whatever age inappropriate toy sandy is playing with at the time, as well as the baby staples of remotes, phones and cables. Strangely she also loves sucking on wet (clean) washing. I found her with Stuart’s boxers in her gob the other day. Classy.

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Sandy’s eating is still the biggest behavioral struggle we have but I count myself lucky it is something innocuous and common, and isn’t as bad as it could be. He seems to be very suspicious of anything you seem to want to have him eat, yet very canny to typical tricks like “oh no, this is MUMMYS SPECIAL JUICE” (it wasn’t mine or special), making healthy ice lollies from fruit juice, or filling the frube packets with greek yoghurt and pureed fruit. What has helped is not making a big deal of it and just time. He has become a heck of a lot more reasonable and willing to listen to explanations recently. Giving him smaller portions, fewer choices (but not none) and bringing him food, rather than letting him root about in the fridge has helped too. We’ve hidden all the sweet stuff and are keeping things that aren’t great (like sugar laden frubes) out the house. It’s much easier to tell him we don’t have any than that he can’t have it. I suppose it makes no sense to him that I would want him not to have something that tastes so much better than anything else on offer, he knows not of healthy eating. He got a digger themed cutlery set which has helped him back into eating food in bowls (which was a major issue as I’d pushed too hard and he had a major aversion to anything you couldn’t run around the house with in your hand). And of course there is old faithful, toast. He eats a shocking amount of toast but is happy to eat wholemeal or seeded bread and with full fat butter on it’s pretty nutritious considering.

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Roslyn on the other hand is in that delightful phase of eating anything. We started with baby led weaning and she has gained amazing dexterity due to it as well as being really happy to fend for herself, chowing down on big chunks of meat, fruit, veg and bread, or anything else on offer. I have recently started spoon feeding mashed foods too, alongside finger foods, as she was enjoying it so much. I try to keep it to things she we would eat on a spoon as adults, like soups, pasta in sauce, cereal, porridge etc. She loves it. She has also mastered drinking water from her sippy cup herself which is brilliant. Somewhat typically the second child just does it because there’s not a constant adult presence to do it for her.

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Finally sleep. Sandy is still waking 1-2 times a night. He was asking for milk, often because of his poor eating, but we’ve decided to bite the bullet and refuse to give milk at all in the night. Last night was the first night, Stuart explained to him and he accepted it after a minutes protest and went back to sleep. He cried out “mummy” sporadically at night but went back each time. I think he’s been used to night wakings and us coming quickly since the weeks of illness when he did need us so we need to work on getting him back to sleeping through.

Roslyn has improved since when she was still in my bed but is still up several times. She goes to sleep at 7 and typically wakes up every 2-3 hours, though she did a couple of 5 hour stretches recently. She’s usually up 3-4 times a night. Stuart and I are taking half night shifts though so the other can sleep, and as she takes a bottle now as well as breastfeeding it has left me free to rest or, as I will be doing soon, go out of an evening. I feel happy that I am getting some me-time back, yet not losing the closeness of feeding her as I did with Sandy (as I stopped breastfeeding him at 7.5 months cold turkey, something I still regret).

All in all I feel so happy with how they are doing. Sandy is getting so much more a boy and I’m loving having a friend around all the time. It’s lovely being able to chat to him and ask him what he thinks. We can have jokes together and special things for just the two of us. He’s still a bit of a mummy’s boy and I can’t complain. Roslyn is a treat. She never stops smiling and laughing and is so content with her lot. She loves being close and cuddling in and giving big open mouth kisses. She’s pretty shy of strangers or people she doesn’t remember at the moment, so only goes to people investing the time to see her a lot, making her a bit of a mummy’s girl too! Sometimes it is hard to be constantly needed so vigorously by both of them, especially when they both need me at the exact same time, but on the whole it is incredible to be so wanted and I wouldn’t change it. I feel so happy with my two wee guys and can’t wait for all that the future brings for us.