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Babe: Two years and eleven months outside
Babeling: Six months inside

We now have a new reason for not letting me use the birth centre. The registrar I saw today said she was not particularly bothered by my having a retained placenta last time, but did not like the babeling being on the fifth centile.

Every time I have a scan, which is every four weeks now, they say ‘the baby is on the fifth centile,’ (growth curve) and I say ‘that’s within the normal range, right?’ And they say, ‘yes, it’s small, but it’s normal.’

The registrar, on the other hand, said ‘It’s on the lower limit of normal. So it’s either just a healthy, small baby, or the placenta may not be functioning properly – in which case we will have to monitor it throughout labour.’

In other words, they want to connect me to a horrible machine which in my imagination is several times bigger than me with flashing lights and curly green wires coming out of it and necessitates me being strapped rigidly to a stainless steel trolley while scientists observe me impassively through plate glass, and so on. I don’t know why they can’t leave the babeling in peace on his fifth centile, where he’s growing nicely.

The babe was small – she was six and a half pounds at birth, nearly two weeks after the due date, and the average these days is eight and a half. I reckon I just do small babies. Nothing wrong with that, surely. They’re cuter, and easier to push out.

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Babe: Two years and eleven months outside
Babeling: Six months inside

I sleep on my back. This is not allowed when you’re pregnant, because the weight of the baby presses on the artery that feeds the placenta. I imagine it being the equivalent of going to visit your friend in hospital and sitting on their oxygen tube by mistake (and then going to sleep).

Can’t lie on my right side, because it hurts my dodgy shoulder.

I’m meant to be lying on my left side. This gets my heart in the best position (for what? continuing to beat?) and it encourages the baby into the right position for being born. But whenever I lie on my left, apart from the fact that it’s wholly unnatural to lie on your side and I can never work out where to put the arm which is stranded on top, the babeling starts flailing his limbs frantically. This might be a desperate plea not to be squashed. I feel like I’m smothering a litter of squirming puppies with my giant belly.

Three hours last night, all of them on my back, I think. Don’t even ask how many hours babyfather got.

I think in order to really sleep well I need to be suspended upside down in a bag of amniotic fluid with a tube going directly into my stomach carrying oxygen so I don’t have to go to the trouble of breathing. That would be nice. Otherwise I’ll have to reconstruct the pillow fortress I designed last time: two under my head so I can breathe, one under the useless uppermost arm, one between my knees, and about four wedged behind babyfather’s back so he can’t roll over and start snoring.

Babe: 2 years and 11 months outside
Babeling: 6 months inside

The babe’s dreaded third birthday party has taken place, we survived – it was even quite fun – and she’s not even three yet. She shared it with the Very Best Red Haired Friend, who was three at the beginning of September. (This is probably the last year we can get away with messing with the date, so we made the most of it).

Sharing the stress with another set of parents IS the way forward. Our role was to provide some of the food and make the house look presentable, which was enough work for one weekend. Having two extra adults involved meant that there were also balloons, streamers, party bags, and even games. The pinnacle of organisation was the pass-the-parcel session where every child got exactly one go each at unwrapping the parcel and the one lactose-free treat fell into the lap of the one lactose-intolerant child. Wow.

On waking from her nap to discover the garden filling up with guests, the babe mingled with the crowd and had nothing further to do with me until bedtime. I did observe her from afar though. She was the only child not to wander off when the VBRHF’s Nana read them all story, and when the first story had finished, the babe came into the house to fetch her two more books. She was also last at the table. All the other children had gone back in the garden but the babe was eating dozens of cucumber sticks, carefully eating all the flesh and piling the skins up on the plate.

Meanwhile, Chilled Girl played Pin the Tail on the Donkey, by herself, over and over again – it’s so much easier without a blindfold – Chilled Boy came crashing off the trampoline on one of the few occasions that babyfather was not nervously hovering next to it (we ran out of time to put up the safety enclosure) – and the babe’s Croation friend was delighted to discover a large pile of damp ashes in a corner of the garden. His mother brought him in to be washed at 15 minute intervals but otherwise showed no signs of minding.

I think everyone had a good time.

Nearly three

Winding down at the end of the party – Chilled Boy, the Lodja, Chilled Girl and the babe. She plans to marry all of them when she grows up.

Babe: 2 years and 11 months outside
Babeling: 6 months inside

I think the three-year-old has arrived, one month before her birthday.

It’s an old mantra of parenthood – but just when you get the hang of your child they turn into something else. The two-year-old was easy. She was feisty but willing to co-operate, and obeyed orders like ‘Go and put your [beloved and favourite] dummy [which you would die for] back in your bed please,’ without hesitation. She never really had anything I could describe as a full-blown tantrum. If refused her wishes, she would usually not even protest.

For example: she brought me a mop and a wicker waste paper basket.

Babe: Mummy, can you put water in my bucket?

Me, bluntly: No, you can’t put water in baskets. It will run out.

Babe: *thinks* I know! I’ll put tend [pretend] water in it!

*mops floor vigorously with tend water*

Or:

Babe: Can I go on the big girls’ slide?

Me: You’re too small.

Babe (happily): I can go when I’m bigger!

I thought it was just her doctorate in emotional intelligence – then remembered my sister’s warning that her son had Terrible Threes instead of the traditional Twos.

Yesterday

BM: Put your dummy back in your bed please. You can’t take it downstairs.

Babe: (face scarlet, voice top volume) NO!!!!!!

*refuses to be separated from dummy, or go downstairs, for next 20 minutes*

Today

Observing me put packing tape on a parcel –

Babe: I want that! That’s MY piece!

BM: No, it’s my piece, but you can have the next one.

Babe: BLUE MURDER!!!!!

BM: Here’s the next piece.

Babe: I DON’T WANT IT!

BM: OK, I think I’ll put the tape away now.

Babe: NO NO NO!

*hits me twice on bottom while roaring*

BM: Right! On the naughty step with you!

She sat there and roared. I don’t mean she cried, I mean she roared. It was the angriest sound I’ve ever heard her make. I came back to get her and she ROARED at me again with a bright red face, so I walked off.

I completely failed to get her to apologise when she had calmed down, despite the longest time she’s ever been on the naughty step – but then, who knows if that was the right thing to do anyway? I know how the two-year-old worked but this child is a bit of a mystery. Any advice welcome.

Found this article about men’s ability to breast feed via Belgian Waffle’s blog.

That’s the night feeds sorted, then, and no excuses.

Babe: 2 years and 11 months outside
Babeling: 6 months inside

For ages, I have been meaning to write a post in praise of the babe’s sleeping habits. I had a feeling, though, that I might not get round to it before it all went horribly wrong. The last three nights have gone mildly awry, so I’ll quickly blog my gratitude for a child who really knows how to give her parents a break before it gets any worse.

This miraculous child goes down at about 7.30pm. More often than not there is instant, complete silence from her room, even when we remember to switch on the baby monitor. At other times she might do a charming rendition of Baa Baa Black Sheep, especially if we’ve got friends over, before lapsing into sleep. We can make as much noise as we like, and she will not wake up and demand to come downstairs and join in. If she does twig that seven or eight people from church have come over for housegroup, she will politely enquire ‘Who’s that downstairs?’ the next morning.

She will remain in log-like sleep until 7.30 or 8.00am, except on some Saturdays when she doesn’t bother to bellow ‘MUMMAY’ until 9am. Despite all this sleep she still fits in a nap of one and a half to two hours every afternoon. (I think this literally saved my life in the early months of the babeling.)

I know, I know, I really am grateful, and I do think of parents whose children believe that morning has broken at 5.30am and nothing can persuade them otherwise. It must be the grace of God, who is being merciful to those of whose of us who can’t function without sleep, at least not without hating the world and everyone in it.

So these last few nights have been ominous – we’ve had friends staying and she’s refused to sleep until 9.30pm, but she’s still all refreshed and ready to go between 6.30 and 7.00 in the morning. We might have to drop the afternoon nap. But then my life will be over.

Babe: 2 years and 11 months outside
Babeling: 5 months inside

Just when I thought the pregnancy had given me a bullet-proof immune system (it did last time) I got the mother of all colds. The start of this cold coincided with one of those hormonal surges which causes the babeling to double in size, which is fine, but has the side effect of making me need to either eat or use the loo every twenty minutes, day and night. This had to happen at my aunt and uncle’s last week where I was separated from the kitchen and bathroom by their beautiful wrought-iron spiral staircase.

I ended up abandoning sleep altogether one night and read my uncle’s first aid manual instead. Did you know that if you chance across the victim of a crushing, say by an over-used wrought iron staircase, the first thing you do is ask how long they have been crushed? If it’s less than 10 minutes, you can remove the heavy object. If it’s more, you have to leave it in place, or the toxins that have collected around the damaged tissue will enter the blood stream and kill the victim. I suppose the crucial thing to remember is that if you yourself get crushed you can pass the time waiting for help by trying to guess how many minutes you’ve been pinned to the floor. There’s another disaster scenario to keep me awake at night, along with the one about my car falling into a body of water (have to wind down the windows, let the car fill with water, and then swim out) or encountering a peanut allergy victim whose swollen throat has stopped him breathing (have to use a biro to perform a tracheotomy). Will I remember this crucial information when it’s needed? If I meet a lion in the wild, do I stand up and look it in the eye, or is that bears, or do I run up a tree? Can I go back to sleep now?

I know it’s all practice insomnia for when I have a real reason to be awake half the night, but it would be nicer to build up a bank of peaceful nights instead.

Killin