Tom is three!

I cannot believe that my little boy is three already. The last year has been a complete whirlwind for him and there are even more changes to come this year. Not only are we moving house and finding him a new nursery, but we’ll have to start looking at schools for him since he will be starting this time next year!

Tom, you are my lovely, crazy boy. It’s not always the easiest dealing with you as you move into being a ‘threenager’ but I know a lot of it comes from your inquisitive nature and fierce need to explore and understand the world. You are so bright and energetic, but can also be sweet and gentle (though we are working on you showing this side to your little sister). You have gained so much confidence this year and are my little chatterbox, always asking questions and telling stories. I love your imagination and your love of books, your kind heart and generous nature. Happy birthday my Tom bear!



Flat update

A full month has passed since we completed on our new flat. We haven’t had the time to concentrate on it that we would have liked, since we’ve been away from home so much this month, but we have finally got to the point of booking movers and now it is just a couple of weeks before we move in.

It’s obviously still empty of furniture but new floor is down and the painting is almost done, so I thought I’d share the transformation so far.

This is the living room before 

And after

The kids’ room before

And after

And our room before

And after

So long statement wallpaper. Amazing what a lick of paint and some new carpet can achieve. Can’t wait to actually move in! 

Two weddings and a funeral… 

Tom considering bonfires with grandpa and cousin

August is almost over and, to be honest, I’m pretty relieved. We’ve had a really full on month. Although parts of it have been great fun, trying to manage to constant travelling with a 3 month old has been a bit crazy. Plus we just haven’t had the time to focus on getting the new flat ready or packing up the old one.

Tom stripping wallpaper in the new flat

This weekend will be the first in 6 weeks that we’ve spent at home. We’ve been to Suffolk three times – once for Piper’s first visit, once for our friend’s wedding, and once for John’s grandmother’s funeral. We’ve been to a rowing regatta near Reading, and to my cousin’s wedding in Somerset, with stop offs at my parents’ house in between.

Extended family gather the day after the funeral
Swinging with granny in Somerset

The kids have been amazing, really coping well with all the events and with being so much in the car.

With my family at my cousin’s wedding

Most of all I have loved having John around for the past two weeks. Parenting is certainly much easier when you aren’t doing it mostly on your own. He’s back to work today though so it’s back to reality with a bump! But, great though the last few weeks have been, I’m looking forward to spending some time at home and to getting everything sorted ready for our big move in a couple of weeks time.

Trying not to notice the toddlers throwing things in the pond…

Piper – 12 weeks

Piper turned 12 weeks on Thursday 17th August, making 17th-23rd August her 13th week of life. Here’s what was going on for her this week.

Where we were: yet another hectic week. We started off at my parents’ house on Thursday and drove down to Somerset where my parents had rented a cottage. My brother, sister, and the new puppy were all there too! We attended my cousin’s wedding on Saturday which was Piper’s introduction to my extended family (of which there are many). Sunday we drove back to London. Whilst John worked on the new flat, the kids and I then spent Monday to Wednesday at home, tackling the massive pile of washing and attempting to establish some kind of continuity before we headed to Suffolk on Thursday. 

Feeding: bottle feeding was much improved this week. We’ve continued to give her a bottle of fresh expressed breast milk every day and she drank them without complaining. She also managed to go 4 hours between feeds whilst at my cousin’s wedding, making it through the entire church service and walk to the reception before downing a bottle once we reached my aunt and uncle’s house. 

Nursing on the other hand has gone screwy to compensate. She started being a bit fussy, especially for the last feed of the day. During the wedding meal she had an up the back poo that meant a full outfit change (in a stable no less) and was very upset. I offered a feed to help calm her and she screamed hysterically. Eventually I calmed her down by walking around with my boob in her mouth (not an easy feat) and managed to latch. Little did I know that worse would come the week after! 

Sleep: she started this week still in the 12 week Wonder Week and it had a big effect on her sleep. She started waking twice at night again and was harder to settle after feeding. Naps also were disrupted at the 45 minute mark, though we could usually get her back to dozing with the dummy. Being away from home again didn’t help and she had also caught Tom’s cold. She can be difficult to settle first thing at night even when sleeping well and this was especially bad a couple of nights this week. 

By Sunday night we were back home and it was the last day of the Wonder Week. That night she went down easily and woke once at 4am, then went back down until 6am. We also got a couple of good naps though most are still being disrupted at 45 minutes, which makes me thing I must be getting her awake time wrong. She has very few sleepy signs now so I may have to start going more by the clock. 

Working on: she has learnt how to grasp something held for her at the right angle and is working to put things in her mouth. She can’t yet let go again though! Head control is improving too though she still needs some support, especially when she is tired. 

things: she coped brilliantly with the long car journey. We stopped once going both ways so she could have a feed. Other than that and a little fussing in the last 20 mins, she slept the full 4 hours both ways. 

I took her with me to my chiropractor appointment on the Thursday as she has always had difficulty turning her head to the right. She gave her a bit of a neck massage which seems to have loosened it a bit but I may have to take her back for a full session as it still seems to be quite stiff. 

She did awesome at the wedding and slept in my arms most of the church service, then in her buggy at the reception.

She was in disposable nappies for most of this week since we were away and got her first nappy rash. We’ve been treating with sudocrem, bicarb in the bath, and lots of nappy off time and it is improving but not yet gone a week later. 

I moved her into her 3-6 clothes on Monday. Can’t believe she is already so big! 

Schedule: started off the same as before but on Monday she slept really solidly for her 4pm nap and was still fast asleep at 5pm when she usually feeds, so we let her go to 6pm for that feed. Since she still ate well at bedtime and slept well that night, we thought we’d try shifting things around so she’d drop that last cat nap, which has always been tricky. So she now goes down at 4pm, sleeps until 6pm, has a feed and then stays up until her bedtime feed from 7-7.30pm.

Piper – 11 weeks old

Piper turned 11 weeks on Thursday 10th August, making 10th-16th August her 12th week of life. Here’s what was going on for her this week.

Where we were: Another busy week! Piper and I spent Thursday at the new flat – she napped in her Moses basket in the bathroom whilst I painted and stripped wallpaper. Then on Friday we headed up to my in-laws in Suffolk for a friend’s wedding. You can read more about that here. Back in London, we spent Monday and Tuesday working on the flat then headed to my parents’ house on Wednesday in preparation for going to Somerset for the weekend for my cousin’s wedding.

Feeding: Nursing is still going well. She takes about 15 minutes per feed, including burping. Bottles are another matter though. Continuing on from our struggles last week, I gave her a bottle of thawed frozen breastmilk on Thursday for her five o’clock feed and she really didn’t want to drink it. She ended up getting so worked up that she was actually falling asleep in my arms from tiredness, so I put her down for her cat nap and then tried again before bath time. It took some persuasion but she did then drink 4 ounces. We realised that she prefers it a bit cooler – room temperature rather than body temperature – which is why she would accept it once the bottle was cooler.

I had pumped milk ready to take to our friend’s wedding but ended up leaving it in our fridge in London. Since it takes me a few pumping sessions to get a full feed currently, we   weren’t sure that I’d be able to pump enough to take to the wedding so actually did buy some ready mixed formula to see if she would drink that. She did drink a couple of ounces on Friday evening, but it took me about an hour to persuade her to have that much. Fortunately, I was able to pump enough to take to the wedding with us (I massively upped my water intake which helped a lot), and she drank that bottle fairly happily. We’ve continued to offer a bottle of fresh milk at room temperature every other day and she is drinking it ok, though does usually need to be bounced or walked around a bit to get her started.

As planned, I have added a pump session every evening. The amount I get is slowly growing, but is currently only at around 2.5 ounces and she will drink at least 4, so I’m only getting a full feed every two days. If we give her a bottle any time except 5 pm, I pump to replace the feed and sometimes I can also pump after her first morning feed, as she doesn’t always have both sides, so I am getting enough to give a daily bottle, but not to build up a freezer stash. Hopefully this will improve as my body gets more used to the pump and to providing a ‘feed’ at 9 pm every evening.

Sleep: We had a couple of good long naps this week but most of the time she is still waking at the 45 minute transition mark and needing the dummy to go back down for the rest of the nap. She surprised me by sleeping relatively well in her Moses basket at the new flat – still waking at 45 minutes but going back down with the dummy and needing to be woken for feeds. Considering we were ripping up a floor in the next door room, this was very impressive! We had to put her in the bathroom since we have no curtains currently, so it is the only room we can make dark.

For the first half of the week,  nighttime sleep was good. She was still waking once a night (hasn’t slept through again for ages now) but often not until 4 or 4.30 am, so we were both getting a nice long bit of sleep. However, she hit the 12 week Wonder Week on Monday and since then night sleep has suffered. She’s waking up earlier, more frequently, and taking much longer to go down after a feed. Usually I can feed her, put her straight back in the cot and she’ll give a few little grunts and then go to sleep. The last few nights though she has cried after being put down and I’ve had to give her the dummy. Even then it is taking her a while to drop back off and I often have to reinsert it. Hopefully this will get better again once the Wonder Week is passed. Can’t wait for her to be reliably self-soothing with her hands so we can drop the dummy and swaddle and hopefully get her sleeping through consistently!

Working on: she’s still working mainly on her hands but there has been a noticeable improvement in how smooth her movements are. She’s now batting at toys with a fair degree of accuracy and is starting to try to grasp things. She still hasn’t quite worked out how to suck her fingers, but will use one hand to hold the other one to her mouth and lick her fingers, so I think this won’t be far off. 

She’s still cooing a lot and we’ve noticed that she starts chatting more when she is getting sleepy (which will be something to look forward to once she can talk….) She is also getting better at following movement and can smoothly track a toy or a person as it travels across her field of vision.

Other things from this week: Piper was a real hit at the wedding and did well being passed from person to person. She didn’t really sleep, but still stayed fairly happy and smiley.

She has started laughing, especially in the bath.

On Monday she started her third Wonder Week. I suspected she might be in one because she was slightly cranky (Piper only ever cried when she is tired so cranky for her just means slightly fussy and not wanting to play alone as much), and was suddenly using her hands much more accurately. Sure enough I checked the app on Tuesday and she was in the 12 week Wonder Week, which lasts 7 days. It’s mainly affecting her nighttime sleep but she is also wanting more attention during awake times.

Schedule: Wake times were really variable this week. A lot of the time she seemed to be extending them and was able to stay happily awake for an hour and ten minutes, but there was the odd time where she would start fussing after just 45 minutes and want to go back down. Loosely speaking we are still following the same broad pattern as last week.