We are just home from a wonderful but exhausting weekend at my in-laws in Suffolk. They were actually not there, since they are away on holiday, but a friend was getting married close by, so we went up on Friday with the kids. We were joined by 7 of our friends, plus John’s brother and sister, our brother-in-law, and our niece, who is the same age as Tom.
We served up a barbecue on Friday night once the kids were settled, which got a bit merry. Ridiculous games were played, a stuffed stoat appeared, and my head was not feeling so great the next morning.
Luckily the rain held off and we had a very relaxed morning. The kids enjoyed each other’s company, had a swim, got out every toy in the house, and generally made the most of the holiday atmosphere.
We left Tom with his aunt and uncles whilst the rest of us went to the wedding. I had to nurse Piper during the church service, but fortunately the ceremony was very short and sweet. The bride was stunning, and we enjoyed drinks and canapés at the beautiful Butley Priory. I had brought along a bottle for Piper’s 5 o’clock feed so I could enjoy a few glasses of champagne.
Piper behaved beautifully and was a huge hit with everyone.
I sloped off just after the speeches to go put the children to bed (thank you to my brother-in-law who came to collect me) and sadly missed the meal, but enjoyed a snacky dinner with my in-laws. The others returned just before 10 and we played a few rounds of cards against humanity before calling it a night.
Sunday was a predictably slow start, with plenty of bacon and eggs to tackle people’s hangovers. The kids enjoyed the sandpit and we headed back to London after lunch to face a mountain of washing!
Piper turned 10 weeks on Thursday 3rd August, making 3rd-9th August her 11th week of life. Here’s what was going on for her this week.
Where we were: Tom, Piper and I went down to my parents’ house for a long weekend on the Thursday (John had to work). Both my siblings were there too, plus my brother’s new not-quite-a-girlfriend-but-actually-yes-she-is. And my parents’ new black Labrador puppy who is just two weeks older than Piper. So it was quite a crowd.
The three of us also spent Saturday on the bank of the Thames at a little rowing regatta that I have participated in for almost 10 years now – there’s a crew of about 20 of us who have been doing it for ages which includes some of my closest friends from school. So again, quite full on for a young baby! Since the weekend was so busy and the rest of the month will be too, I’ve kept us mainly at home since we got back on Monday.
Feeding: Piper has been a speedy feeder since birth and used to finish in less than 10 minutes. She slowed up a bit this week, mainly due to all the distractions, and a couple of times I had to take her into a quieter room in order to get her to concentrate on her feed. She’s still done in less than 15 minutes usually, including burping between sides.
We did have some bottle issues this week. We offered her one on Wednesday. It was the first one she had had for about two weeks and that had been fresh milk, whereas this was from the freezer which does taste a bit different. She got very upset and didn’t want to drink it, but after half-an-hour of soothing and walking her around John did get her to drink 4 ounces (we did check the milk but the temperature was fine and it didn’t taste off or bad). I’m going to introduce a daily pump session so she can have a bottle every day and hopefully will stay used to the taste so this doesn’t occur again. We have several weddings coming up and I don’t want her to be refusing a bottle in church! I hate pumping but I do need her to take a bottle on occasion so it is worth the effort.
Sleep: I miss our nice long 2 hour naps! Piper has been suffering from the ’45 minute intruder’ for a few weeks now and we rarely get more than one day of good naps. We didn’t have any this week, but that was partly due to being away from home. Our first day back she did two really good 2 hour naps in her moses basket, but then we moved her into her new cot and she went back to waking up at the 45 minute mark again. Hopefully this will get better as she gets used to her new sleeping environment, but we are going to be away so much this month that it may take longer than it would otherwise.
When she wakes up after 45 minutes we first give her five minutes to see if she can resettle herself. If she can’t, we go in and offer her the dummy and she will typically doze for the rest of the nap, but doesn’t seem able to get back into a deep sleep. We’ve given up shush patting or rocking though as our presence just seems to wake her up more and I can’t really spend 45 minutes shush patting her with a toddler to entertain as well. Tom didn’t take a long nap until he found his thumb at about 20 weeks though, so I’m still fairly happy with how naps are going.
Nightime sleep is generally good, though she had a lot of problems settling at the start of the night at my parents’ house. The room we use there is very light and just above the kitchen, so pretty noisy. Once we got back home she was fine again, even in the new cot. She did wake once every night this week for a feed – it has been over a week since she last slept through (by which I mean from when I put her down at around 19.30-19.45 to at least 5.30 with no wake ups at all). However, she is definitely hungry when she wakes and is now sleeping until our desired wake time of 6 am pretty much every morning, so that is a bonus. She also settles very quickly after her night feed and we are generally not up for more than 20 minutes max – I can definitely live with this!
Working on: Piper never really suddenly found her hands the way Tom did. She’s been aware of them from at least 3 weeks old and has been working since then to get control of them. She definitely stepped it up a level this week though and can now get them to her mouth pretty consistently, though she can’t then keep them there. She also struggles to extend her fingers at the right angle to suck on them. She has started to try to grasp things that are held above her and will bat at a toy or my hand if I hold it for her.
Piper has been extremely chatty this week and can already make quite a wide range of different sounds. My mum reckons she’ll be a talker! She especially loves to chat to me during bath time, which is still her favourite time of day.
Other things from this week: Piper has been a sling baby since birth, as I often have Tom in a buggy still for longer outings and we don’t have a double one. Plus I need my hands free for him. This week she had her first ride in our big buggy, with the newborn insert in, whilst we were at the regatta. She was very content in it and actually slept much better than I expected, though I did have to rock her to get her down.
Schedule: I use the term schedule in a loose way. Wake-up time and bath time I do by the clock. I’ve also found I can’t persuade Piper to nurse properly if it is much sooner than 3 hours after her last feed, apart from in the late afternoon, which determines when her feeds are to a certain extent. Other than that we follow her signals for when to put her down for naps or get her up for a feed. She was managing about an hour of awake time this week so days looked broadly like this, though you can assume we were actually up to 30 minutes earlier or later on anything except wake up and bath.
6.00 – up for the day and feed (I wake her up at this time if she is not already awake)
7.00 – Nap 1
9.00 – Feed and awake time
10.00 – Nap 2
12.00 – Feed and awake time
13.00 – Nap 3
15.00 – Feed and awake time
16.00 – Cat nap 1 (in the sling if we are picking Tom up from nursery)
17.00 – Feed and awake time
18.00 – Cat nap 2 (she rarely sleeps well for this and it is the only time I’ll give the dummy at the start of the nap, so she’ll at least doze. We’ve tried keeping her up though and she is just a mess by bedtime so we prefer to at least have her in her cot where she can get some light sleep and is less likely to be over stimulated. Plus Tom needs my attention at this time of day)
18.45 – bath time
19.00 ish – bedtime ritual and feed
19.20 ish – feed over and cuddle
19.30-19.45 ish – into cot for night
One wake up any time between 1.30 and 4.00 – feed and straight back to sleep
When I last wrote on this blog, Tom was less than two years old. A lot has changed in the last 18 months. Tom is now almost three, chattering away in full sentences, potty trained, learning to dress himself and with very strong opinions on what he will and won’t do. And most importantly of all, he is now a big brother, since the arrival of our daughter Piper on 25 May 2017.
With two children to house, there are some big changes for Mr Techno and I too, and we bought our first flat in East Ham last week. We are still living in Leyton in our rental flat for the moment whilst we replace floors and paint walls, but hope to be in by the end of September. This means more big changes for Tom – not just a new home but a new nursery too. He’s been at his current nursery since he was 6 months old so we will all be sad to leave that familiar environment behind. We’ve found a lovely new one for him in East Ham though and I hope to get him registered this week. Piper will join him once she’s 6 months old, as I’ll be returning to work around then.
Outdoor time has been suffering, what with a new baby and lots of work to do on the flat. But I’ve missed having this blog as a record of our lives. I’d love to have had a written record of the early days with Tom, so I’m starting again so that I will have a record of Piper’s babyhood, as well as to chart life for Tom as a preschooler (and beyond?) This is going to be much more of a diary than it was previously and far less focused on outdoor adventures, though I hope we will continue to have many of those too. After all, a new neighbourhood means new parks to explore and a new baby means we have another child to introduce to this wonderful world.