10 things I loved last week

I’ve noticed lately that my thoughts are tending towards focusing on the negative – definitely glass half empty type stuff. I’d prefer to be concentrating on the positives, because I really am so blessed and it is worth taking the time to notice that. So each week I’ll try to keep a list of things I have loved about that week – this one covers the week commencing 9 October.

I loved that we have the internet again! We’ve been without it since we moved a month ago and I only have a very small amount of mobile data, which quickly got used up. But we finally got it installed on Friday so I’ve been able to list some items on ebay, update our budgets, and get started on some Christmas shopping. Plus, of course, get caught up with writing the kids’ updates and with reading blogs I love.

I loved eating loads of spicy Thai pickled cabbage. It’s salty and zingy and spicy and makes all the pleasure centres in my brain go off. I’ve been eating it at practically every mealtime.

I loved making overnight oats for breakfast. Filling and delicious and so, so easy to make.

I loved how randomly warm the weather was, so that Tom and I could get out to the park every day that he wasn’t at nursery.

I loved how much Tom enjoyed playing with the fort I made him out of some waste cardboard.

I loved that Piper has gotten over her cold and is her usual happy laughing self again.

I loved joining a network of local mums on Whatsapp. Looking forward to meeting some of them in real life before too long.

I loved reading Quiet by Susan Cain. I’m an introvert and it is pretty apparent that Tom is too. This is a brilliant book for highlighting some of the strengths of this type of temperament and also explores the underlying differences in brain morphology and genetics between introverts and extroverts which I found very illuminating.

I loved that John cooked dinner twice this week without me asking him to.

I loved walking to and from nursery instead of getting the bus. It’s about half an hour each way and I always feel much happier and more awake for getting that exercise first thing.


Piper – 19 weeks

Piper turned 19 weeks on Thursday 5th October, making 5th October to 11th October her 20th week of life. Here’s what was going on for her this week.

What we did: My niece and I share a birthday (6 October – she turned 3 and I turned 30!) so this week was all about birthdays. We started off by heading to my in-laws on Thursday as they were taking Tom and Rose (my niece) to the theatre. Piper napped well in the travel cot and enjoyed playing with her cousin.

Friday was my (our) actual birthday. Piper was also booked in to have her (very delayed) 16 week jabs at our old doctors’ in Walthamstow, so we went out for a family lunch at a tapas restaurant beforehand. Piper did brilliantly in the restaurant and slept in her buggy through most of the meal, then had a bottle whilst we finished up. She did not enjoy her jabs though – it was three separate injections and she screamed and screamed. It was heartbreaking to see her so upset. She was then a bit fussy that evening, but went down fine, which was lucky as my mum was babysitting her and Tom whilst John and I went out for dinner.

On Saturday we went back to my in-laws house for Rose’s birthday party. We came early so we could all have lunch and Piper could see everyone before the party started. She slept through the first half and napped really well, but wasn’t too sure about the party once she got up. She was a bit fussy anyway (presumably due to her jabs) and there were a lot of small children running around. She cheered up once most people had left and enjoyed some family time before we headed home.

She was home the rest of the week, apart from nursery pick ups.

Feeding: Piper is occasionally drinking as much as nine ounces when she has a bottle. This is made up of 4oz of formula and 5oz of breastmilk. Since she always has a bottle at 16.30 and is (mostly) going through the night without a feed, I essentially dropped two feeds at once (even though I do pump to replace the 16.30 feed). My supply seemed to have dropped a bit so I am being sure to drink more water and to take all the various supplements every day.

Sleeping: Piper slept through on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. She did wake at 3 ish on Sunday night and I expected to feed her, but gave her 10 minutes just to see if she could put herself back down and sure enough she found her thumb after 8 minutes and went back to sleep until 6. Naps were also good.

After almost a week of sleeping through (or nearly so), Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights were increasingly bad. She woke twice each night. The first waking was at a different time each night and she put herself back to sleep quickly with her thumb. The second waking, which was happening around 4 ish each night, she struggled. Since she had been going through the night I was reluctant to start night feeds again but she was clearly in need. We couldn’t work out though why she was also waking earlier in the night as it didn’t seem to be hunger (she was putting herself back down and not waking again for a few hours – if it was hunger I’d expect her to wake again within an hour or so).

On Tuesday evening I started to get a sore throat and then woke on Wednesday with a sore throat, sinus pain and a banging headache. Since I had a cold it seemed reasonable to assume that she did too, despite the lack of obvious symptoms. She’d been more tired than usual during the day and cranky during awake times. I’d thought she might be teething but a cold made sense too. Naps on Wednesday were awful so it was obviously bothering her. I don’t like to give calpol too often since there are studies that suggest overuse may lead to issues later in life, but I did give her a dose before bedtime on Wednesday – sleep being the best medicine I wanted to give her the best chance possible of getting a decent night. She slept until 2 so maybe it had helped a bit (other nights she had woken at 1 and midnight).

Working on: She’s been concentrating less on trying to roll this week in favour of playing with toys. She is so much more accurate and rarely misses when she tries to grab something. She’ll take a new object an stare at it whilst feeling it all over with her hands… and then try to put it in her mouth. She has also discovered her feet but doesn’t try to put them in her mouth, just looks at them and occasionally sort of strokes them.

Other things: We’ve always assumed Piper’s eyes would turn brown (John has blue eyes but mine are a very dark brown so we doubt I have any blue alleles to contribute). Sure enough they have started to change. Currently there is just a small ring of hazel around her pupil and so her eyes mostly look green. I can see little bits of brown radiating out too.

We moved her out of her swaddle and into a proper sleeping bag this week as the nights are getting colder and she keeps wiggling out from under the blanket. We are still using a muslin to keep her left arm swaddled within the sleeping bag though.

Schedule: Everything was very variable this week. Before she caught the cold she was transitioning to 2 hours of awake time but after she got poorly she was wanting to go down earlier again. In theory we are now aiming for this, although I don’t think we actually got there at any point!

6.00-6.30 awake and feed (woken at 6.30 if not awake earlier)

8.00-8.30 – nap 1 (start time depended on morning wake up but I tried to keep her on track for the next feed regardless by waking her if she was still sleeping).

10.00 – feed

12.00 – nap 2

14.00 – feed

16.00 – catnap

16.45 – feed

17.45 – nappy off play

18.20 – bath and pjs

18.45 – stories

19.00 – feed

19.15 – sleep

Slept through half the week, then woke twice the rest of the week, but only occasionally wanting a feed.

Piper – 18 weeks

Piper turned 18 weeks on Thursday 28th September, making 28th September to 4th October her 19th week of life. Here’s what was going on for her this week.

What we did: a very quiet week this week for Piper, who was mostly at home other than nursery runs.

Feeding: Piper has been finishing 6 ounce bottles for a couple of weeks now. It takes me two pumping sessions to get that much but I was concerned she wasn’t getting quite enough. We plan to gradually get her drinking a bottle of formula a day anyway ready for when I go back to work in January, so on Saturday I started by mixing one ounce of formula with the 6 ounces of breastmilk. She drank the full 7 ounces, so the next day I put two ounces of formula in to make an 8 ounce bottle. She drank 7 ounces again so we will stick there for a little while.

I also want to increase the amount I pump, so I’ve started taking a few supplements to increase my supply. I’m making smoothies that include brewers yeast, flaxseed, and oat milk and drinking a couple of glasses a day. I’m also mixing a couple of teaspoons of fenugreek seeds in with a cup of Pukka motherkind baby tea once a day and have upped my water intake. This started working straight away – the first evening I was able to pump 3.5 ounces instead of 2 and the second evening I got 4. I was also able to pump almost 6 ounces when I pumped to replace the feeds instead of the 3-4 I was getting. Between these two things I’m hoping to be able to give her an 8 ounce bottle every day and also be able to start building a freezer stash.

Sleeping: Naps went great on both Thursday and Friday. I did hear her occasionally at the 45 minute mark but she was putting herself back down straight away and I even had to wake her for some feeds.

Thursday night was less good. She woke at 1.30 and was struggling to put herself back down (though moaning rather than crying). I was just about to get her up to feed when she went quiet sucking her thumb. Then she woke again at 3.30 for a feed and again moaning at 5.30. Friday was much better with just a feed at 4.45.

Since it had been a week since we started leaving one arm out and she seemed to have adapted, I tried leaving both arms out on Saturday. It took her slightly longer to go to sleep for the first nap and she then struggled at the transition point – I was just about to go in with the dummy when she managed to fall asleep again by herself and slept another 20 minutes. She then wanted to go down a bit early for her next nap and was asleep almost before I left the room! That nap was pretty awful – she was waking every 15 to 20 minutes and taking a while to go back to sleep. I ended up getting her up a bit early and decided to go back to just one hand out for the next nap. Much as I would love to be done with the swaddle, it made no sense to be rushing this transition since she wasn’t yet rolling. She slept better for that nap though she did still wake a couple of times and then put herself straight back down.

Saturday night she came close to sleeping through, not waking until 5.15 and then just chatting and sucking her thumb for about 20 minutes before going back to sleep until my alarm woke her at 6.00. Sunday she seemed tired and even fell asleep on her playgym whilst john was looking after her (I had taken Tom to the park). She napped really well but just seemed especially sleepy for some reason and was wanting to go down early for every nap.

Naps were good Monday and most of Tuesday but then she struggled to get to sleep again after the transition point for her last nap on Tuesday. She went from chatting for about 20 minutes to crying so I went to try to help. After another 20 minutes she was still awake and crying so I went to make her bottle but in the 5 mins I was gone she fell back asleep. Wednesday morning she again struggled at the transition mark and just wasn’t going back to sleep. I began to wonder if she needed longer awake times. I got her up early from that nap but then pushed her to stay up a bit longer for the next nap and it was much better. Looks like another schedule change is on the horizon!

I noticed that the nights she had slept through or nearly so were when she had her bottle at 16.30 so I tried giving it to her for that feed on Tuesday and she slept through until 6.20, then did the same on Wednesday. Jackpot! It’s a bit sad because John is rarely home at that time of day so will miss giving her the bottle but it is worth it if it helps her to sleep through.

Working on: she is getting so close to rolling, especially in nappy off time. She gets almost all the way over but can’t yet work out how to tip herself over her bottom arm.

Other things: Got the first full belly laugh from her on Friday. I had her sat on my tummy as I was lying on the floor and kept lifting my head and shoulders up to grin at her. She found it hilarious.

Piper has started making that raspberry noise, especially when trying to roll over.

She is so attached to her thumb now she has found it. It’s almost always in her mouth. I often have to remove it before I can feed her.

Schedule: same as last week but sleeping through some nights. Changes to come though with lengthening awake times.

Tom monthly summary – September

What we did: We started the month by celebrating Tom’s third birthday. After a busy August and with a house move to plan, I didn’t feel up to arranging a big picnic as we’ve done for him in previous years, so instead he celebrated at nursery with his friends on his actual birthday then we had a family outing to Pizza Express the day after. John’s parents then came round on Saturday with more presents for him, which he very much enjoyed.

Thursday 7th September was Tom’s last day at his old nursery. He started there at just 6 months old. I felt quite emotional and so did the staff but Tom didn’t seem to think it was a big deal. I’m not sure he completely understood he was leaving.

Tuesday 12th September was moving day. Tom had helped me over the weekend to pack up some more stuff, then went with my mum and Piper to the park on Monday so I could supervise the packers who were doing the rest. I had worried that Tom would be disturbed seeing the whole flat in boxes but he actually handled it well. He was also really genuinely helpful over the next few days of unpacking and constructing furniture. He appears to have taken the move mostly in his stride and was a lot less bothered by the whole thing than I thought he might be, though he did ask a few times when we were going back home.

On Tuesday 19th September, we went back to the old flat to do a last clean and take some old and broken bits of furniture to the dump. John took Tom for a haircut whilst I cleaned. I think going back there and seeing it empty was actually really helpful for him in processing the move. At least he no longer worries that any of his toys have been left behind!

Tom started settling into his new nursery on 20-22 September. I had originally intended to stay the whole hour for the first day but he got straight into playing so I left him after about 15 minutes and went to the shops. The next two days he spent the whole hour there solo and had no issues.

We went to my in-laws for Sunday lunch on 24th September. My sister-in-law and her family were also there and, as usual, Tom was thrilled to see his cousin Rose. He especially enjoyed walking to the South Bank and seeing all the boats on the river.

Tom started nursery properly on Monday 25th September. He goes two days a week – Monday and Thursday. The first day went absolutely fine, although when I picked him up I discovered he hadn’t been to the toilet all day! He hadn’t had any accidents either but it can’t be good for his bladder to hold it in for so long. He ran straight to the potty once we got in. The second day he was a little worried about going and didn’t want to leave the flat. Once we got to nursery though he was fine, if a bit quiet, and was happy for me to leave.

We are getting to know our new green spaces and have made several trips to the local park. We also went to explore the East Ham nature reserve and Tom enjoyed spotting squirrels and birds.

Behaviour: For most of this month Tom’s behaviour was much improved, though he was still pushing the boundaries a little bit. He’s gotten better at responding to the phrase ‘listen to me’ or ‘I don’t think you are listening’ which are good markers for when he is getting close to crossing a line. However, the last week he began to act up a bit again. I wonder if the effects of the move were catching up to him.

If Tom does something he knows he isn’t supposed to he will always tell me about it, even if I wasn’t there to witness it.

He’s slowly improving being gentle with Piper, but still hits her occasionally. I can’t trust him alone with her yet. But he will also be really sweet cuddling and kissing her and sharing his blankies with her.

I still have to remind him to say ‘please may I have’ instead of ‘I want’. Hearing ‘I want, I want, I want’ all day is something that really triggers me so I’m hoping he’ll get this soon!

He is getting good about tidying his toys and will sometimes do it without being asked.

Working on: Tom has been getting more interested in dressing himself and now puts on his own pants, trousers and shoes, though he can’t yet manage socks. He also can now get in and out of the bath by himself. He’s still working on right and left. He’s been really interested in puzzles this month and is getting good at completing them with a little help from us. He has also mastered using his crinkle cutter knife and loves to help me cook.

Playing with: Tom got lots of new toys for his birthday. He’s especially loving his duplo, the board games I gave him, and his dinosaurs. He also loves our new mop bucket because the strainer spins around when you press the foot peddle.

Sleep: Tom coped really well with missing naps quite a few days this month. My in-laws gave him a gro clock for his birthday and he LOVES it. Every morning he comes to tell me that ‘the sunshine is up’ and he enjoys saying goodnight to the sun too. The only issue we’ve found with it is that he won’t tell us if he poops during naptime because he thinks he has to stay in bed until the sun comes up!

Eating:  since moving to the new flat, I have started giving Tom an empty plate and then letting him serve himself or choose how much of something he has on his plate. This has worked really well – he is much more likely to clear his plate now and he will take and eat vegetables without being prompted because he knows he won’t get fruit or yoghurt until he has some.

Potty: Tom has been ‘trained’ since February but we had ongoing issues with days of lots of accidents and lots of protesting about using the potty. He also tended to save pooping until he was wearing a nappy at nap or bedtime. But this month he made a real step forward. 80% of poops and 100% of wees went in the potty and he takes himself with no prompting from us. I used to be quite cynical about people waiting until three years old to train their kids but this experience makes me think that we might actually have saved ourselves some stress by waiting longer. Mind you, we would then have had two in nappies which I really wanted to avoid. He still wears a nappy for sleep and will do until he starts waking up dry some nights/naptimes.



Piper – 17 weeks old

Piper turned 17 weeks on Thursday 21st September, making 21st September to 26th September her 18th week of life. Here’s what was going on for her this week.

What we did: finally a quieter week! Tom was settling into nursery on Friday so Piper did have to come with me for that. On Wednesday she was booked to have her 16 week jabs so John took her back to our old doctors’ surgery in Walthamstow, only to find that she couldn’t have them then because not enough time had passed since her (delayed) 12 week jabs. Otherwise Piper was mostly at home this week so we had a really good chance to keep to a good schedule for her.

Feeding: still going smoothly (hurray!) I’ve been building our milk reserves back up so she was able to have a bottle every day this week. She drinks 6 ounces. She also seems to be nursing for longer and will always now have both sides.

Sleeping: After some terrible nights last week I was hoping the new schedule would help her settle this week…but not so much. Thursday was the first day we had actually been able to keep her to the new schedule. Naps were ok but she didn’t seem very tired at bedtime. She went down but then woke up again 45 minutes later. Previously when she has done this she has been able to go back to sleep again by herself within 10 minutes, but this time she didn’t and instead started crying pretty hard. I tried to settle her but 30 minutes later she was still crying and I had to pump, so John took over and eventually got her to sleep at around 21.15. Then she woke again at 22.30 so I went ahead and gave her the dummy. That night she woke every 2-3 hours.

On Friday her naps were messed up because of coming with me to settle Tom at nursery. Back at home, she seemed really tired even after her nap and started sucking her thumb and dozing off on my lap, so I put her back to bed, but this time with her right arm out of the swaddle. She managed to get to sleep sucking her thumb, but woke up 10 minutes later. This time though she managed to put her thumb back in and went back to sleep with it. She managed an hour total after that though I did hear her wake up a few times. That night I swaddled her fully again and she again woke multiple times needing the dummy.

On Saturday, I decided it was time to commit to having her sleep with one arm out of the swaddle, since she was now easily finding her thumb and obviously wanted to suck on it to sleep. She did awesome for the first nap – I heard her cry out once at the 45 minute mark but she instantly found her thumb and went back to sleep. The second two naps weren’t quite as smooth and she was waking fairly regularly (like every 15 minutes) for the second half of them, but each time would find her thumb after a few minutes and go back to sleep.

Since then, naps have remained a bit hit and miss and a couple of times I have still had to go in and give her the dummy, though she usually now spits it out and replaces it with her thumb once she has calmed down a bit. Night times though are much improved – she is waking only for feeds and uses her thumb to get back to sleep, though we did have a couple of early morning waking when we first put her arm out of the swaddle. To end the week on a high, she slept through on Wednesday – 19.15-6.30 with no wake ups. I had to wake her at 6.30!

The other big sleep news from this week is that we have dropped the fourth nap. She just wasn’t tired enough by bedtime when she slept so late in the day. Bedtime has crept slightly earlier as a result and I hope to see it move more to the 19.00 mark so she will eventually be doing 11.5 hours at night instead of 10.5.

Working on: obviously finding her thumb was the big milestone for this week and is a definite blessing when it comes to her sleep. She’s still working on rolling too and regularly moves onto her side when playing, but hasn’t yet managed a full roll.

She sometimes sits in her bouncy chair whilst we eat breakfast, so she can be part of the meal. She can now pull the toys hard enough to get them off and tries to put them in her mouth.

Other things: Piper was born with the most amazing mass of dark hair, but the roots look to be coming in a lot lighter. I wouldn’t even be surprised if she ends up turning blonde like her dad.

She is so good at entertaining herself and will happily play on a blanket or her playgym for 30 minutes or more.

She finds me doing yoga really funny. I lay her on my mat and work the poses around her and she will smile and wiggle whenever I get close to her.

She loves when I sing to her and bounce her up and down. I might start taking her to a baby music class whilst Tom is at nursery, now we are a bit more settled.

She’s too young yet to have her comforter in her cot with her but loves holding it during story time.

She turned 4 months on Monday!

Schedule:  It’s normal to have a lot of changes around the four month mark and things shifted again this week with the dropping of her 4th nap. By the end of the week we were also seeing her wake up for the day a bit later, so ended on this:

6.30 – wake and feed (woken if not already awake)

7.50-8.00 ish – nap 1 (sometimes disturbed at 45 minutes but resettles self with thumb)

9.30 – feed and playtime

11.00 – nap 2 (wakes after 45 minutes and resettles with thumb, but often wakes another few times during second half of nap)

13.00 – feed and playtime

14.30 – nap 3 (wakes after 45 minutes and resettles with thumb, but often wakes another few times during second half of nap)

16.00-16.30 ish – feed and playtime

17.45 – nappy off play

18.20 – bath then pjs

18.40 – stories

18.50 – feed

19.05 – cuddles

19.15 – bed

Usually one night feed between 2.00 and 3.30.

Oddly, the mid-nap wakings actually bother me more now than they did before she could resettle herself, when we had to give her the dummy every time. I guess maybe I was expecting her not to keep waking so frequently once she could put herself back to sleep? Also, I’m no longer in control of her going back to sleep and it is hard to listen to the times when she is struggling a bit, even though I know we need to give her the chance to manage by herself. We never let her cry for more than 10 minutes and usually I can’t even hold out for that long, but often when I go in with the intention of giving her the dummy, I find she has actually managed to put her thumb in and is going back to sleep in the time it took me to walk down the corridor. I don’t remember whether Tom also had this same issue (he found his thumb at 18 weeks but had always woken at the 45 minute mark before that, whereas Piper has done long naps before without it). I wish I had been blogging then as it would be very useful to have notes from that time now! All I have is a note from when he first went to nursery that says he might cry out 45 minutes into a nap but will go back to sleep within 5 minutes, so maybe he did have this too? Either way, Piper is new to the whole thumb sucking thing and is also still in the fourth Wonder Week so I won’t worry about trying wake to sleep or any other techniques to change it until after this leap is over.