9 month baby and body update

Oh, so many changes this month. It’s an exciting milestone too, the nine month one, because it’s “clothes-size-change month”. Which means having a proper excuse to buy more baby clothes because obviously everything is now completely the wrong size all of a sudden and the baby must have a whole new set of things which requires me browsing the internet for hours and mooching about in M&S and John Lewis and Mothercare and cooing over little leather pram shoes and dungarees and items that will be a nightmare to take on and off for changing nappies but will look cute. Shallow, I know, because I should be banging on about the wonders of child development, etc etc, but by God baby shopping is addictive. I get more excited about miniature clothing than I do about my own!

Also (pretending to be a proper parent now) it’s so satisfying when you move to the next size, because (though obviously clothes sizes and baby development aren’t intrinsically linked!) it’s a reminder that things are always changing and there are going to be loads of new things that happen. It’s like advancing a level on Sonic the Hedgehog. You just get used to one level (tiny baby! 0-3 month baby! 3-6 month baby!) working out where the pitfalls are and knowing exactly where to jump to collect the most coins (?!?) and then all of a sudden you’re thrust into this whole new baby world. And you think, what in God’s own name am I supposed to be doing now? Only time will tell. Let’s get on with the update.

Baby

Firstly, the baby is waving. Waving! I know that on the scale of things this perhaps won’t be the most important skill she’ll learn (unless she wants to be a traffic controller) but the first time I said “wave”, and she waved, was quite possibly one of the best moments of my whole entire life. It was like discovering an alien life form and the alien saying “hey there”. Houston, communications are all systems go.

Secondly, the baby has started to sleep through. This is epic. The strange thing is that before she was sleeping through, and I was still getting up three or four times a night, I felt as though everyone else with babies had managed to get theirs sleeping from 7pm-7am. Now that mine is sleeping, I feel almost embarrassed about it, as though everyone else is suffering and I’m Mrs Smug Pants. Please believe me when I say that I am far from smug – it’s just a pleasant mixture of disbelief and utter relief. Tainted, I should say, with the fact that I’ve developed a small bout of insomnia which will surely pass, especially if I start having a bit of red wine before bed. Purely medicinal. Will everyone throw rotten vegetables at my head if I also say that – maybe I should whisper – I actually really miss the baby when she’s asleep? I have to resist the urge to go tiptoeing into her room to watch her sleeping. The only way I stop myself is to imagine how I’d feel if I opened my eyes from a deep slumber to see someone lurking over me. Especially someone lit by the glow of their iPhone screen, wearing a Shu Uemura sheet-style face mask.

Weaning continues to go well, if by “go well” you mean “the baby really likes Ella’s Kitchen pouches” and “the parents still haven’t really got their heads around cooking things for a small being who will just chuck it all at the white walls”. I do try lots of different bits and pieces, but I worry that she’s just faffing and not eating and she does so love the spaghetti bolognese pouch. She eats mountains of that compared to anything else. I’m trying to introduce larger pieces of green stuff, but so far the dog ends up getting about 98% of it. Experiments with porridge, cereals, fresh fruit and natural yoghurts all end up the same way – Mango Baby Brekkie pouch goes down a treat. So what’s a woman to do? Tonight I’m trying a bit of (mild, no-salt) lamb curry. I’ll update you. It could be explosive.

No crawling yet, but the rolling continues to go from strength to strength; if rolling happened to become an olympic sport I reckon I’d have a gold medalist on my hands. Her rolls are almost too fast for the human eye to distinguish, no longer can I browse ASOS and be on “roll watch” at the same time. (Don’t lie, you’ve done it.)

And we have something of a routine. I doubt it’s perfect, and it doesn’t happen at the same time “to the minute” every day, but it has made life slightly less chaotic. Up at 7.30am-ish for a quick feed (still breastfeeding, unless we’re out or travelling in the car, when a bottle of that ready-made Aptimil is a total lifesaver!) and then a bit of a lounge about in bed playing “plastic duck on my head” (don’t ask) until 8. Breakfast at some point between 8 and 9, then playing until 11 when I turn on this weird music from Youtube and wait for her to have a nap. She never naps in the cot, always either in the pushchair or in the living room in the Swoon Up bouncer, though she’s probably a bit big for that now, so we’ll have to find an alternative soon…

Then, another feed, lunch at about one, playing until 3 and another nap. Maybe only half an hour, an hour tops, but this one is usually in the pushchair when we’re walking the dog or – my favourite trick – in the kitchen with the extractor fan on full power! I find that if all else fails, I start cooking, extractor fan whirring away, and within ten minutes she’s asleep. This is the baby who didn’t nap for months and months – it seems that a bit of perseverance pays off. In this case, at least. (I also love an app called Sound Sleeper – it has a noise called “Market” and that one works wonderfully in the evening if bedtime is becoming a struggle.) Dinner at 5.30/6, bath at 6.30, bed by 7. Job done.

I make it sound simple but of course, this daily routine is thwarted on a regular basis – car drives that lull the baby into a three hour nap, visitors who delay bedtime, trips to friends’ houses that completely rejig the timings… We’re not rigid, and I always used to roll my eyes when parents talked about routines, but my God it makes things so much easier. I feel as though I have more time and more control over my life. The next step is to get someone to help out for two days a week so that I can work properly – it’s almost impossible working from home when you want to spend all of your time with your baby. And trying to film beauty videos when you have a baby trying to eat the makeup brushes isn’t ideal…

Body

This is probably too much information but – how shall I phrase this? – the Lady in Red has returned to the building. Aunt Flo has risen from the dead. The town has had a repaint after a long, unpainted hiatus. And along with the return of this monthly annoyance, a bout of not-so-great skin. Now during pregnancy (last bit) and new baby, my skin has been the best it has ever been in my life. Clear as you like, not a spot in sight and with a delicate, almost translucent quality. Bit dry, but I can cope with that for a spot-free existence. Now? There are a good few pustules I’m trying to keep at bay. It’s worrying. It’s like those zombie films where they’ve barricaded the absolute shit out of the house, but there’s a little gap at the top of one window and you see a zombie eye through the chink in the curtains and you know that – sooner or later – it’s game over. The zombies will infiltrate the building.

Hopefully it’s a small bump in the road – only time will tell. Boobs are still on the shrink, I reckon, though a photo of me from the other day flashed up on the computer and I looked as though my chest had been inflated with a tyre pump, so maybe I just have some kind of chest-dismorphia.

That’s enough overshare for one month: see next time. Maybe we’ll have some crawling going on!

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baby asleep sitting up

Sharing a room with a baby is great, for a while. You can watch them as they sleep, feel safe in the knowledge that they’re by your side and you can hear every murmur and sigh. What’s not so great is that they can hear your every murmur and sigh and so you have to spend any waking bedroom moments holding your breath and attempting to paralyse your own muscles so that you don’t inadvertently rustle the duvet or knock the bedpost with your elbow. Because any noise you make will be the wrong kind of noise. For some reason, babies can fall asleep to the sound of a hairdryer or a jetplane taking off but if you drop a paper clip on the bathroom floor three rooms away they suddenly develop supersonic hearing.

Now that we’ve moved the baby into her own room, noise-related waking incidents have been reduced to a minimum, but the memory of having to tiptoe to the toilet like a comedy burglar is still fresh in my mind. Here are five things that (will) might happen just as you’ve got your baby to sleep:

  1. Your phone will make a series of beeps because your Mum is texting you. And Mums can’t just send one long, considered text, they have to send a series of them, one after the other, reeling them off as they think of new things to say or make complicated amendments to the previous texts. And the texts never make any sense because Mums seem to trust autocorrect implicitly and don’t feel the need to check its evil workings. “Hello dear! The wallpaper is a NO but H has built a pudding in the skatepark so don’t joggle on the cakestand or the rrri will bnt.” BEEP BEEP!
  2. If it’s in the daytime, someone from Amazon will come and deliver a parcel. But if your Amazon man is like my Amazon man, he won’t be able to ring the doorbell once like a normal person, he will feel the need to ring the doorbell three times and knock on the wood of the door simultaneously, like the one-man-band of door knocking. He may as well go to the back of his van, pull out the world’s biggest percussion mallets and play your trellis like a xylophone or strike your dustbin like a gong, or play bongos on your windowsill, just to make sure you’ve heard that he’s downstairs and he’s waiting.
  3. You will sneeze, cough, or belch. True fact: I have only burped or belched a handful of times in my entire adult life. I’ve tried, believe me, because nothing beats a well-timed burp for comic effect, but I simply can’t do it. Perhaps my plumbing is wrong, I don’t know, but I can tell you that one of those handful of burps happened just a couple of months ago and it woke up the baby. The irony! I was creeping in to check on her in her cot and leant over slightly to touch her face and – just as my head was entering the cot-space – a huge belch was forced from my mouth! I was speechless! The baby cried for ages. It must have been a bit of a shock, to be fair. It was quite loud. Coughing is the worst though; I’ve had three separate coughs since I had the baby and trying not to cough when they’re asleep is like trying not to cough in school assembly. You can cough once, that you can get away with, but don’t think you can keep on coughing. That’s just pushing your luck. You have to swallow it back like a mouthful of ants, or a ball of tangled hair, depending on the cough severity, and you have to lie there making that weird, strained, no-cough noise until it finally bursts out.
  4. You will tread on a toy. But it won’t just be a squeaky toy like in the adverts (haha! He was trying to be quiet and he trod on the robot and it spoke!), it will be a complicated “learning” toy that is as difficult to extract your foot from as a bear trap. Attempt to shake it free and it will only grip harder; calmly lean down to switch off the speaker and it will, instead, increase its volume. “I’m a fluffy moo cow all day long, I’m a fluffy cow and this is my song!” You might tread – if you’re especially unfortunate – on something that sings, flashes lights and has velcro on it. Then you must do the special emergency extraction dance, looking like Lee Evans on acid, mouthing “FOR F*CK’S SAKE” as you take long, hopping strides towards the safety of the exit, tripping over the cord of the baby monitor and knocking the mirror from the wall.
  5. Your duvet, which pre-baby seemed like a harmless, inanimate household object, will become your worst enemy. You will never know how crinkly and rustle-y a duvet can be until you try to get under one when a baby is asleep in the room. Imagine trying to slide yourself into the world’s largest crisp packet whilst wearing cellophane pyjamas. Or stealthily drop down to hide yourself in a ballpool filled with maracas. Neither of these tasks are a patch on attempting to settle down to sleep beneath a John Lewis All Seasons duvet. Ditto popping a Strepsil from the foil packet: you may as well try to storm the White House riding an elephant with an army of cymbal-playing monkeys as your lookouts.

Any other things that happen when the baby has just gone to sleep? Please do add them below. I’ll just have to try and remember not to read them whilst the baby is asleep, because that would be ironic…

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mokee cot bed review

I’m very behind with this post, we moved Angelica into a cot just after the New Year (into her own room three weeks ago), I just haven’t had time to write about it! The Snuzpod bedside crib we had her in since birth was just absolutely brilliant; it honestly made life so easy having her right next to me. No lifting in the night, just sliding the baby across – which is unbelievably helpful, especially if you’ve had a C-Section and you’re finding it hard to get up.

But the baby was the same length as the Snuzpod by six months, so it was time to start looking for a proper cot. I also had started to feel a bit “hemmed in” by the bedside crib – having to shimmy down the bed to get out, not having a space next to me to put a phone or glass of water or Kindle. I was quite eager to get back to normality, in terms of my sleeping situation. But I still wanted to have the baby in the same room – I was ready for bedside space, but not quite ready to stop being roommates – and space in our bedroom is, to put it nicely, “at a premium”. It’s not so much that it’s a small room, more that the stuff in it is large.

So one of the main criteria for a cot was that it was petite. I actually looked at some of the space-saving cots, but Angelica is quite tall and I thought that it might be a false economy to keep on having to change her bed every time I moved her! All cots appeared to be about 120cmx60cm, which was fine, but I was also tempted by the idea of a cot bed, which would convert into a little mini bed, meaning that it would be used for a much greater length of time. But the cot beds were all 140cm – I would have been climbing into the bloody thing to get out of the door!

mokee cot bed review

Oh, I spent hours researching cots on my iPhone throughout my nighttime breastfeeding sessions (they were still happening – lots of them – until three nights ago, when she started to sleep through, post on that soon) and came to the conclusion that I’d have to get a standard cot because a cot bed simply wouldn’t fit. But then I stumbled across the Mokee website*. Mokee make minimalist nursery furniture in beautiful colours (it’s sort of Farrow and Ball meets Heals) and they have a cot (120x60cm) that actually transforms into a bed with a quick removal of a side panel and addition of an extra strut. Marvellous – problem solved.

It was love at first sight when it came to the website; I hadn’t seen many other cots displayed in such an attractive way – very Instagram-friendly – and I loved that the finish options were all so pretty and expensive looking. The cost of this picture-perfect cot? £69.95!

mokee cot bed review

The design of the Mokee is pretty simple – there’s no drop-down side, but then I didn’t want one of those anyway. There are various mattress heights, the build quality is great and the cot is easy to put together. (Easy as in, you may need two of you, but you won’t kill each other out of frustration. Not easy as in “try to build it on your own when you’re nine months pregnant, but then you should be putting your feet up if you’re nine months pregnant. Let someone else do it.) A particular bonus, for me at least, is that you can buy a colour-matched drawer to slide underneath the cot – it’s big enough to hold just about all of the linen you need for the mattress as well as your sleeping bags and emergency muslin cloths and so on. I’ve started bunging all kinds of things in my drawer – books, odd socks, credit card bills… Give me a drawer and I will fill it with crap.

Anyway, if you’re looking for an affordable cot that looks – and feels – like a top-end nursery piece, Mokee is what you need. I’ve compared the Mokee to some of the “entry level” cots from major baby places that are about the same price and the Mokee is head and shoulders above the competition. The fact that the colour finishes are so pretty is a massive plus – the aqua is just gorgeous and relatively unisex, if you want to be able to use the cot a number of times. I went for “Grey Stone” because it matches my very neutral interior, but I must admit that I was tempted by the pink…

The Mokee is pictured with a Sleepyhead Grand inside (online here) – it fits very nicely and there are new covers for the Grand with gorgeous designs. I did try and wean the baby off the Sleepyhead, but then they sent me the Grand to to review (post coming soon) and I’ve got the same baby-with-Sleepyhead-addiction problem all over again. She bloody loves it. Snug as a bug in a rug. My Mum thinks she should be free to roll over and do her cot gymnastics but when I take the Sleepyhead away, she wakes up all night long, so… I’m tackling one thing at a time.

mokee cot bed review

Mokee also do very lovely co-ordinating cot-top changing mats, castors for the legs so that the cot is more portable, cot linen and mattresses. All at really very good prices – and, though I can only vouch for the linen first-hand, very good quality. You can find the Mokee website here.

*Mokee very kindly provided this cot and drawer for review but I absolutely would buy this cot many times over – it’s great value for money and so many people have commented on it when they’ve stuck their head into the nursery. The giant Miffy lamp in the pictures is the Miffy XL and was a present from Mr AMR a few years ago. You can still get them online here.

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