wooden advent calendar gltc

I bought this brilliant little wooden advent calendar “cabinet” a few weeks ago. It’s from a great kids’ toy brand called Great Little Trading Company – really well-made, attractive wooden toys that are such a blessed relief in what has become a sea of garish plastic in my living room.

I didn’t know whether Angelica was too small for an advent calendar – she certainly won’t understand what it is this year – but I wanted to get something that would last her for years and years and that would become something of a tradition. I love the tiny doors on this wooden one, the Christmas figures on the top of the cabinet (easily removable so hopefully they won’t snap when it’s in storage) and the countdown messages inside each cubby hole.

wooden advent calendar gltc

The idea is that I fill the spaces with different things each year and, as Angelica gets older, the surprises get more interactive. So they could be little rolled up scrolls with challenges on them, or activities to do in the run-up to Christmas. “Find pine cones and spray them silver,” that kind of do-goody twee thing that in my previous life would have made me do sick into my mouth. I sort of want to steer away from the whole “sweets and chocolate” thing, at least on the whole (putting them inside random days will make finding them that bit more pleasurable!), so that the advent calendar becomes this really exciting part of the Christmas preparation rather than a glorified sweet holder. (In truth, it’s because I know I’ll eat all of the sweets in the evening and keep having to refill the calendar every day and I’ll be the size of a house. I haven’t turned into a fun-less, functional bra-wearing berk. Not yet.)

wooden advent calendar gltc

So I’ve been wracking my brains to think of little things to put inside that Angelica will get excited about but she’s still so small and it’s quite a challenge! Any ideas you have, send them my way. I was thinking about tiny gingerbread bites for some of the days (there goes my “no sweets” sentiment) and I have these amazingly cheap-but-cute finger puppets that I bought from Amazon here

amazon finger puppets

They were £7.98, which I thought wasn’t too bad for twelve little finger puppets. I just have to find something for the other twelve days, now! The beauty of the refillable cubby holes is, I suppose, that you could even put perishables in a few minutes before the door is due to be open, though I’m the sort of person who would like to know that each space has been filled in advance before the 1st December…

wooden advent calendar gltc

You can find the GLTC wooden advent calendar online here – it’s £40, but if you’re reading this on Cyber Monday then it’s £20. Sorry for those getting this email the next day, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles in terms of email scheduling I’m afraid!

Follow:

29 weeks pregnant bump pic

Oh! Where did the posts for weeks 27 and 28 go? I’m so sure that I wrote them! I also filmed some vlogs, but I have no idea where the footage is. Perhaps I’m finally going stark raving bonkers. It’s been on the cards for a while…

What’s been happening, you might ask? Well, the past few weeks have been dominated by the whole VBAC debacle (posts here and here, if you need to catch up) and, to be quite honest, there haven’t been many other developments. Lots of quite painful kicking into the bladder (the baby is breech at the moment – seems to be my trademark) and weird sort of rummaging sensations, which I’m sure I didn’t have last time. It’s as though the baby is spreading its fingers and kneading me from the inside! There was a shocker of a moment the other day when (please skip this if you’re at all squeamish) an elbow appeared through my Teletubby tummy window.

Yes, that’s what I said. My Teletubby tummy window. Please tell me someone else has one of these. A big, round, stretched piece of skin where their tummy button used to be that is virtually transparent and around the size of a very small saucer? Like an espresso cup’s saucer? It freaks me the hell out, I’m not afraid to say. It’s tight as a drum and I keep thinking I might suddenly see the baby’s face pressing up against it, like an astronaut at a spaceship porthole. Christ, imagine. Anyway, the next worst possible thing happened, which was the elbow appearing. I didn’t even notice it, but I went to get up from the table and something caught (UGH! UGH!) on the edge of it, it felt like I’d caught my coat button or something except that I wasn’t wearing a coat! There were no buttons! It was a little elbow.

Has that happened to anyone else? Angelica was very self-contained and really didn’t make herself that known whilst she was inside, this one is like a hyperactive chimp! Although things peaked, I think, in about week 27 – the movements are a lot more bulgey and rolly now, rather than sharp kicks and stabs. I had forgotten, though, how comforting the movements are – in comparison to the first trimester, or in fact up until 20-ish weeks, when you have no real way of knowing how the baby’s doing. Though some mornings I wake up and freak out if I don’t feel any kicks of movements in the first half an hour – it sets me up for a really bad day if this happens, because I hate myself for panicking and the anxiety puts me on edge even when the movements have started up again.

In other news, I’m making a concerted effort to eat more healthily (she says, chomping on a mini Magnum!) and get more greens into my diet. For dinner I quickly cooked up a load of baby spinach, garlic and fresh red chilli in olive oil, threw in some tiger prawns and tossed the whole lot together with penne pasta. It was delicious and I need to stop being so lazy with my food – it took eleven minutes in total to make my dinner (husband has man-flu so I very nearly just made myself a cheese sandwich!), surely I can find eleven minutes each night to just chuck some fresh things together in a pan. Surely. (*makes a mental note to add “eating properly” to my current “things I wish I had time for” list, which includes “washing hair” and “cutting toenails” and “finding online banking details”*)

The whole being pregnant whilst having a just-toddling toddler issue goes from strength to strength – I’m not sure whether it’s getting easier or harder as the pregnancy progresses. I’m finding it more difficult to pick Angelica up – I can barely get off the floor myself let alone lift her at the same time! – but then she’s walking quite well and seems to be relatively stable so at least I don’t need to hunch over quite so much. I don’t feel as tired as I did previously, either, though I can’t do much in the way of physical exertion – I nearly gave up wheeling the pram up our road today! We were off to the park and I thought I’d have a heart attack before we even got to the top.

In summary: I’m very, very large in the stomach department (“you’re all bump!” people keep saying) and I have a stretched skin window that might or might not at some point reveal a baby face, if I happen to be looking in the mirror at the time. Marvellous! It’s all going swimmingly – I’ll try to get back to the weekly diaries from now on, seeing as there are only ten left…

(The gorgeous snakey dress in the photograph is the Willis dress from Isabella Oliver – you can find it online here.)

Follow:

vbac pros and cons

Firstly, thank you so much for all of your comments on the previous VBAC post. I really found them very useful, and somehow quite reassuring – it’s easy to get lost in your own thoughts and think that nobody else is in the same boat as you. But it seems that the whole VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean section) issue is a huge one and affects so many people. I’m so touched that so many of you shared your stories and experiences, or simply piped up with your thoughts and opinions – I’ve enjoyed reading them and I will get to replying.

I wanted to update you as soon as I’d been to the VBAC class (which was a compulsory class run by my local hospital) so that things are still fresh in my memory. I did take notes, but there were a couple of things that occurred to me as I sat there, and I think that they are quite important revelations.

I’ll start by saying that many of your comments on the previous post put me in a great place in terms of going to the VBAC class with a very open mind. Hearing about your experiences, and the fact that so many of you reported on them in a very calm and collected manner, made me feel more confident and in control. Rather than going to the class on the defensive, thinking that the midwife would try to push me in a certain direction – either direction! – I went in feeling as though things were under my control. That it was my decision. And so, as I sat down, I felt that I could listen to the pros and cons and whatever the midwife had to say and that I could absorb the information without feeling irritated or pressurised or frightened.

So far so good, until about thirty seconds in when the old “just because you’ve had one c-section, don’t think you can have another!” statement came out. Now look. This sort of thing really riles me. I know that it was a sort of “shock tactic” by the midwife to get her point across (and actually, she was brilliant, a great source of info, and the one-on-one at the end was very enlightening) but seriously: you’re talking to a room full of women who have had an emergency c-section previously. It’s not that they want to be in this position, of having to talk about burst scars and “gentle” inductions and the possibility of a repeat emergency section – nobody is there to take the “easy option”! I think that this has to be my main bugbear with the whole way that the VBAC issue is approached. I feel as though I’m being punished for being “soft” or “too posh to push” when my situation during the birth of my first child was totally unavoidable. Also, is it any wonder that these women are slightly apprehensive (or downright terrified) of a “natural” birth? Let’s think this through: they’ve had an emergency c-section previously, which means – quite likely – that something went wrong during delivery. It’s fairly safe to say that their experience of birth has been traumatic in some way. A quick whizz around the class revealed this to be true – stalled labours that had been aggressively “augmented”, instrumental interventions, stuck baby-heads, high-speed dashes to the operating theatre, lost blood, and so on and so on. If you’ve had this sort of experience (and it seems that many women have these traumas, and worse, with or without c-sections) then isn’t it understandable that you’re not all gleeful about it potentially happening again?

Anyway, after this little revelation I sort of felt better about things. I listened to the stats and to the pros and cons, but in the back of my mind, a little voice kept saying, “do you know what? Do what is best for you. Sod everyone else. Find out what’s safest for you and then do it.”

So now it’s all about doing what’s best. Or the least risky. I want to find out whether I’m carrying a large baby again, because for me that’s a big factor after the consultant said that I would never have delivered naturally. (I know I’m obsessing over that, but it’s a hard one to shake from my head.) I want to find out which way my baby is lying, too (the last was breech, this one seems to be always head-up!) but obviously both of those things are a little later on down the line. And this was the main thing that I came away with, actually – the fact that I don’t need to make a decision now. I’ve got plenty of time. I can arm myself with information, but not too much information, and I can try and find out as much as I can about the size and presentation of the baby and then make my decision accordingly. Apparently there’s no scan offered as a routine measure, but I can have an appointment with a consultant at 34 weeks and they will order one then if they think it necessary. The control freak in me is tempted to book one of the Mothercare scans before then, just to satisfy my own curiosity! I think that it would be £99 very well spent… Scanoholic!

Some things that I learned from asking my hundreds of questions (I’m sure the midwife wanted to kill me):

  1. The main concern with VBAC or repeat section is that the uterine scar (so inside, not the one you can see in your bikini line) is weak and can split. But it’s really, really rare. And so that’s why they push for a VBAC because if – and it’s the “if” that plays on our minds, I suppose – everything goes to plan, it’s less complicated than having major surgery and there’s less downtime.
  2. So about that “if”. Can things really go to plan if you’ve previously had a section? Or is it likely that the things that caused you to have a section the first time will repeat themselves? Depends what those things were, apparently. If you had a breech baby and this one is downwards (mine is breech at the moment, again, as per 28 week check!) then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to labour normally. They say. But you’re supposed to discuss your individual birth story with the midwife and then consultant so that they can go through what happened in more detail and whether it’s something that’s likely to happen again.
  3. VBACs in my hospital can’t take place in the birthing unit, they need to be in the labour ward so that the baby and the scar can be constantly monitored. Do they have wireless monitors? Only in one of the labour rooms. Is a water birth possible? Again, only in that one room. So I suppose it’s pot-luck, otherwise you’re limited in your positions and surrounded by the scary-looking equipment, which was precisely what I was told you didn’t want, when I had my classes the first time around!

I suppose this is what puts me off a VBAC quite a lot: it’s not as though it’s going to be set up in the same conditions as the ones that they say are optimal for birth. A calm, dimly-lit environment with minimal doctor interference and (hopefully) no intervention – plenty of space to move around in, for your partner to help you move around in… In my natural birthing classes, we were told that the labour ward gave the exact opposite conditions for a good birthing environment, so I feel as though I’m being encouraged to try for a “natural” birth but in a sort of labour-hostile place! Melodramatic, sorry, just trying to get my point across clearly…

Now all of this is currently a bit of a moot point, as I’ve just found out that I have another large (at a guess) breech baby. Could still turn of course, and it’s too early to tell whether it will definitely be breech, but if it is then I have no choice. My hospital wouldn’t allow a VBAC in that case. But that little twist in the tale ignored, I’m still no closer to really knowing what I would want to do. Just going to the hospital and having my blood test last week have me the heebies! An elective section isn’t something I would particularly look forward to, though obviously I can’t wait to see the baby and want him or her to come out in the safest manner…but then would I stress so much during a natural labour that it would just be a nightmare?

Oh also, I forgot to say: I was twelve days overdue with Angelica. They do let you go overdue with a VBAC at my hospital, but then you have to be induced at a certain point, and they have to be very careful with the induction as they can’t make the uterus strain too much with the drugs (does that sound right?) and so I can just imagine that bloody well ending up in an emergency c-section too!

Humph. I shall continue to ponder. I had some stats to show you but I can’t find the links – I’ll do another post with the guidelines I found and so on. Cheers again for the comments, keep them coming!

Follow:

baby 17 months diary

Well it’s all go over here! A walking baby (yes, I know, she’s a toddler now) and another one kicking around in the proverbial oven waiting for its debut appearance in approximately twelve weeks time. Argh! I think, when New Baby arrives, that I’ll do a sort of monthly amalgamation post, covering Baby 1, Baby 2 and Me. Otherwise the whole diary-keeping thing is going to get seriously out of hand. But for now: Baby and Body, 17 Months…

Baby

We’re almost there with talking. We get a lot of “BYE” and a lot of “Dada” and a little bit of “Mama” and then, now and again, Angelica will come out with something that sounds exactly like it’s supposed to. For example, she pointed at Mr Bear and said, as clear as day, “Mr Bear”. The other most-used word is “more” – more of everything, please. “Keys”, “shoes”, “Dexter” (the dog) and “Sshhhhh” when it’s time for bed. What amazes me is that she understands everything – she can’t talk, but she knows exactly what I’m asking her to do. Put the monkey into the spaceship and close the door – perfectly understood. Why don’t you find the dolly and put her in the cart with your books? Loud and clear. It’s as though she’s just been quietly sitting and absorbing information, which is both brilliant and slightly scary – I keep doing a mental sweep of the past six months and wondering how many colourful phrases she might have accidentally heard! Imagine if she just suddenly said “cock womble” or “Trump is a f*ck trumpet” or something! God.

baby 17 months diary

I have a feeling that 90% of her vocabulary will involve space-talk: aliens, martian moon bases, robots, alien dogs, robot dogs, spacemen, rockets, moon shuttles. She knows them all and also knows to cheer after the rocket countdown has begun and the man gets to “lift off”! Ha. Blame Early Learning Centre and Happyland for that – I went a bit crazy on eBay buying up the discontinued space stuff. Though I see that they now make the rocket again – it’s here online if you want to take a look.

Eating habits are getting better: we really made a rod for our own backs by lazily feeding her Ella’s Kitchen for too long! We still use the chunky pouches and the toddler meals (they’re invaluable when you’re out and about) but most of the time we’re just sitting down to eat with her and she gets mini portions of whatever we’re having. It was a bit of a rigmarole getting her to eat anything at first, but now she happily sits there with her spoon and little fork and copies us as we shovel down pasta or whatever it is that we’re having. Veg is still a difficult area, but, thinking back to my own childhood, when is it not a difficult area? I hated eating veg until I was about eighteen and yes, I had it from baby age…

baby 17 months diary

The main lesson we learnt from the whole feeding thing was that you have to be quite tough, sometimes. It’s probably the first time we’ve really had to put our foot down with her – there have been a few table-related mini-tantrums – and I’m totally soft when she turns on the waterworks! But I suppose that this is the age that they start to be independent and want to do things their own way. Ah, how much simpler life is when you can just spoon food down and sit them in one place and pop them down for a nap about a billion times a day…

baby 17 months diary

Anyway, everything’s a lot of fun. Lots of giggling and game-playing – she’s really starting to develop an edgy little sense of humour! I kiss her and try to cuddle her a lot more than I ever have done, because she’s still so cuddly and baby-like but also with this irresistible personality – it’s a deadly combination if you want to get anything done with your day! I must take a photo of her on my iPhone every seven minutes…

Body

Really, see my pregnancy updates for everything body-related, but in general I have to say that it is very hard carrying one baby on the inside and another on the outside! I go down the stairs at the rate of about one step per ten seconds because a) I can’t see where I’m going with my feet and b) I have to cling on to the bannister for dear life in case I send all three of us crashing down! It’s quite incredible, though, how the body adapts to different stresses – I use my thigh muscles a lot more now, because I automatically try to put less strain through my abs (ha! what abs?) and lower back if I’m lifting Angelica. Not a conscious thing at all, just something that’s naturally evolved. Clever old bodies, eh? I might look like a hairless silverback gorilla when I sit in the bath and my boobs rest on my belly, but it’s really doing something quite miraculous. Three cheers, etc…

Follow:

winter baby clothes

Get it before it goes: I absolutely adore this little hat-and-mittens set from Sainsbury’s, with its Liberty-esque floral print and soft furry fabric. Seven quid. Look at Angelica’s face:

baby on swing

Full happy with that hat. She does try to take it off, a lot, but it’s quite a snug fit, so she has difficulty, especially with the mittens on too! You can find the hat and mittens online HERE – she’s also wearing her little GAP coat and GAP boots. If you missed the clothing haul video, take a look at that post HERE.

I’m popping the video below, just as a little experiment, because I’ve been having the most ridiculous battle with my emailing software, trying to get videos to show up properly. You can’t play a video from the subscriber email, but this one should show up as a little picture of a video and if you click it (with any luck) it should play the video via your phone’s Youtube app or just automatically open up a new page on your computer. Let me know – you may have had a very weird email yesterday with a huge black box covering half the page!

 

Follow:

baby and toddler clothing haul

I hate the word “haul” but I’m not sure what else to call this video other than “Ruth shows you the mountain of baby clothes that has been accumulating in the corner of the room”. Do enjoy – there are some real gems here, including the Liberty-esque-print hat and gloves from Sainsbury’s and the monster feet slippers from GAP! Everything shown is listed and linked to beneath the video screen.

Products Shown:

GAP Floral Coat: http://bit.ly/2g2PYys

GAP Snowsuit: http://bit.ly/2eK4tCb

GAP Tulle Tutu Leggings: http://bit.ly/2eK3HVZ

GAP Bear Hoodie: http://bit.ly/2eKaVJC

GAP Pink Boots: http://bit.ly/2eK1nhO

GAP Yeti Monster Slippers: http://bit.ly/2g2LTdQ

Blade & Rose Leggings: http://amzn.to/2eK4kij

JJMMBB Polar Bear Sleepsuit: goo.gl/9eiTVT

NEXT Fairaisle Sleepsuits: goo.gl/yaOza1

NEXT Snowman Suit: goo.gl/51LuJZ

NEXT Faux Fur Collar Coat: goo.gl/9jEhDt

NEXT Fluro Pompom Cardigan: goo.gl/H62PZV

Next Fox Hat: goo.gl/SoqdvQ

H&M Floral Vest – may be discontinued! Have a hunt…

HM Jacquard Knit Jumper: goo.gl/sntKT2

HM Grey Bodysuits: goo.gl/XNHgM2

HM Star Knitted Leggings: goo.gl/yxFO9b

HM Tutu: goo.gl/wqjD6h

HM Pink Heart Trousers: goo.gl/eCuhcc

HM Pink Dress – can’t find this, maybe in store?

Sainsbury’s Hat and Mittens: goo.gl/2uM5kE

Sainsbury’s Tights: in store

M&S Rabbit Vests: http://bit.ly/2eKby5N

M&S Pear Dress: http://bit.ly/2g2Hwzk

M&S Pear Shoes: http://bit.ly/2eK3fXS

Mothercare Cuddle Sweatshirt: goo.gl/ctveCH

Mothercare Coral Cardigan: goo.gl/6zlTxi

Follow:

vbac vs planned section

Oh I’m having a right old quandary at the moment. This VBAC vs Planned C-Section business. It’s getting near to the time when I have to decide how I want to give birth and all of the powers that be (namely whoever I see for my ante-natal appointments) won’t stop banging on about VBAC, or “Vaginal Birth After Caesarean”. Tomorrow I have to go to a special VBAC class, otherwise I can’t even see a consultant to talk about another Caesarean.

Now listen: I did not want a c-section when I gave birth to Angelica. I wanted a water birth and – although I tried to keep an open mind, because I know things don’t always go to plan – I read the natural birthing books, I practised my breathing, I listened to some berk on my iTunes telling me to “breathe baby out through my vulval petals”. I envisaged the birth being very hard work, painful, but joyous and I really really hoped that I would be able to labour, deliver and get the hell out of the hospital within a day. I hate hospitals, I hate machines, I hate needles and I hate hate hate the idea of catching something whilst in a hospital. I’m almost hospital-phobic, but not quite. Borderline.

So that just gives you a bit of background as to the first C-Section I underwent – somewhere, there’s a birth story sort of post, I shall find that and stick a link in HERE should you wish to read it. The C-Section was a last resort – labour had stalled, nobody had spotted that I had a breech baby and the baby was showing signs of distress. So, after waiting a few hours for my digestive tract to clear (I’d eaten some Tracker bars that morning to “keep my labour energy up”!), in I went to have my baby delivered out through a cut in my tummy and I must have been the most panicked, weepy and annoying patient ever in the history of C-Sections. I panicked at every single stage whether they were shaving off the top bit of my pubic hair or messing up the cannula that needed to go into my hand. (Honestly, the cannula was the worst part of the whole thing, I reckon – it really was cocked up quite badly.) Not that I was ungrateful about any of this – I knew it needed to happen (labour had stalled, there was no way I was naturally delivering a breech baby, not on their watch!), it just wasn’t the way I wanted things to happen.

But hey-ho. You just have to get on with those things, don’t you? The question now, is what do I do for this birth? Let me talk you through my crazy mind-ramblings.

On the one hand, I would LOVE to be able to have a natural birth. Not because I’m some natural birth warrior hero who wants to “experience the joys of birth” and definitely not because I feel as though I “missed out”, but because the recovery would be so different to that of a C-Section. (With any luck.) I’d be able to pick up my toddler, I’d be able to drive and – hopefully – I’d be in and out of hospital in a much shorter amount of time. Did I tell you I hate hospitals? The thought of another C-Section terrifies me, because I know what to expect and I’ll ruminate and work myself into a frenzy about the catheter and the cannula and the injection going into my back. (I know to many people all of that’s small-fry, but I’m such a panicker in situations that are out of my control. I also have a morbid over-active imagination. It’s a long-term problem.)

On the other hand – and this is where it gets complicated – the VBAC success rate at my hospital is less than 50%. So, in other words, just under 50% of women do manage to have a vaginal birth when they’ve previously had a C-Section, but just OVER half end up having an emergency C-Section. Now forgive me for being melodramatic, but WHY THE HELL WOULD I RISK THOSE ODDS? So you’re telling me I can go into labour naturally (doubtful, because also this hospital has a 69% induction rate, the national average is 31% – they seem to be quite trigger happy with the old inductions!) but then I only have a fifty percent chance, not even, of seeing it through? That it’s quite likely that I’ll be rushed into theatre, Casualty style, with people shouting about bags of blood and saying “pass the scalpel” and all of that malarkey? Nope. That’s not for me, ta ever so. If there’s a choice between an emergency section and a civilised, at-your-own-pace, do-finish-your-sandwich-and-coffee-Mr-Surgeon sort of section, I’ll take the latter.

Now many might be thinking, at this point, Jesus Christ woman, look on the dark side why don’t you? What’s to say YOU won’t be one of the fifty percent (ish) who have a successful VBAC?

I’ll tell you why. Big baby. Angelica was 9lbs 11oz and – apparently, according to the consultant, who said afterwards “oof, you’d never have got her out the normal way! – you carry just as large or larger with subsequent pregnancies. This one could weigh a whole stone for all I know! And I can’t say that his words filled me with vaginal confidence. He might be totally wrong (Midwife the other week: “Oh what nonsense, all women can birth the sized baby they carry, you’re designed to do it!) but then again, I’d hazard a guess that he knows what he’s talking about. He’s delivered a fair few babies.

So you see my dilemma – I hate hospitals, I hate needles, I hate anything interventiony, but I want to have the safest birth possible and I really can’t be doing with labouring naturally only to have a half-half chance of needing an emergency section. I feel as though every time I go to any appointment or read any literature, the VBAC option is being forced upon me and that I’m a wet blanket for wanting a scheduled C-Section, but on the other hand I’d love not to have to be hooked up to a bag of my own wee in a hospital ward filled with people crying and discovering they need blood transfusions and then going a bit dotty in the middle of the night. (Don’t ask, it happened. Someone went totally bonkers on me during my second night’s stay on the labour ward. I couldn’t get out fast enough.)

Off I go to my class tomorrow. I’ll go armed with a list of questions and report back. If you have any questions of your own, leave them below and I’ll try and get an answer. One of the things that’s bothering me is that when I did a similar sort of class at the Birthing Centre, where they promoted natural birth and the avoidance of intervention and so on, they said to avoid the Labour Ward like the plague. “Stirrups, Stuck on Your Back, Stalled Labour” they said. But now, the same-ish group of people are trying to tell me that a VBAC is a good idea, but because it’s high risk it’ll take place on the Labour Ward. So, the very thing that I’ve been told to fear! None of it makes any sense!

Follow:

ruth crilly pregnant

My belly is like a water balloon – I’m honestly getting scared to bend forward in case I burst it! Trying to shepherd the baby toddler up the stairs is becoming quite a task, so is leaning down to pick her up and – the worst – setting myself down on the bathroom floor so that I can change her nappy. I don’t know why, but we didn’t ever get around to buying a changing table. We just have the top part of a changing table, the bit that you can slide on top of a cot. Is it called a cot top table? Or have I just made that up? In any case, having to hunker down on the tiles to change a nappy is not ideal and getting myself back up again involves a rather precarious manoeuvre where I grab hold of the edge of the sink and use it to pull myself upright. I hope it’s screwed on firmly!

Stomach issues: non-existent this week. What a relief. Mind you, I’ve gone easy on the cheese. Apart from the whole ball of buffalo mozzarella I devoured on Friday night when my husband was out! On top of pasta, not just out of a tub, but still. Tiredness status: very tired, but not unmanageable. I’m getting by with a cheeky nap in the afternoon, though I do really feel it if it gets to about 4pm and I haven’t had a quick lie-down. (If the husband is at home I tend to sleep for about two hours, just because I can, and it feels like such a luxury because I don’t have to worry about the dog going crackers downstairs or the doorbell ringing or a neighbour popping round when I’m just wearing my vest and some pants.)

Weird question of the week: “how old is it?” This was the lady at the supermarket checkout, pointing at my belly. For a second, I thought she meant Angelica, but then I realised I didn’t even have her with me. “It” was the bump. “How old” seemed like such a weird way of phrasing things! Most people say “how long have you got?” or “how many months?” – “how old?” implies it’s already out! I felt like saying “it’s minus three months”.

By the way, in the photo above I’m actually 25 weeks pregnant, not 26. If I was really dedicated, I’d get my ass out of bed and take a quick picture of the bump, but I honestly can’t muster up any enthusiasm. Apart from the fact I’m wearing pyjama bottoms with an old summer dress over the top (don’t ask) I have no makeup on and my hair looks like Lemony Snicket’s. I’d much rather use this vaguely glamorous pic… Taken in the loos at Cafe de Paris, as you do – I was presenting an award for Sainsbury’s. Not in the loos, obviously – that would be a tight squeeze for the guests! The spotty dress is from ASOS here – the bin, I have no clue where that is from…

Follow:

baby walking

Just a quick post, because I’m currently trying to watch 50 Shades of Grey on the telly and it’s requiring all of my willpower to maintain eye contact with the screen. It is, quite possibly, one of the worst films that I have ever seen in my life. Boring, non-sexy and with a terrible script. At least with the book you could sort of ignore the bad writing and use your imagination a bit to create some credible characters – this film is just a lost cause!

Anyway, in better news, the baby has started to walk. I think that means she has to now be called The Toddler, which hurts, but hey – she’ll always be the baby to me. (The new baby has already been labelled “The New Baby”, so there’s no confusion there…) Angelica has been tottering about on her willowy little legs for months, and in recent weeks has been starting to make brave moves in the independent direction, lunging from sofa to armchair in a crazy manner, waving her arms and looking very pleased for herself. We’ve had one, two, three steps unaided before, but then today she simply stood up and walked across the room! I was utterly flabbergasted!

Not only can she walk along, happy as Larry, she can also stop, pick up an object, straighten up again and continue on her merry little way. can’t even do that, in my current beach-ball state. My 16 month-old child is basically more physically able than me. I can barely do up my shoelaces – I need velcro.

I feel as though Angelica has either been practising her walking at night, behind our backs, or that she’s been sort of storing up her knowledge – figuring out how to execute advanced manoeuvres and so on – ready for this grand reveal. How can a baby go from tottering unsteadily along to negotiating floor obstacles and carrying heavy objects in one hand without losing balance? Quite amazing, babies, aren’t they?

There’s a little video of Angelica walking over on the Instagram page for The Uphill@UphillBaby. The Instagram is a fairly new addition, so please do follow it if you haven’t done so already!

Right. Back to this – quite frankly – appalling sex scene. He’s tickling her with a peacock feather and wearing the most terrible jeans. Oh Jamie Dornan, how could you have thought that this would be a good idea?

Follow:

babygrow sizes

We’ve had baby sleepsuits, 12-18 months and now here are the babygrows. (If you haven’t the foggiest what I’m on about then read my post about the Baby Clothing Size Directory!) Excuse the fact that my halloween inclusions are now slightly out of date; I meant to get these clothing posts out weeks ago but life took over. I want to do a Christmas Jumper and Baby Clothing post, but the fear is that I wouldn’t manage to get it done until next summer, so I’m currently procrastinating…

Anyway, here are some popular baby clothing brands and their babygrows/vests with arms/bodysuits/whatever you prefer to call them. The length measurements vary quite a lot (the point of these sizing posts is to provide a little reference if you’re looking at baby basics online) and, actually, so do the widths across the chest. Please do add your own comments below if I’ve missed out a brand you use – add measurements if you like!

1. Sainsbury’s Halloween Bodysuit, £7 – out of stock now, obviously, but Christmas one HERE

babygrow sizes

Sainsbury’s bodysuit came up the most generous out of all of the babygrows I tried – a whopping 49cm from nape to bottom of the poppers at the crotch. (Same measurement for all suits on this page.) The width was 26cm from underarm to underarm, not as roomy as the length but this suited my long-lean baby perfectly! The quality of the main body was beautiful – I’d be interested to know how this one compares to the cotton basics which are a fraction of the price at £6 for 5. (HERE)

2. Striped Bodysuit, £6.99 for two at H&M HERE

babygrow sizes

It was H&M’s massively long clothing lengths that first sparked the idea of doing a clothing size directory in the first place – the legs on some of their leggings and trousers are almost adult-sized! (Exaggeration, but still.) The bodysuits have a length of 48cm and width of 26, so long and lean again. (Though, as I said, I’m not sure that Halloween bodysuit from Sainsbury’s is a true reflection of their cotton basics sizings!) Lovely soft cotton, these don’t seem to shrink too much with repeated washing, though if you have a different experience then please do let me know in the comments. The cotton basics at H&M always seem to have gorgeous muted designs and colours – lots of grey and white, which I love…

3. Owl Long Sleeved Bodysuit, £16.99 for three at GAP HERE

babygrow sizes

Ahh, cute, and also WAH! Short! This GAP bodysuit comes up at 43cm in length and 25cm width, which is quite a massive difference if you compare to the H&M bodysuit for exactly the same age. It’s weeny! Or the H&M is massive. Who knows? I’m something of a GAP Baby fan, despite the little sizes – I tend to order in the size up as well and then just send back anything that looks as though it won’t last the month… They do need to do something about the sizing guides on the website, though – I’ve just had to order some furry boots in three different sizes because I can’t work out what an earth constitutes a “small” or “medium”!

4. Peter Pan Bodysuit, £12 from Jojo Maman Bebe HERE

babygrow sizes

It comes as no surprise to me that this cute-as-a-button Peter Pan bodysuit is on the petite size and not the large – I’m well used to JJMMBB and their dinky cuts by now! Length is 45cm, so not the tiniest, but almost, and width is a distinctly average 26cm. JJMMBB basics are a real treat – always with the nicest prints and patterns, sometimes embroidered, and everything washes up well. I’ve never had a problem with excess shrinkage.

5. Floral Ribbed Bodysuit, £5 for 2 at Tesco HERE

babygrow sizes

Oh isn’t this just gorgeous? The soft ribbed cotton with the floral design is like something from a Victorian Lady’s trousseau! I think that the ribbed fabric makes these wash very nicely – it’s almost as though the more you wash them the more lovely and vintaged they look. Length is about average – 46cm – and width is more roomy at 27cm. I must give a little shout-out to the Halloween sleepsuit that Angelica wore over the weekend – £1.50!

babygrow sizes

I put her in it with some navy star leggings and she looked incredibly scary and all that..

6. Pure Cotton Bodysuit, £14 for a pack of 5 at M&S HERE

babygrow sizes

Beautiful quality from Marks – what else would you expect? Interestingly (to me, but only because I’ve been taking these bloody babygrow measurements for what seems like ten years) the length is an average sort of Joe at 46cm, but the width is a weeny little 24cm. Good for my beanpole baby, not too saggy at the sides, but worth bearing in mind.

7. Lace Trim Bodysuit, £12 for 2 at Next HERE

babygrow sizes

Well these are sweet for a bit of girly lace – I often just pop a cardigan on over a bodysuit and leggings, so it’s nice to have a bit of a pretty detail. Nice quality, no complaints here, (though I’m still so blown away by the ribbed cotton vest from Tesco, it’s almost disappointing when I feel plain cotton!) and the length is an average 46cm with a generous 28cm width.

Good God, I can’t actually believe how long it has taken me to do these clothing sizes posts! To think that I was going to try and do every single baby brand and every single size. Let’s see how I get on with the posts when New Baby arrives – I’ll be there with my measuring tape, getting breast milk everywhere and probably crying. Ha!

Follow: