I expect you’ve realised that things are a bit crazy at the moment; I have barely had the time to go online at all, let alone write anything, and when I do get a spare minute to myself I am so knackered that I can’t type a coherent sentence! So I’ll keep this brief but with the (hopefully) reassuring promise that I will come back with a more regular schedule of posts soon. We’ve been house-hunting (unsuccessfully) and trying to get settled in our rented house in Bath, but we’ve also been backwards and forwards to London a few times and it’s all been a bit too hectic. I feel as though I’m walking a very fine line and if I step off from it, everything will fall apart. Ted is still waking up loads through the night, which doesn’t help – I’m just absolutely exhausted!
Anyway, enough about my woes – let’s see what’s been going on with the small, milk-scented creatures in my life.
Angelica is turning into a proper little girl who knows exactly what she wants and when she wants it. “No Mummy!” she says, if I dare to sing along to something on the radio without her explicit permission, “no sing! NO SING!” Apparently I’m only allowed to sing when commanded, and there is only one permitted song in Angelica’s Kingdom: The Grand Old Duke of York. If it’s potty time – the hour after bedtime that is spent to-ing and fro-ing from bedroom to potty, each session involving the taking off of the sleeping bag, the undressing from pyjama bottoms, the sitting on the potty throne and then at least four or five games or weird, toddler conversations about snails and pirates and sniffing for treasure – if it’s potty time then I am given a sort of royal licence to sing whatever I want, whenever I want, because it means that she gets to prolong her time out of bed.
Potty training is actually going very well, touch wood. Angelica is now two and three months (is that right?!) and she goes on the potty quite a few times a day now. Sometimes she’s far too busy, excuse me, to go on the potty, and just makes a pitstop behind the sofa to do things in her nappy, but it seems that every week she uses the potty more and more. We’ve tried to stop making it into too much of an issue, but I do think that we are probably at the time when we need to make the final step and get her using it every single time. I’m just scared of the mess! And everything is already so stressful, we’re all so highly-strung – can we really add in poos on the floor to this pressure cooker of a family life? I don’t know whether we would survive it! Ha.
Angelica’s month in a nutshell. She is: running fast in circles, jumping in imaginary puddles, talking in sentences, sleeping through the night (has been since 8 months, rarely gets up unless there’s something wrong), enjoying eating cherry tomatoes and ham and couscous, very well-behaved in the car, starting to sing the odd tune here or there, remembering really small details about bizarre things that you’d think would be irrelevant.
Thank you for all of your brilliant, brilliant messages and tips on my breastfeeding post. They made me feel so much better, and I did take the plunge in quite a dramatic way to reduce the amount of feeds I was doing. I had to go to Paris for the day, and couldn’t take Ted, so he had to be left with a bottle and some expressed milk. Except that we didn’t remember about the expressed milk until we were halfway down the M4 at which point it was too late to turn back for it. So Ted had a day of Aptimil, and I had a day of trying not to weep as my breasts became so engorged I could barely move my arms! I tried to express on the Eurostar on the way out to Paris, but couldn’t get a let-down (something to do with the vile smell in the loos, probably), then on the way back my boobs were so huge that I just had to sit in the loo and – erm – work at my hand expressing until something came out. And boy, did something come out! The jets were almost uncontrollable! I feel sorry for whoever has to polish up the stainless steel in those train loos – I did try and do a wipe-down prior to leaving, but it was futile. The whole place needed sluicing out. Gross. Sorry.
In actual fact, I managed to aim most of my milk down the rubbery funnel of the Hakaa breast pump*, a genius suction thing that basically pulls the milk from your breast by brute vacuum force! Not sure how good it is for you, because it’s not really mimicking the sucking technique of a baby, and it does feel as though you’re getting a huge love bite on your tit (I imagine, I’ve never actually had one, funnily enough) but it doesn’t require a plug, or batteries, and it just hangs there on the end of your bap until it’s filled with enough milk that it plops off. (In reality it shouldn’t plop off, as then it spills milk all over you, but you have to get the knack of suctioning it on.) So yeah, I filled up the Hakaa from one boob and hand expressed the other. It was fun, I tell you. I could have been drinking wine and reading French Vogue and having a little nap with my face squashed against the train window, but instead I was in the bog with my rubbery milk receptacle.
The worst thing was I couldn’t even save the milk, because I wasn’t going to get home for about another five hours, and also: milk expressed in a stinky loo? Not so sure about passing that on…
Anyway, Ted was fine: he chugged back two whole bottles of Aptimil and didn’t even miss me. There’s gratitude for you.
Ted’s month in a nutshell. Ted is: giggling when you say “mamamama”, eating pieces of bread, biting anything and everything with his two front teeth, dribbling far less than a month ago, waking every two hours through the night, breastfeeding well in the night but irregularly throughout the day, showing no interest in crawling but every interest in standing strong on his legs, laughing at cartoons on the television, smiling at people in a very winning sort of way, screeching very loudly and suddenly and giving us all a fright, sitting up without any wobbles, grasping onto things so hard that you can’t pull them away from him.
Ah, me. Where do I start? I’m concentrating on keeping my stress levels low, so I may have to write this section at a later date when I can control my cartwheeling thoughts. On a bright note, my stomach seems to have dramatically sucked itself in this month, which is quite miraculous considering the number of croissants and crumpets and takeaways I have eaten. My diet has become so dire that I don’t even consider a croissant to be a treat anymore – it’s probably one of the more healthy elements! Whenever I eat an actual vegetable, my whole body seems to go into a kind of shock – bloody hell, what an earth was that? Yesterday I had lunch in the health spa at Chewton Glen and had a green juice alongside my selection of bean salads. I’m almost certain that my internal organs were about to shut down from over-excitement. I could hear them screaming with pleasure, like a group of people who had been stuck in a hot car for a day with no water and finally handed a bottle of ice-cold Evian each. Poor old body. I will try harder this month. And when I have a moment – a nice, relaxing, brain-encouraging moment – I will do you a proper report on how I’m doing. There’s nothing to worry about, it’s just that I only get a tiny amount of time to get absolutely everything done, and if I try and work through into the night then I’m too tired to function the next day. We need to sort out a new nanny, but can’t really hire one until we know where we’ll be living, so…holding on by my fingernails. Thank goodness for my friend Rach, who lives in Bath – we’d be really stuck without her babysitting skills and chirpy demeanour!