Monday, 24 March 2008

Chattering baby

About a month ago, Michael was barely saying a single word. I was a little worried, although not unduly, because his development elsewhere was spot on. All of a sudden, he started chattering and now has about 20 words. It really is a pleasure to be able to hold simple conversations with him. One such conversation over dinner went as follows:

Me: (brightly) Michael, can you say "spoon"?
Michael: (a little forlornly) No...

Priceless. Before all of these precious first words get lost in the mists of time, I want to make a note of them. Michael can currently say the following:

Xinx (our youngest and most adorable cat)
Cartman (I have a plastic, talking Cartman that I received as a present about a decade ago)
Bye bye
Upsy Daisy
Boots (from Dora the Explorer)

I'm sure I've forgotten some but this is all my memory can dredge up for now. Phil and I are very proud of Michael.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Going wild in the aisles

Over the weeks, I've been making a list of the things we need to buy for Baby O. I hadn't bought anything on the list until today because I wanted the 20 week scan out of the way first. Fortunately, the list is quite small because we have virtually everything we need for a baby boy. I'm glad we didn't sell anything. The list is as follows:

Buggy board
Close Baby Carrier
Portable changing station/bath
Summer swaddling cloths
Muslin cloths
Changing bag

As you can see, we bought two items on the list today. We went to Baby-Dump in Roelofarendsveen. Having gone through the agonising process of buying everything that first-time parents need (and a good deal of things they don't), I was watching the expectant parents with a cynical eye. I found myself tutting at the extravagant claims made about supposedly leak-proof beakers and trying not to smirk at the poor sods who were being sucked into buying the insanely expensive Bugaboo. Alas, I still managed to walk out of the store 170 euro lighter, despite my smirking.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Scan pictures

These are my two favourite scan pictures. Here is Baby O waving to us. It is a lovely clear picture.

This is the profile picture. He has the same button nose as Michael. What a little cutie :o)

Back from the scan

All is well with the baby! Hooray! The scan was even more detailed than last time which was just fantastic. The sonographer went to great pains to tell us everything she was checking for as she did it. It was a colour ultrasound so we saw the blood flowing through the chambers of the heart. It truly was amazing. I'm totally in awe of the technology used. Every organ and limb was examined and measured. The baby was awake and bouncing around - not surprising really since I ate some cheese to ensure that they would co-operate with the sonographer. Cheese seems to be the thing that gets them jumping - with Michael it was apple juice and chocolate. The sonographer told me that I have an anterior placenta (at the front, rather than at the back which is more common). That explains why I can feel only little kicks that don't move the stomach. The baby is also lying transverse which explains the unsual pointed shape of my bump.

Ok... no point in keeping the secret any longer. I'm having another little BOY! He will from now on be known as Baby O. We'll have to start thinking of a middle name to go with the first name we have chosen for him. Lucky thing we have 20 weeks to work on it. Considering the fact that he will have all of Michael's clothes, which will be size-perfect for every season (both August babies), there was no excuse for my spending 70 euro in H&M on gorgeous little baby clothes. I couldn't help myself! I'm a sucker for teeny tiny dungarees. Michael had very few newborn outfits - mostly he just had sleepsuits. I wanted Baby O to have a few items of clothing purely for him.

All in all, a fantastic day. I am so relieved and happy! I'll post some scan pictures in a while.

Scan later today

It's my 20 week anomaly scan later today and I have to confess to being quietly terrified. I'm not going to be convinced that all is well with the baby until I hear it directly from the sonographer. I'm a member of a couple of baby forums and there has been some very sad news of late from ladies who were due around the same time as me. It is very hard not to be affected. I also find it difficult to believe that coughing virtually constantly for 3 weeks can have done the poor little bugger any good.

The one thing I am excited about is that, if the baby co-operates, we should find out the sex. Last time, I was 100% convinced that I was having a boy. This time, I'm not really sure. If I had to guess, I'd say another boy. I'll have to wait and see. I've warned Phil that his credit card will be in some danger if it is a girl because I intend to go wild in the aisles in the H&M baby girl department. I don't normally approve of pink - isn't pink just something that happens when you put a red sock in the wash with a white load?? - but I may be prepared to revise my opinion.

Watch this space, and if you're so inclined, cross your fingers for us that everything is ok with the baby. Thanks x

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Finally on the mend

Remember that coughing virus I mentioned about 3 weeks ago? It ended up being more aggressive than we could have imagined. Michael was 100% well again after a week but I am only just starting to recover. The coughing and streaming nose led to acute sinusitis which eventually infected my poor eyes. Last night was the first night in a week where I didn't spent most of it awake coughing. The situation was complicated by the pregnancy and my being allergic to penicillin. The only medicine I could take was a saline spray for my nose. In the middle of all this ill health was my birthday which was unfortunately a non-event. Today is Phil's birthday and he thinks that we should have a proper double celebration at the weekend when we are both well enough to enjoy ourselves fully. I like that plan.

I don't remember if I mentioned that we are taking a short break to the Peak District next month. We really need a break and I can't wait! It'll be the last vacation we take before we become a family of four. Michael should love the Peak District because he is the ultimate outdoors boy.

Friday, 7 March 2008


Phil took Harry along to the vet this afternoon to check on his kidney function. Happily, there has been no real change since he was last checked 18 months ago. As a young cat, he has adapted very well to the kidney medication he is on and remains in good health. He refuses to eat the special food for cats with chronic renal failure but he is lucky enough not to have paid a price for it. This means that the behavioural problems we have been seeing do not have a medical cause.

Phil discussed the issues with the vet, who believes that Harry is stressed and also jealous of Michael. He suggested that we try Harry on Clomicalm for a month - it is a tricyclic antidepressant. The hope is that it will break the cycle of negative behaviour. I'm not convinced that it will be helpful in the long-term but I'm keeping an open mind. I was researching the drug online and came across a number of owners asking vets for advice with their pet behaviour problems. Whatever Harry's faults, he has never once in 5 years been aggressive towards us and for that I am truly grateful. I hope the medication helps him.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Cats again

Well, one cat - Harry. As I've mentioned previously, we have 4 cats. We have no problems with 3 of them, they are great cats, but Harry is, and always has been, a nightmare. We've had 5 years of trying to find a solution to his destructive behaviour and nocturnal howling. It has recently worsened as he is periodically going to the toilet outside of the litter box. On the last occasion he used Michael's playpen and I was absolutely furious. I foresee this getting worse because with a baby on the way, our attention is only going to get more divided.

Phil called the breeder we purchased Harry and Ron from in desperation. She suggested that Harry is not happy being a little fish in a big pond - translation being that Harry does not like being part of a 4-cat group. She acknowledged that he has a very demanding personality. We have been seriously considering rehoming him for some time but the breeder does not recommend rehoming him alone - she thinks the stress would be too great. She advised rehoming him with his brother, Ron, if it comes to it. I really don't want to lose Ron. We're going to take Harry to the vet this week to check on his kidney condition. It is possible that his litter box issues stem from a worsening of his health. Obviously, we won't rehome him if his health is worsening. We really need to find a solution before the baby is born and after 5 years of trying, we're out of ideas.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Idle parenting

I've just read this article in the Telegraph:

Idle parenting means happy children - Telegraph

I don't know about ditching the vacations and days out but other than that, I'm quite taken by this approach. I think my mother may have gone slightly too far along this path as she used to shove us out into the garden and lock the door too...
I will have to seek out "The Idler" magazine.