Two Months.

Dear Florence,

10 days ago, you turned two months old. This past month has been a complete whirlwind in terms of milestones. You’re going above and beyond all expectations in terms of your age. You can control your head, and you use it to follow people, animal – anything that’s moving around the room. You give away your smiles like they’re going out of fashion, and it’s such a joy to see family and friend’s faces light up when you flash them a cheeky little gummy grin. The one that you follow around the most and try to giggle at is Walter. We don’t get what’s so funny about a dog, but as long he’s providing entertainment for you solely by plodding around the room, that’s fine by us.

You’ve started to gurgle and make noises back at me when I speak to you. It’s my favourite sound and I could listen to it all day! The faces you pull to try and emulate the noises I make to you are hilarious. It’s like you’re happy, shocked, surprised and amazed all in one go. One eyebrow raises, the other furrows, your lips curl as if going into a smile but instead they purse into an oval shape. I’m trying to do it now whilst typing – thankfully only the dog can see me.

Sleeping all the way through the night is totally your thing, and we feel rather lucky and blessed that you’re mangaging around 8 hours without any disturbance. In fact, it’s kind of hard to wake you up somedays. You stretch out your arms like you don’t have a care in the world (which, I guess, you don’t), have a little yawn and then stare at me as if I’m absolutely crazy. I mean, who wakes up a sleeping baby? Me. I do. I start to miss you. I don’t even regret it. Your Dad tells me to leave you asleep as long as possible, but I can’t. I have to stroke your hair or kiss your forehead or run my finger over your cheek. You’re my baby and I want you to stay this way as long as possible … I think I need to get as much of you as possible. Yesterday you stayed over at Grandma and Grandad’s overnight for the first time whilst we went to a wedding, and I can’t believe how much I missed you. My initial thought upon waking up was how badly I needed to get you back, although I knew you were in totally safe hands and were probably having the time of your life being so fussed over. Upon getting you from their house, it was like you had grown overnight. You smiled when you saw us and spent the next hour at home talking to me, telling me about your first sleepover.

I put on around 4 stone in weight whilst pregnant with you. My friends during pregnancy were 2 guys called Ben & Jerry. They’re lovely while they’re with you, but watch out … they totally stab you in the back when they’re done with you and call you fat. Anyway, to combat this we’ve started walking around Chasewater with you. It takes about an hour, and you go in the Ergobaby and love being carried around. When we first started, you rested your head against whoever-was-carrying-you’s chest and couldn’t see much over the insert that you were wrapped up in. Now, you are a full head out of the Ergobaby and you love looking around, up and down, side to side. Your eyes are everywhere, taking everything in.

Your first jabs happened last week. You had a little squeal when they happened and then were totally fine for the rest of the time in there. In the queue at the surgery, you were pulling strange faces and making embarrassing noises. This caused us to be late in to your appointment as I went to change you in the babychanging room, but it worked out OK for the receptionist who had seen you in the queue, seen us walk in to the changing room and then knocked and burst in wanting to see you. Apparently your hair had caught her eye and she needed to meet you. You smiled and gurgled for her and she told you that you had absolutely made her day. I’m so proud that you make people’s days. It’s a selfishly nice feeling for me as a parent.

Anyway, it’s time for me to go upstairs now where 100% you’ll be lying under your dad’s arm on my side of the bed. It’s my job to put you in the Moses basket. Your dad can do this, he just chooses not to. He loves you falling to sleep on him.

xxx

The Top 5 Things They Never Told You

It’s been a while since I last posted. Things got a bit hectic; even before they’re here babies need a lot of time dedicating to them. Job-wise, appointment-wise, shopping-wise, spare-time-wise … and, ironically, now I’m on maternity leave I have apparently all the time in the world, yet I can’t be bothered to do much. I feel as if I can’t possibly do much more, although I know I’m meant to be in the stage where I’m washing baby’s clothes for the third time that day, making sure that the Moses basket is set up despite the fact I set it up an hour ago and cooking meals in preparation to be frozen ready for the big arrival. Or at least that’s what they tell you. 

Who’s ‘they’? 

Parents. Family. Friends. Midwives. The internet. Anybody who can stick their nose in and advise on how you’re meant to be feeling. People who have children, people who don’t have children. Working parents, single parents, stay-at-home parents. Those who haven’t had kids yet, but somehow know exactly where you’re at and exactly how you’re feeling and try to relate. 

I wish somebody had told me what I didn’t already know. Things that are so blindingly obvious now. I don’t wish to be told how I’m feeling in relation to how I should be feeling. Here are the top 5 things I’ve learned during pregnancy. 

  1. Stretch marks. They hide. I was overweight when I first found out I was expecting and assumed my body wouldn’t produce stretch marks. After all, I had plenty of skin for the baby to grow in to! Right? Oh lawd, how wrong I was. They hid under my belly and slowly crept up past my belly button. They fade but never go away and Bio-Oil is recommended from the start of your second trimester. I found this out after reading the bottle 3 weeks into my third trimester. 
  2. You (probably) will find one completely overbearing person, usually family, who has the best intentions but uses them to become controlling. This person will throw baby names at you every time you see them, openly criticise advice from any others who have dared to get involved and constantly ask if there’s anything else you need/if you have everything. Talking to others who are expecting, they all seem to be experiencing the same thing. It sort of makes you feel like a child, like you can’t cope without help. Not the best grounding, but at least I’ve come to realise it. 
  3. Lightning pains. These are the pains I felt post 30 weeks. I haven’t heard them referred to as anything else, and I had certainly never heard of them before. It is a shooting, sharp, stabbing pain between your thighs and in your pelvic region which has knocked me to ground a couple of times; at the very least it’s stopped conversation. I’m assured it’s the baby trying to get their head into place which knocks on nerves, all ready to make their special entrance into the world … this sounds cute. However, it perhaps feels like you have laid with your legs apart and an Olympic javelin thrower has taken a shot straight at your vagina and all it’s surroundings. And then went back for more. Not so cute anymore. 
  4. You will need to pee. Everyone knows this – it’s one of the staples of pregnancy. What they don’t tell you is that you will need to pee and nothing will come out. A teardrop at best. Then you leave the toilet and 10 seconds later have to return in order to let the contents of Lake Titicaca escape from your bladder. Confusing not just for yourself, but for anyone in close proximity who’s had to hear this whole debacle. 
  5. It’s all relative. You’ve probably put all that weight on because you’ve eaten a fucktonne, not because your Mum put on 2 stone during pregnancy. Or maybe it’s because your Mum put on 2 stone during pregnancy, you’ve got her genes and you haven’t eaten a lot. You feel low because you haven’t got emotional support. Or maybe you feel low because you’ve just hammered a tub of Ben and Jerry’s and want another one – no thought towards the amount of calories you just consumed, you Just. Want. More. It’s your body, your pregnancy, and at the end it will be your baby. The top thing I’ve learned is to listen to everyone, but select which information is important to take on board. If one person is concerned about your swollen feet because it’s a sure sign of pre-eclampsia, thank them for letting you know such WONDERFUL news, get it checked out by the midwife, put your feet up and move the fuck on. Don’t dwell. That was their body and their time. This is my time. Everybody is different and no two experiences are the same – especially not when there are two of you involved. 

So far it’s been great. It’s just these niggly bits. 🙂 

Too Much Of A Good Thing

The hardest thing for me to get to grips with since moving in to a new house is the lack of appliances and utensils that I took for granted whilst living with my Dad. Simple things like wooden spoons, sieves and cheese graters we didn’t have. Not necessities, but damn do they make things easier. 

But the main big one, the one that we still haven’t purchased even 2 months after moving in? A freezer. I didn’t realise just how much stuff I was freezing before, and it makes a huge difference. All of what we purchase meat and veg wise is fresh and has to be used within a set period (meh, well, sometimes), and this can mean wastage. I HATE WASTING FOOD! 

Thankfully we have some animals to sort out major food wastage (ferrets and guinea pigs do their jobs in regards to meat and veg looking past their best, Walter the Basset Hound wishes to join in the fun but is on a strict diet), but for the most part, until we get a freezer, I’m trying to use up absolutely everything.

 

This week, the challenge was cream and milk. There are only so many cups of tea you can utilise the milk for, and we both eat late breakfasts at work. How come the natural link with milk is breakfast, anyway? I use milk quite often in cooking, the versatile little bugger. 

 

My 2 meals made so far have been Beef Stroganoff and another dish which is so far unnamed. Garlic Chicken with Tagliatelle isn’t really a set strong name a la le Stroganoff. I’ve got a Chicken & Ham pie set for tomorrow, so we’ll see how that turns out too with the leftover cream.

 

Prediction for set obesity: May 2014. 

Challenge 10

It’s been discussed on the news recently that our 5-a-day intake of fruit and vegetables is not enough. Studies have shown that those who are on 7+ portions of fruit and veg each day live longer and have a lower risk of developing cancer and cardiovascular disease.

 

“People who ate seven or more portions a day had a 33% reduced risk of death compared with people who ate less than one portion. ” – NHS UK

 

I love fruit and vegetables and I love incorporating them into my cooking, but I would struggle to achieve 10 portions a day. I’ll use today as an example…

A glass of orange juice counts as one portion. Great, so that’s one down with breakfast at work. 9 more to go.

Oh. I ate an apple on the way in to work. That’s one more! 2 down,  8 to go.

The meal I cooked today contained mushrooms (about 15), a courgette and half an onion. This was split between two people. According to the NHS website’s portion guide (which can be found here), each individual person needs 14 mushrooms to count towards one of their five a day. Half a large courgette is a portion, so we’ve obtained 1.5 portions there. I added half a large onion – this counts as .5 each.

So where I think I’ve been doing okay, I’ve actually only consumed 4 of my 5 a day … which is meant to be 10 a day for optimum health. Listening to Radio 2 on my drive to the Midwife yesterday, Jeremy Vine was questioning whether it is even plausible in today’s climate for the general public to be able to afford this amount of food; vegetarians were phoning in to say that even they could not manage it, especially with potatoes not counting towards your veggie goal, and the only man who managed to eat more than his fair share of fruit and veg was a greengrocer by trade.

 

When will it stop? In another 5 years will they say that we need to be stuffing our faces more and aiming for 15 a day, or am I being flippant? Am I right to be worried that I’m not even achieving my 5 a day?

 

 

First post!

I guess I should start with what this blog is going to be about, really.

I have always loved cooking, but since moving into my own house I’ve become even more passionate about it. Early Saturday mornings are consumed either by Googling new recipes or getting a fix of SMK, and I love developing and creating new meals. It’s a good job I’ve got a willing tester in my partner!

Since finding out that we’re expecting a baby, my culinary expectations from myself have risen. This doesn’t mean that I’ve set myself a target to become a grand master in the kitchen – I just knew that I needed to dramatically cut my salt intake and take a serious look at what I was putting in my gob.

This was hard for me. I mean, salt flavours everything, right? You can make a shit meal bareable by adding a little salt, or that’s what I thought.

Now, the only stuff that I really add salt to is the water for boiling potatoes and pasta. I know that there’s some salt in the stuff that I am adding to my dishes for flavour, such as soy sauce and stock cubes, but I was going overboard and adding salt ON TOP of these before. If I was even adding stock cubes and soy sauce, I mean, if I was you couldn’t tell.

So yeah. A little hub for my recipes. A foody redhead with a lot of time on her hands.