Today is a very special day – it’s the Imp’s birthday!
I can’t believe she’s 2 years old already! How did that happen!?
A few tidbits about our favourite imp…
She spent the first three months of her life refusing to sleep unless she was on my chest. When there she slept amazingly well. Me? Not so much.
Even after that, she wasn’t exactly a great napper/sleeper. She still isn’t. I’ve kind of given up hope of getting more than 4 hours of sleep until she’s a teenager.
She walked at 11 months and 3 weeks after spending a couple of months happily cruising along furniture.
She’s been such a boob-monster I swear her first word was the Swedish one for “boob”. (Tutte, if anyone is curious.) It’s possible that she was saying some bastardised version of mamma and daddy before that, but I’m fairly certain boob was her actual first word. I’m not quite sure what to make of that…
She came into the world tiny (2060 grams or ~4 lbs 8 oz) and 44 cm long. She’s still tiny. To the point where the health visitors are now reacting as she’s dropped off the lowest curve. She was steadily following the 0.4th centile for height but has now dropped below it, which is potentially concerning, I guess. She looks proportionate though. At 2 years old she’s now 75.5 cm tall and weighed in at 9660 grams (~21 lbs 4 oz). She’s still wearing the clothing size 9-12 months.
We celebrated her birthday mainly the day before on the Sunday with a little birthday party, inviting her little friends (and their parents). I made a train cake, and we had a little bit of a dinosaur theme (the second carriage of the train is transporting candy dinosaurs!).
In just over six weeks the Imp will be two years old. It’s hard to imagine. There’s this weird thing when you have a child where on the one hand you feel like they’ve always been around, and on the other, you wonder where the hell the time has gone, were they not a newborn like, last week?
I realise that my writing about the Imp might not be overly interesting to all, and I fully understand that. Other people’s children are only so interesting really. Though more interesting, funnily enough, once you have one. This surprised me. I also find it difficult to know how much to share, since I do want to respect her privacy (ignoring that teenagers and young people these days seem to share absolutely everything online, so who knows what it will be like by the time the Imp gets to that age?). Sometimes I feel like I’m “proud momma” who wants to plaster photos of her cute monster everywhere, while at the same time I don’t really want to put her photo up all over the internet. It’s why, as she’s gotten older, I’m generally trying to only post photos now and then, and usually ones where you can’t necessarily see that much.
Anyway, as I’m approaching the day she turns two, I wanted to write down a few of the things she does. She’s a proper little monster. Again, I realise this is only interesting for… Well, probably me as I will come back and read this in the future, and possibly some of my family.
Why is she a little monster you no one ask?
Proof 1: The other week I found her in the cat’s litter tray together with some of her Duggee figurines. They were having a bath apparently. Cat litter all over the floor. I need an anti-bacterial shower. Like in the movies when they walk through that tunnel and get thoroughly sprayed.
Proof 2: Any time she can make it into the kitchen (there’s usually a gate locking her out) she will throw whatever she can in the dog’s water bowl. Like her toys, or kitten plush, or her feet! When I tell her off she just laughs in my face. She really respects me, people.
Proof 3: I left her in the living room for a few minutes watching nursery rhymes while I quickly washed up some dishes. I popped my head around after a couple of minutes (like I always do) to find her sitting in her high chair. It should be noted that when I left her she was on the floor…
Proof 4: She will tell the cat off whenever he’s on any furniture, loudly exclaiming “NO!” and waving him off. She will also chase him through the flat. Also the dog. The poor animals. (Yes, I do tell her off… See point 3.)
Proof 5: When she’s finished eating she can’t just… you know… Finish. She has to chuck any remaining bits on the floor. Including mug, plate and half-eaten yoghurt.
Still, I love my little monster. She can obviously be very lovely as well. And the truth is she’s probably no worse than any other toddler. They’re just little nightmares the lot of them.
I’d like to write more often, but as the Imp apparently detests sleep I get very little time to do… well, anything. She seems to sleep in 45-minute intervals most of the time. The day time naps often end up being only that, but sometimes I can get her back down for an additional 30-45 minutes. It’s hard to get into the swing of anything though when you’re constantly interrupted.
At night time it varies. Right now she’s teething, so she’s been going to bed between 10-11 at night, then waking constantly all the way until morning. I’m very much hoping that these teeth will come through soon because I’m exhausted (and I suspect that she is too, not that she’d ever admit it).
So, what’s been going on over here since eh… May? Oops!
Well, we went to Sweden to visit my family for a few weeks, which was lovely. We had some really good weather and had time to meet most of the family. Then my mum and aunt came back with us so I wouldn’t have to fly alone with the tiny terror. They spent a few days here in England before flying back, and I was happy to get to show off some good British weather for once! (Last time they were here was when the Imp was newly hatched, and the weather was dreadful.)
At the end of July, we attended the wedding of some friends of ours, and the Imp was actually amazing and sat through the whole ceremony without trying to escape (her usual move when we’re still for too long).
August seems to have passed by without much notice. I had a birthday but didn’t really celebrate other than the boyfriend taking me out to dinner (which was nice). Now in September, we’re planning a trip to Spain, which will be the first time the Imp will travel somewhere that’s not just hanging out with my family, so we will see how that works out! Sadly the boyfriend couldn’t get time off work, so he has to stay home, but we’ll be meeting my step-mum and little brother (soon 10 years old) there. And we won’t have to fly alone, when we realised the boyfriend couldn’t get time off, we roped his mum into coming along for an extra set of hands for the tiny terror.
Now I shall stop boring you because I doubt anyone really wants to know what’s been going on. It’s really more for my own records, and abysmal records they will be! But it’s better than nothing. I think?
I’ve suffered from chronic fatigue (CFS) for a long time now, and I have periods when I’m definitely doing better – and others where I’m definitely doing worse. Same with my fibromyalgia. However, I always feel like I can cope better with the pain than I can with the tiredness and exhaustion. I realise that this makes me lucky in some ways, the fibro isn’t nearly as bad as it could be, and for that I am grateful. The exhaustion can be debilitating though. And somehow I decided that I would add a baby into the mix. (Well, technically a toddler by now.)
I will never regret having the Imp, I love her above all – but there are days when I feel like the worst mother because I simply don’t have the energy to do everything that everyone else does. There are days when we just hang out at home because I can’t contemplate leaving the house, I’m just too fatigued. Fortunately, the little Imp seems quite happy to potter around at home, wreaking havoc the way I imagine a small hurricane would.
For the last few years, I’ve managed my fatigue somewhat. I’ve been able to work full time, which has been a definite win, even if it’s been at the cost of some other things having to go. During the years I’ve noticed that I can’t have it all, I have to choose where to expend my limited energy. I can either do my hobbies, keep a clean, tidy home or work. The last couple of years I worked, and my hobbies suffered. (As for cleaning, I was somewhere in between. I managed to sort of keep on top of it, even if not perfect.)
Pregnancy was okay. I was exhausted, but I think even women with no previous health problems are exhausted during pregnancy. Especially if they, like me, work waking night shifts.
Then enter the Imp. I’ll be honest, the first few months after she came along I was doing great. Exhausted? Yes. But I don’t think any more than any other new mum (or so I like to think). My pain was nearly entirely gone. It was amazing. Maybe six months down the line the pain started creeping back though, and both it and the exhaustion has been getting progressively worse.
The Imp is 14 months old today, and yesterday I was so tired I just wanted to sit down and cry. I struggle with feeling inferior to other mums, who manage to care for their child, going out and doing things every day and keep a neat, tidy home. At the moment I can’t do either. I feel like I’m stuck, trapped in this body and mind that are sluggish and fatigued – all while the house crumbles around me.
There are so many things I want to do. I feel like I need to do. But I can’t bring myself to do them. I’m just so tired. All I want to do is sleep, it’s what I would have done in the past, but with a little one running around that luxury is beyond me.
For months the exhaustion has been getting worse and worse, the lack of sleep definitely not helping. The Imp isn’t a great sleeper, still waking up several times at night, and she won’t let anyone else settle her. Only I can get her back to sleep (I am also the only one that can get her to sleep when first going to bed in the evening). I’m not sure how to fix it. At this point, all I can think is that I need to rest. But there is no rest to be had.
Ps. I’m sorry about the rambling nature of this post. I don’t know if it’s making any sense, and I’m quite honestly too tried to make it make sense.
I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but suddenly the Imp turned a year old on Saturday. How has it been a year already? It’s been a wonderful year, with little sleep, but a lot of love.
The Imp was born at 37+1 after an induction, following doctor’s recommendations due to growth restriction. She just wasn’t growing as she was meant to, and after a few weeks of regular check-ups (towards the end I was going every other day to check her heartbeat/that she wasn’t in distress), it was simply time to get her out. I went in on Thursday around noon for an induction, and the Imp was born on the Friday at 22.57.
I remember going into labour with practically no sleep due to the contractions starting Thursday evening, but managed a little nap in my room in the labour ward after being given my first bout of painkillers. Which was lovely. Less lovely when it wore off. I tried gas and air, some people swear by it – but I’ll be honest, it did nothing for me. I could as well have been breathing in regular air for all it did.
Having a low pain threshold and just not being a brave person (I’ve always feared the idea of giving birth, for as long as I can remember), and the fact that induction contractions are really bloody painful – I ended up having an epidural. Say what you want, but I don’t think I’d have managed without it. The drip to induce labour was bringing the contractions on quite strongly. There was quite a bit of fiddling up and down with it as well, because baby would become distressed if they put it too high, and if they lowered it nothing happened.
Eventually they seemed to find the magic formula though, and I was allowed to start pushing. It took awhile, and towards the end it seemed that she got stuck, and I just couldn’t quite get that last stretch over the finish line. I ended up with an episiotomy, and out she came! She was a tiny little thing at 44 cm and 2060 grams (just below 4 lbs 8 oz). We stayed in the hospital for a week since she was too little to breastfeed properly, so she had to be tube fed. We kept practicing though, and we finally cracked the code, and she became quite adept at it!
I look back on that first week now a year later, and I’m so glad it’s behind me. I hated being in the hospital. After about three days I was starting to go stir crazy. It felt like the whole day was a never ending circle of expressing, sterilising, and feeding. I’m so glad that the breastfeeding eventually worked.
Now, as a one year old the Imp is still relatively small. She’s wearing 4-6 months clothing (but I have high hopes that she’s about to grow into the 6-9 months clothing soon), but other than being small seems to hit most goals. We’re not quite there yet, but she’s started walking a few steps. At most she’s walked a few metres across a room, which is quite well done after all. She has four teeth, with another four on the way (at the same time!). Her talking is possibly a little bit behind, but I’m told it’s quite normal for bi-lingual children, so I won’t worry about that (yet).
I feel like this blog has shifted focus a bit lately, but I suppose that is because my life has sort of shifted focus since the Imp came into the world. It’s difficult to find the time to blog, but I still would like to, and I’m hoping that the Imp will eventually settle into a better bedtime routine that allows me some time in the evenings.
At the moment the Imp tends to go to bed for the night no earlier than 10 pm most nights. Which means that I have to make a choice between getting more sleep or having a couple of hours to myself. Admittedly I often choose the latter, which leaves me very tired the next morning (since the Imp often wakes up around 1 am, and then again any time between 4-6 am). By then I’m so tired after spending three hours trying to get the Imp to sleep that I just sort of crash on the couch with some Netflix.
The Imp just really seems to struggle to settle down in the evenings. She will be tired, I’ll put her to bed and she’ll have a feed, you can see that she’s about to drift off – she turns over on her tummy (current favourite sleeping position), then seems to remember that she knows how to get up on all four – and bad time is ruined. After that it’s impossible to get her to lie back down; she will flip herself around in the bed, get up on all fours, climb all over the place, stand up against anything she can… You name it.
Only way I’ve been able to get her to settle in the evenings is to put her in the sling and rock her to sleep. It’s not great, since it’s not really something I want her to get used to, but the alternative is hours of rummaging around in bed until she hits exhaustion and just screams/cries with tiredness. She’ll whinge a bit when first put in the sling too, it’s how she keeps herself awake sometimes. You’ll know when she’s tired when we’re out for a walk, cause she’ll suddenly start crying in an attempt to stay awake! Yup, that’s my imp.
Anyway, I shan’t bore you anymore with our sleep issues (and I didn’t even get into the multiple wake-ups every evening when she finally has gone to sleep!), it’s just nice to get to have a whinge about it now and then. I do see some improvements in all honesty, and I hope that they will continue to improve. It’s extra frustrating in a way because she actually used to sleep amazingly for maybe a month or two, then it suddenly stopped and we’ve not been able to get back to it.
For my baby shower I received a Harry Potter onesie for The Imp, and some time ago I finally got around to using it (and she had grown into it). Since I’m a bit behind on my blogging in general, I never shared the photos – and they’re too cute not to! So, here’s Baby Potter!
The Imp is totally ready for her letter from Hogwarts. She has her own owl and everything!
The full outfit, including wizard’s hat!
It also includes a cape!
Waiting for her letter from Hogwarts!
“I’m ready to go!”
What are owls for if not eating?
The Imp was not impressed when I told her that one doesn’t get to start Hogwarts until 11 years old.
Suddenly even more time has passed. I swear I want to get back to blogging (and writing), but at the moment my time is severely limited. Not only have I been blessed with a baby that doesn’t particularly enjoy playing by herself (at all), she also doesn’t seem to think that sleep is anything she needs to be bothered with.
Now, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea here. I love my girl to bits. But I do miss having some time to myself. Any time to myself. Right now having a shower is a luxury.
For a few weeks it was amazing. She went to bed at a reasonable time, and although she may wake up a handful of times throughout the evening, most nights she’d settle back down if I went in to her for a few minutes. Not so for the last month and a bit…
The current trend is that she will go to sleep as usual around 7-8 pm, but then she will only sleep for maybe half an hour before waking back up, and refusing to settle back down. For hours. She will most commonly fall asleep for the night between 10 and midnight. Leaving little to no time for me to do anything for myself. Being an introvert, this is rough.
My sleep-refusing monster.
She also used to sleep through from around midnight to 6, which was lovely. Now she’s quite unsettled and will sort of half-wake and cry several times every night. Fortunately those night time moments she’s usually quite easily settled, but it does leave my sleep quite interrupted.
You might think that I should take the opportunity during the days to sleep when she has a nap. And I’d agree with you. Except nap time is another one of those things that apparently she doesn’t feel that she needs. She will usually have a couple of naps every day. If I’m lucky one of them will last an hour. There’s only a tiny bit of jealousy and bitterness when people in my mummy-group talk about their babies napping for 2-3 hours during the day.
For example; today my daughter had three naps. They were 30 minutes, 10 minutes and 5 minutes.
She’s teething, so I’m hoping that’s part of the reason it’s been so rough lately (though over a month now?), and that hopefully it will turn around soon. My hope is that I can get my evenings back again so that I can start blogging a bit more regularly. You may have to put up with me whining writing about mum-life though. Sorry!
I realise that it’s been a long time since I wrote, and I don’t know how active I’ll be for the foreseeable future since The Imp arrived on March 2nd and is wanting a lot of attention. I’m basically a human buffet at the moment, and The Imp doesn’t approve of lying on her own, so there’s very little time when I can actually do something.
Things have been pretty crazy in general. After the last time I wrote we went for an ultrasound, only to find out that the baby wasn’t growing properly. They were worried about her, and talked about bringing her out early. At the time I was at 32 weeks, and having a premature baby seemed scary. Fortunately, the specialist decided that we were safe to keep going, but we went in for weekly checks, and eventually every other day.
When we hit 37 weeks it was decided that she was better off outside of the womb, since she was growing much too slowly – and I was induced. The Imp was born at 37+1 on the 2nd March, weighing a whopping 2060 grams (4,5 lbs).
Tiny human in the hospital.
We had to stay in the hospital for the first week of her life due to her low birth weight, and the fact that she didn’t have a sucking reflex the first few days of her life. She was tube fed, while we practiced breastfeeding. It took us a week, but by the end of it she had gained enough weight and was eating well enough that we were allowed home.
She’s now nearing three months old, and she’s grown quite a bit. At last weigh in she was 4200 grams (9 lbs 4 oz), so she’s almost doubled her weight.
I’m loving being a mum, and I love my little one – but free time is not something I have an abundance of at the moment. Hopefully as we settle into more routines I might find some spare moments when I can write and do other things, but for now I’m just caring for this tiny human.