Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Blake sleeps through the deepest, darkest hours of the night!!!

When athletes and their teams are on winning streaks, superstitions abound. Players do everything in the exact same order, continue to wear the same clothing, bounce a ball the same number of times before serving or shooting a free throw, and the like, in order to keep the winning streak alive. That's a bit the way I'm feeling this morning, as I try to recreate the events of yesterday which led to Blake's sleeping from about 7:45 p.m.-5:30 a.m. with a "dream feed" around 11:00 p.m.-- by my watch this is as good as sleeping "through the night" (depends on how you define "night", but at 5:30 this morning it was light out and I hadn't been woken up since I went to sleep, so I'm content with my definition!) He then went back to sleep for another 2 hours, so I feel like I've spent a week at a health spa.

We tried some more baby rice yesterday morning, and I don't actually think Blake consumed any more than he did on Sunday, but at least his expressions weren't the same ones of confusion and disgust. More of "Remind me the point of this again?"

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pics from US Trip in June now posted

US Trip

Only 2 months after the on Blake's photo to view our trip to Clinton!

New things on Sunday

Today we tried to give Blake some baby rice, but he wasn't as impressed with it as we thought he would be! The hot weather continued so we took a drive to Burnham Beeches, which Matt has been wanting to visit for a while now. We parked our blanket in some shade and listened to the birds. It was 6 years ago today that Matt and I met and I guess you could say we have come a long way since then. They have been some wonderful years...

What we've been up to over the past couple of sunny days

It's been hot and sunny since the middle of last week, a welcome change from the chilly grey July days that we'd been having. Somehow it seems it is usually pretty nice on my birthday. Thursday we met up with Lucy Morris back from Pakistan; she filled us in on why we should move to Sydenham. We enjoyed the sun in Kensington Gardens and then we adjourned for a late evening picnic in Queen's Park with Matt, Chris and Anna. Blake stayed up very late for him, but any hopes we had of that making him sleep longer in the night were just hopes. Friday I was excited to take Blake for his first Aquakiddies class - he didn't exactly take to the water like a fish but he was still pretty good. I had to laugh though because the teacher put the babies under water and he kept his eyes open the whole time and was a bit confused upon resurfacing. 4 more lessons and I think he'd almost be ready for Beijing. Or maybe London in 2012. Then it was back to Queen's Park for cake and cava (maternity pay so cava had to do instead of champagne!) with some mothers and babies.

Saturday was my birthday and I woke up ready to redeem one of my birthday presents from 2007 - a gift voucher for a massage at Food and Face in QP. It was absolute bliss - not the best massage ever, though; I thought about this during this massage and decided it was the one Amy and Di got me at Casa Las Brisas when Matt and I were on our honeymoon there. These on Saturday were still, however, some of the best 60 minutes I've had in recent memory! I thought I had planned it well because I booked lunch at Penk's in QP for 12:30, but I emerged from the massage looking like I had dunked my head in a vat of aromatherapy oil, and evidently Matt could smell the lavendar from about 20 yards away. Oh well, lunch was still delicious - fishcakes and a lemon tart were simply divine. I could eat there every day if I had my way. That evening we went to Chris and Anna's for a lovely bbq and some real champagne (thanks, guys!). It was truly a fabulous birthday.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Some new meaning to my birthday

On this day 32 years ago, my mother and father welcomed me into the world. My Mom was in labor all through the night and I arrived around 5:50 in the morning, incidentally about the time it is now as I write this (Blake had a pretty decent night, so I am feeling fairly fresh after his 5:30 feed). I have been thinking a lot this week about my birthday, as I celebrate it for the first time as a mother myself, and I am definitely seeing the day in a whole new light. I am now able to relate to the feelings my Mom must have had in the build-up to the day, and then the emotional cocktail of love, amazement, joy, and terror that a new mother lives on in the early days - and even the not-so-early days! By all accounts, I was a lively baby, not prone to early bedtimes and unwilling to sleep when there were others awake in the house. I guess Blake is a little different, in that we can get him to go to sleep but just not stay that way for very long! The similarities and differences between my and Blake's infancies have also struck me: back then, Mom bundled me into the car to escape to the air-conditioned movie theater, but just had to hope that I would be quiet and that nobody would mind a baby in the audience, whereas Blake and I have dedicated mother-and-baby screenings which are subtitled in case the babies are too loud to hear over. With the advent of digital photography you can take an infinite number of pictures of the little one in action, and keep at it until the shot is just right; in those days it was enough to get one or two "good" shots off a roll of film that you might get developed a month or so after the taking of the pictures. Fathers are more involved these days, of course; my Dad and Matt are both wonderful fathers but in very different ways (and then again, perhaps not so different: they love their children, but express their love differently than the child's mother can and does).

With all the fancy equipment, endless range of activities on offer, and plethora of books, magazines, e-newsletters, and websites advising how to do it exactly right, is it easier to be a new mother in 2008 than one in 1976? I doubt it. The babies are still initially fragile, demanding and unable to tell you what they need, but they still bring a truly indescribable amount of joy -- and nearly equal amount of worry -- to their sleep-deprived parents. And with that, I might try to see about getting another hour of sleep, after I stop in to look at Blake in his crib and marvel that he is here. His birth definitely makes this my most special birthday yet, as I appreciate more than ever just how wonderful the gift of life is.

Belatedly, happy birthday Di!

Wednesday was Diana's birthday, but I'm only getting around to posting her a birthday wish now. One of the first people I met at Dartmouth, Di has recently defended her doctoral dissertation (amazing), and moved to Texas (also amazing). We were with Diana in Rome when we saw the Pope "sworn in" - I don't think that's what it's called in religious terms, but anyway - in 2005. She loves sunglasses and college t-shirts and is a general star. Here she is in Hanover in June (they must not have had Diet Coke, one of her constant companions, hence the Nestea can). Happy birthday, Di!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Blake meets Sam S-B

Michelle and Sam were passing through London on Saturday, so we went down to meet them for a quick drink and hello. We had met Sam back in January and now he is a grown-up 8 month old!! He seemed to be amused by Blake. Michelle was looking as gorgeous as ever and is looking forward to finally getting to Amsterdam in the autumn. We laughed at how we received two white wines when Michelle ordered two "lager shandies" and concluded that the barman must have thought she said two "large Chardonnays"...

On Sunday I tried out my new camera but need to practice more with my depth of field...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday post

I know I haven't posted in a while - that is because Blake has become a real handful!! Always grabbing for things I'm holding (and not just holding...he also grabbed my glasses off my face on Monday and threw them about a foot!), and wanting to wriggle and crawl. Here are a few pics taken this morning...

Have a good weekend!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Film review: Mamma Mia!

Two words: surreal and fun.
Blake and I headed down to the Electric today to see Mamma Mia!, and I don't really think I was totally prepared. I liked it, but it was just very very strange to see these actors in this film. Now that I've come home and done a bit of trawling to read the official reviews, I like it even more, but the mother and baby audience was a bit flat and that didn't help. I think everyone was just very confused, or maybe others were taking advantage of 2 hours of relative darkness to get a few winks in. At least by the end we were all singing along (this was aided by the way in which our screening was subtitled, to help when the babies are screaming, but in my case it just educated me to a lot of ABBA lyrics which I hadn't really known before, e.g. I always thought it was "Taking the dancing queen" rather than "Digging the dancing queen". And I ask myself how many times have I sung along to that song?!). Long gone are the days when Blake would sleep through the entire movie, and he stared enraptured for nearly the whole thing. I think it was the music and the lights, of course; I'm not going to pretend he's smart enough to know that it was a little incongruous to see a former James Bond trying to sing some of the cheesiest pop tunes of all time.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Happy Birthday, Katie!

DwL would like to wish a very happy birthday to Katie Kenney, my "roomie" at Dartmouth for 4 years. 21 again and she doesn't look a day older!! Here she is in Hanover this June looking as young and cool as ever...

Pump & Save....or don't?

I know many of the DwL readership visit this blog purely to see photos of Blake, so I have posted one of those along with this tale of something that happened this morning, surely one of my most classic "mother moments". Blake and I have a bit of a morning routine, which involves coming into the living room, turning on the computer, putting Blake down on his mat, my going back to the kitchen for a bowl of cereal, coming back in to shovel down the cereal and quickly check my email while he has a roll-around on his mat. After eating, I get ready to spend another 20 minutes or so expressing some milk for a bottle for him for later in the evening. Lately I've been putting him in his new highchair and then I sit down in a chair next to him for this activity, surely the least glamourous aspect of breastfeeding.

Usually I pump right into a bottle which attaches to the pump, but this morning I decided to use a "Pump & Save" bag, which you hang over the pump and then secure with an adhesive strip; once filled, the bag is then ready to be stored in the fridge or freezer for later (I've attached a photo for those to whom this concept is unfamiliar). The phone rang just as I was about to get started so I was a bit distracted for a moment, but soon got back to the task at hand. Does anyone see where this is going?

There I was, chatting away to Blake, the pump doing its work for about 5 minutes or so, when he pushed a toy off his highchair tray and I went to retrieve it. Well it was only at that point that I realized that I hadn't peeled off the adhesive part of the strip and the bag had fallen off the pump leaving it open to the air. I had basically been irrigating the living room floor with milk for the past couple of minutes! Argh!! I'm sure my husband will be impressed reading this story...

Anyway, just a little picture into life in the morning for us.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Motherhood: The Thankless Job

It's a common adage that motherhood is a thankless job. I knew this, of course, but like many aspects of motherhood, I "knew it" only conceptually. It wasn't until a couple of days ago that I actually stopped and realized just how literally true it is, especially at Blake's age. I had just finished changing him (for about the 4th time that day...he's teething and seems to be swallowing an awful lot of drool...I'll leave it at that for your imaginations to kick in), and putting him in a sweatshirt since we were going out and it was a bit chilly, this being July in London! I did all this to a general silence (there were some vague slobbering noises, and maybe a little laugh, but nothing much beyond that). My back was aching a bit from bending over the bed for the sweatshirt fitting, and that was when I thought to myself, "I have not received one 'thank you' for all the work I've been doing for the last 4 months! All the changing, the feeding, the dressing, the bathing, the sign-reading for when he needs a nap, the rocking, the playing, the reading, the nail-clipping...and he hasn't even thanked me for it!"

In the corporate world, I think I lived for the "thank you", and sometimes hearing those two words, or reading them at the bottom of an email (even IF the person didn't really mean it!), was the only thing that made a certain task or amount of time spent on some mindless something or other worth the effort. And not just from a love of pretty stationery have I always done my best to make sure to thank people for their kindness.

But then of course the rational side of my brain piped up (it had been snoozing, as it often does these days, presumably due to lack of sleep), and chimed in with the fact that of course it has to be this way for the moment, since Blake can't talk ("Duh, lady, are you stupid or something?!"). It's definitely not as if I think Matt should come home from a day at the office and thank me on Blake's behalf for getting him to that point in the day. Matt himself probably has Janet Jackson's "What Have You Done for Me Lately?" running through his head most of the time.

Blake's smiles, coos and laughs make my heart melt and when they surface throughout the day I do realize that motherhood is indeed one of the best jobs ever and that I'm very lucky to be on the receiving end of them. I was just missing the actual "thank you" said out loud. I know that they will come in time, and I hope that by my saying "Thank you, Mommy" he will learn that he should adopt this little phrase to acknowledge other people (not just me!) when they are nice to him.

Then last night, as if somehow he knew I was exhausted and in need of a little pick-me-up, he gave us the best nonverbal "thank you" possible by sleeping from 11:45-4:45. I don't think I could have been happier if his little lips had opened and he'd said the actual words.

While I'm on the topic I should say "thank you" to my own mother as she reads this post, for all the times I couldn't say it, or didn't say it. You deserve a world of thanks for raising me!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Busy weekend

We've been busy around here...Friday, Blake and I headed to the park to celebrate Tanya's birthday (Tanya is a friend from our prenatal classes and has a cute son Hugo who is about 2.5 weeks younger than Blake). Blake had a good time on the blanket and had a face-off with Hugo, and then they pretended they didn't even know each other by lying on the blanket without looking at each other for a good ten minutes. Babies are funny like that....

Saturday morning Daddy made the high chair, in anticipation of some solids sometime soon. Blake seemed ok in the chair and found it amusing to be at adult eye level, I think. Then down to Richmond for Jamie's birthday tapas, before rounding out the day at Alex and Cathy Shingler's "1+4=5" party, celebrating both Canada Day (Alex is Canadian), and the 4th of July (Cathy hails from Kentucky). Blake put the moves on Maddie Shingler (my college roommate Katie's niece) and within a matter of seconds had her sweet little dress in his mouth! What a way he has with the ladies!

It is fun to see all how the babies are starting to interact with one another. Now, after spending most of the day watching the epic men's Wimbledon final, I am off to bed. Of course it won't be an unbroken night's sleep, but Blake doesn't want to miss out on anything and still hasn't figured out that there's not much happening at 3:00 a.m.!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A photo from Clinton

Taken on the porch at Clinton...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A summer evening in the park

Summer in London means one day of gorgeous sunshine sandwiched between several days of grey clouds and light or heavy rain! Here are some photos from that one day...