Monday, 26 July 2010

The Miranda Dictionary

Miri is becoming more alert and awake every day (occasionally, to our annoyance!) and as a result, there are more and more "words" appearing in Miri-Language. So during those 4am, er, 'discussions' over whether or not she should be asleep, I have begun compiling the Dictionary of Miranda.

Alaah - I need reassurance and/or something to suck
Ayaaaaar (repetitive) - Give me attention/I am being ignored
Aaayaaaaaaaaaar (singular, long) - I'm so alone!
Eh-eh-eeh-eeeeheh - I am tired and not happy
Elah (repetitive) FOOD! NOW!
Eelaaaah (singular, long) I haven't been fed for HOURS!
Geheh? - Why am I not in the same place I went to sleep?
GNUUR - (onomatopeoic - denotes forthcoming "Pootrastophe")
Heeh! - That looks interesting!
Nyar-huh-huh - My nappy appears to be full/I am getting uncomfortable
Wuaaaaah! (repetitive, deafening) - It's been an exciting day and I feel like yelling.
Yeeaaa? - Is it worth waking up?

More soon, I'm sure!


Un-Nyeh! - I'm too hot!
Wuurr-hur-hur - I'm sooooooo unhappy

Wednesday, 21 July 2010


20th July 2010 (5 weeks and 2 days) = Miranda's first smile! Definitely a little grin, and we know it wasn't wind because she was in the bath and there were no bubbles. Ahem. She also seems to have taken a liking to the bath now, the last two have involved far less yelling!

Also, and best of all from our point of view, after a lot of whinging in the evening, she actually slept through the whole night!!!!!! YAY!!!!

Very very proud of our Cheeseling now :-)

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

One Month New

Miranda is one month new!
Hard to believe really. Don't feel like we've got the hang of it yet. Sadly, one month in to parenthood means no more paternity leave for Carl; he has gone back to work and I have survived two days on my own with Miri. It is HARD. She was obviously so excited about her birthday that she woke up and wanted to start the day at 5.15am, slept deliberately through more human times of day including our outing, and then yelled solidly for over three hours - just for the hell of it - when Carl got in. Headaches all round, and poor Carl couldn't enjoy dinner or just splop and relax in the evening.

Miri is growing up quickly, which is both exciting and scary and saddening in that there is so little time to appreciate the little things. She seems more alert and active every day, and is now (well, at times) happy to sit and stare at things, absorbing and processing information. She seems fascinated by lights, and was very very interested in the fruit machine in the pub, for example. I am convinced she smiles too. I know everyone says it's only wind - but I fail to see how she is capable of moving her face so that she frowns when she's cross or looks sad when crying, but apparently cannot express happiness yet? On the upside, when she is grumpy, she is looking more and more like Carl. I am told she looks like me when she sleeps though (ie: mouth wide open, occasionally drooling). She is also getting far more mobile, developing those neck muscles very well - but only using them when she wants to. She straightens her legs far more now too, and happily kicks me in the stomach.  She can follow objects with her eyes when we move them about and makes steady eye contact with me when I talk to her, and she has successfully reached out for things and grabbed them once or twice too. Clever girl! (Actually, I was more proud of her when she aimed a flood of yellow poo straight down my Mum's leg, but that is besides the point!)

For her birthday, I got her a library card! She is now the youngest member of Darlington library, and of course, all the library staff cooed over her and admired her, as usual complimenting me on the amount of hair she has, as if I grew it for her intentionally! I got a few things out and signed up for Bookstart so she gets freebies in a few months time. I read to her already, even if she has no idea what I am saying. This gives me the chance to read the things I want, rather than the bloody Very Hungry Caterpillar(!!) and the sound of my voice sends Miranda to sleep quite easily - though I am not sure whether that is a good thing or not. She already stares hard at all the books on our shelves - lots of pretty colours in rows, I guess. Books are important, and no doubt she shall have lots of them. Though the library means Free Books for now, and if I get them out on her library card and she drools on them, they don't fine me. What a great system!

I also finally paid off the £3.60 library fine I accrued over a year ago, just so I could get out a book for myself. I found "My Mother Wears Combat Boots" by Jessica Mills. It is yet another (American) parenting book so I didn't have high hopes, but it is written with "alternative mums" as target audience. The author also has a blog: My Mother Wears Combat Boots which is more up to date.  I am all for anything to make a change from average parenting books, because I believe they are written by faceless women who actually like the Mothercare-esque range of entirely-pastel, pink for girls, blue for boys baby clothes, call their children things like Lexy or Jayden or Chlamydia, and drive 4x4s 200 yards down the road to nursery. Miranda's Mother wears New Rocks and rides a cheap Chinese scooter called Binky. And Proud! Sadly, there are very few books that cater for people like me.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Getting a bit ahead of ourselves...

Ah, maternity leave... time to relax, rest, play with adorable new daughter... I even get time to read the paper for a change!

yeah, right.

I have been reading the paper, but only because we've been on Miranda's tour of her extended family for the past week, ending up at my parents' house where Granny fussed over our Cheeseling so obsessively that I was barely allowed to hold her all week. So I actually had both hands free for the paper.

I am sure there are numerous articles like this, especially in the Guardian or the Independent, but this one caught my eye:
The nursery that teaches its pupils to boldly go - Education News, Education - The Independent

Like, OH MY GOD, a nursery school that lets kids make mudpies and play with snails in a garden? Quelle horreur! How maverick! Little Tarquin might even get dirty! Whatever next? Children cycling to school by themselves? Shock! Horror! Report those parents immediately!
Does beg the question, if a nursery that allows children to play outdoors is so shocking it warrants an article in a national newspaper, what the hell actually happens in a "normal" nursery?
I admit naivety here, I have no idea what modern nurseries are like. I hear good things about Surestart and so on, but I don't know what kids actually get to do in those environments. I remember going to "playschool" around aged 3 or 4. I went to one in Tenterden for a while up until I complained about having to stand behind desks in order to sing hymns. Mum didn't realise how religious the place was and I was soon removed. By the time my brother reached playschool age, Mum was running her own playgroup which involved making jelly, (that being all I remember).

I am hoping Miri will not have to go to nursery. I hate the idea of putting her in childcare or nursery too young, I just don't think it's right for baby or for Mummy. And hopefully by the time she is 3 or 4, it would be nice to be living in another country where kids are still encouraged to play and be kids - and not have to start school at four and a half.  However, at the moment, we can't afford for me not to work; I don't have the liberty to be a stay-at-home Mum after my maternity leave runs out, and after I finish uni, Miranda will be 9 months old and I will have to find a job. This is extremely depressing. Especially when further on in the same newspaper, there is this:
Nearly 70 graduates for every job vacancy - Education News, Education - The Independent

So, feeling quite hopeless and depressed about it all now!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010


We are slowly learning to speak Miri-language, that is, recognising her different cries. The noise that sounds like an indignant duck being sat on, for instance, roughly translates as "I am seriously pissed off now!" There is also the rhythmic, monotone and repetitive "A-yaar", which means "Give me attention!" or more often, "Why am I in this chair when you are doing something interesting?" The first word we learnt however, the one repeated most often is "Elah".

Elah means FOOD, or more precisely, Boob. At just under 3 weeks old, Miranda is having a growth spurt. She has put on nearly half a kilo in a week, and I swear her feet have got even bigger. This all means that she is eating constantly at the moment, demanding food every hour when she is awake, and disrupting our nights even more than "usual". (nothing as yet is usual or normal!). It is completely exhausting!

I am breastfeeding exclusively at the moment, which has earned whole-hearted approval from the midwife. It wasn't really a conscious decision as Miranda  found the milk bar and latched on within an hour of being born! However, I have no problem with this really. In purely practical terms, it is easier than faffing around with bottles and powder and mixing formula at 3am, I know it is all she needs, and I am never going to run out. And why pay for something when you can get it free?

It hurt like hell to begin with though. Rachel helpfully advised me: "It's fine once the first layer of skin has come off!". Seems to be true actually, it as actually a lot easier now than it was. Nevertheless, as if the episiotomy wasn't bad enough, getting blisters on your nipples is quite high up my list of Things You Should Never Have To Endure. Miranda's suction power is astonishing for one so small! At the moment it is only sore for the first few sucks - and Miri has a habit of lunging at me from a distance. Unfortunately that few seconds of intense pain is enough to render me wide awake meaning it is impossible to sleep through middle-of-the-night feeds. Also, she needs extra fluids at the moment because of the hot weather, so coupled with the growth spurt, she is feeding little but often and my nipples never get the chance to recover!

The hormones associated with breastfeeding are highly weird too. It is very bonding, which I suppose is a survival technique from baby's point of view as Mums wouldn't put up with it otherwise! Carl actually gets a bit jealous so I've started expressing milk so he can have a go at bottlefeeding her. It took a few days for the amount of milk to settle down though, and at first my boobs just swelled up enormously to the point of looking fake and cartoonish, and then promptly leaked everywhere. They have settled now though, leaving me having to panic-buy nursing bras in a ridiculous size 36J!

Sometimes I am quite proud of being able to breastfeed, I do love the time with her and it makes me feel 'capable' somehow, especially since parenthood is so new and there are so many things we need to learn and get used to. I don't have a problem with feeding Miri in public either, most of the time, and I've not had any discouraging comments yet either, not that I should nowadays anyway. I am sure our local pub has seen plenty of women get their boobs out in it in far less respectable circumstances.

At other times, however, I get frustrated with it all. I don't like just being The Milk Bar. Whenever I hold her, she smells food and immediately demands some. This means I don't get cuddles in the way Carl does, I can't just sit and talk to her or play with her like he can because she just hunts for Elah. More annoyingly I can't settle her to sleep in the middle of the night because the food supply is so distracting. When I am really tired, I feel completely useless; sometimes she has actually drained me dry, I can't give her what she really wants, and I can't cuddle her and calm her down either. Aaargh!

I do know this will pass and when she is older I will get to be Mummy properly rather than just Provider of Sustinance. I also know that it is not always going to hurt - though I am dreading when she gets teeth. The benefits of Elah outweigh its annoyances, so I will persevere. And I do love the newfound enormity. To Boobs! *chinks glass*

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Nothing to do with the small pieces of Edam of the same name


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