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13 month baby update

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Oh how I wish I could freeze time! 13 months old is the best age yet – hands down. Daphne is so flipping cute all the time that I keep getting ‘cute aggression‘ where I want to eat her/bite her/crush her. Google it (or click the handy link I provided, heh) – I’m not a psycho, it’s an actual thing, a response to when things are so cute you have to rebalance your emotions by feeling violent. Like laughing when you’re nervous or crying when you’re happy – it’s weird brain stuff and totally normal. Interesting eh? But I digress… Here’s how Daphne’s is at 13 months…

So, the biggest and best change is: she is FINALLY SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT. From around 7pm (she goes down at 6.30pm) until 7am. Cue massive hurrahs, loads of gin, and me generally feeling like a normal human being again. I had forgotten what it was like, in all honesty. It’s amazing what a decent night’s UNBROKEN sleep can do. It is bloody wonderful. We no longer have the weird dream feed thing at 11pm, so I can go to bed early if I like and get some proper zzzzs in. Of course, I never do (go to bed early) because it’s too exciting have unbroken evenings to sit around, write blogs, watch TV and read books. Bliss.

I don’t really know what exactly got her to sleep through, to be honest, but I did start to leave her for a bit when she woke at 11pm for her feed, and I did gradually water it down, and reduce the amount, over about two weeks. Eventually she sort of got the message that it wasn’t worth bothering to wake up for, but it did take a while and there were several false starts. I think one of the keys to all of this is giving her a massive dinner, which can be a challenge as she’s generally not that hungry in the evenings (she eats like a starved dog at lunch). But we have managed to get her to eat lots of different things for dinner – finger food works best – which keeps her interested and generally means we can fill her up before she gets too whiny.

However, the sleeping through the night hasn’t been completely consistent – mostly because of the hot weather. The days when we were dealing with 30 degrees outside and 28 in her room she woke up a few times in the night at random hours, which was quite stressful. Settling her when she wakes is actually really hard now because she only semi wakes up – and usually sits up in her cot – and yet she can’t seem to lie back down and go back to sleep. But if I go in to ‘help’, she often gets freaked out and wakes up completely – I think I’m interrupting her in the ‘zone’ as it were, and although she can’t settle herself, it makes it worse if I barge in there and pick her up. She’ll start to scream and freak out, which is pretty horrible. And the only thing that will settle her in that situation is a bottle, which always scares me as I don’t want to start the habit up again…

But now the weather’s cooling down, fingers crossed we won’t have any more sweaty wake ups. Of course, there’s still teething, separation anxiety, learning to stand up in the cot etc etc to keep me on my toes so I am sure there are plenty of unbroken nights to come, but the main thing is the majority of the time now she’s sleeping through and it is bloody marvellous. I’ve aged about five years in the last year and I swear it’s all sleep related. Sigh.

Another achievement this month is that we’ve weaned her off formula. She now happily drinks cow’s milk and doesn’t even mind if it’s cold from the fridge. We’ve got a carton of formula to finish off so she’s still having that at bedtime, but I’m quite confident she won’t miss it. I can’t wait to get rid of the Tommee Tippee machine from the kitchen (although it has been a lifesaver and is highly bloody recommended). Next up, we have to wean her off bottles. I thought it was too risky (read: stressful for me) trying to do both bottles and formula at the same time. She has all her normal drinks from a beaker but milk is in a bottle. I know it’s not great for her speech development and my mum keeps telling me that I stopped using bottles at six months so I *know* it’s something we need to get on top of, but she gets so windy and burpy drinking large amounts from a cup that I’m a bit wary. Any tips appreciated!

Weaning off things seems to be the order of the day at the moment actually – we’ve also just managed to get her to give up her Sleepyhead in her cot. Another great hurrah. I’m going to write a blog post about my issues with the Sleepyhead so won’t go into too much detail here about it, but it’s been another struggle and I’m so glad we’ve got rid of the damn thing. I replaced it with Airwraps – her cot has bars so without the Sleepyhead she can easily get her arms or legs stuck. The Airwraps have gone down quite well – they’re not at all squishy though so don’t particularly protect from bumping herself against the bars. She was a little freaked out at first, not having her nice soft pillowy sides to snuggle up against but she seems happy now. Her latest bedtime habit is sitting up in the middle of the night, turning round and crawling to the other end, so that her head is at the foot of the cot. She can change positions about ten times a night without waking herself up (we have a video monitor so can spy on her) which is rather amusing.

What else what else… on the speech front, we’re no further along, but I wrote about that in my last blog post. She makes loads of different sounds but nothing specific or consistent yet. She’s started pointing, sort of, but she uses her middle finger not her index finger and doesn’t fully extend it so not sure it counts?! But she can follow me pointing at something and she also definitely understands ‘no’ now, and will stop what she’s doing for a second if she hears me do my ‘stern voice’. Although it doesn’t stop her going right back to doing it. Sigh. I read somewhere lately (probably a self-help book or something on PMA) that babies are the ultimate inspiration as when they want something, they Just. Don’t. Give. Up. I guess that’s how you progress through life, and something we forget to do as we age/get lazy? Ha! I’ll leave you there on that unexpectedly philosophical note…

BABY ON BOARD Baby updates LIFE The Confessional

One year baby BODY update!

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Me five days before I gave birth…

I wasn’t sure what to call this post, or indeed, whether to write it at all, but it’s been niggling in my head for a week or so I decided to just do it. Please skip if it’s not your kind of thing, but for those of you who are curious about how having a baby changes you physically… read on. I love a good overshare, me. I also love reading these kind of posts because pregnancy affects everyone so differently – I find it fascinating.

So, deep breath, here we go…

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Me back in May. Not much has changed since. Note the frizzy hair…

My weight

Daph was born a year ago and I am kind of perversely proud to say I have not lost all my baby weight yet. Shock horror. I haven’t actually weighed myself since we moved because we’ve lost the bathroom scales somewhere in the melee, but you know how you know your own body… I would give a rough guess that I currently weigh about 9st 9 (on a good, non-period day, first thing in the morning after a wee). I’m 5ft 7 just to put that in context for you. When I got pregnant, I was about 9st 3, but I was actually the lightest I’d been in a while because I’d been on a bit of a fitness kick and had been going to the gym a few times a week for about six months. Earlier that year, I was about 9st 7, and that was probably my base weight for a couple of years.

So yes, I am not back down to 9st 3 (I was nearly 12 stone at my heaviest when pregnant!). I wanted to get back to 9st 7 but I haven’t even managed that. I have mixed feelings about this to be honest. I think – if I wanted to – I COULD get back down to that weight relatively easily, by doing a few runs each week. I started running earlier in the year when Daph was younger and weirdly I was less tired (somehow smaller babies are less tiring because despite the night-wakings, they’re less demanding during the day and nap a lot). But I gave it up when I started working again, when she was about five months old. Now when I get some time to myself I have to do my freelance work, and exercising has definitely taken a back seat.

Interestingly, when Daph was first born I was desperate to lose ALL the baby weight and really worried about it, but, now I can honestly say I don’t care! It’s quite liberating. The only part of me that really wants to lose the extra pounds is the part of me that sees myself in jeans, as they’re not as flattering as they were, but otherwise I am quite happy floating about in maxi dresses. The extra weight is all across my thighs – the inside of my thighs mostly, and a little bit on my tummy and arms. It’s not terrible. And on that note…

My tummy

The good thing about having a long back is that you also have a long tummy. Which means it usually looks pretty flat – there’s plenty of space to spread out the fat y’see. I also have a tummy button that goes in a lot which helps it to look flatter (blimey, this is a weird blog post). So my tummy actually looks pretty normal at first glance. I didn’t get any stretch marks (thankfully) when I was pregnant and the skin isn’t loose. What is different, is the – now excuse me here cos this is also a bit weird – texture of my skin on my stomach. It’s kind of squishier than before. I guess, it’s because it stretched and it’s now fatter, but I think it’s actually also cos my abs separated and I am fairly sure they haven’t joined back together yet. I think there are exercises I can do to sort this, but I can’t really be bothered to be honest. Maybe if we go on a bikini holiday next year I will do something about it. The main thing is that my tummy is pretty much the same as before, just a bit… softer.

My general shape

My mum doesn’t believe this, but my hips are definitely wider than before. You know how they stretch a bit when you are pregnant thanks to the ligaments relaxing? I really don’t think they go back – fitted trousers and dresses I wore before I got pregnant just don’t look quite right now (and no, it’s not just the extra weight – I can tell the difference). My waist is also less defined – that whole area is a lot more ‘square’. But it’s not terrible. I feel a bit more ‘mumsy’ shaped and dare I say it – middle aged?

Oh and my feet. My feet are still bigger. Not swollen any more but bigger, and most of my pre-pregnancy shoes are now uncomfortable.

My boobs

As you may know, I didn’t breastfeed really – just pumped for six weeks then gave up. After I stopped pumping my boobs shrank back pretty quickly to their previous size. They look the same now as before, honestly, but they are pretty small and inoffensive (I fail the pencil test) so maybe that’s why. I reckon they’re a bit lower than before, but that’s probably ageing more than anything else. I don’t know if boobs change more if you ‘properly’ breastfeed, would be interesting if anyone wants to share!?

My hair

This is the weirdest and most annoying thing. A year later – my hair is still not the same. It’s still darker (although I noticed my first few greys coming in – AAAAAH!) and even more weirdly, I seem to have developed a strange kink on one side. At first I thought it was the way I was wrapping my hair in a towel, but no, it turns out it’s actually gone a bit curly on one side. My hair has always been poker straight, and now if I leave it wet, it goes into a really unattractive wavy mess. Annoying.

My down-belows

Yikes, I can see my mum reading this and thinking I’ve truly lost my mind. However. I can confirm that all is functioning as before in this respect! No discernible changes AT ALL, despite my second degree tear. Your body is designed to give birth, and seems to make a really decent job of recovering from it. Or maybe I just got lucky. Either way, there’s been no leakage (SORRY!) or problems of any other nature… *stops talking before everyone I know disowns me*

Baby brain

Has gone! Hurrah. Apart from being eternally knackered, I feel my brain has returned to its previous level of functioning. If anything, I reckon it’s better – I’m certainly better at remembering things, multitasking and all that jazz.

What else what else… In general, I look older. A lot older than before. I am pretty sure this is all down to lack of sleep however, and not the baby per se. Oh and y’know I’m 35 now so it was to be expected.

So there you have it. My most navel-gazing post to date. Literal navel-gazing. I can see loads of you rolling your eyes and sneering at the sheer self-absorbedness of it. I may be full of regret at publishing this. But I think the point was really to say that yes, my body is different from before and no, I don’t actually care. I know all that gubbins about seeing your body differently after you’ve given birth sounds annoying but it’s SO true. It does put stuff into perspective. It does make you respect it more. It doesn’t stop you wanting to eat ice cream and sugar all day to cope with your three hours of sleep. But one look at the little person you made, and their PERFECT BOXFRESH skin and PERFECT SOFT hair and it’s a sacrifice that feels both completely natural and well worth making.

BABY ON BOARD Baby updates

One year baby update!

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Daphne is one! Well, she will be in 45 minutes time – right now a year ago I think I was in the last stages of proper hideous pushing – the bit when you feel like you are ripping yourself in half but you really, really don’t care. Anything to get them out. All a distant memory now thankfully. In fact, I said early on that I’d go through labour again twice over rather than have to endure the agonising six weeks of ‘breastfeeding’ that I attempted. Labour was incredibly painful and exhausting but it was still the biggest natural high I have ever had – much like how I imagine people who climb Everest feel. It is amazing what your body can do if you, er, make it.

But enough about me. Daphne is one and what a month it’s been! We’ve moved house, and thankfully she seems to love the new place just as much as the old place. She settled in straight away – in fact my biggest worry was her freaking out about being somewhere new but she seemed to love her new bedroom from the very first night. I think a lot of this has to do with the Flensted elephant mobile* she has hanging over her cot – she absolutely LOVES it, and as soon as I put her in her cot in the new room and she looked up and saw the elephants there, she smiled and rolled onto her side and went to sleep. The only problem with this ‘sleep prop’ of course is that it’s not very portable, so we’ve undoubtedly made a rod for our own backs there, but it was a godsend in keeping some sense of consistency for her when we first moved in.

The biggest change in the last month however, is that she is now crawling! She started to crawl at exactly 11 and a half months. It was amazing – just totally out of the blue one morning she just ‘got it’ and now she happily crawls everywhere. She’s also started trying to pull herself up but in typical Daph style, hasn’t really got the logic down yet and instead tries to push off by sticking her bum in the air and straightening her legs while in a crawl position – a kind of downward dog type affair. It doesn’t get her anywhere of course and she just gets frustrated. She sort of tries to climb up on furniture but not really, she can get onto her knees but then she loses interest. I’m not so worried about any of this anymore – I know she’s a little ‘behind’ what all the books say but she’s definitely progressing in her own way and I have no doubt she’ll get there in the end. The crawling is ace though – she’s so pleased with herself as she comes scuttling towards you. It’s a nightmare, of course, logistically – we were very used to being able to leave her in one position while we did something but now of course that’s impossible. Thank god we have a bigger house now – at the moment she uses the (pretty much empty) dining room as her main exercise track and has all her toys out on the floor.

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With her beloved granny, who made her this awesome Liberty dress for her birthday <3

What else is new? She’s finally started sleeping in a bit later – now she wakes up at 6.20 ish, which is much more bearable. However, she has still, never, ever, NOT ONCE IN HER WHOLE LITTLE LIFE, slept through from bedtime at 6.30pm to 6am without waking up at least once for a drink/cuddle. I have tried SO hard to wean her off the milk (I know she doesn’t need it at night at this age) but nothing bloody works. I’ve diluted it so that it’s just 90% water, given her just water, given her less milk… doesn’t make any difference, she will still wake up at some point the next night and demand to be picked up, reassured by a bottle (it’s about 30 seconds of ‘drinking’ each time!), and put back to bed. Any tips on this gratefully received! She usually goes straight back to sleep so it’s not been TOO annoying (and it’s usually at a reasonable hour like 11pm so I’m awake anyway), but for the past two nights I fear we have hit a new ‘phase’… I think it’s maybe a mini regression, but she’s woken up later than normal – at around 12.30am – and then stayed awake for an hour and a half each time, crying the second I leave the room. And not just a few whimpers, but proper howls. The heartbreaking ones. So I guess this is more separation anxiety at work – oh joy. Last night I was a bit despairing and even brought her into bed with us (I couldn’t get out of her bloody room without taking her too and quite frankly I just wanted to lie down by then) where she decided it was all rather funny and started giggling and jumping about. So she went straight back to her cot. Eventually she kind of wore herself out and went back to sleep, but honestly: WTH! Babies are so badly designed. This sleep nonsense is The Worst.

Another challenging aspect at the moment – food! Daphne takes after me (at least when I was young) and seems to now find eating a boring waste of time that gets in the way of all the exciting things she could be doing like going through mummy’s handbag or pulling all the tissues out of a box. The only way to get her to eat at the moment is by distracting her and then shovelling food in her mouth as she concentrates on something else – it’s amazing how creative you can get when you need to, and how entertaining you can make the wax bit of a Babybel. We’ve tried letting her feed herself but all she does is pick things up, turn them over in her hand and throw them on the floor – she hardly ever puts things in her mouth. It’s like she has zero interest in food. Unless – and here’s the caveat – I’m having a chocolate bourbon with my cup of tea. Then she’s suddenly desperate for a bite and a swig from the mug (don’t worry, I never let her do either. Promise. Ahem). Oh and she will happily munch on a rice cake in the car or in her buggy. She hates being fed from a spoon but will take things from a fork – again I think this is because she’s seen us eating from a fork. Mealtimes are exhausting and take hours.

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The best bit about Daph at the moment though, is her understanding. I keep desperately googling what’s normal for this age because I find it absolutely mindblowing, as she seems to understand everything. Well, she understands the names of everything. You only have to tell her once and she’ll remember what something is called – and now we can ask where blue dog or her phone or her piano or mummy’s computer are, and she’ll crawl off towards them and then bring them to you or pick them up to ‘show’ you. She knows what the car is, what houses are, what grass is, where the garden is, where her books are etc etc. She’ll also come to you if you ask her to, although she has yet to hand you something you ask her for. I think she must have at least 50 words in her receptive language already. However, she doesn’t say any! She speaks a lot in her own funny goobledegook, and often sounds like she’s saying ‘Daddy’ (not to anyone in particular however!) and ‘Eeeeeee’ which she says if she sees me or the cat. But no proper words, and not a snifter of a ‘mama’. Huh. Today, though, I swear she said ‘up’ after me (I was picking her up and said it as I did so, and she parroted it back. Might have just been a random fluke thing however!).

Most of all, Daphne age one is absolutely the most entertaining and lovely she’s been so far – I LOVE this age so much! She’s so happy and funny – a real little character. I’m much less worried about her than I was, and if only we could crack this sleep thing, I’d say life as a mum was pretty perfect right now. Happy birthday, my little lovely Chip.

* not a sponsored link, nor did I get it for free! 

BABY ON BOARD Baby updates

Eleven month baby update

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I know, I’m meant to be having a two-week break from blogging, but it’s Daph’s eleven month birthday today, and I couldn’t not do an update. My goodness, she has changed so much since my last post. In fact, let me go and read it to compare and contrast…

Right, back now! So I don’t think I mentioned before that Daph was booked in to have a hearing test thanks to her lack of proper babbling. This was arranged ages ago but we had to wait for about ten years for an appointment – eventually we got a cancellation. It was at St Helier Hospital in Sutton (finding a space in the car park was fun. Not) and was quite a random affair, consisting of a woman trying to distract Daph with toys while another woman behind a two-way mirror played sounds from two giant speakers either side of the room. I *think* the point was to see if she would turn around for the sounds or not, but it was quite hard for even me to understand what was actually going on, so not sure how a baby is supposed to cope with it. Daph found the whole thing rather boring and started doing her screeching thing after twenty minutes or so, but was a brave little soldier when they put some strange headphones on her and started staring into her ears. After the test, we went to see the consultant who said she had passed with 95% and that they couldn’t rule out partial hearing loss in one ear but that she can definitely hear, and her hearing was not affecting her ability to babble. They scheduled another appointment for us to come back and have her ears test separately in September (seems a bit pointless TBH, 95% is good enough in my book!).

The consultant then said she would refer us back to our GP, to get her referred to a developmental specialist about her lack of balance (she still falls backwards when sitting sometimes) and lack of babbling. The referring thing is quite bizarre – not sure why she couldn’t have referred us directly herself. But anyway. We went away feeling a bit depressed – the consultant wouldn’t really give us any indications what she thought might be ‘wrong’ with Daph but did trot out that old line about all babies doing things in their own time blah blah.

Then, about a week later when we first got the keys to the new house, Daph was sitting in her new bedroom while we were ignoring her and chatting about wallpaper or something and, as if to stick two fingers up at all of us, she decided to START BLOODY BABBLING.

Properly babbling too. I don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved about anything. And since then, she’s been doing it most days, usually when she wants to get someone’s attention. It’s so cute, the cutest sound in the whole world, after her squeaky giggle. Since the babbling began, she has also started making more obvious word-like sounds, and will now happily ‘chat’ away with us in her very particular brand of gobbledegook, as well as ‘talking’ to her toys.

So. We then had our GP appointment. I felt a bit stupid when we turned up because the babbling had been my main concern. He took one look at Daph (he’s a paediatric specialist) and declared that she seemed completely normal. In fact, he said she seemed very bright and alert and that she was probably – and I have to cringe a bit here – just LAZY. ‘She’s realised she’s going to spend the next 80 years or so talking and walking so she’s decided not to bother just yet. And why should she when you two are waiting on her hand and foot?’ I could have kissed him. He said he didn’t see any need to refer her to a specialist yet, as he was sure she would do everything on her own schedule, and implored us to help her out a bit less so she had to try harder. He remarked on her impressive fine motor skills and said the fact that she screamed her head off in fear when he examined her was a positive sign of stranger anxiety (which is a great thing to have apparently!). He said he couldn’t ‘guarantee’ that there wasn’t an issue but he was pretty convinced she was totally fine, and we are coming back for another review with him in September. After that, he’ll refer her if he thinks it’s necessary.

And since that appointment, she’s suddenly been coming on leaps and bounds. There’s no sign of actual crawling yet but she gets herself into a crawl position all the time and reaches forwards with her hands, and she’s also started bum shuffling to get to things she wants. I can no longer leave her in one spot and assume she’ll still be there if I come back five minutes later. She’s falling over a lot less from sitting too, and has even pulled herself up into a sitting position from lying on her back a couple of times, by grabbing onto things nearby. I feel like she’s maybe just a few weeks away from crawling now – possibly even less. Which is a bit of an EEEK as well as a YAY.

Oh god, this is all a bit serious and heavygoing. Apols. But it has been a real weight off my mind. In my darkest hours, Dr Google convinced me that she had all sorts of things wrong with her and it was so frustrating to see all her NCT peers already crawling and climbing stairs, when she couldn’t even sit independently.

So onto the more exciting stuff. I feel like in the last week or so specifically, we have finally started to communicate properly. Daph now responds to commands – it is the weirdest thing! Her memory is developing too – so now if I ask her to find her favourite book or toy from a pile of things, she will rummage through them until she finds what I’ve asked for, then wave it triumphantly at me.  This is kind of epic, I have to say. When you first have a baby it feels like they are just a little alien blob, and although you feel so protective of them, you don’t really have this kind of connection because they basically haven’t got a clue what the hell is going on. But now, Daph knows when it’s tea time, knows when we’re going for a walk, knows when I’m going to change her nappy or give her milk. She knows who I’m talking about when I mention Granny or Daddy or the cat. It’s such an incredible thing, seeing her brain develop in real time, and I absolutely adore spending time with her at the moment.

Other things… Daph is a lot more clingy nowadays, and will cuddle up when sitting next to me, or put her face against my chest if she sees someone she doesn’t know and feels shy. She’s also started trying to climb on to my lap if I sit next to her to play, which is really really sweet.

As for sleep. Ha. It is still shit, quite frankly. It’s also totally inconsistent – some nights she’ll sleep through, others she wakes up at 3am for no reason just crying, and will only stop if I go into comfort her. She doesn’t particularly seem hungry, so I wonder if it’s separation anxiety or she’s having bad dreams. She’s not teething at the moment, I don’t think, and she hasn’t had much of a growth spurt this month. The worst thing is the waking at 5am and wanting to start the day – this is STILL most mornings for us and it’s such torture. I just don’t know how to stop it and nothing has worked so far. I’m just praying for the darker mornings to start as I am sure the light at 5am doesn’t help. The saddest thing is that the sleep deprivation has put me right off having another baby. I genuinely don’t think I could go through this again (I mean, I know I technically could, but the idea of it fills me with dread) and the idea of having two kids to look after on this little sleep seems like some kind of awful hell that I’d rather save myself from…

We’re moving into the new house next week and after that I am seriously starting to consider a sleep consultant. Oh, and in case anyone suggests it, we have tried leaving her to cry but my god is she persistent. Also, our neighbours downstairs have complained twice about the noise (ouch) so we are really wary of pissing them off further. (Although to be frank, the snoring I touched on in a previous blog ought to be a criminal offence. Bloody hypocrite!)

I’ve probably missed a million things as I can waffle on for Britain when it comes to Chip, but this is already ridiculously long so I shall wrap up here! And just to end on a positive note – despite all the worry and the lack of sleep, I think I am ‘enjoying’ Daph more than I ever have done – this is such a wonderful wonderful age, and I can already see what she’ll be like as a toddler. It’s so exciting, and every day I feel more teary eyed and proud of her!

BABY ON BOARD Baby updates

Ten month baby update

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Where did my ‘baby’ go?!

My little Daph turned ten months old last Friday. Except, she’s not my little Daph anymore. She might be better called my giant Daph seeing as (to me at least) she looks about eight now. She’s so tall – at our last check up the health visitor said she was only on the 50th percentile for height and weight but I somehow can’t believe it – I swear she is bigger than most of the other babies her age. She’s now wearing clothes age 12-18 months and even some of these are looking a little too small on her (dresses especially – I guess she would be tall given that her dad is 6 ft 3). It’s all kind of funny looking back now and thinking a year ago I was so worried about how tiny she was going to be – and she was, when she was born, but she has certainly more than made up for it now.

As well as being tall, she is the least babyish baby I know – instead, she’s all opinions and frustrations and demands and fiercely independent already. It’s lovely, but also kind of heartbreaking – I really feel already she’s more of a child than a baby now. If I try to bring her into our bed for a cuddle in the morning she squirms and whacks me in the face and wriggles and generally lets me know that cuddling is off thank you very much, she has far more important things to be doing. In fact, the only time I get cuddles are when I pick her up after a nap and she’s SO happy to see me – she puts her little arms around me and her face against my neck and it’s just lovely. Oh, and in the middle of the night when she has her dream feed – it’s the only time she’s truly relaxed and she’ll sit there drinking softly in my arms like she used to as a newborn.

I feel like in the last month or so she’s suddenly really developed in her personality – she knows what she wants and when she wants it, and if she doesn’t get it, then basically all hell breaks lose. My mum has already warned me she is going to be a drama queen. I started googling a bit (I know, I know) to find out whether tantrums were possible in babies so young, and apparently they are – hurray! I wouldn’t say she has full-on tantrums yet but she marks her frustrations loudly and often. Mostly by shrieking at the top of her lungs and mostly in public where I just want to die of embarrassment. The only thing that stops her shrieking is giving her what she wants, which of course we do, because she’s still a baby even if she doesn’t think she is, and too young for discipline; or by distracting her with something shiny or more interesting. She really really doesn’t like being a baby and is desperate to do everything herself. I suppose I’d always had that impression from the second she was born – what with the colic and refusing to breastfeed – so it’s not really a great surprise. Her latest thing is hating being spoon fed – she wants to do it herself – and again she shrieks if we try to feed her. Apparently it’s an actual ‘thing’, called spoon refusal – but it’s really really annoying and means mealtimes are taking forever!

She is best described as feisty (and I think some people call babies like Daph ‘spirited’) – an utter delight when she’s happy and things are going her way, a bit of a handful when they’re not.

Anyway, even though she’s hard work and I look at friends with so-called easy babies with more than a touch of weary envy, I actually love the fact that she’s already got her own thoughts and opinions about stuff. I sort of admire her for not being content with her lot and I tell her every day that she’s going to change the world. Time will tell!

In order to curb her frustration at not being able to communicate, we’ve been going to baby signing classes – I’ll have to write about that separately, but she does love it. And she already understands most of the basic signs (although she can’t sign them yet) and it definitely helps to be able to ask her if she wants milk by signing and seeing her reaction. She also understands quite a few words now and will look at whatever you’re referring to – the cat’s name (she loves the bloody cat), ‘trees’, ‘daddy’ etc etc.

Developmentally, she’s coming on slowly but surely. This week she said her first consonants – ‘ba’ and ‘da’ FINALLY. I nearly keeled over in shock when she just casually threw ‘da’ into the mix when I was driving back from my parents’ house the other day. She didn’t babble it, but the main point is that I now know she *can* make that sound if she wants to, and again, the fact that she doesn’t doesn’t surprise me much – she clearly can’t really see the point. She has also been making lots more obviously vocal sounds – all kind of crazy but definitely attempts to talk, and we can have lovely weird ‘chats’ back and forth. I feel less worried about this side of things now but of course, there’s still that thing at the back of my mind that she’s behind a little – but I’m trying to relax and just let it go, and see how she is when she turns one.

She’s also started to wriggle about a LOT more when she’s sitting down – twisting and putting her arms forward into a crawling position. She still gets mightily pissed off if you put her on her tum for tummy time however, and rolls straight back onto her back, but we’ve been trying to trick her a bit by holding her legs in a wheelbarrow position and getting her to try to ‘walk’ forward with her hands. And she’s obsessed with standing up – she just wants to be held up standing all the time (another reason for her meltdowns if I try to sit her down). But she can’t stand alone yet. I am sure her general mood and disposition will improve a lot when she is finally more mobile and able to get to where she wants to be without any help.

One last thing I must mention is her sleep! It’s gone a bit shit, to be frank. She was so great for about three months, sleeping through the night every night and just having a dream feed at 10pm. Then we dropped her third nap, as she stopped being tired at bedtime, but that had the knock-on effect of her being exhausted by 5pm and having to be asleep by 6pm. She seems to be able to do 11 hours at night with only one wake up for a feed, but because she’s going to bed at 6pm, that means at 5am she’s awake and NOTHING will persuade her to go back to sleep. Instead she lies there every morning screeching and talking to herself until we get her up – we usually manage to ignore her (with a quick check to see she’s OK) until 6am, when Oli goes in and gets her up for the day, but being woken up at 5am EVERY DAY is truly horrid. We can never get back to sleep after she wakes, and it means she’s exhausted by 8am so all her naps have to happen early, and thus the cycle continues! It also means she doesn’t want her last bottle before bed as it’s too close to her tea, which means she’s now started waking up twice for milk in the night. We’re kind of at our wits’ end with it, and I’ve now decided (after last night/this morning when as a Father’s Day gift she decided the day should start at 4.30am) that I’m going to let her have a very quick micro nap at 5pm every day and move her bedtime back to 7pm. Fingers bloody crossed!

Oh and one last thing – she has seven teeth. Four on the top and three on the bottom, but the fourth bottom tooth seems to be MIA. Its twin came through ages ago now. All the others came through in pairs so it’s a bit peculiar – I hope it doesn’t mean it’s never going to appear!