Sunday, 29 June 2014

Make a little birdhouse in your soul

It has taken a great deal of courage to disclose my third pregnancy. I confess, I hid my 'condition' for as long as I could. I almost made it to 18 weeks before I could no longer disguise my growing bump underneath long-line cardigans and pretty scarves.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that we're not excited at the prospect of having another baby (because we are!), it's just that our excitement is tempered by anxiety. We are keeping our fingers crossed that everything will be ok. I cannot relax until I hold my newborn safely in my arms.

This pregnancy is bounded by numbers. I know exactly how far along I am. I count the days and weeks that bring us closer to realising our dream: another take-home baby; a living sibling for our daughter. I carefully monitor the baby's movements and wear a kick-counter so I don't lose focus. I mark in my diary the intervals between appointments with the midwives, doctors and consultants.

I find myself getting grumpy with 'well-meaning' strangers who stop to enquire. I don't want to make small-talk about my pregnancy. Quite frankly, I just want people to mind their own business. I'm not in the mood to be public property.

This is my pregnancy and my baby. I feel over-protective and hypersensitive.

Yet, at the same time, I feel incredibly privileged to be pregnant again. I am starting to look forward to and plan for a new arrival. I am trying to enjoy this pregnancy and bond with my unborn child.

I'm in the third trimester and counting the days until we get to say 'hello'.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Changing Man

In celebration of Fathers' Day and in honour of the amazing job my husband does as daddy to our four-year-old daughter, here are ten ways in which fatherhood has changed him... (for the better):

1) He bakes cakes and has found an apprentice:

2) He would rather come home to do the bath-and-bed routine than go out for drinks after work on a Friday night.

3) He loves 'film night' with our daughter, where they make popcorn, choose a film from Netflix, close the curtains and turn the lights off, and snuggle up on the sofa together for a couple of hours.

4) He has seen almost every episode of Peppa Pig (and can recognise which episode our daughter is watching on YouTube, even if it's dubbed in a foreign language)!

5) He loves role play and dressing up (especially when it involves pirates)!

6) He has developed a flair for drawing and colouring in.

7) He is adept at soft play.

8) He now understands how tights work.

9) He has learned how to dress hair and has graduated from merely combing hair to detangling knots and styling ponytails and plaits.

10) He's gone all 'Jackanory' and become an awesome storyteller!

Friday, 13 June 2014

10 signs you are a parent...

1) You consider any time spent in bed after 7am to be a 'lie-in'...

2) ...and four hours of unbroken sleep to be a 'good night'

3) You consider it a luxury to consume a hot beverage whilst it's still hot

4) Your plate is a dumping ground for the food your kids don't want to eat

5) You realise why bedtimes are so important

6) You spend more time sitting on the floor than you do on the sofa

7) You can't remember what it's like to have a wee/poo/bath/shower in private

8) You hear yourself saying things that your parents used to say to you when you were a kid

9) You like to just sit quietly on the sofa enjoying the peace and quiet when the kids are out...

10) ...but miss them like crazy and secretly count the minutes until they come back home!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Day out review: @Bristol

We only popped into Bristol to buy a birthday present for one of our daughter's friends (she's been invited to a party next weekend) but we ended up walking all the way down Park Street, across College Green and crossing Anchor Road to visit the science museum at @Bristol.

My husband and I haven't been to the science museum for years and we hadn't previously taken our daughter so we weren't sure what to expect. Thankfully, we were impressed by the exhibitions and spent over three hours exploring what was on offer.

The first thing that caught our daughter's eye was the water wheel and Archimedes screw. We spent ages moving water around the containers, damming the flow and releasing it again. There was a little, yellow, rubber duck floating about and we watched it navigating the barriers and waves!

Then, we looked at some optics and fluid flow exhibits. Our daughter enjoyed 'balancing' the ball in a flow of air and then turning the air jet off. She loved the whispering dishes, too, sending secret messages across the room!

The human body exhibition was fantastic. We learned about smell, touch and sight, as well as muscle mechanics and how organs fit inside the human torso. The vein-viewer was fascinating.

Upstairs, we spent a long time learning about animation. We are big fans of Wallace and Gromit and traced pictures of our favourite characters.

We blew giant bubbles using large hoops and a bubble bar (although it wasn't possible to get inside a bubble, which would have been awesome). The anti-gravity room made me feel sick (I should have paid attention to the sign outside) but our daughter loved watching the ball that appeared to be rolling uphill!

We built suspension bridges, created electric charges and made cyclones.

Our daughter's favourite bit was definitely the light maze - strings of lights hanging from the ceiling which she, and several other children, wandered around inside.

We had lunch in the cafe and bought the obligatory fridge magnet in the gift shop.

Our daughter didn't want to come home - always the mark of a great day out! We're even considering upgrading to annual membership.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Missing out

I have concealed you twice now. I omitted you and, once, I fibbed. I didn't intend to; it just happened. 

It made conversation easier not to mention you.

I'm sorry.


It's not that I don't enjoy talking about you, it's just that the memories are bittersweet and telling new people can feel awkward.

Remembering how you felt, when you existed inside me is so special. How you moved and what you liked. Your big sister is delighted to know that you disliked marmite toast and cups of tea (two of my breakfast staples) so much that you would make me feel sick if I ate them! I don't think you were a fan of my singing, either, since you stayed ever so quiet during rehearsals.

But thinking about you and the plans I made brings back the memories of losing you, of how I found out that you had died, and how we had to say goodbye before we even said hello.


You should be 18 months old now. You should be toddling about and starting to play with your sister. 

You are missing out and I have missed you out.

I am sorry.