Thursday, 24 December 2009

Happy Christmas

from the Pudding Club

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Advice needed (to potentially be ignored)

Another mother was telling me how when her 4 month old son was having difficulty calming down her great-aunt who has never had children told her to take him for a walk in the garden to help him settle. So she's holding him, bouncing up and down up the garden walk, both she and her son freezing as it starts to rain and suddenly it dawns on her that she has just blindly taken advice of a woman who has not only has no hands-on experience with babies, but made an active choice NOT to have any.

It's incredible how us new moms latch on to whatever advice is thrown at us in the first few months. Some of the advice is good (Vaseline to get rid of cradle cap? Works like a charm) and some is ridiculous (like my mother telling me over skype that Eloise is crying because she doesn't like the sweater she's wearing).

Slowly and surely I'm starting to gain my confidence as a mother and know when to take advice given and when to tell people, thanks and all, but since I spend more time with my baby than I have ever spent with anyone. ever. I think I know what she needs - and a frozen brandy-pop to help with teething is not it. However I will have two.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Just a couple of changes then...

My life a little over a year ago:

Favorite Cooking show: Saturday Kitchen, hungover in my pyjamas eating yesterday's pizza.
Hobbies: I'm going to be honest here: drinking. I was once at a business course were we all had to introduce ourselves and give our hobby - I lied and said photography.
Clothing: Lots of black with bright accessories.
Perfume: Anything by Dior
Bed-time: anything after midnight
Social life: The pub.
Newspaper: CNN and BBC online. The Guardian a couple times a week.

My life now:

Favorite Cooking show: Cbeebies I Can Cook
Hobbies: Dressing up my daughter and taking pictures of her. Nibbling on her ear and making her laugh. Learning new songs to sing to her. Buying her stuff.
Clothing: Anything that has easy access to my boobs so Eloise can eat wherever whenever. If it hides milk vomit stains that's a bonus.
Perfume: Milk
Bedtime: I'm impressed when I make it past 9:30 these days
Social Life: Day-time groups with other mothers and their babies.
Newspaper: The Saturday Guardian which takes me all week to finish. Some weeks I only read the Family section.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Paris bound

So Eloise and I are flying to Paris tomorrow - at 6:40 am. Just the two of us. Me and a 5 month old baby. Who screams. A lot. That sound you just heard? That would be the sound of the brick that just fell out of my butt hitting the ground.

I'm sure it will all be fine in the end, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get all of her stuff and mine into one suitcase.

How insanely cute are these ruffled baby shorts? To pack or not to pack.

We're away until after the New Year. Giant family reunion for baby's first Christmas. Highlights include having to explain what a vegetarian (my sister) is to The Frenchman's very carnivorous family and seeing my mother and father in the same room for the first time since I was eight.

I have a few posts set up and will hopefully be able to write from over there.

Wish me luck!!!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Take your Mama out

Last week I went out for the first time in what felt like ages. Some of the women I have met in our baby groups and I decided to put the kids to bed and rush out to a late night café for a drink leaving the babies in the care of the men folk. It’s funny how taking on this new role as Eloise’s mother has made me appreciate the smaller things. Like being able to walk out of my house not just without a baby, but without a nursing bra on. I got to wear a top that was in no way conducive to breastfeeding, plenty of perfume and eye-shadow.

Me very pre-Eloise.

I was so excited for a little adult time. Walking out of my house at night, heels clicking on the pavement. Cute purse replacing the bulky changing bag. Finally some freedom from the adorable beast. And what do we talk about once we’re there? The color of our babies’ poo. What times they woke up in the night. How often they spat-up on us. So sure. It will be awhile before I’ll be able to talk about much else. Awhile before I can actually “escape”. My job is my daughter and the breaks are few and far between. But despite the fact we only spoke about our kids in some capacity or another, it was so invigorating to get out of the house. Good for the soul. And sure it was only 2 hours. And I only had one glass of wine. Before Eloise it would have been 6 hours and 8 glasses. But this was so much more rewarding. I’ve never worked harder in my life (20 weeks slave labor) for one glass of Malbec.

Although I do feel bad that we loudly swapped war stories about giving birth and only afterwards did I notice the pregnant woman with her parents at the table next to us. Hope we didn’t scare her too much, but we all decided it was better that she know what’s coming!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

breast is beast

There's been a new wave of mommies that have joined the weekly groups Eloise and I go to. Their babies are barely a month old and seeing the tiny limbs and sleepy eyes (on both child and mother) brings back memories. I know Eloise is only 20 weeks old, but the difference is so immense between 4 weeks and 20 weeks that we might as well be talking years.

With this new influx of newborns we've all been retelling our birth stories and there seems to be one thing that we all agree on. We were lied to. We were lied to by every mid-wife, gynecologist, health-visitor and pediatrician going. They all told us, if you breast-feed correctly it will not hurt. Completely pain free they said.

Bull Shit.

In the hospital, Eloise only hours old, we attempted breastfeeding for the first time. Tickling her nose and lips with my nipple, encouraging her to latch on. Making sure she's parallel to my body, her mouth wide open, her lips curled round like a fish. I did everything I was told to do - everything the books and classes told me to do. And it hurt. A LOT.

So I pressed the little buzzer button and a fresh faced mid-wife came in who looked like she was all of 12 years of age. I told her that breastfeeding really hurt. She said it shouldn't. She said if I was doing it right then it should not hurt. She checked if Eloise was properly latched on. Yup. You're doing everything right. Looks good from here. Well clearly miss pre-teen who was closer in age to someone who gets their nutrients from a boob than someone who is in a position to feed a baby with their boob had no clue what she was saying. She was just regurgitating what everyone else in the profession has been telling us. It is a big pack of lies.

Let me just set the record straight: Feeding a baby from your breast is really quite painful. Add the insane cocktail of emotions that is bouncing around in your tired body and there will most likely be a point in the first few days where your baby cries to be fed and you will feel a weight of fear drop in the pit of your stomach and tears will come to your eyes. And you will think you are a horrible mother because the last thing you want to do is nurse your poor defenseless hungry child.

Now it does get better, and I'm very very glad I stuck with nursing. I think after 15 or so days the pain when Eloise latched on was pretty much gone. Now I don't feel a thing when Eloise eats (except when she hits or scratches me mid-meal of course). And being able to nourish and comfort my baby with her own tailor-made cocktail of boob juice is wonderful. *
But had I known that the first few weeks of nursing would be painful I would have been prepared as opposed to doubting my ability to care for my child.

I suppose they don't say anything because they are afraid that if we know how painful breastfeeding can be we'll decide to go straight to formula. Well, we are all aware of how painful childbirth is and yet we all decided to get ourselves into that little pickle.

* For the record I'm not a fan of how heavy handed the health services have been with the 'breast is best" campaign. All it is doing is creating a world of guilt for women who cannot or choose not to breast feed. As if formula is some sort of evil juice. As if mothers need more guilt in their lives.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Did you know I have a baby? Cause I wasn't sure that was clear from this blog.

Somewhere along the way my newborn turned into an infant. A proper chunky little baby ready and willing to discover the world in front of her. It's amazing to think that at one point she couldn't hold up her own head. Now she's grabbing, she's standing (with my help of course) and she can manage a total of 2 seconds of sitting before wobbling over.

I never understood parents that could go on and on about their baby who had just learned to do basic things like eating from a spoon, rolling over, getting on all fours. I mean I've been doing those things for ages - some of them in heels and lingerie - and you don't hear me boasting. But when you go from being the prime witness to someone who started out life as essentially a wobbly headed blob that can't poo and breathe at the same time these milestones are incredible to see.

Monday, 30 November 2009

One family, under Mom.

Not to blow hard and heavy on my own shiny trumpet over here but there are a fair amount of aspects of Motherhood that I was pretty convinced I would excel at. Story telling, sing-a-longs – got those down.

Songs have come flooding back to my memory from childhood – Alice the camel is back, Miss Mary Mack has made an appearance, the monkeys are back on that bed jumping like crazy despite doctors orders, I got grouches rolling over, I got speckled frogs going against common advice and going for a swim straight after eating, Peter Pan, Dumbo and Pete’s Dragon have all come flying out of my mouth. I haven’t stopped at children’s songs. I belt out Helter Skelter when she’s crying until she realizes she can’t compete and stares at her crazy Beatle loving mother acting like she’s preparing for X Factor auditions. I softly sing Joni Mitchell and Johnny Cash when her eyes start drooping. I croon along with Frank and Sammy Davis Jr. when Eloise and I need to shake off the blues .

I’m quite happy spending large portions of my day pulling funny faces, making animal noises, shaking my body like a scarecrow – as long as it makes her laugh. (The scarecrow move kills at our house by the way).

I can jiggle and rock until she rests her head in the crook of my neck and those pink-rimmed little eyes finally shut. Give her a big mama bear hug when she’s upset and whisper in her ear how much I love her.

But I also knew there would be aspects of Motherhood I would not excel at and the biggest one is accepting Fatherhood and its importance in my our baby’s life.

For the majority of my upbringing it was just me, my mother and my sister. Even before my parents got divorced it was a bit of a tag-team parenting style from what I can gather and I rarely saw my mom and dad parent together. My mother did an incredible job raising my sister and me (warning – gross maternal bias about to be uttered in the next 4 seconds) – one of us has devoted 2 years of her life to serve the Peace Corps in Mozambique and lives each day with compassion and integrity and the other one made a baby so cute and edible there are talks of putting her on the Tour d’Argent menu. I think somewhere along the way though I picked up the idea that parenting is a job that should really be done alone. No need to confer major decisions or deal with your kid playing you and your partner off each other. One family, under Mom.

I realized I felt this way when I would fantasize about my future children and never once was there a father in the picture. So when the Frenchman and I decided to have kids I made a point to force him into my mental picture. And I thought that once Eloise was born I would instantly feel that we were a family. Not so.

For a long time I think I kind of felt like a single mother. Having had more experience with children I naturally took the lead in the first few weeks. The Frenchman quickly learned the baby ropes though and by the time she was a month I thought, we’re a family now, right? But I knew deep down I still felt like this parenting gig was mine and mine alone.

And it’s not that the Frenchman is a deadbeat dad by any stretch of the imagination. He LOVES our baby. Adores her. She is his raison d’etre and he continues to be amazed by her beauty and her strength. But it is me that stays up for 40 minutes at 3am feeding her. It is me that takes her to the doctor for her shots. Me that gets vomited on all day. Me that puts her to sleep. Takes her to play group each day. Dances around to make her laugh. Well – until the weekend that is.

Which is all normal. I am of course the one who is at home during the week getting my government maternity pay (that doesn’t cover the rent) to make sure my child flourishes under my watch. My partner of course goes off every weekday to make sure we can pay the rent, occasionally spoil the baby and not starve.

But as the months dragged on I still didn’t feel that family unity that I was expecting. I Still felt that Eloise and I were one unit and the Frenchman an occasional plus one. Until a few weeks ago. 16 weeks after Eloise was born. I was nursing her in her room before bed. Dim lights, Buena Vista Social club playing softly in the background. In walked Eloise’s father, smiling at the two women in his life. Eloise unlatched herself from my breast to turn and look at her Daddy. He came closer and knelt next to us. She then reached out her tiny hand and began to stroke her father’s bearded face. Slowly. Deliberately. She smiled and then turned back to nurse. And there we were.

A family.

Friday, 27 November 2009


It was around this time last year on our way to a good friend's wedding in Chicago that we discovered I was pregnant. On our way down to London the night before our flight from Heathrow I had decided to grab a pregnancy test because I had a suspicion that I might be pregnant. In the past few years I'd had plenty of suspicions that I was pregnant and none of them came out to be true (overly dramatic? Moi?) so in the back of my mind I wasn't thinking this would be any different.

But there it was: Pregnant in plain blue letters on the test. I remember by heart racing and I started to shake as I came out of the bathroom and told the Frenchman - Je suis enceinte. His face was priceless - cartoon bug eyes come to mind. It's funny that we were both so shocked since this was after all the result we were after.

We boarded the flight giddy and bewildered, trying to make sense of it all. I watched Wall-E and cried. When we got to Chicago we had the taxi stop a few blocks away from my parent's place. We went into a Walgreen's to buy another test. After hugs and hellos I took the second test. Yup. Still knocked up.

We couldn't pass up the opportunity to tell my mother and her husband in person - living in a country without any relatives it was pure luck that we were in a position to let family know we were having a baby face to face.

My mom had prepared a mini-Thanksgiving meal for us a week early. I asked if we could all go round the table and say what we're thankful for.

Heart racing once again. I'm thankful that the Frenchman and I are going to make you grandparents.

Thursday, 26 November 2009


In a couple of weeks Eloise and I will be traveling on our own to Paris to begin our Christmas holiday. After Paris where we'll join Eloise's grandma and her aunt, we will be driving down to Eloise's paternal grandparents where the rest of the family will meet up for baby's first Christmas. There will be A LOT of people. More aunts and uncles. Many many great aunts and uncles. Great-grandparents. Second cousins.

As this trip gets closer I am having more and more anxiety dreams. Dreams where Eloise is handed from relative to relative until I lose track of her. I run around frantically trying to locate my baby, asking everyone I see if they have seen her but no one seems to care about her whereabouts. Or I'll have a dream where I turn my back on Eloise and in that second a relative is shoving a chunk of paté in her open little mouth before I can shout non!.

I stopped by the office today with Eloise and passed her around to a few people. I didn't particularly like the experience.

I always thought I had the whole sharing thing down. When it comes to my daughter? Not so much.

Monday, 23 November 2009

There's a bit of an unwritten rule among mothers of babies: If your child is sleeping through the night do NOT say it out loud, write it down, or heaven forbid - post it on facebook. For as soon as the words - my kid is a sleeping genius - comes out of your mouth, you will spend the next nights up and down with your "sleeping genius" as she cries and feeds at all hours of the wee morning. Hours that used to be reserved for stumbling out of a club with smeared make-up and cotton mouth already forming.

So I've decided to use this blog to test my theory - if boasting about the amount of sleep you and your baby are getting immediately causes your child to revert back to her "night-time is for crying and food, right?" phase then surely complaining about the horrible nights you've been having should cause the baby to suddenly fall in love with sleepy-time.

See that look on the Frenchman's face? That's exhaustion. The look on Eloise -pure malice.

The past two nights Eloise has been waking at midnight, at 3am and then at 6am. We've gone through the check list to see what's wrong - room too warm? Too cold? Dirty diaper? Stuffed nose. That's it. So at 3 am we're picking the snot of her nose. No? That's not it? Teething. Give her teething powders. Really? Still not happy? Give in and feed her. And so for the next 45 minutes I nurse Eloise with my head lolling about with the need for sleep. Repeat this two more times until at 6am I kick the Frenchman out of bed, lie Eloise next to me so she can eat buffet style while I sleep.

I would assume it was a growth spurt - but one that only lasts at night? You're killing me kid.

So there it is. Our sleep woes out in the open. Now do your thing sleep theory and make it go away. Of course if it does work, you won't hear it from me.

First rule of sleeping through the night? Do not talk about sleeping through the night.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Quatrieme mois avec mademoiselle Eloise

Eloise –

When I first met you you were purple and warm and not a little angry looking at what you’d just been through. The first thing I was taken by was your ear. I thought it had something wrong with it. Your aunt Claire noticed it too. Like it hadn’t completely formed. The midwife said that you were fine, that’s just how ears looked. And then I saw that your ear was perfect and I was amazed that you and I managed to work together to form such a perfect listening device.

I think back to that mad purple little person and cannot believe how far you’ve come in just 4 months. You unknowingly say Mama. Although it’s more of a continual call: Mamamamamaaaaa. You are reaching and grabbing for whatever you can get your spit soaked little hands on. Hands that not only used to flail about without purpose but hands that you didn’t even know existed until a few weeks ago. You recognize your father and me. Perhaps not as your parents yet, but you’ve seen us enough to know that we’re rather important people in your life and you are not a fan of being apart from either of us for too long. Well, ditto kid.

You love to stand. You often get frustrated lying down and I have to spend large portions of my day helping you to stand on your own two feet. You puff out your chest and wobble your head in excitement and pride. I get glimpses of the young girl you will become when you are standing and it makes my heart simultaneously break and swell twice its size.

One of my favorite things this month has been watching your relationship with your father unfold. For the first time the other day I held you in my arms and you screamed as soon as your father walked out of your sight. Your father beamed, “Is that for me?” Usually it’s the other way around. I’ve never seen anyone so excited to hear a crying baby. The best part of his day is coming home and seeing you smile as soon as you see his face. You’ve managed to nearly bring him to tears on a couple of occasions. This is no small feat. The last time your father cried was when he was 7 and his puppy died. I however cried 2 hours ago reading you Arthur’s Thanksgiving.

People love to compliment you. I’ve been told how beautiful you are, how strong you are, how flexible you are. I’ve had strangers compliment your sense of fashion (I’ll take credit for that one thankyouverymuch) and have been told that you’re going to be a talker. People compliment your eyes, your hair, your smile. They even compliment your toes. Personally I think it’s just because they don’t know you like I do.

Yes, you are beautiful and strong. Yes your smile can make grown men weep. But you are also stubborn and demanding. You are impatient and loud. You like to fart and spit-up. And I wouldn’t have you any other way.

Well…. Except for the spit-up.

Je t’aime.


Eloise at 4 months

Eloise at 1 month

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Favorite moments of my day:

When she first wakes up in the morning, she babbles. First she talks to the bars in her crib, then she moves onto the curtains that are now lit by the rising sun, she gets loudest when she engages my collection of colorful scarves hanging on the wardrobe across from her crib. During this time I am slowly waking, listening to her get more and more vocal as she greets her friends in our room. Then I get up and her face moves from the scarves to me, a big gummy grin and bright eyes wide. I bring her into bed with me and lie her down. She immediately starts opening and closing her mouth like a baby bird - hungry and waiting. I slide in next to her, pull her towards me and fill her mouth with engorged boob - her favorite.

She falls asleep in my lap after eating lunch. Warm and satiated. Peaceful. She cat naps. When her eyes open she smiles at seeing me and tilts her head towards me. A real little flirt.

When he comes home from work, she looks for him when she hears his voice and as soon as he comes in the room she beams. Daddy's home! I say. She ignores me - at this moment she only has eyes for her father.

After the middle of the night feed, I put her back in her crib. I lie there in the dark and listen to first him and then her fall back asleep. Their heavy breathing, one deep and one shallow, fill the room. This is my lullaby.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

And I ain't even sorry

Writing has fallen to the wayside a bit these past few days. Partially because in going to Paris I managed to temporarily break my baby and so sleep has been sorely lacking. Which of course made me resort to the early days of sleep when the baby sleeps. The other reason is that Eloise has become more vocal and though I didn't think it was possible, even more beautiful. So instead of sitting down in front of the computer I've been either nuzzling Eloise's cheek or engaging in a babbling conversation with her while she lies in my lap.

Friends with more than one child tell me to take advantage of these easy days, where I can lavish all my attention on my only child and I am more than happy doing so.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Frankly Mama I don't give a damn.

Turns out this trip to Paris did not just scar me emotionally. This trip also broke my baby. When I left for Paris I had a kid who could go 4 or 5 hours between feeds in the day and who always managed a minimum 6 hour sleep before waking for her night feed. She can now barely manage 4 hours at night without needing to refill the tank and during the day she is eating non-stop.

After she spent 2 hours gnawing on my breast the other day, her father and I joked that she's turned into Scarlet O'Hara. We could just picture her with a fistful of boob - As God is my witness I will NEVAH GO HUNGRY AGAIN!

Since she went so long without eating, I perfectly understand her needing to eat non-stop to make up for lost time. At this point though I think she's recovered milk wise and is merely eating so much just to be sure boob is still on the menu and that previous rupture in boob stock was an anomaly.

Either way, she's making me pay for abandoning her last weekend. And I don't blame her. But I don't think I've broken her permanently - this face seems happy enough:

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

29 hours and 20 minutes too long

29 hours and 20 minutes apart. It should have been 53 hours. We have a very stubborn daughter who spent over 20 hours of those 29 refusing to eat. Paris did not turn out as planned. I spent the time there with what felt like a bag of knives in my stomach, fitfully sleeping with dreams of accidentally drowning Eloise from my negligence. 300 euros later I was on a eurostar heading back home to stop my baby from becoming dangerously dehydrated and having to go to hospital.

As I lessened the distance between me and my heart I stared at the ceiling of the train so as not to burst into a fit of guilty tears.

My work once let me go to a conference about women in the workplace. A feisty Canadian was giving us pointers on how to better control our emotions at work. Rightly or wrongly, the ability to burst into tears in an open plan office is not a skill often sought in an employee. The Canadian said if you feel yourself getting close to tears, look up. Looking up is connected with reason and logic. Looking down is connected with our emotions and feelings.

So there I was staring at the ceiling of the Eurostar train in hopes of not turning into the wailing childless mother in seat 62A when it dawned on me. When we raise our children we are looking down at them through an emotional filter. Reason does not apply to a mother whose child needs her. Our hearts are swollen watching their face look up at ours. And then they grow up, and they are bigger than us. If we have done a good job they will have surpassed us. And we will look up to them with reason at the incredible adult before us. It will be their turn to look down at us and be filled with emotion at the sight of us as the aging person who sacrificed what we could to give them this view.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

In bed

I've started sleeping with someone else. Someone I knew I would eventually come to know intimately but kind of assumed our meeting would happen further down the line. I am in bed with a devil named Guilt. You're a mother? Well then I'm sure you know this companion well.

I am leaving my baby. I am abandoning my heart, my love, my raison d'etre. And a part of me is happy that I am leaving. Enter Mr. Guilt.

Off to Paris for a few days to sort out the stuff I have left in my old apartment. The main "stuff" being the child's bed I bought for my prison sized room, the first big piece of furniture that I purchased with my own money when I was 22 years old with my future children in mind.

The original plan was for Eloise to come with me, but due to a passport snafu she's not ready for international travel just yet. I know my heart is going to break at waking up Saturday morning and not being able to see her Oh My GOSH - It's YOU again!!! face.

What am I thinking leaving this kid?

Yet I am also looking forward to having more than one glass of wine, to not smelling of milk vomit, to wearing perfume and unsensible shoes, to sleeping in. And of course I am full of guilt at having these feelings. Most of all I look forward to seeing her again.

Wish me luck. More importantly wish Eloise's father luck.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


I put Eloise in her big crib while I went to the bathroom to get ready to go out. She wasn't too happy about it, but I knew she was safe and so didn't mind too much that she was crying. When I came to her a few minutes later, she had pushed her body so that her head was pressed against the bars of the crib. Not the most comfortable of positions and I immediately felt guilty for having left her for so long. I quickly picked her up and calmed her down when I noticed it. Two symmetrical dents in her head from where the bars dug into her skull. I knew kids were impressionable, but this?

Sweet unsuspecting little Eloise

The dents didn't last more than an hour, but it got me thinking about how much power I have to make or break this person. I could have changed the shape of her head for the rest of her life for crying out loud. Think about all the damage I could unwittingly inflict on my beautiful daughter. What if she picks up my emotional instability? My laziness? My appallingly poor math skills? What if she becomes an overweight lush with a weakness for men with accents?

And then there's her Father. She could pick up his OCD. His inability to throw anything away. His need to be overly cautious with nearly all aspects of his life. But then she could pick up his unbelievable kindness and generosity. Eloise's father is the nicest person I have ever met, and if one of the "dents" we leave in her is his kindness I will be so proud of my child.

Of course if she doesn't inherit his kindness she can always sit with her mother at a cafe terrace and make fun of the people walking by while drinking an unladylike quantity of rouge.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Top 5 Things That Helped Me Through My Pregnancy

As soon as that pee stick turns blue you spend the rest of your gestation period anxiously waiting its beautiful bloody end with a gorgeous baby. Which is why I find it kind of strange that I have certain moments where I miss being pregnant. I miss having an excuse for being fat. I miss being treated like precious cargo. I miss wondering what my baby will look like (for the record Eloise, I am very pleasantly surprised).

So as I've been thinking back on my pregnancy I thought I'd offer my Top 5 Things That Helped Me Through My Pregnancy:

1. Dream Genii pillow. I hated not being allowed to sleep on my back. In the third trimester I couldn't even if I wanted to, because the shooting pains lying on my back caused in what I can only assume were my ovaries were right up their with the worst of the worst of contractions whenever I was on my back for even 3o seconds. This pillow helped me stay off my back and made sleeping on my side that more comfortable. I'm now using the pillow while breastfeeding, so it's certainly been put to good use. (Thanks Mom!)

2. Goldfish Crackers. Making sure that I always had some food in my stomach was the best way for me to ward off that lovely misnomer morning sickness. My first trimester I was training a few of my colleagues and hadn't let the cat out of the bag about being pregnant. I brought goldfish crackers to the training sessions under the guise of being a good hostess to my trainees. I of course ate the majority of them. I also had to make different excuses for the numerous bathroom breaks.

3. Boursin Cheese. The food restrictions are a tough one to swallow (ha!) and I missed my goats cheese and Roquefort (not to mention the accompanying wine). I only wish I had found out earlier in my pregnancy that Boursin was pasteurized. It helped me through some rough times.

4. Walking. Obvious, right? Exercise is good for pregnant women. I just didn't realize what a great thing my daily walks were until the final days when Eloise was pinching nerves in my legs making it near impossible. Being able to put in my iPod and walk (waddle) as far as I could manage was great for clearing my head and feeling independent - which is key when you have to ask people to tie your shoes.

5. The NHS. Ooo look at me getting all political. Now I haven't had a baby in any other country than England, so I have nothing to compare it to. I'm sure there are better (Hej Sweden!) and I know there are worse, but I was beyond impressed with the service I received here. A dedicated midwife to go to for check-ups throughout my pregnancy (with 2 home visits after the birth), access to physical therapists for my pelvic pain, and a lot of options from the hippy dippy natural home birth to the plug that epidural in as soon as I enter the hospital birth. And then there's the appendectomy. A week in the hospital, fantastic treatment, and I leave without paying a thing. And the actual birth of course. My midwife massaged me with aromatherapy oils for over an hour. An HOUR.

I would love to hear your dealing with pregnancy tips. I might be crazy, but I plan on going through this all again at some point. And having to deal with little Miss Eloise while being pregnant - I'm going to need all the help I can get when that bridge gets crossed.

Friday, 23 October 2009

To all the outfits I've loved before...

This past week we have been slowly replacing the 0-3 month clothes for the 3-6 month clothes. Not only are her clothes less expensive than mine (and lets face it, cuter), but I get to change her wardrobe every 3 months!?! Babies are a fashionista's dream.

Here are some of her past ensembles.

Petit Bateau top and vintage overalls (Nearly New Sale with the NCT).

Same vintage overalls as above paired with matching white shirt and vintage winter hat (model's mother's)

Handmade red romper from Bolivia, Trumpette socks from Denver, vintage grey tights model's mother's.

Green romper with pink flamingo detailing.

Same green romper as above paired with green leggings from Huggalug.

Handmade Bolivian sleeveless romper paired with white long-sleeve Sainsbury's t-shirt and Trumpette socks.

Beige peter pan collar shirt from Vertbaudet paired with brown and pink polka dot pants.

Sainsbury's jeans with pink floral detailing paired with vintage striped hoodie (charity shop).

Autumn dress from Catimini.

T-shirt from NYC paired with vintage red winter themed sweater (model's mother's).

Terry cloth pyjamas with white and pink hat and mittens (all Sainsbury's).

There's a lot of outfits I never took pictures of, I'll need to be sure to take more for the next batch. Most of these were gifts or hand-me downs. I'll be treating her to some new clothes this weekend (after my haircut - yay mama time!).

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Troiseme mois avec mademoiselle Eloise

Eloise -

When I was thinking back on this third month with you a song I learned in camp came into my head "...second verse same as the first, a little bit louder and a whole lot worse!". While I wouldn't say it's been worse, it certainly has been louder. You have a set of lungs on you kid - something the neighbors keep reminding me of every time we bump into them outside. Yeah, thanks, I know. I have front row seats to the cacophony of noises that come out of your pretty little mouth. For the rest of my life. In fact the other night we had to change you after you'd fallen asleep in my arms downstairs before putting you to bed. You hate it when we have to wake you up. We hate it too. But this time, you really hated it. It was the first time we heard you yell in anger. You've cried and screamed in frustration of not getting what you wanted, but this scream was something else all together, you weren't just crying, you were yelling at us. You started out crying as usual, but then realized that your normal cry just did not convey the level of pure anger you felt at us, the changing table, the world, and so you pushed your vocal chords to a new level just to be sure we understood just how mad you really were. And I know we shouldn't have, but we laughed. You were so pissed off - this little tiny angry person. It's so great to see you express yourself. If you can get this angry at your parents when you're 3 months old we're going to have to make sure we live in an area that does not allow firearms when you're a teenager.

You are also turning into quite the flirt. Long gone are the days when you could only manage a sleepy smile at me with a belly full of milk. You smile at the strangers that tell you how beautiful you are, you smile at the other babies we hang out with, you even smile at your stuffed animals every once in awhile. But only when you're on speaking terms with them of course.

You rolled over for the first time two days ago. I've been struggling to get you to enjoy tummy time until I finally decided to flip you over on the changing table after I change your diaper. You'll happily raise your head and look around, then rock and roll back and forth while I sing and clap and make funny faces. The rocking and rolling got stronger and stronger until one night, boom, you were on your back, staring at the ceiling. You didn't even seem surprised, just happy at the change of view.

I'm trying my best to live in the moment with you. To squeeze you close to me when you burrow your head in my neck. To smell the sweet innocent scent of your breath, a mixture of warm milk and freshly cooked pasta. To revel in the smiles you give me on the changing table when I'm wiping your adorable pink little butt. I can't help thinking about what's to come though. I get teary-eyed just imagining being able to sing with you, to dance around the kitchen together, to create imaginary worlds in a sea of sofa pillows and blankets.

Throughout your life you're going to hear me tell you that I love you. One day you're even going to say it back to me. But you won't know how big, how strong that love is until you might have children of your own. You'll take my love for granted. And so you should. I want you to feel so comfortable in the knowledge that I love you that you don't even give it a second thought. Kid, you have made me happier than I ever knew was possible. Just try to remember this when you are 16 and screaming at your father and me. Screaming like a baby getting their ass cleaned when they'd rather be sleeping.

Je t'aime,


You have just managed to move up in the ranks. I do believe Mickey is getting worried.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

My body is a wonderland...

...if by wonderland you mean an amusement park that a small child has run around in causing havoc and irreparable damage.

They tell you that pregnancy and childbirth do a number on your body, I just figured that since my body already came with extra padding, I wouldn't notice the changes as much. Silly moi. You really don't know what you have until it's gone. For the first two months, my ankles felt like tooth picks, my hips felt like they could pop out of their sockets whenever I twisted my body out of bed and that ever sexy pelvic girdle? Non-existent. It's only been in the last few weeks that my hips finally feel like my own and not those belonging to a 93 year old.

I did push-ups for the first time the other day and I've never felt so weak. I used to be able to easily do 10 good push-ups - proper ones, not the stupid girl ones - this time I fell after 4. My core feels like a wet noodle.

A book said to wait 3 months after birth to start dieting or exercising, and I listened to that advice because 3 months sounded like ages and this way I got to gorge myself on ice cream and lemon cake without any guilt. If you're breastfeeding it is recommended that you eat 500 extra calories. I have made sure that those 500 extra calories come from the naughty part of the food pyramid. In three days though I will be at the 3 month mark. Out goes the bowls of Phish Food and in come the sit-ups and rice cakes. Turns out 3 months isn't that long. So I am looking for some ideas for a "last dessert" if you will. One calorific gooey mess of a dessert to end all desserts - something to keep me going until the next excuse/kid comes along.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Stop looking at me, pillow.

Whenever I take a shower I put Eloise in her bouncy chair in the bathroom with me (scarring her for life no doubt). She usually gives me about 20 minutes or so before she gets fed up with my hygiene routine and wants the attention back on her. Often during these 20 minutes she engages a small pillow hanging on the handle of our bathroom door in conversation. The pillow was a gift from my mom and says "I'd rather be in Paris" and has a picture of the Eiffel tower on it. She'll crane her head to look at it, babble away and smile. Today however she and the pillow were clearly in a fight. I don't know what the pillow did or said to upset Eloise so much, but she was staring at it and screaming. So I jumped out of the shower and closed the door so the pillow was outside of the room. The crying stopped immediately and she turned her attention to the little dangling woodland creatures hanging from her bouncy chair. They are still on speaking terms at least.

I have to warn future pre-school friends of my daughter. If an inanimate object can so quickly fall out of miss Eloise's good graces from one day to the next, then I fear any friendship with her will be quite the bumpy ride.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

I'm too sexy for this dress

Posting has been a little slow because Eloise has decided to either forgo her afternoon naps all together or decide that my lap and my lap only is the place to recharge the baby batteries.

So while I've been struggling to find time to write, I haven't been struggling to find time to dress my baby like a little doll and take pictures of her. Ladies and Gents, I give you Miss Eloise - baby model agogo:

Don't look at me.

We're going for cute here, right?

Am I showing too much diaper? I don't want to get a reputation...

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Oh my goodness!

I was going through some pictures on my iPhoto to see if I wanted to edit any. My uncle has been going through old photos and sending a few of them to me, which I then put into my iPhoto library.

I came across this picture of my mother and me when I was about 5 months old:

And then this one of Eloise:

It took me a minute to realize it was my daughter and not me. But on further inspection it is so great to see the many differences between us. I cannot wait to watch her grow into her own little person.

I knew motherhood would be hard work, and I knew it would be an intense love but I had no idea how exciting motherhood would be. I spend large portions of the day feeling giddy at just the idea of what is to come. Not just giddy, but ohmygoodness! ohmygoodness! how many sleeps till Christmas? kind of excited. The holidays, the first words, the first swim in the sea,the first trip to the zoo, the first time we bake cookies together, the first time she holds my hand to cross the street, the first time she hugs me back - the list goes on and on.

I had also come across pictures of the Frenchman and me on our last holiday as a childless couple. And instead of feeling a longing for what used to be I thought : ohmygoodness ohmygoodness one day we get to take Eloise to the Aquarium to see the fishies!!!!!