Wednesday, February 29, 2012


wedding party in prospect park by annwood
wedding party in prospect park, a photo by annwood on Flickr.
I am sitting in our living room listening to birds twittering through the baby monitor. It's very pleasant. I've noticed the birdsong reappearing just this week when I've been up feeding Dulcie in the wee small hours. It makes me excited about the onset of spring.

After a few weeks of hard work and psychological wrangling (i.e. getting to know what our baby means/wants when she is grunting or shouting and then giving it to her) Dulcie has become a champion sleeper. I feel like a different person these days, getting what was a whole week's worth of zzzzz in one continuous block every night. Last night Dulcie went to bed at 11pm and got up at 4 and 7.30. I think she might not be far off sleeping through the night, which would be amazing. Things are so different from how they were a few weeks ago and I am chalking this up as a parenting success. Yay!

I hope I didn't just jinx things by blogging about it...

Monday, February 27, 2012


This book about faces is Dulcie's favourite thing in the world right now.  She can look at it quite happily for ages and enjoys stroking the crinkly pages.  This weekend she used the mirror on the front cover to practise her newest trick - smiling.
Success!  Well, sort of.  She's actually been smiling quite a bit but this is the closest I've come to capturing it on camera so far.
Doesn't she look like James Dean in this outfit?  All she needs is a packet of cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve of her T-shirt.  I'm loving her tiny jeans.  They're jeggings really (tiny jeggings! hee!) but they are still a little on the large side for her.  Every time she has her nappy changed by her dad she comes back with teeny-tiny turn-ups to match his.

Hmmm, I really don't want this place to turn into a baby blog, but I spend 100% of my time with this little lady now, so it's baby or nothing, I'm afraid.  It won't be like this for ever!  (Will it?)  My mum is coming to visit this week, I think, so I might utilise her babysitting skills to try and find the time to dig out some easy craft projects.  I am itching to make something (anything!) but all my supplies are buried in disorganised piles that I can't get to in the time it takes Dulcie to realise I'm not holding her and start screaming.  Talking of which...

Friday, February 24, 2012

something fishy

Fortune Fish by Mykl Roventine
Fortune Fish, a photo by Mykl Roventine on Flickr.
Last night I ate two thirds of a fishcake, the first dead animal I have consumed in over 20 years. I have been psyching myself up to try eating meat and fish for a few years now as I'd like to be able to eat them occasionally to make life easier, although I'd still plan on being 99% vegetarian as vegetarianism is just right for me and sits best with my view of the world etc. I think having Dulcie has given me that little extra push to stop just thinking about it and start changing my ways. Not having eaten meat for so long has given me kind of a phobia of it and I'd like to be OK with eating it by the time Dulcie might be able to pick up on these things. We don't intend to bring her up as a vegetarian. I was quite surprised how easily I ate the fishcake last night and was giving myself a little pat on the back and feeling very pleased with myself. I thought about it a bit too much halfway through and couldn't finish it, but it was a very successful first attempt. A few hours after eating it, though, I started to sense the death in my belly and have felt quite ill ever since. Today I am still struggling and kind of wish I hadn't eaten it. There's dead flesh inside me. Shudder! Might be a while before I take the next step.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

she loves it really!

This is kind of old news now, but my new niece is no longer a nameless wonder.  She's called Lexie Elspeth.  Aw!  Here's Dulcie modelling the cardigan I crocheted for her.  It had turned out a good bit smaller than the other two I made (different wool, I guess) so I tried it on Dulcie just to make sure it would fit.  I think it will fit Lexie, who is just a little bit bigger than Dulcie really, but probably not for long, so we posted it off to her quick stylee even though I wanted to keep it as soon as I had seen it on.  How cute?!  As you can see, Dulcie didn't look too impressed, but she cries all the time (all... the... time...) so I'm sure she loved it really, despite the screams that might suggest otherwise.  And she might have been crying because I was making her wear her emergency MC Hammer pants.  You can't touch this!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

hangin' with my homie

This week just past I had just one medical appointment (shocker!) and managed to use the unusual amount of free time to start enjoying just hanging with my homie, Dulcie.  We went out every day this week (we even went to the cinema together) but here are some highlights from Friday.
  The health visitor's assistant popped round on Friday morning and told us that Dulcie weighs 7lbs 7oz.  This is double her birth weight and makes her pretty much normal newborn baby size.  Go, Dulcie!  Over the last couple of weeks she has become big enough to start wearing some of her vast clothing collection and picking out an outfit is always a nice way to start the day, whether we go for the sublime and stylish or the downright ridiculous.  Friday's outfit was very stylish, I think - grey knitted leggings and pink stripy socks/top, like a cross between an old man in his underwear and a young Brigitte Bardot.
 You can never start them too young, so we spent a little while learning about embroidery with Erica Wilson (see last post).  Dulcie was quite entertained and just had some milk whenever she got bored.
Dulcie won't really let me eat lunch in the house so I've been taking it out and eating it while Dulcie sleeps in the pram.  On Friday it was a bit drizzly so I had my lunch inside the Kibble Palace in the Botanic Gardens, which was very pleasant.  When Dulcie got bored/threatened to wake up, we walked amongst the hundred-year-old ferns and saw the sights.
Fancy fish in the indoor pond.
 Strange mini lollipop trees.
Succulents spiky...
 ... and succulents smooth.

 Also this very impressive flower.

 Not quite ready to go home, we went to the Oxfam book shop and then to the public library (see picture of library carpet above) to have a wee look at the craft books.  Nothing doing but I still liked being in the library in the afternoon.

I'm sure there will be more of the same this week... next week... and the week after that.  Ah well, there are worse ways to spend your days and my homie can be quite good company when she manages to think of anything other than milk.

Friday, February 17, 2012

erica wilson - brain ping

I know a YouTube blog post can seem like a bit of a cop out but I absolutely had to share this video, which is like one of my best vintage craft books come to life.  I wasn't aware of Erica Wilson, I don't think, until I found out about her this morning thanks to Pin Pals (who were prompted to post about her thanks to Cathy of California).  I immediately hopped over to YouTube and started watching her show.  Each episode is absolute perfection, everything I would want to see, all wrapped up in a 15-minute bundle.  Watching the one I shared above made me get so excited at the thought of embroidering (and a bit frustrated at my permanent one-handed status thanks to the baby who loves to cuddle) and my brain was literally pinging at the thought of exciting future projects.  I even have a rocking chair, much like the one in this video, that needs to be re-covered.  Could I do something like Erica's?  It would be a great birthday present for Dulcie... maybe when she turns 21!

There are quite a few episodes of Erica's show available to watch here and I'm hoping even more might be added soon.  Ironically, I was heading for 4OD to catch up, at long last, with Kirstie's Handmade Britain when I came across this.  Sorry, Kirstie, but Erica is the real deal!  I'm off to watch another episode right now.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

exercise books

Found via SwirlyThoughts

Reading is usually quite a big part of my life, but lately it has not been coming easily.  The night I got admitted to hospital way back in November, the book I was reading (and so had about my person) was Smoking Ears And Screaming Teeth that you might remember I found in the street.  Since this book is all about medical experiments and people dying horribly as a result of them, it was not really the best book for me to be reading in that situation, but I found myself incapable of concentrating anyway and the book went back into my bag.  A week or so into my hospital stay, the night before my MRI scan, I decided to give it another go and picked it up... only to find myself at the chapter about MRI scans!  As you might imagine, I quickly put the book away and have yet to finish it!  

I struggled to concentrate on any books for a long time after that, but recently I've been getting back into reading, or trying to.  Just after New Year, I picked up The Last Family In England in a charity shop and managed to read it one-handed while feeding Dulcie in the evenings.  It was a very easy read and most enjoyable so I got another book by Matt Haig to read soon and I'm looking forward to it.  After that I read The Yellow Wallpaper, probably not recommended reading for anyone who's recently had a baby and is feeling a bit on the mental side, but I had been meaning to read it for at least a decade and enjoyed some of the stories quite a lot.  Just as I finished that, my friend Lorna sent me a book she had just read and enjoyed, Gillespie And I by Jane Harris.  I had wanted to read this book when it was first published and then somehow forgot all about it so it was a lovely surprise to get a copy in the post.  I managed to read the first chapter or two almost straightaway (Dulcie must have been on her best behaviour that day) and was instantly hooked, which was why it was so annoying to discover that the book was too thick to read one-handed while breastfeeding!  Nooo!  The book is so good, however, that I found ways and means to sneak in a few pages here and there and while I was around the halfway point I found I was able to hold it open and feed Dulcie at the same time.  Now that I'm nearing the end of the book, I need to find other times and places to read, situations where I have the rare luxury of two free hands.
The last couple of days I have been heading out to the park with the pram and stopping at a bench to read a few pages until Dulcie threatens to wake up.  When she stirs, I walk until she settles and sit down at the next bench and read a few more pages.  This might sound laborious, but I'm fairly romping through it, all things considered.  The book is set in the area I live in, although over 100 years ago, and it's fun to find yourself reading it in places where the action takes place.  The fountain in the background of this photo was the meeting place of a search party in the book.

I'm quite enjoying heading out in the bracing cold to read, but it is not without its drawbacks as this quote from the book illustrates:

"Vigorous exercise, indeed!  There is a saying that the Clyde is the only level highway in Glasgow, and the West End, in particular, is built upon a set of drumlins, producing the effect that - no matter which direction one takes - one always seems to be trudging uphill."

Now throw a pram and a heart condition into the mix and the green light is on for puffing and panting!  Who knew that a good book could be such good exercise too?!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

this week i saw...

 A new cafe and ice-cream parlour opening soon on Byres Road.  

I have only been to Nardini's ice-cream parlour in Largs once... Well, actually I went twice, but both on the same day (that's how good the ice cream was!) so I was pretty excited to see this.  From the outside, it looks like they're really going for the traditional cafe look, so I'm hoping the inside will be equally lovely.  Our new neighbour is a Nardini but I think the Nardini family actually sold the business/name a few years back so I probably won't be able to wangle a friends-and-family discount.  C'est la vie, I shall just have to pay full price for my ice cream.

A humorously vandalised book in a charity shop.

In case you can't make it out, the book is called "What To Expect: The Toddler Years" and somebody has written across the front, "MAYHEM!!!!"  Probably sums it all up quite nicely so I didn't feel the need to read the entire book.

Dulcie rocking out at the AC/DC exhibition.

She was not the only baby there.  Actually, there were quite a lot of babies and all of them were sleeping peacefully.  Playing Highway To Hell at full blast is a surprisingly effective lullaby as it turns out.

The first photo of my new niece who arrived today!

She is nameless as yet and I am excited to find out what she'll be called.  I was expecting a nephew so only had emergency boy names to suggest.  Any ideas?  Despite being three months Dulcie's junior, she is already much bigger than her, but I am handling her arrival better than I had feared I would.  My head is in a bit of a bad place when it comes to babies (and life in general) these days.  Fortunately, in an act of uncharacteristic organisation, I crocheted her a cardigan months ago before Dulcie even arrived (I know! Go me!) so she will not have to face being the first baby not to have a handmade gift from her Auntie Laura.  Dulcie and I are looking forward to a trip to Mothercare tomorrow to choose some more presents for her new cousin... and not only because it means a trip out in the pram and therefore a short break for my ears and boobs!  Talking of which...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

desk set

I've spent all day trapped under a baby who claims (claims!) to be hungry.  There are not many good things about days like this (Graham is distracting her for 30 minutes so I can organise my medication, rehydrate and stop crying) but today I did manage to use it as an excuse to watch an afternoon movie - Desk Set starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.  The film is set mainly in this office, the research department of a television network.  The four ladies who work here take phone calls from people who need to know things and they provide them with the answers, sometimes after lots of research but often from the depths of their minds.  I spent most of the film drooling over their office/library and wishing I could have been a television researcher in the late 1950s.  I'd actually love to be a researcher even in this modern day and age where the internet would no doubt replace some of the fusty old books.  Here's the trailer for anyone who might be interested.

Anyway, this is eating into valuable water-drinking time and I may not get another baby break until 5am so I had better go.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

the science of sleep(lessness)

Here is the scene from this morning - me, my dad, two cats and a baby.  I do not look very glamorous, even compared to my normal standard.  I'm afraid it's the best I can do what with existing on about three hours' sleep a night.  Yes, we officially have a nocturnal baby and it's driving me mental.  Last night she was up until 5.30am (and I mean not sleeping at all and screaming whenever she wasn't being fed) and then when I finally did get her down she slept for a measly one hour before waking up for more food.  So by 7.30 this morning I had had one hour's sleep.  One hour.  For a while she could only keep this up for a couple of nights before being too tired to stay awake the next night (oh, the blissful memory of nights where I was getting two-hour stretches of snooze between feeds) but now she seems able to do this every... single... night.  Ugh.  Our attempt at getting her into a day/night routine has not been working but I am upping the ante this week and the two of us (Dulcie and I) will be plunged into a post-bath world of darkness and silence from 8pm every night.  Meanwhile we are trying to keep her awake a bit more during the day but I swear this baby can sleep through anything.  When it suits her.

Friday, February 3, 2012

day in the life - february 1st 2012

midnight - 2am: Trying and failing to get Dulcie to sleep and feeding, feeding, feeding while listening to Janice Long.

If only Graham was prepared to sit like this all through the night!

2am - 3.30am: Sleep, delicious sleep.

3.30am - 4.30am: Dulcie wakes me up so I change her nappy and feed her while listening to whoever that man is between Janice Long and Vanessa Feltz.

4.30am - 5.45am: More delicious sleep.

5.45am - 6.40am: Dulcie wakes up so I change her nappy and feed her while listening to Vanessa Feltz.  I wish someone else was on the radio at this time in the morning.  Vanessa grates on me at the best of times but is way too much at this time of day when I've not had enough sleep.  I mop up another blood vomit and give Dulcie more milk to make up for what she's just lost.  The Chris Evans show starts and I sigh at how it must be nearly time to get up. 

6.40am - 8.45am: Sleep.  Mmmm.

8.45am: Dulcie starts crying for food and Graham (who slept in the spare room last night to escape Dulcie's shouting) comes in to say good morning and goodbye.  I pick Dulcie up and discover she has leaked (I'll spare you the details) out the side of her nappy.  I change her nappy and her clothes (this does not go down well - oh, my eardrums!) and her bed sheets before putting her back in the cot and going to the kitchen to prepare her morning medication.

9.00am - 9.45am:  I give Dulcie her medicine and feed her in front of the telly.  I watch Tinga Tinga Tales, one of my favourite cartoons.  I wish this had been on when I was little.  I would have loved it.  But since I still love it as an adult, I suppose it doesn't matter too much!

9.45am - 10.15am:  Dulcie goes back to bed and I have toast and marmalade and wander about the internet where I discover that today is Day In The Life.  I type up my day so far and then realise I'm running late for my appointment at the anti-coagulation clinic.  I'd better go and get dressed!

Dulcie objects loudly to the hand-knitting.

10.45am: Dulcie and I get wrapped up for the great outdoors and head off to have my thumb pricked again.  I think Dulcie looks smashing in her traditional hand-knits, but you can see she was not so impressed!

The waiting area at Western Outpatients where I attend the anti-coagulation clinic.

11.00am: Arrive at the anti-coagulation clinic.  It's looking very busy and I have to stand with the pram while I wait my turn.  As you can see from the picture, I am in the minority as someone who has not yet drawn my pension.  This can be depressing but when I have Dulcie with me it means that lots of old folks want to chat to me which is quite nice.  Today I meet a man with lots of daughters and granddaughters but no sons or grandsons.  He compliments Dulcie and is pleased to hear we think she'll be a redhead.  When he gets called in to his appointment he puts a £2 coin in the pram "for Dulcie's bank".  Aw!  This is the first time anyone has put money in Dulcie's pram.

Dulcie and her £2 coin.

11.35am: Finally!  I get called in to have my blood checked.  It's still a bit on the high side but nothing like as bad as it was yesterday when I had to be given emergency drugs and was sent home with strict instructions to stay away from all sharp objects.  I'll be able to slice cheese for my sandwich without fear today!
12 noon - 1.00pm: We get home and out of our outdoor clothes.  Dulcie is hungry so there's more feeding and nappy changing.

1.15pm: I have lunch (soup and a sandwich) while watching Scrubs.  Dulcie lies in her bed doing her best impression of a creaky door.  I don't think that last feed is going down too easily.

1.45pm - 2.15pm: Poppy the poor, neglected cat sits on me so I decide to watch another episode of Scrubs.  I have to kick Poppy off my lap after about ten minutes though as Dulcie is grumbling.  Turns out she just needed a cuddle and a burp or two so she goes back to bed quite quickly.

2.15pm: I have a glass of milk and some chocolate and decide to have a nap on the sofa rather than tackle the jobs I had in mind for this afternoon.  Maybe later?

2.30pm - 3.30pm: Cancel the nap.  Dulcie is grumpy.  Once she has settled into her cuddle she is quite happy.  I lie back and watch telly while she snoozes on my chest.  I think I doze off too.  Naughty, naughty.

3.30pm: Feeding and changing.

4.30pm - 5.30pm: More snuggling and snoozing.  This is not what I had planned to do with my day and I start stressing at the jobs I was meant to complete - tidying, washing, organising Dulcie's drawers, sorting out my medication for the week, writing thank you cards...  Then I decide to cut myself some slack.  I don't nap every day and obviously needed it.

5.30pm - 7.00pm: Feeding and changing Dulcie again.  Graham gets home from work and makes us dinner (pizza and salad).

7.00pm: We eat dinner on the sofa rather than in the kitchen.  Dulcie has begun her evening grumbling and I prepare myself for the onslaught that will most likely last from now until 4am.

Not sure how Dulcie could fail to be impressed by the amazing baby gym...

7.30pm - 9.45pm: I feed Dulcie on and off, trying to keep her from crying, and cuddle her/distract her in between times to spare my aching you-know-whats.  When she still refuses to lie in her bed we get out her baby gym (a hand-me-down from our friends) for the first time.  She is not particularly impressed and just cries on the floor as oppose to crying in her bed.  My mum phones from France (she's visiting my sister at the moment) to see how everything is going and then my dad phones from Elgin (where he lives) to say that he's coming to see us on Saturday.  The timing is suspicious and I think my mum phoned him after phoning me and told him to phone.  Meanwhile, Graham has been out to the supermarket for a few bits and pieces and has brought me back crisps and sweets.  I have been wanting junk food all day.

Some close-ups from Dulcie's photo session.

9.45pm - 10.15pm: Dulcie is momentarily entertained by lying on a pillow on my lap and staring at lights so I try to get a photo of her face with her eyes open as we don't really have any.  I manage to get a few and email them to my mum, dad and sister.

10.30pm - 11.45pm:  Graham and I decide to watch The Hotel online while I feed Dulcie but the internet is dead so we have to spend a while fixing that first.  Internet fixed, we watch The Hotel and eat crisps and sweets.

11.45pm - well into the next morning: Graham opts for a night in the spare room again while I wrestle with a grumpy baby who just will not sleep.

See Nikki's blog to find out what some other people did on February 1st.