Friday, 26 March 2010

One sleep forward, two teeth back.

I totally jinxed myself by writing about how much sleep I'd been getting. Cue: new teeth, an ear ache, snotty nose, and some miscellaneous pain that she can't pin point but that makes her wake up crying every 15 minutes. Long stretches of sleep are totally over-rated anyway.

In other news: new wardrobes are fitted, but I had to do an emergency trip to Ikea to get more hangers. I own waaaay more dresses than I realised, and putting away the dozens of bags of clothes is turning out to be a very long process. I'm having to try on everything as I put it away, so that I don't end up with things in my wardrobe that I don't/can't wear. Easier said than done, because I get all nostalgic about things I haven't worn in a while, and can't quite bring myself to part with some serious crap! I need a best friend to come and assess my clothes with me and tell me honestly whether something suits me or not. Pearl just doesn't seem to be able to give the feedback I need... haha.

(Will post pictures of the allllmost completed bedroom after the weekend. Got to fix up bookshelves and finish the aforementioned mammoth clothes sorting task. But trust me it looks good!)

Sunday, 21 March 2010


So, if you've read my blog before or you know me in real life, you will know that Pearl is what I like to call a 'milky baby'. She has always needed to nurse very frequently. Didn't matter what I did to try and space out her feeds, nothing ever worked and if anything it would make her more frantic about wanting milk. There's never been any kind of rhyme or reason to her feeding pattern, other than wanting more when she was poorly. And although I'd go through stages where I felt like I needed to get control of the situation, for the most part I just went with the flow. I believe that babies know best what they need, and it's our job to learn to interpret and provide.

You might also remember that Pearl has never been what people call a 'good' sleeper. I don't like talking about babies in terms of 'good' or 'bad', but if I were to classify her sleeping behaviour I would say that perhaps waking 4-20 times every night wasn't an ideal situation! Along the way we'd tried night weaning on more than one occassion. Tried everything that people like Dr. Sears suggested. And Pearl very politely suggested that she wasn't ready. (By very politely, I mean, screaming endlessly - and this is crying in my arms, not the dreaded CIO [which I have strong feelings about, but I will save that for another post]).

Anyway. Over the course of the past week, Pearl spontaneously started sleeping for longer stretches at night. She asked for milk less during the day, and woke up less for it at night. We've gone from sometimes stirring every 15 minutes to make sure that she was still nursing (cos god forbid I roll over and button up my pyjama top!)... to sleeping her longest stretch of sleep ever. Last night I nursed her to sleep at 7.30pm and the first time she stirred asking for milk was 2am. That is a miracle in our house. I feel so much better for having had a decent stretch of sleep for a few nights in a row. If you'd have said to me a few years ago that anything less than 8 hours constituted a decent stretch of sleep, I would've laughed in your face. The problem with Pearl was never getting her to sleep, it was getting her to stay asleep. Turns out I really did just need to trust her to get there in her own time.

The only downsides to all of this: the sudden drop in frequency of nursing meant I got a blocked duct for the first time in 19 months. And apparently if you go to bed at 7.30pm and sleep really well, you have to then wake up for the day at 4.30am. I'm very glad it's daylight savings time at the end of the month!

And now for the non-Pearl part of this post: a whole year after we bought new wallpaper for our bedroom, this week we finally got the chance to put it up. Freshly painted woodwork, beautiful wallpaper, new bedsheets waiting to go on, red bookshelves going up tomorrow, and new wardrobes being fitted on Tuesday. It'll only be the second room in our home that we have totally decorated ourselves - all the others are still half finished because a certain baby arrived two weeks before her due date. Slow and steady wins the race.

Friday, 12 March 2010

My Funny Valentine

One of my favourite songs to sing to Pearl is by Kimya Dawson, it's from the childrens' album she made and is called "Little Panda Bear". (Kimya's daughter is called Panda).

I love singing the line "...and there's no other one like you". Cos particularly at the moment I really feel like there is no other one like Pearl. She's always been a very definite character but lately her personality is literally exploding out of her. She's so funny! Like, proper makes me crack up funny.

She's discovered that shopping can be fun if there are things for Pearl to choose. Finally, shopping without a meltdown at the end of every aisle! At Sainsbury's yesterday she chose a punnet of strawberries (flown all the way from Egypt, ack!) but because she never really used to like fruit, and because she'd chosen it herself I obliged and bought that strange out of season food. By the time we got to the till she also had some flower and cupcake hair clips, a CBeebies magazine, some cheese and some bagels. She was SO pleased with herself and has since told everybody we meet about what she chose. How empowering for her to realise what she can do, how she is able to communicate! But she also understands if we can't take things home (or, "paaaay", because I explain to Pearl that we can't take it because we haven't paid for it, so it has to stay in the shop). In Tesco she wanted to pick up one of those childs' digital cameras, but was perfectly fine about saying "byebye" to it when we had to move to the next aisle. In that same Tesco trip I got her her very first dressing up costume, a Woody outfit from Toy Story. She's been wearing it at every available opportunity since then, I think I tweeted a picture a few days ago and can't figure out how to post that twitpic here, so have a look in the twitter feed over there ---->

For the past few days she seems to enjoy using the word 'no'. She's said 'no' before, but I don't think she really understands what it means because we try not to use negatives when talking to Pearl. For example, instead of saying "No, don't tip your water cup onto the floor", I'd say something like, "Water stays in the cup for drinking, please keep the cup held up". For a while she liked putting her hand in her drink and licking the water off her hand. I didn't stop her because it doesn't really hurt anything, but I would say that she'd get more to drink if she used her hands to bring the cup to her mouth and drink water like that. Of course I'm not perfect and today I did yell "Nooooooo!" when she knocked 4 raw eggs onto the floor! But on the whole we try and keep it positive, and I really think it shows in how Pearl behaves. The times when I'm tired, or haven't quite got my brain in gear, and I just go into auto-pilot saying negatives, it really affects her behaviour immediately. Like if I give her a positive explanation about changing what she's doing it goes down way easier. Today she also tried to climb up and pull down the television, and once I'd uttered the immortal word "don't", it became climbing city!

But yeah, the past few days she's been loving saying 'no'. No to lunch, no to nappy change, no to going, no to staying, no to sling, no to a drink, no to pushchair, no to puzzles, no to taking shoes off, no to mummy going for a wee.... the list is endless! If you phrase your question differently (or just don't make it an option!) you'll usually discover she does want lunch, and she does want her shoes off. She is the funniest lil creature.

Twwly recently blogged about changing tactics, and it made me realise we'd gradually stopped using distraction as a tool because it often just made things worse. It almost highlighted the thing she was doing, like bringing negative attention to the situation. I've found that letting her work through her emotions, and acknowledging them by saying we know she is sad for whatever reason really helps. We went out with her grandparents last week and when we were in the cafe she wanted to get down and run about, but it was very busy and I just didn't feel it was safe. Not to mention we still had plates full of food. She got upset but somehow when I said to her calmly, "Pearl, I know you are sad because you want to run around, but it isn't safe, and Mummy is still eating her lunch. When Mummy has finished eating we can go and play together". She did a little bit more crying but I didn't try to shush her like I might've done before, and she then settled down happily to eat some of my cake! It was nothing compared to previous outings where in a similar situation I'd try to distract her and everything would escalate so quickly.

Oops this is a bit long, particularly with not much in the way of visual stimulation. I got all carried away typing, if you read all of that you may have one of these Lindt chocolates I'm eating right now. I'll send it through the power of internet magic... pahaha sorry. (Especially sorry to Alex, know how much you love them!)

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Today Pearl said 'milk' properly for the first time. And the word had a fantastic South-East London twang to it. (One can run from one's roots, but one can apparently not hide them when one has a tiny parrot in the form of a child). Until today it had been a strange throat-y or nasal-y noise, like 'mmmmmnnnk', or even better, 'gnnk', accompanied by lots of signing. But this afternoon I asked her what she wanted, and clear as day she said 'miyohlk'. I think my heart pretty much melted/exploded on the spot.

Then she got straight back to her two-day long assault of whining. But that brief, sweet moment of clarity in Pearl's toddler gobbledy-gook language made all the whining bearable.

Totally off topic: all these crazy ass weather events have really got me spooked. Bob is out for the evening and so far all I've done is eat chocolate orange and read news stories about the natural disasters that have been happening. Damn scary earthquakes and freaky waves and floods and shit. Because I needed something else to keep my stupid paranoid mind occupied... I really have seen 'The Day After Tomorrow' one too many times. Haha.