( Details )
( Details )
( Leaving the house )
( Catching the train )
We got off the train ok and I went to buy my ticket (our local station has a ticket office only open during rush hour at bank holiday weekends when there's an R in the month, or something). Linnea handed it to the man at the gate, who was delighted above and beyond the call of duty, and we went to get money. Then we went ot the cafe, where Linnea was overwhelmed by shyness and couldn't order her lunch, so I did it for her.
By now it was 12:55. We found a table and sat down with water and tea and waited for the nice lady to bring us our lunch. And in walked H with her daughter F.
The rest of the afternoon - at least, until 15:30 or so - was what you'd expect from two toddlers, two mums, one babe in arms, a cafe, and a bookshop. We bought one book because Linnea chose it by starting to take the stickers out of the back. I asserted myself at lunchtime and didn't allow F to lick Linnea's cutlery or plate, etc. H got to tell me her news in accelerated staccato format, which was, er, interesting, and nobody ended up dead. A success, therefore.
Then H went to a toyshop and Linnea and I headed home, with Baby Emer (Linnea argued the point, but I won). I put Emer in the hugabub and Linnea in the buggy, for a bit; I swapped them for a bit, but then Emer needed a feed, so I took her out and spent ten minutes arguing Linnea into the buggy. Eventually I was able to say "There's our bus, but we can't get on it because you're not in the buggy," and she got in. So I got on the bus holding Emer in one hand, with her latched on, and pushing the buggy with the other. I am not altogether sure how I paid the fare but I did. Then I managed to park the buggy and sit down and finished Emer's feed and put her in the hugabub and got us all off the bus and took her out again and fed her again while pushing the buggy and walking home.
When we reached the door Linnea refused to get out of the buggy. I can't remember how I dealt with that.
Then I changed Emer's nappy twice in quick succession, parked Linnea in front of the TV, put a chicken in the oven to roast, fed Emer, folded up the ring sling (I'd hung it to dry this morning), and eventually, after much faffing, got Emer in the sling. She threw up on it. Oh well; we washed it last night, we can wash it tonight.
The days are just packed.
Mum got up at 9:30 and came downstairs. "Wow, it all looks so peaceful!" she said.
I felt terribly accomplished. Mind you, the major tidy-up of the two downstairs rooms had been done by Rob the night before, but you couldn't tell by looking that a toddler had been up and about all morning, just the same. Nor that three people had had breakfast.
Today we got up and out the door by 8:10, took Mum to the train station to get her bus to the airport, bought tea and bananas so that Mum and I wouldn't faint (Linnea stole my banana), waved Mum goodbye, went and found breakfast in one of the few cafes open before 9 am on a Saturday, bought a pack of pipecleaners as a birthday-girl's-brother present for the party in the afternoon (tobacconists are open early, it seems), ate, found a charity shop opening at 9, bought a couple of gift bags and a birthday card, and incidentally a set of small ice-lolly makers, and went to WH Smiths to find a couple of books for the birthday girl for the party, and then went to Mothercare to have the assistant look at my buggy-cum-pram and tell me why it was acting all funny now we've turned it into a pram (we've lost the manual; my gods, my buggy comes with a manual!), and then went to the Farmer's Market, where I got a jug I've sort of had ordered since June, and a cute, dinky, dainty, adorable teeny tiny teaset suitable for children, large dolls, or covetous adults with a thing for handmade pottery. I couldn't help it. It was so cute I almost exploded on sight.
And then we went home for lunch.
After lunch, Rob and Linnea had a bath, and we all four set off on the trike for the party. It was a pretty stiff cycle - there was wind, and drizzle, and a non-trivial hill, and we'd never gone that way before. Several times I asked Rob whether I should get out and walk; he was huffing a bit. But I think he enjoyed it really, and he gets a bit of a kick out of pedalling his whole family around. Emer's carseat just fits - we've emailed the retailer to ask if there are any tips on transporting an infant in one, like a special small carseat that would fit better - and Linnea and one adult still fit ok. It's even fairly comfy, though carrying shopping is out of the question; Rob had to take the nappy kit on his back.
At the party Linnea sought the birthday girl out and gave her her presents (the one-year-old handed them on to Is, who gave them back to Linnea, but they all had fun and the presents were indeed left at the birthday girl's home when everyone went away again and that's what counts) and talked to a few people. I was too tired (can't imagine why) to be very sociable but we got there.
18 days after a c-section, attending a toddler party is about all I'm asking of myself. Being its life and soul costs extra.
Then we came back home late enough that we stopped for dinner at Chilis, where I realised I have never seen a fat or even plump member of staff, which is a bit weird when I think of the shapes I see walking around town. Then we went to Boots to buy cotton wool, and Linnea pushed a tiny trolley with a huge flag, and took things off the shelves and pushed them to the till and unloaded the trolley. It was gorgeous.
And then home, milk, bed.
And then we watched the hugabub howto video again, and learned where we've been going wrong with the newborn carry ("peapod"), and Rob practised it but dipped the hugabub in the bowl of clean water we keep for nappy changes, by accident. So he used the ring sling for the first time ever instead.
And here we are. I need a picture of all four of us lined up with the trike, now.
The four of us.
Oh my god. What have we done?!
There was also post; I got some tie-dyed baby clothes, which I can now pack in my hospital bag, and another cheque for the new book, and a wedding invite for self and Rob, and some junk. I'm very pleased about the clothes because I was looking forward to them and hoping I wouldn't have to buy nasty pastels or stuff from websites outside the UK with uncertain postal practices.
We bought lots of things for Linnea's lunches for while I'm in hospital, so that packed lunches will be easier, and we bought a vast amount of meat for roasting and slicing and freezing.
My mother got a ferry ticket and train tickets and should arrive sometime about 7 pm tomorrow, all going well. She also has a mobile phone, which I'm delighted about. I hope she likes it as much after a week's use as she does now.
Being in a wheelchair is massively liberating on account of not being able to walk around otherwise, and takes Attitude. It would be very, very easy to be invisible. One guy responded to "Excuse me" in a shop with "I'm leaving in a minute." A few minutes later a shop assistant asked him to move to let me past, in my wheelchair, and I said "Oh no, he's already refused to move once." He got Looked At by everyone else there, I think. (If he had any physical disability preventing him from moving swiftly and nimbly, it was cured by the shop assistant asking him rather than me asking him).
Reading town centre is beautifully set up for wheelchair use though, really - I knew it was good for buggies, and it turns out that that does translate to good for wheelchairs. In general, people in shops were pleasant and responded to me when I spoke, though a few people responded to Rob. I have been wondering how to find out what it's like to get a wheelchair onto the buses that give me trouble with a buggy, but I can't figure out an honorable way to do it, since it's clearly a misuse of the free loan of a chair from the shopping centre.
Rob's working from home now, since Linnea has agreed to watch telly. We had hoped to have NCT people here from 2-4 but the guaranteed help has sprained her foot so can't come. There's still a chance of drop-ins, luckily.
At 4 pm we have guaranteed childcare (the reliable teenager's mother) so Rob may even get as far as his office, if we're lucky.
My mother's flight tomorrow will be delayed, at best, and it seems likely that it will be cancelled. This is awkward; we were rather depending on her being here by 6 pm so that Rob might be able to work late. She can get the ferry instead, but there's no way to do that and arrive before 7 pm, assuming there are no problems with the trains. The train and ferry is a lot more expensive than the flight, too. But it's really not worth it. She's diet-controlled diabetic with other food issues as well; she can't wait indefinitely in an airport for a flight, not knowing what food will be available and not able to bring her own food through security with her. Aer Lingus have no way of knowing whether they'll be flying at all tomorrow; our best option is to hope that they're not, because then we can get a refund on her outbound flight to cover part of the cost of the train and ferry.
She's quite looking forward to the train trip, though. She'll be allowed a book, she hasn't much luggage, and she's never seen the parts of the countries she'll be passing through before. I just hope the ferry isn't too full of people determinedly getting as drunk as they can (though the Ireland-Wales leg tends to be less full of those than the Wales-Ireland leg; I think fewer Dubs get the ferry over for stag weekends).
At worst, she'll have to get the ferry on Monday, I suppose, and my operation is on Tuesday. That means Rob would have to take some time off on Monday to take me to hospital again, and we'd need to find childcare, too.
Still, it could be worse. I could be facing a flight to Australia with a toddler, armed only with a clear plastic bag containing nappies, wipes, a wallet, my housekeys, our passports, and no Blankie or Jim Rabbit or stack of cardboard books or... *shudder* Now that's terrifying.
I wish we could buy some sort of parking permit so that motorised vehicle owners wouldn't resent our parking in front of our house so much... But we can't. So idiots will just move it out of their way because of the perception that roads are for cars and cars alone. It's not even a matter of who pays for it, because a resident's parking permit is free. Bah.
However, a very nice man moved it back off the footpath and into the road, because I went out to see where it was and he was there; he'd already moved it *along* the footpath so that it wasn't blocking the doorway any more.
Oh well. Perhaps in future we'll park it near a drain cover and chain it to that.
( This got unexpectedly long )
There may be annotated photographs later.
Edit: there are.
That's something my father-in-law often says, as he stretches out on a pathetically deflated beanbag in front of Saturday lunchtime TV. But round these here parts, it is all go.( That was the week that was )
Saturday 13 August
Saturday was yesterday. We were all exhausted. ( But we did a lot anyway )
We're going to try to get her to bed before 9 pm today. Wish us luck.
That quote from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels sums it up. You need to visualise the guy who's saying it, though, and I'm far too tired to remember his name. He's very famous.
So I got back yesterday evening after crossing from the Aran Islands on public transport. With a toddler. I would like to report that I'm alive, and so is she, and we're pleased to be home, we think.
We went to my best friend's wedding, but the hire car driver showed up without a map so he got hopelessly lost and we missed the entire wedding ceremony in spite of allowing plenty time for the trip. But the bride was radiant and the groom was smug the reception was fantastic fun and Rob and I danced together for the first time since our honeymoon.
We had ten days together with my mother, which was lovely, and then Rob left and my sisters and nephew and nieces arrived and there was general mayhem - it was good to meet them, but it was mayhem, not least because one niece has some kind of night terrors and wakes screaming, and I can't get back to sleep after that kind of thing. The best night's sleep I got was when Linnea refused to settle so I cuddled her in the cooling garden until midnight and then put her on the two-seater sofa. She slept there all night and I shared my time between the sofa and the floor. At one stage we were joined by a friend of mine and her fiance - I can't remember her journal-name right now but you know who you are.
Then Linnea and I had a couple of days with my mother to recover, which was pleasant, and then I took her by minibus, small ferry, train, and privately-owned car driven by Radegund to Radegund's house and we spent two days there - one doing grocery shopping, which included a two-buggies trip on a no-buggy-spaces Dublin bus, and staying at home and hoping the babies would sleep, which was far more restful.
I developed some kind of infection of the nether regions the day I left Aran, too. It's more or less gone now but it made the trip itchy.
After resting with Radegund, she gave us a lift to the ferry terminal and we took a big ferry and three trains from Dublin to Reading. There was a 25-minute wait between trains at about 3 pm so I got a snack. Luckily I always pack a lunch for Linnea, even though she can now eat out with me, so she was fine. She met a doggie.
On the last train we met Emma who was coming to visit for a night while she and I were in the same country, and she helped us off. Rob met us at the station and we all went home and he fed us. Emma had excellent chocolate - a nice high-fat dark dairy-free one, but unfortunately the company who make it are owned by Nestle so we won't be buying it ourselves.
Linnea has grown, and tanned, and loved the ocean, running back into it even when I dragged her out for being shivery and blue, and now has some words that can be understood by anyone sufficiently patient and/or acquainted with the way babies talk: Hiya, Hello, Thank-you, There, That, Ball, Birdie, Pussy, Baby. Baby only showed up today and she's trying to see what it applies to - birds and cats, among other things. There's also Nyumnyum, which she even says when looking at pictures of a table set for baking, with a bowl and a spoon.
And she's bigger. The 24-36 months vests fit lovely over a disposable nappy, but not over a cloth one. We're going to have to start shelling out the extra for cut-for-cloth clothes. I'll start the research when I'm less tired.
Holiday purchases: books, including one called "The no-cry sleep solution" which is the friendliest title I've ever seen ("Don't Panic" was only a fictional title, remember).
I'm tired. I'll read huge backlogs of email and livejournal later. Maybe. No promises.
Linnea has been asleep just over an hour now. We went swimming this morning -
Start again. I overslept this morning, because somebody woke up for a feed shortly after two, and enjoyed it so much that she more or less didn't stop. I can sleep through it, but it's still a bit tiring. So when Rob left the house at 08:00 (Oh, it's lovely that he stays so late now!) he locked her in our bedoom with me, so that I could doze while she tore up books, ate laundry, and knocked down supporting walls. Eventually I got up and went downstairs.
I managed to get us both dressed, brush some of her teeth, brush all of my teeth, wash both faces, prep dinner and get it into the slow cooker, assemble the swimming kit, take the cositoes off the line and hang it in front of a gas fire to dry, wash the dishes, and tidy the three downstairs rooms. And in passing I wiped the cat-prints off the back door because I had a wet cloth.
Then we went swimming. Linnea adored it and is swimming more and more on her own - she doesn't mind the sinking part, but hates the fact that she can't surface at will. I keep having to lunge after her and grab her swimsuit (togs, we called them when I was a kid - no-one had a swimsuit, we all had swimming togs) because she pushes off against my stomach and paddles like crazy. She's a bit slower in water than on land, thankfully. Very quick at peeing though, during the All-Berkshire Junior Changing-Rooms-Chase Championships.
She almost fell asleep during her lunch at the pool so I got her clothes on and took her into town. She fell asleep on the way. I've caught up with livejournal, ordered some slit-eye sewing-machine needles for a friend of my mother's, and had my own lunch. My headache - have I already mentioned the headache? I've had it since I woke - is almost gone. If it's not totally gone by the time I get to Boots, I'll buy paracetemol there.
We're bringing disposable nappies all the way to Aran with us because it's easier than trying to buy them while we're there. This is a car's car's car's car's world. By the time Linnea is 5, we'll be the only people in the developed world who don't have a car through choice.. or, worse, we'll have caved in and got one. Icould weep.
Only, you know, the baby's asleep, so I'm going to drink another cup of tea that hasn't gone cold yet, and read some online cartoons. Greetings to you all from The Biscuit Tin Cafe. That's not a great link but I can't be bothered to look harder.
The currently annoying thing:
We've planned our holiday, a lovely 10-day break for the three of us with my mother, who is one of the most relaxing people on the planet - at least, for me and Rob she is. She drives some of my sisters mad, I believe. And we need to work out when a friend is coming to see us while we're there, which is fine - not as low-stress as just my mother, but pretty low-stress, and anyway there's lots of time for just the four of us around that visit. And now we need to work out when at least one of my sisters, possibly three, will also come, while we are having our 10-day holiday, so that they can all meet Linnea.
At this stage I am hoping that at least some of them won't be able tomake it, because to me, a holiday with my older sisters to whom I have never spoken regularly or frequently (the one to whom I did speak regularly is 9 years older than I; the other are older still) is not really a relaxing prospect. While it may be fine, I don't know. These are people I know less well than I know some friends I have never met in real life. I don't know what they like, I don't know what they are like to spend time with, I do know that their moral outlook is greatly different from mine, especially as regards environmental concerns... I don't know. And a great uncertainty is not relaxing.
The sooner I know the dates they are staying the better. Hopefully it will be early in our holiday so we can recover from it.
The annoying things it's reminding me of:
Also, when I had to go into hospital when Linnea was eight months old, I made it clear that she was breastfed. They asked if I wanted a room to myself, since I couldn't have her on the ward in case anyone saw her (not as crazy as it sounds - they would be dealing with ectopics, miscarriages, hysterectomies - some women do not need to see a baby at all in hospital, really they don't). I made a noncommittal noise, because I am intimidated by authority figures, and they said that I could have one if I didn't mind taking it away from someone who really needed it.
So of course I refused their generous offer. I asked for a breastpump instead, an electric hospital grade one. They assured me one would be provided. Luckily I brought my own handpump in, because not only did they not have an electric pump available, the only handpump they could find was missing a part. They did manage to get me some cold chemical sterilising solution for it... pumping with a cold wet appliance is very unpleasant.
Next time, I shall ask Rob to bring my own pump in and out of hospital to me a few times a day, so that I can deal with engorgement without all that unpleasantness. But ugh. I think they handled it badly.
We are packing for the trip. I will need to bring everything myself and Linnea need for two weeks in a bag on my back. I used to be good at minimalist travel. Then I met Rob, whose theory is that if you might need it, you might as well pack it. Then I had a baby.
It's an interesting exercise. We've decided that since I can't really use the baby-carrier, Rob will pack his clothes in it, and bring it to and from Ireland. I will pack 18 cloth nappies, and a pack of disposables. And some disposable wipes. And a baby bed guard thing. And a baby monitor. Our clothes are a minor detail; they're not very big. Linnea's flotation vest thing is pretty bulky.
We will be buying a baby bath of some kind in Galway and carrying it a very brief distance, then leaving it in my mother's house. I'm hoping we can find a large-ish tub as that will be more useful than a small baby bath. All our baths in that house, as children, were in a large tub thing. It was big enough for two toddlers at once. We bathed in front of the stove. There used to be a photo of me bathing in the garden.
Augh! My life is so haaaaard! Augh! Wail! Moan! Gnash teeth! Pity me!