Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Great Ice Rescue

I'm not terribly good at the whole play thing, even less so when I'm in pain and heavily pregnant.  The only upside is that when I do set up some kind of sensory or messy play The Spawn think it's amazing.

Thing One is out on his surprise early birthday celebration at Blackpool Pleasure Beach for the day with The Husband and Thing Two is having a sleep over at The Grandparents to minimise sulking.  So that just leaves The Preschooler and I.  He has a huge capacity for in-depth independent play pausing only for snacks, cuddles, a chat and a bit of tv yet even still he misses fighting like cat and dog with his siblings when they're not here.  So today seemed the perfect time for him to finally take part in The Great Ice Rescue, something that's been in the freezer for best part of a week.

It's incredibly easy to set up.  I grabbed a roasting tin and plonked a load of figures in it such as Moshlings, dinosaurs, fairies and other such things then poured over water mixed with blue food colouring.  This was then put in the freezer and left.  Granted, The Spawn are nosy little gits and kept opening the drawer to peek so I now have a rather fetching blue freezer drawer too.

So The Preschooler could manipulate it easier I plonked it upside down on the path and poured a jug of warm water over the roasting tin so that it lifted off, essentially leaving a frozen block with plenty of people trapped inside.

The Preschooler is crazy about rescuing things and being a hero so he was told his mission, that all these things had been trapped in a big ice storm and only he can save them.  He was given a medicine syringe, a small measuring scoop, a wooden meat tenderising hammer and a jug of warm water.  The rules were given that he wasn't allowed to just tip the jug of water over the ice block it had to be added bit by bit and that he could only smash the hammer gently to avoid hurting his fingers and flying ice.

Seeing as i'm pretty much useless physically at the moment I was able to just sit on a chair outside near him and watch.  We talked about how things freeze and we talked about how things melt.  He got to physically see it happen as he was making it happen.  He experimented and found that without trying to melt the ice a little with water first the hammer didn't do much, yet the more water he added the easier the hammer could break through the ice.  He naturally manipulated the freed yet still ice encased toys and gently hacked away at the ice whilst realising if he dunked them in the jug it came away easier.

I feared he'd grow bored before the ice even started to melt enough to rescue anything as obviously hot water would have been too hazardous so he only had warm water at his disposal yet he was fascinated and very determined.  You could virtually see the knowledge of the melting process and logistics of freeing things flow through him as he played.  I loved how he spoke to them Fireman Sam style and how he naturally adjusted his strength and dexterity between the brazen hammer smashing and the more delicate chiseling.

Naturally his favourate part was the hammer and once everyone had gained their freedom he set about smashing the remaining ice to smithereens with huge delighted whoops and shouts of 'SMASHHHHHHH!'

All in all this was such a simple activity and yet he thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was learning, problem solving, role play and sensory play all in one.  It was virtually mess free (though i'm sporting attractive blue ankles from splashes of melted ice!) as it was all outside too and minimal clearing up as the ice will just melt away.

Definitely one to try again in the future.

Monday, 28 July 2014


You must forgive my recent lull in posting, I'm a sun hater at the very best of times yet this hatred reaches new heights when I'm pregnant.  Summer is not fun.  I'm a huge, mobility challenged (due to pain), angry pregzillah.

I've been virtually housebound for a few months now.  The SPD and spinal pain makes movement difficult and painful.  Thankfully it would appear that my blood pressure is behaving in this pregnancy, my last two pregnancies, by this point, I was having to make frequent trips to the hospital to be monitored for BP that would fluctuate up then back down again.  This means for the first time ever, I'm still en route to giving birth in the birthing centre and may actually, finally, get my water birth!  Usually my BP, BMI, blood disorders etc have ensured I've been consultant led yet this time, a consultant has seen no reason for me to be high risk.  I'm not holding my breath however, a lot can happen in the last few weeks.

I'll admit I'm a little worried that bump was at first measuring big and appears to be shrinking yet the Midwife has put it down to the first measurement being taken on a firm clinic bed and the next two on the sofa at home.  Her reasoning is plausible yet I can't help but worry.

The dreaded floaters have been around constantly for the past two months or so, and the past few days have been plagued with headaches.  Fun.

This pregnancy has been somewhat strange.  It hasn't quite felt real and as always it's lonely.  I've never had friends to excite over it with, to experience it with.  The Spawn are excited in bouts yet it's never really real for The Husband until the head is poking out.  In previous pregnancies I've been very active on birth boards and moderated them so gone through the experience as a member of a cyber pregnant army of hormones.  This time however, I've steered clear having neither the mental capacity nor energy to deal with all the inevitable fall outs and dramas that always accompany large groups of hormonal woman. On  the flip side though, it also removes the cyber sense of belonging and support.  As a result my pregnancy feels almost as insignificant as myself.  There's nobody to celebrate it with, to plan things with, to worry over things with to just experience it with.

Did I mention that i'm piling the weight on too seeing as I'm getting very little exercise other than virtually living on my birthing ball and seem incapable of not stuffing my face.

I'm torn between being over pregnancy already, I can barely do anything and my unmedicated moods are somewhat difficult and incredibly mercurial.  I can't go anywhere with The Spawn and even standing up feels like my back is going to snap.  Yet, I'm acutely aware that this is my last ever pregnancy.  I will never go through this magical process again.  Never again will I feel the movement and kicks and grow a bump.  Never.  I find this incredibly heart wrenching.  I feel i'm doing the pregnancy a disservice through not enjoying or celebrating it more.

I'm happy that despite having an anterior placenta again (like with Thing One & Thing Two) I do feel her movements, even now at 36+ they make me smile and giggle.  Yes, giggle.

The stubborn little madame had been a little quite the other day which meant an anxious insomniac me downing cold water in the middle of the night and poking my bump.  In the end I resorted to the doppler, something I rarely use.  Satisfied she was still in there, it pissed her off enough to make her move too.

I'm receiving ante-natal care at home again, due to the discomfort.  Surprisingly the MW has agreed to attempt a sweep at 39+ (probably 39+5).  I had an early sweep with The Preschooler due to naughty BP and pain, I was 39+3 and surprisingly 4-5cm.  It's not that I want to evict her, not at all.  I just want to walk more again and be able to stand up / roll over without being in agony.  A sweep is as far as I'll go though, unless medically essential, I'd not agree to an induction before my due date.  Once an induction is started, no matter how unready your body is you have to see it through.  A sweep has a 50% chance of success, if you're ready it will work and if you're not it won't .  Granted all three of my previous labours have been started with a sweep so my body seems to react well to them.

3.5 weeks till my due date.  How can that feel so near and yet also so untouchably far away?

Nappies and clothes are all washed yet there's still bits and bats I need.  My hospital bag is only 60% complete.

Perhaps the biggest change still to comes is that The Preschooler still co-sleeps with me.  He still has the bedside cot though he ends up on my mattress.  I can't imagine him not being next to me.  We rejigged the bedrooms some time ago, bought bunk beds for him and Thing Two yet it's never been the 'right' time.  I still need to buy some storage for his clothes, a nightlight and some bedding.  I'm terrified he'll feel he's being evicted due to the baby yet at the same time he is excited to be sharing a room with Thing Two and we have been speaking about it for many months.  I guess worse case scenario would be going into labour early and him still being in the bedside cot!  It's a good job I have no history whatsoever of going into labour a)  spontaneously b) early.

I'll admit i'm at times crippled with anxiety.  I'm scared it will be another sudden and quick labour like with The Preschooler that went from nothing to agony out of nowhere. I'm scared that The Inlaws won't get here in time to look after The Spawn (like us they're none drivers and they live about 20-30m away by taxi) and I'll have to go to the hospital alone.  What if they're not even home when I go into labour? What if it's the middle of the night? Another reason for an early sweep is because of the excruciating anxiety, at least this will give us a possible 48 hour window to have them on standby.  I'm scared of there being meconium again, with The Preschooler it was grade 3. My waters have never broken on their own, but with my last two as soon as the MW broke them my babies literally slipped out. The Preschooler as whisked away after a few minutes, what if she needs help? What if this happens before the ambulance gets here?  On the other hand what if labour goes the other way and it's long, my last two were intense and short, how will I cope?   I can't stop panicking over what if's.  I can't relax because I'm far too worried about The Spawn and how dependent we are on none driving relatives from a different county. It's the summer holidays so all The Spawn are at home. At least them being at school would have given them some leeway. I'm terrified of being alone.  I'm scared of The Spawns reactions they're massive worriers.  They'll worry if they see me in pain and they'll worry when I go to hospital.  If I have to stay in hospital afterwards like I have every other time, I know The Preschooler won't really sleep.

I'm also hyper aware of how shit the summer holidays are going to be for The Spawn.  We're absolutely skint.  We can't go anywhere or do anything as even a trip to a decent park is several miles on foot in this horrific heat with no shelter or else nearly £10 in bus fares, just to get to a park.  Obviously that would be going without me as I can't really walk far without being in agony.  We usually have a day out in Blackpool for their birthdays (both birthdays will be massively disrupted either by a nearly immobile mum or a newborn!) but that is impossible this year.  We can't even have a paddling pool as we have no outdoor tap and we've never managed to find an adapter to fit a hose to our awkward kitchen tap.  It takes forever to fill a tiny one with pans of water and with Three Spawn a tiny one wouldn't cut it anyway.  In the past Things One & Two spend a day a week each at My Parents with several sleepovers too but this year that too is impossible due to various parent related reasons.

The icing on the cake?  The one thing that entertains them in the garden is the trampoline, which has chosen now to need new springs.

So yes i'm currently feeling somewhat of a failure.  I fail at being pregnant.  I fail at motherhood whilst pregnant and thus have three irritable and bored spawn and I fail (even more than usual) at being a wife as the poor husband is quite literally doing everything other than the cooking.  Judging by the inside of my head I'm pretty much failing at existing too.  Did I forget the obvious?  I'm failing at blogging too judging by the lack of erm...well...blogging that I've been doing.

Happy days.

3.5 weeks.  Terrified? yes.  Excited?  Yes.  As soon as she's born time starts ticking, her firsts become our lasts.  I'm already so in love with her and I've not even met her yet.  My fourth and final baby.  The one that The Husband said we'd never have.

I've been taking ye olde raspberry leaf capsules for a while now, I know many dismiss them as hocus pocus but from my experience, my second stage of labours have been incredibly quick and efficient which I believe has been helped by taking them.  At 37 weeks i'll start the Evening Primrose Oil too as again, from previous experience, they've really helped to soften an efface my cervix which I attribute to the success of previous sweeps.

3.5 weeks.





The deplorably proud Mum

I'm afraid it's one of those Mummy posts, you know the ones, the proud Mummy ones.  Sometimes however, they're just necessary and quite frankly bloody well deserved.

I'm always proud or The Spawn.  They're good kids (apparently).  The end of the school year brought the inevitable; school reports.

All we ask is that The Spawn behave and try their best.  We neither expect nor ask or any more.

Thing Two came home with rows upon rows of A's for effort and attainment.  Her year 2 SATS were streaks ahead of where they should be and her teachers comment was positively glowing.  The icing on the cake is that her peers voted and she'll be on the School Council next year too. She is a model student, her attitude, behaviour, attainment, social skills etc are consistently unfaultable.  It's not hard to see why her teachers adore her.

Thing One brought a similarly good report home, his consisting of A's & B's and his 'levels' are consistent with those a few years ahead of him.  We're always especially astounded by his consistent achievements seeing as he is one of the youngest in his year too.  His teachers comment was lovely and the Head Teachers comment said he was a good role model for the school.  We're half convinced he has an alter personality because although we love him dearly he's incredibly hard work at home yet at school and with relatives he's fantastic, maybe he just doesn't like us?

Thing One applied to be a prefect seeing as he'll be in year 6 in September, reached the interview stage and nailed it.  For the third year running he received the science award for his year and then came the bolt out of the blue.  Not only is he a prefect but at the awards presentation evening we discovered that from all the prefects he's been chosen to be Head Boy! Yes my eyes may have leaked.  Twice.

Naturally there's a downside, lets just say some of his peers aren't very gracious about his achievements and he received several downright mean comments suggesting he's undeserving of the title, somehow though I think I'll stick with the Head teachers judgement skills as opposed to the judgement of year 5 boys.

Yet the most important thing to us is that The Spawn are happy at school everything else is icing
 on the cake.

So yes, I'm a proud Mum and I'm not ashamed to admit it.