While waiting for the new baby to arrive over the festive holidays, and generally sitting on the sofa with my space hopper tummy, one of my jobs was making our annual photo book album, and looking back on all our pictures from 2018.
I’m always struck with how different Mole and Hedgehog look from one year to the next, and I’m only reminded when looking back on old photos. Their faces are a little less chubby, a little more chiselled, their limbs are longer and a bit more coordinated than they were before. They change so gradually and sometimes the only measure is the fact they keep needing bigger clothes.
Then there are the leaps in milestones and conversations. It all moves too fast, like sand slipping through my fingers. In an attempt to get some perspective on things, I made a list. You can always rely on a list. Here are my findings for 2018 with Mole and Hedgehog…
Mole learned to ride her bike without stabilisers.
Hedgehog potty trained.
Mole graduated to a booster seat in the car. She can now open the car door and strap herself in.
Hedgehog started ballet classes and is now officially obsessed with ballet.
Mole started school and is learning to read and write with a startling speed.
Hedgehog started preschool and likes playing with the peppa pig dolls, being in the ‘quiet room’ and falling asleep in random doorways.
Mole and I have started a hair styling ritual in the mornings since the school term began. Her requests are getting more and more elaborate. Her plaits, ribbons and pony tails are now starting to resemble something out of star trek.
Hedgehog is now showing an actual willingness to use her legs and is choosing to walk rather than go in the buggy, which is a relief as it will be needed for bambino #3 quite soon.
Mole got the chickenpox last week. At first we thought it was a really bad case of bed bugs, but it turned out to be a super mild case of chickenpox. By the time I’d got the calamine lotion they had already scabbed over.
Hedgehog has started talking at preschool this term, after being mute all of last term. She is finally showing her chatty side, which we are very happy about.
The constant squabbles over toys and games between them continues, with whining along the lines of -
Mole: “She HIT me”
Hedgehog: “But I want to play BY MYSELF”
Mole: “Hedgehog, you’re not DOING it right”
But there is a definite swing towards them playing more nicely together this past year. It’s just a shame that this tends to be at midnight, and 3am, and 6am. Over Christmas week for example, Mole and Hedgehog stayed up in their room after bedtime and conked out sometime around 11pm. This posed a problem on Christmas Eve when Santa was waiting to deliver their sacks. I opened the door at 10am to find them sitting up in bed having a little squealy conversation about who knows what. I whispered that Santa won’t come if they are not asleep, to which they obediently lay down in unison under the covers without a word. Within 5 minutes the light was back on and the chatting had resumed.
The holidays are a strange time when normal routines don’t apply, Hedgehog lives in her ballet outfit and pirouettes around the kitchen all day, while Mole does ‘crafts’ all over the table, usually involving scissors, mountains of paper and quite a lot of glue.
And bambino #3? All we know about bambino #3 at this point is that he or she is now 10 days overdue, and still seems very comfy inside. We are beginning to wonder if this baby will ever turn up. After all the talk of a ‘Christmas baby’ it has now spectacularly over shot Christmas and is hurtling towards the New Year. My hypnobirthing track includes an affirmation “My baby will come when my baby is ready”. You can say that again.
The new baby is here. After making us wait, playing the guessing game with lots of Braxton Hicks cramps and no actual action, she then arrived very decisively with a 2 hour labour on New Years Eve at 5.21am. Mr M&H barely had time to fill the birth pool and the midwife made it with 15 minutes to spare. We thought it was going to be quick, based on my track record with Mole and Hedgehog, but I think even the midwife was quite surprised.
My hypnobirth breathing was useful for the first hour, (in for 4 counts, out for 8 counts - it gives you something to focus on). I was in the bathtub with a shedload of geranium oil which was quite overpowering, while waiting for the birth pool to be ready. By the final 20 minutes, I had transferred to the pool (next to the Christmas tree), and had entered roaring mode, which is my usual coping mechanism when faced with extreme agony. The entonox would have been nice but was not available in time, so I had to power through. In the end she came all the way down and out with one push. I felt her crowning briefly and that was it. She sort of floated off to one side and I couldn’t see her, so the midwife brought her up to me. I have to say that being at home, and having a water birth, was the best thing ever. We couldn’t have asked for it to go any better. Getting to relax for the rest of the day in bed together was awesome too.
Mole loves the big sister role, kisses her good night and good morning, and carries her around a lot in a vice like grip. Hedgehog pats her on the head absently and then scurries off to carry on playing.
So what to call her? After some thought, given that she was born in water - so a semi-aquatic furry animal would be apt, I’ve gone with Otter. She feeds and sleeps for the most part, does explosive loud poohs, and had her first bath today in the sink. I thought she would go mental, but she was amazingly placid, and the massage with coconut oil afterwards seemed to really zone her out, she’s been asleep ever since.
My boobs are now gigantic and starting to hurt, so while I value the nap time, I’m also sort of hoping that she wakes up soon.