Saturday, 28 April 2012

Saturday night ramblings

It is late on Saturday night, I have left them to it down in the pub and the babe is sleeping to the sound of banjo tunes and laughter. I should be in bed catching up on the sleep that I never quite seem to have enough of at the moment but I also want to write, except I'm a bit too tired to think straight!

Random thoughts:

We now have a doorway cut through to our spare flat so no longer have to tuck our towels under our arms and stroll across the roof terrace in full view of the village to go have a shower. Long story, and definitely something to celebrate. We also have a bathroom stud wall and a plan for sockets and light fittings. A bath. After four and a half years we will own a bath!

We have run out of fishy dog treats. They are distraught. They don't get much attention these days compared to pre-baby days, but they are religious about their nightly treat. I suspect I am very low in their estimation right now.

The hair on the right side of Felix's head is finally starting to curl like the rest of it. He's always slept on that side and it's never grown the same. Today was a mad scientist hair kind of day. And a constant laughing day. And a 'I've grown a bit more and can now reach the next shelf up' day so tomorrow I shall be clearing yet more shelves.

Both my dogs are dreaming at the same time. Both are twitching their nose hairs. One is clicking his tongue, the other is snorting gently. The soundtrack of my life!

And on that note, good night.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Ina May Gaskin - Part One

                          "There is no other organ quite like the uterus. If men had such an organ, 
they would brag about it. So should we."

So says the wonderful Ina May Gaskin, American community midwife, co-founder of The Farm (a village and midwifery centre in Tennessee), leading proponent of positive birthing. 

Her book 'Ina May's Guide to Childbirth' was my top read during my pregnancy last year and if I could recommend only one thing to pregnant women to help them through birth, it would be this woman's wisdom. 

Ina May's position is simple and very powerful. Women, and our bodies, are amazing. Our bodies are capable, strong and wise and above all are built for childbirth. She believes the best approach to childbirth is to surround yourself with positive messages and birth stories, to understand your body's capabilities and the process of childbirth, and to embrace the process as one that will empower you both at the time and afterwards.

I was very open to this message before I came upon Ina May (thanks, no surprise, to the Mighty Jen...) but I remember feeling physically changed by reading this book. It made me feel strong, excited and eager for birth! I am happy to say that feeling didn't leave me, and this is despite a pregnancy very much marred by severe and constant sickness (and they call it morning sickness!) and a strong general aversion to pain.

The power of the positive is a wonderful thing that we don't use enough. Believe in ourselves, believe in what we can do.

Coming soon...the power of positive messages.

Sensory rooms


Whilst visiting Jen-my-friend-with-twins we spent a beautiful two hours in the sensory room at her local children's centre. We don't have a children's centre near us (one of the 'benefits' I expect of living somewhere so lightly populated) nor any sensory facility that I know of.

I now want one.

It wasn't amazing or elaborate. There was a bubble tube and some fiber optics to play with, there was a ball pit and wooden wall panels with lots of fiddly stuff to fiddle with. Projected images danced on the walls. There were boxes of interesting bits and pieces to play with, toys of all different textures, big squashy cushions and low lights. 

With the lights down low and the bubble tube set to alternate colours we all breathed a big sigh of relief and relaxed. We spent twice as long in there as we intended and all the babies eventually fell soundly asleep and left us to it.

Glorious. It was way better than relaxing at home in an unexpected moment of quiet, because there you always had something staring at you needing to be done. Two hours in a little dark room now known between us as the Baby Spa went a very long way.

Sorry for my absence

Life is crazily busy here right now so the writing has taken a (very) temporary back seat.

Last week I took a few days away to visit a very dear friend in Wiltshire who has a 22 month old and 8 week old twins. I was prepared for hard work, I was prepared for the unexpected. I was even prepared to come back a bit more tired than when I went.

I can honestly say I had no idea. How she manages as she does I have no idea. How she wasn't screaming and shouting I have no idea. Except I do. She is in many ways an exceptional woman, very strong and positive, determined and motivated. She is also an example to everyone as to how any woman can be exceptional because she's also just a regular woman living a 'normal' life. Everything she has achieved she has decided to go for, worked hard for and deserved.

In short, she is my inspiration. Even more so now I have seen her in action with her newly expanded family!

For all those ladies out there who are having twins, expect to hear more about life with a double act as I delve vicariously into the life of the Mighty Jen!

p.s. other minor things going on include a new roof on our flat, the beginnings of a new bathroom and living room, lots of building dust, turning our pub kitchen into a nicer more domestic kitchen where the baby can roam free, trying to organise a book event for the pub, failing to organise a book event for the pub, and nursing my increasingly cranky baby through a humdinger of a Wiltshire cold!

p.p.s. anyone got a more restful holiday venue I can nab?

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Erna Wright, birthing control teacher

When I was pregnant a friend of my mother gave me a book called "The New Childbirth" by Erna Wright. Published first in 1964 it looked it's age and I didn't take much notice, politely saying thank you and putting it on my pile of books to read at some point before the baby arrived.

As soon as I looked at it more closely I realised it was right up my alley. From the sixties it may be, but Erna Wright (early developer of the NCT and student of the Lamaze method) was a pioneer in enabling women to take control of their birth experience. In particular she believed, and taught, that women could control pain and fear and ease their childbearing considerably. She was a knowledge is key girl, like me, and although many of her methods now seem overly complicated (I still don't understand her breathing method diagrams!) the basic approach is sound.

I found it unexpectedly inspirational. It also sat very well with my growing desire to have a low meds low intervention birth. Erna Wright believed that repetitive practise of the control techniques used during birth allowed the woman to go through labour in a more relaxed and instinctive manner. Much like the reasoning behind hypnobirthing today (more of that in another post).

I can't imagine how revolutionary her teachings must have been at a time when women were barely told  what doctors were doing to them during childbirth, let alone given a choice in the matter.

Comeing soon...the mighty Ina May Gaskin! One post will definitely not be enough...

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Current favourite toys - 9 months old

Wonderworld Rainbow Sound Blocks
Quite simply a winner every time we get them out (pretty much every day). Shake them, stack them, bang them, carry them. They say 24 months+ but the wood and paints are baby safe and they are the perfect size for him now so why wait?

Sassy Pop n Push car
In the last couple of weeks Felix has started playing with this as a car. He pushes it along himself, winds it up and sets it off and then crawls mega fast after it. Normally giggling madly. Delightful to watch.

Odds and Sods
The wooden hammer from a Mothercare peg bashing thing.
A Corgi Ford Escort some poor child left in the pub.
A flat wooden block from his building block trolley that he has in his hand as he crawls along, sounding just like a wooden legged pirate as he clonks along the wooden floor...
His clothes boxes (open topped plastic crates) which he loves to unpack  :)

Ways to wake up

The day started somewhat abruptly with me waking up to the baby trying to burrow his way into my belly button. Wouldn't have minded except his nails need clipping. Plus it was definitely nearer 7am than 8am which, before you all cry out how wonderful, is a tad early for this publican mum to be sensible and responsive.

Still, the sun is shining, the baby is happy, the spaniel didn't manage to pinch too much weetabix from the highchair and my coffee seems to have hit the spot.

Morning!