Tag Archives: photography

The Driving Rain

I know I’ve been saving the photo posts for the Daily Photo blog, but I’ve been taking too many photos.  (I also need a new, bigger hard drive.  A few extra terabytes should cover six months’ worth, I reckon…)

We headed down to my parents’ place this weekend, and drove back in the pouring rain today.  I’ve been experimenting with long- and shorter-exposure pictures on the motorway.  These are the pick of the bunch.

As much as I’d love to, I won’t promise that any other posts are coming this week, as I’m still up to my eyeballs.  There will be posts on the Daily Photo, and I’ll try to write something here.  In the meantime, you could make some herb damper, or some cherry-cinnamon cookies, and then you could read about recovery from depression.  See you when the madness has ended!

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Filed under Car, pictures, trips

Handsome Toddler Boy

Oh my word.  When exactly did this happen?

My son, my tiny, tiny baby boy, is growing up.  Yesterday he chased after Eric, demanding a “big hug!”.  He can put the balls in the ball-run at the soft play centre like nobody’s business.  He plays with other children, and is so gentle and patient with those younger or smaller than him.  He’s taken a few steps, and when he’s got his walker he can run.  Last week we had to buy walking shoes, as his feet were squeezed by his cruisers.  We’re also going to have to buy some more 12-18 month clothes at some point: they seemed impossibly big when he was born.  Now, his newborn clothes reach his knees and his elbows, and he’s into the toddler ranges in most shops.  He’s the most loving, affectionate little boy I’ve ever met.  I love him so deeply it hurts.

This journey, it hasn’t been easy.  My pregnancy was wanted, but so unexpected.  We were fraught with worry all the way through; Joe and I had to learn to be a couple before this ticking time bomb exploded into our lives and made us a family.  There was confusion over my due date, with two and a half weeks between my dates and my midwife’s.  At twelve weeks, when I suffered bleeding, I was convinced we were going to lose him; that feeling stayed with me throughout the pregnancy.  He was born eight days before the midwife’s date, and a month before mine, perfect in every way.

Bonding with David took me a long time; longer, perhaps, than it took Joe.  There was this expectation that I’d be ecstatic to have my new baby, that I’d love every element of motherhood.  Who in their right mind loves cracked and bleeding nipples, sleepless nights, shitty nappies, and not being able to sit down on less than six layers of padding?  I was severely anaemic, and had to take iron tablets.  I was ill, and tired, and I hated breastfeeding with a passion, but I forced myself to continue until David was a month old, the time that I could express milk and introduce bottles.  I was adamant that I would NOT use formula, that I’d be a terrible mother if I did.  I remember sitting up and trying to feed David, and passing out while I was feeding him.  I remember sitting in a clients’ offices when David was ten days old, trying to feed him and failing, and feeling so miserable.

When he was about eight weeks old, I started the Pill.  It made me bleed heavily, and I became very anaemic again.  I couldn’t express nearly as much milk as before, and David would either go hungry, or start having formula.  He started on formula, and I knew that I was supposed to feel like a terrible mother.  In reality, I was relieved.

I’d had some mental health support from a community mental health nurse since David was four weeks old, and when he was about three months I was able to see a psychiatrist.  That psychiatrist prescribed a low dose of Sertraline, an antidepressant that is safe to take whilst breastfeeding.  I wish I could say that it provided an instant fix, because it didn’t.  I stopped feeling suicidal, yes.  In fact, I stopped feeling much at all.  My visits to see him consisted of “Yes, I’ve got side effects, no, I’m not suicidal, yes, therefore things must be much better, see you in six weeks.”  In June, when David was six months old, I could take the side effects no longer, and stopped taking the Sertraline.  I felt better almost as soon as I stopped taking it, well, as soon as the week of withdrawal symptoms had passed.  At the end of August I managed to get myself discharged from community mental health support, too, and I felt free.

We’ve muddled along for the last few months, and things have slowly been improving.  I’m not sure at which point it was that I finally felt better, more at home with myself.  Maybe I’ve just settled into motherhood now, and maybe it’s just because David is just easier to look after, more enjoyable.

Because David is easy, these days.  He’s a toddler, he understands what I’m saying and responds to it.  He stops playing to give me a hug, then goes off and does his own independent little thing.  He’s mimicking what we say all the time (including “crap!” in the car the other day.)  Even his tantrums, although trying, are an interesting side of his personality that has only just started to show.  When I was in the darkness, I never thought I’d feel the kind of joy that I feel watching him grow and change and learn.  Now that I am here, I appreciate him even more.

If you are reading this, and you feel like I did, talk to somebody.  Tell them how you feel, and get some help and support.  It is not your fault, you are not a bad parent, and you will get better.  It’s worth all the hardship just to come through it and feel alive.

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Filed under David, Mental Health

Herb Damper

Just a quick recipe for tonight.  I made a loaf of this at lunchtime to go with soup, and it was gorgeous. David loved it: I think he ate more than I did!

Damper is an Australian bread, traditionally cooked over an open fire.  The quantities I use make a small loaf, just right for the three of us. I reduced salt because David was eating it, and we very rarely add salt to anything now. It’s edible cold, but it’s best almost straight from the oven, in buttery chunks.

Ingredients
2 cups self-raising flour
pinch salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp room-temperature butter
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
chopped chives/ dried mixed herbs to taste (I used about a tablespoon)

Method

Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl.
Add the butter and rub between fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Mix in chives and herbs.
Make a well in the flour mixture, and add the milk and the water. Mix together until a dough is formed.
Turn the dough out onto a floury surface, and knead until silky.
Form into a round loaf and cut a deep cross in the top.
Bake for 20 minutes at 200C, then reduce oven temperature to 180C and bake for another 10-15 minutes until done.

How do you tell it’s done? Pick it up (with oven gloves on!) and tap the bottom. If it’s cooked it’ll make a hollow sound.

Serve warm with butter.

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Filed under baby led weaning, Recipes

Eleven Months

Dearest David,

Today you turn eleven months old: only a month to go until you hit the big O-N-E.  Hasn’t this month been a rollercoaster?  I’m going to apologise now for not writing more about you this month, or taking more pictures, but in between the high-fever hallucinating and the throwing up, there hasn’t really been time.  (Swine flu.  Oh joy.  Incidentally, you ARE having the vaccine.)  Never mind, everything is OK when you have meringue.

I’m writing this as you sleep, during my precious work-time.   You are sleeping better in the day and at night because we’ve moved away from blankets and bought you a proper duvet.  The first night you slept under it you slept on your back all night with Donkey tucked in next to you: you haven’t done that since before you could roll over!  The fact that I could just take a photo of you asleep without waking you is testimony to the power of The Duvet.

This month, you mastered your walker, and then a few days ago you took a STEP!  And then another, and then another.  You’re not quite confident enough to walk on your own yet, but when you have your walker (or a chair, or your bead thing, or the high chair, or anything else the right height…) you can run!

We’ve had an interesting month with food, haven’t we?  Just after you turned ten months, you discovered chocolate buttons.  Daddy and I discovered that chocolate buttons are a brilliant bribe (sorry, reward).  This is good, because you seem to have hit the two-year-old fussy stage a year and a month early.  All the wonderful fruit and veg that you’ve been eating since you were six months old?  No thanks.  Pasta in a lovely spinach sauce provoked a tantrum.  Pears were even worse.  Why?  You ate pears last month.  At Rugrats and Half Pints yesterday you refused to even put cucumber in your mouth, never mind bite it.  It’s OK, though.  Daddy and I have come up with a solution: we’re just going to cover everything in hummous or yoghurt, then you won’t know that it’s vegetables.  That, or you can live on Mini Cheddars and chocolate buttons.  And meringues.

Your cousin Wilfred came to stay for a week this month and you had a great time together.  It’s the first time you’ve both been aware of each other, and it was lovely.  You’re (mostly) very gentle with him, although you do splash a little too much in the bath for him.  Watching you play peek-a-boo with him was one of the loveliest things I’ve ever seen.

Talking of baths: you adore them.  There have been days where you’ve had three or four in a day.  Not because you’re dirty (although meringue in the hair doesn’t help) but because you love them so much.  You can now request “bath!” and “splash!”, and there have been occasions when we’ve spent an hour in the bath, playing with ducks, bottles, the shower…  If you didn’t have to come out of the bath, I don’t think you would.

The way you play has changed so much this month.  You’ve figured out that stacking cups stack, and that the farmer in your farmhouse can slide down the chimney.  You’ve changed so quickly that you have next to no age-appropriate toys in the house, but your birthday and Christmas are only a month away, so you’ll have to hang on.  You love sliding the beads around on the bead thing, and you love your tambourine and maracas.  At Grandma and Grandpa’s house, you have a “phone” (a remote without the batteries in), which you pretend to talk to people on.  Talking of talking, you are learning new words almost every day, and you babble as though we can understand you.  You still have some very clear words, and yesterday you uttered your first phrase: “Get down?”.  I can’t wait to have a proper conversation with you.

Your understanding and social interaction are at a whole new level, too.  I asked you to sit down this morning, and you did as you were asked.  You hold your arms out and say “Up!” when you want to be picked up, and you frequently stop playing, give Daddy or I a hug, and then go back to whatever you were doing.  You also know when you’re being asked not to do something, and delight in disobeying us with a cheeky grin.  You’re visibly thinking more: we can almost hear the cogs whirring in your brain.

You’ve developed an unbreakable bond with Daddy now.  Well, you both laugh at fart jokes, find the word “poo” hillarious, and spend your time blowing raspberries at each other.  Maybe it’s just a man thing.  I love sitting back and watching you play together.

Son, I love you so much that I’ll almost think about forgiving you for throwing up in my car the other day.  (Yeah, thanks for that.)  You’re turning into a toddler so fast, and it’s amazing to think that this is your last newsletter before you turn one.  I miss my teeny-tiny baby, but you are so much fun now.  I’m not going to pretend that getting to this point hasn’t been hard, but now we’re here, it’s AWESOME, and I love you.

Lots of love,

Mummy and Daddy (who’s probably going to cry when he reads this)

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Filed under David, pictures

Flowers

Bought these for £0.48 each at IKEA today: so cheap and so pretty!  They’re going in the bedroom, which should be nearly finished tonight, I hope.

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Filed under pictures