If I'm honest, I lost track of the guessing game in the end. So many last minute votes came flooding in through facebook (personal and blog pages) and twitter, I'm not sure I quite kept up! However, as much fun as it all was, none of it matters anymore because we know what flavour Squiggle actually is...
Squiggle is a boy! :D
So David and I need to get down to some serious name choosing. Twice now we've had girl names ready, but even last time, we were never entirely sure about boy names. This is going to be very interesting... [Edit 28.10.12 Scratch that, we've chosen a name!]
I am so thrilled, it feels like a first pregnancy all over again - a completely new experience! I feel strangely complete.
PS: Anyone with little girls, keep an eye on Emily's Closet - it's about to explode with new listings over the coming weeks!!!
We visited Daddy at work yesterday, which meant catching the train to London. The last time we caught the train, Emily wasn't quite into trains and buses yet, but now she most certainly is and she loved it. The train journey out was so funny, I just had to try and jot down part of the conversation (well, monologue mostly) on the way back. This is what I saved on my iphone notepad: (note that she calls herself Elly)
Emily (looking out the window, for cows): Animals! Where are you, animals?
I am giving you the correct version here. The above in reality sounds more like "Amoos! Wheyayoo, amoos?"
Me: Shall we look for animals?
Me (there were no cows in sight, so attempting a diversion): Look, there are lots of trains and cars!
Emily: Trains! Cars! One two three six. Oh goodness! More more cars!
(The train doors open.)
Uh-oh open! Close! (She knocks on the partition behind us.) Hello? Who there?
(She tries to close the door, from inside the train. Needless to say, unsuccessfully.)
Elly sit. Ok. (She sits down.)
Yay Elly! Good girl!
Wow more train! Another one!
Uh-oh gone. Ok.
(She notices me taking note of all this on my phone.)
Last week (or it may have been the previous week - I'm having trouble keeping track of time at the moment), Emily and I visited the Chatham Historic Dockyard to have lunch with a friend and ex-colleague. I love visiting the Dockyard, I loved working there (and the job itself), it's all good memories.
So after lunch, after we'd said goodbye to Lydia, I walked Emily around to see some sights I knew she'd enjoy. Namely trains, ships and the helicopter. Add to that the fact that it had rained overnight so the road was peppered with puddles that I let her splash in, she had the time of her life.
My birthday almost went unnoticed until I let it slip to two close friends that I would be turning 30 and was informed that something had to be done to celebrate. I wasn't about to complain. Some posh afternoon tea was decided upon and a venue chosen (Hempstead House) and booked and we were all very excited.
The heavy fog almost ruined the afternoon when I got as good as lost (very typical of me), although it turned out I simply hadn't driven far enough. I won't go into it here but suffice it to say that my SatNav and I have never seen eye to eye...
An hour and a half after I left home, and an hour after our tea session was meant to have begun (cue three very worried friends), I finally made it to my own party thanks to Julia coming out to find me at the Texaco garage where I decided to give up my search (it may as well have been in the middle of nowhere for all the fog).
Once we got there, it really was a lovely afternoon. The food was divine and we had our own little private function room, so we could chat away to our hearts' content and just relax, and mainly spend some quality time together sans toddlers for a change!
It was far from my best birthday ever, but I was properly spoilt and I spent it with the best people I could have imagined spending it with - and at the end of the day, I went to bed with a smile on my face, which is what counts. I have an entire year to let 30 be good to me, and I think (I hope!) it's going to be a good one.
That tear-jerker P&G advert still shows up on TV every now and then, and I've made a conscious effort to not to just be "air". Us Mums are often left out of photos - often too busy being behind the camera itself - but I am adamant that there will be many photos through Emily's life that I am present in. Everyone needs to remember what their Mummy looked like when she and they were young. Maureen over on Island Fairy does a regular Embrace the Camera post, which I love because it gives us an opportunity to see the person behind the blog, not just the children she writes about and so obviously loves... and if I enjoy seeing pictures of her, then they certainly will too.
But it's so easy to miss out. In our family I am the official person behind the camera. David isn't really into photography or even photo-taking so I can often be heard reminding (begging!) him to pick up the camera to ensure there are pictures of me with Emily too. Sadly this often means pictures that include me are posed and artificial. Yes, he takes plenty of them once he's at it but they are often twenty different versions of the same thing and I want life and candid moments, which I think either comes naturally to the photographer or it simply doesn't. Having said that - and he knows this because I have told him - David is getting much better at it, and although many pictures of Emily and myself are still painfully posed, there have been a few more recent ones that haven't been, and that I am in love with.
Today a friend on Facebook linked to an article called The Mom Stays in the Picture. It hit the nail on the head as to why I want to be in photos. Somehow I've never quite been able to explain it without sounding like some narcissistic prat. But this article did it for me. My husband may not be the type to pick up a camera unprompted, but he is kind and compassionate and caring and he admires the huge amount of work I do with Emily on a daily basis, and that can never be dismissed. I emailed the link to him with a note and I have been promised far more pictures in future.
"I'm everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them. Someday I won't be here -- and I don't know if that someday is tomorrow or thirty or forty or fifty years from now -- but I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother." [Allison Tate, The Mom Stays in the Picture]
I am aware that I never even wrote about my 12 week scan this time. Poor Squiggle is certainly getting less pregnancy attention than Emily did. However, it was slightly overshadowed by the fact that Emily moaned and squirmed throughout, thought they were torturing me and kept coming over to ask if I was alright (in a whimpery voice). I wish I could have been able to fully focus on what was going on in the scan, but everything was fine and that was all that was important really.
Unfortunately, the sonographer we had this time refused to even try and have a guess at the gender. With Emily, we knew at her 12 week scan that she was probably a girl. I didn't start buying things, but it helped with bonding. Now with Squiggle, there is even less bonding than there was with Emily (mostly because she keeps me so busy and also because it's a much better pregnancy so I sometimes forget I'm actually pregnant) and not being able to give him/her even the slightest identity isn't helping.
Soooo... David has decided to treat me for my birthday next week (yes, next week!), and we will be having a Gender Scan in 10 days time. My next NHS scan is at the end of November, and frankly I'm impatient to find out so it was an ideal birthday pressie ;)
To help you along, here are some pregnancy comparisons:
Emily: I suffered from morning, afternoon, evening sickness from week 3 until it calmed down around week 22.
Squiggle: I can't really say I've suffered from any pregnancy sickness. My sense of smell is more sensitive which sometimes makes me sick (*cough*toxic nappies*cough*) but I had that with Emily too, minus the nappies.
Emily: Heartburn hit in the last 3 weeks of pregnancy.
Squiggle: Heartburn began very, very early on and hasn't calmed down at all. I dread those last 3 weeks!
Emily: Bump began showing around week 14. This is probably due to it having been my first pregnancy and the fact that I was a dress size larger.
Squiggle: Bump showed by week 6 and hasn't looked back. They do say you pop earlier with second pregnancies, and I had a bit less "padding" to camouflage this time.
I can't say I've noticed a difference in bump shape.
Emily: I craved mango.
Squiggle: No real cravings to speak of.
Emily: My hair loved pregnancy. It grew strong and shiny.
Squiggle: My hair hates pregnancy. What it has done most of so far is fall out.
Emily: Stretchmarks began to show up within the first month.
Squiggle: No new stretchmarks. Hooray!
So what do we think, folks? Pink or Blue? Leave a comment with your guess, all will be revealed on the 29th October!
Emily watches TV, it has been my saviour especially towards the beginning of this pregnancy while I laid lifeless on the sofa. I felt bad about it for a long time - electronic babysitter and all that - but she only ever watches programmes that are appropriate to her age and that are educational. We can see the benefit of this now that she is recognising letters of the alphabet at 20 months of age, can count items in front of her, uses expressions that certainly didn't come from me or David ("oh dear!"), and can even mutter a few words in French and Chinese (she loves the Lingo Show!). TV isn't on all the time, we do puzzles, build towers and castles, use play-doh, dance, read, go out, cook, paint, etc.
There's no denying this generation is born into a technological age. Moderation is the key, as with everything. Denying it is like trying to pull the world to an age it simply doesn't belong in any longer.
But I digress. What I wanted to write about is an iphone app that Emily loves. (*shock horror* yes she also plays on my phone.) She's known how to unlock it since she was 9 months old. Like I said, they're born into a technological age. There's a little folder on my phone called "Emily" that she knows to go to and find her games (once I unlock the phone!!), and she will stay within this folder 99% of the time. She's good like that.
There are about eight apps in that folder. To name a few of her favourites, there are: Phone4Kids Playtime with Dora (a huge favourite - she loves the Memory games, better on ipad) Baby Sign and Learn (this has been amazing, she is actively learning new signs and words thanks to it)
But the game she can spend hours on (or at least until it kills my phone battery entirely), is The Moogies. This is a clever little discovery game. A house with nine characters at nine windows. Each window reveals a different scene with different "tricks" to discover. The characters will dance or sing, even the frames on the wall and the moon or the sun have surprises up their sleeves. You press anything and something happens.
Emily has her favourites. The talking Parrot at window 8 and the fishing Cat at window 7, and lately also the dancing Sheep at window 4.
We didn't know what the parrot did at first. We thought he was really boring until Emily spoke one time and the parrot repeated what she'd said in a funny high-pitched voice. There was no turning back. Part of me wishes there was a Moogies toy in it's own right, not just an app on my phone. Because if there were, I could guarantee it would go everywhere with her. She has entire conversations with that silly bird, often interspersed with infectious giggles, she asks him things and accepts his repetition as a reply, then more giggling/dancing/jumping around.
This app has become an absolute life-saver in doctor's waiting rooms or times when Emily needs to sit down quietly (like my 12 week scan!!). Try it out on your toddler - trust me, it's worth the 69p - and let me know what you think! :)
(Note: this app will override the mute setting on your phone)
* Beth pretty much sums up my thoughts on the "no TV for under 3s" issue here
It'll be seven years this coming April that we left the little rock and moved to England for good. We became adults here, we built lives and dreams, a family, a home. And we loved it.
In July, when we visited Malta, it surprised me that for the first time, when looking out of the plane at Malta, "home" wasn't a word that crossed my mind. But other big surprises were to come my way.
I'll admit, I'd been pushing certain thoughts to the back of my mind for a few months by then. Shoving them away, far out of the way. I didn't want to know. We moved to England for good. We planned it out, mapped it out. We couldn't go back on our plans, I didn't want to be a failure, I didn't want to be predictable. I ignored my innermost thoughts, hated the very thought of Malta (I can only suspect because of the rest of the feelings it brought along with it).
Until that same day in July - the day I realised Malta no longer felt like "home" - when I realised what home really is. Somewhere in my subconscious, a wall came crashing down, and I knew that I wanted to go back.
David didn't believe me. I'd cried wolf a couple of times before and always changed my mind by the end of our visit. I'd always come back to England ranting and raving about how wonderful it is to live here and how I'd never move back to Malta. And it is wonderful, there's no denying that. But somewhere over the past year, my priorities changed. And by the end of our visit to Malta in July, much to David's surprise, I hadn't changed my mind.
I want Emily to have the same closeness to family as I did growing up. I want her to experience hot summers spent in the water. I want her to know and love her grandparents. I want to be able to show her that it's good for her parents to have a life outside of bringing up her and her brother or sister. That her Mummy and Daddy can have fun together. I want to never have to sit in A&E with a child, completely alone, again. I want to have a full life, perhaps smaller, simpler, but certainly fuller.
We are moving back to Malta in January 2013. As bittersweet a decision as this has been and as hard as it will be to leave my sister and the amazing friends I've come to rely on with my life, it is simply time to head back. (I still can't bring myself to completely accept that I'll be leaving these people behind, I'm sure I'll come to terms with it eventually. Maybe.)
Needless to say, this won't be the last you've heard of this. But in the meantime, yeah, that's our big news!
Yesterday, we had no plans. So we threw our things together and headed to the Riverside Country Park in Gillingham. We had once been briefly but never explored it fully, and with no threat of rain, it seemed a good opportunity to find out more.
Emily loved it. She walked far more than she usually does and was fast asleep soon after lunch and napped for a good while (which is always a treat, especially after the late night we had the previous night!)
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