Bingewatching, but not as you know it

These past two weeks, we’ve become rather addicted to the BBC. No, not that one. Whilst all things Great and British (Menu and Bake Off) are staples in our house, we have started bingewatching a new series. The Beatrice Broadcasting Corporation has a steady output with all the tension and cinematography you’d expect of a gripping classic.

Every night, at around 8pm, the screen is switched on and we sit back on the sofa with our fingers crossed hoping that our squirming and squeaky little girl is able to send herself off to sleep. So far, the programming has been thankfully predictable. It starts off with wriggling, the odd teary tense moment, a nail-biting (or thumb-sucking in Beatrice’s case) sequence and eventually all calms down in the end.

I am of course talking about our baby monitor. They make for seriously addictive viewing if you don’t have one. We got ours (a Motorola MBP25 if you’re interested) on sale back in February or March, and tried setting it up before she arrived. It has a two way microphone, which meant it was used to place orders for cups of tea, and has ‘infrared night vision’ so we set up our own in-house Springwatch as we waited for our rabbit to show up in his cage. Far too exciting when he actually did, and he ran off when we tried talking to him!

Now that Beatrice is here, it’s a great way of keeping an eye on her as we all settle down to relax in the evenings. She’s doing brilliantly at sending herself off to sleep so far, and despite the patterns it doesn’t stop us watching over and over again. The only downside is that it looks absolutely terrifying when she looks to the camera, as her eyes are solid black (think Blair Witch grainy camera style). It’s also kind of sad as she looks right at the light on the camera, but we’ve stayed strong and it’s paying off. For now…

Stay tuned for more broadcasts from the BBC!

Epsiode 2: The Employer Strikes Back

Another geeky film reference to open this post! Even more confusingly, episode 2 of Star Wars is Attack of the Clones (officially, though to most fans it will still be Empire). Anyway, geek credentials established, back onto the blog! The number 2 also represents the new size of nappy we’re currently experimenting with!

Firstly, just how good have the Paralympics been? Beatrice is lucky to be born into a time where literally anything is possible! Such a strong message for us as parents to pass on to her when she’s older. They are such incredible people and role models!

They have also been the backdrop to my evenings this week. On Monday I re-entered the classroom, and all the fun and games that comes with it. For the first two mornings, Beatrice decided that she’d have a lie in, and going off to work without a hug and a smile was very, very difficult! I know I should be grateful that I was having a good sleep, but I had got used to a routine of breakfast cuddles!

Photos are all over my classroom and I think the children aren’t fed up of me mentioning her yet…the staff might be! It’s a real motivator to get home earlier, and so far I’ve been home in time for all the important bits of the evening routine. We’re just getting into trying to settle her down at the same time and so far it’s all gone well! Obviously I’ve jinxed it now by mentioning it here, but I’ll take a week of good sleep!

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Keeping track of feeds, nappies and supplies needs some complicated Maths!

Reflecting back on the first week of our new life, it’s going to be strange adjusting and keeping on top of work, but the teamwork is going well- Lucy is definitely keeping busy and Beatrice seems to remember who I am! We’ve just spent a lovely day out with Nanny and Grandad, with Beatrice narrowly making it home in her final set of clean clothes and it’s like being back on holiday again! Monday can wait a bit longer as far as I’m concerned!

Expect a couple of random short posts during the week, sorry I kept you waiting so long! My tenth post too, quite chuffed with that, and 400 people from all over the world have been checking in on what we’re up to! Thanks for taking the time to read the blog, and I hope you get a chance to read the older posts too if you’re a newcomer to the site. If you think you know someone who might like it, try the share buttons at the bottom of the page for your social media of choice. Cheers!

 

Best Summer Ever (Part 2)

Previously on ‘Best Summer Ever‘…

(sorry, we’ve just started watching the first series of 24)

Seriously, you can check the other link!

Part one was all about the perks of paternity leave. Okay, let’s be honest, it was about food. Which is a perk, so it counts.

Part two is about that first overnight trip away. I know many people will think usĀ  a bit mad going away when Beatrice was only a month old, but again, it’s not as impossible as you first think! Granted, we stayed in a little holiday chalet on the east coast, rather than a hotel room, but the principles are probably similar. It was also only 40 minutes from home, so if we were really desperate we could hightail it back to Norwich if needed!

Tip #1 – set up a changing base. There are two thoughts at the foremost of any new parent. How will I change them and how will I feed them? (Just so you know, the former leads to another undiscovered parenting superpower, that of the sixth sense for a baby change room). At home, you’ve probably got at least one area dedicated to the sole purpose of the removal of wee and poo from your little one’s nether regions. When you’re not at home, it’s perfectly natural to panic about it. Priority one for us was establish a changing area, complete with carpet covering.

Travelodge and their evil twin Premier Inn have a seemingly never-ending supply of massive tables in every room which will be more than happy to accommodate your changemat, change bag, bag for the change bag, new pack of nappies, new pack of wipes, cotton wool, cuddly toy, a used nappy bag you forgot about on the last trip, and anything else you’ve decided necessary.

The feeding worry depends entirely on your personal situation, so as long as you’re confident either way, you’ll be fine!

Tip #2 – Prepare to pack more vests than you thought possible. We nearly had to go home early. You’ll also need to cram both of your belongings into a case that would make Ryanair wish it could get away with letting you have something so small. There’s not a lot of space in the car once your travel system, moses basket and everything else is in the car!

Back to the trip. We planned for three nights, partly expecting to only make two of those before losing sanity. I’m proud to tell you we managed all three. It was a lovely few days with very few distractions (no wi-fi…), and a chance to take stock of the whirlwind that was month 1.

There was no way the pram was getting onto the shingle beach, so it was time to crack out the baby sling. We rented one from a local sling library, who were brilliant at helping us get it set up. You can see me modelling it below!

We also spent the days milling about, and using the pram as an excuse to walk around and eat ice cream as we did so. There was also a lot of strategic walking and parasol bending to keep Beatrice as covered as possible! If she’s got my skin, she’s doomed!

There was an incident involving our first leaky public nappy, but again, the ever-reliable and stocked change bag saw us through, as did a worrying amount of anti-bacterial hand gel!

Overall, I’d thoroughly recommend getting out there with your baby as soon as you feel up to it. You won’t regret it and will possibly get opportunities like I did in watching the sun rise…(there are still positives to getting up early!)

I’m going to miss my two favourite people tomorrow!

 

 

Best Summer Ever (Part 1)!

So tomorrow I go back to work. On day 61 for those that are still counting (see here). Whilst I love my teaching job, and am somewhat looking forward to having a bit of a routine, I am seriously going to miss spending so much time with my little girl! It’s been a real privilege to see her grow and change so much. Those moments will be a bit more spread out now, but it will definitely make me a much more efficient teacher so I get more free time at home (see, always looking at the positives!).

I’ve been meaning to post about the summer and some of the unforeseen perks of being a dad it brings – and should apply to all those on paternity leave too- but haven’t quite managed it. Because of this, I’ve had to split this summary up into two, possibly three posts. This one focuses on how to make the most of your paternity leave, and the next will focus on about that first overnight trip away…

Onto paternity leave then. I can only recommend taking the full allowance if you can. Obviously people may have various (and valid!) reasons for not doing so, but if you can, it’s a fantastic time to get to know your newborn, and more importantly know what your partner will be dealing with when you go back to work!

The other serious perk, which is what I took full advantage of, is you have two weeks of time to not worry about sleep (I won’t be one of those bloggers that goes on about tiredness, but will naturally end up referring to it from time to time!).

But the best bit about the leave? You have two weeks where you don’t really want to cook or sort things out. So…that means cake (well, it did for us). It also meant a few nice meals at the hospital cafe for a couple of days. Lucy (my wife) doesn’t like staying in the house for too long, so we were out every afternoon for tea and cake (helped by the fact Beatrice likes an afternoon nap!). Honestly take advantage of this as there’s probably loads of places you’ve fancied going to but never bothered. Whichever partner is going back to work, it’ll also provide them with a nice variety of places to head out to and meet up with other people.

Don’t like cake? We went to the North Norfolk coast a few times, which meant ice creams, crab sandwiches and fish and chips if you so desire!

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So my number one tip for paternity leave that you probably won’t find anywhere else? Eat out, explore and just go for it- you’re still in control, you just need to be prepared! We’ve had the public ‘poonamis’ (on a park bench) and a range of other little hiccups, but nothing is impossible. Start small, just a little walk to the park or shops, then get out in the car. Remember also to laugh stuff off. Your baby has no idea how embarrassing or ridiculous its behaviour can be, so don’t take things too seriously!

I’ll finish off with a few photos of our outings…second post to follow later today!

 

The sound every parent fears (but won’t admit it)…

It’s been a while since the last post, sorry! I am aiming to keep to at least one post a week, but from time to time priorities will be elsewhere. I’ve got an ever-growing list of blog post ideas that I need to catch up with, so looking forward to catching up with those! I’m also struggling a bit to keep up with relevant photos for the time being. I’ve got tons of Beatrice but still haven’t decided whether to put her online or not. Today’s post focuses on something everyone will be familiar with on some level…

Every new parent will spend an inordinate amount of time staring at their newborn, and rightly so. Most of you will do it into the early hours of the night, partly out of how cute they look when they’re asleep. However, there’s also an inbuilt feeling that if you take your eyes away, that’s the minute they forget how to breathe. This is despite the fact that they managed whilst you were busy looking up the best deal for baby wipes, or even when you were having tea and they were sat safely in their seat of choice (there are literally hundreds of options here-it’s worse than wedding merchandise). Night times are interesting indeed for the new parent.

Babies have this amazing trick where they breathe so slowly (it’s still all a bit new to them, so naturally they’ve not found a rhythm) that they are silent. It’s also so slow that their chest barely moves. Sleeping on the other side of the bed to the moses basket only makes things worse! Rest assured, after the initial ten seconds of panic, Beatrice is capable of producing a cacophony of sounds that reassure, amuse and terrify us to let us know she’s alright. Snorting, grunting, incredibly cute sighs, trying to outdo an elephant in a trumpeting contest, she’s got it all! It can be hilarious, frustrating and knackering in equal measure, and amazingly only happens at night. She is a proper Jekyll and Hyde sleeper on the noise front!

However, this silence is not the noise the title is talking about.

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(Keep reading to find out why I might be smiling…)

This noise is something that can strike fear into the most laid-back parent. It also has the power to reduce you to a nine-year-old.

That’s right, the sound is that of your newborn farting. As was well documented in this post, your baby is capable of extraordinary faecal feats. Beatrice seems to have moved (somewhat) beyond the projectile phase, but there is nothing more terrifying than hearing a massive fart (and honestly, you can get away with blaming your baby if in company, they sound as loud as a grown-up’s) when you’ve turned your head for that split-second to reach for a nappy/cotton wool/cream/wipe (delete as applicable). Your heart leaps into your mouth as you fear the worst for your clothes and the surrounding furniture.

The flipside of that is that it can be hilarious. It really shouldn’t be, I know I should totally be over it at my age, but there is something pretty funny about it, especially when she smiles first or surprises herself. Even moreso if there’s a few back to back.

Like every noise your baby makes, you’ll get to know the difference between farts (funny and terrifying) and poos. Once you do, those heart in mouth moments will slowly fade.

But the giggling probably won’t.

Life Love and Dirty Dishes

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(Not so) Newborn

I should be writing a few words about the experiences of the last two weeks, hopefully with some nice photos and with a bit of experience sharing (think it’s a bit bold to call it advice this early in the game!). However…

 

Beatrice is 50 days old. We have successfully kept her fed, clean and seemingly happy for 7 weeks and a day. She no longer fits into some of those cute little sleepsuits and overwashed vests, which is unthinkable considering everything we started with was too big. This has led to all sorts of emotions, including the early onset of ’empty nest syndrome’ as obviously once they’re out of their first sleepsuit, they’re practically packing their own bags and toddling off into the wide world! Don’t worry, it passes pretty quickly and you realise how ridiculous you’re being (hopefully…).

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It seems a bit sad that the unit of time we use gets bigger. We talk of weeks and months almost straightaway. Thinking about it (more than I should, granted), it seems to more or less lump big moments of her life to date(the day she first coated the walls with excrement, her first wearing of her R2-D2 romper suit, that first smile that wasn’t wind) into bigger chunks, potentially making them a bit less memorable. I’m sure there will be times where things have passed by pretty sharpish, but equally just taking stock before bed each night is something each parent must try and make time for. Think about those expressions, cuddles, little moments and laugh at the trickier moments if you can!

Having said we’re not really experienced enough to give advice, I’ve ended up adding some anyway. Think of it as my reflections on what I reckon are pretty commonplace worries (that way, if you think my advice is awful, you can ignore it!).

If you’re about to go on this adventure , remember that certain things will become second nature pretty sharpish. Furthermore you’ll inevitably beat yourself up unnecessarily about minor things; your baby won’t be aware of them at all. Stay calm, remember it’s no-one’s fault (certainly not the baby’s!) and that you’re in control (even when, in this hot weather, the proverbial might actually hit the fan…). Finally, it may seem obvious, but talk to your partner about anything and everything. Even when negotiating shifts for eating, showering and sleeping. The more you share with each other, the much easier it all becomes.

I like numbers, so I’m going to count the days as well I think. I’m definitely not organised to mark each day with a specific event on a daily basis, but it’ll be cool when she reaches some other benchmarks. How one records those is a subject for another blog post (or two!). This one got a bit deeper and soppier than originally planned, back to the silliness next time!