Life Cycles / Ciclos de Vida

This year I wanted to introduce the concept of “growth” to Chloe. We bought a blue hyacinth about to bloom and within a few days the thing had grown like mad!

So she understood what it means, and she will tell you about how she used to be a baby and now she’s​ grown and all that.

Then I thought of taking it one step further, so we got some sunflower seeds and we planted them. For some reason, out of the 20-25 only 5 came out, and further to that one died when babá was left in charge of watering the plants while we were on a trip!

Today the moment had come to repot them into bigger pots so they can stretch their legs and hopefully grow to be as tall as me 😉

Eventually we will have flowers and will see how they become full of seeds too, completing the cycle. It may have taken a bit long for her to follow but I’ve been documenting with pictures and we will definitely do it again!

Next one on the list is her birthday gift from me: butterflies!

Este año quise introducirle el concepto de “crecer”, así que nos hicimos con un jacinto azul a punto de florecer, ¡y en unos días el bicho había crecido dos cuartas!

Con esto le quedó claro lo que significa, y a veces te cuenta que ella antes era un bebé y ahora ha crecido, y cosas así.

Para complicarle un poco más la cosa, compramos unas semillas de girasol y las plantamos. De las 20-25 solo germinaron 5, y para rematarlo ¡una se secó cuando babá se quedó encargado de regar mientras estábamos de viaje!

Hoy ha llegado la hora de transplantarlas para que estiren las piernas y con suerte acaben más altas que yo 😉

En algún momento saldrán las flores, y de ellas las semillas, completando el ciclo. Está quizás tardando demasiado para que ella siga todo el proceso, pero hemos ido haciendo fotos, ¡y lo volveremos a hacer!

Lo siguiente en la lista es mi regalo de cumple: ¡mariposas!

Thief / Ladrona

Chloe seems to have a bittersweet relationship with my sister’s dog, Uva.

On the one hand, she goes crazy for her like you can see in the picture 😬 She loves walking her, feeding her, generally observing her (it does help that Uva is the most chilled out dog you can imagine, in spite of her horrible past like thousands of Spanish dogs).

On the other hand, yesterday we had an incident worth remembering. Chloe was having a really late dinner of ‘pan paté’ (paté on a cracker), and got distracted by Eurovision so her hand moved towards Uva. As expected, the latter thought it was a very nice offer and got advantage of it!

Chloe kept crying inconsolably even after I had explained it was a genuine misunderstanding and given her a new one. And once she calmed down, she kept reliving the story: ‘Uva quitao pan paté. Koi quería. Koi tiste. Mami dao otro pan paté’ (Uva took paté bread. Koi wanted. Koi sad. Mami gave another paté bread).

Even this morning she kept looking around to make sure she wasn’t there, and told us the story a few more times.

It’s difficult to evaluate what upsets kids the most, but I have found she needs to retell (or represent, more on that in another post) the stories that touch her the most, be it positive or negatively.

Chloe tiene una relación agridulce con Uva, la perra de mi hermana.

Por un lado se vuelve loca con ella como se ve en la foto 😬 Le encanta pasearla, darle de comer, observarla.. ayuda el que Uva sea la perra más mansa del mundo, a pesar de su macabro pasado como el de tantos miles de perros en España.

Por otro lado, ayer tuvimos un incidente digno de recordar. Chloe estaba cenando (súper tarde) ‘pan paté’ y como estaba distraída viendo Eurovisión se le fue la mano hacia Uva. La perra entendió que se lo estaba ofreciendo así que ¡aprovechó la ocasión!

Chloe tardó mucho en calmarse, a pesar de que le expliqué que había sido un malentendido y le dí un pan nuevo. Una vez tranquila, empezó a revivir la historia: ‘Uva quitao pan paté. Koi quería. Koi tiste. Mami dao otro pan paté’.

Incluso está mañana, después de asegurarse de que no estaba en la cocina, nos contó la jugada varias veces más.

En general es difícil juzgar qué situaciones afectan más a los niños, pero en su caso las más intensas, ya sea negativa o positivamente, las tiene que revivir (o representar, que es tema para otra entrada).

Mental Health

Maternal Mental Health week has just ended in the UK, and I have seen a few friends and acquaintances share their stories with the tag #maternalMHmatters

It’s probably about time I shared a bit of my story.

My pregnancy was probably the longest length of happy time in my life. I have struggled with depression on and off throughout my life and had my share of bad relationships too, so having found ‘the one’ and moving on to getting married and expecting a child (and the prospect of not going back to work for a while!) definitely helped.

We moved to a new area a few weeks before she was born, so I didn’t really know anyone. Family was, as usual, a couple of hours away by plane.

Chloe’s birth was not at all what I had hoped for, then we had a rough start to our breastfeeding journey, and I few days after she was born I was told that my grandma was dying.

I don’t think I was able to do anything apart from keeping her alive for the first few months. I mean, I did go out a bit and meet people, but I couldn’t do anything in the house for example – felt overwhelmed and paralyzed for a long time. 

Thankfully my husband took over the shopping and cooking duties, and we got a cleaner (best bit of advice from our NCT course!). He was also the one to sort out Chloe’s passport so we could travel to Spain. 

My HV wasn’t much help. She even stopped contacting me, even though she knew I was at risk of PND and what was going on.
I saw the GP a few times and we spoke about medication, but I have always tried to avoid any medication when I can, so I was referred to some online/phone service. Turned out to be useless as all they wanted me to do is to set my priorities in order and make appointments with myself to do my daily tasks (I mean, who on Earth has a newborn and can commit to showering every day at the same time?). It just felt like it absolutely didn’t apply to my situation.

After a few months I was able to face the birth again, so I went for some birth debrief sessions. I was also referred for treatment for PTSD. This really helped clear some of my major issues.

Here I have to thank a (then) total stranger that volunteered to look after Chloe for a couple of hours a week so I could get a break. It was perfect for me, as then I could go for my treatment without worry (we do parent similarly).

Eventually I started feeling more like myself, but with this came the need of having some ‘me time’ which was difficult with noone around to help.

I managed to find a gym with a crèche, which is not perfect but she was a bit older now so I made the compromise. Again, this helped.

And then toddlerhood hit 🙂 and I’m again overwhelmed and having anxiety here and there. Taking on too much, and not being ok if I’m not busy.. you get the picture.

So Chloe is going to start nursery three mornings a week from June, and here’s hoping that I can strike a balance then!

Mastitis

image

Last weekend I ended up in Urgent Care with a nasty mastitis​, and it has finally reminded me of the fact that I never posted here about the first – it was epic!

Chloe was born on a Sunday, and the following Saturday we had some friends over. I remember not feeling great, even a bit feverish, but blamed it on, you know, the fact that I had just given birth!

I should have known better as I have a motto for breastfeeding women: “if you feel like you have the flu, always suspect mastitis”. But alas, one tends to be worse at self diagnosis so I let it go (my nipples were bleeding too, but somehow that didn’t register either).

So on the Sunday things were worse, and since I was still under midwifery care, we called the postnatal ward. They said I should come in, in case it was retained placenta. So we did, with a little bit of expressed milk just in case it took a while. Little did I know I was going to stay there for three days!

To keep things short, I was not responding to anything so they kept me in with IV antibiotics (three types) plus IV paracetamol (strong dose) and still for a couple of days my temperature was around 39. It didn’t help that I was in a hospital ward that is kept at oven temperature, during a rare heatwave!!

Thankfully I had a room to my(our)self, but things ended up quite wrong when my tummy got upset (hello? antibiotics anyone?) so they quarantined us!

I also lost all mobility on my left hand due to the drip, so try looking after a newborn in these conditions, plus pump. Back then they didn’t allow men to stay overnight either and one of the midwives/nurses was quite rude when my husband even dared asking. She said “Why would she need help?”..

They even thought I was basically dying: they were making me write down all fluid input and output, without really explaining why, and when I finally got someone to tell me they said that it was to make sure that I wasn’t developing septicemia!!!

During my stay I got quite disappointed because only one of the midwives there actually took time to listen to me and help me (you know who you are!!), and also because I never saw a feeding specialist and nobody recommended it either – meaning that the diagnosis of tongue tie didn’t quite come until much later.

My plan was to pump a bit, both to clear the infection and because feeding was damaging my nipples, but keep at breastfeeding directly so she wouldn’t get “nipple confusion”.
The picture shows one of the reasons I developed the mastitis: since Chloe’s latch was rubbish, I was producing milk for England so she wouldn’t starve. That was pumped from one side in ten minutes on day 8.

El finde pasado acabé en Urgencias con una mastitis interesante, y por fin me he acordado de escribir aquí acerca de mi primera mastitis – ¡una experiencia épica!

Chloe nació un domingo, y el sábado siguiente vinieron unos amigos y yo ya me encontraba mal, como griposa. Pero pensé que era, tú sabes, ¡porque acababa de dar a luz!

La cosa es que si a mí me viene una mujer lactante y me dice que se encuentra así, le habría dicho que seguramente sería mastitis. Pero claro, en casa del herrero.. (y el hecho de tener los pezones sangrando tampoco me hizo sospechar, oye).

Así que el domingo, como estaba peor y seguía bajo el cuidado de las matronas, llamamos al hospital, a la planta de postpartum. Me dijeron que fuera, por si era un caso de placenta retenida, y allí fuimos con un poco de leche por si tardábamos mucho. ¿Cómo se me iba a ocurrir que nos íbamos a quedar tres días?

En resumen, no respondía a nada así que me tuvieron tres días con tres antibióticos y paracetamol de alta dosis EN VENA. Aún así la fiebre no me bajo de 39 los dos primeros días. Seguro que tampoco ayudó estar en un horno-hospital con una ola de calor.

Nos dieron una habitación privada, y menos mal porque se me soltó la barriga (hola, ¿antibióticos?) y nos pusieron en cuarentena.

La mano izquierda se me hinchó y perdí toda la movilidad por la vía, así que imagina cuidar así a un recién nacido, y sacarme leche. No dejaban quedarse a nadie por la noche, y una de las matronas/enfermeras se puso hasta borde cuando mi marido lo preguntó: ¿qué ayuda le va a hacer falta?

Incluso llegaron a pensar que me llegaba la hora: me pusieron a llevar cuentas de fluidos ingeridos y soltados, sin explicar nada, y cuando por fin conseguí que alguien me lo explicara me dijeron que era ¡¡para descartar septicemia!!

A posteriori salí muy mosqueada de la experiencia, porque teniendo mastitis y pezones sangrantes a nadie se le ocurrió mandarme a ver a una asesora de lactancia y debido a esto no se le diagnosticó el frenillo hasta mucho después. Y solo una matrona se sentó conmigo a escucharme (y le mandé una tarjetita agradeciéndoselo).

Mi plan era sacarme algo de leche, para limpiar la infección y porque darle directamente me dolía horrores, pero seguir dándole para que no desarrollara “confusión del pezón”.

La foto muestra otra de las razones por las que tuve mastitis: al tener ella un agarre malo, mi cuerpo decidió producir leche para un regimiento para que tuviera bastante. Esa cantidad la saqué de un solo lado en diez minutos el día ocho de nacida.

Farm / Granja

Today we spent half a day at a children’s farm.

We had a lovely time, even though Chloe kept saying ‘nouhta, sustao’ (I don’t like it, scared) every time an animal made a loud noise – every two minutes more or less!

I wasn’t expecting it but we ended up involved in feeding the lambs. Very much a bittersweet feeling as I love that she mingles with nature but I really hate that the lambs have been taken away from their mums with the sole purpose of being fed by people as entertainment.

Hoy hemos echado la mañana en una granja para niños.

Lo hemos pasado genial, a pesar de que Chloe decía ‘nouhta, sustao’ (no me gusta, asustado) cada vez que algún bicho hacía un ruido fuerte – ¡cada dos minutos o así!

No me esperaba acabar dándole un bibi a un borrego, pero ahí veis. Un tanto agridulce porque por un lado quiero que interactúe con animales y demás, pero por otro me parece horrible que hayan separado a esos bebés de sus madres con el único objeto de convertir la hora de la comida entretenimiento.

Caring / Cuidando

Chloe has been really into looking after her dolls lately. Feeding and breastfeeding them, taking them for walks on their pushchair, putting them to sleep, and even bringing them along to our different activities and shopping!

The cutest thing happened yesterday. She was playing with her boy doll, and speaking English to him too! It went like this:

* Sits doll on the potty *

– Whoa poopoo. Wipe!

* Storms off to her room to find a cloth wipe *

– Done. Wait, mami wipe water. (To me) mami, agua toallita (water wipe).

* I wet the wipe and give it back *

– Whoa clean poopoo wipe. Done! Wipe bin.

* Puts wipe in wipe bin *

Últimamente Chloe está cuidando a sus muñecas muchísimo. Les da de comer, pecho, las pasea en el carrito, las acuesta, y se las trae a las actividades y a comprar!

Ayer hizo una cosa graciosísima. Estaba jugando con su muñeco, y le hablaba en inglés:

* Lo sienta en el orinal *

– Whoa poopoo. Wipe! (Guau, caca. ¡Toallita!)

* Sale corriendo a su cuarto a por una toallita de tela *

– Done. Wait, mami wipe water (Ya. Espera, mami toallita agua). (A mí) mami, agua toallita.

* Mojo la toallita y se la doy *

– Whoa clean poopoo wipe. Done! Wipe bin. (Guau limpiar caca toallita. ¡Ya! Toallita cubo)

* Echa la toallita al cubo *

Cake / Bizcocho

Today, to celebrate auntie Ashasha*’s birthday and to keep warm on our third day of no heating, we decided to bake a cake. To be fair, Chloe found a poky thing that we use to test if the cake is done and remembered what it’s for, saying ‘tatta, tatta’ so we made one.

At this point (19 months) she can hand me the eggs, pour the flour, oil, sugar etc, mix roughly, and oil the tin.

Basic yoghurt sponge recipe

3 eggs

1 small yoghurt pot

1 pot measure of sunflower oil

2 pot measures of sugar (we did just one to make it a bit healthier!)

3 pot measures of self-raising flour

Orange, lemon or lime zest

Mix, oil a cake tin, and place in the oven. Recipe said 180° for 30 minutes but it wasn’t done so we had to leave it for a total of 50 – and the crust is a bit hard so I’m guessing it should have been lower temperature and longer time!

Hoy, para celebrar el cumple de la tía Ashasha* y para entrar en calor después de  tres días sin calefacción, decidimos hacer un bizcocho. En realidad, Chloe encontró el pincho que usamos para ver si ya está hecho y se acordó de para qué lo usamos, diciendo ‘tatta, tatta’, así que nos animamos.

Ahora con 19 meses me pasa los huevos, vierte la harina, el aceite, el azúcar etc, mezcla así a grandes rasgos, y unta de aceite el molde.

Receta básica de bizcocho de yogur

3 huevos

1 yogur

1 medida de yogur de aceite

2 medidas de yogur de azúcar (nosotras pusimos sólo una)

3 medidas de yogur de harina (o bien de la que trae levadura, o bien le pones también levadura aparte)

Ralladura de naranja, limón o lima

Mezclar todo, untar el molde con aceite, y meter en el horno. La receta decía que a 180° durante media hora, pero no estaba hecho así que lo acabamos dejando 50 minutos en total – y visto lo crujiente que ha quedado por fuera creo que lo suyo habría sido ponerlo más flojo y más tiempo.

*Alexandra