Ephemeral Baby: posts over the last week

Review of how child friendly I found the new gastropub, the Botanist

A welcome to Mersina from her grandfather on his blog Efimeris

Spreading the baby news in Australia

Saturday in the park with Martin (and little M)

Shopping as a non-yummy mummy around Bristol

A tribute to cous cous, the miracle food, and a recipe

Love and bedtime stories, an education

Love is a funny kind of thing. I fill my days either apologising to my daughter for my latest misdeeds or telling her how much I love her. Her father does the same and I imagine that we’re pretty similar to new parents all over the world.

Sometimes she cries in her sleep, just one wail or sign of unhappiness and then drifts off again. The first few times she did it I felt terrible that I had introduced crying into my baby’s life where there was none before. I now see it as crying being unavoidable and at least I’m there to comfort her when she’s upset.

I feel that my love is also mixed up with worry about doing the right things, feeding her when she’s hungry, teaching her the right skills, sending her to the right schools, protecting her when she’s out of the house when I can’t be around.

I may be getting a little ahead of myself. Yesterday I was stressing that she’s already seven weeks old and I haven’t yet taught her any Greek or helped her learn any Spanish or French. Or we haven’t been swimming yet so how are we going to be the next Ironman champion? I remind myself that we’re only just getting a routine together and I should be happy that our 2.30 to 5pm naps are so far progressing well. (We’ve had two.)

I remember being so in love, a little while ago, and feeling like everything was just right with the world. Love was happiness. It was all wonderful.

Obviously it didn’t last but it’s such a nice feeling and it helps me remember that the worry and the aspirations and the stress and the fear aren’t love. The willingness to get up three or four times in the middle of the night is love. I had to change her at four in the morning yesterday and she was so sleepy but still managed to smile at me and that was love.

Dad came over to visit and once he got past his own ‘I love you’s he read to us from a Spanish edition of Asterix. We yawned and got a little dozy and it’s a shame it couldn’t have been closer to bedtime. The important thing is that we were finally learning some Spanish. Clever daddy managed to combine love with an education. Phew.

More firsts for the baby

Five weeks, five days

From going up a nappy size to a visit to the first Foyles book store outside of London, this week has been full of firsts for the baby and more energy and sleep for mama.

Mersina’s first official smile has been written down, in her Junior Moleskine diary, as having taken place on March 14. Since then she has smiled once or twice a day in response to prompts until a day or so ago when she increased the instances to lots. We even had an unprompted smile when I held her hand and she looked up at me. Her smiles light her up like big energy glow worm and she has chortled and laughed a couple of times too.

On Thursday we quite serendipitously met up with dad going and leaving, respectively, from Foyles bookstore in Quakers Friars at Cabot Circus. After browsing for a bit, he was more excited than the baby, we went to lunch at Brasserie Blanc so Mersina had her first restaurant visit which she mostly slept through luckily.

As soon as she woke she was hungry so I rushed off, leaving dad with the bill, and visited the Family Room at Cabot Circus which is amazing. There is a comfortable chair in the corner for feeding, a changing bench, a sink and a toilet. The room locks as well so it’s wonderfully private. Well, kind of private as there were three or four attempts to get in and when I left there was a queue of mums with prams outside.

We also had our first trip to the Bristol Central Library, in the beautiful building designed by Charles Holden, at the College Green and right next to the Bristol Cathedral. We returned my housemate’s books and borrowed Asterix en Espana for the little one. Never too early to learn a second or third language and to find out more about the Gauls. A brave nation who have managed to withstand invasion by the Romans thanks to their magic potion which gives them great strength. Obelix, of course, doesn’t need to drink any because he fell into the cauldron as a child but that’s another story.

One of our most exciting adventures was to the wonderful Clifton Lido and baby’s first glance of the pool in sunlight and later on in softer lighting which turned the water a deeper blue green colour. I would have loved a dip in the pool and apparently baby had to be restrained from diving in herself although that’s quite surprising as she hates bath time.

She also met some lovely friends for the first time, Fritha, Nancy, Helen and some other knitting and non-knitting folk at our tweet up.

On our way back from the Lido we stopped in at Waitrose, her second trip there, and spotted some great reductions so it was baby’s first bargain hunt achievement. The best purchase of the evening was a bouquet of flowers reduced from £20 to 49p. Incredible and beautiful.

A successful week all around, I think, although I have yet to try out her new Baby Bjorn carrying pouch thing. Soon. Very soon.

An official Bristol baby but where’s the drama?

Dad and I almost had a Jeremy Kyle moment last Saturday.

We were at the registry office on Corn St to register the baby’s birth. The calm and well spoken woman first took my details and added them to the computer. She then turned to dad and asked him to confirm that he was the father.

That was it. That would have been the perfect Kyle or Jerry Springer, or even a Buffy in Once More With Feeling moment, where I could have said something exciting, changed the course of the day and the future. I didn’t have anything to say though. We kind of half laughed, made a joke and carried on in good spirits. After all, registering a baby and signing a legal declaration in ink which has been created with the same formula since the 1800s, when birth registrations began, is not exactly a common thing.

An opportunity to participate in a storyline fit for a soap opera doesn’t come along too often in life either. I’m not disappointed that my life is quite content at the moment, it’s more that I had been expecting a little more drama. I say expecting, I mean trying to tiptoe to the corner of this moment in life to take a sneaky peek at what may be coming up next.

I love making predictions because I have never yet been right. My favourite fate questioning moment so far is my post on running dated May 20 where I finish off with the line “I hope that wasn’t the only highlight of my year because there are still over six months left.” I was referring to the London Marathon and unbeknownst to me at the time I was already pregnant.

Ha! is what I say to the person who wrote that post. I love irony. I don’t always like drama and yet I don’t want to settle into normality just yet either. Saying that it may not be as normal as I think. To get to the appropriate office I went up to the higher level with the pram in the lift while dad and nice woman went up some stairs. On the way out of the building, dad was holding the baby to soothe her while I pushed the pram. We arrived at the lift / stairs separation and dad and baby moved on without me. My heart stopped for just a dash longer than usual. I wasn’t prepared to be away from her and was not ready to see him walking off with her in his arms.

Officially dad is the father and I am the mother of this little Bristolian baby. We signed the papers but skipped heartbeats suggest that we haven’t yet achieved normality.

Relying on the kindness of the strange and not so strange

10 days old

Baby and I left the hospital eight days ago and hadn’t left the flat since. If it had been up to me I would have waited a few more weeks but I had to get to my post-natal check up and so it began.

I had to figure out how to get the pram to work more like a pram rather than just have it stand in the hallway all folded up ever since it had been delivered a few weeks ago. I was on the verge of looking up a YouTube video of some pram action when papa called along.

The baby was sleeping so instead of getting cuddles he had to make do with helping out. Now I have never had any dealings with prams but I never figured that it would be difficult.

The first link was not exactly helpful as the woman, somehow unbelievably and yet there it was, managed to open it up with the shake of one arm. This did not work. Two arms did no better. More video clips and more searching for instructions and by now the littlest person in the room had woken up.

She wasn’t the happiest of pups and spent a fair amount of time screaming. I had to leave, papa had to go, baby was hungry and pram was a complete mystery. The day was saved with the help of YouTube and dad. I don’t think my walking around with the baby was entirely helpful.

It all helped stave off the stress of leaving the house with the baby for the first time however. I was then off to catch the bus and needed some help there as well. A family with a pram of their own stepped aside so I could get on the bus first but I couldn’t figure out how to bridge the big gap between the pavement and the door. The dad stepped in front and lifted the front of the pram on to the bus for me. I was very thankful. In all my worries, I hadn’t anticipated not being able to get on the bus.

I arrived at the clinic half an hour late but I was treated like a celebrity for just having left the house and I got double sympathy points for navigating the bus system too. The cooing over the baby helped as well. I left feeling very happy with myself.

The way home was downhill so I thought I’d walk it. I passed by the supermarket, and then strolled for the next half an hour. Half way home and baby started crying as she was hungry again. I was feeling woozy and the wind was not fun. By the time we made it back it had been four hours from when I started getting ready. All of this for a 20 minute appointment. It was like the scenes in Beetlejuice where they step outside of the house and have to contend with sand worms and time speeding up.

Then there was nap time and all was right again.

Baby's first outdoor adventure

The Wackiest Advice I Have Heard

A couple of years ago I was having breakfast with my dad in my parents apartment in Athens. The apartment has a spectacular view of the Aegean Sea and the sunlight in Greece seems brighter and whiter than anywhere else. We were eating cereal in the kitchen right next to the balcony when my dad advised me that, if I let the cereal soak in the milk for a little while, it would soften.

Being in my 30s, I hope that I would have realised that myself.

Disclaimer: I adore my dad and this does not reflect on his usual logic and conversation.

Milk and Cereal

Image used according to the licence terms.

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