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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 01:39pm on 05/10/2012 under
Matt's parents bought us a pram. Then an ex-pupil of mine gave us a complete travel system. And my sister's boyfriend's sister gave us a pushchair.

But we really prefer slings.

Read more... )


Basically, slings are great. If we have another baby I'm going to carry them in a sling as much as possible, so they can sleep curled up with me and I will still be able to do things with River.

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* Lots of toddlers go through a phase of wanting to be carried all the time. It's not laziness (although they'll obviously get tired before the grown-ups do on a walk) -- more likely it's insecurity and anxiety about the bigness of the world compared with their own smallness.
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 12:28pm on 27/09/2012 under


During a pre-birth conversation about money and where we could make economies, dad's ex-wife mentioned to us that one of my cousins had tried reusable nappies with their baby, and she got them to tell me the name of the brand. I researched them on the internet, discovered that cloth nappies are nothing like the terry towelling squares we had when I was a baby, and decided that we should give them a try. Matt was all on board, so we ordered 15 BumGenius nappies in various colours and a set of little reusable flannel wipes.

Our parents thought we were making a bad decision, as like us they didn't realise that cloth nappies had changed. I showed them the website, which seemed to persuade them that it might be okay.

And it has been okay indeed. )
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 11:51pm on 14/09/2012 under
Before River was born, I imagined that we'd probably get to 6 months with the breastfeeding. I had the typical attitude of British women, basically: breastfeeding is a necessary thing for small babies but, once they start tackling real food, boob should stop. I was especially uncomfortable with the idea of breastfeeding an infant with teeth, or who could talk or crawl or walk. I witnessed one of my friends breastfeeding her 9-month-old son (crawling, with maybe 4 teeth, but no talking) and felt it was a bit weird and definitely not something I'd be able to do.

River is almost 22 months old now and we're still breastfeeding. I don't think I could ever properly explain to someone who hasn't experienced it how absolutely natural and right it feels to breastfeed your child.



(Photo taken when River was around 3 months old, I think.)

Read more... )
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 10:33pm on 09/09/2012 under
Before River was born I read a lot of books about babies. I rather smugly thought that I would be very clever and wonderful with River. Breastfeeding would go easily. We would put her into a strict routine from the beginning so that sleep would never be an issue. I didn't think at all about nappies or weaning or what to do about prams. I didn't think about all the stuff we'd accumulate. I didn't think about (or know where to start thinking about) suitable, practical baby clothes.

Anyway, River's been in our lives for a while now so I feel I've experienced enough with her to know what we got right and what we got wrong.



(I forget how dark her hair used to be!)

Sleep )
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 09:59am on 30/08/2012 under
There's too much to say! And I'm too sleep-deprived to make sense of it and put it in any kind of order. Maybe it'll sort itself out as I'm writing.



Lots of words under the cut. )
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Matt, in his role of stay-at-home-dad, has been taking River out in the sling, exploring the footpaths and beaches and tracks near our village. On my rare days off we've explored a few new-to-us places together. The current favourite is a little patch of old trees next to a stream at the base of a sloping field. Lots of things to excite a new little person, as well as to delight her more jaded parents. In two outings there we've seen cows, sheep, lambs, a hare, bees, beetles, spiders, cinquefoil, celandine, daisies, dandelion clocks, beech nuts, fallen trees, hollow trees, flowering trees, and sticks of all sizes and shapes.



We've heard birdsong and water and the wind in the leaves. We've smelt the fresh green scent of new leaves, and the coconut scent of gorse. We've skirted the edge of a small quarry, run through the pot-holes in the track, and climbed up grassy banks. We had a picnic there yesterday -- home-made bread and coleslaw and banana cake (I love to muck about in the kitchen on my days off), smoked cheddar, boiled eggs, water. It was River's first picnic. Her verdict: "Nice picnic! Apple!"



I'm sorry I don't post here very much anymore. I do have time, actually. After River goes to sleep at night I have an hour all of my own in which to do things (quiet things!). Too often I find myself staring at the same internet sites, clicking "refresh" but never feeling refreshed. I thought I might try to change that. Except for some Xmas knitting that felt more like work than pleasure, I haven't been properly creative for more than two years. Although I have the necessary materials and tools all ready to go (fabric, stuffing, glue, card, words, sewing machine, computer, etc) I seem to freeze at the idea of doing anything with them. This is stupid. Some of these projects have to be done, and soon. And it's not as if I'm paralysed when it comes to creating lovely food. All creativity is equally valid, and I shouldn't be avoiding fun projects just because the end results are not immediate. So this is me, giving myself a public telling off. No more sitting down, staring vacantly at the internet! Bad Madeline!

And now I present to you: River sitting in a tree.

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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 11:43pm on 19/05/2012 under
She is wonderful.



More pictures and lots of words under the cut. )

I'm sorry I haven't updated in a while. I've been so busy with teaching, the music festival, the allotment, and babycare, that there hasn't been time for me to write a post or for Matt to really do any significant renovations. Work on the house is still proceeding, but at a glacial pace. The latest improvements you can see in the photos above: the landing/balcony door is now sanded and waxed (River thinks it's her "chair"), and we have a lovely mirror hanging up on the wall next to it.

We have plans -- and the materials -- to put blinds up in the downstairs front window (privacy! I can't wait), to paint the stair risers white, to sand and re-paint an old dressing table I found at the tip, and to put shelves up in the living room alcoves. Shelves! Shelves means books! Books! BOOKS! (I'm very excited about this.)

The weather doesn't help, of course. Who wants to be indoors doing DIY when it's like this outside?


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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 04:47pm on 31/03/2012 under


River continues to delight and amaze in equal amounts.

She can run, walk on tip-toes, spin "round-and-round", climb the stairs, dance, clap hands, feed herself with a spoon.

(link to video clip of running)

Her language skills seem to be excellent: we're starting to get short sentences ("I want down", "Where daddy?") and adjectives (various colours, big, nice, ace, tasty, dark, scary, happy, sad). She loves knowing the words for things, and the names for people. And seems to be understanding that verbs have "-ing" at the end (eg. "Grandad clapping").

We have a very basic game where we say "what does the cat say?" (or any other animal or object -- lights say "ting!", flowers say "smell me *sniff sniff*" etc). She started to play it on her own, so she was saying "cat say... miaow! cow say ... moo!" and so on.

Then she said "daddy say..."

We leaned forward, curious to know what sound she'd choose.

"... hello baby!"

After our initial amusement had worn off we discovered that she thinks everyone says "hello baby". I suppose it is the first thing we all say to her.

What else? She's a little vain. Taking more interest in her clothes. Very keen to show them to visitors. She often welcomes people by showing them her cardigan ("cardi!").

She has no fear of the sea, but will not go under the table.

She has imbued her toys with life. They have tea parties, sit on the chair, fall asleep, go missing, ride around in the 'pram' (actually a little wooden trolley), hug and kiss, dance, feel sad or happy.

She likes to eat what we're eating, thank goodness. Except she'll spit meat out in disgust once she notices the texture. Rather too fond of cake and raisins.

On the four mornings each week where Matt looks after, she will pester him to take her outside. "Walk? Daddy? Coat! Shoes! Shall we? The sea! Come on. Shall we?" etc. He cannot resist this. Who could?

She is trying to sing! No actual tune yet, but quite a different tone of voice from speaking, and often the correct rhythms.

Still not sleeping through the night. I try to console myself with the notion that her brain is just too busy to bother with sleep.

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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 12:39pm on 10/08/2011 under
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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 03:18pm on 09/07/2011 under
I'm fairly sure this is what happy looks like:

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