8 Weeks Post Birth Check, The Stickman Trail and a Housework Grumble

You wait weeks to see a health professional and then two come along at once! Last week saw both my rearranged Health Visitor appointment on Tuesday and my 8 week post birth check on Wednesday. When I booked the doctors I was asked if I wanted a 6 week check or and 8 week check. I asked the receptionist what the difference was and she didn’t seem to know. It turns out they are the same except the 8 week appointment can be booked at the same time as the first lot of immunisations. Except I couldn’t book those because the nurse was leaving and they didn’t have a replacement (eye roll).

sisters eating a packed lunch at the stickman trail

The Health Visitor Visit

I was feeling upbeat when the Health Visitor came round. Baby Boy had been fairly chilled (for him) the previous few days and my worries from the previous week were lessened.

She had nothing useful to say about his grumpiness, but went through everything I had already considered and ruled out. I talked about the spots on his face and head which were faded at the time but have got worse again since. She suggested they could be from certain fabrics irritating him which I hadn’t thought of (I had ruled out the washing liquid though) so I’m monitoring to see if there is a pattern.

The more interesting bit of the Health Visitor appointment was that she weighed and  measured Baby Boy. With my youngest I got her weighed weekly and with Little I took her to the weighing clinic every few weeks. Due to cuts the weighing clinic is now on less often and in a less convenient location so he hadn’t been weighed since 4 weeks. I could tell he is getting heavier so I wasn’t worried.

Baby Boy weighed 5.64kg and had dropped slightly on the percentiles, but is still a good weight. He now measures 60cm long so he is continuing the 75th percentile line making the Health Visitor happy.

toddler eating dairy free pancakes

Pancake Day

As it was Shrove Tuesday we followed the masses and had pancakes for tea. I actually had some for breakfast and Little had been given some by accident at nursery. I say by accident, they didn’t realise they had dairy in initially and Little is meant to be dairy free due to intolerance. It didn’t cause her any problems, but I know lots of children with an intolerance would have been made really poorly. Talking to them the next day I think they have taken the slip up seriously.

Baby Boy was really fussy Tuesday afternoon and regurgitated a lot of milk in the evening. If it’s caused by diet I can only link it to eggs so I am trying to cut those out for a few days to see the impact. To make things worse he woke up around 5am and didn’t go back to sleep so I was pretty exhausted Wednesday morning.

8 Weeks Postpartum Check Up

I went into the 10am doctors appointment feeling pretty drained of energy so I guess it’s not surprising she started talking to me about post natal depression, I have enough of a history of depression to know I’m ok at the moment though. Yes I have down days when I’m tired or Baby Boy is being relentless, but I’m confident that isn’t depression.

I asked the doctor about what the best thing would be to take if I had more migraines because I had been taking codeine which isn’t ideal. I had quite a few migraines in the first weeks after birth and a history of them monthly caused by hormones. She wasn’t sure what was best, but said she would call me the next day after she had looked into it and she could check how I was feeling at the same time. 

When she called me I made a big effort to sound positive, but I was feeling much better anyway as I was more awake. The doctor talked through the medication options and it looks like codeine is actually the best option for me. The medication I previously had prescribed can be taken while breastfeeding but they recommend not feeding for 12 hours afterwards. As if a newborn will go 12 hours between feeds!

The doctor checked Baby Boy over and I discussed my concerns about his mood, but she didn’t have anything to suggest. It was the first of the 3 postpartum checks where the doctor has shown more than a passing interest in how I’m doing so I shouldn't complain.

My cavewoman daughter

World Book Day and the Cave Men

On Thursday while half the children in the country went to school as book characters, princesses and superheroes my eldest daughter went dressed as a cave woman. Her school decided that as they couldn’t really avoid the demand for dressing up they would theme the week and teach the children all about cavemen. They even had someone camping on their field in a fake cave to help bring the era to life. While I was initially skeptical I must admit that heading in to school on Thursday morning and seeing the playground filled with cave people and the occasional wooly mammoth or sabre toothed tiger was pretty cool. Much more original than classrooms looking like Hogwarts that some other parents reported. 

Red velvet vegan doughnut at the little kitchen epping

Shop Local (and Vegan)

On Friday I decided to head to one of the local high streets with Little and Baby Boy. There is a cafe that I wanted to visit which has a small play area and vegan doughnuts. It also meant I could pop in to Tesco at the same time to get some more vegan ice-cream for me and Little (she’s a fan of the Walls cornettos, me the Almond magnums). I could never be vegan because I love meat too much,  but the rise in Veganism and places catering for them is great when it comes to sweet things and baked goods for those who are dairy free like me.

The café (The Little Kitchen, Epping) was nice, but I felt a bit chilly in there and my phone reception was rubbish. They didn’t seem to have customer wifi so I won’t be heading back regularly, what is the point in a coffee shop with a children’s play area if I can’t check out social media on my phone?  I had a red velvet doughnut which was lovely, but closer to a cake in consistency. I’m a fan of red velvet cake so this wasn’t a big issue.

After the coffee shop we went in a few of the local shops. Epping High Street still has a number of independent stores that are worth a visit, unlike my local high street (Loughton) which is pretty generic when it comes to shops (it has a zillion cafés and restaurants though). I had a good browse and bought a few things, but my best finds were in a charity shop where I bought a vase for 80 pence and bags of toys for £2 and £2.50. There were loads of toys in them that my children enjoyed and the cost new of the £4.50 worth of toys would have been well over £50. It kept the girls entertained for Friday evening and much of the weekend so well worth it, even if I bag up and take most of it back to a charity shop in a few months.

The stickman family at the stickman trail Weald County Park Essex

The Stickman Trail at Weald Country Park Brentwood

The weather report said Saturday would be dry so I decided we should head out for a walk. It took 3 hours for me to encourage everyone to get dressed and out of the door and by then it was raining. I wouldn’t be put off though and we headed to the Stickman Trail in Brentwood for a walk. By the time we arrived the sky was a beautiful blue and we spent over 3 hours watching the girls run around and play while getting windswept.

The Stickman Trail differs to the Gruffalo Trail, Peter Rabbit trail and similar in that it isn’t a short route to walk around with carved characters, rather it is a much longer route with a number of stop off points inspired by the book. Two of the points are playgrounds, but the others encourage creative play for instance there is Home Sweet Home where they can play on the Stickman’s bed or in his kitchen (all rustic wooden creations).

At the Country Park there is also a big lake with many geese and ducks, deer in an enclosure and a visitors centre with café. I seem to remember they have a good patch of Bluebells as well. The car park is fairly pricy (£5.50 for over 3 hours), but we took a packed lunch so didn’t spend much in total.

Sunday and the Relentless Cleaning 

Sunday was one of those days that from the moment I got up (after a lie in thankfully) I just cleaned and tidied and cooked the whole day. During the week and with a Baby Boy who needs cuddles I don’t do much housework so if I don’t focus on the house for a good chunk of the weekend it becomes a health hazard. I wouldn’t exactly claim it was ever properly clean though.

My partner does his share around the house: each day he empties and loads the dishwasher, he does the washing up and takes the bins out, but everything else pretty much falls to me. And no one in our house is particularly tidy so I’m forever putting toys away etc. 

It always surprises me how people (and these people do seem to be men in my experience) can be completely unable to see mess around the house, it’s like how they can walk past piles on the stairs twenty times and not even think to take them upstairs, but that’s another grumble. 

I spent ages cleaning and sorting our dining room and commented to G that I was going to give the girls lunch in the lounge just so the dining room stayed tidy for half an hour. He shouldn’t have been surprised when shortly afterwards I shouted at him because dried mud from his boots was spread across the clean floor. It might not have surprised him, but it annoyed him. I vacuumed that same patch of floor 6 times on Sunday. I was determined to try and keep it decent for one day.

Baby Boy starting to push up

An Update On My Trio

While putting clothes away on Saturday afternoon (easily my least favourite bit of housework) Baby Boy was lying on our bed on his tummy. Somehow he managed to roll over on to his back, he looked so shocked and completely freaked himself out. He wouldn’t stop crying for about 5 minutes afterwards! I guess it must be quite strange, like if we suddenly fell over.

Baby Boy is still officially a newborn, but he is becoming less of a squishy small thing everyday. He can push his head up someway when lying down now and he is making an effort to grab at things. He’s getting bigger too, many of his 0 to 3 month sleepsuits are a bit tight on his toes so we put him in a 3 to 6 month sleep suit for the first time. Even his hair is growing incredibly fast. It looks longer now than Little’s did at a year old, it’s darker than her's was too. I think I’m going to have a brunette this time.

Little is changing too. I noticed again this week how her language seems to have taken a leap forwards. She is talking in long sentences and learning new words incredibly quickly. She is also having a growing number of meltdowns and tantrums, but she is a threenager so that’s to be expected.

My biggest girl hasn’t changed noticeably recently, but she continues to be more in control of her emotions (she puts that down to Karate) and she can be helpful to have around to help with Baby Boy. While she gets bored of him fairly quickly she can hold him for long enough (and stop him crying) so I can get some dinner on or get dressed. If you ignore the mess she makes she is definitely good to have around.

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