The wannabe toddler at 9 months

On Tuesday, Joel will be 40 weeks old. That means he’ll have been living outside of me for as long as he was living inside of me – he was born on his due date, so exactly 40 weeks of pregnancy. Time seems to have flown by quicker now that he’s here than when I was pregnant, probably because I didn’t enjoy pregnancy and I’m much preferring having a baby to look after, even if it is hard work sometimes.


Time also seems to have flown by faster than it did with Andrew at this age. I went back to work when Andrew was pretty much exactly 9 months old, so that would be the equivalent of now if I was going back to work this time. The thought of going back to work right now seems crazy – if I was I don’t think I would be ready, but that could also be because I’ve known from the start that I’m not going back (for a few years anyway), so I haven’t prepared myself as there is no need. I’m loving the often challenging but highly rewarding role that I’m currently in but not being paid for 😉

Looking back at the past month or so, Joel has come on leaps and bounds in his development – literally! He is now crawling at a rate of knots everywhere and anywhere, and also cruising if there is furniture in the places where he wants to go. He’s trying to climb on things and getting stuck under chairs when I turn my back for just a minute. He loves the bouncer in the doorway and jumps really quite high in it for a little chap.


As for food, he’s shovelling fistfuls into his mouth like there’s no tomorrow, and has an appetite to rival that of his hungry big brother – both of them seem to take after Daddy in that they eat a lot for their size but must burn it off in all the activity they do. Joel’s lack of teeth don’t seem to be hindering his progress on the eating front; the first one on the bottom left is just beginning to poke out now. Andrew was the same at this age, with no teeth until nearly 10 months, eating what we eat with little trouble, it just took him longer until he had teeth to help him out with chewier foods.

The amount of time that Joel breastfeeds for each day has reduced quite dramatically recently, and he only really wants much milk first thing in the morning when nobody else is up (5am usually) and last thing before bed. He’ll have a bit here and there in the daytime, but nothing to write home about. The amount of formula supplementation that he is taking is now very little compared to what he was taking at the peak of milk intake just before he started eating solid foods. I’m happy about this and it won’t be long before he ditches the formula all together and I’ll let him continue to breastfeed for as long as he would like. Some days it feels like that won’t be much longer the way he’s going, but I think Andrew was similar at this age and he is still going now, albeit just 5 minutes or so before bed. Neither of them have been remotely interested in feeding when there is stuff going on and when we’re out and about since they were about 4 months old!


As I look back on what life has been like since we became a family of four, I realise that the first few months were in fact easier than I feel things are now. Of course the sleep deprivation was worse, but it was actually easier to look after one energetic toddler and one sleepy baby who would stay still if you put him down and generally didn’t complain much at all. Now I’m looking after two energetic kids – a fully fledged toddler and a wannabe toddler who still hasn’t figured out the cause and effect thing: if you let go of what you’re holding on to whilst standing and turn around, you will fall down! This is hard work for me.

It’s probably also got harder because Andrew is now wearing pants and we’re having mixed success with some days being mostly dry and others being a complete wet disaster. One saving grace in all the running around after two of them is that Joel is now having a good afternoon nap which he never used to, so I do get about an hour on my own when they are both napping in the afternoon and I can rest.


It’s all good though, and I think their activity and interest in everything around them can only be good things in the long run. I knew having 2 children with a 21 month age gap would be challenging, and in many ways it is, but overall I wouldn’t change our situation for the world. My boys are now interacting with each other and it’s so cute watching them discover how they can brother the other one – mostly this involves smiles, giggles and hugs, with the odd disagreement of course.

Next stop – a first birthday!


Photo of the week – starting solids

Team Lloyd

I’ve been meaning to join in with Photo of the Week over at Team Lloyd’s blog for a while now. Louise always takes such great photos and all those who join in with the linky showcase take amazing pictures too, so I wasn’t sure my snaps would fit, but Louise assured me that they would be welcome!

So here we are at the second week of Joel enjoying big boys’ food. After a few months of staring amazed at Andrew (and us, though we are less hilarious) eating, he’s finally taken the plunge himself and started devouring (and covering the floor with) the food that we put in front of him. This photo is one of several that I have showing funny moments with food. I was eating an orange cut into quarters and his arm gestures clearly showed that he wanted to have some, so I gave him a quarter. But he got frustrated that however he picked it up, it either slipped out of his hand or was the wrong way to get any flesh rather than a tongue full of peel! So I held it in my hand and he grabbed my fingers, pulled it towards him and started sucking at the flesh like this – clever chap really.

I’ve also been meaning to write about what he’s been eating, as I’ve kept a note of what we’ve given him, so this post is kind of killing two birds with one stone (except no birds were actually killed, it’s all been veggie cooking). Feel free to stop reading here if you’re just interested in the picture, I won’t be offended! I guess you could say we’re ‘doing baby-led weaning’, but I like to think of it as he’s just joining in with the kinds of things we like to eat as a family. So far it’s been quite simple things, but as he seems to give most things a go and enjoys them, we’re giving more and more things a go. He’ll probably be wolfing down his pasta and sauce just like Andrew in no time!

I also don’t like to call it ‘weaning’ as such, because that suggests the end of feeding on milk. As his older brother is still not ‘weaned’ in the sense that most people take it to mean, though most of his daily calorific intake comes from solid food and the milk is just a comfort thing before bed, I’m happy for Joel to carry on breastfeeding as long as he wants to as well, which may be soon or not for a while, who knows (except him). For this reason I tend to call the process he is currently undertaking ‘starting solids’.

So to finish this post that started with a photo of Joel eating an orange, I’ll leave you with a list of what he’s been enjoying so far, and that ends with an orange 🙂

Week 1 (28th April – 4th May)

  • Sweet potato
  • Suede
  • Butternut squash
  • Parsnip
  • Carrot
  • Broccoli
  • Melon
  • Banana
  • Porridge – oats and warm milk

Week 2 (5th – 11th May)

  • All of the above plus….
  • White bread – homemade in bread maker with no salt
  • Natural yoghurt
  • Mature cheddar chunks
  • Plain pasta shapes
  • Mashed potato
  • Orange

Pregnancy diary: week 25 – what is baby upto?

As we’re approaching the end of the second trimester (where did that trimester go?! ….the first seemed longer!), I thought I’d do a bit of research into what baby is upto at the moment in terms of growth and development at this stage of pregnancy. I say ‘research’ – this consists of me reading the NHS ‘Pregnancy’ book (for the first time in ages) and a few other pregnancy websites. I used to follow Andrew’s progress in pregnancy much more regularly, as I found it interesting to know what was going on inside me at each stage, but this time I’ve had fewer opportunities to catch up with where we’re at.

So, apparently I should really look pregnant now. Check. Apparently I may also feel hungrier…. I feel less nauseous, does that count? I can’t say that I’ve really got a sense of ‘hunger’ back. In the morning and afternoon, I do feel more like eating for the taste of the food itself rather than because I know I have to (though still no smelly cooking allowed in the flat), but the evenings are still not great. Still, I’m generally feeling much better than in early pregnancy 🙂 Both the ‘looking more pregnant’ and ‘feeling hungrier’ things are of course to do with baby starting to grow more quickly per week than in the earlier weeks which involved a lot of laying the foundations of growth. The BBC pregnancy calendar tells me to make sure I eat well and put my feet up when I can because my body is working hard. Bless it, it clearly doesn’t know I have a toddler to look after! Feet up is a thing reserved for evenings, when I just lie horizontal anyway.

Apparently baby is moving around ‘vigorously’ now. Check – definitely! That’s a good word to describe it actually. He/she also responds to touch and sound, and a loud noise close by make make him/her jump and kick. That’s definitely the case, like when my tummy was being prodded and poked in various ways for the scans I had last week, baby moved in reaction to touch, and when we’re in church, baby is always very active during and after the worship sessions (which feature drums, keyboards, guitars, and of course my singing).  Daddy and Andrew are also starting to get reactions out of baby, either intentionally in the case of Tom talking to the bump or unintentionally in the case of Andrew boofing the bump as he feeds or plays with me. It’s amazing to think that baby is starting to experience bits of family life even in the womb.

Looking bumpy! This is the last time I wore these trousers - when I took them off I discovered a rip right over my bottom! Apologies to anyone who saw me that day, whenever it happened. Nobody was brave enough to tell me though. Although they weren't particularly tight, they were wearing very thin across the bottom, and I did brush past a bike handle that day whilst locking my bike up and trying to get out of the space between my bike and the next (bike racks weren't designed for big or pregnant people!), so I think it must have torn then.

Something that I can’t say whether it’s happening from the outside is that apparently baby is swallowing small amounts of amniotic fluid and passing tiny amounts of urine back into the fluid. That doesn’t sound particularly nice, but it’s a good thing I guess to get the system used to working before it has to do it ‘for real’ once baby is out in the real world of being unattached to me through the umbilical cord. Baby may also get hiccups; I haven’t felt this yet, but I do remember Andrew getting hiccups quite a lot in the womb (and, incidentally, I know now that frequent hiccups in a newborn can be a sign of tongue-tie….) By now baby is covered in a greasy substance called vernix, which is thought to be there to protect the skin as it floats in the amniotic fluid. The skin isn’t as tough as it will be at birth as it’s still developing – this is why premature babies often look redder than full-term babies who have their natural skin pigment colour. The vernix mostly disappears before birth, but I do remember Andrew having some bits left on his back when he was born.

It may be that baby starts to follow a pattern for waking and sleeping. I haven’t noticed this yet, but then I’m not sure I will without really paying attention and making notes, because I’m so busy doing everything else that I don’t really think about when exactly I feel kicks or not. I do know that I would notice if I suddenly felt far fewer kicks over the course of a day though, and this is something I would need to contact my midwife or GP about. Apparently it’s quite common that baby sleeps more in the day when mum is up and about, and then decides to wake up and wriggle as she is slowing down and going to sleep herself. I don’t remember this being a particular problem with Andrew; I think I just slept well generally in pregnancy, until the end when I was so big and then felt him moving a lot all the time! Let’s hope this will be the case this time too 🙂

At this stage of pregnancy, it’s relatively easy to pick up baby’s heartbeat with a stethoscope or ultrasound probe. As this is my second baby, I don’t get a midwife appointment this week as I did with Andrew, so I don’t get to hear that amazing sound of the heart beating on the ultrasound machine. I’ll have to wait until 28 weeks for that pleasure. Apparently it won’t be long before Tom (or anyone else who’s invited to get that close to bump!) can possibly hear the heartbeat just by putting his ear to my tummy, but only if baby is in the right position. I don’t hold out a lot of hope for that!

With most of baby’s vital organs now developed and in place, most of the work left to do is just increasing everything in size. Baby is basically an even mini-er version of what he/she will be when born in about 15 weeks. The brain and nervous system are still getting there, however, and are developing intensely around this time. Although the brain needs to reach a certain level of development in order for baby to survive outside of the womb, it doesn’t stop developing at birth. In fact baby’s brain will continue to change as he/she experiences things in the world right throughout childhood and into adulthood. This is what happens as we learn new things – the brain makes new connections within itself, and is constantly doing this in the first years of life. Fascinating!

So as you can see, that’s a lot of stuff going on with baby right now, some of which I’m aware of from the outside by observing his/her reactions, and some of which isn’t obvious but is interesting to think about and imagine going on inside me. Next week sees us counting down to 30, in more ways than one, as I’ll be 26 weeks pregnant and celebrating my 20-something-th birthday 😉