When Harry Met Sophie

For the first time in about 9 months I actually have a genuine excuse for the delay in writing a blog.  We had a baby!  Sophie Emily finally arrived, slightly later and a little larger than anyone had expected at a mere 10lbs 12oz – for anyone worried, apparently it’s easier to birth a bigger baby, with, you know, gravity and that….though I didn’t say that!

The birth itself was relatively straight forward though entirely different from Harry’s.  Firstly we were on the ward rather than in the birthing suite which means there was just a bed and some equipment rather than the full jungle gym experience with rings and balls everywhere.   This was due to Nikki’s waters breaking without any contractions – which involved us racing, film style to the hospital only to be sent home again 30 minutes later with 24 hrs to sit and wait for the ball to start rolling naturally.  Sadly it didn’t so we made our way to the birthing ward, with still no movements or tightenings.  We prepared the room for imminent arrival by dimming the lights and getting my snacks (which i remembered this time lined up on the window sill).

Secondly there seemed to be a much different approach from the midwives who apparently took a “mother led” approach which basically entailed lots of sitting around  and waiting and very little interaction.  It wasn’t that the midwives were absent, far from it, it just meant that they just observed, like we were chimps in the zoo (with a little less faeces throwing).

Having arrived at 2pm into our room for the day we started with all the excitement you could imagine… enough even for an inappropriate selfie….

Though by 7pm and 5 hours of sitting doing nothing, with Nikki strapped into the machine and the induction drug on tap we started to get a little bored, well I did – Nikki at least had the occasional check up from the midwives and her first meal with a nice sandwich lunch (nothing offered to me if you were wondering)

It was about this time that I resented Nikki rejecting  my request to bring my DS with me – apparently there “wouldn’t be time” for a little Mario Kart – wrong.

A mere 3 hours later and we had movements, contractions the return of the blood curdling screams and the all to familiar bone crushing had squeeze.  weirdly for us both the midwives still didn’t really do or say anything, other than ‘your doing amazing Nikki’ – which it was hard to disagree with at the time – it is hard to describe the emotion of watching someone you love go through something that seems so painful and at times relentless.

Thankfully it wasn’t relentless and not too long after Nikki almost snapped one of the midwives forearm in half we had action.  Suddenly their stand-off approach switched to furious note taking and then they wheeled over something that can only be described as the batman signal light – im not sure why they didn’t just turn the lights on to be honest!  It reinforced to me and to Nikki that there really is no glamour or dignity when you reach the business end – nor do I think anyone cared.

Then she was here.  10.51pm. 2 legs, 2 arms, 10 fingers and 10 toes.  The full gorgeous package.  She didn’t seem big to me at that point – to be honest I thought Harry was bigger.  I joked with the midwife about the weight and asked her to guess.  9lbs she thought – I went with 9lbs 4 – the same as Harry.  We were wrong and there was silence as she was weighed and 4.882kgs came up.  There was an awkward moment when everyone was trying to do the mental arithmetic to calculate the weight in pounds an ounces….10lbs 12oz.  Then just silence.

Such a beauty though and after a brief overnight stay thanks to staff shortages we found ourselves for the 2nd time in 2 years sat at home with the bassonet in the middle of the floor, both just staring.  The only difference this time was that there were 3 of us looking at the basket wondering what we were supposed to do.  Harry has been the model older brother and after only a few moments of jealousy, as we had expected, he has accepted her entirely and is very much besotted with little Sophie.  We have followed all of the guidelines and advice around introducing a new sibling to the family and have tried to involve him as much as possible – even with nappy changes, though he seems a little less keen to keep that one up!

3 weeks in and she has settled in amazingly well and, thankfully, like Harry seems to be a really chilled out little person.  The feeling of absolute and relentless tiredness has returned to Nikki and I, though she is sleeping for 3hrs at a time which makes it a little more bearable.  The tough element is knowing that even though she is awake and feeding through the night at 4am Harry is almost certainly going to be up at 630.  For some reason he doesn’t like lying in, even on a weekend.

Either way it is this face which makes it all bearable.  The frustration and demoralising feeling of disgust when you hear her snuffling like a pig, which is the prelude to all out hunger screaming, is instantly replaced with utter joy and love.

Second time round it’s amazing how much more relaxed we both feel about things.  No dramas about how to hold her, or panics about her being too hot, too cold or questions like “is that cry different to the other cry – what does that mean?”.  Everything is more chilled out and much like the first time Nikki is the ultimate natural, taking everything in her stride.

So how do we get Star Wars into this post?  We could talk about the new Episode 8 film which is everything a Star Wars film should be or I could just force it onto Sophie by dressing her up in the crochet had that we were given before Harry was born and we didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl.  I think its fair to say that she didn’t really care for it much and somehow looks less Princess Leia and more Frau Farbissiner with a look that Nikki has also perfected if I force her to  watch anything in a galaxy far far away.  I guess this one I may have lost already.  Harry looks so chilled as Yoda, taken when he was also just 2 weeks old.

In other news Harry is sleeping in his bedroom now without drama.  The absolute hatred of the bed that I reported last time has been replaced with a desire to be in his room at every waking moment.  The nest cam we have installed in his room means that even if I am later back from work in Bath I can watch (in HD) as he goes through his bedtime routine of 2 or 3 books – normally involving some kind of creature wearing underpants – and then sleep.  No more fighting or wrestling to keep him in bed, no more holding the door to his room shut and feeling like the worst parent in the world as he cries on the other side.  He just goes to bed and sleeps.  It’s wonderful.  That being said he doesn’t always stay in there and, again thanks to the nest cam, we have so far watched him roll out of bed onto the carefully placed bean bag about 20 times.

This collage highlights some of the many sleeping positions he gets himself into over the course of an evening.

Christmas was an interesting one and with Sophie only 2 weeks old and Nikki still recovering it was time for me to step up to the plate and make the dinner happen.  Im not a bad cook, but Christmas dinner was always going to stretch my abilities.

That being said, it was bloody easy*, I mean look at the rise on these yorkshires!  Stories have been written about yorkshires that good.

In all seriousness it went OK and noone got ill from the food.  It’s fair to say that the Sharp household was a happy place this Christmas and getting used to our new family of four is one of the best presents I could have asked for.  Harry was a lucky boy and got lots of amazing toys from our very generous friends and family.

What an end to 2017 – couldn’t really be happier, especially as I got the new Call Of Duty for Christmas! (which I havent actually played yet – too tired to watch telly let alone interact with it)!


*yeah, it definitely wasn’t and I don’t think I have been that stressed before – but hey it was actually alright!

Harry the Homeowner

Another month or so has passed and this time we have packed in major life event to go alongside the imminent birth of number 2.  I have switched jobs, after 8 long years it felt like the right time to try something new, in a new city, in Bath.  A few people told me it was stupid to change and that the timing wasn’t right but I have come to realise that happiness in work can really impact happiness outside of work.  Commuting from Swindon to Bath has meant that I see little H and Nikki slightly less, but the time I do spend with them is definitely more quality as I am already much happier and less stressed!

It’s October and we are now bum twitchingly close to being a 2 child family, 2 kids, 2 under 2 – sweet jesus what were we thinking.  We are 4 weeks out from the potential start time, though the due date is 7 weeks.  Who knows, it always feels just like a guess by the doctors – either way it is close and we seem to be a lot less concerned by it than the first time.  I guess that’s normal for number 2, everything is old news this time round – it’s still a wonderful, amazing thing but the gloss is much duller – it is much more about the practicalities.

Nikki is cooking the little one well though and we had the gender scan to confirm if the 90% certainty of it being a girl was correct.  The scan was a private one and as it turns out I think it was the quickest I have ever spent £50 in my life – the whole thing was over in 10 minutes.  We did though get the confirmation that the mountain of boys clothes could in fact be sold/donated/bined.  Apparently we are not allowed to dress the new little one in blue hand-me-downs and then pop on a pink bow on her head – no matter how much it might save us!  The guarantee of a girl has awoken a new beast in Nikki which  I can only assume has ignited the little girl in her as she has bought more and more pinker and cuter things!

One of the benefits of the scan was getting a freebie 4D look at the little one which was incredible seeing her yawn in 3D (not sure what the nonsense of calling it 4D is all about).  Here is one of the pics we got

In preparation for new baby we have embarked on the path of migrating Harry from the nursery on the top floor of the house to his newly refurbished room on the middle floor.  The room itself is lovely and as it’s on the same floor as the living room we have been encouraging Harry to play in it and get used to it.  He even “helped” me to build all the new IKEA furniture, which was more than can be said for Nikki who sat and gave helpful advice throughout…

Now that the room is mostly finished, less some wall decorations we are waiting for, we have started to load in some of Harry’s stuff including his toys and books and so far Harry has loved going in there to play, and slam the doors of his drawers and try to climb everything!

He has even taken to climbing into his big boy bed and pretending to be asleep – all good sings we thought, “this is going to be easy” I said.  “I don’t know what people moan about, Harry will be sleeping in his own bed before the weekend is out”.  Then the night came for him to sleep for the first time in his beautiful new bed.  I went downstairs to get the dinner on so that it would be ready for when Nikki came down stairs after putting him down in the usual 5 minutes that it takes to get him to sleep….

WRONG. wrong. wrong.

He went totally mental. Batshit crazy. Apeshit. Thermonuclear.  I think it is fair to say that it is the biggest meltdown he has had to date and I got to watch it live thanks to our new Nest cam in the bedroom.  You can see the “negotiation” happening below and the blurriness of Harry’s face gives away the seriousness of his refusal.

For some reason he just wasn’t interested in believing us that his new bed was amazing and that being in it would make him a big boy and he would love it. Nope he just lost it and we had to admit defeat, for now.  We will continue to play with him in there until he is ready to give it another go.  No doubt there will be more to discuss next time round.

On a more positive note Harry has spent lots of time with grandma and granddad and even managed to convince each of them to get into the soft-play with them on 2 different occasions…

I think the “oldies” were having more fun!

Till the next time….

Harry The Head Injury Specialist

So a lot of time has again passed without a blog and an awful lot seems to have happened in the last few months to Harry.  Most of these at the moment seem to involve his head and impacts with various objects.  So far we have had headbutting a trolley, tripping on the carpet, tripping on the hardwood floor, tripping on nothing, headbutting a glass table, tripping on a ball, with a ball and trying to kick a ball – essentially every feasible object in the house seems to be a Harry trip hazard.

Here are the latest 2 injuries which make him look like he has done a few rounds with McGreggor

Injuries aside Harry has had an exciting few months with lots of personal developments for him and for us as a family.  His walking is amazing and he is officially toddling around all over the place.  It is stressful to watch him as he careers from one side of the room to the other like a bulldozer but he is getting the hang of it.  He also talks now. A lot.  He definitely gets that from Nikki – so we are having to watch what we say now as we both have potty mouths.  We did have a scare a couple of weeks ago which we still havent figured out where Harry kept falling over before exclaiming ‘Bugger!’ every time.  We haven’t nailed the culprit yet though as it isn’t something either of us would say!  Luckily it seems to have passed and certainly hasn’t been upgraded to anything more sinister.

His freedom of movement now means that the world of the play park is suddenly more interesting, though he again seems to be using this as a chance to find more things to headbutt.  He learned an important life lesson about 1 minute after this picture was taken, which is that climbing up the slide can result in a face plant.

What has been a real joy is watching his interactions with his cousins, who I think it is safe to say have a mutual love for him, especially when playing in an adventure playground for the first time.

His eating and appetite have certainly moved along as we would expect and he is getting to the point where he can feed himself and get most of it in his mouth rather than all over him.  I have personally learned the hard way that he doesn’t like to have the spoon taken off him during his yoghurt time, even if he is just throwing it all over the place.  That kind of intervention is met with this face.  Note the real tears.  Which stopped within a matter of seconds.  He is already a professional hissy-fitter.

We took Harry camping another 2 times following our earlier successes and we again had a whale of a time.  Luckily as we met up with the family each time I wasn’t left to my own devices to get set up as we could palm Harry off onto Uncle Steve or Uncle Paul (AKA the birdman!).  This made for fewer arguments and quicker erections (that’s what she said)!  Here is an example of the calmness being put into action by Steve…

Whilst camping we ticked a few items of his baby bucket list..

We went to Monkey World and got to see a few of the chimps and gorillas up close which he seemed to love.  He did though decide that with his new-found freedom that he needed to walk everywhere himself, which was cute for the first hour or so…


He enjoyed some quality time on the beach in his new mobile beach hut where he learned the hard way that eating sand isn’t all that fun!

We napped a lot!

We revisited Corfe Castle which gave us the chance to revisit the picture from last time we were down near Swanage which you can see here: (http://www.anewdad.co.uk/harry-the-weaner/). Hasn’t he grown, especially as the carrier is the same one!

Nikki is cooking nicely and we had the 2nd scan for Bean mk2 and we have decided this time that the joy and mystique of keeping the gender a surprise has been outweighed by the practicalities of planning for life with 2.  As such, at the 20 week scan this time we didn’t do the awkward look away at the important moment and instead we were filled with joy to find out that a little girl will complete our family!  Well.  with a 80-90% certainty anyway – she was in an awkward position which made life a little difficult.  Nikki was ordered by the nurse to get a chocolate bar to get the baby moving – the second time in her life she has been prescribed Cadbury’s.

We have subsequently booked a private scan to get a little more assurance on the gender so that we know if we can get rid of the boys clothes mountain which we have kept for now.

All in all another good few months and in keeping with our style of cramming life events I finished my job of 8 years on Friday and took a job in Bath at another marketing agency so will update soon with more about that and life with Harry and Nikki.  I got this card though….

…Amazing.  Thank you people of Equimedia and I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday people of SearchStar!