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 Big Brother

Erm. So we have news. Yup It’s happened again….Newcastle have been promoted back to the Premier League at the first time of asking!  I can’t tell you how happy I am that I wont have to watch the shittest highlights show on earth as presented by George Riley on Channel 5.  I can once again look forward to seeing Newcastle losing to Stoke as they are shown at the end of the running order!

Harry and I watched the final days games where Newcastle were named champion and, as you can see Harry was thrilled! Given time and my constant pushing of the black and white shirt he will come to terms with the pain that is in store for him as an NUFC fan.

Yes, yes, I know – I’ve got the order of importance wrong.  Announcing the upcoming arrival of your second child is definitely more important than the amazing championship winning performance of a… yeah OK.

We are having another Baby!

Yay! Expected December  which means that we will, for 2 months, have two under 2 year olds!  What were we thinking?

So that’s it if you were just here to see what the scan picture meant…If you want to continue then below are a few more mundane updates from the May.

Firstly Harry seems to have aged by 3 years just by having his hair cut – this is his second haircut and it has taken him from chubby little baby to slightly rotund cool looking little man.  Having been the scene of one of the greatest melt downs in history of toddler-adult relations we were, to say the least, nervous.  The chosen salon was The Cutting Bar in town and to try to keep him calm I went first so he could see that the woman wasn’t there to try to kill him.  The only thing that scared me a little was the hairdressers choice of cutting implements.  As you can see she went for the Edward Scissor Hands style 9inch cutting blade scissors.  This made life a little tricky as Harry kept turning his head to see what was happening.  That being said he did amazing and once bribed with a quaver or two sat mostly still

 

 

 

And here is the resulting look, I’m sure you will agree it looks amazing!

 

 

Nikki did her thing and nailed her 16th Race for life, completing the 5k in a very respectable time.  I took Harry along to support and as you can see below he was engrossed…

 

We also took Harry to see the family in the North East to meet all of my family who hadn’t seen him.  We were all really looking forward to it, though it did include a 6hr drive.  With a 1-year-old.  In a car.  For 6 Hours.  What the fu..

We needed a plan.  Apparently doping your son isn’t really an option anymore – we did this to our cats when I was a kid and we got the train from Cornwall to Newcastle and it worked a treat.  We considered flying up there as an option and then renting a car but the cost of hiring a car seat made it actually quite expensive.  The train was an option for about 30 seconds until we realised we hadn’t won the lottery and so couldn’t afford it – unbelievably expensive.

So we were driving – we decided to plan it so that we were on the road from the second Harry woke up with Nikki traveling in the back chauffeur style so she could keep him amused and more importantly give him some breakfast.

 

 

This worked like a dream and without a single tear being shed or any whining from Harry (or Nikki) we were at the Nottingham Services.  After a 30 minute break and a monster Greggs breakfast we set off again and boom he fell asleep within 2 minutes of being back in the car.  He slept for an hour and a half in his car seat and then we deployed the in car DVD player pre loaded with Trolls (shite) which I had bungeed, McGuiver style, to the back of Nikkis seat – no thanks Halfords I don’t need a £30 head rest holder.  This kept him entertained enough for us to get there without any dramas.

 

Once there we toured the clan and had a wonderful time parading him round like a show pony.  Considering the change of environment and the funny sounding people up there he was his usual chilled out self and took it all in his stride.  The journey back was equally successful!  That being said the drive was still a monster so im not sure how it would go with 2 toddlers – maybe flying would be best next time!

A very exciting month and I can’t wait until Harry can understand that he soon will be a big brother – just to see his reaction – Just have to wait for the new one to finish baking!