Sunday, 31 March 2013

Even more down to earth with a bump (3)

Continuing my record of Sofia Faith's pregnancy -

Welcome to pregnancy. 
I've noticed nausea creeping in over the last few days and this morning I was really constipated. Lovely!

My stomach is absolutely huge - already, and it is very difficult to hide the fact that I’m pregnant. None of my clothes fit comfortably, and most of them I can't wear anymore. It was the same with Esme's pregnancy, and the subsequent miscarriage, and it's as astonishing to me now, as it was then. What is that all about? Oh and also, my tits have begun their ascent into Kahunaville.

I've an early scan booked in for a couple of weeks time because of my miscarriage history. On one hand it can't come quick enough and on the other, I'm dreading it.

Great news! I've thrown up two days on the trot. YEY! It’s such a good sign, but still I’m worried about the scan next week. I’m so scared we won’t see a heartbeat. I keep having flashbacks to last time. It hasn't helped that this morning I woke up feeling normal. Not pregnant at all. My boobs were no longer tender, my tummy looked flat again, and worst of all, I no longer felt sick. I've all but convinced myself that I’m losing it.


One day to go until the scan and thank God I threw up this morning. Vomiting gave me the courage to do another test. I was shaking as I peed on the stick – but yes, there are definitely two lines to see, not one. If only we could bottle 'relief'.

We had the scan this morning. 
There was a heartbeat; it flashed away like E.T.'s in zipped up plastic bag state.
It is 13mm long and looks normal at this stage. 
Deep breath. 
Thank God.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

It must have been the fairy?

Sofia is smiling again. Yes, indeed, larger than life she's back, and not only that, it would appear the fairies have been in...

So this morning Esme Grace (gregarious 4YO) decided to dress Sofia Faith (mischievious 18MO) in the Tinkerbell outfit. I have to say it looked somewhat un-Tink-like though, for prior to being dragged out of the dress-up box for the second child's leap into imaginary play, it had already served one child's lifetime of fairy quota. It's grotty to say the least. 

Not threadbare thou, yet, but clearly that won't be long. Honestly, the way it was hoisted and inched over Fia is beyond me. I'm not sure I could have squished her in it. Esme obviously managed, down to her basic bossiness. But then Sofia is so much more compliant for her big sister. (Little moo)!

How much bigger is Sofia than Esme at the same age? Don't compare your second to your first so the saying goes, but sod the saying - it's too easy to look back and compare in our household, for they are exactly three years apart, give or take two days. And Fia is so much taller. Truly I love that she is of Amazonian stature already, her blond Boris locks self-twisted to dreds and sticking out all angles, adding to her overall dimensions. 

So tall yes, plump no. Rather solid. Solid to the point that the Tinkerbell dress over her pj's and a cardi, when stretched over her torso looked like a sausage skin at the butchers; fully loaded. Adorably hilarious! Plus a ruddy cheeked smile that made the trauma of the last few weeks melt away.

I'm guessing it must have been something to do with fairy magic?

An hour later, Tinkerbell was sat smiling, surrounded by soil, complete with mud in her mouth, skew-whiff wings, having pushed over a poinsettia. So yes, Sofia is back. 
And I'm so very thankful.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

My delicious girl is back

It's been a while; I've been enjoying my two daughters immensely over the last few days and blog writing has taken a backseat. As it should when you are reminded so sullenly about their precious beings and just what they mean to you; what is un and what is im portant. So with that in mind, I'm keeping it short, but just to say, yey! I've got my delicious girl back. There's colour in her cheeks again... A brightness in her eyes... A fire in her belly... An oomph in her thwack! Gotta love that.

Friday, 22 March 2013


I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all of you that have ever left a comment on LIFE AS IT IS but especially for all the well wishes that have accumulated today on the post regarding Sofia and her fight with pneumonia, her colour drained, her mischieviousness disappeared

I'm not sure why every time I reply to a comment it simply disappears - perhaps it is from when LIFE AS IT IS was hacked, perhaps it is down to my archaic mac, perhaps I've done something silly with the settings, yes perhaps it is me simply being the techy twit that I am?!

What I do know is that I have tried to respond to say thank you to you all for your lovely comments on the GraceFaith blog and to let you know that Sofia Faith is much better again today.

After Monday's improvements, Tuesday I was very disappointed as she was laid out again, Wednesday she was up and down, then yesterday stronger and today even more so. She is definitely heading in the right direction now. I had pneumonia in 2006 and remember the two steps forward, one step back nature of the illness as far as recovery... 

I will only know she is 100% when she climbs back on the dining room table again, and yes, I'll be sure to share that with you. In the meantime, thank you for reading, but most of all for commenting. 

It is lovely getting to know the blogging community. Now have yourselves a great weekend ;-) 

Emma x

PS I've gone mad and ordered a new Mac, so let's hope the not being able to reply is soon a thing of the past!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Musings of a 4YO

The following was literally all spoken in the space of a few minutes on a post peaches and custard teatime high. One question: Is it any wonder that us parents are so shagged all the time?


Mummy, I really really wanted to have glasses, but now I've decided it is a lot boring. They are hurting me. They only hurt me when they are on my nose too much. It really really hurts in school because they are on my face all the time. 

Next breath:
Mummy, when I am ten, I would like to be Connor's brother and live with him. And I want there to be Connor's mummy and daddy and my mummy and daddy living there too.

Next breath:
Mummy, do you remember when they had stickers at the doctor's and I was allowed one?

Next breath:
Hello mummy, I'm scooting and I've just run over an ant. I'm going to see Fia. I can whack her with my lightsaber.

Next breath:
Where's granny's card? Nevermind, I can make granny's card... Mummy I need dark pink...

Her colour drained, her mischieviousness disappeared.

A post before the children wake. It's been a great night's sleep. Unusual in this house of late. But I hope that means that the latest antibiotic Sofia Faith has been taking, along with the steroids and inhalers, have helped her over her month long illness. 

We were back at the GP's yesterday to discuss why the duty doctor sent us to Hospital on Saturday, the chest xray results and the pneumonia Sofia's been fighting. Poor lamb. She has been very unwell. A spiking temperature has plagued her, along with a dreadful cough - at times this has been her only movement, otherwise laid out on my lap, listless, limp. 

I only got the seriousness of it all when she could no longer cry with the usual furor. Instead a sad whimpering pleaded with me, her eyes looking for mine continually, wanting reassurance that only I could give - or pretend to give. 

Sofia has been an extension of me for almost four weeks, sat on my hip as I would cook, sat on my hip as I took Esme to school, sat on my lap at all other times, even sometimes sat on my lap as I would wee. 

Yesterday however, she found a toy to play with in the morning, all by herself, and I could see her cheeks had the tiniest tinge of pink to them, her eyes a hint of brightness - and was that the merest moment of mischieviousness there my girl as you went to drink our good friend's cup of cold mint tea off the side? I hope so Fia. I really do, it will be good to have you back again!

Monday, 18 March 2013

Even more down to earth with a bump (2)

Continuing my record of Sofia Faith's pregnancy -


God my boobs are tender. And they look bigger too. 

My stomach is totally bloated and my emotions are all heightened.

I'm two days late. Dare I do a test? It’s always so disappointing. 

What the hell I will. 

OMG. There are two pink lines on the stick. That’s amazing. 

And would you believe it? If you read the previous posting of 'Even more down to earth with a bump' (1), you will know I’ve just had my hair cut. Flippin’ heck!


Ok so I know I’m thrilled to be pregnant, but I’m only five weeks (literally just) and already the symptoms are kicking in. It is 2am and I have come down to get some warm milk in the hopes that it will have a soporific effect.

I woke to wee at midnight and have been awake ever since. Apparently insomnia is common for many women in this stage of pregnancy. Tomorrow night I will eat a banana before going to bed. Natural yogurt and seeds are also supposed to help?

Oh the fun. Already. And I have an absolutely stinking cold – it isn’t helping that I can’t take any drugs for that.

I'm also concerned about the supplements I’ve been taking to try and fall pregnant. Now that I am up the duff, should I be on all of them? Probably not, I'll stop them, but I'm sure that they, and the cranial osteopath I’ve recently seen, are the reason I’m sitting here wide awake in the middle of the night right now.

Enough is enough, back to bed to try again. 


I've done three more pregnancy tests this week. 

They still all say positive. 

I'm finding it difficult to believe them; they're taunting me. 

Secretly I'm terrified.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Fresh out of bed musings of a 4YO

E: Mummy, I'm the most beautiful little girl aren't I?
M: Yes, darling you are.
E: Yes, more beautiful than all the others.
M: Well I think so. But Esme, let me tell you... all the other mummy's think that their little girl's are the most beautiful. And when you have a little girl one day, you will think that she is the most beautiful. It's all to do with loving them so much.
Esme ponders and coming up to kiss me, says,
E: But you are the most beautiful of all the mummy's.

That's how to start the day. And it's Friday ;-)

Thursday, 14 March 2013

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

Why not bid for a Real Madrid ball signed by the likes of Ronaldo, Pepe and Kaka?

March 21st is World Down Syndrome Awareness Day and my local Down Syndrome support group, Stepping Stones DS will be auctioning a football signed by the Real Madrid squad. 

The auction will run for ten days on Ebay, concluding on March 21st at 21.03, the date and time signifying the third and additional chromosome present in people with Down syndrome.

By auctioning the ball that was kindly donated by the Real Madrid Shirt sponsor BWin, Stepping Stones DS hope to raise both awareness and funds, the money providing ball skills sessions for the children for a further year. The importance of these sessions is to help improve gross motor skills and self confidence.

Keep in touch with the auction at or aim straight for Ebay, at 'Real Madrid signed footbal.'

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Bag lady, hives and where the hell did Spring go?

I realised today that I was dressed like a bag lady - it is so cold. Not a good look. Glad I didn't have to go out. Was in all day with toddleritis. AGAIN. Why is it that small children get sick in the Winter months? It's downright miserable when it's so cold you can't get out to air their germs for long. It has been three weeks now of interrupted sleep, where if it hasn't been one, it has been the other. It all began with teething, chased by bad dreams, followed by a double ear infection, and a virus from school which involved tummy ache and high temps, (still dropping like flies), and now a sneezy cold that results in snot stained sheets like you would not believe. Then last night we hit an all time low and she had an allergic reaction, vomiting and barking while the hives rose on her face. Not sure what set that off. Not the antibiotics - she's been on Amoxycillin once before - oh yes, she's struggling with a chest infection, did I forget that? So she's fighting the rugby ball spacer for the Ventolin several times a day as well. That's a scrum I could do without. And lastly, I ponder on the fact that she may well be harbouring chickenpox (for I ran in to a neighbour whose little one Fia mingles with, is riddled). Three weeks of crap sleep. Ha, is it any surprise that I'm looking like a bag lady? Must try harder. And to think I thought Spring had sprung this time last week...

Monday, 11 March 2013

Esme gets glasses (2)

Having collected Esme's new glasses we returned home for supper. Shortly afterwards, Esme discovered an ant on the floor. 

'Mummy, I've seen a very clever ant. It's done a handstand and then flipped over and landed on its back,' her glasses clearly working well.

At bedtime, I labelled the case and put them in her book bag ready for their first trip out to school the next day. 

Next morning, we were very nearly late to class, for on the way she had to stop and show off her glasses to every single parent she knew.  

Walking in, Esme beamed with pride at her teacher. She opened the case and oops, they fell on the floor. Quickly retrieved and carefully placed upon her pretty nose (with seemingly exaggerated arm movement), they seemed to sparkle. Was it my imagination or so too did Esme?

When I heard the teacher ask her if she wanted to tell the other children about her glasses, I knew it was time for me to head off. I watched Esme nod enthusiastically before kissing her goodbye. Reluctantly, I took both my toddler and my leave.

Esme holding court, called out a brief and cheery goodbye. I knew my girl would be just fine. I on the other hand walked home cuddling in Sofia and trying not to blub; brimming with pride at the way in which Esme was taking it all in her stride.

The day passed and I was soon there to pick Esme up. As she appeared in the line of children, I had to do a double take. She didn't look like my Esme. I felt a pang. All the other mums oohed and aahed as she came towards me. I felt another pang. We had a big hug. She burst in to tears. 

Home again and she was tired, she had a slight temperature. I put her on the sofa and put CBeebies on the tele. I watched Esme uncurl on her side with her head awkwardly upon the frame's metal arm. Said limb not looking half as sparkly now; just uncomfortable. They may yet take some getting used to after all.

My bespectacled beauty
Almost a week on I realise that even if Esme has taken no time at all settling in to her new glasses, for me, it's been a slightly different matter. The relief I felt that Esme was happy to wear them was immediate, but looking at her wearing them, has taken a little longer. God, she looks so grown-up!

Esme Grace only really has one thing to contend with as far as adapting to wearing them, and that is her little mischievious sister. Sofia Faith can be found waiting for an opportune moment to lunge and grab the specs from Esme's nose. Esme yells, Fia screams, all hell breaks loose and Fia is left with her disgruntled Winston Churchill frown, and Esme pious - in the way that only a glass wearer knows how to be. Spec envy is not something I ever envisaged having to referee, but I am. And so LIFE AS IT IS moves on, with the Grace half of the blog now seeing things a little more clearly.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Esme gets glasses (1)

Esme has gone to school today wearing glasses for the first time. I didn't see that coming - no pun intended. Seriously, Simon or myself never had any trouble with our eyes as children. I now need glasses for reading, computer work and close up stuff - but isn't that normal after turning 40?

We had an inkling after Esme failed the school eye examination. When I asked her about it, she'd said, 'Mummy, some of the letters were teeny weeny, I struggled to see them.' 

Talking it through over breakfast, I'd told her we would need to see an eye doctor. She barely let me finish my sentence: 'Oh good Mummy. I hope that means I need glasses. I would like pink ones with owls on them.' What a girl!

The first time we went to the opticians, she had an issue with the gymnastics kit she was wearing and the shiny leatherette chair. If she wasn't slipping off the seat, then the cyborg head gear was slipping off her. It came as no surprise that the test was inconclusive. 

The second time we went to the opticians, Esme was going to have eye drops in each eye to dilate the pupils and relax the muscles. It prevents the eye moving constantly around - as a 4YO's would- and gives the optometrist the opportunity to check more thoroughly.

Esme was good as gold. She allowed the second eye drop in without argument, even though the first had clearly stung. Oh the lure of a cupcake. Ten minutes later she sat devouring one, sunglasses in situ to prevent any unwanted glare in to her now open and consistently wide pupils. She looked as if she was at a rave and I was tempted for a moment to bust some Bob Builder style, big fish little fish cardboard box moves.

Sponge and sugar icing later, holding on to the seat once more, the verdict was delivered. Esme will need glasses to prevent her straining and to help her eyes develop properly. She is long-sighted. 

Esme grinned from ear to ear and took no time at all in choosing her frames, clearly delighted at the prospect. Meanwhile, my mind was flipping cartwheels...

How could this be? Is it down to her birth and the trauma of the ventouse delivery? Has she suffered with headaches? Would she have been struggling, and (typical Esme) dealing with it quietly, all the time thinking it was normal? Would she always need glasses? Would she be bullied at school as a consequence? That evening, I cried silent tears for all the questions left hanging.

A few days later, lens fitted, we were back at the shop to try them on for size. I smiled at my still very little girl. She smiled right back, her bespectacled beauty now in front of me holding a mirror to see herself wearing them for the first time. Her response to said reflection was equally as gorgeous: Esme carefully placed the mirror down and then actually skipped right through the middle of the shop. (Her skipping has been at that not quite in sync stage forever, but the afternoon's happiness factor seemed to compensate for something, and she skipped perfectly). 

 And the glasses? She didn't want to take them off. Which was probably just as well.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Friday, 1 March 2013

Children and the importance of praise

Something that Esme (my musing 4YO) said last night has bothered me. She told me that a child in her year had whispered to her, "I'm not very good at anything." When I asked Esme what her response had been, she shrugged and said, "I didn't say anything Mummy." Of course she didn't, for this is beyond a 4YO's emotional and social capacity. I took a positive angle, and said to Esme, 'What nonsense. For starters, we know that XXXX is good at running.' And indeed, I bet that child is good at lots of things. Though perhaps they just aren't told enough.

It got me thinking about the importance of praise and how negative reinforcement can have a thoroughly disabling effect on a child. From babyhood through toddlerhood, we ought to remember (and if you like, train ourselves) to offer an explanation each time we say no, to distract and move on positively. And to our pre-schoolers and rising fives, we ought to remember to calmly remove them from what they are doing that is wrong, or tell them what they're saying is not appropriate, and then talk about it afterwards, reinforcing the good at all times.

First of all, it disturbs me that this little person already feels this way. Secondly, I'm surprised that a 4YO can voice this - ie it almost sounds like it has been said to this child and the child is repeating it. I hope I'm wrong. Low self-esteem at any age is worrying, but at age four? One thing is for certain, if this child is struggling in the classroom environment, maybe he or she needs extra help. In the meantime, we all ought to be concentrating on the very things our children are good at.

There's a line in the fab fairytale film 'Pretty Woman,' where Julia Robert's character says, 'If you get put down enough, you start to believe it.' It is true. Do not under-estimate the way in which your child believes every single word you say. And never under-estimate, the power of positive reinforcement.