nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
( Mar. 18th, 2014 09:59 pm)
I felt the urge to rewrite my introduction so I thought I’d use it as a starting point for a Subscription Meme, as I haven’t seen one going around for a while.

I’ve made a template, which I’ve filled out very wordily below. Please feel free to adapt it to your wishes, and please link this post wherever you like. (Please participate or share? I'm going to feel very sad if this entry sits here alone with 0 comments...)

Subscription Meme template:
<b>People in this journal</b>
<b>About my job</b>
<b>Some random facts</b>
<b>Things I like to do</b>
<b>Social media usage</b>
<b>>Subscriptions, access and commenting</b>
<b>What I’d like to get from my participation here</b>

My responses! )
Keiki is a month old. He barely fits into the "New Baby" (up to 10 lbs/4.5 kg) clothes and will be progressing to the 0-3 month stuff shortly.

I have a mere ten days left of wearing the sexy sexy surgical compression stockings. \o/ TBH, I don't think they're doing much any more as I can put them on very easily and they're a bit baggy around the ankles. I'll carry on wearing them because I'm supposed to, but oh, Thursday next, how I anticipate you.

Sleep is still very broken. Keiki wakes up at least three times a night to feed. He also has his first cold, courtesy of the toddler, and uses feeding as a way to clear his sinuses, so I'm pretty much chained to him at the moment.

Apart from passing on her lurgy, Humuhumu is doing a fine job as Elder Sibling, displaying no jealousy other than when Daddy looks like he might not be able to pick her up because he's holding Keiki. (She's very attached to Daddy at the moment and prefers him to Mummy.) Her vocabulary seems to expand daily, and she uses complete(-ish) sentences to express herself most of the time, e.g. "I want orange", "I like cooking/nursery/swimming", "I DID IT!" and our least favourite, "I don't want to go to bed yet".

This weekend we made cookies from the vanilla cookie recipe in my new Nigella Christmas cookbook. (Humuhumu likes to flick through the pages and find photos of Nigella. When she sees one, she points at it triumphantly and exclaims, "MUMMY!" Mummy finds this outrageous flattery rather gratifying.) Lakeland had a big sale on Doctor Who-themed baking accoutrements - 99 pence for cookie cutters, as opposed to the £12.99 they were priced at before Christmas - so we put them to their inaugural use on our dough.

Photos of cookie-making with Humuhumu. )

In conclusion, I present you with evidence that toddler fashion sense is absolutely the best thing ever.

Humuhumu strolling through the University of Birmingham campus in her blue striped coat, red and white patterned bobble hat and matching scarf, reindeer Christmas dress, purple and black striped stockings and grey bunny Mary Janes. Twirling a stick nonchalantly. As you do.
nanila: (me: art)
( Jan. 16th, 2015 04:59 pm)
Once again, the talented Mia has made one of her latest works available on Redbubble to purchase on a number of items. “When Dragons Speak” manages to be both beautifully detailed and adorably cute.

I have in my possession a set of 16 glorious dragon postcards. If you would like me to send one to you, please provide an address that will reach you, either by leaving it in the poll below or in a DM. Please note the following. First, I’m happy to send outside the UK as I have a stockpile of international postage. Second, if you provided your address in the last poll, you don’t need to leave it again. Just say, “Yes, please” or equivalent. Links to my previous Prinsesa post are: DW and LJ.

I still have a couple of Prinsesa postcards left, by the way, so if you’d like one of those and didn’t request one in the previous round, please say so. (All earlier Prinsesa requests should have been fulfilled - let me know if you didn’t get yours.)

Poll #16358 When Dragons Speak
Open to: Access List, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 13

I would like a dragon postcard by Likhain. Please send it to this address:

nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
( Jan. 8th, 2015 09:40 pm)

[Long-tailed tit on a toroid fat ball feeder, executing a bow.]

One of my Christmas presents from the bloke was a new lens for my dSLR, to enable me to photograph the many birds visiting the feeders in our back garden. I got him a new fat ball feeder and it's been brilliant for attracting even more of the bird population of our village. It may, however, bankrupt us as it takes 10 fat balls at a time and currently has to be refilled every three days.

+2 )

All images can be clicked to embiggen. x-posted to [community profile] common_nature; my apologies if you're seeing them twice.
I present Reason #1 why you should not tell your scientist partner, "No, I don't know how much he's gained in the last few days. He won't be weighed again until Monday week."

[Baby in a mixing bowl on a kitchen scale. No, literally.]

Bonus pic )
nanila: me (me: ooh!)
( Jan. 2nd, 2015 11:58 am)
(Tiny post-pregnancy joy: Shaving my legs for the first time in months. Tiny post-pregnancy sadness: Having to put incredibly sexy surgical compression stockings over my nice smooth legs for another four weeks. Yes yes, it's better than deep vein thrombosis. But still, my vanity: it hurts.)

Keiki was born tongue-tied. We didn't realise how bad it was until we went to our hospital appointment on Monday. The midwife examined him and told us he had both posterior and anterior ties, resulting in a 90% tongue tie. So we agreed to have it snipped.

It has to be said that his mum shed more tears over the procedure than he did. Since he was born British, perhaps a stiff upper lip at eleven days old was to be expected. As soon as it was done, he latched deeply straightaway, fed for ten minutes, then promptly passed out. We've had no complications since and his feeding technique has improved.

The next day, the health visitor came and examined him. I basked in the discovery that he had gained 220 grams on his birth weight. Don't laugh. This is the only measure of achievement I have at the moment.
My apologies for not getting to this before solstice, as I’d intended, but I hope you will agree that “having a baby” is a reasonable excuse for a delay.

To those who voted in the Seasonal Giving: Charitable Donations poll, thank you very much for your participation. I'm pleased to say that as in previous years, the bloke has matched your donations, and therefore we have been able to give:

£87.00 to Medecins Sans Frontieres.
£27.00 to Mind.
£56.00 to The Abortion Support Network

This makes a total of £170.00 given on my DW Circle's behalf to charity. Happy holidays, everyone!
[The bulk of this post was written two days after Keiki was born. Please forgive any discontinuity or lack of clarity.]

For some illogical reason, I expected Keiki’s arrival to follow the same set of steps as Humuhumu’s. As in: be lying around an evening of the 39th week, switch on the television looking for some manner of trash to watch, be confronted by Jeremy Clarkson’s face, stand up, Niagara Falls of waters breaking.

Of course that didn’t happen this time. Instead, I spent Wednesday morning looking after a friend’s toddler, pootled around on the internet after she had departed with her mother, did some chores, and received a large delivery of grocery shopping.

After the shopping had been brought in, I started to put it away. Unusually, this took me almost an hour. I had to keep sitting down. “Braxton-Hicks”, I thought. “They’ll go once I’ve finished.”

An hour after that, the bloke rang to say he was on his way home. I started to make supper. Also, to suspect that the contractions were getting stronger and closer together. “Braxton-Hicks,” I thought. “It’s too early for them to be anything else, surely.”

The bloke and Humuhumu came home. We had supper. We started Humuhumu’s bedtime ritual. Well, the bloke did. I mostly sat on the side of the bed and wheezed.

I rang the delivery suite at the hospital. They agreed we should expect to be coming in sometime later that night or the next morning.

At 3 AM the contractions ramped up to the point where it was agreed we should go in. To my disappointment, they began to subside not long after that, probably because I was so tired. We returned home again to wait another few hours. Early on Thursday afternoon, we drove again wto hospital and hey presto, seven centimetres dilation (waters, amazingly, still intact). The delivery suite was full and they had to put us in a waiting room for about 15 minutes. There was some poor woman in there clutching her green notes (the standard NHS colour for pregnancy/pre-delivery notes), clearly not in labour yet, who got to watch me walking up and down and clutching the door frame while I breathed through the contractions. Goodness knows how she must have felt until I was finally whisked into a room to be examined. Even I still had enough awareness to realise that the situation was awkward.

I was puzzled by the lack of screaming this time. Maybe it was knowing what was coming. Maybe it was the battle-axe midwife talking me through a bout of hyperventilation and forcing me to focus on my breathing. Maybe it was the late application of nitrous oxide. While remember howling through a good proportion of the second stage of labour with Humuhumu, this time I didn’t need to do much shouting until the pushing bit, which was much faster as well. I seem to recall five or six bouts of pushing - and thinking, ”How on Earth did I manage to forget how much this hurt?! Oh right, if I hadn’t, I would never have agreed to have another child.” - and then the midwives saying, “Give a gentle push this time, so we can catch the head.” So I put half my energy into shouting and half into bearing down, and, well. They had to catch the whole baby. They put him on my chest, where his shrieking quickly subsided as he rootled around looking for food.

We spent the night on the maternity ward with the other new mums and babies. The woman in the bed next to me was a chronic bell-ringing type so sleep was pretty broken, although I tried not to stress about it. I popped Keiki inside my shirt to enable maximum skin-to-skin contact, and mostly left him there until morning apart from nappy checks/changes. He did quite well with feeding, so I was surprised the next morning when a student midwife examined him the next morning and informed me that he’s tongue-tied. It’s enough that he’s damaged one of my nipples despite regular application of Lansinoh (dammit). We didn’t hear from the midwife who deals with tongue-tie in time to get it corrected before Christmas, but it will be done soon so he doesn’t have to struggle to latch.

On the plus side, I’m healing, Keiki is gaining weight, the bloke is being a star with the cleaning and toddler care, we’ve had several people bring over nice food for us to eat and Humuhumu is very excited about Christmas and her new role as Elder Sibling. Also, she’s decided that now is the ideal time to begin the “Why?” phase. I’m not sure the bloke and I can object too much, given that we’ve made lifelong careers out of the “Why?” phase.

Bonus anecdote:

On the first day after we returned home from hospital, we had to wait for the midwife to turn up to examine Keiki and me before the bloke & Humuhumu could go for a walk. This made her rather antsy, as she’s an outdoorsy sort of person and doesn’t like being cooped up. The midwife came at about midday and stayed for an hour. As soon as she left, Humuhumu took her bib off (she had been eating toast and making adorable faces at the midwife) and marched out of the room. We heard some rustling, and a short while later she returned, wearing coat, hat and wellies.

“Daddy,” she said seriously. “Walk now. See pub.”

The bloke looked at me. “This is cute now, but it’s going to get embarrassing when she goes to primary school, they ask her to write about her favourite thing to do and it’s, ‘Go to the pub with Daddy.’”
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
( Dec. 26th, 2014 07:50 pm)

[Image of a grinning Humuhumu in a bright blue bath.]

It's been eight days since Keiki was born and I was finally able to be vertical with the toddler and the bloke during the day while he was asleep, instead of either lying down in bed or flailing uselessly at them from the sofa. \o/ We spent the late morning baking vanilla cookies and Christmas muffins from the Nigella cookbook one of my sisters-out-law gifted to me. The cookies await further decoration, but only six muffins have survived predation by ravenous toddler and breastfeeeding mummy. I do not expect them to survive beyond tomorrow.

Humuhumu received some Lush bath bombs as presents. Normally she doesn't get to have any products in her bath because she has very sensitive skin, so we just wash her with plain water and Cetraben (hypoallergenic unscented lotion). We decided to try the bath bomb out anyway, since it's a rare treat. It was a big hit.

Blue bath )

Then Keiki had his first bath. We had braced ourselves for seagull shrieks, but he was pretty sanguine throughout.

Keiki in the bath )

And finally, apropos of nothing, the bloke being clambered over by his brood.

[Image of a baby in an oversized onesie reading, "Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?"]

The most pressing question I hope we will encounter today: Who is responsible for this? (The onesie, not the baby.) It arrived addressed to the bloke with no originator identification!
The talented Mia has made one of her latest works available on Redbubble to purchase on a number of items. “Prinsesa” is gloriously intricate, detailed and colourful - a testament to Mia’s vision and technical skill.

I have just received a set of 16 stunning Prinsesa postcards. If you would like me to send one to you, please provide an address that will reach you, either by leaving it in the poll below or in a DM. Please note the following. First, I’m happy to send outside the UK as I have a stockpile of international postage. Second, even if you think I probably have your address from previous correspondence, please provide it again as I’m not presently in a state to go digging around for it in other places, sorry!

Poll #16266 Prinsesa postcards
Open to: Access List, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 8

I would like a Prinsesa postcard by Likhain. Please send it to this address: