Tag Archives: New Baby

Just down the tracks


I do not know where my [relatively] [sort of] ordered life has gone. Today we decided to look for it in Pangbourne.

This was a good idea for all sorts of reasons, for example, 1) I’ve driven through Pangbourne on my way to and from work hundreds of times, admiring all the pretty cafes and wondering what it’s like by the river Thames, and I’ve never once stopped there. It’s fifteen minutes from my house. Madness. Also, 2) Henry woke up with a snotty cold today, and this combined with his recent personality transplant meant you’d be a dam-fool to stay indoors. I am not. And 3) we decided to walk down to the station and take the train, which meant his day was made several hundred times over.

Note: I just wrote ‘river Thomas’ instead of ‘river Thames’, above: this should give you an idea of the state of our train obsession at present. Henry nearly mugged a kid by the river because he was wearing a Percy t-shirt.

Second Note: I keep telling myself that things will Settle Down with my wonderful firstborn, but let me tell you, I was pondering Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat this morning (2am is weird) and felt for a moment that selling Joseph to the hairy Ishmaelites sounded like a pretty good idea.


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The train was a massive hit, to the extent that getting off ten minutes later went down Very Poorly Indeed (of course). Big ticks for the shops, the river and that nameless muscular chap with the sword.




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There was also a b-e-a-u-tiful Georgian church I dragged Sarah into. I have a thing about old churches. I’d have all my picnics in graveyards if people didn’t think it was weird. This one was a belter.



Third Note: The church is called St James the Less, which seems a bit harsh on poor St James. Less than what? I looked it up and it seems that he might’ve been called James the Less because he was shorter than the other Jameses in the Bible. As you do.

The cherry on the no-one-getting-sold-to-Ishmaelites cake was this hair. It’s either sticking up with strawberry yoghurt or sweat, and I’m not sure I want to know which.



Enter pirate king Jeffcoat, stage left


You guys, I have a little something to tell you about. It’s been an odd week. Of course, I’ll actually be telling you this in January, when a little something will be a bigger something with a spinal column and phalanges, so for now it’s between me and this Word document.


Well, almost a baby. We’re at ‘blastocyst’ stage, which doesn’t sound terribly flattering. It’s very early on, but Blastocyst Jeffcoat – pirate king of the seas – has already developed a heartbeat and retinas on the quiet. Sneaky! So it’s been an odd week. No one knows yet except the two of us. I quite like hugging a secret like this to my chest [uterus]. It makes it feel safer, somehow.

I have felt a weird jumble of emotions about the prospect of baby no. 2. Henry has been just the most sparklingly wonderful thing that has ever happened to us – apart from that time we ate Domino’s pizza for a solid week – and I can’t get into my head that the next baby 1) won’t be Henry, or anything like him, and 2) won’t have to replace him. How will there be room for me to love them both as much? How can I split my attention from this boy who deserves everything I can give him? It’s frightening me a little bit, and if that sounds silly to you, well, it sounds silly to me too. I’m just hoping there’ll be enough of me to go around. Perhaps I should eat more pizza.

And yet. And yet. Who wouldn’t want more babies, many more babies, when the first was such a dream? We’ve always wanted a house full of kids, and you have to start somewhere. And who wouldn’t want to share something like that with a husband as marvellous as this one? We’ve anticipated the practicalities, and I’ve squared up to pregnancy again and looked it in the ever-puking face (none of that has started yet, but I’M READY, you jerk. Bring it on).

And through all of that, there was a moment yesterday when I drove home late from some meeting or other, and thought you are a person-in-waiting. You will come with your own self intact. Who will you be, little thing? And suddenly the night felt sacred around me and I was so excited I couldn’t breathe.

I think this will all be just fine.

other baby posts: 1. – 2. – 3. – 4. – 5. – 6. – 7. – 8. – 9. – 10.

The Secret to Not Being At Work

One of these days, I’ll be a stay-at-home superwoman. I’ve totally got a mask and cloak ready for when I get my act together.

In the meantime, though, making the transition from working full-time to baby-mothering full-time is tricky. We’re still working it out, Henricus Rex* and me. I used to have deadlines and meetings and co-workers to give my day some structure, and now there’s just me, a house in some state of trashedness, and a baby with an adorable face and an overactive gag reflex.

*Today I am trying out nicknames. Not especially successfully.

Do we have to get up now?

At first, this is what my brain thought:

No early mornings? No meetings? No editing with red pen? You must be on holiday, lovely – enjoy the Facebook time!

And then, pretty soon, my brain thought:

Argh. No sleep. Please nap. No, never mind that. NAP, IDIOT.

Well. Now we’re getting used to the disturbed nights, and after seven weeks off work we’re clearly not on annual leave anymore, so what next? A daytime routine, is what. Prince Hal being still oh-so-tiny, he isn’t napping at particular times – just quite a lot of the time – and he’s also feeding round the clock thanks to his regurgitation habits, so we can’t really decide that at so-and-so time we do this. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far – are you ready? This is the best wisdom my sleep-deprivation can rustle up:

Do the bare minimum…and then ONE OTHER THING.

Obviously it’s up to you to decide what constitutes the bare minimum: what’s the basic requirement, routine-wise, that you can live with? Here’s mine: The Henster needs to be well-fed, well-rested, clean-bottomed, suitably entertained, not smelling too much of sick and happy about all of these things (this is almost a full-time job in itself, these days). For me, I need to make the bed, tidy our bedroom, do the washing-up and have dinner started by the time Timothy gets home. Anything less than that and I feel grubby.

Well, with a whole day to play with, that’s doable. And then, for my own sanity, we plan ONE OTHER THING. Sometimes the ONE OTHER THING is walking down to the weighing clinic. Today, I’ve used up my ONE OTHER THING writing this blog. Or it might be doing some laundry. Or sorting out Henners’ clothes in the nursery. Or finally writing my baby thank you cards (I will do this very soon, honest). Or curling up in bed together and watching some Heroes. Or doing the grocery shopping. Or making cake. Or meeting up with friends.

Of course, if you get through the bare minimum, your ONE OTHER THING, and you’ve still got time left in the day, then you can think up ANOTHER THING, and that’s pretty exciting. Or you can just go and nap, because you’ve earned it. I’m sure this will evolve into something more ambitious as Hennybaby gets older – already, I’m thinking that getting out with the pushchair once a day needs to start being part of our bare minimum – but for now, I need to feel good about my days, and this is what we can manage.

Henry's bare minimum involves much staring.

Any other routine suggestions? And what would make up your bare minimum? Do tell. Hankalicious is now awake, emitting a curious smell and hiccupping in a threatening sort of manner, so we’d better go attend to the bare minimum of Monday.

[I think I’ll be sticking to ‘Henry’, for the time being.]

And Then There Were Three (38 + ?)

One day, a routine hospital appointment turned into a birthday. And out of the bottle came one Henry Giles Jeffcoat, formerly TJ, formerly resident at no. 1, Uterus Way.

I will tell you all about it soon. Until then, all you really need to know is that he has daddy’s ears and feet, does a hilariously unrestrained piggy squeal when he’s annoyed, and smells so delicious it’s all I can do not to sniffle him right up.

I have only accidentally called him TJ four times. I was worried I’d miss him, this baby-bump persona we’d invented and I’d carried around for eight months, but this boy of mine is about ten thousand times better than anything we imagined.

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