Day 5…

Also known as
– “Oh, did they re-float the Pasha Bulka
– “is it Thursday today?”
– “What do you mean you’re doing a double shift”
day.

Day 2, 4 July: My little jaundice boy…

Day 4, 5 July: First bath for new boys…

and for first time big brothers.

There are two quite different posts I could write today.

The first is in the vein of a “things I never want to forget about this time” post with all things about snuffly, snuggly babies, protective, gentle big brothers and that unsaid strengthening of the bond between you and your partner when you look at this new life you have made.

The other is more typical of my “holy bat crap this is hard” posting penchant in which I discuss
– how Chef went back to work on a double shift today (so it’s just me at the coal face from 10am-11pm),
– how Mum went to lunch w/ friends (at Chef’s) today
– how Chef’s parents have gone away for the weekend
– how I had in my head Chef was only doing dinner so had organised a visit to the GP for Grover for his (standard) heart check-up.
– how just as I was bracing myself to leave the house with four children on my own for the first time (who do I put in first – Jasper or Grover?, how do I get the out at the other end? Do I put Jasper or Grover in the stroller? Would the boys be able to help me w/ Jasper at crossing roads etc if he’s not in the stroller? Maybe I should put the baby in the Baby Bjorn and Jasper in the stroller? What am I going to wear? What fits? Oscar doesn’t have shoes on, oh well, his Ugh boots will do. Fuck, now Jasper’s asleep, so I’m going to wake him. Right, so he’ll have to go in the stroller so I’ll need to Baby Bjorn… who’s that coughing?) Jasper did an almighty vomit in his cot.
– how it actually takes some form of cognitive function to decide what to do when you’re half changing a child covered in spew and running a bath for them and the newborn on the lounge starts to cry.
– how a seven year old child is THE BEST when it comes to negotiating the management of two babies.
– how I’m actually doing OK considering every.single.member (except the baby, which is worrying me because this kind of respiratory illness in a newborn is not good. I’ve been there before w/ Felix) of this family is sick. Oscar and Jasper are the worst affected, Oscar is still pretty out of it, Chef sounds like he’s coughing up a lung but has done nothing to make himself better so its just shitting me w/ him, Felix has been coughing the longest and I feel incredibly negligent in how I’ve just left him to weather it and I developed it on Sunday but am doing so many salt water throat gargles it seems to have plateaued.
– how we had ‘The Unsettled Night’ on Wednesday night but hey! I’m here, I got through it! On only about 2 hours of total sleep scattered across the whole night! I can now realise it’s just one night out of many and so on and so forth. Last night was heading in the same direction but was not as sleep-depriving and I haven’t got cranky, cried or yelled at anyone! (written at around 2pm)
– how tonight I was doing so well, dinner was prepared when Grover was sleeping and boys were playing, kitchen was cleaned, dining table cleared, living area vacuumed. And then Jasper, who is basically (barely) tolerating Grover’s presence, threw Clarabel** at Grover’s head. After kinda thumping him with Hippo. After a few pokes prods thwacks. Which was enough, so I sauntered ran flew across the room, boomed a “no, not acceptable, nice hands, move away, insert other core phrases on high rotation with toddler”, swept grabbed him in my arms, took him to his room, put him in his cot and turned off the light. He didn’t even cry he was so shocked bewildered pissed. I felt so awful, knowing I was handling it all wrong, assuring myself I was establishing all manner of sibling issues and so on, that eventually I went into Jasper, scooped him up and just sat on the bed with him and sobbed. God it felt good. It felt even better when I felt his little hand patting my back as I was patting his. Anyway, I made myself fell better by having a little conversation with him about being gentle with Baby Grover and only cuddles and kisses for the baby. Jasper made himself feel better by holding my face and saying oh so calmly, “No”. Hmmm, what an interesting ride this is going to be.

Now to the soft and snuggly post.
On Thursday, as Chef and I just focused on getting through the day after virtually no sleep, we looked outside to see the three bigger boys playing together outside. Jasper was sitting on the edge of the trampoline garbling away to the other two, who were building tunnels and lands in the sandpit. “Look at that dynamic,” I said. “Yeah, brothers,” said Chef.

Oscar finally asked for a cuddle w/ Grover yesterday.
This means he is recovering from the trauma of seeing Grover on Monday morning when Mum brought him into the room literally less than a minute after he’d been born, despite specific requests not to do so until all the blood, guts and grease on the rod so to speak had been cleared away. The result? Oscar having diarrhea, vomiting and just ‘checking out’* of the whole process.

You know that newborn snuffle? and the little sighs they give? the cross-eyed drunken contentedness? How they just ‘fit’ in that crook of your neck? Yeah…

Grover grunts when he poos, just like Felix used to as a newborn. He also does farts that make your eyes bleed.

The sleep I sleep at the moment is a bizarre blend of intensity that actually makes me wake from sleeping. Seriously. I fall so deeply asleep so quickly I make myself wake up because something internally says “this can’t be good”.

That’s not very snuggly is it? But there you have it.

In other news, the early discharge midwife program has been fantastic. A midwife has visited me at home these past three days and they have been wondrously lovely. Today, I discovered that Grover has inherited my gene for a remarkable ability to gain weight in record time. While not quite back at birthweight, he’s gained something like 250g in the two days. That’s my boy.

In a desperate bid to restore some semblance of health in this household…
the first lemons – ever – off our tree, planted s.e.v.e.n. years ago.

Warmed lemon and honey to ease sore throats
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup of boiling water, slightly cooled
1 tsp of honey or more to taste

– mix together and sip to soothe sore throats and ease harsh coughs.

And because the weight loss program to end all weight loss programs begins next week.

Chocolate sauce
300g chocolate
300ml pouring cream
3 tblsp butter
a dash of brandy

– combine everything in a double boiler
– stir as it all melts into chocolaty goodness
– let it cool slightly
– pour over vanilla ice cream***

and just because

* there is not a doubt in my mind that part of Oscar’s malaise has been related purely to shock in terms of his complete inability to handle hospitals/blood etc as well as the respiratory virus.
** As in Thomas’ carriage.
*** Or, if your mother comes back from shopping with a punnet of glorious raspberries and tells you to eat them all before the boys get back, do so, but dip them into this uncious divineness first.

40+7, otherwise known as 41 FREAKIN’ weeks

Quick post to be updated once children are in bed. But am still here. In one piece, with an incubus now probably the size of a three month old.

Another day of incubating = another day of baking.

After (watching) three games of (Felix playing) Auskick this morning did nothing to bring on labour the day has just passed as the many before it.

Dinner was the roasted chicken I did the other week but without the sausages, and with broccoli rather than the peas and lettuce.

Dessert was my take on Eton Mess – about 500ml of cream whipped to soft peaks with the nine-hour meringues that I roughly crushed up folded through as well as a raspberry sauce and a strawberry sauce I made. Then topped with some sliced fresh strawberries.

Raspberry Sauce
250g frozen raspberries
2 tblsp icing sugar
– blend until smooth

Strawberry Sauce
50g caster sugar
100ml water
200g strawberries (approx), finely sliced
– heat the sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved
– add the strawberries and cook until the sauce thickens slightly and goes the most lovely shade of pink

I also made our family’s boiled fruit cake, although it’s looking a little dark as I got caught up in the latest episode of Big Love, the first series I have committed to in about two years and to which I am wholly addicted, although I can’t stand Nicki and know it is all going to end badly.

Boiled Fruit Cake
This is one of the first recipes I ever learnt to cook. It came from my Nan, to my Mum and to me. I’ve changed it slightly, but only just and I still gook it in the same tin as my Mum did.

600g mixed dried fruit (I normally use sultanas, currents, raisins in varying ratios of the total amount, always working to sultanas being the most, with a handful of glace cherries)
6oz butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tin crushed pineapple
1 cup hot water
1 tsp bicarb
2 eggs
1 cup plain flour, level
1 cup SR flour, heaped

– Preheat oven to 180C and line a 24cm square cake tin.
– place the fruit, sugar, pineapple, butter and water in a saucepan, bring to the boil and cook for 2-3 minutes.
– add the bicarb, then cool.
– fold through the eggs, then the flours.
– Bake for 1 – 1.5hrs.

In our family there is a tradition of icing the cake with some homely lemon icing (as opposed to fancy royal icing etc).

40+6

** UPDATED **

Everything feels amplified today.
They’re cutting down a tree about two blocks away and I was very close to going and asking them to stop it. Stop it NOW.
If walking wasn’t such a chore.
The boys seem louder than usual.
The requests for food, drink, football, tv, xbox, computer, food, food, food seem to be coming more often than the usual 3 minute alotment.
Chef/Felix/Jasper’s coughing seems so much more irritating today than usual.
Mum eating five of the vanilla biscuits in quick succession (granted, they are mini ones) really burred me up. On the inside of course.
The ‘there’s nothing on TV’ reality is really reality and making me cranky.
My carpal tunnel feels particularly ‘sharp’ today. That’s the only word I can think of to describe the combined pins and needle numbness.
I just have an undercurrent of irritation that feels like it could quite easily erupt into a complete meltdown at any moment, probably triggered by something like someone looking at me.
*****
After making the vanilla biscuits last night, which almost killed me as baby clearly moved back into the posterior position and caused impressive sciatica that almost made me fall over, I had three egg whites left over.
So, naturally, I made meringues.
Which I then promptly forgot about until this morning at 7am.
We’ve called them ‘the nine and a half hour meringues’, which will be turned into a very nice Eton Mess type dish this evening. With strawberries.

Meringues
3 egg whites
150g caster sugar
– beat the egg whites to soft peaks
– add the caster sugar gradually, allowing each addition to be fully incorporated
– either put into piping bag and pipe shapes onto a baking tray, or simply spoon amounts onto the tray
– bake in a 110C degree oven for 30 minutes. Although after 9.5 hours while they are quite brown on the inside, they’re still quite tasty.
*****
Midwife check-up is this afternoon at 1pm.
*****
All fine at the check-up, it was quiet on labour floor which seemed a bit surreal.
I am so very tired tonight.
I know it will horrify some of you, but tonight I finally got the baby clothes I pulled out the other day into an actual drawer.
I had this absolute compunction to do it. In that it HAD to be done RIGHT AWAY.
Maybe it’s a sign.
Maybe the fact it’s a blue moon is a sign.
I do feel different tonight, perhaps that is a sign.
The boys are hanging around me very closely. Sitting right on top of me, head on my arm, hand on my belly. Maybe that’s a sign.
Jasper isn’t well. He’s got a temperature of 39C. Maybe that’s a sign.
I know the end of this pregnancy, my last, is looming.
I am both relieved and sad at the same time. It sounds so strange to say that, but I guess it is all part of that passing of time. I am so very excited about our life as a family of six that it can take my breath away and my heart race. I am overwhelmed, daunted and inspired by who I will become as the mother to four children. Four! I always dreamed of having four children so the fact it is about to become a reality is something I am so very chuffed about.
I know I’m about to be in a hell.of.a.lot.of.pain and that is scaring me probably a lot more than I am willing to let myself admit. Let the baby come. It’s that feeling of being totally out of control as the pain grips every single ounce of your being. Let the baby come. A pain so intense everything else disappears. Nothing else exists. Let the baby come. That feeling that if I move even a hair of a millimetre part of me will break, literally crack in two or a hundred pieces it doesn’t matter. Let the baby come. That feeling of the baby moving downwards, when you move from the grip of agony to the realm of anticipation. Let the baby come. Knowing that I can do it, that I have done it three times prior, is doing little to lessen my anxiety about the whole shebang. But you know? When it actually starts, all that anxiety, all the ‘I don’t know if I can do it again’ will disappear as the mantra returns and my body takes charge once more. Let the baby come.
Maybe all this waxing lyrical is a sign.

It’s official

the necessity (cleaning) has shifted to nesting. Tonight I dusted. Wet dusted even. The sideboard and the top of the piano and all the photo frames. All of them. They’re all back up, after I collapsed them all down into piles in the darkness of my last depression and the crap and dust and disorganisation was too much. That and I vacuumed, slightly rearranged the living room and have done three loads of washing.
*****
You should see my cankles today!
*****
What to do when it’s raining and cold? Make and bake.

Passionfruit butter
4 egg yolks
200g caster sugar
200g butter
grated rind of one lemon
juice from 10 passionfruit
pulp and juice from 1 passionfruit
– put the pulp of the 10 passionfruit into a sieve and push out the juice (I used a muddling stick and it worked a treat)
– melt the butter in a double saucepan
– mix the yolks, sugar, rind and juice together
– pour into the butter, add the last passionfruit (seeds and all) stir constantly for about 20 minutes or until thickened
– makes about 500ml.

Damper
3 cups SR flour
pinch of salt
90g butter
1 cup milk
– rub the butter through the flour
– fold in the milk with a palate knife
– tip onto the kitchen bench and knead lightly and quickly for it to come together
– pat out to a 15cm disc
– back in a hot oven for 10 minutes, turn heat down to moderate and bake for a further 15-2o minutes
– serve with passionfruit butter or lashings of butter and golden syrup.
(that’s the passionfruit butter in the background)
*****
Today I was over at Blackbird’s place and my curiosity finally got the better of me re the Rooster and Cockroll picture/link so I ended up at Schmutzie’s, which then lead me to Sweet | Salty and my heart has been breaking ever since.
*****
Scenes from today

Out the kitchen window
The boy? Decided today was a day to eat. As opposed to most days when a couple of dry cruskits and bottles of milk cut it.
Granted, in this photo he doesn’t look that impressed with his raisins, but really, he ate. For dinner? T.h.r.e.e. serves of lasagne.

The passionfruit were exquisite:
It was just me and this glorious little ray of destructive sunshine today:

OK, it’s not from today, but this photo? this photo was taken on Saturday and I just love it:

Just because…

Chef’s mum gave me a bag of lemons the other day.
I discovered Elegant Sufficiency the other day and she made her version.
I felt like baking.

I made my old faithful – Lemon Sauce Cake.

It is delicious but has done absolutely nothing for my wretched heartburn.
Or my sausage feet.
Or my numb fingers.
*****
One of the lovely things about being on maternity leave has been the discovery of new blogs and indulging in my pipedream delusions of getting into craft activities. More on this later. Maybe