We are over half way through April and so it is only right and fitting that I update you with the activities of the Bagnall household. It has been a week or so of getting into routine. Éowyn is back at pre-school the first week since I have returned from paternity leave and so a new regime is in place. As Ezra is still only young (not even 6 weeks yet) and not sleeping through the night (more of that later) it seems completely unfair for Lucinda to attempt to get three children ready and loaded into the car to drop Éowyn off at school. Thankfully my working day is a little flexible so it is not an issue (most of the time) for me to head in for 09:30/ 10:00 and so we are taking full advantage of this. So we concentrate on getting Éowyn washed, dressed and fed and then I take her to pre-school before heading off to work. So far it is working and it means that should we have a bad night then Lucinda doesn’t have to struggle half asleep to herd three children into the car and ensure that Éowyn has everything that she needs, especially if Ezra has decided that 0830 is the time that he wants to go to sleep.
So how likely is it that Ezra will have a ‘bad night’? Not the easiest of questions to answer as it seems to be entirely random. It is not normally night after night but it can be two or three nights in a row followed by a good night. So what is the definition of a good night and likewise a bad night. Before children a good night’s sleep would be in the region of 10 hours, since children 8 hours would be a miracle, since the birth of Ezra 5 hours is unheard of. In fairness to Ezra he is probably a better sleeper than either Éowyn and Amélie. So the current definition of a good night would be Ezra sleeping for 3 to 4 hours, waking up crying, feeding then going back to sleep and both girls oblivious to his cries. A bad night (and we have had a few lately) would be Ezra not sleeping at all, crying for the majority of the night and his cries waking Amélie (and it is usually Amélie first – Éowyn sleeps through his cries). Amélie then gets upset and starts crying and because she is in the same room as Éowyn, Éowyn will wake up. Just what one needs before a full day during a busy period at work all three kids crying in the middle of the night!
This week it hasn’t just be the little ones that have been getting up in the middle of the night. Last Friday we decided to treat ourselves to an Indian takeaway, unfortunately it did not agree with Lucinda’s digestion. Now whether it was food poisoning, norovirus or just her body rejecting the spicy food the symptoms lasted best part of a week. Now obviously, our first concern was Lucinda but, of course as she is the only food source for Ezra out thoughts quickly turned to him. Can she pass the symptoms to him? Should she continue breastfeeding while ill? Should she be cuddling him? So what do we do in the early years of the 21st century when we don’t know something? That’s right we google it. There is very little these days that is ungoogleable (or ogooglebar as the Swedish aren’t allowed to say) and this was no different.
So, ‘should one continue breastfeeding when ill?‘ The overwhelming answer was ‘Yes!’ There are but a handful of conditions that can be passed from mother to child through breastmilk (HIV and HTLV-1 are the only infectious diseases that should prevent breastfeeding). Indeed on the contrary since the mother is fighting an infection her antibodies are in overdrive and these antibodies are passed through the milk to the child giving them a head start in any future fight they may have with a similar infection. It is just important to take care not to pass the infection on through the normal modes of infection, so avoiding coughing, sneezing over the little one and ensuring that hands are washed thoroughly before holding them are vitally important. Obviously one would do that anyway but it was comforting to know that Lucinda should still breastfeed and so she did and Ezra was fine.
So with a poorly mother it was left to Daddy to become primary carer on his two days off. It is always good to have some Daddy time and this was no different. The girls love the Disney programme Jake and the Neverland Pirates and so we played that, with yours truly playing the part of Captain Hook. Amélie took the game to heart (she was Jake) and for the last week she has no longer been calling me Daddy but Captain Hook and keeps trying to steal my treasure. Didn’t realise that my acting skills were that developed! ‘Blast those puny pirates!‘
I also begun to try and widen their taste in music it started off badly, however David Bowie, The Beach Boys and Bob Marley were definite hits but then we found a favourite that eclipsed the others: Sammy David Jnr’s version of Candy Man. I think we listened to it seven times in a row before I decided that enough was enough, I think it was the line ‘You can even eat the dishes‘ that caught Éowyn’s imagination. I told her that it was a cover of a song from a film called ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and gave her a précis of the story and told her that I had the book and if she would like I would read it to her. However because it is a big book it would take over a week to read it. This is the first time that I have read a book to them that is going to take more that a single night, indeed I normally read three short stories to them before bed. I wasn’t sure how they would take to it and whether they would have the attention span to last, no need to worry Éowyn is completely into it and even Amélie looks forward to it however being a little younger Amélie’s attention does wane a little and she has even fallen asleep before the night’s reading has finished. The girls are not the only one enjoying a little Roald Dahl, Daddy is enjoying it too!
The big news of this update is that Éowyn has been accepted at her first choice primary school: Town Farm. It was a difficult choice as Town Farm hasn’t got the best reputation in the area however it’s latest Ofsted report was by far the best in the area and when we toured around the schools it was the most impressive, with great facilities including plenty of computers, a well stocked library and good sporting facilities. Lucinda needed the most convincing for as she has been brought up in the area she is aware of the school’s reputation however the visit and the Ofsted report changed her opinion. There is still a nagging doubt in the back of her mind but we will soon find out whether we have made the correct decision.
However it is probably not the school we have to worry about influencing Éowyn but Éowyn influencing the other children. Éowyn is not only relatively clever but physically larger than the her peers and when she gets frustrated with her friends she can use both to get to own way. Her best friend Raine, however is more than a match for her both physically and cerebrally and they are usually as thick as thieves. If there is something going on those two are usually there or thereabouts, encouraging each other and their peers. Last Friday was an example.
Raine’s mum had offered to bring Éowyn home as Lucinda was still feeling a little tender and as she dropped her off she said that she had been called into Playbox by the teachers. Éowyn and Raine had somehow got hold of a pair of scissors and Éowyn had cut an inch off Raine’s hair. Lucinda apologised but as Raine’s mum said, she wasn’t upset with Éowyn (or Raine for that matter who had encouraged Éowyn to do it) but with the teachers who had left scissors unaided. It could have been worse, at least Raine’s hair will grow back. Just before Easter then had both come home from pre-school with their faces covered in felt-tip pen which took a couple of days to wash off and fade completely. It is never boring around at Chez Bagnall.
So after a winter that seems to have dragged which ended with the coldest March for 50 years the weather has finally turned warm (21ºC and counting!). The girls have their summer dress and their sunscreen on it so it must be time to turn the computer off and play in the garden.
Peace and love