Baxter turns three

One day I know I'm going to thank heavens for this blog. For the memories captured here when my filling in of baby books is patchy at best. When I remember that I abandoned scrapbooking when Brodie was 9 months old. And I'll be so happy that the me of today found a few stolen minutes to record this stuff here.

Baxter turned three this week. He loved the balloons. He loved going swimming and choosing a Pokemon toy and having people bring him gifts. We got him a car garage and pirate ship which he has already played with for hours so we are patting ourselves on the back for getting that one right. 

Every day since his birthday he's run a chubby little finger along the window sill where his cards are lined up, chatting to each one, no doubt remembering the fun we had and looking forward 362 days when we can do it all again. His stature may be small but his character is giant. He is not to be overshadowed. Not that he's loud, especially not in a crowd. He knows his own mind, is firm in his illogical three year old logic. He knows how to make us all laugh, he loves to make us laugh. He loves stories and cuddles and food. You know, the good things in life.

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He wanted a PJ Masks cake. Ebay delivered with these plastic play figures and my hands are still faintly blue from making that blue fondant icing. No pictures please. Sigh.

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Luckily a few days later Baxter did agree to let me get my camera out - well, it only cost me a few chocolate coins. I complain there are few photos of me with the kids - but I took this one with the self timer. I love it - his wee face is just dreamy. I'm not looking my best but I know my kids won't care. One day I hope Baxter will look at this and smile. Anyhoo, onto the birthday boy.

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He is fantastically, whole-heartedly and wonderfully three. Although if you ask him how old he is he might well say 'cute'. I did tell you he'll do anything for a laugh. 

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Happy Birthday Baxter Andrew

Baxter is born

What follows is the birth story I wrote in June 2015. Don't ask me why it has taken me so long to hit publish but as it's 2 sleeps until Baxter turns 3 it seems fitting to do it now......

Ok, so before we start. I didn't take my camera with me to the hospital. Disgraceful I know. But in my defence I was only in hospital for 10 hours. In January,  overnight and there was a powercut. So no nice light to take photos of my beautiful boy. That and the fact he was purple for a loooooong time with 2 bloodshot eyes, but we'll get to that part.

At exactly 39 weeks I thought I was in labour. I had all day tightenings which were increasingly painful. So much that we asked the grandparents to step in on childcare. But no dice. Even though I was up all night by the morning it had all died away.

One week later, at exactly 40 weeks I woke up and as soon as I stepped out of bed I knew the baby was coming that day. He felt so low, and I just knew.

Brodie went to school in the morning and because of train problems Greig was working from home.  I played with Grier and made  lunch. Around lunchtime I started to notice some cramps which ramped up over the next few hours. I started knitting a cardigan for Grier with lovely purple wool I got for Christmas. The pattern kept my mind off the contractions and I noted my row numbers and timed the contractions on my phone.

We made tea for the kids and once again called the grandparents into action (thank you!). I had a check of the hospital bags and Greig finished off the work he had to do knowing he would likely be on paternity leave by the time Monday rolled around. I called the labour ward to let them know what was going on and they agreed I should labour at home for as long as I was happy to.

Earlier in the day Grier had asked to make a chocolate cake - which we did and Greig had just settled down with a slice and some coffee when I heard a loud pop. My waters had broken. We just looked at each other because this had never happened before! And I had always claimed that if my waters broke on their own we might perhaps be in for a swift labour.....

I had no socks on so shouted at Greig to get me socks. The memory of which makes me smile as he ran about in some panic looking for socks and clean clothes for me to wear. We called the labour ward back and they advised we come in although the lovely midwife did mention something about third babies sometimes being 'tricky'.......

Into the car with our bags. I was chatting and we laughed. Even though I was having regular painful contractions, on both my previous trips to hospital in labour I had been much further on and there was no chatting, just focus on the task in hand. Also my waters broke in hospital the previous two times and neither Greig nor I anticipated how soggy the car seat would end up or the fact that I would leave a trail of amniotic fluid wherever I went. I always thought that only happened in the movies.  I was really self conscious at this point, again not something I had felt before on making it hospital!

We made ourselves comfortable - I had time to change into my nightie - again a first in labour for me. I was checked and the midwife said I was about 6cm dilated - quick maths time - so 4 hours to go until the next stage. It was already nearly 10pm and 4 hours seemed like an awful long time to me at that point. The staff  pretty much retreated and left us in quiet to labour which I really appreciated. I was calm and trusting that everything would happen in it's own time. I remember texting with family and sharing a joke with my brother in law.

Very quickly though things seemed to progress.  Within an hour I was almost ready to push and made Greig and the midwife quickly snigger as I complained it was taking ages. Time seemed to tunnel up and I knew things were happening quickly and I wanted it to be over and have my baby but at the same time I felt a little out of control. Not that anyone was in control except my baby boy. He was born in a rush, all at once it seemed. He was taken by midwives and checked quickly and given back to me to hold. He was only out of my arms for probably 30 seconds but it felt like an hour.

I was worried he was very blue but he pinked up quickly and I was completely staggered at the fact he seemed huge! He was in fact over 9lb, nearly 2lbs heavier than Brodie and Grier. Which was a shock!

A very kind midwife offered me tea. And said yes please! One of the very few photos we have is me with a cup of tea in hand and my huge, still faintly blue, beautiful, squishy, perfect newborn. I had told everyone and anyone who would listen that he was a boy although we never found out at our scan, it was indeed gratifying to find out he was a baby boy indeed! And we were able to let everyone know Baxter Andrew had arrived, safely, rapidly, on his due date 9th January 2015, at 23.32.

I had one of the three best showers of my life and packed away my nightie and ridiculous white slippers. Put on my comfy clothes and settled down in the chair with my tiny boy. I opened the blinds just slightly and saw that it was snowing gently. There was a powercut in the hospital so there was generator noise and emergency lighting. It also snowed on the day Brodie was born. Greig slept a little bit but I was high on my hormones and adrenaline and excitement still so I watched my baby sleep and fed him when he stirred - so easy third time round. In a few hours the paperwork was done and we were able to dress our boy in the softest while velour sleepsuit and snowsuit with a hat knitted  by Granny. We fastened him into the car seat we brought his brother and sister home in and leave the labour ward a few hours after we arrived, 3 now instead of 2. I'm so grateful for the care of the staff on the labour ward, they were incredibly respectful of my wishes and let me be peaceful and quiet and let me enjoy those beautiful first hours with Baxter. A very special experience.

Then we drove straight to Granny and Granda's house. I will never forget the scene, walking through their living room door finding, barely 12 hours after leaving Brodie and Grier with their grandparents all snuggled up on the couch before 7am and presenting then with a new baby brother. It was magical for me to see their faces. And I couldn't have planned for a more lovely introduction.

The recovery for number 3 was pretty good. I probably tried to do too much too early but I was keen to keep things normal for the bigger kids. Keen to prove I could do it all. And acutely aware that we had major building work due to start 6 weeks after Baxter was born. With hindsight I probably should have rested more and respected the body that had safely carried and delivered my new baby and given myself time to recover more fully.  If you have a friend or relative who has newly delivered a baby perhaps gently (or not so gently) remind them to be easy on themselves and remind them there's no medal for struggling through when you're exhausted. Take them food, text them encouragement, purposefully ignore their messy house, rock their baby for twenty minutes whilst they put their feet up - a hardship I know!

Oh and it was about 3 weeks before Baxter was consistently pink and didn't have bloodshot eyes. Big baby, exiting birth canal in a hurry, apparently it happens. But it sort of broke my heart even though it was harmless and not my fault. 

I know I said he was huge but looking back at the evidence - he was teeny tiny really.

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Christmas 2017

I think I probably say this ever year but this Christmas was the best one yet. Despite all of us being ill and having dirty floors on Christmas Day, the whole thing was fab.

I learned that Santa still comes if your fridge is of questionable cleanliness. I realised that the children can survive perfectly well on chocolate buttons and cheerios for a remarkably long time. That being left to play for days on end is exactly what the kids want. That I should make it a priority to spend time with loved ones and welcome people over the holidays to really feel 'Christmassy'.

It hasn't been perfect. There's a list of people I failed to see or visit, there was bickering and frayed tempers, my step count for the past week has been dismal and I'm 90% chocolate and gluten free Christmas cake at this point. I wrote a long list of things I'd like to bake which didn't happen. My December Daily memory album is unfinished. I could go on but what would be the point.

Good enough is fine, fantastic actually. It's all about how you choose to see things. It's all about watching Danger Mouse or Thomas and his Friends or Barbie. It's about reading new books and building new toys and binge watching Netflix with no guilt. Pyjamas until lunchtime or beyond. Sales shopping from the comfort of the couch. Enjoying the droopy, lopsided tree. Making the most of 'it' while it lasts.

I think it's a secret of adulthood that there will always be more Christmas. That lovely warm feeling we try to capture in a bottle to keep for later. Future Christmas' might not look like the one just past but there will no doubt be magic and love and laughter.  Photos!

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This was our pre Christmas celebration with my Dad's side of the family before they jetted off to Dubai. Kids had great fun with cousins and ate smarties and cake. Obvs.

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Having Grier to help me set the table on Christmas Eve was lovely. She's quite into faffing with table ware and placecards and candles.

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Christmas morning at home

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Then on to Granny and Granda's for a delicious Christmas lunch, aunties, uncles, cousins and friends. And then home to cuddle with with a very soft, huge penguin.

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Hope your Christmas was exactly what you imagined it would be. 

Please don't strangle him......

It's that time of year again. I need to start writing Christmas cards so I don't end up hyperventilating in early December at my 8ft long to do list. And for cards I need a photo of the Cameron smalls, preferably smiling, preferably with clean faces and preferably with no older sibling doing actual bodily harm to Baxter. It's a lofty aspiration I know.

So today was the day. It was sunny - too sunny. What happened to nice bright, cloud diffused light Scotland? Either dull and grey or eye wateringly bright. I know, I'm never happy.

We went in hunt of a nature filled beauty spot and ended up a mile from home sitting on an old towel. All the glamour.

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I'll keep trying :)

On this day

I recently acted as photographer at this lovely wedding.

Being asked to take photographs at a wedding is probably not all that uncommon for amateur photographers. I'm acutely aware that being snap happy and being a professional are not the same thing. The bride is my Step Mum's sister, a lady I've referred to as 'Auntie' since I was Grier's age. I really wanted to do it, I was really flattered to be asked and I emphasised many times my worries that I wasn't up to the standard she might be hoping for. And truly when I was editing these I can not see past all the missed focus points and off colours and lighting mistakes. I shot with my camera on auto focus because I was worried I would have too much to think about without adding toggling focus points on top. I was right, I had way too much to think about. 

Beyond the technical aspects of getting the camera to do what I want it to do, the other aspect of taking good photos - perhaps particularly at weddings is getting people to pose well. Absolutely not what I'm good at. Luckily the bride and groom beamed the whole day. I went with the shoot as many frames as you can and fingers crossed one might be ok. Or maybe 2. Cath agreed to let me share a couple with you, so here you go, my first foray into wedding photography! It was exciting and lovely to be part of such a lovely day. And has prompted me to read and think about so many things. I'm not sure I'll ever be finished mastering photography.

 

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Cath asked me to make her bouquet, from feathers! It suited her and their wedding so well.