Birthplans have been the topic of much debate over the past few years. I’ve seen so many reasons given for why we shouldn’t write them: they set you up, they give you false expectations, they are rarely read anyway and mean nothing to medical staff, just to name a few. But I honestly believe in writing a birth plan, and I think every expectant mother should write one.
Okay, SHOULD is perhaps a little more prescriptive than I intended, but I think birth plans are important if only for one reason: They make you think about birth, and make you take some responsibility and an active role in your birth rather than birth being something that happens to you.
I’m 23 weeks pregnant today, and in the back of my mind I’m starting to think of baby names. I must admit that it’s not something I enjoy thinking about. I should, but I don’t. With Ameli, we didn’t know her gender until she was born and as a result we found it really difficult to choose a name. She stayed ˜Button’ for five days after birth. We don’t know Squidgy’s gender either, and rather than put myself through the stress of it all again, I’ve decided to not even think about it until I’m holding my bundle of Squidge in my arms. Yeah right. The thought does cross my mind, and every now and then I catch myself paying close attention to the credits at the end of a movie to see what other people are called.
It was such a nightmare finding one name we liked, now we have to do it all again?!
My little girl is two years old. In most circles, that fact is normally followed by ghostly ‘oooh’ sounds.
That bothers me.
It bothers me that there’s an assumed reaction to becoming two years old. It bothers me that an avalanche of bad behaviour is prophetically cast over wary mothers and unsuspecting toddlers. It bothers me that it seems an inexplicable and inescapable fact: The next year of your life is going to suck. Good luck!
Let me tie a couple of thoughts together for you, and see whether you can see where I’m coming from by the end of it:
Can you believe we’re 21 weeks into this thing already?
I look fat, not pregnant. Thanks for that. I have to unbutton the top of my jeans, but so far that’s about it. No maternity clothes â€“ for which I’m grateful. I’m dreading forking out for winter maternity clothing I’m going to use for just a few months. So maybe it’s a good idea that you’re small.
I’ve been to-ing and fro-ing in my head on the subject of money lately. It’s just such a hard topic to discuss really, without people becoming uncomfortable, or the subject actually causing rifts in friendships. But a few things have happened in my life recently that I thought I could share with you and while in effect there are three different thought processes, they’re what’s been milling about my mind, so here goes.
1) Soon after Ameli was born, I started thinking about money and about how having it or not having it affects my parenting â€“ or at least the things around my parenting. If I had limitless means, or even enough means to justify it, my daughter would have only wooden toys. She’d eat only organic food, and wear only organic clothing. She’d probably go to the best school just so that contacts with the â€œright peopleâ€ could set her up for life.
I know, I know. You’ve been sitting there wondering what’s happened to me. Right? I mean, you noticed I was missing, didn’t you?
Well, these last couple of weeks have been incredibly busy. Â Coming back from South Africa with renewed energy and new thoughts for the future, I’ve been keeping those thoughts pretty close to my chest for a number of reasons, but am now ready to reveal some of them.
Of course, before anything else could happen, Ameli was turning two â€“ we had to celebrate. Something that couldn’t really happen with half a house still full of boxes. So I spent a week finishing off the house and party planning. We then had the Winnie the Pooh themed party, which was great fun.
Ameli is loving Winnie the Pooh, ever since we went to see the Winnie the Pooh movie in April this year. As a result, and since we live in a beautiful woodland area, we decided to have a 100 Acre Wood Party.Â Here’s the low down on how we hosted a fab party:
We were going to have the party in the woods, butÂ a lot of factors combined and we ended up having it in our (rather overgrown) garden.
Guests were a mix of our friends without children, and a few friends with children, so I had to try to balance the snacks to not just be kids food.
We had the party from 2 â€“ 4 so that we didn’t have to provide lunch as such.
I went a little over the top, I’ll admit, but I knew early in the year already what the theme would be, so over the course of months I was able to pick up bits and pieces at discount rates, sales and so on. We have a “present cupboard” where I put things I pick up throughout the year, ready to be presents for people, or in this case, party supplies.
We had a goody bag, with toys from eBay, a Winnie the Pooh themed purse for each child from a party shop in South Africa, crayons I found in a sale, and I separated the pages out of a couple of Winnie the Pooh sticker books and added a few pages to each goody bag. I found Winnie the Pooh badges in another shop somewhere, which we’ll be using to close the bags, ready to be given out when guests leave.
We had a few oversized characters for decoration (although these are part of Ameli’s toy collection anyway) and various other little bits and pieces collected over the last few months.
Food, for me, is the central point of a party. It’s the thing that brings people together, and for me, good food makes the party.
For this occasion, I must admit I had very little time and very little energy, so I had to prepare most of my snacks in advance, or choose things that would be easy to make, and easy to eat.
Being all about Winnie the Pooh, and Winnie the Pooh being a lover of mainly honey, I themed the foods around honey. My selections for the children were:
And for the adults:
- Basil, Tomato and Mozarella pies
- Feta and Cheese Florentines
- Proscuitto and Paremesan Florentines
- Cheese and Pesto Florentines
- Chocolate Cupcakes
- A selection of fresh fruits and berries
- A Winnie the Pooh Tea-Party 2nd Birthday Cake
- (And a Gluten free version)
The party was only two hours, and most of the children were under 3, so I didn’t worry about party games â€“ instead we just had all Ameli’s toys in the playroom available, and hired a bunch of large outdoor garden toys from our local Toy Library and let everyone play as they wished.
There was a lot of sugary food, but also plenty healthy options, the toys weren’t particularly eco, but at least we hired them and can return them, which I think is a great lesson in recycling and sustainability.
Overall, I’m really happy with the party, and if we were to do it again or with a bigger group I’d have some of the adults dressed in Winnie the Pooh character costumes, but as a small and intimate party I think it was great, and most importantly, Ameli had a wonderful time.
I’ve started this letter to you so many times already, and keep deleting what I’ve written because what I’m writing just doesn’t quite match up to the intensity I’m feeling. This has been a full-on month in our story.
You are two years old. We had a birthday party for you at home. It was a Winnie the Pooh themed party and despite being really tired, weak and still somewhat ill, I put on my best face for the day, and tried to make it a good day for you, whether you’ll remember it or not. (more…)
Well, we’ve made it to and through 19 weeks, and it’s been one heck of a busy week.
Let’s see â€“ on Thursday, which is your â€˜official’ 19 week date, we had a visit from our lovely midwife. She checked my blood pressure, which was quite low, but normal for me. The urine test was perfect, and my favourite part of the visit? Listening to your heart beat. Daddy came down from the office, and him and Ameli and I listened to your heart beat. It’s strong and regular and beautiful.
That was really great. I don’t have another appointment until November now, I think, but I’m trusting in you and in me and in our ability to pull through this together. The midwife, Jane, thinks you’re quite small, and the scan shows you on the smaller side of the scales, which worries me a bit as your sister was on the highest side of the scale! I’m sure it’s fine â€“ you’re a different person, maybe youÂ have your Granny Geraldine’s heightâ€¦ she’s nice and small. I’m trying not to worry. I know worry does neither of us any good.