Forth trimester diaries…

So apparently the forth trimester is over and we have started using months instead of weeks to describe how old Etta is. There have been good times and lets say more testing times in the first 12 weeks of being a parent and I definitely feel a more confident mum than I did 12 weeks ago. I still don’t feel like I am nailing it…I am not sure you ever do?!

As I type this blog post Etta is asleep in the bed next to me, there are people I have met that will happily tell me we are making a rod for our own back having her in the bed with us so much.  Usually the same people who say carrying them in a sling makes them clingy!

If I have learnt one thing in the last few months it is not to judge other mums, (unless they are walking down the street with fag in hand pushing a buggy). Everyone is coping with this crazy parenthood thing differently and every child is different. The last thing you need when you have had broken/lack of sleep for nearly four months is someone telling you that you are doing it wrong…quite frankly, piss off.

I am taking a bit of inspiration here from the Cheltenhammaman podcast which I have been listening to recently. The good mum, bad mum section of the chat is my favourite bit and it’s always nice to get ideas for good parenting as well reassurance that you are allowed to be human occasionally and not be perfect all of the time.

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With regards to the ‘bad mum’ stuff there is one event which I think will stick in my brain forever (hopefully not in Etta’s) which occurred after our first successful solo Aldi shop. I think of Aldi shopping as an extreme sport and after nailing the speedy packing and repacking of shopping, negotiating car seat to shopping trolley transfers and getting home with no crying I thought we were winning at life. I took Etta into the house, placed her safely into her cot in the sitting room and went back out to get the shopping. The second I shut the front door my stomach dropped to the floor when I realised I had in fact left the keys inside and locked myself out of the house and the baby in the house.

I stared at the wall in the lobby for what felt like an eternity trying to stay calm and think logically, that failing I went next door crying and begging for help from someone currently thinking a lot clearer than me. Kind neighbour firstly made the valid point that no harm was going to come to Etta and we would solve the problem and be in the house in no time (rational thought was escaping me but I knew somewhere in my brain she was right). I didn’t do this by halves as I had also locked my phone inside the house so had no numbers to call anyone who would have a key.

After many phone calls to try to get hold of anyone (all failed) and being told by an emergency locksmith that they could be there sometime that day our kind neighbour decided to call the fire brigade. I wanted the ground to swallow me whole when the great big red truck turned up outside the house (que twitching curtains) and six strapping firemen got out in full gear to help me get into the house.

All was quickly resolved and Etta was non the worse for the ordeal. I was reassured by the fire brigade that they get called out to this sort of thing all the time but I still felt a like a ridiculous human for the rest of the day as I retold the story to my nearest and dearest.

I have lost count of the dizzy things I have done through tiredness, leaving a voicemail on my own phone number is a prime example. I also seem to be incapable of getting dates and times right for things and if I hadn’t had my new mum friends to correct me I would have been stood in many a church hall on my own wondering where all the other mums and babies are.

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Having said all this Etta is thriving and I am loving the freedom of maternity leave, even if I do spend a lot of my days in coffee shops talking baby stuff. I often feel like I can get the end of the day and think I have not achieved anything and need to remind myself that I have kept a small human alive and that is my main job now. I spoke to a fellow blogger when I went to the Cheltenham sling library and she said when she was on maternity leave she saw parenting as a new job she had got and I like the philosophy behind that. It kind of makes you feel better about ignoring the hoovering or the slightly minging bathroom when you can think…well I was just to busy doing my job!

James and I had a chuckle the other night when we described our evening as successful, we had successfully sat in front of the TV with a glass of wine for an hour with the baby asleep upstairs. A few months back a successful evening would have been having friends over for dinner and everyone having a nice time. Funny how your version of ‘success’ can change so quickly.

One of my passions before the arrival of Etta was cooking at home for a crowd, something that I have had to re-evaluate a little since her arrival. I now think in terms of speed of cooking and ease of eating with one hand. One recipe which I would do again which I would recommend was veggie lasagna  basic recipe as follows- IMG_0548

I sweated down onions, garlic, mushrooms, peppers in a pan then added tomato puree. After adding two tins of chopped tomatoes I also threw in fresh bay leaves, oregano,basil,  thyme, red wine vinegar and a teaspoon of Marmite (trust me here), salt and pepper. I let the sauce reduce to a fairly thick consistency before allowing to cool. 

To make the bechamel sauce I make a roux before adding milk to create a fairly thick sauce. When smooth I added some Dijon mustard and an egg yolk to enrich. 

I then layer half the veggie mixture on the bottom of a casserole dish,  placing a layer of lasagna sheets over the top. Followed by a layer of bechamel sauce, veggie sauce and then more lasagne sheets. To finish a final layer of bechemal followed by a generous grating of mature cheddar cheese. I baked for 30 minutes on 180 and leave to stand for 10 minutes or so before serving. 

It’s really easy and also meat free which is something we are trying as a house to do more of. The leftovers are great too, nothing better than being able to dig something tasty out of the freezer that’s not pizza or fish fingers.

Forth trimester, you have been amazing…bring on the next stage (and hopefully more sleep!).

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