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Friday, 16 December 2011

Bump 35 weeks pregnant!

35 weeks pregnant... 5 to go! I can't believe how fast it's all gone.

The first trimester was a bit nauseating and tiring, but although delighted at the thought of another creation growing inside of me, I didn't give it as much thought and wonder as my first pregnancy. Leon kept me busy enough as it was and I felt like I already understood what was happening- what was developing inside of me. It felt more animalistic than the first time. On another note, there's a huge difference between finding out at 11 weeks that you're surprisingly pregnant, and planning on creating a child. It's hugely romantic.

I love the feeling of second trimester when all that energy kicks in and I found myself bouncing about, very happy- feeling strong and healthy... But then that all flew out the window as my dad had a stroke at the end of July- it was critical and well, he didn't make it. I thought he'd pull through but after a couple of days it didn't happen. I don't know how this affected my foetus but he must have felt an onslaught of emotions and wondered what was up. I talked to my bump a bit just to reassure it, while explaining how sad I was that he wouldn't meet his grandpa. I also spoke to my dad, comatose in hospital, hoping he could hear me, saying my thank yous, sorrys and hopes and fears for the future- anytime I'd think of the future I'd break down, sad that he wouldn't be part of it anymore. It's actually affecting me more recently than at the time.

This last, third tremester, has tired me out a bit- Leon (almost 2) has become more active and engaging, wanting to play on the floor a lot, but I've noticed his games have become more imaginative since I've been doing that and he's content to play by himself again, building cities with towers topped with animals, a huge transport mix, varying bus passengers from people to stones and coins and singing along all the way. I'm enjoying his naptime more whether its a chance to snooze or take a couple of hours for myself. I've certainly got that nesting feeling put together with the likelihood of moving abroad in March. My energetic second trimester is catching up with me now and I'm feeling some back pain, one braxton-hicks contraction that I didn't have last time, and very slow and emotional- missing out on a lot of fun and nights out because I'm preggers and getting that 'useless' feeling about my life purpose blah blah. I snap out of it and am most content when I've cleaned my flat or made a delicious meal... But this isn't how I'd planned my late twenties to be like!

Anyway, I'm due a checkup soon to see how the little brother is getting on, and last time he was still upside down so trying to work out exactly where he is by feeling his movements! It's very hard but this site on belly mapping has been helping clear that up and I intend to determine exactly what's what! It's a great way of understanding your body, bone structure and baby!

And the bump? My, it has grown and won't stop moving- he's a feisty one he is... but I'm not as big as I was with Leon. He was 9lbs 9oz at birth so I'm hoping a smaller bump means smaller baby... (Please excuse the mess and the washing!)

35 weeks Dec 2011
19 weeks Aug 2011

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Top 5 FREE Toddler iPad apps

Since letting Leon play on the iPad I went on a bit of a downloading frenzy choosing from the array of free apps out there for tiny tots. His favourites are as follows:

First Words : Animals
This is actually my favourite as it makes me believe Leon can spell. Letter tiles are scattered around an image and the tot has to drag them to the correct place to spell out a word. The iPad says letter, and tot often repeats after him which is exciting! Free version includes the words cat, bird, keys, cake all of which were some of his first words. Rather simple but cute graphics and has 5 languages (English, Spanish, French, German, Japanese) plus English phonics. Try Japanese characters for a laugh. Cat is pronounced "Ne-Ko". Like this one so much will probs upgrade.

Kids Can Match - Animals
Very noisy memory card game with animal sounds and photos. 2 levels on free version. Can get tedious if toddler is determined but rubbish (and animal sounds go on for ages...) but Leon soon got hang of it and played over and over. This is one of the first he goes to if we bring out the iPad. Not sure why really- it does my head in...

Toddler Shapes
Virtual shape sorter with plenty of encouraging "Woohoo!" and "yay!"s along the way to Bizet's Habanera as a backing track.

Talking Tom
Irritating cat that receives a good beating or drinks milk when prodded. Repeats what toddler says to screen resulting in much laughter.

Seek and Find
Refreshingly hand drawn farm scene with a mixture of exciting and rather mundane actions resulting when toddler touches part of the scene. Donkey kicking tree to make apples fall down, pig farting in lamb's face etc! Good for exploring and although it doesn't do much Leon liked it a lot and I suppose it's like an extended lift the flap book and I like it for its simplicity compared to a lot of other apps that are more in your face. Full version is £1.69 and gives 2 extra scenes and other features.

I must admit that I've been hiding the iPad from Leon and don't really use it when I'm wih him as he's now discovered YouTube which equates to endless Fireman Sam, Teletubbies and irritating nursery rhyme videos.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Sort it out! Recycling rant

Recycling is OH's responsibility but I sometimes go with Leon to empty out our big bags of sorted junk. Living in a commercial street we can't use the big blue and black boxes like most people do locally, and I have to nag hubby to actually empty the bags before they take over our kitchen.

Leon and I enjoy posting the numerous tins, bottles and paper through the bristles and hearing the resulting clunk or smash. However the last time I took him I noticed there were no glass bins so came home with a clinking bagful. I later realised when passing on the bus that actually, glass should be recycled with the metal and plastic: it's now completely mixed recycling.

This irked me slightly as I'd just re-organised my 'recycling station' in my kitchen, setting it out in labelled boxes- I take care to sort it at home only to be mixed up together again with broken glass, tins and plastics. But I also felt like I was losing power to contribute to the recycling process if it's all mixed up when we've become pros at sorting it all out.

The way co-mingled recycling works is damn impressive though. The basics are illustrated simply in the gripping last scene of Toy Story 3 but in reality single-stream recycling is much more high-tech.
Yes the magnets lift out cans and metals, but then optical scanners separate plastics and the Veolia Magpie machine for example, analyses the plastic materials' molecular structure with an infra-red beam to identify the different types, then separates these off with an air jet blowing them off onto another belt processing a massive 5 tonnes an hour! Glass is sorted by colour scanners. Kewl.

This innovation hugely increases volume processed- an overall winner, PLUS there are massive cost savings in collection and transportation of one type of bin AND more likelihood that more materials will be recycled as the machine can adapt to other materials depending on their make up. Increasing plastic types are now possible to sort which was a major problem leading to overflowing landfills.

So basically we don't really need to sort anymore if our borough offers mixed recycling. Hmm... I still need to post items one-by-one at the big bins though as they have individual holes in them making us trawl through mixed potentially broken glass, tins etc... so actually I should really still sort? [I then saw a guy simply lift the bin lid up and pour in his junk. Now I do the same but feel like a rebel as only one of the 3 bins is unlocked.]

Aside from reduced empowerment, I also feel like it shouldn't come to this massive waste processing system. WTF is happening to the reduction in packaging we've been promised by the retail industry? There should be more conscious efforts to make REUSABLE packaging than recyclable. A place to take your wine and beer bottles at least to be washed and reused rather than enter a long and expensive process of recycling. If supermarkets are playing such a big part in our lives as everyone tells us, they could become a helpful portal closing the loop between customer and producer the other way round- where we give them back their packaging to be used again...

Has my life really become this boring that I'm talking about waste management? Perhaps. I've always been concerned about the issue but reading back I realise it's not the most enthralling topic so apologies, but it riles me. Rant over.