It’s weird, looking at Elfie now you don’t see a baby anymore. You see a toddler, a mini-person. Especially when she’s dressed in the next size up of 18 months-2 years clothes which seem seem so much more geared towards making toddlers look like children rather than babies. Thank goodness for onesies which I will be keeping her in forever – she’s always my baby in her onesie.
Elfie is growing so fast and can now walk if you hold her hand, last week she even took a few steps on her own which made me come over massively Proud Mummy-like. The pace at which she’s developing is insane, she didn’t want to walk two weeks ago and can still go a whole day without walking unaided – she’s in no rush to become mobile which is absolutely fine by me.
We’ve experienced plenty of health scares recently which have been terrifying but at the same time have taught us more abut how to deal with Elfie when she goes in to an adrenal crisis, which is when she starts becoming ill. Normally when we come down with a virus or an infection our bodies have a mechanism to kick-start the healing process but Elfie’s body is missing the ability to deliver the initial burst of adrenaline needed, meaning she becomes gravely ill very quickly. She takes a maintenance dose of medication to counteract this but when she’s ill she needs to be given this adrenalin manually.
Nightmare number one was when she had her flu jab – we woke up at 8.30 realising she hadn’t stirred (her usual wakeup time is between 5 and 6) and when we rushed to her she was floppy and weak. This was the first time I injected her with her emergency intramuscular dose of cortisol which was terrifying but the immediate effect was amazing.
Nightmare number two found us in A&E a week later with a very poorly child. It transpired that she’d had tonsillitis and an ear infection and needed another emergency cortisol dose, which we didn’t have at home as our doctor wouldn’t prescribe her the medication without seeing her first (naturally the wait for an appointment was 2.5 weeks). More drama ensued when the paeds nurses refused to give her injection intramuscularly as directed on her emergency notes – they wanted to put an IV in her hand instead. We refused, Elfie has the trickiest veins (blood tests are horrendous) and it has taken hours for consultants to get IVs in her before, plus we knew that shortly after her IM injection she would perk up and there’d be no need for further medication. So as we were going against medical advice they agreed to prescribe us with her medication but I had to inject it myself. In the hospital. Whilst being watched by a nurse. And as we predicted within an hour she was back to normal and they released us after another hour of observation. It is so tough being in that situation and knowing you are behaving like ‘that’ pushy dickhead parent, but as what she has is so rare I feel it’s necessary. And I always apologise for being so ‘assertive’ afterwards.
Since then we’ve had a long night of baby sick (caused by coughing from a sore throat so no hospitalisation required) and some pretty awful teething episodes but apart from that she’s been good. I think I’m almost at the stage where I feel comfortable enough with her medical situation to be able to take her abroad, albeit preferably somewhere English-speaking with good medical facilities.
Elfie’s language skills aren’t that brilliant at the moment; when I first got pregnant I envisaged that by this time, with the baby moving and kicking, we’d be able to curl up on the sofa together and talk to Elfie about her new baby brother and how exciting it will be for her. We could certainly do that but I expect she’d be clamouring to get down so she can go and blow her nose on the carpet on the stairs, or give the living room rug a cuddle. I asked her if she was an alien today and she said “yeah”, so I don’t think she’ll understand the new baby before it arrives.
Elfie with Bryony‘s little girl Frankie, at a recent ShopStyle event
Her vocabulary has expanded a little to include “nana” (banana) and a lions growl (grannie) but aside from that she’s still only saying “yeah”. I think she’s a little behind in this respect but as she spent the first three months of her life very poorly and not developing I guess we’ve got this time to catch up, and new sounds are coming every day. She can understand A LOT of what’s said and definitely knows her own mind. She won’t be doing anything she doesn’t want to do and she will do as much of what she likes to do as possible (read books, eat ham, swim until her lips turn purple).
We’ve had to broach the tricky idea of discipline this month. Because she can’t articulate her thoughts she often gets frustrated and hits or kicks out, which is definitely not OK. Other than this she is an extremely well-behaved little girl and we can take her pretty much anywhere and feel quite confident that she won’t have a meltdown – lucky for us as we like to go to restaurants. The only exception to this rule is if there is a soft play area in the vicinity – woe betide anyone who lets her near but not in to soft play.
The last point: teething. It’s a bit of a shitter, isn’t it? I know kids have got to grow teeth somehow but they really come in the most painful and horrendous manner. They bring us so many nights of broken sleep, big old mouth spots, dribbling chins and a lot of grumbling and groaning. I am however very impressed every time I see Elfie with her whole fist in her mouth. These are the skills in life that will make her LOTS of friends at University.