now you are two.

It’s such a cliche to say that I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by. But it’s the absolute truth.

I think, in all honesty, that time actually seems to have gone by faster with Henry than it ever did with Ruby.

And all I find myself wanting to shout is “SLOW DOWN!”.

True, there are some days that I wish time would go faster so I can get home from another day at work/get them to bed because they are behaving like beasts/have some time on my own for once…but the vast majority of the time I wish it would just slow down.

It’s already been a week since Henry’s second birthday, and I wanted to mark the occasion properly on my blog last week but, as usual, I just didn’t get the time.

So here it finally is, some thoughts on our son…now that he is two.

Monday’s child is fair of face…

You were born on a Monday. Monday 4th May 2015, at 2.15pm.

And whilst you looked more like a smushed up, puffed up frog when you were first born than a glorious beauty, you have always been incredibly fair of face my love.

There are so many different things that I could say to you, now that you are two. But the one thing that I want to say most of all is how proud I am of you.

You have been through so much in your short little life so far, yet you still manage to smile and laugh and charm your way through the days. Like nothing ever happened to you. I hope this zest for life and your fighting spirit follows you though the rest of your days – because you will go far, my son, if it does.

Whenever you’re being an absolute devil-child (throwing food around screaming that you “like it” which, for you, means that you don’t/hitting your sister/throwing yourself out of your cot/terrorising the cat etc. etc.) I sigh and think back to the time we nearly lost you. To when you were so tiny and so poorly. And I remember that we are lucky to still have you (and that I am a short-tempered, overreacting, strop-monster that needs to take a step back and remember that you’re just a two year old!).

I love how you chuckle. That whole body shake chuckle that shows you find something really funny. I love how your face paints a thousand words, and the cheeky expressions you pull – especially when you know you’re not meant to be doing something! I love the way you poke your belly button and giggle. I love your obsession with blueberries. I love how much you actually love your sister. I love how you snuggle into my neck. I love the nicky noo noo dance you do with Ruby. I love how you love to play!

Time is indeed flying by, but with each and every day that passes you become so much more to us.

And if time has to carry on whizzing by, then so be it. At least we have you here with us, and at least we’re trying everything we can to make the very best of each day with you and your sister.

So my little man…if nothing else, then please remember this. You have brought such joy into our lives. You have made our family complete, and we love you so so very much.

Keep on being cheeky. Keep on being so happy you could burst. Keep on babbling about nothing in particular yet making it sound like the most important words anyone has ever uttered. Keep on laughing at your sisters jokes. Keep on secretly stealing fruit from the fridge.

Keep on being you.

Our Henry.

We love you.

the days after.

Children are resilient, they said.

They bounce back so quickly, they said.

And…thank goodness, but it seems they were right!

Henry’s operation and subsequent time in recovery took all of 40 minutes. He was back in my arms before I’d even had a chance to finish my Costa Coffee hot chocolate in the strange little cafe at the entrance to Queen’s Hospital, Burton.

The hospital at which I’ve had (too) many a stay, at which Ruby was born, Henry was born, treated for meningitis and the hospital that I wished we’d never have to return to.

He cried so much when he woke from surgery that I could hear the theatre nurse bringing him to us from the other side of the hospital. I grabbed him and held him so close, and he clung to me so tightly I was certain I’d never let go.

After a mammoth sleep of 1.5 hours in my arms (if I’d known he was going to sleep that long I would have sat on the bed…my bum was so numb!) he woke up and demanded a biscuit. And that’s when I knew that everything would be alright!

After 10.5 hours without food or water, the bottomless pit then proceeded to consume the world’s biggest banana, an entire pack of Mini Cheddars, 2 x digestive biscuits and a ham sandwich along with about 4 Tippee cups of water!

Definitely alright.

After he’d finished his feast he grabbed his coat and made a run for it. Seriously. He was out of the door and saying goodbye to the nurses before we knew what was happening!

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We were exhausted. He was on cloud nine.

So we brought him home.

Our baby yelled for his sister the minute we pulled onto the drive, and she was thrilled to have him back.

He had a good night of sleep, only woken by Ruby who was crying so much after a bad dream where a cat was biting her bottom (no idea what that’s about!?) and seemed perfectly fine. Until we had to administer his drops.

The poor thing screamed and cried and desperately tried to wriggle away from me. 3-4 drops 3 times per day to try and help his ears heal and to get rid of the infection that the surgeon found whilst in there adding the grommets.

But, two hours later he was back on fighting form, hiding in the toy box, shouting at Ruby, running around the house and generally being a tinker…

It will take him time to fully recover. I know that.

He spent much of the first evening after the op cuddled into me, crying when I left the room and resisting sleep – almost scared to drift off, perhaps a hang up from the operation? Something isn’t quite right as he just will not let you leave him, when normally he would snuggle his monkey and drift off without issue (most of the time!!). 

I really hope that putting him through this procedure proves to be the right thing to have done.

We’ll see in three months time, I guess, as that’s the next time we need to see the consultant. 

Cross your fingers folks!

 Until then I’m taking every opportunity for extra snuggles and cuddling him in close. 

the waiting game.

Tomorrow our son, Henry, goes into hospital for an operation.

When he was just 3 months old Henry contracted Bacterial Meningitis (read about it and learn the signs & symptoms here…), which was horrific to put it mildly.

Thankfully, he came out of it the other side relatively unscathed.

However, at a routine post-Meningitis hearing check, the Audiology team discovered a hearing loss and, six tests later, that hearing loss isn’t getting any better.

So tomorrow, Henry heads into surgery to have grommets inserted.

Grommets are, for anyone that is wondering, very small tubes (like cotton reels) that help to drain away excess fluid building up in the middle ear.

Here’s a helpful handy diagram to show you exactly what I mean!*

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We’re hopeful that the grommets will drain away the fluid and that he will then pass his hearing tests – as the Audiology team believe that it’s the pressure of the fluid that is causing his hearing loss.

And, to be honest, that’s what I’m banking on – because otherwise, it’s likely that the Meningitis has damaged Henry’s hearing and so, if he doesn’t pass after the grommets have fallen out then we’ll need to consider hearing aids for him – and that, being completely honest, for some reason, makes me feel very uneasy.

Now, in my rational mind I know that this is a simple and straightforward procedure.

I know that he will be fine. That it’s routine and done hundreds of times a week. And that if, after it all he needs hearing aids then that is NOT a problem.

But yet I still feel like my world is spinning.

I feel sick. I’m worried. I’m nervous. I’m tired.

So, so tired.

Henry on the other hand, thankfully, is full of beans. He’s his usual belligerent self, shouting at his sister, raiding the fridge any chance he gets and stomping about the place wittering on to himself and anyone that will listen (and pretend to understand what he’s going on about!).

Tomorrow is unknown. I don’t have a clue what to expect. And I think that’s half of the problem.

I am, as you now know, a planner.

I’m strengthened by structure, and lists, and details.

Tomorrow makes me VERY nervous.

Once again, I’ll be on that ward.
The ward I had really hoped we’d never have to return to.

And once again, my baby will be handed off to someone else to take care of.

My control of the situation will be gone and, for a short time, so will my beautiful, smiley, happy son.

If you have any experience of this, or you can offer any pearls of wisdom to help me through then please feel free to comment.

Here’s to a quick and easy procedure, and to never having to go through this again!

But for now, we wait…

Speak soon,
K x

*Image supplied by afairgo.net

meningitis.

I started oliphantum back in March 2016 as a way to document our life, our world, the way we see things and to show how normal life as a mother of two unfolds in South Staffordshire (if life with children can ever be described as normal that is!).

It was a way in which to get some of my creativity back (I’m a marketing Account Director by trade) and do something fun! And it was also a way to help me get my head back to “normal” after a horrific experience in September 2015.

That horrific experience was the near-loss of our 3 month old son to meningitis.

It’s Meningitis Awareness Week this week (19th – 25th September) and so I wanted to share our story with you, in the hope that it will help to spread the word about how serious the disease is and make more people aware of the symptoms we all need to look out for – especially in babies and toddlers.

the story.

Henry had been a little unsettled and unusually cranky all day, and when he started to be sick I knew that something was wrong.

We called NHS 111 (the free non-emergency advice line) and they advised that we take him to the Out Of Hours service. The Doctor there believed that Henry had a virus and that we should just take him home and monitor his symptoms.

He slept fitfully that night and the next morning he threw up each and every milk feed (a massive disaster since he was breastfed and I wasn’t pumping!!).

He was restless, kept arching his back and I just couldn’t settle him.

We walked his sister to pre-school and on the way home I called the Doctor and booked an emergency appointment as Henry wouldn’t stop being sick and his moans had turned to a constant, high pitched cry (a big symptom that I had no idea about).

I raced him to the surgery as I knew that something was wrong, this wasn’t my baby.

Henry had a fever but it was only just over the ‘normal’ levels, however, because he was just 3 months old the Doctor immediately referred us to the paediatrician at our local hospital.

The triage nurse at the hospital instantly knew that something was wrong, Henry’s screams were now ear-piercing and there was such pain in his cry. He was quickly becoming floppy and unresponsive and I was very scared.

Meningitis hadn’t even crossed my mind at this point (but I later learnt from the nurse that she thought it straight away).

The Junior Doctor assigned to Henry asked immediately for permission to perform a lumbar puncture and explained that he felt it necessary as he believed Henry was suffering from meningitis.

My whole world fell apart.

what happened next.

I couldn’t hear another word that he said as my ears were ringing and all I could think was the worst.

From that point on things happened so quickly. Henry had a cannula inserted and was whisked away for the lumbar puncture. The team advised me not to attend the procedure, and I was glad not to have been there – he was two rooms away but I could still hear him screaming.

When they returned him to me he was so lifeless. He was deteriorating so quickly, and we needed to move fast. We were placed into isolation in a side room and Henry was hooked up to all sorts of different machines to monitor his oxygen levels, vital signs and to administer fluids and medication. I couldn’t believe what was happening.

At this point I hadn’t even had a chance to call Mr O to relay the news, so I waited until he arrived that evening with Ruby (our two year old daughter, for anyone new to the blog!).

It was when Ruby arrived at the hospital that we started to worry about whether she would catch the disease too, but luckily the Doctors assured us that because meningitis has no incubation period, she would be showing symptoms by now if she had it.

The diagnosis of bacterial meningitis came back to us within a few days, and so Henry stayed on the life-saving medication that he had been originally prescribed.

His temperature was highly unstable and would drop dramatically throughout the day and night, so he was constantly monitored every hour for a week until he stabilised and finally started to show signs of improvement.

After a fortnight in hospital we were allowed home, but had to return each day for another fortnight so that Henry could have his medication through his cannula. His hands were so swollen after all the medication and fluids, but slowly that started to return to normal.

We were finally discharged a month after that bloody awful day.

one year on.

It’s been a year since all this happened now, and it has been an interesting one!

At first, every little thing had me on edge.

I didn’t want to sleep, I didn’t want to leave him for a second…which was difficult since we also had Ruby to love and care for!

She started playing up and being a bit naughty, and I don’t blame her either! Here comes this newborn baby, taking away mummy and daddy from her a little and then REALLY taking mummy away for almost a month as she cared for that baby in hospital. What a mess it all was.

A month or so after we were fully discharged we were called back to the hospital for a routine hearing check, and it was at this check that we were told it was likely that Henry’s hearing had been affected by the meningitis.

We have had three follow-up hearing tests since that point and unfortunately Henry’s hearing is deteriorating and there is fluid building up behind his eardrums. We have been advised that Henry will need grommets and/or hearing aids to enable him to hear fully.

If you follow my blog and IG account you’ll know that we have been so lucky.

Henry is a fabulous, clever, funny baby boy, and his hearing problems are minute compared to some of the after effects of meningitis…

We will always be eternally grateful that we caught the disease so early, and that the Doctors and Nurses listened to my instincts that something was wrong – as the story could have ended up far, far worse than the situation we now find ourselves in.

what you need to know.

Meningitis can kill within hours. It’s a vicious disease, and is (sadly) quite common, especially in babies and children.

I bet that the vast majority of you had “the talk” in assembly when at high school, and I bet that you’ve all seen and heard so many things about meningitis in the past. Perhaps you even know of someone that has had meningitis.

But, somehow, it’s still a disease that is all a bit too ‘background noise’ for us to pay much attention…and you never think it will happen to you, but really it’s never been more important to pay attention and learn about the symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia.

It can be quite confusing, with some conflicting symptoms. And it’s NOT all about a rash!

Let this cute little baby be your guide to the main things to look out for…

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Looking back on it now, Henry displayed the vast majority of these symptoms…but meningitis didn’t even cross my mind!

So, after all of this I guess the main message really is this:

TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.

You won’t necessarily know that it’s meningitis. So if you feel something is wrong, don’t wait – go and pester, tell the Doctor that you feel that there’s something really wrong.

And whatever you do, please don’t wait for a rash.

A rash can mean septicaemia. And septicaemia (the blood poisoning version of the disease) is much more life threatening and dangerous to your little one.

Click here to scoot on over to the Meningitis Research Foundation website and read up fully about the symptoms.

Do you have experience of meningitis? What’s your story? I’d love to hear your thoughts and how you dealt with the experience.

If you’re on Instagram or Twitter, share your story using #mymeningitisstory and the Meningitis Research Foundation hashtag #MRFAwarenessWeek

Speak soon,
K x

sick tsunami.

We’ve had a bug this weekend. A nasty, horrible, sick-inducing bug.

I think, well I know, that it started mid-week with Henry…who was ridiculously sick all over everything but was then, by some strange miracle, totally fine. Ruby then sat on the sofa all afternoon on Friday, subdued and not her usual self complaining that she felt poorly.

And then came the sick.

Bucketloads of sick.

Luckily I dodged the bullet on cleaning it up as she was fantastic and ran to the toilet before any of the sick actually came out. The poor thing was a little traumatised by it all, but not more so than her Daddy who was completely baffled by how much sick can come from one so small.

We were due to travel to Aberystwyth this weekend to visit Mr O’s brother, his new wife and the youngest Oliphant and his fiancée were coming along too for a right proper catch-up. So, being generally very excited about a weekend with our brothers (wine, chat, good times!) I shrugged off the sick-fest and packed the weekend bag ready to set off bright and early on Saturday morning.

And then came more sick.

But this time the sick was from me.

Now, I know that I am not alone in severely disliking being sick. I mean, who actually enjoys it, right!? But this?! This I really did not enjoy. I cannot believe how sick I was.

Nevertheless, I spent a whole day in bed on Saturday determined to feel much better in the morning so that we could drive to Wales to see everyone on Sunday. How utterly naive of me.

Those with older children, or those that have tackled a bug before, feel free to chuckle at this point – because on Saturday night things got even worse. We literally had no idea what was coming!!

Henry wouldn’t sleep. We’d tried all the usual tricks except for the one where I stand and cuddle and rock him until he goes dopey…because I literally couldn’t stand up for more than a minute without feeling like I was going to die (how we thought I would be better in the morning I have no idea!). Eventually, through some minor miracle he finally went to sleep, so we breathed a sigh of relief and I planned to shift myself off to bed to try to feel better for Wales.

And then came even more sick.

A sick tsunami.

More sick than either of us put together have ever seen. In our lives.

“Muuuuuuuuuumy! Mummy, I’ve been sick in my bed!”

Oh bloomin’ heck.

Poor Ruby was covered head to toe in sick, and her bedroom looked like a scene from The Exorcist. And then Henry woke up screaming.

So, I showered the little sick monster with one hand whilst I bounced Henry on my hip, all the while trying not to be sick again myself and trying to make light of what was a pretty manky situation. She was crying because she realised pretty quickly that this was definitely the end of our plans to go to Wales and Henry was just looking at me as if this was the funniest thing he’d seen so far in his short little life.

She has woken up today completely fine. I however am still feeling like something that was dragged up from the pits of hell, and the fact that I haven’t been able to eat all weekend has made things even worse as I feel so lethargic and fuggy.

Spoiled plans really upset me, especially plans that I have been really looking forward to. We don’t get to see Mr O’s brothers very often, and so the fact that we’ve not been able to see them (and still haven’t been to Aber even though Drew has been there for a VERY long time) has made me feel very upset. We must, must get a new date in the diary, and soon.

Thankfully, this time round, Mr O hasn’t picked up the bug so he has been wonderful looking after the children. There are little parcels of left-over food that will never be eaten all over my poor fridge, the sitting room is a disaster zone, the children look feral and I’ve heard nothing but moaning about how hard it all is from him – but yes, he has been wonderful whilst I’ve been sobbing, whinging and generally moaning about the fact that I’m poorly sick.

Oh well, another week starts tomorrow – August already!

Speak soon x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

that awful noise.

 

 

Henry Graeme Oliphant is a happy, smiley, chatty baby boy who loves nothing more than giggling and playing with his sister and his mummy and daddy.

Or at least Henry Graeme Oliphant WAS all of these things up until a couple of weeks ago!

When you’re on baby number two, it’s easy to slip into a state of forgetfulness. You forget just how needy babies are. You forget about sleep regression. You forget about mood swings, especially as they start to get more active and more interested in things but have no way of communicating their needs to you.

Essentially you totally forget how to be the parent of a baby. It’s often like you’ve never even had a baby. Your eldest (if you’ve left an age gap like we have) has become somewhat independent and so, truth be told, it’s like this one is your first. Like you’re the inexperienced, crazy, anxious mummy you were the first time round. What a lovely gift from nature that is.

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Can I have this happy chappy back please?!

I’m not 100% sure exactly what is wrong with our lovely boy at the moment, as I’m still trying to figure that out (teeth? weather? nursery sessions? jealousy?) but what I do know is that the noise he is making every single minute of every single day when he isn’t in my arms is the stuff of nightmares. Like the noise they would play during an interrogation. Torture for a life lived badly, haha! 

The poor little mite is having a tough time, and all he wants is mummy cuddles. But then, sometimes, I’m sure all he actually wants is to moan because I pick him up and he still doesn’t shut up.

To be fair to him, there’s a lot going on over at Oliphantum at the moment…and Ruby is going through a very needy phase due to the fact that school is gaining on us faster than any of us care to recognise, so she refuses to leave him alone and that makes him mad.

I wish he could tell me how he feels. I wish I could make it all better for him.

And I wish he would quit with that bloomin awful noise.

Going through something similar at the moment? Any pearls of wisdom to share with me? I’d love to hear from you!

Speak soon x

 

 

 

garden time.

This weekend has been lovely. I think.

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We had Mr O’s parents with us for the day on Saturday…they arrived after the standard weekend dancing and swimming lessons, so we had lunch and then wandered into town, destined to buy sandals for Ruby and print off a gazillion posters and flyers for my book stall at the Lichfield Bower on Monday. A bbq involving lots of forced “ooohs” as Mr O tried his best to grill chicken whilst fending off the curly haired one before she burned herself followed, and then there was a great game of Scatch and of course the obligatory tantrum once told that no, she couldnt have wine with dinner!

Today was a nice, quiet day in comparison. I say quiet…but it’s never quiet with boo boo and bobbins around!

Thinking back to the days of old when the hubs and I used to get up late, eat long lovely lunches and drink wine in the garden all day, I laugh when I even think that the weekend has been “quiet” these days!

Ruby has flipped from sweetheart to devil so many times this weekend. And so my thoughts have mainly consisted  of…What did we do now?! Can I run away and hide?! Please!? The stroppy little madam isn’t even 4 yet. She is well and truly a threenager.

Still, even though our garden is quite possibly one of the least attractive places on the planet (and you have to sit near the bins to eat your bbq) I have actually really enjoyed spending time out there this weekend.

Henry ate grass. Ruby climbed the tree. Mr O finally cut the grass.

Yep. This weekend has been lovely.

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