If you were paying incredibly close attention to my account of the day Katie was born, you might have noticed that, while I was in labour, Barry took the cover off the pushchair to wash it. Fifteen weeks later, we finally got round to putting it back on again. Since Jamie is big enough to walk and Katie is small enough to be carried in the front carrier, the pushchair has been redundant. However, carrying Katie plus the small rucksack I use to cart the nappies and other paraphernalia needed for two small children is becoming an increasing strain on my shoulders (Katie was 14 lb 1 oz when last weighed on Monday, so this is not surprising), and on Sunday Barry reassembled the pushchair and introduced Katie to it for a family outing to the park. It had been several months since I last pushed a pushchair, given that Jamie had been walking everywhere for some time before Katie’s birth; it had, of course, been some years since I pushed a pushchair whose occupant was a small baby and not a large toddler, so I was pleasantly surprised by how light it felt. Jamie had great fun pulling the hood up over her head and then back down again to reveal her ("And now Katie is awake!"). Katie was somewhat bemused by the whole experience.
Another first from the weekend was Jamie’s first experience of sibling rivalry (or, at least, his first to which he has given voice – for all I know, his feelings may have seethed within yet been repressed). He normally takes Katie’s presence on most family scenes in his stride, but on Saturday Barry took Katie for a few minutes while I took Jamie off for a nappy change, and we then started reading a story together, so perhaps the rarity of one-on-one time reminded him of what he was missing. In any case, when Barry restored a hungry Katie to my lap, I found Jamie trying to push her off. "Daddy wants Katie – please?" he pleaded. It seemed a shame to cut into his time with me when he was obviously upset about it, so we compromised by using the time to try Katie with the token practice bottle we keep on giving her each day (to no avail, alas – the one she took several weeks ago did indeed prove to be a fluke, and she disdains to do any more than mouth the nipple and occasionally take a few swallows). While this time was as useless as all the others from the point of view of persuading her to actually take any, it did buy us ten minutes or so for me to finish Jamie’s story and choose the week’s duvet cover for his bed with him, and the extra time with Mummy seemed to be enough for Jamie to accept Katie’s reappearance with his usual equanimity when Barry brought her back.
The other noteworthy event of the weekend was that Barry completed the bookcase he’d been working on during the week, a glorious floor-to-ceiling affair waxed in a shade of pine colour designed to fit in a corner of our room (there was a bookcase there already, but it was only three shelves high and a plain cheap brown colour). This now stands at the foot of our bed where I can admire it last thing at night on going to sleep, not to mention on numerous other occasions during the day. In addition to being a thing of beauty and a joy for the few days that it’s been up, this has also enabled me to clear the small bookcase in my study, moving the books to the new bookcase. This is an initial step in a further-reaching plan that will continue with the moving of the small study bookcase upstairs into Jamie’s room, thereby giving him some shelf space for his books and toys (we’ve put the old one from the bedroom in there as well), and the moving of Jamie’s computer desk into the space thereby created where the small bookcase currently stands, thereby freeing up some much-needed floor space in my study and enabling me to regain access to the lower shelves of my big bookcase without needing to go through peculiar contortions. All of this will lead on, by steps which I have not quite figured out yet but which I am sure will prove to exist, to the further reorganisation and tidying of both of the rooms involved and, eventually, get me that bit closer to my ultimate goal of having a perfectly organised and tidy house, at which point I am sure world domination will not be far behind. In the meantime, I shall continue to enjoy admiring the new bookcase.