You know you’re a mum when…

Apologies as I know there are lots of these doing the rounds but it has occurred to me how much my life has changed recently and I wanted to add my own:

  1. Songs stuck in your head are now Row Row Row your boat
  2. You can’t name any of the current top 10 songs
  3. You know the Bing Bong song from Peppa Pig, it’s now in your head
  4. A late night is staying up till 10pm
  5. A lie in is sleeping past 7am
  6. Piles have now become a regular and acceptable topic of conversation
  7. You compare nappy brands and actually have an opinion on them
  8. You no longer make trips to the toilet alone
  9. A hot cup of tea is a novelty, or a dream
  10. Finger foods are no longer a buffet treat found at parties but have become a major part of your life
  11. You can’t spoon feed your baby without opening your mouth at the same time
  12. You have become a Facebook bore that constantly posts pictures of your baby (very guilty)
  13. You are sorry you ever said you were tired before you had children, you weren’t
  14. You have to eat when they’re not looking, and quickly
  15. You take note of another person’s bowel movements, frequency and consistency
  16. You get to work to realise you have snot on the shoulder of your cardigan, or in your hair
  17. You curse the postman for knocking during nap time
  18. You can name the characters from In The Night Garden
  19. You have random conversations with strangers in Aldi because your baby won’t stop staring at them
  20. You sob, uncontrollably, at DIY SOS or any programme with children in it, or pets, or old people, sometimes even at the adverts.
  21. When someone else matters so much more than you do.

20 things I have learnt recently

  1. Poo, on the carpet, stains
  2. So does orange puree sick
  3. Tears rolling down your baby’s cheeks are the worst emotional blackmail ever
  4. 6am is apparently the new 7am
  5. A person can still function on a surprisingly little amount of sleep
  6. Baby teeth are really sharp
  7. Baby nails are even worse
  8. Sometimes explodapoo vests cannot be saved
  9. Some people still have very backwards views about mums who return to work
  10. Babies think it is brilliant to feed the cats from their highchair
  11. A baby’s laugh is the most infectious thing in the world
  12. You can co-exist in a house with another adult without actually knowing how their week has been (as you are both too tired to make conversation anymore other than to complain about nappies, sleep or some other baby related rubbish.)
  13. You need to make time for your partner.
  14. Good friends are hard to come by but really appreciated when things get tough
  15. Sometimes it’s ok to accept help
  16. Comparing a baby’s development against another is a waste of time. All babies are different and all get there in their own time.
  17. Everyone, whether they are a parent or not, has advice about raising a child.
  18. I don’t actually have to take said advice. This has been a tough one for me to learn. I can now nod, say yes and then totally ignore them.
  19. Being a mum is sometimes really hard
  20. It is also really amazing when they do something new for the first time

Testing times

Well it has been a testing few weeks. Apologies for not writing anything sooner. Work has kept me busy and worn out and then on top of that we have all had a bug.

J was sent home from the childminder in his second week there and after that, things went downhill. He was sick and went off food and then seemed to forget how to sleep in the night.

The last week or so has been full of sleepless nights, getting up to a crying baby who suddenly wants feeding again or cuddling back to sleep. So you feed, you cuddle and then you put them back down to sleep. The second you let go the crying starts again and you are back to the beginning.

It has been tough.

Work has been ok and I have settled in well but, combined with the lack of sleep, I have zero energy.

Then, when it seemed we were all coming out of the worst, my childminder tells me she is quitting. So I now have to find childcare again.

Many days this week I have felt like I have had to make a choice between staying home with my baby and going to work. Unfortunately, in a new job, I have to chose work. It was hard but J has been fine and probably didn’t really need me anyway.

As I write this, my eyes feel heavy; yet it is only the afternoon so I must go on.

It’s over! (Maternity leave)

At some point, I blinked and six months of my life disappeared. I return to work on Monday. How is it that time already?

I have made a lot of internet friends during this time and the return to work has always been a big discussion subject. When do you return to work? If at all. Part time? Full time? It’s a decision many mums have to face.

In the UK you are entitled to a whole year of maternity leave if you want it. 9 months paid (at various rates) and then the rest unpaid. Some, then, are able to use holiday entitlement incurred while on maternity leave to take more time still. I think that makes us very lucky indeed. When I compare this to other countries, some of which only get a few weeks or months, I feel privileged that I have been allowed this time with my baby. Time to bond, to recover and to adapt to being a parent.

I feel sad that my husband only hot to have two measly weeks off with us, many of which were spent in hospital for various reasons or housebound recovering after my c-section. But again, this is more than many people have and certainly more than my parents had. He had no choice but to return to work and just got on with it, muddling through the sleepless nights and then working all day. While many men get stick at this time in their life, I feel admiration for him that he got on with it without complaint.

Now, my turn to return to work has arrived. This time has been coming for a while but now it is here. I feel a mixture of emotions about this: sad that maternity leave is over, worried to leave my baby, anxious to meet new people (I had to get a new job) but also part of me is excited to be an adult again. I might actually get to have adult conversation that isn’t about dirty nappies, teething, reflux or sleep patterns. I might get to have a hot cup of tea that I made and didn’t have to microwave several times.

It is mainly my choice to return to work after 6 months rather than 12. Firstly, the money doesn’t cover the bills at the minute but, more importantly, I need to have this challenge in my life again. Part of me wonders whether this is the right decision. Am I turning my nose up at paid time off with my baby? Well, yes, but everyone has to decide what is best for them and their situation. Of course, for a second I considered being a stay at home mum (SAHM), but that was about as long as that thought lasted. I have a new respect for SAHM’s. I don’t know how they do it.

My previous job was temporary so I had to look for a new job and when I found the ideal role, they wanted me to start a little earlier than I had hoped. However, I thought long and hard about it and came to the decision that this was the best option in the long run for us all. J is still too little to really miss me so will hopefully adapt easier and I have only been out of work for 6 months so hope that I shouldn’t find the return so daunting.

When I look back at the last 6 months, I count myself as extremely lucky. I have had some lovely times with my son, met up with friends and family and made new ‘mummy’ friends. I am also fortunate that I have found a childminder that J seems to really like and that I trust. Luckier still that we can just about afford for me to return to work part-time. I feel for those mothers who have no choice but to work full-time. Obviously, some choose to, and that is fine but for others it is not an option.

While I mourn the end of this mini era, I look forward to the new challenges that lay ahead. I will, of course, share how my return goes.

I am already counting down to 4.30 when I can collect my son from the childminders and give him the biggest cuddle.

My 6 month old grown up.

Today, as I watched my son ‘planking’ in an attempt to crawl, I realised that I no longer have a tiny baby, but a little boy who is eager to grow up and get on the move.

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Two weeks ago, he learnt to roll – the first step towards mobility. Now, he spends all his time on his tummy trying to get to things. I, of course, encourage him and try to help him to learn but part of me desperately wants to pick him up, cuddle him in close and pretend he is a teeny weeny baby again.

When he isn’t tummy down, he tries to sit up on his own and can hold himself steady for a few seconds before wobbling and trying (with varied success) to balance himself.

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For breakfast, he now eats toast or crumpets like a grown person and, along with his milk, he drinks water from a tippee cup.

As much as I love watching him change, it all seems to be happening at once. He is becoming his own little person.

With crawling on the horizon, I really need to start to baby proof my house.

Weaning worries.

I was really looking forward to weaning, watching him eat food, trying new things, even seeing it smushed around his face.

Oh, I was a fool. Now the time has finally come and I haven’t a clue what I am doing. I desperately seek advice on Facebook groups, read online blogs and articles and buy weaning books to decorate my kitchen shelves with.

I keep being told that I can feed him anything other than honey, whole nuts and too much salt. This simply cannot be true. Surely I cannot feed him chocolate brownies, chicken curry, beef burgers, pizza…although, reading this list it is possible I need to reconsider my own diet.

I try to offer him finger food selections of fresh fruit and steamed veg. Surely he will be good at this as EVERYTHING goes in his mouth. Nope. He cannot pick up food from his highchair and put it in his mouth. It usually ends up on the floor, on his knee and around his mouth.

Also, I question how he can possibly eat food without choking if he has no teeth to break it down.

So I watch him, like a hawk, as he makes a successful attempt to bring food to mouth. Then I quietly squeal with joy as he manages to swallow some and continues to munch away.

I am sure that as my confidence builds with giving him food, so will his with actually eating it.

Everything is important with him. Everything matters greatly and weaning is just another parenting worry that eventually will be overcome. Hopefully.

Just a little longer

Via Facebook, I have been sent many links to blogs that inspire me to write my own. They focus on a mother’s  relationship with her baby and how time is fleeting. I’d like to have a go at getting my own feelings down, though doubt I can compare to the beautiful words I have read from others.

At almost six months old, time really is disappearing before my eyes. How was it six months ago that I woke up in the night after a ‘pop’ and went to the bathroom to realise my waters had broken almost three weeks ahead of my due date.

I love him more every day and while I feel like I need his love and closeness more and more, his need for me is already changing. Yes, he is very much still reliant on me for almost every part of his life, but he tries to be more independent. Small things such as holding his own bottle when he feeds, learning to move, cuddling other people and laughing at things they do. He shows clear choices for toys and people now and it is not always me he choses.

So, when he does need his mummy cuddles, I ignore those internet voices or my elders telling me to put him down, and I cuddle him in closer, savouring every single second. I feel his breath on me and watch his chest rise and fall. He cuddles into me and I keep him as my baby for a little longer.

There will come a time, probably not long from now, when he doesn’t want to be cuddled to sleep in the day and I will have done it for the last time without realising that that was it.

We rush them to grow up, always looking at the next step, next development they need to make, encouraging them along the way and sometimes forgetting to stop and enjoy the moment we are in. Enjoy the time when he wants to snuggle in with me, when he enjoys my songs and the little games we play together.

Very soon, I will be returning to work and, while it is only three days a week, this is the last time when it will just be the two of us through the day, five days a week. Nothing in our way, time to spend as we choose. Other people will have an influence on his life and the way he does things.

So I enjoy this time, our alone time, our cuddles, our giggles, our little routines. I hold him in close for his naps when perhaps I ‘should’ be putting him to bed.

When he wakes in my arms after his quick cat nap, I shush and try to cuddle him back to sleep and think to myself, just a little longer.

He moves.

4 days before he is 6 months old and he rolls. He has been so close for a while now and I was convinced that I was going to miss it. He managed to roll quite easily onto his side and as it looked like he might push himself all the way, he just threw himself backwards and seemed happy with himself for doing so. But, on Saturday evening, he finally did it. He got onto his side and wobbled side to side and I was desperate to go and give him a helping (interfering) nudge over, yet I didn’t need to. He did it all on his own.

Who knew I would be so proud watching someone roll over. I cheered and squealed praise at him and he just took it in his stride. Then it was like he couldn’t help himself, every time I put him on his back, he did it again, as if forced to.

Of course I filmed it, several times, so that we can watch the moment back later on.

That’s it now though, he can move. I definitely can no longer leave him on the sofa or the bed while I go get something. When I leave him on the floor and return, he is now face down, struggling, almost the opposite of a tortoise, stuck on his belly.

While he doesn’t realise quite what he has done, I smile, proudly, and also wonder what he has in store for us next.

11 things that I didn’t know…

There are lots of things I thought about when I imagined being a mum. I pictured these perfect scenarios cuddling my baby and going places with him but there are many things that I didn’t know I would feel or do for him:

  1. How much I would love him – it’s an enormous amount. It didn’t hit me instantly when he was born. Of course I loved him, from the moment we knew I was pregnant, but eventually this massive, overwhelming feeling of love hit me. Occasionally it  brings me to tears and I find myself crying because I love him too much.
  2. How protective I would be towards him – I will literally hurt people if they ever harm him – Mother lioness here!
  3. How much I would actually want to squish/bite him.
  4. How often I would smell him or his things – I fill my lungs with the scent from his head, especially after a bath with Johnsons’ Baby Bath. I smell his clothes and his mittens; they remind me of him when he’s in bed or somewhere else.  I also often find myself lifting him up to smell his bum to check his nappy and sometimes sniff his clothes to see if they smell like sick.
  5. That I would suck the snot out of his nose with some weird contraption – A weird device that I put to his nostrils and suck and listen as the snot drains from his nose. I also pull out bogeys without being too disgusted.
  6. That I would put my hand out to catch his sick – instead of dodging baby sick, as I would have done pre baby, I now try to catch it. It’s better than it going everywhere else.
  7. How much I would actually love my c-section scar – it’s my mummy mark and reminds me of his journey into this world. Plus I cannot begin to imagine how he ever fit through that space.
  8. How many photos I would take of him: sleeping, eating, smiling, bouncing, doing nothing at all even remotely interesting…but I can’t delete any of them.
  9. How amazing cuddling your sleeping baby is – yeah I know, I’m making a rod for my own back, he should be put down to sleep…blah blah blah…but one day he won’t want to cuddle me to sleep and I will never be able to get those days back. I’m happy to ‘have to’ cuddle him in my arms when he naps in the day. If he’s still doing this when he reaches Secondary school I may admit it was a mistake but for now it’s the best thing in the world.
  10. Just how much my heart would melt every time I watch my husband playing with him and when he makes him laugh, seriously my womb aches!
  11. That despite saying to the midwife, during labour, that she should never have children (she already had two and I asked her why she did it twice!) I can’t wait to have another!