His first year

In just two weeks time, my little baby will turn one. This year has been the most tiring, most testing and most wonderful year of my life.

Watching him grow up over the last 11.5 months has been absolutely amazing and I feel so blessed to have him in my life.

He has changed from this extremely dependent, squishy baby into a confident, playful little boy. Every day he seems to learn something new and I can almost see him changing right in front of me.

My little boy is loving, playful, funny, confident, cuddly, spirited, cheeky and has a smile that melts my heart. When he rocks back and forth to me singing ‘Row Row your boat’ or when he puts his arms in the air when I ask him how big he is, I burst with pride at this little person we have created.

He loves to clap, to stand up unaided, to try to walk to you and knows what he wants to do and when (most of the time). Peekaboo, stacking rings, knocking down brick towers and climbing on to his toy boxes are some his favourite things to do.

We have ‘inside jokes’ where I give him a certain look and he laughs at me, or he gives me his cheeky look when he is being naughty and all is forgiven. I sometimes wonder who is learning more, him or me.

He has taught me patience and how to love unconditionally. He has taught me how to play again and how to shut off the world and just be us. He has forced me to come our of my comfort zone and breastfeed in public (in the early days), sing to him in the trolly in the supermarket or talk to strangers at baby groups. He has allowed my husband to become the amazing, wonderful dad that I knew he could be. He has turned us from a couple into a family.

He is completely amazing and I am overwhelmed by my love for him.

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!

Someone’s world.

Being a mum is a huge responsibility. You think about it before you have a baby and then while you’re pregnant but nothing can prepare you for how huge every decision feels when you are responsible for someone else’s life.

You go through life, trying to watch your weight, eating healthy when you remember and occasionally going walking as a token gesture to exercise. You’ve made it 30 years and managed to keep yourself alive. I’ve even managed to keep two cats alive so far. How hard can looking after a baby be?!

When he finally arrived, it didn’t seem that hard at all. He slept most of the time, woke up to be fed and cuddled to sleep and it was a lovely time. Even though I’d had a c-section we went out occasionally as a family, gentle walks, coffee shops, excessive visits to Mothercare and our world felt complete.

Then my husband went back to work. I was all alone with a tiny baby. One of the first days alone I changed his dirty nappy and he weed on me straight away, then threw up on himself. I didn’t know where to start and, while it all seems silly now, I had a moment of panic wondering how I could do this and I cried.

Things got a bit easier after that again for a while and I became braver and started venturing out of the house more.

Now, he is nearly six months old and responsibility is growing and I have to make choices, hopefully the right ones, much more often. When he is crying, even after I have changed, fed and cuddled, I question whether to give Calpol. Is he in pain? Is something wrong with him? I agonise over the decision and when I decide to give him the medicine, feel like a terrible parent ‘drugging my child’. I quickly Google the effects of giving too much Calpol and see horror stories about those that have overdosed babies on it, used it to get them to sleep or long term side effects of using it. However, he has stopped crying and at least, for now, it seems like I made the right choice for us.

Other decisions come in the shape of Feeding. Breast or bottle? Napping. Too much? Not enough? When to start weaning and then wondering if it was too soon.

You are suddenly faced with a variety of decisions and you just muddle through, hoping that along the way you have made the right one most of the time.

Guilt and worry are a large aspect of being a mum but it seems that this is just part of the deal.

However, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I cannot imagine my life without him now and all these choices and responsibility give me a gorgeous, mostly happy, little boy. He is gaining weight well, sleeps when he needs to, laughs and giggles and seems to be doing well, as far as babies go. I am doing alright so far.

No one can make him smile like me. He may smile at others but I have a special smile that he saves for mummy. I know which songs he likes and my heart fills when he laughs at my singing and actions. I cry for different reasons now; with the unbelievable amount of love I have for him. When he smiles at me and pulls me in to suck on my face, I could burst with love for him. All the worries, guilt and fears disappear. It is just me, and him and the love and bond we share. I am everything to him as he is to me.

I know that life will continue to bring us options and I will no doubt agonise over them, researching every possible choice but I will face each one as they come and try to feel like I have done my best for my boy.

Being someone’s world is huge but it is also the most amazing thing in the world.