An honest account of being a first time mum

The airport

So after about a million hours of searching websites we settled on booking a holiday to Cape Verde. Not too much more expensive than Europe for a family, a real treat of a hotel, an exciting new place to discover plus only a 6 hour flight and 2 hour time difference. Sorted! Oh and a swim up bar. This is of course a compulsory requirement.

It took me about 15 minutes to shake the creases out of my primark, h&m and Thai streetmarket sundresses and chuck them in a case. It took me about 5 days to pack for baby2011.

Apart from nappies, calpol, sunhat and dummies I shouldn’t have bothered. My gorgeous beach baby2011 spent the week in a swimming nappy or vest!

So we’re packed, the morning arrives. We head off to the airport. Now baby2011 has only ever managed a couple of all night sleeps. Turns out the morning we have to get up at 4am for the flight, he doesn’t even stir Grrrrr!!!

Anyway, we get to car park. We can’t find the right zone to park in. We find it. We park. It’s pissing down and we’re late. We unload car of 3 suitcases and 3 hand luggage bags, and pop baby2011 in buggy. We get to bus stop and wait…and wait. Bus comes. “You’ll have to fold that love!” I shoot the driver a look and wheelie baby2011 onto the bus. Dad2011 is stacking our considerable luggage on racks on bus. The driver is right, I do have to fold buggy as the next stop 9 million fat people want to get on. I am now trying to give baby2011 his morning bottle. He is wearing really embaressing pyjamas which I thought we’d be able up change before flight-this is looking unlikely!

We arrive at terminal. Buggy out, baby in and we grab the 6 bags and leg it inside the terminal. Departures first floor, use lift. There are quite a few of us waiting for lifts. The lifts are on a coffee break. They take an eternity to arrive and then it’s elbows out, head down to actually get in one.

I’m too knackered, stressed, fucked off with it all to even oblige a “aww, bless, how old is he? What a good boy? Does he sleep!” Yes he’s gorgeous, no he’s a nightmare often and no he doesn’t bloody sleep so get out my way before I run you over with my heavy, right listing trolley I had to pay a quid for!

We make it to check in. We check in about 45mins later. Thank god we get fast tracked at security because we have a baby. I taste the milk, I drink the beaker water and the security officer is satisfied. We leg it to departure lounge

Baby2011 is running around departures in his really embaressing pyjamas. People smile but I see through it.

We’re THAT family.

I hope we’re not sitting near them!

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Eating

Baby2011 enjoys food. It has taken a while to get him to understand that mummy does happy face when the food goes in his mouth and is not lobbed at the cat or the tv. Still, this cracks me up and even though I try and stay stern I can’t. One cheeky glance from baby2011 as he brings the food to his lips and then quick as a flash chucks it into orbit never fails to make me laugh. And doesn’t he know it!?

Today the marmite on toast was not acceptable to master2011. No, it was clearly not the same quantity of spread that gran does. He eats this for gran. Therefore he threw it at the cat.

The banana suffered the same fate. After baby2011 pointed and grunted at said banana I gave him a piece. He looked at it, licked it and then with all his might squashed it onto the table top and for good measure catapulted a bit onto the front room bookcase.

I gave in and went to the box of cheerios, these had been abandoned a while ago as I was finding them a bit like one does pine needles several months after Xmas. I gave him a few cheerios gingerly. He popped them in his mouth-halleluja! Breakfast on it’s way to completion. I gave him a small handful, he seized a fist full and with the most enormous grin threw them up into the air like confetti.

I washed, cut up and presented him with some grapes. He ate these. Excellent.

By now I’m running out of ideas. Eggs are a no no. I’ve learnt that lesson before. Any more fruit and I’ll be in trouble nappy wise later. Hmm, Weetabix. I’ll try Weetabix.

I mix the Weetabix with a glug of whole milk, mash it and microwave it for 15 secs so it goes all lovely and malty.

He opens his mouth (distracted by Baby Jake) and takes a bit mouthful of cereal. He turns and looks at me, gestures for the spoon, I oblige. He stares at the spoon and just when i think he’s actually going to do the right thing he flings it across the room.

Big grin.

We abandon breakfast.

I sweep and dettol the whole house. I wipe away every stain that the breakfast debacle has induced.

Baby2011 runs off and plays. That is until I sit down with my marmite on toast. He appears at my knees like a puppy begging, reaches up to my plate and steals a piece of my toast. He stuffs all of it in his mouth, nicks another bit and then legs it!

Whilst I’ve been mugged of breakfast I’m relieved he has eaten something.

Give me strength for lunch. And please don’t let me have to feed him in public!

Is it bad

Baby2011 is not sleeping again. Awake every hour which is excellent *yawn*. But we’ll gloss over that because I have concluded this cannot be fixed.

So, baby2011 and i are currently snuggled up on the sofa after sharing our toast and tea for breakfast. We are watching In The Night Garden in our pyjamas. Whilst he chuckles and points at the teeny tiny pontipines finding the teeny tiny wottingers in a game of hide and seek I’m writing.

Is it bad that we’re still in our pyjamas? Is it wrong we have seen this episode about 40 times? Is it bad that there is sweetcorn on my front room rug from yesterday’s tea time and the washing isn’t hung out?

So maybe I’m a lazy wotsit but I’m cherishing every second of these cuddles. It’s not often we just chill together. We’re usually rushing around, in and out of the car, eating rice crackers in supermarket trollies-that sort of thing.

Finally I have learnt to take the advice I was given time and time again when I was pregnant. Sit down, leave the housework and enjoy your baby. It feels ever so indulgent, but I can’t stop smiling. Me and my boy, best friends forever!

Might get dressed later, might not. Might sweep the sweetcorn up, might not!

Sleep

Time for a post about the big one…sleep.

Let’s start at the beginning…

On 3rd April at 10.59pm, baby 2011 was born by emergency c section. This was a Sunday. I first had labour pains on the very early hours of the previous Tuesday. So I spent 5.5 nights pacing, bouncing on a birthing ball or doubled over hanging on to the back of a dining room chair.

No sleep count 5.5 nights.

Baby2011 was complicated birth and so I was not put up on the c section ward until my notes had been written up at 3.15am. I did snatch a bit of sleep thanks to a couple of shots of pethidine in the hospital. The other babies on the ward were screamers. I spent a couple of hours lying in a really weird position unable to move my lower body due to the op and petrified that baby2011 would wake up as I wasn’t meant to lift him. At 7am the lights went on and I hadn’t been to sleep.

2nd and 3rd nights in hospital baby2011 slept all day and partied all night. When he slept, the squealer in the next bed didn’t.

8.5 nights no sleep.

We came home from the hospital and baby2011 screamed all night.

9.5 nights no sleep.

You can see where I’m going with this. My baby2011 was not a sleepy newborn.

As the weeks passed he could be persuaded to sleep by breastfeeding. A habit I knew I shouldn’t have encouraged but screw that for a bit of a break!

He didn’t like sleeping in the day either. As soon as you tried to put him down…ping! Hiya! Cuddle me or I won’t sleep.

And if there was noise then we were stuffed, he could hear a pin drop. We struggled with his constant over tiredness but he could not be persuaded to sleep unless in the car, the buggy or during a breast feed.

And even then, when the buggy stopped, the car pulled up or I dare take him of the breast too early. Ping! Hiya! We even used to unclip the car seat and gingerly lift it out the car and ping, awake. We tried coats over his seat during transfer and rocking it mimicking the car. But as soon as we arrived at destination he was awake and screaming “get me the hell out of this chair mum!”

The daytime sleeping never really improved. But he started to settle at night from 10pm-5.30am for about 3 weeks when he was 7 weeks old. Heaven!

Short lived.

Then we had baby jabs, teething, and a million colds. In September he got an awful cough.

Now when I talk about baby2011’s sleep and say he’s unsettled and never slept a night, I mean we were up with him between 2 and 7 times a night. Usually around 4 times. And he gets up between 5 and 6am.

Meeting friends their babies would drift off in their buggies or in their mummy’s arms. There was me pacing and rocking my overtired, overstimulated baby.

I look knackered, have no time or energy to make myself look good. Therefore I lost confidence in how I look and am aware of how boring I have become. Sleep obsessed!

And their babes conk out for a couple of hours. I’d get 30 minutes!!!!

Yes, unhealthily, I grew very jealous of my friends with babies who slept. Some went to bed at 7 and slept until 7am. How!? I couldn’t believe that this ever happened.

Then came the advice from all angles. Now I’m not an idiot. Anyone who knows me knows that I research everything to death. Sleep was fast becoming an obsession.

A bottle rather than a breast feed before bed, nope. Put him in bed with you, nope. Put him to bed later, nope. When he crawls he’ll sleep, nope. When he walks he’ll sleep, nope. Leave him to cry, can’t!

I even visited a cranial osteopath, odd and didn’t help!

I went back to work and if anything baby2011’s sleep got worse. Up 6 times a night, sitting on the rocking chair or pacing the floors in the pitch black.

His cot my everest.

Asleep in my arms at 3.20am but did I dare put him back in the cot!? How long would we get out of him the next stretch? So if I conquered the cot I’d get back into bed. I’d lie awake heart pounding wondering when he’d next wake up. Drift off to sleep after an hour and then, ping!

We even joked that he was such a light sleeper even thinking about him woke him up! I’m sure it did!

We tried magic pyjamas (ones he’d slept better in the previous week!), dream feeds, cheerios before bed and moved his cot to every position in his nursery. Nope, nothing worked.

By this stage baby2011 is 9 months old. Me and dad2011 have given up on a drink in the evenings and a night out was out of the question. We were in bed by 8pm! We’d get cross with baby2011 and snap at each other. We even felt too guilty to let grandparents baby sit him as he was such a sensitive sleeper.

Anyway, at the end of our tether we looked into sleep specialists and I bought more books, hoping that a nugget of gold would be found in this information and he’d sleep even just 4 hours in one go!

We got him a duvet and pillow at 1 year old. He got a cold and spent a week coughing.

Then he had his mmr and wouldn’t go in his cot or our bed so I sat up with him in a chair all night…

Just when we facing breaking point, I’m talking trips to doctors for help and about to fork out for super nanny. We seem to be turning a corner.

It’s bank holiday weekend and baby2011 is 13 months. He has only woken up once the last 3 nights. I have been awake waiting for him to wake but he’s doing it!

There is no rhyme or reason, maybe just natural maturity of his sleep. But he’s getting there.

Yes I’m still sat here waiting for cbeebies to come on air. But compared to the nights we have had over the last year I could run a marathon today.

If you have a baby that doesn’t sleep soundly. You’re not alone. I could write a book on it and so could the other mum’s who’ve been through the same difficult time. @SDalts dm me if you want to talk x

Car parking spaces

With baby2011 around it’s hard to be lazy. He runs rings around me! Much to the delight of dad2011 he also runs rings around him but whilst kicking a football. Well I say football, football, rugby ball, the cat’s ball, the remote control, my mobile, a bit of rogue broccoli. He’ll kick anything. He’s football and kicking mad!

Now baby2011 doesn’t sleep so much. So when he does go to bed it’s hard to be lazy then. In the daytime I just do a rotation of the house, picking things up, tidying, making mental notes that baby2011 has put one of his shoes in the laundry basket and my keys in the cat’s bowl. I sometimes even manage to persuade him to sit in high chair with a bread stick or give him a pen to play with long enough to be able to show the side board a duster or the front room rug some shake and vac.

So you can’t be lazy, even if you wanted to.

I was never any good at being patient but having baby2011 has taught me that being impatient just makes situations more fraught.

Baby2011 went for a “phase” of about 2 weeks when he was about 10 months old when he would only eat cheerios. Beside myself with worry I served up cheerios about 4 times a day. Baby2011 ate the cheerios one by one. Each meal taking about an hour. Now if I didn’t have patience before that, this “phase” certainly trained me to chill out. Now the cheerios are with milk and go on a spoon, baby2011 is getting to grips with plastic cutlery. This is great but every spoonful of cheerios and milk goes over his shoulder before at best, one left on the spoon makes it into his mouth.

Patience is needed at every point with a baby. Meal times, in the car, when you’ve said “no, sit on your bottom” for the 50th time during lunch and they’re still trying to dive out of the high chair. You quickly learn to be patient or you just lose it.

And goodness you have to be strong to have a baby. Yes emotionally strong, physically strong to cope with labour and birth. But I’m talking strong enough to carry wiggling baby, packed to the brim changing bag, lunch box when weaning, and still find a free hand to lock the car or pick up the dummy that little one has just lobbed into the middle of the road.

So as mum2011, I have patience, I am stronger than ever before and any ability to be lazy is a distant dream.

So why do I not have the patience, why do I completely lose it, why do I want to throttle any moron that parks in a parent and child space when they 1. Do not have a child and 2. Have a child that is 19.

We do not need or want the space because we are lazy, we have established that mums cannot be lazy. We are also now strong and as balanced as donkeys when carrying all our mum and baby stuff, this is not why we need the space either.

We need the effing parent and child space because we physically cannot open the door wide enough to get our babies out of their car seats in a regular space!

This rant also goes out to jerks who, when we haven’t been able to get a parent and child space park so close to our car that even Kate moss would struggle to slip in the back seat. Baby on board sign and car seat in back are a giveaway maybe that we need to get into the car easily.

Sorry, reverse you say and then strap little angel in!? And what do we do with baby whilst we reverse? Sit him in trolley in pissing down rain whilst we try not to run him over? Whilst we watch others zip round car park within inches of him. I think not.

So jerks and morons, park in the normal spaces. Because I don’t have any patience for you.

*sighs, picks up cheerios and packs 3 bags for lunch outing whilst noticing the rain beating down*

One

Baby2011 turned one last week. I thought I might have a bit of a breakdown that my tiny newborn was one whole year old. But I held it together, we had a party and I even said a few words to his fans. I dealt with it brilliantly. This is because I am completely in denial! The number 1s on the front of all his beautiful cards don’t seem to be real. Really one whole year!?

I haven’t blogged for a while and this too is poignant. I obviously have not needed the crutch of my blog to deal with what motherhood has chucked at me over the last couple of months. I said yesterday to my lovely mum that I felt relaxed for the first time since I was heaving enormous bump round surrey and watching homes under the hammer with a bacon double cheeseburger. It’s getting easier. He’s sleeping deeper, can communicate better and his smile is infectious!

I was also talking my wonderful Sis in law about how we feel there is so much to do in our lives but we don’t know where to start. I’m talking as parents, professionals and socially. It’s like the first year of baby2011’s life, my life was his life. But as he grows more independent I get a teeny bit more of my life back.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. Yes I joke about baby2011 being my tiny newborn and snuggling him up like a helpless teeny babe. He of course greets this with a poke in my eye or a kick in the boob. But i genuinely feel a pang of sadness, it physically hurts sometimes when he does something “grown up”. Drinking from his beaker without me helping, eating his food without my help. He can climb the stairs, and he only bloody went and started walking didn’t he!

Of course this is all brilliant and whilst I commend his development and burst at the seams with pride I want to rewind. I never cherished the feeding every 2 hours, the fact that I had to hold him so carefully when I bathed him, how he didn’t have teeth oh, and those tiny inoffensive poos!!!!

The whole year has been a whirlwind. Of worry, of stress, of hopelessness, elation, amazement, wonder, happiness and it’s been amazing. I cannot thank the world enough for bringing baby2011 into my life.

I have just got home after his one year weight and height check with the health visitor. I think back to my first post about attending the weighing clinic. What a difference a year makes. Yes I had to save the newborns from the balls and toys my beautiful baby2011 was literally lobbing across the waiting room. But I was also an old hand. My big mouth practically welcoming everyone to my clinic with their newborns and making friends with anyone who’d talk to me!

Baby2011 is at an amazing age now. I actually think this is my new favourite age for him. He’s learning, copying, dancing, walking, loving, arguing and his personality is shining brighter and brighter. He’s making his mark on the world. Watch out world, he’s an absolute cracker!

New tricks

This week has been another week of firsts. Baby2011 stood on his own for approximately 15 seconds. Ok, so when he realised I wasn’t holding him up he plonked down onto his soggy nappy (lucky cushioning!) But for those 15 seconds he wasn’t a baby anymore, he was reaching the realms of toddlerdom.

Also a first was writing “drop off poo” on my to do list. Ok, I got used to carrying around pots of wee when I was pregnant never did I think of upgrade to carrying around poo. Not my poo I hasten to add, baby2011’s poo. After having something called a rotovirus (apparently very common in babies his age, and subsequently found out 4 of his friends had had it!) he was still being sick on and off over the space of a couple of weeks. Anyway I took him to the docs. It took me so long to take him in as I’m sure most docs think you’re a neurotic mother or lying. But I certainly won’t care about that anymore as he was diagnosed as temporarily lactose intolerant. He now drinks soya milk.

For the first time since I stopped breastfeeding at 8/9 months he goes bezerk for a bottle of milk. He was off his food for a couple of weeks but now he eats like he’s never seen food before. I actually think he put on weight in 2 days. He woke up looking rounder.

Another first this week was our first 1st birthday playdate. *sob* I can’t deal with our babies being 1! How quickly has that gone!? Rewind please! The playdate was lovely because I’m incredibly fortunate that I’ve made so many truly fabulous mummy friends. The babies played, swapped dummies, snot, toys and pulled each others hair but they were so happy.

And now tomorrow, my niece’s 1st birthday. *big gulp* I cannot believe it has been a year since me and my sis in law were heavily pregnant scoffing (yes this is true!) club sandwiches PLUS chips in the gym of all places and my sis in law remarked on how uncomfortable she was and how baby was so active. Well early that next morning I received a text that waters had broken. What seemed like an eternity passed, but then we got the text. Baby was here, it was a girl, she was perfect and she had the most beautiful name ever.

I had never seen a new born baby before. But as I waddled, massively pregnant, up the stairs to the maternity ward I heard babies crying. “Was that her”, I thought, tears in my eyes. I asked for my sis in law at reception and waddled through to the ward, heard my sis in law’s voice as she said it was cool to open the curtain and come in.

There they were, my sis in law looked radiant! Absolutely radiating beauty, happiness and contentment. I pointed and sobbed like a complete idiot. There she was, she was teeny, perfect and her little mouth pursed shut and her tiny eyes closed tight. Dark, beautiful hair. Perfection.

I could not believe I was trusted to hold her, but I did. Wrapped in blankets she was passed in to my arms and I daren’t breath she was so so special to hold.

My brother in law appeared, eyes straight to his brand new daughter and my sis in law started to crack me up with hilarious and alarming tales of birth, breastfeeding and sleep deprivation.

A day i will never forget. And i cherish that memory of meeting her for the first time.

We spent the first few months hiding the new babies under muslins breastfeeding out and about. Usually wearing our sunglasses to hide the bags!!!

And now the cousins play. They chatter, they jostle for position and they hug. Hard to think of them as bumps that we used to rub and complain about!

Happy birthday to my beautiful niece. And congrats to my bro and sis in law.

Now can you please stop growing up you monkeys!!!!