An honest account of being a first time mum

Posts tagged ‘Baby’

All change

Baby 2011’s vocabulary is really coming along and like the pushy parent I’ve always tried not to be I’m encouraging him to say anything and everything – “tractor”, “park”, “slide”, “swing”… “garlic” and “egg” are particularly hilarious. He also mastered, during a manic day in and out of the car – “dick head” and shouts “go go go” when we pull up at red lights like we’ve just raided a bank.

It’s all change again.

Nothing with baby2011 or our lives since having him has been revolutionary in terms of change (apart from that day we left the hospital with a tiny wrapped up newborn in a very expensive car seat wearing a hat with ears!) We’ve never had any epiphany moments that have meant baby2011 sleeping all night because we changed his tea time/bed time or because we made him run up and down the garden 100 times in the promise of a biscuit to just “please god wear him out!”

But things have slipped back into (dare I say) some kind of normality. Dad2011 has played a few rounds of golf and met friends for a few beers on the odd occasion and I have not screamed “you inconsiderate bastard, he’s screamed all day – do you know how many times I’ve cleared up the high chair today? – do you event comprehend what watching 5 episodes of something special does to a woman? – you have it so easy going off to work – I haven’t even had a f*cking shower!” Nope, not one obscenity has passed my lips. I have smiled, wished him a great time and meant it.

Things for me have changed a bit too these last few weeks I’ve started a kettlebell class and it’s in the evening (past my bedtime) but I haven’t turned into a pumpkin yet. And, I’ve been to bed later than 9pm. I’ve even been looking in shops for clothes and actually seen some things that I could perhaps pull off.

So swearing apart, I thought I’d blog a few changes I’ve noticed in baby2011. If for no other reason than to give a few parents out there who are in the up all night, rocking to sleep, food throwing, up at 4.30am stage (who don’t want to or who can’t do this controlled crying twaddle) a bit of hope that baby maturity and parental instinct do gradually mean change…

In the last few weeks (since we took the side off his cot and made it into a bed) baby2011 will lay in his bed with his nightlight on and with me pretending to be asleep next to him and after about 15 minutes of wriggling, sitting up, hitting me on the head, shouting “see saw marjory daw!?” he’ll lie down and go to sleep. This is the boy who I used to have to rock in my arms for up to an hour (despite a bed time routine that would put any army corporal to shame!) and then place gingerly in his cot for him to wake up 100 times before 10pm. He still wakes and he still rises early but now when he wakes up he’s happy to be chucked in our bed and he’ll go back to sleep until about 6am (after a year of 4.30/5am up and raring to go – this is heaven!).

So, I’m not in the kitchen at 5.05am every morning making “hot tea mummy” whilst he rams with his scuttlebug and my back is no longer twisted to oblivion sitting in that damn rocking chair listening to baby Einstein lullabies for 45 minutes after a day at work and a commute with Southern Trains that WILL turn me grey or see me on GBH charges.

He’ll also eat a cold lunch. Now this might seem ridiculous, but after a year of making hot lunches AND dinners for my little angel the fact that he will eat and is satisfied with a ham and cheese sandwich and some cucumber means a lot less washing up, a lot less prep and waiting time and it’s cheaper!

I also have given google a bit of a break. I don’t sit on the ipad all evening googling “when should I turn the cot into a cot bed?”, “when should you stop giving baby a bottle?”, what time should a 22 month old go to bed?”, “ How long and at what time should a 22month old nap?”. Nope – I no longer read the forums where parents all give their opinions, criticisms and shout about what worked for them (smug) and how their kids ONLY sleep 7pm-6.30am (grrrr). And it’s liberating.

When the going gets tough, as it inevitably does during the snot season, I have a very sympathetic French friend. Ms Sauvignon Blanc. We’ll why the hell not!? Cheers to change x

Christmas

Baby2011 is making me pasta, custard and tea. Then I expect he’ll pull up his tiny stool, sit down at the keys and serenade me on his piano (microphone included!) whilst I pick the Weetabix off his high chair and persuade the cat to get down off the top of the fridge. He plays a bit on his own now. As much as I’ve longed for this freedom I feel a but redundant.

Anyone would think it had been Christmas. My conservatory (posh eh!?) is like a toy shop. Flashing lights, joyful songs, and a bit chaotic – bit like dad2011 on Christmas day (boom boom). Baby2011 running excitedly from fireman Sam toys to Thomas the tank engine and he looks so thrilled.

In the run up to Christmas baby2011 and I hit the Toddler Group Christmas party. We survived. 50 under 5s making Christmas crowns (baby2011 insisting on wearing one he didn’t make upside down the whole time!) dancing and singing with Jo jingles and a few ounces of sugar made father christmas’ reception – well, Interesting.

Poor bloke probably wished he was in the pub opposite or at home in an arm chair watching deal or no deal with a cup of tea rather than absolutely terrifying each child there. He was a lovely chap but it was hilarious as each child was called they clung to their parents knees looking as terrified as a turkey at Christmas. They were sh*tting themselves. Parents of more than one child in hysterics or rolling eyes and first time mum’s trying to jolly up screaming child and explain the magic to them (no one wants the screamer do they!?).

Thank god a warm bottle of milk sent baby2011 to sleep that afternoon and me and a friend thought it would be best if we checked the mulled wine stock was ok for our husbands.

On Christmas eve baby2011 had been washed, fed and watered and put in a nice cosy bed. He’d put a carrot out for the reindeer and a triple jack Daniels for father crimbo and he was asleep. Bliss…my mind began to wander. Romantic notions of opening our stockings in bed on Christmas morning, laughing and excited filled my head.

The reality was that we we were woken in the night by the puke monster. Baby2011 and his spectacular vom made for a night of washing machine loads, carpet scrubbing and half sleeping, waiting for round 2.

The moral of this Christmas tale. You’re not the boss, you’re not in control, but with friends, family, children and wine…you’re definitely winning.

(I think I’ll need a hip flask once he hits nativity play age)

Phases

So there was the phase when I couldn’t have a 2 minute shower without shouting down the stairs “is he ok?”. Oh yes and even before that (how could I forget) the phase where I felt like dolly Parton and was walking like John Wayne…girls you know what I’m saying!?

Then there was the phase when breast feeding baby out and about filled me with dread as he was so nosey the whole of Surrey had seen what they weren’t supposed to by the time he was 3 months.

Then there was the “wouldn’t take a bottle” phase, then there was the dummy falling out a million times a minute phase. Oh yes and the pack 20 lunch boxes of weening food and beakers and milk for a quick trip to asda-all which was thrown on floor or refused phase. Particularly challenging and time consuming. I won’t bother next time around.

Then there was the crawling backwards phase, stuck under sofa phase, eating sweetcorn from under the sideboard phase.

Then there was the rotovirus phase, then the hacking cough phase. Then there was standing up phase, the walking phase, the running phase and now the talking phase. I use the word “talking” loosely however he has mastered the work “potato” just this morning and this confirms to me that he’s a genius.

So the wont sleep day or night phase and up at 4.55am phase persists but it’s definitely much more rewarding and fun looking after a toddler. A walking, talking, nutty toddler.

A toddler who waves at people from the window and cracks up as though they’re losers for waving back. A toddler who thinks its very funny to see mummy get wound up when he refuses to call a dog a dog and insists its a cat. A toddler who when I can smell him from 20 paces insists that he has NOT done a poo.

A toddler that wants to push the trolley round the supermarket and then hides amongst the cat litter shelf giving me a heart attack.

Baby2011 will always be my baby, but his sense of humour, his stubbornness and his overall personality makes everyday so fun and yes, I’ve plucked up the courage to call him a toddler. Cheers!

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Guilty pleasures

Baby2011 is 18 months old now. My dishwasher is his favourite toy (tray pulls out and is sat in like a go cart). He can out run me when it comes to nappy change time or tooth brushing time and squeeze himself into the smallest space , wedging himself between our bed and the wall.

Baby2011 can also out shout me now, (a real feat if you know me!) This scares a lot of old biddies in Asda but stops him from grabbing hold of the odd toilet brush or pepperami. And I leave the place with a scrap of dignity in place.

baby2011 finds pleasure in every situation (yes at the cost of my nervous system but this is good for him!). So as a parent what pleasures do we have?

Of course the bundle of joy we being into our lives, changing things forever is of course a pleasure (sense a sprinkle of sarcasm here folks!)

But I’m thinking of other stuff. Stuff that is like secret patent stuff. Things you wouldn’t have done in life before children. Guilty pleasures if you like.

And surprisingly with a child that evades sleep like Victoria Beckham evades carbs I have quite a few guilty pleasures. Or things and time I feel I’m owed…

Here goes with the list of mummy guilty pleasures:

1. Eating left over fish fingers/cheesy pasta/mash/sausages/fromage frais from child’s plate
2. Letting child fall asleep on sofa cuddling you. Then kicking back to watch this morning, made in Chelsea, nigelissima!
3. Picking up jokes from Justin’s house
4. Hating Sarah Jane on Tikkabilla
5. Secretly fancying mr bloom on Cbeebies
6. Tuning in to watch the lingo show because you want to
7. Looking out the window, seeing rain and deciding that this means having to stay in doors, eat bread and butter and absolutely not get dressed
8. Macdonalds happy meals
9. Child screaming when charity rep knocks on door at 7pm
10. Child grabbing chocolate bar/pair of socks/nice top/ deepest sympathy card from the shops and not realising until you get back to the car…
11. Jumping on the bed and wrestling for 20 minutes each morning
12. Making a cup of tea whilst child is bellowing on naughty step

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