April 2: When all that floats in the bath is not a ducky

Oh yes, it finally happened to me.

Poo. In. The. Bath.

I have heard numerous tales of other parents (always mothers) about their child going number two in the bath and I had blindly shut it from my mind in the hope that it wouldn’t happen to me. Ha!  Well that was silly! And of course it happened on April 2, the date firmly etched in my memory forever, when I was home alone so there was no hubby back-up (who am I kidding, he would run for the hills in such a situation).

So anyway, here we were with Baby N having a wonderful time delighting in his bath.  At one point, as he often does, he had a little bath-based wee of which I am not at all bothered.  But then it all took a turn for the worse when it wasn’t just wee coming out.  It was a giant, full-size poop-a-doop.  Arrrrgggghhh!  I paused/froze for a brief moment before realising I should get this kid out of his crappy (literally) water, before plonking him down on his towel.  Then I had another issue… the kid was still needing some kind of rinsing to get the poo-based water off him.  There was a giant turd in the bath and the water is going murky.  So I did what any good girl does… I fished the poo out of the bath and into the loo WITH MY BARE HANDS!  Even writing this makes me feel gross.

But still the water was no good and so I realised Baby N would be getting his first shower of his life.  I was fully dressed at this stage, but no matter I held him and gave him a gentle shower with the bath shower head (on very low pressure).  I think my overall vibe at this stage was NOT ZEN and Baby N cottoned on and started crying.  I figured at this point that he was clean enough and so bundled him up in his towel and tried not to think about the details of the whole situation.

Thankfully Baby N went to sleep easily that night so I was able to then thoroughly scrub the bath, the non-slip bath mat and the bath toys.  Also the towel went in the wash. It was about then that hubby came home from the gym and I told him the whole sorry story and he made various gagging sounds and faces.  He basically couldn’t look at me when I told him I had scooped the poo with my bare hands.  His response, why didn’t you put on gloves? Errrr… if there were gloves nearby OF COURSE I WOULD HAVE USED THEM!! Who has gloves in their bathroom (maybe I need some actually)?

But you know, this isn’t even the most exciting story of late. Baby N also had a brief incident last week where he choked on a piece of plum. Yes, I know babies aren’t meant to eat uncooked plum, but Daddy is a bit over-excited about such things and likes to share his food with his son.  I mean, it’s cute and all and usually fine, but on this day it was not. He gave him a small piece of plum, without the skin while he was having dinner and I could see Baby N having some difficulty dealing with it so I went to fish it out of his mouth.  But just as I went to he tipped his head back and I could see instantaneously that he was choking.

He went silent.

His face went red.

He was not breathing.

Many, many years ago I trained to be a lifeguard so I could work on the lake at summer camp in the US (I had two magnificent summers doing so – brilliant times!) and part of my training was how to help someone choking.  Straight away I had Baby N out of his high chair and I turned him over with my left hand under his chest holding him face down and my right hand giving firm slaps on the back.  It worked THANK GOD because the plum was quickly dislodged and Baby N started laughing.  I sat down but could not continue to feed him dinner as my hands were shaking so hard that I couldn’t get the spoon in his mouth.  I had a little cry then.  Baby N just looked at me like I was an idiot.  Bless him.

In lighter news though, I have noticed some incremental changes in Baby N that make my heart warm.  He has worked out that he can “post” one of his bath toys, a starfish, down in between the side of the bath and a handle that sits on the inside (presumably to help you get out of the bath – I didn’t choose the bath).  One night he spent quite a bit of time just repeatedly posting the starfish there and it was so cute I just sat back and watched.

He is also doing a LOT of baby talk and most of it sounds like “Dada” so I guess “Daddy” will be his first word.  I have a sense that it is not far off too. Baby N is aware of many words and I regularly ask him where daddy is or where Lucy (the cat) is and he turns looking for them.  You can ask him if he wants water and he will make a sound if he does, or he will pick up his sippy cup and drink it himself if it’s in arm’s reach. Likewise, he knows how to clap his hands so if you say “clapping hands” to him and clap at the same time sometimes he joins in.  He has also started to hold his hands up when he wants to be picked up which is ADORABLE!

We also have an Amazon Alexa at home which we use for all sorts of things such as turning our lights on and off, playing music and checking the weather.  Baby N is fascinated by Alexa so all you have to do is say “Alexa” (the command for activating the robot) and his head turns towards it to see what she will say.  He is OBSESSED with our mobile phones and if you take one away from him, such as if he tries to suck it, he will complain.  However if you ask Alexa something, he immediately turns towards it and stops his complaining.  We sometimes mess with him just to see how rapidly he shuts up.  Once he learns to talk we are stuffed though as he will just spend all day asking her to do things.  I fear the future…

This weekend we celebrated Easter as it is the Orthodox Easter which is celebrated where I am. We joined the extended family at a lovely hotel restaurant which is almost becoming a family tradition and one that I have felt a little bit of an outsider for in previous years.  This year I had a great time though with Baby N the star of the show seeming to love all of the excitement.  He had his lunch and then munched through assorted other things that were semi-baby appropriate on my plate (no choking hazards, see above).  So he was high on life and food!  After lunch there was some traditional dancing by some “professional dancers” and Baby N went mad for all the traditional music and the dancing.  I was sitting right at the front with him on my knee so he could see it properly and he was waving his hands and even clapping.  The dancers LOVED him and picked him up at one stage to dance him around.  Then there was a portion where the audience joined in so I quickly found myself dancing with him in one of my arms.  Keep in mind Baby N is nearly 11kg and there was a lot of jigging about in this dancing… it was quite a workout for me! 🙂

I remember in previous years that Easter was always a nice break with a few consecutive days off work.  It has been a lovely time this year too, but oh my goodness I am tired.  I am almost looking forward to going back to work so I can have a quiet sit at my desk and enjoy my cup of tea in peace.

Even at work though it’s all baby talk with another colleague announcing last week she is pregnant.  Since I became pregnant with Baby N there has been a succession of pregnancies, so much so that I think my employer would be almost sensible in starting a creche! I was quite surprised by the news of my latest colleague and so when she told me I had an unguarded, unprepared reaction which quite surprised me in one way, but didn’t in another.  Despite having Baby N, despite having overcome infertility, this colleague let it be known that she had fallen pregnant very quickly after starting trying and I couldn’t help but feel irritated by this information. The rational me thinks congratulations, that’s wonderful news. The infertility-affected me thinks how is it fair that she got pregnant by barely trying?! 

These are not new feelings for me but it surprised me that I still had that rawness to me even with the wonder that is Baby N in my life.  It just goes to show that no matter what joys come your way, infertility never fully leaves you.

But I can’t end this post on that sad note, so here is a photo of one of my cats who is being a bit naughty, but so cute at the same time. Ball pit from Early Learning Centre.  Soft toy dog from Ikea.  Both brilliant buys, just ask my cat!

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Eight months and beyond

Once again I’m a bit slow with my latest update with baby N now more than a week beyond eight months, but he’s just so cute right now that pausing to write a blog isn’t always top of my priority list.

Eight months is an adorable age.  Baby N is now such a happy, sunny baby who wakes up laughing and smiling at the world.  It is a lesson to me every day that it is great to wake up happy.  He is wonderful at sitting up and can play by himself for decent periods of time – as long as I am in in sight.  In just the past two weeks I’ve noticed he has suddenly developed the separation anxiety when I am out of sight but also when other people try and hold him.

Despite my best intentions of making him a baby that is happy to go to many people – I handed him around to everyone as soon as he was born – it seems that all babies go through this stage.  Right now apart from me, he is happy with daddy (actually, he thinks Daddy is a Rockstar!) and the lady who looks after him while I’m at work. He is medium-happy to be with his grandparents and my best mummy buddy whose daughter is his girlfriend.  These are the people he has regular contact with so is familiar with them.  Everyone else makes the bottom lip come out and then the howling starts.  He’s not a baby who cries much at all so this has come as quite a shock to me!

I’ve noticed other babies in his age group are already crawling or at least showing the wriggly start of doing so.  Meanwhile Baby N is steadfastly not showing any sign whatsoever of crawling.  He will sit happily and lean forward to grab toys but he doesn’t like being on his tummy at all, ever, and does not do any of the push-up motions that lead to crawling.  I suspect he will run before he crawls.

I’m not terribly upset by this as he is otherwise wonderful and I figure he’ll get there in his own time.  Maybe he will work out how to pull himself up next.  At least he stays more or less in the spot I place him for now.  Once the babies are crawling or making some kind of moves then it opens up a whole new world of crazy.

So for some basic stats:

Age: 8 months and 9 days

Weight: 10.5kg (23 pounds).  Baby N is very tall so even though this is on the high end of the scale and he has some deliciously chubby thighs, he is not overweight.  When measured last week the doctor said he was 78cm (30 inches), but I think she got it wrong.  It is very hard to measure them when they are wriggling.  I think he’s more around 75cm (29.5 inches) judging by his clothes.  Even though he’s only 8 months old he wears clothes that are 12-18 months old and they fit fine now.  He wears socks for 1-2 years as his feet are so big.  He has a cousin who is 18 months older than him and he’s almost the same size!

Feeding: Baby N loves food and I’m so lucky he’s a good eater with no known allergies (yet).  He starts and ends his day with a bottle, but he is not massively interested in his bottle anymore so sometimes he barely has 100ml.  In addition to the two bottles, he has formula in his breakfast (usually oats or Weetabix) and I try and give dairy in the form of cheese or yoghurt for the other meals.

For lunch he usually has a combination of veggies with either some chicken or beef and for dinner it’s veggies.  He usually has a small morning snack of fruit and sometimes in the afternoon he has a little something like a rice cracker just to keep him busy.  I have been doing a combination of feeding him with a spoon and some baby-led weaning so that he learns how to self-feed.  He’s pretty great at feeding himself so as soon as he gets some more teeth I’ll be able to let him feed himself more.

Whenever we are out or eating lunch with him at home we will also let him try some of our food. I know other people freak out about this as some of the things he eats are not traditionally “baby food” but I have the belief that he should try a little bit of everything.  Yesterday we were out to lunch with friends and – after he’d had his own lunch – baby N also chowed through some mushroom risotto and a bit of potato.  A lot of the potato got mashed into his trousers but that was part of the fun.  We also stopped for ice cream on the way home and he had a very little bit of my raspberry sorbet.  I think he had some kind of sugar high after that as he sung all the way home in the car.  Hahaha!

Sleeping routine: Baby N usually sleeps around 11-12 hours a night. Up until the clocks changed to summer time this weekend, he would usually go to sleep around 1900-1930 each day and wake up around 0630-0730.  Sometimes he will sleep all the way through and other times he will disturb a little and need his dummy/pacifier to be put back in.  Other times he wakes up with a full nappy and I need to change him or, like Saturday night, he woke up full of the joys of life at 3am and wanted to play.  I ended up getting him up to change him, feed him a little and then I plonked him on the sofa next to me with some toys and we watched America’s Next Top Model together.  I never watch TV when he’s awake, but if he’s going to wake me up and party in the middle of the night there has to be something good in it for me.

He also has two naps a day now – morning and afternoon – and usually they are between 30 minutes and 2 hours in duration.

Hair: A dirty blonde or light brown.  He is still quite lacking in the hair department (very much an Australian baby) but it is slowly coming along.  I might even have to start brushing it by the end of 2018.

Eyes: His eyes are kind of a grey-ish brown colour.  They are not a proper deep brown so it’s hard to describe.  But they are pretty with the longest eyelashes ever, inherited from daddy.  He’s a real pretty boy with big chipmunk cheeks so he gets lots of attention when we are out and about.

Mummy update: I’m still 3kg off my goal weight and have decided after Easter I will go on another strict diet to shift this extra weight.  It’s really the only way to shed.  Though exercise is great for toning and mental well-being, dieting is the key to weight loss.  Ugh.

I did survive the business trip to Germany and I think I was much worse psychologically than baby N was.  In fact, I think he had a wonderful time being spoiled by daddy and didn’t miss me at all.  Lucy the cat was way more happy to see me when I came back!  It was a tough trip though as I travelled home overnight on the Monday night, arriving in my bed at 4.30am.  I had virtually no sleep before Baby N woke up and then later that day he came down with a mild cold.  This meant he didn’t sleep well for the next few nights so by the weekend I was a wreck.  And just to add salt to the wounds, we didn’t win the pitch for which we travelled to Germany.  I knew it when we were in the room so I was not shocked, plus we learned a lot from it, but we wanted to win so it was a little sad.

Mentally I am doing a LOT better than the early days of motherhood.  Looking back, I was definitely depressed.  I really grieved my old life and the sleep deprivation, failure at breast feeding and changed body really got to me a lot.  I have learned the hard way that you really need deep and unrelenting support from loved ones around you in order to get through this period.  Most of the times when I’m feeling terrible (and it still happens) what I need more than anything is for someone to rub my back, give me a hug and tell me it will be okay.  If I could find some way to market this service I would make a fortune!

The way my marriage has evolved has been interesting too.  I think the early days of parenthood really threw the pair of us off balance, but then we have forged a way to work together.  We work together a lot better now and support each other better.  And when things go against our expectations we are less hard on each other. Our love has changed shape into something I never imagined was possible.  It’s nice, less romantic, but more intense.  I don’t know how to describe that better, but the love I have for my husband now transcends new levels. Also, seeing him love his son melts my heart every day.

A note on social media: I have thus far stayed away from the issue of sharing photos of babies and children on social media as I have the general opinion that people need to live their own lives how they choose to.  However, our joint decision as parents has been and continues to be that we do not want Baby N to be identified in any way on social media.  We are fine with “creative photos” being used whereby he’s in shot, but not identified, such as the back of his head etc, but we do not want his face to be shown.  There are many reasons for this, but ultimately it comes down to privacy.  Baby N is not in a position to decide how he wants himself to be represented in public and so for that reason we take a very cautious approach.  Having seen all that’s happening with Facebook recently I feel we are vindicated in this decision.

On the weekend, however, we were out with friends, one of whom decided to take a group selfie of all of us, including Baby N.  It was a nice photo.  She then posted it to Facebook, Instagram etc with Baby N clearly displayed.  She didn’t ask us first, but when I saw it (I was tagged) I asked that she remove the photo.  Rather than agree and maybe apologise, she started questioning me (as if I was insane). She was rather rude about it generally and I got SO MAD! I felt it unreasonable for me to have to explain my reasons behind it.  It’s my child and I don’t want him on social media.  The end.  She is more my husband’s friend than mine (especially now) and she even contacted him to check with him about removing it (grrrr!) and also to ask him why we have this policy.  This was first thing on a Monday morning. I have not been this angry in some time.  So now I am going to have to be that crazy mother who when people take photos of my baby I will have to proactively inform them that I do not want them to appear on social media.

I really think the issue of social media use generally is about to turn a corner and so I encourage you when taking photos of other people’s children to be courteous about their use.  We need to love and respect our friends for their decisions, even if we disagree with them.

The realities of a working mamma

The realities of being a working mamma are really striking home to me right now. Although I’m having a good time being back at work part time and even having a little break each day from the baby, shit really got real this week when I found out I have to go on a business trip abroad.

This means I have to leave baby N.

Leave him for the first time.

This is not good.

It all came about because my company has been invited to pitch for a gigantic and hugely valuable project with one of our existing clients. This is the kind of pitch that only comes along every few years, and one where our company throws everything at it, whatever the cost, personal cost included.

I initially didn’t expect to go as it’s not my client and not my industry, but then it became apparent that I had some skills that others on the team did not.  I begged not to go.  Said, do everything to find someone else to go. And while it is a compliment because they told me that there was no one else that can do what I do in the presentation, I was so disappointed and sad to leave baby N. Old, pre-baby me would have been beyond pumped for this, but mamma-me was like nooooooooooooo!

I leave tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon, the presentation is Monday afternoon and we’re back on a flight Monday night, arriving 4am Tuesday morning.  This means that baby N will spend Sunday afternoon with daddy, who will bathe him and put him to bed like normal.  Then Monday he will go to his nanny at the grandparents’ house as usual, but he will just stay a full day instead.  He absolutely LOVES this lady (and she in return) so this is not a bad thing at all.  I’m sure he will be delighted.  Daddy will then collect him after work and will bathe him and put him to bed again so the baby will probably be FINE.

By Tuesday morning I’ll be back and normal service will resume.  So it’s just me who is freaking out. Someone who has done this before please tell me the case that I’m not a terrible mother? Tell me that I’m not traumatising my kid by abandoning him?

Most of his day will be the same as usual so really it’s just that he won’t see me for 1.5 days.  That’s NOTHING right?

In other news, I GET TO STAY IN A HOTEL ROOM AND NOT HAVE TO WAKE UP TO A BABY!!  How much do you want to bet I still wake up 500 times and miss him?  Even though I’m only packing hand luggage for this trip I have still packed a face mask and a bath bomb so I can have some me time.  If my hotel room does not have a bath in it (this happens in Europe occasionally) I think I will go into full diva bitch mode and request an upgrade just so I can use my bath bomb.  Hahahahaha! We are staying at a (crap looking) Hilton hotel so you’d think they’d have a bath, right?

Once I compartmentalised the idea of leaving the baby for a couple of days, I started to get really hyped up about the pitch though.  My blood started pumping and I felt some of the old, energetic me come back.  I won’t lie, I liked it.  I don’t know if we will win this – we are the underdog company at this pitch – but I am going ALL IN.  If I have to leave baby N behind for a couple of days I want it to not have been in vain.

In other news, baby N is adorable at the moment.  I love this age!  This week he has really started babbling and it’s adorable.  He does say a bit of dada-dadda but it’s not in context.    I think words are just around the corner, even if crawling seems not to be. I”m going to miss him so much.

Unexpected advantages of parenthood

Baby N is now 7.5 months old and I didn’t really do a 7 month update for no particular reason except perhaps laziness.  However, I’ve got to say that 7 months old seems to be a pretty magical age.  N is now able to sit up happily by himself, which makes for much more exciting playtime, and he finds all sorts of things hilarious these days, especially the cats.  It’s like his whole personality has really blossomed this past month and now I regularly describe him as Mr Sunshine or Mr Happy.

I’d like to note a direct correlation for my love for this age group with the fact that N is sleeping much better these days.  Usually when I say such things about him sleeping nicely then he decides to not sleep that night so I am reluctant to go into too much detail for fear of jinxing myself.  However, on a good night he will go to sleep at around 7.30pm and wake up around 6.30-7.00am.  I try very hard not to get out of bed for him until 7.00am but it depends how loud his chattering is. Of course if he cries I get up straight away.

We have had a few instances recently when a full to overflowing wet nappy has woken him in the middle of the night – many a late night curse for the inaccurately named Pampers Baby Dry brand (Pampers, I am done with you) – and this has meant sometimes a night feed or just a cuddle in bed with mum.  You gotta do what you gotta do! But actually because I see less of him during the day now I almost miss him and look forward to those moments where we get to hang out at night. I’m sure if I was full time at home with him I would not be so excited by nighttime waking.

Anyway, I was thinking to myself earlier how many unexpected advantages there are of parenthood, so I thought I’d compile a little list of them for a giggle.  Perhaps I’ve missed a few or I’m unaware of them yet, so feel free to add your own.

  1. You never have sticky/dirty hands anymore because you always have wet wipes available!  This is a revelation especially when eating on the go.  Why did I never just walk around with baby wipes in my handbag before having a baby?
  2. Ditto snacks. Baby snacks are very delicious you know and they come in handy sized packs.
  3. Sleep aids are no longer needed. I no longer need any of my relaxing pillow sprays or other tools to help me go to sleep.  I’m always so grateful to get in bed that going to sleep is no longer an issue for me.  For someone who has been a difficult sleeper since birth this is an amazing development.  Of course I also never get a lie-in anymore so this one is not all good.
  4. Efficiency is beyond belief. I’m so fast at getting ready to go somewhere.  I remember the days where on the weekend we would plan to get up “early” to go do something and we’d struggle to leave the house before midday.  Midday is practically three quarters of my day done these days! Also, I used to get up one hour before I needed to leave home for work in the old days.  WHAT DID I DO WITH ALL THAT TIME? I now get a grand total of 10 minutes to get myself ready in the morning.  During that time I need to eat breakfast, clean my teeth, wash my face, apply face moisturiser and style my hair (I put my make-up on in the car).  I work in PR and I can’t look like I’ve walked off the streets so every day I marvel at this achievement.  I also think of all that wasted time in years previous.
  5. An ability to go with the flow develops even for type A folks. Babies are a great leveller.  You think before you have one that you won’t do what those other people are doing because you will be the Super-parent.  And then you find out that being a parent is H.A.R.D. and you come to the realisation that it’s good to start out with a plan, but be ready for when it all goes to shit and you have to turn to Plan B, C or D… or just give up entirely and try again tomorrow.
  6. You can get out of stuff really easily.  Have a party that you don’t want to go to?  Tell them you can’t leave the baby. Realistically in the first three months it is hard to go anywhere without the baby or even with it, but at a certain point the baby gets old enough that daddy or a close family member or friend can look after it for a while when you do something.  However, you can ALWAYS call in the big cards that the baby needs you when you want to get out of doing something.  It’s so brilliant that even my husband uses it sometimes.
  7. Daytime drinking.  When you can’t go out in the evening, you start drinking at lunch.  Obviously not enough that you can’t be a responsible parent, but just enough to take the edge off things.  Trust me, it’s brilliant.  I found a new BFF who has a baby the same age as N so we go to each other’s houses in our comfortable clothes and drink prosecco.  I’m not even joking about this. Everyone needs a friend who you can drink prosecco in your pjs with and cry.  Also someone who has a baby the same age as yours so if you need to use their change table/crib/baby toys/high chair they are all set up for it, not to mention that they are cool with whatever drama your baby decides to bring.
  8. You become a better driver.  At least when the baby is in the car – strangely the second the baby is not in the car you revert back to your old ways.  Is someone a psychologist out there who can explain this? Because when N is in the car I am particularly cautious and drive nicely, even cursing those folks doing dangerous things.  Don’t they know I have precious cargo on board?! (Also, please note that you should not drive after alcohol so make sure you stay a long time at your friend’s house and drink a lot of water and have some lunch, ok?)

The beginning of a never-ending love story

The inevitable has happened.

Baby N has discovered his willy.

Ugh.

I knew it would happen one day because he is a boy after all, but I didn’t expect it to come so soon.  It is kind of funny though.  It was Sunday I noticed it for the first time, that when I took his nappy off his hand went straight for the willy.  And once he’d found it the first time… well… you know his hand is going to live down there semi-permanently for the rest of his life.

Of course his dad is DELIGHTED!  He didn’t believe me at first so I got him to come and watch as I changed his nappy.  Sure enough as I was undressing him he was already trying to get to it, even with the nappy on. Now it’s hand down there all the time during nappy changes and in the bath and any other free willy moment. He used to play with his ears a lot, flicking them, but now he does that less now that he’s found The Willy.

It is funny and natural and all of that, but it’s also a sharp reminder that I have produced a future man who is going to do all the gross things that men do.  It is also yet another reminder that my baby is not quite as babyish as he once was.  Time moves fast!

Other than willy discovery this week has been pretty uneventful.  Baby N has been a little better at sleeping, giving me three consecutive really great nights and then deciding to have a party last night from 1.30am until almost 3am just so I don’t get too relaxed and confident.  At least he is very happy and cheerful during our early morning parties.  I think they’d be a whole lot worse if he was crying.

Work has continued to be overall okay.  I can so far manage the part time work with the motherhood demands but let’s see how that continues.  I might have a two-night European business trip coming up in March or April which will be awesome but I’m also sure that by two days before I’ll be hysterical with panic about leaving the baby.

I did have a fight with the head of IT who decided in my absence on maternity leave to change all of my phone numbers – direct line, mobile etc. I’d had the old numbers for more than five years so that has been a bit of an issue for me, albeit the IT guy thought it wouldn’t be.  He was SUPER rude to me over email (haha, evidence!) so I raised it with the CEO and the IT guy got a severe telling off.  My husband joked to me not to burn ALL my bridges in my first week and to save some for next week.

Baby N has been totally fine with his new daily visits to the grandparents’ house and hanging with his new buddy there.  I think he actually has a wonderful time as he is doted on there then I pick him up feeling all guilty for going to work so I lavish attention on him until daddy comes home and does the same thing.  This kid is DEFINITELY winning at life.

Daddy even took him for a vaccination today as mummy was at work.  This was the first time daddy has stepped up to the plate for this so I was a bit on edge but they all did great.  Baby N now comes in at a whopping 73.5cm tall and 9.98kg weight.  This puts him at the very top of the chart for both height and weight.  I asked my paediatrician if he’s overweight but she says he is “Just a lovely big boy”.  I guess because he’s so tall the weight is not an issue.  If he was shorter in stature and the same weight it might be more of a problem.

Likewise, my fitness regime has taken a huge dive this week but I’ve had a chat to myself about just focusing on getting in the new flow of things before I get too caught up in this aspect of life.  Slowly, slowly I will find a rhythm I’m sure. And I’ve found colleagues have very kindly made various comments to the affect of me having lost my baby weight which is nice.  I mean I still have 3kg to go but at least it looks like I’ve slimmed down.  I’m all for smoke and mirrors and carefully chosen fashion! This is definitely not going to be my fittest period of my life but I remain keen to keep some modicum of fitness alive so that when I do have more space in my world to once again exercise frequently that I will have maintained a good basis for this.

In the meantime, we are doing great at Aqua Babies and I’m so delighted I started baby N with this early.  Last week he even did a free swim with his head under the water and he was totally fine with it.  It’s amazing how natural babies are in water!

And just like that it was over

Maternity leave is officially over for me as I had my first day back at work today.  Well I say day, but I’m now working part-time so it was a little more than half a day actually. I have had so many mixed feelings about my return to work and the worst day was actually yesterday as I realised it was the last day I would have my little boy all to myself. I started getting the dread in my stomach and wondering if going back to work – even part-time – was somehow bad for the baby. I started wondering if I would make it to work on time after dropping the baby off and would I turn up at work looking like a mess?  Well none of that bad stuff happened, at least today.  I’m sure it will on many times in the future, but today I got myself together and got baby N dropped off on time so that’s a good start.

The nights are long, but the years are short. This is a popular saying that a friend told me earlier on when the nights felt ENDLESS.  I now know what she means. I feel fortunate to have had these 6+ months with my small guy, but I also know that in plenty of other countries maternity leave is much longer and I will confess I feel very envious of this.

Where I live the maternity leave is four months and so I took a combination of annual leave and unpaid leave to top me up to a total of seven months off work.  And you know what, it was the best decision I’ve made.  Obviously I would be happy to have had 12 months or more with him, but given my situation it was a treat to have that extra time with him.  At four months I was definitely NOT ready to go back to work and neither was he ready to be apart from me.

I’ve been working on getting him ready for the change for the past two months by taking him to his grandparents place where he is looked after by someone who is kind of his nanny.  Apart from this giving me some much appreciated time to myself to go to the gym, have my hair done or do the grocery shopping child-free, it actually made today a whole lot easier.  Rather than it being A Thing to drop the baby off, it was totally normal for him which meant I felt more relaxed too.  I know when I leave him that he’s happy and being well cared for and that is very, very important!!

So off I went to work today and not knowing if I was going to have a good time or not.  But I DID have a good time and it WAS good to be back with my colleagues.  It certainly helps that I work with really nice people who value my contribution at work, but also I like my job.  I think if I was missing any of those elements then today would have been so depressing and awful! My colleagues also gave me a little gift of some beautiful teas, some biscuits and a calendar with cats.  I felt really special.

I was somewhat irritated that my colleague stole my desk chair (it was new) and thought I wouldn’t notice.  OF COURSE I NOTICED!  Let’s just say that it is now back in my possession…

At the end of my (short) working day it was such a thrill to leave the office and go and collect baby N.  When I saw him he had just woken up from a nice long nap and he had the biggest smile ever for me which was beautiful.

If I could have more time at home with him would I?  Yes, absolutely.  But given my options I think today, my first day back at work was about as perfect as you could hope for.

Now to just get baby N to sleep a bit better tonight so I can catch up on some well needed beauty sleep!!

 

 

The small guy is six months old

It’s hard to believe but six months and a day have passed since baby N entered this world.  Six. Whole.  Months.  It’s been a ride, that’s for sure! From those heady newborn days where I literally didn’t think I could make it through another day, to the heartbreaking inability to breastfeed, but then to all the fun times, the smiles, the laughs, his two new teeth, the Aqua Babies classes, all of the firsts, to his little face when he wakes up in the morning so happy to see me and the fits of laughter he has when Lucy cat does something stupid.

I’ve never felt so many emotions.

I’ve never been so tired. Constantly.

I’ve never felt so useless and incompetent, but then the next day I may feel like a super mamma.

I still cannot believe we flew to Australia and back.  Holy shit! (I wouldn’t do it again)

But he’s beautiful and ever-changing and he’s the product of my husband and I.  Perhaps he wasn’t created in a moment of passion (and I do try not to think about what my husband was thinking of when he made his “contribution”) but he was created with so much hope and persistence and determination.  Perhaps that counts equally or even more so.

Now baby N has a little personality, a sunny disposition, a preference for some toys over others.  He’s not keen on avocado but seems to like everything else I feed him and makes “Mmmmm” noises of gratitude and satisfaction when I feed him. He has had his first time on a swing (loved it).

Most recently I’ve been worried that he’s not rolling over, especially with all the dramas of his wonky neck and flat head, but the baby physio has said that his delay in this stage is most likely down to his large size.  He’s now the height and weight of perhaps an average 8 month old baby and it’s hard to shift that much body when you’re only 6 months old.  Despite this, he is strong and loves to sit upright, albeit supported as he cannot yet sit up unaided.

I’ve also been suffering majorly with his inability to self-soothe at night.  This means that every time he comes out of a sleep cycle – roughly 8-10 times a night – he wakes up and needs comforting in the form of his dummy/pacifier replaced and sometimes some reassurance from me.  This means that I wake up roughly every hour.  Every night.  To say it is killing me is an understatement.  It’s like the newborn days all over.  One of my baby apps helpfully said not to worry as babies usually start sleeping better at one year old.  THAT IS SIX MONTHS AWAY, PEOPLE!!  I did not think kind thoughts towards the person that wrote that for the app!

The advice from the experts is that the baby needs to be put down to bed awake so that he puts himself to sleep and when he wakes up again he will know how to put himself back to sleep.  So I’ve got half of that right as baby N can now go to sleep by himself, but ONLY with a dummy in his mouth.  Of course he spits that out while he’s sleeping so when he wakes up he freaks out about it and I have to put it back in.  So the next thing to teach him is how to sleep without a dummy.

I am now cursing myself for giving him a dummy in the first place. Mummies with new babies take note!!

It looks like I will be heading back to work on 1 February, although I’ve managed to agree part time work with my employer which is nice. I have mixed feelings about this.  I would prefer to be in a country with longer maternity leave, here it is only 4 months long but I took some unpaid leave to extend my time.  I know that it’s even worse in the US so I have full respect to the mammas there that have to go back to work when baby is 6 weeks old or younger (I don’t know how you do it).

The good part about going back to work is that I know that my baby will be staying with someone who loves him.  He will be looked after by my husband’s parents’ maid in a kind of nanny situation (maids are very common here and she is very well looked after and doesn’t want to leave), who absolutely adores him like he’s her own and his little face lights up whenever he sees her.  He will be thoroughly spoiled when he is with her. As he will be at his grandparents’ house he will be comfortable and not in a group situation which often leads to more frequent illnesses.  Not that this is a bad option either, but I am fortunate enough to have an alternative.

Already I’ve been taking him to her three days a week for a few hours at a time. I have loved my baby-free time as it has allowed me to go to the gym and yoga and do odd jobs like visit the grocery store without a baby in tow (a real treat). That will soon be replaced by work and so bye bye mummy’s personal time I guess, but hello using my brain again.  I hope that the balance of work and baby will work out although I’m sure it will take some getting used to as well. Expect some kind of post mid-February where I’m freaking out.

Until then, here’s the small guy enjoying all the pleasures life has to offer.

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