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.

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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?)