Why walk when you can run? This is our new life motto. Things have certainly upped a gear in the past couple of months as baby N has fully thrown himself into life on two legs. I absolutely love this age, even though it is kind of crazy and draining. I mean you literally can’t leave children this age alone for two seconds as sure enough they’ll be up to no good, usually in the form of something dangerous.
Baby N is now quite capable not only of going up the stairs to our first floor apartment by himself, but in case he doesn’t fancy that he can also push the button to call the lift, wait for the doors to open, go inside, push the button for the first floor and take himself there. I guess we are fortunate in this regard that we don’t live on a higher floor as he can’t yet reach any numbers apart from 0 and 1.
We had a bit of a horror run a couple of weeks ago though when baby N just flat-out refused to go to bed each night for I don’t remember how many consecutive days, but TOO MANY! I mean it was getting to the point where I had anxiety just thinking about bedtime. He would howl the place down every time we took him into his bedroom and we even tried to let him cry it out in bed, but turns out this kid has endurance so he would just cry and cry and cry until neither my husband or I could bear it (for me that’s approximately 53 seconds, but daddy can hold out longer).
For a few of these days he was definitely a bit sick with a mild cold but then once he was well again I just couldn’t figure out what the issue was as he’s always been so good at going to bed. But it was getting bad as we were pulling out the tricks that you only do when all other sensible options have been explored and discarded. Take for example one night when he was still wide-awake and in party mode at 3.30am and I had to be up at 7am for work. I was beyond exhausted at this point and so I took him for a drive for about 25 minutes. That relaxed him enough that I could scoop him up out of his carseat and pop him in the bed, but it’s not a long term strategy!
The solution finally turned out something a whole lot more simple than anything I had tried before that. I gave baby N a shorter daytime nap. During these episodes he had been having 2-3 hour afternoon naps which is wonderful when you’re wanting to get some stuff done at home. BUT, it seemed like they were such good naps that he wasn’t that tired at night. By simply shortening his nap to 1.5 hours, he is MUCH happier to go to bed at about 8pm most nights and wakes up at around 7.30-8.00am. Oh my goodness, it was life-changing!
We also somewhat changed his bedtime routine as I read somewhere that you need to keep the bedtime routine quite short in case you need to repeat it during the night. So it’s bath, a couple of nursery rhyme videos with daddy (don’t ask how that got started) and about 2 or 3 books, followed by bed. Baby N continues to sleep in a sleeping bag so I pop him in that for the stories (it’s getting colder here so this helps him to feel cosy), and then I place him in his bed and read one last book to him each night while he’s in bed. It’s always Goodnight Moon as it seems to have some magical ability to make him relaxed. I also have a little teddy bear toy thing that projects stars out of its belly for 15-20 mins that was gifted to me as a birth gift but has suddenly found its use!
I also have a small nightlight in the shape of Olaf from Frozen that we “stole” from baby N’s older cousin. This thing is so wonderful I have no intention of giving it back. You tip Olaf upside down and the light comes on for about 5 mins before turning itself off automatically, by which time I have long since departed the bedroom! Haha!
I turn on the teddy bear with the stars and Olaf when I read Goodnight Moon and then I say goodnight and I’m out that door! Sometimes Baby N does a small cry out of sadness that the day is over (I assume) but he usually settles quite well with his soother toys. A few times he wakes up at the end of his first sleep cycle (usually 45 mins) doing a bit of a cry, but if I pop in there briefly and rub his back and say soothing things he usually goes back to sleep really rapidly. I wonder if it’s bad dreams or something else?
In other areas of life, I’ve just been asked to add more hours to my work as we have a new client that our CEO wants me to lead on. It’s a compliment that they want me to run this account and I will get extra money working additional hours, but I’m a bit sad about it as it will be more busy (stressful!) and I will get less time with baby N. I’ve really taken on work on a different frequency since returning and now I feel like they are progressively trying to bring me back to full time and I’m not happy about that.
We are also building a new house, albeit it is taking so much time that I’ve lost enthusiasm for it. My husband says it will be ready by next summer but even given that summer lasts here until practically the end of September I think that is optimistic. The timing of the house build is important though because I think we are pretty likely to try for baby number 2 next year and we currently don’t have space for any more souls in our apartment (3 humans, 3 cats is the current tally). I just had to go pay for our embryos to remain on ice for another year which was 200 EUR!! I jokingly refer to them as my frozen babies but it makes me sad that they’re just sitting there chilling (haha) together. But apart from the freezer rental cost, I’m about to turn 40 so I think next year is really the year to be getting onto baby-making if there is going to be a sibling.
Then there is my lovely Mum who is in and out of hospital and her quality of life is quite low, but she is still hanging on in there. She’s really incredible! I don’t say too many details about her situation here but she is so tough and so optimistic. I am inspired by her on a daily basis. We have a pretty open dialogue about her dying, which I know some people might find a bit odd, but as we are all pretty aware of it to not talk about it all would be weirder.
Anyway, she is trying so hard – as she says – “not to die at Christmas” because my Dad died at Christmas and she said we shouldn’t have to have two parents die then. Such a beautiful sentiment that I’m grateful for, although even if she does happen to die at Christmas I would never be resentful of her for it. My mum loves Christmas and bakes all these wonderful goodies every year. I’m a terrible baker but I think I’m going to have to get on it as I am very sad about the potential of never having my mum’s mince pies ever again. She has some in her freezer from last Christmas that she saved for me when I visited in July, but I just couldn’t bring myself to eat them then. She says they won’t be nice to eat for much longer, but you know I just didn’t want to eat them as I know she’s not strong enough to make more this year.
I wonder if Baby N will have such thoughts when he’s older. Probably not about my baking, but I wonder if he will also associate happy Christmas memories with something that I do as a kind of tradition. Maybe it will be a new tradition that I haven’t even worked out yet, but I really hope he gets to love Christmas as much as I did/ do thanks to the efforts of my parents.