I guess I’m Writing That Book Then

After swearing off ever flying to Australia alone with baby N again, guess what I’m going to be doing again in a few days?  Yes, hello Europe to Australia flight(s) home, but this time with a 12-month-old rather than a 4-month-old as Baby N turns one on Tuesday! I think this may well be his one year old post as between now and then I doubt there will be much of an opportunity for blogging.

But back to the flying. It’s got to be easier now that he’s older, right? I mean last time he couldn’t even sit up properly or eat solid food.  Now he is crawling and an eating machine!

The decision to fly home has been a little spontaneous as my Mum’s health has deteriorated quite a bit recently and I’d really like to see her – and for her to enjoy Baby N again – before she gets too poorly to appreciate anything. I really, really don’t want to be doing the flying by myself again (the trauma of last time stays with me endlessly) but circumstances at home mean hubby just can’t join us.  He has once again started a new job so this means he is not so flexible in upping sticks to the other side of the world.  I am trying very, very hard not to be resentful of this but it does stick in my throat that when I’ve needed him badly he has not been able to help me.  On the flip side, each time I overcome one of these obstacles I feel like the biggest kick-ass-mamma out there.

I will say though that I have fought hard go business class which is INSANELY expensive. I’m almost embarrassed by the cost but on the other hand I do not know how he expects me to sit my very tall baby on my knee in economy for 25-ish hours (he’s too big for the bassinets), nevermind keep him entertained in that one spot.  At least with business, baby N can lie down on the flat bed and (hopefully) do some sleeping.

At one point hubby had found an option for me to fly business class to Australia and economy return. When he told me this was a good option (said by the person NOT flying with the baby) I managed to very calmly agree it was a good option but that if we were flying economy I would require a seat in economy to be bought for baby N. He then realized that the price difference for this was not that far off paying for business class and… voila… business class ticket it is!

As a side-note this has served to also be is a lesson for anyone thinking of hooking up with a lover from an exotic, faraway land.  When you are in the early throws of romance, bewitched by your lover’s cute accent and different culture, just keep in mind that if this goes somewhere then one day you will be travelling for 24+ hours with a toddler alone!  Suddenly your romance will seem less glamourous and far more inconvenient. I must say none of these things crossed my mind when I was first falling for my husband.  Haha!

So this week will be lots of fun for me.  Tuesday is BABY N’S FIRST BIRTHDAY and Wednesday we fly!  Nothing like a busy period to keep me on my toes or to grow me some new grey hairs! That aside, I scratch my head every day in amazement that I have an almost one-year old.  He’s crawling around like a professional these days and even moves from room to room if something in another room intrigues him more (helloooo daddy’s computer!). We do not have stairs thank goodness so his main dangers are jamming his fingers in drawers that he likes to open.  We have ordered some baby-proofing things for drawers and cupboards so they will be a welcome addition to our home!

In the meantime, he goes absolutely crazy for the cat water and cat food so I have to pick those up whenever he is roaming. Likewise I have to be careful that he doesn’t get in the cat litter. I have a small box of cat toys and he found those yesterday, absolutely delighting in anything that had a bell in it.  I’ve said many times before that there is a fine line between baby and cat toys and I’m pretty sure we are now at an age where that line is disappearing.

I have been really delighted to see Baby N’s crawling progress after a somewhat slow start. I have adhered to a strict policy of no baby jumpers or activity centres where you put the baby in the middle with their feet on the floor, and definitely no walkers. I know this is a controversial topic, but our pediatric physiotherapist who Baby N saw for his wonky neck was so vehemently opposed to them it totally freaked me out.  She showed us various case studies of how they make the child walk incorrectly and develop wrongly which can not show up for many years, but later on have some serious issues for the child so that was an easy decision for us. We were coincidentally at a friend’s place for dinner this week and their 8 month old was able to walk with the help of an adult but he walked really strangely.  I was puzzled by him until my husband told me they leave him in a walking device during the day so he has effectively learned to walk only on his toes.  Anyway, he’s a delightful baby in every way so I thought none of my business but it did lodge in my mind.

The past few nights Baby N has been difficult to put to sleep, which is very unusual and when it’s accompanied by howling crying it is totally out of character.  I am highly suspecting it is more teeth (he has 5 so far) because after some Calpol (baby Panadol) he is usually fine and sleeps through the night.  Last night we were out for my father-in-law’s birthday so the lady who looks after him while I’m at work came to stay with him. I told her if he is upset to give him Calpol but I don’t really know what happened other than the fact he was still awake (but happy) when we came back around 1130pm and finally managed to get him to bed at midnight. Let’s just say today he is suuuuuuper tired!  He woke up at 9am and went back to bed at 1030am after some breakfast and playing. I didn’t even manage to get him out of his pjs yet.

Now that he’s almost a year old I am starting to move him onto cow’s milk properly. I know there are wide opinions about the human consumption of cow’s milk but both my husband and I enjoy it and Baby N has no allergies so that’s the road we are taking. I am keen to ditch the bottles in the near future but I have decided against any such big changes until we are back from Australia.  In the meantime I have started giving Baby N some cow’s milk in a sippy cup alongside his breakfast. The first bottle to go will be the breakfast one so I want him to get used to the concept of having milk out of a cup so that when I make the change it is not so enormous for him.  He only has two bottles a day – morning and night – and so I think I’ll just focus on the morning one for a while and then ditch the night one later on. Once he learns how to take milk out of a sippy cup I will move his night one to a sippy cup too in the hope that this makes the progression more easy.

I do let Baby N hold his own spoon now and he has the idea of how to use it although doesn’t really do a lot of self-feeding with a spoon.  He is excellent at self-feeding with his hands though so I expect this will come soon. I do a combination of baby led weaning and spoon feeding – this guy eats a lot so I want to make sure the food goes in – but I can see he is increasingly preferring to feed himself.  This is a win-win situation (mess aside) as I have realized I can enjoy my meals slightly more when he is feeding himself. Yay! It will be really interesting to see how he goes with plane food but given that he loves yoghurt and fruit I will just request lots of those if all else fails.  I have also packed about 20 different prepared food sachets which I don’t love on a normal basis but you gotta do what you gotta do when you’re in a plane for 25 hours!

I am also wondering what toys to pack for him as there is just me carrying all the luggage! I have a couple of new things which are small but they are relatively untested for interest (I want them to be fresh when he sees them).  He really loves basic things like cups so they’ll come with me but also homemade things like a plastic water bottle with bits of dried pasta in it.  I might make him one of those for the plane as it won’t matter if it gets left behind but might provide some entertainment. If anyone has any easy suggestions I am happy to hear them (keep in mind I’m leaving in 3 days so no online shopping is possible at this point).

Finally, I would like to report that hubby and I finally, FINALLY broke our dry spell the other day and it was so great! It all came about in an organic fashion during Baby N’s afternoon nap.  Neither of us were working on anything pressing at the time and I kind of suggested it was a good use of his nap time.  Lucky Baby N got a bit longer of a nap than usual as a result but there was a very happy pair of parents thereafter.  A couple of hours later hubby asked when shall we do it again and I joked “Oh we are good for 2018 now so we don’t need to go knowing we had made some progress.

As my mum says, all good things come to those who wait.

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11 Amazing Months

Baby N had the last of his monthly birthdays last Sunday as he hit 11 months and it just blows my mind that in a few weeks we are going to be celebrating his first birthday.  I really feel truly emotional thinking about it.  I think back to all the struggles we had, the surgery to remove my giant fibroid, the IVF, the pregnancies and the losses, the insane amount of tests and specialists I visited and then our magic little embryo that grew into a baby.  I remember being too scared to imagine during my pregnancy that I would ever have my own, live baby to hold and to love so I didn’t really embrace my pregnancy as much as other people do.  I was not open about sharing my pregnancy, I thought I looked huge (now I can see I didn’t look especially gigantic) and actually I’m kind of a bit sad with myself for it all. But that’s the thing about hindsight; it is always so much clearer than in the moment you are living it.

I’ve got to say that the months have zoomed by once baby N got to about 4 months old, although before that the early weeks dragged on with an endless sense of dread at surviving another day on no sleep and being alone with a young baby.  I have no doubt that I had mental health issues during that phase which upsets me to the day, but it is what it is.  Then there were the issues with baby N’s wonky neck and flat head which sounded like a tragedy of immeasurable amounts at the time and nearly tipped me over the edge, but turned out to be entirely manageable.

Now baby N is a delight!  He’s a joyful, healthy, and really funny little guy who I couldn’t imagine not being around. Last Friday hubby and I went to a wedding and baby N stayed overnight with his grandparents and you know I couldn’t sleep because he wasn’t at home.  Isn’t it funny how things change with just a little time and patience?

Baby N is now FINALLY on the move!  He is rather slow in this regard and so I am pleased to see progress.  He doesn’t officially crawl but he scoots around a little one-way-or-another.  He has also discovered our robot vacuum cleaner and is obsessed with it.  He’s really funny as he worked out how to turn it on the other day and squealed with delight.  I managed to video it so I am also happy I will be able to keep that one as a memory.  Although he hasn’t worked out how to pull himself up yet, if we bring him to standing he is pretty good at staying upright while holding our hands.  His favourite toy apart from the robot is a bunch of wooden blocks I got from Early Learning Centre.  He mainly likes emptying the box and then putting them back in but also occasionally he likes banging on the box.  Meanwhile the adults around him have great fun building actual structures with the blocks, which he of course knocks down in less than 2 seconds.

My husband and I occasionally discuss the possibility of having another child.  I am aware that it is only a possibility because of the difficulties in having baby N, but there are 15 embryos on ice that are potential siblings for him and that weighs very heavily on me. I am warming up to the idea but at the same time I feel such terror at the early weeks.  I think I’m better equipped to handle the situation this time, but then again it won’t be that there is only one child to love and take care of.  I seriously wonder how people with many children handle it.  Like how do they leave the house?  Also, how do the fertile folks who don’t have to use IVF manage to have sex to conceive the multiple children in the first place.  I have many questions in this regard!  Haha!

I’ve always been very honest here about my relationship and I will say that my husband is a great dad who is always spending time with his son so they have their own special relationship.  He’s also very keen to support us as a family and does a lot around our home to provide for us and to make sure I don’t fully lose my mind. He makes sure to take baby N when I look especially exhausted or so that I can visit the gym.  That being said, he is sometimes a real jerk and I have been struggling with that. I am a bit of a sensitive creature and he is a little harsh at times.  During the past couple of weeks I’ve been finding it particularly hard to reconcile some of the mean things he has said to me, although I think you’d find if you asked him that he doesn’t think they are anything noteworthy. I’ve even brought it up with him but still they linger.  Ugh.

As for our romantic life I think it is officially dead. Or at least it is cryogenically frozen for now.  We have had several open, non-stressful conversations about this and my husband assures me he is keen to re-start this aspect of our relationship and gives various excuses (the ceasing of it has fallen entirely into his hands as I am very pro-getting it on) but I’m yet to see any of it convert into actions.  At the wedding last week I made a special effort to wear sexy underwear and glam up. He commented that my butt was “nice” which was progress but it never went any further.  He was really nice to me and held my hand but there was nothing beyond that, even in the morning when we were alone as the baby was with his grandparents.  This really upset me a great deal and has lingered on my heart this week. At once point the other day I even offered he should have a girlfriend – it was kind of a reverse psychology move but even that didn’t excite him.  Like, I literally told him he had permission to go sleep with someone else even though I really didn’t want him to!  Maybe he sensed that, but I’m at a loss now.  It bothers me a lot as I am very keen to get some action, with practically anyone at this point, but I don’t actually want to go outside of my relationship to do so. Anyone else had a similar issue?  I am very keen for some advice in this regard.

Onto more cheery matters… Baby N.  Here’s the last of the monthly updates for the small guy.

Age: 11 months + 2 days

Weight: I don’t know as he’s not been weighed recently but I’m guessing around 12kg.

Feeding: Baby N continues to eat really nicely and there’s not much he won’t eat.  A couple of weeks ago his top two teeth came through so he can now bite on things a bit better which is fun.  Once some of his molars come in I am sure he will be able to munch through a lot of stuff!

Sleeping routine: Baby N has two naps during the day usually and then sleeps from 9pm to 7am approximately.  His bedtime is a bit late but we are in the Mediterranean and it’s summer.  No one goes to bed early around here because it’s just so hot.  It works for him at the moment but I expect I’ll bring his bedtime earlier in the winter. He is content and well and so I am not bothered by this right now.

Hair: Identical to mine at the same age!  He has a kind of blondish colour, fine and wispy hair.  It’s starting to curl up at the back which is super-adorable.

Eyes: Massive and inquisitive.  He’s got great eyes!

Mummy update: I am starting to get my figure back thanks to more consistent working out. I can wear most of my old clothes but not all of them as there is a little too much flab around my belly still.  I don’t think I’m going to bust out a bikini this year.  I mean I could, but I don’t really love myself enough right now to do so. I went on a work trip to Copenhagen for three nights two weeks ago and baby N slept at his grandparents for those nights with daddy coming to visit each evening.  He was totally fine and loved it so this is a good sign to me that we are entering the phase where I can do a little more occasionally and baby N will be ok. I’m enjoying my work generally and it was nice to go somewhere and feel like my old self for a few days.  I might have enjoyed it at times a little too much, but then I was really happy to be reunited with my baby when I came back.

Emotionally I’ve not been at my best.  When baby N was teething there was a week of not much sleep for me and I was really under pressure with work and my Mum’s situation too.  At one point he was crying late into the evening and just as I calmed him down his daddy came and woke him up.  I was furious.  Beyond furious.  I got so upset about it and then my husband mocked me for being upset.  I am not going to lie, that I lost it at him big time.  I actually thought he might divorce me that night it was so bad.  Thankfully he calmed down after my outburst and was able to see that I was pushed beyond my limits and this was out of character for me.  I hope he saw that he was making the situation worse, not better, but I don’t know.  I’ve felt very vulnerable ever since and am trying to be more mindful to take care of myself.  I am definitely having issues with loving myself on all the levels but I try and occasionally look in the mirror and appreciate what I’m seeing.

Today at work I made a silly mistake and it just brought everything out of me, tears etc.  My colleagues must have thought I lost my mind because normally I am a calm, sensible character and my mistake did not deserve a reaction to this level. Despite all of this – and I realise I sound loopy – I’m mainly ok and managing most of the days to keep all the balls in the air.  Today baby N has been invited to another baby’s first birthday paddling pool party so that’s something nice to look forward to.  I think there is wine for the mummies (no daddies invited). Everything is always better after wine I find.

The week that was

It has been quite a tough time in our family for the past week or so and I am now able to reflect on it from a place of somewhat calm.

Friday a week and a bit ago my Mum fell ill with an infection and was admitted to hospital. As I have mentioned before, she has incurable leukaemia and is probably in the final phase of it so an infection is serious business.

At first everyone was very positive that it was no big deal and would be dealt with swiftly. However, Mum didn’t respond to the antibiotics and was progressively getting worse as last week continued.

Simultaneously to this, baby N fell sick on the same Friday night with some kind of virus that gave him a high fever, snotty nose and coughing. The poor thing had a terrible night Friday and was pretty awful Saturday and Sunday too. He has been steadily getting better since but as my Mum got sicker, it started to seem that we needed to fly home to Australia.

I was freaking out on multiple levels, but also because by then I had also caught the virus so neither baby N or me were in physical shape to fly 27+ hours to the other side of the world. Also, sick people are not allowed anywhere near sick cancer patients!!

I took Baby N to the paediatrician to see what we could do and the poor love has baby asthma! Bless him, he now has a little puffer which is enormous fun to give him, as you can imagine!!

Just as we were preparing to buy flights and somehow manage the long flight, Mum made some good improvement. She’s even better now and might go home by the end of this week, which would be amazing.

I think we will still go for a visit sometime soon, but just knowing I can plan it properly makes me somewhat calmer. I am still having some kind of PTSD from the last trip I made alone with Baby N, and would you believe it looks unlikely that hubby can come with me AGAIN so I’ll have to go alone again. If that happens, I’m going to write some kind of book about flying long haul with babies!!

But in great news, baby N is a super star baby. He is at the cutest stage yet and I actually love him so much it hurts these days. I cannot begin to tell you how sweet a person he is. He’s calm and clever and so funny. Much nicer than my husband or me. Hahaha!

Now he seems to be on his way to talking. There’s a lot of “dadadada” and “mamamamama” but not properly with intent yet. I SWEAR he said “No” the other day when I was trying to feed him and he was full. He clearly understands a lot now which is fun!

Yesterday we took him for his first sea swim and he loved it so much. He’s been to the beach many times but it had not been hot enough to swim previously. I think he’s going to be a proper beach bum like his mummy.

This photo says it all:

Ten months old today

Baby N is ten months old today. TEN MONTHS!  Seriously, where did that time go? I mean the first few weeks it seems like the seconds ticked slower, except when I was trying to sleep, but now I scratch my head and can’t believe that my baby is approaching his first birthday.  Whaaaat?!

I haven’t written an update recently because there’s been so much going on and I’ve been quite overwhelmed, but at the same time I have had so many thoughts that I should share here that I’ve not managed to get down.

I keep thinking back to this time last year or even the year before that when I was either pregnant or in the throes of having lost my second baby and I look at how much has changed.  Some of it good (baby, obviously) and some of it really freaking hard (bye bye freedom). I cannot tell you how immeasurably I’ve changed and grown in the past 10 months, both as a mother, as a wife, as professional in the workplace and as a person.  I have a new level of awareness and sensitivity that I never even knew could exist.  I also have an exceptionally low tolerance level for anything that wastes my time. In fact, it’s a pretty good filter system for running my life and I think I should have applied it earlier!

Other times I fantasise about my old life and how much time I wasted doing nothing in particular.  Sometimes I dream about the days when all I had to worry about was work and getting to the gym on time.  Just sleeping in to 8.30am sounds like some kind of incredible luxury these days! I often think that if I could do my time over I would just go to the gym 7 days a week to get the most amazing body and watch all the movies at the cinema – but of course I wouldn’t because that’s not how it would really go. And I guess this young baby phase is so brief that in no time I will be sentimental about this time too.

I’ve got to say though that 10 months of motherhood is not good for the face!  I have always prided myself on looking a little younger than my actual age.  Hahahahaha!  Now I look AT LEAST my age and maybe even older.  Damn you sleep deprivation and super-stressing!  Sometimes when we are out with mothers of older children I study them to try and work out how they run their lives and manage to look so put together (I think nannies/housekeepers are the only way to be fully well-put together all the time which is not very practical really).

Age: 10 months today!

Weight: I don’t actually know for sure but about 3 weeks ago Baby N weighed in at 11.25kg (25lbs) so I think he’s probably a bit more than that now.  He is definitely a big guy as he’s also super tall and he has a cute belly but he’s not overweight.  Like my paediatrician said, “He’s not fat, he’s just huge”. Bless him and his giant feet!

Feeding: Not much has changed in regards to baby N’s feeding – 3 meals a day, 1-2 snacks, bottle first thing in the morning and last thing at night – as he’s not grown any more teeth since Christmas, although he seems to have a mouth full of white buds so perhaps there are a bunch more teeth on their way very soon.

I still mainly spoon feed baby N for the bulk of his meals but I give him his own food to self-feed with too and he’s pretty great at it. This guy is a total natural at eating and he is so incredibly funny when he gets a piece of food, say half a strawberry, and rather than nibbling off a bit to chew he instead shoves the whole thing in his mouth.  I’ve got to say I think that’s a winning strategy and it makes me laugh so much.  Also, for the foods he really likes (cheese, watermelon, ice-cream) he makes VERY loud “mmmmm mmmmmm” sounds which never stop being funny. He loves his food.

Sleeping routine: I hate telling anyone about his sleep as the second I do he has a crappy night’s sleep thereafter.  Let’s just say that if the stars and moon align he is a good boy at night.  And as soon as I tell anyone he sleeps nicely I then feel cursed. But his routine before bed is pretty consistent.  He has a long bath where he plays with a bunch of bath toys and kicks all the water out (thanks baby swimming lessons for that), then he gets a towel cuddle, some moisturiser/massage, pjs on, a little milk (he often rejects it and has only a mouthful), a couple of stories, perhaps some silly games with daddy and then a cuddle.  When he seems tired I put him in bed in his sleeping bag and – on a good night – he will cuddle his bunny snuggly and will put himself to sleep.  On a bad night I will go in and out of his room 20 times putting his dummy back in, cuddling him, singing, rocking and generally praying to the sleep gods for the child to rest so I can have dinner.

For the last two nights he has gone to sleep at about 930pm so it has been very late dinners for us! Hello teething!

Hair:  He has some now! Yay! Basically he’s got my hair as a baby which I love.  The funny thing is it’s more thick down the middle and at the front so it looks like I have given him a Mohawk hair cut.  People actually ask me this and I’m like nooooooooo!

Eyes: Big, brown eyes like his daddy. He’s looking more and more like daddy each day now.

Mummy update: I’ve lost a little weight over the past few weeks thanks to some light dieting and a proper return to the gym.  If you had told me before giving birth that it would take 10 months to get my act together on the fitness front I would have wanted to punch you.  But really it has taken me this long to get everything in order.  Most recently, hubby and I changed gyms and that has helped to refresh my attitude.  They also have some workout classes in the evening that are scheduled in such a way that we can each do one class consecutively with a baby swap in the carpark in between.  So this week I have already been to the gym twice with a third workout planned for Friday. This will be the first time in forever that I have done three workouts in a week and it really does help me feel more like myself again.

By going to a class or working out with my PT it means that the time I devote to exercise is quality.  So I am there for 45-60 minutes and I am sweating like a beast for the entire duration.  An hour is not so long to be away from the baby and when my husband and I do the consecutive classes it usually means one of us gets to feed the baby and the other gets to bathe him. And I always get to put him to bed (albeit I was a bit smelly last night when I did so, maybe that’s why he took a bit longer to nod off because my BO was keeping him awake).

Work wise I have a trip to Copenhagen coming up in early June which I am beside myself excited about.  Firstly, Copenhagen is a wonderful place to visit and my client has asked me to do a huge project for them so it’s a massive compliment, secondly it will mean 3 nights sleep in a hotel without the baby (OMG such a luxury), and thirdly I just need a break from the daily grind of parenthood.  It is tough sometimes! Baby N will be looked after the lady who takes care of him when I’m at work – who he adores – and daddy so he will be more than fine. Anyway, he’s a big guy now so it’s not so stressful.  I will still cry when I leave, of course.

Emotionally I have been a bit all over the place recently.  As I have mentioned here before, my mum is very sick with a type of incurable leukaemia.  She was diagnosed 6 years ago, and at the time, she was told she had about 6 months to live.  So the fact that she’s still going strong now is remarkable and testament to her strength and determination.  However, she is now showing signs of deterioration and her doctor has told me that 2018 will be tough for her.  I think that was his nice way of suggesting she probably won’t see much of 2019. The past couple of weeks she has been especially poorly so I’ve been on edge near-constantly worrying about whether now is the time to go and help her.  The reality is that if she gets a bad infection – and it’s coming into winter in Australia so this is all very possible – that she could actually make a very bad turn very rapidly.  So rapidly that I might not be able to make it in time.  So I feel like I am almost constantly waiting for a phone call that says pack everything, you have to come home right now.  Even without a baby that would be super-stressful, but with a baby… well… yeah.  Enough said.  And not bringing him with me is not an option. The only way I can deal with this is to compartmentalise it into the folder of “Will deal with this when I have to”.

Also, I have at the back of my mind that when she does go, because realistically she will lose her battle at some point, I will then have to pack up her entire life which is the most depressing thing imaginable.  My dad passed away when I was 16 so she holds both his and her beloved possessions, as well as all of my childhood ones as I never really took those things because I moved overseas rather than into my own home locally. This means that not only will I be dealing with all the emotions of her belongings, but also my dad’s and effectively my entire childhood’s.  That is a lot to process.  I have my sister to help of course but she’s not so great at this stuff.  Anyway, not much I can do about this now, but hence why I have been all over the place in recent weeks.

It’s very hard to keep a steady head for baby N in such circumstances but I do try my best.  He seems very cheerful most of the time so I think it’s all ok for now.

I refuse to finish this on a down note, so just to say our new house is progressing nicely now with the basement dug out and the frame going in this week.  Just think that this time next year I will be looking forward to having my own private pool.  I can already picture a nice wine spritzer of an evening poolside.  Perfection!

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.

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?)