Why walk when you can run?

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.

 

 

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Feeling all the feels

It’s been a rough old time over these ways the past couple of weeks and I’ve been feeling very introspective about many things.  I’ve wanted to write so many posts about these feelings but the challenge is time. There is just so much rushing about these days and I need to prioritise blogging over all other things, but mainly sleeping.

My poor Mum is continuing to battle on and truly it is an inspiration. Even despite everything continuing to head south she is still persisting with some chemo treatment in the hope that it extends her life for as long as possible.  The way it destroys her body is just absolutely horrendous and to see someone you love be slowly deteriorating inch by inch is awful.  My dad died a few weeks after his 50th birthday (and a couple of days after my 16th) and it was a big shock to us.  That trauma stays with me to the day for many different reasons and I’ve always thought it was a terrible way to go out – so suddenly with no real time to prepare or say all the things you want to say.  Now I feel differently.  Now I feel like going out quickly while you’re having a pretty great life is the way to go.  I’m not saying I’m trying to encourage a premature death in anyone but my goodness cancer is a bitch.

In the middle of this is the wonderful baby N who is now practically Usain Bolt with the speed of his walking.  It’s interesting because as he has become more adept at walking, he has become more cuddly.  It was as though before the walking he didn’t have time or interest in cuddles because he was so focused on getting up on two legs.  He now actively leans in for the hugs and even enjoys kisses (sometimes)!  And he loves, loves, loves his soft toys now which was kind of an overnight transformation.  We have been all about the Jellycat soother bunnies for months now and all of a sudden he has decided the Jellycat soother monkey is THE BEST THING EVER.  So if he’s having a bit of a cry about anything, you provide the monkey and everything is fine.  I think we all need a monkey in our lives!

But poor Baby N had a bit of a shocker last weekend whereby he suddenly threw a very high temperature of over 40 degrees at about 6pm on Saturday night. The poor love battled for about four days, which basically meant no sleep for the rest of us.  He cried and cried and cried at night on Sunday in particular, but also Monday.  Saturday he was semi-ok and by Tuesday night he was much better.  What is it with Sunday nights for freaking out?  He must do it almost every Sunday so I turn up on Monday at work looking quite horrendous (I joked that for Halloween I should just turn up at work with no make-up on as that would scare anyone). Anyway, this Sunday he was so poorly that the only way to comfort him was to bring him to bed with me.  Unfortunately that meant he then also took over the entire bed, daddy got a bit annoyed and twice got up to go sleep on the floor in the other room. I kept thinking to myself, well that’s fine as now I have more bed.  Hahaha!

You know baby N is really poorly though when he didn’t eat.  He pretty much refused all food for two straight days. Even getting liquids into him was a challenge so I think he had a sore throat.  By Tuesday lunchtime though he was ready to eat the entire kitchen so that was the big sign to me that he was back to better health.

My work has been totally ridiculous the past few weeks too.  It’s the time of the year when everyone is trying to get everything done they were meant to earlier in the year, but didn’t and then also plan for the next year.  I have a confession to make though.  I keep thinking it is still 2017 even though we are almost in November.  Seriously.  And I blame the pregnancy and maternity leave for that.  I was on leave from July 2017 until start of February 2018 so effectively I missed half of 2017 and so my poor pea brain still thinks it’s in 2017.  So I keep referring to next year as 2018 and everyone must think I’ve fully lost my mind.

As I work in a client-based industry (PR) it’s a bit hard to manage my part-time hours (clients do not care for this) so I feel like I’ve been working even when I’m not supposed to be (or paid to be) which means I have been feeling like I am crap at both my job and being a mother – and possibly even a wife. I’ve not been working out as much as previously and so I’m generally feeling a bit stretched.

However, in those moments where I have finally left the office I’ve been having some great times with Baby N.  Each day when I pick him up we go for an adventure together before going home.  That might be for a walk around the Mall (great place to take a kiddie learning to walk as it’s pretty safe and indoors), a trip to a new park, yesterday we hung out with some other of our baby mamma friends (he’s a full head taller than all the other babies) and today we went to a baby music class.

Now we did try one of these baby music classes earlier this year with the baby mamma group and it was a total disaster.  The vibe was all wrong and maybe so was the timing so   baby N pretty much hated it (I also hated it which probably rubbed off on him).  Not wanting to get myself into something like that again, my friend who suggested I join the class arranged for me to go for a free trial today.  So off we went with very low expectations and do you know what?  Baby N bloody loved it!

There were about 15 babies and their mummies (no daddies, what is up with that?) and two teachers with beautiful voices.  The lesson was not in English so that was fun for me as I basically had no idea! I mean it’s not complicated so it’s not a barrier and I do understand a good chunk of the local language anyway.  All the babies apart from Baby N were very nicely sitting with their mummies and doing all the different movements that you’re meant to do.  What was baby N doing?  He was dancing in the middle of the circle, totally in his own world and loving every second.  This kid is not shy! I think I could have gotten up to leave and he wouldn’t have minded either.

Anyway, by the end of it he was so delighted with his surroundings that he lied flat on the floor.  He then went around cuddling all of the cushions on the floor and I literally had to physically remove him from the class before the next one started and he was very unhappy with me doing so.  Needless to say, we signed up properly for the lessons!

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.

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!

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 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!!