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Christmas break

It has felt like a long time since I’ve had so long off. Well, in reality I’ve been on the go for months rather than weeks at a time. Being a full-time student and part-time worker has left me less than a full-time mum. There is guilt that goes along with that, but I know that I’m doing the right thing for us now, and I hope, for the future.

I had a whole three weeks off (minus two days at work) over Christmas 2013 and New Year 2014. It was fantastic!

Christmas street party

Christmas street party with my beautiful boy.

My baby really enjoyed having his mummy, and for five days mummy and daddy, around for playtimes and cuddles and general fun and laughter. I baked a lot. I had Henry help me eat all the cakes. We made a gingerbread house and homemade mince pies and pavlova and banoffee pie and probably 4 or 5 batches of cupcakes.

We told stories of Santa, and left out one of said mince pies, a carrot and a glass of milk for him on Christmas Eve.

He rode the train with daddy!

He rode the train with daddy!

 

On Christmas day, Henry woke up and said, ‘Merry Christmas, daddy. Merry Christmas, mummy’ and opened his stocking presents from Santa wrapped up in his duvet in his bed. He was so excited about the crayons and pencils and colouring books and cookie cutters I’d filled his stocking with. He couldn’t believe his eyes when he walked into the living room as saw a huge pile of presents, all neatly wrapped up, and a chalkboard easel ready for him to play with.

Presents for my sweet.

Presents for my sweet.

He has done lots of drawings already. Lots of squiggles that he tells us are trains, or rockets, or tractors. He also got a Peppa Pig spaceship. That was a successful gift. There was also his ‘main’ present; a Buzz Lightyear action figure. The proper one that looks just like the movies. It’s wings have lights on the ends and it has karate-chop action too. Henry’s daddy and I were very impressed. £25 worth of impressed. We now have a two-year-old who excitedly runs around saying ‘to infinity, and beyond!’, when he’s not singing Jingle Bells or Happy Birthday. I feel he’s a little confused about these different events.

My little artist.

My little artist.

We went on to have a lovely meal and evening at the in-laws. It was fantastic. We all ended up in onesies (2013, the year of the adult onesie…) and ate until we had to roll out of the door and into our beds, all sleeping like babies. If babies slept well, that is.

And now I’m back to work. Back to uni. Back to only seeing my baby evenings and weekends. I look forward to summer now. I cuddle him and don’t ever want to put him down. He’s so lovely, and perfect, and squishy and when he laughs, I laugh and feel so warm and happy.

The gingerbread house, demolished on Christmas day.

The gingerbread house, demolished on Christmas day.

It’ll be worth it, I keep telling myself.

At least I truly appreciate how special he is. When I see him, and he smiles and says “it’s mummy!” I feel like the best person in the world.

Such is being a mother.

This is happiness.

This is happiness.

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So you want to have another baby?

It has been on my mind lately, since a few friends have announced/had second children, and it is getting to the point where I miss some parts about having a newborn. I came across this post by A Baby On Board and it seems we’re not the only ones debating it – so when is the right time to have another child?

There are of course practicalities that need to be considered. Childcare cost doubled is not a prospect we would welcome right now. As is finding another house to live in when we’ve only just settled where we are. I don’t think I could have another baby without an extra bedroom though…

There’s also the prospect of going back to sleepless nights again, just as we have gotten into a lovely routine of actually getting a full night’s sleep every night! I’m not in a hurry to give that back. Also, I know a lot of women love being pregnant, but I hated it. I think I had every symptom under the sun, so by time he arrived I didn’t even feel human anymore, let alone ready to parent a newborn. I really don’t like the thought of going through that again, but it could be different with the second. It could be a whole lot better.

It could also be a whole lot worse.

Henry is a lovely child. He makes it easy for us. He’s good at routine, he likes his sleep, he’s been ready to experience new things and will fit in with us easily. I’m worried that the next won’t be as accommodating. Although, I have said “It’s all worth it” so many times about Henry that I really shouldn’t be put off.

Henry & his best buddy - he thrives on interaction with other children.

Henry & his best buddy – he thrives on interaction with other children.

I don’t want there to be a massive age gap though. I like having Henry in toddler-stage so that we can do more with him, enjoy him more and really get to know him as a person, not just a poop-making-machine. I am enjoying being a mother more now than I did in the first days. I guess you know what to expect more with the next too. It won’t be such a terrible shock. I remember clearly thinking “what have we done?” and wondering why anyone ever did it more than once.

Now here I am, not even two years down the line, thinking about if there ever will be a ‘right time’?

So did you always know what age gap you wanted? Did other things get in the way of your plans or are you still debating it?

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One month on…

It’s been just over a month since my last post. It has been a month of spending far too much time in the gym and too little time at home with my boy. Squeezing in blogging has been near impossible.

But the results speak for themselves. I’ve lost 11lbs since I decided to go healthy. It’s a sacrifice to spend the time losing the weight and getting fit, but once I’m there, it’ll benefit both me and my boy.

I’m looking forward to running around with him in the park this summer. His auntie bought him a ball with characters from Disney’s Cars on it. He walks around the front room practicing picking it up, throwing it and kicking it around. It won’t be long before he’s faster than I am, I’m sure.

Until then, and in preparation for my wedding in June, I’ll carry on doing what I’m doing.

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3 Sleeps ’til Christmas

I have been looking forward to Christmas so much this year! It’ll be Henry’s second one, but he’ll realise he has new toys to play with this year!

It’s almost a year since we got engaged, on Christmas day 2011. It was the most perfect present, all wrapped up under the tree in a little box. I was under strict instructions to leave that one until last. I must have showed everyone my left hand that day, week and up until it turned from yelps of happiness into polite smiles and a nod of the head. But it only happens once! And I’m excited that the most important thing is already sorted; the fact that I’m going to marry the love of my life!

Henry was a month old on his first Christmas, sporting a little reindeer jumper with the words “santa’s little helper” printed across the front.

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He didn’t know what was going on, but did seem interested in the tree and decorations. I can’t believe it has been a whole year since then. 3 more sleeps and Henry can enjoy a day that will always be so full of love. A day that cemented our little family unit. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without our little boy.

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Christmas Preparations

Homemade christmas

My homemade christmas decorations – the challenge is making them toddler-proof!

I was so excited about christmas this year that I put the decorations up on 30 November. We have the tree on our kitchen counter to stop it being so tempting for Henry. I’m sure it would have only been about 30 seconds before Henry decided to try and climb it, and instead ending up under it.

All my christmas shopping is done too, and we’ve just bought Henry his big present. It’s a Smart Trike DX; a bright green trike that we can use instead of the pushchair on walks. Henry is at that stage now where he hates being put in his pushchair because he wants to see the world. He likes to see what’s going on, and he loves to feel like he’s a big boy.

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So for christmas, we’ll give him his trike (which his daddy has promised to build so I don’t have to!) and hopefully he’ll enjoy going for walks again. He had so much fun being pushed around in it in the shop - giggling like a cutie pie! Though he made quite a fuss when we had to take him out of it…

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The Birthday Plan

It’s coming up to Henry’s first birthday in less than two weeks. I can’t believe how quick this year has gone! I’ve heard it plenty of times, but you can never quite understand until it happens to your baby. He’s becoming a little boy rather than a baby, right before my eyes. In fact, it’s quicker than my eyes can keep up with!

I’m going to (attempt) to make him a cake, and we are throwing him a small party in a local coffee shop. There is going to be a jungle theme, and the adults are going to far outweigh the children. I think that is normal until they start school and begin to make friends of their own.

I have ordered various green, jungle-themed decorations, but it is definitely more for me as his mum than Henry himself. Everyone tells me ‘why are you bothering? He won’t remember’. But I want to be able to show him the photos and tell him about the celebration on the first anniversary of the day he made our lives whole. I can’t even put into words how much love I have inside me for that little man. So much that it threatens to burst out of me when he smiles at me or makes me laugh by pulling a funny face.

And he’s recently started growling and saying ‘tiger’, hence the jungle theme, and me trying to add tigers into all the decorations and the cake and cheekily making sure that Henry’s party bag is the only one that contains a tiger soft-toy…

Things we do for our kids.

Check back for an update of the day!

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Being Away From Him

It seems like the running theme of my blog, and certainly of my life at the moment. It is the struggle to balance quality time with my son and the time I put in trying to develop a quality career.

I wish I could clone myself, multiple times, to fit in all the things I want to do. Not only do, but do now. That’s the problem with being young. There’s a sense of urgency about everything. I can’t shake the feeling that wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, I’m missing out on something somewhere else.

The grass is always greener, because all I can see is my own shadow.

I think about my son’s laugh, his squishy thighs and his arms that reach out for me. I think about him whenever I’m away from him, and I hope he knows that he comes first. That I am doing all this other stuff because I need to and I want him to be proud of me, but he is always top of my priorities.

And I can’t imagine the parallel universe in which I don’t race home to see him and give him a cuddle and laugh with him. It simply doesn’t bare thinking about.

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Festival Baby

I took Henry to a festival the first weekend of August. It was a long-ish drive, two and a half hours, and he slept the whole way there.

It was a child-friendly music festival, and there were a lot of kids running around hyper on ice cream and sunshine. It was an absolutely brilliant day, despite the fact that I had forgotten Henry’s ear defenders purchased especially for the occasion. I didn’t really mind being confined to the child section; there was a Rastafarian playing acoustic guitar and singing reggae versions of popular nursery rhymes. What more could you want?

I think Henry enjoyed most of it. He seemed really fascinated by the musical instruments and water pit. He’s always really interested in other children as well.

Then it was time to sleep in a tent, and after a day of excitement and not one single nap, he was always going to struggle. I sat up until four in the morning cradling him so he could sleep because every time I put him down he woke up and screamed. It was dreadfully cold too, and even though I had brought with me a mountain of blankets, I had to concentrate to stop shivering. No one complained about the racket Henry was making and I’m sure everyone else understood the situation. One kind man accompanied by his wife and kids helped me carry the pushchair through the maze of tents saying “We’ve all been there”. But I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for the other families in quiet camping having to listen to Henry screaming. So at four I decided that I really needed some sleep and packed up and drove home.

I was in bed by seven.

I really want to go next year. I will plan better though. I will bring Henry’s dad with me (he was working this time) and he will be a year older and hopefully toddling around, if not running, by then. I will be better prepared with food and blankets and I will relax a bit more.

I want to thank the friends I went with though. They were ever so helpful. When Henry gets his grump on though, nothing can stop it. The stubborn little cutie pie.

Next year will be awesome. Eight months old and already a little festival goer.

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Nanny Cuddles

Henry’s nanny is going to be spending the day with us today.

Henry is going to be thrilled!

He sees a lot of his grandparents, which I am really happy about too. He smiles and giggles when he sees them, and it is so nice that he is going to grow up knowing he is so very loved. And if mummy knows best, then what shall we say of mummy’s mummy?

Because she knows twice as best, if that’s even possible…

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My Trainer (Every Girl Needs One)

I went to go and see a personal trainer yesterday evening, as my parents agreed to look after Henry for an hour or so while I nipped down to the gym. She specialises in pre and post-natal fitness, and words cannot describe how great it feels to know that what you are doing is beneficial rather than harmful to your recovery.

I, like a lot of women out there, didn’t have a clue where to start on getting back the tone in my stomach muscles. I also didn’t know what I could and couldn’t do in regards to which exercises I could safely participate in. Apparently, I’ve been doing it all wrong. But better I know now then a few months down the line when I’ve done serious and permanent damage.

It makes me wish that I had kept up doing something like swimming or antenatal exercise classes (such as pregnancy yoga) so I didn’t have to fight so hard now. But finding the energy and the time is rather difficult. Especially if you had every pregnancy symptom under the sun like I did. Being sick, having horrendous heartburn and falling asleep constantly doesn’t really leave you in the best mood to go for a workout.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt though, it’s that all the images you see in the media are ridiculous. You know the type; the celebrities that have had a baby two weeks previously and are back in the gym, or in a bikini on the beach being idolised for returning to a size zero so quickly. It’s dangerous, damaging, and completely unnatural.

I will get back to how I was, eventually, but it will take time and hard work, and I will just have to make peace with the millions of stretch marks and put up with the jelly tummy for the time being…