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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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Birthday Boy

Henry had a brilliant first birthday. We spent it with loved ones, floating through a sea of new toys, and eating cake until the children were so hyper they started to resemble a tornado.

The jungle theme was brilliant, and the cake was a success! I spent the whole day before making it, but it was worth it. For my first attempt at a birthday cake of any kind, I was rather happy with it!

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I’m so chuffed that so many people came to celebrate with us too. We all had such a good day, and it just shows how many people love and care about my beautiful boy. He’s such a lucky little baby. I feel so proud of him!

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My baby is a toddler

Henry took his first steps yesterday, on Saturday 10th November, one week before his first birthday. I am so proud and so happy to witness it. More so because only myself and his daddy were present for the once-only event, and chances were stacked against us. We both work more than we spend with Henry. It’s not ideal – in a perfect world we could clone ourselves and get to experience everything – but it’s not an option at this time.

It does break my heart when I have to hand him over in the morning, but he’s in good hands and I know he is well looked after.

As for his first steps, I couldn’t stop smiling, looking at him toddling along, with a huge smile of satisfaction on his face. It was as if he’d all-of-a-sudden figured out the solution to the problem. He took at least 5 or 6 shaky steps before sinking to his knees and turning to us for approval.

We’re off to buy him some shoes today…

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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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Breaking News: New Development

Henry stood up yesterday, without holding on to anything. I couldn’t believe it. He’s only just turned nine months last week, and he’s already capable of so much. The concentration on his little face was incredible. I could see his muscles tense in his whole body, wobbling slightly, trying to balance. He realised he was doing it without falling, and gave me the cheekiest grin as I stood there, mouth open wide in awe.

He’s just so clever. He waves really well now, and claps all the time. He said ‘grandada’ for the first time a few days ago too, adding to his list of words he says out of context but impressing us nonetheless.

It’s amazing how he’s growing so fast into this little boy I can’t help but be insanely proud of. It’s just shocking how much emotion one little thing can make you feel. It’s crazy how much love and pride can explode inside you, and I understand now when you get grandparents telling you stories about their beloved grandchildren. I can completely relate to all those parents whose first words to you after ‘Hello’ are ‘I have two of my own, you know,’ before launching head-first into a story about how they once did this and once did that.

And I can appreciate why you would feel the need to write about every little thing your pride and joy has achieved in an online blog.

Thanks for listening. What did your son or daughter do that made you smile with pride and love today?

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Double Milestone Day

The day before yesterday, Henry decided to surprise us both by showing us that he is growing up. I was in our bedroom, and my other half was in the nursery, presumably changing Henry’s nappy. I could hear over the baby monitor the sound of them playing together and having a morning chat.

‘Henryyyy. How are you this morning?’

‘Babababababa.’

‘Oh, really? So you had a nice sleepy, did you?’

‘Dadadadadadadada.’

‘Can you say dada?’

‘Daddy.’

‘Did you just say daddy?’

‘Daddy.’

And so it went, that mum lost the race to be the first ever distinguishable word to be spoken by our son. And I was so proud of him that I didn’t even care. Henry’s daddy and I were both grinning like idiots for the rest of the day. What a clever boy!

But just a few hours later, with Henry crawling around the floor, I turned around to see him clinging onto the edge of the tv unit, standing up. He’d pulled himself up from crawling position for the first time on his own. Once he’d figured out how to do it, he repeated this on the side of the sofa, and decided that standing was far better than crawling.

He’s becoming a little boy right before our very eyes. He’s not even eight months yet, and he’s doing all this. I can’t believe how quick it’s going, but I am very proud of him. Now I get why people go on and on about their children. I don’t mind in the slightest indulging other parents in this anymore! It’s just the best feeling, there really is nothing like being a parent.

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Worst Advice

As a mum-to-be, a new mother, or even an experienced one, people tend to throw well-meaning advice at you from every direction. There are obviously those you will automatically pay more attention to; your own mother, the health visitor, midwives, doctors and alike. There is one bit of advice I’ve received from everyone I have ever spoken to about children, including strangers that stop you in the street to coo over the new arrival. It is to simply ‘enjoy it’.

You hear time and time again, ‘make the most of it, it goes too fast’ or ‘they grow up so quick’. This is very true, the last seven and a half months have flown by, and I’m sure it only speeds up. I sometimes catch my mother looking at Henry with an element of nostalgia, as if she wishes in some way that she was back there, with the baby me in her arms again. I know there is always another development to be proud of. If it’s not their first steps than it is learning to go poopy in the toilet or first day of school – all the way to first day of university or first job, weddings and grandchildren.

The only problem with being told to enjoy it all the time, is that I ended up being so worried about making the most of it that I forgot to actually enjoy it. It’s the same effect as having a camera at a live show, or on holiday. I’ve often found I get so wrapped up with memories that the experience itself is often overlooked. Spending too much time worrying about taking photos can lead you to only see life through a lens. Remembering to touch, smell, hear and feel is the key. Henry has such soft skin, such a beautiful baby smell, makes adorable little noises, and gives such amazing cuddles.

I think I’ve been overly obsessed with recording the present, for the future me to look back on. What would I really prefer though? A mass of photographs or one precious memory of the time I hugged him and he hugged back and we both knew we loved each other and that I made him feel safe and warm and he made me smile and I felt truly happy.

I am really enjoying it; looks like I took their advice after all.

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Baby on the Move!

Yesterday, Henry decided that he wanted to play with a toy that he couldn’t reach. And then he realised that he could just move forward. Of course, when he realised that, he decided that he didn’t want that particular toy anymore. He wanted to crawl over to the wires behind the television and put them in his mouth. He wanted to see what was under the sofa, and on the window sill. And he wanted to investigate everything.

I really need to baby proof properly. We spent a while going round, decluttering and removing dangerous objects from the reach of little hands. However, that isn’t enough now. We need to get those little hook things for our kitchen cupboards, the clips to put the tv on the wall, and a packet of plug socket protectors.

He’s still going relatively slowly at the moment, which I know won’t last long. He’s still wobbling about and unsteady, but I’m thankful for this, because it’s been two days and I’m already pooped.

It’s crazy how quickly this has come along. I say it all the time, but it didn’t seem that long ago that we were thinking about what cot we wanted to chose for him and what name he was going to have.

And now he’s crawling. My little boy, he’s growing up.

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Chatty Baby

Henry’s started being such a chatty little baby recently. This morning, he almost said ‘dada’, so I spent the whole morning trying to get him to copy me saying it. It didn’t work, but he is very close to his first word! The gaga and goo-goos are getting so easy for him, and he’s talking pretty much the whole day now.

I could sit and listen to him forever. I never knew a little voice could be so adorable. It’s better than any music I’ve ever heard, and it makes me smile when I hear his little babbling.

Clever little baby, it won’t be long before I’m teaching him about the world.

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Funny Baby

It really makes me laugh when Henry has hiccups and it shakes his whole body. His head gets thrown back and he gets out of breath. It’s just too cute.

Also when he sneezes, the force of the sneeze catches him unawares and propells his body back, as if he were a little jet-powered baby for a second. I’m sure he doesn’t know what I’m laughing at but he quickly joins in anyway!