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It feels like another life

Looking back on early photos is a very strange experience. Henry has changed so much in the last year that it feels like a lifetime ago. I remember back then, when he used to cry or laugh but no words would come out. I remember when we got really excited because he smiled for the first time. I remember these things as if they are fuzzy, like a memory that has been blurred with time. Although it has only been 17 months, things have changed so quickly that I have barely noticed the days whizzing by.

It is very strange to have a life so well documented, through photographs and blogging. Never before has a generation had such easy access to computers and cameras and other methods of capturing moments. Go back a few years and you’re lucky if you got one posed portrait. Go back a few more years and it was only the ridiculously wealthy that could afford a sitting with a portrait artist. But now, every moment is stolen, and edited, and posted…

My little baby isn’t a little baby anymore. He’s a little boy. He’s grown and grown and taught himself so much and he impresses me every single day with a new word or new skill.

I feel sad that it has gone so quickly, and I feel sad that I have missed so much of it, but being at work is important and more to the point, necessary. I wish I had the funds to be a SAHM at least until Henry goes to school, but alas, it is not to be. But at the same time, I am so proud of Henry and all he has acheived so far. When people moan about wanting their babies to stay babies forever, half of me understands. The other half, though, wants to tell them how annoying and ridiculous they are being – the alternative to growing up is not growing up and that is every parents’ worst nightmare. Nobody wants that.

So, my baby, my big boy, I will watch him grow with a smile on my face. I feel a twinge of sadness when I read the past posts of this blog, but then I remember, I was there with him, enjoying it at the time.

Henry's Mother the early days

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Playmates and learning to share

I’ve had a really good couple of days with Henry, even though being on my own is still difficult. I struggle to come up with things to do, and find it even harder to get the motivation to do them. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt since becoming a mum is that parenting doesn’t come naturally to me. But I love my boy more than anything, and I’ve become more entertaining and more cuddly than I ever was before. Hearing his little giggle, and feeling his little hugs are the best things I have ever experienced.

I think I’m being hard on myself. It’s not that I’m not a good mother. I’m not perfect but I give him everything he needs along with buckets of excess love and affection and attention. It’s just that I was never one of these girls who knew they wanted to be a mum. My maternal instinct didn’t really kick during pregnancy either. It was all a blur, so I don’t really remember how I felt. I knew it was my job to protect him, and maybe that was all that was needed, but the intense feeling of love I now get only started after he was born. I look at him now and I just – I don’t even know! I want to squish his little chubby bits and kiss his soft little skin and tickle him and listen to his giggle and look into his big, brown eyes and see the love.

I guess I’m a mum now.

I love when he’s sleeping and I check on him and he’s so peaceful. Or he’s on his front with his bum sticking up in the air. That makes me laugh.

Yesterday, we went for a walk around a garden centre, mainly to buy plant feed but Henry ended up walking around for a good hour and a half. He liked the garden gnomes and kept pointing to their noses. He also was fascinated with the automatic sliding doors. We had lunch there (Henry is officially a toasted teacake fanatic!) before heading over to ELC where I treated Henry to a toy trolley complete with play food. He loves it. He spent the rest of the evening pushing it around the front room.

Today, we had a little play date. His best buddy came over for lunch and messy play. After reading on another mum’s blog about the fun they had with a tuffspot (builder’s cement mixing tray) I decided to make this purchase. We don’t have a garden (I was buying indoor plant feed…) but that shouldn’t mean Henry misses out on making a mess.

So along with his little friend, Henry played with playdough, tried to eat playdough, got caught by mummy eating things we shouldn’t, had a spot of lunch and then got to making a mess.

Fingerpainting. I wonder why they call it fingerpainting when really it should be hand, foot, leg, head and bum painting. And let’s-completely-cover-mummy painting.

Needless to say, the rascals went straight in the bath. Luckily, no carpets were destroyed in the making of this blog post. It’s all good fun though. And they really seemed to enjoy themselves.

I need to do more activities like this with Henry, and I will do now he’s getting to an age where he can.

I love so spending time with him, doing things like this. Before long, he’ll be grown up and I need to make the most of this.

What fun will we get up to tomorrow? Waterplay sounds interesting, and less damaging than paint anyway…

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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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Benefits of Blogging; Reading the Archives

I started this blog thinking that it would be quite a nice record of my son’s development and a documentation of our life. I knew that I would enjoy writing it, but I never thought that the archives of my blog would be a source of comfort for me. I was reading the blogs I wrote when we first brought Henry home and how much I struggled in those early days. I’m not saying it’s easy now, it will never be easy again, but it isn’t a struggle anymore and I have really learnt so much. If I could give any advice to new parents that are worried about their ability to parent, it would be this; don’t stress about every little thing, and don’t think it will be like that forever. Babies, like adults, have good and bad days, and even one bad week doesn’t mean the next week you won’t be walking around town in the sunshine with your baby cooing gently, playing with his hands and making you smile. It doesn’t get easier, but it gets better. And far more rewarding.

I wish I could tell the me of five months ago these things. I wouldn’t have felt so guilty for asking for help when I needed it, and I would have enjoyed it a lot more! And my little bundle of gorgeousness is thriving, and I’m sure he still would be, whether I worried so much or not.

There is a lesson to be learnt here. One of many I’ve discovered since undertaking the most eventful, exciting and beautiful journey of my life.