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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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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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Poorly chap

I thought he was just a little cranky. Babies go in phases of moods, just like adults, and we are extremely lucky to have a very happy munchkin. Lately, he’s been a little more challenging. A few times, I have had to call for backup as there was just no calming him down. We took him to the doctors on more than one occasion with a slight temperature, a chesty cough, a blocked nose, unsettled and after the day that I spent 8 hours cuddling him because he didn’t want to move except to drink his milk. A mother knows when something is wrong, but we kept getting sent home, told it was a virus and to give him calpol. Thankfully, after a couple of tough, sleepless weeks, he seems to be better apart from the cough.

But now I know how bad it was for him. And it was horrible. I came down with this same virus, and it felt like my head was being ripped apart. I couldn’t even move for a couple of days because  of the pain. It lasted at least two weeks. I have no idea how Henry put up with it. He had every right to fuss as much as he did, and he’s only a little baby. I have to remember in the future to be more understanding. He is a little trooper.

At least it didn’t last and it could be a lot worse. Illness is part of having children and while they are so little it seems as if they are always poorly.

But we are very lucky. In the scheme of things, feeling poorly for a while is nothing. There are people who are coping and dealing with far more. These things stick in my head when I hear about them, and I feel so honored to even have my healthy baby boy by my side. The news is too littered with stories of tragedy and wrongdoing.

If the last two weeks have taught me anything, it is that I worry too much, and I need to start appreciating what I have now, while I have it. He won’t be this young for long.

I’m going to take him for a walk today. He likes walking, and he needs his practice. It’s looking sunny-ish so we might put our coats on and head for town. Coffee shops and soft play definitely are a mother’s saviour.

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Newtown Tragedy

I’m sure there have been many a blog post since the awful news last week.

It made me sick when I heard about the poor little boys and girls who lost their lives for no reason, and the teachers who tried to save them. I will not mention the name of the monster who did it to them, not through fear, but simply because he doesn’t deserve to be remembered.

I cannot even begin to understand the feelings of the parents who lost their most loved in this senseless manor. But I can say I hope they know how it has touched so many people across the globe. No parent should ever bury their child. It is not the natural way of things.

I wish them all my dearest condolences during this time, and forever more.

I let my son eat cake for dinner and stay up extra late having cuddles on the sofa. I can’t imagine him not being there. And yet, on a normal day, like any other, this is what so many parents have had to face.

I read a very interesting article today, about being the mother of a mentally ill child. It is deeply sobering, and highlights just how little support there is for those suffering from a mental illness. It seems that too often, a child cannot be helped until a crime is committed. Why do we wait for these incidents to occur before giving support? It seems ludicrous.

No matter what happens in the future, with regards to gun laws and support for families coping with mental illness, it doesn’t bring back those who were lost last week. They should be remembered, and will never be forgotten.

On my Facebook page a viral quote popped up over the weekend, attributed to Morgan Freeman, although he never said such a thing. I agree with the sentiment entirely. So even though it was actually written by “Mark in Vancouver”, I’m still going to post it.

Thanks for reading.

“You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.

It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single victim of Columbine? Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.

CNN’s article says that if the body count “holds up”, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.

You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news.”

5 Ways You Can Help Sandy Hook Shooting Victims

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Fever and Karina

I’m ill.

It’s difficult being ill when you got a little one. I think back to all those times I used to just curl up on the sofa, while my mum would bring me soup and wet flannels. I wouldn’t even have to put them on my own head. It’s nice to have someone to look after you.

But it’s all different when you are the parent. There is someone dependant on you, who (in the early stages) doesn’t quite understand that no, you can’t play with them all the time and no, you can’t go to the park today. Quite frankly, it’s a miracle you stumbled out of bed when your throat feels like it’s on fire – matching the rest of your feverish body – and a cough that could bring the house down. I feel so weak.

But really, it’s only glandular fever. It’s not going to kill me. I will get better in a relatively short period of time. There will be no lasting complications, no ‘what if’ and no wondering if I will be around, because I will be.

I was reading the news as usual this morning, as I came across the tragic story of Karina Menzies, just 32 years old, who was one of the victims of a hit-and-run. It wasn’t an accident. It was an act of madness, evil and cruelty beyond comprehension. The story goes that she sacrificed her life for that of two of her children who were with her as the van aimed for the pedestrians on a fire station forecourt. Her children are aged 23 months and eight. She died because in an instant she knew what she had to do.

It’s just awful and heart-wrenching. I know that I would do the same in a situation where it was my life of my son’s. I know that I would save him no matter what without a moments hesitation.

Such is a mother’s love. It is unfaltering in its strength.

Read the full story here.

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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?