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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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First Trip to the Zoo

For my birthday, my other half decided he would treat me and the little man to a day at the zoo. It was so lovely, doing something as a family, and Henry loved it. He was so interested in all the little animals, his favourite by far being the monkeys. They came right up to the glass, and Henry and the monkey were just staring at each other. It was so interesting for him, and he fell straight asleep after we left. He had worn himself out with all the new things to take in.

He got to see all sorts of animals; penguins, flamingos, beavers, otters, porcupines, mice, meerkats and lizards among other things. He also loves to watch other children running around and playing. It must be interesting for him, and important for him to know the world isn’t only full of adults!

There was also a sign on one of the enclosures saying ‘New Baby’ and it had details of a new baby monkey that was just four and a half months old. By coincidence, it was born on the same day as Henry. I had to take a picture.

I was thoroughly spoilt, with such nice gifts (including a huge Me To You bear from Henry) and lovely cards. We also went wedding ring shopping, and ordered our rings which is very exciting. I love doing things like that. And my partner cooked a delicious meal in the evening and a couple of friends came round. It was a very nice day indeed.

I never thought that I would be taking my son to the zoo for my 20th birthday, but it was so nice to do something we all enjoyed, and I’m sure Henry loved it, even if it was a little cold. I am rather lucky really. It makes me appreciate how much I have in my life!

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Struggling on Through

The hardest thing about being a parent is having someone completely dependant on you. They can’t do anything for themselves, especially in the beginning. It is okay, most of the time being quite normal, as you want to look after them and do everything you can. The problem comes when you can’t take care of them. Illness is one of those things that makes everyday life so much harder. Henry isn’t sick, luckily, and he still hasn’t been ill yet! I’m putting it down to the breastfeeding, but he has done really well so far. No, it is me that has come down with severe sickness and I’ve been struggling to look after myself as well as continue to be a good mother to Henry. On top of that, the other half has come down with the same thing. A few days ago, I couldn’t even get out of bed. Henry still wants to carry on as normal though!

Thankfully, I have my own mother to call in on, and she loves spending time with the little one, inbetween her own work commitments. I just can’t wait to be better! It’s just typical that I’m ill when the weather starts to get nicer and my brother comes to see Henry for the week and when I’ve just started to get into a nice routine of going out…

Between us though, we’ve managed. It hasn’t been pretty but we’ve carried on as best we can. Henry has now tried his little baby rice. He doesn’t like it half as much as the carrot and parsnip but he dives for the spoon with an open mouth anyway. I’ve been trying to give him more and more puree and food because since I have been ill, I know he’s not getting all the milk he wants. It’s a struggle, but hopefully it won’t be too long before I’m back on track.

Henry had his little injections as well, and he was very good. He flinched a little when the needle went in, and he moaned for a few seconds, but was fine after that and was more interested in other things going on around him. I’m just happy he doesn’t have to have anymore until he is a year old. Even though I know he’s really good about it, I’m still always quite tense walking into the nurse’s office.

I just hope it doesn’t weaken his immune system enough to catch whatever myself and his father have. I was really debating whether to take him in then or postpone his injections. I decided to just go for it, but we shall see how that goes. So far, so good.

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Crying in the Swimming Pool

I took Henry swimming again this morning, on my own this time, and he hated it. I don’t really know why, but he was fine while I was getting him into his swimming nappy. He was even giggling at me, and I thought that maybe he actually knew what was coming and was even looking forward to it. I was wrong.

As soon as I dipped his little body in the water, he screamed and screamed. I managed to calm him down a little - just long enough to have a lovely conversation with a grandma and another mum taking her daughter swimming – then Henry decided enough was enough and wanted to get out. We had only been in the pool a matter of minutes. He got himself in such a state that the lady that worked there advised me (politely but leaving no room for debate) that I should just try again with him next week. I know I shouldn’t be, but I was so embarrassed. It is going to take a lot of courage to go back again, because every single set of eyes in that crowded swimming pool was on me as I took my screaming baby on the ‘walk of shame’ out of the pool and back into the changing rooms.

I had to feed Henry in the changing rooms, not because he was hungry but just to calm him down. He went bright red in the face, and I’m sure that he hurt his little throat from all the screaming. It was quite a challenge trying to get myself dressed while holding him as he just wouldn’t let me put him down. Anyone would think he was really in pain or something by the way he was crying the poor little baby.

I’ll just try again next week I guess, except I will take my other half with me for moral support. I can’t be put off by one bad experience. I’m also going to buy him a little baby wetsuit so he doesn’t get so cold. The water did feel rather chilly compared to last time, and my Henry does love his little luxuries… I think that might be why he was so awfully upset. Hopefully it will be warmer next time. If not, I’m going to a different swimming pool.

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Do You Agree With Dunking?

We took Henry swimming again this morning. They informed us that there will be a photographer in the pool in a few weeks to take underwater pictures at the baby swimming club. I had a chat with one of the ladies that worked there. It was the dunking that frightens me. I always grew up thinking it was quite cruel to dunk a baby in the water all the way. My instinct keeps shouting at me, ‘how does he know to hold his breath?’.

The lady at the swimming centre seemed sure that it was a natural, built-in reflex that all babies are born with.

She looked at me and said, ‘well, they are in fluid for nine months before they are born’. All I kept thinking was, yes, but that was before they took their first breath, filled their lungs with air instead of amniotic fluid, and when they still got all their oxygen from the mother’s blood supply. Surely it is different now?

I don’t want to shock Henry. I want him to like water, and get used to it in his own time, rather than throwing him in at the deep end. It would be a lovely photo opportunity though. The three closest swimming pools to me all don’t allow the public to bring in cameras of any kind. The only way we could get a picture of Henry swimming is to do this, or go on holiday. I can’t see that happening for a good few years now.

I’m sure they wouldn’t do it if it was going to harm the babies in any way. I am still very undecided at the moment though.

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Eating a Roast Dinner With One Hand

I had a lovely lunch with a good friend today. Henry was only a little moany, but I think that was because it was sweltering in the restaurant. He was crying and refused to settle down, so I attempted to eat my roast while holding him. There was a few well-meaning fellow diners around that offered to hold Henry while I ate. I smiled politely and rejected their offers. One kind lady even asked if I had a bottle she wanted me to feed him so my food wouldn’t get cold, but I informed her that he was a breastfed baby, and we all made a joke of it.

It isn’t that I wasn’t thankful for their willingness to help, it’s lovely that they understood the difficulty of juggling a crying baby and dinner in a public place, it’s just I don’t feel comfortable letting strangers hold my child let alone feeding him. I’m sure they are lovely people, but for all I know they could be one of those few psychotic child-snatchers. I’m pretty sure they aren’t, but I can manage, so why take the risk?

My friend had the good sense to suggest maybe sitting outside. It was cooler and we were the only ones out there so it didn’t feel so stressful. If Henry cried there would be no one to tut or to make judgement, and no one to make me feel like I was ruining their dinner by being there. I know I have a right to be there too, but sometimes it’s nice having the seclusion and privacy. He was calm after that, and fell asleep in his pushchair, allowing us to eat our lukewarm vegetables in peace.

I love my little munchkin, and I am so proud of him. Sometimes I over-stress about him crying in public, which I know is ridiculous but I do get the occasional glare from someone who has obviously had no experience of babies whatsoever. They must think that if he is crying, surely I have done something wrong.

It really helps to have a friend there too, especially the lovely lady I spent lunch with today. She’s a calming influence, the type of person that says ‘oh dear’ with a smile when Henry grumbles, then picks him up and plays with him instead of panicking that they don’t know what to do. I used to be the one who panics, because I’ve never had that mothering instinct. I was never too fussed by babies growing up, unlike most girls. I’m turning into a more natural mother, quite slowly, but I’m definitely getting there.

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Learning to Get Attention

I give Henry a lot of attention. When I say a lot, I really mean a lot. I am still on maternity leave, I am still breastfeeding, and I haven’t left his side since he was born for longer than a few hours. He has recently developed a dislike of being put down. It seems as if, when he is awake, he wants to be held. He lets me know this by moaning, very loudly. Sometimes it hurts my ears.

Henry has also started doing this really cute, little cough when he is trying to get my attention. I put him down for two seconds to get on with the endless list of household chores that I neglected to do the day before, when he starts coughing. As soon as I come over to him he gives me the biggest, cheekiest grin as if his cunning plan worked! He is a clever little boy, but I’m sure he is going to be quite a handful before long!

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Clingy Baby and the Difference Between Mummy and Daddy

He’s becoming more and more attached to me, and I love how special it makes me feel, and I love him more and more every day. It’s just that it is getting to a point where he doesn’t like being held by anyone else. I know he feels safe with me, but when his grandad can’t even hold him without him bursting into tears, is that too attached?

I was exactly the same as a baby. I would scream bloody murder as soon as my mum was out of my line of vision! It didn’t even matter to me if my dad was right there or not. It was my mum I always wanted.

I don’t know how Henry is going to cope when I go back to work. I know he’ll get used to it eventually: he has to! It doesn’t stop me worrying about him though, and I never want him to get upset like he does. I’m going to try and ease him into it gradually. One day a fortnight for a while, starting quite soon, and then when I go back it won’t be such a traumatic time because he will know that I’m coming home in the evening.

This way, he gets to spend the day with his dad for a while too, and he loves daddy playtimes. He feels safe with me, but he giggles the most with his daddy.

It was like that in the swimming pool. He cried when his daddy held him, but when I held him and his dad played with the toys he had the biggest smile on his face. He obviously needs both of us, but in very different ways. When we went to see Sarah Millican, she did this whole bit about the two types of people in life; bumper cars and dodgems. The analogy is quite self-explanatory; those who are risk-takers and those who are not. My fiancé is definitely a bumper car, and I am most certainly a dodgem, and I am happy that Henry is getting the best of both.

 

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Trouble Getting Him To Sleep?

Henry has started trying to resist going to sleep in the day, and gets very cranky as a result. I don’t know why he fights his sleep, but I do know that as soon as the vacuum cleaner switches on, he is gone.

I’ve never known anything like it. Even mid-feed, the sound of it will send him off to the land of nod quicker than I can say ‘nap time’.

I think it will be useful to remember this sneaky little tip.

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First Immunisations

Henry’s check up was all fine; I couldn’t help laughing at him as he was being examined on the doctor’s bed. He was looking at me and his daddy as if to say ‘Why am I naked, in this strange room? Who is this man? Oh, why is he doing that?’. His big, wide eyes were just trying to figure out what on earth was going on. Until we had to go to see the nurse for his first immunisations. The poor guy didn’t know what had hit him. One needle in each of his chubby little thighs. I couldn’t even watch – his daddy held him while I turned away.

It’s for his own good though, I know that. But his big, puppy-dog eyes looking up at me all tearful melted my heart! I felt so incredibly mean even though it had to be done. I’d bought a bottle of Infant Capol for the occasion, as advised, but after we had got home he settled down and was satisfied with lots of cuddles and attention.

I’d heard a lot about other babies getting temperatures as a reaction to the injections, but Henry was absolutely fine. We just kept an eye on him that evening though. I’m not looking forward to the next set, but it is protecting him from getting all those serious illnesses. I will just have to grin and bear it!