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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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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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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…

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Yeehaw Cowboy

We popped into Mothercare today, just as we happened to be around, and had fun browsing all their toys in the Early Learning Centre. I heard my other half call my name, and I turned round to see he had put a child’s dressing up cowboy hat on Henry’s head. He just looked too cute! It was a mixture of ‘aww’ and ‘haha’. We decided to get it for him, as the photos alone are worth the four pounds.

My little Indiana Jones.

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Swimming Success

We took Henry swimming again this morning, and with a friend joining us too. Henry adores other children and babies. He finds them fascinating and stares at them, attempting to copy their actions. He’s a baby with an inquisitive nature, and he learns so well in these situations. I really relax around other mums too. It’s nice to be with someone who knows exactly what it’s like.

And this time, unlike the less successful swimming session we had pre-wetsuit, Henry had so much fun! It was by far the happiest he’s been in the water so far, and the most animated he’s been. We held him on his back, floating in the water, and he splashed his little, podgy arms and kicked his chubby legs making massive splashes and laughing and smiling all the while. He loved it. He splashed himself with water then laughed about it. He’s never been like this before. It makes it so much nicer that he’s clearly getting a lot of enjoyment out of it, and it makes it far more rewarding for me. My persistance is finally paying off!

I don’t even dread going back next week. I want to go, I’m actually looking forward to it. Wow, I never thought I would say that.

And Henry didn’t even cry when we were getting him changed. A few little grumbles as he was being manouvered back into his clothes, but what baby doesn’t prefer being naked and free as nature intended? And nature obviously intended for Henry to be a little water baby… eventually.

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Happy Easter!

Henry’s first easter, but far too young for any of the chocolate treats we are enjoying (yes, chocolate for breakfast)! His nanny bought him a lovely, little teddy with long arms that are perfect for Henry to hold onto, instead of an easter egg. Very thoughtful! He likes it a lot, and it’s nice and soft and fluffy, so Henry rubs his fingers on its fur and cuddles it. He’s grown up so fast, and does all these things that make me think he’s quickly becoming more a little boy and less a little baby.

He’s still my little chick though, and always will be! Even when he’s all grown up I will see him as he is now; all cuddly and snuggly and falling asleep in my arms like he did yesterday in a coffee shop. He makes me so proud, the little cutie.

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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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Baby Brain

You know something has changed when you are trying to go about your normal day to day tasks but forgetting the crucial element of pretty much every one. And you know it isn’t right when you try to describe a doughnut as ‘prickly’ and your own (rather forgetful) mother has to remind you what day of the week it is.

I tried to quote the famous saying ‘drink like a fish’ and ended up saying ‘drink like a chimney, smoke like a fish’. My words often jumble themselves up on their way out now too. I say things like ‘tup of key’ and ‘kentucky chied fricken’. I know, not the greatest move when a little one is listening to your every word, trying to learn the language.

It’s a very strange feeling for me to forget anything. I tried desperately to remember an old password without success. It was like someone had come along and plucked it straight out of my brain the day I got pregnant.

I’m hoping going back to work will help to keep my mind in shape. For now, there’s not too many people around that mind if I make the odd literary slip-up. But I’m pretty sure that communication is one of the key skills needed in a marketing position. It’s okay, I will find the time to read more or something…

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First Train Journey

We took Henry on his first ever train journey today. I spent the day with Henry and my mother, shopping and drinking coffee in a nearby city. He was so brilliant all day, and didn’t cry at all. He was too busy staring at everything that was going on, taking it all in and soaking it up like a sponge. He got quite a bit of attention on the train too. I’m so proud of him!

He’s hardly napped all day. I guess the excitement was too much, and the thought of missing out on something was just too great. He’s fast asleep now though. He went to bed a little earlier than usual tonight, but I think that was for the best.

I even sat him in a highchair in a coffee shop, and fed him sweet potato that I made previously and some cooled boiled water in his beaker. He loved it, and was such a good boy! I’m not saying it was easy, especially compared to how it used to be, going out without a care in the world and only yourself to take care of, but he made things so manageable. It’s the best I can hope for, and I just love him so much. It makes me so excited about being able to take him on day trips without having to worry about how he will be.

And I have nice plans for my upcoming birthday this week. He was out for over seven hours and didn’t moan once. I just have to make the most of the nice weather while it lasts. I even managed to treat myself to a new hat. I spent most on Henry though. It’s really funny how I don’t even want to spend my money on myself anymore. I ‘invested’ in a few tops for Henry. One with a picture of a Smurf on the front, one with AC/DC on it and one with the Rolling Stones fourty licks logo.

I know, it had to be done!

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Continued Weaning, New Tastes

We tried Henry with apple today, and he absolutely loved it. I don’t think we are going to have much of a problem trying to get Henry to eat new things. We’ve also given him a little formula in a beaker as he refuses the bottle now, and he drunk a bit of it. I’m going to try him on it every day, and see if I can get him to replace a daytime feed with formula, and gradually build up to only breastfeeding at night and first thing in the morning.

If this goes well, it will give me a little more freedom, so Henry can be babysat in the day. I might even be able to get my manicure that I was supposed to get as a little anniversary treat nine months ago…

He was a little upset afterwards though, and was fussing for the breast, but he will learn if I just keep at it, at the same kind of time each day. I feel guilty when he gets upset, but it’s best for the both of us to get him used to this now, rather than it be a big shock when I go back to work.

And it’s not like I’m giving up breastfeeding entirely. Combination feeding works well for a lot of working mothers, as well as a way to wean him slowly off the breast. It’s funny how most of the time (or when I make any big changes like this) I really want someone to follow me around and confirm that I’m doing the right thing. I guess it’s natural to want the best for your baby though, and I shouldn’t feel guilty choosing what is right for us. Besides, I’m probably stressing a lot more about everything than Henry is. He’s just happy playing with his soft toy zebra, and practising rolling over.

Which he is getting unbelievably good at. I will have to watch out or he’ll roll right into trouble.