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Speech development

Henry’s speech has come a very long way in such a short space of time. He was talking very early, and we didn’t have the cute babbling for long, but recently his sentences and new words have astounded me. Each day he says something new that, most of the time, I don’t know where he’s learnt it.

He used to call his uncle “Day-chib”, but it was only a few weeks before he got the hang of David properly. He also used to say phrases such as “look mummy, a naughty car” when he actually meant “noisy”. That disappeared suddenly too.

My baby still struggles with the pronunciation of “another” though, with it always sounding more like “Aaron”. I smile to myself every time I hear these little things, in his lovely little voice. He’s so funny.

There’s also the funny phrases and hand gestures, for example when he says “where daddy, where?” and throws his hands out, fingers splayed. Also the “I don’t know” response to simple questions and whenever you ask him why, he responds with “because…. umm…” and then says the first thing he thinks of, which is usually something like car, train, tractor etc.

I want to remember these things – they are beautiful and they make me so proud. Henry makes me proud!

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Christmas break

It has felt like a long time since I’ve had so long off. Well, in reality I’ve been on the go for months rather than weeks at a time. Being a full-time student and part-time worker has left me less than a full-time mum. There is guilt that goes along with that, but I know that I’m doing the right thing for us now, and I hope, for the future.

I had a whole three weeks off (minus two days at work) over Christmas 2013 and New Year 2014. It was fantastic!

Christmas street party

Christmas street party with my beautiful boy.

My baby really enjoyed having his mummy, and for five days mummy and daddy, around for playtimes and cuddles and general fun and laughter. I baked a lot. I had Henry help me eat all the cakes. We made a gingerbread house and homemade mince pies and pavlova and banoffee pie and probably 4 or 5 batches of cupcakes.

We told stories of Santa, and left out one of said mince pies, a carrot and a glass of milk for him on Christmas Eve.

He rode the train with daddy!

He rode the train with daddy!

 

On Christmas day, Henry woke up and said, ‘Merry Christmas, daddy. Merry Christmas, mummy’ and opened his stocking presents from Santa wrapped up in his duvet in his bed. He was so excited about the crayons and pencils and colouring books and cookie cutters I’d filled his stocking with. He couldn’t believe his eyes when he walked into the living room as saw a huge pile of presents, all neatly wrapped up, and a chalkboard easel ready for him to play with.

Presents for my sweet.

Presents for my sweet.

He has done lots of drawings already. Lots of squiggles that he tells us are trains, or rockets, or tractors. He also got a Peppa Pig spaceship. That was a successful gift. There was also his ‘main’ present; a Buzz Lightyear action figure. The proper one that looks just like the movies. It’s wings have lights on the ends and it has karate-chop action too. Henry’s daddy and I were very impressed. £25 worth of impressed. We now have a two-year-old who excitedly runs around saying ‘to infinity, and beyond!’, when he’s not singing Jingle Bells or Happy Birthday. I feel he’s a little confused about these different events.

My little artist.

My little artist.

We went on to have a lovely meal and evening at the in-laws. It was fantastic. We all ended up in onesies (2013, the year of the adult onesie…) and ate until we had to roll out of the door and into our beds, all sleeping like babies. If babies slept well, that is.

And now I’m back to work. Back to uni. Back to only seeing my baby evenings and weekends. I look forward to summer now. I cuddle him and don’t ever want to put him down. He’s so lovely, and perfect, and squishy and when he laughs, I laugh and feel so warm and happy.

The gingerbread house, demolished on Christmas day.

The gingerbread house, demolished on Christmas day.

It’ll be worth it, I keep telling myself.

At least I truly appreciate how special he is. When I see him, and he smiles and says “it’s mummy!” I feel like the best person in the world.

Such is being a mother.

This is happiness.

This is happiness.

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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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Tantrums, fishes and early morning alarms

We’ve crossed over into trantrum territory of late. Henry has learnt the word ‘no’, and uses it very forcefully when faced with food he doesn’t like, safety straps he doesn’t think necessary and when he’s too busy playing to have his nappy changed.

He’s a little pickle. I love my little handful, but those tears are not from hurt or hunger or something easy to defuse. They are definitely I-want-that-now tears, or let-me-do-this tears.

And how do you stop this kind of behaviour?

I don’t give in to his demands, but in public, when you get the cold stares and looks of disgust, it’s hard to refrain from giving him what he wants just to keep him happy. But I know that it’s for the best in the long run.

On the other hand, Mr Pickle has progressed again in his speech and social development. He can now say ‘fish’ when he sees them (or a picture of them in his books), and he now waves and says ‘bye’ and ‘b-bye’ when leaving people or places. He also, upon visiting his nana, walked proudly into her house saying ‘it’s me!’ and giving her a massive grin.

He’s turning into a little boy, before my very eyes. He’s still a little tot though. He decided it was playtime at half past five this morning, waking up, full of beans. In the car though, only three hours later, he conked out. I managed to get him out of the car and carefully onto the sofa at his childminder’s without him stirring.

He’s a big boy now, but even big boys need their sleep.

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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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Sleepy times and big boy beds

Henry is asleep on the sofa next to me. I’m on my new kindle fire, and loving it. It’s a lot easier to whip out when the babe is napping, and doesn’t take as long to load as my ancient laptop.

We’ve recently moved Henry out of his cot and into his big boy bed, so now he’s started napping on the sofa to make his new bed just for night times. It’s a fire engine, and its only about the height of his little cotbed mattress. For the last three nights he’s been in it, he’s been really good. He goes to sleep about half seven and doesn’t wake up until around six in the morning. The first morning he didn’t realise he could climb out of it so just sat in bed waiting for us to come and get him.

He looks so little but so grown up, and things are changing fast. He now insists that he walks along the pavement instead  of being carried anywhere. It just means that we have to be extra organised and leave a good twenty minutes earlier to factor in time for little steps. He does so well though, and I’m so proud of him. He wants to learn and he wants to be able to do these things. I can see him getting very frustrated when he sees us or other children doing things he can’t yet. But that’s good, because I see ambition in him and he’s going to be a clever boy.

It helps when he’s being stubborn or defiant to get him to feel like a big boy. Hence the fire engine bed. We’re seeing a lot of difference in him of late. It all goes so fast, and we’re not pushing to grow up, and were not stopping him from progressing either. It all happens in a blink of an eye.

I must remember to record these little things. His baby book is looking very healthy, but I’ve still got a lot of photos to organise. He doesn’t even look like the little boy I gave birth to. He’s comfortably in 12-18 months clothes now, which is strange when I come across newborn clothes that used to swamp him.

My boy, he’s a little wonder.

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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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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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Finding Hours

It seems as if it is getting harder to find the time to sit and write. Or do anything really.

I am all too aware of the time that is taken up by the things that have to be done – working, cooking, cleaning – but now there is a new leech on time that often takes over, and I’m not even talking about having children to run around after. It’s technology.

I reap the benefits of blogging, when I can actually find the time, but there are some more pointless and unfortunately very addictive sides to being in the tech generation. One example of this is my oh-so-brilliant smartphone. I loved this when I first got it. I’m sure everyone does, it’s very exciting getting a new gadget to play with. Henry was excited about getting a new chew toy too.

The problem is, with all these apps and unlimited texts and wi-fi is that I struggle to put it down. It gets to the point where I have to go and put it in the other room to stop myself picking up, not through boredom but habit, and mindlessly scrolling through facebook and twitter. It is a lot easier to manage your facebook use when you can only log in on your laptop. The fact that it is always there is haunting me. It is ridiculous when it starts eating into the quality time I am spending with the little man.

It’s more than ridiculous. It’s disgraceful.

I don’t use it more than is necessary now until Henry has gone to bed. I’m only writing this now as the bubs is in bed and I have one of those rare moments to myself. I continue to get shocked by the parents taking their children to the park and just ignoring them while on phones. The toddlers and young children with ipads. What is wrong with a storybook and a cuddle?

I can understand schoolchildren with laptops for homework but I cannot understand a baby with an iphone.

If you want to discuss this further, you can catch me after 7pm, because before that time I will be giving Henry my undivided attention.

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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.