0

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.

4

Water Play

image

Today, we got out the tuffspot, bowls, red heart-shaped sugar cubes and a little washing up liquid. Henry starting by putting all the sugar cubes into one bowl of water, then transferring them one by one into another bowl of water. Then he began tipping water from one bowl to another.

This was quickly followed by a splashing frenzy.

He has been engrossed in this for about half an hour so far and there are no signs of letting up yet.

image

0

Ikea Kids

I love Ikea. It is so good for quality, generally well-designed, reasonably priced products. And they have an excellent kids department. The only problem is the distance to get to the place. It’s a good 2-hour drive to the closest one.

On our last visit though, we had a good look around for bits for Henry, and he really enjoyed himself! That’s another thing that is so good about Ikea. It’s very family-orientated. They even have a privacy screen in their cafe for breastfeeding women to use if they so wish. The endless highchairs and activity stations dotted throughout the showroom makes for a pleasant shopping experience.

And this time, we ’invested’ in a circus tent for Henry, complete with shaggy, green rug (that looks very similar to a grassy field).

61446_452582968121430_461722513_n As you can see, it is a big success. Henry loved it in the shop, and even more at home. If you have the space (and even if you don’t – it folds up!) I would definitely recommend this. And when he gets older, it will be great for imaginative play. I only wish I could have had the same when I was his age!

0

Odd Feelings

You know that strange feeling you get when you wear your watch on the wrong wrist, when you buckle your belt in the opposite direction, or brush your teeth with the other hand? That’s what it’s like to return to work after having a baby. It’s the same work as before, the job hasn’t changed, but everything feels different.

It’s the first taste of my former life, the first since the whirlwind that is Henry came and swept my life away and turned it into something new.

I do love it, but it’s still something I will have to get used to. I know that Henry doesn’t really approve of my employment currently. He would definitely prefer it if I stay by his side constantly to play, feed and clean him. However, he does need to learn to cope without me for a short while, and I know he is going to be just fine.

It won’t be long before he’s saying ‘no, mummy, I want to stay here’ when horrible mummy tries to come and take him away from all the fun he’s having!

0

Bathtime Reinvented

We’ve recently decided that the baby bath, although saving water, will have to be retired. It has been used until we cannot possibly squeeze our little boy into it any longer. Henry was also beginning to get frustrated and unhappy in the bath, being so restricted, and I also was starting to struggle to bath him on my own. It was fine for when he was younger, because he didn’t wiggle as much and he wasn’t as strong, but now he splashes and squirms and a naked, wet baby is rather hard to hold onto.

So yesterday, we trundled off to Mothercare to purchase a new bath seat. Now, I looked carefully into all the options. I read the many reviews of the various types online, both good, bad and dangerous. The reason I decided against a swivel bath seat was because of the reviews that mentioned the underneath having rough, unfinished plastic. I don’t want Henry to be left with scratches down his chubby little thighs like a lot of babies have suffered with.

A more expensive option is the one we went for in the end. It’s called an Aqua Pod and at £29.99, it’s not exactly cheap, and you can find them second-hand for less I’m sure, but we wanted the ease of getting one right away. In my opinion, it was worth every penny. It basically is a little seat (but with no sharp plastic edges) with suckers on it attached to a bath mat. It has a handy little temperature guide that reads ‘too hot’ if the water is, well, too hot. The pattern is cute with little ducks on it, and it comes in either pink or blue. We sat Henry in it last night, for his first ‘big boy bath’. We loaded it with various bath toys including his new animal squirters, seal flips, some rubber ducks and stacking cups with holes in them and sat him in the seat. He squealed for a little bit, but probably just with the shock of it. Before long, he was reaching for his toys, splashing me with giant tidal waves of water, and having a whale of a time (excuse the pun).

I’m actually looking forward to bath time now; it’s finally at the stage of being an addition to playtime rather than just part of the routine.

And I’m sure Henry is happy about that too. He slept like a baby afterwards…

1

Keeping In Touch: First Day of Work

I had my first day back at work yesterday since having Henry. It was really hard to say goodbye in the morning, but once I was there, I had a great day. I missed Henry, of course I did, but when you’re busy it doesn’t feel as long as eight hours plus travel. It feels like two minutes, so it wasn’t as terribly awful as some people had built it up to be. I actually quite enjoyed it. I love my job, which is more than most people can say, and it was nice to have a break. I don’t feel guilty saying it, because after a day at work, I can come home and be a better parent to Henry as I’ve missed him so much. I want to play with him and cuddle him and change his nappy and feed him and do all the things I missed out on doing that day.

My other half did an amazing job being at home on his day off too. Not only did he keep Henry clean, dry, well fed, interested and happy, he also kept the house tidy, managed to take Henry out and even rearranged the furniture to make it more baby-safe. I think I’m marrying a superdad. He’s brilliant. Oh, and he cooked dinner (which was delicious!) and bought ice-cream for dessert. I could really get used to this. Maybe being a working mum isn’t so bad…

Besides, there is nothing better than walking in the door in the evening and seeing your baby playing happily on his daddy’s lap, smiling and laughing. Then he turns when he sees you and gives you the biggest grin in the world. In that moment, it’s perfect.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

0

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.

2

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.

0

There’s Something About Mozart

Henry’s nanny bought him over a new toy to play with. It’s a caterpillar that plays classical music; Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi and Bach are all included.

Now I’ve heard all the stories about playing classical music to a developing baby in the womb, and that it is said to increase the baby’s IQ (I don’t know how much truth there is in that) but I know one thing for sure, my baby loves it.

He sits and listens, transfixed until the music stops. The concentration on his face is amazing for a boy of five months. I’m sure it can’t hurt to expose him to the wonderful, cultured world that is classical music. And even if it doesn’t make him more intelligent, it certainly helps with development and his enjoyment! Music is good for the soul!

0

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!