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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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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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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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Addicted to the Boob

Henry’s been really good today, but tempting him with formula milk has been harder than I expected. I naively thought that the big hurdle would be getting him to drink from a beaker, as he refused the bottle from a very early age. After successfully drinking cooled boiled water from a beaker, I moved onto trying him with formula milk in the sterilised beaker. Yesterday, he started drinking it, frowned and then cried until I gave in and continued to breastfeed him. Today though, he has done better. He drunk just over three fluid ounces, which is a big difference, even though he frowned at me as if he didn’t like the taste. I’m sure he will get used to it though. It will make things so much easier for when I return to work.

I know that continuing to breastfeed while returning to work can be done, but it requires dedication to the cause, and I have been wanting to get him onto formula milk soon anyway.

I think it is a comfort thing as well as the taste, but I still plan to carry on first thing in the morning and last thing at night.

And he has been doing really well with his weaning. He had apple for breakfast this morning, and sweet potato for lunch. He’s learnt so quickly how to eat off a spoon and swallow solid foods. I’m really impressed at how easy that was, especially with all the advice floating around about needing to persist even when the baby doesn’t like a certain food, or pushes it all out of his mouth again. We didn’t really have any of that.

Clever Henry, I’m just so proud.

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Sweet Potato Among Other Things

I spent quite a long time in the kitchen today, making massive batches of various baby food for Henry. I made him his favourite carrot and parsnip, as well as lots of sweet potato and some apple for him to try.

He had parsnip today for lunch and then sweet potato for dinner. It’s the first time he’s eaten two solid meals in one day, and he kept opening his mouth for more. He ended up eating quite a bit. He’s a very hungry little baby these days. I’m surprised at how quick the weaning is going, considering he is only four and a half months. It won’t be long before he’s on three meals a day!

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Sunday Night Mischief (no, not really)

It’s not even nine in the evening, and I’ve done everything I need to do. The little one has been in bed for over an hour now, and I’ve done all the housework. I’ve tidied, hoovered, done all the washing up, cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom, and done all the laundry. I don’t know what to do with myself now. The other half is at work, and all that is on television is an old episode of ‘Traffic Cops’.

It’s lovely being well again. It’s the first day in well over a week that I’ve really felt able to do any housework at all. Now that I’ve done it all I can stop stressing about everything that needs to be done. Apparently I’m rather houseproud. It’s a recently new development. Only since we’ve moved into a really nice place, and since I’ve been on maternity leave with long evenings and not that much to do…

I’ve had time to blog, and even sketch a little picture of the darling himself.