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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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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.

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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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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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Swimming Fun in a Wetsuit

We took Henry swimming again this morning. Yes, I braved it after last time (see Crying in the Swimming Pool)… but it actually went very well.

I invested in (quite an expensive) baby wetsuit for Henry from the Splash About range, in a bid to make the whole experience more enjoyable for the both of us. I am pleased to report that it worked better than I’d ever expected. He stayed in the pool for fourty minutes before I decided to quit while we were ahead and slink on back to the changing rooms. On removal of the wetsuit, which was quite a challenge as it only has velcro down the back, I noticed that the inside was virtually dry! I couldn’t believe it. No wonder Henry was nice and warm and happy that whole time.

If I had known earlier, I would have just taken the plunge and bought the wetsuit earlier. The size is 3-6 months, and it is quite snug fitting on him, so we will probably have to fork out another £25 for another before long. It does work really well though, and for little babies like Henry who get very cold very quickly, it is amazing.

I would recommend it, despite the cost and the drawback of it’s tricky removal. Also, you still have to use a disposable nappy (or swim nappy with a liner which I’ve heard doesn’t work so well) but I’d be using those anyway so that doesn’t really bother me.

Hopefully I’ll be able to take him every week from now on!

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Duck Pond

It’s such a lovely, sunny day today that we took Henry out in his pushchair and took him to the park. We had a nice walk around the duck pond and over bridges and in the woods, bought ice creams and enjoyed the sunshine.

Henry loves being outside so much. Apparently I was the same as a child. It’s funny how he can be so upset indoors for some unknown reason yet as soon as we step outside he’s the happiest little boy on the planet.

I think we may have to invest in some National Trust memberships when he’s a little older. He’s going to be a nature kid. I’m glad. Better that than television and xbox. Little boys need the park and outdoor games, especially in summer. It will be lovely to take him to feed the ducks too. There’s so many things to get excited about now.

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Night Out

It was one of my best friend’s birthday this week, so the plan was to go out Friday night. I put Henry to bed, left his daddy in charge, and set out for the pub. I haven’t been on a night out for so long now, well over a year. It was so lovely to go out without a nappy bag for once, and to see my friends and to have an adult conversation! It’s all the little things that you take for granted when you are young and carefree, pre-pregnancy and pre-responsibility. It was also very strange seeing people that I knew from school, but a couple of years below me. It’s almost as if time is playing tricks on me. The last time I went out, I was one of the youngest, and I used to know everyone in all the bars and clubs and in the street. But people move on, and I would much rather have Henry and the life I have now than a few good nights out. It’s a very small price to pay.

It was nice knowing that he was asleep and all safely tucked up in bed, not missing me at all. It gave me the chance to not be relied on for a few hours. He didn’t wake up until I had been home for quite a while, so it all went without a hitch. The other half got some alone time with the xbox, and had a little time off. Of course being a mother doesn’t change just because you are away from them, and I still really missed Henry, but it was so great to have the change and I really did enjoy myself.

I’m unbelievably tired this morning though – it’s funny how much it hits you when you’ve been in the same routine for so long and then to suddenly do something to interrupt it. It’s like going on a ‘refreshing’ holiday and coming back more tired than when you left.

I’m just glad I got the chance to go out, it means a lot to my friend that I managed to be there for her birthday night out, and I know she appreciates the extra effort it takes to arrange things when you have a young child!