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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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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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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!

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Being Prepared for Weaning

I like to think I’m an organised soul, the state of my wardrobe would tell you different, but I am very attached to my Filofax. I love it so much, and it is so exciting when they release the new year’s diary. Or when I treat myself to an extra map or some stickers or even a new pen! Anyway, I digress…

As Henry is about to take the plunge into the wonderful world of baby purees, I have decided to prepare for the event. I don’t have the money for pre-made baby jars and more importantly I don’t want to give them to Henry on a regular basis. Making them myself means I know exactly what goes into them.

I’ve breastfed him exclusively for four months now. I’ve given him the best start I possibly could have, and I want to continue giving him the best. I know what it is like to struggle with weight issues, diets and sometimes having quite an unhealthy relationship with food. I don’t want Henry to have to experience any of that, and if I can start him on the right track, I’m surely going to make the effort to prepare him a few purees.

Jars only on the odd occasion, like a takeaway treat.

I’ve ordered the Tommee Tippee Explora baby blender, bought some lidded ice cube trays and freezer bags, dusted off my steamer and arriving in my Tesco delivery this morning is a whole bunch of fresh fruit and vegetables. Carrots, apples, bananas, parsnips, spinach, and brocolli to name a few!

I am very excited. As you can keep them for up to a month as frozen cubes of baby puree, I an going to start preparing some now. He is going to learn to love healthy food, and there’s no better motivation for me to be a little more careful with my diet than having a baby to take care of.

Not just for the here and now, but because I want to live a happy and healthy life so I can be there for Henry as long as I possibly can be.

This is, of course, a benefit of having Henry young.

So, it will be time to start making Henry’s dinners just as soon as the blender arrives. I’m very excited.

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Lonely Seaside Stroll

It gets a little lonely sometimes, after the first few months. It is just around the time when you settle into your new role as a cleaner/carer/caterer and general handyperson. It has been a long time since the other half went back to work. A week off just doesn’t seem right when you have a new baby, but technically (even if not emotionally) it only takes one person to look after a baby, so that’s just the way it is.

When on maternity leave, it is lovely to not have any professional responsibility for the time being, while you get to grips with parenting in the early stages. It does, however, leave you on your own most of the time. The days go by quickly and slowly at the same time. It’s an odd feeling, not going to work. I, like a lot of other lucky people, have never been unemployed. It takes getting used to. Not because I have a lack of things to do, the list of chores is never-ending, but because it generally involves being on my own with Henry. I never really used to do anything alone.

While your life stops, almost as if time is standing still, everyone else carries going to work, and having busy social lives. Unfortunately most of these plans don’t include me anymore. I’m not interested in going clubbing anymore, unlike most people my age. I get bored, the music is the type you can only appreciate when very drunk and I would rather spend the time with Henry, or sleeping.

So today, I decided to put Henry in his pushchair and go for a nice, long walk by the sea. It was such a lovely day and it seemed a shame to waste it. This adds to the list of things I’ve only done on my own since Henry was born, like going to Costa for a coffee, going out for lunch, and going shopping. All these things previously felt like group tasks.

At least I’m not entirely on my own. Henry is brilliant company for a four-month-old, and when he giggles, it makes me feel so lucky to have this special time with him.

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Offended

So my better half was on Facebook this morning and came across yet another person who feels the need to generalise and stereotype young parents. This particular girl clearly watches far too much Jeremy Kyle and has started to believe that everyone is really like that.

Now I know I’m young to become a mum. I’m still only nineteen. But I would like to clear something up before too many people hear all the bad stories of young mothers and judge me too. I am not living on benefits. I have lived with my fiance before getting pregnant. We have set a date to marry next year because we love each other, not because we have a baby. We both have good jobs, work hard and don’t get anything given to us for free. We love our child, want the best for him and promise to raise him the best we can.

I wish that my age wouldn’t group me in with those who don’t have a clue. And anyway, a young, single parent can be a good mum or dad too. It’s the person that counts. I will never again judge someone on their circumstances until I know them.