One Year On

Tonight is the eve of T’s first birthday. This year has flown by, I can hardly believe our little boy is 1 already. Tonight as I cuddled him and kissed his toes at bedtime I was remembering the events of one year ago. I didn’t even know this gorgeous little man; he was still a mystery to us. I would talk to my bump, wondering aloud who it was going to turn out to be. Little did I know it would be a cheeky, independent, funny, absolutely gorgeous little boy.

You can read books, articles, talk to people, attend all the appointments and classes, buy baby equipment, pack hospital bags, ready your house, cook huge quantities of freezer meals, but you are never really prepared to become a parent. I had no idea exactly what being a parent would be like. I thought I knew, but the reality is so different. It is totally consuming, you don’t ‘switch off’ like you do when you come home from work in the evening. It’s 24/7, even when you’re away from them. You discover what it’s like to REALLY love someone. As much as I love my husband, and I can’t imagine life without him, my child is part of me, and I love him more deeply than anyone. You find joy and pride in such simple things, like him getting a spoon into his mouth by himself, or peeing in the potty. You see life through the eyes of someone who is discovering everything for the first time. Becoming a parent is a life-changing experience. Children are such precious gifts, and their childhood is so fleeting. In 5 hours, it will be 1 year since things kicked off and I knew I was finally on my way to meeting my baby. This year has been incredible. Tough, challenging, but amazing and so rewarding. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year has in store, and enjoying my family.


Curious & Charming

As the title suggests, that’s our T. He is so much fun, and so much trouble! I love watching him play or explore when he doesn’t know I’m there. I’m not saying things don’t go in his mouth still, but he’s starting to explore more with his hands than his mouth. He’ll pick up an object, feel it, shake it, throw it to see if it bounces, turn it over or look inside it… He’ll crawl around whistling to himself, or leaf through a book ‘talking’ about it. He is absolutely fascinating, and I will gloss over the tough times and say I love being a parent.

Talking is coming along in that we get all sorts of interesting sounds now. His favourite word is ‘da’. Daddy is ‘da’, Mummy is ‘da’, the dog is ‘da’. He also makes sounds that sound like real words. The other day he said something that to me sounded like ‘oohbabybaby’. I repeated it back to him and DH laughed and said he thought that’s what he said too!

He also loves to stand and walk. He will walk around furniture and walls as far as possible, and only crawl if he has to cross a wide open space. He has 2 really fun games right now, and Daddy is his favourite playmate. There’s ‘Daddy chase me’ where DH will crawl after T, T will squeal and giggle and act like he’s terrified, then when DH catches him and nibbles his tummy T will collapse on the floor laughing. Then there’s ‘Peekaboo behind the sofa’. DH will lay on the sofa and pop out either over the arm or around the side of the arm. T will be at the end of the sofa and has to guess where Daddy will peek out next. It’s so much fun to watch them play and laugh together, and totally heartwarming. I love them both so much. And as I was in the middle of typing that last sentence, Toby was blowing raspberries against the leather sofa, making quite an interesting noise! I’m going to go and play now, hope you all have a reason to laugh today too.

Such Fun!

Little man is now 9.5 months old, and keeping us busy, hence the long silence. He is crawling, standing, climbing, exploring, and eating everything in sight, whether it’s actually edible or not. We have had to break out the child locks on the kitchen cupboards, watch him like a hawk, and barricade in the bookshelves and tv. Watching him learn and grow is so much fun though, helping him explore and learn new things.

Right now his favourite things are climbing and playing with water. Bathtime for him is also shower time for me, as he smacks the water so hard I end up nearly as wet as him! I was enjoying watching him play this evening as I was bathing him, and thinking it was all so wonderful. You know the rose-tinted, rainbows and unicorns kind of view of the world when everything feels right. Usually followed by something awful.

I only left him unattended for 90 seconds. Totally naked. In his bedroom. I should have known better, it was such a rookie mistake. I went to find a nappy, and came back to find that not only had he done a poo in his room, he had crawled around a bit after, smearing it into the carpet in a couple of patches leading from his room to the hall. I snatched him up and gingerly made my way back to the bathroom where he went back into the bath to be hosed down with the shower. Then I made sure we had no repeat by getting him dried and nappied, all the while trying to keep him from crawling back into the mess. (I have just realised that amongst all the palaver I never brushed his teeth tonight. Ooops.)

As I scrubbed the carpet, T watching happily, I ruefully recalled my happy five minutes watching him splash in the bath. I wonder which event will stick in my memory the longest?

I’m Not Ready For This Yet!

I will probably be heard muttering this phrase at various intervals for the rest of my life, but I wasn’t expecting it to happen quite so soon. I think every parent and parent-to-be has heard of different stages in a child’s development, and has a healthy fear of said stage, but at the same time a certain complacency as they know they have ‘x’ years until they have to deal with it. I have heard a lot of horror stories about the ‘terrible twos’, toddler tantrums and children wreaking havoc in the home. I smugly thought I had at least another year to go. Sadly, that appears not to be the case.

The other evening DH waved his arm in the general direction of the kitchen worktop, where a motley collection of glass jars and bottles resided. ‘What are they doing there?’ he asked. ‘Well,’ I replied (the ‘well’ being a precursor to a long or crazy explanation) ‘T started emptying the cupboard, and as it kept him happy and let me cook without interruption, I removed everything dangerous and left him to it’. Indeed, he spent a happy 15 minutes smashing tins of tuna into the floor and trying to eat a packet of pasta. I spent a happy 15 minutes preparing a stew. DH accepted the explanation without question, as this appears to be totally normal behaviour with a 9 month old around.

A few hours after the cupboard-emptying, I was in the bathroom pinning my hair up, and T was trying to climb into the bath. He gave up when he spied the bottles lined up at the end of the bath, and shuffled towards them. I heard a splash, and turned to see my conditioner bobbing in the toilet. Thankfully, there was nothing untoward in the toilet, so I rescued it and left it in the sink to deal with later.

The general ‘helping’ with every single household item imaginable is not the only interesting behaviour we are currently dealing with. We have tantrums too. I never imagined that a 9 month old was really capable of knowing exactly what he wanted, and throwing a paddy when he can’t have it. How naive was I? We are attempting some basic discipline, like telling him ‘no’ firmly and removing him from the situation, but he thinks it’s a game, and as soon as you put him down he heads straight for the ripped cover of the book/the tv/the hot oven. If you try to physically hinder his progress he screams. I mentioned this to my dad the other day and he seemed to imply that he was only taking after his mother!

DH and I are both quite independent, stubborn people, and we always joked that we would probably create a very stubborn child. It appears that our child is at times, on the brink of out-stubborning us!

That’s not my car!

Yesterday, I took T into town to the baby group at our local library. We’ve been so busy recently we haven’t been for a few weeks, so it was good to get out. Opposite the library is a church, which holds a parent & baby group. As we left the library and I was heading back to the car, I was reading the church sign trying to find out when the group was on. I walked up to the car, pressed the button on the key fob and grabbed the door handle. Nothing happened. Maybe I hadn’t pressed the button properly. I tried again, still engrossed in the sign. It still wouldn’t open. I looked at the car, frowning, and realised, to my embarrassment, it wasn’t my car! It was an estate, like mine, but that was pretty much where the similarity ended. Mine was the next one up. I looked around, like you do, hoping no-one is there to witness your shame. There were 3 ladies getting out of a car, giving me strange looks. I hurried to my car, opened the door, and as I turned to put T in his seat, saw the owner of the car I had attempted to break into heading towards it. I remembered seeing her get out of her car as we got out of ours. She had a black dog with her, and T was transfixed, as he loves dogs. She had obviously seen it all, as she called out to me. ‘Don’t worry, I’ve tried to get into the wrong car many times!’ I replied, ‘It’s the first time I’ve ever done it!’ Her answer? ‘At least I’ve got old age to blame!’ Erm, yeah, I don’t really have any excuse! Baby brain?

The best toys are the cheapest

Yesterday T and I ventured into the ‘big’ town as I needed a few things. I had to go to a certain large catalogue-based shop for some puddle suits, and while I was there I thought I’d get him a couple of new toys, as there was an offer on. I picked out 2 that were interactive and claim to help with motor skills and problem solving. DH was quite excited about them too (and didn’t tell me off for spending money!) as we like to challenge T and watch him explore and discover the world.

This morning DH got one out and T was totally engrossed, trying and testing every moving part, working out where noises came from when he turned it upside down. DH and I exchanged those little glances I’m sure all first-time parents do, the ‘isn’t he clever’ and ‘I’m so proud’ looks. Suddenly, T saw the box the toy came in. The toy was cast to one side, and he speed-crawled over DH’s legs to the box. We have boxes in the garage. They are free. Why did I go out and buy toys?

Pickle’s the name, and pickling’s the game

Pickle has been very busy today, basically, being a pickle. It started about an hour after breakfast, when I tried to do the vacuuming. He used to love it when I turned the vacuum on, bouncing and flapping his arms. Now he’s not so sure he likes it. Today I think he was a bit tired anyway, and wanted picking up whenever the vacuum came near him. I ended up vacuuming with him on my hip, putting him down and switching off every time I had to move something. When I’d finished I sat down to check my emails, with him on my lap.

There is a parlour palm on top of a filing cabinet (out of reach) next to the desk. However, when he’s being held by one of us who is at the computer, he can reach the palm, and rip it’s leaves off. He got 2 leaves today, and tasted them, then went for more. This time he grabbed a whole frond, and managed to yank the entire plant, and pot, over the two of us. Earth showered over us, the desk, the clean floor, and the cabinet, as I fought to escape the clutches of a large plant whilst keeping the baby on my lap. When I finally escaped, I checked for damage. T was making faces and smacking his lips as he ate the dirt that had ended up in his mouth. It was in his hair, on his face, in his ears, dusting his shoulders, and I’m sure some went down my top too, as I felt distinctly itchy.

I dusted him down, took him into the other room and plopped him down in front of his toy box while I started vacuuming up the mess. He heard the vacuum cleaner, speed crawled to me and clung to my arm, crying to be picked up, while I hoovered. It was time for a cup of tea (for me), milk (for him) and snuggles and a nap. The next few hours passed fairly uneventfully, as I got a few jobs done and then we went to town. Being the scatterbrain that I am, I put a coat on T, but forgot my own, and so got rather wet.

When we got back, I left him unattended while I made myself another cup of tea. I returned to find him eating a dictionary. How he got hold of it I do not know, I’m not even sure where it was in the first place! I removed it, and put it out of reach, leaving the room again. When I came back, he was shredding and eating a bookmark.

Handover time as I had to go to work, so it was Daddy and son time. I had been gone no more than half an hour when I got a text, saying that T had managed to turn on the vacuum cleaner, scared himself so much he fell over trying to get away, and bumped into some furniture. Thankfully he was fine, and I had a good laugh in the milking parlour.

He is so entertaining, and it’s funny looking back at what he’s got up to during the day, but there is a certain sense of relief when he’s safely tucked up in bed for the night. I wonder what tomorrow has in store..?