Wobbles

Reflections of a mamaShucks. I had written a post the other night but apparently drafts don’t save on the WordPress app.

My little boy is seven and a half months old. I have no idea how many weeks anymore; I lost count at thirty when life got really busy. It sort of feels like we had a bit of a tricky time for a while, where I was trying not to sink. There was so much to do, people to please and hideous hormones flying all over the place. My self esteem was low. I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I found the last few months way, way harder than the newborn stage (yikes, I’m sure I’ll laugh at how easy this stage was at the next. We haven’t hit teething yet. Fool!). The early days came naturally though. Sammy would sleep and whilst he did suffer from some tummy pain, he’d never scream relentlessly. Yes, there were times where I’d call my mum in desperate sobs for help. But that was more often than not because the state of the house was getting to me (how does a floor get so filthy?). More recently, it didn’t seem so easy.

Sammy was fine. He was still my smiling little monkey, progressing as he should.  It felt more from within me. Something weighing heavier than before. Was it that the initial elation of motherhood had lifted? No. My mind (and heart) is still blown each time I greet him from a nap. Perhaps it was the sleep deprivation. The seven plus months of no more than three hours in a stretch. Days would start at five after going to bed at midnight with a feed in between (my own fault but there was always stuff to be done; like a new business to make a success of, a blog I should be writing). It’s nothing special. Like every new parent, I was tired. I felt silly though, I only had one baby to look after. Other people look fine.

Rosy Cheeks

When Sammy was tiny, I’d have no problem heading out to the shops for the entire day. The two of us would have a lovely time, making the most of the work-free lifestyle. The pressure of trying to get him in a routine meant that all this stopped and I’d find myself housebound in the hope that we would crack it. He’d end up giving into sleep at random times, which made baby groups impossible as they’d invariably clash. It only dawned on me the other day when I found myself being scared to do the trip I took him on without a second thought when he was just two weeks old. How had this happened?

He has eventually found his routine through trial and error. And the hermit behaviour can also be blamed on my workload, the initial bulk of which is over for the time being (and something I also felt torn with guilt over – working on a business for long term gain or devoting every second of my attention to Sammy. Was I being a bad mother? Was I leaving him in the Jumperoo too much? He does love it in there). I’m my own harshest critic at the best of times and it felt like I was constantly angry at myself for failing and not doing it all to the best it could be. That in itself is frustrating.

feeding sammy

More than anything else though, underlying it all, was the end of breastfeeding. I took it hard. Really hard. I wasn’t ready at all. He was. But that’s another post for another day. Nobody warns you of the massive crash you can feel when you wean. It’s frightening.

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The wobbles have passed as sleep has got less scarce though. I’m back in control for the time being, I hope. It’s certainly something you have to learn to compromise as a perfectionist/mother; the control being out of your hands. You have to juggle, you have to balance. You have to pick yourself up and do what you can at that point in time without beating yourself up about it. Everyone finds it tough at times and some people have it a lot worse. That baby is smiling and that’s all that matters. And let’s be honest, it’s all pretty good. I still squeeze the buggy with glee every time we go out. Which, incidentally, we’re back to doing a lot more of.

Interlude

Autumn Leaves Pocky and Bud Blog UK

This blog has been neglected lately (not that I was all that good to begin with).

There are two reasons, I think.

Firstly, I’ve been busy. Between you, my little one and starting up a business, my brain has been totally overwhelmed.

Secondly, I went and told people, didn’t I. People knowing about this space of mine (not that they will ever return, I’m sure), kind of scared me away.

Will I carry on? I want to more than ever. I am an incessant hoarder. A collector of pictures, of tickets, of words; anything that might have a memory attached. I always have been. The thought of not recording everything about this period of my life and letting it slip away with time terrifies me. These moments feel so fleetingly precious that I want to preserve them as best as I can. For me.

So I’m here, all self-conscious. And I wonder if that will change how I write. I cringe at the soppiness of my previous words. But that’s ok I think. I still have a besotted new Mama pass, right?

Food and stuff

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I was right! You like food.

Pureed food, it turns out, not so much. You like chunks and lumps and squidge-it-in-your-sticky-palms messiness.

All this talk about baby led weaning vs traditional, I wasn’t sure which way to go. But after a few tries, you decided to clamp your mouth shut when it came to finely blended mush. A banana, you go crazy for. Likewise with cucumber. And I never, ever, ever want to forget the sounds you made savouring your first butternut squash and broccoli. You, Sammy are a boy with fine taste.

In other news, you’ve mastered rolling onto your tummy. You’ve slept in your own room for a week (your mama has trouble with this one) and your hair started to curl. All this in the two weeks your Nain and Taid have been in India. I swear you have doubled in size too, my Pocky lump. My back protests when I get up to feed you in the night now. Nope, no sleeping through yet. In the autumnal 4am darkness I hear your baby dinosaur calls, asking me to cuddle you close for your milk. You squeak as loud and as quietly as you can; serious experiments in sound.

You’ve found the remote. You still smile a million times a day but your lip can curl in an instant when somebody gives you a fright. And, Sammy, you might (might) have got the hang of napping…

So Long Summer

22 weeks / Five Months

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Boy, you got big. Five months big to be exact. Your squishy thighs are a handful now. Your hair got all fluffy and you sit in your pram. We even put you in the highchair yesterday. You’ve all of a sudden noticed Buddy and are desperate to be his best friend (he’s playing hard to get).

Sammy, I can’t wait to have a chat to you and hear the jokes that I know you are storing up to tell me. Let’s just hold off for a little while though. I’m happy with your belly laugh when I try and eat you up for now. Nibbling your button chin makes you squeal the most.

It’s officially October. So long summer. September saw two special weddings. You danced into the early hours at Ruth’s, and grinned at Auntie Nic Nic and her bridesmaids as they walked past you down the aisle. You went on your first plane-ride to Crete, where you had your very first swim in the pool. A little cold to begin with, you weren’t so sure. Soon enough you were splashing and squealing like nobody’s business. You people-watched all week, flirting with the Norwiegan ladies and soaking up every detail. Inquisitive little bean.

swim sun papa

That leads me to bath time. You’re fairly reserved during the day, aside from the bouncing in the Jumperoo. But as six o’clock rolls around and you’ve had your happy naked time (with it’s obligatory wee on the carpet), you let loose. In a shallow bath, you’ll shriek and flap your little arms till the ceiling is dripping and so am I. Your eyes are so full of glee, although they soon turn to tears as I wrap you up in your towel. My spring roll ready for bed. You’re exhausted and usually crash out by seven, before Papa gets home.

towel

Napping is beginning to become part of your day. And so is a bottle. It makes me sad to see where your preference clearly lies now. I’m want so badly to breastfeed for a little longer but it’s proving a struggle now that the balance has switched. I keep telling myself that I’m lucky to have done it at all but I can’t help but kick myself for not trying harder when you were fussing. Exhaustion and separation have all played their part recently too and I mustn’t dwell. I’m trying to go easier on myself.

Soon you’ll taste some food (more than the sneaky cucumber you had a suck on in Greece). I’m pretty sure you’re going to like it.

Getting to know you/

15 weeks

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As the weeks go speedily by, I’m getting to know you. You’re getting to know me. And you’re get to know yourself. What you don’t like (lying down, being strapped in, big noises and shouty cousins – your bottom lip curls at every one), where your hands are (mostly in your mouth) and what makes you giggle (proper chuckles now, especially when I rub your belly or fly you above my head). It’s all starting to come together.

Your smile is still your default. I catch your gaze from the corner of my eye and your little face lights up. In the mornings from 6am, I listen, half conscious as you patiently babble and coo to yourself for near on an hour (although these past weeks you haven’t talked so much). Eventually, as I wake up though and you start to sound impatient, I peek over your crib to be met with the sweetest greeting. A far cry from the morning gloom before you came along. Mondays are now okay.

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It’s such a pleasure to spend each day with you and witness your sunny soul emerging. Sometimes you are cranky; life can be frustrating. I’m sure you are beginning to teethe as you like to chew on your fingers most of the time as well as mine given the chance.

You are so strong. Put on your tummy, you can play happily with toys in front of you, your head held up high. You haven’t mastered rolling from your back yet but you’re getting there. When I hold your hands, you’ll push off with your legs and pull yourself up to standing from lying on my lap. You make me so proud, tiny person.

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I wish I could collect the cool mochi softness of your cheeks and chubby legs, with the smell of your warm feathery head as it rests against my neck. Don’t get me started on your breath (!). I am all consumed by you, a little stranger who I know better than anyone.

Your daddy feels the same; if only we could hang out all day, the three of us. I’m so bloody lucky to be by your side as you change. I will be there as much as I can, little Sammy. With your Papa, we will make up jokes, we’ll colour, we’ll skate and we’ll discover seasons. We’re going to have so much fun.

Just don’t grow too fast.

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Time Out

9.5 Weeks / Borth Beach / 01.07.14 plottingPapa has taken you out for a walk to give me some time alone. It feels foreign. It’s hard to imagine a time when it was just me now. I’m still on half alert for your whimpers, not quite relaxed as I should be as I bathe in the unusual sunshine on a deserted Welsh beach. I can move freely. I can lie down. I can use both hands. I can shut my eyes and drift away.

Or else write down some of the things I’ve been meaning to over the last month. mama sollybabyI love my little limpet. The way that you need me to reassure you and tend to your every need in this new and scary world. But now I’ve got some me time; it’s been a while. It’s not quite the same when your with Papa at home. If I’m attempting a nap upstairs, I’ll always have an ear out for the inconsolable squarks that will inevitably make their way back to my boobs. Either that, or it’ll be me making my way back to you. As soppy as it sounds, even after two and a half months, I don’t want to miss out on a second with my family. daddy2People call you the happy baby. In the supermarket and in ‘Bumps and Babies’ – you totally charm the ladies with your gleeful eyes and gummy smile. You coo along with conversations and burst with the most exuberant squeals of laughter. You love your baby gym, your mobile and the knitted birds that fly above your changing mat. You’re beginning to bat at your toys and at five weeks rolled from your tum to your back. You’re a strong little guy, standing tall on your legs, your head always up and looking about, soaking up what you see. My meerkat. We have the best conversations. Every morning we sing our song like some kind of cultish holiday camp ‘today is going to be a lovely day’. It’s a bit weird but we like it. I help you clap your hands and each evening we talk about what we’ve seen and done whilst I rub your belly dry. You never fail to laugh when I go ‘blululululula’, whilst poking out my tongue. ‘Douf douf douf’ is also a hit. The hilarity.zzzzlegsYou can also scream a lot too, sweet Samiad. Which incidentally seems to be what my family are mostly witness to although it changes from day to day. I’m still learning the balance between sleep and waking, and am not yet able to distinguish between cries. There are times when i find myself trying desperately to muster smiles of encouragement from somewhere in the depths of my exhaustion. It’s not easy. But I still can’t get over it. You are ours. You are real. I can feed you with my rubbish small boobies that stole the confidence of my teens and twenties. You nuzzle into me, your tiny dimpled hand clutching at my chest while your eyes (that have turned into deep pools of Guinness) fix on mine or stare intently ahead as you concentrate on the job. You sound so satisfied as you gulp, latching on with an intense little frown while your jaw works with an instant urgency. It’s so damn sweet. Despite the night-drenched tops as I still can’t seem to get the supply right, I am savouring it all.

face sleepy I have had quite a few soppy reality crashing down on my head moments of late. Tears a plenty. Lily’s second pregnancy in How I Met Your Mother set me right off. Then there was the time that Chris Evans played Travis ‘Why does it always rain on me’ as an ode to Glastonbury. I’ll always associate that song with the angsty coming of age GCSE summer in 1999 – my dad bought me the album as a treat during the balmy evenings of revision. My window in the back bedroom always open to the scent of jasmine, the sound of my parent’s chatter and no doubt incessant MSN dings of some Dawson’s Creek fuelled over-inflated conversation on my PC.

I digress. Hearing that song hit me super hard as to how far I’ve come. How I’m actually doing what I was pretty much waiting for then. Fifteen years on, tears were falling upon your fluffy head whilst I sang a wobbly rendition and swayed barefoot around my bedroom. Call me over sentimental but hey. Blame it on Dawson’s Creek. family

Say cheese!

5.5 Weeks

On Friday I lay you down on your baby gym to see if we’d get any sort of reaction. We had tried it a few weeks previously and it didn’t make much of an impression. Low and behold, on seeing your menagerie of friends dance above you, your little face lit up with a big old grin.

1st smile

This, sammy, is how you melt my heart completely. You kicked your increasingly-chubby lil chicken legs, bashed the dangling monkey with the dexterity of a teeny blindfolded drunk man and cooed like you were having the time of your life. I think you were. Oh Sammy.

It’s the first ‘proper’ milestone I suppose. Getting you to take your first bottle last week was pretty special, especially for papa to be able to feed you. As was your first bath and the time I got you to hold on to your rattle (proud mama sent photo straight to Nain). Smiles are different though. They come from you. From inside your mysterious little mind, you’re showing us that the time you’re having with us isn’t so scary. In fact it’s pretty fun. It’s a special feeling to get feedback.

The smiles since have been limited. It’s been a tricky week and any waking time seems to have been spent crying (incidentally, we saw your first and only solitary tear roll down your cheek on Tuesday. We very nearly joined you it was so cute and devastatingly sad at the same time. My heart strings…). Thank goodness for dummies and pram rides to calm you down. This tetchy time fell over both our birthdays but you conveniently slept your way through Jamie’s Italian, Kew Gardens and the Tate Modern.

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hayward

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mirror bushes

For the last two days, between the squawking, you’ve wanted to feed constantly. I’m not complaining. Although it can be testing at times, snuggling on the sofa all day long, stroking your furry head of rapidly receding hair is a pretty fair swap for going to work in my book. When the evenings beckon, bringing with them the fearful prospect of another sleepless night, I pinch myself and remember what it is I’m getting to do. The chance to cuddle my needy little marmoset all night long will be over far too soon. So I’m enjoying it while I can.

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Saying that, I was particularly afraid and exhausted last night. Ten o’clock rolled around and you’d fed nonstop all day, I had no milk to express for the dreamfeed. That meant me staying up and probably waking up at numerous times over the night by your lack of a full tummy. However, after feeding briefly before midnight, you slept soundly until the sun came up. Well done samsam. After four hours of solid sleep, there was no way I could be mad when the little face that looked up at me was all gummy grin and crescent eyes. It’s now 7.30 and from the sofa where we’ve decamped to let papa sleep, I can see blue skies behind the curtains. Any sort of routine we were attempting to start is out of that window but my little boy is a happy one. I’ll take it all thank you.