Food and stuff

24 weekscucumber2cucumber1cucumber4

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

milk

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.

cutouts

sun

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hayward

ice cream

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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.

I am Sammy’s Mummy

Yesterday I had a voicemail from the doctor whilst pushing my sleeping baby round H&M. “Hello” it said, ” This is a message for Samuel’s Mummy”. Woah. I listened to it again and my chest inflated for the millionth time this month with a giant bubble of this-can’t-be-real. That’s me.

It’s been three and a half weeks since our incredible little boy arrived with the dawn chorus. Not a day has passed when I haven’t asked if this is really happening. I’m not going to wake up. He’s ours to keep. He came from nowhere and he’s ours. To keep.

 

Home from hospital

Home from hospital

sleeping

His minature face we could stare at forever more. This tiny person is so loved. When his Daddy had to go back to work last week, he described the painful clock watching as waiting for the all the best Christmasses rolled into one, when you know you’re going to get the present you always wanted. This bubba has turned us into a soppy pool of sugar coated besottedness. But I think that’s to be expected. We were pretty soppy anyway.

jonny

First family outing

First family outing

The days are flying by. Far too fast. It’s a little bit like when we went to Japan. But on steroids. That desperate need to soak up and  squeeze every single moment and each dainty hair on his fuzzy shoulders into any remaining crevices of our saturated memories. I don’t want to lose a thing. To be honest, the poor chickpea has had my iphone waved in his face for a shameful percentage of his life thus far. I am pretty grateful for instagram for allowing me to bottle just a few of these moments (I’ve tried to restrict it to one post a day but sometimes this proves tricky. He’s too damn cute).

We’ve learnt a lot so far. At first Sam wouldn’t sleep on his own. It’s still not often that he’ll let us release him from our warmth. The Mothercare swaddle blanket has been our saviour, repaying us with at least a few stretches of overdue slumber. Other times at night he’ll lie next to me, which, with his warm little whisps of milky breath and farmyard squarks against my cheek is fine by me.

Snuggles at dawn

Snuggles at dawn

Those noises though. Sam will grunt and strain louder than I thought possible from such a tiny creature. In a screeching competition with the local foxes, he wins hands down. Coupled with the teeny little whimpers, each sound makes me melt a little bit more.

I love the way his little inky eyes seem to be taking in so much. He’s a calm baby so far. He can be so still (apart from when we strip off his nappy). With just his little peepers darting about drinking up what little he can see. I’ve never felt a love like it. Total infatuation. When said peepers settle on my besotted gaze, I honestly feel like I’ve been picked out of an enormous crowd by a super-celebrity. Like, this perfect little guy knows who I am. Me! I hope he likes what he sees.

me pocky

First bath

First bath

Sam loves a bath so far. I hope he will be a water baby like his daddy. His skin is so soft. J described it something like a marshmallow having a baby with a cloud. No, really. It is.

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He’s good at eating. I am so fortunate to be able to breastfeed this warm little bundle. I was so sure I wouldn’t be able to and to have him snuggled up and dependent on my care is like nothing else. Jon was an immense help when it came to it. Turns out he had listened intently on that breastfeeding NCT session (far better than me) and was able to gently direct me in my exhausted cluelessness. I will be forever grateful. It’s the little things like that, along with the endless supply of support, sweet words and glasses of water that make me so appreciative of my husband. This man has been amazing, working tirelessly keeping the house spic and span when I am unable, knowing that it would make me happy. Watching him with Sam it’s obvious that there couldn’t be a better Papa. His patience knows no bounds and I have surely tested that of late.

Sad Sammy

Exhaustion and elation cohabit in this house. Naturally we’ve snapped at each other from time to time and the three of us have shared tears on the bed when the overwhelming emotions got too much.  The enjoyment I get from caring for my dolly rise far above the bleary eyed haze of jet lag wobbles that occasionally show their face though. It’s hard, yes. But I’ve never felt more confident and comfortable doing something in my whole life. At last, Sammy. Taking care of you alongside your daddy is what I was made for. I’m completely in love with my family. I really am complete.

 

Due Date!

40 week sausage fingers

40 week sausage fingers

We’ve made it!! Today I am 40+1 weeks. It’s a funny old feeling, playing the waiting game after so long. A definite state of limbo. I want to keep myself busy and take my mind off the fact that Pocky is showing no signs of arriving any time soon. Yet at the same time, I’m exhausted and the thought of doing anything isn’t very appealing. Doh.

There seems to be a pattern. I’ll find my energy one day, go to the shops, do house things and keep busy all day and then the next I’ll be wiped out and incapable of moving. I think I need to find a balance.

Yesterday, 23rd April, the big day when everyone expects the baby to promptly make it’s grand entrance to the world, was a bit of a right off. I don’t know if it’s the hormones or the anticlimax of the day coming round without a peep. I’ve always been convinced that this little bubba will be late; I’m sure it will be well into May before we see its sweetly wrinkled face. With parents like Jonny and I, it’s hardly likely to be the most forthcoming little bean. Why move from the familiar quiet and cosiness of the nest?

So the DD came around after nine months of anticipation. I’m lucky to say it’s been nine months of excitement and steady happiness. I’ve loved being pregnant. Yesterday however, the hormones decided to do a u-turn. The tears were switched on throughout the day. I woke with swollen wisdom tooth (I’m nearly 31. Why now?) which makes opening my mouth a chore. Following this I had to resend a past Etsy order that had gone missing somewhere between here and California. Whilst wrestling with the new printer, the washing machine decided to malfunction and I found myself on all fours with pots and towels trying to avert the flood on our new floor. Thankfully, my dear mum and dad came swooping in to save me armed with a sandwich and orders to lie down after a pathetic cry for help.

My 40 week appointment with the Midwife was at two thirty (every one of my appointments has been at this time, I can’t help but but be suspicious of my current dental issues). I wasn’t too keen on this lady, with her abrupt and passive manner. She informed me with no hint of a smile that Pocky wasn’t yet engaged which was highly abnormal for a first time mother and that if my waters break I must immediately go on all fours and call an ambulance. Slightly scary. After listening to the heart beat without saying anything for rather a long time, she declared that I must be transferred upstairs to be monitored as it was a little fast for her liking.

I tried not to worry during the hour long wait to be seen upstairs. This time though, the midwife was full of warmth and reassurance that it was perfectly fine not to be engaged. It was a massive relief to hear that Pocky had just been playing and the new readings were fine. Phewee. Whilst strapped to the chair my hero of a husband walked through the door having left work early (incidentally sending pocky’s heartrate right up again). He gathered me up and took me home to the sofa, where I was supplied with an easter egg in front of The Help. With Buddy joining us for snuggles, it was just what I needed.

Pineapple time

Pineapple time

Today the tears and patheticness seem to have passed. Hooray! I will drink all the fresh pineapple smoothies I can, starting in bed. I will bounce on that birthing ball and take some short walks whilst the skies are clear and the birds are singing. Pocky is ok, thank goodness and will come in his/her own sweet time. I must learn my first lesson of mamahood: patience.