Toddler politics

Hit me baby one more time

Toddlers can be mean. Really mean… Jude got beaten up in our sing and sign class last week. Ok – perhaps ‘beaten up’ is a bit overboard. But he was hit twice, pushed over and had an instrument thrown at his face at extremely close proximity. Absolutely heartbreaking. Each of these ‘incidents’ resulted in Jude crying very dramatically and the other mums in the group gasped as they occurred. I very nearly walked out of the class and removed us both as I was so upset ad almost crying.

The problem that I have – aside from the fact that my cub has been hurt by another child – is that the mummy of the hitting child didn’t do anything. There was no telling off for the child, no apology for Jude – or me. Just sobbing tears from Jude and massive cuddles and a very upset and angry me. 

I know that toddler aggression can rise up from nowhere. I also know that the mother of the little boy doing the hitting is probably distraught that her little boy is doing this. And everyone parents in different ways and has different ways of dealing with how their child acts. I feel like talking to her will probably make her feel better about it too… But while I’m talking to her and she’s not watching her child (which she has to do at all times), he could be beating Jude up again. 
In today’s class another little boy – who has never exhibited any aggression – also hit Jude. He hit the child that does all the hitting. It seems like the aggression is spreading pretty rapidly. This session, Jude sat in my lap for the entire session. This is really unusual – he always walks around and gets involved in classes. Another parent commented on how unusual it was for him to be so quiet. On a positive note, it means that he avoided the ‘hitting baby’ for the whole session. The hitting baby carried on hitting others this week – whereas last week it was just Jude. On the downside, I’m slightly worried that he stayed with me because he was afraid of what would happen if he left me. So not only do we have the problem that Jude might become more introverted during the class, but other children have now started hitting too. They have learned the poor behaviour and started doing it. How long will it be before Jude learns this poor behaviour too?
This week the mummy of the hitting child removed him from the room every time he did something. I have done a quick bit of reading online and it suggests that removing the aggressive child from the activity will soon mean that they associate that removal with the hitting and stop doing it. So I guess that’s what the mum is trying to do. But in the meantime, do I allow Jude to a) be scared while he’s in the class or b) be hit and pushed over by an aggressive child? 
Such a weird situation that I never expected to find myself in… If anyone has been here too – on either side of the fence – it would be great to hear from you! It’s probably one of the more awkward parts of parenting – at any age; someone is hurting your baby. How do you deal with it?


Mother of a big personality

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy

  We took our one year old on holiday. And it was fun! We took him on a plane. Twice. And he was brilliant – he just slept! We took him into a rather small, glass box with no air conditioning in Limogues airport and sat there for 2 hours while our flight home was delayed and he only had 1 MASSIVE tantrum. (And that was after almost 2 hours of running around grinning at everyone and emotionally lifting and helping everyone through their delay, so we can forgive him!). And he fell asleep immediately after the tantrum. How is it, that Jude will wake up if we so much as switch on the bathroom light, but he can sleep through A PLANE LANDING?? I’ll just leave that there….


So generally, Jude smashed the travelling part of our holiday, we couldn’t really have asked for anything better. Sleeping in a new bed and in a new country however was not so straight forward. Don’t get me wrong; we had some nights when he slept through (!), but we also had some nights when he simply did not sleep. The outcome therefore, of having to settle a one year old in an other country, was that Mission Reduce Breastfeeding was a no go. In fact, it was more like Mission Feed As Much As You Need To, To Get Him To Sleep. So the complete opposite of what I had planned happened. There are some gory details of this further down in my usual ‘breastfeeding update’ section; for those who don’t want to hear all about the trials and tribulations of my boobs! 

So our first ever family holiday abroad was wonderful. We didn’t worry about what Jude ate; being in a gite/apartment meant that we were able to cook our own food for him and generally keep his mealtimes pretty much in his routine. The new environment definitely pushed Steve and I to be more flexible in what Jude ate and when; having turned 1 (I think) has also been the turning point in his eating (and our feeding him) – he has tried all sorts and even started to feed himself from a spoon/fork! It came about from Jude refusing his evening meal; Steve had the brainwave of encouraging him to feed himself with a spoon – pasta and sauce – messy, but he pretty much finished it! We’ve been so lucky in that we’ve never really had problems with Jude eating anything; he’s always tried everything we’ve given him and usually liked it. But it seems that with age, comes a strong will. And that, is going to be a challenge! 


We were slightly concerned that, having not taken Jude swimming for a good 3/4 months – since he finished his lessons – would mean that he was afraid of the swimming pool. How wrong we were! He loved being in the water with everyone and he even managed an underwater swim and nailed it! Of course, throughout the summer we have been very careful with Jude’s sun protection and he hasn’t had any pink patches at all. He has still managed to catch some rays and even has a little tan! His hair is so blonde from the sun, people in the street keep exclaiming at how blonde he is! So funny as Steve and I are really quite dark! (I even had some highlights put in and I have to admit, it was initiated by the fact that I wanted to look more like my boy’s mother!). 


   

 Don’t blame it on the sunshiiine

Our return to the UK was greeted with unusually glorious weather, which was a very pleasant surprise. So as Steve had a few post-holiday days off, we spent one of them at the beach. A sandy beach. We hadn’t spent time at a sandy beach on holiday as we were using river beaches, which are slightly different. But this sandy beach visit was, shall we say, interesting. A 1 year old has literally no concept of sand, or the places it can get into. Or the concept that wif up I get wet sand on you, you can’t get it off unless you use water. And if you get sand on your hands you can’t eat anything without it being crunchy, gritty and sandy. And if you have sand on your leg and then you touch your leg with your hands,  your hands will get sand on them and then your food will get sand on it too and so on and so forth. No concept at all. Oh dear. 


So our lovely idea of an afternoon at the beach started off in rather an interesting fashion, involving a lot of sand and wet wipes. And some sandwiches (literally – LOL) and a small amount of sand-coated cucumber. But once our picnic was over with and Jude was able to explore and rediscover the sea and how good it is for paddling (as long as you avoid the JELLYFISH), it was a lovely afternoon! Jude is so confident around water now – he just wants to paddle in all water (local park rivers too). Even bathtime seems to have changed – he moves around in the bath now, almost crawling and playing with his toys. 

  

Breastfeeding/feeding update

As mentioned above, breasfeeding is still very much going at the moment! And now I have mastitis as when we returned home, we reduced feeds back to normal again (morning feed – evening feed) pretty much straight away, and now I’m poorly. (But don’t worry readers – antibiotics are doing their thing as we speak!) 

It’s crazy that after almost 13 months of breastfeeding, there are STILL issues! 

We are now a very long way into our (to use a clichéd term) breastfeeding ‘journey’. And, as mentioned before, I am most definitely ready to stop. I’d like to have at least a year breastfeeding free, before getting pregnant again (yes, I said it – there may well be another child at some point(!)) So, since returning from holiday I have made huge efforts to start to stop. I have introduced a bottle of milk before Jude’s morning nap. When he seems like he’s getting sleepy, I have given him a bottle and then tried to get him off ASAP after he’s had that. It had taken a while to get him to take a bottle of milk in the first place – for a month or so, we have been giving him milk with his breakfast cereal, so he would get used to the taste. Before, he would just have fruit purée with his cereal, now he has both milk and purée. Anyway, it seems to have worked as he will now take a bottle of it. I am trying to associate milk with napping so that eventually, when I cut out his evening feed, he will have a bottle and go to sleep. (That’s the theory anyway). The trouble is that at the moment, Jude will only fall asleep for his morning nap if we take him around the block in the buggy. He doesn’t associate the bottle with sleeping. That was, until today it seems…..


This photo is of a sleeping Jude, who was put into his cot awake, following his morning bottle. It seems we may well have broken through a barrier. I am still feeding Jude to sleep every evening and if he wakeS in the night. But this, it seems, may well be the beginning of something new. TOUCH WOOD. FINGERS CROSSED. WITH A BIT OF LUCK. WATCH THIS SPACE. 

It’s taking a while, and I’m really really really going to miss breastfeeding, it has brought a closeness that I could never have imagined before. Anyway, I’ll keep going.. The next feed to go with be the early morning feed. Wish me luck!!

   

One year on…

I set myself a weightloss target before going away as I knew I’d be getting the bikini out and I wanted to feel better about myself. I know that there are lots of bloggers who talk about not worrying about your baby weight, but I put on 4 stone, and in all honesty, my weight was rather unhealthy. So I chose to run, and alter my diet slightly so that I would be healthier. And it worked! I met my weightloss target the day before we went away. (I put 3lb back on while we were away – I blame French patisserie and wine – but have lost it again since returning). I haven’t done anything drastic (except running – now that is drastic), just slightly altered some of my bad habits. I’m feeling much better about myself anyway, so that’s good! 

One year on, we have an amazing child. I’ve always joked he’s Einstein, and I’m not one to show off constantly on social media – but sometimes I just want to boast and shout about how amazing he is! I feel like this blog is one way that I can boast now and again, so here goes: not only is Jude running around like a little terror most of the time these days, but he’s chatty and tries to make us laugh all the time. He loves nothing better than putting things on his head and running around unable to see. He thinks it’s hilarious. He has also finally learned to clap! (at about 10/11 months), and he wil clap every time someone tells him he’s a good boy! Or says ‘yay’ or ‘well done’! He has brilliant understanding of things that I say to him. We have a few regular words now – ‘Mamama’ ‘Dadada’, ‘more’, ‘gone’, ‘cat’, ‘dog’. But he is also using the signs that we have learned. He signs ‘milk’, ‘more’, ‘duck’, ‘bird’, and he uses a sign for ‘thank you’. This is not the sign we have tried to teach him for thank you, but he seems to understand that when he’s given something, he should say thank you. BRILLIANT. 

He’s also turned into a really loving, cuddly boy that likes nothing better than cwtching in with his dummy and his mummy. It’s true love that’s for sure. What an amazing little boy we have. Bring on the next year! 

Is it worth it, let me work it

I go back to work THIS MONTH. And that means that my little boy will be going off and having new adventures without me! …About 8 months ago, my best friend’s little girl started going to a childminder as she returned to work after over a year off. I remember her telling me soon after this, that Edi was loving it, but it was really weird for Lucy as her daughter had this whole other life, that she did during the days with the childminder, that Lucy wasn’t involved in! 

And now it’s my turn. Jude will be going to a childminder and I’m feeling nervous: for me and for him. I must mention that the childminder is a friend of ours and someone that Steve has known for years, so we have 100% trust in her. I’m nervous that Jude will be sad. I’m nervous that he’ll be sad and miss me. I’m nervous that I’ll be sad and miss him. In fact, I’m sad that I’ll no longer be able to spend lazy mornings with him and have fun and active afternoons. I’m sad that I’ll no longer be able to have fun and active mornings and lazy afternoons. I’m nervous that I’ll be bad at my job. After all, I haven’t done it for a year! But I’m also excited. I think. I’m excited that I will be starting another chapter in my life; that of a working mum. I’m looking forward to exercising my brain again in something other than nap timings and baby sign language. (Having said that, baby sign language is pretty much fully engrained into my life now). I’m looking forward to how much I’ll treasure the time that we do have together, and how much he’ll develop and grow through play and interaction with other children. 

    
When I go back, Jude will be 4 weeks off his 1st birthday. That’s a long time – 11 whole months – to get used to being with his mummy all day every day. I’m finding that he’s just about getting to the point where he full on cries if he can’t see me. This I feel, is going to cause some trouble when I start leaving him in order to go to work. He will be with Steve for 2 days a week and the childminder for 1.5 days. Staying with his dad is fine – he does that a lot, but I’m worried that leaving him could be quite traumatic to begin with.. Ah well, it has to happen at some point I guess! We’re doing a taster session this week; just leaving him for an hour and popping around the corner for coffee….

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…It has been almost a fortnight since I started writing this blog. It’s just so busy at the moment and  I am finding it difficult to keep writing. However, I have managed to find a few precious minutes to finish this one now!

Today we took Jude to the childminder’s for his second ‘taster’ visit. He went for an hour last week and didn’t even notice we had left him there! We dropped him off and snuck out, he was completely fine. Today wasn’t such a smooth drop off. He slept after our morning class and woke just as we got to Ceri’s. He was smiley and happy as we went into the house, but soon got a little miserable when he was ‘handed over’. Steve stayed with him for a cuddle and I hid in the hallway as he is always worse if I’m there. He calmed down and we managed to sneak off again. (I have to admit, I know it sounds harsh, but I feel it’s the best way to do it at the moment. We have had ‘waving goodbye’ episodes too; I went to [another] funeral on Monday and Jude stayed with Steve all day and he waved me off in the morning and was good as gold). I just feel that when it’s not someone very well known and loved, sneaking is the best option. 

Aaaanyway, this time he noticed we had gone and started crawling around from room to room looking for us. I know this because Ceri told us when we picked him up. I’m really glad that she did; even though he got upset she told us anyway. I would have been quite easy to miss that bit out as he was fine when we picked him up. He had got a bit upset, but managed to calm down and when we arrived to pick him up (after an hour and a half this time(!)), he happily came to greet us at the door and took Steve by the hand to go and see what was going on inside (as he had done last week too). He’s clearly comfortable there and I am just pleased that he manages to calm himself down fairly quickly. 


So that’s pretty much it! Our little one will be going off to have his own life with Ceri, our childminder and friend, 1.5 days a week. He’s even going to be there on his birthday! (For half a day, anyway). It’s officially the next biggest step in his little life. (Speaking of steps, he’s managing about 10 in a row now, unaided – I even got his feet measured yesterday!).

All in all, Jude is fine being away from me most of the time, and it will be the best thing for him in the long run. He will enjoy being sociable, he will learn from the other older children around him. He will have new types of fun that he would never have with his mummy. And I have made the decision to relax about the whole thing. There is absolutely no point in me being stressed about it as it’ll only rub off on him. I don’t want him to be anxious being left; I want him to look forward to his time with Ceri; and when he starts nursery in September I want him to enjoy it too. 

Moving onwards and upwards. This is the second huge step in Jude’s lifelong education. This very important step in his life will be the base for his growing and learning for the rest of his life. Our little sociable boy is like a sponge; he takes in everything around him and this, for sure, will be the making of him.

 

Vomitville

CAUTION: ONLY READ THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU CAN COPE WITH SICK STORIES (no photos, I promise) 

I wanted to use a phrase like ‘a baptism of vomit’ or something like that, but it seemed a bit too gross. Then again, those mothers and fathers amongst you will know the extent of the grossness that is possible when you have a child. 

Jude picked up a bug. I think it was probably the Norovirus, but whatever it was,  it involved A LOT of vomiting followed by A LOT of diarreah. It began in the wee, small hours of a Friday night. He cried in the night, as usual. I went into his room to feed him, as usual. He had thrown up all over his bed. And there was food in it. Ewww. (Why does carrot always come out in vomit??)

Steve had to be in work the following morning at stupid o’clock, so I took Jude downstairs and we sat on the foam mats with a big bowl. For the next 3 hours. He continued to be sick over the next 3 hours but eventually I managed to get him off to sleep. Not unlike night’s we’ve had in the past when he’s woken up for 3 hours in the middle of the night! But the following morning he woke up and was still really poorly. That’s when the diarreah started. He would be right as rain for long periods; playing and happy, then he would start crying and shortly afterwards he would either be sick, or fill his nappy. He was really, really bad. The most worrying thing about this was that he would be dehydrated. I kept trying to feed him and was also giving him regular drinks of water, but he still had a few dry nappies that day… All in all, from first vomit to last, it was 21 hours. And what a hard slog it was too! Thankfully, my mum and dad came over during the daytime for a few hours, which enabled a little light relief. 

At the time, we didn’t know just how contagious he was. Turns out, 6 hours after Jude stopped throwing up, I started! And then my poor mum had it after that! Funnily enough, my dad and Steve managed to avoid it. Steve slept on the sofa bed for 2 nights just in case, and apparently that was what was needed!  Unfortunately there was no way I was ever going to avoid catching it as I had to be there, right in the thick of things when Jude was ill, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! (Well, except to not get ill myself perhaps!) Luckily, the day that I was struck down, Steve was off work, which meant that I was able to rest in between ‘episodes’, which definitely helped. 

I would like to say that that was the end of it for a number of months (at least), but sadly, there was to be more vom to come… Jude and I spent a good few days in the house and cancelled a number of meetings with friends. We returned to our signing class on the Thursday – 6 days after it all began. Jude had been well for 5 days and I had been well for 3-4. We were well and truly recovered. Or so I thought….

I’ve been up all night with a pukey baby and now he’s playing happily and I’m pooped!


I had foolishly booked a dentist appointment on the same morning that we have our Sing and Sign class. But there wasn’t really a problem, we could leave 15 minutes early and get there in time. So the time came, I packed us up and we went out to the car. Jude went in, I packed our bags into the car and got into the drivers seat. I gave Jude a snack for the journey as it was about that time and I didn’t want him to play up in the dentist. He took one look at the biscuit I had given him and threw up. Projectile vomited all over himself. Whilst sitting in the car seat. Poor, poor boy. It was like he didn’t fancy the taste of it, but couldn’t control his gag reflex or something. Oh dear oh dear…… So I had a baby in a car seat, both of which were covered in vomit. I got the car seat with Jude in it out of the car and went back into the venue we had just come out of. I made a beeline for the disabled loo (more floor space than than the baby changing room), removed Jude from the car seat, stripped him down (he was soaked through three layers of clothes and a nappy!), redressed him in a clean nappy and an almost-too-small-for-him onesie I happened to have in the changing bag. I left everything in the disabled loo and popped back into the S&S room, where our lovely class teacher was packing up. I basically threw Jude at her and said “he’s not ill, but he just puked!, please have him – I’ll be back in a sec!”. Bless her – she just said no worries and got on with it! I went back to the disabled loo and washed off his clothes, popped them into a carrier bag and started on the car seat. 

Good God. Car seats truly aren’t designed to have baby puke all over them. There are layers of padding and buckles and holes in the padding for the puke to sneak through. It’s virtually impossible to do anything without removing all of the covers! So I popped a muslin over the remains of the mess so that Jude didn’t have to sit directly on it and that was that. THANK YOU to Louise our lovely Sing and Sign teacher for having Jude while I was in my moment of need! And sorry to anyone who had to witness the grossness that ensued! 

It’s safe to say that I cancelled and rearranged my dentist appointment(!), took Jude (who by now was right as rain again) home, took all of the covers off the car seat and took a toothbrush to the buckles. There is now no evidence of that disgusting and disasterous hour (which was topped off by a parking ticket when we returned to the car for the second time!). 

Since then, Jude has been completely fine, but I can’t help but wonder whether he was just feeling a bit sensitive after his initial poorly day or two. If I’m destined to have a pukey baby, please make the episodes happen at home in the future!! 

       
Unusual communication

I have noticed that Steve and I have started having entire conversations ‘through Jude’. For example, if we’re out walking and there is a choice of route: through the park, or along the pavement. I will ask Jude “do you want to go through the park Jude”? Well really, we all know Jude can’t speak, therefore why am I even asking him? So that Steve will answer the question, that’s why. Another example is “what do you think Mummy and Daddy should have for tea Jude?” I will then expect Steve to suggest something for tea. We also call each other ‘Mummy’ and ‘Daddy’. E.g. “Mummy, can you grab a few nappies from upstairs please?”. The other day, I actually called Steve by his first name, and he was shocked! 

It’s such a weird thing to do, but I bet some of you out there do it too! 

Calling mummies out there! How many times has some random asked your baby (who cannot speak) “And what is your name?” So you have to answer for them. It’s weird. I find it really awkward. They weren’t talking to me, they clearly have no interest in me, they haven’t even looked at me, so is it not a bit weird that I have to answer their question??


       
In other news…

We’ve got 8 teeth! I was keeping an eye on the bottom-right-middle tooth, which I thought was looking like it might be next, then one day there were 4 at the top! The two outside-middle ones snuck through without us noticing. (Although, in hindsight he definitely suffered with them – snot, sleeplessness, the works! How did I not pick up on them?)

Jude has recently been standing unsupported. He usually does it when he’s distracted by holding an object in his hands. He begins leaning against the couch for example, then he leans away from the couch and is still standing up. This has also gone hand in hand with him taking a few steps himself! Steve and I have often played with him by sitting at opposite ends of the lounge and Jude will walk between us using the wooden walker/trolley type thing. He reaches me, I turn him around, he walks to Steve, Steve turns him around, and so on and so forth. Well, this week we have been doing it without the walker! We have sat much closer together, helped him to get his balance, and let go. He has taken 4 or 5 steps between us, unaided and he seems to LOVE it! It’s such a weird thing, trying to encourage your baby to walk, because although I want him to – he is definitely almost ready – I don’t want him to because once he’s walking there’s no turning back and he’ll be a walking, grown up, mischievous, monster forever. 


Jude has finally found his voice! He’s a right chatterbox and even says some noises that I’m convinced mean certain things. He says a sound that resembles ‘cat’, when he sees our cats. He also says ‘og’ a lot. He seems to talk to us; he looks us right in the eye and says sounds, as if he’s trying to tell us something. My mum and dad had Jude overnight the other night so we could stay out and play at a friend’s 30th birthday (Happy Birthday Jen!), and mum text to tell me that she thinks his first word is ‘cat’. So he performs for others too! I have a feeling there are plenty of people out there laughing at our silly excitement of having a baby who says actual words, when really they’re not words at all! But I don’t care, I told you we had an Einstein baby…..(!) 

    

Breastfeeding update

Well, we had got down to 3 feeds a day and things were going brilliantly – we were well on track to be on 2 feeds a day by the time I go back to work. Then Jude got ill. And I have been battling with him ever since to get back to 3 feeds a day. He fed a lot over the couple of days he was ill, because I was doing anything I could to keep him hydrated, but it has not been easy to get him back into the good habits of 3 breastfeeds a day. He will cry hysterically – no real tears, but proper shouting, tantrum crying when he wants a feed. He climbs up onto my lap and lies himself across my legs, crying and shouting loudly. I can’t use the word ‘Milk’ or the sign for milk in front of him as he thinks he’s getting it, so I now use the phrase ‘the M word’ or ‘a feed’, if I’m talking about it to someone in front of him. 

So I am having to schedule our days so that when he’s likely to want a feed (although that could be at any point at the moment), we are either out and about (distractions), or I can give him a snack. The trouble is, I only really want to give him 2 snack-times a day, and at the moment he’s asking for milk 4-5 times outside of his usual ‘milk times’. 

When he does feed, he is also feeding for longer than he ever has. I think he might be picking up on the fact I’m trying to take it away from him a bit, as he will suckle for 20-30 minutes at a time, change from one boob,to the other and back again, until they feel really sore and I’m convinced there’s no milk left!. It’s like he doesn’t want it to end. He’s getting so clever now, I feel like he understands what is going on. 

besties

Jude is 10 months old tomorrow and it feels as though the last month has seen him growing into a proper little boy. My friend Lowri has a little boy, Joseff, who is 2, and Jude is now able to play with him as he’s so mobile – he loves playing with other, older babies! It won’t be long before we’ll be celebrating keeping him alive and healthy for a whole year, and we’re not short on amazing stories of his journey so far. Crazy times, and I’m sure they are just going to keep coming! 

Springy, bouncy baby

Sorry for the extremely late post – as you will soon find out, we’ve been very busy bees and I simply haven’t had time! I am however enjoying being able to blog when I can and about lots of random things, it feels more fun to blog as and when I can and not to a schedule. I also feel that it’s more fun because I get to talk about myself. And that’s pretty much heaven for me.
So. I’m going to use this post to update you on breastfeeding, which believe it or not, I have been doing the whoooole time, even though I haven’t updated you for ages. There has also been rapid development on the mobile baby front!

   

HUGE scary moment. 

Before I bore you with all the updates, I feel the need to let any mummy readers know (and please tell all the other babybrained, knackered mothers out there too), that a week or so ago, I drove all the way to a class with Jude in the car seat WITHOUT THE SEATBELT ON. I had walked to my mums car (which we borrow when we’re going to a morning class that is further than a half an hour’s walk away, as I can’t get ready in time!), I took Jude out of the buggy, popped him into the car seat and did his seat belt up. I then collapsed the buggy, put it in the boot, put myself in the driver’s seat and drove 15 minutes ish to our singing class. Then I got out of the car and went around to the other side of the car to get Jude out, only to discover I hadn’t done up the car seatbelt! I still put Jude in the front passenger seat (airbag off of course); we’ve done it ever since he was a baby and that’s still where he travels. When we upgrade his car seat, we’ll move him into the back and Steve can ride in the front again! I have recently wondered which seat in the car would be safest for him..? Front or back? Or does it matter?

Anyway, I wanted to tell you about my little booboo to try and let anyone who has also done something similar feel better. Oh, and knowing what you did too would be great and would make me feel better!! WE’RE NOT MACHINES. SHIT HAPPENS. THANK GOODNESS NOTHING BAD HAPPENED. 

   

Breastfeeding update  

Jude has now been exclusively breastfed for almost 9 months. Something I’m proud of, but something that for the past 5 or 6 months has come very easily and has just seemed like the natural thing to do. In fact, I’m finding it hard to see when we’ll stop. Or how we’ll stop for that matter. I have always thought that I’d deliberately stop breastfeeding, but I’ve also said that I didn’t want Jude to have formula milk. Not that there’s anything wrong with formal milk; in fact, breastfed babies should have extra vitamins over 6 months as breast milk doesn’t quite cut it; whereas formula has the added vitamins required for babies over 6 months. Jude does have a brilliant diet, which more than makes up for the missing vitamins in my milk. Anyway, I’m planning on reducing Jude’s feeds so that when I go back to work in June, he will only be having one in the morning and evening from me and an expressed feed from a bottle in the daytime. His main nutrition is coming from his meals these days, so it’s mainly for comfort and fluid intake anyway. Plus he has water with meals and throughout the day. So cutting back on feeds was going well until he got ill and all he wants to do is feed for comfort. It seems we took 3 steps forward and about 18 back! We’ll start again cutting back on feeds during the daytime and hopefully his night feeds will follow as he’s back to waking 3-4 times a night! He does only wake for 15-20 minutes at a time, but it’s so unnecessary as I know he can go for MUCH longer without a feed. 

Another thing that has happened recently is that he has bitten me. OOOOUUUUUUUUUUUCH! He now has 4 and a half teeth – top and bottom – and therefore despite the nipple guard (that I still use) it absolutely killed. I shouted “Ouch” and pulled his clamped teeth off my nipple. He cried. Wowee, it’s not nice and that’s an understatement. I was thinking that I’ll switch him over to cows milk when he turns 1, but only if he stops biting! We’re going on holiday in July and I’d love to not have to worry about feeding. I still have absolutely no regrets about breastfeeding though and if I ever have another baby I hope to be able to do it all again! 

   

Movin’ on up

Our nearly 9 month old is certainly giving us a run for our money these days! On top of coasting around the furniture constantly, we have had to put a stair gate on the bottom of the stairs now (our stairs go up from the lounge), as Jude can now climb! It’s brilliant and he loves it!  We allow him to climb up the stairs to the bath in the evenings with us directly behind him and it’s so exciting for him. He also dances every time music comes on. It’s unbelievable and SO cute. Steve and I are so proud and pleased that he’s got an ear for good music – anything with a bit of rhythm and he’s off! 

  
I told you a while ago about a baby signing class that we started going to. I was quite cynical to begin with and didn’t really know what it could bring to us. How wrong I was. For a while now, Jude has done the sign for ‘all gone’ or ‘finished’ when he’s had enough food. We soon learned that he was doing that sign as he would throw up if we carried on feeding him! He has now started doing the sign for milk when he wants a feed. It’s crazy! I can’t believe it actually works! He is babbling away and often says sounds that sound like they could be words, so perhaps some time soon he will start saying a few things too. That’s the important part of signing; you must say the word at the same time – it is used to develop vocabulary and the signs are to aid understanding. And it appears to be working so far! 

Jude also waves now! He waves goodbye when people leave also waves across rooms/tables if people wave at him. It’s crazy how fast he is developing now – there seems to be a new thing every day, I am sure he’ll be going to school before we know it..

            
Devastating news

  With all this new life and new and exciting developments, we must always dedicate our time to those who are slightly less new. We had some very sad news this week; my grandma sadly passed away. She has been living with dementia for a number of years and this week her physical health rapidly deteriorated and we lost her last weekend. A very sad time. Jude had been spending time with my grandpa (his great grandpa) and we had managed to take him to visit my grandma in the home that she lived in. Sadly, due to the nature of her illness she was unable to interact with Jude very well, but I managed to take some pictures of them together, which we will always treasure. Rest in peace Grandma, we will always remember our childhoods with you and the years spent watching you in the kitchen making rock cakes and welsh cakes (with extra caster sugar please!). I still put crisps on soup from time to time… We love you xxx

Jude, glorious Jude

Something worse than sleeplessness

The majority of the last fortnight has been spent courageously battling sucky winter colds. Poor little Jude is currently snuggled up in my lap, where I have discovered he sleeps best; he can inhale the vapour rub that I have practically been bathing in for the last week. (When breastfeeding sucks #1: when you are ill and can’t take decongestants.) 

  
Steve and I had a night in Ilfracombe 2 weeks ago. I bought it for us for Christmas as a ‘let’s get a full night’s sleep and be romantic’-type-thing, not thinking about the 2.5 hour drive for ONE NIGHT. Less than 24 hours and the stress of preparation was not worth it, let me tell you! We did however have a lovely less-than-24-hours; saw some art, had a few pints and went out for a lovely meal – lovely! That was until ‘Half Term Syndrome’ kicked in. You teachers out there will totally understand this: when you get through the whole term against all odds; you manage to miss out on any illness which might blag you a day or 2 off to recuperate, but the second, THE SECOND half term comes, your body fails. You’re ill for the whole of half term, then you go back to work. Brill. Well, I suffered from Half Term Syndrome on our night away. I think it’s safe to say that our ‘romantic’ night was no more. I went straight to bed (after expressing of course) once we got back from our lovely meal. Which leads me to When breastfeeding sucks #2: wanting a full night’s sleep and being woken up by your solid boobs and having to express at 4.30am. Full night’s sleep: RUINED. 

           
General gossip

I’ve discovered that dribble bibs seem to be a bit like socks; they just disappear. I’m pretty sure that at one point, we had more than enough dribble bibs, but there has been more than one occasion where I have been hunting for a clean one over the last few weeks. Or maybe it’s just that I’m changing them more frequently as Jude is soaking bibs at a rate of nots these days. Could we be expecting another tooth soon perhaps??  

I know I keep going on about it, but Jude is an eating machine nowadays. In the last fortnight he has tried tuna, salmon, bolognaise (complete with onion, garlic and herbs), chicken casserole and  his first proper Welsh lamb dinner – cooked by nanny! There are still some things that he’s a bit funny about, but his little tummy is clearly working well and he’s usually really open to new tastes which is fab. I have discovered Boots baby range. All organic and brill for making Jude proper meals. I bought 3 flavours of baby stock cubes (salt free) for baby casseroles and yummy meals, as well as mini pasta and some organic desserts. (Jude eats loads of fruit but sometimes I treat him with a baby apple crumble or something). I’ve noticed that it’s encouraging us to eat cleaner. We eat a lot more fresh fruit and veg and cook a lot more from scratch… I guess it’s the natural progression from the initial takeaways, batch cooking and convenience foods when he first arrived, to the present day. We now have to make the time to feed Jude healthy, nutritious food and so we now make more effort with our cooking too! One thing we have discovered is that if something is served warm to him, we have to reheat it halfway through if it goes cold. If it’s supposed to be warm, he’ll only eat it warm! It’s reminiscent of having to heat up your plate in the microwave halfway through  your meal because you’ve been chatting too much! Hilarious baby… 

   
Jude’s sleeping had improved quite a bit at the beginning of the fortnight; he was waking fewer times and waking for shorter periods. Typically, he then got ill and it all went down the spout. Hilariously (fishing for a compliment), I said to Steve the other night “don’t you think I’ve done a good job of getting him into a good nighttime routine? We can pretty much guarantee he’ll be asleep by 8 at the latest these days”. LOL.

Right on queue, the following night he didn’t go down on time and he has spent the last 3 nights being poorly and crying all evening after his bath at 7pm until 10pm when he finally crashes. Exhausting. He’s also started rolling onto his side and tummy when I put him back down after night feeds. So lush! Obviously, the first time he did it, I tried to roll him back onto his back but he just kept rolling back again. So I settled for checking he was still breathing a few times and taking a few pics before going back to sleep myself. According to the Internet (font of knowledge that it is), he’s old enough to be at a much smaller risk of SIDS now, so that made me feel better.

Another sleepless musing that I have had is that no matter how badly your baby sleeps, we, as parents seem to have an endless optimism and hope that the following night will be better. Hoping for sleep is like a drug; each night you think ‘it will be better’. The sleep you will get the next night will be better. And no matter how bad the sleep (high) is, there is hope that the next night will be better. 

  
  
All this doom and gloom seems to portray a really miserable fortnight. It most definitely has not been. As best as he can, our gorgeous boy tries really hard to be his up beat and usual happy self, despite being poorly. He’s currently playing on the floor infront of me; we have provided him with a clear plastic box for his toys and he likes nothing better than sitting next to it, taking toys out one by one and tipping and flipping the box over whilst banging on it like a drum. (Another new, fun thing he does: bashes everything like a drum. CUTE AS.) 

   

Water baby and social butterfly 

  

Jude got his first swimming badge at last week’s swimming lesson! He’s nearly completed his first course of ten classes and this weekend (assuming he’s over his cold), he’ll be having his photo taken under the water. I’m sure most of you will have seen the pictures; slightly over the top and cheesy blue background and a wide eyed baby floating under the water (like the Nirvana baby). Lovely idea, and though I always said I didn’t like the Photoshopped feel of the photos, as the date has come closer I really want one! How else would we remember these glory days of Jude’s first ever swimming sessions? Steve suggested we buy our own underwater camera for a quarter of the (extremely high) price of purchasing a photo and do it ourselves, but I soon reminded him that we’d probably be arrested for taking a camera into a public swimming pool. So it was either pay for the photo or rent a villa with a private pool in the summer (I know, I know – but he’ll be much bigger and older by then, and we’ll have missed out on the ‘baby’ photo!). 

We joined another class that was recommended by some mummies we had met at our signing class. It’s a singing class and is just lovely. We sing African chants and other well known rhymes in parts and rounds. It’s just in the living room of the lovely lady who runs the session so it’s really relaxed and all of the babies can play together in front of us and in our laps. The babies seems to love all of the singing – it seems like it would be really soothing for them. Jude LOVES going to the groups – I’ve never send him so animated! He loves seeing all of the other babies and interacts with them loads. This interaction has passed over into his other social life too! We had some friends come over the other day and he kissed his friend as he was playing with her! He kisses me and Steve (or rather, places very soggy lips on our faces for a moment or two), but this was awesome and SO lovely! He kissed her on the head 3 times all by himself! It just highlights how he’s growing and learning to interact with the rest of the world. Amazing. 

  
In other developments; we have a backwards crawler. He hasn’t quite mastered forwards yet, but he can go backwards at lightning speed and has figured out that all he needs to do to get around is crawl backwards in whichever direction he wishes to go. Genius! He also wants to stand at every available opportunity. He can pull himself up on the couch and in his cot. He can pull himself up in seconds and always looks so pleased with himself when he does it! We are going to be in for trouble very soon, I’m sure – time to start baby proofing I think! 

The Baby Awakens

Textbook baby
  

All of the baby books tell you how, at around 5-6 months old, your baby will start to be more aware of who is who in their lives; their mummy and daddy for example, and they are likely to be more upset when being held or looked after by others. I have even found recently that Jude will lean towards me in the nighttime if Steve is comforting him, although that is definitely because we’ve found ourselves in the HORRENDOUS situation of him waking up to 4 times a night and only settling if he’s fed. By me. Steve can try and soothe him and his crying just worsens as he tells us exactly what he wants. His mother. And her boob. I’ve even tried just picking him up for a cuddle with the dummy, which worked for about 36 seconds, before he let rip again. The problem is that if Jude wakes in the night, I try to settle him as quickly as possible as Steve has to be in work early in the morning, so I don’t want Jude waking him. The quickest way to settle Jude is to feed him. Plus, we have been demand feeding for the last 6 months, and my god, demand feeding it is. He goes for longer periods in the day than he does in the night, and I know that he’s not hungry in the night, he just needs comforting, but feeding is the only way he accepts at the moment. 

We had begun to try and get him into a routine in the nights, even doing a short period  (13.5 minutes to be precise) of ‘cry it out’ one night, but then the worst thing since his arrival on this earth happened…

   

A whole new level of fear

Jude and I had been out for the day with my mum and dad whilst Steve was in work. We had been for lunch in a lovely little café and Jude had sat in the highchair and had some of his own lunch too. When we got home, Steve and I popped out to pick up our new, purchased-in-the-January-sales bikes and cycle them home, whilst mum and dad stayed at our house with Jude. On our return, they told us that he had been a little sick, but it was probably because they had put him in the Jumperoo shortly after having some milk. We thought nothing more of it and they went home. 
Shortly after they left, Jude was sick again, quite forcefully this time, and again after that. He was crying, seemingly in pain, prior to each sicky episode and he seemed like he was feeling poorly. We took his temperature and if anything, it was low, so we didn’t give him any Calpol, but thought we’d see how he went. He was sick again after a feed and generally not very happy. I had a look online to see if there might have been any guidance on how to deal with this and I spoke to my mum who said to make sure he was drinking water to keep him hydrated. We gave him water from a bottle and he seemed OK for a little while. After a short time I tried to feed him and he not only refused, but he was pale, his eyes rolled in his head and he went floppy. I’ve never been so panicked in my life. Steve dealt with me and the situation brilliantly; he told me (quite forcefully) to calm down and told me to wait and see how he was. I then handed Jude to Steve as I was going to phone NHS direct, although I really wanted to go straight to A&E. I could then see that Steve was worried too, he may have tried not to show it, but Jude was clearly not well and our usually wriggly little boy was a limp, pale thing in his arms. I rang my Auntie (retired health visitor) for advice. She explained that as long as he didn’t have a temperature and was still eating then we shouldn’t worry. By now, Steve had taken Jude into the kitchen (which always calms him when he’s stressy), and he was now holding his head up and looking more alert. Ok, this was a bit better… 

Steve handed Jude back to me, I held him in a cradle hold and in a second or two, he was asleep. No dummy, no milk, just fast asleep. I decided that it would be best for me to hold him and let him sleep on me for a while as that way I could feel him breathing, and he could feel me there too. Believe it or not, that’s when I wrote a lot of my last blog! I just couldn’t mention it at the time as I didn’t know what would happen. He slept on me for at least an hour and, when he woke, he was normal, smiley Jude again! Crazy! Totally and utterly fine. Happy, hungry, healthy baby. He had another feed and fell asleep and this time I put him in his cot. I checked on him a few times before we went to bed and he still had no temperature and was breathing and sleeping well. 

He woke only once that night and the following morning he woke and it was like nothing had happened! He’s been right as rain ever since! 

   
**the above was all written just over a week ago, and (as you can imagine), his sleeping patterns have changed AGAIN. He is now waking 2-3 times a night, once at midnight(ish), but he will be awake for 2 hours most nights. He will then wake again about 4am and then up for the day at 7-8ish. It feels like a bit of a routine again. Yes, the waking for 2 hours is really annoying, but at least he’s fairly predictable again, meaning I can go to bed early and plan for being up in the middle of the night, and anything else is a bonus!**

       

Antisocial media

  

Is The Internet something we, (as adults who remember life pre-Internet),  just have to come to terms with? Is it inevitable that baby Jude (before he can make his own decisions),  will be online in some capacity, no matter how hard we try to stop it? Do I go as far as to ban cameras around him? Sooner or later, Jude will be at a birthday party, or similar, and someone will take a photo and it will end up on Facebook. 

I’m writing about this subject at the risk of seeming passive-aggressive. A friend, and member of the family, recently posted a photo of Jude on Facebook, despite knowing we would rather they didn’t. And I’m not ‘naming and shaming’ and all that rubbish. I was pretty p****d, as they knew I would be, but now, I’m feeling better – the dust has settled so-to-speak, and I’m genuinely questioning the reality of this scenario. Is there even any point in ‘policing’ this situation? 

Since before Jude was born, Steve and I decided we would put very few photos of our baby on social media. Our reasons for this were so that we could keep our boy ‘to ourselves’. We didn’t want the whole world seeing him; he was – and still is -our precious baby. We also think, despite the way that social media and the Internet is inevitably going to be a part of his life in some capacity (who knows what will happen in the next 10-15 years), we would rather he had the choice about whether he wants to be ‘on the Internet’ or not. 

Now, that’s not to say we don’t want to show him off. Of course we do. But we can do that via the medium of a private messaging service or app, such as Whatsapp. That way, we get to choose exactly who sees those photos and we get to show off to the people who matter. 

Another reason for not having photos of Jude on Facebook is that no one really knows what could happen to your photos once you have posted them online. I did a little research and found the following on the Telegraph website (so, fairly legit): 
“Specifically for photos and video uploaded to the site, Facebook has a license to use your content in any way it sees fit, with a license that goes beyond merely covering the operation of the service in its current form. Facebook can transfer or sub-license its rights over a user’s content to another company or organisation if needed. Facebook’s license does not end upon the deactivation or deletion of a user’s account, content is only released from this license once all other users that have interacted with the content have also broken their ties with it (for example, a photo or video shared or tagged with a group of friends).”   telegraph.co.uk (accessed 18.01.2016)*

So, the long and short of it is this: Facebook could, if they so wished, use your photos within Facebook or outside of Facebook, through another organisation if ‘needed’. The only way to make sure that that doesn’t happen is to make sure that anyone who has ‘interacted’ with said photos has cut all ties with them (or disabled their account). So anyone who ‘likes’ any one photo, would need to disable their account in order for that one photo to be completely safe from being used for something that we would know nothing about. So, regardless of whether you make a photo’private’, or only visible to a select few people, Facebook still has the right to do what they want with it. Scary stuff. 

Now, I know that the chance of the above happening is very slim, but in all honesty, I don’t want to risk it.

Steve and I have posted a few photos of Jude on Facebook ourselves (after discussion every time), but I have now deleted the photos that I had put on, because of how I felt when I reacted to the one someone else put on. (Although I know that it won’t make any difference now, Facebook still have rights to them). How can I expect others not to put photos on, when I have done so myself? 

So I suppose the big question is this: is there any point in asking people not to put photos of Jude online, when sooner or later he’ll be on there anyway. Perhaps it’s inevitable? Perhaps that’s just the way the world is now, and I shouldn’t be so protective. 

   

Still got it. Or have I…?

  

Steve and I travelled to London last week to see a dear friend of ours and to watch a play in his pub (yes, a play-in-a-pub!). The play was Arthur Miller’s first EVER play. He had written it in college and it had never been shown anywhere before. So It was a great honour to be able to see it – people had travelled from all over the world to see it! The theatre only seated 60 people, and the atmosphere was awesome. Brilliant, brilliant play and a brilliant cast. Bravo! 

Anyway, we had left our gorgeous boy with nanny and grampy for the day. We travelled there and back in one day, leaving in the morning about 8.30am and arriving back in Cardiff about 10pm. I had decided to wear something suitable for travelling, but to remember that we were seeing a play after all, so I needed a little glamour! I settled on a fairly casual dress, with flat knee high boots and my (faux, of course)  fur coat. After the play, a (childless, younger-than-me) friend who also lives in London came to meet us for a post-play-pint. When she arrived, she immediately exclaimed “Wow, you look so Edgy!” EDGY?! ME?? Now, I know it sounds unbelievably sad, and feel free to let out an ‘ahhhh’, but going out with ‘non-parent friends’ these days is pretty nerve-wracking! I no longer straighten my hair. EVER. I struggle to keep on top of my eyebrows and it’s shocking to think that I might choose anything to wear that might make me look ‘Edgy’! So I was feeling incredibly flattered and pleased with myself for clearly getting my ‘London look’ right……..Still got it!

   

Now I’m just somebody that I used to know

  

At the end of last week, I went into school for a ‘Keep in touch’ day; to talk over my timetable for when I return and have a meeting with the person doing my maternity cover. Although I was nervous about going back and nervous about leaving Jude (as I always am), the drive there had me thinking about the person I was before Jude arrived; the teacher I was. I even thought about how I would interact with people (when alone, which I NEVER am these days), and how I would feel about going back to work. 

I don’t go back until May, just over 4 months away now, but I know it will come around so quickly! Jude will be 11 months old when I go back to work and I’m sure it’ll be just as hard leaving him then as it would be now, or would have been 3 months ago. But it was really nice to be in the school environment again. Seeing the students and catching up with how they are getting on was lovely and it reminded me what I was good at before I was a mum….

Which leads me onto my next point. No one tells me I’m doing a good job with Jude anymore! 

Hah, I know that sounds like a pretty spoilt-brat thing to say, but it’s true! When you first have a baby, everyone tells you how brilliant you are doing (and boy, do you need to hear it!), but then it suddenly stops. All of a sudden, no one is telling you anymore. I guess it’s kind of obvious if the baby is healthy and happy etc, but still, it would be nice to hear it once in a while. Especially when sleep-deprived and emotional. I guess there is so much going on in Jude’s (and my) life these days; weaning, different types of poos, lack of sleep etc, that people forget to say it, or think you don’t need to hear it! 

I can assure anyone out there who’s been here too – YOU ARE DOING A BRILLIANT JOB – KEEP IT UP! Even if your baby hasn’t slept in MONTHS and you’re rumaging in the washing basket trying to find the least dirty sleepsuit at 10pm – over 3 hours past baby’s bedtime – because you spent the last 5 hours of your day TRYING TO GET THEM TO NAP. You’re doing a wonderful job. Because it’s the hardest thing in the world. Harder, and more emotionally draining than teaching, harder than working in hospital as an underpaid, overworked Junior Doctor, harder than working in a care home; looking after lots and lots of people who are totally dependent on you. Because children are your own. and that, my friends, is exhausting. And despite that, you’re doing brilliantly. Well done!

   

The force is strong in this one

  

We finally went to see Star Wars! Thank you to nanny and grampy (again) for having Jude – we really enjoyed it and I truly hope they bring all of the oldies out in 3D too! What a way to watch! 

I took Jude to a ‘Sing and Sign’ class last week. His first one, and his first ‘proper’ class where he has had to interact with other babies. We have been to swimming lessons for weeks, but he doesn’t really interact with other babies there; it’s much more about me and him (or him and I?) But Sing and Sign is full of babies to interact with. And he LOVED it! He sat on the mat surrounded by other mummies and their babies and talked to/shouted at everyone! HE didn’t take his eyes off the lovely class leader when she was signing and singing and he watched all of the other children crawling and wriggling on the mat and played with them brilliantly. Can’t wait for next week!