These boots are made for walkin’

Busy, busy, busy

Father, it’s been almost a month since my last blog… I’ve missed it! But the trouble is, I’m slightly concerned that this will be about the frequency of my posts now I a) have a child that WALKS (or actually, it’s usually an almost-run), and b) am back in work. I do however only have 1 week left in work before we break up for summer, so it’s been quite a nice and fairly easy few weeks back actually. Plenty of blog-time over the summer hols! 

We not only have a walker, but WE HAVE A 1 YEAR OLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Jude turned 1 on Tuesday last week. I worked for half a day, and although Steve was off, we decided Jude should still go to the childminder’s for his usual half day. He’s taken to doing a huge, melodramatic wail as I hand him over every time I drop him off. I initially found it heartbreaking, but I’ve come to realise it’s literally put on for me and he’s not really upset at all. THE SECOND I leave and he’s given dry breakfast cereal to eat with his fingers, he’s completely fine! Ceri – our childminder – sends me a photo as soon as he’s calmed down and 99% of the time it’s before I’ve even pulled away in the car! Little monkey. Little actor in the making I think! 

It’s nice to feel wanted though. My first week back in work was heartbreaking. It was the week Jude chose to be a Daddy’s Boy. The week I leave him for 3.5 days, Jude decides he doesn’t want me, he wants Daddy. All the time. Lovely for Steve, heartbreaking for me. But it’s safe to say we’re now both getting a good, fair number of cuddles these days. Im so pleased we have a little one who loves to cuddle. He seems so grown up now, he’ll happily just sit with us and cuddle like a little boy, not a baby!

         
Gnawing and grinding


We’ve been lucky enough to have a long break from teething over the last few months and it’s meant that aside from the usual one short-lived meltdown a day, we have generally had a happy baby who SLEEPS THROUGH FROM 8PM-6AM A FEW TIMES A WEEK. We have spent the last few months appreciating this fact, I can assure you. But now that dream world is over and Jude is teething again. Only this time it’s waaaay worse. It’s the big teeth. And the 8 teeth he’s had for ages are really nice and settled into their spaces now, only to be moved and squished by the new teeth that are coming through. Oh and the poo. THE POO. I had to pick him up from the childminder’s early last week as he had had 3 terrible nappies that had made him cry. I picked him up as I didn’t want him to make any of the other children ill too. But it turns out it wasn’t illness, it was just teething! And his poor, poor bottom… He’s never really had nappy rash, but this is a WHOLE NEW LEVEL of nappy rash. It’s like he’s had acid poured into his nappy. It’s red and raised and one day last week it even bled! It must be the most uncomfortable thing in the world… He whimpers when we put him in the bath in the evening… 

Poor boy. It’s an awful thing that these tiny humans have to endure teeth cutting holes in their gums and nappy rash that would make me not want to sit down or wear underwear EVER. Speaking of not wearing underwear, we have intensified the ‘nappy off’ time again in an attempt to try and fix his poor bottom. It seems to be working so far…..

Jude has also started grinding his teeth! Eugh! Apparently it’s quite normal when they’re teething and it even has a name – Bruxism (thank you Google). But it sounds terrible and it makes me feel like he’s going to damage his new little teeth. But apparently he’s not and eventually he’ll stop doing it. 

     

Our house, is a very, very, very fine house

Another reason for not blogging in a while is that we finally completed on our house and moved in! It’s the first house we have owned and despite the fact that we’re still not quite unpacked, it feels great that it’s ours… It was sad to leave the first home that Jude lived in, but it’s safe to say we’ve got plenty (literally thousands) of photographs to remind us of his time there. 

With a new house, comes a new room. And Jude now has a great sized room that he loves to play in and we finally have somewhere to out some of his millions of toys! In the space of a week, our living room has turned from a nice space with a few token baby toys, to a flippin’ car park! 1 year old boys like fire engines and trucks apparently! And he does, he LOVES them! 

We held back on upgrading Jude’s toys as his birthday was coming up. Really, he could have done with some more age-appropriate toys a few months ago. But it’s a good job we did hold back as he now has LOADS of lovely, challenging, suitable-for-a-1-year-old toys and puzzles. They’ll last him a while, that’s for sure! He’s well-versed in getting on and off his sit-on fire engine and pushing it around the room. And he loves the fact that he can hide things under the seat. All of these skills have definitely been developed during his time at the childminder’s, watching the older children and learning, learning, learning.  He’s also finally taken a liking to a soft toy! Leo the Lion. Typically, Leo isn’t even a toy that has been bought for Jude; it’s one of mine! Maybe that’s why he likes it? Could be because it smells of me… Although it was bought for me as an adult, so I haven’t exactly been cuddling it! Anyway, Leo is the one and that’s who gets cuddles and kisses on a regular basis. He’s also lovely and squishy, so Jude lies on him and uses him as a pillow regularly. Trouble is, he’s rather large, and I can see Leo not being very portable……..


Les Vacances

We’re going on holiday in 3 days time. We are going to France and I CANT WAIT. It’s going to be our first family holiday abroad, in fact, it’s pretty much our first family holiday full stop! Sliiiiiiighhtly concerned about the flight as I’m not a good flyer, but I’m hoping that motherhood will bring out my rational, sensible side. I’m hoping I’ll be more concerned about Jude not screaming down the ear of the person in front of us, than the fact that the plane might drop out of the air/get hijacked/blow up/run out of fuel/ lose a wing etc. 

We’re going with my mum and dad, so it’ll be lovely to have others to take over ‘entertaining Jude’ duties from time to time. It’ll be like a real break. My brother and his gorgeous girlfriend Lucy are joining us a few days in too, so it will just be a lovely relax, with wine, good French food, sunshine (hopefully) and lots and lots of R&R. 

       

Speaking of wine……

We’re still breastfeeding. 2-3 times a day. But. Jude can go without 2 of those 3 feeds when he has to. It’s just being in my company makes him want milk. So we’re going to use holiday and the change in routine, to start us on the road to reducing and stopping. It’s time now. We’ve had a good run, but he doesn’t need my milk anymore and it doesn’t seem like he’s going to choose to stop by himself any time soon. So I’m going to help him along a little. 

In France I fully intend to have a glass or three of wine, probably every day. And for that reason I don’t want to have to feed Jude in the evening. Plus, I’m still feeding him to sleep every night. So we’re going to miss his evening feed and get him off to sleep using the buggy as we go out for dinner in the evenings. The plan is, that he will have his dinner before we go out and he will fall asleep en route to the restaurant. As I said, that’s the plan. I’ll update you as to whether that actually works!!

       

Signing off now. It’s been fun blogging again! I shall try and do so more frequently over my Summer break. Au revoir mes amies!! X


When do ‘New Mums’ become old mums?

With a little help from my friends
I have spent the last couple of weeks catching up with old friends. It has been brilliant, but has also come at a time when I have found myself feeling very different. Let me explain….  

  
I have felt quite lonely over the last few weeks. I’m not alone, but I have felt quite alone. I think it has a lot to do with having to find something to entertain myself every day. That makes me sound very ungrateful; I most definitely am not ungrateful, I LOVE my life. I LOVE spending every day with Jude and helping him to grow and develop. I LOVE being able to spend some evenings and some day times (shift dependent) with Steve and Jude together: my Family. But sometimes I feel like I haven’t had an adult conversation for days. Sometimes I just wish I didn’t have to be at home at 5.30 every evening so I can give my gorgeous boy his tea, then do his bedtime routine. 99.9% of the time I LOVE this too, but sometimes, just sometimes, I’d like to be able to stay in the pub later than 5pm. 

So I have decided to take action and ‘rediscover’ myself sort of thing. I am very lucky to have my parents around the corner and therefore can ask them for help with Jude when necessary. Steve also has a regular day off every week when we usually have a nice family day. Well, I have decided that I will use one or both of these facts to rekindle my love of live music. I popped out to meet some friends a week or so ago and had a chat with a friend who goes to see a lot of live music. She’s going to let me tag along from time to time. We have our first date with a folk singer called Vinna Bee at the end of this month, I can’t wait!  

  
We also had friends over for food and after dinner games last week which was brilliant. We tried to do this when Jude was much younger and it turned out to be a bit of a disaster; he wasn’t very happy, we talked about him constantly, our guests ended up being alone a lot of the time because we were sorting out food and baby etc etc. This time however, Jude still didn’t go to bed properly (I had put him down and he managed about 45 mins before waking up and by that time our guests had arrived so he knew something was going on and wouldn’t settle), but he was in great spirits and we put him in his highchair and he joined us until he was tired enough to go up for the night. Our guests got to see him too which was a hit (I think).  So I feel like I’m back in good spirits and have a ‘plan’. 

I finally had my haircut this week (‘Father, it’s been 7 months since my last haircut’), and my excuse to the stylist for the state of my hair, and the fact that I wanted an ‘easy’ style, was Jude. The hairdresser asked me how old my baby (that is ruining my hair-styling life) is, and when I replied with ‘just over 9 months’, I felt a bit stupid. Stupid and lazy and like I should have it down by now; nailing the personal care, makeup, facials, painted nails and hair. Or not. When should we (as new mums) be able to look after ourselves properly and be presentable again? Or will it ever happen? I keep fantasising about when I go back to work and have money again (which probably won’t happen as we’ll have other stuff like nursery to spend it on), about how I’m going to have regular facials and always, always have my nails painted and with no chips. I have a funny feeling there are lots of mums of older children out there laughing right about now. But when does the ‘New Mum’ label wear off? How new is New?

   

Breastfeeding and mealtime update

As I mentioned in my last blog, we have been cutting down on the number of feeds Jude has per day in preparation for my return to work. His breastfeeds are no longer of a high nutritional value and he is getting the majority of his ‘good stuff’ from his meals (which I will describe in a bit). So really, his feeds are primarily for thirst quenching, closeness and bonding. Jude can now ask for milk; he climbs onto my lap, gives me a big cuddle, then lies himself sideways as if he’s going to feed. If we’re standing up and I’m holding him, he will tap/hit my chest. Weird. Clever, but weird. Steve and I have gone full swing into teaching Jude the symbols/actions for ‘food’ and ‘drink’, referring to any meal or snack and water (as opposed to ‘milk’, which Jude already knows), so that we can try to avoid the big tantrums that occur when he’s hungry or thirsty. 

We have managed to cut down to 3-4 (but usually 3) breastfeeds a day so far. That’s an early morning feed, a mid morning feed before his nap and an evening feed before bed. Our day goes a bit like this:

  • 6-6.30am               Wake up
  • 6.30am.                   Breastfeed
  • 8-8.30am.                  Breakfast – fruity purée (usually pear, mango or nectarine) and porridge, toast with butter and fresh fruit (usually melon or mango)
  • 9.30ish.                   Breastfeed
  • 9.30-11am.             Nap (1-1.5 hours)
  • 11am.                       Snack – fruit, baby biscuit or homemade flapjack
  • 12-1pm.                  Lunch – Finger foods such as homemade frittata, cheese, celery, cucumber, cold pasta pieces, ham etc
  • 3-4pm.                    Snack – baby crisps, baby biscuit, fruit.*sometimes we have a breastfeed here too, depending on his mood*
  • 4-5pm.                    Nap (30 mins ish)
  • 6pm                          Tea – main meal such as salmon, peas & potatoes, kedgeree, lamb dinner, chicken casserole, pulled pork (all meals Jude has had in the past – made without salt of course!), a yogurt for dessert and a rusk or fruit for added finger food.
  • 6.30-7.15.              ‘Nappy off time’ & bath
  • 7.15-7.30.               Breastfeed and bed.         

Although this ‘schedule’ seems quite organised, note that each time period is an hour or so – we have ‘windows’ when we do things. That way, our day is more flexible and we can go out and see friends or go to classes etc, but we still have a shape to our day. We’re lucky in that Jude will happily eat his lunch if we’re out and about, as long as we have a decent highchair he’ll eat anywhere! 

Oh yes, and we let Jude try a very small part of one of his Easter eggs! A Thorntons Easter Bunny given to him by my dad as he thought he’d like the face on it!  I managed to get a good, but shocking photo as we gave him the whole bunny and just let him go for it! He seemed to like it, but not as much as I expected him to – he was fairly laid back about the whole experience really! 

  
        

Walking on sunshine

Jude seems to be extremely close to walking now. We bought him a wooden activity walker/trolley type thing and he has gone from not quite being able to control how fast it goes a fortnight ago, to climbing up to standing himself and walking it around the room rapidly and unaided! He has also started ‘launching’ himself from one piece of furniture to the next instead of carefully stepping. He will throw himself then take a few, unsupported steps between the two items of furniture. He’s getting braver and more trouble by the day! 

  
We have a little boy who is full of character and getting more and more personality by the day. He plays peek a boo with everything, from nanny’s scarf (while she’s wearing it), to the curtains if he can get his hands on them. We bought him a pair of soft pram shoes to enable him to toddle about (holding hands of course), while we’re outside. The nice weather means we’ve taken a few trips to the park recently, and he likes to get out of the sling or buggy and have a wander about. Soft shoes means that he can do so without ruining his socks! His feet will change shape very quickly once he starts walking properly so we’ll have to look into some proper walking shoes then! Crazy to think that less than a year ago he was our tiny, brand new, needy baby and now he’s becoming more and more independent every day! First birthday party planning will be in full swing very soon! Eek! 

Boys grab their willies

Being a dreadful mother / succumbing to a Jumperoo

Whilst pregnant, I decided to sew and make a lot of the items for Jude’s bedroom myself; curtains, cushion covers, baby mobile etc, and generaly be a bit of a domestic goddess. Well, this escalated somewhat (into making and selling leggings, primarily), but when Jude first arrived I continued to do my best to avoid the ‘gaudy plastic monstrosities’ that come with the baby territory, instead choosing to make my own baby gym to go with the handmade ‘tummy time’  patchwork quilt. I’m also in the process of making another, activity mat for him as a possible Christmas-pre-Christmas-type-present-thing. It has mirrors and appliqué and crinkly bits and everything. 

  
So, being as my son has all these lovely, non-gaudy but stimulating things to play on and with, along with the lovely soft toy gifts and books that people have bought him, I figured he was loving life. His development was coming along nicely and all was good. That was, until we went to visit my friend Sian (whom I met doing pregnancy yoga) and Jude’s friend Josie. Josie is about four weeks older than Jude; and my, does she have a fun house! Jude got to try out all these brilliant, gaudy, plastic, exciting, noisy, fun, irritating, interesting new toys, which he LOVED. So I left Sian’s feeling like a TERRIBLE mother who had deprived my baby from fun, engaging, development-stimulating toys. It’s safe to say, the last week has been spent purchasing gaudy, plastic monstrosities. And big up to my dad, who is going to provide the dreaded Jumperoo. Cheers Nige. 

       
 Weaning

 
This ENTIRE fortnight (but mainly the last week) has been building up to weaning, which Steve and I decided would begin on Sunday just gone as he was off work so we could do it together. It would be lovely and wonderful and hilarious and make brilliant memories that we would cherish forever. Yeah, not quite. For the last few weeks, Jude hasn’t been sleeping through. In fact, I’m writing this at 2.30am, having attempted to put him back down post-feed 3 times. Time to feed again and hope he falls asleep whilst feeding and burps immediately, without me having to turn him vertically and wake him up again. Joy. 

Anyway, I digress. Jude has been waking a lot, and although I know that’s not the only signal that baby is ready to wean, he’s extremely interested in our food, hungry more frequently and is pretty much sitting up alone (if only for a few seconds). 

We had bought him a highchair following #badmothergate, and he had been spending time in it with new toys (to make it fun), albeit when we had our hands full or had to wash up etc. So, having bought soft, silicone baby spoons and bowls in preparation, the time came to give it a go. We had decided that I would feed Jude about half an hour before trying him on some pureed carrot mixed with breast milk. We have loads of sachets of frozen milk from the first few weeks that Jude was born, before we tried him with bottles. It’s much more yellow and creamy than my milk now, so has different nutritional value to what he needs right now, so it’s perfect for mixing in with purees! 

 

sweet potato and carrot. mmmmmm….
 
So, once he was all settled in his highchair (in the kitchen as we didn’t know how messy things were going to get), I popped a small amount, about the size of my little fingernail, on the spoon and waved it in front of him…… Of course, much to my delight he immediately grabbed it and pulled it towards his mouth, shoved a load of carrot purée right in, first time. Yay! ……… 

Ok, bad move, waaay too much on the spoon for a baby’s first ever taste of anything with actual consistency; all he’s had so far for almost 5 months of his life is breast milk; a silky, creamy, sweet liquid that slips down into his tummy easily and tastily. Wow, that face was hilarious – brilliant photo for his first girlfriend there! Oh no, we have gagging! Poor baby! He’s only gagging because of the consistency, but we can’t stop him and the gagging soon turns into throwing up the milk that I had fed him half an hour previously. Oh, then there’s tears. Oops, not a good start…

Ok, that probably could have been better. Steve suggested that perhaps we should have started with something a little smaller, and dipped his finger into the purée. Jude, being teethy pulls the finger into his mouth for a good old suck, only to be met with that disgusting orange, lumpy stuff again! Eugh! 

Anyway, it’s safe to say, the transition is fairly tough (for parents and baby!), and we tried again the next day with fractionally more success, less vomit this time, but just as much gagging. Even the thought makes me chuckle. And of course, we’ve got it all on video and tonnes of photos too! Apple and banana next I think! 

    

Willies

Believe it or not, I have 2 stories about willies his week. The first being that Jude seems to have discovered his! Ok, it’s less of ‘discovering his willy’ and more that he now lifts his knees up and grabs his feet on a regular basis (which enabled him to roll from back to front for the first time the other day!). But he doesn’t always grab his feet. When we’re changing his nappy, he sometimes grabs his willy! Hah! Steve mentioned that he had noticed this the other day, and I had also encountered it once previously. He also assured me that he had had ‘the willy talk’ with him, so not to worry. Hehe, I have a feeling he may need to repeat that talk again in the future! Don’t ask me what it entailed; I think it had something to do with thinking with it at some points in his life! The joys of boys to come ey!?

  
The second willy story involves the ballet. (Need I say more??). For my 30th birthday, Steve had secretly booked tickets and arranged for my parents to have Jude so that we could go out and watch Swan Lake. (How lovely??) I hadn’t been to the ballet before, so it was all very exciting and I made sure I wore my fur. (Got to feel glamorous at the ballet haven’t you??). Anyway, we managed a quick drink beforehand and found our seats shortly before the performance began… The orchestra played it’s gorgeous overture and the dancing started.  Literally I COULD NOT STOP LOOKING at the male dancers’ ‘packages’! It was unbelievable! And all sorts of shapes and sizes (as we well know, ladies!)

 I know it might sound like an extremely childish thing to say, but when you’ve had a baby and so aren’t exactly ‘getting it’ on a regular basis, the ballet can be quite shocking! Talk about rubbing in what you’re not getting!! Haha! I managed to get over it eventually, but that initial shock will stay with me forever. They should put a warning in the program or something! 

But in all seriousness, it was a brilliant performance and a lovely birthday gift, thank you my darling! 

    

Other bits

In other news, we seem to have Jude in a good bedtime routine now and generally, he’ll go down at about 7.30. Although having said that, last night it was 9.3o! Even the shortest nap – like ten minutes at the end of a buggy walk, seems to make a huge difference to his mood and energy levels. I think that was the reason for the later night last night, but who knows really?! They do what they bloody want really don’t they?? 

We did another swimming lesson, this time the first official one and Jude’s second. He didn’t cry! He didn’t exactly seem to love  it, but he didn’t cry, which is an improvement on the last one!  

The leggings orders are rolling in now, it’s great! (And assuming Jude will go to bed at 7.30 most nights, I will actually have time to do them too!). Time to prepare for the Xmas fair I’m doing. Check out my Facebook page and get your Christmas orders in! 

Another great fortnight, our boy is turning into such a character, he’s hilarious! Can’t wait for our first family Christmas and all the fun we’ll have!

  

Let them eat cake

  
Getting older…

This applies to all of us! The overarching theme of the last fortnight has been me turning thirty. Yep, the big 3-0. So not only is Jude growing up and getting older quicker than ever now, I’m also officially no longer a twenty-something. Considering I cried all day on my 20th as I was ‘never going to be a teenager again’, I felt and still feel remarkably ok and accepting of being thirty. It probably helps that I will always be 7 years younger than Steve, so I’m still the young one. But also, I have recently achieved the biggest and best thing I can possibly do in my life. We had Jude. 

So yes, I can be nostalgic and reminisce about the great parties we used to have, the loud (cool-as-you-like) music, the amount we used to drink and the way we’d stay up until the wee small hours, but really, a gathering of friends having a sensible drink, sparklers in the garden and bed by 2am (!) was definitely as satisfying and fun as our ‘young, free and childless’ parties we used to throw. 

Jude was brilliant, he was slightly grizzly when people first arrived, but soon got used to it and was handed around the room and played with by lots of people. He eventually went up to bed  with the baby monitor on and didn’t wake until midnight (which is usual these days), when there were only a hardcore few left. He had 2, (2!) bottles of expressed milk that I had been building up for months, and went back to bed brilliantly. So all in all, a successful and worryingly grown up birthday party. And the next one will be Jude’s 1st birthday! Yikes! 

      

Tooth. I mean, TEETH!

 

10 days growth……
 
 

We have 2! Already! And I didn’t even notice them… Oops! Explanation: Jude and I went to a swimming taster session (which he happened to cry through from start to finish, but that’s a different story) and before the class the swimming teacher came over to say hello and instantly noticed his tooth! It was as big as in the first picture above then and there was only 1, but I still hadn’t noticed! Felt like a terrible mother…. To be fair, I had kind of thought he’d have been more miserable when teething but whilst we had had some misery and one night where it was necessary to administer Calpol, all in all it was ok (touch wood!). So that’s 2 down…………. I think he may have had a boost of calcium or something as I cut his nails for the first time since he was born this week too. He really hadn’t needed to have them cut before this week. Strange. 

On that note, (and I know I keep going on about it) but he’s growing up SO quickly now! We put a HUGE bag of clothes in the loft that he has grown out of and got out the next lot from under the cot. Soon we’ll have to start buying him clothes again!! We have also swapped the newborn carrycot attachment on his buggy for the grown-up-upright-proper-buggy-type-thing. It says start at 6 months but he’s definitely ready for it. I found that I was taking him out in the carry cot and as people peered over the cot excitedly looking for a teeny tiny newborn, they were beginning to look disappointed when met with a larger, 4 month old! Jude seems to love it and is definitely not too small for it. Growing, growing, growing!

      
Little person, BIG personality

  

As Jude gets older, he is developing more and more of a personality. We can even giggle together sometimes. He can do something funny and I’ll laugh, then he’ll laugh too! Like he knows what he did was funny. We went to visit my grandpa and Jude’s great grandpa in the Midlands, where I grew up. We had to go without Steve as he couldn’t get the time off work, but it was only overnight and I felt like it would be fine to do. We stayed at my grandpa’s and arranged to see a few other people while we were there too. It was great! My 93 year old Grandpa loved having Jude there and volunteered to entertain him  when we pushed it and decided to have dessert! (We had been kindly left to enjoy a whole main course while Jude napped!) Sometimes I feel like Jude and I are friends having a laugh together! We spend so much time together it feels like we make a great team and the majority of the time, the time we spend together is enjoyable and fun. I can tell that Steve is finding the same too. I often hear him talking with Jude and he ends up laughing because Jude has done something unexpected, new, clever, or all three!  

      

Leggings, leggings and more leggings! 

I have finally got myself organised with completing orders of leggings that I am making for little ones. I am booked in to have a stall at my school Christmas fair so have had to get making. Plus I am able to work in the evenings after Jude has gone to bed now, I have managed to find the energy from somewhere! Jude is still only going up for the night at about 9.30pm, which can be tricky if he’s being fussy and I struggle to eat… But we’ll get there! We’re in a good night time routine now, bath, feed, play, feed, bed. I’m going to try and move bath time earlier so we can move the whole process earlier, but we’ll see what happens! 

  
A brilliant couple of weeks. Our boy is becoming an amazing little human and I can’t wait for the next 2 weeks and beyond! 

Peace:)