The day we were really bad parents

I haven’t blogged since January (!), so I thought I’d ease back in by writing a short anecdotal story that I happened to recall to my friend last night and it brought back hilarious memories. 

  

By the time babies reach toddler age, they have usually become attached to one or more of their soft toys, which they like more than the others. Such is the case with Jude; who has ‘Leo’. He is a rather large lion (original name, I know), who used to belong to me (I don’t remember how I happened to have him), and Jude look a liking to him about a year ago. 

Leo is quite a cumbersome toy to have as a favourite. For many months, Leo was much bigger than Jude, and even now, he is rather inconvenient to have to take when we go away and to Nanny’s etc. Luckily, at the moment Jude can cope without him, only sleeping with him and occasionally bringing him into our bed or downstairs for more cuddles in the mornings. So thankfully, we don’t have to take him out with us every time.  

  

Last Christmas, Steve and I were lucky enough to be allowed out for Christmas drinks with some friends while Jude stayed over at Nanny and Grampy’s house. As was expected, there was rather a lot of wine consumed and it’s safe to say, Steve and I returned home a little worse for wear, albeit in a very happy place. 

In our comedic way – following copious amounts of fried chicken – we headed upstairs to (very innocently) get ready for bed. Once upstairs, I sat myself on the bed in order to remove my socks, not noticing the large yellow lion on the bed, and plonking myself directly on top of him. Steve – noticing Leo’s obvious distress – decided that pulling him out from underneath me was the quickest and most humane option for his rescue. As he did so, a loud tearing noise could be heard, and the one leg that he was being pulled by, seemed to detach rather dramatically from the rest of his body. WHAT A DISASTER! How could we have broken our child’s favourite soft toy?! Shocked and completely devastated, I hurriedly threw Leo into the bottom of the wardrobe, hoping that putting him out of site would help to remove him from my mind, and that Jude wouldn’t notice his favourite teddy was missing. 

    
  The next day we were travelling to Cornwall to visit Steve’s family, where we would usually have taken Leo too. Packing up the car and distracting Jude from the fact that he was missing (didn’t take much), we got on our way – without Leo (who was still in the bottom of the wardrobe).  On our journey, we stopped at the usual service station, complete with the usual service station shops and cafes. Lo and behold, one of the usual service station shops was selling soft toys – one of which looked almost identical to Leo! Steve and I, still feeling extremely guilty for breaking Jude’s original Leo, decided that purchasing it would at least be a step towards rectifying our terrible, drunken mistake. 

Jude loved him! He, of course, had to be called ‘Leo’. And he instantly became accepted by Jude. Phew!    

A few weeks later, I managed to find some time to sit and attempt to sew the original Leo. I did a pretty good job! You can barely tell that he ever had a tear! And now Jude has 2 almost identical Leo’s that he goes to bed with every night. He won’t go with just one – he knows if one is missing and asks for him. He also brings them both for cuddles in the mornings. 


   

I just dread to think what will happen when we have to take them both on holiday with us in the summer…!

Superbaby, Summer road-tripping and School

Social media boasting

I’m not one to boast about Jude on my private social media accounts. I do it ALL via my blog(!). But last week I simply had to show off via my Instagram account. I videoed Jude pointing to his head, hands, feet and nose when asked (by me) where they were. I’ll give you a little taster: 

Me: “Jude, where are your hands?” 

Jude: holds out his hands

Me: “Where are your feet?”

Jude: points to his feet

Me: “Where is your nose?”

Jude: points to nose and then shoves his finger so far up it I’m concerned for his eyeball

Me: “Where is your head?”

Jude: places his hands on his head and then tries to climb down off the changing box as I hurriedly stop the video.     

Anyway, this was me showing off my talented son. I have absolutely no idea how he knows how to do this. We haven’t taught him. He has just picked it up. And it’s not like Steve and I walk around saying ‘head’ and pointing to our head, or ‘nose’, and sticking our finger up it. He just started pointing at his body parts! I was reading a book to him one day and I read a sentence with the word ‘head’ in it and he just patted himself on the head! I was gobsmacked! This has kept happening over the weeks following. Every now and again, we can add in a different body part and he will point to it! We’re currently working on ‘ears’, but it’s a bit too similar-sounding to ‘eyes’, so we’re not quite there yet. Now we’re encouraging him, but he learnt head, nose, feet and hands all by himself. Seriously! Einstein child………….

     

Back to school

I have been back in school for 2 weeks now. That is with the children too! Yes, yes.. I know I only work 3 days a week (teehee), but still. Two weeks back after 8 weeks off with Jude, means that I’m going through the ‘return to work’ thing all over again. Including a HUGE row with Steve on my first day back, because I was extremely hormonal and emotional about going back to work. 


As well as me returning to work, our littlest family member has also had a big change in his life. Jude has started nursery. He goes for 2 days a week and seems to have settled in brilliantly! The photo above is of Jude at nursery. Playing ‘throwing and catching’ with one of the staff. Yes, I can see him at nursery. No, it’s not creepy. 

The nursery has web cams that parents can log in to online. They have a password that is changed frequently, and brilliantly; it can put parents’ minds at ease if it’s their little one’s first day/week/month, or if they have been a bit under the weather, for example. It’s safe to say that I watch the web cams on a regular basis, although I have impressed myself with how laid back I’ve been about Jude being in nursery. I think iit’s beacuse he’s clearly settled in so well. He still cries when he’s dropped off and also when he’s picked up. But his interaction with the staff there when he is picked up, is brilliant. He’s really comfortable and he is in a great mood when we pick him up; happy to be home, but seems to have had a nice day. So really, it’s quite a relief after moving him from our lovely childminder, into nursery. It’s definitely made him more clingy – he’s like a bloody koala – wrapping himself around us and clinging on! Lush though, and he’s very much a mummy’s boy since I’ve gone back to work again. I love it! Although it’s only 3 months since the last time I ‘returned to work’, his reaction has been so different this time – he’s grown up so much in that short period, it’s amazing. 

       

Happy Campers

Before Jude, Steve and I were keen campers and we had camped in many-a-lovely campsite, in many-a-lovely country. Until about 3 weeks ago, we hadn’t been camping for almost 2 years! We didn’t go when I was pregnant, although we had talked seriously about it – I was desperate to have ‘one last’ camping trip before our bundle of joy arrived. But we didn’t manage it as I was so preggers during camping season, and then our little bundle arrived!  This year however, I was really keen to take Jude camping and to do one of the things that his dad and I loved so much before we became parents. Jude was 13 months old and it seemed like the perfect time to take him. We were going to visit Steve’s family in Cornwall, so decided that it would be a brilliant opportunity to ‘try out’ our first camping trip with a little one in tow. 


It was a great success! We decided that Jude should sleep in with us, as we all know what the British weather is like, and we didn’t want to risk him getting cold if he was in the travel cot by himself. So we took our double air bed (yes, we camp in style!) and simply layered him up before bed. On the first night, we had a family meal at Steve’s mum’s house, so Jude was able to play with all of his cousins. We hadn’t visited Cornwall since Jude started walking, so it was great to watch him playing and interacting with them all properly for the first time! We fed and bathed him at his Nanny’s house on this night, and we knew he’d fall asleep in the car on the journey back to the campsite, so we were able to simply put him into bed when we got back. When Steve and I finally went to bed, I made the mistake of sleeping with him as if he was a newborn; protecting him from being rolled on and lying on my side ‘around him’, so my arm and neck soon felt like they may never regain feeling. Then I remembered that when he gets in wth us at home, I cwtch him into me and he sleeps with his head on my chest. As soon as I had remembered this, I flipped him over and cwtched him into me; we both slept a lot better and I finally regained the feeling in my arm! 

The second night was not as successful initially, as we put Jude to sleep in the tent and proceeded to have dinner, but he woke up and wouldn’t go back to sleep! The evening resulted in Steve and I going to bed earlier than we had planned and cutting short our ‘drinks and cards’ in order to get Jude off and not wake up the campers in the neighbouring tents. But once we were asleep, the night was much more comfortable than the previous night. 


When we woke the following morning, Jude was super pleased and gobsmacked that he could climb out of bed and play out in the morning sunshine. It was amazing to see him running around at 7am having a brilliant time. And THAT, is why we love camping and knew Jude would love it too. He just loves being outdoors and he had an amazing time. Steve and I had been organised enough to ensure that Jude still had his usual breakfast – we heated his milk on the camping stove and he had a slight variation on toast that didn’t need cooking – croissant! 

We even managed to put the tent back down without too much drama – Jude was happy to help with deflating the airbed, and we managed it all fairly smoothly. A fun, Cornish beach trip and more cousin-time later, and we were back on our way home. Can’t wait for our next camping trip! 


      

  So there you have my most recent life with Jude. All great fun. I had better stop now as he’s woken from his nap and his standing in the cot, manically bashing the large picture frame stored between the cot and the wall, against the cot and the wall. Until next time!  

     

“Hi Ho, Hi Ho…”


Today was my first full day in my first full week (minus a Thursday) back in work. Today went well (for me at least – Steve’s day with Jude wasn’t so good!), it’s tomorrow I’m concerned about. Tomorrow will be my second full day, of my first full week (minus a Thursday) back in work. Tomorrow will be tough. Tomorrow will be the first time I’ve been away from Jude for 2 full days in a row.  And the next day will be even worse. Luckily, the day after that I’m off, so get to spend the whole day with Jude, then it’s Friday which is a full day in work again followed by the weekend. Phew! So I guess Wednesday will truly be Humpday as it will only get better from then on. And then back to the beginning again on Monday. 

I’ve only spent 4 hours with Jude today. 1 this morning and 3 before he went to bed tonight. Very strange, although I’m hoping it will eventually feel quite liberating to be working again. I mean, up until about 2pm I had enjoyed myself a lot today. But then I could see the home straight, plus I knew that Steve hadn’t had the best day; Jude was extremely grouchy and refusing to sleep. The toughest kind of grouchy. Jude also went without milk all day, which he has done lots of times before, but today it seemed to be all he wanted. Safe to say that it was certainly what he wanted almost immediately when I got in!. As we’re nearing Jude’s first birthday we’ve decided that we will try him with full fat milk from a bottle over the coming weeks. So tomorrow Steve will at least have that to fall back on if necessary. 

Wow. It feels so strange that I went into work today and I have to go in tomorrow too. And it feels even more strange that this is it now for ages. If I wasn’t a teacher – if I was in an office job or any other job that doesn’t work in ‘term times’ for that matter, that would be it until we either booked a holiday (a week off work), or we decided to have another baby (a bit longer off work). I however, am very lucky. I am a teacher. It is the Summer term and in 5 weeks time I will be able to take 8 weeks off work. That’s 8 weeks to spend with my boy again, to get back to our lazy days and cuddly nights. One day down, only nineteen to go! 

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.