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! 

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! 

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!