Nil by mouth

Missing words

My last proper blog was January! I can’t believe it’s been so long – but I think that’s because there’s only really been one thing on my mind, and it’s been something I’ve not been allowed to talk about.. until now. 

Jude is going to be a big brother! (And we’re going to be parents to TWO! Oh god – every time I see a mum with two, I just think ‘What have we done??!’)

Our 12 week scan – they all look like blobs really, don’t they?!

     

I’m almost five months in now and finally, FINALLY feeling slightly better; more energetic and less hungover! I definitely don’t remember feeling this awful for such a long time when I was pregnant with Jude. The first trimester is by far the worst: sickness, tiredness, been off food, being on food – I was ill with an awful cold too, which was a nightmare. And all this, without being able to tell anyone – to explain myself – to anyone! I was cancelling plans with friends, turning up to work looking like I’d been out on the razz the night before, sleeping during the day (when I could), and was unable to explain that it wasn’t me being lazy and gross, it was just my body, coping with the early beginnings of a baby.

  Having a second baby is so weird. I have had lots of overwhelming feelings of guilt. Guilt for Jude, and feeling too tired and sick to play with him; guilt for the new baby and the lack of time spent thinking and being excited for him/her – there simply isn’t time this time!; more guilt for Jude and how much his life is going to change when he has to share his parents with a new sibling; more guilt for the new baby, and how different his/her first year will be in comparison to Jude’s. The list goes on. 

A little light reading – my mother’s day gift from bump

     

And then I pulled myself together. 

  I simply cannot spend the next 4.5 months worrying and fretting about what’s to come. Now is the time to enjoy the time we have with Jude (and on that note: summer holiday at 7 months preggers is already booked), look forward to the amazing time we have ahead of us – help Jude to become an independant little boy, who will be an AMAZING big brother, and generally chill out

  
   I’ve been feeling funny, not only about the concept of two children, but also about the actual birth. Most people would say that I had a great first labour. And, I know that in comparison to some births, I definitely did. The most important thing happened, and that is that Jude arrived healthy and I remained healthy. However, I was induced and had an epidural, which meant that I slept through almost my entire labour and didn’t really have to deal with any contractions or any pain during pushing (some people’s dream!). Prior to giving birth, I had hoped for a spontaneous labour, natural birth and as little pain relief as possible – I trusted my body 100% and wanted to connect with my baby through a relaxed, natural birth. The opposite happened. My body didn’t do as it was supposed to (possibly because Jude wasn’t ready to arrive and should have been left where he was?), and I had to have a lot of drugs in order to have him arrive when the hospital said he should. So this time around, I feel much MUCH more nervous about the actual birth – can my body do it this time? 

And so the ‘bumpies’ start again!

I have also considered a home birth. The last time, I was convinced that water would really help me in labour – I had a bath at one point in early labour while being induced with a pessary, and the pain from the contractions went away while I was in the bath – it was amazing! So this time, I would really love to have a water birth at home. But, I am very worried that my body simply wont be able to do it. While writing this, I am also very aware that I may well be wrong to be this nervous. I certainly know that I now have approximately 20 weeks to sort myself and my mental state out – my body can do it – it just needs the time it needs! 

   

Anyway, there you have it! Baby number 2 is well and truly on the way – second scan next week and we’re having another surprise – no finding out the gender for us (or you!). The only way is up…! 

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…!

At last, I am free!

The big finish

On 28th December, Jude turned 18 months old. 

He can walk (he can run and climb for that matter),  he can (very nearly) talk, AND, he has teeth. LOADS of them! He’s a proper little grown up lad, really. 

For the last 6 months, I have still been breastfeeding him, but only once a day before bed. This, it seemed, was completely fine with him; he didn’t ask for it at any other time of day – in fact, he didn’t even ask for it then, I just gave it to him, and he was also perfectly happy to have a bottle if I wasn’t in, or he was at my mums etc. Yet I continued to feed him myself when I had him at home by myself. It was ‘our time’ I guess. 

Breastfeeding was always my plan when I had Jude and I was lucky enough to be able to do it for as long as I have wanted to. If not, a little longer! I had initially made the decision to stop at 12 months old, but it just didn’t happen. It’s a weird old thing, breastfeeding. At the beginning of the baby’s life, and throughout pregnancy, you’re encouraged to breastfeed by everyone – “it’s the best thing for baby”, “it’s convenient”, “it’s free”, “no sterilising” etc etc. But then, after a few months it’s all about “so, when are you stopping then?”. Wow – ‘I thought you guys wanted me to do this for ages? We’ve only just settled into a flow!  

Anyway, about 3 months ago I definitely decided that enough was enough. At this rate he’d be four years old and still having it! (I know it’s right for some, just not for me). Steve also seemed keen to be able to lay some claim to them again too (ifyouknowwhatImean). 

Jude had fed on a nipple guard since he was about 4 months old. It meant that I was able to continue feeding him in comfort, and so they have just been a part of our feeding routine ever since and actually, in the end he wouldn’t feed without them. Which means that if I don’t have one with me he can’t be breastfed! It’s as simple as that. We visited Steve’s family in Cornwall shortly before Christmas and I forgot to take any guards with me. So it seemed like the perfect opportunity to stop breastfeeding. 

As it happened, I got really emotional about it and really sad that this time in our lives was over. I even fed him once or twice when we got back, but now I have officially stopped and we’re persevering with a bedtime routine that usually results in us wrestling for 20 or so minutes after his bottle, before he sleeps. (I used to feed him to sleep(!)). 

Milk from a bottle seems to have the same affect as Red Bull might. 

I feel liberated! I feel really proud of myself that I broke the cycle. Because actually, it did feel, at times, like I would never stop. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved the time that we spent breastfeeding. As I said, I have been incredibly lucky. But I’m equally as proud that I managed to stop. It’s an emotional attachment that it’s difficult to break I think. More for me than Jude too. As long as he’s fed he really doesn’t care!

Although we have had a slight issue since we stopped feeding…….


Hand down my top! Every. Single. Cuddle. No attempt to actually feed (thank goodness), but still. And he doesn’t only do it to me – he does it to my mum too! It’s like since he doesn’t get that ‘skin time’, he likes to feel my skin as a comfort thing. I stupidly commented the other day that he doesn’t do it in public, but I was wrong! 

I’m hoping he’ll grow out of it (he bloody better!), or we’ll have to use bribery or something. 

It’s nice to still feel loved though. 

So this is life

And the livin’ is easy

Its been a good few weeks since my last blog – about 6 to be (slightly more) precise. And I really have no excuse other than LIFE. It seems that it is possible to look after a child and do a job (albeit part time). Although, as every teacher knows – teaching ‘part time’ doesn’t really mean ‘part tme’, as you work at home on your ‘days off’ anyway!  But still – I’m definitely not complaining, life is good.


I even had a day to myself a few weeks ago. It was half term from school (I’m a teacher) and we had decided that Jude would still go to nursery on his normal days to try and keep some routine. This meant that I would have 2 whole days to myself. No Jude. The day came around and I dropped him to nursery in the morning, with every intention of getting lots of work done for school. That I managed, But I couldn’t believe how strange it was to be in the house alone. No Jude. No Steve. Just me and the cats. It was almost creepy! I missed him SO MUCH. I didn’t expect to! I am used to being away from Jude all day – I go to work. But being in the house without him was so strange, I hardly knew what to do with myself. By the second day of nursery I figured that perhaps I would feel better if I wasn’t in the house, so I took myself to school and worked there for the day instead. I also chose to try very hard to enjoy the time I had to myself – read a little, eat some food alone and enjoy it, etc. I think I could probably get used to savouring those moments in the future, should they occur again any time soon…

     

Being rather rash

We are now well into Autumn and the weather has been crisp and cold, just how I like it in winter – no rain please! Of course, Jude and I have spent hours running through crunchy leaves in the park and splashing in puddles (great after the rain has stopped!). Which brings me to my first small story… We bought Jude an (extremely cute) ‘puddlesuit’ as I strongly believe that all children should own one – afterall, they happen to be the ultimate in baby couture, and they’re perfect for when it’s pissing down and you don’t have a rain cover for the buggy as the zip broke on the unbelievably poorly designed cover. (Why has no one invented a better zip mechanism for these things??). Anyway. we took Jude out in the puddlesuit a few times – jumper underneath – and we had great fun. 


After our first ‘puddlesuit playtime’, we got home, took it off and it was soon bathtime. 

Jude had a rash. He wasn’t under the weather in himself, but (obviously), I did the glass test. The rash disappeared (phew). I didn’t think there was anything to worry about and assumed it would disappear soon. It didn’t. It got worse. I asked a few ‘medical’ friends and family what they thought and they suggested it might have been viral. I had assumed it was a heat rash from the puddlesuit. Afterall, rash appeared immediately after he started wearing it. And funnily enough, it disappeared once the rain stopped and he stopped wearing it…. I suppose we’ll never really know! I believe rain is forecast this weekend actually – I’ll soon find out if it was a heat rash or not! 

    

Accidental Damage

As I have been warned would happen, the accidents have increased somewhat since Jude became more confident on his feet. Jude usually bounces back pretty quickly, and we have tried to encourage him to ‘pick himself up, dust himself off, and carry on’ as much as possible – obviously, only when he clearly hasn’t injured himself. However. There was rather an horrendous incident a few weeks ago, involving Jude not doing as he was asked and a rose bush….

 Jude and I were playing in one of our local parks and we ventured into the area where there are lots of prettily-planted flower beds. (I was clearly not with it as I either a) didn’t notice they were roses, or b) didn’t realise the risk of taking a toddler into a rose bush ‘field’.) 

Jude was walking around on the grassy areas as I had thought/hoped he would do and having fun. However, he soon decided that that wasn’t entertaining enough, and started ‘teetering’ on the edge of one of the flower beds. I was a few metres away and I called him, telling him to come to me and not get in the flower bed. He didn’t listen, and tripped over the edge of the ‘dug out’ flower bed, falling face first into a rose tree – his face fitting perfectly between two extremely thorny branches. OH. MY. DEAR. GOD. I ran as fast as I could back towards my baby, who was wedged by his face, in a rose bush. I didn’t stop to think about how to remove him from the bush, I just picked him up as quickly as I could and cuddled his crying face into me, frantically trying to find his dummy to try and give him a little comfort. 


The cuts were all down one side of his face. They were bleeding and weeping and he was screaming in pain. “What the f**k should i do?” I thought to myself… Jude was also muddy from the flower bed and it had somehow gotten onto my hands. I rummaged around in my bag to try and find the wet wipes and clean my hands, before using another wipe to try and dab some of the blood from his face. The cuts were now extremely red and angry looking, but at least Jude had stopped crying. I took a photo and sent it to Steve to show him what had happened. I also sent him some pictures taken shortly afterwards, that showed his son happily playing with the ball we had taken with us, in order to show that, actually, he was ok. Jude had bounced back as he usually did, although his face, his poor face, was red and scratched and sore-looking. 
I decided that it would be unfair to take him home immediately – he’d already been punished enough – so we stayed to play a little more (away from any nasty rose bushes!). As you can imagine, passing other people soon made me feel like I needed to explain why my child looked like he’d been attacked by a cat, and he soon showed an interest in a dog that was being walked by a (lovely) lady. I hastily explained “he just tripped into one of the rose bushes over there”, and the lady said “Oh, haha, I thought it was biro! Don’t worry, there will be far worse to come”. 

THANK YOU LADY. Thank you for saying the best thing you could have to make me feel like I hadn’t been a terrible mother. Thank you for reminding me that kids will be kids, and luckily they were just shallow scratches (that actually disappeared within a week). Thank you for not judging me. Thank you for that amazing, perfect, ‘nothingy’ comment. It wasn’t ‘nothingy’ to me. 

As soon as we got home I doused Jude’s face in Sudocrem, then later on used diluted TCP and cotton wool to ensure the cuts were clean. Then more Sudocrem. Then more Sudocrem. Then more Sudocrem. It went a bit like this for the next few days. And thankfully it worked and there is no longer any evidence at all of the ‘dreaded rosebush day’. 

But I don’t think we’ll go to that area again. Not for a while anyway….

   

The dreaded ‘H’ word

Jude is now fully settled into nursery and he loves it. He goes 2 days a week while I’m in work and he’s always in a great mood when we pick him up, he’s happy and clearly likes the staff there. We couldn’t ask for more really. Actually, scratch that. If I could ask for more, I would ask that nursery be a completely germ-free place. 

My request comes after almost 3 weeks of our poor baby suffering from a common cold virus. The trouble is, he hasn’t reacted like we adults would, he’s been super duper poorly. Hospital poorly. Even A & E poorly!

Jude had been poorly for a week or so – you know, snotty nose etc – the signs of teething really. A few days into the second week of illness, he looked like he might have an eye infection, so I booked him an appointment and the doctor gave us drops for his eye and antibiotics for an ear infection (that I had no idea he had). The next day however, things seemed to get a little worse. His eye was fine, he didn’t seem to be suffering with his ear, but I watched him playing in our lounge and I noticed that his breathing seemed rather laboured. His tummy was working very hard, going in and out quite vigorously and he sounded terrible. I phoned my (pharmacist) mum and put speakerphone on so she could hear Jude’s breathing. Mum suggested phoning the doctors again. The doctor suggested A&E. Wow. That moved quickly. Steve had literally just left for work and mum had the car at work with her. I booked a taxi and flung a few essentials into a bag, along with a sleepsuit for Jude (in case we had to wait for hours), some toys and books, the ipad for final-option-entertainment-purposes and some snacks. When the taxi finally arrived we made our way to the hospital. I tried to text Steve a non-frantic message, but I failed. I worried him, he couldn’t leave work as he was in charge so I just did my best to update as frequently as possible. A&E was great – we went through to the children’s department and they assessed him immediately and began an inhaler treatment. I’m guessing baby + breathing problems = fast service. 

The lovely doctor soon told us we would be staying in (all of a sudden things felt more serious), so that Jude could have the continued treatment overnight to open his airways.  We were treated amazingly, everything was very efficient and all of the nurses and doctors we saw were amazing. We were discharged the following morning. 

Jude is now fully on the mend (after another brief hospital visit when he seemed to go downhill again). On the funny side, the inhaler medication he was treated with made him hyper. This meant that our overnight stay involved him shouting very loudly into the bed control like it was a phone, using it as a beater on the metal bed in order to make ‘music’, and me chasing him up and down the corridors trying to keep him quiet until the wee small hours. He eventually crashed at about 2am, only to be woken for more treatment at 3am! All necessary though I suppose. 


And all down to a common cold virus. Babies don’t cope as well as adults apparently?? Jude hasn’t been diagnosed with asthma, although his symptoms are the same as those associated with asthma. If we have more incidents like this he may well be diagnosed in the future. But this is just a bridge we’ll have to cross if we come to it! Babies are such complicated creatures! 

    

Siblings

Jude is 16 months old now and there have been many more new babies that have entered our lives since he was born. It’s always lovely to have babies around, but I have always found myself thinking ‘rather you than me love’. IfyouknowwhatImean. Some very good friends of ours have recently had their second baby (CONGRATULATIONS GUYS), and I suppose it got us thinking about the possibility of a sibling for Jude. We’ve always thought we would have another, but I suppose it’s a bit of a Taboo subject when you’re only getting 3 hours sleep a night! A while ago, a friend commented on social media that she was fed up of people continually asking her when she was going to have the next one. I don’t blame her – there is a societal expectation that once your baby gets to a year or so old, you will start planning for the next one. Another friend of mine has recently had her first baby and is already talking about the next one. I’ve told her she’s crazy! But in all honesty, every mother and father should simply have their next baby (if they want another), whenever the hell they like! What does it matter?? Here are some of the reasons behind ‘timings’ of second babies that I have heard (and thought myself): ‘I want them to be friends’. ‘I want them to play together’. ‘We can’t afford another’. ‘Lets wait until the first is in school’. ‘Hell no, I’m not having another for at least 10 years’. ‘I want them close together to get it over with and get back to work’. ‘Childcare is too expensive for one, let alone two’. ‘One of us would have to give up work’. ‘It would be nice if the first could help out a bit with the second’. ‘I want them to know they are going to be a big brother’. And so on and so forth….. 

I love having Jude on his own to dedicate all my time to. I would feel sorry for him if he had to share me. Then again, I loved having a brother, and Steve is a brother too – perhaps its natural for us to have another? 

Other bloggers scare me a little. Constance Hall springs to mind. She writes about the chaos of her own home and how difficult it is to run a home with quite a few kids. I can relate to her on some things, but I also feel like although Jude has brought his own amount of chaos to our lives, we still function quite well I think – but imagine having another baby too! Maybe it’s better to wait until he’s older? At the same time, we’ve just bought a house – we’re totally skint all the time! Then again,  how many people do you know that had loads of money when they had little ones? Everyone is skint at the beginning of building a family, right? 

As you can tell – it’s been on my mind a bit! But I can assure you, there is nothing on the cards just yet….. 

All in good time, all in good time:) 
And on that note, I shall love you and leave you! Goodbye for now, you lovely people x

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?


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!  

     

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


“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….

———————————————————————

…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!