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


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! 

New Year, New Poo

Thank you

Firstly, I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year and thank you for reading! I’ve been writing for 6 months now, at first every week and now fortnightly, but I’m consistently surprised at how people are always keen to read the next instalment. Almost every week or so someone asks if they have missed one and when the next one is coming. Unbelievable. I can’t believe that people actually want to read what I write! And believe it or not some of those people are total strangers! That’s the great thing about WordPress – my blog is published worldwide. I know I share it on Facebook, but people can read it without Facebook, they just have to go onto my WordPress page. So anyway, thank you again, and HAPPY NEW YEAR. 

Now, on to more pressing matters……..

     
Ooo, you’re moving too fast

 Things seem to be happening crazily quickly at the moment. A fortnight ago Jude was sitting up confidently and was able to lean forward to reach things and we had began weaning properly. Today, Jude is sitting up confidently, trying to stand at every available opportunity, pulling himself up onto things, reaching up for us with his arms in the air when he wants to be picked up, eating finger foods such as avocado and toast and LOVING them, washing it all down with water from his new ‘Anywayupcup’, and generally being leaps and bounds more grown up than he was a fortnight ago! Who would have thought that in the space of two short, extremely busy weeks, he would have changed and developed so much??

  
As part of these huge developments, Jude has discovered that not only does he like rolling and wriggling, but he likes climbing. He truly is a little boy! There have been 3 ‘incidents’ so far (that Steve and I have actually admitted to each other!). The first being my having to run across our lounge from the kitchen (not very far) to catch Jude who was balancing on his tummy, head lifted (thank goodness he has a strong neck!) over the edge of the couch. He had been playing with the remote, sitting propped up in the corner of the couch whilst I put the steriliser in the microwave (literally SECONDS). He had thrown the remote onto the floor and leaned over to get it… I soon learned not to leave him anywhere that he could fall/roll/crawl off. Or so I thought…

The second ‘incident’ that Steve had to deal with (which I have since also experienced) was involving the crib that Jude sleeps in. We had been sitting him up in it if we were pottering in the bedroom. That has now stopped as Steve found him pulling himself up on to the side of the crib. All very well, Except that the crib swings. And so a baby leaning on one side and pulling himself up means the crib leans to that side and baby could, just could, fall out. He didn’t. But he could have. Oops. 

Finally, and another climbing episode – Jude and I were having lunch with our friends Ceri and her little one Jack, who is a few weeks younger than Jude. Jack still uses his carry cot on the buggy at the moment and I asked if I could pop Jude in it for a second whilst I put my coat on and sorted out the changing bag to leave following our lovely lunch. No sooner had I put my coat on, but Jude was pulling himself towards the side of the carry cot and looking as if he was about to fall over the edge! I literally barged past Ceri (sorry again lovely!) and grabbed him in the nick of time! I think both Steve and I have finally learned our lesson – NO LEAVING THE BABY ON ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE FLOOR. NOT EVER. Unless it’s a baby jail (aka travel cot). We’ve actually got the travel cot in the lounge now permanently – a safe, soft ‘play pen’ so-to-speak. He can climb, roll, sit up and fall over without us having to worry at all about him damaging himself.  

Of course, with all these huge developments, it’s only to be expected that something else will slip a little…….. And that thing is Jude’s sleep. Wowee, it’s been a tough week or so! Steve and I saw the new year in, me in tears and Steve exclaiming ‘I can’t do this anymore’; both of us utterly exhausted having had zero sleep by 3am and not a lot more the previous night either! Ok, that’s not strictly true; we did have a 3 course meal, toast at midnight and have a cwtch on the couch , but as soon as we went to bed (about 12.30am), Jude woke for a feed (typical) and didn’t go back to sleep for a number of hours…… it did get better though, and I’ll explain why and how later.  

     
             
HAPPY NEW YEAR, notsohappy new poo

One word: weaning. Mummies and daddies – youknowwhatImean! As I’ve mentioned a few times already, we have been weaning properly for the last few weeks; Jude has been having breakfast and lunch, purees to begin with and finger food for ‘pudding’ or second courses sort-of-thing. He’s been brill. I’ve pretty much got over the initial worry about him choking on anything that wasn’t a purée, he’s brilliant at ‘chewing’. I managed to find some banana flavoured mushed up rice-cake-type wafers which he can feed himself with and they dissolve in his mouth, so no need to worry! Well, except that Jude likes to use his two bottom front teeth (which are now huge by the way) to tear food off in huge pieces. Luckily dissolvable food is fine! So after he had had the wafers once or twice, we tried avocado, banana and today, toast. Jude loves food! Like his parents there then! 

The trouble is, all of these new vegetables in purees and fruits in finger food have to be digested and ‘disposed of’ somehow….

      

Christmas constipation

  

 And so to our first Christmas with Jude. Most importantly, I finally finished his activity blanket and he loves it! We went to my mums for breakfast and returned to our house for presents and to prepare the house for our guests. The problem was that at this point, Jude hadn’t pooed for 2 days. Now, Jude has always been an ‘at least 3 poos a day’ baby. So no poo for 2 days was slightly worrying. And it was reflected in his mood for the day. My mum had given him a small amount of diluted orange juice from a spoon over breakfast so we were holding out hope that it would help something along, but in the meantime, although he tried to be happy he was clearly feeling a little miserable and his poor little tummy was solid. 

Christmas dinner was interesting to say the least… He was in the highchair. We had to play ‘Little Baby Bum’ videos on YouTube virtually the whole way through dinner. He was miserable.. Eventually I was able to feed him some of his purée (parsnip and apple, to try and help with the constipation). That was during the starter.. Then he watched more LBB and during the main course I fed him some wafer. He also had a little more LBB and some other toys. Wow, that was an interesting Christmas dinner! It was a lovely meal (thank you mum!) and the company was also lovely – my grandpa had joined us for the day too – but poor little Jude was just not right and it made me feel stressed. I think I was mainly concerned that other people would feel that dinner was spoiled by the baby. Now, I know that no one thought that – they love him and all enjoyed their meal – but it’s still something that was on my mind. (Note: stop being so uptight). 

 

note the ipad entertainment in the foreground*
 
Steve and I continued to do our normal bedtime routine with Jude and he went up to bed at a reasonable hour. He did however, wake up and due to the large number of people in our house, struggled to go back to sleep. We brought him downstairs to socialise with everyone. He was happy enough in his sleeping bag, but I eventually took it off as he seemed a bit hot and bothered. As I did so, my cousin spotted a long browny-orange line on the bottom part of his sleepsuit…. Poo! POO!! Yippee! All of our guests cheered too! Hilarious how people can embrace baby things even when it’s not their baby!  At last Jude seemed the most comfortable he had been all day, despite sitting in a nappy full of poo. 

       
On another positive note..

Steve and I have finally applied for a mortgage and been approved (yay us!), so we will soon start viewings and hopefully find our first proper family home very soon. We do however have a slight dilemma; we both spent our childhood close to countryside and within easy reach of lots of green fields; brilliant for young children as well as teenagers. We currently live in Cardiff which, although it is known as “one of Europe’s greenest cities”, according to lots of websites, too abundant to list(!)0, it’s not quite the same as living in the countryside. Like, with it on your doorstep. And as the majority of you will know, Wales has a lot of green, plush, gorgeous countryside as well as breathtaking mountains and sweeping coasts. GORGE. So, the extremely important question I have for you ladies and gentlemen (and please, give your opinions) is this: Do we buy a house in Cardiff, near our friends and family with our young baby who will be needing to be looked after soon enough when mummy goes back to work (in 5 months time, but I don’t want to think about it), or do we move to a house surrounded by green space and gorgeous countryside, brilliant for raising a young (or older) child (or children), but where we will know no one. 

So, if anyone out there has been in this situation before, we would very much appreciate any advice/opinions. 

Or we’ll have to write to Grill Graham!