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. 

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! 

Waiting

I’m sitting here in the lounge and I’m showered, bag packed, snacks in, nails freshly painted, waiting for Jude to wake up so we can go out. It’s 9.42am. We need to be somewhere that is half an hour away by 10. Why is it that you can spend days, nay weeks trying to get the baby to nap so you can have some ‘me’ time, you can go weeks without being able to paint your nails and just when he naps ‘correctly’ and you have time, it’s when you don’t have time? 

I believe it’s a little thing called ‘life with a child’. A life that I love. And yes, we are due to be somewhere by 10, but who cares?? I’m back to work in 6 weeks and I know from then on my life is going to backflip all over again. In fact I’ll probably never have time to sit in the lounge and wait for Jude. Or write a blog. 

  

Jude, glorious Jude

Something worse than sleeplessness

The majority of the last fortnight has been spent courageously battling sucky winter colds. Poor little Jude is currently snuggled up in my lap, where I have discovered he sleeps best; he can inhale the vapour rub that I have practically been bathing in for the last week. (When breastfeeding sucks #1: when you are ill and can’t take decongestants.) 

  
Steve and I had a night in Ilfracombe 2 weeks ago. I bought it for us for Christmas as a ‘let’s get a full night’s sleep and be romantic’-type-thing, not thinking about the 2.5 hour drive for ONE NIGHT. Less than 24 hours and the stress of preparation was not worth it, let me tell you! We did however have a lovely less-than-24-hours; saw some art, had a few pints and went out for a lovely meal – lovely! That was until ‘Half Term Syndrome’ kicked in. You teachers out there will totally understand this: when you get through the whole term against all odds; you manage to miss out on any illness which might blag you a day or 2 off to recuperate, but the second, THE SECOND half term comes, your body fails. You’re ill for the whole of half term, then you go back to work. Brill. Well, I suffered from Half Term Syndrome on our night away. I think it’s safe to say that our ‘romantic’ night was no more. I went straight to bed (after expressing of course) once we got back from our lovely meal. Which leads me to When breastfeeding sucks #2: wanting a full night’s sleep and being woken up by your solid boobs and having to express at 4.30am. Full night’s sleep: RUINED. 

           
General gossip

I’ve discovered that dribble bibs seem to be a bit like socks; they just disappear. I’m pretty sure that at one point, we had more than enough dribble bibs, but there has been more than one occasion where I have been hunting for a clean one over the last few weeks. Or maybe it’s just that I’m changing them more frequently as Jude is soaking bibs at a rate of nots these days. Could we be expecting another tooth soon perhaps??  

I know I keep going on about it, but Jude is an eating machine nowadays. In the last fortnight he has tried tuna, salmon, bolognaise (complete with onion, garlic and herbs), chicken casserole and  his first proper Welsh lamb dinner – cooked by nanny! There are still some things that he’s a bit funny about, but his little tummy is clearly working well and he’s usually really open to new tastes which is fab. I have discovered Boots baby range. All organic and brill for making Jude proper meals. I bought 3 flavours of baby stock cubes (salt free) for baby casseroles and yummy meals, as well as mini pasta and some organic desserts. (Jude eats loads of fruit but sometimes I treat him with a baby apple crumble or something). I’ve noticed that it’s encouraging us to eat cleaner. We eat a lot more fresh fruit and veg and cook a lot more from scratch… I guess it’s the natural progression from the initial takeaways, batch cooking and convenience foods when he first arrived, to the present day. We now have to make the time to feed Jude healthy, nutritious food and so we now make more effort with our cooking too! One thing we have discovered is that if something is served warm to him, we have to reheat it halfway through if it goes cold. If it’s supposed to be warm, he’ll only eat it warm! It’s reminiscent of having to heat up your plate in the microwave halfway through  your meal because you’ve been chatting too much! Hilarious baby… 

   
Jude’s sleeping had improved quite a bit at the beginning of the fortnight; he was waking fewer times and waking for shorter periods. Typically, he then got ill and it all went down the spout. Hilariously (fishing for a compliment), I said to Steve the other night “don’t you think I’ve done a good job of getting him into a good nighttime routine? We can pretty much guarantee he’ll be asleep by 8 at the latest these days”. LOL.

Right on queue, the following night he didn’t go down on time and he has spent the last 3 nights being poorly and crying all evening after his bath at 7pm until 10pm when he finally crashes. Exhausting. He’s also started rolling onto his side and tummy when I put him back down after night feeds. So lush! Obviously, the first time he did it, I tried to roll him back onto his back but he just kept rolling back again. So I settled for checking he was still breathing a few times and taking a few pics before going back to sleep myself. According to the Internet (font of knowledge that it is), he’s old enough to be at a much smaller risk of SIDS now, so that made me feel better.

Another sleepless musing that I have had is that no matter how badly your baby sleeps, we, as parents seem to have an endless optimism and hope that the following night will be better. Hoping for sleep is like a drug; each night you think ‘it will be better’. The sleep you will get the next night will be better. And no matter how bad the sleep (high) is, there is hope that the next night will be better. 

  
  
All this doom and gloom seems to portray a really miserable fortnight. It most definitely has not been. As best as he can, our gorgeous boy tries really hard to be his up beat and usual happy self, despite being poorly. He’s currently playing on the floor infront of me; we have provided him with a clear plastic box for his toys and he likes nothing better than sitting next to it, taking toys out one by one and tipping and flipping the box over whilst banging on it like a drum. (Another new, fun thing he does: bashes everything like a drum. CUTE AS.) 

   

Water baby and social butterfly 

  

Jude got his first swimming badge at last week’s swimming lesson! He’s nearly completed his first course of ten classes and this weekend (assuming he’s over his cold), he’ll be having his photo taken under the water. I’m sure most of you will have seen the pictures; slightly over the top and cheesy blue background and a wide eyed baby floating under the water (like the Nirvana baby). Lovely idea, and though I always said I didn’t like the Photoshopped feel of the photos, as the date has come closer I really want one! How else would we remember these glory days of Jude’s first ever swimming sessions? Steve suggested we buy our own underwater camera for a quarter of the (extremely high) price of purchasing a photo and do it ourselves, but I soon reminded him that we’d probably be arrested for taking a camera into a public swimming pool. So it was either pay for the photo or rent a villa with a private pool in the summer (I know, I know – but he’ll be much bigger and older by then, and we’ll have missed out on the ‘baby’ photo!). 

We joined another class that was recommended by some mummies we had met at our signing class. It’s a singing class and is just lovely. We sing African chants and other well known rhymes in parts and rounds. It’s just in the living room of the lovely lady who runs the session so it’s really relaxed and all of the babies can play together in front of us and in our laps. The babies seems to love all of the singing – it seems like it would be really soothing for them. Jude LOVES going to the groups – I’ve never send him so animated! He loves seeing all of the other babies and interacts with them loads. This interaction has passed over into his other social life too! We had some friends come over the other day and he kissed his friend as he was playing with her! He kisses me and Steve (or rather, places very soggy lips on our faces for a moment or two), but this was awesome and SO lovely! He kissed her on the head 3 times all by himself! It just highlights how he’s growing and learning to interact with the rest of the world. Amazing. 

  
In other developments; we have a backwards crawler. He hasn’t quite mastered forwards yet, but he can go backwards at lightning speed and has figured out that all he needs to do to get around is crawl backwards in whichever direction he wishes to go. Genius! He also wants to stand at every available opportunity. He can pull himself up on the couch and in his cot. He can pull himself up in seconds and always looks so pleased with himself when he does it! We are going to be in for trouble very soon, I’m sure – time to start baby proofing I think! 

The Baby Awakens

Textbook baby
  

All of the baby books tell you how, at around 5-6 months old, your baby will start to be more aware of who is who in their lives; their mummy and daddy for example, and they are likely to be more upset when being held or looked after by others. I have even found recently that Jude will lean towards me in the nighttime if Steve is comforting him, although that is definitely because we’ve found ourselves in the HORRENDOUS situation of him waking up to 4 times a night and only settling if he’s fed. By me. Steve can try and soothe him and his crying just worsens as he tells us exactly what he wants. His mother. And her boob. I’ve even tried just picking him up for a cuddle with the dummy, which worked for about 36 seconds, before he let rip again. The problem is that if Jude wakes in the night, I try to settle him as quickly as possible as Steve has to be in work early in the morning, so I don’t want Jude waking him. The quickest way to settle Jude is to feed him. Plus, we have been demand feeding for the last 6 months, and my god, demand feeding it is. He goes for longer periods in the day than he does in the night, and I know that he’s not hungry in the night, he just needs comforting, but feeding is the only way he accepts at the moment. 

We had begun to try and get him into a routine in the nights, even doing a short period  (13.5 minutes to be precise) of ‘cry it out’ one night, but then the worst thing since his arrival on this earth happened…

   

A whole new level of fear

Jude and I had been out for the day with my mum and dad whilst Steve was in work. We had been for lunch in a lovely little café and Jude had sat in the highchair and had some of his own lunch too. When we got home, Steve and I popped out to pick up our new, purchased-in-the-January-sales bikes and cycle them home, whilst mum and dad stayed at our house with Jude. On our return, they told us that he had been a little sick, but it was probably because they had put him in the Jumperoo shortly after having some milk. We thought nothing more of it and they went home. 
Shortly after they left, Jude was sick again, quite forcefully this time, and again after that. He was crying, seemingly in pain, prior to each sicky episode and he seemed like he was feeling poorly. We took his temperature and if anything, it was low, so we didn’t give him any Calpol, but thought we’d see how he went. He was sick again after a feed and generally not very happy. I had a look online to see if there might have been any guidance on how to deal with this and I spoke to my mum who said to make sure he was drinking water to keep him hydrated. We gave him water from a bottle and he seemed OK for a little while. After a short time I tried to feed him and he not only refused, but he was pale, his eyes rolled in his head and he went floppy. I’ve never been so panicked in my life. Steve dealt with me and the situation brilliantly; he told me (quite forcefully) to calm down and told me to wait and see how he was. I then handed Jude to Steve as I was going to phone NHS direct, although I really wanted to go straight to A&E. I could then see that Steve was worried too, he may have tried not to show it, but Jude was clearly not well and our usually wriggly little boy was a limp, pale thing in his arms. I rang my Auntie (retired health visitor) for advice. She explained that as long as he didn’t have a temperature and was still eating then we shouldn’t worry. By now, Steve had taken Jude into the kitchen (which always calms him when he’s stressy), and he was now holding his head up and looking more alert. Ok, this was a bit better… 

Steve handed Jude back to me, I held him in a cradle hold and in a second or two, he was asleep. No dummy, no milk, just fast asleep. I decided that it would be best for me to hold him and let him sleep on me for a while as that way I could feel him breathing, and he could feel me there too. Believe it or not, that’s when I wrote a lot of my last blog! I just couldn’t mention it at the time as I didn’t know what would happen. He slept on me for at least an hour and, when he woke, he was normal, smiley Jude again! Crazy! Totally and utterly fine. Happy, hungry, healthy baby. He had another feed and fell asleep and this time I put him in his cot. I checked on him a few times before we went to bed and he still had no temperature and was breathing and sleeping well. 

He woke only once that night and the following morning he woke and it was like nothing had happened! He’s been right as rain ever since! 

   
**the above was all written just over a week ago, and (as you can imagine), his sleeping patterns have changed AGAIN. He is now waking 2-3 times a night, once at midnight(ish), but he will be awake for 2 hours most nights. He will then wake again about 4am and then up for the day at 7-8ish. It feels like a bit of a routine again. Yes, the waking for 2 hours is really annoying, but at least he’s fairly predictable again, meaning I can go to bed early and plan for being up in the middle of the night, and anything else is a bonus!**

       

Antisocial media

  

Is The Internet something we, (as adults who remember life pre-Internet),  just have to come to terms with? Is it inevitable that baby Jude (before he can make his own decisions),  will be online in some capacity, no matter how hard we try to stop it? Do I go as far as to ban cameras around him? Sooner or later, Jude will be at a birthday party, or similar, and someone will take a photo and it will end up on Facebook. 

I’m writing about this subject at the risk of seeming passive-aggressive. A friend, and member of the family, recently posted a photo of Jude on Facebook, despite knowing we would rather they didn’t. And I’m not ‘naming and shaming’ and all that rubbish. I was pretty p****d, as they knew I would be, but now, I’m feeling better – the dust has settled so-to-speak, and I’m genuinely questioning the reality of this scenario. Is there even any point in ‘policing’ this situation? 

Since before Jude was born, Steve and I decided we would put very few photos of our baby on social media. Our reasons for this were so that we could keep our boy ‘to ourselves’. We didn’t want the whole world seeing him; he was – and still is -our precious baby. We also think, despite the way that social media and the Internet is inevitably going to be a part of his life in some capacity (who knows what will happen in the next 10-15 years), we would rather he had the choice about whether he wants to be ‘on the Internet’ or not. 

Now, that’s not to say we don’t want to show him off. Of course we do. But we can do that via the medium of a private messaging service or app, such as Whatsapp. That way, we get to choose exactly who sees those photos and we get to show off to the people who matter. 

Another reason for not having photos of Jude on Facebook is that no one really knows what could happen to your photos once you have posted them online. I did a little research and found the following on the Telegraph website (so, fairly legit): 
“Specifically for photos and video uploaded to the site, Facebook has a license to use your content in any way it sees fit, with a license that goes beyond merely covering the operation of the service in its current form. Facebook can transfer or sub-license its rights over a user’s content to another company or organisation if needed. Facebook’s license does not end upon the deactivation or deletion of a user’s account, content is only released from this license once all other users that have interacted with the content have also broken their ties with it (for example, a photo or video shared or tagged with a group of friends).”   telegraph.co.uk (accessed 18.01.2016)*

So, the long and short of it is this: Facebook could, if they so wished, use your photos within Facebook or outside of Facebook, through another organisation if ‘needed’. The only way to make sure that that doesn’t happen is to make sure that anyone who has ‘interacted’ with said photos has cut all ties with them (or disabled their account). So anyone who ‘likes’ any one photo, would need to disable their account in order for that one photo to be completely safe from being used for something that we would know nothing about. So, regardless of whether you make a photo’private’, or only visible to a select few people, Facebook still has the right to do what they want with it. Scary stuff. 

Now, I know that the chance of the above happening is very slim, but in all honesty, I don’t want to risk it.

Steve and I have posted a few photos of Jude on Facebook ourselves (after discussion every time), but I have now deleted the photos that I had put on, because of how I felt when I reacted to the one someone else put on. (Although I know that it won’t make any difference now, Facebook still have rights to them). How can I expect others not to put photos on, when I have done so myself? 

So I suppose the big question is this: is there any point in asking people not to put photos of Jude online, when sooner or later he’ll be on there anyway. Perhaps it’s inevitable? Perhaps that’s just the way the world is now, and I shouldn’t be so protective. 

   

Still got it. Or have I…?

  

Steve and I travelled to London last week to see a dear friend of ours and to watch a play in his pub (yes, a play-in-a-pub!). The play was Arthur Miller’s first EVER play. He had written it in college and it had never been shown anywhere before. So It was a great honour to be able to see it – people had travelled from all over the world to see it! The theatre only seated 60 people, and the atmosphere was awesome. Brilliant, brilliant play and a brilliant cast. Bravo! 

Anyway, we had left our gorgeous boy with nanny and grampy for the day. We travelled there and back in one day, leaving in the morning about 8.30am and arriving back in Cardiff about 10pm. I had decided to wear something suitable for travelling, but to remember that we were seeing a play after all, so I needed a little glamour! I settled on a fairly casual dress, with flat knee high boots and my (faux, of course)  fur coat. After the play, a (childless, younger-than-me) friend who also lives in London came to meet us for a post-play-pint. When she arrived, she immediately exclaimed “Wow, you look so Edgy!” EDGY?! ME?? Now, I know it sounds unbelievably sad, and feel free to let out an ‘ahhhh’, but going out with ‘non-parent friends’ these days is pretty nerve-wracking! I no longer straighten my hair. EVER. I struggle to keep on top of my eyebrows and it’s shocking to think that I might choose anything to wear that might make me look ‘Edgy’! So I was feeling incredibly flattered and pleased with myself for clearly getting my ‘London look’ right……..Still got it!

   

Now I’m just somebody that I used to know

  

At the end of last week, I went into school for a ‘Keep in touch’ day; to talk over my timetable for when I return and have a meeting with the person doing my maternity cover. Although I was nervous about going back and nervous about leaving Jude (as I always am), the drive there had me thinking about the person I was before Jude arrived; the teacher I was. I even thought about how I would interact with people (when alone, which I NEVER am these days), and how I would feel about going back to work. 

I don’t go back until May, just over 4 months away now, but I know it will come around so quickly! Jude will be 11 months old when I go back to work and I’m sure it’ll be just as hard leaving him then as it would be now, or would have been 3 months ago. But it was really nice to be in the school environment again. Seeing the students and catching up with how they are getting on was lovely and it reminded me what I was good at before I was a mum….

Which leads me onto my next point. No one tells me I’m doing a good job with Jude anymore! 

Hah, I know that sounds like a pretty spoilt-brat thing to say, but it’s true! When you first have a baby, everyone tells you how brilliant you are doing (and boy, do you need to hear it!), but then it suddenly stops. All of a sudden, no one is telling you anymore. I guess it’s kind of obvious if the baby is healthy and happy etc, but still, it would be nice to hear it once in a while. Especially when sleep-deprived and emotional. I guess there is so much going on in Jude’s (and my) life these days; weaning, different types of poos, lack of sleep etc, that people forget to say it, or think you don’t need to hear it! 

I can assure anyone out there who’s been here too – YOU ARE DOING A BRILLIANT JOB – KEEP IT UP! Even if your baby hasn’t slept in MONTHS and you’re rumaging in the washing basket trying to find the least dirty sleepsuit at 10pm – over 3 hours past baby’s bedtime – because you spent the last 5 hours of your day TRYING TO GET THEM TO NAP. You’re doing a wonderful job. Because it’s the hardest thing in the world. Harder, and more emotionally draining than teaching, harder than working in hospital as an underpaid, overworked Junior Doctor, harder than working in a care home; looking after lots and lots of people who are totally dependent on you. Because children are your own. and that, my friends, is exhausting. And despite that, you’re doing brilliantly. Well done!

   

The force is strong in this one

  

We finally went to see Star Wars! Thank you to nanny and grampy (again) for having Jude – we really enjoyed it and I truly hope they bring all of the oldies out in 3D too! What a way to watch! 

I took Jude to a ‘Sing and Sign’ class last week. His first one, and his first ‘proper’ class where he has had to interact with other babies. We have been to swimming lessons for weeks, but he doesn’t really interact with other babies there; it’s much more about me and him (or him and I?) But Sing and Sign is full of babies to interact with. And he LOVED it! He sat on the mat surrounded by other mummies and their babies and talked to/shouted at everyone! HE didn’t take his eyes off the lovely class leader when she was signing and singing and he watched all of the other children crawling and wriggling on the mat and played with them brilliantly. Can’t wait for next week!