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!  

     

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!