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. 

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! 

Springy, bouncy baby

Sorry for the extremely late post – as you will soon find out, we’ve been very busy bees and I simply haven’t had time! I am however enjoying being able to blog when I can and about lots of random things, it feels more fun to blog as and when I can and not to a schedule. I also feel that it’s more fun because I get to talk about myself. And that’s pretty much heaven for me.
So. I’m going to use this post to update you on breastfeeding, which believe it or not, I have been doing the whoooole time, even though I haven’t updated you for ages. There has also been rapid development on the mobile baby front!

   

HUGE scary moment. 

Before I bore you with all the updates, I feel the need to let any mummy readers know (and please tell all the other babybrained, knackered mothers out there too), that a week or so ago, I drove all the way to a class with Jude in the car seat WITHOUT THE SEATBELT ON. I had walked to my mums car (which we borrow when we’re going to a morning class that is further than a half an hour’s walk away, as I can’t get ready in time!), I took Jude out of the buggy, popped him into the car seat and did his seat belt up. I then collapsed the buggy, put it in the boot, put myself in the driver’s seat and drove 15 minutes ish to our singing class. Then I got out of the car and went around to the other side of the car to get Jude out, only to discover I hadn’t done up the car seatbelt! I still put Jude in the front passenger seat (airbag off of course); we’ve done it ever since he was a baby and that’s still where he travels. When we upgrade his car seat, we’ll move him into the back and Steve can ride in the front again! I have recently wondered which seat in the car would be safest for him..? Front or back? Or does it matter?

Anyway, I wanted to tell you about my little booboo to try and let anyone who has also done something similar feel better. Oh, and knowing what you did too would be great and would make me feel better!! WE’RE NOT MACHINES. SHIT HAPPENS. THANK GOODNESS NOTHING BAD HAPPENED. 

   

Breastfeeding update  

Jude has now been exclusively breastfed for almost 9 months. Something I’m proud of, but something that for the past 5 or 6 months has come very easily and has just seemed like the natural thing to do. In fact, I’m finding it hard to see when we’ll stop. Or how we’ll stop for that matter. I have always thought that I’d deliberately stop breastfeeding, but I’ve also said that I didn’t want Jude to have formula milk. Not that there’s anything wrong with formal milk; in fact, breastfed babies should have extra vitamins over 6 months as breast milk doesn’t quite cut it; whereas formula has the added vitamins required for babies over 6 months. Jude does have a brilliant diet, which more than makes up for the missing vitamins in my milk. Anyway, I’m planning on reducing Jude’s feeds so that when I go back to work in June, he will only be having one in the morning and evening from me and an expressed feed from a bottle in the daytime. His main nutrition is coming from his meals these days, so it’s mainly for comfort and fluid intake anyway. Plus he has water with meals and throughout the day. So cutting back on feeds was going well until he got ill and all he wants to do is feed for comfort. It seems we took 3 steps forward and about 18 back! We’ll start again cutting back on feeds during the daytime and hopefully his night feeds will follow as he’s back to waking 3-4 times a night! He does only wake for 15-20 minutes at a time, but it’s so unnecessary as I know he can go for MUCH longer without a feed. 

Another thing that has happened recently is that he has bitten me. OOOOUUUUUUUUUUUCH! He now has 4 and a half teeth – top and bottom – and therefore despite the nipple guard (that I still use) it absolutely killed. I shouted “Ouch” and pulled his clamped teeth off my nipple. He cried. Wowee, it’s not nice and that’s an understatement. I was thinking that I’ll switch him over to cows milk when he turns 1, but only if he stops biting! We’re going on holiday in July and I’d love to not have to worry about feeding. I still have absolutely no regrets about breastfeeding though and if I ever have another baby I hope to be able to do it all again! 

   

Movin’ on up

Our nearly 9 month old is certainly giving us a run for our money these days! On top of coasting around the furniture constantly, we have had to put a stair gate on the bottom of the stairs now (our stairs go up from the lounge), as Jude can now climb! It’s brilliant and he loves it!  We allow him to climb up the stairs to the bath in the evenings with us directly behind him and it’s so exciting for him. He also dances every time music comes on. It’s unbelievable and SO cute. Steve and I are so proud and pleased that he’s got an ear for good music – anything with a bit of rhythm and he’s off! 

  
I told you a while ago about a baby signing class that we started going to. I was quite cynical to begin with and didn’t really know what it could bring to us. How wrong I was. For a while now, Jude has done the sign for ‘all gone’ or ‘finished’ when he’s had enough food. We soon learned that he was doing that sign as he would throw up if we carried on feeding him! He has now started doing the sign for milk when he wants a feed. It’s crazy! I can’t believe it actually works! He is babbling away and often says sounds that sound like they could be words, so perhaps some time soon he will start saying a few things too. That’s the important part of signing; you must say the word at the same time – it is used to develop vocabulary and the signs are to aid understanding. And it appears to be working so far! 

Jude also waves now! He waves goodbye when people leave also waves across rooms/tables if people wave at him. It’s crazy how fast he is developing now – there seems to be a new thing every day, I am sure he’ll be going to school before we know it..

            
Devastating news

  With all this new life and new and exciting developments, we must always dedicate our time to those who are slightly less new. We had some very sad news this week; my grandma sadly passed away. She has been living with dementia for a number of years and this week her physical health rapidly deteriorated and we lost her last weekend. A very sad time. Jude had been spending time with my grandpa (his great grandpa) and we had managed to take him to visit my grandma in the home that she lived in. Sadly, due to the nature of her illness she was unable to interact with Jude very well, but I managed to take some pictures of them together, which we will always treasure. Rest in peace Grandma, we will always remember our childhoods with you and the years spent watching you in the kitchen making rock cakes and welsh cakes (with extra caster sugar please!). I still put crisps on soup from time to time… We love you xxx

Front crawl, crawl and crawl

We’ve created a monster

Haha – not really. But my god, he’s a crazy child! The developments are coming thick and fast now; we have a third tooth – which could explain the miserable, snotty child we have had for the last week or so – we also have a crawler! 
 

my first valentines card as a mummy
  

The first crawl happened just before bath time; I was just about to take him upstairs after a good, long ‘nappy off’ session (during which Jude usually spends half an hour or so post-teatime being completely hyper, rolling and virtually leaping around on the towels we put down to soak up the wee). I was standing up, reading a text, literally just before picking Jude up to go upstairs, when a small, wriggly child passed in my eyeline, below my phone-holding-hand. I jumped to attention, quickly popped him back at the ‘beginning’ of his crawl and put the remote for the telly (baby catnip) a metre or so away. Then I turned on the video on my phone. He performed. He performed brilliantly and was met with huge praise and excitement from me.

  
I was actually quite emosh. It was such a big step in his little life – and the beginning of soooo many new things! I didn’t watch the video back, I wanted to save it and stop it from happening – or keep it special, keep it to myself – or ourselves – or, or, I don’t know! I suddenly felt troubled about how to tell/show Steve. I was really sad that he hadn’t seen the ‘first crawl’. Then again, I’d almost missed it! So rather than send him the video to watch in a hurried break during a crazy evening at work, I decided to show him the video when he got home so that we could watch it together and share the joy. Steve returned home in the early hours (he’s a chef) and I woke up which I usually do. We were able to watch the video together and it was a special moment after all…

   

Nevermind

 

I mentioned in the last blog that Jude was to take part (or not) in his Nirvana Nevermind-style underwater photo shoot the following weekend. Here is the story of how I thought I knew best and clearly didn’t. (Although I’m still pretty sure I do/did know best anyway).  

Jude had been poorly the week of the shoot so we didn’t go to his lesson. And when I say poorly I mean, like, really poorly. Fever and all sorts. So we skipped the lesson, but I spoke to the teacher who recommended that we go along to a different lesson later in the week in preparation for the photo. The teacher of that lesson could tell us whether or not Jude was ‘ready’ to do the photo shoot. (I have to be honest, we’ve been dunking (also known as placing them underwater carefully and calmly ‘catching’ them whilst underwater) the babies now for 12 weeks or more – I couldn’t see how a dunking on a Sunday morning would be any different from various dunkings on a Wednesday. But anyway. So. We took him to the Saturday morning lesson and at the end the teacher said that it was ‘up to us’, but she didn’t think we should take Jude to the photo shoot the following day. Aaaanyway, I decided that Jude had only been grouchy in the lesson because he wasn’t used to the teacher, some of the swim styles and the pool generally and by his third dunking he reacted perfectly normally – in fact, the first one was probably only so bad because he hadn’t done one for so long as we’d missed the lesson. Plus, if we didn’t take him now, by the next shoot he’d be nearly 11 months old! That definitely wouldn’t be as cute or amazing……(Getting the idea yet??)

So the next day we took Jude along for his underwater photo shoot at 7 months old. He was in a brilliant mood and was splashing and shrieking excitedly in the pool – perhaps because he was glad to be in a familiar pool. The person in charge took him and he did his first dunk. Both staff members – dunker and photographer – immediately told me there seemed to be something wrong with his shoot – he had gone under and reached straight for his ears. I explained that it could be as he had been quite congested, but they told me they would not do any more dunks. 

He was fine! In fact, we went back to the ‘playing in between photos’ area and he happily splashed and played some more. Then we miserably got out of the pool, got changed and left with ours tails between our legs. 

I was mortified. I ranted and whimpered all the way to Sainsbury’s (where we decided to go as we now had so much spare time that morning) and as we were about to get out of the car, Steve told me to pull myself together. I wailed dramatically, “I can’t” and burst into tears. Whaaaaaat?! What was wrong with me? Why was I so upset?  The only conclusion I have since come to is that I wanted a memory of Jude swimming at 7 months. Not nearly 11 months. But still, a bit of a dramatic overreaction anyway. Plus, he’s GORGEOUS – he’s definitely going to be just as cute at 11 months as he is now! And, I took a photo of us together in the changing room on our first taster session when he was only 4 months old – now that is cute!  

     

 Life without Jude

post-match napping from Wales’ biggest fan
 

Steve made me go out last week. Only for a few hours one evening, but he said that I never go anywhere without Jude or him and I was to go out and do something that I enjoy. So I did. I went to Simple Knots Craft Club – a lovely evening once a month held by a friend where crafters of all shapes and sizes pop along to a lovely little coffee shop (that sells alcohol but I failed to realise this until about 5 minutes before I was due to leave, dammit) and do craft. I LOVE craft. So I took myself along, armed with a small, half made, handmade, jersey octopus that I was halfway through blanket stitching, and had coffee, cake and chats with some strangers. I knew 2 people there; my cousin kindly looked after me and all in all it was a lovely, sociable evening. And I only talked about Jude for half of it. I think. It was really strange to be out without both of the main people in my life. I’ve done it once before when I went for a boozy dinner with one of my best friends, but that was slightly fuzzy, so less obviously without them. This time, it was strange, but fun! And I look forward to the next one – that is, if I fancy it… It’s hard to get yourself to do things without your baby – even though there are MILLIONS of times a week when you think to yourself ‘what I would give for a night – or even an hour – without the baby’! Strange times and new, different lives ey?

    

Movin’ on up

 

Sudocrem-needing, post-crawl session knees
 

It’s been almost 2 weeks since the first crawl. What started as a kind of lolloping, foot-knee-thing, has now turned into a fast knee-knee-hand-hand crawl EVERYWHERE. The new, rapid crawling has also enabled Jude access to new and exciting places in the house and means that he can now climb up EVERYTHING. He can speedily go from one end of the couch, along to the other end, onto the chair and around onto the coffee table in seconds. Steve has even started timing him crawling from the far end of the living room to the kitchen. 33 seconds is the record. So far. We literally can’t turn our backs for a minute.  Oh, and the cats. Poor lovelies, Jude likes to chase them. He managed to corner the most timid one the other day and she actually had to leap past him in order to get upstairs and find refuge. I’ve given them cushions on the dining table that they can use if they wish – far away from grabby, shrieking babies! So far they have both chosen to stay closer to the ground, but we’ll soon see whether that lasts… We’re trying to teach Jude that the best way to deal with the cats is to be gentle, and I think he knows this, but he just hasn’t quite figured out how to make his hands actually be gentle yet. All in good time!

        
You may have noticed that it’s been almost 3 weeks since I was supposed to have written my last blog; this one is almost a week late! I think it’s best if I start to write on a weekly basis again – but shorter blogs. So, all being well, the next blog will be in a weeks time (which it should be anyway), then a week after that and so on and so forth. I may even blog more frequently, about things as they occur instead of going on and on once a week/fortnight. Anyway, the thought’s there! We’ll see what actually happens shall we??

That’s all folks!
Ciao x

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! 

Boys grab their willies

Being a dreadful mother / succumbing to a Jumperoo

Whilst pregnant, I decided to sew and make a lot of the items for Jude’s bedroom myself; curtains, cushion covers, baby mobile etc, and generaly be a bit of a domestic goddess. Well, this escalated somewhat (into making and selling leggings, primarily), but when Jude first arrived I continued to do my best to avoid the ‘gaudy plastic monstrosities’ that come with the baby territory, instead choosing to make my own baby gym to go with the handmade ‘tummy time’  patchwork quilt. I’m also in the process of making another, activity mat for him as a possible Christmas-pre-Christmas-type-present-thing. It has mirrors and appliqué and crinkly bits and everything. 

  
So, being as my son has all these lovely, non-gaudy but stimulating things to play on and with, along with the lovely soft toy gifts and books that people have bought him, I figured he was loving life. His development was coming along nicely and all was good. That was, until we went to visit my friend Sian (whom I met doing pregnancy yoga) and Jude’s friend Josie. Josie is about four weeks older than Jude; and my, does she have a fun house! Jude got to try out all these brilliant, gaudy, plastic, exciting, noisy, fun, irritating, interesting new toys, which he LOVED. So I left Sian’s feeling like a TERRIBLE mother who had deprived my baby from fun, engaging, development-stimulating toys. It’s safe to say, the last week has been spent purchasing gaudy, plastic monstrosities. And big up to my dad, who is going to provide the dreaded Jumperoo. Cheers Nige. 

       
 Weaning

 
This ENTIRE fortnight (but mainly the last week) has been building up to weaning, which Steve and I decided would begin on Sunday just gone as he was off work so we could do it together. It would be lovely and wonderful and hilarious and make brilliant memories that we would cherish forever. Yeah, not quite. For the last few weeks, Jude hasn’t been sleeping through. In fact, I’m writing this at 2.30am, having attempted to put him back down post-feed 3 times. Time to feed again and hope he falls asleep whilst feeding and burps immediately, without me having to turn him vertically and wake him up again. Joy. 

Anyway, I digress. Jude has been waking a lot, and although I know that’s not the only signal that baby is ready to wean, he’s extremely interested in our food, hungry more frequently and is pretty much sitting up alone (if only for a few seconds). 

We had bought him a highchair following #badmothergate, and he had been spending time in it with new toys (to make it fun), albeit when we had our hands full or had to wash up etc. So, having bought soft, silicone baby spoons and bowls in preparation, the time came to give it a go. We had decided that I would feed Jude about half an hour before trying him on some pureed carrot mixed with breast milk. We have loads of sachets of frozen milk from the first few weeks that Jude was born, before we tried him with bottles. It’s much more yellow and creamy than my milk now, so has different nutritional value to what he needs right now, so it’s perfect for mixing in with purees! 

 

sweet potato and carrot. mmmmmm….
 
So, once he was all settled in his highchair (in the kitchen as we didn’t know how messy things were going to get), I popped a small amount, about the size of my little fingernail, on the spoon and waved it in front of him…… Of course, much to my delight he immediately grabbed it and pulled it towards his mouth, shoved a load of carrot purée right in, first time. Yay! ……… 

Ok, bad move, waaay too much on the spoon for a baby’s first ever taste of anything with actual consistency; all he’s had so far for almost 5 months of his life is breast milk; a silky, creamy, sweet liquid that slips down into his tummy easily and tastily. Wow, that face was hilarious – brilliant photo for his first girlfriend there! Oh no, we have gagging! Poor baby! He’s only gagging because of the consistency, but we can’t stop him and the gagging soon turns into throwing up the milk that I had fed him half an hour previously. Oh, then there’s tears. Oops, not a good start…

Ok, that probably could have been better. Steve suggested that perhaps we should have started with something a little smaller, and dipped his finger into the purée. Jude, being teethy pulls the finger into his mouth for a good old suck, only to be met with that disgusting orange, lumpy stuff again! Eugh! 

Anyway, it’s safe to say, the transition is fairly tough (for parents and baby!), and we tried again the next day with fractionally more success, less vomit this time, but just as much gagging. Even the thought makes me chuckle. And of course, we’ve got it all on video and tonnes of photos too! Apple and banana next I think! 

    

Willies

Believe it or not, I have 2 stories about willies his week. The first being that Jude seems to have discovered his! Ok, it’s less of ‘discovering his willy’ and more that he now lifts his knees up and grabs his feet on a regular basis (which enabled him to roll from back to front for the first time the other day!). But he doesn’t always grab his feet. When we’re changing his nappy, he sometimes grabs his willy! Hah! Steve mentioned that he had noticed this the other day, and I had also encountered it once previously. He also assured me that he had had ‘the willy talk’ with him, so not to worry. Hehe, I have a feeling he may need to repeat that talk again in the future! Don’t ask me what it entailed; I think it had something to do with thinking with it at some points in his life! The joys of boys to come ey!?

  
The second willy story involves the ballet. (Need I say more??). For my 30th birthday, Steve had secretly booked tickets and arranged for my parents to have Jude so that we could go out and watch Swan Lake. (How lovely??) I hadn’t been to the ballet before, so it was all very exciting and I made sure I wore my fur. (Got to feel glamorous at the ballet haven’t you??). Anyway, we managed a quick drink beforehand and found our seats shortly before the performance began… The orchestra played it’s gorgeous overture and the dancing started.  Literally I COULD NOT STOP LOOKING at the male dancers’ ‘packages’! It was unbelievable! And all sorts of shapes and sizes (as we well know, ladies!)

 I know it might sound like an extremely childish thing to say, but when you’ve had a baby and so aren’t exactly ‘getting it’ on a regular basis, the ballet can be quite shocking! Talk about rubbing in what you’re not getting!! Haha! I managed to get over it eventually, but that initial shock will stay with me forever. They should put a warning in the program or something! 

But in all seriousness, it was a brilliant performance and a lovely birthday gift, thank you my darling! 

    

Other bits

In other news, we seem to have Jude in a good bedtime routine now and generally, he’ll go down at about 7.30. Although having said that, last night it was 9.3o! Even the shortest nap – like ten minutes at the end of a buggy walk, seems to make a huge difference to his mood and energy levels. I think that was the reason for the later night last night, but who knows really?! They do what they bloody want really don’t they?? 

We did another swimming lesson, this time the first official one and Jude’s second. He didn’t cry! He didn’t exactly seem to love  it, but he didn’t cry, which is an improvement on the last one!  

The leggings orders are rolling in now, it’s great! (And assuming Jude will go to bed at 7.30 most nights, I will actually have time to do them too!). Time to prepare for the Xmas fair I’m doing. Check out my Facebook page and get your Christmas orders in! 

Another great fortnight, our boy is turning into such a character, he’s hilarious! Can’t wait for our first family Christmas and all the fun we’ll have!