Last month it was my birthday. Whilst I was still awake early, Sam got up and went downstairs with H so I could have a lie-in; For breakfast we had some delicious pancakes and H decided to play ball and not throw any of it anywhere; We went out for a nice morning stroll in the sunshine; Then over H’s nap time I had a quiet read and opened a few presents (so they didn’t get pinched by little hands); When H woke-up we had a late long lunch in town where H enjoyed the people watching and ate all her food; A lazy afternoon followed where Sam and I watched a film as H played quietly; Bedtime went smoothly and then we had a delicious dinner before an early bedtime. The ideal birthday! The birthday that is absolutely nothing like what actually happened.
I, the Baby, am entitled to
Days at home with the small one involve a lot of playing in the same room and pottering around the house. So it always comes as a surprise to me how tired I feel at the end of those days; More tired than when I am at work. But when I stop and think about what I actually do on the days I am at home, it makes sense. Because chasing after a baby-verging-on-toddler is DAMN HARD WORK!
2015 has been another challenging year, but more for happy reasons that sad, especially when compared against last year. Whilst the losses of 2014 are still very much felt, the arrival of H at the start of the year brought a bit of sunshine back in to life again. It’s pushed me to many extremes but it’s ultimately been a wonderful year so here is the summary!
I saw this video a few weeks ago and came across it again today. I swear it must be impossible to watch this without laughing! H finds lots of things funny all the time, but we’ve never got her laughing as much as this little guy. Watch, smile and enjoy:
I think it’s human nature to be competitive and to compare yourself against others. I know that I thrive on competition – sometimes with others, usually with myself; I continually need to have goals and targets to meet or to better. I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve struggled not having the clear goals a working environment brings during my maternity leave year. As the year has progressed and H has developed and grown, it would be incredibly easy to latch on to her ‘development milestones’ and use those to fuel my need for continual progression. But I’m going against my natural inclinations and trying to not do this because I don’t want to become a goal-driven parent.
My friend had her baby a couple of days ago. As she messaged me updates from the hospital and throughout her first night with her newborn, it took me back to the day almost four months ago when Sam and I are going through the same thing. With a little bit of distance now from that craziness it really struck me that, more than anything else people experience, the birth of your first child is really the day when your entire world changes forever, in my opinion.
Of course life changing events happen to us all throughout our lives. But the sudden realisation that the tiny little helpless human in front of you is absolutely and completely your responsibility is huge . That responsibility feels even more so as a mother if you are breastfeeding because you are the sole source of food for your baby, whatever you may be doing and whatever time of day it is!
I occasionally think back to the day H was born and it induces a real mix of emotions. I still remember the pain and the exhaustion although those feelings are beginning to fade now (as the human brain does what it does well and makes you forget the bad bits). I also remember lying on the bed in the ward after Sam had gone home, looking at our little daughter sleeping and being both in awe and afraid at the same time. The realisation that if she needed anything when she woke it would be all on me seemed pretty strange. Surely I needed to get permission from the midwife first?!
Then there were those nights during the early weeks which are just a blur to me. The unrelenting crying (sometimes the baby, sometimes me, sometimes both!) and feeding whilst I was struggling to stay awake or to eat anything to keep up my energy. I don’t think I have found anything so tough in my life! Normally when things get difficult you can rely on losing yourself in sleep, but not with a baby.
Then of course there is the fact that you go from being a couple to being a family. Never again can we just go out for dinner on a whim. Never again will be go out for dinner without a little part of our mind and heart being left at home (under the care of someone we trust!).
It amazes me how the body and mind adapt though. After 16 weeks, night feeds seem normal to me and I’m used to the broken sleep. Of course I miss sleeping through but nowadays if I get 3-4 how in a row (which I did last night!) then I’m a happy bunny. Also the little smiling face I occasionally get in the middle of the night makes it worth it. After all, it’s not forever!
I previously wrote a blog post about the 8 things I couldn’t have lived without during our first three months with H. At the time I knew I was missing something but I couldn’t recall what. But last night whilst watching some episodes before bed I remembered:
Also, just for general amusement, here is a scene from an early episode which I only saw last week but which made me laugh more than any other BBT scene. Enjoy!
Although on the surface it defies logic that an overtired baby would sleep badly, it is in fact very true. I suppose thinking about the days where I have been truly worn out myself, I have often struggled to get to sleep. For the most part we have been good at catching such occasions where H has been overtired and got her to bed efficiently. However, the other night we were fooled in to thinking she had more energy than she did.
A couple of days ago she had her first swimming lesson with Water Babies. She really seemed to enjoy the 30 minute lesson but it tired her right out because she cried the entire time I was dressing her and had fallen asleep before I had even got her back to the car.
H is now three months old. I cannot believe it’s been that long already. Life has changed so much in that time but yet H being here also feels completely normal, as if she always has been. But getting to this point has been hard work and there are a number of things which being without would have made getting this far so much harder*!
Of course I’m not expecting the next three months will be any less challenging so I suspect these things will continue to be as valuable as before!
*First world problems I will admit!
Subsequent to this blog post being published, I realised I’d forgotten one crucial ninth ‘thing’ and called it out in a later post which can be found here!