Here endeth Monkey Music 

Today was our last Monkey Music class and it broke my heart. We’ve only managed to attend 3 this term since I loathe waking Sam mid-nap, so I made the decision not to enrol for next term. 

Looking forward to his last class

 

Today, to demonstrate how much he loves the class, Sam was the model student. He rushed up to find monkey (for the first time), he willingly and happily returned instruments (usually he has a good cry when I request he hands the maracas back), he gave toys to other children rather than hoarding as many as possible, he clapped, joined in and had a great time. All the while, I felt awful. He loves his music class, but it’s not worth the hell we pay for the rest of the day. I hope we will return in the Autumn or Spring term, whenever his nap moves a bit.  

Fascinated by the geese

 

The journey home seemed to take hours. Windows open, loud talking, desperately trying to keep an exhausted Sam awake. A mile from home he almost went. Bless him, I probably scared the living daylights out of him as I ‘encouraged’ him to stay awake a little longer. Just about managed to get lunch into him before he passed out on my shoulder and I popped him in his cot. 

The unsettled nap reminded me why we are stopping Monkey Music. He woke crying after 40 minutes and it took another 15 to resettle him. Being so out of his natural routine is hard work for him, and for me. Although it can be hard that he sleeps in the morning – while others sleep in the afternoon – it’s much harder when I try and change our day around!  

Enjoying the sun…yes, I know his reins are on back to front…

 

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Breakfast

You know it’s been a successful breakfast when Carl ends up with a Cheerio stuck to one foot, weetabix on the other and Sam has weetabix in his hair and – more impressively – down his back. 

I’ll take the energetic breakfasts as a sign that he’s finally feeling better after weeks of colds, respiratory tract infections and antibiotics! 

I realise that it has been weeks since my last post. Sam turned 1 a couple of weeks ago, which I still can’t quite get my head round. My little baby is officially a walking toddler. Some days he doesn’t even look like a baby any more.  

Deeply suspicious of his cake

 

The day after his party, we had an NCT party and, for the first time, had all 8 babies in the same room! We even managed a photo although it was of course at a time when Sam had just started crying.  

Proud parents

 

Since then, in between colds and antibiotics, we’ve been continuing as usual with a few more added outings. We went to Bocketts Farm weekend before last and Sam loved seeing all of the animals. I’ve waited until now to take him and I’m pleased I did. He was able to walk around (on reins!!) and stroked the animals fairly gently…apart from the bunny, which he refused to touch.   

So, here we are. On to Sam’s second year and all of the adventures that lie ahead!! 

Dear past life me…

Dear Kirsty of a year ago,

I’m shortly about to head out to do the one thing I swore I would never, ever do. Shop at lunchtime. 
It has long angered me that people unrestricted by lunch breaks set foot in supermarkets between the hours of 12 and 2. I wanted to start a campaign to add signs to all shops that only allowed entry to those with the whole day at their disposal before and after these times. 

Today however I am going to be one of those people. 

And why is this?  

Because, as mums before me already knew and mums after me will come to find out, it’s the earliest I can leave the house!! 

Sam has been asleep since 10am and is still in the land of zzzzz’s. If I then have to wait another 2 hours to set foot out of the house then it will be 2.30pm before we get shopping and – as other parents know – we do also has a social life. We’re visiting a friend and her boys this afternoon; with the best will in the world, I can’t do everything in the 2 hours between ‘end of lunch break’ and Sam’s dinner time. 

Usually, we do our shopping online. I am a huge fan. But sometimes you look around and realise you only have 3 nappies left, and with a teething baby on antibiotics, these are not going to last you very long! Desperate times call for desperate measures. 

I wholeheartedly apologise to all working shoppers this lunch time. I’ll do my best to look ashamed and apologetic, but I do need to shop…and that is what I failed to realise in my previous life. I might “technically” have all day to run errands, but in reality the window is smaller than I imagined. 

Sincerely, 

Present day me

A bit of park life 

The sun returned yesterday and since Sam decided to be awake all afternoon, we wandered down to the park for a change of scene. The major advantage of Sam sitting so well is that he can have a go on the swings, have me hold him on the slide, or simply play on the ground! 

 
 

Having a great time

As he sat in the swing, I pushed him gently, all the while smiling encouragingly and saying inspirational things like “Boo!”, “You’re on a swing!” and “Look how grown up you are!” In return, I received a bored look and him turning to watch the other children play. Ouch. Slapped down by a 7 month old.  

Off camera, he was much more smiley (honest!) but he had his ‘aloof’ model face on whenever he saw the lens pointing his way. 

When you have a baby, putting them in your sunglasses is obligatory. While playing on the ground, Sam grabbed and started playing with them. I took the hint and popped them on him. He wears them well I think! 

Sunnies on!

All in all, we had a lovely time at the park. We enjoyed the sun, had a needed change of scene and established that Sam is already dismissing everything I say. 
 

A little bit of Welshland

We’ve been in Wales for just under a week now, loving our time with my grandparents and Sam. He has adjusted better than I hoped he would and has even slept for the majority of the evening a few times, allowing us some downtime. 

The weather has been kind and we set off for Dinas Head for a stroll the other day. Optimistically, we started off with Sam in the stroller but it soon became apparent that this was very much a sling walk! Back to the car I went with the pram. The sun came out in all its glory and this was of course the one time I didn’t have a sunhat for Sam. No problem! A muslin, a knot at the front and on his head it went. About as English as you can get…poor child. 

The going was fairly tough with uneven surfaces and Carl carrying Sam, me in totally unpractical shoes. I had been wearing sturdy boots but deemed it far too hot (which it was) so I donned my favourite Mel by Melissa flats…which are made of rubber and wholly unsuitable for a sunny walk up a cliff, resulting in blisters and a turned ankle. What a muppet. 

It was a glorious walk though with gorgeous views over the crystal clear blue sea, wild flowers all round, mushrooms hinting at the stories of my childhood; tall enough for little pixies and fairies to dance under, if you have the imagination for such things. 

We had a BBQ yesterday, despite it turning chilly in the evening and Grandpa, always on form, presented us with a wonderful platter of food. Upwords was the game of choice for the evening (as it often is) and since Grandpa had declared it to be the world final game, it was all gloves off. It was very close but I managed to sneak in a victory! 

The sun is shining again today, so maybe we’ll head back to Dinas Head to complete the other walk there (I will be wearing more suitable foot attire!) or maybe we’ll set off for an alternative destination. 

All in all, we’re having a lovely relaxing time with good food, lots of laughter and sunshine.   

Nappy changing in London

Following on from yesterday’s post, a couple of baby specific experiences…

First, Starbucks.

 I thought that most coffee shops had baby change facilities or are at least baby friendly. No. Not this branch. The ONE toilet was up a narrow staircase on the first floor, with no baby change facilities. I wasn’t impressed and considered changing him on the sofa we were using, but decided against it since the woman sitting at the other end of the sofa might have objected… 

Second, Pitt Cue Co.

Not a baby friendly (or big!) restaurant by design, I wasn’t in the least surprised or bothered to see no baby change facilities. Sam was in a good mood so didn’t object to being changed on the floor (always make sure you have a change mat with you), but it’s worth bearing in mind should you visit with a baby. We left the stroller on the stairs since there was no room for it anywhere and the waitress said she would keep an eye on it, not that it would come to any harm. 

The staff were so accommodating. They originally sat us at a 2 person table in the middle of the room but quickly moved us to a 4 person table at the side. This allowed me to easily feed Sam and hold him while he slept and we ate. Lunch service was busy, so we were grateful for them allowing us to take up 2 additional seats. I felt extremely comfortable breastfeeding him at the table (as I generally do!), no one batted an eye. After feeding and waking, Sam smiled away at the waitresses and, when he did have a grizzle or a shout, the room is quite echoey – making all the conversations loud – so his noise blended in with the rest of the hubbub. 

All in all, much unimpressed with Starbucks, but a big thumbs up to everyone at Pitt Cue

London, I’ve missed you

2 weeks ago I reached the big 3-0. To celebrate, we set off for London for our first family outing. It was our first visit to London since last November and I was looking forward to it.

I had thought through the practicalities of our massive travel system beforehand and, very fortunately, we had been given a Maclaren stroller by a kind friend. There was no way I would be lugging our travel system on the train, round London and into a restaurant! I didn’t know where we were headed, but logic said my plan was a good one. 

Moving Sam into a forward facing stroller was a big step. Not for him mind, for me. He immediately loved looking around at the world and, on his first outing in it, was evidently so happy that he had a 30 minute nap to celebrate. I could tell you the exact moment he fell asleep since I was obsessively checking that he was ok by peering round the front or through the clear plastic window at the back. 

So, I was a little apprehensive – but sure he would be ok – and the stroller was the choice of baby vehicle for the day trip.

Sam’s first time on a train!

He loved it, staring out of the window, looking round in amazement at everything…

For about 10 minutes. 

Then we had the remaining hour to keep him entertained… Fortunately, he was open to distraction and stayed fairly cheerful until we pulled into London Victoria.

Down to the tube…always a brave move on a sunny Saturday in the middle of summer, even more so with a baby and stroller! It was rammed but Sam was fine. Thank goodness for the stroller. It would have been immediate game over or taxi time with the travel system. Sam, our ever safety conscious little man, immediately held onto the pole next to our seat, with both hands, until our stop.

The Selfridges’ TIFFANY & CO was our first stop! Carl had chosen a ring 

Tiffancy ring

Simply perfect

  for me! They didn’t have it in stock, so off to the Old Bond Street branch we went. A beautiful stroll with my family in an oddly quiet London, headed for Tiffanys…what more could I ask for! The ring was (is) perfect. It’s being resized at the moment and I can’t wait for it to arrive. Very much a special occasion ring, I guess Carl and I will ‘have’ to take it out for a nice meal! Life is hard sometimes…!

Sam, bless his heart, was ravenous by this time so we popped into a Starbucks for a coffee (Chai Latte for me) and to feed/change him. More on this tomorrow.

Lunch was at the fabulous Pitt Cue Co. What wonderfully cooked meat! Such tender pulled pork. Heavenly. We were lucky to get a table since it’s a small place but get one we did – again, thank goodness for the stroller that could be folded and left upstairs!

We walked back to Victoria while Sam gazed all around him in awe. We definitely need to take him to London again! The aquarium would be a good destination I think. 

All in all, a successful fun family day out! 

Oh dear, it has begun already

On Wednesday, Sam and I popped over to Crawley to see Carl’s grandparents and pick up a couple of bits in town. After a lovely time with great grandchild and great grandparents smiling and chatting to each other, we set off for the shopping centre. Obviously, all of the parent and baby spaces were full…but at least Crawley has a decent amount, unlike Dorking. 

Primark is a life saver when you need a couple of baby bits and don’t want to spend much (I’d already checked in Beatitudes in Dorking; my other usual haunt). A pack of muslins, some new socks…and some awesome smart trousers for hm to grow into. It’s hard not to buy everything in sight! However, why are romper suits for 6-9 months so hard to come by? I can’t find them anywhere and they’re so useful as nightwear while it’s humid.

 

giraffe

Sam’s new giraffe. I shall call him Ralph.

 It didn’t take long for Sam to get bored although he was a star all the while I was looking for bits for him! Knowing that I needed to take action to prevent a boredom meltdown…I entered the nearest toy shop. Spotted a little giraffe and handed it to him as a test. He immediately started playing with it and was happy as Larry, whoever Larry may be. 

Bribery toys have begun already… 

You might be a mummy, but you can still be sassy

Last weekend was my friend Kate’s birthday celebration and although I was only able to attend one part of the day, at least it was the burlesque class! 

Not something I’ve done before, I was really excited, whilst also being a bit nervous about the exercise element of it all… I had discovered during my recent 5k that I’m not quite as fit as I used to be. I wasn’t sure how hard the class might be. Luckily, I had found an outfit that I felt comfortable moving around in; thank goodness for tummy holding hot pants to hide the 5 1/2 months pp mum tum! In the 10 minutes I had to get ready after feeding Sam, I pinned my hair back and chucked a bit of make up on. A stark contrast to the days where I would have spent hours relaxing and preparing. 

I picked up a couple of the girls on the way and we transformed ourselves into burlesque goddesses. What a change from my usual pumps, jeans and two tops to allow for discrete and easy breastfeeding! Underneath the casual clothes, ponytail and flats, is a woman who still enjoys a bit of fancy dress, a pair of heels and feeling womanly. It’s all too easy to become a stay at home mum in all senses of the word, but I’ve always maintained I’m still the person I was before, just plus a little one. It was nice to see that person again during the session with my theatre girls! Clare is expecting her own bubba and I loved that she joined in with the bits she could. She looked wonderful too, one of those lucky women who glows! 

 

Mum to be, Clare and I

Mum to be, Clare and I

The class was hard. 

I don’t know what I was expecting, but I should have done a week long warm up! What fun it was though. A huge part of burlesque is about confidence, sexiness and feeling womanly. With a flick of the hair and a slow removal of a glove, I felt amazing. 

Mum tum? What mum tum. 

Stretch marks? Who cares. 

Our teacher Justine was phenomenal. So encouraging and a wonderful dancer. It was a pleasure to be taught by her and I’m hoping to arrange another class as a belated birthday treat for me! We danced and danced. Down to the floor, up again, shimmy, hello boys, swing those hips… I loved every second of it, even when I genuinely thought I might collapse from exhaustion. 

When you become a mum, you change. But always remember that the person you were before is still there. Find her again and do something just for you. 

Leave your baby at home (preferably not on their own) and rediscover yourself. 

It did me the world of good and it will do for you too.  

One sad little water baby

We had our second swimming lesson on Tuesday and, typically, it was right when Sam wanted to go to sleep. Grizzly before we had even walked into the swimming centre, I wasn’t sure it was going to go well.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t wrong. 

Perhaps the saddest part – sadder than having your baby cry quietly but fairly constantly through the lesson – was that he did everything asked of him. 

Sam held tightly to the side each time we reached the edge of the pool. He kicked his little legs. He held tightly to my fingers as I pulled him across the pool. He reached out and grabbed (and tried to eat) the rubber duck I threw in front of us to encourage using his arms.

All while crying. It was heartbreaking. 

I considered taking him out, but the fact he was doing everything said to me that he wasn’t having a bad time, he was just tired. I know my boy’s angry cry, and that wasn’t it. I did get a couple of watery smiles when he saw the duck (his favourite bath toy) and I quacked at him (a sound generally guaranteed to get a smile or giggle). 

Sure enough, he fell asleep within minutes on the way home. 

I’ve booked us into a slightly later class for next week so he has time for a nap beforehand. This weekend, Carl and I are going to take him swimming so he remembers that it is fun, and we can start afresh next week!