The housework can wait

It’s been a long time since my last post. It has been so long that initially I couldn’t even find the app on my phone to write this. 

I’ve been hauled out of blog retirement by something I feel is important. 

This is to all mums and dads, especially those of the stay at home variety. 

This is to all those who have found themselves feeling or being told that “you should be doing more [around the house]”. This won’t apply to everyone, but in the early weeks and months I distinctly remember saying to Carl that I felt I should be doing more. This was despite the fact that Sam napped nowhere but on me or while out walking until he was 5 months old, fed frequently and cluster fed from 6-10pm every night until 4 months or so. The rest of the time I was entertaining him. 

There was no time to do anything else! 

A wise person once wrote this beautiful poem:

I hope my child looks back on today 

And sees a mother who had time to play. 

There will be years for cleaning and cooking, 

But children grow up when you’re not looking. 

Tomorrow I’ll do all the chores you can mention.

But today, my baby needs time and attention. 

So settle down cobwebs; dust go to sleep,

I’m cuddling my baby, and babies don’t keep.

I love this poem. It sums up exactly how parenthood should be: Treasuring those special, all too fleeting moments and cuddles. 

Another wise person, in this instance my friend Charlotte, informed me that when a baby is under 6 months, visitors do the work when they come over. They bring food, make drinks and help where they can. Since then, I’ve tried to do this whenever I’ve visited someone with a young baby. 

However, back to housework. 

It is not important. 

I didn’t fully get in the swing of managing to raise the next generation AND tidy up until Sam was about 8 months old. 

Nowadays, I keep the house in pretty good shape, and Sam is a big fan of the Hoover and loves to ‘help’ with his mini Henry or the broom while I Hoover, tidy, do the dishwasher, etc.

Until babies get to this stage, the housework can wait.  

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!! 

The definition of ‘brave’ is…

“Naked Playtime”

I don’t often do this since Sam is too much a fan of both free wees and poos, to poor Carl’s delight (disgust) most mornings. However, since he is generally sleeping for longer periods at night he is now wearing a nappy for a very long stretch nearly every day. 

Therefore, I decided that it’s time to re-introduce naked playtime. Down went the foam mats with a towel placed over the top. In the nappy change beforehand, I – successfully – did plenty of bicycle moves with his legs to encourage a ‘clear out’. The hope being that he would be less likely to ruin playtime. 

Downstairs to the dedicated area and off came the clothes. He looked happy as anything about this! 

Now, I had long wondered whether he does a little shake of his whole body when he’s excited…or when he does a wee. 

I can confirm that it is the latter. 

Fortunately, thanks to all my planning I simply moved him to a different area of the mat and we continued playing. We had a great half an hour or so! He was happy as anything – typical boy. 

I probably could have left him longer but I didn’t want to get over confident and have anything worse to clear up!! Back into his clothes and into the jumperoo for a bit bounce around before dinner. 

All in all, a success! 

And brave. 

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. 
 

Bang on trend, or getting old?

Yesterday I bought my first pair of high waisted jeans. These are in fashion at the moment, as they were in the 1980s. However, I’m still unsure about whether I qualify as being in fashion for the simple reason that I didn’t buy them for this.
As a mother, I spend an awful lot of time kneeling, crouching, sitting on the floor. My jeans all seem to slip down past what I would term as an ‘acceptable level’. To tackle this problem, I finally saw only one answer. Onto the New Look website I went (see, I am ‘down with the kids’ really) and picked out a couple of new pairs. 
While I still find myself occasionally hitching them up during the day, my indecent exposure during playtime is thankfully a thing of the past. I’d recommend them to any mums! 

Sam’s first holiday

We have survived Sam’s first trip away. Our week in Center Parcs was brilliant! Thoroughly recommend it to anyone as either a family or group holiday (or both). We stayed in a villa with sauna, games room, open plan kitchen-diner and 4 bedrooms, all with en suites. We were extremely close to the Plaza which holds the swimming pool and restaurants, and only a few minutes away from the village square with pottery painting centre (where we had Sam’s hand and footprints moulded) and pancake house. The Spa ‘Aqua Sana’ was slightly further, but could still be walked to in 15 minutes.

Longleat Center Parcs is hilly. One day I think we clocked up about 8 miles worth of walking, but that doesn’t take into account all of the hills! I definitely did a lot of exercise last week…and a good thing too since we also ate a LOT! Carl and Jon are big fans of cooking excellent cuisine, so a large food shop was done on the first day and we had homecooked dinners every night. Lamb, a BBQ, fish stew, pulled pork…we were spoiled! I can’t remember the last time I ate so much food.

While we all had separate activities booked during the week, we went to the pool as a big group on both Wednesday and Thursday. Sam loved the water by the end and laughed his head off. We all enjoyed the slides and rapids (I obviously didn’t take Sam on them!), although I did think the boys might be thrown out after their antics on both! Ignoring the light system on the slides and going down in quick succession…throwing themselves down the rapids and taking out other people… So much fun being a big kid! I think we all came away with RRI: ‘random rapids injuries’ – I still have a huge bruise on my knee from last Tuesday!

When we arrived home, Sam was all out of sorts. I think he missed the constant excitement of being with his uncles and aunt. Poor bub, the post holiday blues…

All in all, it was an excellent holiday and so good having a few days away. We’re already planning next year’s trip. Can’t wait!

The power of music

Being at home with a baby can be – dare I say it – incredibly dull. You’ve changed multiple nappies and are probably on your second outfit of the day. Baby has played on (and got bored of) the playmat. You already have some sick on you. Your cup of tea hasn’t yet been made, let alone drunk. You’ve run out of games you can play with a toy the baby isn’t interested in anyway.

You glance at the clock (surreptitiously so your baby doesn’t sense your boredom). 

It’s midday…if you’re lucky. 

At this moment, you see your beloved mini me’s face scrunch up…you know what’s coming…and lets out a cry that speedily increases in volume and ferocity. There are still hours until your other half arrives home, what on earth to do? 

It’s at this point that I turn to my favourite time killer – music. I sing to Sam all the time anyway, but YouTube is my saviour. Type in ‘Disney Songs’ and it now brings up playlists that you can let play through rather than hunting for a new song every 3 minutes. 

Sing and dance with your baby! 

I whirl, rock and gently bounce Sam around the house, singing to him all the time. I love Disney and singing so I really enjoy this time. When I tire of this, I’ve started popping him on my lap and playing/singing a bit of Disney on the piano. He’s happy to put up with this for a little while, until he wants to move again.   

I don’t know whether it’s because I had music on constantly while I was pregnant or because he hears so much now…but Sam has strong opinions on what he does/doesn’t like! If you play or sing a song he doesn’t like, he will immediately start crying. He also does this if you stop/cut short a song he does! Return to the likes song or move on from the one he hates and the crying will stop… 

One of the very first songs he heard after being born was Metallica’s amazing ‘Nothing else matters’ and he cried when Carl stepped away from the iPod, stopping when he went back to it! Obviously has good taste, despite my best efforts! 

Maybe this is what happens when you have music playing during labour…

Slow down

Last week was full on. 

First, Sam threw us out with his sleep, choosing to sleep for completely random amounts of time, starting at totally different times every night. 

Then we had plans every day Monday to Thursday. 

Add to this a teething, unpredictable baby. 

By Thursday evening, I had a migraine and felt on the verge of collapse. Taking the (much overdue) hint from my body, I cancelled our Friday plans. A lazy pyjama day was in order. 

On Friday morning, I had breakfast before Carl left for work (as usual, since he makes it for me!), changed Sam and we both went back to bed. He fed and slept until 11.45, when we came downstairs for an afternoon of games and more naps. He obviously needed the sleep, clocking up two 50+ minute naps – unheard of. 

Neither of us got dressed that day. We both needed rest, playtime and to spend some time with just us. 

There are so many activities and classes you can fill your day with when you have a young baby…but remember that it’s important to relax at home together, you don’t always need to be on the go. Listen to your body (and your partner!) when you need to slow down. 

Keep it cheap

Babies are expensive. Based on their size, it’s the most cost ‘per cm’ you’ll ever spend! 

However, there is no reason to spend a fortune. Sure, Sam has a lot of clothes and toys, but I’ve been careful not to spend a fortune. Family and friends were incredibly generous when he was born, he’s inherited hand-me-downs from a friend’s children and I’ve been enjoying Beatitudes in Dorking and eBay

What I have started doing is keeping a wish list on Amazon for Sam.

This means that if anyone asks what he needs or what we want for him, we have a list at our fingertips. Avoids duplicates and means we’ll end up with items we actually need. I would recommend doing this! At Christmas/Birthdays, you can simply send the list round to anyone who asks! 
I have bought him new clothes for summer, but only 3 or 4 outfits. Everything else is second (or third!) hand. They stay in clothes for such a short period of time that it’s a waste to buy everything new. All the clothes I’ve picked up have been in excellent condition, some unworn

Toys are another expense but essential for fun and their development. Last week I started collating items to make a sensory box for Sam. Most have come off Amazon; 10 brightly coloured juggling scarves, 2 maracas, 6 large bright soft feathers and a wooden shaker rattle. I saw another rattle I wanted, but deemed the extra cost as unnecessary. The other day, I popped into Beatitudes and found one in exactly the style I was looking for….for 50p. So I picked up 2, one with little bells and one with little cymbals. Perfect. These are one off expenses that will be used for a long time, so I don’t mind the money spent, plus some beautiful ribbons which he loves looking at and encourages him to follow them with his eyes when waved above him. Sensory items are essential and will break up the monotony of a long day if you have a variety of toys to play with!! 

Even large toys don’t have to be extortionate. Readers of my blog will have seen my post on picking up a stack of bargains from selling pages, new readers can view that post here. Keep an eye on selling pages/ads etc. Don’t be precious about wanting it all new! 

Same for books. Full set of 20 Winnie the Pooh books, £3. Full set of 8 Little Grey Rabbit books, £2. eBay is your friend for little libraries! Keep an eye on Amazon deals (£2 for some of the ‘That’s not my…’ books) and The Book People for bargains.

I’d love my little boy to have everything I could want for him…but I’m not going to spend a fortune! 

Where has my newborn gone?

Sam was 9 weeks old last Friday and I can’t quite believe how much he has changed. 

On Friday, Sam moved up into 3-6 month sleepsuits!! He has long legs (just like his parents) so he was really pushing on the built in feet of his 0-3 ones. We’re now in that ‘in between’ stage where the 0-3 were too small, but the 3-6 are massive! I’ve cleared yet another age group from his chest of drawers…he lasted 7 weeks in his 0-3 sleepsuits. How time has flown. Fortunately, the rest of his clothes still fit since they don’t have built in feet. 

This change in clothing made me think about the other changes. When he naps on us, he only rarely ‘frogs up’ now – where he pulls his legs right up so he’s in a right bundle on us. Now, he rests his bottom on our arms but stretches his legs out. Oh little froglet, you’re growing up! 

He is beginning to whimper simply because he wants a cuddle, rather than because he needs food or sleep. This is actually a sweet development; he is showing that he wants/needs/likes being with us. 

Every day I’m treated to smiles and his cheeky tongue being stuck out. The other day, he was lying on the bed while I was getting dressed. He looked over at me and smiled. It melts my heart, every time. 

We’ve put toys on his pram and he looks at them now, he’s starting to take notice of specific things rather than looking around at nothing in particular. 

I wonder what development will be next!?