The best year yet

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As years go, 2015 has to be my favourite so far. What a year it has been!

We’re having a baby!

I told Ryan that all I wanted for Christmas was a baby and blimey he delivered! I was convinced it wouldn’t happen for us that month, but when I started feeling strange (I can’t put my finger on it, but something was different), I decided to take a test. It was 5am in the morning and I couldn’t believe it when I saw those two pink lines.

It took me a little while to pluck up the courage to tell my mum and dad. I knew they would be so excited, but when it came to actually saying the words out loud, I chickened out on a number of occasions. Mum finally got it out of me when she was booking a skiing holiday. She was trying to get Ryan and I to commit to some dates we could take off work, and I had to let her know that I couldn’t go skiing as I was carrying her grandchild. Her reaction was brilliant; it still makes me smile. My dad on the other hand…I don’t know if he’s over the shock yet!

Moving house

Despite loving living in our city centre flat, it was always our plan to move into a little house away from the hustle and bustle. At the beginning of May, we packed up everything we owned and carted it a couple of miles up the road into our new home. Ryan, my parents and my brother painted the entire house in a single weekend, while I stayed away from the paint fumes and cleaned the bathrooms!

Having some outside space also made a massive difference as we entered the warm summer months. Ryan and his dad built a little decking space for some seating, and it proved an ideal place for hosting the first of two baby shower parties put on by my lovely friends.

My growing bump

As bumps go, mine was pretty huge. It also had all the characteristics of a beach ball! Wherever I went, it got some lovely reactions. In fact, being pregnant made me realise how lovely people are. I got well wishes from strangers I passed in the street, the people who served me at the checkout, the postman… I miss being pregnant because now I’m back to being a regular person and you don’t get half as much attention!

I was 34 weeks pregnant when I was bridesmaid for my cousin’s wedding in the Lake District and everybody thought I would pop that weekend. I didn’t, but I was absolutely huge by this point. Little did I know I would have to wait another 7 weeks before I would finally meet my baby boy.

As the summer went on, my bump got bigger and bigger, and so did my swollen feet. Regardless, I carried on walking the three mile roundtrip to work until I finally gave up one day past my due date. I know everyone in my office thought I was mental as I tipped up to work that day. It all added to the drama though, didn’t it. I’m still disappointed I didn’t go into labour at work.

18 September

A day I will never forget! I went into labour on the evening of the 17th – a full week past my due date. Ryan didn’t believe me at first. As each day past my due date went by, I started reading into every little ache and niggle in the hope that something was happening. So when something finally did start happening, it seemed almost too good to be true. The contractions kicked in properly at about 7pm and from the onset were only about 5 minutes apart. That was fun!

I didn’t write a birth plan as my only plan all along was to get my baby out safely. It’s probably just as well really because I ended up having an emergency c-section. Hearing Ralphie’s cries as he entered the world at 2.28am was the biggest relief. I don’t think I stopped smiling for the next few days.

Getting to know Ralphie

Our baby boy is just over three months old and I already can’t believe how much he has changed. My not so little chunk is getting chunkier by the day and that glint he has in his eye tells me I’ve got one cheeky boy on my hands.

Ralphie’s energy is boundless; no wonder he needs so much milk. He insists on standing rather than sitting. He thrashes his legs when I change his nappy and get him dressed. And although he’s not able to move himself around yet, I don’t think it’ll be long before he figures it out.

Just this Christmas I can already see the change in him. He looks older and he’s really learning how to use that voice of his.

I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for us, but 2015 is going to take some beating. 2016 here we come!

Another year, another Christmas

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It’s that time of the year when I don’t even know what day it is. We’ve eaten what we can of the turkey leftovers and I’m pretty sure it’s still acceptable to eat a mince pie or two, but it’s not really Christmas anymore. Urgh!

As I waddled into work in the heat of the summer, I dreamed about how brilliant Ralphie’s first Christmas would be. And it has been every bit as lovely as I hoped.

The last few days have been a blur of giggles, food, cuddles, food, laughter, food, and more food! Ralphie has loved being the centre of attention. His conversation skills are coming on leaps and bounds; you should hear the way he squeals! He’s picked up and subsequently recovered from his first cold. I think he’s also gained a good few pounds judging by the looks of it.

The main festivities may be over, but I’m going to really enjoy the next few days with the family before everyone goes back to work. Next week we have Ralphie’s second lot of jabs to look forward to. I’ve also enrolled the two of us into our first baby class – Rhythm Time. Let’s hope he enjoys it as much as my singing.

Taking comfort in Raffi

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Ralphie has really taken to one of his blanket comforters in the last few days. It’s been a revelation.

Since birth, Ralphie has always fought going to sleep. He usually has a bit of a cry (sometimes a lot of a cry!) and a squirm as his eyes drift off. We have been standing and rocking him to soothe him, and it’s made a bit of a rod for our own backs, as it’s not really something you want to be doing in the early hours when you’re half asleep.

After a particularly tricky night, where every time I put him down in his Snuzpod he would wake and scream, I decided to look for other ways to calm him. One involved giving him his cuddly giraffe comforter ‘Raffi’ to hold, and he has really taken to him.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before. I’ve been giving it to him in the day to play with, but it’s called a comforter for a reason. He snuggles it up to the side of his face, puts both arms around it and off he drifts to sleep. It’s magic!

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Of course, now we’ve found something that works, I need to make sure we don’t lose it. Or I need to build up a stockpile of spare Raffis and rotate them on a regular basis – and sharpish. He may only be three months old, but I tell you now, Ralphie will know who the original Raffi is, and he won’t be conned by an imposter.

Start them young

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If there’s one thing I hope Ralphie gets from me is my love of books. James and the Giant Peach; Matilda; The Famous Five; The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe; Mary Poppins; Harry Potter – I spent many a night engrossed in a good book.

Rather naively I thought I’d be able to do quite a bit of reading during Ralphie’s naps while I’m off on maternity leave. That’s not happened! But what I have started doing is reading to him. I talk and sing to Ralphie all the time, so I may as well read to him too.

We’ve started off with one of my favourites – Boy by Roald Dahl. Don’t worry, I also read him picture books too! There’s something very soothing about having Ralphie snuggled up on my lap listening to me as I read aloud. I’ll admit he has limited patience, but we’ve been picking off a few pages at a time. We’ll finish it one day!

As he gets older I cannot wait for him to start reading me bedtime stories. I haven’t got my head around phonics yet, but I’ve got a few more months until I need to worry about that!

First tooth alert!

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I know, already! It seems that all that dribbling and chomping on his fingers wasn’t just practice – Ralphie’s bottom right tooth is on its way. He’s not even 13 weeks old.

Now I think about it, he has been a bit grizzly recently. Last night he was uncharacteristically grouchy at 1.40am, 3.50am and 6.20am. I really hope we don’t get a repeat performance tonight.

It was after some rather frantic finger biting this evening that I decided to take a look. And there it was – the very small but distinct hard fleck of white just starting to poke through his gum. I’m gutted!

Turns out Ryan got his first tooth early too. I was a year old! Ryan also started trying to walk by the time he was six months. So if he’s anything like his dad – and it looks like he is – then we have an early developer on our hands. Send help!

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Getting reacquainted with Disney

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A miserable Sunday cries out for a good old Disney film (Ralphie’s face says it all). And now we have a child of our own, Ryan and I feel that we can legitimately start watching them again, not that we ever really stopped.

This afternoon’s billing was one of my favourites – Aladdin. It reminds of the many hours I spent in my childhood playing the game on the Sega Mega Drive. I am so digging that out of the attic this Christmas. Maybe I will finally be able to do that level where he’s being chased by that fiery boulder, or the one where you are inside the genie lamp and have to ping from bouncy pillow to pillow – man that was infuriating!

So yes, Ralphie may be far too small to watch tv – oh and he may also have been sound asleep – but nevertheless we settled down for Aladdin, and it was just as good as I remembered it to be.

When he’s older, I can’t wait to show him all the films I used to love. And the books! I’ve got a whole set of Roald Dahl stories to share with him. In fact, I’ve already started reading him Boy.

Next Sunday I’m putting in a request for The Lion King. The poor boy already gets my rendition of Hakuna Matata; he may as well hear the proper version.

‘Tis the season

A carol service and a Christmas do in the space of two days – the festive season is well and truly upon us.

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I think I’ve mentioned it before, but my mum is the proudest grandma going, and on Thursday I took Ralphie to her school (she’s a headteacher) to see the carol concert and basically get shown off to everyone. Now Ralphie loves a good sing song and I always end up humming something to him to help him get off to sleep – sometimes a well known nursery rhyme or, more often than not, something I’ve made up – and what could be better than a few hundred children singing ‘We three kings’ in unison to send him off to the land of nod?

So Ralphie slept through the service, but he woke for the important bit – the opportunity to grin at grandma and meet his adoring fans! I tell you, this boy is going to have a seriously big head (it’s already measuring in the 90th centile) if he continues to get this kind of attention in the coming years. If I hear the phrase “he’s going to be a little heartbreaker” one more time…

And then yesterday I left him with his dad while I snuck off in between feeds for my work Christmas do. Don’t judge me, but he may have got a little wine in his milk that evening, not that it helped him sleep any better!

Now I have been known for letting go a bit too much at these parties in the past (don’t even ask Ryan about the time I drank so much I vomited on our bedroom floor), but now I’m a mum it’s a much more civilised affair. I ate my lunch, sipped on half a glass of red, and was reunited with Ralphie by 4.30pm, just before the fun really got started. Turns out I could have stayed an extra half an hour as he was still completely zonked when I got back.

It’s 13 days until the big day and I couldn’t be less prepared. But if I’m honest I don’t really have much to prepare for. The materials to make the homemade Christmas cards are on their way; I’ve still got time to make some mince pies (mine will be with puff pastry this year); and if I’ve not got around to buying everyone a gift, they can have a cuddle with Ralphie instead.