One

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On 18 September, 2015 in the very early hours, my boy made his grand appearance into the world. He was covered in green stuff, and I was conked out on an operating table with my middle sliced open. It was not quite what I had in mind. A calm water birth, a not so calm water birth, lying on a bed pushing him out with Ryan and Mum by my side…anything but that. Ah well, we made it!

And now, just like that, we’re a whole year on. I don’t know how it has happened.

As we’ve been building up to the big day, I’ve been hearing about what Ryan and I were doing when we turned one. But depending on who we’ve been speaking to, the facts get a little squiffy. Some say I said my first swear word on my first birthday (f!*k off, in case you were wondering). In actual fact, that was when I was two. Others say I stood unassisted for the first time. That one is probably true. And so on, and so on.

It got me thinking. I’d better document this event properly to help us all out when we’re trying to remember many years down the line. So Ralphie, if you happen to be reading this, this one’s for you…

Dear Ralphie,

Today you turn one. If I could describe you in one sentence right now, it would be a wild whirlwind of cheekiness who gives the best kisses (albeit wet ones) and cuddles. Your dad calls you a little madman, and he is right. Your heavy breathing when you crawl fast or get overexcited is both alarming and wonderful all at the same time. And I can’t tell you how much I laughed when you kissed Grandad the other day and pretty much stuck your entire tongue in his mouth. You will learn that this is not the done thing.

So, what do you want to know? Well, here is a list of some things you are currently able to do:

  • You’re on the move, from dawn ’til dusk. You can’t walk yet, but you can scale furniture like Spider-Man. No wall, door, side table or unit is out of your reach. And you have just recently mastered stairs, which you’re ever so pleased about. Me, not so much.
  • You can stand unassisted for a whole five seconds. I’m sure you could stand for longer, but because you’ve not figured out the walking bit and it means you’re not getting anywhere, you’re not that bothered.
  • You can talk, although I must admit that your vocabulary is limited. Most of the time you say “dada” or “da” or “ada”. However, when you choose, you can also say “mama” (mainly when you’re cross or upset), “grandad,” “ta,” “dirty” and maybe “cat.” I don’t know, I’m still trying to understand you! When you see Grandma you grunt at her, and she grunts back. Hopefully you will both grow out of this.
  • You eat everything and anything, even Jaffa Cakes, which I’m not so delighted about. I received this message from Grandad the other day while I was at work; “He’s asleep after I filled him up with Jaffa cakes – he couldn’t eat them fast enough.” Your favourite meal is a baby friendly version of tuna NiƧoise salad – tuna, avocado, egg, potato – you love it! Porridge and Petit Filous are also strong favourites; you cry when they’ve all gone!
  • You are brilliant at mimicking what we do. Your dad and I get you to copy us far too much! “Do pat-a-cake, Ralphie!” “Do the pose.” “Go ah ah ah!” “Put your hands up in the air and go wooooo!” Yeah, we’re learning on the job too. Sorry.
  • Toys – it’s hard for me to pick a clear favourite. You do love chucking your blue ball around (it looks like a dog toy or something you’d put in the tumble dryer, but I promise you it’s not). Although your aim is very hit and miss, you love playing catch. I’m sure it won’t be long before Daddy has you chasing a football around. And books, I can’t tell you how proud I am that you love books. It is just the cutest when you bring a book over for me to read to you. You have your favourites -“Vroom” and “Cars go” – I think I’ve already read them to you a million times!
  • You have two naps a day, and you definitely still need them. You switch to ‘tired mode’ without any warning. You start desperately rubbing your eyes, and if I put you down in your cot, you fall asleep quickly. I leave you lying on your back, but you’re such a mover and a groover! Most of the time I find you lying on your tummy with your little bottom in the air. And yes, I do photograph the evidence.
  • Although I’m doing my best to be a chilled mum, I have some non negotiables with you, which of course you fight! I don’t know what it is about them, but you are drawn to the tv stand and coffee table (which I moved to the corner of the room so it was less of a temptation). “Please don’t climb up them,” I plead. And you just ignore me. You also try to slam doors, grab things, eat shoes, and generally make me anxious. You know you are doing it; you give me a wry grin every time!
  • There’s actually so so much I could write about you; this post could go on forever! But one thing I must mention is the way you scrunch up your nose when you feed or have your dummy. It melts my heart every time.

Thank you for the best year ever, dear boy. Your dad and I are the smuggest, happiest parents; you should hear us coo over you! Today, we’ll be raising a glass to you. And we’ll most likely eat plenty of cake on your behalf too. You’re welcome!Ā 

All my love

Mum x

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41 weeks in, 41 weeks out

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82 weeks. It sounds like a long time, but I can’t believe that we’ve reached this point already. 82 weeks – half of that time I was carrying my baby boy inside of me, and now I’ve got a bouncing nine month old dangling off my hip!

Time sure does go fast when you don’t really want it to. Of course, it does quite the opposite too. I remember that last two weeks of my pregnancy dragging like anything. Patience really isn’t a virtue of mine, and the anticipation of finally giving birth was almost too much to bear. Come 10 September (his due date), I was convinced he would arrive. I waltzed into work (it was probably more of a waddle) and waited for the drama to unfold. Nothing.

He made us wait a whole extra week before making his grand appearance. I spent those long days chomping onĀ pineapple, cleaning, polishing the leather sofa (as you do), watching crap TV, eating, hovering on all fours (to encourage him to turn), and pacing. Looking back on it, I wish I’d chilled out a bit more.

Fast forward to today – a whole 41 weeks on. Where do those baby days go? Ralphie is into EVERYTHING at the moment! He particularly lovesĀ climbing up ourĀ glass coffee table (bought before we’d had a chance to think about how stupid a purchase it would be with children in the house) in pursuit of the remote control. Seriously, what is it with babies and electrical items?

It saddens me that I no longer refer to Ralphie’s age in weeks anymore, but I couldn’t let this milestoneĀ pass us by without a mention. I proudly grew him inside of me for 41 whole weeks. And here he is on the other side – 41 weeks old. We did it!

I thought I’d take a nice photo of the two of us to mark the occasion. As you can see, that didn’t quite happen. Our selfies need some serious work. This first one is my favourite!

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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!