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 Niçoise 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! 

All my love

Mum x

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Dirty stop outs!

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This weekend we went out to celebrate Ryan’s 30th birthday, without Ralphie.

It was the first time the two of us had left him for any significant period of time. Off we popped at 7.15pm, as soon as I had fed Ralphie, handed him over to my lovely mum – the doting grandma – and put a dress on (something I’ve not really been able to do while breastfeeding), and the night was ours.

The table was booked for 7pm, and I had already called ahead to let them know we were going to be late as I was still feeding our baby. When we were sat in the bar before being shown to our table, I couldn’t help but smile when I overheard the manager asking a nearby couple, who arrived just after us, if they’d fed the baby and got him settled ok. Never have I seen a woman looking so perplexed!

Despite mum telling me that they’d be absolutely fine and she wouldn’t call if he started crying for food, I couldn’t help but check my phone a couple of times just in case. I also wanted to be sure that it hadn’t got really late suddenly. I sipped delicately on my glass of wine – my first drop of alcohol in nearly a year. I made sure I actually chewed every mouthful of my meal, rather than inhaling it – a new eating technique I’ve developed in the last ten weeks! And we talked – and not just about our new son.

Despite enjoying a full three-course meal (I have a better appetite than Ryan these days), we were done within a couple of hours or so. Taxi booked, bill paid (minus tip because we somehow picked up the tab for a g&t and Adnams, which we were unable to sort before we left), and we were home and in bed by 10.30pm. Not exactly the most crazy of 30th celebrations, but it did the trick.

Oh and Ralphie had a marvellous time in our absence – all giggles and smiles! I think we will be able to make this date night business a more regular occurrence.