Lost in a moment

2BBA0A90-2592-4E0F-A3F7-E51FEFD90DD5.JPG

Life has sped up again. It’s like someone has taken a remote control, pointed it at us, and fast forwarded at 30x speed. I don’t know whether I’m coming or going.

It hasn’t been an easy few weeks. Managing the transition from maternity leave to work, from baby to toddler, not to mention the onslaught of bugs that has left us all snotty, bleary eyed, wheezing wrecks – it has, in all honesty, taken its toll. I don’t think any of us can quite remember what it’s like to feel well.

But we’re hanging on in there and in between the daily grind, we’re still having plenty of fun. And at least I’m not crying when I leave Ralphie anymore. The guilt lingers, but thankfully the tears have dried up!

Since Ralphie’s birthday, it has been all change again. I know I probably say it every time, but I think this is my favourite stage yet. He is so damn cheeky, and I love it. He knows exactly what I’m saying to him, and if it’s no (i.e. please don’t pull my hair or chuck your cup on the floor for the 100th time), he cocks his head to the side and gives me a little grin.

His language is coming on in leaps and bounds. He can say mama, dada, grandad, nana (much to my mum’s disappointment as she wants to be grandma), again, more, yes (he actually says “da”) and a whole load of other babble that we haven’t been able to translate yet.

Waving is his new favourite thing. He waves to get mine and his dad’s attention, he waves goodbye (usually when the person has turned their back and gone), and he waves at strangers in the street before giving them the cheesiest of grins. This boy loves attention and he knows how to get it!

Now at 13 months, it’s looking pretty unlikely that Ralphie’s going to be an early walker! But he is walking around as much as he can – he scales walls, doors, the washing machine, the sofa. It won’t be long, and I’m not rushing him. The fast breathing noises he makes as he crawls are too funny.

We use an app called Moment Garden to share photos of Ralphie with close friends and family. My photo sharing endeavour is endless, I know! One thing this app does is send a daily update with a moment from a year ago today. Ryan has turned into a broody mess as he reminisces about our tiny little squidge that used to placidly lie there and smile up at us. I miss those days too, but motherhood has taught me to appreciate the now. I was a rubbish planner before, and now I’m even worse. Because all I’m trying to do is enjoy today and remember it all. Time, you are a scary thing.

IMG_0844.JPG

Advertisements

Dear nursery…

image.jpeg

I’ve been given a form to fill out so that the folk at nursery can learn a little more about Ralphie and what he gets up to in a typical day. Nap times, favourite toys…you know the drill.

The thing is, it’s quite hard to encapsulate my boy’s habits and little quirks in a single form. Do I, for example, let them know about his new tendency to pucker up his face and look like a pig? Do they need to know that he enjoys pinching that soft bit of skin at the top of your arm? It hurts – a lot – by the way.

For his sake, and mine, I’ve omitted a few details. But just in case anyone’s reading, here is a more honest response…

Dear nursery,

Good luck looking after my gorgeous boy. Please look after him well. He’s the happiest baby I know. He never really cries, unless he’s super hungry or tired. And he loves to laugh and sing. However, he may look like a little angel, but he will certainly make sure I get my money’s worth. 

Here are a few reasons why…

Busy. If I had to describe him in one word, it would be busy. My little guy doesn’t like to miss a thing. He is into EVERYTHING. Even when you think he’s sound asleep at nap time, don’t be fooled. Put the magazine down. Because if you happen to peek and check on him, and catch your foot on a creaky floorboard, he will hear you and sit up immediately.

Don’t bother tidying. Ralphie has this thing with neat sideboards and stuff tidied safely away in boxes. He hates it. Turn your back and he will remedy the situation in no time. Turns out, toys, clothes, ornaments, magazines, you name it, all belong on the floor.

He loves pulling hair, and I’m sure that he actually says “hair” while he’s doing it. I’m so proud. But, unless you are willing to experience serious pain, do not let him go anywhere near your head. He has the grip of a grown man. And if you happen to be bald, he will lick your head instead.

He likes mouths too. Try not to open yours when his hand is close by. He will stick his fingers in and pull your teeth.

Ralphie is a great communicator. If he doesn’t like the food you’re trying to carefully spoon into his mouth at lunch, he will let you know. Without any warning he will whack the utensil out of your hands.

After his morning nap (or perhaps during), Ralphie will do a poo. It doesn’t smell of roses. 

Nine times out of ten, you will get peed on as you’re changing his nappy. He will also get pee on himself in the process – it will run all up his back and soak into his vest and top. That wipe I put over his nether regions does absolutely nothing.

Do not, I repeat, do not let him roll mid way through the nappy change. He flips in a split second and tries to do a runner. A pack of wipes usually does the trick and keeps him in place. 

You will get called “dad,” even though you are clearly not his dad. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Just so you know, he calls his Daddy “Ada.”

Ask him not to do something and he will turn around, look at you, and grin. He will then carry on doing whatever it was you didn’t want him to, such as grabbing your jewellery, trying to push the tv over, that kind of thing.

Once again, good luck. And if you’re not up to the job, please let me know. I miss him already.

Mum x

image.jpeg

Off to nursery we go

image

This isn’t a post I’ve been looking forward to writing. After months of denial, it finally happened – I took Ralphie to his first settling in session at nursery. And do you know what…it was fine. Admittedly, I was there the whole time. Maybe I’ll be writing something entirely different next week!

The thing is, I’m pretty sure that Ralphie will take it all in his stride. He’s a sociable, happy little chap. Yes, he is a mummy’s boy, but sing him some songs, read him a book and he’s as happy as Larry (whoever he is.). It’s me I’m worried about. They mentioned bringing in some photos of us for him to look at during the day, and I welled up at the thought of it.

I deliberated over which nursery to send him to for a long long time. It took me even longer to fill in the form and register his place. And I’ve left it until as late as possible to book in his settling in sessions. I’ve always known I will be going back to work (albeit part-time), and I’m fine about the actual working bit; it’s the leaving Ralphie part I can’t get my head around.

But we’re not the first to go through this. I’ve taken great comfort hearing from friends about how they’ve got on. And I know it’s not easy, but you’re all coping. Plus, I’m sure the nursery I’ve picked is lovely. It’s not too big; it has more toys than Ralphie could possibly wish for; the other children seem sweet; and the staff took a real shining to him. He’ll be well looked after.

After almost a year of maternity leave bliss together, these next few weeks bring a lot of change. I don’t know if I’m ready for the next chapter, but it is almost here. Just whatever you do, don’t mention his birthday!

image

Eight months on the outside

image

Of all the monthly milestones to write about, eight months probably isn’t the most obvious. But I feel compelled to write about it, because this last month has brought about some of the greatest changes yet.

Until now, I would say that Ralphie’s development has felt fairly steady. It’s not until I look back at his newborn pictures that I realise how much he has grown. But, as I’ve said before, over these last few weeks, I’ve noticed a real change in him. My baby boy isn’t so much of a baby any more. He’s on the move (nearly), he’s eating food (albeit mush), he’s chatting more than ever, and somehow he seems much more knowing.

His latest trick is to pull himself up using the person holding him as a support. Up and down he goes, like a yo-yo. His Grandma taught him this at the weekend. Thanks mum!

Of course, he hasn’t said “mama” yet. When he does you will certainly hear about it! I’m sure he’s got it in his locker, but he’s making me work for it. At the moment, when I ask him to say it, he just beams back at me. Cheeky monkey.

With Ralphie now eight months old, it also means that I’ve had eight months off on maternity leave – 34 weeks to be exact. And that means that my maternity pay will stop soon. Cue panic mode!

The other week, I went to look at a nursery near to my work for when I do go back. It was absolutely fine. The staff seemed lovely and the facilities were good. But I’ve not committed yet. I’m just not sure. It’s a big decision. I think I’m going to go and see a couple of local childminders too.

If all goes well with work, Ralphie will be away from me for three days a week. I’m sure he will love it. Me, not so much! I know it’s going to be heart wrenching leaving him, so I want to make sure he’s in the best possible care when he’s not with me. And how can I know that from a quick nursery tour? I’ll make a decision soon. I need to, otherwise all the available places at the good ones will go. Oh the irony!

Once I sort out my new work role and Ralphie’s childcare, I’ve then got the rest of the summer off with my boy, and I’m going to cherish those days so so much. Of course, once he’s running around, I may be quite grateful of the opportunity to have a few days “off” at work. He’s already quite the handful. Goodness knows what the next month will bring.

The back to work conundrum

Ever since I got pregnant I’ve done my best to ignore the issue of what to do with my baby when maternity leave is up. I’ve basically been burying my head in the sand, and four months in since Ralphie entered the world and I’m still nowhere close to making a decision about what to do.

I’m sure like most mums, I want the best of both worlds. I love my job and would still like to work (plus the money helps!), but at the same time I don’t want to miss seeing Ralphie grow up. He’s changing on a daily basis at the moment and I don’t want any of it to pass me by. How can I leave this little face?!

image.jpeg

At the moment I’ve got him snuggled up asleep on my lap while I type away. I have seriously considered whether I could be at home with him and work, but 1) I can’t count on him napping when I need him to, 2) as he grows he will sleep less and need more of my attention, and 3) I can’t imagine a crying/shouting/cooing/babbling baby would be very welcome background noise on an interview or conference call, nor would it be very professional. So yeah, that plan needs some work.

The other week we played the lottery for the first time in ages in the hope we’d win that crazy rollover jackpot. We didn’t get a single number!

I popped into the office earlier this week to see everyone and kept eyeing up a decent sized bit of unused space near my desk that would turn into a great little crêche. They say that office pets are great for employee morale; well surely a baby is even better?

On a serious note, we probably do need to start checking out some local nurseries. I’m sure the good ones have ridiculously long waiting lists, and we’d be silly not to consider our options. Both my parents are a good decade or so off retirement, so as much as I’d love Ralphie to be with them, that’s not really a goer.

And that’s that. I’m kind of back to square one. This working mum business is hard! So sorry if you started reading this post in the hope I’d provide an answer. I’m afraid I don’t have one yet. But if anything comes to me as I lie awake at night plotting what to do, I’ll be the first to let you know.