“Baby likes milk”

My nails are painted royal blue ready for tomorrow’s wedding … our overnight bag is packed, and Freddie is all bathed and asleep beside me. Auntie Sarah, who cut Freddie’s cord, is getting married; my little cousin is becoming Mrs Watson. I’m hoping my little darling boy manages more than an hour between feeds tonight. 6 month growth spurt? We have a Vtech toy cow thing which says [amongst other things] “Baby likes milk” – to which Freddie always chuckles. Yes, baby DOES like milk. If only one could detach ones breast and hand it to baby for the night … and feed via remote control …

11921645_1810398229186607_2346209743951213719_nWe seem to be on a rollercoaster of firsts at the moment, and yesterday Freddie went in a baby swing for the very first time. He loved it! I can see I have a future in playgrounds for a good few years. I took him to another park today, and his little face lit up as I held him in the swing and pushed him gently. We also fed the ducks our stale bread, much to Fred’s amusement as the Canada geese came sqwaking along the lake. It’s these little shared moments which continually melt my heart. Every day there is something new; and the joy on his little face is just beautiful. There is nothing more perfect than a baby’s chuckle … especially when it’s YOUR baby chuckling at you. Poor child thinks he has a crazy mother!

I’m hoping the next first will be a gnasher. Little chap is chomping and dribbling for England … Bonjela, we love you.

Oh, and MY first for tomorrow is wearing heels for the first time since before Freddie was born … needless to say there will be some flats in my handbag. I shall be a lady for the day, although I’m convinced my lovely blue dress will have splatters of baby sick on it before the ceremony has begun! I’m also rather looking forward to a bath in the hotel. We only have a shower in my flat, and the last bath I had was in the birthing pool 6 months ago …

Of course, I shall blog about it all when we get back.

Tempus really does Fugit

Momma's big smiley boy at the Baby Sensory party this week

Momma’s big smiley boy at the Baby Sensory party this week

Timehop constantly reminds me what I was doing this time last year. For starters, I wasn’t living here – I was in my houseshare working 40hours a week in a transport office. I will never cease to be amazed at how much life has changed, and how becoming a mother changes you forevermore. I really didn’t have a clue what lay in store! I wonder what I will be writing this time next year … and how much my baby will have changed and grown. Sometimes I think he grows overnight, and when photos like the one I’m posting with this are taken, I’m amazed how much of a “little boy” he is rather than a baby. Next Thursday he will be exactly 6months old … his half birthday. Wow. Tempus really does Fugit.

I’m writing this at 19.23 sat in bed with a sleeping baby beside me. Last night wasn’t great; Freddie is teething and although I gave myself the luxury of watching the Bake Off live, and falling to sleep around 9pm dreaming of desserts, I was up feeding three times before midnight, and I lost count how many times after that. Poor little boy is suffering with the pesky gnashers, and he finds comfort feeding the best way to get back to sleep. Co sleeping is still working for us, but I admit that I was tired today …. Even 4hours sleep in a row would be good. Here’s hoping for tonight …

This morning we had a lovely play date at our flat with Freddies baby friends. It’s lovely to meet mummys and babies of similar ages. There is a real solidarity amongst sleep deprived doting mothers … a comfort in being able to talk about poo and sick …

On Monday my beautiful cousin gets married in the Cotswolds, and then September is upon us … which signals the end of the summer holidays and for me, the beginnings of autumn.

I may be tired this evening and long for some proper sleep, but as I sit here and cast my eyes upon my sleeping boy, I realise that even the sleepy moments need to be treasured. One day he won’t wake for me in the night, one day he won’t need feeding to get back to sleep … which is as it should be … but for now, I endeavour to cherish the 3am snuggles as he feeds.

The Human Zoo

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One day, I’ll take him to India to see the real thing

This is a rarity; two blogs in a week, but I felt I needed to write about our experience at the zoo yesterday. I’m hoping that baby boy carries on napping so I can complete this rant post in one go! It’s unusual for me to blog at 4pm in the afternoon, just as it’s unusual for baby boy to sleep at 4pm in the afternoon … he must be tired from yesterday.

I should begin by laying my cards on the table; I’ve never been a huge animal rights campaigner; I’m not meticulous about checking if my make up is tested on animals [mea culpa], I fully support Fox Hunting, adore steak but despite all that, am a huge animal lover, having ridden horses and owned Labradors [and a goldfish/budgie/rabbit/guinea pig once too] When I was doing charity work in India I “adopted” a street dog I named Nero. We are all complex and hypocritical creatures; I’ve written this paragraph to snow that I didn’t have an ethical”agenda” when agreeing to a trip to the zoo.

So, the zoo. My aunt, uncle and cousin live near to Leicester, and they suggested we meet at Twycross Zoo. I remember visiting when I was a child, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I am keen to take Freddie on as many day trips as possible. I realise he won’t remember these things, but in the present moment he laughs and engages with his surroundings, so I consider this educational and worthwhile. My main idea was, a jolly family day out and watching Freddie’s responses to the animals. I hadn’t particularly considered the “ethics” of keeping wild beautiful animals in pens. We live quite close to the West Midlands Safari Park, and I’ve always enjoyed visiting [not so much the “ride operator” jobs as a student] – aside from the petrol fumes from the cars, it seems quite pleasant for the animals, roaming around in rural Worcestershire.

Twycross was another matter altogether; from the moment we entered the general appearance was that of a run down, shabby place. Before we even reached the animals we commented on the weeds on the pathways, the lack of smiling staff or music. There was zero atmosphere. I realise this is a zoo and not Disneyland, but hey – their admission prices aren’t cheap! That aside, I was horrified at the sizes of the animal pens, and the misery we witnessed. Perhaps as a child I didn’t notice these things, perhaps had the exterior conditions been more cheerful I could’ve persuaded myself that the animals were too. As I lay down to sleep last night I kept seeing the sad elephant stood alone in a small field pawing the ground repetitively … the lethargic hyena, the bored chimpanzees. And I was GLAD that Freddie wouldn’t remember this visit, because I promised myself it would be the last time I’d take my boy to a zoo. One day if he’s reading this, I hope he understands why …. I don’t want him to associate wild animals with cages, performing for our pleasure.

I won’t go into the dirty baby change facilities or overpriced food and drink … one would hope the money was being spent on those animals – but I think it would be better spent rehoming them. We read in the press stories of the poor Orca kept in a goldfish bowl tank in Argentina, or lions in shoe boxed cages in Russia ….. but these poor animals are very close to home. We are rightly outraged when a dentist pays thousands to kill a lion in Africa, yet we pay money to support this imprisonment.

I studied Biological Anthropology as part of my degree in Archaeology & Anthropology. We covered primates and evolution, and the development of “musuems” – or objects of curiosity. It struck me yesterday as I watched some precocious toddler banging on the glass looking at a despairing chimpanzee, that zoos are beyond dated. Circuses used to be popular attractions with animals paraded indeed as “objects of curiosity” – these were the days before cheap and accessible travel, before the internet where one can view videos and find information on animals in their natural habitats …. No circuses I know of now use live animals. I can’t help but feel zoos too are now redundant, cruel – pandering to our arrogance.

Yes. I am aware I should probably have considered this before ….. but I really needed to get my awakening down on metaphorical paper. A confession of sorts. My name’s Verity, I took my son to a zoo yesterday and I won’t do it again.

For those who love, time is eternity …

11880659_1806365959589834_1029143671870808077_nFor so many evenings I have intended to Blog and failed to do so. Sometimes I’m so tired by the time Fred’s asleep and the flat is clean, there isn’t the energy … other times there’s the Great British Bake Off to watch, or I’ll spend the precious 90minutes between baby falling to sleep and me joining him, painting my nails, drinking decaf tea, and humming twinkle twinkle to myself. My maternity leave continues to rattle past like a freight train; where do these beautiful days of mummyhood go to? This coming week it is a whole year since my 12 week scan, and therefore a whole year of this Blog. My little boy is growing so quickly, in the space of a week he sat up by himself, went into 9-12month clothes, I removed the baby insert from the pram, AND faced the pram to the world for the first time. We’ve begun weaning [wow, he loves his food] – and this beautiful photo happened …. no longer the teeny wrinkly head wobbly newborn who canon balled from my vagina 24 weeks ago today into the birthing pool.

Sometimes I look at him in absolute awe. He LIVED in my tummy, I mean … he actually GREW inside me. How incredible are we as a species … what a miracle it all is … and a mystery. I never quite appreciated how miraculous it all is, until Freddie popped out.

I still wish that I could hit pause, sometimes even rewind to those days when I sat in the rocking chair for hours feeding through cracked bleeding nipples [oh those harsh toe-curling early days of breastfeeding] – Freddie all sleepy and newborn. Yet now I feel like every day Fredders is learning something new. He holds his arms out when he wants me to pick him up – he returns cuddles, and lets me know when he’s not happy about something. He chuckles, and I’m sure he’ll be talking soon … just like his mother, a chatterbox [today he’s been really vocal “yagayayayayayayaaaa”] – he is such a joy; such a happy little boy … and I hope he always retains that sense of humour and cheekiness.

Tomorrow I’m taking him to the zoo for the first time; Twycross here we come … and then there’s our birthing partner’s wedding on 31st, which will soon be upon us!

Life is good. La Vie Est Always Belle.