Novemberitis

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My poorly little boy

My mother has an irrational phobia of November; she hates it. Dark mornings, dark nights, cold, dank, etc. I’m always trying to be buoyant about the cosy evenings, hot chocolates and snuggles on the sofa. And Ugg boots! And the”holiday season” Yankee candles. However, I admit that the past days have been VERY Novembery, and I would be very grateful for a plane ticket somewhere sunny for us to escape to.

Little darling Fred has been poorly sick with Bronchiolitis, and spent Saturday night in hospital. I think of all the nights of my life, Saturday was the worst. Freddie has a history of chest infections, and with ezcema too, I do wonder if he’ll have asthma as he grows up. Anyway, I try not to be the neurotic mother fretting at the GP surgery every week. In fact, after being told to judge Freddie’s wellness by how he is in himself rather than the crackles in his chest – I have been rather casual about his wheezes. By last friday, however, we were at the doctors because he didn’t seem his usual self and I felt he was struggling. Early Saturday morning it was a phonecall to 111 as he was pulling his tummy in with every breath, and not a happy or well little boy. I love the questions asked by the poor 111 assessors – had we been to Korea, or better still, an Ebola effected area! Sure love, because Liberia seems such a choice holiday destination with an 8 month old baby!! Eventually we were sent to Out of Hours and seen immediately; and from there we were sent to Worcester hospital, which is about 25 minutes away. Never has that journey seemed so long. This is a bit of a contentious issue as our local hospital was downgraded to a treatment centre when the new hospital at Worcester opened.

There are so many firsts being a mummy, and I hope Saturday was also my last experience of feeing so utterly helpless. It probably won’t be, but Freddie and I are still recovering from our night in hospital. I don’t know how mothers of seriously ill children cope. I hadn’t expected to be sent to Worcester, so was totally unprepared. My phone was on about 40% battery, and I had just my changing bag. When we arrived, there was no phone signal and the free hospital bedside phones only called landlines. It was a hard slog getting in touch with people – having to phone my cousin’s landline to get her to text Freddie’s Dad and other people, to let them know where we were. The staff were brilliant, but it was heartbreaking to see my little boy with an oxygen mask on, wired up to a machine. He is used to co-sleeping with his momma, and looked very troubled at being in the hospital cot. I stood over his cot stroking his hair until a nurse insisted I try and get some sleep around 1.30am. I just wanted desperately to take this from him; for me to be the one struggling to breathe, not my beautiful boy. Worst night of my life.

We were discharged on Sunday afternoon, and have so far had a very lazy week. Today we haven’t left the flat, and Freddie is now fast asleep beside me. He is on the mend, I have an inhaler and steroids for him, and he now has his appetite back. I’m savouring all the cuddles, as we have two precious weeks left of maternity leave left.

Today as a treat I ordered a very stylish Tula toddler carrier, so I can keep my boy close … and use him as a portable hot water bottle when the weather gets cold.

It’s 19.27, and I can’t keep my eyes open. Sleep is good.

 

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Don’t grow up too fast baby boy …

It's definitely autumnal out there ...

It’s definitely autumnal out there …

This week I was lucky enough to be invited to meet the gorgeous baby Hugo, at just 6 days old. Now, baby Hugo weighed in at 10Ib 7oz, so I was expecting a whopper … and instead was amazed how tiny he was compared to my 8 month old Fred! Freddie was a whole 3Ib lighter than Hugo at birth; and yet I never thought Freddie was tiny [he certainly didn’t feel it as he emerged] As I scrolled back through the hundreds of photos on my iphone, I realised that yes, Freddie was indeed quite tiny. I find myself quite emotional; I keep harping on about how fast the time has gone, but it really HAS. On Monday I have my first “Keep in touch” day at work. I say day, but it’s 4 hours .. which is what I will be working 4 days a week from December 7th. I always knew I would be returning to work 16 hours a week, and I think it’s a good amount of time for Freddie to be away from me [poor kid has had a lot of me these past months, can’t be good for his long term sanity]. His Daddy will have him for two of my shifts, my mum for one, and my aunt the other. I will have fridays off, and 4 hours is manageable, right?

I think the crux of my angst is the fact that maternity leave will be over. We have enjoyed our maternity leave so much; we’ve done so much, we’ve experienced so many firsts together. And I feel the end of maternity leave does mark another chapter. I wish that I could bottle these past months, because I’ve loved every moment – watching my Freddie develop, learn new things and explore the new world around him. I love him more than I ever thought it possible; and I will miss our busy weeks going to groups and meet ups. We will still be able to do a lot of things, and I’m sure there will be times when work will be  welcome relief … but my goodness I’m going to miss him. This is when PollyAnna should kick in and consider all the countries in the world where maternity leave doesn’t exist, and all the people who don’t have jobs to go back to …

It is a year tomorrow since I got the keys to my flat. I didn’t move in immediately as there was carpet to lay and decorating to be done. I’ve been looking back through those photos too. I have always felt so at home here, and it is a lovely flat for Freddie to grow up in – with the park nextdoor and a garage to store his trike. Bit by bit I’m getting things done, and I’m so grateful to have a mortgage and a place to call my own. Perhaps in my dreams I used to imagine living in an Elizabethan moated manor house with a stable yard twice the size of my flat … but hey, there’s plenty of time for that.

Fredders is fast asleep beside me. I won’t be far behind, although it’s not yet 8pm, and 9pm is my usual bedtime [nearly as rock n roll as last friday evenings piles appointment at the GP]. I think we have another gnasher cutting, as the past nights have been 2 hourly wake ups. Poor little chap.Tomorrow is the Christmas lights turn on in our local town, so I shall take my little Prince to that, as we embark on a new season .. and will embrace all that has to offer.

Hands Off!

5th March - 5th November

5th March – 5th November

Today is exactly 8 months since Master Freddie Worthington-Phillips arrived in the world. Never has 8 months gone so quickly; never have I slept so little or loved so much. My life is busier, more fulfilled, and the bags under my eyes are certainly greater! As much as my heart yearns to relive all those little days again, I know I’ve appreciated and lived every second – and it’s wonderful to watch as Fred discovers new things and develops a rather cheeky personality. Today is a Thursday, Thursday 5th … and Freddie was also born on a Thursday 5th. My little boy who has far to go. My little boy who now claps and babbles, my little boy who eats cheese sandwiches in his high chair, and whose 6th tooth is just cutting.

This week I experienced for the first time the real “tiger mother” instinct; and I’ve been meaning to Blog about it ever since. My parenting philosophy is fairly gentle [if indeed I have one]; I breastfeed and co sleep; we get out and about a lot, and I’m not one of these mums who throws a biscuit away if it falls on the floor [indoors] for a second. I think mud pies and germs are good; go easy on the Dettol wipes. I want a child who is sociable and can hold his own; and understands that sharing is good. Anyway, we were at a group – and my darling 8 month old took some teething keys which belonged to another baby. This is what babies do; they have no concept of what is “mine” or “yours”. They are babies. Teething keys are just teething keys, to be gnawed on and discarded. Mother of said baby immediately reacted [before I may even have had chance to consider it!] and took keys off my baby, saying that her child “didn’t want to share” today. I sat there, silently fuming; whilst also slightly alarmed by how fiercely I felt this surge of protection and defence. I produced Freddie’s “Sophie giraffe” from my bag, and the other baby immediately grabbed it. I decided the best thing to do was tell Freddie that we were “sharing” Sophie, because that’s the kind thing to do. So we let other baby dribble and chomp all over his toy, and let him know that this is fine. They are babies. That’s what babies do.

I Blog about this because I realise little incidents and conflicts such as this will happen frequently as Freddie grows up. No two mums do it the same way, and that’s brilliant  – that’s part of the rich tapestry of life … but as they grow up, I expect more and more incidents like this to occur – and it’s difficult when sleep deprived and on the spur of the moment, to know how to react. I do not intent to be a shouty mum, but I will protect my child til the end. Let babies be babies. Nuff said.

I’m sitting here with a cup of hot tea and a crumpet; baby boy is with his Daddy until 4.30, and I’ve been catching up with some paperwork. I’m quietly proud of the past 8 months, not only of how Freddie has grown and blossomed, but how his Dad and I have communicated and created the life he leads. 8 months ago today I was sitting in bed on the post natal ward with a sleeping baby Freddie on my chest … what an adventure we’ve had so far. What I’ve learned about selfless love and giving of yourself when you’re so tired you didn’t think there’s anything else to give. It isn’t easy, motherhood – but nothing which is worth it is easy … every day I get to wake up to my baby boy’s smile, and every night I snuggle down beside him. The whole world is at those little feet of his … his whole life … and that excites me greatly.