A year of firsts …

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Freddie thoroughly enjoyed his Christmas lunch!

I never realised the little markers I would become emotional about during Freddie’s first year. His first Christmas was genuinely wonderful [the best yet], from the crib service on Christmas Eve where I found a lump in my throat and a sleeping baby in my arms during “Away in a Manger” – to his smiling party hat wearing replenished face on Christmas Day – to his excitement at seeing the hunt off on Boxing Day, his joy at all his new toys – and the realisation that 2015 is nearly over – the beautiful most glorious year of them all – the year when Freddie propelled himself from my vagina and rocked my world. 1794638_1855119794714450_4653896460758936638_nIt has been epic, and I can’t wait for the adventures to come … this morning Freddie is with his Daddy, and whilst I had intended to go back to bed and get some much needed, long forgotten SLEEP; I have in fact been a domestic goddess and am only just sitting down with a spot of lunch [which I can eat with both hands woohoo!] and my laptop; awaiting an online grocery order, and the return of my beautiful boy. I’m also busy designing a mural I’m going to paint on his bedroom wall … watch this space!

I dismantled the Christmas tree earlier – which remarkably survived the

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Rocking the tweed at the local P2P

crawling babe and his curious hands … as I packed away the decorations neatly into a box, I realised that next year I’ll be looking at the “Freddie’s 1st Christmas” decoration with so many more memories; with no doubt a poignancy that time will still have gone too quickly. Just as this year I’ve thought back to last, when enormous and emotional – I somehow got through it. This time last year I was thinking “in two days time, it will be 2015, and I can finally say my baby will be born this year“. I’m now realising the little cherub will be 10 months old next week, and his 1st birthday looms … how, how, how, is that even possible?

So much has changed in this year; I wonder what on earth I did before becoming a Mummy; where I found my fulfilment without Fred … it has been a year of total overwhelming love, a year of exhaustion and fear, of excitement and courage. It is perhaps the only year of my life I can look back on with pride – with a real sense of achievement – and pride not only in myself, but in my little boy – whose smile and happiness says it all. I still long for the day when he sleeps for longer than 3 hours in a row … but he will sleep eventually … one day … one fine day I shall sleep for 7 hours again …

In the meantime, I endeavour to savour the middle of the night feeding cuddles, and appreciate how lucky I am … to be Freddie’s Mummy …

 

The evening worries of a mother

19.19 – Fulfilling my desire to Blog before [hopefully] some much needed sleep. I haven’t left the flat today; Freddie went on the Santa Express with his Daddy this morning, and I blitzed the housework – two loads of laundry; kitchen, hall and bathroom floors cleaned, shower screen scrubbed, vaccumed everywhere, windowlened the windows, polished everything wooden, rearranged the kitchen, had yet another sort out of Fred’s clothes, and changed bed linen. Oh, and finished wrapping Christmas presents. This literally took me over 3.5 hours, and by the time I sat down to some lunch – it was nearly time for Fred to return. Skirting boards still need attention. Fredders had a lovely time, and arrived home clutching a polar bear toy which he has chuckled at all afternoon. He’s going through a phase of crying when I leave him or he leaves me, which I find really difficult. When his daddy picked him up this morning, he cried with his arms outstretched, and I could hear him crying all the way down the stairs. I could quite easily cry with him when he does this, but I know he stops after a few minutes. The slightly neurotic/sleep deprived part of me worries he’ll be scarred for life by these little upsets, but in my more rational moments I know that it’s just a normal part of growing up. I miss him when he’s not here. I really, really miss him. We had a lovely day yesterday seeing Santa at a local garden centre. The boy smiled and smiled, and enjoyed lunch in the pub afterwards …

I’m tired today. Work was tough last week; we had a couple of really bad nights [lesson learnt; don’t change a nappy at 3am in the dark with no glasses on, as this will lead to a badly put on nappy, which explodes at 4am all over the bed.] – I had some kind of tummy bug one day, and I think having to be out of the flat by 8am four days in a row has made the tiredness even worse. Oh yes, and the whole Christmas thing, trying to remember everyone’s presents and cards and generally make it a beautiful celebration. It’s wonderful, but exhausting. Things seem so much more do-able in the summer with all that vitamin D and light nights.

I think it must go with the territory of being a Mum, that we doubt everything we do, and worry we’re messing it all up. There are so many ideals associated with motherhood [especially around Christmas] – all I want is for my baby to be happy. The only thing important to me from now until eternity, is that I can be the mother my son needs – that he always knows he’s loved and listened to. I want him to have a fun childhood with lots of laughter. Of course, we laugh a lot together already – and the past 9 months have been filled with every possible baby group. In the quiet moments, when Fred’s asleep; I do worry … worry that he will miss out, that I should’ve tried harder with his Dad so to have given him a “conventional” family set up. I worry that I’ll never ever sleep for longer than 4 hours in a row and that this might genuinely send me batty or age me beyond recognition. I worry about being able to provide for him, being able to create those memories I so desperately want to create.

Then I think back to Calcutta and the years volunteering there; to the hundreds of people who queued up on Christmas morning at Shishu Bhavan waiting to be fed. I think of the families at Sealdah station and how they live literally hand to mouth, hour to hour. I realise the two contexts aren’t comparable, but as I have lived in both – I know first hand the temporality. I know that Freddie already has so much more than so many. He is a lucky and loved little boy.

Some days I watch my ever growing boy, and am taken aback at the enormity of the responsibility before me. It is both exciting, and terrifying. I’ve never wanted to get something right more. They say motherhood changes you, but I never quite envisaged how much ….

And now, I REALLY need to sleep …..

 

And a partridge in a pear tree …

12366394_1213641308652350_6165535256296263747_nThis has to be the photo of the festive season so far, Freddie looking quite amused as Ivy-Rose pinches his bottom at the breastfeeding group Christmas party today. Definitely one to keep for when they’re older.

The return to work wasn’t as traumatic as I’d feared. I’m now one day into my second week of working 16hours. Freddie has adapted so well, and I love the smiles when Momma comes home – makes it all worth it. Gradually we are getting used to our new morning routine, and the 4 hours goes really quickly. I even get to go to the loo in peace, and I can drink a hot cup of tea with two hands. Woohoo. Win win. The little chap has started power-crawling this week and pulling himself up against anything and everything. I’m hoping this newfound energy will assist the sleeping … we only had three wake ups last night which is pretty good for Fred.

12341060_1846561782236918_1186917190548258028_nI’m still unbelieving that it’s very nearly Christmas. How did this happen? Didn’t I just have a squishy newborn in my arms? I mourn the speed at which this year has gone, although I know I’ve treasured it all. I look back on posts from this time last year, and yearn for things to slow down a little [I know, I know, I always say that in my Blogs, BUT, this time last year I had a bump, now I have a little boy …] It is such a magical, exhausting experience, becoming a Mummy … and one for which no one can prepare you. I recently had a canvas made of a photo taken of Fred and I on the day he was born. It’s hung in my bedroom, and I often look at it as I’m getting Fred to sleep; one of those moments captured in time forever. I look at him sleeping beside me now, and he seems so big … such a developing character; a little charmer, a cheeky smile, a stubborn will [like his Momma] and a definite knowledge of what he wants.

It seems the first year is marked by these rites of passage, and today I sold our much loved and outgrown Jumperoo. This seems one of those rites of passage; and one which has created more space in the lounge for the impending Christmas presents.

20.27; time for this tired Momma to settle down next to her little Prince. We have another party on Thursday, Father Christmas on friday; a trip to see Santa on the steam train with his Daddy on Saturday, and another party on Monday. It’s all go in the life of a 9 and a bit month old in the run up to Christmas.

Always be my baby …

12279182_1843428132550283_8877033735379580676_nYou know that poem, can’t think of the name or even the exact words, let alone who wrote it. Until this year I’d always considered it soppy and a trifle cheesy; the one which goes something along the lines of “Time goes too fast for those who … too slow for those who …“? All I can say, as I’m 5 days away from returning to work – how true! Where oh where did these 9 months go. On Saturday my darling boy will have been in the world for 9 whole months … that’s equal to the amount of time he spent cooking in my tummy. I’ve pondered the strange concept of Mummy time ever since Fred’s arrival … but this week I’ve been a bit emotional at the prospect of maternity leave drawing to an end. I’ve looked back on the beautiful memories of the past 9 months; how much fun we’ve had, and all the things we’ve experienced together. I know I am fortunate, to have savoured every last moment, and to have shared so many precious moments with my baby [and to have recorded many in this Blog]. We’ve done Baby Sensory, Moo Music, Water Babies, Tiny Tots, Baby Painting, Breastfeeding Group, Rhythm Time … we’ve been to beach parties and halloween parties; and this Sunday I’m particularly excited about a “my first Christmas” party. We’ve made friends, and we’ve developed a lovely routine together.

Babies grow so quickly; quicker than I was ever prepared for. It seems like yesterday I was nursing a growing bump this time last year; wearing a “Santa Baby” t shirt and wondering what life would be like a year on. Never could I have imagined how amazing 2015 would’ve been with my Freddie in the world. Somehow, you take home a newborn, and blink … and you have a babbling, crawling, tooth chomping 9 month old. REWIND PLEASE! It scares me how fast Freddie has grown; I still remember our first night here so well. It’s different, being a single mum – because you spend so much one on one time with your baby. Those first weeks, it was just me and Fred in our flat, and I’m proud that I’ve managed, and nurtured such a sociable, cheerful and loving little boy. There were times when I was so tired I didn’t think I could get out of bed and function let alone change a nappy; yet you do … out of love. There’s no one to share the middle of the night worries with, or to debate parenting philosophies at 4am; but that makes you stronger, because you get on and do it on your own.

I keep telling myself that 16 hours over 4 days is perfectly do-able. I’ve done two Keep in Touch days, and Freddie has been fine, and delighted to see me on my return. My boobs have survived the morning without exploding over my blouse, and I know we will adapt our routine. It will be fine; yet I know I will hanker after these glorious days of maternity leave – 0f planning your week around play dates and baby groups. I’ll miss being there for every first; and I hate the thought of my baby crying and momma not being there to make it better. It feels like the first Rite of Passage into non-babyhood, and this does make me sad. Freddie will always be my baby … my little boy.

And tonight, as we were bopping in the kitchen to Kelly Clarkson’s “Underneath the Tree” whilst I cooked tea, Freddie was bouncing up and down in his high chair, chuckling … I looked at him and realised that I have a little boy now .. not a baby; a little boy with such personality and expression. A little boy who will clap when I say “clap” and wave when I say “wave”. And he’s mine, he’s really mine … the little boy who entered the world splashing around in the birthing pool 9 whole months ago; enriching my world and capturing my heart.