Update on J

Long time no blog.

J is nine months old next week. Here’s what he’s currently up to:

He can crawl at a billion miles an hour, so you literally cannot take your eyes off him for one second. He was pulling himself up to stand months before he cracked crawling so he’s been mountaineering all over.

He can climb stairs. Though he does frighten himself doing it.

He can eat almost anything. Dairy isn’t his friend and he’s not keen on dry food that isn’t toast, but he tolerates anything within reason and steals anything left in his reach.

He calls me and The Mr ‘mumum’ and ‘dida’. Omg the cute.

He sleeps 12 hours a night.

He hates his carseat with a fiery passion. This is because he is too wide at the shoulders and long at the legs for it, but doesn’t weigh enough for the next size up. He’s too skinny.

He can ‘cruise’ along the furniture. This is terrifying.

He can ‘walk’ holding your fingers for miles. He doesn’t seem to get tired. I do.

He can bounce. On the bed, the sofa, his cot mattress. Bouncing is fun.

Despite trying to amalgamate his naps from two into one, he cannot manage without a 2hr nap at 10:30am.

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Things I’ve learned

In four days, my maternity leave will be over and I’ll turn 27 on the same day.

I feel, honestly, like I’ve wasted it. But looking back I can see how it went so quickly. For the first month I was still pregnant and massive and HOT. The next four months were all about boobs. New baby, yes, but mostly boobs. Then it was Christmas. Then I struggled to pull myself out of what might have been the tail-end of PPD. Then we went on holiday, then it was now. Zoom!

I do regret a lot of how I used the time, but not a bit of the time spent on and with J. He’s so special, clever, funny and cute that I still just stare at him sometimes. And now we’re over the feeding and sleeping humps (hello, 13hrs a night), I feel like we finally GET each other.

So, here’s what I learned during Mat Leave:
More

J’s vocabulary

A handy guide to decoding the babbles.

‘Mamama’ – this is either ‘Mummy’, ‘Dummy’ or ‘stop it’ depending.

‘Baa!’ – Bottle, please.

‘Ahoooo’ – This is nice

‘Weyweyweywey’ This is nice / Drink, please

‘Mmmmmm!!'(angry tone) – I am pissed off.

What do you do all day?

Since it’s Back to Work in a few weeks, time to see what I’ve been doing on my maternity leave:

06:30am Woken up by husband crashing through the front door

06:45 Put J’s dummy back in and try to nod off.

07:30 J is awake and squeaking. Get up, change him, go downstairs.

07:45 Attempt to gauge how much milk J needs. Guestimate 5oz and make 8oz to use leftovers in Ready Brek

08:00 J finishes all 8oz in bottle.

08:05 Use dregs and warm water to make rusk rather than porridge.

08:10 J plays on the floor with the wiimote and a cushion. I eat my breakfast and drink tea. J climbs up my legs to get my mug.

08:40 Put J in his cot with his bubbles on and toys. I have a shower.

09:05 Leave shower (don’t judge, I have really long hair), reassure J I haven’t disappeared, get dressed, sort hair.

09:30 Take J downstairs. Read Dear Zoo. Again. Sing twinkle twinkle, Incy Wincey and The Grand Old Duke. Attempt to convince J he is not tired. Give him toys and remote again.

09:45 Feed the guinea pig, put chicken in slow cooker. J getting cross. Make 4oz bottle.

09:55 J unconscious after 3oz milk. Take to bed.

10:00 – 12:05 Wash and sterilise bottles, receive post, read and annotate 1/4 book for Uni, email friend in India, buy item on Amazon, check bank balance, join forum, catch up on Tweets, stir chicken, blog, stare into space, write 1st half of this blog

12:05 J wakes up. Change and bring downstairs. Start lunch. Baby pasta mixed in parsnip purée for J, tikka wraps for me. J helps by skidding around in his baby walker.

12:20 – :45 Lunch. J eats his parsnip pasta and then snatches a Pom-bear off my plate. Worry vaguely about how much salt is in Pom-bears. Feed J a yoghurt for pudding. Eat some of it myself.

12:45 – 1:30 Playtime! Play with the walker, bumbo, rattles, cushions, chewy toys. J does lots of pulling up and climbing.

1:30 Go out for a walk.

2:05 Back home. Read Dear Zoo. Play with a mirror and pair of socks.

2:20 Make J a bottle and feed him.

2:35 J falls asleep. Watch catch-up TV as he’s sleeping on my knee.

3:00 The Mr wakes up and comes downstairs.

3:10 J wakes up grumpy. We play and sing.

4:00 Microwave jacket potatoes, then place in oven.

4:30 Cebeebies goes on. Dinner dished up. TV goes off and all three sit at table. Spoon chicken, potato, sauce into J’s gaping maw. J feeds himself bread.

5:00 After pudding The Mr gets ready for work. J and I watch an episode of Pokemon.

5:30 Pack dishwasher while J plays with a hairbrush and a tea towel.

6:00 J gets grumpy. Let him ‘kiss’ lots
and try to wrestle me. I’m covered in spit. J gets grumpier. Swing him about as he squeals.

6:15 J is sicky, possibly see above.

6:20 Eat walnut whip in knee-jerk response to grumpy child.

6:23 J attempts to steal walnut whip, ends up planting his nose into the whip.

6:23 (and 4 seconds) J cries, covered in whip. Take his photo before wiping him.

6:25 Sit J on the sofa and allow him to climb and pull up all over the cushions. Soon laughing again, doing weird crawling (bum in air) etc.

6:45 Read ‘That’s not my panda’ and ‘baby animals’. J gums all the books.

6:50 Play peepo and ticklish ribs.

6:55 J cries. Decide it’s bath time.

7:05 Put J on my bed with his owl puppet. J ecstatic. Does celebratory poo. Decide to feed the guinea pig first.

7:10 Stop bath running, pull blinds down, close curtains, gather PJs, vest and Nighttime Nappy before changing / undressing J. Bath time begins.

7:20 Bath time ends with J trying to escape up the tap. Dry him, dress him, take him downstairs, put him on the floor.

7:21 J cries as I make a bottle.

7:22 Bottle made (praise jeebus for the Perfect Prep machine), start feeding J.

7:35 J burped and unconscious. Put to bed. Come down and tidy up. Make milkshake. Watch Sewing Bee. Write blog.

9:00 Sewing Bee disappoints. Watch 2 episodes of Gavin&Stacey on Netflix.

10pm BED.

Body of a Mummy

Here’s how, seven months after pregnancy, the old corpse is faring:

1. Boobs
Four months of breastfeeding and a three month break later and I finally went for a bra fitting. All my pre-preg bras were huge (32DD) and the preg bras ever bigger (34E+) and I was swimming in them. Finally got confirmation today that I’m settled at a 34C. Which is the size I was before going on the pill many moons ago, so it makes sense. I am a little disappointed that breastfeeding didn’t give me the huge boobs many women seem to end up with, but at least my clothes still fit.

2. Stretch marks

My eleven (yes, I counted) stretch marks have faded to flesh tone. The most obvious one is a slash across my navel piercing, but I knew that was inevitable.

3. Arms

Massive increase in muscle tone. I used to be able to flex a real ‘bump’ of bicep when I was 19, and eight years later it seems I might be regaining this ability. Lifting babies is hard work.

4. Pelvic Floor

I was naughty and never did pelvic floor exercises. BUT. The gods must be smiling because I’ve not lost bladder control at all. I’m putting this down to youth and luck.

5. General Changes

My ribs have never recovered from J trying to fight his way out for ten weeks or more.
I have almost permanent shoulder pain I can only attribute to breastfeeding.
My skin has gone to shit. No two ways about it.
My hair is stronger and in much better condition. Hairdresser confirms.
My nails grow faster.
My voice has cracked. Never expected that one!

The Mummy Uniform

When I went to the local Sure Start I was interested to see how everyone there dressed more or less the same. At first I thought it was a fashion thing (I don’t really know what’s ‘in’ at any given time), but as time has gone on, I realise it’s something else: The Mummy Uniform.

To emulate this look you will need:

1. The black changing bag from Boots. Parents, you’ll know which one I mean.
2. Leggings.
3. A looong swishy cardigan
4. Ballerina flats
5. Your hair in a bun.

I recently met up with a friend whose one year old was wearing tiny DMs to match her mum, whose hair is currently bright purple. I had on my usual Superdry tee and Converse. J was wearing his Guns & Roses tee.

At one point I overheard some old dears next to us say they couldn’t believe both of us were old enough to be married. The babies weren’t mentioned.

Which makes me wonder if the Mummy Uniform is more than just ease and comfort – is it a subconscious statement of your ability to parent as well as everyone else?

Review: Sherwood Forest Center Parcs

Based on a midweek stay in a one-bed Exec’ Lodge.

TL;DR: 9.5/10

Baby changing:
Can’t fault. There are varying facilities throughout the park, but many are in disabled toilets. Each time we used them they were spotless, with a large paper roll to line the table if you needed it. Bins did not smell.
The changing areas for the pool are also great – specific changing rooms with tables and plenty of clothes hooks. Lockers are refundable and took three messenger bags, two coats and three people’s clothes and shoes.

Baby feeding:
About as easy as you can get. There were microwaves and bottle warmers in the JDS and pool cafe, though there may have been more around the park, we didn’t go everywhere.
All eateries have highchairs. All except one were clean. Sadly, the highchair sent to our villa was dirty and we had to scrub it.
In the JDS, there is a fun little Heinz-sponsored area where jars of baby food are provided for free.
All eateries do child-size portions or meals.
I saw many women breastfeeding at the pool and in the JDS, all seemingly happy with the arrangements. There were a couple of feeding rooms with chairs as well.

Baby friendly overall: Smooth paths for easy pushchair-ing
At least three different adventure playgrounds with toys aimed at various ages. Soft play in the leisure bowl, JDS, and even in Strada restaurant.
Highchairs and travel cots can be provided in your lodge at no extra charge.
Pool has two separate children’s areas; one for babies and one for older kids.
Children’s bikes and parent-child tandems available, also little wagons to tow behind bikes.
Childcare available from 3months
Shop stocks everything you might have forgotten.
Only reason CP isn’t getting 10/10 is because of the mucky highchair and the fact that the free-for-all parking means there’re no parent and child spaces.

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