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Dearest 19 Month Old

Hello Baby!

So 19 months already?? You’re going to be my one and a half year old to anyone that asks though. It just sounds like a nice age doesn’t it? And it rolls off the tongue. Kind of.

It’s been a funny few weeks really with a lot of upheaval and changes so that’s why you’ve been getting some extra tight hugs. You seem to becoming a very smart toddler and given some tight lovely hugs back. I do love coming home from work to you! It’s very true what they say, toddlers get more fun as they get older.

So what have you been doing this month? Well, one of your newest things is trying to take your coat off yourself. You soon around trying to shake it off and manage it after about 6 or 7 rotations; kind of like a toddler superman going at very slow speed!

You’ve also developed your sense of humour. You absolutely love laughing and playing little tricks on us. Most of them involve us chasing you in some form or other but it’s so lovely to hear you squeal with excitement. And then when steal our place on the sofa and shout “mine!!!” we have to come and tell you off in a pretend fashion. It’s our regular game now played about 5 times a day.

You still don’t say that much but i think you’re getting there. You just tend make it up if you don’t know the word for it. I know it’s frustrates you because you’ll gesture wildly sometimes and pull my hand to wherever you want to go or to whatever you want. Having said that, this week you’ve learnt “ipak” for iPad which is now yours and only yours. I think that poor talking cat is going to run away from that app soon!

You are, at last, becoming friendly with other toddlers your age, hurrah!!! You won’t quite throw your arms around one yet but you will at least say “ULLO!” (sometimes) and play near them. I’m hoping this means the start of the end of separation anxiety. You also look a lot less scared of your 3 year old cousin. More hurrah!!

There’s going to be changes to our playgroup. Some mums have apparently been making excellent use of the child size kitchen and having a good natter instead of paying attention to their own children (or letting the children actually play in the kitchen). We’re just waiting to find out what those changes are going to be… So you might actually get to play in there soon!

Do you know it’s just a month to In The Night Garden Live? I know! HOW exciting!!

So, until next time baby…. Mmmwah!!

The Secret Fun of Part Time Working Mums

When I tell people I work part time, their usual response is “Oh you’re so lucky!”. I usually stare back, usually about to drop off, grateful for a moment of peace and a fleeting thought “maybe I could nap whilst she talks?”. Most people, including the Other Half, seem to think Z and I must skip to various playgroups every day and run through fields of daisies and generally have a lot of relaxing “us” time. (To be fair, this is what I thought I’d be doing too). It IS a lot of fun being with Z and half the time I am watching him open mouthed as he demonstrates his latest trick. But it’s just SO tiring too.

On the days when I’m off work, it goes something like this:

Very Early Morning:

Get woken up by a jack in the box style toddler who starts yapping full volume any time between 6.30am and 7am

If he’s already in our bed then get treated to a couple of wake up kicks.

Pray that he might drop off for about half an hour.

Accept, about 5 minutes later, that prayers won’t be answered and get up.

Attempt to have a wash / go to loo / have a shower / brush teeth whilst toddler runs around bathroom threatening to chuck everything down the loo.

Watch toddler mimicking me brushing my teeth. (Thank god he’s not learnt to spit yet!).

Stop toddlers various attempts to climb into the bath.

Make toddler breakfast whilst listening to him empty entire toybox

Try to persuade toddler to eat breakfast whose only reply is a loud “Nooooooo Toooooaast!”.

Spend 5 minutes chasing toddler before finally pinning him down to change his nappy and clothes.

Dash off (late) to playgroup.

Lunchtime and Afternoon

Make lunch and strap wriggly toddler in high chair

Watch toddler examine food / throw food / shout “Nooooo peeeaas” followed by tantrum.

Put washing on / do washing up / clean up all the toys whilst trying to feed toddler at the same time.

Persuade toddler to eat something. Anything!

Eventually give up trying to stop toddler throw everything and set him free.

Sigh as toddler thinks its fun to stamp on food.

Smile as he then brings dustpan and brush to sweep it up.

Try to sweep up quickly and stop toddlers attempts to eat stamped on food from the floor.

Miss a bit and fail to stop toddler eating squished food.

Worry that a part of you thinks “well at least he ate something”.

Try to teach toddler the meaning of the words “Tidy up Tiiiime!”.

Watch toddler instantly empty toybox in record breaking time.

Attempt to fold laundry as toddler plays.

Fold laundry again after toddler “helps” by chucking it all on the floor.

Catch toddler trying to stand up on his rocking zebra toy.

Wonder why there’s still food all over the floor when you just cleaned up?

Discover soles of toddlers shoes are encased in mushed veg.

Spend remainder of afternoon trying to persuade toddler to eat something

Thank the lord when toddler eventually naps, two hours later than usual.

Tidy room up / Put dinner on / Put more laundry on / Attempt to clean toddlers shoes.

Realise you’re still watching Cbeebies.

Have lunch (quickly) at 3.30pm

Try to sew button back onto shirt. Realise you are crap at sewing.

Wonder if you could have a nap. Get woken within half an hour by toddler with his second burst of energy.

Late Afternoon / Evening

Take toddler for quick park trip (if it’s not raining) before dinner. Else let him have major play time (including emptying entire toybox one more time).

Make toddler dinner and go through persuasion rigmarole once more.

Try offering various food combinations. Give up after the 5th “Noooo!”.

Get ready for bathtime.

On days when toddler absolutely loves the bath, enjoy the water play and watching toddler splash around.

On days when toddler hates the bath with a vengeance, spend ages trying to persuade screaming toddler into it whilst prising his fingers off the door. Usually give up and wash baby down.

Hover around the window about 6pm-ish wondering where the Other Half is. Let toddler play with the blinds / strings for a bit.

Breathe big sigh of relief when Other Half gets home and toddler switches all attention to “Daaaadaaaa!”.

Hit Other Half with frying pan when he innocently comments / enquires “Did you not clean up today? Takeaway for dinner again? You didn’t pick up my parcel?” (Ok, not really. Ahem).

Wonder how the hell you’d ever cope with TWO!

Glue arse to sofa once toddler is in bed asleep for the night. Stare at TV / Twitter / Other forms of social media

Collapse into bed at 10pm and get ready to do it all again the next day.

The Guilt – A Rant

“A mothers guilt is hard enough without other people adding to it”.

My friend said this to another friend on a Whatsapp group conversation this week. She has gone back to work following the end of her maternity leave and is feeling the pressure of not only leaving her baby in nursery, but having her family/in-laws chime in with what they think of the whole situation. Needless to say she is very on edge.

This last few days have been utter shite (to put it politely). Baby Z has been really poorly with a persistent temperature. The “mothers guilt” kicked in immediately. Was it something I did? Was it all the early starts? Is it because it’s just so cold outside in the morning?

Certain family members then added to that guilt by giving their opinion on what had made Z ill. Some, quite nicely, revolved around me going back to work. The button was pressed successfully and the mothers guilty tears flowed.

The doctor diagnosed him with a throat infection but it’s viral which means no antibiotics and he has to fight it off himself. Great!! Now, I’m not an antibiotics addict by any means and, personally, I always feel like I should be close to my death bed before making an appointment, but when it comes to your baby you somehow just want them to wave a wand a make them better don’t you? Well, she didn’t pull out the wand and after a thorough check we trudged back home to alternate between the calpol and nurofen.

We are currently on Day 6 of an on and off temperature, teething and a throat infection. He is trying so hard to be the bubbly naughty baby he is but every so often he climbs into my lap looking shattered and just wants to be cuddled. As much as I love the hugs, I just want the little hurricane back that can destroy our living room in 30 seconds flat.

And then to throw a bit more guilt into the mix I have to go back to work tomorrow. I left work in a hurry half way through the day on Friday to take Z to the doctors. My boss was supportive as always but that didn’t stop me feeling guilty about dropping everything with the promise of catching up later. That later didn’t come till Saturday morning whilst Z napped. Come tomorrow I will be worrying about Z and wondering if he is ok whilst trying to work and obviously not giving 100%.

Roll on the end of bug season and a happier fully recovered Z.

There endeth the rant.

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Bloody Early Starts

When I was on maternity leave I imagined and worried about what my morning routine with a baby would be like. I thought if I timed it and planned well enough we’d both, as parents, potter out the house calmly, in the early morning sunshine, ready to start the working day.

Over this last month I’ve realised the reality is somewhat different.

The Other half and I are usually woken with a start by an alarm clock that seems to go off earlier and earlier each morning. We then proceed to clamber out silently with one or both eyes bloodshot from the gazillion wake ups during the night and tip toe around in mad mute frenzy trying not to wake the baby whilst we at least make ourselves presentable.

Baby Z usually wakes by one of us hissing to the other and demands to be freed from the confines of his cot. Once out he, luckily for us, entertains himself by pulling every item of clothing off the rails and tasting them.

Getting inside our cars involves more running around trying to defrost and heat them up, at which point there’s a lot of shouty reminders being yelled at each other…

“The blinds! Don’t forget the blinds!”
“Where’s the baby! Can you stick the baby in the car?”
“Did you lock up??”
“Did you put the alarm on??”

You get the picture.

Once we’re both inside our respective cars I wait for the Other half to set off and heave a sigh of relief as we set off too.

Driving down the road in the dark I wonder if our neighbours may be stood grumpily at their windows from being woken from the daily racket we seem to make.

I don’t ponder for long as I see a tall slim figure in the shape of my Other Half running past my car. I stop the car and shout… “Whats happened?!!”

“I forgot my laptop!”

I set off again and make a mental note that our morning routine needs a bit or urgent attention.

Back to Work

Yesterday was my first day back after almost 14 months of maternity leave. Like a good return to work worker we were all in bed at a fairly reasonable time the night before (well, ok not really. But the intention was there!).

As luck would have it Baby Z decided it would be an opportune night to wake up at 4am to have a good play. Attempts to put him back to sleep failed miserably and by 6.15am we were all up, dressed and slightly giddy from the lack of sleep. As a result I bounded into an empty office at 8am and the rest of the day went something like this.

– Drinking countless cups of tea and then making countless trips to the loo.

– Trying very hard to remember people’s names.
[Thinks] I’m sure he’s called Gary. Gary. Definitely Gary…
… “Oh hello! Sorry, of course I meant to say Simon”
[Think]Shit. I could have sworn he was called Gary.

– Looking at self, impressed I have no baby sick, wee, food on clothes

– Thinking Gawd, I need a nap

– Resisting the strong urge to talk about Waybuloo/Dave Lamb-gate.

– Wondering what baby is up to

– Ringing mum to find out.

– Counting the number of times someone says “balls of steel” in different meetings.

– Wondering what’s happening in the Gilmore Girls

– Wondering how the hell I’m going to last another hour

– More tea

– Catching up with friends

– Looking a bit surprised at man who asked if I’ve had the baby.

– Driving to mums to pick up baby with visions of a joyful reunion where mummy gets showered with hugs and kisses from a happy baby.

– Greeted by a happy baby who points at me, smiles and crawls off! Huh.