Happy Seven Months

WHEN I look at you today, Little Mister, I am in awe of how much you have changed in just seven months. Your father always says you arrived with wide eyes – looking alert and like you were taking it all in. That is how I see you now. Wanting to keep learning more and more about the world around you.

Today, we were busy. We saw the other babies from antenatal group. At our hostess’ house, you were transfixed by the television. You smiled at the presenters. You sat up so well, your new trick, and gnawed on your teething rings. You smiled at your little friends – they too fill me with awe. You were so happy, flashing your grin around the room, chuffed to be at such a social event.

It tired you out, you fell asleep when we left and slept in the car for an hour and a half. You woke up in time for the end of Space at Play Centre. The babies were playing with blocks, and you picked up the wooden train. All by yourself, you worked out how to spin its wheels – round and round. It was like magic, and you were spellbound.

You played with my mum in the afternoon. You know she’ll play silly games with you. You laughed so much. And when Tony came home, your face lit up like it was the best thing that could ever happen in the world. Your favourite person, he took you for a walk in the rain.

There were other bits in there too – you refused to eat, you drank your formula without complaining when there were no distractions, you laughed hard when I tickled you, you looked so grown up in your jeans – like a little boy now. You are a picture in your sleeping bag, you chewed on a yellow rubber ducky while Tony bathed you. We only got half way through Goodnight Moon.

I kissed you goodnight before Tony put you in your cot. You no longer complain at night time. After you are tucked in, you turn onto your side and close your eyes. With your bunny beside you, I believe you are having the sweetest dreams. My tired-out cherub, my beautiful boy who I never knew I could love like this, happy seven months.

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Rejection

I’m feeling rejected. I know the Little Mister hasn’t done it on purpose, but he has made me feel a little snubbed.

I’ve written here about having some success with food, but that was a one-off. In reality, the Little Mister still doesn’t eat anything. He’s going great with the formula, but when it comes to solids, he still doesn’t want anything I’ve made.

So, the freezer shelf is still full. I make up fruit-based purees, vegetable purees, cinnamon infused purees, expressed milk vegetable mashes – the works. I portion them up, carefully date and label them, add them to my colour-coded list on the freezer door, and put them away.

Each morning, I decide on a menu and defrost what I need to while he sleeps, getting ready, because today might be the day. I dutifully try and feed him breakfast and lunch every day, just as I have done for the past two and a half months. He continues to purse his lips, turn his head away, and flatly refuse to take the spoon.

I’ve just started reading the baby led weaning book, and I’m going to give it a go. I think we’ll have some luck with it. The baby on the cover looks a bit like Milin, and I think we’ve got the same high chair. This bodes well. The thing is, I’m yet to get over my nerves about choking and gagging. Perhaps once I’m a little further through the book though, I’ll be steaming up carrots and broccoli heads and handing them to my hungry baby with confidence. Maybe he’ll sit there, in his high chair, and smile at me before grabbing them from the tray, munching away at them, and demanding more. Maybe. But that’s down the track.

Today, mum, who is finally here from London, gave the Little Mister a squeezy pouch to hold. She helped him squeeze its contents into his mouth – which he opened. Voila. The Little Mister ate organic broccoli, carrot and sweet potato mash. From a plastic squeezy tube made by a machine in a factory. Then he ate some more.

I know I shouldn’t resent that there wasn’t any mama-love in that tube, but I do. I know I should be pleased that he ate something – anything – but I still feel rejected. I guess there’s always tomorrow. Maybe he’ll go off the squeezy tube and want a mouthful of home made goodness instead. Or maybe not.

Here he is – just before refusing to eat the breakfast I’d made him. Lucky he’s so cute.

No breakfast for me thanks, I’ve got rings and Sophie to chew on.

The Kiran and Tony Team

Tony and I have always been a team, but with the Little Mister around, we seem to have perfected the art of working together. It’s taken nearly seven months, but I think we’ve made it here relatively smoothly by figuring out how much more we can achieve with a little team work.

A very good friend came to visit last week. She spent a few days and nights with us, and showered us with compliments about our team work. Milin was lucky she said, that we had it sorted. Honestly, she was here over a fortunately calm few days while the boy was well behaved and settled. Tony and I were feeling the benefits of relatively good night sleeps – and so perhaps life did look smooth. Of course it often isn’t.

But I am proud of us when I think of how we work together. We have established routines, and they seem to be paying off. The most successful one is bath time, and since we’ve been strictly adhering to this (about two months) bed time has become so much easier. The Little Mister has a bath, gets a massage, reads some books, has a bottle, and then promptly falls asleep about 6.30/7pm. It also means that we have each evening to ourselves and have reclaimed a bit of time for us.

Not all the routines are having their desired effects (Milin still fights his afternoon nap, he still won’t eat despite my efforts), but I think we will get there with them in the end.

Over the last seven months, we have fallen into patterns that suit us both. Tony, for example, gets up and feeds Milin when he wakes before midnight – I get up and feed him after that time. It’s been about compromise, and fitting the tasks in with all the other busy life things we are trying to achieve.

And now, as our little family ticks along, team work makes each day so much easier. It’s helped us get things just so, and that means it’s also helped us get the Little Mister settled into a happy little routine. But I suppose now we should be waiting for him to change things up again. No routine seems to last too long with a baby. We’ve had a few weeks of thinking life is getting a little easier. So now could be the time he throws us a few surprises – surprises we’ll no doubt need our new found team skills to help us conquer.

 

By the way, I went to work today – and look what I missed:

At home with Aunty Julia

Photo by Julia: http://travellingkiwi.wordpress.com/

Life in Technicolour

AGAIN and again, I am surprised by how much joy our Little Mister brings into the lives of those around him. Since Friday, when my mum arrived in Wellington, I’ve been watching it happen in technicolour.

At the end of mum’s first visit after Milin was born, he was two months old. He was just starting to smile. Now, at the start of her second visit, he is sitting up alone, wanting to crawl, and a smiling, laughing chatterbox who wants to be friends with everyone and will let them know it with a charming grin. He is a little boy who loves his toys, who is happy to play all day as long as he knows we are nearby, who cries to let us know he is hungry or tired, but is otherwise a contented little nearly-seven-month-old.

He loves mum so much already. Today, he laughed again and again and again as she played ball with him. It was such a simple game, but he loved it like it was the best game he had ever played in his whole life. It probably was. He finds mum hilarious. He makes her so happy, just as he does us. We have been watching him today – with the ball, during a walk on the beach, while at the park – and taking such joy from seeing him experience the world for the first time.

At Lyall Bay, he continued his love affair with the ocean. Quietly, he took it all in. The waves transfixed him. The seagulls were fascinating. And after five minutes on the swing, the Little Mister started moving his legs to push himself forward. At home, watching a ball roll away again and again was like watching a magic trick. Watching a car roll around his play mat saw his round eyes widen with surprise.

Watching him watching the world, we are watching a little baby learn and grow from seeing things for the first time. It’s magic.

Beach walk at Lyall Bay

Playtime at Lyall Bay park

London Calling

WE ARE taking the Little Mister to the other side of the world. After months of deliberating, we’ve decided to do it. We’re going back to London.

It began as an idea we both thought would fade. Never in seven years had I wanted to live again in London. We started thinking about it in those sleep-deprived blurry first few weeks of his life. It was so hard, we were so tired. And here we were, half a world away from the people who could help us most. They came to us, yes, but what would happen when they went? Home was calling me back.

Milin’s first half year has seen our lives become so much harder, but also so much richer. I have discovered an amazing network of mums, I have made wonderful new friends, and the Little Mister has had it pretty good too. His life here is superb. We walk in the sunshine most days, it’s easy to get around, people are good to us, we have so much fun in baby club, the ocean is close. Life is simple and good. But, it’s not enough.

London will be hard, we know. But it will also mean the Little Mister can be surrounded by family and grow up with cousins nearby, just as I did. He will miss his New Zealand family, but we will be back of course. He will have two homes. He too, one day, may grapple with this same geographic conundrum that we do.

When I handed in my notice on Friday, my little suggestion suddenly became a reality. I don’t know where we will start on this process of packing up our lives and starting them again on the other side of the world. I don’t know what we will do, whether we will find jobs, or whether London will spit us out and send us back to Godzone tired and beaten. But I do know that come the end of the year, our little family will embark on a new adventure. We will be leaving behind much-loved family and friends. We will be leaving behind our home, Milin’s first playmates, and a lifestyle that I have come to love. But we will be heading for the open arms of others who won’t miss any more of this beautiful little boy’s growing up journey.

A Dull Ache

Today I held my Little Mister a little closer. He stayed in my arms for a little longer, and I pressed my skin against his a little more often.

When his face lit up because something had made him happy, or when he looked up and smiled at me, he made me ache a little inside. When I watched him playing with his toys, or saw him concentrating on getting the best bit of his teething ring in his mouth, I felt a lump in my throat. When he sucked intently on his rusk, or held his arms to me because he wanted to be held, that dull ache was there.

My Little Mister, not quite seven months old, is completely dependent on me, on Tony. If he is hungry, if he is tired, if he is feeling sad or unwell – he needs us. Because he is a baby, and he deserves for us to always put him first. And we do. Without thought, without question. And at the same time, we love him so much it makes me catch my breath.

To think then of those babies that have been so badly let down, has left me today broken-hearted.  It has left me sickened, and at a loss. To think of their suffering, to think of how they were loved during their too-short lives, is unbearable and incomprehensible.

When he wakes tonight, I will hold my Little Mister again, for a little longer. And I will treasure a little more my precious, so-much-loved little bundle. Inside, that ache that comes from loving him so much will still be there. And so too will that ache that comes from thinking of the little ones who deserved so much more.

Winter

Winter is different this year. With the Little Mister, I am out in the rain, the cold and the storms, far more than before. He doesn’t care if it’s blowing a gale when he gets fed up indoors. His busy social calendar sees us traipsing all around the city in every kind of weather – and I hate to drive places with him. Snug as a bug under his blankets in his buggy, he doesn’t care at all if another southerly is blowing through Wellington.

Today, I walked through two bouts of rain, and my fingers were little ice blocks as I’d forgotten my gloves. But, I’m still grateful we went visiting, because the fresh air was just what I needed after being couped up in the office all day yesterday. The exercise surely did me no harm either.

Milin was particularly sociable. He’s still the smiliest person I know. He loves flashing that grin, particularly at new people. The more they smile back, the more he smiles at them. Little charmer.

And then we had a typical winter’s afternoon. The Little Mister had a nap (after screaming at me for ten minutes about not wanting to be in his cot), and I made a fire. I’m getting good too with all the practice. But as nice as it is to spend the afternoons playing on the rug in front of the fire with him, I’m holding out for the days when playing outdoors doesn’t require wellis and down jackets. I have a feeling though that the Little Mister will by then be more taken days of rain – because splashing about in puddles will surely make going for walks more fun.