You Made My Day

I KNOW there will come a time when we stop celebrating the Little Mister turning a month older, but that must be at least a year or so away. Today, we celebrated eight months. Eight months! It’s been two thirds of a year of getting to know each other, adjusting to sleep deprivation, learning some big lessons, laughing lots, crying too, and discovering a whole other level of happiness.

So to mark eight months, we crammed a fair bit into the Little Mister’s day. It was the last day of winter, and the sun shone over Wellington. First up was the swing at the park with his nani ji. Milin loves the swing. Today, he couldn’t wait to get out of his buggy and get onto it. Which was good, it tired him out nicely for his second nap.

With his grandparents and me, the Little Mister spent the afternoon at Oriental Bay. The sea was calm, the fountain caught his attention, and I found myself remembering the last time I’d put my toes in the ocean there. It was Christmas Day, the day the doctors had wanted to induce me, but we bought ourselves and the Little Mister a bit more time. Christmas morning was spent at the hospital and I was discharged after two nights there. Still pregnant.

Today, the Little Mister wasn’t sure about sitting on the sand. He didn’t mind watching the water lap at the shore, but really it was a short stint on the beach. He didn’t let me rub sun cream into his face, and so spent the afternoon looking like an Australian cricketer with zinc-based sun block on one cheek.

So, we went for a walk, which the Little Mister was much happier about. People watching, today, trumped watching the ocean. And then a stint at the Beach Babylon cafe saw me become probably the proudest mum in Wellington. My eight-month-old, he was perfectly behaved. While we had our tea and cakes, Milin sat in his high chair, chomped for a while on Sophie and his set of keys, smiled flirtatiously with the other customers, and spent the outing being generally charming.

I thought I was being optimistic when I left the house with a pouch of pureed fruit and two teaspoons (one for Milin to hold, one for me to use, and feeding time can happen anywhere). But, I pulled out the pouch and two metal teaspoons, put on the bib I had also brought along, and started to feed my boy. He kept up with his tremendous run this week of eating solids. He seems only to be eating pear, apple and banana (pureed together by Heinz) – but he ate lots. And slept all the way home. Yep, I’m the proudest mum in Wellington. Happy eight months my cheery little Milin baby, you made my day. Again.

 

 

Right Tools for the Job

METAL teaspoons. This week, they’re the answer.

I’m getting the Little Mister to eat a little, probably about a teaspoon worth of food, about twice a day. It’s not because I’m giving him jarred stuff from the supermarket, or because I’m being brave enough to do baby led weaning, or because he particularly wants to eat. It’s because I’m using metal teaspoons.

Meal time goes like this. Milin gets one metal teaspoon. He loves it. He bangs it on the kitchen bench like a musician. He also throws it onto the floor and then looks at me expectantly until I pick it up and give it back to him. And, crucially, he puts it in his mouth and chomps on it.

The Little Mister is teething. Consequentially, he loves teaspoons. They feel great on his gums and they’re pretty easy to hold and get into his mouth. So while he opens wide to get one teaspoon in, I’m there ready with another. Another one laden with pureed solids, that is.

I know it’s trickery, but it’s getting me more success at mealtime than any other honest attempt at feeding has. If we’re having a really good day, the Little Mister will even want to feed himself. But again, with the metal teaspoon. Which I gently guide into his mouth, and voila, success.

So, in the kitchen cupboard, are a whole load of fancy BPA free baby spoons. Some even change colour with temperature so you know if your baby food is to hot. But the Little Mister is too smart for all that kind of stuff. Baby spoons which are soft on the gums? No thanks, mama. Point one of those in the direction of the Little Mister and his lips purse shut, his head turns away from you, he bats at the plastic, and he arches his back so far in the opposite direction he almost does a full backbend.

Tony has been telling me for months to give the boy a regular spoon, just like he sees us eating from. I was convinced a metal spoon would be too hard on his gums. And I was also convinced I was doing the right thing by buying lots of different baby spoons, because surely the little boy would find one he liked. But no, Tony insisted, try a metal spoon. I suppose he was right.

Swings, the beach, and peek-a-boo

A RIDE on the swings, a walk along the beach and a first-time-ever go on a see-saw. Yesterday was a pretty awesome day in terms of fun for the Little Mister. While I was at work, his nani and nana ji were in charge. And he loved it.

He’d already had a good morning – I’d taken him to Baby Rock and Rhyme at Kilbirnie library and he’d had a great time singing songs and watching his mama mess up the hand movements. But it seems that it was once I’d left for the office that the fun really started.

The Little Mister loves getting out and about. It seems to be a common theme among his baby friends. It doesn’t matter what the weather is, being at home is boring. This works well for all concerned really, because being out also usually means being more tired and having a better sleep as a result. Except for the times that it means being over-tired and having a meltdown because we were somewhere the Little Mister was too distracted to get some shut-eye.

So yesterday, Little Mister was taken to Lyall Bay by his grandparents. It sounds like he played on the baby swing for about 15 minutes. I wish I’d been there, but I’m told he was kicking his legs in glee. And jabbering away at the same time, telling the older kiddies at the park all about it. Next up was the see saw – another hit – and of course he had a walk on the beach watching the waves and a little time factored in to stare at the sea gulls.

He really is a joy. He brought so much happiness to everyone who looked after him yesterday. And as he learnt more about the world about him, he too was one happy little pixie.

The Little Mister loves the swing. But more than that, he loves his nana ji.

After a day at the beach, the Little Mister played with his grandparents at home. Here he is, laughing out loud when nana ji – his favourite person – plays peek a boo from behind the door. So much joy.

 

Party Planning

WE ARE off to a first birthday next Sunday. It’s the first one, the first party for one of Milin’s baby friends. And it’s got me thinking about when our own Little Mister reaches his first birthday. What shall we do?

It’s more than four months away and he won’t remember it, but I feel like it’s terribly important that we get it right. I want to celebrate. I want to make him laugh, and smile, and spend a day being incredibly happy as everything is going his way. Granted, he spends most days laughing, smiling, and being incredibly happy – but surely on his birthday I can manage to edge things up a bit? Whether it’s because he gets to play with wrapping paper (which I’m guessing he’ll love because he loves chewing newspaper), or because he gets sung silly songs to (which he already loves), or because he picks up on the atmosphere that something special is happening around him – it’s terribly important. (To me.)

I want to make the Little Mister happy every day, but on that day at the end of this year I want to try even harder. And, going back to that other thing, I want to celebrate. We will have made it to one year. Phew.

New Year’s Eve. How lovely it is to look forward to it now.

So, the Little Mister’s first birthday is already occupying my thoughts. What shall we do? Where? Who shall come? What about the invites? It wasn’t so long ago planning like this took on a life of its own and became all consuming. That was for our wedding. So is it too much? For a little boy who is just going to be one and will never know the lengths we went to? Of course not.

 

Come to think of it, we could just get the Little Mister a new stainless steel bowl for his birthday. This one from the kitchen is his current favourite toy. It’s a teething aide, musical drum and mirror all in one.

On the other end of the toy scale – we scored this with our Fly Buys points – before deciding to move back to London. Of course we can’t take it with us. In the meantime, we’ve just started putting the Little Mister in it this week. He loves being wheeled around. I can’t believe he’s already big enough for it.

 

Thank You Mummies

WHILE the Little Mister was almost beside himself, and I was closer than him to the precipice of holding it all together, I sought advice from baby club. The poor wee babe has had a trying week being sick, and come the weekend, I was feeling helpless.

So I asked for tips from my wonderful mummy friends. Not by phone, because phone calls can always be interrupted; not in person, because I didn’t want Milin to pass his bugs on; but via the wonder that is the interweb.

Come Saturday morning, at a loss, all I wanted was some new ideas – or even just a few mummies to say they’d been through this too. I emailed, I asked my various mummy groups on facebook, and I generally put the cyber feelers out there – help me, I asked.

And what a response. I was told that tui bee balm, pawpaw ointment and sudocreme are the wonder cures for nappy rash, combined with lots of air and sunshine. I tried it – it was true. I was given advice on water, soap, teething, tummy aches, baby being clingy, baby not feeding … the list went on. I tried almost everything, because if another mummy found it worked for their baby, it was worth trying for the Little Mister. And of course, lots of the tips worked.

So, thank you mummies. Not only for your advice and for sharing your secrets, but for sharing your stories. When the Little Mister was wailing, and I felt I’d done everything wrong, it was so good to know that I wasn’t the only one to feel that way. I wasn’t the first mummy to feel despair at not knowing how to help, and I know I won’t be the last. Your suggestions made the Little Mister better, which was the only thing I wanted this weekend.

There might not be a handbook that comes with motherhood, but the community that grows around you means you don’t need one.

 

Get Well Soon

I AM wondering whether there are many things more painful than seeing your baby sick.

At first I thought it was teething related – the Little Mister won’t let me look, but I can feel two sharp little teeth on his lower gums. But he’s not dribbling, he’s not gnawing and he’s not got red cheeks.

Well, he does have red cheeks – but from nappy rash. The poor little boy is beside himself with what might be a tummy bug. It started yesterday and by last night at 2am Tony and I finally got him to settle down by taking him to bed with us. There was nothing else we could do to make it better.

Today, I’ve tried everything that friends, books and of course the internet have suggested. The Little Mister has tried bravely to not let being sick get him down. At times, he has been easy to distract. At others he has been inconsolable. For the second night in a row, we’ve resorted to baby panadol.

Watching him in pain is horrible. His screams have made his voice hoarse. Of course he cannot understand why he feels the way he does. Sometimes, we can make him forget about how he is feeling. At other times, I am sure he wants to be his normal chirpy self, but he just can’t get past being sick. As we prepare ourselves for another long night, I suppose all we can do is our best and hope he is better very soon.

 

 

Lions and Giraffes and Monkeys

GOING out and about with the Little Mister is becoming so much fun. Whenever we go anywhere new, it’s like a grand adventure for him. His eyes open wide, he looks around at the new place, people and objects, and takes it all in. You can almost see the wheels turning. He’s often a little quiet with concentration, but later, as if on a high, he’ll babble away and tell me all about it.

As far as adventures go, today was all the way up there. Somehow, we managed to fit in a trip to the zoo and a trip to the swimming pool. It was all about getting the sleeps perfectly timed. And now we’re both exhausted.

The zoo is just down the road, but today was the first time we’d made it further than the cafe at the entrance (where we spend a lot of time). I know the zoo well, but walking around with the Little Mister today, I saw it in a whole new light. He loved it. He particularly loved watching all the other kids there, particularly the little ones running around.

He took a look at a sun bear, and the giraffes, who did look remarkably like his Sophie. The lion was perhaps a little far away, but he did see the monkeys. It was the roosters who scurried across our path who were possibly the biggest hit though, because they were the closest and easiest to examine. They were moving around a lot too, and colourful and standing out against their surroundings. The Little Mister just stared quietly, watching, thinking, processing.

Of course it tired him out, but after his sleep, mum and I took him to the pool. I’ve been meaning to do it for ages, but was too scared of the logistics to go alone the first time and then getting the flu set back plans, so today was the day. And we had so much fun.

The Little Mister has always loved bath time, but I was still aware that liking being in a baby bath might not equate to liking being in a toddler pool full of bigger kids. Again, he was quiet, and a little serious, but he really enjoyed it.

In his oh-so-cute crocodile trunks that were way too big, he bobbed around in his inflatable ring for a while, and then I held him as he sat up in the water, stood up for a while, floated on his tummy, and sat on my lap. He found a few balls, which of course went straight to his mouth. He watched the taps pouring water in. He tried to drink the water in the pool. And he copied me when I splashed at the water with my hand. He got it. In the bath tonight, he splashed again. This could be the start of something messy.

In the changing rooms, he was a little bashful and shyly turned away from the Milin baby in the mirror. The very loud shower scared him so much his terrified eyes couldn’t get any wider. But then he was calm, and content, and fell asleep in the car on the way home.

We’re going again next week.