WHAT gave me the right to judge the man in the park who stood around with his mates while his baby slept in the swing? Was it that his little one, younger than the Little Mister, was so slumped forwards that he looked extra forlorn? Or was it that the baby was so completely fast asleep, cap on a slant, that he looked extra pitiable? Or was it that the little guy looked so especially tiny while he was surrounded by the group of men gathered around the swings?

Parent-judging. It’s ugly. But I still do it. I detest being on the receiving end. But I still do it.

The Little Mister and I, after a pretty amazing morning walk around the zoo (where we crawled on the grass and hung out with a wallaby, a giraffe, a pelican and a duck), tried to go to the swings. It’s one of our go-to activities with the park just around the corner and a bit of fresh air is never a bad way to tire the little boy out.

As we got close, I decided we’d keep on walking and give the swings a miss. At 3.30 in the afternoon, a group of young men were gathered around the bench and swings, smoking, drinking, and looking generally harmless but not particularly inviting.

But as we walked past, I saw the baby. He was small. Smaller than Milin. The swing was completely still, because he was asleep in it. His arms were hanging over the top. His chin on his chest at an angle, his head was slumped forward. He was so little, and so asleep.

Around him, they smoked, drank, laughed. He slept. I judged.

What do I know? Perhaps those parents hadn’t had sleep in four days? Perhaps the swing was the only way they could get a break, and he could get some sleep. What do I know? Nothing about them. But my heart ached for that little boy, sleeping in that swing, while the grown up boys around him got on with their day in the sun.

Dear Screaming Fairies

Why? Screaming Fairies, that’s my question to you: Why?

You’ve paid our happy home a visit twice in two nights. We’re tired. The Little Mister is tired. Please don’t come back tomorrow.

Perhaps we’ve had it too good for the last three and a half months. Bedtime has been 6pm, until daylight savings started. Since then we’ve pushed it back to 7am, and got ourselves an extra hour in bed in the morning. Getting up at 7am seems right. Getting up at 6am doesn’t.

And for the last three and a half months the routine has been working oh so well. Did we get complacent? Dada gives the Little Mister a bath, massage and they read some books. Mama gives him a bottle, and when he’s finished, tucks the blanket into the sides of the cot and says goodnight. Really screaming fairies, there was no reason to come a-visiting.

Last night, we thought it was the rescue helicopter loudly coming into land at the hospital that woke the Little Mister up. Cue nearly two hours of refusing to go back to his cot. Well there was no rescue helicopter tonight, but that staunch refusal to go to sleep was back.

We lowered the mattress yesterday. I know he’s some time away (hopefully) from standing up in his cot and trying to make a swift exit, but it can’t hurt to be prepared. Or can it? He’s definitely notice the sides of the cot come up higher now. He’s much closer to the floor, he can see it.

But is that the reason for your visit screaming fairies? See with Tony and I being new at this game, we can only guess. All we know is that we’ve not seen you for four months or so at bed time. Now, suddenly, out of the blue, you’re back.

The Little Mister can’t tell us why you’re here. All we can do, is try our very best to calm him down. He breaks my heart, screaming. He breaks it into smaller pieces when I can’t help him stop. He’s back in his cot now. Sleeping. Please let him stay that way for a while, and please don’t come back tomorrow. In advance, thank you.

Magic Hugs

CUDDLES are your new game, and I love them. From you, they are the best magic trick I have ever known. Magic, because they have an unparalleled power to fill me with joy and make me the happiest girl in the world. Magic, because they come from nowhere, suddenly and without warning. Magic, because they make this life infinitely better. Magic, because they are from you to me and all mine.

You part with them mostly when you wake up and when you are tired. There’s the kind where your arms get thrown around my neck – often after smiling or crying. And there’s the kind where you bury your head into me – often after crawling up to me to have a little rest.

I already know that one day, when you feel too big to cuddle mama so often, I will miss these hugs.

I will miss too, you falling asleep in my arms each night. I will miss watching your eyes get heavy and your arms fall limp as you turn down the energy which has seen you through the day. I will miss tucking you into your cot, and watching as you turn onto your side and pull your comforter towards your face. I will miss you calling out in the night, and then staying with you until you stop crying. While all the world sleeps and it is night, I will miss holding you quietly to me. I will miss picking you up when you wake up, and trying to contain you as your excitement at being awake sees you desperate to get down and play.

Already, at nine months, I miss the things you have grown out of. I miss feeding you. I barely remember how light you were, or how we held you so you wouldn’t break. I’m not sure if I remember your squeak, that little sound you made instead of crying, and which led to your nickname. I miss how you only took up half of your bassinet, which I would wheel into the lounge so you could sleep while I did the hoovering. I miss how you calmed down when Tony danced with you around the lounge during those crying evenings. I miss how you fitted just in the crook of his arm.

All these things, they pass too quick. So while you, my Little Mister, are in such a rush to play with the next toy and crawl to the next adventure, I will try to keep you in my arms a few seconds more. And later, when you wake, while all the world sleeps and it is night, I will hold you quietly to me a little longer.

Hands, Knees: Go

THE WORLD around the Little Mister suddenly became a lot more exciting this week. He mastered crawling. After weeks of rocking backwards and forwards on his hands and knees, and weeks of watching his buddies do it, he’s going places. Fast.

It happened on Tuesday morning. We woke up, went into the lounge to play toys, I sat the Little Mister on the rug, and he launched forward onto all fours and was off. Just like that. It was like he’d figured it out overnight and couldn’t wait to get started.

He’s spent the week exploring the living room, and making some observations. His favourite place to crawl to is the fireplace. We’ve stopped lighting the fire in the mornings as a result. I’m just hoping it doesn’t get cold again. Today, he figured out how to crawl up onto the hearth. Then he tried to crawl down. Bang.

He much prefers crawling on the wooden floor than on the rug. Getting into the bottom shelves of our bookshelves is fun too. But sometimes he bangs his head on the edge of the unit. Ouch.

The pantry is almost too exciting to handle. Getting into the bottom corner is activity number one. From here, he can scratch the rice bag, try to get into the egg tray, try to open the paper recycling bin, and then swivel around on his tummy and watch what I’m doing in the kitchen. From there, he heads towards the very large metal plant pot. Those yukka leaves are so tempting, but just a little too high to reach just now. (But I predict I’ll be writing a post about him pulling them off in the not too distant future.)

He’s not yet ventured in the direction of the dining table, but there’s so many wooden legs for him to bang his head on there I’m in no rush to introduce him to that particular piece of furniture.

I still put toys in the middle of the rug for us to play with. Mostly he ignores them and heads for the fireplace. I love his independence. But, I’m kind of sad too that this Little Mister can now go where he wants, when he wants. Already, he needs me a little less.

But suddenly I can’t take my eyes off him. There’s too many bangs on the head already.

He is, despite the bangs, so excited by the world. Every crawling second is an adventure. For months he has watched the scenery around him and get to know it well. Now, finally, he can go and explore it. Enjoy my Little Mister, enjoy.

Balanced Diets are Over-rated

THEY are sweet, puree up nice and smooth, and gain a little something when steamed with a stick of cinnamon. Pears. The only food the Little Mister will eat.

It’s only since he was eight months that he has accepted any solids at all, so I’m not expecting him to be eating three balanced meals a day. But, I do wish he’d eat at least some savoury foods. Some days are better than others. Often in the morning I get him to eat some yoghurt and rice cereal with his pear. Other sweet fruits also go down quite well as long as they are totally liquidised and the main ingredient in that two tablespoon meal is still pear.

But should I try and mix in some meat or vegetables, he looks at me like I’m trying to poison him. Like I’ve betrayed him. Oh Little Mister, I just want you to eat.

I’ve tried finger food. Grated cheese, a bit of egg, a bit of bread, a bit of corn cracker, a bit of banana. Same result everytime. Gag, choke, vomit. The Little Mister isn’t ready.

So I wait. While his friends eat their lunch around him, we wait. I know all babies end up eating. I know the Little Mister is not starving – in fact, he’s drinking so much formula it’s quite the opposite. But on some days, like today, his total rejection of even a tablespoon of food makes me wish he could just tell me what I am doing wrong.

Then I’d make it better, he’d eat a balanced meal, and then we’d go back to playing toys. And crawling, and clapping, and waving, and trying to climb. Because all that stuff is way more fun than eating, after all.