And he said I love you

Tonight I fell in love again.

The Little Mister, for some reason, made a fuss about being in his cot. Everyone was tired, so, as a treat, Tony put him in the middle of our bed. He was quiet. I lay down next to him and he turned to me. He stroked the hair around my face. With the truly-baby-soft skin on his fingers, he stroked the side of my face in the same way that I stroke his.

Then, silently, he looked up at me and smiled. In the night-time half-light, I saw his happy, tired eyes, and his two bottom teeth. I fell in love with him again. At that moment, he was so grown up. He was a son comforting his tired mother. He was a child who cannot yet talk saying I love you. At that moment, there was nothing else but us.


Happy Eleven Months

HANGING out the washing, I could hear your laughter through the open windows. It was more than a giggle, it was a whole-body, from the depths of your belly, almost uncontrollable, wide-open-mouth and scrunched-up-eyes laugh. You were playing with your Dada.

At eleven months now, life is all about fun. Today’s favourite game was throwing socks at Dada. I came in from the garden and found you both engrossed in the almost hysteria-inducing activity. It was a high-energy ending to a day which had already been filled with delighted squeals.

Little Mister, this is the last month of your first year, and you are loving it. You love playing toys, you love crawling, you love climbing, you love being tickled, you love cuddles, you love when I pick you up high after you tug at my trousers. You love playing peek-a-boo, covering your face with fabric and then suddenly pulling it away. “Where’s Milin? …. Boo!” I must play it a hundred times a day. You love spinning the wheels on your cars, and you love pushing them along the floor, crawling behind them. You love standing against the sofa and reaching for things which aren’t toys – like the tv remote. You are trying to walk by pushing your little car/walker around the lounge, but maybe it’s not weighty enough.

You love the garden and being outside. Weeding is one of your favourite games, as is watching the birds. “Birrr!” Is still your most-used word, used frequently when we chase sparrows in the buggy, your finger pointing to every bird we see. You are getting braver amongst other children, my little hero who has so much courage.

You climb face first off the fireplace and over the middle beam of our dining chairs, before turning around and doing it again. You love new people, you charm them of course with your words and – if they are lucky and funny enough – your smile. You love books and being read to. Every night after bath Dada reads you a few, you know them well. Through the day, we read others together, or you sit down yourself and talk to them. Your favourite these last few weeks is Mr Croc. “Mr Croc, how do you feel?” Tony reads it every night.

Little Mister, every day with you is a joy. Your smile, your laugh, your words, your pointing finger, your arms around my neck – you have made me and Tony the luckiest, happiest people in the world. Happy eleven months, Milin Charlie, you are so grown up! X

standing elfmrcrocfireplace jump

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.

Bedtime Antics

THE LIST of things you should and shouldn’t do when bringing up a baby is endless. Depending on what book you are reading or who you are talking to, you are sure to be doing something wrong.

These last few days, the list has been on my mind. There may as well be a whole sub section on sleep. Everyone’s got an opinion. Overwhelmingly, there seems to be a consensus over how to put your baby down to bed. Do it while they’re awake, the apparent best advice is. Don’t put them down asleep, or they’ll never learn to settle themselves. Well, as far as I can tell, lots of us big people must have been put to bed already asleep and we all put ourselves to bed at night now.

It’s become really clear to me over the last couple of days that the Little Mister can’t put himself to sleep. He was doing it until about five months, but since we’ve stopped swaddling him, he just can’t figure it out.

I have a choice when he needs a nap – either let him scream and get incredibly worked up – or feed him to sleep. I always choose to feed. Maybe then, this is why he can’t put himself back to sleep when he wakes (repeatedly) at night. Maybe it’s why he has started refusing to go into his cot in the day when he’s awake. Probably. The daytime aversion to his cot is definitely new. He starts getting worked up if I take him into his room and the curtains are drawn. He just doesn’t want to go to bed. I don’t blame him, he might miss out on stuff – no-one else is asleep. So begins the crying. And then the feed. And then the darling, floppy, blissfully content and full Little Mister falls asleep mid cuddle.

But, I’m prepared to believe it’s something he’ll grow out of. At the moment, I’m not ready to subject him to “sleep training”. It’s in vogue, I know. But right now, it doesn’t feel right for us. If the Little Mister needs cuddles, (milky) treats, and to feel like he’s really cosy and secure in order to drop off, then that’s what he’s going to get. I’ll save the training for when we’re really exhausted.


Little Boy Sad

Maybe he had a tummy ache, maybe he was tired, maybe he was hungry, maybe he is teething, maybe his day had been a little too busy. Whatever it was, the Little Mister grizzled. It was late afternoon, not quite bath time. He grizzled, he cried, and he was generally grumpy and unhappy.

Milin crying makes me sad. His mouth turns down at the corners, slowly. His eyes get very big and he looks at me as if to say ‘I don’t want to cry’. But then he does, and his eyes scrunch up and the tears that roll down his cheeks are too big for his little face.

Often, it is easy to make the tears stop. A cuddle, a feed, a sleep – one or two or all of these will often make Milin’s world a better place again. But sometimes, like this evening, neither me nor Tony can find what is wrong.

It’s horrible. Watching the Little Mister, when he doesn’t want to be sad, but he is crying nonetheless. He’d had a busy day of visiting friends today, and maybe it was all too much to take in. In the end, a walk, a bath, lots of cuddles and a good feed saw him settle into bed at his usual time of 7pm. I think the sadness lifted. I hope so.┬áBecause there is little that can cause the kind of ache that comes with seeing your little boy sad.

Tick tock

WHEN the Little Mister falls asleep in my arms, it’s time to make a choice. Do I leave him be and enjoy? Or do I go and put him down in his cot.

In the points for column under option one –

I should make the most of these sleepy baby cuddles before he gets too big.

In the points for column under option two –

I could get so much done if Milin was asleep in his cot.

The appeal of option one is obvious. Why wouldn’t I want lots of cuddles with my baby? But option two is all about time. Because with the Little Mister around, there simply isn’t the time to “get so much done”.

I think a lot about the things I no longer have time for. Doing my nails every week. Cleaning the bathroom every few days. Spending hours at the gym. Trying out complicated recipes. But tonight, when Milin fell asleep on my lap, I realised that thinking about the things I do have time for is a far better way to occupy my mind. It’s quite some list.

1. Going out for coffee: When you’re at home with a baby, going out for coffee is not a luxury. It’s a necessity. It’s a way of keeping in touch with old friends, and a way of meeting up with the new ones met through baby club. It’s an easy way to entertain the Little Mister, and it’s a way of getting a regular dose of adult conversation. But perhaps most importantly, it’s about getting a real shot of caffeine/sugar after getting up four times the night before.

2. Going for walks: Ok, so sometimes this isn’t a choice. Sometimes taking Milin out in the buggy and going for a decent walk is the only way to get him to sleep, or distract him from the fact that there’s no activities planned for today and he’s stuck at home with mama. But it’s still pretty lovely to be able to go for a walk whenever you want. Not only is it free exercise, but it’s a little relax and recharge time in the fresh air. Today, our walk took us around Oriental Parade and the Little Mister got to watch the ocean again. Yep, we’re rather lucky.

3. Staying in bed. I know this will change. But right now, Milin sleeps til 9am. Which means I do too. It’s amazing.

4. Reading books. Not books with lots of words in them, or books that make you think, or thick books with soft covers and a list of awards and serious reviews on the back – but books like The Hungry Caterpillar. Books that bring back being a kid. Books that make me remember what it was like to be read to. Books that are teaching Milin about the world, and that are causing his eyes to open wide (and his mouth, because really, he just wants to chew the pages).

5. Being silly. With Milin around, I get to be really silly all day long. In fact, the sillier the better. Which means tickling him, rolling round on the floor with him, holding him up in the air and playing airplanes, making cat noises, pulling silly faces and talking baby talk right back to him.

6. Having lots of cuddles. With my baby who loves me unconditionally. There’s probably no better way to spend my time.