“The obligation for working mothers is a very precise one; the feeling that one ought to work as if one did not have children, while raising one’s children as if one did not have a job” – Annabel Crabb
Today, the 26th April 2017, marks one year since I returned to work after 9 months maternity leave. It’s been a year of hit and missed goals, falling short of a lot of the expectations I place on myself, eternal disorganisation and a lot mixed feelings… Continue reading →
As with every age milestone, I’m not quite sure where the time has gone. But here we are, on the 11th February 2017, having just put our eighteen month old baby toddler to bed (before rapidly scoffing a Chinese takeaway – we know how to live…)
This time last year I was starting to worry about my return to work and couldn’t even imagine what life would be like a year later with a toddler running rings around us. The last six months in particular have flown in and our little boy has flourished in so many ways since he’s started walking (/running everywhere). However, I also think it’s been the most challenging time since embarking on this parenting malarkey – from worrying about his rather limited vocabulary (yes, I know, *eye roll*, it’ll all come in time) to looking up baby boarding schools when he’s been demonstrating rather ‘difficult’ behaviour (like the time he tried to chuck himself in the pond at Holyrood Park and got mud all over my favourite Zara coat). But as always, with the occasional lows, come the unbeatable highs –
He dances like a maniac & loves to strum Robin’s guitars. He has infinitely better rhythm than I do
Often ‘cooks’ poor George Pig in a pot in his little kitchen (if you’re not familiar with obnoxious Peppa + her petulant little brother George then you might find this sinister, but I promise you, they deserve what’s coming to them)
He runs about tidying up the mess he has made like a little house elf which was great, until I discovered he was ‘tidying away’ his dirty pyjamas into the bin
We’re slowly ticking off items from our Adventure List – it’s felt so good to make the most of our days together and have so many more to look forward to in the coming weeks
Gives the best cuddles and the biggest smiles. He is confident, fiercely independent and absolutely loves being around people
In the midst of planning our second family holiday, I can’t help but feel a pang of excitement when I think of all the new experiences he’s going to have (and all the pizza we’ll eat)
These highs serve as a gentle reminder to me to slow down and savour the everyday moments with our little fella. It can be all too easy to wish the time away – “I wonder when he’ll start saying more words” or “I can’t wait until he’ll follow instructions better when we’re out” – but ultimately these things will come and right now we are enjoying him for the little tiny tornado that he is. I definitely needed this reminder tonight when he chucked handfuls of beef stew and rice all down me instead of eating it..!
So despite the odd meltdown, he is still the most smiley little human there is and makes us laugh daily and my heart swell with pride – keep being you Oscar!
Timehop: the daily struggle of the phone app that tries to kill you off by reminding you of either how gloriously pregnant you looked (Note: you looked so fresh because you could sit and watch box-sets all day on the weekend and sleep whenever you fancied, remember?) or it’s reminding you of how teeny tiny your little baby was a year ago and you end up having the daily conversations with your partner that go something along the lines of “can you even remember him being so small? He looks so different!”
Anyway, the dangers of Timehop aside, today it flashed up with some funny photos from Oscar’s first try of solid food – this February marks a year since our weaning journey began. I remember the excitement of that day and all the (hundreds) of photos I took, and how excited I was to see him putting a bit of chicken in his mouth, trying some egg for the first time or spitting some broccoli out onto his tray. When I took those photos I was probably rather naive and assumed it would be the fun journey I had read about and not the minefield of worry that it became!
Confession: I hated weaning. The early daysweeks months anyway. Looking back, realistically, a couple of months isn’t that long, but at the time it felt never ending.
I put off looking into anything weaning related until the last minute. Up until this point, Oscar had been exclusively breastfed and this was now an “easy option”, it worked for us and was hassle free. Anyway, it came to the time to bite the bullet and think about weaning and a friend told me about the theory behind Baby Led Weaning. I read all the wonderful stuff online about it, talked about it with Robin, bought the book on Amazon and started to get excited. I was hell bent (as I so often am with ideas) to follow it to the letter. This was going to be brilliant, a total breeze…
Reality was different. I stand by BLW completely, however, the reality of fitting food into an already busy schedule was a struggle and no matter how much I prepared for the gagging and equipped myself with knowledge & know-how to help in the event of him choking, I still found the whole process stressful. I’m fairly laid back in most aspects of my life, and that includes parenting, but weaning was my first big hurdle –
I hated him gagging
I hated putting him in a high chair if we were out and giving him food in case he choked and I didn’t know what to do. Or even just gagged and worried people. So I just didn’t.
I honestly didn’t know how to fit in three meals a day, and then people were telling me that he should be having snacks too! But where are the hours in the day when your kid is taking over an hour to play with a few pieces of veg to probably only ingest one leaf!
Then people tell you that their baby is eating 200ml of food 3 times a day and I’m sat over here saying “Oh that sounds good… Oscar’s eight months and ate a pea 3 days ago”
Family member: “I hope you know CPR, because you’re going to need it when he chokes to death” – need I say more?
In my heart I knew that he was just experimenting and exploring and that it was positive. But sometimes you can’t help but have a little panic regardless. It was around this time I met group of local mums, many of which had older babies and toddlers and they had all the reassurance I needed –
He’s just exploring.
Food before one is just for fun!
Just relax and allow the mess to happen.
Don’t get hung up on how much he eats.
It will fall into place…
And sure enough, it did. Probably at around 9 or 10 months we finally saw him eat full meals at the table with us, and eat when we were out and about, and that was when it became fun. The kind of fun it should have been at the start. He now enjoys a Nandos… what more could I really hope for?
So I suppose this post isn’t really advice. It’s just full of the stuff I needed to hear at a time when I was struggling. It’s not groundbreaking, it’s common sense, but sometimes you just need to hear it from other people that have also experienced it. If you’re the first-time parent that lived by this approach from day one and enjoyed it, I applaud you, and I hope I can be that parent if there’s ever a second time.
In a lot of ways, this post is coming at an important time for me as we are entering a new territory of “The Fussy Eater”, the baby that once ate pretty much anything put in front of him is now a toddler that throws meals cooked with love on the kitchen floor and has a passion for beige food. Maybe I needed a little reminder to relax, and remember that everything is a phase, and it will pass. I will relax and (hopefully) laugh at the raspberry overnight oats that are catapulted at my newly painted white walls because I want my kid to enjoy their food as much as I enjoy mine (and that’s a lot).
There are so many brilliant things to do in and around Edinburgh, but so many that we’ve not yet got round to doing – we’re still relatively new to the city!
I was so lucky during maternity leave to have Robin around so much, his shift pattern means he gets a fair amount of quality time at home during the week. Now, I know maternity leave isn’t one long holiday, but I’ll be honest when I say that now I’m back at work I do miss the freedom to be able to go out and do things during the week as opposed to weekends when Robin isn’t always home.
So my mission for 2017 is to make the most of our days off as a family and check off all the places on my ever growing list. Many we’ve been to before, some we’ll be visiting for the first time.