Monthly Archives: July 2014

Everything is Harder Nowadays

Yes, yes….it’s been too long.  I was trying to work out why my blog posts…which had started at an admittedly optimistically paced twice a week, before slowing to once, then trickling to monthly, before drying up completely around 8 weeks ago…had become so much harder to complete.  And as I thought about it, I was rudely interrupted by a crying baby who wanted my undivided attention. Until given it of course, when what she actually wanted to do, was to chew on the end of an old bit of newspaper she’d uncovered from some neglected area of reachability. But there was the answer nevertheless. Everything is harder now that Grace nears one, and my free time (ha!!) has dwindled to dust.

Something they don’t tell you up front when you have a baby, is that actually, the first few months are a piece of cake.  A walk in the park. A breeze.  Probably because it’s not exactly true.  Except that relatively…relative to the later months….it bloomin’ well is! In my opinion of course…I sense this may not be the universally held view in the house, let alone in the wider community.

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Idyllic

In those first few, idyllic months, your baby will basically be doing one of just four things: Sleeping. Eating. Pooing. Crying. Albeit, it may be doing more than one of these at any one time. Indeed, more than likely it is.  And these four activities will be taking place in one place…specifically the last place you left the baby. Or of course, the place you happen to be standing, holding the baby. Introduce a new activity, such as bathing…and the baby will just do as it is told.  Approximately.

This is all good you think. Probably best of all is the sleeping.  They may not sleep throughout the night (some of them…and I’m thinking here of one very close to me as I type this….may never achieve this), but for the first few months they will be sleeping a lot, giving ample opportunities to do the dishes, laundry dusting…blogging…although after uploading the latest batch of photos up to Facebook you may not have quite as much time as you think.  Or as your wife may expect.

Lulled into the security of being on top of this daddy daycare malarkey, you selflessly sign up for another 6 months of it, sending your wife back to the grindstone full time, as you plan to swan around, leisurely taking in the next song and rhyme time, or mums’ picnic.  Then it hits….You are no longer the master of this tiny little innocent and helpless life.  You are now the slave to this tiny little demanding and mischievous life.

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Believe me, this is normal. This is the end of every meal. When it’s really messy, the gadgets stay out of harms way.

Eating
Then:- Grace would eat everything put in front of her and drink everything stuck in her mouth unquestioningly, gratefully and without pause to consider the digestive consequences.
Now:- Everything needs to be variously squashed, dropped repeatedly on the floor, placed on the head, rubbed in the face, thrown at daddy. The food can be loved and wolfed down one day, the next, completely ignored, cried over, shouted at or spat out.

 

 

 

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If we’re lucky, sleeping can be caught up on at some points during the day, on any handy mattress like object…

Sleeping
Then:- Long sleeps throughout the day, and even when waking in the night, Grace would get the hint and fall asleep again reasonably quickly.

 

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Of course, by 11am she’s a little sleeping angel. Daddy is a walking zombie.

 

 

Now:- I read that most babies by this age sleep through the night.  Grace is not most babies. You can probably expect at least two awakenings between midnight and 6am.  If you’re lucky, these will result in around half an hour of calming to return to sleep.  Often you are unlucky.  Unlucky will mean spending up to two hours in the depths of the earliest of morning trying to convince an alternating crying, wriggling, manic baby that actually, it is still legally time for sleeping.

 

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Nostalgia – fun time, bath time… If only it was still like this!

Bathing
Then:- The one thing Grace loved most in the world was lying in the bath splashing around, having her hair washed.

Now:- The one thing Grace hates most in the world is lying in the bath splashing around, and in particular, having her hair washed.  It is now a daily battle of wills between daddy and daughter to ensure that the days foodstuffs are adequately washed out of an increasingly thick mop of hair. Sometimes daddy loses this battle.  Often. The battle is usually ended by Grace standing up, crying and trying to get her little leg over the edge of the bath, whilst at the same time pushing daddy away. One line of thought has it, that me tipping a jug of water over her head a few weeks ago, has permanently damaged my bathing credentials.

Moving
Then: There was no moving. Grace stayed put. You could leave the room, make a cup of tea, check Twitter…and there would Grace stay, happily sucking a toe, sleeping … or presumably just twiddling her little thumbs wondering where daddy has gone.

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The stair gate’s shut. I’m sure of it…. COME BACK GRACE!

Now: Yes, Grace is moving on all fours, rapidly around the house…or more accurately 3 and a halves, with this odd little crawl she has.  Leave the room and Grace behind, and before you know it…often with no audible signal…Grace will be there behind you, at your feet, ready to cause some major trippage.  This is not the worst of it.

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Grace goes for the dictionary to look up the word “naughty” that daddy keeps using

 

 

The worst is that Grace can also scale objects…chairs, tables…ovens…  Try as you might to take all items out of her reach, and ensure full child safety compliance, there will always be one thing…several things…that she is found playing with that she shouldn’t be when you are more than a short distance away.  Cue much running around, picking her up, and depositing her somewhere safer. For as long as it takes her to catch breath and set off again after the wifi router; ornamental flowers; television ….her three current favourite targets.

 

Nappies
Then: I’d always regarded myself as a bit of a dab hand at nappies.  My nappy pit stops were of Red Bull-like speed and efficiency. What helped was Grace’s docile nature on the changing mat, paying no heed to being picked up one legged after another to have her bottom cleaned and changed in record time.

Now: I am coming to dread nappy changes. I can barely even begin to write about the wriggling, the twisting, the turning of half changed babies, poo still hanging off them, on their little feet….on your carpet as you hold one handed onto whatever bit you can find (usually the pooiest bit) as the other hand attempts to reach something…anything that will be able to help clean the mess up. Or maybe just distract the baby long enough to trap it in a corner and reset it back on the mat.  For the fifteenth time.

Notwithstanding any of the above, of course, I wouldn’t change a thing and the greater challenges are simply a sign that my little girl is gaining her independence, character and growing up (albeit all too soon).  And I’m sure as you’ll all tell me…it gets no easier as they get older.

On a more serious point, Grace is not difficult in any way, shape or form. There are many families who really do have a difficult time looking after their kids, for many, many reasons and I don’t know how they cope or understand the sacrifices they must make.  Friends within our NCT group have a little boy who suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a devastating form of epilepsy – if you’re short of a charity to support, please consider this: https://www.justgiving.com/dravetsyndromeuk

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All good fun!

 

 

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The mundanity of a long distance blogger

So I’ve been a bit quiet for the last month, but that doesn’t mean nothing is happening and so have nothing to update you with. Nor does it mean so much is happening I just haven’t had the time to furnish you with the latest humorous pictures of Grace. What it does mean is that I was just waiting for something of interest to happen, that would be worth everybody dropping what they were doing to come over to my blog to be amazed and awed at tales of derring-do and living on the edge of daddy daycare. When I first started I thought that this would happen like every day I took charge of my little bundle of joy. Now, four months in, I have come to the conclusion that actually, as with all other aspects of my life, child care consists of significantly and materially large chunks of mundanity.

Swings are so last week now...

Swings are so last week now…

This is not necessarily a bad thing. There is only so much of the opposite to mundanity I can take at my age, without needing to sit in a darkened room, and then go to bed early with a nice cup of tea. And actually I’m quite a mundane person truth be told, who likes to do things that maybe others would consider mundane, but to me they are things I could happily spend all day doing with Grace. Walking to the park to play on the swings.  Packing a picnic and wandering down to the steam to eat it. Strolling through town with Grace in my backpack, and seeing everyone smile as they see Grace enjoying the ride.  None of that really makes for an interesting read though. I don’t want Grace to think there was some suspicious, unaccounted hole in the first few months of her life however, so I thought I’d better get on and relate a few things anyway. If you want to just look at the cute Grace pictures instead (assuming you haven’t had your absolute fill of these by now), please be my guest.

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Grace contemplates the profound nature of her formal entry into the house of God…and which arm of Rabbit she’s going to chew on next

First we had Grace’s Christening. But that’s something of interest, I hear you say. And you’d be correct of course. However, I took very few photos as I had a lot of other duties to do, and nowadays if you haven’t got photos the thing never happened! I seem to remember saying I would avoid politics in these posts. Well, the same goes for religion.  I’m probably more Richard Dawkins than Richard Coles say, but I do appreciate the tradition and history and am sympathetic to many of the values of christianity. And besides, I was told we were having a Christening. Despite a small initial administrative glitch in proceedings…we turned up en masse and the church weren’t aware that a Christening was taking place…the service was lovely and it was great having close friends and family share in a special day for Grace.

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With mobility on the increase, The Cage has been Grace’s home during periods of necessity……

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Grace’s first recorded unaided stand. The blurring due to the need to photo it and also to ensure the health and safety of the activity.

One interesting happening over the last month has been Grace’s continued mobility development. At every moment she gets the urge to drag herself up to her feet (holding our fingers), then walking…and even running…up and down and around whichever room she is in. This is back breaking work believe me. Even if your back wasn’t already broken like mine is. Day by day she’s getting more confident and letting go of more fingers. Positioned correctly, she will occasionally actually balance with no fingers at all. Being a statistical, nerdy sort, I have already ascertained that a seven second unaided stand is Grace’s current PB. Being a competitive, statistical, nerdy sort, I try and beat this every day. #pushyparentwarning Then we had Grace’s 8 month Health Visitor check up. Two days after her nine month birthday. Another administrative glitch;  this time form the NHS. They did send us an appointment in the correct window, but it arrived two days before said appointment. This may be fine if you have nothing better to do with your days than wait for unexpected doctors appointments to fill them with, but with both of us working that’s not the case. Anyway, Grace has moved up from the bottom of the growth centiles to somewhere about average, so all good there. Her head however, is apparently disproportionately large! This is probably nothing to worry about said the health visitor, as we immediately started worrying and googling, and then worrying even more. This is the fifth time in Grace’s short life that we have been told something probably isn’t anything to worry about, and the four preceding times, it wasn’t. I can’t help feeling that health visitors seem to err too far on the safe side on such pronouncements, and as a consequence put parents through a lot more worry than they need to be put through. I’m this case, clearly Grace requires extra headspace for the extra brainpower she’s inherited.

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Grace’s clearly immense balloon-sized head getting filled with words about cats and hats and mats

Finally, I celebrated my four month anniversary of cutting my work days and becoming daddy daycare for Only Two Days a Week. With three months to go until the arrangement was due to end, I started thinking about life post September, and shipping Grace off to nursery for the majority of the week. It didn’t take long for Nicole and I to decide actually, that’s not what we want for Grace at this time, so I have put in a submission to extend my three day a week working to next April. The downside is that now with more time in charge of Grace, I’ll need to seek more things of interest to extend the life of this blog by a similar amount!

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On to the next adventure…