Baby M's firsts, Parenting

March Firsts

It’s been another surprising month of firsts for us, especially with things like Mother’s Day and Easter both falling pretty much in the same month this year! Here are the new things we did/discovered/experienced first in March:

First christening
Although he made an appearance at his best friends christening in December last year, Travis didn’t actually enter the chapel (it was nap/feed time and the echoes of screaming and tantrums were not what I had planned for the church). So his first time through a whole christening service was on 4th March through in Ayr. We braved the snow in Balloch (nearly bloody 2 feet I’ll have you know) to head about 45 miles away where there were no remnants of winter left at all. The only clue we were still in Scotland was the fact it rained constantly. I was pleasantly surprised at the wee man’s behaviour – barely a peep from him in the church, with the exception of the odd goo, and just being a general bright and nosy baby at the gathering afterwards. Even on the car journey there and back he was on best behaviour, sleeping or taking in the scenery (well as much of it as you can see in a rear facing car seat). My only concern was whether or not we’d have to take half the table decor with us as he seemed to be highly amused with the helium balloons floating from the table top.

First toothbrush!
We had a visit from an oral health worker on 5th March, whose purpose was to give advice about oral health in babies, and in particular, the child smile program in Scotland. Along with the advice, leaflets and coupons (more for weaning than anything else), we were given some toothbrushes and child friendly toothpaste to use. There were a couple of small toothbrushes, which are supposed to let your child get used to the idea of holding the brush, the sensation and so on, as well as a bigger brush to be used the minute a tooth pops through. We were advised to practice brushing, even just the sensation and motions without any toothpaste, pretty much right away, and even to register Travis with a dentist, despite not even having any teeth!

First trip to the aquarium
On 9th March, our usual Hartbeeps class was cancelled (you can read more about the wonder that is Hartbeeps here) so we decided to make the most of the day and do something different. After a nice wee stroll down to Loch Lomond shores in the crisp spring sunshine, we decided to go and see all the colourful fish and playful otters in the aquarium. I didn’t expect Travis to stay awake throughout the whole visit but he did! Mum and dad signed up for annual passes (under 2s get in free anyway) so we can make more trips in the future as he becomes more aware and interested in what’s going on. Plus we might actually time it right for him to catch an otter or shark feed one day!

First mothers day 11th March
Mother’s day is always around about my birthday, so I was delighted to learn that my birthday fell on a Wednesday this year, making it impossible to clash with Mother’s Day. I know there’s a whole bunch of logic about Easter and lunar calendars and whatever to determine the date, but I was chuffed to find out they would be separate celebrations for the wee man’s first year.
It wasn’t how I would have planned it (dad was working so mum didn’t get breakfast in bed, but I did get woken up with a big poo to clean up), but I got to spend it with my growing, happy, healthy baby and that’s all that matters. Plus, I got a card with the Rock on it, so how can that be bad?

Mummy first – first birthday as a mum
So this is supposed to be about the wee man’s firsts, but really there are some firsts that I’ve been experiencing too – like my first birthday as a mum. Slightly better all round than Mother’s Day as dad was off and let mum get some extra Zz’s, open presents in peace and even get a bath! All this after my usual clubbercise class and being spoiled by my parents with a steak dinner. I think Travis enjoyed the tissue paper the most out of the whole thing.

First tooth!
He had been threatening to cut one for a couple of weeks but we all know the teething process can be a long and laborious one, so I didn’t hold out much hope of finding one any time soon. Finally, though, at teatime on 23rd March, one little jaggy line was poking through. Had I not given him a dose of Anbesol I would have been none the wiser. But there was no mistaking that jag when my index finger entered his mouth. Usually he clamps down and his squishy gums put pressure on your fingers, but nothing more. This time there was a definite jag, so I tried to inspect the situation. Note ‘tried.’ Any mother will tell you that it’s an effort to investigate a baby’s mouth at the best of times, never mind when they are licking you like a Labrador because they think you’ve got the good stuff (Anbesol, really, it’s magic) on your fingers.

First soft play!
A new soft play centre opened up in March, within a few minutes walking distance from us. At first I was a bit unsure about it as Travis is still so young, but since kids under a year get in free, and all his friends were going, we thought there was nothing to lose. In typical Travis style, he fell asleep about 10 minutes before we went, and slept for a good hour in the soft play centre. When he woke up though, he had a wee play in the baby/toddler section, figuring out toys, looking at himself in the mirror and even having a shot of the slide (on mum’s lap of course).

First good Friday
So March didn’t quite see a first full Easter, with Good Friday falling on 30th March, but it was the first half of the Easter bank holiday weekend. We spent the day going to Hartbeeps and dressing up like a bunny (the ears lasted about 0.5 seconds at a time), coming home and being dressed like a bunny, and chilling out watching rubbish TV as there seemed to be no good bank holiday films on!

Of course April will see the end of first Easter shenanigans, but it will hopefully bring some other great firsts like swimming, as well as more teeth and trouble no doubt!

mum life, Parenting

Springing into a new routine

As the saying goes, this is the time of year where the clocks spring forward an hour. Normally this fills me with joy and motivation for the sunnier (not guaranteed in Scotland) seasons to come. This year, however, with a 5 month old in tow, I was filled more with anxiety of the prospect of an hour’s lost sleep.

I say an hour like it’s just one flippant thing, but what I really mean to say is another hour. Sleep is the most valuable commodity as a new parent, and as the clocks changed this year, daddy was trading highest. He was on the night shift at work and actually managed to wing a shorter shift than usual. That was great for him, but it meant that mum had a gamble on what time the wee man would wake up, and would have to bumble by on an hour’s less sleep whilst dad thrashed out zzz’s after his jammy shift.

Everyone knows that daylight savings or British Summer Time is complete robbery (I’d say daylight robbery, but actually, well, you know..) and does most hard working folk out of an extra hour of rest at the weekend. To the average Joe that hour is sorely missed never mind for parents of tiny humans. There are all sorts of things to factor in, aside from that other hour of much-needed sleep missing.

Routine rejig

We have just about got a routine of sorts down, especially when it comes to morning classes and feeding times. Recently (about 3 days before the clocks changed) Travis started eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, and all at reasonable times (around 7am, 12 noon and 5pm) give or take a half an hour here and there. Those 3 days were golden till the clocks changed and then suddenly everything was an hour later.

Don’t get me wrong, at least 5 people have told me I’m mad for being annoyed that he’s lying in longer in the morning, which is probably fair dos. But really that isn’t the annoying part. The tricky bit is trying to rejig our morning routine so I can get 2 people washed, dressed, fed, watered and out the door before 9am a few days a week. It’s like going to work for 9am since you started your job, then someone deciding you need to be in for 8am instead. Let me tell you this Tuesday (and that was a 10am class!), Wednesday and Friday were challenging. I may have turned up in my PJs on at least one of those days if Craig wasn’t around.

Sleeping with the light on

The most important thing we’ve fought for Travis is to learn night from day. Whilst other attempts at routine may go out the window at times due to unforseen circumstances, baby tantrums, jobbiegeddon or worse, we’ve always made sure the little man knows night from day in a bid to get him to sleep better (and more importantly, to let mum and dad sleep better!). So you can imagine my horror at having to contend with daylight creeping into our lives earlier in the morning and later in the evening. Sure, a few blackout curtains might do the trick for the light situation, but you try telling 19,000 birds to shut up at 5am because your kid is sleeping and doesn’t yet know this is an unacceptable waking hour. They don’t listen. Or at least they pretend they don’t hear you over their chirpy little morning song.

Plus I’m sure there’s only so much that blackout curtains can do when it’s still 100% light at 10pm and all the weans are still out playing because it’s the summer holidays and their parents have had a boozy BBQ (and why not?) and the wee man wonders why they are allowed to be outside shouting and having fun and he’s not!

Teething troubles

The little guy’s first tooth came through recently (more about that in March firsts, coming soon!) and so understandably he’s been in a bit of pain. To remedy this, there are all sorts of teething pain relievers on the market, each coming with their own usage instructions regarding time, number of doses in 24 hours etc. Let me tell you that lost hour (and my lack of mental maths skills) caused havoc last week, trying to remember when he could get something and if that had been too soon, and if he got it at 5 o’clock, wouldn’t that really be 4 o’clock? It was a confusing time and I’m glad we’ve got there now, but I can only imagine it being 10 times worse for parents of prem or ill babies who need permanent regular medication and/or care.

But now, over a week later, I think we are just about recovering from the missing hour (probably jinxed it now) and are looking forward to springing into the new season and all the fun and sun it brings. You know, once it’s stopped snowing…

mum life, Parenting

Oh no, the sleep regression has started!

So I feel as though I’ve been a bit spoiled lately, compared to some other mums. Our little man was starting to sleep through the night on and off from about 8 weeks old, which was way back at the end of November.

It wasn’t every night at first, but when it started becoming more regular, there was a simultaneous relief between myself and Craig that things did in fact get easier, even with a colicky baby. As the hours of continuous evening sleep slowly seeped back into our systems, we began feeling more human again. I especially enjoyed regaining my ability to finish sentences and not break concentration/yawn in the middle of important conversations.

I don’t want to sound smug, as I know we were very lucky that the wee man started developing that routine so young. I know mums that have 8 and 9 month olds, even 2 year olds, that still don’t sleep through the night and need to wake up for a feed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all plain sailing either; the first few nights saw us both remain sleepless as we expected baby M to wake. And 99% of nights see us getting up to find a dummy 2-3 times, but believe me there’s a world of difference between semi-consciously shoving a dummy into a stirring baby’s mouth and going straight back to sleep, than being woken up twice a night for almost an hour at a time as baby cries, feeds, winds and changes.

So it’s fair to say we’ve enjoyed some sort of variation on normality for the last couple of months. Sure it’s less sleep than we got pre-child, but it’s something we’re managing well. Or at least we were until this last week. Aside from the initial shock of broken sleep in the first few weeks as a new parent, nothing else deals quite such a devastating blow than having to wake up for random and unexpected night feeds when you’re used to almost getting your 7 hours a night again.

It honestly felt like we were going back to square one again, and I felt far from thrilled about it. First it was 2am, then 4am the next night, with no warning or level of hunger or alertness to gauge. It was like being a new mum again, only dad was back at work and couldn’t catch up on his sleep the next day. Neither could mum to be honest, but that was more down to the wee one’s social calendar being fuller than a TOWIE cast members.

I’d heard about sleep regression from friends, and had read about it in the baby books and apps and countless online articles that exist to simultaneously put our minds at ease and fuel our anxiety as new parents. Basically, it’s thought that from around 4 months old, babies can develop what’s known as sleep regression, i.e. they start waking up again through the night where they may otherwise have slept through. There’s no known reason for it to happen, and is referred to as something akin to growth spurts or teething pains – unpredictable and something we just have to ride out. However with growth spurts and teething there are usually little tried and tested methods to fix it, such as upping the volume of milk/food for baby or offering a form of pain relief. But there’s no such magical cure for sleep regression.

So I guess I’ll continue to function on little sleep for now, whilst rambling along and not making any sense by the time I reach the end of my blog post…

Lists, Parenting

2018: A Year of Firsts

Happy New Year! How did it get to 2018 already? In fairness, the last month has flown by in an unexpected rush, with Christmas and lack of laptop (and other things which I’ll get to later) taking most of the blame for lack of posting in December.

But, it’s a new year so to new beginnings and all that. Whilst I’m not exactly proclaiming any specific resolutions as such, I am preaching positivity and fairly excited for the year ahead. There’s a lot to look forward to, including many firsts to come.

2017 had its fair share of ups and downs, but also many firsts along the way, like having my first baby and all the wonderful firsts that come with the first few months of parenthood. Sure, first dirty nappy and first hospital trip weren’t exactly highlights, but they were necessary and all part of that new parent experience. However there’s still plenty to look forward to in 2018, both with baby M and without.

Here are the firsts that top the list:

First swim, massage and yoga
There are a wealth of great baby classes out there which both help baby’s development and allow mum’s to meet other parents. The most popular in my area are baby yoga, baby massage and baby swimming lessons. Due to baby M’s birthday falling at the beginning of October, he was unable to start any of these classes in 2017, as by the time he was old enough, everything was beginning to wind down for the festive season. I’m excited for him to experience these classes, in particular massage, as this is meant to be extremely useful for colicky babies. I’m also open to any other fun and useful classes that would help with baby’s development, stimulation and just generally to make him some baby friends!

First sleep in his cot
Due to some pretty unforseen circumstances, we haven’t been able to try baby M in his big boy cot bed yet, not even just for a trial. However, he’s growing at such a rapid rate, I can’t see him fitting in his moses basket much longer. By the end of January he should hopefully be sleeping in his cot bed, and finally getting to enjoy the mobile attached to it too!

First tooth
Already baby M is teething, with dribble and soaking mittens a constant factor of daily life. If those were the only symptoms of teething, I wouldn’t care if he didn’t cut his first tooth till 2019! Unfortunately his teething also comes with pain, meaning a routine of discomfort, bonjela and unexpected cries of pain in the middle of the night, which are, quite frankly, heart breaking. He’s too small for teething rings as they don’t quite fit in his mouth yet, so seeing his first tooth appear and knowing that’s the beginning of the end of his mouth pain will be a great moment.

First day back at work
Ok, so this first won’t officially happen till June, but I’m both excited and terrified of the prospect of it (much the same way I felt about labour and the anticipation of motherhood if I’m honest!) On the one hand I can’t wait to get stuck back in, catching up with colleagues, clients and cracking on with the workload. Yet on the other I’m worried I’ll have more separation anxiety that the wee one will! Hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze in some KITT days, meaning I can ease back into the workplace in a less dramatic or stressful faahion.

First family trip
I’m not visualising Disneyland or anything yet. In fact, we haven’t even got anything planned. But I’d like to take a trip with the other half and baby M this year, even if it’s just for one or two days away at the other end of Scotland. Every time we leave the house it feels like we’re packing for a holiday anyway, so we might as well take a wee break before I make that proper return to work.

First family home
This one is more of an ideal world scenario rather than anything. At the moment we have a 2 bedroom flat, which is absolutely fine, but not what either myself or other half visualise when we picture “family home”. The flat itself was great for the first 2 years but you never know how un-family friendly your home is until you have kids! Clunky old external stairs make for less than fun pram time, complicated bathroom layouts make for difficult bath time for baby M and just generally we’ve found that there isn’t anywhere near enough storage space for all the stuff that comes with babies. So, if all goes to plan and we can both save and see somewhere we fall in love with (front and back doors with a kid-friendly yard are goals), then hopefully we will have our first proper family home.

Other exciting firsts I’m looking forward to are baby’s first steps, first words and first experience with food! Although I’m not looking forward to the first new nappies after the latter! Plus each child grows at their own pace so if my boy wants to be lazy, or doesn’t find anything worth talking about in 2018, I won’t sweat it.

Hope you all have a great year of firsts or new experiences too, however big or small!

Lists, Parenting

7 Things I’ve Learned in my First Month as a Parent

1. You can sing pretty much anything to a baby
And you will. Starting off quite sensibly with nursery rhymes, I quickly realised I’d forgotten many of those a long time ago. This resorted in singing some of my favourite songs, then singing a basic running commentary of life. It’s amazing just how much singing about wiping drool or putting on shoes can calm a baby.

2. Poo is a hot topic
I can honestly say I’ve never talked about poo so much in my life – and I suffer from IBS! Pre-arrival of baby M, we were warned by a friend that all myself and the other half would find to talk to each other about would be baby M, and his bowel movements in particular. We didnt believe her. Not only is it something which we both discuss, it seems like an open topic of discussion amongst grandparents, relatives and fellow parents. From first poo (an experience in itself) to different consistencies and even times or places to poo, I have found myself talking about the poo of someone else far more than I ever thought I would.

3. It’s easier to tell your partner off through your children
Not very practical, helpful or mature, but it’s quite therapeutic to the sleep deprived new mother. Things like “don’t cry because daddy hasn’t done the dishes” or “we can’t do X because daddy has left Y dirty/a mess” are favourites. Bonus points for also turning into a song a-la point 1.

4. You may call your child names
In a state of exhaustion, parenting confusion or frustration, you may find yourself calling your child names. Or maybe that’s just me. A particularly hard-going evening saw me call baby M an arsehole when he wouldn’t stop crying after a 5am feed,  and decided to skite his dirty nappy across my bed.

5. Sleep is currency
Another thing we were warned about was the daily sleep debate that would ensue as we tried to get used to a sleep deprived life. After a couple of weeks of bickering over who’s had most sleep, the other half and I have learned to use sleep as currency. This goes something along the lines of me exchanging a lie-in in the morning to get up with baby at 6am, letting daddy sleep on while we get up and start our day. In return, he will exchange an early night for a later feed while I take my weary ass to bed, or vice versa. It’s all about working together and realising that actually it’s just not practical to always wake, sleep or even watch TV together any more.

6. It’s not always possible to sleep while they are sleeping
The advice given from countless health professionals, books and well-meaning relatives is unfortunately not always practical. Yes, by all means sleep when your child sleeps if you can. But in the first few days, possibly weeks, you will find your home turn into a local Starbucks as friends, family, colleagues and friends of grandparents all pop by for a cuppa and a cuddle. While it’s lovely that everyone wants to meet your bundle of joy (who doesn’t love a cuddle from a newborn?) It can also be frustrating when they come at the only time your baby is willing to sleep soundly for more than half an hour. It’s not the fault of visitors or anyone really, as newborns are so unpredictable, but it doesn’t stop you wishing you could trade places with the little angel in the Moses basket as they snore while you prop your eyelids open with matchstick trying to entertain visitors that don’t want to waken said angel.

7. Babies make the weirdest noises
Like, really weird noises that I hope my baby eventually grows out of. I’m not just talking sighs or whimpers in his sleep either – those may be annoying, but they’re not that weird. It’s the smacking sounds with the mouth, clicking, nasal noises and more that will inevitably wake you up and see you hovering over their crib using the light of your phone to make sure all their body parts are still in the same place, and that they are still, in fact, breathing. Meanwhile, they couldn’t care less, probably dreaming about swimming in a bath of milk.

Of course every day as a new parent is a learning curve, and there’s far more to wrap your head around, adapt to and learn from – no matter how many books you read or fellow parents you speak to. So no doubt there will be another similar post when baby M has reached 2 months and uncovered at least 7 more unexpected changes to our lives.