Mother’s Day

My mum, my beautiful, intelligent, funny, witty, kind, caring, popular, strong, heroic mum… where do I start? She is quite possibly the love of my life, second only, since November, to my boy.

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She sacrificed so much for us, she worked tirelessly to bring the three of us up to respect and care for others. She raised us single handed when my Dad had to go to Nigeria to work, she scrimped and saved to give us what we needed and often what we wanted. She was known not to eat herself so we had food on the table at a particularly bad time financially, working two jobs then coming home to do freelance typing just to pay the bills. She threw us the most amazing birthday parties, kids loved coming to our parties, in fact kids loved simply coming to our house for her cakes and warm welcome, never did she make them feel uncomfortable or in the way when I’m sure at times they were. I have the most wonderful memories of my childhood with her. She was strict but fair, we were never spoilt where objects were concerned and if we were naughty she never failed to punish us, the worst punishment of all was knowing she was disappointed or ashamed by our behaviour. However she loved us openly and never ever made us feel that we weren’t the centre of her world as she was ours.

As I grew into an adult our relationship changed from mother/daughter to best friends, we did pretty much everything together. We holidayed together, shopped together, worked together, often lived together, partied together, cried together and laughed together. Not a day went by when we didn’t talk except when I went travelling where phone calls were limited to, at the very least, once a week. She never turned us away, never made us feel that we couldn’t turn to her if we needed her and we so often did. She sacrificed so much for us and never asked for anything in return except that we be happy.

She’s the strongest woman I know, she’s a fighter, she tackled everything head on and with gusto. She wouldn’t let anything defeat her without a damn good fight.

In 2000 she was given the devastating news that she had cancer of the breast. Again she put on her bravest face and started the biggest battle of her life, never letting her humour or smile evade her, not in front of us anyway. She beat it after months of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I have never been so totally in awe of someone in my life, her bravery and positivity were inspiring to more than just us. She wasn’t just our hero, she touched the lives of so many people and rarely lost touch with anyone she came into contact with and as such had hundreds of friends across the world. This was never more evident than at every birthday and Christmas where the sheer number of cards that she received spoke volumes.

Unfortunately the cancer returned years later, it had metastasised and again her battle began to prolong her life. She fought it so well until unfortunately her body couldn’t fight any longer. Our relationship changed again and as her health began to fail I became her carer. It was my turn to look after the woman that had looked after me for 35 years and yet still her foremost concern was us and how we were. She never ceased to amaze us and despite medical opinion she saw in her 70th birthday, filling her room at the hospice with well wishers to bursting, so much so I was literally pushed out the patio doors. Even here she made friends, the staff loved her, she filled the place with light and laughter even when she was obviously in so much pain. That year, 2008, I celebrated my last Mother’s Day with the woman that defined me. Unfortunately 9 days after her birthday, on April 13th, we lost our brave, beautiful, wonderful, precious mother. Our hearts broke and continue to break to this day. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of her and miss her. A hole was left which nothing can ever fill.

The last five years I have tried to hide from Mother’s Day. I avoid card shops and florists, I turn my head away from gift shop windows in the run up and tend to lock myself away on that Sunday so as not to see the happy faces of mothers and daughters out on walks or out for lunch. I’m jealous you see and bloody angry that this evil disease has robbed the world, us, of such a precious person when there are so many wicked people still roaming it. I hate Mother’s Day.

Now here I am in 2014 no longer avoiding it but being the centre of it because now it’s taken on a whole new meaning… It’s now my badge of honour. I am now that mother to be celebrated. I’m not sure how I’m going to cope with this change having harboured such ill feelings for the last 5 years. I hopefully got all my tears out of the way last night in the hope that there won’t be any sad ones shed today.

I find myself missing my mum even more since the birth of my beautiful Noah. She would have doted on him and I feel he’s been robbed of this beautiful woman, of a doting grandmother so although this is now ‘my’ day I still find myself struggling to see it that way, I feel like a fraud, in my mind it will always belong to the woman that brought me into the world, she was a real mother.

My mum was my first love. She was my life. She was my everything. Now it’s my turn to hopefully give Noah the same wonderful memories and to instill the same moral and social principles. She’s a tough act to follow but I hope I do her proud.

Happy Mother’s Day Mum, I love you.

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18 Weeks Old

A monumentous fortnight.
A fortnight of firsts.
A fortnight of mummy gaining some balls.
A bloody good fortnight.

I write this while you’ve fallen asleep in my arms after a particularly exciting yet exhausting week for you. I look down at you and feel such love and such pride. You have done a lot this fortnight and you’ve handled it so beautifully despite going through a massive developmental leap which should be making you fractious yet you’ve been as good as gold and taken it all in with intrigue and humour.

Last week I bit the bullet, pulled up my socks, grew some balls…. I braved a baby group in town. I knew you’d love it and it’s not right that you’re deprived because of my insecurities and fears. The women who run it are lovely and make everyone welcome and every child feel special. I didn’t know anyone there and no-one really spoke but you had a whale of a time looking at everything going on around you. We’ll be going every week because you deserve it.

This week (25.03.14 – 27.03.14) I had to bite the bullet again and take you to see my hometown. I’ve been putting this off because I was scared of doing a long journey with you on my own. Other drivers worry me and I don’t like that I can’t see you in your car seat, I know that you’re fine but I still worry that you’re not. Anyway I needed desperately to go to the dentist, get my legs waxed (it’s been 6 months!!!!!!) and see friends so I bought a mirror. After a lot of research I settled on a Lindam adjustable back seat mirror, it’s AMAZING! It’s big enough that I can get a really good view of you but not too big as to be a distraction. It’s easily fitted to the rear headrest and padded so as not to damage any leather interior. Of course you slept all the way there, and all the way back without incident but it was so comforting seeing you were fine. This has broken the fear so we’ll be heading back more often now.

We stayed with Auntie in her house overlooking the bay. Auntie was your grandma’s best friend, she’s always been in my life and since your grandma’s passing has been my rock. She absolutely doted on you, she had total control when I was in my appointments and you behaved impeccably. You enjoyed long walks through the gardens above the Cobb, along the marine parade, seeing all places I used to work and hang out and through the town.

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She also spoilt you with beautiful clothes and books, you lucky boy. You loved her house, it’s so big and bright and full of colour, despite pooing pretty much everywhere ;). I took you for long walks around her garden showing you all the flowers, trees and wildlife which enthralled you. You spent copious amounts of time in her original Marmet pram which was great for all of us. I hope she’ll mean as much to you as she does to me.

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You were finally introduced to lots of my friends who showered you with gifts and praise and we popped along to see my best friend Caroline who hasn’t seen you since you were a day old. You didn’t sleep much but I hope you’ll catch up now you’re home.

This fortnight also bid a fond farewell to your jabs until you’re a year old

Character
Everyday your personality develops. You have humour and are so easily made to giggle and smile now. We think you’re going to be a thinker, you get so absorbed in things, studying and analysing anything new and you’re easy frustrated by things you want to do but can’t quite achieve yet.

Muscle Development and Coordination
On the 19th March you successfully carried out your first spontaneous roll from your back to your front taking me a little by surprise to say the least. One minute you were asleep in your crib whilst I watched tv in bed, the next you were nestled into my side face down. You haven’t head butted me for a while now. I’m trying to encourage you to concentrate on sitting but you’re adamant you want to stand and won’t concentrate on the steps that’ll get you there.

Speech
On the 17th March you did your first sustained laugh. Long enough for us to get it on video. In the last few days you’ve been stringing sounds together that are beginning to sound a lot like words and on the 25th March whilst lounging in the Marmet pram in Auntie’s kitchen you shocked us both by quite clearly saying “Mama”. Now I know you don’t know what that means and weren’t saying it to get my attention but you did, it was quite frankly one of the best moments. We both shrieked following this with tears of joy, you just looked a little confused!

Entertainment
As long as you can shove it in your mouth you’re happy! Books are becoming your new fascination and you get so excited over the pictures you can’t possibly hear the story.

Sleep
Same. Your first stint of sleep generally lasts between 4.5 and 6 hours and then you’re awake every 2 for food. I’ve taken to bringing you into bed with me at your 4am ish feed as you go back to sleep else you’d be awake for the day. Whilst in Lyme you only managed 1 x 1 hour nap each day and your longest stint at night was 3 hrs but then who could blame you with all the excitement.

Routine
I’m still persevering with the bedtime routine and it rarely goes awry, even in a different environment you were asleep within half an hour.

Growth
At your last baby clinic (last week due to our trip to Lyme this week) you’d put on a whopping 1Ib in weight weighing in at 13Ib 10oz. You’re still in your 0-3 month clothing but I’ve had to retire a couple of vests that were a little short.

Feeding
No problems here, sometimes you’re more sickly than others. I’ve decided there’s no rhyme nor reason for this except a possible over fill.

In a nutshell this fortnight has seen your first big social event, your first unaided roll from back to front, your first sustained laughter, your first trip away, your first trip to Lyme and your first word. Wow, just wow!

Today you sleep, my precious boy.

16 Weeks Old

On Friday you turned 16 weeks old. Not a great deal has happened this last fortnight darling except the sun made a very welcome appearance, and for a couple of days we enjoyed some beautiful long sunshine lit walks, it makes a change from our usually overcast and wet ones. Daddy even strapped you up into your baby carrier and took you out in that… YOU LOVED IT! Daddy’s back, however, didn’t 😉 We didn’t eve manage to get a photo of this ‘first’ as neither of us had a camera, that’s right… Your father was separated from his phone for the first time ever!

You had your photo taken for an oil portrait by our super talented friend Hannah Wheeler. I’m so so proud of you. You did exactly what Hannah wanted you to do, I can’t wait to see the results, the photograph was beautiful.

Maria, a lovely friend from work, popped in this week and showered you with the most beautiful hand made gifts. She is such a talented, lovely lady and I’m so pleased she came to see you finally, I’ve missed her.

All of a sudden it would appear you don’t like my glasses. We came to this conclusion when you were smiling endlessly at Daddy and not at all to me. To say I was mildly upset is an exaggeration. Your daddy, of course, and his infinite wisdom told me to remove my glasses so I put in my contact lenses for the first time in nearly a year and voilà, abundant smiles! Silly Mummy!

Character
You continue to develop into such a character. You study absolutely everything so deeply, usually to the detriment of your sleep, you simply don’t want to miss a thing. Everything around you fascinates you and you want to study it all at great length. You study your hands for endless minutes. When you look at us you seem to be absorbing every bit of us, every wrinkle, every blemish, every follicle, every pore in our faces. You smile all the time, except when we get the camera out, then you’re too busy studying that to give us a grin to record.

Muscle Development and Coordination
It’s safe to say that you let your head loll once in a blue moon now. You’re sitting up nice and straight and holding your chin away from your chest for longer periods of time, you are still so desperate to master this skill and we can happily let go of one of your hands when you’re upright, letting go of both results in you tumbling into your pillow barriers mind.

You’re enjoying tummy time a bit more now and are doing mini push ups now. You have now decided to try rolling again and manage front to back with ease, with our assistance. Whilst on your back you arch your spine and kick your leg quite violently so I don’t think it long before you shock yourself with a flip.

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This week I saw you pass one of your toys from one hand to another so I’m going to buy some blocks and rings for you to improve your technique. Everything is going into your mouth smoothly now… Watch out Lolly, that tail looks mightily tasty!

You are slowly mastering your depth perception. We watch you study your dangling animals on your bouncer, gym and pram before ever so slowly reaching out to touch or grab them instead of just batting at them. A couple of days ago, after your daddy had washed his hair, you were fascinated by the spikes that had formed and amazed us when you stood in his lap and reached out to grab a handful.

Speech
You continue to babble and coo, I recently sent a video to your Grandpa who swears blind you said Grandad… Of course the reality is you said mummy 😉 (joking) We are getting more giggles as time goes by but these are yet to be spontaneous or guaranteed but are lengthening in time. It’s usually your daddy that is the receiver of this privilege.

Entertainment
You continue to show loads of interest in your toys. Mad Monkey, Rabbit and your comforter still ranking highest. I bought you some teethers this week to give my knuckle some peace. It’s quite safe to say Sophie is your favourite, she’s made of natural rubber and has an almost chalky texture to her but you seem to like it. The wall cats still hold your attention and humour you greatly.

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You love being bounced on our knees ‘horsey stylee’ finding it hilarious. I’ve taken to walking around the flat with you now, showing you everything and telling you it’s name because you don’t like to be in one place for too long. You’ve suddenly discovered Lolly the cat, we find you watching her plod around the place and reach out to touch her when you think she’s close enough, I think she’s finally getting used to you being around now too.

Sleep
Well let’s not dwell on this. You still fight it and rarely sleep for longer than 2 hours. Although you have had 3 x 4-5 hour stints recently, they are a rarity and not to be guaranteed. You have now decided that your wake up time is 0430, I’ve embraced this now so it doesn’t hurt quite as much.

Routine
I’m still persevering with your bedtime ritual when you show signs of tiredness I have no intention of enforcing a set time for a while yet. This week saw your daddy successfully carrying it out for the first time, the last attempt failed miserably but then he was reading you some book about York City so with all due respect you can’t be blamed for crying.

Growth
I haven’t weighed you this week as you were done at your 3 month review last week. You’re still in you 0-3 clothes and no closer to growing out of them, although there are some vests of a certain make that are a little on the short side now.

Feeding
No problems here except you are a tad sicky still which at night is particularly frustrating as you are regularly woken up by vomiting which I swear is making your sleep problems worse as you must be getting hungrier quicker and so we continue.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again Noah, you continue to amaze us. I can’t believe how quickly you’re developing and changing in front of our eyes. I’m already missing aspects of you now you’re getting older; those nights when you wouldn’t sleep unless you were snuggled up to me in our bed; looking down on your beautiful sleeping face pushed against me as close as I would allow you to get; the milk comas you’d fall into as soon as you were fed; the little pops and squeaks you made when you were sleeping, all been replaced by other traits that I’m sure I’ll miss in a few months time as you get older and change some more no doubt displaying other, new traits that I’ll love and grow to miss.

All of these changes, all of these new and wonderful things you’re doing make me love you more and more each day my darling boy. I relish every minute I share with you and although I’d love to have a bit more sleep at night I also relish those dark and silent times only we share. Before I know it you’ll be grown up and won’t need me anymore. I’ll be left with my memories of being your all, being your everything and I’ll recall these long nights where it’s just the two of us and I’m the only one that can provide you with what you need.

There’s one thing for sure in amidst all this change you’ll never lose your smile and every time I see it it’ll melt my heart, no matter how old you are.

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14 Weeks Old

On Friday you turned 14 weeks old, how fast time flies and how fast you’re developing.

I recently bought a book on the recommendation of a friend, it’s called The Wonder Weeks by Hetty van de Rijt, Ph.D. It details your 10 predictable fussy stages and helps me prepare for them, embrace them and stimulate you during these phases. It’s amazing, it’s really helped me prepare for these stages. It’s helped me understand you a bit better and what you’re going through during these grumpy stages. It also tells me what I’m likely to see on the other side which makes it all worthwhile.

I think we are finally leaving one of these phases and you have truly leapt forward developmentally, you amaze me every day and you’re turning into such a happy little soul.

We had your 3 month developmental review this week. I was a little perturbed to discover it was a group session and was worried you’d be too distracted by all the other babies to show the HV how much you’re developing. I needn’t have worried as we were the only ones that turned up and she (the nursery nurse) didn’t want you to perform anyway, she simply measured and weighed you and asked me whether you were achieving the milestones that you actually perfected a few weeks ago and was impressed to see you doing things ahead of ‘schedule’ (proud mummy moment). She also put my mind at ease that you are not teething. It is, as we originally thought, your saliva ducts maturing and the hand chewing is simply because you’ve located this hole in your face that you can put stuff into… Your favourite pastime.

It was your Daddy’s birthday on Sunday, I don’t think he’s ever had such a fabulous day simply because you were here to share it with him. Your card to him is in pride of place on the table.

We went out for coffee this week too, I was nervous to see how you’d be in public as you’ve been in such a finicky mood lately. I needn’t have worried there either, you were as good as gold until you got tired after a couple of hours which is fair enough considering I had woken you up to take you out in the first place. I simply bade our friends a farewell, popped you in your pram and you were asleep before we’d crossed the carpark.

Character
Where to start? You are simply gorgeous, you’re turning into such a happy little chap. You have mastered your smiling and there’s no more perfect a moment than when you wake up, see us and reward us with the broadest most genuine smile I’ve ever seen, it is truly heart melting. You no longer need to be coaxed to smile, you give them out quite freely now and are fast mastering the art of laughter, but this is still a work in progress. You love nothing more than to snuggle up to us and still aren’t entirely happy when sitting in your bouncer or on your playmat… You are very headstrong and you need to be in the right frame of mind to do that. However, when you do want to be there you quite happily bat at the hanging toys but not for long, I think you may feel a little trapped by them as they are quite close to your face now. Perhaps you’re like me and don’t like to feel confined? Who knows, time will tell. You are so inquisitive and prefer to be up high and walking around so you can observe more. Gone are the days we can just sit on the sofa with you but on the occasions we can you love nothing more than giggling at the black cats on the wall… Still they amuse you like nothing else. You’re slowly showing signs of attachment to your toys and in particular your Jelly Cat rabbit comforter, you love nothing more than feeling it and stuffing it into your mouth.

Muscle Development
It seems your back and neck muscles are strengthening every day. You’re not happy leaning back or lying down now, the majority of the time you’re pulling your head forward wanting to sit up, you grab hold of our fingers and we help you sit up and you’re so happy there, in fact sometimes that isn’t enough and when you come into a sitting position you amaze us by putting the pressure on your legs and coming up into a standing position. You don’t seem to be overly interested in rolling over unless I encourage it, you’re putting all your effort into sitting. You’re a lot easier to hold and carry now as you hold your upper body up brilliantly now and are happy to sit on our laps.

Speech
You continue to babble and squawk at us. Consonants are featuring massively so of course I’m encouraging the m’s 😉 You’ve mastered volume control now and delight in showing us this new found skill. You can often be heard ‘shouting’ when you want my attention should I have left your sight for a few minutes.

Entertainment
Anything and everything is entertainment to you now, you become absorbed in everything you see. Of particular interest are your hands, you love looking at them and rubbing them together. You love textures and when I’m doing the laundry I let you feel everything I fold to familiarise yourself with the different fabrics. You love to hold and stroke your Jelly Cat Rabbit Comforter often shoving an ear or nose in your mouth while rubbing the comforter between your hands. Your Lamaze dragon is becoming increasingly entertaining to you, as is your giant Lion, the colours, textures and rattles are what’s making them fascinating I think. You love to be sung to which is excruciating for your Daddy (he doesn’t like my singing voice) but because I don’t really remember many baby songs I’m afraid my love for The Sound of Music has come into play (this will please your Grandpa and Uncles greatly) and you particularly love the Wizard if Oz and Knick Knack Paddy Whack, the latter two I sing to make you laugh or to stop you crying.

Sleep
Mmmmmm, well I’m still not getting much ;).
You still wake every 2-3 hrs for a feed through the night but do sleep for a longer stretch very, very occasionally (3 times to date) but because you feed and settle so quickly (20 mins max) I’m ok with that. This week I’ve started to introduce a loose bedtime routine to try and stop you relying on feeding to get you to sleep. We haven’t enforced a time yet, baby steps first. I wait until you are tired, you make this obvious as you rub your eyes, yawn and coo repeatedly. I then pop you in your DreamPod, give you a top up and put you in your bednest awake. I give you your comforter and sit with you reading you bedtime stories. You’ve been fast asleep within half an hour so far, I’m so incredibly proud of you. Of course this has affected me more than I’d have known, I almost feel like you no longer need me… Ridiculous I know! We of course are not enjoying an evening in front of the TV because of this, on the first night we’d checked on you 15 times in the first 20 minutes, when we reached 30 we gave up and came to bed ourselves…. this hasn’t improved! I hope that in a month or so we’ll be at a point that we put you to bed at a set time and you know that this means it’s sleepy time. I’m finding story time a wonderful part of the day. I know you don’t understand what I’m saying and that it’s the tone of my voice you’re focusing on, but I hope that this is the start of your enjoyment of books and stories, they’re such a big part of my life and were when I was growing up and I hope reading is an enjoyment you will find too.

Routine
I’ve discovered you are particularly fractious if you don’t have a mid morning and mid afternoon nap so I’m trying to enforce these more now when I see your tired cues, this can be a daily battle. You still have bath time between 5 and 6 mad I’ve started introducing a bedtime routine (see Sleep, above)

Growth
At exactly 14 weeks you hadn’t gained as much as you did at the last baby clinics… Only 8.5oz but by your review on Tuesday you’d gained another 3oz. The nursery nurse isn’t concerned, you’re growing proportionally and following your growth curve (9th centile) so I’m happy, you’re just a diddy baby and that’s fine, us Petitt’s aren’t known for being large and this is the case on your fathers side too.

Weight: 12Ib 11oz (5.76 kg)
Height: 58cm

Feeding
For the last few weeks I can happily say we’ve cracked this feeding malarkey. No longer do I have to line your nose up and shove your head into me, you just get on with it. I’ve had no problems with blocked ducts lately, unless I’ve laid on my side, and all is well. You have been quite sicky again lately but I think this is more to do with gluttony than reflux these days. Sometimes you gorge so quickly you overload your tiny little tummy and decide to cover us both in milk. At least three daytime and 2 nighttime outfit changes a day is standard currently. I’ve been trying to detach you mid feed to prevent this but you are not impressed by this event and make sure you let me know about it.

Every day you continue to amaze us, we are so proud of you. You are our beautiful boy and I’ll never tire of telling you how we love you more with every passing second.

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Helping Daddy