Last night I watched the end of a film that we started while I was in labour (after the first time we had been to hospital…something to pass the middle of the night hours until I could go back again), and somehow had never had the time or the inclination to finish. A bit of a silly film, What I Did on Holiday, but harmless fun and a good cast.
More reflection, but it somehow felt like fully rounding off the year. I am back in London after a lovely weekend away celebrating baby bear and my grandfather’s joint birthdays (1 and 87), and having a stolen day today with baby bear on a wonderful sunny crisp Autumn/Winter day. Back to work tomorrow, and it feels like a bit of a new start again. I know what to expect this time and, although it doesn’t make it any easier to leave baby bear, I am ready to grit my teeth and get through it.
It really has been the most incredible year, and although it is another reflective post, I have decided to have a go at summarising it month by month:
November (Month 1): A haze of newbornness, dark evenings, learning how to be parents (armed with parenting books and daily lists noting down when baby bear had a nappy change or feed – I found these lists the other day, and it brought it all back!). Absolutely no structure to the days, and bedtime would be anywhere between 8pm and 1am with me desperately trying to get baby bear to settle. Walks and coffees with friends, and frequent visitors, helped me get through the days, but once it was dark (circa 4pm) that was it until 7 the next morning, and it was hard.
December (Month 2): Beginning to find our feet a bit more, we had our first excursions out of London, learning how to play car jenga with all the paraphernalia that baby bear brought with him. Should we take the moses basket or the pram? Attempted to take baby bear Christmas shopping (heralding probably the biggest meltdown of December). A lovely Christmas and New Year with family. Still in a haze of sleep deprivation, but we finally managed some 7pm bedtimes, which felt like a huge success.
January (Month 3): Back in London, and starting to get a bit of structure into our days and weeks. Baby bear was christened – a very special day. We went to our first Monkey Music, now an institution in our weeks. I finally plucked up the courage to start expressing, and introduced baby bear to the bottle just in case.
February (Month 4): Inching towards a weekly timetable, we started swimming this month, which was lots of fun for both us of. Baby bear also went on my sister’s hen, helped by daddy bear. Still no good sleeping patterns though, and as other friends’ babies started one by one to sleep through, I started to feel the sleep deprivation more keenly. Baby bear showing more interaction though, which helped to make up for it in a small way!
March (Month 5): Finally broke down from the sleep deprivation (started this blog as an outlet – which helped) and had a nasty bout of tonsillitis. Daddy bear was off thank goodness as I was confined to bed for two days. Shared parental leave did not come soon enough, and we headed to Wales for a break.
April (Month 6): Sleep regression (!) (we couldn’t believe this was possible…) but it mattered less as we were in Wales and daddy bear was around. My sister got married on a wonderful Welsh day, and we had 4 weeks off to be together. Weaning was commenced and April also marked (unbelievably to think of this now) daddy bear and my first proper date night together since baby bear arrived. Very much enjoyed. Oo and baby bear could now roll both ways.
May (Month 7): Sleep was tackled, and we finally got somewhere. With daytime naps falling into place, so we got our first proper night’s sleep. And we both felt like new people. Daytimes suddenly were more limiting as a result, as I was too scared to change the napping pattern, but sleep has to prevail in these circumstances! May also marked the weekly pattern falling firmly into place, which held fast until July. One fixed “event” each weekday, and seeing friends around these. Summer arrived, and so we could properly start enjoying time with baby bear without the permanent headache!
June (Month 8): The playground came into its own – going to the swings became a regular fixture. Weaning continued in earnest as we crept towards an end of ice cubes and puree. Wonderful sunny days, mostly in London.
July (Month 9): A month of firsts – first teeth and first crawling! I started carrying a rug around for picnics in the park. We discovered that babies love boxes. And had a lovely holiday in Cornwall.
August (Month 10): A welcome break from London, most of August was spent out of it. Scilly Isles for the first week, and then Wales for the rest. A glorious glorious few weeks of watching baby bear grow (from crawling to cruising and pulling himself up, and properly discovering finger foods and feeding himself) and spending quality time with him in beautiful surroundings. Unforgettable.
October (Month 12): Feeling a bit more settled, and getting used to the new routine. I miss him terribly, but baby bear is picking up some wonderful new things at nursery (among other things, starting to learn how to use a spoon, and now builds towers instead of always knocking them down!). And I am a working mummy, at least for now. Finally stopped breastfeeding – felt the right time for both of us.
And with that, I have decided that this will be my last blogpost. At least for now. It has been a wonderful outlet, and a huge help to make sense of the last year, but the first birthday seems as good a time as any to say farewell. I have also broken my rule for once, and baby bear’s face appears in some of the photos in this post. He’s saying goodbye for now too. Thank you to all those that have followed me on this amazing journey. I have learnt so much, and hope I have given those of you reading something to smile about along the way.