Snug as a Bug in a Rug

Not sure if it’s going to help the night-time issues… but R recieved the best present ever from us yesterday. A duvet and a pillow! I figured I sure wouldn’t want to be in my bed without mine, so who says he feels any differently? Making his cot a more comfortable/fun place to be in couldn’t hurt anyway.

I took the pic before I left him in bed, feeling very fuzzy and emotional at the idea of my little boy all tucked in for the first time. Of course by the time I checked on him a couple hours later, he had discarded them both entirely, and was curled up in a ball in his own baby-made duvet free spot. He did sleep all night though, so who am I to complain?

Now to find some boy friendly Peppa Pig sheets… He will never want to get out!

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The Warm and Fuzzies

Me and my son had a moment this evening.

A moment can happen at any time, and with any person. With a partner or a spouse, it reminds you what made you fall in love in the first place, and brings you somehow closer, even if you didn’t think there was any space left to bridge. With a friend, it normally teaches you something about yourself as well as them, cements the relationship further, gives you reason to trust them even more with your thoughts and feelings. A moment normally comes when you least expect it, without much warning.

I’ve had plenty of experiences with my baby boy over the past two years that have made me smile, or laugh, or even cry tears of joy or sometimes relief that he is ours, exactly the way he is. But I wouldn’t say that we’ve had too many moments, where I just wish the world would stand still and let me remember that fragment of time exactly how it is in my mind at that second. If I could give my son some memories of his first years in this world, tonight would be one of them.

Try not to lose the emotion of the moment while I set the scene.

I was eating a chocolate digestive biscuit. As anyone with children will know, if am eating a chocolate digestive biscuit, so is R. I broke off a small piece and handed it to him, and within a nanosecond it was in his mouth and forgotten about as he reached out for a second piece. When the second sliver followed suit I knew I had to choose a different route to go down. I broke off one more small piece, about the size of a thumbnail, and handed it to him slowly, clearly telling him “No more! Last bit!” 

He looked at me. He looked at the biscuit seriously. His look said it all. This is the last piece of biscuit, possibly forever. He looked back at me and smiled. He clambered up next to me on the couch, leaned back so that his damp freshly washed head of hair was lying in the crook of my arm, and began to eat.

I say eat, but nothing was chewed or swallowed. He licked at the chocolate, sucked at the sides of the biscuit, and kept stopping to pass the small piece back and forth so he could lick his fingers clean. He had no inhibitions about making little baby sighs of pleasure as he savoured the immense treat he had in his tiny hands.

He lay there for 40 minutes. I haven’t had a cuddle that long with my son since he was 6 months old. It was not just the best 40 minutes of my day, but a front-runner for best 40 minutes of my adulthood. And I just watched him. Chocolate smeared onto my couch, I didn’t move to wipe it away. He licked the couch, I didn’t say a word. His newly bathed arms and face looked like Augustus Gloop after a swim in the chocolate rivers of Willy Wonka’s factory, I smiled lovingly in the way only a mother can be delighted by their child’s sticky mess. Cleaning I could do later. He was so happy.

At the end of the 40 minutes, he sat up, grinned at me, and passed me the now non-chocolate digestive non-biscuit. I picked him up and he snuggled into my shoulder while I sang his goodnight prayers and songs to him quietly. I placed him down into his cot with his baby bear, and he rolled over and closed his eyes instantly.

A lesson from my son today, I hope I can learn to savour an experience the way he savoured that thumbnail of chocolate biscuit. At the very least, I hope I can remember this moment again the next time he screams for two hours before settling, or spends the witching hour between supper and sleep-time throwing toys at my head. I will make the most of this deliciously warm and fuzzy feeling, as that ‘next time’ will probably be tomorrow.

Look who’s talking. (R’s story)

Boy, what a terrible afternoon I’ve had. You just wouldn’t believe what my Ima has put me through.

Today I wasn’t with my Ima, because she didn’t exist. Everyone knows when you don’t see someone, they don’t exist. Anyway, I was at work, watching and playing with the nice lady who cooks much nicer food than my Ima, (even though I admit it does look the same) and suddenly my Ima existed again. No warning, nothing, she just arrives while I was eating my supper. Well that put me right off my food, and no matter what coaxing and distracting she tried, I wasn’t going to have one more bite. No sir. I didn’t mind as I was sure there wouldn’t be any consequences.

Anyway, then I wanted to leave right away, and my mean Ima made me have a clean nappy, (what was wrong with the old one?) shoes, (does anyone know the point of those?) and a hat (I didn’t mind that so much-I do look pretty fly in a cap) before we left. Finally we got out of the door, and my Ima tries to put me in the buggy. The buggy! I can’t remember exactly what was so bad about it, but I know I was definitely not going to get in there, so I started walking in the right direction. But Ima wouldn’t listen to me and kept making me go the other way. She seemed to be getting frustrated every time I went the right way again, so even though I was correct I let her make the wrong decision and followed her instead. Eventually we got to the park. It took much longer than usual. I’m sure it would have been quicker my way, and definitely if Ima had stopped asking me to get in the buggy every time I stopped to look at flowers and leaves.

The park is my favourite place, but someone had forgotten to open the windows or put the fan on, cause I was very hot and uncomfortable. I can’t see how that would affect anyone else, so I was hoping that Ima would be especially good and well behaved to make me feel better. No such luck. First she offered me some water, which I drank. But then she took out my juice. I’d never seen it before, but it must be mine-as everything is. She started drinking from MY juice! I let her know how upset I was by throwing my glasses on the floor. That’s the best way to show her that I’m cross. She had the cheek to tell me off about my glasses, but didn’t make me wear them again. She gave me my juice back, and I took a sip and decided to keep the lid in my hand so she couldnt put it away. She asked me for the lid. I said no. She asked again. I didn’t answer as I’d already told her no. My poor Ima, she only recently started understanding yes and no, so sometimes it’s hard for her. Then you will never believe what happened, she SNATCHED the lid out my hand and put it back on the bottle! Boy was I angry. I sat on that climbing frame and kicked and shouted. But nothing, she just walked away like she couldnt even see me. Eventually she came back with more juice, and the ultimate insult- a straw. What does she think I am? A baby?! I threw the straw on the ground where it belongs. Gosh I was hot and uncomfortable, and something else… that’s right, hungry. Why was I hungry? Didn’t I finish supper? Why didn’t my Ima let me finish my supper? I couldn’t remember but I’m sure it was her fault. This day was going from bad to worse.

Just then my phone rang from Ima’s bag, and she had a quick chat with the man inside the phone. He sometimes sounds like my Daddy, or Ima’s friend Auntie M, but mostly he sounds like my Nana. I wanted my phone very much, but Ima wouldn’t let me have it for no good reason. That upset me for nearly 7 seconds until I found a breadstick. Remind me what was wrong again?

Things were looking up. I decided to find a new game, and started climbing up the stairs to the slide sideways. How fun! Why do people do it frontways? I wondered. But here comes Ima again, spoiling all my fun. Yes yes, I hear you telling me to turn around and climb properly, but I don’t want to. No, stop it! Stop lifting me off the slide, I want to climb this way! Ok FINE. I can wait.. I can be patient… Let’s pretend I’m walking towards the swings… and yes! NOW! I ran towards the slide and started climbing sideways again, but … OUCH! Why am I on the floor?! Why am I all dirty? Why does my arm hurt? Where’s my Ima and why did she let this happen to me? Horrible terrible parent, why didn’t she warn me this could happen???

For some reason, it was my Ima who looked like she had had enough of the park and the whole afternoon, even though it was me having such a terrible time, and she picked me up and after a quick cuddle put me in the buggy. I was about to moan for food, when she read my mind and gave me a whole packet of breadsticks to eat. Boy, that’s more like it. Normally I only get one or two, which would make me cry when they were done. As I finished the breadsticks, she already had a peppa pig ready on the magic phone for me to watch. It was amazing. She must have been feeling very happy to give me so many treats all in one go. I hope she knows how lucky she is not to be hungry, tired and far too hot like I was, and feeling so rubbish. But I didn’t dwell on it. After all, I wasn’t hungry any more after the 17 breadsticks, and much less tired and hot after the shady ride in the buggy home.

But when I got home, I was angry. What a bad day I was having. Ima didn’t seem to understand, or at least, she wasn’t doing anything about it, so I decided to cry and whinge non-stop for a while. But if anything-she got less sympathetic. I wasn’t sure I could take much more of this treatment. She carried me to the bathroom and started running the bath. A bath! I don’t want a bath, I shouted, I hate baths!

(Ten minutes later.)

Why are you trying to take me out of the bath? I want my bath! I shouted. I love baths!

You probably wonder why I decided to have an Ima in the first place after all this negligence on her part. Well, on days like today I wont pretend I don’t ask myself that question. But most days aren’t like this. Most days she doesn’t make the world too hot, or keep me hungry for what must be hours, or refuse to play with me or be wantonly mean. Most days she tries not to give me too much time to myself, and offers me lots of delicious broccoli and not too much yucky chicken. In fact, as crazy as it may seem, once we all go to sleep at 7pm, I will probably miss her, even today. I will probably miss her enough that after a little while, I will cry very loudly so she comes in and I can have just one more quick cuddle. I know that she doesn’t mean to be difficult. She just doesn’t know any better yet. She’s only an Ima after all.

The arrival of Desh and Nah.

My son can say Yes and No!

Well, more accurately, he can say Desh and Nah. But as I am his mother, I can understand what he means perfectly. Also, they are accompanied by head nodding and shaking respectively, which was a bit of a clue if I’m honest.

It’s amazing! Firstly, the gloat-y mother bit you all abhor. Feel free to skim. Most parents tell me their kids learn the word no and its uses months before yes. Some parents of teenagers still seem to be unsure if their kids have mastered the positive response to questions. Not my baby. He only seems to say no if the suggestion is truly awful, (ie: bedtime) and nods happily to most other questions, (breadsticks, grapes, crackers, raisins- he isn’t fussy.) Seriously though, he really thinks about his response rather than going straight to ‘Nahhhh.”

Which is really what I am celebrating. The arrival of Yes and No means that he is comprehending what I am saying well enough to have his own response. How cool is that? And pretty complex if you think about it.  Ima is saying something that I can either agree or disagree with, and then I can let her know which response I’m having. The only problem is that he hasn’t quite mastered whether I’m going to agree with his response to my response yet.

Yes sweetheart, I know you said you don’t want a nappy on, but we are in fact on our way to rhyme time in the buggy, so I think we’l keep in on.
I know baby, I can see that you are bringing me the shaving cream and nodding at me chanting desh desh desh.. but it isn’t technically edible, so I’m not going to unscrew it for you to drink ok?

At the moment I’m still in that giddy excited phase where my son is ACTUALLY communicating with me, so I really don’t mind what the outcome of our conversation is. I just spend most of my time with him offering stuff. If there’s nothing child-friendly around, I improvise. R? Do you want my watch? This tissue? A hug? (That last one is guaranteed to get me a fierce Nah.) If I’m really strapped for questions I just ask every five minutes if he wants to go to sleep. I’m pretty sure he now thinks nap time is a game that he can avoid with the magic word No.

What’s amazing is that he can really express himself with those two words and one or two other useless ones. (Yes, I can see that’s a ball without you telling me.) It’s opened up a whole world for us both. I don’t have to listen to him crying at me and helplessly try any number of options, I can just ask. He doesn’t get surprised that it is suddenly sleep time, or that I’ve given him a snack he didn’t fancy, or any other aspect of his day hasn’t gone as he anticipated. He can have a tiny bit of control over his choices, and I love it. I love knowing that however minor they seem to me, his choices are what his life is made up of, and I am giving him some input for the first time.

And even though it’s been less than a week, I can see that he is happier for it. Adult or baby, don’t we all want the chance to make decisions for ourselves?

Can you say…?

The Chocolate Pudding Debacle

Yesterday, I made a mistake. It was only a small one in the grand scheme of parenting errors. I didnt leave my 8 year old in a pub like our esteemed Prime Minister. I certainly didn’t do any lasting damage to my poor son’s soul, but I did give myself a needlessly horrible afternoon.

All by trying to be the best mum ever.

After R woke up from his nap, he seemed to be a bit cranky. Having no plans to leave the house in the afternoon, I was really not enjoying the thought of a moody 1yo all day, and so decided to be in the ‘best mood ever’ to snap him out of it. After ten minutes or so of fun hide and seek games, (my baby has recently mastered running around a corner and shouting BO! -pretty close to Boo, you’ll admit) I decided to reward his cheer up with an AMAZING treat. A Chocolate Pudding. This was one of those Soya half healthy half not things, and apart from wanting a happy toddler, my other motivation was that if I shared it with him, I wouldn’t devour the whole thing myself, but would still get to have a sweet treat. At this juncture, I must point out that R had never had chocolate pudding before…

Now over the next ten minutes I made several mistakes. All in quick succession and all leading to the biggest tantrum he has ever had. I’m going to express them in a simple Chocolate Pudding Do’s and Dont’s format, and hopefully you can learn where I did not.

#1. Do not give your child something for the first time when they have just woken up from a nap and are questionably cranky.
#2. Do not give your child something deliciously sweet when you have just indulged in a high activity running around getting excited game.
#3. Do sit somewhere uncarpeted if you are worried about the mess a chocolate pudding might make.
#4. Do not let your child use your spoon, only to take it away because it is too big for them to use tidily. (see #3)
#5. Do not suggest we ‘feed teddy’ to calm child down, when the aforementioned teddy is ATTACHED to a book and therefore cannot be washed!
#6. Do not expect your 1 year old to understand that we are sharing the treat.
#7. Do not expect your 1 year old to understand the reason why you took away ‘his’ spoon or the reasons why you are trying to move the whole process to the laminate kitchen floor.
#7. Do deal with your own mistake of giving it to them in the first place and just let them make the biggest mess ever and eat the entire pot and probably be sick, rather than start taking it away and giving rules in the middle leading to giant heaving shrieking temper tantrums which take 3 hours to get over and put everyone in a bad mood until bed time.
#8. Do not be surprised when after an overload of sugar, your baby is wired up and in a crazy hyper angry mood all afternoon.

it was just TOO exciting. An amazing treat for him would have been one Malteaser. Or to be honest, a breadstick. I went too far with my choice, he was already tired and over excited in equal measure, and all his emotions went into overdrive when he realised just how amazing, chocolatey puddingy goodness really is. I can’t blame him for the grabbing and the screaming and the mess making and the temper tantrum, because he is a baby. I showed him a vat of deliciousness and then tried to ration and limit it.

Somehow in my own deluded head I had this image of him feeding himself nicely, with a neat coating of chocolate round his little mouth, grinning at me through bites as if to say, “wow, you’re the greatest Ima ever!” Then he would finish eating, grab a wipe and clean up, throw the pot in the bin, and go off and play nicely by himself as a thank you for my largess.

#9. Do not kid yourself.