Our last few days in the bedside cot

bedside cot

My lovely baby,

We’re probably coming to the end of your time in the bedside cot.

I don’t want to believe it, because to me you’re still so tiny. But in reality you’re six months old, rolling all over the place and trying to take on the world.

And soon you’ll be too big for the little bed you’ve slept in for your whole life.

(We have a Knuma Huddle. It’s amazing.)

You have a big cot waiting patiently for you. It’s that place we go and play sometimes, usually after nappy changes when you’re all happy and relaxed. Because I want you to have positive associations with the big cot and feel comfortable sleeping there.

But oh, my little girl, I am going to miss you in the night.

I love the moments before sleep, where we cuddle and I feed you until you doze off. Finally, you loosen your grip on me as your head lolls sleepily backwards. I roll my vest back up and think of depositing you straight into the bedside cot – and then, invariably, I don’t.

I usually cuddle you for a good five or ten minutes after you’ve dropped off to sleep. In these days where you’re on the go all the time, having these sleepy moments feels like a gift, a window back in time to my little newborn girl. You’re so warm, so cuddly, so mine.

It’s like every night is a sleepover. Daddy is mostly sleeping in the other room so his snoring doesn’t disturb you (or me!), and it’s just us girls.

In the middle of the night, sometimes you wake me up just to talk. It’s better than any girly sleepover I ever had as a teenager. We giggle and have so much fun. In the middle of the night, it’s just you and me, my baby. The rest of the world could have vanished, for all we know.

I love the convenience of the bedside cot too. Not having to get up when you need me in the night is amazing. It’s brilliant that I can just roll over, grab my glasses, tie my hair up, put a cardigan on, pull the side of your little cot down and you’re there. Grinning and kicking and excited to see me. Because you’re my favourite person in the world and I’d like to think that you feel the same.

So, while I’m glad that you’re growing and gaining new skills, I’m going to miss the days of you, me and the bedside cot.

I love you.

Your Mummy

So what do you do all day?

what do you do all day?

For some reason, the question “So what do you do all day?” comes up sometimes. Mostly when talking to people who don’t have children, of course!

Fear not, my days are very busy. I’ve had this post half-written for days, for example! I’m finally getting it done while she plays in the gym and I try and ignore the fact that I need to do laundry and every room in the house is a mess. (Because I too was once naive like that, I thought that my house would be really tidy while I was on maternity leave. Ha.)

What do you do all day?

All times are approximate, of course! But this is a general guide to how our days go.

6am: Baby wakes up. We have a cuddle and a feed in bed. She usually feeds for an hour or so at this time of day, and she might doze a bit while she does.

7-7.30am: We go downstairs. She gets a nappy change and gets dressed, and my husband is on baby duty while I have breakfast and get myself dressed. Then he heads off to get dressed and go to work, and she has a little play in her baby gym while I quickly throw some washing in the machine or unload the dishwasher. I feed Ned and Barbara at this point as well – lesson learnt from days when it’s been midday before Yaya has let me go!

8.30am: Time for second breakfast! We set ourselves up in our Ikea chair and I have a snack and a drink while she feeds. Sometimes she’ll doze off while we do this. If I desperately need to do something and am very lucky, I can transfer her from my arms, but often I just cuddle her.

10am: After her feed, she usually wants to stretch out on the floor for a bit, so I pop her back in the play gym, or on a blanket on the floor. She plays for a bit – maybe in the gym or perhaps fighting her toy lion. She’s an excellent lion fighter!

10.30am: If we’re going out or need to do anything, this is usually when we do it. Either we go to our baby sing and sign class, or to the shops, or to visit Nana and Pops. If we’re staying in, I’ll put her in her bouncy chair and we’ll go through to the kitchen where we’ll empty the dishwasher or hang up some laundry, and then we’ll have a play until lunch.

12pm: We usually have another little feed. If I time this well, I can get her satisfied and happy so that she’ll doze while I eat my lunch!

1pm: Mummy’s lunchtime! I try and have a hot lunch most days, but nothing complex. I usually have a samosa or something similar – something that stays warm and that I can eat one-handed if necessary!

2pm: We might go for a walk, or take a trip out to Sainsbury’s if she’s getting antsy. Sometimes we play with the rabbits, or I’ll get out some bubble mixture or extra toys.

3pm: More feeding! When it gets to late afternoon, I like to close the blinds and light a couple of candles to make it all cosy. We cuddle in the chair and watch TV while we feed for a couple of hours at this point. We often get into a nice feeding-and-napping cycle here, where she dozes and wakes up to feed a bit more.

5pm: We have a sing and a dance to get into a good mood for when Daddy gets home! I try and pick up some of the detritus of the day as well so that it doesn’t look so chaotic when he gets home.

5.30pm: Daddy gets home, and he’s on duty for most of the evening. During that time, he does some bottle feeds (we combination feed). Some nights there may also be a bath for Yaya!

6.30pm: I give Ned and Barbara their tea and play with them while Daddy and Yaya have some alone time. I really value the time I get with my bunny babies.

7pm: I get dinner ready and we eat while watching TV, with Yaya sleeping on Daddy’s lap.

9pm: I go for a shower while Daddy changes Yaya and puts her in her sleepsack.

9.30pm: Yaya and I cuddle in bed and have a last feed, and then when she’s done I caaaaaarefully transfer her into her bed, and drop off to sleep myself.

So, what do I do all day? Lots! I love my days. I’m so, so lucky.

Nicknames for my baby

nicknames

I’m a big nicknamer. It’s funny, I’m not really one for nicknames with other adults, but for the small people (human and rabbit) in my life, there are a million nicknames.

Barbara is Barbie-Ra a lot of the time. Ned is Noo Noo more than he’s Ned. Gingee was Gigi or Gingiver, and not being able to call him Gingiver any more brings me to tears.

We rejected a lot of names before the baby was born because I couldn’t work out for nicknames for them.

Juliana would have ended up as Julie, and I wasn’t too keen. Aurelia didn’t really have an intuitive nickname but was long enough to definitely need one.

On the other hand, Josephine got bonus points because of Josie, which I like much more than the full name.

As it is, we didn’t use any of those. And most of her nicknames actually don’t have any connection to her real name!

Some of the nicknames she’s acquired so far include:

  • Baby Robot. This is because, in the early days, it seemed like she was pretty easy to care for – just add milk! Like a robot. Sometimes we replace the R with the first letter of her name.
  • Bababoo. It’s fun to babble at her! It’s most fun to do in a really deep voice.
  • Button. This comes from her Nana, but it fits nicely. She has a sweet button nose. (Baby, not Nana. Although Nana’s nose is nice too.)
  • Yaya/Baby Yaya/Babayaya. She is so vocal, and Yaya is one of the things she says most often. So she’s Yaya!
  • Happy Baby. Because she is. She is the happiest baby you’ve ever seen.
  • Rooooooound Face. Her face is so round. Sometimes it looks like Mickey Mouse – two round fat cheeks and a round chin as well as the round head!
  • Baby Person. Because sometimes it amazes me that she’s an actual person, not just a baby, if that makes sense.

Of course, she also gets the typical “Angry Pants” type nicknames that parents give their babies too. But she hardly ever gets called by her actual name!

We graduated from baby sensory!

baby sensory graduate!

We’ve been going to baby sensory classes for a few months, and we graduated last week!

Baby sensory graduate!

It’s appropriate that she’s crying in the graduation picture, as she mostly cried her way through the course. I think it was really good for us both, though.

We started going when she was just eight weeks old, and it’s seen us through to sixteen weeks. I’m not sure if the baby liked it, but I did!

It’s been really useful. During that time, she developed a pretty serious stranger anxiety, so being forced to get out at least once a week and be around people who weren’t me, Daddy or Nana was good for her.

And, as it’s been winter, it’s been good to get me out of the house as well!

We’ve been really lucky in that the class was within walking distance of our house, so I’d bundle us up in the stretchy wrap and we’d walk down after lunch on Wednesdays.

Generally, we spend a lot of time just the two of us. Initially, she was frightened of seeing so many people. And other babies! She’d never met other babies before.

And I didn’t know any other local mums. So it was lovely to get chance to talk to people with tiny babies.

But it was the actual baby sensory aspect that was most interesting. Some of the things we played with included:

  • Bubbles! She loves bubbles, it turns out. We now do bubble time at home.
  • Lights. She loves lights at home. One of her favourite toys is a string of fairy lights. But she took real issue with the lights at baby sensory class! I think it might be partly due to the fact that the lights were turned off before the fibre optic or other fun lights came out, and she went through a phase of being afraid of the dark.
  • Baby massage. For some reason, always makes her cry in class. She likes it at home.
  • Songs. These were a mixed bag. Some she loves and some made her wail. She did consistently hate the applause at the end of each song though.
  • Bells and other ways to make music. She’d rather wail and scream. I think the environment was too noisy for her.
  • Puppets. She liked these.
  • Fun things to touch. Feathers, ribbons, etc. This was getting a bit risky by the end as everything goes in her mouth now!

By the end of the sessions, she was starting to enjoy herself a lot more.

In the first few classes, we had to spend most of the time feeding to calm her down. I don’t think we fed once in the last two classes!

She likes things that are familiar to her. If the song is The Wheels on the Bus, then she was happy. If it was something she didn’t know, it was scarier. If she’d seen it at home first, like bubbles, she could deal with it better in a strange environment.

In general, we enjoyed the classes – and even if the baby didn’t, I think it was important that I kept on dragging her out to them!

We’ve started Sing and Sign classes as well now, so that’ll busy up two days of the week. We’re going through the same issues of needing to comfort feed throughout Sing and Sign, but I’m hopeful that she’ll feel better about them soon.

Have you taken baby sensory classes? What did you think?

International Women’s Day 2018

international women's day

Happy international women’s day!

international women's day

Before the baby was born, I told everyone I didn’t mind whether we had a boy or a girl.

I lied.

I wanted a girl desperately.

Throughout the tough pregnancy, I thought to myself that if we had a girl, I could be happy being done. If we had a boy, I might have tried to put myself through it again to get a daughter.

The need to have a daughter was strange. I know I would have loved a son. We had a boy’s name chosen from really early in pregnancy, and I could almost picture my little Toby. He would have been wonderful, and I’d have loved him just as fiercely as I love my baby Yaya.

I have lots of male friends, I like lots of men (my husband and dad are two of my favourite people!), I’m closest to my little boy bunny… But I am so glad she is a girl.

I feel sort of uncomfortable admitting it. (I promise, it’s not to do with the clothes!)

Part of it is that I know girls. I went to a girls’ school. From the ages of 11-18, I didn’t interact with boys. They’re almost like an alien species to me. Meeting boys when I went to university was weird. I feel like I know a huge range of different women, with different interests and personalities, whereas I don’t have that range with men.

My daughter might want to take ballet classes or beg for a pony. She might join the army and wear exclusively male clothes. I know women who do all of those things.

Life is a bit easier for a masculine woman than a feminine man. If she wants to be a racing driver or a doctor or a linguist or a nursery school teacher, people won’t judge her. If she wants to wear skirts or Doc Martens, she can.

I’m not ultra feminine. Most days I don’t wear makeup. I have some kind of genetic inability to do anything good with my hair. I love Formula 1. My housekeeping skills are not great. But I also love ballet and nail polish and films with Sandra Bullock. I have close female friendships. I’m a nurturer.

At my school, we were taught that we could do anything. (We were also taught that we should do everything, which is a bit more problematic. That’s a thought for another day.) I am excited to pass this lesson on to my daughter.

There are so many options open to her.

Women are strong. I grew her inside me – how amazing is that? Being pregnant made me appreciate my lineage as a woman. I felt connected to all of the women that had gone before me. Whether or not she chooses to have children herself, that potential is there for her.

I’m looking forward to sharing stories of other strong women with her. Her name has been shared by empresses and saints. I hope she knows that I think she has a great future ahead of her.

Right now, at four months old, she has such a strong personality. I know she’s so young, but she’s so vocal and determined. While I’ve been writing this post, she’s used her head to rotate herself 180 degrees in her play gym!

I’m really excited to raise this little woman.