Almost 10 months old, with a return to work on the horizon, and it’s a time to take stock, and look forward to the future for possibly the first time since the wee man was born. It’s a month for lists and top 10s, so here’s what I’ve discovered lately:
1. By this age, he is ready to explore. He doesn’t need me so much, he wants to socialise with other adults and babies, and he needs SPACE to crawl, climb and discover the world. Our house suddenly feels far too small, too restrictive for him. And nappy changing – which now has to be done while he is standing or sitting or doing ANYTHING except lying down – has become a battle of wills. Play groups - especially soft play – is the place he loves to be most and is my saviour, especially if they make a decent coffee.
2. It is incredibly easy to lose touch with friends in the first 9 months of parenthood as any sort of travel in London with a small baby is a nightmare, and in the evenings often you’re too knackered to do anything. And trying to catch up with a baby in tow is impossible – I’m halfway home before I realise I didn’t get to ask how my friend is. But now I’m missing my friends so much – the laughter and the gossip and the mutual ranting – and really want to restart my social life. Emails to arrange nights out and play dates have been flying out of my inbox, although some of them are in the newborn baby bubble now too, and January is maybe not the best time to start socialising again…
3. Going back to work in lots of ways will be easier than staying at home. I won’t again have that 4pm-dark-outside “what on earth should I do with you wee man” sense of dread and lack of imagination. For 4 days a week, meal plans and food shopping and coming up with fun things to do will be someone else’s concern, and I feel confident that I’ve found someone who’s absolutely brilliant at it. And for the 3 days a week I see him, I will not take a single second for granted.
4. I wish I were more imaginative and creative with activities, but when he’s fascinated by remote controls, it’s easy to get lazy.
5. Not sure where my son has developed a “mwah ha ha ha” fake Dr Evil laugh.
6. After 9 months, we finally had our turn of early morning high temperature and rash A&E trip, and all-night scream fest due to an ear infection. I have never been so upset and so scared. But it ended as quickly as it began, and I feel like we’ve passed some parental right of passage. The Chef and I worked as a team and dropped everything – including New Year plans – until the wee man was alright. You just do don’t you?
7. I am delighted by the demise of the baby puree and the onset of sandwich lunches – so much easier. Just can’t wait for the fish fingers. And while I’m at it, does anyone actually make their own fish fingers?
8. Gina Ford has seen me right when it comes to sleep routines throughout baby’s first 9 months. He’s now down to one daily nap from around 1-3pm and sleeps through from 7pm until almost 9am. Some of this is probably because of me and the routine I started when he was just days old. But the more I see the more I believe babies are all about nature rather than nurture. He’s just a great sleeper. And probably because he just won’t stay still for a second when he’s awake!
9. Which brings me onto lack of cuddles. Is it only girls who like to cuddle their mums? The only cuddles I get is when he’s half asleep mid- or post- nap. I now wish I’d cuddled him more as a newborn.
10. He seems bored of all his toys all the time. But if I kept buying new toys each time I’d be skint and our entire house would be overrun. So play groups and play dates are brilliant, as is making something like a treasure chest of normal everyday items to play with (see below).