Summer goodness

If only it could always be this good. Squeak has just gone to bed after a lovely, loungey summer afternoon and evening spent at the local pool  eating dinner in a local beer garden. I’m not looking forward to the extremes we’re expecting this summer but for now, I’m pretty happy with hot sunny days and long balmy evenings…and the super sleepy, all-pooled-out kiddo is a great bonus.

There are so many things about this stay-at-home gig that I’m wrestling with – days like today are what will keep me going.

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Boo

Do you recognise that sublimely cute kiddo hiding behind the bright orange stars?

That’s my kid! In just over a month, he’s going to be 1. I cannot believe it. So much has happened since I last blogged that it’d be futile to try to catch y’all up. Bullets should suffice in getting you up to speed on the key points.

  • Crawling happened about 6.5 months. Cruising, minutes thereafter. Standing unsupported happened at 10 months, and now, at 10 months and 3 weeks, we are moments from walking. In the last two weeks he’s spent a lot of time stringing 2 and 3 steps together. We’ll be sprinting after him within the week, I’m sure.
  • Parenting an almost toddler is really hard and really exhausting. I think we’ve got a massive tantrum thrower on our hands but am desperately hoping that the temper and screaming will stop when the walking starts.
  • He’s still not much of a sleeper. I’m pretty grateful for the nights where he sleeps in 2 hour chunks. The nights with 3 hour segments of sleep are luxurious. There are many nights with 45min-1hourly wakings still.
  • He says Mummy (Ducks), Mama (Me), dog, and cat. He also says a lot of DaDa – never with any real intent but often in the company of happily childless gay boys who freak right out!
  • My love for this kid grows every day. There aren’t enough cliches in the world to express how soul full of love I am.
  • My maternity leave ended. I resigned. I am not at peace with this decision. I may talk more about this at another time.
  • My close Mama friends are all going back to work so I’m making a big effort to befriend more stay-at-home mums.
  • To that end, with a friend, I’ve started a local natural parenting playgroup. I’ve also gotten serious about attending lots of Australian Breastfeeding Association meetings and am getting involved in the Maternity Coalition http://www.maternitycoaltion.org.au
  • I spent a lot of time thinking about studying midwifery next year. In the end, I decided to train as a doula in 2010 and hold off on midwifery until we are done making babies. I’m very excited about the doula training.
  • TTC #2 is on the cards. Not just yet, but soon!

Of course there’s more but I’ll leave it there with the promise of daily blogging on the home stretch of NaBloPoMo.

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6 month love

Our beautiful boy is 6 months old now. I cannot believe we have come so far. Like all the cliches, it feels as though he’s been with us forever and for just moments, all at once. What’s amazed me is just how much changing he’s done in the last couple of months. He doesn’t just exist now. He is present and engaged and so very curious. He has grabby hands and an inquiring mind. He learns so fast and demonstrates that he understands complex ideas and negotiations to the point that I’m blown away on a daily basis. I know my kid is no more a genius than any other kid but wow, these little things are so clever.

His sleep is still crappy in the scheme of things but has improved. Removing caffeine has erradicated the nights of 20 minutes sleep stints and he’s not nursing all night long anymore but we’re still awake every 2hours.  Everything is relative though and I’m feeling loads better – actually, I felt quite a shift after taking sorenson‘s response to this post on board. I am, nonetheless, boiling with frustration as I listen to Ducks enter the 3rd hour of trying to get the boy to sleep tonight. We had a blissful week of 7 o’clock bedtimes recently but a nasty, lengthy case of bronchiolitis seems to have completely messed all that up and we’re back to crabby, sleep fighting boy who won’t sleep unless I’m in bed with him! I’m really crossing my fingers and toes that once he’s fully recovered, he will once again embrace bedtime. It was so nice to sit on the couch with Ducks in the evening. I miss it.

The other big change, which may also be impacting the sleep/bedtime thing is that the boy is now playing with real food. We’ve chosen to go the baby led weaning route of introducing solids and for the last few weeks we’ve been having as awesome time with food. Certainly, it’s been bittersweet. I’m sad that it’s one step toward him needing me less but given that we can’t change it, I’m delighted that he’s so interested and adventurous already.

Photos to follow.

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finally

sleep finallyAbove: Squeak and Mummy after a particularly wakeful day, with a particularly tired boy.  All it took was 2 marathon nursing sessions, a 1.5hour walk and Mummy to come home and bounce him for an hour on the yoga ball. The result: A 40 minute nap.

bath attackAbove: Unbridled bathtime joy. Mummy trying to escape the clutch of Squeaks full body, full throttle,  jaw clampdown open mouth kisses. So beautiful but so very painful, particularly when he uses your hair to pull himself closer!

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vice

This blog entry pains me so. You see, for the better part of two years, right through TTC and pregnancy, I was coffee free. Mostly, I was completely caffeine free. The joy of reintroducing coffee and discovering that it didn’t impact my breastfed baby was insurmountable. Strolls to one of the many awesome local cafes for my daily soy latte have become a great highlight of this stay-at-home mother.

How sad I am thus, to report that I’ve been about 70hours without caffeine (coffee AND tea) and little Squeak has had 2 very good nights sleep. Of course, very good is relative and amounts only to stretches of 2ish hours without waking – but I think we even got a 3 hour stretch in there last night.

And if it’s not my lack of caffeine intake that’s helped, then it’s the added fibre in Squeaks diet. His latest passtime is devouring every piece of paper in sight!  Please let it be that!!!

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void

A cold, a babe who doesn’t sleep and motherhood more broadly has eaten my ability to think creatively, or in fact, rationally, or even coherently. I so want to blog regularly. I want to complain about the all night nursing and the stints of no more than 1 hour of consecutive sleep all night. On bad nights, it’s 20 minutes. I also want to complain about the giant boy’s incapacity to nap during the day or sleep at night without me. I feel like we embody the reason that co-sleeping has a bad name. I love sleeping with my boy. I love the snuggles. I love the good they say it’ll do my boy. But there’s a niggling thought in the back of my mind that wonders if we’ve created a monster? Sleep training is not an option for us. I’ve read the books and if I’m not appalled by them, at the very least, I’m demoralised. So I’ve stopped reading the books and remain committed to co-sleeping and [maybe, probably not] being the mother of an only child! Some nights have been so bad that I’ve had to fight the urge to tell TTC’ers to quit while they’re ahead. But despite desperate moments my boy is still awesome and growing and changing so much.

At 5 months, every day brings a new little skill or idiosyncrasy. He’s so engaged with the world now. Nothing within his reach is safe – and I find myself sneaking cups of tea and toast rather than trying to avoid his grabby curiosity.  Cafe outings are timed with breastfeeding or naps in the ergo. If he’s awake it’s hard work! Teaspoons provide some respite but there’s never enough time to get through a meal!

Was he sitting last time I blogged? Well he’s sitting independently now – has been since 4.5 months – and is much happier for it. And it buys me a bit of extra time to try and get his nappies clean and food in my belly (seeing as naptime doesn’t afford me such luxury.)

He’s also become super kissy. He loves nothing more than grabbing our hair, pulling us to him and slobbering (and sometimes clamping down with that super strong jaw) all over our face. It’s so painful but completely adorable and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

And he’s recognising important ppl in his life. My Mum came back from 6 weeks overseas and he remembered her instantly. I was astounded. He adores her and beams from ear to ear whenever he sees her. Same story when Duck gets home from work! It’s gold.

Really, he’s gold. Everything about him is gold and despite some really dark nights [and days] the bliss far outweighs the misery.

I’m going to succumb to my headache now and leave you with a few pics from the last few weeks.

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Giant babe

Every month, the nurse says to us ‘his growth will start to plateau now’ and every month, he’s put on another kilogram! This month he grew 6cm too. This babe is now just shy of 9 kgs and is 67.5cm long. That’s over 19 pounds and 26 inches.

At 4 months old, Squeak is very 4 months old. His sleep has regressed, his teeth are driving him nuts, he’s rolling from back to tummy, he’s squealing and squawking all.the.time. He loves books (he’s currently reading Goodnight Moon on my lap, thus affording me the opportunity to blog one handed!) and Sophie the Giraffe. Bath time is a total salvation and gets us through witching hour. He’s really strong and despite my hopes that he’d be late to be mobile, our osteopath predicts an early walker! He’s a total Mama’s boy and most often can only be soothed or settled by the boob.

Today I managed to get him to sleep by bouncing on the yoga ball but the second I tried to put him down, he woke up. Cue more bouncing and a 40 minute nap in Mama’s arms. I’m not exaggerating when I say that for the last month, he has not slept anywhere but in my arms, attached to my boob or in the hug-a-bub (moby) or ergo carrier. Not once. Day and night. And for a while there, he wasn’t sleeping for more than 45mins in a row either. We were already committed co-sleepers but were we not, we would be now! Thankfully, we’re getting chunks of 2 hours at night now and he’s easy to resettle (with the boob!) Naps are very short to non-existent.

Of course, our move was incredibly poorly timed in regard to child development but we had no choice in those stakes. The good news is that we didn’t have to move into my mother’s place and found an awesome place, with a beautiful garden, a great kitchen and only 2 streets from our last place, just in time. I do think that a lot of our challenges with the boy have been to do with the move. The further out from the move we get (we moved 2 weeks ago) the more settle Squeak seems to be.

But it’s awesome. I love him and motherhood soooooo much. I had coffee with a childless (but child friendly) friend yesterday whose observation was that committed feminist mothers seemed to complain A LOT. I think she was being a  bit harsh but I’m now conscious of appreciating all the good stuff. And telling people about it.  I have plenty of other feminist mothering observations about which to blog but the joy of Goodnight Moon has worn off and I must now attend to the tears…

One

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