Seriously, how is my baby boy 9 months old? I’ve had a bit of an emotional week as I feel like I have blinked and my newborn is off to High School and has his first girlfriend. (Does anyone else worry they are going to be the mother-in-law from hell?!) Okay, I digress, so he is not quite that grown-up yet but I feel like we have made a massive jump from teeny baby – to big, bruiser who can’t sit still. I got a bit teary putting his 6 to 9 month clothes away. How is he nearly one? It’s madness. And as I approach the end of my maternity leave, I just wish I had treasured those early months, when he was so small, so much more than I did. I’ve wrote about those early weeks a lot and you really are in a fog of extreme exhaustion and constant worrying about the colour of baby’s poo, whether you will ever stop walking like John Wayne and why your husband has become even more annoying than he was when you were pregnant. But seriously, I just wish I’d savoured those moments, however difficult those early stages were because I saw a teeny baby when Rafe was being weighed the other day and I feel like I just can’t remember him ever being that small. And I remember mum friends saying that to me when they first met Rafe. So I have vowed to try and savour every moment and really try and not stress as much. (Yes, I know, but I’m going to try!) Because I really don’t want to look back on my maternity leave and think I spent most of it stressing about blinking naps (my nemesis), sleep in general and sticking to a routine. But don’t worry – if I achieve any type of nap miracle – I will be running round the streets of Whitley Bay, with a fog horn letting everyone know.
So, like I said, it’s been a teary week. As it gets closer to the end of my maternity leave, I just can’t imagine being at work and not being with Rafe. I know in the long run, it will be good for him to spend time away from me – and likewise, me have time away from Rafe, but it feels like such a huge deal for me. And I’m sure every mum feels the same after months of being pretty much joined at the hip with their baby. I know he will be fine as childcare is being split between grandparents – and one day at playgroup but the thought of that first day of putting him into playgroup and saying bye, literally fills me with dread – and yup, here we go again – tears are coming. I know he will probably love playgroup and being with other children but it doesn’t make it any easier. I just wish I could have a balance of working part-time – then the rest of the time with Rafe, but sadly, just can’t afford to do that. My husband keeps saying I need to write that book I am forever banging on about writing and make my millions – (the dream), but I don’t know when I’ll fit that in! But I need to remember that my parents have worked all through my childhood and I never remember the moments they were at work – only the moments we were all together on holiday, day-trips, playing in the garden, Christmas - the best memories. So that gives me some reassurance and feel slightly less like crying!
Although I feel like I can’t believe where the time has gone, I feel incredibly lucky that I have such a lovely little boy, who is growing up to be an absolute little legend. I had a ‘I am so lucky’ moment the other day when I was reading Rafe a bedtime story and I was doing different voices and he was looking at me a little unsure, then he just grabbed my fingers and held my hand and smiled and I thought, bloody hell, this is what it’s all about.
Okay – less of this emotion!! It’s still been a trying week! The poor poppet has had diarrhoea since Monday so it’s just been poo explosion's left right and centre. He’s absolutely fine within himself and the doctor is not worried as he is still eating and having plenty of wet nappies – just must have caught yet another bug. His bum is so sore and I do feel so sorry for him and changing a nappy when you’re still half asleep, when baby is literally pooing everywhere at 1am is an experience. These little explosions always seem to be at some critical moments too – like when you are just about to find out whether Josh had decided to uncouple with Georgia on Love Island – or during the England v Columbia match. But there's less poo explosion's now so I’m hoping we have a bit of time before the next bloody viral bug.
I tried to get Rafe to nap in his cot this week and had a proper hand in the head – what the fuck am I doing wrong moment? Again. And really felt quite defeated when it was an hour of trying – and no sleep. I posted something on my Instagram stories and a lovely mum messaged me and told me to stop beating myself up about naptime – mum life was hard enough. She said her boy is the same age and she decided to throw routine out the window and let him nap when he wanted to –whether that be in the car, pram, on her. And if he wants a snuggle – they had a snuggle. Her older son hated naps with a passion (hello Rafe) but when he hit one he was a nap King. She said the best thing she did was throw all the books out the window and took the lead from her baby. Which was just the message I needed. Another mum also contacted me to let me know more about the Cheshire baby whisperer which has been really interesting and massively helpful to find out more – as it kind of goes against a lot of what all the books say so just shows that I don’t think there really is a right or wrong answer. All babies are different and you just have to do what works for you and your baby. I’ve been less stressed about naps the past couple of days, taking Rafe's lead – but still trying to do a bit of self-settling, more just because I know he can do it. Also trying to stick to a bit of a routine as you know what I'm like! And had some success with daytime naps – and night-time. (Though he still only naps for 30 minutes and I take him out in the pram for one nap but I’m calm about that!) So for both the morning nap and night-time, I just put him down in his cot and say it's sleep/nap time now. Then I lie on my bed with my back to him. He tends to not be very happy about this so I time three minutes and ignore him (this is hard) while he cries. I then pick him up and repeat the phrase, tap his back and calm him down. Then go back to facing away for him, leave it 5 minutes – and then keep repeating. The first few times have taken at least an hour – and it is hard as he was crying for a bit, but I was always next to him and as the time went on, I could hear him starting to drift off. And after what seems like forever, he goes to sleep. So I’m going to keep going with this and see how we get on. But also try and chill the fuck out! No miracles yet and still up at least once/twice in the night (which I'll take as so so so much better than the recent multiple wake-ups) but there is hope. And wine. And chocolate.
So I feel like I have blabbed on quite a bit this week but just want to say to all you mums out there who are in the newborn six-week fog – I know it’s tough, but try and treasure those cuddles. They won’t be that small for long. And for all those other mums who have blinked and can’t quite believe where the time has gone – we are doing a pretty good job aren’t we? Give yourself a fucking high five.
Royal Marine Wife. Mum to Rafe.