Tuesday, 15 April 2014

She looks just like you...

At seven months old now, M is absolutely adorable. She can sit up on her own, smile, giggle, babble, pick things up, drop them and generally chew anything she can get her mouth round. We are slowly beginning to get an idea of the child we will get to know over the next few years. 

Recently I took her into work for the first time. R was with me too, so it was a great chance for the people I work with to meet them both. Everyone knows about my daughter and that R gave birth to her, which is why the following exchange made me smile:

Colleague: Oh she's beautiful. I can see you in her R, but not you yet S, I'm sure we will though...
[no trace of irony]

Me: oh thanks. Well, yes, I see a lot of R in her too.

Bless my colleague, she seemed to be in blissful ignorance of the biological dimension to having a child. It was actually rather sweet, and reminded me that people have no doubts that I am M's Mama.

Conversely, in character, my mum thinks she resembles me uncannily. She is noisy and chatty and very good natured. Apparently I was exactly the same. It's really nice to think that, in spite of the lack of a genetic connection, she is taking after me already!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Mummy, Mama and Mothering Sunday

My daughter is beautiful. I love her more than I could ever imagine. I love being a parent. 

On Sunday it is Mothering Sunday. I can honestly say I have absolutely no feelings about it whatsoever. It's not that I don't feel like a mum, it's just it feels so artificial to me. 

A little while ago me and R had a chat about Mothers Day and decided that it would be 'her' day to receive a card and small present from M. I have decided to claim Father's Day as my own. Not becauseI identify as a father per se, but so that when other children are making cards for their Dads at nursery, M can make one for me and not feel left out. 

In some ways, I fulfill a really traditional 'dad' role. I go to work while R stays at home, I look after the car and general maintenance, and R does the cooking and tidying and household management. It's weird to be such a stereotype - although given we are both women, perhaps society will let us off?

Maybe I'll have some kind of epiphany on Sunday, but I doubt it. In the meantime, roll on Father's Day. Perhaps I should start jangling keys in my pocket and talking about traffic on the motorway to complete my cliched role...

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Sleep o'clock

M is now six months old, and among other things, can sit up unaided and enjoy a swing! However, it is also time for us to organise a more reasonable bedtime for her. For the first few months she just came to bed when we did. But recently we've noticed she gets very grumpy around 7pm and then has a long nap. So, the time has come...

...sleep training!

Night 1 (yesterday): 40 mins of crying from a small baby with a very cross face as I carried her around the bedroom, finally settling her in the cot. It was a real head over heart thing - I felt really mean but knew that she was safe, fed, warm and simply tired. It was such a relief when she finally dropped off. 

Night 2: about the same amount of crying, but it started earlier this time - she was definitely very cross with me! But now, here we are, downstairs, wondering what we did with our evenings before M. She's been asleep upstairs in her cot for an hour. 

A new beginning - we have our evenings back!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Time for dinner

I have written several times about the minefield that is parenting. Whether it's sleeping, feeding, television or nappies, there is always a plethora of opinion on what is right and what is wrong - with the emphasis on wrong!

We are very soon to be hitting the six month mark with M, which according to current guidance means weaning. But of course, there are those who feel weaning should start earlier. Indeed, when I was a baby in the late 1970s, weaning began for me at four months. This was standard practice then. But the time of starting it isn't the only decision to make. You also need to decide about the type of weaning you undertake - yes, there is more than one. It came as a surprise to me too. All the trendy babies it seems do 'baby-led' weaning, which involves fewer spoonfuls of goo, and more fistfuls of cucumber. In reality, most mums I know seem to do a mixture of both.

Last week we made a start with food for M. At the moment it is more about her getting used to the idea, which means she's licking a lot of different food, but generally then squishing it up and discarding it. Given the amount of milk she is still drinking, that won't do her any harm. The idea though is that she will slowly learn to move food around in her mouth and then swallow it, at her own pace.

In the meantime however, she is somewhat bemused by the new 'toys' that are placed on her high chair tray - they are almost always green, and don't make a noise when she shakes them...

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Five months older and wiser

My daughter will be five months old later on this week. It's hard to believe really. In one sense it has flown by, but in another I can no longer recall my life before she arrived. 

Both me and R are working out how to balance our needs with hers. It's important that our needs are prioritised too - without happy mummies, M won't be happy herself. For me, the balancing act of course also involves work. 

Most of the time it is fine, I manage to get most of what I want done and fulfill my responsibilities. It's a role, as many fathers can I am sure attest to, that is hard. There is a cult of motherhood which makes those of us who go out to work feel sometimes we can't complain about the sleep loss or the old life we miss. Whatever we are going through, it is perceived, mummy is going through worse. And perhaps that is true. But it is important that I allow myself to feel how I feel without guilt.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Beeps, squeaks and the Sound of Music

Do any other parents find themselves in a world of strange sounds involving beeps, squeaks clicks and woos? And I don't mean the babies, I mean us. I spend an inordinate amount of time oretending that my daughter's nose goes beep and that jogging up and down on my legs is like being on a horse - to a largely non-plussed baby.

The other day I sang Edelweiss, famously in the Sound of Music, and ended up re-enacting the whole of the last third of the Sound of Music, including hiding from Nazis in the convent and escaping over the mountains. M was largely unmoved, but I enjoyed myself. 

Here's a thought - maybe all this playing about a noise-making is about us, and not them!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Sleep is for the weak

There she is. Isn't she beautiful like that? All sleeping and angelic. Bless. 

However, it seems we have hit a new phase that no one told me about. Four months heralds a return to waking up every hour or so at night to a crying/hungry/grumpy/squeaky baby. She hasn't been this unsettled at night since the very early days. What on earth has happened? Well, apparently this is typical of the four month stage in many babies because all sorts of crazy stuff is happening in their brains. 

I asked my mum about it on the phone today but all she remembers is me sleeping for as long as possible at all times. This is definitely true of me now. In fact as late as 5 years old I was still having two long naps in the day followed by 12 hours sleep at night.  If only little M had my genes!

So, good luck to all those neuro pathways that are developing. But please let them sort themselves out soon!