When I was 4-years-old I began to detest fish. I couldn’t eat it, touch it or smell it without feeling ill. This hasn’t changed in the three decades since. When I was sixteen I finally became vegetarian as I didn’t like meat very much and felt I was just being fussy otherwise.
I’ve been happy with my dietary choices since, but it has left me feeling slightly conflicted for Reindeer.
Since weaning began I’ve known that I want to give Reindeer the choice of what he eats. Including fish and meat. However, this is proving more difficult than I anticipated. Tonight I decided to make fish for Reindeer’s dinner, the first time he’s eaten anything other than fruit, veg or dairy. It was incredibly difficult, having to touch raw and cooked fish, I struggled not to gag or retch. But it was worth it. He ate all of it!
I’ve come across a lot of comments that, if you are a vegetarian or vegan parent, you shouldn’t compromise your values and give your child those foods you abstain from. Clearly I disagree with this and that is for the very simple reason that it is his choice, not mine. Humans are omnivorous. Pushing Reindeer into a vegetarian diet immediately denies him the opportunity to try the diet his body is adapted for. I’m not going to pretend I eat the same things, and I hope we can talk about diet as one of the many ways people differ.
I need to remember that Reindeer isn’t me and this is one of many choices in life where we may well differ. My job is to help him learn to understand differing points of view without feeling the need to impose his way as the right way.
A couple of months ago, Reindeer’s cousin M outgrew his Jumperoo and very kindly lent it to Reindeer. Despite needing it on the highest setting, Reindeer has loved this toy – happily jumping for so long, in fact, that his Dad and I have both learned all the tunes it has to offer…
Reindeer is a ‘big’ baby, merrily tracking the 99.4th percentile for growth. We’re perfectly fine about this as all his measurements are in proportion and he is both healthy and happy. However, it does mean that he is outpacing the items toy and clothing manufacturers deem appropriate for his age range. For example, he’s been in size 12-18 month clothing since he was 6-months old. This isn’t really a problem, although it can be a little frustrating as I wanted to keep him in babygrows for a few months more, but the real issue we have now is toys. Specifically, the larger toys.
At this point in development there are lots of toys like the Jumperoo which are designed to help his age-group prepare for standing and walking independently. Unfortunately, being the size of a one-year-old, Reindeer has already outgrown them in both height and weight. So tonight, I’ve reluctantly packed away cousin M’s Jumperoo, and assembled an activity table instead. I think this is the only thing that makes me sad about Reindeer being on the faster growth curve; I hate to see him missing out on months of fun with these toys just because he’s big for his age. I’m hoping that he isn’t going to miss the Jumperoo, but there’s no denying that the activity table just won’t be as good since he can’t stand at it yet.
Actually, I’ve just remembered that the other thing he’s outgrowing is the small changing table at the swimming baths. There are three changing tables at the baths, one in an individual cubicle and two in family change cubicles (not exactly enough to go around!). I didn’t realise until last week that the individual cubicle table has a weight limit of 12kg whilst the family change tables have a limit of 15kg. Pretty soon we’re only going to be able to use the family change tables.
This is a problem because other users have a habit of trying to ‘reserve’ them by leaving their clobber in there. Recently, one of these family cubicles was the only one free with a changing table but someone had left their stuff in there and gotten in the baths. Cuddling a quickly-cooling and not entirely happy Reindeer I decided to appropriate the empty cubicle. Ten minutes later a grumpy woman with a child of about four years knocked on the door requesting her stuff. Apparently they’d only been gone for a minute (ha! as if I can get a baby and half of me changed that quickly) and now needed their things. Seeing that I had a baby in there and was using the changing table she just accepted their belongings back and put them in a locker. I try not to get annoyed about this stuff – I’m quite happy to share – but when there are limited resources it is just common courtesy to assume that you can’t hog them!
Ahem. Sorry. Rant over 🙂
One of the lovely things that’s been happening lately are cuddles. Everyone talks about the newborn snuggles – and they are great – but I’m finding that the snuggles Reindeer gives now are even better. And I think they’re better because I can see him choosing to cuddle in.
There’s something incredibly special about your baby choosing you for cuddles, comfort, smiles, laughter and play. Although it won’t be for long, I’m really trying to make the most of being one of the most important parts of his world.
I loved the BBC radio show Cabin Pressure. It was so so funny and I was really quite sad when it finally ended. Luckily I have the whole thing on CD and I’ve been re-listening to it lately.
This afternoon Reindeer made a lip-smacking kiss sound for the first time, so I made an Arthur-Shappey-from-Cabin-Pressure ‘Wow!’ sound at him. For some reason he thought this was hysterical and the next ten minutes were spent in me doing an impression of Arthur’s wow and Reindeer laughing at it.
This made for a lovely part of the afternoon and I’m hopeful that he’ll eventually enjoy Cabin Pressure as much as I do!
I’ve always assumed that babies have short memories. It isn’t an unreasonable assumption given that their brains have a huge amount of development to go through and they’ve only been making connections for a short time. However, I realised this morning that Reindeer has actually got a longer memory than I thought. At least for certain things.
Between Christmas and the beginning of March I used the same CD of nursery rhymes each night as we went through Reindeer’s bedtime routine. I stopped at the start of the month because it was making me cynical (no child called Mary should be trusted with animals). Since then we’ve listened to West Side Story, the Gruffalo and Aladdin, all of which have gone down well.
This morning at breakfast I had our music on random when it came up with ‘Hey diddle diddle’. Until this point Reindeer had been focused on his own activity. So it was a bit of a surprise when he stopped and looked at the source of the music until the song finished. I realised that, despite four weeks passing by, he remembered that song!
This was most unexpected and I was actually quite impressed. It makes me wonder what else he has stored away in there and what associations he’s already made with different music, speech, games and activities. I’ll probably never know but it was a good reminder not to be complacent – he really is picking up everything.
Since Christmas, Reindeer has become super-wriggly. Never a baby to sit still (even in the womb) he has always been in motion, but over the last 3-months that has really increased!
During the course of today he has attempted to pull himself up using any furniture within reach (and some slightly out-of-reach, resulting in a landing on some wooden toys – ouch) and generally been rolling, turning and contorting.
He’s got the position for crawling figured out now, but can only really get the motion when he’s on the changing mat. Naturally.
Tonight I’d popped him in his cot while I went to put the towels back after his bath. When I left the room he was lying on his tummy. When I returned, about 12 seconds later, he was sat on his bottom. He didn’t really understand why I was so excited about this, but played along and laughed at me.
He didn’t do it again so I’m not quite sure how he did it, but I expect I’ll get the chance to see it soon. This is a great development as he is so keen to manoeuvre himself around. I suspect it may be a precursor to other movements. Again, so much going on!
When Reindeer was about three weeks old I decided to try reading him a bedtime story every night. I quickly gave this up as a bad job because, for various reasons, we never reached the end of a story unless I tried to read at a speed of roughly a thousand words a minute.
In the last month I’ve reintroduced the bedtime story, thankfully with much more success! We’re using the ‘That’s not my…’ stories and it’s quite good fun. Tonight I noticed that he’s getting the hang of finding the patches of texture and is gradually showing less interest in eating the books.
I’m finding it really hard to keep up with these little signs of development – they’re coming thick and fast at the moment – which is why I’m trying to record them here. In two weeks time we will see the health visitor for his 7-9 month review and I’m actually quite excited to see how they think his development is coming along.
Another change I’ve just realised I’m making is in his clothing. Baby grows are so convenient, and so cute, that I thought I’d keep him in them until he started walking. The last week or so I’ve taken to dressing him in ‘proper’ outfits. I don’t know why, they just seem to suit his personality better. All change again ☺