Before Reindeer was born, one it the things I promised myself was that I would always make sure he had my attention. No matter how tired or unwell or desperate to do something else I might be, I would put him first.
It hasn’t been easy – many evenings I have been pretty unresponsive to family and friends because, as an introvert, I’ve been on my mental knees after a whole day of focusing my attention on, and socialising with, Reindeer.
It has nothing to do with not loving him enough or of not finding him interesting. On the contrary, I love him more than I’d ever imagined possible and find myself fascinated by him; his developing personality, skills and interests are a constant source of wonder and enjoyment. It is just that I need my head to myself sometimes (for want of a better description).
And that is why I’m disappointed today. Because, for the first time, I broke that promise to myself. I allowed Reindeer to play on his mat next to me whilst I used the laptop to try and keep up with a situation outside the home. It was a very unusual and difficult time for friends and I was trying to ‘be there’ from a distance. But now I feel unhappy for Reindeer. I’m not even sure he really noticed, so engrossed was he in his play, but I know and it is making me sad.
Rationally I know that he will not always be able to have the amount of attention I want to give him, as life happens. And today was a classic example of that. Although knowing it doesn’t really make it easier to avoid the parental guilt which is lurking in the background, ready to strike at a moment’s notice. Perhaps that’s a good thing though, since I don’t want to become complacent.
Today, Reindeer and I invented a game we could play together.
For Easter he was given a toy egg box containing six squeaky eggs with removable shells. The eggs each have a unique face, which can be matched with the removable shell, and a unique shape at the bottom which matches their spot in the egg box.
Basically, I put an egg in the box and try to add the shell, then Reindeer tries to remove the shell and the egg faster than I can replace them. Even as I write this I can tell it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but Reindeer loves it and can spend a long time with it so I don’t mind.
The other thing going on today is the high five, which Reindeer is beginning to return. Naturally, not understanding the language, he manages a high twenty to thirty-five each time, but he’s laughing when he does it so that’s a lot of fun ☺
For the last few weeks, our bedtime stories have mostly been taken from the That’s Not My… collection.
Reindeer has been getting into the textures recently and particularly loves the rough and fuzzy options – I guess because they are easy to find on the page. He’s also been chewing the books quite a lot too. Although this is pretty close to blasphemy for a book-lover like myself, I understand that this is how he makes sense of the world, so I grit my teeth and try to limit the damage.
What I hadn’t realised is that, although he’s busy pawing at the pages (and trying to get them in his mouth), he is actually listening to the words.
Tonight we were reading That’s Not My Duck. We’ve obviously read it before a few times but tonight, for the first time, he had a reaction to the words. When I reached the part [SPOILER!] ‘That’s not my duck, it’s eggs are too smooth’, he started laughing. A lot.
This hadn’t happened before, so I wasn’t immediately sure that it was related to the book. However, in the face of no other obvious external stimuli, I tried reading the page again. Same response. By repeating different parts of the page, I finally whittled it down to the words ‘too smooth’. I think the ‘oo’ sounds were the bit he really liked.
So, just like yesterday with ‘excuse you’, I was able to spend quite a lot of time making him laugh uproariously, which was a very nice end to the evening!
Following our recent difficulties with high chairs whilst eating out in restaurants, I had an awkward time visiting family.
Reindeer and I had travelled over for a day of chatter and general catching up, but I hadn’t really given lunch any thought. My relatives don’t have a high chair – their children are all grown up now – so I ended up having to feed Reindeer whilst he was sat on my lap. Needless to say I ended up covered in his lunch. Luckily the kitchen floor was tiled and the dogs were able to finish of the rest that didn’t make it into Reindeer’s mouth.
I decided that this wasn’t exactly a practical way to do things in future, so set about looking online for a travel high chair which we could use in the houses of friends and family, as well as when out for dinner at a restaurant.
After a fair bit of searching I came across the iSafe travel high chair. Like the one we found so useful at Wagamama, it clips onto the table so that Reindeer can eat with us. A bonus is that it doesn’t have a tray we need to take around with us.
I’ve tried it at home and it works just fine with our dining table. Now to find an excuse to go and try it in a restaurant…
I have no idea why, but if you pronounce ‘excuse you’ with a very extended ‘u’ and ‘o’, Reindeer will laugh. If you do this in a variety of funny voices, he will laugh at you for a very long time!
This worked really well yesterday and, as an informal memory test, I decided to try it again today. Happily, it had the same effect today so we did this quite a lot. Including whilst we were out playing in the garden. The neighbours probably think we’re mad!
Yesterday we had beautiful weather here – bright and sunny. As a result, Reindeer spent more time than usual outdoors.
We started before lunch with some time in the garden – me putting the washing out and Reindeer alternately watching, playing with his toys and trying to remove all the grass from the area around his blanket. We spent nearly an hour in the garden before coming in to eat.
I’ve been trying to introduce some new meals into our weaning diet. I’m not a good cook and have found this a real challenge, but yesterday I happened upon ‘pizza toast’ in the Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook. I topped it with mushroom and tomato and he ate the lot – an excellent result! My worry now is that he’ll be eating like a student for the next 18 years…
When my husband took a break from work in the late afternoon Reindeer was napping. We decided that, since the weather was so good, we’d take him to the local nature park when he woke up and have a go on the swings.
Reindeer hadn’t tried the swings before so we were quite excited to see what he’d make of them. The outcome was that I don’t think he really noticed the swings on the basis that he was too busy looking at what everyone around him was doing – as usual! We had a lovely time though and took a walk partway around one of the lakes before heading home.
Sadly, all the fresh air doesn’t seem to have helped him to sleep for any longer. This is very frustrating as he’d been doing well at sleeping through the night. I’m currently blaming the sun for his finding it hard to get to sleep at night and then waking up early but really, really tired. As a result I’m going to purchase a blackout blind today because I’m really, really tired now too.
Since first pulling himself to his feet a few days ago, Reindeer has fast become more creative.
Yesterday evening, in his cot, he attempted the one handed hold followed by the no handed hold (I’m afraid I stuck out at swift arm at that point as he really isn’t ready for that yet!). In the bath he attempted the one legged stand.
He also attempts to climb people and any object I sit him close enough to. It really appears that he has a sense of adventure to match his happy personality. We’re going to have to up the baby-proofing I think!