Week 52 – dedication

Today was Reindeer’s dedication at the church I attended as a child. Despite being rather short-notice, we were amazed to have more than 25 family members travel across to spend the day with us. 

We’ve had a wonderful day; the service was lovely and being able to share it with family and friends who’ve been with me throughout my life was very special.

The rest of the day was spent with family, enjoying a fabulous lunch, and then catching up with family into the evening.

It hasn’t been entirely plain sailing today. Unable to settle for a long nap, Reindeer struggled a little through the afternoon, wanting cuddles and time away from all the unfamiliar people. This was a bit tricky for us as we wanted to make sure he was as happy and comfortable as possible, whilst also managing to eat lunch and say hello to everyone! By the time we returned to my parents house I had a splitting headache and aching arm, but it didn’t seem to matter. 

After a nap, Reindeer returned to full strength and spent the rest of the day exploring the garden, playing with his toys, attempting to stand on the walker and dodging polystyrene gliders. If I could ask him his greatest triumph today, I suspect the answer would be getting a handful of his cousin’s chocolate cake!

I’d originally planned to bake Reindeer a birthday cake tonight but, given the copious quantities of cake currently available, I’m worried it would be wasted. I may settle for making him his very favourite dinner on his birthday instead.

The closer we get to his birthday, the more I struggle to comprehend where this year has gone. How is it possible to fit so much into such a short space of time? I suspect I’ll be rather emotional on his birthday…

Week 52 – one year already!

This is it, we’re here. 

This is the week we celebrate Reindeer’s first year.
Despite the fact that time has remained constant, this year has gone incredibly fast, especially considering how slowly time appeared to drag during pregnancy.

The time last year I was facing my fourth night in hospital – 72 hours into my induction. Looking back is making me quite emotional. Looking at my son asleep in his cot tonight even more so. I’m still astonished and slightly disbelieving that he’s here with us!

To celebrate we’ve taken a few days away at my parent’s home. Yesterday we visited Bewilderwood with his aunt, uncle and cousins. It was an awesome day although crawling through a tunnel on the Sky Maze with Reindeer in the sling on my front and a rucksack with it supplies on my back was… tricky…

Today we’ve had a family BBQ – all his aunts, uncles and cousins, three grandparents, a great aunt and distant cousin were all present. The rain forced us indoors, but it was still great fun. It was good to see Reindeer eating with us all. He decided to try a sweet chilli Popchip. Safe to say this was a hit!

Tomorrow, Reindeer will be dedicated; a similar ceremony to a Christening. More family will be joining us for the day and I’m actually quite excited about seeing everyone 🙂 I’m also quite nervous because it’s a lot of people!

After everyone goes home it will be time to make Reindeer’s birthday cake. This is a huge challenge because I have very limited baking skills and the design I’ve chosen is way beyond them. Fingers crossed to avoid disaster!

Week 50 – brushing teeth

When Reindeer cut his first tooth at six months, we gave him a chewable toothbrush. Dental hygiene is so important we didn’t want to take any chances and leave brushing until he had more teeth.

Somehow, despite our best efforts, at 10-months I noticed some plaque between his front bottom teeth. Cue huge worries and feelings of abject failure on the parenting front.

Around the same time, we began to have daily issues with teeth brushing. Originally, Reindeer had been fine with brushing but all of a sudden it became a battle. For the last few weeks, twice each day, Reindeer has ended up crying in protest at having his teeth cleaned. We’ve tried encouragement, distraction, brushing along with Daddy, music, toys, etc. The list is extensive, but nothing worked consistently and the majority didn’t work at all.

Then, a couple of days ago, my husband tried shining a red light onto the wall and ceiling for Reindeer to watch (not unlike a cat with a torch). Much to my surprise this worked like a charm, so we’ve kept going with it. 

Tonight my husband was working late so I had to manage teeth brushing solo. To my intense relief, Reindeer was actually cooperative and smiled through the whole thing. I don’t know if this was because a couple of days without getting upset had broken the cycle, or if there’s some other reason, but we were both happy and his teeth were brushed – an excellent result! 

Week 50 – tooth number nine

For the last few days I’ve had a suspicion that Reindeer was teething again. The hot weather has made it hard to tell though because that’s a more obvious source of grumpiness.

Tonight I gave him his chewable toothbrush and went to run his bath. On returning to his cot I saw that he’d dribbled and chewed blood into it. So I guess that answered the question about teething.

Can I tell which tooth is through? Can I heck. Every time he catches me trying to look in his mouth he shuts it tight and turns his head away. I’m pretty sure it’s bottom left but would like to confirm this. 

He turns one-year in just under two weeks’ time; my balance side would quite like him to have an even number by then, so I’m wondering if tooth ten will arrive in time!

Week 50 – more books!

Reindeer and I have spent time reading every day since he was about 3-months old. It’s been fun watching him begin to interact with books, first through texture patches and then with lift-the-flaps.

Over the last week, Reindeer seems to have taken his interest in books to a new level. He’s suddenly clicked that his usual bedtime books are kept within reach of the chair where we sit for reading, breastfeeding and teeth brushing. This week we’ve only been able to sit there a handful of times without him struggling to reach the books so he can pick one out.

He’s not really interested in following a story through at the moment, instead he wants to turn the pages and explore moving from the front of the book to the back, stopping occasionally for a particular texture patch or favourite flap.

Whilst I’m not sure how much he takes in from each story, there are phrases and tones that elicit laughter, and certain pages he’ll always return to (‘rat-a-tat, who’s that?’ is popular) so I guess that what he’s taking in is making sense to him if not to me!

I really like that we now have extended reading sessions three or four times each day. He gets very engrossed and it’s nice to just sit together. The only issue I have now is a lack of books. We have lots but he’s been through them all several times already. Ordinarily I’d visit the library, but I’m not sure how the librarians would feel if the books came back with damaged flaps.

Time to hit some second-hand sales!

Week 50 – too hot

Meh. 

That’s about all I have the energy for right now. Meh.

It’s stupidly hot (for the UK at least). 33°c here today. Reindeer’s bedroom is currently 27°c, with the fan on. If that sounds like an oven you’re not far off as it feels like one too.

He’s gone to sleep in his nappy and sleep sack (0.5 tog). I’ve ummed and aahhed about what’s best and settled on the sleep sack as he seemed comfortable. According to my reading, the loose cotton should help him stay cool.

We’ve been very fortunate so far. Whilst he displays his distaste for the weather with rather a lot of grumping, he is distractable and therefore still great fun if you can keep him occupied.

This morning was our baby group. I wasn’t sure if going out was a good idea, but an hour of grumpy Reindeer convinced me that we needed a change of scene! 

Talking to the other parents I soon realised how lucky we’ve been during the heatwave. Reindeer has slept through the last two nights and had epic daytime sleeps through the heat of the day – 1130-1530 on Monday and 1220-1520 today. I’m hoping he sleeps well tonight too. 

I don’t know how long this weather’s likely to last, but I’d welcome a drop of 10°c so we can get back to normal, whatever that is!

Week 49 – the zoo!

On Wednesday we enjoyed our first family outing to the zoo. A spur-of-the-moment idea saw us head off to ZSL Whipsnade

We’d visited once in our pre-Reindeer life and thoroughly enjoyed the day. Visiting zoos, aquariums and other animal parks is something we’ve always loved and have been looking forward to sharing with Reindeer.

Our outing was more of a family affair than usual as my mother-in-law joined us. She’s staying with us this week as she visits the UK for the summer. It’s the first time she’s met Reindeer and they seem to be getting on well.

We began our tour with the lemurs; three of them leaped onto the rail beside Reindeer, who naturally put his hand out to stroke them (cue worried parents gently hauling the hand back to avoid bites!) and seemed generally confused as to what these creatures were and why we were all standing around watching them and getting quite excited.

Wandering through the grounds we found mara, rhinos, lions (they were seven of them right next to us and he slept through the whole thing), meerkats, penguins (they made Reindeer laugh but I’m not sure why!), giraffes, sea lions, cheetahs, lynx, firefoxes (last seen at Ocean Park in Hong Kong), gorillas, monkeys, flamingos, zebras (including two youngsters still nursing), otters, owls, moose, peacocks and lots of other creatures.

It was great to introduce Reindeer to so many animals and watch his expressions as he tried to figure each one out!

As usual I had Reindeer in the wrap, which is great because he always feels like part of everything that way, far more so than if he was in a buggy. The less great part is that, although I consequently spent several hours carrying a near-two-stone lovely around with me, my legs were protesting like crazy afterwards.

We’ll definitely be heading back to Whipsnade when Reindeer is a bit older. Along with other wildlife venues, I’m getting seriously excited about taking him to the British Museum and Science Museum before he’s much bigger. Aargh – so much fun to be had!