Week 56 – biped functionality online

This is it! Reindeer has now discovered his key biped ability and is really trying to use it.

Today he would just randomly begin walking around; sometimes just a couple of unaided steps, sometimes ten or twelve. We made sure to encourage and praise each time, but he didn’t care if we were watching or not, he’d just go regardless.

Now he’s really getting going I’m guessing he’ll do more each day. He’s not yet mastered turning, but he’s fine with stopping to pick things up then carrying on walking.

We’re due to have a day out in the Big Smoke at the weekend. I’d planned to take him around in the sling (much easier for accessing the Underground on our own) and stop in a park or kids area for breaks. Now I’m wondering if I should get some reins to be on the safe side…

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Week 56 – squishing strawberries

Reindeer has discovered that squishing strawberries, as opposed to eating them, is the funniest thing in the world! 

I watched at dinner as he really concentrated on making the best fists he could to squish the strawberry, then laughed and ate the pulped bits.

It’s really messy but he was having so much fun I just let him get on with it. Being a grown up you lose some of the ability to find simple things fun/funny, so I’m enjoying Reindeer discovering fun things instead.

Week 56 – worry list

Looking back over my pregnancy and Reindeer’s first year, I’ve been thinking about all of the worries I’ve experienced at different times. They’re many, varied and ever changing. Now that he’s turned one, that worry list has updated again. I’ve decided to share it here because I don’t know if everyone worries about these things, or just me.

1. Does he love me? I love Reindeer more than I ever believed possible, but I worry about whether he loves me out not. He clings to me and it is me he wants for comfort, but I don’t know if that is the same thing. I think this is a worry now because he’s developing language but isn’t quite there yet; I often feel that he’s trying to tell me something but I’m not getting the message and so he’s fed up/cross/frustrated with me. As an adult human my mind tells me this is bad and he probably thinks I’m doing it on purpose, but that would be if he was another adult, and he isn’t. So perhaps he doesn’t see it that way? Aargh! Also, at bedtime, we’ll have a bath, read stories then have milk, but he’ll then decide he’s ready to go to bed and squirm until he’s safely in his cot. He then rolls over and goes off to sleep. I feel slightly rejected as he doesn’t seem to want a bedtime kiss or cuddle now. Hopefully that will change back before long. Now I sound needy. Aargh, again!

2. Do we laugh enough? This last couple of days, Reindeer has taken to coming over to me, rolling onto his back so he’s resting against me and laughing. It’s a cue for me to tickle him or rraaagh, depending on his mood. He then laughs uproariously. This worries me in case he thinks we’re not having enough fun so he has to show me how to be more fun.

3. Do we need to get out more? I’m always conscious that Reindeer and I spend all day together and I don’t want him to feel bored, trapped or lack essential social skills as a result (being an introvert I don’t give him a running commentary of my day or seek out groups to spend time with). We’ve pretty much outgrown our baby group – he’s now the eldest and the only one trying to walk and play with toys outside our designated area. I have lots of ideas for activities but they largely don’t involve other kids and parents (they could do, but I haven’t really thought about doing that). Perhaps I should invite people along?

4. Am I doing enough? I love looking after Reindeer, but it is very tiring. Everyday I leave him time to direct his play and don’t interfere. He’ll often come up to me to show me a car or have a quick cuddle, but he then heads off again. Sometimes I’ll use this time to do chores, cook dinner and sometimes I’ll check my emails, but whatever I’m doing I feel guilty that I’m not giving him my full attention. Is that normal?

5. Is his health OK? Reindeer’s eyesight seems fine, as far as I can tell, but his eyes are slightly misaligned. I realise this can’t be checked into until he can answer questions reliably, but it concerns me. I’m also worried about his fake hernia. It was supposed to be gone by now and, whilst it’s a lot smaller, I can still see and feel it.

6. Have I already made some awful mistake that has ruined everything and I havent realised it yet? Ah, the big question. I so want Reindeer to be healthy, happy and for our family to be close, that I worry I’m doing something wrong. Only time will give me the answer to this question, but that doesn’t stop it being on my list!

As I read this list back, I realise how fortunate I am that things like being able to feed us, clothe us, or put a roof over our heads isn’t included. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. I guess I’m just trying to make sense of everything still.

Week 56 – passport photo

Now that he’s a year old we’ve decided it’s time to apply for Reindeer’s first passport. Although we have no trips planned, we need to visit family in Hong Kong this year and we’d like to travel in Europe again at some point.

Having successfully (I hope) completed the forms correctly, the next step is the passport photo. Since there was a zero percent chance of me holding Reindeer still, meeting all the photo criteria and working the machine at the same time as staying out of the shot, we decided to use a high street photography shop instead. I’m so glad we did! The lady taking the photographs was lovely and, more importantly, very patient, since they needed to be repeated twice. The first two attempts were made with me holding Reindeer on a stool. The final effort was Reindeer lying on a white blanket.

The photo is actually really lovely (too nice for a passport!) but they gave us a copy on memory stick so that’s all good (the whole thing cost £9.99 at Max Spielman, which turned out to be good value). 

I’ve probably mentioned Reindeer’s fluffy hair (often) and I need to confess that I brushed it this morning in an effort to make it really fluffy. This isn’t something I’ve done before, but I think it was because I wanted (1) a great photo and (2) a professional picture of his fluffiness as I’m sure it won’t be like this much longer. 

As nobody likes their own passport photo, I don’t suppose he’ll thank me for this when he’s older, but I think he looks adorable!

Week 55 – baby steps!

I’m so excited! Today, Reindeer took his first two solo baby steps 🙂

They were sidewaysish, but they were deliberate! He’d been standing, unaided and nowhere near me, for about half a minute, examining one of his toys, when he decided to go to the sideboard. Rather than just dropping to a crawl, he set off on his feet instead. If the toy zebra hadn’t been in the way I’m convinced he would have kept going!

I wasn’t expecting him to try walking but I’m really excited that he did. He didn’t try again today, but now we both know he can, I suspect he’ll try again in the next couple of weeks. I’m keeping the camera at the ready…

Week 55 – buggies and zip wires 

Yesterday, we headed to BeWILDerwood for Nephew #1’s 7th birthday.

It was a blisteringly hot day so we were really happy that the park is almost entirely under a tree canopy. It made the weather bearable and the day out very pleasant.

Two things in particular happened whilst we were there. The first was letting Reindeer have a go on a zip wire. This particular zip wire has a seat rather like the little kid swings do and, since he’s OK in those, I figured he’d be OK in this. And he was. He loved the zipping about and was laughing and smiling at the far end before it came back. The birthday boy had a great time pushing him so he had the fastest start each time! Reindeer only became a little unsure when it slowed down on the way back; I think this is because he could see me but thought it wasn’t going to reach me. I’m glad we tried this and will definitely do another run next time.

The second thing that happened was less fun: the buggy. For some reason, my mum is concerned that we don’t use a buggy for Reindeer. We’ve found the sling and the wrap to be so easy to carry around and use that we haven’t bothered with a buggy since he outgrew the car seat that clipped onto the frame when he was six months old. 

Mum was so insistent on the phone the night before that I dusted down the buggy and brought it along to the park. Reindeer wasn’t keen at all. He started crying when we reached the ticket gate and wouldn’t stop until I took him out again. At various points in the day they tried putting him in there but he wouldn’t be distracted for long and always ended up crying to be let out. 

I tried explaining that a carrier is just much more convenient but my Mum doesn’t really understand. She told me that nobody raises a child without a buggy and that Reindeer will be fine with the buggy if I keep practising. The ideas that I don’t want to faff with a buggy, that it’s more trouble than it’s worth and that Reindeer will be walking soon anyway, just didn’t cut it. I got a bit annoyed with her, which I’m not proud of.

On the way back to the car Mum came with us and pushed the buggy whilst I carried Reindeer. At one point we ended up on a path which was narrow, winding, steep in places and covered in protruding tree roots. This was a real struggle for Mum and we needed the help of the kind man behind us who took pity on our plight (or possibly just wanted us out of the way) and helped her carry the buggy to some fencing which we climbed under to reach a smoother path. I didn’t say a word, but if that doesn’t convince her that buggies can be a pain and aren’t suited to all occasions, nothing will. 

I’m not against the idea of buggies by any means, they clearly work well for the majority of parents, but they just aren’t working out for us. It’s not all great just using slings and wraps, my back isn’t always loving it either, but we’ve adapted to our situation and I just feel frustrated with the suggestion that we haven’t tried hard enough to get Reindeer happy in a buggy. Does it make a material difference if he uses it or not? I haven’t read anything either way but would appreciate information if anyone has any.

I love my Mum and don’t want this to be an issue; she can’t carry Reindeer for long periods like I can (he’s about 2 stone and I can only do that because I’ve been building up to it for the last year!) and I’m sure she really just wants to be able to take him out like she does his cousins. I wish I had an easy answer – before having Reindeer it never crossed my radar that how you transport your baby could be such a contentious issue!

So, yes, a mixed day, but a good one overall!