Week 68 – teething woes 

This week, Reindeer is attempting to cut four teeth – two canines and two molars.

Although he doesn’t appear to be in pain, this particular bout of teething has resulted in 24 hours (and counting) of diarrhoea. 

I’m not really sure what to do to help him feel better. He’s drinking plenty of fluids (including lots of extra breastfeeds) and eating when he feels like it. We’re having lots of cuddles and I’m trying to keep his mind off it but, good grief, it’s awful. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Iron control of the stomach is needed when changing his nappies – as my husband says, the nappies don’t stand a chance. I’m currently running the third hot wash today as nappy contents are usually spread between his ribs and his toes. 

There just aren’t words to describe the hideousness of waking at 3am thinking your baby wants a milk feed, only to be alerted by the most disgusting smell that they’re actually quite poorly. Pyjamas,  vest and grobag all into the wash. Thankfully, being colder, he was in a thick grobag so we all least didn’t have to change the sheets too.

I’m not trying to make you feel bad, I just need to say that teething is tough in our house just now. When distracted, Reindeer is as lovely as always so I know, rationally, we’ll get through this but guess that it’ll be a slog until then.


Week 67 – first shoes

Today we had a trip to Norwich to meet Oma and Opa for lunch and shopping. Despite the rotten weather we had a lovely day.

The highlight for Reindeer was his first ever shoe fitting. He absolutely loves shoes and will happily play with/hide them whenever an opportunity presents itself. A shop full of shoes for him to try on and mirrors to play with was quite an amazing surprise for him!

Like many thousands of parents before us we followed the well-worn path to Clarks shoes (big shoe shop chain in the UK – known particularly for children’s shoes). My own first shoes were from Clarks – tiny blue leather ones – so it was nice to take Reindeer there too.

He surprised me by sitting happily to have his feet measured and, as it was so quiet, had a grand time walking around in the shoes we’d chosen for him to try. It turns out he’s size 4.5 F. I have no idea how that stacks up but it looks tiny.

He eventually settled on a brown leather pair which Oma and Opa wanted to buy as his Christmas gift. He was very happy running around in them and was allowed to wear them home from the shop. 

The assistant advised that the need their measurements taken every eight weeks until they’re seven years old(!) so we’ll head back during the sales. We’ve decided that, given the expense, one pair will do quite nicely until he moves up a size.

Apart from the shoe shopping, the other notable part of the day was lunch.Opa was diagnosed with Coeliac disease this year and now requires a gluten free diet. There is a small cafe in Norwich – The Norfolk Gluten Free Company, Shop & Cafe – which Dad really likes but we’d never visited. We went for lunch and it was great – lots of choice for adults and toddler, as well as a tiny play area to keep him entertained.

All in all it was a great day!

Week 64 – half term

This post is a bit late to publish because I’ve struggled to find time to write it, but I didn’t want to leave undocumented the fact that Reindeer had such an awesome week.

In the UK, the last week of October was half term for my oldest nephew (the only one currently old enough to attend school). Last October half term we went to Yorkshire with my sister and her family and my parents. It was a great, if soggy, week and our first holiday with Reindeer who was a mere two months old. This year we all descended on my parents for a week and it was great. The only sad part was that my husband was unable to join us due to work commitments.

The journey to my parent’s home is 2-2.5 hours depending on traffic. Usually it goes without a hitch. This time Reindeer became really annoyed with half an hour to go necessitating a stop and bribery to get on the road again. Thankfully not a sign of things to come.

Our last big family gathering at my parents had been a bit much for Reindeer, he was very clingy and hated being left with anyone. This time – only two months later – he adjusted so much faster. He was far better equipped to play with his two biggest and most boisterous cousins who, in fairness to them, take a great deal of care for him and think he’s awesome. Reindeer was also much calmer with my sister and brother in law. My sister is much more extrovert than me which I think Reindeer struggles with sometimes. So much more comfortable was Reindeer that on the first day I was actually able to go out running (staggering?!) with my sister while he stayed in and played. He apparently didn’t mind at all and only started looking for me when he spotted my shoes at which point I arrived back anyway. I couldn’t have imagined this two months ago!

One of the things that astounded my family was how much he eats. After a busy day he would eat whatever meal was prepared for him – fish pie, chilli and rice, jacket potato, etc., – with no fuss at all. And usually without any leftovers. From the stories other parents share I realise this good attitude to food is unlikely to last, hence me noting it here for posterity!

There were lots of fun family times as well as various trips out. Here are some of the highlights:

Adventure golf

My sister recommended an adventure golf centre about 40 minutes away and it didn’t disappoint. The entrance is a pulley float and the 18-hole course has plenty of tricks to keep kids entertained. Unless they’re 14-months old, in which case they’re a nightmare to keep track of as they run towards the water hazards, try to grab the golf balls their cousins are using and then refuse to return them. Apart from that it’s great!
Sutton Hoo

We’d visited once before but it’s a great place to go again. The visitor centre has plenty for kids to try and the site itself is an outdoor adventure. We stopped for cake, as you do, before taking a wander. Reindeer was still interested in the skeleton under the glass floor.

Framlingham castle

An amazing castle to visit at any time of year but lovely in the autumn. Because it was the school holidays, ghost stories were being outrageously acted out in the courtyard – much to the delight of several younger visitors – and enormous chocolate coins were on offer as the prize for various puzzles. After watching the play we went around the battlements. It’s no mean feat trying to get up a Norman castle’s spiral staircase with a one-year old in a carrier on your front and a backpack on your back. The lady who kindly gave way for us commented on leg muscles but that’s really the least of it! It’s worth the climb to get the view though. We could see for miles and Reindeer was fascinated. Once we returned to the courtyard he had great fun playing in the leaves, especially when we tried some new-old shoes on him. It was almost impossible to get him back in the car once he’d discovered his freedom!

An old favourite and once again brilliant. Reindeer spent most of the day running along pathways and through the toddler play areas. He wasn’t keen on stopping for lunch! He used up so much energy and had lots of experience dealing with other toddlers on shared play equipment. He also tried his first big slide and loved it. Towards the end of the day we stopped for ice cream. For some reason they were giving people double cones. This was great as Reindeer had a cone all to himself – necessary given the energy consumption.
Gardening with Opa

After several hectic days we declined a trip to the beach (almost unheard of!) and older for a quieter day in. It was the right choice as Reindeer was exhausted and sleep for three hours in the afternoon. When he’d had lunch he went to play in the garden and ‘help’ Opa with his chores. He spent two very happy hours running around, digging up stones, rearranging Oma’s pots and generally getting into everything.

Marshmallows and chestnuts on the bonfire 

During the week we’d collected some sweet chestnuts and my oldest nephew wanted to toast them on the chimnea. This was an awesome idea, only improved by the inclusion of marshmallows for toasting! Reindeer was a bit puzzled by wandering around in the dark but was happy enough to try his first toasted marshmallow. It was a great way to finish a lovely family week.

Times like this are something I’d rather taken for granted before Reindeer was born. Now I’m determined to make the most of every minute and ensure he has the chance to do so too. It is memories like this that will stick with us as we get older.

Week 67 – muddy puddles 

Yesterday, Reindeer discovered the joy of jumping in muddy puddles! 

We’d gone to the nature park late in the afternoon and spent quite a lot of time playing in the sand. Once it was dark we began walking back to the car. In the dark, I didn’t notice until too late that Reindeer was on track to walk straight through a huge muddy puddle. A fact which may have made the afternoon perfect for him!

He spent several minutes walking backwards and forwards through it, getting used to the sound and sensations of it all. He resisted my efforts at coaxing him away so I decided to go with it and let him have fun, grateful that I’d at least put him in his warm winter suit so he wouldn’t get cold. Less grateful that we don’t have boots that fit so he was in shoes. Ah well, all part of the parenting package!

Week 67 – words

As you’ve probably gathered, Reindeer and I spend a lot of time reading. This last couple of days I’ve noticed a few changes in the way he interacts during these times.

The first is pointing – he will now point at different pictures on the page and prompt me to say the word again. Yesterday I said ‘wheel’ about 40 times (it was a picture of a tractor and trailer and he loves wheels). Colours and shapes are his favourites for this and so I’ve started adding in the same colour in our environment, e.g., the book says ‘George’s balloon is blue’, and I’ll add ‘Reindeer’s jumper is blue’, pointing to said jumper. 

The ‘That’s not my…’ books have been huge favourites for ages. When reading, if the texture patch is a body part, e.g., nose, I’ll point to his nose too. He’s now beginning to correctly identify his body parts with mouth, nose and hair being the most accurate at the moment.

He’s taken to turning the books upside down to study as well as propping books up so he can flick through them without me. He’s also identified individual pages in stories that he loves, preferring to hear these over and over to me repeating the whole book, e.g., ‘A chilly wind whistles…’ in Frogs and Friends, and ‘SCARFACE CLAW…’ in Hairy MacLary.

The other thing I hadn’t realised was how comforting he finds the stories we read. Last night, he woke up at about 9pm sobbing hard. I tried all the usual soothing and singing but nothing worked. I took him into our room and thought I’d read a story; since I didn’t have a book to hand I started reciting Frogs and Friends from memory (we’ve read it literally hundreds of times). It worked almost instantly. Before if finished the first four lines he was calm again. I repeated the story three times, added in a couple of renditions of Night Night and Rabbit’s Nap, and he was back to sleep for the rest of the night.

Curious to see the extent of this charm – could it be just a one-off? – I tried it today when he was tired and grumpy but I needed both hands for cooking. Again, it worked beautifully. He sat at my feet and listened to the whole story. I finished the story just as I had two hands free again and he was happy to have a hug at that point. 

I really hope this works for some time to come but it does mean I need to memorise a few more stories. First on my list is the Gruffalo!

Week 66 – dancing

The last couple of weeks Reindeer has started dancing when he hears music he likes. It is ridiculously cute and he loves it if you join in too 🙂

He bobs up and down, wiggles his head from side to side and waves his arms up and down. Sometimes he’ll clap or pat his knees. It’s fabulous to watch and always makes me feel light-hearted. Definitely one of those amazing bits of parenting as you get to watch your little one try something new that they love.

Week 66 – sleep

It’s 0500 here and I’ve been awake for the last 40-50 minutes as Reindeer is unsettled. He’s rolling about in bed a bit and occasionally making sounds, although nothing that requires my presence so far.

It’s the ‘so far’ that’s causing the problem. Knowing he isn’t in a settled sleep, I can’t now allow myself to go back to sleep for fear that he’ll need me. Given that I was up until 0130 painting the dining room this is far from ideal.

I’m laying here musing on the following: 

  • I need sleep
  • Reindeer might need me
  • If I fall asleep and have to wake up 10 minutes later I’ll be groggy 
  • He sleeps through the night much more frequently now which makes times like this harder
  • Why does it make times like this harder 
  • I used to get up at 0530 for work so why do I feel so rotten now?
  • Should I get up and do another coat of painting since I’m awake anyway?

I don’t think I valued sleep enough before Reindeer arrived!