Week 85 – more!

Over the last few months, Reindeer has been developing his vocabulary. He now has a small number of completely recognisable words and a larger number of consistent words where the pronunciation is yet to resolve. 

Completely recognisable words include: yes, no, Mama, Dada, ball, up, more, bear, there, moon, pear, door, wow, row.

Resolving words include: oh dear, down, please, Oma, meow (for cat).

Reindeer is currently teething his 17th tooth. As it’s a molar it is a slow and painful process. Most nights he manages to sleep through, but sometimes he wakes up and needs some comfort. 

Two nights ago he woke up very upset. As we’re still breastfeeding it was clear that he wanted a comfort feed. Not a problem. 

Towards the end of the feed he started to fall asleep. Once I thought he was finished I tucked myself back in and kept cuddling him for a few minutes. Just as I was about to get up and put him back into bed he stirred slightly and his cute little baby voice said ‘More! More!’ before he fell asleep again. 

It was never an expectation or intention that we’d breastfeed for this long, but I’m glad we have – moments like this one are priceless. 


Week 71 & 72 – into bed

Ten days before Christmas I’d left Reindeer in his cot for 5 minutes whilst I got dressed. This was pretty standard because it was a safe place and he enjoyed playing with his toys in there. 

As I walked back into his room he landed, head first, on the floor in front of me. He was physically fine but had given us both a bit of a shock. A short investigation showed that he’d piled up his toys by the cot rail and used them as a small step to climb out. 

And that was the last time Reindeer was in a cot. 

We hadn’t expected to move Reindeer into a bed for months, if not longer, so the only alternative we had available was an inflatable child’s bed which my sister had given us. We decided to use this while researching toddler beds. 

Reindeer found it difficult to adjust. Not least because he had a habit of moving all around the cot in the night. 

Since it was close to Christmas, and we wanted to provide him with a better solution quickly, we chose a simple bed and matress which could be delivered before everything closed for the holiday. We were shocked at the prices of beds – you could literally pay four figures for a child’s bed that would last less than 3 years. 

The bed arrived 2 days before Christmas and Reindeer loved it, especially being able to climb in and out by himself! He immediately became quite territorial about it and wouldn’t allow his older cousins to sit on the bed with him. Within a couple of weeks he was sleeping very well in his new bed and now sleeps through almost every night. If we’d realised what a difference it would make we’d have made the change much sooner! 

One unexpected benefit has been that his room now feels much more homely – he seems much more content in there. My guess is that’s because it’s a small room and the cot dominated it, whereas now it feels that there’s more space to spread out and play – even though the bed technically takes up more floor space. 

The thing I can’t get my head around is how quickly my little Reindeer is growing up. He’s always surprising us with new skills and abilities – this second year is turning out to be quite the adventure! 

Week 85 – happy sleeper

A couple of nights ago I was putting Reindeer to bed and a funny thing happened. 

At the moment he likes me to sit by the bed while he falls asleep – not a problem because I normally need a sit down by then anyway!  He’ll usually settle quickly and be asleep within 10 minutes. 
This time he was lying quietly and I thought he was about to drop off. Suddenly he started laughing – not a little giggle but a big chuckle. And he kept chuckling for several minutes. He didn’t wake up/sit up or otherwise request attention. All I can assume is that he’d been thinking back on the day and remembered something that really amused him.

When things like this happen I feel so cheered and relieved that Reindeer is such a happy little chap!

Week 69 – gone in a flash

I’ve just realised that I haven’t added an entry for last week yet. The main reason is that it was one of those weeks which lasts an eternity when you’re going through it but is suddenly gone. 

We’ve all been going through illness in our house which has made life nearly unbearable. Our priority has been to keep Reindeer ok and make sure he’s happily entertained. The strain of this is not to be underestimated – before having a baby I had no concept of just how hard it would be to keep going when you’re at your lowest health-wise.

Still, we made it through the week without mishap and with a couple of full night’s sleep from Reindeer which helped immensely.

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.