Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Samuel at eleven months'

I'm going to whisper it quietly. Just in case I'm tempting fate or I'm getting too ahead of myself, but I'm pretty sure about it. This is the month when everything has changed.

And the main change is that he's off. He's crawling like a demon, cruising round the furniture at turbo speed and he's even taken his first steps. He can go wherever he wants and get to whatever he wants. I'm generally right behind him, telling him in a panicked voice that he's not allowed in that particular place and that he can't have that particular thing. He's pulling himself up left right and centre, and the bumps and tumbles are coming thick and fast. 

But, neuroses and knocks aside, these latest developments are marvellous. All that frustration of being stuck in one place has evaporated and he's a far happier baby as a result. That's freedom for you. He quickly, and a bit clumsily, shoots towards the exit of whatever room he's in, then just as he's about to disappear out of my line of vision he looks over his shoulder with an enormous cheeky grin and makes sure that I'm chasing him. He's trouble, this one. And fun. So much fun.

And that's not all. This month he's started clapping. He claps enthusiastically when James comes home from work and he claps slowly and sarcastically while he's waiting for me to get his dinner ready. Meh. He's also shaking his head to say 'no' and he's repeatedly sticking his tongue out. He finds both of these things hilarious. He's discovered that the power button on the X-Box lights up and makes a pleasing beepy sound when you press it, so he spends ages switching it on, then off, then on, then off again.

This is the month when he discovered soft play with its bouncy castles and ball crawls. And, unlike most of the other baby activities he's tried, he didn't dislike it. Oh, and he thinks he can juggle. He can't juggle, but he watches us do it, then grabs a ball in each hand and holds them above his head and looks super pleased with himself. It's cute.

And, talking of cute, those curls. They get me every time. He's turning into a deranged Goldilocks. And those eyes. That giggle. How on earth did we manage to make that

Gushy, me? Yep. But that's eleven months for you.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A whole load of yuck

This past week has been all snot and sniffles at our gaffe. It started when I came down with a stinking cold in the middle of last week. My head felt like it was about to explode under the snot pressure, my nose ran like a tap, and I scared Samuel by spending many an afternoon with a tissue stuffed permanently up one nostril. Dignity, always dignity.

Pre-baby, a cold meant that I'd get to spend a day in bed, stressing about work but fully luxuriating in feeling sorry for myself and tweeting about the latest demented story line in Doctors. It doesn't work like that anymore. I mean, I still feel sorry for myself, and I still manage to find the time to tweet about Doctors (the other week, for example, it featured an extended Jane Austen-style costume drama dream sequence. In a GP practice in a suburb of Birmingham. Crackers.), but now I have a demanding little person who needs looking after no matter how rough I feel. It was a proper mum test for a couple of days. Luckily, James was excellent over the weekend. Not only did he look after Samuel and let me sleep in, but he also cooked a chilli that was so hot, I swear it cured my cold.

And, inevitably, just as I started to feel better, Samuel caught my lurgi and it's about a million times worse seeing him poorly. The little mite is so miserable he spends most of the day wailing with a clammy snot-smeared face. This might be one of the first times we've played a  family game of pass the germy parcel, but I doubt it'll be our last.

And, staying with the theme of all things yuck, TalkMum asked me to write a post for them for their conception month. It was published this week and you can find it here. I know, I know. Most people want to read about how someone they know conceived their child like they want to set fire to their own arm. But, really, it's not that grim or detailed and I'm hopeful that it won't make you want to puke up your pancreas. Also, it features Starbucks and a cat.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


The other day I found a half-eaten packet of rice cakes in the freezer and, later, an open packet of sausage rolls in the kitchen drawer where the hammer lives. The smell suggested that the sausage rolls may have been there for some time. 

It'd be lovely to be able to cry 'J'accuse!' while pointing at Samuel (I thoroughly believe that any day can be livened up with a little Gallic drama), but I know full well that I am the culprit. Bit tired, you see. But, as regular readers of this blog know, I'm not one to moan. Ahem.

Anyway, when I spotted this necklace on ASOS for a mere £6, I knew that it had to be mine. Not that I regularly spend nap times looking at popular shopping websites while shovelling mini Milky Ways into my gob. Ahem.

I'm wearing it rather a lot. I think it would make a super gift for any sleep-deprived mum or mum-to-be. Or, you know, anyone else who's a bit Makka Pakk-ed. Mums don't have the monopoly on tiredness.

Sleep well.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Letting go

'Your poor mother,' the health visitor cooed at Samuel during his one-year development review. 'With this kind of energy, when you get going she's going to be in real trouble.'

Sparks were flying from his feet as he bounced like a crazed Tigger and hung off a floor-mounted bead toy by his mouth. He giggled and lurched towards her. I immediately grabbed him under his arms to stop him falling. It was my natural instinct.

'Do you hold him steady when he's on his walker?' the health visitor asked.

'Of course,' I replied. 'He'll tumble over if I don't.'

'He might the first time,' she said. 'But then he'll learn. And he can do it. You just need to help him work out that he can do things on his own.'

I grumbled a little on the way home. The review had gone really well and Samuel was developing just as he should be, but I'm not a fan of being told what to do by health visitors. 

'I know my baby,' I muttered under my breath. 'And he just isn't ready to walk on his own.'

We got in and, just to prove my point, I immediately popped his walker in front of him. He grabbed it, I let go of him but got ready to catch him as he fell and ... he coolly and calmly walked to the other side of the room on it. No wobbles. No biggie.

He's growing up. I've just got to stop babying him and let him. 

It's made me wonder what else he might be able to do that I just haven't given him the opportunity to have a go at yet. James suggested that he might be able to pop down and collect the post for us by next week.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Indian summer

There's a man who lives in the house next door who has been striking up a bonfire every night for the past week or so. The tinder crackles pleasingly, the smoke smells delicious and, at dinner times, Samuel and I have had the perfect, cosy view of the flames from our kitchen window. I've been telling Samuel all about bonfires while I shovel hearty seasonal grub into his mouth. I even caught myself making up stories about how the man is burning evidence - bodies even - under the guise of garden waste disposal. Then I stopped myself as I realised that a ten-month-old probably wasn't the right audience for such gruesome theories.

Anyway, I digress. The point of my story is that although bonfire man is fully engaged in autumnal activities, he's also sporting a t-shirt outdoors on October evenings. The weather has been glorious for this time of year but I hear that the temperature is set to plummet from tonight and the season will begin in earnest. As such, I'm really pleased that we managed to make the most of summer's final fling this past weekend. 

Little Sis was down from Manchester for work so she took full advantage and spent a few days with her favourite nephew. Samuel was thrilled to see her. We pootled around parks collecting bags full of conkers for Little Sis's flat (they're a well-known spider deterrent, and I'm told that there's a big spider problem in Chorlton). We entertained Granny Pat on Saturday afternoon and giggled as Samuel danced and bounced until none of us had the energy to dance and bounce with him anymore. And then on Sunday we took a scorching walk to Dulwich where we all ate Sunday lunch in a sunny beer garden and kept  incredulously repeating, 'this is October?!'

I wouldn't have thought we'll be seeing a beer garden again until next spring, but I'm pretty sure we'll be seeing bonfire man again tonight. Perhaps in a jumper.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Samuel at 10 months'

You know, it's not easy being a ten-month-old. Samuel's completely aware of the world around him, but he can't really understand how it works yet. 

There are so many questions. Why does the cat (his favourite thing in the world) run away from him whenever he barrels towards her at breakneck speed? Why isn't he allowed to be left to chew on his high chair table in peace? Why does he have to wait his turn to pick a maraca out of a box at a baby class if he wants one NOW? And who is that other mummy in the mirror? The one who is always picking bits of rice cake out of her hair. The one who, while bending down to help him put his jacket on this morning, may have accidentally activated the pump dispenser of his eczema cream with her arse. And may have created quite a mess. Anyway.

He's a bundle of contradictions at this age too. He's both sweet and what might euphemistically be described as spirited (take a toy off him at your peril). He's not a bit shy but he's extremely clingy. He can't sit still for a moment but he can't really go anywhere on his own yet either. 

Life seems like one big emotional roller coaster for Samuel these days and pretty much all of his crying comes down to the frustration of not being independently mobile. He's SO close to crawling. And SO close to walking on his own. In the meantime he just reaches out for my hands, pulls himself up, and off we go ... quickly! 

He loves cruising around on the furniture. He loves the baby swings at the park. He loves his books and while most children his age develop an emotional attachment to a cuddly toy, he has done the same to a book about animals. He loves to laugh and has already developed a sense of humour as complex as nuanced as my own; one of us will burp and we will both giggle about it for ages.

But I think my absolute favourite recent development is that Samuel has learned how to hug. That once squirmy little wriggle monster will now wrap his arms around us and let us give him a bit of a squeeze. Maybe being ten-months'-old isn't so bad after all.