6 thoughts from 6 months

Six months (185 days) in. This time 6 months ago, I was sat next to Lucy on the maternity ward, having spent the previous fifteen hours getting to know our little girl. Grandparents had driven hours to say hello, the nurses and midwives were absolutely superb and we’d been running on that feeling of pure adrenaline that all parents are all too aware of. At this point, our baby girl didn’t even have a name. All that mattered was that our tiny (well, average) daughter had arrived safely into the world and our journey as a family could begin. I was completely in awe of the pair of them. All the build-up, anticipation and meticulous planning was over. Our lives were changed, and have been changing ever since.

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Early posing for the camera – think this was in the first couple of weeks

I thought I’d celebrate this post with a mixture of musings and memories from the last 6 months that I hope other parents can relate to. As always, the downsides of parenting (basically all the repetitive messy stuff) are taken as a given on here. We’ve had our fair share of public poonamis and we’re currently working out how best to treat some pretty mean eczema. Today’s not the day to talk about those!

Thought #1:  Do the reading

Once I knew we were expecting, I came back from the library with a couple of books, ready to go. If I’m really honest with myself, the need to do this came (a tiny bit) from that scene in Knocked Up where he has a bit of a meltdown and doesn’t read up on anything. I didn’t want to be ‘that guy’ so I made sure I read up on things. I can’t actually remember which books I read now, which is a bit rubbish. I do remember that it left me feeling less terrified about the months ahead and excited to see Beatrice develop.

Thought #2: You will become addicted to Google.

“What age do babies blink?”

“Do you need to brush their gums?”

“Which cafe has the best changing facilities (so far it’s our local Sainsbury’s)?”

“How long are they supposed to sleep?” Hopefully this is followed up with ‘Should I let them sleep longer if possible?” (to which the answer is always yes!)

“What do you do when they start staying awake for longer?”

All of these are some of the millions of thoughts you and countless other parents have had. They range from the practical to the absolutely ridiculous, but be careful- there’s a high chance your baby’s first words could be “Ok, Google…”

Thought #3: Be Fearless

And no, I don’t mean go on extreme hikes with your all-natural baby wrap on day one. However, you’ve no doubt had a whirl on the travel system, the change bag has probably been packed for a month or so and you spent a fair whack on the car seat. Use them! Lucy and I took Beatrice out for a quick walk in the pram, then ventured out in the car a day or so later. After we’d got it sorted once, it was so much easier to head out for cake. If that’s not an incentive in itself, I don’t know what is!

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The smile I get home to every day!

Thought #4: The rewards come thick and fast, so keep up!

I’ve been amazed at how quickly things have moved so far. The phrase ‘they grow up so fast’ is particularly true at this early stage. I find myself regularly looking through photos and she has changed so much – she’s far more robust now, and sitting up! There have been so many little moments that have surprised us. Her first chuckle will be a very long-lasting memory in particular.

Thought #5: Prioritise your priorities

I’ve made sure that every evening possible, I’ve got home and spent all my time with Bea until she’s asleep. It has changed my attitude at work, made me more efficient and bizarrely more practical around the house. However, all of those things are to allow me maximum time playing, ‘chatting’ and giggling when I’m home. I got spoilt in those first two months!

Thought #6: Teamwork

It’s all about teamwork. That’s not just mum, dad and baby, but the wider network too- friends, grandparents, and workmates are all there to support you in loads of surprising and generous ways. If you’re a dad, remember that there’s a lot you need to be doing. It’s even better if you remember to do it without being reminded to…and make sure you get a day with your child from time to time (I know Lucy’s had some good days out when I’ve had my daddy/daughter days!). It also pays to be grateful to your other half for letting you get addicted to this blogging thing…

Feel free to leave any other thoughts for the next six months in the comments, and I’m going to try and get some regular features up and running in the next couple of weeks or so. I’ve also dipped my toe into Instagram, you can find me/us here if you like that sort of thing!

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2016 – Aka Day 169…

Happy new year everyone!

If I’ve done the maths right, today marks day 169 of our life as a trio. If I haven’t, then I’ll hang my head in shame!

What a journey so far, and it’s amazing to think that this time last year, we were starting to tell people that Beatrice was on the way. The last twelve months have been spent preparing and enjoying the change to our lives that she has brought to us.

This includes some of the following:

  • the joy of seeing Beatrice’s ultrasound
  • reading the baby books
  • researching all the baby products
  • buying all the baby products
  • painting the nursery
  • testing out the monitor on Leo
  • antenatal classes
  • my first cuddle
  • my first nappy change
  • our first night at home
  • family visits
  • my second, third and umpteenth nappies
  • our first nights away
  • starting a blog
  • being an incredibly proud dad
  • her first chuckle
  • her first tears
  • our first Christmas

I think that’s a great list, and cannot wait for all the firsts that 2017 will bring.

Thanks to all for following, and I’ll see you all in 2017 with news of Bea’s adventures into weaning, more ‘Dad Dancing’, some ‘Bedtime Reading’ and who knows what else?

 

Beacember Advent Calendar Day #21

Like I mentioned on Day 20, this post is a bit like what happens on radio or telly at this time of year. They record something way in advance and spend the time celebrating! This, sadly, was not way in advance. However, day 21 of December is my wedding anniversary, and as such I plan on spending it away from the blog!

Yesterday’s sneak peek was of this gorgeous card made by my mum. She is a keen cardmaker and we always look forward to seeing her creations at special occasions!

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If today has gone to plan, Lucy has received and liked her anniversary gift too…

Anyway, it’s a bit weird writing this ahead of time, so I’m going to crack on and show you the teaser for day 22. I think it’s a tradition I can certainly get used to in the years to come. Hope you’ve all enjoyed your Wednesday and see you Thursday!

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Beacember Advent Calendar Day # 17

Yesterday I thought I was running out of things to actually make it to Christmas Eve. Genuinely, I wanted to record the memory of us wrapping up a cushion as it felt so ridiculous, but equally I’d used up most of our baby-related Christmassy things. Thankfully, it looks like the situation has been redressed without me having to go and buy a load of stuff – in fact, if anything, I was incredibly restrained today! There is a lot of quite nice Christmas baby clothing out there that isn’t too over-the-top and I didn’t buy a thing!

I got an afternoon of daddy/daughter time, as Lucy had a nice afternoon out with her friends (well-earned too!). This meant I got a lovely bit of time with Beatrice, who made at least three random strangers smile, which means she’s living up to her name (‘she who brings happiness’). An old gentleman came up to us whilst we were having lunch and said “I gave her a little wave and she gave me a lovely smile back,” which I completely missed but she does have an infectious little smile so I can completely imagine that. #prouddaddy

Today’s item is quite a special one for us. Lucy and I got married around this time three years ago (if you follow the blog for the next week, you may just find out exactly when…), and for our wedding favours, Lucy and her mum made Christmas decorations for every guest. These are pride of place on our tree every year, and it’s awesome seeing them pop up in our friends’ and family’s houses at this time. We received a surprise this year, as my mother-in-law decided Beatrice couldn’t be without her own decoration. Liz, I cannot thank you enough! The decs will always hold a special place in our hearts, and now we can include Beatrice in that tradition too.

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I will let Bea show you what’s coming up tomorrow…

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Beacember Advent Calendar Day #16

Did you hear that? You know, the big overwhelming’aaaaah’? No it’s not the sound of parents cooing over their newborns. It’s teachers finally collapsing into sofas and sighing now that term’s over(that joke definitely works better when read aloud!). I love my job, but the mad dash to Christmas is exhausting! Can’t wait to recharge the batteries over the next couple of weeks (and hopefully catch a Star Wars screening at some point of course).

Yesterday’s reveal was a little bit cheeky. It’s Beatrice’s first ‘Christmas present.’

Basically, as I’ve mentioned before, she’s taking a real interest in different textures at the moment, and we’ve noticed a real shift in how she is actively trying to grab and interact with things (and importantly, not always with the intention of shoving it in her mouth!).

At one point, she started to get dangerously close to unwrapping a present by pawing at it (which of course, we as curious and naive parents- correction, I, as a curious and slightly stupid parent- allowed, sorry, encouraged her to do), we decided to quickly wrap something close to hand. So it’s here, on the internet, in front of tens of people (love to you all-I’ll be posting about the stats at some point!) that I will confess. Her first ‘Christmas present’ from her parents was a cushion. I mean, it’s a perfectly acceptable cushion, and she loves the bumpy texture of one side, but it’s not really going to place on the top 10 most wanted lists any time soon!

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Back to more orthodox items tomorrow…

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Beacember Advent Calendar Day #13

I’m looking forward to the weekend now, can’t wait to spend the Christmas run-in with Lucy and Bea. We’re putting the tree up and currently have no other plans, so I can switch off from work completely.

Bathtime is a fun challenge at the moment, well, the ‘afterbath’ is anyway. We basically have to apply 3/4 different creams, at least 2 of which need to be nowhere near her mouth. As I’ve previously mentioned, she’s quite adept at shoving her hands in there at the moment. She also has started recognising her knees, and when lying on her back she will rest her hands on them (like some kind of wise old sage sat on their throne).

Essentially, this means she drags her hands from her knees, right through the steroid cream en route to her mouth. Brilliant.

We’ve been tag-teaming this since we got the cream, but going solo is not recommended!

Imagine, if you will, somehow keeping hold of both of her hands/arms whilst trying to apply the cream, then following that up with the usual nappy routine, all the while panicking that if you/she lets go, she’s going to scoop up a handful of delicious steroid-filled cream and shove it right in her gob. Oh, and she’s hungry and tired and not responding to the usual variety of songs!

Sorry, I know that goes against my usual stance of focusing on the positives – like the way she holds onto my hand with both of hers if I rest it on her tummy, but it was quite a funny (if not a bit stressful) moment this evening! She settled fine after all that though, and the cream is working at least. It’s still easier than the bloody syringe!

Back to the Beacember routine…yesterday’s teaser was of this gorgeous decoration made by a team effort of my nephew and Bea’s Nanna. Yet another reason why I can’t wait to get the tree up!

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Time for tomorrow’s sneak preview…

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Beacember Advent Calendar Day #10

10 days in, still going strong. Running out of photos, if not items, so need a panic photo shoot tomorrow! Today’s featured photo was taken by my four-year-old nephew when he was let loose with my camera a few weeks ago. He has a good eye for detail!

Today involved an afternoon at the local garden centre for Beatrice to get entranced by the twinkly lights! And, as always, an excuse for tea and cake…

Beatrice also got to watch her first Christmas film. I say watch, she sat nicely on my lap for about 5 minutes then got a bit fidgety. I’m going to reveal which film in another advent calendar post, feel free to guess in the comments though (or make other suggestions for her to watch!). It’s not Die Hard though, she’s a bit young for that!

Here’s day 10’s item…a long-sleeved vest. I think we’ve more or less covered all the possible clothing items barring novelty reindeer hairbands, etc.SAM_9071.JPG

The countdown continues with day 11 tomorrow…

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I’ve been informed that gingerbread counts as Christmas before you all start correcting me (I was also in two minds about it…).

 

 

Beacember Advent Calendar Day #8

Sorry for the slightly later update today, laptop was needed for things!

Tonight was one of those mixed evenings where I stayed a bit later at work, meaning less time with Beatrice when I got home. It was slightly bemusing to see her sat in her Bumbo on the floor of the kitchen with Leo curiously sidling up to her though! The customary welcome smile and giggle soon followed and we fought the battle of the syringe for the umpteenth time. She genuinely doesn’t seem to want to even look us in the eye for a few minutes afterwards (“How dare you even do such a thing to me?!”- note, this has now led to me having a range of possible future voices for Bea in my head. Not sure which one I prefer yet).

Thankfully, that moment passes soon after, and after a short ‘daddicure’ normal routine was observed! Cutting a baby’s fingernails is one of those things that they don’t really warn you about. On more than one occasion (in the morning) her face looks like she has decided to clamber through a rosebush! My hobby (which I’m unlikely to do anything with for the forseeable) involves small intricate things, so cutting the tiniest of fingernails is quite relaxing, until Beatrice decides that moving that entire arm at an alarming speed is absolutely necessary just as I’m about to snip.

Back to advent calendar duties…

Day 8 is this sleepsuit:

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Is it to early to send a letter off to Santa? Probably…

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Day 9 features this little chap! See you all tomorrow!

Beacember Advent Calendar Day # 7

One of the strange things about doing this advent calendar is that I’ve totally forgotten to have my own! Thankfully at this time of year, being a primary school teacher means that there is no shortage of chocolate in the staff room so I guess it’s slipped down the priority list!

I also learned today that going solo on giving the medication is a definite no-no! Thankfully it was all in the bath (she has a very secure bath seat before people start panicking), so no major mess!

So here’s today’s item, a top from Sainsbury’s that was given to us by a friend who couldn’t resist it on their normal shop run! I always think that on first glance these sorts of clothes will never fit her – I guess in my mind she’s still smaller than she is! They always seem too wide and long. I have no idea if that feeling will ever go away!

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She’s currently sleeping in what waits behind door number 8…

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See you tomorrow!

Beacember Advent Calendar Day #5

Day 5- determined to get it in on time, even if it is last minute! I’m sure you can appreciate having a particularly long day at work followed by a particularly long list of things to do at home!

Day 5 is this really cute ‘present’ babygro, complete with a tag which reads ‘To Mummy, Best Present EVER, Love from me’. I’m not going to go into the whole ‘it should say to Mummy and Daddy’ debate tonight, and given that Beatrice arrived on my birthday, it’s only fair that Lucy gets the chance this time around I suppose…

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You may have noticed I took a lot of these pictures at the same time in a very quick burst, and it’s pretty safe to say I have used no filters on any of them. Needless to say I’m getting a little blog envy from other people’s photos, so will be having a play with some apps to see if I can raise the bar just a little bit! Like Christmas though, it’s the thought that counts.

 

Day 6 awaits…

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