March has been a slow blogging month. Sorry if you’ve been waiting patiently for a new post! I think I can look back on it in terms of content, if not quantity. I finally got around to writing a feature that is about something I am passionate about – children’s reading, and then wrote a very personal but heartfelt message to Beatrice. This post is probably going to be the last one of the month, so it makes me proud that the content for this one is just as important to me as the other two!
If I’m honest, this month has also been a blur of amazing awesomeness and it’s been hard keeping up with all of Bea’s new skills – this has definitely been one of my favourite months of being a parent yet. More on that in the future… Continue reading “Happy Mother’s Day!”→
On Sunday I set myself four blogging goals. Here is the first one (I didn’t say I’d do them in order!) for the week. Hopefully I can get around to blogging more regularly.
The timing of this is actually somewhat coincidental. Since signing up to WordPress, I’ve been following the odd parent blogger that has been kind enough to like finding out about our little parenting adventure. There are around 20 of you out there following at the moment, so thanks for stopping by and having a look!
One of the people I’ve been reading is This Tiny Blue House, and their recent post on digital citizenship struck a chord here.Maybe it’s the fact we’re both teachers that makes us slightly more aware/cautious about our digital footprints. I tried leaving a wordy comment on her blog, but the internet decided to disagree with me, so I guess a blog post is the next best thing!
With this blog, I decided from the off that I didn’t want to show any full pictures of Beatrice until she was able to decide that she wanted her photos to be on here. I can’t say completely why, but it just felt like the right thing to do. In a few years she’ll know that this blog is part of her life and may want to go back through where it all started (I know I’d be curious!). Already just putting the odd (granted, fairly unique) tag into Google images reveals quite the digital trail!
I’m equally aware that this isn’t a foolproof goal. We share pictures of her on Facebook with family and friends, and like many have closed groups for sharing day-to-day ones. This is obviously a bit hypocritical, but there is a relative control over what is shared there. We’ve never been big sharers online and this is just an extension of that I suppose.
Today is also ‘Safer Internet Day’ which is generally aimed at preparing children for their life as a digital citizen. As I said, the timing of this post is actually coincidental, but it has thrown up some interesting things, such as the word ‘sharenting’ and some valid concerns from children themselves. Firstly, ‘sharenting’ is a great word by the way! Even if it seems to be attached to negative connotations, it’s a brilliant portmanteau.
It’s thrown up some interesting statistics too (albeit not terribly scientific), which made me think about the children I work with. It’s something I will definitely discuss with them.
You can read more here if you like. By the way, I’m not criticising anyone who does any ‘sharenting’. Most of the photos I see online are positive, and way better than anything I seem to manage with our camera (maybe that’s it, my photos just aren’t up to scratch…). Children are growing up with this being commonplace, and generally know what could happen to a photo of themselves online. I guess it comes down to your own attitude towards it with your children as to whether it has potential to be positive or negative. Either way, I will continue to take countless photos of our girl growing up and equally look for photos of those little moments that I can share with you! Please go and have a look at the discussion Jenny has generated on her post above, or feel free to comment on here too. Blog goal 1 of 4 achieved. Phew!
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.
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!
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!
Happy new year everyone! You probably missed my last post (why not subscribe…ahem) on New Year’s Eve, as you were probably out having a good time being sociable. That, or you are also new parents, and New Year’s Eve passed you by in an alternative stupor – we pretty much forgot to actually say it to each other (thanks Lucy for the reminder!). There’s even the chance you decided it wasn’t worth all the fuss and went to bed early and missed it too. It was a list reflecting on a range of firsts for us as a family. I left one of those out somewhat deliberately in order to blog about it later.
Christmas day night was the last night Beatrice slept in the same room as us (for now- I’m not naive enough to think that she won’t be toddling in when she gets older!). She has been everpresent in her Moses basket since that Friday in July.
Before Beatrice was born, we were pondering which bits of parenting came down to common sense. This was one of them- when should she go to her cotbed? When she’s too big for the Moses basket (also see when should we swap out the carrycot in the travel system…?). As ever, I’m sure there are a million and one different theories for timing the big move, and all of them would be fine. For us, we loved having her there next to our bed. It was even one of the first things I blogged about. Granted, we’ve been incredibly lucky – she enjoys her sleep, and with both of us having time off during the summer, her sporadic sleeping hours at the start were definitely bearable. That said, I’ve almost certainly jinxed her (and our) sleep patterns with making this public knowledge…
What are the pros and cons of her new digs then?
I can read a book in bed at night – I’ve missed this a lot!
Getting up to go the loo in the night no longer requires the skills of a trained ninja
The nursery I decorated is being put to good use!
I can get changed with the light on in the mornings, meaning I look like a normal, everyday person and get things on the right way round. I think I spent every night in November putting my t-shirt on either inside out or back-to-front before getting into bed.
The value of our baby monitor increases every day…
Travelling gets potentially easier. The basket and stand take up a lot of room!
Cons (this is probably where it starts to sound soppy. I’m not apologising.)
The only noises we’ll probably hear from her in the night aren’t going to be the little whimpers and sighs we used to. It sounds ridiculous to be nostalgic about something that was only a couple of months ago, but we are! We’re fairly heavy sleepers, so we won’t hear those on the microphone.
I can’t sneak in so easily to give her a quick kiss goodbye before setting off to work. I daren’t even poke my head round the door for fear of waking her up. Her new room doesn’t have the familiar noises that our room would have had, so I’m worried that any additional noise might change things – Lucy probably goes in and sorts stuff every morning with her fast asleep in there though…
It means she’s growing up! The last couple of weeks have been a real chance to take stock of our memories so far as parents. There have been loads, and I don’t know how people coped without hordes of digital photos to help them in their efforts.
So, there you have it. Our little girl, who is completly unfazed by the whole thing, no longer shares a room with us. It makes me a little sad, but also proud that she feels comfortable and safe enough to sleep soundly in her own room.
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.
I will let Bea show you what’s coming up tomorrow…