Tag Archives: baby

Around the Bend in Eighty Days

*coughs* *blows dust off blogging seat*

So. Been a while, right? It feels like forever since I’ve swept my way around Clockwatching… towers, but it’s only been a couple of months (not quite the eighty days of the title, but c’mon. It was too good not to use). Thanks to you all for sticking with me (my stats have been booming, guys! Love to all y’all) and for being interested in what I’m doing and how things have been for me and my little family.

Well. In short, things have been great.

And terrible.

Great and terrible. I think anyone with a new baby can relate. We’ve had nights of relentless screaming, and we’ve had moments of pure panic, and we’ve had instances of utter and complete raglessness (as a friend put it, very aptly) when I’ve managed to lose my head completely. I’ve been down the road of Post-Natal Depression, and I’ve realised that I’m not as strong nor as naturally maternal as I always assumed, and I’ve learned that there’s nothing wrong with admitting that things are getting overwhelming  and you need help. I was terrible at accepting help before the baby came along. Sometimes, though, you just need to let someone else do your dishes or sweep your floor, no matter how much it pains you.

I’m very lucky to have had immense amounts of help from family and friends, and to have years’ worth of wisdom to draw on from people who have been here before me. So thank you to everyone. There are a couple of friends (no names, but they know who they are) who’ve been particularly amazing. So cheers to them both. Neither me nor baby would be in quite such good shape without my little backing crew – and boy do I know it!

 

elvis

Everyone needs their backing crew – even the King. Photo Credit: Lawrence Chard via Compfight cc

But things have begun to get back to normal. Baby is getting older, and more settled, and we are all getting used to one another. Routines are being established. Smiling has started happening – and not just the sort of smiling one gets from a baby with a full stomach, but the sort that says ‘I see you. I know you. You’re my family.’ Any amount of sleepless worry is worth that tiny flicker of love. We’ve bought a baby sling – a cloth carrier – which Junior seems to enjoy (fingers crossed) and we’re experimenting with cloth nappies, which hasn’t been going so well.

But enough about that.

I’ve been learning lots of new skills, too (as well as not forgetting my old ones; I was terrified I’d have forgotten how to type, or spell, or think – but luckily all seems intact!) and discovering that having a baby really prepares you for so many different sorts of career paths. If the writing thing goes belly-up, I feel vastly qualified already to do any of the following:

Mind reader: Because when you spend most of your time interacting with a person who is non-verbal and whose idea of a good conversation involves screaming, flailing, dribbling, fixing you with a series of intense stares, and fairly random body convulsions, you get good at interpreting thought patterns. (Or just making use of guesswork. Who knows?)

Interpretive dancer/mime artist: Until you’ve caught yourself dancing round your kitchen to ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’, making gooey faces and accompanying your vocal performance with limb twitching, you haven’t lived.

Animal wrangler: Babies eat. A lot. All the time. Around the clock. This means they need to be fed at night. My baby does not like waking up at night to feed. It happens, however, despite Junior’s best intentions, and after hours of moaning and groaning and snuffling and whuffling and kicking off of blankets, eventually baby comes to and instantly – instantly – the wailing for milk will begin. Now. Trying to balance a scarily strong infant on one knee while warming up a bottle (which involves dealing with boiling water in the dark, which is always fun) and attempting to get the milk down said infant’s neck without scalding someone and/or the infant back-flipping out the bedroom window is a true skill. I feel fully prepared to take up a job as a weasel wrestler any day now.

CIA operative: Admittedly my knowledge of what CIA operatives do is largely based on watching ‘Homeland’, but it seems to involve withstanding torture a lot of the time. Listening to a colicky baby screaming for hours on end will prepare anyone for that. Believe me.

Land speed record holder: For when you’re downstairs and the baby monitor informs you of disaster unfolding upstairs, or you’re in another room (taking a Xanax, perhaps) and you hear the air-raid siren warming up in its bassinet, you run. You run. And after a while you get pretty fast.

Lip reader: When you’re silly enough to try to watch TV with a baby, you need to be able to lip read. Go figure.

Statistician: Anyone who has ever spoken to a new parent will agree on one thing: they talk about poop. A lot. How often the baby goes. How long it takes. What colour it is. What consistency it is. The sheer power of its aroma, based on how similar it smells to the Bog of Eternal Stench. And so on. We’ve taken to keeping a poop log (no sniggering down the back) where we record times of poops and what sort they are. We also have a feeding log. We like to map the data. In graph form. Don’t judge us, for we are nerds.

Somnambulist: Not that this is a job, per se. But it’s definitely a skill. I walked up and down the stairs without opening my eyes once, and didn’t realise I’d done it until I was back in the baby’s room. Sort of scary, but a bit impressive too.

Anyway. One thing you’ll note is, of course, that having a baby doesn’t exactly lend itself to writing. I haven’t written anything longer than a Tweet for many many moons. My WordPress back-end has changed beyond recognition, and I’m feeling at sea even on this blog, my safe place. However – there is light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps I speak too soon, but – here it is, whisper it – I’m getting the hang of this parenting lark.

So. Before too long I hope to be back to a semi-regular schedule. I hope to get back to work. I have ideas still pinging into my dried up little brain – not so many, and not all good, but they’re coming – and so I hope to have time, and something to write about, as the new year rises.

Until then, wish me luck. And thank you for still being here. It does this tired mama’s heart good to see it. Adios, till next time!

 

So, Don’t All Unfollow Me at Once…

…but I have a little bit of news.

It won’t have escaped anyone’s attention that I have been less assiduous about my blogging schedule over the past few months, and particularly so over the past number of weeks. This isn’t because I don’t want to blog anymore, or because I’ve run out of things to say, but because my life has taken an unexpected and amazing turn.

A few weeks ago, dear readers, my little family expanded by one. My husband and I were delighted, relieved and overwhelmed to welcome our tiny baby to our lives, a baby who has already transformed our home and taken over our hearts and who we love with everything we have. We kept knowledge of the baby’s arrival very quiet, not because we weren’t proud and delighted and excited, but because I was superstitious and nervous and almost scared to get too happy, in case this beautiful thing would be taken away as quickly and miraculously as it had arrived. For I had been told, often and by several doctors, that I would never conceive or carry a child; my body was inadequate, incapable and barren. I would need help, if I was to have any chance. It was vanishingly unlikely to happen naturally, or so we believed, and my husband and I had given up all hope. But we proved them all wrong.

Beyond all our dreams, we were blessed and we have continued to be blessed, and our beautiful child is currently in a carrycot, awaiting an evening feed.

Photo Credit: Estevam Romera via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Estevam Romera via Compfight cc

Anyone who has had a child will agree that when they arrive, your life is taken over completely by getting used to their routine, settling into a new way of life, and resetting your family’s body clock in order to accommodate a 24-hour schedule which sees you awake (and not minding at all) between 1.30 and 4.30 in the morning, napping during the afternoons, and keeping a watchful eye out for hunger cues and signs of nappy-related distress. This does mean that stuff like work, blogging, washing, getting dressed in matching clothes and generally functioning as an adult is a bit challenging, and so I’m here to tell you that things will be a little patchy around here for the next while. I’ll be checking in, and I’ll post when I can, and there will be the occasional book review, and I’ll keep you updated with bookish news (on that note, there’s nothing to share at the moment; the glacial wheels of publishing continue to turn, incrementally, and the slow processes which underpin the book trade are still taking place – not that you’d know), but there won’t be a regular blogging schedule.

I hope y’all will understand.

I won’t be sharing photos of my baby online, nor will I be sharing the name my husband and I chose, nor the gender of our child, for privacy reasons. I’m taking this opportunity to ask anyone who knows me in real life to keep any photographs they may have of our child, and any information about our baby (including names) private. However, anyone who wishes may email me if they’re curious and – if they’re willing to wait for an answer, and to be bound by these conditions! – I’ll privately share some information about our new arrival.

Life is changed, changed utterly, and it’s wonderful. It will take me some time to find a new balance, but I’m sure I’ll get there eventually. I hope you’ll stick around for the next phase of my journey, and that you’ll be here to share the ups and downs of my writing life as my publication date draws nearer, and that you’ll bear with me as things get a little fragmented and chaotic around here.

But that was ever the case in Clockwatching… towers – things have always been a little unpredictable in this neck of the woods. This is simply another turn in the road, the sharpest and most exciting one yet, and I can’t wait to see what’s coming.

So, it’s ‘farewell’ for now. It’s a sincere ‘thank you’ for your support and interest so far. It’s a ‘stay tuned!’ for future news, and it’s a huge ‘hello’ from the tiny bundle which has brought such joy (and sleeplessness) to my life, and my husband’s, over the past number of weeks.

And it’s this.

 

 

Random Tuesday

I’ve been away from the blog for a few days, mainly because I was with my parents for the weekend, but also because I wanted to keep my distance from the internet for the past little while. I’m glad to see nothing too horrible seems to have happened in the world since I last peeped out over my parapet, so I’m grateful for that. Today, if you’ll indulge me, I’ll wander about a little in the garden of my mind, and maybe by the end of it we’ll have a bouquet of thoughts. They might not be thoughts which are particularly well-connected, and they may make no sense whatsoever stuck together in a bouquet, but let’s hope for the best.

I wish my mind looked like this!

I wish my mind looked like this!

Is it wrong, do you think, to feel so strongly about an event which had nothing to do with you, in a country you’ve never even been in, and to which you have no connection? I’ve spent the last few days thinking about the children lost in Connecticut, and working through my own sorrow. My feelings of loss and grief are real, and I am desperately sorry for the bereaved families, and for the people of Newtown in general – and I hope that these feelings of loss don’t cause any further offence to those who are suffering. Of course, I didn’t know any of the children, and in a way, my sorrow for them is meaningless – but my sorrow is there, nonetheless. What I don’t want to do is stray into the territory of gratuitous horror-mongering, of which some ‘newspapers’ are guilty; at the weekend, someone in my company was flicking through a paper which lingered grotesquely over the injuries inflicted upon the victims of this atrocity, and I felt compelled to ask them to close the paper and put it away. I don’t see how that sort of ‘journalism’ is helpful to anyone. Nobody but the medical examiners charged with the harrowing task of conducting the autopsies should have knowledge of how badly these children were injured, and any ‘newspaper’ which feels it has the right to reprint that information should be ashamed. So, the first flower in my odd little bouquet is a rose – a red one, ideally. It’s for the children of the world. I’m thinking about them all today, and hoping no other child has to go through the terror that was visited upon the children of Sandy Hook. Beside the red rose, I think I’ll tuck a little blue forget-me-not, which is especially for the children of Newtown, Connecticut.

I’m thinking about Christmas, too, because how could anyone be unaware that it’ll be here, this day next week? For the first time in my life, I’m going to be away from my parents for Christmas, and I’m torn in all sorts of ways about that. Of course, I’m looking forward to spending my Christmas with my husband, but I know I’m going to miss my parents and my brother. Christmas was, and is, a special time for my family and it will be strange not to have them with me on the day. Mixed in with the excitement of creating new traditions, and experiencing new joys, will be a sense of loss because my parents won’t be with me. But I have to realise how lucky I am to have too many people with whom I want to spend Christmas – there are so many people who are on their own at this time of year, so I’m very blessed. I’m going to place some daisies into my bouquet, because they’re my favourite flower, and one which my parents would associate with me. I know they’ll be remembering me with love at Christmas, just as I’ll be remembering them.

One of my dearest friends is due to give birth to her first baby in the coming days. It’s so fitting, because my friend is crazy about Christmas; I can’t think of a better time of year for her to become a mother for the first time. My husband and I met one another at her wedding, so she and her husband have a very special place in our hearts and thoughts. She’s on my mind a lot, and we are waiting anxiously every day to hear whether it’s time for the new little person to arrive. He or she will be the luckiest baby in the world – not only will s/he have the most loving parents any child could wish for, but there is a huge circle of people around them, all of whom want to shower the new baby with affection and give every support to the new parents. I feel, in many ways, like this new child will be family to me because my friend and her husband are so dearly loved by me; I can’t wait to meet him or her. So, for my beautiful friend, her wonderful husband and their baby, I’m adding a pink carnation to my odd little bouquet.

I’m also thinking about the new year, and what it might bring for me and my family – I’m wondering about how my life might change, and whether we’ll get by. I’m hoping all will be well. The only flower I can think of which makes me feel like everything will be all right, and which makes me smile whenever I see it, and which feels like a dollop of happiness dropped right into the middle of everything, is a sunflower. So, I’ll add a sunflower to my strange posy. It looks a little odd, but I think it all goes together quite well, after all.

So, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed your little stroll through my mental meadow, and that you take a moment to admire my bouquet! Feel free to stick around in here and pick a few more flowers for yourself, if you like. Have a happy and peaceful day.