1 Year, 1 Candle and Many More.

My honey-bun has officially turned one! The cake has been eaten and the candle blown out (by an adult) for the celebration of her first year being alive in the world! All day I have been thinking back to how much my life has changed now that I am a parent and it is really true that nothing will ever fully prepare you for how much life changes. This time last year I had a block of ice down my pants, a newborn chomping on my boob and the most blissful feeling of happiness that she was finally in my arms.

It all feels like a bit of a blur but there are some moments that have been filed away, such as watching my husband learn how to do a diaper like he was defusing a bomb; begging for more disposable underwear because the nurses stowed them away like treasure and bursting into tears when the breastfeeding specialist labelled me an unfit mother with her judgmental eyes. Those first few days are such a mixture of joy, pain and tiredness, that it is probably a good thing I can only remember snippets. It also makes me very thankful for the technology we have now as I can look back at pictures and videos of that time and be instantly transported to that precious moment.

My two sleepyheads ❤so much love for them

And out of everything; the unwanted parenting advice people give, the unbearable pain of birth and the endless breastfeeding torture, the one thing I regret over this past year is not taking more pictures. Now believe me, my phone is filled up with cute photos but I still feel that there are moments that I missed because I couldn’t be bothered to take a picture. Now that she is a year, I can look back and treasure all the unique moments we had together and know that she will never be that small and vulnerable again. Now she can bite my finger, throw her water cup at me and shout “Momma” louder than I like but she will never be the tiny little baby that slept in my arms for hours without moving.

I guess that is why people start considering having another child when their first is a year. We wish that our first child could have stayed a baby a little longer and that we might enjoy the baby phase more with a second child but I don’t think it works out like that. The baby moment I miss the most, is being able to nap beside my little girl. She would lie still and peacefully sleep on her side of the bed and I wouldn’t have to worry about her moving while I slept on my side. I would wake up next to her pudgy cheeks and smell her sweet head as she sucked her lips in and out as though she was feeding. If I do that with her now, she rolls around, slaps me in the face and sticks her fingers in my eyeballs!

So to anyone reading that is due a little bundle, enjoy every moment while you can, take pictures every second and ignore all the other nonsense!

Snot and Chicken Soup.

The past few weeks have been an endless onslaught of coughs, colds and runny noses! As those of you with children will know, they pick up something from everyone, whether it’s a new word, gesture or bug that they licked of another babies face. This means there’s a continuous battering of colds, stomach bugs and random vomiting that plagues your life and health. Play dates are canceled, swimming is banned and you try hard to avoid anyone in fear of spreading or receiving more contaminants.

For the first ten months I breastfed my honey-bun, so she managed to fight off any sickness but we have recently come out of quarantine after enduring a cold that wiped us all out. At first it was a runny nose and a few coughs which progressed into a fever, an endless stream of green slime and a very grumpy baby. It was hard not to feel sorry for her when she repeatedly rubbed boogers into her fine blonde hair and coughed like a 50 year old smoker but then we all came down with it. Through blurry eyes, red noses and serious amounts of cough syrup, we cuddled and tried hard not to kill each other though none of us could sleep.

My little girl rolled around, hacking and breathing like Darth Vader while we did the same until the fever broke, the cough calmed and the chicken soup had run out. Pretty much all of my tops were covered in random streaks of snot from where she used my shoulder as a tissue and I couldn’t blame her as I didn’t want her little nose getting sore from Kleenex wiping.

We have all been through one of these times but having a sick child thrown into the mix just makes everything feel worse, never mind if it’s more than one! Now every time she coughs or sneezes I fear the possibility of another stomach wrenching bug. Apparently young children get sick 8-10 times a year. A year! I might as well buy some black wreaths, burn some incense and put a sign outside the door to announce the arrival of small pox. A tad dramatic, but seriously I don’t know if my sanity will cope if those figures turn out to be correct.

Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about daycare and calling in sick to work but if I did, all of my personal days and potentially vacation would be used on looking after a sick child. She’s cute but not that cute! All I can say after my complaining, is a serious shout out to the people who work and have young, bug infested children. To all the single parents who have enough on their plates and then have to cope with a sick child and to anyone thinking about having kids…8-10 times a year people!

Fly Baby!

Living in a different country from all of your immediate family can definitely be hard but it does mean that the time we share together is more precious. After my little girl was born, we decided that I would take her to England to introduce her to all the family members that hadn’t been able to come out to Canada. My honey-bun was around 6 months old and I wasn’t exactly looking forward to taking the six hour flight alone, there and back. Besides being a terrible flyer, I had no idea how she was going to react or behave to being cooped up in a flying tin can with me desperately trying to entertain her.

The thought of annoyed strangers glaring at me while she screamed her lungs out seemed to be the main fear which bothered me the days leading up to our journey. Everyone hates to be sat near the crying baby or irritating child that constantly kicks the back of your seat and why, when there is very little we can do about it? Everyone is in the same position, they have a journey to make and some of those people include children. Now, before we start jumping to child etiquette on planes and the rules around disciplining them, I’m more talking about babies and young infants for the moment. I’m sure in a few years I will have many tales regarding tantrums during the mid-flight movie but for now, this is about the judgmental looks you get when a baby is crying because IT’S A BABY!

The flight to England was a breeze, thankfully. I had booked a midnight flight hoping that she would sleep through the whole ordeal, which is exactly what she did. While my honey-bun was snuggled up in her car seat dreaming of milk, I sat next to her gripping the armrest in my usual state of flight terror repeating the same line in my mind, “humans aren’t meant to fly, we shouldn’t be here.” When we finally landed, passenger after passenger walked by and said, “Didn’t she do well.” Everyone beamed happy smiles that their journey wasn’t disturbed by my precious cargo and I felt like Mom of the year. I single handedly carried the car seat, diaper bag, rucksack and suitcase of the plane and loaded up the stroller feeling like a rock star.

However, the flight back was somewhat different. Instead of an evening flight, we travelled back in the middle of the day and my little girl was already frustrated from the car ride to the airport and then the waiting around for the flight. When we were onboard the air hostess was very strict that she had to be secured in her car seat for the entire journey which meant she squirmed and wriggled around in frustration for the best part of 6 hours. If she did manage to nod of for a nap, she was normally awoken ten or fifteen minutes later by an announcement, the drinks cart or turbulence, so there was no restbite for me or the surrounding passengers. At one point I had her on my lap and she gleefully started to remove her socks while a child in the row next to us was having a full on tantrum about headphones. His mom looked at my baby and then said to me, “Your babies feet are going to be cold, you know!”

I was slightly dumbstruck that in the midst of her own child having a meltdown she had time to turn and criticize me as though my honey-bun was going to freeze to death without socks. Thankfully the same boy started to throw-up moments later and I felt slightly vindicated for his mom’s unnecessary rebuke but I didn’t leave the flight with the same sense of victory. None of the passengers congratulated me for my quiet baby this time and if anything I received a few critical looks as people passed by. I also found it baffling that while carrying a car seat, a diaper bag, a rucksack and a suitcase, not one person asked if I needed help but continued to look at me as a disruption. I felt like screaming, “We are all getting there at the same time people!”

Anyway, the next time your on a flight have a little sympathy for the people travelling with children. Yes, it was their choice to procreate but toddlers, tantrums and sock removal are all part of life. And to any parents, particularly moms, try not to judge every other parent around you and just focus on your own – we have enough ‘mom guilt’ to deal with. And if it really bothers you, but a ticket in first class!

9 Months Later

It’s been nine months since the arrival of my little honey-bun and what a whirlwind it has been. There have been many tears, giggles, and dirty diapers but every second (except the birth) has been a Godsend. I look down at my little bundle of joy as she plays happily with my shoe and wonder how I ever existed without her and at the same time I would give anything to sleep in!

When you become a parent you start to understand the full meaning of being sleep deprived and how you can endlessly prod your partner saying, “It’s your turn.” For me, I found the first few weeks the hardest as she only slept in three-hour intervals which inevitably meant that I didn’t sleep longer than two hours at a time. We took turns while my husband was off work so that we could try and stretch it out to three or four hours but that only lasted until he returned to the day job. I remember a close friend came over and offered to babysit so that we could go out but instead we headed straight to the bedroom to sleep. We curled up under the covers, wrapped our arms around each other and I immediately burst into tears from sheer exhaustion.

My husband stared at me blankly while my hormonal overload manifested as a water filled meltdown, sobbing that we didn’t snuggle anymore. The poor man just wanted to sleep but instead, he had to comfort his unstable wife. After my emotional outpouring, I snuck out of bed and jumped in the shower which felt like pure luxury. Every T-shirt I owned was covered in baby vomit, I didn’t know when I had last washed my hair and any opportunity to wash normally involved having the baby nearby in her rocker; so having an actual chunk of personal time to shower felt like being at a spa.

After a few weeks, things started to settle down and her sleeping pattern greatly improved but I still remember a salesman telling me that his wife was expecting their second child and all I did was glare at him and say “Why?” I couldn’t understand through my sleep tortured daze why anyone would have more than one child. Obviously, now that my little girl sleeps through the night and I can function like a human again, I understand the impulses to reproduce but I certainly have a newfound respect for people with twins or multiple children.

Now that nine months have flown by, I still get surprised when I catch myself beaming with pride because my honey-bun has learned to crawl, clap or stand. Never before have I admired any child’s ability to perform basic bodily functions but when my own child laughs, rolls or farts, I find it entertaining beyond measure. The simple joys in life really are childlike and even though there have been times of struggle, I would not have traded a single moment with my daughter for an extra hours sleep. (I might alter this last statement if a second baby comes along!)