It’s been a funny seven weeks in our house and as a result I haven’t really felt like blogging (not that I’m particularly good at doing so at the best of times!) In very exciting news, I am twenty weeks pregnant with another little boy so once again we will be moving house gearing up for the arrival of a little baby. However, the beginning of this pregnancy has been a little bit stressful to say the least and it has only been in the last week and a half that I have felt able to relax and enjoy it. To cut a long story short our twelve week scan had a borderline nuchal fold measurement and our blood tests gave us some rather scary results which all resulted in an amniocentesis and a very horrible three week wait for the results. Having thought that we would be telling everyone our baby news over the Easter holidays we then didn’t feel able to until we knew what the full situation was. Cue me wearing a variety of clothes and scarves desperately trying to hide the ever growing bump! Thankfully, the results are fine and we have just as much chance of a healthy baby as the next person……
Anyway, one little person has made all of this much more bearable just by being himself and demanding all the things that a fifteen month old little boy demands and so this weeks Ordinary Moments is basically a big thank you to my gorgeous little boy Teddy! Thank you for being so entertaining and making me laugh so often, thank you for coming up to me and giving me big cuddles and open mouthed dribbly kisses, thank you for making me see the world through your eyes and look more closely at the tiniest details and thank you for being a massive distraction whilst we have been waiting for those results! The last few weeks have reiterated how good my life is even when aspects of it are a little bit tough and I’ve once again been reminded of how much I have to be grateful for. Throughout the whole experience (and I do know that lots of people go through far worse) I have known that whatever happens I am privileged to have one little person call me Mummy and this made the situation much easier than I imagine it might have been if this had been my first pregnancy. It has made me appreciate the ordinary moments even more and as we go through the second half of this pregnancy I am going to try really hard to remember to drink in all the little things that happen to our family of three before we become a family of four!
That first moment when your baby says something that sounds like a word is completely and utterly awe inspiring. In Teddy’s case (as in the case of most babies) his first ‘word’ was ‘Dada’ which he used to shout from his cot when he woke up in the morning and after his naps. I used this as a perfect excuse to say “Oh look, he is calling to you, he wants his Daddy!” so that my husband was guilted into getting out of bed rather than me but unfortunately in the last few months Teddy’s word of choice in the morning (and in the middle of the night) has become “Mama” so that has backfired somewhat and I can no longer snuggle back under the duvet quite so smugly…
Teddy’s second word came courtesy of the son of his childminder. Every morning when I drop him off, her four year old son greets Teddy with “Hiya” and so prior to cracking “Mama” this was his second favourite thing to shout. He recognises this as a greeting and says it to people when he sees them; usually trying to pair it with an open mouthed dribbly kiss or a twinkle twinkle little star style wave. In the last few weeks he has added to his vocabulary and we now have “dickle dickle” when he is tickled or when he tickles other people, “dairs” when we go upstairs (accompanied by pointing up the stairs) and the now very ubiquitous “yeah”. This is said in a very clipped way so sounds quite a lot like “yuh” (maybe I have watched too much Made in Chelsea when he has been downstairs??) and follows on from any question asked when said in an appropriately sing song way; “Would you like some grapes?” “yuh” etc etc etc
I have always found the acquisition of speech intriguing and could listen to Teddy chatter away for hours despite not having a clue what he is after most of the time. He now couples most things with pointing so that I can generally decipher what he is after (which is basically anything he is not supposed to have) Watching him chat with his friends is hilarious and I would love to be able to tell what they are saying. He recently had a play-date with his friend George who is five months older than him. Teddy was thrilled to show George his new favourite place to play (the shower in the downstairs bathroom) and watching them converse about Teddy’s favourite game of moving the nappies from the changing table to the shower was very entertaining. They followed this up by playing the piano (with Teddy clearly explaining to George what it was all about whilst George had a look of “Does he ever shut up?” about him) and then sharing some raisins which they found very funny as they discussed putting them on the floor, picking them up again and then hiding them under the piano (or so I imagine!). This stage of development is so exciting and I cannot wait to see what the next new word is!
I feel like I have had the busiest week ever this week and until the husband gets home tomorrow from his skiing trip (not jealous at all….) it won’t really be over. I like to be busy but even I have found the last week a bit of a struggle and so I am very much on a countdown to the Easter holidays as we are heading back to the UK to see family and friends and whilst we will be travelling around a lot we will also hopefully get some down time! I work three days a week, am involved in running our local Military Wives Choir and run a baby music group on a Friday morning. This week, to add to this, I have also been helping out with our unit wives club dress sale which was held on Friday night. Foolishly I offered to keep all the items given to be sold at my house and as they were a bit slow to arrive at first I then said I would also label them ready for sale. This was a massive error of judgement! As the dresses (and shoes, jewellery and bags) flooded in, my house began to resemble a jumble sale. I spent about ten hours of my life this week matching dresses to descriptions in the book we were writing everything in and then labelling them up with the correct number, price and size and at this point in time I never want to see another dress that doesn’t belong to me or that I am eying up in a shop ever again……
The saving grace this week has been the amazing friends I have made by going to baby groups since Teddy was born. They have known that my husband is away, have seen that I have been unbelievably busy and have rallied around amazingly. I will admit to going to my first few groups with quite a bit of trepidation as I wasn’t sure whether I would go mad being surrounded by hundreds of babies. However, the friends that I will take with me from this posting are the ones that I have met through having a child and I will be eternally grateful that they came into my life when they did. So this week’s post is a big thank you to the ladies who have offered to babysit both in the evenings and daytime and who have entertained Teddy so that I can get on with stuff. It has reminded me what a fantastic community I am part of and I will be sad to leave them all when we head off in the summer for pastures new. I think sometimes people forget how amazing these groups are for meeting other mums (myself included at times!) and sometimes all you need after a busy week is a cup of tea and a chat (aka rant) whilst the kids play. I think the busyness of this week has also rubbed off on Teddy and it seems he has also found this week a bit tiring……
We like cooking in this house and even more than we like cooking we like eating. Thankfully Teddy seems to be cut from the same cloth and has always been a good little eater. From those newborn breastfeeding days where he basically fed ALL THE TIME (or so it seemed) to the early days of weaning he has hoovered up whatever is in his path and doesn’t seem to have discovered many things he dislikes (long may this last!). I am thoroughly enjoying the fact that he now pretty much eats what we eat and as a result think that with any future babies we have I will go more down the baby led weaning route than I did with him as I now realise it is a hell of lot easier only preparing one meal at a time.
As Teddy grows up I find mealtimes more and more fun. I love watching him enjoy the food he is eating and even more so I enjoy watching his facial expressions as he tries new things – cherry tomatoes that popped in his mouth have been a particular highlight recently! He now chats away during mealtimes and they are a lovely sociable part of our day when he is not distracted by everything and anything and when we can enjoy each other’s company (even if the conversation is still a little bit one-sided….)
At the weekends we enjoy having mealtimes as a family as during the week it is not generally possible due to the constraints of the working day. Yesterday we went out for the day stopping for lunch in a sunny square in Osnabruck. I had packed a lunch for Teddy but unfortunately for me my club sandwich and fries were much more appealing so we ended up sharing (probably a bonus for my waistline though!) He sat beautifully in the high chair eating his lunch and watching the world go by whilst we enjoyed the sunshine and people watching and I was really pleased that he is such an easy baby to take out and about.
Fingers crossed his love affair with food continues and that he doesn’t become super fussy as he grows up. One of cousins was also an amazing eater when tiny but is now a total nightmare with food so I am hoping that we don’t follow this route. In the meantime, Teddy is sitting on the sofa watching the rugby eying up his Daddy’s biscuit and cup of tea…..
We have had a ridiculously mild winter here in Germany this year. Last year it basically snowed from January through to April and my winter memories from 2013 are therefore as follows:
- dragging my humongously pregnant form out for a daily walk trying to evict Teddy from my body a little bit earlier than he clearly wanted to appear whilst trying not to slip over on the snow that was EVERYWHERE thanks to some of my British neighbours not following the German rule of clearing the pavement outside their houses.
- Standing outside the hospital whilst in labour with a blizzard blowing around us but just desperately needing some fresh air (the hospital was like a sauna and I am someone who sleeps with the window open whatever the weather)
- Being eternally grateful for whichever neighbour it was who cleared my driveway and path of snow when my husband was in Kenya and I was glued to the sofa breastfeeding.
- Putting a screaming baby into a snowsuit he didn’t want to go into just so I could escape the house for a bit for a walk into town (only to be told off by a myriad of Germans for him not being smothered in layers upon layers of blankets)
This winter has been a totally different kettle of fish. We have actually been disappointed at the lack of snow (my 2013 self is staring openmouthed at this admission) as we love skiing and with our nearest ski resort only just over an hour away we were hoping to make up for last year’s lack of skiing with lots of weekend trips. As it stands we have managed a week’s skiing in Austria and one day locally which has made my husband very sad (good job he has managed to get himself on an army skiing trip next week….. lucky boy!) On a positive note, however, the mild weather has meant that Teddy has started playing outside much earlier than I anticipated and there is no need to put him in the epic layers that children were being put in last year. He loves being outside and will make a dash for the garden if we ever leave the kitchen or patio doors open. His current favourite thing to play with in our garden is the brush and he has spent a considerable amount of time in the last week or so practising his sweeping. I am obviously hoping that this love for cleaning will continue! He also loves going to the park. He has been a fan of swings for a couple of months now but we have now added in the slide to his park routine and this fills him with total and utter joy. He slides down (with help of course) and then flips himself over to try and climb back up again, dissolving in giggles as he slips and slides around on the bottom of the slide. At the moment these periods spent outside are a bit of a novelty but they are increasingly becoming a regular part of our time together and therefore becoming a more ordinary part of our week. It is so lovely to see him become more interactive and interested as he plays outside. Watching Teddy explore the outside world is a total joy and I cannot wait to see him progress as we head into spring and summer!
PS As you might have noticed, I am currently enjoying experimenting with my photos by putting them in collages etc. I am currently loving PicMonkey when on the Mac and A Beautiful Mess when on the iPad or iPhone (can you tell we’re an Apple family…..)
We are extremely blessed to have amazing people on both sides of our family and a bunch of fantastic friends. Despite living in different countries we stay in touch in all the ways that modern friends and families do through a combination of telephone, Skype, FaceTime, email, Facebook and instagram and therefore do not generally feel that we miss out on events in the UK. However, since Teddy has arrived I am more conscious of time flying away from us and I feel more keenly the months passing without us having actual physical face to face contact with the people we love. Whilst all the methods of communication named above have an amazing purpose nothing can beat spending actual time in real life with family and friends and this week has been a reminder of that fact.
Last Sunday the first of our half-term visitors arrived in the shape of my sister-in-law, her husband and three boys aged 8, 5 and 3. On Thursday we waved goodbye to them as they drove back across Germany and Holland to return home on the Rotterdam-Hull ferry. We filled the time with ice-creams at the amazing eis cafe in town, a trip to Bielefeld Tierpark (a brilliant free zoo), a day skiing in Winterberg (where two nephews skied for the very first time, the older one skied for the first time since he was 3 and the littlest one finished the day saying he never wanted to leave), a morning wandering around the market (with the requisite hot chocolate obviously….) and an afternoon at the local swimming pool. Whilst all of these things have been brilliant fun what I have enjoyed most is seeing Teddy interact with his ‘big’ cousins. He is the first grandchild on my side of the family and so whilst much adored does not have quite the same kinds of experiences that he does when we see my husband’s family where he is number 8 (and boy number 7) grandchild. Watching his face light up as his cousins let him join in with their games has been delightful and I am already looking forward to our big family holiday in August when he will be with all 8 of his cousins. As our only child (although hopefully not forever!) he has a very different time at home than when at his childminders (who looks after a number of older children) and I am always quite conscious of ensuring that he has plenty of opportunities to play with other children. He was in his element throughout their stay and was very bad tempered for the afternoon after they had left as suddenly he was back to being with just boring old Mummy and Daddy (even if Daddy is the best thing since sliced bread at the moment……)
Thankfully, that evening more family arrived in the shape of Teddy’s paternal grandparents. Having not seen him since early December (other than on the iPad screen!) he had a lovely hour before bed of Nana and Grandad cuddles and even treated us to his first proper steps (if we don’t include the occasional stagger he has done over the last few weeks) The following day my parents and siblings arrived (and no, we don’t really have a big enough house for all these guests) as we had decided to finish the half-term holidays with an early 1st birthday celebration. As both my husband and I are from families of teachers everything has to be crammed into school holidays so for most people it was very much a flying visit but a much appreciated one none the less!
The last week has demonstrated two things; that we have amazing families (which we did know but it is always good to be reminded!) and that face to face time with family and friends is something to be truly thankful for. It has made me even more excited about our move back to the UK this summer as Teddy will be able to spend more time with the grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins who love him so much. For lots of people this kind of interaction with family is something that is easy as people live near each other and see each other regularly. For us it has to be planned and can therefore sometimes be lacking in spontaneity. However, these ordinary moments of Sunday lunches, picnics, games on the beach etc are what I think about when we are living miles from family faced with making friends all over again. It is family (and I am including my closest friends in this group) that is constant whilst everything else in our lives is changing yet again and I consider myself a very lucky girl to have such an amazing safety net beneath me in the shape of an amazing bunch of people!
Bonding with his cousins aged 8 months!
Last night I watched the film ‘About Time’ starring Rachel McAdams, Domhnall Gleeson and Bill Nighy (amongst others!) It is probably the first film I have watched in a while where I felt no need to pick up the iPad or phone and check Facebook, twitter, instagram and pinterest etc etc as right from the very start I was completely enthralled. I don’t want to give too much away about the plot as I would hate to ruin it for those who haven’t seen it (and if you haven’t done so you must!) but the general gist is that you must drink in and savour all the little things that life throws your way and not live your life always looking to the future (something that I think we are all guilty of at times!) I had planned to write about something else for today’s Ordinary Moments post but ‘About Time’ struck a chord with me. Childhood (and even more so baby hood) is so fleeting and I wonder how many things I miss or don’t give my full attention to because of everything else that is going in my life. Sometimes I find myself wishing the hours away just to get to Teddy’s bedtime so I can get all the other stuff done that otherwise falls by the wayside (bad mummy…..) However, how important actually are those things in relation to how my child is changing and developing on a daily basis? It is easy to celebrate each new achievement but then find ourselves already looking forward to the next one when really we should be savouring every moment with them when they are so little and still actually want to spend time with us (or don’t get the choice not to….)!
Therefore my ordinary moments this week celebrate a day in the life of my child. Not doing anything amazingly exciting, not necessarily doing anything new but just being an eleven month old little boy viewing the world as an interesting but sometimes scary place. It is an absolute honour to be his mummy and help him find his place in the world and I only hope that he doesn’t grow up too fast!
Top Left – “it’s so funny throwing my food on the floor and making Mummy pick it up over and over again! It’s even funnier when I decide mid mouthful that I don’t want to finish my toast and spit it out…..”
Top Right – “I’m sure Daddy won’t mind if I re-type some of his important e-mails whilst we wait in his office….. The clicking noise I am making is amazing!”
Bottom Left – “I’ve got to keep my fire engine safe and nearby so that I can make a quick get-away when Mummy decides to change my nappy. If I also hold onto to the play pen really tightly she will really struggle to pick me up….. Hahahaha!”
Bottom Right – “If I fall asleep here Mummy might not bother taking me upstairs to my cot and then I can be downstairs when Daddy gets home from work. Once he is back I will be wide awake again and ready to play!”