Teddy the Toddler: an 18 Month Update

Yes, yes, I know this is rather late… and Ted is actually turning nineteen months old in a couple of days. But still. I haven’t done an update on my tiny boy for quite some time, so here’s a bit about Teddy at eighteen months old. Just call it an excuse to do a happy parental brag about my clearly adorable child, and, of course, one hell of a photo-dump.

How on earth do I have a toddler?

It seems like in the space of about fifteen minutes Ted has gone from a chubby, cheerful crawler rolling round the floor – mobile, mischievous, but still definitely a baby – to an actual toddling person. He has his own tastes, his own opinions and absolutely no qualms about making them known – yes, he is a toddler.

I haven’t done a proper update on Teddy in a while and I don’t really know where to start. He’s just… my Ted.

Physically… just look at my beautiful boy. Everyone always says he’s the spit of his dad, but I can see a bit of me in him now he’s bigger.

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I do hate all that ‘who does he look like?’ malarkey. Sure, he’s got a dimple in his chin, just like me. He’s got his dad’s jawline and the same shape around the eyes. But you know what? He looks like himself. Just my boy Ted.

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A Week In The Life: Part 3

Just a quick little post today: Ted and I are heading up to visit my mum tomorrow and even though I’ve been packing things particularly astutely for the past few days, I still need to spend my last half hour before bed scurrying round and shoving more and more Calpol into the bags, ‘just in case’.

Yes, Teddy is teething.

And we both, potentially, have a cold.

This week may not go quite to plan.

Ted usually sleeps really well, but we’ve had a few broken nights this week. Mostly just the occasional wail, easily settled, but we had a whopper on Friday night. He went to bed absolutely angelically… then woke up for the day at a quarter to midnight. He screamed and cried for the entire time Kev tried to get him to go back to sleep… then when he gave up, was chipper as anything and played merrily until sometime around 3am, when In The Night Garden won out and he dropped off again.

Those two little front teeth are still bravely working their way out, and I think we hit a breakthrough today; there seems to be so much more to the pair of tiny chompers than there was a few days ago. Hopefully it was just a horrible little push they were doing, combined with him learning to high five and do ‘ta’ keeping his synapses working long into the night.

But there’s a lot of sniffling and sneezing going on in this house tonight, and I fear the nights ahead. Note to self: pack Olbas oil. And Snufflebabe. And buy ALL the tissues.

It’s been a nice week, this week, teeth and snuffles aside. We’ve been to a couple of baby groups, me and Ted, plus we’ve had a couple of playdates with Ted’s baby friends. We had a lovely time visiting Ted’s mate Sebastian, who so far is one of the few babies he actually interacts with rather than sodding off into the corner to play by himself.

I say this, but I’m basing this mostly on the fact that Ted decided to pat Sebastian on the head while he was in his highchair the other day. Sadly, Ted was holding a handful of fish pie at the time so poor Sebastian got a bit of a potatoey shampooing, but it’s progress.

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Such pals.

We also had Ted’s nine month check with the health visitor, which was not very exciting as she just went down a big checklist of ‘things babies could possibly do’ and Ted checked off as ‘yes’ to every one of them except being able to suck his own toes. He’s always had a bit too much belly in the way to manage that (just like his mama, some might say). She also informed us that he now weighs just under twenty four pounds, perfectly following his curve on the graph (on the 91st centile, eep). Such a model child.

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I repeat. Model child.

I did a bit of a culinary triumph this week too – I made spaghetti bolognese! I know, I know, that’s probably the number one easy student meal that everyone in the world can cook. Yet somehow I’ve always had other people cook it for me before – I’ve always been the mistress of the roast dinner instead. But for once, I actually cooked it myself… and let Ted have some.

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Teeny tiny bolognese

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SPAGHETTI COMA

I’m going to leave things there before I get into more repetitive rambles about baby groups and bookshops, but I should have more interesting goings on to report after we get back from our adventure at my mum’s. Ted’s so excited to finally meet his Nana Julie and Poppy Andrew!

Teddy’s Nine Month Update

Nine months in, nine months out.

How is my little nugget nine months old today?

When did that happen?

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Look how grown up. Sitting on a proper chair and drinking through a straw.

Yes, Teddy is turning nine months old – he’s been out in the world nearly as long as he was floating around somewhere in my abdomen, giving me plenty of hearty kicks in the ribs and using my bladder as a trampoline.

He still does that. He just does it from the outside, nowadays.

The biggest change this month has probably been – finally! – the advent of TEETH. Yes, Teddy has his two front teeth at the bottom, and they’re bloody sharp. They’ve still not come through all the way, but they’re almost entirely there. He’s not had much bother with them at all, to be honest. I think we had a couple of bad nights, just in the first week of them breaking through, but we’re handy with the Calpol if they seem to be bothering him. And he absolutely loves Dentinox teething gel. Ugh. He’s really taken to brushing his teeth with Peggy Quinn (a toothbrush shaped like a penguin, if you’ve ever had the ‘pleasure’ of watching Baby Jake on CBeebies you’ll get it) but he’s got to have a go himself – definitely not a Mummy-only job.

Ted is turning out to be such a lovely little boy. I’ve definitely noticed he’s getting more affectionate; when he wants a cuddle, he puts his arms out, and he’ll climb up my leg if he wants attention. He’s not particularly bothered by other babies, still; in a room full of other little ones, he still tends to crawl away and do his own thing (perhaps doing a quick minesweep for any toys he likes the look of that don’t belong to him on the way out). He’s definitely me and Kev’s child – a bit antisocial. And loves patisserie (he had his first croissant the other day – big hit).

I say he’s antisocial, but that’s only when it comes to other babies. He absolutely loves grown-ups, and whenever we go anywhere for coffee or lunch he loves to stand on a chair and chat to people at nearby tables. He gets quite comically sad when they don’t chat back. He’s very friendly to adults and has a few definite favourites; he absolutely lights up for my mum, loves to climb all over our friend Mel at choir (luckily her lovely boy, Sebastian, quite enjoys coming to me for a cuddle too!) and giggles with joy every time he sees Dan at Eat.

He’s still hitting all his milestones, not quite as speedily as before; it’s like he’s got to the point of crawling and cruising, and decided learning to actually walk would just slow him down now. He can crawl at the speed of light, after all. Honestly, I can’t leave him anywhere. It was so nice when he was tiny, to be able to put him down and know he’d still be there when I got back. Now… he could be anywhere. He climbs, too, and if I leave anything that presents any kind of foothold near the sofa, he’ll be up on it and determinedly clambering up onto the desk to bash at the computer keyboard.

I’ve got to say, Ted’s got a lot more vocal in the last month. He’s really found his voice and loves experimenting with different sounds. There’s lots of ‘da-da’ and ‘ba-ba’ and ‘ga-ga’ – only ever ‘ma-ma’ when he’s sad or angry! We also get treated to some lovely raspberries and velociraptor noises, though thank goodness he’s stopped doing this in the middle of spoonfuls of food. That was getting messy. Nowadays, when Ted is particularly happy, he can’t keep the joy in and he has to wave his arms around and squeal. When he’s chasing his beloved ball up and down the hallway, it’s cacophonous with screeches. He sings too, quietly squeaking little tunes to himself in the pram when he’s facing forwards.

His favourite things in life are watermelon, fish curry, and flushing the toilet. He also love Justin Fletcher, aka the patron saint of CBeebies. Honestly, his face pops up on the screen and you’d think the sun had just come out, based on Ted’s smiles. He’s also developed a bit of a penchant for In The Night Garden… as have I. Oh dear. To my great joy, Ted’s also starting to really like books – well, he pulls them off the shelf and mauls them, but there’s been a recent increase in actually sitting still and listening to the stories. Come on, he goes to Waterstones at least once a week if not more, the love of books will be instilled in him at all costs!

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Another favourite thing: the washing machine. He’s recently discovered it has buttons to push and it’s the Best Thing Ever. Especially when he’s already pulled down all the oven gloves and tea towels to play with too.

He still sleeps through the night, most of the time anyway. I’d say he sleeps all the way through about five nights out of seven, and that’s from eight-ish until between six and seven in the morning. On the occasions he does wake up in the night, it’s only ever because he’s crawled up his cot in his sleep and banged his head – he can always be settled in a matter of minutes with a stroke, a cuddle or a dummy.

I’ve not noticed a massive difference from eight months to nine months, to be honest; Teddy just keeps on hurtling towards toddlerhood with determination. He’s never been keen on being a baby – sitting still, having everything done for him. He’s craned his neck to look around from day one, and been determined to get moving and independent as soon as possible. Every day I look at him and see a bit less chubby baby and a bit more of the little boy he’s quickly becoming. Slow down a bit, Ted, Mummy needs to catch her breath!

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November…

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…last night. Still my tiny.

A Week In The Life: Part 1

By the way, I’ve decided to start doing a little review of my week. Allegedly, according to my head, I’ll do one of these every week… but let’s face it, I’m the flakiest of flakes when it comes to blogging so this might not last long. Either that, or it’s going to be the kick up the arse I need to get blogging regularly again. Can you believe, back in my Blogger days (don’t try to find it; you won’t succeed), I used to blog at least every other day? For a while, I challenged myself to do it every day! How the hell did I find the time? How the hell did I find enough to talk about?!

Anyway, we’ll see how this goes. It might end up being every week, it might be every other week or even less, but it’s something I’d like to do. I’ve already forgotten so much about Ted’s tiny-babyhood, I want to make sure I document his life a bit better so I can look back on it in the future.

WARNING: this post is largely about bodily fluids. It’s not for the faint hearted.

This week has been… panicky.

On the surface it’s just been a nice, normal week. If you look on my Instagram, there you go, baby spam as usual, all present and correct.

But at times it’s been a bit stressful.

Last weekend, Ted started – TMI coming up, beware to those of you with a nervous disposition – to get The Poos.

Nappies. Of. Doom.

Until you’ve dealt with an eight-month-old baby with explosive diarrhoea shooting out every forty minutes, but still happy enough to shriek with joy and stamp in the poo before you get the nappy off, you have not dealt with life.

I wish I was exaggerating. But that’s my boy: he was probably having awful stomach cramps, I can only imagine the horrible burning liquid poo situation, but he was still giggling and making a break for the hallway (stark naked) while I was crying and trying to clean ochre porridge from his legs. And his sleepsuit. And my jeans. And (ugh) my hands.

But it seemed to have cleared up by the time I got home from work on Monday. My first proper weekday, and it was absolutely fine; so busy over lunch the hours just flew by, so quiet in the afternoon I could get everything cleaned up without having to rush around. My new colleagues seem like a great bunch; I think I’m going to enjoy being back at work as much as is humanly possible to when you work in retail.

Anyway. A couple of horrible nappies aside, Ted seemed to be getting back to normal. So on Tuesday, I had no qualms about taking him to my friend Jo’s house for a little playdate with her baby, James. Another friend, Lauren, was there too, with little George. All lovely, all fine and dandy, delicious lunch made by Jo… and then it came to feeding time at the zoo. Aka, Teddy-lunch.

It seemed like all in one go, all hell broke loose. James was crying for his own lunch. George was crying because he was having his nappy changed. And right at the end of his pasta bolognaise, Ted did a massive burp and started throwing up.

Properly vomiting.

Ugh.

He’s never been a sicky baby; the occasional milky posset when he was tiny, but nothing much more than that. This was different. This was real. Proper human sick, heaving and heaving and smelling of bile.

All over himself, all over poor James’ floor seat, all over poor Jo’s floor.

So there were two babies screaming blue murder, Ted retching like an extra from The Exorcist, and me yelling “OH GOD OH NO OH TED AARGH BABY NO STOP OH GOD!”.

Anyone who says maternity leave is easy needs to go and watch that ten minutes of our lives and think again.

Thank god Jo has a sensible head. While I was still flapping around with a bit of loo roll she’d whipped away the tray Ted had puked on and volunteered everything from the bath to spare clothes.

Ted, meanwhile, was happily trying to eat a sicky dish sponge and wondering where his bowl and spoon had gone.

I took him home once he’d got cleaned up. Little sod was absolutely fine; he had a good old sing in the pram while we walked through Didsbury, then promptly fell asleep for the entire walk home. He woke up obviously feeling happily refreshed, sucked down a bottle of milk and had a banana.

I, meanwhile, was a big ball of stress, panicking that he was going to be dehydrated, terrified that he wouldn’t keep anything down, wondering if I should call the doctor…

The next morning, I decided we’d skip our usual Wednesday baby group at Waterstones, and have a nice calm day in the house. Partly because I didn’t want to potentially infect other babies – partly because I wanted to stay within easy reach of a stack of muslins, kitchen roll, and the bath, in case Ted started puking again.

One nappy full of poo in the morning, and that was it. Ted was absolutely fine. In fact, I was more exhausted after our ‘quiet’ day in than I ever am when we’ve been out in the day. It seemed like one long slog of a day, racing up and down the hallway ‘playing’ football (aka Ted chasing his football up and down while squealing with joy), plucking Ted down from the desk when he’d climbed onto it, stopping Ted climbing up our bedroom wardrobe, pulling Ted out of the washing machine, putting the food processor back in the cupboard after Ted decided to play with it… all accompanied by the endless mundane loop of Justin’s House and Bing on the TV.

Motherhood is so glamorous.

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Dressed as Woody from Toy Story, having just pulled all the DVDs off the shelf again. Poorly, my arse.

We managed to get back to normal for the rest of the week. We went to the Mother and Baby Choir at Chorlton on Thursday, which we both love. I love having a little sing (even though I’m tone deaf and probably should be a little – lot – quieter about it) and Ted loves crawling round and round the room stealing toys from other babies. He also absolutely adores The Wheels On the Bus, which we sing at the end of every session.

I remember when I was pregnant… “Oh, we’ll just introduce the baby to good music from early on. Metal, of course. We’ll take him to festivals with ear defenders and he won’t know anything different. We won’t need any of those daft nursery rhymes!”

Insert hollow laugh here.

Ted’s favourite is probably still The Wheels On the Bus, though he’s also a great fan of Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, and the ubiquitous Wind the Bobbin Up. Row Row Row Your Boat is also a great favourite, as is If You’re Happy and You Know It. He quite enjoys watching my Nightwish DVDs, but every other band leaves him cold.

He’ll learn. One day.

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He loves it so much I even got him a singing Wheels On the Bus book, which is the new bane of my life. Beep beep!

We did one of the Waterstones baby groups on Friday, which are also brilliant. I hate hate hated baby groups when Ted was tiny: my social anxiety kicked in in a big way and I just sat in the corner, grinning manically at anyone who smiled at me then failing miserably at making conversation. I was convinced everyone else was so much more grown-up than me, so much more motherly.

Now, I make a real effort to join in and have a good time, and it’s paid off. We have a lovely time, and even join some of the other mums for coffee after the Waterstones groups. Yes, I spend most of every session chasing Ted across the floor as he decides he wants to crawl off and pull books off the shelves, but still.

It was great on Friday because it was payday… and I was given the extra boost of Ted having an epic two hour nap in his pram after tiring himself out at Waterstones. I could go shopping!

Obviously, I’m only just off maternity leave, so I’ve still got to be very careful about money, but I tell you what… Primark is bloody brilliant at the moment. Cheap and cheerful, and bursting at the seams with Disney things. I’m not remotely ashamed of the fact that most of my summer wardrobe is either branded with mouse heads, or a sneaky Disneybound (I’ll get into that at some point). In the great rainstorms of the past week I developed a hole in my trusty trainers (it might have been there a while but I only noticed when rainwater started seeping in) so on payday I ‘nipped’ into Primark to replace them. One nip later and I had a veritable haul.

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I’m writing this on Saturday evening, and we’ve had a pretty nondescript day. Tesco, Levenshulme Market, and Aldi. Exciting stuff. Ted’s got two days with his daddy now while I pootle off to work – I’m not going to lie, I’m looking forward to the half an hour each way on the bus where I can read my book in peace. I have a self-imposed reading list as long as my arm and every time I go into Waterstones, it gets longer and longer. I might have to go to work, but at least it gives me some reading time!

 

Semi-Annual Life Update

Oh look, I’m back again!

God, I’m a terrible blogger. Two posts then off I go again.

I believe the last time I wrote I was six months pregnant, home from a lovely – if sweaty – trip to Germany for a pounding heavy metal festival. I was sunburnt, knackered, but excited for my impending maternity leave. And, obviously, my baby.

He’s here.

Obviously, he’s here. It’s been a year. A year!

Edward Albert Peter Robinson. Known as Teddy. My boy Ted.

He came into the world on November 1st, 2016 (somewhat reluctantly, but that’s a story for another time) and instantly turned all our lives upside down.

I know, I know, terrible cliché. But it’s so, so true.

In the space of a minute, my world refocussed on its axis. I don’t revolve around the sun anymore. I revolve around this tiny tornado of a little boy.

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Teddy at six months old – isn’t he a stunner?

Teddy is eight months old now – nearly nine months, actually – and I know, I know, I’m his mother, I’m biased, but isn’t he just the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen? He’s a proper sturdy little boy; when he was born he weighed nearly ten pounds, and he likes his food. He’s never been one to go in for weight loss, just like his mother.

He’s always been fabulous when it comes to anything physical – he rolled over before he turned four months old and was full on crawling just before six months. Now he pulls himself up on the furniture and scoots along on his feet, and can toddle along if he’s pushing something in front of him. He won’t hold my hands and do it, though – he’s somehow fiercely independent at the same time as being quite a clingy mama’s boy.

He’s a right little mischief already. He loves to climb, and sometimes when I’m sitting on the floor I think he’s come over for a lovely cuddle… Nope, he wants to use me as a ladder to get up onto the sofa and thus onto the desk to play with the computer mouse. Or onto the windowsill to try and knock the lamp onto my head. He’s worked out which button on the DVD player makes the tray come out and will stand in front of it for ages pressing it over and over again. If I let him, he’d spend half his life watching the toilet flush, chewing on some toilet roll at the same time, of course.

Doting mama, much? Of course I am.

How have I spent my maternity leave?

It’s been quite a blur, actually. Those hazy newborn days, where I was scared to sleep in case Ted stopped breathing in his Moses basket. They seem like so long ago, now. Years, not months. I got through the entire series of The Crown on Netflix before Ted was two weeks old, and I couldn’t tell you half of what happens.

Ted’s always been such a good baby, though – I couldn’t breastfeed, but he took to the bottle immediately, has been weaning gloriously, and has been mostly sleeping through the night since around six months – I really don’t have anything to complain about. Maternity leave, which has just come to an end, is going to be forever in my mind as a peaceful, happy time. I just wish it could have lasted forever!

Kev has been absolutely amazing, he’s an incredible dad. Right from when we got back from hospital and he cooked me a ridiculously expensive steak to keep my iron levels up after a haemorrhage and a blood transfusion, he’s been hands-on and fabulous. Teddy adores him and now I’m back at work two days a week, he’s over the moon to have his ‘boy days’.

I’ve been so well supported, and had such a good baby, I feel like I really should have been more productive on maternity leave. I’ve been writing, almost non-stop in fact. Ted’s never had a problem snoozing in his pram in coffee shops while I scribble away. In fact, that’s exactly what he’s doing now, while I type.

I went off onto my leave with the grandiose idea that I’d end it with at least one book finished. Well, I kind of achieved that. At least, I finally finished editing my Guernsey-based leap year story… but I’ve hit a massive block, trying to make the synopsis work before I send it out. My other two giant projects… I’ve delved into them from time to time, but the inspiration keeps running out and they both remain unfinished. I wrote pages and pages of notes for two new writing projects, only for the impetus to bugger off as soon as I actually started the writing process. I even tried vlogging for a while, but the pressure to look human enough to film was a bit much, especially with Ted’s napping time decreasing by the day.

All in all, though, I’m not hugely bothered by the fact I’ve not technically ‘done’ much on maternity leave. I’ve not finished a book; I’ve spammed everyone on Instagram with countless baby photos instead. These nine months might not have been productive, but they’ve been precious. I’ve got to know this adorable, daft, cuddly little human that Kev and I somehow managed to make, and it’s been the best nine months of my life.

So what about this blog? Am I going to write this and then trot merrily off into radio silence once again?

It’s entirely possible. But I have a whole massive list of things I’m dying to write about, and this is the place for them. Oh, I might be a baby spammer now, but I’m a chatty one. And, frankly, I think people are getting sick of me rambling out loud. So it might have to go on here; far easier to tune me out in print than in person!

I’m going to end this post with a couple of collages of Teddy-pictures. You know, just in case anyone reading this happens to have avoided my Instagram for the past eight months. You’re not escaping the baby spam that easily.

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