Category Archives: Family

Christmas 2009

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.  Today, a special Christmas post about the best gift of 2009.  Also, there is another photo from today over at the Daily Photo.

This time last year, we left hospital in the winter sunshine, wondering what on earth we’d created and how we’d survive.  It’s been a wonderful year in many, many ways, but it’s been hard.  And we’re not doing it again.

Christmas this year has been all about David.

Paper was ripped and parcels were unwrapped.

Boxes were played in.

New garages were played with.

Footballs were hugged and headed.

And Wilfred had a great time with his sock monkey:

David’s favourite present (and our favourite of his!) is by far and away the simple, no-batteries-required, quiet football.  Mine is the morning of advanced driver training from Joe, and his was the wooden bricks that my parents bought for David!  The best thing ever, though, was spending Christmas as a family.  Here’s to many more to come.

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Complete

Over the last few days and weeks and months, I’ve been thinking an awful lot about the number one.  Specifically, the number of children we have and are planning to have.  My mother is constantly asking if we’re planning another.  (Having one, apparently, will lead to David becoming spoiled, selfish and antisocial.)  My Nana said that we should have a girl next.  People assume that, because we’re young and because David is nearly one, we’re ready to start trying for another baby.  “When you have another…”, “Just wait until you have two…” and various phrases along those lines are used regularly.

Here’s the thing.  We aren’t going to have another baby.  I can say now, without hesitation, that our family is complete.

The road that led to having David was a long, hard one.  I had an abortion at fifteen: it was the “right thing to do”.  After all, I was clever.  I had sixth form, university, a career to look forward to.  My previously supportive boyfriend got scared and ran away, and I would’ve been a single teenage mother.  I was nine or ten weeks pregnant when my parents discovered it, and had little time to think about the decision: I went along with what they thought was right, because I didn’t know.  I couldn’t think, I just couldn’t make the decision.  I knew that I wanted qualifications and a career, but I never considered the alternative.  I never thought that I could have the baby.  I would’ve been about twelve weeks along when I finally had it done, and it hit me harder than I ever imagined it would.  I will forever regret that decision.

I hadn’t known until then that I wanted a child.  When I’d thought about it hypothetically, I’d reasoned that I’d want to concentrate on having a career, and anyway, noone would commit to me, would they?

Fast-forward a few years.  I had put all thoughts of having a baby out of my mind.  Joe and I had been together for a few months, and although we were serious, we weren’t quite serious enough to think about babies in anything other than abstract terms.

Well, whoops.  One broken condom later…

During my pregnancy, we struggled to adapt to life as a couple, soon to be a family.  Friends and family were shocked that we “hadn’t been more careful”.  They questioned our decision to continue the pregnancy.  (We had discussed it, but it wasn’t an option for either of us after the initial shock had worn off.)  A couple we knew had been trying to conceive for a long time, and we both felt guilty about how it would affect them.

I loved David the moment he was born.  Everybody did.  It didn’t make things any easier.  I’ve written about postnatal depression before, and all that needs saying now is that I, we have come through it, mostly, but it was hard.  There are times when The Crazy still comes back and slaps me round the face, just to remind me that it’s still here.  I don’t want to choose to go back and feel like that again.  It’s not fair on Joe or on David.

All the history and the drama aside, there is one overriding reason why I feel we are complete.  This.

David is enough, more than enough for me.  I don’t have the words to express how much I love him.  He learns something new every day, he’s starting to listen and respond to instructions.  He’s affectionate and caring and kind.  He travels next to me in the car, and we have conversations about traffic lights and slow old ladies in Micras driving in our way.  He gets ridiculously excited when he sees the other yellow Seicento that belongs to somebody who lives near us, and when a traffic light turns green he shouts “Go, go, go!”  He wouldn’t have this attention with a sibling.  He deserves my time, my attention, and all of my love.  I cannot offer him anything more.

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Filed under David, Family, Mental Health

Word of the Year 2009

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.

Awesome.  This year has been really, truly awesome.  Look at this photo of my nearly-one-year-old and deny it.

Nope?  There we go.  Awesome.

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Peace

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.

After a difficult day, I am finding it hard to remember a peaceful moment this year.  Things are so busy, so rushed, so stressed: I rarely sit down for longer than five minutes, unless it’s to work.  I know that I have letters and emails to write, photos to edit, clients to recruit; however, I am getting as close to peace as I can by writing, writing and thinking about the good things that I have, and staying positive.  I’ll find peace and calmness through it, even though it will last for at most five minutes before it is shattered.

When David had just turned eight months old, we paid a visit to the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, Devon.  He relaxed completely and took it all in, then he stayed chilled out for the rest of the day.  Nothing else had ever had that effect on him before, and until recently, nothing since.

A few months on, I decided to fork out £25 for annual membership of the Sea Life Centre in Birmingham.  We’ve been twice since, and each time David has completely relaxed.  He’s quiet and calm, but talkative: fish seem to turn my little whirlwind boy into a breeze.  They focus his attention in a way that nothing else can.  There is one tank right at the beginning that he loves: we have to walk up the slope to find somewhere to park the pushchair, but as soon as he sees it he gets excited and wants to get out.  It’s on his level, and he sits still in front of it and takes everything in, and points to bits that interest him.  When asked, he pointed out spotty fish, thin fish, fish with whiskers, rays, and yellow fish.

We spent nearly four hours there today.  He’s sleeping so, so well tonight, and I’m finally at peace for five minutes at a time.

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Best Book of 2009

David was born on the 23rd December 2008.  That might explain why I haven’t sat down and read a whole book for a year.

Rather, I haven’t read a whole grown-up book.  I’ve read lots of these.

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A Little More Conversation

David dropped a book on the floor this morning.  We’ve been having little “conversations” and I’m never sure whether he’s actually talking to me or not.  Today, I knew.

“Have you just dropped a book on the floor?”

“Yeah.”

“Are we having a conversation?”

“Yeah.”

“Would you like your book back?”

“No.”

“Would you like some milk?”

“BO!”  (“Bo!” is his word for bottle.  It’s pronounced with a hard “o!” sound, not “oh”)

We’re not doing too badly for eleven months old, are we?  Apart from making a mess in the bathroom and blaming it on “Eh-Rh!” (Eric.)  Well, it was blatantly his fault.

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Cat Naps

Before David was born, nearly everyone warned us that we’d treat the cats differently when we had a real baby.  We were warned to make sure we put a cat-net on the cot, that we shouldn’t allow them to sleep in the same room as him, that we’d have to be extra-cautious about sterilizing everything.  Our midwife was horrified that we weren’t “getting rid” of them.

Well, we’ve never really been bothered about germs.  The cat-net on the cot lasted for the five minutes before Snowball worked out how to remove it, we let the cats back into the bedroom after ten minutes on the first night home from hospital, and the ten-second rule applies to everything that touches the floor in this house.  Joe goes by the mantra “if it hasn’t got cat hair on it, it’s probably OK.”  Snowball is fed on the side in the kitchen, otherwise the boys jump on her, and we keep a litter tray in the kitchen, too.  We clean the side and the floor pretty regularly, and make sure we disinfect the side before preparing food (which, to be honest, I’d do anyway.)  There is a frequent exchange of toys, especially balls, between cats and baby: we just make sure that none of the cat toys are a choking hazard, as they’re pretty much guaranteed to end up in someone’s mouth.

Now, I know that there’s a school of thought that says you should keep pets, especially cats, away from children whilst they sleep.  We never had a problem with Snowball or Wily sleeping in the Moses basket or the cot when David was tiny, although there were occasions where Snowball would sleep next to David on the sofa.  They still don’t really go near him, especially now that he’s big enough to chase them and pull their tails.  Until this morning, Eric hadn’t shown any interest in sleeping in the cot, either.

I caught him there when I went to collect David from his nap.  Well, he’s certainly showing interest now.  It’s in a nice, warm spot, and the duvet is soft and comfortable.  There are snuggly soft toys, including Mini-Eric.  It’s not easily David-accessible unless we put him there, and Snowball and Wily have never slept there or marked it.

You know what?  I’m not going to bow down to pressure or paranoia on this one.  The stories about cats smothering babies are clearly an old wives’ tale: no cat would ever go near those grabby hands.  (Eric, certainly, would not sleep within reach of David.).  David, meanwhile, is clearly benefitting from growing up so close to these three beautiful creatures: he is mostly very gentle, and he can now say “puss!” and “miaow”.  I want him to wake up to a cat sleeping on the end of his bed, like I did with Jenny and Charlie.  One of the reasons that we got Eric when we did was that so he and David could grow up side-by-side, and I’m so very glad they are.

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