Little bean seems to have really grown up these last few weeks, I can definitely see the change from baby to little person happening quite quickly before my eyes. It’s lovely, feels a bit like a reward for the last year. We’ve done all in our power in her first year to provide her with everything she needs to grow well and learn as much as she can about the world around her.
From the material things like giving her the best food we can – spending hours researching recipes and then even more hours at the steamer and blender trying to make her healthy homemade stuff that tastes good, buying her interesting developmental toys and lovely books in abundance – then devoting my days to playing on the floor and reading the same book 50 times in a row, taking her to different activities like baby signing, baby massage, toddler groups, soft play and swimming.
To the non material things like persevering with breastfeeding and mastering it, making sure she gets plenty of time with family – which she loves and thrives on, talking to her all the time- showing, explaining, repeating, trying to keep her happy and content all day everyday- while still trying to make sure she doesn’t just get her own way! And now as a result of all that and much, much more from us, my parents, my sister and her kids, we have ended up with a real little person who is starting to become more independent, starting to find her own little way and all the while developing her own character and personality.
Her independence is growing everyday and now at 13 months she is really wanting to do things for herself. She’s been learning to spoon/fork feed herself this week and what started off as the majority of food on the floor its now progressed into most in her mouth. Her fear of social situations seems to be lessening, she’s actually one of the most outgoing and brave at soft play and toddlers. She’s still a big sofite in more intimate scenarios, if any unfamiliar people come into our house for example, she’s the most shy, clingiest spider money child you have ever seen, refusing to get off my knee and hiding her head in my neck should anyone look in her direction let alone speak to her. This hits the in-laws the hardest, their contact with Little bean in her first year has been minimal & infrequent and as my husband and his brother were both the kind of children who’d ‘go to anyone’, our Little Bean is somewhat of a change to their norm.
Her cousins on the other hand are up there on her all time favourite people list and she’s quickly becoming more of a pest to them as the weeks go by. Last Sunday was a particularly heart-warming affair. As the snow had kept Little Bean apart from her cousins for almost 3 weeks (an unprecedented period of separation thus far in her life) she was finally reunited with Cousin number one and was possibly the happiest I’ve ever seen her, she ran to her cousin, flung her arms round her neck and kissed her then followed her round for the rest of the day crying each time Cousin number one left the room. It was lovely to see such a strong bond has formed already between them and such obvious love and affection from Bean towards Cousin number one was a welcome acknowledgement of the time and effort Cousin number one ( 11 years old) has invested into Little Bean during her first year.
No such affection was shown towards our neighbour’s tiny new baby when they came for a visit. Little Bean had no real problems with the baby, she didn’t look overly keen but didn’t mind her, until she was passed to me. I’ve always declined the offer to hold the baby whilst in the neighbour’s house, but as they were at ours and Little Bean seemed quite happy playing, I had a quick hold. Big mistake. Little bean went wild, shrieking with anger as soon as she clocked me holding the baby, running furiously over and throwing herself at my legs to be picked up. Obviously I couldn’t get her immediately, so as punishment for this Little Bean lay on the floor kicking and rolling around, screaming, tears, retching, the whole caboodle. When they left, Bean celebrated by running around the room shouting ‘mama’ then pointing to herself and laughing gleefully as if she’d been victorious in some significant war. So, not quite ready for a baby brother or sister just yet then…..
The visit was enlightening aside from this little eye opener. Since being pregnant I’ve often felt slightly hard done to as none of my close friends have children. So I’ve always been wary not to turn too much into a babyzilla who my friends don’t recognise because of a sudden inability to talk about anything other than my child, and equally often thought it might be nice if one of them had a baby so we could playdate etc. We’ve spent our fair share of time around other mums and babies at various groups but never formed a close enough bond with anyone to do the one-to-one things. But my neighbour has been over a few time since her baby was born and these visits have made me so glad that my friends are currently childless. No disrespect to my neighbour at all, she’s a nice lady but I’ve found that detest prolonged baby talk with other mothers. I talk about Little Bean plenty with my husband/mother/sister/some friends but my goodness other mothers irritate me, I particularly dislike a) the competitive nature of the conversations and b) the way the other mother doesn’t actually have a two way conversation as they’re so busy thinking about what to tell you next about their precious little one that they don’t actually listen to what you’re saying. I realise this is a huge generalisation and Im sure if I met another mother who I got along well with it’d probably be lovely!
I also think that too much crazy mother-ness in one room is unhealthy, take me this week for example. On Monday Little Bean was exceptionally thirsty. Before 10am she drank 3 full cups of juice, she continued at this pace until mid afternoon. I was very concerned by this, my mind working overtime wondering ‘Why is she so thirsty? What’s wrong with her? She’s never drank this much before, I wonder if she’s ill? What kind of illness has thirsty-ness as a symptom? Oh no, I’m sure diabetes is one of them. I should probably Google it.’. The next day she wasn’t thirsty at all, in fact she point blank refused juice for most of the day and hardly drank anything. This did not help my worrying, I then began to obsess over why she might not be thirsty and over what harm could come to her by not drinking enough. Needless to say there is nothing wrong with Little Bean and her juice consumption. If my best friend had children she may be crazy mother enough to wonder along side my craziness and multiply my fears but thankfully in her non childlike state, she’d say ‘she was probably just really thirsty on Monday and not as thirsty on Tuesday’.
A nod to my mother and my husband this week also.
Since finding out about my coeliacs my mam has made a heroic effort to get on board with the Gluten Free diet, adopting the attitude ‘I’ve cooked and baked for you all your life I’m not stopping now’. In just over a week she’s perfected recipes for biscuits, little cakes and flapjack and also succeeded in making a fantastic Gluten Free Sunday Lunch, with Yorkshire puddings and gravy that were amazing and I’d challenge anyone to tell the difference to gluten containing alternatives. (this is alongside working full time, caring for her sick elderly mother who lives 60 miles away and helping me and my sister out with our kids)
My husband and I were having a conversation in the car on our way back from Swimming with the Bean this morning and I was explaining to my him that I’ve been struggling finding anything for lunch at home with breads all being off the cards, resulting in rice crackers and houmous everyday and am finding it really boring. Obviously without time/child restraints at Lunchtime I could cook up a gluten free storm everyday easily but this isn’t possible with a hungry bean attached to me. So bless him, as I write this he is in the kitchen trying out recipes for gluten free bread and flatbreads for me.
Never quite sure how to round up a blog, especially a very random blog which has probably got too many different topics to be summarised in one go, but that’s about all I’ve got for now so until next time!