Sunday, 30 May 2010

The early daze.....

Now that Leo has turned one I find myself looking back to his first few weeks with us, it was a surreal time, wonderful, tiring, amazing and much more that I could never find words to describe properly. I was told over and over to really cherish the early days as they go so fast, sounds like a cliché but for good reason. So I did.

I remember leaving the hospital, walking slowly and painfully down the corridors to the car park, AJ carrying Leo in his black and yellow car seat. I think it was quite a hot day and I was unsure how to dress Leo, all the babies seemed so wrapped up and I felt it was too much but didn't know what to do, a dilemma that stayed with me for most of his first year actually especially arriving in Cyprus where the local babies are often still wearing coats and its over 30degrees.

I had planned to breastfeed, however it didn't end up happening (I'm not having the breast versus formula debate now, I may come back to it if the mood takes me)  On his first night at home I was trying to breastfeed him but the poor little man was not getting a drop and AJ ended up on a midnight dash to buy formula, going to several different petrol stations while I sat on the sofa with a screaming 1 day old baby wondering what the hell was taking so long!

 AJ was self employed at the time and unfortunately we couldn't afford for him to take time off, it was fine as I was living with my parents so we were not alone. It did turn out though that everyone was out on the Monday after his birth, not a problem I said, and it wasn't, not really... everyone left and Leo was asleep  in his moses basket I sat on the sofa and watched him, wondering what to do next. All was fine until I took him upstairs to change him and the postman knocked on the door. It seems silly now but I couldn't work out what to do, the dog was going mad as usual, I went to run downstairs and realised I couldn't leave him on his changing table, I wonder now why I didn't think of putting him in his cot, or even on the floor - where did I think he would go! I scooped him up and rushed to the door to receive a huge bunch of flowers, he was now crying due to a combination of the rush to the door and the mad dog barking... then as I was trying to find something to do with the flowers the phone rang, I put him down to answer now worried as dog was still barking and Leo was still crying, it was AJ just seeing if I was ok!

I do look back in amusement at how much I worried when Leo cried, I didn't really realise it at the time though. We used to carry him in his basket from living to dining room backwards and forwards until whatever time we realised we could leave him in one place!

Of course there is more I could say, I'm sure that like any mother I could talk about this for hours. Maybe one day I'll do it all again knowing what I know now, of course no two babies are the same so all that I think I've learned will go out the window!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Now you are one....

Happy Birthday Leonidas, You are one whole year old today!

I don't know where that little baby (you were never tiny being born weighing 9lb 9oz) went, you were born with a mop of dark hair which disappeared as you rubbed your head on the cot every night, in fact I used to have to hold your little hands onto your chest to stop you fussing with your head. Your hair came back much lighter and now we spend every day in the sun you are going a lovely shade of blonde.

You still have "happy feet" you used to lie on your playmat and kick your feet around with such enthusiasm, this has now been replaced by your foot clapping that you love so much - and making "sand angels" with your feet in the sand.

You love to talk, (you definitely got that from me) you say Mum mum a lot but I'm not entirley sure it is directed at me. Your first sound was Daddaddad but you often forget to say that for several days at a time. The saying has stuck and I think your Daddy will be known as Dadad for many years to come!

You have just started in the last few weeks to crawl on all fours, before then you did a great commando style crawl on your belly. Before you learnt to do that you used to get around by turning in circles moving a little with each turn.
Now you can also stand yourself up and hold onto things, something you do more every day, I think very soon you will be walking, but not for long - I'm sure once you know how with those happy feet of yours you will be running everywhere.

You love your food now, and eat very well. You can spoon your own yoghurt out of the pot and unlike in the beginning you actually eat more than you wear. You will try all different food but your favourite is fruit, apples, bananas, pear doesn't seem to matter you're a little fruit monster and you eat it all!

You love playing with your toys and have just learnt that you can put things inside other things, lots of fun to be had with that. We have soft play mats on the balcony for you to play on but you prefer to take them apart and wave them in the air.
Your favourite toy is your "Raff", a cuddly orange giraffe which I brought you when you were very young. He slept with you every night behind your head at first and now you cuddle him when you go to sleep, and sthen usually turn over and lay on him all night. You like to bring him out in the morning now and carry him around the apartment.

You have lots of friends who we see often, every Tuesday we go to "Jingle Jangles" with your friends and their Mummies. You love to listen to the songs and play with the instruments. We also go to the soft play park where you crawl around and climb, your favourite bit is the ball pool.

You love water, this week you have stopped using your seat in the bath and enjoy it much more as you crawl up and down it. We have been in the pool twice now and you enjoy jumping up and down with me. We also go to the beach, and you crawl all over the sand, I am hoping you learn soon that sand is not for eating as you keep putting it in your mouth. Now you have also discovered the sea, which is great fun.

Every day you amaze me with the funny things you do, Daddy and I are very happy and proud of our gorgeous boy. I am very thankful that I get to spend every day with you and for all the fun things we do together. I enjoy all the new things you do and love watching you develop into a cheeky little man.

We wish you lots of love and cuddles on your very first birthday.

Monday, 24 May 2010

What's in your bag?

I feel have have officially joined the blogging world by being tagged  in my first meme,  What's In Your Bag?   So, thanks to rock and roll mummy I now feel like a propper blogger!   
Before we delve in, I just feel the need to explain the bag.... while pregnant I realised that I rarely carried a bag so could justify having a posh changing bag as it would be also my handbag for quite a while. Although realised that if I had a pink changing bag or suchlike it would lessen the likelihood of AJ taking said bag to change litte'un.

I brought a lovely changing bag with matching bottle bag  which I used for all of a week before I realised how annoying it was with straps that wouldn't stay on your shoulder or go over the buggy, as a temporary measure I started using the free boots bag that everyone gets with the nappies.... 1 year on and guess what? Yep still using the freebie bag, although being out here I've not seen any others - In the UK you can go to any baby group and see them everywhere!

So, what's in my (boring) bag?
Always.... nappies, wipes,bottles, purse, phone, ciggies and keys, for many years my mantra on leaving the house was "purse, phone, fags, keys" obviously that has evolved somewhat!
There is also lip balm, suncream, mosquito bite cream, a pen and a usb key (transferred some photos to my friend's laptop the other day)
There was, lots of sand and biscuit crumbs, a couple of dried up baby wipes and a tigger rattle!,
*note to self - must clean out bag more often*

6 months in Cyprus!

Wow, we've been in our new home 6 months already!
Time confuses me, how can it seem that we've been here forever as well as feeling like it's happened in the blink of an eye? It doesn't really feel like 6 months since I've not seen people I saw every week but I can hardly seem to remember being anywhere other than here!

I love it here, both our home and our adopted country. It took me longer than AJ to get it, it was a bigger change for me though once he started work. I went from being surrounded by people to help with Leo and friends I could ring and visit when needed, to having no car, no friends nearby and dealing with a baby for the first time on my own in a country I'd hardly spent any time in. AJ on the other hand was going to work and playing pool on a Wednesday with the boys and living in his own place for the first time in nearly two years.

I did have a few low days, no regrets though even at the time, I knew I had to give it time but the days can seem really long when it's cold and raining (yes, even in Cyprus!) you have no car and a baby to amuse all day.We've had a series of visitors which I think helped me to settle, it was lovely to see them all and I was so glad that I didn't have to go back to England each time I went to the airport. Although sad to see them go not knowing when I would see them again it was nice to come home to the three of us once more.

I'm not sure what changed, I think a few things just all came together - getting my own car, meeting some lovely people and creating a new routine, oh and then the sun properly came out. That was in April, and it's still here, a fact that pleases me every day.

This is the view a month or so ago from our bedroom, the yellow flowers have gone now. For a few weeks they were everywhere you looked.

I have a 3 week trip back to the UK booked for August, I am very much looking forward to it but will be pleased to come home at the end. Had I done it a little earlier it may not have been so easy but enough time has passed for me to think of here as my home. It will be interesting to visit and I am excited about seeing friends and family and hitting Primark like a woman possessed!

AJ does not miss England in any way, shape or form, he would be happy not to set foot there again I think. Obviously he misses his family but he would rather they came here, at least they get a holiday from it! I'm not even sure what I miss, apart from friends and family... the shopping is the big one, I do miss the cheap shops - Asda, Primark and Matalan. Clothes, especially baby clothes are expensive here but on the upside I'll probably spend less money in the long run by not buying things I don't really need!
I miss some food items, but it's made up by the haloumi, cheaper wine and fresher fruit and veg! And the things that I would have brought are still available just twice the price!
That's about it, I don't miss the weather, and the constant complaining about it, the politics (I timed it well to miss the election methinks)  and the general lifestyle.

All in all, it's going rather well.....

Friday, 21 May 2010

The arrival.....

I really don't want to forget Leo's first few weeks but already they are hazy, saying that I think they were probably hazy at the time!
Yet again I listened to the advice of people telling me to savour the early days and just like my wedding day, and last weeks of pregnancy I am glad that I did. I do feel that I need to record them in some way so here goes....

Leo was born at 11.30am on May 29th, AJ was reluctantly at the birth, a fact that I thought he would be grateful for afterwards...NOPE! If we ever have any more then I know there is absolutely no chance of Daddy being present! In the end it was an assisted delivery with Leo needing some encouragement in the form of ventouse, not that it was Leo's fault - I only really got the hang of how to push very close to the end and by then it was 12 hours in and they needed to help.

Looking back now it seems almost like it all happened to someone else, as he was born the midwife took him to be cleaned up, something I had asked them to do especially as one of the reasons AJ had not wanted to be there was the unpleasant "birth bit". However as it was the doctor who delivered him, Leo was put straight onto me.... to which my loving motherly reaction was to scream and panic!

I had stitches which was very unpleasant, I made more fuss about this than I had during the entire delivery! It was about several minutes after Leo had been laying all clean and wrapped up that I realised and looked over... I wish I could remember exactly what I thought, I am fairly sure it wasn't the usual things you hear from new parents, it's normally very emotional, thankful (and to be honest a little bit gushing, but that's probably just my opinion!) I think it was something like, oh look, there's a baby...OHMYGOD that's mine!

Friday, 14 May 2010

We don't "do" late.......

Something you should know about me and AJ....... we don't do late! It is one of my biggest pet hates! I feel at this point I must also add that many people told me to wait until I had a baby, then I would change....NOPE, still don't do late! I get ready earlier! Now I admit there have been times where I have been late, due to unforeseen puking or nappy incidents but nothing that a text or phone call apology doesn't cover!

Sorry, I digress..... back to my story.
Leonidas (or Bob as he was known at the time!) was due to make his appearance on May 16th 2009, now despite reading and hearing time and time again that first babies are usually late I was completely convinced that this did not apply to us! I found out that 38 weeks (not 40) is classed as full term so a baby born at this time is not early, therefore was expecting an arrival any time from the start of May.

I was asked a lot towards the end if I was getting fed up, I really wasn't... I was getting a little uncomfortable, especially at night but it wasn't unbearable with my precise arrangement of pillow to sleep with - it almost as annoying (only almost!) for AJ who had a VERY small bit of bed left to sleep in! Every night as I got up what seemed like a hundred times to go to the toilet I passed the room which was ready and waiting for our new arrival and felt grateful that I was just going straight back to bed and not having a crying baby to contend with!

I slightly wonder if I've forgotten the reality but I do look back on the last few weeks with fondness, I do remember trying to appreciate the relaxation, getting up at 10am....!!!!! watching TV with my feet up, eating an endless amount of food and playing hundreds of games of bejewelled blitz on facebook! I had reflexology every week, and my shopping delivered. I went to the pub and saw lots of my friends.

However once May 16th had passed I did start to get impatient, I'm not good with suspense and I didn't like thinking every day that this 'could' be the day! I eventually got booked for an induction on the evening of May 28th. I like to think that Leo took this as being the final deadline and in true family tradition decided to start his arrival himself. Although my waters were broken at the hospital that was all that was needed to start labour and he arrived 12 hours later at 11.20am on Friday 29th.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

That which we call a rose......

Oooh, what a big decision, what to name your baby! So many things to think about.... what do you like, what does the hubby think? Do you both agree!, does it go with your surname, what can it be shortened to, what will it sound like on an adult! I'm not brilliant with decisions at the best of times, you know, what shall I have for dinner, what do I want to wear today!

One day before I was even pregnant AJ annouced that if he had a son he'd like to call him Leonidas, I believe I wasn't too impressed at the time! He had just watched the film "300" with Gerard Butler and not only that had always been a fan of Greek Mythology and suchlike.
I thought no more of it really as it was not a revlevant converstaion being that we had no baby on the way

The conversation obviously came up again once we found out we were having a boy..... and after MUCH debate we did decide on Leonidas. It grew on me so much but I was still worried about having an "unusual" name. I was more than happy with Leo, it just took me weeks to decide between Leonidas, Leo Leon etc...

Randomly a deciding factor for me was at a friends baby's christening, there were bowls of "Leonidas" chocolates on the tables and I got really excited when I saw the name, at that point I realised that if I went with Leo and the name came up later, and living in Cyprus it surely would I would be really disappointed.

His middle name is Arthur, that was also the result of a debate, but a much smaller one! Arthur is the name of AJ's Poppa who he was really close to, and unfortunately I never got to meet.

Linking up with Edspire for the chance to win a gorgeous Mia Tui 'Matilda Mae' bag named in honour of Jennie's beautiful baby girl. 

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Biggest surprise of your life??

I never realised how much of a reaction you can get when you answer a simple question, a question that everybody asks, I'd asked it previously, it's the natural follow up to... When are you due?, Is it your first? and sometimes comments such as Aren't you big? Are you sure there's only one in there?

Yep, you must have guessed... are you going to find out what you're having?

I had always assumed I would probably find out as soon as I got the opportunity unless AJ really didn't want to and then I might have been persuaded otherwise, but I'm not good with suspense! However he definitely wanted to know, and even said he would try and find out and not tell me if I didn't want to know!

After posting my first scan picture on Facebook and commenting we would find out at the next scan I was surprised to see the replies saying I shouldn't find out. I had similar reactions in "real life".... apparently it would be something I'd really regret and I'd be ruining the biggest surprise of my life. - surely not, as it can only be one of two options!

But the comments, along my my usual indecision and pregnancy hormones, through me into a dilemma, I got worried that I'd be disappointed when he/she/it was born that I hadn't had the big "reveal" and that my pregnancy would "lose the magic" (as one helpful person suggested!)

Once I'd got over that, with a bit of help from AJ I came back to my original decision, I wanted to know. I'm an organised kinda girl and didn't want just a few white and lemon baby-grows waiting to be joined with pink or blue, I knew I'd have a huge name dilemma and didn't want to have to think of two!

A few people said they didn't want to know what we were having if we did find out, it annoyed me at the time as IT WAS OUR BABY!! I still don't get why you would really care what sex someone else had, I've never heard a birth (and sex of baby) announcement and thought anything other than "lovely a healthy boy/girl"

I was, and still am surprised that people have such an opinion on finding out, I totally understand why you would want to, but also why you wouldn't, and don't see what difference it would make to anyone else.

Oh, and in case you are wondering.....did I regret it?

Not for a second!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

A perfect pregnancy?

Perfect pregnancy or good old rose tinted glasses?

I feel I was very lucky with my pregnancy compared to so many people I had such an easy time, I was never actually sick just felt a bit queasy for a few weeks the main downfall of that is now the smell of ginger ale makes me feel sick! I had no dramas at all and it generally went very well.

The early days where no-one knew where very surreal, as you could possibly guess I'm not good with keeping my life private! I totally understand why people wait until the scan to go public but 3 months.....was never going to happen! Told both sets of parents, so then obviously my sis-in-law. Best friends... and work (a small office of 3 of us) They all know me so well so even if anything had gone wrong I would have had to tell them all anyway.

All through my pregnancy I made an effort to appreciate each moment, obviously I didn't actually do that as I'm sure AJ will confirm! However I generally loved it and even with the aches and pains, sleepless nights (at the time I really didn't know the meaning of that!)swollen feet etc. I did realise that it was a unique time that I would never repeat. I may have another some day but it will never be a first pregnancy and will be completely different.

I took maternity leave early, finishing work in February when bubs was not due until mid-May, it was a way of avoiding redundancy at work and I loved it, only getting a bit impatient right at the end. I was sure he would be on time or early despite everything that says first babies rarely are so at two weeks overdue I was starting to get a bit bored!

Predictably for me I started packing my hospital bag in March, then added to it and repacked it about a hundred times, I washed tiny baby clothes and held them on my bump trying to imagine dressing a baby, MY baby in them, I had not spent much time with babies and could not even begin to imagine having my very own one, even with a bump which entered rooms before I did!

The last few weeks were a lovely (this maybe where the rose tinted glasses come in) relaxing time of reflexology massages, getting up at 10am everyday, eating lots and lots and playing Bejewelled Blitz on facebook! It just so happened that the chair at the computer was the most comfortable one to sit in!

"Bob" (the working title, we had a name for quite a while but I refused to use it until he had arrived safe and sound) was obviously very comfy where he was and made no attempt to arrive until he had too, I was booked for an induction two weeks after my due date but he was just waiting until the last minute to show himself.

Little white sticks

Bit of background... In 2008 AJ and I had been married 4 years, we were slightly differing on the baby plan, Although we both wanted one, he wasn't as impatient as me, so for a year or so we had been "not trying not to" if that makes sense!
Not a bad way to go as in theory it takes some of the stress away of trying to get pregnant, it does however give you a monthly dilemma of "Am I or aren't I?"
I was very chilled (compared to many) about the whole thing, trying to not think too much about why I had not instantly got pregnant, something I spent my early 20's being terrified about! But as each month passed I was very slowly having doubt about if it would happen.

Saying that, I was also worried about it actually happening! I had never spent muck time with babies and really had no idea what to do with them, we were also in the planing stages of our move to Cyprus and I did wonder if it was a good time.

Over the months I did several tests, and reacted to the empty window on the stick with just a shrug of the shoulders and a few drinks, remember we were not officially trying so it wasn't yet a problem, I can only imagine how horrible it must be to get that month after month of real trying.

So, September came and I had a vague feeling it could be the month, I was waiting to test as I usually tested and then found out for myself a few hours later but AJ was convinced by the sudden size increase of my boobs that I had to be PG! I brought a test on the way home from work one Friday, and a box of tampax as I was feeling slightly pessimistic!

Got home, wee'd on a stick and....OHMYGOD there's a line in the window!!!!!

I came out the bathroom and called to AJ, I nervously waved the stick around (with the cap back on!) and he said with a smile..."told you!" All I remember is tapping myself on the head with the stick in a kind of shock to which he remarked "You've pee'd on that, don't do that!"

Mummy blogging

I've been reading some lovely posts by "Mummy bloggers" this morning - I never knew that they made up such a huge proportion of bloggers. Although makes perfect sense when you think about it, so much to write about and a great record of a really important stage of life, one you are unlikely to remember exactly as it happened.

As my little dude is fast approaching his first birthday (where did that year go?) I'm starting to forget the small details of my pregnancy and the early days so I hope to revisit them in my blog and record them for prosperity. I was undecided for so long on what to theme my blog on...being a Mum, living in Cyprus or Leo's growing up etc., before reaching the conclusion that it's my blog so should be about my life which is all of those things and more.

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