And little one is almost turning two. I’m refusing to accept it, by the way. She looks like a baby to me, hard to think she will become a child very soon.
One of these days I was thinking about when she was just a little tiny baby. We found it quite hard then, but looking back, Laura was always a great baby. I think we just weren’t expecting such a huge change in our lives. I mean, everyone knows that a kid changes EVERYTHING, but it’s different when you see the real deal. And it’s a bit worse when you don’t have family around to support you.
Laura was 100% breastfed until 6 months old. Up to then, she had never had a cold. The first cold came end of December 2010 – when it was cold as hell. New Year, a few solids here and there, nothing much, Christmas at friends. We all survived, although it was painful.
She never recovered fully, and in February she was on antibiotics and more fever and more worries for us. But she never complained too badly. Of course she had problems to sleep. I have problems to sleep when my nose is blocked.
I always complained that she never slept enough. Basically I was hoping that she would sleep 18 out of 24 hours in the first 3 months. The books said that. It didn’t happen. But it wasn’t Laura. Loads of people I knew had the same problem. Of course the grass is always greener on the other side, and of course I had friends that managed to educate their kids to sleep. I wasn’t successful in the beginning, then managed to make her fall asleep on her own, then she got ill and we travelled and bob’s your uncle.
But – and that’s a big but – she always slept at least 6 hours every night, without waking up. And here is where I do the “mea culpa” thing. When she was tiny, I used to miss her horribly in the middle of the night. She used to suck her hands in the middle of the night, would stop if I gave her the dummy, but because I was so desperate to hold her, I used to breastfeed her. And she got used to that. And the older she got, the more demanding she was. At some point, when she was past 1 year old, she was feeding 3 – 4 times in the middle of the night.
Yes, it was tiring, but I carried on – it was one of those things: I don’t want to do it, but I love doing it. And she was breastfed until she was 20 months old. And it was just natural, at our on pace and pain free for both of us. She swapped to cow’s milk and carried on having a bottle around 23h or sometimes later. Until a couple of weeks ago. Now she only drinks milk at 7pm and when she wakes up at 7am. And yes, she sleeps all through the night. So do I, if I’m not too busy having nightmares or being ill.
Her first signs of teething (chewing, chewing, drooling, drooling) started around she was 4 months old, but the first tooth only came at 11 months. She has all sort of problems when teething: fever, pain, loose poo, bad mood, etc. You name it, she has it. And that is one of the hardest parts for us. Because yes, you can give paracetamol, yes, there’s bonjela, but they are ok, not great. And she suffers and there’s nothing much we can do apart from giving lots and lots of cuddles. At almost 22 months old, her canines are just ripping her gums, after a month or so of pain. And the back teeth are also trying to come up – so 8 at once.
She wasn’t a great eater when younger. Thanks to Pampers Village website (yes, that’s the one), I realised it was ok. Kids don’t need solids straight away, they are ok to continue having lots and lots of milk until 12 months. And introduction to food should be nice and easy for all of us – otherwise it’s just another traumatic experience. Once again, our patience was paid off. Now – well, for a while now, since 13, 14 months? – she is a little eating machine. She doesn’t eat loads, thank goodness, but she tries everything. And there are moments when she is not in the mood to eat, but other times she eats her lunch and dinner twice and still wants more. It’s ok. Despite the two, three, maybe four colds she had in these 22 months, she is a healthy and happy baby.
Comparing to other friends’ babies, she is a late talker. I mean, she chats like crazy since she was 1 month old – but in her own language. Still today, this is how she prefers to communicate. And it’s very cute. But every day she comes up with more intelligible words. And it’s amazing. She has always been very active, since small baby. Held her head perfectly around 3 months old, sat on her own around 5, crawled at 7 and walked at 13 months. Nothing wow, but nothing to worry about. She always liked to jump. She loves to run and likes to climb. Like all kids, right?
She is a little bit shy, but not too much. After an hour, she will be all over people, chatting and playing. Very curious but also wanting a lot of attention. She likes being the centre of attention.
I don’t have other kids to compare her development with, so this is a short summary of my daughter’s first 22 months of age for my own records and maybe compare with my second – and third – babies. I won’t compare in a mean way, it’s just because parents always want to be sure their kids are developing according to the standards. Although midwives, health visitors, doctors and books always say that children develop in different ways, we are always looking for reassurance. I don’t know one single parent that didn’t say at least once “my kids is super developed” or “why my child is not sitting yet?”. It doesn’t mean that we are loosing our sleep, it just means that we want to have one less thing to worry about.
I took my full maternity leave – 12 months + holidays. I don’t regret, although sometimes it felt like I was going mad. I think this time was extremely important for both of us. I went back to work full time (as opposed to 4 days a week like all my colleagues) and don’t regret. I’m lucky to like what I do, so not looking (YET) for a own business, working at home kind of thing. (Maybe because I have no talent, maybe because I love having my salary at the end of the month, maybe because I’m too scared…). If we do have 3 kids, this will definitely change. Why? The cost of childcare in the UK is HUGE – I could sell a kidney and wouldn’t be able to pay for a year in a nursery for 3.
Things I didn’t do:
Give her bottles when she was breastfeeding. For just ONE reason. Too lazy to express milk and to clean bottles. It meant that daddy couldn’t help me with the night feeds… I’m still unsure if I will do any different with the second child.
Use reusable nappies. I totally sympathise with the cause, but sorry, I am too lazy. I’m definitely not doing that with the next one, sorry Mother Nature.
Baby massage every night. Sometimes all I wanted was put her to bed as quick as possible. Sometimes all she wanted was to sleep as soon as possible. No distractions.
Read stories. We do since she started focussing a bit more. But when she was small, she didn’t have the patience, neither did I. Mea culpa. Need improving for the next one.
Sleep train her. I can’t be consistent. And consistency is key, isn’t it? It worked for a while and it was great. Something to think about more carefully with the next one.
Things I’m looking forward (or not) in the next months:
Potty training. It will happen in summer, when it’s warmer to keep her only on underwear and it’s ok to change clothes all the time. At the moment, whenever she change her nappy, she sneezes. Also, my mom and my mother in law will be around at that time, so I’ll have support.
Moving from cot to bed. I would have done this by now, but daddy doesn’t want to. He is afraid she will go to our bed in the middle of the night. haha I’m actually afraid that she might get lost in her bedroom and start screaming. So when mum(in-law) is here, this will be the next step. I’m really looking forward to it.