George at 1yr !

And then he was 1 !

Oh my goodness, where has the year gone… It has gone so fast and as I have said before, I have wanted to push pause and stop everything so that I can just enjoy this ‘soon to be gone’ baby stage. Knowing I am only having the one, I just want everything to slow down a little.

I have not written a blog for a long while, life since I returned home has been incredibly busy trying to balance single parenting, working to earn enough to pay the bills and more importantly spending this precious, never to get back, baby months with George.  There is so much to share it is hard to know where to start so I am guessing it is best to start from May, our return home to Raglan.

To my delight, George started crawling a little later than most, his long lean body and quite good size head kept him in crawling mode until the week before we came home.  It was so wonderful moving home, unpacking all his things and giving him the space and freedom to move, without having to be too cautious like when staying at other people’s homes, which had been out previous 4.5mths.  After a couple of days of being sensitive to where I was (I was trying to unpack and clean my house and he wanted to know where I was) he soon felt at ease and with his new movement, he was able to explore freely.  Our house is just perfect for this age, he can move alone and free from lounge to his room and down the hall while I am in the kitchen, being able to view him pretty much at all times without having to follow him too much, and this has enabled him to be very content in his own company and enables him to explore and discover safely without me hovering.

Because of staying with family and friends for so long I was keen to give him this opportunity for self-discovery and independence and over the past 3 months I have seen his confidence grow immensely.  What has been wonderful to watch too is his social skills with moving back into our small community. With all the ‘catching up’ that is done in the street, popping into our local coffee shop, the 4 square and such like, he has watched me hug and kiss friends and now reaches out to ask for hugs with people he trusts and that I am talking to! It is a sure way of making peoples day!

I soon realized however that settling back into our own routine, having a few teary moments of financial stress, that I was not getting enough time to work and with the return to paying huge amounts of household bills, I had to look into options of care.  G for the first month was in the next transition phase, moving from 2 sleeps to 1 and with that came the challenge for me of knowing when I was going to be free to do phone consultations! Some days he was on 2 shorter naps and some days on 1 long sleep…Arrh!

This pushed me into deciding on finding home based care for George here, a wonderful option for stage one of time away from me, trusting someone outside of family and friends to care for him. And lucky for us, we found a lovely mature lady who has had years and years of experience with children and has now chosen home-based care teaching.  Along side this we are very blessed with a couple of dear friends and Mum who help me out when needed also.  He is happy away from me and this has enabled me to guarantee time to work and peace of mind of that chance to earn some income!  It is so weird being on the other end of childcare… I have the bonus of knowing when to walk away if G gives me that look or like today, was little tired and dropped his lip briefly when I dropped him off. Saying goodbye but walking away knowing that his care giver has the skills to distract him and he does indeed trust her but saying goodbye can be hard some days.  The heart strings are pulled a bit but I know that his 1.5 days a week in care is socially great for him, he gets to learn different things than at home and being an only child and away from family, he gets to have more than me to trust.  I do have to remind any mum’s thinking of care in the future for their babies, do listen to your gut instinct or check for recommendations before choosing care. My first choice didn’t turn out suitable for us.   It is funny because I was probably being overly ‘laid back’ because of who I am and not wanting appear over the top… but lesson learnt, tick all the boxes and make sure you are 100% happy before starting with any time of care for your baby. Communication and the transfer or trust is key for both parties.

Developmentally between 10mths and 1yr there is so many fun things that we have enjoyed doing together. His love for music has grown and when meal times become a bit of a challenge with sitting still or being a little tired, all I need to do is put on either of our two top kiwi favourite’s, Poppet Stars or Anika Moa’s songs for bubba’s.  It is not just children’s music he loves, a good house music beat or classical/piano music is just as much fun for him.  Eating and sleeping has been wonderful however as we enter another phase of teething the eating has started to take another step backwards and the good old distraction tools have had to come back out again. Music, easy to clean items for him to play with and thinking wisely about the type of food that I am offering him. He can be very stubborn and painfully slow!  When they are teething it is easy to eat, soft and tasty, small and wholesome foods. So I have gone back to mashing a few vegetables, making sweet with savoury slow cooked meals and spoon feeding him in conjunction with him feeding himself.  Some who choose to do exclusive baby lead weaning may find that when they go through phases like this that their babies can start waking hungry again in the night and so to avoid milk feeding that is why I go back to basic’s, doing a mix, not exclusively one or the other.  I also except with G that he can do well on a big breakfast (usually 1 piece of toast and a poached egg and maybe some fruit) then a small lunch or just light snacks between breakfast and dinner, but then at 4.30 he eats really well again. This suits me and he continues to sleep well at night.  I have started eating with him at 4.30-5pm if no visitors for dinner. This too is wonderful for role modeling and evening though is it a little early, I know it makes my life easier in the fact I do not have to cook two meals in the evening and I can always have a light snack later if needed!

Keeping George well has been a mission of mine,  if he or I get sick, it means financially there is no sick pay!  Having a healthy diet, dressing for the climate and taking supplements to boost us both has been essential in this mission.   One thing that I have noticed more and more is that I am quite old fashioned when it comes to dressing babies/children. Always having something on their feet and warm layers on their chests and covering his ears on windy or very cold days… and it does seem to be paying off with G only having 1 cold in his 1st year of life.

My be well and warm daily list is:

Wool layer on chest at all times (either a vest or a long sleeve top) – I have been blessed with using Nature Baby merino long sleeve tops and have also inherited some lovely wool Teeny Weeny things too, their all in one, PJ’s from Farmers and for mornings or after bath time, a wool vest which was handmade from an ex-clients family in Northumberland, UK.

Feet warm – He always has something on his feet. I have used socks and to keep them on I use good old-fashioned booties, these are the best for indoor play or buggy outings. And then when out and about I have been given some hand me down slippers from Nature Baby alongside some soft leather shoes.

Ears covered – When there is wind or it is cold, I have a variety of hats, wool or cotton to keep his ears covered at all times.

Probiotics – Everyday he has probiotics and has since birth. I use a brand that Q.Baby recommended to me. When we have been around sick children then I have stepped that up upon recommendation from a health professional.

So where to now, I am next looking into securing my garden so he can roam free because the other day as I was picking up wind blown limes and lemons, I turned my back so ever briefly and found that George had slipped and landed on a rotten lime!!

He just loves being part of the action like most children, getting dirty, digging and exploring but it is limiting on how much ‘work’ you can do so a pen is what I need to create for up and coming spring time, ready for planting my summer crops and clearing away gardens to create more lawn space for him to play in the summer.  I have joined a programme called ‘Workaway’ where you have someone come to stay and help in exchange for food and a bed and this Sunday we have our first French tourist coming to stay for 5 days, perfect chance for doing some of this things I just cannot seem to find time to do.

I have also stocked up my cupboard with Arnica for his up and coming start to walking… he is balancing well but that big head of his does seem to throw his off balance and I fear there maybe some good bruises to contend with!

I still have to pinch myself at times, like I am sure many parents do, that I am his mum and how blessed I am to have him in my life. The joy he brings to my every day over rides the challenges that come with single parenting a baby, when they need so much of you and you have to work out the best balance between work and mothering. With the onset of teething again and traveling for work, it is challenging at the moment.  I am still breast feeding and aim to get him through winter before weaning him but I am starting to feel like it is time that I look after myself a little more.  While  I have always been diligent about taking supplements to boost my health and well being, focusing on George more than myself is starting to show.  You know when it is time to look at yourself when you are a little more emotional and energy levels are low!  This is one of the challenges of being on the road a bit, you get out of little routines like this.. instead of packing my ‘well-being’ bag I pack my expressing machine and chiller packs and storage containers!!!!