I feel like it was only last week I was writing about how my baby had reached four months and I was still in shock – now he’s five months old and I still haven’t accepted his growing.
Each week we reach new levels of acceptance between us and the period of intense shock I experience with becoming a Mum to a newborn baby slowly wears off. His personality is really coming to the forefront and most of my days are spent cooing over how cute he is and wondering where in the Hell he got those genetics from.
From time to time I worry that he isn’t hitting his developmental milestones when comparing him to the other babies in a support group I attend on a Tuesday morning, but I feel that this comparison is something nearly every mother goes through. Just because he isn’t rolling yet doesn’t mean he’s significantly behind, his hand-eye co-ordination is incredible for a baby his age and he’s frequently trying to pull himself up to sit from lying flat on his back. My little dot is growing and showing development in different areas even if he’s not keen on rolling from his back to his front – I’ve learn that all babies do their own things at their own pace and in their own way, I think my boy is destined to try and sit-up the hard way.
He sleeps mostly through the night with the odd grumble here and there. It’s difficult in a household with one parent who has a disability which severely impacts their rest and a bedroom door that won’t close without a weight against it to stop the cat creeping in for a cuddle in the small hours. Not to mention that my bladder just isn’t the same since pregnancy so both of us are usually up and down most of the night trying to creep around Oliver without waking him or hoping every moan or whimper from his coat isn’t a sign that he will want a cuddle. Month five means that we’ve hit something like a sweet spot for a bedtime routine and even though he’s down for the night from a rough time of 7pm he can still want a top-up feed of 4oz every other evening so we’re sometimes left waiting on if he will wake up and then go back down to sleep peacefully.
The pressure was there from the early days to have him in a set bedtime, especially because he’s prone to cat-nap rather than have long sleep periods in the day time. I was often scolded for cuddling him too much and letting him doze on me too and whilst I understand the approach – no one wants a clingy baby that won’t settle with anyone but his Mum – I’m prepared to cuddle that baby until he shoves a sticky-hand in my face and babbles ‘no more’. He’s my first and the one thing I’ve ever been so fiercely protective over. A bedtime routine has been a success from my mental health and getting the house a bit more organised etc but the guilt of not having him in a set bedtime before now still haunts me. Is this the so-called Mum guilt?
All-in-all I’m lucky. Oliver will happily sit with others and we’ve worked on creating strong relationships with his close family so he’s familiar with them. I’ve been blessed with a relaxed baby who’s starting to love to play and is happiest watching his sister croon around him, read to him or rattle his noisiest toys in his face so he can belly-laugh back at her. I can put him down for a bit with some toys however he’s now figuring out if you’re in the next room so will screech for attention. We played a brilliant game of him pretending to grumble until I looked at him and he would giggle when he was in his bouncer in the kitchen last week. I perhaps shouldn’t have taught him such attention-seeking habits but he was providing me with far too much amusement as I prepared our dinner.
Month five has been fun, if a little loud. Oliver has really discovered his voice and likes to squeal when he’s happy. He’s become a bugger for grabbing and is often into whatever I have in my hands. Now I don’t drink a warm cup of tea because I’m busy and/or too tired and forget about it – I have to wait for the liquid to really cool because the baby will try his best to push the mug from my grip. He is ready to begin the journey of weaning so we’ve tried a little baby porridge here and there although he’s not developed the tongue-action of moving the food to the back his mouth to swallow. I’m waiting for him to get more to grips with the idea of food rather than milk so we will now keep trying some baby rice and then purees until he hits six months where he should be ready to go for baby-led weaning. He’s brilliant at grabbing and holding and loves different textures on his hands so I can’t wait to see what he thinks of a piece of broccoli or a carrot stick.
I’m starting to get a little worried about going back to work. I have a rough idea of where I want to go next in my career because I can’t stand to be sitting at a desk watching the minutes tick by and waiting to be at home with my baby but the anxiety of getting it all into place concerns me. I’m going to see if I can extend my maternity leave for a month or so as I seem to be better off with my savings than I realised however the worry of that not happening keeps me awake at night, not just constantly needing a wee. I gave myself Christmas as a deadline to keep the worry away but as the season is quickly approaching now, all of those fears are coming creeping back. I don’t want to leave him and go back to work full-time but sadly I have to. It’s a reality many new Mum’s face and I’m trying to live in denial that the time is coming eventually.
I just hope I can find a decent loo to have cry in on my first day back because I’m sure it will all be a bit too much. I’ll be packing the tissues especially.