Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Long overdue - snippets from the past year

I've been so absent from any kind of online presence in this last year - I am constantly amazed at how other parents manage to find time to post, whether on a blog or message boards. I know that we all suffer from a lack of "me" time, but I guess it's all down to how you prioritise things. Because I work from home, I have to do pretty much all my work as soon as Toby goes down for a sleep/to bed at night; I simply can't spare that time to do much in the way of selfish surfing, unless I want to suffer the after-effects of the stress it induces by my work never getting done. However, with Toby's 1st birthday fast approaching, I've been getting all nostalgic, and reminiscing about where we were a year ago, impatiently awaiting his arrival. One of these days, I may even get around to posting my birth story!
It's hard to believe that it's a year since Toby's birth (his birthday is this Sunday), it seems both an absolutely age ago, and yet no time at all. So much has happened, and my only regret about it all is that I've been totally rubbish in keeping a proper note of milestones! He's definitely grown into being a little boy now, our baby seems to have well and truly disappeared. The really major changes, especially personality-wise, seem to have occurred in the last couple of months since Christmas, especially since he started crawling/pulling up. He is so gorgeous and such fun - although we're also starting to have more instances of him asserting his independence, which can be trying.

Major milestones inasmuch as I can remember them:
First smile - somewhere around 8 weeks I think, he was definitely the last in our baby group to do so
First bottle feed - approx 3-4 weeks old (Karen had been doing regular cup feeds until then)
First rolling over/sitting up - can't remember!
First family holiday, aged 10 1/2 weeks (flew to Mallorca). This was also the point at which I gave up the nipple shields (after leaving them behind accidentally on a day trip out). Breast feeds shortened from 1hr at a time to 15 mins - did wonders for extra sleeping! I also stopped expressing, as I started getting severe breast pain which later turned out to be deep-vein thrush. Nearly gave up breast-feeding several times over the next few weeks as it was so agonising, but managed to grit my teeth and stick with it as I was so determined not to give up. Finally got proper treatment from GP after several visits, having managed to convince them to give me a not-officially-approved-for-breastfeeding-mothers drug (even though it's approved in other countries).
Moved Toby to his own room at about 4 1/2-5 months, despite having no intentions of doing this until the 6 month mark. Did it in desperation from sleep deprivation/constant waking at every little sniffle/moan! Made life sooo much easier, even though I still had to get up 3-4 times a night. Toby slept through once or twice not long after the move, although it wasn't to last!
Started Toby on solids at 5 1/2 months - he's been a great eater ever since, and went from being a skinny minny to a solid, well-rounded baby very quickly. Zoomed up the weight charts from being under the 50th centile to well over the 75th!
Sleeping through the night finally happened at 7 1/2 months. We literally went overnight from a couple of horrendous weeks of being up hourly all night to consistently sleeping through from roughly 7pm to 6-7am. Not surprisingly, this is also the point at which I started to regain my own identity.
Breastfeeding stopped at 8 months - Toby's choice, not mine! He'd been going through a stage of fighting/messing, then one weekend simply closed his mouth and refused me completely whenever I tried to feed him. I decided not to push the issue too much, even though I wasn't emotionally prepared for him stopping, as I had always felt that I woud rather that he chose to stop than had me force an end to b/fing. It was a bit sad (and still is actually), but bottle feeding him is a lot easier than all the fighting over breast-feeding was. The great side effect of this transition was that Toby also rejected his dummy, so we've never had to go through a battle trying to wean him off that.
Started clapping at 9 months (just in time for showing off to all and sundry at Christmas!), and also learning how to hide himself when playing peepo with his bath towel (utterly endearing).
First two teeth cut (in quick succession) at 9 months. Top front teeth followed within a month, and two more top teeth by 11 months.
First crawled at 10-10 1/2 months (you'd think that I could remember this, seeing as it's relatively recent!). In many ways, I was hoping that he wouldn't start crawling too soon as all I was worried about was how much baby-proofing we would need to do. What I hadn't considered was how much happier he would be once he was properly mobile, and how much more easily he could entertain himself. This is the point at which it seemed like a much stronger personality emerged. He's now also pulling up all the time, and cruising quite a lot.
Next big steps will be walking and talking I suppose, as well as proper self-feeding (i.e. learning to load a spoon himself, rather than just using his hands/taking a loaded spoon from us). And he'll also be moving up to doing 2 days a week in nursery from the end of April.

He's so adorable, and has added so much to our lives (even during the severely sleep-deprived stages). I simply can't imagine life without him, or remember quite what life was like before he was part of our family. How on earth did we fill our time beforehand - there must have been so much free time (even if it didn't feel like it then)?! We love him so much; I always knew that I wanted children, but I really didn't have any idea just how much it was possible to love your own child; I can now truly understand why people say that they would do anything for their children.

We're starting to gear up towards ttc a sibling(s) later in the year (it was always the plan that we would start some time not too long after Toby's 1st birthday). Of course, this makes reading about others ttc #2/already with a sibling particularly interesting right now. A friend who has recently had their second son has been having a little trouble adjusting to the new family reality - as she says, she's actually mourning the loss of her exclusive relationship with son number one now that the new baby is here - I think that this is perhaps the only thing holding me back from trying again ASAP, as it will be very sad to lose that special bond with Toby. The past year has made me realise just how lucky I was to be the oldest of my siblings, and to enjoy that special time with my own mother (even if I obviously have absolutely no recollection of it!).

We'll be going straight for IVF/ICSI this time around, although we'll be getting our sibling sperm moved to a local clinic to make treatment easier. I'm totally convinced that I'll get pregnant with twins, which would be something of a logistical nightmare I should think. I'm certainly having dreams already about being pregnant with twins! To be honest though, we'd just be thrilled to have any kind of positive outcome from an IVF cycle.