Yesterday Cameron turned nine months old. He’s doing really well, not quite crawling yet, but getting about by creeping like a caterpillar. He has five teeth, with a sixth about to break through any day now. As you’ll see, having a mobile baby has suddenly made this photo journal concept a lot more tricky! I’ve included three photos of him at nine months to give you an idea of how much he’s grown.
For the last month we’ve lost our delightful, happy little boy to the terrors of teething. The poor child seems to be an all-or-nothing sort of chap and is cutting four teeth at once. It has been tough on all of us and reached a peak this week with high fevers and severely disrupted nights. In an attempt at laughter (because if we don’t laugh we’ll cry), my husband has written the following report …
Day 21: The hostage drama continues
- Date: 23 May 2013
- Time: 20h09
- Status: All quiet on the western front
Negotiations broke down again yesterday as the USP (United State of Parents) could not meet the demands of ALkidda and their supreme leader, Camsama bin Cryden, AKA “The Baby Terrorist”.
Since the first tooth broke out in this most recent skirmish, the situation has become volatile and unpredictable. Despite periods of calm during the day, the upstairs quadrant erupts into a fire fight each night.
The USP has a numbers advantage against the insurgent and out numbers the enemy 2 to 1. In spite of their overwhelming supremacy and array of weapons, including teething gel, paracetamol, suppositories, rocking, singing, feeding and tag teaming, the home cell of ALkidda has continued to rule with an iron fist.
The fighting reached a peak last night and the USP was forced to bring a weapon of mass sleep persuasion into the fray. The tank, AKA “The Pram”, was deployed to the upstairs quadrant in an attempt to control the threat.
ALkidda countered with guerilla tactics, faking sleep until removed from the tank. He then launched a furious counter-attack of screaming and dirty nappies which defeated the USP in the Battle of the Bedroom.
As we await the first pitched battle of the evening, I write this report from a trench on the front line.
To all members of the United State of Parents Army – good luck and good night.
As a stay-at-home mom, one of the questions I am often asked is, ‘So what do you do all day?’ Depending on my mood you might get the sarcastic, ‘Oh you know, lie around and read magazines’ response, or the vague ‘Eat, play, nap, repeat’ comeback. But the truth is that it’s a not a question I can answer in thirty seconds.
Raising a child is not a glamorous business. It’s made up of a lot of repetitive, messy, simple tasks. So if you want the literal answer, I spend my days changing nappies, feeding Cameron, putting him down for naps and then preparing to do it all again. And then of course we play. Babies do not like to amuse themselves. They crave interaction and have an attention span of about five minutes so I spend a lot of time stacking blocks, singing songs and trying to find that magic noise or game that will make my son laugh today. If I’ve had some decent sleep the night before I will attempt to get some admin done in between, maybe cook dinner and compile a list of all the little jobs around the house that I’m just not getting to. If the previous night was a bad one, I grab sleep wherever I can, tell Colin to pick something up for dinner and collapse into an unmade bed at 8 pm. Life with a little person shrinks down to a pretty small scale, the days become fairly uniform and somehow time slips by.
And herein lies my frustration with trying to answer this question. Because while this doesn’t sound like much, there is much more too it than can easily be explained. Firstly, it’s incredibly draining and time consuming. I have almost no time to do things that interest me, and when I have the time, I seldom have the energy. Secondly, and far more importantly, I strongly believe that the investment I’m making in Cameron now will have far reaching benefits.
When talking to my husband about this he summed it up by saying that there is no answer to this question which doesn’t require a major discussion about the foundational years in a child’s life. Granted these years aren’t filled with rocket science. They are filled with small, developmental tasks that can be boring for those of us over the age of five. But security, reassurance, attention and love are vital as a basis for this and I’m grateful to be able to give Cameron those things during ‘working hours’ too.
I can’t give you a ton of information supporting the cause of stay-at-home moms. All I know is that for as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to do it. In many ways its harder to do than I thought it would be, but its also so much more rewarding than I imagined possible. It’s a special time in my life and I’m just trying to appreciate it – teething nappies and all!
So to answer your question, what do I do all day? I’m raising a child. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.
This afternoon I put Cameron down on the floor in the study and went to fetch some pillows with which to build a fort for him. Before I’d even left the room he’d fallen over and bumped his head on the only hazard available – the metal catch at the bottom of the door. Major tears ensued and my poor child now has a noticeable bump on his head. (Rookie mistake I know – always build the fort first.)
While this is the worst of the knocks he’s sustained so far, it is also the most recent in a worryingly regular series of them. Alas – it is not a lack of co-ordination that is to blame, but his doting parents. As Cam gets older and more interactive we are really enjoying playing with him. But occasionally we take it a bit far and laughter turns to tears. We’ve also stupidly allowed his interest in some things to warrant those items becoming playthings. Like the toy on a spring which resulted in said spring clamping onto his lip when he started chewing on it. Epic fail Mom and Dad! And then of course exhaustion is also a contributing factor. Not once, but twice, my tired fingers have dropped my phone onto the poor child’s head while he was nursing. My only consolation is that so far I’ve been alert enough to prevent him from falling off any beds.
I was at the clinic the other day and I saw a couple with a new-born. I had to laugh (inwardly – outwardly would have been rude) at the caution they were displaying while getting little one into her pram. As I played with Cam on my lap – bouncing him around and swooping him from side to side – I marvelled at how much more comfortable and confident Colin and I have become with our baby. And then Cam gave a mad wriggle which I barely saved from becoming a nose-dive into the floor and I thought that perhaps a little more caution wouldn’t go amiss…