Missing the boy

Over the last few weeks – and mainly because we have finally got Marley in to some semblance of bedtime routine – I am sorry to say I have not had quite as much time with the little man. 

On weekday mornings, I only have a short window in which I can pick him up out of his crib, change his nappy, and try and share as many smiles as possible before I have to leave him with his mum, and head off to work. 

Anyone who has seen my Instagram lately will already know his gurgly laugh is the most contagious and addictive thing about him at the moment. 

Like most people, I spend the majority of my day at a desk in an office. So by the time I get home around 7:00pm, he is already (if all has gone to plan…) fast asleep in his crib. 

On the plus side, it means I get to be in charge at weekends. Which is something that definitely DOESN’T always go to plan….

It’s great to begin with; I get to sing songs to him, to any tune I like and with no lyrical meaning whatsoever, and he loves it. 

I get to lift him up, and swing him around – and he’s almost big enough to throw up in the air (although I’m bound to get in trouble for that) and he loves that, too. 

But then, when I want to sit down for a minute, or make dinner, or watch some football – that’s when he starts to hate it. 

It’s not that he cries or screams, or anything like that, he just gets all uncomfortable and grumpy. 

Sometimes, I sit him down in his Baby Bjorn bouncy chair (always happens to be just before my wife walks in, so it looks like I’ve been doing nothing!) but even that doesn’t keep him occupied for very long.

We think he has started teething, too, because he’s had flushed cheeks, been a bit more irritable than normal – and is drooling like a dog. 

Oh, and he still hates baths. I think it’s a legacy from Poolgate in France, where we dipped him in the cold water. He still cries to this day the second his toe is submerged.

(this is not Marley…)

He will soon learn that there are much worse things though. Our cat’s litter tray, for example. This morning, the worst odour I’ve ever smelled met my nostrils. She must be sick, because whatever that was in the litter tray almost made me cry. 

Ask the “experts”

This week marked Marley’s fourth month with us. It’s a fairly short amount of time, really, but it feels like we’ve already been through an enormous amount of changes with him. He’s smiling, laughing, and trying to talk already – it’s sometimes hard to believe that he’s the same little thing that arrived with us in June. 

Having said that, four months hardly makes us experts. 

Far from it, in fact.

So it was a bit of a surprise when our NCT teacher (still don’t know what NCT stands for…) invited us to go back to one of her classes, to meet some expectant parents, provide some details of our birthing experience and offer some general advice to the soon-to-be mums and dads.

When we were attending the classes before Marley was born, one of the most helpful ones we went to was when the parents of actual, recently born babies came along and shared their experiences with us. It gave us the chance to ask all the important questions; what do we take with us to the hospital? Will we ever sleep again? Is it all as absolutely terrifying as we think it’s going to be? 

Although they didn’t actually provide us with any satisfactory answers to these questions, the very fact that they were there, with their babies on show as living evidence that they’d got through it, was good enough. 

So we agreed to go back, and re-pay the favour – and as usual we were provided with the complementary tea and biscuits. 

When we were last there, my wife had just been diagnosed with gestational diabetes and she therefore couldn’t have any of the biscuits. Bad times. 

So I (kindly) agreed at the time that, for the duration of the pregnancy at least, I would abstain from them too. 

Except I forgot….

Well, we went to the class, and the biscuits were being passed around, and the chocolate ones just looked so good. A chocolate digestive was already in my mouth when I spotted her, across the room, glaring at me – as only she can. I hadn’t even known I was doing it. 

Anyway, the diabetes was thankfully over with as soon as Marley was born, so when we returned to the class, she could have as many as she wanted. 

I’m not sure how much help we were to the expectant parents, and I must admit there was a little feeling of pressure in being the ones to offer advice on being a first-time parent with only sixteen weeks experience ourselves. But it was a fantastic reminder of how far we’ve come in that short space of time with little (big!) Marley.

The new monitor

Recently, we bought a fancy monitor to keep an eye on Marley while he sleeps. It’s a Motorola one, and it’s got a video screen, it can play him different types of music, it can tell you the temperature of the room and everything. 

We thought it was a bit over the top when we first heard about them, to be honest. But we also thought it might give us a bit more peace of mind. And some more sleep. 

He still sleeps in our room, in a crib, the boy. For the first three months we were just so desperate to get some sleep (any sleep!) that he was never out of our sight. If he was sleeping in the bedroom during the day, so were we. If he fell asleep on one of us on the sofa watching TV, the other one would probably be sleeping on the floor. And so on.

Any opportunity, any where.  

But once he passed that 12 week milestone, all the advice pointed towards trying to establish some kind of routine. 

We were heading off off on our holiday around that time, and tentatively trying to forge this routine for him. So we decided we’d get the monitor, try to get him down to sleep at a reasonable time (around 7pm is “sensible”, apparently) each evening and then keep a reasonable watch on him, while still trying to enjoy a little bit of time to ourselves. 

The first few attempts were actually pretty successful – well, that’s if you don’t count those times we went and checked he was still breathing because we couldn’t see whether or not he was moving when we looked at the screen. 

Most of the time, you see his little chest going up and down with each breath. Sometimes it’s only faint, but it’s still there. 

And other times, when he feels like taking the piss a little bit, you don’t see any movement at all. In fact, i’m pretty sure he just holds his breath and tries not to move a muscle for as long as he can. Which is usually just long enough for you to panic, and sprint through to the bedroom…where you find him fast asleep again, in his crib, chest moving up and down. 

On the outside, he is sleeping, but on the inside you know he is making this face. 

He also caught me out with a different prank the other night. I was just minding my own business, watching TV in the living room. I hadn’t heard a peep out of him for a while – which is fine, and usually means he is just sleeping – but I thought i’d switch on the monitor screen, just to be sure.

This is what I saw:

I know it isn’t possible. But if you look closely, I am certain he is looking directly at me through the camera lens. 

The little joker. 

At least I know I’m not going to have too much to teach him in the way of practical jokes.