Note to myself: You have parented two babies now. There is a definite stage between 4-12 months when you will not be able to get any work done, day or night. Actually take some maternity leave next time.
We are in the most time-precious phase.
Time-precious because there is NO time for me to do anything – work stuff stretches my time to the max. Clearing time for work is a military operation, involving many a weekend sacrifice. There is no time for anything extra-curricular without affecting the children’s’ time or Sam’s time. In this phase, there is no time for me to be me.
I get rather glum when I can’t indulge in my creative interests. It’s a tricky mix when you have young children. My birthday is coming up this weekend, and although part of me wants nothing more than a fun day with my family, (as I am begrudgingly aware of how much family time I miss out on in order to keep my business going), part of me really wants to sit at my computer ALL day and work on some personal projects. No other day provides a reasonable, guilt-free excuse for refusing to hold a child when requested. “No, I can’t take Rory, I’m editing a FILM”.
My children don’t nap, unless it’s on me. Rory is averaging half an hour – 1 hour nap in the morning (during the preschool run), and then maybe 20 minutes in the afternoon if I’m lucky. I am waiting for that moment when he starts napping for longer in the cot. At the moment, I put him down, and I have a maximum of 15 minutes ‘free time’ before I’m back up there. Arlo dropped his naps at 24 months old. It’s been so long, I forget that other people have toddlers that nap.
So, I can work in the evenings, right? WRONG. Rory wakes a LOT. I spend more time upstairs resettling him in the evenings than I spend downstairs. Arlo was the same. Again, it should get better, but I’m not anticipating that it will for a while. Nor am I looking to actively change his sleep habits. Because I am lazy. (But that doesn’t mean that I’m not entitled to a moan about it from time to time, OK??)
There is literally NO time, when a baby or a child does NOT need me to either help them to sleep, or to be awake. NO time in a day. Unless I rope in Sam to take over child settling duties in the evening – but this is when he is cooking or cleaning, so it eats into valuable time regardless of whether it’s for work or house upkeep.
If Rory is anything like Arlo, I know this will continue until he is at least 12 months, and starts to nap longer than 20 minute stretches, and can play independently in little doses. I somehow managed to forget about this stage with Arlo, and just how little time there is. How there is no time for yourself. I had more time when Rory was a newborn. Older babies are time-consuming and don’t sleep. I need to remember that.
This stage is also the most time-precious because he is changing so much. They start to eat with the rest of the gang. They discover what makes them laugh, and who makes them laugh hardest. The difference between lying down baby to sitting up baby is so huge, overnight they are suddenly little people, sitting up and playing with toys. You start to envision them as children, rather than babies.
At this age, they are wonderful, chubby little personalities. No wonder all other aspects of life slow down whilst they capture your attention entirely.
A few developmental updates on Rory, lest I forget them:
He has rolled twice in his whole life (of 8 months). We actually missed his first roll and just heard the giant THUD as he did it. He has never rolled from front to back. I don’t think he lacks the ability, just the motivation. You put him down in one spot, and he stays there diligently. (So different to what we knew from Arlo, who rolled at 4 months, rolled to sleep on his tummy by 5.5 months, and who never stayed still and was using rolling as a means to navigate himself around a room by 5 months old.)
From the age of 7 months, he could sit up independently. (Arlo was 8.5 months, I think).
He is an incredibly ‘grabby’ baby. It’s like he has a one-track mind, and he will stop at NOTHING until he has grabbed the item he has set his sights on. It’s really funny to watch his determination. Again, completely different to baby Arlo, who was only ever interesting in keeping moving, and didn’t stop to notice any little details such as grabbable items.
His first teeth (top two), came through at 6 months, same as Arlo. He is now just short of 8 months old, and has five teeth (three at the top and the bottom two).
He bites down when teething whilst feeding more than anything I ever experience with Arlo. Ow.