This week, Sam has had to be up for work at 5am, so I have been tackling the full night shift alone. I have discovered that I may have been unwitting lying about Arlo’s sleep habits getting better. If you ask me about his sleep this week, I would loudly proclaim in despair that he is only getting worse.
When Sam is sharing night duty, it seems I become immune to some of Arlo’s wakings. Especially if he wakes between 10pm-12am, I find this one particularly tiring as I’m either just about to go to bed, or I’ve just fallen asleep. Whereas, Sam is usually still up playing Skyrim or Call of Duty. If I don’t have to deal with him, his restlessness doesn’t always register.
Doing the night shift alone has been tiring, and has proved to me how much I rely on Sam in order to get a half decent night’s sleep.
This week we’ve all had colds. Arlo has sobbed whenever I try to remove him from my arms. And so, I was reminded of a phrase my mum used to say to us when she was, presumably, at the end of her tether. ‘I love you, but I don’t like you very much right now’.
While you probably won’t catch me saying that directly to Arlo any time soon, I realised that it’s quite cathartic to say to yourself, ‘My child is really pissing me off right now’. It immediately gave me more patience to deal with him in that moment.
Why isn’t it a standard sort of phrase to say down at playgroup? We all think it sometimes, but it seems a taboo to express it. I’d much rather hear someone say ‘My child is really bloody winding me up today’ than listen to boring tales of weaning or their theories on why they think their baby is about to start crawling.
On Thursday, just as they always do when I’m about to reach breaking point, the clouds parted. I woke to a smiley, happy boy, who no longer demanded to be carried around all day. I got a five hour stretch of sleep that geared me up for the next night’s not-so-good sleep.
This week, Arlo has continued to amaze me with his comprehension. It’s fascinating having this window into his mind. Three months ago, this window didn’t exist. He was a bouncing baby who knew a few words, smiled when he was happy and cried when he was unhappy. I had no idea what he was observing. Now, my little conversationalist tells me all the things that he observes.
He laughs at a particular song with a lyric about bubbles. I know it’s because Arlo understands what a bubble is.
He knows that Timmy is the same as the sheep picture on his stacking blocks.
I know this because he says ‘Baa’, in the same way that he snorts when he sees a pig. He can’t say the names of these animals, but he sure knows what they are. He points at each animal in his books and waits for me to say that animal’s name before moving his hand to the next animal. In return, I ask him ‘Where is so-and-so-animal?’, and he will point it out on the page.
He is fifteen months old and can point out the eel, seahorse, and crab on this page, yet he can’t grasp the concept of sleep.
This week, we introduced Arlo to Thomas. I’m pretty sure we will be frequent visitors to the Island of Sodor from now on.
I call them trains, he calls them ‘Choo Choo’s. I said I was going to use the proper words for things, and there was no need for him to learn baby words or nicknames. Well, we have Choo Choos now. We caught the moment of realisation – my toy trains are the same as this big real train – in a carpark next to the railway. We loaded the food shopping into the car to a soundtrack of delighted squealing and a train rolling past, ‘Choo Choo, Choo Choo, Choo Choo!!’. I am so proud of him for learning these things.
He is absorbing it all. He has been since he was that bouncing smiling baby. But now he is telling me about it.
This week, we have had friends over for dinner, I have listened to far too much Absolute 80s, and we have been watching Game of Thrones in the evenings. If our house was Game of Thrones, I would be Lady Stark’s crazy sister (because of the breastfeeding, of course), Arlo would be a Direwolf, and Sam is definitely none other than a Dothraki Warlord.
This week, a little something arrived for me. Before Christmas, I won a Twitter competition – a voucher to spend at Bras For Mums. I chose my new bra last week, and oh my god, it is totally worth not being a complete cheapskate when it comes to nursing bras. My boobs are about two inches higher on my chest, they look smaller, and just better. Why the hell did I not make a proper investment sixteen months ago? Sometimes it is worth spending a bit of money on myself.
This week has had a white theme.
We’ve finally painted the inside of our ugly red front door a much more pleasing white. (I took this photo before the top coat of paint went on, it is lovely and glossy and white now, mmmm).
I didn’t take a ‘Before’ photo, so here is a really old shot (just before Arlo was born) from a different angle:
Incidentally, that angle now looks like this:
The brown plastic letter box surround has been spray painted white (I’m quite proud of myself for this, I used my brain to work out how to make it fit in with the rest of the door, and the end result is pretty damn good for a first effort, I think).
Saturday evening, after a day of painting and slumming around, I said to Sam, ‘Isn’t it meant to snow this weekend, in which case, shouldn’t we think about doing a proper shop so we don’t have to trudge out in the snow?’
Weather man Sam replied, ‘No, not in London. In fact, it’s only going to get warmer here.’
I love it when I am right.
A whole world away from the last time it snowed.