Full Circle


“This time last year” is a phrase I’ve always uttered frequently, but never so frequently as I have thought and said it this year. I have never had such a strong measure of time as throughout 2012 and 2013: a pregnancy, with which to count down the weeks and then those agonisingly slow last days, and then of course the first days and weeks and months of the life of my tiny new baby, marking the start of the me-who-is-a-mother.

At the end of July, I was looking out of the kitchen window at the trees that line the pathway at the bottom of the hill and I was overcome with the feeling of “this time last year”. At that time in 2012, I remember, very clearly, walking back along that same path (ok, waddling slowly with great effort) on the way back from my 34 week midwife appointment. I was on the phone to my Grandma, wishing her happy birthday and making her open the presents that I’d sent her the day before while she was on the phone. The same presents that I’d bought the day before, at the last possible minute, thrilled to find something that she would like. The presents which my visiting friend had had to wrap up for me because I was too pregnant to kneel and do it myself. “The last time the trees were like this, was this time last year when I was very pregnant and still had a long way to go.”

And now, other little signs grab me and take me back to last year. The 3rd of August rolling around: in 2012 that was my last day at work, a date which had seen so far away, that I had counted down to every day. The start of my maternity leave. This time last year, I was trying desperately to make the spare room into a space fit for a baby. I managed to make it clear enough for a bed, a cot and a chair and took delivery of these things and tried to make it nice. I moved into that room myself and slept there because the bed was marginally more comfortable than my own bed.

I crocheted three blankets and finished a fourth. I held them close to me and imagined wrapping my baby boy up in them and holding him close to me. I wondered if he would have hair. I wondered if he would have a birth mark, what day he would be born and whether my family would be able to visit straight away. I wondered if I would be able to do it. I worried about labour.

I watched The Great British Bake Off and The Midwives and Hairy Bikers Food Tour of Britain on iplayer. This morning, I watched the first episode of the second series of The Midwives on iplayerThese programmes have stayed with me so strongly! I watched episode 7 of the Bake Off while I was in labour before I went to the hospital. That these programmes are back on the telly, and that the weather is beginning it’s descent into Autumn really means that we have come through a full calendar year. Full circle.

The passing of time is a curious thing. We move ever forwards through time, yet it is also cyclical. Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. January to December. Monday to Sunday. Progress, and then back to the start yet still progressing. Never have I felt the passing of time so much as now. My little scan photo is no longer a pregnancy is no longer a bump is no longer a newborn baby is now almost one year old.

Now, September to September is my new measure. Birth to birthday this year, and after that I will no longer say “This time last year, I was pregnant”. I will say, “This time last year, you were born” or “This time last year, you went on the swings for the first time.” September the 21st will be a date that my son counts down to and anticipates and looks forward to and makes lists for and can’t get to sleep the night before. A birthday! So exciting. And that’s the significance that the date will hold for him. Birthday! Presents! Cake! Party! Cards! But for me, it will always be the day that I had my baby.

Tiny Tin Bird is eleven months old today, and of course next month he will turn One Whole Year Old. I thought I would feel sad about it, but I really don’t. He is amazing. I loved being pregnant (and was very sad to see the end of it, really), and while things were not easy, I loved having my baby. But he is so much more fun now! Again, still not easy, but I love him at this age! We have such fun together.

Perhaps one day I will feel sad that I don’t have my newborn baby any more. But right now, I feel that I appreciated and felt and loved and lived every moment that I could of that time. And that I try to do that every day. I reckon if I spend time feeling sad about things that have already happened then I won’t have enough time to make the most of NOW. Now is great. Really great. Better, oh so much better, than this time last year. I had no idea how much I would be changed by this kid.

Yes, I think on balance I’ll take “this time right now” over “this time last year”.



Things and Stuff

Things and stuff and bits of fluff. Blogging is weird. I want to cram everything in but I’m really behind and feel like I never get to do posts that are right in the moment anymore and my blog has become one long “What I did on my weekend” type thing. Which is nice for me as a diary but it’s not much fun to write. “We went here, we did this and ate that and here is a photo of a bee”.

At the moment, I just don’t have time for as much blogging as I like – I have lots to blog about but no time to write it. But that’s good, right? Because I’m filling my time with stuff, it feels like the balance is more in favour of doing stuff rather than documenting stuff. I’m sure it will change as the days get shorter and the weather colder (boo …).

I’ve decided to stop doing the “52 Weeks of Happy” posts, I can’t keep up with them and I stopped enjoying the format of them. I thought about doing them once a month but I’m so far behind I’m just going to stop because it was stressing me out thinking about them. I was getting to the point that I didn’t want to blog my normal content in case I used up one of my photos that I’d need for the “52 Weeks” posts! That’s just daft. I’m generally pretty happy these days :-)

Also I just want to say that I so appreciate your comments on my blog. I love reading them and they make me really happy. I love putting a post up and then checking my emails afterwards to see what people thought. I’m just going to come out and say this though: I’m really bad at replying. Really bad. I wish I had more time to reply but I just don’t. I’m really sorry. And I am also sorry if you’re still waiting for me to reply to an email and have given up all hope. Sorry to keep you waiting. I will get on it!

You might think, why is she so busy when she isn’t even at work? (Oh yes I decided not to return to work by the way) Well I would like to tell you that my days are full of really glamorous, busy things but in truth I do a lot of washing up, food shopping, washing, wiping, making sure everyone is fed, more washing up and then mopping the floor. I start doing TTB’s dinnertime at about 5 and then by the time he’s eaten and in the bath it’s after six, then bathtime takes aaaages until Andy gets home around 6:30 and then they have time together while we get him ready for bed, then do his bedtime story and get him to bed … and then when I finally get downstairs again at half past 7 I have to cook our dinner and then wash up again … you get the picture. Most nights I’m still running around doing jobs until I go to bed!

I spent an evening opening bunting parcels for Yarndale … oh so many triangles! People are so generous, it was quite an honour to help sort though them. I kept as many foreign stamps as I could so I can save them and give them to TTB when he is older.

I’m not complaining … but sometimes it’s hard to fit as many things in for myself as I would like. That’s just the way it is though and you kind of already know that your time will be limited when you decide to have a baby. I’m fiddling with the timings of TTB’s naps at the moment and trying to get him down to one long nap in the afternoon which gives me approximately two hours to get things done. At the moment I’ve been trying to full fill my yarnbombing commitments for Yarndale in this time, as well as trying to organise things for TTB’s first birthday which is fast approaching. He’s having two parties, one at my mum’s for family and then one at soft play here for our local friends. I thought I was well ahead of the game because I’d been thinking about it and pinning stuff for ages in advance but erm it turns out all I’ve done is tell my mum what cake I’d like her to make for him and decided that I want stripy straws. That’s not really a great deal! Also I really want to make his birthday cake (for his party here) myself, but now I’m panicking a bit because there’s quite a few people coming and my oven is tiny and doesn’t heat evenly. Argh!

In other news, TTB is still superfabulous and more amazing every day. I took him swimming for the first time last week! He LOVED it. No other word for it. I suspected he might, as he has always been a huge fan of bathtime, but as soon as I got him in the water he just started laughing and laughing and laughing and was so happy. He really wanted to hold onto the side and walk along the bottom (such a drag to need to be held by mum) by himself but he isn’t quite tall enough to do so without going under. I’m sure he is counting down the days until he is tall enough! He looked like he was trying to swim though, or at least crawl along the water. I need to get my own swimwear now, I borrowed a cossie from a very kind friend. I need a trip to Bravissimo!

TTB is getting so grown up now. I’m almost at the end of being able to call him a baby and keep a straight face. He’s almost walking and spends most of the day standing up on his own. He has taken about three steps at once, so he’s getting there but not quite enough to call it walking yet. He likes to stand up and play with things, hold things, find things, drink from his cup just because he CAN do so while standing. He is ridiculously cute. He is also the world’s cutest pest: he just LOVES to explore and I just let him get on with it. Remove anything dangerous or really damageable and then let him go. He is happiest like this, and while I do say “Not in your MOUTH!” about a hundred times a day it seems to work. He is great at unpacking things … boxes of clothes, bags of clothes, baskets, he can empty a clothes horse and likes to pull open drawers and scatter the contents around. He’s so funny. Remind me why I bought any toys? Just fill a bag full of socks and leave it hidden enough that he thinks he shouldn’t have it and he is happy.

As of this week he is able to put shapes in the shape sorter, he can say “dog” and “duck” which I know they sound similar but it’s always in context. He can clap his hands, he sings (!) when I do, he can find anything with a button on it and can turn on that little keyboard by himself and make it play the demo songs and press the drum buttons. He can feed himself from a pre-loaded spoon and fork, and is just on real food and formula milk now. He learnt to use his fingers for pointing a couple of weeks ago and now spends most of his time pointing at things and wanting me to take him to them/pass them to him. This is fun but a lot of the time he points to my ipad or my phone and then has a stroppy wobbler when I don’t let him have them.

He has slept through the night a few times now, which is something I thought would nevereverevereverever happen. We’ve had a bad week but he is suffering with his teeth something dreadful at the moment, poor little guy. We’ll get there!

The biggest news now though is that WE HAVE A SOFA! Ha! Yes! An actual sofa. I gave my red chair to a friend, we got rid of the rug and I made a real decluttering effort (this has been my 2013 mission and it’s going really well) and now we have a sofa. The dining room is actually quite a nice place to be now! It feels really good. A long time coming! I am trying to make the house nicer so I don’t feel so miserable when the clocks go back. I know that it contributed to how bad I felt last year after having TTB. This year I am making Autumn/Winter preparations! I am also going to treat myself to new pyjamas and knitwear, oh yes.