Little cub, big cot – my mixed emotions as Sonny moves into his own room…

When your baby is a bawling newborn, you long for the day when your blessed bundle will go into his or her own room. There are many schools of thought as to the ‘right time’ for this, if there is such a thing. As a new mum, I made the decision to stick to the recommended six months. But, inevitably, you’ll just do what works for you and your family. Your instinct will never lead you far wrong, I’ve found. But, as the time came for him to go into his room (which has been ready since before he was born), I came up a myriad of reasons to delay it. I’d gotten used to his soft, even breathing being the last thing I heard before drifting off. Seven months in and my husband said, “it’s time”. Of course, he was right – I don’t (never) usually admit to this.

I’d agonised over which baby monitor to get, one with video or just audio. Eventually, after looking at the options, I went with audio and I’m surprised by how incredibly sensitive it is. I can hear when he is rustling about in his sleep and I love that. Sonny going into his own room has totally changed our evenings. Before, we placed him in a Moses basket in our living room, bringing him up to our room when we retired, usually around 11pm. Now, I can eat dinner and watch TV with my hubby. I’m still thinking of our little one, but it feels right to have a little time to myself. Now, he’s in his bed for 7pm. I’m not quite sure how the heck I have managed this but he’s sleeping until 7am.

The first night, I put him in his snug sleeping bag and gently placed him in his adorable cot bed. He looked so small. Sonny however, seemed to like being able to starfish, (who doesn’t?!). He pulled his grey fluffy bunny to his face and sucked on his soother. I pressed the leg of Ewan the dream sheep, something I’ve done since we brought him home, and tip toed out of his room, leaving the door ajar. My mind raced, I couldn’t go to sleep, thinking of him, so tiny in his big bed. He couldn’t have cared less and actually slept like a baby (or my husband, to be precise). I did manage to sleep that night in short blocks as I got up to check in on him throughout the night. I’ve self-diagnosed myself with Nocturia, something which has me up at least three times in the night. Ironically, it’s something I’m grateful for now, as I’d be nervous of sleeping so deeply that I didn’t wake up at all. This way, I know my bladder will keep me alert.

I woke up the next morning, the baby monitor crackling with Sonny’s movements as he roused, unfurling slowly. Then comes the soft, sweet babbling, “da da da, ba ba ba”. I’ve noticed he only enunciates “ma ma ma” when he’s hungry, needs his nappy changed or is generally annoyed. Another joy of motherhood. I peel myself out of bed and pad softly into the nursery. He beams at me from a lying position in his cot, not able to pull himself up into the sitting position just yet. His plump skin is pink, his beautiful big eyes wide and bright, he grins at me with chubby arms stretched for me to lift him. I gently pull him out of his sleeping bag and scoop him up in my arms. I pull him close and he buries his gorgeous little head in my neck. I missed him. How can that even be possible? He’s still only a few feet from our bed.

I don’t know how I’ll cope when I return to work and he goes to nursery. The bond with your child is so incredibly strong. Still, motherhood is really hard, there’s no sugar coating it. In my late thirties, I don’t have the energy I once had. There are days that I feel pushed to my limits, frazzled, depleted, exhausted. But, I wouldn’t change a thing. Becoming a mum has been the making of me.

I know there will be many more milestones to come, and each will present their own difficulties. This week has been quite hard. He’s going through another developmental leap and he’s teething. He just wants to be held, which of course, I’m more than happy to do. This week has brought me back to when he was a newborn, depending on me so absolutely. Although I sleepwalked through those first few months, I adored holding him, skin to skin, on my chest. He’s a bit too big for that now, but as I’m climbing the stairs to put him down in his own room and he snuggles into me, it’s the best feeling in the world.

Sing and Sign teaches you the magic of communicating with your baby before speech

Having a baby opens up a whole new world of learning for both you and your pint-sized human. As a new mum, I’ve loved trying out lots of different classes, which have been both entertaining and educational for us both. The most recent class we’ve gone to is Sing and Sign Belfast. Sasha Felix started the classes 18 years ago with the help of Speech and Language experts for her daughter Francesca (now a successful singer). Little Francesca’s adorable childhood cuddly toy Jessie is now the mascot for the multi-award winning programme. Katherine, who teaches Sing and Sign, is a devoted mum-of-three and has been running classes herself for two years. Incredibly patient and gentle, she brought her son Oliver to classes when he was just eight months old and she jumped at the opportunity to become a Sing and Sign teacher. She told me that it was so exciting when little Oliver used his first sign – an aeroplane. “I saw the magic of him being able to communicate with me by spontaneously telling me what he could see and wanted me to know.” Babies use all kinds of signs and gestures as a natural way of learning to talk. Encouraging your baby with extra signs like ‘milk’, ‘more’, ‘change nappy’ or ‘tired’ will help your baby communicate – and hopefully save you both some tears! The benefits of signing are many – from helping to understand your baby’s needs, building confidence and self esteem and encouraging the development of speech. Sing and Sign teaches keyword signing (always¬†with the spoken word)¬†at the one-word level, which is appropriate to the age group. The signs are used widely by nurseries and schools across the UK.

Fluffy duck…

It was a freezing morning we set off to Cooke Hall on the Ormeau road it but so worth it. There were lots of mums with their adorable tots and it was great to see them interact with their babies using sign. Let’s face it, life would be so much easier if babies could tell you what they wanted. They cry a lot. It must be incredibly frustrating for tiny humans (and mums) for them only to be able to express themselves through crying and screaming. However, using very simple signs when speaking to your baby can help them let you know when they want more food, they’ve had enough, although the latter will probably never happen!

Katherine said that sounds like ‘vroom’, ‘choo-choo’ and ‘ding ding’ are especially beneficial, enabling your little one make associations between sounds and things, in this case, a motorbike, train and bike. It’s also important to teach baby to point and wave ‘bye-bye’. The sign for the week was ‘peek-a-boo’, which Sonny loves! There were lots of sing-along songs too, of course, and playing with instruments (Sonny commandeered a maraca) and cute soft toys. There was even a song with the lyric ‘don’t wipe your nose on the sofa’, which made me grin. Katherine says, “It’s not about being negative, it’s about learning the concept of no and “you have to stop”. She recommends using just one sign for a sentence. There are lots of other songs too like ‘Change Your Nappy’, ‘More to Drink, More to Eat’, and ‘Three Little Monkeys’. Don’t worry if you can’t sing, it’s all about taking part and it’s a great mood booster.

Sonny is almost eight months, becoming more animated by the day, he’s sitting upright without any help, bum shuffling, even attempting to crawl. His main form of communication is by screeching at the top of his lungs. He looked like he enjoyed interacting with the other babies, (lots of cute gummy grins) and hopefully not a sign of what’s to come – had his tiny chubby hand nonchalantly on the the leg of the lovely mummy beside me! Well, he certainly seems to enjoy female company.

Making full use of the toys at before the start of the class!

The feedback for the classes is really positive. On the Sing and Sign Facebook page, mums are full of praise and describe the classes as “wonderful”, “enjoyable” and “so rewarding”. I concur with all of these glowing adjectives. I’m already using signs for ‘milk’ and ‘tired’ for Sonny. He is a bit bemused by my hand signals at the moment but I’m going to keep it up and hopefully soon he’ll be able to communicate with me that way other rather than by opening his mouth as wide as it goes and screaming, while big droplets roll down his cheeks. It hurts my heart even writing that. I love that the sign for his name is the sun. I could also use the sign for ‘s’ but the sign for the sun is so much cuter. He really is a sunny boy.

There are sing and sign classes for babies six months and under which involve lots of eye contact and nursery rhymes. The classes are also suitable for babies and children with hearing difficulties. I couldn’t recommend them enough.

Sonny meets Jessie.

For more information and to book visit:

https://www.singandsign.co.uk/

Oops… there goes gravity

I’m on my last few weeks of maternity leave and trying to get myself back in the mindset of Dolly Parton and the 9 to 5. Let me get one thing straight – maternity leave is no holiday. You are responsible for keeping a tiny human alive. It’s a bloody hard job. But, it’s a really rewarding one. I can’t quite believe how quickly the time has gone. Sonny will be be eight months and a bit when I return to the office, part-time. My heart is already breaking at the thought of leaving him to ease myself back into the working world. On the really rough days, you fantasise about having a day, or holy shit, a night to yourself. Me and hubby have had a few evenings off, but all you do is talk about your little human, wriggling and (probably) wailing at home in the care of your loved ones.

It’s a very personal decision for every woman whether or not to return to work. For me, at least, it is a financial necessity. But, it’s also a way for me to retain some aspect of me, the me before I had Sonny. I’ve drifted into journalism as a career path, but it will never make me a millionaire. While I love the freedom that money gives you, it’s never been my god. Certainly, as I grow older and become more comfortable in my skin, I know, the most important thing in your life is the people that are in it. As a good friend once said to me, “everything else is just stuff”.

Still, I have fire in my belly. I am ambitious and passionate and I know I’ve a lot to give this world. I’ve coasted a lot throughout my 20’s and 30’s and there’s nothing wrong with that. I just know that I’m more than a sum of my parts. I can be a great mum and a woman with a career. That’s important to me. I think it’s a lot down to my mother, who has always encouraged us to work hard, and follow our hearts. “The world is your oyster,” she has said again and again.

That all said, my heart is breaking at the thought of leaving Sonny to nursery. My little baby who is fast becoming a little boy. I treasure every second with you, my love, your cries, your sighs, your giggles, your snores. I adore you with everything that I am. I don’t want to miss a thing… and before I start sounding like an Aerosmith record, I’ll tear myself back from the brink, and know that what I’m doing is the right thing. It’s hard, bursting that perfectly imperfect bubble of motherhood, the lazy mornings where it’s just you and me, you pushing your tiny fingers into my face, staring into my eyes, giggling at me pulling silly faces.

Yes, it’s time to face the next chapter, where I return to work and you, Sonny, become a little boy. I am so, so proud of the beautiful, bright and funny little guy that you becoming, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life making you happy and helping you become a good man. To do that though, I also need to look after me. I’ll be a better mum if I am fulfilling my dreams, although, even I do nothing than be your mum, I’ve won the lottery a million times.

My sun, moon and star boy…


Snot, sneezes, sore limbs and winning a Pampers campaign!

I’ve lots to tell you. Top of the list, Sonny boy is seven months old. His bottom two front teeth have cut through and should make their much anticipated appearance soon. I want him to have his squishy, chubby cheeks forever though. On a lower note, Sonny and I have the cold. While he has no idea he what is going down with his bodily functions, my heart hurts when I see his eyes streaming, his little nose running with a consistant stream of snot and his little coughs that get him so confused. While he is improving, thankfully, I’m still feeling like I’ve been hit by a train. I’ve had asthma for 20 years and every now and then, it flares up, usually if I’m anxious or when I catch a cold. Having a young baby is exhausting but it’s even more so when you’re sub power. I really need to get juicing and drinking two litres of water every day. Yeah, right. Who am I kidding?

How is it possible to look this cute with this much drool?

Speaking of good intentions, me and a lovely friend I met at a pregnancy yoga class went to pram fit in Ormeau Park. Now, I thought this was a brisk walk around the park with our prams. How wrong was I? Squats, walking lunges and dead lifts. It started off with jogging with the prams, that was quite fun, but the rest was, well, gruelling and I wasn’t even giving it my all. I blame the fact that I hadn’t had breakfast, while my plucky friend was bouncing from one activity to another. It was great craic though, it was a beautiful, brisk, sunny day, my favourite. I must have been doing something right though, I was bloody sore for the next two days meaning I had to descend the stairs on my bum. Obviously, with Sonny, I just had to yelp my way down. No pain, no gain but I hate pain. I definitely want to do it again though, and I’ve also signed up to JogBelfast, I must be mad.

It’s definitely been another challenging week but there are still so many moments of pure joy to be savoured. Even if it’s been a crap day, there’s still much to be grateful for. When I stumble across a plastic toy in my bare feet for the umpteenth time, emitting its tinny din, hurl my vomit and food splattered clothes in the full to burst laundry basket at the end of the day, I know that I’m a mother, and even if all I’ve done is cuddle Sonny a little bit tighter and wipe his snotty nose, I know that’s a good day.

All is forgiven when I see this face…

#Thank YouMidwife

I was really thrilled to win a UK-wide campaign in association with Pampers. I had an amazing experience at the Ulster Hospital, giving birth to my beautiful boy. My Instagram post had an impact and I was delighted to be declared overall winner and was the very happy recipient of John Lewis vouchers, nice timing as I really need new cushions!

Welcome to the world Sonny boy

And finally…

I’m very excited to be road testing delicious Babease baby food. Stay tuned to see how Sonny gets on!

I am the captain of my ship…

Lots of love, Davina and Sonny xx

Do I love you Sonny boy? Oh baby, mountain deep and river high…

Or is that the other way around? I blame the broken sleep and general drained feeling. January is in full throttle, and so is my son. He’s galloping through milestones and becoming louder and louder by the day. It’s amazing… and bloody exhausting. He’s past the six month mark now and he’s sitting up like a pro and showing the very early stages of crawling. Each new stage brings fresh challenges. The early days were just about surviving while now, it’s about keeping up with his endless demands. He has boundless energy, and now that he’s eating, it’s more work… and washing. It’s still amazing to me that he can go through such an extreme range of emotions in about 10 seconds – from squealing in delight to inconsolable crying. I used to be the emotional one around here…

While he’s overall a really good and fun baby, he’s still a tiny person who can only express himself through crying. That sound, is still like a dagger through my heart. Especially the kind where he wails like you’ve taken away his favourite teddy, or rabbit in Sonny’s case. He’s also waking up in the wee hours to do body pops and throw his dummy out of his cot. He’s still in our bedroom. I’m nervous of putting such a little person into a big room, all by himself. I know modern technology caters for such situations but I like him to be close to me. To hear his shallow breathing, his little grunts, even his snores. To my right, I have my sound asleep husband, who could snooze through an earthquake and to my right, our baby, not sleeping like one. Oh, sidenote – that saying is rubbish.

While I’m getting more sleep, it’s still very broken, I usually see every hour, getting up to use the loo and peek in at Sonny. I’ve been having crazy dreams too, from the bizarre to the disturbed. I dreamt I was Meghan Markle’s bridesmaid and that the dress (a pink satin number – eugh) didn’t fit, it was quite a fun dream – though maybe I need stop to stop snacking on the Quality Street and the sweet remains of Christmas. Then, just last night, I was in some kind of horror movie, although that could have something to do with me watching Bird Box and Les Miserables. Watching anything scary or sad really stays with me and can shift my mood for days sometimes. But we all do stuff we shouldn’t, right?

Having a baby is like a landslide, you don’t recognise the new landscape it creates and you forget about what it looked like before. Every step is one into the unknown, you’ve only got your wits to rely on and no amount of equipment is going to do the job for you. And once you get your footing, another natural event occurs, thrusting you back into uneven terrain. But, as with every ascent, there is a reward at the end, in a rock climber’s case, a stunning panoramic view and in a parent’s case, a different human being. I love that I have the privilege of helping shape the life of a person. I know it’s the most important job I’ll ever do, it doesn’t pay but it’s the most rewarding.

Oh, almost forgot to mention, a tiny tooth is starting to cut through on the bottom. Where’s my helmet?

Morning hair pulls are just the best, and yes, I have no makeup on! He doesn’t judge me, yet.



We got you 2019!

Last year was amazing. I created life. I’m feeling the best I’ve ever felt despite sleepless nights and the challenges motherhood presents. As 2019 loads, here’s what I’m hoping for…

Mum’s the word!

I want to be the best mum I can be. I’m fairly new to this gig but so far have managed to keep a tiny human alive and thriving. I want to continue in that quest to raise a healthy and happy boy.

Have a little patience…

It’s a thing that is in short supply when you’re a mother, especially a new one. You find yourself with a shorter fuse thanks to lack of or broken sleep, the never-ending list of tasks, the annoying habits of your hubby etc. I want to be more patient in 2019.

Smile darn ya, smile!

It’s the prettiest thing you own. I catch myself in a perma-frown most of the time. It feels good to smile, to laugh. I studiously avoid people’s gaze when I’m out and about, unless I have a full face of makeup. But, smiling is contagious. You’ll brighten up someone’s day by exchanging a smile and maybe even your own. That said, I definitely smile more now that Sonny is around.

Eat cleaner, drink greener.

Most of us will make a resolution to eat better and cut down on the booze. I want to eat better, not just for me but so I’m fit and healthy for my son. I also need to cut back on the adult grape juice, for my liver and clarity of mind.

Money’s too tight to mention.

We’re all chasing more money, for the opportunities it affords. I need to be better with my finances. I’ve never been frugal and yet somehow I’ve ended up marrying a financial advisor! I’m an impulsive creature and can’t resist online shopping for clothes and accessories. That has been dramatically curbed now I have a baby and now, I’m buying outfits and accessories for him. Oh, a lotto win would be nice.

Be more organised

Hands up – I’m not blessed with organisational skills. That’s not to say I can’t get my shit together when I need to. I’ve adapted to becoming a mother and the challenges that presents. What I’m really struggling with now is keeping up with the housework. I grimace when I see the tower of dirty laundry every morning. I groan at the constant dishes, constant sterilising Sonny’s bottles and eating apparatus. Damn, it’s hard. But I know I just need to figure out a system in my head and I’ll be fine… any tips would be welcome!

Feel the fear but do it anyway.

I think you become more fearless as you grow older. You care much less about what people think and become more comfortable with who you are. I want to chase my dreams this year. I’m feeling strong, happy and focused. This is going to be my year.

What are your hopes and dreams for 2019? Let me know in the comments below.

A very happy and prosperous New Year from Sonny and me. 

Dx

All I Want for Christmas, by Sonny

So mum, I know I’m going to get loads and loads of presents but here’s what I really, really want for Christmas…

Milk

It’s really yummy and I can’t get enough of it. I especially like when I can lie back and do a starfish and not make any effort to hold the bottle. More of that good stuff. Keep it flowing.

Fruit

You’ve started giving me mushy fruit and stuff. It’s okay I guess, I kind of like apples, pears and strawberries but I’m not keen on blueberries or carrots. They’re weird. Does anyone even like them? I also like doing a mic drop with my spoon and smearing food all over my face and hands. That’s fun. And don’t even think about eating if I’m not. That’s so not cool!

The Remote Control

Basically anything that I’m not allowed. It’s fun to change channels when you’re watching something you like. I also like tinfoil, crisp packets and zips. Not fussy really.

Hair

Why can’t you wear your hair down all the time mum? I like seeing you wince when I pull it. It’s also good to suck on.

My Dummy

I want you to always be on hand to put it in when it falls out of my mouth. It’s annoying and far too much effort to put it back in my mouth myself. Yes, I know I pull it out myself, but, come on, I’m a baby!

Sleep

I love sleeping. I’m a baby. I’d like you to respect this by being quiet when I have my afternoon naps and please do not make any sounds during the nighttime. Breathing is permitted, if you must.

Cuddles

Not too tight please, just enough so I can feel nice and cosy. Don’t put me down even when your arms start to hurt.

Rude Noises

Belching, wretching, fart sounds. The ruder the better! Does this make me a proper bloke? Hope so.

The Cat

I like fluffy stuff so it’s annoying when the silly cat jumps off when I grab it.

Hanging Upside Down

This is a lot of fun for me, I don’t care if it hurts your arms. Whatever.

If you adhere to the above, I guess I’ll wish you a happy Christmas. Not happier than mine obviously.

Also, I still want new toys that I can play with for five minutes before getting bored and nice new clothes that I can vomit on. And I’m going to get you back for dressing me as a pudding.

Sonny x