Friday, 23 May 2014

How to Spoil a Baby

I often read warnings or worries about spoiling babies. As far as I'm concerned there's only one way to spoil a baby.

It isn't with kisses and hugs and affection.
It isn't with comfort and singing and love.
It isn't by offering the breast as a solution
To sadness, boredom, hunger, or fear.

It isn't by rocking or feeding to sleep.
It isn't by sharing a bed, or by wearing a sling,
Really, the only way you can spoil a baby,
Is by storing it at the incorrect temperature.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

21/21 Days

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that 21 days ago I set myself a challenge. After realising that I was only leaving the house on weekends with Matt, or if I really needed something from the shops, I decided to leave the house every day for 21 days, because it takes 21 days to break or build a habit. I've suffered from agoraphobia in the past, it was quite severe and for a time I struggled to even go out to the washing line, so while I wasn't exactly afraid of going outside the house any more, I could feel myself falling into old habits and making excuses to stay in my safe place. I can't let that happen again, not now that it's not just me, I can't do that to Juni. 

So today was day 21. I did it. Getting dressed didn't feel overwhelming. I didn't even think to worry about June having an attention-drawing meltdown. I didn't freeze up when someone walked towards me. I didn't cross the street to avoid people. I just walked around my neighbourhood in the beautiful autumn sunshine with my baby strapped to my chest. 

It was so lovely doing this challenge in autumn, the changing colour of the leaves has been amazing. I walked past this tree nearly every day, it wasn't until I compared photos that I realised that winter is nearly here. 

I'm sure I won't leave the house every day from now on. No-one does, do they? I'll have grumpy days, sick days, and it's-just-too-cold-to-go-out days. But I'll be really trying to keep this habit, it's so good for my mental and physical health to get some fresh air and sunshine. Now to decide what my next challenge will be! 

Friday, 9 May 2014

Dear Juniper - 8 Months

Dear Juniper,

You are, this very minute, 8 months old.

We still call you a baby - "the baby", "that baby", "will this baby ever be quiet?!?" - but at this point we're just trying to convince ourselves. You're getting bigger, more mobile, and more independent all the time. In the last few weeks, you've started playing by yourself a lot more, and babbling to yourself as you do it. I love listening to your babble, filled with more and more consonant sounds as you learn to make new shapes with your tongue. I can't wait until you can talk to us; I always wonder what you're thinking, how you're feeling. It feels like you'll start any day now. In the meantime, you yell and shriek, shout and cry, and sometimes crawl around with your lips sucked in humming 'mmmm, mmmmm'. 

This month, you've decided that you don't like going to sleep. Each night I put you in the carrier and walk you around the hallway while your mother has her shower. I then slowly sneak into the bedroom and rock you for another fifteen minutes or so, then gently drop you into bed next mummy. You feed for another ten minutes, and about half the time you wake up again and Zoe has to rock you back to sleep again. Sometimes, you like to wake up at 2am and crawl around babbling and shouting to us. We call this "party time". When party time comes along, I oscillate between amusement and tired frustration. Even at 2am, your conversation is delightful!

It's starting to get cold in Canberra, and you and I are experiencing our first real winter together (your Mumma is made of tougher stuff, having grown up in chilly western Victoria). Wrapping you up warm enough is becoming more of a challenge, particularly as being dressed and undressed is one of your principal dislikes. You can be the happiest, smiliest baby in the world, but the moment we try to slip one of your limbs into or out of an item of clothing, you act like you've been pricked with a pin. Here's hoping you grow out of that one soon.

You are the light of our lives, the centre of our little family and our world. Our chief delight is watching you grow into yourself, physically and mentally, more and more as the weeks go by. When I come home from work, I'm always eager to hear about your day's exploits. I'm convinced that by the time the next one of these letters is written, you'll have taken your first steps (you're already a proficient furniture-cruiser). Then, we'll really regret moving into a home with stairs.

With love,