I realise by now that probably no one is visiting this blog as I’m updating it once a month, but I guess while we settle back into “normal” life (and by “normal” I mean not entirely consumed with baby-related stuff), the important thing for me is to keep this blog as a journal about O’s growing up. ‘Cause it’s true, we mums forget everything. I used to think it was outrageous how all the mums I knew couldn’t remember important things like when their kids started sleeping through the night, or how often they fed during the day, and to be honest, at this point I can’t barely remember either.
So what’s been going on the past month? She’s crawling faster and faster. She cruises around the furniture and constantly chases Nick, the house cat, who’s learning not to be annoyed at her pulling his tail on a daily basis. We no longer spend lovely afternoons in cool cafés because she hates being stuck in the pram, or sitting on my lap or in high-chairs. It’s a lost battle: trying to have a conversation and a mug of tea while your kid is throwing stuff on the floor, wriggling itself out of the high-chair/buggy/your lap, and crawling and picking up bits of dirt from behind chairs is not fun. We NEED larger areas with soft and colourful STUFF around, which is why we’re now fresh members of a whole new club: that of playgroups.
I used to read all those women’s mags features about the codes and rules of parents socialising in playgroups, and always thought to myself “nah, I won’t make friends with people just because our kids play in the same sandpit.” But OH, THE PRESSURE. There’s no escaping small-talk because your kids DO PLAY IN THE SAME SANDPIT, and when one of them steals the other’s toy or slap another in the forehead, one must step in and apologise, otherwise you’re a bad parent. In fact, if you choose not to follow your kid around like a robot while she’s learning to climb square cushions, choosing instead to sit quietly and scroll down your twitter feed while glancing up from afar to see if the little creature isn’t eating someone else’s shoes, you’re made to feel a bad parent. Or is it just me? The other day all these mums where exhaustingly chasing and talking to their offspring before grabbing the poor sods to share together a basket of organic apples while I watched. I thought to myself, “If I’m bringing O here every week, am I going to MAKE FRIENDS with these women? When O makes friends with other kids, will I have to be friends with their parents too? Can I just ignore them all, kids included, and curl up with a book in the corner?”
It reminded me of Pamela Druckerman’s book about raising kids in France. There, parents leave their kids alone to play and slap each other at their hearts’ content while adults blissfully watch from afar, sometimes mingling, sometimes politely ignoring each other. Their kids grow up to be independent, thoughtful souls with brilliant manners and very little body fat – and it made me seriously consider moving to France. It won’t happen, of course, but suddenly I’ve realised I’m facing a decade of inner battles and conscience-raiding while navigating the middle-class child-rearing realm (this sounds very up-my-own-arse, I know).
In other news, we’ve had to go back to sleep training, as she started waking up in the middle of the night for several stupid reasons like teething, hunger, and colds. They were all piling up on top of each other, and of course that by this time she can stand up and scream till my ears explode. No point in ignoring her/leaving her to cry because she would just bang her head on the cot’s railings while trying to crawl/stand-up. It became a never ending series of picking-up and rocking-to-sleep several times at night, making me feel like we had regressed back to the beginning when she had 2-hourly needs and I was a bleary-eyed mess. Then last week I found the perfect solution: a travel cot. She could throw herself head on within it’s confined walls, and no brain damage would happen, making it the most amazing purchase I’ve done since EVER. We’re now back to blissful sleep in separate beds and the art of self-soothing. Worked wonders.
Oh, yes. And she fell off our bed again. So we now sleep on the floor, until she learns to climb it down. *sigh*