At the moment, my sister-in-law, Nurse Rachel, is staying with us. Although I didn't really feel up to entertaining when I was so poorly at the beginning of the week; her stay has been very timely as she's been able to help when I've been exhausted. An extra pair of hands goes a long way with an almost-toddler.
Friday started, as Fridays do, with a mad rush to get out the house and round the corner for our village mother and baby group. At the moment, all our activities seem to coincide with J-cub's preferred nap-times, which makes me a bit edgy. Usual morning nap time = 10am. Baby group = 10am.
I loaded him (screaming) into the buggy, and walked round to the community centre. We got in early, while the lovely lady who runs it, H, was just setting up the chairs. We chatted about swine flu and jabs while I gave J-cub his bottle, then I tried to rock/buggy him to sleep. He was having none of it, so I popped him on the floor to play.
And play he did, loving the freedom to crawl at top speed around the floor, and pull himself up on chairs, and steal other babies' toys/cups/biscuits. He eventually ran out of steam after an hour, and I tried to get him off to sleep again. And he SCREAMED. And screamed, and screamed. The toddlers came and peered at him, conversation politely rose an extra notch to try and drown him out.
I ran out of all hope of getting him settled, and started to gather my things to leave, throwing hasty apologies over my shoulder. I managed to drag the buggy out of the awkward heavy doors, and burst into tears.
The last several times we've been to this baby group, the same has happened. Other people don't seem to have this problem; I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I think maybe Jacob is just at an awkward in-between stage - he's not like the littler babies who just fall asleep in their mummies' arms, and he's not like the toddlers, who just keep going. It's hard not to feel like I'm being a bad mum though, when I don't see anyone else leaving in tears.
At home, we resorted to In The Night Garden for a little while, then he happily fell asleep without another peep. Maybe it's just the comfort of home he needs.
On Friday afternoons we go to Water Babies, which I'm a bit iffy about at the moment. It's very expensive, but as it's the only paid-for activity we do it doesn't seem too bad. The problem is that for 3 terms, we've been in pools which don't meet the criteria they set out (too deep, too cold), which make for a potentially unsafe, and unpleasant experience. There's nothing worse that getting changed in a cold changing room, and going into a cold pool, where your baby slowly turns blue, only to have to get back out and change in the cold changing rooms again. I missed 4 or 5 weeks over Christmas, due to illness, Christmas itself and just not wanting to go because of the cold.
J-cub didn't really deal with the break well, and when we went back last week for the first time (to a new, almost warmer pool), he was a new, fiercely independent crawling baby, and was having none of it. He didn't want to let go of me, he didn't want to hold the side, he panicked when doing the exercises we've been doing week in, week out since he was 12 weeks old.
I told them after last week's lesson that I didn't want to continue any more, and they hooked me back in by offering next term at half-price. I went back this week to make up my mind, and J-cub was like a different baby. He shrieked with laughter when we got in the pool, he did safe hold-ons (to the side of the pool) while I let go and stepped back several paces, he enjoyed every second of it. That lasted all the way through me getting dressed while he sat and read his book naked on the bench (nice warm changing rooms today), until I started to get him dressed. When he SCREAMED. And screamed, and screamed. We managed to shoehorn him into half of his dungarees, gave up on his jumper, coat, and shoes, threw him in the general direction of the car and left.
He fell asleep in the car, stayed asleep while I carried him in and put him in his cot, and we heaved a sigh of relief.
The rest of the day, he was a little angel. We played amazing new games of chase, with him giving delighted chuckles when he saw me coming, hide and seek (he's very good at seeking, not so good at the hiding), cruising (all new skill), catch (he learned to get his ball when I say "let's play catch!"), and climbing onto the sofa. He started reaching for me when I said "cuddle?" and giggling like crazy when I kissed his neck. He also signed 'more' for the first time (for a cherry tomato).
But it was with a massive sigh of relief that I put him to bed and got cracking with the sewing machine.
I still need to get photos taken, then you can see my amazing handiwork.
Day 53: Mission complete.