So with Bernie reaching 9 months last week and having been outside in the big old world nearly as long as he was inside my tummy for I thought I would recap his ‘firsts’ to date. There have been so many to choose from – he changes so much every day – but here are my top 5 favourites:
First Night at home
I was lucky in that I got to come home from the hospital the same day I gave birth so was there for about 7 hours in total! However, looking back, I do wonder if perhaps I should have stayed in overnight, if nothing else just to get my head around what had just happened!
Stef and I got home that evening and put Bernie in his little moses basket in the living room and we literally looked at each other and said ‘What now?!’ Bernie was just sleeping so I remember we ordered a Chinese and relaxed on the sofa and there was a sense of calm. The calm before the storm!! We naively thought Bernie would just keep sleeping and so we took the moses basket upstairs with us when we decided to go to bed. Right on cue Bernie woke up and started screaming. His first poo (that horrible, sticky, black stuff) was Stef’s to clean up (“How the hell do I clean that up?!” he exclaimed whilst, for some reason, laying Bernie on his changing mat on our beige carpeted bedroom floor!!).
After that little episode, we settled Bernie in his moses basket next to my side of the bed and turned the light off. But could we sleep? No! Every time he made a little noise we had to check on him. Then when he was silent, I would wonder why he wasn’t making a noise and have to check on him again! After about half an hour of this, he woke up and started crying. I duly fed him and tried to put him back down again but he just started crying. In fact, he would only stop crying whenever me or Stefan held him! It was then that we decided to do two hour shifts so that one of us could hold Bernie whilst the other slept. And that was the start of the longest night and most tiring couple of weeks I have ever experienced!
Ah we eagerly awaited this one!! This was so much more than just a smile as far as I was concerned. It was evidence that he recognised us as his Mummy and Daddy and that that fact made him happy! Of course, for the first couple of months what looked like smiles were just his little signal to us that his tummy was full of bubbles (‘so be prepared Mummy, there’s a poop on the way!’). That faint, sleepy glimmer of a smile where the corners of his little mouth turned upwards was so cute. He would look so content! Despite knowing it was just wind, I still liked to pretend that he was actually smiling.
That first proper smile though – it blew me away! It literally seemed to reach his eyes. The love behind that smile was etched all over his face. I don’t think I will ever forget that!
First time he rolled over
This was a big one for us. He was about 5 months old and everyone else’s baby seemed to have been rolling around since they were 3 months. I know you shouldn’t do it as, it is so true, every baby develops at their own pace, but it is hard not to compare your baby with others. Especially when it’s your first baby and babies younger than yours are ticking off all these milestones already. But he did eventually roll!
Bernie was lying on his ‘under the sea’ themed playgym after he had had his first feed of the day and I had just popped into the kitchen to take my empty cup out. As I walked back in I saw him propped up on his side so I decided to quietly just watch him from the doorway and, all of a sudden, ‘poomph’, he was on his back! I rushed over to him, overjoyed and gushing like a mad person. He just stared at me with a look of utter bewilderment as if to say “What are you doing Mum – that’s a bit over the top isn’t it?! All I did was roll over”. Needless to say I was sat there with my phone in my hand for the next half hour trying to capture it on camera! Luckily, I did manage to film it and it was a good job too as he didn’t do it again for another month!
First night in his own room
I was absolutely dreading this one! When he got too big for his moses basket at about 3 months, we bought a crib just so he could continue sleeping in our room. I just wasn’t ready for this next big milestone! He was still so small and the fact that I could simply roll over at night, hear his breathing or feel his chest rise up and down, and then nod back off to sleep was reassuring. Whilst his room would only be on the other side of the wall, it felt like it was much further away. And I didn’t feel like the baby monitor would enable me to hear him when I was sleeping.
When he was about 6½ months old, however, I knew that we really should try and introduce him to his own room. We bought a video monitor just to put my mind at ease (by the way, how bright is the screen on those things – our room felt like the floodlights from Anfield had just been turned on in there!). I had to put an old mobile phone cover up over the screen to try and dim the light a little. I didn’t sleep much that first night, or really for that first week. I was so paranoid and the video monitor was both a blessing and a curse in that it was great that I could keep an eye on him but the fact I could just sneak a peek meant I kept getting up to do exactly that! Probably more so than if I had had to physically get up and go into his room to check him.!
Turns out, moving Bernie into his own room was the best thing we did. He started sleeping much better (we must have been disturbing him with snoring (Stefan obviously!) and turning over in bed etc) and he had more room to stretch out in his cot. Now it is like second nature (though I can’t help but occasionally sneak a peak at the screen).
This particular milestone was literally reached this week!! Again, another eagerly awaited one as everyone else’s baby seems to have had their first tooth through. I had actually seriously started to wonder whether he was going to get any teeth at all. Has a baby ever not grown teeth? Will he grow up toothless, requiring a set of false teeth at the age of 2?! Yep, another one of the ridiculous thoughts that enter the brain of a paranoid mum, yet that actually seems like a real possibility at the time!
It has felt like he has been teething since he was about 3 months, what with all the hand chewing, dribbling and waking at night. And perhaps there has been niggling in his gums all this time. We bought him one of those amber teething anklets and as he had never been particularly bad with teething I had assumed perhaps it was working. As a result he has had it on almost continuously for about 6 months! Last Sunday night was a rough night however. He woke up screaming every couple of hours and you could just tell he was in pain! It was horrid as there was nothing we could do apart from giving him Calpol, teething granules and lots of cuddles. But, lo and behold, by the next morning there was a little tooth poking out of the bottom gum. At least we only had one really bad night of it (so far!). Perhaps the teething anklet has been working?
At least there was something to show at the end of our night of horror! I don’t mind it so much when there is a purpose behind all the crying!
So those are my Top 5 moments so far. I’m sure there will be many more ‘firsts. For example, he is not crawling yet, nor standing up, or walking or talking. There will be his first day at nursery, my first day back at work! But I will definitely be cherishing them all – good and bad!