The First Days With Baby Dexter The First Days With Baby DexterThe First Days With Baby Dexter The First Days With Baby Dexter The First Days With Baby Dexter

The First Days With Baby Dexter The First Days With Baby Dexter The First Days With Baby DexterThe First Days With Baby Dexter

The first days with Baby Dexter went by in a heartbeat. Why is it that your best moments go by so fast? I found myself throwing myself into every single second to try and absorb this precious time with every part of me. I stopped looking at my phone, I stopped knowing the time and I stopped thinking about anything other than him and my little family.

I let myself relax under the heavy cuddles of his relaxed body against my chest as he slept there. I fed him on demand and held onto both of his hands while he did. I stroked them as he gripped my thumbs for comfort. It was the sweetest thing and I hoped that it would be one of the lovely things about our breastfeeding journey that would stay, so I wouldn’t have the chance to forget it in time. I stroked his hair when he looked sleepy. His fine, dark hair with a reddish tint, and a thick tuft of it at the back of his perfect, little head.

I watched his eyes roll around when he had wind and I loved to watch his smile break across his beautiful face too. I know that it was because he needed burping… but it was like a sneak preview of his smile to come. Not that I was wishing the days away. I was perfectly happy resting in these moments. Breathing in that new baby smell. One that I would happily keep in a bottle. The best smell in the whole world.

I spent hours studying his face. Touching his pure, soft skin. I closed my eyes and traced over his eyebrows with my finger. Traced over his squidgy lips that drooped down at one side when he was asleep or relaxed. Brushed against the fair covering of baby hair covering his cheeks, knowing that one day I would look and it would be gone without me having noticed. I wanted to know him like this, with all of my senses. I wanted to keep all of the ‘Dexi being just like this’ moments, banked in my memory. I want to remember and know everything about him. I need to know exactly who he is right from the beginning. I need to so that in the moments that he loses himself as he grows… I can remind him just how special, how wonderful he is in the way that only his mother can.

Looking at him exist was the best way that I could have spent my time. I pondered over the colour of his dark blue eyes and wondered if they would stay that way or even lighten like his Papa and his big sister. I ran my nose up and down his, pausing for a while at the bottom by his cupids bow, just above his lips to feel his milky breath hit my face. I gave him eskimo kisses and kissed him on the tip of his nose, when I had a spare few seconds. I said ‘bless you’ excitedly, when he sneezed… which was often and due to his new environment but oh so sweet. I massaged his eyelids incredibly gently when he looked tired and I loved the way that one of his eyes always appeared to be spying on me from a squint, while the other was wide open, a little like Popeye. The way that his head bobbed at my chest for food made me smile too… and then it made me panic that he was too hungry because I had read something somewhere about knowing the signs, so that your baby doesn’t cry with hunger. I DID NOT want my baby to cry… or to be too hungry.

He did cry though… sometimes! In fact, he had staying power… a set of lungs on him, some would say! It was a sound that broke my heart in a second. So I desperately tried to learn which cry meant what. I tried to learn fast. The thought of him being unhappy, even for the smallest moment, hurt me. I had promised him the happiest life… and I don’t break promises! I figured out fast that he liked his feet to be held and massaged to settle him well. He liked to be cradled tightly and close to my chest… doing this as I walked, bobbing him as I went was an all time win.

The crying was something else entirely when compared to ‘The Fear’ though.

The fear that comes with giving birth to a newborn baby, a life, a human, your flesh and blood, who you would do anything for… It’s overwhelming and fierce. You just want to raise them well, have a healthy, happy baby and be a good mother. And I don’t think it matters if you have one baby, three babies or twelve… The first few days after bringing them in to the world, is really scary.

I quickly realised that co-sleeping would suit us for right now. My need to check Dexter while he napped and slept was almost ridiculous but I had to know that he was okay, wasn’t laying in sick, hadn’t kicked his covers off, wasn’t too hot, wasn’t too cold and was breathing well. I had to check that he didn’t need me. Sleep came last. Having him close by made me more relaxed and content, which was better for us all. It was our way of having it all. Peace of mind, a little rest, perfect cuddles and a wonderful bonding experience.

Back to the fear…

Once the cord came off on day five, we bathed him for the first time. Honestly, getting the temperature right was hard work. We used the thermometer, googled the temperature, googled it again, felt the water with our elbows, googled it again, wondered if the thermometer was broken, swore because it was definitely broken, decided it wasn’t broken, added cold, added hot, googled the perfect temperature yet again and then decided it was okay to put our newborn baby in the bath, which he hated… but that is for another time!

In the heat of the summer, I worried about Dexter being too hot, too cold. I put clothes on him, took them off again… put them on and took them off… again! We had never had a baby who was naturally hot like Dexi. He is going to be a dream to snuggle with in the winter months, a perfect heater. But in the Summer… It was scary. It made him upset because he just wanted a cuddle but didn’t want to be held. In the end, I surrendered to stripping him off, laying him down and holding his hands or holding his feet to let him know that I was close by.

Close by? Ha! When wasn’t I? I missed him when I left the room to pee…

The day that he projectile vomited all over me two times was awful. He screamed for half an hour and I was pacing the room with my sweaty little beauty in my arms. I had the phone on my bed, ready to call an ambulance and Matt was looking up his symptoms online. P.S. Any new mama’s reading this… NEVER do that! I was convinced within three minutes that our baby was really poorly and it made me very upset. Thankfully my maternal instincts kicked in and I realised that I knew what was wrong and how to make him better. It was from that moment that I started to find my stride with being a new mama for the third time, after a five and a half year gap.

Like I said, the first few days were scary. For me they were scarier than being a first time mum and a second. Maybe it was because I was out of practice. I had definitely forgotten a lot. Maybe it was because I was so in love, it was overwhelming. Overwhelming because I had fallen in love with Noah and Ellenah all over again, as well as being newly in love with their baby brother. It wasn’t that I had fallen out of love with them…at all! The birth of Dexi just made me remember all of the little things about them in their newborn days. It made me remember them when they were Noah and Ellenah ‘just like this’. It encouraged me to dig out their baby pictures, comparing them all, cooing over how beautiful they both were (and still are). And then, it made me appreciate just how far we have come. All of the ordinary days which they made special. All that we had been through. All of their milestones. All of the smiles, laughter and chaos that I have loved with every part of me. And the memories…oh, the memories that we have. The funniest times. The most beautiful madness. And being in the here and now with them, experiencing this wonderful time with them on my team. Watching them love their baby brother unconditionally, watching them care for and protect him, watching them rise up and step into their new roles with such pride…it made me see them through different eyes, almost like I was seeing them for the first time again. And I suppose I was in a way…a new ‘just like this’. Maybe I was more scared because this was the happiest time in my whole life and I knew how lucky and blessed I was to feel that way. I am a mama to three beautiful children, a wife to the love of my life and my family was whole, complete and perfect. When you are terrified that you might somehow lose, change or break something… You know it is something worth gripping on to with both hands. Worth cherishing, loving hard, with everything you have and appreciating, every single day.

The first days with baby Dexter were everything that I hoped they would be. They were quiet, calming, relentless, chaotic, noisy, emotional… and we had some defining moments as mama and son. I easily fell for him. I lost myself in him completely and became even more excited to raise him, watch him thrive… be a part of his life and world as he grows  up. The first few days allowed me to daydream for me and simply dream for him. Dream that he has a happy life. Dream that he knows what love is. Dream that he is always free to explore and to let adventure take hold. Dream that he will be all that he can be. Mostly I dreamed that he would have the courage and conviction to have dreams of his own, to protect them, to chase them… and to have them come true.

After all… Him, his brother and sister are the perfect proof, that it can and does happen x

 

 

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Ellenah starting school is naturally something that I want to remember. Something that I would like her to look back on and remember too. So I tried my hardest to capture as much of the day as I could in a vlog (on my second channel). This new chapter for us both has at times made me feel afraid, made me feel sad, made me feel awfully strange…As bittersweet as it is, I am truly excited for her. I am excited about being a part of this new adventure for her. I’m excited for the school plays, school projects, school trips that I will nominate myself to chaperone…The school disco’s, church service’s and sports days.

In years to come, I want her to know that we chose a place that we believe to be right for her. A place that will make her happy. A place that she will enjoy going to, five days of the week. I want her to know that we chose her school in love. I want her to see how much we love her and how much these precious moments, milestones and times matter to us. How much she matters.

So I will probably show her this when she is older. And I will no doubt watch it time and time again when I am too!

With Love, Ria x

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SATS And Snails

Dear Noah (My Beautiful Boy),

The sun has been shining lately and there have been blossoms on the trees. The world has started to look so beautiful after a long winter. This morning after a splash of rain, a cool release from the heat over the weekend, Ellenah and I walked back from the school run without you. We walked quite slowly. Ellenah because she is small and wanted to look at the snails which were on the move. Me because like every week day morning, I miss you. I especially missed you today. I missed you because while Ellenah crouched down low, taking all of the time in the world to look at the snail which I held in the palm of my hand for her, it hurt my heart that you were not there. You would have loved that snail. You would have made up a story about it. You would have wanted to keep it. You would have said it was cute. You would have been so intrigued by where it lives, its family…its life so far and where it is going.

And I thought to myself about this moment.

This moment which wasn’t dictated by a clock, elsewhere’s to be… we had time as we crouched down in the rain with the world passing us by.

Moments like that are few and far between with you right now. Our moments are scheduled, organised and not quite so raw.

I have to steal those moments with you. Like at the weekend, on the bridge in our garden. The sun beat down on us and you sat on my knee like you did when you were much smaller. And my heart felt warm. And you will never know how much those few minutes of perfection meant to me.

SATS And Snails

Sometimes I hate myself when I ask you for ‘two minutes’ until I can read to you or for you to ‘wait until after dinner’ when you ask to build lego with me. I know that you want those moments with me too and I know that you hate waiting for them as much as I do. I hope you know that I am trying my best to be everything that you could ever want or need from a mother. I hope you know that when I ask you to ‘please wait’… that doesn’t mean that my love for you is paused.

Noah, isn’t everything so busy all of the time? Do you remember when we walked into the hills of the woods that time and as we stood on that bank and looked out upon tree tops, wasn’t it lovely? Do you remember what we did? When I said ‘Let’s think of all of the busy in our heads, all of the things we need to do, all of the things that worry us, bother us… let’s put it all in a ball in our stomach’s and shout our loudest until it’s gone!!!’ And we did. Do you remember how much we laughed, even though our eyes had tears in… It made us feel much better didn’t it?! Shall we do that again this weekend? Will you come with me?

Noah, I know that you feel nervous right now. Next week you have your very first SATS at school. Each day is taking a little chunk out of you and a little piece of your spirit. I can feel it! I’ve never seen you sweat anything before. I’ve never seen you try and rise to pressure. You have never needed to. You have always been so confident in the fact that you are good enough… because you most definitely are! Sometimes when I catch a glimpse of you, deep in thought… I can almost see you treading water, trying to keep going and all with a smile on your face. I can see you trying to figure out what you are feeling and why you feel strange about a little test. A test that doesn’t say anything about you and one that certainly doesn’t define you.

Noah, you know how special you are, right? You know that you are such a wonderful little boy? Do you know how you make people feel when you smile at them? Do you know how much that matters?

Noah, Do you know that I don’t care what a piece of paper with some numbers on tries to tell me about you?

I don’t care because you make the world better. You make it better with your beautiful eyes and the way that you see the world around you. You make it better with your laugh and ability to make others around you laugh and feel joy. You make it better because you see the good in everyone and you say such heartfelt things that make people feel good about themselves.

You are love, courage, enthusiasm, confidence and good.

You are happiness.

And you are small. And I am your Mother. And in this life, you will know everything that you are meant to and need to.

You will know that the sun will rise and the sun will set and everything in between is all that you make it. And, it is beautiful.

And you will know that your best is always good enough.

And you will know that ‘I Love You’, no matter what!

-Mama x

SATS And Snails

 

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I have always been so proud of the routine that we have in our home. I have always persevered to achieve the perfect bedtime routine. In bed by seven, in own bed, through the night!!!!! Dinner times have run like clockwork, again persevering with fussy eating phases so those tummies are full. I’ve always declared myself as firm but fair and I have needed the naughty step for those terrible two’s and threenager explosions. As much as I know that I am not a perfect mother, I try my best! I try my best to raise good people, so that they understand that life comes with its boundaries and rules and so that they can grow up happy and safe in their decision making.

 

I was twenty two years old when I had Noah and I was up against it. The judgement from people around me, from people expecting me to struggle and from the fear that I held inside, wondering if they would be right. So I tried very hard to be good at this, motherhood I mean. I tried really hard to get it right! I wanted to be a perfect mama to my little loves, have a wonderful relationship with them and for there to be so much love between us, it hurts!

I think I did get it right, thankfully! Noah, Ellenah and I are so close and we love each other very much, unconditionally. But I am certainly NOT perfect, no parent can be. Much like no person is.

Now that I am older, I have come to realise that striving for perfection is not at all important and within reason, neither is bedtime routines and meal times. Obviously, we want our children to get a good nights sleep. That is when they grow and heal! Obviously, we want our children to eat. That is how they will grow and develop with the right diet! Obviously we want our children to grow up understanding that there are boundaries and rules. This is how they will fit in to society, right?

Well, I have come to realise that I don’t simply want them to ‘fit in’ for the worlds approval. I want them to stand out for their own! I don’t want them to remember me when they are older and say ‘Mama always had us in bed by seven, dinner was always on time, Mama persevered a lot and now I really like peas!’… I don’t want them to say ‘Mama always had a plan, mama had all of the answers, mama was never wrong!’

I want them to grow up allowing little snippets of ‘perfect’ fall where they may. I want them to notice them, appreciate them but never expect them. I want them to ask questions, trust their instincts, know themselves well enough to know their own boundaries, I want them to express themselves in the way that they see fit and to understand that they are on their own journey… nobody else’s. I want them to strive for the highest expectations that they have set for themselves. I want them to figure out exactly what ‘success’ means to them, not everybody sees it the same way and I want them to know that, that is absolutely fine. I want them to stand up for what they believe in and of course I want them to know what matters to them but most importantly, why it does. I want them to be inspired, free and understanding and accepting to everything that the world would label ‘different’.

If they can do this is they grow, I trust that they will be good people.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a mad person. I will still advise a bedtime and encourage one more mouthful at dinner time because I am their mama and that comes from a place of nurture and love. But it’s so easy to forget that even though we are parents, we do not own our children. They are people in their own right and have to find their own way. They have every right to do this when they are small. It isn’t as simple as flipping a switch when they are eighteen years old and saying, ‘you’re grown now, what are you going to do with it?’… How scary does that sound? Almost as scary as hearing, ‘You know all of your life, we have been teaching you how to fit in, blend in…well actually, to get the career you want or the life you desire, you now need to learn to stand out, be unique, be a bit different! Good luck kid!’.

It is our job to raise them…YES! We should guide them, teach them about consequences sure…otherwise the world would be chaos… but we should believe in them more! Believe in who they are, what they are capable of. Believe in the innocence in their hearts (something we should all endeavour to learn from them really!) and believe that they have got the tools to just be who they are, and those people are going to be the natural and best versions of themselves. We don’t have the right to raise and define them around the people we want them to be, do we? Because we love them unconditionally!

And… I have to say, if we cared too much about bedtimes and routines all of the time. A few weeks ago when we stayed out pretty late, chasing the beauty of a sunset. Noah and Ellenah would never have seen how beautiful the sky could be that night. They would never have been searching for shells as the last of the sun beamed over their fresh little faces, looking around in awe of such an unforgettable night. They went to sleep really content that evening, I watched them for a while. I saw their little faces twitch every now and again when they were dreaming. The corner of Ellenah’s mouth kept twitching upwards in to dreamy smiles and before Noah rolled over to sleep, he said ‘I love the beach at night with you mama!’

 

And that is how I would want them to remember me!

With Love,

-Ria

xoxo

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