I intended to write a blog every month or so after Sebastian was born and managed it up until 3 months. Then he began the transformation from being a beautiful, charming but relatively inanimate object into the current incarnation of our son- The Juggernaut (from X-men). No wall is too hard; no surface is too high. He is wonderfully (and terrifyingly) fearless. I have caught him mid-air as he attempts to leave the comfort of our bed on countless occasions and if nothing else my reaction speeds have become genuinely remarkable.
But before I go too much into who Sebastian is now, let’s fill in the gaps since my 3 month report…
In the last 5 months he has:
• Grown a mullet (very Macgyveresque) to be proud of! It is very much business at the front and party at the back- I say party- full-on illegal rave!
• Experienced the joy of Christmas- which for Sebastian mostly consisted of rustling wrapping paper and getting paper cuts from envelopes.
• Learnt to sit, crawl, stand and destroy (more to follow).
• Been temporarily allergic to dairy- involving exorcist style vomiting. It turns out his body is like Mary Poppins’ bag- far more comes out than seems possible!
• Started swimming lessons- where changing him into his trunks is like wrestling a crocodile.
• Begun eating and pooing solids. He has become like a sausage making machine. As you put various ingredients in the top, it pushes perfectly formed sausages out the other end.
When looking back over everything that has happened, there were 3 main areas of development that stood out:
1. Sleepless in Southampton…
Nat and I anxiously awaited the dreaded “sleep regression”. Ironically, I lost sleep worrying about its arrival. It never did- well not so that you would notice. I don’t know if we did things right, but we did it our way and it suited us. He went from sleeping in the side by side to sleeping in-between us in the bed. I am not going to lie, once I got over the fear of crushing or smothering him, it was the best! There are very few people that I would be happy to have pulling my eyelids open in the early hours, but Seb is certainly one of them. He would occasionally nuzzle in and it was just wonderful. I can say this; I spent 80% of nights in the spare room sleeping like the proverbial baby, while he screamed (apparently).
We finished his nursery and the process of moving him gradually into his own room began. I am in charge of bedtimes, which generally involves me climbing into his cot; reading Pirates Love Underpants in a pirate’s voice (though I sound more like a farmer); then playing lullabies on Spotify and singing to him in a voice only a son who knows no better can love. He then (on a good night) nestles in and falls asleep with a firm grip on my chest hair. The task of extracting myself from under him and getting out of the cot without him waking then begins. It’s a bit like Buckaroo but in reverse.
Obviously, he doesn’t stay there- that would be too easy- and we were letting him stay in our bed after his 2 am feed. That was until he recently forced our hand, when, a week ago, Nat woke up in a panic at 4am to find he had vanished from his resting spot between our faces and had crawled down the middle of the bed and was sleeping with his head hanging off the end. Now, understandably, he is religiously returned to his “sleep prison” after each feed!
2. Weaning (or as Nat likes to refer to it- “Any free time I did have- GONE!!”)
Huge credit goes to Nat here, who was determined to do baby led weaning and has (in a frenzy of flour and coconut products) filled our freezer with home cooked vegetable muffins and cheese and tomato whirls. He gets peanut butter on toast for breakfast (because this is all he will accept); then the menu for lunch and dinner for the week includes courgette or carrot and parsnip fritter, chilli con carne, chicken curry, avocado on toast, falafel and hummus (I know- we took it too far) or sometimes just a nice bit of crumpet. He eats better than we do.
Despite the fact that our Kitchen has become a 2 star Michelin restaurant, Baby Led weaning certainly has its downsides: mess like you wouldn’t believe- I found a piece of beef mince in his ear yesterday- he hasn’t eaten beef in 2 days! There is definitely a bit of waste too and I am seriously considering buying a dog to clear up after feeding has taken place at the zoo. The worst bit though, is the nappies- especially after chilli. Although, the contents of the nappy are only part of the problem now he can move… which leads seamlessly onto his next developmental leap.
On the move…
Like every parent (I assume) I eagerly awaited the time when Seb would move. Friends with children chanted the mantra-
“Make the most of this time, you will miss it!”
It’s not that I didn’t believe them; I knew they were right, but I still wanted to see him reach the milestone as quickly as possible. Then he did. It was like watching the machines gain Artificial Intelligence- the speed of improvement was expediential. He became relentless! You literally cannot take your eyes off him for a second…and I mean a second. He is like the baby out of The Incredibles. I turned to get a wet wipe the other day and when I turned back he was climbing into his nappy bin (in a different room)! And don’t get me started on changing nappies now. Aside from the fact that they now (post weaning) smell like the Bog of Eternal Stench, he now waits till I’ve taken it off before he flips over, puts his feet in it and then crawls around his newly laid carpet, leaving smeared poo in his wake, while giggling.
In an attempt to entertain him, I’ve taken to setting up “bases” in the living room. It begins with the phrase (in my head) “Gladiators Ready….? 3-2-1 GO!!” Then, I put him in the middle and rush to the first corner and stack some cups (where I try to ignore that the makers put two different shades of blue together). Then while he is heading there to find and destroy, I set up another stack in the diagonally opposite corner (approximately 3 metres away). If he doesn’t realise (and he invariably does), I have time to finish that; then I begin to construct a building block castle in the adjacent corner. Finally, I crawl to the empty corner and collapse in a sweaty heap until he completes the course and I have to start again. Every now and then he breaks free of the arena and heads straight for the travellator (stairs) and begins the ascent to glory! If this happens I take on the role of a slightly less muscular Hunter and start the chase. I rarely win.
So there we have it: 8 months of fatherhood. Exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure! I bloody love it!!