End of maternity countdown

There is now 40 days until I am due to return to work.

After having the last 11 months off, I’m so nervous and overwhelmed at the thought of being back in the workforce and not at home with Oscar. I have tried to stay in contact over the last year, dropping into work a couple of times. Once to introduce Oscar and then one other time to farewell a colleague that was resigning. I’ve had several lunches with a work friend and  have tried to stay up to date with new hirings and changes within the laboratory as best I could. But I still feel so out of touch with everything work related. I suppose it’s only natural to feel this way, a year is long time to be absent from a workplace.

We have made a little progress with the whole childcare situation. As of early October, Oscar has a full-time spot at our preferred centre. The problem is that I return to work in early September and all they can offer during that month is a spot on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The centre director has told us that Monday and Friday are usually the easiest days to secure so there is about an 80% chance that those days will open up before my return to work start date. In the meantime, I have contacted my employer to let him know our situation and I’ve asked for some leeway. The most likely solution is that I’ll simply return part-time (3 days a week) for my first month back at work. The other option is that on top of the 3 days, I also work a 4 hour afternoon shift on the Monday and Friday when Candice gets home from work. Obviously, I would prefer the first option and truthfully, starting back at work 3 days a week for the first month would actually be perfect.

For the last week we’ve all been sick with colds. It started with me, then Oscar, and then finally Candice. There were definitely a few rough days but overall, Oscar has dealt quite well with it. We’ve had the air vaporizer going during the night to help everyone breathe better and it’s been a big help. As well as chest rub and a saline nasal spray for the little one. I was thinking that perhaps it’s a good thing that Oscar caught my cold. Given that he is due to start daycare, at least now he should have a few antibodies still in his system to help fight against the germs that are bound to attack him when he starts going there soon. Right? I might be a little too optimistic.

Since getting over this cold, Oscar has been really happy. Like super dooper, ‘holy crap he’s so freaking adorable I can’t even handle it’ happy. It may also have something to do with a tooth that has finally cut through his top gum. That’s now 5 teeth.

All I know is it’s happy days up in here.

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9 months of raising Oscar

That’s right, our son is now 9 months old.

He is just the funniest, sweetest boy and has quite a cheeky side to him. At the moment he is sleeping and will hopefully stay that way until we go to bed in a couple of hours.

Speaking of sleep, that is still a problem area that we are working on. Candice puts him down around 6pm but has to resettle him several times before he will finally fall into a deep sleep. During the night he wakes anywhere from 2 – 6 times but usually it’s a fairly quick feed and he goes back to sleep. He wakes in the morning at around 5 – 5.30am and that is when our day begins.

He is a super fast crawler now and will follow me from room to room throughout our day. If he catches me, he will immediately climb my legs, pulling himself into a standing position. Once he is standing he reaches up for my hand and grips onto a finger with such strength. This is his way of telling me that he wants me to help him walk around. It is his absolute favourite thing to do at the moment. If he is upset, all we need to do is start walking him and he is instantly happy. He wants to walk so desperately but I feel that he is still a couple of months off mastering that skill. Then again, I’m continuously shocked at how quickly he changes.

He has 4 teeth now (2 on the bottom and 2 on the top) and for the moment he seems to be on a teething break. This is GREAT news, mostly for him but also a little for us. He can be quite miserable when he is teething, often refusing to eat or sleep. We are seeing a whole lot more of his gorgeous smile!

Last week I went to my mothers group meet up. One of the other mothers (who runs a family daycare) brought along 2 of the daycare kids, both of whom had green snot running out of their nose. They were toddlers so quite a bit older than all of the other babies and kept snatching toys away from Oscar and being a bit rough. I was pretty annoyed. Why bring sick kids to a meet up that has babies as young as 3 months old? I think the reason I’m so irritated is that the next day my throat started to feel sore and I got sick. I can’t take any cold and flu tablets as I’m still breastfeeding so I just have the air vaporiser steaming away. Miraculously, Oscar hasn’t caught it off me yet and neither has Candice. I have no idea how as we are in such close quarters all the time. Fingers crossed their immune system is better than mine!

Today I swear I heard Oscar say “Mum” or more accurately, “Mam”. Lately he has been making “Nunna” noises and when he does, we repeat back to him “Mumma”. He didn’t use the word in reference to me, it was just a sound he made but still – it’s exciting because we know he can now make that sound! It’s only a matter of time now until he starts using it in reference to both of us.

He really is growing so fast. This is a fun age and I know it’s only going to get better the more he learns to communicate with us. Last week we started playing ball with him and it’s so cute. He’s not very good at throwing because, you know, he’s 9 months old. But he tries and smiles happily when we praise his ‘amazing’ throws. He is more into reading books now too and spends a lot more time playing on his own.

I am due to start back at work in early September but he still doesn’t have a place in a childcare centre. I’ve been phoning, emailing and setting up centre tours/visits but no luck yet. Today I spoke to the director of the centre we have as our first choice. She said that she has a spot opening in October but my return to work date isn’t very flexible so I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I think ill call her again tomorrow and find out more about the October spot. If she can guarantee it, then I will call my employer and beg/plead/cry for an extra month of maternity leave. Failing that, we will need to put Oscar into one of the ‘dodgy’ daycare centres. Ugh, just typing that makes me want to cry. Hopefully it all works out… cross your fingers for us!

We have started thinking more about his first birthday and have decided that we’ll throw him a party. I never thought we would but I think I finally understand why people do it. The first year is so full on. It’s amazing but damn hard. So why wouldn’t we want to celebrate when our gorgeous boy turn one?! Party, party, party.

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Puppy love

Some lesbians are ‘cat’ people, some lesbians are ‘dog’ people. Candice and I are the latter. We adore our pups and before Oscar was born, they were pretty much our fur babies. Yoshi is a 4 year old Chocolate labrador and Luna is a 3 year old Golden Retriever, so they are both still very young and energetic. They are indoor dogs, they slept on the end of our bed, they were given too many treats, regular new toys, allowed on the couch with us (often stretched out, taking up more room that we did) and more than anything else they had our constant attention.

Therefore, when I was pregnant with Oscar, we were naturally concerned as to how they would cope with his arrival. We asked around for advice and read up on as much as we could but we were still nervous about it.

Probably the most useful advice we read was to make sure that we implemented any new house rules BEFORE Oscar came home. The reason for this is that you don’t want your dog to associate the new baby with all the new changes, forming jealousy or a resentment.

So we sat down, made a plan and decided to implement it gradually.

A few months before his due date, we put the steps of our plan into motion.

Step 1: Getting them sleeping off our bed – We moved some dog beds into our bedroom and made Yoshi and Luna sleep on them instead of the bed. It was hard at first because they were so used to snuggling up at our feet but after a week or so of redirecting them back to their beds, they got the picture. Luna took a little longer as she’s a bit of a sook but eventually they knew to just walk straight to their beds on the floor.

Step 2: Get them sleeping out of our bedroom – We moved both of their dog beds into the hallway just outside our bedroom. Then after a few days we moved the dog beds even further, into the lounge room. It was really important for us to get them out of our bedroom at night. The last thing we wanted to deal with on top of a frequently waking newborn, was frequently waking dogs. We could just foresee a constant cycle of both the dogs and Oscar waking at alternate times.

Step 3. We had a doggy door installed in our back door so that they could let themselves outside if they needed to go to the toilet, rather than waking us.

Step 4. We sectioned off a 3 x 2.5 metre area in our garage, accessible via another doggy door. This was for the days when they would need to be outside and it would provide warmth, shelter from wind and rain, beds and water. Hell, it even had a rug!

Step 4: We put up a retractable baby gate to block off the hallway which had both our bedroom and Oscar’s bedroom coming off it. This was so that in the middle of the night, when we needed to move between rooms for nappy changes, we could do so without the dogs getting in the way or getting excited and making noise.

Step 5. We let them explore Oscar’s room (lay on his rug, smell things, etc) but were very strict with them if they tried to pick anything up. This was so hard because so many baby toys just look like dog toys! It was important though, as they needed to learn that Oscar was the boss and that his things weren’t for them to take.

Step 6. A few days after Oscar was born, while we were still staying at the hospital, Candice took a blanket that had Oscar’s scent on it and let them both suss it out.

Step 7. We introduced them one at a time, in his nursery. I sat on a stool with a firm grip on Oscar and Luna came in first. She was super gentle and had a good smell before resting her head on his legs. Next came in Yoshi and while she was less calm, she was still really good. I should mention that we had been in hospital for 5 days so they were also just really excited to see US.

Over the next couple of weeks they both became used to him being around. We never left Oscar in a room alone with them, even for a minute. I’m positive they wouldn’t have harmed him but of course neither of us were prepared to take that gamble, no matter the odds.

Having them indoors was actually a lot easier when he was a newborn. It’s only now that he is on the floor a lot playing that our dogs spend a lot more time outside during the day. Particularly now that Oscar is on the move, pulling himself up on everything and spreading his toys all over the place. Some days I feel bad that they aren’t inside but then I remember that’s it’s only temporary. Once Oscar has found his feet, thing will go back to normal and they will be allowed inside all the time again.

It’s incredibly cute to watch Oscar interact with Yoshi and Luna. He is honestly in love with them! He smiles and squeals when he spots them through the window and giggles when we spend time outside with them. Seriously adorable.

The first time Oscar and Luna met.

The first time Oscar and Luna met.

Luna's obsession begins...

Luna’s obsession begins…

and grows...

and grows…

And then Oscar's obsession begins..

And then Oscar’s obsession begins..

and grows...

and grows…

And now it's just mutual adoration for each other.

And now it’s just mutual adoration for each other.