I Am Your Father – Part 17: Baby’s First Christmas

We are currently in the no-mans-land between Christmas and New Year, having survived our baby’s first Christmas (in lockdown). Maybe not what we would have hoped for, but it was about as good as could be expected in the circumstances. At least the poor little guy doesn’t know what’s going on!

Reminder: This blog is the work of a sleep-deprived, first-time parent, trying to talk frankly and honestly about his experience. I make no apologies for the language used.

General Update

We’re at 8 months now and he can just about stand up. He will pull himself upright on the bars of the cot or drag himself along the sofa like a drunk man trying to get to the end of the bar. He can also support his weight on some of his walking toys, but is still struggling to take more than one or two steps without falling down. He’s also taken to rolling sideways across the floor, but he’s still refusing to actually crawl. Perhaps he just doesn’t want to waste time learning to crawl when he can just skip straight to walking.

And yes, we know that this is early. Most babies don’t start walking for a few more months, according to the literature and our limited experience. So, if your baby isn’t walking at this point, there almost certainly isn’t anything to be concerned about. I have to admit, we were slightly worried that he was falling behind as some babies we know around the same age are crawling already and he isn’t. But you just have to be a little laid back about it and assume that everything will work out in the end.

He’s also still a big bugger. He’s been in 9-12 month clothes for a little while, despite only being 8 months old. Fortunately, he didn’t get too many gifts of clothes over Xmas, because if you’d bought 6-9 month clothes for him they would have been useless! There has to be a better way to measure the size of baby clothes, but never mind!

Also, he’s definitely sleeping better now. We feed him just as he goes down, then sometimes do the “dream feed”, where we give him an extra feed as we go to bed, but we’re mostly getting through the night now. And, by we, I still mostly mean my wife, as she’s still doing most of the feeds now, though he’s getting bottles more regularly now I’m preparation for m’wife returning to work (hopefully!) in the New Year.

This means we’ve got our evenings back, even if all we do is housework, dinner, sit watching TV for an hour, then get an early night. I’m not going to lie, dealing with sleep deprivation has been horrible for my mental health, my productivity at work and has put considerable strain on the relationship, but it’s starting to feel like we may be over the hump, at least for a while. I can hear the laughter from parents of older children in the back of my mind, and I know things will probably get worse again at some point, but hopefully we at least get a respite from the first few months, which were fucking relentless.

Baby’s First Christmas

So, we put the tree and all the decorations up, but he doesn’t seem all that interested or impressed, as far as we can tell. Then, on Christmas morning, we got everything ready, then brought him downstairs when he woke up (no matter how excited we were, we weren’t getting up any earlier than necessary!). I tried to film the whole thing, but he was more interested in the camera than he was in the presents or the decorations. At least I was able to cobble together a short video to send to family who couldn’t be there with us.

Anyway, once the noisy and brightly coloured toys started being opened, he began to get the idea. There are quite a few toys that he doesn’t seem all that interested in, to be honest. Maybe he’s a bit young for some of them, but we found a few things that seemed to keep him engaged for the rest of the day. We actually ended up keeping several presents back for him to open over the next few days, which span things out and kept him happy.

Overall, I’m not sure how much he actually enjoyed it. And I’m perfectly aware that he won’t remember any of it. But after the year we’d had, it was really nice to have this magical time together. And at least m’wife and I have some memories that we will remember for the rest of our lives.

Dad Gadgets: Baby Monitor

So, we bought a baby monitor back before m’boy was born, which I realise I still haven’t reviewed. It’s a BT Video Baby Monitor 5000 – that being the mid-priced option available in our local branch of Smyths when we were buying other baby crap. In hindsight, we probably should have done some more research!

The camera looks like GLaDOS, the evil AI from Portal, and isn’t great, to be honest, but I suppose it does the job. It isn’t very poseable, so we had to rig up a contraption to get it to point at the fucking cot so we actually could see what was going on! The handset is equally “meh!” The battery life is atrocious, even with the screen turned off. So, you basically have to keep it plugged in (which defeats the point of a portable handset!). And, of course, it isn’t the same type of USB connector as our phones because why would it be! Plus you don’t get a very clear or high-quality image even in full daylight. Basically, there have to be better options out and my advice would be to shop around (we certainly won’t be keeping this piece of crap in our attic, if we have another baby we’ll shell out for a better one!).

On top of that, it keeps creeping me out. We sometimes play music on the white noise machine in his room to soothe him, and nothing is as creepy as the sound of already tinny and distorted music being relayed by the crappy speaker on the baby monitor! Particularly if you’re sleep-deprived and have left it under a cushion and forgot it was turned on and you’re not sure where the creepy music is coming from! *Shudders*

Final Thoughts

So, we had our first Christmas with the little bub. I think he enjoyed it, but it’s hard to tell. M’wife and I did though. I got away from all the pressures of work and got to spend some guilt-free time with them. We all got nice presents and we even managed to fit in a couple of visits with one set of grandparents (who are in our Bubble, before you kick off!).

It was nice and quiet and peaceful.

And, I suspect, was the last time it will be so for many years to come!