I Am Your Father – Part 18: Baby’s First Steps

Well, we’re now at the stage that every parent both hopes for and dreads.

The moment where he no longer stays where you put him!

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

M’boy is now 10 months old and he’s pretty close to being able to walk. He’s still dragging himself along things, but he can reliably sit up, pull himself up to standing and can even take more than just a few steps with his walker. He can also get down again, i.e. land on his arse without any fuss, drama or imminent threat to life. He has also done the customary “take three or four steps when daddy lets go before faceplanting into mummy’s lap” which technically counts as walking!

Bascially, we’re now at the point where if you put him down somewhere, he isn’t likely to be there when you come back a few seconds later. We’re going to have to be a lot more alert and active from now on. But hey, if we get more exercise, maybe we’ll get more sleep!

He’s also more engaged with the world around him and is playing more independently with his toys. He now also actively smiles whenever “Hey Duggee!”, his favourite TV show comes on.

Other than that, there isn’t a great deal to report. He still getting bigger and cuter by the day, and I’m still taking him out for long walks in the pram as my main form of exercise/giving his mother a breather. We did try taking him to a playground last month, but he didn’t seem all that interested. We got a few laughs out of him on the baby swing, but other than that we got the feeling that he’s still a bit young for it right now. Which is just as well because it’s January and it’s bloody freezing out there!

Parents and “Bragging”

This is the kind of moment where parents tend to get into tension and arguments, sometimes being accused of bragging about their child.

There are two problems with this. Firstly, we aren’t trying to rub anything in anyone’s face. Secondly – particularly in lockdown but I suspect under normal circumstances too – there isn’t a whole lot going on in our life apart from the baby, so there’s nothing else to talk about.

And I don’t think it’s fair to criticise parents for being proud of their child and their accomplishments. We are, as I have previously mentioned, very careful about what we say, especially around parents with similar age children as I know that every baby is different and develops and different speeds and we don’t want to be the source (or recipient) of any unnecessary anxiety. There’s plenty of necessary anxiety to go around, after all. But equally, most of them don’t have much to talk about besides what’s going on with their baby either!

Going Back to Work

I’ve basically been working from home this whole time, but m’wife has on a combination of Maternity and Furlough. Effectively she’s had extended maternity leave, which that sounds a lot better on paper than it was in reality. Normally, she’d have spent her Mat Leave taking the bub to playgroups, going for coffees with other mums and getting to know them, attending sensory classes and other activities designed to give her support and get her out of the house. She’s understandably gutted to have missed out on all that, so it actually really sucked for her. I wish I could do more for her, but I’ve had to work. There isn’t much we can do about it, those are the cards we were dealt. And we tried to make the most of it, but it was still really difficult.

Anyway, she has finally been able to start returning to work, albeit only for 2 days a week for the time being. Fortunately, we are in the privileged position of having grandparents nearby who can look after him for us, so m’wife drops usually him off with them whenever she’s at work during my office hours and picks him up on our way home.

It’s been both great and a little weird to have some time to myself again, even if it is just for a few hours. I kinda miss the little guy, even though he’s still not all that interactive yet. But at the same time, it is a massive relief to be free of all of the responsibilities and to be able to focus on work without having to worry about what’s going on downstairs.

M’wife is a little more conflicted. She misses him a lot more than I do more, but I think it is also doing her good to get out of the house and away from me and m’boy for a few hours. I can’t overstate the importance of being able to spend time as themselves and getting to talk to other people, but then I think most of us have realised that over the last 18 months!


Side note: We could, of course, put the little man into nursery when my wife is at work. Nurseries are now allowed to reopen, but we’ve heard about so many closing because of infections among the staff, so it doesn’t seem to be a service that we can rely on, even if we could afford it! We don’t get free nursery time until the age of three, which means we would have had to pay for it. And, having looked into it, I can safely say that there is no way we could afford to do it, particularly with the uncertainty around m’wife’s job. To give you an idea, we know several couples where one of them has stopped working to look after the kids themselves because the full-time nursery fees would have cancelled out one of their salaries! There are still plenty of good reasons to do it, particularly if you want to socialise your baby or continue your career etc., but I don’t think it would have been for us, even under normal circumstances.

Final Thoughts

I’m slowing the pace of these posts down for the moment as there isn’t a huge amount of stuff to tell you. He’s continuing to develop and seems to be getting software patches and feature updates fairly regularly, but not a huge amount has changed since Christmas.

Hopefully, we’ll have more to report in the next few months leading up to his first birthday (and hopefully by then we’ll actually be able to have some people round to celebrate!).