24 Hours With a 9 Month Old
Capturing the memories of an average day, for every month of our little boy’s life.
Scene: a Thursday in early October, with no plans other than to get through the day, and maybe try to get a little bit of work done. LOL.
I intended to go to bed an hour ago, but I got caught up with work, and then I spent 30 minutes hunting for my tooth whitening tray (Which, yes, has figured prominently on this blog lately: well, everyone has their hobbies, right?), which I’d literally just filled up with gel 10 minutes earlier. (It’s clear plastic. The house was dark. I think we should change the old, “needle in a haystack” chestnut to, “like finding a tooth whitening tray in a dark house,” don’t you? No?) I finally mobilise Terry to join in the search, and we locate the rogue tray on top of the laundry basket. We are not off to a good start, guys,
I’ve been awake for an hour now, thinking about how I could be sleeping, but am actually awake. This does NOT bode well for our morning routine.
I wake up with a terrible hangover. Which is odd, because I have not been drinking?
I immediately check the baby monitor on my phone, and, WOE! It’s not connecting! All I see is a totally black screen, with a little “loading”circle spinning around in it. It reminds me of that time my computer died, and haha, totally had to buy a new computer!
I look round for the audio monitor, instead. It is obviously in the baby’s room, where I left it when I put him to bed last night. I hate myself.
I now find myself faced with a terrible choice. Unable to use the monitor to verify that the baby is, in fact, still alive, I can either go into his room to check in person – and risk waking him – or force myself to lie awake listening for the slightest sound from the nursery that would indicate that he’s awake. So, it’s a rock/hard place kind of situation, for sure.
I go with option 2.
I am in hell.
Alerted by the faint sound of babbling, I go into Max’s room, and find him just starting to stir. He’d probably have slept for longer, but, of course, as soon as he sees my face hovering over him, he’s all, “LET’S GET THIS PARTY STARTED!”
I change his nappy, then we head downstairs for breakfast. It’s pretty much impossible to make food/milk with Max hanging onto my leg, though, so, in an act that I’m sure the internet will judge me harshly for, I’m forced to employ Moana’s babysitting service while I get some breakfast ready:
(Confession: the day’s only just getting started, but I’d already forgotten I was supposed to be taking photos for this post, so this one’s actually Max’s breakfast from earlier in the month. I DID make him porridge on the day I’m documenting here, though – just not with the smiley face, because that’s a clear indicator of this particular meal being all Terry’s work…)
I feed Max his porridge, and, while I’m doing that, Terry appears and makes us both coffee/tea and toast, which we eat at the kitchen table while Max drinks a bottle of milk, which he holds all by himself: aww!
Once breakfast is over, we get out some of the toys we keep in the sideboard in the living room, and Max has fun crawling around and playing with those, while Terry and I clear up the breakfast things, and I drink more coffee. Like, MUCH more coffee…
Terry is on baby duty now, so I go to take a shower and get dressed. As soon as I get out of the shower, I pick up my phone and automatically check the baby monitor app, which is something I now do probably dozens of times a day, whether Max is in his cot or not. I’ve even opened up that app WHILE MAX IS WITH ME, that’s how much of a habit it’s become. This time, though, there’s good news: Max is in bed, which means Terry has successfully gotten him down for his morning nap! This gives me AT LEAST another 30 minutes to finish getting dressed, and maybe even answer some emails – except, not really, no, because JUST as I finish getting dressed, I hear Max shouting from his room, and, yup! He’s wide awake, so I head into the nursery, change his nappy again, and get him dressed for the day:
Max is a big help here, as you can see.
Actually, though, I should probably have just let him choose his clothes himself, because I manage to stuff it up royally, first of all going for this outfit…
… and then almost immediately having to change it, when I realised his trousers were way too big for him, and it was a freakishly warm October day, which REALLY didn’t call for a thick jumper. Excellent work there, Amber!
By the time I finish dressing him for the second time, we’re both hot, sweaty messes, because this month Max has decided he CANNOT STAND being dressed or undressed, or having his nappy changed: in fact, it’s just INTOLERABLE to him, so dressing him is a bit like trying to put tights on an octopus, really. We get there eventually, though, and I put him down on the floor, so he can do some exploring, and decide what he wants to play with. Unsurprisingly, he goes straight for the bookshelf, and we spent some time reading books and playing with his various toys, until Terry appears to take over baby duty, while I go into the office to catch up with some work.
Terry’s shift also encompasses Max’s lunchtime, and I pop downstairs to grab this quick photo:
Max is having another bottle of milk, and what Terry describes as “pesto quinoa”. It’s… messy. Yes.
Once Max has eaten, Terry brings him up to the office, and we decide to put him into the playpen and see if he’ll consent to remaining in it without one of being with him:
That’s a negative to that, then.
It’s OK, though, because Max is starting to get sleepy, and, before long, he’s back in bed, and Terry and I are back at our desks: WIN!
Max has been napping for around an hour now, and, the entire time, I’ve had this nagging feeling that we’ve forgotten something. Finally, my rumbling stomach tells me what it is:
As in, we fed Max, but we forgot to feed ourselves. GOD. And, seriously, if you’re sitting there reading this thinking, “The hell? Who forgets LUNCH?” then let me assure you that, “NOT ME” is generally the answer to that question. But, this week we both have a ton of stuff to do, and we’re so busy trying to do it that, yeah, we forgot to eat. Because we hate ourselves, apparently.
As soon as we realise the error of our ways, we race downstairs and frantically start throwing sandwiches together, but the clock is ticking, and, sure enough, the second we sit down to eat them, the baby monitor bursts into life, and, HELLO! IT MAX!
He’s wide awake, and very much ready to play, so I bring him downstairs, and Terry and I take it in turns to eat lunch, while the other one entertains the baby. After that, it’s back to the office for Terry, and back to the nursery for me and Max:
I had planned to take him out for a walk at this point, but it’s absolutely pouring with rain, so we hang out in his room until it’s time for dinner, which Max pre-empts by snacking on this handy book: nice!
Max is having fish and chips, while looking a bit like an old man in a pub, discussing the racing news with his buddies:
I, meanwhile, am staring at a suspicious mark on the kitchen floor. It’s at least a metre long, and I’ve no idea what it is, but I DO remember trying to clean it off yesterday AND the day before, to no avail.
“There’s a weird mark on the kitchen floor,” I tell Terry, who is positively THRILLED to be the recipient of this news. “And I WILL get rid of it, as God is my witness.”
And then I fall to my knees and raise my fist in the air, like Scarlett O’Hara in that scene in Gone With the Wind, only it’s a bit less “Southern belle, struggling to survive civil war,” and more, “Suburban mum, determined to get mark off kitchen floor.” So, almost exactly the same, then.
There then begins a long and tedious saga in which I doggedly try every single cleaning product we own on The Dark Mark – as I’ve come to think of it – and it STILL hasn’t budged. By the time Max has eaten his dinner and drunk his milk, I’ve managed to involve Terry in my struggle, and Max watches in amusement as we take it in turns to scrub at The Dark Mark, and then stand squinting at the floor in the dying light, trying to work out if it’s still there or not.
It is still there. And, honestly, I’m starting to panic a bit, because The Dark Mark is basically a kind of dull patch on the kitchen floor, and, to my trained eye, it looks EXACTLY like you’d expect a laminate floor to look if you were to, just as an example, try to clean a patch of it with a Magic Eraser, say. DON’T ASK ME HOW I KNOW.
So, I’m panicking, Terry is increasingly frustrated, The Dark Mark is still there, and, WHOOPS, we’ve just wasted the best part of an hour on the stupid floor, and now we’re running late to meet some friends of ours, who’re having dinner in a local restaurant, and have asked if we want to join them.
We very much DO want to join them, but we now ALSO really want to vanquish The Dark Mark, so I go upstairs to get Max and myself ready to leave, while Terry has one last go at it.
When we come back downstairs, Terry is waiting for us with good news: the Mark is no more! What worked? Er, hot water and elbow grease, basically. We will never know what it actually was, though, so, feeling like a couple of complete assholes for spending so much time cleaning our stupid floor, we get into the car, and head off to meet our friends.
We’re in the restaurant. It feels like it should be about 10pm by now, but nope – still only 6:30! HOW?! Still, we have fun catching up with our friends, and, as an added bonus, their little girl is with them, and is so good at entertaining Max that he spends the entire time shrieking with laughter, and having the time of his life, basically. I ask if I can hire her. I am only partly joking.
We’re back home, and it’s time to start Max’s bedtime routine, which we’ve got down to a fine art at this point. So, Terry goes to run the bath, while I get Max undressed (He reacts to this as if he’s being tortured, obviously…), then I hand him over to Terry, who gets him into the bath, and starts washing him, while I run around tidying away his clothes, emptying the nappy pail, etc. With that done, I join them both in the bathroom in time to brush Max’s teeth (Well, his gums, mostly…), and watch him having fun splashing around. Terry and I generally like to do this part of the bedtime routine together, purely because Max LOVES the bath, and is so cute in it that it’s a nice way to end the day – or this part of it, at least, because it’s 8pm, but Terry and I both still have several hours’ work ahead of us: gotta love self-employment, guys!
Once Max is out of the bath, I take him into the nursery to get him dried and into his pyjamas (Cue more hysterical tears…), while Terry goes downstairs to make up the last bottle of the day. While he does that, I read Max a story (Yes, it’s normally one of the Usborne Touchy Feely books, although there is a certain ‘Baby’s First Farmyard Animals’ book that’s gone down well lately, and which I like reading him, purely because he tries to “kiss” each of the animals in it, and it’s so cute it makes me want to cry…), until Terry arrives to hand over the bottle and switch off the light.
I get Alexa to play lullabies while I give Max his bottle. This is actually one of my favourite parts of the day: it’s the only bottle I physically feed him these days (He holds the rest of them himself now), and, OK, he still likes to hold it himself, but he holds it while snuggled up on my knee, and it’s like he’s a tiny baby again, although without the constant fear that he’s about to projectile vomit at any second. I feel a bit like the reflux he had for the first few months of his life kind of spoiled the feeding experience for us, really: I’d always imagined it would be lovely to be able to sit cuddled up with him while he had his milk, but the reflux made each feed super-stressful, so, now that those days are just a distant memory, I’ve been really enjoying getting to sneak a quick cuddle while he drinks his bottle. Before long, though, the milk is gone, and Max is sound asleep by the time I finish burping him, so I put him in his cot, and sneak out of the room before he can wake up again.
Once Max is in bed, I’d normally go straight to the office to start work. Tonight, however, I embark upon a 20 minute search for my phone, which was in my hand when I left Max’s room, but mysteriously missing just 5 minutes later, when I arrived in the office, having made a brief detour to put the used bottle into the dishwasher and switch on the kettle. Once again, I have to deploy Terry in the search, and the phone is finally located when he reminds me that, after my stop in the kitchen, I also spent a bit of time, “banging around” in the linen closet, where I was getting myself a new pillow. The phone is sitting on top of the spare towels. My sanity, however, is nowhere to be found.
And THEN I go to the office to start work.
Until recently, Terry and I were so exhausted by the end of each day that we’d normally just collapse on the couch for a couple of hours, once Max was in bed. We’ve come to realise, though, that if we don’t use those last few hours of the day to do some work, nothing will get done, basically: because, sure, we get the odd hour here and there throughout the day, and my parents babysit a couple of times per week, but it’s still not even close enough to being enough time to keep our business running… which means we have to work at night. Awesome! Although, I guess it says a lot about how things have changed for us that we now consider this time an absolute luxury. I mean, three whole hours, just to work?! THINK OF WHAT WE COULD DO WITH THAT TIME!
What I ACTUALLY do with that time, however, is honestly a bit of a mystery to me, because, before long, it’s midnight, and if I don’t go to bed now, I’ll be even MORE tired in the morning than I’m destined to be anyway.