Once the mayhem of Christmas itself was over (yes, it’s lovely but it can be a bit full-on, can’t it?), I really enjoyed having a few days to ourselves as a little family, making the most of the time off work Little Pickle’s Dad (LPD) had. In the years we’ve been together, it’s been a rarity that we’ve both been off work for the entirety of the holiday season, which makes me appreciate it even more. In fact, I think the Christmas just before I met LPD, I worked Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve AND New Year’s Day. I really must have drawn the short straw that year (and incidentally learned some very important lessons about work-life balance, but that’s a blog post for another day). Anyway, as this year’s holidays drew to a close, I really didn’t want LPD to go back to the office. I was dreading Tuesday 3rd January 2017. But in hindsight, I’m not sure what I was so worried about…

As I groggily waved him goodbye, suited and booted at 7.30am, I questioned whether it would have been wiser to have gotten up earlier so I could have showered easily. Pickle is a right mover now and although he hasn’t mastered crawling yet, he’s so much more mobile since before Christmas and I don’t quite know how to manage a shower any more in such a way that he’d be safe. Oh well, too late now. I’m sure I’ll manage.

Before long, I had a grinning baby who was wide awake and ready to start the day. LPD had been wonderfully looking after Pickle in the mornings whilst he was off so I could enjoy a few extra hours in bed (ahh, the luxury) so I was a bit out of practice. After a quick nappy change, I had a couple of slices of bread in the toaster and the kettle boiling for a cuppa. I popped Pickle in his highchair and sat watching him smush up his toast with a hot cup of tea and a smile on my face: I’d really missed this part of the day over the holidays. I’d forgotten how uplifting it was to see him so happy in the mornings! The way he smiles at me whilst I watch him eat… it’s like he’s really proud of himself, and it melts my heart every time. It really is the little things in life, eh?

Baby eating breakfast baby led weaning

He’s not spent much time in his big-boy cot but I figured him going in there was the only way I was going to get a quick shower. I clicked play on the Spotify Nursery Rhymes album we’re obsessed with (The Kibloomers, if you’re interested… Skidamarinky-dinky-dink), gave him a few toys and actually managed to enjoy a fairly peaceful shower. Once I’d hopped out, I couldn’t resist just standing in the doorway for a few minutes to watch him playing quite contentedly without him knowing I was there.

After a bit of floor play in the lounge, we headed out to meet up with my NCT Mummy friends for our regular Tuesday pub lunch (my special weekly treat!). I always find it takes me an exorbitant amount of time to get ready for leaving the house if I’m on my own… trying to keep Pickle occupied and safe whilst packing the change bag, piling everything into the car and having to deal with any last minute poop explosions can sometimes be a bit of a handful, but the lure of my friends and the pub’s warming fire was all the incentive I needed. Catching up with the girls was so special! I couldn’t believe how much each of our little ones had grown and developed in just a few weeks. There were more teeth, longer hair, tales of sitting up, rolling, cot beds… It was a very real and scary reminder of how quick time flies by. If you don’t have a group of friends with babies the same age as yours, I can’t recommend it enough. I just love that we all parent in our own way and no matter what you’re worrying about or struggling with, there’s almost guaranteed to be someone else in the group that has experienced the same thing or can help. We’re just a group of Moms all doing the best we can, and it’s the best support network I could have ever wished for. Just seeing them made me feel more refreshed and energised!

On the way home, I needed to stop off at Morrisons for a few bits and pieces, and for the first time, I tried Pickle out sitting in the trolley-seat rather than going in one of laid-back baby seats (I really didn’t explain that very well, but I hope you know what I mean!). He absolutely loved it! He quite likes supermarkets – I guess all the brightly coloured things on the shelves are fun to look at, not to mention there’s always a whole host of new people to smile at and make friends with. I couldn’t resist picking up a couple of bargains in the baby clothes sale (a pair of trousers for £2.50? Sold!). And by the time we got back home, and had started peeling some potatoes ready for dinner, LPD arrived back.

Baby in supermarket trolley

I really don’t know why I was worried about it. It was a really super lovely day. In all honesty… it’s probably a little bit easier when I’m just on my own. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but it just is. Maybe I set lower expectations of what I’ll ‘get done’ when I’m on my own, maybe it’s just nice to move at my own pace, or maybe there’s some kind of lesser pressure when no one else is there but as much as I absolutely loved our time together as a family, it was quite nice to get back to ‘normal’.

Don’t worry though, LPD. I still very much look forward to you coming through the door at the end of the day!