I’m Dieuwke ‘Dukes’ and live in Bristol with my partner Mike, our one year old son Sebastian ‘Sebbie’ and our dog Lucy. I’ve recently gone back to work in my marketing job and am now balancing being a working mum to an increasingly active toddler. Raising a baby during the pandemic hasn’t always been easy, but we’ve enjoyed spending more time as a family together, often outside in the park or at our allotment. As Sebbie is very active, I really appreciate Cotton Boulevard’s high quality hard wearing clothes that are super comfy. As Sebbie takes his ‘first steps’ towards independence I look forward to sharing our journey with you.
Autumn 2020 for us has been a time of change. I’ve heard some call 2020 the ‘groundhog year’, the pandemic often leaving us doing the same things again and again with no new changes or adventures. But as the mum of a one year old life is never the same day to day, a fact I think most mums can relate to. Certainly some things are constant – nappies still need to be changed and some days Hey Duggee seems to be on endless repeat. However, other times Sebbie tries something new, which makes me sit up and realise how fast he’s growing and changing. One minute he’s trying to roll over, the next he’s crawling after the dog.
For our family, a day of monumental change was Sebastian’s first settling in session at nursery. As a first time mum I had no idea what to expect.
I had a vague notion of potentially watching him make friends or race around the room, a path of destruction behind him (he’s a very active baby!). In the end the joys of COVID-19 protocol meant I was ushered out of the door as soon as Sebastian made a beeline for the nearest messy paint table.
“Don’t worry, he’ll be fine” they told me as I repeated once again his favourite toys and foods as well as his nap time routine. I walked home, holding in tears but also grateful that for the first time in a long time I had two hours completely to myself.
It turns out I didn’t have much to worry about, he absolutely loves it. While I’ve had to adjust to working from home, seeing colleagues virtually, a mad scramble in the morning to get in front of my screen, he’s settled in much more quickly. The first couple of weeks he was a bit grumpy and tearful at the end of the day but he quickly adjusted. Every day without fail he comes back covered in paint, sand, dirt or food. I, on the other hand, am still adjusting. Funnily enough, after having had almost no back pain while on maternity leave, after three weeks sitting on a chair the back pain is back. Turns out running after a baby as ‘health and safety inspector’ is a lot better for you than sitting on your bottom all day. I have however started to enjoy being back at work. After dreading it beforehand, it’s been lovely to have some adult conversations and not just be known as Sebastian’s mum. In fact the one who’s struggled the most has been our dog ‘Lucy’. While for the last year her attitude has been one of complete indifference and avoidance, she now seems to be actively missing him. It could be that she’s simply missing lunchtime. With food no longer being thrown down from up high she’s starting to lose some of her middle aged spread.
So for us nursery has so far worked out well and I’ve picked up some know-how on the way:
- Always, always pack spare clothes – hardly ever does Sebbie come home in the clothes he wore that morning
- Name tape clothes if you want to ever see them again, if you can’t sew (which I definitely can’t) get the ones you iron on.
- If they’ve got a comforter, get a spare. In fact get at least three. In all likelihood it’ll get lost, left behind at the nursery or get very dirty. You don’t want to, as I did a couple of days ago, be retracing your steps at 10 to 9 desperately hoping that you can find monkey before the 9am meeting
- Be nice to the other parents…they’re the ones who let you jump the queue if you’re running late
- Bring snacks at pickup time, while the nursery provides plenty of food and snacks Sebbie is always hungry when I pick him up.
So October and November for us has definitely been a time of change. For Sebbie, one where he’s taken his first steps to independence (although there’s been no evidence of actual steps so far), for me getting used being a working mum. Now that we’ve headed into December we’re looking forward to Christmas and the New Year I’m hoping that 2021 will continue to bring lots of new changes but also the time to stop and remember how far Sebbie has come in the last couple of months.