Sunday, 25 January 2015

Intrepid exploring

It's been a pretty busy week this week. I've worked a bit more than usual, done some long days and really missed Arlo because of it. So Friday was an Arlo day. We made a visit to the zoo, with some pals (some actual human ones, some new furry ones that Arlo made on the day). This intrepid little explorer loves animals, it's so lovely to see. He spent a long time making eyes at a red panda, met his first iguana and laughed at lots of little monkies. The wallabies got a lot of attention too. We were all bundled up against the cold, with many layers and hot chocolates to keep us warm. Although I had the warm and fuzzies  anyway, just to have this boy to myself for the day.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015


Something quite exciting has been happening round ours for the last few weeks. I've barely wanted to tell anyone or even say it out loud in case it stops being true and goes away forever but, for the last little while (whispers) Arlo has been sleeping through the night. After more than 18 months of really quite a lot of getting up in the night actually, it really does feel like such a treat to be able to get some sleep.

I really don't know what's normal when it comes to sleeping patterns. In fact I can't believe I just said that because if I've learnt one thing about parenting its that there is no normal - so please ignore that ridiculous last thing I said. I know babies older than Arlo that still wake many times though the night, and others that have slept through almost from birth too.

All I do know is that being a parent has made me so insanely grateful for sleep, and for the chance to be in bed. In bed is my favourite way to be. Arlo hasn't always been the best sleeper, and I have no idea how long this new sleeping phase may last, but I shall be making the most of every last bed-bound moment this new phase brings.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Patio progress

We moved into our house nearly a year and a half ago now.  We viewed it at the start of July when Arlo was only three weeks old, and one of the things I fell for when we first saw it was the garden. It's not the biggest, or most exciting of gardens, but there's a nice grass-y bit for Arlo to do running around on, and a good sized patio bit for me to do drinking rose in the sun on, and with the mental image of these two wonderful things in my mind, I said "we'll take it!" (or thereabouts - the actual negotiations were much longer and more boring than that, so we'll leave it there).

But the whole moving thing took quite a lot longer than we hoped, and by the time we moved in, it was well and truly winter, which meant we didn't really get to appreciate our garden until this year. And it's treated us pretty well - Arlo had his first wobbly steps out here, it played host to his first birthday party, and we had a few good splashy times out here during the long hot summer, in a paddling pool shaped like a crab.

So Arlo's had lots of play time on the lawn, but have I enjoyed much hazy summer al-fresco boozing in the evening sun? Not so much, because we've been trying to lay the patio for almost all of that time. When we moved in, the patio consisted of a cracked concrete base with tufts of grass growing through (you can see a little sliver of the concrete at the bottom of the pic above). It was ugly and not very safe so we chose some new tiles and decided to give it a bit of a spruce up. Alex is a landscape gardener, so it made sense for him to do it himself, but it's meant that he's had to do it at weekends which is not so much fun for him, and means it eats into his time with Arlo and makes him bloody tired, so we've been taking it slow. It's not finished yet BUT it's really taken shape in the last couple of weeks and it's mega exciting to see it coming together and plan for many BBQs and evening drinks by the time this summer rolls around... some in-between pics below, and prettier ones to come in Spring I hope, with plants and everything. But for now, and in the spirit of celebrating progress, here's our patio's journey in four stages...

Stage one: bashing up the concrete, bit by bit, until the floor was no more
Stage two: keep smashing until all you have left is rubble
Stage three: lose the rubble, get the tiles down
Stage four: nearly there

Home Etc

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Walking this weekend: Yarmouth Pier

A few snaps taken during this weekend's walk. A windy, grey walk. There was such a nip in the air that Arlo, usually desperate to get out and have a run around, stayed steadfastly wrapped up in his cosy toes and barely ventured a little finger out for the duration. We walked along the coast, looked at the boats, and took a trip down Yarmouth Pier, the longest wooden pier in the country (so the information plaque told us anyway). It's had several rounds of restoration along the way, and most of the planks are marked with the names of locals and businesses to show that they've chipped in along the way. We paid special attention to the plank bought by my dad many moons ago which now just says 'MILO   W  ', which I like to think is a little bit of local history for Arlo to see. Not that he dared brave the wind and poke his nose out of his buggy far enough to see it. But we'll make this a regular pilgrimage for sure.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

What would you do if you weren't afraid?

Here's Arlo on the slide the other day. Although if I was being more accurate, I should probably say: Here's Arlo sitting at the top of he slide the other day. Because he didn't actually make it down. This has happened the last few times we've gone to he park - he gets up there, sits himself at the top, looks down, and then stops. I can tell he's a bit worried as he very carefully gets off and takes my hand so we can walk back down the hill the slide is at the top of together.

But it's not like he's never gone down the slide before - he used to. All the time. Over and over until I'd drag him away and try and plonk him on the swings for a bit. So something now is stopping him doing it, despite all my encouragement. It's like he now knows too much and he's a bit worried about going down - maybe it's the height, or the speed, or the fact that he can't see me down at the bottom, or all manner of other things in his mind that I can't even imagine. 

I feel sad that one of his favourite carefree things to do has now turned into something he's too scared to try (at least for the time being anyway). I suppose this is something that is going to happen as he gets older. It's certainly happened to me lately. I have memories that I can't quite believe are real - of things I just wouldn't do now. I can't believe I once jumped out of an aeroplane. Or walked out of a job I didn't like without anywhere else to go. Or paddled through a crocodile-infested river because I couldn't be bothered to walk he long way round (I think that last one was more stupidity than bravery in fact). These are all things I would be too scared to do now. But that I'm glad I did. 

Before Xmas I was at Facebook's offices for a meeting, and they have almost every wall covered in what I suppose they think are inspirational thoughts for employees. There was one that stuck with me though. It asked 'what would you do if you weren't afraid?' I think it's a good question. Fear is something that stops us doing things big and small, whether we're aware of it or not, and although it can make us think twice about doing things that are really a bit silly (I can safely say I won't be walking with crocs ever again!) it also can hold us back from things - things that feel unknown or different to usual. So we have something of a new year's resolution in the Lewis-Wild household - to be brave. For me that's about just getting on and bloody doing all those things I think I might quite want to do but somehow always find a reason not to. And for Arlo, we'll be getting back on the slide and remembering how much fun it always used to be.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015


So yesterday was my first day back at work after three weeks (three weeks!) off. I had such a weird mix of emotions in the run up. The week before, I was dreading it because it meant Xmas was over and what would we have to look forward to now? Then the weekend before, I felt ready - we'd had a great break and I was excited to  get back to a routine, use my brain for something different, have something to focus on. I usually feel this way about work and I've always been open about wanting to go back after having Arlo and being very happy to be working.

So the way I felt the night before caught me totally off guard. I lost my shit a little bit. Some crying happened - the kind that comes completely out of the blue and surprises you. I had that sad little lurching feeling in the bottom of my tummy and as I searched through my brain to figure out what it was that was making me feel so uneasy I realised - I didn't want to say goodbye to Arlo. The thought of a day apart from him made me feel irrationally upset, which felt quite new. I think it's best described as a 'pang'. A real pang of sadness. Of course I always miss him when I'm at work and look forward to the day ending and seeing his little smiling face at the end of it, but I've never felt quite so strongly about it before. It felt like it was out of control and happening against my wishes. I put him to bed with a heavy heart that evening.

In fact, apart from an initial wail as I said goodbye at the childminder's (which felt like a pick-axe to the heart), Arlo ended up having a brilliant day at the childminder's, and I ended up having a brilliant day at work too. I was super-productive, felt very chipper, and crossed EVERY SINGLE ACTION off my to-do list. Can't say I've ever done that before!

So we have to take the pangs with the highs, because it all evens out in the end. Somehow we make work work for us, and that's all we need.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Home and the joy of baby-proofing

We got back home today from a week's visit to London staying with Alex's family for what was our second Christmas. The house was cold and felt empty but we soon filled it up. Arlo unpacked his new toys. I put a wash on and cooked burritos. Alex took Arlo to bed and then lit the wood burning stove. It felt nice to be back in our usual routine. We've had two weeks of Christmas; all the visits and presents and drinks and late nights and catching up with friends and eating nothing but cheese for dinner (ahem). It's been amazing but there was a certain comfort to returning to reality and doing all the things to which we've become accustomed. Things like finding the peanut butter hidden at the back of the kitchen cupboards and eating it straight out of the jar (Arlo) or curling up on the sofa to watch The Walking Dead from behind my fingers (me — we have almost watched them all and are soon to run out of episodes, I may cry).

In particular it felt good to know I could let Arlo run riot without worrying he's going to break something. He's already broken everything there is to break in our house after all. Visits to friends and family are great but having a toddler in tow means you're on high alert in case of spilled drinks or burnt fingers or cat attacks or broken baubles, so it's nice to be able to get to the relative safe haven that is our baby-proofed-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life home, say 'knock yourself out' to a very active one-and-a-half-year-old and let him go mental with the duplo for a bit. I think we'll be staying in for the foreseeable - or at least until the peanut butter runs out.

Thursday, 1 January 2015


A year in (very mini) review: Two new nephews. Arlo's first steps and words. Dream job realised. Brilliant pals and family. Lots of laughs (and a few tears). A looong summer. Wonderful weddings. Being part of our little family of three, the best team going. Balance.

If 2013 was a year of change, then 2014 was a year of settling in - to being a family, to figuring out this working mum thing, to living in the country instead of the city. To sharing so many amazing things (like babies and bumps and engagements and weddings) with friends and family who deserve it all. I'm not sure what I want 2015 to be a year of, I think I'm going to wait and see what it becomes.