Where do you stand on cards?

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The Turk and I disagree when it comes to cards, they’re not a big thing in Turkey and apparently he never had one until he came to the UK.  I on the other had have been inundated with cards since I was a child, birthday, Christmas, driving tests, exams…etc.  I was made to send thank you cards for every single gift and even as an adult my mum reminds me (my current task on her to do list is to send a thank you for my baby’s Easter eggs).  I popped out to by a first birthday card earlier this year and was met by a stall of Easter cards, a new one even for me.

The culmination of our different opinions on cards has resulted in an example of each extreme this year, the first was my Mothers day card, which I reminded the Turk about on at least 15 occasions, he did buy one but left it at home for the weekend, didn’t write on it until a week later, but it was good when it arrived!  The other extreme was in my mad purchase of 1st birthday cards for our NCT group I accidentally bought Jem a first birthday card, it was good, but I had forgotten that I had already bought him one earlier in the year…one which was much better…so he has ended up with two.

Somewhere in this house or my parent’s I have hundreds of cards I have been unable to throw away but will never look at again, hence the Turk’s view that they are a complete waste of time.  But looking through my son’s first birthday cards I just know that I will treasure them and I feel there is a place for cards in our life, and as they were a particularly fabulous bunch I thought I would share just a few with you:

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This is a Marks & Spencer card, I love the way it stands, with a fold effect rather than a traditional opening

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This is a unique card, handmade by my parents – isn’t it a fab keepsake!

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Aww I love this card, from the front it has a great picture & unusual fold and then opens out into a huge poster with hugging arms! I plan to hang it on the nursery wall

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These last 3 images are the same card which opens out into a keepsake book with space for photo and notes, it’s really unusual and I will love looking back on it

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Best birthday gifts!

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My first confession is this is a little post about mummy’s favourite presents, rather than the chief birthday boy’s!

Both these have gone down a treat though so I thought I’d do a little review for any of you who have a soon to be 1 year old as we struggled with age appropriate gifts which will last & be value for money.

Me and the Turk focused on clothes knowing that Jem would get toys from others, but the one toy we did splash out on was the ELC Little Roadster, which at £20 would need to last the 12-36 months advertised.  Luckily we got it on offer so it was a bargain, but I was dubious about whether it would have that much entertainment value.  I needn’t have worried, Jem had the key in his mouth the second it was extracted from the box and has already had plenty of use out of it!  He likes to press the little buttons as they all make good noises, he hasn’t mastered inserting they key or altering the gears (perhaps too fine motor skills for his current level) but the indicator is a big hit…he likes to jig along with it as it ticks…it’s sickeningly cute.

ELC Racer

I am pleasantly surprised, it does do what it says on the tin and the moving road in the middle along with the semi-realistic functions (gear change, ignition button, brake squealing…) mean I can see this lasting quite a long time.  The plan was to take it in the car when he’s a little older to ‘drive along’ so it will be interesting to see if this works as a suitable distraction.

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The other fab gift was the Chad Valley fire engine paddling pool, from a special auntie.  It’s great when blown up and I particularly like the front end which offers some shade if you are using it outside.  It took a long time to blow up (because we didn’t have a foot pump as recommended…shhh) but it was doable by one person and fits together easily and has even withstood Jem’s inelegant climbing into and out of it every 2 minutes.  Clever auntie had an even better idea in fact, because I’m not sure how much use we will get out of a paddling pool this year (our garden is now cleared but not turfed…pool on a patch of mud perhaps looks a bit strange) so she bought a bag of balls to turn it into our very own ball pit!  This is a smashing idea as it massively increases the life and use of the paddling pool by making it dual purpose.  Jem loves the balls, sitting in the pool throwing them out, sitting out throwing them in…eating them…there are holes in several already!  I really recommend this approach as (assuming it lasts) I can see a much older child still being interested in this.  The paddling pool is for 3 year plus, whereas a purpose built ball pit would be from 2 years so we do have to take particular care as Jem is only 1, but it is working really well for us!

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Reflections on a year

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It is Jem’s first birthday today, so I thought it was worth a little reminiscing, particularly as I will return to work in a month, so my “lazy” mornings will be a thing of the past.

The first few months were challenging, I didn’t feel much of a connection to my baby, I was alone most of the time feeling lost and helpless.  Breastfeeding was horrendous and didn’t settle until 4 months so every feed (and there were a lot) was excruciating and took a lot of effort.

He also didn’t really sleep.  I expected this to some small extent, but he really didn’t nap during the day at all.  He was a pretty decent night sleeper, I had a few weeks of very warm weather when I would wake at 2 or 3 am and worry that he was dehydrated and wake him up for a change and feed…with hindsight I regret this.  It was fueled by fear from his first night at home when the midwife told me off for leaving him to sleep as newborns are advised to be fed every 3 hours.  At the stage when he was sleeping better he was a month or two and I feel had I been more confident I could safely have left him and he would have awoken for food.  I needn’t have worried too much as any sleep routine was short lived, by the time we went to Turkey at 5 months he had been sleeping through, by the time we returned to the UK he was waking every hour and I was in pieces.

All in all it has been a challenge, but the birthday has made me look back to the good times from this past 12 months.  Although I felt there were few and far between I will really miss feeding him to sleep in our bed, then lying next to him playing Bubble Witch Saga whilst he napped.  I already miss our hours in the sun last summer with the rest of my NCT group.  I will miss being the one there for him when he cries and chuckling when he does (as he is right now) something amusing like wearing a curtain on his head.

I won’t miss his chewing the walls or following me to the toilet, but I will miss the smile I get when I tell him off.  I remind myself that I will still get to see these things, but less often so they will be even more special.

I could never understand how anyone would forget the bad things, the pain, the stress, the lack of sleep and the horror of childbirth.  I still remember these things, and I dread the birth should I be fortunate enough to have another baby, but I finally understand why it’s all worthwhile.

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Lucky boy ended up with 3 birthday “days” and two cakes!