War and Peace

Or, a little update.

Summer is here and the beautiful weather is bringing back lots of hazy memories of the first few weeks of Freddie’s life. I think it will be a while before hot days don’t remind me of sitting on the sofa with a tiny, too hot newborn feeding feeding feeding and me feeling drained from the heat and the strain of the whole thing. Don’t get me wrong, last summer was wonderful in so many ways – finding out how to be a family of three, first smiles, introducing our little man to family and friends, lovely sunny walks, two very special weddings and a great holiday in Cornwall, but I am REALLY looking forward to this summer and seeing Freddie explore on his own, splash in a paddling pool and say his first few words.

I’m a couple of months into my new job and that side of things is going very well. I keep thinking I should pinch myself because it can’t be possible that I’ve got myself a good, challenging, interesting PERMANENT and PART-TIME job with an excellent employer, without exerting my heart and soul to find it. I haven’t had a lot of luck with jobs in the past, but it seems karma was on my side for this search, and for this I am incredibly grateful. So, yeah, the job is good. Figuring out how to have two working parents on the other hand is much more hard work. There is not enough TIME! (Or money, but when is there ever?) We’re getting there. We’re all happy and healthy(ish) – Freddie’s had a virus, which I’ve had along with tonsillitus, but we’re doing ok. And we really are happy, so that is what ultimately important.

I started writing a ’30 before 30′ list a few months ago, and then realised I couldn’t just sit there and look at it, I actually had to do some of the things on it in the less than 2 years I’ve got till I leave my 20s. I don’t actually have a bit hang-up about turning 30, as I’m happy with where I am now, but I thought the concept was as good as any to make me do stuff. One of the first things I added was to read War and Peace as, as a Russian graduate, I know the book and studied it in part, but (probably like most Russian graduates) I’d never actually read it from cover to cover. Now I have. My goodness it is long. Like 28 hours solid reading, long. I’m glad I’ve read it as a lot of the comparisons I’ve heard made to it now make more sense, and I really enjoyed the complex female character of Natasha (often quoted as being the only ’round’ female character in Russian literature), but it was rather heavy on the war for my liking. Of course it is genius in some ways, and I found myself wanting to sit and think about the analogies many times, but I also just wanted to get through it. And now I have. Next item on my list is to go on a floristry course.

Freddie is wonderful. He’s almost walking – just needs the confidence to let go of our hands – and is starting to say a few words that aren’t quite words, if that makes sense. A few weeks ago everything said ‘quack quack’, this weekend he began to point out cows and say ‘coo’ (coos says ‘boo’, by the way, because he can’t quite make the ‘moo’ sound). He points at the thing he wants, still loves books over any toys, can blow a kiss and would stay outside all day if he could. He’s still a good sleeper (with a bit of a hiccup when I went back to work, for some reason) and generally eats a lot. I’m trying to get him to taste as many different foods as possible before he’s two so that he remains adventurous. This method has had some success, but not universal. He’s showing signs of the toddler tantrum and can throw himself on the floor like a pro, but generally is a happy, cheeky 14 month old. I think we’ll keep him.

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We’ve always been one of these couples who are always away visiting people, have friends over, are out doing, seeing and going. To some extent we’ve kept that up since Freddie has arrived, but I think we’re realising how that has to change. It’s not only the money factor (there is less of it now I’m 75%), it’s also the inconvenience factor. It’s difficult because we don’t want to miss out and to a certain extent I think it’s taken us this long to realise this because we’re the first of our friends to have a baby, so there’s still lots going on. But, as the person who gave me the excellent advice of putting the baby to bed while it’s still awake and that you can’t have it all (my mum) said to me recently, “it’s not forever”. While we want to see everyone and do everything, we also bemoan the fact that we’re never at home. We’ll see how this goes.

Having said this, we’ve had some great weekends away recently, including a few days with Freddie’s ungodly parents Lucie and George, and another fondue and fun-filled weekend in south London with James and Olivia. We wouldn’t not want to do those again, that’s for sure.

That’s it for now. How have you all been? Any tips for working parents? I’d LOVE to hear any success stories you have where both parents have busy jobs that include travelling, but it all works out well in the end. It’s going to be fine, right?

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