First Swimming Lesson

I was nervous this morning. Actually, I was nervous all week about this morning. Kaila’s first swim lesson was a 9am today and I just had no idea how it would go.

She was born in water and likes baths so I figured we would have a good chance of her liking the swimming lesson too. But you never really know, do you? All of the typical “mama worries” were running through my head. Would it be too much for her? Would the special swimming outfit fit her OK? Would she be too sleepy or too hungry to last the full 30 minutes? Are we pushing her into something she’s not ready for? Would the teacher expect her to go under water?

A 9am start time worked to my advantage because we didn’t have too much of the morning to sit around worrying. Instead, we soldiered on, packed her things, and headed off.

Swim lesson essentials

The lessons are held at a private residence about 15 minutes drive from our house. We arrived just after 8:30 with a baby fast asleep in her car seat. Luckily, we weren’t the only ones in the class who showed up with sleeping little ones (in fact, one baby slept through the entire time in the pool!). After waking her, dressing her, and giving her one last feed, it was time to start the lesson.

Modelling her swim nappy

We were greeted by the teacher, Lauren, who happens to be the founder of the Little Dippers swim school. She has a gentle confidence and lovely instructional method that immediately put us at ease. To get all of the babies and accompanying parents (mostly dads) into the pool, she had the dads pass the baby to her in the water so she could give them a cuddle while the dad got in.

Daddy and Kaila before the lesson started

Kaila was the youngest baby in the class by a week but she did brilliantly! She spent the entire 30 minutes awake, alert, and relaxed.

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The class started with a little song and walk around in the pool. Then the instructor taught the parents ways to hold the baby in the pool and then moved on to “swimming skills” like kicking, holding on to things, and having water on the face. Everything was done in a very gentle way for the little ones. For example, “kicking” was basically moving the baby through the water while saying ‘kick kick kick kick kick’.

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It was absolutely adorable! Kaila and Peter did so well and the class was so good, I left feeling like the proudest mama in the world. Definitely looking forward to more ‘kick kick kicks’ next week!

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Turning a Corner

Yesterday morning I sliced oranges again. Same cutting board, same knife, same sun pouring through the window as before but this time something was different. Instead of creeping downstairs on borrowed time to cut oranges, I actually did it with Kaila in the room. She sat peacefully in her baby bouncer while I did what I needed to do.   

She was happy. I was happy. It felt amazing.

At six weeks, it feels like we’re really turning a corner. She’s more awake, more settled, and starting to become her own little person. I think this is where they say the real fun begins.

  

But with babies things can change on a dime. Our moments of morning serenity lasted just long enough for me to slice up four oranges. Then we began a cascade of baby meltdowns that would last pretty much all day. Whew!

In this baby business, you’ve got to find ways to keep laughing. One thing that never fails to make me smile is this Cadbury’s ad. It’s been a savior on those trying days.

Oh yessir, we can boogie over here. And we do!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Today is Mothering Sunday or Mother’s Day here in the UK. So a huge HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all you British mums out there!
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I’m so happy to be celebrating personally this year, both as a new “mum” and a newly minted British citizen.

The photo above is from the maternity photo shoot I mentioned back in February. At the time it was taken, I could only imagine what this journey of motherhood would be like. I’m pleased to say it’s far surpassed my expectations — in all ways. I could never have guessed so many things..the delight I would feel in having Kaila’s tiny fingers wrapped around mine, the way entire days can evaporate into nursing and napping, the awe I would feel about my own body’s ability to create and nurture life, how hard it can be to listen to Kaila cry, and the overwhelming feelings of love that can flood through me and bring me to tears just by looking at her face.

Above all else, I don’t think I imagined how much I’d feel connected to and inspired by other mothers. Being a mother takes an incredible amount of patience, humility, self-sacrifice, bravery, confidence, strength, and love. To all the mothers who unwaveringly harness those qualities day in and day out, I salute you! Today is your day so enjoy it!

Little Luxuries

During the first few weeks with a newborn, time changes. It no longer seems to follow the same, regular pattern we’re all used to. Instead of seconds methodically leading to minutes that nicely stack up into hours which fold into days, the whole pattern feels disrupted. Sometimes a few minutes feels like hours and other times you’ll blink and whole days will have passed without you realizing.

With Kaila, our days are mostly divided into three hour segments as we go from one mealtime to the next. Every three hours (or so), we nurse again and a new opportunity arises for her to sleep and for us to scurry around getting things done or relaxing.

Since we’re on baby time now, any personal time feels borrowed. I’ve discovered new pleasure in the tiniest of joys during my borrowed time. Popping out to put letters in the mailbox down the street, having a bath in the evening, or simply having a few quiet moments to make breakfast for myself feel like the most incredibly indulgent and luxurious activities now!

Yesterday was one of those luxurious mornings. The sun was shining, my little girl was upstairs napping, and I had the whole kitchen to myself to cut oranges and look at flowers that we had been given. It was pure heaven.

But life these days isn’t just about the small things. We’ve also been doing some “big” things this past week or so too. Lots of firsts for Kaila. She had her first outing to the pub, her first bath, her first baby playdate, and she also met her cousin for the first time! Here are a few pictures from our week of firsts.

Now, I’m off to squeeze in a few more “little luxuries” for myself before Kaila’s next mealtime.

Little Black Dress Initiative: Day 5

Friday was the 5th and final day of the Little Black Dress Initiative. Kaila must have known because she spit up on the dress shortly after I put it on. Oh well, good thing it’s machine washable!

Yesterday had bright sunshine too beautiful to ignore. We knew we had to get outside to enjoy the weather so I paired the black dress with my black maternity cardigan from JoJo Maman Bebe and off we went. Our excursion was to the Woodland Gardens area of Bushy Park, an adorable park area complete with streams, ponds, rabbits, and ducks.

The whole trip was quite idyllic. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and there were mothers with little ones everywhere (although we think Kaila was the littlest one of all). Peter took every opportunity he could to “off road” with Kaila in the stroller. We went down gullies and over mounds of dirt, all the while Peter bemoaned the fact that Kaila was sleeping and too young for him to introduce her to everything around us.

When we got back, I discovered an anonymous donation had been made to my fundraising page for the Little Black Dress Initiative. This final donation brought the grand total raised to £165 — not too shabby!

Thanks to all who contributed! I love that I have such wonderfully supportive friends and family who are on board for even the craziest of my ideas.