Playground hopping, beach walks, and Zoey says I LUB YOU!

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This blog is Day Six of my 30 days of motherhood blogging challenge. Every day, for 30 days, I’m sharing diary-style snippets of my life as a working mum to one cheeky toddler. Consider this part creative experiment, part self-therapy. Feel free to play along at home! You can read days one to five here.

3.45 am
Zoey wakes up crying. Bad dream? Sore tummy? It’s impossible to tell, but thankfully she resettles quickly after a cuddle.

5.15 am
Zoey is awake again, but it feels too early to start a Saturday. I bring her into our bed and give her a small bottle of milk, hoping she’ll settle back to sleep. Nine times out of ten this fails and she’s bouncing off the walls as soon as she finishes her bottle, but this morning she actually went back to sleep!!! She woke up again at 7 am – HEAVEN. I didn’t get much sleep (as she was smushed into the side of my face and I was too scared to move lest she wake up, ha), but at least I got to stay under the warm covers and doze.

7.21 am
Reading Zoey books in bed. One of the reasons I give Zoey a bottle when she wakes up is it delays the need to make breakfast at the crack of dawn!

9.30 am
We’re off to try a new playground – this pretty much sums up parent life on a Saturday morning (#sowild). The playground in Mairangi Bay gets a BIG tick from all of us – it’s fully fenced, has a few slides Zoey can reach by herself, and is a five-minute walk from the beach.

10 am
Beach walk. One thing I try to do most days is give both myself and Zoey the opportunity to exercise. When I take her for a long walk in the pram, it’s amazing for me – but not great for her. And when I spend ages at the playground, I don’t get that exercise my body craves. So after the playground, we head to the beach where she can run free and I can also stretch my legs. We live in a really small house, so I love to take her to places where she can run wild.

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11.30 am
Lunch time for Zoey. Honey sandwiches and sliced apple. Probably way too much sugar but we’d run out of peanut butter and she detests marmite. Anyone have any great, out-of-the-box sandwich fillers I could try? Note: she’s very fussy!

12.00 pm
Zoey’s asleep and as much as I want to chill out with my book, I have some work to do. I smash out some solid first drafts and manage to sneak in a quick 15-minute nap before she wakes up.

2.30 pm
We’re off to another playground – and I’m taking the long way to fit in a 30-minute power walk on the way there (see above point about trying to fit in exercise for both of us!). We leave Tom at home to chill out. I try to give him some downtime on the weekends when I can.

4.15 pm
Home from the playground. I’m hoping Zoey will be happy to chill out and play with her toys semi-independently since she got so much fresh air today…

4.45 pm
Tom and Zoey are watching a movie while I cook dinner. Zoey lasts about 15 minutes before she’s bored and interested in the next thing. Tom and I both LOVE movies (even kids movies!) so we’re really excited for when Zoey is old enough to appreciate a family flick. We’re under no illusions we might be waiting a few years, though.

5.00 pm
Dinner is in the oven, but I didn’t read the cook time before I started – 1 hr 15 mins (and then it will need time to cool down). Zoey will struggle to wait until 6.30 pm to eat, so we put together a platter of her favourite foods: corn, cheese, and ham. Not what I had planned, but oh well.

5.30 pm
As per usual, Zoey resists sitting in her high chair. In a team effort, Tom and I get her strapped in, which results in a big meltdown. As she’s sitting there bawling her eyes out, we clink our wine glasses. Cheers! It’s a nice moment in the chaos. Then I get Zoey a glass of water so she can be included in the action. This is sufficient distraction from the fact she’s in her high chair and she starts to happily eat her dinner.

5.45 pm
Zoey said I LUB YOU to me for the first time!!! Totally unprompted! I’m struggling to find words for how insanely special this moment felt. We were all pretending to ‘sleep’ at the dinner table (doing fake snoring, etc – honestly, toddlers haha) and she was cracking up. She loves it when we play silly. Then she looked me straight in the eye and said ‘I lub you!’ with a big smile on her face. I’m welling up just remembering it. Of course, I didn’t play it cool AT ALL – I squealed and clapped my hands with excitement, which she thought was hilarious. Hopefully this positive reaction encourages her to say it again and again, because I don’t think it will ever get old!

6.30 pm
Zoey said I LUB YOU again!! This time when she was playing peek-a-boo with my hair. Again, she locked eyes with me in the middle of our play and said it – Tom even managed to get a pic of the moment it happened (alas, not a video). My heart feels so full. Even though she started hitting me a few minutes later (we’re working on the no hitting thing… she thinks it’s really funny, I don’t think she understands it’s not nice!)

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7.30 pm
We started Zoey’s bedtime routine at 6.45 pm, but she’s only just settled. She needed lots of extra cuddles tonight, but I was still basking in my post-lub-you happiness and more than happy to oblige. Let’s be honest, I would have curled up in the cot right next to her if it meant hearing those three precious words again! I’m still pinching myself that it happened, that she said it, those three words I’ve been saying to her since she was in my belly. I know they are just words – and I know she’s loved me since the moment she was born (and probably earlier!), but hearing her articulate them was something else. LUB!

On that note, time to go enjoy my very special Saturday evening – I’m planning to pour another glass of wine, crack into an Easter egg, and watch the Brené Brown Netflix special (just call me a party animal).

Jess x