As a whole, it has been a great year. Alfred has grown from someone who could barely sit up to a fully functioning toddler, and it has been fascinating to watch. We've been away loads and had a brilliant time with friends - all captured on this card.
But then there's a big black hole since September. No photos, on either camera. No positive memories at all. Just a whole elongated pain in the arse, which I am now going to list so that I have proof in years to come that it genuinely has been "a hard time".
Bloody teeth! Why aren't they just born with teeth? I used to roll my eyes and yawn when parents moaned about their kids getting teeth. "You chose to have a child, and it's a well known fact that children grow teeth. Deal with it". The reality is of course that I don't care about the actual teeth, I care about the sleep deprivation on top of a full time job. Two solid months of four hours sleep a night, simply isn't enough, when it's impossible to catch up during the day.
- Burning bottom syndrome
I don't know what this really is, but basically it seems that when our child is ill, his body rebels by expelling pure acid into his nappy every five minutes, which swiftly dissolves the skin on his bottom. Cue pain, upset, and more sleep deprivation.
Put it this way: I am not stepping on another plane with Alfred until he is 16.
- Broken electronics
First it was Oliver's Macbook Pro, it proper just died. Then the iPad, with it's cracked screen. Then, of course, my Macbook Pro. The screen mysteriously cracked itself one day... I still haven't got it fixed due to the fear of having to remortgage to pay for it. But I probably should get it seen to.
- Upstairs builders
Our upstairs neighbour (who is lovely, you couldn't ask for a better neighbour) has unfortunately employed some cowboys to renovate her flat. They have taken ten weeks (so far) to do a three week job. They are incapable of speaking at normal volume and have taken up the floor, so I can pretty much hear them breathe - let alone drill and bang and thump around. Getting a child to sleep is tough enough at the best of times. Humph.
- Leaks from upstairs builders
We've had six leaks (and counting) of varying seriousness from the resulting chaos of the upstairs builders. Those are the ones we know about. The worst of these poured through the bedroom ceiling onto our bed, ruining our (incredibly expensive) mattress, the cover, topper, quilt, pillows and will to live, the week before Christmas.
Insurance is a great thing, but they don't compensate for sleeping on the living room floor every night. And for the added sleep deprivation caused by both of us being up with the toddler during his 'refusal to sleep' period, as there isn't another room to use. And the fact that my dad couldn't come to stay for Christmas. This whole experience has made me very sad. I love our bed, it's my favourite place in the world and I hate that some idiot left a tap running and ruined it, just like that.
- Smoke alarms
Another consequence of the leaky builders is that they short circuited the electrics running the smoke alarms in the whole building. There are four in total, and they all went off at different times during the same night, on various floors, in different flats. Oliver, (in my head dressed as a superhero, with earplugs) heroically located and smashed each of these as they went off, dodging buckets catching leaks, in pitch darkness, armed with a "big nail" apparently...
- The crack head
We were woken early one Sunday morning (one of the rare ones when Alfred was actually asleep) to a suicidal crack head on the door step in the throes of a panic attack, searching for Wesley. I added this in for comedy value, but it wasn't very funny at the time.
- Hand foot and mouth
In itself, not a very serious disease at all and nothing to do with cows. Alfred managed to get a secondary infection, a nasty rash all over his face and bottom and parts of his legs. He was uncomfortable, with a temperature, unable to eat and generally miserable - and awake - for about two weeks. Enough sleep deprivation already.
My mum is out in Guinea, helping with the Ebola efforts, which of course is very commendable - as long as she doesn't get Ebola. It hasn't helped my anxiety.
- More teeth
And then, out of the blue, I realised that we hadn't had any new teeth for a while. And so... yup here they come.
- Broken car
Poor faithful Fergus. He has something wrong with him. The day before Christmas, when we needed him most (the supermarket closed at 5pm and I'd of course left it until the last minute) he packed up. Just like that. What we really needed was an extra little something to make the logistics of Christmas less smooth.
- Morning sickness
Throughout all of this I felt like crap.
I've not been feeling the most positive about 2014, if I'm honest. Although lack of sleep seems to make everything just worse, so I put a lot of it down to that. Anything we own, of any value has been damaged. And I'm tired.
So it was really quite an eye opener to see months and months of fun on this memory card and realise that we've in fact had a great year overall, just a tough couple of months. It's almost the end of the year, and although it's an arbitrary line in the sand I'm looking forward to a new one and a chance to start afresh.
Happy new year everyone, I hope 2015 treats us all kindly xx