Persephone: Parent

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Mum of Two, Surviving Tonsillitis

At least I’m assuming I have tonsillitis. It started on a Saturday night, the night of the clocks change, when I started to just feel really hot. I guess I’d had a bit of a headache all day, but didn’t know what to put it down to. Saturday night the fever started, the all over head pain and sore neck. Sunday I tried to rest.

I still had a fever.

And how easy is it to rest with two children?

Luckily it was the weekend. Hubby let me sleep in a separate bedroom and woke me for the one and only feed Robin needed. He took over Elvis during the day as much as he could given the toddler’s current clinginess to me. And Robin let me have some decent naps (she still only sleeps on me during the day). I was still feverish Sunday night and Robin was a bit more of a pickle with needing longer feeds overnight which I really, really could have done without.

Luckily, I awoke Monday in less pain and not quite so feverish but my throat was swollen as were my glands but my neck hurt less so I assumed I was fighting it.

The problems were:

* I just wanted to be alone. You can’t with two especially not one so young.

* I desperately considered doing formula for the nights so I could sleep but who knows if she’d take a bottle and I don’t want to compromise her immune system now. But I want stronger drugs!

* She’s too little for set naps and sleeping alone so I could barely get any respite from parenting from wake up until bed.

I am so thankful for my husband helping so much and that I had the worst of it (hopefully) on a weekend.

Now, I’d just like to eat food without it tasting absolutely foul!

~ P

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Monthly Update: Month 2

Weight, Length, Height: At 7.5 weeks, she is 58.5cm long and weighs in at 12lb 11oz. A little late, at 9 weeks her feet are 9cm long.

Routine: By just over 5 weeks, Robin had a clear night routine – all her. Anytime from 5pm her cluster feeds started until 8 or 9 when she could happily be put down asleep, stay asleep in her own bed until her 3 over night feeds (all with easy put downs) and then waking between half 7 and half 8. At 5 weeks, she goes between 2.5-3 hours during the day for feeds. Daytimes naps are random. Three weeks later and the cluster feeding is less and has 1-2 overnight feeds. She likes to nap after her 8am feed so I might try and form a flexible routine over the next month.

Bedtime: Last feed about 8 or 9, which was a feed to sleep by about 9 or 10. I go up to bed at 9 to either feed her or dress her in her sleep and go to sleep myself. At 5 weeks anyway. Pretty much the same at 8 weeks the fact that if she wakes after the last feed she self-settles. Elvis self settles with a dummy not truly on his own! The clocks change soon, once they have I’ll see how she is and try and get a bedtime routine in place.

Naps/Length: At 5 weeks, no pattern really. For a few days she napped 12-1 whilst I did the shopping/nursery run, and then 2-4 when we sat alone in quiet. At 8 weeks, the 12-1 is still there and she’s awake-ish from 0800-0900, 1400-1500 and 2000-2100. The rest is feeding/sleeping. Although I have decided that she needs to start staying asleep elsewhere during the day and not just on me.

Number of feeds in 24hrs: At 5 weeks, 3 middle of the night feeds, breakfast, 2 in the day, dinner and then clusters from 5 or 6 until 9. Probably 8 if you take the 3-4 cluster feeds as 1. 8 at 8 weeks. Sometimes 7.

Favourite toy/objects: She loves to watch the dragonfly batting toy on her chair and I watched her eyes follow Elvis across the room! At week 6 or 7 we put batteries in the mobile Elvis loved and Robin loves it, too. She also likes her playgym more than a few weeks ago. Especially the mirror!

Clothing age: At 5 weeks, 0-3 clothes and size 2 nappies. But we’ll be moving up very soon.

Foot length/Shoe Size:

Milestones: Definate smiles! Hundreds of them. Cooing and the cutest noises ever! Her head control is much better and tummy time is easier.

Our swimming ability: At 5 weeks and 5 days, Robin spent an hour being rocked, pushed etc by Daddy as Mummy took Elvis swimming!

What I’m reading/Favourite Books: I still haven’t read to her independent of reading to Elvis and I haven’t read anything the whole month!

Number of Teeth: Thankfully still none!

Fears: None.

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Mothers Make Strangers Known

There’s a lady I see, a mother, always walking in the opposite direction to me no matter the time of day. As I walk towards Elvis’ nursery after lunch, she’s walking in the opposite direction. After I have collected Elvis, I return home and pass this mother. She has a double pushchair, one of the ones where one child sits above the other. As I go to nursery, she has one child, a boy, in the lower seat and I have an empty pushchair. On the return journey, my pushchair has Elvis in it and hers has a girl in the upper seat, the younger brother still hidden away underneath. We smile at each other although we have never met.

There is no recognition from baby groups. I’ve never seen her at a Sure Start Centre, although I have seen her around town with one child in her double. We “know” each other purely from walking our nursery runs in opposite directions. The other morning, I went out to yoga alone at half 8 in the morning and I saw her doing her morning nursery run, both children in the double. She was across the road. We had never seen each other at this time of day and I was without a pushchair – empty or full – and our eyes met across a busy main road and we smiled at each other.

Her children are both older than mine so I doubt we’ll ever run in the same circles. Maybe some under 5 groups. Probably not. But we smile and nod at each other. I don’t know what she thinks of the stranger who smiles at her. Does she think back to her days with only the one child, the single pushchair and a growing bump? Does she look at me and realise that I see her as my future? Not that I want a double pushchair where one sits above the other (I’m hoping for some baby wearing and toddler walking before a side-by-side stroller for certain journeys), but soon I will be the mum pushing a pushchair with one child, on my way to collect the other. Making the journey every day, times as strict as anything as the eldest can’t be left to go over their time. Does she look forward to the time soon when her oldest goes to school and her youngest starts the nursery? Does she think that when that happens, she will pass me with my one, her pushchair empty? And then we’ll pass again, me with two and her with her son. A few hours later, she’ll be needed for the school run for her daughter.

When these changes have all occurred, will we stop seeing each other? Will we forget each other? That nameless woman and her two children who are simply living their life, passing me by as I live my life.

~ P

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TV Watching: Flash Season One

Okay, I’m on episode 15 and I don’t actually want to talk about the show so far in general – I’m enjoying it. I don’t like the idea of Barry/Iris. I love Barry and Papa West’s relationship. I’m not sure about how many people know the Flash’s identity and Wells was suspicious from day 1. I’m also unsure on how fast elements of the plot are moving regarding Wells and the Reverse Flash. But I trust Arrow so have faith here.

I watched episode 15 wondering if we’d skipped to the end of season 1. Iris admits her feelings. Barry admits his Flash-ness to the girl of his dreams. And Cisco… he learns too much (perhaps we learn too much) and Wells… it was heartbreaking.

I guess I’ve always seen Cisco as the classic, loveable nerd. He’s harmless. He’s loveable. He truly is your best friend. And then he shed a few tears, realising the truth about his mentor, the heartbreaking betrayal. Then Wells literally breaks his heart. I started sobbing (I am a hormonal mum) and declared I couldn’t watch it. For the record there have only twice before been deaths I can’t watch on TV and they were both due to violence not emotion. And, yeah, I’m known to cry at TV, but the look on Cisco’s face… heartbreaking, truly.

I’m assuming from the episode end that everything will change, Iris’ revelation will be known only by Barry, Wells’ by the viewer and Cisco will be his usual faithful, harmless, loveable, whole hearted self. At least it better be because I didn’t like either plot development!

~ P

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Monthly Update: Month 22

Weight, Length, Height: No change.

Routine: No change.

Bedtime: a few hiccups this month but still 7pm.

Naps/Length: 2-3 hours on an afternoon. This boy is all about consistency.

Favourite toy/objects: He loves just running around. Or being chased. Or playing with us. It seems like it’s just happened but maybe my pregnancy aches stopped me seeing it earlier. He’s really starting to like blocks and knocking them over.

Clothing age: Gone up to size 5 nappies and nursery put him in a 5+! He’s outgrowing 12-18 tshirts and I don’t have any 18-24 so he’ll be going into 2+.

Foot length/Shoe Size: still a 6.

Milestones: He can repeat so many words now on first hearing. Or at least tries to. I’m going to put his newest word here. He can say the name of a little girl at nursery. I am so chuffed. It took him forever to start saying mummy and daddy so to pick up a name we haven’t drummed into him is huge! He has also started physically copying a lot more, so mimicking actions including at the dinner table. Under close supervision he can drink from an open lidded cup.

Our swimming ability: The first Friday in March we went swimming again! Elvis loved it. He happily threw the toy in to go fetch, giggling as he fetched, kicking his legs without command. Splashing, clapping, doing song actions, copying, smiling. He loved it. At the end of class we count to 3 and jump in. Not Elvis, he reaches for my hand and climbs in. How sensible is that?

What I’m reading/Favourite Books: His favourite book is a Fireman Sam book from the library. I’m still part way through The 100 and Storm of Swords.

New Foods: none.

Words: Mine – picked up from nursery as we don’t use it at home. Tom, Penny, Elvis from a Fireman Sam book. Minnie and Mick as in Mouse. Bender from Futurama is Benger, Fry is Ry and he says Leela correctly. He told me to wakey wake when I was fake napping. He keeps requesting to go in the “back room” for us to “push” him on his “bike”. He can just copy any word. I love it.

Signs: He asked me to sing at bathtime, I asked sing what and he pointed at the turtle so I signed it and asked if he could sign it. Bless his heart he tried so hard!

Number of Teeth: Still 10.

Fears: Elvis has finally stopped being scared of his frog shaped bubble machine – he didn’t like the noise!

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Smile!

I just read this blog called Sleep and Smiles, and it dawned on me how much I love my daughter, how much I’m enjoying everything more this time around.

I’m still quite tired. But not as tired as I was with Elvis.

I still quite dislike breastfeeding. But not as much as I did.

I still hate the lack of napping routines and inability to nap alone. Probably more than I did.

I still dislike newborn and can’t wait for 6 months ish. But not as much as I did.

I love her morning smiles. I don’t remember getting them with Elvis. I love her gurgling conversations. I don’t remember them with him.

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Dinner Time

I fucking hate dinner time.

She fights her afternoon naps. He wakes at 4pm.

Today I got thirty minutes playing with him upstairs before I had to pick her up due to screaming because she wants to sleep and needs rocking on the nursing chair.

That’s downstairs.

But downstairs means TV, namely Mickey Mouse.

So I try holding and rocking her. Meanwhile he closes the fucking door so ww’re all trapped in the bedroom. But he does (un)helpfully close the window.

She’s having none of it. He’s kicking off as he wants the door open. My arm is aching because I have serious upper body pain from holding her. All. The. Fucking. Time.

So I tell him I’m taking her downstairs (because asking him resulted in no). Well, now he does want to come. But he wants to be carried.

I put her down. She screams. I carry him down. My muscles want to scream. But he’s not screaming.

And he’s watching Mickey Mouse.

I bring her down. She falls asleep withn minutes of me rocking her.

Oh, crap. How do I cook dinner now?

So I text hubby, no dinner for anyone.

I start to consider putting her down so I can do his dinner but wonder how I can watch him eat whilst holding her when my upper body is screaming in agony.

Before I can make a decision she wakes and wants milk.

As I’m arranging 101 cushions to try and take all the weight, strain and pressure off my upper body, getting her latched on, he falls off the fucking sofa.

So I yank her off. Put her down safely and grab him up. He’s fine. Just shocked. She’s screaming.

I return to feeding her.

Now it’s half 5. She’s the only one who’s eaten. I didn’t manage lunch. And I want to physically pull my hair out.

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The Unknown

I just want someone to be able to tell me that Robin will be just like Elvis. She’s 7 weeks old, Elvis was about 16 weeks old when he stopped needing any over night feeds and he never had them after then. Are we 9 weeks away from Robin being the same?

Are we closer?

Are we further?

I get insomnia. When I wake for a night feed, despite Robin being by my side in a co-sleeper cot, I wake up fully. Despite me relaxing during the feed, drifting off to sleep a bit, too, I wake up when I’m carefully putting Robin down. Then her snuffles keep me awake, questioning if it’s her not fully asleep or just settling herself back down.

It’s tough.

The past two nights I’ve tried side lying to feed. The first night was amazing but did end up with far more co-sleeping which makes me achey. Last night, either due to insomnia or fearing full relaxtion, I didn’t sleep as well.

Oh, and she’s spent the past two nights on a 3 hour routine rather than 4-5.

Is it just a few day phase? Is it because she feeds less when lying down, nursing more sitting up? Do I drift off and pull away when we’re lying down?

And I don’t want her to get used to sleeping right by my side.

If I’m going to wake up fully no matter which position I may as well go for the one that leads to me being more comfortable.

It still leaves me with the unknown – 9 weeks to go? Or more? Or less?

~ P

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Nap Training

Baby Girl Robin is just over 6 weeks old, okay almost 7 weeks old, and so far she’s pretty damn perfect at nights. I feed her to sleep somewhere between 8 and 10pm and put her in her co-sleeping cot. At whatever time she stirs (could be 3 could be 5 hours), I pick her up, feed her and put her back in her cot. We’re having 2 night time feeds at the moment on average and she’s awake for the day by half 7 maybe 8.

So the nights are brilliant.

The days… not so much.

I mean there’s nothing wrong with our days. I’m not at my wit’s end, drowning in depression. Her feeds are still between 2.5 and 3 hours apart and I do try and plan them to fit with Elvis and his routine. She can’t feed at 0930 to want another at 1230 as I leave then to pick up Elvis. So there’s a 2 hour window for the nursery run. Ideally there’s a 3 hour window in the evening where I don’t want to feed her due to Elvis’ nap ending, cooking, eating, bath and bedtime. But that’s unrealistic at the moment.

The problem isn’t her feeding; it’s her napping.

She can fall asleep from a feed but she doesn’t always during the day. I can rock her to sleep either standing up or sitting in the nursing chair. Daddy and Nanny have got her to sleep too during the day. In the evening she prefers me and boobies, but is that an element of her cluster feeding?

She’s also happier awake and “playing” so I can get on and do bits as she lies on my bed taking in her surroundings but it doesn’t last long. Then again sometimes her naps don’t last long.

I guess the real problem is that during an afternoon, as she sleeps on me, I get tired. But Elvis is napping in his cot all afternoon so how do I stay awake? It’s getting to the point when she has to start napping on her own.

With Elvis, we basically co-slept 24/7 and somewhere between 8 and 10 weeks old I just couldn’t hack it anymore and made a stand: I was determined to get him into his Moses basket day and night. And it worked. With Robin we already have the night cracked. That should make naps easier, right?

Or could it screw up the nights?

She’s not in any proper routine yet but I maybe do see a few patterns. Can I recognise when she’s tired? If she wakes straight up is it because she’s had long enough or because I put her down?

Do I know her well enough to force this stress on us both?

Can I keep my brain active on warm afternoons as she sleeps in my arms?

Does she only do a 1.5-2 hour nap on an afternoon as that’s our uninterrupted time?

Is it simple perseverance?

Anyone have any tips?

Or I could sling her, but how practical is that for cleaning the bath or washing up?

I might give her a few more weeks, if I can stay awake!

Help!

~ P

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Breastfeeding: Now and Then

Apparently my grey-tinted glasses have made me forget a lot about Elvis’ first few months. Despite Hubby telling me “Elvis was the same” I refused to believe him, his memory must be failing. Until I read a few blog entries and was pleasantly surprised.

What I do remember is:

  • Pain – bleeding nipples, multiple milk blebs, pain for at least 3 weeks. Latch damage.
  • Sleep deprivation – for at least a month before I gave in and safely bedshared for another month-ish.
  • Long feeds – this was the reason for the sleep deprivation. Until Elvis got super quick at feeds.
  • Fainty let downs – on my left boob only. When feeding on the right side only. At night feedings only. In the first few weeks only. One per feeding only.
  • Refusal to suck my boob to sleep – from about maybe 8-10 weeks old.
  • Leaking in the first week only and then only as night feeds fell away.

Well, this is different.

There was barely any real pain at the beginning. I had an existing nipple injury that Robin had to heal for me which was agony and I did get some beginnings of blisters but cream, air and watching the latch prevented bleeding and blisters. No milk blebs at all.

Robin was a quicker feeder quicker than Elvis. Her only long feeds are during cluster sessions really. This made the nights easier and there was no sleep deprivation in the first few weeks.

The let down is the biggest difference. I never felt faint with Robin and I felt it on both sides. Some feeds I actually felt let down multiple times. Followed by long slow gulps. Brand. New. World.

Everyone keeps telling me how similar they look (I rarely see it) but they seem so different. Maybe it’s just these grey tinted glasses.

~ P

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