Persephone: Parent

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Operation…Yucky!

The lurgy has hit the household and I, once again, feel like I’m dying. It’s just a cold, maybe a mild flu (achey, hot sweats, cough, dizzy/feint spells), but I am always over the top dramatic. Lucky the lurgy hit after my day away at a convention in London. Technically it hit whilst I was away. Yep, the first time that Daddy had both children on his own all day long and they both slept, taking it in turns so he only ever really had one to deal with. Typical! It did result in me getting a message once I was on my way home –

Can you get a taxi from the station rather than walk? We have vomit.

Oh, dear. Elvis then slept all day Monday, too. Ahh, Monday, the day that was supposed to be our last day together for Robin and I. Elvis hijacked it. Tuesday, which was supposed to be the first of 9 super productive spring cleaning days ended up being me watching TV with Elvis (who was hyper and no longer sick, but we didn’t know that at half 7) whilst Robin had her first morning at nursery. Wednesday, which was supposed to be second super decluttering day became a 90% on it day as I started to feel the affects of the bug, but both kids were at the nursery and I got most of my to do list done.

So, today, Thursday, supposed to be day 3 of 9 of cleaning, decluttering, jogging, shopping, being me and being amazing… I slept in until 9am (Daddy did the whole breakfast and get to nursery on his own. He’s amazing), had a bath, ate cereal, watched The 100, bought cookies and cereal. Moved a box. Ate cookies. Tried to nap. Had lunch and lemsip. That was at 12 just before I headed off to pick up both kids. I started to feel better with that lemsip. I think I just needed that amazing rest. This illness has given me such a short fuse. Robin seems to have skipped it. Although this evening she kept crying for incredibly random reasons. She hit me in the face and I jokingly said “Ouch, be careful, no, that hurt.” No sternness in my voice at all, and with a smile. She burst into tears! Elvis has spent the week having what I guess people might call normal toddler temper tantrums, but they’ve been whiny.

“I don’t want to get up!” Whiny meltdown. “I want cinnamon squares.” Whiny meltdown. “I’m tired.” Whiny meltdown. “I don’t want to go bed.” Whiny meltdown. “I don’t want to watch TV.” Whiny meltdown. “I’m tired.”

Seriously, go the fuck to bed because I have an awful headache and want you to just stop fucking whining!

This week I have been far worse than shouty parent. I have been screaming parent. I have wanted to swear at my son. Because swearing tells the other person you mean business, right? I have come so close to wanting to hit him. Just. To. Shut. Him. Up. All because I was tired, drained and exhausted and my head hurt so much. But I went to bed for over 12 hours and spent Thursday morning doing absolutely nothing and I feel better. I feel no guilt because I wasn’t being lazy, I was being protective.

Yeah, I still haven’t done my first jog of 2016 (I had planned to jog on days 1 and 3), I still have a lot of things to do on my to do list, but my junk room is already looking more spacious, I still have clothes shopping to do for work (supposed to do on day 2), but I still have 6 days left.

Unless Robin gets ill. Let’s not go there.

Robin, who has taken to nursery like a pro. She’s even happy wearing her shoes now! Everyone keeps commenting on how good of a baby she is (yes, I kind of hate how a baby is judged by how well they sleep and what their temperament is like, but it is partly true, Robin goes to sleep easily, she is so laid back and easy going, she literally leans back on you and giggles looking up, if you aren’t there she simply bangs her head on the floor and laughs!) I guess in a nursery situation “good” babies are simply because they make the workers’ life a bit easier. Robin started crying in the garden, so she was taken up for a nap and was asleep in a minute. Because she rarely cries. She’s also not overly fussed to see me when I turn up. She’s incredibly content.

Oh, and despite his mood, Elvis came home from nursery this week with two sunflowers that he’d planted and a lovely Mother’s Day card with a tree handprint and pink finger print leaves (it’s Stickman’s family tree, apparently).

Before the lurgy hit, I had an amazing weekend. I did my weekly weigh in (forgot to post, but reached my first target! Whoop!), then I spent the day at the arcades and climbing castles with the family. Went on a date night with hubby and after a lovely meal, snuck in a cinema trip and watched Deadpool (weird, not quite my taste, but hilarious). Sunday I spent in London and met 5 actors from TV and film. I finally met Greg Grunberg and Miltos Yerelomou! I’ve waited years! I’m not sure I’ll do a weigh in this week as I still feel a bit rough and, quite frankly, I have a good reason for slacking. It’s not being lazy or indulgent, it’s trying to recover and resting. I guess I’ll count myself lucky that this thing hit once both were in nursery even if it only gave me a few hours a day rest!

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It Gets Better – A 20 Month Age Gap, A Year On

One of my greatest anxieties, other than getting children to nap, has been being alone with both of mine. Where other people can never get out of the door on time with their children, I have always been able to get one and then both of them, including me and Hubby up, dressed, washed, fed and out, by whatever time I need to. I guess that I kind of don’t understand those that can’t, those that have anxiety or panic over trying to get somewhere on time, but then I freak out at the prospect of being alone with mine. Or at least I did.

Even just a month or so before Christmas, the thought of Hubby going to spend all day long at the football filled me with dread. Or Elvis being ill and needing to stay home from nursery. God, no. I just couldn’t bear the thought. I’m not even sure fully what it was about being alone with them. Maybe how to keep them both entertained. How to feed him and myself solids with a baby who didn’t eat. Who do I leave screaming to deal with the other?

It got easier as Robin got better and more independent with napping. I started using the TV less to babysit Elvis when Robin needed things. Then when she finally started eating and crawling it got even easier. She developed a routine that fit with him and his nursery run. The only times that I’m really alone with them is a Friday after swimming and then weekdays for a short while before and after his nap. He started dropping his afternoon nap as early as October and I don’t remember freaking out about it.

He did have two days off sick in November and then Hubby was planning on going to the football, I would have been alone with them both for 4 whole days. I was scared of that.

Today, Elvis awoke at 1am with an awful cough. Then he woke again at 5. It sounded really wheezy. At 6 I brought him in to bed with me and told Hubby that we weren’t getting up. He wasn’t going to nursery. I didn’t even need to think it over or try and get over any anxiety, I knew I could do it and didn’t feel any anxiety. Because, yep, whatever you want to think of me at other times during this past year I have gladly sent him in when he was a bit ill, because I couldn’t deal with him and her. I was so anxious, so scared, that I sent him off a bit ill. Others might frown upon that, but I just couldn’t do it. I was too scared. I won’t say that the therapy has helped with that particular issue (Robin growing up has), but it would have helped amazingly.

I can cope with a 20 month age gap. I am coping with that age gap. At the moment. I’m pretty sure I’m over the hardest, the highest hurdle and I have all of the tools from therapy to help me should any future hurdles involve anxiety.

On that note, I have been blogging about my 6 therapy sessions (first, second and third) and I do think that maybe my PND is more PNA and it is far more manageable. I got a letter on the weekend discharging me from their services and it said that at the start I had a level of 13 on the depression scale, 11 on the anxiety and I ended with a 3 on depression, 4 on anxiety. I think the anxiety should have maybe started higher as there are a lot of instances that I didn’t realise I had anxiety. But then I realised a lot doing the course. Such a lot.

I guess, what I’m saying for anyone with a 20 month age gap, whatever might worry you, whether it’s minor or life controlling, it gets better. You might need help from friends, family or professional people, but I’ve made it to over a year in and today I am happily sitting at home as Storm Imogen blows down my fences with a bit of an ill boy on the sofa and a potential teething girl attempting to nap and I’m not stressing, I’m not worrying, I’m not panicking. I’m not reaching for the junk food to eat my feelings.

I’m living.

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Robin Upset Me

My son is 32 months old and is just beginning to understand his emotions. I blame nursery. Haha. He now often uses being tired as an excuse for not doing things, but he is going through something at the moment. Like I said, he’s 32 months old. He’s just dropped his afternoon nap and he’s really exploded in his abilities. He’s more outgoing. He has a memory. He referred to someone as his friend. We keep talking to him about how things are about to change with Robin starting nursery and that our swimming lessons might be changing. I think he might be going through more upheaval than he did twelve months ago when he suddenly received a newborn baby sister!

Robin has started walking (yay!) and the day that she was doing lots of walking with her pram walker (which she now ignores just days later as she can toddle as far and fast alone), Elvis went and hid between two toy shelving units. I asked him why. “Because I’m sad.”

“Why are you sad?”

“Robin upset me.”

And my heart broke.

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Growing Up and Moving On

Elvis has been having swimming lessons since he was about 10 weeks old, and he moved up into his current toddler class about a month after he turned two. Not even 6 months ago actually and they’ve started talking about him moving up into one of the preschool classes already. This terrifies me.

For one thing, he is only just 2 and a half, he doesn’t have the best attention span and he’ll be in the water. People die in the water.

But then, I do think he’s almost ready. In just the last few weeks he has advanced so much. He seems to have really come out of his shell in general, but just today, he was asked to float on his back as we sang Twinkle, Twinkle and he just assumed the position. Lovely spread legs and outstretched arms. My son hates leaning back in the pool! Oh, and when they were asked to dunk themselves, he did. He hates dunking in the songs, but does enjoy trying to submerge everything but his face. I think he might almost be ready for the group. Especially when I think about the others that are currently in his class – they are too little to be able to dunk themselves. I guess he might be in that tricky position where he is more advanced than most in his group, not quite as advanced as the next group.

Three of his little friends have moved up, but two of them are 3 already and one is only about 2 months away from her birthday.

Is it better to be a big fish in his little pond, where he can do everything he’s asked, or be the little fish, the youngest and possibly the least capable? But how else is he going to learn, he needs to be pushed.

I really am in two minds. I want him to move if he’s ready. But I don’t him to move up.

Water is dangerous. It’s a new instructor so I’d be entrusting my son’s life with someone I don’t really know.

On the other hand, in a few weeks Robin starts nursery (that’s a whole other growing up matter!) and has to move her swimming lessons to the same day as Elvis. He currently swims at 10am, she’d be at 0930. That means I need someone else to undress him and then dress her, with me staying in the pool for a whole hour. If Elvis moved to the preschool class, he would be at 11am (and I don’t have to go in the pool for preschool classes) so I think I could take Robin, leaving Elvis at home with Nanny, come home, put her down for her nap and then take him, staying dry and watching from the sidelines. This would make it easier for me, my mum and both of them really. It would enable me to do the whole thing with Robin, just like I did with Elvis rather than handing her over soaking wet for someone else to dress her, but…

Aside from the danger aspect (which is worrying me), it takes away our time, the 30 minutes of swimming together, watching him advance each week right in front of my eyes. I worry so much that he learns everything he does at nursery, but swimming is where I teach him, where I see him. He just comes home and knows more letters, knows how to count, but I taught him to climb in and out of the pool. I taught him to swim a length on a woggle. It’s my 15 minutes alone getting dressed/undressed with him and having random chats without as much of a time pressure as before nursery or as many distractions as at bedtime. I love that time with him and I don’t want to give it up.

What could I even replace it with?

But I will have to give it up at some time. Either in 4 months when he fits the age criteria for the preschool class, or in 1 month when it suits the busy teachers, my family or when he may actually be ready to join his friends. I guess it isn’t about him growing up, it’s just the by product of him growing up. I feel like I’ll be losing something and I don’t know how to change that. It’s the only quality, one-on-one time that I ever have with him and I’ll be giving it up yet still having it with her.

Oh, hello, there, Mummy Guilt! Welcome home.

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Possessive Boy

At first I thought that my son, who has only just developed the ability/desire to hug and kiss people, was having a spot of separation anxiety, but I think it’s actually some sort of possessive streak. Initially it was crying when I took him to nursery alone – perhaps he thought we were off out somewhere fun together before I abandoned him there! Then it was crying if I didn’t get in the car with Daddy to take him to nursery – am I not allowed a day off? I started to wonder if it was simply OCD and breaking his routine, but he seems fine when I’m genuinely not around. Oh, and then there were the tears when Daddy drove away with Nanny – how dare Daddy leave!

Then I noticed that I was allowed to play with his toys, Daddy wasn’t unless it was bedtime and then Daddy could join in. I still thought it was a separation thing and preferring mummy to daddy. When he was upset, Elvis currently prefers me to Daddy. If we’re both there that is! I am slightly worried if there is an element of Mummy-love because Robin isn’t far off!

Until I then realised it isn’t Mummy-love, it isn’t breaking a routine, it isn’t even being separated from me. Nope, it’s Elvis deciding everything is his!

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Sunday Best: Southsea

To try and combat Elvis’s shift in daytime naps, I tried to fill up the first weekend of a new routine with fun activities. On the Friday, we skipped swimming due to a severe nappy rash that I thought chlorine might irritate, we went to the local playpark with a friend and her son with a picnic lunch. On the Saturday, we spent an hour in the local library reading books and on the Sunday we headed to Southsea for loads of fun!

Now, the naps! Oh, my. So, on a weekday (Monday to Thursday), Elvis finishes nursery at 1 and naps from near 2 until about 4. This sees him well until bedtime. On the three days of the weekend, well, he has started fighting an 11am nap and then getting too tired by bedtime, but there’s no time for a second nap. So I decided that I would shift his 11am until 1pm and with hubby at the football on the Saturday, I decided to try it.

The first weekend worked.

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Grandparent Visit — Trips Out

During a recent visit from Hubby’s parents we tried to pack in loads of fun things with Elvis. Sadly, Elvis is trying to drop to one nap a day so it was kind of tricky. After 5 and a half hours at nursery (without a nap), Elvis wasn’t really up for fun places in the afternoon. It’s probably why he spent that week having problems sleeping at night.

It wasn’t all bad though, we still had fun at the fair, pretty good times at Paulton’s Park and were amazed at the aquarium!

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Baby Envy

Firstly, Elvis and his tempers have gone! He is having trouble with his naps sometimes (dropping to 1 but length depends on time of day) but whatever his problems were they seem to have settled down. I think it was just the upheaval – the move, the changes in nursery, the house guests. I am so relieved. I mean, it does make me wonder if when Robin arrives, Elvis won’t have some sort of regression with his tempers, but that’s in another few months.

I’m trying to encourage Elvis to walk more. He loves walking and running, but if I have the pushchair he just wants to climb in it. I don’t really blame him. The only thing is I haven’t bought, and really don’t intend to, a double pushchair. I will try and get a buggy board, but he needs to be walking home from nursery in January/February. And it’ll be raining and snowing which will either encourage him because it’s fun or not! Am I putting too much faith in / pressure on him?

On an amazingly positive note, Elvis let me hold a baby! Back in July he wouldn’t even let me go near one. I was his. I knew that he would have to adapt to Robin, but I hoped he wouldn’t have that immediate jealousy. Well, he let me pick up and then comfort jiggle my friend’s 6month old. I think he’s also making steps with sharing, too. There’s hope for Robin!

No, there’s hope for all of us!

~ P

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Banana Bathtime Dressed

Okay, the title makes no sense… except these are three of the words that Elvis can now sign! His first sign was help and then bathtime. He was just under one when he did help and maybe 13 months for telling us it was bathtime. I found these two really helpful because help means that Elvis doesn’t have to squinny at me to get a toy, climb onto a chair, open his cup. Some mums have said that help made their baby lazy, asking for help all the time. I haven’t noticed that. Yet.

Bathtime is also useful as it signifies bedtime  and has been used when Elvis simply wants an early night!

The two most done signs by me to him have been sleep, food and more. Well, at 15 months he has finally started doing food! Along with dressed and banana. Well, banana isn’t exact but it is two fingertips touching. He tries to do more but he really just claps. He also tries all done but really only rubs his hands together, which is also reading. All of these occurred within a few days. He might even be trying to do monkey and repeated pig for daddy! I think it simply took Elvis all of these 16 months to want to sign as he now watches my hands more attentively and allows me to take his hands and correct a sign.

I better start signing more!

~ P

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Where’s My Boy Gone?

No, I don’t mean the cliché that every other parent around me says – the: “Where’s my baby gone?” Nope, and anyone who ever told me that “you’ll miss these baby days, the new-born phase and wonder at 1 where your baby went”, news for you – never wondered that.

Neither do I mean that I’ve literally lost him. Nope, I just want to know where the happy, independent, loves nursery boy has gone.

A few weeks ago, he complained if Daddy drove past the nursery looking for a parking space, as if Daddy wasn’t taking him there. A few weeks ago, he refused to be carried up the stairs at nursery, refused to be lifted over the safety gate by a nursery worker, wanting to walk himself and straight to the toys. And then they changed his playroom and he started crying at handover.

Well, now, apparently, he kicks off entering the nursery. Or approaching it in the car. I have to give him credit for recognising the place from the car outside on the street, but why does he suddenly apparently not want to be there? Because I saw him the other day as I went to collect him, I snuck in and peered around a door frame and there he was giggling away and playing. He’s never come home with strange marks (he gets more bruises at home than there!), always has a clean bum, never got a red bum, sometimes he’s clearly slathered in bum cream. He’s not even unhappy when he sees me, or relieved.

He has started throwing a strop before we leave the nursery, but it feels more like he’s trying to stay. So, he grabs at Daddy to not leave him, and then pushes away from me and slams gates closed to stay.

I honestly have no idea what his problem is, what has caused this or how to stop it.

Is it because they changed his room and he doesn’t like it?

Is it because soon after moving room, we moved home and he’s not sure where he stands anymore? He’s only been at nursery for three months, that’s 12 weeks of a lot of changes.

He was ill the other week (I thought teething, but no tooth arrived), is this a lasting effect? Is he still a bit ill?

Is it because we don’t have a safety gate upstairs so I don’t give him freedom and independence up there at the moment? Unless we’re in a rush, I allow Elvis to control where-ish he wants to go. After a nap, for example, if he wants to play upstairs, I do some tidying until he approaches the stair gate. Is he rebelling against that lack of freedom?

Will I ever know?

~ P

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