Persephone: Parent

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Wacky Warehouse: Netley Grange

We have a Wacky Warehouse very local to our house and I’ve used it multiple times with foster children and on under 1 mornings but haven’t gone since Elvis became fully mobile (I was heavily pregnant) but we got invited to a birthday party at the Wacky Warehouse at Netley.

Current prices are £50 for a party of ten kids with access to the play area. This is not private access so it can still be busy with strangers. And, as with other Wackies, they have offers for daytime play, membership cards and you can collect points on the Fayre and Square pubcards inside the Wacky.

Drinks bought at the main bar need to be in plastic cups but can then be brought into WW, food can be ordered an eaten inside too.

My two biggest problems with any WW are:
1. Hot drinks in proper cups. So your beer has to be in a plastic cup in case of breakage but your scalding hot drink can be in a breakable cup filled to the brim. Doesn’t make sense to me.
2. Older children. There’s a height limit but I’ve never seen it be policed. Even the taller children allowed in are drastically different in age to 1 year olds.

This particular WW seems kind of in the middle of nowhere but is very separate from the pub. I consider this distance, and completely separate entrance as a very good positive. It helps to distinguish for a child if you’re only going to eat. This WW had only the one entrance/exit (which is monitored so children cannot open it) which did cause some queue issues at times. I also couldn’t figure out where pushchairs could be kept to one side despite information on the website stating there is a buggy park and an under 3s section. The photos also didn’t all look like the WW I saw earlier today!

My local WW has an in and out gate (both monitored) and a pushchair area.

In the seating area there were about 4 comfy chairs and maybe 6 tables seating maybe 4 chairs. At the party table end there was more space for tables. Both ends had in/outs for the soft play so both have children running madly everywhere. Hence my hot drink issue. It seemed a bit oddly organised. As you enter there’s seating, then the soft play. Past the soft play is the party/seating area. Children can run in and out at either end and then between them. There are three main veins of play heading up – one at one end, 2 at the other. As a parent of young ones, which end do you sit at? How do you keep an eye on your child? I fully appreciate that as Elvis ages, I might become far more lax in constantly following/watching him. But he’s not yet 2 and I have the baby to monitor.

I couldn’t watch both and my possessions very easily here.

The play area was massive, covers at least three levels, has tunnels, slides, ball pit, hangy “punch bags”, spongy cushions, mesh netted walk ways and more. It was so tall. I think I got a bit of vertigo. I also got a bit claustrophobic, but it really isn’t designed for me!

The toilets designated for WW have a boys, girls and disabled/changing room. The cubicles in the girls were tiny which is a problem with a toddler in tow. There was very little room to get us both in and close the door. Meanwhile there was room in the disabled/changing but why would I use that when it was me who needed the loo. I used the changing room twice. For Baby, it was ok but I found the table quite high. Pethaps I’m a shortie. For Elvis, it really wasn’t long enough for him. His legs were dangling off the edge as I changed his nappy. There could definitely be improvements.

Personally, I don’t think it’s designed for under 2s. Maybe even 3s. Elvis couldn’t get into anything but the ball pit as he’s too short to climb up the steps. He’s about 80cm and not short for his almost 2 years of age.

There was also an outside play area which we didn’t look at due to it being grey outside and we were there for a party.

It was generally clean and well maintained; I didn’t notice any dirt. However there was a section of exposed wood which could be a hazard if a child fell the wrong way. I really liked the height and variety of things to do, however I would prefer a separate toddler area and easier adult vantage points. It isn’t somewhere I’d go out of my way for and I possibly wouldn’t rush back in the next year or two until my children are a bit more independent at playing.

~ P

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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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Toddler Proofing A Toddler Proof Home

You’d think it’s  easy, right, having toddler play dates in your home when you have a toddler already. We have safety gates, door catches, plug covers, no exposed wires, radiator turned down/off, etc, etc. Yet it really isn’t that easy. Or I’m too much of a control freak.

In the week after Christmas, Elvis was off nursery for the week so I thought it would be good to have some toddler playdates (and mummy catch ups). I feel bad during a normal  week that I put Elvis’ naps (and rest time for me) before him socialising. But he socialises at nursery. I miss out on seeing him interact with children though. And I wonder how he will be with children in his home.

We had 3 in total in that week — I was 38 weeks pregnant so everyone happily came to me! And I learnt quickly after the first. Just because I have the safety issues covered, it does not mean that toys are safe. We have a fireplace in our living room (never turned on but has edges that could hurt a child). Elvis knows not to touch it, that it’s hot so I don’t think about it. Elvis has a play desk that he knows not to climb and he knows not to take the chalks and crayons away from the desk. He has jigsaws that  he knows not to chew.

I’m not saying these things to say “my son is perfect” these are simply my house rules and I’ve taught him them. Sometimes he’s cheeky and disobeys one. We have had to take away a few pop up books as he wasn’t careful enough with them (that’s what library books are for!) That’s our rules. There is nothing wrong, nothing right about our rules, friends’ rules or anyone’s rules.

But I do need to chill out when guests come around. Or, as I quickly learnt, tidy up and hide questionable toys. I now hide the chalks and crayons, the bouncy horse that can be climbed on, the wooden jigsaws that can have their picture chewed off, the books that could be damaged by toddler hands, the more delicate pieces of train track. I considered hiding the garage with extra track that took hours to figure out a configuration, but then realised no toddler could damage it, only break it up so Daddy and I would have to spend hours refitting it all!

I was much calmer on the second playdate. And there were two toddler guests! I didn’t even mind the mess – some toddlers play with everything all at once, others tidy as they play. Just like some toddlers happily play alone, others need someone to interact with. As with all things there is no right or wrong. There are pros and cons to both. The first playdate saw Elvis share brilliantly (except his Santa hat that no one else can touch ) which is my primary concern for an only child. The second playdate saw Elvis throw a mini fit whenever I passed a toy to another child (what’s mummy’s is mummy’s which doesn’t bode well for the baby!) And saw him push another child over.

Elvis isn’t at the stage yet where punishments work. Normally when he’s naughty he gets a time out to stop crying and then has to cuddle whoever he disobeyed/hurt/upset. Well, he was never going to cuddle his friend. I really need to work on “telling off” and discipline when it comes to others! He did then play brilliantly with both boys – they were giggling and playing away and we had no idea what they were doing!

I love seeing him play with other children! But I also need to figure which are his toys – toys that he just won’t share. Which I’m fine with. Everyone has a few things or one special thing that is theirs and I don’t think they should be forced to share everything. During the week of playdates, Elvis’ special toys were his bouncy horse and Leeds Santa Hat. Fair enough. Now, when he refused to share his cars (he has 7), that is not fair and I will make him share.

And those toys that he refuses to share (because they’re special to him) will be removed from the room so no one can play! Along with the chalks, crayons, jigsaws and other delicate/damageable toys!

Here’s to more sharing and more playdates!

~ P

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Feeling Like a Success

The other night, before the three days of Daddy working full time, I was in the bath once Elvis was in bed and I had this very thought: I’m doing this. I’m parenting two.

Then Wednesday happened.

Daddy got Elvis from nursery, left me alone with The Toddler and The Baby. I suddenly became really tired and although we’d planned that I wouldn’t put Elvis down for a nap (I’m not supposed to lift him for another 3.5 weeks) but after an hour I just gave in and convinced him to go upstairs.

Then I managed to kinda winch him into the cot, climbing up a chair and swinging in – probably not the best parenting lesson for me to teach!

I was sooo tired and he woke up only about an hour later. An hour and a half before Daddy got home. Well, lifting (yes, I lifted him) him out of the cot, he then preceeded to have a temper tantrum. He was hysterical. Then Robin started crying downstairs. She was safe in her pushchair and, although I knew I could stop her crying with a simple nipple, I couldn’t abandon a tantrumming Elvis to get her.

I don’t agree with leaving anyone to just cry let alone a newborn but I couldn’t leave Elvis. I consider that would have translated as me telling him that she means more to me. No matter how psychologically damaging leaving to cry may be for a newborn, surely he will be equally as damaged by me choosing her over him.

How do parents not leave one child to cry? And if extended crying, controlled crying is so bad, how do you avoid it with multiple children? Which do I pick to damage?

The next day, Thursday, I simply took him up for the nap at the normal time and Daddy was home before Elvis woke. Somehow we then avoided the current standard 4pm temper tantrum but I have had to carry him again.

Up and down stairs a few times. I’m sure I’ll be fine.

But Thursday there were no tears from me at least. Friday there were no tears from me during a new random early morning tantrum as I fed. And all this after two nights of barely any sleep because my daughter makes far too much noise! I need white noise. Or a wet nurse!

~ P

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Mummy and Daughter Mornings

There comes that time after every baby is born that everyone fears, everyone expects and maybe very slightly some people look forward to. Daddy has to go back to work.

With Elvis, I was petrified. I was so sleep deprived and was in some form of denial about being a mother, I hated being a mum at the beginning and didn’t want to be alone with him. Especially not for whole days! I think it didn’t help that Husband’s hours at work then were awful. He’s been in a new job for a year and it is much better!

Plus with Elvis being off nursery with Pox, Husband’s paternity leave wasn’t as bonding between us and Robin. But with Husband’s paternity leave ending so does Elvis’ being home bound. I’d like Husband to have some alone time with his girls, but I can’t change Elvis catching pox! And due to my emergency section, he is taking afternoons off where he can so he can help out with Elvis after nursery.

Who knows when I’ll be able to lift him?

I feel plenty of guilt about that.

Well, on the first girls only morning, I got up to help make lunches and then went back to bed for an hour until Robin awoke. Then I sat in the nursing chair, feeding as I used my Kindle to read The 100. Robin was content after that so I got washed, dressed, sorted some washing. When she started to grumble I took her downstairs. The change of scenery made her happy enough for me to eat breakfast, make a cuppa and grab the cake tin, setting up the sofa.

We set up camp on the sofa until Daddy got home and then we walked (very slowly) to get Elvis from nursery. His chants of mummy! as he runs to me when I turn up helps me feel better regarding my inability to pick him up.

Second day of being just the two of us and I didn’t sleep too well so Daddy let me stay in bed. Robin had other ideas and didn’t want to stay asleep. She was however happy lying there wide awake as I got washed and dressed again. Robin very kindly let me have breakfast and make a cuppa. We then had an hour of feeding/napping (as I drank tea) before we needed to head off to our first baby group – a breastfeeding support group that we both enjoyed.

She screamed the whole way home so feeding her was more important than feeding myself and then Daddy arrived for the nursery run. Again, Elvis ran to me across the room chanting mummy! I love it!

We do quite well, the two of us.

Tomorrow we get the morning alone and then the afternoon with Elvis and without Daddy. I am petrified. He won’t be able to nap, I can’t lift him into the cot and I’m scared he’ll have one of his new temper tantrums.

Wish me luck,

~ P x

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Days 11 and 12

Day 11and Baby Robin finally seems to have some awake periods, some times she can go in her rocking chair and lie happily staring. It’s only for small periods, but it’s more than just sleeping. Last night she finished her bedtime breastfeed at 11pm and didn’t feed again until half 6. It beats the 2 mornings of 4am cluster feeds, but will be a one off. She’s changing day by day and does some independent sleeping during the night  – by independent I mean next to me and not on me.

Daytimes she can be put down asleep but it doesn’t last long. She has an almost constant need to suckle during daylight hours. But even with night wakings she’s a far faster eater than Elvis was at this age so I’m pretty rested.

I have a shoulder pain, I got it with Elvis, too. From holding her, sitting and feeding her. I’m a tad resentful of breastfeeding at the moment. Meanwhile my scar is hurting pretty much whenever I move. It makes night feeds even worse. Perhaps she realised his and gave me last night off. I’m trying the biological nursing or laid back feeding position more to try and stop her incessant dribbling and decrease my shoulder pain.

She gained weight again today – 8lb 13oz up from 8lb 4 but still not at birthweight of 9lb 1oz.

Elvis’ pox are clearing up, they’re all scabbed over and he’s not on as much medication any more. But he’s still not himself. He refuses to walk anywhere and we’re not sure if it’s because he’s tired still or used to it or jealous of the baby. He has taken to Robin very well, careful around her, kisses her and tries to share his toys so it isn’t all bad.

He doesn’t seem to mind sitting next to me as I feed or at least just nurse. But we watch far too much tele to keep him calm (maybe more due to him being ill) and feed him biscuits. So I feel guilty.

Perhaps if we were formula feeding I’d feel less guilt towards him. But more to her.

Well, the 11th night made everything worse. I woke up at 1 with diarrhoea and vomiting. Of course, I’m the only one who can deal with Robin. This has then led to back cramps and dehydration headaches. I am so tempted by formula.

The only things stopping me are I remember it all getting better last time and then it all just became easy. She’s already starting, slowly, to fall into 3 hourly feeds with periods of alertness in between. So things are improving, but I feel like crap. Utter, twisty, cramping crap. I need to figure out more comfortable ways to feed in bed and sleep either with Robin or figuring out a way to put her down.

The only really comfortable places I can feed are the nursing chair and reclined on the sofa, but can we stay there all night?

How do you get a baby to stay asleep in their Moses Basket?

~ P

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Ever Improving

Things are definitely getting better. Elvis slept last night, so did Daddy. Robin and I slept as normal, well, a bit of a cluster feed at 4am that I found annoying, but it was only for an hour. And some of that hour was taken up with me wrapped tightly in the duvet having one of my cold shivers as Robin stared intently at the lamp. Before and after that we co-slept as normal but with some side by side sleeping, not just tummy to tummy.

Robin has had a weight gain. Elvis is warming back up to me – he cried when I left the house today and wasn’t bothered by Daddy leaving so much. But he then had a meltdown when I picked up Robin for a feed. He is still ill with chicken pox but I really just want a bit of normality for the 4 of us. Robin will only suck to sleep and will only stay asleep on or next to me.  How am I supposed to give Elvis any time?

I might have to break out the Moby Wrap a friend gave me.

Daddy,  Robin amd I went out today, leaving Elvis at home with Nanny. We needed to get Robin’s hearing checked at a local pre-school for hearing impaired children so we couldn’t take Elvis there even if he is past the contagious phase of chicken pox. Robin passed both ears. Then we cheekily headed into town so I could buy new bras.

None of my old bras fit at all. Not even the sleep ones, although maybe once my ribcage goes down a bit. There’s no point in me wearing bras, or clothes in general at the moment. I haven’t had any mass leaking today, but Robin still guzzles either too much,  it’s too fast or she gets milk when she just wants to suck to sleep – whichever, I get mass leakage from the boob she’s feeding on.  Elvis quickly decided he wanted to suck to sleep but kept getting unwanted milk from me, hence why we intrpduced a dummy for him. So far, Robin could be similar with regards to my supply, but she seems happy to waste it! And chew me as she gets sleepy.

I’m not used to that in a newborn! How do I stop it?

But at least now I have a bra to wear when I have to leave the house, I’d rather stay at home right now with the milk dribbles! Tomorrow it’s the registry office and hopefully no milk dribbling followed by Daddy going to work for the afternoon despite him being on paternity leave. Luckily Nanny’s coming over to help! I still feel rubbish that I can’t do lots with Elvis, but I feel better. My boobs seem to be calming down and I’m either going to try putting Robin down for naps, to play with Elvis, or ise the wrap. She sleeps a lot right now.

One week left before Daddy goes back to work!

~ P

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Poxy Weight Issues

Robin was weighed on days 3 and 5, she’s lost about 9.3% of her birthweight. Elvis got weighed on day 5, had lost 8%.  I’ve been advised to top up with expressed or formula but I wonder if either option will cause supply issues and possible latch problems if I use a bottle. Although our latch is better than the other day and my milk is definitely in. However, I’m so engorged, I have no idea if she’s ever draining a boob. So is she getting to the fatty milk? Although fatty/watery milk content is not that simple.

Meanwhile, I keep having hot flushes and severe shivers either from a post op infection, milk coming in or my engorgement has led to an infection. It happened last time so I want to rule out breast infection. Either way, we have an extra midwife check tomorrow to weigh her again and I’m really worried. I actually can’t tell you how frequently she feeds or how many feeds she has in a day. I’m not clock watching. I stopped clock watching at night to combat my insomnia about a year ago and I’m not starting now.

Surely it’s all about feeding on demand? And during the day she never goes longer than 3hours; she feels constantly attached!

Meanwhile Elvis has chicken pox. He’s dealing ok but he’s clearly not happy. All I want to do is cuddle him but I have a baby who may be losing too much weight permanently attached to me and my son no longer wants me.

It’s heartbreaking. It really is. I can’t lift him for another 5 weeks so I can’t get him in and out of his cot, take him upstairs. She will currently only really be settled by my boob and sleeps longer on me. But it’s me who feels like I’m failing both of them. I’m not getting her to feed properly and I’m not the parent my son wants or needs at the moment. And Elvis being poorly breaks me. He’s why I discharged from hospital early. And I can’t do anything for him. And she may not be thriving.

Happy Saturday,
~ P

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Guilty Love

This is what I feel with regards to Robin, to the unborn baby that actually, I don’t necessarily even love. I don’t hate him/her. I just don’t know them. How am I supposed to love them?

Do some mums feel that kind of rush of love when they get that positive test? When they feel the first kick? Or when they first hold their child?

I don’t think I ever really did with Elvis. I felt immense relief when he was born – that an impossible journey was over. Finally.

At some point I fell in love with him of course!

But now I face the problem of the sibling.

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Baby Communication: 18 Months

I’m going to start this on a positive. Elvis has soooo many signs in his vocabulary now! I’m amazed as he was such a slow starter. So, what do we have?

More, bathtime, getting dressed, food, open.
Banana, drink, bedtime.
Cow, bunny, sheep, cat, frog, crocodile, spider, bird, duck.
Elephant, lion, dog.
Light, sun, sing, read.
Car, bus, home, train, boat, tree.
He can sign mummy and daddy but very rarely! I’m sure I’m missing some.

For most of the animals, Elvis also makes the noises.

Now for the “words”. Well, we don’t have as many at all.

Nee-Naw, brrrm, tractor, copter (helicopter), ooh-ooh (choo choo train).
Uh-oh, bye, no, yeah.
And the animal noises from his signs.

He cannot say mummy or daddy. He does not make much variation in noises and it is getting me down a bit.

I’ve done some reading and speech ability has a genetic component — I had speech therapy at 4 because I could not speak, I had no verbal communication at all so Elvis is doing far better than me! But I still,despite knowing this, wprry that we’rr doing something wrong. That it is our fault when we’re doing everything recommended. And Elvis’ understanding is amazing.

From his forewarning a poo was coming to him following directions witha two or more step process and recognition of pictures (he can point to animals in a book that only appear in that one book). So I know that it isn’t language fully and that we are doing things right, he just doesn’t want to talk!

Neither did I!

~ P

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