Persephone: Parent

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Coming Clean – Mummy Struggles

This blog is not what it was. When Elvis was newborn, when I was struggling so hard in the early months, I blogged and tweeted all of the time to try and cope with it. I don’t know what this blog is anymore, but it isn’t that.

I’m struggling.

The past 4 nights, Baby Robin has cried, screamed from 7-9. She cried everytime she’s tired and needs to go to sleep. She won’t take a dummy. She won’t nurse to sleep. She screams when I rock her. She screams when I put her in the pushchair for sleep. This screaming for sleep is all the time. All. The. Time. But after 7pm it’s Hell.

The past 4 nights, from 7-9 I’ve pretty much cried constantly.

I can’t handle it anymore.

She only sleeps on me during the day. She wakes as soon as she’s put down. She has no routine. She needs to nap at tea time when I’m trying to feed Elvis and SHE ONLY NAPS ON A PARENT!

I spend my day trying to get her to sleep and SHE SCREAMS.

It’s too draining now.

It all feels so hard when I know things are better, easier than they were. It feels so hard to me.

How do I get her to sleep that final nap when I have Elvis?

How do I get her to sleep for long enough independently?

How do I get her into a routine when Elvis already has one and she wants something different?

How can I do what she needs when it contradicts what Elvis needs?

Every time she’s screaming I feel like everyone nearby is wondering what I’m doing wrong. If I’m home alone, I think my neighbours are thinking I’m rubbish. That I’m a bad mother.

Why can’t I stop her screaming? I’m her mother and I should be able to.

How the fuck do I stop crying?

~ P

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Routine: 3 Months

Okay 3 months in and we’re definitely getting there. Nights are kind of all over the place. Some nights there’s one feed, other’s there are 2. Sometimes she can only go 4 hours overnight, others between 5 and 8. Evenings are picky, too. 7pm is apparently naptime for 20-40 minutes and by half 8 she wants to feed and goes to sleep for the night.

Daytimes, well mornings, are my favourite time of day. I go out by half 9, by ten she’s asleep. I often have to wake her at 12. At 1 she falls asleep on the nursery run. Sometimes she wakes as soon as we’re in, other times she can take an hour or two.

Afternoons are the worst time for keeping her asleep. Both because I have Elvis to deal with and she just can’t keep herself asleep. Even on me. That makes her overtired by 4. So all she does is scream. Daddy comes home to a Toddler zombified by the TV, a Baby who is too tired to sleep and a Mummy who really can’t cope anymore.

So I think I need to structure her. If she’s asleep at 10 and then 1, that’s 3 hours apart. So I have to get her to sleep at 4 then 7. Not just after. When she wakes at half 1 after the nursery run, after only 30 minutes, I have to get her to sleep more, not play.

At least it’s worth a try. Isn’t it?

Maybe with more structure, with more guarenteed sleep, she’ll be calmer on an evening and perhaps we’ll get closer to a bedtime. Maybe. I hope.

Wish me luck.

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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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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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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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Is Sand Yummy?

It honestly,  naively perhaps,  never occurred to me that when taking Elvis to the beach he would try and eat it.

He face-bombed the sand, his version of a cuddle and kiss and then sat up with sand on his forehead, in his eyes, up his nose and in his mouth. Everytime he sneezed more sand appeared. Then he tried to eat stones, then handfuls of sand, then he began chewing the bucket and spade, eating more sand. We gave up and let him eat sand, remaining vigilent on the stone-eating issue.

Then I walked him to the sea and let the waves get him. He loved it, smiling with each incoming wave and wanting to walk further out with each outward wave.

Elvis is so truly amazing, I don’t believe it. Passengers on the plane were in love with him, complimenting on how well he’s been brought up. Old ladies at breakfast fall in love with him. He needs work when he’s tired, but he can be distracted and doesn’t cry. He hasn’t been scared by his Grandparents’ dog. He isn’t afraid of he sea or sand.

How have I made such a little boy?

~ P
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Grey Tinted Glasses

Rose tinted glasses are those things things that make you look back on evwnts in a more positive light than they were at the time, right? Well, I think I must have a pair of grey tinted glasses.

When I see mums of younger babies, newborn type of age, I wonder how they seem so with it and functioning.  I met a mummy of a ten week old and wondered how she seemed so awake and alert. I remember barely being conscious, sleeping every single time that Elvis was asleep. I remember months of feeling constantly attached to him, months of bed sharing, months of only sleeping on me, months of me eating every meal over him, months of me being permanently stuck on my sofa with Elvis in my arms, months of hiding biscuits and bottles of water around the sofa so I wouldn’t need to move. It was months of being physically tied to him 24 hours a day.

And yet it wasn’t.

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TV Watching: Dexter

I am seriously behind on Dexter, we’ve just finished season 4. Now, I knew certain things about season four – is there a time limit on spoilers? – and I was expecting the end scenes.

On the one hand, it was beautiful, how the entire season played into that moment, how things were mirrored, how his secrets were spilling out. All season Harry keeps telling Dex that he can’t have a family, that it will be his downfall and multiple times it almost is. And then, well, his family is transformed into what his was.

On the other hand, I am currently a bawling wreck of sobs! I’m serious. Not just a few tears. I’m all out sobbing. Why? Not because of the loss, but because of Harrison. That little boy… it wasn’t even fully the visual, although horrific, it was the audio. That, completely fictional and not at all harmed, baby was left alone in the bathroom for, how long? When Dex first heard him cry I thought Harrison wpuld be found in his cot, that the ringing cell had woken him.

No, he was sitting there alone, wanting his mummy and wondering why the hell she wasn’t coming to his aid, why she was ignoring him. And I am sobbing wanting to wake up Elvis just so I can hug him.

~ P

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Nanny’s and Napping

Today, I abandoned Elvis at Nanny’s for the morning. She’s looked after him before. She’s babysat him before. But she’s never had him when he’d need a nap. When she babysat, it was at our house where Elvis will happily sleep because he loves his cot!

The times I’ve tried to get him to nap at Nanny’s have been very hit and miss. And at Nanny’s he will scream and scream; at home he’s happy and playful if he’s not quite ready to sleep.

And I hate him screaming when I could just take him home and he’ll be happy.

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Mummy Meltdown and Bawling Babies

Okay it was a bawling Mummy, too!

Elvis has recently kept up his 12 hours of sleep at night, self settling 99% of the time and he’s started having 3 naps of well over an hour. We’re talking maybe 5 hours a day. And he absolutely loves his cot. He can be screaming, whiny, tired boy until he’s left alone in his cot. Then you can get up to 30minutes of happy babble until he falls asleep.

Except he has now decided he won’t sleep anywhere else. His pushchair. Nanny’s. Nowhere. And as he stands in his cot at Nanny’s screaming, I feel like crap.

So I’ve decided, I’m going to take him to Nanny’s and go back 4 hours later. If he gets tired and won’t nap, I won’t be crying, too. I just need to decide on the rules for her. No co-sleeping on the sofa. When E lets us co-sleep (he refused last week because he really loves his cot) I do it safely, I’ve done the research. I’m not sure if I should tell her to not bring lunch forward; I never have.

He needs to be able to sleep elsewhere, right? He used to be able to. Or could this just be a phase?

~ P

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