Persephone: Parent

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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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Monthly Update: Month 24

Oh my God! Elvis is two!

Favourite toy/objects: Mummy the little person in the lounge. Daddy the little person (a farmer actually) in the garden.

Our swimming ability: He finally jumped into the pool!

Words: Sunglasses. Found mummy – when he found the mummy in his toy box. Mickey out – when he wanted to take his bedtime Mickey out of the cot.

Signs: Even though he can say stop perfectly well, he also signs it. Possibly because I sign and say it. I wonder if the more I sign to Robin, the more Elvis will sign back. The cutest thing was him saying “Baby stop (with the sign) crying” – adorable.

Number of Teeth: We got an 11th!

Fears: Apparently Elvis still hates hand driers in public bathrooms and he isn’t too keen on public toilets or public changing rooms.

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Monthly Update: Month 4

Weight, Length, Height:

Routine: We have one! It is not super firm and consistent but it’s there! Wake up between 0730-0800, feed, play, nap between 0900-0930 for maybe 25-45 minutes. Then feeds every 3hours, naps of 45 minutes max after being awake about an hour. On an afternoon she might sleep through a feed.

Bedtime: The bedtime routine is firming up – nap until about 6, get ready for bed, cluster feed until half 7 or 8.

Naps/Length: At week 14 the only pattern is that after an hour-ish of being awake, Robin needs a nap. It was also at the beginning of this month that she started doing independent naps in the pram.

Number of feeds in 24hrs: Sometimes 6 but sometimes 8. It plays havoc with my boobs!

Favourite toy/objects: probably her sit up ring although she can sit for a few seconds (at 14 weeks). She also really likes fabric books as she can eat them to her hearts content!

Clothing age: By 15 weeks I decided the sleeves on 0-3 were too short so Robin moved into 3-6 exclusively.

Foot length/Shoe Size:

Milestones: Rolled front to back multiple times, grinning each time (Elvis cried when he first did it!). She’s started to put toys to her mouth and reaching and grabbing for toys on her gym and pram.

Signs: I’m only signing milk to her and she does react to it/the word. Once when she was ratty I saw her hand possibly signing but it might have just been her hand moving.

Fears: nappy change rooms. Elvis still isn’t too keen!

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Monthly Update: Month 3

Weight, Length, Height: 14lb 14oz.

Routine: NONE! At 9 weeks anyway. Well, except bedtime. I think I need to be stricter, I need perserverance, but I keep getting lazy. Somewhere around 10 weeks, bedtime started to alter but the morning firmed up. She wakes between half 7 or 8. I won’t get her until as near to 8 unless she’s upset or still asleep. I love that hour! She feeds by 9 and then by half 12. There’s another afternoon feed between 2 and 4. The bedtime cluster feed starts as early as half 6 and lasts over an hour.

Bedtime: At 9 weeks old, Robin goes to bed at 9pm with me and, aside from 1-2 night feeds, sleeps until half 7 or 8. Sometimes she can sleep on me for most of 7-9pm. I wish she had an earlier bedtime.

Naps/Length: Nothing definable at 9 weeks. I know it’s still early, but I’d like there to be. She doesn’t sleep alone during the day. She doesn’t stay asleep if I put her down. She doesn’t stay asleep in the pushchair once we’re in the house. She refuses a dummy, needs rocking in the nursing chair. I’d like this to change. Partly so I can play with Elvis on an evening.

Number of feeds in 24hrs: At 9 weeks, 7-8 feeds. If she went to bed at 7pm it might change.

Favourite toy/objects: She quite likes her Fisher Price Gym and doesn’t like the Tiny Love one as much.

Clothing age: Into 3-6 in basic clothing by 11 weeks, clothes are far roomier and she’s in 0-3. Now in size 3 nappies.

Foot length/Shoe Size: 9cm

Milestones: Definitely reaching for objects. In her pram she was trying to get the hanging toy. On tummy time she can hold her head up at 45 degrees maybe getting close to 90 and she has amazing neck strength.

What I’m reading/Favourite Books:

Signs: I randomly have signed milk and mummy to her.

Number of Teeth:

Fears:

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Monthly Update: Month 23

I cannot believe it’s only a month until he’s two! Two!!!

Weight, Length, Height: 2 stone, 86cm tall.

Routine: No change.

Bedtime: No change.

Naps/Length: No change.

Favourite toy/objects: Over a year after we first bought Sophie The Giraffe, Elvis has finally started chewing her!

Clothing age: In 2-3 tops but they’re big and baggy. Trousers are a mix of 12-18 and 18-24 – his legs are too long for 12-18, his waist too small for some 18-24. He’s in size 5 nappies.

Foot length/Shoe Size: 12.7cm long. In size 6.

Milestones: his vocab has come on leaps and bounds and his colour recognition is much better.

Our swimming ability: he now tiptoes over half way into the baby pool, is trying to blow bubbles and hot potatoes each week. He also collected each correctly coloured rubber duck but hates dunking.

What I’m reading/Favourite Books: I haven’t read anything in the past month at all. His favourite book at bedtime is a Winnie the Pooh collection we have and a book about diggers, tractors, bulldozers and the like.

New Foods: Pie! Sausage meat in Toad in the hole.

Words: The sentences: “Daddy gone work” again and whilst watching Sofia The First and the Curse of Princess Ivy “‘Fia fall down”. He can also say dinosaur. Baby doesn’t just “cry” anymore “Baby sleep” “Baby wake” “Baby cough”. Oh, and Baby has a name “Bonalle”.

Signs: he signed and said stop when I was pushing him on his bike in the garden.

Number of Teeth: Still ten but he is definitely teething. This tooth/teeth are taking forever!

Fears: Nanny’s carving knife set him right off and I think the TV version of Gruffalo’s Child scared him.

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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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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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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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Monthly Update: Month 21

Weight, Length, Height: Still 2 stone by our inaccurate scales, 78cm tall so there’s been a little spurt!

Routine: Up at half 6 or 7, when there’s nursery, home by half one and nap by 2. Later wake up on weekends but napping by 1. Dinner between 4 and half 5, bath at 6.15 and bed at 7.

Bedtime: 7pm but he can talk to himself for a bit. Or go straight to sleep.

Naps/Length: Two-three hours in the afternoon. He wakes and often has a tantrum now which could be because he’s tired still but he can’t have longer due to nursery. Maybe it’s a blood sugar issue and he needs a snack before napping.

Number of feeds in 24hrs: three meals, 1-2 snacks and a second breakfast at nursery!

Favourite toy/objects: NiNi his bouncy horse, his desk which he calls a car and climbs under to drive it.

Clothing age: mainly 18-24 but still in smaller for trousers due to his waist, not his leg length.

Foot length/Shoe Size: size 6 but he refused to be measured properly!

Milestones: a three word sentence – baby sit chair. And loads of other speech ones. His imaginary play is improving too. I guess his desk/car is roleplay and he loves his little doll house and putting animals/people in bed, on the toilet, cooking dinner, driving a car. He can also walk pretty much all the way home from nursery (a 15 minute walk for me).

Our swimming ability: he hasn’t been since before Robin was born. I haven’t since September!

What I’m reading/Favourite Books: He loves Bizzy Bear books, Tabby McTat and Gruffalo. I’m still reading Storm of Swords and also The 100.

New Foods: He tried pulled pork and, bearing in mind he’s not too keen on meat, he ate some and went back for more!

Words: Sleeve, sheep and numbers up to 10 (not in order) are some of this month’s new words. He also now calls our family friend MoMo. He can also name most of the main crew of Thomas Trains. Except Thomas. And he copies quicker now – money after I said it and also “funny haha”. He says night night but with this amazingly funny accent so it sounds like noight and Daddy and I laugh so he says it more!

Signs: he can sign zebra after I showed him it once!

Number of Teeth: No new ones – still 10.

Fears: nothing in particular. Or at least nothing new or that scared him this month!

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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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