Persephone: Parent

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Good Food Habits

I think I have quite a bad relationship with food. Well, good if you consider the fact that I love food and could eat all the time. I quite frequently eat until I’m past full. Since the New Year and my Operation: Yummy Mummy, I have slowly started changing my relationship with food. I put my food into my fitbit food diary so kind of calorie count – my aim is to restrict take aways, unhealthy snacks, not limit or alter my usual meals.

I’ve been doing better. But I still have bad days. As part of my PND/PNA therapy we learnt to use an activity diary to try and track when our moods drop to try and find a cause. Well, yesterday I felt low and I know it was because I ate badly. So I considered what I ate and when and have come up with the following changes:

  • Freeze flapjack so I don’t have a whole batch sitting in my fridge. I kept eating it in case it spoils!
  • Don’t cook extra for myself when cooking a quick meal for either child. Just because I know I’ll want some sweet potato fries. No, just no. Also applies, don’t eat their leftovers no matter how badly I want a fish finger!
  • When having leftovers for a meal, spoon it out of the tub onto a plate/bowl. Last night I ate all the pasta (except for whatever I kept randomly spooning onto Robin’s tray) as it was in the tuperware tub. I ate too much as it was leftovers and more than 1 portion. It’s too difficult to see in the tub.
  • Alter food input on weekends where I am nowhere near as active. Today, I’m trapped in the house with both kids. My activity levels are way down yet I’m still overeating. Or maybe eating my normal amounts but less active. Not good.

Realising these bad habits and finding solutions is one thing, actually sticking to them is another. I just ate multiple jelly babies and two pieces of flapjack as I was bored whilst both children slowly finished their meal 😯

Somehow I need to find some willpower and motivation, simply being just 0.7kg from my goal (potentially 2 weeks away) is not enough of a motivation apparently. But then, how am I supposed to not feel low when I’m stuck in the house with both children, Elvis being a bit ill and super tired and cranky. I didn’t even dare risk going to the shops today. How do I entertain myself on those types of days?

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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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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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Sleeping Like A Baby

My baby is the noisiest sleeper ever. And I thought Elvis was a noisy sleepy baby. Right now Robin is lying on me as we rock in the nursing chair making her tired noise. She’s bloody loud. She’s also sucking or chewing her finger. The moment it comes out more noise!

The past two nights have featured a lot of snuffling, grunting, noise in general. The past two days have featured a problem with deep sleep napping on me or daddy. I don’t know what’s going on. I’m only awake today as she slept on my arm for 4 hours last night. Due to cosleeping she went 7 hours between feeds and only woke for a feed at 4am because I shifted her into her cot.

I think she has a cold. I hope she doesn’t want to cosleep all the time, it causes all manner of aches and pains in me.

So I can either get no sleep as she grunts away, sleep in the spare bed or cosleep.

Meanwhile, my new decision to get off the sofa and go walking on a morning means she sleeps a lot better in her pushchair but I rarely put her down for other naps at home. I guess I’m worried that she’s losing her ability to sleep alone – she’s not getting into a deep enough sleep unless on me or in a pushchair.

And she still won’t take a dummy.

But, hey, we’re 11 weeks in. Is this a sleep regression?

~ P

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Routine Envy

I frequently suffer from envy and jealousy. Maybe it started during my infertile, TTC, days, watching enviously of all the women that could get pregnant. Or maybe I’ve always been like it. Maybe I’ve always compared myself to everyone else I know. It’s not pretty and I am certainly not proud of it, but it’s me.

Mainly I end up trying to avoid people/places where I can get this envy. This includes me removing or blocking people on facebook – I’d rather remain friends with people than see things that could make me envious/jealous of them.

The biggest envy I have of other friends at the moment is having a bedtime and having sleep. Whilst Robin feeds every 3-4 hours during the day and I try to stick to 8, 11, 2, 5 if she doesn’t want to or sleeps through one, I can’t help it. So she can’t have a bed time. She also tends to do a long nursing session for bedtime. So she can’t have a bedtime.

I could maybe force one. If she has her feed before 6, I could still try and get her to nurse to sleep at 7. But if she wants to nurse for an hour, do I really want to sit in a dark room alone with her for that long? I must have done it with Elvis. Except he rarely nursed to sleep and when he did, he did it at 6:40 and it took 20 minutes. He was in a firm routine.

But which came first? Firm routine or bedtime?

And should I really be jealous of mums with their bedtimes and an evening to themself? What would I do in those 2 hours? Watch TV, talk to hubby? Maybe I should say what would I do in those 2 hours that I can’t have a baby sleeping on me? Chores, eat, go out, go for a run? Okay I would like to go running or swimming but not the other things.

And we have a fantastic morning routine. She feeds about 4 or 5, maybe 6 and goes back to sleep. I get up by 7, Elvis leaves for nursery at half 7 and Robin wakes by about 8, giving me half an hour to do chores. Or to nap if it’s been an awful night. So why should I be jealous?

And those mums who have the audacity to complain that they only got 7 hours of sleep the whole night as a 6 hour block and then 1.5 chunk when I can barely get 3 hours in a row to make maybe 7 in total a night, well, maybe I am envious that the dads can do that for the mum as they’re bottle feeding, but we could do it if I could be bothered to express, if Robin would take a bottle and only if hubby would be willing.

Or the mums who’ve already left their bubbas overnight, I guess I’m envious that they can even though I wouldn’t want to leave Robin yet. I blame a lot of my jealousies on that I’m breastfeeding. I could express. I could try Robin with a bottle. I could do formula as I’m not anti-formula. If I did any of these things then perhaps we could have a bedtime routine, perhaps I could go out. But I don’t want to. She’ll get there.

Elvis did and Robin already has herself a morning routine. It’ll happen.

Now if we could get past the 4am gruntathon!

~ 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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