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CBT: Session Four – I Can Read Your Mind #PND

The fourth therapy session was the first one after a huge break over Christmas. During this gap, not only had Robin started sleeping through the night and dropping her morning feed (only two feeds a day left), but she had started going to bed really easily (quick feed and then done) so I’d started reintroducing things to my life and, unlike previous attempts, had begun to enjoy them. I guess it was part of the depression, the constant thought of “what’s the point?” What was the point in trying to do aerobics or go jogging at bedtime, she’d still be screaming? Why bother getting up early to do it, I’m too tired anyway? I don’t want to read a book, I want to veg out on the sofa and watch TV, get bored and eat junk food. Everything had seemed so hard, so hard to motivate myself to do and so hard to wrangle the family to allow me to. But that had started to change over the Christmas period, with a cinema outing and date with my mum, going out for drinks with a friend – no children in sight, taking the time to exercise, trying to get my diet in order and using calm, quiet times to read my book so that I finally got interested in it. I’d never seen that as part of the depression, but it was.

In the fourth session, we learnt about negative automatic thoughts (yep, I know them very well) and what type of thinking you do. I’m a black and white generaliser who can read minds and plays more on the negative than the positive.

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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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VIPs – To Who?

I went to a toddler’s birthday party yesterday and there was a mum there that I recognised. That’s a bit of an understatement really. I know her name. I went to school with her. She was the first person I met when I transferred schools mid-year. And she probably has no idea who I am?

And it got me to wondering about who is important to me and who would consider me important to them.

When I was younger I used to keep a weekly list of my ten best friends  (goodness, how pathetic!) and I’d rank my friends. Honestly, I do not do this anymore, but if I were to think of the first people I’d call in an emergency, that I want to spend with or that I’d want to involve in my Operation Yummy Mummy Social Time, how many of them would put me there?

I don’t think that many.

If we automatically take out my mum, husband and children, maybe 2 of the ten would likely put me in their top ten, too.

I guess this has always bothered me; believing that I value someone more than they value me. But it doesn’t really matter, does it? As long as I have people I value and that I can depend on, surely it’s of no matter if anyone depends on me.

So that mum who doesn’t have any idea who I am, played a relatively important role in my school years (enough for me to remember her whole name) and the friend who sees me as simply a friend, not a best friend, well, I know what a pivotal role they have played for me.

Perhaps there’s someone out there who I have no recollection of that considers me an important part of their past.

~ P

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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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#getoffthesofa

I think I decided to start getting off the sofa just after Easter (probably with the thought that I’d start it properly once all of that chocolate was gone. Ha!) And I think I posted about having an April’s Resolution, well here I am a month later.

I’ve definitely been more active in the past month. Partly with help from some Mummies from my local breastfeeding group – the group isn’t on over Easter so we went walking instead. Since then the 4 mornings that Elvis is at nursery I go for a walk and Robin falls asleep in the pram. I think it’s getting her into a bit of a routine. A bit.

I have bought chocolate and cakes since I started my resolution but they’ve always been my weakness. Because, yes, the goal is to be healthier and help shift some of my pregnancy tum but it’s also just to get me out of the house.

With Elvis I could leave the house whenever I wanted. Go for a walk. Wander around the shops. He napped every morning at half 9 and evening at half 4 in the pushchair because I went out. It’s probably why I was far less achey with him. I don’t have that luxury now.

With Robin, she has to be in the pushchair 1230-1330 for the nursery run. Then for the rest of the afternoon I can’t go out as Elvis naps upstairs. It’s frowned upon. So mornings are for walking.

And it certainly is the weather for it. Hopefully once Robin manages to be put down for her naps (oh help me God, let her sleep in her bed during the day) then the snack food eating will stop. I only do it because I get so bored and lonely rocking her in the nursing chair.

Technically it should be #getoffthenursingchair as she won’t actually let me sit on the sofa.

Here are April’s stats:
Clothes – still in maternity trousers. My size 16 do fit bit underneath my wobbly jiggly bits. In all of my nursing tops from before.
Weight to lose – I started this wanting to lose 20kg. I still have 20kg to lose.
Aches and Pains – I have general relaxin based joint pains and my shoulders/neck hurt from spending so much time rocking in the nursing chair.

Now on with May!

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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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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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