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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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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The Second Time

We’re only two weeks in but it’s all so very different. And I don’t just mean because I’ve done it before.

No, I don’t mean things like she sleeps more than he did. Or she roots and wants milk more than he did. Or she’s already a faster feeder, he took a few months.

No, I mean I’ve noticed more about her than I ever did with him. Probably because of how I felt over his birth. She has amazing hair. A small forehead and cute downy hair sideburns. She also has tiny black hairs on her ears. And her hair is so soft. I kind of want it to stay dark, the hair on her head anyway. I doubt she’ll ever have amazing mega eyelashes like her brother (Elvis’ are amazing) but they’ve grown since birth. Or have popped out from gunky eyes.

She has a screech that she does. Loud, high pitched and definitely girlie. She also hates having her nappy changed. She hates the cold baby wipes. I can’t remember any of these things about Elvis.

Have I forgotten? Did I never notice?

~ P x

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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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Two Nights In

Robin was born on Sunday night and I fought for discharge by Monday evening. I missed Elvis, didn’t want to spend more time away from him and I co-sleep with newborns which hospitals frown on so I needed to get home. Well, 3 nights of life with 2 at home and Robin has some pickle in her!

She likes to sleep during the day and she’ll sleep independently. She likes to feed at very certain times and at others will signal feeding but then literally hold a nipple in her mouth and go back too sleep. My patience at this point with Elvis was non-existant so Robin has it better.

Okay I’m so slow at blogging, it’s now night 3 at home. And I’m flashing back to newborn Elvis. It isn’t as bad. It can’t be as bad. Robin got weighed yesterday and has lost 8%. She gets reweighed Friday and can only lose 2 more. Elvis was borderline on the 10% loss on day 5, he wasn’t weeing or pooing. I knew there was a problem – my milk took 5 days to come in. Well Robin is weeing, pooping and my milk’s in – day 3.

It must be better therefore.

However, just because I’ve done this before, nursed a newborn it doesn’t mean that she and I know what we’re doing. I have a few blood blisters starting to form. I’m hoping I’ve noticed in enough time, that it won’t get worse, but right now I’m very protective of my nipples.

Last time I was exhausted, my breasts ached and I needed sleep. Husband and I stuggled to become parents let alone understand what c-section meant and we had to do it all on the fly. This time we already are parents, we understand what major surgery is. All I have to do is see to Robin. She’s mine. Elvis, the house and me are all The Husband’s.

Ot certainly relieves the pressure but I do hate it regarding Elvis. But my surgery prevents me being a normal mum just as much as the baby on my boob. It will pass. I have far more faith than last time. I just need this pain to pass.

~ 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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My 4th Trimester

I remember reading about the 4th trimester last time, how babies should gestate for longer, how they can still be incredibly dependent on Mumma because of this. Aren’t we like the only mammal (animal in general?) whose offspring have no defensive capability at all at birth and for up to 3 months? I mean, a newborn generally can’t even roll. With Elvis, he solely slept on/next to me for two months (or in the pushchair if we’d been out) and then I decided it was enough, he had to use his Moses basket.

I needed the space physically and I felt he was ready for that space. He took to the new sleeping arrangements within a week.

As for being less dependent on me in general (just enough to pee in private, maybe cook dinner or do some cleaning), I think by 4 months we had a routine. It was flexible when it needed to be, adaptable when he needed it ro be, but it was there. Things then get skewed in my memory because at 5 months old, hubby/daddy took 3 months off work to look for a new, family friendlier job.

It was an amazing 3 months for daddy and Elvis, but it did give me an easy ride when it came to parenting.

However, using those time periods, with Robin I am giving myself a 4th trimester. For the 4th trimester, I will not care about cleaning the house. I will ensure that Robin is always fed. 5 nights a week I will make sure that Elvis has dinner. For the 4th trimester,  I will not care about breakfasts and lunches for Elvis or Daddy. I will try and put the washing on. I might remember to dry the clothes. I will not care about putting any clothes away.

I might do the washing up. I might not care at all. I will not care if people visit and consider the toilet filthy or despair at my underwear hanging up everywhere drying. If they have an issue with dirty socks strewn across the room, they can pick them up. Last time, I desperately wanted a 2-4 week Babymoon with no visitors. Within 2 days, I had family on my doorstep. Within 2 weeks I had family pressuring me into visiting due to an extended holiday they had planned. I felt put upon and like I had to be a hostess when all I wanted to do was sleep and learn about my baby. This time I will not buckle, I will not cave. If I want to see people, I will at times I want to see them. Because at any point that both of my children happen to be asleep, so might I be. If one is awake as the other sleeps, well, that will be my quality time with them.

This is all my solemn vow to not stress during those first three months. To not care! Those three months will be about me and hubby getting to know our baby, will be about the greatest adaptation our family will ever go through. Elvis’ toys do not need to be tidied (although he does it quite while in the right mood). Beds do not need to be made. Curtains do not need to be opened. We all merely need food, clean plates, clean clothes and a clean bath in which to keep ourselves clean. End of.

~ P

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VBAC Agreement

I had my final VBAC midwife appointment and had the consultant sign off my plans – c-section at term +12 if I haven’t already had a baby of course!

And I just feel so tired. Physically, mentally. I have no fight left even though I haven’t had to fight any medical people. Yet (I worry that I will as I reach term). Somehow I still feel like I’m too tired to fight. Maybe I’m too tired to keep juggling everything – work, pregnancy, mother to a toddler, being a person. Maybe I’m tired. Maybe I’m finally succumbing to the awful cold that has plagued my house. Being pregnant, doing what’s right for my health, Elvis and Robin is draining.

Maybe I just want February to hurry up and get here.

I physically ache. One hour of shopping leads to agony. A night of recuperative sleep is no longer a fix all remedy to my aches and pains. Sometimes I feel like becoming a mum has cost me so much. Sometimes I feel like being pregnant this time has cost me so much.

Other than at work, I don’t socialise. I don’t let Elvis socialise (he does get it at nursery of course). This pregnancy is so much harder than my first. I spend a huge chunk of my night, my time, sitting on a gym ball. It makes me unproductive. It makes me unsociable.

I wonder if anything will change when Robin arrives. The exhaustion and pain makes me snappy, makes me lazy and I fear for my parenting. It makes me fear if I can recover from this laziness once Robin’s here. Will the newborn exhaustion stop me being a good parent still?

Then I question my social life. I enjoyed my year with Elvis. The new friends I made and saw all the time who all slipped away when I went back to work because of my juggling acts – a ball had to drop. The existing people in my life who were also a ball too many. Will I be able to pick up a ball in a few months?

And will there be any point when a year later I’ll go back to work and potentially have to drop one again (although will I have the pregnant ball again? Doubtful). I guess I’m just feeling really down and know that I still have 3 weeks until I reach term and then another 5 until it will be over. 8 weeks of back pain, of pelvic discomfort so bad it’s physically draining.

And then a new period of exhaustion and pain.

~ P x

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