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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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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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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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How Do Children Cope?

I know that they do, they must do. But how do children cope with new siblings?

Aside from my worries about being paid correctly, about how I will actually give birth, about making the wrong birth decisions, about how I’m going to cope with two all day on a Friday and all afternoon 4 days a week, about how I will cope with little sleep and a toddler in tow, my biggest unknown worry is about Elvis.

How will he cope having his world turned upside down?

How will he cope with this little baby who comes in to his home, his world and takes over things?

How will he view his sibling when everyone wants to come over and cuddle the new one?

Will he feel ignored? Will he feel left out? Usurped?

Will he even care, or just continue playing with his trains?

Will he eventually love a little brother to play football with? Or hate the little brother that steals his toys, that takes over half of his bedroom?

Will he care immediately for a little sister and become possessive from day one? Or will he hate all of the pink that she brings in to his world?

Will he feel like he’s getting less love, less attention, less time from mummy, daddy and nanny?

Will he notice when mummy is missing for a few days, labouring in a hospital?

Will he notice that daddy has suddenly started picking him up from nursery for a few weeks, allowing mummy to rest with the new baby?

Is he too young?

I know there is no optimum age-gap to have. Some people prefer very close together to either get all of the nappies, sleepless nights out of the way or to enable an amazing bond between two children with only 18 or 24 months between them. Some people prefer a good few years, so only one is in nappies, so the older perhaps understands more and can be involved in the journey of pregnancy. I tend to side with the former – smaller gap because, selfishly, I do not want to go back to the newborn hassle after a few years. It is something I would hate in my current mindset. I truly do not see myself getting broody when these two are over 10 and going for a third. But, would it be better on the children? With only one at home all the time, you get to bond better with each child. You might get more rest. And they would understand more. I would love Elvis to feel my belly kicking and understand what it is.

Everyone tells me that he’s resilient and adaptable, but what if he isn’t and I have to see him in pain and frustrated because I changed his world?

~ P

P.S. This is a scheduled post written before Robin’s birth, but as it is scheduled for February, Robin really should be born already!

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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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Adaptation

Just a quick, non-scheduled, blog entry. I’m 39 weeks today by hospital scans and for the past few weeks I have been telling Elvis that there’s a baby in my tummy, that certain things are the baby’s. For the past week, my Braxton Hicks have also changed. Where they were just tightenings, a hardening of all my tummy, a pause in my concentration and a rapid heat come over me, they don’t feel quite like that anymore.

Elvis has now started to point to things and say baby whilst signing it. Within a few days of me consciously introducing the concept. I’m not sure if the room manager at his nursery being pregnant has encouraged his knowledge or the staff there in general have been helping him understand or perhaps the younger children he sometimes shares a room with.

Or he has magically adapted!

(Oh, and, yes, he’s started talking! He loves saying Batman, Santa, Da and Nana. I don’t need a name!)

It amazes me that he seems to have some understanding of the baby and gives me hope that I’ll make the right decisions with regards to Elvis visiting me in the hospital.

As for my Braxtons, well, the changes could be anything. I firmly believe that Braxtons at any point are not wasted, they should not be viewed as abnoying or time wasting. They are your body preparing. I also believe that, even though I have never laboured, my muscles are still weakened, practiced so I’m likely to feel things more this time no matter what the changes to my Braxtons are.

There’s an elemeny of uncomfortableness with them now. Starting in the middle of my tummy and the actual tightening is barely realised by me anymore. I get a few back cramps at different times, but winder if that’s more Robin’s positioning. I keep getting scared that it’s actually going to happen. I keep getting scared that it won’t. My mind has no idea what it wants my body to do or not to do.

I’m still scared of having a newborn. About feeling like a parental failure again when I become a sleep deprived mess.

My bags are packed and aside from getting new cot sheets, I’m ready for Robin. Except I feel far from actually ready.

I have no idea if I want Elvis to visit me in the hospital. I fear making the wrong decision.

~ Pxx

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Number Two/How?????

I read a blog by Mum of Boys, and, well, oops, I didn’t plan a second, but, here are my thoughts (my initial thoughts are – What? I won’t be welcome at under-1 groups? At all? Or at my mummy friends houses? How will playdates go for Elvis? How will they go for Robin? Holy, crap.)

  1. Apparently the second pregnancy will be harder, there’ll be no lazy cuppas with other pregnant mums-to-be and you’ll be covered in food, dressing more practically
  2. Being unwelcome at Mummy groups – or your toddler and “been there done that attitude” won’t be welcome
  3. More sleep in the hospital than in the few years leading up to then
  4. You will welcome visitors, simply to entertain the toddler
  5. You will be up and on your feet much quicker, if only to get the toddler out of the house!
  6. You will not sleep when the baby sleeps, you’ll be watching toddler TV
  7. No morning lie-ins after a night of feeding
  8. There will be no time for friends and a social life, even online
  9. You’ll “miss” the developments of the second as they appear from out of nowhere whilst your attention is on the older child
  10. You will not, even for one second, regret the decision to have number 2.

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