Persephone: Parent

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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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The Unknown

I just want someone to be able to tell me that Robin will be just like Elvis. She’s 7 weeks old, Elvis was about 16 weeks old when he stopped needing any over night feeds and he never had them after then. Are we 9 weeks away from Robin being the same?

Are we closer?

Are we further?

I get insomnia. When I wake for a night feed, despite Robin being by my side in a co-sleeper cot, I wake up fully. Despite me relaxing during the feed, drifting off to sleep a bit, too, I wake up when I’m carefully putting Robin down. Then her snuffles keep me awake, questioning if it’s her not fully asleep or just settling herself back down.

It’s tough.

The past two nights I’ve tried side lying to feed. The first night was amazing but did end up with far more co-sleeping which makes me achey. Last night, either due to insomnia or fearing full relaxtion, I didn’t sleep as well.

Oh, and she’s spent the past two nights on a 3 hour routine rather than 4-5.

Is it just a few day phase? Is it because she feeds less when lying down, nursing more sitting up? Do I drift off and pull away when we’re lying down?

And I don’t want her to get used to sleeping right by my side.

If I’m going to wake up fully no matter which position I may as well go for the one that leads to me being more comfortable.

It still leaves me with the unknown – 9 weeks to go? Or more? Or less?

~ 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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Spanish Sleeping

When we first got here to Spain, the thought of all three of us in the same bedroom was kind of daunting. We haven’t done it in 8 months or so and I can be such a funny sleeper that the thought of two other people in the room breathing and keeping me awake kinda scared me.

But do you know what? It’s actually been really enlightening.

We’ve been woken up in the morning by giggling, rolling over and seeing Elvis lying in his cot, in the pitch black, giggling at… I have no idea. I’ve gotten him to go for a nap simply by lying on the bed where he can see me and he’s stopped screaming and gone to sleep; as did I. We’ve picked him up in the morning and put him in the bed inbetween us and had more giggles and some quiet times, scoring a semi lie-in.

I might miss going home and putting him in a room a whole 5 meters away! Although I do now wonder if he will get too used to seeing us in the morning!

~ P
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Driving Away in A Big Black Cab

Okay so actually the taxi wasn’t black.

It wasn’t a big taxi cab either, just a regular taxi. And it did drive me away last night.

At 10pm, after Elvis’ dream feed, I called a taxi and left.

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Bed Sharing: The Next Step

After a bad night’s sleep that was purely all me, E is still pretty much fine overnight, I decided that this bed sharing needs to stop.

I need some time without him, some time to be me, some time with my husband and some time where I can physically fully relax. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I figured I’d get less sleep. I assumed he’d wake up more, feed more.
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One of Those Days

Do you ever have one of those days? A day where everyone else seems bloody prefect and they all seem to remind you that you’re not?

A day where all you want to do is sleep? Or cry? And crying might actually be the easier option.

I’m having/had one of those days where I just want to curl up in a ball and sob.
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Always Questioning Ourselves

I’ve always had this random insomnia where I spend the night completely unable to sleep. No matter how tired, if it’s an insomnia night I will not sleep. For quite a while it would be Sunday night’s – maybe it was work anxiety I hear you ask. Well, I work in a school all year around and only had the insomnia on term time Sundays. When it happened two nights ago (after a night of bad sleep from Elvis coughing and spluttering) I reached the end of my tether. It was so bad, I couldn’t even nap during the day. Sleep was truly alluding me.

So last night my husband and I decided that I really really needed sleep. I thought this would be accomplished by husband coming back into bed – he’s been out as part of the bed sharing, however, I needed his breathing. Elvis, naturally breathes too fast and in my sleepless state I was trying to match my breathing to his therefore having hubby in bed my breathing should become calm and steady. Because it’s suggested that bed sharing should only have one parent in the bed, or a bigger bed hubby declares, we decided to put Elvis in his big boy cot in his nursery against the guidance of sharing rooms for the first six months.

Elvis was never going to last 6 months in his Moses basket because at nearly 8 weeks he’s too big! Well he lasted in there for about an hour after the first mid-night feed when he started making loads of grunty noises that I couldn’t sleep through despite him being in another room. Into bed with us he came because I still needed hubby’s breathing and I put Elvis on his side to secure him to me as we slept with me spooning him on the outer side of the bed.

Through all of this I kept questioning myself. I even broke down hysterically to declare that I was an awful mother.

And why am I an awful mother?

For one, I didn’t play or interact with Elvis all day because I was so tired.

Reason two is that I tried/managed to put a seven week old baby in a separate room.

Number three is that then I bed-shared against medical advice.

Fourth reason is I bed-shared with a duvet partially on me, my baby nearest the edge of the bed and with my baby on his side.

All these things are what I need to do to cope, but it doesn’t stop me questioning it all and my ability to parent. Is it just something that I do, or is it a general parent issue – comparing yourself to others and the ideal?

I feel like I’m not as good a parent as the next who can do everything by the book simply because I’m not following the guidance. In my eyes it somehow makes me less of a person and parent because I need to go off script. Do other mums who put their young babies in the nursery, bed share or sofa sleep do the same? Do you feel imperfect for not following the guidelines and upset at those who can so easily?

Do those perfect mums question themselves just as much? Do they question themselves over other things? Or do they have less energy to interact, to resume normal life as quickly? Do they wonder or feel left out because they don’t know how their baby breathes all night long, because they can’t get to their baby the second he announces he’s hungry?

When I had Elvis sleeping on my tummy his arms would fall around my waist, he was hugging me at five weeks old. He sleeps better and longer in bed with me. And last night as he slept on his side spooned up against me he felt like a real child and not just a baby. That last part makes sense to me.

Maybe medically or professionally I’m imperfect, but to Elvis I’m not no matter how many rules or guidelines I break. That probably won’t stop me questioning myself. I’m pretty sure that nothing will ever stop that.

~ Persephone M

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