Persephone: Parent

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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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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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Robin Is A…

image

Girl!

Two days old, 9lb and maybe has more hair than Elvis did at the same age. Birth was not how I considered, potentially more traumatic than the first time but I feel more confident and at ease with my decisions. Currently very glad that I have one of each as I really don’t think it’ll be happening again!

~ P

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Parenting Wisdom of Star Trek Deep Space Nine

I’m currently watching Deep Space Nine, Season 4 episode 17 and there has just been a scene between Julian Bashir and Miles O’Brien. I’ll try and find a transcript later, but the jist of what O’Brien just said was: “Well, now that Molly (his and his wife’s pre-school daughter) is a year older, I was hoping to spend more time with Keiko (his wife). You know, like, go out in the evening.”

And all it made me think was the fact that so many people have told me that I’m crazy for having such a small age gap between Elvis and Robin (others have plenty smaller though, fcol!) and here is a reason why it isn’t so crazy. I haven’t been raising Elvis for 3 years, yearning for a weekend away or an adults holiday, getting to the point we can do that and then having Robin come along. Nope, I’m in the getting it all out of the way camp.

Don’t get me wrong, everyone has their own choice, their own decisions and their own wants. I don’t do newborn. Or at least I didn’t a year ago. Either way,  the very thought of spending so many years as a parent of young ones… it just is not me. I know a few mums that have multiple children over a huge age gap (10 years eldest to youngest, 12, and 20!) and that thought, at the moment, absolutely horrifies me.

Maybe I’ll change my mind. Maybe in ten years time, I’ll jump back on the baby bandwagon, but right now, I could not think of anything worse! I love my son and I plan on loving Robin, but that doesn’t mean I should want to parent young children. And it isn’t that I yearn for my life, selfishly away from my family. No, if anything I want to be everything I was but from within my family. It may sound corny, bit I want to show my children the world. I don’t want to turn to a 5 year old, a 10 year old, and say we can’t do something because of the baby,  because I’m pregnant. Yes, that might sound like I want to get on with my life, and it kinda is. My life with my family.

~ P

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#41Weeks

By the hospital dates, somewhere between 41 and 42 weeks by my dates. And I’d been quite fine. Mainly positive and upbeat.

I’ve temporarily blocked/removed/avoid social media and real life people/discussions that could lead to my own negativity. I’m trying my hardest to keep a positive state of mind, not just with the Birth Affirmations plastered around the house, but when people ask how I’m doing. Or when they say you must be fed up by now?

Well, yeah, I kinda am, but there’s no point dwelling on it. There’s no point in me telling you about my aches and pains. Yeah, I want this baby born. Yes, the longer it all takes to start naturally the more doubt sets in that it won’t. But there is nothing I can do about that so why moan at everyone?

I do feel the timetable, the scheduled C-section that I think I can still cancel/delay. I do keep having the thought that I only have X number of days left. But then I try and remind myself that there are no odds, there is no mathematical or scientific equation that means the fewer days left, the less likely for things to happen.

I have had wobbles the past few days. Mainly I think because an extreme tiredness has washed over me. Yesterday I burst into tears in a shop because I couldn’t remember what I needed. Today because my husband offered to collect Elvis from nursery. Today is the third day in the row I’ve given in to napping. Today I’ve simply eaten or slept. Elvis is either ill or teething, but he’s doing his normal in either situation and sleeping. He loves his sleep. Which is amazing when I’m desperate for mine.

And when I say I’ve given in to the sleep, usually I’d fight it to make sure the washing was done, to pick him up from nursery, to buy bread, to bounce on a ball. Nope. Dirty dishes, no bread and I haven’t touched the ball. I’d be asleep right now but I’m tired of lying down.

I’m literally tired of everything and I’m really hot. Boiling. And we’re in the middle of winter.

On the labour front, well, my body keeps on seeming like it’s making some changes one day and then doing nothing the next. All of last night I had a back pain that felt like baby had gone back-back even though I’d been sitting/lying correctly and it just wouldn’t fo away. Then I fell asleep and awoke this morning without it. Was it baby being back to back? Was it back cramps? Did it subconsciously keep me awake part of the night hence my tiredness?

A lot of people believe that human gestational periods should be closer to the 41 than 40 weeks, well, mine must be! Only tomorrow left and then Husband starts his paternity so I really can rest up and see how this baby’s arriving….. sleep…..

~ 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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Blind Faith, Arrogance and Naiveté

That’s how I feel I went into my first labour. I had a complete and utter faith in my body, where it came from, I have no idea as my body had failed for the three years leading up to then. My body would know what to do. I would know what to do.

I was arrogant in that belief and so completely naive. Maybe my body and I would have known what to do if we had come to labour naturally. But we did not. My body was not ready. Elvis was not ready. The only things ready were the hospital and me mentally.

I wanted Elvis out. I had reached the hospital’s routine end point (I had no idea I could protest/fight – naive – plus I was over waiting!). And I was arrogant to believe that just because the hospital and my head said it’s time meant that it was.

I wouldn’t change my son. There are elements of his birth that I… regret? I probably wouldn’t delay the induction if I had my time over – I was ready and hugely uncomfortable. I might have wanted 5 minutes after having the epidural to actually consider the C-section rather than demanding one in a drugged up phase just because I heard the word. I might have refused continuous monitoring due to the pain I was in, if I knew I could.

I had blind faith in the health professionals that they knew and were doing what was best. The same people who gave me no option but to lie in pain because they had to continuously monitor my son. Did it have to be continuous? Could we have tried to find a better position for us both? They were willing to let me come off the monitors to wee, but not for a 5 minute rest? I had trust in them that when they said I had to be induced, I figured my community midwife had got it wrong. I had a naive belief that they cared even though despite me verbally declaring my unborn son wasn’t supposed to exist, despite ny notes on night 2 declaring “Baby fine, mother distressed” nothing was said to me until my 4 week health visitor check concerning me.

This time I have far less trust and faith in myself or them. I have done my research so anything I believe cannot be naive. I am not going into this one blindly, naively.

I’m going into it paranoid, jaded and cynical.

~ P

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