Persephone: Parent

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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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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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Possessive Boy

At first I thought that my son, who has only just developed the ability/desire to hug and kiss people, was having a spot of separation anxiety, but I think it’s actually some sort of possessive streak. Initially it was crying when I took him to nursery alone – perhaps he thought we were off out somewhere fun together before I abandoned him there! Then it was crying if I didn’t get in the car with Daddy to take him to nursery – am I not allowed a day off? I started to wonder if it was simply OCD and breaking his routine, but he seems fine when I’m genuinely not around. Oh, and then there were the tears when Daddy drove away with Nanny – how dare Daddy leave!

Then I noticed that I was allowed to play with his toys, Daddy wasn’t unless it was bedtime and then Daddy could join in. I still thought it was a separation thing and preferring mummy to daddy. When he was upset, Elvis currently prefers me to Daddy. If we’re both there that is! I am slightly worried if there is an element of Mummy-love because Robin isn’t far off!

Until I then realised it isn’t Mummy-love, it isn’t breaking a routine, it isn’t even being separated from me. Nope, it’s Elvis deciding everything is his!

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Screaming Down the Shops

Everytime that daddy takes Elvis out he’s as good as gold and falls asleep in his pushchair. I can’t even get Elvis to Nanny’s without him squinnying a bit. There must be a better spelling for a word I may have made up.

Two days ago I spent my first full day alone with Elvis – it was the day of no naps. And I decided to pop to the local shops simply to buy a father’s day gift, baby nail files, food for tea, nappies and to register him at the GPs. It was 4 places. And in 3 of them he started crying, stopping only after I pushed him back outside.

It was only a slight cry, but I was still helpless to do anything. If he needed feeding, changing or winding well they’d all have to wait – I was only out 30minutes in total and I fed him before we left.

Yesterday as my break from the house, Nanny took us supermarket shopping. Again we weren’t actually gone for that long. But it was long enough for somewhere in the fridge aisle Elvis started screaming.

And I mean screaming. Not a few whimpers or a few cries. Out and out screaming.

Eventually Nanny popped off on her own to grab her essentials and in the cleaning aisle I took a moment to take Elvis out of his seat and give him a cuddle. He stopped screaming and didn’t start up again when I put him back in.

Now I’ve read that after feeding, changing, winding, crying may simply be because they want a cuddle but am I supposed to recognise that cry? Am I supposed to cuddle him in the busy food aisles or abandon my shopping? Am I supposed to semi ignore him and passers by stares because he’s still a newborn baby and I can’t tell him to stop. It’s not like with older children where a parent may have a lack of control hence the screams.

If the weather’s okay when it’s officially morning I might take Elvis out to the local shops again – we both need fresh air – and hopefully this time there will be no screaming.

There never is for daddy!

~ Persephone M

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Settling to Sleep

We’ve already encountered this problem a few times with Elvis. And with myself! There has been the occasion where he will just not sleep.

Nanny says that, as a baby, I never slept. This must be my karma. Except I’ve had my own adult sleep issues for a few years.

Elvis has had days and evenings (we seem to escape nights, knock on wood) where he refuses to sleep. He’ll take the breast and fall asleep immediately, waking up as soon as I move no matter how long I wait. And then he gets to a state where he simply screams. He’s fed, winded and clean; he’s tired and can’t sleep.

So what am I supposed to do?

We’ve given him a dummy (breaking yet another parenting rule of giving a dummy before being a month old) which he’s sucked for ages but remained awake – clearly not hungry. We’ve tried all the soothing, rocking, walking, calm singing stuff, feeding. He still keeps crying.

I’ve been there myself. When I suffer from a bout of insomnia, on occasion I have been known to get so stressed and worked up that I have a good cry and then fall asleep. Is that what newborn Elvis is trying to do?

In general sleeping has become so much easier since Elvis arrived. I used to hate any kind of noise and would regularly kick hubby out of bed for breathing too loudly. Now, with hubby and Elvis snoring, one either side of me, I simply sleep. Since Elvis has arrived I’ve actually been far cuddlier in my sleep despite the noise of hubby’s breathing.

Cuddles from hubby is my one rule when trying to settle Elvis. I need my cuddle and I think it’s helping our relationship. We both cuddle Elvis loads, but rarely get any alone time – that cuddle in bed with Elvis asleep in his moses basket is our one alone moment each day.

Except when Elvis won’t settle. And then what am I supposed to do?

Often we get to a point where I feed him again and eventually it works, but he often doesn’t cue for that feed, but it works. Last night it took 2 hours of trying everything until a feed eventually worked. Yesterday during the day co-sleeping was what worked.

What next?

~ Persephone M

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Day 21 Curveball

Elvis is officially now 3 weeks old today! And is it sad that it means I’m almost half way to when everything settles down. Or that it’s now 5 months and 1 week until I can introduce solid food.

Breastfeeding shouldn’t have a countdown on it! But we’re still in the newbie stage.

So after a horrendous cluster feeding session last night, Elvis’ nighttime feeds were much better. He did start constantly feeding at 5am though. Until hubby left for work and I decided on co-sleeping.

Any other time that either of us has settled Elvis on us it’s been on the chest/stomach both of us with heads up. This morning I did it by laid back feeding first. I’m not sure how well the feed went as I got sleepy and stopped supporting his head, allowing it to be at an angle to his body. Apparently he won’t swallow in that position, according to all midwives, but he didn’t complain.

But sleep we both then did for a few hours and after a bit more laid back feeding, we got up at gone 11am.

Unfortunately today’s curveball is that he then spent all afternoon (usually asleep) wanting to feed simply to sleep and everytime I put him down he’d cry. So he’d cue for feeding and fall asleep within minutes.

I tried to make lunch. He cried.

I put him down to change him. He cried.

I needed the toilet. He cried.

Eventually I gave in and went back to bed with him. No feeding but got him to sleep across my tummy again. For over an hour.

And soon hubby came home to a wide awake Elvis who hasn’t wanted to clusterfeed yet but also won’t settle fully.

I seem to be better at the napping part of breastfeeding/newborn raising. And there seems to be far less pain. But I’d like him to sleep and not need quite so much nursing because if everything says I can’t let a newborn cry, how am I supposed to do anything?

Apparently allowing a baby to cry makes them feel unloved and unworthy of their parents’ attention. It scars them for life (although it seems that everything does that – there are far too many parenting rules). Is this just if I let him cry or if he cries at all? I mean surely if crying raises the heartrate and dries their throat out, it’ll do that whether it’s a two minute cry because I’m on the toilet, a three minute lunch break, a nappy change or actual neglect.

I started this blog entry last night (Tuesday, day 21) and it’s now almost 4am on Wednesday (first wake up feed after we got him down at 11pm), but before feeding him (for which he was already screaming because I missed his cues due to being asleep) I needed to change his nappy and he near screamed the street down. Was I supposed to leave him in the dirty nappy to not make him cry?

Yesterday he was such a picky boy though that he’d still be in yesterday’s dirty nappy if I truly don’t let him cry. Every baby cries and as long as they are clean and fed, is there anything more a parent can do? Even for a newborn?

~ Persephone M

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