Persephone: Parent

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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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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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Prep for Baby Robin

Okay because we’re currently opting to not find out if Robin is a he or she, I am planning for neutral and making everything white/cream. I figure that the second one has to be easier. We already have the Moses Basket, the toys, the pushchair, the safety gates, the weaning stuff, the steriliser, pump and bottles. I already have the maternity wear and nursing clothes.

Yet there are still things that we need to sort out.

  • Our Moses Basket is Blue. So for £2 I bought 2 cream sheets. I plan on using my neutral sleeping bags so only need the bottom sheet. If Robin messes both cream, she can spend a night on blue sheets.
  • I need to check the newborn gro-bag situation.  I have a feeling Elvis had a sailor and pirate one for under 3 months. Not very neutral! But does that matter? Do pyjamas matter if Robin’s a she, as she gets older? I’m definitely swaying more to shoving her in boys things because it’s just a colour and I have some lovely dark blue vests! As long as she has hair or looks like a girl. Obviously, all of this sorting of clothes is redundant if Robin’s a boy! Haha!
  • We need a new cot. This is a particular argument I’m having with my mum. She believes that by 18 months old Elvis should be in a bed. Robin, obviously, won’t need a cot straight away, so Elvis really should be in a bed. Yes, he might be, I argued back, he’ll be in his cot-bed — the one you (Nanny) bought as a birth present and should last until he’s 7/8. But, yeah I’ll take away Elvis’ belongings at the same time as I throw him through a complete loop and change his whole entire world, and only give Robin second hand goods. However, after making this decision, we found a second hand co-sleeper cot. But Robin won’t be in Elvis’ hand me down bed.
  • Nursing chair – hubby’s decided that he wants me to have one to help with feeds this time. So we went and bought one in our local kiddicare’s closing down sale. £70 reduced down from £180. I’m quite pleased with it and I already love sitting in it, photo editing on my Mac or watching TV. It rocks and everything. So does the footstool!
  • Although I love Elvis’ pushchair, his Gravo Travel System was rubbish for newborn. The carrycot was tiny and not suitable for overnight sleeping. He couldn’t fit by 7 weeks so was stuck in a car seat attached until he was 16 weeks, which worried me then with the 45minutes a day rule and worries me more with Robin. I have already sourced a Mamas and Papas pushchair that has a proper carrycot part to it with replaceable mattresses. Perfect for nappy or tummy explosions and sleeping whilst I run around after Elvis. It needs cleaning. But I do need to check the rain cover fits and clean it.
  • Clothes in general! A few months ago, before I got pregnant, I organised all of Elvis’ old clothes into age and divided it by boys and gender neutral. I was pleasantly surprised a few days ago when I looked at the vacuum sealed bags and have 2 filled with neutral. They need sorting and hanging so I can figure out what else I desperately need to buy.
  • Due to the opposite seasons, I already know that I’ll need some newborn snow-suits. It will be January after all and I got a nice second hand Olive and Henri one for just £5.
  • Newborn nappies! I think I should be okay for other toiletries like bum cream, wipes and bubble bath. Although this time I plan on using cotton wool and water for the first nappies. I never did with Elvis. I’d read somewhere that you shouldn’t use wipes and creams on the newborn skin (so no bath products either) which included cotton wool and boiled, cooled water. Well, I was having a hard enough time trying to function in those first few weeks without ensuring that there was some boiled water always ready. However, after a recent bout of nasty nappy rash for our little teething boy, I spent the weekend using water and cotton wool (not boiled water, just simple tap water) and I found it quite nice and easy to use. I assume that as long as I rinse out the pot each time and always use fresh tap water, it won’t matter if it’s been boiled. Theoretically it isn’t the water that’s the issue, it’s the bacteria left in the bowl, in my logic. Hopefully Robin has skin like Elvis — the only issue we have ever had was the fact that bubble bath made his cradle cap worse.
  • Find the newborn inserts for the baby carrier, car seat. Find the baby bath seat and maybe remove some of Elvis’ toys so he forgets about them. Luckily Nanny left his playgym and rocking chair which he barely used so Robin can have them with, ahem, little issue.

What am I forgetting? It wasn’t all that long ago!

Now, concerning gifts! I don’t mean this in any sort of cheeky way, like well, you bought Elvis a puschair, Nanny, spend the same on Robin! (although part of me thinks that would be fair), no I mean the personalised gifts. Elvis ended up with two name trains (where each carriage is a letter of his name) and a named truck. He has a personalised wall plaque with his birth details on. Oh, and a memory keeping journal. A small, delicate Noah’s ark, a silver plated dinosaur moneybox… That’s not including the comforter bought for him or the “Born in 2013” bear and photo frame. Or the dressing gown with his name on. Or the keyring and magic flannel with his name on.

I have no idea of the etiquette involved here – should family and friends buy the equivalent for a second? Is it all up to me? I’m not expecting it this time, which is why I bought a second hand cot when Nanny bought the cot, mattress, and changing unit for Elvis. We’re stealing the changer for Robin, but need a mattress. Should I expect, ask, enquire with Nanny?

Should you expect gifts for a second? Or does everyone think you have everything? And how can you have everything when the first born got personalised gifts?

Ignoring the financial aspect, if I’m already concerned about me treating them equally, how do I come to terms with my nearest and dearest not treating them equally? Although, on the other hand, if Robin doesn’t receive those gifts at least I get to pick the equivalent item myself. Right? Or, if no one buys the equivalent personalised gift second-time around, and I can’t afford to buy everything from the above mentioned gift list, can I tell Robin in a few years… what? No one thought of him/her? No one cared? Share the magic flannel, money box and “Born in 2013” teddy bear with Elvis?

~ P

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Breastfeeding is Easy Peasy

One of my biggest realisations since becoming pregnant this time is how much medical professionals lie to you during a pregnancy. It was heavily implied that pain relief and cesarean meant a baby couldn’t breastfeed or that breastfeeding, when done right, does not hurt. Or how about the fact that nipple creams and shields provide no benefit. And, as an article from The Guardian says, breastfeeding is natural, but that by no means makes it easy. The fact that the article is written from a father makes it all the more refreshing because if the point of this blog is to say that women, mummies to be are mis-led, then so are fathers. Far worse in some ways.

Maybe some people never have a problem. Maybe some never have a bad latch, never need cream or shields to help get through a bad few days or nights. Maybe some never get blisters, engorgement, mastitis or worse. Soon after I stopped breastfeeding Elvis, I discovered a milk bleb. Well, my milk was all gone and whilst there was no pain from it, I didn’t think it should just remain there until Robin comes along. I posted in a local bf group for advise as I had always healed up my milk blisters and blebs for Elvis feeding it out of me (blood blisters heal themselves eventually). A very good friend, pro-feeder of two kiddies, responded asking what a milk blister even was. So, I completely get that some mums, some babies just do it and they never have a problem. Some people get quick diagnoses of tongue tie and have feeding issues resolve. Some people have a baby that latch on perfectly straight away. It’s the same as how some babies become efficient feeders and take a feed in 5 minutes, others take an hour at the same age. Or how some babies self-wean, others need to be slowly decreased over a few months. But how come, in my experience, during pregnancy, professional people tell you about those later differences but not about the immediate ones?

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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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Surprises

I’ve moved house. Yay?

Well, I absolutely ache all over. I am never moving house again. Never ever ever. Except if we ever decide to make the move out of town to get the garden. If hubby starts down a new road at work. Or if we win the lottery. Or if we have more than 3 children. When those things are satisfied, I’ll consider moving. But one thing I do promise is that I am never moving whilst pregnant ever again!

I last moved about 2 years ago. Pregnant with Elvis. Why didn’t I learn from that event?

All I really did was make sure that stuff was packed, unpacked a few bits and bobs. Oh, yeah and went on a mammoth walk because Elvis needed a nap and there was no bed ready for him (despite all of my planning, someone did not get my toddler’s room ready first). I ache. The only thing that hasn’t really hurt at some point over the past few days is actually my pelvis! So, nothing actually pregnancy related (on that note, I think I’ve ballooned over night and am clearly pregnant – bump is also harder now so less like a ball of fat!). It’s been quite stressful.

Do you know what kept me going through the worst moments? Through the arguments, the hang up phone calls, the pain and exreme tiredness? Elvis!

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Daddies Don’t Exist

I remember a few months ago, probably quite a while ago actually, getting really annoyed with a bunch of mums in a forum who were discussing co-sleeping and their partners. The first Mumma had said that their OH wasn’t happy with her co-sleeping anymore – he wanted back in the bed or to be back with her. I have no idea of the child’s age. The general advice to her: do what’s best for you and your child, it isn’t up to him.

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Happy Father’s Day

The following is a post fot my father, a man who I think I’ve only really started to learn about in the past year since I became a mum.

My dad wasn’t like most dads and I don’t mean that he was one of a kind or the best dad ever. By the time I started school, in the late 80s, my mum and dad swapped familial roles and he became the house-husband, she worked 9-5 and he was the stay at home dad. I’m not sure what percentage do it now, but 30 years ago he was the only one in my school.

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Jealousy as Green as Any Monster

Today marks the second successful abandoning of Elvis at Nanny’s. This time it was so I could randomly go and visit a friend with her newborn. And by successful, I mean he napped! And he was still asleep when I got back.

As he lay upstairs sleeping, my mum, Nanny, said “And all you used to do was 20 minutes each day!” Yep, Nanny sounded rather jealous that I, apparently, refused to nap for her!

Clearly Elvis doesn’t just look like Daddy, he sleeps like him, too!

“And I had to sneak around so you couldn’t see me. Or hear me.”

Cue later on today when I’d taken E home and he was having his second nap, it was approaching tea time, his dinner was cooked, the bathroom cleaned and so I hoovered the upstairs, right up to his door. Did he wake up? Nope.

Again, just like his father who can sleep through anything, not me who wakes at the slightest breath from my hubby!

This kid is nothing like me. And, yeah, whilst Nanny might be jealous of my sleepy baby, I’m kind of jealous that my son is nothing like me at all.

~ P

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5 Years Later

It’s a little late, but this year marked my 5th wedding anniversary. I posted about part of my honeymoon before and my second anniversary trip to Rome. I think I went somewhere for each anniversary – London for the first year, then Rome, for the 3rd nothing! The 4th I was pretty heavily pregnant. And then the 5th, we re-visited an element of our wedding day.

I got the idea from pinterest.

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