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Toddler Proofing: The Sequel

The original toddler proofing post was scheduled from Christmas and, honest to goodness chance, meant that it posted just as I started to consider inviting toddlers over. With the baby here.

And I’m scared.

Perhaps melodramatic. Maybe I should say I’m anxious and apprehensive.

Luckily the mummy meets do not involve my toddler, just my baby and their toddler. But is my house suitable for their toddlers?

There can be no fights over toys, but will there be chewing of crayons, ripping of books, climbing of furniture, destruction of car tracks?

Will they climb and roll over any of Robin’s things?

I don’t like the idea of telling off other people’s children. Is that even allowed? When Elvis was newborn a friend visited with their pre-schooler who kept climbing on his rocking chair (now Robin’s) and on his play gym. This was despite their mother telling them not to.  They almost kicked my newborn Elvis in the head. I felt, and feel, like I can’t say anything to other’s children. And if that was a pre-schooler how am I supposed to deal with toddlers?

Maybe it would be better with Elvis here, I have a feeling he’d tell off the toddlers and protect his Baby. (Because every time she cries he tells us – in case we can’t hear her screams – and then passes us her Bing – a Bunny comforter that she doesn’t care for – because he thinks she needs it.)

Wish me luck!
~ P

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VBAC Agreement

I had my final VBAC midwife appointment and had the consultant sign off my plans – c-section at term +12 if I haven’t already had a baby of course!

And I just feel so tired. Physically, mentally. I have no fight left even though I haven’t had to fight any medical people. Yet (I worry that I will as I reach term). Somehow I still feel like I’m too tired to fight. Maybe I’m too tired to keep juggling everything – work, pregnancy, mother to a toddler, being a person. Maybe I’m tired. Maybe I’m finally succumbing to the awful cold that has plagued my house. Being pregnant, doing what’s right for my health, Elvis and Robin is draining.

Maybe I just want February to hurry up and get here.

I physically ache. One hour of shopping leads to agony. A night of recuperative sleep is no longer a fix all remedy to my aches and pains. Sometimes I feel like becoming a mum has cost me so much. Sometimes I feel like being pregnant this time has cost me so much.

Other than at work, I don’t socialise. I don’t let Elvis socialise (he does get it at nursery of course). This pregnancy is so much harder than my first. I spend a huge chunk of my night, my time, sitting on a gym ball. It makes me unproductive. It makes me unsociable.

I wonder if anything will change when Robin arrives. The exhaustion and pain makes me snappy, makes me lazy and I fear for my parenting. It makes me fear if I can recover from this laziness once Robin’s here. Will the newborn exhaustion stop me being a good parent still?

Then I question my social life. I enjoyed my year with Elvis. The new friends I made and saw all the time who all slipped away when I went back to work because of my juggling acts – a ball had to drop. The existing people in my life who were also a ball too many. Will I be able to pick up a ball in a few months?

And will there be any point when a year later I’ll go back to work and potentially have to drop one again (although will I have the pregnant ball again? Doubtful). I guess I’m just feeling really down and know that I still have 3 weeks until I reach term and then another 5 until it will be over. 8 weeks of back pain, of pelvic discomfort so bad it’s physically draining.

And then a new period of exhaustion and pain.

~ P x

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Pregnancy Yoga: Breathing Out the Pain

I started yoga last week and today we focussed on relaxation. During a deep relaxation technique we were told to think of pain, the worst pain you’ve ever felt, excruciating pain and then breathe it out. Then think of pleasure and breathe it in. To think of a stormy sea, thunder and lightning, dark gloomy skies and snow peaked hills, then lush green valleys, a calm ocean and bright blue skies.

It was all so relaxing,  I completely zoned out at some point. I lost track of time. I couldn’t hear the traffic or unfortunate building noise; I could hear only the instructor and CD. I left the whole session feeling so lifted and pain free.

Do you know what though? The pain I imagined, the pain I thought of that is the worst pain ever, it wasn’t the induced labour pains, the Braxton Hicks I had for nights before my induction. The pain I imagined wasn’t anything to do with the physical pain of major abdominal surgery. I briefly thought of the pain from initially breastfeeding. I had a few thoughts of the pain I felt every month when, once again, I started my period and had been failed by my body. The things that kept coming into my head on every exhalation were words.

Words that other people have said to me.

On every inhalation, I was repeating my mantra and on every exhalation I had another sentence, another remark that someone had made to me without probably any conscious thought, but never the less were words that hurt me, that stayed with me. They were words about me, words about my son, words about my parenting, words about my abilities, words about my choices, words about my weight, words about my failings. I could hear all of their voices – my mother and her insistence, my in-laws and their questioning, my friends and their criticism, my family members and a passing comment. I could list them all here, each instance that I vividly remember and they have all forgotten if they even knew that they had said those words to me.

But I don’t need to list them, because I breathed them out. I let go of them all. I will no longer keep a mental tally of how someone has upset me because I will just release it as simply as you release a breath. And I truly did feel so much better as I left yoga and headed to work. I felt so much lighter.

There’s still nothing I can do about worrying over labour, hoping for a VBAC. There’s still nothing I can do to organise my working hours and pay until I get some answers, but I can give up everything else.

The thing that is sticking in my mind though is that my pain is words. None of my pain that I hold on to is physical. I can barely remember what physical pain feels like (except for my pregnancy back pain), but I remember every single word. I become haunted by words and I doubt a lot of people know or understand that about me, but in the grand scheme of things, I can only change myself and not everyone else. So all of those people whose words I heard when told to imagine pain, maybe if they read and understand this, realise this about me, they may work to change themselves, but I have no power over that; I can simply breathe out what they say to me and refuse to let them hurt me, refuse to allow myself to become bitter. I am strong in my life. I am free.

~ P

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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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Lonely Parenting

For the first 9 months, minus the first 2 maybe, my life was filled with baby groups and chatting with the other mummies, mummies whose babies are all the same age. But then, the 9 month mark hits and mummies have to start going back to work. I made it to Elvis’ 13 month birthday, but for those last 4 months, life became more lonely.
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Trying to be Me

Today was an absolute disaster. From me being so dumb that I waited for a train on the wrong platform after double checking, to the disaster that was London Film and Comic Con.

I don’t want to get in to what happened there. Some bad organisation from the organisers and from customers. Some very bad locations for a 2 plus hour queue (direct sun, no opportunity to sit or grab extra water without losing your place) which all meant I didn’t get to do what I wanted to do. But this post isn’t about that.

This post is about why I’m so affected by it not going to plan.

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Mummy’s Day Out

For a friend’s birthday, I bought her a trip to a local gym and she so very kindly took me. Now, having babies pretty much the same age, we waited for them to nor be so dependent on milk and went off for some gym fun.

It was the best day ever.

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Baby’s First Picnic

Elvis and I have only been to the playpark a couple of times. He likes the swings, but he loves crawling and climbing, which he can’t do with all of the woodchip they have, so I have limited our visits. He just doesn’t enjoy sitting in his pushchair for long periods. Equally I don’t see the point in taking him to see animals at the parks, he would not be interested, not yet.

He doesn’t like watching and looking. Not yet.

But we went to the park today and had our first picnic!

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The Greener Grass

I have spent the past few days feeling conflicted and I think I’ve figured out why. I have wanted to desperately feel like me, to be just me in moments other than when I go swimming or shopping. I want to be more than just a mummy to Elvis and more than just a wife. I want to be a friend and a person.

And for this I feel guilty.

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My Fear of Graduating

It isn’t leaving Elvis with strangers at nursery. It isn’t having less time with Elvis. It isn’t trying to juggle work, home and motherhood.

I fear losing my social life. And by mine I actually mean ours – mine and Elvis’

There’ll be fewer toddler groups to go to because of timing. And then will he even want to go? It’ll be harder to match up days off with other mummies.

I fear becoming one amongst a group rather than of a pair. I fear losing the friends I already had and of losing the friends I’ve made.

I fear wanting different things out of those friendships and seeing someone differently to how they see me.

I fear losing more of myself than I’ve already lost over the past 4 years.

~ P

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