Persephone: Parent

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Toddler Quirks 1

The ten most recent quirks of my toddler –

1. Dinner time is filled with tears when Elvis accidentally breaks his cracker or piece of bread. Because he asks me to fix it. I can’t remake a cracker. He won’t accept new either. So we get tears.

2. Elvis already copies me at breakfast by spooning up the leftover milk in his cereal bowl. Then he saw me lick a spoon I’d stirred my milkshake with. Now he spoon drinks his cup of milk.

3. He knocks his knuckles on lots of things saying “knock, knock, knock” which is quirky and cute in its own way but recently he did it on his bottle of sun cream!

4. When he wanted more milk on his cereal, Daddy did so by pouring somw from his cup. Moments later? Elvis drowned his cereal, the table, his lap and the floor.

5. During a recent bad teething day, Elvis demanded his dummy ALL morning. It was strapped to his pushchair when I took him swimming and I refused to take it off. After much pulling, the dummy pulled off from the strap. Well, Elvis went crazy (even though he now had a free dummy) until I put it back on the strap.

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Newbie Cinema: Avengers Age of Ultron

When Elvis was about 5 months old, I took him to our nearest Odeon Cinema to a Newbie screening. We saw a random film really, we went for the experience, so when Avengers Age of Ultron came out, I hoped and hoped that it would be shown on a Newbie screening nearby.

And it was.

But Hubby couldn’t get the day off and it’s quite difficult to get to our local Odeon without a car. Searching nearby I found a screening on a different day at Guildford.

Newbie screenings are designed for parents with young children,  namely babies really. The volume is lower, the lights aren’t dimmed as much and everyone expects crying, screaming and other general baby/toddler related noises. At Guildford there was somewhere to leave your pushchair, but we took our pram in and sat at the back with it when Robin napped. I saw other parents easily manoeuvre their pushchairs down the shallow, long steps. As long as you don’t block the aisles/exits we were told it was fine to put the pram anywhere.

Guildford’s Odeon is kind of secluded. It has it’s own Costa with outdoor seating  and the usual cinema food. And I guess the walk to the shops, restaurants and coffee shops aren’t really that far but after getting there and wanting a drink, with baby in tow it felt like further away. There’s also a carpark attached to the cinema, but we parked the other side of town.

I also have no idea about the baby changing facilities because I just use a changing mat on the floor in the cinema (I’m going to miss enough of the film with random crying) – yes, that’s how light the cinema is.

I think the best thing about Newbie screenings isn’t fully the fact that you get to see a film without needing a babysitter, without worrying it’s going to be too loud or so dark that your child will be scared, but that when your baby starts crying (which they all do at some point), you don’t have to worry about annoying anyone.

The worst thing is the volume. Haha! I missed most of the farmhouse scene and all of the Banner/Widow talks because they whisper and the volume is low for all the film. Whilst you want the action scenes to be quieter, a remote control to up the volume would have been handy at times! Hubby also really disliked how light it was; he did not get the cinema experience. But we did get to watch the film!

I really enjoyed it. I loved the little cameos that some only lasted seconds, but are well worth it and fans would complain if they were missing. I loved the Banner/Widow scenes, or what I heard of them, especially after watching the first film the night before and loving the chemistry they had. I loved the Hawkeye developments and feared for him due to them. I loved the infighting and teamwork, they all just gel and pick up on each other’s next move before it can be vocalised. There weren’t as many perfectly paired scenes as Avengers Assemble, but in this film things are established and they are that team, they do know each other’s next move, they do all think together and fight together.

Or fight each other at points with perfect logic. I didn’t fully get all of the dream thoughts but my attention wasn’t 100% on the film all of the time (and apparently Black Widow’s links to Agent Carter which I have yet to watch). For that reason I do begrudge paying normal prices, but it is my choice to take my baby. Except at 11am on a weekday morning, when there are specific showings for older people and students – both at a discounted rate – who else is really going to be going to the cinema? That said, I, personally, would only do a Newbie screening for a film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe,  especially as I wouldn’t want Agents of Shield to spoil a film! It also depends on your child. I would only take Elvis to a Newbie screening if it was a film he’d enjoy, but Robin slept and fed through it.

From the few shops in Guildford we saw, it looked quite good – a mothercare and Entertainer, Cath Kidston for those with more money and there were restaurants and plenty of clothes shops. As I said, the cinema seemed in an odd location with the entrance really hidden but I guess the town center is spread out more than what I’m used to. Next time I think I might go by train.

When the next Marvel film comes out, if I’m still not comfortable with a baby sitter for both kids, I’ll look into Newbie again and Guildford will be an option if I can’t get to my local. And the film?

It certainly fits with all the others, had a great feel to it, some funny moments and a decent baddie. Probably not as good as the first, but that had a bit more heart and Loki. I can see it as having set up a third Avengers and even the next Captain America. Its ending was perhaps a bit understated or maybe it was just me who felt sad at it ending. Shouldn’t it have made me a bit saddened and excited? I don’t think I felt either.

And the final line – I actually laughed out loud. I was the only one. Avengers…

~ P

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#getoffthesofa

I think I decided to start getting off the sofa just after Easter (probably with the thought that I’d start it properly once all of that chocolate was gone. Ha!) And I think I posted about having an April’s Resolution, well here I am a month later.

I’ve definitely been more active in the past month. Partly with help from some Mummies from my local breastfeeding group – the group isn’t on over Easter so we went walking instead. Since then the 4 mornings that Elvis is at nursery I go for a walk and Robin falls asleep in the pram. I think it’s getting her into a bit of a routine. A bit.

I have bought chocolate and cakes since I started my resolution but they’ve always been my weakness. Because, yes, the goal is to be healthier and help shift some of my pregnancy tum but it’s also just to get me out of the house.

With Elvis I could leave the house whenever I wanted. Go for a walk. Wander around the shops. He napped every morning at half 9 and evening at half 4 in the pushchair because I went out. It’s probably why I was far less achey with him. I don’t have that luxury now.

With Robin, she has to be in the pushchair 1230-1330 for the nursery run. Then for the rest of the afternoon I can’t go out as Elvis naps upstairs. It’s frowned upon. So mornings are for walking.

And it certainly is the weather for it. Hopefully once Robin manages to be put down for her naps (oh help me God, let her sleep in her bed during the day) then the snack food eating will stop. I only do it because I get so bored and lonely rocking her in the nursing chair.

Technically it should be #getoffthenursingchair as she won’t actually let me sit on the sofa.

Here are April’s stats:
Clothes – still in maternity trousers. My size 16 do fit bit underneath my wobbly jiggly bits. In all of my nursing tops from before.
Weight to lose – I started this wanting to lose 20kg. I still have 20kg to lose.
Aches and Pains – I have general relaxin based joint pains and my shoulders/neck hurt from spending so much time rocking in the nursing chair.

Now on with May!

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6 Months of Sleeping With Your Baby?

I had trouble sleeping last night after reading an article that popped up on my news feed. In fact when I got up this morning, leaving my 13 week old baby alone in our bedroom, I got really panicky. It isn’t the article itself (which tells the sad story of a 7 week old who died in their co-sleeping crib when left alone) it was more a comment someone put on facebook when the article was shared.

Why was  a 7 week old left alone to nap? When guidance is all naps and sleeping to be in the same room as a parent?

The comment was probably same room as mum because I feel there’s a huge bias on the parenting pages that it’s all about the mum. Anyway, is it really practical and possible to always have your sleeping baby with you for 6 months?

With Elvis, he was younger than six months when he moved into his own room, younger than 6 months when we started to emphasise that the cot was for sleeping and not playing. But we lived in a small house. Could it have been possible? 6 months of all sleeping in the same room?

How about when it’s your second child?

Every morning I leave Robin alone in her Moses basket as I get up and see to Elvis. If she cries, someone goes to check on her except on a Friday when I’m alone with him and he’s having breakfast.

Please do not get me wrong here, I completely understand why babies should sleep near their parents for as long as possible, but can it be done? 100% of the time?

Robin sleeps in her Moses in her cot right next to me overnight. On nights where I can’t sleep, I go in another room but Daddy stays near her – I could not leave her alone at night. Not yet. Her naps are in the pushchair or, if rocked, put down in the Moses in the lounge. Her pushchair is kept in the hall or kitchen, all doors open if she’s asleep. Am I going to wheel the pushchair into the lounge making the carpet dirty? Should I sit on the stairs next to her pram? Should I keep her near Elvis who’ll wake her? Take her out to the garden in the heat whilst I play with Elvis?

Do parents for at least 6 months keep their sleeping babies nearby in the same room?

Naps and night times?

Have you?

~ P

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Mothering Mates

Have you ever considered the term mothering soulmate?

I possibly just coined the term. Maybe it’s like normal soulmates, some people simply never find their mothering soulmate. What I mean by the term is finding that perfect other mother where you both just… click. You parent the same, you think the same way, you understand each other and each other’s children without trying. Perhaps it doesn’t actually exist and just a facade that some mums give off.

I certainly haven’t found my mothering soulmate. Sometimes I feel like even mummies with children the same age as Elvis don’t understand. How does that work? Am I that non-understanding to them? How come I know some mothering soulmates, two mums who are completely sharing their journey, who’s children reach every step at the same time? They understand each other’s sleeping issues, food problems. They freely discuss these things and help each other.

I don’t have those same parenting problems. So I feel silly telling them my problems. Why can’t I find someone who’s on a similar path? Why am I surrounded by mums who have their mothering soulmate or mums who never have any problems, or at least never admit to any? What seems to make it worse is the mums who were my friends before children came on the scene, who don’t ever have any problems. My problems are trivial compared to some mums, but the other mums have none. Maybe mums think I have no parenting problems just like I feel others don’t.

Is it me who should open up more? Even to those who never ever open up? Is it just me being over-sensitive? I think more mum’s need to be honest, not to complain or seem moany and whingy, but to share. Nothing puts me off a mum more than someone who gives the air of perfection, someone who never speaks of any issues.

But then, part of my complaint is mums who don’t seem to understand where I am in the parenting journey, or pregnancy journey (despite them having already done both) yet I’m not telling them my problems! I keep getting invited to a mummy get together and I know I can’t walk there, despite it really not being far, but I don’t want to complain and tell them that.

How can I expect mums to understand, be sympathetic and share their own bumpy journies when I can’t?

~ P x

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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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Ever Improving

Things are definitely getting better. Elvis slept last night, so did Daddy. Robin and I slept as normal, well, a bit of a cluster feed at 4am that I found annoying, but it was only for an hour. And some of that hour was taken up with me wrapped tightly in the duvet having one of my cold shivers as Robin stared intently at the lamp. Before and after that we co-slept as normal but with some side by side sleeping, not just tummy to tummy.

Robin has had a weight gain. Elvis is warming back up to me – he cried when I left the house today and wasn’t bothered by Daddy leaving so much. But he then had a meltdown when I picked up Robin for a feed. He is still ill with chicken pox but I really just want a bit of normality for the 4 of us. Robin will only suck to sleep and will only stay asleep on or next to me.  How am I supposed to give Elvis any time?

I might have to break out the Moby Wrap a friend gave me.

Daddy,  Robin amd I went out today, leaving Elvis at home with Nanny. We needed to get Robin’s hearing checked at a local pre-school for hearing impaired children so we couldn’t take Elvis there even if he is past the contagious phase of chicken pox. Robin passed both ears. Then we cheekily headed into town so I could buy new bras.

None of my old bras fit at all. Not even the sleep ones, although maybe once my ribcage goes down a bit. There’s no point in me wearing bras, or clothes in general at the moment. I haven’t had any mass leaking today, but Robin still guzzles either too much,  it’s too fast or she gets milk when she just wants to suck to sleep – whichever, I get mass leakage from the boob she’s feeding on.  Elvis quickly decided he wanted to suck to sleep but kept getting unwanted milk from me, hence why we intrpduced a dummy for him. So far, Robin could be similar with regards to my supply, but she seems happy to waste it! And chew me as she gets sleepy.

I’m not used to that in a newborn! How do I stop it?

But at least now I have a bra to wear when I have to leave the house, I’d rather stay at home right now with the milk dribbles! Tomorrow it’s the registry office and hopefully no milk dribbling followed by Daddy going to work for the afternoon despite him being on paternity leave. Luckily Nanny’s coming over to help! I still feel rubbish that I can’t do lots with Elvis, but I feel better. My boobs seem to be calming down and I’m either going to try putting Robin down for naps, to play with Elvis, or ise the wrap. She sleeps a lot right now.

One week left before Daddy goes back to work!

~ 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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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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