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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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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How Do Children Cope?

I know that they do, they must do. But how do children cope with new siblings?

Aside from my worries about being paid correctly, about how I will actually give birth, about making the wrong birth decisions, about how I’m going to cope with two all day on a Friday and all afternoon 4 days a week, about how I will cope with little sleep and a toddler in tow, my biggest unknown worry is about Elvis.

How will he cope having his world turned upside down?

How will he cope with this little baby who comes in to his home, his world and takes over things?

How will he view his sibling when everyone wants to come over and cuddle the new one?

Will he feel ignored? Will he feel left out? Usurped?

Will he even care, or just continue playing with his trains?

Will he eventually love a little brother to play football with? Or hate the little brother that steals his toys, that takes over half of his bedroom?

Will he care immediately for a little sister and become possessive from day one? Or will he hate all of the pink that she brings in to his world?

Will he feel like he’s getting less love, less attention, less time from mummy, daddy and nanny?

Will he notice when mummy is missing for a few days, labouring in a hospital?

Will he notice that daddy has suddenly started picking him up from nursery for a few weeks, allowing mummy to rest with the new baby?

Is he too young?

I know there is no optimum age-gap to have. Some people prefer very close together to either get all of the nappies, sleepless nights out of the way or to enable an amazing bond between two children with only 18 or 24 months between them. Some people prefer a good few years, so only one is in nappies, so the older perhaps understands more and can be involved in the journey of pregnancy. I tend to side with the former – smaller gap because, selfishly, I do not want to go back to the newborn hassle after a few years. It is something I would hate in my current mindset. I truly do not see myself getting broody when these two are over 10 and going for a third. But, would it be better on the children? With only one at home all the time, you get to bond better with each child. You might get more rest. And they would understand more. I would love Elvis to feel my belly kicking and understand what it is.

Everyone tells me that he’s resilient and adaptable, but what if he isn’t and I have to see him in pain and frustrated because I changed his world?

~ P

P.S. This is a scheduled post written before Robin’s birth, but as it is scheduled for February, Robin really should be born already!

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The Failure of Those First Few Weeks

I had felt like I was over the first few weeks of Elvis’ life. The few weeks where I hated everything. where I was desperate for some sleep, where I actually kind of wanted to send my son back or have him returned to me as a toddler. I’m not even sure how long those few weeks were. Was it just 4? Was it nearer 8 or 12? I remember at about two or three weeks old, I strongly considered returning to work just for a lunch break. I remember within the first 4 weeks, desiring a toddler more than a newborn. I remember at about 8 weeks old deciding that I could no longer bedshare, by 3 months old we weren’t anymore. If I looked at my diary, if I re-read all of my blogs from that time period, I would be able to pin point all of those moments with a to-the-hour accuracy. But I don’t want to because I don’t want to dwell on the past. I don’t want to think about my failures, I don’t want to be reminded of how, why and when I was a lousy parent. And I think I had got over the failure, the lousiness, the disappointment in myself (disappointment that, after wanting something so much and trying and fighting so hard to get, it was not as amazing as I thought it should have been. Not that I ever thought parenting was going to be easy), except now I keep thinking about it.

Is it because I’m due number 2?

Is it because I see more and more people I know have babies and not fail?

Is it because I do worry and fear that it will happen again?

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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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Adaptation

Just a quick, non-scheduled, blog entry. I’m 39 weeks today by hospital scans and for the past few weeks I have been telling Elvis that there’s a baby in my tummy, that certain things are the baby’s. For the past week, my Braxton Hicks have also changed. Where they were just tightenings, a hardening of all my tummy, a pause in my concentration and a rapid heat come over me, they don’t feel quite like that anymore.

Elvis has now started to point to things and say baby whilst signing it. Within a few days of me consciously introducing the concept. I’m not sure if the room manager at his nursery being pregnant has encouraged his knowledge or the staff there in general have been helping him understand or perhaps the younger children he sometimes shares a room with.

Or he has magically adapted!

(Oh, and, yes, he’s started talking! He loves saying Batman, Santa, Da and Nana. I don’t need a name!)

It amazes me that he seems to have some understanding of the baby and gives me hope that I’ll make the right decisions with regards to Elvis visiting me in the hospital.

As for my Braxtons, well, the changes could be anything. I firmly believe that Braxtons at any point are not wasted, they should not be viewed as abnoying or time wasting. They are your body preparing. I also believe that, even though I have never laboured, my muscles are still weakened, practiced so I’m likely to feel things more this time no matter what the changes to my Braxtons are.

There’s an elemeny of uncomfortableness with them now. Starting in the middle of my tummy and the actual tightening is barely realised by me anymore. I get a few back cramps at different times, but winder if that’s more Robin’s positioning. I keep getting scared that it’s actually going to happen. I keep getting scared that it won’t. My mind has no idea what it wants my body to do or not to do.

I’m still scared of having a newborn. About feeling like a parental failure again when I become a sleep deprived mess.

My bags are packed and aside from getting new cot sheets, I’m ready for Robin. Except I feel far from actually ready.

I have no idea if I want Elvis to visit me in the hospital. I fear making the wrong decision.

~ Pxx

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Welcome to the New Year

For the past few months, I have been trying to not overload this poor little blog with posts every single day, or 3 days in a row with a few weeks off, so that there could be more continuity about the site, hopefully this hasn’t been too noticeable. I’ve also tried to keep posts to every 3 days, but medical appointments and other random “I must blog now” topics might change that at times.

However, as of January 1st I will be about 38 weeks pregnant and the scheduled posts are going to change. Similar to my original blog which has a poetry post a week, this blog is going to have a few months (maybe planning for 8-12 weeks) with 2 planned posts a week. These posts are likely ones that I have already written in December or even earlier! I’m trying to keep some crafty posts, maybe a lot of my Christmas crafts and maybe some parenting ones. This is simply so that, if I go quiet (the opposite to when Elvis was born), the blog still continues.

If things are similar to when Elvis was born, along with those 2 planned blogs will also be random, middle of the night, woe-is-me, how can I parent two children at the same time, posts. I cannot predict that right now.

So, if you as a reader comment on a blog and I don’t respond for a while, it could be that I’m having a baby or am far too tired with a new baby to be present on here even though posts continue to be made. I am not ignoring you. I am not purposefully misleading you. I might be more active than normal!

Hopefully, normal blogging will resume at some point soon, but in this lovely New Year for definite.

Happy New Year and Happy New Baby Days,

~ P x

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My Planned Mummy Moments

Back in August of last year, I wrote a blog about things I desperately wanted to do — it was written in a sleep addled, desperation for some sort of normality in those first few months where suddenly you are no longer a person in your own right – you are a mum and that is all!

Here’s what I wanted to do:

1. Attend Hogwarts. Of course I mean the studio tour. As I’ve toured all the major studios in LA, I really need to do the Harry Potter ones. Not managed that one yet. I started to think about doing it this Autumn, either leaving Elvis with Nanny for a day away, or taking him with us, but I can’t survive a whole day like that, especially not with Elvis in tow. My body sometimes aches before I even get out of bed!

2. Go on the London Eye. I promised my mum a trip on the Eye when she had foster children. Well, they left as I had my IUI so we still haven’t been. Not even really considered that one, still really want to do it and maybe in another year or two. I like the idea of a weekend in London with my mum. See the Christmas lights from up high and visit all the Christmassy tourist things!

3. Have a pedicure. Or more than one. This might be doable sooner than a lot of others. Done. Just before Elvis’ first birthday in time for our first family holiday.

4. Visit a spa. This mummy needs a day of pampering! April of this year (actually around the time that I conceived), a friend invited me for a day of jogging, cycling, swimming and saunaing it up! I loved it!

5. Enjoy an afternoon tea. Some friends recently went to a local hotel for afternoon tea and it looked so yummy. It may have a spa there too. Still considering this as a pre-Christmas thing, either with a bunch of friends as a kind of second baby shower thing, or just me and hubby as one final date. I really want scones, cream and all the other fancy cakes. I’d love the spa aspect, but I can’t use half of it so there is very little point.

6. Have a lie in! Can’t remember how frequently this happens! There have been a number of occasions on the weekend that I have had to go and wake hubby up as he’s still asleep, as is Elvis – I try not to wake Elvis up on weekends as we often have to on weekdays. I think this Mummy Moment was written when I was listening to everyone’s horror stories about never sleeping ever again. My first child is a very good sleeper. My second? I hope to God s/he will be!

7. Sleep 8 hours with no interruptions! Has definitely happened, but with my pregnant bladder issues, I can’t remember what it feels like. I definitely got there, and not just the occasion I got a stomach bug.

8. Have a date, or two, with my hubby. Our wedding anniversary last February was the first date since Elvis arrived. It probably won’t happen at the next anniversary, Robin will be far too little. We’ve also had a few Sunday Cinema dates and evenings away for parties.

9. Go to the cinema. With me only managing to get in Star Trek Into Darkness and Iron Man 3 before giving birth to E, there are many other geeky films that I missed. I’ll settle with most of them on DVD for Christmas though. I didn’t miss a single Geek film that I wanted to see. Thor Dark World, Captain America Winter Soldier and the X-Men film. We didn’t get to the Spiderman film or Guardians of the Galaxy, but we only watched the first Spiderman film on DVD this year! I watched them all in the cinema, and even took Elvis to watch Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, 2.

10. Go shopping for new clothes. And I mean when I know what my body’s like and normal tops that don’t need to be nursable. Ummm, yeah, did this and then discovered I was pregnant. I did not get back in to wired bras and I only wore my new wardrobe for a few weeks, including our May family holiday. Next time, eh?

11. Attend my conventions. Now, I’ll happily take E to most of them, but he probably can’t do the Milton Keynes ones due to the distance and cold location so I’ll do those alone. Hopefully! I tried in July, it was an organisational disaster, but I did get there, just never got in. But I went to one in London, October whilst 6 months pregnant and I loved it. I needed lots of breaks and seeing other mums with their toddlers made me crave a cuddle with Elvis (who coped perfectly fine not seeing me all day), but it was really nice just being me!

12. Spend a night in my bed. Maybe with my hubby, but certainly without E! When do night feeds stop???? It’s so strange that I wrote this at the beginning of August, within a few weeks, I had made the decision that I could not handle it anymore, that enough was enough, and Elvis transitioned into his Moses basket by the side of the bed with perfect ease — we had maybe a week of partial co-sleeping. As for his night feeds stopping, well, that was only two months later at the beginning of October. We’ve bought a co-sleeper cot this time to try and keep hubby in our bed!

Is there anything I would have added? No, and, yes, in retrospect, a lot of the above didn’t matter when it came to it. But they did matter at that time. I read somewhere the other day that, once you become a mum, you are never, ever the same person ever again and it is completely true, but I do think that you can start to feel like a new normal. Some mums seem to jump back into their life, have nights away within weeks of giving birth. Some mums still desperately miss their child a year later or refuse nursery places because they can’t bear to be separated. There is no right or wrong. I’m pretty happy now with the balance I have in my life (aside from the pregnancy pains) and I do worry about those first few months when Robin, like Elvis, will depend on me and I will simply, only, just be their mother. But I also know that the day will come when I can spend a night away, go out alone with hubby, socialise with work, be an adult. It might not be at 4 months when Elvis started sleeping 9 hours for Robin, but it will happen.

Hopefully that thought alone, that sentiment from this post will keep me going through those months where all I am is a milk machine. I can remember wishing for 30 minutes to do my hair, pluck my eyebrows, shave my legs and have a relaxing bath. It was so important to me to be able to do something so normal as paint my toenails. Now? I get a bit bored sometimes and really couldn’t care less about painting my nails!

I do, however, have a few pregnant mummy moments that I’d like to plan in!

1. To have a glass of cider. I don’t enjoy alcohol at all whilst pregnant, not even a sip, and I spent all summer wanting a nice icey cider. Hello, next summer!

2. The above mentioned afternoon tea and/or one final hubby date before Robin comes along, or as a first date after Robin’s here.

3. To go swimming and actually swim rather than be in pain and feel utterly inept at simple breaststroke. I may never pay for a swimming membership again, but I will go swimming again. Hopefully next summer.

4. I’m going to say a jacuzzi which obviously I can’t do whilst pregnant, but I only actually really want to do it because I don’t fit in my current bath and I can’t submerge myself in it. A jacuzzi I could. This desire will probably wane, especially if we get the bathroom redone in the next 6 months (yes, I might be crazy).

I’m going to call these 4 things my New Year’s Resolutions and that I will do them all at some point in the New Year. I know I can and will, because I did the equivalent last time!

Happy New Year!

~ P x

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Baby Robin Prep

I am scheduling this post for inbetween Christmas and New Years, as I reach term on Christmas Day (37 weeks) and then in the New Year I will have a schedule of posts for up to 2 months just to cover me in a labour/new-born/waiting game haze. There will also then be random other blogs that I write as I sit exhausted or frustrated!

Thank goodness, we have finally figured out what we are doing with the bedrooms in our house! Now, to actually sort them and hope that we have enough time especially with Christmas right around the corner. When we had Elvis, we lived in a small and simple 2 up and 2 down house. There was just about enough room to squeeze a Moses basket by the side of the double bed in our bedroom and certainly no space for a cot. It meant we had a tight squeeze for those first 4 months until Elvis was able to go into his cot — there wasn’t room in his room for a decent chair so I refused to do night feeds in his room. For those first 4 months, the Moses basket completely blocked my husband’s wardrobe. I cannot even begin to remember where he kept his clothes. It’s far too much of a haze. Since we’ve moved, we have 3 bedrooms, all of which have ample space for pretty much any furniture that we want, except that seemed to be causing a dilemma all of it’s own!

We have three double bedrooms. The Master bedroom is at the front of the house and currently has (it’s our store room at the moment) a six door wardrobe (filled with my nursing clothes, newborn – 6 month neutral clothes and my dresses), 2 3 door wardrobes (empty aside from baby toys), 2 large chest of drawers (empty), 3 bedside tables and a double bed. Even with all of this stuff (and the bags of clothes that I’m in the process of sorting) there is still ample room to move around, even to play in really. This bedroom used to be my mum’s and hasn’t been decorated in almost 20 years. The middle sized bedroom is what has always been mine and is now my husband’s and mine. This has a double bed, 2 3 door wardrobes, a chest of drawers, a vanity table and a bookcase. It seems quite full because of the furniture, but there is still plenty of space for the Moses basket (or co-cleeping cot I bought) by the side of the bed. It just isn’t a very practical nursery. The final bedroom has always been the middle bedroom, the spare bedroom. It was where guests stayed or mum’s foster children lived. It has the space for a double, but currently has a cot, wardrobe, changing table, bedside table and then Elvis’ toy storage furniture. Oh, yeah, and the carpet has Disney’s Cars on it so it is clearly his bedroom (Nanny did this before we house-swapped). My bedroom was decorated somewhere in the last ten years, Elvis’ room (carpet aside) I don’t actually know when. But it means that the two rooms with double beds in are due a decoration.

The dilemma is this, what if we want Robin to move out of our room at 4 or 6 months, similar to what Elvis did. What room is s/he going to move into? What if, at that age, we feel they aren’t ready to share a room with Elvis yet? What room can be Robin’s alone before they can move in with Elvis?

If the baby stays/goes in to our bedroom, the smaller of the two “empty” rooms, the one with all the furniture that is actually a bit cluttered, then it will never feel like a baby’s room, it will never seem like a nursery. There won’t be any room for toy storage. There won’t be much room for playing on the floor.

If the baby stays/goes into the front bedroom, the biggest room, well then they have a massive room that is far too big for a child let alone a baby. But, with a bit of rearrangement of the furniture (impossible in our bedroom), an alcove can be decorated for the baby. It can feel like a nursery, even if in just one corner. Even with all of the junk that we keep, ahem, sorting out in there, there is ample floor space so with tidying and preparing, it could be a really nice, over-sized room. Only for the short term really, for the interim period that they don’t need to be in with us and before they are ready to be in with Elvis (I do not want one child waking the other all of the time and Robin may not be as good a sleeper as Elvis). There would still be a play area, and there would be a lovely spare bed for any occasion that Robin is having an awful night, teething really badly or ill, that one of us can sleep close by. We could also room share if we had family to stay and put the family in our bedroom.

If Robin is anything like Elvis, we’re only talking about for 6 months and then I’d be happy to let them share. If Robin isn’t as good a sleeper as Elvis, then it might be a lot longer and I’d like the room to look and be suitable. I think we can achieve that by essentially giving the smallest member of our family the biggest room in our entire house!

Now to plan the decorating for Robin’s little alcove nursery!

~ Px

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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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