Persephone: Parent

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Nap Training

Baby Girl Robin is just over 6 weeks old, okay almost 7 weeks old, and so far she’s pretty damn perfect at nights. I feed her to sleep somewhere between 8 and 10pm and put her in her co-sleeping cot. At whatever time she stirs (could be 3 could be 5 hours), I pick her up, feed her and put her back in her cot. We’re having 2 night time feeds at the moment on average and she’s awake for the day by half 7 maybe 8.

So the nights are brilliant.

The days… not so much.

I mean there’s nothing wrong with our days. I’m not at my wit’s end, drowning in depression. Her feeds are still between 2.5 and 3 hours apart and I do try and plan them to fit with Elvis and his routine. She can’t feed at 0930 to want another at 1230 as I leave then to pick up Elvis. So there’s a 2 hour window for the nursery run. Ideally there’s a 3 hour window in the evening where I don’t want to feed her due to Elvis’ nap ending, cooking, eating, bath and bedtime. But that’s unrealistic at the moment.

The problem isn’t her feeding; it’s her napping.

She can fall asleep from a feed but she doesn’t always during the day. I can rock her to sleep either standing up or sitting in the nursing chair. Daddy and Nanny have got her to sleep too during the day. In the evening she prefers me and boobies, but is that an element of her cluster feeding?

She’s also happier awake and “playing” so I can get on and do bits as she lies on my bed taking in her surroundings but it doesn’t last long. Then again sometimes her naps don’t last long.

I guess the real problem is that during an afternoon, as she sleeps on me, I get tired. But Elvis is napping in his cot all afternoon so how do I stay awake? It’s getting to the point when she has to start napping on her own.

With Elvis, we basically co-slept 24/7 and somewhere between 8 and 10 weeks old I just couldn’t hack it anymore and made a stand: I was determined to get him into his Moses basket day and night. And it worked. With Robin we already have the night cracked. That should make naps easier, right?

Or could it screw up the nights?

She’s not in any proper routine yet but I maybe do see a few patterns. Can I recognise when she’s tired? If she wakes straight up is it because she’s had long enough or because I put her down?

Do I know her well enough to force this stress on us both?

Can I keep my brain active on warm afternoons as she sleeps in my arms?

Does she only do a 1.5-2 hour nap on an afternoon as that’s our uninterrupted time?

Is it simple perseverance?

Anyone have any tips?

Or I could sling her, but how practical is that for cleaning the bath or washing up?

I might give her a few more weeks, if I can stay awake!

Help!

~ 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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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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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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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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Countdown to Graduating

It’s gradually creeping up on me: Graduation, the time when I graduate from my maternity leave, from The Other Side and return to work.

I want to say return to normal, but nothing will be the normal that it once was ever again. Nope, I just have to figure out a new routine, a new way of doing everything. Which is why I’m chilling out now. Elvis only wants to nap in his cot? Fine, I’m going to enjoy my time at home, relaxing before I graduate. Elvis needs to learn to nap at Nanny’s. Nope, I have even longer before he’ll be going to Nanny’s once a week and who knows what his schedule will be like at 15 months so I’m going to chill about it.

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Napping Hiccups

Well, Elvis has decided to eat his meals again without as much fuss as he had started to have, but now it’s his naps!

Oh if it isn’t one thing!

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Wordless Wednesday: Wake Up!

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Silent Sunday 2

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