Persephone: Parent

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Fuck off, Yummy Mummy

Okay, I’m having a bad day. Reeeaaallllyyyy bad day.

Hubby’s at the football. Been there since… I haven’t seen him yet today. The kids haven’t and won’t. That’s kinda fine. I took them both to Robin’s cake smash and no Hell broke loose. In fact, Elvis came completely out of his shell and it was the best shoot with either and both of them! Came home, all fine. Robin napped, I prepped lunch and dinner. All fine.

They both had an afternoon nap. he woke up like he’d never been up there. Refused to eat dinner. Even with tempts of the chocolate cake I salvaged from the cake smash photo shoot. So I took him straight back up to bed – he was complaining that he wasn’t hungry because he was tired. I then tried to amuse Robin for an hour upstairs.

He’s now talking to himself over 2 hours after he went to bed. Because he wasn’t tired because he’s napped, he just wanted to get out of eating pasta! For fuck’s sake!

She has woken twice crying because she can’t find her dummy. Stop sitting on your fucking dummy.

I haven’t even reached half way through my step goal of the day and apparently have eaten too much. Fucking chocolate cake and eating it to try and get Elvis to eat his fucking dinner.

I could really do with a glass of wine or cider. BUT THAT’S MORE FUCKING CALORIES.

And, I just know that I’m going to weigh myself tomorrow and have fuck all to show for a week of being seriously good with the calorie intake.

Oh, and I’m coming down with a cold. Can’t take decongestants because I’m fucking still breastfeeding. And we’re supposed to be doing lots of fun family things for the next two days to celebrate Robin’s first birthday and I just want to hide and sleep.

But, apparently I sold some of my unwanted Christmas presents on ebay. Yay?

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M I C K E Y M O U S E

Elvis loves the Disney Channel (Junior) and really likes Mick (Mickey Mouse’s Clubhouse). I don’t mind. I love Disney and quite enjoy Sofia the First, too. Not sure about Doc McStuffins or Curious George yet.

But I have some questions!

Why does Donald talk more like a duck than Daisy?

Why are Goofy and Minnie the only ones fully dressed?

Are Mickey/Minnie and Donald/Daisy dating/married?

Why doesn’t Donald wear shoes? The others do.

Is Goofy a dog? If he is, why isn’t he a pet like Pluto?

Finally, is letting my toddler watch this much TV a sign of lazy parenting and going to do some form of long lasting horrendous damage?

~ P

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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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Mothers Make Strangers Known

There’s a lady I see, a mother, always walking in the opposite direction to me no matter the time of day. As I walk towards Elvis’ nursery after lunch, she’s walking in the opposite direction. After I have collected Elvis, I return home and pass this mother. She has a double pushchair, one of the ones where one child sits above the other. As I go to nursery, she has one child, a boy, in the lower seat and I have an empty pushchair. On the return journey, my pushchair has Elvis in it and hers has a girl in the upper seat, the younger brother still hidden away underneath. We smile at each other although we have never met.

There is no recognition from baby groups. I’ve never seen her at a Sure Start Centre, although I have seen her around town with one child in her double. We “know” each other purely from walking our nursery runs in opposite directions. The other morning, I went out to yoga alone at half 8 in the morning and I saw her doing her morning nursery run, both children in the double. She was across the road. We had never seen each other at this time of day and I was without a pushchair – empty or full – and our eyes met across a busy main road and we smiled at each other.

Her children are both older than mine so I doubt we’ll ever run in the same circles. Maybe some under 5 groups. Probably not. But we smile and nod at each other. I don’t know what she thinks of the stranger who smiles at her. Does she think back to her days with only the one child, the single pushchair and a growing bump? Does she look at me and realise that I see her as my future? Not that I want a double pushchair where one sits above the other (I’m hoping for some baby wearing and toddler walking before a side-by-side stroller for certain journeys), but soon I will be the mum pushing a pushchair with one child, on my way to collect the other. Making the journey every day, times as strict as anything as the eldest can’t be left to go over their time. Does she look forward to the time soon when her oldest goes to school and her youngest starts the nursery? Does she think that when that happens, she will pass me with my one, her pushchair empty? And then we’ll pass again, me with two and her with her son. A few hours later, she’ll be needed for the school run for her daughter.

When these changes have all occurred, will we stop seeing each other? Will we forget each other? That nameless woman and her two children who are simply living their life, passing me by as I live my life.

~ P

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What Makes Family?

At around 6 months of life, there became a serious issue known between members of Elvis’ family. I assume by the time that this scheduled post actually gets posted, it’ll be Elvis and Robin’s family. I’m writing this at 40+6 as I consider my contact list for people to be informed about Robin’s birth and that contact list has seriously made me consider what family means.

So, when Elvis was 6 months old some adult members of his family had a falling out. Even if I knew what happened, whether it’s about me, because of me, my fault, whatever, it doesn’t matter. The reasons behind some adults having a falling out is completely irrelevant. The only thing that is relevant is my child. This adult falling out occurred and a few weeks later it was Christmas. Now, in this exact example it was nothing to do with me. I spent a few days in tears, sobbing to some of the parties involved that they only get one shot at this, but all other parties are still over a year later being stubborn. In this exact example, I have no idea what happened. I was not told in an effort to protect me, I believe. I think the rationale was that there was a chance of the other parties eventually getting over their issues. But I remember and I don’t forgive, so I wasn’t told as I would never forgive the other parties.

Then it was Christmas. Elvis’ first Christmas. And there was no card from these members of his family.

And then it was his birthday. Elvis’ first birthday. And there was no card from these family members.

I don’t care what happened between the grown adults, either side, what I care about it is the people that chose to let it affect my son.

My son, at 7 months and then 1 year old, completely innocent in life let alone whatever family issues that were/are occurring, dipped out on cards from people he should/would/could consider family. It should not matter what so ever what happened between the adult members of the family, they should still consider themselves part of Elvis’ family. They should still send cards addressed correctly to Elvis. They should hope that my husband and I are grown up and mature enough to allow our son to have them. This is not about gifts. This is not about money. This is about recognition. This is about innocence.

From that moment that my son did not receive a birthday card from someone who is his family (who he would have normally received a card from), it no longer mattered what happened with the various family members involved. You do not make my son pay for something his parents have or have not done.

As soon as we discovered we were pregnant, I asked if we were telling the people who had already dismissed Elvis from their family and the answer was no. They still don’t know. These people were the second people to visit Elvis after he was born – completely out of the blue and with a host of rude comments directed at me about my feeding choices and weight gain – that was how excited they were to see him. Except 7 months later, through no fault of Elvis’ whatsoever, there was no card. 5 months after that there was no announcement from us that a sibling was due for Elvis.

And now, as I type this at almost 41 weeks, a birth is impending by some means, and Robin has family that don’t even know he/she exists and is about to be born. There are ex-family members that will not be told about Robin’s birth because of how they have dismissed my innocent toddler over the past 20 months. I do feel sad that Robin won’t have those photographic memories that Elvis has. I do feel sad that I might remove those photos from Elvis’ life so that there can be no jealousy. And I do feel sad that there are adults out there that can remove a child from their family because of other adults. Why should my child pay for the sins of his parents or for the sins of other family?

I guess, you have your own family and you realise who exactly is worthy to be called family. Some aren’t. You realise that some people are petty enough to put children in the middle, as in a horrendous divorce. You realise exactly how much you would do for your child, even over a lack of a birthday card or a present being labelled incorrectly, the disrespect it shows an innocent child.

~ P

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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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Toddler Proofing A Toddler Proof Home

You’d think it’s  easy, right, having toddler play dates in your home when you have a toddler already. We have safety gates, door catches, plug covers, no exposed wires, radiator turned down/off, etc, etc. Yet it really isn’t that easy. Or I’m too much of a control freak.

In the week after Christmas, Elvis was off nursery for the week so I thought it would be good to have some toddler playdates (and mummy catch ups). I feel bad during a normal  week that I put Elvis’ naps (and rest time for me) before him socialising. But he socialises at nursery. I miss out on seeing him interact with children though. And I wonder how he will be with children in his home.

We had 3 in total in that week — I was 38 weeks pregnant so everyone happily came to me! And I learnt quickly after the first. Just because I have the safety issues covered, it does not mean that toys are safe. We have a fireplace in our living room (never turned on but has edges that could hurt a child). Elvis knows not to touch it, that it’s hot so I don’t think about it. Elvis has a play desk that he knows not to climb and he knows not to take the chalks and crayons away from the desk. He has jigsaws that  he knows not to chew.

I’m not saying these things to say “my son is perfect” these are simply my house rules and I’ve taught him them. Sometimes he’s cheeky and disobeys one. We have had to take away a few pop up books as he wasn’t careful enough with them (that’s what library books are for!) That’s our rules. There is nothing wrong, nothing right about our rules, friends’ rules or anyone’s rules.

But I do need to chill out when guests come around. Or, as I quickly learnt, tidy up and hide questionable toys. I now hide the chalks and crayons, the bouncy horse that can be climbed on, the wooden jigsaws that can have their picture chewed off, the books that could be damaged by toddler hands, the more delicate pieces of train track. I considered hiding the garage with extra track that took hours to figure out a configuration, but then realised no toddler could damage it, only break it up so Daddy and I would have to spend hours refitting it all!

I was much calmer on the second playdate. And there were two toddler guests! I didn’t even mind the mess – some toddlers play with everything all at once, others tidy as they play. Just like some toddlers happily play alone, others need someone to interact with. As with all things there is no right or wrong. There are pros and cons to both. The first playdate saw Elvis share brilliantly (except his Santa hat that no one else can touch ) which is my primary concern for an only child. The second playdate saw Elvis throw a mini fit whenever I passed a toy to another child (what’s mummy’s is mummy’s which doesn’t bode well for the baby!) And saw him push another child over.

Elvis isn’t at the stage yet where punishments work. Normally when he’s naughty he gets a time out to stop crying and then has to cuddle whoever he disobeyed/hurt/upset. Well, he was never going to cuddle his friend. I really need to work on “telling off” and discipline when it comes to others! He did then play brilliantly with both boys – they were giggling and playing away and we had no idea what they were doing!

I love seeing him play with other children! But I also need to figure which are his toys – toys that he just won’t share. Which I’m fine with. Everyone has a few things or one special thing that is theirs and I don’t think they should be forced to share everything. During the week of playdates, Elvis’ special toys were his bouncy horse and Leeds Santa Hat. Fair enough. Now, when he refused to share his cars (he has 7), that is not fair and I will make him share.

And those toys that he refuses to share (because they’re special to him) will be removed from the room so no one can play! Along with the chalks, crayons, jigsaws and other delicate/damageable toys!

Here’s to more sharing and more playdates!

~ P

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Monthly Update: Month 21

Weight, Length, Height: Still 2 stone by our inaccurate scales, 78cm tall so there’s been a little spurt!

Routine: Up at half 6 or 7, when there’s nursery, home by half one and nap by 2. Later wake up on weekends but napping by 1. Dinner between 4 and half 5, bath at 6.15 and bed at 7.

Bedtime: 7pm but he can talk to himself for a bit. Or go straight to sleep.

Naps/Length: Two-three hours in the afternoon. He wakes and often has a tantrum now which could be because he’s tired still but he can’t have longer due to nursery. Maybe it’s a blood sugar issue and he needs a snack before napping.

Number of feeds in 24hrs: three meals, 1-2 snacks and a second breakfast at nursery!

Favourite toy/objects: NiNi his bouncy horse, his desk which he calls a car and climbs under to drive it.

Clothing age: mainly 18-24 but still in smaller for trousers due to his waist, not his leg length.

Foot length/Shoe Size: size 6 but he refused to be measured properly!

Milestones: a three word sentence – baby sit chair. And loads of other speech ones. His imaginary play is improving too. I guess his desk/car is roleplay and he loves his little doll house and putting animals/people in bed, on the toilet, cooking dinner, driving a car. He can also walk pretty much all the way home from nursery (a 15 minute walk for me).

Our swimming ability: he hasn’t been since before Robin was born. I haven’t since September!

What I’m reading/Favourite Books: He loves Bizzy Bear books, Tabby McTat and Gruffalo. I’m still reading Storm of Swords and also The 100.

New Foods: He tried pulled pork and, bearing in mind he’s not too keen on meat, he ate some and went back for more!

Words: Sleeve, sheep and numbers up to 10 (not in order) are some of this month’s new words. He also now calls our family friend MoMo. He can also name most of the main crew of Thomas Trains. Except Thomas. And he copies quicker now – money after I said it and also “funny haha”. He says night night but with this amazingly funny accent so it sounds like noight and Daddy and I laugh so he says it more!

Signs: he can sign zebra after I showed him it once!

Number of Teeth: No new ones – still 10.

Fears: nothing in particular. Or at least nothing new or that scared him this month!

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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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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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