Nagging

Nagging; in the conventional sense, the relentless mission to get Mr S to migrate socks from bedroom floor to washing basket.  In my case, blogging whilst the baby is taking a nap.

So today I found myself in tears on the bus.  Not because I missed my stop.  Not because half the contents of the buggy basket scattered over the pavement whilst trying to mount said buggy wheels onto said public transport (though that did happen.)  But because two ladies started chatting to me and my baby.  Initially lulled into a false sense of security was quite smug with the “like his hat, he’s cute comments” (usually just get “he’s big!” Or “he’s how old?!”) Then came the seemingly innocent but ultimately tear inducing “you’re not going back to work are you?” When I replied that yes, I was, I was met with a combination of disapproval and pity.  Think Miss Trunchball meets Dot Cotton.  “One bit of advice, she says, you can’t get your time again.”  Yes I know, I thought, I’ve seen back to the future.  I was suddenly struck with an overwhelming feeling of sadness, guilt and anxiety. Will he remember me after a long day at the surgery?Will I miss bath time after the commute home?will he call someone else mummy for the first time..

You would have thought I would have gotten a little used to uninvited social comment from strangers whilst pregnant. As a non pregnant person, it would seem rude to exclaim “woah, you are massive!” Or “have they checked it’s not twins?” the first time you meet.  Basically saying, you ARE FAT.  But when pregnant, this seems to be completely acceptable behaviour, and I became accustomed to such a statement, questioning and gender speculation towards my unborn baby.  It turns out in fact being pregnant is an excellent springboard for small talk, of course being recognised and referred to as “the pregnant one” at all times.  This added to a feeling that being pregnant was somehow corroding my individual identity, not to mention adding several minutes to all my consultations.  It seems as though being “up the duff, with child, bun in the oven” is a magnet for applying labels, not to mention the all too familiar”it’s baby brain” Don’t get me wrong, I believe this exists and that I am indeed suffering from it.  There is also menopause brain, which happens later in life and appears to be even more distressing.  But I do not like how the term is universally applied to new mums; we are doing our best on no sleep and a diet of foods that can be eaten one handed, in particular chocolate hobnobs.  So what if I have to set a phone reminder to clean my teeth; those late night hobnobs are playing havoc with my wisdoms…

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Bothering blogging

Mother to a 3 1/2 month old, wife, daughter, daughter in law, granddaughter, owner of a lively border terrier and part time GP.

Inspired to start blogging by a friend and the likes of selfish mother, to which I constantly refer to validate my own life choices.

I had great plans to blog after the birth of my son, documenting that first smile and endless dirty nappies, but then I realised my hands and arms would never again be my own.  Always thinking about the next nap and if I will be able to poo alone.

Dizzy heights

So we have just returned from our first proper trip with friends who also have a baby the same age as R.  I was looking forward to this seaside adventure, and imagined a lie in, followed by gazing out of the window at the rugged coastline with a warm cup of coffee, perhaps a croissant in hand..turns out it was quite difficult to actually see out of the Windows due to them being smeared with a carrot mash combo, and the view was more large white knickers and the bins..

But onwards and upwards, we arrived arrived safely, limbs intact with only a half hour of sweaty vomit inducing meltdown on the A1…and R slept through the whole thing.  Wedged between wine and weaning pouches we made our way, with only an occasional curse directed at the sat nav…

I was a bit anxious that I would be exposed to my cool and collected friend as some sort of a mummy fraudster,incompetently dragging my child through life in ill fitting rompers covered in those  “baby wotzit” crumbs..  It’s fine, crowed my NCT friends, they’re organic.   Pass me the wine..

I was feeling under pressure to complete the nighttime routine in under an hour, or let’s face it there weren’t going to be any Doritos left..even better if he goes no down “drowsy but awake” and dozes off into a calm slumber..little did she know I was actually energetically sling jiggling and then attempting a nion impossible sling to cot transfer..or actually, she did know as I can now be watched on this fancy video monitor that I initially resisted buying but have caved to peer pressure..my technologically advanced friends could not believe I only had a sound monitor (HD sound non the less) kindly gifted by a neighbour and not an all singing all dancing check your babies vital signs every nanosecond contraption.. I think my friend also thinks that slings and breastfeeding is only for hippies…

 

 

Thanks Ella

So todays blog is less about the milk and more about the mush.  Weaning time!  Yes I thought, what could be more fun than lovingly preparing small portions of tasty and healthy foodstuffs that my baby will enjoy in his eye wateringly expensive high chair (an investment purchase?!)

According to Ella, you should start with vegetables for the first two weeks, with a different taste every day, and especially the GREEN ones.  I dutifully whipped around the supermarket, buying one avocado, one courgette, broccoli and eagerly returned home to a cooking frenzy.  My husband felt that cooking said vegetables simply by boiling the life out of them, then blending, mushing, sieving and cooling was tantamount to child abuse (You cannot have potatoes, BOILED, with no butter or salt) but I blindly continued.

Turns out if you try to blend potato, it turns into a gloopy mess the consistency of wallpaper paste, and tastes fairly similar too.  After consulting the purple bible, reading the small print I should have mashed that one, something to do with the starch..Even the dog wouldn’t touch it..And her favourite is tripe…

So although giving R mouthfuls of slushy cold tastless green veg and watching his startled, intrigued and ultimately discusted face was quite entertaining, it did feel a bit cruel.  It wasn’t long before I caved and just mushed up a banana, which was inevitably much more pleasing to the palate.  And after the initial guilt passed, (palate ruined, probably no teeth either) I felt a little more comfortable with the weaning spoon.

The second week went better.  After a “bib coat” purchase and some bowls that stick to the tray, R was happily wolfing down carrot, sweet potato and butternut squash.  Turns out the root veg were rather well recieved, and peas definately snubbed.  My friend told me that she felt her little boy preferred “Ellas kitchen to mummys kitchen.”  And when R grows up only eating coco pops and mars bars, at least I can tell him I tried…

So the journey continues….Think next week brings dairy and combining flavours…Granny just wants to know when he can have steak and chips..

THE night out

This momentous occasion absolutely completely should be blogged about.  So much so, I am staying up late especially.  I never realised how much of a BIG DEAL it is to go out with friends for the first time as a mum. We have been talking about this for weeks, no months actually..Babysitters booked we were all anticipating a night of wine and freedom.

Who can still fit in their pre-pregnancy jeans -nobody, or if there is they darent admit it, inverse prejudice in this situation. Is a maxi dress a bit OTT for the pub?  Why do all clothes look weird with a maternity bra underneath?  Gone are the days of a lazy get ready with a glass of lukewarm alcohol, powerballads blaring singing into a hairbrush.  Hello chipped nail varnish, slap literally “slapped on”, creeping around the bedroom and finding yourself holed up in the airing cupboard with your straighteners as the plug sockets are otherwise occupied by a fan and baby monitor.  Gone are the days when you could head out “anytime from 6.30” to hello that precious two hours after bath and story before the wake up for a feed.  Frantic whatsaps – “are you ready?” “I’m ready!” “Code brown here” “triple boobed him and he’s STILL not asleep, it’s like he’s knows!”

In the pre-baby days, those ones where you could go on a carefree night out and fit into clothes from topshop, I remember thinking I wonder why those women are all wearing black sparkly tops.  Well now I know that black is SLIMMING and sparkle helps detract from love handles and spaniels ears.

Obviously, the conversation wasn’t ground breaking, after all we haven’t been out for 5 months!But after a quick check of the phone to make sure all is well on the western front, we seemed to settle into the groove, and baby sleep or lack thereof, birth trauma and imminent arrivals were the inevitable topics of discussion.

With the idea of leaving on a high and not alienating the babysitters, I ordered myself a taxi. I don’t remember the last time I required the services of a taxi.  Instead of coming home and making myself a fried egg sandwich, I ate a scone and prepared a bottle of expressed breast milk.  I realised times have changed, but these times are great and it’s time to embrace them.

The little victories

As you all know from following my blog (thanks mum) I have become OBSESSED with napping.  Mostly my babies napping, but consequentially sometimes my own.  I have been blessed with the ability to fall asleep anywhere, at any time.  This includes Phantom the Opera the musical, in the nosebleed seats whilst a giant chandelier careered towards me.  My baby however, seems to feel that life is too exciting and “sleep is for losers.”  At around 3 months, I thought we were winning. Bed at 7 you say?sleep until 1am?great.  Then came month 4 and it went to pot. Waking every 1-2 hours you say?5am get up time?

I like to think of my parenting style as go with the flow, structure without too much rigidity etc etc.    I have never felt it realistic, or my life’s aim to get my baby to sleep through at 6 weeks.  Despite this, after I had lost count of the times R had woken up and stopped checking the clock because it was making me feel depressed I decided to consult the oracle on all things baby-Google.  Top of the charts is what is known in the business as the “four month sleep regression.” What?! I thought that sleep would continue to improve as babies stomach got bigger and they didn’t need to eat as much.  I also read that from 10lbs babies can sleep through.  That would be R day one of life then.  Don’t remember that crunched up in a hospital bed unable to summon the abdominal strength to reach over to the cot or “fish bowl” as someone appropriately described it.

I was bought a couple of parenting books as gifts, which up until last night were in pristine conditon on the shelf.  Gina Ford was a no go, and i read the first two pages of the baby whisper and felt patronised by the writing style so gave up.  Bleary eyed instead I turned to various mums net esq horror stories of the sleep regression NEVER ENDING.  Then I stumbled upon a slightly more scientific site, explaining that around this age babies sleep patterns move towards becoming more adult like, meaning that they are much more easily awoken between sleep cycles.  Also correlating with huge changes in development, teething, illnesses, this does not bode well for sleep.  I found myself getting increasingly frustrated with “shush-pat” adnausem and would revert to type which would be a swift march round in the sling.

So back to the baby whisperer.  Mr S humoured me with the “what type of baby do you have” quiz.  I would put R on the “spirited” side, but dads answers were more “textbook.”  Ok, so we have a NORMAL baby, it must be us doing something wrong.  Where are these two hour naps I was promised?  I feel like i spend my whole day looking for sleep signals and on active nap management but always feel frustrated when it inevitably fails.  I could shamefully identify with the idea of “toy overstimulation” I.e jangling lots of things in R’s face, flying him around the room, although well meaning. I hadn’t considered that “he doesn’t like that toy” is actually “he doesn’t understand that toy yet.” Que hyper baby who finds it difficult to sleep, wakes up cranky and prematurely from his naps, won’t feed properly, gets increasingly agitated, until bath, bedtime and calmness ensues.  It made me wonder what was different at night compared to the daytime.  It’s still light at 7pm so that’s not the issue.  I realised that R was getting down time, time to unwind from the excitement of the day and learning new skills.  So Tracy Hogg says,if your baby is overtired, don’t jiggle them more (which was my go-to technique.)  Don’t disrespect them by asking them to sleep in the kitchen.  And where they fall asleep is important (imagine falling asleep in your bedroom then waking up finding yourself in the garden.)  This resonated with me, whereas previously I though if I read “put your baby down for a nap drowsy but awake” I could scream.

I think my behaviours stem from my personality-you could argue a toxic type of parent “closet competitive” type.  Saying, “I don’t mind when he rolls, he will do it in his own time, I think he’s working towards sitting up instead” whilst frantically googling “how to spot developmental delay” and “encourage your child to roll.”  Equally, he can do whatever makes him happy (as long as that involves playing sport at county level and grade 8 chello.)

So the pursuit for the perfect nap continues…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Burn

Being new to blogging, I have recently discovered the word inspiration.  This weeks “burn” resonated with myself and having a baby..

burn: what inevitably happens to toast

burn-out: chronic sleep disruption

burning: without factor 50

burnt: what happens to your fingers when you open the steriliser too quickly

 

 

 

 

Not a Clue Team

Better known as NCT (National Childbirth Trust.). We debated for quite a while, Mr S and I about whether to attend these classes.  There was a suggestion that “it’s an expensive way to make friends and I already have friends.”  Whilst this may be true, you don’t have THESE type of friends.  The ones that will always answer a whatsap message at 2am, sympathise with an emergency in car nappy change and leaky boobs or simulaneously cheer and pat you on the back if you manage a night out SANS Bebe.  The ones that advise you on teething gels, second hand bumbos and the best teat to try if your baby flatly refuses to take a bottle.  Although the classes did prepare us for labour and childbirth, I don’t think any of us were ready for the onslaught of what is affectionately known in the business as “the fourth trimester.”  I think it’s fantastic that NCT are now providing infant feeding sessions rather than just breastfeeding advice, bravo as this seems the last taboo in parenting choices.  I can choose to sleep my child in a box, in a Moses, a jazzy next to bed crib, cot, cot bed, my bed, sleepyhead yet still the advice seems to be breastfeed, full stop.  I am not arguing against breast is best, and am aware that how you feed your baby may always be a contentious issue, but surely whatever method is chosen, or not chosen this choice should be encouraged and supported?  Perhaps we should have a referendum on it..

Anyway, thanks to the mums to be who trudged to a depressing church hall on miserable evenings in December, I now have access to seven educated opinions, a weekly coffee date and reassurance that however you are feeling, it is likely someone else is/has been in the same position.  And you can’t put a price on that.

Keep calm and stroke the foil

No, not a euphemism but rather sound advice from our latest “baby entertainment” class.  I had been warned about such activities; they are for you not the baby, cost loads of money, you’ll never get there on time/spend the session feeding/nappy changing.  But as always I like to experience these aspects for myself, so along with a few reluctant NCT friends and babies we attended our local church hall for a half hour session of “baby crack.”  This essentially involves saying *singing hello and good bye songs, and a LOT of banging!  Not to mention therapeutic “foil stroking” and a visit from a rather disturbed looking rabbit puppet.  Out of context, I would have sheepishly muttered “sorry wrong room” and skidaddled out of there, but the babies weren’t crying at least so thought it would be prudent to engage.  Before the end of the session I was meowing loudly with the rest of them, haemorrhaging brain cells and throughly enjoying myself.  Hopefully R will be the next Beethoven or limp biskit (however his tastes may develop) after all this investment in his musical accolade, but if not, all the stresses of the week can magically dissolve thanks to an innocent maraca and hand held bell selection.