Saturday 22 December 2012
Friday 21 December 2012
You may have noticed I’ve been rather quiet about Millie recently – that’s because I’ve been in the depths of hell with The Four Monthlies. If you are not familiar with this phenomena it is when your 4 month old decides to start waking up more frequently in the night (so if you were lucky enough that they slept through, they wont be anymore and if they only woke once, they can now wake up to 3 times) and when they do wake they are AWAKE! The professionals call it the Four Month Sleep Regression. Google it and you’ll find parent after parent screaming for help on the various parenting forums.
From what I understand, its a combination of a growth spurt and their brains becoming more active. Also, it is about this time their sleep changes from being like a newborn to being more like an adults. The 4-5am part of the morning is when we have our lightest sleep – its the most common time for insomniacs to suffer too. Which is great when Millie wakes up for a feed, decides to lay awake chatting and then when she does finally go back to sleep, I have insomnia. Sigh!
Many parents will mistake this period for thinking their baby is starving hungry and needs to be weaned. However, if you weather the storm, they will get better and will continue until much later to be satisfied on milk alone without the need for solids.
I remember Callum going through this stage just after Christmas and I had thought it was the upset of routine over Christmas. It was only from going on forums myself that I later learned about the Four Monthlies. It was hell then too but it did get better and a couple of months later he slept through the night 7-7. But at least this time I was i) expecting it; and ii) had faith that it was ‘just a phase’. And, for the record, we didn’t wean Callum until after 6 months and he wasn’t really interested in food until much later.
So, at the start of Millie’s Four Monthlies, we had feeding every 2 hours again through the night – Yawn! She was only drinking 2-3 ounces at a time and then she would puke it all up requiring a complete outfit change (both of us!). If she didn’t puke, the other end exploded in a watery mess and, again, requiring an outfit, grobag & bed covers change! Then just as we were getting over that – well getting towards every 3-4 hours, not quite the 6-8 of when she was teeny tiny – and she started increasing her milk intake again, she started waking for 1-2 hours at a time. Chatting and cooing to herself.
Finally, I’m hoping we are reaching the other side. I hate to jinx it and I’m sure the next ‘phase’ will be along soon to mess it all up again but for the last 2 nights she has gone back to having a 5-6 hour stretch - feeding just as we go to bed then only waking one other time around 3-4am. The night before last, I was still up an hour but she chatted to herself for a bit then went to sleep and was mainly only up for that time because she did a poo & needed her nappy changed (but no outfit change – whoop!). Then last night, she was up for about half hour and as soon as I laid her down, she did struggle to sleep but she was trying rather than just chatting. She also got herself off to sleep without me needing to hold her or anything.
I’m hoping this is the beginning of the end. Just in time for Christmas. If it is, it will probably be my best Christmas present this year – Sleep! (Sorry Stuart!)
Thursday 20 December 2012
Tuesday 18 December 2012
In a follow-up to my last post all about the ‘Why? phase’, there is another question that Callum is regularly asking. Thankfully, not as irritating as ‘why?’ but can require a degree of thought before answering.
He has realised that something can have multiple names. Such as a ‘flower’ could be called a ‘rose’ which could then be called ‘Autumn Sunset’. Or that I’m a lady (arguably, I know) and my name is ‘Mummy’ to Callum but I’m also known as ‘Debbie’ to others.
So we now have questions of “what’s that car called?” – oh good, a fairly easy one (assuming I know); or ‘what’s this fork called?’ – hmmmm!
Although, it can be difficult trying to explain why sometimes a fork is just called a fork (my answer: “it hasn’t got another name, its just called a fork!”; Callum: “Why?” – aaaaaahhhhhhh!), I don’t mind these questions as they make me think a little.
I think the reason why the ‘why?’ questions frustrate me so much is because I naturally give a reason when I answer. For example: “Why aren’t we walking Mummy?” “because we have to drive as it is too far to walk”, “Why?”. Then I’m trying to think up reasons for my reasons. Headache alert!
These questions make me stop and think, does it have another name? Is the name we more commonly know it by, its ‘other’ name and it also has an ‘object’ name? I’ve often said, something doesn’t have another name and then corrected myself a minute later. I find these nicely challenging and my answer is usually accepted and the conversation moves on rather than being stuck in an eternal cycle of whys!
I can see where he is coming from in asking them and think its quite interesting. For now, anyway!
Sunday 16 December 2012
I apologise for being so smug! It was never my intention to come across as smug but looking back I guess I was a little. I thought I was so clever! I thought by using my training experience, I had successfully outwitted my child and therefore avoided the much feared ‘Why? Phase’.
Oh how I was wrong! A little later than expected but it is definitely upon us in all its frustrating rahness! (its a word! its my word!).
About a year ago, Callum moved from ‘what are you doing?’ to the occasional ‘why?’ & I rather cleverly, so I thought, would turn the question back on him and get him to suggest the answer first. It actually seemed to work too! He would usually know the answer or would be happy to suggest something and then I would be happy to correct or lead him to the right answer.
As fast as they arrived, the why questions appeared to stop except once in a while where it was appropriate.
I know that it is all about learning and we should encourage the questions and feed their brains with knowledge. But the questions are just utterly infuriating, as I am sure many of you that have been through this yourselves already know.
“Why is it raining?”
“Why is it a 5p?”
“Why is it dinner time?”
“Why is that tree there”
and its non-stop. It doesn’t end with one question it becomes a continuous barrage of why questions, one after the other getting increasingly more complicated to answer or even just pointless! I have actually told Callum he isn’t allowed to ask pointless questions – don’t ask me what a pointless question is, I couldn’t tell you, I just know it when I hear it.
I tried the technique I mentioned above again but there are just too many questions you can’t actually do this to.
Stuart was confident in the beginning that he was going to embrace the ‘Why? Phase’ and take on the challenge to come up with an answer to every question.
However, we have both found ourselves saying why back as our answer to Callum to which he replies in a whine “no, I said whyyyyyyyyy”.
Please let this phase be short! I can feel myself gaining a new grey hair for every ‘Why?’.
Saturday 8 December 2012
Callum has been dry in the day (except the odd accident) for some time – probably about 18 months.
When we first moved to Bournemouth, which was shortly after we started potty training, Callum would get up in the night to go to the toilet and a couple of times he had a dry pull-up by morning - but not consistently so I did not push it or attempt to take away the pull-up.
I’ve been advised and the information you find on Google is that it is not unusual for children of 6 to still be wet during the night and that they will naturally progress to dry nights on their own. It is best not to attempt to try to take away the pull-up until they have had several consecutive dry nights.
Because of this, I’ve ignored pressure from my mum to try to get him dry at night as I was confident he just wasn’t ready.
As time has gone on, Callum’s pull-up has got heavier and heavier and fills so much it leaks – meaning a change of bed sheets. This can happen 3 times in a week and is making keeping on top of washing impossible and I wondered if Callum was in fact just being lazy!
After all, my Mum, like lots of parents, had us all dry at night in a week after being potty trained! Surely, it was worth a try at least! I was already having to do the washing of sheets and was already up in the night for Millie – actually, was I mad? They could tag team!!
Anyway, I got prepared – I layered Callum’s bed with waterproof mattress protector, waterproof pad, bed sheet, another waterproof pad & 2 towels. I explained to Callum that he was going to go to bed without the pull-up that night. He was apprehensive but I explained we would go to the toilet just before bed and he was to go to the toilet if he needed it or hold until morning.
I checked him at 12.30am when I fed Millie and he was dry. Then again at 5.30am I suspected he was already wet. Sure enough, when he woke after 7 he was wet. He didn’t want to get out of bed and seemed embarrassed.
I told him not to worry, we could just try again the next night. When he did get up, he was up beat and said enthusiastically he would try again. Encouraged by this, I explained this time I would take him to the toilet when we went to bed (as in Stuart and I), which I did. He was still dry at that time.
By morning, he was wet again.
He went into Stuart while I was getting Millie up and said he wanted to wear pull-ups and didn’t want me putting him to bed anymore.
It broke my heart and I realised he really wasn’t ready. Normally, I always give these things at least a week and within 2-3 days he’s got whatever it is we are ‘training’. This time, I knew, if we tried again that night we would be putting too much pressure on him too soon.
So we are back in pull-ups but I am hopeful this little exercise has at least reminded Callum that the aim is to try for a dry pull-up rather than being lazy & going for a wee in his pull-up just because he can. At least this might stop me from having to make quite so many bed changes & sheet washes!
Its all about trial & error this parenting lark!
Monday 3 December 2012
Its getting to that time of year again. Christmas! I blogged about my thoughts on Christmas over on t’other blog which is here if you want to read it.
Like the majority of children that celebrate this time of year, I loved Christmas growing up. When my siblings and I were kids the excitement started on Christmas Eves when we would have a bath and get dressed in our brand new Christmas ‘jimjams’, eat our chocolate money in front of the Christmas tree while my Mum took her annual catalogue of photos for the Christmas album.
Then we used to go to bed nice and early (had to be before midnight or Father Christmas wouldn’t come) and lay there willing ourselves to sleep so he wouldn’t pass our house by but the excitement being all too much.
On Christmas morning, it would be a competition to see which of my brother, sister or I could wake up first and whoever it was would run into the others’ bedrooms shouting “he’s been, he’s been” wielding our stockings. It used to really annoy me that I could never wake up first and my brother or sister always used to win until the year, I finally woke up first…but because my brother and sister are 7.5 and 8.5 years older than me, respectively, by this stage they were well into their teenage years and used to start the ‘cheer’ on Christmas eve and lay in as long as possible on Christmas morning. So there’s me running in to wake them up and they weren’t bothered any more and shooed me away!
Then, as we all grew up and moved away from home, Christmas lost a bit of its magic for me. Instead of sharing it with my family I chose to share it with my friends and/or my boyfriend for a few years.
But now that magic is back – now that we have our own children. Especially this year, as Callum will be 4. Christmas meant something to Callum last year, he got the excitement and Father Christmas but this year is even better because he remembers last year and knows what is about to happen again. On top of that, he has a baby sister to share it with – not that Millie will have a clue what is going on or will remember for next year.
We have already taken Callum to see Father Christmas. We took him to see him at Stewarts Garden Centre in Somerford, Christchurch, yesterday. It was the first year that Callum hasn’t been scared of him. He was a little shy but he stood there on his own in front of Father Christmas (we were about 2 ft away in the room with him) and nodded to all of his questions. He happily went to sit next to him for a photo and said “and then you’ll come to my house” as we were leaving. He voluntarily spoke to Father Christmas! This is huge! Callum was absolutely thrilled with his helicopter present too!
Aside from the bar humbugness of the Christmas shopping (which I’ve very nearly finished thankfully) and the fear of whether I am going to survive cooking Christmas dinner for 11 (6 adults, 2 older children and 3 younger children), I can’t wait for Christmas day and seeing Callum’s excited eyes once he has seen Father Christmas has been, eaten his mince pie and drunk his Baileys (yes, Baileys in this house!!) and filled his and Millie’s stocking full!
Sunday 2 December 2012
Wednesday 28 November 2012
|Callum & Millie both at aproximately 14 Weeks|
Sunday 25 November 2012
Saturday 17 November 2012
Well, less that mother’s don’t have it, I should’ve called it Some Fathers Do Have It but it didn’t have the same ring to it! I guess the titles a bit misleading as what I mean is fathers can have it too – instinct that is!
Its always ‘trust a mother’s instinct’ but father’s can have instinct too and it is often right!
Sometimes it can be easy to bow down to outside pressures, to listen to what other people are saying you should do, because everyone has an opinion – hell, I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it myself to an extent. “Shouldn’t she be in her own room now?”, “Have you tried putting her in her cot for naps?”, “can’t she self settle yet” (with a surprised look like surely that’s back to the basics!), “are you not weaning her yet? Look she’s desperate for food, poor thing is starving.” “She should be going 4 hours between feeds now, is she still on 3”, “my children were all sleeping though the night by now”. Gah! All this pressure can make you doubt your own instincts.
For some, this is all you have to go by, in which case shut out all the other noise and do what your heart tells you (and I salute you for doing such a hard job alone). But for us lucky ones that are raising children as a partnership, why not rely on the father’s instinct too.
At around 8 weeks, I was feeling pressure to put Millie in her own room at night by family but also my own poor memory. Remembering back to when I had Callum, my timeline is all a bit skewwhiff. I often think we introduced things and changed things a lot earlier with Calllum than we actually did. Its only when I read back my blog that I realise that I am often quite a lot out with timing. One of these occasions was with when we put Callum in to his own room. Not only did I have the timing wrong, when I had tried it with Callum it was quite difficult because he wasn’t ready yet.
I had forgotten all this and was suggesting to Stuart that we put Millie into her own room. Stuart pointed out that she was still quite unsettled in the evenings and could often take a couple of hours to settle in her Moses basket. If I were to put her to sleep in her bedroom, I’d be spending the majority of the evening stuck in her room or up and down every five minutes to settle her. He said the timing didn’t feel right and that we should wait.
I listened to him and agreed to wait a few weeks with the aim to get her into her own room by 12 weeks.
At around 11 weeks, Millie was settling much better in the evenings and so one weekend I suggested it might be a good time to try and Stuart agreed. She settled in her cot fine. We had a couple of nights of multiple wake-ups but on the third night she only woke the once at 4.30am and then the next at 5am. The time was right, the earlier time that I wanted to try would’ve been too soon & probably would’ve been stressful. Stuart’s instincts were right!
The other issue is us mums can often build a rod for our own backs. It can be tempting to take control of everything, enforcing our own techniques onto our partner and then we find ourselves in a situation where only we can put our child down for their naps, only we can settle them when they wake up. Then we wonder why we are doing all the work – we have effectively pushed our other half away. It may not have been intentional but has happened nonetheless. I’ve witnessed it in several of my friends. How are they going to help us if we don’t let them try. I don’t know about you but as special as it feels to have such a strong bond with your Little One that s/he responds best to you, I’d prefer to be able to share that special bond and be granted a break every once in a while.
A child-minder once told me, children soon recognise different sleep routines in different scenarios and can respond equally as well to 2 different routines. For example, at the child-minder’s or a nursery versus at home or when the parents have separated.
With both Callum and Millie I have tried to let Stuart find his own techniques for getting Millie to sleep. It has been difficult at times, not to intervene or take over, but how is Stuart, or indeed Millie, going to learn if you never give them the opportunity. You never know, there technique might actually be better than yours – this did happen with Callum! Stuart’s technique was better than mine so I adopted his method.
Obviously, I am with Millie more often than Stuart so am more likely to pick up her cues quicker so I may sometimes suggest something like, with me she likes to snuggle her muslin on her right side or point out to him a sleep signal I’ve recognised, and there is nothing wrong to suggesting a routine that you both stick to. Agree it between you rather than enforcing your idea. Then step back and let them try their way.
Its good to remember you are a team and a man’s pride can be easily dented if you tell them they are doing it wrong the whole time – I know mine would be so who can blame them.
Thursday 15 November 2012
12 weeks is the new 6 weeks! I finally feel things are coming together and ‘normalising’ some what. We are surviving and, what’s more, it feels less like ‘survival’ and more like ‘coping’.
Its so hard when a newborn comes along to see past the suffocating fog that surrounds you. You can’t see any way out or any end to it, it just bogs you down.
It has been easier the second time round because at least you know that it does get better, allowing you to just have faith that it will. Even still, its difficult not to doubt that there will ever be an end. You hear stories about other people’s second children – they are either so much easier than their first or the first was an angel and their second a nightmare! I found myself asking, which would Millie be? Was Callum a good or a bad sleeper? I thought he was pretty average – not awful but not great either.
In truth, a lot of what Millie does or the phases she has gone through have been similar to Callum but I am a lot more relaxed this time. I know it is ‘normal’ and that the less I stress about it, the quicker the phase will pass, and it does! Because of my relaxed attitude she does seem to go through these phases quicker than Callum. For sleep issues, I know that she’ll eventually just ‘get it’ and all I can do is provide her with some kind of routine but be flexible enough to know that things change and I will have to change with them.
For the moment (and it is always ‘for the moment’ – see point above), Millie is napping in her cot without too much fuss getting her to sleep (there was lots of rocking and him waking as soon as he touched the bed) – not for longer than 45 minutes to an hour but I’m not worried about that yet, she’ll work it out. Millie is going longer through the night again AND is also in her own room in her cot. Millie is happy. She is putting on weight. She is, as everyone comments, very alert (cos the world needs Lerts!), strong and developing daily. She’s happy, I’m happy – that’s all that matters.
That said, she has been a bit out of sorts today after her 2nd lot of jabs yesterday so I’m prepared for it all to change again tonight.
Of course, there are bad days – when the tiredness really sets in, I feel I can’t cope. I look around at the mess and I panic that I’ll never get round to catching up with the washing or manage to grab any kind of lunch anytime soon. People tell you it isn’t important but you can’t understand that – the fog sets in again. But then the next day, all will be right with the world again, and I know, even when that bad day is happening, that it is only because I am tired – tomorrow will be better.
The hardest bit for me now, is convincing others that I’m happy with how things are progressing and trying not to let them influence me and start worrying over nothing because, of course, everyone has an opinion and thinks that the way they did it was better and they never had the problems you’re having! I now just go along with it, smile and think, they’ll see soon enough!
Monday 12 November 2012
But I am also excited to the baby she is becoming and developing into. She is learning things so fast that its exciting to see what the next day will bring.
First there was her interacting with her toys. Mainly her dangly toys on her play gym but she really grabs and whacks them! Like many a baby before her, she also loves mirrors too.
Then today, more on the toy theme, she started looking at one of her toys, Dingle and dangly jingly sheep, that I have on her change mat. She has shown it very little interest up until now, instead preferring to talk to the window and blinds which is behind the change mat! Then just now she was really focusing it and kept hitting it until his face fell closer to hers and then she started cooing at it. So I moved it back and she repeated it again.
Even more amazing than that, and what took me completely surprise despite me expecting it would come sooner rather than later. My little baby girl rolled! I’d plopped her on her front surrounded by toys and went to continue with my present wrapping (in my effort to be a little organised for Christmas) and then she went. She flipped as easy as if she had been doing it for weeks onto her back!
I hurriedly put her on her front again and got my phone out to video her doing it again but no, once was enough and had exhausted her so I’ll have to try again tomorrow with my phone at the ready, when she is all fresh and full of energy again!
But as all things come in threes, what is more, today she has also started grabbing for her feet (or foot at the moment). Once more, while on her change mat, she was continually grabbing for it.
So much! All at once! You watch, she’ll be walking tomorrow – Nooooo, I wont even joke!!!!
Video taken day after post published on 13 November – Only just got it. She still only has the strength to do one roll front to back.
We have survived night two of Millie in her own room/cot. Much of it was the same but it somehow felt better.
After her anti-boob protest and just wanting a snuggle each time she woke the night before, I had decided to not offer to feed her unless she wouldn’t settle or ‘asked’ for it.
The night started very similar to the night before in that she went into her cot at about 7.30pm after her 7pm feed and finally drifted off about 9pm, though she did require a bit more ‘attention’ to get off to sleep than the night before.
Then we headed to bed at around 10.30-11pm but this time she didn’t wake…not until midnight!. So, I didn’t offer to feed her, I tried to settler her in her cot but she wasn’t having any of it so picked her up for a cuddle until she calmed and I put her back down. It didn’t take long, five minutes at the most.
Then, like the previous night, she woke at 2am and again just required a cuddle. As I put her in her cot again, her dummy fell out so I thought she need a bit more comforting but no, she was happy to continue to drift off without any trouble.
This was taking a familiar pattern so I expected the next 5.30 wake but this time she wasn’t settled by just a cuddle so I sat in the nursing chair and she nuzzled towards my boob so I offered it to her and she fed, hooray! No effort from me, completely her request.
I laid her back down in her cot and, after a couple of revisits to pop her dummy back in, she drifted back to sleep until 7.30pm. Unfortunately, my mind couldn’t stop thinking about the alarm due to go off in 3/4 hr so my morning pretty much started at the 5.30 mark but Millie woke happily chatting at 7.30am.
Minutes before she woke
This all means that she definitely doesn’t need feeding between 7pm and 5.30am so now we just need to get her to self-settle and continue to sleep through that period. Stuart thinks we should take away the dummy now to encourage her to depend on herself for getting back to sleep and not requiring us to get up to pop the dummy back in. This makes me nervous, but maybe he is right. I am pretty sure she’ll go for her fingers/thumb though. I’m on the side of anti-thumb sucking and pro dummy, as you may have worked out, so I’m not too keen on this but at least her h-Andes are on the end of her Armies (teehee, poor joke!) so she’ll be able to work out soon enough how to use them. She currently likes her muslin and I am trying to get her attached to her bunny comforter which helps. She snuggles them against her face and twiddles them with her hands so we may be lucky in that she just makes use of those sleeping tools.
In addition, we have Ewan the Dream Sheep that I have heard such good things about on order which may be another advantage on the ‘war on sleep’. Looking forward to testing it out when it arrives and I’ll be sure to report back!
In relation to sleep, I have also put Millie in her cot for actual ‘naps’ three times today. Only for 45 minutes to an hour for each (well the first two, she has only just gone down for the third) but I’m pleased at that for a start. The first she woke up happy, the second she was grizzly and really needed longer. Lets hope this third nap is successful and she wakes up happy again.
Y’know, I shouldn’t say this after all the effort we are going to to move Millie into her own room but I do miss her in our room – that space next to the bed where she used to big seems mighty big now!
Sunday 11 November 2012
Of our bedroom that is! We have taken the step of putting Millie to bed in her cot in her own bedroom! The first night of trying this was last night.
It started well, Stuart got both Callum & Millie ready for bed and then I sat in Millie’s room in the nursing chair and gave Millie her bottle. She was quite snoozy by the end of it so I was hopeful it wouldn’t be long until she was settled & asleep in her cot but she woke when I transferred her. Both Stuart and I hold Millie in our left arm which means we have to do a bit of a flip to put her in her cot at the correct end (away from the radiator!). But, despite her waking she was happy so we headed downstairs.
There, with the monitor set up and sat on the floor in front of us (so we could see it), my eyes were fixed on the little green flashy light that tells us she is still breathing, ironically holding my breath! I confess, I wasn’t desperately wanting to make sure she was breathing, I’m thankfully not overly neurotic and although I find it reassuring to see the flashing light, I am quite relaxed in thinking she will be ok. No, I was just willing the transfer to cot would work and that I wouldn’t be up and down the stairs a hundred times to settle her or spend the whole evening in her room. I had a glass of red waiting for me goddamnit! The flashing is slow & rhythmic if she is sleeping and gets quicker and erratic if she is awake. She was quiet but the light was erratic so I knew she wasn’t yet asleep.
She grizzled a couple of times which required us to go up and resettle her with little effort, then she was happily chirping for a bit and then there were a couple more occasions when she needed settling but she then drifted off by herself around 9pm (milk time was around 7.30pm).
The rest of the night wasn’t that great. Not AWFUL but not great. Stuart said it was the toughest night for him since she was born because he woke every time she did whereas normally he might only wake for the odd feed.
Millie stirred as we were going to bed just after 11pm. She refused booby and got a bit hysterical that I had the audacity to offer it to her. But she snuggled in my arms & returned to sleep so I put her back in her cot.
She work again at 2am and the same thing happened. Refused the boob but went back to sleep. Then she woke at 5.30 which wasn’t too bad. Still keeping up the anti-boob protest but again went back to sleep though with a little more effort this time. Finally, she stirred at 6.30am and finally took the boob but didn't really settle back to sleep in her cot and by this time I was shattered as each time I went to her I was awake for about half an hour so I took her into our bed. I was desperate for some sleep so Stuart held her in his arms while we both got a couple of hours more snooze (not sleep as there was a baby in the bed with us).
I reckon she woke up for food but couldn’t have been too hungry to go back to sleep so easily – perhaps she has been waking up more from habit than hunger?!
Now we are on night 2 and, although it wasn’t quite as easy to get her to settle into her cot, she still wasn’t too bad and went off again about the same time – 9pm. For the rest of the night, I don’t know what to expect or how to tackle it. If she wakes like she did last night, I will on first instance try to settle her again and not assume that she wants feeding first off. If she wont settle I guess I will still try to breastfeed her but I really think she is weaning herself off it (weaning sounds gradual, she is going for flat refusal). So looks like I wont be able to keep up the night time BF but instead will be moving to all bottle. I tried a couple of times to offer her the breast during the day (just to give me some comfort or to see what she would do) but she wasn’t having any of it!
I am optimistic, however, that this is the start of her going through the night. She obviously didn’t need the food to go so long without it and to still settle back to sleep so perhaps (big perhaps maybe) she will be sleeping through before we know it! Fingers crossed!
It could all go to pot though with her screaming house down for food meaning me going downstairs to get a bottle – I have bottles prepared and in the fridge, just in case.
Wish us luck. I know it is most likely that this anxiousness will only last a week, if that and we’ll have it sussed this time next week – I really hope so! I think it was 3 days with Callum.
Uh oh – 9.45pm and she is shouting (shouty cry that is). Ahhh, all settled again (damn that dummy!).
Thursday 8 November 2012
So we have been a family of four for over 11 weeks already and the time has flown by!
Millie is so alert and is so easy to make smile. She is trying to laugh and chat back to you in her own little “agoo” way. I remember Callum’s babbling started exactly the same. She is really into her hanging toys on her play gym, giving then a good bash - although not interested in anything handheld like a rattle as of yet.
She is strong and is much happier to be left on her front, lifting her head up than her brother was, though she soon gets fed up and starts trying to swing her legs over. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was rolling before Christmas.
After some up and downs with the whole ‘to bottle feed or not to bottle feed’ dilema, we are now on bottle feeding in the day and breastfeeding at night & for the first feed of the morning. I am happy like this and would like to keep feeding this way for as long as possible. It suits us! It, of course, means I am solely responsible for all the night time feeds and can not spend a night away from Millie at the moment (I could of course express so someone else could do a night feed, but I wouldn’t want to at the moment – certainly not until we’ve been feeding like this for a few more weeks) but I’m happy with that and its not forever.
I am also incredibly proud of myself for achieving my breastfeeding goals – to feed longer than with Callum and to feed off both breasts not just the left. I am also proud have managed to maintain it this long. Its been hard work and there were so many times I wanted to pack it all in at the start but sheer bloody-mindedness kept me going on!
Now for the next challenge! Actually, I am staying pretty relaxed about it (most of the time) rather than thinking of it as a challenge. I’ve remembered the “they’ll do things in their own time” mantra. I have started to try to put Millie down awake so she soothes herself to sleep. It doesn’t work every time…in fact most of the time…but it does occasionally and soon there will be enough of a pattern to her days that we can get some clear routine in place for naps and we can introduce her to sleeping in her cot.
Its through all these stages that I really miss not having an NCT group like with Callum. I have some Mummy ‘friends’ on Twitter who have had babies around the same time and we do tend to ask one another questions but it isn’t the same as when all the mums and babes would meet up from week to week and discuss every inch of our child’s development & routine and compare (in a good way) to one another – not to mention the support everyone gave each other.
We had Millie’s first photoshoot session today. No idea how the photos will turn out. I had a number of outfits but only got a couple in one of my favourites and didn’t get to wear the last one as she started to have enough – not helped by the hiccups. She lasted a good half an hour though and there were some smiles. It will be good to see the results. Hopefully there’ll be at least one nice one anyway!
Callum is just starting to show a little resentment of Millie now. Not anything too obvious or anything nasty directed at Millie but his neediness of us is increasing. We are trying to encourage him to be self-sufficient. Stuff he has been able to do for ages but gets lazy and relies on us for, such as getting dressed himself, cleaning his teeth etc as well as ensuring he remembers his manners etc. He sometimes pushes back on these things for attention and to get some more one on one time with us. He often holds on to one of us for that little extra bit longer too and isn’t so willing to leave nursery at the end of the day. I’m trying to find some time to do things just for him, if Millie is sleeping in her moses basket, I’m trying to sit down with him and play. Unfortunately, these occasions aren’t often enough as we are frequently out and about, have company or Millie is in my arms but if the opportunity is there, I’m trying to take it. I was today also pointing out just how ‘boring’ Millie is at the moment because she can’t do anything & just eats milk and how much he can do because he is a ‘big boy’ and that he gets to eat nice things like chocolate. I think a little of it sank in.
Despite this, he is still lovely with her. I can already see the protective big brother side of him, even with them being so small. If she cries he will take her bunny to her or pop her dummy back in her mouth. Then he got most upset today when Stuart kissed him goodbye but didn’t kiss Millie as he went into work.
I was looking at a photo of them together the other day and I just get this feeling they are going to be good friends when they are older.
Callum says he loves Millie and at nursery last week when talking about what makes them happy he said Millie. I don’t quite believe him and am not sure where that came from but it was very sweet.
Monday 5 November 2012
Its been a while since I was tagged in a MeMe and I quite like this one, particularly because it fits in nicely with the theme of this blog, unlike most of the others I’ve come across! So I can actually genuinely say thank you to Aimee for tagging me this time.
You have to ask your child to draw a picture of you. Well, clearly Millie is too young so it was a job for Callum. Thankfully, he has been in a drawing mood recently so I armed myself with paper and (shiny new) pencils on a visit to Nanna & Grandpa’s to encourage him to draw a picture of me.
“No, I’m drawing an aeroplane, flying”
“I’ll draw a rainbow”
I gave up! Thankfully, I have a back up plan! A couple of days earlier he voluntarily drew a lovely family portrait so, this may be cheating, but here is me:
I was pleased to see I had a smile on my face this time (last time I was sad).
I enquired about the green line surrounding me:
“You’re trapped and you’re trying to get out”.
Clearly a very perceptive and sensitive child!
I wasn’t brave enough to ask why I had bubble type arms whereas everyone else had sticks…I feared I may have got back “they’re your boobies mummy” considering he has seen a fair bit of them since Millie has been born. Safer left unsaid!
I feel it is only fair, now, to share with you the whole picture. From left to right, Me, Callum, Millie (the green person by his hand, the one by his head is a “funny head”) and Stuart.
I do love that he is actually drawing proper recognisable ‘things’ and people now. I’m always excited to see what his next picture may be.
Saturday 20 October 2012
Having given birth to child number 2 in August, I’ve recently been giving some thought about the type of parent I want to be and what messages and lessons I want to pass on to my children. What do I want my children to say when they are asked to describe their mother? Do I think I am fitting the description of the parent I want to be?
Honest & Trust
So the type of parent I want to be is an honest mother that is open about my own life and experiences so I can encourage them to be open with me and maybe learn from some of my mistakes though I know they will also need to make their own. I want them to trust me but I know I must earn their trust. I want to be the person they turn to when they are sad or are in trouble. My sister said something recently which I think is often difficult to do as a parent but I think it is important we try. Its about playing the long game.
She said her eldest son trusts her with his mobile phone (he is 13) whereas he wouldn’t trust anyone else. She said he is very insular, an introvert, so it has been tempting to go through his phone to find out what is going on in his life, especially if she knows he is unhappy about something but she has refrained as she wanted him to be able to trust her. If he has taken the step and confided in her she has kept her promise not to tell anyone else so he therefore trusts her. She says she can see him battling with himself whether to tell her something but then will take the courage to open up to her. I want this type of relationship with my own children. I also believe this means being honest yourself. How can they trust you if you lie to them! This is hard as a parent as you don’t want them to mistreat that trust before they know what it means. For example, I want to be able to tell them things that I may not necessarily want them to tell other people or my own parents. But sometimes I may have to take a chance, a leap of faith, to ensure I earn their trust.
Fun & Friends
I want to be a mum that they can have a laugh with. I want to be their friend but also someone they respect and listen to when I teach them wrong from right! I don’t want to be a walkover. Nor do I want to be someone who is always cross at them causing them to remember me as always telling them off. Sometimes I look at myself and how I am with my son, who’s 4, and I feel like ‘Angry Mum’ and worry we don’t laugh enough. I want to be silly and sometimes that may mean I’m ‘Embarrassing Mum’ but perhaps he will forgive me that and laugh with me – as will his sister too when she grows up. This is the one in particular I think I’m failing at and I really want to try harder with. I put on the War of the Worlds the other day and Callum and I were dancing around the kitchen. It was such a lovely moment and I want more! I want him to have more of these moments too!
Respect & Consider
I have tried to live my life under the rule ‘treat others as you wish to be treated’. Sometimes I think I do this too much and I get upset that not everyone lives by the same rule. Stuart says I have high expectations of myself and therefore high expectations of others. However, I’m not perfect, I sometimes judge people or say something which I wouldn’t like someone to say to me but then I like to think I admit when I am wrong and I berate myself for doing so. I hope I learn a lesson and try harder not to repeat it in future. I am quite introspective and am forever analysing myself and my actions. I would like to install the same morals in my children. I don’t want them to be weak (and I do sometimes consider myself as weak) but I do want them to treat others with respect and to be ‘the better man’ in altercations. That others may not treat you how you wish to be treated but that shouldn’t mean you drop to their level – two wrongs don’t make a right. I want them to put themselves in the other person’s shoes to try to understand their actions so that they are better able to respond to them in an appropriate manner.
Believe & Achieve
I want my children to take opportunities. To believe that if they want something enough and work at it hard, they can be whatever they want to be, do whatever they want to do (be it legal and not at the expense and hurt of others). It makes me cross when Callum says “I can’t” to stuff which i) I know he can and/or ii) he hasn’t tried to do. I wish I knew how to encourage him to be otherwise. I try to praise him for trying things and sometimes that works but if he is being lazy there is nothing I can do to persuade him.
I just hope, as both Callum and Millie grow up, I can live by example and hope that some of what I do and teach rubs off on them and they can grow up into people they are proud of themselves and that I can be a parent they can look upon fondly, love, respect and think of as a friend as well as a mother.
I would love to hear what lessons you would like to teach your children and how you would like to be thought of as they grow up. Please do share with me by leaving a comment.
Friday 19 October 2012
Since having Millie, I’m starting to realise I’m really quite selfish and a bit of a control freak! Well, I always knew both but it appears I’m even worse than I thought or hoped!
After weeks of suffering from a very sore nipple, I wrote a post the other week about slowly beginning to stop and move to formula (Its for the breast). Everyone was very supportive and empathetic with their comments about how well I had done and I had given my daughter the best start, which I did really appreciate, but it wasn’t the fact I was concerned for my daughter about moving from the ‘golden wonder juice’ to the ‘evil fat inducing, disease harbouring’ (not my beliefs but how it is often portrayed) formula. I knew my daughter would be fine, my son survived very well since he was 4 weeks on a completely formula diet until weaning and then cow’s milk at 2ish and there’s not an ounce of fat on him! No, my concern was for myself! I felt like a failure for not being able to get my daughter to feed correctly so that I wasn’t sore and hurting and therefore not getting to experience pain free, convenient feeding!
As it turned out, my nipple finally healed, now, at nearly 9 weeks of breastfeeding! I did replace one feed – the bedtime one – with formula but when I got to a week, when I said I would start replacing one of the other feeds with formula every couple of days, I realised that finally my nipple was healing so I continued as I was, with just the one change in formula. Everything was going well.
But then everything changed again!
Earlier this week (already feels like a lifetime ago) Stuart and I (and Millie) went to Torquay for a couple of nights while Callum enjoyed a stay with his grandparents. Millie decided to start refusing the boob. Or would take it and then, confused by the flow, would get stroppy with it and then refuse any more! But had no trouble taking her bottle! At 2 in the morning, this was not much fun!
I worried my milk was drying up. I blamed it on the glass of wine I had that night! Perhaps I was getting too stressed when feeding in public. But, truthfully, I think she preferred the bottle! It was easy, no need to work at it! The breastmilk flow was different and she didn’t know what to do with it anymore and swallowed a lot of air. Problem being, we were staying in a guesthouse style hotel with just a couple of bottles, limited milk powder and a pot of milton sterilised water! I didn’t have the supplies, a microwave, a proper steriliser, a pot of formula – certainly not at 2am! Then the next day in the restaurant for our lunch, she started fussing again and I started getting all self-conscious so I thought I would try when we got back to the car before we left to drive home. Still not interested! I started fretting. Stuart kindly ran to Boots (twice) to get some readymade formula and a sterilised bottle. He got back with the readymade formula but no bottle. Then I remembered I still had a bottle in the milton solution. Millie happily, hungrily drank the ready made formula (well some then a load more when we made a fuel stop). Was it time to admit defeat! Millie was choosing the bottle over me. I couldn’t remember the last time my boobs let down. Was it all over for the boob!
But this was what I originally planned so why was I upset?
It wasn’t my decision this time! It was out of my control! I wanted to decide when I switched from breast to formula not Millie, my boobs or some other force!
By the time I got to my parents to pick Callum up, Millie was hungry again, we had no sterilised bottle ready and I was determined to get her to accept my breast. I tried feeding her in the lounge but the same story – she started breastfeeding then again refused. I decided to go upstairs, out of everyone’s view, in the calm and darkness of a bedroom on our own. She still wasn’t interested so I decided to get tough! I tricked her! I tempted her with a dummy and when she went to suck I pushed her onto my breast. She would feed for a bit then realise and complain so I would do the same again until she finally accepted (she wasn’t happy to just have the dummy, she was definitely hungry).
I then did the same in the night and the next morning until she accepted the breast again.
I made the decision that I had to go back to fully breastfeeding now that my nipple was better and remove the confusion or the chance for her to reject me (no one likes to be rejected!). I was finally getting to the point where I could breastfeed without pain and be able to ‘enjoy’ the convenience, I wasn’t going to give it up yet!
Now she is happily feeding off me again without any trouble. We briefly went to feeding every 3 hours in the night for one night which she has hardly done during the night since she was born, previously going 6-8 hours at night. However, last night she went 5 hours so heading back in he right direction again.
So now, being away from the emotion of it all, thinking logically once again, I wonder whether I should’ve just let her do her thing. She was weaning naturally, I should’ve put my pride aside. *Slaps forehead*
I’m now back to the worry about how my Mum is going to feed her when I do my driver awareness course (naughty girl – speeding – another story!) – there will likely be 2 feeds across the 3 hour course and the time it takes me to get there and back. I guess I’m going to have to express – and she will have to use a bottle to feed! Hopefully, she will just accept it and it wont interfere with breast for this time.
Also, I’m pretty sure I will want to start moving from breast to bottle in a month but will have to start from scratch.
But it will be my choice to do so, when I’m ready. I will spend the next month making sure I have the right bottles and teats etc and I’ll be prepared! Well, that’s the plan but surely it will all change again in a weeks time!
Friday 12 October 2012
At last, I can exercise! Its been too long! But now I have the challenge of fitting it around 2 kiddies.
Being as I have 2 children 3 days a week and 1 child 2 days a week, and then need to share the ‘exercise time slots’ with Stuart at weekends as well as balancing it around Millie’s feed times, I thought I was limited to the odd burst on the Wii Fit but thankfully, there’s another option.
Our SureStart Children’s Centre is excellent. I actually live near 2 but have chosen to go to the one slightly further away, Southbourne, as 1) I’m a snob and its a nicer centre and 2) the classes suit me better. The ones at the other centre always seemed to clash with Callum’s swimming or something else.
There is so much on offer there – such a wide range of classes for everyone. The majority are free or they request a small donation or £1 to go towards any snacks/drinks they provide for the little ones. There are exercise classes, play groups (for children of all ages), speech classes, breastfeeding groups – your really are spoilt for choice!
I have been going along to their Breastfeeding Group, Bossom Buddies, already since Millie was a few weeks old. While there yesterday, one of the girls mentioned she had done a Buggy Fit class the week before that went down to Southbourne beach and back on a 4 mile route.
After Callum, when living in Surrey, I had joined Pushy Mothers which is an exercise class for mums with their buggies (and children of course!!!). It was a gentle class but I met some great friends and, the best bit, we all used to undo our hardwork in the pub after with lunch and sometimes cake. We used to take over part of the pub to chat the afternoon away while our babes played and crawled about. It wasn’t a ‘pub’ pub, it was a hotel restaurant pub so slightly, er, classier (marginally, I admit!).
I had thought about doing the same down this way but as it was over £5 a class and when I looked into similar classes in Bournemouth, they were about the same price, I thought that wasn’t going to be an option. I also had to make sure that it fell on a day I didn’t have Callum.
Then I heard about this class, it was free(!!!) and it took place on a Friday morning! The only challenge would be getting there for the 9.45am start (well arrive at 9.45 for a 10am start!), especially as the centre is a 20 minute walk away (I don’t have the car on Thursdays and Fridays).
I was up a little late this morning but shovelled some breakfast down and made it to the centre bang on 9.45am, with a stitch and a little out of breath before the class had even started!
The disclaimer form I had to sign to say I had been given the OK to exercise (no one has actually said those words but I had my 6 week check, where not one finger was laid on me, and nothing was said to the contrary and I feel fine to exercise so I took that as ok), and that my baby was at least 8 weeks old. Well, actually she isn’t 8 weeks until Monday but they let that pass. We were the ‘youngest’ there (Millie, not me!) and there were a few surprised faces but they are all (but one) first time mums and I do think it is easier to get back into the swing of exercise second time round. I’ve missed it so much!
Anyway, at 10 am we set off walking at a steady pace towards the park. Pretty soon in she instructed us to jog and the rest of the walk was made up of intermittent walking, jogging and sprinting and took us through the park, down streets, through woodland walks down to the seafront where we walked down one cliff path and jogged (read trotted a few steps, wobbled all over the path trying to keep moving forwards before panting in a mess halfway, walking a fair bit then half jogging, half stumbling the final few yards) up the next cliff path before taking the route back to the centre. In total we burned over 500 calories walking 3.66 miles.
The Instructor kept a close eye on us all and made sure we went at a pace we were comfortable with and for those that had been going to the class for a while, they were given more challenging stuff to do or a slightly longer route.
There were about 10 of us in the group and there was a good mix of abilities so no one felt pressured to do more than they were able or like they were being held back. All the girls were also really friendly and I got to chat to a number of different people along the route. No after trip to the pub this time though!
I found it really hard work but I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to go back again next week. There was the added bonus that the sun was shining too! And we’ll gloss over the fact I had forgotten to strap Millie into the buggy. Mortified! Thankfully, there was no baby falling out of pushchair incident and she was in exactly the same position at end as at the beginning, having slept the whole time only stirring once or twice!
It feels so good to be doing some proper exercise again! I perhaps could have eased myself back in a little more gently but hey, what’s the point? As long as I am sensible, am enjoying it, warming up/down properly, the quicker I get back to fitness the better I say!
Friday 5 October 2012
I am 4 Years Old!
I’m a big boy now
I am very helpful – I like to help Mummy do jobs around the house, like put the washing on, hang washing on the line and fill/empty the dishwasher. I also like to help Mummy with Millie getting her new nappy ready when Mummy is changing her or getting a muslin when Mummy has left it somewhere
I also like to make a lot of mess and spread this mess about all over the house
I now have a bike like Daddy. I still have stabilisers but I am learning and love riding it
I love my family and friends and tell them lots that I love them
I hate it when Mummy cries (when Baby Millie makes her booby hurt) and tell her that I love her and give her a cuddle
I have lots and lots of energy
I like to got outside to play, I like to go places and see people, I like shopping but particularly like eating out. In fact every time we go past a restaurant, cafe, supermarket I get hungry all of a sudden, but Mummy & Daddy keep telling me its a treat to eat out and costs money so we don’t go often
I am always hungry
I can now count to 13 on my own but sometime like to invent numbers like eleventeen. I can also recognise bigger numbers when I see them. I like to count and look for numbers a lot
At night I like to cuddle my doggy called Suzie and my teddy called…er….Teddy!
My favourite meal is probably Sausages and Chips
I like to say everything is my ‘favourite one’ even if I haven’t tried it or don’t know what it is – I also ‘love’ everything too
Since becoming 4, I now like cauliflower, red & orange pepper and mushrooms
I still wear a pull up at night, but hey, that’s ok
I like to go to sleep with the light on. My Auntie LaLa bought me a rocket lava lamp for my birthday so I go to sleep with this light on and Mummy & Daddy turn it off once I’m asleep.
I get up and make my own breakfast in the morning before Mummy and Daddy wake up. Though Mummy turns the toaster off now so I don’t burn the house down, despite bringing her toast in bed once!
I like to watch Dora the Explorer and would watch it non-stop if Mummy let me but she says I can only watch 2 episodes a day
The real reason I go downstairs when I get up is so I can sneak a few more extra episodes of Dora in without Mummy knowing how many I’m watching!
I can dress myself and clean my own teeth but sometimes I pretend I can’t. I’ve been doing this for a year or two but sometimes ‘forget’ and try to get Mummy or Daddy to do it
I like swimming. I’m very brave and jump in without any fear. I also prefer to swim with my face in the water. I can’t swim without arm bands as I’m still learning to kick my legs correctly but I’m getting there.
I love going to Nursery and go twice a week, on Thursday and Friday
I’m so big now that I can’t reach from my feet to my head with my hands
When I get bigger and I’m a girl, I’m going to help Mummy feed Millie with my boobies