Tuesday 31 January 2012

Repeat after me..”It’s just a phase”

Oh dear, I’m going through another I love you but I don’t like you phase with Callum at the moment.

He is behaving like a very spoilt child where every sentence starts with “I want….” and then follows with a whining “I don’t want….” when he gets it (after I make him ask for it nicely “May I have…”, I don’t respond to the I want behaviour).

I then feel like we spend the whole time at each other’s throats, which is exhausting, so will try to plan something nice to do together. I hold my hands up here and say I’m not finding it easy going out at the moment. I am not a good winter person and if the sun isn’t shining, I prefer to hibernate, but I know Callum needs stimulation and often needs more than what can be offered from staying inside – especially as he was poorly last week so we were forced to spend a few days cooped up inside.

So, today, taking advantage of the sun shining and despite the cold whether, I took him to the Aviation Museum at Bournemouth Airport. He actually woke up in a really good mood this morning too so I was looking forward to the trip.

We have a nice enough time in there and he wants a helicopter from the shop so I get him one.

We pop in to see my Dad who works in the grounds and within minutes he has broken the helicopter – he now no longer likes it. When we say goodbye and get in the car he starts to get ‘difficult’ he sees the helicopter which I’ve put down on the seat for a minute while I plug him in (which he doesn’t want to happen) and shouts “No, I don’t want the helicopter, I don’t want it” while trying to get to it when I know he will throw it.

We get home and I try to make lunch and he starts demanding again:

“I want it cold” while grabbing the bread.

“I don’t want butter on it”

“I want it hot”

“I don’t want a sandwich” repeated about 30 times increasing in volume and aggression each time he says it.

“I don’t want cheese, I want ham” (me – “we don’t have any ham, we only have cheese”)

“I want a ham sandwich, I want ham, I don’t want cheese”

He then starts to hit and kick at me.

I carry him up to his bedroom for time out! The stair is getting less effective these days!

Now I know behaviour deteriorates when he is hungry and I factor this in but it is rarely in this spoilt way and this is just one example from over the last few days. There have been plenty of times when he has been like this when I know he isn’t hungry. He woke up screaming and demanding yesterday – not the most enjoyable sound at 6.45am!!!

He keeps also misbehaving for attention. Or uses going to the toilet as an attention tool.He is more than capable of going to the toilet on his own, does all the time at nursery and sometimes does at home but he makes us go with him all the time and wants us to pull down his trousers and pants then pull them up again. I refuse to do it! It is probably our own fault for this happening because, when time is an issue, we’ve done it to speed things up so have clearly built a rod for our own back but he’s got to start doing it himself! He is and has always been lazy. Once he can do something himself, he loses interest and will try anything he can to not do it and get us to do it for him. The only way through it is to be tough.

He has to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around him and he can’t be so demanding. Especially when he gets a baby brother or sister and I wont be able to dedicate so much time running around after him – he will get quite a shock to the system!!

I know it is just a phase at the moment. He goes through these phases then a week or two later he is back to being his loveable self again – I only have to read back through this blog to know this much. Its just so miserable at the time when you are going through it!

I’ve vowed to whip out the reward chart when we move (I’d do it now but can’t find where I’ve put the pad!) to cover the following:

  • Going to the toilet on his own
  • Washing his hands after the toilet
  • Cleaning his teeth
  • Eating his dinner himself (all that BLW down the drain!)
  • and general good behaviour

All things we are going to need to tackle to encourage him to be more independent!

I feel guilty (when does a parent not feel guilty?) because his behaviour is probably our own doing in a lot of the cases! When things are good, I imagine we get a bit lax with things and then when they go down hill, we get angry at Callum when I should probably be looking at myself.

Oh the joys of parenting!

Reading that back, it sounds like I’m being really hard on him and maybe expecting too much but its all stuff I know he can do and has done and he doesn’t behave like this all the time, he just goes through periods so maybe that’s why I’m expecting so much.

Sigh, I hate writing posts like this, I end up feeling like such a bad parent that rather than be my therapy I wonder if it just makes me feel worse…

Monday 23 January 2012

Baby Bump or Food Baby? 10 Weeks, 3 Days

I’m at that stage now, in pregnancy, where it is difficult to tell whether my bump is baby or fat!
After eating a meal, to me, it definitely looks like baby bump protruding out and it does go quite hard but when squeezed over the top of my jeans or I’ll wobble it up and down, it most definitely looks and feels flabby!
However, treading on the scales…and we all know the scales don’t lie!!!….I’m still pretty much the same weight as when I fell pregnant – I’ve fluctuated within the lb during that time but that’s all.
Still, with my boobs and tummy both obviously growing its hard to believe its not because of all that extra chocolate I’m eating and the reduced exercise!
Here are a couple of photos for you to make up your own mind – side profile looks more baby bumpy, front on looks fat (especially those love handles!!). Oh. and that’s a pattern on my t-shirt, I haven’t been splattered by something grotesque!

Friday 20 January 2012

Joyful Update

Hoorah! I have my scan date – I’m booked in for 2 Feb, a day before I’m 12 weeks.
I’m still  being sick. I have bad days and I have not so bad days. I’m still knackered after doing anything more strenuous than laying on the sofa. My clothes are getting tighter and I walk around the house with my button undone on my jeans – I desperately need to get my maternity clothes out of my brother & sister-in-law’s house.
On top of that, I’ve found out I don’t qualify for maternity allowance so need to get my arse in gear to find a job!
Finally, I’ve now got a cold.
As you can see, full of the joys of pregnancy at the moment!
Just a little moan/update.
Tummy size: 95cm

Friday 13 January 2012

And we’re off! - 9 weeks

Today I had my MW booking in appointment.
I was worried I wasn’t going to get one in time because when I rang the Dr the other day (9th Jan), the first appointment could get was 3 February which would have been the day I was 12 weeks. Considering I am meant to have my first scan at 12 weeks, this wasn’t ideal.
Thankfully, they gave me the MW’s mobile number and she managed to squeeze me in today (at 9 weeks).
She is really lovely, I really like her.
All that is done at this stage is a medical history check and setting me up with my new Pregnancy Health Records. Of course, she asks how my last pregnancy and labour went.
Because Callum came at 36 weeks and I had high blood pressure, she has put me down as an at risk pregnancy but that doesn’t necessarily mean I will have any extra monitoring. It will probably just be down to whether my blood pressure goes high and at the moment it is all normal, which is good to hear,
So that’s it, the ball’s rolling. The MW will request my scan and I should receive a letter in the post soon with the date of that. I’ll next see her at 16 weeks on 2 March assuming everything is ok.
(Just to note my starting waist size and weight – I was 95cm and 10st 10lb around 5 weeks and then 94cm  and 10st 9lb last week at about 8 weeks. Weight today was just under 11st)

Proud Mummy Moment

My little boy had his first solo swimming lesson!!! I am so proud of him and, very unlike me, I very nearly shed a tear watching him splashing away.

I was nervous while we were queuing up waiting for the lesson to start. Callum can be quite shy and clingy if he isn’t sure of something. I had carefully chosen the lesson so that it was with the swimming instructor he was familiar with but it was a different swimming pool so he could  have still been apprehensive to go on his own. I had also told him he would be going in on his own so he knew to expect it and he hadn’t seemed worried. I needn’t have worried either he went straight in the water without a care.

It was also lovely to watch him following instructions and waiting his turn. Although I know he can follow instructions when just us and Callum but I don’t often get to see what he is like when there are other children around. He was very good and apart from a couple of times being distracted by the big swimming pool (resulting in another little girl on the lesson pulling him to the float by his arm rings to break him from his reverie) followed all the instructions given to him.

He still needs to work on stretching his legs out behind him and up so he kicks out of the water to help propel him forward but that’s what the swimming lessons are for! To help him progress.

However, when it was his turn to jump in the water after a ball he threw, I couldn’t have been more proud. He did a big jump completely on his own without fear. All the other children in the lesson either jumped at the instructor or went for her hand – none of them did it without trepidation.

It looks like swimming is definitely the sport worth pursuing for Callum at this stage, especially comparing it to the disaster of the football lessons we took him to.

I should have taken a close up photo of him with his goggles on – he looked so cute.  Unfortunately, though, I only thought of taking photos when I saw the other mums doing so so only got photos from a distance and including the other children so I don’t like to share them here without their permission. I’ll try to get one of just Callum next week.

Wednesday 11 January 2012

Just My Opinion!

The one thing I have learnt in my 3 years as a parent is that there is no easy way or one solution to a problem. Its like the saying goes, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”! Now why you all try to get the gruesome image out of your head, there is also a learning quote I rather like:

It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.  ~Attributed to Harry S Truman

and another one

I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me.  ~Dudley Field Malone

I remember in the early days after Callum had arrived, asking if anyone had a manual. Of course, no one came to my rescue with one amazing manual but what people did do is give me advice and share with me what worked for them. Likewise, it is natural that if I find something that works particularly well for me and Callum then I will sing its praises to all who will listen, some may say this is preaching. But I will always remember what worked for me may not work for someone else so if they choose not to accept my advice or try my ‘solution’ then that’s their choice and I’ll never get upset about it. I would never tell people how to bring up their children (if I have ever come across this way, then I apologise as it wouldn’t have been intentional), nor will I strop if someone doesn’t agree with me! But most of all, I would not call anyone a failure for trying a different parenting approach whether it is something I agree with or not. Being a parent is bloody hard work and providing they are safe and loved then whoever you are you’re doing a bloody good job whichever parenting methods you prefer!

Similarly, many friends took the Gina Ford route. Good for them, I remember feeling envious over their babies sleeping through the night from as early as 4 weeks. But, I also knew that the Gina Ford approach wouldn’t work for me, my baby and my lifestyle. No one got upset or defriended me because I chose not to do the same. There were many friends that did try this approach and it didn’t work for them. Why? Because every baby is unique! This is probably the best thing you could every learn and accept about your children and when you do, you’ll notice your life getting a lot easier. What works wonders for one baby will not work for another. That’s life – accept it!

Even identical twins are unique.

Hopefully, when our children grow up they will then become unique free thinking individuals who will continue to share what they have learnt with others but be open to learn from others too!

So what has lead to this ranty post?

I ‘chat’ (yes, I don’t use it as it was truly intended as a micro blogger I prefer to use it as a messaging tool and to tell everyone what I had for dinner…sorry!) on Twitter to many other mums, and some dads too, and I am also a member of a parenting forum. I have found these social networks an invaluable support. I accept that I don’t know everything and the wonder of these tools is that they help me to open my mind to new ideas and to hear the different opinions of others. Some I may agree with, others I wont. But that’s what makes us great, that free thinking and individuality. Life would be very boring if we all thought and behaved the same.

If you aren’t willing to accept the opinions of others then why would you be on Twitter?

There was an instance this week on Twitter that I didn’t witness first hand as I didn’t ‘follow’ them but many people I do follow other Tweeters that were outraged by the comments that were made. Having not been directly involved, my comments are only based on what I do see so I have a caveat that comments may have been taken out of context, there are two sides to every story blah blah blah. But as I understood it, I wont go into detail here but it was affectively calling other parents failures for not agreeing with their own parenting methods. I sincerely hope this wasn’t actually the case but this post is bourne as a result of that being the case. Well congratulations to that other person for unlocking the secret to parenting and I look forward to that manual coming out into the shops very soon! If you, as a mother, are lucky to have a wonderful birth with little or no intervention and a ‘text book’ labour that didn’t involve inductions or c-sections because everything was medically perfect for you then wonderful. Yes, I am impressed and yes, how amazing you are. But I am no less amazing because I think that if something hurts and there is a way to stop that pain, then I want that pain relief. In my opinion, that just makes me sensible! If I have a headache, I take a tablet because why would I suffer the pain just to show everyone how tough I am. I never wanted to be induced – it wasn’t part of my birth plan – but for the safety of my baby, when my waters broke 4 weeks early and my blood pressure was high, I wasn’t going to take any risks – induction it was for me. But even still, if it was part of my birth plan – what does it matter to anyone else? I still have a wonderfully, healthy little boy! Go me!

If you don’t open your mind to new things and other people’s opinions and beliefs then you will never learn anything new but that doesn’t mean you have to accept their opinions as they may not accept yours and that doesn’t make the other person wrong! It doesn’t make you wrong! No one is a failure for having an opinion. It just makes you different! I think that is what makes us ALL amazing!

Monday 9 January 2012

On Reflection

I have been looking over some of my old blog posts recently. Its nice to go back and remind myself what it was like when pregnant or in the early days of Callum being born – you so quickly forget!

One that I read recently was this one 39 weeks, 6 days - 3 weeks, 1 day old and I thought it might be good to reflect back and to see how things changed along the way, if at all.

The first is I realise now, looking back, was how well I was actually doing at that stage. Comparing it to what other people say about those first few weeks, I was getting myself up and ready and even on one day for a 9am appointment!!! I found it tough at the time but I managed it. I was coping rather well with sleep deprivation too. Although, I do also remember that it wasn’t until about 3 weeks later that I started to fall apart a bit more! I’ve mentioned to friends that maybe it was because Callum was early? Perhaps he slept more in those early weeks than other babies? Who knows. I remember wondering what everyone else complained about. A friend asked me how I was managing to get out of the house and I didn’t get what she meant. I was like, I put Callum in the car seat/carrier pick up the change bag and leave the house! lol. Maybe I was just lucky. I should read on a few weeks now and compare how things changed.

The post also talked about how I was adjusting (or not) to the lack of freedom I now had. I was actually welling up at the point where I was writing about an argument Stuart and I had had.

Here is a paragraph I wrote:

What I've never wanted once I had children, was for my husband to just tell me when he is going out or to just expect to go out when he pleases and for me to feel like I need to ask permission to go out. This is what I've seen happen to others and it is completely unfair. The responsibility of looking after the children should be shared and each parent should treat the other as they would wish to be treated. I hope the former doesn't happen to us.

Unfortunately, this never did change. Its just one of those things you have to accept! If I do ever get a courtesy call to ‘ask’ it is more a rhetorical question. Largely it has been down to circumstance and I kind of accept that. Stuart was in London, a long way from home so it was easy for him to go out and difficult for him to get home if I wanted to go out myself. I’ve spent a large amount of time out of work and when I was working it was with people that didn’t socialise after work and, again, even if they had it would be a mission to arrange so that Stuart could get home to pick up Callum. If I did arrange a night it took lots of planning, I often had to avoid certain days which were busier for Stuart so harder for him to get home, it would often have to be later than my friends because Stuart would get home later than their other halves to do the swap over. Ultimately, cos I was closer to home and Callum’s nursery, it was my responsibility to pick him up. Also, it was rarely without complaint, not cos I was going out but because of the effort involved to get home so I could go out. I remember on multiple times saying arranging a night out for me could never be straightforward or without hassle.

So now, with us in Bournemouth, things should be easier but I don’t work so still can’t do the after work drinkies and I am at the early stages of trying to make friends so certainly can’t just call up a girly friend for a quick drink in the pub (admittedly this last point is no different for Stuart – I at least am making friends outside of the workplace….kinda, I guess mummy friends are part of the workplace in a way).

Its not something I’ve found easy to accept even over 3 years later. Mainly because I don’t think Stuart can ever understand how difficult not having this freedom has been. If I knew he understood and could just try to put himself in my shoes, it’d be easier but to understand it is to experience it and that’ll never happen. But, I’m not alone and, in fact, there are many single parents (whether they are mums or dads) that are worse off than me so I shouldn’t complain. Its just one of those things I wish could be different but can’t be! No use going on about something that will never change!

In relation to the rest of the post one thing I can safely say has worked well for us is the being mutual parents when coming to decisions about Callum. I think we have tended to make most of the decisions (particularly the important ones) together. I have always been confident of leaving Callum with Stuart without a long list of what to do and when like many of my friends have had to do – Bobby (made up name, not thinking of someone in particular – any similarity to a child or parents is purely coincidental) has this for breakfast at 8am then has a snack at 10.30am……his bedtime routine starts with baby massage, this CD, 4 oz of milk, I’ve laid out the PJs and story….he likes his head stroked to get to sleep……etc, etc,…..do not leave him watching TV all afternoon….etc, etc.

Even down to the bedtime routine, I tried to let Stuart find his own way rather than enforcing my way on him. I would share with him what I did but it was up to him if he did it – in fact, I remember I actually adopted something he did because it worked better than my method. Dad’s aren’t always inept, its about relinquishing some of the control and letting them think for themselves. The result is – they are more than capable of looking after your children all by themselves!

Admittedly, I wouldn’t expect the house to be tidy, washing up/dishwasher to be done, washing in washing machine hung out and a new load started…etc, like I would have done but at least I  can relax safe in the knowledge that our son would be safe in his company without the step by step instructions.

So you lose some and you win some.

Friday 6 January 2012

Biscuits! I thought you were my friend!

I’ve been feeling a bit sick for about a week now. Usually when I’m tired, hungry or I’ve overeaten (which is a lesser amount to what I used to eat).
I can’t do much about when I’m tired and other than eating slowly and watching portion sizes in the first place, all I can do is wait for the food to go down when I eat too much.
Combatting the hunger sickness, however, is the one I can do something about (so I thought). As I’ve been hungry when I wake up first thing in the morning, I’ve kept a pack of biscuits in my bedside drawer to munch on immediately before waking. This had been helping a bit and if I should get up and move about before this biscuit munch I would quickly find myself with my head down the loo again – but just dry retching (there was nothing to come up as I had an empty tummy).
Though, what I have since discovered is it actually makes no bloody difference. I still dry retch even after the biscuits and I should definitely not drink a cup of tea before my bout of morning retching as that will turn into full blown morning sickness!
Yes, tea & biscuit in bed equalled actually being sick!
So, I am now careful to not have my tea until after my morning retch. As for the biscuits, I’m in denial. If I’m going to dry retch either way, I may as well continue to have a biscuit or two and pretend they are for ‘medicinal’ reasons!
During the day, I’ve tried different techniques…unsuccessfully. Like, scoffing down a bag of sweets….only to feel sick from eating too many sweets!
At least I’m further on than I thought I was – it appears I may actually be 8 weeks now (which is about 1 wk and 2 days further on). I’ll be making my MW booking in appointment next week and then can hopefully get the process started. Maybe even start to accept mentally that I might actually be pregnant…..nah!