Saturday, 20 October 2012

A Mother, A Friend, A Teacher

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

A bit of a selfish control freak!

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!

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

Back on the Exercise Wagon!

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

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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

I Am Six Weeks Old

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I am now six weeks old!

I have been smiling for 3 weeks and smile at my family when they talk to me. I have also been known to smile at Mummy’s boob and the connector that holds my mobile attached to my cot!

I  like to stick out my tongue

I blow bubbles a lot (though not intentionally)

I made my Mummy sad when I started crying real tears

I make my Mummy very happy when I try to talk to her. At the moment it just comes out as “ohhhhh” and then gives me hiccups which I don’t like

I still sleep more than I am awake but I am much more interactive now when I’m awake and the periods I am awake are starting to get longer – but who doesn’t like to sleep all day?

I have lots of Cradle Cap all over the front of my head, forehead, eyebrows and on and behind my ears. I find it itchy so when I get cuddled I rub my head on people to make it stop itching (Mummy wants to know who invented such a silly word and challenges everyone who says they are not tempted to say a naughty word instead of cap)

My forehead appears to have grown quicker than my scalp/hair – I therefore now look bald at the front of my head. I also have a bald patch at the back.

My hair is getting fairer each day & Mummy suspects I’ll be blonde like my Daddy & Brother but swears she will dye it brown like hers & no one will know!

I have only had a few baths – I preferred the one in the sink to the ones in the big bath but I’m not a huge fan of this water thing!

I usually sleep for a 6-7 hour stretch at night which my Mummy said my brother didn’t do for several months – this makes me smile smugly at my big brother when Mummy isn’t looking

I can already swing my hips over when I see something I like – Mummy thinks I’ll be rolling before they know it. He he, watch out Callum’s toys, soon you’ll be mine!