parenting

Four Weeks Old

October 21, 2015 | 0 Comment

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Easton @ 18 Days New. Cutest frown ever! Photo by Fox & Feather Photography

You know what I really love? My own bed. I’ve really missed it lately.

I used to wonder what mothers with newborns carry on about. It’s not THAT bad. You feed them, get ‘em all milk drunk and pop them down in their cot, bassinet or cradle, you get some sleep and then they wake you in 3 hours to feed again. Ha. HAHAHA. Ok. Turns out Jack was an astonishingly good newborn and not ‘the norm’. For most of the last 3 ½ weeks Easton didn’t want to sleep in his cot, he wants Mummy or Daddy, which isn’t conducive to a good nights sleep. He can be fast asleep and the moment his little body is transferred onto the cot mattress he’s awake and looking at me like “what the hell do you think you’re doing?”

Ungrateful baby isn’t he? I put blood, sweat and tears in creating a beautiful nursery for him (which I still need to show you all) and he turns his nose up at sleeping in it. Instead of taking him into our bed, hubby and I set up a mattress in his room so that one of us can lay with Easton there whilst the other gets some undisturbed sleep. Did I mention I’ve sorely missed sleeping in my own bed?

I’ve been so tired. Deliriously tired. Eyeballs falling out of my head tired. So tired, in fact, that not only did I not lock the front door during an outing, I didn’t even close it at all. Yes, I left the front door wide open and drove us all to the library. When we got back I thought we’d been robbed. We hadn’t. Well, not robbed of anything other than our sleep and our sanity. It really wasn’t easy. I’ll admit there have been tears in the middle of the night, Easton wanting to party and extreme fatigue taking over. There’s also no ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ when you also have to get up and entertain your 2 year old as well. We’ve both had moments of wishing away these early days and wanting to fast forward to at least three months. Sounds ridiculous I know, I have a child already! I’ve been through this, but I’m telling you, Jack was a great newborn!

However, at 4 weeks we’re starting to get a bit of a routine going. I’m a big believer of following a feed, play, sleep routine, reading his tired signs and putting him down drowsy but awake in his cot and teaching him that it’s a safe space to fall asleep. Previously, he was way too little to be in any semblance of a routine but now that he’s just that bit older it’s starting to work and he’s self settled in his cot with minimal fuss several times now which means he’s not sleeping on me and I can have one on one time with Jack, lessening the inevitable mummy guilt. Progress. I love progress.

The best part? We’re getting some 5/6 hour stretches overnight now and for the last few nights I’ve been able to crawl back in my own bed after each overnight feed! It’s pure heaven.

Someone pass the wine. I might actually survive this two kids business. But please don’t ask me if I’m having a third…

Belinda x

The Judged

June 30, 2015 | 0 Comment

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Is there anyone alive judged as much as a mother?

This occurred to me last Saturday when I was on my lunch break from work. I really felt like sushi, which was readily available, but my first thought was “but now that I think I actually look pregnant, what if someone says something?” I still bought sushi, but it took it back into the store to consume out the back in shame.

It got me thinking about all the decisions a mother has to make that opens her up to judgment, and how it starts right upon conception. How early do you tell people you’re pregnant, how you choose to eat and drink, where you’re comfortable birthing, what pain relief (or if any) you use, whether you required a caesarian or whether you just elected for one because of your own deeply personal reasons.

Even as to whether you’re married or not. I know when my rings stopped fitting my swollen fingers in my last trimester with Jack, I’d see fellow commuters take notice of my pregnant belly and then glance at my bare left hand, whether out of curiosity or silent judgment I’ll never know. But I couldn’t help but feel judged and want to wear a dress ring that fit that finger, even though I personally couldn’t give a rats what your marital status is. It’s none of my business and these days it doesn’t matter in what order you have a child/buy a house/marry or not marry. Everyone is different.

Then of course when the beloved child arrives we are judged on how we are supposed to feel towards and bond with the baby after the birth, how we feed, how often we feed, whether we sleep with our child or not, whether we circumcise and when we decide to get our daughters ears pierced. Not to mention the pressure put upon women to bounce back after pregnancy, as if amongst everything new mothers have already been though, it matters at all. It just never ends. Jump on any forum today and I promise you there will be threads closed down because of arguments got out of hand surrounding many of these issues.

It seems so incredibly unfair. For a time at least, we leave the workforce or give up our careers and work for free for our children and care for our husbands, in the hardest yet most rewarding role we’ll ever take on. We all feel the same anxiety, worries, fears and all have days where we can only cry. Yet we are the judged. Not only that, everything we read and everything we hear makes us judge ourselves. Am I doing the wrong thing? Am I a bad mother?

I’m going to be honest, because I’m a prime candidate to be judged. With the full support of my excellent obstetrician, I eat exactly the same while I’m pregnant than when I’m not and I’ve been on the receiving end of some comments. I devour feta, deli meats, sushi and soft cheese. I can’t even name everything I’m not supposed to have because I don’t know the full list of what I’m supposed to be avoiding. I just use my common sense and judgment as to whether I think something is fresh. I’ve had at least 3 half glasses of wine or champagne this pregnancy. One to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary, one to celebrate a 70th and another last weekend celebrating a friends 40th. I was exactly the same with Jack and I’m immensely proud of the funny, happy, healthy little boy I’m raising. Having said all that, I’m never going to judge YOU because you choose to avoid these things. You are doing the right thing by YOU and how you feel is all that matters both to yourself and the health of your child. I actually admire your discipline.

I think a good rule for those that might want to judge someone’s choices is to ask themselves “how does their choice directly affect me?” If it doesn’t, leave it alone. Mothers heap enough pressure on themselves without everyone else doing it too.

I’m off to cook dinner load up the newest episode of The Bachelorette (US version) cause hubby and I are obsessed – please, no judgement haha.

Belinda x

There’s Always Something…

June 26, 2015 | 0 Comment

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Roundie Playmat by Bella & Moo

I know I said in my last blog post that Jack was at my favourite age yet. Well, there’s one new occurrence that I’m not loving…

My child doesn’t want to sleep without me. It sounds sweet doesn’t it? Though it’s actually kind of frustrating. Nothing has changed in his bedtime routine and yet now as soon as we go to leave the room, he sits up and starts crying. This has probably been going on for about 6 weeks now. On his worst nights, if I took him into bed with me he fell asleep straight away. This same child that always hated co-sleeping! Not that we ever encouraged it, but on the rare occasion if he was sick, teething or uncharacteristically unsettled I’d see if laying down with me would help. It never did. He wanted to be in his own bed. Fast forward to now, and he’d happily sleep next to me but we don’t want that to be the full time solution.

I think he’s getting better, but at the moment we have to ask him to lie down, to reassure him that we are still there, and leave the door ajar. Then repeat this process a few times in 10-15 minutes before he’ll relax enough to settle to sleep. It’s probably a good thing that he’s not yet in a toddler bed, because I don’t think there would be any way he’d stay in it!

Has anyone been through this?

I’ve consulted Google, of course, and it seems a common issue to have with children his age or older but solutions are varied or the authors of similar posts have never come back to update on what worked for them. My guess is their poor souls finally succumbed to toddler-induced sleep deprivation or they were reunited with a healthy bedtime routine and thought “see you later, suckers!” to the rest of us.

I’ve been very open about the fact that I’m a big believer in the benefits of sleep training, but only between the ages of 6-12 months. This is not something I believe will work for Jack now. He’s older, more aware of what’s going on, growing rapidly, at an age where the 8 most painful teeth can come in and he’s old enough to be anxious or scared. He needs comfort and reassurance, not to be left to cry. As I’m pregnant, I’m also aware that he might have a sense that something big is happening, that things are changing. Kids, even children this young, are so much more intuitive than I ever would have thought, though it upsets me to think that he’s nervous about the future, or wondering what is going on and why people are talking so much about a new baby.

So, I ask, how do you comfort them without implementing bad habits that we’ll have to try and break later? I guess we’ll continue to reassure as we have been and hopefully ride out this stage.

I’d love to hear any tips if anyone has any.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. It’s Friday night and I’m spending it at home with my homemade spinach & ricotta pie, that I baked earlier whilst Jack chased our dog around outside, and the football. A perfect evening!

Belinda x

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