For sale: One Mummy, surplus to requirements (Used, Without tags)

For about 2 years or so now it seems that every waking moment was about my daughter.  “I must eat more grains so the baby develops properly”; “I must eat the right food so my milk is nutritious”; “I must make sure she eats her 5 a day” and so on and so forth, not counting all the other things like cuddling and clothes washing and bathing and putting to sleep.  My life, probably quite rightly, is centred around her.  So I feel entirely justified in being pleased that her world is all about me. When she tripped, she wanted me, when she wanted to play, she wanted me, when she wanted to sleep, she wanted me.  As exhausting and sometimes irritating that was, I was secretly pleased.  But note the use of the past tense here, for things have changed.

A few weeks ago my parents came to look after Hannah while I went to work, and my mum stayed on so that we could go to an exhibition together the next day.  While we were at the exhibition Hannah and her daddy went to see her other grandparents.  Since then, it’s been all about other people- Grandad, Grandma, Daddy, Nanny, the nursery assistant, the bloked over the road- anyone but Mummy.  She stepped up this anti-mummy sentiment a week ago when she had a minor trip to hospital because I was the evil satanist who kept her awake and let the men in the white coats prod at her.

This has, unfortunately, coincided with a renewed passion for the word “no”, which she uses with such feeling and convincing that you know she wants you to feel how totally she means it. This has mostly been directed at me.  I ask her if she wants a cuddle “No!”. And then promptly wanders over to her Daddy for one. I ask her for a kiss. “No”. I ask her if she wants to play “No”. What really took the biscuit for me was when my parents were baby sitting again; I had a really tough day at work and was so looking forward to my cuddle with her, and when she saw me she turned her head away and buried herself in Grandma.  I felt rubbish, and irrationally upset that my daughter “hated” me. I had no idea what I had done wrong and felt really, really hurt. Where was my little girl whose face lights up every time she sees her Mumma????

So there I was, for two weeks, feeling miserable, unloved and wondering what I had done wrong, when she did a little stumble and bumped her head. I was back in the room. The cuddles, the kisses, they were back! Mummy was number one again! “No” became a random word again (sort of )! Hurrah! And then I made the cruel mistake of clipping her nails. I mean what kind of horrible person would want to stop their child from scratching their arms to pieces?  I guess I’ll just have to wait until she trips over again to see how long this phase lasts…..

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Reflections on year one

When I woke up (was woken up) prematurely this morning we went through our usual wake up routine of “I’ll pour the milk, you go and get her”. I took her downstairs and I checked my phone and looked at an app which reminded me that exactly one year ago my husband and I had a huge argument about responsibility and how hard it is looking after a baby. I remember that argument well; I hadn’t slept more than 4 hours for 2 months, my boobs were full and sore, our house was a chaotic mess of baby and boxes (we’d recently moved in) and my daughter wouldn’t stop crying. I can even remember thinking that there was no way that our marriage would last……well I am happy to say that it’s a little over a year since our tiny bundle of joy entered the world and we are still very much together, and very happy. Other things which have surprised me:

1. I have discovered a new kind of tiredness. Bad news- the tiredness never ends; you just learn to cope with it. Actually, you just find a new kind of tiredness.

2. Babies fart. I didn’t realise this (I know I’m stupid) and it came as a big shock when she did her first blow off. I have also regressed and joined my daughter in finding farts funny again.

3. I don’t feel guilty about going to work. I know some mothers do, but I dont. I adore my girl and I wish that I could spend more time with her, but I’ve got used to sending her to nursery and get a huge rush every day when I pick her up. It’s wonderful knowing that she has had a great day of playing and learning with people who are more experienced in child development than me, and I enjoy my dual role of pen pusher and mother again. I even don’t mind that my daughter has a girl crush on one of the nursery nurses – Zaneta that’s you- because I know that Mummy is number 1.

4. Work is better. I work because I have to. When I went back, I went back to the same job. It’s satisfying and rewarding to me, and I make more of an effort than I did before- mainly because I want to, whereas before I felt that it was just sort of expected. However, as I explained to my manager just before my mid year appraisal I don’t really care anymore, which makes my decision making more rational. Or something like that.

5. I am not heartbroken when my baby cries. I find it quite annoying sometimes. It’s heart breaking when she is hurt or in pain, and I want to make it all better for her, but when it’s a case of “I want the remote control” or something like that, it’s irritating.

6. I am superwoman. I don’t think that my husband realised this when he married me, and I certainly didn’t reveal my powers to him until I gave birth. I have the power to reproduce. The power to comfort a screaming baby. The power to put a baby to sleep. The power to maintain a clean(ish) house, a full time job, a full-up husband, and a baby that is still alive after 13 months of being assigned to us.

7. How amazing she is. I thought that would die down a bit, but every time I look at her she has a new expression, or does something that I didn’t know she could do, or when she responds to something I didn’t think she’d understand, I get a huge rush of love and just want to pick her up and cuddle and kiss her. This happens practically on a second by second basis.

I love my new life. It’s totally weird and different, and there is plenty I would change, but I love it. Thank you my little miracle baby.

Not going out

I think my inner mummy bear is coming out.

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My poor little guy has been teething like crazy for the past 10 days and we’re finally starting to see some little white tips just under his gums. He’s been crying in pain before going to sleep and I’ve been giving him all sorts of things to help, from painkillers to hocus pocus powder (ok, homeopathic powder) to tons of extra cuddles. It’s been hard going for all of us, but it won’t be forever.

Thing is that it’s making me even more protective over my baby than before. Take tonight, I had the chance to go out on my own and drink cocktails with the girls. I could have had a whole evening baby-free, eating at a leisurely pace, enjoying whole conversations, drinking cocktails! But I couldn’t do it. I knew that little Jim would go to sleep eventually and that my other half could take care of him but I just had to be here. It’s a very strange feeling. Now I know what a paper clip feels like when it gets stuck on a magnet.

The saving grace is that while I can’t tear myself away from him at the moment, I don’t mind at all. It’s down to him that I have a whole new way of life, new people, new places, I’m fitter than I used to be, more confident. I can definitely put up with staying in tonight.

(Note-to-self: I O U one night out drinking cocktails)

Hush little baby

Hannah is asleep IN HER COT DURING THE DAY. This is remarkable, however I have a delivery due and am on tenterhooks as to whether the doorbell will wake her. By the end of this blog we will know…….

I am still very much the kind of mother who worries that her baby has somehow managed to injure herself or suffocate while I haven’t been supervising her, despite being in a grobag, and not having the ability to walk or even roll over. I probably take it too far – in fact I know I do. I have a video monitor which I check nearly all the time, I do 15 minute checks on her and I will always be suspicious of silence. It’s my OCD way of being on the safe side.

Hannah has always gone to sleep in my arms during the day until recently when I decided that enough was enough and that she would just have to go down in her cot. The house is a tip (see Anna’s earlier post), the bins need to be put out, and more importantly she won’t be able to rely on me to get her to sleep when I go back to work. Easier said than done – it takes a pretty strong woman to listen to a baby crying their heart out because they are tired and want to be held. However I will persevere because, for us, that’s the best thing to do for our girl.

For me “Sleep Policy” is an issue where lots of parents disagree, and that in the end your parenting style will tell you what’s best for your baby. It’s been the toughest thing for me to think through so far. But our sleep policy also got me thinking about the parameters around the daytime sleep – Hannah is the centre of my world, but I don’t turn the TV off, I don’t speak in hushed tones (actually I’m on my own at the moment so I’d be worried if I was shouting) and I haven’t dismantled the door chime. I’m concerned that doing all of those things will encourage poor sleeping habits, and if I’m honest I want to carry on with my day and sometimes that involves noise. I don’t mean to say that the house shouldn’t be quiet and I know that Hannah needs a calm and quiet environment in which to sleep. I have turned the TV down, the curtains in her room are drawn and when I go upstairs I tiptoe as if the stairs are about to fall in. I just don’t want to take it to extremes and I want Hannah to know that Mummy is in charge (or at least tries to be).

There is, of course, an opposite side to the coin. About 2 years ago I was visiting a friend who I hadn’t seen in a while. In fact I had never met her 2 year old boy but I was vaguely surprised when she told me to text her when I was outside her door because her little guy was asleep. When I got in to the house I was asked to whisper instead of speaking normally (I thought this was odd because the little boy’s bedroom was at the other side of the (big) house) and was given special slippers in case I wanted to move from the settee. Am I cruel or mean for thinking that was extreme? Likewise I was amused when she told me that she sometimes affixes notices to her door asking callers to ring her mobile instead of knocking on the door when her son is asleep. I still don’t really understand why she wanted to advertise her mobile number to the whole neighbourhood but each to his own.

For me, so long as you aren’t holding a disco in your front room it should be fine to make a little noise during the day. In fact some noise can help babies – I know some mothers who swear that their vacuum cleaner helps their babies to nod off. I haven’t tried that one yet but I might do. If you have any other tips or advice, do let me know.  I’d be really interested to know which side of the fence people tend to come down on so I’ve added a poll to this blog to find out.

OK, so this post is nearing its end and I am sure you are dying to know whether Hannah is still asleep. When the delivery man came she did stir but then drifted off again so I am yet to discover whether the new sleep policy will work. Lucky me – I now have time to empty the dishwasher….

 

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First World Cry Baby

memeHas anyone else noticed that their propensity for bursting into tears has been magnified by having a baby? I feel like my tear-threshold has been lowered to the same level as a 5 year old’s and I’m not the kind of person who likes a) making a scene b) looking like a wuss or c) re-applying mascara, so it’s highly inconvenient!

I know I can’t be alone in crying over The TV advert for Vision Express, but later that same day the menu bar on my laptop disappeared and I didn’t know how to get it back, my solution? To cry about it.

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