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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On synthetic babies

This morning, I got up at 4.30am.  Not because my baby was crying, but because I had to go abroad for work (when I say abroad I mean Brussels, but “abroad” sounds more glamorous).  I felt like I did going to work on a Monday when I was 25 – way too tired, not rested, and looking like a zombie.  Meanwhile, my girl was fast asleep dreaming of Iggle Piggle and Peppa Pig, having spent the evening before tearing around the living room as if it was some kind of baby/toddler/army training course.  A real baby, doing real things, just as she is supposed to. “Mumma”, meanwhile, like many other working mothers, just had to get on with it!

I digress. About a month ago I read the furore about synthetic babies and Dolce and Gabanna and how Dolce (not that there is anything “dolce” about him) thought that babies born through IVF were synthetic and how homosexual couples shouldn’t have children. I was on holiday and had had a wonderful day with my family, but it made me cry.  Now I know that’s a bit of a paraphrasing frenzy and that I am “prone to emotion” but if he doesn’t feel the need to be careful about his choice of words then neither do I.  So I say, the man is an *rsehole. I know that his main point was about same-sex couples but, though I think that point was in itself ridiculous, he also belittled the love and purity that all IVF families share. The broader point I want to make is that babies who are born through IVF or whatever means are still babies, and that parents are still parents, in whatever form they take – 2 Dads, 1 Mum, an older brother, an Auntie, a step mum and a Dad, a Grandma (obviously not all IVF – it would be a bit odd if your IVF Mum was actually your sister)…. who cares what the formulation is as long as the child is loved and cared for?

That has, so far, been the only ever time that someone in society has ever tried to make Hannah different because of the way that she came into the world.  The only time.  When I was pregnant I was worried what the Church would think.  All the Church cared about was how wonderful it was that a baby was about to be welcomed into the world.  I was worried about what my friends would think.  All my friends thought was how wonderful it was that I was finally carrying a baby to term. I was worried about what my family would think.  All they cared about was that it would actually work.  Noone cares now about how Hannah came in to the world because it isn’t relevant.  So Dolce and Gabbana will never be relevant to me.

Let me be clear.  IVF is hard.  It’s hard and it’s hard for anyone doing it.  You don’t choose IVF to be fashionable – you generally choose it because you are desperate and because you have a primal urge to be a parent and to love a child that is your own. For the lucky ones, you get a baby at the end of it.  And that baby will puke.  It will wee, it will poo, it will eat, it will sometimes sleep. It will make you feel like a crushed snail one moment and like you are on top of the world the next.  It is a real baby and it will have real parents who will sort all of that stuff out because they love it.

Hannah might be our only child.  I hope we have more but for us and thousands of other people “natural conception” isn’t an option. That doesn’t mean we and they shouldn’t be parents and it certainly doesn’t mean that IVF babies are lesser people in some way. Thank Goodness – thank God (and I don’t say that lightly) – for IVF.  Thank God that there are parents in the world who will bring children up with love and care irrespective of their gender preferences.  I will never be able to afford Dolce and Gabbana and though it sounds cliche to say it I don’t care because I have all the riches in the world already. And, for the record, I know that I have probably spelled Dolce and Gabbana incorrectly, but since they don’t care about me, out of spite I didn’t check the spelling of Gabbana.  We’re blessed.  My perfect little little girl, fast asleep in her bed. She’ll be awake at 6.30am, smiling and wanting some banana and a cuddle. Nothing synthetic about that.  Nothing synthetic at all.

Separation Anxiety

Babies, when they are around 6 months old, often start to get anxious when their mother or father leaves the room. They will reach a stage where they will scream until she comes back, wailing as if the world will end just because she has gone to the kitchen and then hold their arms up desperately as if they have been waiting all day to be picked up. This is something which is, for the parent in question, upsetting, annoying and probably slightly gratifying at the same time. I say probably because, though I have seen several other people go through this, Hannah hasn’t reached that stage and hopefully never will. But this post isn’t about Hannah. It’s about me.

I think my baby is the most beautiful baby that was ever born, even more gorgeous than Prince George, and he is seriously cute (I wonder if Hannah will ever have to wonder whether it’s wrong to fancy the King …) and I am totally in love with her. She is the best thing that has ever happened to me and we have been together for 15 months- longer than some marriages. And while I started this journey not having much of an idea at all about how to look after her, I am pretty sure I know what’s best for her and would bite the head off anyone who told me how to raise my child. Raising her is the sole responsibility of me and my husband and always will be.

I don’t want you to get the impression that I am some kind of over protective lioness; I’m really not. The first time I left her – to go to the hairdressers over the road- I briefly cried and then an enormous sense of freedom came over me. In the end, while I didn’t enjoy leaving her, I was comfortable with the people who were looking after her and knew that I would be back in 3 hours. On that occasion I was more upset about the disastrous highlights I ended up with that I had waited a year for. I’m very happy for her grandparents to look after her, and made the decision about 2 months ago to join a gym and leave her in its crèche while I worked out (you wouldn’t know it to look at me). That was weird but I knew that it was a good crèche and that I would be back in a couple of hours. But the other day I took her for a settling in visit at her nursery and I think that is what has set me off….

The nursery in question has an excellent reputation and I am totally convinced that the staff there will take great care of my little girl; more so because they did an excellent job with my wonderful nephews who are growing up to be happy, confident and capable young men. I want the same for her. So why was I getting tearful when they started to look for a date for a home visit? Was it because my house is a complete tip? No. It was because putting her in nursery is now getting very real. There’s only a month to go now. I know I’ve written blog posts that are along similar lines in the past but as D Day approaches I find myself feeling more and more guilty, more and more like I want to kiss her all the time and less and less like I want to leave her with anyone- even when she is being a complete toerag and I feel like putting my head on a blender. Even today at the gym I couldn’t get into it as much as I would usually and I think it’s because she was crying when I left….

I clearly need to toughen up and accept that while no one will love my daughter like I do, no one can ever love me like she does either and that other people can enrich her life and advance her development far more than I can alone. So my fervent hope is that we are now bonded for life- me to her and her to me (at least until she leaves home) and that when she comes home in the evening she will still need me and love me as much as she does now. It will be OK because it has to be OK, and if so many other women can rear a happy baby and bring home the bacon I know I have that capacity too. But I tell you right now, one of the hardest things I will ever have to do will be that first drop off at nursery, and I pray it will get easier. My boss had better prepare himself….!

Perhaps you have had similar concerns or could even offer me some pearls of wisdom…..?

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© gorillamums 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material or media (including images) without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to gorillamums with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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….

 

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

© gorillamums 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material or media (including images) without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owners is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to gorillamums with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.