Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Breastfeeding - Help Please

I'm in a bit of a pickle.  Putting it lightly.  Here's the scenario...

I didn't expect to ever feel comfortable with breastfeeding.  I certainly didn't expect to ever enjoy it. 

I did it, if I'm honest, for 2 reasons:

1. She's my last baby. This was my last chance to try breastfeeding.  I always work on the basis of "don't knock it til you try it", so I wanted to try it; for pure curiosity, and knowing that it is what the World Health Organisation recommends.

2. We lost Polly.  I probably don't need to expand on this, do I?  Something about Polly's loss and the fact that I didn't really get to experience anything with her; any bonding in real life...well, it just made me more determined to make the most of any potential bonding experiences with Baby M.

When I first started feeding her, I really didn't like it.  It was fumbly, agonisingly painful and exhausting.  I cried through every feed.  I couldn't possibly see how either of us were really "getting anything from it" but dogged determination made me persevere, nonetheless.

I focused on getting through each feed; each day; each week; each month.  And then before I knew it we were working towards feeding for 6 months.  By that point, over time, our feeding relationship had changed. It was clear that Baby M enjoyed it; and so did I.  

We've had rocky moments along the way... teething, hunger strikes, blocked ducts resulting in lumps the size of tennis balls (several times)... but we've navigated our way through them, together.  And it really is together... it's been teamwork all along, little M & I. I think that's what I love about it so much.

And now...now she's 16 months old, and we find ourselves in a bit of a groundhog day situation.

Baby M goes to bed at 7.30pm.  She sleeps soundly until midnight or so (unless teething or poorly).  But then, from midnight, she wakes and feeds hourly. 

I've gone back to work part-time now.  And I'm tired.  Very tired.  Little M, bless her, seems to be absolutely fine on the hourly wakings.  But I'm not.

The time has come to tackle the night feedings.  She's not going to like it.  I suspect, given I know how much she can scream like her little heart is broken if she doesn't get fed when she wants/needs it, then nor am I.  I'm feeling very guilty, that the very thing....feeding on demand... that I worked so hard to provide for her, is the one thing that I'm now about to take away from her.   

Is that being cruel?  Or being realistic?  Should I have done this much, much earlier?  Or is it right that I kept going til a point where...now... I can't continue any longer.  Should I somehow find some more stamina and just keep going?

We've tried me sleeping in a different room so that Daddy could settle her, and that worked well.  For a week I slept on the sofa... but the very first night I returned to our room, she started yelling to be fed again.  She's not daft.

We have a plan... "no milk at the bar" after midnight, and if she wakes after that point, then I'll offer her a beaker.  I'll be reassuring and consistent, and after a week or so of this, we'll all be comfortable with the new arrangement.  

That's ok, isn't it?  

Monday, 29 October 2012

Monday Club - Outwitting The Sock Monster

It's Monday again; the twins are back to school after half term, and Baby M and I are beavering away at home, starting the mammoth post half-term clean & tidy-up.

We're having a quick cuppa / dance (I'm the one with the coffee; she's the one doing the dancing, in case you're wondering) while I write this week's Monday Club post.  I'll keep to the theme of our day.

You can find the other Monday Club posts over at Hello Wall.


Outwitting The Sock Monster

Do you have one in your house?  A Sock Monster?

I've never spotted ours, but I'm certain it exists.  It lurks somewhere between the laundry basket and the washing machine.  The reason I know it is there, is that no matter how many pairs of socks go into the laundry basket, or into the washing machine, I am always left with an odd sock or two at the end of the wash.  Somewhere along the way, no matter how hard I try to outwit the sock monster (pairing socks, putting them in a separate laundry bag, etc) it still manages to snaffle a sock or two each time I wash.

I keep the odd socks at the bottom of the ironing basket.  We play matching socks fairly regularly, keeping on top of our pairs, as any good domestic goddess does.  (Though if I'm honest this is nothing to with my home-making skills; this is more to do with once inventing a game to keep the twins out of mischief; it worked, and we've carried on with it ever since).

The twins have got the hang of the game, and enjoy it, seeing it as a serious competition of who can match the most pairs (which admittedly does sometimes result in some questionable couplings).  Baby M is a bit too young to understand the game, preferring instead to sit in the washing basket and balance as many socks as she can on her head, or runs giggling around the house, trying to post her hoard into the toilet or out through the cat-flap, leaving a trail of fluffy footwear behind her...

I suspect we may never trace many of our misplaced socks; our Sock Monster is a clever one, that's for sure.

But on the plus side, we also, handily, enjoy making sock puppets....

Friday, 26 October 2012

The Twins - Their School Journey So Far

We're nearing the end of the first half term holiday for the twins, and of course it's been a time to reflect over their first half term of going to school.

Despite reading Actually Mummy's hilarious and very sound advice for parents of new school-starters, we did of course ignore said tips and advice and do our own thing anyway.

In the first few weeks we had fraught mornings, twin ankle-clinging at school drop-off, and some pretty hideous over-tired evenings.  By about 3 weeks in, things started to gradually change, and very slowly the fact that the twins were now school-children started to feel more natural, as the children got used to their new routines, and we ours.  And now, some 6 weeks down the line, it feels as though they've been going to school forever.

I am so impressed to find that both of them seem to love school as much as the other - this may sound odd, but they are very different in terms of personality and how they learn.  L loves to concentrate on a project, and to really feel as though she is doing "real work" (her words, not mine!), yet is surprisingly shy and anxious around other children.  H on the other hand, is a total social charmer, but finds concentrating for long periods of time (erm, meal-times, getting dressed, etc!) difficult, and is kept engaged through being captivated and interested in whatever is going on. School has managed to keep my chalk and cheese pair equally enthusiastic and excited about learning - and happy, too.

I won't be so naive as to say, or even think, that we have school sussed, because one thing I do know is that when it comes to parenting, every time you think you have something "in the bag", either the children or life moves the goalposts...but I am pleased and relieved at how well my "babies" have settled in so far.

Oh, and a few other reasons why I know we're all settled into school....

1. The pristine "new uniform just out of the packet" look has long gone.  The twins arrive to school in the mornings looking less out of a packet, more out of a hedge.

2. Every single one of their white polo tops now has some kind of stain on it, whether it be pen or paint or grass.  But it's Autumn; they have jumpers/cardigans, so that's ok!

3. I have worked out, on the days I do the school pick-ups, that if Mr Bloom's Nursery finishes on CBeebies and Baby M and I are still at home, we'll have to sprint to collect the twins on time.  If Mr Bloom is still on when we leave then we have enough time for a nice leisurely walk....

4. Talking of walks, the twins now appear to know the names of almost every primary-school aged child in our village, and as such taking a short walk to the shop is now impossible.  We've long had to stop and chat to every grown-up we meet, and now this is extended to every to every child we meet too.  Or at the very least, we yell hello..all at foghorn volume, and in stereo, naturally.

5. The children, for the first time, understand the concept of a weekend, and that a weekend means family time.  As much as they love going to school, they also look forward to & get excited about weekends.  So, if I'm honest, do I.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Epic Mummy Fail

Oops, a lot later than planned, but here are my efforts for this week's Monday Club, creation of Hello Wall.  Do pop over there too, and have a read of her fab blog.

The reason for my delay is that I stuck to my word and have re-thought some of our ways of tackling naughty behaviour since the conversation I refer to in this blog post, and as such my little man seems happy and has made no mention of being sad since.  I wasn't going to write about this at all - but actually I daresay this might crop up again one day, and it'd be a good reminder for me to know that sometimes taking a step back, thinking things through & making some positive changes can affect us all for the better.

Hope everyone is having a good week!

Epic Mummy Fail

As I was putting the twins to bed on Thursday, L told me that when the register is called at school, the children answer by telling the teacher how they are feeling.  Sensing this was a cue from her, I asked her how she was feeling.  She said that was feeling sad, because she'd had to give the school teddy back.  I reassured her, and reminded her that it was so that her other friends could take turns having the bear, which meant that one day it'll be her turn again.

She seemed quite happy with this explanation, and H then wanted to take his turn at telling me how he was feeling

He told me he was sad...because his Mummy had shouted at him a lot.

I'm not sure how a few words from a 4 year old boy can break a heart so much, but they certainly did.

It's true, it had been a particularly shouty couple of nights - my husband had been out til way past the childrens' bedtimes 2 nights in a row, and I'm not going to lie, it is hard, hard work doing the evenings alone, knowing that after a brief twin rest when we get home from school, we have to start the homework production line as soon as we can (they may be twins, but they are total chalk and cheese, and as such doing their homework together just hasn't worked at all), cook/eat tea, bath/shower then stories and bed whilst also juggling for the latter part of the evening, an over-tired baby who would just like to feed thanks very much.

I could tell you now, that I do, still, think my shouty moments were quite justified - like the moment I nipped out to the bin after tea when H spotted Daddy's tea sitting on the side & put his hands in it to see if it turned them orange (it did), and so tried putting hand-prints all over the kitchen cupboards "to see what happened", and a string of similar incidents.

But.. whilst he had been naughty (and knew it), his behaviour was not borne from malicious intent, it was genuinely borne from being curious (another example where I shouted was when he was in the bath and squirted a mouthful of water all over the baby who was just out of the bath herself & dressed, on the opposite side of the room.  His reason behind the soaking - he wanted to see if water could reach that far and what shape it would make if it did).

L saved my heart & sanity quickly after H had made his comment, by reminding him that Father Christmas was listening at all times (!) and asked him if he was sure that he was feeling sad - he very quickly changed his story, telling us no, no he wasn't sad.  He said he was happy, but he admitted he didn't like being told off.

I guess no child likes being told off.  But even so, he has a point re the shouty thing.

With my parental head tucked firmly between my tails, I realise it's time to revise our (very vague) strategies for reinforcing/praising good and positive behaviour, and our strategies too for dealing with naughty behaviour.  I am reminded of one of the many SARK sayings (see picture above) - they sum up the Mummy who I would love to be; the Mummy who in reality I probably never will be; but the Mummy who nonetheless I'm going to try a little bit harder to be.

(Image borrowed from simplynaturalmummy.com)

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Silent Sunday

                                                               Love All Blogs

Monday, 8 October 2012

Baby M's 1st Birthday

Baby M's first birthday was a wonderful day.  Our amazing and beautiful baby was a whole year old. The day was tainted only by the thought (that I carefully filed in my mind and heart for a more appropriate time) that her older sister never got to celebrate her 1st birthday.  Here is a photo taken on her birthday....

Whenever I look at it, I smile from the inside out.

It captures the moment, when presented with her cake with it's lone candle on top, that little M rested her head against mine, allowing herself to be reassured that it was ok to enjoy this sparkly, shiny, flickering wonder in front of her.  And whilst I clearly don't wear sleep deprivation well (a baby and twins; what more can I say!), I love that my love for her, and our bond, is in no doubt.

She's amazing... our happy little ray of sunshine, our final addition to our family.

We celebrated her birthday that day; we celebrated the miracle of her, and of life, too.

“This blog post has been written as an entry into the Tots100 competition in association with Boots Mother and Baby

Why I Blog

I'm joining the Monday Club again today, creation of Sarah at Hello Wall - do pop on over to her blog and have a read of her posts.  Given the title of my post today, I should also add that she's been one of the many lovely bloggers who've given me support and advice during these early weeks of getting my blog going - thank you.

Why I Blog

I wrote in my Introduction post about how my blog first came about, and it's later change of name and purpose.  There's a story too, behind why I returned properly to my blog, and started writing regularly....

Over the summer, I entered a short story competition run by Barrington Green.  Let's just call it a late night whim, an urge to write about Polly.  I hadn't entered a short story competition before, or any writing competition for that matter, but a couple of glasses of wine (for inspiration, naturally!) later, I sat and wrote about our beautiful daughter.

I was totally blown away, when a short time later, I was contacted by the competition organisers to say I'd been chosen as a Runner Up in their competition.  I was... terrified. This position in the competition meant that my story about Polly would be displayed on their website.  For other people to read.  Naively, (yes, yes, it was a competition so there was always a chance this might happen, but anyway....) I hadn't for one moment contemplated part of my soul, my story, becoming "public property", and I just didn't know how to feel about that.

I'm pleased to say that I needn't have worried.  The comments I received in response to my story, from friends, family members and strangers alike, were overwhelming.  And hugely supportive.

It took a little time for me to digest these events, and work out what to "do" with them.  I realised that not only did I find it an unexpectedly therapeutic release to write about Polly, but that I also loved being able to share her too.

It was at that point that I finally turned back to my blog.

I may "talk" about Polly a lot in here; equally I may not "talk" about her much at all.  But if this makes any sense, knowing that I can talk about her in this way, and that when I write about her I am, each time, sharing a little bit of my beautiful girl, is all I need.

If you wish, you can read my competition entry HERE. (It's the one called "Polly").


the monday club hello wall sarah miles

Saturday, 6 October 2012

(not so) Silent Sunday

I'm breaking the rules of Silent Sunday (a photo/picture only) and adding a few words.  The words are:

I(we) are thinking of little April Jones.  She is just a year older than our twins.  Every parent across the land will be able to, I am certain, remember moments, or even lengths of time, where there has been, with hindsight, the possibility for the unthinkable to happen.  It was in one of those such moments where the unthinkable did happen for April.

My picture today is our pink bow.

We're thinking of April, of her Mummy especially, and of her family and all who love her, who must going through unimaginable pain right now.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Monday Club - When A Baby Becomes A Playmate

Good morning.

I hope everyone has had a good weekend.  This is my first Monday Club post; the Monday Club being the creation of TheVoiceOfSarahMiles .  Do take a look at the other blogs & blog posts on this link, and thanks Sarah for getting this up and running!

So here's what I have been thinking about today...

When A Baby Becomes A Playmate

There has been a lovely change in the dynamics between our children over the summer.

This is largely due to the fact that baby M, now toddling and trying to talk, has also been discovering how to play and interact.

We’ve had the newborn stage of her being unaware even of the twins’ existence; we’ve been through the newly mobile stage of M grabbing whatever toy or object the twins have at the time and vanishing with it, oblivious to the frustrated wailing behind her (this phase felt like it lasted for a verrrry long time); we’ve also been through a similar stage of toy-pinching whereby she has twigged that the wails are related to her actions….but the little monkey runs off, proud and chuckling to herself, with whatever “treasures” she’s acquired regardless.

As for now, now is the stage that I love most, so far.  Little M is copying her big sister L, and is pretending to cook in the toy kitchen or learning to feed her dolly.  Likewise she is copying her big brother H and happily pushes cars and trains around the house accompanied by “brrm brrm” noises.  (Yes, I know – very stereotypical).

Even better, to H & L, is the fact that not only does M love to play alongside them, she is also learning to take turns, and (sometimes!) gives a toy on request. 

As L and little M played together yesterday, L informed me “I really like playing with M, Mummy, she’s like my friend now”.

I may well have rose-tinted glasses writing this; there's still wailing, fighting and toy-pinching, and plenty of it....but for now, it's just so lovely to see the baby become a playmate.