Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Some Positive Sleep News


Finally I feel I can stop complaining, at least for now, and celebrate that my wee girl seems to have worked out how to nap 2-3 times a day and also how to sleep through!  She was going every second night for a while and then last night and the night before she went through on her own!  (Obviously) She did wake once or twice but she went back to sleep all on her own with no intervention from Mummy or Daddy, I am very proud!

I am hoping it might long continue, and if it does, then maybe we can hold off on the sleep training!?

Well done little girl! Now if I can only work out why *I* couldn't sleep last night!

Monday, 25 July 2011


Is it really a week since I posted, I knew it wasn't yesterday but I didn't think it was that long!

Oh well, I am excited, for it is only 4 sleeps (if Naomi sleeps through, which she is currently doing every second night!!) till we go on holiday!  We will be taking the long drive to the frozen North to visit our families in and around Aberdeen.

Travelling with a small child has it share of stresses and complicating factors though!  There is, of course, the sheer amount of "stuff" they need.  I went through all the stuff we took last time and started trying to think of things we could take out so that we could avoid taking the roof box (I can't think what those things do to your fuel economy but I would really rather not do the 800 mile round trip with that attached to the top of my already quite brick-like family car!).  At one point I started telling my husband we could manage with only two dummies rather than six, he quite rightly pointed out that although this was true, it was unlikely to make much difference to the overall capacity of our car!  I likened the process to editing an essay at university, where what you needed to do was take out a whole paragraph, but being unable to decide which one, you would instead go through taking out some "the"s and maybe hyphenating a few words here and there.  In the end I am not sure I downsized the equipment at all, though I did promise to pack less outfits and sleep attire for the child! (Though I also swapped the bouncy chair we took last time for a bumbo, that definitely takes up more space!).  I fear that in a few days, when push comes to shove (quite literally) we will just admit defeat and put the roofbox (or sail) on top of our already quite big car!

The next problem is one of distance.  It is clearly unreasonable to expect Naomi at 6 months old, to sit in her car seat for 8 hours like her Dad and I used to do before she was around (well, we didn't sit in her car seat, we wouldn't fit!) so you have to start thinking about how to break up the journey and you start thinking of various relatives you haven't spoken to in years and phoning them up to ask if you can stop in for a cup of coffee or even to stay the night so the child can chill out for a bit.  Last time we travelled Naomi was only on breastmilk, getting food into her that way didn't take all that long and wasn't all that messy, this time we will need to think about how and when and where we can shovel some mush into her every few hours too!

The car has another issue too, if Naomi starts to cry on the motorway (which is inevitible, she hates the car and we spend a lot of time on the motorway) there is nothing you can do, you can't pick her up, you can't shove my boob in her mouth (I wish I could find a way) and if you have bravely sat in the front you can't even get into the back to tell her it will all be okay.  I feel like motorways are places of stress for me, I am examining every sign to see how far it is to the next service station and then you have to decide whether to gamble on her making it to the next one or do you stop now, thus lengthening the journey even further!

I am very excited for my holiday, it will be great to see family and friends again, but please won't someone invent a teleportation device, I find myself dreading the thought of the drive!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Some Positive thoughts

I feel my blog posts have all been a little negative recently, so I would like to counter that by telling you some of the great things in my life just now, from little things I do, to great ways I have to learned to enjoy each day.

Naomi is loving her solid foods, which means we are having great fun weaning.  She gets so excited for the food and starts visibly shaking with anticipation for the next mouthful.  We tried to take a video of it, but whenever her dad got the camera out, she just started staring at him and stopped doing anything in any way cute.  Although, that was quite funny in itself!  Her favourite food is broccoli and you can guarantee she will yum up anything you give her if it has that in it!

I am also, just loving watch Naomi develop and learn in all sorts of ways.  She learned to roll last week and you can now see her try and work out how to roll the other way (she currently only does back to front!).  But even sitting in her high chair you can see how much better she is at it.  Her Dad told me she looks really grown up now compared to when he left for a conference only a week ago!  She is particularly cute when she is working out how to use her hands, though she is increasingly working out about her feet!

One of my biggest blessings in life, though, is my church.  I just love it so much.  Such a wonderful environment to have a baby in.  Everyone is looking out for each other, and given that my faith is really important to me, it is lovely that it such a helpful environment to bring children into.  On a Sunday morning when we all get together, the worship is done with children in mind, they can have a drum to bang on, or  a balloon to play with, or a space to dance in!  I even love that we have the coffee break half way through so all the parents can caffeinate themselves; how else would they get though the sermon?!  I have only bought about 6 pieces of clothing for Noami, for everyone just hands out the the things they don't need at that time.  One person I spoke to says that because her boys are the oldest she sometimes sees things her boys wore about 7 years ago, she likes to try and guess who passed them to who for them to end up with someone that she might not know so well!

Also, though, I love my friends.  I know them from church where I know lots of people but there are a couple of people that I don't know I could make it through each week without.  They are up for coffee if you need and know those moments where they need to take the baby from you, for a cuddle, or even a walk!  They ply me with helpful advice and let me rant and moan but also when to tell me to stop being unreasonable and suck it up!  They also invite me to things they are doing with their children for the realise I don't always know what is going on because i haven't lived here that long.

And finally, for today anyway.  I love the geographical place I live.  It is a lovely wee town with everything within walking distance.  Parks that are lovely to walk through and places to play for Noami.  There at least three ways to get everywhere so I never get bored and it is just a pretty little place.  Sometimes as I am walking into/through town I just can't believe how lucky I am.

What are you thankful for today?

Sunday, 17 July 2011

I don't like the school holidays

I don't.  It's true.  The thing is, with only a baby at home, it makes no difference to me whether the schools are in or out.  I cannot afford holidays at the moment (well, not real ones, we're going to stay with our families for a bit) and so the price of holidays doesn't make any difference to me.

I hate the holidays because the baby groups that keep me so sane in a normal week get cancelled.  Especially for those groups run by volunteers I do understand that people need a break (because I used to volunteer with a baby group, pre-child) and I get that many of the volunteers have older children who they can't take along to the baby group and so school being out makes it difficult.  However, I need those groups!

Those groups are the things that mean at the end of a day I can have spoken words out loud that weren't necessarily about poo "isn't that a big one?!" or about the noise a cow/dog/monkey/giraffe makes (what noise does a giraffe make?)

Those groups are also places where I can feel I am making sure my (currently) only-child is getting some socialisation and having an opportunity to learn to share and not to hit other babies on the head!

Naomi also gets lots of opportunities to do things like painting or playing with other messy things that I could do with her at home but I actually find quite stressful, she has many opportunities with these groups that I could provide at home but I find much easier to do in a church hall!

Tomorrow is the first weekday of the school holidays where I live.  Instead of going to the baby and toddler group I will stay at home, I thought about taking Naomi swimming but the pool timetable has changed yet no-one has updated the website timetable and so tomorrow I will concentrate on finding out what times I can take her on other weeks!  I might do painting with her, but I'll probably stress out too much about the carpet in my rented house!

Friday, 15 July 2011

The ongoing sleeping trauma

I have realised that since my husband went away (so far it has been 4 days) I have lost count of the number of times I have had to persuade Naomi to be asleep.

Be it for naps or for night time sleeping, my little girl doesn't want to do it!  I can spend easily 30-40 minutes getting her to go down for each nap and although night time tends to be a little easier she has taken to waking up. Often.

For the first several weeks of her life she was amazing sleeper, she even slept through for about 3 weeks when she was only about 10 weeks old.  We used to joke that we wouldn't know what to do if we had a "real" baby.  And that's the rub, we don't!

We go on holiday shortly and don't think it is fair on Naomi to change things before we go, and then obviously we won't change things on holiday and when we come back we want to give her a couple of weeks to settle back in, but then we have decided we will do some "sleep training".  I have mixed feelings about it but we can't keep going the way we are and as a result I am counting down the days!

I know it is a controversial subject but the bouncing/rocking/wearing out my knees/wearing out my back/having no energy left just has to go.  I cannot do it any more, this has been made all the more obvious to me while hubby is away, making my child sleep actually makes me want to break out into tears, and sometimes I do cry about it, so it is time for a change.

I just hope I can hold out that long, 6 weeks and counting!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

An unexpected hazard of being a stay at home Mum

As you can read about here (if you so desire) my husband and I have very consciously made the decision that I will be a stay at home Mum.  I won't be going out to work and I will be in charge of bringing up Naomi (and any others that may follow).  This has obvious challenges to do with finances and to do with my sense of identity and most of them we saw coming.

In the last few days though I have become aware of another challenge though, one that I hadn't seen coming, one that has taken me by surprise.

When Naomi was born I set about taking her to all sorts of baby groups, she loves being able to play and I love being able to meet other people.  I got on really well with many of the other Mums and it was great to have some peers in real life who were going through similar things to me.

The thing is though, now that Naomi is 6 months old, many of the people who I got to know and enjoyed hanging out with are returning to work.  And because I didn't see it coming, I haven't made enough effort to get mobile numbers and to get in the habit of meeting with outside of group times, because I didn't notice or realise that I would need to.

Slowly but surely, my support network is dwindling because now-a-days being a stay at home Mum, at least being a full time stay at home Mum is not the norm.

I feel really sad, for losing my support and also for the number of people who say "I wish I could be a stay at home Mum", these people feel pressured into doing something they would rather not, and that makes me sad too.

I guess next time I make a round of friends with babies, I'll need to make sure I try harder to make "better" relationships more quickly, so they will stand the test of returning to work.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


So hubby is away and yet life must go on.  So last night I tried to go out and do something just for me, it would have been pure indulgence in that I was meeting up with some people from church to try and talk through some stuff from my past and to lay some of it to rest.  It was time to forget about being a Mummy and just be me, it was time to focus on what my needs were rather than those of my little girl.

The babysitter came, we had dinner then I bathed Naomi and put her down to sleep.  She was asleep for about 25 minutes before I walked out the door.  I had an ominous feeling though.

I had been out for about an hour when the babysitter rang, she was crying and had been since not long after I left.  Clearly, I came back home.  I have now managed to settle my child, though experience tells me I have a pretty awful night ahead of me, as Naomi is likely to wake quite often in an attempt to make sure I am still around, or perhaps to punish me for going out in the first place!

How do you feel about babysitters though?  I feel very mixed about them, on the one hand I think it is reasonable and healthy to need and want time away from the baby and to do things that aren't completely focused on being a parent.  On the other hand, I think it is perfectly reasonable for my baby at not quite 6 months old to expect her Mummy to be there when she needs her.  I think it reasonable that she won't settle for someone she doesn't know very well (which unfortunately includes grandparents, seeing as we live so far from family).

The night before last I went out and left Naomi with a babysitter and she didn't wake once, last night she woke almost immediately on my leaving*.  Should I have stayed at home?  Should I have waited for night her Dad was here? Do I only feel guilty because it went "wrong"? Or should I feel guilty anyway?

Naomi is a good wee girl, I hate the idea that I caused her to be upset but maybe it is a life lesson she just needs to learn?...

*This makes it sound like we leave her often, in fact this was only the 5th time she has ever been left with anyone other than Mummy or Daddy, ever.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Home Alone

Hubby has gone away, he left last night and doesn't get back till Saturday.

I HATE when he goes away, I really am a better mother when he is here, I get too stressed and anxious while he is away.  Even before I was a mother I coped much better when he was around compared to when he was gone, but now the contrast seems even stronger.

Stuff that I normally do without thinking about it (like eating) becomes a major struggle and now I have to make sure I do everything for Naomi, I become even more of an afterthought.  I decided not to brush my teeth last night for having come upstairs, I couldn't face going down our squeaky stair case and waking the baby, again!  if hubby had been here, I would have brushed my teeth for he would have been here to help *if* she had woken.

Even going to baby groups, which I normally do to help me get through the day with some remnants of sanity in tact, becomes much more difficult, becomes much more challenging and so often gets forgotten about, before I know it the only words I have spoken out loud are "What a big poo" and "Is somebody tired?" (yes, me!) which does my ability to cope no good at all.

The hardest time is that time between when hubby would normally get home from work and baby going to bed, I feel like I normally rely on hubby to keep us going through that time and now I have to pull some energy from a place that doesn't exist and do that myself :-(

So how do you cope when you are home alone with the baby?

Friday, 8 July 2011

Well that has been a terrible day

Today went badly.  It might be the worst day I can remember since I became a mummy.

We started with vomiting which meant that we had to cancel the coffee with another mummy friend and baby group, having just got her over a viral gastroenteritis I didn't feel it would be wise to start turning up to places with babies.  After the weekend we had last weekend, it also meant a trip to the doctor, mainly to put my mind at ease.

The day continued with a complete and utter disregard for napping, at 12 noon I made her nap by putting her in the sling, but this left me attached to her and meant I could do none of the things on my to-do list (one of which was drink water, though I forgot to do that rather than being quite that disabled) and meant I got very little rest even when I was sitting down.  She woke at about 1pm which meant that having woken at 8am and being only 5 months old she had already not napped enough.

Come 2.30 she was knackered again, so despite it not being that long I start the process of getting my very tired baby to nap, though apparently it is not as easy to do that as you might like.  I tried for 2 hours before I gave up, although in that 2 hours I shed many tears and got frustrated with everything.  In the morning she had been sick on her pram and because she hadn't napped in her cot in the morning I had been unable to "deal" with that, so I couldn't even fall back on my take-her-for-a-walk-in-the-pram back up napping technique.  I cried down the phone at my Mum, I texted my husband who was in meetings most of the afternoon, I complained on twitter then wished I hadn't for people didn't say *exactly* what I wanted them too (I don't know what I wanted them to say, mind you, and having reviewed the responses they were all completely appropriate!  I complained on facebook.  At times I put her down in her cot, came downstairs and cried as I listened to her cry through the monitor. At times I tried to comfort her with a cuddle or with her dummy.

In the end, my husband finished his meetings and phoned me, he was coming home (I love my husband's job, super-flexible doesn't even describe how flexible it is!), all I had to do was survive another 20 minutes and he would be here to help.

When he got home, everything got a little easier and everything certainly felt much easier.  What a shame that he leaves for Dublin on Monday where he will be working for 6 days :-(

Thursday, 7 July 2011


As far as I am concerned this is another of those "must-do" topics if you have a parenting blog of any description.  Unfortunately it is difficult to do such a topic without sounding like you are better than everyone else (in my opinion) and so in case I inadvertently come across that way, please know that I very much do NOT consider myself better than anyone else, in fact, normally quite the opposite.

Before Naomi was born, when we didn't know whether she was a boy or a girl and when we still called her Allsort, hubby and I discussed dummies and decided that we weren't 100% keen on the idea but that it did feel like it might save our sanity somehow.  So we went out and bought two dummies, just in case they might help.

When Naomi was born we didn't put it in her mouth, we put my boob in her mouth and then I went up to the ward and she cried and she cried and she cried.  I fed her.  She cried.  I changed her. She cried. I burped her.  She cried.  I cuddled her.  She cried.  The ward staff changed her, burped her and cuddled her and yet she cried and cried and cried some more!

The midwives asked me if I had a dummy and I did, so we tried to put it in her mouth.  She cried, if anything louder than she had before.  We gave up on the dummy idea and just dealt with her crying.

Thankfully, the crying was short lived (not that it felt that way at the time) and after only one or two days she became one of the most content babies I have ever met (though when she does cry she does it loud, I think she likes to make up for all the quiet time!) so the dummy kind of got forgot about.

Then it got hard to put her down to sleep, it was taking hours (literally) each night to get her to settle and hubby and I were slowly but surely losing our sanity!  So out came the dummies again.  We got into a routine whereby you could rock her to sleep and put her down, then if she woke up you put the dummy in her mouth and it would help her go off again.

For quite a few weeks this did result in, what was affectionately known as, the dummy run.  That slightly annoying part of the evening where she was asleep but where she cried when the dummy fell out and you would have to run back up the stairs and re-plug her!  Because of this I was quite pleased when this phase ended and she kind of gave up on the dummy herself.  It did mean it was harder to put her down in the first place, but at least once she was down you could walk away and know she would be alright for a few hours.

Then it seemed she wanted the dummy back again, so for the past several weeks we have put her down and if she has woken put the dummy in her mouth which has helped sleep come back. It normally fell out after about two minutes and she didn't care which seemed ideal!

Now though, we seemed to have entered a new phase, one which I am finding more than a little frustrating.  Now she seems to expect the dummy when you lay her down, her wee mouth opens in expectation, however, when you put it in her wee hand comes up and pulls it out of her mouth.  That would be okay but she does not yet possess the manual dexterity to replace the dummy so begins to cry because the dummy isn't in her mouth, all this despite her being the reason it is no longer there!  This phenomenon resulted in me being awake for 60 minutes in the middle of the night, she didn't need fed and fell asleep almost instantly when I rocked her, but then would wake up when she pulled her own dummy out her own mouth.  Roll on the next phase!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

No sooner had I come back.... I was gone! My baby girl was sick (see previous post), my husband then got sick, I then got sick! Before I knew it we were all lying on the floor (quite literally) and no-one could move and no-one could keep their food down!

The sickness seems to have largely passed, though I as the last to get ill was the first to get better (I think that comes with being a Mum?) and my husband, although much better and back at work today, is not quite right either and I thought Naomi was better but today she showed us all what she thought of sweet potato by being sick in such a way it landed in her own eye! (Does it make me cruel that (after I cleaned her up) I laughed about this?)

It really has made me realise how, as mums, we really do just have to keep going.  My husband would take himself off to bed but I still was required to make milk.  Come bedtime, too, it was mummy that was expected to continue rocking her to sleep, even though 10 minutes before we had opted for a sponge down rather than a bath as Mummy didn't have the energy to pick the baby up, let alone suspend her in water!

It has really hit home to me that my next holiday will be in about 18 years, assuming I don't have any more children, which, actually, despite it all, I do!!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Breaks my Heart

My little girl is ill, she was vomiting and now it is coming out the other end (I won't attempt to spell that word) and she is dehydrated to the extent that her Dad and I had to trek into the hospital last night at about midnight in search of the child assessment unit which was far too difficult to find so that they could help us in the search for the increasingly elusive wet nappy.

Of course we had been on the unit about 30 minutes when she weed, which made us look like we had been making it up that in the previous 20 hours she had only done one wet nappy and even that was nearly 6 hours before this point! (The one other nappy she wet yesterday was also in front of a doctor!)

I've realised that one of the things stressing me out about her being ill though, although connected to the lack of being able to make it all better I have heard others talk about, is actually that I just don't know what is going on.  Yesterday in particular, though today too, she is her usual happy self, playing and engaging.  Yet, she obviously isn't well, the vomit will attest to that.  I hate that she looks so normal and yet is feeling miserable, I hate that she can't tell me what is going on.

Hopefully tonight we will all sleep a little better by not needing a middle-of-the-might hospital run and hopefully tomorrow we will all be feeling much more human!