Wednesday, 24 November 2010

I don't deal well with change

Change. I don't like it. Well, it depends on the type of change. Having LLC was a wonderful change. Every new skill she develops is an exciting change. Winning the lottery would be a welcome change (provided Chris and I don't argue about what to do with the proceeds).

Maybe it's not change that I can't handle, it's more 'that which disrupts the order of my day.' I've blogged about how I'm not partial to strict routines, but that I do like to have a rhythm of sorts. It helps me get in my daily groove. Things like knowing how long it would take me to walk from the train station to the office put me at ease. These days knowing when LLC has her milk, or takes her nap are planned stops on my daily journey.

I'm probably coming across all anal here but I don't think I'm totally alone, at least in the parenting world. I know few mothers that haven't spent some time counting the hours between one feed to the next, or trying to work out how weaning will affect their baby's milk feeds and nap-times. My experience has been that LLC's patterns will shift naturally as she grows, that her cues will become apparent as she develops and that I don't need to spend all this time thinking about how our 'routine' will potentially shift. Yet I still do. I have trouble switching off from this.

At the moment, LLC's morning nap, that I could always count on for things like taking a shower, blogging, emailing, tidying up the house, fitting in some work, is getting later and later. So my mind is going a hundred miles a it going to drop? Should I let her sleep in the late morning? Will this mean she won't nap in the afternoon but will then get tired right before dinner? Should I see if she will hold out past lunch and then have a long afternoon nap? Am I nuts? Yes, I think so.

I tell myself I need to take things day by day....that LLC is in a prime growth phase, and that with that our patterns will shift and may shift gradually. Now I just need to take my own advice. Ahhh, I need a lesson in chilling out and going with the flow. Anyone?

Monday, 22 November 2010

Like mother, like daughter

When LLC arrived on the scene she was a dream come true. A dream come true in that Chris and I had a daughter, of course. But I’m now really referring to my thrill at having a captive audience to talk to all day long.

As you may know by now, I do love talking. I always have. I started to repeat my mom’s sentences as an infant (we’ll ignore that I drove her slightly crazy by doing so) and from there my verbal watershed commenced. Chris got the brunt of this for the last ten years; I often see him start to glaze over when I begin one of my long-winded, we’ll have about ten tangents before I get-to-the-point stories. He’s definitely celebrating that I now have LLC to discuss things with.

So when LLC and I are together, I narrate our day. If I’m folding laundry, I tell her. If I’m changing her diaper and she doesn’t like it, I explain why she’s better off in fresh one. I show her leaves on the ground and explain why the trees are now ‘naked’. I’ve heard that it is better to talk to babies about tangible life events that they are ‘experiencing’, so I do this a lot. But then when I start to wonder about what to cook for dinner that night, or when I will sit down and write that report for work, I talk to her about that too.

What’s really great, though, is that now these stories are not just my own. Now LLC is starting to contribute, and we have much more of a dialogue. Not just me saying really! when she goes ba, da, ga, but when I ask her a question she’ll point her finger at me and let loose a sentence of gurgle, complete with changes in tone and sometimes words that sound suspiciously like mama (though this could be wishful thinking on my part).

In fact I’m starting to suspect that LLC is going to seriously give me a run for my money in the verbal stakes. When I’m on the phone or trying to listen to something on the radio, she’ll often babble so loudly that I can’t hear what I’m listening to, or even think straight. And I only expect her to up the ante in this respect – it looks like the verbal games well and truly have begun! Chris is in trouble……

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

I saw red

I can't remember if she was making fun of my jeans, or my genes, or perhaps if these homonyms themselves bred our misunderstanding.  I do know that I kept telling her to "stop", to "shut up", to "leave me alone."  It wasn't the time or the place.  We were due on stage in under an hour to perform a 13 year-old's dancing rendition of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch's 'Good Vibrations' in the school talent show. 

My other friends blurred into the background.  Her snarl consumed my vision, her torrent of abuse hit my head like a jackhammer but now only sounded of white noise.  She was a lioness, roaring, but with small round glasses like an owl.  I was her prey. 

Then, life shifted into slow motion and I saw red.  The anger and frustration and hurt I felt burst through the holes on my ripped black t-shirt (part of my ensemble) and propelled me forward.  I raised my hand and slapped her square across the face.  And then came the shower.

Aside from some odd skirmishes on the soccer field this is the closest I ever came to being in a fight.  I'm not proud of my actions in that moment and I never was.  The said lioness and I later became friendly acquaintances but in the heat of the 5th grade we shared friends and a relationship that was far from smooth sailing.  Ahh, teenage girls can be cruel, manipulative, cunning.....when I remember moments like this I wonder how I will protect LLC from all that crap down the line.

I guess like with anything I can only do so much.  And obviously I'm getting way ahead of myself.  But when I remember moments like this, or other difficult memories I have from growing up I'm struck with my responsibility as a parent to help my little girl grow into resilient character who hopefully won't see red too often.

This post is for the propt 'red' from Josie's Writing Workshop.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Making friends with Calpol

Medicine and drugs may fly off the shelves in the USA at the pace pharmaceutical companies court doctors and politicians but I’ve never been one for popping pills unless I genuinely need to. Where there’s a real need, I’m pro-medicine. But I’m also a believer in letting my body fight its corner and limiting the amount of chemicals I put into it. I’ll take the same approach with LLC.

For the first time this weekend, however, we introduced Calpol (Baby Tylenol) to LLC. What started as a chesty cough on Sunday morning had her out of sorts by bed-time and I’ve spent yesterday and Tuesday with a groggy, sick little lady. Her normal feisty and independent self disappeared in place of a snotty nose, small whimper and need to sleep/cuddle all day long.

This is the first time she has really been sick and it’s sad as there is only so much I can do for her. It reminds me of when she was small and spent much of the day laying on me, which is lovely, but it’s not, because she’s so bleary eyed, congested and feverish. I took her to the doctor today who suggested that I continue with the Calpol and try to let this bug run its course. He also wrote me a prescription for antibiotics should she not show signs of improvement after tomorrow, but suggested I avoid this if possible.

Chris’ mom is visiting and she’s been a real help in the constant cuddles department. Finally tonight before bed LLC brightened a little from her “sick haze.” I hope this is a sign she’s on the mend for tomorrow. In the mean-time, Calpol is our new friend and LLC really likes it. She downs it with an enthusiasm usually reserved for yogurt – another reason to avoid offering her medicine too liberally!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Witching Hour & Afternoon Tea; It's all a day in the life of LLC

While Halloween festivity seems to be on the rise here, it's certainly all the rage in my native US of States.  I remember some of my early costumes fondly, particularly a bunny suit that matched my dear Floppy-eared Rabbit.  Now that LLC is on the scene I wanted to get in the spooky spirit: Chris carved a pumpkin into a Jack-O-Lantern, we hung strands of black bats in our window and LLC and I dressed as matching witches to great our trick-or-treaters....of which there was one.   One solitary trick-or-treater.  All my visions of our cackling selves greeting candy-mad children at the door were shattered but we still had a pretty good time making spooky faces at Chris.  Did I say we?  I'm not sure what LLC would have to say about that but she seemed to enjoy my antics..... really, she did.

As if the little lady had not had enough excitement for one week, on Tuesday we joined Huggies and the other Huggies Mums for afternoon tea at The Dorchester in London.   While we chatted about our kids, the Huggies Bundle of Laughs comedy channel and life in general over tasty sandwiches and cakes, LLC scoffed a cucumber sandwich and then enjoyed many cuddles from the Huggies girls and Young Mummy, who didn't even get cross when she knocked her glasses or phone onto the floor.  I'd never been to tea at Dorchester before and fear I may be instilling expensive tastes in LLC from a tender age!

It's been a busy past week in the life of this 9 month-old!