Monday, 21 February 2011

Children = Tricky Customers. Or are they?

I remember being small and telling my younger sister how horrible immunisations were. I must have made an impression, because she really put up a fight when her shots were due. My mom was seriously not amused.

When LLC had her recent round of vaccinations I didn’t look forward to it. She’s now so much more aware and I dreaded her reaction to getting multiple jabs at the fateful visit. She was in such a great mood before the said event, laughing and chatting. I think she thought the nurse was at the sink preparing her some food.

I explained to her what was coming and that it was for her long term benefit. Then came her cry as the first injection struck. Our faithful nurse was quick though, and soon it was all over. LLC cried a bit during the shots but didn’t even really squirm and the whole affair was nothing that a spelt biscuit couldn’t quickly appease.

It got me thinking. Injections aren’t anyone’s favorite pastime, but they aren’t so bad either. Same with visiting the doctor or the dentist in general. My first impression was to assume all of the above would get harder as kids get older and put up a fight, but maybe there is a lot to be said in how parents prepare their kids for all of these inevitable events....i.e. if we project fear and worry onto our kids about such things they’ll have just that. If we coddle them and act like something unpleasant is on the cards, they’ll expect that. Where if we’re more matter of fact about these things, they’ll understand more and take more in stride.

This was definitely the reason behind my dental hygienist’s stance that I introduce LLC to the dentist’s office at a young age. Though then again, she probably ate her words when LLC kicked off halfway through my last cleaning in December! Still, my initial reaction that these injections would spell trouble probably wasn’t the best attitude to have, in retrospect.

Do you think children really are tricky customers at their core because they can’t be reasoned with? Or is it instead parents (or naughty older siblings, etc!) that set the scene for such behaviour?

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

What a smacker!

Kisses! Big, noisy, smacking kisses. That is newest treat that LLC has started dishing out this last week. She gives them, really puckering up her lips and planting one on our lips or cheek. She even blows them, with the same sound effects. It really is adorable.

It’s also a testament to how much she must understand, because she doesn’t just randomly give kisses, but also when I request them, which I’ve been doing a lot of now that she knows how. I guess we must kiss her a lot and that’s how she picked up on all this.

This led to a recent conversation with some of my NCT friends about kissing your kids on the lips. Do you do this or do you find it strange? Would the gender of your child affect your or your other half’s comfort level about kissing them on the lips?

Chris and I do kiss LLC on the lips – these little pecks of affection seem natural to me but I realize it’s not like this for everyone. Personally, I was brought up giving my parents a kiss so I don’t think this odd but if I wasn’t maybe I might think differently. Or maybe I wouldn’t be able to resist LLC’s little pucker.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Woe is Weaning

Woe is weaning
Not really
Fascinating new textures
Juicy new tastes
The joys of food

Goodbye breastfeeding
Take an emotional bow
You didn’t create our bond
But you were part of the package
Parting ways is harder than I thought
But we’re ready

Woe is weaning
Not true
Embrace your dependence
Drink your milk
From a cup!

I said I’d breastfeed for 6 months. Then I said I’d carry on. Now I’ve breastfed for a year and as Chris’ gran so tactfully puts it, “the milk bar,” is now closed. I was told the whole stopping feeding thing could get quite emotional but I didn’t really believe it would affect me in that way.  But it kind of has. 

I could see LLC was ready to be weaned (holding her mouth open over my breast as if it was a free flow cup was a hint!) and I felt ready to stop. Still, what I underestimated was my feeling of loss for the lovely mommy and LLC cuddle time that came with breastfeeding in the morning and before bed. The chance of LLC cuddling up to me at these times is now slim to none. She's just too on the go. Of course we have cuddle time and closeness in many other ways, but I did enjoy giving her something natural and good while having a snuggle.  It's a little sad to say goodbye to that.

Still, we’re both ready, so we move on.  Just not without a little wistful moment.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Faith in Health Visitors Restored (Partially)

Did I just say that?

You may remember that I haven’t had the best experiences with health visitors. My post birth care was a bit spotty to say the least, and the HV I often saw at our GP’s office continually worried me about LLC’s weight – to the point that I hadn’t been back to her since writing this rant.

I was thus surprised to get a message from yet another HV about a week ago, inviting us in for LLC’s 8-12 month checkup. I thought she was due for a checkup of some sort alongside the immunizations she had last week, but I hadn’t got around to finding her a new HV. The thought of them alone put me off.  The clinic at our GP has since closed and I didn’t want to take LLC back to that miserable old HV anyway.

Anyhow, I think all children from our GP’s surgery have been referred to this new clinic and that’s how this new HV, we’ll call her Alice, found me.

Alice was a breath of fresh air. She didn’t lack “the human element” and was relatively young with two young children. She had a great approach with LLC and actually seemed to like children! She was considerate, thorough, informative when I asked her questions and – amazingly for me – didn’t gawp when LLC’s weight measured in at just over 16lbs. She even praised me for breastfeeding LLC up to now (though we’ve just wound that down – another post) and considered LLC’s weight within the context of her diet, height, personality, activity….(and pointed out that LLC has more or less stayed just above or below the 2 percentile weight line since birth - it just appears to be her natural line).

I finally felt like I was talking to someone who looked at LLC for who she was, not just as an outlier on the weight charts. I finally felt like I was talking someone who understood, and who was supportive and reassuring rather than scaremongering.

So maybe not all HVs are that bad. The following week I also heard from a friend about a positive visit to a HV with her also small young son. Maybe if you sift through the mire, or maybe through the luck of the draw, they are out there and I should not have tarred them ALL with the same brush.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Sleeping on a Zebra

LLC has been sleeping on a zebra, and no, I don't mean one of her stuffed animals.  I mean her mattress.

When I was changing her sheets the other day I again noticed that her mattress, below the protective mattress cover that zips around it, has gone all stripy.  It's really strange.  The stripes are a pale yellow color and appear to have emerged in the pattern of the wooden crib base.  It's like some...chemical(?) in the mattress is reacting with the wood and causing a fade of sorts.

Our mattress is from Mamas and Papas.  I should really take a picture of it to share here but I'm not changing the sheets until the weekend so you'll have to use your imagination for now, unless of course you know what I'm talking about. 

Has this happened to anyone else and can anyone tell me why this happens? 

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Inadequate Mother Syndrome

When inadequate mother syndrome strikes I want to bang my head against the wall. In these moments of madness, my heart tells me I’m being stupid but my head just won’t listen and is up for a battle.

Maybe it’s a beginning of the year thing. I take stock of all my “failed to achieves” for 2010 and get overwhelmed about all my goals for 2011. I start to wonder if my time with LLC is 'quality’ enough or more a fraught balancing act of play, laundry and work emails while she naps. On the days I'm not at work, why can’t I get more done, why am I so slow, if I was quicker with my "daily grind" I would have more time just with her without worrying about washing up at the same time. And how do “power moms” seem to achieve “so much” be it at home and/or in the workplace and/or personally as women when I struggle to complete my weekly to do lists?

Okay, now that’s off my chest. This is when I tell myself to get a grip and cut the drivel. Because it’s exactly times like this when I feel down and out and get lost in pointless comparison that I end up wasting perfectly good time that I could be doing something more productive with.

If I know the solution why is it hard to put this into practice? Do I have some sick inclination to knock my confidence? No, I don’t think so. I think I’m just used to focusing more on what I haven’t done than what I have achieved.

But on this dreary February night I’m pleased to say that I’m feeling more empowered. I’m feeling more proud. I’m stepping back from all this white noise in my head and remembering all the things that I do achieve, all the things that create my now balance, all the things that, even if seemingly simple, refute my claims to inadequate mom syndrome.

Alice at Alice’s Adventures into Motherland tagged me in a seven secrets meme so in the context of this post, I’m going to share seven reasons why I’m not doing too bad as a mom all around rather than just seven plain old secrets about me. Then I can go back and read it when I’m being an idiot!

• LLC and I have read together every day of her life – even though I hadn’t been indulging in my love of books until recently, hopefully I’ve helped her discover the joy of reading.
• I dance a lot with LLC. With and for her. We put on Heart or Capital swirl around. Thankfully my lounge is at the back of the house away from public windows!  That must be good for the soul!
• I cook all the time for LLC and try hard to help her eat good food. Tonight I spent stewing apple and making chicken balls....
• I work part-time, partly from home, which requires discipline and autonomy. I take pride in my work and hope this strong work ethic will be apparent to and rub off on LLC in time.
• My house is in reasonably clean and in working order. I try to do a bit every day to keep it that way. I hate cleaning the bathroom but I do it every week. I sweep the floors. It’s presentable, and I should get some credit for keeping it that way (with Chris’ help too).
• I run. I did a half marathon last autumn in LLC’s first year. I write. I wish I blogged more but I write more than I ever did. I have ideas for a novel, and a children’s book. I have a lot to give and I'm slowly but surely taking action on the ideas in my head.  This blog is a testament to that.
• I talk to LLC about anything and everything. When we are together I always take time to explain our actions and why we can or can’t do something. I always try to help her learn (whether we are playing with flour or her shape sorting bus or reading her table mat of the USA) and every day make her laugh too. I guess I deserve some credit for that.

Do you ever suffer from inadequate mom syndrome and how do you re-gain perspective?