not fitting into motherhood but letting it fit in with me

Not fitting into motherhood, but letting it fit in with me

As a young girl all I wanted was to become a mother. I had these dreams of how I would embrace motherhood and become this perfect little mummy and house wife to my little family. When I was carrying Miss J I looked up to my own mother, looked at what the latest trends were for changing bags and pushchairs, I read countless articles and aspired to be this perfect mummy that I had imagined in my head.

I tried this motherhood on managed to get it work for the most part. I was pretty good at it and had a child growing up to be the most perfect little girl. When baby number 2 was cooking things started to get a bit messy. I wasn’t so good at getting out, doing the toddler groups, I didn’t have the energy to dress you up perfectly coordinated, I didn’t have time to do all the messy play and baking cakes. Things started to unravel when Mr T arrived into this big wide world and I had a big shock of what it was to look after two small humans.

The realisation of postnatal depression arrived and exposed me like nothing had before. I was feeling, weak, lonely and empty inside and I was no longer the mother I wanted to be. I beat myself up for failing my children and made myself  feel so guilty. I wasn’t fitting into motherhood anymore and I wasn’t sure how to do it again. Things eventually came to a head and I couldn’t look after either of my children in the way they needed.

I had to take a step back and start focusing on myself. I read self-help books, took medication and I got help. Eventually I started to rebuild myself again, but I still wasn’t fitting into motherhood like I did before. My perception had changed and I realised that the mother I was trying to be before wasn’t me.

One day things just clicked, I was a little older, a smidge wiser and a tad more confident. I realised that I didn’t need to fit into motherhood and it needed to fit into me. Why should I pretend to be someone I wasn’t, just to please others and why did I feel I had to do things in a certain way so others didn’t judge.

Things have changed and I’m now a happy mother, which I can now positively say that I’m telling the truth. Mummy now takes more time for herself and she doesn’t try to impress others or care for their opinions. My children are none the wiser and are just happy to see that I am happy. It took some time, but I learnt to own motherhood and make it my own. Don’t ever be anyone, but yourself.

 

 

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supporting women and mothers

Supporting women and mothers

All I see everywhere I look is women being judged and it’s time we start supporting each other. I know this subject has been touched on many a time, but unless we keep talking about it things will never changed. I do think things have improved and I know myself, especially after postnatal depression I try to be much kinder to myself and not judge others. You never know what someone else is going through at home or why they have decided to make a certain choice.

As a woman you feel you are being judged no matter what you do. If you decide to not have children apparently you will regret it or you’re selfish, I personally couldn’t imagine not having children, but people are wired differently and neither is wrong. If you run a succesful business, often you at looked down upon by other women and men like its something you shouldn’t be doing, when you deserve support and ‘well done’. If you are too outspoken you are still often hushed and looked at as if your opinion doesn’t count. Many times a man has tried to silence me and has tried to make me feel I shouldn’t have an opinion on something. One thing you will never silence me on is my OWN opinion.

Since being a teenager myself I have noticed how a woman who has had a few sexual partners is seen as a ‘slag’, whilst a man is known as a ‘stud’. I’ve seen many a woman shamed not only by men, but also women. How can having sex with someone if you are a man or a woman be seen as such different things depending on your gender. If it’s from two consenting adults and its safe, why does it matter? Why shame someone for having fun, you should be supporting them and letting them embrace it.

Mr T (milk monster) is very supportive of women and boobs

Still we are shamed by our sizes, if we are too fat or too small, if our breasts are too small or too saggy. You only have to look through any comments on a celebrity newspaper article and see how women are shamed in such a derogatory way by their physical appearance and often it’s by other women. I for one have been called fat a few times over the years in arguments with men and it has upset me, this was before children when I was a size 12. I’m bigger than a 12 now and not skinny, which I doubt I ever will be, because of my love of cheese. I am not 100% happy with my figure and am trying to get healthier and lose weight but that still gives no one the right to make me feel ashamed in any way.

If you do decide to enter the world of motherhood you soon realise how ugly things can get. You are made to feel ashamed if you didn’t or failed to breastfed or you breastfeed an 18 month old still. You are judged for putting a baby in its own room from the start or for bed sharing. You decide to give up work, to be a stay at home mum, which means your lazy (hats of to SAHM’s I couldn’t do it), or you decide to go back full time, which makes you a selfish mother. I have felt judged so many times , but I also know I have judged too, especially when I was a first time mother and thought I knew everything, but now I try to be as supporting as I can as I know these decisions have not been easily made.

I am determined as I’m sure many other mum’s are to raise my children to know that it is never kind to judge someone else. My children are being taught to be kind, not judge, support and respect others. Everything we have been taught and all behaviour we have learned and can be unlearned. We can be more conscious of our thoughts and challenge them.

Postnatal depression has taught me to a better person and to own my own decisions I make. I sit my children in front of the TV or tablet far too often, my house is mostly messy, my children are fed chicken nuggets at least twice a week, but I am working hard to be their mum. I love them, read to them, spend as much time as I can with them, I feed them, clothe them and I work for them because I have to. I do my best and I am trying to be a good role model for them. I’m not a fantastic mother and I never will be, but one thing I have learnt is to be a realistic mother. Lets keep supporting each other., this being a woman thing is tough.

 

 

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I am the selfish mother

I am the selfish mother, which is something pre children I would have never dreamed of becoming. I make sure I have adequate time away from my children, I buy myself treats, I go to the gym and leave my child in a crèche. I am more than happy to book weekends away with friends and have nights out getting drunk and I feel no shame in this. I go to work and feel no guilt leaving my children for the day, as I get adult conversation and money to treat myself. I lock myself away in my bedroom whilst my husband watches the children so I can write my blogs or even sit on Facebook in peace. I even have long baths and leave my husband in charge of the chaos. I sometimes ignore my children and I don’t jump up for their every request. The playdoh and art supplies stay firmly in the cupboard and comes out if I can be bothered.

I am a selfish mother and that suits me fine. I spent so much time trying to give my children every ounce of me and the consequences were not good. I tried to do too much and I got to breaking point and wasn’t able to care for my children properly because of this. I will never become that emotionally and physically drained mother again as my children were not getting the best of me. For me to be a good mother I need to look after myself first so I can look after them. I am again enjoying being a mother and I am again capable of giving my children quality time that they deserve.

I used to force myself to take the children out constantly and felt guilty if they were stuck in whilst I had to do the housework. I used to spend every penny I had on my children’s clothes and shoes when I reality they didn’t need as much as I was giving them. I am strict on bedtime so I get my evenings to myself again, as this is my time and it is important to me for my mental wellbeing. My children are my priority, I love them dearly and their needs are met but I can be selfish whilst this is achieved. As a mother we are told we need to sacrifice everything, our bodies, our looks, our time, our friends, our money and that really isn’t fair. My husband has given up a lot to be a father, but he isn’t the one who has to drop everything at the drop of a hat if a child is ill, or plan his whole life around school pick-ups and after school clubs. I am the one that keeps this house running not because of my money I put in, it is because I plan every aspect of our lives to fit in and work perfectly. I had forgotten for some time to plan myself into this time for me to have a break, but I now am.

2017 will continue to be about me, my wellbeing, my happiness and the happiness pf our whole family. I deserve a break as much as anyone and I will take it.

 

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Hiding behind the smiles and postnatal depression

The day is warm and the sun is shining bright, whilst a mother and her children walk along a country path. She smiles away, pushing her baby in his pram whilst her angelic three year old skips along side her. She has her make up on and a pretty summer dress and to the outside world she looks happy and content. She smiles when she walks past people and lovingly strokes her baby’s cheek as yet another old lady stops her to coo over this beautiful baby. Her life is complete as she has one of each and they are the most beautiful children she could have ever imagined, but why does she feel like this.

Behind the smile she is dying inside with pain. She wants to scream and shout, but she doesn’t think anyone can hear her. Maybe she could run away, but would the pain still follow her or maybe it’s best to end it now, so she doesn’t have to feel this pain anymore. She is consumed with guilt, anger and pain and she knows she is failing, but that make-up is hiding the bags under her eyes and is her mask to the outside world that she is doing ok. When people ask how she is, she always smiles and replies that she is fine, as she is too scared to tell them the truth. No one wants to know that she can’t cope and that everyday is a battle. Why would anyone feel the way she does with two beautiful children.

Her pain is invisible to the naked eye and she blends in like any other mum taking their little family out. She is isolated and alone and feels like she is battling this pain all on her own. No one knows that this is the first time she has left her home for a week or that she feels like a prisoner trapped in her own mind. She’s afraid and anxious that she will never feel happiness again. The anxiety has been building up inside her to force herself out and to not spend another day in that prison that used to be her home.

She finally gets to the shop and buys what she needs and heads back to her home. She made it out today, she kept the children alive, she survived and she continued to fight. Today she made progress and tomorrow she will be strong enough to ask for help.

 

 

 

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Loving myself and happiness that I deserve

Something that I’ve really struggled with all my teenage and adult life is loving myself. I have always had a low opinion of my self and lacked confidence, but with postnatal-depression my self-esteem really took a bash. Not only did I not like the person I was, I was also doubting myself as a mother and how good of a parent I actually was. I am currently trying to build my self-esteem and confidence to become the person I want to be. It’s all about believing and knowing what you deserve and I know I deserve happiness. I know some days will be hard and some days I will struggle to believe in myself, but it’s all about picking yourself back up and not letting those feelings linger and not letting them work their way in so you believe them.

I’m finally feeling well enough to enjoy parenting again and am able to appreciate my children. I can now feel emotions of love and happiness and not just pain and sadness. My children are my main focus through this and I need to get better for them not just myself. I need to love myself so they can grow up knowing how to love themselves. I need to be the role model my children deserve and the support for them when they need encouragement.

I am taking this time to focus on myself and putting my needs first. I am no longer doing things just to make others happy. I am looking after myself, I am taking the time for long baths in peace so I can unwind and relax after a day, going to the gym so I can feel healthier and doing something for myself, writing my blog as its therapeutic and puts things in perspective, taking time to do my make up and hair so I can feel more like me and occasionally treating myself to something I want and not just need. I have dedicated 18 months of the last five years growing humans and 2 1/2 years breastfeeding them and it’s my turn to be a little selfish and start focusing on myself. I have given everything I have to my children and can no longer give as much, unless I start looking after myself. I am Michelle and not just mum and need to focus on what makes me happy from time to time.

These last 18 months have been extremely hard on myself, but they have also been enlightening. I have learnt so much about myself and why I am, the way I am and what makes me act in certain ways. I know I will never been perfect and I am letting go unrealistic expectations and starting my life as a new blank page. I am fortunate that I feel love everyday from the family that I have helped create and I am rich in so many ways besides wealth. Life is good and my happiness is reachable.

 

 

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Lonely parenting and finding the support you need

Taking Miss J home from hospital for the first time was nothing short of magical. She was beautiful, happy, content and feeding well. My husband was lucky enough to be able to take two weeks off and we spent those couple of weeks visiting friends and family and going out for lunches. When my husband went back to work working 12 hour shifts and the visitors died down I started to realise the reality of being a mum with a husband who worked. I started to get lonely and realised that being at home with a baby all day long, with no one else to speak to was lonely and isolating. At first when Miss J came along we had so many visitors, but as she got older they dwindled, not for any fault of their own it was because life moves on and people have their own lives to live.

I didn’t have postnatal-depression with Miss J but I did struggle with anxiety so for me to go to baby grows was pretty scary experience and something I would get myself really worked up over. I forced myself into these groups but in the village where I lived at 24 I was one of the younger mum’s who went and felt a little bit unsure of myself. I continued to go and did make some lovely friends through these groups and me and Miss J loved doing the baby massage class together. My year at home with Miss J was pretty jammed packed full of different groups sometimes even two in one day and it honestly was the best year of my life. The baby stage is very short, even if at times it feels never-ending probably because you haven’t had eight hours sleep over three nights let alone one night. I felt it was important and helpful to me to find some friends who were going through the same stage as me so baby groups and also Facebook groups were so invaluable to me. When I did have to return to work when Miss J turned one I was honestly gutted that I wouldn’t have that time with her again. I went back to work three days a week and I cherished my days off in the week with her.

When Mr T came along I was naive to think it would be the same. I thought having Miss J at home would be helpful and would be nice as I could now have a proper conversation with her. Miss J wasn’t particularly impressed with this screaming and pooing thing that I spent most of my time feeding. She because quiet jealous and wouldn’t acknowledged his existence. As a mum you immediately feel guilty and that you have betrayed your first born child and with my husband going back to work I had never felt more alone and isolated. I tried desperately to get out the house but I found toddler groups just exhausting, as I had to keep an eye on Miss J whilst carrying Mr T with me. I wasn’t actually able to talk with anyone and found the whole experience stressful. Miss J decided to perfectly time stopping napping when her brother was a week old which made me I feel I was unable to have anytime to actually bond with my new baby or time to be able to appreciate my daughter and I desperately lonely in my house all day long. We tried getting out with walks to the park but Miss J would refuse to walk and want picking up whilst I tried to push the pushchair. I found that I wasn’t seeing or speaking to people for days and I would just sit at home crying and feeling like I was letting both of my children down.

When Mr T was 5 months old something had to give and I excepted that I needed to get help for postnatal-depression and anxiety. Luckily Miss J had started pre-school at this point and I was able to get a little bit of a break from her and she could get a break from me and her brother. I started taking antidepressants and started CBT which did help my anxiety. It has been a constant battle and something I am still battling. I’m enjoying my time more with the children and I am able to appreciate them more, but I do still have times where I feel isolated and lonely. Miss J now loves her little brother and also loves to go to school whilst Mr T has got a little easier and is happy to entertain himself for short periods of time so I can just about keep on top of the house.

The point to this post is that it does get easier and it is all momentary and will not last forever. They will soon grow, need you less and became their own little people. It’s important to involve yourself in local groups, even if it means trying out a few until you find one you really like. Connect on Facebook with local groups and also baby groups and you will soon realise you are not alone and that your feelings are quiet normal to feel lonely. I have made some lovely friends through Facebook, some who I have met a few times and some who only live in my phone, but these people are real people who care for me and support me as I do for them. Do what you need to do to get through the day and don’t feel guilty as you are doing a lot better job than you think you are. If someone offers to babysit, take them up on it, if no one asks, then ask them, if you can put you child in a crèche whilst going to the gym, then do it and if you can put an older child in preschool or nursery then do it. A happy mummy equals happy children so make sure you are looking after yourself so you can look after your children properly.

 

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A week away from reality – Fuerteventura

We decided to book a holiday a few weeks ago which couldn’t have come at a better time, my parents had already booked to go and we decided to tag along so my mum had a drinking buddy and we had babysitters (win, win). We booked a week away in Fuerteventura staying at our much-loved RIU Olivia Beach Hotel, which we have stayed at on and off for around 20 years. I have some fantastic holiday memories as a child, teenager and a new parent taking Miss J away on her first holiday, so I was happy to take my family back with our not so new addition Mr T. I’m not sure what it is about Fuerteventura but it relaxes me so quickly and easily. Its familiar, like a home away from home, it’s reassuring, comforting and my happy place.

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The plane journey wasn’t as bad as I had built up in my head and Mr T had his own seat so was more than happy watching paw patrol and stuffing his face full of crisps and sweets. I enjoyed some prosseco and even managed to get me and Mr T to take a nap together. We got to the hotel in good time and unpacked and found the restaurant so we could take advantage of the all-inclusive food and drink. The rooms here are looking dated and a little shabby, but they are still clean and have everything you need. I did notice the restaurant food was particularly fantastic this year and selection had greatly improved. I struggled to narrow down what I wanted to eat with so many tasty dishes they had on offer. I think I’ve probably gained a stone since being away. What the rooms lack the location makes up for. The beach and views are breathtaking and the beach is as good as any I’ve seen around the world.

I didn't find the journey to bad down to my friend prosecco.
I didn’t find the journey to bad down to my friend prosecco.
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Mr T loved having his own seat

We were very lucky with the weather and had temperatures of up to 31.8C with one over cast day out of seven. The children were more than happy in the heat, suntan lotioned up and jumping in and out the pools. Miss J managed to swim a little unaided and got very confident with throwing herself straight in off the side. Me and Miss J got to spend some amazing quality time together swimming and I enjoyed every second of it just being us. My darling husband doesn’t swim and Mr T prefered to play at the side with him whilst me and Miss J explored the deeps.

We ventured out a few times to the local town Corralejo which is around a ten minuet taxi ride away and went out for dinner twice at our favourite restaurant Waikiki. Waikiki is a lovely, friendly restaurant which does some unique eating experiences, you can cook your own meat on a metal sombrero hat, a stone and also in a fondue. On our first trip out for dinner we went with my parents and children and as enjoyable as it was it wasn’t so relaxing. Our second night was our childfree date night and we made the most of having a chilled night out and some cocktails. We took the children down in the day to see the sand sculptures on the beach and to see the local shops. The locals are so welcoming and really love children. I love how the Spanish people embrace family and don’t see children out in a restaurant at 8pm as a hinderance, but as something that is important for them to experience. I love taking my children out in the evening when abroad, and the children did a few 10pm late nights with Miss J falling asleep in the pushchair and Mr T flirting with any lady whose attention he could grab. He’s becoming a real heartbreaker with a love for blonde hair.

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Fillet steak cooked on a sombrero hat
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Long overdue date night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I felt my anxiety reduce, stress disappear and worry seem a million miles away. I slept a solid 8 hours a night and napped every day for a minimum of an hour. I ate well, didn’t care about diets and embraced being the fat mum in the stomach controlling swimming costume jumping in and out of the pool. I didn’t give a fuck what anyone thought of me and felt completely happy in my own skin and liberated. I loved myself and my family and squeezed every ounce of happiness I could from it. I laughed with my children, drank and giggled with my mother and held my husband’s hand with love.

Mr T
Mr T

The day we travelled back I turned 29 and I decided that today would be the day that it would all change for me. I would not look back and be sad for what I had missed, but would embrace everything I have to look forward to. I will love being a mother again, I will love my life and will not let the guilt consume me when things aren’t going to plan. Life is what you make of it and I plan to make so much more out of it for me and my family. I have drive, ambition and a head full of ideas and will do everything in my power to make our little family a success. Depression may be a part of me for a long time but it has shown me how to appreciate things again and I will not let it beat me. Fuerteventura has been the break and eye opener I needed to heal.

Miss J
Miss J

 

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Fighting depression with unconditional love

Today has been one of those days. I have struggled from the moment I got up this morning with my anxiety and depression. I have felt fragile, like I could break any second. I have been questioning myself as a mother, questioning how much I actually love my children. Do they deserve better? Am I just hopeless? Do I not deserve joy and happiness?

Postnatal depression has reared its ugly head and has tried to crumble any kind of confidence I had gained, self-esteem, self-worth and has tried to plague me full of self-doubt, negative thoughts and guilt. I let it come in gradually and started to believe again what a terrible mother I am and how my children deserve better. I hate feeling like this and always having to battle every single day for my happiness or lack of it. I don’t want to be this person and I don’t want it to consume me and have control over me.

I forced myself like I do every day to go through my blog posts comments and started to feel an ounce of happiness again. For someone to say my writing resonates with them or it has helped them feels amazing and is a huge boost to my confidence. I’ve got to keep going and keep on writing as it really does help me so much.

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As I was finishing replying to my last comment Mr T awoke and started to cry, so I went straight into his room and picked him up out of his cot and settled into the nursing chair. I could smell the smell of his warm dribble and stroked his messy hair, whilst I let him have his milkies. As he lay in my arms, latched on to me, eyes rolling back, I felt at peace, I felt like I had a purpose, I knew this is where I should be and what I am worth.

The fact that I have two beautiful children that love me unconditionally is amazing and my biggest weapon in fighting this horrible thing. These two people hang on to my every word, they cry for me, they want my cuddles, my kisses and my bedtime stories. I am everything to them as well as there dad and they are everything to me. I have a family who loves together, plays together and cries together. We unconditionally love each other and we always will, as we our bound together by our strong foundations as a family.

I love unconditionally. I am unconditionally loved.

Powers of positive affirmations

 

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The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually – Eeyore

Today it has rained none stop, Mr T is cuddled up to me, poorly and it’s just a bit depressing. I am stuck in, unable to move off the sofa, the washing is piling up, I have holiday clothes to wash and pack, but today it will have to wait. I hate the rain and how it makes everything seem so depressing.  I have such a fear when one of the children or me is sick as I know how easy it is for me to slip back into depression. Being stuck in a house with a poorly child, isolated, alone and unable to do the jobs that I need to be doing can be such a difficult thing for me and my wellbeing can suffer quickly. If I get into a habit of staying in and being isolated I then struggle to get out again and things can easily spiral for me and negative thoughts can creep in, but the best thing that has come out of my recent mental breakdown is that I can recognise this and put things in place to stop it snowballing. It’s hard when you have a small child who is sick and is demanding your time and attention and when you add the lack of sleep into the mix, it can quickly become too much.

I won’t always have postnatal depression, the house won’t always be messy, my children won’t always be small and hopefully won’t always be ill. Everything is momentary and just a small piece of time, we will move on and carry on as that’s what we have to do as humans. Be kind to ourselves, be honest with ourselves and don’t worry about tomorrow as tomorrow will come in its own time.

Mr T has eventually fallen to sleep and been placed in his cot and I can see the gently rise and fall of his chest. He looks so at peace, content, warm and loved. He is happy and right now and i’m all he needs.

The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually – Eeyore

The lonely mother and the working husband

 

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The great dummy debate

I am open to admit that I have a dummy addict! Mr T loves his dummy as much as he loves his boobie milk, which again he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Mr T is 18 months old now and I’m feeling the pressure when out that he is being seen as too old from some people to have the plastic thing shoved in his gob.

Am I a lazy parent for still letting him have his dummy? Possibly on some level I am, but it provides him comfort when tired or teething and means that my ears get a break from him whingeing for five minuets then that’s fine with me. If you don’t like it then shove off, as I honestly don’t see the problem. Too many people seem to think that they can tell you what to do on parenting when we all know that one size does not fit all.

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My own mother hates dummies and I never had one as a child so instead I used to try to fit my fist in my mouth (I can still do it now, classy) and my teeth were ruined. In total I had four braces from ages 9 through to 14 and I still have one on the back of my teeth. I think I would prefer that my child has a dummy which van be taken away instead of a thumb, fingers or fist. Since Mr T has come along she has changed her stance on dummies.

For me in the baby days it gave me a chance to comfort my baby whilst out and about when I didn’t have the chance to feed my baby immediately. I know for many breastfeeding mums they have felt able to feed where ever and when ever, but for me I wanted to be sat somewhere comfortable and discreet to feed. That is purely a personal preference and I admire people who can feed openly.

Mr T was given his dummy a couple of days after being born just like his big sister. I was told by a midwife with Miss J that I may as well give up breastfeeding there and then for giving her a dummy before we were established breastfeeding, well she got to year breastfeeding so I believe that to be a load of old tosh. If it wasn’t for the dummy and me getting a break from comfort sucking I wouldn’t have probably carried on past a couple of weeks so for me it was my saviour.

Mr T become very attached to his affectionately called ‘doo-doo’ soon after birth, as with his reflux the suckling eased the pain for him. Now he’s talking more I am making a conscious effort to take it away from him so it doesn’t hinder him in any way, but at bed time the dummy comes out plus a spare for his hand and he happily sleeps a full twelve hours for me, every night.

The time will come when we have to say goodbye to his dummy, but whilst he naps in the day happily we won’t be parting ways anytime soon. I had made the promise with myself that when Miss J stopped her daytime naps we would say goodbye to her dummy and at 3 years and 2 weeks old it happened and she accepted it well. We said goodbye to them and chucked them away and she happily become a ‘big girl’. I think Mr T might be a little harder to get off the dummy when the time comes, but as it stands now he is happy which makes me happy.

 

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