What to look forward to as your children grow

Watching your children grow can be bittersweet, I love watching them grow and become their own little people with their own likes and dislikes, but I often feel sad that another phase is over and they are growing too quickly. The truth is I love a baby, I love the cuddles, the smell, the kisses and I even love the excitement of labour (not the pain), but like any other human I find them exhausting, draining and I have often missed having to give up such a big part of me. I don’t feel guilty for these thoughts anymore as I have every right to feel like this and being a parent to small children is relentless and hard at times. I now savour the time I do get a break from being a mum, which is rarely, but it’s ok as they will only be this young once and one day things will change, not to how they were before children, but they will change as they grow with a new set of challenges. I’ve written a list of what I have to look forward to as my little ones grow to full fledged teenagers.

The things I will look forward to as my children grow. 

  1. No more toys in the living room. This has got to be one of the things I look forward to most. My living room is filled with plastic junk and no matter what I do with the stuff it always looks un-kept and cluttered. The day I say goodbye to Toot-toot will be a good day.
  2. No more nappies or reminding someone to go for a wee. Nappies are a complete ball-ache and after that’s done you have the fun job of potty training to undertake. I can’t wait to be done with buying nappies, nappy sacks and nappy rash cream.
  3. No more changing bag! I love bags and even love my changing bag (I’ve had a few), but I’m looking forward to the day of not having to remember to take my purse out to put in my handbag for work. I have so many beautiful bags that’s rarely make an appearance these days.
  4. No more dummys. Not everyone goes down this route but I would love to turn up to work and not find a stray dummy in my pocket and having to do the dummy hunt behind the cot every night.
  5. Go out for a meal and eat my dinner hot. I try to take my kids out for meals so it becomes normal for them and they are pretty well-behaved, but it’s stressful and I usually end up eating my meal cold. God forbid you have a long wait and a screaming hangry toddler.
  6. Lay-ins! I know some people are early risers and I applaud you, but I’m five years into parenting and am still not an early starter. My children are great and generally never wake until 7am and sometimes even 8am at the weekend, but I look forward to the day of having to wake them up.
  7. Not having to persuade them to eat their food. Meal times with our oldest can be exhausting as she has a limited diet and is an extremely fussy eater. I hold onto hope one day she will just eat normally and I won’t have to bribe her.
  8. No more bath toys. Bath toys are ruining my life, the mould when water gets stuck, the space they take and the intruders in my bath tub when I’m trying to relax.
  9. privacy. The day will come when I get pee in peace, bath on my own and not have to dress in front of an audience. As this day comes the children will probably putting up their own boundaries of privacy away from me.
  10. No more school run. I enjoying having a chat with other mum’s, but as of next year I’ve got a much longer walk to school and I expect I will probably be late most mornings. It will be lovely when the day comes that I can pack them off and say goodbye.
  11. No more having to dress small people. I look forward to the day that the children can dress and coordinate themselves. Miss J can dress herself with most clothes but her style when left to her own devices often resembles a pink marshmallow. Mr T on the other hand just prefers not to wear clothes at all.
  12. They can feed themselves. Some days all I seem to do is try to fill my children with endless supplies of food yet all I hear is ‘i’m still hungry’. Life will be good when they just feed themselves.
  13. Freedom again to be husband and wife. As the children get older I know it will be easier to leave them and that is something I look forward to most, I can’t wait to spend time with just my husband again and be a couple for date nights.
  14. Getting my bed back. First thing when I wake up the kids are in our bed jumpy all over us and often Miss J finds her way into our bed at night. It will be nice when our bed is just ours again.
  15. Saying goodbye to Peppa pig and all those other terrible programs. I can’t wait to not watch kids TV, but I worry it will probably be replaced by some other rubbish.

The things I will not look forward to as my child grows

  1. No more pushchair for carrying my shopping bags. The day I say goodbye to my pushchair will a sad day as it has helped me on many a shopping trip. I’ve had seven in total and finally found my perfect one (Mamas and Papas Armadillo City).
  2. When the cuddles start to disappear it will be tough, but I live in hope as they become adults, again the cuddles will follow.
  3. Holding their hands. I love walking along and holding my children’s hands, but Miss J is keen to pull away as soon as she sees her friends at school.
  4. Letting them out and having curfews. I was a nightmare and I’m dreading trying tot find the balance of giving them freedom that is fair and also safe.
  5. Finding dirty plates in their rooms. I don’t know why, but most teenagers seem to do it and it’s something my husband still does today which drives me crazy.
  6. Moody teenagers and backchat really fills me full of dread. I was such a ‘Kevin’ as a teenager and from Miss J’s diva strops she has now I can see her being a challenge.
  7. Being eaten out of house and home. With teenage growth spurts comes teenage superfast metabolism and I’m guessing if these children grow like weeds as I did then my food bill will be going through the roof.
  8. Mum’s taxi. I hear it often from parents of older children and living a good 15 minuets away from anything and a rubbish bus route I expect I will be doing lots of driving about.
  9.  Homework or getting them to sit down and focus enough to do it. I hated homework at school and am not looking forward to trying to motivate someone else to do it,

Parents of older children do you have anything else you can think of?

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Maybe baby number three?

Maybe baby number three?

We have one of each a perfect pigeon pair, yet still we get asked if baby number three will come. It’s a question I still ask myself  lots and even I’m not 100% sure on what the outcome will be. Every few months a new baby is born in my friendship social circle, I have baby showers and christenings filling up my weekends and my Facebook feed is full of squishy gorgeous little newborns and my womb is aching for baby number three. At the age of 29 motherhood and everything baby is in full swing and I cannot, not see it. I am forever feeling friends babies kick in their mummy’s tummy’s and getting to cradle a gorgeous ball of sweet-smelling, squishiness and even my own baby (two a few days ago) still resembles a baby at times. Mr T is in a fresh baby grow and having cuddles before bed is literally my favourite moment of the day.

Will this feeling fade when all my friends finally stop having babies, we again get our weekends back and are able to socialize without a children’s party of soft play in sight? Am I just a broody person and no matter how many babies I have I’ll never not stop wanting another one more? I think maybe now my youngest has turned two I am feeling a little lost, I know a year will pass in a heartbeat and he’ll be waving me off and starting pre-school and I’ll have the feeling of an empty nest. They really do grow up so fast and before you know it they are their own little people, with their own likes and dislikes and they stop needing you quiet as much. When you spend so long being a mum, at home with these babies, jumping to their ever need it becomes a bit odd when you’re not needed in the same way.

So will baby number three ever be on the cards? Maybe, hopefully, I’m not certain, but I love the idea of having one more baby. I don’t feel done and have always imagined my life with three children. Right now though it’s a big no, I might be broody and long for baby cuddle’s, but I have some beautiful friends babies to cuddle to fill in for now. When both the children are in school and we feel maybe our family needs one more little person then I hope it will be an option. We may get to this point and decide we are happy, content and not want to go back to all that a new baby entails. Who knows what the future will hold for us as a family, but right now we are a family of four and are the perfect balance.

Something that does worry me about the thought of a third child is having to deal with postnatal depression, I’m very much aware that it is possible I could get PND again and the thought of that terrifies me. I would imagine I would notice the signs quicker and seek help, but I worry putting my family in that position again would make me feel selfish. I wonder if I want another child because I feel I missed out on so much with Mr T from suffering with PND for almost two years of his life. It’s not something I would take lightly and having a third child would be a huge decision for us. I am a planner, but this is something I cannot plan right now, I guess we will just have to see what happens in the future.

Does anyone else get the same feelings? I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings on this subject.

The first steps of getting help with postnatal depression and anxiety

 

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Mr T is turning two – Reflection

Mr T is shortly turning two and is no longer my little baby boy, but rather a tall toddler. Mr T has done well to holding onto his baby status for longer than his peers with his chubby cheeks, his late walking and reluctance to talk. If I’m honest I have loved keeping him a baby for longer and have savoured every second with my baby boy, but times are moving and he’s ready to graduate to a toddler. Mr T stopped having the boob last week, which makes him seem so much more grown up to me and has been surprising me daily with new words, he’s also had his first proper big boy hair cut which has turned him from cute to handsome.

Starting off Mr T had a bit of a rough time with horrible reflux and because he was a bit of a piggy and was still gaining weight the doctors weren’t concerned. He would scream all night and often go through five babygrows a night. I spent so much time googling and eventually found a pillow (babymoov cosydream) that helped him sleep in comfort and after many trips to the doctor I finally got some prescribed which helped. The reflux has finally stopped in the last few months and I no longer find puddles of sick around the house or him going blue and it’s one phase I am so happy to be out of.

I’ve always found Mr T to be more needy than his sister, he didn’t sleep well and always needed me around. I loved all the cuddled, but at times it was suffocating never having a second without him attached to me. Recently it’s all started to pay off and he’s finally found his independence to play and explore. Last week I managed to get him to stop breastfeeding, which was a huge step for us. I had planned to feed until a year like his sister, but we just kept going. I never thought I would be an extended breastfeeder, but I am now so happy I have. For the last six months he has only fed before bed so it hasn’t been an inconvenience, instead a nice part of our bedtime routine. Mr T has happily weaned and excepted that the milk has gone and I couldn’t be prouder of what a big boy he has become.

When I compare my two children I always feel a bit like he pulled the short straw having to divide his time with his sister and also having a mum who had postnatal depression. When the depression was at it worse I was forever blaming myself and letting the guilt eat me up about what a rubbish mum I was this time around. In reality I can now see, he was none the wiser to anything going on and I’ve done an amazing job over the last two years at being his mummy. The joys of coming out the other side is now seeing I did the best I could have done in the situation I was in and that is pretty amazing.

One thing that has shined in the last few months is Mr T’s personality, I really have a little comedian on my hands who will do anything to make someone smile. He really is a little sunshine and always such a happy little boy (besides when hungry), he actively is always trying to get people’s attention, just so he can show off how charismatic he is becoming. I’m certain he will be the class clown when he starts school and will keep us in stitches for many years to come. He’s honestly so engaging and I could just watch him for hours pottering about doing his little thing.

One thing that has always been easy with Mr T is his eating and something I am so grateful for after his ultra picky eater sister. I’ve always had that worry that he will also get more difficult, but ‘touch wood’ so far he is a real food lover. He was feasting on calamari and steak the other day and likes a good Thai curry.

All in all it’s been a good two years with Mr T, he has taught me so much and shown me such love and I can’t wait to watch his personality grow in the next year of his life. He is still called ‘The destroyer’ and doesn’t seem to be dropping that nickname anytime soon, but you have to admire his strong wilfulness. This boy will do great things.

 

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A mothers unconditional love for her baby

The day I met you, my darling baby, everything changed. I would never be able to just think about me anymore as my actions would directly affect you. I will be the role model to you and I will be the first person in this world that will show you what love is. There has never been anyone like you in my world before and I still can’t believe how instantly I fell in love with you. When someone says they don’t believe in love at first sight they must not have been lucky enough to become a parent like me.

I will never forget the way you smelt as you were laid on my chest for the first time. I felt exhausted, relieved , overwhelming emotions of love and fear of how I was now responsible for this tiny person for the rest of my life. From that day I became a mother which is something I will cherish dearly until my dying day. I had to learn quickly how to wash a baby, dress a baby and how to feed, which was hard to begin with and nothing like when I had played with dolls as a child. You needed me and were relentless with your needs, but I sacrificed it all as I wanted to do it all for you.

I cherished my time feeding you, taking you for walks and rocking you to sleep, as you are not just my child, but also my friend. I would sometimes get you out of your cot, still asleep and sit with you in a chair rocking you and stroking your face, desperately trying to remember the way you felt in my arms. You soon grew, much quicker than I had anticipated and were soon toddling around my house, causing destruction. We started going for walks to the park, just us two, to feed the ducks and I can honestly say I was so happy in your company. We spent many a day cuddled on the sofa, playing dolls and painting together, then the day came where you had to leave me.

You ran off without a second look back through your classroom doors and began a life away from me. I wasn’t there all day to help, guide or teach you right from wrong and I missed you terribly. I still had your baby brother at home, but I missed having my darling little girl with me. When I collect you from school my heart fills with love and I’m so happy to hear your stories and what you have learnt today, but I’m secretly jealous that someone else gets you. I loved the day you told me about the dinosaurs and how they were ‘stinct’ and then asked if I knew any of them.

The days we have together are not as often now and when I reach for your hand to hold, you soon let go to be free, ready to explore the world on your own. I know at bedtime no one does bedtime stories as well as me and that you will make any excuse to keep me in your bed just one more minuet longer. I will hold you as long as you let me, kiss you on the forehead, stroke your hair and breath you in. You will never stop being my little girl and the promises I made to you when you were born will be forever. You are my love, my darling, my baby and I will be with you forever.

 

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When a toddler doesn’t accept a new baby sibling

I have been quiet vocal about how Miss J didn’t accept her baby brother when he was born 19 months ago. It’s something quiet common, but it’s not something you want to really talk about. Miss J was just over two when I got pregnant with her brother and was such a mummy’s girl. She was my mini me and always wanted mummy to put her to bed and read her stories. Whilst I was pregnant we did everything we could to prepare her for her new sibling, by talking about what was happening, taking her to our gender scan and letting her pick baby clothes and toys. She seemed to be understanding and kept asking when baby would ‘pop out’. When ever I did hold another baby she would get extremely jealous, so I did wonder if it would take a little adjustment initially. In preparation for her brother arriving we bought Miss J a fairy locket for her brother to give her and she picked out a blue ‘snuggle bunny’ the same as her much loved bunny. Everything we could have possibly done to prepare for his arrival was done and it was just now a waiting game.

It was gradual, but she learnt to love her brother.

At 37 weeks my waters broke without sending me into labour so after a 24 hour wait I was sent to hospital to be induced which didn’t work the first time. I had a long wait waiting for labour to kick start and was feeling really emotional and sad about not seeing my daughter. I had decided I didn’t want Miss J to see me in hospital and would let her meet her brother in her own home. Mr T arrived safely and we were able to leave the next afternoon to get home. Miss J was being looked after by a friend and was bought home to meet him. Her initial reaction was ‘it popped out’, she gave him gift and went off to play. I wasn’t expecting much from her and that was fine, as I knew it would take her time to adjust.

Miss J wasn’t interested in her little brother and was getting quiet jealous of me breastfeeding him. I was prepared that this could happen and spent as much time as I could with sitting with her and spending time with her and at first it was manageable as my husband was off work for two weeks to help. When my husband went back to work on twelve hour shifts things became a lot more strained. Everytime Mr T would cry she would put a muslim over his face and I was trying to explain to her why she couldn’t do that without making her resent him more. She would scream when I was holding him, refuse to walk if we were out and I was pushing him in his pram. She refused to even call him by his name and refered to him as ‘the baby’. I was having to bribe Miss J with sweets so I could get the occasional picture with her brother and I was trying desperately to get her to bond, but nothing was working and I knew it wasn’t something that could be forced.

Mr T having his injections was a turning point for Miss J. She started to become very protective over him.

My own mother suggested Miss J stayed over every Friday so I got a break, she got a break and I was able to bond with my baby. Miss J loved going over for the night, but when it came to coming back home she would scream that she didn’t want to, which was breaking my heart. I felt so guilty for bringing this baby into her life who she resented. I was struggling to get out the house and I was struggling to bond with my baby, looking back now it’s not surprising that I got postnatal depression.

Whilst writing this blog post Miss J has been reading to her brother.

There was nothing I could do, but to keep on trying to show Miss J that her brother wasn’t all that bad. I was getting her involved in any way possible, by getting nappies, letting her feed him a bottle, help wash him. I was patient with her and excepted that a bond for her would take time. I encouraged her to sit and communicate with him and to show him her toys or dancing and gradually I was seeing something happen. The real turning point was when Miss J started pre-school for two and half days a week. She loved going and having time to play with her friends and I loved being able to bond with baby or go shopping with ease. I remember taking Mr T for his jabs and had no choice, but to take Miss J with me, she insisted on holding his hand and became so worried and upset when he was crying. She was feeling his pain and was showing real concern for her little brother. Even though watching your baby have injections is usually a horrible experience it was something quiet special about that day as Miss J showed for the first time that she loved her brother. She still gets a bit jealous at times as he does of her, but I think that’s just natural for siblings. When Mr T wakes first in the morning he shouts her name and goes to find her in her bed and when she’s up first she climbs into his cot for cuddles. To watch them now you would never know what a struggle it was for her to bond with her brother, she’s extremely protective of him and loves to sit reading him books and play with his toys. They have their moments like any siblings do, but I can now see I’ve given her the greatest gift in the world which is her brother.

 

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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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Pigeon Pair & Wanting a Third Baby

Pigeon pair & wanting a third baby

I have been very fortunate enough to have two children and I can tell you now that I didn’t care what gender I had, I was just grateful that I could have children and that they are healthy.  People especially the older generation don’t seem to understand why when I have a perfect pigeon pair I would want to add to my family, but I do. I am certain that our family will not be complete until we have a third child. I have no preference on what gender we have and I’m pretty sure we won’t even find out, but I feel our family is still missing one tiny person.

Why do I feel the need to add to our brood? To be honest I am not sure and practically it probably isn’t the best decision, but then I see that it’s more important to have a big enough family to fill our hearts than money. I feel my decision has been slightly influenced by missing out on the first five months of Mr T’s life as I was crippled by depression and I had blocked out so much of it. I wish I could have appreciated the baby stage more with him, but now things are better I feel like I get so much from him.

I was one of two children and have grown up incredibly close with my older sister that I class her as one of my best friends. We share friends with each other and have even shared a couple of the same bridesmaids, but we couldn’t be more opposite if we tried. Not only do we look nothing alike are personalities are different, but one thing we do have in common is that we both have the most silly laugh and we can have each other in fits of laughter in seconds.  I hope my children can be as close
what we have become.

As a very small child I had dreamed about having children of my own and was always playing and caring for my dolls. I actually looked forward to turning 30 as that was the age my mum had had children and that’s all I wanted. I didn’t manage to wait as long as my mum and got pregnant at 23 with Miss J. It really was the most amazing moment in my life knowing that I would be starting a family of my own.

One thing I will not be looking forward to is pregnancy, I don’t do pregnancy easily and can say besides loving having a rounded tummy and feeling the kicks I find pregnancy a massive pain in the back, hips, legs etc. The 9 months of pain are all worth it though and something I would be willing to go through again. I think I still need a couple of years to block out the pain of pregnancy and labour before I’m mentally prepared to put myself through it again.

I do have a real fear of getting PND again and how I would cope with three children and this is why I want to wait a few years first to make sure I’m mentally prepared for it. I do hope that as I have been through this, that I will recognise it earlier and be able to get the help I need before things get too much. I can’t let it be a deciding factor in my future as that would mean I have let it win and take something else from me.

I’ve found parenting difficult and I’m certainly not the earth mother I had imagined myself to be. I’ve had PND, had a breakdown and have come out the other side, but I can confidently say I’ve been a good mum, caring mum, loving mum and my children are flourishing. I want another baby, not yet, but in a few years’ time and this baby will complete our family as five.

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