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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Parenting a strong willed boy

Parenting a strong willed boy

It was quite apparent from an early age that Mr T has been strong willed and a bit of a handful. Miss J has her moments and is pretty stubborn at times, but from an early age distraction or even reasoning with her has always worked. I’ve found parenting Miss J easy to some extent and never doubted my abilities as a parent until Mr T started to show us his personality. Often since his arrival in May 2015 I have refered to him as difficult baby and toddler, but this is not true, he is not difficult or naughty he’s just strong willed and that’s what makes him, him.

Mr T is now 21 months and is pretty much mute with words besides mummy, juice, milk and please. He does seem to have a good understanding of what we are saying to him, but he as far as he’s concerned he has no one to please and will listen if he fancies it. I do wonder at times if I gave him the wrong name as he rarely responds to it.

Mr T started to crawl at 10 months and as soon as he was able to pull himself up and climb he’s been a force to reckon with. He’s strong willed, determined and so stubborn and I often wonder how I manage to get through the day. He will climb anything and often fall off things, if he decides he wants to climb something he will not give up until he’s succeeded and most probably got a bump to the head. I’ve learnt to stay close and guide him so he can explore the world in his own way.

For the last year I’ve lived in a constant state of anxiety trying to parent such a strong willed boy, I’ve often asked myself is it just me who can’t handle a boy, is he particularly difficult or is it just the postnatal depression that has stopped me from parenting how I used to with just one child. Having time to reflect and see his personality grow I am gradually learning to just enjoy him for who he is and that this age is just a phase and it should (I hope) get easier.

Mr T is not just strong willed, he has many other amazing personality traits like his gentleness, affection and his sheer determination is amazing. I look forward to seeing how his personality grows with him and I hope to help direct his strong willed personality into the right areas of his life. I’m sure like his dad he will be a fantastic sportsman and have his competitiveness that I wish I had.

Mr T has taught me so much since he was born, he’s taught me how to catch a falling child without flinching, how to stop a bump swelling so quickly, how to always expect a poo directly after a bath and to love two children equally, but differently. Mr T has shown me that children aren’t just naughty, they are just learning in a way that fits their personality and that no way is wrong. Mr T is making me a better parent every single day and has found his way to fit into our little family perfectly.

 

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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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The joys of a toddler who climbs everything.  

Mr T is a complete whirlwind compared to his sister and he has taken me by surprise. Mr T is a climber and a dangerous one at that. I now have a child covered in bumps and bruises and the thing is he doesn’t even care. I spend my whole life trying to catch Mr T and pulling him off various objects but you can’t help but admire his determination.

At first I was actually quiet impressed and would enjoy watching him explore the world in a new way, but now I just mutter “ffs” under my breath and pull him back down. He is getting smarter by the day and now using objects as building blocks to reach new heights whilst mummy is having mini heartattacks multiple times a day.

I’m hoping this new skill will serve him well in the future, but his lack of fear and the fact he doesn’t seem to feel pain does worry me that he may become some crazy daredevil as he becomes a teenager. I am guessing I may be a few trips to the hospital in years to come and I expect my hair to be completely grey by the time I’m in my mid thirties.

His latest trick is now to stand by the window and watch people as they pass. I’m sure the postman must think he’s some poor hard done by child that has no toys or stimulation, but the truth is if he’s climber he’s happy. One thing that I will never mind is when he climbs on me for a cuddle.

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