Pick yourself up and just keep going

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When I was little I use to do dance classes – at the end of every year there would be this massive Christmas concert where we’d spend ages practicing choreography. Then I’d go home and my mum would make me do it again… EVERY… SINGLE… DAY!

Later on in school when I mum worked out that I was having issues with maths – especially division and then algebra, mum would make sure I did my homework and then give me EXTRA equations to work out in addition to what school set out for me.

I HATED it.

I LOATHED the extra work.

Time and time again my mum would say that one day I would thank her; that when I made it into university and was later working a decent job I would appreciate the work she MADE me put in. On the other hand, if I continued to argue about how “no one else has to do it” she would eventually have enough and tell me that anything worth something takes effort.

Years later and I did make it to uni with rather decent grades, years after that I met someone and we had many an obstacle to overcome but I realised that my mum’s practice of making me do things; of getting me to “suck it up and keep going” befitted me in more ways than making me proficient at dance chorography, division and algebra.

I find that I approach parenting in much the same way:

Cleaning up a gazillion times and then having hubby come home and ask “can we clean up the book area? It looks a bit messy” and I think “suck it up and keep going!”

The mania that ensues every night on my work days when we pick kids up from day-care and then have to get both children bathed, clothed and fed and then organise the next day whilst trying to find time to spend with them individually and then put them to bed and find time with hubby – “Pick yourself up, just keep going!”

The times I am at the shops and one child is crying because her little pulled her hair and then he starts wailing because she’s crying – “pick yourself up, & put the coffee in the trolley and just keep going – let’s get some choccies for mummy too”

Life isn’t meant to be easy – that there will be moments, days and sometimes weeks or months where I will wonder WHY?? Where I’ll internally scream and outwardly just take a deep breath… but then there are the other moments where Rocco will stroke my face and smile up at me every night as I put him to bed. Those moments when I’ll hear the patter of Amira’s feet as she feels her way to our room and gets into bed with me and snuggles up close and says she loves me.

Parenting is hard. But its amazing.

I think so many of us, when things are “challenging” start focussing on them, then think about the other hard stuff and then the next thing we know we’ve snowballed and suddenly this is all too hard, we quiver and forget that we need to try to find the joy that comes from the mania. See the little things – like instead of focussing on how Rocco is crying about his shoe coming off and that he can’t put it on himself, look to see how his sister has stopped playing and come on over and is trying so patiently so get a wriggly little boy to sit still whilst she TRIES to put on his shoe. It doesn’t matter that she’s not been able to do it, and that now I have less time to get the grocery shopping done – in that moment she showed her love for him, she showed compassion and care and empathy.

That if we stop for a minute; stop berating either ourselves/the universe/our parents/our children/our income (or lack thereof)/our partner (or lack thereof) and take each situation as a moment we might be able to get through it a little better – that we’re one more equation away to understanding the algebra of life.

So for all the times things get too much – I’ll just “pick myself up and keep going”

Because its like that other saying: “this too shall pass”

And if it takes too long or things get a little too hard to handle there is always cake.

3

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The last four kilos

They say that the first step to change or acceptance is admitting you have a problem – so here it is:

I have a CRAZY sweet tooth

I also LOVE to bake

One would think that these 2 things coupled together would make for a beautiful marriage; and yet in a way it has. But at its core all is does is exacerbate the issue. This love of baking and sweet tooth has, in some ways served me well – it means I am usually the one to bring desert when invited to dinner, it means that it is usually assumed that I will be making cake (or something of the equivalent) for family gatherings and that when I go out with Amira (lil miss 2.5yr old) and she’s a cake or picture of something sweet she will look to me and say “mummy make this one for me?” where other children would probably ask “mummy buy this one for me”.

The flipside of this union is that it means the last four-ish kilos I desperately yearn to lose (so that I return to post pregnancy weight) allude me. It means that whilst I may have steamed veg for lunch (my lunch today) that I am resigned to the notion that I will probably give in to having some of that butterscotch self-saucing pudding that I have left over in the fridge. It means that in my mind, I can hear my tummy laughing at me and mocking me “haha – we’re here to stay! You’ll not get rid of us unwanted kilos now – we are now permanent residents; citizens of the belly domain!” and that when I walk into a store these days and they have started to stock their swimwear for the upcoming summer season (it’s still winter here in Australia) they too laugh at me saying “ooohh – remember us? You used to be able to wear us – you’re DREAMING now! Walk on muffin top!”

Hmm – am I sounding a lil crazy?

And yet the quest continues

How easily we forget

I don’t know about you but I am astounded in how 2 years there seem to be both a lot of things I remember and yet a LOT of things I have (already) forgotten about newborns! It has astounded me in such a way that makes me wonder how on earth women who looked after their own newborns more than 10 years ago can feel so adamant about dispensing advice. In saying that, I have been very cautious when dispensing my own ‘anecdotes’ when asked what I did when Amira was a newborn and have tried to start with “I don’t know if it will work for you, but with Amira I think I…” because I’ve found that over time the mind forgets the ‘yuky’ part and has a way of ‘polishing’ the good parts. Perhaps this is nature or God’s way (whichever methodology you ascribe to) of continuing humanity or perhaps it’s just our own feeble, mummy brain affected minds playing tricks on us; whichever one it is, here are the things that I have found that I had forgotten about dealing with newborns:

They really are tiiinnnnyy! I remembered her being little – I remembered her being fragile – but then you have another little one and you are gobsmacked at just HOW teeny, tiny they really, really are! These little fragile, twiglike creatures that I’m scared I could break when changing a nappy.

How breast feeding hurts: when you’re putting a baby to the breast every couple hours and you haven’t breast fed for nearly a year you forget how traumatising it is on the nipples when he/she first latches on and gets going. I loved breast-feeding missy; even with all the attachment issues in the beginning, then her hating one breast to the point of exhaustive fits of crying (first her and then me!) when I’d put her on (to a point where I just gave up and destined myself to lopsided/uneven boobs) and me getting mastitis. I loved the closeness it brought us; the moments where she’d look up at me whilst feeding was like we were sharing our own little secret world that no one else was a part of. It’s not that breast feeding hurts each and every time or for the whole time you’re feeding; it’s just that initial phase when you’re needing to “toughen up” your nipples – that’s the part I’d forgotten about. Which brings me to:

How painful engorgement feels: I must admit that I did fully remember that feeling that came on the third morning post birth, when my milk came in. The shocking feeling as though I had an additional couple kilos on my chest only to be greeted with a Pamela Anderson-sized chest when I looked in the mirror. I remember them being hard (sorry for TMI), for them being even bigger than I thought they’d be and being totally amazed at the concept of child-birth and all that seemed to follow. This time around though my milk started coming in at day 2 and by day three I think I was seriously giving Pammie a damn good run for her money – really; Katie Price had nothing on me! by day 4 I was ready to be able to feed an army of babies! The hardness, the “hotness” – all those feelings came back… but worse this time. And then to have a little bubba who didn’t seem to eat as much as his sister did (though I will say that he did/does want to feed ALL THE TIME!) – well, by the end of night 4 I remember standing in the shower massaging my “mummy glands” as hubby walks in and catches me crying my eyes out of the sheer pain of it all.

How HUNGRY you get post birth and post (beast) feeding: I forgot how famished I’d be after feeding. Re-experiencing this has reminded me that perhaps this is why I never quite got back to pre-baby weight! Literally; I will finish popping Rocco on for a feed and then be thinking “Oooh, I could go a plate of scrambled eggs? or a slice of warmed chocolate cake with a good dollop of thickened cream please?” its profound that these yearnings are there even after the 2am feed when in reality the only thing I should be craving is a warm bed (don’t get me wrong, I am wanting that too, but the cake is outweighing this)

Exactly how tired you will be by the end of the night & the number of times you will get up through the night:  feel that that is pretty self-explanatory. After one baby you know that you will be sleep deprived, but you also know that you’ll survive it and be ok. That after some time, these night time wake ups will lessen and you will find sleep again. But then you have another one and you realise just HOW tired you were – how you are again and then it dawns on me: I will need to sleep train all OVER again!

I know this post sounds like a total rant; a series of complaints, issues and forgotten pitfalls of having babies… but it’s not really… because along with all the above comes the other things that I hadn’t forgotten at all but hadn’t quite remembered as true to what the reality is:

The absolute beauty of watching them sleep

The feeling of bliss of holding them in your arms and the overwhelming feeling of wanting to protect them from the world

The smell of them – the tops of their head smell amazing!

Watching them watching you… & that’s just to name a few!

So that even though I may be beyond tired and its only week 2 of having toddler + newborn and I know I have at least 3 night-time feeds ahead of me later on tonight I must admit… I wouldn’t change a thing. I am a mum of two now and I am amazed by it all.

x

3:28, 4:12 and 3:48… AM

These are but THREE of the times my little missy INSISTS on getting up screaming & demanding for one of us. Each morning without fail she is doing it – for the last few weeks between the times of 3:15am to 4:30am.

It is driving hubby CRAZY

It is making me wonder – WHYYYYYYYY?

We have tried:

Putting her to bed later

Putting her to bed earlier

Feeding her more carbs before bed (this was NOT good for us as we eat what she eats so where there is a greater quantity or rice/potato we too devoured said extras – thank GOODNESS I have pregnancy to blame it on!)

Longer “down time” before bed

A massage + J&J Sleepy Tme baby oil

Sleepy time (milk) supplement (a malt wheat supplement that you add about 1 teapsoon to milk before bed which is meant to aide sleep – she liked it for a bit and then went off it)

Getting up to her cries and giving her a dummy and walking away (telling her it’s still “nigh-nighs time”)

Getting up to her cried and soothing her and then walking away

Cry it out (don’t judge me – you have NO idea how exhausted we both were that morning! I spent the WHOLE time watching her in the baby monitor)

NONE of the above has worked!

What has “worked”

Me going into her room and telling her to lay down as I sit in the feeding chair & slip my foot between ‘rungs’ to rest on her chest and then she falls asleep (NOT conducive to MY sleep – well, comfortable sleep anyway)

Me or hubby bringing her into our room when she’s quiet and “sleeping” but not really going back to sleep (more tossing & turning and further infuriating hubby)

I am DESPERATE for thoughts and ideas – at this point I have resigned myself into thinking that this (bringing her into her our room) is the better method until she has a big girl bed in which case I will jump into bed with her (thus decreasing hubby’s frustration + also decreasing likelihood of bed wetting situations once I am in the throes of toilet training her!).

I am tired of feeling guilty as she yells “mummmmy-muuummmmy!” from her room. I am exhausted from feeling invisibly pulled and tugged between my role to support my husband and what he thinks is the “right” decision versus my own emotional mothering guilt that says there IS surely nothing wrong with bringing her in the bed with us?

Have I mentioned that to add to the situation, little miss is now grinding her teeth? Hubby noticed it on Friday night but as I had not heard it myself I wasn’t too worried. Then on Saturday when I popped her down for her/our nap I noticed that when he has her back to me she started grinding her teeth (whilst she was sleeping). I rolled over and placed the palm of my hand protectively on her chest and drew myself to her and once she’d nestled into me she stopped. So then I promptly take off my mummy hat and put on my therapist hat and am well aware that grinding teeth can be stress related in older children & adults which makes me think maybe she really does know a new lil bundle is coming and maybe she is NOT so fine about it after all and does need the extra attention? A quick Google search on my android (whilst still clutching her in my arms thinking “mummy will make it better honey – I will fix all of this!”) confirms these things in toddlers also as well as the possibility that perhaps her teeth are not aligning the way they should (which could also be a possibility as both hubby were subjected to braces as young adults).