30 May 2007

Yikes! Wow, she's growing up!

Quick update, Morgan slept through in the moses basket last night. It sits on the floor next to my side of the bed as a holder for clean nappies and baby blankets, but it was empty last night. I have put her in it a few times briefly just for the safe place to lay her when sorting washing and then taken her out before she got upset, but she has never slept in it.

Last night I fed her and then popped her in the basket for a while so I could get ready for bed and get a drink. She seemed happy but sleepy so we turned the lights off, and she startled a bit and grabbed for my hand, and then fell asleep! I was so shocked!

Anyway, she woke at 7am and started scrabbling for me so I pulled her into bed and fed her. I’m amazed.

29 May 2007

She doesn't want to be home!

It’s so good to have her home! She has been crying a lot this afternoon – first because she wanted to go back to my mum. “Don’t worry, I will come back to you mummy, I just need grandma. I can talk to you on de phone if I like. I will come back and live with you when I’m finished.” But then she also cried because she keeps seeing the news and she’s very upset about Madeleine still. She keeps asking if “that little girl laleine” is back with her mummy yet..

Anyway apparently she missed us a little, and I’m her “big mummy” (still assuming I should take that heartfelt statement from last week as her way of saying I’m important to her!). While she was away I did get to buy some jeans that fit me (yay) and some underwear that doesn’t look matronly, something I just don’t have the time or inclination to bother with shopping for with two in tow. Morgan staying with Martin for three hours while I did so, smiling at me whenever I stuck my head out to see her. *grins*

Also over the weekend Morgan has tried some solids. Banana she hates because it breaks up too easily, she just won't touch the stuff. She isn’t ready to swallow yet so I think we’ll stick with hard foods for sucking and gumming, she so wants to be like us though! She likes cucumber and apple slices.

24 May 2007

The weekend ahead, my big girl away

Off goes Jenna again, first to the In Laws, and then to Newcastle with my Mum. I’m trying to stop calling her a big girl – it feels like a backhanded compliment expecting her to somehow not be little and not have needs lol – but she is, so so grown up and frightening. So complete.

In the meantime I think I’m probably not going to be able to put Morgan down. At least without Jenna I can give myself over to that without guilt.

23 May 2007

Scary view of myself from someone else's perspective

Morgan has spent my BAMBI training today crawling around the room trying to eat folders. This leads neatly into me being asked by the group leader to talk about Baby Led Weaning… Lol! I’m not sure she should wean herself onto paper…

After the group I had another one of those scary and humbling moments where I have no idea what to say and really want to cry – but instead am left protesting that I’m just… normal… well, not anything special for doing what I do. Someone I really respect, a midwife, mother of three grown up children, our group leader, casually said that she thought everything I was doing was fantastic, that I was so knowledgeable and good at teaching others, and that she wished she had known me when her children were babies.

It shocks me that people – that anyone – would think that about me. If a few years ago I could have heard those affirmations, there is no way I’d have recognised anything about myself in there. I do what I do, and I know that it’s according to my conscience and that I really believe in a culture of gentle parenting. But I can’t see myself as being “good” because of that. Maybe one day I’ll live up to it all.

22 May 2007

Dealing with Jenna's bad dreams

Jenna is having nightmares again, she complains of having monsters in her room and stuff like that. She won’t come into our bed though. Not for want of permission! Last night she shouted me in a panic begging me to take a “bull” out of her bedroom because “it’s going to butt my”. We just have to calm her down as best we can, but she usually responds very well to a pantomime of kicking the bull (or whatever) out of the house, and then a gentle explanation that it isn’t a REAL monster and it can’t REALLY hurt her etc.

Today I got a haircut (for the third time in three years), I had a depressing time being fitted for a bra that looks like military equipment, and we went for pizza with my Dad – obviously not all at the same time. All is, well, pretty normal. We’re eating way too much junk food though. Another downside of having money around (less incentive to be frugal and green) I’m such a hypocrite sometimes.

21 May 2007

Watching other people play with Jenna

Yesterday we got to our Church for once, and then back to Mum’s house for lunch. It is amazing to see Jenna being parented by someone else – well, not parented, but for want of a better word.
When she talks to my Mum, and I hear the conversations that *I* have repeated back in someone else’s words… It’s like seeing into our relationship from the outside, replayed by my own mother and my tiny daughter. It’s a feeling I like, actually, when I thought I would be threatened by it.

Oh, and Morgan is trying to pull up to stand now - but she falls over, she can't balance on her toes and only gets as far as pulling up onto her knees before she starts to wobble!

19 May 2007

Improvements? Hope for being able to breastfeed...

Feeding is going so much better, but it is still very frequent. She’s obviously getting more hindmilk now my supply is less crazy, and that is making her feel better (less tummy ache for a start). I just want to get back my connection with her, I don’t want to feel so empty about feeding her – though I suppose it’s normal not to feel mushy when it’s hard work! I’m still working at not switching her over until she takes a proper feed.

We’ve been doing a lot of jobs while we actually have a proper two-day weekend, it certainly makes a change not to think of Saturday as a normal working day. I miss having so much time, that’s the real downside of Martin earning again. We’ve just slowed down and doing homey stuff. It’s irritating that it’s raining now and getting dark so we can’t finish the garden (not that I have enough compost anyway) but the lawn is tidy and it does look good out there.

Jenna has been playing a little bit less aggressively with Morgan, but it must be confusing for her. Now that Morgan is all over the place and crawling and noisy, it must seem to her like her sister is actually grown up, and much more robust than she actually is. Anyway we’ve been having to go back to reminding Jenna almost constantly not to pick her up or drag her.

17 May 2007

Chance to sort things out with Morgan

Jenna has gone off again. It does sometimes feel like she’s hardly home now, but she begged to go to Happy Tots with granddad so I phoned to see what we could arrange. They collected her earlier, and she won’t be back again until tomorrow night. That at least gives me some time to research nursing strikes and persuading fussy biting babies to take milk…

I think I’ve been shouting less though, now that I’m hyper-aware of it. I can’t really fix all the issues, and I’m having to stop Jenna hurting Morgan a LOT, but shouting wasn’t fixing it either. Watch this space.

Later the same day:

We’ve cracked it, I know why Morgan isn’t feeding, and it’s fixable and I can do it and we’re going to be OK!

I have an overactive letdown, and oversupply, and I knew this. I just didn’t associate it with her biting and messing and refusing to feed. But I’ve been reading LLL pages and that’s it! It has been making her gassy and frightening her because she can’t breathe as well, and she is biting to slow the flow.

Treatment is basically a couple of days feeding off only one side for a few hours, then only the other side for the next few hours, to tell my body to stop producing so much. Hopefully that should fix it. And so far, it has. Morgan has fed all day, but perhaps she’s making up for this week. Certainly she isn’t fussing and screaming and tugging. It’s all good. Thank Heaven for that. :)

16 May 2007

Nursing strike getting WORSE

So, BAMBI day again, only with no course this week. We did a bf promo event, and invited loads of the local midwives and health visitors. It was fun, and we took a lot of pictures – including some of the slings. One of the other BAMBIs, Kerry, has borrowed my Ellaroo for a while because she’s in need of a good carrier now that her baby is almost ten months.

I thought that Jenna would have to come with me because my in-laws couldn’t take her again, but Emma called at the last minute and arranged to come and play instead. I thought I’d bless Martin by sending him to the cinema with them (Spider-Man 3) and hence totally mucked up the plans we’d already made for this evening to go see Dougie and EJ.

I honestly didn’t mean to, but I’m running on no sleep still. One of the worst things with feeding going so badly is that I’m feeling the pressure to be the all-natural-gentle-hippy-super-mom so I’m slightly grateful that I don’t have to be going anywhere. Dragging the girls out to soft play was pretty hard, but I knew there would be lots of other breastfeeders there and it’s always good to have someone with more experience to sound off to. And the group this morning may have been a promo event but I was dying to see Marie and Debbie and ask “ARRGGGH, WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH HER??!!!”.

Going anywhere else, ugh. I don’t even want to see my brothers, or the next door neighbour, or anyone. I want to curl in on myself and my tiny one until I break this flippin nursing strike. It’s breaking my heart.

15 May 2007

Nursing strike and more tough stuff with crawling

Jenna has, as feared, decided that crawling Morgan is a BAD thing. She told me last night that she wants Morgan to go away now, and when I told her she couldn’t she said, “I don’t want you, I want to live with Grandma. Which way do I go? I don’t know how to get there.” I cried, and later laughed, and I think we ironed it out.

It’s so hard not to go with the “stop it, leave her, don’t pull her, she isn’t a toy, let her play with that, let go of her” all day every day. Morgan doesn’t want to feed long at the moment and she wants to be crawling around on the floor. Where Jenna immediately goes to play with her, and hurts her, and Morgan gets picked up, and screams louder for me to let her have her toy back again!

Actually, in general, I really want a good long sleep and a break from my babies. Morgan is just biting and hardly feeding and it’s *hard*. I’m so glad I’m not weighing her or I’d be worried sick about how little she’s taking. I’m just relying on the amount of potty times, and distracting myself when I want to panic about my supply failing or Morgan losing weight or anything else silly.

Soft play was good today, though, I think I needed to be out of the house. We all did! And my other good news is that today Morgan crawled properly, up on all fours, moving her hands without flopping down to do so. She’s officially five months and a couple of days old today.

14 May 2007

Leaving the baby and thoughts on sleep training

I’m totally exhausted today because we had a full day yesterday. First we went to a second hand sale and the girls now have a whole load of new clothes (for £5 total). Then we had some time at the in-laws. Then I went to my friend’s hen night, leaving Morgan with her Daddy not far away. And OH that was so hard…

At the hen night I was having fun, but feeling far more torn than I remember being when Jenna was little – or maybe the memory of the trauma just fades over time. I felt absolutely sick when I first left, frantic for her, and it took a lot to distract me (fortunately the distraction was provided by my girl friends wearing hardly any clothing lol).

After an hour I was expecting my lift at any time, but got a phone call first to say that Morgan wasn’t happy and wouldn’t settle either for the expressed milk in a cup I’d left her or for Daddy and the sling. So I got my stuff together super-quick so that I could be out of the door the moment FIL got there. I fretted all the way home, to find her exhausted and fast asleep on Martin. She woke up and snuffled for a second before she realised that it was me she was snuffling on, fed, and slept the night through as if nothing had happened!

But Martin was gutted, and had found it so so hard to hear her wailing for me, for what she needed, and not be able to help her. I, at least, hadn’t been put through the wringer hearing it. Fifteen minutes, maybe a little more, and he was a wreck.

At the exact same age, we started trying to sleep train Jenna (for a week, before we decided we just couldn’t). One time she actually cried for twenty minutes without comfort. Really puts it in perspective. I can’t believe we ever did that to her, and how cruel we now feel that Morgan would cry for that length of time with loving arms to hold her…

10 May 2007

With just the small one

So another quiet day with Morgan until the big one gets home… She’s really chatty and sweet and funny and I’m having too much fun pulling faces at her and doing baby gym to get around to doing any jobs!

She is babbling nicely these days, all babababa yayayay gagagaaaa and I love it. She does it the best when I sing to her, so I’m doing so all day long just about everything we do, making it up as I go along. It was scary to start with even with no audience except the teeny one, but now I’m just enjoying feeling so free (and getting such gorgeous approval from the baby).

9 May 2007

Still a bit off centre and needing support!

Martin and I really rowed this morning, and I hate falling out with him. We’ve both been tired (again) and he’s really grumpy (again) but it was a little more serious than that. It feels like I’m working pretty hard to stop yelling at Jenna when she pesters Morgan, but then he comes home and just starts shouting. I just don’t feel strong enough to be a gentle parent on my own. But when he starts I start, and I hate that Jenna feels pushed out and passed over in favour of the baby. :(

Emma babysat for me earlier so I could go to my BAMBI training, and now Jenna has gone swimming and called to say she’s staying with Grandma tonight so I have this evening to reflect on the whole discipline issue and try to sort out my head (and Martin’s!). Yelling NO is absolutely just making everyone miserable.

8 May 2007

Sling meet and PC time

And back goes the car again. I really don’t want to get one for our family, I really feel like it does little for us for the cost and drives us apart on our journeys. I’m not going to try to have that conversation with him again though, we’ve just been arguing too much this month. I hope we’re getting back on track though, sometimes it feels just like falling in love all over but sometimes I really want to kill him… Welcome to life on earth.

Today was another Sling Meet, and there were four families this month. It was great, all the toddlers and all the slings and all the experiences. It’s good to not feel alone, it can be isolating looking so different without the pushchair. Though there’s always common ground between parents I find. I’ve had some lovely conversations with strangers in changing areas lately… That’s another topic though.

Nope, nevermind, the thread of my thoughts has gone now. I’m tired and distracted, but very happy. Not least because Marlena of Funky Slings has lent me a fabulous, gorgeous brown and turquoise Mei Tai for my demonstrations and I love love love it.

I’m venturing back onto Ivillage today, I feel like I need to or I might not ever do it. I just don’t want to be on here to the exclusion of actually engaging with my children! Plus I’m still half afraid that I’m somehow not quite getting the balance between caring and intimidating… Here goes…

7 May 2007

Martin's Birthday

26 today! I think he’s feeling old. Actually I have had a pretty naff, stressed-out day today because he’s been in a real mood. You know those days when you feel like everything you do is wrong?

We obviously all got out of the wrong side of bed, lol. Our afternoon got so much better though.

We went to Freefest in Loughborough and had a picnic in the drizzle. At least four people were heard to do the “oh, it’s a baby” thing on seeing the sling! Jenna is so funny, headbanging and jumping around to the music and making friends with some of the groups of students sitting around us.

Then we did some gardening again. Yup, on his birthday! We did this last year too, it’s just that time of year. All in all I think we pulled it back from being a really awful day. Good job, because tomorrow is Tuesday and he goes back to work.

6 May 2007

Zoo, learning, gardening and friends

So yesterday we went to the Zoo and had one of those few really perfect family days. Jenna loved all the animals, and all the conservation stuff, and she seems to have taken in way more of all of it that I thought she would.

And then we spent the afternoon with Jeni and Sophia – which was also, well, perfect. :)

Today we have been to Church, back with Em for dinner, and then to buy fencing and some organic lettuce seedlings (mine didn’t come up lol) so that we can do some gardening.

Happy, happy, happy.

4 May 2007

Really relaxed stuff!

We collected our hire car this weekend, and we’re all set for lots of random family time. I haven’t got Martin a present though and I feel pretty awful about that, but I suppose I still haven’t had my present from November LOL!

Jenna has only just come back from two days and nights away, so Morgan and I have just been chilling. We’ve had a lovely relaxed time though, and just spent so much time playing and cuddling… I have dug out the baby massage book and we’ve been spending hours doing baby yoga and gym too. It is just so relaxing to indulge with her, retreat from the world and be. I feel refreshed and contented.

We did some food shopping tonight and we didn’t have to add up as we went along. It really was a treat! And it was nice to not have to compromise on anything either, we could make ethical purchases without then having to buy twenty tins of value tomatoes, or half of our vegetables from Argentina.

I think we will always carry on being careful with our money though – dividing up meat portions and so on, eating vegetarian often, and not buying what we can’t use. It just makes sense to us. Plus the amount Martin is paid will never be huge.