31 August 2007

So close - want to get away NOW

I am so grateful that my littlest one seems so happy to be with other people. I needn’t have worried about the befriending work at all, and since flying solo went so well this week I feel much better and all ready to go off and enjoy my break. One more thing out of the way and one more worry to put out of my mind!

Packing has been fairly stress free as well, though I’m aware of something in myself that reminds me uncomfortably of my own mum stressing and trying to rush us out of the door on holidays! Now I know why! It really is so frustrating for the control freak in me to let little people (and hubby) help with packing – the waiting, the holding-back-from-nagging, the asking nicely. I think I got it under control for the most part, and we are all packed now and everything is in the car.

I’m not hugely looking forward to loading Morgan up and the potential crying on the way though. I’m just so needlessly stressed this week! I need to calm down, honestly, and let go a little.

23 August 2007

And now she's three!

Dear Jenna:

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday dear Jenna...
Happy Birthday to you!


20 August 2007

Time to actually change my behaviour to accomodate the Three thing

Today we had another cute moment with Jenna, who has been lovely all day. I asked her if she could fetch my notebook from on top of the drum (meaning the djembie that sits by the computer) – she said yes but then asked if she could snuggle first and of course I let her. We forgot all about the notebook. After about half an hour and a couple of stories, Jenna ran off upstairs and I assumed that she had gone to the toilet. However when I called upstairs she yelled back, “The notebook isn’t on Daddy’s drums!” She had remembered and gone upstairs to look on the drum kit in my room. :)

So today I’ve been realising a friend of mine has been going through the terrible threes with me (even with using nice words I can’t help thinking the phrase holds good for Jenna). I’ve been brainstorming ways to keep being friends with Jenna along this bumpy road, and these are the things I think we try to keep up.

- Getting baths together without the baby.
- Letting her choose more - where we should go today and what I should put on sandwiches etc.
- Putting some of the play back in to our day and finding time for her favorite activities (painting and sticking) whenever Morgan is asleep.
- Using the sling more so that she has my hands free to help her and Morgan stays quiet(er).
- Thinking, "what would happen if I said yes?" before I say no!
- Giving her her own scrapbook and lots of stickers and sneaking off to do our journals together.

I asked her this morning what makes her day with mummy go better and what she likes to do just with me and she said, "I just like being next to you, I don't mind what we do." :)

I am still absolutely dying to get away on this holiday – it has been about a year and a half in the planning now!

18 August 2007

Am I type-casting her already??

I’ve just been asking myself, if I read these entries back since Morgan’s birth, how many times have I called her naughty or cheeky or stubborn? I never would have called Jenna those things, not just because she wasn’t but because I was so good at assigning positive intent and I didn’t want to give her a role to play to.

I’m worried though that I might have given Morgan one.

It’s a thought, anyway. A sobering one I guess.

17 August 2007

Leaving the baby and the inadvisability of bedside cots

Morgan stayed with my mum for well over an hour today so I could go to a volunteer meeting, I was amazed but she hadn’t even looked for me. Mum had never seen her sign before and hadn’t been told any of her signs but she picked up on both of them and responded, giving Morgan water when she asked for milk, and croissant when she signed for more. It was so wonderful that she was happy with my mum like that, I was really proud of her.

The rest of today really has just been holiday planning and trying to get some jobs done like washing! I’m very tired but I don’t know why, I don’t have any idea of what Morgan’s sleeping is like but I think she’s waking at about 3am and not settling again. I don’t have a clock in the bedroom which is quite frustrating but on the other hand if I know she isn’t sleeping how I want her to I might be tempted to change it. I can’t be pushy without concrete evidence. ;)

The cot has been put up, with one side off. But Morgan hates it and I look like that cartoon where the baby is in the middle of the bed and mum is in the cot. She likes to be warm, and she doesn’t like the bars. So even though I’m right there, in it she will not stay. *sigh*

13 August 2007

A proper Morgan update at eight months.

She crawls and climbs and cruises all over the place. She stands unaided, and is always getting bruises from being so totally fearless.

She loves Jenna to bits and laughs and smiles for her like nothing else. She is also a total pain to her and won’t let her play alone, she grabs hair and pulls and pinches and thinks it’s funny.
She is feeding like a normal baby (!).

She blows raspberries and makes tongue clicks and all kinds of vowel and consonant sounds. She says Mumumumum and Daddy. She also says DA for BOO when she jumps out at you. She understands games and joins in properly with songs and rhymes, so many actions she remembers. She signs “milk” and “more” which she also uses to mean food. Other people can understand her signing clearly.

She eats everything except banana and strawberry, which she’s allergic to. She loves pasta and couscous and peas and anything she can shovel into her mouth in handfuls.

She sits very sturdily and can reach behind herself for things. She can also reach for things when standing but only if she’s holding on at the same time. She likes to kneel up when playing and can kneel both sitting on her heels or up high for long periods – she never overbalances from this position.

She seems to have given up on EC. I try sometimes, and she isn’t interested and will refuse to use the potty when I know she needs it only to pee on me as soon as I stop cuing and remove her from the potty.

We're doing great. :)

12 August 2007

Actually doing housework feels like a big deal

Finally the bookcases are sorted and clear and things are where they belong. Week on week the house just looks better and better, I’m so proud. And I haven’t had to leave anyone to cry to do it either. I’m feeling so good about my family and how they are all growing, I really have that teary mother feeling looking at them (and I don’t always). There are definitely fewer battles with Jenna so I must be being fairly consistent.

I’ve been having fun collecting Morgan a proper treasure basket for a while now but it finally has about 50 items and is therefore “finished” – as far as one can be. I love it, love the feel of things and… OK so it’s just the sort of toy that I would have loved as a child. I really wish she’d been crawling a little later so that she could have got best use from it!

I tried on our very first ever sling this morning, a carrier from Tomy (I think it’s called a Snuggli but it really isn’t at all). It was much less awful than I remembered but it does feel so insecure compared to the other sling we’ve used since. And the horrible thin padded straps.

I feel sort of attached to it even though it put us so badly off babywearing. I have good memories of Martin persisting in wearing it even though he hated it too, just to be close to our darling little one. Seeing him with Jenna was my first taste of what it is now to see him carrying both of our children and thinking that THAT at arms length, over there, THAT is my family. All in one precious bundle.

11 August 2007

I neeeed this holiday!

Dad is going to chicken-sit, so we’re all sorted on that front. We’ve also done a lot of planning for the holiday and I can’t wait I can’t wait I can’t wait. It’s just a couple of weeks now, which ought to go pretty fast if the last few months are anything to go by.

We had our pictures taken today and that’s another thing to look forward to, because I have two gorgeous kids and I love having nice photographs of them. Though the money-guilt thing came up again, spending money again and on something that I want for me…

The only other new thing is the return of our playpen, not in order to keep a child IN but in order to keep a child OUT. I got sick of trying to stop Morgan from being naughty to Jenna when she has a nap in the comfort corner, so I had to shield her! The other day she kissed and slobbered all over Jenna’s face when she was asleep, and Jenna just raised one hand to wipe the slobber off and went back to sleep again.

9 August 2007

*sigh* Why do I not notice this stuff?

My mum is always right. Just thought I’d say that for the record. She said she thought that Jenna might be under the weather and that might account for her bad temper and silly behaviour. This morning, Jenna was not at all well. So my mum is always right.

Pleeeeease oh pleeeeaasse let this be the answer and it not be the stroppy three year old thing, because I don’t want to do a whole year of it!

Morgan is climbing all over everything this week, she can get on to the sofa already but not off it again. I can’t keep her little feet on the ground! It’s very funny and cute but terribly distructive to all the new things she can reach. I’m having to watch her like a hawk, because sadly she does not have ANY wariness about falling off. When she does she doesn't seem to cry though, so maybe she *wants* to. :S

7 August 2007

Why is three harder than the "terrible" twos?

Jenna’s personality really has changed, overnight it feels like and I’m a bit lost with her. She had no terrible twos at all, then she just suddenly hit this awful STROPPY phase and she's lost all her impulse control as well. It's like she thinks she wants to do something so she does, where even a month ago she would have recognised the consequences. Today that was hitting Morgan across the head with a book.

Talking to other mums I'm reassured that lots of easy toddlers hit a bad patch just before they turn three. The general consensus is that it lasts anything up to the majority of the third year. Which is scary, because we get a discipline tool that is really working for us and start to rebuild our relationship and then I am tired and she's in a mood and I yell.… It’s not going great.

What is working for us best is just NOT arguing and not trying to even bother assigning positive intent but just describing what she needs to do next and then instead of getting worn down or cross with the torrent of refusal and attitude that follows, just feeding it back to her and keeping on insisting ("you're very cross, I hear how upset you are - now pick it up" etc lol).

Letting her have her emotions and not trying to fix them is helping, she's saying how she feels more and screaming less. I feel like I'm nagging but she really needs me to be calm and persistant, and I'm doing what I can. Repeating back to her what she's feeling is *just* about getting her to use words more often.

We worked out recently that she has started to really need more routine as well. By that I mean she needs to eat really regularly (otherwise she is either crying non-stop or screaming and lashing out at me) and she absolutely can't do without an afternoon nap. With Morgan in tow it's hard to get her to wind down for one, but we've been putting her in her room and sitting with her but telling her that if she is very loud or kicks me (!) or anything like that then I will go and come back in a few minutes.

I end up leaving almost every time but she shouts for me once or twice and falls asleep before I even get back in to her. It's taken a lot of soul-searching to be comfortable with that, as to start with I felt like the crying was my fault and I should be able to help her or at least be there. Now I'm certain that the more I let it become a battle the more distraught she is - as soon as I see that we're working ourselves into a fight over nap time it's better to get me and Morgan out of there so she has space to calm down instead of trying to tantrum me out of making her sleep! :(

Even on my most consistant days it's like living with a different child. I didn't believe that her personality could change so much overnight but it really did! I'm just hoping that when we get Jenna back again I will have managed to keep us from becoming enemies. I'm aiming for not perfectly controlled but just calm enough, not perfectly consistant but just reliable enough, not perfectly gentle, but just loving enough. Baby steps. ;)

We had a great swim yesterday and didn’t fall out at all, which is a pretty rare day for the last week or so. I’m working at it though, and I really don’t feel that bad at the moment (in fact I feel like I’m doing pretty well). It mostly was good to hear that it was normal and it isn’t my fault!

5 August 2007

That TV advert with the kids saying they hate school :S

Yesterday we had some good old-fashioned play time – well what else to do with activities cancelled for the months of the school holidays? We had tea parties, with real tea and milk, for hours and hours. It was blissful. And the baby didn’t knock anything over.We went to Church today with my mum, still dithering about what to wear for my brother’s wedding, and then came home and did some work on the garden.

My only other news is that I finally found plain notebooks – in Partners Back To School stuff (because clearly we only need that type of thing at one time of year). It drives me nuts, all the back to school stuff. What about the rest of us? Don’t even get me started on the adversarial back to school advertising either – why do children have to hate school? Why do we have to force and coerce them? Could it be because there is an actual real problem with schools? Of course not, don’t be silly/radical/hippy/etc.

3 August 2007

Car-seat disputes and the point of slings

We took another day trip with family today, to a Lavender farm (another really nice place) and we had local cream tea in the café. Jenna loves running around with my cousins so much.

I had a bit of a run-in with my uncle though about carrying Morgan in the sling. When we got there she was asleep and he told me I needn’t have woken her by taking her out of the seat, he would have carried the basket. And I said it was no trouble and that I don’t like leaving her in it because they can cause breathing difficulties. He said that he never wakes a sleeping baby and I laughed and said, “there speaks the parent of twins.” And we left it at that.

It didn’t take him long to get back to the topic in hand though. He tried to tell me that I shouldn't carry Morgan so much because she'll get used to it, and I told him that it was a reasonable expectation for a baby that they should get to be close to their parents.

He said, "what about when she's bigger" and I said that Jenna is bigger and doesn't want to be carried all the time. He said, "what about when you need to get things done?" and I repressed the urge to find the Hathor comic about "get something done" being a euphemism for sex and said that I can do necessary things perfectly well with a baby in a sling.

Then he used the word "fussy" and my mum jumped on him to tell him that Morgan hardly ever cries at all and is the most confident baby she's ever cared for. And he tried the word "spoilt" and I told him firmly that if trusting that God designed babies perfectly so that they are capable of knowing what they need is spoiling them then I certainly intend to go on doing so (he's a Vicar). And he went into a sulk because I had talked back to him!

The thing that lets me get things done the best is back wrapping the baby so that she can see what I'm doing. But then I cleaned the oven a couple of weeks ago for the first time in months, with Morgan on my hip in a ring sling so it is possible with practice. I think we just operate under totally different parenting paradigms. He believes that children need to be taught to be adults, I believe that children grow up whatever we go or don’t do and that I should probably get some sneaky cuddles in now while I still can.

So I’ve been working on my Principles of Parenting. Perhaps they’ll make it online one day. The first one is this: Babies are fully human and essentially honest. That has pretty profound implications for how we treat them, doesn’t it?

PS – For those who NEEED the Hathor comic, here it is. http://www.thecowgoddess.com/?cat=7