28 March 2007

More EC updating and a wonderful spring-time experience

Yesterday was our first good day in a long line of nappied days. I feel like I actually started reconnecting and getting things right with Morgan’s pottying. It’s so nice, when I take her to the potty and she smiles at me (although she often leans back to do so and hence misses the potty a little – I’ve taken to putting a nappy down too just in case). She loves going to the potty, and I’m sure that her sudden unexplained occasional yell is because she has gone in her nappy – she’s always poopy after those screams.

We have bad spells midday usually still, when it’s easier to have her in a nappy. I tend to put pressure on myself to do more, accomplish more, but I have to remember it isn’t about that. It’s about BEING, not doing. I just have to relax and it happens. :) Sometimes I feel like when I write about EC it sounds like a chore.

For me, it kind of is. I like chores that have an obvious positive impact on my children. I like washing nappies! But the connection we get when I take Morgan to the toilet is much better than nappies. It’s a chore with real fringe benefits to my overall parenting.

Last night we had tea with my mum again, and lit a huge fire in the garden to burn some bits of Christmas tree and stuff. Oh it was amazing, wonderful, joyful. The children loved the flickering, magical light. I loved it too!

27 March 2007

A wierd and unpleasant conversation

Mostly today I’ve been planning meals and shopping, and how we’re going to make £30 last for a month. Again. It will be fine, I repeat, a desperate mantra.

We have been to soft play (another last time) and I really did cry. I’ve never done soft play on my own, either my mum or Martin have been there with me. And I’m worried I’ll be lonely, I wish I’d made more friends there already. Oh I feel really childish. I just want to be good at being a mother but I feel now I have to do it full time (lol) that I’ll fail terribly because I’ve been relying so much on Martin.

Mum took Jenna swimming this afternoon too, and I ended up in one of “those” conversations with a woman who sat opposite me in the café. Now, can YOU think of any POLITE way you could ask directly, “So is your baby vaccinated then?” No? Me neither. *sigh*

The biggest problem is that I’m not anti-vax and even if I was I don’t think I’d feel I needed to convert anyone. So why anyone feels they have to convert me because I’m delaying Morgan’s...?
If I’m talking to someone who has made a decision – at all – for or against, I’m going to assume they made a decision for a reason. Certainly nobody is going to delay vaccinating if they believe that vaccines are 100% necessary, effective, and safe.

But bless her; I got a half hour lecture (in fact, a lengthy and poorly understood repetition of facts that I actually know the statistics for) taking the above as given. I was getting statements like, “Why would you not give your baby something that would definitely save their life from a deadly disease?” Um, what? How rude! And, scarily, “Millions of children died of measles every year when I was a child.” – honest to God I have no idea where I find these people.

Long rant, so I clearly didn’t like sitting there being talking at. ;) To the lady in the café, wherever you may be… Choose differently to me, that’s fine. Good for you for even knowing you had a choice and reading some facts even if you didn’t really understand them! Please, please, assume that I did the same?

26 March 2007

Making the most of two parents for a week

Morgan and I had a lie-in while Martin went off to Dads’ Group with Jenna. For the last time. Oh God I’m going to be saying that all week and trying not to cry. I don’t want it to be the last time we go to soft play together. I don’t want it to happen now and I’ve been desperate for him to get a job forever now!

The weather is glorious, so we’ve been in the garden a lot. It’s great, planting and feeling that I’m making something wonderful for my daughters. A garden, something I always wanted. I am counting on not killing everything this year though, it won’t be much of a garden without plants. The chickens are fab though, pecking around the place looking fat and contented. I’ve really fallen in love with them.

This afternoon both of the girls went for a walk with Martin so I could sew. I made a dress for Jenna for Easter. The new serger is so good, I can’t get over how easy it was. Without a “normal” machine as well though I’ll have to do the button holes by hand, not a task I’m looking forward to. I plan to put some little butterflies on it too, the ones from the new Lush bath bomb that Jenna adores – it would be a shame not to use them for something special.

I’m feeling really positive today, really good about myself. I don’t know why, maybe it’s the sunshine. But I’m feeling great. Contented.

25 March 2007

Quick panic about being on my own with two

We got loads of jobs done today, Martin is worried about me having too much to do next week so we got the kitchen cleaned and the living room tidy. It’s a little frightening, I’ve had backup for months and now I’m on my own with the two of them. I can’t help thinking I won’t cope.

I’m writing this really late at night and we’ve just got back from Dougie and EJs – it feels like the end of an era having us all together as a family and I’m almost sad that we spent this evening out of the house. I don’t want to resent losing him to other things; to work, to be specific. But I kind of do. Like it’s all over and we won’t have as much time ever again.

I’m determined to enjoy this last week together.

Money is going to be scarily tight again. Well, at the end of the month we’ll have a lot spare finally, but I can’t let myself live like that – I’m sick of thinking “one day”. It will be fine, we both have family who have been right where we are now. EJ was a little horrified when we begged for the chicken bones to take home with us today, but ah well. There was enough meat on that to last us another meal, and I can make stock enough for some nice soup. :)

24 March 2007

The Carried Family on Safari

Our trip to the Safari Park with the Dad’s group finally came around and we only got home after dark this evening. Jenna had a fantastic time! It was a great trip – well, the actuall TRIP part was great. The coach trip was a nightmare, other people’s kids are truly a trial.

What kind of parent exclaims in pride and admiration at the ignorant pronouncements of a fourteen year old (along with all the foul language that seemed just an everyday part of their lives) “If that tiger didn’t have stripes, he’d be a lion.” Nice. I’d expect that level of maturity and understanding from a toddler, not a teenager. Whose parents clearly thought it was the most intelligent thing they’d ever heard…

I wasn’t expecting all the children to behave perfectly, but there’s only so many times you can cope with the word “gay” in one trip.

Morgan fed quietly and Jenna chatted away, they both enjoyed it and I can’t complain. We spent so long in the aquarium that we are planning to visit the sealife centre next!

21 March 2007

Another very quick update

So far we've had three eggs! Yipee!

And Surestart people keep being enthusiastic about the slings, so I have two weeks to prepare for my first demonstration.

That's my news for today. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night so I daren't try to be more coherant than that. ;)

20 March 2007

A really busy day, and the new members of the family

Yesterday turned out to be a very up and down sort of day. First we had a lovely morning doing stuff with Jenna. Morgan fed and slept and generally barely made herself noticable. Then we had a rubbish couple of hours because JSA are messing about AGAIN and we're worried about money. The bottom line is that we may be paid late, and it may be a tiny bit less than usual, both of which totally screw up my carefully planned budget!

And then on the way home we had a surprise from my Dad - he was on his way over and had time to pick up the chickens with us! Quick call to the farm, quick check of the map, packing up of the cardboard box to transport them and off we went. So now there are two gently clucking fat ladies installed in my garden, happily eating spiders (!) and the pellets that Jenna was delighted to throw at them this morning.

There are a couple of things that need finishing off before they can be free range, but generally I'm just ecstatic that they survived the night. I had this horrible paranoid terror that the fox would get them on their first night and we'd have to explain the awful truth to Jenna LOL. Anyhows...

Martin is at a second interview right now and we're really hoping it comes to something. Especially after all the lack-of-help we've got it would feel pretty good to be able to call up and tell them to stick the flaming benefits. ;) We're really banking on this being the last tight month before summer - it'd be so nice to get some garden toys for the girls and it feels like right now that's never going to be affordable.

Soft play again today and hopefully meeting Jo there with Aoife and Roisin. My phone is out of credit as usual so I can't check but they were thinking of being there today. Jenna will be pleased. And Morgan is asleep in the sling where hopefully she'll stay for the best part of the morning so we can get some rough-and-tumble in with the tall skinny grown up one. :)

My life is... kind of surprising. Things keep on happening and bit by bit all these dreams are coming true and it's scary. It's a lot of responsibility - I mean getting chickens is maybe a little crazy even for me. But it's so much fun!

19 March 2007

Back on track?

Another EC confession. The last three days have been back on the potty again - but the few before that Morgan was in nappies full time. It sounds stupid, but I just forget. I've discovered too that when I have a nappy under her in the evenings (which I've kept doing even when not actually ECing) I lose motivation a bit and just let her do whatever on the nappy.

So she has been mostly stark naked - that certainly helps me remember to respond to her before she pees all over me. And true to form, she hasn't. When we bother we can EC full time with no problems, no misses, no wet nappies. But then sometimes I just put a nappy on to go out in the morning and FORGET to take her to the toilet while she's wearing it.

I blame the fact that she's the first one in this experiment. ;)

Well today is going to be busy, we have story time soon and then a trip around town to scout out venues for the NINO group. Then we have a trip to the Natural History Museum. Then home for tea! Better go and get on with dressing small children, an endless task with two of them (I can't imagine more right now... but I feel sick this morning...).

Will quickly clarify that I mean I can distinctly picture THAT part of having another one, because I feel ill. Not that I'm *actually* morning sick!

18 March 2007

I'm still not as done in the garden as I want to be, and frustratingly the chickens keep getting put off and put off. It's especailly galling buying eggs! Money keeps being tight, and then when it isn't we spend it on other things that we need to do "first" - well we have what we need now for the rest of the month but not a lift now until the very last weekend in March.

Today, everything went on hold for Mothering Sunday. Jenna gave me a huge kiss this morning in bed, and she had made me a card. We spent the day with my Mum - we went to Church and Jenna went and got me some flowers - and then swimming and a rest in the cafe. I has been a lovely day.

Morgan is wearing a dress that didn't fit Jenna until MONTHS later, she's really different in shape. I knew at the time, I think, that Jenna was a little dot. And Morgan is still below average for her age, but perfectly normal and nicely in proportion. They just fit clothes differently. Maybe they always will! One big difference is that Jenna has a teeny tiny behind, so cut-for-cloth was unnecessary - the cloth nappies were the only thing holding her trousers up. But Morgan needs the extra room in her vests.

I'm getting a lot of affection from both children, and I was so worried about never getting another hug from Jenna a couple of months ago. Everything comes in cycles, the day and night pattern of need and independance, of pulling me close and pushing me away. Like the beating of a giant heart.

16 March 2007

Sitting here with just Morgan again

Jenna is still at her grandparents, having a whale of a time no doubt. It's nice but I do feel like she spends as much time with other people as with me. It presents another definate reason for not doing nursery (asides from educational reasons) - while she's still so small I need her as much as she needs me!

She is apparently watching Curious George, which is a fab film. It's like an unschooling treatise. "You don't learn by memorising facts and figures, you have to get out there and experience things for yourself." We already love the books lol... Well some days I doubt that I have the ability to teach my own children, but other days I am so sure that they'll never do "normal" school. ;)

Morgan is back to normal, except even better. She's happy and smiley and she sleeps and feeds wonderfully, but also she's awake more now. Even in the sling she likes to watch what everyone is doing. :)

15 March 2007

Feeling sad for mothers who AP without support

We all went for a walk after my BAMBI training, with some friends. Jenna had gone to her grandparents so she wasn't there distracting me, and I had the rare chance to talk for a good long while to one of my few mother-friends locally. Well, it struck me that really I'm so quick to say how much I love motherhood and how easy it is most of the time... Oh God I'm sometimes really ashamed of the things I say - the judgements I make...

It must be really lonely when they are small, doing all this without someone like Martin. If you're always putting your family first and have no partner and no close friends then WHO PUTS YOU FIRST? I mean, when he's working and gets home I'm free. Obviously I'm still on call for milk lol but, I have someone to vent to and I have someone to take over when I lose it. :(

Sober reflections...

My big news for the day is that *gulp* I have managed to get myself the job of demonstrating and teaching Babywearing in all our local Surestart and Barnados centres! Actually I'm hoping that a NINO group might be the overall outcome of all this but WOW. :O I'm scared and excited at the same time.

14 March 2007

Moaning (not me for once)

Yesterday we had soft play, and kept Jenna so busy that she had a nap in the afternoon again. We are really enjoying having all four of us together, it's gone back to being like an extended holiday - for a while it was becoming more of a trial all being cooped up together.

We're so good at underestimating the environmental factors in Jenna's behaviour. It's ridiculous how much better behaved she is when she's busier and more out of doors (and eating less rubbish LOL) and indeed how much more patient we are with her. I really think I'm an unpleasant person when I spend too much time indoors. I guess probably that's what people are talking about half the time when they say they are bored with/of their children - it's the four walls that are depressing and frustrating not the children.

I'm still having an extended moan session about the negativity towards babies that seems so persistant and overwhelming. Children are a trial, they are horrible, irritating, boring, annoying. Everyone feels tired sometimes, everyone struggles. I certainly do - but it's like a way of life for some of the parents around my area! I can't help but think that they must be choosing to be unhappy... There is so much support around here and so much to do! How could you get bored?

13 March 2007

Very very happy

It was so good to hold her again, and she has been an angel since she has been home. We've played outside a lot today as the weather is fab. And it's all so so good. Talk about getting back some perspective. Sometimes I can't wait for her to be out of my hair, but three days was nearly too long.

And the littlest one has done nothing but GRIN since Jenna came back late last night, it's crazy. I would have thought she would enjoy having a break from being sad/laid on! I was so grateful to get another full nights sleep last night, I've no idea how I got through Jenna's babyhood on so little sleep.

It's so great to be out of doors, my garden is looking lovely, I have SEEDLINGS and... My heart is full up with them, my lovely little family. *crying*

11 March 2007

Thoughts without Jenna

Oh I miss her so MUCH! On the other hand I am a little worried that as soon as she gets in I'll start getting cross with her and that would be so awful. It's wierd, I thought this weekend would be hard but I really thought I'd do so much while she wasn't here, catch up on housework and do some baking, sewing etc. But Morgan has NOT co-operated.

She has slept badly, so I'm tired. And she has fed and fed and fed. I think she just does this every time I think I'm getting the hang of it, just to show me how much she still needs me and that she isn't actually designed to be neglected. Actually I think that would be a danger, if she didn't do this occasional desperate milk-driven camp-out!

This afternoon I helped put up the chicken coop while she sat in her bouncer like her normal happy self. And I was thinking, "goodness, I could forget you!". For about two hours we pottered and dug and built and she didn't ask to be picked up once, just smiled every time one of us spoke to her.

Anyhow since Morgan has calmed down after two nights and a day of being a little hungry mewling tiny one, I'm going to go do SOMETHING useful before we're back up to two. We just got the call to say they will be back by 8pm...

8 March 2007

Packing for Jenna

We're preparing for Jenna's trip away today, packing for her was so strange. I can't fathom how I'm going to feel once she's actuallu gone - three whole days in Newcastle LOL it's so soon, she's so teeny...

Other exciting things from today - the chicken coop came (but we can't get the chickens til next saturday because we need a lift from my Dad - mind we have Mum's dogs until she gets back with Jenna so we couldn't go this weekend anyway!). We've been trying to think up names, and looking at the instructions but not yet planning to build the thing!

Emma and Chris have been here all day (so Jenna is very happy) and they are staying over tonight too. Then when they go home we'll have just a little while to say goodbye to my big baby before off she goes! Eeek. :S

6 March 2007

A huge step (or rather, roll)

Yesterday Morgan got mobile. She was wiggling on the floor and spotted something she wanted (I think it was the video recorder lol - all those twinkly lights) so she was reaching and wriggling and pushing her head back. And she rolled. Cue look of total delight, and off she went. She rolled onto her back again, then her tummy, then she realised she could actually tuck her legs in and let momentum take her across the room! She was so pleased!

So far she hasn't repeated the antics for Martin, but late today she did it again under the play gym in the spare room and got stuck lol. :D She's so grown up. I guess that's it then - bye bye newborn.

Anyhows, soft play today and a very funny toddler moment about which I think I can be justifiably smug. We were headed to the bus stop and Jenna was loose, running along giggling. She passed the stop and legged it along the pavement towards the corner of the street (gasps from those at the bus stop, and mutterings or "isn't anyone with her"). I called out mildly, "Jenna, stop!" She did, and so "Turn around!" and she did that too. "Come on then, back to Mummy now!" And she did (pausing to step around a HUGE puddle on the way back)!!

We found an article about positive parenting in a baby mag too, it was really pleasant and actually much better than the usual perception of "gentle" which seems mostly around here to mean "uses time out". It's cool that so much good publicity is coming our way at the moment - it makes it much easier to talk about our family with other parents looking at me like I'm totally wierd. ;)

5 March 2007

Baby Back Wrap

Finally she came around to my way of thinking! I got her in a back wrap all afternoon yesterday! I needed to dig the garden, so she HAD to go on my back. Once asleep, I got her up there fine (normally she wakes and protests) and she stayed asleep.

And when she woke up after a while, she stayed up there awake and happy and watched me doing the weeding from her vantage on my back. Again, usually even on my front if she wakes up she wants MILK. But no. She was fine.

We got into minor difficulty getting her down - well, getting the jumper off to be entirely honest... So lessons to be learnt. If it took help to get them ON it will also take help to get them OFF likely enough, and attempting it alone will mean shouting, "HELP HELP, the baby is stuck!!!" down the garden, to the amusement of the neighbours. *blushes*

4 March 2007

Sunny weather

Yikes! Melancholy or what?! Lol OK so less reflective today. We’re doing OK this week. EC has really gone out the window though, maybe three or four catches a day is a bit lazy really. But we have been very busy (there I go again “too busy” to respond?), and Jenna has been sick again. She felt a little hot on and off yesterday and today she’s much better again. But she’s so sleepy when she’s poorly, so it was another day of pretty much being cuddled up on the sofa and not doing a lot.

I’ve done some gardening though! I’ve planted my tiny seeds for the vegetable plot (early peas, some cauliflower), the ones that need sowing continuously for a long harvest. My nasturtiums and lavender and calendula now that it’s warm enough for them to survive – almost everything I’ve put in has a purpose outside of looking pretty. I want a *functional* garden. :) I still haven’t managed a back carry, but I did feed Morgan in wrap cross carry – without switching her to cradle position – while we were gardening. My sudden effort out there is at least partly because I expect to order the chicken coop tomorrow. That means I have to reasonably think I can plant my veggies up, before I need to put netting over the plot, so that the garden destroyers are allowed free range for the first time at the end of the month.

It’s still sunny today, so another good chance to try to throw the teeny one over my shoulders to do some digging! :D

3 March 2007

Musings on growing up

It’s hard when you think about it, how fast they grow and how *differently* from how you might expect. Morgan is already three months – and yesterday I put away the first lot of little clothes that she’ll never wear again. A sign and a symbol of mourning for her babyhood, day by day stolen from us. And what is given back in its place?

Jenna is going to be three this year, oh so soon, and the twos haven’t been terrible at all. But somehow I had this picture in my head, that she’d be a baby for a couple of years, and then a toddler until she was nearly four, and then a pre-schooler, a *child*. But she has always been a child, and she’s always going to be my baby. Even asides from the emotional aspect of how I see her, she has different needs to those I was led to expect! She is, in some ways, so much a baby still – and she still needs me.

That’s the thing. Even with a chart in front of you of normal development, even if you could have a chart SPECIFIC to your own child’s pace, it wouldn’t tell you the whole story. The emotional importance to a child of each new ability, and the way in which they actually acquire those skills, one step at a time. No, now even “step” is the wrong word. It’s faster and more gradual than that. Blink and you’ll miss it. Every fraction of a second their brains are putting some other piece in place.

So I have two babies, and I also have none. I certainly don’t have what I expected. And so my expectations change and I become… I don’t know. The person who forbids whining in the house and demands that my tiny fragile two year old uses proper words to tell me what’s the matter (even when she’s really sick) but also the person who buys juice for the toddler who has just had a tantrum because they want juice. TUT giving in to tantrums – I NEVER pictured myself as that mum, but now… Well I know she can’t help being thirsty and isn’t doing it to be a nuisance, and I’m more likely to blame myself for not getting her something before she started throwing herself on the floor in tears. ;)

It is, perhaps, the feeling that the phrase “bittersweet” was invented for. The farewell to the present that you can’t keep, in exchange for the future that you can’t predict. But I’m starting to be a little more ready for the journey. I think.

1 March 2007

Such a great week in our lives

I have had so little to write about in the past week. Everything is so... nice!

Don't get me wrong I shout sometimes, sometimes Jenna is a real trial (and sometimes I am) and sometimes Morgan yells and fusses and I don't know why. But things generally are going really smoothly, and we're really busy in a gentle domestic kind of way.

We're going to book clubs, to toddler clubs, to soft play. We're in the middle of Buy Nothing Month and we've not given in yet - although next week we are buying the chicken coop on the understanding that it is part of our sustainable living drive so kind of anti-commercialism anyway lol. Plus it's from a local craftsperson (via ebay) so we're also supporting local trade etc.

Morgan is done with her growth spurt, and she scarily turned three months on Tuesday. Eeek. She is fabulous, and still so smiley and contented. Right now she is asleep in the comfort corner, since Jenna is at her grandparents again. I feel really... at peace... that Jenna is so independant. Even though I miss her.

And I'm starting to want another baby again. Already.

My BAMBI training started, so I'm going to be a fully trained breastfeeding peer support worker in three months. Which is exciting. Also I'm feeling very busy, maybe even a tad rushed. But not too rushed to stop painting with Jenna and messing around in the garden. Sometimes I doubt myself, that I can do all this and still be available and PRESENT for my babies, but mostly I just feel amazing.

I keep doing baking as well (and I made meusli lol) so I dunno... I guess... I feel proud. Of me, of us. Of actually being the person I want to be - even if it is only every now and again! It's a wierd feeling, and one that is quite hard to own up to lol. But no, we're doing really well. And I can admit it somewhere without feeling like I'm crowing or anything.