Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Me, Being Mummy : Week 59 To My Fellow Feeders...

Feeding a baby/toddler is an epic task isn't it? From day one, it is a topic of endless discussion and debate, a cause for worry and anxiety and at times developments happen that make you want to jump for joy and react a bit like Rocky Balboa when he manages to reach the top of that massive flight of concrete steps (I should know what they're called but I don't and I can't be bothered to Google it... so sue me!).

BB started off with a feeding tube in ICU, where alternate feeds of Cow and Gate and any nectar my boobs could produce were administered every 2 - 3 hours until we came home and I breastfed every hour and half for 6 weeks and expressed in between like some deranged cow. Then we went onto formula feeding after a battle with some pretty severe reflux and colic, and by 4 months; he was eagerly sampling small bits of banana and mango before we gave in at 5 months and permitted him to have baby rice and porridge.

Fast forward to now and we give him a whole host of foods, some days they are eagerly chomped on, others we have to mimic trains and aeroplanes to get it anywhere near his mouth! I flit between thinking we feed him too much, to then seeing his rib cage when he stretches out whilst being changed and panicking he is like a little malnourished sparrow!

Only recently, I actually filmed the moment that he chomped down on a piece of toast and peanut butter, so overjoyed was I that he was independently feeding himself some breakfast. Never did I ever think I would be so jubilant over witnessing someone eat some toast, it was like Christmas!

But it is understandable that we put so much pressure on ourselves to navigate our offspring around the obstacle course that is learning to nourish themselves. We know they can't survive without it, that a strong appetite aids development and sets them up in life. That eating is one of life's pleasures and that it is our duty to show them how to enjoy it and savour it. We've all seen those programmes about fussy eaters, where grown adults will only eat chips and beans or something. I break out in a cold sweat at the thought of BB existing on beans and oven chips in adulthood... can't bear the thought!
But it is comforting to know I am not alone.

I've had a few of my friends messaging me this week about their frustrations with regards to feeding. I remember the early days of motherhood, the pressure to perfect breastfeeding and the guilt and disappointment at switching to formula. I remember the frustration that hit when BB didn't latch on or drink his full quota from the bottle. I remember the exhaustion of sitting up all night with a hungry baby who just wouldn't feed and settle, the sore nipples and the hot, itchy and tingly discomfort of engorgement. I remember seeing other mums feeding their babies with ease and wondering why we were finding it so difficult. I remember being convinced that BB was losing weight and that I was a great big failure.

But, to all my friends who are struggling and having their confidence in themselves as Mums challenged.... don't be discouraged. You are all doing an amazing job and take comfort, as I am, in the fact that you are not alone in your struggles. Babies are individuals, no two are the same because hey, they're human beings. Some have ferocious appetites and eat everything in sight. Others are grazers and snack happy. It's just the way of life, to make us all different.

I'd like to say it gets easier, maybe it does. But from a mum who danced with joy at the sight of her son eating a few peas this week, I am still yet to be convinced that we have completely cracked the case on eating. Even if eating is happening, you question your decisions on what you're giving them to eat. You find yourself and your other half having full on conversations about what has been consumed in the day, and will send pictures to each other that document the moment a new food was tried and accepted (only this morning I sent a pic to PB of BB eating a bagel for breakfast because I was proud). You will also feel proud of yourself after discovering a new edible option on a food shop and take more pride in preparing their food than your own. You will feel absolute despair at having a lovingly cooked meal thrown onto the floor and will cry into the freezer as you pack away even more portions that will go unused and thrown out in 6 months.

But just remember that you are not on your own, that you are doing the best you can and that you are not failing any tests. And just look at your bundle.... chances are they are happy and thriving and completely unaware of the stress they are causing. They are fine. And so are you. Xxx

Additional information and findings from this week :
- Laundry. I hate it. It is never ending. I swear there are people creeping in and adding to my laundry basket. It's the only explanation for why it is constantly resembling a cross between mount everest and the leaning tower of pisa.
- Incidentally, a friend showed me the joy that is the child lock button on the washing machine! Especially helpful as this week a wash cycle lasted almost the whole day and it was only when I discovered BB pressing the buttons that I realised what was happening. We had very clean clothes that day.
- BB is still trying to stand unaided but no joy yet. He falls down as soon as he let's go of anything and then gives a big sigh of frustration. No rush though, he's fast enough just crawling!
- For some reason, BB likes to eat the tail off of his rocking horse, Coco. The poor thing had a lovely tail in the beginning and it is losing volume by the day. Can't get him to eat a sandwich but some synthetic hair is so yummy?!
- Despite hoovering daily, there still seems to always be little bits and bobs on the floor that BB likes to make into his own version of appetisers. This week I have removed a small piece of thread, a piece of grit, a cat biscuit and a sequin from his mouth. How? Why?! Contemplating breaking up his meals and just strewing them about the floor as then they will almost certainly be eaten!

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Me, Being Mummy : Week 58 The Art of Socialising

Before parenthood, I could be seen taking the best part of a day to get ready before going out for the evening somewhere. I would ensure I had plenty of beauty sleep, have brunch, read magazines for hours in the tub, de fuzz all areas, wash and condition my hair, apply a face mask and then meticulously plan my outfit, makeup and hair to match the occasion... right down to heels and handbag.

Nowadays, it is in itself a miracle that we get to go out and socialise not to mention that it now takes me nearly two days to get ready! Not because I have upped my beauty routine, but it is merely a case of having to be super organised and precise on all that needs to be done before the event takes place.
It was my Mum's 60th Birthday this week and we all went out to celebrate with a swanky meal at a nearby hotel. I started getting ready for this the night before, putting my freshly washed hair in curlers so it could air dry and save me having to style it before the meal. Only, I awoke the next morning and, upon unravelling said curls at the breakfast table whilst simultaneously feeding BB his porridge, I discovered that the cute, shiny spirals that the method promised me actually turned out to resemble a lion who had come into close contact with a Sky Satellite Dish before being struck by lightening (see pic below).

So I ended up curling my hair with my curling wand any way before piling the lot up on top of my head so I could forget about it for the day. I put BB down for his nap and took the opportunity to defuzz my legs, which were shamefully beginning to resemble the fuzzy felt play mat that kids play with cars on. Two blunt razors, the whole 45 minutes nap time window and a few tissue plasters later and I had ticked another thing off of the 'make oneself presentable' to do list.

Then came packing BB's baby bag for all we would need upon taking him with us. The table was booked for 7.30pm, his bedtime is usually 7pm so I was optimistic that he would fall asleep in the car on the way there. I went through the list.... clean bottles (3... heaven forbid we run out), milk powder (3 helpings, 1 for each bottle), calpol (you never know?!), change of clothes (just in case), wipes, nappi.... shit. No nappies.

I glanced out to see our cul de sac blocked by our neighbours who were going to town on cleaning their car. Social anxiety hit (as it does in times of stress) and I couldn't bring myself to go out and ask them to move their car, the hoover, all the car paraphernalia littered about the place plus their jet wash kit.

So I thought to myself 'It's fine... they won't be long. By the time I dress BB they'll be done and we can leave... it's only 2pm, plenty of time'.

They finished at 4.30pm.

A mad dash to the corner store was made, nappies obtained and we were home in time to start BB's dinner shift at 5. For a second time that day I found myself multitasking during a meal time, applying mascara and lip gloss whilst spooning sausages and beans into an amused BB's mouth.
At 6pm it was bath time, and after receiving a text from PB asking me to bring him some clothes as he had forgotten to pack some when he'd left for work that morning and isn't permitted to socialise in uniform (agh!) I plonked a now bemused BB in the tub and hurried about locating a baby grow for him, spandex pants for me and a black polo shirt for PB.

At 7pm, I tottered down the road in my heels (wearing a petticoat adorned kneelength skirt and rather bosom friendly wrap over top) and navigated around piling a near bed ready baby into the car, plus pram plus hand bag and baby bag.

We arrived at the hotel for dinner just 3 minutes late (hi five!) yet BB was still awake (dammit!). I made my way in, greeted my family and left my offspring with them whilst I went in search of his father to give him his clothes.

But. I had forgotten the clothes. Correction. I had remembered just a t shirt. A black one... complete with cat hairs and fluff from our laundry filing system known as 'the floor'. Mortified! So poor PB had to detour back home to get changed whilst we went to take our seats.

Now, this restaurant is rather swanky and the majority of people there were over 55. A rather sullen faced waiter took us to our table and, I swear, I have never seen such a busy room. Nor have I seen so many faces peer at my baby on my hip and look panicked. Call me paranoid, but I could feel the judgement and the dread in the air. How could I possibly conceive the idea of bringing a toddler to a swanky dinner? How could I be so bold as to expect everyone to put up with an infant after 7pm??
I sat down calmly with BB on my lap and he happily looked about the place with the odd delirium fuelled babble word coming out from time to time, taking particular interest in a skylight above us and all the shiny silver cutlery on the table.

He then nestled against me, enjoyed a cuddle and then got promptly transferred into his buggy with a bottle and blanket and fell asleep just as we received our starters and PB arrived in non cat DNA adorned clothing.

We managed to enjoy our meal without any interruption and were the last ones to leave. Mission accomplished!

Less Lion King for me... and PB in clean clothing!

Additional information and findings from this week :

- All my high heels no longer fit me. Correction, 2 pairs out of around 30 still fit me. My feet have obviously changed throughout pregnancy and not returned to their former shape. I officially have boat feet/hooves.
- One plus point to taking a baby out to dinner with you is that, as you try to retrain yourself in the art of walking in one of your 2 pairs of heels that still fit, you can hold onto the buggy by way of cleverly disguised zimmer frame. I didn't fall or trip all evening despite my lack of practice.
- Razors need to be invested in. My disposable ones from Poundland were not up to the task. At all.
- Heat styling is much more trustworthy than air drying your hair into curls. Less chance of looking like an extra from Lion King...
- Applying makeup whilst feeding a baby is tricky. At one point I almost tried to apply mascara with the back edge of the baby spoon!
- Wrap tops are flattering but they do encourage larger boobs to try to escape. At one point I thought I saw a bread roll on the table in front of me out of my peripheral vision, then I realised it was my right breast trying to make a bid for freedom.
- BB cannot walk a step or stand unaided but he can climb up four steps of our staircase and up on top of the foot stool we are using as a feeble attempt to barricade the TV from his eager fingers. Go figure?!
- Running out of nappies is like running out of oxygen. 
- Social anxiety causes you so speak in an american accent and respond to 'Hiya!' with 'Alright, thanks'. I know from experience as this is the exchange I had with another neighbour this week when I conquered my fears and asked her to move her car. 
- BB's speech is coming along nicely. He is mimicking us left right and centre so am suddenly very aware of just how much I swear. I have taken to exchanging certain words with 'Fudge' and 'Sugar' when I can.... although this was not the case when I dropped a bottle of Peach Bellini out of the fridge onto my toe one night in the week. I turned the air (and my toe!) blue and found myself crying in a hunched up heap over my kitchen work top. I can birth a baby with no tears, but drop a glass bottle full of bellini on my big toe and I will cry as if I am in mourning! Again, go figure. 
- Toys continue to consume our living room. It is like a battle scene from Game of Thrones at times!