‘I wish I loved anything as much as my kid loves bubbles’ – big feelings for little people

You’ve got to be a proper scrooge I think to not have at least half a smile when you see a small person with bubbles or a balloon.

It’s like they’re seeing magic for the first time and everything they thought they new about the world in the short time they’ve been in it has changed. Like anything is possible and they might literally explode because they’re that excited.

I was talking to a friend the other day and we were laughing about how intense everything felt when we were teenagers. Missing a party because you were grounded, not getting a reply on MSN from that boy you were obsessed with even though he’s showing as ‘online’, or worse, falling out with your best friend and your whole world turning upside down even if it only lasted about 2 lessons before you made up again. It was all sooo intense I felt like I was living in an episode of Dawson’s creek minus the smug, professor level language.

I think it’s experiencing love and loss and excitement for things for the first time that it’s so overwhelming you think your heart might explode (or break, literally into 1000 pieces). I used to feel excitement that literally made my body fizz and meant I couldn’t hear a word most of my teachers were saying I was just desperate to get out of lessons and chat to my friends.

It’s so intense it feels like you’ll never be that excited or happy again when in fact, the next time is literally just around the corner. You feel things so deeply and with such raw, innocent emotion and because you’ve probably not seen things from a mature point of view you experience life without any of the cynicism or negativity that comes with being an adult. You feel like there’s not another person on the planet that’s ever felt the way you do, love someone as much or hurt as bad and only a blink 182 song can sum up what you’re going through.

That rollercoaster of emotions is what I’m starting see in K now that he’s a toddler (minus the brutal teen breakuos obv) and I want to just bottle up all these emotions for him so he gets to experience them all over again when he’s older.

He loves things hard; us, the cat, his family (especially his grandparents), food and giggling and footballs more than us I sometimes think.

He laughs and (happy) screams like it’s the funniest thing he’s ever seen and cries so hard i worry that his little heart can’t take it. But I know it’s all part of getting older and I love seeing how he expresses his emotions and let’s us know what he’s thinking even if he can’t tell us yet. It’s dramatic and hilarious and over the top but it’s as if his body is too little for these big feelings he’s now feeling.

He’s brave and reckless and when he falls or bumps himself I see him upset but there’s a look in his eye which I know means he’ll go back and do the same thing again.

And as per the title of this post (respectfully sort of stolen from ‘knocked up’) when he sees bubbles I look at him and I can’t belive I made him. That I had someone so happy and silly and loud and beautiful that can see something so simple and believe that it is magic. ‘Bubble’ was one of his first proper words. It’s his favourite game and his happy place. Every time he sees them flying up in the air he stares open mouthed looking around and on the rare occasions he manages to touch one he is literally beside himself with joy.

I can remember getting older and starting to feel irritated by Disney plotlines that I’d once memorised and spent hours rewinding on video and making my brother watch with me. They seem ridiculous now, and I see flaws in the characters that weren’t there before. And I know it’s because being an adult has made me wary and cynical and practical and my adult brain tells me that things rarely work out that well.

But for my little hurricane, the way his face literally lit up when he saw the characters spinning around in the Greatest Showman I could see he genuinely believes in magic, they were real to him and he was frozen taking in every move and note. I hope that feeling stays with him for as long as possible. When I’m blowing bubbles in the garden for the 3rd time that day and he’s squealing and shouting I feel like I’m little again too and there’s magic in the air. He is my tonic to the grown up world and we may sound silly and whimsical and infact this whole post is not who I’ve been for the last year but he’s changed me and made me see things through his eyes and it’s a very happy place to be.

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Going out alone with the baby blues and baby

Whilst I was pregnant I dreamed of the days when the baby arrived and I’d wheel them around in my beautiful new pram to get coffee, meet friends for lunch and go to buggy workout classes, making the most of every day of my maternity leave.

What I couldn’t plan for was my emergency c-section, for my baby to be rushed back into hospital at 5 days old and to be anaemic as well as dealing with the beginning of the baby blues.

It’s so easy to look at beautiful Instagram pictures of new mums doing all those things with a smile on their faces but that’s not the real story for most new mums and I’ve found from speaking to other people that’s very very normal.

Our baby was so very wanted and meticulously planned for (another post for another time) and it made me worry why I didn’t to rush out here, there and everywhere with my new bundle of joy as the days ticked by.

My husband was lucky enough to have 2 weeks of paternity leave and after lots of encouragement I finally agreed to venture out into town for a coffee when K was about 10 days old. I insisted on staying in the car as the car ride was still really painful on my scar and that was it for another few days. I got straight back into my pyjamas, opened the door to friends whilst apologising for my appearance and even re-scheduled registering the baby until a later date because I just couldn’t face it.

Motherhood was tough, exhausting, scary and I felt totally out of my depth and not like those smiling, glossy new mums staring back at me from social media.

I’d been speaking to friends about feeling low, asking about their recoveries and whether they had felt like they just didn’t want to go out and do anything and lots of them assured me they had felt overwhelmed as well but the longer I left it the more I was panicking. My husband went back to work, my mum was now visiting a couple of times a week rather than every day and I’d still not gone out by myself.

Nearly 3 weeks after my son was born I had a really difficult visit from my health visitor. We’d had feeding issues, I was still feeling weak and wobbly from anaemia and was showing more signs of the baby blues and I could tell she was starting to worry about me.

She asked a lactation consultant to come and visit me and then said I should go and see her at the clinic that week to get K weighed again. She wouldn’t be coming to me, I’d have to go to her. I still remember feeling a lump in my throat as she said it; I felt like she was punishing me and just adding to my upset.

Thursday came and I had spent the morning faffing, packing and re-packing the bag and even google mapping where I needed to go and how long it would take despite it being minutes from home. I had no clothes that properly fit my bump less body so ended up wearing wintery maternity clothes despite it being roasting hot outside.

After the slowest walk imaginable I finally arrived at the children’s centre tired and feeling another wobble coming on. I was greeted by a smiley family worker who showed me a seat and took my bag whilst I struggled with the car seat.

As I filled in my baby’s details I felt my first mum win. I’d actually done it, just me and my baby, we’d got to our appointment safely and I felt like a real Mother. I didn’t even mind when he peed all over our health visitor on the scales because she seemed so pleased that we’d made it there as well!

It might seem like such a small thing to other people but to me it was huge. I know tough love won’t work in everyone’s case but for me that day gave me so much confidence in my abilities as a new mum. I was sore, shattered and sweaty (I mean really, really sweaty) but I had taken him out by myself and we had started making memories together; many of them still including unexpected peeing and I wouldn’t change it!

High Needs Baby…? You are not alone

After a lot of googling and question asking, it quickly became apparent that I have a high needs baby, everything made sense and had my littles ones name written all over it. I’m no expert on this subject, but if you can relate to these traits the chances are you have one too and you are not alone! My little one possesses every single quality I read about, yes, every single one!

The first trait I read about was the need for physical contact, She extracts all the physical contact she can get, especially from me; in my arms, in my bed, around my legs when I’m trying to prepare meals, sound familiar? Did you think that going to the toilet would always happen in isolation? Of course you did… me too! She clearly thinks I’m doing something fun in there that she shouldn’t be missing out on.

I can lay her down awake… jokes! This child has not and will not be put down awake; there is no self-soothing going on here. You better have some good hip swaying action and decent music too rock her to. She’s currently snoozing to the sounds of the script, pop them on shuffle and you’ve got yourself a mix of perfectly timed swaying tunes.

When she was tiny, she’d fall asleep in my arms and in my arms she would stay, she would wake the second I sat down or attempted to put her in her moses basket, every time! Yes I’d have a dead arm from holding her but I have 3 more limbs, I will be fine! You’ll find that once they have finally dropped off you have a maximum of half an hour to scoff a sandwich, make a cuppa or write a blog! Don’t worry about your washing, ironing, tidying, showering… ain’t nobody got time for that! They’re awake and ready for the next stint before you can even think about it.

I read on… is your baby hyperactive? Yes, yes she is! When other babies her age are ready for a nap, she’s just getting started. She wants music, she wants to dance, and she wants to build towers and knock them down over and over. She wants her stacking cups and to look at her books and jump on her trampoline.  These babies just don’t want as much sleep as other babies and will not go to sleep or be influenced to sleep until they are good and ready. A drive in the car or a walk in the buggy does not work.

She shuns any form of containment; we’re talking stiffening of the limbs in the car seat, the high chair, the buggy, I’m telling you, this girl will have muscles of steel, she can keep it up for ages, impressive really! Strangers sometimes shoot a concerned glance my way when she becomes a red faced, muscle flexing, sweaty state on our afternoon strolls. Swaddling… I don’t think we need to go there, you know where I’m going with this. Looking at other contented babies all wrapped up, usually asleep, out walking with their parents made me want to cry, I did in fact, a lot, usually in the kitchen with a glass of wine.

It’s not all bad though, apparently my child is going to be some kind of genius… no really… they say if your child is showing these signs, is demanding of your attention and gets super frustrated when they can’t successfully communicate to you, that they are extremely intelligent and will succeed and excel in life! If that’s the case I have the makings of the next Einstein on my hands, watch this space. She must get it from me  🙂

Frequently awake, yes, that’s why my house is frequently a mess.  She wants everything and anything but sleep.

Separation anxiety, yes, from 2am every morning our bed is now apparently her bed and sleeping next to me isn’t enough, oh no, the little cherub has to be on me, fully on top of me until she eventually drifts off. We’d have the mother of all melt downs on car journeys, screaming almost to the point of making herself sick. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve had to pull over to calm her down; I even had pre-planned stop points should I need to use them and the thought of getting stuck in traffic terrified me.

High activity levels, she will sit and play but will soon need the next toy, book, teddy, TV remote! When we have a day at home it drains every last bit of energy that I have, but I love to see her brain ticking over whilst she tries to figure things out, learns new things and realises what will happen if she pushes that button or puts her hands in the cat food or water.

Now, I haven’t experience this one myself but ‘phantom cries’ is apparently a thing. You can hear your baby cry when they’re asleep or not with you. Maybe it’s because my own cries are drowning those ones out.

I know what you’re thinking, how long is all this going to last? Honestly, I don’t know, but my little one has been this way since day one and we are fast approaching 15 months old. It is getting easier, apart from the sleep; the sleeping is still majorly crap!  All I can say is, you are not alone in this and you could have a prodigy in the making, your son or daughter could be the next Steve Jobs, Marie Curie or Bill Gates

Good luck!

 

 

She’s not a good sleeper… It’s just the way she is…

‘Get your sleep in now’ they said, ‘make the most of these lay ins and lazy weekend mornings’ they said. How hard could it be, sure, we’ll have a few sleepless nights and early mornings, but we’ll soon work out this parenting malarkey and get her into a routine…HA!.. Routine!

From the very first day we welcomed our beautiful bundle onto this Earth, she has so far lived her life by the rule that sleeping is for wimps. ‘Why would I sleep, there’s a whole new world that has opened up before my very eyes’!

Some days I have been so tired that I have attempted to put the iron in the fridge, although, that must have been a good day if the iron was even out, right?

I remember being sat on my bed in the early days breastfeeding Scarlett, milk spraying all over the place (I’ll save that story for another blog another time) and bursting into tears through shear exhaustion. Why do I seem to be the only mother with a baby that doesn’t want to sleep? Of course I knew that there were other parents out there in the same situation, but at the time, in the depths of your darkest hour, It’s you and only you going through this hell of no sleep…Which is an actual form of torture you know!

That’s it I thought, I’m going to buy a book that will show me the error of my ways and teach me to teach my baby how to sleep, within a week or two I will have my sleeping beauty and I will go back to having a peaceful nights sleep…wont I? Well no, I wont.

She doesn’t want to be swaddled, that blanket is kicked off within seconds, she’s like Houdini!

She doesn’t want to lay down whilst she’s still awake, in fact, she’s never looked so awake!

Two hour afternoon nap, per-lease! ‘I’ll give you 20 minutes Mum, if you’re lucky I’ll give you half an hour and don’t even think about expecting me to sleep in that pram’.

Then came the endless advice, ‘wear her out at a play group, take her for a walk, she must be too hot, too cold, still hungry, have wind’. I can assure you that every possibility has been tried and tested and tried and tested again over the past 14 months.

She must have a bedtime routine, she must be in the bath by no later than 6:30pm, she must have her milk by 7:00pm and be asleep by 7:30pm. But why? because the umpteenth number books I have read say so? These writers don’t know my baby, there is no fail safe formula that works for every baby, they’re all different, we’re all different and every day is different. I have learnt that expectation and reality are two very different things, separating the myths from the facts, forget it.

If your baby naps well and sleeps through the night, I’m happy for you, I really am. No sarcasm or bitterness intended 😉 For now I will just enjoy the cuddles, cherish the fact that she needs me and accept that she’s not a good sleeper, it’s just the way she is.