Slimming World Update – Week 50

Hiya

Hows your week been? Mines been a toughie if truth be told. The boy’s been in super ‘challenging’ mode, whether we’ve stayed in or gone out and it’s so bloody exhausting. Actually it’s the keeping my cool that’s probably taking up the most energy. I’m not by nature, a patient soul. I try, I really do, but it’s not something that comes easy to me. So I swear I spend at least 50% of the energy I have on not erupting at him. And another 30% feeling bad when I do. Ahh well. Motherhood, thou art a tricksy beast. I’ve also had the worst hay fever I’ve had in years this summer. I was diagnosed with hay fever when I was about 11, but it’s been getting better and better as I’ve got older. Until this year. God knows what’s pollinating in our garden at the moment but it’s killing me, regardless of the drugs I take. I’ve had several mornings where my eyes have been practically glued shut. It’s really gross and it just makes me miserable.

So yeah I’ve had a week where I’ve been been driven to the brink, on various occasions and by various things. It’s so, so difficult not to fall into ‘easy’, deeply buried behaviours when your buttons are pushed so hard and I know I haven’t won those battles every time this week. It’s not comfort. I know that. It’s your body screaming “I do not want to deal with this. Give me sugar to numb it this instant”. And sometimes I can trick it with fruit or other foods, but not always. Sometimes it wins. But I don’t feel guilty on these occasions. I feel sad. Sorry for the me who has just lost. Hence I didn’t feel too bad last night, when I gained 1lb. Sad that I couldn’t have won a few more times, but I’m certainly not going to beat myself up over it. I know how hard I fought all week. Total loss is now 5 Stone 13lb (83lb) again.

But that week is over and now is all about looking forward. I’ve got a great week planned, with a group baby shower for four of my pregnant friends on Sunday. Yes it’s a another cream tea, but I’ve been there before and managed, so I feel confident I can again. And cake aside I’m just so excited to spend a couple of hours talking to my buddies without the children interrupting us. That’s a treat in itself! Then on Tuesday 8th, I’m involved with a Clothes Swap we’re holding at The Cross @ St Stephens in Haslemere. It’s a great opportunity to get rid of clothes that no longer fit and find some that do – for free (and I’m all over that!). If you’re local and fancy getting rid of some old clothes or picking up some new ones then please come along.

Most exciting of all though are things that are not happening next week but that I’ve just planned for the next month or so. Firstly I found out last night that my friend and her daughter are coming over from the States later in July. I haven’t seen her since just before I started SW. I can’t wait to see her and for her to see (the greatly reduced, new and improved) me! And then this morning we’ve just booked our first ever holiday as a family. It’s a mini break really, but believe me I couldn’t be more excited by the prospect of two nights in a super child focussed hotel, with a Creche (yes that’s right people, I said creche!), in Weymouth, than two weeks of self catering elsewhere. Seriously! We go in the second week of August, six weeks away. I would like to get to 6 and a half stone by then, which including last nights hiccup is another 8lb. So that’s my next mini goal. And starting as I mean to go on, over the next week I would like to lose the 1lb I’ve gained.

Have a great week people, being just that little bit kinder to yourself.

xx

clothesswap

Is it OK to be bored by your children?

I’ve been at home with Oscar since the day he was born. I’ve cared for him, entertained him, taught him, fed him, kept him alive. I’ve spent two and a half years generally worrying about everything we’re doing. And it doesn’t change. 819 days down the line and I’m still worrying. Only now it’s less about how much he’s eaten or how many poos he’s done in a day and more about the tantrums he thrown and his continued lack of discernible speech. God knows in a few months it’ll be something else, I’m sure. My whole life has been taken up by him and in January 2015 he starts nursery. I’m so excited for both of us. He will get so much out of it and I will get time to do other stuff. Like think, write, work, breathe? Who knows. Whatever, it’s safe to say I can’t wait! 24/7 care is exhausting. In five months everything will be changing and when I think about it I do a little internal happy dance. I can’t wait. But on the other hand, in five months everything will be changing and when I think about it my stomach drops. My son will no longer be the baby I’ve dedicated every minute to since he was born. He wont be with me 24/7. What on earth will I do? Time is going far to fast and it scares the pants off me.

I can’t wait. But in the same moment I absolutely can. It’s so confusing, although I don’t expect any of this will ever change. I have a sneaky suspicion it’ll be like this for his whole childhood, possibly his whole life.

But for now I have five months. And in that five months I feel like I should be making the most of every second, committing every tiny detail to memory, finding exciting things to fill our days. I know I wont ever get this time back.

And yet some days I just can’t do it.

Some days I leave him to play alone, while I do boring stuff like washing or finding an electrician or eBaying old clothes. It’s just stuff. It wouldn’t matter if I did it later on, when he was asleep, would it? But some days I just get so bored. Of him, of us, of what we do, no matter how much I attempt to mix it up. I get bored of the tantrums, of the things he wants to do, of the time we spend together. And I feel like the worlds worst bitch when I do. Don’t get me wrong, there are some days when I feel totally blessed. Days when I suddenly realise I’m doing what I was always meant to do. Days when things feel so sublime I think I might explode from the perfection of it all. But there are days when I am so bored with the everydayness of it that I want to cry. And some days when I do.

How do I make those few short months count? How do I make the most of the time we have? How do I keep the boredom at bay? Basically, how do I keep things perfect? D’you know, I’m not convinced I can. And the more I think about it I’m not convinced I should try. This is life. It’s not an exam. I don’t have to get top marks in everything to be a good mother, a good person. Do I? I’m with him. Just because we’re not doing exciting things, making exciting memories every minute, and just because I find him boring sometimes doesn’t mean I don’t love him. Imagine if you had to spend all that time with anyone other than your child. I’m sure you’d be sick of the sight of them sooner or later. And quite rightly so. And I wouldn’t have a problem with that, so why do I feel bad about occasionally being sick of the sight of my son? It’s definitely one of the things about being a stay at home mum that no one mentions when you take the decision to be one!

I think nursery might actually be the best thing for us. It’ll give us time to miss each other. Maybe then I’ll be more able to appreciate the time we do have, the things we do together, the love we share.

Yeah, thinking about nursery today only makes me do an internal happy dance. 🙂

 

 

Mama and More

1,2,3 it’s magic….

I know I often write about stuff I’m having a problem with but this week I thought I’d let you know something that’s really working for me at the moment (as always the caveat when it comes to children is AT THE MOMENT!!)

So as a quick update I had my Health Visitor visit, for his 2 Year Check. Hmmm. How can I say this? Well it wasn’t horrendous, but it wasn’t all that helpful either. First off she was late and I mean really late. An hour. By the time she arrived he was both annoyed that I wouldn’t let him in the garden (I didn’t think I’d be able to get him back in if I did) and knackered. Going well so far. She sat and listened to my concerns about his speech, with lots of yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah after everything I said, which I guess she felt indicated she was listening, but to me sounded the complete opposite. She did say she’d refer him for a hearing test to be on the safe side, and gave me some leaflets on speech development (the most useful of which told me to get more eye contact with him, which I have been trying to do). She said she couldn’t refer him to a speech therapist until he was 27 months (he’s currently 25 months) but would if he was still at this level by then. And that was about it. She didn’t weigh or measure him (I have to go to the surgery to get that done) and in fact didn’t interact with him at all. I mentioned the tantrums and she told me (no joke) to ‘just ignore the bad behaviour and praise the good’. Really? No shit Sherlock. Thanks for that nugget. And that was that, as she rushed to get to her next (late) appointment. And I worried about this? Fuck me! Sorry, but really?

Anyway the next day I decided to take a walk up to my local childrens centre. We used to visit regularly and participated in two courses there before Oscar turned one. I also met my wonderful friend Emma there. We haven’t been back since his courses finished. I don’t know, it just felt so much part of his babyhood I didn’t think to revisit it. But the HV left me their brochure and turns out they run a course to help develop speech! So rather than phone, I got Oscar in his buggy and walked the 1.5 miles to the centre (on the way he fell asleep, far too early, but it did mean when I arrived I could talk to the Support Workers in peace!) It was so nice to see them. They remembered both of us and the administrator remembered both of our names AND our surname when she booked him on to their Chatterbox course starting in September – that woman should go on Britain’s got Talent for her memory recall!! Course booking out of the way, they actually took the time to ask me how it was going. I mentioned the tantrums, and they didn’t dismiss me with stupid platitudes. It was nice. I asked about a book the HV mentioned as I wondered if they had it in their library of parenting books. They seemed surprised at the book I asked for as it’s not one they recommend (I wont name it here in case it’s your favourite toddler book – to each their own). They did suggest another one called 123 Magic. Kate told me how she’d used it’s principles to great effect with her son, counting down each time she needed him to do something. Sounded good.

As it happened I was unable to find the book in the library, so picked up Jo Frost’s Confident Toddler Care instead (flicked through, still sitting on the table unread). The only page I did see, listed what she believes are the touchstones for toddler care and included Communicating Clearly. That along with the stuff Kate mentioned got me thinking. Do I communicate well enough or clearly enough with Oscar. So I decided to give my own version of the 123 thing a try.

And do you know it only bloody works!

I get down to his level (if practical), tell him what we’re doing, if there are options I offer them to him, then I count him down. THEN I DO WHAT I SAID! I follow through.

“We’re going upstairs to have a bath now Oscar. You can either walk up the stairs or mama can carry you up. But whatever you decide we’re doing it in 1, 2, 3” (and I show him the 123 fingers)

I’m not asking him, I’m telling him and if at three he isn’t walking up the stairs, I tell him I’m carrying him. Within a week I’m finding I am getting to three less and less. And the tantrums? Well he might be a bit shouty, but he doesn’t wriggle and fight me the way he did. It’s amazing. His speech is no better, but his comprehension seems to be coming on and I think that’s down to my clearer communication. Yesterday he even came up to me, for the first time ever and ‘told’ me he needed a clean nappy. I was so proud.

I know some of you might be reading this and saying “well duh Lisa, of course that’s how you do it”. And if so I hate you all for not telling me sooner 😉 ! I thought about being sad that I wasn’t communicating clearly enough before, but what would that achieve? Instead I’m loving that taking an idea from here and a tip from there and squidging them together has produced something that works for us. For now.

Always, for now.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

 

 

 

Speak up…..

As you probably know, my boy has just turned 2. He’s strong and active and bright and gorgeous.

And he is yet to speak.

Now before you rush off to tell me that you know someone who didn’t speak til they were three or it’s because he’s a boy or because he’s so active he doesn’t have time to talk, I’ve heard it. Thank you. Really. But I have.

I can break it down into two reasons why this lack of speech is bothering me.

The first, and probably the most difficult, is that his lack of speech is eminently frustrating. For both of us. When he was a baby and couldn’t make himself understood he just cried. That was a bummer, but I could try a number of things and usually got to the solution eventually. Also his needs were much less complex. He wanted ‘food’. He didn’t want pirate biscuits, not breadsticks, in a red bowl not a plate, in the garden not the lounge. He now knows exactly what he wants and he can’t tell me. I can have a guess, based on time of day, where we are, simple hand gestures (he doesn’t really point, more throws his arm in the general direction and opens and closes his little fist) but chances are I’m not going to quite get it. Which can lead to anything from a “Uh” and a pushed away item to a full on screaming tantrum. This sucks for both of us.

The second is much more selfish. He never calls me. About a year ago, he would, if he was very ill, call Maaaamaaaa in a crying whingey tone. That was fine. Now I don’t even get that. For a short spell if I asked him to say Mama (at about 18 months) he would. But he never called me. He calls for me, with various noises none of which are words. But he never calls me Mama. Or Mummy or Mum or even a specific sounds reserved only for me. And he wont repeat the word, or any word, now either. And that sucks for me. It doesn’t bother him. Maybe it’s because I’m usually the one who answers his calls regardless. Maybe he doesn’t feel the need to give me a name cos I’ll come whatever he shouts. But it’s starting to make me just a little bit sad.

So here’s the deal. I know he’s only just two. I know some children speak later than others. I know he’s a boy. I know he’s super active. I know he’ll get there. I know! I know all these things rationally. My rational head is telling me them all the time. But it doesn’t help the emotional side of me. Does it ever? The rational side had him up the doctors last week. I thought it best to rule out any rational reasons early on, you know, like maybe there’s a physical reason he’s behind with his speech? I went to get him checked for the toddler condition Glue Ear, a build up of fluid in the ear which makes everything sound like you’ve got your fingers in your ears. It’s very common and extremely treatable. Well the poor doctor was treated to a view of Oscar’s evil twin when he tried to look in his ears! Yowsa! And despite all that, he said he couldn’t see. We’ve been given olive oil drops to clear any build up of wax and told to come back in a week or so. As you can imagine, that’s proving a riot every evening 😉 and we still don’t have an answer on this front.

The other thing that’s got me in a flap I rationally know I don’t need to be in, is that now he’s two, he’s due his Two Year development check. I stopped going to the health visitor weigh ins when he was 10 months old (apart from one time a few months ago when I went with a friend to give her support. Those poor, glassy eyed new mothers, burnt out from lack of sleep staring in horror at my great big galumphing son! “You poor dears” I felt like saying “yes you too will have a terror like this one day Mwahahahaha!”) and I haven’t really thought about it since. But my friends are starting to have them and they’ve also told me snippets of where the children are expected to be by now. Physically I think we’re pretty much bang on track. 50th centile I’d say. It’s the talking and the gesturing I’ve got myself in a tizzy over. He “should have” 20-50 words or so by now and be making sentences. At a push he can say “car” (I even got it on film the other day in case he wont perform on the day and I have to prove it!) and “bye” or “bah” as he says it. So yeah I’m worried what they’ll say. We’ve got his check booked for next Tuesday, at home, alone. These checks are normally held in groups, but I’ve asked for a home visit as I know I’m going to want to chew this development question over and I’m not comfortable doing this with strangers. Well obviously I am here, just not face to face! So we’ll see how that goes.

And this is where we find ourselves. In a sort of limbo. Trying not to think about it too much, til something is confirmed. Or not. Glad that we’ve got the ball rolling, but with no idea where it’ll roll to. If anywhere.

Ben asked me the other day, what, about this whole thing I was most worried about. What was I actually worried the health professionals would say. I didn’t have to think.

Because deep down I’m most worried that it’s my fault. That it’s something I’ve done. Or not done.

Because I’m his mama – whether he calls me it or not. And that’s what mamas do.

If you call it a car, that's good enough for me baby

If you call it a car baby, that’s good enough for me!

 

 

A letter to my toddler son

Apologies for the “mummy” silence over the past week or so. It wasn’t intentional, I’ve just been busy and stressed and, well, none of those things are excuses I know, but something had to take the hit so it was these posts. I don’t know why it was. I love writing them, they’re important to me. Hmmm. Anyway, sorry. And sorry for the random timing of this post. Although the way things are going at the moment it might be that random is the only way I can do these. Ahh well.

 

To the boy,

Sometimes I look at you, often when you’re asleep, or in your Winnie the Pooh inspired evening trance. I look at your soft skin and your, blonder than I could ever hope for, hair. I see your tiny Willson nose and your daddy’s bottom lip, the way you cross your ankles when you sit and the enormous feet on the ends of your lean little legs. I think I love you most in these times. In these times when you are still. Does that make me a bad parent? A bad person? Because there are other times. Other days.

Some days I find you too draining to bare. You scream, you squawk, you cry, you kick me, you hit me, you destroy every thing you can, including my heart and I am left in a state of shock. Battered and bruised both inside and out. If you were my partner, my friends would plead with me to leave you. This abuse would not be tolerated. But you are my son, and this is not abuse. You are 2. A toddler. A tiny person trying to find your way, your place, your pitch. And I do everything I can to help you, but, my darling, I’m new to this too. And some days it feels like, whatever I do, it will never be enough.

I know you are my son. In every cry of frustration, every time you throw something down in anger. Yup there I am. But you are so confident in your own ability, I don’t think you realise you’re only 2. Maybe it’s because no one has told you? Before I had you, I did not want a shy child. But now some days I wish I could eat my words. Just while we go round the Farm or the market. Walk beside me my darling baby son. Don’t run off into the crowd. Don’t make me have to restrain you, while you kick and scream and hate me. I’m doing it to save you, to keep you safe and to prevent a maternal heart attack. Please?

I’ve taken to checking on you while you sleep more than I ever did when you were tiny. I need to know that my darling baby is still in there. Somewhere. Not that it makes the hard times easier to bare.

It just helps me to get up to you the next day.

Mama

x